Happy One Year Anniversary- Our Love Story

Today is our one year wedding anniversary!  I can’t believe how much has happened in a year… James got hired with the fire department, I finished my bachelor’s degree, I got a promotion at work, BellaRoo started Kindergarten, we had a baby…!

All of these events have made me love my Hubby even more.  I’ve never appreciated the little things in life more than I do now.  I’ve never appreciated the time we have together more than I do now- both as a family and as a couple.  I’ve never appreciated him as a husband, a father, a best friend more than I do now.

He has shown me what it feels like to put someone else’s happiness before your own… what it feels like to be a part of a true partnership.  We go through life trying to force relationships to work, and I think it takes finding “the one” to make you realize that this simply shouldn’t be so hard.  I’m so thankful to have found him and I’m so proud to call him my husband.

A couple of weeks ago Mackenzie at Friday Night Date Night asked me to guest post on her super cute blog.  I wrote about how James and I met, and since I’ve already posted all of my wedding re-caps, I thought I would share that story here on my blog today instead:

James and I met in a college astronomy class.  The fact that we both ended up in that class was completely random fate because he didn’t need it for his degree and just decided to take it as an elective, and I had just decided to switch from BioChem II a few weeks before the class started.  A few days before the semester started I came down with Swine Flu.  Let me just tell you that was as awful as it sounds.  I-felt-horrible.  By the first day of class I had been on meds long enough to not be contagious anymore, but not long enough to not look like death anymore.  I barely got up the energy to shower, threw on a sweatshirt, put my hair in a ponytail, and headed off to class.

This class was a lecture/lab combo and that night we had both.  I was just expecting to go over the syllabus and return as quickly as possible back to my bed, but my professor of course had other plans.  When he asked us all to get out our “star wheels” (which of course I didn’t have with me) I started to panic.  I immediately began to scan the room, knowing I need to make friends fast to find someone to share with me.  Of course I picked the cutest boy in class, who just happened to be sitting on my row.  When we got outside I introduced myself, which went something like this:

Me: Hi, I’m Emily.  Is it cool if I share your star wheel?  I forgot mine.  Oh and by the way, I promise I’m not dying or contagious… even though I look and sound like it… but I’m on meds and my doctor says I’m fine.
James: Uhh, sure.

Yep.  I was smooth, and clearly he was into me.  So after spending an hour outside in the freezing cold of January (coughing like crazy), class was over and I thanked him for taking pity on the sick girl.  We didn’t have class again until the following week but this time he came and sat next to me.  I couldn’t tell if he was shy or “just not that into me”… but I felt like he needed an encouraging nudge to ask me out (ha-ha).  So the following night I told him how I hated that class was so late (7-10pm) because I didn’t have enough time coming from work to grab anything to eat and by the time we got out of class I was starving.  Which of course opened the door for him to ask me to go grab a bite to eat after class… which he did.  Now if you ask him, he will tell you that he had been planning that all week and that it was totally his idea.

So after class we went to Steak and Shake because that was one of the few places nearby still open.  I actually hate Steak and Shake ha-ha.  We ended up talking the entire night until they finally kicked us out at 2am.  From there we were inseparable in class.  (Did I mention he had the highest grade in the class?  Did I pick wisely that first night or what ha-ha!)  I found out that he had the last season of ‘Lost’ on his iPod and soon we began going over to each other’s house after class to watch it.  About 6 weeks later we took a trip to Houston together and when we got back he said “I love you” for the first time.  I had already known for weeks that he was the one.

So when people ask us how we met, we love to say that we met ‘gazing at the stars’… sounds more romantic when you leave out the part where I was coughing up a lung with the flu.  :)  James proposed to me under the stars a year and a half after we met and we were married the following Fall.  If you would like to see pics from our wedding (and see how our ties to astronomy made an appearance) you can view them here or here.

 

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It’s the Little Things

Looking back at all these pictures now 6+ months later, I don’t remember the late nights or the stress of getting it all done… instead I am just so happy with the way everything came together.  All of these little things added something special to our big day. 

