Wednesday, December 21, 2011

My Favorite Gingerbread Cookie Recipe

If there's one thing I love to bake around Christmas time, it's gingerbread. For the past few years now I've been making this recipe from and it has become an absolute favorite. If you like traditional, classic gingerbread cookies then this is the recipe for you. This year, I made cookies and a gingerbread house and they were both incredibly delicious. This isn't my recipe, but I wanted to share it with you guys so you can use it, too!

You will need:
  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tbl ground ginger
  • 1 3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 6 tbl unsalted butter at room temp
  • 3/4 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup molasses
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
In a small bowl whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, ginger, cinnamon, and cloves. In a separate large bowl beat the butter, brown sugar, and egg until well blended. Add molasses and vanilla and continue to mix until blended. Gradually stir in dry ingredients until blended and smooth. Divide dough in half and wrap each half in plastic and let stand at room temperature for at least 2 hours or up to 8 hours.

Preheat your oven to 375°. Grease or line cookie sheets with parchment paper. Place half of the dough on a lightly floured surface. Roll dough 1/4-inch thick. Use more flour to avoid sticking if needed. Cut out cookies with whatever cookie cutter you prefer. Bake for about 7-8 minutes and then allow to cool for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack. Once completely cool, it's time to decorate! I just used store bought vanilla frosting but homemade buttercream or royal icing would be great too!

I hope you all give this recipe a try this year! They would make great cookies to leave out for Santa on Christmas Eve night. Just sayin!

Quick note: As you can tell, my blog posts have been fewer lately. I'm not posting as much due to the holidays and spending time with family, but I will be back to my regular posting schedule after the New Year. I have a ton of fun giveaways planned for you in January so stay tuned! XOXO

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Christmas cards!

Last Thursday we took our annual Christmas pictures and as usual, I've waited until the last minute possible to order our Christmas cards! This year I'm ordering from Tiny Prints and I'm kind of obsessed with their selection. I looked through all six (yes, SIX) pages of their holiday cards and chose a few favorites ones!

Cute, right?! I love the variety, too. They have everything... elegant black and white cards, Hello Kitty Christmas cards, pet friendly cards, and colorful, modern cards. In the end we decided to go with this one which was the very first one I saw and I love it! It had a spot for all 3 of our photos and I love the colors. They'll go perfect with our peppermint hot cocoa handmade Christmas gifts!

If you haven't ordered your holiday cards yet, make sure to check out their selection of cards here. Right now they have free expedited delivery to arrive by 12/23 or you can pay a little extra to have them rushed to you even faster! Happy holidays everyone! XOXO

Friday, December 16, 2011

Handmade gift idea: Peppermint hot cocoa

I love handmade gifts, both making and receiving them. For as far back as I can remember I've been making my own Christmas gifts, whether they be silly crafts for my mom when I was a little girl or more sophisticated gifts as I grew older. I think there's something really special about a gift that someone took the time to make versus just buying at a store. It can also be a great way to save money if you're on a tight budget! Now with my family, Mando's family, and our friends we have a lot of people to shop for so for the past 3 years I've been doing mostly handemade gift for our loved ones. This year I decided to do something that I knew everyone would love... peppermint hot cocoa! It's super simple to put together and who doesn't love to cozy up on a cold day with some hot cocoa? Here's what you'll need to put this gift together yourself!

  • 12 pint sized mason jars
  • 1 bag mini marshmallows
  • 2-3 lbs hot cocoa (this will vary depending on the type of hot cocoa used)
  • approximately 40 candy canes, crushed
  • ribbon and gift tags to decorate (optional)
First, wash and dry your mason jars. Then, fill the first layer with your desired amount of hot cocoa. We used Starbucks hot cocoa found at Costco and I wanted 4 servings per jar so I did 8 tablespoons (2 tbl per serving). Next, fill the second layer with mini marshmallows. Lastly, fill the last layer with crushed candy canes. You can use a food processor or just put them in a ziplock and crush with a rolling pin. When your jars are filled, seal them and then put some ribbon and a gift tag for the perfect finishing touch!

