Tuesday, November 24, 2009

30 day shred

When we lived in Kentucky I was a huge fan of Jazzercise and went about 3 times every week. I love to dance and it was one of the only things that didn't feel like a workout to me. Many times I have purchased gym memberships only to go a few times. That's a lot of wasted money! They have Jazzercise where we live now, but since we're trying to save money I figured it made the most sense to just rent a fitness DVD from Netflix. From reading Weddingbee and other wedding blogs, I heard a lot of good things about Jillian Michaels 30 Day Shred, so I decided to give it a shot. I'm not really interested in losing weight, but rather maintaining and toning and the reviews said that these workouts were a good way to build lean muscle.

The DVD contains three, 20 minute workouts. You're supposed to start at Level 1, which is the easiest, and work yourself up to Level 3, which is the most difficult. Each workout is based on Jillian's 3-2-1 strength/cardio/ab training circuit. First you start with three minutes of strength training, then move on to two minutes of cardio, and finish with one minute of ab work.

Let me tell you, after the first day I wanted to die. It may only be 20 minutes, but it's a very difficult 20 minutes! I don't think I ever worked that hard in Jazzercise and those classes were an hour long! I woke up the next morning and thought that maybe I had been run over by a truck in my sleep. So I skipped day two. But I picked back up on day three and I've just finished day five. Although it's still difficult, I'm finding that it gets just a little bit easier every day. I'm hoping to work my way up to level two on day 10 and then level three on day 20. I'll let you know my final conclusions when I'm finished with the 30 days.

What are your tips for staying fit leading up to the wedding?

Monday, November 23, 2009

bridal glow

Like many brides before me, I want to achieve the bridal glow on my wedding day. Which is why I've decided to just stick with the routine I already have. I've been doing the same thing and using the same products for years and my skin is relatively smooth and clear. I'll attribute the clearness to birth control. Prior to going on the pill, I had pretty significant acne that no amount of creams or pills could cure. BC was my dermatologist's last suggestion before heading down the Accutane road, so I'm happy it worked. I'll split things up according to cleansing and moisturizing, and it will include both face and body.


As you will soon notice, I really like Olay products (btw, when did they change their name from Oil of Olay to Olay? Wikipedia says 1999 - wow, I really don't pay much attention, I guess). Every morning I use Quench Body Wash - it's supposed to stop the cycle of dry skin. Prior to the Quench line being introduced I used Olay Body Wash plus Crème Ribbons. Both are great products and very moisturizing.


As for my face, in the mornings I either cleanse with Cetaphil Daily Cleanser or exfoliate with Lancome Exfoliance Clarté. Right now I use the exfoliator on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, which seems to be often enough to get the dead cells off. I love the Cetaphil because it is gentle and non-drying, but still powerful enough to remove dirt and makeup.

(left: source, right: source)

In the evenings, before bed, I use Prescriptives All Clean Fresh Foaming Cleanser. It's great at getting makeup off, especially eye makeup. I don't usually wear a lot of eye makeup (mostly just liner and mascara, sometimes shadow), and I'm not a fan of greasy eye makeup removers, so this cleanser keeps me happy. The downside - I just found out that Prescriptives is going out of business. Either I'm going to stock up on their cleanser or switch to using Cetaphil in the evening. The worst part is that I also use their custom-blended foundation. Guess I'm stocking up on that too.



I hate the feel of dry skin - it's itchy and uncomfortable. Therefore, my least favorite season is winter. Another reason why I hate winter is because it is cold. In the summers I use Quench Body Lotion once I've dried off. In the winter I usually skip lotion all together because once the water is off I am quick to bundle up in my bathrobe. But that causes the dreadful itchy, dry skin that I hate. So, in my eyes, Olay's invention of in-shower body lotion is absolutely genius! I think it first came out when I was in college, then I moved and couldn't find it anymore. I just bought a bottle a few weeks ago. Boy, I forgot how much I missed it! Now I can stand in the warm steam of the shower, apply my lotion, and rinse it off - all without getting cold! I just noticed on the Olay website, that they now offer a Quench version of the in-shower lotion, although I have yet to see it on store shelves near me. Maybe soon.


