Tag Archives: shopping

Wedding Wednesday #6: 4 months to go

3 Jun

weddingwednesday

A little late, and I skipped a month. Can you tell I’ve been busy!? Wedding planning had taken a backseat to other responsibilities recently, but I’m back and determined to get as much done as possible. I have a bunch of crafting, planning and purchasing to do. Zach and I have set up a day to sit down with my parents to finalize our budget so we can be 100% sure where the money is coming from for everything. I can’t believe the wedding is in 4 months. I’ve gone from the “I’ve got plenty of time!” attitude to total crunch time, and it’s making me crazy!

One big point of stress is figuring out where the money will come from for everything. Also, Zach and I have been working on something else huge in our lives recently which I should have more information about soon, so I feel a little strapped for cash lately.

But, let’s get on with it, shall we?

Need:

  • Venue — Reserved and paid for! 
  • Caterer — Caterer booked and partially paid for
  • Alcohol — Signature cocktails decided on, pricing wine/beer now. 
  • Escort Cards — We’ve decided to do away with assigned seating for now. I don’t know if Zach is 100% on board with this idea, but for now I’ve decided to nix it because it’s one less thing I have to do.  
  • Guest List  — the guest list has been finalized! 
  • My Dress — Please see below. 
  • My Veil — Something borrowed — I have it and it looks great with my dress. 
  • Bolero for over dressIt arrived, and it is PERFECT! I can’t wait for you to see it. Everyone who has seen it with the dress says it is just that special something that makes the dress “pop” — if you’re looking for something simple, elegant and handmade check out Wearable Artz  — Amy really did a perfect job.
  • Hair accessories for bride/bridesmaids? — Still thinking about this. 
  • Ties/socks for the groomsmen/ring bearerThe groomsmen have their outfits picked out, matching socks have been acquired. 
  • Shoes for the bride — If anyone sees any amazing yellow shoes, please send me the link!  
  • Guest Book — Recieved! It’s perfect 🙂 
  • Save the Date InvitationsCheck! Here is my post about the Save the Dates.
  • Invitations — I’ve seen a mock up of the invites and I’m so excited to share this with you! But it will have to wait until they have been mailed 🙂 
  • Welcome bags for out of town guests — This is something we will deal with a little closer to the wedding. I have some ideas. 
  • Bridesmaid dresses — One bridesmaid is fully outfitted, another has ordered her dress (but won’t get it until a month before the wedding) and we’re working on the rest. 
  • CakeWe’ve had our cake consultation. We are doing a naked cake, the flavors of the layers are: Vanilla, Boston Creme and lemon. Need to make the cake topper. 
  • Centerpieces — Yarn-wrapped wine bottles (see below), 3 per table Handmade runners and tea lights, and framed prints — so far I have some bottles wrapped, the prints have been framed and the fabric for the runners has been ordered. Need to decide on flowers for the wine bottles (will do silk flowers) 
  • OfficiantI’ve emailed Adam (our officiant) again to give him a bit of an idea of where we were going with that. We will set up a meeting this spring to finalize everything. 
  • Photographer — My SIL-to-be and her wedding photographer partner are our wedding photographers. They do amazing work, so I’m pretty pleased about this.  
  • DJ – Zach has been in touch with our wedding DJ’s. They are friends of ours so we are just playing chicken on a price right now. 
  • The “somethings”Check! Veil, earrings, bracelet, dress
  • JewelryCheck! I have a lovely pair of blue earrings and I’ve commissioned a local jewelry designer to do a nice simple necklace for me, and of course my great-grandmother’s bracelet.  
  • Our wedding bands — We really need to get this done. 
  • Bridesmaid Gifts —  I’ve ordered part of this, just looking for a few more things. 
  • Groomsmen Gifts — Zach has ordered a few things. 
  • Rehearsal Dinner — I’ve spoken with a couple friends who are willing to host a BBQ the day before the wedding, so we will have somewhere to do this. We’ve talked about a pig roast with catered sides. If we do it this way, the rehearsal dinner can be a more casual affair that everyone who is coming to the wedding can attend. 
  • Wedding RegistriesMacy’s, Target and online for cash gifts. 
  • Thank you cards — Love the idea of a photo of us on the day holding a Thank You! sign
  • Hotel Room blockthis was taken care of when we booked the venue
  • Hair person — I’m going to cut all of my hair off. See below. 
  • Garter — I’m probably just going to make this, something like this
  • Our toasting flutes — Here are a few I like
  • Cake cutter/spatula
  • Day-of Coordinator(s) — a friend has offered to help out with this. THANK YOU, Sarah!! 
  • Programs — I have this planned in my head, just need to order the materials and put them together. I’ll do a post on it when I finish them. 
  • Cake Topper — need to make. 
  • Flowers — See below. 
  • Songs for the ceremony
  • Ceremony Readings — I’m going with readings from Children’s books. I have two picked out already. 
  • “First Dance” Songs
  • Bridal Shower — One down, one to go. 
  • Bachelorette Party
  • Bachelor Party
  • Table Numbers — No need for this if we don’t have a seating chart. 
  • Favors — homemade lemon cookies in gray CD sleeves (already purchased). I’ve been pricing buttons. Baking 150 homemade cookies is feeling overwhelming already. 
  • Other reception/ceremony decor — need chalkboards, various sized jars and bottles, backdrop and photo frames…I’ll be frequenting the local flea markets/antique shops this summer for these items. 
  • Photo booth — I think I’ve definitely decided to go with a DIY photo “area” instead of a traditional booth (they are SO expensive). I think people will have just as much fun taking their own photos, especially since I’m encouraging everyone to bring cameras with them. 
  • Flower Girl attireSee below! 
  • Honeymoon.  — Zach and I are forgoing the Honeymoon to instead go on our annual beach trip with our friends about a month before the wedding. Since this is where we got engaged last year, I couldn’t imagine skipping it. 

