Sunday, December 26, 2010

DIY: Unity Candle

Merry Christmas to you all! I hope you all had a wonderful and not TOO busy holiday weekend! My whole month has been insane, however, after the first of the year, things should slow down - basically because I am going to make them. :) I have a lot of projects that I want to get completed during the cold, dreary mid-west winter and I need to start clearing my schedule for them.

Which takes me to the start of my first REAL DIY wedding project. (I know I talked about my first DIY project being the wedding binder/bible, but this is the first project that will actually be used for the wedding.)

The unity candle! Here is my inspiration:

No idea who Sara and Justin are, but I like what they did with their unity candle.

I started with our GIANT pillar candle from IKEA and measured out a "template" where a purple backer and our wedding monogram will go (don't mind my mom cooking Christmas dinner in the background or the bowl of chex mix I was munching on...)

Then I started measuring out where the crystals will go with a ruler:

To mark where the crystals would go, I made a little divot with a pencil and then went back and made a clearer mark with a Sharpie:

Making the divots first and following with a Sharpie allowed me to adjust the pattern if I needed to. The crystals I purchased are pretty good sized and will have no problem covering the black dots all over the candle.  At about this time I figured out that using a cloth measuring strip on a round candle is much easier than a hard ruler:

This is as far as I got on Christmas. Shortly after this shot, my mom served an awesome meal of prime rib, party potatoes, green bean casserole and roles. Then we all hopped in the car and went and saw the new Foeker's (did I spell that right?) movie - that series is one series of movies that I would probably still go and see even when they're on the 7th installment. Still funny as ever! Hopefully, I will get the candle finished on one of my days off over the next week and I can show you the finished results. 

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Adorama is Amazing

How was everyone's Tuesday? Isn't business suppose to slow down for most offices during the holidays? Apparently we didn't get that memo because I have been insanely busy since right before Thanksgiving. It is making the holidays come insanely fast! Still have a few more presents to buy yet... :/

Tonight, after stopping by UPS to pick up a Christmas present for my mom, I raced home because I knew my photobooks I created through Adorama for our engagemnet pictures were waiting for me. After giving both of my fur-babies hugs and kisses for the day, I ripped into the packaging.

Be still my heart.

Our. Books. Are. Amazing.

The cover is extremely sturdy and has a nice metallic sheen to it. When I say it is sturdy, I mean it reminds me a of a text book cover - very durable. (Not sure if it would stand up to a puppy and I am hoping we don't find that out...)

The binding is amazing - I love how thick it is and that the cover continues around the back.

The pages are nice and thick. Not as thick as a flush-mount book, but definitely more than a glossy paper or even card stock. The finish on the pages is awesome as well - very nice, clean finish. 

My favorite part is the lay flat pages... I HEART full page spreads. I have multiple spreads like these throughout the book. 

The Adorama software is also extremely easy to figure out and for those who have no layout skills, there are plenty of templates to choose from. Adorama also offers many different options in terms of backgrounds and extra stickers and frames, which will be cute for a baby book... Someday. Maybe a fur-baby book. Hm....

In total, I bought a 10 x 10  album for ourselves and as well as two 6 x 6 books - one for each set of parents. I was a little nervous that the 6 x 6 books were going to be too small for the parents, but they turned out to be the perfect size for them. For all three books and for express two-day shipping (because I am impatient) I paid $129 - not too bad!

So - for those of you who do not know what they're going to do with their engagement or wedding pictures, I HIGHLY recommend Adorama - you will not be disappointed. If you want to view our full album, just click here. 

Friday, December 10, 2010


CSN stores contacted me a few weeks ago and asked if I would either like to review a product of theirs or giveaway a gift certificate - I of course wanted to reward my readers with a gift certificate! So - I have a $35 to ANY of CSN's over 200 online stores!

CSN stores sell everything from luggage sets to cookware. I don't know about you guys, but I love online shopping - especially for wedding things. There is nothing better than sitting on the couch in your sweats and slippers looking at dresses, jewelry, shoes and honeymoons! CSN stores have a lot of great things for your new house or maybe even for bridesmaids or groomsmen gifts!

