Thursday, May 26, 2011

Feeling Good

Great things that have happened this week:

1. Thank You Card
I received a thank you card from a parent who appreciated the kindness I showed her son and her family as we completed some updated IQ and academic testing that the son needed for transition needs.  The son is an 18 year old with Asperger's who was wonderful to work with and I was so happy to help him with this need so that he could explore college program options for students with special needs.  Also, he is a genius and I had to google some of his answers (he answered in French at times, for pete's sake).  The mom wrote me a beautiful card that makes me feel like I'm doing a good job and included a gift card to a bookstore.  So sweet!

2. Exercise
Brad and I walked for close to 4 miles on Tuesday and, if the rain holds out, I'd like to walk today.  I'm hoping to donate blood, so I guess a walk is contingent on that, but I love that Brad and I are getting out and increasing our activity.  It makes me feel good.  Also, my mom is going to count weight watcher's points with me starting Tuesday (Memorial Day cookout is sure to be fantastic).  I am not doing this just for the wedding pictures.  I have gained about 10 pounds since two or three years ago and I'm not really a fan of that.  I lost that weight doing WW, but then stopped tracking so it's no wonder that I gained it back.  Anyway, I want to feel better physically and self-esteem wise, so here we go.

3. Super Secret Project = Bridal Shower Invites for my BFF = Success
Remember my to-do list about assembling invitations?  Well, I'm hosting a bridal shower for my BFF next month.  She's getting married in August and I'm just so happy and excited for her.  Anyway, invitations can get pricey and I'm broke from my own wedding planning.  Also, I am planning my wedding and trying to finish my first year in a school, so I'm busy, which means I wasn't sure if I could order and receive invites in time for this shindig next month.  So I made invitations.  Lots of invitations.

Pretty stamps.

I make cards from time to time and I figured it was pretty much the same thing.  Kerry's shower is a blue-theme shower, so I tried to keep with that when I bought the paper.

Also, Kerry really liked invitation designs with a bride and a groom, so I went with the couple part when I bought the stamp.  I figured I could emboss that image on the invite, which I did.  Super easy, super quick.

I played around in pages on Brad's Mac and created the invite, which I printed in blue ink on blue cardstock (from the pack).  Then, I just took the paper cutter and corner-rounder to the dentist when Dad had surgery and cut paper for 90 minutes.  I continued doing this at Dad's house after supplying him with Vicodin and gauze.  Then, I continued doing this at my mom's house the next day.  Good gravy.  It was a little more time than I anticipated, but I ended up with 40 beautiful, homemade, and from the heart invitations.  Also, Kerry loves them.  :)

Finished invitation!  Also, rhyme that I stuck on the back of each invite encouraging everyone to wear blue.  The invites were placed in the envelopes so that the rhyme would be seen first when opening.  (Click on the pictures to make them bigger.)

4. Cooking

Guys, I am starting to get the hang of this cooking thing, I think.  This was our dinner Tuesday night--sweet potato fries, fruit salad, steak.  Simple, but good (and full of iron!).  I also bought some flowers from Kroger to spruce up the table a little.  

Two weeks ago, when I was in search of a good dessert, my sister rescued me and sent me a dessert pizza recipe.  Delish!  

Here's the recipe:
18oz sugar cookie dough
8oz cream cheese, softened
1/2 C brown sugar
1/4 C creamy peanut butter
1/2 tsp vanilla
2 medium granny smith apples (I went with presliced apples for convenience and non-browning.)
1/4 C caramel ice cream topping
1/2 C chopped peanuts (I omitted this.)
Preheat oven to 350.  Roll out cookie dough and bake for 16-18 minutes.  Let cool, then loosen from baking stone (or whatever you baked on).  Combine cream cheese, brown sugar, vanilla, and peanut butter.  Spread on cookie.  Peel, core, and slice apples thinly. Arrange evenly over mixture.  Drizzle warm caramel over apple.  Sprinkle peanuts on top.

(I left the peel on the apples and it was fine, just a bit harder to take bites of apples.)

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

In Which I Procrastinate

School is out next Friday and I'm ready for a break. I say this and laugh, though, for this summer I will continue working at the pharmacy in attempt to pay for the wedding. Also, I will be flitting off to Atlanta for a reception and will be back and forth to Pittsburgh a few times for my dear friend's wedding and festivities. I will be very busy, so I don't know why I think of this summer as a "break". Oh, well. Next summer, maybe.