Bridal Shower! 

The first thing I want to talk about is my very first bridal shower! A few of my bridesmaids and I went back to Pittsburgh for a lovely shower hosted by maid of honor (and sister), Michelle and my mom. It was so lovely!

2013-05-04 13.05.13

 

At this point in wedding planning, I would definitely say that the best part is getting to see/talk to so many family members and friends that you don’t usually see/talk to. I loved getting to see some old friends and family, and it’s nice to see my immediate family because I don’t get to see them as often as I’d like. It was also really fun getting to bring my girlfriends home and let them meet my family.

2013-05-04 14.43.00-2

 

The shower had the cutest tea-party theme and everyone got to take home a unique tea cup and a vanilla flavored sugar cube shaped like a heart. I still haven’t used mine! I got some very nice gifts, but most importantly I felt very showered with love — it was awesome!

Flowers 

Zach and I had a meeting with a florist on Saturday. I showed her some photos:

flowers

…and now she’s working on a quote for me. As I’ve mentioned, our DIY centerpieces will be yarn-wrapped wine bottles with some sort of flowers, a framed print and a home made table runner (more on those below). I was originally planning on buying fake flowers for the centerpieces, but I’ve decided that it may be just as cost effective to get real flowers since I’ll only be doing a single bud in each. Jenni is going to run a quote with those and without them, so I can see if the costs will work. I’m pretty confident that Jenni will come up with something spectacular, but as usual I’m worried about cost. I’ll just have to weigh my options when it comes to flowers.

Fabric Table “Runners” 

My friend Mandee is a talented seamstress, and she has very kindly agreed to make the table “runners” for the tables. We will have 18 large round tables. Luckily, our venue provides the table cloths, but I wanted something a little more, especially considering our centerpieces aren’t going to be too over the top.

Mandee pushed me to order the fabric already (I’m the worst procrastinator!) and we got it just recently:

Picture1

 

These are just a few of the designs I picked, and Mandee will use a yellow binding around all of them with a decorative stitch. I have no doubt these will turn out amazing!

As of right now, the only things I’m working on are the decor items. We have most of the big things taken care of. Somehow, I still feel like things could get out of control at any moment!

Question of the Day:
If you had to choose wedding colors, what would they be? 

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Wedding Wednesday #5: 6 months to go

27 Mar

weddingwednesday

How many times have I mentioned how awesome it is to have a sister-in-law who is a photographer?? We have so many amazing photos of us because of her and I’m eternally grateful. The above photo was taken earlier this month before my annual work Gala, on a rare lovely day. I love it!

I have been very productive with wedding stuff this month. There is still so much to do, don’t get me wrong, but we got a lot done this month, so let’s keep the momentum, shall we?

Need:

