Your Weekly Pins

Another Friday, another week of pins! Here's what caught my eye on Pinterest this week...

oooo bead spread!
[I am head over heels for this comforter from Urban Outfitters... sadly, though, it seems like it's no long available :( ]

Soft Neutrals
[Normally I'm not such a natural/neutral kind of girl, but this flowy, ethereal look is just too pretty not to love.]

Peach and grey
[Speaking of pretty, how great is the coral/gray combo here? I love these colors together!]

beer/food 2013 calendar
[An illustrated calendar that pairs beer with food for every month of the year? I'd proudly display this in my home!]

Dancin' in the street
[I love this photo... such a moment of pure elation, dancing down the street celebrating matrimony. So fun!]

Reserved seating - small and simple
[An elegant, simple way to reserve seats at a wedding... tiny little card strung to a chair back.]

gorgeous veil
[I love this Swiss-dot veil. Throw in the gorgeous lace trim and this one is quite a unique stunner!]

Carol Hannah beaded and eyelet wedding dress... stunning.
[No, this is not my dress... but I am pretty obsessed with it. The pretty petal detail and those incredible sleeves are to die for. Stunning!]

[This, simply, just cracks me up. Poor little Beluga just got a little too excited to say "hi."]

There are plenty more where these came! To see everything I pin all week long, follow me on Pinterest.


Lessons in Wedding Planning: It's Never the End of the World

Because the last three weeks have seen me in wedding-planning "go mode," and because nearly every waking minute spent outside of work has been spent thinking, planning and preparing for this shindig, and because as soon as the calendar switched over to 2013 I went into hyper panic mode, I wanted to share with you all a little life lesson I've learned about wedding planning.

It's never the end of the world.

As I mentioned above, almost as soon as the clock struck midnight on January 1st, 2013 (I say "almost" because on New Year's Eve I certainly fell asleep by 11:30pm, never to see midnight), a wave of "holy cats the wedding is this year and, oh my gosh, I still have 4,500 things to do" struck me like a sack of overpriced flowers. I had spent the last, oh, eight months in blissful, engaged relaxation.... not really doing any of the "big" things... pinning to my heart's content, visualizing everything in my head. Lots of dreaming, not much doing. But then 2013 happened and suddenly my wedding was taking place in nearly four months. Gulp. Yikes. Oh no.

I logged on to my Martha Stewart Wedding month-by-month checklist and was greeted by about 10 big, scary, bright-orange exclamation marks (the dreaded "task overdue!" signifier). Well, perhaps I should get to work, I thought. (Except that thought was more like OMG WE ARE PROBABLY NOT GOING TO HAVE A WEDDING BECAUSE SOME GENERIC ONLINE TOOL TELLS ME I AM BEHIND IN SHOPPING AROUND FOR FLORISTS!!!!!!)

And so, the panic set in.

Number one on the list was "find a rehearsal dinner space." I was sure we had plenty of time, but when I inquired around to a few places, I was met with shock over two things: 1) Rehearsal dinners cost how much??? and 2) Places had already been booked solid on our date.... five months in advance.

So what was my reaction? Panic, obviously. Well, I guess we're going to have our rehearsal dinner at the local McDonalds! That's it, everything is horrible and we should probably just cancel the whole thing now!

After three days of scrambling to find another venue and asking around to half a dozen restaurants in the general vicinity of where we wanted this thing to take place, I was met with a reassuring "Oh sure we've got availability that day!" Upon checking out their menu and prices, I was floored when I discovered everything was perfect. It was the exact style food we had thought of in the exact part of town we wanted and a very cool space that we were hoping for from the get-go. Throw in the fact that it is reasonably priced and it's pretty much the perfect scenario. After a week of panic and getting all wound up about nothing, we secured the date with The Wicked Hop in Milwaukee's Third Ward and walked away happier than we probably would have been at any of the top three places we'd originally thought of.

The world didn't end.

The next glaring exclamation point screaming in my face was shopping around for and securing a florist. This is something I had put off for quite some time because it's one of the details I've never been too concerned/excited about. I have plenty of decor that I will be making myself... flowers are just an afterthought when compared to those. But I knew I was pushing the limits, so in the past week and a half I've met is a couple of different florists and have gotten proposals.

