It’s been a little quiet around here.

I feel like I’ve been a little scarce here other than my 365 project. I just haven’t been finding time to write, or to think of things to write about. I like to get fresh air (sometimes) during lunch, and like to chill to stay away from the computer when I’m home (I do spend far too many working hours in front of a computer.

Well, we had a pretty rad anniversary. We found some slow background music on 8tracks and cooked a super fancy food (lamb shanks, anyone?) and the entire meal definitely cost us far less than going out. Turn off the light and pop some candles on your table and it’s instantly a whole lot more romantic than any kosher restaurant you can probably find in South Africa. We’re definitely adding candle light to more dinners, everyone deserves some romance, and who cares if all you’re eating are something like hotdogs for dinner. We hand crafted each other gifts, and I was so happy with what I did – I must do a blog post on it. I laughed at how Paleo friendly our lamb shank meal was was – served with green beans (actually, is that paleo friendly?) and cauliflower mash. Deeeeelicious. Thanks to the wonderful people of twitter (and one in particular) who assisted in lending this poor couple a recipe. If in doubt when cooking lamb shanks: the slow cooker.

The best part of our anniversary was definitely watching our entire wedding video. We didn’t get something fancily edited, basically just a recording of the entire night, but the truth is we didn’t want one. Our parents were paying and they said it was important – and we are so thankful that we have it. Pictures are wonderful and beautiful, but there’s nothing like actually reliving the whole night. It warmed my heart to tears (literally) to see my friends, those who have or are getting married, friends who flew from all over the country and the world, the beautiful messages and their smiling faces. There was so much laughter and dancing at our wedding that I can’t even explain. We literally laughed our way through (with some tears along the way). It was interesting for me to see how I seemed a little stressed on the day getting ready, but as soon as we arrived at the venue and the night progressed, I completely loosened up and relaxed. I clearly know what I was doing 😉 We took so many video shots while watching, and this one is my favourite (I can’t watch it enough):

Oh goodness, I may not have mentioned (and maybe I should have, or still should do an actual post about this), but my chlidhood bestie and I started a blog together. It’s nothing fancy as of yet and our posts are a little sporadic, but it’s kind of exciting for us 🙂 Go follow Our Shabbos Menu to see what’s been cooking in our kitchen when we have all those guests over!

One of my best friends got engaged a few weeks ago, and I’m so incredibly happy for them. It’s nice to have a friend’s wedding where you can actually be around to help and discuss and be there for her leading up to the day, which sadly hasn’t been the case recently. Too many weddings out of town. Too many of my best friends are getting married this year (all in different countries around the world may I just add), and it’s difficult to pick and choose. Also, I’m just not rich enough for all of that. I’ve already missed 2 weddings recently, and those were only in Joburg. To top it off I have a serious case of Wanderlust, and it’s not helping that so many people at work have awesome and fun trips planned (today a colleague is on her way to SXSW. I mean, too cool.) I’m tempted to take a trip, but choosing destinations is hard.

I’ve had a couple of “meh” days at work. The ones that make you pretty sad. Maybe I’m just going through a bit of a rough patch. I mean that’s totally normal, right? But it was nothing that a lindt ball, a long shower, nail panting and some super girly series couldn’t fix (Pretty Little Liars is the only thing I watch these days, and it’s very sporadic). I hardly watch series anymore and I have no idea where people find time for it. Perhaps it’s because Greg and I watch such drastically different shows. Occassionally we’ll watch some of the comedy stuff, yknow, 2 Broke Girls, The New Girl, Modern Family (though I don’t remember when we last watched that) FRIENDS, and of course, Survivor. I guess I like to do other things sometimes.

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This weekend, with the colder weather we did something completely uncharacteristic: we watched a movie (at home. We usually choose series over movies). In fact, we watched two movies. Even more uncharacteristic because I usually fall asleep. We watched Mao’s Last Dancer, which I was meant to see years ago with a friend, and  I’ve subsequently read the book (which was at least a million times better). We also watched What To Expect When You’re Expecting, surprisingly it wasn’t quite what I expected and had a lot of heart. I’ve worked on a Fertility Clinic as a client before so I really felt the plight for some of these stories. It was a surprisingly good movie 🙂

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I miss a lot of my friends who’ve moved from Cape Town. That is always hard and a little sucky. I called my friend a couple weeks ago, and it’s funny how the 5 minute conversation we said we had time for quickly turned into 20 minutes. Thank goodness for whatsapp and the interwebs allowing you to keep in touch with people effortlessly. But the truth is, it’s really not the same as a catch up on the promenade or over coffee.

