Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Wedding Tip Wednesday: Save Those Envelopes!

I'm writing this as Mr. 3 and I head south for Christmas (7.5 hours in the car people!), but I figured this is a time sensitive post, so I wanted to get it out to all my favorite readers and brides!

dI've been getting stacks of Christmas cards over the past couple of weeks (hate wasting pretty paper?  see our Posh Purpose ideas for reusing/repurposing greeting cards here and here) and I've been saving all the envelopes with return addresses so I will have the most current address for my upcoming save the date/wedding invitation extravaganza!  I figure keeping these envelopes will save me a ton of time in having to call up my guests or stalk them on whitepages.com to find the appropriate address.

So as your cards come rolling in or you think about your post Christmas clean up, make sure to keep your envelopes in a central place instead of chucking them in the trash with the leftover egg nog, fruit cake, and mistletoe!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Christmas Break

Hey y'all

Melinda and I will be taking a break for the Christmas season. If we feel inspired, we will post, but otherwise our schedule will be put on hold. BTW, check out Martha's December issue for really beautiful wrapping ideas!

Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 16, 2011

OMG Amazing Chocolates!

I just received a gift of L.A. Burdick Handmade Chocolates and oh my goodness they are delicious. And beautiful! And if you ever find yourself in Boston, NYC or Walpole NH you should def buy some. I've eaten three or four already and I love each and every one!

Yes, that is a chocolate - with a tail :) !!!!!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Wedding Website, a la Google

At first, J and I started our wedding website at the Knot. While I'm sure that interface would work with most people, we became very frustrated at how limiting it was. I decided to check out Google Weddings to see what sort of website options they have. Overall, our experience has been great! I love the template we picked out, and it is pretty easy to operate. Also, we were able to buy our domain for very cheap ($4 for the year) from another source and use it on our Google site. When I was working on the Knot, it looked like I had to buy the domain from them for a much higher price or deal with theknot.com/blahblahblah. I much prefer the more personal look of our own domain, especially for $4 rather than $15 or so!

The only issue I have with the site currently is that when I try to delete pages that I do not want, the template is uncooperative. The tab for that page remains, and is clickable. However, once you click on it you get a message that the page does not exist. It is a bit annoying, but it is Google so I'm sure there is some way to fix it.

As far as I know, Melinda has not started her wedding website yet. Since she has less time for planning, she has been focusing on the more time sensitive details, but look forward to hearing about her preferences in the future!

Sound Familiar?

The Doghouse Diaries
Click on the picture to view larger :)

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Trousseau Tuesday: J.Crew & Blue Nile Sales!

If you still have a ton of shopping to do for Christmas, I highly recommend that you check out the sales going on at the J.Crew warehouse.  The daily specials are as follows:



I'm also super excited to see that J.Crew has a new location in Asheville, NC for all of our NC readers!  I love Asheville, so this is just another reason for me to pay a visit!

If you need to throw your man a clue or a hint for a sparkly present (and save him from making a gawdawful purchase, i.e. a tool of any kind or an unfortunate domestic goddess item*), check out this deal from Bloomspot (it's like groupon!) for gifts from Blue Nile, an online jewelry store.  Pay $50 for $100 in jewelry or $250 for $500 in jewelry.  All diamonds are certified and conflict free, metals are sustainably sourced, and each item comes with a lifetime guarantee.  You must order by December 16th for Christmas delivery, but the deal doesn't expire until March 31, 2012 (making it ideal for any men who like to plan ahead for Valentine's Day!).

Tell me....have you found any good deals out there?  If so, share, share, share...I'm almost done with my Christmas shopping (no hate mail please), but I'm always in the market for a personal present at a good price!


*Domestic goddess item: any appliance or product involving cooking or cleaning, i.e. an iron, skillet, blender, steamer, or vacuum

Monday, December 12, 2011

Red Wine Chocolate Cake

I made this red wine chocolate cake recipe this past weekend, and it was pretty good. It is a denser cake that goes well with cream cheese frosting. Cream cheese frosting also goes well with just a spoon, so there wasn't much left by the time the cake cooled off.

I added extra cinnamon, but I think it would be equally delicious if I had just stuck with the recipe. The extra cinnamon comes out in full force, so don't add more unless you love cinnamon. Let us know if you try it out!


Smitten Kitchen has such lovely photos!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Tree Status Update

The tree is still topless - but I still have high hopes of my crafting ambition!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Trim the Tree!

J and I are decorating our Christmas tree tonight. We have the R&B/Pop Christmas station playing on Pandora and I may even make a topper for the tree this year!

We got the tree and decorations last year, but I never found the right tree topper. I had grand hopes of making a tree topper, but never got around to even buying materials for such a project. Fortunately, J was very understanding of the topless tree. He doubts my ability to actually finish (and apparently start) a project. I will make one, though, and blog about it for accountability! I love Christmas!

2010 Tree (topless)

Once J and I relocate to a more permanent location, I think I want a white tree, for feathers of course :)



Munchie Monday: Lemony Roasted Shrimp Pasta

Last week I was looking for a recipe that was quick, but a little more involved than throwing together a frozen feast* from Trader Joe's (poor Mr. 3...since he proposed I haven't had enough energy to try out new recipes, so the frozen feast has been a reoccurring meal at my dinner table).  Harris Teeter had some Argentine pink shrimp on special and I had a lemon.  Those were my "inspiration ingredients."  After a quick Google search, I found a recipe from Ina Garten (aka the Barefoot Contessa).  Usually her recipes are much too involved for me...but I was intrigued by the idea of roasting shrimp (which I had never done before!).  Her recipe makes 6 servings, so I cut all the ingredients in half and I gave Mr. 3 a much larger portion (he's 6'2 and can afford the extra pasta carbs...I'm 5'3 and still have to find a wedding dress...)

Ingredients
1 lb shrimp (the Argentine shrimp are fairly large in size, so I just used a half a pound)
1/2 lb of angel hair pasta
Juice and zest of one lemon
1/8 cup plus 1/2 tbsp. of good olive oil
2 tablespoons of butter (I love Land O'Lakes)
Sea salt
Black pepper

Directions

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.   Start boiling water for pasta, add in some olive oil and salt the water.  Peel and devein the shrimp. Season with the 1/2 tablespoon of olive oil and sprinkle some salt and pepper on the shrimp. 

After the oven reaches 400 degrees, spray a cookie sheet with some nonstick spray and lay the shrimp down in a single layer across the pan.  Cook for 6-8 mins, making sure to check them so they don't over cook.

After water reaches a boil, throw the pasta in.  Angel hair cooks in about 3 mins, so make sure to watch your timing.

To make the sauce, melt butter on low heat.  Zest lemon and juice the lemon (you can put both the zest and the juice in the same container. Once butter has melted, throw in the lemon juice and zest, the 1/8 cup olive oil, and about 1/4 teaspoon of the salt and pepper.  Whisk together.

Drain the pasta and put in bowl.  Throw in the shrimp and toss all of it with the sauce.  This dinner should take you about 20 minutes from start to finish.  Serve with a side salad.  For variation next time, I might also throw in some mushrooms and sundried tomatoes. 

