Thursday, April 30, 2015

Navy Blue Bridesmaid Dresses

Three stores. That's how many stores I had to visit to find my wedding dress. The Navy Blue Bridesmaid Dresses, however, have been a totally different story!

I have a vision for our wedding that is elegant and timeless but I still want people to have fun! I have a whole inspiration board for the wedding along with boards for each wedding category - list making freak, I know! You can see them all HERE.

Navy and Gray Wedding Inspiration Palette #bluewedding #navyandgray
So here is what I want for my bridesmaids:

Long navy dresses.
Chiffon/flowy fabric.
The ability for each lady to choose the neckline for her dress.

That's it.

Should be easy, right??? Apparently not.

The hunt for the navy blue bridesmaid dresses has been full of "It's perfect... oh wait, it's $400" moments and the challenge of wanting to try dresses on and not just order them online. -- Seriously, my nerves can't handle the stress of buying a dress online, praying it fits, and having no ability to return it if it is too big, too small, or just plain ugly. I even contimplated this discoball inspired dress! 

So I did what any good list-making bride would do...

I made a survey for the girls to take!

Each designer/collection had multiple dresses in a collage and each dress was assigned a number for the survey taking.

Dessy Group Bridesmaid

Pro's: Everybody likes them -- Great fabric.
Con's: $300+ price tag. Yikes! Necessary alterations.
Favorites:  2, 3, 4
Navy Blue Bridesmaid Dresses from Dessy #navywedding #bluewedding

After Six:

Pro's: They are navy and flowy.
Con's: Non of the girls were crazy about any of them.
Favorites:  1 & 4

Navy Blue Bridesmaid Dresses from After Six #navywedding #bluewedding

Alfred Angelo:

Pro's: Brick and Mortar Store to try them on -- More reasonably priced.
Con's: Service could have been better at the store (we are trying a different one).
Favorites:  1 - 5 (that's a good sign!)

Navy Blue Bridesmaid Dresses from Alfred Angelo #navywedding #bluewedding

Alfred Sung:

Pro's: Elise's favorites -- Elegant -- Everyone likes them.
Con's: Crazy price tags and possible alterations!!! :(
Favorites:  1 & 3

Navy Blue Bridesmaid Dresses from Alfred Sung #navywedding #bluewedding

David's Bridal:

Pro's: Able to try them on -- Better prices
Con's: Thin fabric -- nobody was wowed.
Favorites:  1 & 4

Navy Blue Bridesmaid Dresses from David's Bridal #navywedding #bluewedding
One// Two// Three// Four

So, the girls and I are off to try some more navy blue bridesmaid dresses- keep your fingers crossed for us. I would love to cross one more "big" thing off my to-do list!

Which collection would you choose? Let me know in the comments and help us make some decisions!

This post is not sponsored, but may contain affiliate links which result in an affiliate commission. All thoughts are completely my own, as I only recommend items I personally love.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Will You Be My Bridesmaid?

I'm getting married!!

In case your new to the blog, you can read all about the proposal here.

The first real wedding planning I did was picking out my bridal party.  Pretty easy, except I wanted to ask each lady in a special way Pinterest worthy way. Let's be real. 

I toyed around with a couple ideas and pinned a lot of samples, but something just wasn't jiving. I didn't want to spend a ton of money or give them a bunch of trinkets that looked pretty in a box but that would have little to no value or function afterwards.  And I wanted it to mean something. 

Will You Be My Bridesmaid Card

I found this beautiful (and free) "will you be my bridesmaid?" printable online, and I almost used it, but I wanted it to be navy and gray (spoiler alert - that's our wedding palette). Houston whipped up a beautiful graphic and even added a quote on the inside and our wedding logo to the back.  He is all kinds of amazing.

I'm not sure of when or where, but I know I want you there

On the inside of each card I wrote enough mushy stuff to make a hardened criminal cry and asked each lady to stand beside me on my wedding day.

But my FAVORITE part was what I included WITH the card. 

I went through years of photos to find special ones of me and each lady.  A lot of them are from very special days or times in our lives and it was wonderful to see how each lady has loved and supported me through the years.

Maid of Honor - 


Bridesmaids - 




So it is back to wedding planning and shopping for me - just wait until I show you the ideas for the bridesmaid dresses!!!

