Rehearsal Dinner Fiesta

29 September 2010 | 10 Comments

I’ve talked about this before, but I normally won’t do event planning for anyone other than myself.  From time to time, I’ll point close friends or family in the right direction with ideas and leave them to it.  I’ve helped hands on with a few large projects here and there when I am personally invested in the recipient of the event, like the fundraiser for Annabelle, or my cousin John’s wedding. 

So, my first instinct when Ruth {who happens to also be Annabelle’s grandma} called me and asked for some help with her youngest son’s rehearsal dinner, was to say no.   Especially since I knew she was capable of magnificence all on her own… for Jon + Nikki’s rehearsal she hand dipped and painstakingly decorated something like 60 caramel apples, arranged in rows down long tables.  Their wedding was in late fall so they held the rehearsal in a stone lodge in a park right on the river, and every last detail was gorgeous.   I’ve been to a lot of events and that sticks out in my mind as show stopping even 6 years later.   She’s crafty and she’s talented and she was asking if I would make an exception to the rule and help her with a few planning pieces for the rehearsal dinner.  So I did.

If all ‘clients’ were like Ruth, I would do this for a living.

Chris and Niki are going to Mexico for their honeymoon, love margaritas + Mexican food, so Ruth {and Ken too} had the idea of having a Rehearsal Dinner Fiesta to celebrate.  They had decided the location, one of their favorite Mexican restaurants, she just wanted a little help with the details.

We looked at several invitation ideas.  I thought maybe something like this boxed invitation only using margarita salt containers, but that would get expensive to ship.  We looked at simple invitations that we could download free, print and send.  We looked at invitations that would be easy to design, assemble, and to print. 

But nothing seemed to be perfect, until these.  The tutorial and the inspiration were from Denise Mieko Cherry for Once Wed.  Mini picado amor banners that you pull out and the invitation is strung along.  Gorgeous.  The complete tutorial is on the Once Wed link, I encourage you to go over there for the info.   Here is a peek at our version:


They wanted lots of color, so we put them in bright envelopes and did a quick envelope wrap with Day of the Dead  sugar skull images behind the address.



The restaurant took care of most of the decor with brightly colored plates and sombreros and awesome brightly painted barstools.  Ruth added these fun parasol topiaries inspired by those found at Hostess Blog.  They were weighted down with pinto beans and she also made a few mini topiaries as well as the large.  She wanted to bring in more color with the bright yellow tablecloths and contrasting bright red napkins.

chris  niki rehearsal 010 chris  niki rehearsal 020

And the favors!  This is my favorite part.  Ruth created layers of Mexican cocoa in handled mason jars.  They are beautiful and will be awesome for the cooler weather that is settling in here in Ohio.  She went down to the Mexican market to get bricks of authentic chocolate and did all the chocolate shaving for these.  Some brightly colored labels with the directions printed and a spoon attached with raffia tied everything together.

As if the Mexican cocoa wasn’t enough.  They also had a baker make two sugar cookies for each guest, a square with Chris + Niki and wedding date, plus a round with a margarita glass.

chris  niki rehearsal 015 chris  niki rehearsal 013

chris  niki rehearsal 021

And finally, the menu.  Ruth worked out the choices with the restaurant which were served buffet style.  I created these menus, backed with all of the bright colors we used for the decor and had one at each place.  They also {of course!} margaritas and a selection of Mexican beers.

chris  niki rehearsal 023

Ruth and Ken, you did an amazing job.  You can be on my {very short} client list whenever you’d like.  It was an absolute joy working with you both.

Chris and Niki, I am so happy to have helped just a tiny bit with the day before your special day.  You throw one hell of a party and I hope to remain on the guest list for many many years to come.  Congratulations!

niki   chris' wedding 048

Fall Favorites

28 September 2010 | 6 Comments

I don’t know about the rest of the country since my cousin Amaryah told me it was still above a hundred in southern California, but Fall has arrived here in Ohio.  Oh sure, we’ve been apple picking already, Dave has started cutting everything in the garden back, football has started, but now the weather is catching up.  It has been in the 60s during the day for the last few days and thankfully, it’s going to creep back up into the low 70s for the rest of the week. 

I’ve decided I’m just not ready for the really cold stuff just yet.

