Wednesday, April 13, 2011

"Sexcuses" That Will Ruin Your Marriage

Thank you, for your assistance with planning my wedding. Your advice on 13 things NOT to tell my bridesmaids and top wedding day regrets and how to avoid them were clearly vital to my planning process as were your phenomenal tips for saving money like, "only hire a day-of wedding coordinator" and "don't buy off-season flowers." Invaluable. You managed to make me feel broke, cheap and stressed with each new article and e-newsletter. It was quite motivating...

I was THRILLED when, just four days after my wedding, I found I had automatically rolled-over into The Nest. The minute the dust settled (had it?) on our wedding, you kindly began filling my inbox with what is inevitably NEXT in my life: cooking, cleaning, saving money and getting myself preggers ASAP (who writes this stuff, my MIL?).

Today I was especially thrilled to learn that I can save my marriage by simply sucking it up and having more sex. Clearly putting out is the only way I will be keeping the wonderful, attractive, and easily distracted man I caught, even when I don't feel like it.

And don't forget to lose weight while you do it with the best calorie-burning sex moves cause the second easiest way to lose your man is by getting fat.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

DIY Wedding Favors: Homemade Apple Butter

If favors aren't edible, they're a waste. Seriously. Although I'm sure you only invited 300 of your absolutely CLOSEST, BESTEST friends, I'm also sure that 99% of them (ok, all of them except your mother and grandmother) do NOT want a to decorate their house with memorabilia from your wedding. If you're lucky, they'll frame a picture of themselves with the bride, but they'll probably look drunk because, let's face it, they DO care about the open bar. Which is why I opted for the best wedding favor, the kind that is homemade, edible yumminess.

My mom has been canning apple butter for years and she gets 100% of the credit for our delicious favors. She has kindly agreed to share her recipe!  Everyone say THANK YOU Amy! And check out her blog where she hosts tons of giveaways.

Caramel Spice Apple Butter (Adapted from the Ball Blue Book)
Yield: 9-12 Half-pint jars

8 – 9 lbs Apples, cored & quartered (to yield about 12 cups apple pulp)
4 cups Sugar, divided   
1 cup water or apple juice
2 teaspoons Cinnamon, ground
½  teaspoon Ginger, ground
½  teaspoon Cloves, ground
½ teaspoon Nutmeg, preferably freshly ground
2 Tablespoons Lemon juice

In a large saucepot or Dutch oven, combine apples and add the water or apple juice. Bring to a boil then reduce heat. Cover and simmer 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until apples are softened. Press through a food mill or sieve. Return pulp to saucepot; set aside.

In a large skillet or saucepan, heat 2 cups sugar over medium high heat until sugar begins to melt, shaking skillet occasionally to heat sugar evenly; reduce heat. Cook and stir over medium heat until sugar is melted and turns a rich, golden brown.  Be VERY careful, as the caramelized sugar is extremely hot.  Keep a bowl of ice water handy in case you get burned.

Carefully pour caramelized sugar into apple mixture in kettle (mixture will spatter!) The caramelized sugar will harden like candy, but will eventually melt. Stir in the remaining sugar and spices.  Bring to a boil then reduce heat. Simmer, uncovered, stirring often, until thick enough to round up on a spoon. Stir in lemon juice. Ladle into hot jars, leaving 1/4 inch headspace.  Process in boiling water bath 10 minutes for half-pints and 15 minutes for pints.

Amy recommends tasting your apple butter and adjusting the spices as desired.

We printed the labels on top using images from our invitations (suitcase) and another family member, Tammy, did all the calligraphy. Thank you Tammy!

Friday, April 8, 2011

Becky's Vintage Inspired Accessories

The Earrings
 Rhodium, Swarovski pearls and crystals... handmade from Lulu Splendor on Etsy!

The Hair Piece/Fascinator
A custom, handmade creation by Artsymorena on Etsy who came highly recommended by my hair stylist, Brittany! I loved the pop of turquoise-y blue!

The Bracelet
Faux-pearl bracelets from Icing
Seriously... I tried to spend more money, but I couldn't find pearls in the right color anywhere else!

I think it all came together quite nicely :)

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

The Dress: Vintage, Classic and Oh, So Very Me!