Our guestbook

My mom hand painted the tree and our names.  I purchased the canvas and inkpads from Michaels.  This is now hanging in our bedroom.

Our place cards

My mom wrote each place card by hand.  I purchased the basic place card kit from Michaels and glued on pink and red flowers (also from Michaels).

Our table numbers
James designed the table numbers and cut them out of cardstock.  We met in an astronomy class, so he named each table after a constellation.  I purchased the silver ball holders and votives from Michaels.
Our centerpieces
I purchased plain white gift boxes (with lids) from Michaels and covered them in tiffany blue wrapping paper I purchased online.  We put the flowers inside of a fishbowl vase, purchased at Garden Ridge, with water inside of the box.
Our place settings
I created this board to display our table settings.  I purchased the metallic blue hearts on Etsy and the stickers at the top from Michaels.
Our sand ceremony
We chose to do a sand ceremony with our daughter instead of a unity candle.  I purchased the sand online from Amazon, the center vase from Garden Ridge, and the glass cylinders from Target.
 
I love the huge purple section in the middle :)
 
Our favors
A local match company, Atlas Match, made these matchbooks with our names & wedding date and filled them with mints.  My dad delivers to them, and they were so great to design these for us.  Everyone loved them.
 
Our send off
James was such a trooper helping me put these bad boys together.  I purchased the tulle and ribbon from JoAnnes.
 
Whew.  All the thank you’s have been sent, the pictures have been uploaded (but not printed), I’ve spent a week wrapping it all up here, and it only took me a little over six months.  Now we can move on to all things baby!  And I think it’s about time I baked something yummy… any suggestions?  What are you baking this week?

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Wedding Vendor Reviews

Planning our wedding was surprisingly quick and painless.  We got engaged June 26th, which only left us 3 short months to get it all done.  James was very supportive during the planning process… meaning that he very wisely supported my decisions ha-ha.  He was actually a big help, I’ll show you the table numbers he designed at the end of this week.  I was impressed.

Everything from the venue, to the napkins, to the honeymoon came together perfectly.  I talked about our theme here, and with only a few minor changes, it call came out just like I envisioned!

 
 
My Wedding Coordinator: Carrie with Wedding Cadabra
 
I found Carrie on Craigslist (of all places!) and she was wonderful.  She took care of everything from ordering/providing the flowers, linens, dinnerware, to coordinating the day of.  Her husband also moonlights as a DJ– perfect combo.  She was easy to get in touch with via e-mail, phone, or text and even when we hit a few bumps (had to change my linens last minute because of a supplier issue) she always kept me in the loop.  I would recommend her for providing your linens, etc and for help the day of.  Carrie also put in little touches (like the napkin rings) to pull my theme together.  She was very affordable and will work out a payment plan.  She really was a one-stop-shop when it came to all my rental items. 
 

My Caterer: Cowboy Chicken

The food tasted great.  We ordered wood fire rotisserie chicken, famous twice baked potaters, mac and cheese, zippy black eyed peas, and green beans.  The pricing was very reasonable (less than $10pp) and we also paid for setup, serving, and cleanup.  Or so I thought.  I was later informed that one of my guests actually had to go upstairs (where the ballroom for the reception was) during the ceremony to ask the employees at Cowboy Chicken to keep it down!  Luckily, I was so busy saying my vows that I tuned it all out, but multiple guests later commented on the noise.  Ridiculous!!  If that wasn’t enough, they also did not scrape any plates, clear tables, or assist in serving cake.  All services I paid for.  I guess if I had to choose between the food being terrible or the service, I’m glad the food tasted good; however I am beyond disappointed because I paid for both.  They didn’t require a deposit, and let us come in for a (free) tasting, which was nice.  I’m not saying I would never use them again, but I would definitely recommend getting everything in writing ahead of time.

