Thursday, April 30, 2009

A little crafty goodness this rainy yucky morning...

Well what do we have here?  A card of mine on another site!  wOOt!  (Okay, so I knew it was coming and I submitted it knowing it would be posted, but it's still exciting people!)  My cards are the dark blue and dark green.


Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Cheers and Jeers

Cheers... to the so-cute-they-induce-squealing black lab puppies that I visited tonight.  My mom knows a fellow teacher who raises them, and she was looking for people to come by and play with the puppies before they're sold, in order to help socialize the pups.  Hmmm... snuggle with adorable puppies and not have to clean up their poop or deal with any of the downsides of having a dog?  Gee, let me think for a minute... gosh, I don't know... I might be busy with a pap smear that day and I'd hate to miss it...  

Mom definitely had to stop me from smuggling one of them out tonight (they have eleven - I could be halfway across the country before they figured out they were missing one!).  Here they are at feeding time - it was hilarious to watch them all climb over one another and literally fall into the food bowl.

Jeers... to having to leave without a puppy... NavyGuy... please?

Cheers... to finding some nifty scrapbook papers for a First Communion project in the works for my little cousin.

Cheers... to being able to watch my mom's tap dance class last night!  She and my two aunts partake in weekly torture classes and I crashed their party to see if they really had justification for complaining about being sore.  Verdict?  Um, yeah... they tap their little patooties off!  If I thought I could get them drunk enough, I'd stash three pairs of tap shoes in my wedding day emergency bag, and make them do a mini recital at the reception!  Alas, I fear you will all have to take my word for it when I say they'd give Shirley Temple or Gene Kelly a run for their money.

We'll end on that happy note.  Tomorrow I have to buckle down and make some decisions about the ceremony programs... so expect a few random posts while I procrastinate!


Ring Bearers and Breakables...?

I've never really dug the whole ring-bearer-pillow bit.  If the pillow is really lacy and girly, what the devil do you do with it after the wedding?  NavyGuy would die before he'd let me put the pillow on our bed, and honestly, the last thing we need is another piece of bedding stashed somewhere (how or why we have four rubbermaid totes full of pillows, sheets, and bedspreads is a question for another day...).  Yes, I could just store it with my other wedding memorabilia, but I knew I could do better than that...

So, where do I turn for all things unique and creative?  Why Etsy!

Paloma's Nest is the seller.  I ordered one of these little clay bowls to hold the rings, and I think the positives outweigh the negatives...

1. We have two ring bearers... and one bowl.  I'm already brainstorming something else we can shove in the "extra" boy's hands so there isn't a brawl before we go down the aisle about who gets to carry the bowl.
2. Bowl could be breakable if dropped (or thrown at brother), so the elder brother will definitely be carrying it, and I'll probably be holding my breath the entire time.

1. I love how simple and modern it looks.
2. Ours will be personalized with our wedding date and the words to our exchange of rings during the ceremony.
3. It's way more useable after the wedding - as a dish to hold your rings while you wash dishes, or even a wall hanging (note the useful holes near the top).

It's a risk I'm willing to take to avoid the flowery pillow.  Pray the boys are on their best behavior for thirty seconds down the aisle before they hand the bowl off to someone else... 


Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Bridal Shower!

I swore on my stack of twelve new cookbooks that I wouldn't blog about the bridal shower until AFTER I finished all of the thank you notes! Talk about motivation to get those finished in record time :) Now I can share some photos and stories from this weekend's festivities.

A good friend of NavyGuy's mom offered to host a bridal shower for me. She has known NavyGuy since he was five; her daughter and NavyGuy went to school together for years, and the moms have been friends for a long time. Linda, with me in the photo above, was kind enough to host a shower for this silly girl she's never met! Linda could not be any nicer though; she pulled together a simply beautiful little afternoon lunch for myself and all of the guests.

Despite the horrid weather (stormy rainy all day long... it showered for my shower), many of NavyGuy's and my relatives and friends showed up decked out in their finest, ready to celebrate. First up was a yummy lunch; chicken salad, fruit, croissants, and spinach salad. The meal was topped off with chocolate or champagne flavored cupcakes!

Here's a group of NavyGuy's relatives dining. Aren't the tables adorable? Linda really went all out with beautiful floral centerpieces (that also served as doorprizes for the person at each table who had the wedding date closest to ours), and colorful dishtowels rolled with ribbons that pulled double duty as a napkin at lunch, and a favor for each guest to take home. Check out the cupcakes on the tables, adorned with fresh fruit! Delicious! Plus, there were little take-out boxes to wrap up the extras for the ride home...
After lunch, I expected to have to do my duty and play some of those uncomfortable/corny shower games, but Linda spared me and sent me right over to a comfy chair to start opening gifts! Hooray! My MOH had quite the job ahead of her writing down all of the items I received; the shower was a "time" themed shower, where each guest got a time of day to shop for. For instance, my mom had bath time, so she got us a collection of towels, bath supplies, and a great bath caddy that matches the fixtures in our bathroom. MOH did an awesome job making sure to write down every little piece of each person's gift basket.