  • Venue — Reserved and as of posting this, we only owe $200 on the venue! 
  • Caterer — We have a caterer, folks! Woo hoo! See below for more. 
  • Alcohol — After reading this post by Meghann at Meals and Miles about how she stocked her bar, I’m confident we can do a full bar at our wedding as well. I’ve reached out to a couple people I know to see if they would like to be our bartender. I’ve changed my mind — AGAIN! See below for my thoughts on this. 
  • Escort Cards — Going back and forth about this. I think I might just do a clothesline with pretty tags hung with clothespins. 
  • Guest List 
  • My Dress — Love it! 
  • My Veil — Something borrowed — I have it and it looks great with my dress. 
  • Bolero for over dressIt arrived, and it is PERFECT! I can’t wait for you to see it. Everyone who has seen it with the dress says it is just that special something that makes the dress “pop” — if you’re looking for something simple, elegant and handmade check out Wearable Artz  — Amy really did a perfect job.
  • Hair accessories for bride/bridesmaids? — Some yellow flower accessory for all of us — I spoke with someone recently about making these. 
  • Ties/socks for the groomsmen/ring bearerThe groomsmen have their outfits picked out, and we have ordered matching socks for all of them. 
  • Shoes for the bride — If anyone sees any amazing yellow shoes, please send me the link!  
  • Guest Book — Recieved! It’s perfect 🙂 
  • Save the Date InvitationsCheck! Here is my post about the Save the Dates.
  • Invitations — a dear friend and groomsman is designing them. I fully trust him, so I’m not worried about this at all. 
  • Welcome bags for out of town guests — This is something we will deal with a little closer to the wedding. I have some ideas. 
  • Bridesmaid dresses — One bridesmaid has purchased her dress! Woo hoo! I’m absolutely not worried about this at all. I search for dresses every once in a while, and there is no shortage of cute dresses that will look adorable together. See below for more on this. 
  • CakeWe’ve had our cake consultation. We are doing a naked cake, the flavors of the layers are: Vanilla, Boston Creme and lemon. So glad a dear friend is doing this. Now I need to decide on cake toppers. More on this below. 
  • Centerpieces — Yarn-wrapped wine bottles (see below), 3 per table Handmade runners and tea lights, and framed prints (see below) 
  • OfficiantI’ve emailed Adam (our officiant) again to give him a bit of an idea of where we were going with that. We will set up a meeting this spring to finalize everything. 
  • Photographer — My SIL-to-be and her wedding photographer partner are our wedding photographers. They do amazing work, so I’m pretty pleased about this.  
  • DJ – We have two friends who are in an incredible band and are great DJ’s. They have agreed to be our DJ, and I really think they are going to do a great job. 
  • The “somethings”Check! Veil, earrings, bracelet, dress
  • JewelryCheck! I have a lovely pair of blue earrings and I’ve commissioned a local jewelry designer to do a nice simple necklace for me, and of course my great-grandmother’s bracelet.  
  • Our wedding bands — Still haven’t done this! Slackers! 
  • Bridesmaid Gifts —  I’ve ordered part of this, just looking for a few more things. 
  • Groomsmen Gifts — Zach has ordered a few things. 
  • Rehearsal Dinner — I’ve spoken with a couple friends who are willing to host a BBQ the day before the wedding, so we will have somewhere to do this. We’ve talked about a pig roast with catered sides. If we do it this way, the rehearsal dinner can be a more casual affair that everyone who is coming to the wedding can attend. 
  • Wedding RegistriesMacy’s, Target and online for cash gifts. 
  • Thank you cards — Love the idea of a photo of us on the day holding a Thank You! sign
  • Hotel Room blockthis was taken care of when we booked the venue
  • Hair person — I think we have this
  • Garter — I’m probably just going to make this, something like this
  • Our toasting flutes — Here are a few I like
  • Cake cutter/spatula
  • Day-of Coordinator(s) — a friend has offered to help out with this. THANK YOU, Sarah!! 
  • Programs — I have this planned in my head, just need to order the materials and put them together. I’ll do a post on it when I finish them. 
  • Cake Topper — see below
  • Flowers — One of my to-do items for next month is to price three things: a professional florist, DIY flower kits online and buying my own flowers from Kroger.  
  • Songs for the ceremony
  • Ceremony Readings — I’m going with readings from Children’s books. I have two picked out already. 
  • “First Dance” Songs
  • Bridal Shower — Apparently there are TWO bridal showers in the works for me! I’m a very lucky and loved girl. 
  • Bachelorette Party
  • Bachelor Party
  • Table Numbers — I bookmarked this tutorial , and even if I don’t use their printable, the idea of using binder clips is genius (and cheap!) 
  • Favors — homemade lemon cookies in gray CD sleeves (already purchased). I’ve been pricing buttons. Baking 150 homemade cookies is feeling overwhelming already. 
  • Other reception/ceremony decor — need chalkboards, various sized jars and bottles, backdrop and photo frames…I’ll be frequenting the local flea markets/antique shops this summer for these items. 
  • Photo booth — I think I’ve definitely decided to go with a DIY photo “area” instead of a traditional booth (they are SO expensive). I think people will have just as much fun taking their own photos, especially since I’m encouraging everyone to bring cameras with them. 
  • Flower Girl attireSee below! 
  • Honeymoon!? — Zach and I are forgoing the Honeymoon to instead go on our annual beach trip with our friends about a month before the wedding. Since this is where we got engaged last year, I couldn’t imagine skipping it. 

