The Wedding Registry: Like shopping, only better.

Saturday afternoon was a big check off the 'ole wedding checklist: THE REGISTRY!

Long before wedding plans were even in the picture, sauntering around department stores with a scanner gun was probably one of the things in life I was most looking forward to. What's there not to love: I like to shop, and I like to spend money on cute things. So naturally, shopping for cute things without having to pay a dime? Pretty much the bee's knees.

It was a rare afternoon that Ian and I had to spend together, which made it even better. Armed with Dunkin' Donuts coffee and sufficiently caffeinated, we started our day at Target. After announcing to the customer service desk who wasn't nearly as excited that "we are getting MARRIED and we're here to do our registry, please!", we were given instructions on how to operate the supposedly self-service registry computer. Between entering our information on a miniscule keyboard, and helping two old ladies trying to access a baby registry on the computer next to us (who seemed to think that pushing every single button as quickly as possible would make it work), we finally figured out that we would indeed get a scanner gun and that registering at Target wouldn't involve wandering around with a cart and bringing everything up to the register to scan into the system. Phew.

New to this whole decorating-your-home thing, every item at Target was considered with much debate. Is it the right color? Do we need it? What is our look? Is it too expensive? Will it fit in our new place that doesn't even exist yet? However, some things were an obvious choice--like every single red kitchen appliance.

And tools for Ian the Handy Husband.

After a delicious and nutritious meal of all-you-can-eat pizza and cinnamon rolls at Cici's, we headed to our next stop: Macy's. Kitchen heaven.

As I scanned every single item on the red and teal Martha Stewart display, we slowly began to feel our inhibitions lowering. A glass cake stand, 8-piece coffee set, and red pots and pans? Sure! A 7-piece beer set, 22 Knives set, and cast iron skillet for the manly man? You know, the essentials!

Our last stop was Bed, Bath, and Beyond. Where we looked for things for our bed, our bath...and beyond.

At this point, we were growing weary. All this pseudo-shopping was tiring! My legs were already crampy from my P90X pre-workout, and my shoes were starting to rub in the wrong places. I was getting delirious. As the very nice man at the registry desk tried to sell us overpriced china and luggage sets, the whole thing just seemed so funny. It was getting dark outside, and we were still scannin' away.

To Ian's frustration, I declared that all the comforters and bed sets at BB&B were ugly ("but there has to be SOMETHING you like!", he says) and that their wedding registry incentive program was a huge rip off (get a free knife if you register for $500 dollars worth of Emeril products! Whoop de doo!). It was becoming apparent that too much of a good thing--even shopping--was taking its toll.

We finally snaked our way around the store, ending in the front where we came across the welcome mat display. The last thing, the finishing touch to our future home, wherever that might be, was what our guests would see when they rang our doorbell. The choices were varied: traditional WELCOME? Penn State? A giant B? A whimsical owl?

Whoooooo's there?

The delirium made this seem like the hardest and most important choice of the day. We circled around the display about 18 times, weighing the pros and cons of each one, and convincing each other too should just pick whichever one they liked best.

Maybe Ian was getting dizzy from circling a display of welcome mats or from a day of pouring over towels and shower curtains and soap dispensers and pillows, but in a snap he decided we were getting the owl mat. BEEP. Done.

And just as quickly as it had started, the scanner was returned and the happy couple drove off into the night.

Now we just need a place to put it all.


Blue on Saint Patrick's Day

Yes, I know it's St. Patrick's Day and maybe I should be doing a green-thrifting-finds post.

But quite honestly, I didn't even know it was a holiday until I woke up and saw all the 'Kiss me I'm Irish/Drunk' Facebook statuses. On top of that, we also have the hype of PSU basketball in the NCAA tournament. Oh I've got spirit, yes I do--can't you tell? (Although I did fill out a bracket this year for the amusement of my fabulous fiance...and today was not nice to it.)

I'm in my apartment with my roommate, Hannah, who has the same amount (maybe even less?) or school spirit as I do. I just don't really buy into the same excitement as most of Penn State does about a lot of things--football, THON, drinking holidays. I like tailgating. I support charities and have enjoyed doing plenty of community service. I like to go out and drink. But when these things are blown out of proportion into something that is idolized by most of the Penn State population, that's when it becomes irritating to me.

Anyway! The point of this post isn't to bash these things. I want to share some of my latest shopping adventures. And they don't go along with the green holiday.

Like I said in one of my Texas posts, I checked out the San Antonio Goodwill. Yikes. I didn't even feel safe getting out my camera when I was in that neck of the woods so I didn't even want to snap any photos.

However, when I had arrived in SA on Sunday night I found an adorable purse in a funky shop while I was exploring the town. I needed a new carry-on bag (a much-needed replacement for a 90s era tote bag from my childhood) but the price tag on this one was a little more than I was used to spending on anything-- 40 buckaroos! Seriously. That's a splurge for me.