This post is not sponsored, but it does contain affiliate links which result in an affiliate commission. All thoughts are completely my own, as I only recommend items I personally love.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Thank you Berry Much - Thank You Gift Update

Thank you berry much printable gift tag

Three years ago I made a bosses day gift called "Thank You Berry Much."

I made a simple word document and use clip art to decorate it, printed on a tag I cut with my first generation cricket machine (woah there) and attached it with a ribbon to a Bath and Body Works sanitizer - all on the night before bosses day, because I am always pressed for time with those types of projects.

Well, Houston has stepped up the graphics, updated my original design and created something truly amazing.

Here is the new and improved "Thank you berrymuch" gift tag:

Thank you berry much printable gift tag

I love this gift idea because it can be used for any thank you gift rather than for a specific recipient.  Does your child have an amazing teacher? Send them a thank you gift.  Do you appreciate your doctor? Send them a thank you gift.  Do you want to do something nice for the cashier who always has patience when you shop with coupons? Your Starbucks barista? Your landlord?  Send them all a thank you gift!

Thank you berry much printable gift tag

The opportunities to thank people for their kindness are endless and this gift is a simple way to show your gratitude. 

Just like the "hold the pieces together" graphic, this berry one is available in Houston's Etsy shop.  Please stop by and create a couple thank you gifts for the people you appreciate and be sure to share them with us!

This post is not sponsored, but may contain affiliate links which result in an affiliate commission. All thoughts are completely my own, as I only recommend items I personally love.

Friday, April 10, 2015

A Better Way to Use Craigslist

Maybe I started posting things on Craigslist a little early... after only three days, I no longer had a kitchen table, kitchen chairs or a couch!

It seems strange to part with my "things" that have been with me through the last 10 years. I bought so many of them as a single woman in my 20's and I am a bit of a sentimental fool when it comes to my belongings. There were birthday parties, long hours reading textbooks, dinners with friends, glorious naps, and countless crafting parties in my living room and kitchen.

I got emotional when my kitchen table was hauled away - the first time I rode in Houston's truck was to go pick that table up in Canyon Lake in 2012. But we are moving towards a new chapter in our lives and, well, there just isn't enough space for all this stuff. And that's all it is, right? Just stuff. There are certainly far worse things in life than having to endure a pizza picnic in your living room!

Craigslist can be an easy way to sell your stuff for a couple extra dollars, but there are some warnings and best practices you should be aware of:

Warning #1:  NEVER tell a potential buyer "I won't be home until 7:00" -- do you want someone to rob your house?
Best Practice #1:  I usually say I will be available after 7:00 for pick up BUT I don't give them my actual address. Generally I say "I live on ____ Street in  ____ City, let me know when you are there and I will text the address."  I have yet to have a buyer who has had a problem with this.

Warning #2:  NEVER tell a potential buyer you live alone.
Best Practice #2:  If I can meet a buyer at a "neutral" location, I always try to do that instead of having them come directly to my door - with the exception of large items. The leasing office at my apartment complex was always a great place to meet.

Warning #3:  Accept cash and no other forms of payment.
Best Practice #3:  Clearly state price and form of payment in the Craigslist listing and verify the information with the potential buyer.

When you create a listing on Craigslist, you can link to the other items you are selling by checking the "include more ads by this seller."

Say WHAT???

So then when you look at a listing you can see what that same seller has also listed by clicking "more ads by this user" on the right side of the screen (under the map).

Want to see what it looks like? Check out what I am selling HERE and help a girl out and buy something!

Happy shopping!

This post is not sponsored, but may contain affiliate links which result in an affiliate commission. All thoughts are completely my own, as I only recommend items I personally love.

Friday, April 3, 2015

My Completed 30 While I'm 30 List

One week ago I turned 31 (eep!) and my self-inflicted challenge to complete 30 things while I was 30 came to an end.

Clearly I did better in some tasks and failed at others -- I avoided exercise and shopping like the plague (why did I even include those on the list???)

You can find the original post here.

Now onto the recap:

1.       Use my passport!!!  

Italian- Vacation

2.       Get serious about my fitness. – Lose 15 pounds.
Nope... Determined to make this happen this year! Nothing like a pretty white dress to make me want to put the chocolate down!


