10.29.2010

HAPPY HALLOWEEN!

I have always enjoyed picking out a costume and dressing up for Halloween and for the past few years, Ryan has been so sweet to participate in couples costumes with me.  So... in light of the upcoming weekend, we thought it would be fun to share some dressing up from our three Halloweens past.  We will post pictures from this Halloween next week so stay tuned and have a stupendously spooky weekend!

Halloween 2007: Ryan was a pirate and I was a fairy.  Clearly, the couples costumes had not yet begun.

Halloween 2008: My man donned a Trojan soldier costume and I dressed up as sweet little Goldilocks.  Cute, but still random...

Halloween 2009: This year was a blast!  As you can see, we dressed up together!  And as the best couple a couple can be, a bride and groom.  Or in our case, a corpse bride and groom.  Since our wedding was coming up, this was the perfect get-up and we had so much fun running over our outfits in the parking lot with Ryan's car and stomping on them in the mud.

Halloween 2010:  Here's a little teaser of this Halloween, our beautiful baby girl in her teeny tiny pumpkin costume.  Yes, it is perfectly acceptable that I dress up my cat for Halloween (this is being said to Ryan in particular).  Definitely the cutest jack-o-lantern we've ever seen!

10.27.2010

FALL FOOD FESTIVITIES

I love fall and you know Ryan and I both love food, so we've had some fun this season with all kinds of treats.  Plenty people I know claim fall as their favorite season and I think it is just because of the simple fact that it gives you the warm n' fuzzies.  This fall has been especially magnificent given the long, warm weather that has kept the leaves on the trees for weeks and the rainbow of colors from maroon to burnt orange to deep, bright yellows and greens.  All this has made me revel in autumn even more and has become apparent in the way it has crept into our kitchen.
 

One of the best parts of fall is of course the veggies.  I'm putting this picture first so that we look somewhat healthy considering everything else to come.


This was a delicious gazpacho soup, which is usually a summer dish, but given the lingering warm weather, it made for a perfect autumn dinner.

This work-in-progress recipe above definitely deserves a post of its own, and I will give it that soon.  It is the beginnings of Ryan's Spaghetti Bolognese and it is fantastic!  It calls for dozens of ingredients - the pancetta, onions and carrots shown above are just the beginning of YUM-O.

Our delicious and nutritious finds from the Holy Cross Abbey Festival and local farmer's markets.

Caramel apples!  Nothing says fall like these babies.  I nearly melted my skin off once or twice working with the caramel but it was so worth it.  We took them to a family dinner and they were a huge hit!


This was the first time I've made pumpkin chocolate chip cookies but the recipe is definitely a keeper, plus its super simple.  I made four batches of these over the past month and Ryan has enjoyed half of every one of those batches :)

Danny's masterpiece, pumpkin beer, enough said.  But I'm going to say more - rim the beer mug in honey and then dip it in brown sugar.  Then fill it up with a pumpkin ale and a shot of vanilla vodka.  We used Shipyard Pumpkinhead Ale and Dogfish Head Craft Brewery's Punkin Ale.  They were so good!

We had friends over for wine and cheese night, which is always a good time.  Especially considering it lasts until late in the night, which is why we need all the energy.

Mmmm!  I love Odell's winter seasonal, Isolation Ale.  Although we don't live within biking distance of the brewery anymore, we do live withing driving distance of liquor stores which provide us with a six-pack once in a while.

















Another delectable meal in our b-e-a-utiful black Le Creuset dutch oven.  This week Ryan made a bright, bold chicken curry and although we smelled like it for a few days, it was absolutely savory.

A little something from this morning, coffee with a pumpkin on top.  Ryan made java and although he has tried his hand at foam art before, this autumnal coffee creativity was the best thus far.






After all this I'm glad we're not having a winter wedding! Hope you enjoyed, toffee nut bars to come later today!

10.24.2010

WEDDING PREP!

Since we were engaged for 16 months before we got married, we had plenty of time to take it all in and really enjoy all the planning... that is, until we got about 4 months out and things got crazy up in our lives.  We were traveling down from Fort Collins to Colorado Springs every weekend for our premarital classes, to meet with our wedding coordinator and choose every little detail for our one big day.