I hope you've all been inspired to have a handmade holiday this year! Even if you lack the time/skills to make something yourself, try buying at least one handmade gift from a site like Etsy and support the handmade business! I don't know about you, but I'd rather give my money to a local business owner or work at home mom over a big corporation anyday! Happy Holidays everyone! XOXO

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Wedding Planning Wednesday - Vintage Love

If there's one re-occuring theme in our wedding, it's the use of vintage. I've always been interested in the items of previous decades and the idea that every antique has a story. I've been vintage shopping for years and I knew when I started planning the wedding that I wanted to incorporate some vintage pieces throughout the day. In the past few weeks I've really started my search and I want to share some of my recent finds with you all!

My amazing wedding coordinator Emily told me about a vintage sale hosted by a local blogger. I was lucky enough to score this adorable vintage wire basket for dirt cheap! I'm thinking of filling it with some pretty flowers and displaying it on the guest book table. Thoughts?

Last weekend we went to the Rose Bowl flea market in Pasadena. I've been to a few local flea markets, but nothing like this one.. it's huge! If you're in the area and love antiques you have to check it out. I scored this amazing vintage tin for $8 and I'm kind of obsessed with it. I did some googling and I believe it was a box used for dressings (aka bandages) during WWII. I think I'm going to leave this one open and stuff it with flowers as well. You can never have too many flowers!

I've been on the hunt for a vintage suitcase for AGES. I saw this idea on Pinterest and I really want to replicate it. This suitcase actually wasn't for sale (it was being used as a display piece), but it was the size and color I was looking for so I asked the vendor and she sold it to me for $15! The inside needs some love and work, but I'm still pretty stoked about it. Can't wait to dress it up!

Another way we're going to incorporate vintage into the wedding is renting some pieces from Found Rentals in Fullerton. This company is like the hidden gem for wedding planning. I heard about them on a wedding blog and then Emily arranged a meeting for us. I got to check out their warehouse and browse through her AMAZING collection of vintage furniture and other accessories and let me tell you, it was heaven! They have so many great pieces and I can't wait to display a few of these beauties on our big day!

I still have a lot of shopping to do and I have a list of local shops and markets I want to hit up in the next few months. I can't believe there are only 5 months left until the big day! It's starting to feel so close! Happy Wednesday everyone! XOXO

Monday, December 12, 2011

Advent Calendar Days 5-11

I'm back for days 5-11 of our advent calendar! We had a loy of fun getting the house ready for Christmas this week. I swear, every December I have a perma-smile on my face until the New Year. I just love this time of the year... everything is so magical! Doing these activities as a family has really gotten us all in the holiday spirit and we couldn't be more excited for Christmas! I definitely think the advent calendar is a new tradition that we will be continuing year after year!

Day five: We did a few small things around the house to get ready for Christmas! We hung our snowman sign on the front door, put our poinsettia on the porch, and finished our Christmas mantle!

Day six: We baked chocolate peppermint cookies together! Man, these cookies were absolutely delicious. Dark chocolate, espresso powder, and crushed candy canes. We all gobbled them up! Cayden had so much fun helping daddy stir the batter!

Day seven: Can you tell this is when I got my new iPhone? YAY! No more scratched camera! That day Mando and I made our handmade Christmas gifts. We make something handmade every year for our families and this year we made peppermint hot chocolate in a mason jar. This Starbucks hot chocolate is amazing by the way. I've had about 5 cups since then!

Day eight: This was one of my favorite days just because it was so cozy. We are lucky enough to have a fireplace in our room and I love taking advantage of it! We played a few games of Uno by the fire and listened to Christmas music. By the way, I got my ass kicked at all 5 of those Uno games! Who knew I was so bad? Haha!

Day nine: Finally! We got our tree! I was so excited to bring that fat little tree home and I spent the rest of the night huffing our Douglas Fir. There is NOTHING better than the smell of a fresh Christmas tree!

Day ten: The next day we decorated our tree. Every year we pick out a new Christmas ornament and this year I got the little matryoshka, the big C is for Corona (Mando's last name), and Cayden got an ice skating cow because he is OBSESSED with cows right now! I still need to get a tree topper... can't find ours from last year!

