Monday, June 30, 2014

DIYish Wedding Garter Set

Up until the meeting the the DJ three weeks before the wedding, I had completely- COMPLETELY- forgotten about getting a garter.  Back in the beginning stages of wedding stuff, it had crossed my mind that maybe I could order something cute and custom from etsy.  But out of my brain went that thought, and by the time the DJ uttered the words "bouquet and garter toss" and my eyes got as big as saucers- there wasn't enough time.  After a slight case of the "oh crap"s, I decided to go the cheap/easy/DIYish route.

These garters came as a two pack from Michael's.  I didn't take a before photo, but I've got a stock photo for reference, and since you can't see the details I will describe it for you- they were plain white silk with tulle-ish bows and a small white silk flower with rhinestone center.
As you can see, kind of boring for my taste.  I knew I wanted two garters, and I knew I wanted some purple involved.  I cut off the bow and white flower, and attached some things that I already had laying around.  On the larger garter, the one that I kept, I glued some leftover silk/lace flowers from the DIY card box I made.  I also added some darker purple store bought flowers (also from Michael's) to tie in with the toss garter.  I reattached the tulle bows (after re-tying them, those bows were not the cutest I've ever seen straight out of the package) and voila!  They had a DIY touch, they matched other elements of the wedding and each other, and they took less than 15 minutes to complete.

I thought about adding some dangley charms or something, but I kind of had this "nobody is EVER going to notice this anyway" attitude about it, so I didn't bother.  It's fine though- I love it, and I have plans to display it so that it won't go unnoticed and unappreciated forever.

Materials List:
Pack of garters from Michael's (with 50% off coupon)- somewhere around 8 dollars
Homemade flowers: free with supplies on hand
Rhinestone purple flowers: ~$1.50 at Michael's with coupon
Hot Glue Gun
Seam ripper/scissors

Total Cost: Less than $10 and less than 15 minutes of your life
Which is pretty fitting for something nobody sees and is only the center of attention for 5 minutes

Wedding photographs by Melissa Barrick.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Little Life Things (Week of 6/21/14-6/27/14)

It's only been since Aughumdy Eleventywhateverth August since I've done one of these... Guess what happened in August?  Oh right.  I became employed.  So that is pretty much the best indicator of what my first year at my new job (career?) was like!  But it's summer now, so I'm going to try to keep myself on track with these updates!  Let's get to it then.

June 21 to June 27, 2014

  • Went to the library and got a library card for the first time since I was a little kid.  It was AWESOME.
  • Got some new plant friends for the house.  The succulents above came from an Amish market and are propagating and growing so fast I can't keep up.  I gave some of the babies to my sister-in-law (can I just call her my sister?)
  • The other new plant friends have a home on the new ledge/shelf thing in the kitchen.  It's actually three different kinds in one basket.  Let's hope they live in harmony.
  • Painted!  
  • Made a lot lot lot of jewelry.  And marathoned Orange Is The New Black.  These two events are extremely correlated.  
  •  The next door neighbors gave (!!!) us their old treadmill.  For free.  So we added that to our budding little baby home gym that's apparently sprouted up in the den downstairs.  

And then the electrician showed up and claimed we were "sabotaging" him!

So many textures!

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

How We Celebrated Our Anniversary- Part Three: Let There Be Light (and cabinets and counters and paint)


When we last left off, we had knocked down half a wall, and then patched it back up.  Here's some photos to jog your memory, if you didn't feel like clicking the link up above.

Okay, so.  Down went the wall, goodbye went the gallery frames, and we tossed our pantry to the wind (just kidding.  It's currently sitting in a corner in the dining room.  Eventually it might make it down to the laundry room or garage, but don't hold your breath).  We were left with a giant cardboard box filled with our chips and cereal, and a whole lot of patchy walls and open/empty electrical sockets.  

