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.

Master Bathroom Refresh!

First, quick shout out to my incredible parents.  Today is their 35th wedding anniversary!

Anyways, I have been watching a lot of organization videos on YouTube lately, and was rather suddenly struck with the strong desire to implement a slight overhaul to my master bathroom.  Nothing really intense.  It just really needed a good deep clean, reorganization, and some new accessories.  Although, budget and time constraints aside, I would LOVE to rip the whole bathroom apart and start from scratch.  Everything in that room is boring builder basic…white walls, white cultured marble counter/sink, honey oak vanity, boring light fixture, etc.  But I just really do not have time for a huge project right now, so the focus will be on organization and refreshing the look with a few accessories.

I went to Target last night and picked up some items for the project.  For some reason I was drawn to deep greens and browns.  Would like to eventually incorporate some teals as well, to lighten the scheme.  But the rest of the bathroom is so light (walls, counters, cabinets), that I think the deeper colors help give it some pizzazz.

We got two of these…One for cotton swabs, and one for my round cotton makeup remover pads.


We thought about getting a fancier waste basket, but in the end we went for something more durable and practical and easy to clean, so we got this frosted plastic model.  I thought the oil rubbed bronze base was a nice touch.


We also got an oil rubbed bronze tissue box cover.  I can’t seem to find a picture of it on Target’s website.  It’s pretty basic, but coordinates with everything else.  It’s somewhat similar to the one in this photo, from Bed Bath & Beyond:

Bed Bath & Beyond

I wanted to get some new towels to go with our new look, so we got a few new sets of Threshold towels in the “Moss Lane” color.  Love them!  The color is much more beautiful in person.


I had intended to get a couple of bath rugs as well, but nothing really struck my fancy.  I don’t want a solid, but I also don’t want a pattern that is too busy.  It has to be just right, so I decided to wait and look around.  We need one for the water closet (where our walk-in shower and toilet are) and one for the vanity/tub area.  I would also like to get a few things for the walls, and maybe even a new light fixture or two.

We completely overhauled the linen closet and bathroom drawers.  I used a lot of the plastic bins and baskets that I already had on hand.  But we also bought a few larger fabric storage bins.  So now I have bins for lotions, tooth/oral care, misc skincare, first aid, perfumes/body sprays, etc.  The largest bin has all of our shower stuff (extra shampoos, conditioners, hair products, shower gels, and shaving stuff).  We also tried to get a drawer organizer for our one bathroom drawer, but that drawer is such a weird size, it didn’t fit.  The drawer is huge, but almost ridiculously shallow, so only things that are small or really flat can fit.

We still have a ways to go but it’s so nice to have started!  I will keep you posted with our progress on this mini-makeover.

Trip Recap: Tennessee

I thought I would briefly recap our trip to TN and NC, starting with the Tennessee portion.   But before I do, I wanted to mention that we just passed my 2nd bloggiversary on Sunday!  I can’t believe I have had this blog up and running for two years now.

Saturday, May 4

We got a little bit of a late start, and ended up driving through some crazy rain in Atlanta.  The rain continued as we made it through Chattanooga and into the mountains.  We made it to Tadd’s mom’s place in Cookeville, TN around dinnertime.  The first couple of days were quite dreary.  That night we just stayed in, caught up with Tadd’s family, and played Apples to Apples.

Sunday, May 5

More staying in…The rain was still coming down, and unfortunately Cookeville is one of those places where there just isn’t much to do in the rain.  The rain cleared up at one point, but it was still soggy and grey, so we decided to take a walk around Tadd’s mom’s property and took some pretty pictures of her garden and barn.

That night we had dinner at one of our favorite local spots, Char, then rented a movie and had another quiet evening in.

Monday, May 6

This is when the real sightseeing began.  Despite the still-cloudy skies, we made the almost 2 hour trek over to Lynchburg to visit the Jack Daniels Distillery.  If you are ever in the area, I highly recommend this tour!  It’s free, but if you would like to have a little taste of a few of the products after the tour, you can do that for $10.  It’s obvious that the Jack Daniel’s company takes great pride in their product and it was really neat to see firsthand all of the history behind such an iconic American brand.

