Tuesday, June 28, 2011

What a knock out

The Knock Out rose I planted last summer used to be a puny little thing. 
Well, it seems to like the sheltered spot next to the house. 
The salvias are holding their own.  Since roses like good airflow, I have been very diligent about keeping everything all trimmed up. 
This little rose may just steal my heart away from my beloved hydrangeas!  
Ok, probably not....but they can't all be my favorite! 

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Another one bites the dust

Remember when I announced that my beloved Japanese Maple was probably dead?  Well, it is.  Exactly three years after planting, outside of the two year warranty....of course! 
At least all the Japanese Maples are 40% off right now, so it doesn't hurt quite that bad...but I'm still angry because I have no idea what killed it.  And my heart has been heavy over the last few weeks as I realized that my fantasic super-mums also didn't come back this year, after three years. 
Nothing there now but dried up stumps.  Let this be a warning to you, do NOT cut them down in the fall!  Always wait until spring or you will lose them!  I knew I should've waited like I did the previous years....
And in related news, I think I went overboard at the garden centers today, trying to fill the void of my lost mums....
Two rose bushes, tons of annuals, a sunflower, some new planters, accent plants, vines, herbs, peppers, and a tomato plant.  I'm so behind on the veggies!  Wish me luck getting all this planted today...yikes!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

One Project Closer 'Before and After' Series!

I have to sound the alarm that my friends at One Project Closer (Kim, Fred, Jocie, and Ethan) have kicked off their annual Before and After series! If you're not aware of the contest, let me give you some deets...
This is the fourth Before and After series the team have run to raise support and awareness for Habitat for Humanity.  For the contest, people submit a B/A story with pictures and the OPC team will pick the best submission each week.  The weekly winner gets a $50 gift card plus OPC makes a $100 donation to Habitat in their honor.  Isn't that amazing??  The series runs through the summer at which point they will open up the voting for the best entry received. That grand prize winner receives an additional $150 gift card.  Yowsa!  Have you ever found a better reason to submit your project to the band of home-improvers at One Project Closer?  

Check out all the details for the 2011 contest HERE!  And check out my art room submission from last year HERE!

Monday, June 20, 2011


Well, I'm 32 years old today. 

Yup, it's true.   

I thought I'd share some old pics of me and my family as a tribute to the last three decades of them putting up with me!  Here's me and mom in 1980, I believe...she made the cutest matching outfits for us to wear in photos. 
I still remember being this little girl in my Wonder Woman undies...I think I was 4 or 5 here?
Note the sweet pea-green carpet and matching painted furniture!  I do believe this could be considered 'in style' today...at least in Domino or something that isn't real life...
I'm sure this was taken the same night.  I loved that little blue nightie my mom let me play with, and check out the 'I Love Brian' pin!  Brian is my brother's name, if I hadn't mentioned it.  He is three years younger than me, so he was always up in my business.  Calling for me, wandering into my room, dressed like a trucker, etc, etc...
It's so cute when I think about it now.  Here's a rare shot of us with mom and her parents.  They both died within a few years after this was taken. 
I don't think they liked being in pictures, which is why we have very few.  I wish I would've known them more.  Here's a Christmas pic, look at my precious hair!  I only wish it was that perfect light blonde today.
I cut my own bangs for one christmas, they must have grown back for this one!  Family Christmas shot...the year after, maybe?  I look so much older...
Many years later, my dad became extra goofy, and I started wearing dark makeup and using hair products...yikes!   We were 10 and 13, maybe?
Later on I chopped my hair, my dad looked really really cute, mom was gorgeous as usual, and Brian was growing up so fast!  I think we were 14 and 17 here?  Not sure....
Then it was 2000 and I was 21, Brian was 18..and I wish I was smiling better in this photo! 
And while I don't have a very recent Christmas photo, here is my family at my wedding.  I think we are all looking pretty great for our age, don't you?
Especially my mom, who is 58!  Here she is at my bachelorette party, I hope I take after her FOR REALS.  I'm sure she will kick my ass for posting her age, oh well!
Anyway, I have many many things to post about.  But not tonight, because it's time to have some margaritas!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Wedding total cost

