Friday, April 16, 2010


Yesterday, Apartment Therapy featured this fantastic 1959 trailer as part of their Small, Cool 2010 Home Contest. And I have to say....I'm in LOVE.

I'm obsessed with the hues of blue and gray with little pops of texture (like their zebra print storage ottomans) and I have a crush on their dark wood furniture. The whole thing looks relaxing, while still being modern and fun.

Oh, and did I mention how light and airy it is??? Speaking of lights, check out the sweet LED lighting overhead.

Love, LOVE the farmhouse sink. And how the wood flooring throughout make everything look seamless and larger.

My favorite thing here? I love the dark grey accent wall. I also really like the dresser/sink combo you can see through the door there into their bathroom. Dark wood always looks so sophisticated to me.

The use of mirrors in this space is great. Keeps everything nice and light and makes things look larger. Can you believe this home is only 360 square feet????

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Pretty Green

Green is quickly becoming one of my favorite colors. I love the freshness it brings to mind and all of the other color combos you can create with it.

Target has a boxed set of invites as shown below that would be great for any number of weddings. They would work well for a garden or vintage theme. They would also be really neat as non traditional birthday party or cookout invitations. In person they are just as nice. They cream paper is reasonably thick and the dandelions imprinted upon it are sort of embossed into it so they have a letterpress feel to them.

I love these touches of green and white nestled amongst these branches. This would also make a really easy DIY project. You could gather your own tree branches, spray paint them your preferred color, and add tissue paper (or real, of course) flowers, and then cluster them in a large vase or container.

This is another super easy green idea. You could use this as a wedding centerpiece, cookout or party centerpiece, or as part of your regular dining room tablescape. I love this idea for a wedding. You could add a little sign or notecard at the bottom of the table encouraging guests to take an apple.

These limes make cheap, creative place cards as seen at real simple. Easy!!

I am kind of in love with these green shoes. There is just something so effortless and organic about them that just calls out to me. I can't explain it. But I can definitely think of more than a couple of my outfits that would benefit from a such a cheerful pop of color.

 {image found at}

Purple is my favorite color. Look how well it matches up with fresh, crisp green. The lime accents bring the darker, more formal purples back into spring while looking fresh and modern rather than Easter eggish.


Okay really, is there ANYTHING more fun and green than a flirty margarita with fresh squeezed lime??

Mellow Yellow

It’s that time of year again! Everything is coming back to life! Trees are green, the sky is blue, everything else is….yellow! Yep. More than 50 million Americans suffer from allergies. While the world is looking pretty and tempting us to come out and play, many of us are stuck inside, slaves to our kleenex.

Did you know that popular allergy medications like Claritin, Allegra, and Singular have some surprising side effects? Take a look at reviews done by actual patients on about some of these medications. There seem to be a large number of people reporting to have experienced depression, anxiety, irritability, moodiness, and even nightmares. I can honestly say that I was more depressed than is usual for me, as well as more easily agitated in general while taking Claritin D. To me it’s kind of scary that a medicine can just take over your psyche like that.

Within the past few months I’ve become more involved in trying to clean up and “Green” up my life. I’ve eliminated toxic household cleaners for more eco friendly Method and Mrs. Meyer’s products, started using an air purifier, and have continuously sought out ways to take the toxins out of my life. So naturally (pun intended), I started looking for some relief that did not contain nasty mind altering chemicals.

Recently I began taking Quercetin. It’s an antioxidant found in apple peels and onions. Taken in theraputic amounts, it has been found to be a great natural antihistamine. It is also used in treatment of Cancer patients and for prostate health issues. The supplement I use contains Bromelain. Bromelain comes from pineapples and aids absorption.

After two yellow, pollen infused weeks, I can say with conviction that I LOVE Quercetin. It has helped me feel so much better that I almost feel as though I don’t have allergies. I am also not experiencing any adverse side effects and am just as happy as can be that I’m not adding anything funky to my system.
My allergy symptoms are about ninety five percent better than what they were last year at this time. I still sneeze every once in a while, and some nights my eyes will itch, but the vast majority of the time I’m symptom free and loving it.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

A Great Frame of Mind

I have a tendency to buy things I see for a really good deals without thinking them through 100 percent (a small flaw in an otherwise perfect person, I know...) So when I purchased two great frames from Ross, let's just say I wasn't EXACTLY sure what I was going to be doing with them.
Well, once I got them home, I noticed a particularly bare spot above our bed that would be a nice home for the twin frames. I hung them up to see how they would look, and I'm ashamed to admit that they hung there empty like that for more than a couple of weeks! 