Day eleven: My mom's neighborhood always has fun holiday events, and we never miss the Christmas festival. Santa comes to take pictures with the kids, there's hot cocoa and cider, a horse drawn carriage, a band, and they even bring in a ton of real snow for the kids to play with! Last year Cayden was only a few months old, but this year he was all over the place dancing and playing. He had a blast! I'm so proud of him for not freaking out when he saw Santa. He was actually really excited!

That's all for now! We have lots of more fun activities planned for this week and I can't wait to share them with you all next Monday! What are you all doing to get into the holiday spirit? Hopefully this Christmas season is as magical for you as it has been for us! XOXO

Monday, December 5, 2011

Advent Calendar Days 1-4

I've been meaning to do an advent calendar for years now. I have this cheesy store-bought Christmas tree made out of felt that I use as a countdown and I can't stand it, but I can never find the time to make one myself. This year I thought would for sure be the year... I even found the perfect one on Pinterest that I wanted to replicate! Then I got caught up in handmade markets, wedding planning, and you know, raising a toddler, and once again I just didn't get around to it. I wasn't going to bother doing the advent calendar at all since I didn't have an amazing handmade one, but at the last minute (literally on December 1st) I decided what the heck, I'll use the cheesy felt Christmas tree and do it anyway.

My sister, who DID find the time to make an amazing handmade countdown (see hers here) was kind enough to send over her list, and with that, some of my own ideas, and the help of Pinterest I came up with 24 advent activities. I really wanted activities that we could do as a family to get us excited for Christmas although some are more for Cayden and some for Mando. I'm going to share our activities here once a week through my Instagram pictures but  just to warn you, the camera on my iPhone is scratched (I have to wait until Dec. 7th to upgrade to the 4s, boo!) so you'll have to forgive the quality of my pictures until I get a new one!

Day one: Shop for Christmas decorations. We didn't need all that much this year, but we hit up Target anyway to see what we could find! We each picked out a new Christmas ornament, some stocking hangers, a candle, a poinsettia, and a new snowman sign for the front door! You can also see my cheesy Christmas tree countdown in this picture!

Day two: Date night. I wanted to reserve one night for Mando and I to do something alone so date night was born! We were supposed to go Friday, but my mom (who was going to watch Cayden) didn't get home until 11pm so we re-scheduled for Saturday. We went back and forth on what to do and in the end we decided to go to the movies. We are probably the most boring couple on the planet... we even saw a kids movie, haha! But it was nice to get out and spend some time together, and definitely needed!

Day three: Make a Christmas craft. Since day two was all about Mando, day three was all about Cayden! We busted out the fingerpaints to make a Christmas tree craft. I gotta be honest, Cayden was interested for about 30 seconds before running off, but he still gets excited whenever he sees the finished project hanging on our fridge! Hey, it's the thought that counts, right?

Day four: Have a special Christmas breakfast. Sunday morning I made some red and green pancakes for breakfast and cut them into Santa and Christmas tree shapes. It wasn't anything fancy, just a fun silly way to get into the holiday spirit! I love me some pancakes, yummy!

Anyone else doing an advent calendar this year? They are so fun! I'll be back next Monday to share days 5-11! XOXO

Friday, December 2, 2011

Friday Favorites: Peppermint Treats!

Happy December everyone! Holiday season is upon us, and just like apples are for September and pumpkins are for October/November, December is all about peppermint! I'm normally not a mint lover, but I won't say no to the magical combination of spicy peppermint and sweet chocolate! This time of the year is when I bake the most, so I've been hoarding some of my favorite chocolate/peppermint treats on my Pinterest board to share with you! And don't forget, some of these would make lovely last minute Christmas/hostess gifts!

If the peppermint mocha from Starbucks is your go-to holiday drink, you might want to whip up a batch of these peppermint mocha cupcakes from Bakers Royale immediately. Peppermint extract and Starbucks via instant coffee are the delicious base for this cupcake and it's all topped off with some peppermint infused buttercream. YUM!

If coffee isn't your thing, how about trying these delicious chocolate cupcakes with a sweet peppermint cream cheese icing from Glorious Treats?  She'll also tell you how to do that candy cane stripe effect for the frosting! Fun!

Here's something to make with all of your leftover candy canes... Chocolate peppermint cookies from My Baking Addiction! There are crushed candy canes inside the cookies and then they are dipped in melted chocolate and embellished with even more crushed candy canes for double the peppermint goodness! It's almost like peppermint bark in cookie form!

