Saturday, January 28, 2012

Wedding Craft - Tea Bag Favors

I love tea. I drink it every morning. It is my cup of coffee. So when Stuart and I got married, I wanted the reception favors to be a little bit of him and little bit of me. So I decided to give out Pecan Shortbread bites for the guests and a tea bag that they could take with them.

The Pecan Shortbread was made by Dolce Desserts in Nashville. And they are absolutely amazing! Melt in your mouth, sweet and salty, buttery...yum. I highly recommend them.

That was the Stuart-part of the favors. He loves pecans, pecan pie, etc.

For me, I found this idea on Martha Stewart's website. I know that not everyone loves tea like me but I wanted the wedding to be about the things we love. So I decided to make my version of Martha's tea bags.

I ordered empty individual tea bags that you close by ironing. I found English Breakfast loose tea leaves in bulk from Mountain Rose Herbs. They also carry tea bags so I ended up ordering it all from one place which was great! I ordered about 200 tea bags and almost 2 pounds of tea (I was expecting about 160 guests).

Press N' Brew Tea Bag, 2.25" x 2.25"...perfect for one cup of tea

With the help of my (amazing!) bridesmaids, we filled about a tablespoon of tea leaves into each bag.
 Looking back, I think we should have done half of that.

The tea bag was less than half full.

All of my paper goods were designed by the amazing and talented Sarah Robins M. Powell, a wonderful college friend. I asked her to create the tea tags to resemble our wedding invitations. 

Here is what she came up with...of course, they were perfect!

I picked up a gray embroidery thread from Michael's to attach the tags.

Tie  a double knot at the end of the thread.
Place the thread inside the tea bag, past the edge that you are ironing.

Iron the open edge of the tea bag. I used the steam setting on the iron.

The tag should stay in the tea bag once you have pressed the end together. 

Voila! The perfect wedding favor (for tea lovers).

Happy weddings!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Ways to save money in 2012

Day In.

Now that I quit my 8-5 job and work at a bakery, I know it's time to start cutting back on some expenses that we can definitely live without. (and no, that doesn't include J.Crew...hehe...ok, I'll have to think about that one)

Here are some ways I have thought of that can save us some money this year (and in no particular order)...

1. Starbucks
Sometimes I just crave a vanilla latte or a pumpkin spice latte. But really, I don't need to spend that money or need the calories.

I could save:
$4/drink, 2/month = about $100

2. Magazines
Since pretty much every magazine is online these days, I really don't need to buy any.
I could save:
$4/magazine, 1/month = $48

3. Manicures
I really don't do this one often but it is fun to go out with your girl friends and get your nails done. So I'm going to see if the girls would want to come over and do our nails ourselves...maybe get out some cheese and wine :)

I could save:
$20/month, 1/month = $240

4. Hairdresser
This one makes me sad too because I love my hairdresser! She's the best. I think this may be my "treat" to do every once and a while.

But anyways, in college I used to color my own hair sometimes. I might start doing that.

I could save:
$130/visit, 5 times/year = $650

5. Eat what is at home
I absolutely hate throwing away food, especially produce. I noticed this week that our pantry is pretty stocked but we seem to not be eating much of it. I told Stuart that one week, we are going to only eat what we have at home without buying groceries. I don't think he was too thrilled about it :)

I think this would help us cut back on groceries.

I could save:
$75 groceries/month = $900

6. Automatic savings
This one is not a cutback on spending but a great way to save without noticing. Stu and I have an ING savings account...they are awesome. Last year, I made $50 in interest! I signed up for an automatic withdrawal from my checking into my ING. Honestly, I barely even noticed the money leaving my checking. It really is a great way to save.

I earned (for free!):

7. Bringing lunch to work
It's so easy to eat out at lunch, especially for Stuart since he works in midtown. Even if he brings his lunch 3 days a week, that would save us some money too.

I could save:
$25/week = about $1000 (just an estimate since he really doesn't work every week of the year)

8. Less shopping
This one should be easy for me....gulp. I have to wear khakis, a work shirt, and an apron to work so I really don't need to buy many new clothes.

Let's just assume that I stick to this one :)

I could save:
$100/month = $1200

9. Food from scratch
This is a good article about lots of food that is easy to make yourself and a lot healthier than buying it.

Not sure about the savings here...I will just include that with the week of eating what is at home!

