Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Give Thanksgiving a Chance

There's something really wrong with America.  A lot is wrong, actually, but one thing in particular tends to irk me more and more each year.

Thanksgiving is disappearing.

For at least a month now, I've been driving around seeing Christmas decorations on houses and in shopping centers.  I hear Christmas music when I'm flipping through radio stations.  Christmas is my favorite holiday and time of year, but all of this just makes me sick.

Don't get me wrong, I have already done some present buying.  But you won't see those gifts under a tree until November 29.  Because that's when the Christmas seasons starts.  

Thanksgiving is so important.  It's a time for family to come together and be thankful.  It's something that should be done all the time, but this is a specific time set aside for us to make sure it happens.  Our lives get crazy and we get stressed and hate the world sometimes - it is important to stop and remember, for at least this one day, that you are blessed.  For so many reasons.

Instead, people are going to go shopping.  Or work.  Or both.  That's just insane to me.  First of all, I understand Black Friday.  Been there, done that.  It's fun.  But it's something you do ON FRIDAY. BLACK FRIDAY. Unless all of my teachers have been wrong, the next day starts at 12:00 midnight.  Not 6:00 PM on the current day.   I mean really? Black Friday Doorbusters at 5 PM on Thanksgiving?  I would at least spend time with my family before waiting in line for the midnight doorbusters - and any earlier than that is just out of the question.  If you partake in that, you are an enabler.

It makes me sick that people see Thanksgiving as an amazing shopping opportunity.  It's SO much more than that, and actually not that at all - Black FRIDAY is an amazing shopping opportunity.  I feel so incredibly bad for the people who are forced to work (or lose their job) on Thanksgiving Day because their psycho boss thinks it's a good idea for their non-essential business to be open.

Clay and I decided to spend Thanksgiving with my family this year (we usually spend it with his, Christmas with mine, we switched).  The family plans fell through and we still don't know what we will be doing, but you can be damn sure that even if I just sit on my couch, I will be counting my blessings.  I will not be Christmas decorating.  I will not be shopping.  I will be basking in the blessing of the life that I have been given.

If you have decorated and are already listening to Christmas music, I love you, but I'm judging you.  Fight the urge - if I can do it, I promise that you can, too.  I hate that my future children will grow up getting the idea (from others) that Thanksgiving is so fun because it's the day we go shopping.  Or that it's the holiday that means Christmas is coming.

Give Thanksgiving a chance.

Happy Thanksgiving,

Update: We finally have Thanksgiving plans!

Friday, November 15, 2013

It's [the end of] Fall, Y'all! - {Halloween and Camping}

Yep, it's that time of year again.
The time when pumpkin spice is everywhere (I'm not complaining).
The time when boots and scarves can finally come out of the closet (regardless of whether it's actually cold or not outside).
The time when it is still in the high 70's here in Louisiana, but beautiful and perfect everywhere else.  Except on Halloween.  It's always cold on and around Halloween.

Speaking of which, I finally dressed up for the first time in like 3 years for Halloween.  And since I'm a red-headed princess and all, The Little Mermaid seemed like the perfect costume.  What is Ariel without her Prince Eric?  Nothing.  Which is why my lovely fiancĂ© played the part!

My prince and me! 
Mom and Me - Mom was a biker!

I made the mermaid skirt myself.  I never actually finished the little details I wanted to add, but whatevs.  I'm sure I'll use it again and add those things when the time comes.  Regardless, I was impressed with myself.

We didn't do a whole lot this year- just went to a friend of our parents' party the weekend before.  It was fun!  There was a gigantic bonfire and a hay-ride around the property and pond.  Also, the party hosts have a dragster.  I got to sit in it and rev it.  It was SO loud, and SO awesome.

On the actual night of Halloween we just opted to stay in.  It was raining the whole time so we didn't even try to make plans.


The BEST part of fall is the weather of other places.  Like Arkansas.

