Wedding Storify!

Now that the wedding has come and gone (with a fantastic honeymoon in Hawaii in between), we’ve had some time to go through all of the Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook posts, photos and videos published before/during/after the big day! We’ve collected most of them in a Storify for everyone to enjoy! (Make sure to give the page proper time to load all of the posts.)
Please note that we couldn’t include some Facebook and Instagram photos due to individual privacy settings – but rest assured, we’ve seen those photos regardless and we love them!
If you have additional photos or videos, or if we’ve missed any, please let us know and we’ll include them! Thank you so much!


Time moves quickly, then not so much

Our wedding is on SATURDAY. That’s THIS WEEKEND. Not next weekend. Not some weekend far into the future. This weekend.
The last couple of months have flown by. It seems like only yesterday that I was getting my hair done and thinking about how I still had a couple of months until the big day. Heck, it feels like only yesterday that we booked the venue and set the date, which was pretty much the first piece of wedding planning we completed after getting engaged. And now the big day is THIS WEEKEND.
To say that the feeling is surreal would be a massive understatement.
Since then, much has happened, and we’re actually not feeling panicked or overwhelmed. For me, the strangest part is how time has seemingly slowed down the closer we get to the 17th. This past week has felt slow as molasses, each hour creeping by in excited/nervous anticipation. Can it just be Saturday already? COME ON.
In the meantime, I have to give credit where credit’s due. Super duper thanks to the following:

  • My parents (especially my mom) for doing incredible amounts of work to make this wedding beautiful. I can’t wait to see everything in action.
  • Marche51’s Kelly, our coordinator, whose attention to detail and ability to stay on top of everything has made the planning 100% easier, and has helped us feel confident that all of the little details will be properly handled on Saturday.
  • James, Jeffrey’s best man, for working so hard on a special video surprise that will debut at the wedding. Stay tuned!
  • Jeffrey’s family, the rest of the wedding party, and our friends for their continued love and support.

Go Team Faden-Gazdowicz wedding!
Some additional notes:

  • The previously-rumored BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit) strike has been averted, so that will not be an issue this week/weekend. YAY!
  • If you haven’t already, review Jeffrey’s karaoke tips and check out DJ Purple’s songbook so you can properly rock out during our reception!
  • Some people have asked about dress code. To this, we say dressy but not formal (full gowns and three-piece suits not required). Hope that helps!

When the hair and makeup is done, you know it's real

Wedding hair
I don’t style my hair or wear makeup on the regular. Once in a while (for special occasions), I’ll blow-dry my hair (and I get annoyed when it takes more than 5 minutes) and haphazardly spritz some hairspray. On really special occasions, I’ll dust on some sheer powder, curl my eyelashes with the same curler I’ve had for almost a decade, and put on some mascara that’s probably crusty and well past its expiration date. While I have the utmost respect for women who put real effort into their hair and makeup, I just don’t have the patience for it.
So, when I say that I just finished a weekend that contained visits to both a hair salon AND a giant cosmetics store to get the full, dolled-up treatment, you might understand how unusual that is. The purpose of both these visits, aside from finding out just how little I know about basic beauty routines, was to be prepared for August 17th – since, while I don’t incorporate hair/makeup practices on a daily basis, I understand the importance of looking particularly nice on your own wedding day.
I started with a trip to 17 Jewels in Oakland on Saturday for a trial run. I picked the location because it’s a short distance from the Emeryville hotel where we’ll be staying and getting ready for the wedding, and it turned out to be a lovely space in Oakland’s thriving Temescal neighborhood. Since I’m the bride (bridezilla! . . . or not), the salon booked me with the owner, Julie, and she could not have been nicer or easier to work with. She looked at some photos of hairstyles that I’d pinned on Pinterest (side note: I sort of hate Pinterest, but have actually found it helpful for certain wedding inspiration) and knew immediately how to guide me and create something that I’d love. And I loved it! It was so fun just to see my hair do, well, anything, for once.
And today, I braved the Union Square hullabaloo to visit Sephora with my dear friend and bridesmaid Allie to do a makeup consultation. To be totally fair, I’m more freaked out by makeup than hair styling. Anything beyond the basic application of moisturizer/powder/mascara has always felt foreign on my face, and the last thing I wanted was to be totally overdone and look completely unnatural on my wedding day. Thankfully, the reps at Sephora listened intently to my needs and concerns, and did up my makeup in a way that elevated my look while remaining relatively subtle. There may be one or two things I will change, but overall, I feel pretty darn good about having the Sephora folks in Emeryville (conveniently within walking distance of the hotel) do my makeup for the wedding.
Next on the blogging trajectory: Visitor’s Guide! Karaoke Guide! The Hitchhiker’s Guide to Galaxy! (one out of those three will not actually be featured on this blog – I’ll let you guess which one.)


