October 28, 2011

Friday Favorites

It does not feel like Friday to me! How did it get here so fast?! 

Most weeks, you wouldn't find me complaining about a week that sped by... but I could really use like 7,492 extra hours in the week until November 7th. Ugh. 

No theme. No order. Here are a few of my faves I came across on the interwebs this week :)
TVs in the laundry room, Dyson vacuums, energy star appliances..... the things that excite me these days. Sad but true.

Frozen grapes as ice cubes for wine -- wish I'd thought of this sooner!

Coziest. Bathtub. Ever. I don't think I'd ever get out...

Apple Chips... yum! Perfect for this time of year when apples are at their peak
Cutest bowl covers! They look easy to make... so long, cling wrap and ugly foil.
Do something fun for me this weekend ~ I'll be cooped up studying and paper writing! I can't wait for the day when weekends feel like weekends!

October 26, 2011

Ohio Visit

Last week we flew back to Ohio for a long weekend. In that short period of time we managed to see 4 parents, 3 siblings, 2 grandparents, 2 aunts, 1uncle, 9 cousins, and a handful of friends who are still living in/around our home town. Phew. It was busy... but fun! We celebrated my dad's 54th birthday, got to meet Rylie - our sweet, roly poly Goddaughter - for the very first time, and celebrated the marriage of our family friends!

Visits home are always exhausting and hectic - but thats just how it goes when you're the out-of-towners! When we eventually move back closer to family and friends we'll be old news and our time won't be in such high demand I'm sure ;)

This is a busy little week for me -- papers to write and the MPRE to study for -- and since I didn't take any pics (ugh, why do I suck at taking pictures?!) of our fun-filled Ohio weekend, I'll share a couple I snagged from my sister and then I'll get back to work!
Happy Birthday Bri!

Heading into the reception w/ my handsome hubbs
Chubby little nugget blowing raspberries :) 
Putting the amount of work I have to do over the next week into words will put me into full out panic mode, so I'll spare you the details! Paper time.

Ready, set... go.

October 24, 2011


After 2 years of only making our way back to Ohio in July (when the leaves are obviously green) and late November for Thanksgiving (when the leaves are dead and fallen)... I finally got my fix last weekend of fall foliage in the Midwest!

The beautiful fall colors are my favorite part of Ohio autumns. In fact... That is probably the only thing about Ohio this time of year I really love. The cold, the gray, the rain - intolerable. But occasionally the clouds part and the sun peeks out for a day - or more realistically, an hour - and I can appreciate the colors of the changing leaves.

I'm glad I got a peek at the fall colors before heading back down south! While our leaves down here might not be quite as pretty, I'm willing to trade the colorful tree decorations for 77 degree temps well into October annny day! :)

October 21, 2011

Friday Favorites

Things that aren't happening today: blogging.

Things that are: nail date with my momma and sister. And praying that I learn what I need to know for the MPRE by osmosis... Because...

Things that also are not happening today: studying.

Enjoying my real life favorite things this Friday - time with family, good food, visiting with friends back home - beats my Pinterest finds any day :)

Hope you have a wonderful weekend!!

October 17, 2011

Baby Shower: Little Details

I swear this will be the last baby shower post! I figured I'd share some of the little details and decorations because they were {mostly} DIY and definitely inexpensive!

First up, card stock bunting. Using a spool of ribbon, about 10 sheets of random pink/black/white patterned card stock, scissors and a glue stick I made this cute decorative bunting to hang around the house. It was a really subtle addition to the shower, but it added some PINK to the house and was a cute touch.

I cut out symmetrical diamonds from the sheets of card stock and folded the crease over the ribbon before gluing. This made it so the little triangles could slide along the ribbon since I wasn't going to be hanging or positioning the card stock until the day of the shower (since it wasn't at our house). I cut and pasted while we watched a movie so it didn't seem as tedious. But it did take an hour or so.
Total Cost: ~$10

Another small, inexpensive way I decorated the house was with light and hot pink gerbera daisies in mason jars. I bought the flowers fresh the morning of the shower, cut them down to size and tied a simple white ribbon around each jar.
Because the shower wasn't confined to a party room or an enclosed space, 8 of these jars (found them in sets of 4 at Target) with just a couple stems of daisies were an inexpensive, easy was to add a pop of pink to the mantle, food and dining tables, and the deck without having to really "decorate" every room of the house! They also doubled as "favors" since we sent one home with the friends who hung around through the evening for a bonfire. The rest brightened up the momma-to-be's house for another week after the shower, and the jars can be reused for just about anything!
Total Cost: $26

In place of games - because none of us are big fans of shower games - I set out these cute "Wishes for Baby" cards (click here for free printable template) and a stack of diapers for "Diaper Thoughts" (idea found: here) that doubled as a fun activity {especially for the boys after a few drinks... we all got a good laugh when they read their "answers" aloud!} and another subtle way to decorate.

