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)

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)


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

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 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
Garlic Powder
Onion Powder
Lawry's Seasoning Salt


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? 

Unconditional Osier Dress
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

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

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


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.