People came up with the most creative gifts! One person had "cupcake time" so she gifted us with a cupcake pan, carrier, decorating kit, and the super neat Hello Cupcake book. Another had "cocktail time," so we received margarita glasses and pitcher, decorative margarita lights, a dance music cd, party napkins, and margarita mix and tequila! We also got, seriously, twelve different recipe books - and not a single duplicate! Amazing.

As Linda knew all the "times" people were given, she figured I'd need a good apron to go along with all the other items I was getting. And of course, she got a pink one (it even has a white monogrammed M near the top!). I had to model it immediately, doing my best June Cleaver impression (all that's missing is the pearl necklace). It was really unbelievable the amount of gifts people brought. Even in these tough economic times, our friends and family were so generous and thoughtful. It really makes me want to make sure we put on a spectacular wedding for them to really enjoy.

And of course, the ribbon bouquet. The best man's wife (pictured at far right) took care of assembling not one, but TWO, ribbon bouquets (one regular size, one toss bouquet) while I opened gifts. The girls above are each from a different part of my life (college friend, work friend, NavyGuy friend), but they all bonded quickly and shared their love/obsession with checking out the blog - hello girlies!

Spending the afternoon with everyone was a nice break from wedding planning, and a good bit of perspective. Much as the ceremony programs and cake flavors are important details on the wedding day, celebrating with friends and family is hopefully the thing I'm going to remember most clearly.



A big Happy Anniversary goes out to TWP today!  She and her man have survived enjoyed three years of wedded bliss.  If I find out their secret, I'll be sure to share ;)

DSC_0046.jpg Congratulations picture by MarryingtheNavy

This card uses Pocket Silhouettes stamps, as well as the Congrats set from this years Sale-A-Bration catalogue (all by Stampin' Up).  I didn't set out intending to use the color combination, but it sort of just evolved as I went along, and I liked it in the end. 


Sunday, April 26, 2009

Wedding meetings are better with champagne...

So many tidbits to share from this action packed weekend!

~ Friday was spent in Madison doing wedding errands.  First up - finalizing the cake!  It's going to be simple, beautiful, elegant, and freakin' delicious.  We went with three tiers, very simple white buttercream frosting, circle shaped layers.  Between each layer of cake, there will be a ring of fresh pink flowers (the florist is going to decide what flowers will hold up best), so it will look like each layer of cake is floating on a bed of florals :)  I'm most excited about the flavors (each tier is different):

1. Carrot cake with cream cheese frosting (NavyGuy's favorite).
2. Champagne cake with layers of mocha buttercream filling.
3. Chocolate cake, with chocolate mousse and chocolate ganache filling.  To die!

We're going to attempt to save the top layer for our one year anniversary, so we're going to make the carrot cake the top layer (hopefully it will keep the best), and have a half-sheet cake in the back to help finish serving our guests.

~ Post bakery, we checked in at the dress shop for another fitting.  I had my first one in February, but I was getting irrational and sleepless concerned about the way the dress had been shaped and fitted.  I also wasn't happy with the shoes I had originally chosen (as seen here), and had ordered two other options from  (I know, I'm getting slightly bride-crazy now that we're a month away, but I promise I'm trying to keep it in check.)  Anyway, long story short, I was concerned for nothing.  The dress fits perfectly, though they're adding another set of "fillers" up top to help make up for what nature didn't bless me with.  My new shoes are more comfortable and I think they go better with the dress than the first pair.  And I can sleep again.

~ Our last appointment for the day was at the venue where we're having our ceremony and reception.  We're currently having a few issues with them (the subject of a future post), but I will say the meeting ended on a pleasant note - they sprung open a bottle of champagne so we could taste what we'll be sipping come wedding night, and we sat around our coordinator's office drinking our worries away... 

Mom and I were wiped by the time we got through all of that, so we headed home, stopping only to pick up Chocolate Oreo Volcano ice cream from Culvers (YUM!).  Saturday was going to be an even bigger deal because it was Bridal Shower Day!  We'd be heading back down to Madison for a party... 


Friday, April 24, 2009

Zoo Thanks

A quick card to share just cuz it makes me smile.

DSC_0047.jpg Zoo thanks picture by MarryingtheNavy

I babysit for an (almost) 3 year old little boy who is maybe the politest kid I've ever met.  He calls me Miss Mugs, says please and thank you religiously, and shares his toys.  Willingly.  Anyway, he's a blast, and I babysat for his last weekend.  His mom had said something about how I wasn't able to play with him a different night because it was my birthday, and he immediately got talking about how they needed to get me a gift for my birthday!  What 3 year old thinks about someone else's birthday!?!?!?  Don't they all just start talking about how old they are and what they want for their big day when the word "birthday" surfaces?

Anyway, his family got me a little gift, so I had to send a thank you.  Noah loves animals so I went with a card that he would enjoy, rather than my standard thank you type image of flowers or something generic.  The images were stamped, colored, cut out, and adhered to the card base with foam tape to give them dimension.  I hope he likes it!


