Fun on Friday – Links Around the Web

Hey all! I just wanted to pop in real quick and say hello! I’ve been frantically working on lots of new stuff lately, and I can’t wait to share it all with you. Until then, I thought I would share a few amazing things I’m loving right now from around the web:

  1. These Kate Spade wine bottle stoppers make me want to open all the wine in my house just so that I can use these pretty stoppers! That’s a lot of wine!! Well, it is the weekend, right?!
  2. This Magical Disney Proposal Story is the coolest I’ve ever read about. Check out her ring…and those custom engagement MagicBands!!!
  3. Metallic are my favorite. I especially love these gorgeous metallic sequined bridesmaids dresses. Head over to Style Me Pretty for tons of metallic and sparkly wedding ideas!
  4. Ice cream is one of my best friends. Yeah, I befriend inanimate objects! Head over to Sara Harvey’s site to catch an adorable DIY with those pretty little wafer cookies…here’s a hint – she makes them look like ice cream!
  5. I’ve been on the lookout for a crochet pattern for little hexagon pouches. I want to make hexagons that I can stuff like little raviolis and make into a quilt. I havn’t begun yet, but I think I found a hexagon pattern!

Well, my dears, that’s it for today. I hope you all have a happy and healthful weekend! All my love!

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28 Days of Adding Happiness – Cheesecake!

I’m so excited about my first blog post for the 28 Days of Adding Happiness! This is going to be so much fun. Sarah and I have a lot planned for you during this series. If you haven’t already read post number one on Sarah’s blog, you’ve got to read it! Yesterday she posted an awesome tutorial for making a statement necklace. It’s gorgeous!

Before I jump right into an amazing recipe, I wanted to tell you why I am so excited about happiness. It seems that most days we all rush around in a haze just trying to beat a clock or get ahead. We often loose site of the most important things that we can do for ourselves. Yeah, I said it – you can do things for yourself! Happiness doesn’t have to be a foreign concept. It can actually be something that we ensure for ourselves each day. Through taking care of bodies, making pretty things to wear or give to others, and even reaching out to others can make your own day better.

A really important part of being happy is taking care of our bodies. When we eat junk, we feel like junk! The hard part is that it is so easy to eat junk every single day, and that turns into a vicious cycle of eating junk, feeling like junk, eating junk, etc. What many people don’t realize is that eating healthy and taking care of our bodies doesn’t have to mean a huge green salad for every meal. You can still indulge; you just need to do it smartly.

Today I want to teach you a really yummy recipe for cheesecake. It’s pretty incredible tasting, and when you see the ingredients, you’ll be doing a double take. Yes, you still want to eat it in moderation because of the high calorie count, but with each bite you are giving your body some wonderful ingredients. Is there a better way to eat delicious food and make your body happy at the same time? I don’t believe so!

Cheesecake IngredientsHere’s your recipe:

Crust:

3/4 cup almonds

1/2 cups pecans

4 tablespoons almond butter

1/2 chip cacao powder

4 tablespoons coconut oil

4 tablespoons agave

Filling :

4 cups cashews

4 tablespoons coconut oil

10 tablespoons agave

2 vanilla beans (scraped)

3 teaspoons nutritional yeast

Juice from one lemon

Mixing Ingredients

mix all ingredients for the crust in a food processor until mixed well and dough-like.Crust

Press the crust into a pan and set it aside.
Pouring FillingNext, do the same with all the ingredients for the filing. Spread the filing over the crust layer.
FillingPut your cheesecake in the freezer for 2 hours. Take cute pictures of your dog while you wait.
puppyOnce the cheesecake has set up, remove it from the freezer and top it off with a topping of your choice. I love fruit on mine!Finished_Bite

 

Enjoy! Tomorrow you will have to head back over to Sarah’s blog for another fun post!

 

Meet Sarah of With Love Paper Goods

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Earlier this week I told you to get ready for some great stuff coming soon to the blog. This coming Sunday is the start of “28 Days of Adding Happiness” an incredible series I am teaming up with Sarah from With Love Paper Goods to bring to you. I can hardly wait! However, today I wanted to introduce you to Sarah. I think she is pretty awesome, and I know her little business is as well. I think you are really going to love her too, so I interviewed her for you. That way, during the series, when I send you over to her adorable blog, you’ll already feel like you know her!

With Love Paper Goods is such a great shop! I love your style so much! Can you tell us how your business began?

I started With Love Paper Goods with the desire to create beautiful, custom stationery for brides. I really wanted a creative outlet and realized my passion for art and stationery was something I could turn into a business. The relationships I’ve gained through the business are simply invaluable.

Why do you continue to do what you do?