With a wave of the magic wand, however, all of that has changed!  The electrician bounced in and fixed some things (the wall socket things were way too low for the level of the counter), then the drywall guy came back and patched some things, and then the cabinets/counter dudes came and installed... well, the cabinets and counters.  Scott and I were in the process of painting the space when the electrician showed up again to put on the plates and hang our lights, and then suddenly without any warning, we were done!  Well, mostly.  There's still some painting to do, and some plates to purchase, but good news- we have cabinets!  And counters!  And the whole space is so open and bright!  NO MORE SPLIT LEVEL KITCHEN!

First of all, our fancy cabinets.  They aren't just any cabinets, OH NO.  As you can see, there are two big drawers, and regular cabinet with a shelf- and then a middle/corner cabinet that is ACTUALLY a lazy Susan, and a pull out drawer that holds two- count 'em, TWO- trash cans.  Jack is a huge fan as well.  Jack actually loves this whole situation, because now he can sit on the ledge and survey the front door, deck door, living room, dining room, kitchen, and hallway from one spot.  

We also painted the kitchen!  No more of that beigey-bleh color that was all over the house.  It's a shade lighter than the living/dining room, and is the same color as the hallway and bedroom.  

Our new lights.  This was kind of a super spontaneous add-on.  When the electrician first came to the house, he asked if we wanted any lighting up there, and I said, "ummm.... SURE!"  He asked how many and my response was "umm..... two?"  So now we have two lights.  And I LOVE them.  The colors are not as bright in the photo as they seem in person, but I think they perfectly pull all of the spaces together- there's the blacks and browns that match the counters, the yellowy color is like the sunflowers I have in the kitchen, and the blue pulls in the blues I have in the living space.  

Lots more counter space!  We were able to hide some appliances in one of the new cabinets, and brought some of the others out onto the new island for an all over more spacious area.  

More pic spam:

Still on the To-Do list:
  • Paint the ceiling
  • Paint the ledge/shelf and baseboards
  • Replace the missing light switch plates
  • Fix the few missing/cut tiles
Before/During/After Pics:

Thursday, June 19, 2014

My MOH Speech

My brother got married a few weeks ago.  I am very fortunate in that the woman he married is one of my very best friends.  I also had the honor of standing next to them as the Matron of Honor!  But of course that means I had to give a speech.  It took me a few days to write something I liked, and I was editing it the morning of the wedding, and even after the ceremony and right before the reception.  Turns out, the first part of my speech was included in the ceremony- whoops!  So I had to improvise a little bit and skip part.  But I'm including my speech here- for memory, and maybe for someone else's inspiration.


Hello everyone. For those who don’t know me, I am Alissa, and Jeff is my little brother. I’ve known him for his whole life. Josie, I’ve known since college at Towson. It’s funny. People who live in The County always talk about how small it is and everyone knows everyone. So it’s funny ironic Jeff and Josie grew up two miles from each other, went to the same high school for three years, and never met until they went 100 miles away to Towson. Think of how many times their paths must have crossed, and they never knew!**

The first time I met Josie was in our friend Lacey's dorm room at Towson. Josie was wearing her workout gear and I think had either just come from or was heading to the gym. The first thought I had about her was, “wow, who is this dedicated- and crazy- college freshman who still has time and motivation to hit the gym?” After that, we became friends, and Jeff and Josie met, and then Josie was a regular in our lives.

Josie has been a great friend to me since that day I met her in her workout gear. She is supportive and sweet, but she also always tells you exactly how it is. She has there and supported me through the most important events in my life so far- when I first met my husband, she was there giving him high fives. When we got engaged, she knew about it and helped plan it. And, side note, Josie is so surprising and she always keeps you guessing- could you tell by looking at her that this girl just looooooves the transformers movies? So much so that I now associate transformers with my own relationship because she convinced the group to go see transformers 2 on the day Scott proposed to me. I don’t think I will ever forgive her for that.

