Thursday, December 30, 2010

Peas and Carrots: Our Eco-Thrifty Wedding

Way way back, at the beginning of this whole process, over nine months ago, I wrote about how our goal was to have an amazing wedding that celebrated us. By celebrating us, I mean celebrating who we are, what we stand for, how we live. Our lifestyle. A lifestyle of living simply and lightly on the planet.

The Veggies on 350 day last year (personal photo).

I’d like to pretend that this was easy, but the pull of the wedding industry is strong. Actually, maybe that’s unfair, because it’s not just the wedding industry. I am a girl who grew up in a state known for its highways and malls, in the highest consuming nation on the planet, during an economic boom. I was given Barbie dolls, and movies starring Disney princesses, and cassette tapes of Debbie Gibson and told by society, that like them, I too could have it all, especially on the biggest day of my life, my wedding day.

A princess bride? (Oh Darling Photography)

So, yes, even though my heart and my head knew the boundaries that I wanted to play within when planning our wedding. And even though I created those boundaries, not anyone else. Even though deep deep down I wanted simple, and thrifty, and eco. Somewhere even deeper, laid a girl ready and waiting to buy into all of the hoopla.

Beautiful hoopla. (Personal Photo)

So, if my recaps seem a bit schizophrenic… If you wonder why we were so staunch about non-paper invitations, and then printed out eight page programs… If you wonder why my dress is re-used but my flowergirls are wearing new Chucks, all I can say is it was a struggle. It was a struggle between us and what we thought our families wanted, between us as a couple, and between myself and my inner diva.

The Veggies de-stress the day before the wedding. That's some good teamwork. (Photo by Mamma Veggie)

And as I sit here in my gumboots, wiping the baby duck pooh off my workpants, sorting through wedding pictures to put with this post, I am happy with the balance we struck. In the end, I think we came out on top. We didn’t end up with the thriftiest or eco-iest of weddings ever on the whole planet, but we sure gave it a go. And we did end up with a very eco-thrifty wedding, one that was also very us, and made us very happy.

Happy Veggies. (Oh Darling Photography)

I will try to give out any eco and thrifty tips that we picked up along the way as I go through my recaps, and I will definitely give you both and environmental and financial tally of the event at the end.

P.S.- Wanna see a picture of our new baby ducklings?

I thought you might! (Personal Photo)

Did you have battles with yourself or your SO while wedding planning? What were some of the things you got pulled into that you wish you hadn’t? What are some things you were happily able to resist?

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Peas and Carrots: The Veggies Get Hitched

My name is Veggie…
And I am a recap slacker.
It has been 85 days since my last post. It has been 129 days since my wedding.

129 days!!! What?!? Come on Veggie. Get crackin'. What are you waiting for, anyway?

Well it's not like I've been slacking. The Veggies have been on the move. Since the end of our stay-cation-moon we have: flown back to New Zealand, moved out of our housetruck, and moved into a 100-year old villa shack work-in-progress about 6 hours down the coast. Oh yeah, and we've launched a new project for our non-profit, rebuilt our website, and ran six workshops. Phew.

But hive, I've been missing you.

And so, as one of many New Year's resolutions, I've decided to get going on my recaps. I wonder if there might be a few other bees thinking along these lines too.

I leave you today with a little peek and a promise to be writing on a regular basis in the weeks to come. So get ready for some summer campin', barn dancin', softball playin', compost makin' good times.

Happy Solstice, Happy Holidays, and a very Happy New Year!

Photo: Liz Gallo. (Momma Veggie)

Monday, October 4, 2010

Veggie-mooning: Our Family History

So we spent some weeks meandering through the every-day experiences of our families. Waking in the homes of our sibling, parents, and friends. Sharing, playing, and snuggling.
Eating and laughing with them and catching up on all of the happenings we've missed while we were away.
Helping out with projects.
Celebrating momentous occasions (Happy 30th Veggie Sister Kale!).

Witnessing the first day of school.

And, in so many other ways, reconnecting with our families’ living histories.

We sat with my grandfather at his house on the shore of Lake Winnepesauke and he showed us albums of photos detailing his life, my heritage. He showed me the first date that he ever went on with my grandmother, a woman who passed away before I was even born. He showed us the displaced person’s camp where they lived in Germany, after fleeing Latvia during World War II. He showed us the General S.S. Sturgis, the ship that they sailed to America on.

Being newly married, with a new last name, I began to think of about our history. The Veggie family history, that will weave together all of the strands of these incredible people and places. And suddenly I felt very underprepared.

Did I have proper documentation of early Veggie Family history? One day will my granddaughter be sitting by my side asking me about our first date? Sorry kid, we were all far too inebriated at the end-of-year faculty party that year to take any pictures. Luckily the final stop on our tour of New England was the very place where Veggie love blossomed many moons ago.

So here you are, Veggie grandkids. A glimpse into the start our family history.

Here's the 200 yr. old, off the grid, farmhouse that Granddad Veggie restored and was living in when we first started dating. He stole my heart when he brought me here and cooked me a stir-fry of veggies that he grew himself.

