wedding wonderfulness :

Posted by . October 24th, 2011 at 12:18 pm. Leave a comment.

Hello all!  It’s Monday and it’s a new week and it’s gonna be a great one damn it!  Despite major photographer drama, the wedding planning is going decent, and I want to start sharing some of the great finds/vendors/sites that are helping make my special day unique!

So the man and I have lived together basically since we started dating, and we bought a house together 3 years ago, so a typical registry didn’t make  a whole lot of sense.  We have bought everything we need for our house, it’s decorated, etc, so I couldn’t imagine trying to fill a registry with things at a decent price for people with things I actually want and need.

So, what we really wanted was a killer honeymoon.  So that’s what we registered for!  At first, I had no idea how to make this happen, but thanks to, I figured out the perfect solution.  And no, I am not being paid for this “ad” nor does Honeyfund know I am doing this, I just know how frustrating it was for me to figure this out, so I wanted to share!

My main concern with a honeymoon registry is that I didn’t want to just have people gift a dollar amount.  Old people don’t like that.  They want something tangible.  Money is rude.  With Honeyfund, you can choose “fake” things for people to buy you, a romantic dinner for two, a tour through the jungle, whatever you want.  They provide little pictures for you, and you can select the quantity.  For example, I included our round trip airfare to Tahiti, but obviously no one is going to gift us $2000.  So, I created a large number of smaller increments, like 15 $100 gifts for that item.  I think this is such a great option because you can make gifts at every price range, I have some as low as $25, up to $150, and then I also created a basic gift certificate in increments of $25 with the directions, “Tell us what you would do!”, so if someone wanted to give us $125, they could simply buy 5 of those.

Not only is the set up super easy, but the collecting of the mulah is even better.  You can opt to just receive “pledges” and have people mail you the money or bring it to the wedding, or you can set it up to link to your paypal account, and have people make payment online, which in this day and age and with the majority of our young, tech savvy guests, is a GREAT option.  It makes it easy for everyone, especially those out of staters.  You can choose for the small paypal fee to be paid by them or by you (taken from the amount given).

At the end of the process, the gift giver is given a cute little certificate that they can print and bring to the wedding if they wish, or if they decided not to pay online, they can include it with their cash at the wedding.  Also, as the couple you are notified of every “pledge” and payment, and can view the certificate that they created (which allows them to insert a personal message).  They also have a handy tracking page on your site where you can check off when people have paid, and if you’ve sent a thank you.  Such a great idea!  Also, you can add a contact person with a link to their number and email, for all the old people that just can’t figure it out.  I chose my sister and MOH to do that, and so far she hasn’t gotten bugged once.

The best part of all, it’s FREE.  That’s right, free!  There are upgrade options which I would probably recommend if you don’t have your own wedding website (I do and was able to explain a lot of it there), or if you have a ton of guests.  The upgrades give you the option to add pictures and other themes, so it could essentially function as your wedding website.

And actually, I take back the best part.  The absolute best part is the customer service.  The site was created by a couple who was in the same dilemma as me as to how to best figure out how to set up an online honeymoon fund.  So they get it, like they really get how super annoying signing up for websites and crap can be.  So they made it super easy.  And even more shockingly, they respond to emails ridiculously fast, on Sundays and everything.  Pretty impressive.  Check them out here.  Just the other day I couldn’t figure out how to view the gift certificate that someone had given us, the part with the personal message.  I emailed them apologizing for my idiocy, knowing it was probably right there and I just didn’t see it, and it was, and I apologized for wasting his time.  He immediately responded saying, “no, we could do a better job of labeling that.”  I suggested labeling it “gift message” or something similar, because I had originally thought that the link was just showing what gift certificate they bought us, not their message, and the next day they responded saying, “we updated the text to say ‘SEE gift message’”.  Sure enough it was all fixed, and much easier for me to figure out.  And I’m not even a paying customer!  So, I felt they deserved this long winded post immensely.

So, let me know your thought on the whole honeymoon registry idea, and please let me know if you have any questions!  Oh!  And here is my site so you can see what it looks like in action.

P.S.  You can also set this up for a myriad of other things instead of a honeymoon; a down payment on a house, a college fund for your kid, register for a house warming party…. the ideas are endless!


My DIY Save the Dates

Posted by . September 30th, 2011 at 9:57 am. Leave a comment.

