Wednesday, December 29, 2010

30 for the year of the 3-0

I don't really believe in New Year's resolutions.  No one sticks to them and they are usually pretty unrealistic.  Many tend to notice that they have the same one every year which means making a resolution isn't working!  Since I turn 30 in February and did not do a "30 before 30" list, I decided to do a "30 for the year of 30" list.  Here are thirty things that I'd like to do next year.  Twelve months is a long time to challenge myself to everything on this list and a long time to get it done.  I'm a list maker and nothing is more satisfying than checking things off of one.  I'll apologize in advance that this is a long list!

1.  Finish changing my last name on all my accounts-who knew it was such a pain to change your name after you get married!  I told Clay that is a good reason (among many others) to never get divorced.  I'm about 85% done, but those stragglers need to get done before they get forgotten about.
2.  Make a homemade marshmallow-I don't even really care for marshmallows, but for some reason I'm really intrigued to learn how to make one with flavor infused.
3.  Start AND complete 5 craft projects -not being specific on this one, small or large, just finished
4.  Take a formal sewing class
5.  Then make a garmet from start to finish that is not only wearable, but doing it without calling my mom (that's the easy button when it comes to sewing).
6.  Take more pictures and print them out!  I'd like to even say that I'll put a photo album together, but lets not get crazy.  I'm the one that always brings my camera and then is too busy chatting to take pictures.
7.  This goes along with sewing-to take three pieces of clothing out of my closet that I haven't worn in a year and make them into something new
8.  Not only select a paint color for the dining room, but actually paint it too.
9.  Read at least one novel a month.  I know that doesn't sound like a lot but this list is going to be pretty time consuming.  Just keepin' it real.
10.  Complete a half marathon-this sounds like a lot, but after my Tough Mudder training, it will be a piece of cake
11.  Plant and (here's the kicker) maintain an herb garden.  I waste so much money on buying fresh herbs!
12.  Plan a dinner party for all my married girlfriends where we wear our wedding dresses again.  How many chances do you get to do that?!
13.  After said party, sew a personalized garment bag for my wedding dress and properly store it-I already have the pattern
14.  Teach my dogs a new trick.  This sounds easy but Ruby could care less to learn a new trick and Bruiser is so A.D.D that it is hard to keep his attention long enough to teach him something new.  Now if I could only teach them to put their toys away...
15.  Play golf at least six times-this isn't so much about playing golf but spending quality time with Clay doing something that we really enjoy together
16.  Bake a successful souffle. 
17.  Figure out a permanent storage solution for the huge hole of cabinet under my stove where all the pots and lids are teetering on top of each other (its scary down there)
18.  Clean out and organize my craft closet
19.  Get certified to scuba dive (hopefully before our trip to Belize at the end of April)
20.  Teach someone something.  Not going to specify this either, what good is knowing how to do something if you don't share it?
21.  Learn to make macaroons.  This is a big food trend for next year and they are so pretty!
22.  Refinish the rocking chair given to me three months ago as well as the dining set in our office warehouse that I saved before it was going to be thrown out.
23.  Plant a pomegranate tree.  Now that we are getting more neighbors, we need a fun way to create more privacy.  What better way than a pomegranate tree?
24.  Complete Christmas shopping before Thanksgiving 100%.  I usually get really close, but next year it will be done
25.  Complete three quilts
26.  Practice my conversational Spanish more often with co-workers while teaching them English at the same time
27.  Be more active in my church-this one is tough since we live pretty far but I'll be back on board to paint VBS murals this coming year now that a wedding is out of the way
28.  Pay off all credit card debt.  This isn't much so it will just be a matter of being extra tight for a couple of months and knocking it out. 
29.  Perfect the "smoky eye" without looking like I'm from the Jersey Shore.
30.  Plant a hanging square foot garden.

So, there you have it.  Some are big projects and some are pretty trivial but I'll update it as they get checked off.

