Saturday, January 28, 2012

Happy Birthday (to me)

Thursday was my golden birthday (26 on the 26th!). I remember one birthday- I must have been 7 or so- I had a unicorn piñata. That was a blast. I think I'd like to have a piñata again one day- but this year I couldn't have been happier to receive the sweetest card and unexpected surprise from my husband (tickets to see Blue Man Group), dinner at a favorite restaurant (Famous Dave's for ribs) and a blu-ray (Midnight in Paris!!) and mini crockpot (for making our culinary weakness- Rotel dip) from my sister. Not every year can be a piñata year, but the quiet years can be just as special.

Find  me on Instagram: @alyssabee86

Sunday, January 22, 2012

The just don't make 'em like they used to: Iconic Kitchenware

There comes a time when you need to start replacing all of your flimsy, worn out pots and pans with more durable pieces. The "durable" of today, however, comes nowhere close to lasting as long as the pieces of the past. I've picked up a few really great kitchen staples recently and am excited to put them to use.

This Texasware confetti mixing bowl was a fun find. I've had my eye on the ZAK Designs set of mixing bowls for awhile now- so it was neat to find their vintage counterpart at Goodwill.

Cast iron is definitely a kitchen luxury. I found this diamond in the rough enameled cast iron skillet at Dig and Save. It was absolutely filthy- but a few sprinkles of Bar Keepers Friend cleaned it right up.

There are a few unfortunate dings in the enamel, but it's still completely usable.

Here is the mark on the bottom. I can't say with 100% certainty, but I believe this could be a vintage Cousances/Le Creuset piece. If anyone knows for sure, please let me know!

I almost passed on this pot because of the $6.99 price tag (dumb). It's vintage Dansk Kobenstyle! Yellow is my favorite color, so I really don't know why I even thought twice about this (must have been having a "cheap" day).
 It does have some significant staining on the inside, unfortunately. I tried repeated applications of Bar Keeper Friend to no avail. If anyone has any other tips for cleaning enamelware, please pass them along!

Finally, I have to say hi to another Madison blogger- Candace over at Luxe-Stitch. We ran into each other yesterday at Savers. It was pretty neat to meet another like-minded blogger in person!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Wedding dollars and sense.

Because inquiring minds want to know- I'm just going to bluntly put it out there. Our wedding rang in at right about $5,000. I kind of choked once all of the receipts were tallied up. Although we didn't have a true dollar amount budget, the goal was to keep everything as thrifty as possible (I naively thought we could do the whole thing for $2,000-$2,500). I don't know what we could have cut out or changed. And yes, I realize that $5,000 is quite thrifty by most wedding standards. A gigantic thank you to my parents for helping us out as much as they could- we all avoided years and years of impending debt- which really was the goal all along.

Here are a few of the major ways we were able to save money:

1) We didn't have to book a venue- The ceremony and reception took place in my parent's backyard. I'm a true homebody and wouldn't have had it any other way. We were truly blessed to have this "location" work out- I realize most people wouldn't even have this as an option. The biggest overall expense was in terms of rentals. We rented a large tent, tables and chairs and linens- not only to divide the ceremony and reception, but the tent would have been essential if it would have rained. God was really smiling down on us that day- and the weather was perfect.

2) We didn't have a "photography package". When the planning began I looked at booking a few amateur photogs. I was absolutely astounded at the prices for wedding packages. Astounded! I was so, so thankful when a family friend agreed to photograph the ceremony and our portraits for us for next to nothing. I wanted all of the important moments to be captured, but was less concerned with fancy editing, albums, etc. My aunt also took photos throughout the day and at the reception. I have two beautiful sets of photos saved to discs that I can do whatever I want with, and didn't have to wait for months to get them!
Thanks Rich!
3) DIY & thrift store decor. This was a lot of work, but when all was said and done, also a lot of fun. Between my mom and I, we were probably at a thrift store, garage sale, craft store, or dollar store at least 3 times a week for two months. We collected mason jars, doilies, lace, old books, and I even dumpster dived some working twinkle lights. Fun!

4) Skip the florist. The morning of the wedding, my sister and I put together the bouquets arranged from flowers from Trader Joe's and Aldi. Some rose petals were scattered around the reception tables, and there were small bouquets arranged in Ikea vases to mark the aisle. I think we spent less that $40 total on flowers! So simple, yet so pretty!

I have a few more details to share- I haven't gotten to gush about my vintage dress yet! Will be back with another post soon!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Darling, I do...

My wedding season has come to a close as I finished mailing out my thank you cards last week. It was a whirlwind to say the least. Engaged on May 2nd and hitched just over 4 months later on September 17th. (And two month after that I'm finally getting around to creating this post- TEMPUS FUGIT!)
When people say your wedding day is the "happiest day of your life" they are not kidding. Perfect shouldn't be a word tossed around lightly- but it was truly a perfect day.

I plan to deconstruct everything in a few more detailed posts (including how we managed to put everything together without going into debt). In the meantime, here are some favorite photos:

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Engaged to be married

My (oops, OUR) wedding is on Saturday. As in 3 days from now. I have made every attempt to make it a THRIFTY wedding. I have to say, I was completely astonished about the prices photographers charge for "wedding packages". Astonished. So for our engagement photos, I employed my sister, my iPhone and instagram. I was thrilled with the results!! Here are some favorites:

Honestly, can you even tell these weren't done by a pro? Thriftiness at its best, if you ask me!