Murder Mystery Dinner!

Oh my!  A wedding is interrupted by the death of the best man, and everyone present is a suspect!  Who did it?  You’ll just have to attend a Murder Mystery Co. dinner to find out!

Me, Chris, Johnny V and Jen dressed up in our fanciest duds for “Til Death Do Us Part”, a murder mystery dinner!  My outfit resembled something that Peggy Bundy would wear, although Chris looked dashing in his wedding suit.
The bride (Summer) and groom (Neil) during their wedding ceremony.  The hangers in the background give it a nice touch of class, don’t you think?
Oh no!  Bob, the best man, is dead!  Washed-up 80’s rocker Dick Johnson was on the scene to call Doctor Candy, who wasn’t really a doctor after all, but a stripper (get it?  Candy Stripper?)! Don’t worry, it was a wholesome show and there was no actual stripping involved (at that point, anyway).
Looks like Johnny V made a friend!
Incredible coincidence, but the “volunteer” actor at our table was a crazy cat lady.  I was asked to dress up as a cat to make her feel more comfortable.

It was a really fun evening with friends!  The cheesy reception hall, the over-the-top acting, and the humor of everything was fantastic – we all had a great time!

Act 4: The Afterglow!

Ok, I am soooo looking forward to being done with wedding blogging! So this one’s gonna be short – it’s the last installment of our 4-part series, and I’m excited about writing about more recent events. So let’s get crackin’!

Chris and I took our post-wedding vacation (I’m not too excited about the word “honeymoon” – it sounds so mushy!) on a cruise in the Western Caribbean. We went all over the place (in areas limited to the Western Caribbean)! We started in Florida, went to Half Moon Cay in the Bahamas, then hit up Aruba, Willemstad (Curacao), then sailed on over to the Panama Canal and Colon, up to Costa Rica, then back to Florida. We were gone 10 days, and one of the best things about the trip was the sun…this spring has been very rainy and gray in the Pacific Northwest region, so seeing the sun again was a welcome sight. And it was warm, too!

We really did have a fantastic time. The food was amazing, we got to dress up all fancy-like on formal nights, I learned how to play craps (1. pick up dice. 2. roll dice. 3. yay!), and we were even invited to eat dinner with the captain on our last formal night because we are just that awesome (or perhaps it was because we were the youngest couple on the ship).

You can view many pictures by clicking here: HERE. Alternatively, you may look at the Cliff Notes version below. At any rate, enjoy!

Our first day on board the Zuiderdam, in Ft. Lauderdale, after traveling all night.
Time for a drink on deck!
Our first stop was at Half Moon Cay in the Bahamas. Admittedly, this is a pretty dorky picture. I was riding Peanut, and Chris was on Just for You. After our land ride, we rode our horses as they swam in the ocean.
After our horseback ride, we went parasailing. This is Chris and me, probably about 500 feet up; that’s our ship in the background. Pretty water, huh?
Our first sea day, and our first formal night. Chris wore his pimp suit, and I wore my skank shoes.
In Aruba, we went boarded a catamaran and went snorkeling, which I’ve never really done before. It exceeded my expectations, for sure!
I took way better underwater pictures than this, but this picture shows the coolest thing we saw – squid! You can see one near the bottom center of the photo – you might even be able to see an eye if you look closely. They were less than a foot long, kind of brown, and swam in schools of 3-5 squid.
We spent a day in Willemstad, Curacao. We did quite a bit of walking, which led us to a non-tourist, more local market. These boats brought recently-dispatched sea creatures to market booths just off the dock.
Another formal night on a sea day.
We got to go through the Panama Canal to Lake Gatun!
We took a side trip to Gamboa Park, where we got on small boats, tooled around Lake Gatun, and saw some monkeys. These little guys were accustomed to being fed by the guides, unfortunately. But they were super cute!
In Costa Rica, we traveled to the central region of the country for some ziplining. Behind is is the AdrenaLine, a 700 m line that traverses a valley and river.
Our last formal night. This was the black and white ball, which we went to after eating dinner with the captain at his private table with a specially prepared meal. We were pretty fortunate to have that experience!
We spent our last evening on board at the Pinnacle Grill. It was a fantastic meal – here, our server is flaming my chicken kabob. Yum!

Act 3: The Aftermath

Now, back to our regularly scheduled programming!