The roasted shrimp were soooooo good.  They came out perfectly cooked and tasted much richer than boiling them (could be the olive oil though, ha).  Mr. 3 LOVED this dish and now calls it one of his favorite meals.  He liked it so much he walked over to the kitchen and found some bread to soak up the left over sauce.  This recipe also makes a great date night meal if you want to make an Italian dish, but don't want the garlic breath to go with it!  Let me know what you think!

*A frozen feast is what I call it when I randomly throw together frozen veggies, a sauce, and some frozen (although dethawed) meat together.  Often it takes on an Asian form...i.e. orange chicken and veggies.  Bless you Trader Joe's for making it easier on us stressed out brides! 

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Pottery Barn Sale

Pottery Barn has a great 20% off sale, including their Christmas decorations! Some items also have free shipping so definitely check out that link to see if there are any lovely pieces to spice up your decorating scheme.


Melinda and I both love these gilded pears - and now you can get nine for $13 and free shipping! You can never have too much glitter :)

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Wedding Planning Update!

After months of indecision, my wedding is finally taking shape. My mother and I kept going back and forth on many issues and struggled with our limited small town options. However, we now have most of the big items decided!
Hotel Jacaranda

The ceremony will be in First Baptist of Sebring, where I grew up, and the preacher doing the ceremony is also the one who baptized me. The reception will take place in the historic Jacaranda Hotel in Avon Park. Mom took J and I to lunch before Thanksgiving and we absolutely enjoyed the southern food!

I picked out my photographer a long time ago. Justin DeMutiis and his photography blog are amazing! J and I had our engagement pictures done while we were visiting my family for Thanksgiving (it was a very busy trip) and we loved working with him. I am so excited to see the engagement pictures and to continue working with him for the wedding.

J and I are currently working on our wedding website as I type. I have a huge aversion to making this website for some strange reason, so he is doing the typing :) Isn't he great?

Mom and I are so excited to get started on all the fun bits of wedding party instead of worrying about where we are going to put all the guests!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Trousseau Tuesday: Christmas Parties

Yay!  December starts this weekend...which also means the whirlwind of Christmas shopping and parties starts up too.  Mr. 3 and I have a bunch of parties to go to (and hardly any free weekend time) and I'm not sure what I'm going to wear!  I'll be attending two parties for his clients and two of his own company's parties.  Three of the parties will definitely require cocktail type of attire (the last one I'm planning on wearing jeans and a sparkly sweater).  We also have a few other festive outings planned, so of course I'm looking at my closet...and finding nothing to wear!

Is anyone else running into the same problem as me?  Let me know what will be keeping you warm and stylish this season!  I need suggestions!

Touching Story

I would love for all of y'all to read this blog post. It is about my former youth minister and his wife (also my former ballet instructor) and their recent experiences with foster care and adoption. They are such lovely and caring people.

Stay tuned for tomorrow's post! I had a very productive Thanksgiving vacation - lots of wedding decisions were made!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Munchie Monday: Yummy Spicy Goodness in a Bag

I hope that everyone had a great Thanksgiving and recuperating from any Black Friday you might have gotten over the weekend!  As promised, I've brought to you a super yummy snack that may replace your popcorn as top food choice for a movie.  I wish I could say I came up with this stroke of genius on my own, but I'll gladly give credit to my former roomate (thanks Devi!).

I now present to you: Yummy Spicy Goodness in a Bag (don't judge)

Ingredients
Doritos - the red bag kind (for portion control, I suggest the grab bag size, NOT the family size)
Valentina Hot Sauce (this stuff is the real deal, it's made in the state of Jalisco, Mexico)
Tapatio Hot Sauce
Fresh Lemon
Sea Salt (optional)

Directions

For grab bag size, clip top of bag off with a pair of scissors.  Dump both hot sauces on chips. Squeeze lemon juice over chips.  Add salt to taste (and yes I realize that Doritos have an insane amount of sodium in them...that hasn't stopped me when I'm really craving salty foods).  Fold top of bag over.  Shake bag until chps are well coated.  Stuff face.

I recommend eating these with a glass of milk because this hot sauce is serious business and regular water does not cut it.  Don't knock this recipe until you try it.  EVERY single person that I have let try my concoction loves them.  Mr. 3 hates Doritos (gasp! how can this be!), so I substituted Doritos for Ruffled potato chips, which is a tasty option if the idea of the orange food coloring freaks you out.  If you prefer Mexican style, substitute pork rinds for the Doritos (I lived in Mexico one summer and they sell this treat in every gas station, bus stop, and food cart on the block.  Hard to believe, but it's authentic.).  I can't imagine a better snack than a hot spicy treat with some lemon thrown on top!  What do you think?

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Posh Purpose Holiday Announcement

Just wanted to drop a quick note to our Posh Purpose readers.  Briana and I will be taking a hiatus from writing the blog while we are visiting our family (and frantically wedding planning) for the rest of this week.  But never fear, we will return for our Munchie Monday recipe!  I've got something for you readers that you must try.  So stay tuned and enjoy your time with family and friends. 

Briana and I wish you a happy and safe Thanksgiving!  We're thankful for all of our reader support!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Trousseau Tuesday: J.Crew Warehouse Sale!

The J.Crew clearance center in Lynchburg, VA is having a holiday warehouse sale this upcoming weekend!!!  For those of you who don't remember the awesomeness that is the J.Crew warehouse, check out the Posh Purpose review we did a few months ago.  OK, so here are the important details:

J.Crew Warehouse
25 Millrace Dr.
Lynchburg, VA 24502
434-316-6324

Friday, November 25th
8 AM - 8 PM

Saturday, November 26th
8 AM - 8 PM

Sunday, November 27th
12 PM - 6 PM

The deals will be awesome and it's a great way to stock up on presents and find some new outfits for the busy holiday party season!  If you make it down, I want to hear all about it!  Let me know how great the deals are...and I'll try not to be too jealous!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Thrifty Thursday: J.Crew Student Discount

For those of you still lucky enough to be in college or grad school (or at least have student I.D. cards that don't have expiration dates), be sure you are taking advantage of all the student discounts! 

One little used discount, that evidently not that many people know about, is the J.Crew 15% off student discount.  Simply show your valid I.D. at the register and they will take 15% off your total purchase.

I feel like this will be especially helpful as the season of shopping is upon us!  Here's a couple of great gift ideas to get you started!


Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Wedding Tip Wednesday: Pew Bows - My Expensive Obsession

Ok, so I might have mentioned my obsession with pretty pew bows before (at least to Mr. 3, Briana, and my mother), but give me a little blog space to wax poetic on my love for the fun and festive decoration.  Pew bows are a great way to dress up a wedding ceremony with relatively little cost when compared to flowers.  
Park Land Flower Shop
 
Etsy Vendor: ShannonKristina
4 for $39

You can choose to keep it classic with some plain white bows or dress them up with a punch of color.  Either way, your black and white pictures are going to look beautiful without being too showy.  Make sure to check with your church first to see if they will allow you to attach the bows to the pews.

However, the problem with pew bows is that the cost can still add up.  Etsy vendors charge between $10-$15 each.  Let's say you get married in a really small church with 10 pews on each side (20 total), that's at least $200!  AND, that's before factoring in the purchase of pew clips to attach the bow to the pew itself).  Did I mention that there are 44 pews in the church I'm getting married in?

