I graduated last weekend, which is somewhat incredible. Among other things, that means we’ll be moving soon. We’re still not sure where, but our lease ends mid-July, so we’ll have to figure something out, even if I don’t have a job by then. Since we might end up storing our things for a while, we’re trying to pare down our (okay, mostly my) collection of stuff. There are some things that take up a good bit of space and I really don’t want to store – particularly my vintage wedding dresses. As such, they are on sale for 40-50% off all month. The dress in the photo above is on sale for $93.00.
This beauty that’s probably from the 1940′s is on sale for $180.00. I really hope that I can find a good home for this one. It’s so gorgeous and unique. It’s quite small though, with a 32.5″ bust. Hopefully someone petite will fall in love with it.
Finally, this short, lace number is only $70 and could be worn well after your wedding.
If you or someone you know is getting married soon, take a look at these dresses. They’re a steal!
It’s over. It’s really over. Law school, that is. I’m still a bit in shock right now – I mean I’ve been a student for most of my life. Even the couple of years between undergrad and law school were always just going to be a break in education. But now it’s really over. Not that I wouldn’t like to go back for a couple more degrees, but we’d eventually like to have kids, buy a house, etc. so I don’t think that racking up even more student loans would be the best plan.
Right now, I’m starting to study for the bar which is July 30th and 31st. I’m also still trying to find a job. Of course, I’ve been thinking a lot about teaching again (I taught English in Korea if you didn’t know). I really loved teaching and I could possibly start teaching through the lateral entry program, which would give me some time where I’d be working while getting my license.
We have to move on July 14th, but since I don’t have a job yet, we have no idea where we’ll be going. It’s kind of a stressful time for both of us right now because of all the uncertainty. We can’t really go month-to-month at our current place because they want to raise the rent to $1,1000 a month if we do that. However, the big question is where to move when we could get, as John says, stationed anywhere in NC or even VA based on the jobs I’m applying for.
In the meantime, I’m going to keep my Etsy shop open until July, but stop production on the more time intensive items like cake toppers so I can focus more on studying and hunting for a job. I’m going to keep up most of my items, particularly my photography prints. However, since the bar is at the end of July and we’ll be moving that month too, I think I’m going to have to put my shop in vacation mode then. I very much want to reopen my shop after the bar, but, depending on my job (hopefully I’ll have one by then), I might have to scale it back somewhat. In any event, I want to continue creating, but I’m not sure how much time I’ll have to devote to it. Like everything in my life, that seems very much up in the air at the moment.
However, right now I’m going to just keep going. This weekend, John and I are planning on going to see his family in SC since we won’t get to see his mom on Mother’s day. Next weekend, my family will be in town for graduation, which will be nice. There are a lot of positive things in our life, we just need to relax and figure out our backup plan if I don’t get a job soon.
In the meantime, we’ll just continue to enjoy each other’s company and have adventures together like taking trips to the zoo and historical sites.
On a side note, there’s a really awesome camera giveaway going on that you can enter here. They’re giving away your choice of a Nikon D800 or Canon 5D Mark III (awesome cameras). Big thanks to the SnapKnot wedding photography directory for offering this great camera giveaway!
Wow, it’s hard to believe it’s been almost a month since my last post. The semester is coming to a close, and I’m still searching for a job after graduation. Thankfully, John got a job at Lowe’s. Granted, it’s a part-time seasonal position, but we’re hoping it will lead to something more permanent.
I decided today would be a good day to share one of our culinary adventures with you. It’s a recipe for Steak Pesto Pasta. It’s a quick and simple recipe that tastes great.
- 1/2 lb lean steak
- 8 oz white mushrooms, sliced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 8 oz penne pasta
- 1/4 cup pesto sauce – store bought or from this recipe
- 1 tbsp olive oil
First of all, you’ll want to slice your steak into nice thin strips. You can often get steak for stir frying from your grocery store that requires very little extra cutting.
Begin cooking your pasta according to package directions.
Heat your pan to medium high heat. Add olive oil, mushrooms, and garlic. Saute until the mushrooms are tender and a light brown color. You can increase the amount of garlic or omit it altogether depending on how garlicky you like your pasta and what kind of sauce you’re using – remember the pesto already has garlic in it.
Remove the garlic and mushrooms and set aside.
Place pan back on heat and add steak. Cook until they are cooked through, but beware of overcooking. The strips are thin and don’t take very long.
Turn off the burner. Add the garlic and mushrooms back to the pan to allow them to reheat with the residual heat.
