• Daily Life

    What I’ve Been Up to Lately and What I Will Be Doing This Summer

    Rereading the Grandma’s Attic series. Its about all I can focus on reading-wise.

    Apparently not reading Hamlet like I’m supposed to, lets see if I can do that in the two days after this draft was written (5/29/20).

    Added three mini African violets to my plant collection as well as more of the ivy clippings to root.

    I’ve polished up some old drafts and scheduled around 10 posts and planned some loose series. I’ve deleted around 40 “drafts” (many were just semi-duplicates and/or titles for potential posts). That still leaves me with around 40, not to mention all the word docs I have as potential posts and notes for ideas in Evernote. I do feel stranded without something of a backlog of drafts, but I had around 80! And 40 is still ridiculous.

    Getting masks to donate partially done, as I commented on an Instagram post, don’t rely on me when the world is ending. Granted, I did chose a complicated mask pattern, but I think it is a more comfortable one. I have completed some for a few others and myself and have been wearing them for two months since I have to go to the PO multiple times a week for work.

    Finally getting around to paint my doors and trim. I’m saving the inside of the doors and closet for when I move out and need to patch all the holes in the walls, I am NOT moving that stuff in there again. I have so much stuff in my room, and I hate painting. I had to make so many trips up and down the stairs that I seriously considered getting rid of my pretty books, I’m not there yet, I told my sister who was hovering to scoop them up. I will try to stop asking for so many books as presents, I use the library so much, and books are SO heavy.

    I’m currently enrolled in three classes that started this week, and I may try to sign up for a fourth.

    My youngest sister graduated from high school, and since they couldn’t have a ceremony, they had a parade, every student in their cars (or tractor in one case) with varying levels of decor and fun such a balloons, bubbles, a dog in one case, a mask for the car front in one case, etc. We sat on the side of the road, well away from non-family members and cheered and took videos. Mom has one of those cloud service made videos that features her and my sister’s point of view from the car, it is amazing. I think this was MUCH more fun than a regular graduation ceremony.

    So, youngest sister graduated from highschool, the one before her graduated from community college, the one before her graduated from nursing school, and the one right after me from graduate school. I’m the only non-graduating sister this semester, I was going to say this year, but I’m actually hoping to have another associate’s this summer so I can continue on another program and get loans.

    Tomorrow we have our graduation celebration at home with family and a few friends. Tomorrow is also a zoom bridal shower for a friend. That friend is having a smaller, modified outdoor wedding in the middle of June. I’m just glad we can go, I thought for sure they’d have to take the family only and livescreen for others option, but they changed plans recently.

    Nursing school sister got engaged last week and plans to get married at the end of July (yes, you read that right), taking her state boards the week of and starting her job at a hospital in August. I was thrilled that my Bhldn dress that I snagged from ThredUp early this year for $40 dollars was in my sister’s color theme, so my bridesmaid dress is done.

    We’ve all volunteered and/or been assigned duties to make this wedding happen. The couple are actually thrilled to that covid-19 means a small wedding (and a no kid policy, something I’m always thrilled about). My task and idea was tiny potted plants of herbs and flowers. Mint seemed a good choice plus Mom has three kinds, so I’m going to have a little mint (and hopefully forget-me-not) nursery in my room. I also volunteered for the bridal cake (we are having Costco cakes for the “commoners”). My sister wants a naked chocolate cake with a chocolate swirl cheesecake on top decorated with berries. I’ll need some practice because it must be perfect, and I must not be crazy the day before. I’m also in charge of (but will have help, I think/hope) assembling bouquets and boutonnieres, like my other sister’s wedding.

    Oh, and the bridal shower is in June, my grandmother was right on that, and the bachelorette the week before the wedding, we are doing it all people, no skimping!

    I just realized that my local outdoor art festival that I’ve attended the last several years is the day after the wedding. And Anastasia is moved to August, but since that is indoors, I’m thinking that will have to be changed. They can’t pack people in seats like that.

    Oh, and did I mention that I have three classes that I have to complete in two months!

     

  • Daily Life

    My Sister’s Pixar’s Up Travel Themed Wedding: The Reception

    Again, iPhone photos I snapped just before the wedding. Since the rain spoiled any chance for more professional before wedding photos (I wasn’t crying over that), we waited in a hall for a bit before we went into the reception. People were already eating, and the line wasn’t bad, so I didn’t have to wait long for food (and I wasn’t particularly hungry, and I was rather in an out-of-body state of mind). 
     