3.       Run/jog a 5K just for “fun”.
Nope... See number two.

4.       Take a ballet class.
Nope... WHY did I add so many "fitness" goals???

5.       Stay in bed for one whole day and don’t care how completely lazy it is!
Check! Memorial Day was glorious!!!

6.       Take a cooking class – specifically to learn how to use knives.
Still need/want to do this!

7.       Have a picnic and a nap in a park on a sunny day.

An afternoon at the Getty Museum with the D'Angelos

8.       Go to the drive-in movie for the first time.
Incomplete - on the list for this summer!

9.       Learn to bake a pie… from scratch!
I ate plenty of pie and it is so much easier to buy one at Corkey's... maybe I will try to bake one for Houston's birthday?

10.   Buy some fun colored pants.
I TRIED!!! I tried on so many colored pants, it isn't even funny. Am I destined to never own mint colored pants??? Curvy girl fail.

11.   Start a Bible study... and finish it.
Massive fail. Brittany started a Beth Moore Bible Study and I desperately wanted to participate; but there aren't enough hours in the day to get everything done.

12.   Kayaking in Long Beach.
Check! - But no photo documentation - NEED a Waterproof Camera!

13.   Visit the San Diego Zoo – and take my nice camera.

Check! - But Houston took all the photos!

14.   Visit the Museum of Tolerance in Los Angeles.
Still would like to go.

15.   Go to Disneyland… because I love that place.

16.   Whale Watching!
No whales, but a dolphin swam by while we were having lunch in Florida!

17.   Have fun at the Santa Monica pier – I have never been there.
It is on the list for a summer in the future!

18.   Get a hammock for Houston’s back yard. Take a nap in said hammock.

Can I get partial credit? I got to lounge in a hammock in Florida for half an hour - I could have stayed there all day! Bliss.

19.   Take a photo class with Houston.
Adding this to the someday list... I would love for us to do the DSLR basic class from A Beautiful Mess (more practical to do an online class with our crazy schedules.)

20.   Thank a U.S. Veteran for their service every time I see a hat/jacket/etc.

This was my favorite goal for my 30th year - and it has turned into a lifetime commitment to thank and respect our veterans (and active military)for their service.
Thanking a group of recruits leaving for basic training at LAX.
Thanking an elderly man at Sizzler - he then hung out with Houston and I while we ate.
Helping with the "Flag For Every Hero" event on Memorial Day and Veterans Day at the Riverside National Cemetery.
Enjoying the smiles and handshakes of the people who have so faithfully served America.

21.   Get more massages!
Check! Not nearly as many as I would like, but it was nice to make some time to take care of myself and work out all the tension in my shoulders.

22.   Take a train ride somewhere other than the Metrolink to work.
Nope... Probably not going to happen.

23.   Finally learn to use my sewing machine. Take a class? YouTube?
It is still in the box!!! - But I moved it to Houston's house where I will eventually use it. Riiiiight.

24.   Complete a 30-day Instagram challenge.

25.   Go to the Rose Bowl Flea Market.
Didn't happen... but that is probably a good thing. I need to get rid of stuff, not buy more!

26.    Build a snow man (I realize I will be cutting it rather close next year, but whatever)
I was too freezing cold in Minnesota to make a snow man.., but looking at the snow and thinking about it counts in my book!

27.   Use my Rosetta Stone to keep up with French (since my class at RCC was an absolute bust!)
Je n'est pas parle Francais.  -- and I will leave it at that.

28.   Watch the entire FRIENDS series. 
This didn't happen... BUT I am on season 4 of the The West Wing and I am obsessed!!!

29.   Write another 100 blog posts in a year.
Missed it by 18... but considering it took 4 years to reach the first 100 posts, I will take 82 in one year. Boom!

30.   Make a new habit by doing something for 30 days straight.
No new habits to claim... but exercise should probably be the goal, right? See numbers 2-4.

2014 was a good year with the best December of my life, but I can't wait for 2015 (which is flying by) - the year I get to become Mrs. Houston Laney!!!

It is going to be good friends, stick around.

This post is not sponsored, but it does contain affiliate links which result in an affiliate commission. All thoughts are completely my own, as I only recommend items I personally love.