Thursday, December 8, 2011

What Christmas Means To Me

Christmas is near and dear to my heart, as it is to lots of people. Have you ever thought about why it's so important to you? Or thought about your most memorable Christmas?

Number one reason it's celebrated is because it's Jesus' birthday. Jesus is the reason for the season, as I say every year.

It's also about spending quality time with my family, friends, loved ones. It's about smiling from morning til night because we're alive, and we're here, and we are all full of joy and celebration. It's about celebrating love and health, and life. It's about giving the gift of joy. It's about giving. It's watching someone open a gift you spent hours making or shopping for, and seeing the joy across their face. It's about hope. Hope for another year of good health.
 (Pictures from 2010)

Every year as I begin preparing for another joyful Christmas, I reminisce of the past. I reminisce about the life size doll my grandmother gave me as a child and I miss her greatly but know that she is watching us from Heaven. I reminisce about my childhood and still remember the feeling of my heart fluttering as my brother, sister, and I lay in a giant bed and heard the bells of the reindeer and Santa on our rooftop. I reminisce about coming to the top of the stairs in our home to see the gifts that Santa ever so gracefully placed under the tree, in order for Jason, Josh, me, and sister (Josee). I reminisce.

I cry for kids in orphanages and for homeless people every year. Every year, I donate to Toys for Tots and most years I shop for a family for Christmas and I'm not announcing that to get praise, I'm announcing it because I truly want all the children in the world to feel that joy that I felt, every year, every 25th of December, every Christmas.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Jen's Baby Shower

A few weeks ago, my sister, mom and, I through a baby shower for one of my best friend's Jen, who will be having her baby McKayla very soon. She is 32 weeks today, so I thought it was fitting to blog about her baby shower today.

Her nursery is Winnie the Pooh themed, so together with that theme, and lots of pink, we created a sweet, beautifully chic baby shower. So pretty.

Here are some pictures of the adorable decorations: {Thank you so much sister and mama for the help & to sister for taking the pictures}

The cupcakes had the cutest pink diaper pins on them that read "baby". I even was able to use my wedding cake stand as a stand for the cupcakes. Perfect.

We had 2 round tables where the guests sat and played games. At each table setting, we had a favor in those little chinese take-out boxes. The boxes were filled with candy and little mints that had 'baby girl' packaging. The centerpieces went perfectly with the theme and balloons.
 The diaper cake was made by yours truly, and was made using nearly 50 diapers. The center was filled with a Winnie the Pooh bottle and rattle. The outside was adorned with Winnie the Pooh pacifiers and pacifier clips.
And there were lots of gifts for baby McKayla:
And then it was some time for some pictures of us with Jen and how cute is Kate's new babygirl (bottom left)? Her name is Mickaela, too.. and she was just 3 weeks and so perfect and beautiful. My beautiful sister, mom, and me (top left) Jen and mama (top right) and myself and Jen (bottom right):
I created cute gifts for the winners of the games and Mama won 2 of them! Way to go, Mama! She's always so great at games/competitions. :) Isn't my mother gorgeous?

We had such a fun afternoon celebrating and we can't wait for baby McKayla to arrive! She is one loved little girl already. :)

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Simple Joys.

-Dakota getting so excited he can't stand it whenever he sees me, even if it's been 2 seconds since he last saw me
-Chatting with sister and mama about anything and everything
-Talking to hubby in bed about our dreams and memories of the past
-When hubby calls me turtle, bunny, & babe
-Pepsi with lots of crushed ice
-Big ugly cute sweaters and boots
-Getting texts
-Reading the note I wrote hubby on our wedding day and crying about it
-Crafting something that turns out so cute
-Mcdonald's mushroom and swiss wrap.. yummy
-Women's Day magazine
-Shopping with mama & sister
-Lunch dates with my parents
-Getting catalogs in the mail
-Pretty fabric, doilies, scrapbook paper
-Cute striped socks
-Reading fun blogs
-Mountain Dew slushes be continued. Remember to wake up and smell the coffee! Don't overlook the simple beautiful things this world has to offer and really focus on what makes your heart sing.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Christmas Craft Night with Sister

Mama, me, and sister have been planning on having a night of creating Christmas crafts for quite some time now. Sister and I had a craft night a couple days ago and we had so much fun! We drank wine, listened to Christmas music, made ornaments, ate too many pizza rolls and chips and dip, and even relaxed at the end of the night watching Bride Wars. Sometimes it's the little things. We had a wonderful night. I can't wait for our next craft night - Mama is going to join in on the fun and we will be making snow globes - sort-of - rather a twist on snow globes!

