Monday, 30 September 2013

Our Wedding: 9 Months to Go!

This month (two days late, but who's counting?) will probably be the biggest update we'll have for the rest of the year - we feel like we pretty much planned our whole wedding in September, and it has been amazing!

As you know, we went home to Idaho three weeks ago, and most of the trip, besides the awesome adventures we had and excessive food we ate, was wedding, wedding wedding.

We had a plan made with Brandi, our wedding planner, to see our venue in Garden Valley two days after we arrived (as we'd only previously seen it covered in snow). Our plans were dramatically thwarted as Southern Idaho had a huge thunderstorm, which caused floods, hit a few trees, and caused a large mudslide that cut off the road to access Garden Valley for two days! When we eventually got up to see the venue almost a week later, they were still clearing mud from the road. No matter, the venue was still gorgeous - actually better than we'd even hoped, so green, beautiful and quiet. We planned with Brandi where we'd have the ceremony, cocktail hour, and reception, and found a few lovely places for photos and our first look.

We met with our florist, who is so wonderful - he's going to get us peonies, which are my favourite flower, and we sorted out everything from centrepieces to bouquets, ceremony flowers, boutonnieres, and we are so excited to see them!

We had a menu tasting, where we sampled mini yorkshires with a sliver of steak on them - we were really excited to try this one, as we don't have yorkshire puddings in the USA, so we were curious what they'd come up with. Luckily, our caterer did her research, as they were delicious - slightly more muffin-y than usual, but simply wonderful. And the chicken we had - well let's just put it this way - we're told most brides don't eat much on their wedding day, but there is no way we are missing this meal!!

It was funny, I learned something about myself during these appointments that I already kind of knew, but not quite how... bad it was. I'm the worst mix of my parents in that I'm a perfectionist like my mother, with a short fuse like my father - that practically spells Bridezilla! I just don't have good immediate reactions when something I've been dreaming about isn't feasible, and I have the world's most transparent face. So when I was told that tall centrepieces may not be a good idea at an outdoor wedding because one gust of wind and they're gone, I just couldn't hide the disappointment on my face. And the thing is, apparently it's the kind of face that people just want to make go away, because I had three people trying to come up with every suggestion under the sun to fix it. It wasn't working, so I said we should move on and come back to it, but then luckily, Will the florist had the most genius and unique idea which we loved! And so annoyingly, just like that, the face was gone. I've really got to work on that.

Anyway, back to the wedding stuff. We had our design meeting with Brandi, where we picked linens, worked on invitations with bridesmaid Julia, spoke about seating arrangements, and showed her our bridesmaid dresses. 

Speaking of which, we LOVE our bridesmaids dresses, and are so happy they came back into stock - they are richer in colour than we'd thought, which is perfect, and they have POCKETS! Which I have decided are the best feature in any dress ever.

And the bit you've all been waiting for - WE GOT OUR WEDDING DRESSES!!! We went to David's Bridal with my mum, with the idea to get the first experience out of the way in a place with lots of different styles and dresses - they were just absolutely fantastic. We were a tad nervous about the 'gay wedding' thing here, as it is Idaho after all, but aside from the initial 'Oh, you're getting married on the same day?' 'To each other? Oh, I thought it was like Bride Wars!' thing, they couldn't have been more helpful or excited for us. They pulled up our account on, where we had favourited dresses, and they brought those dresses out for us. I knew that the first dress I tried on was 'the one', but I tried on a few more to be sure. Sarah tried on two, with our associate asking what she did/didn't like about each one, and she said 'I have the perfect dress for you!' Came back with one that was just so Sarah, so perfect - so she bought the third dress she tried on! Two dresses in 1.5 hours - that wasn't bad at all!

When the dresses come in as they were ordered, they'll be shipped here to the UK - luckily, a David's Bridal is opening in London next week, as they've said they'll do our alterations 12 weeks before the wedding - then we'll bring them back with us! Perfect!