10. Homemade gifts

I think for this year, I am going to work on giving more homemade gifts. They are very sweet and appreciated (hopefully!) by most. I love what my friend P did for her husband at Christmas.

Not sure on the savings here either...but I'm thinking about $200.


I think our generation doesn't know the benefit of waiting for what you want. Everything I listed I could just go out and buy whenever I want to. This year, I am going to take my time and "wait" for what I want to buy. Not only will I save some money getting there, but I will truly appreciate what I am waiting for.


Overall, I would say that it's about $4000 listed above (I am estimating since we would have to buy groceries in order to pack our lunches, etc.)

Even if we only save half of that, we would be happy!

Here's to saving :)

Day Out.


Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Pumpkin Bread

When canned pumpkin comes in season around the holidays, I like to hoard it so that I can cook with it later. Sometimes it can be really hard to find! And I can't ever remember where to find it with the canned vegetables? the fruits? the pie fillings? So once I see a can or two, I buy.

Let the hoarding begin!

Anyways, I am sitting here eating my pumpkin bread that I made this week thinking, "This is so good! And moist!" So I thought I would share the recipe. It really is a good one.

Hey! It's half-eaten already....

My breakfast and I (more details about the tea bag to come later)

Thank you, Mom, for passing this on to me!

Pumpkin Bread
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 2/3 cups flour
1 tsp. baking soda
3/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. cinnamon
2 eggs
1/2 cup cooking oil
1 cup canned pumpkin (canned pumpkin usually comes in a 15oz can...I just freeze the rest)

*You could also add 1/2 cup of dried cranberries or 1/2 cup of chocolate chips....or both!

Preheat oven to 350.
Mix all ingredients together with a mixer.
Grease a loaf pan.
Fill loaf pan with mixture (it should fill about 3/4).
Bake for about 1 hour...or until a toothpick comes out clean!




Monday, January 16, 2012

Chocolate Chip Oreo Cookies

I was on the hunt for a good go-to cookie recipe. A couple weeks ago, I found this recipe. I used too much cookie dough, and they ended up looking like this.

Is it a UFO? Nope, just a cookie.

I was crushed...I hate it when something I make doesn't turn out right. So I forced the boys to eat them on their road trip.

On Saturday night, we had our regular group over to watch Tim Tebow play Tom Brady. Even though he lost, I am still a Tebow fan. So I tried a new cookie recipe since I still had some Oreos left over. I dub these "Tim Tebow Cookies". (As Ann Houston said, "Because he's the bomb!")

Chocolate Chip Oreo Cookies

Yum! I followed the recipe above. The only thing I did a bit different was to add a pinch more salt. (The batter was very sweet to begin with.)

In her recipe, she calls for 11 broken pieces of Oreo...but I interpreted that to be 11 Oreo cookies :)

Here is my dough. I crushed the Oreos with a hammer beforehand.

Here are the cookies...and they were a hit! And they get even better with age...


Enjoy! (Stuart certainly did)

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

My Bid for Pinterest Fame!

Day In.

Sometime in the past two years, the siding on the house needed replacing.  At the same time, some of the windows were replaced and I kept some of them around for a day when I felt inspired.

That day was sometime last week.  I wanted to do something for Anna for being such a great wife. And since we haven't done anything with our wedding pictures yet, I figured this was the perfect opportunity to do something with them.  In addition, I thought I might be able to do something creative/clever enough to have at least one pin on Pintrest.

I started with just a simple window from the house and used an electric sanded to make it look a little older/shabby chic.

Sanded window.

Next, I printed six of my favorite wedding pictures in 5"x7" with a white border.  I taped these pictures to the backside of the window with a one small piece of tape at the top.  I did measure to make sure they were lined up.

Pictures taped to window
Next, I tore out a bunch of newspaper articles into little pieces.  I only used portions of the article with text only and no pictures.
Window with torn newspapers articles
I dumped a bottle of Elmer's glue, along with a little water, in a metal bowl and mixed it all together with a paint brush.

I painted the glue mixture on the window and edge of the back of pictures and began to place the newspaper clippings.  This part got to be a little tedious.

Mid newspapering
Once I applied the newspaper to all the window frames, I painted glue all over the back again to make sure it would all stay together.  Then I let it dry...