     
    The dance floor is right in from of this. My sister has already hung the map in her living room. She spray-painted the bottles and decoupaged the maps onto the smaller ones. I don’t have a photo, but she also decoupaged a grape soda label onto bottle tops which she glued with a pin onto the table numbers (another reference to Up).
     
    These vases are for the wedding party’s flowers.
    I bounced around for most of the reception. Getting my food, getting candy, talking to people at various tables, begging for cake (the bridal party got the special home-made by a friend of Mom’s wedding cake which was amazingly delicious, but hardly anybody ate any, so we shared some and pigged out at home the rest of the week), watching the dancing, wondering if I would dance, sort of trying to dance, getting mad at myself for it, and generally wandering around. 
    The reception flew by (and the dancers, meaning mostly our half of the bridal party and friends weren’t at all done dancing), and we lined up outside to blow bubbles at the bride and groom, and some children chased them to their car with bubbles.
     
    More Up quotes

     

    And then we cleaned up the place. An idiot (yours truly) caused us to have about 6 whole Costco cakes left. We shared quite a bit of cake, food, and candy. Although I was overwhelmed at the time, I think we easily cleared all the food and decor away since a month later almost everything has a place. My sister took quite a bit for her condo and the little girls took some decorations for their rooms.
  • Daily Life

    My Sister’s Pixar’s Up Travel Themed Wedding: The Entrance Decor

    I cannot share or link any professional photos because of privacy, so I will show you the quick snaps I took on my iPhone before the wedding.

    My sister drew this herself. By the end of the wedding, people had filled out the balloons and spread the colors beautifully.  

    My sister made this herself, and people filled it up wonderfully. She left places to put in her and her husband’s travel photos as well.


    My sister painted that painting ages ago (she’s always loved Up). And she and her now husband painted their hands on the mailbox.
  • Daily Life

    The Wedding

    The day before the wedding, in the morning one of Mom’s friends (so many of her friends helped with the wedding) helped me with the all the flowers. Mom ended up having to buy my sister’s flowers from a variety of stores, so I ended up doing the bridal bouquet all myself. I think our bouquets were as pretty, if not prettier than professionally done ones, but the corsages and boutonnieres were droopy by the end of the day.
    My sister had her four sisters, her sister-in-law, and three other friends as bridesmaids. We each picked either a grey/silver or blue dress. My sister gave us rose gold earrings to wear (they are so elegant). My sister’s wedding dress was off-white; her rings, shoes, and hairpiece rose gold; and her bouquet peachy coral. The groom and groomsmen were in grey suits with blue ties.

    I bought a brand-new J Crew dress on eBay for $35-$40 (including shipping) which I brilliantly waited to alter the day before the wedding. I bought my shoes from 6pm.com, and I got them in wide, and they are comfortable for heels and fit just about perfectly.

     She had planned for an outdoor wedding, and we had had such lovely weather all the month of the wedding, until the end of the wedding week. Mom and the wedding coordinator (also her friend) bought grey and blue umbrellas the day before the wedding. We knew that rain was pretty much guaranteed, and although we practiced for an indoor wedding in the reception area, we ended up having it outdoors. 

    We had most of the photos before the wedding, and then waited indoors, taking fun selfies with Up themed props. The rain stopped briefly, long enough for most of the bridal party to walk out (I’m not sure what we walked down to, but the grandparents walked down to a theme from Up), and then we were given the umbrellas (and one blew inside out and the photographer got an epic photo out of that moment). And though weather was cold and rainy, the wedding was memorable and the photos quite fun and pretty (certainly prettier than they would have been indoors). 

