Monthly Archives: July 2010

Something A Bit Heavy.*

Editor’s Note:  Although I wrote this post last week, I was a bit behind on my blog reading and missed the announcement for Caitlin’s (of Operation Beautiful & Healthy Tipping Point fame) “Change the Way You See, Not the Way You Look” week.  It’s going on this week, August 2 through August 7, as a way for bloggers and readers to think and talk about body images issues.  I am participating and submitting this post!  Check out Operation Beautiful and Healthy Tipping Point for more information or if you’d like to participate.


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Remember this scene from the movie Old School?  Mitch and Nicole go have coffee at the diner, and the waiter gives them their meal for free, because Mitch, of course, is The Godfather of the fraternity the guys have started on campus.  My favorite part of that scene is when Nicole leaves the diner in a huff, and the waiter leans down to Mitch and says, “Love.   It’s a mother-fucker, eh?”

So why am I bringing this movie up?  Because today I want to take a time-out from DIY, guest lists, butterflies and rainbows and talk about the pressures we brides feel to look our best on our wedding day.  What does this have to do with Old School?  Why, this, of course:  “Self-esteem.  It’s a motherfucker, eh?”

The bridal industry, and the world at large, it seems, puts a ton of pressure on brides to look our best on our wedding day.  Every bride—EVERY one—is trying to lose 10 pounds, get in shape, or is generally worrying about how she’ll look on her wedding day.  Everywhere you look in the bridal industry, you can’t escape it:  from the uber-thin models wearing gorgeous dresses in the magazines, to the popular wedding websites with entire sections dedicated to “looking and feeling your best,” and even to a whole crop of bridal boot camps now gaining momentum in the fitness industry.  “Lose 10 Pounds!” “Slim your thighs!” “Tone your arms!”  These are just a few of the headlines you might see on a popular wedding website or in a wedding magazine.  I think the worst sort of pressure, though, is the type we put on ourselves.  We’re inundated with these images and articles and boot camps and we suddenly feel we have to be perfect.

And while there’s no doubt that every bride wants to look and feel her best on the big day, this constant pressure is sometimes, I think, too much.   I’ve been really struggling with my self-esteem lately, and I know others have too.  I never used to be a person who was obsessive about her weight.  Sure, I might be a bit pudgy around the edges, but I generally make good food choices, enjoy quality exercise, and like to yoga it up now and then, too.  Lately, though, I’ve been all-consumed by a lot of the following thoughts:   What will I eat?  When will I eat it?  When can I get to the gym?  How much weight have I lost?  What if my dress doesn’t zip?  Must. Work. Out.  I’m so tired I could cry.  Ugh, I look and feel fat today. What’s for lunch?  How many calories are in that?  Get. To. The. Gym. 

It’s a slippery slope, isn’t it?  One day, you have a pretty healthy perspective on your weight.  Sure, you might feel bloated some days, but generally, you like the way you look and you feel good about where you’re at.  Pretty soon, though, you can become someone you’re not.  Someone who worries constantly that she looks fat.  Berates herself internally for not working out enough, or eating too much at dinner one night.

This, friends, is not who I normally am.  I am not the girl who is obsessed with exercising, calorie counting, or the like.  I am the girl who loves good food and wine.  Who ran a marathon.  And who, two days ago, decided she had had ENOUGH of the pressure she was putting on herself.

First, I read this.  And thought, Ah yes, how profound.  She looks lovely on her wedding day, and her weight was the furthest thing from her mind.  And her post was directly intended for people like me, who were suddenly feeling the pressure a little too much. 

Then, I talked to a good friend.  Who told me to step back, re-evaluate, and stop beating myself up about my weight and my looks and start celebrating myself for the things I’ve accomplished. 

And then, I went shopping.  I found some beautiful undergarments for my wedding gown, a lovely dress for my shower, and a gorgeous, sexy number for our rehearsal dinner.  In a size 6.  And only then did I realize how ludicrous my self-deprecating thoughts had become. 

So, girls, I am here to spread the message:  stop beating yourselves up. You’re going to look lovely on your wedding day, no matter how much you weigh.  If you’re not where you want to be at, not a big deal—being heavier than you’d like to be on your wedding day will not, in the least, detract from the huge commitment you’re about to make to your partner or the love and joy you’ll share with your family and friends.  So let’s try to remember that from now on, ok?  Myself included.  And when you need a pick-me-up, go visit one of my favorite websites:  Operation Beautiful.  Consider this YOUR Operation Beautiful post-it note, girls—you are ALL beautiful, no matter what your shape and size. 

