Friday, December 28, 2012

Michael + Kristen

Hello, friends! I sincerely hope you all had a wonderful Christmas/holiday season. I have had some days off, but I've spent them tidying up the house and shopping a little, so I haven't made time to blog. Sometimes I go so long without blogging that I forget! Anyway, this is a wedding that I shot back in October. Michael and Kristen are friends of mine, and I thoroughly enjoyed shooting their special day! They are two of the sweetest people you'll even meet, and they were surrounded by lots of wonderful people all day. I wish I could shoot weddings like this every weekend! There was so much joy and happiness all signs of stress or worry. Just perfect!

It was a splendid day, as you can see.

Well Merry (late) Christmas to you all and Happy New Year! I have no idea what I'll be doing to ring in the new year. Honestly, I'll probably be sleeping.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

DIY Our First Christmas Ornament

Even though we've already gotten an "Our First Christmas" ornament from Rhett's mom, I decided to go ahead and make one myself. I have been planning to for a while, I am just a great procrastinator! I bought a bunch of those little wooden hearts at JoAnn's, so I plan to make one each year with a different picture. I love consistency. Anyway, here's what you need:
  • wooden piece from a craft store in whatever shape you want
  • print of the photo you want (on sticker paper. measure your wood piece first, and size the photo accordingly in editing software)
  • hammer and nail to make the hole
  • cutting board and X-acto knife
  • paint brush
  • Mod Podge
  • some kind of ribbon, string or ornament hanger

First make the hole by driving the nail in with the hammer. I started it on one side and flipped it over to finish it. That way you don't nail it into your surface! Next get your cutting board and knife out. Line up the shape over the photo and carefully cut it out. You can use scissors, but this will be a lot cleaner if you do it slowly and carefully. It might be a good idea to print your photo 2 or 3-up on your sheet so you have extras! Luckily I didn't mess up, but that's a rare occurrence over here. 

After you cut the shape out, peel the backing off of your sticker and place it carefully on your wooden piece.

After that, you can brush on a thin layer of Mod Podge to seal it. I've never used this stuff, so I'm really hoping it works! Everyone else seems to use it though, so I took a chance. Let it dry for 15-30 minutes.  Use a needed to poke through the hole. It will make it look ugly on the front, so go back through the hole from the front to hide extra paper that poked through. 

When it's dry, flip it over and paint or write your date and message! I am terrible at this part OBVIOUSLY. I'll probably paint over that and have someone with good handwriting do it for me. Now you can put your string through and hang it on the tree. Wasn't that so easy?!

I grew up with a very eclectic tree. Most of the ornaments were either made by me or given to the family. We never had plain balls or anything. Since I don't have just a ton of ornaments quite yet, I did buy some red and gold balls to fill up the tree. On the right you can see our other first Christmas ornament and the Sheriff Woody ornament that my mom got us (get it? The Woodys!)

I love our tree :) I hope you guys are all having a festive Saturday so far. Only a few more days until Christmas. SO EXCITING! 

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls

Yesterday was our office holiday breakfast party! It's something we've done the past few years (except sometimes it's lunch) and I've grown to really love it. We all bring a dish and meet at someone's house to eat and play games. This year I decided to make pumpkin cinnamon rolls, and I was really pleased with how they turned out! I'm planning on making them again for Christmas morning.

It's not a particularly easy recipe for me, but I really enjoyed the process anyway. You basically make the dough, then make the cinnamon mixture for the middle. You flatten the dough into a rectangle and spread the mixture on before rolling it all up. Slice, bake, drizzle on the glaze you mix up and you're done! I woke up at 5:45 to get it wasn't quick. You can make the roll ahead of time though and just do the slice and bake right before you need them. Here's the recipe if you're interested:

I didn't make the healthy substitutions...mainly because I don't think substituting something fake for butter is healthy. It might save you some calories, but there's no sense in using something more processed if you don't have to (if you have to because you can't do dairy, that's a different story). I also used whole milk because that's what Rhett drinks.

I would love to know if any of you try this recipe! They turned out really delicious, in my opinion. At first I thought they might have been a little too doughy, but I didn't mind. I might add an extra few minutes to the baking process next time though.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Stitch Fix #7

I've posted a couple of my StitchFix boxes in the past, so you're probably already familiar with how it works. If not check out my older posts. This particular box has been my favorite so far! I feel like they really got my style right this time, and the prices were much more reasonable. If you have any doubts about whether they are hand-picking these things, this should prove that they are. I am pretty specific in my feedback, and I can totally tell they are listening to me. Here are the things I got in my box this time around (thanks to Rhett for taking my pictures so I didn't have to set up a tripod!)