Clay, myself, and 5 others went camping in the Ozarks along the Buffalo National River last weekend in Arkansas.  It was absolutely amazing.

Our campsite
You can't really tell in the picture, but our capsize was pretty secluded.  All around it was trees, and it was off of the main road that ran through the grounds.  Pretty much all of the other sites were close to the road with not much privacy, so we got lucky.

The River Right Behind Our Tents

We were able to see the beautiful color changes of fall that are rare around here.  Reds, oranges, and yellows surrounded us.   During the day it was in the 50's or low 60's - perfect hiking weather.  So, that's what we did.  We hiked a few different trails, all of them leading to something great and different from the one before.

On the first hike, we found a bluff that overlooked a little valley.  It was really nice to just hang out a little bit and take it all in.
View from a bluff on hike #1
On the second day/second hike, which more of a walk, we ran into another part of the Buffalo National River.  Across it, we saw a cave that looked like we could pretty easily climb up to.  The problem was that the only way to get to it was to cross the river.  So we took off our shoes, rolled up our pants and crossed the slippery rocks in the freezing cold water.

Clay and I at the River

Crossing the river

When we got to the other side, we climbed up to the cave.  I'm terrified of rock climbing (I know, weird fear), but I did and I'm glad I did! However, it was a little harder than it looked from across the river.  Plus, there was no way I wasn't going to after crossing that ice cold river.

Clay Climbing to the Cave

Stephen and I by the Cave

On the third day/third hike, we drove about 30 minutes from our campgrounds to another campground to hike a trail to "Sam's Throne."  There were little side paths off the mail trail that led to an absolutely breathtaking view of a big valley.  The sun was starting to set and it was just perfect.

We eventually got to the end of the trail and hung out on a huge bluff for the rest of the sunset.  The bluff overlooked Sam's Throne, which is apparently named after a preacher named Sam from waaaaay back in the day who would climb up and preach to the people below in the valley.

Sam's Throne (Right in the Middle)

We met a pretty cool guy who was there doing a time lapse of the sunset.  It was for a documentary he was doing on climbing around Arkansas.  He was really nice and gave us some insight on what we were looking at.  We got to see the end result of the time lapse, too, and it was just perfect.

It got down to the 30's at night.  The fire kept us warm.  And in the tent it got hot enough for me to just use a blanket and not my sleeping bag.  We took turns cooking at night, too.  And we ate well.  Not the canned soup and stuff that we probably should have had.

On the first night we got in really late so we just had hot dogs.  Good hot dogs.

On the second night, Clay grilled chicken and made mac and cheese.  Our friend Luisa made tilapia and veggies.  Everything was reaaaalllly good.

On the third night, another couple made hobo pies - basically potato, veggies, sausage and beer thrown into a pocket-shaped piece of foil, and thrown on the fire a little bit.  It was so simple, but absolutely delicious.

Clay got some fancy cheese, poked holes in it and poured brandy over it, wrapped it in foil, and threw it on the embers of the fire.  The cheese melted and made kind of a fondue that we dipped baguette bread into.  Again, delicious.
Melted Cheese Dip

I also made spaghetti and garlic bread sandwiches.  Sounds weird, tastes fantastic.  I made garlic butter before we left for the trip and brought it with us.  I buttered the bread, put it butter-side down in a pie iron, put spaghetti on it (also pre-made at home), but another buttered bread down, and shut the iron and put it on the embers.  It toasted it and made a delicious sandwich.  However, I got a little selfish and stopped making enough for everyone to try because the butter wouldn't stay soft and it was near impossible to spread it.  So... oops.

Spaghetti Garlic Bread Sandwiches
in the making
On the last night, we packed up all we could so we could just get together our tent and roll out.  The drive home was about 9 hours. 

The long drive, no showers, and freezing cold was all worth it.  I can't wait to go camping again - hopefully somewhere as beautiful as Arkansas!