Here's the first thing that sent me into a rush of panic: Flowers are G.D. EXPENSIVE. I mean, you've got to be kidding me was kind of my mantra for about five days... The initial budget for flowers I had ignorantly dreamed up in my head a year ago, after seeing the proposals from each florist, was laughable. Like, roll-on-the-ground-in-hysterics laughable. For everything I wanted, it turned out, would cost me more than double that initial price in my head I'd just grabbed out of thin air. It was a hard pill to swallow. And, you guys, I'm not even having a formal, fancy wedding.... I don't even want to know how much people spend on flowers alone for many of the fancy-ish weddings I've been to. For something that dies. For something you'll enjoy for only a few hours. Good grief, people.

So then, of course, I freaked out about flowers. Can I afford flowers for the reception space?  Maybe I should just buy everything in bulk and do it all myself! Am I going to have to go out and pull weeds to throw in vases on each table?? On Saturday morning I e-mailed the florist I was most likely to work with and sent a long, rambling e-mail about how overwhelmed I was and that we would have to make some drastic cuts and that I have no idea what I'm doing and, here we go again, I guess we should just call everything off because without flowers there's no way we can possibly get married.

My florist responded, offering to come to my house to check out all the vessels my mom had collected to use on the reception tables so we could see what we're working with and figure out how many flowers we would need for the space.... and this is before I even signed a contract. Once at my house, he told me he read about two (of the eight) paragraphs I'd written in my panic-laden e-mail and knew I needed a little talking-off-the-cliff.

So, as Mr. Pancakes circled around our feet, we did some brainstorming and the florist left me feeling calm, relaxed and actually excited about our proposed plan. I thanked him profusely for playing therapist for the morning, and two days later he came back to me with a revised proposal that knocked my socks off. It was right on budget, and none of the bridesmaid bouquets or my own bouquet had to be compromised.... and it included all the peonies (my favorite flower) I wanted. 

So, after wasting a week pulling out my hair over flowers, I signed the contract with Jaimer's Floral (and, as a bonus, I'm keeping it hyper local, as he lives just blocks from my house/the reception space). And I'm more relaxed and excited than I'd ever thought I would be regarding flowers at the wedding.

Even in the midst of my days-long freak out, the world certainly continued to turn.

So if you haven't caught on to the main theme of this post, of my long-winded, possibly TMI rant over the silliness that is planning a wedding, here it is: Unless you're the world's most laid-back person (which, at one point, I had foolishly thought myself to be), you're going to get hyper about your wedding. You're going to think nothing is going to work out, you're going to panic about not having everything exactly the way you dreamed up in your head (that's why it's called dreaming, ladies). You might even think, for one rage-blinding moment that the wedding altogether has fallen apart. But it doesn't. It won't. It's not going to. 

Things have a way of working themselves out. Closing doors and opening windows and whatnot. Even if your reception venue suddenly closes five days before your wedding, the world will not end. You will get married. You will have the best day of your life. Because although it is the most important day you'll experience in life so far, your world won't end if you have to cut peonies from your bouquet, or hold your reception space at a pizza parlor or ride to your ceremony in a broken-down jalopy or hire some hobo off the street to scratch a few notes on a violin during your processional.

Weddings are a big deal. But freaking out over them is silly. Stop. Breathe. And start dreaming up Plan B. Because even if things don't go exactly the way you dreamed, you're still going to end up married. And that's the most important part of all the planning in the first place.*

*(Please remind me off this when I inevitably throw myself to the ground in angst over not finding the perfect bridal veil).


Tick Tock Thrift Clock

Not much makes me happier than finding an incredible piece for the home for an even more incredible price. At this point, I'd say roughly 75% of the decor in our living and dining rooms have been thrift-store scores. I love giving a second life to an under-appreciated piece. Sometimes, all something needs is a little attention and a minor facelift and it's nearly good as new.

And sometimes these old pieces don't need any kind of upgrade at all.

This is the case with our newest beauty, an incredible, embroidered clock that Eric brought home from the "magic" thrift store where he's found so many treasures for our home. Last week, he told me he'd found something he knew I would love, and if I didn't, well, then maybe he didn't know me at all. But, thankfully, he was right. I loved it.... no only did I love it, but I adore it... it's so pretty and unique. 

I mean, this looks like something you could buy from Anthropologie for $300... but here is sits in our house after having paid just $10 for it. These are the things the "thrifter's high" is made of.

