Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Our assignment was to become popular on the Internet

Hey everyone! Exciting news! My blog Artfully Ever After was featured in BRIDES magazine! Take a look… click on the image to enlarge it in a new window!



If you’re skeptical you have every right to be! This double page magazine spread is actually an art project I created that actualizes the social experiment data I’ve been collecting for the past three months. Back in September I was given the assignment to become famous on the Internet for SA 482 Advanced Photography and New Media II. It was somewhat of a friendly competition amongst classmates but also a hands-on learning approach to managing our resources and marketing ourselves through the use of social networks on the web.
I chose to use multiple venues to market my creation (this wedding blog). I started off researching popular wedding blogs. (Since my fiancé and I have been planning our wedding I found that everyone goes crazy over wedding stuff. Perfect for a popularity contest right?) Anyway I took note of their successful features and then chose a blog network that allowed me freedom to design a unique page that the public could interact with. Blogspot seemed to be the most user friendly and well known. As soon as I developed enough content for people to read through, I advertised the blog through Facebook. Almost everyone in my Friend network received an invitation to check out my blog. In addition, I decided to create a group on Facebook that provided a direct link to my blog and a wall for people to leave their comments on. This group was only visible to Facebook friends whereas my Blogspot page was visible to anyone and everyone with internet access! (Kind of intimidating when you decide to be yourself instead of constructing an alternate identity.)
I chose to keep the content of my blog personal in some aspects in order for friends and family to stay interested but also informational for the benefit of other engaged bloggers. The result was a collection of ways to plan Eco Chic, Indie, Avant-garde weddings that emphasized simple elegance and practical creativity. I received some interesting comments on some of my postings from web surfers who wished to stay anonymous. The challenge I found was that I had no way of tracking who these people were. Because my site was picked up by Google’s search engine it could have been any Joe Shmoe. Kinda creepy. I love my mother’s warning she gave me over the phone when I first launched this blog, “ohhhh honey be careful of creepers.”
I placed a link of all the popular wedding blogs on my page by listing them on my Blogroll. One by one I e-mailed the makers of the wedding blogs, asking for insight into the blogging world hoping they would find my site interesting enough to post on their Blogroll. I received several responses back. This was the most exciting part of the whole project for me. Now that my project is essentially over as of today, I’ve decided it would still be fun to keep my blog going but without the obnoxious facebook e-mails telling everyone to check it out all the time . I have so many plans for it! (Actually now that I think about it, I will probably have a lot more time to post things after this semester of classes is over, ironic.)
As I drink my last cup of coffee this morning, post this blog, and head out to my class critique through the slush and snow, I wanna say a big thank you to everyone who gave me a hit, a visit, a comment.You were supporting my academics and you didn’t even know it!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

the dark side of diamonds

Some people think that vegetarians don’t like Baby Back Ribs smothered in barbeque sauce and so tender you could shake the meat off the bone. Some people think that environmentalists wouldn’t enjoy driving a Hummer with a full tank through an moss-covered streambed. Some people think that Feminists don’t enjoy being gently fussed over by men and called “Princess.” Some people watch Nanny 911. “Some people” are stupid.

I love diamonds. I found the perfect ring the other day. Just the kind of ring I never knew existed, but as soon as I saw it I loved it and can’t live without it. It had a wide band with dozens of tiny sparkling diamonds creating a simple design across it. Very renaissance. I could see myself at 89 years old still gazing down and tilting my hand back and forth to let the gems catch and throw the light into dazzling colors. I love diamonds. I love how they sparkle, I love the variety of styles and rings, I love how clear and white and perfect a diamond is. I love how you can tell just by looking at a person’s left hand if they are married or not. I love that in a confusing world of changing styles and life-styles that wedding rings have stayed constant.I showed off the ring that my fiancĂ©e and I had picked out together, everyone had a comment for it. His friends called him cheap, my parents were confused, “it’s not even a real engagement ring,” and everyone asked, “oh, you didn’t want a diamond?”

I hate diamonds. Everything about them disgusts me. I hate shallow girls comparing carat size with each other, I hate admiring people’s rings, and I hate walking past ostentatious jewelry stores. I hate the fact that people fight and kill each other over control of diamond mines so that a guy can spend four months working in order to purchase something for a girl in order for her to show off. I hate the materialism and vanity that goes with diamonds. I hate fake salespeople and their slick ways of talking you into buying the latest tennis bracelet. I hate how infants are starving to death or people are dying of easily curable diseases while people spend thousands on a tiny ridiculous rock. I hate how I can’t bring myself to wholly hate diamonds. Sparkly, shimmery, beautiful diamonds.

