Sunday, July 29, 2012

No post on Sundays!

Except here. Here is post on Sundays; sorry Uncle Vernon.

It's so hard waiting for an order to come in. Especially when you order it on a Friday when everyone takes off for the weekend.

Today I moved things around in the apartment to bring my desk out into the livingroom and put the storage stuffs back in the bedroom out of sight. I was going to surprise Jack while he was at work by rearranging the entire livingroom, but then I realized that in our tiny apartment that we pay way too much for (college town), there is only one optimal furniture arrangement. I hope that where we live next I can at least have some sort of option. There's just something about rearranging and getting a new perspective. It's like a breath of fresh air that only lasts for about a week, and you're ready for another breath.

While galavanting through the pages of pinterest the other day, I came across this lovely blog: Made.

She's compiled all sorts of wonderful tutorials and recipes:

TUTORIAL: Kid Pants with a Flat Front | MADE

TUTORIAL: The Shirt Dress | MADE

If I had a daughter, I would definitely do this with one of her daddy's shirts. When I was little, my father worked the graveyard shift as a police officer. Being in a cop-family was already tough, but when your dad works graveyard, not only is he gone all the time, but he changes mentally. When he worked graveyard he was always distant. How can you not be? You work all night, sleep all day, and don't have any other social interaction except with other cops. So of course, being only four or five years old, and a daddy's girl, I had a hard time going to sleep when he wasn't home. My one reconciliation that my mother came up with was to let me sleep in one of my daddy's shirts. He switched to days after a few years.

Aren't these just the cutest little outfits?

She also sells fun patterns like this Beach Robe! Which is a great idea since little ones can't really keep a towel wrapped around them and it's so important to protect them from the sun.

So check out that blog!!

Last night Jack and I scoured pinterest's humor section for a good hour. We had a lot of laughs, but by far, we like Dwight from the Office. Jack and I have a wicked sense of humor that we often try to keep under wraps when in public.

I leave you with this:


Saturday, July 28, 2012

Wedding Invitations

Here are some of the wedding invitations Jack and I are considering.

This one we like because it matches the font of our save-the-date stamp that I posted yesterday. It's just that for 100 invitations, it'll come to $234, plus RSVPs equals $407. I just really don't have that in my budget of $4,000 with 155 guests.

Next is this pretty number by Three Eggs Design.

Blue and Pink Rose Printable Wedding Invitation Set 

And last, but definitely not least:

Carolina Wedding Invitation

I especially like this one, not only for it's vintage feel, but because the customer can choose many different things in this design.

Carolina Bridal Shower Complete Set DIY PRINTABLE 
Carolina Bridal Shower Complete Set DIY PRINTABLE 
Carolina Thank You Cards DIY PRINTABLE
And look at this! Wouldn't it be fun to frame this and have your guests sign around it like a guestbook?
Custom Carolina Art Print 8x10 

I ordered samples from Minted a few days ago. After they arrive, we'll finally make a decision. 

Friday, July 27, 2012


I just ordered this here bag from Luckycann! And I'm poor again!

CARSON // Dark Grey // Luckycann // Handmade // Everyday Canvas Bag 

Isn't it pretty?! I was stuck for the longest time between this one and the Bailey:

BAILEY // Dark Grey // Luckycann // Handmade // Everyday Canvas Bag  // Sale

But! after reading all the reviews, and I mean ALL of them. I found that the Carson seemed more suited for the student life because it's dimensions are larger. What drew me toward this bag was all the pockets. When it get's here, I'll put it through the ultimate test: my life. And then I'll post about how it held up. From what I've read, everyone loves this company. I think I've read only one bad review, and one out of about 600 is not that much to me.

It's ok that I'm poor again. I needed a bag for school. The one I had and used for about three years is about to fall apart at any moment. Almost each time I shoulder it, I hear a slight ripping and I wonder "is today going to be the day?" I've always made it to the car ok, but you never know. JMU is a pretty big campus and that's a lot of worry on my skuttle to the parking lot. And once we have a baby, I plan to use it for a diaper bag. Win-win, I say!