So, now that people are forgetting about Thanksgiving, and Christmas is taking over, it's clear that fall is coming to an end.  Although it's flown by, I actually had a chance to enjoy it this year.  We went camping, celebrated Halloween for the first time in a while, went to VooDoo Fest, and have had lots of pumpkin flavored things.

And now comes winter Christmas.


Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Score a Super Cheap Monogram Agenda! ($8!)

Hey y'all!

Some of you may know that I'm the LSU Campus Rep for May Designs.

For those of you who don't know what that is, it's a company that provides customizable, eco-friendly agendas, notebooks, and all kinds of other books, as well as "note" cards!

You can completely customize the items to fit your style!
Want school colors? No problem.  We have a college-specific collection.
Wedding colors?  They're there.
Dinosaurs? We've got 'em.
Basically, anything you could want, May Books offers!

Choose from several different patterns, fonts, and colors, and make it say whatever you want!
You also get to choose from several different options of pages to go inside your book- such as lined paper, a budget planner, agenda, wedding diary, and SO much more!  They are so easy to create, too:
How to Make a May Book

How to Make May Notes
Inside Page Options

So, how do you get a monogram agenda for $8, you ask?

1.  Go to
2.  Click "books" under "shop" at the top of the site
3.  Click "Monogramatic" on the left hand side

4.  Pick your initial from the Monogramatic Pattern selection
5.  Under "Choose Your Inside Pages," click "2013-2014 Academic Agenda"

6.  Scroll down and add the book to your cart
7.  Ask me for my 15% off code!

This brings your subtotal to under $8 for this super cute, eco-friendly monogram agenda!
This works because until 9/20/13, all academic agendas are 40% off.  Also, the Monogramatic Pattern Collection is retiring, so that collection is only $12 ($5 cheaper than the regular priced patterns), and the 40% is taken off after you add in your agenda pages.
Then, once you ask me for my 15% discount code, you can add that in at checkout, saving even more money!

SO, say you aren't digging to Monogramatic Pattern Collection.  No worries, my code works on all purchases!  AND, no matter what pattern you choose, or if you add a monogram or text to it, the academic agendas are 40% off for all patterns until 9/20/13!

So, customize away!!!

And if you don't even want an academic agenda as your inside pages, just put whatever pages you want, and still save 15% with my campus rep code.  This works on the May Notes, too!

Basically, through me, you can't NOT save money!

(I cannot post my code on social media, but I CAN give it to anyone who asks for it ;)


Monday, September 2, 2013

DIY Gameday Dress (YT Clothing Inspired) : Tutorial


So I was on one of my favorite gameday attire websites, Twelve Saturdays, and fell in love with this simple little dress that was perfect for gameday.  I decided I wanted it! But I wasn't willing to pay the $72 that it was when I knew that even I, with what little sewing experience I have, could easily make that on my own.  So, I did.  And it cost me $8.

Here's the dress of interest:
YT Clothing's Megan Dress - photo c/o YT Clothing
Cute, right?!

I decided as I was making it I would document the process and make a tutorial for everyone!

Like I said, I am not very good at sewing, so anyone with minimal sewing machine knowledge can make this dress!

Materials Needed:
- 1 yard of fabric in color of choice for top of dress (gold for me)
- 2 yards of fabric in color of choice for bottom of dress (purple for me)
- Matching thread
- Parchment paper
- Permanent marker
- Straight pins

You can make all pictures larger by clicking on them.

Step 1:
Find a dress in your closet that you absolutely love the fit of.  Roll out the parchment paper.  Fold the dress in half length-wise.  Line up the fold of the dress to the edge of the parchment paper.

Step 2:
Trace your dress onto the parchment paper with a permanent marker leaving about an inch of space between the dress and the marker.  The space is to leave room for a seam allowance.
Make sure to mark a little line where the front neckline is and label it.  This will make sense later.

Step 3:
Cut out the pattern!  Don't cut the line for the front neckline, though!
Label it so that you can keep it for future use.  (I just labeled mine shift dress.)