Thursday, April 23, 2009

More Letters...

So the good news is that a) I'm back in Wisconsin, b) all of my luggage arrived with me, and c) it was a completely un-eventful day.  No one annoyed me, the TSA people and I got along amazing well - I didn't even have to sit next to any talkers on the plane!

The bad news (for you readers) however, is that that means I have nothing to blog about!  I also don't have much time, because I need to unpack and get ready for a busy day of wedding errands on Friday.  Instead, I offer you two additional letters that were submitted by Sister and HistoryGirlie; they're both in the same vein as my biting pre-flight ones.  (By the by, feel free to leave your own sarcasm-laden letter in the comments - Sister said it was very therapeutic, and judging by my wonderful travel experience today, perhaps they're actually useful at preventing or solving problems...?)

Dear Sophomore Boy:

I apologize for ruining your life with my homework THAT I"M GIVING YOU 5 DAYS TO COMPLETE. I know the weekend is going to be lovely, but again, this is an honors class...I think you can enjoy the sun and appreciate George Kennan (sigh!) all at the same time. 



Dear Slacking Site Coordinator,

I'm sorry for expecting that you would have your paperwork in on time - I agree, it IS too much to ask that you would get an email about it three weeks ago, then two reminder emails and two texts before I show up at your school to retrieve said paperwork....which you didn't have ready and complete.

I also forgive you for forgetting about our meeting.

And despite how much I respect our relationship and your work ethic in general, I will decline your request to use me for a recommendation. 

See you at training tomorrow (late, as usual)!



Premptive Strikes

My inner B@#$% tends to come out when I travel by air... so clearing the air ahead of time may be the most efficient route to go...

Dear Random Driver on I-5,

I deeply apologize for NavyGuy's behavior this morning. He doesn't do well before seven a.m., and he does particularly poorly in cars at that time of day. Sometimes he operates under the delusion that the roads are his, and other drivers mere annoyances sent to bother him. I hope you didn't find it too upsetting when he zoomed past you on the way to the Seattle airport, pressing his face to the window, banging on the steering wheel, and screaming like a banshee. I would have interceded, but I was probably snoozing.


Dear TSA dude,

Please accept this letter as both an apology and peace offering. Perhaps you've been trained to suspect twenty-something, brunette, white girls with Wisconsin accents as likely terrorists, and that is why you felt the need to empty my entire carry-on suitcase because I forgot to remove one tube of chapstick. Or perhaps you just decided to exact a wee bit of retribution after I glared at you for making fun of the photo on my new Washington state driver's license. Regardless of who's to blame, let's both agree to move past today's unpleasant encounter, and avoid each other whenever possible in the future.

I'm sorry I mumbled mean things about you under my breath. I'm also sorry I didn't return the little grey bucket to the pile at the end of the conveyor belt. (But I still hold that that is your job, not mine.)


Dear Starbucks Customer Ahead of Me in Line,

If you don't know what you want - DON'T GET IN LINE UNTIL YOU DO!

Enjoy your blueberry scone.


Dear Flight Seatmate,

I'm not sure the etiquette in your neck of the woods, but here in SocialGrace Land, when a person puts earbuds in their ears, and motions that they are turning on their iPod, that generally means you should find someone else to talk to. Is it my fault that you brought nothing on the airplane with which to occupy yourself? No, sir, it is not. You could have brought a book. You could have brought one of those little DVD players that NavyGuy says are a waste for people who already have laptops, and therefore won't let me buy. You could just flip through the Sky Mall magazine and debate whether you want a pet staircase or lawn aerator shoes. But trying to engage me in a conversation about who is the better contestant on American Idol, is not how we are going to spend these 3 hours, 52 minutes.

Have a pleasant flight.

Best Wishes,

Dear Cranky Flight Attendant,

I have to pee. There are 14 people in line for the one bathroom in coach, and exactly no one in line for the first class bathroom. I'm peeing in first class. Deal.

Also, could I get another bag of pretzels? Thanks.


Dear Mom,

Despite having picked me up from the airport more times than one can count (which I do love and appreciate), you always seem surprised that I spend the entire time waiting for my checked luggage, reciting every person from my day of travels that either irritated me or who should be denied a breeding license. Don't worry - you raised me right, and cannot be blamed for this character flaw. I promise I'll stop ranting by the time we get out of the airport parking structure. Unless the parking attendant is stupid. Then all bets are off.

I'm back!

As you read this, I'm suffering through air travel in the United States. Be a sweetie and leave me a funny comment that I can check on my Blackberry (and thus have another reason to escape the talkative seatmate...)


Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Procrastination Comes Home to Roost

I leave for Wisconsin (for one month, during which I will be attending several showers, oh and my WEDDING!), in about 16 hours.

