Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Wedding post: No glass clinking allowed!

A quick wedding post for you : )

There are many pins that I used from Pinterest, and I'm hoping to do a post about that soon- I tried the other day but it didn't work- but here is an abbreviated one!

My mom and I loved this idea... so this the text of the cards I made for our tables!

(Instead of using fancy card holders, though, I just made table tents.)

Did it work? Yes!

A few people actually sang us songs - very cute. My grandfather actually brought sheet music to sing to us. : ) My brother busted out with a couple different songs throughout the evening - my favorite was "All you need is love!"

Also, the DJs (who were fantastic) brought the bridal party up and had them all sing different songs into the mic in front of the whole party. ; )

More to come soon!

And in the morning, I'm making WAFFLES.

Yes. I googled "donkey waffles" to find that gif. 


I promised this huge onslaught of blog posts and what have I done? Disappeared again.

We can mostly blame it on this one:

But let's face it... she's really cute. So it's hard to stay mad for long.

So for today, I settled for linking up with Becky!

One of our awesome wedding gifts was a waffle maker. I hemmed and hawed about that waffle maker when we were registering. It has been so worth it. I. Love. It. 

I didn't make waffles in the morning. I made them for dinner, for me. Why? Because A. had eaten already, and I am a grown woman, and my wedding is over, and I'm gonna eat what I want. I WILL EAT WAFFLES FOR DINNER.


I don't have chocolate almond milk... but we do have regular old chocolate milk! So in order to make a reduced waffle recipe for just me, I used a cup of Bisquick, 3/4 cup of chocolate milk, 1 TBSP cocoa powder, and 2 1/2 TBSP of melted peanut butter. And then I heated up Hershey's chocolate syrup in the microwave because it seemed like a good idea.

I did only end up eating one waffle because they were realllllllllly rich. Really good. But there's no way I could eat two! haha I think these would also be really good with ice cream. Or even bananas. But today is one of those days where all I want is chocolate... so that's what I had for dinner. ; )

Tomorrow will be a healthier day! I promise!

Saturday, July 27, 2013

The secret's out...

The reason I have been getting the house cleaned up all week is...

Welcome baby Penny! : )

She's been so good! She slept through most of the night, has only had one accident inside the house, and we gave her a bath this morning. That totally wiped her out so she has been sleeping on A's lap for over an hour.

She's a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel and she is about 10 weeks old. (She's so LITTLE! I love her!)

More updates to come. : )

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Wedding post: The joy of gift giving : )

I still don't have all of the pictures from my antiquing project, so in the meantime, I'll share about the gifts we gave to our bridal party!

We had seven bridesmaids and seven groomsmen, including the maid of honor and best man, for a total of 14. We also had a ring bearer and a flower girl. That was a lot of gifts to come up with, so I can't imagine those of you who have had ginormous bridal parties... phew! We're not overly rich people either, so I did a lot of DIY and creative ventures for the gifts. 

We had a heck of a time figuring out what to get A.'s groomsmen. Why are men so hard to shop for? Anyway, we wound up ordering from theknot.com's gift shop. It wasn't cheap but I think the gifts were nice and A. was happy with it. 

As I mentioned before, our colors were aqua blue and purple. I ordered a giant stack of Tiffany blue paper from paperandmore.com (link to it here) because it perfectly matched the "blue raspberry" color of our invitations. I used this paper for everything: the inserts that went with the invitations, the signs for the nursery and the restrooms, the signs that we put on the tables, escort cards, and other things, including the nametags for the guys' presents above. 

I got those bags up there from Amazon.com - they are tote bag material and meant for wine bottles, but the glasses A. got for his guys fit perfectly in them! We liked them because of the size and because the engraving was free. It was hard to get a good picture with the engraving but here's what I got:

He also ordered them keychain bottle openers, and he wanted one for himself, so we wound up ordering 8. (We did not get these engraved.) 

To wrap them, I stuffed the bottom of each bag with a bag of Skittles. (Skittles are kind of our thing, and we handed them out freely at our wedding.) That gave a good base to the bag too. Then I stuffed the glasses with tissue paper and put the bottle openers inside, then wrapped the glasses in a layer of bubble wrap and put them in the bags. Topped the whole thing off with more tissue paper and voila! Groomsmen gifts. 

For our ring bearer and flower girl I found these adorable bags on Amazon: 

You can find them here (flower girl) and here (ring bearer). Let me tell you - these were a HUGE hit with the kids, who were both 3 1/2 years old. They were wearing them everywhere but down the aisle. I stuffed both of them with goodies for the kids - little toys I found in dollar aisle at Target, crayons, stickers, gummy snacks, M&Ms, and also this book ("Pinkalicious: Flower Girl") I found for the flower girl. I put both of the backpacks in larger gift bags and put coloring books in there as well. So fun!

