Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Stuff Your Face-iversary 2013

If you follow us on Instagram, you probably saw my hashtag #stuffyourfaceiversary2013 and saw a bunch of photos from Philadelphia earlier this month. Even if you didn't, I'm sure from that sentence you've already figured out that that's where we went and what we did for our second anniversary this year. If not, well, you probably need a cup of coffee this morning.

Even before we were married or even thinking about planning a September wedding, we started a tradition of going away in September because that's when we both celebrate our birthdays, plus it's an excellent time of year to travel. Children are back in school so places are less crowded, yet the weather's still nice enough to do things outside. When I was in grad school we went to Orlando and Myrtle Beach (I think). Then we did Orlando again even after I graduated because we won free tickets to Universal Studios for a week (yay Superbowl contests). Then we skipped a year because we were planning the wedding (lame) but we made up for it with our honeymoon in the Dominican the following year. Last year we took a short trip with Oats back to Mystic and Watch Hill. This year we wanted to go somewhere relatively close where we could spend a long weekend, and Philly was the obvious choice. We've been wanting to go there for a while, mostly for the history and the cheesesteaks. Here's a photo tour of our long weekend....

So we visited the Love statue...
tried taking selfies (fail) because David didn't trust anyone to take a photo for us...
climbed the Rocky steps...
met a moose...
played giant Monopoly...
went on a historic carriage ride...
with the horse from the Lone Ranger (or so we were told)...
saw the Liberty Bell (briefly)....
went to a Phillies game!
ate cheesesteaks...
went to Campo's (never made it to Pat's, Gino's or Jim's - guess we'll have to go back)...
ate more cheesesteaks...
saw David Hasselhoff...
finally discovered the PHLASH bus that takes tourists all over town for $2.... (would have been helpful 2 days prior to avoid my noodle legs from walking 10 miles each day...newsflash to myself - get in shape)
took the Phlash bus to the Delaware River Waterfront (who says this city's not beautiful?)....
went to the Ben Franklin Museum (awesome)...
went to the Natural History Museum (sucked), but saw dinosaurs...
ate lots of good food, drank lots of good beer...
and brought Oats home a Philly fanatic.
Hope you enjoyed our Philly trip in pictures. Can't wait to see where #stuffyourfaceiversary takes us next year. Suggestions always welcome :)

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Twenty Eight

Ok yes...I'm turning 28 on Saturday. Woot woot. Birthdays are fun, but getting older...eh. For my 28th birthday I'm giving you a gift. Well, it's for me too. Probably mostly me, since I've been wanting this for a while and working on it for months. It's the gift of eye candy. This blog is getting a big boost of pretty, with more stuff to do. So get ready and get excited.

You probably noticed some changes, but over the next few days I will continue adding more, totaling 28 new updates. Yeah, you know, for my birfffday. Some changes you may not notice at all (I've made some little changes to make the the layout a little less busy and more user friendly), and others are more obvious and fun (like the pages!). These updates are things I've been working on basically, well, since I started blogging, so I'm very excited.

Flashback, here's the original blog home page:
Here's what it looked like before today:
Stay tuned for the rest of the 28 updates. Hope you enjoy and I would love to hear your feedback :)

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Pinterest-Worthy Party Signs (In An Afternoon)

Pinterest-worthy was what I was going for, but I didn't think of this idea until the day before. I promised David I would be non-stress when it came to this year's annual Labor Day party, so I decided not to even worry about cute decor. I'd just get food and beer and call it a day. Wellllll I changed my mind. The day before. Obviously. So there was no time to run out and buy new stuff...I had to make it work with what I had. Here's how it went down.

I grabbed some scrap wood from David's workshop, which probably thrilled him. One less thing for him to clean up. I'm such a helpful wife. I was originally looking for pieces all the same size, but then I decided maybe it would be fun to have all different sizes (that anddd I couldn't find any the same).
I did this quickly....just laid the wood on the couple pieces of cardboard I could scrounge up and applied a small amount of Rustoleum Wood Stain in Dark Walnut to the front and sides. I'm not lying about super quick....like it was lunchtime and I was hungry super quick. I didn't even worry much about the middle of the pieces, just sides and edges.
It started raining shortly after I stained them (of course) so I brought them into the basement and let them dry for a couple hours. Then I brought out the big guns. You know, the trendiest thing since cell phones....chalkboard paint! (Best part about this paint is that my dad found it on a clearance rack for 99 cents before it was popular - bam!)

