DIY Project: Welcome Bags

Our Wedding Welcome Bag

My Mom is a gift basket-maker by trade. She makes creative, beautiful gift baskets for charity raffles, first-time home owners, wedding gift bags & more. Give her a theme & she churns out a perfectly-themed gift basket. By the time we tackled our wedding welcome bags, we had less than one week to the wedding & a never-ending to-do list. We never considered skipping the welcome bags because we still wanted gift bags to greet our guests at the hotel & provide them with information & treats. We had to make welcome bags & keep our sanity intact. My Mom was probably a tad disappointed when I told her the theme for our welcome bags was "simple."

But she went with the flow as she realized I may have a meltdown otherwise & we kept it simple. The basic idea was a plain bag decorated with our leftover "Greetings from Hoboken" save-the-date postcards tied with an easy bow & filled with a welcome letter, wedding itinerary & plentiful snacks. We snagged glossy, white bags & white grosgrain ribbon for an awesome price at AC Moore. We went to Sam's Club & grabbed anything & everything that looked good- water, apples, granola bars, cookies, pretzels, chips, etc- also for a reasonable price. We bought white paper decorated with silver swirls at Staples. I had already collected Love mints & wedding tissues.

Thank goodness this project was not so much DIY as DIT- do it together. While I worked on the letter & itinerary with our painfully-slow printer, my Mom & cousin/bridesmaid worked the bag assembly line. I can't thank them enough for their valuable support & help! Each had to be tagged with the postcard, hole-punched for the ribbon, stuffed with the treats & information &, finally, tied with a bow. Between the shopping, the assembly & the delivery, this DIY project ate a lot of time. Quite a project even on a simple scale!

The hardworking welcome bag team

Yes, I wrote "Welcome" on every treat

The tagged welcome bags waiting to be finished

The welcome bags may not have been as fancy as my Mom would have liked but I thought they were just perfect. With the "Greetings From Hoboken" postcard, they managed to perfectly welcome the guests to our beloved home & carry through our hometown theme. Plus they looked cute & simple, they were filled with yummy snacks & they had pertinent information. What more could you ask for from a welcome bag?! RZ & I delivered them to the hotel on Friday afternoon to be placed in each of our out-of-town guests' hotel rooms as a hearty welcome to our wedding weekend. The fun was just beginning!

The finished product- I loved them!


It's A Wrap! 2nd Edition

Unexpected Something Blue!
Image from Style Me Pretty via Sparkle & Hay

The week is winding down (TGIF!) & here is the second installment of some goodies:

A Perfect Something Blue or any color of your choice!

OMG, I would have loved to receive this adorable print as a wedding gift!

We're not the only ones who think TGP is awesome!
Three cheers for our talented wedding photographers!

When do you say enough is enough of wedding eye candy?
(Seriously, are you reading this blog? I highly recommend it!)

I have been crushing hard on this green tote bag

When can I move in?

Happy Weekend!


Girls' Night Out

Me, the Bachelorette

Exactly one week before our wedding day, I donned a white Bride tank top, a bright pink Bachelorette sash & a blinking blue "diamond" ring. I sipped drinks out of a pink glass decorated with a tulle veil. I played silly games one of which would make my Mom blush. I was surrounded by my favorite girls wearing hot pink beads & silly buttons. Why?! It was my Bachelorette Party!

& it was perfect! I had made some requests to my bridesmaids that were dutifully honored: massages at Bliss Spa, dinner at The Melting Pot, drinks in Hoboken & sleepover at W Hotel Hoboken. I had made some other requests that were respectfully denied: no games & no Bachelorette gear. & there were wonderful surprises to like yummy, yummy treats & a gorgeous flower arrangement. While my bridesmaids listened to me, they clearly knew the best ingredients for a great party & did they ever throw a fabulous one!

My Bachelorette Party played out like a girly dream- a fun, low-key night with good friends. Anything that starts with a relaxing massage at Bliss Spa is the BEST. We could've stopped there & I would've been happy yet I'm so glad we kept the party going. Then we gathered in the hotel room to prep for the big night with drinks, treats & games. Soon we were at The Melting Pot for cheese fondue, salad & chocolate fondue- YUM! Hoboken was packed that night & after finding line after line everywhere, we ended up at The Living Room at the hotel for nightcap cocktails. Sprinkled throughout everything was tons of cheer & laughter. It was fun, fun, FUN!!

When my head hit the pillow that night, all I could think was "I'm getting married in one week!" I felt like the luckiest girl in the world. I was on the brink of marrying RZ. I had wonderful friends who took time out of their busy schedules to celebrate with me. Let me count my lucky stars!!!!


