Friday, November 29, 2013

Our Wedding Day: The Invitations

From the moment we started planning our Big Day I knew that I wanted elegant invitations that were simple but still fit our "theme."  I found the most perfect invitations for us on Wedding Paper Divas.  I was ecstatic when I found them and I was hooked and could not wait to order them.  Ryan and I had every detail of our wedding planned out in about 30 days - because that was all we had together before he deployed to Afghanistan - but I knew I couldn't order them that early.  I waited until about January to order. ::when they were having good deals for the holidays::

My favorite thing about Wedding Paper Divas was how you could customize ALL of their products.  You could change the colors, fonts, positioning, etc.  It was so nice to have a design template that you could finagle around to make it completely perfect for you.

I got my invitations, RSVP cards, and enclosure cards all from them and could not have been more thrilled with how they all turned out.  I ordered everything in "Fine Filigree: Emerald" and used coupon codes to help with the prices.

My RSVP cards were priced at $1.19 each and included ivory envelopes for each.

My invitations were priced at $2.04 each and also included ivory envelopes.  I did order an additional 10 ivory envelopes ::in case of mess ups:: for $2.00.

My grand total for this order was $285.21 but we used to coupon codes giving us $50 off and free shipping.  Our complete total for these two parts of the invitation was $$226.71 saving $58.50!

I love deals and I was not going to have it be any different with the wedding stationary.  After realizing how little I spent on this area of my budget I decided that I had enough left to buy the enclosure cards.  These cards were not necessarily needed but added a nicer touch. 

The enclosure cards were, once again, "Fine Filigree: Emerald" and came to $1.49 each with matching ivory envelopes.  I had a coupon code that gave me $11.18 off and free shipping.  My grand total for this order was $108.62 saving me $19.68.

Overall, my stationary only cost me $335.33 which was under my $350.00 budget.  I always love saving money whenever possible and without getting less quality on the items.

Wedding Paper Divas was awesome with their products, shipping times and coupon codes.  They are always having deals and running specials on their Facebook page and website.  I recommend them to all brides ::to at least check out:: because you cannot beat all that comes with your purchase.

The next item of my stationary was our return address stamp.  I did not want to hand-write the return address on 2 envelopes per invite ::one for the invitation and one for the RSVP card:: so I looked into getting a stamp.  I know that websites sell custom return address labels and that is fine and dandy for cards or bills, but for my wedding I wanted something a little more elegant looking. 

I found a deal on Groupon that gave me a custom stamp from InvitationBox for $15!  These stamps are normally priced between $25-$50 each.  I was so excited. 

I picked out a monogram stamp that had our last initial as the centerpiece and a circle of our information around it.  It was so easy to use and I still use it when mailing out our Thank You notes, cards, etc.

When thinking about your stationary budget I definitely recommend including enough for a stamp to save yourself time and adding a touch of elegance on the outside of the envelope.

The next item on my stationary was the addressing of the envelopes.  I was very torn about this.  It is all over Pinterest to have a calligrapher write out your invitations.  I could not see spending that kind of money on something like that.  I chose to spend the majority of my budget on the actual invitations so I could figure out a less expensive way to nicely address them.

I decided to go to Walmart and buy some big clear envelope labels.  This was the cheapest ::but still nice:: alternative to a calligrapher.  I purchased enough labels for the outside envelopes and the RSVP cards.  I chose a font from Word and printed up all of my invitation.  I spelled out every word to make it look nicer and more professional.  I do not know if this worked but in my mind it looked classy and elegant and that was what I was going for.  This was way less stressful than having to figure out who was going to do them, if they were going to do them correctly and in a timely manner.  I highly recommend this if you are trying to watch your budget.

The final item of my stationary were stamps.  This is such a simple thing that most people ::men especially:: don't think about when deciding on invitations.  I knew that I did not want to use the Holiday Stamps that were out at the time or the Patriotic Stamps that are always out ::even though I really love America - it wasn't the right fit::  I found the perfect stamp for all of my invitations and RSVP cards ::yes, you should stamp your RSVP card for your guests::

I chose the "Sealed with Love" stamp from USPS and got enough for all of the envelopes.  I had to order these online because they were not out yet when I found them and wouldn't be in post offices until after I wanted to mail them out.  This was an awesome option that we found because then you don't have to worry about making multiple trips to the post office ::once to buy stamps and again to mail the invitations::  I bought multiple books and still have some extras around the house.  They are "Forever" stamps so they will always be valid.

