Monday, May 31, 2010

Baby Shower Post 6 - The Favors

When I started thinking about what to do for favors, I knew that I wanted to do something edible, because I think that they make the best favors.  One day when I was in the new AC Moore, I saw molds for chocolate lollipops.  They looked easy enough, so I bought some in shapes that were baby related items.  I bought the melt and mold chocolate disks in blue, yellow, green and white and all the supplies to make the lollipops.  They were super easy to do and turned out great!


I found a poem online and typed it on paper that matched the invitation and tied it on the lollipop with the same blue gingham ribbon.  For display, I got 3 sizes of Styrofoam and covered them with matching tissue paper and stuck the lollipops in it, to give them some height.   Here is the poem:

 

They were a huge hit! 

Quarter Century

So on Friday, May 28, I turned the Big Two Five...  Its so hard to believe that I am 25 years old.  It seems like only yesterday that I was waiting to turn 13 so that I would be a teenager, or 16 so that I could drive.  Back then, everything seemed so simple, and being a "grownup" seemed like a lot of fun. Everything was so innocent and the biggest worry I had was making a good grade on a test.

Boy have times changed.  In the weeks before my 25th birthday, I kind of had a mini meltdown about turning 25.  It seems like at this age you should have things figured out, and life should be pretty much in place.  Reality is quite the opposite.  I feel like nothing is in place and I have no clue what I am doing with life.  So many plans have come undone and that 13 year old teenager wouldn't even recognize my 25 year old self.  I've come to learn that being a grownup isn't fun... its actually a lot of work.  Every day it seems a new worry, with much more importance than a good grade is added to the never ending list of things that fill my mind.

I've written about birthdays here before, and how I like for them to be special.  This year, I spent my birthday with some of the same people from last year.  I was invited to speak at a Social Media Conference, City Shift.  It turned out to be a great event, and I had a lot of fun.  One of the guys bought me a pink glittery tiara that said "Diva," because he calls me the Twitter Diva.  I wore it during my presentation :)

After the Conference was over, some of us headed out to Dolce Vita Wine and Beer, a local wine and beer shop, to enjoy some music and wine.  When I went in, there was a sign wishing me a Happy Birthday.  Good people and great wine, no better way to end the night.

Here's to being 25... so far, being a quarter century old isn't that bad...

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Baby Shower Post 5 - Banner

As I've mentioned before, every aspect of the Baby Shower related back to the invitation in some way.  Some of them were less obvious, like using round tables to replicate the round images on the invite, and some were easily spotted.  One of the ones that I think was easy to see was the banner that I made.  Using the same patterned papers that I used for the invitation, I made letters that spelled out "Welcome Parker."  I also used the same frog, snail and puppy dog from the invitation to break up the words.  To tie it all together, I used the blue and white gingham ribbon from the centerpieces to replicate the gingham ribbon detail on the invitation.  It was the perfect personalized touch to add to the gift table!

I'm wondering how many posts this baby shower will end up having... At least 10 I think... 

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Baby Shower Post 4 - Baby Diaper Snack Cups

I know that I've been slow getting some of the Baby Shower details up... but things have been a little busy.

When I started planning my sister's baby shower, one thing that I knew I wanted to make was these baby diaper snack cups. You fill them with chocolate covered peanuts (or you can use raisins) and they are really cute. One reason that I wanted to do them is because when I think back (a while ago) to the Baby Showers that my grandma used to help host, these were always there. So I knew that we could not skip them for my sister's shower.

They are super easy to make and they turn out really cute. Here is a picture of the platter of them on the food table at the shower.


And because I am a visual learner, I decided to make a short video to demonstrate how to make them! Maybe someone will be able to use it. (Video is low quality... sorry for that... )



Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Enter this Giveaway - Modern Bird Studios

Over at All Things G&D right now, she's doing a giveaway for a piece of art from Modern Bird Studios.  I looked at their site and was blown away with how beautiful their artwork is.  I love the modern feel, and that it can be truly customized.  So head on over to Dusty's blog and enter her giveaway!

Book Review -- "Bed of Roses" by Nora Roberts


"Bed of Roses" is the second of four books in the "Bride Quartet" by Nora Roberts.  After reading the first, "Vision in White,"  I couldn't wait to begin reading the second book.  While the first book focused on Mac, the second was the love story of Emma, the florist at Vows.

Emma grew up and always dreamed of romance.  She was the little girl who always dreamed of dancing in the moonlight with the man that she loved.  Being a beautiful woman, a mix of her Mexican mother and American father, she had no problem attracting men.  While she had no trouble attracting them, she did have a problem finding one that gave her that romanticized feeling of "love" that she had dreamed of having for so long.