If you're a chocolate lover like me, you may appreciate these double chocolate peppermint crunch cookies from Sweet Pea's Kitchen. With dark chocolate, espresso powder, and peppermint extract, these cookies are sure to satisfy any Christmas craving!

Christmas isn't Christmas without a hot drink to cozy up with! Martha Stewart doesn't disappoint with her recipe for peppermint hot chocolate. Throw some in a thermos and go look at Christmas lights for a festive night with the family!

For once Miss Paula Deen isn't talking about butter, ya'll! Instead she's bringing us a delicious recipe for peppermint chocolate coffee. I don't know about you, but this is something I would definitely get out of bed for! She mixes a pot of freshly brewed coffee with chocolate and peppermint syrup and tops it off with whipped cream and chocolate shavings. Can you say YUMMY!

I hope you all enjoy at least one of these fabulous concoctions this Christmas! We are busy over here with our 24 days of advent calendar activities (more about that later) and have a weekend packed full of winter fun! Have a great weekend everyone! XOXO

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Wedding Planning Wednesday - Flower Girl Inspiration

(1, 2, 3)

As I mentioned before, I have all of the bridal party's looks chosen except the flower girls. I have seen some dresses here and there that I like, but none that I absolutely love. I am very lucky to have a talented sister who not only made her own wedding dress, but made the flower girl dresses for my other sister's wedding a few years back so I was thrilled when she offered to either "dress up" a plain dress or create a new one entirely from scratch for the wedding. I'm leaving it completely up to her and what she thinks would be better, and now my job is coming up with some inspiration photos of the styles I love!

As you can tell from the photos above, I really like the whimsical type dresses and I think it's perfect for our wedding in the woods. I love the tulle tu-tu style skirt and I just think it would be so fun for a little girl to wear! The colors you see above are the colors that our dresses will be in, which is an ivory/champagne combination. The dress in the middle is definitely different from the others, but I had to include it because I just love the ruffles! Which dress is your favorite?

I am so thankful to have such helpful family and friends who are willing to help make my vision come to life! Thanks sister, I love you!! XOXO

Friday, November 25, 2011

Mama Matryoshka {3 DAY SALE!}

Mama Matryoshka is having a 3-day sale for the biggest shopping weekend of the season! Stock up now on photo props for holiday pictures, garlands for the fireplace, and cupcake toppers for your Christmas desserts! I've lowered the prices temporarily on several items and I will have a new deal for the next 3 days! It applies towards custom orders as well which is perfect for a birthday party or bridal/baby shower you may have coming up! Support handmade for the holidays!

Black Friday: Use code 'BLACKFRIDAY' at checkout to receive free shipping on ALL orders!

Small Business Saturday: Use code 'SUPPORTHANDMADE' at checkout to receive 30% off ALL orders!

Cyber Monday: Use code 'CYBERMONDAY' at checkout to receive free shipping on ALL orders! Also, all orders $15 and up will receive a 3 piece mustache photo prop set as a free gift!

Happy shopping everyone! XOXO

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Wedding Planning Wednesday - My Favorite Pins!

We're back for another edition of my favorite wedding pins! I actually had an entirely different post planned for today, but I didn't quite finish it on time so I'm saving it for next week! Instead, I'm going to show my favorite Pinterest finds of the week!

 You know by now that I've been planning on doing my own florals for the wedding, but when I saw this fabric flower bouquet on Etsy my jaw dropped. She mixes all different fabrics and textures based on your wedding colors and adds in these amazing vintage brooches. Isn't is just stunning? I may or may not be re-thinking my bouquet right now. I mean, how could I not??

I've been looking for cost and eco-friendly ways to display my floral centerpieces on our tables, and I L-O-V-E the idea of painting coffee cans. I am obsessed with the copper metallic colors, they look so pretty in the sunlight. Perfect for an outdoor wedding in the woods!

I still don't know if a dessert table will be in our budget (crossing my fingers!!!) but if so, I have my heart set on mini pies. How sweet is this little display? I just love pie, it may be my favorite dessert ever!