We started the night off right.
Yes, that is ice in our red sweet wine. Mmhmm. So yummy. And that is a lot of craft supplies. You've got some pom poms, syrofoam balls, yarn, lots of ribbon, sequins, and more sequins, straight pins, and felt. Good to go.

Want to see some of our lovely creations? Sister is awesome and taught me how to create these neat sequined ornaments. Love love love them! These are some of her creations. Aren't they adorable?! I swear hers look like you would buy them at a store!

And because this is hubby and my first Christmas as a married couple, I figured of course we need an initial ornament. I wrapped it in yarn and hung it from a mason jar that I filled with teal beads. And I made a vintage button ornament, a bird sitting in a nest, and my favorite: a sequin ornament which was taught to me by sister. 

And hubby and I put our tree up this weekend. I feel like it has the exact feel I wanted. It looks vintage-ish, but with an updated modern appeal. Goodness, I love it. I love the mixture of teals and pinks. So pretty. Just how I had envisioned it.
Do you make your own ornaments? If so, I'd love to see them, post them below. After our next craft night, I'll share with you our beautiful snow globes, I'll give you a hint: they are Anthropologie inspired.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Thanksgiving - Recipe Must Haves

This year for Thanksgiving, Jeremy and I are hosting. We are having my family over for a Thanksgiving supper. We are going to have everyone bring a couple dishes and have a buffet feast. I'm very excited to cook with my mama and make our favorite vegetarian dishes.My mama will be making a mashed potato casserole, which I will be sharing the recipe after Thanksgiving, along with some yummy mushroom noodles.

For now, here are the recipes for a few of the yummy casseroles I will be in charge of making.

Green Bean Casserole:

1 (10 3/4 oz.) can CAMPBELL'S® Cream of Mushroom Soup
3/4 cup milk
1/8 tsp. black pepper
2 (9 oz. each) pkgs. frozen cut green beans, thawed*
1 1/3 cups FRENCH'S® Original or Cheddar French Fried Onions

MIX soup, milk and pepper in a 1 1/2 -qt. baking dish. Stir in beans and 2/3 cup French Fried Onions.
BAKE at 350°F for 30 min. or until hot.
STIR. Top with remaining 2/3 cup onions. Bake 5 min. until onions are golden.

Scalloped Corn Casserole:
4 cups fresh or frozen corn
 1 cup skim milk 
1 cup crushed saltines (about 30 crackers), divided 
3 tablespoons butter, melted 
1 tablespoon sugar 
Salt and pepper to taste  

 In a large bowl, combine the corn, milk, 3/4 cup cracker crumbs, butter, sugar, salt and pepper. Transfer to a greased 1-1/2-qt. baking dish. Sprinkle with remaining cracker crumbs. 
Bake, uncovered, at 325° for 1 hour or until a thermometer reads 160°. Yield: 6 servings.

Cornbread Stuffing (Recipe to come):

And a NEW recipe that we've never tried is this amazing dessert: Pumpkin Cheesecake Pie:
How delicious does that DOUBLE layer pumpkin cheesecake look? To be honest, I'm going to use this for the cheesecake: 
It's amazing flavored, and literally NO BAKE! The simpler a recipe is, the better for this lady! And for the pumpkin layer of the pie, I will be using this recipe:

  • 1 can of pumpkin (15 ounces)
  • 1 can of sweetened condensed milk (14 ounces)
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 teaspoons of pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 9 inch unbaked pie crust
Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
In a medium bowl whisk together eggs pumpkin, sweetened condensed milk, pumpkin pie spice and salt until smooth.
Pour into unbaked crust and bake for 15 minutes.
Cover the edges of the pie with tin foil.
REDUCE OVEN TEMPERATURE TO 350 and continue baking for 25-30 minutes or until a knife inserted 1 inch from the crust comes out clean.
Cool. Garnish with whip cream.
Cover and store leftovers in the refrigerator.