99 days to go!

Photo from Studio Choo
I had a grand plan when Jeffrey first launched this site, wherein I would write many updates over the course of the planning process and keep up a steady flow of information. That clearly has not happened, and for that I apologize. At the same time, maybe these things are best done in bursts. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.
So, here are the latest updates!

  1. I believe I noted in my last update that we were going to schedule a tasting with Sift Cupcakes. Well, we scheduled it, and we’ve booked them to provide dessert! YAY! Seriously, I am super excited for this. Dessert is the best part, and Sift makes some damn good dessert. At our tasting, we tried a few cupcake flavors, as well as a whoopie pie, a macaron, and what Sift calls a “cruffle” (a cake truffle). All were delicious, and it looks like we’ll be doing a combination of cupcakes, macarons, and cruffles. The hard part will be choosing flavors, since I kinda sorta want ALL OF THE FLAVORS, but I understand how this is an unrealistic venture (please attempt to convince me otherwise).

  2. We’ve decided to go with Small Stump and Studio Choo for our flowers! They create beautifully rustic arrangements and I’m really excited to see what they create for our wedding. You can see more of their wedding arrangements in their wedding photo album.

  3. We sent out invitations yesterday (May 9th)! Jeffrey drew and designed the whole invitation, and worked carefully with Hyegraph to print the invites and envelopes. Our needs were a bit more complicated than usual, since we have unique RSVP codes for all of our invitees that needed to be printed on each invitation. Thankfully, Hyegraph was up to the task and the invitations look beautiful. On that note, if you have any trouble using your RSVP code, please feel free to contact us directly! And remember to add the names of your guest and dietary restrictions, if applicable.

  4. This piece might not be as exciting to everyone else, but it’s exciting to us: we hired a wedding coordinator! Marche51 came recommended from a friend of mine, and we’re really pleased to have her (Kelly) on board. She’ll be our coordinator the day of the wedding, a service much needed by both us and the venue.

  5. And lastly: our registry should be all up to date! We’ve registered primarily with Crate and Barrel, but since we decided to include some external items (like dinners, charities, and other miscellaneous items not found at C&B), we decided to use a service called RegistryLove, which will collect all of these pieces for you into one big registry. Here is our RegistryLove page – be sure to click “Load all gifts” to see them all! Let us know if you experience any issues with the service. You can also find our RegistryLove link when you click “Events” and then the “Registry” tab.

Otherwise, we’re slowily and steadily clicking along, making plans for the overall event layout and similarly important details. Once we have our guest list, we can start making other important plans (such as the menu and transportation plans), so be sure to RSVP as soon as possible!
For now, it’s time for another gym visit so I can look stunning in my wedding dress. Until later!


One year "Engagement Anniversary" and looking ahead to 2013

On the evening of December 31st, 2012, we walked into our friends’ house on Treasure Island for their yearly New Year’s Eve party. As soon as we entered, our friend Jimmy announced loudly to everyone: “these two got ENGAGED at last year’s party!”
It’s true. It’s been one year since we got engaged. And while we waited a bit before embarking on any sort of wedding planning (around 8-9 months, I believe – I guess I was too busy showing off my sparkly ring), much has happened since then, and much will continue to happen in 2013.
Obviously, we’ve set a date, picked a venue and hotels, and Jeffrey made this fantastic website. But what else have we accomplished?

  1. I got a dress! This has been the most exciting part for me thus far (for obvious reasons). My mom convinced me to go shopping over Thanksgiving, emphasizing that we just needed to look, there was no need to make any decisions yet. I think she could tell how intimidated I was by the whole process.

    Thankfully, my wonderful band of wedding dress helpers (my mom, my friend Allie, my sister and her friend and their two babies) plus the excellent staff at Wine Country Bride made the process exciting and easy. I tried on about a dozen dresses, and lo and behold, the last one I tried on was perfect. There’s really not much else I should say, lest I spoil the surprise – but let’s just say that the whole process was 100% more pleasant than I ever expected.

  2. We decided on catering! We’re going to go with the catering provided by the Winery, where we are getting married. We attended a tasting provided by the venue, which was a very nice touch – they gave us our own little table with linens and everything, brought out the courses in order, and even gave us some wine tastings to accompany the food. The food was tasty and will be a great fit for our particular event.