So as promised, I am here to share my STDs. Ha! I still find that funny. ;)

The man and I are both GIS (Geographic Information Systems) specialists, which for the 95% of you that don’t know what that means, we make maps. (Don’t worry, I had no clue either until I fell into it thanks to my future hubby.) That combined with our love of travel lead me to the idea of including a map in our STDs. So, again thanks to the brilliant Photoshop skills and creativity of Steph Anne, I came up with my colorful, personal, and creative save the date cards.

We hemmed and hawed about which picture to use, endlessly placing them all in the template we had created, but when we placed this photo in, it just worked perfectly. It was a hard choice, since I was lucky and had many great engagement photos to choose from.

This photo was taken at Arizona State University, where he proposed. When we saw this chalk on the wall, we almost died it was so perfect. Thanks again To Rachel at for spotting this photo opportunity!

This also gave us a great opportunity to introduce our wedding logo that my amazing cousin in law created for us. We followed it up by using it on our invitation as well.

Since the wedding is taking place in Phoenix, AZ, we had wanted to mark the spot with a heart or something, and with other pictures, that left the heart on random places on our body. With this picture, it just worked out perfectly that it landed on his chest. Plus, we were able to use the same hearts that were drawn on the wall as the heart-marks-the-spot. We added some chevron stripe pattern for fun, and of course had to compliment that with yellow. I had them printed double sided in color, and mailed them away!

So let me know what you think! Did you use your engagement pictures in your STDs? Link it up in a a comment below to share yours or other great STDs you’ve seen!


My DIY Wedding Invitations

Posted by . September 23rd, 2011 at 8:24 pm. Leave a comment.

I’ll admit, I’m pretty proud of my wedding invitations. It took a lot of work and collaboration, but it was well worth it. My colors are black, white and gray, and I wanted a modern look. Matt’s cousin is a graphic designer, and she was kind enough to design our logo (the compass), and the first two pages of the invite. Both Matt and I make maps for a living, so we wanted to include that somehow. Here are a few of the inspiration photos I used to explain to my cousin in law what I was looking for:

Inspiration for cover

Inspiration for second page

In addition to the map element, I have been obsessing over typography and these centerpieces, so I wanted the invite to be bold and “poster” like. My cousin hit the nail on the head with the invite. So without further ado………drum roll please….. here’s what I’ve been slaving over for SEVERAL weeks:


return address


Kindly Deliver To:, aren’t the current love stamps so cute?!






our logo as a “tag”, chain closure


second page, actual “invite” portion, names hidden to protect the innocent ;)


“love is real, real is love” – John Lennon, and my real name!


third page, thanks to Steph Anne. Map courtesy of the man.


RSVP card, again thanks to Steph Anne.


one of my favorite parts- all the little text around the “yes” and “no” are funny quotes. For yes, there is “We’re so mappin’ excited!”, “cool beans” and some in spanish, “Muy bien!” and “Fantastico!”. For the no side, “que lastima!” “aww bummer!” and “darn it!”

And last but not least, the reason why the man is not currently talking to me. I hinted earlier that I kind of stuck something in without him knowing. Well, he found out today. Sent them out yesterday, and someone commented on it to him today, and he kind of lost it. He was very unhappy that I added this behind his back. I hope everyone thinks it was worth it!


my baby, Rocki

Yup, that’s my dog on the envelope liner! This picture was taken in our engagement session, and I just love it. I printed it on vellum, made a stencil from a sacrificial envelope that I took a part, and cut out each one. Then, I used double sided tape on the flap and across the opening to secure it. To me, it makes the invitations. It makes it personal to us; no one has a dog as amazing as mine! ;) Plus, she will be at the wedding, and instead of favors, we will be making a donation to the humane society and putting a little picture of Rocki explaining this on each place setting.

The man thinks that it has nothing to do with anything, makes the invite look cheesy. Well, too late! So far I have only heard good things. So, hopefully it will be worth my time in the dog house, pun intended!