Cleaning out the system

My body needs a full detox from holiday goodies.  I usually eat really healthy, but I'm not gonna lie, I have a deadly sweet tooth when it comes to anything fruity sweet or minty.  Now that we are home and back in the swing of things, it felt great to make dinner last night and try one of my new vinegars that I ordered from Greenling.  I forgot that I had placed an order before we left town so I'm really glad it was cold outside and all my goodies stayed fresh.  They had a sale for Christmas for 40% off your entire order so I got a few things that normally I'd be too cheap to splurge on.  I ordered the Orange Infused White Vinegar from Texas Olive Ranch.  I figured it would be a great vinegar for light salad dressings and sauces for chicken and fish.  I was itching to try it so I made a simple vinaigrette last night and loved it.  Here is a rough recipe (I'm guessing because I don't measure much especially on dressings) 2 tablespoons of olive oil
2-3 tablespoons of orange vinegar-maybe more depending on your taste
juice from one small orange
1 tablespoon-ish of non sweetened shredded coconut (Bob's Red Mill makes this)
1 small section of shallot finely diced (about a tablespoon)

Whisk together to combine.  I just made a spinach salad and added some pomegranate seeds, toasted walnut pieces, and supremed orange sections then lightly tossed it with a little of the dressing.  It doesn't take much which saves you on calories.  It was great!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Restaurant Review: Whiskey Cake in Plano, TX

On our way to Oklahoma this past weekend, we stopped and stayed the night at a friend's house in Plano, TX (a suburb of Dallas).  One of their friends has just opened a new restaurant right around the corner called Whiskey Cake.  I really wasn't in the mood to go out for dinner, but am so glad that we did.   This place was so great.  It reminded me a lot of the restaurants in Austin.  It has a laid back atmosphere with a kind of vintage feel to it. 
We started out with some hummus and deviled eggs (great choices for a long car ride, huh?).  The deviled eggs were delicious and had a slight crunch to them due to the fried capers.  I was seriously tempted to order the fried green tomatoes, but controlled myself and passed.  I opted for the Honey Basil Collins for my cocktail and loved it.  It was a blend of gin, clover honey, basil, lemon, and soda.  It didn't taste like one of those nasty, syrupy filled drinks that are normally served at restaurants but more like one I'd make at home.  The honey lent just enough sweetness without being over the top plus I like the idea of honey instead of sugar any day. 
For the entree, I had the special which was smoked Texad Red Fish served over a bed of orzo with a small green salad on top.  The fish was cooked perfectly and not drowned in butter like they do at most restaurants.  The orzo and greens were a great compliment to it as well.  Clay had the Slow Roasted Prime Rib.  It was soo good.  You could basically cut through it with a fork.  It came with root vegetables and fingerling potatoes.  I'm pretty sure he would have licked the plate if no one was looking. 
Our friend insisted that we try the whiskey cake for dessert.  I'm not a huge lover of cake...at all.  It's just not my thing.  That is until I had this cake.  It is a toffee cake with whiskey anglaise, toasted pecan bits, and fresh whipped cream.  It wasn't overly sweet at all and still warm in the middle.  No wonder they named the restaurant after it...it's that good.  To makes things even more interesting, instead of plain 'ole coffee or lattes, they do french press coffee.  They bring freshly brewed french presses tableside and pour some of the best, richest coffee ever.  The cream is served in porcelain cows just like my grandma had. 
You can see the full menu here.
So the next time you are in Dallas, make a stop over to Whiskey Cake, you'll be glad you did.  I sure hope they open one of these in Austin!

Chicken on Steroids

The Sunday before Christmas, we met up with my mom's side of the family for lunch after the Lessons in Carols service at church.  My Uncle Bruce made the best Chicken Parmesan I've ever had in my life!  Have you ever brined your chicken breasts?  I've only seen it done with turkey, but man, it will make your chicken breast pump up to almost double in size. He had even pounded them and you couldn't tell at all.  They were spewing with juice.
From Uncle Bruce's email...
"The compound butter recipe basically is 2-3 tablespoon each of up to 3 spices/ingredients you like in your butter, 3-4 tbsp of olive oil (for blending, taste) and 4 sticks of butter. You can mix the oil and herbs/spices first, then mix it in with the butter. You can make the butter savory or sweet (could use cinnamon, fruit preserves). We then freeze it and use it also for sautéing veggies, melting over steaks, etc...
For the chicken I used a blend of italian bread crumbs and panko. I think you could use just panko with some spices (including some parmigiana) and do fine..."