I have to continually remind myself of why I abhor diamonds. As soon as I do I can walk away from the polished glass diamond counter, breathing a sigh of relief that I’m not the type of girl who likes things like that.




The biggest reason that I don’t get into the diamond market is that buying diamonds hurts people. Somewhere between 4 and 15 percent of diamonds traded are part of something called “conflict diamonds.” This means that people with guns and weapons take advantage of people without guns and weapons and make them mine diamonds in horrible conditions. These guns also keep those without guns from causing a fuss about anything illegal or atrocious that the mine operators do. In the last ten years 3 million people have been killed. Countless more have lost their hands or feet so that they could serve as examples to others. These people with guns also use the profits from diamonds to buy more guns to support other unwholsome activities.


But let’s say that a person really wants diamonds. Let’s say they are willing to go the extra mile and pay the extra dollar/pound/euro/yen/whatever to purchase a certified, non-conflict diamond. They can’t. There’s no way to be sure you’re not buying a conflict diamond. (Well…there is, there is a type of laser scanning technology, but it is not used, due to little demand for it.) There are also organizations and sanctions trying to keep the diamonds straight, but nothing works really well. In the process of mining, cutting, polishing, and setting, a diamond passes through many hands. And it takes just one person with their eye out for number one to scramble up the pot and ruin it for the rest of them.

Let's say that somehow, you have gotten a hold of a non-conflict diamond. You went to the mine yourself and saw well-paid, of-age, happy workers mining diamonds. They worked in safe conditions and could go home to their family with all four limbs intact. Can you dish out your hard-earned dough, feeling good about what you’ve done? Maybe you can, but the toddler who lost both hands to serve as a lesson to his parents working in the mines can’t.

Diamonds are not as valuable as most people believe. The price is kept unnaturally high by very powerful diamond lobbies. By paying that lofty price for your non-conflict diamond, you are keeping conflict diamond prices high, and making it very much worth their while in Congo to keep those mines open and keep on mutilating and killing for profit.




Stepping off that soapbox for a while I’ll jump onto another one. Another reason I don’t like diamonds is all the materialism, greed, and vanity that goes with them. It’s hard to even know where to start. From all these ads on television and billboards, I am almost starting to believe that diamonds are no longer just a symbol of love, they actually mean love. If I were to take them seriously I would believe that my significant other does not love me unless he spends the equivalent of four months of work on an engagement ring, and then periodically throughout our life together, he purchases other precious stones. I have to have a bigger ring than other girls so that they will admire me and be my friend. I need to have bling or I am not a worthwhile person. Any problems my relationship or my life has, a new piece of jewelry will fix it.


A husband should feel as though he is a lesser man because he didn’t buy his significant other a large enough stone. That his love doesn’t mean anything unless it comes paired with a full carat stone affixed atop a platinum band. His wife doesn’t need quality time or support or even some help matching the socks, just a new pair of diamond earrings come Valentines day.

I hope that isn’t how real people think. Oh man, I really hope that is not how people think, but I’m pretty sure some people do. Isn’t love how you treat each other, not the size of a ring? Isn’t love is letting your girlfriend put her cold hands on your stomach when she comes in from walking the dog? Isn’t love ordering out pizza when you really want sushi and kissing someone (o

n the lips) when they smell bad from being sick?

And why else do people buy bling, if not to express their love for another person? To impress people? To feel better about themselves? I hope both of those reasons are empty enough that I can leave it at that.

Diamonds are a huge waste of time and resources. We’ve already been over how their price is inflated, but besides that. Newly married people are generally not very well off. They are frequently young people fresh out of college or working their way up the ladder of success. They still have a lot to learn about managing finances, bringing together two incomes, and perhaps they are hoping to embark on the most expensive pastime around, having children. What better way to start that relationship than getting into debt over a ring with a clear stone? W

ouldn’t the money be better spent towards a down payment on a house, paying off some student loans, or an investment in their future rather than an accessory? I’ve always wondered how people felt wearing such an expensive article of clothing on their left hand day in and day out. Doesn’t it make them nervous?


I don’t condemn anyone who has a diamond ring; I don’t look down on anyone that buys diamonds. But just in case some people didn’t know the inside scoop on conflict diamonds, or in case anyone was hovering between spending hundreds or even thousands on a ring or not, I thought I would throw this out there for your perusal.

So go out there you vegetarians, and eat your tofu

while imagining juicy crisp bacon. Drive to work in your Geo Metros, you environmentalists. Feminists, split the dinner bill right down the middle, don’t even let him pick up

the appetizer. I will continue to walk past jewelry stores like a recovering alcoholic walks past taverns with my head held high without even sneaking a peak at the light catchers inside.

