Friday, October 13, 2017

9 Little Touches That Will Make Your Wedding Day Even More Perfect



 1.) Have a bridesmaid’s (and father’s) first look

None of my bridesmaids saw my wedding dress before I put it on on my wedding day, but even if yours do, including a bridesmaid’s first look when you’re all done up in your gown, jewelry, makeup and hair is such a special moment and makes for such amazing pictures capturing all of your girls reactions to your bridal look. I also had this moment with my dad, and these ended up being some of my favorite pictures from the whole day. So special!




2.) Skip the receiving line to have some private time with your new husband right after the ceremony.

One of my favorite, and most memorable, moments of my whole day was the 15 or so minutes of private time I had with my husband after the ceremony. We spent the time in the bridal suite noshing on some hors d’oeuvres provided by our caterer, just buzzing, trying to let our married status sink in, and revving ourselves up for the party to come. I can’t recommend having this private time enough! Even though we had time together before the ceremony taking our bridal portraits, nothing compared to the feeling of complete elation after the ceremony we got to just share with each other.

3.) Wear Comfortable Shoes

This doesn’t mean you have to scrimp on your bridal shoe style, or go with flats. I chose to go with BADGELEY MISCHKA heeled sandals, but boy was I glad that I didn’t have to think about my feet hurting on my wedding day. Dancing, celebrating, socializing, my feet were the last thing I wanted to think about and I’m glad I didn’t have to think about them at all. If you must wear stilettos for your ceremony, bring more comfortable shoes to change into during the reception just in case!



4.) Don’t discount the popular traditions

I know some brides avoid those super-popular or cheesy traditions like the plague for fear of seeming unoriginal or cookie cutter; the bouquet toss, the garter toss, a unity sand ceremony, or a sparkler send off. We’ve all seen them a million times, and I know I had doubts that kept me from doing some of these even though I thought most of them sounded like fun. The thing is, though, those “cheesy” traditions that I chose to do (namely a bouquet toss and a sparker send off) are some of the most memorable moments of my night. The image I got when turning around at the end of the night and watching all of my friends and family standing and holding beautiful sparkling fireworks is the single moment most burned into my brain from my wedding day. Seriously! Don’t discount wedding traditions just because they’re done so often. Chances are, they’re done so often because they’re awfully fun!


5.) Practice (or choreograph) your first dance

I’m not a dancer, my husband is not a dancer, and my dad is not a dancer. None of that changes the fact that taking lessons for my first dance and my father/daughter dance was one of the most fun parts of wedding planning, and performing those dances were one of the most fun moments of the day! Wether you want something entirely choreographed (we did this, and even complete choreography can be made to look natural and graceful) or just some dancing tips, taking the time to practice or take lessons for your first or parent dances will be an incredibly fun, and once in a lifetime, bonding experience! Plus, adding in some twirls and sweeps will snag you some incredible action shots from your photographer!



6.) Take the time to add personal touches to your wedding ceremony

During the cocktail hour, the number one thing all my wedding guests said to me was how much they loved the ceremony. My husband and I spent a lot of time thinking it through, thinking of how to make it unique and personal, and I think it paid off big time by setting the stage for the intimate, romantic and celebratory night we had to come! We included a hand fasting ceremony using the poem “Blessing of the Hands” (look it up, it’s so great. Makes me cry every time!), a communal blessing (where our wedding guests joined in a reading printed in their program, and we did joint vows (where we wrote them together, and took turns reading our lines) to make our ceremony personal, unique, and meaningful to us.


7.) Include sentimental items

There’s so much to see, do and think about on your big day that when your consciousness lands on one of your small sentimental touches it’s such a beautiful, comforting moment. I included lace from my grandmother’s veil to wrap my bouquet, and my grandparent’s wedding china on my sweetheart table. While so many details escape your notice on the big day, I didn’t find myself missing these sweet, sentimental touches that made my wedding day that much more special.
 