Step 4:
Take the fabric you are using for the top half of the dress and make a fold.
I wouldn't fold it exactly in half because then you can't get maximum use out of your fabric.
Just lay it flat, take the edge, and fold it over just enough for your pattern to fit where the fabric is doubled.
Place the straight edge of the pattern along the fold of the fabric.
You are only using this fabric for the top piece, so only place the pattern on the bottom of the fabric, making it only overlap the fabric to right under the armpit (see picture to understand what I'm saying).

Where the fabric stops being overlapped by the pattern, draw a little line on the pattern and label it "TOP."  This indicates on the pattern where you stopped cutting the fabric for the top (also shown below).

Step 5:
Pin the pattern to the fabric to keep it in place.
Cut the fabric around the pattern!  Do this twice so that you get a piece for the front of the dress and another piece for the back of the dress.

Step 6:
Cut out the bottom of the dress.  For this step, take your second piece of fabric for the bottom of the dress, make a fold just wide enough for the pattern to fit, and place the straight edge of the pattern along the fold.
Remember how when we did the top, we only put the pattern on the fabric up to a certain point and labeled it?  This is where that will come in handy.
On this second piece of fabric, overlap the pattern from the bottom up to about one inch above the line labeled "TOP."  See photo below for clarification.
This allows a little overlap in the actual cut-out fabric for a seam allowance.  Mark a line where the fabric stops, about one inch about the "TOP" line, and label it "BOTTOM."

*Since we labeled these lines, we won't have to label it again when we use the pattern in the future!*

Step 7:
Pin the pattern to the fabric to keep it in place.
Cut the fabric out around the pattern.
Do this twice!  You will now have a front and back piece in both fabrics.

Step 8:
Cut the neckline.
Remember in the beginning when we marked the front neckline on the pattern?  Well we're going to use that now!
Take one of the pieces of fabric you cut out for the TOP of the dress.  Fold it in half like it was when you were cutting it out.
Put the straight edge of the pattern along the fold and make a small cut on the fold of the fabric where that line is labeled "FRONT NECKLINE."
Remove the pattern and cut a scoop neck line from the cut up to the top of the pattern.
I don't have a picture because I forgot to actually do this step (and I payed for it in the end), but basically cut out a line for the neck that you would like.

Step 9:
Sew together the top and bottom pieces of the dress.
To do this, take a bottom piece of the dress and lay it down right-side-up.
Then, take a top piece of the dress and lay it face-down and upside-down on the bottom piece.*
The straight edges of both the top and bottom piece should be lined up, as shown below.
Pin them together with straight pins.
Sew the pieces together just as they are pinned!

*If you are using a patterned piece, be certain that the patterned side of the fabrics are facing each other!

Do this twice!  Once with the pieces for the front of the dress, and once with the pieces for the back of the dress.

When you are done, lay the whole piece out right-side up.  Basically, flip your top piece up so that the front of both the top and bottom pieces are now showing.  There you go!  There's one side of the dress!

Now, flip it over so that it is upside down.  You will see that where you just sewed there is some extra fabric sticking out.  Just trim it close to the stitch.

Step 10:
Finish the edges.
The necklines, arm holes, and bottom edges of the dress will not be sewn together, so we need to finish the edges and make them look nice.
To do this, fold the edges of the neckline, arm holes, and bottom of the dress to the inside.  Fold it over about 3/8 of an inch.  Pin the folds down, then iron all of the folds to make them stay.  This will make it much easier to sew.

Once all the edges are pinned and ironed, sew them!

I used a zig-zag stitch and just sewed along the frayed edge of the fabric.  This should keep it from unraveling, and the stitch is designed to keep from coming out.

Step 11:
Pin together the front and back pieces.
Take the back piece of the dress and lay it flat, right-side up.
Then, take the front piece of the dress and lay it face-down onto the back piece.  Make sure the edges line up.