Jeff is my little brother, and we have always been very close- he really is one of my best friends. And while I’m still not quite sure how he managed to reel Josie in, I’m glad he did because you two couldn’t be more perfect each other. The fact that two of the most important and valuable people in my life are together in love fills me with happiness. You’re perfect for each other, and I’m not just saying that because I’m biased in both directions. Having Josie in his life has, how should I say this, “calmed him down.” He dresses nicer. He’s more clean-shaven.  He's no longer nocturnal.  And honestly, I think she has made him a better brother. And he’s been great for her, too. He’s a very loyal and supportive person, and always steps directly onto the plate when duty calls. I know that Josie will never want for anything, as long as Jeff is around.

My mom and I were talking the other day and she offhandedly mentioned, “you know, you always said you wanted a sister.” And I always have. Sorry, Jeff. But putting you in drag doesn’t really count. Josie, you’re everything I could ever want for my brother, and everything I could ever want in a sister.

Jeff, I am so proud of you. I never imagined that my crazy baby brother could clean up so nicely. I love both of you so much. Separately, you are two special and remarkable people, but together you are complete. I wish you all the happiness in the world in your future together, and lots of little nieces and nephews for me to spoil.

I’d like to end my toast with a quote from one of the most highly regarded and groundbreaking television series of our time- Buffy the Vampire Slayer. “When I say, 'I love you,' it's not because I want you or because I can't have you. It has nothing to do with me. I love what you are, what you do, how you try. I've seen your kindness and your strength. I've seen the best and the worst of you. And I understand with perfect clarity exactly what you are. You're a hell of a woman. You're the one.” Thanks everyone, and congratulations J squared.   

**This part was glazed over and improvised, as it was stated during the wedding ceremony

Monday, June 16, 2014

Adulting: A Dining Room Table for Christmas

We bought our kitchen table from Fred Meyer in Portland for like 150 dollars about four years ago.  We brought it to Maryland from Oregon, and plopped it right in the dining room, where it looked like this:

This is the only photo I could find of the dining room with the old table, because I really did not like this table and never pointed the camera at it.  Notice all the water spots and just general ickyness.  It's a great table!  It just... needed an upgrade.  And there were only ever two chairs there- one was broken and is That Chair (the one that only exists to collect miscellaneous objects and clothes) in the office, and the other is being used in my craft room.  So we needed upgrades all around.  I wanted a grown-up table, preferably one that had a leaf and was nice and sturdy and... well, grown-up.  I finally found one I liked, and my parents gifted it to me for Christmas.  That's how you know you're finally an adult.  When you're excited to get a table for Christmas.  

So we had the table, but no chairs.  And my turn to host book club was in the spring- so we ended up finally finding chairs and purchasing them for book club.  And I have to say, I love this table now.  It came from World Market, and it has not one, but TWO leaf inserts.  It gets huge!  And it gets tiny.  It goes from a 4 person table to a 6 person table to a 10 person table.  The chairs and bench came from Target, and they feel super sturdy, and are cushy, and they weigh next to nothing.  

The above is what the table looks like with no leaf.  Below is with both leaves in.  We ended up liking the size with only one leaf, so that's how we have left it.  A happy medium!  

One leaf, and how it is for every day.  We were set up for fondue with my brother and his at-the-time-fiancee.  

Anyway, I love this table.  It's sturdy and rustic without looking out of place.  I also really love the bench.  We keep it on the living room side of the table so that we can easily pull it into the social space if we need more seating.  An excellent upgrade, I think!  We did have to have the table replaced once, because it showed up with a giant chunk missing from the surface.  This table had a chip on the edge, but I was able to fix it with some wood glaze stuff that I happened to have handy.  It might be better to buy something like this in person from the store, rather than have it shipped- the closet World Market is a few hours away from our home, though, and once I saw the double leaves, I had to have this one.  It all worked out in the end!

