Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Thanksgiving Thankfulness

1. Matt The rest are in no particular order...

40% off coupons from Michaels
being able to walk to work
Friday nights at home
my family
my friends
when Matt does the dishes
Barak Obama
Fresh & Easy Market

and of course

getting married to Matt

Happy Thanksgiving! What are you thankful for?

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

I love getting mail...

especially when it is wedding related mail. I don't necessarily like Bride's magazine but when I get that thick, overly pretentious monster of a magazine I can't wait to dig in. I sit down immediately and scan the pages crossing my fingers, hoping that finally I will see an ad for the dress of my dreams. After about page 50 I realize that giant poofy ballgowns made to fit size 2 are not really what I am looking for. This slowly sends me into what I have begun to call wedding-induced-stupper making me want to reach for a cupcake...

But not today! The mail was full of fabulous wedding related goodies. This immediately sent me into what I call a wedding-induced-upper! When I came home I saw and enormous box on the doorstop. (I have to admit I was thinking the registry fairy had made a delivery.) It was the Save the Date cards I won from Minted from a Blog contest.

I was so excited to win these so we would have STDs for the Nebraska reception. I am not really sure why 25 cards and envelopes needed to be in a box the size of a microwave. I only felt a little guilty about the environmental destruction this likely caused because I love mail so much, especially packages in the mail. The happiness that this giant package brought me, and therefore the gas saved from not making cupcakes in the oven, offset the footprint of making and sending this enormous box and nearly 4 lbs. of packing material. Don't you think?

The second fabulous wedding related mail item was our photo book from our engagement trip to Mexico. We made it using Blurb. So excited that I finally finished this (we got back 11 months ago). Instead of the childhood photo presentation (which must be another Midwestern wedding tradition because I have never heard of anyone else ever doing this), we are going to have this book and some other photos available at our Fiesta and Nebraska receptions. The last few pages of this book are my favorite. There is a photo we took after Matt asked me to marry him on a park bench in Mexico City as well as a scanned napkin of our wedding to-do list we made on the plane home. I think we are making progress on this list and about quadrupled it in size.

I love mail! I wonder if anything else will come this week...
Since I am talking about mail, I should also mention that last week I received another fabulous piece of wedding related mail. My sister-in-law Lindsay and some of my mom's friends are hosting a Bridal Shower for me when I am home in NE over the Christmas holiday. I received the invitation last week. They look great (thanks to my crafty inspiration- my Mom) and I am super excited for the shower (thanks Lindsay). My mom's friends are also super excited. A party at a winery in NE in the dead of winter seems to be the highlight of thier year.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Dessert Trial: Brownie Pops

Last weekend I attempted to make some brownie pops as a trial run for the dessert reception in Nebraska. I blogged about these before and was really looking forward to making them and looking forward to eating them even more. Well, unfortunately they were a complete disaster. I never had such a mess. Chocolate and brownie was everywhere - the floor, the counter, my HAIR!

Here is how I started. I baked a brownie (from a box of course. I aspire to be Martha but am more like Sandra Lee). No reason it has to be in a round pan. I just don't have a square one. Other supplies included candy melts and bowls for melting, Popsicle sticks, a cookie scoop, and parchment paper.

The next step involved scooping out some brownie and rolling it up into a ball and placing it on a stick. After finishing this I put them in to the freezer to set up before dipping them in chocolate.

Sounds simple enough but this is more what it looked like:
I had bits of brownie everywhere. Over half of the pops broke in half when dipping them in chocolate and fell of the sticks. I spent so much time cleaning up the mess I didn't have time to add the purple colored chocolate swirls I was planning. I was taking them to a party and was so embarrassed with how they looked I went to the grocery store to buy a package of cookies to make up for them.
Despite how they looked and what a mess I made they tasted fantastic! I suppose with any dessert it is more important that it tastes good rather than look good. My friend Claire called them "Basically Amazing" because they were hard to identify as anything you would want to eat. (Honestly they sort of looked like lumpy brown you-know-what on a stick.) Everyone at the party kept looking for the "Basically Amazing" to try. But since so many fell apart I didn't have enough for everyone. It is good to bring a sought after creation at any party.