 Dylan and Rose, Florian Overlap Tulip Pocket Skirt

While I think this skirt is really adorable, I just don't think it's for me. If it were a different cut and a little longer, I would probably go for it. It was just flashing a little too much leg under that overlap for my comfort :) I do work at a Baptist university after all! But you really can't beat a skirt with pockets, am I right?

Ladakh, Indre Holey Sweater Tunic (necklace by Laura Lombardi)

I really love the color of this tunic! I think I would wear this, but I'm not crazy about how it looks on me. I don't know why, but I'm not digging the holes all over. I usually like that kind of thing! I am glad I got this though because I checked out the rest of Ladakh's stuff and there are some great things! I will definitely be shopping there in the future.

Everly, Katherina Sheer Stripe Blouse

I love the keyhole back of this blouse, but the sleeves were sadly too tight. It was mainly the shoulder area, where I'm apparently a little more broad than most! I was also disappointed that you couldn't really see the stripe at all when you put the shirt on. It's got this really cool texture, which you can see in the right image, but that basically goes away when you have a shirt under it. 

Now for the two pieces I kept!

I LOVE THIS TOP! I don't have a lot of stripes and I've been wanting to get some more striped shirts, so this is perfect. I like the material a lot, and the blue on the sides is a great detail. I just love this! I probably won't wear it until the Spring or Summer, but I'm still keeping it. I think it'll be a cute top to wear to Rhett's business trip this year. It's going to be in Marco Island (woot woot!)

Blu Pepper, Granada 3/4 Sleeve Open Cardigan

I can definitely see myself wearing this cardigan a lot! I don't really have a good brown cardigan. I have an open weave one, but if it's windy at all that one is useless. I think this will be one I can wear when it's cold or when it's mild out. I don't need heavy sweaters except for maybe 2 months out of the year here in Tennessee, so lighter ones like this are much more practical.

If you haven't checked out StitchFix yet, you can see their new and improved website and maybe even sign up for your first Fix here!

I hope you're all having a pleasant weekend. It's been a fairly quiet day around here for me. I went for a run this morning, then met with a bride and groom and their moms. I also finished up watching Salmon Fishing in the Yemen, which was great! Predictable, but great. I recommend it.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Wishlist 2012 and 500th Post

Since this is my 500th post, I'm going to give you a list of 500 things that I want! ....

Just kidding. I don't think I could even come up with 500 things! Ok maybe if I spent a week on Pinterest, and included things that I could never possibly even have (like a private jet and the ability to teleport). Instead of doing that, I'll just give you a list of things on my radar this holiday season...a short list.

This is Polaroid's semi-new digital camera that will print you a sticker right at the touch of a button. It's a pretty brilliant upgrade to instant cameras, if you ask me! It definitely doesn't hold the same nostalgic quality that old school Polaroids do, but I don't think anyone is trying to see it that way. I could see this being a good alternative to a wedding photo booth. Just set up your background and have a friend snap photos of guests! You could print two stickers, one for the guest and one for a guestbook. Plus you'd have the digital files for Facebook later! I doubt I'll receive this as a gift (too $$$), but I am definitely considering purchasing it after the holidays.

Another one I'll probably buy for myself sometime soon. A battery pack for my camera. This will just put me at ease more when I have a long day of wedding shooting. I don't even have a backup battery, y''s bad. I've never had my camera go dead, but if I ever want to shoot video, I'm DEFINITELY going to need this. 

Even though I did get an Epiphanie bag from Kaelah this past weekend, I'm still longing for the Austin. The one I got is working perfectly so far, so I'm thinking I'll use it for a while before I try to get this one. 

I would love to get my backgrounds installed on the wall! No more tripping over the stand (that's broken anyway), and I can hang multiple colors at once. Of course I'll need to paint the room first, since I won't be taking them down for a loooooong time. I'd like to at least have white and gray up all the time, and maybe a fun color just in case I ever need it. This will make shooting products so much more efficient! I would probably need Rhett's help though :) That's the last of the photography related things! I have about 6 lenses on my wishlist, but I won't bore you with all of they are way out of my price range right now anyway!

This is the Drew bedside table from Pottery Barn that has long been out of stock. I think it was from 4 or 5 years ago. How hard would it be to build that though? I think it looks fairly easy! I would love to build one for me and Rhett. Right now I'm using a floor lamp and he's using a gaudy green thing from a kid's bedroom suite. They function, but I want something a little cuter. 