Most people don’t know this about me, but I am actually a Montessori school teacher during the day and a stationery designer at night. Both careers have given me immense joy and that’s honestly the fuel of “why I do what I do.” I love waking up every morning knowing I’m going to learn or meet someone new. Marriage has been the biggest blessing in my life and getting to know couples who are choosing to embark on the same journey is delightful. It puts life into a perspective I never thought I’d see it in and makes me thankful for so much more.

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Do you have a style inspiration for your work?

 

I want my work to pour over with warmth and sincerity, no matter what I am creating. I gather inspiration from the bride and groom – their love story, quirks, and dreams – and then work to make those qualities come alive in their paper goods. I can honestly say no two pieces are alike, just like no two relationships are the same.

For your own style and fashion?

My style and fashion is honestly all over the place. I wear what I love – whether that is a floral skirt and preppy top, or a boho shirt and skinny jeans. I wish I had a more direct answer for this, but it’s pretty much whatever has swayed my soul that morning!

What kinds of things do you do to unwind or relax?

I listen to a lot of music and design. Having a creative outlet, some good tunes, and a hot coffee are some of my favorite things.

When you are having a rough day, what one thing can completely turn your day around and make you feel super happy?

My husband and our little family! Even though we only have fur babies, a rough day is turned happy after a little cuddle sesh with them.

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What a sweet family you have! So, tell us, what is your love story?

My husband, Tyler, and I met in a college math class! We were both teaching in the same fifth grade classroom and made eye contact from across the room. I smiled and he later asked me out. Our first date was on his birthday to his friend’s wedding, where he jokingly (but not really) told me we should get married. We spent the night walking around looking at the Christmas lights and talking in his car until the wee hours of the morning when I realized I still had exams to study for. After that we were inseparable. A year later we were married in Paris, TN (since he joked we should elope to Paris on our first date) and have been married for two years now! Not a day goes by that I am not thankful for our love and strength of our relationship.

If you could live anywhere in the world without regard to cost or proximity to family, where would you live and why?

In college I spent a summer studying abroad in England and LOVED it. I would live there in a heartbeat. I love the culture, nightlife, people, foods, travel – everything. My father’s side is from England, so I guess it holds a special place in my heart for other reasons too!

Do you have any really great Instagram account you love to follow?

I LOVE following Ashley Brooke Design and Joy Cho – both accounts are bold, bright, and beautiful – which is something I endeavor to look for in every day life.

Okay, I think it’s time to ask the really important questions now! Do you have a favorite dessert?

Girl, as long as it is under the category of “dessert” its my favorite.

Disney princess for a day?

Is Mulan a Disney Princess, because she is in my book. She has been my favorite Disney character for years.

See, I told you that you would love her! She is so much fun. If we knew each other in person, I just know we would have the best time ever! Talking to Sarah on Skype is hilarious. We basically sit there and laugh the whole time. It’s a great time! This Sunday she will be kicking off the 28 Days of Adding Happiness over on her blog with a really great post about

 

I’m Moving! OLW (One Little Word)

Let him that would move the world, first move himself. -SocratesIt’s June already? Wow! I can hardly believe that the year is nearly half over. This time of year always makes me reflect. I reflect on my original expectations for the year and see if those expectations are still relevant. I check in with myself to see what kind of progress I have made. This year my One Little Word (OLW) was Move, and so far I am moving like crazy! I love it! How am I moving you ask? Well, let me refer back to my original MOVE post where I defined what the word MOVE means:

-go in a specified direction or manner; change position.

**Well, I have certainly changed positions so far. I went from Entry-level to CEO in a day! Read about it here.

-change the place or position of.

**We have rearranged our home to make room for an office. Did I mention that I own a business now? Kind of a big deal!

Pretty Much Design Studio

-change one’s place of residence or work.

**I no longer work an hour and a half from home. In fact, I work in my pajamas at home! how cool is that?

-change or cause to change from one state, opinion, sphere, or activity to another.

**This one is pretty big: my surgery in March changed me from the state of dizziness to a more solid state. I went from employee to being the boss. I went from a technical job to a creative career, and I’ve gone from sedentary to mobile every day.

post-surgery-picture

-influence or prompt (someone) to do something.

**I’ve influenced small businesses to promote themselves in better ways, to brand themselves more cohesively, and be proud of their businesses. I’ve prompted my husband to do some soul-searching and discover his calling to study Criminal Justice and aim for a new career within the police force. I’ve also influenced my cousin to have an incredible wedding that she never could have dreamed of.

WhiteNoyes Photography Primary Logo

-take action.

**I’ve absolutely taken action against a boring life. I’ve worked toward my goals as a person, as a wife, and as a business owner.

-make progress; develop in a particular manner or direction.