I think next time I will try something that will stick together in a ball better - like Cheesecake. Possibly this recipe from Cannelle et Vanille Blog. Don't they just look divine? I think these probably look and taste good. Ahh, the best of both worlds.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Cool Find of the Week

My cool find for this week is a great distraction from the wedding planning details that I feel are taking over my life. It is a website devoted to Tacky Weddings. These people are definitely not concerned about the color of the napkins or learning calligraphy to address the invitations. The website is full of hideous bridal gowns, garish bridesmaid dresses, awful cakes, and redneck wedding videos. After checking out the site who knew the British were so tacky? Definitely worth a laugh. Here are a few pics to get you interested.
Can you believe this cake?
And can you believe this bride is only 16? You should see her mother.
Images from

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Hot New Trend

I don't have my shoes yet. I don't even have my dress yet. The lack of wedding attire and less than 5 months to go is really stressing my out. One thing I do know is that I definitely want some brightly colored shoes. A cute splash of color to go with my short wedding dress (wherever style I might decide on...) I came to this conclusion months ago and thought I was being really trendy and fashion forward. Then I began looking at bridal magazines and blogs and realized. No, this is really the big trend. This is even more apparent if you look at Martha's latest feature: Wedding Day Shoes. Of course there are the classics of white and ivory but nearly half the posted photos are brightly colored heels of fuchsia, blue, orange, and more.

Martha Stewart Weddings

I am waiting to see what dress I settle on before making any final decisions but am leaning towards a turquoise peep toe. I really like this style. It is called Abby and is a dyeable shoe. Does that really work? Where do you get shoes dyed anyway? It is a simple design with a mid sized heel. But who knows I change my mind daily. (I also really liked this cute shoe from Kate Spade but it is more than the dress budget so I think I'll pass.)
from Zappos

Here are a few of my inspiration shoes. I almost wish I had bridesmaids so I could make them wear a whole rainbow of heels.

both photos from Amy Squires

Photo from Snippit and Ink

Photo from Brooklyn Bride

Photo by Jessamyn Harris featured in Inspiration Board from Snippet and Ink

Tuesday, November 18, 2008


Last weekend we did what Matt calls "the best wedding planning moment so far" or what I like to call "one more thing to check off our To-Do List". It was our cake tasting. We are ordering our cake from Honeymoon Sweets and are able to get a sweet deal through our location (Antique Wedding House). And they do amazing work. Check out this ocean inspired cake:

So at about $18 a slice we decided not to go with the ocean cake but rather are doing our very own design courtesy of Matt and the cake baker.

I have to agree with Matt that the cake tasting was one of the best wedding planning moments thus far. We were given several cake and filling choices to try. We decided on one tier of white cake with Bavarian cream and strawberry filling and one tier of chocolate cake with white chocolate filling. Yummy!

It was really hard to decide. We thought about going with carrot cake and cream cheese filling or lemon cake with raspberry. But decided to keep things simple. (Remember I am marring the guy who likes plain flavored cake.) I had a total crash later in the day after eating all of that sugar but it was fabulous. Notice in the aftermath that neither of us touched the espresso filling. Yuck! But we gobbled up the white chocolate, lemon, and cream cheese.

The decoration of the cake we will keep that under wraps. Matt is in charge and a hint is that the design will feature some of his favorite things. And no, it has nothing to do with video games. We also nixed the idea of a Wii inspired cake topper. I thought my mom was going to have a heart attack when I brought that up. Probably no topper for us but we will have a unique cake cutting utensil. Stay tuned!

Love these dresses!

So this weekend my quest for a dress continued with limited success. Rather than talk about that I will share these great photos from Dolly Couture. She makes amazing vintage inspired short wedding dresses. I am considering the Edmonton (pictured above) as a possibility...