Here are some of the details of where I got everything and how I did it:

  • The envelopes came from here, and are a steel gray metallic.  The large ones are size A9, color “wealth”.  This site was really the only place I could find attractive large envelopes that had this kind of flap.  The RSVP envelopes are also wealth, size 4 bar.  The big envelope size was perfect because it exactly fit a 8.5×11.5 piece of cardstock cut in half. I paid about $70 for both the RSVP and invite envelope. They came in packs of 50, so I have some extras.
  • I purchased the paper at Kelly Paper, a local paper supply company.  It’s hard to tell in the photos, but the invite paper is a metallic gray/silvery color.  The compass tag and RSVP are in a similar metallic, but white.  I only needed about 30 pages of the white, and paid 25 cents for each sheet.  I highly recommend finding an outlet like this when purchasing paper- you really need to be able to feel it’s weight and see it’s color in person.  For a ream of this paper, I paid $33, which had 250 sheets.  I only used 1.5 pages per invite, and only had 80 invites.  So I have half of it left and will be using it for programs most likely.
  • I found the metal rings at JoAnn’s in the jewelry making aisle.  I bought a bag of black and a bag of the gray color, and each was about $3 and had 150 pieces each, plenty for what I needed.  I simply (but time consumingly) clamped three together, leaving the two end rings open, and then strung on the compass and the invite.  I then clamped shut the two open rings.  I feel this gave it an industrial look, which is perfect for my venue.
  • To create the “tags”, I first had an amazing cousin in law to make the logo. ;)  Then I printed each one to be 1.5 inches, and bought this circle cutter. I got mine at Joann’s on sale for about $8, found in the scrapbooking section.  I also purchased this whole punch that is a little smaller than a normal office one to punch the wholes in the invite and the tag.
  • The vellum came from OfficeMax, $10 for 50 sheets.
  • I was extremely lucky to be able to print everything at work.  Since it was black and white, the printing wouldn’t have been too horrible, but this really was a huge saver.
  • To print the envelopes, I created a Publisher document to create the angle.  It was a PAIN IN THE ASS to type in each address, but I only had 80 so it wasn’t horrible.  Printing envelopes is never fun.
  • I got the address font online for free.  It is called The Dreamer and I really love it.  Unfortunately it doesn’t include numbers, so I used Blackladder for the numbers.  I don’t think you can tell really.
  • The postage was killer-  because of the metal links, it didn’t lay flat, so it required extra postage.  Each required 84 cents of postage, but the 84 cent stamps were fugly, so I did two 44 cent stamps instead.  Plus, the stamp on the RSVP envelope, so all together, each invite cost me $1.32.

And I think that’s finally it!  For materials, I think each invite cost me about $1.75.  Obviously I will be able to use the tools again for other stuff, and half of that ream of paper for the programs too.  Plus postage, I am around $3 an invite.  Since I only had 80, I think I did pretty good.  I compared invites online, and this was pretty much the bare minimum for most full suite designs, and obviously none would have been as personal as this.  And now that that’s done, on to EVERYTHING ELSE!!!!

P.S. Thanks again to my girl Steph Anne for all your help with this; not only your amazingly fast photoshop capabilities, but also for constantly letting me bounce my ideas off of you and making them into reality! We became cube mates at exactly the right time! Everyone needs to check out her design site too- her blog designs are pretty rad.  She also sells pre-made blog themes on her etsy shop.


5 facts for friday

Posted by . September 16th, 2011 at 10:41 am. Leave a comment.

1. I’ve lost 7 pounds in in my first week on the hCG diet.  And I actually feel great.  The good food is kicking in, I have more energy, and I am not starving all the time like everyone said I would be.  Oh and I finally got up the guts to give myself the injection in the morning.  The first 5 I made the future hubby do.

2. The man and I are going to the Phoenix Symphony tomorrow.  I’m lucky to have a guy that plays hockey 3 times a week, tailgates like nobody’s business, and begs me to get tickets to Beethoven’s 9th. I’m excited to get all dressed up and feel like grownups. Now what does one wear to the symphony….

3.Finally sending out my wedding invites this weekend. I’ll post pictures of them soon. Glad to have them done, but also starting to officially freak out with how little time I have and how much I have to do.

4. I would never paint my nails if it weren’t for this stuff. Buy it, use it, love it. It really is dry in 30 seconds, no more bed sheet marks on my toes, or fingerprints on my nails.

5. I have a big fear, and as in big, I mean alwaysonmymindeverywakingmoment, that even after all the weight I’ve lost (hopefully around 60 by wedding time), and how much better I am feeling about myself, I’m not going to feel good in my dress. And it’s not the dresses fault. Just by nature a wedding dress is my biggest no-no; I have always had great legs, even when I was heavy, and always had sausage arms, even when I was thin. So wearing a strapless dress that covers my legs is not my friend. If it were up to me, I would wear a long sleeve mini-skirt dress. But the man’s traditional and that won’t fly. So here’s to super confidence! (hopefully!) Here’s my dress- I’ll be funking it up with some black.


DIY Chevron Art

Posted by . August 15th, 2011 at 8:28 pm. Leave a comment.