**I’m making progress in my surgery recovery – I no longer need to use my cane to walk each day, I’m on the treadmill now, and I’m hoping to be driving again soon. Despite getting 3 weeks behind in school, I still managed to work hard and receive an A, 2 B’s and a C. Don’t mind that C: It comes from an instructor that excused me for my surgery, but then wouldn’t let me make up any work. Frustrating! I’ve made progress within my marriage by setting up time for my husband and I to spend time together. Each night we have a routine now. We eat dinner – often making it together, then we exercise (#OperationHBMB). Next we watch 2 hours of television or movies together, do the dishes together, and then get ready for bed together. Going to bed at the same time has made us feel closer.

I’m making progress with Pretty Much as well, because I finally have designed my finished logo, I’m working on the business cards, I have my ideas together for the stationary, the website is looking so much better, I’ve established a twitter and a Facebook page for the business, and I have clients!!!

-(with reference to merchandise) sell or be sold.

**I’m “moving” product! Yes, it’s not as much as I would like it to be, but the fact that I am moving products is a pretty big deal to me. I’m working each week to add more items to the shop as well. Have you seen the newest editions? I now have Save The Elephant prints in the shop. 50% of the sales will go to help save the elephants. In addition to that, I now offer even more wedding services. I have hard-bound books available!

Save the Elephants Printguestbook journal scrapbook sketchbook

-an action that initiates or advances a process or plan.

**Each day, I work on changing things, getting things just right, making a difference and going for my dreams.

-a player’s turn to make a change of position.

**It’s my move now! Every day is my move. Everything I do now will make or break me. It’s such an exciting time!

To summarize all of my MOVE achievements in the past 6 months:

After everything my body has gone through and continues to go through with my medical problems, I am moving toward better health. We have done a lot of talking about children lately, and I do want to have them. With my cardiovascular system not working the way it is supposed to and my balance system all wonky, this is not something we can do right now, so my ultimate goal is to get my body back to a state of health so that we can have children.  The husband and I have begun an adventure that we are calling Operation Healthy-Baby-Making-Body or #OperationHBMB if you follow me on twitter. I am moving my butt and getting back in shape. In order to do this, I am returning to a diet (read: lifestyle, not fad) that works for me. It gives me energy, keeps me feeling positive, and even makes me feel centered and balanced in this crazy world. With that energy I am able to physically move my body. I am working on walking every day. Some days are easier than others, but now that I have been cleared to get on the treadmill, I feel like I am making a lot more progress a lot more quickly.  I have also started doing more strength training.  So far, the weight has not gone down, but my balance, stability, and energy have all improved. My heart and veins are still not working right, but I have hope.

A second way in which I am moving deals with changing my career position. I have opened my own business, Pretty Much, and I want to grow it and grow it like a beautiful garden that blossoms with flowers and gives life to amazing healthy foods that nourish me. This business of mine is nourishing my soul and my mind by giving me a way to use my creative energies each day, making others’ dreams come true, and giving me a positive way to support my family. There will be a lot more on this subject later this year. Promise! You can help me with this by helping me “move some product” over at my Etsy shop!

Thirdly, I have been moving my mind. I have been going to school for so long. Every time I physically move locations across the United States, I loose credits in my schooling. It can be so frustrating! This year, I am back at it though with an online school that can travel with me. It was my second full semester at the Academy of Art University. This semester was very challenging for me with all the medical stuff going on, the surgery, and having to take so much time away from my studies. I found that the business suffered because school was so time-consuming, but I do not expect it to be like that in semesters to come. I’m looking forward to the ways my mind will stretch and the things I will fill my brain with. I absolutely love to learn!

In all of this, the basic plan has been to move forward in my life, to make good choices, to be happier, healthier, and more content with what I am doing. I am choosing to make mindful choices and always keep the idea of progress in the forefront of my mind. It’s my turn to move my chess piece. It’s my turn to become something better. It’s my turn to influence myself and start moving in the direction I want to end up in.

What is your One Little Word (OLW) this year? Leave me a comment!

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Pretty Much: The Best Day Ever Series (Wedding Invitations)

The Best Day Ever

I had always known that my wedding day would be nothing like the traditional weddings I was no stranger to. Being a little different or unusual in life has always made for some unique events and fun times. Our wedding day was absolutely not going to be any different. From Day 1 (May 10, 2012) of our engagement, plans included all the details that made us who we were as a couple. In the end, it was more perfect and more unique than we could have ever imagined!