We've been going back and forth on how we want to display our seating chart, and after Mando rejected about 10 of my ideas we decided on a chalkboard sign. I think this one is really cute and would definitely go with our vintage/rustic theme.

Right now, I have all of the bridal party's outfits chosen except the flower girls. I fell in love with a dress that was WAY too pricey, so my very talented sister may be making them instead. (By the way, we really need to get started on all these sewing projects, Jess!). I love this fluffy champagne dress and it's definitely one of my inspiration photos!

Another sewing project in the works are my table runners that my sister is also making for me. (I know, I owe her big time!)  I'm doing an ivory table cloth and the table runners will be a strip of burlap and a strip of ivory lace like the one above. I also love her flower arrangements, how cute are those vintage glasses?!

I hope everyone has an amazing Thanksgiving tomorrow! We are actually having 2 Thanksgivings, one with Mando's family tomorrow, and my family on Saturday. Double the pie, sweet! I'll be back Friday with some awesome Black Friday/Cyber Monday deals for Mama Matryoshka! You don't want to miss it! XOXO

Monday, November 21, 2011

The best bubble recipe!

Although the weather has finally gotten cold in California, my little man always wants to be outside. Rain or shine, we bundle him up and spend some time outdoors each day. One of his favorite activities (like all toddlers) is blowing bubbles. I think we went through about 5 of those 99cent plastic bubble containers in just a few weeks! I experimented with making my own bubbles, but it wasn't until I stumbled upon this recipe via Pinterest that I learned the secret ingredient to amazing bubbles... corn syrup! A trip to Target for a $1 bubble wand and we were ready to start!

You will need:
  • 6 cups of water
  • 1 cup dish soap
  • 1/2 cup corn syrup
Mix the water and corn syrup until completely dissolved. Slowly stir in dish soap. Store in airtight container.

These bubbles did not disappoint... The corn syrup holds everything together and really does make the best bubbles ever! We keep ours in a big Tupperware bowl with a lid out on the back porch and every day Cayden asks to play with his bubbles. And that big bubble wand from Target? Best dollar I've ever spent! He is entertained for at least a half an hour at a time, which in toddler time is pretty huge! We've been playing with them every day for a few weeks now and still have over half left so they do last awhile!

Next time your little one is bored, try making a batch of the best bubbles! Once you discover them, you'll never go back to store bought! Happy Monday everyone! XOXO

Friday, November 18, 2011

Friday Favorites: Thanksgiving Love

I love Thanksgiving. I don't know when the whole 'let's skip Thanksgiving and go straight to Christmas' thing started, but I am just not okay with it! What other holiday is it perfectly acceptable to stuff your face with turkey and pie and then lay on the couch watching football for the rest of the day? None I tell you! We need to preserve this sacred holiday. This week, Friday Favorites is dedicated the best holiday of the year in my opinion. So unbutton your pants, grab a fork and let's get started! 

If you're not familiar with Rifle Paper Co, get familar! I love this artist and her illustrations always make me happy. These Thanksgiving cards are so sweet and can double as placecard settings as well!

If your looking for a handmade hostess gift, look no further! How fun are these turkey pops and jar full of turkey toes? Simple, inexpensive, and a great way to tell your hostess you appreciate her slaving over a hot stove all day! And if you're the hostess this year you can always give these to your guests as favors!

I have such fun memories of making pilgrim hats and turkey handprint crafts at school. And I distinctly remember getting to play Queen Victoria in our Christopher Columbus play making all the other girls in the class very jealous! This feather headpiece would be super fun for a young child to make and wear Thanksgiving day and I love the idea of writing what you're thankful for on the 'feathers' of this yarn wrapped turkey. Both are fun projects and can help educate your little one on how Thanksgiving started!

I'm also running a Thanksgiving special over at Mama Matryoshka! I have a ton of Thanksgiving/Fall garlands, banners, and cupcake toppers available and you can get 15% off using code 'DOMESTICATEDDELIGHT1' at checkout! Also, if you order today I can guarantee arrival by Thanksgiving anywhere in the US!

I hope everyone has a safe and fun holiday week filled with lots of food and pie! I personally can't wait to get some shopping done on black Friday! Have a great weekend everyone! XOXO

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Wedding Planning Wednesday - Found the Dress!

