Sunday, November 24, 2013

Five DIY's

 In my last post, I talked about a DIY project I have planned to work on. Well, guess what? I have a whole list of DIY projects that I have to work on for the wedding! I love projects, and despite most of my ideas never getting past the "idea" point, these will most definitely get done and I am so excited to start working on them. 

[1.] Bunting Banners

I have three banners that I want to make for the wedding. There are lots of websites with free templates so it should be pretty easy! I just have to decide on colors. I want to stay away from burlap. I believe you can get a rustic elegance without using burlap everywhere and I think it is way over used, similar to mason jars. Cute, but over used! 

[2.] Chalkboard Sign

I know chalkboards are very over used as well, but I thought these silver trays brought a unique look to them. You can find these trays for very cheap and in all shapes. I hope to find some that I can stand up rather than hang. As long as I don't use more than one or two, I think these chalkboards will add a very nice touch to our wedding!

[3.] Paper Pom Poms

I have yet to actually scope out the inside of my reception venue (I plan to do that after the holidays) and I am hoping there are places to hang these cute paper pom poms. I don't plan to have over-the-top decorations and these will add the perfect charm to the reception. They are super cheap and simple to make and I can make them in just about any color. I think they will have a very whimsical feel to them. 

[4.] Bridesmaid Sashes

The dresses I chose for the bridesmaids are very simple and I thought I should add a little bit of flair to them. These sashes would be very simple to make as well. I want them to be more of an ivory color but I really like the lace and the long ribbon down the back. They will add just the right touch to the bridesmaid dresses. 

[5.] Garter

This DIY is especially close to my heart. My grandmother passed away almost four years ago from cancer and I am lucky enough to have inherited many of her precious belongings, one of which was her wedding dress. This isn't your typical wedding dress, rather, it's more of the outfit she wore when she married my grandfather, a blue skirt and white silk blouse. Rather than let them sit in storage as they have been for years, I decided I would use them as my "something old" and "something blue". I found these beautiful garters online and think they would be the perfect reference to use to make mine out of my grandmother's dress, considering one of the many things she taught me, was how to sew. All I need to make it is some lace, elastic, and pretty brooch. I hope this will turn into something I can pass down to my daughter someday. 

Well, that's all I have for now. Hopefully, my DIY list won't grow any longer or I may have to recruit some help! 

Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Addresses, Addresses, and More Addresses...

Since I have been back from my trip to New Orleans with my mom, my week has been filled with signing contracts, paying deposits, and addressing envelopes. Sounds boring, doesn't it? I agree!

As tenuous as addressing envelopes can be, I just didn't see the point in paying to have them printed when there was bound to be a way to do it at home. I had to throw calligraphy out of the picture considering my penmanship is less than perfect. So, I went looking online for some answers. Pinterest, to the rescue! Sure enough, there is an envelope paper size option under both the printer settings as well as Microsoft Word settings. With a little tweaking here and adjustment there, Brittney and I (more so she than me... I am far from technologically savvy sometimes... ok, most of the time) were able to type and print all (well most of them, because Brittney still hasn't finished her guest list!) the addresses.

Easy peasy! (I have found myself saying that quite a lot lately.)
I also bought a return address stamp as well. It is adorable and made addressing envelopes even easier!

I bought it online at Simply Stamps. They have a ton of designs and sizes to choose from. Check it out here!
So, here are (almost) all of our finished Save The Date magnets, packaged and addressed, as well as a little sneak peak of what's inside! Now, all that's left to do is get postage and send them on their way. I cannot wait for our faces to be hanging on ya'lls refrigerators! 

In my last two posts, I told you all about the florist I chose and the flowers that I had in mind. Well, Destiny, from Poppy and Mint Floral, sent me an updated proposal this week. I am in love with the flowers she chose. They all go so well together and I am so excited to see what the finished product looks like. I know it will be beautiful.

Don't you agree??

I also decided to give myself a little DIY project for the wedding. I originally didn't want programs, and then I did, and then I didn't.... and then I saw the program fan on, yes, Pinterest. I looked into having them ordered and the prices were just ridiculous. I figured making them couldn't be all that hard and sure enough, it isn't. All you need is a printer, cardstock, wooden craft "popsicle" sticks, some ribbon, and a little glue! I think they are going to turn out wonderfully.

Well, that's all I have for you this week. I hope to have more accomplished soon, but I highly doubt it with Thanksgiving right around the corner. I will probably share with you all the turkey day festivities considering, these will be the first holidays Brittney and I have spent together! I am looking forward to sharing this with her, as well as the chaos that comes with spending holidays with my family!
 Until next week!
Thanks for reading!