Tasks Completed:
- get pedicure

Tasks Not Yet Completed:
- Fit one month's worth of clothing, beauty products, craft supplies, reading material, and wedding paraphernalia into suitcase (that I can lift).
- Take NavyGuy on pantry orientation, lest he think I've left him with no provisions and ordering pizza is his only option for nourishment during my month away.
- Decide on a first dance song with NavyGuy and practice "dancing"
- Locate my sunglasses.
- Locate my iPod charger.
- Charge iPod.
- Pay bills and organize household management (so the place doesn't fall down around NavyGuy, and two roomies in my absence).

Um... here's the current "packing" status...
Too many shoes? Beauty supplies still need to be added... you think TSA will mind if I simply show up with three garbage bags full of all this stuff?

Central Time Zone here I come!!!


Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Book Nerd


Pack for month long trip home? Nah.

Work on any of the unfinished wedding tasks? Nah.

Make dinner for NavyGuy? Nah, he hasn't bothered me about it yet.

Respond to a fun note on Facebook? Heck yeah!

Miss A passed this "Book Nerd" quiz onto me. I've omitted a few questions that seem to make no sense (or for which I have no real or entertaining answer), and tagged a few others of you at the bottom! If you have a great answer to one of the questions, feel free to share in the comments!

1) What author do you own the most books by?
Ann M. Martin. Babysitter's Club Series (#1-84, plus 12 Super Specials, 15 Super Mysteries, and the Ann M. Martin biography). If this is foreign to you, go away - I'd like to pretend you don't exist.

2) What book do you own the most copies of?
The Westing Game.

3) Did it bother you that both those questions ended with prepositions?
Should I be worried that I didn't even notice that?

5) What book have you read the most times in your life?
The Giver

6) What was your favorite book when you were ten years old?
Where the Red Fern Grows

7) What is the worst book you've read in the past year?
I know there will be some haters out there, but I'm gonna be honest - did not love Coraline. Maybe the movie is better, but the story didn't grab me.

8) What is the best book you've read in the past year?
Water for Elephants and Still Alice.

9) If you could force everyone you tagged to read one book, what would it be?
Still Alice - see here for the explanation.

11) What book would you most like to see made into a movie?
The Giver

12) What book would you least like to see made into a movie?
The Dictionary?

14) What is the most lowbrow book you've read as an adult?
Nora Roberts all the way. And yet, I have no regrets or shame.

15) What is the most difficult book you've ever read?
Plato's The Republic. Worst. Book. EVER.

17) Do you prefer the French or the Russians?

18) Roth or Updike?

19) David Sedaris or Dave Eggers?

20) Shakespeare, Milton, or Chaucer?

21) Austen or Eliot?

22) What is the biggest or most embarrassing gap in your reading?
Some of the "greats" have slipped through the cracks... for instance, I've only dabbled in Dickens.

23) What is your favorite novel?
Where the Red Fern Grows!

26) Essay?
Anything by Ralph Waldo Emerson

28) Work of nonfiction?
America's Women; 400 Years of Dolls, Drudges, Helpmates, and Heroins.

29) Who is your favorite writer?
I would like to officially dodge the question and say Aaron Sorkin. And I would officially like to dodge the question and take Miss A's answer!

31) What is your desert island book?
The Harry Potter books. All 7.

32) And finally... what are you reading right now?
Population 485; Ladies of Liberty; and The World is Flat (I tend to keep different books in different places and jump between them.)

And now for some tagging! HistoryGirlie and Jersey Girl - I know you could both share some good reads. (I've included the questions I omitted at the bottom in case you want to take a stab at them.)

4) What fictional character are you secretly in love with?
10) Who deserves to win the next Nobel Prize for Literature?
13) Describe your weirdest dream involving a writer, book, or literary character.
16) What is the most obscure Shakespeare play you've seen?
24) Favorite Play?
25) Favorite Poem?
27) Favorite Short story?
30) Who is the most overrated writer alive today?


Workin' My Inner Model

NavyGuy - go away.


I love you, but this post contains photos of the hair and makeup beautiful-ness to come on wedding day, and if you look at the pics ahead of time, it won't be as exciting to see me all dazzled up with real makeup and a hairdo not based around a Goody rubber band on the actual wedding day.


I will know if you peek. I'm a teacher, and I have teacher senses in my blood; eyes on the back of my head don't begin to describe it.

Last chance buddy boy!

So here it is kids... the look I will be rockin' down the aisle...

Nice, right?!?! I love how it accentuates my large forehead. I think the ringlets are very vintage, but also modern.

Um, yeah, you can stop gagging now. :) That's the in-process shot. (But I did giggle for two days straight after showing NavyGuy that photo and watching him try and not show a look of horror on his face... he's such a good man - he covered very well and said it looked "so pretty." Ha!)
Alright, here's the real thing. Side sweep with the pseudo bangs, low ball of curls with some peeking around the side of my head so I don't look bald. The photo above shows my bling hair comb. First, I tried it on top of my head.

Here's the view from the back, and obviously, the hair comb has been reassigned. I like how it frames the back of my head, but it didn't stay very well, and it pushed the hair ball down a bit...

