‘Tis the Season(s)

I often wander into Whole Foods and peruse the aisles of down-to-earth, good-for-you products with their wholesome ingredients. The expansive variety of ready-to-eat items on the hot bar. The mingling of the kindred tree huggers…those of us who love to put good into our bodies and do good by Mother Earth.

I always get pizza and 2 cookies. It’s kind of like when I have Mexican. Three crunchy tacos; there’s really no point in looking at the menu. But, I digress…

But did you know that there was magic happening over in the seasoning section?

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I used to have this thing with always wanting one of those gourmet seasoning sets, but I didn’t particularly care for the one-flavor-fits-all packaging. There were always one or two seasonings that I really wanted to try, but didn’t want to waste money on the ones I didn’t think I’d want. Randomly, I found out that you can totally make your own seasoning set at Whole Foods!

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I know right!

So basically, it works like this:

1. Find a super cute container to put your seasoning into. This step is especially important if you’re giving this as a house warming gift… *hint, hint, wink, wink* And bring a mini funnel, if you have one. In retrospect, that would have been helpful…

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2. Take the containers to the counter to have them weighed. When you go to pay for the seasonings, they have to weigh the containers individually and this will ensure you don’t pay double for the container that you brought into the store. Think back to the science experiments in undergrad where you had to weigh each chemical so you didn’t mess up the whole assignment…

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3. Select your seasonings and fill your containers. The best part of being able to make your own seasoning gift set is that it can be super personalized for the lucky recipient!

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4. Checkout! The best part of this whole deal is that you get to sample some spices without breaking your budget. I think I love that part the most 🙂

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I decided to go with Orange Chipotle, Rosemary, Aegean and Yakima Applewood, Smoked Sea Salts. ‘Tis the seasons indeed!

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Does it sound good to you? Let me know in the comments for a chance to use these delicious seasonings in your next dish!

Make It Awesome!

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Look Ma, No Hands!

This post is not sponsored and is solely the opinion of this really excited blogger!

I used to have a conundrum in the kitchen. When I would make a cake or cupcakes, I would usually have a little batter left over and I was never really sure what to do with it. I would proceed to make some extra cupcakes and of course eat them as I went along.

That worked for a while until I had to buy bigger jeans.

I didn’t want to throw it away, so I had to figure something out…

Did you know that you can freeze batter??!

There are over 6 billion people on this planet and I can’t be the only one who didn’t know that. So yes, you can totally freeze cake batter! When I figured this out, it became a whole new adventure jsut trying to get the batter into the freezer bags. It defeats the purpose of putting batter into bags to keep from wasting it when it doesn’t actually make it into the bag…

So one day, as I harmlessly perused the interwebs for something totally unrelated, I came across this beauty:

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image from walterdrake.com

Y’all, they make a holder that allows you to be hands-free! I might be late to the party, but I have arrived!! I used to think all the “As Seen On TV” stuff was fooey, but this thing has changed my life!

LITERALLY:

1. Set up the holder. It adjusts to the height you need to hold various bag sizes.

 

 

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2. Pour your food in the baggie. Seal it. Label with the contents and date and then put it into the freezer.

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The official name is the Hands-Free Baggy Rack and you can find them here and they are sooo worth the investment. Even if you don’t bake, you can use it for lots of things that need to be transferred to a bag…like prepping stuff for a crockpot meal! I’ll definitely be using some of those in the very near future 🙂

Walter Drake has some pretty nifty stuff, if I do say so myself!

Make It Awesome!

We’re All Going Back to School!

So, I’ve been seeing these awesome first day of school printables everywhere…

Don’t know what I’m talking about? Check this out:

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See, this cutie belongs to someone over at Bombshell Bling.

Swish Printables has some free BTS signs over on her blog.

Sunny by Design designed some classic BTS goodies too.

And then Dime Party Diva goes and makes these amazing First Day of School chalkboard posters!

But I’m a little jealous. I don’t have any kids to dress up and give one of these signs to. My mom wasn’t crafty like that when I was growing up.

No pictures on the first day of school. Just a hug and the repeated command to keep my brothers out of trouble.

Might I add, that was an impossible mission, but nevertheless…

So as I sat in my office (that I’ve been in the entire summer) I thought, ya know…I want one of those signs.

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Stop judging me.