All you need to do to be entered in the giveaway is to leave a comment telling me what topics you want me to cover. More posts about getting married as an interfaith couple in the Catholic church? More DIY? More about what to look for in vendors? You tell me!

Contest ends a week from today... So ready, set, post!

I'm Back!

So - you can see, I didn't get the blog migrated to WordPress. I tried though. Oh how I tried. I eventually figured out that I like the simplicity of Blogger better and staid put.

Then life kicked in. After Thanksgiving, I had to travel to this amazing resort in Palm Springs, CA for a work function:

Yea, I know, poor me. I got to leave the mid-west at the end of November and go to a place where waterfalls don't freeze after October. I promise though, it was all work and no play - at least the scenery was nice!

Once I arrived back, I hosted a fundraiser for a professional non-profit group I am apart of and the next night we brought home this little cutie!!!

Yep, we decided our lives were chaotic enough and added a 6 (now 7) week old puppy to our mixture of a 16 month old chocolate lab and 18  month old cat. Her name is Josie and she is my beagle baby and our Christmas present for each other. 

We brought Josie home last Friday, had a wedding on Saturday and recovered from the wedding on Sunday. Then Bryan had to go to Colorado for work for the entire week, leaving me at home with a cold, a tiny puppy, a big puppy who just wants to play with the little puppy and a cat who thinks the puppy is prey. Not to mention that the puppy is like a baby and wakes up multiple times a night and feels a need to make sure everyone else in the house is awake too. 

It was a long week three weeks. 

To reward you all for your patience, I am going to put up another post right after this with my first giveaway!

Do any of you guys have furbabies? Do you treat them like kids like I do? I like knowing that I am not the only crazy dog lady out there. 

Monday, November 22, 2010

Pardon Me for a Minute...

Hey, hey! Yea for a short work week!!!

I hope everyone had a good weekend, I sure did. Lots of rest as I haven't been feeling the best, but I also managed to squeeze in Bryan's birthday dinner as well as some major work on our engagement picture album - which I should hopefully be showing you by the end of the week!

Since this week is a short week, I am planning on doing some major work on the blog frontier - I'm migrating everything to WordPress! As soon as the link is ready, I will be sure to update you all. In honor of the migration, I am going to have the CCB's very first GIVEAWAY!!! Yep, I love free stuff and I am sure you do too! Should be ready by Sunday at the latest, so stay tuned...

So, pardon me for a couple of days while I new and improve everything - it will all be worth the wait!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

There Goes My Chance At Queen...

Did anyone else have a crush on him when they were younger?

I did.

(Sigh) There goes my chance at queen… Good thing I found my prince a long time ago.

Good thing I found my prince already. :)

Is anyone else obsessed with the Royal family? I don’t know why, but they fascinate me… Now that William and Kate have officially announced their engagement, I am even more intrigued!!! Earlier this year I was fixated with the Chelsea Clinton wedding and even got my veil inspiration from her. Now I am dying to see what colors Kate picks, what type of dress she chooses, what their first song will be - knowing everything they do will be gorgeous and classic.

You gotta respect this chick

– she waited eight years for a ring!!! I was getting antsy at the one year mark! (Patience is not a word that is commonly associated with me.)

On another coincidental note, my parents got married the same year as Diana and Charles. Now Bryan and I will get married the same year as Kate and William… Not sure that actually means anything expect that I should find a hobby other than stalking celebrities online. 

Thursday, November 11, 2010

9.5 Months to Go...

Is this week going fast for anyone else? Loving it!

Does anyone else use’s checklist to make sure you’re on schedule to have a fabulous wedding? I actually spent a lot of time researching digital checklists and theirs is by far the most comprehensive. I actually do not find that helpful, aside from the checklist of course.

I have printed myself two copies of the checklist – one for work so I can mull over it during lunch about once a week and one for the wedding bible. While I was looking it over, I discovered that as of Thanksgiving weekend, we will be in the 6 - 8 month bracket! Yikes! I feel like after Christmas, time is going to fly. 

Luckily for me, I have roughly half of the 6 -8 month tasks completed already – yea for being an over-achiever! 