Because we didn’t have our friends at our wedding, we thought it might be nice to have a potluck at our house so that we could gather our local-ish friends and any family members who were still in the area to bask in the glow of our loooove (sorry, ew). So, we sent out invitations notifying everyone to come to our house, along with their favorite food and/or beverage, the very day after our wedding.

Awww, how cute!

We frantically ran around trying to clean up the house, which actually looked pretty spectacular prior to guests showing up. Even the basement only had the faintest smell of cat-pee (but smelled mostly like Febreeze). Mom helped out tremendously (thanks, Mom!), and we even had time to sit down and say, “dang, I’m so hungry! where is everyone??? when is the food going to show up? should we just order some pizza???”

We didn’t have long to wait, though – friends started arriving and pretty soon, we had a full house. We had 74 people over that day, and it was so good to see everyone! I had friends from grad school and work there, Chris’ friends from school and the army showed up, and because a lot of Chris’ family is in the area, we had some of them show up, too. There were people upstairs schmoozing and intermingling. There were kids all over the place, playing video games in the basement and dismantling board games like Cranium and Battleship. There were five cats cowering in terrified confusion (somewhere). Success, right?

Ladies in the living room: Julie, me, and Jill – I met this dynamic duo in grad school and our mind-meld caused us all to wear black and purple on the same day. Amazing!!!
Chaos in the kitchen! This is where the beer was.
Bedlam in the basement! It’s a good thing we had this room open though, otherwise the upstairs might have resembled an over-stuffed clown car.

Right! The food was good, there were no unforgivable beverage spills, and we succeeded in putting all the elements of each board game into their proper box. We even managed to recover all five cats! My mom and step-mom did an amazing job cleaning the place up even before everyone completely left, and we had leftovers for a verrrrry long time. As a matter of fact, I think there’s still some cracker dip in the fridge. And plenty of plates/dishes/food containers that are now orphaned because we don’t know who they belong to.

Hey, you kids! You’d better make sure those plastic ships and bombing pegs don’t get lost in our special collector’s edition of Cranium!

It all went better than planned, and it was so good to see our friends, many of whom traveled a fair distance to be there. Thank you so much for visiting us! It was the perfect way to round out our wedding weekend, and share our experience with so many of our friends and family.

Next up: our final wedding exclusive – The Honeymoon (a.k.a. The Afterglow). We can then get back to reporting on our normal lives, alright?

Dang, this is a LONG intermission!

Well, the professional wedding photographs are finally here, folks! You can view them in the slide show at right, or by clicking here. I hope you enjoy them – Chris and I think they are fantastic! They were taken by Courtney Blaisdell (see information in previous post), if you need a kick-ass photographer for your event and are in the Portland area.

Woo hoo!!!

Pimp Style.


We’re interrupting wedding-of-the-century post-game coverage (a.k.a. the William and Kate of the West) to bring you this sneak preview of professional photographs taken on March 19, 2011.

Courtney took some wonderful pictures of Chris and me and has shared a few of them on her blog: Courtney Blaisdell Photography. I’ll be posting the entire photo collection soon…and yes, there are pictures of the dress!


Act 2: The Main Course

I suppose you’ve probably had enough of the Anticipation and are probably ready to move on to The Main Course, right? Chris and I are back from our post-wedding travel adventure (a.k.a. “honeymoon”, but I’m getting tired of that word), so I figured it’s now time for a blog makeover (thanks for the shoe picture, Tyleen! it’s getting a lot of mileage, including being used as my facebook profile picture) and a new post. So here you go.

If you’re reading this, it is likely that you were at the wedding. But just in case you weren’t, I’ll fill you in. Unfortunately, I don’t have a huge number of pictures yet – I didn’t take any, and I’m still waiting from some pictures from family and our professional photographer. But I’ll share what I have here.