Drain pasta and place back in pot.
Add the contents of the pan to the pasta. Add pesto sauce and toss.
It’s that easy! Top with a bit of Parmesan and some cracked black pepper and enjoy!
I recently bought some art clay, which is a precious metal clay like PMC. For those of you who aren’t familiar with metal clays, they are clays that contain metals and fire into actual metal pieces because the binders burn off during firing. I got some Art Clay Silver Low Fire, which you can fire with a butane torch. It becomes 99.9% pure silver. Above is the first piece I made with it – a leaf pendant!
I’m kind of stupidly proud of my creation, despite it’s flaws. Since this was my first piece, I wasn’t sure how many details would show once it was fired. It turns out that ALL of them show, which means I should have spent more time finishing it, because there are some definite flaws. However, since it’s my first piece and it has some flaws, I decided to keep it for myself.
It was supposed to be part of a pair of earrings, but I discovered that Art Clay is somewhat brittle and easy to break once it’s dry, but before firing. One of the set broke in the middle while I was trying to sand it prior to firing, so I now have a necklace.
Now that I know how pieces look when fired, I can’t wait to start on my next one! I think it’s going to be something for this challenge from the best Etsy team ever, The Promotional Frenzy Team. I’m thinking a geometric design, perhaps Triforce-esque. I really encourage any artists, photographers, or crafters out there to enter! If you’re on Etsy, you should join the team too – it’s awesome!
What do you think of my first piece? Have you discovered any cool new mediums or techniques recently?
As some of you may know, I’m a huge fan of baths. Nothing is more relaxing to me than immersing myself in a tub of scalding water with a good book and a glass of wine (or hot tea if I’m being good). So it should be no surprise that I also love luxurious bath and body products. The problem – I’m allergic to many artificial scents. My asthma and allergies have gotten much worse recently, so I’ve had to be particularly careful about what products I use. Thankfully, Etsy has a lot of sellers who use mostly natural ingredients that don’t aggravate my allergies.
My favorite place to get bath and body products is Symbolic Imports. The shop owner, Angel, makes wonderful goodies that look, smell, and fell amazing!
My first purchase from Symbolic Imports was one of her lip balms. I’m a lip balm junkie (my husband accuses me of always having lip schmutz on), so I couldn’t resist trying her Pumpkin Cheesecake one. Yes, I said PUMPKIN CHEESECAKE. Not only was it delicious, it moisturized my lips incredibly well! I was so happy with it that after it tragically got lost somewhere in the UK, I went back and bought Coconut, Buttercreme, Chocolate Mint, Chai Tea, and Margarita. All of the flavors are brilliant! If you use lip balm, definitely try one (or five) of these! Angel also makes lip tints that are just as yummy and moisturizing as her lip balms, but have just a hint of color. I have this one and I keep it in my purse at all times now.
Symbolic Imports also makes awesome soaps! My first one was the Coffee Lover’s Soap pictured at the top of the post. I’m not a big coffee drinker, but I love the smell and I thought it would be good for my notoriously dry winter skin. I was very right to get it! First of all, the soap makes your shower smell like your neighborhood coffee house. It’s rich and wonderful in the shower, but doesn’t make you smell like you spilled coffee on yourself that morning once you’re out. It’s made with actual coffee grounds in the soap, which also makes it very exfoliating, which is a super plus for me. To make it even better, coffee is great at absorbing odors, so it’s the ultimate post-workout de-funking soap!
One of my other favorite products from Symbolic Imports are the sugar scrub cubes. Everyone knows the traditional sugar scrubs that come in a jar of sugar and oils. They’re awesome for exfoliating, but to me they’re very much like natural peanut butter – they require constant stirring to keep the equilibrium and are ultimately more trouble that they’re worth. The brilliant thing about these cubes is that they’re pretty much single servings, which is both convenient and prevents waste. The have just the right balance of sugar to oils in each one, so you always get the optimal exfoliation plus moisturization. Plus, they come in just about any scent you might want! My favorite scent so far is the fireside, which really does bring to mind roaring fires and cozy times.
My most recent purchase was probably the most surprising. I have avoided perfumes for years because I tend to 1) break out in hives, 2) have an asthma attack, or 3) both. However, since I was already familiar with the scents that Angel uses in her products I felt confident enough to try one of her roll-on perfumes. The scent I decided to get was Japanese Cherry Blossom. It’s a gorgeous floral scent with a hint of vanilla that’s not overwhelming. I was a bit nervous when I first applied it just because I’ve had some bad experiences with perfumes. However, I didn’t break out or have an asthma attack. I just had a lovely scent on me, which was exactly what I wanted. I’m definitely going to pick up some more scents in the future!
