2015 New Year’s Resolutions of a Thirty-Something Gal

Wow, 2015 is here! Time for new resolutions!! So can you believe it is fifteen years after the big new millennium?! Y2K bug! Ahhh! My gosh, how time flies!

2015 New Year's Resolutions of a 30 SomethingAnyhow, I’m a list kinda gal and know that I am much more likely to get things done if I write to-dos down and get to cross them off once completed. Sooo satisfying. Done – check! Most years I like to write down resolutions or goals for the year ahead. I actually have a notebook dedicated to just that and in previous years I went as far as drawing 52 boxes for weekly goals to check things off. Worked really well!

Last year I really only had two personal goals: Plan our wedding! Plan our honeymoon! I’m hoping I’ll have a little more time for other things in 2015 but usually life tends to be amazingly busy these days.

This year, these are my goals:

  1. Start my own marketing consulting business
  2. Connect with my friends
  3. Host Sunday Suppers / Entertain at our beautiful house
  4. Up our house’s curb appeal. Those dead scrubs blend in well in winter but the rest of the year… not so much.
  5. Work out at least once a week
  6. Catch-up with my Project Life photo albums
  7. Create our wedding photo book
  8. Blog here at least once a month (that seems little but it’s realistic)
  9. Nurture my marriage and do awesome things that we may want to do before we potentially have kids (I realize this is an abstract goal and as such I really despise it so I will have to break it down into more tangible S.M.A.R.T. goals *business geek*)
  10. Eat well. Live cleanly. Be well. A.k.a. increasingly remove pesticides and chemicals, etc from our food and home, eat nutritious meals, be greener.

I hope to see you here, on Facebook or in person to check in on how I’m doing with my resolutions. Care to share your goals?

Our Barn Wedding

Our Barn Wedding at the Field Trial Barn- Couple Shot

Six weeks ago we tied the knot and we are slowly getting back to normal life now. After all the months of preparation seeing everything on our wedding day come together so beautifully was awesome. I had worked hard on little details with the help of my sweet bridesmaids, then fiancé and family but it was hard to visualize the entire set-up with so many projects going on. The wedding was an absolutely amazing event and I’m hoping to always remember how happy we were that day. It was the perfect day filled with lots of love, smiles, dancing and fun. Read on for the detailed recap that might bore you but that will help us remember the day. 🙂

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Easy, Fake Calligraphy for Our Wedding Invitations

Easy Envelope Calligraphy Address

Part of prepping for the wedding (less than four weeks!!! Yikes!) was to get the invitations out. I was being thrifty and used an online stationary company for the actual invitations but I wanted to jazz them up somehow – of course preferably low cost, high impact! Pretty envelope addressing to the rescue! Mind you I always had B- in penmanship (yup, you get grades for that in German elementary school) so this was a challenge – that luckily turned out being fun and looking chic!

The Tools

These are the pens I used. The Elegant Writer fake calligraphy felt pen came from Michaels and has a rectangular, flat tip. Target also has fairly inexpensive calligraphy pens. They come in various sizes so pick your favorite. Then you’ll need a gel pen or round tip felt pen. Obviously I seem to have a thing for my pilot so I used a black Pilot G-2 gel pen for the address.

Casual Calligraphy Writer's Pens

1. Practice

Next up you want to practice! If you google “calligraphy alphabet” you’ll find a boatload of inspiration for lettering. To keep it nice and easy I found that staying away from double lines helps – snorkles and the differing widths that the calligraphy pen automatically writes in should be pretty enough for the novice writer. I have found that both printing and scripting look really pretty and are EASY. So hopefully your generation still learned writing script in elementary school and you can access it somewhere in the back of your head. Best advice: practice, practice, practice and see what looks good to you and what doesn’t (–> the importance of ordering a few extra envelopes with your invitations). I also cut or folded lots of paper in the actual size of the envelopes to get a feel for the dimensions and size letters that work best.

As for the address, stay consistent and focus on every single letter and number you write. Yes, it will take ages. Yes, it will be worth it.

2. The Last Name

I started by writing the recipients’ last names diagonally on the envelope using the calligraphy felt pen. Short names I wrote bigger, long names were smaller in letter size. When I had guests with different last names I wrote both of them – smaller of course – on two different lines. I usually tried to connect some of their letters – say the line of a t to the tail of a p or the last names. Sometimes the ampersand worked as a great connector. If I hadn’t added any swirls as I initially drew the letters, I would try to carefully add some now. Be careful not to overdo that though – it can easily start to look really funny. Again, google particular letters or write out a name in a script or handwriting font on your computer for inspiration.