We’re embracing this mini cold snap with a big pot of chili and some pumpkin cookies.  I am weird about chili.  I love tons and tons of beans, a little meat, and not a chunk of tomato in site.  It’s my Meme’s method of chili making and it reminds me of coming home after school to a big pot of it waiting on the stove.  I can’t wait for those smells tonight.

We are also going to make some of my friend Bridget’s Pumpkin Butter.

So, is it fall where you’re at or are you still enjoying summer?

Michelle’s Rules for Not Looking Like a Jerk on Facebook

27 September 2010 | 21 Comments
  1. When you write status updates in another language I want to unfriend you.  Oh, I don’t mean Finnish, French, or Austrian, those I get a kick out of, I mean what used to be something near English.  “ZOMG, i PaRteeeeeeeeeeeD toooooooooooooooOOOOo hArD tHiS weeeKenddddddd.  beeeEEEEEeeeeeer BoNgS aRe soooooooo kEwEL.”  It hurts my brain people.  HURTS my brain!
  2. Don’t be passive aggressive.  If you have an issue with someone, email that person directly, hide them, or unfriend them.  Don’t write things like, “Swearing in posts is so unattractive.”  You know, because passive aggressive posts that make you sound like an uppity fussbudget bitch are so much more attractive.  “Some people are so rude,” or “I wish my friends didn’t suck.”  Um.  That isn’t going to gain you friends that don’t suck.  It’s going to gain you friends that are pissed.
  3. If you post questionable material to your significant other, something along the lines of “I want to handle your man meat,” or anything else in the same realm, please know that anyone the two of you are friends with will read it.  While I am absolutely thrilled you “want to hump him like a sailor on leave,” his grandma probably didn’t need to know that.  Or his mom.  Or his aunt.  Or his boss.  It is even worse {and truthfully, really weird} if you actually understand how this works and you still post it.
  4. If you are over the age of 25, and this is being generous, you should not use the word chillax.  Even more so if you use it several times a week.  Do you work at all?  I’m guessing by the sheer amount of chillaxing you’re doing, that answer is no. 
  5. If you are going to post ignorant, racist, sexist, anti-gay, or anything that is blatantly mean, I am going to unfriend you right after posting you’re a big jerk on your wall.  As my friend Jackie beautifully illustrated, it is a social network not a platform for your views on politics, religion, sex or money.  Be nice.  People are different.  Don’t spread hate.
  6. Don’t write horrible things about someone you’re friends with or dating.  Not only is it horribly rude, but everyone that reads your drama every other week will think you are an idiot for getting back together or staying friends with her after you aired her dirty laundry again and again and yet again.
  7. If you post, “OMG I have the biggest secret!”  All of your friends will know you are either pregnant,  getting married, won the lotto, are moving, or got a new job.  We will also know you are an assclown.  Until you’re ready to announce your happy news, keep it to yourself.
  8. If you are fifteen, please do not post anything about blow, weed, or hard ons.  Your sister will cringe and want to unfriend you even though she loves you very much and wants you and your cronies to be good upstanding young men.  This applies to you too Troy & Nolan.
  9. Don’t be Midge.  Incidentally, that was a great big INTERVENTION fail on our part.  She is now up to more likes than I can count.  Here are some of my recent faves… "It's so fluffy I'm gonna die!! IT'S SO FLUFFAAAAAY!!", "I didn't do it"-"Then why are you laughing?"-"Cause, whoever did it is a freaking genius", "I kissed Bella....and she broke her hand....punching my face...", “How many times do i have to say "excuse me" before "get the fuck out of my way" becomes acceptable?”  She is also a fan of So Wonderful, So Marvelous on Facebook so I can’t be too mad.  {Pssst…. you should ‘like’ it too, when I get to 200 we’re going to do a giveaway!}

So, um, did I forget anything?

My 101 Things List

24 September 2010 | 6 Comments

I don’t know if you noticed, but I added a tab at the top so you could see the progression of my list with a little more ease.  It seems as if lately, I’ve been ticking things off the list so I thought I’d give you a little update.  I now have 35 things completed, another 15 in progress, and 51 to go!  Do you want to help me out with #101 by creating a list of your own?