I have a few more things to finish up before school lets out (hence the title) and I'll probably buckle down and have a very productive afternoon today. (See, Mom? I work. Promise.)

I completed a super secret project this weekend and should be blogging about it tomorrow or Thursday, so please sit tight.

On Friday, Brad and I had a date night that was so fun and almost didn't happen. My dad had dental surgery and I sat with him all day making sure he had fresh gauze, on-time doses of Vicodin, and soft foods in the fridge. So, by the time I felt OK leaving him it was 7:30 PM. But, Brad waited to have dinner with me and I love him for that. We just ran out to KFC/Long John Silver's so it wasn't healthy at all, but it was food and I was starving. Then we headed over to a benefit at Powerhouse Factories where we listened to a performance from Bad Veins, bought a benefit t-shirt, and bought some amazing posters. I'm thinking of enlisting Emily (of Go, haus, go!) to help me redo the living room to include the posters and look amazing, while costing me next to nothing. Again, I'll keep you updated.

[tangent] Brad and I are in no shape to buy a house for a few years, so I want to make our apartment amazing. I have some ideas for the bedroom (money will flow at Ikea), so that will need to wait a little bit. I want to make our living room a little more grown-up (or at least put together). I am growing tired of the hodge-podge of hand-me-downs we have in our apartment. (I love that we have hand-me-downs and I appreciate them; I just want some things that are strictly Brad and Melanie now.)[end tangent]

To bring an end to this, Brad and I enjoyed the benefit, the free wine and beer, and the chance to go out and enjoy a night with each other. In my opinion, it doesn't happen nearly enough. :)


Oh, right. A picture. Here is one of my offices. They are beginning to clean carpet in the Media Center (I'm down the Fiction Aisle.) and all those tables are blocking my way out. Fire Hazard? I think so.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Thursday To-Do

Last night was glorious.  I convinced Brad that we should pick up some Chipotle and watch a movie at home.  We bought The Fighter, and ate way too much food.  I did some embossing (details on this project soon) and chatted with my dad for almost an hour.  I fell into bed exhausted, but feeling relaxed and productive.  It's a good feeling.

Below is my current to-do list.  There's not a lot on it related to my wedding, or weddings in general, and I like that.  I have this fear that I've become an insanely boring person since I seem to have developed the ability to relate any conversation back to the wedding.  Try me.  I'll do it.  Anyway, wish me luck (or suggest desserts) and I'll keep you posted.

1. Come up with fantastic dessert idea for dinner tonight with friends from church.
2. Make birthday card for dear friend, father, and niece. Also, graduation card.
3. Buy oreos and milk for 70 people. (Thoughts on quantity needed here?)
4. Type report for school.
5. Print and assemble invitations.
6. Prepare for day of crafting tomorrow at dentist office.
7. Write a letter to my grandma.

Also, I think that all posts should include a photo, so here is my niece in an adorable dress that she proclaimed would be perfect for the wedding. I love her.
Don't you just want to eat her up?


Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Terrariums are a go!

 So, remember when I professed my love for succulents?  Well, Mom and I made a trip to Lowe's for plants and then devoted a lovely Saturday morning to constructing terrariums.  I think it went pretty well, though we do want to make a stop by Hobby Lobby sometime to check out their miniatures in order to hide things in the terrariums.  She told me I wasn't allowed to raid the toy box I keep for my nieces.  :(  Anyway, here's some pictures of the process:
Laying out all of our materials.

We started with small river rocks (seen on the left-most jar), but decided that for the little jars, we like the fish gravel size better.  Now, I just have to invest in some non-neon fish gravel.
Look at her go!

We think that it'll be best to do a small layer of dirt, the fish gravel or the river rocks, then another layer of dirt, then plant with the tall jars.  Our logic is that if we go that route, the plant will sit lower in the jar.  Right now, if it grows much, it'll stick out and I like the idea of it all being encased in the jar.  Thoughts?  And, while we're at it, do you like it with or without the lid?

 Finished terrariums!  I like the short ones, too, don't you?  This is bad since Mom and I can't agree which ones we like more.  Opinions, please!  We're also opinion to you choosing a third option that we haven't even yet considered!
Happy terrarium planters!

After we finished the terrariums, we planted some wildflower seeds.  After that we decided to go gorge ourselves on Mellow Mushroom pizza and see Bridesmaids.  So funny--even with my mom! 

I worked After Prom later that night.  My school does it in this completely amazing, mind-boggling, am I really in the school building kind of way.  Incredible.  Also, I was in the tie-dye room and worked my butt off from 1-4:30 am and had an amazing time!  Monday morning, though, I slept right through the alarm.  Whoops.