3. The Address

My envelopes were white, which gave me a chance to insert a piece of paper with black sharpie lines into them to use as guides. You can also draw lines with a pencil – I however was too lazy to do that and erase them all afterwards. Isn’t that such a pain especially when you can see where you erased?! So use a ruler, draw some black lines that will shine through your envelope on it and just move it from one envelope to the next.

How to address an envelope for wedding invitation

Write the guests’ names with proper salutations (unless they have really really long names). Take a look at the 3 in the second line. My normal handwritten 3 looks more like half of an 8. Yup, little effort, big difference though.

Elegant address script

Try to keep the line length consistent. Yeah sounds easy, it’s harder in person. I’ve used a separate notebook to spell out the address and see how far I have to stretch the letters to make it work. If you have the chance, write out the state. If there’s a long town name, abbreviate the state.

Finally, the zip code! To get that nice and neat look, start with the first and last digit and place them at the front and end of the block. Then add the middle digit to the center of the line and the missing two in the center of the gaps. Lastly I added little dots that looked like tiny squares between the numbers thanks to the awesome fake calligraphy felt pen.

EASY! LOOKS FANCY! ALMOST FREE!

Boom goes the dynamite, you’ve got yourself some kick-ass wedding invitation envelopes! If I can do it, so can you!

Easy way to beautifully address envelopes

Hiking North Carolina

North Carolina has some amazing hiking trails what with the Blue Ridge Mountains and several other state parks like Pilot Mountain and Hanging Rock. It’s been a while since I’ve been hiking and I was reallllly missing it. We used to go about once a month when my good Italian energy-bundle of a friend still lived here. So I was super excited when the fiancé had most of a Saturday off and we were able to go hiking!

Harper Creek Falls Pool

I packed my fanny pack (oh yes, it’s awesome, you know you want one) and the love packed a backpack and off we went. Well, that was after trying make a decision on where to go. Sooo many options!

We drove up to the Harper Creek Area just west of Lenoir. My hiking book had mentioned several different length loops and waterfalls – yes please! After we had driven two out of the three hours there his airline decided he had to work the next morning. GREEEEAAAAT. Just as we thought we had the day to actually do something that normal people do on a weekend. Luckily there were some late evening flights that could get him to work so that we just kept going to at least do a short hike.

NC90 all of a sudden turned into a narrow gravel road…. But nothing that this farmer’s daughter couldn’t handle.

Gravel road NC 90to Harper Creek Falls

We eventually went on a fun but short 3 mile hike along Raider Camp Creek and to the Harper Creek Falls where you could rappel down to the base of the falls with the rope that was there. It looked super steep and sissy me was a little intimidated but after I saw a 5 year old rappel back up I just followed zee babe down like a mountain goat. Super fun and the view was awesome! Definitely a place to go back for a swim in the waterfall pool!

Harper Creek Falls Hike Edmonton, NC

Super Creative Bridal Shower

Awesome Bridal Shower

One of the American wedding traditions that we don’t have back home is a bridal shower. And then there are also  showers for expecting moms (baby showers). The original concept was to shower the (young) bride with gifts so she is ready for her own household. Granted we’re already living together so the gifts aspect was really secondary for me but I’ve always enjoyed the social aspects of showers. So I was a little on the fence as to whether or not I wanted to have one but the whole “you only have one chance in your life to have one (hopefully)” concept prevailed. My awesome U.S. based bridesmaids really hit the nail on the head in terms of how to throw the perfect bridal shower.

The girls really outdid themselves with super cute self-made decoration including tissue paper pendants, accordion photo displays, a decorated bridal chair, chalkboard calligraphy, arranged flower bouquets and then some. They had also set up stations to sign a champagne bottle where guests could leave us sweet notes for our first anniversary and with notecards for marriage advice.

Bridal Shower food and deco

The food and beverage were excellent with mimosas, infused waters, salad with bacon vinaigrette, fresh fruit, kebobs, quiche and home-made cupcakes. DELICIOUS!

We played a fun game where the ladies had to do a dare or answer questions about the bride or the bride and groom. And then as a take home party favor my bridesmaids had put together this awesome make-your-own tea bar! They had loose Ceylon, Green and Earl Grey teas as bases and then you would mix your flavor additions like orange peel and chai spices in. How creative and perfect for this tea lover!

I’m sooo glad I had a bridal shower. It was so wonderful spending girly time with everyone and it was so festive and the girls’ creativity blew me away. I’m one lucky gal!

Tea Favors for Bridal Shower

Write on a bottle for anniversary