Looking Back..

Well folks, we’re coming up quick on Jordan and I’s anniversary (it’s on Sunday). It really is hard to believe it’s already been a year..where does the time go?! I’ve truly enjoyed my first year as a wife, and I can’t wait to share many more adventures with my best friend in the years to come!

As a quick trip down memory lane, I thought I’d share some of our wedding photos with you guys.

My momma and I

 

We decided to see each other before the ceremony, so we set up a moment where it was just the two of us in the sanctuary.

We’re married!!!

Notice the fan in the in the background..the air in the church was out so we had to set up fans to keep the cake from melting!

This picture stinkin’ cracks me up every time I look at it. Jordan’s face kills me.

This one is probably my favorite..it just reminds me of a romantic old movie or something. We even got it printed on a canvas to hang in our bedroom.

Ahhh..I love looking back at it now. Even all the mishaps of the day (we had no air in the church and a bridesmaid passed out!) make me smile. Love truly is a blessing, and I’m so happy to have found my forever love.

August 13, 2011. Tags: . Life. 2 comments.

Buffet Inspiration

I’ve been scouring Craigslist lately looking for a buffet or sideboard that’s ripe for a makeover. We don’t have a formal dining room in our current house, but it’s definitely on the list for our ‘someday’ house and I want a nice buffet for dish storage. I’m a little dish obsessed, in case you didn’t know.

So in the meantime, I’ve been scouring blogland and Pinterest for inspiration.

I love the mustard color of this little table and I like how they trimmed out the groove detail in a different shade. And those beautiful spindle legs? Forgeddaboutit.

First of all, WHOA. This buffet is gigantic. There’s enough room in there to hoard all the beautiful dishes I could ever want. Me likey. But the other thing that catches my eye is the dual finish. I really like the mix of the dark wood top and the white base. Very classic..it could virtually fit in with any style or color scheme. Which is definitely something for me to consider, seeing as how I don’t exactly know what my future dining room will look like.

I’m also very attracted to a grey/white color combo. And chevron stripes? Always a winner in my book!

Another mustard makeover (hmm..I’m sensing a trend), but what really drew me to this was the pattern they put on the buffet. I think it speaks to the mid-century modern style of this particular piece..so it might not look as hot on a more Victorian style buffet.

This is probably not a piece that would ever fit in my dining room, but I just love that they took a run-of-the-mill dresser and did something fun with it. It would be super fun in a little boys nursery!

I LOVE the glass front doors on this buffet, and it looks like it has a metallic sheen to it which I also dig. Put a metallic finish on something and consider me sold. It’s a sickness, really.

Ok, ladies and gents…stop drooling on your keyboard. You know I had to save the most jaw dropping makeover ’til the end! I am seriously so in love with this I can’t even tell you. The color scheme is to die for and what’s not to love about an ikat print? And, honestly, the thing I love the very most is that it’s not perfect. I really like the fact that you can tell that it was hand painted. Call me crazy, but I’m crushin’.

Which on was your favorite? Or maybe you’ve got other ideas of your own? Tell me all about it!

 

 

August 10, 2011. Tags: , . Home/Design. Leave a comment.

Happy Birthday Lucy!

Today is our pups birthday..she’s 3 years old! A lot of people probably don’t celebrate their pooches b-days, but we clearly have an unhealthy obsession with ours (as showcased by this art we had made in her honor).

So, every year we get her a Happy Meal for her birthday and this year was no exception. And, yes, I realize that’s not the most healthy meal for a dog, but it’s a once a year treat..and she loves it!

Don’t forget the orange drink!

The face of a happy pup!

Rawr!

Thanks, Mom!

And I couldn’t post this without also wishing a happy birthday to Lucy’s 2 sisters, Hershey (owned by my brother, Jeremy) and Hannah (owned by my younger sister, Jenna). Happy birthday puppies!

Do you guys celebrate your dogs’ birthday? Or maybe you celebrate a different event or milestone that some people might not normally celebrate? Spill the bones!

August 8, 2011. Life. Leave a comment.

Wedding Crashers

Ok, so that might be a bit misleading. I didn’t actually crash the wedding..I was invited, but it makes for a catchier title don’tcha think?

Last Saturday, Jordan’s youngest brother, Sam, got married and of course I was there with my camera, snapping the night away! So, I just wanted to share a few of the photos with you guys.