I had a little bit of a dilemma in deciding what to frame in them. I could do black and white art. Such is my thing you know. I love the timeless feel it lends to any space. But after searching for the right print or photo to house beneath the glass, I decided I would have to take an alternative route. 

My first idea was to go out and find a beautiful roll of wrapping paper to frame. Cheap, pretty, and quick. 

Then I thought about getting scrapbook paper and creating really the same type of feel as the wrapping paper would provide. I went to Joann's and found these totally adorable papers that I would love to have hanging above my bed.

Another idea I had (which logically came about because I was in JOANN'S), was to frame some fabric. JoAnn's sells these little scraps of fabric meant for quilitng. They come in different sizes. The set I purchased had four pieces of 18x21 inch fabric, which was exactly what I needed to fill out my frame.

I picked a really cute black and white contrasting pattern and cut it to fit the frames. I ironed the pieces with some heavy starch, popped them into the frames, and hung them back up. Really easy. Anyone could do it. And it could work for any space needing some cheap art.

Other ideas I pondered (and may switch to if I tire of the fabric!) were writing quotes or love letters on thick paper and framing them. A similar idea involved using a typewriter to type out said quotes and love letters. 

I also thought it would be cute to save some of my favorite greeting cards by making a collage out of my favorites and throwing them behind the glass. I hate throwing away a card someone lovingly gifted me, but I also hate clutter and how things just end up piling up and you never get to look at them.

Another thing I thought about was framing leaves or feathers. Something natural and organic to add some texture to the room. Peacock feathers would be quite stunning against the white mats. 

The moral of the story here is that anything really goes when you're thinking of things to frame. You can really go as far as your creativity will take you. Bonus points if what you framed is something sentimental.

Catering, and The Quest to Find It

I've read on a lot of bridal sites that you should not mention you are planning a wedding when you call caterers. I can't imagine personally doing that. It seems totally deceitful and just completely unprofessional. So, not being a millionaire myself (and not even really a "thousandaire"), and considering we ARE paying for 90 percent of our own wedding as a young couple just starting out in life, I'm desperate for quality, cheap catering.
(image courtesy of Project Wedding)

Since I knew catering was going to be our biggest expense, I have literally been looking since we were first engaged back in 2008. At first, my ideal wedding budget was around 5000 dollars. 1000-1500 of that I had alotted for catering. In my mind, I was hoping to spend around ten to fifteen bucks per person for a buffet style dinner.

Ha. I was in for a huge surprise. Most caterers around here are charging at the very, very least in the twenties for food, and then even more for service, tax, rentals, etc. And then on top of that we still have a cake to purchase and will need to provide our own alcohol. YIKES!

So my budget was extremely unrealistc. That's okay. At least we had a looong engagement to save right? When our budget doubled to right under ten grand, I realized that catering was still going to be incredibly expensive and eat up at least forty percent of my overall budget. I do not want to start my marriage out in debted to credit card companies. Been there, done that.

The biggest lesson I've learned in shopping for a caterer is really be creative...and be flexible. If you are willing to look at alternative routes, you can save a ton of money. For example, I got a quote from Fazolis (a local italian fast food spot) for a pasta buffet with salad, drinks, and their freaking delicious breadsticks for 17 bucks a person including service! How sweet is that? Once you throw in rentals it would probably be a little more, but you could have a delicious italian feast for 100 guests for about 2500 dollars (after rentals).

I also heard from a few caterers that unlike what I've heard on wedding sites like and, heavy hors doeurves  are NOT cheaper due to the fact that you need a lot more and they are much more labor intensive. That's one reason I reluctantly decided against them. As much as I really love the cocktail party vibe, I knew I could get more for our money with a buffet dinner.

Another thing to consider when you're thinking about your catering budget, is your rental budget. Is it important for you to have all china? Or is the types of food served more important? Most caterers include a high quality plastic plate within their quote. If this is okay with you, you can save five or six hundred dollars just on renting china! I ended up having to add about a thousand into my budget for random rentals. Since I'm having an outdoor ceremony, chairs will actually eat up a good amount of that. If your venue price is lowish like mine, you could always roll chair rental into that.

My last catering tip (for now) is to always, ALWAYS ask for a discount. Are you military? A teacher? Work for an employer that uses the caterer on a regular basis? Having an off season or mid-day wedding? Ask if they can cut you any deals. It doesn't cost you anything to ask, and the worst you can hear is no.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Some Humpday Shoe Porn

The following are some of my top wedding shoe picks at this time.

