Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Recap: Our DIY Bar

Photo by Nick Sanders @ eight x ten photography
We thought a nice touch would be to provide an open bar to our guests.  It's never really expected, but in order for our friends to have a really good time, and shake it on the dance floor, this element was a must for us.
People sway away from a full and open bar because of the cost. It can be extremely costly, but we found a way to get around the huge bill at the end of the night.
Photo by Nick Sanders @ eight x ten photography
Here's what we did to save money:
1. We paid a corkage fee ($300) to bring in our own bar. This made us responsible for  alcohol, cups, ice, mixers, fruit, and a bartender. We also had to apply for and bring and alcohol license ($50) from the state. The application has to be signed and notarized, sent to the state, and the license arrives in a few days. This made us solely responsible for the serving of guests, just like a bar.

Photo by Nick Sanders @ eight x ten photography
2.We provided  little of each: a 1/6th of a keg of a local brew, 12 bottles of wine, and a few liquor selections. We decided on bourbon, vodka, rum, tequila, and some Southern Comfort.

3. I crafted a signature cocktail with my bartender. This helped to focus down on a few selections. We came up with a Peachy Love Potion: as kind of an ode to Georgia. It was easy to make and people liked it. We used organic juices and top shelf ingredients.
Photo by Nick Sanders @ eight x ten photography
Photo by Nick Sanders @ eight x ten photography

4. We were not snobs about wine. We regularly drink Winking Owl from Aldi. It's $2.99 a bottle, thank you, and it does just fine. We bought 6 Chardonnay, 6 Merlot, and 2 Cabernets and had about quite a bit left over. Maybe 6 bottles? We hosted a bonfire and cook out the next night, which took care of the leftovers.
Photo by Nick Sanders @ eight x ten photography
5. We provided our own bartender. This was easy due to my working in the service industry for a few years. I've shared the bar with Kurt for a couple years, and he was more than willing to help out. If you are going this route, but don't personally know a bartender, try your favorite watering hole. There may be someone there willing to pick up some extra work. If you're having just wine & beer, then all you need is someone to pour. Our bartender even helped blow up balloons. And he regularly wears a kilt! I sat with him over some beers to figure out payment. I set up a jar and he did fine all together.
Posted up

6.Another thing you must provide is glass ware. Ours was made from corn. Then I picked up some cheap plastic cups, solely for the rounds of shots:
Photo by Nick Sanders @ eight x ten photography
7. Another thing you must provide is the mixers. I am a huge bargain store shopper. I found some decent juices at Big Lots. I tested them out beforehand so I knew the Apple & Eve Organic Mango Peach Juice, and the Organic Northland Cranberry juice was pretty tasty. I also got some pineapple juice, sparkling cider, and soda from there. I had a coupon, so it turned up to be cheaper than Costco. So we just got our sodas and fruit from Harris Teeter.

So like everything DIY, its a lot of work. I usually enjoy the process, this time was no different. It felt like everything came together and our guests were happy. Very happy.

8. Oh, another thing you may wanna consider is cabby info. You can just make business card size cards, and place them on the bar. It's a nice touch.

Raise your glass and enjoy responsibly!

Photo by Nick Sanders @ eight x ten photography
Photo by Nick Sanders @ eight x ten photography

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Pics from the profesh

   We met with our photographer, Nick Sanders, last Friday in Winston and got our pics. Here are some of our favorites:
(All photographs here by Nick Sanders and are protected by copywright.)

These were taken downtown...
and we were being goofy, of course.
 Piggy backs in alley ways

 my fav

I'll probably post some more after I sort through all 777 of them.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Making happiness happen

My friend sent me this. In keeping with my new philosophy of being happy and surrounding myself with happy people, I've decided to share it. Its a nice reminder of how we can choose to live our lives. Here's to new beginnings. Ripped straight from here. No apologies.
“Happiness is a habit – cultivate it.” ~ Elbert Hubbar
Happiness is one aspiration all people share. No one wants to be sad and depressed.

We’ve all seen people who are always happy – even amidst agonizing life trials. I’m not saying happy people don’t feel grief, sorrow or sadness; they just don’t let it overtake their life. The following are 21 things happy people make a habit of doing:

1. Appreciate Life

Be thankful that you woke up alive each morning. Develop a childlike sense of wonder towards life. Focus on the beauty of every living thing. Make the most of each day. Don’t take anything for granted. Don’t sweat the small stuff.