8.) Choose Items and Activities That Create Mementos

Lots of people repeat the sentiment that all you have left after the wedding day are the photos. That doesn’t have to be true! On my wedding day I made a conscious effort to choose activities and items that would leave me with lasting mementos to place around my house or in shadowboxes to remember my wedding for years to come. Instead of a photo booth, I chose to have a silhouette artist hand cut silhouettes for me and my guests that can be framed as artwork. I chose a gorgeous embroidered vintage handkerchief from my grandmother’s collection to use as my something blue and to mop my tears during my ceremony that I’m having custom framed so I can admire it every day. Gorgeous vow books are another idea we used. Whatever you choose, planning your beautiful day to include beautiful items you can treasure forever is a great way to add something even more special to your wedding day and all your days after the wedding.




9.) Don’t shy away from DIY

Even if crafting isn’t your thing, making some aspects of your wedding day handmade will make you feel even more connected to the day, it’s events, and give you an incredible sense of pride when you see your vision come to life. While I did get crafty and made two custom wedding corn hole boards, one of the most fun “DIY’s” for my day was creating my own signature cocktail! In the months leading up to the wedding I mixed a ton of different drinks, trying to find one with the perfect taste, color, and garnish to match my day. I landed on a Lavender Bee’s Knees, a 1920’s drink that I garnished with a fresh sprig of lavender, perfect for my modern-vintage theme! I made the mixer myself to give to my bartenders on the wedding day. Another non-craft DIY that I still totally consider a DIY was collecting all of the antique milk glass for my wedding centerpieces. Smaller, accomplishable DIY’s like this make the preparation for the wedding day so enjoyable and gives your day a really personal feel! (Not to mention, trying fancy cocktails every weekend for months is just. plain. fun.)
Wednesday, October 11, 2017

DIY Preserved Wedding Flower Shadowbox

Hey lovelies! I'm coming to you with my best and most precious DIY to date, a gorgeous shadowbox displaying some of my preserved wedding flowers! I absolutely adore my shadowbox. I think it looks so delicate and lovely, and is a perfect reminder of the beauty that surrounded me on my wedding day. I'm planning on including this piece in a wedding gallery wall, and I know that it will add so much texture and dimension to the collection of wedding day memories!

Before the wedding I looked extensively into bouquet preservation ideas. I thought of having them sent to a professional, being made into jewelry, pressed, preserved in resin, but in the craziness leading up to the wedding all of the plans I would have needed to put in place to preserve the flowers in those ways went by the wayside. It wasn't until the day after the wedding that I finally had a chance to google one last time to see what my options for preservation were. I landed on one of the easiest, most affordable, and as it turns out, most successful ways of preserving wedding flowers: Silica Gel.


Yes, silica gel, as in what comes in those little packets stuck into pockets of new clothes that say "DO NOT EAT." You can buy silica gel meant for preserving flowers very inexpensively (especially when considering the cost of professional bouquet preservation services, which cost HUNDREDS) on Amazon. The process of drying your flowers with the silica beads is very simple; all you do is layer the flowers with the silica beads until the entire flower is covered in an air-tight tupperware container, close the lid, and leave the tupperware containers alone for about 5 days (some of my dense roses needed a few extra days to dry completely, but most were dried in this time).


The picture above is what my flowers looked like at the END of the drying process. I used this silica gel method to dry flowers from my centerpieces but did the traditional "hang the bouquet upside down to dry" method for the flowers in my bouquet. I found that the flower dried with silica gel retained so much more of their original color (my flowers that were hung to dry are much more brown) and more of their original shape (where the flowers that were hung to dry look much more shriveled). Such incredible results for such a simple and inexpensive process!

Once your flowers are dried you can move on to the really fun part, arranging it into a shadowbox! After an extensive search the shadowbox I finally settled on is actually the inexpensive Ikea Ribba Frame. I chose this because my gallery wall is going to include a number of white gallery frames, which this will blend with perfectly, and because I thought the size was perfect;not too big, not too small, but plenty deep to accommodate for the layering of flowers in your display. It even comes with a mat that you can choose to put on top of your flowers if you want to make your flower display even smaller or give your shadow box a more traditional picture frame look.

Now that we have the two most essential ingredients lined up, your dried flowers and your shadow box, without further ado, here is how to make a gorgeous keepsake preserved wedding flower shadowbox!



