Seven On Saturdays – Be the Best Wedding Guest

While I’m still trying my adventure a week, I also want to share some tips to get through practical life events! Each Saturday you can look out for me sharing seven tips to help you think through anything from planning a backyard BBQ to prepping for a European adventure!

If you have something you wish you had some tips to help you on, let me know and I’ll see if I can help!

Today I’m sharing some quick tips to get you through wedding season.

I talk a lot about wedding season on the blog.

People refer to wedding season as May-October, but believe me, it’s more like a season of your life.

The truth is, in your late twenties and into your early thirties, it’s safe to believe that half of the people in your social network will get married. You’ll spend more than half of your weekends those years attending engagement parties, bachelorette parties, bridal showers, and weddings. Double this if you’re in a relationship yourself. It gets exhausting, fattening, and expensive – but it’s also incredibly fun, even if you’re riding solo.

Here are a few tips to get you through wedding season:

  1. Get comfortable shoes. This is, and always has been, my number one rule. You don’t want to be in pain, and the happy couple definitely don’t want you sitting on the sidelines rather than tearing up the dance floor. Get a few basic pairs that can be worn with different tones of dresses, and break them in before the first wedding appearance. Unless you’re used to it, don’t force yourself into stilettos – you can wear a tasteful wedge or a stacked heel – or even adorable flats. While we’re at it, get a few basic clutches. With social media being what it is today, it’s very easy to cave to the expectation to always have a different dress for every event – I try to live up to this and all it does is make my credit card bill very daunting. Here’s a little secret: you can rewear a dress and the world will not fall apart. Check out stores like TJ Maxx or Nordstrom Rack to find deals on quality dresses – and, of course, nothing in white for a wedding event, unless you’re the bride!
  2. Be prompt. Keep track of deadlines and dates. If you are asked to RSVP by a certain date, do so. Most wedding invitations are expected, so you’ll likely have a sense of whether you’re able to attend or not by the time you receive the formal invitation. This means it’s probably just a simple matter of selecting a meal – unless it’s buffet or nontraditional. Make this decision as quickly as possible and pop the RSVP back into the mail or log on to their wedding website to submit yours. You should also be prompt to all wedding related events. Many times at engagement parties or shower the couple of the hour arrive at a slight delay so the room is full – but that’s not what you’re supposed to do! You don’t want to walk in 30 minutes late and either miss the surprise or potentially ruin it. You also don’t want to miss the ceremony or interrupt it. Although it certainly didn’t ruin any part of my wedding ceremony, both my husband and I noticed who came in late, closed the door loudly, and had to ask other guests to move for seats.
  3. Stay hydrated. If you’re 21 or older and drink alcohol, the chances are you’ll be living at a light buzz at all wedding-related events. Don’t be that guest that causes a scene or gets embarrassingly drunk. A really fun part of adulting – okay, one of the only fun parts of it – is getting to drink at things like this. Remember though, that means you are an adult. This isn’t a wild college party – this is someone’s favorite day, and that someone’s potentially judgmental family members are there watching.
  4. Be thoughtful in your gifts. If a close friend or a family member gets engaged, definitely send a card and consider an engagement gift. If you think the newly engaged couple will have a formal celebration, there’s no need to rush over with expensive presents right away. Consider a bottle of champagne or a personalized gift from Etsy. You can also make planning baskets – a calendar, a wedding planner, some post-its. Also as a warm reminder, it’s about quality, and not quantity. It’s really the thought that counts! 
  5. Don’t burden the couple. There’s absolutely no need to complain to the couple about how expensive their room block is or how you’ll have to take a half-day off of work to make their Friday night ceremony. Unless they’re monsters, they’re doing their best to host a wedding that fits them, or, at the very least, pleases demanding family members. If they care about you enough to invite you to celebrate with them, you owe it to them to at least not take away from that happiness.
  6. Prioritize your physical and mental health. Weddings have become full weekend events. More than once in your life you might find that you have two weddings in one weekend or at least back-to-back weekends. Make sure you grab some vegetables in between and try to get a workout in if that’s part of your normal routine. My first year through a serious wedding season led to significant weight gain. I wasn’t balancing out these indulgent weekends with strict healthy weekday diets, and I regretted it. It was actually sort of alarming to see the photos of me from the first wedding that year to the last!
  7. Think before you post! Be a conscientious member of your online world, both in your live posts and your captions after the fact. I agree that you should always take too many photos, and always take photos with your significant other when you’re dressed up. Don’t get me wrong. But, if a couple asks for a cell phone free ceremony, or makes a cute little sign about how they hired a photographer so you don’t need to snap pictures of everything, respect that. Put your phone away. You can get a couple picture later. If you’re snapping photos of the couple, think about who can see them – you don’t want to ruin a first look or ruin the surprise for a grand entrance. Also, remember that you’re at a wedding to celebrate someone else, not to start your insta-model career. Remember to share a photo with the happy couple, if you got one. I woke up the morning after my wedding secretly excited to see so many posts from our big day on Instagram – the first one I saw was from one of my bridesmaids with just her fiance, captioned, “We’re next!” Just think about what you would want to see in that moment – or if the happy couple is very different from you – what would add to their happiness, not dull their sparkle.