After the tour, we had lunch and shopped around a bit in Lynchburg Square.  This town is teeny-tiny and very quaint.  And you will see references to Jack Daniel’s everywhere!

Tuesday, May 7

Finally the rain seemed to be behind us.  We woke up to blue skies and temps in the upper 50s F/low 60s F.  Tadd’s mom wanted to take a short hike to Cummins Falls, which had recently been made open to the public (previously it was on private land).  Cummins Falls is less than 5 minutes from her house, so it was a quick drive.

The ground was still muddy and it seems like some of the hiking trails were still being established.  So after a few minutes of (occasionally trecherous) slogging through the mud, and a few wrong turns, we finally made it to the falls!

Later on that day, Tadd’s mom had arranged for us to have a private tour of Calfkiller Brewery in Sparta, TN by the owners & founders Dave and Don Sergio.  I admit it was a little weird pulling up to what looks like someone’s house…

But we had nothing to worry about because Dave & Don were nothing but welcoming and warm.  They told us all about their history and let us try a TON of delicious beer.  Their operation is tiny, but extremely popular in the central Tennessee region.  I’m so glad we got to meet them!

We then had an amazing dinner at nearby Foglight Foodhouse, which was the first local place to offer Calfkiller beer.  We ended up purchasing a growler of Calfkiller’s Grassroots Ale at Foglight to take home with us.  Great end to the day.

Wednesday, May 8

Last full day in Tennessee.  We decided to drive west across the state and visit Hurricane Mills, which is a town owned by Loretta Lynn that has been set up as a dude ranch and tourist attraction.  We took a tour of a replica of her childhood home (log cabin with no running water), a simulated coal mine (where her father worked), then we got to tour the actual house where she lived during her heyday.  This house, a real plantation-era mansion with its own rich history, reminded Loretta of Gone With The Wind and has been featured on several ghost hunting shows.  After the house, we toured Loretta’s museum.  The grounds of the ranch are gorgeous, and we were able to see horses grazing in a field wildflowers behind the museum.

On the way home, we stopped for dinner in downtown Nashville, and ended up at Flying Saucer, which I would totally recommend.  Great food, interesting atmosphere, and extensive beer selection (made me smile to see some Calfkiller on the list).  I understand that they are a chain, so I would love to see one in Orlando at some point.

The next morning, we got up, said goodbye to Tadd’s family, and headed over to Asheville, NC for the second leg of our trip.  Stay tuned for that!

Wedding Day Emergency Kit!

It’s my cousin’s wedding day!  And I couldn’t be more excited!!

She was a bridesmaid in my own wedding 8 years ago, and I am more than happy to return the favor.  You see, back when we were little girls (who obsessively read Babysitters Club books, watched Beverly Hills 90210, and assigned random celebrity code names to all of the members of our family), we made a pact to be bridesmaids in each other’s weddings someday.  And today, that last step in our childhood pact comes true!  Of course, we always imagined that I would be marrying Jason Priestley and she would be marrying Luke Perry, but I would say that our childhood selves would still be quite pleased with the dashing men we chose!

To make this day of hustle and bustle a bit more relaxing and stress-free for all involved, I decided to put together a wedding day emergency kit.  I filled it with items that I thought we might be in need of last-minute or just in case.  It’s hard to envision and try to prepare for every scenario known to man, but I think we will be ready for just about anything with these items in easy reach:

  • compact brush/mirror combo
  • hairspray
  • bobby pins
  • white nail polish

  • safety pins
  • Tide To-Go
  • lint roller

  • floss picks
  • mini first aid kit
  • mints
  • antacid
  • pain medicine (asprin, ibuprofen, etc)

I am also including this purse-sized emergency kit, which contains:

  • sewing kit
  • emery boards
  • double stick tape
  • more flossers
  • hair tie
  • band aids

I put everything into this super cute large blue cosmetics case.  I will throw it into my “getting ready” tote bag when I meet up with the girls this morning to get ready.  I plan on adding a few other items to the tote bag as well…tissues, a mini deodorant, maybe some snacks and water.

Now we are ready to face the day!  Time to get the big day started!  I will be back in a few days to share more about the wedding and hopefully a few pics as well.