Back side of the dress laying flat, face-up

Pin along the shoulders, the armpit, and the sides of the dress.

Front side of the dress laying face-down on top
of the back piece with pins in their respective places

Sew them together!  Just use a zig-zag stitch and sew along the places you pinned together, using the 3/8 inch seam allowance on your machine

Step 12:
Turn the dress right-side out and admire your work!  You just made your very own gameday shift dress!

Here's mine :)  Better photo to come soon.

Whatever piece you are sewing, use thread that matches the fabric color of that piece.
I used purple thread for both the purple AND gold fabric.  I thought it'd look cute to have a little purple on the gold.  It was cute, but like I said I'm not that great at sewing.  Not only am I an amateur, but my machine kept messing up when I did the neckline.  So it's really messy and I'm sure I'll rip it out and re-do it.

Friday, August 30, 2013

Bride on a Budget - Part 3: Bridal Shows - Get the Deals


Last Wednesday, my mom, my lovely friend Jordan, and I went to the N.O.W. Magazine Bridal Show in New Orleans at Mardi Gras World.

Let me just say that I am so glad I had a lot of what I wanted in mind, including vendors.  It was really fun and a lot to look at, but I would have been way to overwhelmed to enjoy myself if I had gone in there without a clue what I was looking for.

At the same time, it would be good to go if you don't have vendors/ideas in mind yet because they give you SO many options!  If this is the case for you, just prepare yourself for lots of talking, walking, and looking.  (And cake samples, but that's an awesome thing!)

First, we walked in and took a picture together which was then loaded to my Facebook and printed for each of us. For free! It was great!

Then, we started walking around to all the different vendor tables.  Everything you could think of was there: photographers, hotels, caterers, bakers, a DJ, photo booths (that let you take photos!), etc.  There was a REALLY good live band.  There was even a parade!  It was a lot of fun!  We got there when the show started and surprisingly stayed the entire 3 hours without even getting to see everything.

Vendors had samples of foods, but they also had any information you could want from their company.
Most of them had a drawing or something you could enter.  It isn't a bad idea to do it, but just know that they will take your e-mail and send you things.  It wouldn't be a terrible idea to have a separate e-mail account just for wedding things. This makes it easier to stay organized!

Even though they use your e-mail, it's not terrible because a lot of them will include a discount code or special offer.  For example, Men's Wearhouse had a great deal going for those who attended, and a floral place in New Orleans e-mailed an offer for up to ten FREE boutonnieres for the men in the wedding!  It doesn't have any fine print about spending money otherwise, either!

I met one lady who is a wedding coordinator/planner.  That's my dream job.  She offered to let me tag along with her on the job whenever I wanted!  As soon as a I have a break from school to do that, I definitely will.  (You meet a lot of nice people at the show!)

Another cool thing they had was a lady who was doing free airbrush makeup trials.  She only did about 8 or so people the whole night, and Jordan and I were lucky enough to be one of those people.  Everyone else had to schedule a consultation for a later date in order to do that.  Nope, not us.  We got it done right then and there and never have to talk to her again if we don't want.

She was really expensive but offered packages for people who attended that really weren't so bad for a makeup artist that comes to do all your bridesmaids and your makeup.  However, Jordan and I hadn't even have airbrush make-up.  We were glad to have to trial there because we didn't have to waste any of our time with a consultation, and we were still able to figure out airbrush make-up is NOT for either one of us!  Needless to say, we won't be booking that lady.  Not necessarily because she lacks skill, but because it's just not for us.

So, my point with that is that you get to try a bunch of different things and get information all in one place instead of spending days on days doing it elsewhere and going through a lot more hassle.

Oh, and here is a terrible blurry picture of the parade that went through the building while I was getting my make-up done:

I recommend going to one if you can :)  This one was $15 a person and I feel like it was definitely worth it after all the info, eating, and experience we had.  Also, since N.O.W. Magazine put it on, we got a free copy of the new issue!  Which is like half the ticket price right there!