I picked up these pink frames in a pack of 3 at Target and left them for Tony and Danielle to use in Gia's room or wherever else they want once they get some pictures of their baby girl. I had the cards printed on heavy card stock at Kinkos so that they could be saved for Gia's baby book or just to look back at and get a good laugh down the road ;)
Total Cost: $15

Aside from these decorations, the only real decorating we had to do to turn their house into a baby shower was stick a few pink balloons outside, stack the beautifully packaged gifts in the living room, hang a few pink tissue paper poms ($8 at Party City) from the dining room light fixture and display the desserts and paper products! Luckily, I had a glass cake stand and cupcake tier to help make the desserts a decoration of their own. And the pink patterned cups, napkins and plates made the food table a giant decoration of its own!
That's it! It wasn't over-the-top decorated, but it was just perfect for a coed shower and a party planner on a budget! Everything turned out just right... but most importantly, it was a fun day filled with lots of gifts and celebration for the sweet little girl who should be making her debut any day now!

We're all waaaaiiitttting, Gia Mae!

October 14, 2011

Friday Favorites

I'll interrupt the baby shower madness with a short, sweet Friday Favorites post! 

Short because I have a paper and a final to worry about. Eeek! 

And sweet because Pinterest provides my brain with the nicest little study breaks. 
We haven't really decided whether or not we want to carve pumpkins this year... but IF we do, I love this idea!
I reeeally wanna make this Crock Pot Chicken Tortilla Soup for our next Football Sunday :)
We really don't have room for more seating in our living room, but sometimes we need it.  A few DIY Bean Bags might be a good solution... if only I could sew.
I'm obsessed with armoires without doors right now. I wish we had room for one!
Wine bottles turned into vases w/ hemp rope - so simple and pretty! {Always am on the lookout for ways to turn my love for vino into something more than a morning after headache!}
That's all I've got for today, friends! Once this pesky final is behind me, I plan to enjoy a beautiful fall evening with friends and I'm scheming a fun Sweetest Day surprise for my cutie hubbs. Sure Sweetest Day is made up and lame, but when your husband's birthday falls on Valentine's Day... you suck it up and pick that other romantic holiday to celebrate instead! B-Day > V-Day :)

See ya next week!

October 11, 2011

Baby Shower: The Desserts

I. love. baking. 

I'm not quite as big of a fan of cooking (much to my husband's disappointment). I'd much rather bake a cake or decorate cupcakes than cook healthy dinners. Although, I do my fair share of both. The only problem I have with baking: not enough people to eat my sweet treats!!! 

Since Andrew doesn't eat - or even like - sweets, I try my best not to make them unless there is a special occasion where I'll get to share them...... otherwise I end up eating a pan of muffins. Or a loaf of banana bread. Or a couple dozen cookies. Or an entire cheesecake (I almost didn't fess up to this one. Sounds so much more disgusting when I see it in writing!). 

Insert: baby shower. The perfect excuse to bake to my little heart's content! And bake I did. Danielle has a full container of cookies and a couple dozen cupcakes in her freezer for when baby Gia arrives and they get extended stay house guests to entertain for a few weeks! 

I won't bore you with the details, or insult your Martha skills - we all know how to make cupcakes and sugar cookies. Right? Well, next time you want to make fab vanilla cupcakes {or a cake, I suppose} I hiiiighly recommend this recipe! So moist, so easy. Its my new vanilla go-to. 

I found the cute pink cupcake liners at Michaels. I cheated a little and bought the strawberry icing (whipped) in the baking aisle and piped it using a disposable decorating bag and a "petal" tip. I found a few tutorials online for how to frost a cupcake like a pretty little rose... some were more helpful than others, but I mostly had to wing it. For a point in the right direction, check out this short video.  My decorating tip was way smaller, and the icing I used wasn't as stiff so they look a little different - but same idea.

I also made a batch of strawberry cupcakes - from the box... gasp - and piped vanilla whipped icing on top, then covered with hot pink sprinkles! All day people kept saying that they were too pretty to eat. Whaaa?? Might explain the dozens of left overs...
The sugar cutout cookies were a bigger hit than the cupcakes as far as actually getting eaten. They look less intimidating... easier to grab as you walk by the table and munch on while you chat I suppose. Anyway, I ended up just using a sugar cookie mix instead of my Nana's famous recipe just for the sake of saving some time in a busy week and I will never ever ever make cutout cookies this way again. Swear. They were too sticky as dough, too thin as cookies, and just flat out a hassle. Nothing like my Nana's! But they looked cute for my purposes.
I got a pack of 4 baby themed cookie cutters at Michael's, just to have the onesie shape! I'm sure I'll reuse them all at some point though. After I mixed, rolled, cut and baked... I used Wilton's "Decorator Icing" (white & pink) aka "flooding icing" to decorate the cookies. I was impatient with letting them dry the recommended 1 hour before adding a top layer, so my "G" cookies sort of bled together... hindsight, I would have definitely let them dry a few hours or over night.