Wish me luck. I'm super excited, but can you believe it's Tuesday evening and I've yet to go grocery shopping yet?! Happy Thanksgiving, folks!

I'll be posting a blog post this weekend about the baby shower I hosted for one of my best friends! Lots of DIY projects for the holidays, plus more so stay tuned!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Christmas Wish List - books

Dottie Angel 
This book comes with a scrap of fabric, vintage buttons, and a doily. Yum. Just my type of book. :)

 Aren't they all so pretty? I know you shouldn't judge a book by it's cover, but man if I were to design a cover for a book, these would be my inspiration. There are a few more books and magazines that I may add to my wishlist, but for now, these are my top 3 contenders. I've heard nothing but positive remarks about all three of them!

What's on your wishlist? Do you have any recommendations for books I should add? Do you judge a book by it's cover?

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Living Room Inspiration Board

I created an inspiration board this morning featuring some vintage chic looks that I adore and hope to recreate in my living room. Cute, huh?!  I just love the colors - they are just beautiful & I adore the textures. I have a large collection of mason jars as it is & love how they have embellished them with scrapbooking tags! The owl pillow is calling my name! The embroidered artwork with the mason jar is just precious and a must-have, as is the chevron area rug.

And just so I give credit where credit is deserved, here is where I found each of these items and I've included links so you can purchase them! :)
1) Chevron rug can be bought here! They come in different sizes and colors and are gorgeous!
2) Cute white end table can be purchased here.
3) The adorable owl pillow, which is also baby safe for all you mommie's or soon-to-be mommies out there, can be bought at Dwell Studios!  For just $22.00, you can't beat that!!!
4) The embroidered Mason Jar wall art display says "I am beginning to learn that it is the sweet, simple things in life which are the real ones after all. -Laura Ingalls Wilder" is made by Etsy seller ACottageLife and can be purchased here. How sweet are all of her items? So perfect for gifts or to spoil yourself ;)
5) The mason jars on a shelf with embellishments were found here. What a fun DIY site, too! You should totally check it out for some ideas for awesome new projects!
6) The amazing picture of the mason jars was taken by the talented Betsy Dallas Photography! Check out her work!
7) The super cute couch with the even cuter pillows was found on Knack.
8) Amazing, adorable fabric flowers in a teal vase can be found here along with an awesome tutorial for you crafty folk! {Or just have me make them for you! ;) }

Feel free to share the inspiration board, but please post a link to my blog :)

I'm struggling to find the PERFECT area rug for my living room. I'm asking for one for Christmas, and I want it to be the perfect one. I found a really nice, gray rug at IKEA that I love, here is a picture of it:
I'd be very happy with either the chevron rug or this one! Maybe I'll put both on my Christmas list and let it be a surprise! ;)

What's on your christmas list this year? What's your favorite item I blogged about?

Friday, November 11, 2011

Dogs AKA Furbabies

My dogs are crazy, lunatic, WAY TOO WILD, full of energy, NEVER lay on the couch and sleep, naughty, NO GOOD dogs!

They have selective hearing. For example, I'll say "No, get out of there!!" when Buddy Bill tries to jump in the bathtub. Does he listen? NO! But if he's trying to jump in the bathtub and I say, "Let's get a TREAT!" He turns around and runs into the kitchen next to the cabinet under the sink where the treats lie and waits for a treat! Who's in control?! Certainly not me! Drives me crazy. Or Dakota who manages to run out the front door every time it's opened... I yell "Dakota! Come inside! Dakottttaa!" and he runs further from me. Again, I say the magic word "Come get a TREAAAAT Dakota!" and he's running to me in a heartbeat. Dang dogs.

Anyway... they are cute when they want to be. It makes my heart happy seeing these pictures, and for a second, it reminds me why these pups are mine, and not yours and why I put up with the crap they put me through.

And on a completely unrelated  topic, check out these beautiful rose ranunculus bouquets that needed to be shipped out. Aren't they simply gorgeous?! I just love the way they turned out. They are sitting in a planter that I scored from an auction in a $5.00 box. I didn't even know it was in there, but I love it!! And it makes a great backdrop for pictures, too! More on that a different day! 