Check back next week for another Seven on Saturdays!

Smooth Sailing

My investigation into the making of a smoothie bowl was a big success!

It’s always a challenge for me to find time for breakfast. I’m a protein powder and water at the desk kind of girl, and to be honest, I don’t love it. Making this made me slow down – although it did make me a bit late for the rest of my morning, but being present with this first meal of the day was incredibly valuable to me.

I used some basic smoothie items to put together a raspberry chocolate smoothie bowl. I threw all the components into my Ninja and hit pulse – then threw it into the low blend. Whenever I make smoothies, even using frozen berries, I almost always end up adding more water. As i put this together, I made sure not to go overboard with the liquid. For this, I used Coconut milk – mostly for flavor and also to thicken the recipe a bit.

Once everything was blended, I poured the smoothie into bowls – dragging my husband in to taste test along side me – and then set about decorating. I had high expectations for how I could make this bowl look, and I think I fell just short of what I had hoped. In my defense, I had left myself no extra time for this part of my morning, so I rushed a bit. I sliced up some banana, added a few blueberries for good measure, sprinkled some organic, unsweetened coconut flakes, and some whole, organic chia seeds. Ta-da! 001smoothies

It felt a bit weird to be using a spoon to essentially eat a smoothie – but I think I did this backwards, and I’ll definitely try again. I think the smoothie is supposed to be the base, not the main event. I think this is supposed to be more about what you add to it than what the smoothie is. I could be wrong, but I’m going to test this theory out.

I also have never made a smoothie with just raspberries for the fruit before, and I won’t do it again. It was a little to bitter – but since I was topping with blueberries, I didn’t want to over do it!

Ultimately I view this as a compromise – it made me feel like I was eating a real breakfast since it took a minute to actually eat, but it also was still healthy. I love getting veggies in first thing in the morning. It’s always a hard balance for me – having some quick and not having it just be an English muffin with peanut butter.

If you’re going to try this, here’s what I’d suggest:

Watch how much liquid you add to the recipe – you don’t want the smoothie to be too thin.

Make sure you’re comfortable with the recipe you’ll use – I should have thought through the raspberry thing!

Presentation is everything! In truth, I think the reason these smoothie bowls have suddenly popped up across niche breakfast spots and social media posts is the aesthetic. If you’re making this to post, think about the colors you want in your bowl and how to lay them out. If you’re making this to feel more like you’re eating a meal when you have a smoothie rather than a glass of chunky water, it’s a great compromise!

Overall, I’ll definitely give this another try.

Smoothie Soup

At this point, if you use social media, you’ve noticed the smoothie bowl trend. It looks like the perfect blend of health and fashion somehow mixed up into a bowl. These smoothie bowls have a lot of pressure on them to model perfectly – one berry out of place and suddenly the bowl is just mush and not worth the insta.

Obviously, I need to explore this.

I did a quick Pinterest search of recipes to see if I was confused by what the base of these bowls was – but no, I correctly understand that this is really just a bowl of smoothie with a very staged presentation. Although I’m confused by why you might want to eat a smoothie like a soup rather than drink it – after all, isn’t the point of a smoothie that you can chug it while you’re stuck in traffic to save time? – I’ve decided to embark on a journey of creating the perfect smoothie bowl.

Since this is essentially just a smoothie in bowl form, I’m going to stick with my go-to items for smoothies:

  • I always use baby spinach as the base
  • Frozen berries – this time around I’ll use raspberries
  • Chocolate vegan Shakeology protein powder
  • Coconut Milk

01smoothie

I’ll top the bowl with some organic, whole chia seeds and organic, unsweetened coconut flakes!