  3. I am (almost) decided on dresses for my bridesmaids and for Jeffrey’s sister and female friend in his wedding party. My sister (my matron of honor) and I returned to Wine Country Bride with our mom over the holiday break to check out the bridesmaid selection, and I think we’ve found a couple of great choices that will go well with my dress and compliment all of the ladies who will be wearing them. I just have to check out the color options again in person – looking at swatches and colors on the designer’s website just doesn’t cut it.

    Ultimately, I’m pleased that I’ve been able to wade through the many, many bridesmaid options and find some choices that everyone will (hopefully) like. But man, it’s tough trying to decide on styles and colors for other people. The last thing I’d want is a wedding party not happy with what they’ve been chosen to wear.

  4. We booked a DJ! This is actually sort of huge and amazing and I can’t believe I only just thought to include it now. Drumroll please . . . we booked DJ PURPLE! For those unfamiliar, DJ Purple is a local karaoke DJ who puts on amazing karaoke dance parties. He has an extremely well-curated song book, and he plays saxophone during the song interludes. And he’s well-versed in providing his talents for weddings. If we haven’t yet mentioned this, our wedding reception is going to be a big giant party. Enough said.

Looking forward, there is obviously much still to do, but here’s a list that’s currently at the forefront of my mind:

  • Book photographer. Do you have a recommendation for a wedding photographer? Send it along!
  • Choose suit/tux options for Jeffrey and his groomsmen. Oh boy.
  • Decide on overall wedding colors and a theme. Hmm. This has been difficult. There are so many colors and ideas! How does one choose?!?
  • Decide on a florist. I’ve collected some great recommendations from one of my sister’s friends and am looking forward to choosing once we have a better idea of what we want.
  • Schedule a tasting and move forward with Sift Cupcakes for our dessert. CUPCAKES. YES.
Der Voyage Vacations

Berlin photos

The last 1/3 of our trip was spent in Berlin and Amsterdam, a significant transition from our tour de Italia. For one thing, the drivers in Berlin didn’t try to constantly run us over like in Rome.

Also, Berlin is a much more modern city in comparison to Florence and Rome. Technically, it’s old in years, but considering that the Berlin Wall fell in 1989, it’s still quite a young city. You can feel the new energy of the city when you’re there – tons of interesting street art, up-and-coming neighborhoods, hip restaurants and shops.

We really enjoyed our time in Berlin, simply because it’s such an interesting and dynamic place to be. We went on two walking tours by SANDEMANs – one all-encompassing tour that including a lot of history and interesting tidbits, and one “alternative” tour, which focused on Berlin street art and culture. Both were highly enjoyable, and provided solid overviews of both old and new Berlin.

Overall, while I loved every city we visited, I’m inclined to say that Berlin was my overall favorite. It’s so interesting to think about all that the city has been through in the past 100 years, how it has managed to survive, and how it continues to exist to this day. We had good beer and good food, and met some really friendly and nice people. Also, our hostel, Pfefferbett Hostel, was arguably the nicest one that we stayed in – big bunk beds, in-room lockers that locked with our room keys, comfortable and modern lobby with lots of seating, fast wi-fi, a bar and decent food.

Fall in Berlin:

We saw these crows all over Europe, which caught our attention because of all the grey patches. We looked into it, and apparently they are known as hooded crows:

The Fernsehturm:

Brandenburg Gate:

The Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe. This is a very interesting, subtle, thought-provoking memorial, taking up a whole square in Berlin:

More of the memorial:

This is a picture of an unkempt lawn, next to a basic parking lot, for cars that belong to residents of a nearby apartment complex. Why take a photo of this? Because it’s right above Hitler’s bunker, which is now flooded and of course not worth recovering. 

Interesting sidenote: during the World Cup in Germany in 2006, Berlin was flooded with tourists, and said tourists were constantly knocking on the nearby apartment doors, asking if this was really the location of Hitler’s bunker. The residents became so annoyed that they paid for a small sign to be placed nearby, which simply states that yes, this is the location of Hitler’s bunker.

“Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!”

Underground memorial for all of the books burned during World War II (sort of tough to see, but it’s a big empty room of empty book shelves):

Burgermeister! Just because.

This was one of the few buildings that didn’t get totally demolished during the wars, but it still experienced some gun shot damage. All of the white boxes that you see are where the building was hit with bullets and later repaired.