Before the all-we-do-is-plan-our-wedding phase hit though, we had a blast soaking in all the pre-marital bliss.  My bridesmaids and I tried on some amazing dresses at boutiques across the state, we ate our weight in cake tastings, and we always had our obligatory after-wedding-appointment drink to calm any nerves and relieve any stress that came up when choosing white or ivory? Kahlua or chocolate? Embossed or engraved?

And now, here is a behind-the-scenes look at everything that made our big day exactly what it was:

This is what I like to call a day in the life... our premarital binder, wedding files, wedding notebook and planner.

Lexi, myself, Brianna and Katira trying on dresses at Something New.

This is the bridesmaid dress we chose!  It looked so gorgeous and flattering on all the girls and was very classic.  Of course, all brides claim their bridesmaids dresses are exquisite and claim "you can wear it again!"  Mine were beautiful, although I'll be honest and say I'm not sure if they could be worn again, hem it maybe?  Anyway, you have to ignore the Easter egg yellow color.  They wore them in black and looked stunning.

We got our wedding cake from a small bakery called Little London and had a pretty good time picking it out.  Just see below.


I took a picture of this cake at the bakery because I loved the black and white damask pattern.  I wanted more texture to the cake though, and saw an amazing magazine picture of a cake with hundreds of flower petals made out of icing sprinkled all over the cake.  The lady that worked there looked like she was going to have a panic attack when I told her I liked that look.  She mumbled something about how long it would take to individually hand-make all the petals, so I gave up that idea.  However, we came up with the idea to use large coconut shavings to get the same look and it turned out wonderful and looked very unique.

The moms and I!

MY interpretation of cake tasting.

This picture was taken at D'vine Wine in Manitou Springs.  Ryan and I made a Malbec and a Chardonnay for our rehearsal dinner.  We're also keeping several bottles for future anniversaries.  We plan to have a bottle on our one year anniversary (unless we're on the beach in Cabo, fingers crossed!), one for our 25 year anniversary and all the others in between.  We are keeping one that will never be opened as well.



On one of our many trips to The Pinery over the past year and a half.  It was absolutely perfect - we loved the modern yet classy look, the gorgeous chandeliers, the dark vaulted ceilings and the overall feel.  We could totally picture ourselves saying our vows and having our first dance there.  Ryan and I, along with our moms, attended a bridal fair held there about a month after we got engaged and fell in love with it!  Another month after the bridal fair we spent a weekend touring wedding venues.  The Pinery was the first one we went to and each appointment after that had us even more convinced that we had already found the perfect spot.


This was taken on the patio at The Pinery.  We had a delicious brunch on Mother's Day and my Nana and Grandpa were able to see where we would be getting married.

The wedding invitations!  We used C.J. Kard and they were great to work with, especially considering the fact that I called them 7 times in one day to change itty-bitty details.  We were thrilled with the end result and they ended up keeping one invitation for their look books.  Make sure to keep an eye out if you go there!


The next pictures are from my wedding shower.  It was put on by Katira and was so beautiful!  When guests first walked in, they were to write down a piece of advice on a card and put it in the jar.  On the envelope, they wrote when the advice should be read (first anniversary, first fight, when you have children, etc.)  One person (we're not sure who, but if you know, tell me!) wrote on the envelope "25th Anniversary."  That was so surreal to me because it will be incredible to open something that was written just for us 25 years before.  And it will be so special to see how far we've come.  I can't wait to open it - it must be great advice considering that person has probably celebrated their own 25th wedding anniversary.

The cutest shower cake I've ever seen!  Plus, it was delicious with all the tropical flavors to set the tone for our tropical honeymoon.  Plus, it was homemade by Katira.  Cake, fondant and all!  She's incredible.

Toilet paper brides!  Pretty impressive, huh?  I had to go with AnnMarie because the dress looked so similar to mine.  That and she threatened me if I turned against family :)

This was one of my favorite shower presents.  AnnMarie stitched and framed it for us.  It's a cute little house with "Tollis Family" stitched on.  We have it sitting out in our home now and it is so special to us.

Opening presents was a blast... but oh so exhausting!