Also, don’t forget to enter to win a pair of my rose earrings! The giveaway ends at midnight on February 8th, so enter today!
Things have been a bit crazy with the start of the new (and my last!) semester, so I haven’t been very good about blog posts recently. However, I have been adding a number of new items to my Etsy shop, so check them out. One of the new items is this pair of red rose photo earrings.
Since Valentine’s Day is right around the corner, I thought I’d celebrate with a giveaway! If you’re the lucky winner, you can give them as a Valentine’s gift or keep them for yourself! Since you can’t embed Rafflecopter in WordPress.com blogs, this giveaway is located on my Facebook page, so enter to win here.
Unfortunately, because of the ridiculous increase in international shipping costs starting January 27th, the giveaway is only open to people in the US and Canada. Good luck!
Like many people around this time of year, I’ve been thinking a lot about what I want to accomplish in 2013. I don’t like the word resolutions, because resolutions sounds so definite and we all know they’re practically made to be broken. So I prefer to think of them as goals that I hope to achieve. Some of my goals are related to my Etsy shop, some are related to school/work, and some are personal. I thought it might be a good idea to write them down here so that next year I can look back and see how successful I was.
1. My first and most important goal for 2013 is to find a job. It’s actually a three part goal, because in order to find a job, I have to graduate, pass the bar, and be offered a position somewhere. We’re hoping I’ll be able to find something in the Asheville area, so I’m planning on sending out my resume to pretty much every firm in that part of the state. I’ve already applied for one job that I would absolutely LOVE to get, but it’s probably pretty competitive, so I’ll just have to wait and see. Keep your fingers crossed for me!
2. Of course, the whole taking the bar and hopefully starting a new job thing complicates things with my Etsy shop. I opened my shop in February of last year with about two items in it, but I’ve had a lot of success since then. Last year, I had 81,998 views, 11,988 favorites, and 504 sales. If I were going to still be in school next year, my goal would be to increase all of those numbers by 50%. However, since my life is going to change pretty dramatically this year, I don’t want to set goals like that. I will probably have to close my Etsy shop for a bit, or at least take down all of the labor-intensive items, while I’m studying for the bar. I also have no idea how much time I’ll have for Etsy once I have a job, so the shop will be on the back burner for a while this summer. So my biggest Etsy goal for this year is to keep it fun. Last year, there were times when I got very stressed out trying to juggle Etsy orders with my other responsibilities, especially around exams and my wedding. This year, if I start getting overwhelmed, I’m either going to deactivate listings or put my shop in vacation mode. I love making things, but if I can’t keep up with orders during times that are stressful anyway, crafting isn’t nearly as fun.
3. My other Etsy goal is to expand my product lines. One of the things that I just didn’t have enough time to get to over the break was making a clock like the one above with one of our wedding photos on it, so I can start selling custom clocks as well. I have a ton of new items in my head, some of which I already have supplies for, that I need to make come to life.
4. I also want to continue improving my photography in 2013. I’ve gotten very into photography and I’ve learned a lot, but there’s so much more to learn! I’m particularly interested in learning more about lighting. I’d love to take some advanced photography classes this year if possible.
5. Speaking of photography – I also want to work with a model this year. I’m interested in learning more about portraiture and photographing a real, live person. Not only would it help improve my skills, I desperately need new photos for my wedding shop.
6. Another personal goal of mine is to eat healthier, get into better shape, and hopefully lose some weight. I never really lost the weight I was hoping to before our wedding in September, but thankfully I haven’t really gained any since then either. I only gained two pounds over the holidays, but John and I still haven’t been eating particularly well. A typical dinner for us is baked chicken seasoned with herbs, a steamed vegetable with just some salt and pepper, and mashed potatoes made without milk (from a box, of course). So dinner isn’t really a problem for us (other than the occasional Chinese takeout). However, what we eat during the day is. I tend to be a grazer – I nibble all day – so I need to get some healthier options, like more fruits and vegetables, to keep around the house and take to school with me. We both need to be more active too. We need to fix up the bikes my parents gave us and actually start using them. I need to make an effort to start going to the gym on a regular basis again too (John hates gyms – he always feels like people are judging him). To make things a bit easier, I’ve decided to rejoin Weight Watchers. I know there are some great free websites and apps to help you keep track of calories, but I tend to have issues with just counting calories. WW has a great plan, especially now that most fruits and vegetables are zero points, that helps you focus on healthier options rather than just lower calorie ones. Also, I’m hoping that if I’m paying for it, it will give me more incentive to stick with it.