Tuesday, May 17, 2011

A Night of Free Food and Good Friends

Last Wednesday, Brad and I headed up to Elegant Fare for our free food tasting. Now, calling this a night of free food is most certainly a stretch, as we will be paying for a LOT of food for the wedding. However, let me have this, people. Weddings are dang expensive and there's not nearly enough free perks.

Julie, from Elegant Fare, had emailed a menu to us earlier in the week. We had five entrees to choose from. Let me say that again--five entrees to choose from. Amazing! We started with a salad (and there will be bread at the wedding) and moved on to lemon herb chicken and chicken with terragon sauce. Next was roast beef with gravy. After that came two pork choices--pork loin with barbaque sauce and pork loin with port mustard sauce. Everything was so delicious, including the green bean and carrot sautee. (If you know me, you know what it takes for me to say that.) Now, the dish that may rival the cake for tastiest morsel of the evening goes to the herbed potatoes. Julie wanted to hash out a few wedding details and I let her since I still had a bowl of potatoes to munch on. :)

I'm not going to tell you all the final menu, but rest assured that it will be scrumptious and Brad and I agreed on it. That's enough for us.

After stuffing ourselves with yummy treats, we headed over to Emily and Aaron's to go over ideas for invitations.  Aaron designed something so wonderful that I want to show you right now.  I actually tried to crop part of it for a teaser, but I don't want to tease you.  I want it to show up in your mailbox and have you get super stoked for our day (only 122 days away now).  I promise that shortly after we mail them, I will do a reveal on here.  Hang tight--they're worth the wait.


Wednesday, May 4, 2011

I have a tree!!

Or at least the beginnings of a tree.

Remember when I said that Mom and I went to Michael's and invested in some DIY supplies?  Well, we bought a wonderful book (pictured to the right) and supplies.  Isn't this book hilarious?

I've actually taken to it quite well.  The last time I tried cross stitching, I was maybe 12 years old.  My mom had me stitching a couple of bunnies and a heart on to a tea towel.  I think I made it through one bunny and a heart  before I lost interest.  My future father-in-law has already offered use of a brown marker to finish the trees and my mom says she is waiting for the August day when I dump the unfinished product in her lap.  I, however, have faith that I will finish this.

I guess I should tell you why I'm making this, huh?  I don't see the sense in buying or making a ring bearer pillow that will have one sole use and will simply collect dust after September 16th.  So, I am making this cross stitch and will attach the rings to it.  Our little ring bearer will carry the cross stitch (I'll make the edges stay beautifully behind the hoop and image.) and after the wedding, Brad and I will hang it on the wall with our guest book tree.  Instant decoration! Made with love!

Below are images of what the image will look like finished (I've changed the bird colors) and the pattern with my progress.  I need to stop typing now and continue working on it. Wish me luck!


Tuesday, May 3, 2011


I'm currently swooning over these delicate necklaces. I am envisioning silver on a gray thread spelling out "wife" in morse code. Who wants to get me one or at the very least tell Brad?


I really like...

Inspiration collages! Or, mood boards. Or whatever the online community is calling them these days (I'm really not so hip). I have Picasa and find it super easy to make these things and am recognizing that I may be addicted.

Anyway, this inspiration collage (sounds fancy, I think) is in regards to centerpieces. I'm really liking the idea of a slice of tree trunk as a base and topping it with mason jars. Within the mason jars will be some candles (thanks, Mom!) as well as some flowers. Now, I can't seem to get the idea of succulents out of my head and may collaborate with my sister to make some adorable terrariums!

(Images found here: table numbers, bottom right terrarium, other terrarium, wood slice, jar candles, and flowers in jars.)

In related news, Brad and I are reaching the "details" part of the wedding planning. Now, really, we've been ready for this stage for awhile. We have the major contracts and paid deposits. We need to start naming specific pieces of music to have played and work out what the invitations will look like (Aaron is on it!), and all the other little things that go into weddings. We are grumpy about these details and it shows at times. On the bright side, we are working to improve our communication and compromising as we work through all of this craziness. We could have eloped, but we are choosing to work on these skills now and have a wedding. ha.

School is getting ready to let out (yeah, last day June 3rd) and then I think the details will go into overdrive. Bear with me as we get through these last months until the wedding. Oh, and don't be afraid to take me out for ice cream or send me links to fabulous dresses, jewelry, and other wedding goodies.