2. Choose Friends Wisely

Surround yourself with happy, positive people who share your values and goals. Friends that have the same ethics as you will encourage you to achieve your dreams. They help you to feel good about yourself. They are there to lend a helping hand when needed.

3. Be Considerate

Accept others for who they are as well as where they are in life. Respect them for who they are. Touch them with a kind and generous spirit. Help when you are able, without trying to change the other person. Try to brighten the day of everyone you come into contact with.

4. Learn Continuously

Keep up to date with the latest news regarding your career and hobbies. Try new and daring things that has sparked your interest – such as dancing, skiing, surfing or sky-diving.

5. Creative Problem Solving

Don’t wallow in self-pity. As soon as you face a challenge get busy finding a solution. Don’t let the set backs affect your mood, instead see each new obstacle you face as an opportunity to make a positive change. Learn to trust your gut instincts – it’s almost always right.

6. Do What They Love

Some statistics show that 80% of people dislike their jobs! No wonder there’s so many unhappy people running around. We spend a great deal of our life working. Choose a career that you enjoy – the extra money of a job you detest isn’t worth it. Make time to enjoy your hobbies and pursue special interests.

7. Enjoy Life

Take the time to see the beauty around you. There’s more to life than work. Take time to smell the roses, watch a sunset or sunrise with a loved one, take a walk along the seashore, hike in the woods etc. Learn to live in the present moment and cherish it. Don’t live in the past or the future.

8. Laugh

Don’t take yourself – or life to seriously. You can find humor in just about any situation. Laugh at yourself – no one’s perfect. When appropriate laugh and make light of the circumstances. (Naturally there are times that you should be serious as it would be improper to laugh.)

9. Forgive

Holding a grudge will hurt no one but you. Forgive others for your own peace of mind. When you make a mistake – own up to it – learn from it – and FORGIVE yourself.

10. Gratitude

Develop an attitude of gratitude. Count your blessings; All of them – even the things that seem trivial. Be grateful for your home, your work and most importantly your family and friends. Take the time to tell them that you are happy they are in your life.

11. Invest in Relationships

Always make sure your loved ones know you love them even in times of conflict. Nurture and grow your relationships with your family and friends by making the time to spend with them. Don’t break your promises to them. Be supportive.

12. Keep Their Word

Honesty is the best policy. Every action and decision you make should be based on honesty. Be honest with yourself and with your loved ones.

13. Meditate

Meditation gives your very active brain a rest. When it’s rested you will have more energy and function at a higher level. Types of meditation include yoga, hypnosis, relaxation tapes, affirmations, visualization or just sitting in complete silence. Find something you enjoy and make the time to practice daily.

14. Mind Their Own Business

Concentrate on creating your life the way you want it. Take care of you and your family. Don’t get overly concerned with what other people are doing or saying. Don’t get caught up with gossip or name calling. Don’t judge. Everyone has a right to live their own life the way they want to – including you.

15. Optimism

See the glass as half full. Find the positive side of any given situation. It’s there – even though it may be hard to find. Know that everything happens for a reason, even though you may never know what the reason is. Steer clear of negative thoughts. If a negative thought creeps in – replace it with a positive thought.

16. Love Unconditionally

Accept others for who they are. You don’t put limitations on your love. Even though you may not always like the actions of your loved ones – you continue to love them.

17. Persistence

Never give up. Face each new challenge with the attitude that it will bring you one step closer to your goal. You will never fail, as long as you never give up. Focus on what you want, learn the required skills, make a plan to succeed and take action. We are always happiest while pursuing something of value to us.

18. Be Proactive

Accept what can not be changed. Happy people don’t waste energy on circumstances beyond their control. Accept your limitations as a human being. Determine how you can take control by creating the outcome you desire – rather than waiting to respond.

19. Self Care

Take care of your mind, body and health. Get regular medical check ups. Eat healthy and work out. Get plenty of rest. Drink lots of water. Exercise your mind by continually energizing it with interesting and exciting challenges.

20. Self Confidence

Don’t try to be someone that you’re not. After all no one likes a phony. Determine who you are in the inside – your own personal likes and dislikes. Be confident in who you are. Do the best you can and don’t second guess yourself.