Jack Cooke had been a good friend to the girls at Vows for over a decade.  Having been a college buddy of Parker Brown's older brother, he had become more like a brother to all of the girls.  While he found himself attracted to Emma, he thought that he could never have anything with her because of the prior friendship.  Whenever the thought of her crossed his mind, he simply brushed it off.

However, after sharing a kiss in a back stairwell during a Wedding that the Vows team was orchestrating, Jack and Emma began to explore their feelings for each other.  With bumps along the way, and dealing with left over feelings stemming from the divorce of Jack's parents, in the end, Emma finds her man to dance with in the moonlight.

This book was just as good as the first. I stated in my review of "Vision in White" that Nora Roberts did an amazing job of describing a love scene, and this book affirmed that belief.  There is more passion and more "lust" in this book than the first, but overall, it was great!  I love that this book dealt with the conflict of being in love with someone who you shared a friendship with previously.  Can friends really become lovers?

Simply put, this is a good book... I've already started on the third!

Monday, May 24, 2010

Three Years

It is simply amazing how fast time flies.  May 23 marks three years since my sister and I closed on our townhouse.  So many things have happened in that time span.  Buying a house is a very liberating experience.  At the time, we were 19 and 21.  Buying a house at that age is something that most people aren't thinking about.  We decided that it was time to leave "home" and wanted to buy, rather than waste money renting.

Over the years, relationships change, financial situations change, and you have to wonder if buying a house was really the best thing to do.  As I look back on it now, if I had to do it over again, knowing what I know now, I think that renting may have been a better option for us.  That being said, I don't think that it is a decision that I regret.  Live and Learn right?

A lot of growing up has taken place over the last three years, and with all of the changes that have occurred, some of that growing up had to take place very fast.  There have been times that I wanted to get out of it... try to sell the house and move.  Right now, is one of those times.  Money is kind of tight with the type of work that I do, but even more than that, I hate living alone.  I've been living on my own for over a year and a half now, and it sucks!  I've thought about renting out rooms to people, but honestly, I don't know who I would want to live with.

Being alone in the house makes me sad... and I don't need more sadness in my life right now...

Friday, May 21, 2010

Book Review -- "Vision in White" by Nora Roberts


One day, I was in Walmart and wandered into their small book section.  I decided to look around and see if they had anything that piqued my interests.  On their New Releases shelf was a Book titled "Savor the Moment" that caught my eye because on the cover was a gorgeous wedding cake.  I picked it up and realized that it was Book 3 in "The Bride Quartet" by Nora Roberts.  I looked around and found the first book in the series, "Vision in White."  I decided to purchase it, and read the first book to see if I liked it, before getting the others.

When I started reading the book, I knew instantly that I was going to like it.  The main characters are four lifelong friends, who as children could often be found in the back yard of the Browns, playing a game they called "Wedding Day."  Later in life, the same group of friends form a Wedding Planning Business, simply called "Vows."

Each of the girls handle a different aspect of making sure that a bride's wedding day is everything that she has ever dreamed.  Parker Brown, who inherited the Brown Estate after her parents died in a tragic accident, is the business woman who has worked very hard to turn Vows into one of the top Wedding Planning businesses in Connecticut.  Emma Grant specializes in creating beautiful floral arrangements and bouquets that add personal touches to each and every wedding.  Stunning wedding cakes, created by Laurel McBane, are showpieces at receptions.  The fourth and final member of the Vows team is Mackenzie "Mac" Elliot.  Her expertise is photography.  Her photographs capture the moments that make a wedding day so special, and allow these moments to live on forever.

Mac's life is a little unorganized, with a mother who just ended her third marriage and relies on Mac to always be there to pick up the pieces, so to speak.  The mother, Linda, regularly calls on Mac for financial support after her romantic life falls apart.  Despite that, Mac has made a very successful name for herself as a Wedding Photographer.  She is seemingly content with the direction in which her life is headed, and really isn't looking for love, until it literally walks in her door.

Carter McGuire, PhD, former Yale Professor, teaches English at a local Private High School.  He is your typical "nerd."  He wears tweed, and spends most nights grading papers alone in his apartment, kept company by his three legged cat, Tripod.  His sister is recently engaged, and drags him to a consultation with the ladies at Vows.  He shows up in the wrong place, and finds Mac, topless, in her studio.  When he sees her, his High School crush resurfaces, and he falls in love with Mac all over again.

