Sunday, June 27, 2010

Some might call it an obsession...

But I call it a hobby.  What hobby are you talking about?  Why scrapbooking of course! 

This weekend was the Great American Scrapbook Convention.  The convention comes to Chantilly every year in the month of June.  I've gone every year since I was a Junior in college and it is something I look forward to every year. I went this year with my best friends Becca and JC and we had a great time. Last week I told Drew what my plans for the weekend were and asked him if we could stop at the ATM so I could get some cash out.  I told him the cash would be my budget and I would only spend that amount at the convention and I promised not to use my card. I laughed at his shock when I told him how much I wanted to bring - "you're going to spend THAT much money on scrapbook crap?!" I believe was his exact statement. I assured him that it was neccessary for me to bring that amount and if he actually came to a convention he would understand. He shrugged, withdrew the cash and I was all set.  

For first timers the convention can be quite overwhelming at first.  This was Becca's first trip and her reaction was "Oh my God." Row after row of scrapbook and stamping vendors all beckoning us with their beautiful supplies - paper, stamps, stickers, and tools everywhere. And then there was the dollar scrapbooking vendor that sold EVERYTHING for a dollar - we were in heaven. It took us about 3 hours to get through the whole convention and we all spent quite a bit of money but we were very happy with our purchases.  It was about 2 pm when we left.  JC and I headed back to the Scrapbook store where we settled in for 10 hours of scrapping and Becca headed home on her motorcycle.  Well, we thought she had.  We got a call about an hour after being at the crop from Becca saying her bike wouldn't start. We quickly jumped in the car and rushed to help her. About an hour later we managed to get her bike started and she headed home for sure this time.  We went back to the store and continued our all night scrap-a-thon.  I tell you what, the place was PACKED! I am very happy to report that scrapbooking is still a huge hobby.  Between the thousands of people at the convention and the 30 women scrapping with us at the store, it is safe to say that scrapping is not a dead hobby. JC and I accomplished a lot - I finished my Girl's Weekend book and finished about 90% of my engagement book. JC finished over 10 pages (which I think is a record for her! haha). Below are a few of my finished pages from my Girl's Weekend book.

Friday, June 18, 2010

It's finally open!

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter is finally open in Orlando, Florida!  Today was opening day for Harry Potter World and I was very excited.  I rushed to work to try and watch the live stream of opening day activities.  Unfortunately I was unable to connect to the live feed.  But lucky for me, there are plenty of YouTubers out there that captured the video! I spent about 30 minutes this morning catching up on everything I had missed. Thursday was the celebrity preview where the actors from the series were there and they did the big reveal, fireworks and all.  Today was opening day, where it was officially open to the public. Again the actors, such as Daniel Radcliff (Harry), Rupert Grint (Ron), and Tom Felton (Draco) were all on hand to welcome visitors. I was surprised that Emma Watson (Hermione) wasn't there but she did a preview tour around the park a few weeks earlier - I guess that was planned because her schedule wouldn't allow for her to be there opening day.  Either way, the park is now officially opened! I was so excited watching footage and I can't wait to be there myself. Our trip is booked and we will be in Island of Adventure in Orlando on Thursday, September 9th and you best believe I'm making a beeline straight for Harry Potter World! I've purchased a handy new backpack to carry my fancy new camera in and I'll probably spend more time taking pictures of everything and pictures of myself with everything than actually enjoying the rides.  But that is where cut the line passes will come in handy! I am super stoked and I really wish I could have been there for the big opening!  Check out the video below for the official opening day festivities and welcoming the first guests into the park!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

I got a new camera!!!!

So my husband is absolutely AMAZING.  I've always wanted a digital SLR camera to take on vacations and use for general photography.  About two years ago Drew's dad bought his first digital SLR and I was SO jealous. All I wanted was a similar camera and here it was but in the hands of someone else. Well about a week ago the hubby and I were walking through Best Buy - he needed speakers for our computer and I was bored. So I wondered over to the camera section and began checking out what they had to offer.  The conversation started after I dragged Drew over to look at them and has been on-going for the last week.  He's been looking online for cameras and pricing them out (a $1000 camera isn't a light decision!).  Well two days ago Andrew pulled the trigger and bought me a Canon EOS 50D Digital SLR camera with a lens, two filters, an extended life battery and much more. It shipped yesterday and I cannot wait to have it in my hands. I am going to bring it on every vacation (Orlando in Sept and the cruise in March 2011) and I am so excited that when we decide to have children I have an awesome camera to capture our memories with. I'm sure I'll start shooting pictures right away and they will be posted here. :-) The first will be photos of our renovation process to get our house ready to sell.  We've started tearing up the floor in the kitchen and we are replacing light fixtures and fans this weekend!

Love my husband tons and tons for this purchase! xoxo

Extravagance on a budget, Part 2

Do it yourself!

