Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Slightly Orange Chicken

My kitchen is somewhat lacking. Think one place setting of dishes lacking. Thankfully, J's aunt and uncle had an entire place setting of my lovely Butler's Pantry dishes mailed to the Vegas apartment, so we have use of one supper plate, one salad plate, one cup and saucer, one bread and butter plate, one soup bowl, and one cereal bowl. We have got a lot of use out of these few pieces this past week.

J's company Romotive feeds their employees (and wives!) but they are currently between chefs, so the cooking was not happening consistently. I was recently inspired by this healthy version of chinese food from a hilarious cooking blog (seriously check it out),  but before I could cook, I needed to acquire food.  I had to work with what was available to me within walking distance (i.e. Romotive kitchen) because Vegas is definitely not a walking city and my car is still in Florida. Also I do not like beef, so we opted for chicken instead. J made hot and sour soup, but it was pretty terrible. I am not quite sure what went wrong. He used to be very good at making it, but it seems he gets worse with each attempt. I won't share his recipe with you because no one should have to eat that stuff. By the way, my recipe is very adaptable so use what you have on hand and avoid grocery shopping!

Slightly Orange Chicken
Serves 2
2 pieces of boneless skinless chicken (I used thighs because it was available)
1 onion, sliced
1-2 handfuls of broccoli, depending on how much you like it
1 tbs chopped garlic
1 cup uncooked brown rice (I used white rice, but brown rice is better)

Juice from 1 orange, or 2 small orange colored citrus (again, whatever is on hand)
1/2-1 cup white vinegar
1/2-1 cup apple cider vinegar
Tobasco (or your favorite hot sauce)
Soy sauce
Chicken broth if you are not a vinegar person

1. Start cooking rice according to package
2. Cut off excess fat from chicken and slice into thin strips
3. Place chicken strips and marinade ingredients into a bowl so that the chicken is submerged. Adjust vinegar, hot sauce and soy sauce according to your personal tastes. Let chicken soak until you are ready to cook it.
4. Steam broccoli until slightly tender
5. Cook onion in a relatively large pan (helps if it is shallow, like a saute pan) until it begins to soften and turn translucent, then add steamed broccoli. You can also use a wok if your husband did not previously scratch the non-stick surface.
6. Remove broccoli and onion from pan once it has cooked almost sufficiently (I like slightly crunchy vegetables, J prefers them more cooked). Add in chicken (save marinade), cook until its pretty much done. Pour in marinade, broccoli, onion and garlic and cook on medium high until you see little bubbles. Make sure to stir occasionally so things don't burn.
7. Salt and pepper to taste, serve over brown rice and don't let your husband make hot and sour soup.

Pictured; Delicious "chinese" food and failed hot and sour soup
Also, my lovely dishes

As you can see in these pictures, I managed to use almost every Butler's Pantry dish I have in Vegas, along with my pretty chopsticks J picked up in China. He also brought me a set of black ones with gold tips that match my formal dishes. Isn't he sweet? You may also be admiring our beautiful table and the one chair in the apartment. I actually do own a real dining table, but it is currently chairless, so we have been using a small coffee table. I don't mind eating on the floor, but J feels the need to sit in his desk chair and lean over. Also, I'm sure you are also admiring the giant neon sign right outside our window. It is actually pretty fun - very Vegas to have a hotel casino next door. The apartment glows orange at night if the blinds are up.

Husband approved

Monday, December 17, 2012

Life After "But I'm the Bride!" is no Longer a Valid Reason

And I'm back :)

J and I had a great honeymoon at the Ritz in San Juan, Puerto Rico. The weather was lovely almost every day, so I spent my time alternating between laying by the pool and laying on the beach, both of which required a giant umbrella and lots of sunscreen. By lots of sunscreen, I personally used almost an entire tube of Neutragena SPF 45 in a week.

coqui chocolate
The Ritz Carleton was quite lovely and I have no complaints at all. However, I did notice a few things that led me to believe that the San Juan Ritz is not as nice as the one in Buckhead (lodgings of many childhood December trips and my bachelorette party weekend). For example, the turn down service people forgot to leave the chocolates more than once (gasp!) and sometimes a bath towel (still damp) would be left over after housekeeping came through. The chocolates were super cute, though! The wrappers (on the right) had a picture of a coqui, the same Puerto Rican frog that is very noisy in a pleasant, tropical way all night long.

life is so hard tanning while helpful people set up lounge
 chairs and umbrellas while serving you food on the beach

Now I spend my time "organizing" and "keeping house" - the apartment is a bit of a disaster, or as much of one as it can be given that hardly any of my stuff or wedding gifts are here yet and that there is very little furniture. I've learned a few important lessons: 
1 - drying towels on low takes forever. 
2 - drying a huge wad of sheets and then forgetting about them for a while will result in very wrinkled sheets. 
3 - ironing sucks, avoid it at all costs (learned this one as a direct result of #2). 

Now that I have imparted valuable and, I'm sure, quite unknown advice, I will follow this post up with a recipe I made the other night for supper. It was quite delicious (J's hot and sour soup was not) and I was able to use my new Staub grill pan! Also, since I will not be decorating for Christmas, please accept my new sister-in-law's Christmas decor blog post instead.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Changing Your Name

The time has finally come for me to make it official with the law and change my name.  Although we got married in July, I had so many travel reservations and plane tickets in my maiden name that I didn't want to change it until after I finished all of my 2012 travels (no reason to give those creepers at TSA a reason for a full body search).

Now I'm trying to decide what to change my name to...do I keep my middle name or my maiden name?  I think my middle name is quite pretty, but I feel like keeping my maiden name is 1) something women do to support women's lib and 2) might make things easier in the transition over to married lady (i.e. using old checks or documents with my maiden name still on them would be easier to use if my driver's license and social security card at least still have my maiden name in it).

There's also the unfortunate problem with my new acronymn.  MCW vs. MAW.......

What do you think?  Any opinions?  It's pretty much a one shot deal, so I need advice!  Leave your comments!

Friday, December 7, 2012

Sale Review: J.Crew Warehouse

On the way back from Thanksgiving in NC, Mr. 3 asked if I wanted to stop by the J.Crew warehouse in Lynchburg, VA to do a little shopping.  After gasping with surprise, I promptly put the address in the GPS (which much to Mr. 3's surprise, I knew by heart).  I had been to one of their retail store locations in the past, but not the location that is inside the actual warehouse. When we arrived, we saw 2 cops regulating traffic and people carrying trash bags across the parking lot.  My heart beat a little faster....we had accidentally come on a warehouse sale weekend! 

We went into the warehouse and were handed a price list and a trash bag.  The warehouse had been roped off around the conveyor belts and staff had set up long tables filled with boxes and racks of clothing.  I think Mr. 3 almost stroked out at the sight....bless his heart, I bet he regretted the offer at that moment.