  • Daily Life

    Wedding Preparations

    I used this lipscrub recipe, but I had used up all my rosewater making a version of this setting spray, so I used essential oils . . . since this is something you want to be comfortable tasting or eating, I wouldn’t do that.
    Mom bought us new dresses for the rehearsal, and I picked this lovely dress from our local LOFT outlet. It fits me perfectly, which happens hardly ever. Several people asked if I made it, probably because of the fit and modesty.
    I practiced my make-up ahead of time. I used mainly this tutorial (I also watched it the day of the wedding), but I also found this one helpful as well.
    I made some headbands for my sister, but she didn’t end up wearing them; she wore a rose gold flower clip I had instead, and I think that worked better with the shape of her head.
  • Daily Life

    Bridal Shower

    We threw a shower for my sister at the end of March

    My grandmother has a lovely open floor plan, so we had my sister’s shower at my grandparents’ like we did my sister-in-law’s a year and a half before. And I made cookies as I did before except I think I used a different recipe (this one by Alton Brown, except I added vanilla; they are nice and soft inside yet firm enough to decorate nicely). This time I did a MUCH better job planning (last time I made myself and a few sisters late to the shower we helped throw!). And I also made punch (not super impressed with the recipe, but I’m not sure I followed it right . . . I sometimes have “trouble” following recipes) and a ranch cheese ball (I will try to post the recipe at some point). 

    My sister loves to travel (out of all of us kids, she’s been to the most states,and the only one to travel outside the U.S.; she’s been to several countries outside the U.S., once to teach for about nine months), and she wanted a Pixar’s Up themed wedding and travel themed wedding. So, we had some touches of that at the shower. Not shown include her ocean and travel themed bathroom items, and her friend’s gift of the Up house hand-painted on a plate.
     Yes, I know this looks like a Pinterest Fail, but I don’t care, much, look at my other cookies! I’m so proud of those.

    I made the traditional rehearsal “bouquet” out of the bows and ribbons from the gifts. Luckily almost all of them went together well. She had some strips of purple tulle that didn’t match, but I didn’t want to waste, so I braided those all together for the ring and wrapped it with the ribbon that matched. I was quite proud of my handiwork. Of course, she forgot to use it, but then I’m surprised we even managed to take it to the rehearsal.


  • Beauty and Fashion

    Bridemaid Hairstyle

    I originally wanted a cross between Hermione’s Yule Ball hairstyle . . .

    . . . and Lucy Steele’s hairstyle in the 2008 Sense and Sensibility.

    But (decisions, decisions) . . .
    I switched to wanting a complete updo after a sister mentioned that she thought that would be better, and the above photo was my inspiration. 
    I had a bit more indecision but went with complete updo. However, I ended up with more structure than the above photo. I think looser, more romantic hairstyles are harder because unless you are very careful and gifted, they ended up looking sloppy. One day I want to master the romantic look.

    I watched and rewatched Youtube tutorials before the wedding and during prep. Here are some of them: here and here (I used a couple from the second channel).
    The first one I really liked, but I really needed more techniques and help. So this ended up being more an inspiration. I used my silver floral bobby pins, two in each side of my hair (with one leaf end up and the other down, so it looked more like one piece), like the hair piece in this video.
    I put a little bit of my center back hair in a small bun former and then smoothed a couple locks over it for a form like the above Youtube hairstylist shows. I also needed to loop my curls into more than one barrel curl, and I tease and sprayed some curls a bit, so that the curls would not slip over. I tried to minimize the hairspray though since it makes my hair frizzy.
    Overall (and in hindsight), I found this a fun learning experience. I would like to try it more often . . . under less pressure (although I was rather preternaturally “calm” for most of the wedding day).

  • Daily Life

    Wedding Prep Frivolousness

    Mom liked the earrings the heroine in Hallmark’s Crown for Christmas wore to the ball, so I made her some (with Swarovski crystals) for Christmas and gave them to her early, so she could wear a pair (she chose the blue) in the wedding.
    I bought make-up, hair tools, jewelry, a backless and strapless bra (basically a sticker bra), and Jamberry wraps for the wedding. I ended up not having to use my back-up hair plan (French twister), wearing different earrings, and running out of time for the wraps. I just had my sister paint my nails when we arrived, but the polish quickly flaked off. I doubt my hands were visible and the color was sheer and neutral.

    I woke up at 5:30 in order to have enough time to slowly fix my hair without rushing and stressing. I wasn’t even sure I could fix it properly; I had only had a few slip-shod practice attempts. But I managed. I thought it looked well although that could have been because my previous “attempts” were so dreadful. My make-up was simple and relatively quick. And even though Mom rushed me at the end, we still arrived (from an hour and a half away) before everyone else (the local people). 
    I thought I looked nice, but I would redo two things: 1) I needed a gloss/frizz spray and 2) I would have used nicer nail polish, but those are details that really just irritated me and did not affect anything else. Oh, and I would have brought some activity.