Friday, December 24, 2010

he's making a list...

When I think about Santa getting ready to deliver all the toys this wonderful evening, I imagine him here.  In what I think to be the North Pole.  Can't you just imagine it too?  All the little elves running around finishing up their last minute jobs, hyped up on candy canes and hot chocolate.  The reindeer prepping for their one night of intense flying, powering up on extra carrots and apples.  Mrs. Claus getting her husband ready for his big night, making sure his suit is clean and pressed.  And the Big Man reviewing his master list and planning this year's route.  

I love the magic of Christmas and I owe most of that to my beautiful family...and my active imagination. I hope that this Christmas Eve finds you well and full of that magical spirit that Christmastime brings.  And I hope Santa comes to visit you tonight!  

Merry Christmas and much love to you...thank you for being a reader of this little blog.  You all mean more to me than you know.  

Thursday, December 23, 2010

when you say wisconsin

you've said it all!

This man is for real.  We saw him yesterday at a bar.  Yes, those are Christmas lights in his beard.  IN HIS BEARD!!

Only in WI.  I love it.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Wedding Wednesday - a holiday wish

Remember caroling?  The approaching Holiday has me caroling away in my brain.  And in my kitchen.  So I thought I'd use these gorgeous wedding pictures to send you a little Christmas Carol...


come to you, 
and to you, your 

And God bless you and send you a

And God send you a 

Photo credits: 
Love: (cannot find photographer source) 
Wassail: picture and recipe found HERE
Happy New Year One: (cannot find photographer information) 
Happy New Year Two: Clark Walker Studio

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

santa baby

Come and trim my Christmas tree
With some decorations bought at Tiffany's....

I really do believe in you
Let's see if you believe in me
Boo doo bee doo

Santa baby, forgot to mention one little thing, 
a ring...

I don't mean a phone
Santa baby, and hurry down the chimney tonight...hurry.  

All images from the Tiffany website.  

**tried on the new Tiffany Bezet ring pictured above and it literally took my breath away!  Seriously Santa, I believe...I BELIEVE!!  

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Wedding Wednesday (on Thursday) - sweet treat

First it was the candy bar that took the wedding world by storm.  Then the dessert bar came and settled in, and I believe it's here to stay.  But now, people are really making a dessert bar their own.  What do you love?  Put it on your dessert buffet to make your wedding day even more special.  

a homemade pie buffet
coordinated by: shanna lumpkin events 

a whoopie pie spread

And then I saw this...  Are you ready for this?  Really ready?  
image by: Carly Taylor

That's right, this creative event stylist created a CHURRO BAR!  I know.  She did it for a game night (can I get an invite to that game night, please?)  but you could completely take this and modify it for a wedding.  Check out her entire post about it HERE.  She even includes a template to create that adorable sign.  I'm so glad I found her blog, it is really incredible.    

Just goes to show you that you can do anything you'd like to on your dessert bar.  Make it your own.  Get creative.  Your guests will love it and probably talk about it long after your wedding.    

Tuesday, December 14, 2010


Remember when I fell in love with these?  Well, when I arrived at my parent's home in South Carolina to spend Thanksgiving, my Mom told me she had a little present for me.  

She surprised me with a set of champagne coupes!!  I was so excited.  She found some vintage ones at a little antique shop near her new home and they are too precious for words.  

It was a lovely surprise that I was simply giddy about.  We put some raspberries in for a festive pop of color and decided to show off my new glasses in a few photos that reminded us of the pictures in that post.  

I can't wait to get these beauties out when Adam and I have our own Christmas celebration before we head home.  Fun and fabulous times!  

Thanks again Mamma, I love them so much!  

Monday, December 13, 2010


Due to the unseasonable heat wave we're having, I had to turn on the AC today.  There must be something about the way that the air vents are hitting the Christmas Tree that is making one of our ornaments ring like a bell.  It's feels a little crazy and a little magical all at the same time.  

So I'm sitting here at my desk and all I can hear is the faint ringing of a bell.  Making me think of this moment...

and this moment from The Polar Express...

Either an angel is getting her wings or it's a sleigh bell ringing to remind me of the magic of the season and to BELIEVE.  

Friday, December 10, 2010

free wreath

Isn't this wreath pretty?  No, it wasn't free because I stole it off the neighbor's door, it was free because I made it!!!  Here's what happened....