To put it lightly, the organization of the sale was a hot mess.  It literally involved combing through boxes upon boxes of clothing for your size.  But the deals were TOTALLY worth it.  Here's a brief breakdown (going off my memory):

Flats - $20
Heels - $30
Short boots - $50
Tall boots - $70

Swimsuits - $5
Shorts - $8
Pants - $10
Trench Coats/Jackets - $25
Winter Coats - $70
Shirts - $15
Dresses - $20
Cashmere - $25!!!!!!
Bridesmaids dresses - $35!!!!!
Wedding dresses - $50!!!!!!

I wound up with 1 dress, 1 cashmere sweater, 1 pair of jeans, 1 pair of shorts, and 2 pairs of men's swim trunks for Mr. 3...which wound up being about $70.  Mr. 3 also bought me a puffer coat from the side store attached to the warehouse (they had my size hanging on the rack and it was easier to find than digging through all the boxes) for Christmas.

J.Crew is having another similar sale this weekend and you all should really check it out if you live within driving distance of Lynchburg, VA!  Totally worth the trip.

J.Crew Email Ad

Let us know if you have ever been and what you think about it!  If you know of any other similar warehouses around the country, let us know!  We love to travel...especially for a deal.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Briana is Married!

Just wanted to update our readers!  Briana is married and off to her honeymoon in Puerto Rico.  I was super busy with maid duties and visitin' with family members (i.e. running my mouth), so I didn't take any pictures at Briana's wedding and I had to rely upon the Facebook community for its posts (which is the reason for the delay).
The wedding was beautiful, Briana and J looked so happy...all of which caused me to cry pretty much the entire ceremony.  Briana will post more pictures later, but here is a sneak peak from the backyard of her house where the reception was held.
Best wishes to Briana and J!
Family Member Photo

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Two Days!

Wedding week has been crazy, but at least not like Melinda's week - i.e. no special guest appearances by the Obama campaign.

I hope y'all have been keeping up with the twitter account!

Briana's Getting Married!

Mr. 3 and I are headed to sunny Florida for Briana's wedding!  Here's to hoping for warm weather, clear skies, and a happy bride and groom!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Finding Affordable Picture Frames

Mr. 3 and I have started selecting the wedding pictures we want to hand out at Christmas (spoiler alert!  sorry, Mom and MIL).  We also needed a few frames for the pictures we would like to hang up in our offices and apartment.  I wanted to find something nice to showcase our photos and to use for the gifts so I had my heart set on buying silver plated frames for everyone...which quickly added up when you need to buy multiple frames in the 5x7 and 8x10 size.  After some thorough researching here is what I came across:

Macy's Martha Stewart Frame Line
Average Price: $15 for 5x7s and $25 for 8x10s (when on sale!)
-Lots of options
-Usually on sale
-Can use coupons for even more savings
-Can usually be found in store and always online (look for free shipping codes!)

Bed Bath and Beyond - Sienna Brand Frames
Average Price: $15 for 5x7s and $20 for 8x10s
-Fewer options
-Never on sale
-Can use 20% off or the magical $5 off of $15 coupon
-Selection is limited in stores and shipping is only free for purchases of $99 or more

PhotoFrames.net - Verona Line 
Average Price: $12.50 for 5x7s $15 for 8x10s
-Large selection of silver plated frames (and they are tarnish free!)
-Cheap shipping ($5.99 for orders under $75 and free shipping over $75)
-Carries odd sizes (i.e. 5x5, 3x5, etc)
-Offers large selection of hinged frames for double and triple photo display

We went with photoframes.net.  I actually found even less expensive frames than the average price I've listed above.  I paid $8.99 for the 5x7s and $12.49 for the 8x10s and I qualified for free shipping.  This group wound up having the best deals and the biggest selection.  Also, because we needed a large volume of frames, I was worried that we would be traipsing around the DC area in search of stock at our local Macy's/BBB. The frames arrived quickly and well-packed!

Hope this helps with your Christmas shopping!  Now if we could only figure out which pictures we want printed.....

Monday, November 26, 2012

Wedding Party Troubles

A few weeks ago, J and I realized that one of his groomsmen was not planning on showing up to the wedding. I managed to not freak out about it and quickly adjusted my ceremony recessional accordingly. I was quite proud of myself.

Fast forward to Saturday night. J hears from another groomsman that he is backing out for various personal reasons - this groomsman was not making the wrong choice to skip the wedding, but that does not mean I appreciate such late notice. Keep in mind that this is one week before the wedding. One week! Fortunately I was able to email my stationary lady at A&P Designs before the programs were printed off to take this second bailing groomsman's name off. I had to make another last minute adjustment to the ceremony recessional. Now we have my Matron of Honor (Melinda) and my Maid of Honor (Natalia) walking with J's Best Man at the front of the recessional, and at the end I have paired up two of my nieces (one bridesmaid, one junior bridesmaid) with one of my nephews, a groomsman. While this situation is not ideal and totally not symmetric, I can live with it. I just hope it looks alright on stage despite being so off balanced. Good thing I am not a perfectionist!

Monday, November 19, 2012

California Honeymoon!

Since I have been MIA on the blog for all of October, I thought our readers deserved a lengthier post!  As I previously posted, Mr.3 and I treated ourselves to a wonderful two week honeymoon in California and we were gone a good chunk of October.  We had the BEST time...despite both of us being sick the majority of the trip and Frontier Airlines losing my luggage (thankfully on the way back)!  Here's the highlights and low lights of the trip (I'm starting with the low lights to get them over with, because really, I don't have that much to complain about!):
Low Lights

1. Frontier Airlines - In addition to losing my luggage on our way home (and an extremely poor customer service experience coordinating the delivery of that luggage), Frontier was not very upfront about its scheduled stops when we booked our tickets.  I hate layovers with a passion, but we decided to take a flight with one schedule layover from D.C. to San Fran because we liked the times and the price better than our other options.  Both layovers were scheduled for about an hour-ish in Denver which is a pretty good airport (the booking was listed as: DCA-DEN-SFO and SFO-DEN-DCA).  What was NOT listed was a stop in Omaha, Nebraska on our return flight during the Denver to DC segment.  We had also searched for these tickets on Frontier's website using the search parameters that excluded flights with more than 1 stop...evidently that means per segment.  Our detour added about 2 hours onto our trip and when we arrived at the airport we were asked not to deboard, so we spent about an hour sitting on the plane with no food or drink other than what was in the snack bag I had packed (ironically, I had packed peanuts, which airlines no longer give out).

2. Sickness- Mr. 3 started showing signs of our bug about 2 days before me and we were sick pretty much the whole entire trip.  Even almost a week later and I was still coughing and sneezing.  I'm happy to say that this didn't impact us too much.  We just had to nix our plans to ride bikes in Monterey and we were only able to go on one hike in Big Sur (which we wheezed and sneezed our way through).

3. Service - It was the strangest thing...but we service in a lot of the restaurants was a little bit lacking.  Even some of the places we liked, we had to asked to be served and we even had to request the check on numerous occasions.  I'm chalking it up to West Coast laid back mentality, but it was sooooo strange and also slightly annoying.