Going into the bridal show, the two main things I had left to find for the wedding was a DJ and make-up artist.  This made it easy for me to know where to stop and where to pass up.  Even though there was only one DJ there, I stopped at a lot of other booths because there were vendors there for things I didn't even know they had.  One example: a vendor specializing specifically in centerpieces. Not flowers.  Centerpiece decor.  I had no clue there were businesses just for that!

Anyway, this is what was great about it:
When you are trying to find vendors, you take so much time researching them, where they are, then try to contact them for pricing which is REALLY frustrating sometimes.  At the bridal show, a lot of vendors who don't have their prices on their websites had handouts with their pricing.  You get the prices, talk for a second, then they forget you (unless you want to make yourself memorable).

It's nice because you don't have to sit and talk forever and answer stupid questions just to get a basic package price.  Also, if you don't choose them, they don't hassle you because they don't know specifically who you are.  It's nice.

Side note:  I have had a lot of vendors follow-up with me after I got pricing, which is totally fine and professional, but some just get downright annoying and don't drop it.  It's great to be able to avoid that at all costs! And this helps do that :)

So the big idea is that a bridal show is a great source for information and deals in a quick and fun manner!


Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Bride on a Budget - Part 2: Doing it Yourself - Invitations

Hello :)

One of the biggest things I'm doing to cut down on the budget, like I mentioned at the end of my last post, is doing a lot of things myself.  If you aren't very crafty, I'm sure a bridesmaid or family member is- and if they are like me, they would absolutely love to help!

First of all, if you aren't already BFF with Hobby Lobby, introduce yourself immediately.  Not only do they have almost anything you could need for crafting or making wedding things, but I can guarantee you that whatever you need will at some point be on sale.  They have a sale every week and you can find the ad online saying what's what.  Sale items are usually 50% off, but sometimes 30-40% off.  If you have the time, wait for what you need to go on sale because, like I said, it will go on sale!

Current Weekly Ad

If you can't wait and your item of interest is not on sale at the moment, go to their website and get their weekly coupon.  It's always at least 40% a single item, and you get to pick the item it's used on.  Either print it out and bring it with you or pull it up on your smartphone.  As long as they see the code, they'll take it!

Current coupon

My first "big" purchase (other than little things here and there) was our wedding invitations.  I have been looking daily for weeks online at several different companies that print wedding invitations, and frankly, it's been a nightmare.  Even the cheaper websites that are also offering 20 or 30% off have been adding up to $150-$200 after adding the costs of RSVP inserts, shipping, and tax.  Why?! It's just paper!  Not only that, but I couldn't make myself take that much out of my budget for something I wasn't falling in love with.  There were some designs I thought were really pretty, but still didn't love them and neither did Clay.

I was on today (brides-get on that!) and somehow made my way to Hobby Lobby's website.  The first thing that came up was an ad saying all their "His & Her" brand wedding items (which, honestly, is basically all of their wedding items) were 50% off!  I had looked at the DIY invitations at Hobby Lobby in the store before and wasn't really impressed, but I decided to just take a look anyway to see if they had anything good... and what do you know?! They had invitations that I really liked!  They match our colors and theme, I can customize them literally however I want to, and Clay liked them!  However, I was getting nervous that I wouldn't be able to get them because the promotion was only good in stores, and I was convinced they wouldn't be in store because they weren't there before.

Current Wedding Promotion

Thank God I was wrong.  I needed three boxes and they had four!  They have several other invitations to choose from in all different colors, so if you don't mind printing them yourself, I would check it out.  Now through Sunday they are 50% off!  They cost me $35.  That's all.  That's about $150 less than it would have had I ordered them elsewhere.  It included the invitation, the invitation envelope, an enclosure card, the enclosure envelope, a cute little sleeve, and free templates online to use for easy printing.