I stupidly did not take pictures of the bags I made for my girls, but I got black tote bags from Hobby Lobby and put monogram luggage tags on them that I found at Michaels in those bins near the check out line at the front of the store. Inside of their bags they got bags of Skittles (obviously), these flip flops from Old Navy in a dark gray, and bracelets and earrings I had custom made by Me-Daya Blair Jewelry. I wrapped all of their jewelry in these aqua boxes and purple ribbon. Cute!

For my maid of honor, I also put in a picture frame and the movie "Made of Honor" with Patrick Dempsey. : )

One note about all of these places I ordered from: All of them were fantastic. I received my orders well within (and mostly earlier) than the shipping ranges advertised, and everything we ordered arrived in excellent condition. Hooray for everyone!!!

We also wrote little thank you  notes for each of the bags. We were kind of stumped with what to do for our parents, so we gave both sets a box of tissues and gift cards for places they like. 

And there you have it... all of our gifts!

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

What's for dinner?

Not beef!

Last night I made one of my favorite summer go-to meals...

I grabbed a pack of marinated pork (Italian Herb flavor) at the grocery store, cut it into chunks, and shish kabobed it. Then I filled our grill vegetable wok with chopped yellow squash, zucchini, mushrooms, and tomatoes after marinating them in light Italian dressing for a few hours. After grilling all of the above I serve it over brown rice and it is DELICIOUS. Leftovers are almost as good. Tastes like summer! : ) 

Talk soon --

Antiquing paper... wedding project part 1

So Pinterest is a great helper for planning weddings, even if you don't have one in your immediate future - or you already got married. Fun to look at. I knew from the start that I would be using DIY touches in our wedding, so I was all over Pinterest, creating multiple wedding boards, coming up with ideas. Some I used, some I didn't get around to.

One thing that I did decide to do was antique paper for a project that I'll outline in another post. I ordered/collected all of the stuff to do this back in December, but I didn't actually do the project until 3 weeks before the wedding. Oops!

Anyway, I ordered used Disney Love Songs piano books on Amazon for cheap - I think a penny plus shipping for each - totaling around $8. I was hoping that since they were used that they would be kinda yellowed or beat up looking, but they were both in good shape. (Curse Amazon marketplace users for selling such nice products! LOL) So I knew I needed to antique the paper.

I remembered antiquing paper for school projects long ago, but it always involved putting paper in the oven, and I didn't really want to do that. So I checked out other techniques on Pinterest. This is what I pinned, and it's been one of my most frequent re-pins:


I used to watercolor and I totally didn't think about the salting technique, so if I had wanted to watercolor my pages instead of antique them to match our wedding colors I probably could have done that. BUT I had cheap coffee in my cupboard, so I thought - what the heck! Why not.

Here's what the original post doesn't tell you: The coffee. It smells. It smells so much. If you are framing the antiqued paper, like they did in the original post, then it's probably not a problem. But if, like me, you are using it for a project where the paper will be in open air - IT WILL SMELL LIKE COFFEE. STRONGLY. FOREVER. And if you salt the paper, it will smell like salty coffee. We tried putting odor neutralizers with the papers in a plastic tote and they stopped smelling so much, but they still smelled like coffee. Just so you know. I can't overstate this enough. If I did this again, I'd probably use tea, because it would probably be less smelly, or smell better.


Anyone who knows coffee (or tea) knows that the longer it brews, the stronger it gets. These pages were made using the just-brewed coffee, so they are considerably lighter:

Here you can see the "Bella Notte" page was in an early batch, and the "So This is Love" page was made much later after the coffee had been sitting for a while:


1. I started with the pages laid out on my countertop. (Luckily it is laminate and not real granite so it did not stain!) I boiled water on the stove in a small pot and mixed coffee in with it. I used sponge brushes to paint the coffee on to the pages and I had a bowl of salt waiting nearby. 

2. Next, I painted the paper using the sponge brush. It looks funny at first but trust me, the coffee will sink in to the paper. 

3. To make the color darker, I sprinkled coffee grounds onto the wet pages and brushed it in more with the sponge brush. 

4. If you're going to use the "salting" technique, sprinkle salt over your damp pages, especially where water/coffee has puddled. The salt will soak up the excess moisture and make a neat pattern on the page. Allow the pages to air dry for a little bit.

5. I used a hair dryer to speed the process along a bit. JUST BE CAREFUL that you don't a) overheat the hairdryer, b) set the paper on fire, or c) melt anything nearby accidentally. I think this is safer than putting the paper in the oven, but that's just me. (Or maybe it's just safer for me to use the hairdryer than put it in the oven. haha)

6. When the paper is dry, if you used salt on the paper you will need to rub it all off! (This makes your hands feel very smooth afterwards, lol. A good exfoliator!) You can see in this final picture the pile of salt that I had after rubbing the salt off of the pages. (I think that was 14 pages worth of salt though... )

And you can see the final product of the antiqued pages!