Caterer: 

Yay! We have a caterer, and I could not be more happy about it. I spoke with several caterers early this month and was feeling very pressed. I ended up sending a (refundable) $100 deposit to a caterer I had only spoken with in order for her to save my date (she didn’t do tastings, so if we went with her, we’d just have to trust her on the menu). However, I set up a consultation and tasting with the ladies at Sweet & Sassy Bakery, who had come highly recommended. After speaking with Annette and setting up our tasting,  I was very happy with her menu suggestions, but I was worried about the price. The price quote by the other caterer had been very reasonable, and her menu was quite basic. Annette was talking about a simple, yet elegant menu and I was sure she would quote me  a much higher price.

Zach and I went to the tasting last week, and the food was amazing! We’re going with a simple Italian menu — spaghetti with meat sauce or marinara, and a chicken penne pasta with a Tuscan cream sauce for the main entrees, a garden salad with a choice of homemade dressings, and rolls with rosemary and basil sea salt. They also provide the flatware and plates, and two drink choices (we went with tea and a fruit-infused water). When she quoted me the price, it was very reasonable, so I wrote her a check on the spot for 30% of our total cost. I called the other caterer and got my deposit back right away. I’m so glad to have that taken care of!

Alcohol: 

In talking to Annette, she mentioned that some people cut alcohol costs by buying beer and wine, and then limiting the liquor selections by designing one or two signature cocktails and only buying the ingredients for those. I really loved this idea! I’ve already thought of one idea (a bourbon based cocktail with ginger simple syrup), and we’re going to try to think of one more. Zach’s only request is that one is called The Zachary Daiquiri.

Bridesmaids Dresses: 

As I’ve mentioned, one of my best ladies has purchased a dress. I’m leaving it up to the others to pick out their dresses, but if I get stressed, I’ll force them to let me go shopping with them, haha 🙂

One concern I’ve heard is that a bunch of mismatched dresses won’t look cohesive, but in order to sort of get an idea of what it would look like, I took a bunch of dresses I’ve recently pinned on Pinterest, and made an inspiration board of what they would look like together:

Picture1

love how this looks! One of those dresses is the one that’s already been purchased, but I won’t say which 🙂 What do you think? Keep in mind that the looks will be tied together with yellow shoes and yellow flowers in their hair.

Cake Topper:

LOVE this idea! The love birds will be super easy to make, and the Billy Buttons (the yellow flowers) are what I’m planning on putting in the bouquets and boutineers, so it will tie everything together. I also love the pop of color with the pink flower, and the rustic look that the baby’s breath gives it. My cake will be much bigger than this, but what I love about my cake designer is that if I just give her a mess of the flowers and the birds, she’ll make it look awesome.

More centerpiece ideas: 

Originally, I had decided on three yarn-wrapped wine bottles per table with baby’s breath or some other flowers in them. However, this month, I decided to cut that down to two bottles, and add a print to each table. Here’s what I came up with:

prints

This is just a sample, I made 10 total (I just used PicMonkey, it was super easy) and had them printed through Shutterfly. They arrived this week! The next step is to buy some frames. I’m planning on getting dollar store wooden frames and painting them white and then grey to make them look a little rustic. I’m counting on having 20 tables total, so I’ll have to repeat each print twice. The one that says, “We are so glad you are here”, I made one extra for the table with the guest book.

Flower Girl attire: 

Purchased!

flower girl

I bought this adorable outfit this month, and the whole shebang was less than $50! I had the idea that Easter dresses would be on sale around now, and I figured I’d find something adorable and yellow in that selection. I was right! I’m thinking plain white mary jane shoes with this.

I also purchased this on a whim this month:

Purchased from this Etsy shop, I can’t wait to hang my wedding dress on this while we get ready. Frivolous purchase, perhaps, but something I felt I definitely needed! Of course, mine will say 9.28.13 and Mrs. Browning!

Photos From the Weekend

11 Mar

I’m really sick, and really busy at work, but I wanted to fill you in with photos from the weekend really quickly:

outburst

On Friday, we went to a friend’s house to play a few games. Every time we go over there, I discover a new game I love. First, it was Taboo, then Guesstures. This time, it was Outburst. Although the boys heartily beat us, I think we need a rematch because I feel like they got easier topics than we did.

After that, we went to another friends house to hang out:

thom

 

In true Kristy fashion, I only took pictures of the cat. But isn’t Thom regal?

