Friday, July 30, 2010


yeah, i know... it's been forever since i updated, but hey... we've had a LOT going on. and when there's been spare time, i've been doing CRAFTY stuff.
first of all cookies. oh COOKIES! so you know we're having a cookie bar, right. all homemade by yours truly. I've started mixing up the cookies and wrapping the dough and freezing it (so i can un-thaw and bake like the day or 2 before). -side note... my sister is doing all this for the party in texas, THANK GOD!   so this is what my kitchen has been looking like lately:
Oh and in case i haven't mentioned it... i have a bit of carpel tunnel. and spending forever trying to perfectly cream butter and sugar together and then mix everything well... and then doing it over again, and over again... well THAT has been KILLING my hand and wrist. like for serious... OUCH! a couple of weekends ago, after i whipped up a couple of batches of oatmeal cookies, i decided that this just wasn't going to cut it. if i have to whip up batch after batch of these... i needed HELP! I had a talk with the man and proposed going and purchasing the stand mixer from our registry. after all, we'd gotten a nice amount of money as a gift, so we could use it to purchase the mixer and it would be like someone bought it for us.
guess what i did a few days later:
this thing is freaking fantastic. it weighs like, as much as i do and we have absolutely NO space for it (have i ever mentioned we have a tiny kitchen with no counter space and limited storage?) but i love it. it's so fast, it's so easy and it has made cookie mixing a breeze. seriously, i can have a batch in well under 5 minutes. additionally, there are like 3049850394853 different attachments you can buy for it, and i can't wait to get the pasta roller attachment! we added it to the registry and totally plan on buying it if no one else does (as we do with most of the stuff on the registry... but whatever)

since we'll have a few hundred cookies, i realize they may all not get eaten. so, i picked up some which paper bags to set up with the cookies so people can take them to-go. i wanted to somehow jazz up the bags somehow and decided to use the cute wooden stamp i had made. i'm sure you all admired it when you got your invitations, riiiight?
i thought it gave it a cute enough personal touch without actually ordering and spending way too much on personalized bags. i don't know if i've mentioned this before but i got inspiration for our stamp from a bracelet the man bought me from james avery for christmas last year.
since i received it just a couple weeks after we got engaged, my wheels were already turned and i decided i'd love to incorporate the infinity symbol somehow. especially since it sort of went along with how he proposed... he placed the ring on a christmas ornament

see... today, tomorrow, always... infinity... all the same thing, right?
so anyway, i was inspired by that, and have tried to tie it into things from the invitations to my jewelry.

the latest project we completed last weekend was our card box. i didn't want to same thing everyone else has and i didn't want to spend a hundred bucks on a box. so i got all crafty, found an unfinished box, cut a whole, bought some stain, some letters, some paint and some glue...

i think that's about it. we've run into some technical difficulties and won't be having a cupcake tower here in Illinois. not sure how we're going to do it in texas, though. i guess i still have to figure that one out.
our shower is on sunday, so i'll try and update about the shower and my awesome craftastic gifts for our shower hosts.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

dare i say it... things are coming along swimmingly!

we're 45 days out and things are coming along... SO FAR (don't want to jinx myself!)
lets see, what have we (read: *I*) accomplished lately:

- wedding shoes purchased: they arrived today. super cute and comfie. i can't wait for the wedding to be over so i can wear them on a regular basis!
- tested a sugar cookie recipe... froze dough, and tested the baking post freezing over the weekend. cookies got a hearty thumbs up.
- mixed up and froze a batch of chocolate chip cookies
-ordered necklace for wedding
-purchased box for our card box: craft project
-purchased foam board for cupcake stand: bigger craft project

i think that's about it. i've got some shopping planned for the weekend in hopes of making progress with the above mentioned craft projects. i'll take photos and post about that later (i know... you can't wait!)

we're steadily getting RSVPs in. the YES responses for the party in texas have already exceeded what i expected and the responses for illinois and still going strong. oohhh... and we recieved our first wedding gift from our registry! it was pretty exciting, i'll admit. the really amusing part is that it is from a couple that i really don't even know. they are my step dad's cousins. he swears i met them like... 15 years ago. i told him he was crazy for inviting them, because why would they care that i'm getting married. apparently, they care! they've already sent a gift and an RSVP, don't i feel dumb now. ha!  i'm kinda excited to "meet them" and thank them in person!