But this is what I do not have done yet:
  • Get deposit to our florists – we do have a florist picked out though.
  • Get an idea of ceremony musicians and the type of music we want played… NO clue on this one. I was hoping to have someone that we know do the music, but I didn’t realize all of our friends and family are musically challenged… So this one could be difficult.
  • Block hotel rooms for guests – this one is half done, I have rooms at one hotel, but need to block a few more at another.
  • Fill out your wedding registry – we’ll do this closer to 6 months I think…
  • Order and send out save-the-dates… Need to do a lot of work on this one because I am doing them myself, but I have a great idea for it!
  • Book ceremony musicians – probably around 6 months.
  • Start planning rehearsal dinner… We have an idea of what we want to do, but nothing definite yet.
  •  Finalize invitation wording… The wording of the actual invitation is done, but the cards associated with them are not…
  • Order wedding invitations and announcements – will do this around the 6 month mark.

Not too terrible of a list – what about you guys? Do you have lots to do for where you are at in your planning or are you way ahead of the game? 

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

You Know You Want to See More...


Sorry, couldn't contain myself any longer. Our photographers emailed me last week and told me they had chosen OUR engagement pictures to put on their blog!

I have a dirty little secret: I've always wanted to be blogged about. Not me blogging about my life, someone else thinking that my life is worth blogging about.

So you can imagine how excited I was when I found out we were going to be featured on their blog... I was even more excited when I figured out this would give me readers a chance to view ALL of our E-pics without my painfully uploading each high-res file.

Here is the link to their blog.

And one more picture for you. (The last one, I promise.)

Monday, November 8, 2010

My Good Deed for the Day

I must say, this Monday was easier than other Mondays have been as of late. I think the extra hour of sleep Saturday night combined with the fact that the sun was actually half way up when my alarm went off was a huge help. J

Today I was at Target buying a baby gift for my matron of honor (she’s due in about 6 weeks!!!) I was browsing the baby gift wrap and this lady randomly came up to me and asked if I knew if there was a wedding section. (No, I was not wearing a red shirt OR khakis.) As she started to walk away she mumbled something about unity candle. I asked her if she had tried Michaels or Hobby Lobby, she said she had and that she didn’t like any of their stuff. We started chatting and I said that I was planning on making mine.

She was intrigued.

I told her I got a pillar candle and two candlesticks and the holders from Ikea like these:

Mind you, I know I am going to decorate these myself, but at this point in my day, I was not exactly sure HOW I was going to decorate them. I rattled off some ideas that she could do.

I think this lady fell in love with me in the three minutes I was talking to her.

I told her some of the other things I was planning and she looked totally amazed. I mean honestly, doesn’t every bride make most of their stuff?


Anyway, I felt pretty good about myself after that. Hopefully I helped her see that you don’t have to buy everything out of the box. I love when I go to weddings and you can just TELL how much time the bride and groom (…mostly the bride…) has spent on all the details. You can really see their personalities come through.

Help give me some more ideas, what are you doing to help bring your personalities into your wedding and reception? 

Wednesday, November 3, 2010


As you read in a previous post about our cake topper, we have been planning on doing a dessert bar for our wedding in lieu of a giant cake. My reasons for this is I wanted to be different (or difficult as some associated with the planning process may say) but I also just feel like people don’t really eat cake anymore at wedding receptions. I know I rarely do. But if they have something cool like cookies or cheesecake, I’m all over it!

So, it was settled. We would do a dessert bar and our mom’s friends were going to help bake the goodies to help save on costs… Until reality set in. I started thinking about how difficult it was going to be to coordinate 9 different people baking, getting it all arranged nicely and keeping it fresh.

Then I discovered The Bite-Sized Bakery.

 And my world was complete.

These amazing ladies have started a bakery for just cakeballs! Don’t know what cakeballs are? Let me tell you. To make cakeballs you bake a cake, then take the cake and crumble it into a bowl. Mix the cake with some sort of filling like cream cheese, make into balls, dip in almond bark and enjoy! (Check out Bakerella to see some fantastic cakeballs.)

