Thursday, June 30, 2011

Thoughtless Thursday...Dog Days of Summer

Thoughtless...perhaps, only you can decide:

1. With us deciding to stay at home this weekend and forego the sunny beaches of Seaside with the bestest, her hubby, and family {honestly, what are we thinking?}, Jeff and I have some time to get to work around the house and I am hoping to start and finish some no particular order, we're going to embark on these "fun" assignments:
  • Work on gallery art wall for our downstairs--a.k.a man cave/family living room
  • Organizing storage areas--upstairs closets, cabinets, and basement space to make sure everything in our house has a place so that things actually get put up
  • Searching for new bedding for the master...such a tedious chore and a hard one at that. Bedding stores in Nashville are few and far between, but hoping I can find something fresh and fun to change up our room and add some fun new colors
  • Buy new outdoor patio umbrella and outdoor pillows and accessories to bring in some added color for summer wishing we could get new furniture, though that is on the list for next year
2. Getting an email from our fabulous wedding photographers entitled "Image Premiere" last night may have made my entire week...sure, our meetingisn't until July 29th, but that means we are inching closer to getting our wedding pictures!

3. With so much going on in Nashville this weekend, Jeff and I are hoping to venture to the Farmer's Market to stock up on local produce, head to Franklin to partake in the 4th of July Main Street Festival and Fireworks, perhaps take a little afternoon/early evening picnic to Arrington Vineyards for some wine tasting and live music, and spend as much time relaxing as possible...not to mention grilling out a traditional holiday meal is already in the works...I need a hamburger and hot dog like yesterday

4. Recently, Jeff and I have been ordering catering and food for family and friends from personal chef and health counselor Callie McMillin...her local business is fantastic and it's perfect for people on the go who want homecooked food, but can't always make the time to do it with such hectic schedules. 
5. I hate changing my name--there, I said it. It's not that I don't love my new name and hubby, but the whole process is just draining...first the government stuff, then the work stuff which has turned out to be much more extensive, then come the bank accounts and will changes and insurance coverage, and all my emails and such...I want a fairy IT guru/godmother to come get this done for me.
6. My new favorite summertime cocktail is Crystal Light Strawberry Lemonade with vodka and a splash of pineapple juice...amazing and light--perfect for hot weather!

Enough mumbo jumbo for today...what all is racking your brain and keeping you occupied today?? I am anxiously watching the hours because I'm mroe than ready to get home early this afternoon to say hello to something new--woo hoo!! Happy Thursday friends ;)

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

The Best Day Ever...Out of Town Gift Bags

Finally, right? Another wedding recap...I'm hoping I can get through at least one of these a week or until I receive all of my fabulous wedding pictures!! I'm hoping I can swoon my photogs with some baked goodies or something of that nature ;).
When I started thinking about OOT gift bags, I knew I wanted something that screamed Nashville...also known as Music City USA. I had very specific items I wanted to include, and started off on my quest to purchase fun items to make these unique for guests that were sweet enough to travel to TN for our big day. Without further adieu, here they are:
The finished products...all lined up and ready to be delivered to the hotels
Now backing up to the assembly and what items were in each takeaway tote:
Goo Goo Clusters--a Tennessee staple
Mini Jack Daniels bottles--no explanation needed
Goody's Headache Powder Packets--for the day after ;)
Music City Mix CD made by Dad--check out the CD label
Bottled Water with personalized labels
 Homemade Late Night Munchies Mix--popcorn, M&Ms, peanuts, and coated with melted almond addictive
Homemade Mini TN Jam Cakes--made by Mom and the perfect sweet treat!
Trident White Gum
Spirit of Nashville Postcards
Custom Wedding Itinerary--complete with a listing of our favorite places to eat, shop, and visit as well as detailed directions to the church
The weekend before the wedding, Meg/Aaron, Mom/Dad, and  Jeff and Igot to work on baking/mixing, and getting the items ready to be packaged and then Mom and I made ourselves a small assembly line Wednesday night...we were a machine making sure everything was just perfect and I just loved how they turned out!
For the custom water bottle labels, munchie tags, stickers, and itineraries, I worked with the fabulous Mekala from Tie That Binds.
She helped me achieve the exact look I was going for to tie these small details into the overall color scheme and look of our invitations. Ladies, she is WONDERFUL to work with and you can see more of her designs on her blog here {P.S. I'll have more to show you from her when I recap the rehearsal dinner, too!}
As for the other items, I found these all around Nashville and online:
Kraft tote shopping bags: Michael's
Bright yellow tissue paper: Hobby Lobby
Cello bags for munchie mix/mini jam cakes: Nashville Wraps--available to purchase online
Raffia ribbon for mix: Nashville Wraps/Hobby Lobby
Retro Nashville postcards--Spirit of Nashville
Goo Goo Clusters: Cracker Barrel

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Tuesday Fun...Taking It Easy!

