Monday, January 31, 2011

Sample cake-- yes, please!

It's 9 a.m., and I'm already thinking about tonight's dessert:

Chocolate and italian creme -- a taste of May in January.

Now, I just have to come up with a plan for dinner.

Any ideas as to what goes well with wedding cake?

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Nutella hot chocolate, aka a sip of heaven

Stop for a second, open up wide, and just drink this

Thank you, Jenna, for the perfect ending to a perfectly long and exhausting day (even more perfect with the no-bake peanut butter cookies I ate alongside it).

Wanna make it? Here's what you need: milk, nutella, and whipped cream.

That's all folks --

and goodnight.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Feast your eyes on these pretty sweets

Mmm ... they're so pretty, I almost wouldn't even want to eat these amazing looking cakes from The Enlightened Patisserie (almost).

Ahh! Excuse me while I dream in buttercream.

She said she would buy the flowers herself

It's snowy and cold and icy and I'm convinced I'll never see the sun again.

I know this is irrational, and I know it's only January, but I keep praying that soon, I'll have some glimpses of spring.

One of my dear friends from high school just got a job at a flower shop, and all I could think was how romantic is that! There's something nice about the idea of working all day, surrounded by flowers.

Flower shops make me think immediately of Mrs. Dalloway: "Mrs. Dalloway said she would buy the flowers herself."

Here's what I want all for myself this week:

Thanks, Alice W., for bringing a little bit of spring to me.

What kind of flowers would you like to buy, all for yourself?

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

homemade e-photo display

We got our engagement photos back about a month ago, and even though I was thrilled with the results, I couldn't help but think to myself, "now what?"

This is what:



This book opens up into a photo display:

Thanks to this little lady. (aka, my mom)

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Cheesin' before dancin'

So, yesterday, I found the perfect friend to man the not-yet-designed photo booth at our wedding reception.

He had never heard of the "photo booth" concept before, so I attempted to provide some sort of explanation.

"Well, it's not like a booth-booth. It's more like a place where people can go to take pictures together at the beginning of the reception. We would have chairs and maybe a curtain and props like fake mustaches and big glasses and stuff like that."

His reply? "Are you going to have square dancing and apple bobbing too?"

Hah. hah. hah.

I love photo booths, and even though we haven't designed ours yet, here are some photos for inspiration:

1, 2, 3, 4, 5

What props and background would you have at your ideal photo booth?

Monday, January 24, 2011

Where it's warm and the cherry blossoms are blooming ...

It is the third week of school, and my graduate assistantship has (finally) started. In order to go to grad school tuition-free, I work as a tutor in the Writing Center (or, the ol' WC as we all affectionately call it).

Whenever I arrived at the WC today, I opened up the scheduler and saw that my favorite tutee, a woman named Ryoko, had made an appointment with me.

Ryoko made several appointments each week with me all last semester. Sessions with her were always so enjoyable, and today was no exception.

Today, via one of her papers, I got to learn about the Japanese Cherry Blossom Festivals that are going on right as we speak.

1, 2, 3, 4

And, did you know, right now in Okinawa, it's 70 degrees.

Even though I can only dream of 70 degrees, I can bring cherry blossoms right to my apartment with a little DIY origami.

Beautiful, yes?

All you need are branches, paper, and glue.

For an extensive tutorial, visit The Flirty Guide.

I think I'm in love

with this mantel from Tatertots and Jello

Particularly these Coffee Filter Pom Poms (is it just me, or do these totally channel an Anthropologie store display?)

I almost wish I hadn't decked my mantel's halls so early in the Vday game.

This weekend was filled with experimentation. Not only did my mom and I piece together stacks and stacks of wedding invitations (I cannot wait to show you the final product ... which probably won't be done until April) and cut out hundreds of black lace butterflies, but I also made an experimental batch of chocolate oatmeal cookies.

Experimental, as in, I'm-feeling-too-lazy to run to the grocery store for the real ingredients, so I'm going to use whatever is in my cupboard (think powdered sugar as opposed to regular sugar. think hot cocoa packets as opposed to cocoa powder).

And they were so mmm mmm good.

Especially after waiting tables all day in a restaurant that had no heat.

That's right. No heat

I'd like an order of experimental chocolate chip cookies, wedding invitations, and a couple episodes of Gilmore Girls, puh-lease!

How did you spend your weekend?