1. THE FOOD - Nom nom nom nom.  Almost everything we ate in California was delicious.  We had one meal that was just flat out bad and one meal that was lacking in flavor but the ingredients still tasted so much more fresh than what we get on the east coast!  Be prepared, I'm devoting a large segment of this post to my foodies!  Recommendations based on our superior taste testing:

Sonoma County
The food in Sonoma was wonderful!  I would have even been happy getting take out from Oliver's Market, the local grocery store (it's like Whole Foods meets a farmer's market with some junk food brands like Doritos thrown in!).

Russian River Valley Brewing Company - Wings, beer (it's a micro brewery!  I don't drink beer, but Mr. 3 said they knew what they were doing!), and pizza bites.  We saw other diners taking home cases of the bottled brew.

Sunflower Caffe - The California Egg Sandwich.   To.die.for.  Peppered bacon, herb and olive oil infused goat cheese spread, baby arugula, on a french bread roll.

Diavola Pizzeria & Salumeria - This pizza is also to die for...outside of Italy, probably the best I've ever eaten.  They cure their own meats!  I recommend the Elmo, which has in-house made prosciutto cotto, garlic, olive oil, gorgonzola, and red onion.

So the pickings in Monterey on Cannery Row where we stayed were pretty slim.  The options mostly cater to tourists...and evidently those tourists without discerning tastes.  Our best meals were found slightly farther away in Pebble Beach and Carmel.

Roy's - We had sushi, dessert, and wine.  The place is very pricey, but Mr. 3's stepdad and mom recommended it to us, so we decided to give it a go.  The view is amazing and it's located inside the beautiful Spanish Bay Inn.  I highly recommend anything served with ice cream...specifically the coconut and raspberry flavors.  Ask for a side of chocolate sauce and you will be in heaven!

Stillwater Bar & Grill at the Pebble Beach Resort - Monterey Bay crispy calamari and whatever salad they might be serving that has trout on it.  It was some of the best fish I've ever eaten!  Also pretty pricey, but you definitely cannot beat the view and it's on your way through the scenic and oh so famous 17 Mile Drive!

Big Sur Bakery - It's one of the few places to eat in Big Sur, but it was amazing!  We had fresh mushroom soup and a salad with butter lettuce, fresh salmon, and a meyer lemon sauce.  Yum!

San Francisco
The food choices in San Francisco are amazing.  My theory is that if you don't serve great food in a city like San Francisco, you go out of business pretty quick...soooo if you see a restaurant that's been open a few years, you can pretty much guarantee a great meal!

The Ferry Building - Tons of food options at the Ferry Building, but I specifically love the San Francisco Fish Company.  Great fries and oysters!

Chez Panisse Restaurant - A couple of our sweet friends surprised us with a trip over the Bay Bridge to Berkeley for a dinner at this famed Alice Waters restaurant (she started the California foods movement).  We ate in the Cafe upstairs (which is like sitting in an upscale California tree house).  Everything is locally sourced (except the wine list, which is French and Italian mostly).  The menu changes daily based on the ingredients available and it shows!  Everything was sooooo fresh.  It's hard to make a recommendation (since the menu varies daily), but the hand cut pasta with basil, fresh ricotta, and cherry tomatoes was the table favorite and the sorbet for dessert was super yummy!  Thanks to Andy and Bailey for such a fun night!

Brenda's French Soul Food - One of my fab-u-lous former roomies took us to Brenda's French Soul Food.  While it's in the Tenderloin district of San Fran, is a less favorable part of town, I suggest you take a cab because the food is worth it!  You must try the hush puppies, the mac and cheese, and the fried chicken (I can't say that I've tried the chicken...Mr. 3 ate it so fast I didn't even really get a chance to give it a good once over!).  Thanks Devi for all the fun and calories!

2. THE VIEWS - The state of California might be most beautiful per square mile in the U.S.  The coastline can definitely compete with the Cape Cod and the rural countryside, while not green, has a certain beautiful quality to it.  San Francisco is now probably one of my favorite cities.  I can't really explain it, so here are some photos that sadly do not do it justice!

Sonoma County

17 Mile Dr.

3. THE WINE -  Since Mr. 3 and I spent so much time in wine country, I'm devoting a little bit of this post to where we went and what we learned.  Long story short, I'm a sweet wine person and Mr. 3 loves sauvignon blanc and spicy red wines.  Finding something we can agree to drink is not easy.  On this trip we discovered that we both love chardonnays from the Alexander Valley and Russian River Valley.  I decided that I liked the oak taste but I hate anything with pepper (green or black).  Mr. 3 found he didn't like any of the cabernet sauvignons but loves the area's zinfandel and a few pinot noirs.  I cannot believe how wonderful our time in Sonoma was or how much we learning about the wine making process!  We are by no means wine snobs, but it's nice to know that we don't have to aimlessly grab random bottles of wine at the store anymore.  Here's a list of all the wineries we visited (I've put * to let you know where we both liked the wine so much we bought a bottle!).  I should note that Mr. 3 was the designated driver...and before you go thinking we are two newlywed lushes, we drank lots of water, ate lots of food, and often shared tastings or dumped out what we didn't like at first sip.

Day 1 - Alexander Valley Region
*Simi - Excellent chardonnay.  Facility was really cute and pretty!  Like drinking wine in a beautiful woodland home!
Francis Ford Coppola - Ick.  Facility is amazing, but wine was no better than what you find in the grocery store aisles.
Clos du Bois - Runs a large portion of their operations on solar power.  Excellent reserve white wines.
Trione - Great chardonnay and helpful staff.  You also receive a piece of chili infused dark chocolate to go with your red wine!

Day 2 - Sonoma Valley
Gloria Ferrer - All that sparkles!  Beyond beautiful scenery and facilities.  Mr. 3 is not a fan of the sparkles, but I can't get enough of them!  I tried the cuvee and the blanc de noirs.  Yumminess all around.  I also recommend sampling their wine filled chocolates and purchasing some body wash in the gift shop!
*Vinasa - Another wonderful facility with amazing views.  This winery comes complete with a marketplace featuring light gourmet fare and fun gifts.  We bought a cheese platter, crackers, and bottle of wine and took in the scenery on the terrace.  I recommend the chardonnay.
Anaba - Very small operations run on wind power.  Pinot noir was excellent.
Barthlomew Park - Organic wine that Mr. 3 loved so much he considered becoming a wine club member!  The sampling takes place in a historic home turned women's asylum turned tasting facility.  There is a museum on site detailing the history.
Gundlach Bundschu - Very fun grounds to explore!  They provide parasols to shelter yourself.  I think we both enjoyed the cuvee.
*Kunde - Great facility and gift shop.  It's a beautiful place to stop.  Mr. 3 enjoyed the zinfandel and the savignon blanc.