Here it is, the full kit-n-kaboodle....everything we paid for the wedding, including attire, venue, food, photography and extras.  This list doesn't include my engagement ring, Shaun's shoes, shirt or tie (all of which he needed anyway).  Prepare for an exorbitant number of photos!
Invites: $268.40 including postage
- Paper and More for cardpockets, cardstock, envelopes, rsvp envelopes: $155.87
- Cards and Pockets red invite mats: $24.78
- Postage: $78.75
- Adhesives: $9
Yes, the chairs were plastic - and nobody gave them a second look!  You don't need to upgrade chairs, ladies. 
Ceremony and Reception Hall: $8200 at Hubbard Park Lodge.  This price included everything, plus service fee/gratuity and taxes: Chairs for ceremony, 7 appetizers during cocktail hour, buffet for 85 ppl, open bar all night with premium beers and call liquors, after-dinner appetizers 
Cupcakes: $335 for 200 cupcakes (almond pound cake with almond buttercream frosting, and chocolate with cream cheese frosting) including delivery and set up on my own stands.

Cupcake stands: about $35 from thrift shops and TJ Maxx, that tall tower is a round shelving unit from Goodwill that I spray painted...holla!
Centerpieces: $58.33 for 18 ball jars on ebay, $156 for hydrangeas from Sam's Club. The flowers lasted almost two weeks after the wedding, too!

Table runners: $35 (for 15 turquoise satin runners) on ebay
Votives: $48 (includes cost of Xyron machine, ribbon, votive holders, candles)
Favors/placecards: $180 for 86 mini gumball machines and leftover cardstock for name tags.
Table numbers: $20 for Anne Taintor postcards, used leftover cardstock from invites to assemble.
Card box: $20 for cardboard boxes, ribbons and spray paint
Wedding party and parents flowers: $240 for two bouquets, 4 boutonnieres, 2 corsages - all roses.
Photographers: $1400 for 8 hours with two shooters (that is Sarah in the pic), and engagement session
Music: $160 - I used my computer/itunes, borrowed speaker/soundboard equipment, bought some music on Amazon, and paid hotel and gas for friend to run setup. I would do it again in a heartbeat!!
My dress: $548 including alterations (The Edmonton from Dolly Couture!)
My hair flower: $34 on Etsy...and AWE, golden retriever!!!
My shoes: $32 from beallsflorida.com
My clutch and wrap: $48, I really wish I hadn't bought these! Hardly used them at all...as you can see by the lack of photos.  ps - I love how my Miller Lite can coordinates with the aqua theme!
Maid of Honor dress: $114 incl shipping from lightinthebox.com
Shaun's suit: $250 incl alterations from Men's Wearhouse
Best Man suit: $255 incl alterations (they are the same one)
My wedding band: $567
Shaun's wedding band: $56 (just sized his father's old band, which was a gift)
Marriage license and certificate: $110 (as I'm writing this on June 13, we STILL don't have the certificate in the mail!  Another story for another day, my friends!)
Party bus for taking guests back to hotels, and for going to the bar after reception: $335 for 4 hours
Our hotel room: $100
Photo booth setup: $15 gift card given to friend who borrowed me the backdrop frame and umbrella lights. White curtains were mine. Camera, tripod, remotes were mine.
Personalized thank you cards: $117 from weddingpaperdivas.com

$13,726.73 not including honeymoon

Honeymoon: $3004.13 for 7 nights all-inclusive in Couples Negril (including airfare from Milwaukee)

TOTAL with honeymoon: $16,730.86

** BARF **

Misc notes:

- We paid for the attendant's attire
- We did not have a guest book, that's what the photo booth was for
- My mom paid for my mani and pedi the day before (thanks, mom!)
- My mom did my hair (thanks again, mom!)
- I did my own makeup
- A friend married us for free (obviously he wouldn't charge us!)
- We did get generous gifts from our parents to help with the wedding    costs, but we paid for most of it ourselves.
- We paid about 3k more than I wanted for the venue, but they had a minimum charge that we had to meet, so it was either pay the money or pick a different place. Obviously, this is where all our expense went as the other items are pretty reasonable. If I had to do it over, I would probably pick a different venue for many reasons, mostly because I didn't realize that about half of our invited guests would decline - that made the cost per person pretty ridiculous to meet the minimum charge. Having a wedding with 120 or more guests would have been much easier to swallow! Also, the backup plan for a rainy ceremony was less than ideal - and it was pretty cold that day. I think we could've found a pretty place a little closer to home for less money. However, the place looked great, the food was fab, and I'm happy with almost everything. Just not the hit to our wallet!  At least we have photos like this to remember it by: