Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Wedding Wednesday :-D
Invites {Again}!

I kept wondering why I was postponing our order of our invitations and I finally figured out that it’s because I really didn’t love the design that we’d originally chosen. Robbie was still okay with them, but I wasn’t. It was getting down to the wire so I had to make a decision. Cripes! So I spent some more time looking around again and I found a few more options for invitations, shared them with Robbie, and we came to a decision together (again LOL). We ended up deciding on these:






They are pretty much exactly what I was looking for. I wanted something really simple, teal and white, and a simple floral pattern. Also, I wanted them to be within our budget. LOL. That was a big factor. These are actually significantly UNDER budget. I found them on Vistaprint – the same place where I ordered my favor labels.
I learned from my first online order of having things printed, though. Remember how I ordered the business card pack (for favor labels) and I ended up not liking them that much, so I re-ordered a new design? Those orders weren’t that big of a deal because they only ended up costing me $25 total. Considering this order would be a lot more money and a lot more stuff, I decided to order 10 invites/10 RSVPs/10 thank you cards (the minimum you can get) and make sure I loved them...before I ordered the other 90 of each item. It ended up increasing my total cost a little (because if you order a larger amount the price goes down, so ordering this small amount first made my total end cost increase), but I figured it was worth it for the peace of mind.
When we got them we LOVED them! Hallelujah!
Here are some things I love about Vistaprint:
1.  They are incredibly affordable! They have some AMAZING wedding packages on their website. I customized my order though, which included 100 invitations and envelopes, 100 RSVP cards and envelopes, and 110 thank you cards and envelopes – all for only $265!
2.  The designs are really flexible…you can change almost anything except the main graphic on the invitations. You can choose your own text, font, colors, sizes of text, the spacing of the text, and even add your own photos and graphics (like I did for my favor labels). You can even start with a totally blank invite if you want to. And it’s all in your hands – no rules!
3.  Since the designs are so flexible, it’s easy for me to match it to things that I am designing and printing at home – like our programs, menus, etc.
4.  There are several options to help you save money. For example, they have different qualities of paper to choose from, and you can choose to have a blank back side of your invite (instead of color).
5.  They have about a million options for matching items that go with your design – menus, programs, return address labels, stamps, pads of paper, stickers, etc. You name it, it seems like they have it (although I do wish it all popped up automatically on a sidebar or something while you are viewing a specific design).
6.  Their online design tool is pretty easy to use. It has features that are really helpful, like a tool to align the text, etc.
7.  They are FAST! I got my favor labels in a week. I got my 10 pack of invites/RSVPs/thank you cards in about two weeks!
8.   Most importantly, the products are very beautiful and professional. The favor labels and the invites both turned out AWESOME!
Here are some things I don’t love about Vistaprint:
1.  You can’t order a sample invite (at least I couldn’t find the option to do so). If you want to see a sample, you have to personalize it and then order 10 of them. For the 10 invites/10 RSVPs/10 thank you cards it was only about $50 though (that was with full color back sides and on the highest quality paper available).
2.   I wish their online design tool had a “ruler” or “grid” option that would overlay the design while you were creating it, so you could make sure that spacing was correct, etc. When I was designing ours and I was trying to evenly space out each block of text, it was hard to tell. I ended up saving the invite as a graphic, printing it on my home printer, and measuring the spacing with a ruler to make sure it was spaced correctly. Yes, I’m that meticulous.
3.   Speaking of spacing, they don’t check that stuff for you when you order. You design it and they print it exactly like your design is set up. BUT – if you don’t tweak anything or move anything around or change anything, and ONLY enter the text that you want, their original spacing and layout is all aligned appropriately. It’s when you start tweaking that you get into this issue.
.......Whew that's a lot to say about invitations!

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Can I please come on the bed, mom?

Every night when I get in bed, Buster sits next to it and stares optimistically at me – hoping and hoping that I will invite him up to snuggle! LOL.


