Friday, May 24, 2013

Late Weekend Recap

Happy Friday!

I'm late getting this posted, but wanted to share anyway. Last week, Chris and I went to Florida to see his cousin graduate from high school! It was so fun getting to see everyone and it wasn't even that hard to say goodbye since we know we'll all be together again in 5 weeks!

There were a million more pictures, but I only grabbed a few and lucky for you, they all include me (haha)! 

Congratulations, Ana! We're so proud of you!

To everyone else, have a great weekend!

Monday, May 20, 2013

Graduation Goodie Bags

We had a great time in Florida for Chris' cousin's graduation. It's so nice to be able to drive to these kinds of family events, and that's just one of the many reasons we are so glad that we moved to Georgia. It's crazy to think that the next time we will all be together will be for the wedding!

I will share a weekend recap once I have time to upload some pictures. Today, I thought I'd share the graduation goodie bags I made for all of the party guests. This project really only took a couple of hours to complete. I did need to buy stickers, specialty card stock, ribbon, paper bags, glue dots and candy. I already had the round stamp punches, regular card stock, stamps and inkpads. Luckily Michael's was having a big sale plus an additional 15% off your entire purchase.

For the ribbon design, I just used letter stamps to write "Congrats Ana" and added a graduation owl sticker to the center. I used two sized circle punches and then added ribbon to make it look like a medal. The other design is just a "Class of 2013" sticker added to the circle and ribbon wrapped around the bag.

I added Smarties to the candy mix because I thought it was a cute way to say Ana is a smartie for graduating. I also found mints wrapped in a graduation design (I found these at The Dollar Tree, but I also saw bigger packs at Hobby Lobby for $3.99). 

This picture was taken before I added the ribbon to the top of the bags. Sorry, but I forgot to get a picture of the finished product. I just punched two holes in the top of the bags, added blue and white ribbon, and tied it in a bow on the front side. Cute!

Monday, May 13, 2013

Weekend Recap

On Thursday, Chris and I hiked to Hike Inn (I mentioned it here) and spent the night! It was so much fun and somewhere between camping and glamping. We had a small room with twin size bunks. There were not even electrical plugs in our room! The bathrooms were fancy porta-potties, shower stalls, and a hair dryer on the wall. We were fed dinner and breakfast the next morning. On Friday we hiked up to Springer Mountain, which is the start of the Southern point of the Appalachian Trail. This was 4.5 miles from the Hike Inn. We ate lunch at the top of the mountain then started our 7.3 mile trek down to our car. Needless to say, it was quite a long couple of days!

Our room  

The community bathroom 

Relaxing and enjoying the view 

Dinner menu! 

Hanging out in the Sunrise Room 

At the top of Springer Mountain

On Saturday, my parents and I went to visit my mom's parents at the Marietta National Cemetery. It's a really beautiful cemetery for veterans.

On Sunday, I decided to make a special Mother's Day dinner and my brother was able to come down and join us. All of the recipes I used came from The Pioneer Woman Cooks: Food From My Frontier. I have never tried a PW recipe that I haven't liked. I made the twice baked new potatoes, corn casserole with peppers, and rosemary rolls in addition to a lemon garlic pork loin.

 *Note about this recipe: the book calls for 1 cup heavy cream, 1/2 cup milk, and 1/2 cup butter. My casserole was really runny and greasy. The flavor was good, but I had to drain all of the liquid. When I was looking up the recipe online, it is COMPLETELY different and calls for much less liquid. Go with the website recipe over the book recipe if you ever decide to make this.

For dessert I made a banana cream cheesecake recipe that I had seen on Pinterest. It was so easy to make and really delicious! I was pleasantly surprised with how good it was since it was so simple. It took about 15 minutes to put together and then you can just put it in the fridge and forget about it!

I hope that everyone had a nice weekend and was able to enjoy some time with the Mom's in your life!