Everyone gets to enjoy their first day of school and I’ve had SO many of them…

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Yes, I have been here for 9 years! My friend was taking these pictures of me and cracking up laughing. But you have to join in and have fun while you can. So on August 25th, I will celebrate my 9th First Day of College!

Then I made some more because I figured I probably wasn’t the only person coveting these milestone signs…

So, for all you educators out there, I present the Educator’s First Days of School!

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Head over and download the file. It has a sign for every year and if you’re feeling a little randy, give some to your teacher friends and make them join in on the laughs.

And if you’re making a career out of teaching, feel free to laminate the printable so that you can update it every year!

The artwork isn’t my original creation, but the funny is, so please keep these for personal use only 🙂

Have a wonderful school year and Make It Awesome!

 

Purple on Purpose

What color are you wearing today???

I’m wearing purple. I usually am, if I’m honest about it… But today I’m wearing it for Purple Day, in recognition of Epilepsy Awareness.

Epilepsy is a neurological condition which causes seizures. That sounds bad enough in itself, but it can get much, much worse from there. Read more about this condition here.

My dear friend Susan is the founder of the Epilepsy Warrior Foundation. She is an incredible support system for people and their families living with, and fighting through, this condition. Even when she can’t be there physically holding hands, she rallies members of the community to make sure that people have their needs met, physically, emotionally, and spiritually.

I truly admire her strength and tenacity.

I met Susan as part of a party planning group on Facebook. Random, I know! But I met her in that group because Susan is also a party planner. She owns Party With the Warriors, a little business she started out of her love for hosting parties. She’s not a “party girl” in the negative sense of the word, but all of the money that she makes from the parties goes to help fund the Foundation.

I told you she’s admirable!

But I’m not going to steal her thunder… Susan recently had a styled shoot done in preparation for Purple Day and I, along with many of my beautifully talented party friends, contributed to make the shoot awesome and ready for the world.

Creating Awesomenessity's contribution :)

Creating Awesomenessity’s contribution 🙂

Head on over and check out the Purple Day shoot and learn a little more about the Epilepsy Warriors Foundation.

No matter what you’re going through, fight on!

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See Why I Love Memphis

Emerson said something ingenious, that “Every artist was once an amateur.”

Ya know, Ralphie, I think you may be onto something there. I started this business, seriously wondering if I would ever be able to make it work. The more I’ve done, the more I’ve flourished. And that’s not to brag, I’m just really surprised at what I’ve been hiding from myself for so long…

My dear friend is the owner of this company called QBHome Paint and Sip Studio and I’ve been working with her for almost a year now. I usually do the desserts for her paint sessions and always wanted to try my hand at doing one of the paintings, but I didn’t think I could do it. It’s not one of those paint-by-numbers sort of deals, and you actually have to put the pencil to the canvas before you can begin to paint.

I think this is where the “sip” comes in because it helps when your pencil, paintbrush, and inhibitions flow…away.

Quo is an art teacher by trade and an art teacher by talent. The hubby and I finally got to take a class from her, completing the “Memphis” themed painting that I’d been wanting to do for a year. I was nervous about how it would turn out, but one thing Quo emphasizes and reassures her clients about is that the painting is all their own.

I knew that it was a Memphis-themed painting, so I wanted to make it express what Memphis means to me. So I made the painting all “our” own…welcome to our city!

1. It’s our “Memphus”

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The hubby and I are both transplants to the city. My family moved here in 1993 to help take care of my grandfather after grandma passed away. I never wanted to be here. I don’t like big cities. I don’t like lots of people. There is too much bad and not enough good here. He never wanted to be here either. He had a worse experience with the city than I did.

We both ended up on a social networking site, looking to meet new people because, if we had to be here, we might as well meet someone to make it fun. He liked my outfit. I liked his style. Suddenly Memphis wasn’t looking all that bad! We learned that no place is perfect and every place is what you make it. We made Memphis look good to each other and we were each others’ “home;” I have yet to find another city where I’d rather live and we certainly travel a lot. With everything that is this city, the good and the bad, it is the place that has made us who we are and is helping to mold us into the people we aspire to be. We put a lot of time, effort, and money into supporting this city and the economy…because the city is truly what we make it.

Meeting each other turned out to be a divine intercession. The colors of the arrow were the colors of our wedding. He picked them out.

2.”Who you be? SOUF G!”