Dreaming in White

Images via Haute Design Photos by David's Bridal

Did I get married one year too early?

2011 has brought some very, very good news for Brides-to-be searching for their ultimate wedding gown. The options are getting better & brighter! BHLDN introduces its fabulous, amazing wedding collection of gowns & accessories. Lilly Pulitzer joins the wedding gown game & offers some gorgeous gowns. Last but not least, wedding gown powerhouse Vera Wang takes her game to a new level by giving us an modern, affordable wedding gown collection at David's Bridal. Yes, you read that correctly!

I love, LOVE the debut collection called White by Vera Wang. The collection is quite dreamy with different silhouettes & sweet details. It was tough to choose but my favorite gown is the blush organza beauty shown on the bottom right. At $1200, the White by Vera Wang gown is more accessible than VW's regular line. There are many beautiful options at decent prices- take a look here! Those lucky, lucky late 2011 & 2012 Brides!

But, to be honest, I don't think I would've picked anything different than my wedding gown :-)


Last Days as a Soon-to-Be Mrs.

My final photo in my Soon-to-Be hoodie
Soon after this photo, I changed into my "getting ready" outfit

In the final days leading to our wedding, I was an easy recipe- one half stress & one half excitement. The two emotions struggled for my attention like 2-year-old twins having a meltdown. The to-do list was a mile long & the hours in each day were too few. But I was a happy Bride-to-be! That trumped everything. Most of the time.

Oh, the never-ending to-do list! I almost break out in hives just thinking about it now. Apply for marriage license. Shop for & assemble hotel welcome bags. Complete DIY projects. Final meeting with venue contact & wedding planner to review timeline, menu & details which was done via phone conference when snow shut down our meeting. Pick-up out-of-town bridesmaid & husband from airport. Last dress fitting for out-of-town bridesmaid. Manicure & pedicure with my sister. Clean engagement ring. Finalize table assignments. Finish escort cards. Make alphabetical guest list with table assignments & table list with guests assigned to that table. Wrap bridal party gifts. Drop-off hotel welcome bags. Pick-up wedding dress. Church rehearsal & rehearsal dinner. Pack overnight bag, ceremony & reception items. Clean the condo. Make final payments & allot tips. Etc, etc, etc.

I couldn't have tackled most of these tasks beforehand & the majority of the tasks were fun. Naturally, picking up my out-of-town bridesmaid & getting a mani-pedi with my sister were more enjoyable than working on welcome letters, table assignments & escort cards with a super-slow printer. Still, as someone who lives & breathes weddings, I enjoy every aspect. The stress crept in because there didn't seem to be enough time! By the last two days before our wedding, I was eating little & sleeping even less.

& yet, I was a glowing Bride-to-be who relished my remaining time as an engaged woman. I didn't want to pass up any opportunity to spend time with my family & friends who came to celebrate with us. It was better to stay up until 4am to work on things than miss a good lunch with my Mom, sister & cousin. Nothing was more important than these special times: dinner with my family including my out-of-town Mom & Grandma, soup, salad & breadsticks lunch with my Mom & dinner at our favorite pizzeria with my cousin & her husband. I will forever remember the love & laughter that poured over my overwhelmed & grateful heart.


It's A Wrap!

Photography by Amanda Wilcher
Image via Style Me Pretty

I spend a fair amount of time scouring wedding blogs, design blogs, craft blogs & more for inspiration each week. It dawned on me that I should be sharing this inspiration with you. Duh! Each Friday, I will recap my favorite finds for you in a little feature called "It's A Wrap!" Enjoy~

Love her blog, ADORE her wedding

Can't I have one?! Pretty, pretty please!

What sweet Valentines

You can have a princess dress, yes- you can!
(Editor's note: Start reading this blog NOW for your sanity!)

Won't you be my forever friend?

Have a wonderful weekend!


Vote for Hoboken Love!

The Boken T-Shirt
Available from Hoboken's Solid Thread

The Crate&Barrel Ultimate Wedding Contest is off & running! Engaged couples are vying for the top prize of a $100,000 wedding of their dreams. How does it work? Each couple submits an entry describing their love story, their ultimate wedding & their dream home. Friends, families & strangers vote for their top choice & the couple with the most votes WINS!

This is where you come in to the picture . . .

