Flash Back: DIY Wedding Planner

In preparation for my 500th post, I've decided to do a series of life in rewind. In my retroactive clean up of past posts, I realized that I left out quite a bit. I've got a few tutorials to post and a couple vacations, as well as some everyday goodness coming your way. But first, I thought I'd start with our DIY wedding. It was, after all, the ultimate project.

Our wedding was planned and executed on a tight budget, but I didn't want to sacrifice anything. I wanted a live band and dancing, yummy food, a beautiful cake, a dreamy dress, amazing photos and video (not in order of priority or importance). Also, please keep in mind that I had a few years on my own to gather all sorts of idea binders, vision boards (pre-pinterest thank you!), expectations. I've been to a lot of weddings in my life time (LDS and otherwise) and gotten A LOT of wedding announcements in the mail (all of which are tucked into plastic sleeves in 3-rings in a box somewhere in my mom's storage room). Top it off with being 2,098 miles away from the location where it would all go down in history. All of those factors led to the need for a lot of research and extreme organization. Spreadsheets. Diagrams. Sleepless nights and workless days (I rarely sacrifice sleep for anything).

Here's a glimpse into the madness.

Artichoke, Kale & Goat Cheese Omelet

Sometimes my breakfast routine becomes a little boring. I love sleep. A lot. So I I'm lucky if I have time to fry up a couple eggs or eat some granola. Often my breakfast is an individual serving of Chobani (which we can get at the commissary for $1 each--don't be too jealous) with some seeds and berries stirred in while I walk to the subway.

Sometimes I splurge and make something fantastic. Like this yummy artichoke, kale and goat cheese omelet.


2 whole eggs or 3 egg whites
1T oil
1 clove garlic crushed and diced
1/4 yellow onion diced
1 large or 2 small celery stalks chopped
1/2 cup kale shredded
1-2 marinated artichoke hearts diced
1/2 tomato diced
herbed goat cheese as desired
salt and pepper to taste


Beat eggs in a small bowl and set aside. In a heated skillet, saute garlic and onions in a little oil (I use olive oil. I know you're not supposed to cook with it, but I just love the way it tastes). Once the onion is translucent and soft, add the celery and kale. Saute for another couple minutes until the kale is a nice bright green. Set aside your cooked veggies. Pour your eggs into the same skillet and let them cook until the bottom is cooked through and the top is still a little wet. Throw your cooked veggies on top, along with the tomatoes, artichoke, goat cheese, and some salt and pepper. Fold in half and let cook a little longer on both "sides" to melt the cheese a bit. Cut in half and share or eat it all by yourself, like I do.

amen and amen.

I was just going through my drafts and I found this post saved. Just a title and this photo. I'm pretty sure I blogged it for reals so this must have been an accidental save and start over. Good times. A quintessential family Saturday, circa July 2009.

Liz is behind the lens. You can see nothing of Avery laying on my lap except the yellow neoprene of her life jacket. Emily and Collin have prime spots on the "sun deck" and Russ is lounging inside. I don't remember who was being towed or what they were doing, but clearly it was something to behold. I'd guess my dad was driving. I don't know exactly when things shifted to him being out of the water more than in. There was a phase when he definitely would hog the tow time. Now I think he's pretty content to be the tow-er.

Oh, to be on the lake again.

Be the change you want to see

I have a dilemma. See, I love new things--especially new clothes. But the super skinny debt-reduction diet does not afford the luxury of a lot of shopping. What it does afford is a healthy dose of Use it Up, Wear it Out, Make Do, or Do Without.

So when I did the winter for summer wardrobe exchange the other day and felt the shopaholic itch I decided to take matters into my own hands. I am not so keen on the Do Without part, but the Make Do I can handle.

If you don't like something you see {in your closet}, change it. I took a few manly looking work shirts and gave them a feminine facelift and got them ready to wear for summer. Tutorial after the jump. Sun's out, guns out!


Here's to Five Wonderful Years!!


Yes, five years ago today, I birthed this blog and I guess it has been pure bliss ever since.

{wheat free} Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

In honor of National Chocolate Chip day (Tuesday), I ran home after work to whip of a batch of some chocolate chip cookie goodness. Although I did cheat and didn't use chocolate chips, but chopped milk chocolate Dove bars intstead. Oh my.