Saturday was a busy day, and although the weather was perfect, I wasn’t able to get a run in. I had about a million things to do, including shopping for a dress for the Gala that was being held that evening as a fundraiser for the library where I work

try on

Have you been to JC Penney lately? They have really stepped up their game and have some seriously cute clothes. I did like the dress above, but settled on this:

gala outfit

 

The shoes and dress are from JC Penney and cost a total of $37! And I looove the dress. It’s lined, it has pockets, it’s adorable and very comfy. I’ll have a photo on here of me and Zach all dressed up soon, because his sister was kind enough to come outside and take some photos of us. It’s pretty nice having your professional photographer sister-in-law live right next door! 🙂 The sweater is clearly from Old Navy, and the earrings I bought first from Gabriel Brothers. The little orange rosettes were the inspiration behind the outfit because I liked them so much!

The Gala was very fun, but my throat started getting scratchy just before we got there.

gala

 

I wish I had taken a photo of every dish, because the food was so good! My favorites were the first course, which was a black bean stew with kale served over rice, and the salad, which was mixed greens, tomatoes, onions and hearts of palm with a mango/passion fruit dressing. Yum!

After the Gala, Zach and I went to a local bar to have a couple drinks in our fancy clothes and then headed home and had some folks over to watch Saturday Night Live with Justin Timberlake — which was SO good!

By the time I woke up on Sunday, I was definitely sick. I laid in bed well after Zach had already risen for the day, and that’s a certain sign that I’m not feeling well. I did manage to get out and do an errand that had to be done (begrudgingly), and I also was able to make it over to a friend’s porch to enjoy the balmy weather:

porchin

 

 

However, I was soon back on the couch. No run for me, which was a bummer because of the awesome weather, but I know there is more to come. I’m feeling pretty bad, but I hope to be back in action by tomorrow. Unfortunately, Zach and I have a tasting with a caterer this evening. It’s a bummer I feel bad for that, but it’s not something I can cancel.

Because of the spring-like weather, I’ve been able to open the windows and enjoy the breeze, which also pleases the cats:

spring

 

Hope you’re having some nice weather near you as well!

Question of the Day:
Has spring sprung where you live yet? 

 

 

Wedding Wednesday #4: 7 months to go

27 Feb

wedding wednesday

Where does the time go? I feel like just yesterday, Zach and I were walking on the beach in North Carolina and he got down on one knee to put a ring on my finger. Now, we’re right in the middle of planning the biggest party of our lives!

I’ve got to be honest: I’m starting to feel the stress of wedding planning in a big way. When I get things done, it’s a relief, but only a tiny one because there is so much more to do. When I’m not doing wedding related tasks, I feel guilty. The way I chill out and calm down is to picture the wedding, which I know is going to be incredible, and amazingly fun!

Need:

