Wednesday, November 19, 2008

I am an Englishman at heart.

Deep in my heart, I must be an English gentleman. I drool over interiors like this one in London. I love tufted leather, and masculine colors, and velvet, and the entire Ralph Lauren Bedford Manor aesthetic.

Which RL collection are you?
Red berries are my all-time favorite. You'll spot many of them this weekend, not least of which will be in my bouquet.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Memory Lane

To celebrate my marriage, I'd like to share with you the marriages that made mine possible (literally!). Vonda Dardanella Maloney and Kenneth Carl Wilhoit. My grandfather's middle name was "C", just the initial. Then when he joined the Air Force they told him to pick a middle name, so he picked Carl. They met in Telford, Tennessee, a tiny town where they were pretty much the only two families. Kenneth was one of five boys, Vonda was one of eleven. Vonda's youngest brother Sonny still lives on the family tobacco farm they grew up on. Her sister-in-law, Beulah, still lives next door, and when we were little they would take us to the creek house where they kept the milk cool in the creek before refrigerators. There are still tobacco leaves high up in the rafters of the old barn, and Vonda will tell you the story of how she used to jump from the high, high rafters onto hay bales. They married in 1942 when she was 17 and he was 26, and just a few months later he left to fight in the pacific theater of World War II. She didn't see him for five years. They lived in Germany, and Japan, and my dad was born while they lived in Washington, DC. Kenneth died when I was in 7th grade, and she still lives across the street from Randolph Air Force Base in San Antonio.Patricia Rue and Sammy Rhodes met in a train station en route from Kentucky to California, when she was 18. She has joined the Army and was part of the Women's Army Corps (WAC). She was crying in the Memphis train station, on her way to be far from home for the first time. He walked up and handed her his handkerchief. After they got to California, he was supposed to ship out immediately to Japan, but he had his orders changed so he could stay with her longer. They married in Japan in 1950, and my mother & aunt spent several childhood years in Tehran, Iran as well as El Paso with the Army.
This is Vanessa Blankenship on the day she married Wayne Kilpatrick. She was 18, and they had just graduated from being the hot couple at Carter High School in Dallas. It was the early 70's.
This is Michael Crowe and Stephanie Rhodes, my mother's sister. After graduating from Baylor, Stephanie found a job in Frankfurt, Germany. Mike was working for the State Department. They eloped to Switzerland, and honeymooned in Ibiza. They later had another wedding for family in the States.
And now, sweet Randall Kenneth Wilhoit and Susan Leigh Rhodes. This was April of 1983 at Wilshire Baptist in Dallas. They met in graduate school at Baylor when they had a business class together. My mom was engaged to her high school boyfriend of many years, but broke it off. A few months later, Dad had the ring in his pocket, ready to propose on Baylor's Fountain Mall (when it actually contained a fountain!). They honeymooned in Cancun, and it rained the whole time. I'm wearing her veil this Saturday night.
Funny... we're headed not far from there next Monday, for our own little honeymoon...

Monday, November 17, 2008


I am 100% positive that this is what my fiance will look like in 50 years.

I get to marry this amazing fiance in just 5 days. Here are just a few reasons why I am winning the man lottery:

1) He does all the chores. Seriously. This weekend alone, he did laundry, built the Ikea desk, washed all the pots and pans we just got out of storage, took out the trash, installed the shelf, and de-wrinkled the new duvet cover. And now he's talking about cooking us a big dinner one night this week, the busiest week of life. He is such a servant.

2) He thinks I am so very beautiful. I never want to be one of those wives who swats her husband's affections away as if they were pesky- as Beth Moore says, "You can train your man to stop wanting you, but you cannot train a man not to want."

3) He loves in a far less critical, more accepting way than I do, and is such a role model for me in that way. He couldn't care less how you look, or if you are a little rough around the edges- if Ben loves you, he loves you. He is so loyal, and loves with no conditions, and won't stop if you have ugly places in your life.

I love that he is an old soul, and has many old-man tendencies at 24 1/2 :) Please note his old-man swimsuit print and old-man straw hat.