Humboldt Universitaet, where all sorts of famous people have studied – and also where the big incident of Nazi book burning once occurred:

To help pay tribute to all the books that were burned, every day there are a bunch of books on sale in front of the University for half-price:

Jeffrey in one of the exhibits at the Jewish Museum:

One of the exhibits at the Museum – a bit of an oral history exhibit:

We heart you too, Berlin:

View of the Berlin Cathedral from one of the museums on Museum Island:

One of the floors of a big artist co-op in Berlin – tons of graffiti and open studio spaces. We went on a tour of Berlin street art, but it was raining throughout the whole tour, so this was pretty much the only good photo I managed to get.

Der Voyage Vacations

Time for airports!

We got up at 5:00 a.m. and checked out of our hostel. We made our way to Amsterdam Centraal, where we caught a train to the airport. Our 45-minute flight to London-Heathrow included smoked salmon and cream cheese breakfast sandwiches, still partially frozen.

We are currently at the Heathrow airport, awaiting our flight to JFK. This flight will take about eight hours, where we’ll likely entertain ourselves with in-flight movies (Despicable Me! Inception!) and books on my Kindle (Zeitoun! You should read it too. Very very very good).

Once we arrive in JFK, we’ll have another layover, then the standard 5-6 hour flight back to SFO. We gather that by the end of it all, we’ll have been awake (save for any winks caught on/between flights) for roughly 24 hours.

I’m already starting to develop some of that lovely traveler’s body odor. This does not bode well for Jeffrey and our fellow airline passengers.

Der Voyage Vacations

Rome photos

We are in Amsterdam! We have less than one day left. Tomorrow’s schedule: get up very very very early, take a train to Schiphol Airport, fly to Heathrow, wait at Heathrow for awhile, fly to JFK, wait at JFK for awhile, then fly back to SFO. Then spend the weekend relaxing/recovering before returning to work on Monday.

Meanwhile, here are photos from Rome! Rome is pretty intense. It’s huge, and packed with historical buildings, statues and monuments. And tourists. Apparently, November is the “off-season,” but you wouldn’t have been able to tell from the hoards of people.

But you can see why so many people visit. The historical pieces of the city are huge and magnificent, and there’s so much to learn and see and enjoy. Also, the food is amazing.

A sunset greeted us for our first night in the city:

This man also greeted us. He was quite angry:

The Monument to Vittorio Emanuele II:

View of the Roman Forum, Palatine Hill, and the Colosseum in the distance:

Statue in the square in front of the Piazza del Campidoglio:

The Colosseum:

From the square outside Vatican City (we didn’t go in, the line was way too long):

Old inscriptions in the foyer of the Santa Maria church in the Trastevere neighborhood. We committed a major crime and ate Chinese food here instead of Italian. We made up for it by eating gelato afterwards and then pizza at Dar Poeta the next day.

Inside the Colosseum:

Inside the Colosseum:

View of the Tiber River:

View of Palatine Hill from the outside:

View of the outside, from inside Palatine Hill:

More from the inside of the Palatine:

Der Voyage Vacations

Three more days

We’re almost done. We have one more day fluttering around Berlin, then we hop an overnight train to Amsterdam for the last leg of our trip. It’s been wonderful.

Berlin is a fantastic city, by the way. I didn’t necessarily expect it to be as such, but I’m very glad we included this stop in our itinerary.

Der Voyage Vacations

Florence photos

We spent a couple of days in Florence as the second leg of the Italy portion of our trip. Florence is beautiful, and quaint – at least in comparison to the really large European cities.

The city center is very tourist-centric, full of clothing shops and restaurants. We’re not big on shopping, so we spent a lot of time walking around and just enjoying the old streets, and soaking in the atmosphere. We ate some great pizza and pasta, and some amazing gelato from a place called GROM (thanks to Jeffrey’s friend Ben for all the recommendations!). GROM also had spectacular hot chocolate … which we can say truthfully because we had it two times over the course of our visit.

We also visited the Uffizi Gallery, which, as you can imagine, had a lot of really really old art and sculptures. Very cool.

Here are some photos! It rained a lot while we were there, so we didn’t take too many.

Anna next to the “Anna” store:

Streets of Florence:

The Arno River and Florence hillside:

View from Giotto’s Campanile (we climbed many many steep stairs to get up there):

Top of Giotto’s Campanile in the daytime:

Top of the Florence Cathedral:

Steps to the Piazzale Michelangelo:

Jeffrey makes a new friend on the steps:

We found a cemetery on the way to the Piazzale Michelangelo:

We got this photo from the top of the Piazzale before it started pouring rain – too much rain to take any more. At that point, we decided to leave for Rome.