I am almost 100% sure that I would really enjoy having a Keurig. I have resisted it because I think they are stupid expensive (the machine AND the cups). I am using my mom's Cuisinart and coffee that I usually buy at Marshall's for $6. A bag of $6 coffee will last me 3 weeks, so if I did get a Keurig, I'd be spending a lot more money. It would be soooooo much more convenient though. Rhett doesn't drink coffee, so the single serve aspect is perfect, plus I wouldn't have stinky coffee filters in the trash all the time. I'm not going to buy one myself, but if I got one, I wouldn't complain. (Sorry, mom, probably should have shared this with you sooner)

I have a spice rack, but it doesn't measure the spices out for me! This is a total want-but-don't-need thing, but it's just so cool. This thing measures out 1/4 tsp (or tbsp?) for you with each click, so you don't have to sit there shaking the thing until you get enough. I always make a mess with spices...though it's not THAT big of a deal to clean it up. I feel kind of bad wanting this...makes me feel lazy (I also want one of those robot vacuums).

There are also about a thousand sweaters I want right now, but who has time to wear a thousand sweaters? Target just has some really cute ones...but I'm being good. My credit card bill shouldn't suffer because of my sweater addiction. What do you guys have on your wishlist?

***I wrote this before the tragic shooting this morning, so I just want to add to it. Can you guys all just stop what you're doing for a minute and pray? Pray for peace in the hearts of those grieving.  Pray for law enforcement trying to sort everything out. Pray for civility among our nation. Negativity and hatred only add to the problem, so try to be loving and compassionate. I guess that's all I have to say...I wish I could understand more, but I just don't. I will never understand why this kind of thing happens, but I don't think anyone does.***

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Evan and Brittany

I'm embarrassingly behind on posting this SEPTEMBER wedding, so if these pictures look a little out of season, it's because they are. Brittany and I met through a mutual friend, and I got to do their engagement photos and their wedding. She and Evan are both so sweet and quiet, and they were a lot of fun to shoot! They also had an adorable little boy, Oakley, that I enjoyed following around all day. They had their wedding at the home of Evan's family. It was the perfect location for the relaxed country wedding. The reception was mostly just cutting the cake and grazing on food, which was a great atmosphere for just talking and catching up with people. I love shooting these kinds of weddings!

Monday, December 10, 2012

Read a Book a Month: October and November

Since I'm obviously behind on my book posts, I figured I could do October and November together. I actually started Diary on the honeymoon, but I didn't get really into it until the plane ride back. It was a great and sometimes challenging read! I haven't liked the last few Palahniuk books that have come out, but I'm hoping Damned is better (I know, it's been out a while, but I've been busy, ok?!). Anyway, Diary was really good, though not my absolute favorite of his. It's one that I might read again sometime, because there are so many things that I feel like I would understand more clearly with another go at it.

Revolutionary Road was November's read. I LOVED this book. I knew going into it that it was depressing, so nothing in it really shocked me. It was just an incredible story, and I loved every sad little bit of it. I was afraid it would freak me out since I was newly married and reading a book about a decaying relationship. It did the opposite though. It made me realize that Rhett and I actually have a really strong relationship. I know I want to watch the movie now, but since I know how this book ends...I'm a little scared to. It's pretty rough.

I am so glad I've stuck to this resolution this year! I haven't started a book for December yet, so I really need to get on that. It's such a busy month. I also need to start thinking of resolutions for 2013! I can't believe I'm already talking about that.... holy crap, where does the time go?!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Wedding Talk: It's all in the Details

I promise this is the last batch of wedding photos! I really hope you've found them at least slightly interesting :) These are some of the details from the wedding. There are a few things that I didn't get pictures of, so I might try to recreate them at hope and get some shots. That first shot is (obviously) my dress. I think I've already mentioned it, but it was made for me by my friend's mother, Debbie. I basically sent her a picture and she took off! She wasn't able to do the top as we originally planned, so I told her I trusted her to make it look good. She didn't disappoint! I love what she did with the texture around the neckline and down the bust. It's just perfect. My favorit part of the dress is the skirt. I don't know what those little gathers are called, but I wanted lots of them so it would flow really well. I seriously couldn't be happier with my dress! It's 100% totally me, and there's not a duplicate out there :)

I've said it before, and I'll say it again, I LOVED my flower arrangements. You all know I have a ton of milk glass, so we put it to good use. I actually started collecting it to use it for my wedding, so I guess I fulfilled that dream! We used a huge variety of milk glass vases and containers for the centerpieces on the banquet style tables. Each centerpiece was placed on a table runner that was either vintage or handmade by me and my maid of honor (or bought...a couple were bought).