I hope he realizes soon that chances are I am never going to change my stance regarding dogs in the bed. I already relented and let him on the couch, and that’s as far as it’s going to go! LOL.
But....look at that little face! LOL.

Monday, February 27, 2012

We Have a Winner!

And the winner of the Mary Kay Cream Eyeshadow Give-away is:


MaryBeth G.!

Congrats! :-D

Friday, February 24, 2012

Friday Funny :-D
DIS MAH AREA!


This bunny is herding a bunch of sheep away from her spot - they are getting too close to her area!!!


How cute is that?

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Sara The Wine Bar

A few weeks ago Robbie and I checked out a little place in Culver City called Sara The Wine Bar. When we walked in we were greeted by a really friendly and lively crowd. The place was TINY and it was also pretty full. We sat down at a little table (there were only 4 tables total, and bar seating for about 8 people), and the bartender came over right away to help us. We ordered some wine and got to work deciding on our food.
We ended up ordering the eggplant parmesan, the margarita pizza with added sausage and mushrooms, and the caprese salad. It was delicious! Here are some pics…they are dark – I forgot my fancy camera and had to take them with my phone. Oops.



It was my first time having eggplant Parmesan (I know, weird huh?) and it hit the spot. I thought the dish could have used some more seasoning though – maybe more garlic and more pepper.
The pizza was AWESOME. It was a lot bigger than I thought it would be – I expected it to only be half of the plate that they gave us. The crust was very thin, and all of the toppings were really flavorful and delicious. The sausage was so delicious, spicy, and flavorful, and the mushrooms were thick sliced and very fresh.
The caprese salad was also really lovely. I have never had a caprese salad served like this was served – as you can see from the photo, it was a circle of large toothpicks – with a tomato and a mozzarella ball on each. The basil and olive oil was sprinkled on top. I loved this. Usually it seems like I run out of cheese before I run out of everything else! With this design, that was not so. Yay. There’s never too much cheese!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Sock Bun, Anyone?

Have you tried a sock bun yet?


I LOVE THIS IDEA. It looks so cute and really makes your bun look “finished.” It’s a quick way to style your hair that requires minimal work and still looks neat, professional, and fancy. Also, your hair actually STAYS IN THE BUN ALL DAY when you wear it like this. If I wear a normal bun, I feel like I’m fixing it a million times throughout the day. It’s annoying. LOL.
Here are the steps:
  1. You start with a normal sock, cut the toe off, and then roll it into a donut.
  2. You put your hair in a ponytail and slide the ponytail through the donut.
  3. Tuck your hair around and under the bottom of the donut (the part closest to your head), and gradually it gets closer and closer, until its right against your head.
I couldn’t figure out how to do this just by looking at photos (or by reading directions...but hey, I tried) – I had to watch a video tutorial. Check out this you tube video for a how-to!


Seriously, who thought of this idea? It’s genius.
p.s. Have you entered the give-away yet? Today is the LAST DAY!

Monday, February 20, 2012

More More More Aidan Pics :-D

More pictures of my nephews!

With his big brothers Adam and Alec. I have 3 nephews now!

Snug as a bug in a rug. :-)

p.s. Have you entered the give-away yet?

Friday, February 17, 2012

Friday Funny :-D
Upside Down Time!



Seriously....Zach LOVES it when I hang him upside down. He's so weird! Buster just looks at us like we've gone insane. LOL.

My yoga instructor says you're supposed to be upsidedown at least once a day. I'm not sure if she had Zach and Buster in mind when she said that, though. LOL.

p.s. Have you entered the give-away yet?

Thursday, February 16, 2012

If the World Were a Village of 100 People

One of my friends posted this to Facebook a while ago and I thought it was really interesting!


Sixty-three villagers would have inadequate sanitation!!? I know this information probably could be easily obtained by statistics found all over the interwebs...but I thought this was a really interesting way to present the information in another way!

p.s. Have you entered the give-away yet?

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Wedding Wednesday :-D
M-R-tini – Our “Signature” Tiffany Blue Cocktail!

