Friday, February 28, 2014

Photography... We're Engaged!!

Location: Malibu Creek State Park
Date: January 28, 2014
Photography: Figlewicz Photography

It seems a little self absorbed to dedicate a post to our engagement photos, but it's my blog and I'll blog if I want to!  Also, I'm pretty sure these 46, now 47 views, are allllll me.

Dustin and I knew we wanted to do our engagement shoot either in Big Bear or somehow incorporate our love of road trips.  The first two vacations we ever took together were by car, so we thought why not rent the quintessential convertible and hit the road?!  So albeit, not a cross country trip, we took a nice drive up PCH to Malibu.  We knew right off the bat that we are not America's Next Top Model and our goofy personalities probably wouldn't translate through the lens well, but regardless, we really enjoyed our time together and our time with Casey Figlewicz!

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Adventures... in South Dakota

I'm in the business of saving my vacation days for our honeymoon, so it's very important to me that I take advantage of the three day weekends!  Last year, Dustin and I spent President's Day weekend "roadtripping" to Page, Arizona to visit Horseshoe Bend and Antelope Canyon, and on the way back, we spent a night in Vegas.

This year, we had our sights set on Mt. Rushmore!  I can't tell you how many times people said "South Dakota?!  In the winter?!".  Yes, we get it, we're from California, we think it's sunny everywhere... and we booked it without thinking about weather conditions.  But we really lucked out!  The weather was a cool 50-60 degrees (phew!).

We booked our hotel + flight + rental car on Expedia about a month before.  We flew Delta (LAX --> MSP --> RAP), rented a compact car from Dollar Rent-a-Car, and stayed at The Foothills Inn.

I don't know if you've been to Rapid City before, but I recommend a weekend at most.

DAY 1 - Saturday, February 15
Once we picked up the car and checked into the hotel, we drove into Downtown Rapid City and ate dinner at Firehouse Brewing.  Yelp reviews don't lie!  This place really holds up to its good name.  The service was great and the food was sooooo good.  We planned an early morning, so we got to bed early for the big day ahead!

DAY 2 - Sunday, February 16
Up early and off to see Mt. Rushmore!  We took advantage of the convenient continental breakfast at the Foothills Inn.  With Cap'n Crunch and toast in our bellies, we hit the road!  Rapid City must be pretty touristy because there were signs for everything.  We didn't even need the map to get to all the major sites.  We desperately wanted to go to Bear Country USA, but funny thing - bears hibernate in the winter, so yelling at the bears to come out and play is pretty useless.  Moving on.  After Mt. Rushmore, we stopped by Crazy Horse.  We really didn't have a desire to do so, but we turned into the driveway up to Crazy Horse and there was no turning back.  Literally, you are NOT allowed to turn away.  If you made a wrong turn or don't want to pay the $10/person entrance fee, you have to continue down this long driveway to the ticket booth.  But let me tell you, the "museum" is crazy cool, and not just because you feel like you're inside a big tree (the entire inside is wood paneling), but there is a lot to see and learn.  The actual sculpture itself is neat, but it's hard to really understand just how big it is when you're so far away.  After Crazy Horse, we started our drive through Custer State Park.  As we were driving through, we contemplated skipping the Wildlife Loop because of the weather (not snowy or rainy, but pretty freakin' cold).  I'm so glad we didn't.  You'll see the pictures below and know why I'm glad we didn't. :)  Later that night, I planned a special belated Valentine's Day dinner at Dakotah Steakhouse.  Word of advice: do not use Apple Maps to get there, otherwise, you'll think dinner is on a freeway overpass (fail, Apple Maps, fail).  The food, drinks, ambiance and service were AMAZING.  This was one of the best meals we've ever had!

DAY 3 - Monday, February 17
Call us "crazy" but we woke up at 5:00 AM to catch the sunrise at Badlands National Park!  If you know me, you know this wasn't easy.  The only times I ever get up that early are when I'm leaving for Maui... alohaaa!  

It was an hour drive to the park and we were a little nervous it would be snowy/icy being so early in the morning.  The drive to get to the park wasn't, but as soon as we turned down the road leading us into the Badlands, we were driving on ICE!  It was manageable, but scary (especially for us SoCal folk!  We have enough trouble driving in rain!).  

We stopped at the Pinnacles Overlook, the first lookout spot about 15 minutes into the park.  The sun rises over the mountains on the left, so you'd think that it would be prettier on the other side, and honestly I wouldn't know.  We stayed on the Pinnacles side because the terrain is so rocky that when the sun hits it... it's just spectacular.  Even seeing the other lookout points as we drove through the rest of the park, we were so happy we stopped at Pinnacles for the sunrise.

The drive is beautiful (cue Dixie Chicks' Wide Open Spaces) about an hour through the park and another hour back to Rapid City.  We killed a couple hours at Hobby Lobby and then went back to the airport!

Enjoy some fun travel pictures below!