We met up with one of the gals from Bite Sized Bakery last Sunday to sample a few of these treats, and we were not disappointed. We sampled chocolate raspberry, peanut butter chocolate, lemon, birthday cake, chocolate and spice cake. The ladies kept telling us that we would only need to figure two/person and I was a bit skeptical of that number. I looked at the size of them and was thinking “I could dominate 15 of these EASILY!” Wow, was I wrong. These little babies are dense and filling, if I were attending a wedding, I would probably just stop at one. (I am usually too distracted by cocktails to bother with dessert though…)

The gal we met with had some awesome ideas for set up and they will be coming by the reception hall the day of the big shin-dig to set it all up for us. No dessert-related stress for this girl!

So tell me – what are you guys doing for dessert? A big ol’ cake? Cheesecake? Candy bar? 

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

The Rest of the E-Pics

The wait is over! Our photographers emailed us a link today with the rest of our engagement pictures - TOTALLY worth the wait. Here are a few of my favs. :) Enjoy!

Monday, October 25, 2010

E-Pics Photobook

When we were getting ready for our engagement pictures, I started thinking about what I wanted to do with the pictures when we got them. Our current house is not the biggest house and therefore we do not have a ton of wall space to work with as well as limited table space on which we could set our engagement pictures. I am also not a big fan of pictures in bedrooms because I once read that you are not supposed to put pictures in bed rooms because it counteracts the “calming” effect of the room… I am not sure how calming a room with laundry thrown everywhere can be, but for some reason, that tidbit has stuck with me.

Then the thought of a photobook came to mind. I have a couple of friends who frequently put together photobooks for events that happen throughout the year. One uses a service called Blurb and another uses Snapfish. I looked into both of these services and was going back and forth between the two when I came across this post on Wedding Bee today.

After reading that, I looked at Adorama. I clicked around their website a little and discovered that uploading and placing the pictures was a breeze. I also liked the layouts they had available as well as the fact that you can very easily create your own. Adorama is a bit pricier than say Snapfish, but I am hoping this translates into better quality.

So, as soon as our engagement picture proofs come in, you can tell what my next project will be! BTW – yes, I have been running to the mailbox every day to see if they’ve arrived. It’s worse than when you were a little kid expecting birthday cards!!! 

Friday, October 22, 2010

It's HERE!!!!

My dress that is! It came in on Wednesday and was delivered to my parent's house. I of course rushed right home from work, straight over to their house to try it on. I was so nervous it wouldn't fit! When the measured me at the bridal shop, I measured a 4 in the bust, a 4 in the waist and an 8 in the hips (yes, I am shaped like a boy!) The dress lady tried talking me into a 4, but I wear a 6 in pants, so I knew there was no way. I ended up getting a 6 and then started second guessing myself, thinking that I should have ordered an 8 since that was the biggest I measured... Luckily it fit!!!

The length is also good, I won't be able to wear very high heels since I am already 5'9", which is somewhat of a bummer because I actually already bought some purple high heels that I will now have to sell since the 30 days is up. (DANG!) So, if you find any 2" purple heels, throw them my way please!

The only other thing that needs to be done is a bustle and change the neckline from straight to a definite sweetheart.

Oh, and can I just say that I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE my dress even more now that I have MINE!

Now the search for shoes, veil, and jewelry begins... Suggestions welcome!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

I Found Our Cake Topper

OK, quick back story. We are having a mother-mandated cake. We are actually having a dessert bar in lieu of cake because I am not a huge cake person, but I love me some pie, cheesecake, rice krispie treats, brownies, cookies... Oh yes, ESPECIALLY cookies!!!

My mom was OK with the dessert bar thing, but she insisted there be a cake. By insisted, I mean had a mini-freak-out. (Love you mom!) So as a compromise, we are having the dessert bar with a small, simple cake like this:

Without the roses on top and maybe purple ribbon.

Once it was decided we were having a cake, had to find the topper.

More back story. Bryan, my wonderful fiance, is a gamer. I am not talking a PlayStation 3 gamer (although, we do have one of those), I am talking World of Warcraft via the computer gamer. Oh yes, I see those looks of pity on your face - I get it all the time.