Thursday, November 14, 2013

The Crescent City

Earlier this week, I drove to my beautiful hometown of Gulfport, MS and had a wonderful but short and busy visit. Gulfport is only about an hour from New Orleans, where Brittney and I are having our wedding. My mom and I made a day of it and drove over the the Crescent City to go to the appointments I had with a few vendors. We first had a consultation with Haydel's Bakery, a very reputed bakery in the city, and, let me tell you, I was not disappointed! We sampled a variety of cakes with flavored icing, irish creme, hands down, being my favorite. We discussed cake ideas and it turns out, naked cakes are not easy to do, the main issues being hardening and falling apart. So, I decided to go with a cake similar to the second cake in my last post, three layers with simple textured icing. We also discussed grooms cakes and it is really going to be an awesome looking cake. Unfortunately, I can't show you because I want it to be a surprise for Brittney. (It has to do with a famous british kid with a wand.) We didn't make any final decisions because I wanted to visit another bakery later in the day. 

If you celebrated Mardi Gras as a kid, you will remember taking apart beads to make these bead dogs. I made hundreds of them as a kid. Well, Haydel's has these giant bead dogs sitting out front! Visit their website here. They deliver nationally! Go get some of their wonderful treats.

We had a bit of time in between appointments, so my mom and I decided to scope out the venue. When we got there, a small wedding was taking place at the bandstand so I couldn't get as close a look as I wanted. But we were creepers and looked from afar anyway.

The ledge over the water is where I hope we will be standing for the ceremony if seating and all works out. It's pretty much perfect. A lot smaller in person but I'm still in love with it. 

The Clubhouse is just a few steps away and it is adorable.

This is the back patio facing the golf course.

This is the front entrance to the clubhouse.

After we left Audubon Park, we made our way across town to Destiny's flower shop, Poppy and Mint. She just moved into a new location so it was a bit hard to find. Destiny is so sweet and such a lively spirit. I was sold as soon as I met her. We talked over the proposal she sent me, tweaked a few details, and had some good conversation. It was a great visit. 

The meeting at the florist went so quickly, we had some more time to kill. Mom and I decided to go the Cafe Du Monde that was right across the street from the next bakery. It has been so long since I have had beignets and they were delicious.


Delicious, but messy. You can't eat them without making a mess, and if you do, what's the point?
I knew how much Brittney loves beignets as well so I brought her home some coffee and beignet mix!

We made our way over to our last stop, Gambino's Bakery. I had pretty much made up my mind about the irish creme cake, but I gave theirs a go. It was good, but I was set on Haydel's. I must say, Gambino's is famous for their king cakes. They are to die for. If you have never had a king cake, I encourage you to try one. There are many flavors to choose from and they are always delicious. Gambino's ships nationwide as well. I plan on ordering one come Mardi Gras season, but you don't have to wait until then. Go to their website here and order one while they aren't in demand. 

Thanks for reading!

Monday, November 11, 2013

[Recipe] White Cheese and Chicken Lasagna

For my first recipe post, I decided to use one of the new recipes I made for dinner the other night. I've always loved lasagna and this spin on it was absolutely delicious!

Keep in mind, I hardly use measurements so there won't be any here, but I'm sure you could google it and fine one. I made enough for two with a little left over.
What you will need:

3 or 4 boneless chicken tenderloins (or breast, whichever you prefer)
frozen or fresh spinach
whichever white shredded cheese you prefer
ricotta cheese
parmesean cheese
sour cream
a few tablespoons of butter
alfredo sauce
lasagna noodles
minced garlic
minced onions (I only use these because Brittney doesn't like onions and I can sneak these in)
Italian seasoning

First, set your oven to 400 degrees. Then, boil your spinach, noodles, and chicken. I only needed to cook 3 noodles. I used a 9x9 glass baking dish, broke the noodles in half, and was able to make two noodle layers with that.

Now, you need to make your cheese sauce. Mix the jar of Alfredo, butter, minced garlic, minced onion, and spices. Continue to cook over low heat. 

Once your chicken, noodles, and spinach  are finished cooking, you can begin to make your lasagna layers. 
First, put a shallow layer of your cheese sauce on the bottom of the pan. Add three of the noodles on top of the sauce. 

Next, shred your chicken. Mix with a few spoonfuls of ricotta cheese and sour cream. Spread on top of the noodles and sprinkle a bit of Parmesan cheese. 

Add another noodle layer, and top with your drained spinach. Sprinkle a bit of Parmesan on top of that. 

Pour the rest of the cheese sauce over the spinach and top with Italian shredded cheese. 

Bake this in the oven for about 30 minutes. I put some garlic bread in during the last ten. 

When it's finished baking, turn the broiler for a minute or so to brown the cheese slightly. 

Voila! This lasagna was absolutely delicious! Enjoy!

Thanks for reading!

Friday, November 8, 2013

The Little Stuff

I want to give all of those interested a taste of what style we have planned for this wedding. This post will be like an inspiration board and it might get a little long with all of the pictures. I know what you are thinking and, yes, I got it all from Pinterest! What a life saver that website is!

Since I briefly mentioned in my last post that I am visiting a cake baker next week, I'll start with my cake ideas. Don't get me wrong. Big, fancy, and extravagant cakes are beautiful (not to mention expensive!) but, thats just not my style. I don't want to spend a ton of money on something that we are all just going to eat! The cake is going to be delicious no matter what. I like simple. In fact, this whole wedding is going to be simple, or at least simple looking! 