A visit to Mackinac Island #56.

mackinac 105

Apple Picking #52

pancakes   apples 224

A Membership to the Toledo Museum of Art #20

Thanks to Groupon a Family Membership to the Toledo Museum of Art for $40!  Getting a membership was #20 on my list, lots of our family are already members and it’s something we have been wanting to do for a long time, especially now that Finn {and maybe me too!} can take advantage of the art classes. 


By the way, if you’re local, this deal runs until Sunday.  I got ours for a whopping $20 after using my referral cash!  We just got Groupon in our area a few months ago and already I’ve taken advantage of the awesome savings.  They have a different deal most every day for local {and sometimes national} companies and services.  If you’re a local business, you might want to check it out just for the sheer numbers of potential customer exposure you can gain.  Even if you’re not local you can check it out, it’s likely that it exists in your area too.  Go over and check it out.

Spooktacular Spider Web Pancakes

pancakes   apples 095
We dyed our pancake batter black to make spooky Halloween shaped pancakes.   Then pop the batter into a plastic squeeze bottle and start drawing!  Don’t forget the spiders to go on the web.
pancakes   apples 122
Oooooh spooky!
pancakes   apples 135

Apple Picking.

23 September 2010 | 9 Comments

We took off this weekend for some apple picking with friends.  There were goats and chickens to feed, friends to run with, apples to pluck off the tree and eat right there in the orchard, hayrides, and lots and lots of trekking through acres of trees.  We had a great time, and it is definitely on our list for next fall. 

If it isn’t something you’ve ever done, give it a try.  I know my friends who grew up in the country are rolling their eyes at me, but we never did things like that as a kid.  I think showing Finn where his food comes from will help him make healthy choices in the future.  In just an afternoon of fun, he pulled fruit from the tree, saw eggs that were laid from chickens, saw ears of popping corn, and touched growing pumpkins right in the field.

Do you go apple picking with your family?  Did you as a child?

pancakes   apples 161

pancakes   apples 204

pancakes   apples 224

pancakes   apples 263

pancakes   apples 247   pancakes   apples 251  pancakes   apples 184

pancakes   apples 213

 pancakes   apples 216

pancakes   apples 238

Fall TV is back.

22 September 2010 | 9 Comments

In no particular order I’m looking forward to:  Castle, How I Met Your Mother, Glee, The Office, The Mentalist, & The Good Wife.

And I’m totally angry with CBS for moving Big Bang Theory to Thursday nights.  Stinking Thursday nights are full already and Big Bang is one that I loved on Mondays.   

I’ve never been a big Survivor fan, but I think I’ll watch this season if for nothing else than to see what becomes of Jimmy Johnson.  I’m not sure how his hair is going to survive.

What are you looking forward to?

Petoskey + Traverse City

21 September 2010 | 8 Comments

You can see the first part of our Michigan adventure when I run crying and hide while my husband makes me cross the Mackinac Bridge.  And now the fun continues.

We drove from Mackinaw City through Bay Harbor to Petoskey where we stopped for lunch.  We went to the grocery and picked up a bunch of things to have a picnic so that Finn could run around and play.

Um.  I want to have lunches like this and have Finn play here every day.   This is a park I could sit at all afternoon and Finn was in heaven.  Can you imagine how peaceful it would be to just hang out right on the lake all the time?

mackinac & traverse 093

mackinac & traverse 097

mackinac & traverse 095

We drove around a bit while deciding what we wanted to do for lunch and cuteness abounds in Petoskey.  I’m pretty sure I want to move there or at the very least vacation there often, which is lucky since it’s only about a six hour drive.  Gorgeous.

And then we were off to Traverse City.

 A room right on the lake.  Dave made fantastic burgers with avacado + cheddar and we enjoyed the sunset on the dock… please ignore the fact that I looked like death warmed over.  We were enjoying the pretty sunset damn it.  I can’t look brilliant at all times.

mackinac & traverse 106

mackinac & traverse 116

A trip to Old Mission Lighthouse.  The boys made the trek to the top while I made sure the beach was still there.

mackinac & traverse 125

Still there.  Still breathtaking.

mackinac & traverse 148

mackinac & traverse 153

And an obligatory picture for Aunt Lisey with some crazy ass hair thanks to the wind.

mackinac & traverse 164

And then it was lunch at Bad Dog Deli.

mackinac & traverse 167

And on to Grand Rapids to spend an fantastic evening with friends.  I can’t believe we didn’t take a single photo the entire time we were there.  There must have been too much laughing, talking, gourmet pizza eating, watching Finn pretend he was Buzz Lightyear for the 29249 time, and hanging out with great friends.  It was a fantastic end to our Michigan adventure.

