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What type of wedding venue is right for you?

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For the past several weekends, my fiance and I ventured around my hometown in Delaware in search of the perfect place to have our wedding reception.

If anything, I’ve come out of this experience with one strong bit of advice for brides-to-be around the globe: it’s important to choose a place that represents the couple — not a place that the parents insist upon booking because they like it.

As it turns out, the place my well-meaning mother thought was me, was my definition of “a nursing home with motel 6 paintings.” Pretty strong words I know (When that happened, I coined myself “Bridezilla” — oh the horror!), but I honestly couldn’t picture us getting married there. In total, we visited four very different venues, which may seem like too few, but it was all we truly needed to make a decision. Without further ado, here’s the breakdown of each type of venue:

The Club House
“Old Elegance”

This place was the very first place we visited. I initially thought I had no real preference of a wedding venue, but when I saw this place, I quickly learned that this was not the one for us. This particular venue helped me to realize that I wanted a large open space where guests could walk around and mingle, not a series of small rooms that would force guests in a confined area with no where to move. Appearance-wise, it was an old and rustic building nestled in a quaint part of town, which sounds nice, but after surveying the age of the building, we realized that there were no elevators, proving to be an accessible nightmare to our older guests in attendance. In addition, the carpets, drapery, and furniture were very dated and simply not what a modern couple would like. As mentioned, it is “old elegance.” Right for someone else, but for us, we knew we had to move on.

The Ritzy Hotel
“Upscale Fabulousity”

This was the second place we visited, and was the opposite of the first place in every way imaginable. With gold-embossed high-vaulted ceilings and crystal chandeliers, this venue was definitely as classy as they come. With every “ooh” and “ahh” we encountered, it simply just didn’t feel like us. We are not showy, over-the-top type people, so having a wedding reception here would have made us feel out of our element. Not to mention, our guests probably would have “ooh-ed” and “ahh-ed” more over the decor of the actual place than the event itself. Not worth competing with, especially since we plan to have a wedding that incorporates small and personalized details that represent us or those close to us.

The Country Club
“Full of Character”

After striking out with the first two, we really didn’t know what to expect, except that this next place had to fall somewhere between the two extremes. And you know what? It sure did. When we walked into the country club, we just felt something click. The main room was a large and spacious ballroom with a balcony along one wall, appropriate for throwing a bridal bouquet. The opposite wall was lined with french doors that opened into a fully glass enclosed atrium with hanging crystal chandeliers. The curtains were very modern and overall, it was absolutely exquisite. We truly thought this was it, but …no.

The Golf Course
“The One”

We ended up choosing the last place we had visited, which was my father’s pick all along. We had initally scratched it off the list after we heard that it had a $26,000 minimum. But, with golf course views, a water fountain, floor-to-ceiling windows, and one of the state’s best chefs, this was truly the one for us. What really got us, was that we were able to get it for a fraction of the price because we chose a Sunday. Sunday of Columbus Day weekend to be exact. That way most of our guests still have Monday off and out-of-town guests won’t have to take Friday off for the rehearsal dinner. Most of all, this was the one where we saw ourselves and our guests enjoying their evening the most.

Fall Wedding Mood Board

Since I’m in the beginning stages of planning a wedding, I’ve started to visualize what might be nice for our special day. Here’s what I call a wedding mood board. I’m open to any bits of advice you may have for fall weddings.

Wedding Mood Board, originally uploaded by  Refined Designer.

#triviatuesday on Twitter


Some of my fellow followers and I thought it would be fun to start something new on Twitter and it’s called Trivia Tuesday. Ask a question followed by the hashtag: #triviatuesday. It’s the same idea as other Twittter hashtags like #followfriday, #flirtyfriday, #flickrmonday, etc. Here’s how it works. Ask your Twitter audience a question, like

“Name this movie: ‘I’m the lobster — FIRST lobster in the nativity play.’ #triviatuesday”

New @reply tweets should generate as people answer the question. By the way, the answer is Love, Actually. Go ahead, play along. Ask questions like:

  • Name the movie
  • Locate this place
  • Name this restaurant
  • Brain teasers

Tweet away and don’t forget to add the hashtag, #triviatuesday!

To follow me on Twitter, check out

[PIC] Clothing size cheat sheet

Do you find that when you shop for someone else, you stop because you don’t know his or her size? I think Made In England nailed it for coming up with the idea of shopping cheat sheets. They have two printable sheets, one for a man and one for a woman. It allows someone to fill it out with the hopes that when he or she receives a gift, it comes in the right size and saves them a trip back to the store. Check out the article at Made In England’s website.