Here's the dormitory that Grandmom Veggie lived in, and around the back is the creaky and dangerous fire escape that Granddad Veggie used to secretly climb up to visit her.And here is Grandmom Veggie, dressed in her Salvation Army finest, the night that she wooed Granddad Veggie and stole his heart.
What stories will be part of your new family history?

Friday, September 24, 2010

Veggie-Mooning: A Little Slice of Americana

So there we were: me, my new husband, a few cases of wine and beer, and a pick up truck. We were free to go and do as we chose, no obligations, no reservations, spontaneously deciding each evening where we would lay our heads.

Well, that’s about half true. There was, in fact, quite a bit of spontaneity in our travels. And we did, in fact, not make many plans on where we would sleep. We did, however have a lot of people to visit in a very short time who were inconveniently spread over 7 states. So we had a tight schedule to stick to as we wandered through the most perfect time of year in the northeast.

There really is nothing better than New England in the late summer. If you haven’t had the pleasure, let me fill you in on this little piece of heaven.

The beauty of New Zealand, our new home, is astounding. The vast rolling hills, expanses of wild coastlines, and the greatness of the fiordlands are overwhelming. When you drive through NZ you can practically feel the landscapes shouting at you. “Look at me! I am beautiful”.

But the humble beauty of New England does not shout.

It is hidden in crumbling rock walls and tree-covered hills. It is hidden in weathered barns and covered bridges. It is the beauty of a well-made chair crafted the 1800’s and the man who sits in it, his familial connection to this place stretching back even longer. For me this simple, subtle beauty is comforting.

But it is also bittersweet; a reminder that for everything gained, something is lost.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Veggie-mooning: Our Stay-cation

Well hello there hive. Exactly one month into married life and I just stepped foot on terra firma after a 49-hour journey home to beautiful Aotearoa (more on that later). Perhaps I owe you an apology for my prolonged absence. But you didn’t really expect me back too soon did you? We had a lot of newly-wedded bliss to absorb. And absorb it we did, in nearly every state north of Virginnie. I’m not quite ready to share wedding recaps yet, but I did miss you. So, I hope in the mean time you wont mind if I share a bit about what we’ve been calling our stay-cation-moon.

Mr. Veggie and I had given very little thought to how we might spend the weeks following our wedding. Planning for the wedding itself was so all-consuming for me that I really couldn’t think beyond eight.twenty-one.ten. And Mr. Veggie? Well I think the thought of being married was so alien to him, that he really couldn’t even ponder planning something that would happen once we were on “the other side”. So we didn’t plan.

Lavish vacations to exotic locales aren’t exactly our style and PhD research, a new house, and spring veggie planting were calling us back to NZ. With our return flight scheduled for Sept. 17th, about 4 weeks after the wedding, the only option we had even remotely considered was going to Nicaragua for two weeks while we were still in the western hemisphere.

Do any of you have a place that just grabs your heart, and even though you have no particular cultural-familial tie there, it just speaks to you? Nicaragua is my heart place.

It pains me that since we moved to New Zealand, over 2 ½ years ago, I haven’t been able to make it there. We have both done quite a bit of work there over the past 9 years, and it is where our non-profit (and us) will be located eventually. A post-wedding trip there would be more of a volunteer/ visiting friends/ networking trip than honey moon.

But alas, once we were both in the States, and realized how precious our time was with our friends and family, a Nicaragua trip just seemed excessive. “Hi family, hi friends, yeah we know we haven’t see you in a year or two, and we know we’re only here for a few weeks, but you wouldn’t mind if we ducked out to Central America for a week or two, would you?”.

Of course they wouldn’t mind. Because that’s how awesome they all are. And it is precisely that awesomeness, the sheer overwhelming awesomeness of our friends and family, that led us to decide that the best way to spend our free time was with them. And thus our stay-cation was born.

A borrowed pick up truck, some camping gear, and the left over cases of wine from our wedding and we were off.

You might think that 4 weeks is a lot of time to spend bummin’ around the northeast at the end of summer. Let me tell you something, my friend. It is not. Fastest four weeks ever.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

We did it! - A Veggie Teaser

I'm back! After a three-day long extravaganza that was everything I could have hoped for and more I am left with a ring on my finger and a strong sinusiti-streptococal-flu-cold.

Oh well, can't win them all.

We won't have our pro pics back for a little while, but I thought I could give you a little taste of our joy with some teasers from my SIL, Jen Lebo. How gorgeous are these shots?!? I can't wait to see more of them, and of course, can't wait to get our pro pics back.

OK, I'm off to bask in my own snottiness and enjoy the rest of this sudafed-enduced semi-coma. I'm every man's dream wife right now.



*All photos taken by the gorgeous and talented Jen Lebo.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Holy Moly

Today is the day that I marry the love of my life, my best friend, Mr. Veggie.

I am feeling excited, happy, and a little nervous. But mostly just happy. Being surrounded by our family and friends this weekend has been an incredible joy.

