Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Paleo Snack + Weekend Recap (late is better than never right?)



Soo it's been QUITE a week - Thursday Harrison and I flew to Memphis for my brother's SURPRISE wedding (which I've known about since October and have never kept such a big secret for so long and it was TORTURE) which was great and will get a photo dump further down.

For now though, let's talk paleo snacking. When I switched over to eating clean about a year ago, the snacks were the hardest part. Not being able to just grab a bag of chips or fruit snacks suuucked (that's right I'm 27 and still crave Welch's Fruit snacks- DA BOMB). I've kind of figured it out since (you can read about my snacking adventures here), and now I've found a new favorite refreshing snack. I prep a bunch of these little turkey rolls on Sundays and grab them on my way out the door.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cucumbers, sliced thin longways (I always use my $17 NoPro Mandolin for this)
  • 1 tomato, sliced thin
  • 1/2 lb deli turkey meat
  • salt, pepper, garlic powder to taste
  • 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
Place the tomatoes, turkey, seasoning, and a dab of mustard on top of the cucumber slice and roll it up. That's it. Make a lot for the week and store in a tupperware so you can grab and go all week!

And now for the surprise wedding! My brother and his fiance are not into doing things the traditional way, so they invited everyone to their new house for an "engagement party". When everyone showed up one of the friends gathered everyone for what appeared to be a toast- talked about how they are spontaneous and break the mold and said "A good example is today. While you all think you're here for an engagement party, it's actually their wedding!" Everyone cheered. I cried. It was beautiful. Here's my photo dump: 


I found an amazing deal on a PENTHOUSE downtown on AirBnB - this view!! And it was big enough for us to host everyone for an after party and a brunch the next morning:



Thursday night we went out to see some live blues on Beale Street (if you ever make it to Memphis, Beale Street is a lot of fun!)


Ate some famous Memphis dry rub at Rendezvous:


Then went to the "Engagement Party" where they found a good use for the bathtub they ripped out of the old house:



This is when we all thought we were gathered for a toast- my brother's 2 best friends found out they were groomsmen about 5 minutes before this picture:


The happy married couple:




My MARRIED brother and me!


Have you ever been to a surprise wedding? Do you HATE KEEPING SECRETS like me? What is your favorite healthy snack??

Friday, December 12, 2014

The Budget Bridesmaid Conundrum


Budget bridesmaids. LOL LOL LOL LOLLLLLL. Budget + bridesmaid don't really go together, especially once you add up travel + bachelorette parties + bridesmaids dresses + rehearsal dinner outfit + showers + more travel + gifts + hotels + booze + checking luggage because you're hauling decor/gag gifts/embarrassing photos/booze across the country. Even though being a bridesmaid is expensive I think it is such a great honor and I have love love loved being a part of my friends' weddings and wouldn't have spent one less penny to do it. It's worth every single penny. Here are some things I've learned along the way:


For the bridesmaids:

Reselling your bridesmaids dresses/buying used bridesmaid dresses: Racked has an article of everywhere you could possibly buy or sell bridesmaid dresses, plus a few friends of mine have made some dollars back selling used bridesmaid dresses on ebay! Who knew.

Budget Traveling: Kayak alerts (flights), VRBO (accommodations with KITCHENS- hello not eating out for every meal), AirBnB, and Hotwire (car rentals) are my wedding season BFFs. Also I finally got an airline credit card where I get a mile for every dollar spent- looking forward to cashing in and flying to EVERY WEDDING FO FREE next wedding season.

Youtube can show you how to do everything a hair stylist can do: Granted, I have curly hair and most stylists straighten my hair and it turns into a disaster in .5 seconds so my situation is pretty different. Here are some of my favorite tutorials that I have used for every wedding I've been in (I calculated- by not getting my hair and makeup done for each wedding I saved $500 this summer!)

Remember to bring your dress with you to the wedding. It is a lot less expensive to NOT be in your car halfway to South Carolina, realize you left the dress at home, and having to turn around and drive halfway back where your brother has agreed to meet you after breaking into your apartment and finding it in your closet (also saves a lot of headache- explaining to a brother which dress is the mint green gown is extremely difficult). Yes, this was me. After this incident I started making checklists of everything to bring with me which has saved a few dollars along the way by not having to go buy a toothbrush and new makeup with every trip.