1/2 c. butter (use a substitute for vegan)
1 c. agave nectar
1 t. vanilla extract
1/2 c. apple sauce (recipe calls for pureed silken tofu)
1/2 c. coconut flour (recipe calls for 1 c. sprouted spelt flour)
1/2 c. almond meal
1/2 t. baking soda
1/2 t. sea salt
1 t. cinnamon
1/2 t. cloves
1/2 t. nutmeg
3 c. rolled oats
1 c. chocolate chips (omit in vegan version)

Preheat oven to 350F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Cream the butter (substitute), agave and vanilla until blended and fluffy. Mix in apple sauce. In another bowl combine all the dry ingredients, everything but the oats and chocolate, mix. Add dry to the wet and mix until well combined then slowly add oats. I like lots of oats, so I may have added an extra 1/2 cup. Stir in chocolate chips by hand. Spoon cookie shaped blobs onto prepared cookie sheet. Bake for 25-30 mins at 350F or until golden. Enjoy some wheat free goodness!
Even the Captain, who doesn't really go for sweets, ate three of these in one night.
*Note: I don't know if it was the lack of tofu or what, but these cookies tended to crumble a bit. So eat over a plate.

Safe Food Coloring and Other Stuff (like natural lip tint)

Of all the places to find a natural resource, Glamour's Health & Diet page has an article on the topic, though I have had a terrible time tracking down the original source for this image. Terrible as in failed. I was hoping for detailed instructions on how to get all of the above colors. Are they infusions? Is it just the vegetable/plant/spice blended up? I did find this post over at Our Regularly Scheduled Program, which happened to be my favorite of all the uses of the above image. Reading about Red 40 reminded me that my youngest brother, who is now a strapping 19-years, was tragically allergic to synthetic red dyes when he was younger. It took my mom quite a long time to figure out what was causing his symptoms (which if I remember right housed themselves in his GI tract). Finally, relief came when they removed Swedish fish, red vines, froot loops, cap'n crunch berries, watermelon sour strings, and the like from his diet. I know, right? Good riddance. Although, I wonder if those things have crept their way back to his snack regime.

Apparently, I'm not the only one who's interested in all this hippy talk (you know the voice? "oh that's hippie talk"? If you're not hearing it in your head, you can click on it for the entire commerical. AND as a side note, I just learned the difference between hippy and hippie. You learn something new every day).

from itsy bitsy foodies

I pinned this rainbow cake a few weeks ago. I happen to love the muted colors the natural dyes make in the cake. It's right up my aesthetic alley. And the peace of mind that comes from knowing there's no artificial colors in there has got to feel good.

This all started when I was looking for a natural way to tint my lips. I've found several resources and tips. One important thing to keep in mind is that anytime water is involved, you invite bacteria as well. So I'm not sure the above vegetable based dyes would work in cosmetics, unless you are planning to use up whatever you make in a couple days and make another batch. No thanks. We've got other things to do with our precious free time around here.

One solid option is Alkanet Root (as used here and here). I like this option because you can gauge how dark you want the tinting based on how much of powder to add to your concoction. [$11.55 (4.25+shipping) for 4oz]

Another option, though I don't know the shelf life of this product, is using natural food dyes from Natures Flavors (as used here). There are a lot of options for color here people, so don't get overwhelmed.

I saw more than a few recipes using beet juice, but where there's juice there's water and I kind of want to steer clear of that. So, I'm wondering if beetroot powder would work. You can find it in most healthfood and supplement stores (it's used for digestion and blood/liver support). I'd think that breaking open a capsule or two into your lip balm would give it a little color?? Maybe I'll have to try that one out. [about $5 for 50 grams/1.76 oz]

One of these days I'll actually put all this research to good use. I'll let you know when I do.

Things I'm afraid to tell you

I've debated doing this post, only because I'm not a professional blogger nor do I want to appear as if I think I am. I mean, geesh. This blog has six followers and I think half of them are my blood relatives. But I read all the confessions linked on creature comforts, after I read her own very moving piece, and I've been seeing this black box pop up around the blogosphere, and then I read my sister's. And I'm feeling inspired. I used to be completely transparent in this venue. This blog was an outlet for emotions, thoughts, and dreams. That all seemed to change when I got married. No longer am I just exposing myself and I recognize that. My in-laws check in here, as do some of the Captain's friends. I try to be sensitive to that. There are things that obviously are no one else's business. But the purpose of this movement is to not reel people into one another's business. It's not to engender sympathy or even understanding. It's to be real. And I've longed for this sort of release for so long. So at the risk of having one of those "conversations" with my husband, here goes.