Now, I am not willing to give up on pew bows.  I love them and I have my heart set on them as much as I plan to wear a ivory dress (I'm toooooo pale for white) and have a fantastic cake!  However, I'm not willing to budget $440+ of my precious wedding dollars for bows. So, I did a little research for other options.  I found that most times it actually looks better to have pew bows only on every other row.  This is especially true if your church is elaborately decorated.  So, in my case (I'm lucky and I have a beautiful church that will not need much extra decoration), I can get away with 22 bows. 

The bows can be made out of heavy duty wired ribbon or tulle....both of which are available at Michael's craft store.  I like the wired ribbon look better than the tulle.  Tulle seems fluffier while wired ribbon seems more elegant to me.   Plus, there are a bunch of really pretty ribbons (sparkly, patterned, etc.) out there for all different types of looks.  If you go over to Michael's silk flower department, I found that the crafty ladies in this department are more than happy to discuss bows with you.  Michael's WILL tie your bow for you, but you have to pay for the ribbon/tulle, plus the cost of labor.  The going rate for this service is $1/yd of material.  So, let's say you want a large bow, which takes about 10 yards of wired ribbon.  You would have to pay $10 for the labor plus the cost of ribbon you select.  Michael's will let you use one of its oh-so-fabulous-and-thrifty coupons, but only for the materials, not for the ribbon.

So obviously, Michael's services would wind up being equally expensive.  Your best bet is to find either a family member to tie the bows or figure out how to do them yourself.  Lucky for me, I have a very talented, crafty auntie who is willing to help out!

If you are going to make your own wired ribbon can cost a bundle, but now is the time to buy!  The craft stores are running lots of specials and sales for the Christmas season.  Plus, as I've mentioned before, there is so much more of a selection this time of year!  You will need some wide ribbon to get a nice, full bow, so look for the 2 inch width and higher ribbon.

I found two kinds of BEAUTIFUL ribbon at Michael's and I did my first shelf clearing since I got engaged....then I drove to a second location and did another shelf clearing (sorry NoVA shoppers, I'm the reason there is no frosty pink and frosty white ribbon in your aisles).  I'm going to use both kinds and mix them together for every bow.  The original price for one 10 yard roll of ribbon was $9.99.  Michael's was running a special for 50% off.  I also had a magical coupon for 25% off my total purchase including sale items!  Including tax, I paid $3.93 per roll.  So, for my 22 bows, I will only spend around $87 for the ribbon and for a few extra supplies (i.e. wire and scissors), I'm estimating that my total will be about $100.  Not too shabby,  considering the potential price tag! 

Do you have any tips on how to have pew bows without spending too many precious wedding dollars?  Feel free to share!

Perfect Red Polish

I know I am always going on about nail polish, but I can't help it! Perhaps I should make a nail polish label.. Once I graduated, I decided I could finally enjoy keeping my nails painted. Ever since, I have been on the look out for the perfect shade of red for the holiday season. I normally only wear red polish when I am feeling particularly festive since it does not quite go with my pink wardrobe. I finally found the right shade the other day at CVS - it was a great pick me up after being disappointed by a sparkly purple that was too sheer.

The polish is Essie Jag-u-are and I love it! It is a very vibrant true red with the perfect amount of shimmer. It only takes two coats to have full pigment and solid coverage coverage. As usual with Essie polish, it goes on smooth and is long lasting. I finished the manicure with my favorite top coat from Sephora by OPI.

As always, this polish review was brought to you by J. He is always happy to get me new polish. It could be because he thinks I am cute, or that he appreciates the distraction that nail polish provides as it slows down the wedding chatter. Either way, he must be pretty into me since he keeps buying nail polish even though I always seem to have wet nails when it is time to do the dishes :)


Monday, November 14, 2011

Munchie Monday: Healthy Easy Potatoes

If you  are in a mad rush to make dinner and need a quick side item, I've got a great recipe for you!  You can use any type of small potato, although my new favorite obsession is with PURPLE potatoes...yum!  Trader Joe's has a mixed bag of small yukon, red, and purple potatoes, but I also recently saw (and purchased) the purple variety by themselves at Wegman's.  There are studies out there that have shown that the purple potato will help lower blood pressure without causing weight gain...so eat up!  I've come up with a quick recipe that has very little added fat and tons of taste!  Let me know what you think!

6 purple potatoes (they are smaller than baking potatoes, but 6 will feed 2 people)
Olive Oil
Olive Oil Cooking Spray
Dill
Garlic Powder
Onion Powder
Lawry's Seasoning Salt

-or-

If you have Spike seasoning, you can just use this with some dill.  It is super tasty but can be hard to find in the grocery store.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Wash potatoes and slice them into 1/4 inch thick rounds.  Put the rounds into a mixing bowl.  Add olive oil and seasoning (you want enough to lightly cover the potatoes) and toss potatoes until coated.  Take a cookie sheet and line with aluminum foil.  Spray the foil lightly with a coat of olive oil to prevent sticking.  Spread the potatoes on the cookie sheet into a single layer.  Bake at 425 degrees for 20-25 minutes, flipping half way through. 

By putting down the layer of aluminum foil, you will have easy clean up, simply toss into the trash and you won't have to worry about scrubbing off a cookie sheet (although I would still give it a wash).   Enjoy!

Friday, November 11, 2011

15% off Macy's

Macy's is having a Veterans Day sale - 15% off and free shipping! Now is the time to buy wedding gifts, or holiday/hostest gifts! Happy shopping!

And happy second 25th birthday to Melinda :)

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Wedding Chaos!

Hi y'all! Sorry for the posts being so late recently. Melinda and I have been experiencing wedding chaos!

She has a venue, but no photographer. I have a photographer, but am very limited on venues. I want the reception to be in my parents' back yard, but in order to do so we must find a wedding coordinator. Mom and I have no desire to take on a DIY back yard wedding - we want to enjoy ourselves and not kill each other. However, the only coordinator in town might be occupied the day of my wedding! Oh, small town woes!

Anyway, I am remaining positive and reminding Melinda to do the same. And so I continue my search for a wedding planner/coordinator and Melinda emails and calls photographers. We are thrilled to figure out these big categories so that we can start having real wedding planning fun! And if you have any suggestions for Melinda's Virginia photography or my Central Florida coordinating needs, please let us know!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Trousseau Tuesday: Fun Fall Dress Alert!

Check out this super cute fall dress I found at Anthropologie while doing some retail research for my upcoming engagment photos.  I think it still needs a thin belt to set the dress off, maybe in a fun color like raspberry pink or lavender? 

Anthropologie
Unconditional Osier Dress
$168
It's a modestly priced dress (for Anthropologie anyways) and I love the blue color because it will transition nicely into an early spring dress as well (pair it with wedges!).  I also think this dress would photograph well because of the color and the pattern of the fabric isn't so overwhelming that it will compete with your face in a picture.  This dress would be totally appropriate to wear to a fall time wedding or shower too.  What do you think?  Is it a winner?

Monday, November 7, 2011

Hot Fudge Brownie Cake

This cake is super easy and super delicious. I found it on Southern Living, of course. I've made it the normal way and also the cherry and mocha way. I used canned dark cherries instead of frozen ones. I honestly can't pick a version I like best, you should try them all!