"Vision in White" is the love story of Mac and Carter.  While Mac's mother's love life has skewed her view of love and marriage, over time, she learns to accept that some things in life you cannot control, and that some times, even though you may not have it all together, all that you need is staring you in the face.

This was the first Nora Roberts book that I've read, and I loved it!  I love the concept of these friends working together on the productions that are weddings.  Having once thought about being a wedding planner, and seeing a lot of myself in the Parker character, reading this book, with all of the wedding acronyms (MOB, FOG, etc.) made me feel like I was in my "element."  It was a quick read for me.  I'd start reading, and before I knew it, I was 100 pages in.  Roberts seems to write great romance stories, and the way she describes a love scene is amazing.

I'm really glad that this is the first of four books.  I can't wait to read the rest of them.  Three are currently available, and the fourth is slated to come out later this year.  

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Baby Shower Post 3 - The Centerpieces


I mentioned in the post about the Baby Bouquet that I made that I was doing a scaled down version of the project for my Sister's Baby Shower.  I found little blue buckets at Target during Easter in their $1 section, and they already had bows tied on the sides.  I knew these would be perfect to serve as containers for the centerpieces.  I bought gingham ribbon to match the ribbon detail on the invitation and replaced the ribbon that came on the buckets, just for that little extra attention to detail.  I got a bunch of baby socks that matched the colors (blues, greens, whites) and started rolling!

Since the shower was floating, and everyone was not eating all at the same time, I only had 3 tables set up, with lots of extra chairs around.  Each table was designated with one of the animals that were used on the invitation.  I made a decision early on in the planning process that most everything we decorated with would be something that could be used once the baby arrived.  To add some color to the tables, I used receiving blankets as overlays.  In the center was one of the buckets of sock "flowers" and a toy frog, snail or puppy.  I was able to find the perfect baby toys at a local toy store, RoundTable Toys. They turned out so cute!



Monday, May 17, 2010

Baby Shower Post 2 - The Diaper Cake

Last Diaper Cake post for a while.  I promise!  In keeping with the "Frogs and Snails and Puppy Dog Tails" theme for my sister's baby shower, I knew the diaper cake should follow the same theme.  I wanted to use it as a centerpiece on the food table, and I wanted it to be BIG.  I decided that for the shower, any form of a frog, snail or puppy would be appropriate.  I found some stuffed animals that Parker can play with later, and decided those would be on the cake.  Also, there would be a layer for each of the animals, and coordinating receiving blankets would decorate them. I found some wood cut outs at AC Moore that were just too cute to pass up.

Here is the finished product:

The cake was a total of 9 layers (the 4 bottom layers were doubles).  It contained 320 Pampers, ranging from size Newborn to Size 3 and 5 receiving blankets.  It stood 3 feet tall.   It was perfect for the centerpiece on the food table.  The table was long, so the height of the diaper cake was perfect.  Here are some closer detail shots. 



I had some issues with transporting it, but once I got everything on, it turned out great! 

Baby Shower Post 1 - The Invitation

Since I had such a huge part in my sister's baby shower, I have decided to break it up into multiple posts.  Each post will focus on an element that I feel is important.  There may be some tutorials along the way, as the majority of the things for the shower we created.

Today's post focuses on the invitation.  I believe that the invitation to any event should set the tone for the event as a whole.  If your event is formal, a more formal invitation should be sent.  If it is a casual event, then a more casual invitation is acceptable.  When a guest receives an invitation, they should have a good idea of what to expect upon arrival at the event.  I also feel that if your event has a "theme" that your invitation should represent that.

When my sister found out that she was expecting a boy, the first thing I thought of was "Frogs and Snails and Puppy Dog Tails... That's What Little Boys Are Made Of..."  I did some quick research online and found that other people had used this as a Baby Shower Theme for a boy, so I decided that I would run with it.  My mind was swirling with ideas.

I knew that I wanted to design the invitation, and that the details would fall into place from there.  I began searching for invitation ideas, and ran into several problems.  There was nothing that I liked.  I did a generic search for baby shower invitations, and found that a popular style looks like a mini scrapbook page.  Scrapbooking-- I can do that!

I looked for digital scrapbooking kits, and found a site, Shabby Princess, that had free downloads.  The kit that I decided to go with had lots of blues, greens and yellows... prefect for a little boy's baby shower!  I downloaded the Sweet Serenity Kit and got to work.

I also used a free design program called Paint.net.  This is a program that has been compared to Photo Shop, but it is simple to use like Microsoft Paint.  The thing that I like about this program is that is has the option of using layers, which was really helpful when designing the invitation, or any form of digital scrapbooking, really.  Once I finished the design, I ordered them from VistaPrint.  This is their Oversized Post Card, and you can order envelopes as well.