  • Venue — Reserved and (partially) paid for (as the balance gets lower on this, I get happier and happier!) 
  • Caterer — I have narrowed this down to 2 caterers. We have a tasting scheduled for March 11th, and we’ll know more then. 
  • Alcohol — After reading this post by Meghann at Meals and Miles about how she stocked her bar, I’m confident we can do a full bar at our wedding as well. I’ve reached out to a couple people I know to see if they would like to be our bartender
  • Escort Cards — Going back and forth about this. I think I might just do a clothesline with pretty tags hung with clothespins. 
  • Guest List 
  • My Dress — Love it! 
  • My Veil — Something borrowed — I have it and it looks great with my dress. 
  • Bolero for over dressIt arrived, and it is PERFECT! I can’t wait for you to see it. Everyone who has seen it with the dress says it is just that special something that makes the dress “pop” — if you’re looking for something simple, elegant and handmade check out Wearable Artz  — Amy really did a perfect job.
  • Hair accessories for bride/bridesmaids? — Some yellow flower accessory for all of us — I spoke with someone recently about making these. 
  • Ties/socks for the groomsmen/ring bearer — We decided this month that along with the suits of their own choosing (grey, but mismatched), the groomsmen will also wear a yellow tie of their own choosing. Matching socks have been received.  
  • Shoes for the bride — I’ve actually changed my mind about this, more about it later. 
  • Guest Book — Recieved! It’s perfect 🙂 
  • Save the Date InvitationsCheck! Here is my post about the Save the Dates.
  • Invitations — a dear friend and groomsman is designing them. I fully trust him, so I’m not worried about this at all. 
  • Welcome bags for out of town guests — This is something we will deal with a little closer to the wedding. I have some ideas. 
  • Bridesmaid dresses — One bridesmaid has purchased her dress! Woo hoo! I made an appointment with David’s Bridal for late March to look at bridesmaids dresses and talk about alterations for my dress. 
  • Groomsmen attire: Everyone has decided what they will wear and we have purchased the matching socks for the groomsmen
  • Cake:
  • Centerpieces — Yarn-wrapped wine bottles (see below), 3 per table Handmade runners and tea lights. 
  • OfficiantI’ve emailed Adam (our officiant) again to give him a bit of an idea of where we were going with that. We will set up a meeting this spring to finalize everything. 
  • Photographer — My SIL to be is a wedding photographer, having a photographer friend be her second shooter. 
  • DJ – Zach is handling this 
  • The “somethings”Check! Veil, earrings, bracelet, dress
  • JewelryCheck! I have a lovely pair of blue earrings and I’ve commissioned a local jewelry designer to do a nice simple necklace for me, and of course my great-grandmother’s bracelet.  
  • Our wedding bands — Will probably go this coming weekend to have my engagement ring cleaned and serviced, and we will look at wedding bands then.  
  • Bridesmaid Gifts —  I’ve ordered part of this, just looking for a few more things. 
  • Groomsmen Gifts — Zach has ordered a few things. 
  • Rehearsal Dinner — I’ve spoken with a couple friends who are willing to host a BBQ the day before the wedding, so we will have somewhere to do this. We’ve talked about a pig roast with catered sides. If we do it this way, the rehearsal dinner can be a more casual affair that everyone who is coming to the wedding can attend. 
  • Wedding RegistriesMacy’s, Target and online for cash gifts. 
  • Thank you cards — Love the idea of a photo of us on the day holding a Thank You! sign
  • Hotel Room blockthis was taken care of when we booked the venue
  • Hair person — I think we have this
  • Garter — I’m probably just going to make this, something like this
  • Our toasting flutes — Here are a few I like
  • Cake cutter/spatula
  • Day-of Coordinator(s) — a friend has offered to help out with this. THANK YOU, Sarah!! 
  • ProgramsI have this covered, just need to order the materials and put them together
  • Cake Topper? – Will buy a flower topper for the cake from a local florist. The cake topper may be my only real flowers besides the boutineers, because….
  • Flowers — I’m thinking about going purely with the DIY/paper flower route. More about that later, but look at this link for an idea of where I’m headed. 
  • Songs for the ceremony
  • Ceremony Readings — I’m going with readings from Children’s books. I have two picked out already. 
  • “First Dance” Songs
  • Bridal Shower — Apparently there are TWO bridal showers in the works for me! I’m a very lucky and loved girl. 
  • Bachelorette Party
  • Bachelor Party
  • Table Numbers —  I’m changing my mind about this… 
  • Favors — homemade lemon cookies in gray CD sleeves (already purchased). Need stickers to seal sleeves. — Update: I may purchase the cookies rather than making them. Again, I don’t want to get overwhelmed with DIY projects. Also, I’m also thinking about custom-made buttons. We’ll see.
  • Other reception/ceremony decor — need chalkboards, various sized jars and bottles, backdrop…I’ll be frequenting the local flea markets/antique shops this summer for these items. 
  • Photo booth — I think I’ve definitely decided to go with a DIY photo “area” instead of a traditional booth (they are SO expensive). I think people will have just as much fun taking their own photos, especially since I’m encouraging everyone to bring cameras with them. 
  • Flower Girl attire — This is cute
  • Honeymoon!? — Zach and I are forgoing the Honeymoon to instead go on our annual beach trip with our friends about a month before the wedding. Since this is where we got engaged last year, I couldn’t imagine skipping it. 

Here are the things we have worked on this month:

I’m really embarrassed to say that this month has been less of a hands-on month and more of a thinking about things, calling people month. I wish I had a ton of things to show you, but I just don’t!

1. Caterer

I’ve spoken to three caterers. We set up a tasting with one for March 11th, the second caterer just gave me the available menus over the phone (plus I know someone who has had their food, so I’m confident it will be good), and the third is a bit pricey for the available options. So, I’ve ruled out the third caterer. The only problem is that I don’t want the second caterer to book my date while I’m waiting to go to the tasting for the first caterer. Luckily, she offers the option of giving her a refundable deposit to hold the date, and since it’s just a couple of weeks I’m probably going to do that.

2. Wedding Bands

It’s been 6 months since we got engaged (time flies, I tell ya!), so it’s time to take my engagement ring in to be cleaned/serviced. That means we’ll probably start by looking at wedding bands at the jewelry store where he bought my engagement ring. We’re both thinking we want something really simple. I adore my engagement ring:

Just in case you forgot what it looks like :)

Just in case you forgot what it looks like 🙂

….so I’m going to let it take center stage on my finger. I’ll get something simple that fits with my engagement ring, and that will be that. It will be nice to pick something out for Zach. I’m super excited to see him with a wedding band on his finger. It makes me feel all giddy inside, actually 🙂

3. Bridal Showers

I’ve been approached by my mom and sister and one of my bridesmaids about Bridal Shower plans, which I honestly cannot be more excited about. It just makes me so happy that people want to throw me a party. I love my friends and family so much, and it makes me so happy that they are as excited about this as I am.

