Catching Up – September 2013

Sorry about dropping off of the face of the earth.  I guess I just needed a break from blogging.  Here’s what I have been up to the past few months!:

Here’s what happened in September:

Stood up as Matron of Honor in a very good friend‘s wedding!  Tadd was also a groomsman.  It was a lovely, simple affair, and a beautiful day spent with some of my favorite people.

The very next day, we headed to Miami to go on a Caribbean cruise with some friends.  We sailed on the Carnival Breeze (great ship, by the way!) and stopped in Grand Turk, Ocho Rios, and Nassau.

October through December update coming up next!

 

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My favorite time of year!

Hi all!  Sorry again for the extended hiatus.  Life is finally starting to slow down a bit, which is great, as I am in serious need of some down time.

I just wanted to make a quick post to show some fall decorating that has taken place in my house over the past few weeks, in between all the craziness.  This is the first time I get to decorate my new living room, so I am excited to share!  Most of my living room decor focuses on my Boney Bunch collection.  It’s fun to be able to display it in one central location, since for years it was scattered all around the first floor.  The bookshelves are the perfect place for the majority of these pieces.

I realize the lighting is a bit dark (these were taken with my iPhone early one morning, before work), but I think you get the idea.

 

I think my favorite spot in the living room is the console table behind our sofa.  Remember the table runner I made last year?  By the way, the candies in the right-hand bowl are Caramel Apple Milky Ways, which are just as good as they sound.  Mmmmm…

When I was at the Magic Kingdom in early September, I came across this little Ghost Mickey Jim Shore figurine that I just couldn’t resist.  He’s the newest member of my Halloween decor collection.  Again, sorry for the dark pic.

Not really decor, but I could not resist when I saw these at Target…  I’m not really a HUGE soda drinker (at least by comparison to my soda-guzzling husband), so I love that these are tiny cans.  The caramel apple soda is actually delicious.  It kind of tastes like carbonated apple juice with a little something extra.  Tadd picked the blood orange soda…I’m not really a big orange soda fan, but it was okay.  If you like orange soda, you would probably like it.  But I just love the cans.  So cute and festive!

I will be back soon with tales and pictures of where I have been all this time!

Are you getting into the fall/Halloween spirit yet?

Happy Wedding Day Eve!

Well, not long after my last hiatus, I am off again.  As I have mentioned previously, October should be a MUCH quieter month than the last 2+ have been…and I should be able to share  But I will definitely be unable to update again until the end of the month.  Which is sad, because I have (mostly) already decorated for fall/Halloween and I want to be able to share that with you!

But I did want to wish a happy wedding day eve to one of my best friends in the whole wide world.  I can’t wait for tomorrow!  It’s going to be amazing, and fun, and full of happy memories!  Just like these memories, which are among my fondest:

 

Congratulations, Carrie!  I love you SO much and wish you nothing but a lifetime of happiness and joy. 

A Very Special Glamping Weekend

Hopefully there are still people reading this blog after my extended hiatus…

I am finally back from a whirlwind week-and-a-half filled with glamping, business travel, and a much-needed long weekend of recovery.  I’m ready to share with you again for a few weeks, before more crazy insanity comes my way.  As much fun as I am having with keeping so busy with so many wonderful and exciting events, a part of me is longing for October, when my life will (perhaps) start to resume some semblance of normalcy.

I did want to tell you a little bit about my glamping experience with these lovely ladies:

We rented a cabin at Fort Wilderness for the whole weekend, which was awesome.  It sleeps 6 (1 full size bed and bunk beds in the bedroom, 1 full size murphy bed in the living room), and has a full kitchen!  It was perfect for our group.

We spent Friday night hanging out in the cabin, eating taco salads (graciously and expertly prepared by my wonderful friend Melanie), roasting marshmallows, drinking cocktails, and celebrating the bride, Carrie, with love and gifts.  There were some of your typical bachelorette gag gifts…  But also some meaningful ones.  Like this tote bag, which is a MUST for any Twilight fan bride-to-be that happens to be marrying a man named Jake:

My friend Lara, who is also involved in the wedding helped me put together these INCREDIBLE goody bags for all of the girls, filled with “glamping supplies” (all kinds of cosmetics, sunscreen, and some other fun tchochkes).  I bought these colorful mesh drawstring bags on OrientalTrading.com, and they worked perfectly.  The girls can reuse them in the future too, they make great beach/pool bags.  I also made personalized tags for each bag, using glittery sticker letters on pre-cut manila rectangles, and tied them, along with a silver skeleton key (keys are somewhat of a symbol for our group…long story), to each bag with pink or purple baker’s twine.  They were a big hit!