Prep: 15 min., Bake: 45 min., Cool: 25 min.
Yield: Makes 8 servings

Ingredients
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar, divided
1/2 cup milk, at room temperature
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
1 1/2 cups boiling water
Whipped cream or ice cream

Preparation
1. Preheat oven to 350°. Stir together flour, next 3 ingredients, and 3/4 cup granulated sugar in a large bowl; stir in milk, oil, and vanilla. Spread batter in a lightly greased 8-inch square pan.

2. Combine brown sugar, cocoa, and remaining 1/2 cup granulated sugar in a small bowl; sprinkle over batter in pan. Using a spoon, gently drizzle 1 1/2 cups boiling water over batter, being careful not to disturb layers. (Do not stir.)

3. Bake at 350° for 45 minutes or until a cake layer forms on top and layer springs back when touched. Let cool on a wire rack 25 minutes. Serve warm with whipped cream or ice cream.

Chocolate-Cherry Pudding Cake: Thaw 1 (12-oz.) package frozen dark, sweet, pitted cherries; drain. Pat cherries dry with paper towels. Prepare recipe as directed through Step 2, gently sprinkling cherries over batter in pan. Proceed with recipe as directed.

Mocha Pudding Cake: Substitute hot freshly brewed coffee for boiling water. Proceed with recipe as directed.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Save the Dates, Part II

A lot of old Posh Purpose readers remember my strongly held opinion that Save the Dates are a waste of money. Of course, I wrote that article before I was engaged and, more importantly, planning a wedding for 12/1/12. Oh how the mighty have fallen..

Since my wedding is two Saturdays after Thanksgiving and right at the beginning of the Christmas party season, I have resigned myself to Save the Dates. I figure it is important that J's guests have a heads up since my hometown is technically a vacation destination. Those elderly golfing people eat up the hotel rooms like crazy, so all the out of town guests will have to plan far in advance if they don't want acres of cow pastures separating their hotel rooms from the church.

I want something fun and Florida, so that the out of town guests understand that shorts and flip flops are appropriate attire for the Florida Christmas season. I really like the idea of these cards that my mom found. So cute!


We will be sending out Save the Dates probably in June to give all the out of town people ample time to figure out accommodations. However, I still maintain that Save the Dates are definitely an area to cut to save money, assuming you aren't planning a wedding right in the middle of holiday season.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Nails!

I'm currently obsessed with nail polish. Ever since I graduated from MIT, I have felt liberated and free. Thus I spend my time painting my nails. It is a past time I enjoyed when I was little, right up until MIT took away my life. Now that I have reclaimed my life (along with a very pretty diploma), I have dedicated myself to having fun nails. You can have fun nails, too! Even better, you can have them without going to the salon all the time.

J is so awesome. I mentioned to him that I needed glitter for my nails, and he surprised me with a ton. More recently, I said I needed a really thin paint brush to do little designs. J decided to drop by a store on his way back from work the other day to pick one up for me! So today, I did my nails :)

I used Already Famous Sephora by OPI for the base color, and my little brush plus Patent Leather by Revlon for the little heart on my ring finger. I thought it was particularly appropriate since J got me the brush. Again, sorry for the low quality images: Photo Booth.

I cropped out my arm with my amazing photo editing skills

I took my really skinny brush and dipped it carefully into the black polish. I did not put too much on the brush at first, because I wanted to outline my heart without worrying about polish dripping everywhere. After I got the outline right, I put a bit more polish on my tiny brush and dabbed gently along the outline to get a thick solid heart. It was actually pretty easy, but I doubt I could do it with my left hand to my right.
Close up of the heart - I used Picasa to improve this
image slightly

I considered doing more designs, but I think Melinda has actually been getting through to me. I suppose sometimes, less is more.. I'm not entirely convinced, though, and may break out the glitter later tonight :D

Wedding Tip Wednesday: Go to San Francisco!

OK, so this isn't exactly a wedding tip...this is a life tip.  You absolutely must go to San Fran and while you are at it drive down Route 1 to Santa Cruz.  You might have noticed that I've been a little absent from the blog this week, that's because I've been on business out in beautiful California!  While I am a Southern Girl through and through, I find myself dreaming of relocation and I'm very tempted by the Bay area, gorgeous coastline, yummy sour dough bread, and perfect weather.  Mr. 3 is not as enthusiastic about my love for California and is eagerly waiting for my return to East Coast civilization....

When you do eventually wind up in San Francisco, make sure to check out the insane seven floors of the Macy's department store (including two floors devoted to home goods and registry) and the four floors of the Williams Sonoma (the two registry meccas are conveniently located across the street from one another).  They have EVERYTHING and because I was able to spend a little time over the weekend at both stores, I was able to 1) confirm my choice of crystal stemware and 2) reject my initial casual china choice (it wasn't available for me to see at any of the stores in DC).

I'll be back to blogging next week...although, I must say Briana is doing a great job manning the ship solo while I've been off in a different time zone, don't you think?

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Fur Coats

While my mother was in the process of convincing me to go to MIT, she promised me a fur coat to combat my arguments that Boston was just far too cold for human existence. I was right, by the way. Anyway, we eventually got around to picking out a coat last Christmas. Fur is very expensive in department stores, so I will let you in on my secret: Ebay! 

I spent a lot of time reading through posts and figuring out dimensions and sizes with a measuring tape, but I found one that I absolutely love. There are a few things you should consider when buying a used fur coat. First of all, has it been stored well? I.e. no smokers, and cats are generally a bad sign as well. You don't want your coat having a funky odor! Also look for items that still have supple skins, meaning it bends easily and is not stiff. As fur gets older, the skin part gets tougher. The toughness can be prevented by having the coat conditioned regularly, but most people do not do so for their coats. You also want to avoid coats that have bare patches or "fuzzy" fur, meaning not sleek, silky and soft. 

Before starting your Ebay search, you should get an idea of what type of fur you want. Different animals give you different looks and insulation. Fox is very fluffy and warm (I love mine!). Mink has shorter hairs, but it is also very thick and very soft. Do some research on types, lengths and colors before jumping into Ebay. Otherwise, you risk becoming overwhelmed!

I am very impatient and prefer instantaneous gratification, so I only buy things on Ebay with a "buy it now" option. While I realize this kind of defeats the point of Ebay, I don't care. I bet you will have even more great coat options if you look at the bidding posts as well. Either way, Ebay is a great alternative to stores when in search for fur. 

Monday, October 31, 2011

Munchie Monday: Roasted Tomato Soup

I hope you enjoyed the previous post! If you are not a fan of fried things (gasp! do those people even exist?!), you will probably enjoy this recipe a lot more.

I am not a soup person. I refuse to acknowledge whatever health benefits it may have for sick people and I do not enjoy eating it. Well, other than hot and sour soup and tomato soup.* A few weeks ago, I decided I was in the mood for some tomato soup. However, since I am a future housewife I thought I should put a bit more effort into the meal than opening some Campbells. My sister Natalia sent this Roasted Tomato Soup recipe to me and I knew I had to try it out (btw I highly suggest you check out that blog, it has some delicious recipes!). I did not do the cheese crust on top and opted for regular oven baked grilled cheese sandwiches instead.