Y’all deserve a medal if you’ve made it all the way through our vacation slides without losing your mind.


20 September 2010 | 5 Comments

pancakes   apples 242

Allow me to introduce you to my new found friend, the Jonagold apple.  Honeycrisp be damned, there’s a new {old} apple in town.  I am up to my eye balls in apples people.  I have half a bushel of a few varieties, including my new beloved Jonagold, so what should I do with them?  I need ideas people.  Applesauce is already on the list.  Even more bonus points if you can find some recipes that use apples for non-dessert items.  Maybe an apple stuffed pork loin?

I am also up to my eyeballs in vanilla-almond cookies, enough I think to get me an honorary Delta-Zeta award.  I’m remaking the turtle cut out cookies so Elise can lie and tell her little that she made them.  This week they give their littles a gift each day, so off to Lexington the cookies will go tomorrow morning to arrive just in time for her end of the week.  I also *may* have made a little mini surprise for the rest of the house… somewhere in the neighborhood of 40 girls.

So needless to say, between the apples and the cookies, I am a Monday mess.

How was your weekend?  I mostly want to know so I can procrastinate on these cookies… I mean, I really really love you guys and hope your weekend was fab.

PS.  Can everyone please oooh and ahhh over Dave’s apple picture?  He shot it in manual and he’s all proud that it isn’t blurry {like most of his people pictures from our apple picking adventure} isn’t it appley?

Are you happy for other people? Or just pissed at life?

17 September 2010 | 26 Comments

I was thinking today about how happy I am for the successes of my friends and family.  New jobs, new houses, new cars, marriages, even babies.  Though with that last one there is usually a twinge or two of the ‘waiting for my turn’ thing.  There have been several really wonderful things have happened lately and I am filled with excitement because these people, they deserve it.  My friend Steph just got pretty close to her dream job.  Danielle just bought a gorgeous new house, so did my friend Amy.  My friend Holly just finished her book.  Our friend who spent time in Afghanistan & has been concentrating on her military career, is having her first baby.  Her husband is opening his own business doing what he loves.  My friend Amy is in love.  My friend Stephanie has a really great thing she’s making a decision about that I’ve been sworn to secrecy and can’t share.  And there are many more that I’m not mentioning.

They work their asses off, they make sometimes difficult decisions to get there, and they are really amazing people.  Even the ones who make everything look effortless, I see behind the mirror at how hard they are working to live that ‘effortless’ life.    

I think though that my happiness for them comes from a place of being happy myself.  When you love your life, even on the shitty tough days… and believe you me, there are those days,  it’s hard to respond to things in a jealous, angry, bitter, or resentful way.   

Does it suck being on this infertility journey?  You bet your ass.  Am I going to be an asshole to my friend Jordan who just had the cutest little baby ever?  Or Bunny or Lori for having happy sweet little girls in the cutest dresses that you ever could imagine?  Should I sit around and just bitch about them to make myself feel better?  Stupid Jordan, Lori and Bunny and their stupid cute babies.  None of them kicked me in the taco to cause the infertility, so why the heck would I be anything less than thrilled for their happiness? 

My friend just bought her daughter a brand new white BMW for her sixteenth birthday.  The huge bow, the ribbon, the surprise, it is the stuff teenage dreams are made of, this gift.  Hell, it’s the stuff thirty-four year old dreams are made of, think they’ll adopt me?  Was it wildly generous and crazy?  Hell yes, but what an amazing thing to be able to do for your daughter.  People in her life see that gift she gave, call her stuck up, or spoiled or any number of other things that come from jealousy.   They must forget that there was once a time that she was scraping pennies to pay her rent as a single mom, but I was right there with her then too.  Her happiness, watching her LOVE every bit of her life, and buy her daughter a BMW ?  It makes me happy. 

