05/08/2013 § Leave a comment
A few months ago my family and I had an exciting couple of weeks! In quite a short span we had weddings, and showers, and girl’s nights out, guy’s nights out… the works! Planning my now sister-in-law’s bridal shower was one of the most fun experiences I’ve had and I wanted to share a couple of instagram shots from the beautiful gathering it turned out to be!
I honestly cannot remember where I originally saw the idea for this game that I consistently called “Celebrity Wives,” but it was such a fun twist to a bridal shower game and really ended up getting guests, who might otherwise have been sitting idly, laughing, chatting, and making friends! Again, I’m not sure how the original game went, so I just made it up as I crafted! My spunky sister-in-law has a love of all things pink and hair decor so it was only natural that I make pretty, pink, hair flowers as the backbone of the game! During the shower while everyone was sipping and nibbling we passed out these pretty accessories (no one could see who they had.. it had to go straight from the basket into the hair!) Once everyone was spruced up in their pretty flowers the game continued as follows: everyone at each table was allowed to ask other table members yes or no questions about who they were… whoever figured themselves out first won the centerpiece!
There she is, my pretty sista!! Her hubby and mine stopped by for a quick shot in the DIY photo booth we made, and then they were promptly booted out (this was a ladies day after all!) I was super proud of this photo booth because it wasn’t actually supposed to be a part of the shower at all. Yep, it was the night before the big day and it just felt like we needed a little something more. With a little bit of left over fabric, supplies, and a boat load of energy the backdrop was born (with just a few hours to spare!) I’m so glad we spent all of that last minute energy on this project because it turned out to be one of the biggest hits of the shower! Everyone wanted a shot in the booth and my sister-in-law got a great album of family and friend photos when the day was over!
This was my ABSOLUTE favorite part of the shower! This was the second shower I had done this particular project for and I cannot express how much I love it! A “Meet the Maids” table is such a wonderful addition to any shower; to me it gives such a delicate gathering of merging families, old friends & new friends, grandparents, and rugrats, and one very excited bride-to-be, a personal touch. “Meet the Maids” gives everyone a chance to see who your bridal party is as well as who they may need to look for at the shower for any questions or concerns. My spin on this fun project was to turn it into a sentimental gift for the bride and all of her maids. I got a few hot, hot, hot pink frames from a discount store and filled them with pictures of the bride and each of her maids, as well as one of the bride and her now hubs (and for this particular shower one of my sista and my handsome nephew!) Then I got to calling! I got a quote from the bride about why or what she loves most about each of her maids, one from the groom-to-be about what or why he loves his bride so much, and in this case one from a handsome little man about why he loves his momma so much! What you end up with at the end of the day is a wonderful keepsake for each bridesmaid and for the bride herself… sometimes in the midst of planning a wedding its a good thing to remind everyone how much they are loved. ❤
Here’s to all those little moments that turn these kinds of days into a little piece of your heart!
09/14/2012 § 2 Comments
It has finally come and gone! One week ago, today, I married my best friend… and the most amazing man I have ever had the chance of knowing. I have been a wife for exactly one week, and this first week has been one of reflection and of awe and of thankfulness for so many things. Planning and preparing for a wedding can be one of the most daunting tasks you will ever encounter, but in those carefree moments of your well anticipated day… all of the stress, and worry, and anxiety of things going wrong… just melt away and are replaced with love, and family, and friends. None of the planning truly matters anymore, minute details you may have dreamt of no longer hold any importance.. because whatever the day turns out to be, becomes the exact thing you never could have dreamt of… it becomes perfect, no matter what.
I don’t even know how to start talking about this day… so many happy memories flood my mind and my normally articulate voice is silenced with emotions. I suppose I’ll start at the beginning… and attempt to keep myself on track.