My Bakery: The Cake Guys

The Cake Guys definitely stole the show.   Hands down.   Originally I thought I wanted to do individual petit fours shaped like Tiffany&Co boxes.  (As seen on my wedding inspiration board here) We had met with other bakers while planning to go this route, but weren’t satisfied with any of them.   We went to a Sample Saturday at The Cake Guys in Duncanville and after one bite of their raspberry filling we were ready to put down a deposit.   (I don’t even like raspberry!! That’s how amazing it is!!)   The vanilla cake is so light and slightly sweet, it goes perfect with the tart raspberry and rich buttercream. (And it tasted amazing with the champagne we served…yum!)  We found the perfect ‘Sweet Inspiration’ Package and customized it to fit us.  I gave them a swatch from my sash and they matched a ribbon for the cake perfectly.  One of the owners, Chad, may look familar… it was so fun to get to watch him on TLC’s Next Great Baker.  I can’t tell you how excited I am that they have opened another shop near my work in Dallas so that I can go to cupcake happy hour regularly.  If you are looking for cupcakes, wedding cake, grooms cake, or any other speciality cake please go give them a try, I promise you will not be disappointed.

My String Quartet: Forte Strings

This was my one non-negotiable for the entire wedding; I had to have a string quartet!  I couldn’t be happier with Forte Strings.  They were very affordable and professional.  They mailed me a contract with payment plan as soon as I contacted them for booking.  Very helpful with song selection and made the whole process seamless.  They were a pleasure to work with and added exactly what I wanted at my wedding.  You can hear samples of their work on their website.  I highly recommend getting a videographer to capture the music because that day was such a blur I didn’t get to fully enjoy the music, so I am especially glad I have the video to treasure forever.

My Venue: The Historic YWCA

I can’t say enough good things about the YWCA.  From their beautiful, 1920s downtown building, to their incredibly affordable rental fees, and their amazing programs.  There were no extra fees for outside catering and they only allow one event per day (no back to back rushing, or waiting).  Partly because of this, and their affordable prices and gorgeous grounds, they book extremely fast and far in advance.  The best part of this venue is that 100% of the rental fee goes to programs benefiting:
– Free early childhood education to homeless children in Tarrant County
– Housing for young women transitioning out of Foster Care

- Housing for women of Tarrant County transitioning out of homelessness
For more information, or to make a donation, visit them here.

My Photographers: Casicline Designs and Moir Photography

I bragged on these girls yesterday, and I can’t say enough about them. They are both family to me, and have done numerous shoots for us. Wouldn’t you know that both my fav photogs live outside the great state of Texas? Cassie is in FL and Bailey is in MT, but both make frequent trips to DFW throughout the year, so if you are looking for a photog for a wedding, family, maternity, newborn, boudoir shoot, or anything please contact them!

Of course I already mentioned all of my wonderful Etsy vendors.  I have one more to add, the wonderful lady that arranged my flowers for me (all bouquets, boutonnieres, centerpieces, etc)… she doesn’t have a floral shop (though she should!), she is extremely talented and has just started an Etsy so check Jen out here. 
Thank you to all my friends and family who stayed behind to help clean up (and scrape plates).  Would not have gone so smoothly without the help from all of you!
 
Check back tomorrow when I will talk about our first cruise experience and the best chocolate cake I have ever had.

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The Day that Changed More than My Last Name

10.2.11
It was a perfect day.  Looking back, everything turned out like I wanted it to. 
I wore this
and took silly pictures with my bridesmaids.
He wore this
and took handsome pictures with his groomsmen.

We exchanged love notes and gifts before the ceremony.

Our daughter was the most adorable flower girl ever.

The ceremony was over before we knew it;
and everyone had a great time at the reception
where we ate the most delicious cake ever
and danced to our song
before riding off into the sunset
as

Thank you to our amazing photogs, please check them out at:
Moir Photography and Casicline Designs

Tomorrow I will post reviews of my vendors and give more details of our day.

I am linking up over at The Grant Life.

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Where in the World Is

Excuse my throwback reference to Carmen Sandiego.  (Anyone?)  But seriously, where the heck have I been for the past 6+ months?

Well, I haven’t been globetrotting in attempts to stop evildoers using my skills in history and geography.  No, I’ve been far too busy for that. 

