Archive for July, 2010

Hostess With The Mostest

July 26, 2010

I love giving hostess gifts. I think, for people who love to have guests over, throwing a successful dinner or party is really its own reward. But, it’s always nice to show your appreciation of the time & effort it takes to put on an event, however simple or small. I especially have this on my mind, since my first bridal shower is coming up in two weeks {fun!}.

Here are some of my favorites:

  • Le Creuset Dijon Honey Pot with Silicon Stirrer, a Sur la Table exclusive ($25). This sunny little pot would be cute paired with some local honey, perfect for a tea lover. The silicon on the “dipper” makes the honey easy to serve and the material is easy to clean!
  • Pigeon Toe Ceramics Herb Garden Stakes: How cute are these hand-stamped garden stakes? This would be perfect for the hostess who is also an intrepid gardener {a thing I may never be, though I do love the fruits of their labor}. The Portland-based blog / online store is chalk-full of fun, whimsical gifts… a fun read, if you’re so inclined.
  • I’m dying over these “TeaCupCakes”! How cute are they!? You can bake cupcakes right in them and then serve on little saucers. Adorable – these would be so great for a hostess who likes to bake. Alternatively, you could put little flowers in them to make tiny centerpieces or even individual flower arrangements at guests’ places. $17.95 for a set of four at Heliotrope.
  • Here’s an idea that could be super-inexpensive, but really thoughtful and high-customizable: vintage {or any} candy inside a pretty jar. Who wouldn’t love something pretty to sit out for guests to enjoy right then or to save for later. Bonus points if you find a cute way to label them!
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Out With The Old

July 25, 2010

The cleaning (I would say “spring cleaning” but we’re in the thick of summer!) bug has bitten, in a big way. It seems that everywhere I look in my condo (which is for sale, if you know of anyone looking for a cute place – 2 BR, 2 BA – close to Buckhead and I85… ok, enough with the shameless plug), there seems to be something to clean out or get rid of. Here are some of my favorite tips – feel free to comment and add your own!

Old magazines – I’m infamous for collecting magazines, probably because I love to read other people’s writing styles and pick up their tips on style, beauty, DIY projects and cooking. However, often, I don’t get around to reading them in a timely fashion – or ever! – and my coffee table and kitchen counter starts to look like a scene out of Hoarders (scary!). My goal for this week is to go through the magazines I’ve been holding onto, clip out the pieces I’ll actually use (or recipes I’ll make) and pass them along to friends who will enjoy them. If you’re a bride who has most of her planning done, why not pass along your old Modern Bride, The Knot and others to a new bride who will enjoy reading them? Same goes for Gourmet (R.I.P. – I miss it!), Food & Wine, In Style, Lucky, Glamour… extend the life of publications by passing them along!

Closet Refresh – If you’re like me, I’m sure there are bunches of things lurking in the far reaches of your closet that either A) you forgot you had, B) don’t fit or C) are just a little dated. If something falls into any of these categories, why not either take it to your local thrift store (& save the receipts for a tax write-off) or a trusted consignment store? If anything sells, if feels like free money. One of my favorite Goodwill alternatives if you live in Atlanta is the Thrift-ique, which benefits Buckhead Christian Ministries.

Brushes – Granted, this should be done more than once a year (once a month is probably more like it!), but it’s a good reminder. I like to soap my make-up brushes up with a clarifying shampoo several times (until the water runs clear when you rinse) and then dip them in rubbing alcohol. Just let them dry before using again and you should break out less, since all that nasty bacteria will be gone.

Virtual clean-up – I’m really bad about holding on to old emails, hoping that I’ll one day get around to reading them fully (who doesn’t have an inbox cluttered with forwards, political messages, etc…?). But, when I really think about it, it is a little stressful to open your account to see so many messages waiting to be read. Why not take 20 minutes and de-clutter?

Kitchen makeover – If you’ve got things lingering around in your pantry, particularly things you’re not planning on using but that have a long shelf life, consider cleaning them out and donating them to your local food bank (ACFB  http://www.acfb.org/is a great one in Atlanta) or shelter. You’ll have more space in your cabinets and can feel good about helping someone else provide healthy meals for their family. **Also, it’s a good opportunity to glance through your fridge and freezer to make sure all condiments, cheeses, dairy products and others are well within their expiration dates. Give the shelves a quick wipe-down for good measure. BONUS: if you find some still good, already prepared items in your freezer, it’s a great excuse to just defrost and not have to cook some meals.

Happy cleaning!

<3, Jennifer

Just Do It!

July 23, 2010

I’m feeling a little overwhelmed, but keeping it together {mostly}. Between having a full-time job, writing (see newest article Hair Comes The Bride here!), planning a wedding and teaching dance… let’s just say there’s a lot going on these days.