*Pun intended.



Filed under Fitness, Worries

A Gorgeous DIY Gift

The DIY project train rolls on in this neck of the woods! Today, I want to show you a really easy and heartfelt gift you could give to members of your wedding party, your readers, or anyone that has helped you along the way.  This gift would be great for any occasion, really—birthday party, shower hostess thank you, anything!

**If you are one of our readers or my personal attendant, I made these gifts for you!  To keep the surprise, please don’t read any further…THIS MEANS YOU JILL C., JORDAN, SARA & ERIN!**







Ok, I think they’re gone now!  This gift was inspired by this post on WeddingbeeYep, I made my own hand-painted wine glasses!

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The original post writer used a Cricut to make hers, but if you search around on the site, you’ll see lots more examples of hand-painted wine glasses.  Here’s my tutorial!

Start by gathering your supplies.  For this project, you will need:

Wine Glasses – I bought mine at the Dollar Store!  They are great quality and perfect for a project like this.

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Acrylic Paint – Any kind of acrylic paint will work…no need to buy special glass paint.

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Next, you’ll want to create and print your design.  I decided to do a monogram on each of the glasses.  I found a font I liked (BlackJack from, blew it up until it was a pretty large size and printed each girl’s monogram.  Cut them out.

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Next, position the monograms inside the wine glasses at the spot you’d like them, and tape in place.

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Now you’re ready to start painting!  Start by tracing the monogram with your choice of colored acrylic paint.  I used black.  Don’t worry about it if they’re not perfect the first time you paint.  It definitely takes some getting used to, but you can use water to wipe away any mistakes you first make.

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Once you have the first coat done, let them dry a bit…then you can remove the monogram from the inside of the glasses and go about painting second, third, or even fourth coats, until you’re satisfied with how they look!  I did four coats total, just to make sure the letters were nice and black.

GermanFest & Wedding DIY 061 Now you add your embellishments!  I did burgundy and gold squares as my design, because I knew they would be easy to do.  Get creative!  You could even trace a design element if you wanted to.

GermanFest & Wedding DIY 060 Once they’ve dried a bit, they’re ready for baking!  Place the wine glasses on a cookie sheet and carefully put them into a COLD oven…THEN set your oven to 350*F.  Once the oven dings that it is preheated, set the timer for 20 minutes.  After 20 minutes, turn the oven off, but leave the door closed and let the wine glasses sit 10 minutes more.  After that 10 minutes, open the door and let the wine glasses set there (with oven door open), until they are fully cooled.

Note:  I then used a gold leafing pen to add my gold squares to the design.  There were warnings all over the label about the gold pen that said to avoid heat, and I didn’t want it to wreck the glasses if the gold leaf was heated up…so I added that later. 

Once they’ve cooled, they’re done!  Tie a ribbon on and you’re ready to gift away! (But be sure to remind your friends that they are HAND-WASH ONLY).

GermanFest & Wedding DIY 072 We’ll be giving each of our readers/attendant their personalized wine glass, plus a nice bottle of wine for them to enjoy.  I may also try and find some cute wine charms or a wine bottle opener to go with!

I loved this project—I sort of want one of these for myself, haha!  While it was a bit time-consuming, between the painting, drying & baking (it took me about two days overall to finish these, working maybe 1.5 to 2 hrs at a time), I really love the way they turned out and I think our friends will love the hand-made aspect. This project was inexpensive as well!  I did the whole thing for about $10, including wine glasses and paint. 

What are some your DIY projects you loved?

*All photos by me.  Again, do not use without my express written consent.


Filed under Gifts, How-To

Rehearsal Dinner Centerpieces

So remember when I said I had a lot of projects to blog?  Here comes round two…I finished our rehearsal dinner centerpieces!

I decided to use tin cans and fake flowers for these centerpieces…not only to save on cost, but so that I could get them out of the way now rather than later.  Plus I think the more casual tin cans go great with our fiesta theme!

Making these was really easy.

Step 1.  Collect a lot of tin cans.

