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Walk It Off

For me, special occasions are always a good reason to make improvements to my appearance.  Usually, during a holiday or someone’s birthday, I get the chance to meet new people and become reacquianted with old friends and family, and frankly, I want to look as though I’ve improved since my last visit, or at least as though I haven’t declined.  I’ll usually use holidays as reminder to do my hair, buy some new clothes, and workout.  I don’t think it’s shallow to take pride in your appearance and I always appreciate it when people make an effort to look nice when they visit me.  Everyone has something beautiful about them and when that is emphasized, it boosts confidence and spreads happiness.

Weddings, however, are a different ballpark, especially when it’s your own.  It’s extremely important for brides and grooms to feel very attractive on their big days, not only to provide eachother with a beautiful mental snapshot of the moment you professed your love and commitment to eachother, but also because all eyes are on you.  I already purchased my dress in the size I am right now, but I would still like to look healthy and toned on my wedding day.   Though I do not exercise regularly by conventional standards (i.e. I don’t go to the gym or scheduled runs), I do take small steps to get moving, like I take the bus (which involves at least 20 minutes of extra walking) or ride my bike to work at least three times a week.  I have an 11-month-old son, and I take him to the park, the pool, and for walks in his stroller.  Also, I just formed my first organized sports team with my friends and coworkers.  We are all involved in a weekly kickball league through Playground Sports in Eugene.  It’s childhood fun and exercise at it’s finest.

I’ve never been able to stick with a regimented schedule of exercise.  I get bored in gyms and classes, and I prefer being outdoors.  (As a side note, exercising outdoors gets you tan as well as fit, so you can skip the cost of a tanning booth or self-tanner if having golden skin on your wedding day is important to you.  Plus, who can deny that a natural tan looks the best.  However, wear sunscreen.  Tans are hot, burns are not.)  My approach is to constantly seek new ways to get exercise.  I bought a book of hiking trails in western Oregon at a book sale for $2, and it’s already taken John and I to magical places tucked away in the wild forests of Oregon.  Though we didn’t make any sort plan for regular hiking, we’ve already been doing hikes weekly because they’ve been so much fun.  I have a baby carrier, which adds an additional 25 lbs to my hike, providing me with more of a physical impact for moderate hikes.

For a while, I was really into Groupons before I realized that the desire to save money on dinners and activities actually just made me buy more Groupons than I could afford.  I unsubscribed, but not before purchasing one exciting Group0n for the Dirty Dash at the Howard Buford Recreation Area at Mt. Pisqua in Eugene coming up in late-July.  It’s a 4-mile mud run filled with fun obstacles, including a beer (or root beer) chug.  It’s regularly $45/ticket, but my groupon allowed me to buy two passes for $36!  My excitement for this is immeasurable!

The point to all of my ramblings is there are a lot of ways to stay fit, particularly if you keep your eyes open for upcoming events.  You don’t have to bore yourself to tears on the treadmill, unless of course you like the gym.  Between kickball and mud runs, not only am I getting exercise but my life is full of fun activities and I’m making good memories with John and our friends.  However, I do feel like I want to amp up my exercising as part of a goal to be fit by September, so being the online peruser that I am, I came across a DIY workout that I can easily do during my lunch break or in the evening:

http://fitbie.msn.com/get-fit/bye-bye-belly-fat

This particular workout applies to an area of my body that I would like to work on, my abs, but there are endless workouts online that focus on every area of the body.  And, it’s free advice, except without the encouragement of a personal trainer, you’ll have to Do-It-Yourself if you want results!  Go enjoy that beautiful May weather!