Here is an update on my DIY Save-The-Date Bookmarks! I will definitely be selling this once I open my own Etsy shop. By the way, lovin' the Micron Pens! They're great for lettering.

I can't wait for Daniel to photograph the finished product for me!

Wedding Stuffs

I haven't written in a while, because I've been caught up in wedding stuff, so this post is going to be a bit long and pic-heavy. We've finally, finally settled on our save-the-dates. I'll be making them myself. Since our relationship started with a heated debate about whether or not Jane Austen was a feminist, our wedding has some "book decor" lying around. So, it only makes sense to have our save-the-dates be bookmarks!

So far, this is the mockup (sorry for the crappy picture. I had to take it outside since my apartment has little lighting):

On the edges, I dipped them in black ink, it's just not showing up. In the box in the middle will be this wonderfully whimsical stamp that I found on Etsy (oh how I love Etsy!):

Then I'll hand-ink in the heart with our names. I was going to buy a stamp from a lovely etsy shop owner, but my fiance saw a mockup that I was just using in place of said stamp, and he liked the idea of my handwriting. Here it is with taken with my iPhone:

Followed by the date, of course. I wish I could find a stamp maker:

I'll then use twine as the "ribbon" of the bookmark.

Speaking of the lovely Etsy: I've been thinking about opening my own shop for a while now. I have a friend in Washington state who said he would take the pictures of my things for me. He might as well be a professional photographer because he's really good at what he does.

Here is a sign that I made recently with a sharpie (isn't instagram fun?):

 I'll be getting better ink pens here soon. Actually my micron pens should be arriving in the mail today. Thank you Amazon Prime for Students!

Let's look at some other pictures (the inspiring kind) that I've found on these here interwebs:

I have fallen in love with this gown: 

I found it at The closest place selling this gown is in Cary, North Carolina, which is about 3 hours from where I live. I also have no idea how much this gown costs. My friend, who is buying my wedding dress, gave me a budget of under $1,000. Isn't that generous! She said we should look around places in town, and if I don't find what I want, we'll go anywhere to get it, but that was before she got pregnant with her second child, and I'm not sure how she'd feel about that now. It never hurts to ask. 

Watters is probably my favorite designer. Here are some others that I found, but the closest dress shops that sell them are still just too far away.

Tent rental price went up! I'm so peeved about that. What really makes me mad is that where I live we only have ONE rental company (with a population of almost 100K) that supplies tents. Know what happens when there's no competition? Prices go up, just 'cause they can, there's no such thing as discounts, oh and the business owners/manager/employees can be as unfriendly as they choose, because hey, where else are you going to rent?

Onto the drink selection! I've decided to throw a little tasting party for my bridesmaids (five of them) and my immediate family (five of them) plus Jack, our friend Jacob, and I. 13 people, if my math is correct! 

For starters, let's do an adult raspberry lemonade. I found this via pinterest and it links back to Cup of Mai:

Raspbery beer cocktail

I'm hoping it's delicious, because if I can spread the alcohol out, it'll go further. Plus it's the perfect coral-y pink that I'm looking for!

Second on our drink list is a kid-friendly Tiffany's color punch, by Eat Drink Pretty.

Won't those look pretty together?

Also, I'm determined to serve aguas frescas. They are so refreshing. If ever a Spanish-speaker offers you an Agua de BLANK, say "absolutely!" It's basically a ratio of water, fruit, sugar, and lime, ladled from a glass barrel and poured over ice. I'll probably hold the lime and set wedges aside so people can add as much as or as little as they'd like.

aguas frescas

Of course we'll also be serving plain ol' water, sweet tea ('cause we're southern y'all), cokes, and beer brewed by my sweetie and the best man.

Now for appetizers!

Pigs in a Poke! with little smokies and sesame seeds (hold the mustard)

Pinned Image

Chocolate dipped fruit skewers!

chocolate dipped pineapple, banana, strawberry skewers

Chips and dip! Someone found at Style Me Pretty:

Cute way to serve food at a cookout.  Use scalloped scissors to cut top off brown paper bag and embellish with rubber stamp.  Like it!