Some of the motivation behind this post is coming from the success of this space.  I am, by no means a blogging superstar.  Not even close.  And yet, there are people who are unnaturally angry, unsupportive, bitter, or confused that I’ve had all of you awesome sauce peeps reading daily.  I don’t get it.  These are people in my life in some way, not strangers.  You’re pissed because I like to ‘Martha’ shit up and talk about it to other people who enjoy reading it?  You’re pissed because I get paid to do something I love? 

You are kidding me right? 

You have to be pretty miserable to be in that place.  Hell, I don’t even feel that way about former friends or my ex boyfriends.  I want them to be happy too.  Even the ones who were assholes to me for no reason, when they’re happy they’re less likely to be assholes.

Lest you mistake me for an angel, I wasn’t always this person.  Why would he ask her to prom?  She must be puking up lunch to fit into that pair of jeans.  Twenty bucks says she’s going to dump him after he pays for that new car.  She must be sleeping with someone if she got promoted.  His daddy must have made the down payment on that condo.  And on and on.

And then, it’s amazing… I grew up. 

I married the love of my life who doesn’t sit on his ass, get this… he helps a lot around the house and actively parents our child.   I have a great kid who is generally well behaved, maddening sometimes, but whom I love more than I ever thought possible.  My friends are there for me any time day or night and send me sweet cards and hold my hand through the tough parts because they know I’d do the same in return.   I am doing a job that never thought I would do, staying home with Finn,  but I love it.  The blogging and writing, it is a bonus.  It sounds stupid, it sounds trite, but my life?   It’s charmed.  I know this. 

I am grateful for this life every single minute I’m living it.  That’s right, grateful.

Along with the charmed, there are shitty days, budget constraints, and fights with my husband.  I just try not to wallow for too long in the misery shit.  The misery and unhappiness will suffocate you if you let it.  I don’t get off on the drama.  I walk away from things that are just not working, as difficult as those decisions might be to make.  I want peace and happiness around me, I want to be there for my friends when they need me, I want to enjoy my husband and our life together.  And mostly, I want to oogle your cute new baby, I want to oooh and ahhh over the pictures of your new house, I want to dance at your wedding, and I want YOU to be happy.  Yes, even you.

Because I am.

Miscellany… new with bullets!

16 September 2010 | 17 Comments
Oh, don’t you worry I’ll be back with the rest of our vacation slides for your viewing pleasure.  Just writing about trucks blowing off the Mackinac still gives me the heebie jeebies.  Incidentally, do you use and post reviews on Trip Advisor?  It’s one of my favorite travel sites and I always forget to write reviews when I get home when the memories are fresh, but this time I am adding it to my to do list.  My point was, the Michigan vacation chatting isn’t over, so stay tuned.
Today though, I have lots of random items to talk about.  I know, you’re saying, “well that is just a normal day of posting for Michelle” right?  This one is in list form though!  Did I ever tell you that I am a compulsive list maker?  I have to do lists and grocery lists and vacation packing lists and lists of projects that I’m working on.  Lots.  Of.  Lists.  I’m 95% sure it is the crossing off that has me hooked.  It drives Dave insane because I have lists of lists.  He doesn’t get it.  Are you a list maker or no?

  • The project I’ve been working on?  I entered a contest to be the Merrier Shopping Expert for General Growth Properties.  As soon as I read the description for this I immediately knew I was made for this job.  Made for it.  Christmas and shopping and decorating, oh my.  {Psssst… GGP if you’re reading this, you should unlink the pages you removed like FAQ, so you’re not sending people to 404 Error pages.  Oh, and PICK ME pretty please with sugar on top.}  It sounds like there were a lot of fantastic entries, I am really really nervous and excited.

  • The pic I submitted was taken by my amazingly talented neighbor friend Bridget Adams of Decisive Moment Photojournalism.  I have decided that I want to have her follow me around like my own personal paparazzi, plus she and Joe were cracking me up the entire time so I had real smiles.  Go on over to my About Page if you haven’t been there lately, she is also responsible for my new head shot since the old one was 15” of hair longer.  Remind me one of these days to tell you the story of how we met.  You know that whole fate thing?  This is one of those stories.   Anywho, she is amazing and wonderful and duh, anyone that can make you look good for all of eternity should be sainted.  Am I right?  If you’re in the area and very very lucky, you might be able to get one of their holiday portrait sessions.
  • Remember when I mentioned Rimmel London Steel Grey in the Stuff I Love post?  That’s it right there on my fingernails.  LOVE it.