I fell asleep the night before my wedding day secretly texting my soon-to-be-husband, and woke up more relaxed than I have ever remembered. My childhood home was bright and warm, just as it has always been. My mom left to run some last-minute errands, and my dad left to… well I’m not sure what he was doing, but I had the house to myself. I showered in peace, and sat outside to enjoy the gorgeous Friday morning that it was. My phone rang and it was Jeff… we talked, we were calm, and it was probably the only moment we were truly alone all day, and it was wonderful.
My beautiful and absolutely amazing bridesmaids started showing up one by one. We changed into our thrift store t-shirts, with floppy hair and excited grins… we had breakfast (bagels for some.. a screwdriver for others!) and we waited for the arrival of our trolley!
I could not ask for a better group of friends… that are all truly more like family… than these girls right here. Throughout the whole wedding planning process, they have been and are the most kind-hearted, sentimental, loving women a bride could have. Each one of them knows me so well, and they are each unique in friendship and in life. It is hard to come by friends like these.. and sometimes I wonder how I ever became so lucky or worthy to have acquired such amazingness in my life.
The trolley arrived! Larry was our driver, and he was the sweetest man. He drove us to the hair salon where we all got pretty and pampered and prepared for the ceremony to come! The ladies at the salon were unbelievably nice… I can’t imagine that a hoard of women taking over your place of business can be an easy task, but these ladies welcomed us with open arms and had helped make our morning even more fun than anticipated!
After we all finished up, Larry escorted us back to the hotel room to meet with the photographers.
We arrived at our hotel for the night, and the craziness began. It was dresses flying, wasps invading, bobby pins, and make-up, and modeling all in this one tiny room filled with the best people ever. The ridiculously talented photographers had their way with us (“Crotches back, boobs forward ladies!”)… and we were one step closer to walking down the aisle.
Jeff and I, at the well given advice of our photographers, decided to do a “reveal” before the ceremony. We were massively crunched for time between the ceremony and the reception so it only made sense to do most of the wedding party photos before hand. One might imagine that this takes away from the actual ceremony… but it doesn’t. Again, credited to the wise advice we were given, we ended up having 2 emotional “first look” moments and our stress levels were nowhere to be found. Things were all taken care of, and we could enjoy our well-planned day with our friends and family.
It was finally time. The wedding party sat in the trolley, watching all of the guests walking over to the beautiful garden of roses that was our ceremony spot… and well in truth, we all took a celebratory shot. The boys left us, and us girls made our way to the garden entrance. Each girl walked down one by one, followed by my maid of honor & adorable ring bearer hand in hand. The guitarist who sang for our ceremony did an amazing job. We met him and his fiance for the first time only a few nights prior and are so unbelievable grateful to have done so.
My dad walked me down the aisle to “Marry Me” by Train, and gave me away to my future husband. The ceremony was tailored to us perfectly. My childhood friend, and my sister for all intents and purposes, acted as our officiant and spoke the most heart-felt words as she walked us through becoming husband and wife.
The boys… or brothers, I should say,… were all standing there looking handsome as ever. All so different, yet all so unique, and loving, and devoted to each other and their family. For a girl who has grown up an only child… I have so much family, and I am so very lucky.
And then Regina finally let us kiss!
Oh, I love that picture!!… Sorry, I’m getting sappy. We walked back out of the garden as husband & wife for the first time ever! We strolled towards the trolley to the awesome rendition of “Always Love” by Nada Surf, and we met up with our loved ones for hugs, and kisses, and congratulations, and thank you’s all around! It was surreal to say the least.
Larry drove us all back to the reception, where we hooked back up with our photographers to do some formal family shots and officially start our reception! We were announced for the first time as Mr. & Mrs. and our entire wedding party came in to “New Shoes” by Paulo Nutini (at Jeff’s request for everyone to have new shoes for the wedding!) We danced our first dance to “More Adventurous” by Rilo Kiley, took to the dance floor with our parents, and were then completely blown away when our DJ went above and beyond our expectations and gifted us with a live singer for a few Frank Sinatra songs! We danced, we ate, we celebrated; it was truly an amazing night.