I originally didn't want to print them myself because I wasn't finding anything decent to print on at a decent price.  But I didn't settle.  I stayed on the hunt and found something I love!  The templates online are completely set up to print perfectly on the invitations, so all I have to do is type what I want and press print.

I mean... it can't get any easier than that.

I am so excited I just want to start printing now!  But I still have to finalize a few invitation details before I can so I guess I'll have to control myself for now.  Sigh.


P.S. Hobby Lobby has a great stuff, but I'm not gonna lie- a good bit of their wedding line gets close to crossing the tacky line.  I recommend going and hunting through what they do have, because there are some gems!  And there are several awesome things they have to offer outside of the wedding line that you can use for wedding crafting!

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Bride on a Budget - Part 1: Use Your Resources

Hey y'all!

As you know, I am currently planning a wedding.  I took the first few months of our engagement to focus on school.  Now that I have a little break between the summer and fall semesters, I am constantly making lists, e-mailing and calling for quotes, etc.  As I go along and learn my lessons, I'll post the major ones on here.  I'll also review our vendors after the big day.

The budget has been set and I think it's great.  At least for me it is.  I know a lot of people that would easily dish out 50 grand of their family's money on a single day, but that's just not me.  Of course I have my own expectations and dreams, but I'm doing everything I can to stay under our budget.  After all, as long as I marry my best friend that night, I don't care about anything else that may go wrong or not measure up to someone else's standards.

I still have a while to go in the planning process, but I already have a mega tip for other brides:
Use. Your. Resources.

I am fortunate enough to be a part of a family with a lot of people in different skill sets and professions, and so is Clay.  Don't be scared to ask!  If you know someone with something you could borrow, or someone that can hook you up with a great deal, TAKE IT!  If anyone involved in the wedding knows someone that can get them a good deal, usually they can get that deal for you as well.  Most people would love to be a part of your big day, and if they want a little compensation, I promise they will tell you.  The best part is, most won't ask for anything.  What's the worse they can do? Say no?  If so, just move on to your other options!  It's not being a free-loader, and being on a budget.

For example, there is a florist in the family that can get us wholesale flowers.  We are most definitely going to do that.  Even if it means making my own bouquets and centerpieces.  I would actually LOVE to do that, anyway :)

Another example: the venue we are using is a private barn.  My dad is a contractor.  The barn needs minor fixing up.  Viola!  Perfect trade off.

[Those are just two of the awesome things we're catching a break on.]

Another thing I've learned- don't instantly jump on a "good deal" you see advertised.  I have come across two photo booth companies advertising great pricing, which are really great compared to their normal rates. However, I also researched other companies in the area offering the same service who have better quality and offer more with their package.  They are about $100 more expensive than the "deal rate" the other companies have, but I'd be getting more bang for my buck by paying the $100 more.

So, I guess my next tip would be to do a lot of research.

Use yourself as a resource.  Wedding planners usually just do the researching for you (which, yeah, is nice to not have to do).  Some even just pull from a book of vendors they always have and don't look for any deals going on with other vendors that you could benefit from.  I didn't even consider hiring a wedding planner because my dream is to be a planner and I'd rather do it all myself.

But if you are looking to hire someone, hire me ;)


Tuesday, May 14, 2013

New Beginnings!


I don't want to get too specific on a public blog about this, but I will say,


For several reasons.

Also, I just wrapped up my first semester of Elementary Education methods, and my junior year of college.  For the semester, I earned a 4.0 in my major, and a 3.8 overall *got a "B" Geology lab...)! I was really hoping for a 4.0 and it's a little disappointing to be off by one letter grade in one class, but seeing I was working at least 25 hours while taking on 19 hours (6 classes) of school each week, I'm satisfied with a 3.8.


Wedding planning is going a little slow... I am still working at my old job while training for my new one, so once I go down to one job and before I start summer school, we will probably get a lot more done.

We did do something I've been utterly dreading... the guest list.  At least a preliminary.