lastly... some of the man's friends (well, i guess they're MY friends too lol) are throwing us a co-ed shower in a few weeks. i honestly didn't anticipate having one, since i won't be back to texas before the wedding so the shower that would have been thrown by my family and MOH won't be happening. since we sped everything up, i honestly wasn't even going to register. of course, just about everyone under the sun set me straight on that! it's kind of exciting... a party thrown for us! however, i find it sooooo awkward opening gifts in front of people. i even feel slightly weird at christmas. i don't know why... but i guess i'll get over it.

45 days and counting!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

this is why i need to live in a building with a doorman...

This is what sits behind me at my desk at work. 20+ pounds of wedding supplies! they're sitting here patiently waiting to be picked up in the car this weekend and driven home. all those boxes=centerpieces.
we weren't going to even have centerpieces, but the man saw something at hobby lobby that the thought was funny/cute. we bought ONE. thinking, we'd put it on the cupcake table. well, somehow it was decided that we needed them for each of our 10 tables. we hit hobby lobby again and cleaned them out. sent my sister in texas on hobby lobby searches too. 3 hobby lobby's cleaned out of this particular item. then of course we had to order the glass bowls in which to accommodate these items. that's what hiding in the huge boxes. 10 giant glass bowls!

as previously mentioned, all invites are out and we're starting to get our RSVPs back, slowly but surely. the man gets all giddy when we get an RSVP- it's cute. it's also quite funny that people we were pretty much 100% thinking they weren't coming have RSVPed with a yes. like i told the man- you can never count anyone out. our website is up and running too simple, practical and functional. no friggin slide show of 38945039845039 photos of us (though if you request one be sent to you personally, i could perhaps arrange that)

the projects currently on deck are a card box, cupcake stands and cookies. we bought partial supplies for all of these last weekend. the dining room looks like a wreck. why do i have a feeling that the apartment will be in complete disarray until somewhere around mid-september?!?!
as far as the cookies go... i'm going with chocolate chip cookies, oatmeal cookies, sugar cookies (still have yet to find a recipe for this) and some toasted coconut cookies.  i may throw a few other choices into the mix, but i'm trying to keep it basic. i've got killer recipes for 3 of the 4 above. tested and approved!
i'm not looking forward to all the space this dough is going to take up in my freezer, and i'm praying it's cool come august when i have to bake them all in like a day!

lastly we got our first present from our registry! YAY! i didn't really expect much off the registry (we originally weren't even going to do one!) since we weren't having a shower. though, apparently now we are. as of yesterday i was asked for names and addresses. so i guess it's a good thing we went ahead and registered. of course, the 20% off coupon for buying whatever is left on the registry after the wedding is reason enough to do it. HELLO discount! i am a fan.

i'll leave you now with a completely unrelated announcement. as of today... i have officially lost all the pounds i gained since i started dating the man! it was a LOT! but they're gone... never to return again! YAY!

Monday, June 7, 2010

and suddenly... life is turned upside down...

but in a totally good way!

a few months ago, my betrothed was making comments about the wedding costs (way too many thousands of dollars!) and how we can't afford to do so many things we want to do at the moment because we're stashing about hundreds every month for this wedding. so, i made a suggestion to him: nix the whole big wedding, elope and just have a party afterward. he thought about it  but shot down the idea because my man, he wanted a wedding!

when the 1 year point until our wedding date creeped around, i made a list of everything we had to do between then and may 2011. the list was obscenely long. seriously... L-O-N-G and i'm sure it was in no way 100% complete.  i google doc shared that monster and told him this is what we have to do. WE as in, you must help me because there's no way i could do this alone!