21. Take Responsibility

Happy people know and understand that they are 100% responsible for their life. They take responsibility for their moods, attitude, thoughts, feelings, actions and words. They are the first to admit when they’ve made a mistake.

Begin today by taking responsibility for your happiness. Work on developing these habits as you own. The more you incorporate the above habits into your daily lifestyle – the happier you will be.


Have a happy day. -L.R Dubbs

Wednesday, December 8, 2010


Cute anniversary gifts dish towel from Anthropologie. I use mine daily.

Some traditions are really fun to uphold, like  anniversary gifts. I love the challenge of putting together a gift with a certain theme. I probably do this more for me than for my Hubbs, but he appreciates the crafty way I do thangs. I told him the first anniversary gift should be paper, and well, that was kind of a mistake. He just got all confused, and focused on that too hard. He got frustrated. Oops. Then I excused him of any and all pressures to come up with a paper gift. I told him to do whatever he wanted and he pulled through.

Yeah, sometimes it's better to keep it simple.

I originally planned to give him tickets to some sports event, but his two favorite pro teams aren't playing anywhere close  for  many months, and I wanted to give him something he could use soon. I got him a music notebook for which he can make notes while practicing guitar. Because the real gift was classical guitar lessons! He's mentioned an interest in lessons. The timing is great, because he started to play again around the house, practicing his songs for our reception. His first lesson is this coming Saturday.
That's not all.
I had to hand make some aspect of his gift. I thought of our vows that we wrote and how I'd like to put them in a shadowbox. Well, I found the perfect box at Tuesday Morning, and good ideas kept coming.
I started with  the keepsake certificate that you can get for a dollar when you apply for your marriage license.

Let me break it down for 'ya.

1. The first an most important component were our vows. We wrote them on these little place cards. I had extra from a shower I threw.

2. This is a label from a bottle of bubbly from our wedding night.

3. This in an earring that my friend sent me as a something blue. I lost one immediately, but  I put it to good use and put it on my bouquet, and now it lives forever in the box.

 4. A Crystal guitar symbolizes getting the music he played.

 5. And I framed the certificate with ribbons that say "cherish,"and "forever."
I really enjoyed  making this and was so excited to give it. He was touched. That was the best feeling. We both enjoy it now.
Its fairly easy and doesn't cost much to make. It all starts with the desire make somebody smile.


Monday, December 6, 2010

One Year

Some say you are newlyweds up until a year. I am proud to say we are now old news. Just livin.'

We celebrated with dinner at GVG, where we ate a year ago, the day after our wedding day, with some family and friends.

2010, eating freezer burned, year-old cake. It tasted more of ritual, less of German chocolate.

Here we are a year ago:

2009, married for about 36 hours
Recap: There were only nine of us. Small ceremony, small gathering. Big party later. No honeymoon, but we're planning a vacation in April. This wasn't how I envisioned it when I started thinking about my wedding day about ten years ago. Strangely, I'm okay with all of this. As long as I've got him.
It's been an interesting year. Career changes, classes, unemployment, job searches, moving, working, changes in family dynamics, and reception planning, Initially, I was disappointed in the fact that certain close family members would not be able to see us get married. So we decided to do it when we were ready, and maybe, just maybe they could make it to our reception, as if things would be miraculously different in a year. As if we wouldn't feel a certain absence on our wedding day. Well, we realized that it was he and I marrying each other, making a new life together. We were so ready. We went for it. My parents were cool with that.

Certain things have not changed. Those family relationships are still estranged.  My dad was neither at  the wedding or the reception. All of the things I wanted to avoid, like the details of planning for our reception, came and messed with me anyway. Like money. Like time. Some that we thought were good friends really came to disappoint us.

But, the bond that  he and I have, has gotten stronger. We have tightened our little circle of trust with the people around us, made real and new unexpected friendships. We have vowed to never let anything or anyone hurt that sacred bond, and as husband and wife, learned to let go of whatever will not make us a stronger couple. Letting go is the biggest lesson I've learned this year.  The amount of support you give your spouse in a marriage is unfathomable. I'm learning that now. It's overwhelming, it's comfortable. Its an extreme blessing. It's freaking HUGE. I feel so grown-up. A little.

But here we are, life together feels so natural. So we've had to re-evaluate some relationships. But not ours. The one that counts.  We've got our rituals. Every day we lay down more bricks of what really matters on this path of ours.

Here's to living our vows every day.