Last week and the week before were all about the dress! Truth be told, I've been putting off dress shopping for quite some time. I don't know why I wasn't more excited about it... I think I'm just trying to deal with the fact that since having Cayden, I just don't have the body that I thought I should have on my wedding day. I was definitely feeling insecure and scared that the dresses wouldn't look right on my body. I'm so glad I had my mom, sister, and best friend there with me to support me. I knew they'd be honest with me and I respect their opinions so much! Just having them there calmed down some of my anxiety and made the whole process so much fun!

I had an idea in mind of the type of dress I wanted. I knew that I wanted a simple dress in ivory and as much lace as possible. I'm not into puffy or blingy or even super fancy... I just want to be comfortable and elegant! As for the silhouette, I went in knowing that an A-line would probably look best on my body type, but to be honest, most of the dresses I liked had a more fitted/mermaid style.

The first shop I tried was Alfred Angelo. The customer service at that shop was amazing. Everyone was really sweet and I adored my bridal consultant. She gave me a lot of options to try and made me feel really comfortable. I really wish I found my dress there, but unfortunately they only had a few lace options and I didn't LOVE any of them. I was however surprised to learn that the fit and flare style dress did look good on me, and it accentuated my curves. I wasn't a huge fan of the A-line shape and I thought it made me look wider than I am. I also ended up purchasing my veil there! I originally wasn't sure if I would even wear a veil... I just didn't think they were my style. You can imagine my surprise when I tried on a cathedral veil and fell in love with it. It's huge and long but oh so pretty! I just know Mando, being so traditional, will love it. They had an ivory one on sale and I couldn't resist the price, so I bought the veil without having a dress! Crazy, I know.

Next week we went to try on dresses at David's Bridal. Now, let me just say that I HATE David's Bridal. I've been there a million times with my sisters and friends to try on dresses and I just think they have the worst customer service ever. I really didn't want to buy my dress there, but I decided to give it a try. When we got there, nobody greeted us or said anything for at least 30 minutes and when they assigned me some 20 year old girl to help us I knew it was going to be less than pleasant. We ended up just ignoring the employees as much as possible and made the best of the situation. The first dress I tried on was a lace A-line with a ton of fancy beading on it that we had seen in the front of the store and liked. My mom and sister both fell in love. I did like it, but I thought it was too much for my outdoor wedding in the woods. I tried on a few more options with no luck, and then I tried on THE DRESS. I immediately liked this dress because of how light and comfortable it was. All of the other dresses thus far had been so heavy and tight and uncomfortable, but I could actually move and sit down in this one. I loved the all over lace, sweetheart neckline and ivory color... it was exactly what I had in mind. She called the silhouette sheath, but to me it looked like a fit and flare gown. It hugged my curves in all the right places and when I looked in the mirror I just thought "THIS is what I should look like on my wedding day". I knew I wouldn't cry or get emotional, but I did get the overwhelming feeling that this was the one. When I showed my mom, sister, and maid of honor I was so happy they they loved it as much as I did. And what made me even happier? The price! It was even on sale. I snatched that pretty thing up right away and now... I have a dress people! I love it!

After my dress was chosen, it was time to choose my bridesmaids dresses. I really wanted them to like it and want to wear it so I let them choose a few different options. Since this is an outdoor Spring wedding I just knew I wanted it to be a short dress and more casual. When they tried on the cotton strapless dress I fell in love. It was short and cute and it had pockets! I was thrilled that they both loved it as well. We decided to go with a champagne color which looks horrible in the picture below, but I swear its not so awkward and shiny in real life.

I debated on whether or not I wanted to show you guys the dress beforehand. I do want some elements of the wedding to be a surprise. In the end I decided to show the dress from the website and keep the pictures of me wearing it private. You guys can see what it looks like, but you won't see me in it until the big day! These photos from the David's Bridal shop are pretty bad, but you get the general idea!

My dress. Mine is ivory of course, and looks a lot different on me. It gives me an hourglass shape and really shows off my curves which I love. You can't really see the lace details in this photo, but it's gorgeous! I love the long train too... even if it will get absolutely filthy at the wedding!