Day 3 - Southern Dry Valley & Russian River Valley
Alderbrook - Mr. 3 liked most of the wines here, which specialize in zinfandel.
Twomey - Excellent everything...including reds, which I'm usually not a fan of at all. Great panoramic views and a small selection of fun gifts.  We would have bought a bottle of almost everything they had...but at $40ish and up, not exactly in our price range!  The staff was really helpful!
*Matrix - LOVE the pinot noir.  Very small operation, with a great selection of wines!
Foppiano - I honestly can't remember much about this wine...not because I was drunk, but because we got to talking to another couple who live in Hawaii and were vacationing in California (aka the golden couple).  I do remember that the girl manning the tasting room was very nice and let us snag a few oranges off the tree out front!

Day 4 - Napa Valley
Cakebread Cellars - We stopped in Napa on our drive down to Monterey.  This winery was recommended to us by one of Mr. 3's clients.  The facility is so pretty and they take you into a well landscaped courtyard for your tasting.  I think I would like to live at the Cakebread owner's house which is also onsite.

4. THE SPINDRIFT INN- Hands down our favorite place to stay.  We would go back in a heartbeat.  We booked this hotel because the price was right, the location was great on Cannery Row in Monterey, and it was named the most romantic hotel by Trip Advisor.  We had a wood burning fireplace in our room, a window nook overlooking the cannery, breakfast in bed everyday (served on a silver platter and included in our rate), complimentary wine and cheese hour, and wonderful staff.  We could walk to everything, including the famous Monterey Aquarium, and it was also right on the beach!  We loved our room so much that we actually discussed modeling our future master bedroom suite in a similar style (but future home buying is far off and by far off, I mean whenever we hit the lottery or sell some of our vital organs).

5.  LA FOLIE - Ok, I know I mentioned the food already, but La Folie was seriously a highlight of our trip and deserves a separate entry of its own!  Mr. 3's mom and stepdad gave us a generous gift certificate and made all the arrangements so that we could dine at the best restaurant in San Fran on our last night of our honeymoon. 

We walked in thinking this will be a meal of a lifetime and we would never again spend this much on a dinner for two...we walked out saying we would never visit San Francisco again without also being able to afford a dinner at La Folie.  I have pictures to document all the delicious food porn, but our favorite dishes from our individualized, 5 course menu selection (plus complimentary dishes courtesy of the chef) included: tempura duck egg (hands down the best dish and possibly the best thing I've ever eaten!), butter poached lobster served over pumpkin ravioli, smoked salmon lollipops topped with caviar, quail and squab stuffed with mushrooms and wrapped in crispy potato strips, cheese souffle, and the lemon bar that comes with the huckleberry baked Alaska.  YUM!  (FYI: Despite all the eating and boozing, we still walked a lot...both of us gained 2 lbs, but I took the weight off in about 2 weeks!  Thank you miracle Zumba.)
Huckleberry Baked Alaska
I must say that we were absolutely, positively miserable with our gluttony the entire rest of the night (to the point that I felt my stretchy tank top was too binding and I had to ask Mr. 3 if I could wear his size large men's t-shirt).

Odd Side Note

The Clift Hotel - This is the hotel we stayed at in San Francisco.  It is a part of the Morgans Hotel Group and I found the design of the hotel very conflicted.  In the lobby area, it looked like Salvador Dali had thrown up all over a gentleman's library (think lots of leather seating and wood paneling...but with surreal art and furniture thrown into the mix).  However, the guest rooms looked like upscale Ikea (oxymoron?) in shades of chrome, glass, and lavender.  Overall, it looked nice...just conflicted.  We also had to ask for the sheets to be changed because they looked like they had self tanner all over them....they were replaced with other dirty sheets.  After looking through the room, which included armchairs with outdoor quality cushions, a price list for EVERYTHING in the room (including an intimacy kit containing...well intimate things...we like to keep this blog PG), and other easy to clean items...we determined that we might be the wrong clientele for this group.  HOWEVER, I must say, that the customer service at the hotel was impeccable.  The doorman  and concierge were polite and helpful.  We got a free honeymoon upgrade and a partial refund for our stay after we informed the front desk about the sheets issue.

Other Recommendations for a California Honeymoon!
If you are still with me on this article, yay!  I applaud your blog reading endurance and you totally deserve Posh Purpose bonus points!  Here are a few links to our favorite things about California that I didn't go into much detail about:

Alcatraz Tours
Golden Gate Park
Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park
Union Square Shopping
Healdsburg, CA - cutest little town square!
17 Mile Drive

We didn't get to ride a trolley, visit Hearst Castle, or visit Pfeiffer Beach....all of which means we will be going back!  For anyone thinking about a trip to California, I'll try to post a budget break down on how we spent our traveling monies soon!

Monday, November 12, 2012

Grown Up Furniture

Big news. I just made my first ever furniture purchase! I have been obsessing over a bed at Restoration Hardware and just took advantage of the 20% off discount code for the weekend. I also purchased a couch because Restoration hardware offers a "luxe" depth that fits J's 6'4" frame much better than normal couches could ever hope to do. Check out my new bed and couch!

Friday, November 9, 2012

Bridesmaids: Disney Princess Edition?


In case you have not discovered this particular internet gem, go over and check out pinterestyouaredrunk.com. It is well worth your time.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Posh Purpose on Twitter

Some of you may remember the hashtag #melweddingupdate and all the many tweets directed towards President Obama regarding #weddinggate. We are now introducing #briweddingupdate for the final countdown (33 days, y'all!) so head on over to @PoshPurpose to stay up to date on all the wedding crazy! Hopefully we won't need to bring back #weddinggate - should be unlikely as Presidential campaign activities will be totally over by December 1.

Here are some of our fave tweets from #melweddingupdate:

Btw 7 am wake up call for a 7 pm wedding. Woot.
Sweet groom arranged for manicures and a ride but forgot to share the destination! No worries, we are en route now :)
Mel almost wet her bridal panties because she was stuck behind the motorcade. Thanks, 
Word of the wedding week: damn 
"anyone want some eczema cream?" 
Storage company gave the groom a large unit overnight free of charge. So thankful! 

Wedding Flowers!

Just got done with my florist meeting - we finally decided on what to do! No more thinking about flowers! Here is a sneak peek at my table flowers :)

Thanks to Susan at Sebring Florist for being flexible and making up all the lovely arrangements and bouquet mock ups!

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Best RSVP So Far

We have received quite a few of the RSVP cards, almost all accepting. This has been the best response I've seen.

Love my RSVP cards! The lighter font is actually silver and a bit shimmery. The card is pale pink. Love love love!

Friday, October 26, 2012

Stringing Pearls

I have a confession to make, a very serious confession for a southern girl. I do not like pearls. I think they can be quite pretty on others, but they just look so weird on me. Perhaps I will change my mind in a few decades, but for now pearls are not for me.

Or at least that was what I thought before obsessing over a 47" strand of irregular black pearls. The necklace was listed at a starting bid of $10 so I figured "eh, why not?" and placed my bid. A few days later, the seller cancelled my bid and took the necklace off ebay. I was so disappointed! Ever since, long strands of black pearls have been catching my eye but none have been within a price range that I am willing to pay just to test out a new look.