Thursday, January 20, 2011

cold, painful weather = warm, yummy food

So, in sub-freezing temperatures like the ones we've been having lately, all I want to chow down on comes in the form cookies. And cupcakes. And soup (the rich, creamy, tomato bisque and cheddar baked potato kind).

And I've been guzzling gallons of coffee, too.

Luckily, Jenna over at Eat Live Run recently posted a recipe that I could not help but make.

And it's healthy too! (believe me, my body is incredibly thankful for that)

Looking for something warm to eat on a cold, winter's night? Penne with white beans and spinach is a must.

I'm off to trek to class in the bitter cold. But don't worry, I'm guzzling some coffee.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

excuse #471 for profesh photogs

These amazingly romantic, cuddly, warm, beautiful 1st anniversary photographs were featured on 100 Layer Cake today. Don't you just want to dive right into this scene?

Photographer -- Kate Harrison

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

a splash of color to an IKEA chest of drawers

Fact: I'm a grad student.

Translation of previous fact: I'm not rolling in the big bucks.

Visualization of previous fact: Furniture in my apartment often serves utilitarian, rather than aesthetic functions.

Whenever I moved into my last apartment, I realized that my teeny, tiny closet could not hold all of my towels, clothes, underwear, and shoes. I needed to buy a set of drawers.

At a yard sale (all of the proceeds from this sale, by the way, went to support an amazing family in their effort to adopt a child from Africa. See how you can support them in this venture at Minus One Orphan), I was able to buy this IKEA chest of drawers for a mere thirty bucks.

With a little bit of modge podge, scrapbook paper, and six paper flowers (see tutorial for paper flowers), I was able to spice my straight-out-of-a-dorm room chest of drawers up just a smidge. And a pinch.

The flowers were handmade by none other than my mom.

(most anything crafty that I devise was first made by her)

Monday, January 17, 2011

A proposed DIY wedding wreath

Twig and Thistle just posted a DIY tutorial for this beautiful felt wreath right here:

Two wreaths, much like this one, were originally hung on the doors leading into a surprise birthday party.

How cute would it be to make wreaths like these, and instead of writing "happy" and "birthday," write "james" and "anna."

OR "i carry" and "your heart"

And then hang them on the doors of the church?

Mmm, yes ... I smell a Hobby Lobby run in my future.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

How you can (theoretically) make chocolate + peanut butter = healthy

I have a new breakfast addiction, and I blame Mama Pea.

It involves chocolate and peanut butter and chocolate and more chocolate and oatmeal.

In my little world, anything that involves oatmeal has to be healthy.

In this world, 3 chocolate chip cookies might be cause for shame, but 3 chocolate chip oatmeal cookies? That's fiber, right there. That's what that is.

Thank you, Peas and Thank You, for introducing me to these Peanut Butter Cup Oats:

And while her recipe calls for cocoa powder and sugar, I decided to replace those two items with none other than brownie mix. Partially because I have no cocoa powder in my cupboard. But partially because, doesn't brownie mix sound so much better?

I think so.

In fact, I think so so much that I am having this breakfast food again -- for dinner.

DIY yarn and felt rosette monograms

A while ago, I began a little project that involved styrofoam board, yarn, felt, and a glue gun.

My plan was to make monograms ("A" for Anna, "J" for James) to hang somewhere (behind the cake, on the doors of the church, somewhere) during our wedding.

The "A" turned out (though I can't decide if I think it turned out well).

Basically, I took a large piece of styrofoam board and carved out the letter "A." I then wrapped the "A" with white yarn (not as easy a task as you may think, and actually what is giving me the most difficulties with the letter "J"). 

After wrapping the letter, I then proceeded to hot glue felt flowers to the "A" (I made the felt flowers by cutting up strips of felt, rolling the strips forward until I was about halfway through with the strip, and then turning the felt backward ...)

(to be completely honest, I'm not really sure how I made the felt flowers ... there were lots of turns and twists of the hand, and whenever I would do something that looked "flowery" I would say to myself, "quick! hot glue it now before it self-destructs!")

Despite the success of the "A," I'm running into problems with my letter "J" (a necessary letter if I don't want to be, you know, a complete narcissist).

As this picture demonstrates, I have been unable to saddle the "butt" portion of my letter "J" with yarn.

I wrapped and re-wrapped and wrapped some more. I was able to watch multiple episodes of Gilmore Girls while trying to conquer this beast of a monogram.

Who knew wrapping an object with yarn could be so difficult?

Crafters -- any suggestions?