Dakota had called me Princess since we met in the Army way back in 2006. Not only was I the only girl in our unit, but I was also pretty feminine and not exactly the military type. I was an ex-cheerleading captain, an ex-flag captain, an ex-pep club member, and ex, spirit squad founder, etc…etc. I wore ribbons and lace, short skirts and high heels, and I had a {fo}hawk died so black it was blue in the sun. Everything about me was contradicting, and he loved to make light of that my calling me “Princess” instead of “Soldier” as he made me do push-ups and sit-ups to score better on my PT tests.

It was fitting that we immediately found a castle to book our wedding at, and despite it being at a castle, and the whole wedding industry cliche of a fairytale theme, we wanted the day to be outside the box. Shoot, we got rid of the box completely for our special day! Even the planning was done outside the box- no really! We planned the wedding from Afghanistan. The majority of everything was made by me 2 months before the wedding. Anything not finished yet, came together the week of the wedding when our home was a mad-house of family armed with glue-guns, tubs and tubs of flowers and glitter everywhere! No detail was left undone, and what I couldn’t find time for we either bought or rented it from our amazing venue, Castle Park Events Center.

I promise you that the last two months before the wedding were extremely busy. The man didn’t get state-side until 2 weeks before the wedding, and my family lives on the other side of the country, so you can imagine how busy I was doing most of it all by myself. One of the biggest accomplishments was designing the stationary suite. Oh, and I letter-pressed it by hand…each 3-color piece! I know, I am crazy, but I promise that it was worth it. Check it out:WEdding InvitationsThese were so much work! Holy Cow! I have no problem creating detailed invitations like this for my bridal clients, however, they are not a fun one to do! I learned a lot while creating them, and can now serve clients with much more ease. One thing that I learned is that for the few extra cents it costs per invite, it is COMPLETELY worth it to purchase the pre-cut paper. In fact, it really doesn’t save any money because it takes a lot of time to cut the paper. It also hurts my hands to cut because it is super thick! These ones were 600gsm. Yeah, crazy! They were like thin cardboard. Here are some images of my process. Please don’t be too critical of the image quality…I took them with my old cell phone. I don’t know what I was thinking!

Lettra PaperLetterpress Bed with Plates attached and inked.Letterpress plates after being cut to size and used. Partially-Completed-InvitationsRSVP-FrontRSVPWedding-Invitation-Detail-ShotWhat-to-wear-to-a-Castle-WeddingAccomodations-Card-In-ProgressWEdding Stationary Suite Accommodation card for out of town guestsWedding-Website-Invitation-InsertFairytale-Wedding-Invitation

I’m always taking orders for custom design work. Please do not hesitate to contact me for any of your wedding or special event needs. I can even complete small orders ranging from 1 to 1000.  Let me know if I can help you with anything!Big HugsSignature

Goodbye February

It’s the first week of March already? Oh my goodness! This doesn’t quite seem right. When I was young, 3 months of Summer lasted for an eternity, and now 2 months goes by and I feel like I was literally toasting to the new year (without Champagne because we waited until the last minute to go the the liquor store and it was closed!) last night. But here I am thinking back upon a month and trying to remember what all I accomplished. The truth is, it doesn’t seem like much. To be fair though, February is the shortest month of the year! I feel like telling myself that this new month of March will be different and that tomorrow is another day and I will actually accomplish something before the end of the year. Haven’t I been saying that for a few years now though? Ugh!

For real though, what have I accomplished? Well, I delivered a gorgeous wedding invitation suite to a bridal client, I completed 4 weeks of design school (What was I thinking?), I sold 2 things on Etsy to complete strangers, I was a {Small} part of the Life is Messy Bootcamp which is still going on and it is not too late to sign up and be a part of something awesome, I underwent 10 tests for my hearing and balance system, 3 different blood draws, a CT scan, and another 24 hour long test that I won’t describe because it sounds awful, and somewhere in there I did all the research I needed in order to order my organic, non-GMO seeds for use in my garden this year. Oh yeah, I was also a wife, a puppy mommy, a friend, a sister, a daughter, and a designer. Okay, so maybe this month was actually much more full than I gave it credit for being. Thank goodness for that because I was starting to feel like it was a wash.

This upcoming month of March is really going to be big. I’m pretty excited about it! This month the Best Day Ever will debut online at the Wedding Chicks blog, my mother is coming out to visit (and take care of me after my surgery), I am having surgery, I am working on some really special items for an awesome bride, I am finishing the planners that you probably need a copy of, I’m hoping to start blogging more 9but give me a month or two before I really start blogging on a schedule), I get to celebrate a week off from school and call it Spring Break, I hope to continue growing my business and my creativity, and lastly I might actually be able to write the Thank-you notes that should have gone out months ago to our wedding guests. It sounds like March will be busy! I’m looking forward to it though.

What are you happy to have accomplished in February? What are you looking forward to in March?Leave a comment and let me know!

Have an awesome week!