Our engagements photographer (Carolynn Seibert) posted some of our photos on Facebook and on her blog, so I should have the disc of all of them soon!  Then I can look into Save-the-Dates and getting some prints.  We can't wait!  But it's a little early to send Save-the-Dates, and we have to finalize the guest list first. Barf.

Well, that's all for now I guess.

Till next time...


Saturday, April 13, 2013

Wedding planning excitement

Well, hello!

Between school and work, as always, I don't have much time for other things. I know for some people wedding planning is stressful, and maybe I'll get to that point farther down the road {fingers crossed I don't}, but right now it's an outlet for me.  I love thinking of ideas and planning! Maybe I should go into the business...

I haven't gotten very far with most of it, but we didn't even hit the one-year-away mark until yesterday and I have gotten some of the major things done, so I feel okay about it. However, the past two months and one day since Clay proposed have gone by incredibly fast.

Our venue and date have been picked! We will be getting married on April 12, 2014 at my PaPa Eddie's farm.

I've started our wedding website. But I need to work on it a little more with Clay before I release it :)

We've gotten to celebrate our engagement with some friends, and soon we will be able to do so with our very close families.

A couple of weeks ago, I picked out and purchased my wedding dress.  All I'm gonna say is, it's perfect for me.

I was very fortunate to win an engagement shoot giveaway from Carolynn Seibert! Pictures are SO expensive.  This is such a blessing for us! We will be having the shoot next weekend. And, luckily, I love Carolynn's work and plan to have her shoot my bridals and our wedding as well.

I was also fortunate to win a $75 gift certificate to a wedding accessory webstore.  They happen to have a garter set that matches my dress pretty perfectly. Another great blessing!  The less money I have to spend, the better.

I think I have finally decided on my bridal party, and I can't wait to ask these lovely ladies to stand by me on our wedding day! Clay has chosen his groomsmen as well. All the guys and two girls don't know yet :) The decision was NOT easy.

Until next time,

Monday, April 8, 2013

You probably know this by now...


While celebrating our birthdays with our parents in Las Vegas, my wonderful boyfriend fiancé proposed!

When: Mardi Gras day [February 12]
Where: at the Venetian
How: I was super excited to go on a romantic gondola ride at the Venetian, an Italy themed hotel/casino, being Sicilian and all.  Amidst the romantic songs being sung by the boat driver, and kissing under bridges for good luck, Clay popped the question! Our parents were standing on one of the bridges over the canal and got to see it all.  It was really nice to share that moment with the people who really made it possible.

We are so so very excited!!! 
[click pictures to make them larger]

Popping the question
Right after

While in Vegas, we stayed at the New York New York hotel and casino.  It was really nice! We got a free upgrade since it was my birthday.  It was set up like the streets of New York.  It also had a pretty fun roller coaster, too!  We walked around through a lot of the casinos, and although some were super fancy, I think New York New York was definitely one of my favorites.

 New York New York
Our room- about half of it

We went to several amazing places, but one cool thing we did was go to the pawn shop that is featured on Pawn Stars.  You have to wait in line to get in because it is so small and so many people want to go, but we didn't have to wait long.

You can go in for free, or pay to get a "VIP backstage tour where you might get to see one of the stars," so we opted for the free thing.  Apparently you only get to see the stars if they happened to be filming or just finished filming. 

Lucky for us, they had recently wrapped up filming, and we got to see Chumlee! We got there a little too late for the actual meet and greet, where you had to buy something to do it, but after he stood behind the counter and if you felt like trampling over the psychopaths, you could talk to him or whatever.


At the end of the trip, Clay and I had an amazing dinner at this super fancy restaurant at the Eiffel Tower.  We got to sit window-side and watch the Bellagio fountain show from our table.  Unfortunately, the pictures are on Clay's phone, so I don't have any to share right now! But it was absolutely fantastic.

Like I said, we went to so many awesome places, too many to share! But for fun, here's a final picture from the Riviera: