Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Simple Banana Bread Recipe

- 4 bananas; ripe
- 1 1/2 cups flour
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup brown sugar; packed
- 2 tbsp. canola oil
- 1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1/2 tsp. baking powder
- 1 tsp. baking soda
- 1 large egg

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Mash your bananas.
Add in all ingredients and mix well with an electric mixer.
Pour mixture into prepared loaf pan. Bake for 50 minutes.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Mint Wedding Inspiration

Mint is a fabulous color choice for a wedding. It looks great any season and pairs perfectly with a wide variety of hues (I'm partial to pairing it with gold and coral tones.)

One Ombre Mint Wedding Invitations | Two Mint & Gold Wands | Three Simple Mint Vase
Four Mint Bridesmaid Dress

Monday, August 26, 2013

Wedding Invitation Etiquette

As a wedding invitation designer, it's my job to educate my brides on proper etiquette for the wording of their invitations. It's not just fancy cardstock and pretty graphics. Traditional invitations follow very specific rules, such as: invitations are always written in the third person and the bride's name always comes before the groom's.

These days, most of my brides skip the way of tradition and tend to do their own thing (which is great.) No matter which direction they decide to go, there are 7 essential elements to a wedding invitation (traditional or more modern.) Why are they essential you might ask? These are the details that are essential to your guests and can set the mood for your wedding.

1. The Host Line - The host line can be adapted for a variety of hosting options: the bride & groom, the bride's parents, the groom's parents, a combination of the two, divorced & remarried parents, etc.
2. The Bride & Groom's Name - If the brides parents are inviting "Mr. & Mrs. John Michael Williams request the pleasure of your company at the marriage of their daughter" it is not required that you include the bride's last name on the invitation (unless it is a different last name.)
3. The Request Line - By using certain verbiage such as "request the pleasure of your company" you can express to your guests that your wedding is more casual. If you are celebrating your nuptials in a house of worship, it's more appropriate to us "request the honor of your presence."
4. The Date - Always spell out the numbers in the date, year, and time, but not in the address.
5. The Time - Never use 2:00 p.m. Always use two o'clock in the afternoon or 6 o'clock in the evening. When it comes to a 2:30 p.m. wedding always write the half hour before the number (half after two o'clock in the afternoon.)
6. The Location - If your venue is a well known place, there is no need to include the address. If you are having your venue at a more private location, include the address.
7. The Reception - If you are having your reception at the same location as your ceremony, you can include "Reception to Follow" or "Reception Immediately to Follow." If you aren't serving food at the reception, it's polite to include "Cocktails & Cake to Follow [at location]" or "Cake & Dancing to Follow [at location.]" If you are hosting the reception at a completely seperate venue it is courtesy to include "Reception to Follow at [location]" and provide the address on a separate reception card.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Favorite Things Friday | Food Edition

A favorite dinner at our house is B.L.C (yup C not T.) We aren't huge on the T. A new addition to our bacon, lettuce, and chicken salads has been Annie's Homegrown Organic Cowgirl Ranch Dressing. May I just say that this is one of the best ranch dressings I've ever had. I've become quite obsessed with Annie's dressings. It reminds me of that homemade ranch we'd eat when we were little, but even better!

This salad is perfect for those days that you can't spend hours in the kitchen. Cut up some fresh romaine lettuce, grill or bake some chicken tenders, fry up some bacon (or use bacon bits), and load up on one of Annie's Organic Dressings. Add the T if you must :)

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Wedding Details | Brooch Bouquet

One of the details from our wedding that I get the most questions about was my brooch bouquet. Friends, family, and complete strangers who have seen our wedding on Pinterest all seem to agree that it was beautiful and unique. It really was unique and held so much meaning. From the lace handkerchief that my sister-in-law included on the handle (that once belonged to my husband's great-grandmother), to the charm that was once my grandmother's engagement ring, my brooch bouquet is something that I will cherish for the rest of my life

The first question everyone asks me is "where did you get it?" That's a long story and I'd prefer to not say where it originally came from. Long story short, the bouquet I received in the mail was not the bouquet I walked down the aisle with. When I opened that box and saw a flat, misshapen bouquet, I was heart broken. The sellers only suggestion was to fasten fishing string from the brooches to the handle, to try to pull it into shape. I don't know about anyone else, but fishing string wasn't on my list of must-haves for my bouquet.

I was lucky to have a sister-in-law who ran over, pulled the bouquet apart, ordered 50 more brooches, and made the bouquet so much more personal for me. The best advice I can give when you're looking at brooch bouquets is, do your research. I thought a brooch bouquet for under $200 was a steal. These babies generally run $500-$1500. Sometimes if it sounds too good to be true, it possibly is. Just be careful. Read through as much of a sellers feedback as you can stomach. Contact them about your concerns, anything special you may want included. Feel them out. I was lucky that I felt a bond with the bouquet designer, I still believe she is a very talented and kind person. What upset me the most was that I dedicated a lot of time to promoting her shop, and referring MY brides to her. When one of my brides comes to me and tells me about a horrible experience she had with a vendor that I referred her to...well that reflects badly on me. It also hurts me because I know how important a wedding is. I know how important the details are.