Materials:

Directions

1.) Organize your dried flowers by type. I found this useful so all of my filler flowers, long stemmed flowers, and greenery that I had was easy to see making it easier to create a balanced composition in my shadowbox.


2.) Use the paper that comes in the Ikea shadowbox frame to trace onto your scrapbook paper or card stock. Cut out the scrapbook paper along your traced lines. You will use this paper as the backing for your dried flower display.


3.) Before you begin gluing, I recommend arranging your flowers onto the cardstock so you can get a general idea of the overall shape and design you are looking for. For me, after doing this step, I discovered I liked the look of the tall greenery all fanning out from the bottom center of the scrapbook paper.


4.) Begin using your hot glue gun to secure your flowers onto your scrapbook paper. I found I liked the look best when I applied many overlapping layers of dried flowers, and used smaller filler flowers to fill in most white spots so the scrapbook paper in the background was less visible. Don't be too generous with your hot glue during this step, the flowers are very light and only need a light touch to secure them to the paper or layers of flower underneath, and the overall look of your shadowbox will be better without obvious globs of hot glue peeking out.

So there you have it! A fun, easy, and inexpensive way to preserve and treasure your wedding bouquet or centerpiece flowers forever! Take my word for it when I say the pictures of this project really don't do it justice. The texture, color and dimension the shadowbox has in real life is absolutely stunning.

I hope this has inspired you to create something beautiful with your own wedding flowers after the big day! Let me know if you try this or have tried any other flower preservation techniques! As always, don't forget to follow me on bloglovin' so you never miss an update!

With Love, Katie
Monday, October 9, 2017

15 Photos Of Paris That Will Inspire Your Wanderlust

Paris needs no introduction with its many world-class, ultra recognizable monuments. The beauty of Paris, though, is not only in it's monolith attractions but in the small corners; a cafe table, unexpected street art, a beautiful sunset is where the true beauty of Paris lies! Get ready to scroll through pictures, of both the small surprises in Paris along with images of it's more well known monuments, that are sure to inspire you to start checking flight prices to Charles de Gaulle!

Cafe Table Outside Cafe De Flore 

An Antique Postcard of the Notre Dame 

The Gardens at the Rodin Museum 

View from the Balcony of the Rodin Museum

Monet's Waterlilies at the Orangerie Museum


Pastries inside Patisserie Des Reves

Sunset over the River Seine

Bouquiniste Book and Antique Print Seller along the River Seine

Clock in the Musee d'Orsay

Underside of the Arc de Triomphe

Sculptures Inside the Louvre Museum

Inside the Paris Pantheon

Street Art in Montmartre

Belle Epoque Metro Sign

Medici Fountains in the Luxembourg Gardens



Friday, October 6, 2017

Healthy Slow Cooker Jerk Chicken With Grilled Pinapples


My absolute favorite type of recipes to make are easy, healthy slow cooker dinners that you can put together in 5 minutes then leave to cook all day. I love recipes that are fast and easy in the morning,  then payoff big with tender, flavorful dishes at the end of the day! This recipe totally fits the bill.

For this Jerk Chicken, it's a simple matter of combining the spice mixture, rubbing it on the chicken, and putting it in the crock pot! Grilled pineapples are the perfect accompaniment and also happen to be super quick (especially if you buy pre-cored pinapple). The pineapple adds a freshness and sweetness to this dish which works so well with the chicken's complex flavor. Yum!

Ingredients
  •  4 Chicken Breasts
  • 1/2 Cup Chicken Stock
  • 1 Pineapple, prepared by cutting into 1/2 inch thick rings
  • 2 Teaspoons Thyme
  • 4 Teaspoons Paprika
  • 4 Teaspoons Onion Powder
  • 4 Teaspoons Garlic Powder
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Pepper
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Cinnamon
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Allspice
  • 1 Teaspoon Salt
  • (Optional) Dash Cayenne Pepper
  • Dried or Fresh Parsley for Garnish

Directions

1.) Combine all spices, except parsley, in a small bowl (thyme, paprika, onion powder, garlic powder, pepper, cinnamon, allspice and salt).

2.) Pour the 1/2 cup chicken stock into the slow cooker.