a few days later when i came home from work, the man sprung a surprise on me. he came to the realization that the thousands that we were spending on just 4 hours of our lives was insane and frankly not worth it, nor is all the sacrificing we have to make on a daily basis and lets not forget the endless hours of work that we'll have to do. basically, putting all our wants on hold for an entire year, all for just a few hours (and a huge burden on those who have to shell out to travel to see us- nevermind all those that wouldn't even be able to attend because of the distance!). he now sees things my way! someday he'll learn that i'm ALWAYS right and he'll just do whatever i say, when i say it... but for now, he's still learning.

while we aren't eloping... we are going to have a private little ceremony with our parents to make things official. we'll then have not one but TWO outdoor casual receptions. one in his hometown and one in mine. this way, we get to celebrate with all of our friends and family, no one has a huge travel burden and no one is left out! i figure the private ceremony is best as having as it would be unfair to have the ceremony with my family  and not his and vice versa!

oh and did i mention that we changed the date? oh yeah... we bumped it up almost 9 months!
private ceremony and his hometown fiesta: August 21, 2010
my hometown festivities: Sept 4, 2010
and NO before you ask...  i'm not knocked up! we just decided, why wait? and also, i may have been a tiny bit afraid that if we'd waited, he'd change his mind! HA!

so what this all really means is that i've been a man woman for the last 3 weeks trying to get all the plans squared away!!!

most of my energies have recently gone into invitations. these babies are supposed to be out the door 2-3 months before the event (earlier if a holiday is involved). i really didn't see a reason to spend $500 on invites when i didn't even see anything that "spoke to me" though honestly, i think it's a pretty fat chance that would ever happen because it is paper and it ends up in the TRASH. so... i set out to find some print your own type of invitations. i wanted something simple. perhaps even a solid shade in my color choice. i spent days looking. nothing really appealed to me. i thought about trying to just buy paper and a paper cutter and cut it myself but NO, i'd almost rather shell out the $500! i ended up somehow stumbling upon this site. I found a lovely shade of card stock, chose a paper cutting service and matching envelopes and VIOLA! problem solved! i was able to get exactly what i wanted. something simple on which we could print our own design/wording! i designed our invitations: simple and clean which is totally my style. i drew inspiration from a bracelet the man bought me for christmas and incorporated it into our invitations and even made a custom rubber stamp to add a little personal touch to our envelopes. i designed some RSVP postcards and had them printed via vista print, but something odd happened and they look sorta jacked up. oh well. i'm pressed for time and really couldn't be bothered to re-do them. because seriously... it's a postcard!

i am happy to announce that as of today... all invites are OUT! I'm sure somewhere in the madness of it all, someone got an invite to the wrong party, someone got multiple invites and someone got left off the guest list. only time will tell...

Saturday, March 27, 2010

votive candles, i shake my fist at you!

why, oh why are you doing THIS?!?! is it because you are standing alone instead of in a holder? or is it because you are being burned on unlevel ground? or perhaps you're just trying to make me LOSE MY FREAKING MIND!!!

i will figure this out... even if it kills me!

Sunday, March 21, 2010


somewhere in my wedding research i ran across this article and while i'm not getting married in anyone's backyard (though i totally would if i had the chance) i did fall in love with one idea in the article: the cookie buffet. (picture left from article linked)
as indicated in the article, this means TONS of work. basically, you spend a month making all the cookie dough... wrapping it, freezing it, etc. and then days before the wedding, the baking begins. since i'm not much of a baker, i've decided to take the next 9-12 months to test cookies. basically, i find a recipe in a book, magazine, online, from a friend, whatever and mix up the dough. half of the dough goes in the freezer, half gets baked and eaten. I have one cookie recipe that i have perfected that i know freezes well. it's a basic chocolate chip cookie, and i'm thinking i can get a few different types of cookies out of it, just by changing the "chips" that go in it. butterscotch chips, peanut butter chips, toffee chips, are just a few options.
this weekend i tested two recipes, chocolate cookie w/ m&ms (from dec 2009 food network  magazines 50 holiday cookies classic chocolate cookie- i just added the m&ms) and toasted coconut dark chocolate chunk cookies (from april 2010 cooking light magazine). If you want either of these recipes, let me know.
the chocolate cookies with m&ms are pretty good. i'm not huge on chocolate, so i'm probably not the best judge. the man said they were good, and gobbled down the cookies i gave him. now the toasted coconut dark chocolate chunk cookies... i'm pretty sure they were sent from heaven above and kissed by an angel. these things are DELISH! i love coconut and dark chocolate, so they are already winners for me. after mixing up the dough, it was a struggle to get these cookies in the oven because i was ready to risk salmonella and shovel the raw dough straight into my mouth. with a little willpower, i baked the cookies and the results were YUMMTASTIC! i'm already excited that i have a half batch in the freezer, and really crossing my fingers that they bake well from frozen dough. 
Publish Post