We weren't very traditional as we tried our dresses together, but this was just perfect for us - not only did we get the excitement of seeing our best friend and partner choose the dress of her dreams, and it made it so special to see Sarah's reaction, we will still get the surprise of seeing each other in them with the full hair, makeup, jewelry etc on the day, and we will barely remember seeing the dress 9 months ago then! :)

And finally, we had our makeup trial and engagement photos, which you've seen here and here. The makeup trial was so much fun, and we really feel she made us the best versions of ourselves, without over-doing our faces. Can't wait to have her do our makeup on the day! And we still can't believe how wonderful our engagement photos are. Just so happy about them!

So phew! Was that enough wedding update? We feel like we planned our whole wedding this month haha!

Isn't it weird to think that if we got preggo now, we'd have a baby AT our wedding?? Mind blown. Such a weird thing to say, Laura.

Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Our Wedding: Engagement Photos - Our Favourites!!

We are SO excited, we received the rest of our photos from our engagement shoot from Dylan & Sara!

We have over 100 gorgeous photos we love, and we will put some more in an album on our Facebook page (like it while you're there if you haven't already!) - but we thought we'd share with you our top 10 favourites that you haven't already seen here!


Okay, so it turned into more than 10, but we just LOVE them! Hope you enjoy! xxxx

Monday, 23 September 2013

What to Eat in Boise, Idaho!

We've been back from holiday now for just over one week (is that it??), and are fully back in the swing of London life. We were really surprised to find that the worst thing about coming back from a holiday in the USA isn't the jetlag from being 7 hours behind, but the hunger that comes from eating so much amazing food!

This is us at the end of every American holiday. Taco Bell 4 lyfe.
Our must-eats in Boise are mostly chain restaurants, as our lovely photographer pointed out, and not so much cute little cafes and Boise locals, so I guess this list could be called 'What to Eat in the USA' to some extent, but the reason for this is that we don't live in the USA - so Boise is our only chance to dine at these nationwide establishments! So bear with us here please!

One of the places we never miss in a trip to Boise is the Mongolian Barbecue. It's not like anything we have here in London (as far as we know, and we have done the research). It's a make-your-own-noodles style eatery, with a long bar of vegetables, meats, sauces, and noodles, which you shove into your bowl, and it is then cooked on a giant circular grill by one of the staff. The best part of it is that as long as it fits under 4 inches from the top of your bowl, you are only charged the price for that bowl (you can take what you don't eat away!). So people get really serious, there is a whole system - pack the meat in first, then veggies in the cracks, then noodles pile on top (as they hold their shape pretty well) - you can even bring a second bowl for your sauces for no charge. Mongolian is a haven for students and those on a budget, because its absolutely delicious, and you pretty much get two meals for the price of one. Laura's family are actually known there by the waitress, who has been serving there for 8 years, and we've never once left without someone getting sauce on their shirt.

Sarah's favourite place to visit in Boise is Chuck-a-Rama. It's a buffet, but not as you'd know it - it's all quality, delicious, restaurant-made food. As a teen, this place was Laura's worst nightmare (I mean, the name, for one - chuck? As in puke?) but since moving away she's come around to the awesome comfort food, hilariously 'Idaho' clientele and low prices. It caters very well to those with large numbers of kids or large appetites... and in Idaho we have lots of both!

Loving the chuck since 2009
We always go to Blue Sky Bagel when we are home - they sell the most delicious bagels around! This is the first 'Boise local' on our list. Laura has been getting the same bagel since high school - Asiago cheese bagel with sun-dried tomato cream cheese. Perfection in a bagel. This last time, Laura forgot that Sarah might not have been ordering the same bagel since high school (oops) and so didn't give her adequate time to think about all the choices, so she randomly ended up with a Parmesan bagel with plain cream cheese, ham, egg. But it was all good in the end, it tasted delicious! We also got a dessert bagel to share - cinnamon sugar with berry cream cheese! Just fantastic.