They were going for sort of an antique/country chic vibe. They used this table in the foyer for the guest book and programs.

 

The decorations in the sanctuary were kept fairly simple. A few columns, some white linens, and LOTS of votives!

 

 

 


For the reception hall, they hung antique mason jars with votives in them from the ceiling, along with some string lights. The centerpieces varied from table to table. They used various antique silver vessels, filled with candles, blue hydrangeas,or white calla lilies.


I LOVED this chandelier we created (yup, that we includes moi…it’s Shake n’ Bake and I helped!) Basically, we tied a ribbon around the jar and then secured clear plastic wire to either side of the ribbon. We then looped the ribbon around the spokes of the wagon wheel and passed the jar through the loop of the ribbon, so it would hang securely. We added the twine just to make it look a little more finished. This chandelier hung over the head table, and it looked awesome!

 

 

 

Here are a few other shots I got:


It was a really beautiful wedding, and I am so happy for Sam and Mindy. They are spending their honeymoon in Europe, and then they will be living in the Netherlands for 3 months! How cool is that??

We have another wedding to go to in a couple weeks, so I’m thinking maybe I’ll turn ‘Wedding Crashers’ into a feature here on the blog. I go to a wedding and then share all the details with you. What do you guys think..do you enjoy reading about other peoples’ weddings? I’d love to hear from you!

August 7, 2011. Life, Parties/Events. 2 comments.

Pinterest Challenge: DIY Subway Sign

Happy Tuesday everyone! Well, it’s been exactly one week since I accepted The Pinterest Challenge, and I must say I am SO glad I did! 

I have always loved the look of the vintage subway signs, and I’ve googled umpteen tutorials on how to make them on the cheap. But most ofthem involved getting your design enlarged at somewhere like Kinko’s and then using contact paper to transfer it and create your own stencil, of sorts…and honestly, I was just too lazy to do that. 

So when I came across this picture on Pinterest the other day, the wheels started turning in my head and I just knew I had found an easier way to make my own subway sign.

via Pinterest

 I quickly decided this would make the perfect project to take on for this challenge. I headed out to Hobby Lobby and picked up my supplies: a 12″x24″ canvas, and some vinyl stick-on letters (in both 2″ and 3″ sizes). Gotta love a project that involves minimal supplies.

I wanted the canvas to have a bit of a worn, weathered look so I started off by glazing it. I had no clue if this would work or not, and initally I thought it gave me a pretty good result, but by the time it was all said and done you couldn’t even tell I had done it in the beginning. Oh well. 

After I glazed it, I drew out a little diagram to give me an idea of how far to space things apart, etc.


I know, I know. I’m an awesome diagram drawer. It’s a gift.

Then I drew out my lines with a ruler so I could be sure my letters were in a straight line.

Notice the glaze? Too bad it was basically nonexistent at the end.

And as if that wasn’t enough planning, I then cut out all my letters and laid them out on my canvas to make sure I liked the placement. A dry run, if you will.

Looks like one of those ransom notes made from cut out magazine letters, right?

Then came the scary part: sticking the letters on. Even though I knew I could easily peel them up if I placed them crooked or something, I was still borderline sweating while doing this. I need to go to DIY Worrywart Anonymous. After I had them all stuck on there, I whipped out my brown spray paint and got to work.

I originally thought that I would use latex or acrylic paint like they do in the tutorial I pinned, but the adhesive on the letters wasn’t exactly strong and I had visions of the letters moving all over the canvas when I brushed over them with a paintbrush. Oh Lord..I’m sweating again. So, I decided on spray paint and it was kind of a happy accident.

As I was spraying, I held the can back a little farther than I normally would (maybe 12 inches) and moved my hand around faster than I normally would. It created kind of a cool effect where the paint is uneven..lighter in some places, darker in others. It adds to the vintage vibe.


I waited about 30 minutes and then peeled up the letters and let it dry overnight. The next day, I roughed up the canvas just slightly with a sanding block, just so it didn’t have that ‘freshly painted’ look. Then I stuck a couple of Command strips on the back and hung it on the wall.

Ignore my barely-styled shelves. They need help.

I can’t even tell you how happy I am with how this turned out! And in case you’re wondering, the street names on the sign are all streets that hold meaning for Jordan and I (where we met, first kiss, etc.). I am beyond thrilled to add this personal piece of art to our collection 🙂

August 2, 2011. Tags: , , . DIY. 6 comments.