I came across this website orientalpearls.net and found 9-10mm black rice shaped pearls at $8.97 for a 15 inch strand. I ordered four strands :)

pearls, silk cord, certificate of authenticity 

I watched this youtube video to learn how to string pearls (since youtube has the answer for everything) but came up with a better solution given the tools at my disposal (i.e. tweezers instead of that funky looking thing).

I would not suggest you use this method on good pearls. I frequently hit a pearl with the tweezers. I was not worried about damaging my pearls because the surfaces are already not perfect, but it would be very sad to scratch an expensive high quality pearl.

It took me about 90 minutes to figure out how to tie the knots close enough to the pearls and to string the first 15 inches. Since my time is currently worth $0/hr, I figure I am doing pretty good on cost.

beading needles are apparently
thin wire segments
Things you need:
Pearls - make sure they have holes drilled
Silk cord, already threaded with a beading needle - see picture on right
Tweezers, angled and good condition so they close tightly
Good vision
I wanted my necklace to be a continuous strand with no clasp. To do this, tie your first knot at the non-needled end of the cord. I used a normal knot where you loop the thread in through itself. You know, a normal knot. Ok so you have your first knot. Now slide three pearls onto the cord and leave some extra space and then tie a second knot. Put another pearl on the cord right up next to that second knot.

This is what the knots and pearl set should look like.
Not all my sets looked this good. I left some gaps.
Here comes the tricky part. You want to sandwich the pearl between two knots as closely as possible. Play around with it and see what method works best for you. I found that tweezers helped me the most.

The tweezers should be closer to the pearl. This picture
shows what I mean by "part of the cord coming out
of the pearl."
To use my method, start your knot but leave it pretty loose. Place your tweezers on the part of the cord that is coming out of the pearl. Pinch the cord as close as possible to the pearl. Now slowly and very carefully pull the other end of the cord to tighten your knot, making sure that it is tightening right next to the tweezers.

 When you tighten the knot so much that you can't go any tighter with the tweezers in the way, you must somehow remove the tweezers while finishing off the knot. I am impatient so I kind of just yanked it around, which is probably why I have some gaps between my pearls. Again, play around with it and find out what works best for you.

Once you reach the desired length, it is time to finish it off without a clasp. I threaded my cord through the first two of the original three pearls (the ones with no knots between them) and tied a knot between pearl two and three. Then I threaded my cord through pearl two and did the same thing: tied a knot between pearl one and two. Then I threaded my cord through pearl one and again, tied a knot between pearl one and the last pearl. Thin cord will make this easier than thicker cord. Also, you will have the end of the cord hanging from the location of your last knot. Just tie it off and cut as you feel comfortable.

It took me about four hours to complete the necklace. I didn't make it to 60" because I was bored and decided that 50something" was good enough. The length of silk cord that I purchased was just long enough to comfortably complete my necklace. It may take you more or less time depending on your desired length and level of perfection. Good luck and let me know what strategies work for you!

Completed necklace. I have no idea where the body thing came from. Mom just randomly
placed it in my room while I was off at MIT.

Wedding Guest Request

While I was in Kentucky this summer, my cousin Jeremy asked that I include a drawing in his wedding invitation. I am not sure what made him think of such a request considering I don't draw and have definitely never drawn around him. However, I went along with it since he is my baby cousin who I adore (not so baby, he is living on his own, working and starting college courses soon).

To make up for my lack of drawing prowess, I copied an idea from Tally: trace trace trace! I found a picture online that would be easy to trace over and taped some paper to my laptop screen. I also left him a little note to make sure he understands the gravity of the situation.

Isn't the address font pretty? It is also the font that I picked for my name and J's on the invitation. I love it!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Glass Water Bottle

To practice for my impending desert lifestyle, I have spent my Las Vegas trip practicing good hydration. I have found it particularly difficult because the tap water in Las Vegas is AWFUL. Like beyond disgusting. I can actually feel the silty particles against my tongue when I try to drink it. The tap water also clogs up the humidifiers with mineral deposits after about three tanks (which is less than 36 hours). J's company has wonderful filtered water upstairs but of course I don't always want to walk up four flights of stairs when I am thirsty. I also think it is a good idea to carry water with me so I can constantly rehydrate.

Solution: J bought me a wonderful glass water bottle covered by a protective silicone case! It is by LifeFactory, 22 oz and does not add any icky flavors to the water like a plastic or metal bottle will. And it is dishwasher safe. I plan on filling it up often and taking it with me everywhere!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Fruit Flies?

My future sister in law Abby has a great blog documenting her crafting, culinary, and photography adventures (amongst other things) called Trial and Error Creativity. You should definitely check it out! In particular, her solution for fruit flies sounds like a lot of fun.

Wedding Update from a Very Tardy Blogger

Hey y'all! So sorry for the huge lapse in my posts - tweeting Melinda's wedding must have taken a lot of energy from me and I have been super busy with my own wedding plans. Yesterday was the two month mark! Eek!

We have been working on finalizing the menu, figuring out the lighting situation for the back yard reception (btw - it is turning out beautifully!), deciding against renting a dance floor in favor of building a temporary one ourselves, attending my beautiful bridal shower, and more! 

Possibly the biggest update of all is that my invitations are in production right now! I am currently in Las Vegas visiting J, but once I get home at the end of the week, I have will be attending a super exciting invitation stuffing party of me, my mother, and any sisters/nieces I can convince to help out :) Once the invitations have time to arrive in the hands of my guests, I will post the electronic images of the suite. Alicia at A&P Design has been absolutely wonderful through out the entire design process. She and her husband run the studio with antique letterpress machinery in St. Petersburg, FL. Alicia is extremely talented and friendly and has amazing suggestions. I did not think I would ever get excited about invitations (i.e. overpriced pieces of paper that eventually go into the trash) but she managed to take my very very broad idea and turn it into a beautiful representation of both my ceremony and reception. Her prices are also extremely competitive and she did not charge me any more for things like different colored papers. I love her work so much, I am buying my ceremony programs and thank you notes with my married monogram from her as well!

Our menu has been through quite a number of changes - tapas to afternoon tea to all southern to heavy seated family style tapas to the final state. Guests have the option of a vegetarian Italian style pasta dish,  a Latin steak dish with chimichurri, or Southern pulled pork. I wanted to represent both sides of my family with the Italian and Southern options and Josiah's Argentine connections with the Latin steak, which he loves. I have a tasting next Tuesday with my caterer. I'm looking forward to all the good food I get to try! Mom is coming along, of course. We have been quite the wedding planning duo. But even if she was not so involved, she would still have to come to the tasting because I don't eat steak.

My parents have figured out a way to string light bulbs from the trees to the house all across the yard. Again, engineering father and also very bright mother are great wedding planning resources. The lights look absolutely wonderful! I will have to snap some pictures and make another post about the lighting. The local lighting store called the Bulb Bin is loaning us a chandelier to hang from the trees, which is also quite exciting!