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Ready To Move.

I have a major issue. I am ready to move out of our apartment, and we still have over a half a year left on our lease. I want to move into our 'first home' and feel that joy of really knowing that it is ours and that we can do with it what we want. I want to be a first time home buyer. I want us to be first home buyers, and look over at eachother when we get the keys to the house, and think 'WE DID IT!'

Don't get me wrong, I absolutely loved our apartment when we first moved in, but after a year and a half of living here with our two furbabies and all of our belongings, myself, and my husband, we're crowded, and this 2 bedroom, 1 bath apartment isn't doing it for me anymore.

My hubby really loves it here because technically it has been 'our first home',  and I feel guilty for not loving it like I used to. He's very sentimental and he said it would make him sad to leave here.

So my plan is to continue trying to make our current home feel comfortable and cozy, and save save save and hope that by next Fall, we're able to buy our first home.

Garter Orders for Beth & Caitie!

Monday, October 17, 2011

It's been a busy week and a half at Memories Made Boutique! We've had an alarming amount of orders! Exciting stuff, my friends!! Here are some of our most recent garter creations - I love garters!! :)

So there you have it! In the second one pictured {red and black garters}, the client asked me to include some blue lace for her 'Something blue', so I figured, why not shape it into a heart? Super cute, and clever? I'd like to think so! ;D

Well, folks... it's time to spend the evening with my husband. We're ordering pizza and sitting on the couch with the pups and watching Breaking Bad. Can't wait.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Your Compliment Made Our Day!

So as you probably know, my sister and I have our own business where we sell our awesome {If I can say so myself!} creations. I opened up our business email account today to find an email from a recent client of ours saying this:

"Hi ladies!

I just wanted to say how incredibly impressed I am with my garter set! I love them oh so much! When I opened up my package and saw them and how beautiful they were I couldn't stop jumping around and squealing. They are sooo pretty! I hate that I'm going to have to part with the toss garter. It's too pretty to be wrapped around some drunk guy's head! Anyway, you guys are fantastic. I have never had such great communication throughout any process. You guys rock. Thanks for the amazing garters. I will be sure to tell all of my bride-to-be friends about you.


I put her name down as anonymous, as I hope she won't mind me sharing this with you all, but seriously, it made my day!! Thank you SO much for your business and I just want to let you know how happy we are that you love the products you purchased from us! :) We strive to make our clients happy, and knowing that we did is the best feeling!

And here is the garter set she purchased from us that she was so thrilled about! This is our vintage, shabby chic garter set:

Isn't it elegant, unique, and beautiful?

Be sure to check out Memories Made Boutique on Facebook and also on Etsy!!
We make something for everyone and if you don't see it on our site, just ask us, because we LOVE custom orders! :)

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Nab It.

Recently I was at Wal-mart shopping - surprise, surprise! I came across a clearance shelf filled with board games! Woohoo. I love playing games - it's fun with my husband, family, and/or friends! I especially LOVE word games. Scrabble is my favorite game, ever. That, and crosswords. Anything that I can think a lot, and get my brain working. So anyway, I came across a word game actually made by the creators of Scrabble, called "Nab It". It's insanely fun, and hubby & I are obsessed. I mean, sickly obsessed. It's become our newest hobby. We have "Nab It" competitions and we win things such as back rubs and tickles. Mmhmmm. He's yet to win, and my back rubs & tickles are starting to really add up.

Tonight we shall have another "Nab It" competition, eat macaroni and cheese & watch Big Brother. Exciting, my friends!

Also very excited to go shopping tomorrow with a close friend of mine. I'm taking my giftcards to Lane Bryant and hoping to get some new Fall-ish duds!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Simple DIY Frame.

This is what a can of oop's paint can do for you! :) The frame started out an ugly greenish-gold, and after a couple coats of paint, the frame looks as good as new! After is on the left, obviously.