This one I found on It retails for about 89.95 with free shipping. The name of it is Luichiny Gettin Hitched. Isn't that cute? I love the bow, but worry the straps would actually start to rub my feet after a while.

Overstock has these sandals for $67.29 with 2.95 shipping. They look so delicate and light! I can definitely see myself wearing them, although the color might actually be a little too pinkish.
I really like these Jessica Simpson peep toe sling backs I found at Nordstrom. They're the perfect shade of purple and seem to be a good height as well.
So far I'm having a hard time coming up with any others that I totally love. If you see any, let me know!

Friday, February 5, 2010

Snifftastic Soy

I wrote about how much I love Mrs. Meyer's eco friendly, super good smelling cleaning products. Along that same line of trying to detox our home and make our airways a little fresher, I also made a vow to stop using regular wax candles. You know that nasty ring of soot that gets on the jar of the candle? Well imagine that in your lungs, or your pet's, or even your child!
Soy candles are a healthier way to get your place smelling really good without all of the soot and added chemicals floating around in the air. You can pretty much get them anywhere, including Walmart, Target, and sometimes places like TJ Maxx and Ross. Method has a few really adorable candles in a range of scents. My love Mrs. Meyer also has a couple. But probably my favorite scent right now is made by Febreeze.

Their Cranberry Pear candle is actually a "soy blend". So it's not really the "ideal" candle, but I AM in a transition mode after all. This particular candle burns pretty clean, has a sweet jar that is worth saving to keep cotton balls, change, or anything else in after you're done, and actually burned for longer than the 40 hours stated on the package. At ten dollars it is a steal! Especially if you google for any coupons before you buy.

Can I Get Your Autograph?

One of the things I really want to DIY is my guestbook. I just haven't fully decided what format it will take.

One option I love is a jar of "Well wishes" cards as seen at Martha Stewart's wedding site. I like the idea of having guests jot down their notes for us and throwing them into a jar similar to this one
(I can't remember where this picture is from so please let me know if it's yours so I can give you credit!)

or even a cool white ceramic planter that we could paint our initals on.

Another thing I've thought about a lot is a nice big framed poster mat that folks could sign and even draw pictures if they wanted to. Like this one from Target.While the 59.99 dollar price point is definitely a little much for this, I think it's cute and has some definite DIY possibilities!

One of my all time favorite blogs showcased their awesome backyard wedding celebration. They had a kick ass photo booth at the reception for their friends and family to use and had tons of adorable photo strips to show off. A photo booth is a little out of my budget, but I was thinking about getting a classic polaroid camera and asking folks to write a note on their photo for us to keep.

I love love LOVE this idea. It's also from Martha Stewart Weddings. Reminiscent of card catalogs and the sweet smell of literature, this one conjures up memories of my first love....the library.

I really love all these ideas. It sucks I can't use all of them! I haven't quite figured out which one will work best for us yet so stay tuned to see what we pick!

I Heart Mrs. Meyers!

I do! I really do!

I started using her Lemon Verbena All Purpose Cleaner a few months ago. I generally dilute it a little and use it to clean my countertops, floors, garbage can, bathroom sink, walls, etc.
I got mine at Target and spent about eight dollars on a 32 ounce bottle. I spent another two dollars on a squirt bottle to put a diluted solution of it in for convenient clean ups. In the past maybe five months or so, I haven't even used half of the 32 ounce bottle. When you consider I would have probably used a thing or two or Lysol all purpose cleaner by now, I would say not only is it an eco win, it's also a cost win!

I love the lemon verbena scent so much, I bought the hand soap

And the dish soap. Which gets dishes surprisingly CLEANER than the other chemical ridden type ever did.

I also recently scored these Mrs. Meyer's dryer sheets in Baby Blossom from TJ Maxx for three dollars! They make my clothes so soft and fluffy that I don't know how I wore clothes without them. And the scent is so spectacular I find myself doing more laundry.

If you haven't tried these products (or any other eco friendly ones) you MUST! I've noticed a significant change in the air in my home as well as just our general well being. Headaches are at an all time low. And I feel great taking a deep breath and knowing there are less shady chemicals to breathe in.

You can buy Mrs. Meyer's products at Target, Bed Bath and Beyond, and other fine retailers near you!