Busy getting married…

Busy graduating college…

Busy supporting my husband begin his career as a firefighter…

Busy watching my baby turn 5 years old…

Busy growing a baby sister…

So, I’m sorry I haven’t been around.  I’m sorry I have seriously neglected my blog (and my kitchen for that matter… and the laundry, and the dishes… and pretty much everything that doesn’t involve the couch).

Forgive me? 

What if I promise to come back and share more about all the things I’ve been busy doing?  What if I promise not to make any more references to Carmen Sandiego or any other late ’80s cartoons?  What if I promise to start sharing more about me and my life, and not just my baking adventures?  Like how I am currently drinking my weight in chocolate milk and had a complete crazy pregnant woman meltdown over the fact we were out of chocolate syrup two nights ago?  Or how I’m pretty sure my unborn child is not related to me because she seems to hate cupcakes?  And how when I turned 25 this past January I remembered my 25 Things Before I Turn 25 List and realized how epically I failed at that.

So I promise to come back and share more; and remind you how I bake yummy things like Champagne Cupcakes and Best Ever Chicken and Rice

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My big fat Etsy wedding!

Here’s a sneak peek of some of the little details I picked up for my big day.
I purchased this sweet little pearl bracelet with a Tiffany blue ribbon for my daughter, the flower girl.  I love that sophiesboutique personalizes the keepsake box.  So sweet.  Purchase here.
These flower hair pins from SugarFlower are for my 3 bridesmaids.  They will all be wearing their hair differently, but I wanted them to have something that tied them all together.  Can’t wait to see how it comes out.  Purchase here.
Originally I considered buying these pashmina wraps from swakdesigns for all the bridesmaids, but we decided to attach straps to their dresses instead.  So I kept one for myself.  Will be perfect for cool nights on the balcony of the cruise ship!  Purchase here.
I ordered my Tiffany blue garter from hellodesigncrew.  She created a custom listing for me, but see her other items here.
I plan to use these little flowers from mairzydozy in my daughter’s hair.  James and I will also have something blue on, so this will be her little pop of color, in addition to the bracelet.  Purchase here.
And last but not least, my favorite find.  James and I both plan to give each other little love gifts the day of.  When I saw these from donnaOdesigns, I knew they would be perfect!  He and I met in an astronomy class, so these two constellations are extra special to us.  Can’t wait to give these to him!  Purchase here.
Can’t wait to share all the pics from the wedding of how all my special Etsy finds came together! 

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DIY Bridesmaid Gift by Love Endures All Things

Congrats Emily! I hope you’re enjoying your honeymoon, I’m glad I could fill in and share an idea for a DIY bridesmaid gift! I blog at Love Endures All Things and I’ve been wanting to try these leather beaded wrap bracelets for a while now. Have you seen them around recently?

I may have pinned one or two or five. But obviously I wasn’t going to pay $30 for something that seemed so easy to make. (Key word there is “seemed”)

So I set out to make my own. Michael’s had a tutorial online for one and I looked at it basically to get a supply list then I figured the rest out as I went along.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 4mm or 6mm beads (I used 6mm)
  • Round leader cord (two 30″ pieces for wrapping twice around, I had several extra inches at the end but I also have tiny wrists)
  • Large-ish button
  • Beading thread (whatever that is, or you could use beading wire…seems like that might be easier)
  • Needle that’s meant for threading jewelry (trust me on this one)
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And that’s why you need a needle for jewelry making. I thought I could just use one of my sewing needles, but when I found a needle big enough for the beading thread it was too big to fit through the bead. I made a makeshift “needle” using a piece of picture hanging wire. It was flexible, so that big loop squished down to be basically flat after I went through the first bead.

I threaded the button onto the leather cord first to get it out of the way. How you attach it will depend on how many holes your button has. Mine had four so I did this (I outlined the two different pieces in green and blue so it’s a little easier to see):

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Then you’re going to make a knot. I tied the end piece to the long piece on each side, then tied both long pieces together. I found that it was helpful to have something holding the leather pieces in place, so you have one less thing to mess with. I used this for a while, but I think it would be even easier if you could secure both ends somehow.