I decided to sleep on it and come back at the end of the week if I still couldn't live with out it. And as it usually goes when I do this to myself, I thought about it all. week.

So on Friday, my last night out on the town, I made the executive decision that I was going to go back and buy it. I didn't remember the name of the store, but I SWORE it was on the River Walk.

So two hours and several laps around the River Walk later, it seemed that the store had packed up and closed over the course of the week, leaving not a trace of it behind! It was absolutely nowhere to be found. Being the only person in the world without a smart phone, I did the old fashioned thing--called Mom to Google San Antonio stores, hoping that hearing the name would jog my memory.

Well, it sure didn't. After reading me ALL the stores on the River Walk, she informed me that there were tons of stores over by the Alamo.

"No, it's definitely not there. I know it wasn't that far away. Those are just all tacky tourist shops. Silly mommy!"

Well, wouldn't you know I somehow ended up by the Alamo. And just as I had literally stumbled across the Alamo on my first day, I stumbled across the purse store across from the Alamo. And bought my 40 dollar purse.

But that's OK, because I returned to PA to a brand spankin' newly opened Goodwill store with my aunt who was willing to drive across town to check it out at 8:30 before it closed at 9. That's dedication right there. I found this fantastic blue dress that I love to wear with tights as the weather (finally!) gets a little warmer. For eight dollas! That's more like it.
And yes, that is a bright red bra peekin' out there. I'll just never learn.

I don't typically wear blue, but this was too cute to pass up! I also snagged a blue and white tank that also goes well over leggings. Outfit post on that one to come!

Hannah's watching old Glee episodes and I am blogging on Saint Patrick's Day. Oh well--green doesn't look good on me anyway.


Adios, San Antonio

Now that I have officially survived my first solo trip, navigated busy airports by myself, and spent a week in a completely new (and WARM) state, I can truly say one thing....it was incredibly rejuvenating.

Weird, right? I was there to work. I was there to be professional and learn how HR in a hotel works and make contacts that might help me out in my career one day--and I did all of that. I was hesitant to make the journey by myself, to spend my spring break being an intern and not relaxing in front of the TV with my man.

But after spending a week as not only an employee but a guest of the Westin Riverwalk hotel, I can say that the folks I met there during the day were some of the kindest people I have ever met in my life. It was refreshing to see employees of a hotel treat each other just as nice as they treat their guests. At night when I walked around the town, I found that the small-town hospitality extended to just about everyone in San Antonio.

People were shocked when I told them that at Penn State, you can pass people on the sidewalk without even looking at each other, much less smiling or saying "hello". They were also shocked when I told them I had never touched a chicken fried steak before...but that's another day.

All in all, I escaped the stress (and cold) of this semester for a week, and came back feeling refreshed and ready to take on the last month and a half left of school. It's a good feeling.

And it was an even better feeling to come back to Ian. And to buy our first pieces of furniture!

WIth a mile-long wedding to-do list, a packed planner, and many cups of coffee, I'm ready. Let's do this!


When in Texas, Do as the Tourists Do

I usually run far away from tourist traps. When I'm traveling, I want to scope out the local spots, the places you don't find in a guide book (Really, guide book? What is that?).

After a day of hotel crazyness, some coworkers have taken me out a couple times to those off-the-map San Antonio favorite spots, but when I'm flyin' solo in the evening, I haven't strayed too far from the tourist-ridden River Walk. So when I ventured to the Goodwill that I spotted on the car ride to Mi Tierra, I found out why I haven't wandered too far away. The rest of San Antonio is kind of scary. And Goodwill didn't have any thrifty delights. Lo siento.

So back to Bren the Tourist it was. I decided to pay 9 bucks and go on a River Boat ride.

And then pay 4 bucks for a scoop of Justin's homemade ice cream.

It's been a fantastic week, but I think I will soon be ready to be back in the arms of my fabulous fiance. Just as long as he can make the PA rain and cold go away by Saturday.....


Bruschetta in Bed

After receiving those chocolate covered strawberries, I made my first attempt at living the high-roller life. A bubble bath with chocolate covered strawberries, low lights, and Jack Johnson playing on the ipod.

Except after finding that shower gel did not produce the same soothing, bubbly effect as bubble bath, and that there is only one large, un-dim-able bright light in the bathroom, and that I am way too big to fit comfortably into a bath tub, it can safely be said that my attempt failed. As if the floating chocolate pieces in the bathtub wasn't enough of an indicator.

So last night was attempt number two. With a $5 off coupon for turning down housekeeping (goin' green!), I decided to get room service and order the only thing on the menu under 15 bucks.
And, of course, only the finest quality television programming.

I tried to play it cool when it was delivered. But I think my giddyness when I told the nice boy to put it on my bed "because I'm going to eat dinner in BED!" gave it all away.

More adventures in The Suite Life of Brenda the Intern to come....