This pretty cake was one of the first that caught my eye. But, I started to see more and more cakes that had flowers incorporated into them and I absolutely love the idea of that. 

Since I'm using lavender as my main flower throughout the wedding, I thought this would be the perfect type of cake to have. Well, Brittney does not like icing all that much and that's not a bad thing!

If it was, we wouldn't have this absolutely adorable style of cake called "naked cakes"! I think this is so cute and definitely fits my simple style! There are much cuter ones on the interwebs, but, this is the only one I could find with lavender flowers on it.

While we are on the topic of flowers, I'll show you what I have in mind there. 

Once again, simple! I believe Destiny, from Poppy and Mint Floral, will be able to pull this off perfectly!

In my last post, I talked about the bridesmaids' attire. So, I will give you a bit about what the men will be wearing. We haven't found any specific pants that we like yet, so, these are just ideas.

Our groomsmen will be looking so dapper! I imagine this, but with lavender ties and Brittney wearing a bow tie, of course. It will most likely be hot so I didn't want the fellas to be burning up in tuxes. Plus, like I said, that's just not my style.

I have also chosen "Save The Dates"! I went with VistaPrint because you just cannot beat their prices! They have so much to choose from, whether it's for holiday cards, business cards, invitations, and everything wedding. Check them out here. Ours are going to be magnets, which is one trend that I LOVE. I'm not going to give them away completely but here is the template. I am changing up the fonts and such a bit but it will be super cute!

Well, I think that's about it for this post. Tune in late this week and I will share more of my planning accomplishments! And who knows, maybe I will post a recipe or something before then. Until then, I will just leave you with this adorable picture of us. 

Thanks for reading!

Thursday, November 7, 2013

The Big Stuff

There's no shortage of wedding blogs out there and mine surely won't be the best of them, but I thought I would give it a go anyway. 

I have people ask me on a daily basis how my planning is going, so I thought this would be a great way to let people in on my weekly progress! 

I don't plan on exclusively posting wedding stuff on here. I want to post things about our daily lives as well. What I cooked for dinner, our vacations, holidays, adventures, our fur babies, and everything in between! Considering both mine and Brittney's family and friends are multiple states away, this could be a good way for you all to get an update with what has been going on in our lives as of lately!

Anyway, wedding planning sure has been moving along quite quickly since we booked the venue. We had decided soon after we got engaged that we wanted a wedding in New Orleans. My love for this wondrous city was only fueled by the fact that I have lived less than two hours away all my life. But seriously? Who doesn't love New Orleans? It has so much to offer! We knew that no matter what, someone was going to have to travel for our wedding to happen, whether it be us, my family, or her family. So, we just made it fair and required everyone to travel and New Orleans seemed the perfect place to meet in the middle. My family and friends all share my love for the city and most of Brittney's family and friends have never been! Perfect!

We booked the Audubon Nature Institute at the beginning of October. It is a beautiful venue in the Lower Garden District of the city. 
 The Newman Bandstand, a beautiful pavilion type structure overlooking the lake, will be where the ceremony is held.
The Clubhouse, within walking distance of the ceremony site, is where the reception will take place.
I truly cannot believe we snagged such a beautiful venue but I am completely thankful, not to mention excited! 

The next thing I checked off my list was the DJ. My family hosts multiple events each year and use the same DJ every time. Marcel Lanoux of Nightshift Sounds is great at what he does and you get so much bang for your buck. Online music listings and timeline, lights and equipment, multiple meetings, timeline management. It doesn't get much better than that. I was very lucky that he had an opening available. He is one of the most sought after DJs on the coast! Check out his website here!

I was worried about finding a good florist online because there really isn't an easy way to do a consult via email but I was fortunate to have found a wonderful little "self-made" crafty type florists right outside of the city, Poppy and Mint Florist. Destiny's stuff is just adorable. She fits my style perfectly and was really intuitive as to what I was looking for. I am making a trip down there next week to meet with her and a couple bakers so, hopefully all goes well and those get booked also. 
Check out Destiny's website here!

One of the most frustrating things up to this point in the planning was deciding what the girls were going to wear. My color scheme is lavender and sage green. I didn't want to over use lavender since I am going with lavender flowers so, I wanted the girls to wear sage dresses. It is seriously hard to find cute sage green dresses. there are a billion different shades of sage but I finally found the color and style that I liked. Where? But, of course, Etsy. You can find anything your heart desires on that website!
They are perfectly modest, the light fabric I wanted, and the exact shade of sage! 

I know most of you are probably dying to see my wedding dress. It arrived on Monday and it is absolutely gorgeous. But if I haven't already showed you, well, you will just have to wait until the wedding day! I would post it, because it's just that beautiful, but Brittney wants to be surprised, and what Brittney wants, Brittney gets!

Well, thats about it for now. Trust me, I have accomplished way more but I will save that for a later post. These are just the big items that I have checked off my list. Later this week, I will share with you some of the smaller details; invites, men's attire, food, decorations, etc.

Thanks for reading!