I could not have been more pleased with any part of my invitations.  It is a lot of little stuff that goes into creating one other little part of the big day.  Make sure that when you are planning your big day that you don't skimp on the things that are important to you.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Thankful Thursday

On this last and final Thankful Thursday I am just so grateful for all I have in this life.  

I could not be more thankful for a wonderful family who has always been there for me right or wrong.

I could not be more thankful for wonderful friends who I have truly grown to love more and more now that I am growing up.

I could not be more thankful for mine and my family's health.

I could not be more thankful for having a marriage that I believe in and have complete confidence in.

I could not be more thankful for my job providing me the income to live the life that me and my husband choose.

I could not be more thankful for food on my table every day and especially today ::my first year hosting Turkey Day::

I could not be more thankful for my husband.  He is home safe and sound this year and it has been absolutely perfect.

I am grateful for so many things every day and I hope that you join me in trying to realize all you have to be thankful for more than just the four Thursdays in November.

Until next year, from our house to yours, may you have a great Thanksgiving and start to the holiday season!

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Our Wedding Day: The Dress

I have finally decided to blog about our wedding.  I could not have been more pleased with how everything turned out and I would like to think that I did a great job planning and doing it on my own.  I cannot wait for the day ::in the long distant future I'm sure:: that I can do this for other brides and for a living.

Without further ado...

The Dress

I am in love with my dress, still!  It is perfect and exactly what I wanted when I set out to find it.  I have always known exactly what I wanted for my wedding and although certain things changed as I grew older, my dress never did.  I have always wanted something timeless and vintage.  I love lace and never wanted anything more or less.  I knew that I did not want a ballgown or a mermaid and that strapless was 100% out of the question.  I always wanted some sort of sleeve to keep the dress in place and something very simple and flowy.  What I found completely blew me away could not have been more perfect.

The day I found my dress I had made 3 appointments.  I set out on a Saturday in October with my mom, sister-in-law and another bridesmaid.  We went to the shop that I was hoping to find my dress at first.  I set this shop up first because I wanted to find my dress from there and thought that it would be easier to cancel the other two later in the day then to be disappointed the whole morning while I waited to go to this shop. 

Renfro's is a wonderful small boutique in Placerville  owned by two sisters from England.  These two ladies are the sweetest things you will ever incounter.  They want nothing more than to help you find the perfect dress.  At Renfro's each bride gets the boutique to themselves for searching for the perfect dress.  You get an hour and if you do not find what you want you can always schedule another appointment to continue your search.  They go with you through their selection and pick out ones that you are interested in.  They, of course, pull a few dresses that are not what you are thinking of just to make sure that you see every possibility.  Once you have selected a few dresses you start the try on process.  I love that you have the entire place to yourself so that their is no pressure from strangers looking or judging what you try on ::and we all know that we love to do that at David's Bridal::

The first dress I tried on was just a silly one.  I knew that I was not going to buy it, but it was the only one that I was willing to try on that was not what I was interested in.  It was gold - yes, gold - and had black lace detailing.  I would have loved this dress if it came in Ivory and was not a ballgown.

The second dress I tried on was a close contender to the one I chose.  It was all an all lace simple dress with skinny sleeves and a jeweled embelishment under the bust.  It was very gorgeous and felt good but wasn't exactly what I wanted due to the fact that I wanted more lace and less bling.

The fourth dress I tried on - yes I know that I skipped dress #3 but that is on purpose - was almost identical to the dress that my sister-in-law wore at her wedding.  It was simple and gorgeous and hugged in all the right places.  It was perfect, but for her wedding, not mine.  It was strapless and had absolutely no lace on it.  It flowed and had an embelishment that sparkled.  I liked it but did not feel like I would still love it a year after purchasing.

The third dress I tried on was the winner.  I knew it from the second I tried it on.  I loved everything about it.  It was all lace, had a smaller train, no embelishments, buttons all the way up the back, lace over the entire back, ivory, cap sleeves with a satin underlay.  It was my dress and I knew it.  I had the feeling that everyone says you will have.  They are right when they say that there is no right or wrong answer just what feels right.  This dress felt A-M-A-Z-I-N-G!