The dance floor will be constructed by my father, brothers and J the weekend after Thanksgiving. The materials will be from my dad's truss business and then will be repurposed into other things after the wedding day dancing is over. We decided this was the best route to go because temporary dance floors are so expensive to rent in any location, but usually rental companies charge a gas surcharge for how far they have to travel to get to my small town. It is quite common in my area for people to build their own dance floors given how handy we are. 

My bridal shower was absolutely fabulous! My mom's wonderful friend Ms Billie Jo, her aunt Ms. Gail and her mother Ms. Mary hosted a huge shower for all our guests from church. Two of my bridesmaids were able to attend, which was lots of fun. Melinda flew down and worked worked WORKED through out the entire shower! She had a wonderful system to handle the gift list, the ribbon collection, and the torn apart gift wrap all while managing two of my nieces who were bringing the unopened gifts to me and moving the opened ones to another location. Melinda is by far the best Matron of Honor anyone could ever have. I suggested she do it professionally, but I think she needs a bit of a break after all the hard work she did for me! Again, I will gather some pictures and write a post all about the shower. Sneak preview: Barbie and Ken cake toppers on the wedding cake centerpiece!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

A Married Girl's Recipe for the Single Girls Life: Quick and Easy Truffled Parmesan Pasta!

Even though I'm a married girl now, Mr. 3's business often takes him out of town and I find myself reverting back to my single girl habits (random meals of the things I want to eat that often don't ~go~ together....avocado with hot sauce and a bowl of cereal anyone?) including trying to save myself a trip to the grocery store by throwing what I have in the cabinets together.

I rummaged through the cabinets, craving carbs, and I found a bag of veggie pasta from Trader Joe's which I had bought on impulse a few months back.  I usually try to stay away from pasta, but after a quick check, I found that 3/4 cup dry pasta was about 200 calories.  Typically, pasta servings are measured after they are cooked, not before.  Since pasta basically doubles in size when it's cooked...I basically got about 1.5 cups of pasta!  That led me to create this recipe which is perfectly sized for 1!

Quick and Easy Truffled Parmesan Pasta
3/4 cup dry Trader Joe's Organic Vegetable Radiatore Pasta
Olive oil (You will need an olive oil sprayer like the Misto or this Misto)  
Parmesan cheese  to taste
Truffled Sea Salt (a little goes along way!)

Prepare pasta according to directions.  Drain and put a small layer in the bottom of an individual bowl. Spray pasta with olive oil and season with truffled sea salt and Parmesan.  Repeat in layers. Add pepper if you are that sort of person.  :)

This is what you wind up with:

Quick & Easy Truffled Parmesan Pasta
Personal Photo
The truffled sea salt makes the dish sooo rich and wonderful! If I had a can of mushrooms and some sundried tomatoes I would have thrown those in as well to bulk up the pasta with some veggies.  It was super quick to make and super yummy.*  By misting the olive oil onto the pasta, I got a nice flavor with fewer calories.  I also used a shave Parmesan cheese blend that is 20 calories for 1 tbsp and I used probably about 4 tbsp on the dish.  The key is to use a really good quality cheese you need less (I like Bel Gioioso Salad Blend which you can get in big bags at BJs.  The cheese from the green Kraft can is probably NOT a good choice).  I think you are getting the whole dish for around 350 calories depending how heavy you go with the cheese and olive oil.  Definitely a tasty treat to take your mind off of any wedding diet woes!

If you give it a try let me know what you think!  Let us know if you have any yummy recipes to share when the hubby/man/life partner is away!

* I would advise you not to make more than one individual serving.  I practically licked the bowl and if there had been a whole pot on the stove of it already made...I would have landed face first.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Watch Me As I Wax Poetic on Truffled Sea Salt

Mr. 3 and I have recently grown to love...and by love I mean drool, crave, and long for truffled popcorn.  We have seen it turn up on a few menus in the DC area restaurants and it's always to die for....but at $6-$9 for an order it is bit expensive for a popcorn appetizer....but also worth every penny.

All that said, Mr. 3 and I were super excited to find out that we could buy truffled sea salt at a store in Tyson's Corner:

Black Truffle Sea Salt
$6.99 for 1 oz
The Olive Tree

Mr. 3 had to go out of town for work, but I've been busy experimenting and I absolutely love the flavor it gives!  Everything tastes very rich, earthy, and wonderful.  I even managed to recreate our truffled popcorn by popping some kernels the old fashioned way on top of the stove and sprinkling the salt over the top.  No butter necessary.  I'm super excited for movie nights now and when we have date night at home.  Our version is bound to be healthier and definitely cheaper!  If you'd like to try it, you can visit The Olive Tree in Tyson's Corner or order online.  This would also make a wonderful small gift for your favorite cook or hostess!

How bout y'all?  Fans of the the truffle?  What other flavored sea salts have you tried?

Monday, September 10, 2012

Honeymoon Planning

Mr. 3 and I desperately wanted to treat ourselves to a two week honeymoon, but because of Mr. 3's work obligations, we couldn't arrange for a two week honeymoon immediately following the wedding.  Instead, we decided to take a mini-moon to recuperate from the craziness of getting hitched and we decided to delay our official honeymoon until October.

Right after the wedding, Mr. 3 and I headed to the Northern Neck of Virginia for a 3 day stay in a small cabin on an inlet of a marina. 

Honeymoon Cabin
Personal Photo
We ate ice cream and stuffed ourselves with seafood, went putt putt-ing, canoed our newly married selves out of the marina to a nearby beach, and took a private boat cruise around the inlets.

Putt Putt Kissy Kissy Face
Please excuse bad hair and lack of tan...it was 106 degrees, humid, & no spray tans nearby!
Personal Photo
Immaturity by the Sea
Mr. & Mrs. 3
Personal Photo
We had a great time, but it wasn't a vacation so much as a quick moment to breathe before the craziness of our hectic schedules started up again.  Now we are making arrangements for our big two week honeymoon extravaganza!  We had discussed going to a bunch of different places, but we wanted to go someplace: affordable, with a relatively short plane ride, neither one of us had been before, and an area that would give us enough activities to keep us occupied, but where we wouldn't be running from historical site to tourist trap for our entire trip.  I'm not a fan of baking on the beach (I'm melanin challenged and I hate glistening...aka sweating), so we ruled out the Caribbean and Central America pretty quickly.

After some round and round discussions, we finally decided to go to California for almost two weeks!  I was out there last year for business, but work being work, I didn't get to see everything I wanted and we stayed in San Francisco and Santa Cruz.

Mr. 3 and I narrowed down our itinerary to: 4 nights in Sonoma County, 5 nights in Monterey, and 3 nights in San Francisco!  Plans are still in progress, but we looking forward to wine tasting, snorkeling (with wet suits!) in Monterey, a trip to Alcatraz, a visit to the Monterey Aquarium, and driving all the scenic routes.  I can't wait! 

Where are you headed on your honeymoons or where did you go?  Any tips or tricks for free upgrades, send them our way!