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A big part of our time and identity is who we are as Christians. We are members of the South Germantown Road Church of Christ. We are both youth counselors, he’s (we are) the Young Adult minister, as well as the Audio/Technical/Social Media guy, I’m a teacher of any given group of children/young ladies, and have somehow found my way into being co-leader of the Married Women’s Ministry, in addition to various other committees that pop up. The kids started calling the congregation “Souf G” when we traveled to various youth events and it’s stuck with the counselors.

Just writing all of that down, I’m not entirely sure why we haven’t turned a room into an apartment at the building. Souf G indeed…

3. You don’t want none.

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One day I was driving past a taekwondo school and swerved into the parking lot. 15 min later, I was a student. That was almost 11 years ago. My mom followed me in a few months later. Then after we’d been dating a while, the Mr. decided it was be something cool to try. So now, we’re at this school…Midtown ATA. The instructors here are like my moms. I have a lot of them actually. Pretty much, if you feed me, I’ll never go away. Kinda like a stray cat. Anyway, my school is awesome and I’m there molding young minds and trying not to get my head handed to me by really flexible pre-teens with fast recovery times. It’s the best in the city, with instructors who care about each other and our students. Come by and see us sometime!

4. We’re so Hollywood.

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We get fancy on date nights. We met online and our first date was my choice of restaurant, so of course I picked Olive Garden. Italian is my favorite food on the planet, with garlic bread being the top of the list. We got there and it was crowded so we strolled across the parking lot to McAlister’s Deli. We ordered our food and he went to pay. He’d left his wallet in the car. I offered to pay so that we wouldn’t have to wait and hold up the line. He later told me that he felt bad and thought he’d never see me again. I told him that he’d see me at least one more time because he owed me a meal. In our own ways, we still don’t let each other forget it 🙂 We actually went to a McAlister’s to do part of our engagement photo session with Crystal Chick Photography!

One of our favorite past times is watching movies. We have the Malco app on both of our phones, so at any given time, we can see what our viewing pleasure options are. I also have the IMDB app on my phone so that I can check out any trailer that is mentioned at any given moment. If it’s a real thing, I’m thinking we might actually be hardcore couch potatoes…

5. Grit and Grind

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Our hometown team is the Memphis Grizzlies. I love them. They’re even better people off the court, giving back to the community in every way possible. It’s kind of gotten to the point that you expect great things from them and it’s not a surprise when they do something incredibly awesome and charitable. And that’s not a bad thing, because that is the character they possess. We still smile and our hearts get a little bigger, but now it’s like “eh, those men are so stellar, so I wouldn’t expect anything less…” in the amazing way they are.

I grew up loving the Chicago Bulls and the hubby did too, as that’s where he was raised. So once a year, we wear our Chicago Bulls gear and brave our way down to the FedEx Forum to cheer against the Grizzlies… *gasp* Our favorite (and funniest) game time memory was in January of 2012. We went down to support the Bulls, had floor seats, were all decked out in red and black; we’d even gone shopping for hats just for this game. So the game starts, the team gets 6 points out of the gate. I’m cheering and clapping and the hubby is quiet. I’m decked out in Bulls gear and cheering every time the Grizzlies make a point. We lost that game too (Bulls), but we won (Grizzlies)! The ticket sales people still remember me as the Bulls/Grizzlies girl. I was honestly just excited to be there…

But this is the part of my painting that I’m most proud of. I decided that I wanted to paint Grizz, mostly because I needed to fill in some space, so I went for it. To say that I was intimidated, doesn’t begin to describe. But my art teacher encouraged me. RWE basically said that you have to start somewhere. I figured if it didn’t turn out well, I just wouldn’t show anyone. I was so shocked at myself that I sat there for 10 minutes just looking at it, astonished that this actually flowed from me. Even I just kept saying “wow…that is so cool…”

And it wasn’t the sip, I was having water that night lol

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I told the hubby I painted a sun just because he’s the sunshine in my life. He just rolled his eyes at me and laughed.

And I’m not bragging, just hoping sharing a bit of encouragement. There are typically many things that we want to do in life and they can sometimes be incredibly intimidating. Sometimes you will fail before you succeed, but you will never know until you try. You are filled with infinite potential and an innate gift to be able to make this world a better place. No matter where you are physically, mentally, spiritually, or emotionally, your state of existence is what you make (of) it.