Stuffed Mini Sweet Peppers! I'm going to stuff mine with hummus and serve them raw:

Stuffed mini sweet peppers. Cream cheese, cheddar cheese, bacon. Low carb.

Chicken and Waffles!
Little Chicken and Waffles!!

I think that's good for starters! It'd be really cool to set up a biscuit bar. I looooove blackberry jam (not jelly! Jam!). But I don't think it's in the budget. My next post will be about all the lovely invitations I've found and what we plan to do with them besides send them out to 150 people!

Saturday, June 23, 2012

32 and Pregnant

I think the message to all little teenagers is wait!

Saturday, June 16, 2012

You're killin' me, Smalls!

Let's talk about Sookie Stackhouse, speaking different languages, and my latest dinner recipe.

I'm reading the latest Sookie Stackhouse book, Deadlocked. (Jack brought it home to me last night.) These stories are just so much fun. Sookie's with Eric, can I get an amen? and it's just wonderful. I'm only in the second chapter though, so we'll see where that goes. Once again I'm dreading the end when I'll have to wait probably another year for the next book to come out. It's like being left in limbo. You're killin me, CH!

Can't remember what I was going to say about speaking different languages. Probably about how everyone should at least learn one extra language. It's a lot of work when you aren't completely immersed into it. In fact, I was not fluent when I started at the university, but when the only thing your teacher speaks is either Spanish or German, you pick up on it pretty quickly (thought not quickly enough for my comfort.) The key is to plunge right in and start trying to speak it, literally speak it, immediately. Otherwise, you'll get washed away to sea, and then you're degree was for nothing. It's not like getting a degree in history where you read historical facts, commit it to memory and then go get a bank job because you didn't want to teach or work in a museum. With foreign language, if you don't use your skill, you're degree is completely worthless. Think about it. Two people apply for that bank job: a history major and a foreign languages major. The catch is that the foreign languages major can't speak the language he or she studied. Who are you gonna hire? You're gonna hire the one who at least wasn't stupid enough to get a degree in something, forget their skills, and then end up with a bunch of school debt with nothing to show for it.

On a more yummy note: one of my girlfriends gave me the idea of making blackened flounder for dinner. I was stuck in a rut just frying it up with onions and garlic. I tweaked the recipe she gave me because I was out of a few essential items. Then I decided the blackened flounder would taste just marvy! if I added it to a creamy fettuccine pasta. Dee-lish! as Rachael Ray would say. I don't have a picture, but I do have a video to one of the best movies James Cagney (and the beautiful Horst Bucholtz) was in:

Tuesday, June 12, 2012


Just a mini update today.

I've been playing around with photoshop lately. I figure, I've got it, might as well use it! I've been brightening up old pictures and it's fun! It was terribly frustrating for a little while. I wish I had a book or something so I could understand it all better. All the videos and tutorials out there either assume I know absolutely nothing about photoshop, or they assume that I know all the jargon and where everything is located. I don't. Terribly frustrating, but I'm working through it.

Ta-dah! Before and after:

It's cool what a couple of little tricks can do. Maybe I'll apply them to whatever wedding shots we end up with. I'm not hiring a professional photographer. They're way too expensive. Shame really.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Dear Upstairs Neighbors

Dear Upstairs Neighbors,

You're not the only ones who live in this building. If you're going to play your guitar extra loud for more than 30 minutes, please don't make it be the same six chords over and over again. I will be forced to continue to play my delightful country music as loud as I can to drown you out. (My nice next door neighbors moved out, so I don't have to worry about offending them.)

I hope your hands get run over by a Mack truck.

Anyway, isn't this a pretty dress? I'm thinking about doing something summery for our wedding since it's just a backyard barbecue sort of shindig.

And instead of flowers, I'm going to mark the aisle with paper pinwheels. The kids can have them when the ceremony is over. 