J believes that it is a snack if there is no meat, but he did not even notice that I went vegetarian on him for the night! He also said that this was the best meal I had made for him, second only to my cast iron fried chicken. And now here is my altered version of the delicious recipe.

Ingredients

  • 3 lb plum tomatoes, halved lengthwise
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 large garlic cloves (mine were peeled)
  • 1/4 tsp dried thyme, basil and a pinch of oregano
  • 3/4 tsp crushed red pepper (yum! spicy)
  • 4 cups chicken broth
Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 and wrap garlic in tin foil
  2. Put tomatoes in a large mixing bowl and add oil, salt and pepper then mix
  3. Spread tomatoes out on a cookie sheet and add the tin foil garlic packet
  4. Switch oven to broil and put cookie sheet on the top rack for about 5 minutes
  5. Switch oven back to bake at 400. The tomatoes should take about 45 minutes at this point, but check every so often to make sure they are not burning.
  6. Unwrap garlic packet and put garlic and tomatoes in a food processer. Blend until it is a consistency to your liking (mine was entirely smooth). 
  7. Pour tomato mixture into a pot and add chicken broth, herbs and red pepper. Bring to boil and then simmer uncovered for about 30 minutes. You can alter cook time so that it is the consistency that you want.
  8. Eat and enjoy!


*It amuses J to no end that I hate soup and I hate tomatoes, but I love tomato soup



Halloween Treats!

Happy Halloween, y'all! In honor of this amazing day, I wanted to share with you something amazing that I cannot believe I haven't heard of before.


I love love LOVE candy corn and will definitely be frying some up. Or maybe have J do the frying, I always burn myself. I hope y'all all have a great holiday! To our Florida readers, don't sweat too much! To everyone else, enjoy the fall weather! 

Friday, October 28, 2011

Fresh Idea Friday: Crayons, All Grown Up

My super sparkly friend Ashley recently took it upon herself to do a craft project. She is so creative and crafty!



This project is a great idea for a kid's room or for throwing some fun color into a room! You need a big box of crayons, hot glue, a canvas and a hair dryer. Glue the crayons in whatever order you like along the top of the canvas. Ashley did hers by color, which is a lot of fun and probably makes the color drips combine better. Once the glue has dried, just run the blow dryer over the crayons so that they melt and start dripping. Let it dry and admire your handiwork!


Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Wedding Tip Wednesday: Gum?!

Let this be a reminder to all brides: don't chew gum on your wedding day!


Kemper Mills Fant Photography

This picture has such potential! But it is ruined by the gum hanging out of the bride's mouth. Rather than remembering a tender moment between you and your loved one, you shall stare at photographic evidence of your poor choice for the rest of your life. Consider banning gum for all wedding party and family members when the photographer is being paid. You will thank me later.

BTW, if you are searching for a photographer in the Virginia area, you should check out the above link. There are some great gum free images! The wedding packages start at $4000.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Trousseau Tuesday: Wedding Shoes!

Recently, a family friend said she wanted to buy my wedding shoes since she knows how important they are (pretty much on the level of the dress). I have been perusing the shoe departments ever since and have not found anything, though! I want something delicate and fun! But it seems the designers are showing no love to skinny legs - everything is clunky! Hopefully I will find something that I love. Suggestions are welcome!



These Christian Louboutins just aren't working for me. They are super sparkly, but.. meh. I feel like I can do better for that amount of money.


These shoes are a lot of and black would fit in my December 1 wedding, but I still don't love it. They kind of remind me of witch shoes, and while I generally embrace my witch like qualities I need a different look for my wedding day.


Now these shoes are fun! I could definitely do my something blue with one of these pairs. However, Mother does not love the idea so I shall keep searching!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Munchie Monday: The McRib Returns

For those of you haven't met me in person, you should know that fall is my absolute favorite time of year.  I could wax poetic for days about the leaves, cooler temperatures, and fall fashion; however, just as important is the fall food! 

Pumpkin spice lattes, hot cider, and McRibs are three of my favorite fall treats.  Last week, I discovered that the McRib is back and as delightful as ever!  For those of you who aren't in the know, the McRib is only available now through Christmas.  Sadly, you may need a McRib locator to find a McDonald's that is serving the sandwich (not all locations have recognized the awesomeness of the McRib....and we wonder why there is a recession going on...)

I hope all of you are as excited as I am for the yummy BBQ goodness!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Thrifty Thursday: Consolidating Furniture

I always think about things way before I need to. For example, I am already concerned about furniture for my future married apartment. More specifically, I am concerned about J's bedroom furniture.

His bed..
and the rest

I am in love with this bed

As you can see, his bedroom set is extremely masculine and modern and totally not my style at all. While I have no issue with keeping most of his furniture during our time in Boston (assuming it is brief), I don't see much point in paying to move furniture to another corner of the country (Atlanta, here I come!) if we are just going to get rid of it quickly. And don't tell me the guest room solution! Mother will be giving me my bedroom furniture (bed, two desks, armoir, bedside table) as soon as we relocate closer to Florida. My princess bed and matching pieces will make a lovely guest room and I doubt we will have more than one spare room.

Fortunately, J is slowly coming to terms with replacing his furniture with a bit of help from his mom (can you believe he was adamantly against it at one point?!). She actually warned him not to invest too much in furniture because his future wife would not be interested in keeping it. He ignored her wise advice because he thought he would not be getting married for another 10 years or so (this was pre Briana). Silly J. 

I have been trying to think of ways to salvage his drawer pieces but I am at a loss. I thought about antiquing the wood and then installing fun knobs a la Anthropologie. However, the lines of the furniture are so severe that I am not sure that it will look good once I am done. Tips would be greatly appreciated! 

Advice to single men: don't waste your money on good furniture - your future wife will want to get rid of pretty much all of it.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Wedding Tip Wednesday: Stock Up Now!

If you are getting married sometime next year, now is the time to start your stockpile of wedding decor.  Discount stores such as TJ Maxx, Marshalls, Home Goods, and Target have already started putting out their Christmas merchandise and it's a great time to stock up for your wedding! 

Although you may not be having a Christmas wedding, this is the time of the year when stores will have the biggest selection of white, metallics (of all kinds), reds, and greens.  Christmas decorations come in all sorts of themes (elegant, homey, cheesy, etc), so there should be something out there for everyone.  If you are planning on having any sort of bling at your wedding (mirrors, candle holders, decorative dishes, etc.), there is a much greater selection of these items at Christmas.  If bling is not your thing, also check out these stores for more rustic items but in rich colors like forest green or cranberry (both of which are perfect for fall weddings).

Christmas decor is also much more affordable than if you purchased a similar item at a different time of the year.  Stores are trying to attract consumers and encourage them to buy more by offering inexpensive items to decorate the home.  So a silver votive holder that may cost $4 in the summer is only $2 now.  Don't forget about table linens, these can often be some of the best prices you'll see all year!