-Sara


http://saraallsop.blogspot.com/2005/11/diamonds.html




Tuesday, November 18, 2008

The Eclectic Maids!





Click on the image to enlarge

Here are some wonderful ideas of alternative options to the hum-drum frumpy bridesmaid dress. I've been trying to convince my bridesmaids that this will totally work. I think it helps to have a visual!
What do you think?

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

When I'm not in class...


Except for my wall mate typing on her keyboard and the occasional shuffle down the hallway, my cubicle is eerie quiet this afternoon. Quiet and grey. Very grey.
(But as fate would have it as soon as I type those very words, my cube phone rings with a wrong number. No big deal however my transfer button stopped working. What an adventure this has become for the ladies that surround my cube!)

I feel like Rapunzel trapped in a tower of grey concrete. Fortunately for me my walls can be decorated with colorful pushpins! I think I’m a little jealous that Rapunzel gets a window.

Here are some outlandish cubes any corporate hamster would take in a heartbeat!









Thursday, November 6, 2008

LET THERE BE COLOR!



I cringed the other day when I heard a bride was going to have a vase of red roses for her centerpieces. How unoriginal! Behold, I offer you alternative colors!!! I have a ridiculously large stack of bridal magazines that I will be collaging together this week to make inspiration galleries like the one above.

What have been the most unique and successful color schemes you've seen at weddings? Share your thoughts!

Monday, November 3, 2008

Recycling your wedding!


KiDaPoT's photo

There are plenty of leftovers once the “I Do’s” have been said and guests trickle out of the reception. So what do you do with the excess party favors, programs, food, plastics, and decorations? You can donate or recycle them! Make your wedding charitable and make somebody's day!

Collaborate with your caterer and make a food donation to a local food bank, drop-in center, hospice, or senior center. If you need to advocate your idea remind your caterer that their generosity can be tax deductible. Here are some things to consider:


  • Place food in clean plastic bags, plastic containers or boxes.



  • Perishables should be refrigerated; other recyclable materials must be separated.

  • Food must also be edible—if dressing has been poured over a salad, for example, it won’t be worth eating the next day.

  • To make a donation, look online or through your phone book to find a local Food Bank or call organizations to make advance arrangements.

  • Call your local recycling center to arrange a pickup of plastic bottles, glass, metal and paper. And don’t forget if you do plan on recycling, the cost for extra garbage containers can be cut.
Couples spend so much time and money on their wedding's floral decor, it's a shame everything's only used once. Instead of throwing your flowers away, arrange for them to be delivered to an assisted living center or hospital! The links below can help you find a local place to donate. Ask a friend or faimly member to help make the deliver happen once the wedding is over.

http://www.nursinghomeinfo.com/search.html
http://www.assistedlivinginfo.com/search.html

Here is some more informatin I've found that may be helpful for the charitbale couple:

The I Do Foundation is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to bring a charitable focus to special life events. The Foundation helps engaged couples raise charitable wedding donations through three channels:

Gift Registry: When couples register with our partners-including Target, Linens 'N Things and Amazon.com-up to 8% of all spending is donated.Travel: The I Do Foundation's partner, Carlson Wagonlit Travel, donates 5% of all honeymoon packages.

Donation Registry: With our flexible Donation Registry, guests can make a donation directly to charity in place of, or in addition to, traditional gifts.

Favors for Charity: The Favors for Charity program allows couples to make donations in honor of their guests in place of (or in addition to) traditional favors.

To learn more, visit http://www.idofoundation.org/ or contact Customer Service.

If you have any other suggestions concerning donations or recycling please post your thoughts!!!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

"A Fresh Anointing for His Bride" by Eileen Fisher




I wanted to share this prophecy with anyone who is interested. It comments on the Church as a bride. I found it to be a beautiful parallel between my experience of preparing to be a bride and understanding who I am in Christ. Here is the shortened version-


Eileen Fisher: "A Fresh Anointing for His Bride"


She Confidently Walks

And He said, "The Bride is one who has full understanding of what she carries. The Bride is the one who has full understanding of what she is going to walk in. The Bride is the one who knows the position, and the responsibility, and the authority of her Husband, so she simply walks in what is given to her because of the name-change over her."

"I have heard the cries of My people, but I say unto you, that the hour of authority is about to be released upon My people, and it will be that they no longer are desolate, or have the appearance of desolation. "For My Bride who feels as though she has been disabled, is changing. And I will not have a disabled Bride, but instead I will have a Wife, who will learn to rule and reign in Christ Jesus, from sitting in Heavenly places in My position," said the Lord.