Photobooks on shutterfly make great gifts: These are such special gifts and you can always find a code (thanks retailmenot.com!) for at least 10000% off. Plus Shutterfly does 80% of the heavy lifting for you (read: I am not creative or artistic at all. You should see my high school scrapbooks- paragraph long captions, random pictures, and times new roman titles for every page).


For the Bride (hi I'm still working on this one PLEASE HELP):

Find beauty school students/recent grads to do hair and makeup: One night, amidst a panic attack involving back to back emails stating Check out our great deal! Just $100 for bridesmaid hair and additional $100 for bridesmaid makeup and we only require you to have 6 sign up!, I posted on Facebook asking for suggestions. Lo and behold, a friend who recently graduated beauty school commented and I now have a much less expensive hair and makeup sitch. (this is the one time I'm not doing my own hair and makeup). Lessons learned: find beauty school students, always seek Facebook.

Bridesmaid dress options: 
  • Etsy: I was in a wedding where we wore Etsy skirts. They were $60. It was magically inexpensive and magically different and we got approximately 90000000 compliments on how original and cute the skirts were.
  • Rental Dresses: Rent The Runway isn't just for the wedding guests.
  • Non Bridesmaid Bridesmaid Dresses: I went with this dress from Nordstrom (sleeves OR no sleeves). If you search their Bridesmaid dresses prices are about $100 higher. Mine were not as inexpensive as I was hoping for, but it's still $100 less than $250...
  • Modcloth: Vintage, different, inexpensive options.
  • PS can we all just post our bridesmaid dresses ahead of time so everyone can avoid the nightmare of showing up in the bridesmaid dress? It happens at every wedding!
Advice From My Brother's BFF Who is Also a Red Carpet Dress Designer (hi Christine THANK YOU for all your help!)
  • Never ask for bridesmaid dresses. This adds ~$100 to the pricetag.
  • Shop juniors departments! Juniors dresses are WAY cheaper and you just have to buy bigger sizes (and check the length)!
  • If you have all your bridesmaids dress sizes, go find them yourself on a major sale days
  • Convertible Tie Dresses: everyone can tie it up however they want. They can cost as low as $30. Helloo. 
  • Make sure b-maids have the dresses at LEAST 5 months in advance to allow for alterations and mishaps
  • Find out when/if the store plans to discontinue the dress you choose. This is so easy- I livechatted someone at Nordstrom.com to ask this and it took all of 5.5 minutes. (confession: I won worst bridesmaid of the year for an upcoming wedding when I put off purchasing the dress a few months (I'm going to lose at LEAST 15 lbs by that wedding...) and it got discontinued. Thank you J. Crew for your lovely customer service reps, your search & rescue team, and your rural Texas warehouse that had one dress in the right color that had been returned).
What tips do you have for bridesmaids/brides? Any adivce for cutting costs?

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Blog Tip Tuesday: All the tips.

I just realized that I've had this ole blog here for about a year now and I kind of feel like a piece of sh*t because I've never acknowledged all the people whose advice I've highjacked borrowed for myself. SO here are some of my favorite blog tutorials, how-tos, and advice:

Creating a Custom Blogger Header Using PicMonkey by 21RosemaryLane



Why I'm Not Commenting On Your Blog from Run Eat Repeat - this changed the way I thought about commenting PLUS there is a blog I read about how NOT commenting back aka returning the favor is bad blog etiquette that I can't remember who you are (if it was you- thank you!). After reading this I went the commentluv route which did not end well for me (bye bye hundreds of comments)- anyone have advice for using commentluv on blogger and NOT having it randomly delete all your comments every few days? Anway, Courtney has great tutorials and advice every Tuesday!




How to Make a Custom Thumbnail Gallery in Blogger




My Blogger Lab - This has a tutorial for everything you could possibly need to do in Blogger, plus everything you never even knew you could DIY. My favs: How to embed a PDF, How to style labels . This is one of the few blogs I subscribe to via email because every time I get an e-mail from them I'm like wait what! I can DO that?!?




Blogging Tips for Beginners from Wine & Glue. Even if you're not a beginner, there is some great advice in here!




Pinterest and Blogging 101: How to Create a Pin It Button by Anchors Aweigh (also check out Getting Verified on Pinterest)

What are your favorite blog tutorials? Do you leave Leave them in the comments!