I was so blessed that both my grandmothers were able to make it to my wedding shower here in Colorado.  My mom's mom is from Florida and my dad's mom is from Michigan and they both came, which meant the world to me.  Ryan and I drove home on Friday night for my shower the next day and I walked into the kitchen and was completely oblivious to Gramme standing off to the side.  When I noticed her, I was so excited she was there, went to hug her, and then turned around to see my other grandparents standing on the other side of the kitchen!  It was definitely one of the best surprises I've ever had.

I had to post a few pictures from my bachelorette party.  It.  Was.  Awesome.  These girls made it so much fun and I will never forget it.  Plus, we looked good - they all wore black and I wore a white cocktail dress.  Then of course, we had our hot pink tiaras, necklaces, banners and flashing rings.  Oh yeah!

Luckily Ryan wasn't too upset that I danced with another guy.  This little old man was tearing it up on the dance floor!  He was adorable.

Some bottles of our delectable vino.  Ryan and I made the wine from start to finish and it turned out fantastic, it was the best Malbec I've had.  Ryan also made the labels for each bottle.  We had the Gettin' Married Malbec and the Cabo Chardonnay!  Mmmm!

Made with love, we hope that everyone who tried it loved it.



So there you go, some pictures of the most memorable months of our lives.  Thank you to everyone who had a part in making it perfect, we love you.

10.22.2010

YOU WANT TO FLY TO THE MOON?

Since it is raining outside as I'm typing, I figured it was the perfect opportunity to post some pictures from our honeymoon.  Ryan and I traveled to beautiful Cabo San Lucas!  And now we want to go back... every year.  The beaches were pristine, the people were kind, the culture was rich and the food was fantastic.  We were tucked away in a little cove and the view of the rocks in the ocean was fantastically unique.

Every time we walked down the beach, the locals would ask us "Hooooneymoooners!  You want to fly to the moon?"  And no, we did not fly to the moon - but we did have the best time of our little ol' married lives!  Enjoy!

How it all began... of course!

We're off!  After leaving our wedding at 11pm the night before and sleeping for about four hours, we were on our way!  Me complete with my "Just Married" sparkly tank top and Ryan complete with his... tennis shoes.

We arrived in Cabo and since our room was still being prepared, we decided to get some fresh ceviche and pina coladas pronto.

The view from our room at Villa de Arco... gorgeous.


Our footsies, my something blue.

The Cabo San Lucas Arch!

Some relatives advised us not to leave the resort.  Well, we did and picked up this bad boy for protection.  Worked great, either because it's a gun or it's filled with tequila, one or the other.

This made me laugh so hard!  I looked up from reading and saw Ryan laying on the waterfall.

We're on a boat and...


This sign at El Squid Roe pretty much sums it up!

With our all-inclusive package, we were able to eat at several different restaurants across three resorts.  One of Ryan's favorite meals was a fried red snapper.  It came out whole, mouth to tail, but I must admit that it was delicious.

One of the beautiful sunsets we watched each night while eating dinner.


Here we are enjoying a bulldog (beer, tequila and lemonade, yum!) at Maro's.  Earlier that day we indulged ourselves in a couples massage at the spa.  On our way out, the concierge recommended we go to Maro's Shrimp House for dinner.  Since he was a local and we wanted to venture outside the resort for a meal, we took him up on it.  It was fabulous!  It's a hole in the wall, but the place was absolutely packed and had great ambiance.  There was a man playing his guitar who serenaded us through dinner and the staff was just so much fun.  We enjoyed a seafood platter that came with lobster, crab, fish and whatever else swims in the ocean in Mexico.  However, the best part came when we left.  We finished our drinks and desert and when Ryan went to pay, the server said it had been taken care of.  The man who recommended the restaurant to us came there for dinner that night and was so touched that we listened to his recommendation that he bought our dinner!


Ryan's photography skills displayed above.  He thinks it will be the next Corona ad.

Ryan and his cuban cigar getting to know each other.

 Just so breathtaking - the beaches were perfect.



We love each other!  We love each other!  We love each other!

This picture was taken on our last day of our honeymoon.  We will be back, and we're sure the locals will think it's our first trip as a married couple and offer to fly us to the moon again!

To wrap up our amazing honeymoon - we saw these two rocks by the Arch on our boat tour.  Skulls, no?

'Till Death Do Us Part :)