I'm a girl who adores her hometown of Hoboken & dreams come true. There are seven Hoboken couples trying to win the Crate&Barrel Ultimate Wedding Contest. It's so easy to help these local couples. Simply visit the Hoboken Ultimate Wedding Contest page & vote for your favorite couple. Can't decide? Spread the love & vote for all of them!

Good luck Hobokenites!


Crush on BHLDN

I was anxiously awaiting the unveiling of BHLDN, the bridal line of Anthropologie. Monday was the big day & I spent hours perusing the dreamy collection of wedding gowns, bridesmaid dresses, shoes, hair accessories & more. It was soooo worth the wait! Here are my favs:

Graceful, Cascading Goddess Gown
Image via BHLDN

Cutie Fondant Tea Dress
Image via BHLDN

Shimmering, Burnished Organza Gown
Image via BHLDN

Have you checked out this fabulous collection? If not, RUN- don't walk! There is so much wedding eye candy. What are your favorites?


On This Day

My Valentine & Anniversary Roses

Four years ago, I met a charming guy with a sweet smile & a beautiful laugh.

Now he is my husband, my best friend & my love of my life.


L is for Love

Happy Valentine's Day!

I'd like to share a little snippet of the celebration of LOVE in our lives. Without further ado . . .

Two of my heart-made Valentines for our beloved family & friends:

Another heart-made Valentine paired with baked-from-the-heart cupcakes for a good friend:

One year ago Sunday, RZ proposed to me- another wonderful moment in our LOVE story!!! We went to Duck Walk Winery after the proposal for a wine tasting & bought two bottles- one to drink that afternoon & one to drink on our engagement anniversary. We enjoyed every drop last night! Cheers to us:

Whatever your plans for Valentine's Day, I wish you LOVE & laughter~


Hopeless Romantic

Oh so adorable pillow cover
Available on Esty at JoshuabyOak's shop

How cute is this pillow cover?! I'm loving it! It's just perfect for today as we head into Valentine's Day weekend. I wish you a fun, romantic weekend!


From the Heart

I have some fun times ahead to look forward to: a visit with the talented Jen Kim of Craftiness NOW & her new mascot Mila, a celebration of my fabulous sister-in-law's birthday, a day of love, aka Valentine's Day & a personal favorite, our anniversary. No need to run to Hallmark or Crumbs. I'm determined to craft & bake from the heart!

I'm no Betty Crocker- in fact, my little baking project included a very scary moment of fearing I may cause a fire alarm for our entire building. Anywho! Baking from scratch is out of the question for me so I picked up my favorite Funfetti cupcake mix, along with vanilla icing in pink just perfect for Valentine's Day. Here are the baking supplies & the cards in the works:

I had tons of Valentine's Day supplies left from last year for my cards:

Here are the naked cupcakes patiently waiting for pink frosting & pastel sprinkles:

And here are some work-in-progress cards that need some finishing touches:

Tune in next week for the baking & crafting results!


{puppy love} Love on Paws

Bailey is waiting for his Pup Dad to come home

I often describe our Bailey as Trouble on paws. No, that isn't a typo- Trouble with a capital T. If there is something he shouldn't have, Beagle Bailey finds it & attempts to destroy it. Then again, Bailey is as sweet as the day is long. He is Love on paws.

Case in point is RZ's homecoming each evening. When we were in the process of adopting Bailey from the fantastic All About Labs, his foster Dad warned us that Bailey gets overexcited at reunions, perhaps because Bailey isn't used to people coming back for him which breaks my heart. Now Bailey seems to realize that RZ is coming home but his excitement never wanes. Bailey patiently plants himself at the front door around the time he expects RZ to arrive. RZ's schedule fluctuates so sometimes Bailey waits for close to one hour, sometimes mere minutes. He doesn't care- he stays in position. As soon as RZ opens the front door, I witness pure joy & exuberant enthusiasm. Bailey leaps up, cries, whines & wags his tail so hard that his whole body wiggles. He receives some pets, then drops back to the floor for his favorite belly rub. Any worry & stress disappears from RZ's face, replaced with smiles & happiness. How could he not grin when Bailey is throwing a party merely because he came home?

Can you imagine what a better place the world would be if we greeted each other with such passion & joy day after day, night after night? Our pets demonstrate unconditional love for us day in & day out, yet we're too slow to follow their stellar example. Bailey may be Trouble but he has much to teach us if we pay attention. He is Love on paws & we are so lucky to have him!