That being said, here are some things I’m determined to get done:

  • Get insurance for my engagement ring. {Or rather, I’m determined to get WILL to do this, since he’s been planning on doing since we got engaged.} I fell off a jet ski tube at the lake a couple weeks ago and nearly had a heart attack thinking about the ring. Whew.
  • Get the Save The Dates in the mail… with their $0.44 stamps and all (it’s a long story. The short version is that the ONLY $0.28 post card stamp that the U.S. Post Office offers is a polar bear. I know it sounds a little impractical, but I can’t stand the thought of putting those ugly bears on my cute STDs (Save The Dates… lest you be confused!). So, it’ll be the more expensive, $0.44 King & Queen of Hearts stamps, below. Cute, huh?).
  • I know it’s way late, but I need to do a “spring” (er, summer) cleaning on my condo, which is for sale (please, Lord, let it sell pre-wedding!). I’m not one of those people who loves to clean, as though it’s a relaxing, mindless activity… nope. I kind of hate it and have been putting a deep clean off for sometime now.
  • Get my car washed. Now, if I were being extra industrious, I would say, “wash / clean my car.” Let’s be honest – I’m going to take it to Cactus Car Wash… and I think I’ll still feel some element of a sense of accomplishment for fitting it into my schedule.
  • I need to find / confirm a place to host my Bridesmaids Luncheon. Over the past week for so, I’ve been astonished at A) the lack of fun, stylish restaurants in Atlanta that are open for lunch (many are open for Sunday brunch, but closed during the day on Saturdays) and B) how unreasonable or un-accommodating restaurants are (i.e. Murphy’s, one of my favorite brunch spots, told me that even with a signed contract for a pre-set menu, they wouldn’t hold a table for my party of 17… WHAT?!). I’m pretty sure I’m going to have it at The Hil at Serenbe, owned by my friend, Chef Hilary White… It’s a little bit of a hike from Atlanta, but I think it’ll be totally worth it!

    The dining room at The Hil restaurant, by the very talented Hilary White!

I’m sure I’ll think of more items “to do,” but I think this will “do” for now!

<3, Jennifer

Kitschy Cupcakes

July 20, 2010

Everyone loves a little eye candy… How cute is this cupcake store on wheels from Los Olivos, California? It’s called Enjoy Cupcakes looks like I imagine June Cleaver’s kitchen would be, if it were in technicolor. I wish they had them in Georgia!

Reading their “Flavors” list makes my mouth water… Chocolate Blackberry Syrah, Ginger Lime Chardonnay, Chocolate Caramel Pretzel Crunch, Chocolate Ginger Snap, Cinnamon Bun Cupcake… The list goes on {and on, and on…}.

Accessorize It

July 20, 2010

I love it when I run across weddings when brides really prize being themselves / stylish over being traditional and doing what’s expected. Funky heels instead of white slippers. Cardigans instead of a more traditional “wrap.” A statement piece of jewelry instead of the typical dainty pearls. I think it shows such confidence and shows that she really knows who she is.

When I first started looking for a photographer for my wedding, I fell in love with Atlanta-based Our Labor Of Love. They have such an artistic, edgy style and really seem to see things in cool ways. Even though I’ve selected the fab Alea Moore to do the photography for our wedding (who also has a fun, edgy style that suits the future hubby & me perfectly!), I still check the OLOL blog from time to time to be inspired by the creativity of their brides – it seems that because the photography teams are so creative, they attract edgy brides too.

I stumbled across these photos of Ashley & Shane’s wedding at Serenbe – a gorgeous sustainable community and farm south of the city (& home of one of my favorite restaurants, The Hil). The environment is stunning all by itself, but I LOVE how Ashley (who has a cute business called Icemilk Aprons) decided to accessorize herself and her bridesmaids. How fun to do strands and strands of beads / pearls! Plus, girlfriend has excellent taste in flowers – anemones and rinanculous – two of my favorites, which will no doubt make an appearance on Nov. 13th. Enjoy!

Budget Bridal

July 19, 2010

It’s no secret that weddings are big business. From the flowers to the shoes to the flowers, someone is making a killing at each juncture, selling brides something the JUST MUST HAVE {insert sarcasm here}. Even at moments when you know that it’s not 100% rational, as a bride, you find yourself caught up in the inertia, dreaming about that perfect day and buying into the commercialism of it all.

All of that being said, weddings are fun. Part of the reason I love scanning the wedding blogs is that I find the level of creativity out there fascinating. Let’s face it – your wedding is the one day that can be {if you choose} the ultimate expression of your personality. Perhaps that’s why brides feel such pressure? They’re saying, “This is me, this is my style.”

That long-winded intro is to say that weddings are big business {wait – I said that already!} and big mass retailers are getting in the game. J. Crew, Ann Taylor and now, The Limited are all offering bridal lines. Some of the dresses are offered in white or a color, making them work for either a wedding gown or for a bridesmaid. Here are some of my favorites!

J. Crew "Dune" Gown, $895


J. Crew Silk "Gracie" Gown, $475

J. Crew "Goddess" Gown, $475

J. Crew "Seraphina" Dress, $149

"Romantic" by The Limited, $298

Ann Taylor Silk Bridesmaid, $215

Shoe Fantasy Land

July 13, 2010

It’s fun to dream about the shoes {for the purposes of this post, shoes, but insert your favorite item here – for Will it would be kayaks) you would buy if money were no object. I’m realizing that, in a few short months, my love of high heels is well-documented on JennAndTheGiantPeach.com.