Slamma Jamma Parmigiana
Ingredients
4 (5-ounce) boneless, skinless, trimmed chicken breasts
1/2 cup kosher salt
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 eggs
1/4 cup milk
1 1/2 cups dried bread crumbs
1 1/2 cups panko bread crumbs
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon dried parsley
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 pound fresh mozzarella cheese, sliced
1/4 pound Parmigiano-Reggiano, plus extra for garnish, grated
Olive oil, for frying (about 2 cups)
1 pound penne rigate, cooked al dente
Tomato Sauce, recipe follows
1/4 cup minced Italian parsley, for garnish

Directions
Lightly pound the chicken breasts to 1/2-inch thickness. Combine the kosher salt, sugar, and 1 quart of water in a 1-gallon size resealable plastic bag; shake until dissolved. Add the chicken breasts and soak at room temperature for 30 minutes.

Place the flour in a medium bowl. Remove the chicken from the brine. Shake off excess moisture and, with tongs, lightly dredge the chicken in the flour. Shake off the excess flour and transfer to a large plate.

Mix the eggs and milk in medium bowl and whisk thoroughly. In a separate bowl combine the bread crumbs, oregano, basil, parsley, sea salt, and pepper. Dredge the chicken in the egg and milk mixture with tongs and let excess mixture drain off. Now dredge the chicken into the bread crumb mixture, and lightly pat down in the bread crumbs to adhere.

Preheat the broiler.

Let the breaded chicken sit for 5 minutes before frying. In a medium saucepan on medium-high heat, add enough olive oil to come 1/3 up the side of the chicken. Cook the chicken in batches until golden brown on both sides. Remove from the pan when cooked and place on a sheet tray. Repeat with remaining chicken.

When all the chicken is cooked, sprinkle mozzarella and Parmesan evenly over the top. Place under the broiler until the cheese melts and is golden brown.

Serve chicken over pasta and ladle tomato sauce on top. Garnish with additional Parmesan and parsley.

Tomato Sauce:
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 yellow onion, minced
4 garlic cloves, crushed
6 cups peeled and diced Roma tomatoes
1 tablespoon thinly sliced fresh basil leaves
1/2 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano leaves
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a saucepan. Add the onions and cook until translucent. Add the garlic and cook until almost brown, then add tomatoes. Saute for 30 minutes over low to medium heat. Add the basil and oregano and continue to cook for 30 minutes longer. Puree in a food mill or let cool and puree

The Christmas I Missed

This year was a first for me.  I was away from my family for Christmas.  It was really weird and a little teary to not be home.  But such is life (married life that is) and I'm really glad we spent time with Clay's family.  I got an email from my mom that gave the rundown of the Christmas dinner she and my brother (the aspiring chef) prepared for them and my sister and her husband.  Here is the menu, I think I'm hungry again...
Appetizers-
Bloody Mary Soup with Shrimp and Pickled Vegetable Skewers
Crostini with Fava Bean Spread, Greens, and Blood Oranges

Main Course:
Veal Chops-kind of glad I missed this one, not a fan of veal (I can't eat baby cows) with sherry gastrique and roasted pepper relish
Fresh Sage and Chestnut Dressing
Sweet and Sour Green Beans
Homemade Gelatin with Fresh Squeezed Orange and Pomegranate Juice (I LOVE Jell-O!)

Dessert:
Figgy Pudding- I've never had this before but she described it as a spice cake with figs that was wrapped in cheesecloth and soaked in brandy.  Yum!

This is the same wine Santa that I bought for the Bunco sweater winner.  I also bought one for our house. 
Matthew hard at work.  Remember this face, you'll see him on the Food Network someday...
I love the gelatin in cups...even though from the sound of it, I could've eaten a lot more than just a cupful of it!