He he, He wisked me away to the Doubletree after dinner. I call it unplanned, he calls it spontenainety.  It works. We both had to work the next day, so the hotel was like a minute away. Plus, we can't stand being away from our boy. On the first snow day  of the season:

I'll tell you about my "paper" gift to him this week.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Having some snow, gettin' the paper...

It's our official one year anniversary! I have to get ready for dinner, but there will be more on today's events.

And, its the first snow day of the year!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Recap: Thanksgiving 2010, and more Food!

Thanksgiving this year was easy, breezy, and intimate. Shawn, Mom Whitmire, and our friend Brah decided to go out to eat. Wasn't feeling the planning and the clean-up this year. Dinner at Printworks bistro was yummy. I always love eating there for the food and the furniture.
Dinner was followed by a movie and relaxation. Perfect.

A couple of days before a few friends and I gathered for an early Thanksgiving meal, before people go their separate ways for the actual holiday. A Fakesgiving, if you will. Fakesvinging was coined by friend Lindsay's Kansas City friends, so I must give them credit for this awesome tradition. One of her friends' makes a turkey of of Rice Krispies, which is one best idea ever! I love food that resembles other food! I marvel annually over her pics. This year I decided to make one.
My Crispy Speckled Hen!
made with Cocoa Pebbles & Crispy Rice
This platter was a gift from a friend :)
The spread also included Chrissy's tasty glazed ham, deviled eggs and my favorite side dish, hash brown casserole. And wine, of course.

We didn't make a big deal out of presentation. That was the point. But the food was good.

And so was the company.

Who wants dark meat?!
 More food?
 In trying out new things and keeping it fresh at the Whitmires,  I made this last night. I'm pretty proud of my bravery, and the fact that I made a meal without involving cheese!? Small triumphs, people!

From the Kitchen Bible:
 Potato Gnocci with a sage lemon butter sauce and Danish Meatballs.

He loved it.
Danish Meatballs, page 336
Gnocci and sauce, page 218
  Great serveware makes me want to eat well.

 Thanks for the cookbook, friends!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010


My Hubbs is no ME, but he does good work.* I am impressed with his efforts yesterday.  He has the sweetest of intentions, and made me a happy, happy old lady.

He gets overwhelmed by the three big events within a month from each other, but I tell him we have the whole year to think about it. I remind him that my birthday will not take a backseat to our anniversary (within the same week), or Christmas. Each day has its own special meaning.
It always bothered me that the season from October to December gets treated like one big retail-obsessed holiday.  There are so many great holidays in there, but they all get mushed together. I love the season and fall is my absolute fav time of the year, but can't we relish each holiday without stocking the shelves for the next one right away?

(*Sigh*) I know the answer is no. I work in retail.

I am just asking for Halloween and Thanksgiving and my B-day to be over before decking the halls. In my house, not the ones everyone else's house. I understand families get together only a few times a year, so you gotta decorate while you got 'em captive. That being said, there is no excuse to not make each of our momentous occasions especially distinct from each other in our house.

This year was a bit different, though, with all the reception hoopla, and the fact that I didn't wanna make a big deal out of this birthday. 
"I am so handsome it drives my momma crazy."

The day was fabulous. I was served pancakes in bed. I enjoyed a leisurely walk with my hairy son, took in this little fat robin in the back yard.

"You want to squeeze me!"

After work, I got ready for our dinner date. I met him at Taste of Thai, glass of wine in hand, as planned. I enjoyed watching him walk in with a pink bag & box. Dinner was tasty and we made it to the 10:15 showing of Burlesque (Disclaimer: I sat through The Inside Job on Thanksgiving with two finance guys, Interesting, yes, but I felt like I was in class. I told Hubbs I wanted to see Burlesque after all the derivative talk). The movie was entertaining and we cut up like teens, being the ONLY ONES in the theater! We laughed a lot, made our Cher impressions, and went home for more gifts :).

Showing off his bling mug, munching a tiny biscuit
I am so proud of him for trying so hard. He makes me happy, and I feel lucky to be loved so unconditionally. We make each other better people.

Stay tuned for our (actual) first anniversary this Friday! I got him the perfect paper gift!


*I am obsessed with perfection, of which I usually cannot achieve alone, but I try anyway. Sometimes get disappointed, but am learning to let go. By the grace of God, help from my mom, and my Hubbs, I am learning. Its tough.