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Paying for Your Wedding: Benefits to Putting It on the Credit Card

I really don't advocate paying for a wedding on credit or loans.  It's a bad idea to start a marriage saddled in debt from a day's worth of fun and every time you look at the interest rate on your credit balance it will tarnish your wonderful memories from your happy day.

That said....I am a full believer that you should charge as many of your wedding costs to your credit card as you possible can, making SURE TO PAY IT OFF IN FULL EVERY MONTH.   There are a number of good reasons for this:

1)  Disputing charges.  It's much easier to dispute charges if a wedding vendor doesn't fulfill the terms of the contract if you charge the expense. (Be sure to ask if the vendor charges a fee for a credit card payment.  From my experience, these can range from 3-5% which can wind up being a significant amount for expenses like catering and rentals.)

2) Tracking expenses.  If you can devote a credit card to wedding only expenses, you'll find it very easy to figure out how much money you are spending overall.

3) Rewards points.  This is my favorite benefit to using a credit card.  Try to find one with either a really good cash back rate or decent travel perks.  Mr. 3 and I are going to use my rewards points to pay for our 10 day rental car on our honeymoon, our airport transfers, and a sunset cruise!  Make sure to also check to see if your credit card offers any traveler benefits just for being a cardholder.  I didn't discover until we started planning our honeymoon that Visa Signature offers free wine tastings at over 60 wineries in Sonoma County! 

Have any tips?  Send them our way!

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Thank You Note How To

I finally sent out the last of my thank you notes yesterday.  It was a pretty big undertaking that stressed me out over the last 6 weeks since we got married.  I didn't want to forget anyone!  I decided to write all of our thank you notes and have Mr. 3 sign them because 1) he has terrible handwriting, 2) I didn't want to add to the confusion of figuring out who would write what note, and 3) my mama had bought me super beautiful stationery with my new monogram.  Here's a few tips to make your thank you note writing a breeze:

1. Get them out within three months...but really ASAP.  I've heard rumors that you have a year to write your notes, but according to the Emily Post Institute, it's really three months.  Regardless, I would not want these things haunting me for the next 10 months.  I have to get started on my Christmas cards soon!  Additionally, you guests will begin to wonder if you received their gift.  A few of my parents friends started asking around the 1 month mark.

2. Wait to send all of your notes at once.  I wrote many thank you notes as gifts came in prior to the week before the wedding...but once that week came, I had no time to send them out.  From that point on, I held off until after the wedding and I waited to send out all the notes for the gifts we received.  I knew if I started sending them out as they were written I would have had second guessed myself and gotten confused about which ones had been sent vs. which ones were left.  If you send them out all at once, you can cross check them against your registry lists.

3. To keep track of gifts you received on the day of your wedding, use the inside flap of the card envelope to write down what gift you received as you open the gift (ditto if you received a gift card or check), making sure to put the card back in the envelope so that you have the names of the gift giver handy.  This note will give you something to reference, but will take minimal time and speed up the gift opening process.  Once you have opened everything, make a master list of gifts using the notes on the envelope flaps.  If you are making a keepsake box you can discard the envelopes and just keep the pretty and thoughtful cards!

4.  Make your notes personal.  You should start off thanking them for the item, state how it will benefit/brighten/add to your married life, then end with a personal note so that it's not so generic/form sounding (a notable memory from the wedding is a good option to include).  A note should look something like this:

Dear ___________,

Thank you so much for the wedding gift money.  We are really looking forward to buying new toss pillows for our couch.  We were so glad you came to the wedding, it wouldn't have been the same without you burning up the dance floor and you sure did show all our other guests how it's done!  Thanks again for your well wishes and support.


____ & _______

5.  Be sure to send thank yous to people who may not have been able to gift you anything, but who really supported you during the engagement/wedding...especially if their efforts added to your day.  One of my mother's friends could not attend our wedding, but she wanted to do something for me that would help me out on my big day.  She made a few hundred pink and green southern buttermints (my wedding colors) in the shape of roses and leaves....which is NOT something you can purchase online or at the store.  You have to know a sweet Southern lady with know how and time.  In my opinion, buttermints are essential to a proper Southern wedding and I couldn't have imagined our reception without them....so I sent her a very heartfelt thank you for handmaking all those pretty mints!

6. Even if you (the bride) are filling out all the notes, make sure the groom signs them!

Hope these tips help you with your notes!  If you have any to share, please send them our way...Briana's shower is coming up, so she will have plenty to write!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Registry Returns

Over the weekend Mr. 3 and I headed out to the mall to make some returns and spend some gift cards.  We wanted to take back a few things to Bed, Bath, and Beyond that we had gotten as repeat gifts and pick up new sheets for our bed.

I just want to say how EASY it is to make returns at BBB (besides the waiting in line part).  If you don't have your receipt but it was purchased off your registry, they can look up the present and give you cash back for what your guest paid...IN CASH!  If your gift giver used a coupon on your present, they also "give you back" the coupon that the guest used by printing it out on store register tape (such smart marketing, what girl can resist re-spending a fistful of moo-lah when she also has coupons in hand!).  If you don't have a receipt, BBB will issue a store gift card.

We had no issue making our returns or our purchases and our bed looks great!
Sateen 778 Sheets by Wamsutta, 100% Supima Cotton, 778 Thread Count
I <3 Linens!
Wamsutta 778 Sheets
Image from Bed Bath and Beyond
We also went by Williams Sonoma to spend some money and found out that the 10% completion discount is good on everything for the next 6 months WITHOUT having to go through the hassle of adding it to the registry before you go to buy (which is something I feel is so sneaky!).  The sweet ladies at Williams Sonoma also told me to wait to buy my glassware and cereal bowls because it goes on sale tomorrow!  They then placed everything I wanted in the back stockroom to hold for me until the sale starts.  Wahoo for 15% off tabletop, plus 10% registry completion!

Hope these tips help you out as you make your registry returns!  If you have any registry tips, send them our way!

Friday, August 24, 2012

Registry Breakdown: Most Popular Choices for Your Guests

If you engaged (or getting engaged anytime soon), figuring out your registries can be difficult.  Besides dealing with uncooperative fiances (luckily Mr. 3 was more than helpful as long as he was fed and caffeinated) and figuring out what you need (pots and pans usually) vs. what you want (toss pillows! crystal barware! monogrammed anything!), you have to also think about the number of gifts, the price points, what stores are going to be accessible to both you and your guests.

Mr. 3 and I chose to register at Macy's and Bed, Bath, and Beyond (BBB) because we figured that they would be the most accessible to our families in North Carolina and Virginia.  We also decided to put in Williams Sonoma because we LOVE their kitchen gadgets and kitchen linens.  From there, I decided I wanted to put Pottery Barn on the list because I love their home decor items and bed linens.  Finally, I added a Bloomingdales registry because they were the only vendor that carried these pretty bowls (and yes, that is the sole reason I registered at Bloomies...although after their wonderful registry store event, I definitely added a few more pieces).
So cute for fruit or sorbet!
Iittala Kastehelmi Bowl

I figured that our guests in DC would like all of the options because we have brick and mortar stores near by that are easy to get to.  For our friends traveling from afar who have a very limited selection in their hometowns, I figured they would appreciate the variety of places to scout out free shipping.