7. GET ORGANIZED! Okay, so I have a bit of a problem. I naturally attract clutter. I have no idea why, but it always seems to accumulate around me. Having a wonderful husband who actually likes to clean and is quite organized himself helps, but my side of the studio is a bit, well, dramatic. I have so many supplies that I really don’t know what to do with them all. John did a massive reorganization for me a couple of months ago, which helped tremendously, but he was afraid to go near my desk. Our bedroom looks like a war zone too. So one of my big ones this year is to get myself organized. With supplies in particular, I want to get implement a system that will be easy to move since we’ll hopefully be moving in July.
So those are my big ones for 2013. What are your goals for this year?
I promised to write a longer post with all of the details today. It was a very bumpy ride, but in the end our wedding was amazing. This is a long post, so feel free to just look at the photos – I sum up the wedding fails and wedding wins at the end.
The night before the wedding, I wasn’t feeling too great and was extremely tired, so I went to bed and we didn’t add the lettering to the chuppah or write our vows like we planned. Instead, we set the alarm for fairly early so we could get up and get everything done before my makeup appointment at 11. The best laid plans….
I woke up at 6 the morning of the wedding vomiting. I should mention at this point that I almost never throw up – I may get horribly nauseous on occasion, but nothing every actually comes up. I have no idea if I had some sort of fleeting stomach bug or if it was nerves, but what I do know is that it was horrendous. I was completely miserable and all I could think was, “I’m not supposed to feel like this on my wedding day!” I couldn’t even keep anything I took for the nausea down for long. I finally took some old Phenergan (by the way Mom, that stuff expired seven years ago) which, while not completely effective, did prevent me from vomiting on the way to get my makeup done.
I thought my mom was going to take me to the makeup appointment, but she went to the farm early to set up there, so John took me and my maid of honor, Marie, to Asheville and dropped us off. Thankfully, one of my other bridesmaids, Allison, met us there and was able to take us to the farm. Even better, she brought non-drowsy Dramamine for me, which did wonders for my stomach.
The makeup didn’t take very long, so we went to the farm afterward where we met my cousin, Ali, who did my hair. Oh, and if you couldn’t tell, my braid hair extensions didn’t get there in time. Luckily, Ali is great with hair and curled and pinned my hair to perfection. My awesome photographer, Paula Roberts, was supposed to come at 2:30 to start photos, so John and I were planning on writing our vows before then. While waiting for photos and John, I started getting a bit hungry finally. I had completely forgotten about the whole food thing, but thankfully Allison brought a cooler of snacks (and champagne!). So we sat down upstairs at my aunt’s house (in my bra – I’d forgotten to bring a button-up shirt so I wouldn’t mess up my hair) and ate baguettes with goat cheese and sundried tomatoes and waited…
My mom called at one point, asking when my aunt was supposed to pick up the cake and cupcakes we ordered. I realized that the baker hadn’t replied to my last email asking when they’d be ready to be picked up, so I called to find out. When I asked the girl who answered the phone, she said, “Maybe you should talk to the owner,” and my heart sank. It turns out, he thought the wedding was in October for some reason, though we had been emailing and I’m quite certain I know what month my wedding is in. He sounded horrified that he’d gotten the month wrong, but he couldn’t do anything at that point.
Luckily, my aunt, Randi, and my cousin, Ali, came to the rescue. They went to Sam’s and got a sheet cake with red, blue, and white flowers for us. It may not have been the Guinness chocolate cake with Bailey’s icing and mini cupcakes we wanted, but it arrived in time and was gone by the end of the night, so I guess it worked out okay.
Meanwhile, John was with the guys, setting up the chuppah. When we set it up the day before, John decided that he should make a lattice of duct tape on the top to prevent the satin from sagging and that perhaps it should be tied to the fence in addition to having the poles shoved in the ground. John also had to put the lettering on, but he didn’t think it would take that long.
Cut to half an hour before the photographer is supposed to come. I’m looking out the window at my aunt’s house, trying to figure out why the guys were still working on the chuppah, which still didn’t have the fabric on it. I finally called John who said that it was too windy and they needed to stake it down and were having issues. They finally got it up and stable, but they didn’t start changing until right before the photographer arrived.