Step 2.  Soak said tin cans in a sink full of soapy water, so the labels are easy to get off.

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Step 3.  Scrape off the labels on each can—this should be pretty effortless.  If not, soak a little longer!

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Step 4.  Rinse and dry the cans.  Soon, you’ll have them stacked on the counter like this:

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Step 5.  Print your design in Microsoft Word or the program of your choice.  I went with our casual monogram (seen here, here, and here) and the words “Amy & Brad’s Rehearsal Dinner” plus the date. 

Step 6.  Measure your cans and cut the design accordingly.  Run through Xyron or use another form of adhesive.

Step 7.  Attach design to tin can!

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Step 8.  Stuff flowers.

And that’s it!  You’re left with this:



As you can see I alternated colors on the design.  I also bought both red and blue flowers…I am thinking I might rearrange so that some centerpieces are just blue and some are just red.

What is/was your rehearsal dinner like?  Did you do a lot of hands-on decorating for it? 


Filed under How-To, Rehearsal

Flash Floods.

We interrupt your regularly scheduled blogging to bring you this news bulletin:  Milwaukee is having major rain issues.  I would be remiss not to share the pictures and stories with you all.

Last night, on the way to meet with our FOCCUS couple from church (more on this soon!), we got caught in a flash flood.  The city of Milwaukee and surrounding areas received more than 7” of rain in maybe two hours.  SEVEN INCHES!  You can hardly imagine what that was like.  Ordinary streets became rivers—with rapids!  Tress went down.  Sewer caps burst.  Two people were struck by lightning.  Roads buckled.  The highway system was crippled.  And a large sinkhole opened up on the east side.   Don’t believe me?  Behold:

Source:  Mark Pawlik for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Dr. Groomy and I became stuck on a road called Lincoln Memorial Drive, which runs right along Milwaukee’s lakefront.  It’s where I did most of my marathon training runs, as a matter of fact!  What’s normally a lovely scenic route quickly became a very scary nightmare.  As soon as we realized we couldn’t pass through, we stopped and waited for nearly an hour and a half, until traffic had cleared enough that we could reverse up the hill, turn around, and drive the other way.  It was harrowing, to say the least, as we watched other cars—many smaller than our own SUV—try to get through the flood waters and then become stuck…or worse, float.  Luckily, we were smart and didn’t try to get through the flood waters…but if this ever happens to you, guys, DO NOT DRIVE THROUGH A FLOODED STREET.  You don’t know what might happen, what might be hiding under the flood waters, or what might happen to you (see the above sinkhole picture for a prime example).

Once we were safely home, after zigging and zagging through the streets of Milwaukee to avoid flood waters, I went outside to take some pictures of our neighborhood. I think they speak for themselves.

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*All photos by me unless otherwise noted.  Do not use without my express written consent.

We made it home safe and we’re just fine.  We’re lucky.  We live in a high rise building, on the top floor.  We have a little water damage in one corner of our apartment, where the water seeped down the wall and peeled up some paint, but otherwise, we’re just fine.  Others here have fared much worse.  Much of the current flooding you see above has subsided, but Milwaukee is in for another round of rain and storms today.  Please keep everyone here in your thoughts and prayers for safe travel and far less flooding this time around!



Filed under Photography, Random

Ring A Ding Ding

I have been working on so many wedding projects lately that I have a swarm of DIY and fun craft posts coming up!  First up, I finished our ring bearer pillow!

The ring bearer pillow is more of a formality for us—our ring bearer won’t be carrying our actual rings down the aisle (not that I don’t trust him, but come on, he’s 5!  That’s a lot of pressure!).  I still want the little mister to feel like his job is important though, and I love the idea of a ring bearer pillow.  Since we first started planning the wedding, I knew I wanted a ring bearer pillow that looked similar to this:

Ring Bearer Pillow 
Oh Martha, you get me every time!

I decided to make this project semi-DIY.  I didn’t make the pillow, but I did create my own flower and design!

I started with a pillow I bought at Michael’s on sale.  It looked like this:


I ripped off the organza ribbon, rings, and decorations (they were just hot-glued on) and had a plain pillow to work with. 


Next, I took apart two beautiful red silk roses (also bought at Michael’s).