In many ways I am a very typical girl. I love pink, high heels and pretty, sparkling things. But I was never the little girl who dreamed of her wedding day. And I also never imagined my "dream dress." As the planning process began, I started thinking long a hard about what I wanted.  I knew it wouldn't be the typical, princess ballgown.

I consider myself to be classic, a little stylish with a bit of vintage and whimsy. I knew I wanted a vintage-style dress and lots of lace. I also knew I preferred something with STRAPS. I say "preferred" because I knew it would be difficult to find. Strapless dresses have dominated wedding fashion for the past ten years, but as a busty, fuller-figured lady, I'd prefer to have a little bit of strap holding me in (You know what I mean, girls? The ladies have a mind of their own sometimes...). I was thrilled to find that straps are coming back in style and I had several, lovely and fashionably options. Here is what I selected...
Baby Got Back

It's House of Wu Private Collection and I found it at Wendy's Bridal in Dublin, Ohio. 

One of my bridesmaids, Aarti, was in town visiting from Brussels, Belgium (seriously) and since she lived so far away and was missing all the wedding fun, we decided to spend a day doing "wedding-ish" things. One of them was dress shopping. We picked some funky dresses, neither of us were taking it seriously. But when I put on this dress, I knew it was the one. It was just so very, very me.

I've never been able to find much about the designer and I've certainly never been able to find my dress online or in magazines, which is weird, but makes me love it more. It's all lace and pleated organza loveliness. It had straps but felt sexy. I could move and dance in it to my heart's content.

I can't say enough about how wonderful my experience at Wendy's was. Everyone working there was lovely, from my sales attendant to my seamstress. They understood what I wanted and were kind and patient with every step. I had several not-so-great experiences due to overly-pushy sales people and being completely misunderstood (not listened to?). I've been to tiny, upscale salons that were horrifically overpriced. And I've mentioned my complete disdain for a certain gargantuan discount bridal chain (puke). Wendy's was the perfect middle-ground. They had a HUGE selection in a wide range of prices and they treated me very well. Love them! I've sent all my bride-friends there and one of them just bought her dress at Wendy's last month. Yay!

Monday, April 4, 2011

Dessert Buffet

Hello my lovely readers! We have finally returned from our honeymoon and I am back to blogging! I am so excited to share more details from our wedding. Now that the big day is over, I can spend a month or two reminiscing through this blog. Oh, how I love it..

There were several traditions that we decided not to incorporate into our wedding, some because of the cost and some because they just weren’t our style. One of the budget-busting traditions that we cut was a large, tiered wedding cake in lieu of the trendy dessert buffet.

My mom is well-known for her cookies and she has made them for several of my cousins’ weddings. I knew we would be including my mom’s pizzelles, anise cookies, butter balls and Italian nut bread on the dessert table.

I also wanted to add macaroons and cake pops because I love both and knew they would be a hit.

By the time we added up all the cookies, it seemed silly to have a huge, multi-tiered cake. Instead we decided to have three round layer cakes, each of a different flavor (vanilla cake with lemon filling and vanilla butter cream, chocolate cake with raspberry filling and chocolate butter cream and carrot cake with cream cheese icing) and a couple small sheet cakes in the back. We ordered the cakes from Piece of Cake in Columbus, Ohio and they were kind enough to do some simple scroll work and piping in the butter cream frosting. They were so sweet! And the cake was TO DIE for! Seriously, YUM!

Here’s a breakdown of the cost:

$219 for ~151 servings of cake
$45 for macaroons
$30 for cake pops made by Heather Dodds (if you're in the Cbus area and need cake pops, I HIGHLY recommend her and I can give you her contact info:)

I have no idea how much my mom spent on ingredients for the cookies she made, but even if it was upwards of $100 (which is probably over estimating), we still managed to come in around $2.60 per person. Not bad, considering how pricey wedding cakes can be.
Also, we had WAY too much cake for our 155 guests. We had originally intended to only have around 100 servings, but my parents overruled us and ordered extra. Thanks mom and dad! We were eating cake forever....

I decorated the dessert buffet with bunting. The small bunting on top of the cake that said "LOVE" I found online from the TomKat Studio. The larger bunting that said "LOVE IS SWEET" on the front of the table I also found online, but I cannot track down the site! If I do, I will update this post with the details.

All photos courtesy of our fabulous wedding photographer, Jessica Miller Photography!