With the heart onesie ones, drying time wasn't an issue because I used a tube of thicker decorating icing for the details. That's another option for next time :)

The "G" design wasn't a novel idea I'm sure, but it didn't take much inspiration either. But the decorating details for the heart onesie design were definitely Pinterest-inspired!  The baking and decorating for all of these sugar-packed pink treats was a time-consuming (2-day) process, but was so so fun! 

I feel like I learned a lot about dessert decorating last week - particularly some ways to improve for next time. Luckily, my crowd was easy to please and they didn't seem to mind any imperfections! As with most kitchen endeavors, I figured out what corners I can cut for time-saving purposes, and what not to half-ass in the future! 

Canned buttercream frosting: sometimes do
Bagged cookie mix: definite don't
Packaged flooding icing: do
Let icing fully dry next time: 100% do

I'm not sure when I'll get a chance to bake cookies and cupcakes galore again, but when the time comes I'll be ready!

October 10, 2011

Baby Shower: The Invitations

I'm pretty sure that every detail of this shower was Pinterest-inspired. I seriously don't know what people did before Pinterest! How did I plan my wedding without it?! I seriously have no idea... but I'm so thankful for it now :)

The invitations I created are what started the inspiration for the onesie "theme" for the rest of the baby shower. I got so many great ideas from Pinterest, and ended up sort of modifying/adding to some of the ideas I came across to make something that was hand-made, custom and coordinated with baby Gia's sweet little nursery color scheme. Here are some of the pins I used as inspiration...
via 1 (see also), 2, 3
And after a few trips to Michael's for card stock, ribbon, and a paper cutter... and after several classes spent fiddling around on PowerPoint creating the printed text, downloading fonts, and emailing back and forth with the mama-to-be getting a feel for which designs she liked best, this is the invitation I came up with:

After I had the gray card stock printed (at Kinko's so that it was higher quality) and trimmed down to size, I cut light pink heavy card stock sheets to fit the envelopes I bought at Office Depot. I used a little card making paper cutter for a clean edge, and used a glue stick to attach the layers. Because hubbs likes to leave his adjusting table smack in the middle of the office, sometimes it has to double as a craft table ;) 
I got about 5 sheets of assorted pink, black & white patterned card stock in the scrap booking section of Michael's {to match the babe's nursery} and cut lots of mini baby onesies out one Friday night while we watched Dateline...

I sped this process up by folding the paper a few times so I'd get 4 onesies per cut. It was tedious, but since I did it in front of the TV it seemed to go pretty quickly. I cut enough onesies out to have 4 per invitation, and by then I knew I'd be making 30 invitations. After all these little pieces were cut out, I started playing around with placement and arrangement, and then started sticking the onesies on with adhesive dots I found in the scrap booking aisle. The dots are made of foam and raised the onesies up just slightly and this gave the whole invitation a more 3-dimensional look.

I finished off the clothesline look by cutting a small piece of white ribbon and securing it behind the onesies. I just taped the ribbon neatly to the back of the invitation. And that's it! 

The total cost for all 30 invitations was only about $35. I spent approx. $10 on printing (4 invitations/sheet of card stock), $18 on materials (paper, adhesive dots, glue stick, ribbon, and paper cutter - obviously will be able to re-use some of those), and $8 on envelopes.

Danielle loved them and people commented on how cute they were in every single RSVP I got :) All the great feedback was the best compliment I could have hoped for! Ordering similar handmade invitations would have easily cost 2-3x what I spent... and I had so much fun making these!

Easy, inexpensive, DIY... and these were just the start! When I get a free minute this week I'll show you up-close and w/ instructions some of the other fun DIY things I used in planning this par-tay!

October 9, 2011

Baby Shower

The baby shower this weekend for Miss Gia and her momma and daddy went fabulously! The weather was beautiful, all of the food and decorations turned out just how I envisioned, and most importantly - the little lady stayed in her mom's belly (and still is in there...) until after the party ~ phew!

For future reference... throwing a shower at the mom-to-be's 37th week of pregnancy is a little nerve racking for all involved! Thankfully, everything worked out! Gia, you are now welcome to come out and meet us any day you please!

Here are some at-a-glance shower pics ~ I'll post more detailed info about DIY things and desserts I made later on. Gia's mommy loved all of the decor and everyone enjoyed the sweets! :)
The invitations

Pretty food table

Gifts for baby!

Gerbera daisies in mason jars & card stock bunting

Onesie cut-out cookies

Pink drink station


"Wishes for Baby" cards

Gerbera daisies around the house

The proud parents-to-be!
They got some adorable gifts and everyone had a great time! Throwing a co-ed shower meant that it was less of a "shower" and more of a party, so I was a little nervous about how the whole day would flow - but it went so so smoothly. The guys played corn hole and grilled out, the girls gossiped over mimosas and awww-ed at the itty bitty pink presents... it was perfect!

I'm not overly anxious to plan another shower or party any time too soon, but I loved {almost} every minute of planning and preparing for this one... and if a law career doesn't pan out, I think party planner may be in the running for back-up life plan ;)