Paula and my cousin Briana (also a wonderful photographer) started taking photos of my and the bridesmaids first, then we did the whole wedding party, and then she shot just the guys while I was back at the house drinking champagne. By the time the photos were done, people were arriving, and I didn’t see John again until right before the ceremony, so we didn’t have vows written. We decided to wing it.
The processional was the Throne Room and End Title from Star Wars IV. I walked down the aisle with my dad and my step-dad to Queen’s version of the Wedding March from Flash Gordon. Our officiant read the rather brief ceremony we had written, then my maid of AWESOME read the Jewish ceremony. Marie did a fabulous job with the seven blessings and we are so grateful she was willing to do that for us. I got a bit teary at points, but every time John saw me get that “squinty look” he started making silly faces at me so I wouldn’t cry. I did at one point giggle out loud though, which I felt bad about because it was while Marie was reading the seven blessings.
When we got to the vows, they went something like this:
“I promise to take you to every vineyard in North Carolina at least twice”
“I promise to always go see the glockenspiels with you”
“I promise to always buy the big back of Jack Link beef jerky to share”
“I promise to always split the last piece with you”
“I promise to always make you watch movies from my childhood with bad special effects”
“I promise to always watch those movies no matter how terrible the special effects are.”
We exchanged rings, broke a glass, and then John and I walked back up the aisle as husband and wife to the 2008 Doctor Who theme.
The reception started immediately afterward since we already had almost all of the photos we needed (and because the reception venue was about 20 yards away), and it was a blast! I changed out of my 5″ glittery Union Jack platform boots into my Converse high-tops to facilitate dancing.
I hope all of our guests had a good time; we certainly did. My only complaint is that people left far too early! That was really the only thing I truly regret about the day – not being able to spend more time with everyone.
The only really bad thing about the reception was that someone brought me a glass of wine and it stung me. Apparently somewhere between the booze table and where I was standing, a yellow jacket dived kamikaze-style into the wine, so when I took a sip it stung me on the lip. That was the only time I really cried at the wedding, because that hurt like hell. Luckily, Susan pulled out the stinger and my friend from high school, Dr. Jason Blatt (really), got a cigarette from someone and put the wet tobacco on my lip. The tobacco tasted disgusting, but it brought the swelling down almost immediately.
- Being violently ill the morning of the wedding
- Not getting the chuppah done until the last minute
- Not getting the hair extensions in time
- Not writing vows
- Our cake and cupcakes didn’t come through
- Getting stung by a yellow jacket on my lip
- All of our super amazing friends and family who chipped in in SO many ways to make it all come together
- All of John’s immediate family was able to come, and his mom and dad wore awesome hats
- My uber-prepared bridesmaid Allison bringing me medicine for my stomach and delicious snacks for later
- The chuppah getting done eventually and looking badass
- My cousin Ali giving me an awesome wedding updo
- Improvising our vows
- My aunt and cousin saving the day by going to get a cake for us
- My maid of honor reciting the blessings in Hebrew for us (with English translations)
- Getting John to dance with me (only once, but still)
- Getting my dad to dance with me (albeit briefly)
- My friend from high school who couldn’t make it being there via Face Time on another friend’s phone
- Seeing everyone, even though we didn’t get to spend as much time with them as we would have liked
- And the biggest wedding win of all: marrying my best friend
Despite all of the many things that went wrong, I couldn’t imagine a better day.
And now I shall leave you with a few more photos.
I’m reblogging this giveaway from Crystal Gayle Photography because 1) my shop is contributing a pair of Union Jack earrings to it and 2) it’s awesome! There are a ton of amazing prizes from a lot of shops, so make sure to enter. It’s a Rafflecopter giveaway, so I can’t put it directly on my wordpress.com blog, but you can find the Rafflecopter app at the bottom of this page – http://crystalgaylephotography.blogspot.com/2012/01/blog-giveaway.html.
Time to kick off our blog giveaway! I’ve had a lot of great donations for wonderful prizes from various shops on etsy as well as some local businesses! So here’s how it’s going to work!
Below are all the prizes from the various participating shops. To enter, scroll all the way to the bottom of the post. There will be a rafflecopter grey box used to keep track of all your entries.
Mandatory entries (the first ones showing on rafflecopter at the bottom of this post) must be completed to unlock the extra entries! Also, all mandatory entries must be done to be entered. If only some of the mandatory ones are completed, your entries will be voided.
Winners will be announced at the end of September. I will choose a winner for each prize. The more you entries you complete, the better chance you have at winning something, and maybe even more than one item!
Prize donors will be sending out the prizes to the winner!
Here are the prizes: