52 Photos, Week 3

This week’s story: Last night while putting up my Christmas decorations (yes, I finally did it) I did something weird to my lower back. Pulled a muscle or something. I felt awful and crawled up into bed at about 9pm.

It’s a bad sign when back breaking pain is the preferable feeling. At about 1:30 I woke up with a wave a nausea and so began the night from hell. I was in the bathroom about every 45 minutes with no sleep in between. No food? No problem. Still puked.

At 8 am Brett took me to the doctor (where I threw up twice) and I got a shot for nausea and vomiting. This has pretty much put me to sleep (or kept puke from interrupting my much needed sleep, I’m not sure which).

Needless to say, the Love Dare, Day Two was put on hiatus (not to mention working, eating, etc.) but true to my promise, here is potentially one of the worst photos ever taken of me for my 52 photos challenge. Enjoy!

(Editor’s note: Brett didn’t give me two black eyes. I chose this Instagram filter because it made me look extra dead. Good work huh?!)


So, one of the huge advantages of my new position at work being part time is that my schedule is pretty flexible. And since it’s my first year of marriage and all (you guys know I got recently married, right?) I basically want to spend EVERY LIVING MINUTE with Brett. So when he told me a couple months ago he had a short work trip to Bloomington, Indiana planned, I was all, “I’M COMING WITH.” (Enter SVU “dun dun” here.)

Bloomington is only about 7 hours from Kirksville so we left Friday morning and got back on Sunday evening. Brett’s event was Saturday and I basically vegged in the hotel room doing crossword puzzles on the iPad and watching extremely edited raunch-coms on USA. What is interesting is everything other than those moments. What did we do in everything other than those moments? EAT.

We have friends who love Bloomington. Our pal Jason got his PhD at Indiana University (do I get credit for having a friend with a PhD? I want credit.) and he and his wife Erin had lists of suggestions for us. On some of Brett’s longer trips, he loses the energy to seek out a local establishment every night (and who could blame him) so we wanted to take advantage of the easy commute to tasty places (our hotel was SO close to downtown), good company (hello- ME!), and trust-worthy recommendations.

Friday night took us to The Upland Brewing Company. As expected, it offered totally delicious pub fare (I had fish and chips and Brett tackled their Reuben) and their brews were very tasty.

Continue reading “Bloomington”

52 Drawings, Week 2

So, here’s my drawing for week 2 of my 52 Weeks of Drawing Challenge from The Paper Mama.

It’s a self portrait:

It doesn’t really look like me. I mean, I have a nose. 

On the plus side, Brett saw this stuck to our bulletin board and said- “Who drew this picture of you?” So that bodes well.

Also, by the time this posts I’ll be in Bloomington, Indiana with the hubs. Yay for mini vacations!

52 Weeks of Drawing

Who’s up for another challenge in 2013? THIS GIRL IS!

(By the way, shout out to my home girl Sarah who is taking on what I consider to be the ultimate challenge- a raw foods diet and a spending fast! She’s doing super awesome too!)

I’m kinda sorta loving my 52 Photos project. Has it only been 2 weeks? Sure. Isn’t that hardly enough time to tell if you are committed to something? Probably. Who cares?! Let’s do some more.

Another blog I really love is The Paper Mama. And when I was lurking (a Rachel term) recently, I came across this:

So let me say this-I’m not a particularly gifted artist. In fact, I’m pretty mediocre  I have decent penmanship. So I’m not doing this challenge because drawing is an actual skill I have. I just really adore hand drawn illustrations. The likelihood that I’ll fall in love with your blog increases 10 fold if you include hand drawn illustrations (your own or someone else’s.)

So I’m doing this challenge because I like to draw and I want to get better. I want to be an illustration whizz kid. And I’m really excited about it. Also, it will give me something else to look forward to other than taking a photo of myself once a week!

I’ll be using Chelsey’s hastag #PM52weeks when I post, as well as my own #52drawings (ya know, like #52photos).

I’m already a week behind, so I’ll be posting two drawings this week, my first today and the second tomorrow. So without further delay, here’s my first drawing for week one:

This is my “My Choice” drawing. I saw a Valentine with a hedgehog on it on Pinterest, and I decided I would try my hand at a hedgehog. It’s sitting on an ottoman. (In case you couldn’t tell.)

Passing It On

I love you guys.

Seriously. I knew when I posted my thoughts on being a better wife that I would get encouraging, uplifting feedback and I totally did. Thank you.

I thought it would be beneficial to share with everyone all what others shared with me. Because I got some awesome ideas. Also- most of my amazing friends write amazing blogs and so I’m gunna push some traffic their way.

Here’s what you guys said-

Continue reading “Passing It On”

The Married Thing

For the purposes of full discretion, let me say this: when my husband reads this blog post, it will not be the first time he’s heard these thoughts. I always feel weird when I see folks posts things online that clearly merit a personal discussion. So, again, this has been discussed- I’m just reaching out to my online homies.   

So I don’t know about y’all, but I’ve been married for about 5 minutes and I already feel like I’m really dropping the ball. I’m not saying this from a point of crisis, but from a point of sincerity. I’m trying to respond instead of react.