If buying a bouquet isn't for you, and you're more of a DIY bride, don't be intimidated. Brooch bouquets are insanely easy to create. There are tons of tutorials out there, this tutorial at Project Wedding is a great one. You can get amazing deals for brooches on Ebay. We even ordered bulk costume jewelry rings to use on mine. They were cheaper than the brooches and you can't tell the difference. (My sister-in-law even snuck in a cow ring!) You can also find whole sets of brooches on Etsy! Ask your friends and family members if they have any brooches they'd like to include. I see brooches at all the antique shops and estate sales we go to. You won't believe how quickly you can acquire them. Put a little added thought and a few personal touches into your bouquet, and it will be something you can hold onto forever!

Monday, August 19, 2013

Emerald | 2013 Pantone Color of the Year

"Lively. Radiant. Lush… A color of elegance and beauty that enhances our sense of well-being, balance and harmony."

In honor of the 2013 Pantone Color of the Year we decided to incorporate emerald into some of our new Save the Date announcement designs. What's your favorite pantone?

Friday, August 16, 2013

Favorite Things Friday | Jewelry Edition

One I'm just swooning over this gorgeous peridot ring by a fellow member of The Artisan Group. Candice does incredible things with gemstones! | Two This necklace is currently under consideration to be used for the upcoming season of Once Upon a Time. Pam Hurst is another extremely talented jeweler in The Artisan Group. | Three I love headbands, I love hair jewelry, and I absolutely love anything turquoise. | Four This necklace is a combination of two of my favorite obsessions; druzy jewelry and gold! I just can't get enough!

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Sunflower Wedding Inspiration

In honor of our new Rustic Sunflower Wedding Invitations we've put together a beautiful Pinterest board. It's filled with bright and beautiful sunflower inspiration!

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Diamond Candles Review & Giveaway

When Diamond Candles contacted me to do a review I was ecstatic! If you aren't familiar with this company it's basically Cracker Jack for grown ups! A yummy scented candle with a surprise ring inside. Candles and bling...what lady doesn't get excited when she hears that?

Before I review the product, I'd like to give a round of applause to Diamond Candles for having a site that you can easily navigate. You don't have to go through 6 different option tabs to find the type of scent you're looking for. It's super easy to click the ONE tab you want and the options are there. The last thing I want to do is navigate through 300 pages of scents. The site is clean, easy to navigate, and extremely user-friendly. I also loved that they have a photo gallery where they showcase fan photos! They are even willing to take your scent suggestions into consideration. I love the idea of being involved with products that you enjoy.
Diamond Candles are all natural, Earth friendly, soy candles. They burn cleaner than paraffin candles, and are derived from a renewable sources. I don't mind paying $25 for a soy candle because I know it's going to last so much longer than a mass produced, paraffin candle. As soon as I opened the box I could smell the sweet scent of the Cupcake candle that I chose. It definitely feels like you're indulging in something delicious (minus the calories.) Within a few minutes our living room smelled like I'd been busy baking away in the kitchen. I give the scent a perfect score! My candle took a pretty good while to get here and I was definitely fearful of what state I might find it in when it would finally arrive. I'd be surprised if there has ever been an incident where one of these bad boys showed up broken. They are packaged extremely well and the jar itself is extremely durable...just ask our Catahoula who knocked it off the shelf, and onto his head.
In true impatient form I decided to dig into my candle with a spoon, much like a pirate in search of his treasure. After a little digging, I removed my jewel, put my wax back into my jar (it's wax, it doesn't have to be pretty to melt) and ripped open the protective foil...and well lets just say my ring wasn't of the $5000 variety, but it's cute! Unfortunately I could fit 2 of my fingers in it, but it's not the .25 cent gum ball machine ring I had expected.
(*Disclaimer* If you choose the path of impatience and decide to carve into your beautiful candle like a pumpkin, be prepared to live with the consequences of a very ugly candle. Also be prepared for your husband to come home and question why you are hovering over a candle with a spoon...Just a little candle cosmetic reconstructive surgery going on here! It's not going to be pretty, but it sure is going to smell good!)

So the verdict is, I've seen A LOT of negative reviews that seem to go the way of "my ring was super cheap and that sucks." I'm going to go off on a limb here and say that I doubt very seriously 10 people a day are getting $5000 rings out of their candle. If anyone has ever received one, I'd be surprised. I wasn't expecting anything more than costume jewelry. I don't tend to have high expectations of my candles. All I ask is that they shall smell good and shall not burn down my house. My candles smells HEAVENLY so I'm a happy camper. Honestly, my only complaint was how long it took for the candle to actually arrive. The website is up front about the fact that it will take 5-7 days for your order to come in. In my case it was 13 days. (This really isn't a reflection on Diamond Candles, I'd actually give FedEx the credit for that.) All around I give this product a definite 5 out of 5 stars!