The next (million) steps are where it gets a little dicey. Cut off a pretty good length of thread (20 inches or so, you want to be able to get lots of beads on with it but you don’t want it to be so long that it’s constantly in the way). Tie a knot in the end of the thread and put your first bead on.

I’m going to try to illustrate the threading process because taking picture while I was doing it was way harder than I could handle didn’t show the steps very well.

So here’s what it looks like without all the arrows (that little red blob at the beginning is the knot by the way):

Now what’s a girl to do when she runs out of thread? Good question. Tie your thread off. I made a knot around one of the leader cords. Then cut some new thread to work with. I made a couple knots around the thread of the previous bead to attach it. You could attach it straight to the cord probably but I didn’t want it sliding down.

Now this whole thing might seem a little overwhelming. And at first it is. But around the time you think you won’t finish until next Christmas you’ll start to get the hang of it and find a way to thread the beads that’s slightly more efficient than the sloppy way you started. Or maybe that’s just me (mine did not start off well).

Once you get to the length you want (or close to it…my loop adds an inch to the overall length) you’ll need to make a loop to go over the button. I’m going to send you to another site for tips on knots because I can’t remember exactly what I did and I’m pretty sure it’s not even a real knot they already have nice illustrations and even animations of knots. I would suggest the figure eight or maybe the yosemite bowline.

So there you go. Perfect for gifts or yourself! I think I spent less than $10 and I had plenty of cord and thread left
for at least one more bracelet. Much nicer than $30 bucks plus shipping,
right?

Also, I am clearly not qualified to be a hand/wrist model so please forgive the next few awkwardly posed shots. :)

What are some of your DIY bridesmaid gift ideas?

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The Big Day!

Today is the big day!

Everyone has been so amazed how calm I have been planning my wedding.  I can’t believe the day is finally here!  Let’s see how calmy I make it through this!  At this point, I must admit, I am really excited about the Honeymoon.  I can’t tell you the last time that I went away for vacation for a whole week!  We will fly out of Miami tomorrow and cruise to Grand Turk, Half Moon Cay, and Nassau.  I am so excited!

Check back this week for sneak peaks and guest posts. 

For now, take a look at our engagement pictures… taken by my dear friend CasiCline Designs.

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I am getting married!

… in 47 days to be exact!

Don’t worry, wedding plans are in full swing.  As you can tell, I’ve been so busy I haven’t had time to blog!  I have a two week break from school (before my LAST semester) so I feel like I have a few days to breathe.

I have already booked/ordered/decided on: the venue, the caterer, the cakes, the string quartet, the linens, the flowers, the groom/groomsmen attire, the bridesmaids dresses, flower girl dress, and the centerpieces.  I am doing everything in Tiffany blue, black and white damask, with red and pink flowers.  Sounds like a lot, but it comes together I promise… see below…

Follow more of my wedding style at my other latest addiction: Pinterest

Of course that’s not *THE* dress because my future hubby has been known to visit my blog :) … but it was my inspiration when I went shopping.  I am seriously in love with that boutonniere! (How cute, right???)  The bridesmaids and groomsmen will wear all black.  That is the exact picture I took to the cake place, so it will look very similar.  I also have those exact place cards but the flowers will be red and pink instead.  (Does anyone know a printer that could print these? Since they are so small I am thinking I will have to hand write.)  The tables will be Tiffany blue floor length tablecloths with damask runners and white chair covers with damask sashes.  Whew!  I joke that this isn’t so fun anymore now that everything has been decided on and now it’s just down to paying for it haha.

One thing I am most excited about is the string quartet for the ceremony.  I love the sound of Pachelbel’s Canon D played with strings.  Next thing I’m most excited about? The Honeymoon! We are going on a cruise to the Bahamas for a week.  A week away with no cell phones, no Facebook, no work…. just the two of us on an island!  Ahhhh, is it October yet???

Have you been on a cruise?  Any tips?

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