True Inspiration

Hey guys, I came across something today that moved me so much I had to share it with you. As I was catching up on my blogs, I came across a post on The Lettered Cottage that featured blogger Shelly Owens of Good To Be Crazy. She shared a brief background on their family, and I was so intrigued that I clicked over to her site to find out more.

Shelly and her husband were living out their ‘American Dream’ in Atlanta with their two children when they suddenly felt like God was calling them to do and be more. Long story short, they adopted two children from Uganda and started a charity called SixtyFeet, which is dedicated to improving the living conditions of the orphan children in Uganda. I admire these people so much, and reading their story literally brought me to tears.

What a wonderful revelation, to realize that our lives are about so much more than the trivial things we concern ourselves with on a daily basis. I want to use the things the Lord has blessed me with to make a difference in the world. It’s far too easy to get wrapped up in my own life and forget about the needs of others.

Thank you for the reminder, Shelly.

July 29, 2011. Life. Leave a comment.

The Pinterest Challenge

So as I was scrolling through my Google Reader today, I came across something very exciting. What was it, you may ask?


THE PINTEREST CHALLENGE!!!!!

*Imagine that said in a big, booming voice that seems to be coming from somewhere up in the clouds*

Let me explain..it’s basically a challenge (thought up by the hilarious Katie Bower) to stop pinnin’ and start doin’. For those of you who don’t know what Pinterest is, I gushed about it a little in this post.

So you’re supposed to do a DIY project based on an inspiration photo that you’ve pinned in the past. I’ve got quite the little stockpile (you can check out my boards here..follow me!) of photos, so now I just have to decide which project I want to tackle first! The challenge is to complete the project in a week, aka Tuesday, August 2. I seriously can’t wait to get started, although I’m sure my hubby will cringe at the thought of me starting yet another project seeing as how I’ve got a couple unfinished ones lingering in our house as we speak. But I promise this one will be done by next Tuesday, babe!

Oh, and did I mention that there are 3 other amazingly awesome bloggers (in addition to Katie) in on this challenge..sponsoring it, if you will. Sherry, Emily, and Lana are all participating as well. So you can go to any of their blogs next Tuesday to post your links to your projects. I know I will be!

July 26, 2011. Tags: , . DIY, Just for Fun. 2 comments.

Tips for Cruisin’

Hey guys! Hope you all had a great weekend..we finally got some much needed rain. I think I heard my flowers give an audible sigh!

I want to wrap up my vacation posts by giving you guys just a few pointers and tips in case any of you are considering going on a cruise in the future.

When I told people we were going on a cruise, most of the reactions were “Ohhhh, wowwww a cruuuiseee.” Meanwhile, I could see in their heads they were thinking, “You must be rich! Cruises are SO expensive!” Contrary to what you might think, cruises can be pretty economical. The fare includes your room, enough food to feed Joey Chestnut, and entertainment including magicians, comedians, acrobats, singers, and dancers. And there a few more ways to save a few buckaroos:

1.) Early bird gets the worm? In this case, true. Sort of. You’re going to get the best deal by either booking far in advance (5-6 months) or wayyy late (1-2 weeks before departure). Cruise lines don’t want to sail their ships with empty rooms, so often times as a departure date gets closer, they will drop the rates significantly. But, of course, not everyone can wait until the last second to plan their vacation. So, my advice is if you know you want to book a cruise, get with a travel agent ASAP and book it. I’ve also heard that some cruise lines have a ‘low price guarantee’..so if the fare drops after you book it, they will guarantee you the lower rate. Check with your travel agent on that.

2.) Forget the ocean view. You’re on a boat. You can go up on the deck and stare at the ocean ’til your hearts content. A balcony/oceanview in your room isn’t necessary. Sure, if you’ve got the extra money to spend, it would be nice to have..but overall, unnecessary. The only time we even spent in our room was when we were sleeping or getting ready. You’ll save hundreds of dollars by opting for an interior room. And, as a general rule, the higher on the boat you go, the more expensive the rooms are. So, if you don’t mind staying on a lower level (still above sea level, though..it’s not like they’re putting you down where Leo DiCaprio had to stay on the Titanic) an in an interior room, you can save a LOT of money.