And if you’re interested in making some art, head over to QBHome’s Paint and Sip Studio. She’s opened a brand new location at 206 E GE Patterson and you can see the schedule and register for classes here. If you’re in or around Memphis, that’s downtown in the arts district and the zip code is 38103. I hope to see you there real soon!

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Happy Wives Club: I Married My Best Friend

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This post is part of the Happy Wives Club Blog Tour which I am delighted to be a part of along with hundreds of inspiring bloggers. To learn more and join us, CLICK HERE! 

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“You’ve never been married because you don’t know what marriage is about!”

During one of many arguments with the individual I was dating at the time, he screamed those words at me. I calmly, yet indignantly, replied, “I’ve never been married because I do know what marriage is about.”

I dated a long string of jerks looking for the man who I thought should be my husband. I went through repetitive years of heartbreak, disappointment, fear, failure, and emotional torment trying to find my happily ever after; I couldn’t find the man I needed to complete me.

But I still wanted desperately to be married. I still believed in it. I knew I would find the right man before I was 30 with whom to start my happily ever after.

Proverbs 18:22 states that “He who finds a good wife finds a good thing and obtains favor from the Lord” (ESV) and I think I figured I could help God out a little by trying to find him first. I’ve found, consistently, that God usually laughs when we make plans and try to do things our own way. When I did meet my husband, I was still looking for him and he wasn’t ready for me…I was still trying to rush him and rush God. And while our intentions were slowly syncing, we did something incredible…we became friends.

I’ve always felt like I wanted to be friends with the person that I was dating. I knew that it was important to be friends with my spouse and truly believed that having a friendship would be the foundation for a lasting marriage. I didn’t realize just how important being friends with your spouse would be until we actually started dating and got really serious about each other.

So, just shy of my 34th birthday (and only 3.75 years past my deadline) we got hitched. We just celebrated our 2 year anniversary on November 19th. There are two things that I hear most from people when they see me and when they see us: people will see my glow when my husband is mentioned and tell me that marriage looks good on me; it usually just serves to intensify my radiance…and some see us together and say that we’re only happy together because we’re still newlyweds and that all of that will wear off after we’ve been married just a little longer.

photo courtesy of Isaac Singleton Photography

photo courtesy of Isaac Singleton Photography

Hubby is quick to reply that we’re happy because we really, really like each other as friends.

In reading the Happy Wives Club book, there was something shared from one of the couples that made me grin from ear to ear and I found both comfort and satisfaction in their words. One of the husbands stated that the most important thing to having a happy marriage was “(to remain) good friends…that friendship is…the trust…the confidence…and with a good friendship, you can put up with your friend’s idiosyncrasies,…(their) small misdemeanors because you’re friends…”

One of the things that I find equally frustrating and beautiful about being married to my husband is that I can never stay mad at him. Lots of times I really, really want to be mad at him. But I can’t. I can’t stay mad at my friend. And he can’t stay mad at me. I know I’m winning on that front because I surely aggravate him on a consistent basis…but we love each other, flaws and all. We are each other’s confidant and closest companion. We do almost everything together. Even when enjoying our separate hobbies, we enjoy being together…he watches football and I curl up under him reading a book.

I often hear women lament that they can’t find a good man, that they have this really great guy friend who is locked securely in the “friend zone” because “he knows me too well…”

Ma’am, if the guy possesses the characteristics you’re looking for in a husband, he knows everything about you, and still wants to be around you and is truly a friend to you…he. might. be. the. one.

My husband knows everything about me. He knows my strengths, weaknesses, flaws and all…and he loves me unconditionally. He loves me because I’m a real person and I can return to him, the love and respect that he shows me. He compliments me where I’m strong and complements me where I am weak. When anything happens in my life, good or bad, he’s the first person I want to talk to. I know that he gets my incredibly sarcastic sense of humor and reaps the benefits of my ability to laugh at myself…he laughs “with” me A LOT. He is, without question, my best friend and I’m blessed to spend every day in his presence. I eagerly look forward to all that the future holds for us.

I held out for him and didn’t settle for the first man who said he wanted to marry me or asked me to get more serious in our relationship. Yes, I wanted to get married, but I never wanted to settle. There, sadly, was more than one occasion where I dated someone to only realize later that I didn’t even like him as a person. No bueno.