I don’t have much time to post, because I am getting ready for the big bride v. groom softball game, but I wanted to take a moment to thank this amazing community for your words of support and advice.

See you on the flip side.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Grow With Love

Update on my life: Mr. Veg and I had a romantic reunion at our friends' Dave and Heather's lakeside wedding, I passed my written test at the RMV and am now allowed to drive in the USA (with a licensed adult), I have scoured FMIL Veg's house and barn for wedding items, and thanks to the Salvation Army Mr. Veg finally has something to wear to the wedding.

And now I find myself with a few minutes of down time so I thought I'd keep good on my promise to delve into more detail about our seed packet favors. I'll let you read the story behind them for yourselves, but I'll give you a little background on the steps involved.

We bought all seeds in bulk from The Territorial Seed Company. They were very friendly and helpful on the phone. The seed packets from Territorial are so cute that I contemplated using theirs, but buying the seeds in packets is substantially more expensive than buying them in bulk. Like 10x more expensive. So, of course, we went the DIY route.

I designed the packets on good old trusty MS Word with fonts downloaded from DaFont.I then went on an odyssey to find the right paper. It was important to me that the paper was 100% recycled and bleach free, but also that it was thin enough to fold and glue easily. Trust me, if you're thinking about folding and glueing 160 envelopes, find the thinnest paper available. So I looked in every office supply and craft store I could think of, but kept coming up empty handed. The best I could find was Paper source paper for about 30 cents per sheet. That seemed awfully expensive.

Finally, I stopped in an art supply store near where my sister lived and found handmade paper that was 100% recycled for only $8 per pack. I bought two packs and the lady gave me a 40% discount with a coupon she had behind the counter. Woo hoo! And the best part was that it was already cut in half vertically (hot dog style, not hamburger), so it saved me a bit of time. When do you ever find 4 x 11 paper? Perfect. I love when things like that happen.

So anyway, I know you've already seen this picture, but here is the end result.

10 days out now. Yee haw!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

No time!

Two weeks to go. No time for a real post right now, Mr. Veggie flew in to the US two days ago and I am on my way up to see him for the first time since mid-June. (Pucker up Veg!, I'm-a-comin'). Then we have a wedding to go to, a conference to present at, family to visit, a driver's license to renew, a bank account to open, oh yeah, and a few minor details to hammer out before the big day. Marriage license? Yeah, that one should probably get moved up to the top of the list.

So, sorry for the lack of witty and insightful commentary, but the least I could do is give you a sneak peek at some projects I've been working on this week.

Vegetable Escort Cards made from recycled craft paper cardstock and fabric scraps from Veggie sister Kale's quilting room.

Seed packet favors. I should do a whole post on these because the story behind them is really sweet. We'll see, I'll try my best.

Birds for garlands. Made from cardboard gathered from our rubbish (pizza boxes, beer boxes, two-year old flowergirl's birthday presents) and vintage sheets/ fabric scraps.

This shindig is starting to come together. I can't believe I'm going to be a wife in two weeks. I can't believe I get to see Mr. Veggie tonight. Have a great weekend everyone!

Monday, August 2, 2010

I get by with a little help from my...

...newly-found-internet-acquaintances. Such a catchy tune.
Last week I was the recipient of some major bee love.

There once was a girl so nice that she volunteered to help with cutting and glueing, the two most evil most dreaded wedding crafting jobs. Who is this saint? This happy little crafting elf? This magical crafting fairy-godmother? Why she's EAQ219, (A.K.A. Em) wedding bee afficionado. We met at the D.C. Bee meetup two weeks ago and she volunteered to help me finish up some projects. You know I wasn't going to let an opportunity like that slip by. So I invited her over for an afternoon crafting session while my nieces were supposed to be napping.
Still smiling even though her fingers are blistering.

Let me tell you something about Em. She is hardcore. Some people might head for the door when greeted with a pile of 160 envelopes to fold, glue, and stuff. A lesser woman might have balked at cutting corrugated cardboard when the only scissors I could find were hot pink kiddie safety scissors. Not this girl. She is epic. And, not only did she show some mad crafting skills, she also passed on some good words of advice, as only a recent DIY bride could.

Trace. Cut. Glue. Repeat.

Also, on the way back to DC from my bridal shower I swung by Mrs. Trail Mix's house. While my nieces fought over who would get to walk her ah-dor-a-ble little puppy, her and I loaded my trunk with boxes of café lights. 500 feet of gorgeous little beauties, all in two nice nest-like bundles. If you enjoy rubix cubes, do I have a good job for you. Then, because she really is so super sweet, and was about to move into a new apartment in 3 days, she threw in some paper lanterns too. Nice! Gotta love the leftover wedding goodies. After a mere two nights of So You Think You Can Dance, I had those babies untangled and ready to hang. I am so excited about them. Like really really jazzed. Pumped, even.

Three weeks to go and I am loving the bee love. Thanks Trail Mix, thanks Em, I will be sure to pay these favors forward.