One way that I was able to save a lot of money for my wedding was with DIY projects. This included programs, table numbers, and place cards.

1. Programs
Many brides may have a hard time deciding what kind of program they want, whether it is the traditional program or something a little more different.  For my wedding I found a fun "fan program" on The Knot and decided I wanted something similar.  One afternoon my bridesmaid JC came over and I showed her the picture and she worked on Adobe PhotoShop to recreate the fan design using my colors and information. After I was happy with the final design, we went to Kinkos to get price quotes to find out how much it would cost to print out 150 color copies (75 color pages front and back). For some reason we were shocked to find out it cost almost $1.50 a page! Or about .75 cent if we supplied our own paper. Outrageous!!  Simply OUTRAGEOUS! My programs would have cost me over $200.  I said, "No way!"  JC and I then put our heads together and a thought came to me..."Hello?! You have a photo printer at home for this kind of project! Do it yourself!"  So away we went to Michael's arts and crafts store where we purchased 150 sheets of white cardstock (50 in each pack at $4 each). Then we went home and began the process of printing out all of my programs. Somehow we managed to print out all 150 sheets (75 programs) without having to buy new ink cartridges. I couldn't believe it.  We printed out my programs for $12. I later purchased a $10 corner rounder punch, a few spools of ribbon for $1 each, and a box of jumbo popsicle sticks for $10. The overall cost of my programs was $35!  While the time and effort it took us to put them together (I called in help from my other bridesmaid Becca as well) totaled about 4 hours, it was still worth it. They were, hands down, the favorite part of my wedding ceremony.From there I purchased two $5 baskets that we wrapped in ribbon and added flowers to the side, and this is where we put the programs. 

2. Place Cards
The second DIY project we undertook were small organza bags filled with pink and green M&M's (the M&M's said "Pamela & Drew" and "4-17-10").  These bags had a small tag attached with the person's name on one side and their table number on the other. I used my awesome pink Cricut machine to die cut 150 cream circles, 38 green circles, and 38 pink circles.  We then put the circles together to match the green/pink bags and had Becca's boyfriend use his beautiful handwriting to hand write each guests name. Then we punched a hole in each circle and tied them to the candy bags. These bags were placed on the table at the entrance, right next to the guest book. Each guest came in, signed the book and grabbed a bag with their name on it. 
3. Table numbers
This was the easiest part of our table design.  I went into Microsoft Word and typed in the numbers 1-15, all spaced out evenly.  Then we printed two copies of the numbers, printed them out on left over program cardstock and cut them into even squares.  These table numbers were placed into holders that we purchased online for $1 (total of $15). 
4. Guest gifts
We put a lot of thought into what we wanted to give out as our gifts/take-aways. I love photos and picture frames and the theme of our wedding was revolving around a heart. We found mini silver photo frames with a double heart on the top that we thought were adorable.  We purchased 75 of these (they were about $1.25 each) and used them not only as our gifts but our table place cards as well.  Once a guest picked up their candy bag with their table number, they then walked to find their table.  On the table was a picture frame with their name on it to show them where to sit. The card on the inside said "Thank you for sharing our special day. Love Andrew and Pamela." And then the person's name in bold. We printed these cards out on business card paper, tore them apart and taped them into the frames. They served two purposes and were well worth the money!
We were able to save a lot of money by doing these DIY projects on our own. These home made parts of our wedding were some of my favorite parts!

Friday, June 4, 2010

Extravagance on a budget, part 1

As the weeks continue on, I've begun to hear more feedback about our wedding and what everyone thought.  The one comment that surprised me the most was when my mother's co-worker said she thought it was "extravagant."  I was surprised because I felt we didn't put too much emphasis on trying to due huge or expensive things. I think what made it seem so special and "expensive" were the small touches we added, as well as a few of the homemade ones. So I decided to give a few tips on how we made our wedding extravagant on a budget. This is part one - floral.