Pearls of Great Revelation and Discernment

"There is going to come, also, a string of pearls to be put upon My Bride, and it will be the necklace of pearls that will bring forth greater revelation, and will bring forth greater and greater discernment." And He said, "These pearls will be of great value and she will immediately start to gain strength. The strength will show through her tired eyes, because her eyes will really become the windows of the soul, and will no longer carry tiredness, but they will become the discerning eyes that will stomp down and break down the lies that the Bride has believed."

He said, "The Bride is being awakened." And, He said, "There is coming forth over the Bride, a full realization of who she is in Christ Jesus. This is going to be the hour where she is going to come to understand My Presence, and the accuracy and the power of My Word."


Rediscovery of Who You Are

The Lord said, "This will be the year of captivating wholeheartedly the hearts of My people.
He said, "This will be a season for those who are holding on to Me, who will let go of some of the pain, and some of the guilt, and some of the shame - and they will put it at the foot of the Cross and know and realize it has been paid for - and they will declare, once again, that Jesus Christ is Lord. They will make a far, far, fuller and deeper commitment to Me."

I saw a Bride, and as she was sitting there on her bed, waking up slowly - coming fully awake, little did she realize as she was stretching, her arms were upward, and the Father's hand of favor was reaching downward, granting her her heart's desire.

"This will be the year of fulfillment," said the Lord. "The Bride, who is weary from the battle she's been fighting, will be refreshed as she places her feet on the floor. And as she's looking for her combat boots, she will not find her combat boots. Instead, she will find her shoes - pure, white and ready - that will match her bridal gown," says the Lord.

Two Angels Attending the Bride

Then I saw two angels and this beautiful Bride was surprised at receiving such royal treatment. One angel was so full of confidence, placing the shoe on the Bride. And suddenly, as the shoe was placed upon the Bride's foot, she began to know - without any understanding of her own - the revelation of who she was in Christ Jesus, the power of her prayers, and how they were answered. The result of the first shoe was the transfer of confidence into the Bride's heart - immediately she felt safe, loved and totally secure.

The second angel picked up the other shoe, and as he was waiting to put it on the Bride's foot. Suddenly, without feeling anything, the Bride realized both shoes were on her feet and she immediately felt the desire to run the race that she had once run.

The Bride stood still, as though she was waiting for instructions. Both angels simultaneously looked at the small table by the Bride's bed, and they stared intensely at the Bible laying on top of it, next to the Bride. The Bride picked up the Bible and it began to dissolve and melt, changing into the wedding band upon the Bride's finger.

And her word was so entwined with the Flesh that they become one. Then the Bride began to bend down in worship and adoration, for she began to realize who she was in Christ Jesus.


For the full version of "A Fresh Anointing for His Bride" click on this link

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Ryan's version of "Our Story"



Recently I asked Ryan to write our story for this blog. Here is his beautiful account of a God orchestrated journey...


Lack of faith, discontentment, striving, settling, wondering, seeking and finally abiding in His presence.

You hear it said when you stop seeking you find. Behind this thought contentment in the Lord reigns. Is it true? Can you find pure joy in the Lord? Is His word true? Does he fulfill the desires of your heart as you pursue and put Him first? Is it realistic to think a relationship with Him is more than enough?

Oh, the spirit of comparison settles in and tells you to hurry and step into a place where you appear normal to everyone.
After an amazing God encounter, I entered into a relationship with the Lord that I wouldn’t trade for anything in this world. The world has grown strangely dim, as I learn more of his plans for me to prosper in a dark world.

Beyond a shadow of doubt, the Lord led me to a place of worship, a round table and into a limited conversation with a woman named CamieLee. Her name was unique, profession was unclear in my mind, and her sweetness filled the air.

My thoughts didn’t stir because I wanted what He had in store for me. As time traveled on, I entered into a small group where I would learn more about this woman named CamieLee. The way she held herself, the words of wisdom which fell ever so carefully from her mouth, and how her natural beauty started to become more noticeable.

Days and a couple of months passed by and a breakfast date with friends triggered my heart to consider this woman in a new light. Was it my flesh or could it be my wait was coming to an end? Doubt. Fear. Anxiety. To escape these feelings is to give God the authority He deserves. Many hours later this piercing conviction of how amazing CamieLee was burst forth into a first date.

I had been praying for an accelerated relationship for months and I knew quite early in this relationship that she had something I didn’t know existed. She had a respect for me without change. Is it possible to be real with someone and still be accepted? Our relationship became about God and not ourselves. How are we going to serve Him with our lives?
A few more months were torn off the calendar and August thirtieth rolled around. My love for this woman had taken on a life of its own. Best friend. Constant support. Companion. Wife? This became the day I would be totally vulnerable and profess my true love for the woman I could no longer resist.