I would start looking now to decide if there is anything that might fit in with your wedding decor.  If it seems like a good deal or is within your price point you may want to consider buying early for the best selection.  Stores like TJ Maxx, Marshalls, and Home Goods have continous stock turnover, so if you like an item and its affordable, snatch it up!  However, department stores and places like Target have their stock set pretty much for the entire season  So, if you are looking for a bigger discount on the items you love, or simply can't afford the price tag, you can wait until the day after Christmas for the big sales.*

If you are going to try to get the bigger deals after Christmas and you are hyper organized (like I sometimes am), take pictures (including the price sticker!) as you shop throughout the season, creating a wish list/inventory of all the items you would like to purchase.  You can then organize your day of shopping around which stores you should visit to pick up the items you MUST have and which items you would LIKE to have.  Enlist help from your neighbors, friends, and family if they are going out the day after to shop, ask them where they are headed, ask them to pick up the items you want, and send them pictures and the price you are willing to pay for each item.  Using this method, you should be able to (1) make a budget and estimate the costs of your purchases and (2) snag some significant savings!


*Bonus tip: I have been in Target before on Christmas Eve at about 4 PM looking for a Snuggie (don't judge, I want to keep my mama warm and still allow her to sew while she watches TV) and  Target had already started marking down its' Christmas stock.  Might be worth looking into if you have the time!      

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Trousseau Tuesday: The Importance of Pants

BALANCING ACT photo | Christina Aguilera
Christina Aguilera
Photo From: People Online

A picture is worth a thousand words...

Munchie Monday (1 day later): Bliss Bites

Sorry for the delay on our munchie Monday!  Briana and I have been crazy busy.  I don't want our readers to think we are neglecting them, so I'm sharing the EASIEST, no bake dessert recipe that you can take to any event (or eat snuggled up on your couch...I won't tell).  Ladies (and gentleman), I bring you Bliss Bites (you may thank me later!):

Bliss Bites
(aka sweet little tastes of heaven)

Ingredients:
1 bag of Oreos (I love Double Stuf!  Oh, and please don't bore me with the reduced fat kind.  Oreos are bad for you regardless...you might as well own it!)
1 block of cream cheese (softened to room temperature)
1 bag of either chocolate chips or that melting chocolate (for variation try Mint flavored chocolate)

That's it!  Three ingredients! WAHOO!  You can probably find at least one of these items on sale at the grocery store too.

Directions:

Take Oreos and smash them up in a big bowl with (CLEAN) hands.  Dump block of goodness, er, I mean, cream cheese into bowl and mix with Oreos. Line a cookie sheet with wax paper and form small balls of Oreo/cream cheese and place on cookie sheet.  Now, you can go two routes depending on (1) how much time you have and (2) how egregious you want this dessert to be. 

Prepare a double boiler, heat in microwave, or stir chocolate in pot - however, you like to melt your chocolate without burning it.  If you are watching your calories (stop making this recipe, in fact, don't even bother buying the ingredients) or you don't have very much time, drizzle the melted chocolate over the bliss bites and stick in the refrigerator. 

If you have the time, refrigerate the bliss bites before preparing the melted chocolate for about 30 minutes.  Then dunk, dump, or drop the melted chocolate over the bliss bites and refrigerate.

This recipe makes...a bunch...depending on the size of your bliss bites. If you keep them to about meatball size,  then you should be able to make at least 48 bliss bites!

Totally easy (and inexpensive), right?  If my office is any indicator, these will be gone in minutes.  I recommend eating two at a time and with milk!




Friday, October 14, 2011

DIY Holiday Wreath

My sister Rebekah is so crafty! She made this wreath and wrote up how she did it. 




Wreaths seem to be quite popular for home decor.  While you could go out and spend a fortune on a pre-made wreath, I have been using Pinterest to find some cute, unique, and made-by-me wreaths.  This Halloween wreath would be adaptable to any season or decor.  I wrapped a Styrofoam wreath in 2 inch wide ribbon and glued it with tacky glue.  (Do not use hot glue on Styrofoam.)  It took two rolls of the ribbon to wrap my wreath.  Always buy more than you need and return it.That way you can finish the project while you are on a roll (no pun intended). I used some straight pins to keep the ribbon in place while the glue dried.  It does take a few hours to get a good stick, so do this step first and let it dry while you are cutting the ribbon for the next step.
    
You will need to selected 10-12 rolls on narrower ribbon. The more variety, the cuter the wreath. I used 7 different patterns and textures.  Make sure it has some with a good contrast like light and dark or cute patterns like plaid and dots.  Halloween ribbon was on sale the week I purchased all of this so it made the entire wreath very affordable!   I did use sheer but be careful with hot glue and sheer ribbon- it does seep through to your fingers!   Cut them into 4 inch strips, make a loop, and use a little hot glue to keep it together.  I also saw someone that did all of this with straight pins, but that does not sound so sturdy to me.  You can also create a twist in your loop to give it a different look.  

The final gluing was to adhere it to the ribbon on the wreath form.  I glued about 1/2 inch  of each loop to the wreath.  Then I bent the top side of the ribbon about 1/4 of an inch and glued it down to make the ribbon so it stood up and did not droop.  You may have to play with this idea to get the look you want.  I started on the inside circle of the wreath and then layered it out.  I used three rounds of ribbon.  I also used straight lines around the wreath.  You could make it a random pattern too.  Also, do not be concerned about the placement of the colors.  I started thinking about what color went where, but it the end, it all blends nicely.  It is okay to have the same color close to the other.  Do not think too hard about this step!  Just glue the ribbon on the wreath and it will turn out beautiful.

{On a side note, I almost stopped half way through thinking it did not look good- but I kept on gluing and it turned out great! Always wait until the project is finished before you critique it!}  

As a final touch, I made a little bow for the top.  I used some of the leftover ribbon from wrapping the wreath and a piece of one of the coordinating ribbons.  You may want to position this and however you are going to hang it first with some pins or go ahead and glue it and work around it.  That way you will not forget to leave space.

Finally, think outside Halloween.  These could be cute for any holiday, a wedding, baby's room, little girl's room, or any living space.  It would all depend on your color choices  You can add embellishments like large letters, sequins, or any other bling.  Which just reminded me, I have to go and paint my Happy Halloween center and add it!  

Happy Creating!


Rebekah Kogelschatz
Your style made personal! 
Join me on a cruise June 21-24 for FREE! 
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Thursday, October 13, 2011

Bridal Meltdown: A Cautionary Tale

So instead of a Thrifty Thursday feature, I've decided to bring you a cautionary bridal tale that should be a lesson to us all.  Last night I was making the rounds at some of the discount stores that sell home decor and I decided to run into Ross Dress for Less.  Now personally, I hate going to Ross, there is far too much polyester and synthetic leather for my taste...but I've heard from multiple people that they have a decent selection of home decor.  I am beginning to collect my stockpile of wedding decor and I am looking for a variety of candle holders, dishware, vases, etc. 

While perusing the aisles at Ross, I came across an aisle with cake plates and I spotted a young girl sitting on the floor (this should have been my first indication of the horrors to come...that floor is disgusting!).  This girl had taken a 3-tiered cake stand out of its box.  I was interested in the item, so I struck up a conversation to see if I could take a look.  After discussing the merits of the cake plate, I said I was shopping for my upcoming wedding.  The girl said, "Me too, I'm in wedding hell."  At that point, I took a closer look at the girl sitting on the floor.  She was wearing sweats, no makeup, glasses, and she looked like she hadn't see the right side of a brush that day.  Plus, as I mentioned, she was sitting on a very dirty floor.  After being momentarily stunned (I mean I write a wedding/entertaining/lifestyle blog...I just assume everyone is excited for weddings!), I said, "Oh, really?  You don't like doing wedding stuff?"  This bride looked at me and said "No, absolutely not when you are trying to plan a wedding in Florida from Washington, DC and you have no idea what you need."  I responded with, "Oh, I can relate.  My wedding is going to be held about 4.5 hours from here, not as bad as Florida, but still." 