Tacky Christmas Sweater Bunco

Oh my gosh, I can't believe how quickly this past week has gone by.  I haven't blogged since the 17th!  So sorry, but the holidays were a blur.  We made it back in one piece from our road trip to Oklahoma/Arkansas with the pups in tow.  They loved being country dogs for a weekend.  I'm pretty sure the cowdog made fun of them in their sweaters but oh well.  It was pretty chilly but we woke up to snow on Christmas morning which is a rare treat for Texans.  It was a shame that we had to turn around so quick, but thats how it goes sometimes.  At least we got a little time with Clay's family.
Honestly, I'm so glad that after New Years, the holidays are officially over.  I can clear my office and home of Christmas cookies and leftovers and get back on track for the Tough Mudder.  The holidays put a little crimp in my training but I'm back on track starting yesterday.
I never got to post pictures from our Tacky Christmas Sweater Bunco.  Rachel Z was the host this month and really outdid herself on the food.  We had a pear and bleu cheese pizza, baked brie, hummus/dip, and cookies just as appetizers!  Dinner was great with pork tenderloin, frenched green beans, stuffing, yummy sweet potato casserole, and bread pudding for dessert!  Man, my jeggings were stretched to maximum capacity after that meal!  We had so much fun with our Christmas sweaters and Rachel Z won the big prize of a wine Santa.  I wish we had a picture of the back of her sweater.  She topped it off with a tinsel wreath and Rundolph face complete with light up nose.  Here are a few shots:
Me, Mitzi (an avid quilter), and BF Tressa

 Is there ever a time when jazz hands aren't appropriate?
 It is harder than you think to keep a straight face when you are trying to recreate those Olan Mills pictures you took when you were little.

Friday, December 17, 2010

The Mind Readers at Etsy are at it Again!

Today's post on Decor8 was about Etsy's latest feature, the Taste Test.  It is just a series of two columns in which you pick which of the two you like better.  After about ten series, they give you a list of favorites that they think you might like from the choices you made.  So, I thought their "suggested shops" tab was created by magical mind-reading gnomes somewhere as it was.  But this is downright creepy.  I loved 98% of what they sent me.  Here are some of my favorites.
OK, this was the one that was weird.  Don't these remind you just a little of my party shoes I did here?


I promise, I only clicked on ONE thing that had a Boston Terrier on it and they sent me a ton.  I guess they know I'm a little psycho about my "kids."

 

















I do love bright colors and vintage jewelry. Isn't this dress so cute?


To view my whole list click the following link:
http://tastetest.etsy.com/?id=be477210-ec58-012d-39aa-123139182a6f/#/recommendations/be477210-ec58-012d-39aa-123139182a6f?r=118003



Busy Busy Weekend

The last weekend before Christmas and where am I going?  The mall.  I would rather clean toilets than be at the mall this time of year.  Since I already know exactly what I have left to get, I'm hoping for a very quick in and out kind of trip.  I'm just praying that I don't run into crowds that look like this:
I'm also going for my first trail run on Saturday morning after kickboxing class.  We're going to try and make it 8 miles on the trails wihout stopping.  I keep hearing that trail running is so much harder than running the pavement.  Hopefully, I don't have any incidents like when I tried to mountain bike (remember this post?)  I still have scars from that ride.  Only 42 days to go until the Tough Mudder!!! Tick Tock
Sunday is our day to be with my family before Christmas.  Clay and I will be driving to Arkansas to visit his family so we won't be in town for Christmas.  We're going low key on Sunday, but with lots of my favorites including chicken parmesan and caprese salad.  The choir at church is doing their Lessons in Carols service which is full of beautiful Christmas music and an entire orchestra.  It will gets you in the Christmas spirit and reminds you what this time of year is all about. 
And last, but not least, I'm hoping to get a quick (but cute) snapshot of Clay and I with the furbabies and crank out some very last minute Christmas cards.  Better late than never, right?  I hope you all have a great weekend!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Party Planning by Pottery Barn

Have you checked out Pottery Barn's website lately? They have so many great resources for party planning now! There are nine different parties to choose from ranging anywhere from a wine & cheese party to a bridal shower. Each party plan comes with downloadable invite templates, a link to playlists on iTunes, planning guides, and links to other sites that go along with each theme (drink websites for cocktail parties, chef's websites for dinner parties, etc.). Their tablescapes are to die for!