We've never visited Applebee's much in our lifetimes, but that changed as of last week, when Laura's brother introduced us to what is possibly the best dish we've ever eaten - the 4 cheese mac and cheese with honey pepper chicken tenders.

Here, we'll give you a look at it.
Dry your tears, food lover.
The mac n' cheese connoisseurs we are, we absolutely adored this dish, and would consider paying to fly to our nearest Applebee's location just for the pleasure of eating it again. I don't remember what the rest of our group ate that night, but they were also delicious. We are officially SOLD on Applebee's! 

Laura worked at the Old Spaghetti Factory in Boise when it first opened up, and likes to eat there whenever we go back. Because is there anything better than great pasta? We ordered toasted cheese ravioli bites for a starter, which are absolutely delicious and you should never miss them, and then Sarah was highly inappropriate with her Meat Lover's platter.
 'Excuse me sir, I'm offended by the shape my meat has taken.'

Speaking of factories, which seem to be popping up everywhere in the restaurant world, we visited the Cheesecake Factory as well while we were home. We shared appetizers with L's parents, which were delicious (mini corndogs, anyone?) but the real star was, of course, the cheesecake. More specifically, red velvet cheesecake. As big as Sarah's head. And almost as beautiful. Almost.

In case this isn't enough for your big trip, we have a few more for ya - do you see now why we plan out our meals on these trips?

Really, the only reason a road should ever be closed - bacon.
IHOP - as cringeworthy as it can be, can you really pass up an opportunity while in America to have pancakes, at any time of day? 24 hours!! How about red velvet pancakes, or cinnamon sugar? 

We visited twice, the second on Agent Smiffy's birthday, where he had the pleasure of being sung to by the employees, and given ice cream, at 10am. Anything goes at IHOP!

Fanci Freez - the premier drive through milkshake joint in downtown Boise. Literally anything can go into these shakes. L had butterscotch and marshmallow. They are so thick you have to wait for them to melt a bit before drinking, and probably they wouldn't spill if you carried them upside down.

Last but not least, Blue Cow Frozen Yoghurt. Open until 11pm (cuz that's always when we want ice cream), they have a dozen flavours and countless toppings, which you can pile on as much as you want, because you are charged by the weight (we're fans of lots of lightweight marshmallows). And each day they have a goal weight, that if your ice cream weighs that amount, you get it completely free of charge! It's the best.

Have we made you hungry? We've definitely already started planning meals for our next trip - we'll still look good in our wedding dresses if we pile on 10 pounds in the week leading up to the big day, right?

Friday, 20 September 2013

Our Wedding: First Look at Our Engagement Photos!!

We are just so ecstatic to see the first of our engagement photos on Dylan & Sara's website today! They are just absolutely wonderful - we couldn't be more happy with them. It was such an amazing day, we had so much fun with them, and forgot they were shooting a few times! These are two of our favourites we've seen so far:

It really shows in some of the photos how much fun we had - we love D&S's natural style, and can't wait to have them photograph the wedding.

We are just in disbelief, really - we knew they were great photographers, but having not really had much experience in front of the camera (you know, except those taken by Laura!) we were a bit nervous. We can honestly say though they are more lovely than we could have imagined, they captured us wonderfully, and we just can't stop smiling!

Check the rest of the photos out here on their website, and we'll do a full post of our favourites once we get all of them!

Tuesday, 17 September 2013

What to do in Boise!

We are back well and truly back in reality. Thankfully it looks like we defeated jet-lag coming this way too! It's turns out being able to survive without sleeping for 27 hours has it's benefits :)

Having said that the challenge we had was getting over the hunger, we have spent the last 10 days eating WAY more than we needed and LOVING every mouthful. We ate so much delicious food that we'll dedicate an entire post to it but in the mean time I thought I would start with what we did- besides the wedding planning and eating!