Back at it with last weekend's updates...yesterday was the "typical Monday" and it was hard to get my butt in gear! I started out at the Social Security Office and DMV to begin the name change process and oh boy, what fun that was. Less painful than imagined, but still not too enjoyable--let's be honest, the boy's have it easy in that department.
Now, back to the weekend, which was all about taking it easy.
Friday, we hit up Macy's and Bed, Bath, and Beyond to begin the gift exchange/return shopping spree. After all was said and done, we got our new set of pots and pans and everyday flatware--yes, old people over here. Then, we met Mom and Dad at Chuy's for dinner and drinks.
Saturday morning, I hit the gym, then went on my work clothes shopping adventure. Fast forward 3 hours and I was able to walk out of the mall with some great new finds...not to mention I saved a ton of $$ because everyone was having major summer sales--score!
That afternoon, Jeff and I did some car shopping, and then joined up with the Grunkes for a fun and laidback evening cookout. They wined and dined us with peach pork chops, grilled sweet potatoes, green beans, and the most sinful caramel ice cream--worth every bite though!
Sunday, we finally made it back to church and Jeff and I both agreed it was great to be back in worship. Then we headed to my parent's house where the plan was to swim and layout, though summer showers prevented that escapade so we took to Scrabble, movies on the couch, and grilling for dinner. Fantastic way to wrap up another fun weekend.
So now it's Tuesday morning--and my mind is a bowl of jelly...I can't seem to focus today so let's talk randomness...
1. I gave in to ABC and watched another episode of The Bachelorette last night--LAME! Why do I do it? I'm sorry Ashley, but you look ridiculous pining after nasty sleazeball Bentley and I am glad the guys let you know it...and that sequined dress with the hair bun--yikes.
2. I am so excited the 4th of July is almost here! I am ready for fireworks, hot dogs and hamburgers on the grill, and a 3-day just can't get here soon enough.
3. Retailers are already emailing out the new wave of fall boots that are coming in...seriously? It's 85 degrees outside people--the last thing I want to think about is fall and winter...give it a rest already!
4. So, once the wedding is over and the day has finally past--what does a girl do with her time? She plans vacations...Yes, I have to keep my mind occupied so we're in the middle of planning our long anticipated NYC Christmas Adventure--4 couples, Broadway shows, wining and dining, and taking in the city sights--what could be better? I am over the moon happy to finally experience my favorite city with my best friends and their beaus.

Alright, enough for now--I'm on the hunt to find a fun, yet simple DIY project to occupy some of my free time this weekend so we'll see what I can come up with. I'm ready to whip out some spray paint or the glue gun and get crazy! Happy Tuesday...tomorrow I'll finally be back with another wedding recap--woo hoo!

Monday, June 27, 2011

Sir Cooks A Lot...Festive and Fun Summertime Treats

We've been baking, cooking, and grilling up a storm lately...for one, trying to save some extra change for other forms of entertainment this summer, and because eating in is SO much healthier for you, too! Though these aren't "nutritious" persay, here are some new summer-worthy treats for holidays and parties, fun nights in, and just because we all need a little sweet treat every now and then.
Berry Cobbler via Our Best Bites
Pina Colada Cake via My Fabulous Mother
1 white cake mix
3 egg whites
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 can fat free sweetened condensed milk
1 can pina colada mix
1 8 oz tub of light cool whip
1 package of flaked coconut
**Preheat oven to 350 and bake cake as directed on box instructions
**Pull out of oven once done and immediately poke holes all over cake
**Mix together can of sweetened condensed milk and pina colada mix and pour all over cake
**Place in refrigerator overnight to chill
**Take out and then cover cake with cool whip as the icing and then top with coconut
This is a BIG crowd pleaser and perfect for hot summer temperatures to cool you off!!

Festive Fruited Cheesecake Flag via Mel's Kitchen Cafe
Lemon Meringue Pie via Everyday Occasions
Apple Pie Spice Cake via All Recipes... I made this yesterday and it is fabulous!
So tell me, what's your favorite summertime treat to make?? I am always looking for new things to make so send them my way (or show me where to find them) please!!