Wine and Cheese: even the little goat cheese marker is a template to download.  Have I mentioned how much I love cheese...and wine?  Drool.  I'd wash my hair in cheese if I could.  Just kidding (?).
The vase in the middle with grapes is a great idea.  Great, I've gone and made myself hungry.

The Olive Oil Tasting Party: Don't get me wrong, I use a ton of olive oil and I do love herbed oil with fresh bread, but I don't see having a whole oil party.  Plus, I can't imagine many people getting jazzed over this theme.  I know if I opened my mailbox and saw an invite to an oil party, I wouldn't be high fiving Clay or anything.  There would have to be something else going on with this.  The table is pretty though:
Pizza Party: Who can resist a pizza party?  What better way to get people interactive than to have a build your own pizza bar?  I love to make homemade dough and bake it on a pizza stone.  If you don't have a stone for your oven, they are wonderful.  All my breads come out nice and crispy on the bottom and soft on the inside.  Plus, this party is the trifecta of culinary bliss-wine, bread, and cheese.  Yum

For My Next Pet...

If you've ever been around goats, you probably know that they aren't the brightest animals on earth.  However, baby goats are hilarious and sooo cute!  I'd have a goat farm in a heartbeat, but only for the milk of course.  I loveeee chevre. 

Speaking of food...my brother got accepted to culinary school today!  He starts in two weeks!  I'm so excited for him (and a little jealous).  I'll just live vicariously through him.  I'm so proud and can't wait to hear about all the cool stuff he learns. 

Now, back to baby goats...

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Whoa!

 Did anyone watch the finale of The Biggest Loser last night? OMG?! It is truly amazing the life change that these people have made. The winner of $250,000 lost a whopping 181 pounds.  What an accomplishment!

Mark was the at home winner.  He won $100,000 and lost 213 pounds...most of that at home!  Incredible. 
The big news was that Jillian won't be back next season.  I wonder who the next trainer will be that is tough enough to help get the contestants in shape. 

Playing with Makeup

I have a confession to make, I actually watch Jerseylicious on the Style Network.  I don't why I get sucked into it every Saturday morning but I guess I get the urge to lose a few brain cells on the weekend.  Anyway, one of their makeup artists, Olivia, taught a fantasy makeup class.  It was all about over the top, crazy, theatrical makeup.  Most of it was totally unrealistic except for her introduction of ColorOn Pros press on eyeshadow.  They are these pre-cut strips that already have pressed eyeshadow on them.  All you have to do is press it on to your eyelid and set with with their setting powder. I love playing with makeup and these look amazing.  Some of them would be really great for a night out on the town or special occassion, some would be the perfect touch to a Halloween costume, and some are actually pretty neutral for daily wear. 
***Oh, and for those of you that asked, all the rhinestones that I hot glued onto my party shoes stayed on.  They didn't budge!  Definitely a quick way to spice up an old pair of shoes.

These two I really like a lot.  The bottom is a little dark for daytime but the colors are perfect for green eyes.

This would obviously be the one of the ones to go with a costume.  They have a ton of feather prints, wing prints, and animal prints.  I've seen really pretty peacock costumes that would look great with their feathered ones (and feather eyelashes which are awesome!).

These two would obviously be for nighttime.  I'm not sure how green would look on my skin but supposedly anything purple really makes your eyes pop if they are green or blue.

These two are in their smokey eye collection.  The smokey brown is so pretty but the gray and black is a little too Jersey Shore for my coloring.


Monday, December 13, 2010

Party Update

The office holiday party Saturday night was so much fun!  The casino gaming was a huge hit.  I'll have to admit, my vintage party skirt was probably the most comfortable thing I've worn in years.  They kept telling me I looked like Office Manager Barbie.