In other news, I'm obsessed with the song "Someone Like You" by Adele. I'm also obsessed with my dogs, still. They STILL are frantically running around the house getting into everything & destroying all of our things, but I still can't help but laugh at them. Does that make me a bad mother? I'd say so, but oh well. They're hilarious & cute. We've watched a couple movies in the last couple days I highly recommend: Hard Rain & Limitless. Limitless, more so. It was amazing, but yet so weird. I felt so compelled to watch the whole thing without even thinking about closing my eyes, even though I was so so very tired. Let's see, what else is new... I'm getting so entirely sick of customers saying they want me to make their bouquets, and then I never hear from them again... or the brides who message me saying they want to buy a ready-to-ship item & again, never hearing from them again. I won a couple $25.00 off coupons for Lane Bryant today, and I'm excited to use them on getting some new fall duds.

And I'll leave ya with a quote that I keep telling myself over & over & over again lately:

Life. is. what. you. make. it.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Bringing in Turquoise.

I've had an obsession with all things turquoise/teal lately. My living room color scheme has been deep reds, burnt oranges, and dark greens for a long time now & I was ready for a change. I'm going to slowly, but surely start bringing in turquoise. After scoring some awesome vintage mason jars that are teal, I thought now was the time. Homemakers was having an amazing deal on select pillows -- $4.00 a piece! I couldn't believe it. I bought 3 pillows out of the $4.00 bin and somehow my mom managed to find the cutest, most perfect pillow for $5.99, regularly $29.99. I love me a good sale. Plus, it was PERFECT! Thanks, mama.. you're always finding me the greatest deals! And an easy way to really bring a new color into a room is by using decorative throw pillows! Here they are:

I'm in love. I can't wait to really get started on this color scheme change in my living room! Isn't the mustard yellow & teal such a perfect color combination?! Just wait for my next project!

What easy quick changes have you made to your color schemes in your house?

Friday, August 26, 2011

Sheraton Review: POOR

Our wedding day was absolutely wonderful, that night after the wedding was a different story! We had booked a hotel about a month prior to our wedding, and we were super excited! Anyway, as the night ended, we drove to the hotel, only to find out that they overbooked the hotel & didn't have a room for us. I was standing at the counter in my wedding gown, standing with my father, who was in his tux & they turned us away. It was not a pleasant experience, to say the least.

Anyway, we have hassled with corporate and the management of the hotel for almost 3 months to get our money back and finally talked to someone who said we could get our money back and also get a complimentary stay in a guest room. Jeremy talked to them at the beginning of the week and insisted that we deserved a suite, and they agreed to it. They also included 2 tickets for breakfast. So we made plans to stay at the Sheraton on Friday night (Tonight!).

Jeremy and I were looking forward to an evening of champagne, Applebee's, games, and just hanging out. We got to the hotel and the man working wasn't aware of our stay being complimentary, so we had to explain several times the situation; He finally got it. Then, he gave us our key & we headed to our suite. When we opened the door, the room had a funny smell. Jeremy commented on it, and I kind-of brushed it off thinking it might have been because the air conditioner was off and it was a little muggy and warm in there. We sat on the couch watching King of Queens and finally decided to go get Applebee's Carside to Go, which was just across the street from the hotel. Upon returning to our suite, we noticed an even worse smell. We had hot food and so we sat down and ate. The smell wasn't really bothering me too much at this point. Jeremy then went out to the car to get our bag of clothes so we could have our swimsuits, as we were going to go swim. When he came back to the room, the smell was worse & he told me to leave the room for a minute and come back in so I could see how bad the smell was. I left the room for about 5 minutes and came back in and I felt nauseous & like I was going to throw up! The smell was awful. We couldn't stand it.

We went to the front desk and told the lady working. She didn't apologize. She didn't say she was sorry for the inconvenience. Mind you, this was the same lady who didn't act sorry about leaving us stranded on our wedding night, the same lady we fought with for 3 months in an attempt to get our money back. Just when we thought she was going to help us (she had told us she just needed to make us a new key and she would get us another room) a man walked up to the counter and she literally looked around us & started helping the man BEHIND us in line. Jeremy and I were getting so irritated. It was so rude! So, after she helped the man BEHIND us in line, she came back to us & finally handed us a key.