Shopping for a woman:


Shopping for a man:


[PIC] Laptop Cooling Stand


Whenever I use my boyfriend’s 2-year old MacBook Pro on my lap, I end up with burn marks. Okay, not really, but it does have an overheating issue. I found this cool laptop cooling station on an article, “50 Gifts Under $50 for Creative Types” by Bradley of Outlaw Design Blog. Thanks to Jacob Cass of for the link suggestion!

Buy it at for $20.

Photographer Spotlight: Stephen Lackey

A good friend of mine from college, Stephen Lackey, just had one of his photos featured in New York City’s Times Square this week. It was used for a Dominion LED Lights holiday campaign. Check it out:

To see more of his photos, visit his website at

Twitter Find: ABC’s of Blogging


As an avid Twitter follower, (@kristinandrews) I often come across great tweets by others. I follow a lot of designers so that I can build a network of design professionals like me. It’s a great resource for inspiration and to keep up on the latest in the web design industry.

Aussie creative guru Jacob Cass wrote a great blog post on “giving your blog the edge.” He provides 7 helpful hints on how to up your blog’s presence on the web. I like to call this the ABC’s of blogging. Here’s a condensed version of “7 Secrets You MUST Know to Give Your Blog The Edge”:

  1. Formatting Text. Kind of like what I’m doing with breaking up the paragraphs and listing items in number format for readability.
  2. Recap in first 2 sentences. Your reader wants to know what the post is about right away.
  3. Use Images. Pictures speak a thousand words. People, including myself, like visualizing what the reader is saying.
  4. Devote time. I’m guilty of not following this one like I should. Craft your blog post with resources for the reader.
  5. Interactivity. Present the reader with events, competitions, and other things he or she can partake in.
  6. Network. Get connected with others like you and have a link to one another.
  7. Commenting. Respond to people who have taken the time to spill their thoughts.

Holiday Gift Ideas

With the holidays approaching, I’m sure you’ve been thinking about what to get your family and friends. Usually I’ll brainstorm on my drive to and from work only to forget what I thought about once I reach paper and pen. Thanks to blogging, I can use this as a way to track cool gift ideas I’ve come across:

MoMA Cutting Board

MoMA Cutting Board

Bean Bag Cell Phone Chair

Mobi Designer Sandwich Bag

Mobi Designer Sandwich Bag



Thumb Thing

Thumb Thing

  • BIG Sound Speakers for your iPod (I love miniature and gigantic versions of the real thing)
BIG Sound Speakers

BIG Sound Speakers

Wacky Websites Desk Calendar

Wacky Websites Desk Calendar

Looking back at that list, it resonates with my “gifts should be practical” philosophy. Now, if you’re like me where you’re looking for low-budget gift ideas, here are some homemade food ideas I’ve come up with:

  • Cookie swap with coworkers
  • Pretzel wafers with melted hershey kisses topped with an M&M (great sweet & salty combination)
  • Mini tinfoil bread pans filled with homemade sweets
  • Pretzel nuggets w/ dry ranch dressing pack

TGIF! It’s the weekend :)

Another work week down. It’s Friday and I’m debating what to do this weekend. If I had all the money and time in the world, I’d venture up to the Maryland Renaissance Festival. It looks like a great time. Has anyone gone? Not to mention, the food looks delish! My coworker told me about the fried mac & cheese on a stick. Talk about gluttonous.

However, what I’ll end up doing will probably be a little more low-key. I have plans to catch up with a good friend of mine over a few cocktails. Apparently she moved back to the area from NYC. I’m kind of sad (but totally happy now that she’s back!), since she was my only real connection to the city. By the way, isn’t it funny how “the city” implies Manhattan? Especially for those who have lived in one of the five boroughs of NYC. In the event that I ever wanted to visit, she had always offered up her place as a place to crash. Should have taken advantage of that… drats!

I wouldn’t mind going up to NYC this Christmas for a weekend trip, or at the very least, a day trip. I could probably get a Saturday roundtrip train ticket for a decent price. I’ll have to drag Marcus with me (he and I have been dating for about 10 months now… I’ll have to save the “how-we-met-story” for another post 😉 ). I’m sure he wouldn’t mind. He’s pretty good about being spontaneous and enjoying the same things I enjoy, which is a huge plus! Yay. Speaking of him, he’s been uber busy with his job. He’s been working insane hours, oftentimes more than 24 hours at a time. I think last week he logged 100+ hours. Poor guy barely sleeps. I don’t know how he does it.

Glad I don’t have to do that with my job! 🙂

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