Move Over June Cleaver

Found this while browing psfk. I'll be honest, I kinda thought the number of American moms who read-slash-contribute to a blog would be higher than 14%, but no surprise that more than a third of them homebase in Salt Lake City. Way to represent hommies!

Source: H&R Block

More Hippy Talk

After my detox post yesterday, I feel the need to give another update, however retroactive.

After many years of slathering my pucker with petroleum, I have given it up. That's right, my trusty sidekick, Aquaphor. Kicked to the curb. Remember this post and this post? Aren't we all just a work in progress?

For the last month or so, I've been using a combination of coconut oil and vitamin E. And I swear it works better plumping what needs to be plumped and smoothing what needs to be smoothed.  AND I no longer worry about ingesting. In fact, sometimes I lick my lips just so I have to apply more.

I keep a tub (actually, my old Aquaphor tub cleaned out--that was fun scooping out that goop and throwing it in the garbage) of coconut oil and a bottle of vitamin E capsules on my vanity/dresser and this little guy on my desk at work.

Now I just need to find some natural and safe pigment to give myself a little lipcolor. Any recommendations?

**NOTE (5/10/12): I've read that coconut oil is comedogenic so it may clog pores. The only time I use it on my face (other than my lips) is around my eyes or on a blemish. It has antibacterial properties and it's been great for things like that. Like today, I had an allergic reaction to a hair product this morning (wait for it in another post) and itched like crazy for about an hour before I had the brilliant idea to rub a little coconut oil on it. It's now 5pm and it hasn't itched since. I LOVE using vitamin E oil around my eyes.

The Long & Winding Road

My inner marketer/graphic designer LOVES benefit cosmetics and always will. It's not just the pretty packaging and clever names, but the capability of the products to truly "make up" a face without looking "made up".

You Rebel has always seemed good to my sensitive skin, not inducing breakouts, making me look a little sun kissed when I need it and sometimes when I don't. moon beam  is the perfect highlighter, gives just a little glisten on my cheekbones. My victim-of-the-90s-over-plucked eyebrows would definitely not be the same without brow zings. I mean, these cosmetics have been in my life for so long they could almost be considered friends. In an inanimate, creepy sort of way.

And there's that saying that ugh is stuck in my mind, if you can't say something nice don't say anything at all...? And I really don't want to say anything bad about benefit or any other cosmetic company for that matter.

BUT...there's been something gnawing at me for a long time, probably my whole adult life, but the intensity of the chewing is increasing of late. (Maybe it's living in this city, walking down really dirty streets through vehicle exhaust and second hand smoke, where the rain only makes everything from the waist up look clean and from the waist down it's all soggy garbage and rehydrated dogpoop residue. Don't get me wrong, there are MANY many other things I love about New York, just not the aforementioned.) Gnawing. Prodding. Shoving me to detoxify. As much as humanly possible.

Keep Calm and...

The weather here lately has really been bumming me out. I'm like a VitD junkie who's seriously jonesing (is that even what you say?). My liquid D3 is just not the same as the real deal, shine in my eyes, warming my skin. However, I have no control over the cloud cover or how low it is. Currently everyone is walking through them, which is kinda cool in itself, but after what feels like weeks of tiny teasing breaks in the mist it's barely enough to get me to stop. And think.

What do I have control over?

Which brings me to the real topic of this post.

Baby Shower Details

all photos courtesy of Ashley Willis

I had so much fun planning and preparing for this shower. I will be the first to admit that I become a little obsessive when it comes to a project. And throwing a party is one of the ultimate projects. Parties combine many of my favorite elements: paper crafting, food creating, fabric manipulation (table cloths), some graphic design, friends...and a little washi tape. 

Pick me up

It's only Wednesday and already this week feels forever long. I needed a little 2 o'clock in the afternoon pick me up to get through this day. I hope you enjoy this little music break as much as I did!

I wanna see some green
I wanna be set free
Get me outta this place

My sentiments exactly.

Happy May Day

It currently looks like this outside, though maybe a little brighter now that the sun is high behind the foggy cloud cover.You definitely wouldn't think it was May 1. Although, what do I know? This is my first May Day in the city.


I am looking forward to this. Although, I won't be the bathing-suit-in-sheep-meadow type, I will be bringing a blanket for some similar lunch breaks in the future. Cannot wait. Can't wait.