As Valentine's Day quickly approaches, I can't let this lovely time pass without mentioning the love for our furry friends. They provide us with endless love & ask for so little in return, it's simply amazing. This post is dedicated to Bailey & those who we loved before him, Gucci & Kaydee~


Love, Me

Available on Etsy in ThePaperMason's shop

Inspired by a Glen Ivy Spa blog post, I took the challenge of writing a love letter to myself. Let's face it, like so many of you, I'm my own worst critic. Ask me to make a list of things I don't like about myself & I can easily tick off one hundred things. The list starts with my procrastination skills and ends with my odd blue spot on my temple. Ask me to list things I love about myself . . . that takes some deep thought & much time.

I c
an't share my love letter because it's private but I can show you my short love list. I sat down & wrote this list which inspired my love letter. Believe me, my love list & love letter took much reflection. Here goes my love for myself:

1. My creativity.
2. My good heart.
3. My blue eyes.
4. My compassion.
5. My quiet, shy nature.

#5 was the most surprising thing I love about myself. When I was younger, I constantly heard adults explaining that I was quiet & shy. They were right. But they said it like it was a bad thing, like something was wrong with me because I wasn't loud & outgoing. So I believed that I was defective. Over the years, I've embraced the fact that I'm a quiet, shy person. It gives me the chance to observe, to reflect & to form opinions. I don't feel the need to be friends with anyone & everyone- I pick my close friends carefully & this serves me well. & quite honestly, I enjoy the quiet!

Have you written a love letter to yourself? Was it difficult? Did any of your loves surprise you? Go ahead- it's a fun, worthwhile exercise!


Valentine Treats

THEN: Valentine Chocolates from Godiva

NOW: Valentine Berries from Shari's Berries

I'm dedicating today to Valentine's Day treats.

I have a notoriously bad, fuzzy memory but when I think of Valentine's Day when I was a young kid, I remember Godiva chocolates. My Dad always bought me & my sister a box of Godiva chocolates. It seemed like such a big deal to me. Godiva was so fancy, those gold boxes were so luxurious. Each chocolate was a different mold & looked like a little chocolate masterpiece. When I ripped open the seal & lifted the gold inner layer, the box smelled like chocolate heaven. I was (okay, still am) a picky eater & I didn't like many of the assorted chocolates but I adored that box nevertheless. I felt lucky & loved to receive it.

While Godiva holds a firm place in my heart, my favorite treats for Valentine's Day are chocolate-covered strawberries. You simply can't beat chocolate-covered strawberries & champagne! The berries are sweet & festive when decorated for Valentine's Day in pink chocolate or heart sprinkles or red drizzle. It's almost as fun to see the creative decorations as it is to eat the chocolate-covered strawberries! Almost.

What are your favorite treats on Valentine's Day?


Love Sweet Love

Love Sweet Love Papel Picado
Available on Etsy in aymujer's shop

Next week is the week leading to Valentine's Day! I have to say, while I value showing love each & every day, Valentine's Day has become a favorite in our love story. The day before Valentine's Day, we celebrate the anniversary of our engagement. Valentine's Day is self-explanatory. The day after Valentine's Day is our fourth anniversary. A pretty special time for me & my hubbie!

In celebration of this lovely time, I'm dedicating every post next week to LOVE in some way, shape or form. There is no better way to kick off this Love Celebration than the
"Love Sweet Love" papel picado shown above. I had my eye on this baby for months, just convinced I needed it to decorate our sweetheart table.
In the end, I decided it didn't fit with our look & I didn't order one. However, this sweet papel picado is never far from my mind & I keep hoping I will find an excuse to get it. Until then, I will have to settle for it gracing this post.

Happy Weekend! Cheers to Love~


Just Married!

1.15.11, Our Wedding Day Photo courtesy of Timothy Glenn Photographers

Hello, hello! Today is my first post as a married woman :-)

On January 15, RZ & I became husband & wife. We enjoyed the most perfect wedding day with our beloved family & friends. Shortly after, we had the most fun on our Hawaii honeymoon. Now we're home & ready to savor life as newlyweds!!

Naturally, I am bursting with excitement to share every last detail with you. & I will, in time. Good things come to those who wait, right?! Well, waiting can be an absolute drag, especially when it comes to weddings.

So RZ & I were over the moon when our wedding photographer, the extremely talented Tim of Timothy Glenn Photographers, released the above photo as a sneak peek the day after our wedding. To us, it's the perfect photo. The happy Bride & Groom on their winter wedding night, posed with their snazzy vintage taxi & the backdrop of glittering downtown Manhattan. Love, LOVE it! Since it's the first wedding photo we saw, it's only fitting that it's the first thing I share with you.

Coming Soon: All. The. Juicy. Details!
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