The veil is very simple so as not to compete with the fabulousness of my dress.

Lord above, I really am a ham.

So, thoughts? I had originally felt very confident with the hair comb in the back (I'm not an outright bling kinda gal), but now I'm doubting my selection and thinking it maybe does need to go up front. The makeup stayed fairly well throughout the day (she sprayed my entire face with some magic goop called "Model in a Bottle" which is supposed to set your makeup), but I may ask my stylist girl to pump up the eyes a little more, cuz I'm not sure they "pop" quite enough. Whatda' we think?


Monday, April 20, 2009

Taking the (Craft) Plunge

Jumping off the high dive today! I've admired Jen del Muro's blog for some time, and each Saturday she posts a "Sketch For You To Try." I've played around with them before, but I've never posted a card to her site... until now :)
Here's the sketch that was our inspiration:I had some Michael's dollar spot stamps sitting un-inked and needing some love, so I used a cupcake stamp, as well as a birthday sentiment, and my new favorite paper, Dill Blossom from SEI. Looking at it now, I realized that I omitted the dark gray horizontal piece, but I don't think that's a capital offense. My favorite part are the Stickles sparkle on the cupcake frosting:

And now, I must get back to work. I'm headed home to Wisconsin on Thursday for a MONTH so I have insane packing to do! However, it's absolutely gorgeous outside today, thus I'm determined to get some of my work done so I can fit in a little reading/backyard lounging time :)


I {heart} Target

A couple Target items to highlight this week:

Scotch Brite Stainless Steel Cleaner
We're blessed and cursed to have stainless steel appliances in our kitchen, and for months they've gone uncleaned because we were terrified to use any cleaning products on them for fear of staining or other disaster. But this weekend, the fingerprints and schmears reached a point of no return, so NavyGuy and I scoured (yep - pun totally intended), the Target aisles to find a suitable cleaning solution. Lo and behold, right near the bins of sponges - stainless steel cleaner! There's a plastic thingy you hold and disposable cleaning pads you attach (similar to the swiffer series). I can't vouch for it's ease of use as NavyGuy is the resident kitchen cleaner, but I can vouch for the how shiny and clean the appliances look after the fact! (The starter kit cost about $6.99 and comes with six cleaning pads; refill packs cost about $3.99.)

Debbie Meyer Green Bags
Now our weekly sale item - Green Bags! My mom gets all the credit for these little wonders. When she visited at Thanksgiving, she brought a few to share, and I've been using them to store our veggies ever since. I have no clue what the secret is or how they work, I just know that they do. Target has them on sale this week, $9.99 for a box of 20 bags. You can probably find them on an end cap somewhere in housewares - they're a "as seen on TV" product, so you might need to hunt around a bit, but they're totally worth it.

I promise that I'll find some less boring Target items next week!


Sunday, April 19, 2009

I'm Grateful For...

... all of the wonderful birthday wishes that people sent my way yesterday! Everyone was super sweet and the love made my day. Thank you all - big hugs from me :)

... the environmentally-friendly lightbulb handed to us for FREE at Home Depot in honor of Earth Day!

... NavyGuy, who let me take a nap while he raked, watered, fertilized, and weeded the entire lawn. This card uses "Warm Words" and "Polka Dot Punches" stamps from Stampin' Up, brads, and cardstock. I can't put my finger on what it is, but there's something about the card I don't love (maybe the gray background?). Alas, it's clean, simple, and I got to play with my new stamps :)


Saturday, April 18, 2009

Cheers and well, more cheers!

Cheers... to getting my latest Stampin' Up order!!!! Check out these schnazzy stamps I've been playing with (constantly) for the last twelve hours:

Polka Dot Punches (I got these through the Sale-A-Bration 2009 catalog, which sadly, is no longer available)

Congrats (another Sale-A-Bration set)Warm WordsYou can expect to see lots of cards featuring these stamps in the future!

Cheers... to a great babysitting job last night. The little one couldn't be cuter (and he's super well behaved), and he even made me a birthday card!

Cheers... to spending all day today with NavyGuy, celebrating my birthday! :) Of course it'd be better if all my family and friends were here, but I'll take what I can get. I'm officially in my late 20s now (I consider 27 the brink of late 20s); I probably still have a few more years before I need to start acting like a real adult, right?

Hope everyone else has a marvelous day!!!


Friday, April 17, 2009

The Cheap Gal's Birthday Card

I opted for a different take on NavyGuy's birthday card this year. Since he's been getting handmade bday cards from me for some years now, he's pretty much gotten one with each of the various birthday themed stamps I have...Now, usually, that would be a perfect justification for buying new stamps! But, I'm trying to exercise a modicum of restraint and think outside the box. So, for this card, I chose to go a completely non-stamp path.

But NavyGal, how did you get the adorable quotation on the front of the card?!?!

Why readers, I'm so glad you asked!