I’ve been lovin’ me some Chevron lately- only drawback is that like every geometric pattern, it ain’t easy to recreate.  So, I finally bit the bullet and spent some time painting a chevron pattern this weekend.  I’ll try to explain to you how I did it that made it a little less painful.

I originally fell in love with this on Pinterest a while ago, but laughed at the price.  I wanted to do something similar, but anyone who knows me knows I can’t keep things that plain.  So I thought a great Chevron stripe would make the perfect backdrop.  Here’s a brief how to:

  • I began with an old canvas that I have probably painted 6 times.  It is 36″ by 36″ I believe.  I began by giving it  a light sanding as previously I had painted an abstract version of my dog on it, and there were many raised areas from excess paint.  Obviously, if you are starting with a blank canvas, you can skip this step, although I recommend using an old canvas if you have it because it ended up giving my piece of art a little more character.
  • Next, I primed my canvas with spray paint.  I first sprayed it with a gray primer, and then with a white spray paint.  Anyone who has tried to spray paint any kind of fabric before knows it isn’t easy to get even because of how it is absorbed, so I just aimed to get somewhat of a base coat.  The spray paint gave the canvas a somewhat rough texture which I like to help “age” the piece.
  • I painted the canvas with a thin coat of white acrylic paint to even out the spray paint. Tada! Blank slate.  Again, if you are starting with a fresh canvas, you can skip all of this, but it did give the canvas great texture.  You could always compensate at the end with sandpaper though.

  • Then I began to tape. And tape and tape and tape.  Actually, it wasn’t that bad.  Using 2″ blue painter’s tape (Home Depot), I started the Chevron pattern with a piece of paper folded into a triangle.  I lined it up with the bottom of the canvas and repeated across the bottom.  This is where you could make a smaller or larger triangle to make your pattern bigger or smaller.  I settled on an 8 1/2″ square piece of paper folded into a triangle. This gave me the first row of the pattern
  • From there, I cheated to repeat the pattern.  I had a peace of “spacer” tape that I simply laid next to the existing row, and then placed the next row.  Since the blue painter’s tape wasn’t that tacky on my rough surface, I just peeled it off each time, and placed it at the next angle to space.  This made it a quick process to repeat the pattern instead of measuring it all out, which I am too lazy for and couldn’t figure out the math anyway!

  • The next annoying step in the Chevron pattern is getting the edge and point clean where the two lines intersect.  For this too I found an easy work around.  By using a straight razor blade, I simply lined up the blade with the line of the tape, and tore of the edge of the other piece of tape.  Voila! Perfect corner.  (I forgot to take pictures of this at first, so I faked it once it was painted.  To use both hands I had to prop up my phone and take these pictures with my tongue, so sorry they aren’t that great!)

  • Once the entire canvas is taped off, the fun part-paint!  I used a big cheap paint brush from Home Depot, and kind of stipled or “pounced” the paint on.

  • I didn’t want the edges to be super sharp or the gray to be really thick, I wanted a weathered kind of look.  Again, this worked really well with the spray painted texture, because it was hard to get into the texture with the paint anyway.  It’s hard to see in the photos, but here’s an idea:

  • Then I got impatient and had to look :).  Since I was using such a small amount of paint, it took seconds to dry.

  • Finally, the letters on top.  I debated on painting them white or gray, and went with gray because I wanted them to blend in more.  Like the canvas, I pounced on the paint to give it that un-perfect weathered look.  This was the easy part- I used some good ole Lennon lyrics, “Love is real, real is love.”  And after playing with how the letters would fit, I decided to go with just “real is love.”  You could do initials like the Pinterest example, numbers, quotes, etc.  To attach them, I originally was going to use the glue gun, but it was at my mom’s, and with me always changing my mind, I was afraid that would forever ruin my canvas, so I went with double sided foam adhesive squares I bought in the office supply aisle at Target.  They did the trick just fine (no letters are on my floor yet), and I think I could scrape them off if I ever want to use the canvas again.

 I’m super happy with how it turned out, and am thinking I might include it as a display at my wedding.  My colors are gray, black and white, and the Lennon quote is on my invitations.  Either way, I love it in my bedroom- it’s kind of shabby chic meets modern.  Total cost: about $20.  The biggest cost was the letters (on sale at JoAnn’s for $1.50 each), and the painter’s tape.  Other than that, I had the paint, brush and canvas in my stash of crap.  Hope you enjoy and make it your own!