The day started where I left off from the previous day (duh, right?). Mom and I went to pick up the cake, which, unfortunately, was not exactly what I wanted even after providing elaborate instructions to the baker. In all fairness, my original baker canceled at the last minute and the new baker did her best…but I’m still debating whether or not to send pictures in to Cake Wrecks. And, not that I’m any kind of bridezilla or anything (I really don’t like to even characterize my role in the day as “bride”, I just hate the way it sounds), for the sake of full disclosure, I did have a minor hair freak-out. Because I had gotten my hair fabulously straightened the day before, it was a little too slick and didn’t have any volume for putting it up the way I wanted…what originally was to be a couple of large, loose, Princess-Leiaish buns looked more like two small snail shells that further emphasized the largishness of my head and flatness of face, instead of delicately de-emphasizing these tragic features and flattering my head in its entirety. Unfortunately, I had no back-up plan, so I had to just wear my hair half up and half down, with little bits sticking up in the back and generally looking retarded. Looking back on it, I really wish I had just tried a bit harder to wear my hair up, dang it! What was I thinking??? Oh well – I’ll end my rant here. At least I didn’t have any excessively gigantic zits growing out of my nose or anything (and if I did, I would’ve had plenty of bindis to cover it up).

Glamor hair. My follicles are biologically incapable of doing this. 

This more accurately resembles my look on my wedding day. Without the beard, of course (no offense to Russell Brand – we love him!).

Chris and I went to the Vintage Plaza Hotel in downtown Portland where we met up with our photographer and got ready for the wedding. We reserved a fantastic suite there, which came with champagne for us with which we pre-funked in preparation for the evening. After taking a bunch of photos (and yes, some of them actually show my dress), we hired a town car to take us to Caruthers Landing, on the Willamette River, just south of OMSI. Everyone met us there, largely on time, and looked fabulous! More picture taking ensued.

Free champagne! Free champagne!

At 6 pm we boarded the Columbia Gorge Sternwheeler, a river paddleboat. The weather actually held out – it has been an extremely wet spring (and winter, and fall, for that matter), but the rain gods had apparently decided we’d had enough, or maybe they just wanted to watch the ceremony and wouldn’t have been able to see through the clouds otherwise. In any case, we only got a few sprinkles of rain, but it was actually fairly clear, if not cold (what did you expect, Koski? It’s mid-March in Portland, duh!).

This is the Columbia Gorge Sternwheeler. On a beautiful, sunny day. I did not take this picture.

Chris and I decided on a very small wedding – partially to keep the cost down (and it was spendy enough, my goodness!), partially to keep it nice and intimate, and mainly so that it wouldn’t spiral out of control and become a gigantic wedathon with all manner of matrimonial nonsense: man-and-wife-this, remove-the-garter-with-his-teeth-that. Don’t get me wrong – it’s ok if that’s your thing, it’s just not mine (um, I mean Ours. Yes, Ours, ahem!). So, we only had our immediate family in attendance – mainly parents and siblings, about 20 folks in all. This also made it so that everyone could actually fit on the bow of the boat so that we could get married outside (standing room only). We asked Chris’ long-time friend to perform our ceremony for us, so he got Internet-ordained lickety-split like and, after a couple of readings from our mothers, declared us Chris and Marci, husband and wife, partners in crime, accomplices of sorts.

My mom (anxiously going over what she was going to read), and the rest of us (goofing off).

Once our ceremony was over (what, 15 minutes or so?), we ran inside (dang, it was colder than we thought it would be) to warm up over appetizers. Did I mention this was a dinner cruise? Oh yes! A wedding and dinner all in one place – just to make things extra easy. It was a public cruise, so several more people came on board for dinner, but really, there weren’t very many people – just one deck was filled. Dinner was actually pretty good – I think I had salmon ravioli. We had a few small nieces and nephews running around, and I must say, they behaved amazingly well. I was thinking it might get too late for them, but they all played together just fine and I think they had a good time. Whew!

Oh…*that’s* why they had a good time…

During dinner, the boat cruised up and down the Willamette River, down to the falls, then up again. In the summer, the boat cruises on the Columbia River, but sticks close to Portland in the colder months. A bunch of us went up to the wheel house, and the captain let me steer the boat. And I didn’t wreck it! Actually, I think Abby (Chris’ 4 year old niece) did a better job at steering than I did, but I also got to blast the horn. It was pretty loud. I think it made a few fish lose the contents of their lower digestive tracts.