See, basically - I cheated. I have no cute stamp that has that exact phrase, spaced out the way I needed it. Instead, I googled birthday quotes, retyped one I liked in a word document, played with the fonts and sizes, and then printed the quote on a piece of blue cardstock, fed through our printer. Voila! I felt guilty for all of eight seconds, and then I was pretty pleased with myself for coming up with a solution that didn't require spending any more money.

The rest of the card is fairly straightforward; take a green strip of paper and cut a bunch of slits to make the grass. Layer two different size circles, and draw a face pattern to make the sun. Cut various strips of ribbon (it could be all the same color, or a variety) and glue them down on the blue background first, then attach the circles on top using foam tape or pop dots. The butterfly is double layered, created from a Martha Stewart butterfly punch that I will take to the grave with me. In order to give the butterfly dimension, you only put glue on the "body" of the butterfly, so that the wings are not attached to the card and you can bend them upward.

NavyGuy was pretty happy with his card this year, and I like how colorful it turned out. I used the "cheating" technique in another card, so I'll explain more about it in the future.


Thursday, April 16, 2009

Bring. It. On.

July 15th cannot come soon enough.


Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Portland "Mini-Cation" Recap Part 2

When we last saw our intrepid travelers, the girls were shopping (and eating) and the boys were... well, turns out they found a way to entertain themselves:

The 15th Annual Spring Beer and Wine Fest

As a brewer, BeerMan had this Portland event on his radar. So, why Miss A and I were surprised to receive texts from the boys as they were getting drunk at 11 am sampling beer is beyond me. At least they enjoyed themselves and stayed out of our hair while we shopped; after they finished all of their "samples," they met us at Portland's famous bookstore: Powell's Books!

Okay, so how do I describe Powell's to the uninitiated? Have you been on Picture what you think the warehouse looks like where they store the millions of books available through that website... okay. Now add a small coffee stand, and you basically can understand what Powell's is. The photo above is one side... of one aisle... in one room. There are like 10 rooms the size of football fields full of new and used books! Powell's in my new religion.NavyGuy had never been to Powells so he literally sprinted up the stairs leading to the science fiction section like the place was on fire and had he not gotten hungry, he may have stayed there indefinitely.
And since the economy needs major stimulating, NavyGuy and I stepped up to the plate and did our part. One bag (FULL) of books later, we realized we needed a snack.That's Miss A and I in our glory - we basically laughed like that through four years of college (it's really a wonder we both managed to get our degrees on time). Somehow she manages to still look radiant while chortling, whereas my eyes are squinched into my face. Oh I remember the joke! Our first attempt at this photo (taken, by the by, at a great happy hour bar where we refueled), looked horrible; our chins were squashed back into our necks. So NavyGuy - future Annie Lebowitz that he is - offered this helpful advice just before he clicked the next photo: "Chins out girls!" Yeah, maybe you had to be there ;)

After we snacked, we (of course) saw a movie! Sunshine Cleaning was a great dark comedy with a positive ending. Love Amy Adams, love Emily Blunt. Our big dinner plans for the evening were to check out Miss A and BeerMan's new fave restaurant - Toro Bravo! They serve tapas - small sized dishes or appetizers traditionally from Spain - which is perfect for a group like us; we're totally indecisive and we like to eat off each other's plates ;) So we could each pick out a couple we wanted to try and share amongst the group.
NavyGuy and I chillin' before the food arrived. The restaurant was obviously super popular, as it was PACKED! Instead of waiting three hours for food, we opted to sit at a counter seat, which was actually more fun than a regular table might have been. The restaurant's kitchen is right out in the open (very confident), and we could sit and watch everything being prepped; it became a little game to watch what the sous chef was doing and try to figure out what dish he was preparing.
Isn't that a fun view? (Please excuse the poor photo quality - I didn't want to distract the people with the sharp sharp knives in their hands, so I took a flash-less pic.) We gorged ourselves on amazing dishes - manchego and paprika fritters, baked polenta, sauteed kale raab with sunny side up egg - yummo! (Fancy names for cheese ball, baked corn, and green veggies covered in egg.)

My only sour notes of the tasting were the seared scallops (scallop texture freaks me out - it feels like wet playdough in your mouth) and "French Kisses." French kisses are brandy soaked prunes stuffed with foie gras. Yeah. I should have known from the description that they'd be nasty, but BeerMan loves them and wanted me to try one. NavyGuy and I both gagged them down and swore that foie gras is not worth the ridiculous cost. (P.S. Did you know it's duck liver!?!? I did and I still ate it anyway! Idiot!)
Miss A and BeerMan - aren't they adorable? Thank god they come with beer knowledge and oodles of sarcasm or I'd hate them both.

Of course we splurged on dessert. I have a standing policy of "no dessert sharing" but basically when three people attack you with spoons, you have to make an exception. Molten chocolate cake with homemade ice cream - is it too obvious I'm in love?