We were at the Christmas tree lot and the time came for them to give us a fresh cut on the bottom as well as take a few branches off.  I looked down at all of the abandoned branches that had been cut off from previous trees and felt like they needed a home.  They shouldn't be trash just because they're at the bottom, right?  So I asked the man if I could have a few and he told me to take as many as I'd like.  Nice!  So I grabbed as many as my little hands could, asked Adam to take a handful too and came home to put my imagination to work.  I've never made a homemade wreath, but I thought I'd try my hand at it.  

Luckily I had some floral tape and floral wire in my craft box, so I went into my closet and got out a wire coat hanger and went to work.  So, here's my "Making A Wreath How To"...

First, shape the wire hanger into the shape you desire your wreath to be.  
Then, cover it with floral tape so that if parts don't get covered, they will be hidden in green.  

(now it's a green hanger) 

Then, and this is where I got too excited and involved to take just cut off branches that you like and begin to arrange them around the wreath.  Don't secure anything down yet because as you work your way around you might want to change things a bit.  Once you get the initial base that you like, take the floral wire and start to secure each branch to the hanger.  Once the base wreath is secured, you can start to add other pieces to create the fullness and look that you enjoy.  Add a big bow or some baby Jesus' (remember that wreath in Steel Magnolias??) and hang it proudly.  

I made this one for my best friend, because she loves glitter and all things sparkly.  
(glitter ornament wreath) 

GO get a coat hanger and raid your local tree lot and try your hand at making your own's fun and most importantly it's FREE!  

Thursday, December 9, 2010

blame the cookies

I'm sorry that I didn't have a Wedding Wednesday post yesterday... blame the cookies for that!  I decided that yesterday was going to be Christmas Cookie Day, which clearly meant that I was incapable of anything else.  (what's wrong with me?)  But I'm mighty proud and excited of how they turned out.  I made my usual holiday cookie fare and had the best time doing it.  Jamming out to Christmas tunes and 60's music and dancing and baking my heart out was so fun.  

(homemade Oreos, peanut butter cups, mint chocolate chip cookies and Aunt Lee's sugar cookies)  

If I had written yesterday for Wedding Wednesday, it would have been to wish our dear friends, Stacie and Matt, best wishes on their recent engagement.  They got engaged over the weekend and I couldn't be more excited for them.  They are the kind of people that you just want to spend as much time as possible with; they're fun, caring, spirited, loving, up for anything, easy to talk to and hilarious.  And to boot, they have a relationship and a love that is inspiring.  I adore them and cannot wait to help them plan their dream wedding!  Cheers you two...may laughter and love surround you, always.      

Monday, December 6, 2010

bread pudding, check

I'm still working on making a dent in the list as you can see here and here.  For Thanksgiving this year, I tried my hand at bread pudding and let me tell was a total hit!  It was really easy to make, absolutely delicious and sinfully decadent.  If you need a dessert to impress this is it.  I promise.  

I'm sure it'll come as no surprise that I went to my dear friend Ina (yes, I believe that we are friends) for this challenge and used one of her recipes, found HERE.  

(just a few eggs and some cream) 

(placing the raisins) 

(tops go back on) 

(pour in the cream mixture and let it all soak in) 

I'm sorry to say that I do not have a finished product picture of my bread pudding.  We took it out of the oven and literally served it up immediately.  I was too distracted by the golden color and sweet smell to go get my camera.  I'm sure you can imagine how pretty it is when it's all cooked.  

You will absolutely love this recipe.  I've added it to my collection and can't wait for my next chance to make it.  Try it if you're in the mood for a rich dessert...DO it.  You will fall in love like my entire family did.  

Thursday, December 2, 2010


I can't believe that Thanksgiving was an entire week ago.  Where does time go?  One week ago I was cooking and dancing around the kitchen with my Mom...such a wonderful day.  Anyway, a few weeks ago, I posted about my design ideas for our Thanksgiving table HERE, so I wanted to follow up by showing you the finished product.  As promised, we tried to use what we had to make a memorable table on a budget.  I was very pleased with how it turned out.

Here is my inspiration...

to reality....

Lucky for me, my mom had tons of wonderful things for us to play with and use.  Thus, we were able to pull together this look on a budget.  Below is a breakdown of the total cost of things that we purchased, otherwise all things came from Mom and Dad's personal goodies.  