4. Honeymoon (ish)

Zach and I might be the first engaged couple on earth to take their honeymoon before their wedding, but it’s looking more and more like that’s what’s going to happen. We got engaged during the annual beach trip with our friends, and at first I imagined we’d forgo that trip this year since it usually happens about a month before the date we had planned to get married, but to be honest, I just can’t even imagine skipping this trip. It has honestly been the best week of my life this past two years, especially last year, with getting engaged right at the beginning of the week. Plus, we just might not have the money and/or time to go away right after the wedding, so we figured, “Why not!?” — I’ll just have to work extra hard to tie up any loose ends before we leave and when we get back. I guess it’s not your traditional honeymoon, but we’re not your traditional couple, either.

The other thing I really need to do this month is to meet with a florist. I need to know how much that is going to cost before I start shopping for all the little things.

Until next month!

Question of the Day:
Did you take a honeymoon? Where? 

 

Well Played, Old Navy.

24 Jan

Last week, all of Old Navy’s Active Apparel was 40% off.

Also last week, all my favorite bloggers posted reviews of Old Navy’s Active Apparel.

Well played, Old Navy.

Now, I’ve always been a fan of Old Navy’s workout line. I think it’s high quality and very well priced. My very favorite running capris were purchased at Old Navy and I still wear them, 3 years later, despite the fact that they are too big (I lost some weight between then and now), so I didn’t really need any convincing. But I must offer kudos to ON (as I like to call it) for such a brilliant marketing strategy. I peruse the ON website often and I had seen what they had, but after seeing it reviewed and modeled by some of my favorite bloggers, I was sold.

I dare say a lot of other people were, too, as their weren’t a ton of choices in the colors and sizes I was looking for! However, I managed to find a few things:

tshirt capris

First up: The Women’s Compression Capris in Arctic Depth. I actually already have these in the Carbon color, and the photograph makes them look like that color, but they really are more blue when you put them next to each other. I’m loving these capris! They are snug, they don’t fall down, and they have a wide waist band that doesn’t cut into your sides. The top is the Women’s Slub-Knit GoDRY Tee in Polly-ester Purple. I’ve been much more into tees than tanks lately when I work out, and this one is great. It feels and fits much like my favorite loungey t-shirt, but it’s made with the quick dry material.

Thumbholes

 

Apologies for the blurry photo. I’ve not quite mastered the selfie with my new camera, apparently. Here we have the Women’s Active GoDRY Running Top, featuring thumbholes! Lately, I’ve noticed that built in thumbholes in long-sleeved running tops are all the rage, and I’ve been dying to get something with this feature. I actually have one long-sleeved t-shirt that I use for running quite often that I cut thumbholes into so that I can slip gloves over it, but the built-ins are going to look so much nicer. I got this top in a small. Perhaps I should have gone up a size, since it’s a tiny bit snug, but I’m going to hold on to it. I actually prefer my running clothes to be snug.

bubble tank

Here is the Women’s Striped Bubble Active Tank in Blackjack. My awkward pose above is trying to illustrate the snug waistband of the tank. I am going to love wearing this to yoga!

Not pictured, I also bought a sports bra and some socks. After the 40% off and the rewards points I had from my Old Navy card, I spent $60 total on all of this. Which is about half the price of one pair of pants from Lululemon. I know a lot of Lulu fanatics say that the astronomical prices are worth it because of the quality, but I think the Old Navy clothes are very high quality. Like I mentioned above, all of my Old Navy activewear stays in rotation for quite a long time, and for the price, I won’t feel bad if it needs replaced in a year or less.

I’m super excited to give these clothes a try with a run after work!

Question of the Day:
What’s your favorite brand of activewear? 

 

 

Financial Fitness #3: Groceries on a budget

31 Jul

Good morning! Did you see Missy Franklin win the gold in the 100 backstroke yesterday!? Wow!

I just love her.

As I said yesterday, the AC wasn’t working and it was miserable, but I refused to let it get me down. I think I was rewarded for my positive attitude, because we ended up closing at noon and I got a half day off! It was much appreciated, as I got a lot done. The AC still isn’t fully functioning, but I’m going to keep up with the positive attitude and hopefully good things will come to me.

Let’s talk about saving money at the grocery store. Other than living expenses, most people spend the largest chunk of their income on food (or at least I do!) So it stands to reason that you want to try to save as much money as possible. Healthy living on a budget, however, can be tricky. If you watch ‘Extreme Couponing’, you know that most of the people on that show aren’t buying produce and whole grains. Which is why I’m going to make kind of a bold statement: Coupons don’t work. 