Saturday was spent exploring Fort Wilderness…

And Saturday night, we got all prettied up (using all of our new cosmetics from the glamping supply bags, of course!), and headed out to the monorail loop for dinner and drinks.  We had dinner at The Wave in the Contemporary Resort, then rode the monorail to the Polynesian Resort, where we had a round of drinks and watched Wishes (Magic Kingdom’s fireworks show) from the beach behind the resort, then had one last drink at the Grand Floridian, before taking the monorail and boat back to the Fort and our cabin.

The next morning, we packed up everything, and headed home…Where I promptly unpacked and repacked, since I had a 7am flight to Boston the next morning for a full week of training for my new position.

I think the weekend was perfect for our group.  We laughed, ate, drank, reminisced, and even shed a few tears together.  We had lots of time to just be together, strengthen our bonds, and most importantly, celebrate the bride.  I often think of how grateful I am to have such a tight-knit group of girlfriends that truly care about each other.  It’s so important in life to have places where you feel like you truly belong, and I know I belong in this group.  It was so nice to have a weekend that focused on celebrating that, in addition to celebrating the lifetime of happiness that begins with Carrie’s rapidly-approaching Big Day.  These happy, emotional times of togetherness are what life is all about.

Sorry to get mushy, but if I start talking about this group of ladies, it’s going to happen!

Be back soon… Gone glamping!

Sorry things have been quiet around here.  Life has been pretty crazy, and most of it is unbloggable stuff.  All of it good, just crazy.

Tadd and I are both attendants in a wedding next month.  Most of my best friends are also involved in the wedding, which makes the preparations that much more fun.  The bachelorette party is this weekend, and we are glamping!  Which is a funny juxtaposition from what the boys did for the bachelor party a couple weeks ago; ACTUAL camping.  In Florida.  In August.  Ewww!  I much prefer the idea of glamping — air conditioning, running water, an actual bathroom, and real beds!  I’m sure I will share more about this weekend soon, but haven’t been able to talk about the planning process in case the bride reads it, since a lot of what we are doing is and has been a surprise to her.  A lot of my time lately has been spent getting stuff together for our glamping expedition, in addition to regular wedding stuff like getting my dress fitted, helping the bride (and shopping with her while the boys did their non-glamping).

hostess-trays-i-love-not-camping

Almost immediately after that, I am off for a week-long training for work.   I have started a new position at my company, which was recently bought by another much larger company.  So needless to say, everything is changing for me.  It’s almost like I got a completely new job for a completely new company, but still work in the same building with the same people.   Really weird.  Anyways, we have a billion new things to train on, so that’s what I will be doing.

We have some other things in store for the next month or so.  And then after that, we will be well into my favorite season of the year, FALL!  So please be patient with my absence, and stay tuned!

Boney Bunch Preview 2013

I know it’s still summer, but who is in the mood for some fall-themed topics???  I know I am!

The first Saturday of August is always the preview event for Yankee Candle’s Boney Bunch collection.  I have attended this event for the past few years and have been collecting Boney Bunch figures for 5 years.  The first year I collected (2009), I really just bought one figure, the pirate seen on the left in this picture:

We were in the process of buying our first house and I knew I would be in some stage of packing/moving during the month of October, so I really didn’t want to invest in much seasonal decor at the time.  But I just couldn’t resist this guy!  He really kicked off my Boney Bunch habit.  At the time I really knew little to nothing about Boneys, and I didn’t get him at the preview…I just happened to be walking by my local Yankee Candle at some point in early September, and he was on a display of Boneys that hadn’t sold out yet at the very front of the store.