I did a real quick, somewhat sloppy paint job of everything except the edges of the boards, because I was going for just a messy wooden chalkboard look.
You could always use painter's tape to make a perfect rectangle for the chalkboard paint, but I like this look for this particular project. Bonus: this way is also fifteen times faster.
I let the paint dry overnight, although if I needed to I could have used them within a few hours. The morning of the party I conditioned them by rubbing chalk on each board and wiping it off. (Ugh sorry about all the iPhone photos in this post...like I said, I was rushing. Some real-camera photos are coming up though.)
I wish I could say I had a nice photo of each food table with my signs, but I guess either the food was really good or people were really hungry, because as soon as I put out the first bit of food the tables were swarmed. I didn't even get to put the signs up until after most people had eaten, but I think they got the point. It wasn't a very complicated food spread. So after the fact, here's what I wrote on the signs and what we served at the Labor Day cookout.
I did the writing in ten seconds so it's not my best work, but it's the thought that counts. Hey, they barely made it on the tables anyway.

Here they are with a few props just for your viewing pleasure, and because I was getting bored at the lack of color in this post. Yes...there's random apples. I didn't have any burgers, hot dogs, corn, or toppings left so you get apples in a barrel and a lantern. But at least I have some of those jumbo baked potatoes left :)
So these took me a total of maybe 25 minutes of working time (including cleaning my paint brush), a few hours of drying time, and they were free. I need more projects that go this smoothly. Now I have these three cute signs...what to do with them next?

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Wedding Week: Our Reception - The Details

Our reception was held right next to our ceremony at Mystic Seaport, in the gorgeous River Room.
There's about a thousand amazing photos from the reception, so for today I'm just going to recap the DIY details. If you want to see more you can check out my Facebook photo album for some highlights or come visit us and look through our entire wedding album. We tried hard to make our wedding personal and unique, so here's some of the little details we added.

To avoid pricey tablecloth rentals from the facility, we purchased several navy satin table runners to add some color to the tables. They looked expensive but they were only $2 each!

For the centerpieces, we purchased about 20 of these galvanized buckets at Target (in the dollar bin!), wrapped them with striped ribbon and glued on sand dollars that were extras from my bridal shower.
David made the table name signs to match the sign we built for the ceremony entrance...
...and I painted the table names. We used New England sea life names to match the nautical theme.
The rope balls on each table were handmade by yours truly throughout the summer before our wedding. We decided to put a little index card in each with fun facts about us to give our guests something entertaining on their tables. We had two on each table and then others scattered around the reception. Let me tell you, I made a ton of these.
At our table we had groom and bride signs we made...
...and fish etched champagne glasses.
During the cocktail hour under the tent outside, we set up our "guest book" which was two wooden paddles. We spent about a year searching for unfinished wooden paddles to no avail, and then David's mom found these two at a thrift shop. They were actually fully painted with designs so David sanded them down completely until they had a nice smooth finish...a perfect surface for some well wishes.
On the same table we had our "escort cards" which were mini succulent plants. We didn't do anything normally.
I made small signs (escort cards) with the guest names and the table names, again to match the ceremony sign and the table name signs in the centerpieces. The stripes next to the names were color coordinated with the guest's dinner selection (blue for beef, white for chicken and green for vegetarian).
And we used an old fishing creel for our card box (which also held the ugly manila envelope for our marriage license evidently). We didn't get a photo of them, but our bathroom baskets were also fishing creels filled with all kinds of items people might need during the wedding.
Before my bridal shower I had purchased two creels to use as bathroom baskets but was still looking for something for our card box. As part of my bridal shower gift, David's great aunt gave me this one that used to be in her lake house, so it was a perfect match with the other wedding decor. She also gave us this wooden fish that we hung from the centerpiece at our head table.
It worked out great since our table name was "Sal the Bait Fish." I told you we were weird. That name came from an inside joke between David and I. I've been known to get a little bored when he takes me ice fishing (I mean....come onnnn) so one time I entertained myself by naming his bait fish. The one I named Sal was the only one that caught us a fish that day, and infamously became a part of our wedding..."Sal the Bait Fish."

Anyway, back to the good stuff. Our amazing cake was made by Coastal Gourmet at Mystic Seaport.
I also want to add this picture because in the background it shows our guests during cocktail hour under the sperry tent outside, which was one of my favorite things about our venue.
Next to our cake is the bouquet I caught in 2006 at my cousin Julie's wedding. She used fake flowers (genius) so I was able to save it, and I just covered her black and white ribbon with our navy and white striped ribbon and some of the anchor ribbon from my bouquet.
My cousin Amy caught it...keeping it in the family was totally not staged. Nahhhh. Hopefully she'll use it at her wedding with her own ribbon and continue the tradition :)
Toward the end of our reception they also passed around milk and cookies...my personal favorite treat and a wonderful way to end the night.
I loved all our little details and how much our wedding reflected us as a couple. We'll return this time next year with some more "Wedding Week" posts.
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