There you have it... the antique sheet music. Later today or tomorrow I'll show what I actually made with it. : )

Hope you're all having a good day! I'm busy trying to get the house back together for various reasons... one of which I will also be posting about in the near future. OH THE SUSPENSE!!!!!!!!!!!

Keep it cool : )

Monday, July 22, 2013

My Wedding: The invitations & escort cards

When we started out with this whole wedding planning process, one of the first things we did was decide our color scheme. I asked A. what color he would like to use, and he picked an aqua blue shade. I immediately decided my color would be purple, because the two colors look gorgeous together, and also I had seen a zillion of these beautiful blue orchids in pictures on Pinterest: 

So between the blue and the purple, I figured we could find some really cool wedding invitations. We're fun-loving and laid back people, so we weren't looking for anything really fancy. Or so I thought. Then I started showing A. some of the invitations I had bookmarked, and surprisingly, he leaned toward more of what I considered the "fancy" invitations. After many, many, many times surfing through websites - I finally came across this "Samantha" design on MyGatsby.com:
They. Were. Perfect.

The colors are customizable, but I found the invitation in the perfect shade - so that's what we went with after we ordered a sample and really liked how it looked. Then I took those flowery/feathery designs and incorporated them into everything - from the escort cards to the cake to the signs that pointed to the restroom. I think everything tied together very nicely. (MyGatsby was also easy to deal with, and the invitations printed correctly and promptly. I think I might have had one oddball invitation where the printing was off the page a little bit, but I had about 20 extras, so it wasn't a big deal.)

To isolate the design, I scanned one of the RSVP cards (which were ivory with the purple design) onto my computer, and cropped the design in Paint. Then anytime I wanted to use it, I just inserted the image into a document. 

A. and I knew as soon as we started planning the wedding that we wanted a photo booth. My cousin had one at her wedding last summer and I was in there like 5 times. (Sadly, I only made it into ours once! Was too busy dancing.) The photo booth attendant glued a duplicate of each picture strip into a scrapbook and the guests in the picture signed it, so we have a great keepsake from the evening - the first thing we did in our honeymoon suite was look through all the pictures in the book. Anyway, I had this idea that if I could find photo booth strip frames, I could just make escort cards that fit into them, and that way everyone would have a very functional favor. 

Personally, this is one of the ideas I had that I am most proud of.

I ordered a bunch of L-shaped frames from photoboothframes.com - out of 180 I only found one scratched frame in my entire order. A. helped me format a Word Document to make the cards and print them out. (If you would like the template for these, please just comment below and I can e-mail it to you, no problem : )

This is what they looked like close up:

I put the table number in the top right hand corner, and then the last name on the top line so that everyone could find their name easily. (They were in alphabetical order.) Underneath I would put the guests' names - if it was a couple, like above, "Larry & Sue." If it was a couple with children, underneath I would put the kids' names but in a smaller font. My venue also required that each person's meal be marked on their cards, so at the bottom I listed the meals for that party. 

On the back of each card I used double sided tape to put a note:

I also had the event coordinator at our reception venue put about 10 extra empty frames on the escort card table. At the end of the night there were no leftovers... so it must have been a hit!

Stay tuned for the next installment in the wedding posts : )
Take it easy!

Sunday, July 21, 2013

I'M BACK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I'M BACK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Be prepared for a certain onslaught of blog entries. I have so much to write about my wedding and honeymoon.


The last two weeks have been pretty awesome. The next couple will be pretty crazy too.

Until I can get myself together and get everything unpacked so that we can actually sleep on our bed tonight ---

here is a picture : )

Mickey ears, very full bellies, and the evil shoes from hell... but more about them later.

See ya soon!

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Yard Work

A. and his dad worked very hard the past week to level out our yard so it has some functionality... I bring you, before and after!




Thank goodness for the two of them and A's dad's tractor. Phew!

Four. Days. and some new nail polish

Currently watching: The Princess Bride (I've never seen it the whole way through, and I didn't even know Billy Crystal was in it. Now that everyone has gasped in shock, just be happy I'm watching it now. : )

One of the main reasons I'm watching this now is because people keep quoting this scene to me. 

STILL reading: Pride and Prejudice. At least I'm further along than I was before. Want to punch this Collins guy in the face because all of his talking annoys me.

Yesterday I bonded with my computer and printer all day. I printed directions, welcome notes, contact lists, signs for pictures/restrooms/nursery/memorial table, and the final seating chart. I also wrote all of my thank you cards for the bridal party and our parents. AND I started paperwork for my name change. SO MUCH PAPERWORK. I'm glad I only plan on changing my name once, because seriously - what a pain in the neck. I signed up for missnowmrs.com, which has been a help, but it's still a lot to do. I have basically learned that I have too many accounts for things.