After our late dinner, we stumbled home and embarassingly, all went to bed by 10:30. I'd blame it on our busy eventful day, but mostly, we're just all getting old. Sunday we had brunch at a cute little place, Simpatica, which is located in an old church. We had brunched there after Miss A and BeerMan's wedding last August, but NavyGuy had had to catch an early flight and had missed the famous waffles and fried chicken. Despite having sworn not twelve hours earlier that we'd never eat again, we polished off four plates of amazing brunch food, and then it was time for NavyGuy and I to head back to the land of rain and airplanes.

Big thanks to Miss A and BeerMan for hosting our "mini-cation" in Portland - can't wait to see you guys again in a few weeks!!!


Party Time!

In celebration of NavyGuy's 27th birthday (I know - isn't he old?), we had Roomie #1 and another good Navy friend join us for dinner, cake, and presents. Sadly for NavyGuy, he had to do most of the cooking on his own birthday!

The menu was steaks and potatoes on the grill (see potato recipe below), Caesar salad, rosemary bread, and...... Ice Cream Cake! (Lucky for NavyGuy, I did not take a photo of him once he devoured his piece of cake - his lips and tongue were stained scary blue from the frosting.)

Awww... he looks so happy to be celebrating! Now make a wish...
Yeah, he definitely spit a little bit on the cake. We ate it anyway. It was ice-creamy good.

Campfire Grilled Potatoes
Spray aluminum foil with Pam (liberally) and then layer sliced potatoes. Add shredded cheese and chopped onions. Season with salt and pepper. Cover the potato mound with another sheet of aluminum foil and pinch all of the sides together to make a giant pouch. Then, cook on the grill for about 40-45 minutes (depending on the amount of 'taters), flipping pouch a couple times.


Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Portland "Mini-Cation" Recap

Now that I've gotten a few more things crossed off the wedding list, I can go back and show you the fun we had this weekend in Portland! NavyGuy and I crashed with my college roomie Miss A and her husband (BeerMan), and they did a great job of showing off their favorite city :)

Friday night was pretty casual - I slept in the car on the ride down and NavyGuy shouted at other drivers who were not performing up to his exacting driving standards. We met up at the brewery where BeerMan is the head brewer; pizza, organic beer, and reminiscing made the night fly by. Miss A, NavyGuy, and I headed back to their apartment where we were joyfully greated by their two kittens. (I'm saving the stories of those two cuties until after I get the photos from Miss A.)

Saturday was our big Portland day. Miss A and I left NavyGuy and BeerMan to occupy themselves (lord, what were we thinking), while we headed to a cool shopping district. First up though - provisions!Our breakfast was a ham, thyme, and gruyerre croissant and coffee/hot cocoa at Ken's Artisan Bakery - oh so buttery and delicious. A fabulous way to start our expedition...

Let the shopping begin! We strolled 23rd Ave (Nob Hill District) and peeked into many cute shops; lots of handmade jewelry, bags, shoes, bohemian clothes, and gifts. A surprise Paper Source store caused a bit of a riot on my part, and Miss A indulged my crafty side for a while.
My favorite purchase was at the store pictured above - beautiful sandals with a metallic flower (now it just needs to warm up enough so I can wear them!)
Before meeting up with the men, we poked in a heavenly little chocolate shop: Moonstruck Chocolatier. The chocolate-y aroma flew into my nose and I was helpless to resist. Miss A and I left with the above box of goodies - my favorites were the little lady bugs!

Stay tuned! Next up we meet the boys and do monumental damage at Powell's Books...


The Sound of Music

So, yesterday the wedding countdown of 40 days threw me for a loop (clearly, based on the fact that I legitimately considered weapons as appropriate accessories for the big day). Today however, is a new day, and a day in which I no longer have time to freak out.

So, as many of you have suggested, I will breathe and blow, "calm the hell down," and make progress on the to-do list (rather than using valuable time to find more pictures of scary brides).

Last night NavyGuy and I tried to firm up our ceremony music. We're having a string quartet perform for the ceremony, so we needed to choose a few processional songs and a recessional. Since choosing just those four songs took TWO hours (and required various West Wing breaks and a pizza snack to keep our sanity and relationship in tact), we are opting to let the quartet choose appropriate prelude music to entertain guests while they wait for the ceremony to start. Why was this process so hard? A wee bit o' background...

NavyGuy - pre-Navy-issued-haircut - in our college orchestra.

NavyGuy is a well-trained bassist. He played in our college orchestra, which was a pretty fancy-pants group. As a good friend/eventual girlfriend, I attended my fair share of orchestra concerts over the years. While NavyGuy loves classical music and would happily sit through a Wagner opera (with a dose of Mahler thrown in just for good measure), I can take about five minutes of instrumental music before I need something else to occupy my time (little known fact - I often tried to sneak a crossword puzzle book into the orchestra hall during college concerts). So, I was less than thrilled with the prospect of trying to decide on instrumental, primarily standard classical fare, for our ceremony.

But, alas - it is not MY day, it's OUR day, and it's important to NavyGuy... so classical instrumental music it is.