We decided to replace another thrift store clock in our living room with this one. It adds a bit of whimsy and a pop of color on the gray wall. Underneath it, we've place our framed commissioned art of us. It's currently my favorite little space in the house!

Any recent thrift-store finds from any of you? What's the biggest "score" you've ever found?


Your Weekly Pins

Another Friday, another week of pins! Here's what caught my eye on Pinterest this week...

If I were single
[This is just the prettiest little cottage kitchen ever... I mean, come on, a vintage pink refrigerator?? The girly girl in me swoons.]

[You know what goes well with the pretty kitchen above? This lovely, airy living room with tons of light and that gorgeous half-painted wall.]

Epic front door.
[Talk about an epic entryway! This door is incredible... just imagine walking into your home washed in all that beautiful color every day!]

Thai Salad With Peanutty-Cilantro Lime Dressing
[Tangled thai peanut salad.... I may have pinned this before, but it looks so delicious I'd pin it five more times if I needed to!]

for travel! earrings are the hardest thing ever to pack...this is perfect!
[Whenever I pack earrings if going on a trip, I never know what to do with them... throw them in a ziplock baggie? All mixed together in a little pouch? This idea of a little earring "book" is brilliant - a great packing solution!]

wear a tank top in between a sweater and a button up to smooth out the wrinkles and buttons. -never thought of this!
[I've always been annoyed with the little button bumps and seams that show through a light sweater if you're wearing a button-up shirt underneath... so the idea of wearing a tank top in between the two is one I'd never thought of - instantly smooths out those bumps and lines!]


[I simply love this dress... the muted colors are perfect for this time of year, and the pairing with burgundy tights?? Perfection.]

[The color combo of this outfit is just so fun and pretty... what a great look for spring or summer!]

Bright fringe and garlands are draped along the outside of the tables for colorful flair
[This gorgeous, colorful fringe garland perfectly dresses up a table front. Bonus: it would be relatively simple and inexpensive to make!]

Twyla's flower girl dress! Scored it for an incredible deal... over 50% off on zulily.com!
[This is my flower girl's dress! Eric's mom pointed out a great children's formalwear sale on Zulily.com and as I was looking through the dresses, this one seemed perfect for our wedding. Simple, but the sash is the perfect color and that flower detail will perfectly match the flowers for the day... adorable! AND I got it over 50% its original price... score! What's more, little Twyla is quite the three-year-old fashionista, and according her her mom (my future sister-in-law), her endorsement of "It's beautiful and in my size!" makes it a home run.]

There are plenty more where these came from! To see everything I pin all week long, follow me on Pinterest!


Smell ya later, 2012!

Oh hey, it's 2013! How'd you ring in the new year? For me, New Year's Eve always has this weird pressure to be the best night ever, but usually ends up fairly lame and full of disappointment (how's that for a cheerful sentiment on this, the birth of another splendid year?). Rather than elbowing people in a crowded bar, Eric and I decided this year to avoid the crowds and take in a double feature at a local movie theater. We spent over six hours in the theater yesterday, from 3-9:30pm, and it was actually a terrific idea. We saw two movies that couldn't be more different: "Django Unchained" and "Les Miserables." I really enjoyed both, but the hype around "Les Miserables" left me wanting just a bit more from the film. That being said, give Anne Hathaway an Oscar, please. While you're at it, dole some out to Christoph Waltz, Leo DiCaprio and Samuel L Jackson, as well. (Though the last three would have to fight for Supporting Actor, making this feat impossible... and I've only seen two Oscar-contending movies so far this season... thus my biased request). 

Anyway, the night ended with Eric and I coming home from the movie theater, complaining about how the New Year's Eve specials on TV started way too late, and then fell asleep by 11:15. Happy New Year's Rockin' Eve, everyone!

That being said, dang am I glad this year is finally upon us. It was a year ago that Eric and I set the date for our wedding, and in January 2012, May 2013 couldn't seem any further away. But yet, here we are, in the year of my favorite number (13)... and boy, oh boy, is it going to be a good one! Obviously, the #1 thing that I'm looking forward to this year is getting married.... May 18th is going to be here before I know it, and while I've had a blast being engaged for the past year, I'm ready for our wedding day to be here! That being said, my head is spinning with everything that I still need to get done for the big day..... it's going to be a busy first half of the year, that's for sure.