  • Is it too early to start planning the Thanksgiving table because I’m pretty sure that I have it narrowed down already?  My sister is on the same wavelength, she called today with her ideas that are pretty similar to mine.  Yes, we are freaks.

  • Speaking of holidays, I am looking for a pair of {inexpensive} cowboy boots for Finn’s Woody costume.  Any ideas about where to look?  He’s still in toddler size shoes {I’ll need a 10 or a 10.5} so I’ll take any and all suggestions!  If I sewed, I would be making Finn’s cow vest, but luckily for me {and for him} my mother in law has volunteered to do it.

  • I keep having panic attacks about my ring being missing.  Dave took it to the jewelers yesterday to get cleaned and a diamond replaced and I won’t have it back for a week or so.  I keep startling myself when I feel it gone.  Weird.

  • I can’t believe I am admitting this, but after not having cable for 10 years or so, I actually told Dave I wanted it.  Want to know why?  Jersey Shore.  I watched my first episode and it was such a train wreck that I sat there mouth agape the entire time even though I didn’t understand 1/4 of what they were saying.  I know my friend Pea is going to be on my case when she reads this because I always make fun of her love for the JS.  Yes, I am ashamed of myself and yes, we’re really half considering cable.

  • All of these bullet points remind me that I have a to do list a mile long that I should be getting to!   

Mackinac + Crossing Off #56

15 September 2010 | 13 Comments

I know I said I’d be back on Tuesday, but really I am still recovering from our whirlwind six day Michigan vacation.  This post is going to be the equivalent of sitting in my living room with a projector and slide show.  So ummm, I won’t be offended if you leave.  Go on then.  Just leave.  Sigh.

Still here?  I like you.  Would you like some popcorn or a stiff drink before we start?

Mackinac Bridge that my husband made me cross.  I have a slight ‘thing’ about bridges,  I have an even bigger ‘thing’ about making your wife break out in a cold sweat antsy and paying $7 to spend approximately 15 minutes in the Upper Peninsula before going back to the lower, but it made Dave happy. 

I like making Dave happy since I am usually making him nuts.  It’s a nice change of pace, isn’t it?

A little note about the large scary bridge?  The guard rails are incredibly, freakishly low for a bridge that height.  Trucks have a speed limit of 20 miles per hour because they can blow right off the bridge. 

Blow.  Right.  OFF.  The.  Bridge. 

And you wondered why I have a slight ‘thing’ about bridges?

mackinac & traverse 083 mackinac & traverse 053

I climbed approximately 5 million stairs to get to the top of Arch Rock on Mackinac Island and I was pretty sure that I was going to die, but it was beautiful and we laughed the whole way up.

mackinac 053

mackinac 041 mackinac 055 mackinac 089

The reason for the laughter?  Riding bikes after fifteen years of not being on them, spending time with my BFF and her Marvin, and Finnegan telling Dave to bike faster as he was riding in the bike trailer. 

Look at that water!

mackinac 083

mackinac 035 mackinac 031

And the fudge.  Oh the sweet sweet chocolatey fudge… there is a store on every corner and they have so many varieties it is mind numbingly delicious.  My favorite?  The white chocolate caramel + sea salt. 

mackinac 099 

Up next are the photos from Petosky + Traverse City.   Don’t worry, I’ll make you a drink for that one too.  Maybe something with cherries.

Right after I sleep.

Vacation is fabulous, but so is sleeping in your very own bed.

Doesn’t Get Much Better.

12 September 2010 | 4 Comments
mackinac 105
Old friends. 

Beautiful views. 

Relaxing days. 

Laughter.  So much laughter.

Life is good.

Wish you were here.   See you on Tuesday.

The Leaning Tower of Peanut Butter

10 September 2010 | 6 Comments


For some reason, when I make his lunches a smorgasbord of ‘stuff’ he seems to eat a better variety and he seems to sit and eat rather than screwing around.  We attempted the Leaning Tower of Peanut Butter by making little peanut butter cracker sandwiches and then precariously stacking them just a bit out from each other.   Cheddar, blueberries, dried berries, carrots and peppercorn ranch rounded out this one.

I’m looking for more creative lunch ideas.  What have you got?

Related Posts with Thumbnails