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Crafting... My Best Friend's Bridal Shower

I've waited for this day since we were a mere 18 years old.  Jenny and I have known each other since sixth grade, and if it's possible, we're closer now than we've ever been.  I couldn't be happier for her as she starts her life with her wonderful fiancé.  I also couldn't be happier to help plan the special events leading up to her big day!  The first of which ... the bridal shower!  Jenny and I have talked about her wedding for years, so we definitely spent some time brainstorming what she was hoping for when it came to the shower.  She loves stripes and who could blame her?!  They're fun and classic!  She wanted to go with a theme that was vibrant and different from her wedding colors, so we carried through a theme of black and white stripes, with fun colorful flowers, gold accents and a sprinkle of strawberries (she's getting married at Strawberry Farms in Irvine, so we wanted to tie that in).

I did a lot of research when it came down to planning on a budget, and found barely any information on how people found linens, flowers, favors, whether they rented tables and chairs, and all the nitty gritty.  So I hope my post will be able to help someone else when they're lost in the bridal shower world!  

All of the bridesmaids were involved in the planning and because we all live in and around LA/OC, we delegated duties - one 'maid on flowers, one on games, one on cake, one on the special Candle Poem, and one on the video from Zach - while I handled overall decor.  We hosted it at the Mother of the Bride's house where the bride grew up, and her mom made all the food for the day!

I was a regular at Michael's, Amazon, Etsy, Dollar Store, among other stores - picking up supplies over a month's time.  It's also pretty handy that I know my way around Photoshop and if I needed help, my own fiancé is a graphic designer - so that helped too!  I've never spray painted before, but found it super easy painting wooden letters and Dollar Store vases from my apartment patio.  And lucky for me, my mom works at a high school, so we were able to borrow the tables and chairs from there.  However, I did find some inexpensive rental companies who would've worked well too, and handled the delivery and pickup!  

You could feel the love in the room, surrounded by her best friends and family... Jenny was just glowing!  The day was SO MUCH FUN!!  Happy Bridal Showering!!

Our lovely dining room table


Gold Glitter Tulle (Michael's)
White Ribbon (Michael's)
Wooden Pendant (Michael's) + Black Spray Paint & White Paint Pen
Wooden "MRS" Letters (Michael's) + White Spray Paint

Glass Vases (Dollar Store) + B&W Ribbon (Michael's) + Gold AND Gold Glitter Spray Paint (Home Depot)
Flowers (DTLA Flower Mart)
B&W Table Runner (Etsy: LaruesLine)
Pink Tablecloths (Tablecloths Factory)

Blue Berry Baskets (Amazon)
Peanut Butter M&Ms (Amazon)
Clear Bags for M&Ms (Michael's)
"Thank you berry much" tags (Michael's)
Personalized "Jenny's Shower" (Me & my Epson printer!) ; the backside had a nod to her favorite Disney movie, Wreck-It Ralph, except my fiancé and I photoshopped their faces on the characters for fun!
Wedding Dress Cookies (Etsy: Cloud9Confections)
See the little envelope (Michael's) behind the cookie?  This included a scratcher card (Etsy: InklingsPaperie).  It was a quick "game" where the girls were asked to scratch off and find out if they won - winning cards said "I Do!"

J&Z Wooden Letters (Michael's)
Paper Strawberries (Amazon)

"Friends" "Faith" "Love" Letters (Michael's)
Small Easels (Amazon)
Large Gold Glitter Frame (Michael's)
Black & White Striped Memory Box (Hobby Lobby)

This chalkboard was a gift from my mom, not sure where she picked it up :(

I bought a half-sphere oasis and faux peonies from Michaels, along with the b&w ribbon and white tulle.  Inspo pulled from Pinterest!

The B&W striped signs (Cards & Gifts, etc) were made in Photoshop by me, and printed at Walgreens on 5x7 Photo Paper (so easy!)
Gold Frames (Dollar Store)
Small Glass Vases (Dollar Store)
Faux Roses (Michael's)
Gold Sequin Table Runner (ahh i can't remember)
White Tablecloth (Amazon)

This beautiful cake was made by one of the bridesmaids, Nicole and her mom!

Drink Dispenser (Walmart)
Hashtag Garland (Etsy: HawthorneAve)

I created a soundless slideshow of pictures of the couple, which looped (thank you, iDVD)!

Gold Frame (Dollar Store)
Image (Me!)
Printed by: Walgreens

36-inch Balloons (Amazon)
Crepe Paper Streamers (Purchased: Crepe Paper Store; Cut by my fiancé)

Wedding Dress Sticks (Etsy: CreationsbyColett)
You can't see them here, but I also had gold engagement ring picks in brownies (Etsy: SeventhandJ)

The stunning bride-to-be!!

I was inspired by this blog post I initially saw on Pinterest
Then had the idea to make an ombré photo backdrop for fun pictures!
PS: Layering is KEY!

Crepe Paper Streamers (Purchased: Crepe Paper Store; Cut by my fiancé)
Gold Fringe Backdrop (Oriental Trading)

I wanted to step up the tradition of creating a Rehearsal Dinner bouquet.  I used the spool from the white tulle (used on the front door decoration), pulled off one of the white ends and used rhinestone sticker strips (below) to jazz up the handle.  Then I hot glued a paper plate to the white topper of the spool.  It was the perfect base for her bouquet (below)!

  • Track purchases on a shared spreadsheet on Google Drive.
  • Go to the Dollar Store!  I wish I had thought of it sooner, but thanks to them, we were able to get inexpensive glass vases for flowers and candles, along with frames for all of the signs.