Two final beloved old-man Ben traits:
1. His manners. He still calls my father Mr. W after ten-plus years.
2. On TV he watches three channels: Military, History, and Cooking.

Can't wait to be his wife:)

Friday, November 14, 2008


Friends, I am getting married in one week.


Weekend wedding to-do list:

1. Write letter to Ben for wedding day.

2. Pack for honeymoon

3. Find charger, extra batteries, extra discs for videocamera

4. Test sparklers

5. Make bow bouquet for rehearsal

6. Paint sparkler sand buckets

7. Tie ribbons on programs

8. Print family wedding photographs

9. Pedicure

10. Install our new desk, and clean up the guest room

11. *Secret item* not fit for blogosphere

Also, attend Sutton wedding with my family on Saturday. Post-graduation, weddings are the new functions.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Cake Saga continues. Now NBC News is on the case:

"Bankrupt Cake Lady Leaves Brides in Bind"
The Secret Service just released all of the Presidents' and First Families' code names .

Obama is Renegade, his wife is Renaissance, and his girls are Rosebud and Radiance.

George and Laura are Trailblazer and Tempo, and John & Cindy McCain were Phoenix and Parasol.

The other former presidents are listed, as well as Sarah (Denali) & Todd Palin.
Imagine you are walking to school with your friends.
Some men pull up next to your group, and sprays you in the face with a water gun containing battery acid.
Two of you are blind, and all are disfigured. It happened to a group of girls this week in Afghanistan, because the Taliban doesn't want girls to go to school. has just posted my wedding day weather forecast ! Sunny and cool, highs in the 60's... a beautiful fall day, let's hope.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Google is taking over the world!

As if we need further proof, please note:

Google has just added the entire ancient Roman Empire to its Google Earth maps! You can explore the Colisseum, or go check out the Forum Romanum, or even the jail where Paul was held before his execution.

Google is helping victims in refugee camps by plotting the camps and showing what life is like inside them. This will help bring attention to the lesser-known conflicts that are ruining people's lives but aren't headlines on CNN every night.

Google has now discovered it can track the Flu virus better than governments because it can make maps of where large volumes of people are entering flu-related words into its search engines.


Monday, November 10, 2008

Cake 911

Well, well, well.

I spoke too soon when I said I was calm, cool, and collected about this wedding.

I got a phone call at 8 am yesterday morning from mom, who had just spoken with our florist Cathy. She had done a wedding last Saturday where the cake simply never showed up. No call, no advance notice, and none of the phone numbers the baker gave the bride were being answered. She then remembered we were supposed to use the same baker....

A quick Google search for "The Cake Lady" now reveals dozens of angry brides who have been scammed and left stranded, some only hours before the wedding. Apparently, some time in October the Cake Lady filed for bankruptcy, emptied out her storefront, and disappeared, but not before cashing all her checks from clients. She never contacted any of the future clients whose cakes she had promised.

One thing she did do, however, was post a sob story on another wedding website. She said she had transferred all orders and money over to another bakery, and left a phone number. Unfortunately, a call to that number will get you an angry man who says he does own a bakery, but never received any money or orders from the Cake Lady, and is very angry that she's now given out his personal cell phone number on the internet.

Now, a little humor for the situation.

How does mom handle the situation? She starts calling friends to get new baker ideas, and within hours had a long list of recommendations and a new tasting scheduled for the next day.

How does dad handle the situation? He calls a law firm, and by the end of the day they've got letters drafted to the baker, the Constable's office, small claims court, the Better Business Bureau, and the credit card company with which we paid her.

Thanks, corporate dad:)

The moral of the story? Get agreements in writing, confirm and re-confirm often, pay by credit card when possible, and always be prepared for a backup plan.

My dream front door, at my walk-up brownstone in Washington, DC.

Friday, November 7, 2008

K loves

Delight. Please let it last 15 more days!
If Big City Pretty had a status...