Since Clay was out of town, I went as my friend Montana and her husband's third wheel.
Really wished I didn't have gum in my mouth...or disheveled hair!
I was the Vanna White for our raffle giveaways.  Acting out each prize was my highlight of the night.
The ladies of Blackmon Mooring...
Another day, another party.  Tonight is Tacky Christmas Sweater Bunco.  I can't wait!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Adding A Little Glitz

Our holiday office party is tonight.  I've had a terrible time trying to find something to wear.  I've returned several dresses that I ordered online and really haven't wanted to face the malls.  What's a girl to do?  Raid my closet and make something work.  I pulled all kinds of stuff out the other day and finally tried on different combos last night (and may or may not have sent a picture or two to my girlfriends for 2nd opinions).  I wasn't too sure about it at first but actually decided on a vintage party skirt from the 50s that I found at the City Wide Garage Sale about six months ago.  There is a vendor there every month that has literally mounds of vintage to sort through and at the bottom I found a pleated taffeta skirt that fits like a glove.  I'm pairing it with a hot pink (shocker) top and huge cz drop earrings.  I had some old heels that had these bows on the side that I was totally over.  They needed a facelift.  So I cut off the bows, heated up the old trusty glue gun, and went to town with some bling.  Since the rest of my outfit is pretty subdued, I needed a little sparkly somewhere.  I think they will work great (as long as my stones don't come off!).  I'll post a full outfit tomorrow.  I have to go now to get ready...

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Pantone is Reading My Mind

If you haven't heard of Pantone, they are the supposed "color authority."  Each December, they name the next year's color of the year.  Last year, they announced that the color for 2010 was turquoise...as in the color of my bridesmaid's dresses.  Well, they just announced the color for 2011 and drumroll please...HOT PINK!!!  My favorite color.  They are calling it Honeysuckle, but please, its hot pink no matter what fancy name you want to give it.  My Pantone is also a great online resource for making color palettes, finding products in a certain color, and color inspiration.  Another great Pantone resource for brides to be is the Pantone Wedding section of Dessy.com.  It helps you put together your wedding color pallette and even find dresses for your girls to match.  You can also page through tons of inspiration boards to get your creative juices flowing. 

Why Pay Retail...EVER?

There are so many great discount websites out there now that there really is no reason to pay full retail ever again.  It seems as though this type of website is a growing trend.  Now, there are sites for everything from travel to beauty treatments to clothing and shoes.  I'm sure most of you fashoinable and trendy followers of mine know about most of these, but hopefully there are one of two that are new to you.

GILT.com- great for high end designer clothes at a great price.  Sales start everyday at 11am CST so you have to get on there and act fast to snag the good stuff.  They also have great deals on men's clothing as well as beauty supplies, jewelry, and baby clothes.

Jetsetter.com- this is GILT's sister site that offers really great deals on travel with a wide variety of destinations and as well as a description and insider info to each place.

HauteLook.com- this one has deals on everything (travel, clothing for women, men, & baby, housewares, and jewelry)  The deals on men's dress shirts are hard to beat.  Sales start at 10am CST every day.

BillionDollarBabes.com- this one is a little pricier.  If you are looking for really high end purses (Chanel, Gucci, etc) then this is the one for you.  Not all of it is super expensive, there are also deals on reasonably priced clothing for men and women as well as shoes and jewelry. 

ShopItToMe.com-I love this one.  You log into the website and set up your preferences including favorite stores, sizes, brands, etc.  Every day you receive an email that shows sales going on that fit what you put in the profile.  Sometimes it may be that if you order through them, they can offer free shipping.  If I don't have to go to the mall, sometimes just that makes it worthwhile. 

Ideeli.com- This site does a great mix of higher end and more reasonable brands.  They also have some deals that are just ridiculous.  I missed it the other day but they had black suede over the knee Unisa boots for $49.  Of course, they sold out really quick.  They also do everything from clothing to homegoods to travel as well.  Definitely one to check out. 