Boise is beautiful in every season but this was my (Sarah) first time of visiting in the summer and I had so much fun. Laura has spent over 4 years telling me about things she wanted to show and experience with me that this trip could not have been more jam packed. I guess that's the great thing about taking someone home you know just what to do and where to go.

One of the highlights was floating the Boise river. In total the river is 102 miles long but you float along approx 6 miles between Barber park and Ann Morrison park. What every floater should know! As with everything in America this activity is extremely participant focused - there are 'rest/toilet' stops along the route and they even provide free air fill up points! It was so quiet when we did it that it was just me Laura, Laura's brother and Laura's Dad in a raft floating down river! It was so much fun we did it twice in 30+ degrees temperature. Oh and you get called FLOATERS!

Wahzoo's: This is basically a big kids (and probably little kids) playground and provided the location for me to take part in an all-American activity- baseball! Well in all honesty it was softball - the 65 mph baseballs scared me and 25mph softballs seemed a better place to start. Two years ago L's Nan had managed to hit 2 balls and laid down the gauntlet - thankfully I managed to get 10, Laura managed all most everyone, most impressive!

We also managed a round of golf, the best type; mini-golf or crazy-golf depending on how you describe it. L's Mum beat us both but it was close and thoroughly enjoyable - especially when followed by Dippin' Dots - what a great invention!

Hiking: Like Montana, Idaho is all about the big sky. It's something I absolutely love about visiting Boise - the space it makes me feel like I can breathe. Unlike London you can stand on a hill and look for miles as the sunrises or sets lighting up the whole sky, it's spectacular.

Right by Laura's parents is part of the Oregon trail and for a history buff like me it's amazing to stand in the tracks made by the pioneers wagons as they crossed the landscape 100's of years ago. We scaled the Kelton ramp that was the main way down to the Boise basin for the pioneers and you can really understand why so many lost their lives on the journey the ramp is steep!

Art in the Park; a gathering of local artists bringing together their wares to sell on a beautiful park at the start of September. This place is packed full of the most bizarre art and tempting things that we really had to fight against buying! We love wandering around things like this and there is no where better than Boise (or Byron Bay) to do it in.

Boise is brilliant whatever the weather but I can't wait to come back again in summer.....actually it seems like the place to get married! Bring on June 2014!!!

Sunday, 15 September 2013

Bye Boise!! We are back in London!

We are back, back in not-so-sunny London after what can only be described as one of the best holidays we have ever had! We have so much to blog about, record and update everyone about we are stuck between feeling like kids in a candy store not knowing where to begin and writing pages of posts to capture everything.

When we got engaged at the end of 2012 our lives were very different to how they how now. Through recent blog posts you may have seen some of those changes but theres more! Thankfully all the changes have been positive and we have both said we are currently having the time of lives. Our updates range from small to the life changing oh and then there's the wedding planning updates!

It's no secret that Laura is the planner and organiser extraordinaire and the trip we have just got back from epitomised this completely. I never thought that we needed any more shared interests but our wedding has brought us closer than ever. while Laura may start with her many ideas we make final decisions together and agree on more than we expected. Not only that it's started conversations with people we'd lost touch with and the response we have had on social media has added an extra element of excitement and we really enjoy having outlets to share our experiences on. So thank you to anyone who has liked or commented or sent us messages of congrats-we appreciate all the support!

The last 10 days have been entirely wedding and holiday focused but we have other exciting news too so while we figure out what posts we are putting up and some how organise our excitement here's a few highlights from our wonderful time in Boise.....

Our engagement photo shoot:

Chilling out at the pool:

Eating more than our weight in AMAZING food:

Embraced the all-American traditions:

Even in the rain:

Found and ordered WEDDING DRESSES!!!!! So excited......

And even found time to relax and float the Boise river:

We will be back with our next post soon.....after 20+ hours of travelling an early night is definitely requited!