I guess that’s what’s been going on recently. And you? I love to hear from readers 🙂

Finally, our custom designed wedding album, by Books.Love

I got the greatest delivery at work last week: our wedding album. You might wonder why this is almost 2 years late, but I’ll give you a full run down of what happened, why, and just how fantastic this book is.

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Can you tell I was excited to open it?

You see, you pay a lot of money for beautiful wedding photographs. I love ours, and even now 2 years later, I still look back at them fondly. Not just because they capture our day, but because the are just so beautiful. I always wanted a photobook from our wedding. I’d fallen in love with a friend’s album, not the normal photobooks with a hardcover and normal paper pages, but the heavy duty, massive ones, each page on mounted board. That is what I wanted.

Our photographer did offer the creation of a photobook at an extra cost, but he wasn’t offering one of these books I wanted, and for R3 000 – R4 000, I wasn’t going to settle (because that’s a lot of money). So I’ve always been doing research, since before, and continuing well after our wedding day. There were an array of options, but they were either too expensive or not the book I wanted or I’d have to design the pages myself in Photoshop, which I honestly just didn’t have the time or patience for. Along comes an ad on The Pretty Blog for a photo album service called Books.Love.

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Enter the very lovely Cassandra. Send her your photos, and she puts the album together, sending each page to you for approval. And: she offered the book I wanted (actually, she has a variety of different books), and the price was so decent. For less than getting a book through Orms that I’d have to design myself, I’d have the book of my dreams and have someone do the hard design work I didn’t have time for. It was like my prayers had been answered.

After paying my deposit and posting we got to work. Now you must understand, handing over your beloved wedding photos to a complete stranger can be a terribly daunting task. I didn’t realise I might have trust issues until those early days. It’s difficult, especially if you’re fussy and particular, but if there’s something I didn’t like I made sure to let Cassandra know and she very kindly assisted me in putting my vision into a perfect reality.

It's one thing receiving files like this in your inbox to approve, but a whole other thing when you see it printed!

It’s one thing receiving files like this in your inbox to approve, but a whole other thing when you see it printed!

It’s difficult, sometimes you don’t like something and you need to try put your finger on what it is to try explain it. I would sometimes agonise for hours putting together an email that I was pretty sure wasn’t making much (if any sense), and worried to get an email from Cassandra saying “sorry, I actually have no idea what you’re trying to say”, except each time she presented me with an email filled with pages of my book that just worked. She understood all my ramblings and made my book perfect.

Upon delivery, I couldn’t stop smiling and couldn’t wait to open it with Greg and home. I knew the pages were going to be beautiful (I mean, I did approve them all) but what I could not have possibly expected was the excellent quality of the book. It’s sturdy and feels like it’s going to last til we’re old and gray. It’s the one thing I still cannot get over (and I’ve looked at this book over and over again, I can’t get over it!)

And behold, a very beautiful wedding album, just in time for our 2nd anniversary. (Also, I know I need to learn to use my camera and not rely on my phone)
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View Books.Love here (and the facebook page here), the different album types here, and prices hereIf you’re looking for a custom made album (for any event, it doesn’t just have to be a wedding!), I seriously recommend Cassandra. She’s friendly, helpful, understanding and really helps you create something beautiful. And who can say no to a beautiful wedding album? That’s right. No one.

The coincidence 1 year before our wedding. An Improv Everywhere Mass Freeze.

So I got into work this morning and found a very funny video on my newsfeed:

You’d know by now about my extreme relationship with all things Harry Potter, so you wouldn’t be surprised to hear I was laughing out loud at my desk (and I’m a) not a big youtuber, and b) not a big laugh-out-loud-er during youtube videos). Poor Harry, unable to find the right station platform. So my boss piped up asking if I was alright (because obviously, something must be hysterical) and when I told him we realised we had a shared love for Improv Everywhere.