The day was painted by God himself. Blue skies. Warm sunbeams. Lush surroundings. We were on an oversized, architecturally sturdy bench at the location of our first date so many days before. As we sat and conversed about our day, my voice shook and my thoughts raced. It was finally time for me to grasp the artistically engraved symbol and ask for an everlasting commitment. Thoughts exchanged verbally. Smiles cracked. Tears masked. The ring was placed on her finger and we walked away hand-in-hand. Thank you Lord for allowing me to enter the next phase of my life with the woman I will always love.


Thursday, October 23, 2008

Enchanting Engagement Pictures!!!



Ryan and I just got our engagement pictures taken on Sunday by our friends Jen and Gabe of Hillebrand Photography. Despite my constant sneezing and sniffling they were able to have fun with us, capturing some great moments!!! The shots were taken at Cranbrook, an enchanting setting with endless gardens, a Greek theatre, an art institute, and most importantly... the location of our first date and the spot where Ryan proposed!

Below are instructions to view the pictures...
Click on www.hillebrandphotography.com and enter the site. Click "Client Viewing & Ordering, " click on our engagement session, enter name, email, and create a password and you're in!

Thank you Jen and Gabe for being amazing!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Don't go flower crazy!!!!

I think brides go overboard on flowers. Yes they are beautiful, but to spend over a thousand dollars to adorn everything with flowers just for one day is absurd to me. Maybe it's because I have a little minimalist in me but I think it's classier to be simple and elegant. Share my concern? Here is a much more personal and practical alternative...

During the numerous bridal showers you'll have, collect the trendy ribbon from your gifts. Collect the ribbon that has a width of at least an inch and a half. A day or two before the wedding go to the grocery store with one or two of your bridesmaids and pick out some simple spray roses. I'm planning on getting white baby spray roses for that simple fresh cut look. Using the collection of ribbon, I am planning on wrapping the stems and securing it with a vintage pin. This would be a fun thing to do with a couple of the bridesmaids because each ribbon and pin can be matched to a maid! The end result is a much more practical choice, plus you get an eclectic look to go with the varying personalities of all your girls!!!



I am pretty sure I will enlist a helper for my bouquet though. I love seeing a mixture of textures and lots of greens. Something with green orchids may suffice. I would still find a neat vintage brooch and pearl pins to accent it with. As far as other flowers go... there are no more. I have no desire to have flower centerpieces, garland, boutonnieres, or any of that extra junk when there are so many other alternatives to explore!!!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

The Shoes

I stumbled upon yet another wedding detail that brides can have fun with...the shoes!

White is already the color of your dress and veil so why not add some spice and flare to the mix? Here is what other brides have done to reveal their quirky personality...





Because our ceremony and reception are outside, I don't want to wear heels that will sink into the ground. If anyone sees any cute ballerina flats let me know!

For the post-wedding photo shoot Ryan and I are doing, I've picked up cute teal pumps similar to these ones...




These are my second choice...


Just an idea



So I was thinking about an alternative to the cheesy ring bearer pillow when I stumbled upon this...

I would obviously make my own since I'm taking a ceramics class.



For ours I want to write "I am my beloved's, and my beloved is mine. Song of Solomon 6:3"

I also thought it would be better to tie the rings on with twine.

What do you think?

Monday, October 20, 2008

Meet the Nearlyweds

Click to play The Nearlyweds
Create your own slideshow - Powered by Smilebox
Make a Smilebox slideshow

Videography Alternative

Ryan and I decided we definitely want to have a video for our wedding. But not just any video... a vintage montage that resembles an old style motion picture.

I'm thinking about getting a couple photographers to take the photos on burst and then after the wedding I can edit them and create the final piece... for a better idea of what we envision check out this link...

http://www.mclellanblog.com/?p=587

(Thanks Koral for sharing this with us!!!)

Bridal Blooper



You can't expect a perfect ceremony, who would want one either? Perfect is boring. This video highlights one bride's most memorable moment during her "dream come true" wedding! Check it out!

Welcome!

Hey everyone! Welcome to my humble little blog! I thought it would be fun to start a blog that highlighted my wedding planning for the next several months! Because I am finishing up school, I have been super busy and haven't had a chance to connect with friends and family about wedding details. As I post please please please feel free to comment. Let me know your thoughts, suggestions, and your recommended dos and don'ts. I am also going to be posting ideas for the many recently engaged couples I know that want a unique unconventional wedding so your ideas will be warmly embraced!

Wedding Day Countdown