2010 was my first year attending the preview.  I think this was my favorite year, because I feel like they were in their heyday of creativity that year.  They had such a variety of items, including several non-candle things.  That was the first year that I got a candy dish promo-with-purchase item, which I LOVED!  I also had to get the adorable salt & pepper shakers.  PLUS as you can see in the photo below, they gave out small jar candles that were Boney Bunch-branded.  I believe the small jar candle was free, and the candy dish was $10 with a $30 purchase.  I wish they still did things like this.

I ended up skipping the preview event in 2011, because I was in the midst of my No Spend August Challenge.  But I was right back to it for 2012.  Last year was the first year they had a kitty Boney, which of course, I love.  They did another kitty figure this year, so I am hoping that they will have a new kitty Boney every year from now on.  I also got the light-up submarine (Tadd’s favorite), and the “Dead and Ferried” rowboat.  I also got another promo-with-purchase candy dish (which you can see in the below pic from last year’s Halloween decorations).

THIS year, the only promo-with-purchase was a generic non-Boney pumpkin plug-in with your choice of scent refill for $5.  It’s definitely cute, and I did buy one (we got the Autumn Leaves scent if you’re curious), but I also thought it was kind of lame.  If I am at the Boney Bunch preview, I want the special promo item to be a Boney item, you know?  I didn’t take a picture, but you can see this year’s preview promo item here.  See what I mean?  Cute, but nothing special.

We also got the “Bone White and the 7 Dwarves” jar holder with a medium jar in Witches’ Brew.  I think this might be my favorite Boney item of ALL time!  It’s SO cute!  I love that Bone White is holding a black apple.  Nice touch!  The jar candle is adorable too.  It’s hard to see, but the candle itself is black glass, and it has all these cute Halloween images in white around it.  Really fun!

We also got the “Bone Dry” tea light holder, which unfortunately broke before we got it home.  We brought it right back to the store and were able to order another one before they sold out (it was already sold out at my store, which is why they had to order one for us), so it should be on its way to us shortly.

And, of course, we HAD to get the kitty tealight holder!

Ever since we adopted our own Halloween black cat, Jacoby, I have been REALLY into black cat Halloween decorations.  Some of you may remember last year when Yankee brought out their black cat collection at Halloween, and I could not resist ordering the tea light holder, because it looked JUST like my Jacoby!

Well, they brought back that same collection this year, and I could NOT resist this little jar clinger after Tadd pointed it out to me.  So this was a total impulse purchase, and not a Boney item, but I love it!

After taking pics, I sadly packed everything back up and put it all away until September.  Because August 3rd is too early, even for me, to start decorating for fall & Halloween!   Soon enough, my pretties!

This totally put me in the fall/Halloween spirit all weekend.  I wore my skull scarf on Saturday, burned one of my more fallish summer candles (Summer Boardwalk by Bath & Body Works…it has a very foody, bakery/cinnamon/caramel/popcorn kind of scent that reminds me more of fall than summer), and let Tadd talk me into buying a Sam Adams Harvest Collection variety pack.  I drank my first pumpkin beer of the season last night!

Are you getting into fall-mode like me?  Or are you holding on to summer a little longer?

Anniversary Staycation Weekend – Animal Kingdom Lodge

For our anniversary, Tadd and I decided to treat ourselves to a little weekend staycation getaway at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Resort.  We stayed two nights on a discounted Passholder rate, using a giftcard received for my birthday a couple months ago as part of the deposit.  We booked a (MUCH cheaper) standard view room, but upon check-in we mentioned our anniversary and we were lucky enough to receive an upgrade to a savanna view room at no additional charge.

We did not set foot in a theme park all weekend…we just hung out at the resort, relaxed, went to the pool, read, and watched the animals (giraffes, zebras, ostriches, red river hogs, etc) from our balcony.  Heaven!  We did book a couple of fun dinners…First was a Sanaa, which is on the Kidani Village side of Animal Kingdom Lodge (we were staying at Jambo House, which is the original/main side of the resort).  They specialize in more exotic foods with an Indian and African flair.  So delicious!  The second night we booked the Spirit of Aloha luau dinner show at Disney’s Polynesian Resort, which was a lot of fun.