also, i'm still on the lookout for more cookie recipes. if you have a favorite you'd like to throw my way, shoot me an email!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

The great candle adventure...

i'll admit it, we're sort of candle junkies. and if i'm being honest... the man, more so than me. we have container candles and votives and are never without a package of 100 ct. tealights from Ikea. so when it came down to wedding planning time, it wasn't hard to figure out that we wanted candles. originally, it was floating candles in a shallow "bowl" that was about a foot in diameter. but with our dinner being served "family style" (YAY!) we're limited in space on the table. so... i put my thinking cap on and came up with having pillar candles instead.
i started scouring the internet looking for lovely purple unscented pillar candles. during my search, i realized something. candles are NOT cheap. well, if you're just buying a few, they're relatively inexpensive... when you're buying 75... not so much.  i turn on my creative juices and wonder, exactly how hard is it to make your own candles??? i did a little digging and found this site that sales wholesale supplies to make candles and even offers a "candle making university". SCORE! after a bit more research and running the idea by the man, i ordered a batch of supplies with which to practice to see if i could actually do this. somewhere between coming up with the idea and ordering the supplies i got really excited. i imagined all the lovely smelly candles i could make for us. i began thinking about how much of a personal touch this would put on the tables at our wedding. somewhere it went from a money saving strategy to an exciting project! i even politely declined the offer from the man's mom when she, thinking i was a bit crazy for taking on a huge project, offered to buy all the candles i wanted so i didn't have to make them.
last weekend i had my first candle making session. i used my awesome blossom square candle mold (way cooler than rounded candles) and made my first candle. with my first candle i've discovered that candles are temperamental. apparently, too much dye (read: 13 drops when the max color potential is reached in 7- what?!?! i was going for that "so purple it's almost black" look) makes the wick burn at the speed of light. basically i ended up with a block of wax that can now be cut up and used for dye. oh well.
test 2 goes much better. however, i didn't have the proper means to clean the mold, so there was some sticking issues, and i didn't plug the wick hole that well, so it leaked... a LOT. despite those issues, i did a test burn and it burned well for over 4 hours! 
somewhere in the process i started doing math (which i HATE) and figured out that my original idea of 3 pillar candles (2-9 inch candles and 1-4.5 inch candle) on each table would require an amount of wax weighing more than my 7 year old niece. while it wouldn't actually be THAT expensive, that is a LOT of wax to carry up to our 3rd floor apartment. i hit the drawing board again and came up with an idea that i like even better! additional supplies have been ordered and delivered and armed with a bridesmaid, a bottle of wine and hopefully some yummy cheese, testing will commence tomorrow night!

Monday, March 8, 2010

wait, it costs what?!?!?!

The day after getting engaged to my lovely fiance, I headed right to borders to purchase a wedding planning book in hopes of getting some direction. Honestly, just standing in front of the shelves of books, I felt so overwhelmed that I asked the man if we could just elope. A guy nearby advised him to take me up on my offer while I had it on the table. Frustrated and confused, we left borders three books (that's $60 I'll never get back). Basically what I've learned from these books is this: When planning a wedding, anyone and everyone will try their best to milk you for every penny they can.
The average wedding in the US costs $20,000. TWENTY-THOUSAND DOLLARS!!!
20G could pay for a ford focus and 15 wii game systems
or 700 pedicures
or a cupcake a day for the next 21 years
or half a TON of manchego cheese!!!
Knowing that there's no way in the world I could ever justify dropping 20K on one day of my life, I set out on a mission to not only plan a wedding and keep my sanity but also to figure out every way we could cut costs without sacrificing class and quality.