All of our guests were extremely generous and thoughtful in their gift giving, but Macy's and BBB were by far the most popular choice among all of our guests for both shower and wedding presents.  I would say about 90% of our gifts came from those two registries and all of our gift cards we received were to those two stores.

Macy's also has a great rewards program and BBB always has a 20% off coupon (btw...did you know that they never expire despite what the coupon says and you can combine coupons in the same transaction?!?!  try it!).  BBB also offers a $25 coupon for ever person you refer who sets up a registry, so tell all your engaged friends after you set up your own!  Both stores offer free shipping if you go to a location and they don't have the item you want to order in stock.

One thing I learned was that if you really want something, like your pots and pans, but them in multiple places and check back often to delete the duplicates as your guests purchased them.  This really works out well for the couple and the guest!  For example, All-Clad Copper Core is carried at Williams Sonoma, Macy's, BBB, and Bloomingdales. 

All Clad Copper Core
Image from Williams Sonoma

Macy's and Bloomies will sometimes put All-Clad on sale, but BBB does not .  However,  BBB may offer your guest free shipping and Williams Sonoma will sometimes offer price breaks on specific pans.  Williams Sonoma and Bloomingdales carry this brand in store, but you can usually only find it online at the other stores.  By putting the All-Clad at all the websites, you will increase your odds of receiving the pots and pans you want and your guest can 1) look for the best deal or 2) look for the easiest way to send you these pots!  It may be a little time consuming to check everything (Mr. 3 said I watched the registries like the stock market), but it definitely pays off.

All that stated, here is a ranking of our registries in order of guest popularity:

1. Bed, Bath and Beyond (BBB)
2. Macy's
3. Pottery Barn
4. Williams Sonoma
5. Bloomingdales

What's your favorite registry?  Any perks you want to share, let us know!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Mrs. 3's First Blog Post!

Hi there Posh Purpose Readers,

I'm writing my first blog post as Mrs. 3!!!!  I'm so sorry it took me so long to get back in the swing of things, but the last month of my life has been crazy busy with pre-wedding shenanigans, post-wedding clean-up, moving Mr. 3 into my teeeeeeny tiny apartment along with all of our wonderful wedding gifts, and traveling around the great states of Virginia, North Carolina, and South Carolina!

Now that things have calmed down a bit, I'm going to put together a series of quicker posts to catch all you readers up on what happened at the wedding and how it all turned out!  Although we had many numerous ups and downs, the wedding ceremony was perfect, I felt beautiful, and the reception looked great (the food was yummy too!).  We are still waiting on the release rights for our pictures from our photographer, so I don't have any professional shots yet to offer up, but here's a quick sneak peak from one of my co-workers.  Thanks Lauren P.!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Wedding countdown has begun

Currently in Virginia finishing up the last details of Melinda's wedding, which is this Saturday. We Will be updating y'all through out twitter account @PoshPurpose which can be found at http://twitter.com/PoshPurpose. Let me give you a quick preview: President Obama is coming to town tomorrow so we will enjoy road blocks both today and tomorrow. Fun times!

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Wedding Leftovers

After all the fun is done, weddings usually have a lot of leftover food that needs to be distributed.  Many venues have rules against taking food with you because of liability concerns (i.e. food poisoning from leftovers that weren't properly refrigerated).  In my case, I'm free to do with leftovers as I wish.  Which means I'm going to have a lot of leftover cake and desserts to deal with.  I decided to make these leftovers a part of the favor for our guests and let them take the doggy bags home full of our delicious treats.

I didn't want to do a paper plate wrapped in syran wrap and a bag wouldn't be appropriate to put cake in, so I came up with the idea to use pink bakery boxes for all the leftovers.  Pink is one of my wedding colors and since we are having a lot of desserts, it fits in with using the bakery boxes.

I found a fairly large selection of boxes at Paper Mart.  I decided to order a small sized pastry box that pops up automatically.  The automatic boxes are just kind of pushed into shape rather than having to mess with putting the tabs together which I thought would save on time and headaches.

Image from PaperMart

I decided that I wanted to add a little decoration to the box so I began looking around for stickers that I could use on the boxes and the candy bar bags.  I found out that stickers are really pricey especially if you want any sort of personalization (range from 25 cents - $1.00 each!!!).  Because I needed about 300 stickers even at 25 cents each that would be $75 for stickers!!!!  I looked into other options and I decided to purchase a stamp from etsy that I could reuse for future thank you gifts and I could also use for the candy bar bags.  This is the one that I loved because of the doily pattern since I'm using throughout the wedding (doilies are so cheap!  more doily projects to come later).

$30 Stamp from Etsy
Image from Vendor StampOutOnline*

*The ordering process with this vendor was really easy, but the only thing I will say about StampOutOnline is that I requested a handle be added to the mounted block and the vendor promised to add it in for free, but when the stamp arrived there was no handle.  I didn't bother to follow up on the handle and just decided to "make do," but stamping without the handle definitely hurt my hand more.

I also decided to alter the stamp and just have the text written without our names on it so that I could reuse it for future gift giving (depending on the gift recipient, the gift may only be from me or Mr. 3 and not both of us).  I used a stamp pad that I already had from pre-engagement craft projects and I stamped the tops of the boxes for 135 people for a special extra touch while watching Toddlers and Tiaras.

Stamped Pastry Box

To finish everything off, I also found pink bakery tissue at Paper Mart to line the boxes. The cake will be cut early in the night, which means that the servers can box up the leftovers and have them ready to hand out to guests as they leave.

Here's a breakdown on cost-

Pink pastry boxes - $47.20 for 250 boxes
Pink bakery tissue - $8.20 for 1000 sheets
Stamp - $30 (which will be used on the candy bar bags and also reused for future projects)
Ink Pad - Free (already owned)
Total: $85.40

Not exactly a small cost, I know....but it helps eliminate a problem and keeps beautiful, yummy, fondant-free cake and desserts from being thrown in the trash and it is doubling as a part of the favor we are giving our guest.  If you breakdown the cost of these materials, it's about 63 cents per person (based on 125 guests and 10 children).  If you go with an all white box and liners, which are slightly cheaper at Paper Mart, you can save a little bit of money and you can add your wedding color through your ink choice for your stamp and perhaps a bit of baker's twine to tie the boxes together.  Also, bear in mind that these supplies were ordered in the smallest quantities available, and I will have a lot of extra.  However, these is extremely affordable if you really do need boxes for all 250 guests (about 34 cents per person).  I'll be using the leftover boxes that have been stamped for future baked good presents and the blank ones I'll use to package up small gifts like jewelry and cosmetics for Mother's Day, birthdays, Valentine's Day, etc.  This was also a really quick wedding project, it only took me about an hour to stamp the boxes I needed.

What do you think?  How are you dealing with leftovers?