Needlesstosay I cancelled the other two appointments I had made and purchased the third dress I tried on.  I think subconciously I knew that it was the one from the second I picked it out.  I loved everything about it on the hanger and putting it on did not change that. 

My favorite thing about Renfro's - besides the owners - are their prices.  These wonderful ladies offer you amazing dresses in a small boutique with a one-on-one experience for under $1000!  I am very frugle with most things in my life and my wedding was not going to be any different.  I could not see myself spending a TON of money on a dress that I will wear once for 8 hours and my daughters will most likely not want.  I could not have been more happy with their prices and the fact that they do the alterations themselves so you don't have to worry about transporting your dress to multiple places. 

I highly recommend this shop and can't wait to see who else finds their dream dress there.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Thankful Thursday

It is that time of the week again.  This week on Thankful Thursday I will be thanking a few special people.  These folks are the greatest people in our lives ::besides our parents obviously::  I hope you enjoy!

All photos by Heidi Lin

These wonderful people were our trusty bridal party at the wedding 2 months ago.  Without them we probably wouldn't be half the people we are now and half the wife and husband we are.

Some of them have been in our lives forever and others just a shorter while.  Nevertheless, without them standing by our sides and supporting us and our love along the way we could have never made it.  There are people who come and go through our lives and it used to really make me sad and wonder what I did wrong.  I have slowly come to realize that the people who are meant to be in them will be.  I could not be more happy and thankful for the people in the pictures below.  I can't wait to see how all of our relationships grow and continue throughout the years to come.  I pray that these will never leave us for they are who helped build us.

Gavin Alan ::the cutest nephew in the whole wide world::

Gregory, my brother


Justine, my sister-in-law



Nicole, Ryan's sister


Madison Elizbeth

We love you guys so much and once again,

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

24 at 24

So I thought that I would document 24 of my favorites things while I am 24!  These are not people but actual things that I love and probably wouldn't want to live without.  I thought it would be fun to keep track of this at the closing end of each year.  That way I can look back and see how my opinions might change or what things stay the same.  I hope you enjoy :)

1.  Mr. Pibb - A.K.A. Pibb Xtra
I L-O-V-E Mr. Pibb.  I refuse to call it Pibb Xtra since it makes no sense why they changed the name a couple years ago.  Anyways!  This is my FAVORITE soda in the whole wide world!  If a restaurant has Mr. Pibb I have to get it.  I am trying to cut back on my caffeine intake, but when it comes to this...I cannot!

2.  Animals
Ohemgee!  I love animals!  I love almost all animals and if they are baby animals it is even better.  I have such a soft spot for cute cuddly fuzzy animals and most people find it hilarious.  I am definitely one of those people who "talks" for animals and I often tell Ryan what the little MooMoo is saying as we drive by or what the birds "say" while they fly over us.  Who doesn't just want to cuddle up with a little baby MooMoo?

3.  Babies!
I definitely have always had a soft spot for babies.  Of course when they aren't yours they can get a little much to handle but Baby Fever has definitely been in my head for many years.  I just love their little fingers and toes and the way they smell when they come out of a bubble bath.  Their little giggles and smiles just melt my heart.

4.  Ice Cream
Oh man.  My obsession with ice cream has definitely been around forever.  I don't care if it is snowing and frozen solid outside, I will still have ice cream.  This is definitely a bad habit to be obsessed with but I think that I do a pretty good job of limiting myself.  We rarely have ice cream in the house ::because I would eat it all right away if we did:: and I usually only get it when we are already out and about.  I am very picky though and don't like many kinds so that also helps when we go places.  My top favorites are: Daiquiri Ice (BK in the summer) Cookie Dough, Cookies 'N Cream, Mocha and Mint Chocolate Chip.

5.  Cheez-Its
Now this may be a weird thing to love but I do.  These little delicious cheesy crackers are exactly what is in the name - CRACK!  They are so addicting and you can't just have one handful.  This is definitely a snack that I have learned discipline with and have learned not to eat the entire box in one sitting while drinking a Mr. Pibb.