Friday, June 24, 2011

Friday Happies and Answers to Questions

First of all, thanks for all your kinds words about the bridal brunch...I can't believe it's already been 2 weeks since we were all together in celebration, but time really does fly when you're having fun! I received a lot of questions from readers after I posted yesterday so wanted to answer before I forgot:
Question from Kelsea: Where did you find the embroidered handkerchefs? Lucky that I stumbled on Etsy early into the wedding planning, I found Molly and Mom and knew Cathy would help me with the perfect gifts. Fabulous vendor who was quick, detailed, and a pleasure to work with.
Question from Courtney: She said she was obsessed with our wedding invitations, and was wanting to know where they came from? Let's go ahead and be honest here, I found my wedding invitation designer long before I was ever proposed to--sorry Jeff. I knew I had found "the graphical one" years ago when I stumbled across the lovely Joni of Chocolate Butterbean. She is the epitomy of designing classicly southern and eleganct invitations, monograms, and wooden signs and I was certain I had to have her design our custom invitations--hands down, my absolute favorite detail of my wedding because it set the tone for our big day.
Question from Laura, CMae, and Little Bit of My Life: These ladies are just itching to know where I found the dress I wore for my bridal brunch... Interestingly enough, Macy's of all places. It's a Kensie dress I found online months ago and ordered it because I knew it would be perfect for one of my bridal showers or events. It was dressy, but still casual, very comfortable, and I loved the floral appliques. Perfect for ANY bride-to-be!!
Question from Sarah: She's wanting to know what the custom earrings for the bridesmaids looked like...well, here they are! I worked with Judith from her Etsy shop "A Box For My Treasure" which was a wonderful experience--she designed a few styles based on ideas I had sent her, and this is what we came up with...they looked great with the girls' dresses and they are earrings they can definitely wear again and again.
Alright, alright, enough of wedding chatter for the day, because it's FRIDAY lovelies! Almost time to relax and enjoy the weekend and I am excited to spend it with that handsome beau of mine...on tonight's agenda, we're headed to "gift" ourselves...friends and family were generous enough to give us gift cards and cash to buy the rest of our wedding registry gifts so we'll be stocking up on our everyday flatware and pots and pans--I know, glamorous, right? Then we're headed to meet up with mom and dad for a little late dinner action in Cool Springs.
Tomorrow, we'll be up and at it--hitting the gym early before it gets too humid, and then playing operation organization at the house...old with the old and in with the new! Shopping for new bedding, de-clutterizing, and spending some time out in the yard working on the landscaping.
Then, it's time for this lady to do some MAJOR shopping for work clothes. Unfortunately, my closet is stocked to the brim with festive and fun wedding and party dreses, swimsuits, and cover-ups, though my wardrobe in the work department has been suffering--hoping I can stock up on some sales at the mall. Later that afternoon, we'll be wining and dining with the Grunkes' for dinner and drinks.
I am so looking forward to Sunday--we'll finally be making our way back to church after a lengthy sabactle and then relaxing at the parent's neighborhood pool all afternoon so we can attempt to keep up our tans ;).
Hope you all have a fantastic weekend!! I am counting down the minutes until lunch because we're having a dessert party at work and I can gorge myself with the homemade pina colada cake I made--oh yes, the sweets are calling my name and I am ready to indulge a has been a crazy busy week so I deserve it--hehe. Enjoy the summertime weather friends!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

The Best Day Ever...Bridal Brunch Recap

Here it is very first wedding weekend review. Pardon me for all of the photo-heavy posts to come, though, I wanted to make sure we captured every little bit so that one day I can hopefully accomplish the task of making my own wedding scrapbook to pass on for future generations. Cheesy, I know ;).
Some posts will have to wait, i.e. the rehearsal dinner, getting ready with my girls, the actual wedding, and reception, as those were left up to the professionals we hired, but here is a little sneak peak into how the beautiful weekend began.

Mom and I wanted to celebrate the morning before the craziness with a homestyle Bridal Brunch for my wonderful bridesmaids, friends, and family with a simple brunch at my parent's house. We started off with the invitations which screamed southern and feminine sophistication  and then carried the moss green and white color scheme throughout.
Here is the invitation we chose via Minted:
Then we decided to take matters into our own hands and work with one of our favorite places here in Nashville for our light, but yummy morning treats and tastings, Puffy Muffin. We ordered quiche, their infamous poppyseed bread, fruit salad, pastries and danish, chicken salad and pimiento cheese sandwiches, salad, and gourmet carrot cake...all incredible! We then created a bar packed with pomegranate, pineapple, and orange juice for a do-it-yourself champagne cocktail treat complete with berries and fruit. Here is the finished product:
For the tablescape, we ventured to Import Flowers of Nashville to select the flowers and then lucky for me I had my 2 best friends over the Thursday night before to arrange each and every much fun! Here is the finished table complete with personalized place cards and my Mom's formal china for my girls to dine in style.
After we ate, I surprised the girls with their gifts...for each of my bridesmaids, I bought them monogrammed natural burlap beach totes, flip flops to use at the reception, matching custom earrings I designed with a vendor on Etsy, custom patterned clutches/jewelry rolls, and monogrammed waffle wraps. I think they loved their gifts and I was so happy to be able to shower them for all they had done for me prior to and during the wedding weekend.
In addition, I also had Mom a little something as a big thank you for 1) being the most spectacular wedding planning partner, and 2) to let her know just how much I love her. This is when the tears started to flow, as I surprised her with a 14K gold wedding bell charm to add to her most prized possession-- her charm bracelet in which she adds one charm for each major vacation she goes on and big life events such as this. She was over the moon happy and said it was the perfect gift to remind her of such a joyous occasion and then she opened the personalized handmade handkerchef I bought for her, my new mother-in-law Kaye, and my grandmother, which were big hits as well. Happy times for important women in my life.
Then the photoshoot started...gorgeous weather, gorgeous friends, and it made me realize the fun was really about to start and that the wedding weekend had officially kicked off!!
Hope you enjoyed! This is so much fun looking back on such a joyous occasion that my heart just melts...and the really good stuff is yet to come! Next up, one of my favorite tasks--the out of town bag gifts for all of our travelling guests.
As always, happy to answer any questions you have--I worked with some great businesses for gifts and such, and would love to help other brides-to-be with any and all wedding planning.
Happy Thursday!!
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