The bridesmaids dresses. I have no idea why this dress looks so weird online but it is not shiny like this in person and the color is a lot more neutral and subtle. This dress is so adorable and flattering on all body types. I want one too!

Next on the list is getting Mando's suit figured out. He is going to get fitted tonight and has an appointment with all his groomsmen on Dec. 3rd! I can't wait to see my man all dressed up and fancy! Have a great week everyone! XOXO

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Wedding Planning Wednesday - Mini-Moon

As the wedding gets closer, Mando and I have started talking about a honeymoon. Now obviously, the fact that we have a small child complicates things, and we went back and forth on whether or not we'd even bother taking one. In the end we decided we needed to do something, even if it is just small and local. The idea of taking a "mini-moon" was born!

I'm going to be honest, the idea of leaving Cayden really freaks me out. I've never been away from him longer than a few hours, much less an entire night or a few days. I just feel like he's still too young to understand why his mama is gone and I don't want him for even a fraction of a second to feel scared or abandoned. I know it might sound ridiculous to some, but this is how I think. I know that by the time the wedding rolls around I will have spent a night away from him (bachlorette party, night of the wedding, etc.) but I'll still be able to put him to sleep and see him the next morning so he won't really have any idea that I'm gone. Leaving on a mini-moon is going to be a HUGE deal for all of us, and I don't know how it's going to go.

With that being said, we haven't quite decided on whether we'll be bringing him with us or not. Obviously it would be ideal to go somewhere just the two of us... I feel like we both NEED that time and we haven't done anything like that in so long. As of right now the idea is to leave him home with my mom, but we'll see how I'm doing emotionally when the time comes.

Right now, we're just brainstorming on where we'd like to go. We are trying to find somewhere local enough to drive yet far away enough to feel like a vacation and we'll probably go away for 3 or 4 days. Since our wedding is on a Saturday, and Sunday is Mother's Day, we won't be leaving until Monday. San Francisco is out because we were just there, and we've been to San Diego way too many times. Some ideas we've come up with are Santa Barbara, Lake Tahoe, and Vegas. If any locals have any other suggestions, I'd love to hear them! I just want something quiet, romantic, but still fun for a young couple who never gets out! ;)

Tonight I'm going wedding dress shopping again, and hopefully it'll be the last time! If I'm lucky enough to find the dress I'll tell you all about it next week! Happy Wednesday everyone! XOXO                      

Friday, November 4, 2011

Our engagement photos

My disc of images finally arrived! Yay! I've been so excited to share these pictures with you all ever since I saw the sneak peak on Facebook. I definitely do not consider myself photogenic and HATE being photographed, so the fact that I loved every single picture Tammie took is pretty major! As you know, we wanted to have a picnic theme and I am so happy with how it came out. I think they look beautiful and timeless and I will cherish them for years to come!

Tammie was so awesome to work with, made us feel comfortable, and kept us cracking up! We loved her right away and I can't wait to see what she does with our wedding photos! If you are in Southern California and are interested in booking with her you can find her at any one of the links below. Mention my blog and you can get 20% off your session! (Also, she's always posting specials on her Facebook page so make sure to Like her there!)

What most of you don't know, is that I embarked on the great quilt hunt of 2011 when preparing for these pictures. I've been wanting a pretty patchwork quilt for AGES and I finally had a real reason to buy one! I found The Rag Patch on Etsy and fell in love with her colorful, handmade quilts! I immediately offered to feature her shop on my blog and she sent me the beautiful quilt you see in our photos. Not only was I impressed with her sweet disposition and good communication, but the quilt arrived lightning fast! Look how adorable her packaging is, too!

The quilt itself was beautiful, and the quality was amazing. You can really tell how much time and energy went into it! I have already received so many compliments and it has become a permanent fixture on my couch. If you are looking for a beautiful quilt to brighten up your home, I cannot recommend The Rag Patch enough! Find her at any of the links below and remember, repeat customers get 10% off using code 'REPEAT1'!

The Rag Patch etsy shop
The Rag Patch facebook page

I hope you've enjoyed these pictures as much as I have! This weekend I'm trying on wedding dresses for the first time and to say I'm terrified is an understatement! I'll let you all know how it goes next week! Have a great weekend everyone! XOXO