The discussion reminded me of an Improv Everwhere Mass Freeze arranged in Cape Town a couple of years ago around the Design Indaba time (one of my favourite times of year), which Greg and I took part in. So I went to google for the video (watch it, you’ll spot us quite clearly):

And noted the date:

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1 year to the day of our wedding. We were even far from being engaged at that point.

So in essence, this blog post holds no greater purpose other than to share this random instance, which makes me smile albeit having absolutely no relevance.

And now that that’s out the way, I suggest you watch some of these videos:

And now there’s your youtube quota for the week (or day, depending who you are).

and for extra laughs:

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Happy Tuesday 🙂

Looking back: our wedding stationery

A friend asked me to send her some files we used at our wedding last year and it had me looking over that “WEDDING” folder on my desktop. While initially my heart stopped beating when I saw the many excel spreadsheets entitled “seating plan” or “guests” split between Lipman and Gelb, I then found all the fun stuff. See, I designed all the wedding stuff and stationery (I guess you call it that) myself. Partly to save money, partly I didn’t really know what I wanted, partly… I don’t know, I just did it myself.

I wasn’t blogging back then, so none of this stuff made it onto the internet and the only people who saw it all were the 180 guests who were invited. So because it’s Thursday, and people do that whole “throwback Thursday” stuff, and I just decided that’s a good enough reason to share all this wedding paraphernalia, well, here you are.

The funny thing is, I cannot for the life of me find the invite to our engagement party. Which is sort of where it all began. I kind of designed it on a whim, with colours I got in an idea off the internet. A couple months down the line – and it happened to be the same colour scheme that worked it’s way through. Don’t know where the red/black/white thing came from. Maybe because I wanted things easy for my bridesmaids, in black dresses (with a pop of red). Somewhere along the lines the colours of playing cards came into the picture (Greg is a magician, if you didn’t know). I don’t know. And only recently am I discovering how dire my love for red is. It can’t be this normal. I wish I had photos of the actual invites, thank yous etc, but well, I really suck at using a camera (maybe I’ll intagram and amend this post later) but for now, you can have a squizz at the original undisturbed files 😉

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I’ll be honest, I sorta love our Save the Dates, which we emailed out.

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Our invite was double sided and printed on a silvery paper (so imagine all the white bits to be sparkly. I wanted a modern typography based invite, Greg said the invite was “his” thing and it needed to be traditional and “look Jewish”. So I did what I could and really like the result. We still have at least 50 copies, anyone want one? (by the way, those sqiggles – are our names in Hebrew.)

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These were our table numbers, going through 1 – 18, each with a diffirent picture of Greg and I during the time we dated. These were displayed in picture frames which I spray painted silver. They became the perfect frames to give my bridesmaids as gifts with a picture of us inside.

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Instead of a guestbook…

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…we did those fill in the blank things. They’re displayed in a treasure chest type box in our lounge. Whenever we meet new friends we make them fill one in. For laughs of course.

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I love how we used photographs of us throughout our wedding stationery, so our thank you had to be the same. Our photos were so beautiful also, how could we not use them? I wish I knew where those chalkboards were though…

I loved our wedding ❤

But also incredibly happy the planning phases are behind me. Phew.

Update: 30 October 2013

I found the box which has all our wedding stuff in it last night while rearranging our living room. So I figured I’d show you the “real” copies. I think they look even better 🙂

A picture speaks a thousand words.

Isn’t it sad how these days, we walk around with our camera’s less, relying on our smartphones more, and being content with our memories living on our harddrives, cellphones or instagram. When did you last get some of your memories printed?

At the end of a long story, Greg and I had credit at a photo/camera store and decided it was time to use the opportunity to print some more pictures for our home. We received a massive frame for a collection of photos for our engagement, and I promise you we only filled it after our first anniversary. I bought Greg for his birthday last year, a beautiful frame with the word “memories” and space for 6 pictures. It’s sat on our wall unit for well over a year – empty.

One of my favourite wedding gifts were from a core group of university friends. It was a set of Live, Laugh, Love photo frames. I don’t care for all your haters of the sentiments, but my philosophy is you can never have enough photo-frames. Never have enough memories around your home. The greatest thing is that these girls actually filled the frames with pictures of us (Thank you Facebook, you make life so easy for people). We decided – enough – these photos need updating!