Orange napkins for a pop of color.  Cost - $14 
Pear placecards were christmas ornaments I purchased, cut off the string and added a leaf name tag.  Cost - $6
Gold craft pumpkin that Mom cut a hole in for flowers. Cost - $5
Orange and blue flowers.  Cost - $15  

All in all, we created this gorgeous table top for only $40.  Proof that you can create beauty on a budget!  

One element that I personally loved was the use of my parent's tarnished silver pieces.  I didn't want them polished because I didn't want bright silver on the table...the tarnished look created this gold-ish color that I loved.  My Dad nearly had a heart attack when I told him I didn't want them polished...but I loved the effortless and antique feeling it added to the table.  (see the gravy boat tray for an example)

I hope you all had fun creating your own special table tops for Thanksgiving, I'd love to see how they turned out!  Maybe we'll do it again for Christmas...want to?  

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Wedding Wednesday - cutting costs

Happy Wednesday everyone!  And Happy Holiday season to you.  Do you know what else it is?  It's Engagement Season too!  So happy Engagement to those of you who are looking down at sparkly, blingy additions to your left hand!  As more and more people get engaged this holiday season, one question that will ring out is how to have a wedding on a budget.  No one wants to sacrifice their wedding dreams because of cost nor should you have to!  Below are a few of the most tried and true ways to keep costs down at your wedding.  

1)  Guest List.  This sounds obvious but you would be surprised how many people want to invite their entire lives but don't want to spend more than $10,000.  The quickest way to save money and to cut costs is to cut the guest list.  It's pretty simple math, the more people you invite the more people you have  feed.  Skimming down the guest list will allow you to have those centerpieces you've been dreaming of with whatever your budget is.  If you have to buy six centerpieces rather than fifteen, you're going to save money.  Having a small, intimate affair is a wonderful way to help you come in under budget.  

2)  Hire a Wedding Coordinator.  I'm serious.  I know it sounds like I'm saying this because I am a wedding coordinator, but I'm not self-promoting.  Promise.  Hiring a wedding professional to be in your corner is a really smart way to spend your money.  A wedding coordinator will most likely end up saving you money because of her knowledge in the industry and relationships with vendors.  Having a professional by your side to help you make smart decisions will help you put your money where it counts and where it will make the most impact.  Plus we will never get sick of talking about your Big Day!  

3)  Bring your own alcohol.  This can be a tricky one, but if you can find a venue that allows you to supply your own alcohol, you can literally save thousands of dollars.  What's tricky about this is that most venues that allow you to bring in your own liquor are also those same venues that require you to bring in everything.  Tables, chairs, lights, kitchen, etc.  This can add up if you're not careful.  It helps to find a caterer who will handle the rentals for you and wrap that all into your per person price.  By bringing in your own alcohol, you can select exactly what you want at your wedding and save big money because you're not being charged on consumption.  You just need to do some careful planning to make sure you buy do not want to run out of "juice" at your wedding.  Check return policies when you purchase because many places will let you return unopened bottles.  In this case to ensure you're bar won't go dry, I suggest purchasing a little more knowing that you can always return it.  (Or drink it on your honeymoon.)  Finding a venue like this can be a little bit of work (see tip #2) but it can definitely save you money in the end.  

4) DIY when you can.  Be careful with DIY projects though, because sometimes you can end up spending as much as it would've cost to hire a professional for the job.  Just monitor your spending and plan out the projects well.  If you are creative, then have at it!  DIY'ing things can be a great way to save money.  That said, there are some things that I say should never be DIY.  Cake and flowers.  Even if you are the Ina Garten of making cakes, do not try to make your own wedding cake.  Hire a professional.  Same goes for flowers.  There are some things that will add a lot of last minute stress if you try to do them yourself and these two things top my list.  Let the professionals handle your wedding day, and if you love making bouquets, offer to do it for a friend's wedding, but not for your own.  You don't need the added stress!  

I hope this helps some of you as you get engaged and start to think about budget and how to manage it.  Enjoy your engagement!  It's such a special time in your really savor it!  

Photo credit:  Ceremony site: Vernon T. Williams, Wedding Coordinator: Jason Q Tran, Bar: Ciro Photography, DIY: Nataly Lemus