These are my favors. They are magnets, and each one has a little wooden piece with our initials stamped on. I made about 160 of these things, which took FOREVER, but it was fun. I also put little tags on that say "You're Magnetic!" on one side and "Thanks for Coming." This was probably the thing I put the most time into. I wanted something different, that hopefully people will use. I made sure and used strong magnets so they will actually hold things up on the fridge :) I also have a lot left, so if anyone wants one, shoot me an email

Went all out on the road signs (sarcasm). Turns out things look a lot bigger in your living room than they do on a country road! I think most people didn't even notice these.

I mainly posted this picture to show the frames along the left wall. I designed 6 typography posters using lyrics from love songs and had them up at the reception. Once I get my studio painted, I plan to hang them all up there!

For our guestbook, I had blank cards for people to either write their name or give us some advice. They would then file their card under the letter of their name in this vintage file drawer. I don't remember where I saw this idea. It may have been a combination of a few different ideas, but I thought it would be really fun! Since it was raining, we didn't get notes from everyone, but I absolutely adore the ones we did get! This is now in our living room :)

I loved my cakes! We kind of messed up the icing on the purple one, so my aunt Lisa fixed it up with some of the flowers we had left over. I think it turned out cute! This cake was chocolate with mint...I think it might have been my favorite.

My plates were another one of my favorite parts of the day! I collected 199 dinner plates from all over the area and carefully washed and packed each one. I also had mis-matched plates for the cakes. I got this idea from a wedding I shot a few years back, and I fell in love with it! Now I'm selling some of my favorite plates on Etsy. I actually really enjoyed collecting these, and if the Etsy shop does well, I might keep looking for them. I think I'd eventually love the have enough that I could rent out sets of them for other events in the area. It would save other brides and planners the trouble of searching for them!

The desserts were displayed on this headboard I found at Goodwill and painted. It had a sliding door, so I put apple pies on one side and pumpkin on the other. I was really pleased with how it turned out!

I have this friend, Lisa. Lisa is the most talented baker I have ever met! She can make a pie that will knock your stinking socks off. I knew I wanted to do little individual pies in jars as my main dessert, and since Lisa is so awesome, I asked her to bake them. I bought all the jars during peak canning season, so I got some good prices. She made two kinds, cinnamon crumble apple (pardon my while I dry up this drool on my keyboard) and pumpkin cheesecake. Both were incredible, but Rhett and I still discuss the apple pie...we kind of wish Lisa was our roommate. She does bake smaller batches though, if you want some for Christmas dinner! The minimum is 6...but if you go in with some friends, you could just get one or two. Check her out here:

This is my lavender lemonade! A major theme of the wedding was lavender. We used a lot of it in the floral arrangements, and we used it as our "toss" item. Everyone tossed the lavender on us as we left the ceremony. Anyway, I made the lemonade a couple of days before the wedding. I'm hoping to do a recipe post on that soon. It's delicious!

I'm also going to do another post on my invitations and programs. I designed them all, and I was pretty proud of them! I am kind of a minimalist when it comes to design, so they are very simple. If you can't read it here are the songs we used: Processional was the instrumental version of "Little Wing" by Jimi Hendrix. I walked out to my friend Brian singing a verse of "Not Fire, Not Ice" by Ben Harper (it was lovely), and we left to Otis Redding's "Cupid." I couldn't be happier with our song choices! I should probably also share our reception playlist soon too, because it was quite awesome. I also had my good friend Stephanie read a letter that Paul Newman wrote to his wife on their wedding day. It is so sweet, and I even had it printed in our wedding album.

I guess that's it! If you are a bride who found this post and have questions, let me know. I'd love to share how I did things :) I have to say, even though the weather was super crappy, I did have an amazing day. I poured my heart and soul into preparing for the wedding, but I never let myself get worrisome. I can remember one or two times when I started getting worked up about things, but I was always able to talk myself down. I think that's super important when you're planning a wedding, especially if you're doing most everything by yourself and with family! If you don't feel like something is going to come together in time, you just have to step back and ask yourself if that detail REALLY matters. Most of the time it doesn't. Here's what matters: you, your groom, your officiant, and your guests show up. You don't even have to have enough chairs for everyone :) Just as long as they are will be a splendid day indeed.