I stacked the petals on top of each other, tweaking and arranging as I went.  The reason I used two roses was because I wanted a nice full flower.  Once I had them stacked the way I wanted, I got out my needle and some red thread, and sewed them together through the middle.


After that, it was time to add some decoration.  I was originally going to use this brooch in my hair, but I’ve decided to go in another decoration.  I love it so much though and I want it to be used, so I took the hair clip off the back of it and hot glued it to the middle of my flower.


Next, I sewed the flower on to a piece of gold ribbon that matches our colors.  I also strung the fake rings that came with the original pillow on to a second piece of gold ribbon, and created a loop, like so:


A little arranging and a little more hot glue, and I was left with this:

A ring bearer pillow!  I love it and am so happy with the way it turned out.  Ladies, I am not a seamstress—if I can make something like this, so can you.  It was so easy!  Here’s a side view:

Love.  I am so happy with it!

Are you having a ring bearer?  What will he carry?


Filed under How-To

Our First Shower

This past weekend, my wonderful in-laws threw Dr. Groomy and I our first shower!  It was a Couples’ Shower, held for family and friends from Dr. Groomy’s side of the family.  We had a fabulous time and were so thankful to spend time with everyone.  I’ll let the pictures do most of the talking today…

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The shower was held at a local pizza place that had a beautiful new enclosed patio.

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My mother-in-law and aunt-in-law (her name is S-H-A-R-I Shari!  Haha!) did most of the organizing for this shower, with the help of my father-in-law.
The decor matched our wedding colors!

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Card & Cake Table

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Yummy food!  We had salad and veggies…

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Baked Mostaccioli…

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And pizza! 

And of course, cake. You guys know what a cake-freak I am.  Isn’t this one beautiful?  Funny side story…my mother-in-law ordered the cake to be decorated just in ivory, so it would mix more with the color scheme she had going for the shower.  When she picked up the cake, she saw this…

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Hmm.  Not really sure where the purple and green factored in, but it was a lovely cake nonetheless!  It was a cheesecake cake, so it had white cake, a layer of raspberry filling and cheesecake on the bottom.  YUM!

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And of course, we had to practice cutting the cake. 
Notice whose hand is on the knife?! 

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My favorite part of the cake was the beautiful sugar flowers. 
Of course, I totally scarfed those and then had a purple tongue the whole night, but it was worth it—yum!

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This is Uncle Rick, enjoying some of the delicious food.  He and I have a long-standing joke that he is going to have me in tears from laughter at church during our wedding ceremony.  We’ll see, we’ll see!

After some fabulous food and drink, we opened our gifts.  I think you all know what that looks like, but here’s a few pics:

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I was super pumped about our toaster!

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Reading a card.

And here I am with the first part of my rehearsal dinner bouquet! 
(I plan to add to it at my other showers)

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We had a wonderful time and we are so thankful!  I know some of Dr. Groomy’s relatives read the blog, so if you’re reading (Hi, Jill!), thank you so much!  And thank you so much to our wonderful hosts!

Did you have a bridal shower?  Tell me about it!


Filed under Shower

Strike Up The Band(s)!

We bought our wedding bands last night!   Squeal, I am so excited!

Originally, I thought I wanted a simple band of princess cut diamonds, which looked very similar to this:

Ring 1 (Source)

Upon further discussion and Internet browsing though, I thought maybe a channel set band would look better with my three-stone engagement ring.  And what do you know?!  It did!  Here’s the band I ended up going with:

Ring 2 (Source)

I LOVE IT!  It goes so well with my engagement ring and has just the right amount of bling, haha!

Dr. Groomy ended up going with the same ring he chose last time.  As a reminder, it looks like this:

Ring 3 (Source)

Ok, enough with those pictures…let’s take a look at some real ones!

My rings:

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(Ahem, please excuse my grossly manicured nails.  I should have thought of that before going ring shopping!  In any case, I went home and re-did both my mani and pedi, haha!)

His ring:

Wedding Bands & DMB 013 (It’s white gold to match mine!)

And our rings together:

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Yay!  I love what we chose…I especially love how I can wear my wedding band separate or together with my engagement ring.  It’s always nice to have that option, although I love my e-ring so much I can’t imagine not wearing it. 

One step closer to October!

What was your band shopping experience like? 

*All photos by me, unless otherwise noted.  Please do not use without my express written consent.


Filed under Jewelry