Katie is: going to get a marriage license with her betrothed.
Oxford has compiled a list of the top ten most irritatin phrases in use today:

Thursday, November 6, 2008

He grabbed hold of every part of me and has absolutely ruined me for anything but Him. The process of sanctification has been and still is quite often a very difficult one. No one told me (or maybe they did) that Jesus wanted my heart. I thought there was going to be some behavior modification and some new friends but I didn’t understand how aggressively, ruthlessly and passionately He was going to search and destroy in me anything that wasn’t of Him. Nor did I understand how dark my heart truly was and how out of fear, pride and arrogance I would argue, complain and resist almost every advance of the Holy Spirit to reconcile every part of my being into holiness.

Matt Chandler

Goodbye to Sweet

Today we will say goodbye to Sweet. I simply can't accept or believe it. How can someone so alive be gone? I don't understand, any of it.

Sweet was a force of life.

I first met Sweet when I was just a few hours old. She came to visit my mom in the hospital, and to this day when she told that story, she would always tease my mom about wearing this frilly nightgown and having curled hair just hours after giving birth.

Here is a story I rarely share:
When I was a junior in high school I taught 5th grade Sunday School. I wasn't allowed to go to children's camp the next summer because I wouldn't yet be 18, but Sweet allowed me to interview anyway. Afterward she said she just wouldn't be able to take me as a counselor because the budget was tight and there were enough returning, older counselors.

A few days later was Pearce cheerleading tryouts. An old friend of mine had been a varsity cheerleader her junior year, and she didn't make it again for her senior year. It was the talk of the school- that had never happened before. She was devastated. I knew her pain, something similar had happened to me the year before. I made her a little simple card with markers and computer paper, and tried to think of any words of comfort.

I haven't mentioned that this friend was Jewish. Sometime in the next few days, my church got a call from a woman asking to speak to whoever was my minister. Randy, our youth minister, wasn't in the office, so somebody transferred the call to Sweet. The woman on the phone said she was the mother of my friend, and that in honor of my comfort to her daughter she wanted to make a donation to our church for a certain amount. It was the exact amount that was the cost of sending a counselor to children's camp.

Sweet called and said, "Katie, I think you are supposed to go to this camp". I went.

That week was the week Ben and I fell in love. Four-plus years later we are about to be married. There are dozens more stories. Sweet has been so instrumental to my life, maybe more than any other adult outside my family. Above, she is with her daughters Kendall and Ivy, both of whom are role models to me and dear friends. Below, she is with Hayley, our other dear friend and camp-counselor alum whose wedding Sweet officiated in June. I knew several weeks ago that she would be too ill to be our minister, too, and that she may not even be able to attend, but I never ever thought she would be gone.
Sweet's best friend is another minister at our church, Candy. Below is a letter from the "Ellen" show's website, and Candy is, selflessly as usual, trying to get Ellen to feature Sweet's courageous life.
Last April I got this email from Sweet. She regularly emailed updates, but this one broke my heart. She has battled through despair and pain, and has fought on with strength. When I think that not five months ago she was with us at camp, riding around on a golf cart, teaching kids about proper 'bleacher behavior' and rapping her classic "How many of YOU have had a good day today". Here is a testimony Sweet wrote on the Susan G. Komen website: Sweet's story from the Komen site is so powerful, and so her.

I cannot believe she is gone.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Just like a few days ago, I'm loving something special on the backs of chairs. This would be so easy, and would disguise my less-than-ideal chair situation.

One constant of the engagement season is writing thank-you notes. I handmade my notes so far with recycled paper from Paper Source. Just saw this new idea- it would not be at all hard to do myself! Love those envelope liners.

Well wishes

Great idea from the Bride's Cafe: Cutesy corkboard to pin well wishes to at the reception.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Mom was right.

Circa the year 2000, I was in junior high, and my mother forbade me from watching this show because she said it was inappropriate and too sexual. I had a tiny white TV with a big antenna in my room. When I got really bold, I would plug my Walkman headphones into my tiny TV and watch the show, changing the channel everytime I heard footsteps.
Well, turns out mom instinct is correct:
A recent study published by the American Academy of Pediatrics reports that teens who watch more sexual content on TV are twice as likely to get pregnant. Wow!