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Inspiration Board

I have become increasingly obsessed with the color combination of fuchsia and orange. They are so bright and remind me of summer. Since it as little to late to pair down our multicolored affair to just these two, I made an inspiration board to hopefully inspire others.

Fuchsia and Orange Wedding by M and M Wedding

This was also one of my first stabs using Polyvore (my new obsession). Click on the links or the image above to see all of the photo credits and some of the other Polyvore sets I have been working on.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Cool Find of the Week

So today I found the Coolest Find ever, not just for the week. It is Polyvore! (and they even have a blog). It is a great concept. Basically you can go to their page and create an inspiration set of fashions, accessories, interior designs - whatever! They have thousands of images all hyperlinked to to the site where you can find the image or even order the item in some cases. It is really easy to search by color, color combination or item. Once you find cool images you can collage them all together and save your sets. I have to warn you though it is really addicting!!

Here is my first stab as a "Perfect Bride and Bridesmaid" set. So I was going for a turquoise and dark purple color combo. The shades are a little off but I love it! It only took about 10 minutes to create and admittedly it needs a little work.
I also did a "Perfect Wedding Guest" set. How hot would this guest look at a wedding?You can find these sets here. I plan on making many more inspiration fashion and decor sets using this site. Perhaps my next challenge will be a bridal shower set or maybe I will finally get around to designing a board for our Wedding. Stay tuned!

Money, money....eek!!

So lately I have been feeling more and more anxious about of how much this shindig is going to cost. It is not so much that we don't have money or that things are getting overly extravagant beyond what we initially planned. It is more my frustration with the whole wedding industry. Why is it when the word wedding is attached things cost 4 times as much?

Well I love finding bargains so I think we are doing a good job of keeping the costs down at the same time not sacrificing things that we want. I also began to feel some relief once I checked out the Cost of Wedding webpage. Knowing that we are not even close to approaching even half of what an "average" wedding in Tempe costs is making me feel better.

On average, couples that live in (Tempe, AZ) spend between $21,499 and $35,831 for their wedding.


Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Real Color Inspiration

We will call this entry Real Color Inspiration instead of Real Wedding Inspiration. I absolutely love when weddings incorporate lots of bright colors. So therefore I love this wedding party! The colors are amazing (and fit with ours) and I love that the guys even wore colored socks. I think they are showing them off in this photo and doubt they wore lederhosen type ensemble. Not sure I could get Matt to go with fuchsia socks but maybe turquoise or green.

Photo found from Lauren Wright Photo.
click to enlarge

I am waiting to decide on a dress (more shopping early next week :) ) before I begin looking at shoes. But I definitely am choosing something bright and colorful. Perhaps these???

Photo from Kate Moos Photography blog. Love it!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Real Wedding Inspiration

Since we are archaeologists we thought it was only fitting that we get married at an archaeological site. I had visions of a ceremony in a ruin of a Spainish Mission in New Mexico, possibly Salinas. Matt was quick to remind me that the location of past murder and oppression of indigenous peoples wasn't exactly the vibe we were going for with our union. We thought about a few other archaeological sites and decided that 1) it was a little cliche and 2) really were looking for a nice outdoor setting in the Southwest. Red Rock Crossing in Sedona fit our desires perfectly.

Or so I thought until I saw these pictures. They are from a wedding ceremony in the Spainish Mission at Pecos National Historical Park east of Santa Fe. Absolutely gorgeous!

This wedding was beautifully photographed by Ben Chrisman and I found the posting via

Maybe we could do a Trash the Dress session post wedding. I would love to run around archaeological ruins in my dress. But only the nice, neat reconstructed ruins found in National Parks. The places we work don't quite have the same photographic appeal.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Love this Dress!

This is an amazing dress and a really beautiful wedding. Photos found from Laura Novak Photography. This wedding also had amazing use of color. See her turquoise shoes! The bride commented that her mother made the dress for her.

I saw a posting about this wedding on Earth Friendly Wedding blog last week.