(In his defense, he is pretty good about it, but it's his thing! The way I look at it, he could be at the bar or out with his buddies shooting at things (we live in Iowa, it's what boys do), but instead, he is at home, in the recliner next to me, playing his game. Could be worse.)

Plus, it gives me an excuse to buy this:

Oh yes, its going on top of our cake. You can customize the hair color, the type of pop (or beer) cans laying around AND the game on the screen. It is perfect. I found this from Etsy seller AwesomeToppers for $70... More than I had wanted to spend, but Bryan was genuinely excited about it, which is rare when it comes to wedding decor related topics, so it's a go. 

What are you guys doing for your cake and/or toppers? 

Thursday, October 7, 2010


I know, I know, it's been awhile! So sorry. I feel as though I am at a bit of a standstill right now with the wedding plans. We have a little under 11 months to go and according to all the checklists out there, I am about three to four months ahead of the game. :)

So, to make it feel like I am doing SOMETHING, Bryan and I had dinner with my parents tonight and discussed what is next with the wedding plans. I feel a more motivated to stay ahead of the curve ball again and should have some interesting posts coming up in the next week or so. :)

In other news, it's been a couple of weeks since I posted a Workout Wednesday. I will make sure to post one this week, incase any of you actually read them. :)

Monday, September 27, 2010

E-Pics Sneak Peak

Our engagement pictures were a week ago today and our photographer posted a few shots for us right away - you know, just to drive me completely mad for the next three weeks until we get the CD with all of them on there!!! :)

I could not be happier with how the pictures turned out - it is EXACTLY what I was looking for! Bryan, being the good fiance that he is, was looking for the exact same thing that I was looking for in the engagement pictures... Actually, he was just happy I told him NOT to tuck in his shirt.

Without further delay - here they are!!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

E-Session Outfits

Photography is on my mind lately! Our engagement pics are set to take place on Sunday, keeping my fingers triple-crossed that it does not rain. I've had our outfits bought and stowed away for a little over a month now and I am SO excited about them! We are not dressy people - in fact, we can wear jeans every day of the week to work - so I think our outfits are pretty normal/natural for us, but still look nice.

I personally have two outfits and one pair of FABULOUS shoes. I like clothes. :) Bryan's technically has one outfit - a button down shirt with a nice t-shirt under it - so, for some of the pictures he will wear his button down and for some he won't, so he's not technically changing. (I had a hard enough time convincing him that we really did need a 2 hour photography session, getting him to completely change outfits was a battle I did not chose to pick.)

First, anchor of both my outfits - the shoes! Love, love, love them!!! Living in a small town (I mean, less than 5,000 people) I feel I can pull these off no problem.

My fabulous shoes will be paired with this dress

with this AWESOME jacket

My next outfit will consist of the boots and this shirt

and this little number

Bryan will be wearing jeans (didn't feel the need to photograph those) with this shirt

over this shirt

So excited for the combinations and to show you guys the sneak peaks!!!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Nina.Cecilia - Creative Spark

I love pictures. I love candid pictures, professional pictures, pictures of babies and pictures of old people. I ESPECIALLY love wedding related pictures. Before we got engaged I spent MONTHS pouring over the websites over local photographers, trying to find just one that met my style.

A little over a year ago, I saw that a couple of girls, twin sisters in fact, that I had hung out with for a short stint early on in my college career had started a photography business. (Via Facebook of course.) I became of fan of their Facebook page - Nina.Cecilia - Creative Spark and Fell. In. Love. They're photographs are amazing and just my style. Their pictures are not overly posed, very natural and capture the true emotion of the subjects. Their editing skills are also amazing - they're incredibly creative and talented!

I knew I had to have them as our photographers.

Around the time that I knew we would be getting engaged, I emailed Nina and asked for a menu of services. It must have been a good omen because we were engaged about a week and a half later! I immediately booked them the next day.

Since they had been around for less than a year when I booked them, it was a bit of a leap of faith as they had only done a couple of weddings at that point. However, this summer they have had quite a few and with each wedding they post on their Facebook page and blog, I get more and more excited! Our pictures are going to be amazing and I really can not wait.

Here is a sampling of a few engagement pictures and wedding pictures they have done so far - AMAZING!