This weary bride asked me when my wedding was and when I replied "next July" she gave me an envious look and said "mine's next month."  With that piece of information, I suggested she check out Posh Purpose (the best blog!) if she needed a fun read to get her through, wished her the best, and hightailed it over to another aisle.  I figured she only had about one tiny shred of sanity left and I did not want any of that bad juju rubbing off on me! 

I also had a moment of clarity and realized that I do not want to wind up parked on the dirty floor at a home decor store one month before my wedding stressing over cake plates and being envious of a bride with 9 months to spare (that's me!).  So listen up brides! Plan early and plan well and start making those spreadsheets!  If you do find yourself in a similar situation, at least take a yoga mat (you can sanitize them) to provide cushion and support (and most importantly, a barrier) between you and that floor!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Wedding Tip Wednesday: Macy's Registry Review

Ahhhh the wedding registry. So much fun and I feel like this experience was the closest I could ever get to being a guest at Oprah's Favorite Things (one can only hope that her new network will do a swag special from time to time...I, errr America, is still very much interested in the Queen of Talk's favorite items).

Mr. 3 and I picked Macy's as one of the places to register because we felt that they would have a good selection of items at all different price points, there would be a Macy's location in every mid-size and major city, and Macy's generally has lots of sales and coupons that our guests could use.* After sitting down with a consultant, we found out that Macy's also has a great rewards program. In addition to the 10% discount for all items that the couple purchases after the wedding, you can also participate in the Macy's Star Reward program. This program links your registry to your Macy's credit card account (I had to sign up for one), so that after your wedding you receive 5% of the value of the items purchased in a gift card reward. So if your wonderful guests purchase $1,000 of items from your registry, you will get a gift card in the mail for $50 to use at Macy's. In addition, during your engagement period, you also earn 10% rewards on any purchases that you make using your Macy's credit card (just make sure to pay it off in full every month...paying interest defeats the purpose of getting reward dollars). I think this is especially great considering Christmas is upon us (according to the not to subtle marketing ploys that would have us believe that Christmas season starts November 1st and Thanksgiving is just that pesky eating holiday to tide you over until the real deal).

Other perks about registering at Macy's are: free lipgloss with consultation at the Clinique counter, 15% off fine jewelry, and local wedding vendor information. I'll keep you posted on the ins and outs of the other places Mr. 3 and I registered, but what do you think of Macy's?  Briana is ~not~ a fan of Macy's...however, she is deeply conflicted because she is ~such~ a fan of Martha Stewart (whose home goods line is only carried at Macy's).

*When taking your future husband to register, please be prepared for endless questions and comments along the lines of : Who is going to buy all this stuff? Where are we going to put this stuff? Why do we need that? Can we get the meat grinder for the Kitchen Aid, I see myself making sausage. I don't care which color, I pick the one you like.

You can combat these comments with the same tried and true method for carrying out a successful shopping trip when you actually do buy things: frequent snacks and a place for your favorite man to park it. Despite these precautions, be prepared for your man to have a meltdown at the end of your registry shopping. After 2 hours at Macy's (with lunch preceeding and a snack break during mind you), Mr. 3 hightailed it around the store registering us for assorted china, one serving fork, and a children's backpack with skulls on it.  I then spent the last 10 minutes printing out our registry and marking it up with frowny faces :( next to these items so I would both know which ones to remove when I got home and express my displeasure in his rogue registry etiquette. I feel like this tactic fully conveyed the gravity of the matter and I tell myself that his laughter really indicated his remorse.  Let those frowny faces be a lesson...

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Trousseau Tuesday: A Skirt That Compliments Any Fanny



Halogen® Seamed Pencil SkirtToday, I bring to all our wonderful Posh Purpose readers possibly the most wardrobe changing and fanny flattering skirt I've come across in a looooooong time!  I can't take the credit for this discovery, because I spotted it on a co-worker two weeks ago and immediately asked the what and where questions (I also asked to cop a feel of the material in a non-sexual harassment sort of manner).  Let me tell you, it was love at first sight and feel!  This Halogen pencil skirt retails for $68 at Nordstrom and is worth every single penny! I'm not the only one who is in love, so far 3 of my co-workers and myself have purchased this skirt (in multiple colors).  We are all a variety of shapes and sizes (short, athletic, tall, curvy, everything!) and it looks great on all of us!   I love how it is styled here with the bow blouse and trench coat.  The skirt is fully lined (yay warmth!) and comes in 10 different colors.  I had trouble limiting myself to just two...and evidently I'm not the only one.  My nice sales lady at Nordstrom's at Tysons Corner said they were already on their 2nd shipment and were about to sell out again and it was the most popular skirt!  I'm sure I'll enjoy this as the fall weather rolls in.  Bonus:  If you need tailoring, Nordstrom will do free alterations for you in store. 

I especially love the yellow raisin color: 
Yellow Raisin It's definitely an "in"color for the fall season.  Unfortunately, I can't wear it up close to my face without looking like a malaria victim.  I looove that I can incorporate this color at a safe distance away from giving me jaundice.  My recommendation: buy two, one in a neutral color that you can wear with everything (in my case dark camel) and the other in a fun color to add some pop to your wardrobe! 


 What are you winter fashion picks?  Let us know so we can add more fun things to our wardrobe!  Only qualifications: 1) Must be warm and 2) Must not look like a muppet swallowed us.





Thursday, October 6, 2011

Thrifty Thursday: Glitter Nails! Skip that manicure and get busy!

I was inspired by the Cashmere and Cupcakes post on mermaid nails to give my nails a new look. I was bored of the basic polish that you see everywhere and thought it was time for something different. If you are looking for ways to cut costs, consider doing your nails yourself rather than getting a manicure. Don't be sad, though! This is definitely a project that will make skipping the nail salon fun!

J sweetly got me a collection of 24 martha stewart glitters, which made my project so much more fun! I highly advocate getting these glitters. They are very fine and have an easy to use top. No mess!

I used a cheap eyeshadow brush from CVS, a mauve OPI polish (the name has disappeared) and smokey quarts Martha Stewart glitter. I painted my nails with the mauve a few days ago. Last night, I put a bit of glitter into a small bowl and placed a drop of my Sephora by OPI top coat onto the eyeshadow brush. Then I dipped the brush into the glitter (be careful not to overload the brush!) and swiped it onto a nail. I just did a line of glitter across the top of five various nails and did designs on others so that it did not look too busy. After that, I cleaned the brush by dipping it in nail polish remover and wiping it on a paper towel to eliminate glitter - be careful, though! Nail polish remover eats through synthetic bristles. After everything was very very dry, I blew on my nails to get rid of the loose glitter (none!). I then dripped more top coat onto the brush (do not want to get glitter into the top coat) and used it to seal my polish and glitter.