Spent all morning today packing and doing laundry. Our room now looks slightly less like it was gone through by a tornado. I am Target's most frequent flier, this week, I think - I keep forgetting stuff.

On one of my trips to Target I noticed that this nail polish was on clearance and so I decided to give it a shot.

I never really noticed until I started taking nail polish pictures that my palms have so many lines on them! I'd probably give a palm reader a heart attack.

I wasn't overly impressed. First of all, my fingernails felt like sandpaper. I scratched an itch on my leg and it looked like I got in a fight with a cat. I don't really understand the point to the texture. It doesn't look that spectacular, it's certainly not sparkly or anything, I guess I just don't get it. I'm glad I didn't spend a fortune on this bottle because I probably won't be using it again. : (

On the bright side, the length of my nails is pretty awesome right now right?! Watch, at least one of them will break between now and Saturday. Just to look silly. 

I'm honestly not sure if I'll be blogging at all in the next two weeks, but I promise there will be an onslaught of posts upon my return! (And LOTS OF PICTURES!)

Take it easy,

Friday, July 5, 2013


My mind is all over the place right now, so this entry is too.

Currently reading: Pride and Prejudice... I will get through it this time!

Currently watching: Beasts of the Southern Wild... it's interesting

I used our new Crock Pot to make ribs for the 4th yesterday... I love it! It's so nice. : )

I really need a new cover for my iPhone... but I don't want to spend a fortune for one and I also don't want to buy a crappy one.

We get married in 8 days! Wedding weekend starts in a week. I am so excited to see my out-of-state friends and family again.


I want a game night before the end of summer.

I officially set up automatic responses on my school e-mails today until the wedding and honeymoon are over. I'm not getting paid for it yet so I don't feel too guilty. It's just too much to think about at once, and I can focus better on both things if I take them one at a time.

My mom finally got her teaching assignment for next year, since her school closed. I know she is nervous and I really understand the feeling of uncertainty. I'm just glad she got placed in a nice building and in a secondary grade. 

A. and his dad spent all day yesterday and this morning tearing apart the wilderness in our backyard - so now we actually have a yard! I'm so excited to plant grass and start using the yard. 

I have my final dress fitting tomorrow, which seems crazy. I really hope it zips. No ice cream today.

Also, tomorrow is my birthday! Tonight we are going to go see "Monsters University" to celebrate.

OK, time to get back to today's "to do" list. 

Peace out : )

Monday, July 1, 2013

New books to read? YES PLEASE.

I love reading.

I love reading so so very much. I am a lot like Belle in "Beauty and the Beast" because I was walking around reading books at the same time long before texting and walking became a hazard. I have at least one "book for pleasure" at all times, even when I was doing my grad classes and even during the school year. It's just my thing. I really love books, and when I don't have access to new ones, I will read my favorites over and over again. (Sometimes I have a problem with skimming over things, so if I re-read a book I'll catch things on the second or third go-round that I didn't notice before.)

Okay book nerds, let's all drool for a second.

When I saw Erinn at It's the Journey is starting a new book challenge, I wanted in on that. Not because I really am into blog contests or guest blogging, but mostly because I want to investigate some new books and this gives me a good reason to do so.

The book challenge is hosted by Megan at Semi-Charmed Kind of Life, and officially starts today. Below you'll find the prompts with my book choices!

Semi-Charmed Kind of Life

  • 5: Freebie! Read any book you'd like, as long as it follows the above rules. Have a Little Faith: The Story of a Last Request (Mitch Albom)
  • 5: Read a book that is less than 150 pages long. From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler (E.L. Konigsburg)
  • 10: Read a book with a color in the title. Silver Linings Playbook (Matthew Quick)
  • 10: Read a book that is not the first in its series. Insurgent (Veronica Roth)
  • 15: Read a book it seems everyone but you has read! The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (Stieg Larsson)
  • 15: Read a banned book. The Catcher in the Rye (J.D. Salinger)
  • 20: Read a book written by a celebrity. Bossypants (Tina Fey)
  • 20: Read a nonfiction book that is not a memoir. Looking for God in Harry Potter (John Granger)
  • 20: Read a book that takes place in a state you have never been in. 11/22/63 (Stephen King) - Texas
  • 25: Read a book that is at least 400 pages long. Wuthering Heights (Emily Bronte)
  • 25: Read a book with a main character who shares your first name. The Clique (Lisi Harrison)
  • 30: Read a book written by an author who was born in the same year as you. The Darkest Minds (Alexandra Bracken) - 1987

I'll try to update when I check a book off this list... Currently I am in the throes of Pride and Prejudice, which I have never read. It was free on my Kindle so I'm going to try to get through it this time! : )

Take it easy everyone-
12 days to go!