GIVEAWAY Diamond Candles is giving away a candle to one of our lucky fans! Enter for your chance to win below! P.S. What's your favorite scent from Diamond Candles? We'd love to hear your opinions!
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Thursday, August 1, 2013

Our Wedding | The Reception

Our reception was an absolute blast. Complete chaos, but lots of fun! The food was very good, the cakes were delectable, and the booze was flowing! The DJ played great music and people danced...some until they couldn't anymore. My maid-of-honor brought me to tears with her speech and the best-man made us all laugh. It wasn't glamorous, it wasn't perfect, but it was exactly what we both wanted. We couldn't have asked for a better wedding and I'm so happy I've been able to share our wedding, step-by-step, with everyone!
...and they lived happily ever after. The end.

Our Wedding | The Barn

Before we get to the reception, I wanted to share how beautiful our venue was. We didn't go out and rent a party barn, we used a family friend's real working horse barn. If you could have seen this barn when we got started. 20 years of dirt and sand, maybe more years of spiderwebs, and poop. Of course there was poop in the barn. Endless amounts of elbow grease went into transforming that barn we walked into, into the barn our reception was held in. If I had a before and after shot, you wouldn't believe me that it was the same place. We have our friends and family to thank for that transformation. Will's mom and me brushing cobwebs, Will's sister helping to mastermind and transform the barn into a venue (and smelling like vanilla while she sprayed to keep the gnats away), Will's aunt Lisa designing and arranging our "non-flower" flower arrangements. Friends coming to help way into the night, Will's dad cutting up a fallen tree, Mr. Bub bush-hogging. We are so blessed to have such amazing people in our lives!
Our reception was everything I could have asked for (and I did ask for a lot of it.) No joke when I say that the chairs came from everyone's kitchen tables we knew. They made a hay couch...a couch out of hay (actually they made two, a sectional inside, and one outside.) Nearly every decoration came out of my house, a family members house, or a friends house. We had more borrowed than we knew what to do with, but I wouldn't have it any other way. Every detail of our reception told a story...except the bar. The bar just made people happy. If we could go back and do it again every year, we wouldn't change a thing. We'd just send out invitations and celebrate at our reception over and over again! It was beautiful and the absolute most fun!

Our Wedding | Ceremony

A huge chunk of our ceremony was unseen by me. I knew what was going on, strictly by sound. I knew when I heard I'll Be by Edwin McCain start up that our guests were starting to take seats (or in most case, find a place to stand.) Our ceremony was going to be short and sweet. When I heard Bruce Springsteen singing When You Need Me, I knew our family was being escorted down the aisle by our three handsome ushers. I remember the wedding party being in front of me, getting ready to make their entrances. Then Somewhere Over the Rainbow by Bob Marley started up and my wedding party began to walk away. That song had a special place in our wedding. We had happened to be the maid of honor and best man in our maid of honor and best man's wedding, and that was the song the wedding party danced to. I wanted so badly to see my beautiful maids and the handsome groomsmen walk down the aisle. I remember starting to panic because it was just my godchild and me. My dress was rumpled and I couldn't get my veil to sit right. Thankfully a friend came around the corner, fixed me up, gave me a good laugh, and Norah Jones began to sing her sweet Come Away With Me...and I don't remember moving down the aisle at all. I just remember looking at Will (though I do remember praying I didn't trip over a stepping stone) and thinking about how lucky I am. We had our short and sweet ceremony, we read our handwritten (in Will's case, typed) vows, kissed, and were announced husband and wife. We walked back down the aisle, hand-in-hand, to My First Love Song by Luke Bryan. I had never felt more amazing in my entire life.
What's a wedding without a little goldfish drama? Our poor flower girl dropped the goldfish that were in her basket. Who's got time to throw lilac petals when you just want to eat some goldfish crackers?

Our Wedding | The Wedding Party

Some people think the food, the cake, and the free liquor make for a great wedding. Others think the bigger the dress, the more expensive the decor, the better the wedding. I think the wedding party really makes the wedding. And did we have a wedding party! The groomsmen are some total clowns and trust me when I say that the girls can hang with them...every step of the way! Our wedding party, our family, and our friends really made our wedding something special. People are still telling us that our wedding was the funnest wedding they had ever been to (coupled by that they wish they could still be eating the cake and brisket.)

My bridesmaids looked absolutely gorgeous, our miniature bride was beautiful, and our flower girl was the cutest in her ruffled romper and boots. I think she stole the show on multiple occasions, but she ran a tight race with those groomsmen, our miniature groom, and our ring bearer because all I heard all night was how handsome those cowboys were (and they were!)