Projects for a very special occasion.

Sorry for another quiet week around these parts.  Life has been rather hectic lately, and there just hasn’t been much time for the creative stuff that’s fun to share on the blog.

I did want to do a quick post to share a couple of the creative projects that I completed prior to my trip to Boston.

First, the letters that I showed you in this picture:

We used them at the guestbook table at my grandmother’s birthday party.  I just bought the letters pre-painted at JoAnn’s (on sale!), and four coordinating sheets of scrapbook paper.  I used my Mod Podge to paint a thin layer of glue on the letters, stuck them to the paper, and then cut away the excess paper with a craft knife.

They were a huge hit with the guests, but if I were to do it all over again, I would do a couple of things differently.  I would use a thinner layer of glue (and be more careful about wiping off the excess while still wet), and I would let them dry more thoroughly before using the craft knife.  You can see the “D” has some scuffy spots on the edges, and the “N” and “A” both have ripped spots.  You couldn’t tell unless you looked closely, but I knew they were there and it bugged me!  Honestly, between everyday life and getting ready to go out of town, I did not devote as much time to this project as I would have liked, so I’m sure that contributed to the imperfections.

Also, I wanted to handmake a gift for my grandmother.  I decided to make another wristlet (based on this clutch tutorial), and she adored it.

She said it will be her new bag for when she goes to play bingo.  So cute!  I have to say I really love this project for gift-giving because everyone seems to really appreciate both the looks and usefulness of the finished product.  I’m actually working on another one now.  At some point I need to break out and try something different, but for now I will stick with this gathered wristlet as my go-to gift of choice!

This was right after I gave her the wristlet. She's holding it and telling me about her sewing skills from back in the day.

Love my Nana!  I hope she had a fabulous 90th birthday!  So glad we got to attend!

Boston in Photos

I am back from Boston and miss it already!  This is the first time in about a year and a half that I haven’t had a trip to New England in the works, and I’m sad!  We first started planning my August 2011 trip to Boston/Vermont (where I was really just a tag-a-long with my parents who were headed up for a wedding) back in November 2010, and before I even took that trip, I knew I would be coming back for this trip in April 2012.

Our main reason for this trip was my grandmother’s 90th birthday!  My dad’s entire side of the family was in attendence, which is a rarity.  All of my cousins on that side got together the night before and it was so nice to spend time with family and catch up.  We also spent one day doing the tourist thing in Boston, and spent time visiting other relatives while we were in town.

I took a ton of pics, but compiled the ones I took from Instagram to share with you!

UPPER LEFT: Our plane touched down to a dreary day (the only rain we experienced during the trip).

UPPER RIGHT: Boston skyline from the Avis car rental lot.

LOWER LEFT: TD Garden celebrating the Bruins in the NHL playoffs.

LOWER RIGHT: Brooksby Farm is a historic farm extremely close to one of the houses I lived in as a child.  I used to ride my bike from our house to the farm when I was 7 or 8, and we used the fields and hills for kite-flying in the spring and sledding in the winter.  It’s mostly an apple orchard, but they have expanded to grow other fruits and even some animals.

UPPER LEFT: Dormant apple orchard at Brooksby Farm.

UPPER RIGHT: A seal on the outside of the Brooksby animal barn.  Peabody is the town where I grew up.  Both Peabody and Danvers used to be part of Salem before they became their own towns.

LOWER LEFT: A newspaper dispenser for the Salem newspaper.  I love how everything in this area has witches on it!

LOWER RIGHT: My Great Uncle Rudy makes his own anisette, and when we visit, he always encourages us to have a shot or two of it.  The recipe has been passed down through generations.  He also makes wine!

  UPPER LEFT: One night we visited Kowloon, which is a big, fun tiki-bar-style Chinese food place.  Boston has THE BEST Chinese food!

UPPER RIGHT: Map of the T (subway), from the beginning of our day in Boston.

LOWER LEFT: The gates of Harvard University!

LOWER RIGHT: Old South Church off of Copley Square.