Also in the mornings, once I'm out of the shower, I use Olay Complete All Day UV Moisturizer for sensitive skin. Actually I use the target or walmart brand. They all have the same ingredients - I've checked. A quarter size amount on my face and neck is enough to keep things moisturized all day long - without any shine or grease.


Well there you have it. I'm thinking about adding a spot treatment to the mix in case there are any wedding-stress-induced acne flare-ups. Luckily I have plenty of time to change things around, if need be. How are you planning on achieving the bridal glow?

Thursday, November 19, 2009

christmas card tutorial

Inspiration can be found anywhere, in all shapes and sizes. Case in point - I used the save the date below as inspiration for our Christmas cards this year:

Here's my finished version, Christmas style:

Now for the tutorial. I've separated it into two parts - Envelopes and Cards. Sorry in advance for the poor quality photos.


Card stock
Patterned paper for envelope liners
Yellow or gold paper for stars
Cutting mat or hard surface
Star punch
Corner rounder
Baker's twine
Adhesive roller (glue or double sided tape also works)
Xacto (paper cutter or scissors)
Bone folder


1. Create a template and trace. First I made a template on a separate piece of card stock. It took some adjusting to get it right. One thing to note - if your envelopes are the lick and stick kind, make sure your template falls below the glue, or you'll have to tape your envelopes closed. Once you have a template, trace it onto the backside of the paper you plan on using for your liner.

2. Cut out your traced shapes. I like using a clear ruler and an xacto because it allows for more control, but scissors or a paper cutter will work just as well.

3. Fold your liners. This can be one of two ways. I used my ruler to line up from corner to corner and then used my bone folder to score the paper. You can also slip the liner into the envelope (pattern side up). Using one hand on the outside of the envelope, and the bone folder on the inside, fold both the envelope flap and liner down to create the fold line.

4. Apply adhesive to your liner. I used an adhesive roller, but you can also use glue or double sided tape. Make sure you only apply it to the top sides of the triangle. For my first attempt, I put adhesive on all sides and the liner ended up wrinkling when I opened and closed the flap. Ta da! All done!


1. Create your design and print on card stock. I made our design in Adobe Illustrator and printed it on kraft paper that I found at Hobby Lobby. Another option is to use stamps. Once you've printed (or created) your cards, cut out using an xacto, paper cutter, or scissors.

2. Round your corners. This step is optional. For this project, I really liked the look of rounded corners.

3. Cut out and glue on your stars. This is also optional, depending on your design. I very well could have just added a star in the initial design and printed it on the kraft paper. Instead I chose to add more dimension by using a paper punch and textured yellow paper.

4. Print and cut photos and adhere to cards. Again, this is optional depending on your design. I like including photos in holiday cards. I'm sure most of them end up being thrown away, but whenever I visit Grandma's house she always has it hanging on her fridge. If it makes grandmas, grandpas and parents happy, it's worth it in my book.

5. Cut notches. This is so your string doesn't slip off of your card. I used my ruler (which wasn't even really necessary) and my xacto to cut two little notches on either side of the card.

5. Wrap your string and tie a bow.

And you're done! Here's the finished project again:

These were great practice for all of the wedding projects I'm sure I'll be working on in the near future.

Do you find inspiration in any unexpected places?

Friday, November 13, 2009

color me happy

I have always loved color. Especially the emotions that are associated with certain colors. My room growing up had yellow walls and a blue ceiling. My bedspread was a yellow, blue and green plaid. It was happy and cheerful. My bedroom in college used the same colors, with the addition of some pink. My mom lovingly made a duvet cover and pillows after I found the perfect fabric. That fabric was so perfect that I ended up using it in the living room of my first apartment - mom tore apart the duvet cover and created more pillows and curtains. And now that I am cohabitating, it is in my office/guest room. The future mister has his man cave (office) full of dead animals and books, so I thought it only fair that I had a girly room of my own.