Casa Rio: A Mexican River Experience

Since I'm not sure how much free time I'll be getting for the rest of this week, I decided to do the See-San-Antonio-in-a-Day-whirlwind tour. Because after several cups of coffee and 6 hours of plane rides, what else is a girl in Texas to do?
Jump on the king-size bed?

Gorge on the complimentary chocolate covered strawberries and truffles? (Did I pick the right major or what?)

I pretty much spent the day exploring the Riverwalk, and at some point, stumbled across The Alamo. I literally had no idea I was anywhere near it, and all of a sudden there it was!

I must say, the shopping here is a little weak. I was envisioning thousands of little shops and boutiques, with a couple of vintage shops thrown in here and there (why not?), but retail-wise, it mostly fell into three categories: Texas-themed tourist junk, Mexican-y pots and tapestries, and jewelry. Good jewelry!

However, there is one thing that this place doesn't skimp on--food. The River Walk is LOADED with fun restaurants that can appeal to all crowds. Everything from sports bars to Chinese food to the Rainforest Cafe...it really has it all.

Feeling a bit like Samantha Brown a la The Travel Channel, I set off to find some good San Antonian grub. All day, I had been looking for the colored umbrellas like I saw in the River Walk photo in this post. After what felt like miles and miles of walking, I finally spotted them!

And wouldn't you know, they belong to a classic San Antonio Mexican Food destination (or so they say...)

Casa Rio was the first business established along the river, and played a part in the River Walk evolving into the food destination it is today. They offer a fairly extensive menu--not quite as overwhelming as most Mexican establishments I've been to, but still a good variety of tacos, enchiladas, flautas, and quesadillas. After seeking the opinion of my server Carlos, I decided to go with the Regular Plate--"A Favorite since 1946"--which consisted of a Cheese Enchilada, Tamale, Chili Con Carne, Mexican Rice, and Refried Beans. I also splurged on some local Texas beer--because what the heck. I'm in Texas.

I was there before the dinner rush hit, but service was incredibly speedy and the staff treated me like they would treat their family. Carlos didn't even laugh at me too much when I asked if I was supposed to eat the corn husk thing around the tamale.

Overall, a resounding A+ for Casa Rio, San Antonio, and for being able to wear one of my favorite dresses (which also gained the approval of some weird men dressed like cowboys who asked if I ran away from my husband to Texas...).

Tomorrow I begin my HR experience! I can't wait to wear all my funky--but not junky--professional clothes. But first: sleep. Lots and lots of it.

Just a Small Town Girl.....in Texas.


Surprisingly, for an easily flustered gal who has never flown without her parents or other people, I arrived safe and sound in San Antonio with no complication!

I hopped on a shaky little plane in Allentown this morning at 6am. Tired and slightly delirious from getting 3 hours of sleep, upon entering the plane I sat down in the wrong row. One can see how things get confusing the farther back you go on the plane, when the seat numbers don't exactly line up and you've lost count of the rows. Understandable, right? Except my ticket said Row 3. And sat down in Row 4. So when I saw a rather big-boned lady climb into the seat in front of me, I smugly thought to myself, oh good thing I don't have to squeeze in there. Unfortunately, my punishment for not being able to count to row three was that she turned out to be my seat mate. Meep.

Otherwise, the flying process was flawless. I even enjoyed some free peanuts, courtesy of Delta airlines! How kind.

Now, running on 3 cups of coffee (and contemplating another...) I am set to go explore this southern city. I better start working on my southern accent!


Some Wedding Inspiration....a la Audrey.

After updating a friend at work today on the wedding plan progress, I realized that July is now almost 4 MONTHS away!!!!

I'm not gonna lie--it's been a rough past few weeks. (See previous post: Meep.) But yesterday I finished my last exam before break, the sun is shining, and I get to spend tonight and tomorrow evening with my man. Sounds good to me.

I spent a good portion of the afternoon catching up on all my wedding blog stalking that I haven't had enough time to do lately, and I realized that I really need to go through all the ideas, inspirations, and photos that I've been collecting and decide on how exactly we will create our fabulous decor! I was reading one of my favorite blogs (http://www.weddingbee.com) and saw this photo of one of my favorite style icons, Audrey Hepburn:

Now I've only seen a few movies that she stars in, so I won't pretend like I am a die-hard "Ooooooh, I've seen Breakfast at Tiffany's once, I LOVE Audrey Hepburn!!!!!" fan. But you can't deny that the girl's got absolutely fantastic style. And after looking through some photos, I've decided that I wouldn't mind raiding her closet....

The balloons...

Love this coat!

And of course....the red dress.....

It's going to be a busy four months accomplishing all the DIY projects...place cards, centre pieces, table numbers, favors-good thing I've got nine beautiful bridesmaids. ;-)

But until then, I've got my sites on SAN ANTONIO, where I will be spending spring break for an externship with Starwood Hotels. Can't say I'm not looking forward to some warm weather for a change.

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