3.) Beware the room card. On both of the cruise lines we tried, there is a cashless system implemented on board. Before you get on the boat, they will have you put a credit card on file. This credit card will then be tied to your room key. So whenever you want to purchase something throughout the week, they will charge it to your room and you will get the bill at the end of the week. It’s very convenient, but it can be somewhat dangerous. Especially, if you’re drinking or gambling (we do neither, so it wasn’t an issue for us). I recommend trying to keep a running tally somewhere of what you’ve spent so that you’re not shocked when they slip that bill under your door at the end of week!

4.) The excursion debate. Excursions are probably where people spend the most money once on board the ship. First let me say, excursions are totally optional. It’s just a chance to explore your port of call in a tour packaged organized by your cruise line or another third-party company. However, if you want to just get off the boat and explore on your own, that’s always an option. You don’t even have to get off the boat at all. {Sidenote: the spa onboard usually runs specials on days when you’re in port. So if you want to book a spa treatment, do it on those days.} If you decide you want to book an excursion there are two ways to do it. You can book it through your cruise line either prior to the cruise or once you’re on board. Or you can wait until you get to the port and book it through a third-party company. Most cruise lines will discourage this because they can’t vouch for the integrity of those companies. However, you can save up to 50% off the price because those companies are run by locals who are willing to haggle. If you’re going to go that route, I would recommend finding some local security officials (there are usually some at every port) and asking if they can point you in the direction of a reputable company. It’s a more risky way to do things, but it can definitely pay off in the end. For example, we booked an excursion where we swam with dolphins (PURE AMAZINGNESS btw) in Cozumel for about $130. When we got there, we talked with some other people who booked it through some locals and only paid $85. No bueno.

And now for some more general tips:

1.)  Packing the essentials. If you’ve never cruised before, you may be at a loss for what to pack. Here’s my suggestions. Pack one outfit for dinner each night. This can be as dressy or casual as you like, depending on the kind of dining you want to do. Most ships offer a buffet style dining where you can dress however you’d like, or a more formal, sit down style, which is usually slightly more dressy (i.e. no jeans, no shorts, etc). Also, some cruises have one or two ‘formal nights’ where you’re encouraged to get all gussied up so check with your specific cruise line for info on that. I really enjoy the formal nights because they make for great photo opportunities! As far as what to pack for the days, you need to consider what you think you will be doing. For example, if you plan to just lay by the pool/swim, you may not need much past a bathing suit and cover up for the daytime. But if you think you might go for a hike or long walk on one of your excursions, make sure to pack comfortable clothes and tennis shoes. Also, consider any specialty items that might come in handy, like a scuba mask or snorkel. That will save you money on having to rent them for an excursion. And, DON’T FORGET SUNSCREEN. The sun is very intense on a Caribbean cruise, and because there is a breeze coming off the ocean you can completely fry yourself and not even know it. I’d also recommend a good hat that will stay on your head, even with a strong breeze. Trust me, you don’t want to burn your scalp because then it will peel and it’ll look like you have really bad dandruff. Not sexy.

2.) Is it just me or is the room swaying? One thing to consider when thinking about going on a cruise is whether or not you experience motion sickness. The movement is nothing like what you would experience on a regular boat, but you can definitely feel it from time to time. The larger the ship, the less you will feel the movement. My mom gets motion sickness, so she takes Dramamine throughout the duration of the cruise and it works just fine. I also saw several people wearing those little motion sickness patches. If you think it might be an issue, pack it just in case. Nobody wants to be upchucking on their vacay.

3.) Gratuity. Throughout the cruise, there are a number of people who serve you..from your room steward to the wait staff to the bar boy. Most cruise lines will add a charge (on Norwegian it was $12 per person/per day) onto your room bill at the end of the week that covers tips for all these people. So be sure to account for that in your budget.

PHEW. That was a lot of reading..sorry guys. For making it through such a wordy post, I will now reward you with some random pictures from our cruise.

 

Mayan Ruins in Costa Maya, Mexico

At Dolphinarius in Cozumel, Mexico


Ahh, I’m ready to go back already! Have you guys ever been on a cruise? Thinking about it in the future? Have any more questions? I want to hear all about it!

July 25, 2011. Tags: , . Travel. 2 comments.

Friday Fun

For your enjoyment..

July 22, 2011. Just for Fun. Leave a comment.

City Guide: New Orleans

As promised, I’m back today with a little city guide for New Orleans (aka NOLA). It was the port city for our cruise ship, so hubby and I went down a few days before the ship left so that we could spend the weekend there with some friends of ours that live in Louisiana.