As you know, if you’ve read this blog before, Jeff and I are not strangers to loss. We have very many key people in our lives who couldn’t be there to celebrate in the joy of our wedding day and it was very important to us to do something in honor of those people. So we snaked an idea from an old friend and decided to hold a raffle for the two witnesses that signed our marriage license. Each ticket was $1 and all of the proceeds were split between two charities that are particularly close to our hearts. The American Heart Association for Jeff’s father Vince, and the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention for my Uncle Kevin. We raised $500 total and were blown away by the generosity of our guests. It meant so much to us to be able to give back to these two charities in hopes of ridding the world of loved ones lost. ❤
We spent the rest of the night dancing and enjoying our time with the people we love and appreciate most, and it was more than one person could ever hope for. The Best Man showed off some perfected dance moves after his ticket selling duties were through, we cut our cheesecake, ate whoopie pies, said our goodbyes, and eventually found our way to bed. We owe so much to the wonderful people in our lives, and to the amazing people we’ve met along the way, because at the end of the night… it was all of those people that made our wedding a day to remember.
So once again, here’s to love… family… friends (old & new)… and all of the moments that make life worth living.
07/20/2012 § 3 Comments
It is no secret that I am an animal advocate. I have my little family of 3 pups, 2 kitties, and one soon-to-be-hubby… and they all mean the world to me. Each one has their own quirks, their own personalities, and their own ways of showing love. My family loves each other unconditionally… we accept the things in each other that are a bit off, and we forgive each other our downfalls. We support each other in our dreams and goals for this life… and sometimes we take a step back, because that’s what is needed most. It is a truly overwhelming thing to take a deep look into unconditional love.
The way an animal loves astounds me. The heart of a pet is so much deeper and without flaw than a human heart. Our hearts are sometimes too much attached to the rest of our selves. However an animal, well they have a heart that is consistently pumping out love and forgiveness at most given moments. I have seen in my own pet’s how true this really is… at the end of the day my pups do not judge me if I speak my mind, and my kitties don’t hold it against me if I am too exhausted to play mouse with them. The ins and outs of my day are of no consequence when it comes to my pet’s.. they are just filled with joy that I am here and that I love them back.
I am constantly learning. Learning about love, learning about myself, learning about what I want out of life. Not far off from what most people are constantly learning about, I suppose. Something I’ve been understanding a lot more lately is love.. friendships.. the people we surround ourselves with. When you are 18, you will never understand why your parents, at 45, are no longer close with their friends from school. You’ll think “What do they know about friendship!?!”, “What do they know about any of this!?” What I’ve begun to understand lately is they know more about this than we would ever imagine to know at 18, or 26, or 35.
The older I get, each year, I’m learning a little bit more about myself and my family and what I want. I don’t dream about fancy cars and big bank accounts, I dream of happiness out of my life. If fancy cars and bank accounts are what make you happy, than so be it.. but for me, I’m finding that my happiness often comes from what I’m doing in my life and the people around me. The few people I know love me unconditionally, despite my faults, and have stuck by me throughout the years… growing with me. The people (& pets) I love as well.
What I have found over the years, is there are moments in your life that test these relationships. There are times when you are at your worst… there are times when you are at your best… times you are in need, or needed yourself. You often don’t realize these moments are upon you, until they have passed. Sometimes the aftermath of such moments is too much to bare… too emotional for you to notice the impact it has already made on your life and your future.
Sometimes we need to take a look at our lives and ask ourselves if we are really happy, and what happiness really means to us. Are our lives filled with negativity and sadness? Are there things that are holding us back from what we want of happiness?… And how do we plan to go about living our lives the way we have imagined instead of the way it may currently be?
I wish to one day have the heart of a dog. The unbiased, untarnished, consistently forgiving heart of a dog who loves their owner.
As always, until next time… here’s to living the lives we have imagined.
04/11/2012 § Leave a comment
DONATE BOOKS ..... & .... APPRECIATE, CREATE, SUPPORT ART
I’m going to declare these last 2 weeks my “Easter Vacay” and call it a day.