One of the things the dinner cruise did not have was music, or dancing. I was a little bummed out about this, but figured that it was just one of those trade-offs for having a quirky venue. But it was ok, because Chris is amazing and I married the right guy. We had our moment, just the two of us, after we left the wheel house. We went back inside the boat on the upper deck, where there were no guests. Out of the blue, I heard Anya Marina’s “Vertigo” playing (the same song Chris played when he asked me to marry him)…I couldn’t figure out where it was coming from at first…and Chris hugged me and said it was time for our first dance. He had the song playing on his iPhone from his suit pocket. So we danced, just the two of us alone, and our photographer snapping flashy pictures. Awwwww!!!

Again, we don’t have the pictures back yet. But for a point of reference, this is vaguely what we looked like.

Meanwhile, downstairs on deck 1, the party was in full swing. Of course, they waited for me and Chris to return so that we could have a champagne toast (my brother Paul made an excellent toaster, but I will say that he can have his winnings when it comes to kids. We will be victorious when it comes to cats!). And we cut into our cake, which had, miraculously survived the constant scrutiny of 3 small children for at least two hours. I think I had one bite of it and made the determination that I’m not particularly a fan of fondant, nor does it go particularly well with banana cake. Bleck!

Stupid cake! I’ll get you in the end!

At any rate, that was about it. I was thankful for so many things that day. I was grateful for the love and support my mom gave me during her visit from San Diego. I was happy that my dad and stepmom made it out from St. Louis – I know that family stuff like this is important to them. I was touched that Tyleen, Brett, Paul, and Anne traveled from near and far for the occasion – I know it was a short visit, but meaningful nonetheless. I was honored that Steve performed our ceremony, even though it took him out of his comfort zone. And I am thrilled that I have new family members – Chris’ parents, grandmother, brother and sister-in-law. Most of all, I am relieved that I have lots of little nephews and nieces who love their Auntie Marci and Uncle Chris and their five adorable kitties sooooo much…perhaps our decision not to have kids won’t bite us in the ass after all!!!

Wedded bliss! Someone get that hair outta my face!

As I mentioned at the beginning, I don’t have many pictures of the event (yet – we’ll get our professional photos back soon, I hope). I took the best of what everyone gave me and made an album which you can see by clicking here.

Can I wrap this up now? Thank you! Acts 3 and 4 won’t be quite as long, I promise.

Act 1: The Anticipation

Wow! A new post! Finally…I’ll bet your Anticipation levels were running pretty high now, weren’t they? So, things have finally gotten a little less crazy around here, and that’s no April fool’s day joke. I got a bunch of things done at work (but that never really ends, and there’s always more to do), and oh yeah, Chris and I pulled off that whole wedding thing, too. So that leaves me with a little time for a breather. Because the wedding was the main focus of my life for the last couple of months, that’s really all I’d been doing. I’d really like to blog about it, but it seems like a completely overwhelming task if I were to try to tackle it all at once. So, I’ve broken it down into four Acts:

Act 1: The Anticipation (what you are reading now)
Act 2: The Main Course
Act 3: The Aftermath
Act 4: The Afterglow

I realize that this is rather ambitious. But we’re going to start small. See, I don’t have a whole lot of pictures to describe the anticipation, aside from some truly embarrassing photos that my mom took while I was getting my hair done the day before the wedding. And now I share them for the world to see:

Oh yes, Mom, please take more pictures. They are soooo flattering!

Why, of course I’d like you to take a picture of my hair half done! Fantastic!

Oh, and in case you were wondering, we had the most awesome invitations ever. I mean, you can’t look at these invitations and not pee yourself with Anticipation for what the wedding will be like, right??? Am I right???

Will it be a three-ring circus? An old-timey boat ride? Something between? Who knows?!?

So, that’s it for now. You’ll have to wait for Act 2 and beyond. In fact, you’ll have to wait until Act 4 (The Afterglow) has happened. Chris and I leave for our honeymoon cruise tonight and will be gone for a while. So, sit back, relax, and bask in The Anticipation of blog posts to come!

I’m still here!

Between planning a non-wedding wedding and wedding planning, I’ve had little time to do many things that I regularly used to incorporate into my life. For example, I used to spend a lot of time NOT planning a wedding. This is no longer the case. It seems that, lately, I’ve been consumed with detail-oriented tasks concerning Who, When, Where, and How (the why is covered, of course). And while I’ve tried my hardest to make this a somewhat unconventional, non-traditional fun-type wedding, those pesky little wedding-ish details keep sneaking in there. Things like, “decide what to wear” and “design the ceremony” and “are these heels going to make me fall over within five minutes of putting them on”. And I’m kind of freaking out a little because every piece of wedding planning guidance I’ve read says that these questions should’ve been answered at least 18 months ago! Hell, I didn’t even know Chris 18 months ago!