6.  Coupons/Deals
Deals and Coupons.  My niche if you will.  I absolutely REFUSE to buy anything full price almost anywhere.  There is no point when the same item will be on sale - if not clearance- in a week.  I am not a "Coupon Lady" or anything like that, but I will always look for the best deal and sale when it comes to things.  I mostly do this for clothing and household items.  Groceries I just use the normal coupons that come in the mail or newspaper and we try and shop at the Commissary since there is no Sales Tax and usually better deals.  Clothing and Household items though are never bought at full price.  I have my favorite stores' apps on my phone and sign up for coupons whenever possible. 

7.  Kohl's
This store is literally my go to!  There is so much of my money invested in this place it isn't even funny.  The fact that there was one within walking distance for 6 years probably did not help.  I love that you get coupons all the time and they always have sales and clearance racks.  I love the Power Hours and try to always use Kohl's Cash or coupons from the mail.  Most things Ryan and I wear are from good ol' Kohl's.

8.  Christmas Movies
My love for Christmas Movies is no secret in my family.  I am not one of those people that allows Christmas decorations before Ryan's Birthday or on my Birthday (we have our house decorated for approximately 20 days) and that is fine with me.  I hate seeing Christmas before Black Friday and it seems it gets earlier and earlier every year.  But the one thing I will allow all year round ::Ryan doesn't:: are Christmas Movies.  I cannot help myself.  They are so happy and delightful.  My favorites are Hallmark Christmas Movies which, I know, are even worse!  I cannot help myself and I have already started watching them while Ryan is watching hockey or football.

9.  Buying DVD's
I have a slight obsession problem tendency to buy movies A LOT.  We have two DVD stands full of movies and they are all alphabetized.  I know, a little crazy but I can't help it.  I love laying in bed and watching a movie.  I did this a lot before I met Ryan and it started back up once he went on deployment.  I don't get tired of movies ::mostly:: and love that I have these movies to one day share with out littles.

10.  Fuzzy Sock - All Socks
This is probably one of my biggest obsessions!  I love socks - and Fuzzy Socks at that!  Everyone who knows me knows that I love socks.  I always get socks for gifts.  Christmas, birthday, Easter, Valentine's Day, Halloween - you name it, I get them.  I don't have much room for more socks but I am always cycling thru them.  I love to sleep in socks - although they usually end up on the floor by morning.  Fuzzy socks are the way to my heart :)

11.  Leggings
Whoever invented leggings is a GOD!  Of course, not really, but pretty dang close.  I could live in leggings the rest of my life if it was acceptable.  I do not wear leggings inappropriately except in my house so I think it is okay.  I always wear them with a dress or long enough "shirt" that I would never wear as a dress by itself.  I have black, blue, gray, and polka dot ones and can't wait to get more with the new fall/winter seasons.

12.  Cowboy Boots
Boots.  I love boots.  There isn't much else to say except that they are wonderful.  They work for any kind of weather and any kind of activity - except for getting a pedicure.  We have boots all around our house and I wouldn't have it any other way.

13.  Hunting
Hunting is something that Ryan taught me.  I had never been hunting, or even shot a gun for that matter, until I met Ryan.  Now you may be asking how I can love animals and hunting at the same time?  Well it was a little adjustment but after experiencing it, it is just different.  I figure that you wouldn't be able to hunt certain animals if there weren't enough of them out there, right?  Also, we do not hunt anything we don't eat.  Currently we only hunt Upland and Waterfowl.  We are not big game hunters ::which I don't think I could ever shoot Bambi or his Daddy:: and definitely do not waste what we hunt.

14.  Fishing
Now fishing also came when I met Ryan.  I had been fishing before when I was little but didn't think too much of it and didn't stick around with it.  Then Ryan came along and changed it all.  Fishing is one of our favorite things to do together and I love that it is just us, the fish, and some poles.  Ryan, so kindly, takes care of all the "icky" stuff that I don't want to touch and then always helps me in any way possible.  Fishing is fun and if you don't do it or haven't tried it, you should really reconsider.