It has been busy, busy, busy around here lately and I have so much I want to talk about (I fear this may be a long one so grab a cup of coffee… or a beer!)
Well for starters there are no worries, just because I’ve been out of posting sorts doesn’t mean I have been slacking on my Every Monday Matter’s tasks. These two tasks in particular are the bee’s knees for me… seriously, reading and art? I couldn’t ask for a better vacay week(s). The two of these things go hand in hand for me… I am SUPER passionate about both and only hope in my craziest dreams that everyone else is as well.
Let's start with books:
Reading is ridiculously important. If you don’t think so then I suggest you change your tune. How about the obvious: reading enhances your vocabulary.. sparks imagination.. provides peace and privacy when needed most.. and can supply a wealth of knowledge while shaping a well-rounded individual. I mean seriously, I am not even joking when I say this but… I have already started a library for my future children!… Yes, children that do not even exist yet. I have even suggested Barnes and Noble’s for my future baby registry, Ha!
“55% of children have an increased interest in reading when given books at an early age” – EMM
I am that ridiculous girl that will spend an entire day in a bookstore if you let me… and spend WAAAAY too much money!
Now… donating the books, actually letting go of a book.. this is a bit harder for me. Due to my intense love of reading and my slight case of OCD… donating books is something that makes my heart race. I enjoy having my bookshelves organized and designating a particular home for every book and genre,… and it just makes me melt seeing them all there ready to be read or re-read! However I have a magnitude of gently used books donated to me in my quest to open my own store… not all of the books are stellar for what my intentions are so I have been filing through the numerous boxes and weeding out the ones that don’t particularly serve my future bookstore needs. Off they go, because even if you aren’t as psychotic about reading as me..everyone deserves a chance to read a great book.. and the sad truth is that some people aren’t able to due to lack of resources.
“61% of low-income families have no books in their homes.” – EMM
Now how about some art?
My passion for reading is only rivaled by my passion for all things art… When I was 16 and I decided that I wanted to go to college and study Fine Art my entire world changed. I spent a decent portion of my high school career shacked up in the art room working on my portfolio day in and day out. I remember December of my senior year… my mom driving me out to Kutztown in a blizzard, my pajama-clad self in the back seat strewn with blankets and tissues fighting off a fever and the flu… all to get my portfolio in for the early admittance deadline. I spent all of winter break on the edge of my seat waiting for some sign of life from Kutztown…I called once, if not twice, a day… just waiting for them to put me out of my misery! When the sweet (and only slightly annoyed) secretary finally came back with a “Yes, Kelly.. your portfolio has been reviewed and I am pleased to inform you that you have been accepted into the Fine Arts Program.”… I could have hit the floor.
When I finally got to Kutztown and started on my Fine Art adventure I quickly learned how inexperienced I was in comparison to the rest of my classmates. Not to say that I didn’t have what it took, but the tiny town I originated from just didn’t have the means/cares to provide an outstanding art program. I was one of the only graduating art majors for my class… my advanced art class in high school during my senior year had 3 children in it (myself included.)
Now the story goes on from there in a quite unorthodox manner, but never-the-less I am still passionate about art to this day.
“93% of people believe that the arts are vital to a well-rounded education. Regardless only 29% of schools have been able to maintain time and funding for art programs.” – EMM
Take some time to create something. Even if you aren’t a phenomenal artist… to the people who love you most, a homemade something may be the best gift of all. Art doesn’t have to be about how great of a painter you are… or how many pieces you’ve sold. Art is about the emotions and creativity that are brought out from creating something from your heart. Don’t let the little things.. that are really the big things… go unnoticed.
“Art is a reflection of people and cultures since the beginning of time.” – EMM
So once again… here’s to passion, all forms of it.
(I had to dig this piece out of the wreckage that is now my portfolio!)