I hope you are still with me. I know it’s an unpopular sentiment, but I’ve been working toward saving money on my grocery bill and I’ve tried clipping coupons for some time. I’ll tell you that, at least the way I shop, most coupons are completely worthless. Now, this isn’t a hard and fast rule — I’ll get to the exceptions in a few minutes — but generally, this is how it goes: Recently, I had a coupon for $1 off 2 Ortega products. We have tacos at least once a week at my house so I found this coupon to be quite a good find. I brought it to the store every single time, but I realized I never used it. Why? Because buying the store-brand version of salsa and whole wheat tortillas was cheaper than buying the equivalent of the Ortega products and using the coupon. Here’s the thing: Coupons are a marketing technique, not a money-saving tool. Ortega is counting on me not realizing that buying a cheaper brand is more cost-efficient than using their coupon.

Editors note: I actually just had a Twitter conversation with a friend about this, and I think as far as couponing goes, it matters where you live. None of my local grocery stores double coupons, and store brands are relatively cheap, so take my coupon disdain with a grain of salt. 

Now, exceptions. I’m not sure if all grocery stores do this, but my grocery store chain (Kroger) has a loyalty card program (as most everywhere does now), and occasionally they will send me coupons on the items that I most often purchase. These coupons are invaluable. Usually I’ll get a coupon for a free pint of cherry tomatoes, or a free frozen vegetable as well, so that’s always exciting.

So, if coupons don’t work, how do we save money at the grocery store? Well, here, with photos are my favorite ways to save money on food:

1. Store brand items are usually the cheapest
Ok, this is isn’t the most surprising thing I’ll say, I’m sure. Usually, even if I have a coupon, it’s cheaper for me to buy the “Kroger” brand items. However, sometimes, you feel very strongly about a particular brand, but if you save money where you can, you don’t have to worry about spending a little more on the name-brand items. I love Frank’s Red Hot, but I’m obsessed with Sriracha, so I settle for the $1.49 Kroger brand hot sauce and splurge on Sriracha. It evens out.

Confession: These hot dog buns totally have high-fructose corn syrup, but we don’t eat hot dogs all that often. Oh well.

2. Sometimes buying in bulk isn’t the cheapest way to do things
Yesterday, I was at the store and I knew we were out of ketchup. Zach loves ketchup, and won’t let me buy the store brand — it’s Heinz or nothing. I noticed that the 40 oz. ketchup was $2.18, and the double pack of 50 oz ketchup was $6.98. So, basically, I’m paying $0.05/oz for the smaller size, and $0.07/oz for the larger size. Right, it’s only 2 cents, but think about it. For that particular trip, I saved $2.62 by buying 2 40 oz bottles of ketchup instead of that double “value” pack. 10 oz of ketchup just isn’t worth the immediate extra expense. Sometimes, it’s ok to save your money now, rather than ‘stocking up’. As with anything, there are exceptions  to the rule, but a good idea is to bring a calculator with you to the grocery store. If you calculate the cost per unit of things, you can usually figure out if you’re getting a good deal or not. I just use my cell phone’s calculator.

Really, how much ketchup do you need?

3. Pre-packaged greens are not worth it.
Unless you just really enjoy throwing money away, try to avoid buying pre-bagged, pre-washed produce. Especially Kale! I can’t imagine why anyone would buy pre-chopped Kale — it’s the easiest thing to wash and chop in the world, and a huge bunch that will last me a week is less than a dollar. The pre-bagged stuff is almost $4! Absurd. Exception: Manager’s Special. Sometimes, at my local grocery store, produce will get marked down significantly when it is close to expiring. As someone who eats their weight in produce weekly, it’s no problem for me to consume this reduced produce before it goes bad.

My $1 Kale and pre-packaged, pre-washed green leaf lettuce for $1.88 on special

4. Consider going to more than one store
I know. This is not what you wanted to hear. Trust me, I fought it for quite some time. But, I realized that shopping at more than one store really increases my savings (increasing savings sounds awkward, no?). Usually I’ll go to the local discount store for produce, dairy and spices and then head to Kroger for the rest of my shopping trip. It’s important for me to go to the discount store first, because the produce, dairy and spices are cheaper, but also because they don’t always have everything I need. The discount store I go to is Aldi, and they really have great deals on produce. Between Aldi, discount produce at Kroger and the Farmer’s Market, I can keep my produce costs pretty low.

I got apples, bananas, peppers, tomatoes, a few spices, cottage cheese, string cheese and a few other items at Aldi for $15.

5. Meal plan and make a list
Maybe I saved the best for last, but this is the single most important thing you can do, besides always eating before you go to the store. Plan your meals out for the week, make a list and stick with it. Also, try not to run back to the store. If you are missing an ingredient, unless it’s crucial (if you plan, you won’t be missing crucial ingredients), make do with what you have.

If you follow these five simple rules, you will see a vast improvement in your grocery bill.

Question of the Day:
What are your best money-saving tricks for the grocery store?