Now you'd think it was a happy ending, right? WRONG! We went to our "new" suite, and it, too, smelled like sewage! I walked in the room and told Jeremy I was going to throw up, and by this time, we were both so fed up that we agreed we were better off going home. Jeremy returned the keys and told the lady working that the second room stunk, too & we were leaving.

Now we're at home, on a Friday night, and I'm blogging while he's watching 24. Not at all what we were looking forward to all week. I will never, ever give my money to the Sheraton. I will never, ever recommend the Sheraton. I hope you won't either. Their customer service sucks & the rooms stink (Literally!!)

I'm contemplating just going to bed, I hope this weekend gets better!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Bedroom Make-Over PART 1!

Now that we signed another year lease here in our good ole' apartment, I can stop house hunting, and start redecorating! I'm sure I'll be ready for a change when our lease is up anyway! So, the first room I decided to work on is our bedroom. Since we've moved in, we've never had a 'theme' in there. I hate rooms that are blah or a mixture of so many color schemes. I've never really cared about our room, for some reason. Honestly, it's just not very pretty, so I never spend any time in there, except to sleep or get dressed. So anyway, the other day my mom, sister, and I went to a bunch of garage sales and I scored 21 vintage doilies for just $5.00!! (Thanks to my mom, who took the box of doilies up to the lady who was selling them & threw out the price, and SCORED! The lady was originally asking $1.00 a piece!) So anyway, you may be wondering why I would need 21 doilies? Well, I wanted to make vintage bunting! I also went to Home Depot and picked up all different shades of purple, black, and white paint chips, some clothes pins and I got to work! Since we moved in, a year ago, I have never done ANYTHING to this wall. Nothing. It has sat bare. But no longer is it bare, here is what's on it now:

So there you have it (The end result of this DIY project that cost a mere $6.00)
Clothes Pins- $1.00 for 100
Doilies- $5.00 for 21
Paint Chips- FREE
Ribbon- FREE (Already had)

And how cute does it look? (I've since removed the hanging ribbon on the right hand side - I got overly eager to photograph this project before I was completely finished) Of course I'm not finished with the wall, don't you worry. I'm planning on adding some of our wedding pictures to the wall, either hanging from clothes pins, or just hanging in some vintage frames! Stay tuned to see the final reveal of this wall! :)

Furbabies {Dakota & Buddy}

Buddy Bill has those puppy dog eyes that melt your heart, but don't let that fool you: he's a monster! A cute one, but definitely a crazy, wild beast. He's a puggle with the sweetest personality. He just needs to learn to listen. This morning I was outside with him and the maintenance men were working in the yard, and what does Buddy do? Pulled at the leash so hard that I almost fell forward, but the only thing he wanted to do was go say "Hi!" and wag his tail at the workers. :)

This is Dakota. He loves baths, can't you tell? Don't let the scared eyes tell you differently. I think today will be another bath day for Kotybear. He's a shihpoo and requires frequent baths to keep his white coat clean. He's a big ball of joy. He's always running around and playing with Bud. When I got him, I thought he was going to be much bigger when full-grown, but he's pretty much stopped growing at 12 pounds. I'm okay with that. I dress him in cute clothes & he loves it.

So there you have it: my furbabies. I talk (complain) about them a lot, they're my children for now. I love them dearly & try to train them on a daily basis. I fail miserably at training them, but oh well! I have 2 cuddle buddies that are so darn cute, it's hard to stay mad at them for long!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

So it begins...

I've kept a journal for as long as I can remember. I decided it was time for me to create a blog not just about my feelings, but about my adulthood. My growing up. I changed my last name, lost my job, started a new business partnership with my sister, and now am on a constant whirlwind of living life, redecorating, repurposing old items, frantically making flower bouquets for clients, taking care of my two dogs (WHO ARE A LOT OF WORK!!) and trying my hardest to be a fantastic wife to my amazing husband. It's a lot of work being me. ;) But really, I love my life, and I love how everyday is the start of something beautiful, hence the name of my blog - Forever Beginnings. Because forever, is a long time, without new beginnings. So read along as I learn the beauty in living life as an adult! It's going to be a rollercoaster ride with all these twists and turns that life gives us, but I'm going to take it all in & I hope you will, too.