Well, if I don’t completely lose my shit, these questions (and hopefully more) should be at least partially answered within the next month and a half. Wish us luck!

And PS – does anyone want to start a betting pool on how many times I’ll fall over as a result of wearing excessively high heels during the wedding festivities? Just for funsies?

A Loverly Weekend in Waldport

I know it’s getting to be a little late, but I wanted to tell you about the splendid weekend that Chris and I had together in the beginning of September. My friend Julie, from grad school, invited us to her wedding so we took the opportunity to make a weekend of it and enjoy another little town on the Oregon coast.

Saturday, September 4, we wished Abbey a very happy first birthday (ok, Jesse only grudgingly wished her a happy birthday, but he got some wet food out of the deal so he wasn’t entirely unhappy about it) and headed west. We drove through Newburg, Dundee, and Newport, reminiscing about the excellent times we had there during previous long weekends and spring break. Ahhh, the memories! We arrived at the Cliff House B&B in Waldport and found it most remarkable…a fantastic view of the ocean and bay, along with friendly dogs and an incredible assortment of lace doilies covering most horizontal surfaces. Chris reserved the suite for us, which included vaulted ceilings, a private balcony overlooking the ocean, and a ginormous bathroom (complete with hot tub) that had mirrors covering EVERY surface except for the toilet seat cover. You might not believe it, but there are some angles that you might not prefer to view yourself from, and I discovered several of them that weekend!

We ate dinner at the Drift Inn in Yachats, under a ceiling of decorative umbrellas while listening to the modern Hawaiian-polka fusion stylings of two men armed with a Casio keyboard and a microphone. After dinner we went back to the B&B and practiced our putting skills (yes, for real, not a metaphor) while the sun set over the ocean. But that’s where I’ll stop for now…

On Sunday, Chris and I enjoyed an amazing breakfast (cooked by Sharon, the prioprietress of the Cliff House) consisting of smoked salmon quiche and home-fries, home-made muffins and scones. In the early afternoon we drove east out to Tidewater Falls Resort where Julie and Perry had their wedding – it looked like many people camped, and that the party had been going for at least a couple of days. I met up with several other friends from grad school whom I hadn’t seen in many years, including Jill, Audrey, and Andie, who came with her partner Rob. He cracked our shit up, and definitely sufficed for the evening’s entertainment in my book. And, if I can say so, I think that he became Chris’ new idol of sorts. Even Julie’s old dog Metzli was there – skulking in her familiar border collie way that I recognized from Colorado. The wedding was a simple and beautiful ceremony that took place under paper lanterns and a mirrored disco ball (I would expect nothing less), and was followed by hula hooping (how does Jill manage to defy gravity in such a nonchalant kind of way???), salmon, and wine wine wine by the bonfire. Congrats, Julie and Perry – we had an awesome time at your wedding!

Monday was Labor Day, so we had the day off. We enjoyed another delicious Cliff House breakfast, this time of cheese blintzes and more baked goods (at 8:30 sharp! don’t be late!). After packing up and waiting until the last possible moment to leave (there might have been another quick soak in the hot tub), we said our goodbyes and commenced our drive north. We stopped for lunch at Pelican Brew Pub on Cape Kiwanda, sharing fish tacos and humongous onion rings by the sea.

For an added bonus to our trip, as we drove north we stopped in Tillamook and toured the World Famous Tillamook Cheese Factory! I milked a plastic cow, and Chris bought me a magnet that said “Easy Rider”.

Which I guess just about sums up my role as the passenger on our weekend adventure!

Jes and John’s Wedding

Mark and I were invited to attend Jes’ wedding to John, which happened July 13 at Breaker’s Beach on the Coronado Naval Base. It was such a pretty spot! The beach is only open to military personnel and their families, and they rented out a really nice little deck hall for the wedding and reception. I know Jes from working at the Wild Animal Park, but she recently moved to South Carolina, so I’ll miss her. I also got to see a few old friends from the Wild Animal Park that I hadn’t seen in a while – yay Emily who just had a baby girl a few days after the wedding! I miss you guys!!! Waaahhh!!!