Having now stayed in a number of Disney resorts (Caribbean Beach, All-Star Music, Port Orleans Riverside, Fort Wilderness Cabins, The Dolphin, Pop Century, Yacht Club, and now Animal Kingdom Lodge), I think I can say that AKL is my favorite so far.  It’s not within walking distance of any of the theme parks like Yacht Club (which is a HUGE perk), but it’s SO cool to wake up, step outside on your balcony with a cup of coffee, and hang out with some zebras.  Also, the theming really appeals to me.  You really feel like you’re somewhere else when you are there, which makes for a very relaxing time.

We are going to try to swing another staycation weekend in December, if I can get another great discount code.  I am shooting for the Wilderness Lodge this time.  No promises that it will definitely work out, but I am going to try my best.  Holiday time in Walt Disney World is unbeatable, and staying on property for a few nights makes it even better.

Looking back 9 years…

Today I am celebrating 9 years of marriage to my perfect match!  I saw this little “Share Your Wedding Details” meme on my cousin’s blog a few weeks ago.  It was designed for a link party that has since closed.  So although I cannot participate in the link party, I still thought it would be appropriate to share today.

Share Your Wedding Details

Location (church/outdoors/destination):  Since we got married in the middle of summer in Florida, I didn’t want to chance any weather-related issues by having any major part of the day be held outside.  We also had a lot of out of town guests.  So to keep things simple and stress-free, we did the whole shebang, ceremony and reception indoors at the Hilton Orlando North.  Not a super unique or scenic location, but I think we did a good job making it our own.  We were lucky enough to have decent weather during our formal portraits, so we opted to have those taken outdoors at a nearby park (Crane’s Roost Park, if you’re local).
Colors: Plum and silver were the main colors, but I had my florist make the flowers (daisies!) as colorful as possible.  I loved how the pink, yellow, red, and orange gerber daisies popped off of the deep purple of the bridesmaids’ dresses.  I wanted a very colorful wedding, and that’s just what I got.
 
Bridal Party: I would say we had a medium-sized party.  We each had one honor attendant and three additional attendants.  We also had 1 junior groomsman and 2 junior bridesmaids.   The group consisted of all three of our siblings, three of my cousins, and several close friends.
First Dance Song: Nightingale by Saves The Day. Still sometimes gets me misty-eyed when I hear it…
Ceilings don’t exist and there are no floors beneath me,
If I were king of this night, would you become my queen?
And I hope, your majesty, that you like your position
I’ll do everything I can to keep you by my side
And I’ll stare off through the darkness to find us a kingdom
Just kiss me before I go…
Honeymoon:  We flew to San Diego and cruised the Pacific Coast of Mexico for a week on Royal Caribbean’s Legend of the Seas.  We visited Cabo San Lucas, Mazatlan, and Puerta Vallarta.  This was our first trip to Mexico (and Tadd’s first time on the Pacific Coast, period!) and we were totally smitten!
What would you do different? I would schedule the honeymoon to be a few days later after all the hullabaloo had died down.  We had a VERY late night the night of the wedding, followed by a VERY early morning when the town car arrived to take us to the airport to fly to San Diego.  Of course, we took a nap after the muster drill and ended up sleeping straight through until morning, missing our first dinner/evening on the cruise ship.  There are a few other small things I might change, but that would be the one thing that sticks out most in my mind.

Are you tired of hearing about my living room yet?

We are continuing to make more changes to the living room.  It’s STILL not complete, but sometimes I feel like no room in my house will ever be 100% complete.  I just thought I would share some of the updates since my last post

Before I begin, please excuse the junk on the coffee table and the large cardboard boxes behind the sofa in the top photo.  These big furniture deliveries always seem to come with HUGE amounts of cardboard and shipping materials.  We have broken down SO many boxes for recycling over the past few weeks, and obviously we still have a few more to go.  Also, on the coffee table are the components for some shelf lighting we purchased yesterday for the tops of the bookcases.  Apparently we need some kind of adapter for them, so we can’t install them yet, but Tadd was still in the process of sorting them out when I took that picture.

Yes, we added an armchair!  It’s so nice to have some extra seating.  We needed something small-scale that wouldn’t take up too much room, but I also wanted something that either had an ottoman or footstool.  This chair we ended up with is actually a recliner!  So it takes up even less space.  I love that it doesn’t look like a recliner.  We ordered it at Overstock.com.