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Thursday's Thoughts

I have missed writing my Thursday's Thoughts post. I had forgotten about them until I wrote one last week and now I'd love to make this a weekly post again. I have posted more in the last week than I have the entire year. But it made me realize that I really do miss blogging and I'm excited to get back into it. 
  • It is now only 51 days until the wedding. That means if I check one thing off my to-do list for the next 51 days, I still won't have all of it done! Okay, maybe that's an exaggeration, but I feel that way at times!
  • I have my second dress fitting on Monday! I'm excited to be able to wear the dress at the right length and see what it will really look like on my wedding day. I have lost about 8 pounds since my first fitting, and am hoping I don't have to have any further alterations (although secretly I would be really happy if I did; my mom's wallet, not so much).
  • I have been doing this wedding arms video since April 10 (3 times a week with 2 lb weights). I didn't really start noticing a difference until about Week 3, but it has really helped to firm up my arms. I also feel like my posture is better because I make more of an effort now to hold my shoulders back. I highly recommend doing this video if you want to be more comfortable in sleeveless tops this summer. In addition to eating healthy, counting calories, and walking/hiking/biking, I added in the Jillian Michaels Ripped in 30 DVD. So far, I've done the workout 5 days in a row. Today is my day off because we are doing a big hike, but I will continue tomorrow. I have found it very challenging!
  • Chris and I did have a cheat day earlier this week. We tried a new restaurant called Kozmo Gastro Pub and it was so worth the extra calories! I had the hanger steak and fries and it was perfection. We also shared the fried mushrooms, but they were unlike any other fried mushrooms I've ever had. I don't even like mushrooms, but these were AMAZING! Of course I didn't get a picture because I was too busy stuffing my face :)

  •  Here was my guilty pleasure of the week!

  • We took Abbey and Molly (my parent's new beagle...she's 8 and rescued) on a hike a couple of days ago. It had finally stopped raining and we had to get out of the house! I took the cutest picture of the pups after the hike. They were both passed out in the backseat on the way home.
  • I sent our wedding invitations last week and I have started receiving RSVP's! I got way more excited than I thought I would when I saw them in the mailbox. It's all so exciting!
  • Last but not least, I changed my blog design! I figured my new desire to blog deserved a new look. It's a $15 template from Designer Blogs and it was really easy to install. Check it out!

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

DIY Wedding: The Invitations

I was never going to take on the responsibility of making our wedding invitations. However, I couldn't find any designs that I liked and the ones I did like were way out of my price range. I only needed 18 invitations and many companies require you to order at least 50 and that seemed like such a waste of money. I started looking into DIY designs and found this great video with a design that I really liked.

I headed to Michael's to get all of the supplies I needed. It was a little expensive because I needed to buy a paper cutter and scoreboard, but I have ended up using both of those items so much that it's more than made up for the initial cost. I also purchased several different colors of card stock, a tape runner, and envelopes. I spent about $70 to start my project.

After I got started, I realized that I needed a few other items like decorative scrapbook paper to line the RSVP cards and make a belly band, twine to tie around the invitation, a "tag" punch, and letter stamps and an inkpad. Again, I have used all of those items again and again so I look at it as a good investment. This was probably an additional $50.

I downloaded free fonts that I've decided to use throughout all of the paper products (found here & here). From there, I just decided the wording for the invitation and made it in Word. I also made the RSVP's and Additional Details cards in Word. Printing the envelopes was the most annoying part of the whole thing. The RSVP cards used an A1 envelope, which are incredibly difficult to find in the store. I finally found some at Michael's. I found the A9 envelopes at Hobby Lobby. 

Once I made all of my awesome invitations, I took them to the post office to figure out the postage. I'll just say it's a good thing I only had 18 invitations because they were $2.06 per invitation (about $50 total, including RSVP stamps)! One more thing, because of the belly band I added to the invitation, I was having trouble keeping the backs closed. I solved that problem by using Washi tape in a wedding theme (found at Michael's and Hobby Lobby). I was pretty excited by how that ended up looking!