My Dress

I think a lot of people think they need to spend a ton of money to get a beautiful wedding dress. Our expectations are that we should feel some kind of elation, maybe cry, when we find "the" dress. I disagree. I believe you can wear a beautiful gown, spend a smallish amount on it, and be happy about the purchase. I don't believe in "Say Yes to the Dress" type freak outs when you try on "THE" one.

I had been dress shopping for a while. Originally we were supposed to be married LAST September. But things happened (namely a car accident that depleted my savings) and we meant to get married this year. Unfortunately, (or fortunately??) our wedding venue was booked for this year. Again we had to push back our date! We were pretty much set on the venue so it wasn't like it was a difficult decision to push it back a few more months. Af first I thought it might be cute to wait until September again and do it on 9/10/11, but that was a little too long for us. After all, our engagement has already doubled the length it was supposed to be.

Anyway, the first time I went dress shopping, I went to good ole David's Bridal. They were advertising their famous 99 dollar dress sale. Honestly? A load of false advertising. When you get there, they may have one or two dresses for that price point (if any) in your size for you to try. The rest of the dresses (that I tried at least) ran about 50 dollars off. Which wasn't too bad, but for all of the hype I would have expected something a little better.

This one really was pretty. But it only had the tiniest sweep train and I kind of felt like it was not well proportioned for a petite chick like myself.
I loved LOVED loved the back of this one. I love a dramatic back. I can't help it.

This one was a real contender. The chiffon material was light and romantic. This picture really does not do this dress justice. Only issue was I wouldn't be able to try on a 2 petite unless I bought it and ordered it

I wasn't really able to make a committment to any of these dresses, so I went home to think it over a little bit. None of them really even popped back into my mind over the weekend so I knew I hadn't found anything yet.

Fast forward a couple weeks later and I'm making an appointment at Blush Bridal Consignment Boutique in Port Warwick. My mom and I get there and immediately we love it. It’s a totally serene atmosphere. Nothing like the hectic bridal extravaganza that is David’s. Holly sells new and gently used accessories, bridesmaid dresses, and of course, wedding gowns.

The experience there was just…awesome. My mom and I picked out a few dresses for me to try on…Designer dresses. Like Mori Lee, Maggie Soterro, etc. There is nothing cheap and polyestery about the dresses I tried on at Blush. Not at all.

The first one I tried on was a discontinued Maggie Sotterro.

It looks something like this.

Immediately I loved the texture of the smooth satin and the delicate beading. I’m not a fan of beads and foo foo type girly stuff but I did like the subtlety of the clear beads and crystals that shimmered delicately in the light.

The most interesting thing about this particular dress was the fact that it was already the perfect length (Bride who consigned it must have been a fellow midget) and had a bustle! So I wouldn’t have to pay for any alterations.

At. All.

Can you imagine? I was pretty much sold when I figured that out. I am now the proud owner of a thousand dollar Maggie Sottero dress. And I only spent 500! Total!

Friday, January 22, 2010

Hampton Roads Venues for Budget Brides

I'm a budget bride. And proud of it.

I'm also sort of picky. I have a fresh, modern taste and a keen visual eye. I won't settle for just anything for my wedding, and you shouldn't either. The following post is a list of venues that my fiance and I have checked out over the course of our adventures in wedding planning. They are extremely budget conscious and they tend to have a nearby or attached ceremony site. I'm not a church person so we looked for alternatives to your standard church wedding, hotel reception. That's just not who we are. But even if you are a church wedding type of gal, some of these venues just might speak to you for your reception!

Yorktown Freight Shed

This is a popular Yorktown venue that features gorgeous views of the York River, fantastic photo opportunities, and a great sense of history. The Freight Shed was built in 1935 and renovated in 2005. There is a sweet tent out behind the venue that's included in your rental from April to October! Dates book up really fast here so I would definitely try to reserve it as quickly as you can.

Williamsburg Community Building

When I say community building, you probably think "Eh, I guess that would be affordable, but is it NICE?". It's actually AMAZING, not just nice. The building is right in the heart of Williamsburg so it's perfect for someone with a William and Mary Chapel ceremony or another colonial outdoor wedding. You can rent all or part of the building from the city of Williamsburg. It opens up to be quite large! It's very open, bright and spacious and the hardwood floors are absolutely lovely. I really don't think you can go wrong with this one.

2007 Legacy Hall

Located right in the desirable neighborhood of Williamsburg's New Town, Legacy Hall is another county owned facility (noticing a trend here?). It's got two adjoining meeting rooms that you can rent separately if you're having a more intimate affair or together if you are hosting a larger group.