I was so happy with the way that the invitations turned out! I've gotten a lot of compliments on them.  Here is the finished version... with all of the important details blurred out. (Click for a larger view)


Having a great invitation really made the rest of the planning a breeze.  Stay tuned this week for more Baby Shower Updates.  The details are what really made it great!

 

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Photo Shoot with Memory Weaver Photography

I've been wanting to get some photos done for a while. Its been a long time since I had quality photos of myself. I also feel like my online presence is growing, by having various accounts across the Internet, and it is important that the images I use as profile pictures are consistent.

A friend of mine, Crystal Weaver, has just started a photography business called Memory Weaver Photography, and she agreed to do a shoot with me. Once the weather warmed up, we picked a beautiful day and headed out to do the shoot. Outside of Greenville, out in the country parts of Pitt County, there are a lot of old abandoned houses that served as a great backdrop to get some modern photos with a vintage feel. We chose a couple of spots that are located on a stretch of highway that I travel often, and we had a lot of fun.

I LOVE the way that these photos turned out. She started posting some of them on Facebook and I was blown away with how good they were. Today she gave me the disk with all of the edited pictures, and here are a few of my favorites.

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Some are serious, and some are not so serious... Crystal totally got what I was looking for, and did a great job! Here's the one that I chose for my standard "profile picture." It is perfect for what I wanted!

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So, if you are local, and looking for a great photographer, look up Crystal at Memory Weaver Photography. You will be as satisfied as I am!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Perfectly Pooh Diaper Cake

One of my mom's friends is also expecting her first grandchild around the same time that my sister is due. My mom wanted me to make a diaper cake, and she said she wanted it to be elaborate... well when I hear that word, the gears start turning. I knew that "elaborate" did not mean the same size as the diaper cakes that I have been making recently. She told me that the nursery was being decorated with a Pooh theme and that they did not know the gender of the baby.


So, I went to the store and found some really cute Pooh stuff, and then tried to figure out how I was going to put it all together on the diaper cake. Here is the end result:

This diaper cake contains 151 diapers. It has 5 tiers, and Pampers that range from size 1 to 3. It stands 28.5 inches high. It is definitely the most "elaborate" diaper cake I have made to date. Here are some detail shots.

A Pooh piggy bank tops the cake. I just took the stopper in the bottom off and hid it in one of the layers, so that there is some support with the dowel rod that goes through the whole cake. The top tier is size 1 diapers.


I thought this fleece blanket was just too cute. When I saw the scene on it, I knew that I had to include the whole thing. Because of the height, I had to make 2 tiers of diapers so that you could see the whole thing and nothing would be cut off. I really like how this is a focal point in the center of the diaper cake. Those 2 tiers, and the one below it have size 1-2 diapers.

Attached to the 4th tier, and resting on the bottom one is this cute pillow that the parents to be can personalize once their baby arrives. The bottom tier has size 3 diapers. You can't really tell from the pictures, but the bottom two tiers also have receiving blankets.

I was really happy with the way that this one turned out! The next one that I make will be for my sister, and I have big plans for that one! It will be used as a centerpiece at her shower.

Monday, May 3, 2010

REWIND: April 2010

Time sure flies when you are busy! We are already 3 days into May... I seriously don't know where all this time is going! Can I get an extra day in the week? Preferably on the weekend? Anyway... here is April in a nice little bulleted list...
  • More babies -- if you can't tell, that is kind of the running theme for the last couple of months. My mom's coworker had her baby at the beginning of April, and Miranda's baby shower for the twins was in the middle of the month.
  • I had my first migraine in a long time. I went to bed one night at 6:30pm, and didn't wake up until it was time to go to work the next day. My body was telling me that it was time to take a break.
  • Attended my 2nd Super Saturday for Tupperware. It is basically a regional training day. We had lots of training and announcements about new promotions coming up. Its always nice to get together with a coupe hundred Tupperware consultants.
  • Made my Magazine Feature debut in a local women's magazine. They did a feature on Sisters, and asked Stephanie and I to participate. Now the most random people say, "I saw you in Her... Magazine." Kind of makes you feel like a big deal, haha.
  • Got a much needed pedicure... its time for another one!
  • Helped raise more money for Relay for Life. Not only with my personal team, but I did a Tupperware fundraiser for Curves in Farmville.
  • Worked the Dogwood Festival in Farmville. Had to cut it short due to the high winds on Sunday.
  • Realized that I need a break!
May is even busier!!

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