Aside from, you know, pledging my undying love and commitment and that whole changing my last name thing, 2013 is also the year I'll attend my 10-year high-school reunion. Yeesh... was it really 10 years ago? Sometimes I look back and feel like it was even longer ago... and sometimes I feel like I was just there. At any rate, even though Facebook does make these reunions slightly obsolete, I'm looking forward to seeing a bunch of old classmates on something other than the Internet.

As far as this past year goes, I certainly can't complain. It's been an incredible year from start to finish. Lots of wedding planning, naturally, but also some big steps. In November, I left the job that brought me to Milwaukee four and a half years ago, and began a wonderful new job, working for a school, which I absolutely adore. We also welcomed a new family member into our home... little squat-legged Lieu Lieu (Lieutenant Dan) entered our home and, although it took a while for she and Mr. Pancakes to get along, everyone's happy and the little gal completes our home and gives us plenty of laughs. I may have slacked on a few of the home projects I wanted to complete in 2012, but when saving for a wedding there are some things that you just have to put on the back burner. 

While we're talking about last year, I wanted to go over some of the goals I set for myself around this time a year ago.... As yearly goals tend to do, some weren't completed and others were. And that's okay. But here's a round up of the goals I set for myself, and how they actually turned out....

  •           For the love of God, finally get that 1:55 half marathon! < Complete! In May last year, I finally cracked that elusive 1:55, setting a half marathon PR of 1:54:31. I was so incredibly proud!
  •           Seriously, get a least one article published in a magazine (I said this last year...). < Hey, ya see how I said "I said that last year?" Well.... didn't happen in 2012, either. Ugh. Mark my words, someday in the next 10 years I'll finally accomplish this goal.... or at least try to even attempt to try it.
  •           New updates to the kitchen. Hello new backsplash and (double hooray!) a dishwasher!!! < Okay, so this one was a 50% success. The backsplash was completed this summer, but due to unforeseen circumstances (the previous owners of this house installed the countertops a lower-than-standard height, so finding a dishwasher that will fit has been an issue), the dishwasher may be delayed a bit further into 2013.
  •          Begin plans for finishing the basement. < Well, plans definitely have been talked about... but as the year went on, our sights were set on a slightly larger house project.... the possibility of adding an addition upstairs. So the basement may be put on hold after our addition.
  •           Plan the coolest wedding there ever was. < Obviously this one has been in the works all year. But as I spent an entire year plan, now it's time to stop the planning and start the doing!
  •           Get married? Eric and I aren’t sure if the wedding will take place in 2012 or if it will need to be pushed back to 2013. < I wrote these goals a few days before we set our wedding date. The venue we wanted was booked solid for 2012, so on January 2nd I called and reserved our wedding date... a whole year and a half away, on May 18, 2013. 

  This year I'd like to steer clear of too many set goals fr the year. Really, there are only a couple of things I truly care to accomplish this year, and here they are:
  • Get married. Well, heck, if this isn't the biggest and best goal one could ever make for a year, I don't know what is. I've felt a lot of pressure while planning our wedding. I know there are certain expectations for it, and while I'd like to meet all those expectations, I know it won't be possible. While I want it to be the best wedding ever, at the end of the day, after all the decorations are made, the music danced to and the details slaved over, none of those things are going to matter. It won't be anything I make or plan or serve that will make it the best wedding ever, what will make it the best wedding ever is the fact that I'm marrying the dude that makes me laugh more than anyone and who shares a similar love for wearing sweatpants and falling asleep early.
  • Get back down to my Spring 2010 weight. Man, I really hate weight-related goals, but this one simply must be accomplished. I've been pretty lenient with myself in the fitness/nutrition area for the past few months, and I've put on a few pounds. Nothing major, but just some weight I don't want around on my wedding day. So yesterday I started another round of P90X, a program that has always worked for me, and am going to work hard to lose about 8-10 pounds. I've done it before, and I know I can do it again.
  • Remove the two gross trees from our front yard! I'm almost as excited for this as I am the wedding (kidding.... maybe?). I hate those gross old trees and can't wait until they're removed and we can have a real, pretty yard where grass grows and pine needles don't fall everywhere. Hallelujah!

  And that's it, everyone! Simple, short, meaningful and attainable. I'll leave the lofty goals for a year where I'm not under so much pressure.

22013 will be the best year. Period.



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