It’s been almost 8 years since I heard those words from my incredibly delusional ex, but I’ve never forgotten them. I truly believed that a happy marriage was possible and I knew that I wanted it more than anything. Marriage really is like having a job, but as Confucius said, “Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.”

Being married to my best friend is the easiest decision I’ve made and I love our lives together. We are living proof that happy marriages do exist!

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Fawn Weaver, the founder of the Happy Wives Club wrote a book about the best marriage secrets the world has to offer. They say the book is like “Eat, Pray, Love meets The 5 Love Languages.” I say the book is inspiring. You can grab a copy HERE.

Wining Down 2013

It’s almost here…the end of 2013! The New Year is on the horizon and I’m looking forward to it! I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the ups of this year and have (hopefully) learned from the downs that it had to teach me.

We managed to get ourselves into hosting a no-themed NYE party, as my cousin is calling it, and are having a few close friends over to just celebrate, bond, and reflect over the past 12 months. We may do another wine tasting table and I just wanted to share some quick ideas with you, if you decide you’d like to add one to your party too!

Earlier in the month, I did a NYE themed shoot…well before the date so that it could be shared with others in time to actually prepare for the evening. If you missed the post, you may find the full party over at Whimsically Detailed or here.

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What I did was super easy and super affordable! We had wines from Mirassou Winery, the Sunset Red and Moscato, and I picked simple items with which to pair them. The wines average $10 per bottle and you can pick up as many or as few as you’d like. We had a small party, so 3 bottles of each wine were plenty for us, and in the dispensers, I had non-alcoholic punch and water for additional liquid refreshment options.

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To pair with and bring out the flavors of the wines, I chose pepperoni pizza and sliced chicken sliders. And cubed cheese. Nothing complicated or time consuming at all, this is so quick and easy! I bought a small pizza from the grocery store, baked it, cut it into sample sizes, and served. If you don’t feel like cooking, there is probably a pizza restaurant within 3 miles of you who would be happy to help you out! Want to make it fancy? Cut it into smaller pieces!

We also had sliced chicken sliders. Rolls from the grocery freezer, baked, filled with sliced chicken breasts, and topped with shredded cheese. It’s all fancy over here! Check out the earlier blog post for other ideas that were incorporated into our party which included the dessert station and popcorn bar.

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If you want to go all out, Mirassou has all of the tools that you may use to make it happen! You can go to their Facebook page for ideas or go to their website for different wine-infused recipes to pair with the wine(s) of your choice! They even have this really cool tool that will walk you through the pairing, so if you’ve already set your menu, you can just pick the food and the seasoning you used and it will give you recommendations on which wine to use! Check it out here.

I hope that you have a wonderful New Year and that 2014 brings you joy and prosperity! Have a safe NYE and if you are drinking, crash at a friend’s place or use a designated driver…if you are the designated driver, grab a bottle of Mirassou wine to enjoy later 🙂

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Making Dipped Christmas Cookies

Christmas is approaching swiftly!

We had a holiday party at the taekwondo school last weekend and I was supposed to make cupcakes. I was so physically exhausted that I could not stay up long enough to make them 😦 What I did do, was opt for a quicker, and easier, sweet option…

Dipped cookies!

While this seemed to be an easy task to me, some of my friends had either never heard of the techinique or thought it to be really complicated. I promise, it’s super easy! So if you have a holiday party coming up or need a last minute idea for dessert to take to a family dinner, check this out:

1. I went to the store and bought 2 bags of Chips Ahoy cookies. You can pretty much use any cookie you like, these were just ones I picked up because they were on sale 🙂

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2. Melt your chocolate or candy melts. I use a double broiler for the chocolate. If you’re using the candy melts, you can use a double broiler, but you can also use a bowl or other microwave safe container to melt them; follow packaging instuctions.

3. Dip your cookie in the chocolate (or candy melts.) There’s no real rhyme or reason to this step, just dip them in as much or as little chocolate as you like 🙂

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4. Place them on a cookie sheet lined with wax paper. The wax paper will make it easier to remove the cookies when they’re ready to come out of the freezer. Decorate with sprinkles, jimmies, nuts, whatever. Do it at this stage so that they will be set in the chocolate. I mixed my red and green sprinkles in a bowl together so I wouldn’t have to do double duty trying to sprinkle them on individually.

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5. Freeze the cookies for 5 min. This will allow the chocolate to set. Remove from the sheets.