Finally, I surprised Anna with my project.  I think she really liked it.  Now all that we have left to do is hang it somewhere in the house!

Finished Product 1
Finished Product 2
So that's my attempt at being crafty.

Day Out.


Monday, January 9, 2012

Orange Bowl - from Atlanta

Day In.

While Stu was at the Orange Bowl, I decided to have some friends over so we could watch the game on TV (and look for Stu in the crowds).

Here are a few pictures from the game...before they all left and it was bedtime (ok really, the game got so bad).

We had our own orange bowl!

The girls.

I don't think I took any pictures of the guys...oops. They must have actually been watching the game!

Austin did bring a "12 Pack"....

Taco were eaten...

...and a mess was made.

I even brought some pumpkin spice cake from work (it's sort of orange!)

We missed Stuart's noises and hand gestures while watching the here is what we came up with.

Rebecca - supporting the Tigers with her drink(s)
Meghan - doing "the Stuart" hand rubbing
Bartling and AC - showing off the new Clemson hand gesture (Tiger claw with a C)

Terilyn got in on the action too!

Of course we would have loved for the Tigers to win. But I think we all enjoyed spending time with friends :)

Day Out. 


Sunday, January 8, 2012

The Orange Bowl!

Day in.

On December 3, 2011, Clemson played Virginia Tech in the ACC Championship Game.  Clemson won that game 38-10, automatically qualifying for a spot in the Orange Bowl.

As many of you know, I am a huge Clemson fan, so the opportunity to go to a BCS bowl is one I could not pass up. I had talked with Z, who lives in Colorado, about going to the game.  After learning he had an aunt in Miami, all we really needed were tickets.  We were searching StubHub almost daily when I got an email from my cousin K, who had four Orange Bowl tickets they could not use.  This was it!  We were going to Miami!!!

Generous tickets
After calling a few friends to see who could go to the game, it ended up that it would be me, Z and Kyle (the forth ticket would go to Z's aunt who was hosting us and was a Clemson graduate who was at the 81 Orange Bowl).  We all wanted to go for as cheap as possible, so Z flew to Charlotte, had someone drop him off in Clemson, and rode to Atlanta with Kyle.  We rented a Camry (which was impressively fuel efficient) and drove to Miami on Tuesday, Jan 3, 2012, leaving at 7 AM. We stopped twice on the way, once at the Florida state line for orange juice (Solid Orange, It's about Pride - Not Grapefruit Juice, Z!), and once in Ocala for gas and food.

We arrived in Miami to frigid weather, it was in the low 50's!  The morning of the game, we were looking for a place to eat breakfast on our way to South Beach and thought we saw a great Orange Bowl Omen -- Coach Danny Ford (1981 National Championship Team Coach) walking alone on the street.  Z and Kyle about jumped out of the car to get a picture with him.  I was stuck trying to find parking, but there wasn't any to be had.

Kyle and Danny Ford

Z and Danny Ford
After that excitement, we drove to South Beach, found the team hotels and took a drive on Star Island (which is gated, you just have to ask to get in).
Team Hotel Pedestrian Bridge
Some Star's fancy gate
We got some tailgating supplies for the game, then headed for the stadium.
Pro Player Stadium
Land Shark Stadium
Sun Life Stadium

Then we went in to see a football game.

Our Seats

Warm Ups

Kyle and I

Script Tigers - Probably the highlight of the night


The guy who won the first season of "The Voice" sang the National Anthem

Taking the field

In Game Photo
As most people probably know, we did not really get to see a Clemson football game.  The offense showed up, but the defense never made it to south Florida...I think they thought the game was in Tampa. West Virginia thoroughly beat Clemson, but I was there for the whole experience and didn't want to leave...
Us with all the other Clemson Faithful (4th Qtr)

This is when I couldn't take it anymore
We got home from the game about 1 AM and woke up to drive back to Atlanta at 6:15 AM.  The trip home had less stops, only 1, in Gainesville, Florida. We stopped there to because that's where Tim Tebow played college football.  We made it back to Atlanta in time for Z's flight at 7.

Overall, the trip was a lot of fun.  It was great to see friends I don't see much and talk a lot, I mean A LOT, of college football.  The score of the game was the only down part of the trip.  I'm not sure I would be willing to go back to Miami again next year, but that is where the National Championship game will be...just sayin'.

Day out.