So all in all, I spent about $170 on these invitations. I know I didn't save much money (if any at all) by doing them myself, but I did end up using many of the supplies in other projects, which you'll see in the other DIY projects I'll be sharing later on. Of all the invitations I liked, none would have been under $120 (I would have had to spend money on stamps either way) so I feel pretty good about the total cost of everything.

I've received some great feedback from the guests who all really liked the invitation design! I'd say this DIY project was a success!

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Thursday's Thoughts

Happy May! To say that this year has flown by would be a huge understatement. It seems like just yesterday that we were celebrating the new year and now it is nearly halfway over. I thought I'd share some non-wedding stuff I've been doing lately and other things I've been enjoying in my free time.

We have been going to Amicalola Falls about once a week to do their hiking trails. Right now we love doing the Hike Inn trail, which is a 5 mile hike one way to an awesome "hotel" at the end of the trail. The only way to get there is to do the hike! We haven't stayed over yet, but it looks like a lot of fun. They feed you all of your meals in a mess hall, there are lots of outdoor games, and the rooms all have bunk beds. It kind of reminds me of Parent Trap.

the start of the trail (it says 4.8 mi, but it's actually 5 total)

view from Hike Inn 

We last did the hike on my birthday. When we were driving down the mountain out of the park, we stumbled across this huge black bear crossing the road! It was the scariest thing I've seen in a long time and I'm so glad we were in a car and not hiking. She was huge!

My Birthday
I celebrated my 29th birthday at Buca di Beppo with my parents, Chris and my brother Bill and his family. As usual, I was very spoiled with presents. Mom took me to get my nails done, for a massage, and out shopping. Chris got me an iPhone 5! I was so excited to finally upgrade as my iPhone 4 had gotten to be very unreliable and slow. I love the new one, it's so fast!

Mom made me wear the Mickey ears :) 

Not sure why my dad is making that weird face!

I have tried to get back into biking again. I loved it so much, but I think I got burnt out. I've been out on a handful of rides, but I just don't have that same desire to do it like I used to. I will keep pushing myself though because it's a good way to exercise. I did try to take Abbey with me one day. She was a little unsure, but I think she could get the hang of it if I took her more often. 

My favorite new show is The Americans. Are any of you watching it? I love all of the characters and week after week, it maintains the same amount of suspense and nail-biting drama. I really can't stand Stan though and I find myself rooting for Elizabeth and Peter. They are so awesome! If I could have another life, I would definitely want to be a bad ass spy! Chris and I recently re-watched 21 Jump Street. That movie is so funny! I think I laughed for the whole first half. That movie is the whole reason I'm writing this post actually. I just wanted to share how funny I thought it was. 

We've been on a health kick as of late. We are trying to eat better and exercise more. Not only do we want to get in shape for the wedding, but we just want to feel better overall. I have found that when I eat clean, I feel so much better (duh). But I seem to sleep better, my skin is more hydrated, and I don't feel foggy-brained or sleepy all of the time. I'm completely off of caffeine and I have more energy now than I did when I was drinking coffee every morning. I've also eliminated red meat from my diet, which was hard for me since I love beef. I think it's making a huge difference.

I guess that's all for now! A little quiet before all of the craziness starts...we are going to see Chris' cousin graduate from high school in a couple of weeks (so excited! hi jeanie!) and I will share a little graduation project I worked on for her party. I also want to share the design of our wedding invitations (all DIY). Then my mom, dad, and I will be driving to Texas for my oldest nephew's high school graduation (man, I feel old now) so that should be a fun trip! I'm also having a girl's day with my two best friends and their mom's as well as my mom, for a pre-wedding celebration (I'm not having any showers thrown for me so this is our way of celebrating my upcoming wedding). Before I know it, June 29th will be here!

Have a great weekend!