Have I mentioned yet that I love our wedding venue and I adore the people that work there? Specifically the catering manager, Dawn, is totally awesome and amazing. They are so accommodating and always entertain my ideas about unique things that I want to add to our ceremony or reception. One of the things that I knew I really wanted was to have a signature cocktail – called an M-R-tini (Missy & Robbie-tini {smile}) that is in our wedding color – Tiffany Blue. I just got the thumbs up on this idea!
I needed to come up with an easy way to get a teal drink that didn’t involve any fancy liquors – if I added one of those, I would have to pay an up-charge per person on the bar price. Since this is a nice-to-have and not a must-have (actually, when you get down to it…most things at weddings are nice-to-haves! LOL), I didn’t want to have to add much additional cost to pull it off. And I didn’t want it to be a lot of work or annoying because I know I’m not going to want to deal with that sh*t right before the wedding!
At first I was thinking food coloring…but then I was at the grocery store and I saw a childhood favorite – Kool-Aid! Oh yeahhhhh! How easy is that? Robbie and I have always loved the blueberry or raspberry lemonade that they serve at all of the pools in Vegas….here is what we came up with!
M-R-tini
1 Packet Kool-Aid Twists Ice Blue Raspberry Lemonade
1 Packet Kool-Aid Lemonade
1.5 cups Stevia in the Raw, separated into two ¾ cup servings (one for each container)
4 quarts water, divided into two 2-quart containers
Vodka

Add the first packet of Kool-Aid, ¾ cup of Stevia in the Raw, and 2 quarts of water to the first jug. Mix well.
Add the second packet of Kool-Aid, ¾ cup Stevia in the Raw, and 2 quarts of water to the second jug. Mix well.
Add 2 parts Kool-Aid Ice Blue Raspberry Lemonade, 1 part Lemonade, and 1 part vodka to a glass (I did this on a shot glass sized basis). Mix well, and add lots of ice (because my other color is white, duh!). Ta-da!!!
Here are some pics:





Yes, I even matched it to my fabric swatch of my bridesmaid dresses. Yes, I am a nerd. You like it. As you can tell from the pics, the blue color started out looking pretty teal to begin with, and adding the lemonade brought it to a perfect match very easily. :-D
The next step will be to add a cute little Tiffany Blue drink stirrer (coming soon!).
Note: The directions on the Kool-Aid packets call for 1 cup of sugar for each jug. I found this to be realllllyyyyy painfully sweet when we made it the first time with Stevia in the Raw. I really recommend ¾ cup per jug if you use Stevia or Splenda vice regular sugar. Or better yet...just try it a little sugar at a time to get it to the sweetness that you like. :-D

p.s. Have you entered the give-away yet?

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

January Birchbox Product Review

stila Smudge Stick Waterproof Eye Liner – I was so excited when I opened this! I love the color so much and it goes on so easily and is gorgeous. I think it makes me look old though, because the color is so bold – it looks sort of harsh. Maybe a color a little more subtle would be better. But the product itself is really nice!
ORIGINS Checks And Balances Frothy Face Wash – Very thick and creamy, not so much frothy. I really like it. It rinses REALLY clean. Like my face felt squeaky clean afterwards. It had a fresh clean scent – sort of reminded me of Noxema (in a good way).
VMV Hypoallergenics Re-Everything Lotion – this lotion is light but moisturizing and not too greasy. I like it a lot!
Juicy Couture Viva La Juicy Perfume – It's okay...but sort of strong and I don't feel like there is anything unique about it. It leans toward the bug spray category.
LARABAR Mini Bars – This was really yummy and I love the mini size – perfect to keep in your purse for a healthy snack on the go!

p.s. Have you entered the give-away yet?

Monday, February 13, 2012

More Aidan Pics :-D

Tootsies

Snuggled up

Sleeping angel

Snuggle time with mommy


Getting a tan

Ohhh Mom
p.s. Have you entered the give-away yet?