3.) Rub spice mixture onto all sides of the chicken breasts and place in the slow cooker.

 4.) Set slow cooker on high for 3-4 hours or low for 5-6 hours.

 5.) Before serving, prepare the grilled pinapple by slicing pinapple into rings. Grill on a traditional grill or an indoor grill set on medium-high heat for 8-10 minutes.

6.) Garnish pinapples and chicken with parsley, and enjoy!




Wednesday, October 4, 2017

What I'm Loving Volume 1


Oh my gosh, it finally feels like FALL! September in Philadelphia has been SWELTERING, but this weekend it finally broke! I was loving the 70 degree weather and celebrated by participating in some of my favorite fall activities; roasting s'mores by the fire, pumpkin picking at the farm and enjoying a cool autumn night at a haunted house!



This week also came with a spot of good news, I'm officially an Occupational Therapist! I found out this week that I passed the national licensing board exam for the profession! I've earned three letter credentials after my name; Katie, OTR!

These past couple of weeks I have really been loving finding a way to be a tourist at home. After experiencing my dream trip to France, my wanderlust has done nothing but grown. I'm determined to feed my wanderlust by appreciating destinations closer to home and to remind myself that a lot of  places that are very familiar to me are dream destinations for other people. My mom and I have been day tripping to NYC regularly since I was a little kid (at this point, I'm basically a professional tourist!) and I know that I take the amazing sights of the city for grated sometimes, just because it's so accessible to me. I spent two days in NYC recently and was determined to see it with the wander of a first timer; it didn't disappoint! We even did some staple tourist attractions that we've never done before. We walked the Brooklyn Bridge and went to the top of the Empire State Building! Both were incredible. Look out for a few posts detailing my days in NYC, coming soon!




Links I'm Loving:


Catch Up With Katie:


Monday, October 2, 2017

DIY Pottery Barn Inspired Halloween Crow Wreath


I love me some Pottery Barn. I've been on a real Pottery Barn kick recently, I think because I registered there for my wedding I got in the mood for their aesthetic recently. I've always coveted their Halloween items too, and I usually splurge on one or two each season!

This year they are selling this georgeous, rustic, simple bat wreath. I loved it the moment I saw it, but I also said to myself, I could make something even better. I love the look of the black bats arranged simply around a grapevine wreath, but in person I think the wreath lacks a bit of dimension; the bats sit very flat on the face of the wreath.


My version involves arranging feathered crows around the wreath. I love my version even more than Pottery Barn's because of the dimension the crows give to the wreath. Plus, it's a bit more realistic of a scene! You could definitely find crows perching on a bramble of branches on Halloween night!


I've made a few DIY wreaths in my day, and I have to say this is the easiest of all time! All it involves is purchasing your materials (very easy, I found them all at Michaels and they have these crows every year), and arranging your crows around the wreath. I used hot glue to permanently attach the crows in place, but if you prefer to have the option of removing the crows later, twist ties would work just as well.




Materials:

- 3 to 4 feathered crows. I found mine at Michaels for $6 on sale.
- 1 grapevine wreath. Mine is 18 inches. I got this for $2.50 at Michaels with a coupon.
- Hot glue or twist ties to secure crows to wreath.
- Pliers (optional)

Instructions:

- Arrange crows on wreath to your satisfaction. To make the crows each look a bit different, I recommend varying their posture, with some bending over, and some standing up tall.
- If your crows legs are wire, like mine were, using pliers to manipulate the wire to attach properly to the wreath can be helpful.
- Secure crows using either twisty ties or hot glue. Allow to dry.
- Display your gorgeous, spooky Halloween wreath! It's as easy as that!





The overall cost of my wreath was $20 for three crows and the grapevine wreath form. Not bad when you compare it to $60 full price for Pottery Barn's bat version! This is my type of DIY, super easy, which means super fun, and absolutely impossible to screw up while looking completely classy. It even beats the original in my book!

I hope you enjoyed this Halloween crow wreath tutorial! If you make this, it would totally make my year to see your version! Don't forget to subscribe to my newsletter and follow me on Bloglovin so you never miss an update!

With Love, Katie