1. Stay away from floral centerpieces.
My biggest decision I faced for the reception was whether or not to use flowers on the tables and around the bar. When I got a price quote from my planner I was shocked at how much they wanted to charge me. Andrew and I begin discussing our options and we decided to take full advantage of what the restaurant offered us.  Basic centerpieces were part of our original package (as it is with most reception sites) so we decided to do simple touches to make it a bit more special. 
Our centerpieces were square glass vases filled with green or pink sea glass (this was included in our package).  To spruce it up we purchased green and pink floating heart candles on Ebay, which totaled $20, that we put into each vase. Then we went to Harris Teeter and purchased flowers from their flower department.  They had a sale going - 10 roses for $4! They also had a wide variety of other flowers available for $4 a bunch as well. We purchased about $35 in flowers.  For the roses we pulled the petals off the night before and packaged them into baggies. Some for the flower girl basket and the rest for the tables.  Then we rented 75 green napkins for $1 each and used a traditional white tablecloth that was included in our package.  We didn't try and upgrade - we simply used what we were offered and spruced it up a bit. We had about 15 tables and the total centerpiece cost for each table was about $3.50.  A grand total of about $52.50 for our centerpiece directions!
2. Create your own throw away bouquet.
Another way we choose to save money was to make my own throwaway bouquet.  I felt that since this was a bouquet that I was throwing in the air and quite possibly being mushed into the floor in the attempt of being caught, and then taken home by someone else, that I didn't need to pay a florist $25 to make one for me.  Instead, we purchased whiteand pink Gerber daisies, green carnations, and baby's breath from Harris Teeter ($4 a bunch!). Then we went to the dollar store and purchased 6 yards of ribbon for a grand total of $2, a wire cutter for $1 and green floral wire for another dollar.  Grand total at the dollar store was $4 + tax. We went back to the beach house and with a lot of help from my BFF/MOH, the two of us put together a beautiful throw away bouquet and a bouquet to sit next to the guest book. They came out magnificent, almost looked like a professional had put them together for us.  And we saved $15 by doing them ourselves. Below isn't the best picture but trust me, they came out great!

3. Use those bridesmaids bouquets on the head tables!
I'll be honest - this wasn't my idea.  In fact, I'm not sure which of my bridesmaids had the great idea to use the bouquets on our head tables as additional decorations but it was a great idea!  After the introductions and first dance, each of my 5 bridesmaids put their bouquets scattered out along the table. In between the framed pictures it looked amazing and like it was planned.  I also saw on The Knot a great idea is to have empty vases in certain spots around the reception hall and have each bridesmaid drop their bouquet into a vase to use a a centerpiece or decoration.  This only works well if you quite a few bridesmaids, since I had 5 it worked out well. If you've already paid for the flowers, you might as well get as much use out of them for both the ceremony and the reception!
The Bridesmaids Bouquets
The head table with the bouquets on them.

Part two will discuss other table decoration ideas, favors, and gifts for your guests! Stay tuned!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

It's a baby's world...

So I've only been married for about a month and a half now...and it seems all I hear about is who is having a baby, who found out they are pregnant and people asking when we are going to have a kid of our own.  Usually it's people on the outside - coworkers, neighbors, friends and family...but lately Andrew has really been pushing to start a family.  As excited as I am that he really wants to have kids, I've been kind of caught off guard.  Before we got married we laid out a time line for when we'd like to start our family. I also believed that we agreed we'd be married for about a year, enjoy being newlyweds and then we'd think about trying. But the moment he got a ring on my finger he started, I don't want to say harassing me, but he really started in on the whole baby thing.  My co-worker Lauren had her first son about 2 months ago (and let me tell you, he is the cutest little thing in the world) and Andrew's co-worker had her first daughter about a month ago. I feel like Andrew has baby fever.  There are babies everywhere and 3 of our friends are now pregnant and expecting a child. I have things that I want to do before we start a family - we just booked our trip to Orlando in September, which was not cheap. There is no way we can start trying to have a kid now!  I won't be able to fully enjoy my vacation if I'm 3-4 months pregnant. I won't be able to ride on the coasters or drink or do most things I'd like to do while there. In March of next year Andrew's parents are supposed to take us all on a Moore Family Cruise to the Southern Caribbean and I am so excited for that trip.  But again, if we get pregnant we won't be going.  So today we came to an agreement (and I'm not sure how long it will last) - if Andrew's mom hasn't booked a cruise for us by the time we get back from our trip to Orlando in September we will really think about trying to start to get pregnant. If she has booked a cruise we will start in March (maybe while on the cruise). He agreed but I still don't think the compromise is the one he really wants. But honestly, I just don't want to have kids quite yet. We are trying to get our house ready to sell, then we have to find a new house and move in and get settled.  I'd like to do that NOT pregnant.  I'd like to be pregnant during a time when there is as little stress as possible.  I'll finish my MBA next summer as will Andrew and we should be in a new home and settled by thing. I think that would be a perfect time to start a family...unfortunately, he doesn't agree.  So our time line for starting a family has been pushed up dramatically.  I really want kids, like I REALLY want them and I can't wait to be a mom...but I'd like to be married for at least 6 months before we have a child! It doesn't help that everywhere we go there are adorable little children being totally adorable. Or when our neighbor announces she just found out she is pregnant (they've only been trying for like a month! Can we say super sperm! haha).  Or when my best friend as well as one of Andrew's best friends is expecting a kid as well. OR when my brother-in-law and his wife decided it was time for them to start trying. It's all over the place.  It's all we talk about, argue about, disagree about, and compromise about. I'm hoping we'll get on even footing soon. I'll bear with 4 more months of him giving me a hard time before we decide our next steps...until then I'll continue trying to ignore the baby-fest!