6. Package and deliver! If you’re going to store them in the refrigerator, make sure that you use cellophane or plastic packaging. If you don’t, the chocolate will sweat and then everything will be sticky and gross. Chocolate and water don’t like each other so much :/

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These are quick, fun, and easy for a holiday party…or any other event! You can make them in any color to fit any theme 🙂

I hope that you have a happy a safe holiday season!

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It’s A New Year…Time For A New Me!

The end is near!

2014 is just around the corner and I’m ready for all of the things that the next year has in store for us, personally and professionally. So many doors have opened and opportunities have presented themselves this year, I’m so incredibly optimistic for the next year…and the years beyond.

My friends and I have been through a lot this year…good and bad, full of lessons and adventures. So to celebrate the freshness of a new year, we had a New Year’s Eve party with the theme “New Year, New Me 2014” and it was one of the most jovial nights I’ve enjoyed in a long time.

I absolutely have to use the word “jovial” because we laughed, long and hard, for about 2 hours straight with all of the stories that we told each other. Maybe animated, facetious, or jocund? Yeah, I had to look those up…

Hosting an intimate NYE event is not really that hard. Especially for me…I’d much rather spend an evening with family and friends than be out partying it up in the streets.

A homebody event planner. Go figure.

The decor and colors of the shower were based on a set of party printables that I won in a giveaway from Cupcake With Character. I love bright colors and was excited about incorporating the color scheme. It wasn’t the usual print that is usually associated with a NYE party and I was totally OK with that. So I picked the traditional black and gold, for timeless elegance, and the not-so-traditional, hot pink and turquoise, for spunky fun!

My husband said it looked like two parties hanging out together.

For our party, we centered it around a wine tasting. We had a delicious stash from Mirassou Winery. The 2 wines we enjoyed were the Sunset Red and Moscato. To accompany the wines, we snacked on pepperoni pizza, Teriyaki chicken sliders, and Colby jack and cheddar cheese. For the one friend in attendance who didn’t actually drink, we had punch and water; the recipe was one that I’d previously used at a baby shower and was a big hit. We also had tulle poms/swizzle sticks provided by Fizzy Party and they are so much fun to have in your glass!

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The dining table set up was of hot pink and turquoise plates, with black napkins and champagne-colored bands. Each place setting consisted of a personalized goblet, filled with Rolos and almond Hershey’s kisses, as well as an inspirational keepsake. The table scape was a gold sequin runner that was centered in the table, and dressed up with recycled wine bottles spray painted gold and trimmed in turquoise glitter ribbon. The flowers were left over from another event and the gold sprays I found for $1 at Michaels.

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The dessert table was (obviously) our (my) favorite party of the party. The printables got to strut their stuff on the dessert table. The banner was customized for our theme and hung with gold glitter ribbon against a black backdrop. The sweet stuff on the table was a simple menu of fresh strawberries with cream cheese dip, jumbo white chocolate  s’mores, wedding cake cupcakes, and a popcorn bar.

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The popcorn came from Sweet Noshings, which is a local candy store/popcorn corner/coffee bar.

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It is The. Best.

We got to nosh on Peanut Butter and Chocolate, Honey Butter, Cherry, and Spicy White Cheddar and Cheddar Cheese mix varieties of popcorn. The other element on the table was a gift box for all of the guests. The gift boxes contained a bunch of goodies from Mirassou and included a over a dozen different recipes (which can be made with the various Mirassou wines,) a wine charm, a stemless wine glass, and a brochure about the fabulous winery.

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The gift boxes were also personalized with each guests’ name. They were tied with white and gold twine, and held a countdown clock cookie, made by the awesome Jess Add Sprinkles, and a tag I created, which said “It’s time for a new you!” All of the ladies were impressed with her art…they didn’t know it was a cookie, and they loved it!

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We also had some fantabulous cookies that Kima’s Konfections sent to the party, but they didn’t get to be on the table because of the ice storm that we had. And by ice storm, I mean that we got 1/4″ of ice and the city shut down. Even though they didn’t make it to the shindig, I was still able to get them to the guests. I mean, how could this beauty not be shared with them?!?