15.  Snuggling
Me oh my how I love to snuggle.  I think this comes from being a cold person.  I have never been the person that asks for the air conditioner to be on.  I am almost always cold and the best way to get warm is body heat right?  Too bad my hubby does not agree with this.  Snuggling is left for me and the pups and I'll take what I can get.

16.  Dancing
Dancing has always been a passion of mine.  I have always loved dancing and couldn't wait to dance for the rest of my life.  I started dancing when I was about 4 and continued through college.  After my sophomore year of college I decided to change my major from Dance and called it quits.  I still love the art and beauty of it and wish that I had kept it up but it can always be a goal of mine for later years.  I still dance with the hubby and out at the bars but not like I used to.  It is something that I love and think that it will always be a part of me.

17.  Singing
I enjoy singing in my car or house with the music blasting and no one around but the dog.  I am in no way saying that I am a great, or even good, singer.  I just really enjoy putting on some good tunes and singing it out with myself.  Everyone does this right? :)

18.  Baking
Oh baking, how I love thee.  Baking is so calming and relaxing to me.  I absolutely love to bake and my husband loves to eat the sweet things I create.  I love that I married a man with a definite sweet tooth because I do not have one and my baking used to go to waste.  I would bake all the time and have to give it away to other people because I do not eat most things I bake.  Ryan loves my Oreo Cheesecake Cupcakes ::recipe coming soon:: and anytime I make him Funfetti ::I know, not an original recipe but still baking::  Holidays always get me more excited because it means more baking.  I can't wait to start making all the creations this year.

19.  Mascara
I do not wear makeup very often at ALL anymore.  In high school there was not a single day that I did not wear makeup.  Looking back I think to myself "why did you do that?"  Waking up 20+ minutes earlier every morning just to put on some makeup?  Anyways.  So mascara is my go to.  It is all I do when we go out or I want to dress it up a bit.  I have two favorites that I use and they are two very different price tags so that determines which one I wear when.  I wear the drugstore one for more "everyday" things and the Ulta one when we go out on a date or somewhere more fancy.  It definitely is my life saver for looking "made up"

20.  No Wire Bras
Now this may be a weird one but I hope it makes sense.  So I am not very well-endowed and never have been.  I have learned to accept this by now and just go with it.  Now with that being said, I cannot stand wearing a regular bra every single day!  I of course wear what is needed to work but often with annoyance.  I am not lucky enough to get away with no bra ::I would never dream of doing that:: but I am also not so big that I need constant support.  No Wire Bras are my best friend!  I could not live without these babies.  I have my 3 favorite ones that I bought from Kohl's and they are my favorite.  They don't make me look any larger than I am which I am totally fine with but still give me enough coverage to wear I am not showing people the goodies beneath the shirts.  If you haven't tried these yet, GO!  You won't regret it :)

21.  Carbohydrates
I love CARBS!  Who doesn't?  Pasta, rice, name it I enjoy it.  This is another thing that I have to control myself with because I would overdose on carbs.  I used to work at Old Spaghetti Factory which made it definitely difficult to control my want for carbs.  I like to eat my carbs and balance it out with protein and veggies.  I think I do a good job at it, though at times all I want is a big bowl of white rice with some soy sauce :)

22.  Caffeine
I am trying to cut back my intake of caffeine and this is definitely something that is difficult.  I am a person who gets headaches if I do not have caffeine daily.  I used to have probably close to 4 sodas a day at one point and starting realizing what it was doing to me.  I have completely eliminated energy drinks from my life ::effective September 24, 2013:: and have starting making myself only have 1 thing of caffeine a day.  Hopefully this continues and then once we have a little I will be more disciplined with it.

23.  DIY
I'd like to think of myself as a crafty person.  I love "Craft Days" and love getting ideas for DIY house decor and presents.  It is so much more personable and cheaper to DIY than to buy most of the time.  I have a huge list of projects and a ton of materials to use and I definitely need to start setting aside more time to get these projects started and finished.  Hello Christmas presents!

24.  Joann's Fabrics
So this is the store that will take all my money in about 10 seconds.  I love sewing and creating.  Obviously from number 23 you gathered that.  Well Joann's has everything you need and more.  This is definitely a place that I can go to to get inspired and gather TOO many materials.  And they always have coupons and sales!

I hope you all enjoyed this.  Can't wait to see how things might change over the next year :)