03/29/2012 § 6 Comments
I’m back, however not with an Every Monday Matters post…
It has been one hell of a week here in PA. First, both of our kitties have been out of sorts as well as in and out of the vet’s office. Secondly, it seems as if our days and weekends as of late have been jam-packed, down to the
minute second. Last night I sat down, late already, to finish up my post from Monday.. and as I said with my last few words being keyed in my wordpress just went kaput. As I sit down to write today I am not motivated to try and recreate what I spent hours on yesterday, so here I am with a new post and new thoughts to share. No worries though, this week’s task I was actually skipping anyway (not really)… it is something that is much bigger than one week’s worth of planning and will hopefully come to a head around mid-summer, I will keep you updated.
As for today, I’d like to share with you my fabulous weekend of learning homemade family recipes with my Mother and my Nana (just as Nana predicted.)
I remember being a little girl that wasn’t so much of a little girl. I spent hours in my Uncle’s garage fiddling with greasy nuts and bolts, played with worms while fishing with my Dad, and paraded around the dirt roads of my Nana’s town trucking a bag of homemade perogies from one house to another in a wagon attached to a 4 wheeler. Needless to say when I was younger I was less than thrilled about being in the kitchen. However, as I’ve grown into my twenties (approaching my 30’s) cooking and baking is something that I now find fun and intriguing. I bake with no reasons; no holidays. I cook most weeknights for my family.. and I’m quickly becoming comfortable in the kitchen.
A few years ago my fiance’s grandmother passed away. She was the central station for their family and the star chef in some amazing family meals. I was fortunate enough to have learned first hand, from her, the recipe for her potato soup before she passed. That soup is now a part of our family, and will continue along down the line with our children and our children’s children. With her passing, I started thinking about all sorts of recipes that have gotten lost with each passing generation. So many memories from our lives are based around food… holiday dinners, baking cookies,… Nana’s homemade perogies. I don’t ever want to lose those warm feelings when thinking back… and I want our kids to experience those same wonderful sensations when biting into a delicious family tradition.
This weekend 3 generations of women got together to make some homemade perogies, peanut butter easter eggs, and butter cream easter eggs.
Nana is the pro… followed by myself, the amateur.
It took us all day but we came out with almost 5 dozen perogies, and 3 containers filled with decadent easter eggs.
And I have come to the conclusion that my Mom genuinely likes doing dishes.. I have no other explanation.
I can’t wait to have another weekend of sharing time with my loved ones and learning more great dishes that will hopefully become a cherished recollection to my own descendants as well. These are the moments that make life… a life.
03/19/2012 § 2 Comments
REGISTER TO VOTE
Soo.. I’m going to apologize right now for the fact that most of my posts lately (including this one) are of the short-n-sweet-n-rushed variety. The thing is, I’m busy. I know, I know, everyone is busy… so I am by no means complaining… more just trying to find myself some sort of groove where I’m not lacking in any part of my day-to-day. I’m working on it, I really am… so just stick with me and I promise I will be getting the ball of awesomeness rolling again soon.
Anyway, this week my task is register to vote. Lucky for me I’m already registered to vote.
However… I registered to vote back when I was barely 18, as it was sort of, kind of, a requirement in my senior year Government class. Who the heck knows what you want to be at 18? I don’t even know what I want to be now! Like I’ve said before though as you get older and your life starts to shift, priorities start to change, and responsibilities get bigger…. you slowly begin to care about things more. Like taxes… I couldn’t give two hoots about taxes at 18, but as a 25 year old homeowner who’s taxes are going up about $700 next year.. I’d say I’m starting to care. I watch the news now, I read *scan* the paper now, sometimes I even have political conversations… out in public… with real people. Who am I? Well I guess I should just call a spade a spade…. I’m and adult!
Another adult-esque thing… St. Patty’s Day!!
Okay, worst transition ever right there… but so be it.
I had an absolutely wonderful holiday…. decked out in green, baked cupcakes, and enjoyed some good beer with some good friends on the back porch, in the best weather possible!
And the dogs weren’t complaining either!
Bring on Easter!