First of all, let me say…MY WORD, IS IT HOT DOWN THERE! We’re currently having a heatwave here in Indiana and are experiencing some 100 degree + weather, but even with that..there’s just something about the humidity down south that makes you sweat through your clothes in a matter of minutes. So for those of you who live in the South and deal with that on a regular basis, I tip my sweat-soaked hat to you.

If you can stand the heat though, NOLA really is a fun and unique city. There’s a lot to take in and we didn’t even begin to scratch the surface in our two days there, but I wanted to put together a little guide of the things we did so that if any of you ever visit, you can have something to reference. I am in no way an expert on New Orleans or travel in general, really, but I will do my best!

The hotel we stayed at was the Renaissance Arts Boutique which was just a couple blocks from the French Quarter. It was a nice hotel and a good location..close enough to walk to most sights, but not noisy or anything. Although, next time we visit I might want to try an independently owned hotel..I saw several in the French Quarter that looked really charming.

We ate lunch on Friday at a place called Acme Oyster House. It’s a pretty well known place (it was featured on Man v. Food) and supposedly the oysters were delicious.


I’ll tell you right up front that I am NOT an oyster fan. I just can’t get over the slimy texture. Blech. However, the friends we were with assured me that I just had to try the char-grilled oysters. And I can honestly say they were delicious. Char-grilling them takes away all of that slimy texture and just leaves you with a salty/buttery snack. And the oysters themselves were ginormous. The hubs and I shared a dozen and I was pretty full after taking down my half. And, of course, they serve all kinds of other seafood-y goodness besides oysters there as well. So, I would definitely recommend it.

Then we made our way down towards Bourbon Street. That place is absolutely cah-razy with a capital Cah. I mean we were down there in the middle of the day and it was completely packed out with people hanging off the balconies and out of the windows. Totally insane, but it’s a NOLA staple so you kind of have to see it, right? (Sidenote: Even though I saw plenty of people with their kids, I’m not sure I would recommend it. There are lots of ‘working girls’.. if you catch my drift). So, if I put any pictures up of what we saw there, it would unfortunately turn my site into one of those where you have to verify you’re 18 or older before entering. Instead I’ll leave you with this picture I took of this wall full of Mardi Gras masks.


After I picked my jaw up off the ground, we walked over to Jackson Square, which is a historic park in the French Quarter. The St. Louis Cathedral is here (so gorgeous and reminded me of my time in Italy), as well as a statue of Andrew Jackson (whom the park was named after). I think Jackson Square was my favorite place we visited..I just love the old buildings and the surprising beauty of this park smack dab in the middle of a bustling city. This is also a hotspot for all of NOLA’s street performers and psychics. At any one time you could be getting your palm read, while watching a troupe of break-dancers, and listening to a jazz band play in the background. There’s entertainment galore! 

AND on the far side of the park is Cafe du Monde. One word: beignets (pronounced like ben-yay). Another word: scrumptious. They are definitely a must try!


As you might imagine, the city really comes to life at night. Here’s just a little sampling of what you might encounter:

I just love seeing these guys blow (like my jazz talk? I may or may not be scatting as I write this). And, yes, Jordan saved my life by pulling me out of the way of that taxi.

On Saturday morning, we visited the World War II museum, which was just a few blocks from our hotel. If you ever have the chance to visit this museum, I would highly recommend it. It was absolutely fascinating, and they had several actual World War II vets there that you could speak with. It was such an honor to be able to even shake their hands. There is a LOT to take in at the museum, so you should definitely plan on spending a few hours there. And just recently they’ve added a 45 minute 4D movie that is totally awesome. Here are just a few shots I captured.

The display on the right represents the number of Japanese troops. The display on the left represents the number of German troops. The little display in the middle represents the number or American troops. Pretty unbelievable.

After we left there, we headed back down to the French Quarter to visit the French Market. It’s basically a huge open air market with lots of various vendors selling food, jewelry, clothing, and all kinds of little knick knacks. Again, I think I liked this so much because it reminded me of Europe. New Orleans as a whole did, which isn’t surprising given the amount of influence French culture has had on the city.

That’s just a very small portion of things to do in NOLA and if we ever go back, I’ll be sure to update this guide. But hopefully that gives you some idea of what this charming city holds, and if you ever get the chance it’s definitely worth the trip!

July 21, 2011. Travel. 2 comments.

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