In Honor of the Obama's

Now here is a Real Wedding photo that I can relate to. Hopefully President and First Lady Obama find time to relax like this over the next 8 years...

Friday, November 7, 2008

Inspiration Board Inspiration

I designed an inspiration board for a contest over at Style Me Pretty featuring a Little Black Dress for bridesmaids. Below is my expanded version (original entry found here). I do not have bridesmaids for our wedding, but if I did I would definitely choose a LBD or something that could be worn for other occasions (i.e. NOT Halloween). I had a friend do this and they looked fabulous. Check out all of the entries at Style me Pretty because there are some great inspirations. Especially my favorite "Fiesta-Chic" board.

In making this board I took the black from the LBD and paired with my favorite color turquoise. The New Mexico/Mexican inspiration went from there. While this board does not capture the full range color for our wedding it could be our wedding in an alternative life.

Row 1: Hairpiece is from K. Autumn / church is from here / photo by Jessamyn Harris via Snippet and Ink Row 2: dress from j. Crew /invitation from Wedding Paper Divas / jewelry from Magnetic Moments Jewelry /mantilla veil via ebay Row 3: bouquet via Martha Stewart Weddings/ favor boxes from Wedding Style/ cake from April Reed Cake Design/ papel picado/ Row 4: unknown/ bouquet via Bride's Cafe/ margaritas from Kuta Sea View Hotel/ photo via Aldea Reception Center, Phoenix/

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Cool Find of the Week

Check out this amazing wrap dress from Butter by Nadia. It is one dress that can be worn over 20 different ways. Now that is a bargain! They have over a dozen bright color choices that would be supper cute for bridesmaids. There is even a longer ivory version for a bride.

Wrapping the dress is so many ways sounds difficult but they have fun video clips on the website to teach you how.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

STD How To Guide

The Save the Dates for our Tempe Fiesta are finally done and in the mail (or waiting to be hand delivered). Here is a short tutorial on how I did it.

4x6 cards and envelopes
Laser Printer
stamp (used Wedding Cake stamp from Martha Stewart line at Michael's)
Embossing Stamp Pad-Clear
Embossing Powder - Black
Tissue Paper

Step 1: Print card. This is definitely the easy part. Printing our own invitations just look sort of flat and uninteresting. To add texture I did an embossing technique which is really the only "hard" part.

Step 2: Emboss card. Use the clear embossing pad to ink the stamp. Stamp the card pressing down evenly. With the particular stamp I used I noticed that pressing down to hard made the lines run together which didn't result in a nice design. This is because the particular stamp I chose was relatively intricate. Simple bold stamps work best with this technique.

Step 3: Immediately after stamping before the ink is dry, dust the ink with the embossing powder to evenly coat. Tap off all excess powder. Be sure to get off all of the excess that is not on the inked portion as these will also be embossed when heat is applied. If the loose powder is not removed the final product will look sort of dirty or dusty.

Step 4: Place the card over a heat source. In craft stores you can find fancy smancy heat guns. But these are really overkill. I have found placing the embossed card over the heat of a toaster works just as well. Do not place the card in direct contact with the toaster just hold over the heat and wait for the powder to melt. This will happen within 20-30 seconds. It will create a raised shinny surface. Once all of the powder is melted remove and let dry which will only take about a 45 seconds. If you hold the card over the heat for too long the powder will completely burn into the paper and no longer be raised. It will also start to smoke!

Step 5: Included on the back of the STD were instructions on how to make a Mexican paper flower for a little hint on our theme. I cut 3 6 x 6 pieces of tissue paper in either yellow or blue and included in the card by folding the tissue around the card. Also included was a piece of string for making the flower. Hopefully everyone will make the flower and put it on their fridge or something to keep our wedding in mind.

I think they turned out pretty well and look like the inspiration card from Bird and Banner that I blogged about a few months ago. Even more excitting is that one major wedding project is DONE! Now on to the other DIY projects on the list...