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We also had a photo booth set up and staged it with a huge 36″ balloon from Party On! Designs. Again, Icemageddon 2013 prevented us from getting helium, so hubby volunteered to blow it  up. I told him how big it should be and he did as I asked, which freaked me out. I have a phobia of popping balloons and the bigger it got, the more I tried to run away. But it looked incredible with the party and decor! I used gold spray paint and painted “2014” on it and a few of us took pictures with the “globe.”

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All in all, we had a great time 🙂 The weather outside was frightful, but my friends were so delightful!

This party is perfect for throwing an intimate NYE gathering or just a girls night in. Very budget friendly, the wines run under $10 a bottle, and taste wonderful!

If you want to opt for something sans alcohol, think spa night, movie night, or even a game night! We brought in 2012 with a Wii party with our friends and it was a blast!

Celebrate life! Cheers to a New You and a Joyous and Prosperous New Year!

LMM_6570

Concept and Styling: Creating Awesomenessity!

Printable Collection: Cupcake With Character

Recipe Cards and Gifts: Mirassou Winery

Clock Cookies: Jess Add Sprinkles

2014 Cookies: Kima’s Konfections

Tulle Poms: Fizzy Party

36″ Balloon: Party On! Designs

Gourmet Popcorn: Sweet Noshings

Photography: Lyndsi Metz Photography

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Don’t Be J…

I was able to attend a conference last weekend, Bloggy Boot Camp Dallas, hosted by The SITS Girls. They are a community of bloggers who truly support each other and want each other to succeed. Incredible women to meet and know ❤

In the short time that I’ve been a member of the event planning community, I’ve found that isn’t always the case. The positives absolutely outweigh the negatives, but I firmly believe that if there were no challenges or competition, we wouldn’t be pushed to be our best.

I was blessed to be able to meet a lot of the positive women this weekend…Fawn of the Happy Wives Club, Christy of A Woman the World Deserves, Dottie of The Flirt Doctor, Jennifer of BellaGrey Designs and Amy of Living Locurto only begin the list of amazing bloggers that I met…every person there, from the guests to the hosts to the sponsors, were just phenomenally warm and welcoming.

Please don’t think I’m “name dropping” because that certainly isn’t the case. I mention them because I’d heard of them as leaders in the industry and when I found out they were there, I had the biggest groupie moments ever and I was afraid to even speak to them because I felt like I wasn’t good enough to even be in the same room.

But the strangest thing happened…I spoke to them and they spoke back.

They encouraged me and we established relationships. They gave me the confidence to truly be who I am and to keep pushing in my business.

They were real people…there to learn, to meet other people in the industry, and to be a source of encouragement to everyone. It was refreshing and unexpected, considering other experiences that I’ve had since beginning this journey.

During the last day of the conference, I was tweeting and Instagramming a lot of this things being shared at the conference to encourage us. It triggered a memory that I’d had while getting ready for work one morning. I’d been reflecting about all of the things that I’ve been through…the emotional rollercoaster of thinking that I’m not good enough or that I’m not doing as well as other planners (who’ve been doing this longer than me and have more time to devote to their work) or that I will never be able to make this into something bigger.

I dealt with emotions of anger, jealousy, despair and regret…and then the thought hit me!

If I’m jealous of other people, I’m pretty much telling God and myself that He can’t bless me in my own right. I’m telling God that He didn’t make me unique enough to do what He designed me to do and that my success is dependent upon other people’s opinion of me and my capabilities…and that I’m living for them.

Big mistake, BIG…HUGE!

There is absolutely no reason for me to be jealous of anyone! That’s is allowing people who don’t care about me and don’t want to see me succeed to occupy incredibly valuable time and space in my life.

jealousy

Sorry, that lady still cracks me up…

But seriously, there is no reason to be jealous of another’s success. A lot of people want what someone else has, not realizing what they had to sacrifice, lose, or have taken from them to get there. You never truly know who a person is or what they had to go through to get to where they are.

Honestly, some of the people that I found myself being jealous of…I don’t want what they have and I surely don’t want to be who they are to get it either.

Just keepin’ it real, son!

So all of that to say this: be thankful for who you are and what you have. There is no reason to tear another person down because you don’t have what they have or you aren’t where you’d like to be. Work harder and earn it…for yourself. If you’re a Christian, remember who you’re working for in the first place. If you’re not a Christian, just be a good person, m’kay?

I made a printable to share with you. You may not need it (I sure need to be reminded some days) but just in case you do, enjoy!

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