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Vestibular Idiopathic Disease- More Like "24 Hour Panic Attack and Nonstop Tears"

This is my girl Zoey.  She came into my life as a tiny fluffy butterball when I was 13, about 15 years ago.  She has always been rambunctious and energetic and a little bit wacky.  She's gotten a lot older now, and has some hip issues and she moves more slowly, but she's always been the happiest dog I've ever encountered.  She always has this doofy grin on her face.  

See that grin?  It's 24/7.  I love this nugget, she's the best.  

The other night, my dad texted me at 9:45 and asked "Are you awake?"  That's never good news.  He called, and said something along the lines of "we think Zoey had a stroke" and "can't walk."  One of the nice things about living less than three miles away from my parents' house is that I was there in five minutes.

My dad found her in the house on a mat, and she had... er, peed, pooped, and vomited in the middle of the floor.  She was stuck on the mat and couldn't move her back legs.  Her head tilted at a weird angle.  But she was grinning her stupid grin and didn't seem to be in any pain.  We thought of a few billion things that could have happened... stroke, heart attack, a fall... we found a lump on her belly/ribs and that brought about ideas of cancer, snake bite, etc.  She couldn't keep any food or water down.  My dad carried her outside to use the bathroom, and she tried walking and couldn't.  She just kept looking at us, then looking back at her legs, with this confused smile on her face.  When she was able to get her hips up, she'd take half a step and then topple sideways.  It was horrible and painful to watch.  I went home that night thinking that if she made it through the evening, the vet would surely say we had to put her down the next day.  That morning, I stopped by their house on the way to work.  She was loaded up in the van, and I sat and petted her for fifteen minutes while talking with my mom.  She had been able to walk some in the morning, but still couldn't keep food or water down.  As we sat int he van with her, I noticed her eye was twitching and rolling around while she looked at us.  I thought that it had to be something in her brain.  Again, in my heart, I knew my mom would be calling me in a few hours to join her at the vet so Zoey could be put down.  I knew it without a doubt.

Around 9, my mom texted me.  "Diagnosed with vestibular idiopathic disease.  Comes on fast.  Takes a few days to recover.  Can be reoccurring.  Tilt of head may be permanent."   I had to clarify.  She said... recover?  Zoey wasn't dying?

Turns out, this is a fairly common (I guess?????) disease in older dogs.  From what I read online, it's basically like she's on a very unsteady boat with no sea legs, or super duper drunk.  She's dizzy.  Which explains why she wouldn't walk- she didn't have her balance.  And when she did walk, she fell over and stumbled sideways- just like college!  And the eye movements?  Nystagmus.  Which, according to my retired police office dad, is something cops look for in sobriety tests.  And the part where she threw up all the time?  Yea.  The spins will do that to you.  

So basically, it should take a few days before she will be able to walk again.  She is taking, basically, Dramamine for the nausea and dizziness.  

In summary, my dog started acting like a drink drank drunkard and scared us all into thinking she was going to die within hours, when really she has this pretty common and recoverable WITHOUT INTERVENTION AT ALL!  disease.  What a brat.

Young Zoey with her doofus grin.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

How We Celebrated Our Anniversary- Part Two: Knock Em Down, Build Em Up

We capped off our first year as a married couple by blowing out some walls in our house.  Like I mentioned previously, we really disliked the cramped, closed-off feeling of the living/dining/kitchen spaces.  So we fixed it.  Or rather, we hired some folks who know what they're doing to fix it.

Here are some before photos:
Bye bye, gallery wall.  I loved you so.

And here are some progress shots:

Our contractor is brilliant and kind of crazy.  One day the wall was there.  Then I got home from work, and there was no wall.  We didn't realize he was doing the wall removal part that day- but he did!  Because he doesn't play around.  

So that's right after the wall came down, and as you can see- wires abound.  Then the electrician and the drywall guy came and worked their magic, and now we have: 

Still to go: cabinets, countertops, lighting, and paint.  Here are come comparison shots of the progress.

Much better!  Can't wait for it to be completely complete, so we can stop storing our chips and cereal in that huge brown cardboard box.