For those of you who are already inclined to roll your eyes by reading the above paragraph… I warn you: STOP reading and check back later when I *may* decide to post something less girly / indulgent. If you’re thinking, “Yes! I love to look at shoes that double as words of art…” Read on!

Christian Louboutin Jeweled Platforms, $2,830, http://www.bergdorfgoodman.com.

Givenchy Crocodile Sandals (with tiny gold flecks); $1,150 at net-a-porter.com.

Donna Karan 5 inch Matte Gold Heels, $795 at net-a-porter.com.

Chanel Carnival Wedges in Gold & Black Suede, $895 by calling 800-550-0005.

Brian Atwood "Farrah" Heels, Peep-Toe Stilletos, $915, email info@brianatwooddesigns.com

A thing of beauty is a joy forever… I’m sure the biblical author wasn’t referring to Louboutins, but these definitely make me smile in a dreamy-I-would-never-spend-$1000-on-shoes-kind-of-way!

Have A Seat

July 13, 2010

I love these ruffled chair covers at this Nashville wedding (via StyleMePretty). Sigh.

That’s all – they speak for themselves (in a pretty, girly voice!).

Only Words?

July 13, 2010

I’ve been scanning the files in my memory for readings at weddings I’ve been to that have been meaningful and memorable. I know we’re going to have Will’s eldest sister, Brooke, do one of the readings… and I actually love the idea of doing a Greek choral-style reading as well. Basically, we’d give 3 or 4 friends / family from the crowd read a couple of lines of a piece of poetry or literature, which they would stand and read from their pew. I read about someone doing this in their wedding once, and it struck me because I know how much a marriage’s success can bee encouraged by the community of family and friends around you.

Here are some I’ve found that I like… Please post a comment if you have another one to suggest!

“The Bargain” by Sir Philip Sidney
My true love hath my heart, and I have his,
By just exchange one for another given:
I hold his dear, and mine he cannot miss,
There never was a better bargain driven:
My true love hath my heart, and I have his.

His heart in me keeps him and me in one,
My heart in him his thoughts and senses guides:
He loves my heart, for once it was his own,
I cherish his because in me it bides:
My true love hath my heart, and I have his.

Scottish Wedding Prayer
Lord help us to remember when
We first met and the strong
love that grew between us.
To work that love into
practical things so that nothing
can divide us.
We ask for words both kind
and loving and hearts always
ready to ask forgiveness
as well as to forgive.
Dear Lord, we put our
marriage into your hands

Colossians 3:12-17
Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

I Love You…

I love you.
You are my best friend.
Today I give myself to you in marriage.
I promise to encourage and inspire you,
to laugh with you, and to comfort you
in times of sorrow and struggle.
I promise to love you in good times and in bad,
when life seems easy and when it seems hard,
when our love is simple, and when it is an effort.
I promise to cherish you,
and to always hold you in highest regard.
These things I give to you today,
and all the days of our life.

I Promise
by Dorothy R. Colgane

I promise to give you the best of myself
and to ask of you no more than you can give.

I promise to respect you as your own person
and to realize that your interests, desires and needs
are no less important than my own.

I promise to share with you my time and my attention
and to bring joy, strength, and imagination to our relationship.

I promise to keep myself open to you,
to let you see through the window of my world into my innermost
fears and feelings, secrets and dreams.

I promise to grow along with you,
to be willing to face changes in order to keep our relationship
alive and exciting.

I promise to love you in good times and bad,
with all I have to give and all I feel inside in the only way I know how.
Completely and forever.

Song of Solomon 8:6-7
Place me like a seal over your heart,
like a seal on your arm;
for love is as strong as death,
its jealousy unyielding as the grave.
It burns like blazing fire,
like a mighty flame.

Many waters cannot quench love;
rivers cannot wash it away.
If one were to give
all the wealth of his house for love,
it would be utterly scorned.

Ruth 1:16-17
But Ruth said, “Do not urge me to leave you or turn back from following you; for where you go, I will go, and where you lodge, I will lodge. Your people shall be my people, and your God, my God.

“Where you die, I will die, and there I will be buried. Thus may the LORD do to me, and worse, if anything but death parts you and me.”

Captain Corelli’s Mandolin
Louis de Bernieres
Love is a temporary madness,
it erupts like volcanoes and then subsides.
And when it subsides you have to make a decision.
You have to work out whether your roots have so entwined together
that it is inconceivable that you should ever part.
Because this is what love is.
Love is not breathlessness,
it is not excitement,
it is not the promulgation of eternal passion.
That is just being “in love” which any fool can do.
Love itself is what is left over when being in love has burned away,
and this is both an art and a fortunate accident.
Those that truly love, have roots that grow towards each other underground,
and when all the pretty blossom have fallen from their branches,
they find that they are one tree and not two.

Save The Date!

July 10, 2010

I’m a little behind on getting the Save-The-Date postcards done, but they are finally done (printing this week!). I had a local designer (Michael Bergman, the one who did my logo) design it, compiled from our engagement photos. Below is the front – I love it. I couldn’t pick just one photo…

Four months and counting! Save the date! 🙂