Thursday, February 09, 2012

Book Discussion
One for the Money

One word for this book: Funsies!
I can’t think of any other way to describe this book other than saying it is really fun.
Stephanie Plum is having a hard time making ends meet, so she goes to her cousin Vinnie searching for a job…and she ends up taking one as a bounty hunter. It’s a dangerous and difficult job, but the payoff is big bucks. It turns out that the first person she is assigned to “collect” is a former flame who seduced her (back in high school) and then dropped her like a bad habit. Although she had previously run him over with a car, she still felt there was a significant amount of payback to dole out – and what better way to do that than by delivering him to the police? Ha!
The book has a lot of action, and Stephanie is hilarious. She is hilarious in a subtle way, though. I cracked up throughout this book. I loved this chick!
As you can imagine, she goes through a pretty steep learning curve when she starts out being a bounty hunter. This is also told in a hilarious but raw way. She also has some run-ins with some pretty slimy characters, and gets into some pretty sticky situations while she is poking around trying to apprehend her target. It all made for a real page-turner, and all the excitement kept me rapt with attention. There was never a dull moment!
The book was recommended to me by a co-worker…I’m so glad I listened.  I can’t wait to read the next one!

p.s. Have you entered the give-away yet?

Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Wedding Wednesday :-D
We Ordered the Cupcakes Yay

A couple months ago when I was in Michigan for my sister's baby shower, her and I went to a couple cupcake tastings and I ordered the cupcakes for the wedding. I am SO EXCITED for these cupcakes!

The first place we visited was Just Baked in Ann Arbor. It was good, but it didn't exactly blow up our skirts. The second place we visited was The Cupcake Station, which is also in Ann Arbor. The cupcakes at The Cupcake Station were AMAZING. They totally blew us away and we wanted more even though we'd been eating cupcakes for 2-3 hours at that point. LOL. I ordered a lacy cupcake tier, alllll the cupcakes for our guests, and a normal cake to go on the top tier so Robbie and I can still "cut the cake" together at the wedding. These are the flavors that we settled on (for now):

- Fall Into Pumpkin (this is the flavor we chose for the top cake too)
- Boston Cream
- Chocolate Cheesecake
- Coconut Blitz
- Strawberry Cheesecake

Besides the fact that the cupcakes were freakin' amazing, I loved The Cupcake Station because the girl we spoke to was incredibly friendly, was very excited about the cupcakes, and was very accommodating. She let us try so many flavors! She also had a lot of suggestions and ideas when I was telling her what I wanted for the cupcakes - I was trying to have the main color of the cupcakes and tower to be white (while we were at Just Baked, anything that I suggested changing about the cupcakes was met with a "no" or an "I'll have to check" - it was annoying and made me feel like I was going to be paying an arm and a leg for something that wasn't exactly what I wanted). Also, the girl we talked to at The Cupcake Station was one of the people who actually baked the cupcakes, so she had a lot of knowledge about what frosting works with what, etc. that helped with choosing flavors, and she was confident in working with us to get what I wanted.

Here is a picture from their photo gallery of the tier with some cupcakes!


We'll have one tier with the remaining cupcakes arranged artistically on the table. BOOM - another checklist item DONE.

p.s. Have you entered the give-away yet?

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

Give-Away! My Favorite Mary Kay Cream Eyeshadow!

Guess what, lucky readers? It’s time for another give-away!

A while back (while I was still living in DC), I went to a Mary Kay party because my friend, Lyndsey, has her own business selling their products. I purchased some foundation and some tinted moisturizer and it is THE BOMB. Seriously, I love the stuff. I don’t actually wear a lot of foundation, because I don’t like the feeling of heavy makeup on my face (or the look of it). The medium coverage foundation is totally perfect during the wintertime when I want a little more “evening out” – I just mix some with my moisturizer and primer, and ta-da – love. Depending on how much coverage I want, I just add more or less of the medium coverage foundation. For summertime, the tinted moisturizer is less covering and very light. I just mix it with my primer and I’m ready to go in a snap. Love!