This brings me to our wedding colors. I think this may have been one of the easiest decisions we made. There was no use hemming and hawing over colors when the answer was right in front of our faces.

1. The colors above pretty much define who I am
2. The mister's favorite colors are blue and green

So without further ado:

I'll use the aloe, or what I call robin's egg blue, and the leaf as the primary colors (so things aren't too girly or feminine), and the peony and ivory as secondary colors.

What do you think? Was it this easy for you to pick out colors or was there more of a debate?

Friday, November 6, 2009

my "other" wedding

Is it just me, or does anyone else have their actual wedding and then their "other" wedding? No? Okay, maybe it's just me.

Anyway, the future mister and I lived in Lexington, Kentucky for two years while he was getting his Master's at UK. Had we stayed there, our wedding would have most likely looked completely different than the one we are planning now.

I think our venue would have been here:

Check out the barn! (source)

And the groom, groomsmen, and other men would definitely head on the Kentucky Bourbon Trail as a pre-wedding activity. My dad completed the entire trail and got a free t-shirt!

Our favors would definitely be these:

Mini bottles of Maker's Mark! (source)

And maybe our cake toppers would look like this:

So cute! (source)

We might name our tables according to famous race horses - Barbaro, Secretariat and Man-O-War, to name a few.

And our save the dates may look like these:

And maybe we'd serve Ale-8-Ones, mint juleps, and mini hot browns. What?! You've never heard of a hot brown? Basically it's a heart attack waiting to happen - a 1,000+ calories, open faced sandwich with turkey, bacon, tomato, cheese, and mornay sauce, placed under the broiler until perfectly melty and gooey. Pure gluttony.

Our guests, oh they would most certainly wear hats. Kentucky Derby style. Yes, there would definitely be hats.


Well, there you have it - my "other" wedding. The ideas I have for our actual wedding are just as great, if not better. And who knows, maybe I'll incorporate some of these ideas to celebrate our Kentucky past.

What would your "other" wedding be like?

Thursday, November 5, 2009

finding the perfect venue (the final installment)

Which one did we choose? Well, The Hill, of course! It had pretty much everything we wanted, with the added benefit of being in town. The Hill is owned by Lee Epting, who also owns Epting Events (check out their blog for other events they've done). I think I first heard about Epting Events and The Hill through the wedding blogs when I saw this absolutely gorgeous wedding.

(photos by Our Labor of Love)

Since Epting Events rents this venue exclusively to their clients, they will be our event planner as well. One great thing about them is that they pretty much handle everything (or as much or as little as you want) - catering, florals, rentals, etc. We paid our deposit to lock in the date and have an initial proposal that includes a sample menu, but right now we're pretty much in a hold since the wedding is still so far away. But that's okay with me! I was just so happy to have such a big "to do" marked off my list.

What was the first wedding "to do" that you marked off your list?

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

finding the perfect venue (part 3)

hmm...now where was I? Venues, I think. With all that dress excitement, I almost forgot.

So there ended up being three venues that the future mister and I visited.

1. John Oliver Michael House

Pros: historic, LOVED the room for the bridal party to get ready
Cons: 15-20 minutes outside of town, the barn was small, fairly new and not quite as rustic as I would have liked

2. Tucker Plantation

Pros: historic, rustic, air conditioned, gorgeous
Cons: 20-30 minutes outside of town, poor lighting in ceremony area, bridal suite not as nice, more expensive

3. The Hill

Pros: historic, rustic, beautiful houses for the bridal parties to get ready in, and only 5 minutes from downtown!
Cons: the reception won't be in an actual barn

Did you make a pros and cons list while searching for a venue?