UPPER LEFT: During our day in Boston, we decided to forgo paying the fee to get to the observation deck of the Prudential Tower, and opted to have a drink at the bar at the Top of the Hub restaurant on floor 52 of the tower.  Same view, no cover charge, and we get a beverage too!  I had a strawberry basil lemonade and it was delicious!

UPPER RIGHT: The guestbook table for my grandmother’s 90th birthday party.  I bought the letters pre-painted from JoAnn Fabrics to spell her name, and decoupaged floral scrapbook paper onto them.  They got lots of compliments!

LOWER LEFT: Our last evening, we spent shopping for souvenirs at the mall and ended up at Legal Seafood in Burlington.

LOWER RIGHT: At Legal Seafood, Tadd ordered a drink special called a Watermelon Crush (you can see it in front of him in the pic on the left).  It was made only of muddled fresh watermelon and vodka and it was DELICIOUS.  We had some time to kill after dinner, so we sat at the bar to watch the Celtics game, and I just had to order one for myself.  I will be trying to make this drink on my own this summer for sure.

UPPER LEFT: The shirt I picked out during our shopping trip as my souvenir.  Go Sox!

UPPER RIGHT: Our day of departure was also Foursquare Day.  On Untappd (which is a location-based app for beer lovers), you got a special badge for checking into a beer and pushing your location to Foursquare.  When we had time to kill before our flight, we decided to earn our Foursquare Day Untappd badges with some preflight Wachusett beers.  Blueberry for me, Green Monsta IPA for Tadd and my brother.

LOWER LEFT: One last glimpse of the skyline from our departure gate at the airport.  I love that Logan Airport has such nice views, so that this is the first and last thing you see when you arrive and depart Boston.

LOWER RIGHT: Self-explanatory.  Taken from my seat on our way home.

Old family photos.

I love old pictures; the older the better! I love the (literal!) snapshot of the styles, fashions, and mannerisms of the time. Even better if the old picture in question is one of my own family.

On Easter Sunday, my mom presented this photo to me. It is of her maternal grandmother’s family in 1925. The mother and father in the picture are my great great grandparents, and the young woman standing on the far right is my grandmother’s mother.

From what I know, they were not a very wealthy family, so this must have been a special treat to have a family portrait made. Obviously, it marked the occasion of one of my great-great aunts’ first communion. The dates written on the photo show the year each person in the photo was born (which is also repeated on the back, along with most of the names).

One of the things I love about this picture (and the names & dates written on the back) is that it actually fills in some gaps on my family tree. Being somewhat of a history buff, my own family history and genealogy has always held a great interest to me. However some branches of my family tree have more details filled out than others. That is one of the reasons I got so excited when my mom brought out this pic.

Are you into genealogy? Do you have any old family photos like this one that you cherish?

Instagram Link Party: Easter Recap

Hope everyone had a great weekend!  I thought I would share some of the Instagram pics I took over Easter.  As mentioned previously, Tadd and I exchanged baskets, then went to my parents’ house for a big family dinner.  I brought my chocolate chip cheesecake to serve for dessert (which was a hit!).  My mom also put together a little basket for all the “kids”, including a very cute UCF necklace for me (and a UF necklace for my sister)!

Linking up with the weekly Instagram Link Party at a {little} dash of ash!

Instagram Link Party: Trip to Tennessee

We are finally back from our impromptu trip to Tennessee.   We drove up Wednesday, spent half of the trip in Chattanooga where Tadd’s family member is hospitalized, and half of it at my in-laws’ place in Cookeville (which is about halfway between Nashville & Knoxville), and then drove home on Sunday.  It was great seeing family, although I wish it was for a happier reason.  I do believe we were able to be of some help and comfort to Tadd’s family, so in that sense, our trip was very successful.

I was able to snap many pics via Instagram during our trip, and have compiled them here to share.  Tennessee is a very interesting place.  Definitely a big change of scenery from Orlando.  Everything looks like winter up there!  Although while we were there, the temperature fluxuated between the upper 70s and the upper 20s.  Good thing we packed a wide variety of clothes!  And I just love the mountains…nothing like seeing cliffs and windy roads to remind you that you are somewhere far away from Central Florida.

Linking up with a {little} dash of ash’s weekly Instagram Link Party!