We finally got the baskets for the bottom shelves of the sofa table!  I love it…SO much storage.  One of the bins holds a small collection of household tools that we want to keep handy just in case (most of Tadd’s tools live in the garage); a hammer, a nail/wall hanger set, some basic screwdrivers, flashlights, etc.  One will hold spare vases.  And the rest is room to grow for now, until I decide on something else I want to store.

Ever since seeing this post by Thrifty Decor Chick, I have been wanting to buy a tillandsia (also known as an air plant).  I finally found one yesterday at Ikea for $6!  These are supposed to be really easy to care for…they don’t even need soil!

In addition to the tillandsia, I have been working on adding more decor (and color!) into the room.  I bought the little ceramic fish planter filled with succulents at Lowes.  The daisy plate and yellow/coral candle holders were from Hobby Lobby.  And the framed bird postcards were from Ikea ($0.99 for the entire pack of 5 postcards and $2.99 each for the pre-matted frames!)

Still in the plans for the near future:

  • Installing cabinet knobs on the bookshelves (we have the knobs, just need to install them).
  • Installing the cabinet lighting we already bought once Tadd gets the adapter he needs.
  • Paint/treatment on the backs of the shelves…still trying to decide exactly what I want to do with that.
  • Spray paint some of the existing accessories to match the new color scheme.
  • Curtains…Already found the panels I want.  Just have to buy them and a curtain rod and install.
  • Lamps…I want one table lamp for the sofa table and one floor lamp for over by the armchair.

And lower priority plans for a little bit further down the road:

  • Looking for a piece of furniture that we can use as a small bar near where the living room transitions into the kitchen.  We actually have a very small bar already (it was  formerly the ONLY storage piece in our living room and held all my candles), but it has been broken for years.  I would like something much larger, but it can’t be too deep because we don’t want the entrance to the living room to feel cramped and narrow.
  • This is technically more in the kitchen then the living room, but while at Ikea yesterday, we saw a small shoe rack/bench combo that would be PERFECT for the area of the kitchen that transitions into the living room.  That tends to be where our shoes pile up, and I thought the bench would be a nice place for me to set my purse down when I walk in the door.

By the way, now that we have been really living in it for a week or so, I can say that I am completely, totally in love with my new living room.  The new layout and furniture are doing exactly what I had hoped they would: provide a feeling of coziness, and an amazing amount of storage.

Living Room Reveal! (kind of…)

Well, my living room is not finished quite to my liking. BUT, I think it looks sufficiently complete to be able to share it with you here. Please keep in mind that this is still a work-in-progress!  But so far, we are loving our new room. It really does feel completely different!  I find it much more cozy, and it gives us a TON more storage options.

Click here to see some “before” pictures.

And without further ado…

Some things to consider while viewing the photo above:

  • The console table behind the sofa will soon have four large straw baskets in each of the bottom cubbyholes.  Just need to make the time to get back to Ikea to purchase them.  I am on the hunt for a set of 4 decorative items to live in the upper cubbyholes.  Thinking decorative bowls, but not sure yet.  I am also on the hunt for a lamp for the top of that table.
  • We have ordered a very sleek, small grey recliner for the now-empty righthand wall.  It should arrive later this week.
  • The bookshelves on either side of the TV will be in for a makeover soon.  My main goal is to get the backs of the shelves painted so the accessories don’t get lost in a dark abyss like they are now.
  • The cabinet doors on the bottom of the bookshelves are probably my #1 favorite thing about this room.  SOOOOOO much hidden storage.  We want to get some decorative knobs from Hobby Lobby to jazz them up a bit.
  • We have art to hang on the walls, but I’m not 100% sure where I want everything to go yet.  So we are living with mostly empty walls until I figure it out.
  • For some reason, the lighting makes the walls photograph brighter than they actually are.  It’s a much softer yellow in person.
  • Many of the accessories on the bookshelves will get a coat of spray paint in some brighter colors.  Again, this is just a rough draft and a definite work-in-progress.
  • The window needs curtains.

A few more detail pics:

I will keep you posted as we continue to work on this room!