Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Beach Bonfire

You guys, I have been knocking out items on my 30 Before 30 list this month! I just wanted to pop in and update you on one of my latest accomplishments - #25 Attend a beach bonfire.

Ever since the days of watching Laguna Beach in college, I coveted the lives' of those beautiful teenagers growing up in California. Surfing every weekend, shorts in December, but especially the beach bonfires. Sure we had bonfires in high school, but they consisted of driving 40 miles out to some one's ranch in the middle of the night and getting your car stuck in the mud or ruining your alignment bumping over boulders. Just when you were certain you were lost you'd reach the clearing where 50 high schoolers were gathered around a huge pile of flaming branches. The drunken adolescents would throw their beer cans in the fire to evaporate into toxic fumes so any dreams of roasting marshmallows were killed. And there were certainly no bathrooms in those deep woods. It was fun in its own "roughing it" kind of way, but I was jealous of the sophisticated beach bonfire.

Over President's Day weekend I got a group of friends together at Dockweiler Beach in Playa Del Rey, which is one of the few beaches in our area with fire pits. It was a far cry from my high school experiences, with convenient parking right next to the beach and designated fire pits. We brought our own fire wood, chairs, blankets, snacks and beverages and felt like we were camping on the beach. The weather was perfect and the ocean was to our backs as we toasted marshmallows for s'mores and cooked hot dogs over the fire.

Just like camping, except you get to go home and sleep in your own bed! Now, why did I wait so long to do this?

For the record, Laguna Beach did not adequately prepare me for sitting in traffic to the beach and paying $8 for parking. Thus is California living!

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Wedding Recap - Wedding Morning

Let's continue the wedding recapping, shall we?

As I mentioned in my last post, I was up pretty late the night before the wedding drinking wine and eating Taco Bell with my lady friends. You know, the usual. You'd think all of that would put me in a pretty good position to sleep soundly into the late morning on my wedding day, right? Wrong. I was awake at approximately 6 a.m. and miraculously, so were the bridesmaids I was sharing my room with. There must be something about a wedding that gives you an extra boost of energy.

As soon as I opened my eyes my bridesmaid and college roomie, Amanda, was clapping and singing a little jingle that went What day is to-day? To-day is Becky's wedding day! Hey! It was the perfect way to wake up and get me in the mood to face the biggest day of my life. Unfortunately our neighbors at the hotel did not appreciate our angelic singing voices and I also started the day with a phone call from the front desk asking us to keep it down. Given that it was so early, we had a few hours to kill before restaurants would be open for breakfast. We passed the time stuffing my mini cupcake favor boxes and steaming my dress.

Later we snuck to breakfast at nearby Paula's Pancake House, keeping Justin updated via text so we wouldn't accidentally run into each other out in Solvang. Paula's is THE spot for breakfast in Solvang so there was already an hour-long wait. My trusty bridesmaids sprung into action to make sure the hostess knew it was my wedding day and we got a table in about 20 minutes. Hey, you only get to use that card once if you're lucky so I have no shame about it. No shame.

Pretty immediately after breakfast I had to head to the salon for hair and makeup. One of my biggest regrets about the wedding day is not paying the extra money to have a stylist on-site. The salon was two miles away from my hotel and I couldn't justify paying more for her to drive two measly miles to do my makeup in my hotel room. But in my head I had always pictured getting ready on my wedding day in a room full of my bridesmaids, mom and mother-in-law sipping champagne and getting pumped up to walk down the aisle. Instead I spent two to three hours in an empty salon with the stylist. Luckily my sister was there to keep me company and snap pictures.

The other thing I learned from this process is that even if your wedding isn't until 6 p.m., everyone advises you to start hair and makeup at noon. Keep that in mind if you're considering an afternoon wedding. I heard stories from people who had to be in hair and makeup at 5 a.m. Can you imagine?!

Wedding law also mandates that the bride must arrive at the venue hours before anything is happening to stew in her anxiousness and/or take photos. During said photo shoot outside, the shuttle bus transporting Justin and his groomsmen pulled up as I was exposed in plain view. My bridesmaids quickly shielded me so Justin wouldn't get a peek at his bride and fortunately he had no idea I was out there and didn't see a thing. Nevertheless, it was a moment I will always remember. My girls were there for me, building a human barrier so I wouldn't have bad luck on my wedding day. If some sort of bridesmaid of the year award existed, they would all be nominated.

After taking photos, the next hour of killing time until "go time" was the most excruciating wait of my life. I wasn't nervous, I was just ready. I wasn't even nervous when my girls and I got on the shuttle to take us from the winery tasting room over to the ceremony site. In fact, I only started to feel the butterflies when my bridesmaids got off the bus to take their places and it was just me, my dad and my wedding coordinator telling me to breathe and stay in the moment. I was so collected before that, but her words made me realize that this was IT. This was the moment I had been waiting for and I didn't want it to pass me by. I started pushing back tears, and kept pushing them back all the way down the aisle as my dad was talking to me on our walk. I didn't remember to look up for photos and I don't remember everything he said to me, but I will always remember that when we reached the end of the aisle and he kissed me before giving me away, he said, "I will love you forever." It is such a vivid memory that I will cherish for the rest of my life.

As tempting as it may have seemed at times to elope and skip the stress of planning a wedding, it's moments like these that make the entire process worthwhile. 

Next up, the ceremony!

And Happy Valentine's Day!