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You can do anything with a cupcake liner…

Apart from holding cupcakes, I’ve been surprised to learn that cupcake liners serve many decorative purposes.  Especially today when you can get a cupcake liner in a variety of sizes and designs.  Here are a few really great designs:

24-count for $3.99 at Kmart

LimeFloral Biodegradable cupcake liners at http://www.greenpartygoods.com – 20-count for $4.99

Jumbo Brown wiht Gold Folded Cupcake liners at Cupcake Social on Etsy.com – 24-count for $5

Doesn’t this make you want to bake some cupcakes?  Moving on, I think DIY decorations add a very special touch to a party.  Much like witnessing a wedding ceremony, homemade touches create an atmosphere where guests can experience something they don’t see everyday.  I came across a very simple project online that incorporates cupcake liners and just a few other tools, and it creates an elaborate effect:

Cupcake Liner Pom Pomander by Kara’s Party Ideas

Here is the link to the step-by-step tutorial:  http://www.karaspartyideas.com/2011/01/cupcake-liner-pom-poms-tutorial-vintage.html.  Instead of placing the pom poms on a candlestick, I would opt for tying them to strings and hanging them, as our wedding will be in a backyard with a lot of trees.

The tutorial includes pictures, which I always find very helpful.  I also read up on the author, Kara Allen, a professional party planner whose been featured in magazines and on television shows such as The Rachael Ray Show.  She also has a new show on the online network My Craft Channel and a book coming out in October titled Kara’s Party Ideas.  I’m already hooked.  My son is turning one next month and we’re throwing his party at the beach, and Kara had a whole section on her website devoted to beach parties.  She featured a Surf’s Up Summer Party that provided scads of good ideas, and while I don’t have the time to do most, I found one really cute idea that, of course, included cupcakes:

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Crafty Shmafty

My friends, Leon and Heidi, are also getting married this year, next month in fact.  Many props to Heidi, as she is taking DIY to a whole new level.  She has purchased some things to make it easy for her and Leon, but for the most part has taken a hands-on approach to her entire wedding.  Here’s a few things she’s done:

  • Invitations: First, she purchased very nice cream-colored blank wedding stationery from Target.  I believe she got them on sale for under $15.  Then, being the artist she is, she carved her and Leon’s faces into a wooden stamp which she pressed onto the invites as a letter head.  Finally, she printed out the text of the lower half of the invites, as well as the addresses on the envelopes, on her own printer.  They looked fantastic – cute, personal, and humorous.
  • Food:  Heidi and Leon are also on a budget, so they decided to cut out a huge cost, yet also allow the guests to contribute to the wedding in an important way, by making it a potluck wedding.  Everyone brings a dish or two of their choosing!
  • Alcohol:  While they may be purchasing a keg or two of their favorite beers, Heidi makes her own wine in many different flavors, that I am sure will be included in their reception.
  • Decorations:  Heidi’s always been crafty and seems to really value a homemade gift.  Everytime I talk to her, she’s created yet another adorable decoration for her wedding.  While these aren’t photos of her decorations, they are close in resemblance:

Heidi used some Egyptian wrapping paper that she’s kept over the years for her paper strips.

Instead of asking her friends or female relatives to wear matching dresses, Heidi opted for felt flower pins. Much like this photo, yet Heidi also included hand stitching. A beautiful decoration and keepsake for her female guests.

Though not quite what Heidi made as her cake topper, this is a fitting example, since she and Leon love mushrooms. Instead, Heidi took a small mason jar and inserted a happy picture of her and Leon taken at a special place they visit annually. Behind the picture, she stuffed the jar with reflective dark purple strips of paper.

Finally, I want to discuss a really cool decoration Heidi is currently working on:  Glow-in-the-dark lace lanterns.  The fact that I cannot find an exact picture online to reference this idea either means I’m not calling it by the right name, or this is a completely original idea of hers.  First, she is wrapping a filled balloon with paper mache to create a large sphere:

Here’s a helpful link on how to make paper mache pulp:
http://familycrafts.about.com/cs/papermache/a/blpmpulp.htm

Once the paper mache had dried and hardened, you pop the balloon and you have a hard sphere to work with.  Now, I’m not sure exactly how she’s doing this, but here’s what I imagine: spray or brush the paper mache sphere with glow-in-the-dark paint

Then, find a piece of lace or some type of fabric with multiple decorative holes and wrap the sphere with it.

Cut a small hole into the structure and attach a string or rope, so you can hang it off a ceiling, overhang, or tree!