Brett and I have been together over 5 years and even so, we are still very much in the honeymoon stage of our marriage. Getting married was awesome. I love being married. I love being Brett’s wife. I really really love that Brett is my husband.

When I give myself a personal assessment though, I just don’t feel like I’m earning a passing grade. I think so much about Brett’s role in my life and how much I appreciate him as my support and my teammate and I forget about my end of the deal. Or I feel like I do.

Another important note- Brett thinks I’m an awesome wife. This is a self evaluation moment, not a marriage-in-crisis moment. I just want to be the best I can for him, ya know?

I’m throwing this out there for a couple reasons:

1) I’m an extrovert and this is what I do.
2) Brett and I are experiencing some situations outside of our marriage that have in many ways overwhelmed us and tested our problem solving and coping skills beyond what we expected to endure during the first few months of our marriage.
3) I want people to know that being married is awesome but not easy. I want to share my challenges so that others might experience peace in camaraderie. I also don’t want anyone to be caught off guard if their honeymoon stage doesn’t actually look or feel all the much like a honeymoon after all.

But most of all:

4) I’d love some advice.

Here’s a short, incomplete list of ways I feel like I’m bombing it:

-Brett is happy when his outsides match his insides. I can neglect housework like its my job.
-Brett is touchy, feely, ooey, gooey, mushy, gushy. As I’ve noted before, I’m not much of a toucher.
-I’m so sassy. I have a snarky comment for everything. A suggestion. A remark. A critique. That’s good for no one.
-I’m a better talker than a listener.

I could go on, but I won’t because the point here is not to beat myself up. I want to be the best partner I can be to my awesome, caring, funny, intelligent husband.

I’d love any suggestions for books to read, blog posts to browse, lists to write, songs to sing, exercises to try- you get the picture. What have you done? What do you do? What have you tried?

I’ve settled on a mantra- “It’s never to late to be what you might have been.” And thus my endeavor to be Brett’s best wife- what I might have been.

A picture. Cause otherwise this post would be boring. 

Wedding Craft Tour, Part Two

Back for Part Two of my wedding craft extravaganza. Are you sick of it yet? I’m not! (But let me confess.. oh my GAWD was a sick of it by the time the big day rolled around!)

I went back and forth on my bouquet forever. I always wanted to DIY them, but I couldn’t decide on a tutorial. At first, I thought I’d do the book page flowers we used in the centerpieces, but those were so labor intensive! I couldn’t imagine making 50 of them for the 4 bouquets I had to make. And what about boutonnieres? Corsages? I was knee deep in wedding craft hell when I finally saw this tutorial and felt a wave of relief pass over me: 

Fewer, giant flowers meant a big impact with much less work. Here’s what mine looked like. Because of the stage of the planning process I was in, I opted for bouquets for myself and bridesmaids and no one else. I don’t think they were missed: 

Side note: I managed to WAY over order the dark pink, light pink, and green crepe paper I used for this project. I’ve got like 8 rolls of it left and no idea what to use it for. So if you’ve got a project that could call for it, let me know. I will give them to you! Throwing a spring party? Want to make your mom a giant, hot pink bouquet that will last forever for Mother’s Day? Someone help me out here. 
Often, I found that an idea I thought was original had been used in many, many weddings before mine. And that was great because it helped me clarify details that were too hazy in my mind at first thought. We cleaned out the basement of the building Brett and I lived in when we were first engaged and there were all these old doors that appeared to come from a school. We snagged them to use before I even knew what I would do with them. They became the altar and helped create a “wall” in the barn as well. 

Here they are in the barn, with some other DIY decor: 

Fun fact- I didn’t have to purchase a single piece of vintage “shwag.” It all came from my parents house- mason jars, vintage boxes, old pop bottles. Major score. 

After we had our collection of doors, I found this image that inspired how I wanted to set up the ceremony: 

Our programs were another example of a not-so-original original idea. I had seen the idea of printing on brown bags for a Valentine’s Day project I did: 

It was easy to apply this same principle to our wedding programs.
Of course, lots of brides applied this principle as well! Our programs were basically the baby of these three ideas: 

My step-ma committed to making her delicious pie cocktails pretty early on and I won’t lie, the thought of them got me through on some of the tougher days! She picked up these fancy dispensers at Sam’s Club and I jimmied up some drink labels. 
I got the idea here: 

Our wedding night was unseasonably cold. Way colder than we expected. Luckily, we planned to have a bonfire all along and it provided some much needed warmth for our lovely guests. We also did up some s’mores for their frozen enjoyment! 