I guess there’s something so special about a printed photograph. You get to see it all over your home, and relive memories more than just looking at them on your computer. It’s funny, our wedding photographer’s package came with 100 prints. We didn’t really want them but he said they cost him so little, we may as well get them. We’ve kept them in the beautiful red box we got them in, and I’m so glad we have them. We didn’t get a wedding photo album done (don’t worry, I will still one day) so I’m thankful we have these hard copies to page through.

I love photos and I love memories. Greg and I were expert photo-takers and self-timer evangelists in the years we dated. Things have toned down since then, but I think after our weekend in Hermanus, maybe we’ll start taking more pictures again. We got a photobook voucher for our anniversary from his parents, because they knew we didn’t have a wedding album. We decided to make a book of the years we dated, which I think was such a good choice. We like to laugh at how young we look.

As much as the wedding is a pivotal and beautiful day in your lives, it really is just one day. For me, I like having a handful of wedding pictures up, but I also like celebrating the fun and memories we’ve had as a married couple. So I’m so happy that we printed so many more pictures.

The truth is, it gets expensive to print masses of pictures sometimes. For that reason I’ve been in the process of creating a yearly photobook (note how it’s August 2013, and I haven’t yet sent our 2012 book in for printing). I think it’s such a great way to keep memories off your harddrive and a great way to increase your chances of picking them up off your coffee table for a bit of a browse.

I guess we’re lucky for our credit note at this store and that they didn’t just give us our money back – otherwise we probably would never have updated the pictures in our home. Now we’re just running out of places to put the pictures 😉 I don’t know if this all made sense, but it just made me really happy to have updated our frames with beautiful pictures and the thought of memories and photobooks.

I hope this inspires you to get some photos off your harddrive and onto your walls.

Wedding instagram roundup & Sheva Brachot!

It’s no secret that I had the greatest time at my friends’ wedding last week (and it wasn’t even due to all the wine on our table!). I took so many photos for the bride, a complete obsessor over photos. She took so many photos at our wedding that I could only return the favour (she even took my photos, edited all of them and uploaded them herself to Facebook. Which person wants that many notifications? Lisa of course.) I haven’t managed to take all the pictures off my phone, but here’s a roundup of the day via instagram (ok, I apologise that so many are of me and not just the bride):

So after the wedding was done, us Jews, well, we like to continue the celebrations. Under the chuppah, as a part of the wedding ceremony 7 blessings are recited (directly translated to Sheva Brachot) and in the 7 days after the wedding it is customary to host the bride and groom, people who weren’t at the wedding and their friends/family for a meal where Sheva Brachot are recited again (after “benching” or the Grace After Meals).

We hosted a small, relatively intimate affair for their closer friends and had a Holy Bagels theme. No, it’s not that Jewish bagels are any holier than others, it’s just the name of a bagel joint in Israel (where Greg and I frequently picked up a cheap meal when we were there in June). Our “Holy Bagel” theme quickly translated to “heart vomit” where bagels were being served. It was really such a hit, and I was particularly impressed with my decorating skills. It’s no pinterest party, but it served the purpose perfectly.

We played a game which we played at Sheva Brachot when friends hosted us after our wedding. It involves having the newly weds sitting back-to-back with 2 shoes in their hand, one of their own, and one of their partners. They then get asked a series of questions: who will be taking out the garbage? Who will be stealing the duvet? Who will be doing the cooking? And they silently answer holding up the appropriate shoe. If they’re right – we move on to the next question. If they’re wrong – we give them a marshmallow, which they aren’t allowed to swallow until the end of the game. Lets just say that hilarity ensued.

I can’t not show off the cupcakes I made for dessert. I dont usually get baking very right. I normally mess up on icing, especially. But these: chocolate cupcakes, hollowed out using my cupcake corer, filled with Israeli chocolate, covered with some chocolate/vanilla coffee flavoured icing and topped with fondant rounds and some fancy Hebrew writing.

Phew, what a roundup. Lastly, I can’t help but show off the beautiful photos taken by the talented photographer who shot the wedding, Warren Williams. He just put up photo’s from the wedding today, and I’m somewhat in love.

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How incredible?

I’m finding it incredibly difficult to come down from this wedding high – and I wasn’t even the one getting married! Keep an eye out for normal life: resuming soon. Sigh.