Here’s a close idea of what it may look like, but without the creases and instead of a light or candle, imagine that cool green glow-in-the-dark color shining through the lace:

I love it!  Can’t wait to see how it all turns out!

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Mason Jars

There are all kinds of details you can incorporate into a wedding to create a country/picnic theme.  The options are so endless.  Here are a few ideas:

  • Rent a barn as a wedding venue
  • Use hay stacks as seats
  • Hire a country music band
  • Serve sweet tea as a beverage
  • Take photos next to a tractor or a big wooden fence

While country/picnic is a theme in our wedding, I wouldn’t say it applies to all aspects.  For instance, my gown would probably be considered grecian-style, and the cuisine will likely be a fusion of culinary styles.  However, there are a few key details that I would like to include to add a touch of rustic country charm.  To be specific, mason jars:

My love of mason jars began with my fiance.  He prefers to drink out of a masor jar, if whenever possible.  When I go to his parents’ house for dinner, I am usually handed a small mason jar with wine, and frankly, it’s downright charming.  A few other ideas that I had that are easy and affordable are to fill the jars with wildflowers and wrap the neck of the jar in twine.  As I found online, many others have had similar ideas:

Another cute idea that I came across, especially if your wedding is in the evening or night, is to fill the jars with water and float tea candles:

I priced mason jars online and found that a 12-pack ranges from $15-25 depending on the size of the jars.  I am not yet sure if I want to buy enough for guests to use a drinking glasses, or use them just as vases.  Either way, with a guest list of about 40-50, the cost wouldn’t be that much.  I’ve started collecting mason jars, and have them in different sizes.  I’m thinking about using my own as vases at the wedding, not just for table centerpieces, but also to place a few bouquets on the buffet table, the stage, and near the alter.

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Home of the Homemade: Etsy!!

As an avid online shopper, Etsy is one of the coolest online shops out there, mostly because it’s not just one shop, but millions! Crafters and collectors place their handcrafted or collectable items for sale on Etsy. Say you want a pair of earrings made out of vinyl records? Simply type it into Etsy and viola, it’ll point you toward a whole slew of vendors eager to sell the jewelry they’ve painstakingly cut and crafted out of an old Chicago record. (I used to sell vinyl earrings on Etsy – wink, wink!).

Since I am utilizing all kinds of homemade methods for my wedding (see post titled ‘Partners in Wedding Planning” for more info), Etsy was a natural choice to search for wedding accessories.  I am looking for a nice, simple wedding hair piece and here are a few that I came across on Etsy:

"Ivory Flower Natural Barrette" from The Sunflower Stand on Etsy.com - $17 + shipping

"Wedding Headbands or Bridesmaid Hair Accessory Headband" at ThreeBirdNest on Etsy.com - $17.50 + shipping

"Bobby Pin Flowers" from PetalMix on Etsy.com - $30 + shipping

Perhaps a little color:

"Peach color flower hair clip with lace and pearls" from LittleWhiteDresser on Etsy.com - $25 (free shipping!)

Decisions, decisions

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Most Beautiful hair

People Magazine recently released their list of the world’s most beautiful people.  Beyonce won the coveted “Most Beautiful,” and I certainly can’t argue with that.  She’s amazing in all facets.  I perused through the list and came across the vivacious and stunning Christina Hendricks. 

Image

I’ve always thought of her as a modern day Marilyn Monroe, with her curves and soft voice.  On top of that, she has the most beautiful red hair!  Red hair, if done right and properly matched with one’s skin tone and coloring, can look so striking.  It certainly suits Ms. Hendricks.  I like experimenting with hair colors, and I’ve been a redhead in the past.  I’m considering it again, as summer is on the horizon and I’m antsy to start a fresh look.  I really love how her hair is styled in this photo – it’s full of volume with big, tousled curls.  I think if I threw in a bridal-style headband or a hair clip, this would be a great wedding ‘do.

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When The Honeymoon Is Over….

To whoever put this scene together and photographed it, thank you!  Your meticulous work made my day!  I’m happy to report I have not yet reached this “phase” of my relationship.  I guess when the thrill of new love has faded away, it all comes down to who can gross the other out the most.

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