Our colors are (loosely) white, aqua/teal and coral. Since it's such a laid-back sort of ordeal, I don't think I need to stick to the colors. I mean, the napkins are going to be paper and the china is plastic, if that says anything. Turns out, it's cheaper to get tablecloths that are "like linen" instead of plastic ones. Who knew? Got lucky there.

Saturday, June 9, 2012


My mother got herself an iPhone after I talked her into it. She used her last phone until the buttons stopped working and then tried to get the same phone (refurbished) but couldn't find it, then complained that she was going to have to get an iPhone.

Here's her first conversation with me via text:

Speaking of iPhones, my brother introduced me to this cool app: SMS Rage Faces. I use the free version, but because of it's convenience, I'd spend the 0.99 for it! Here's the conversation my brother and I had this morning when he sent me a picture of his early lunch. My Ma and Step-Dad bought us a big case of potpies from Sam's yesterday (I'm the one on the right):

And here's another nursery I designed!!

Coral Nursery

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Babies and Nurseries

So I've got baby-fever. I can't help it! I'm 24 years old and should be moving on already, yet I'm still getting my BA at the university. It's ok though; ever since Jack held his new (and first) nephew, he's contracted the baby-fever as well. Don't get me wrong, we're enjoying planning the wedding, but we're also figuring out where we're going to get health insurance, and how we're going to afford all the nifty baby stuff that you just can't live without. I get kicked off of my mother's insurance this September (Obama's amazing, super awesome plan doesn't include me,) so we're still figuring out the insurance thing.

Glad you and your family's vacations are awesome and that you wife wears clothes the cost of which could feed a small nation for a year; good to see someone is enjoying my money. Hey, honey, what's for dinner? PB&J because a third of our income goes to gas. Delicious!

Anyway, with all that baby-fever comes baby-creativism. This plus the sudden introduction of Polyvore equals my nursery designs! I'll probably expand into the rest of the house too, because it's just too much fun! Not that I could ever afford all the things in the designs, but it's fun to dream!!!
White Walls Nursery

White Walls Nursery by blackdonnelly featuring a backpack messenger bag

Isn't it fun and whimsical?

I've decided that I will no longer use the choke chain. Instead I use a harness on Giggs and her collar (which is extremely loose) high up just behind her head. It's working! but I know that if I give her an inch she'll try to be the dominant one again.

Look at this darling face!


Monday, June 4, 2012

Cesar Millan and Breakfast Tacos!

Happy Monday!

Last night I made chicken tacos for dinner. I find that if we buy the big bag of frozen chicken at Walmart we don't spend as much on food. I was really wary of it to begin with. Frozen chicken in a bag seems... well whenever my girlfriend would take it out of her freezer I would hold my breath from raw-meat-fear. But I figure, she's a good mom, if she trusts it enough to give to her kids, it must not be so bad. I tried it; I liked it. Saved us money. $7.some for a 3lb. bag of frozen chicken breasts that lasts us sometimes three weeks compared to the $10.or so that we would spend buying the refrigerated that would sometimes go bad because I'd forget we had it. Whoops!

Anyway, I followed a lovely recipe from crockpot chicken tacos, which was essentially 2 chicken breasts thrown into a crockpot with half a small jar of HOT chunky Pace Picante and half a packet of taco seasoning. The recipe callled for it to slow cook for 4-6 hours but I cranked that sucker up and cooked it in two hours because Jack got off from work at 6 and I was behind. I'm sure it would have been better if I had followed the directions, but it was still pretty yummy.

For breakfast I made this with the left over chicken:

Sorry it's so grainy and kinda greenish. I don't know to technology!

Scrambled eggs with McCormick steak seasoning on tortilla with the left over chicken mixture, a sprinkle of cheese and green leaf lettuce. It was pretty freakin good and I still have some chicken left over for tonight or maybe tomorrow. So this recipe yielded 5-6 servings. I think that's on the ok side.