If you are interested in using and ordering from any of these websites, shoot me an email with your email address.  I can log into whatever one it is and most of them have to where I can send you and invite that will usually get us both even better discounts or free shipping or a credit to our account.  A win win for both.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

A Rant And A Rave

Some of you may have been reading my blogs since my wedding planning back at The Tightwad Ties the Knot.  I never posted pictures of the final big day.  I planned that wedding for 14 months (plus all the years I planned it in my head before we were finally engaged).  I had more DIY projects than I thought could ever be pulled off and a great family and friends behind me to make it happen.  I couldn't wait to submit the pictures to Style Me Pretty for publication.  I put my submission together, brewed over it, made changes...and changes...and changes, and finally hit "submit."  To my dismay, I got an email a couple of weeks later stating that they did not choose my wedding to highlight on their site.  It was like a shot to the gut.  I had used SMP for inspiration, ideas, and resources for so long and was sure that I was a shoe in.  I have to admit, I don't even look at their website anymore.  It is on my blog roll, but I haven't clicked on it since receiving that heart wrenching email.  I did click on one the other day and thought to myself...I loved my wedding, I loved the look and feel, and am dang proud of it.  Who cares if it wasn't up to their standards.  In my opinion, it was better than that.  And you know what?  I have my own blog for a reason.  What better way to finally showcase these pictures than Everyday Ellis?  Duh. So here we go...
Ah, my favorite part of my outfit...the shoes.  I kept these puppies on all night (thanks to a little padded part on the bottom).  My garter was gifted to me from my godmother and goddaughter.  It is made from parts of five generations of wedding dresses on my mother's side.  
 I LOVE that my mom wore hot pink.  She even picked out her sassy turquoise heels.  I think I'm wearing off on her :)
 Cutest flower girl EVER.  She still calls every bride she sees a "Rachel."  She tells me all the time that we should have the wedding all over again.
I had the honor of my grandpa walking me down the aisle.  He has five daughters so he's definitely had some practice!

Me and the Girls (all dresses made by my mom except the flower girl, she did do the sash on her's though)
A few of the tables outside.  I still can't believe I found the white vintage overlay tablecloths for $3 each!  Paige of Paige One Events & Production did a great job on the arrangements and the coordinating.  She even kept lipstick in her pocket and kept giving it to me so that I'd have some lips on in all my pictures.   




My little iron tree with glow sticks for the send off.  It looked so pretty when they were all lit up.
My mom actually found a vintage blonde wedding couple (harder than you think to find).  She found them on Etsy and they couldn't have been more perfect for my cake topper.
 The candy buffet was a HUGE hit.  Word to the wise, don't keep your candy for the wedding in your house for too long before the wedding.  I tended to do "quality control" checks a little too often.  However, we had a ton still leftover.  I just took it to the office and gave some to all my co-workers.  We would have gained a hundred pounds if we had finished it off!  The monogram was done by my grandpa (are you seeing the craftiness trend in the family?) and is up in the window at our house now for us to always enjoy.  The lollipop trees were via Martha Stewart.  Super simple and and uber cute.  So were the tissue poms.  I really liked how those poms ended up looking like huge flowers in the trees outside.
Our "groom's cake" was a golf themed table with pails full of homemade cake balls.  Clay's favorite dessert is blackberry cobbler, so after much trial and error, I figured out how to get it just right to work.  My poor family helped roll and dip 250 cake balls.  I think it will be awhile before any of us make those again!  I still have requests from guests that were there to make them for office parties, house parties, etc. I guess that recipe is a keeper!

I really like that we did a big mat for everyone to sign in lieu of a guestbook.  Now we get to see it hanging in the hall and remember all of our great family and friends that were there for our big day.

Finally getting to shake it to the motown soul band!

Yeah! We did it!  Off to the resort across the street (where we ordered room service and just about fell asleep in our clothes) UPDATE ON THIS PICTURE: Just to clarify, Clay did not wear those shoes for the wedding.  He and his groomsmen waited until the day before to buy their shoes and were all in agony.  Hmm, men would never make it a day in heels!
I didn't a great shot of the dress during the wedding, but did for the bridal portraits.  I still can't believe my mom made this.  It was all I could have asked for and more.  I think a few of us are going to plan a dinner party and wear our wedding dresses.  We all loved ours so much that we want a reason to wear them again!  THANKS MOM FOR EVERYTHING!!



I can't believe it has already been almost eight months since the wedding!  Time sure does fly.  We'll be on our honey-versary trip next spring before we know it.  Belize or Bust!