We spent the evening going through songs the quartet suggested, and have come up with the following for the processional, which includes the parents' entrances, bridal party, flower girl and ring bearers, and oh, of course, moi.

Panis Angelicus - Franck

Air from "Suite No. 3 in D" - Bach

Appalachian Spring - Copland (primarily the "Simple Gifts" section)

I'm actually sort of looking forward to the music now - I love Copland, and I like the light, airy, sort of "awakening" tone that Simple Gifts has (hokey, but I couldn't think of a better word). I think it suits the moment - I'll be striding elegantly (God, please don't let me trip) down the aisle to meet NavyGuy and start the next stage of our lives, and I think the music should be uplifting and happy :)

The recessional is a whole other ball of wax. I'm not jazzed about any of the suggested songs - every one of them makes me think of a stereotypical wedding scene in a movie, because the songs are all very standard and expected. Luckily, the quartet has some more modern options on the list, and seems fairly willing to work with us on finding arrangements for other songs. We're going to give them a list of songs that we really like and think are upbeat and fitting for the recessional and see if they have access to an arrangement. Our list is an odd mix of oldies, classics, and some new stuff:

- Here Comes the Sun (the Beatles)
- How Sweet it is to be Loved By You (James Taylor)
- The Longest Time (Billy Joel)
- I'm a Believer (The Monkees)
- Somewhere Over the Rainbow (some upbeat version - I'm pretty sure the string quartet won't be able to pull off the Hawaiian sounding version with the ukelele)
- I Wanna Hold Your Hand (the Beatles)

We'll see what happens. If none of those work, we'll go with one of their suggested ones and just make do. Whew! We can almost check this one off the to-do list. Anyone have a favorite choice? Or a suggestion for a good recessional song that we haven't thought of?


Birthday Month Continues

Happy Birthday NavyGuy!!!!!
Hope you survive your day (the Navy really should give you your birthday off), and get excited for your Dairy Queen ice cream cake when you get home tonight!!!! :)

Love you more,



Monday, April 13, 2009

Which Bride Should I Be Today?

We're at 40 days. 40 days. Less than six weeks. Lord give me strength.

Much as I would like to be in this state...I'm waaaaaaaaay closer to this place...
Or this place...I kinda think this might be the route to go; screw the stress and worry, and just arm yourself.

(Props to this bride for working the gun and cigarette while still making sure her tiara is on straight.)


Sunday, April 12, 2009

I {heart} Target

I'm posting this a wee bit earlier than usual, because a) I'm way behind on posting since I was having a mini-vacation this week in Portland, b) the Target sale item of the week is likely time-sensitive, since they usually don't stock tons of these, and c) well, cuz I wanted to!
Hooray for fire!!! (Tee hee hee.) So, my cousin Yo-Yo gets all the credit for alerting me to the wonderfulness of this item. I have to admit that I may have teased her mercilessly been skeptical about the usefulness of an outdoor fire bowl. Yo-Yo got a similar one years ago and it wasn't until NavyGuy and I were registering for our wedding that we thought, hmmm... maybe Yo-Yo's on to something.

I mean, who doesn't want to be able to sit around a nice fire in their backyard on a cool summer evening? And don't even get me started on how you can make s'mores without having to sleep on the ground in a wet tent somewhere! So, mi madre got us the above fire bowl as a bridal shower gift, and now with the summer outdoors season swiftly approaching, the Target gods have decided that you all need even more incentive to have your own! The fire pit/bowl is on sale this week for $59.99!!! That's $20 off. (Which in my world means you can spend those $20 on s'mores supplies...)

Also - don't forget to hit up the Easter aisles at Target tomorrow - everything will be on major clearance and it's your last chance to stock up on Cadbury Eggs and Peeps until next year!


Thursday, April 9, 2009

Well Done Readers!

Nice work everyone - 27 comments in one day! Sister really enjoyed all the birthday love, and I think it kept her from sinking into a deep dark "I'm getting old" birthday depression hole (well random comments from strangers and a night out with her hubby to have a burrito - her favorite - and see Wicked!)

I haven't quite decided on the extra bday gift she's going to get, but I'll be sure to share once I do!

I'm off subbing for 7th and 8th graders today, and then heading off to Portland on Friday, so the posting is probably going to be a little light the next few days. Once I'm back from our Easter weekend trip I'll have lots of stories and pics to share :) In the meantime, here's one last Easter card!
The bunny is cut out and has a little teeny bit of cotton on his tail. This was a great quick card - stamp and cut the bunny, punch the circle out of the front of the card, and then stamp the sentiment on the inside of the card.


Wednesday, April 8, 2009

A Little Birdie Told Me...

... that today Sister turns the big 25!!!

Enjoy your day Sis! (If you haven't gotten this card yet, maybe it'll make it to your mailbox today.)

Can you believe this lady is 25? And with arms that toned?

Leave her a little birthday love in the comments section - if we can hit 25 comments by the end of today (April 8), I'll send her an extra birthday present :)

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