After I pick Jack up from school we'll go for a nice hour-long walk around the park. I was taking Giggs, because I'm trying to train or "rehabilitate" as Cesar Millan puts it, but we've hit a wall. She has improved, but only because the choke chain was on her. I don't like the choke chain; I gave it a try but I'm just not using it correctly. I try to give her some slack on the lead, but I give her an inch and she pulls, so the chain was constantly constricting and I just don't think that's healthy. Somehow I'm still not establishing myself as the pack leader. Oh Cesar Millan, please visit us and tell me what I'm doing wrong! 

I try to have calm-assertive energy, but it's like she doesn't even care about that! We're going to stick to walking around the apartment complex until I can get her to follow me that way she's less distracted by other people and dogs. (the pop doesn't work, nor does the touch.)

Sunday, June 3, 2012


Greetings from H'burg!

We signed the new lease and it goes through May 2013, then we'll be headed back to the 'Noke to finish up wedding planning and then (Lord willin and the creek don't rise!) baby planning. 

Being that my fiance and I are college students (go Dukes!), money is scarce, so I'm always trying to find cheap recipes that I can make that will last quite a while. So, two days ago we made this delicious potato soup (with homemade croutons,yum!):

 It's yielded quite a few servings since it's lasted almost three days.

Garlic Croutons Recipe:
  • Bread
  • Butter
  • Olive oil
  • Garlic powder
  • Salt
  • Pepper
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
Cube bread of choice. (I used one white bolillios roll from Walmart because there are only two of us. It made enough for four big servings!) Put cubed bread in zip-top bag.

Melt butter, add all the other ingredients. (I never really measure unless I'm baking or trying out a recipe for the first time. So add your ingredients at your own discretion. Also, though garlic powder is really good, I'd like to try real garlic next time. We were out though.)

Pour melted butter mixture over bread in the zip-top bag. Close the bag. DOUBLE CHECK to make sure bag is closed completely. Then shake, rattle and roll. Which reminds me:

Spread out the bread on a cookie sheet and pop in the oven for 10 minutes or until brown and golden.

In other news:
I started the dishwasher all by myself today. Jack and I moved in here a year ago this August and I've done everything in my power not to learn how to use it. Growing up, we didn't use a dishwasher. My sister and I were the dishwasher. At five years old, I couldn't reach the sink, so my parents pushed a chair up to the sink and said "There: Problem solved." We had a dishwasher, but I was too little to push it up to the sink, connect it, and make it run. My dad assumed we just never wanted to fool with it, so he got rid of it. Thanks Dad!  Then I hit those horribly shameful teenage years and learned that I could say "NO!" to my parents.

Anyway, since we moved in, if something needed washing, I just did it by hand. At first I just decided we would use the dishwasher for storage. So that's where I kept all my neat pots, pans, and serving dishes that I had collected over the year previous. Then school started and I just didn't have time (I probably did have time but if you include all the goofing off that I did in between studying I didn't "have time") to do the dishes by hand. My fiance took over kitchen duty and always did the loading and washing. Now that he's in school and working and I'm not in school and not working, I've started helping with the dishes and today I decided to experiment. I hope I did it correctly. From my livingroom, it sounds like it's doin it's thing.

I wouldn't want someone to go off thinking I don't do anything and my fiance does everything. Totally not true. Actually that's my biggest pet peeve right now. Friends have said to me "So are you going to find a job this Summer?" When I say no, they've answered with "So you're just going to cook and clean?" and I answer "Oh no, I'm a kept woman. I don't have to work."

It's really a shame that people think housewives don't do anything. Tell me we do nothing after you've done nine loads of laundry in an apartment size washer/dryer once a week (including picking up off the floor, sorting, loading, loading again, folding, and putting away.) Thank God clothes in the Spring and Summer are smaller and lighter. I keep this place clean and I make 2-3 meals a day. If I'm not cleaning, I'm cooking or taking the dog on her walk (and I goof off too.) Here she is by the way, our miniature pinscher Giggs (8lbs) and our giant cat Biz (12lbs):