The color combo allows me to keep my nails pink and still fit into the fall season. And the project is a ton of fun! Make sure you have something else going on since it is a rather long process. Maybe make an event out of it! I would love to get my hands on Melinda's nails - I think they are long due for some glitter :)




Forgive the low picture quality, I had to use photo booth on my mac. Photo booth is also the reason why the words appear backward. Thanks, Apple. Btw, yay for the new iphone talk tomorrow! Also, thanks to Ashley for sending me the mermaid nail inspiration. She should really be a contributor to Posh Purpose :)

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Wedding Tip Wednesday: DIY Craft Storage

One of the reasons why Melinda's wedding planning is so exciting for me is that I know she will be doing a bunch of DIY crafty projects. She is so creative! Of course, this also means that I will soon find myself with a glue gun permanently in hand. Oh! the things we do for family (love you, Melinda!).

Now since I love to know things, I have been searching for lots of craft ideas and thinking of the logistics for Melinda. During one of my google searches, I came across a brilliant idea for storing your crafts. Martha Stewart, like always, never fails to disappoint. She suggests using the clear storage containers to hold the pieces for each craft. Create the labels by taking a picture of the assembled project.

This is such a great idea! It is especially helpful because it allows your lovely, amazing, lifesaving helpers to assemble your vision without you having to direct every detail. This system will make that day of scramble so much less stressful! In the very beginning of decorating, you simply place each box where you want the items to be set up and then your lovely, amazing, lifesaving helpers know exactly what to do. My only suggestion beyond Martha's is to include typed assembly steps for the more complicated crafts.

Another benefit is that, during your crafting sessions, you can see what you have already accomplished and easily visualize how all of your projects will go together. Seeing your crafts organized and labeled with a lovely picture will give you satisfaction and motivation to keep crafting!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Trousseau Tuesday: Ideeli Goes Bridal

Ideeli is having a sale on all things bridal for the next 10 hours or so. There is a huge selection of dresses, which are pretty to look at but I would not be comfortable buying one off of the internet. However, there are also some accessories, veils and shoes! Yay, shoes! You need an Ideeli account to shop, but the company is really good about not bugging you via email. Go here to sign up!


Bagdley Mischka Randee shoes for $105.99, originally $215.00


This ABS lace dress would be adorable for a bridal shower or the rehearsal. It is listed at $89.99, originally $237.00

The veils seem to be mostly polyester, which is not ideal. However, if the veil is a category you want to save in, definitely check out the options. I saw quite a few between $50 and $150. Thanks to Sam for keeping me up to date!

Barbie Loves Weddings

Reading Between the Lines with Barbie: you should check it out. And apply what you learn to your bridesmaid selection! Here is my favorite excerpt.
Looking at these three, I’m fairly certain they met back when Barbie was a fashion model at a United Colors of Benetton photo shoot. Steph and Barbie where modeling to support themselves through school, but Kira is still a model. Kira likes to talk about how she’s still a model because beige don’t age. Stephanie responds to that with black don’t crack and to shut them both up, Barbie always brings up how much bigger her boobs are than theirs. They’re the bestest of friends.
Again, thanks goes to Ashley for sharing! I told her to make a tumblr account since she is clearly so awesome and has the best taste.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Munchie Monday: Cast Iron Fried Chicken and Gravy

Hey y'all! I'm terribly sorry for missing the past few Mondays and also for today's article being so late. However, once you try this recipe you won't be able to help forgiving me! By the way, this is definitely better than engagement chicken.

Backstory:
J made me promise not to talk about wedding stuff for the entire month of September (woo hoo! it is October now!) because he needed some time to adjust. I was not very good at following his rule, but I think I did better than he expected. Anyway, after he ate my cast iron fried chicken and gravy he was so blown away that he said I could talk about wedding stuff for two hours. Now the effects don't seem to be too long lasting, he only lasted for about an hour and fifteen minutes of wedding talk before offering to give me another hour the next night as a trade for changing the topic.

Ingredients

  • Skinless, boneless chicken - I used thighs
  • Some flour
  • Black pepper, salt, cayenne pepper
  • Cream - I only had heavy cream, so I watered it down a bit, you can also use milk
  • Water
  • Butter - a few tablespoons
  • Olive oil

Chicken Instructions
  1. Melt some butter with olive oil (prevents burning) in your large cast iron on the stove while preheating the oven to 375
  2. Mix flour, black pepper, salt and cayenne pepper - you want enough to coat all the chicken
  3. Dip a piece of chicken in the cream, let the excess drip off and then roll the chicken around in the flour mixture until coated 
  4. Repeat step 3 for all chicken bits
  5. Make sure your butter is hot and then place the chicken flat into the cast iron
  6. Flip chicken bits over when the bottom is a bit darker than golden
  7. When chicken is a uniform color all around, place cast iron into the oven
  8. Cook until done - this varies with how long you cooked on the stove top
Gravy Instructions
  1. When chicken is fully cooked, remove it from oven and let sit for a few minutes
  2. Transfer chicken onto a serving dish 
  3. Put the cast iron back on the stove top and add some more butter
  4. Now add the same mixture of flour, black pepper, salt and cayenne pepper to the hot fat in the cast iron
  5. Add enough to dry up all the fat
  6. Cook the flour-fat mixture until it no longer tastes like raw flour
  7. Combine cream and water and add slowly to the cast iron and cook until it looks like the right consistency for gravy
My mother's ratio for gravy is about 2 tablespoons of fat to 2 tablespoons of flour to 1 cup of liquid. I never remember it and always end up calling her each time I want to make gravy. And yes, I had to call her for this article as well. 

Friday, September 30, 2011

Fresh Idea Friday: Spice Up Florals with Paper

Happy Friday!  I know I glad to be done with looooong work week!  To send you off to your fun weekend, Briana and I wanted to supply you with some DIY inspiration.  I loooove fresh flowers and I would love to be one of those Parisian girls who buys a baguette, a bottle of wine, and fresh flowers every week as I strolled through open air markets and bakeries.  Unfortunately, I count myself lucky if I get to the Safeway grocery store to pick up my canned soup lunches for the week and that I don't kill the aloe plant in my apartment (I have ~issues~ with over watering, but it comes from a place of love for my plants).  

 I'm not a big fan of the all paper displays I've seen, but then Briana stumbled upon this picture below and I think it's a great idea!  Supplement your floral displays with paper flowers!

Style Me Pretty

This is a great way to add a color to your arrangement that may not be readily available or far too expensive!  Have you ever seen that movie Bed of Roses?  You really must if you are going to call yourself a girl (I also secretly wish that I could be the girl from Bed of Roses and have a shy florist (played by Mr. 3, of course) woo me with expensive blooms). The main character gets beautiful lavender colored roses.  When was the last time you saw those at 1-800-flowers?  That's because they are pretty expensive.  Since lavender isn't really a common color in flowers, this idea might work well...as is does above with gray.  Still not a believer? Check out another sweet arrangement in silver mint julep cups and trumpet vases!

Martha Stewart Weddings 

For those of you who don't have  a green thumb or that much green in your wallet, you can make an arrangement of these paper flowers to put on your desk or dining room table.  Sometimes all we really need is something pretty and cheery to get us through the day and those really loooooong weeks!  Martha Stewart, the original DIYer, has got some paper flower instructions and templates to get you started.  So get started and feel free to send us all your pretty paper pics!