When I recently put in an order to replenish my foundation, I decided to try out their new Cream Eye Shadow. It is also GORGEOUS. I chose the Iced Cocoa color, and I am in looooove. The color is really vivid and sparkly, and it is so easy to apply.
I just use my normal eye shadow brush to apply the eyeshadow. One thing I love about cream eyeshadows is that they go exactly where I put them. There is no dusting on my cheeks or my nose at all. I definitely find myself grabbing for this eyeshadow a lot because it is so easy to apply and I can go fast and not worry about messing up. Or I can be lazy when I am tired in the morning and not worry about messing it up. You see where I’m going with this. LOL. And, it stays in place all day and the color lasts and lasts forever! It’s also really easy to achieve a sheer look or a very dark look as well.
Lyndsey also sent me a little sample of the eye makeup remover, which I also love. I just started using eye makeup remover, honestly (about 6 months ago). I definitely notice that when I use it, my eyelashes stay around a lot longer and grow longer because I don’t have to rub my eyes. Definitely a bonus – eye makeup remover is a must!

So, for my next give-away, you can enter to win (1) Cream eyeshadow (color of your choice) and (2) some MK eye makeup remover. Check out Lyndsey’s website here, and here is the specific link to the eyeshadows (so you can choose your color…because you’ll surely win, right?).
Guess what? I'm going to make it easy on you this time. All you have to do is send me an email to enter. Send me an email at diaryofasmartblonde{at}yahoo dot com with the following information:

1. Name and email address
2. How did you find out about my blog?
3. Did you post a link to this contest on Facebook, Twitter, or your blog? If you include it, you get an extra entry!


Contest rules and information, i.e. the annoying fine print:
  1. To be a contestant of this giveaway you must send me an email with the information stated in the above list.
  2. One contest entry per person.
  3. Required information is your name and email address (for contact purposes only). One entry is automatic for all contestants.
  4. A second entry can be earned by linking to this contest. A valid link to your twitter posting, facebook post, or blog post linking back to this giveaway page must be submitted to earn this second entry.
  5. The giveaway will close on Tuesday, February 21, 2012 at 10:00PM P.S.T. The winner will be selected using Random.org.
  6. The winner will be contacted by email and will have 48 hours to respond. If the winner does not respond a new winner will be selected.
  7. The contest is open to United States residents only.

Good luck!

Monday, February 06, 2012

January Birchbox Goodies :-)













Is any of this stuff for dogs?!

Also, there was a mini Cookie Dough Larabar...I accidentally deleted the pic. LOL.

Friday, February 03, 2012

Friday Funny on NPW Day 5: Essie Size Matters



I had to get this polish….I was looking for a new red and when I read the name I cracked up. Seriously, who comes up with these names? Whoever started it is a genius. I love reading the nail polish names. LOL. It’s fun and funny and most of them are pretty clever.
This polish is so easy to apply and is also really glossy. I love it. It turned out to be a lot deeper red than I expected - the top pic is in natural light and the bottom pic is indoors (the best I could do without a flash lol).  The pictures show two coats. So pretty.

Thursday, February 02, 2012

NPW Day 4: Sally Hansen Nail Polish Strips Sweet Tart-an


You know my obsession with these Sally Hansen Nail Polish strips...so I had to include one in NPW! I adore this pattern. Isn't it so cute? I love them!!!

Wednesday, February 01, 2012

Wedding Wednesday on NPW Day 3: Orly Cut the Cake!


Isn't this gorgeous? I love this polish. It’s so delicate and shimmery - this photo does NOT do it justice. The formula is pretty sheer though – this picture shows 4 coats. Yes, 4! I could have gotten away with 3 coats though; I just wanted to see how it’d look with 4 coats. Because of that, it was sort of a pain in the butt to let it dry. I am also the most impatient nail-polish-dryer on the planet, though. Drying it with this many coats definitely required the blow-dryer (on the cold setting).
I can’t wait to see what this polish looks like in the summer time – when I’m not white as a ghost!