I loved these jars of s’mores goodies and made my own version above: 

Favors were another element of the wedding that I had a really hard time deciding. Should I buy them? Make them? Include them at all? My step-ma’s mom gave me a bunch of medium sized mason jars to use for whatever so we opted to create drinking glasses with chalkboard name tags. We painted the lids with black chalkboard paint, drilled a hole in the top, and tied them around the mouth of the jars with twine. Simple! 
I got the idea here: 

I looked at endless photos of barns. I loved the whimsy of putting up white curtains at the door.
I saw the idea here first: 

I wanted to include really personal touches to our wedding as well. I framed love letters and hung them on an extra door inside the barn. 
Which is an idea I saw here: 

We didn’t really want a flower girl or ring bearer because neither Brett nor I are particularly close to any small children and we didn’t want to include some random kids in our ceremony! My little brother and sister Ty and MaKenna were a pinch too old for those roles but I wanted to include them by carrying our “Here Comes the Bride” sign! 
There were lots of sources of inspiration for this. I liked this sign a lot: 

I did borrow one idea for our ceremony that I fell in love with. I’m so glad we included it because it made me feel incredibly close to our wedding guests and solidified their role in our married life. It was a ring warming ceremony: 
My entire wedding was a birth of so many creative ideas, so much help from my friends and loved ones. My dad and stepmom were incredibly supportive during this whole process and my stepmom Shawn did more for me than I could ever thank her for! 
I love my photos so much and it’s great to look through them and remember the story behind each and every project. Thanks for following along! 

Wedding Craft Tour, Part One

My wedding was nothing if not a labor of love. It was months and months of pulling down favors from friends and family. It was gluing and painting and cutting. It was beautiful and I loved it.

I became a master at distinguishing at a glance the difference between a tutorial that would be inexpensive, high impact and thus totally worth it and one that would be expensive, a pain in the ass, and cause more trouble than I could handle.

One of the reasons we decided to use Katie Day [photographer, designer, mother extraordinaire] was her attention to the small details of a wedding. I wanted to remember each paper flower, each hand painted sign, each strand of lights. She did a marvelous job.

I’ve already waxed poetic about the pros and cons of Pinterest inspiration in terms of wedding planning, but I will say this- virtually every element of the wedding (less the ceremony itself) was pieced together from other people’s ideas. In spite of that, my wedding felt like it was a total reflection of Brett and I and our relationship with each other.

Here is a (probably incomplete) walk through of the DIY elements of my wedding with sources and inspiration linked.

I got lots of comments on my sweater.. This was easy. I just cut red felt and sewed it on the elbow spots. 

These signs were simple and added a fun, rustic touch. Dad had lots of plywood laying around. He cut these and I hand painted the lettering. 

We had a pretty casual wedding, but I still liked the idea of escort cards. Here are mine: 

Inspired by this: 

My step-ma’s mom snagged this great vintage suitcase (see how I repurposed it here.) She added the “Cards” letters and found a nice lacy fabric. 

I was inspired by these: 

I’m pretty sure my dad and step-ma came up with the idea of the guest quilt. We went through several incarnations of the idea, and ended up with this. An antique lap quilt- 

Loved how it looked here: 

I became a little obsessed with putting together the perfect centerpieces. When I saw this photo on Pinterest, it became my ultimate source of inspiration for the rest of the wedding. I went back to it time after time: 

Here are my centerpieces. My handsome hubby Brett helped me paint the numbers on the books: 

I hit farm wedding jackpot when I found boxes of vintage agriculture text books at a local thrift store. I probably would have gotten in a fight with anyone who tried to wrestle one from my grip! 

The book table numbers were inspired by this photo: 

My flowers were a real group effort and can I just say THANK YOU again to my awesome bridesmaids who made so many of these things? Mary (and Michael) made all the book page flowers and Amanda (and Andy) helped with the coffee filter peonies. Kimberly sported red hands for weeks after she helped me dye some of them pink. These girls kicked bridesmaid ass… 

Flowers made by these tutorials: 

Side note- If you are looking for big impact, low cost, low effort flowers, I highly recommend the coffee filter flowers. So inexpensive and very easy to make. 

If you’re getting married in the Kirksville area, let me say I totally recommend Amie of Amie Cakes. Her prices are great and she did an amazing job with my beautiful wedding cake:

Unfortunately I can’t find the exact pin I sent Amie, but I showed her several styles like the one below and we both really loved the one with the artichoke “flowers.” It was beautiful, without being what I thought was too girly: 

To keep this post from getting too long- I’m splitting it in two parts! Back tomorrow with part two!

Christmas/New Year’s Eve

I had a really amazing holiday. Of course, I forgot to take as many photos as I would have liked, but here’s a nice sampling of my Christmas and New Year’s Eve.

I got really excited when it snowed- We had a White Christmas!

We watched a lot of classic Christmas Shows!

I also did some fun Christmasy work stuff- like showing The Muppet Christmas Carol…

And walking in our First Annual Christmas Parade with my friend’s adorable daughter Macy.

There was a LOT of this..

And wrapping, eating, drinking, playing:

Our Christmas Eve Tradition- Chinese food! 

Christmas morning-

(Every Christmas morning we’ve ever spent together, I get out my camera and Brett exclaims, “Are you going to take pictures of me?!” The answer is always, “Uhm, yes.”)

I felt like a princess when I unwrapped this! My favorite..
Hanging out at Brett’s parents 

 And spending some awesome quality time with a couple of our favorites (Fries and Rachel and Kyle)

New Years Eve meant a new hair cut and some fun in Des Moines!

Confession: I still have not taken down a single Christmas decoration. Really hoping to tackle it this weekend but man! I really lost my fire for it!