Basically I’m going to approach this as though I’m making a regular smoothie, but I’m going to dial back on the liquid to thicken it a bit, and then wha-la, add some toppings!

I’ll let you know how it goes.

Phenomenal Flowers

So, I won’t say that this project came out perfectly, or that I’d do it exactly the same way again, but it was fun to make and it turned out good enough! Building a floral letter was actually fairly straight forward and ended up being a fun activity. I’d definitely change a few things – which I’ll tell you about below – and I actually think it would make a world of difference. 

So let’s recap. This week I worked to make a floral letter as part of the decorations for my sister-in-law’s baby sprinkle for her daughter. 

For this project you’ll need:

  • Fake flowers
  • Green floral foam
  • A glue gun
  • Glue gun glue
  • Wire cutters – which I didn’t anticipate, but scissors just don’t cut through the fake flower stems!
  • Some kind of knife

Here are the basic steps:

  • Layout a letter with the green foam
  • Glue foam together
  • Cut stems from fake flowers (leaving about two inches to the stem)
  • Stick the flowers into the foam to decorate

 

I began by laying out a shape with the green foam. It’s easy enough to lay out and be able to determine what letter you’re looking at, but then you need to think through how it’s all going to attach. Since I skipped a few of my planned steps – totally ignored the cardboard backing idea – I had to stick some smaller pieces of green foam into weird crevasses so I wouldn’t have gaps. This worked out fine for two reasons – the first being that the flowers covered it up, and the second being that hot glue makes ANYTHING stick together.  

I had to cut a few edges – which I did CAREFULLY with an exacto knife. This was a struggle – the blade, although sharp, was tiny, so it required a million little cuts to try to make an edge, which made a mess. After a bit of time cutting the foam, I hot glued it all together, holding the glued pieces for 30 seconds while it set.

First steps in placing the flowers onto the green floral foam
Green floral foam with fake flowers

Once I had my letter, I moved on to getting the flowers ready. I had purchased a lot of fake flowers at different points, so I laid them all out to get a sense of which looked best together.

I tried to incorporate more open flowers with a few smaller, tighter ones. I also ended up making use of some of the leaves that were on the stems of the flowers – especially to cover the inner sides of the foam.

Once I had a sense of which flowers I was going to use, I tried to cut down the stems to leave only about two inches on each. Another snag – this didn’t work. I actually think I caused some potentially serious damage to my scissors, but I haven’t had to use them again yet so I’m not totally sure! Luckily my husband was home and found wire cutters for me. He helped me snip down the flower stems, so this actually became a pretty precious couple’s project.

The great thing about working with the foam is that you can push the flower stems right in – and take it out and move it again if you don’t like how it looks. I placed and moved dozens of the flowers until I was happy.

The sides of the letter were the biggest issue. I decided not to decorate the back or the bottom since they wouldn’t be visible. I tried placing big flowers on the outside edges and greens on the inside edges. I had to play with this a lot, and to be honest, I never quite loved it.

003flowers

Next Time I would:

My first tip is to make the base big – that was my biggest issue. Once I added all the flowers on, because I hadn’t made the letter itself big enough, it began to look a little like a blob. This is why I didn’t quite love it. Although I could tell that it was a K – and I imagine that those who understand its meant to be an initial would read it the same – it sort of lost its shape. I realized this was because the flowers spread out a bit, especially the ones on the sides, and it loses it’s form. See? It sort of looks more like a blob of flowers than an initial!

My second tip is that I’d work with more Dollar Tree flowers – I think the more expensive ones could have been skipped and the result would have been about the same.

I’d also use a larger knife to make the cuts – the exacto knife was so tiny that I ended up shredding some of the foam and couldn’t get the edges straight. Oh, and I’d do the cutting over a trash bag or an easily wiped surface because the foam gets everywhere.

Overall, I’ll definitely be trying this again for other occasions.

Floral Fun

So, because in many ways I’m a people pleaser (something I’m working on!), overachiever (but not when it comes to folding laundry), and really need my reminders to prioritize my own brain/health (hence this blog!), in the two weeks following my wedding for over 200 guests, I’ve agreed to hosting a family holiday and co-hosting a sprinkle for my brand new sister-in-law. My sister-in-law has a two year old and another baby well on its way. For those of you who haven’t heard of a sprinkle before, instead of a full blown baby shower, baby number twos now get sprinkled with love, instead of showered with love.

I didn’t invent the concept, but whatever, I’ll get behind it – I’m always happy to have a party.

As part of my duties, I’m putting together some decorations for the sprinkle. This is my first time hosting a sprinkle, but don’t you worry, I’ve got a second one to host in just a few short weeks!

This mama-to-be is leaning in to all things pink for the nursery. As for the party, going for a sprinkle theme  – so think sprinkles on a cupcake, in a vase with flowers, in balloons. I’m also incorporating flowers. I found inspiration for a flower letter on Pinterest –  and without any real preparation, I’ve decided to undertake the construction of one.

Based on the images I saw on Pinterest, I came up with a quick supply list.

Here’s what I’ve purchased:

  • A ton of overpriced fake flowers
  • A few normally-priced fake flowers
  • That green stuff to stick the flower stems in – which is called Green Wet Foam or Green Floral Foam – weird names, but if you ask at a craft store, they’ll know what you mean
  • A glue gun
  • A lot of glue

01Floral

Most of this I got from Michaels Craft Store – don’t forget your coupons! I ended up adding in some flowers from the Dollar Tree as well since I was trying to stick to a budget that I was quickly ignoring. I selected the flowers based on the tones that are being used in the nursery – pinks and peaches. I also grabbed some greens to balance the bright tones. 

As for the letter itself, luckily, I’m making the first initial of the baby’s name, a K. -Theoretically I’m thinking this should be much more straightforward than the construction of a S or a Q or one of those with curves and complications, but you never know!

Here’s my plan:

First things first – make the shape. I have cardboard which I will paint – I’m painting mine white because there’s a lot of white furniture in the nursery. I think going for a green back would also make this look really clean, especially if you incorporate greens or succulents into your design.

Once I have a shape I’m happy with for the cardboard – which will be an adventure with an exacto knife, the likes of which I haven’t used since middle school tech class – I’m going to cut and attach the green stuff to it with a hot glue gun.  Also, a PSA here: although I encourage you to pause for prosecco during all craft projects, I highly recommend that this pause comes after the cutting part is done.

My plan is to trim up the fake flowers so they only have a short stem. My initial approach is going to be to just shove the stems into the green foundation and then I’ll see if I need to add glue into the mix. 

I have some concerns about this project. I’m envisioning this being a standing letter but

  • Will it be structurally sound?
  • Do I not put flowers on the bottom then so it can stand?
  • If I do that, what if the mom decides at some point she wants it hung on the wall instead? Do I just add flowers?
  • What if this comes out awful and I have spent all this money on overpriced fake flowers?!

I’ll let you know how it goes.

Prosecco, Pearls, and Positivity

I believe in a lot of things – in the value of family, the importance of friendship, in living your truth, in making every effort to make the world a better place. I also believe that sometimes, without meaning to, we lose track of the path to being our best selves.

We get busy, overbooked, overtired. We get anxious, angry, apathetic. I’m coming out of the most hectic season of my life so far, and although I’ve been incredibly lucky in all that’s surrounded me, I’ve forgotten to prioritize myself. I’ve gotten so busy doing that sometimes I forget that I’m living.

So, here I am. Bringing it back to me. Writing a friendly reminder to myself – and others – to enjoy the moment, to try new things, and to find ways to be creative. Life is meant to be lived, embraced. It gets messy and challenging, but it’s beautiful and inspiring too. I also believe that it’s important to pause for a glass of Prosecco. There’s always something to celebrate. 

A little about me – I’m in my late 20s (how terrifying), a happy newlywed, a dedicated daughter, a loving sister, a busy friend, a working professional, a part time MBA student, an aspiring author, a quiet activist, a runner, a yogi, a reader, a planner, a volunteer, and so much more – and in need of a creative outlet! I am always wearing pearls, even in leggings with dirty hair, and I am always on the go. I try to look at the bright side of everything, but I do my fair share of complaining. Oh, and I love prosecco. 

In an effort to be more present, to live life more for me than for my calendar, I’m embarking on a journey of reflection and adventure. Each week I’m going to try one new thing – a new recipe, a new craft, a new workout class, a new hairstyle – anything that’s just new. And I’ll let you know how it goes.