Painted & Stenciled Wedding Signs

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There’s no getting around it – wedding costs add up. All of the little things – votives, menus, signage, candles – build into a crazy decor monster that you’ll never be able to use again.

Even on the resale sites, wedding signs cost about $15-$50 each. To use one time! I absolutely refused to spend that amount of money on anything so small for my wedding, which is where my DIY day came in. I decided to shop around and buy blank wood surfaces on which I could stencil my custom signage instead.

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These craft wood surfaces were so cheap at Michael’s – no more than $6 each!

For a wedding of our size (way bigger than we expected) at a venue like ours (essentially, a gigantic field), it’s definitely necessary to have signage to show people where to go. Plus, cute rustic signs are so trendy right now, and so easy to make! I did my buying before I did my planning, so it took me a bit to go through and decide what wording I wanted to include where.

Supplies:
– Craft Wood Signs (I got mine at Michael’s)
– Small letter stencils (I used Martha Stewart’s Typewriter Font)
– Large Letter Stencils (got mine at Lowe’s)
– Stencil Dauber Set (Also Martha’s)
– Craft Paint

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Starter Perennial Garden

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Growing up, I was surrounded by gardens. Vegetable gardens at both my home and at my grandmother’s, and a big yard with perennial gardens everywhere. There weren’t any kids in my neighborhood, so when I was in elementary school, I spent my afternoons in my next door neighbors’ front yard, picking weeds and planting flowers and snacking on American cheese.

This past year has been my first opportunity as an adult to actually plant my own garden. Having a garden – a real one, not a New York City balcony herb garden and some succulents in my window – has been a dream of mine since I was a kid. Now, after countless Martha Stewart magazines, a few coffee table books, and endless pins, I have a yard with ample space for florals and veggies. Hence including the goal to start and maintain a perennial garden on this year’s summer checklist!

Last year, I planted a few hostas, some daffodils, and a hydrangea – and then basically walked away, because school took over my entire life. This year, I took on the gardening task early.

I started a greenhouse and grew some annuals and perennials from seed – nasturiums, morning glory, geraniums, marigolds (with some very old seeds), and a few other flowers I picked up at the store.

Then I got to work.

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See those grasses in the back of this dirt patch? This WHOLE DIRT PATCH was full of those grasses, and Mike and I got to work digging up those messy grasses and creating a clean slate for an entryway garden.

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Summer Checklist 2018

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Super great news – my first year at my doctorate program is over! While we only had about one month off last summer, we were blessed with 10 days off between the spring semester and the summer session, and we’ll get TWO WHOLE MONTHS off this coming summer.

With wedding planning in full swing and a bunch of projects on my list, the timing couldn’t be better. If you remember, I made a summer checklist last year and managed to finish most of it – but not all. Here’s what I hope to accomplish with my time off this summer:

1. Wedding Lawn Games DIY
This is a biggie. Our wedding is in October, in a huge field behind a gorgeous barn, and the entire setup was designed to accommodate lawn games galore for our guests to enjoy until twilight hits. On the list? Mr. & Mrs. Cornhole, Ring Toss for the kids, Giant Jenga. Stay tuned.

2. Finish our Farmer’s Porch
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Last year, I started painting our farmer’s porch with a haight-style blue on the ceiling, and my grand plans were going just fine until Mike proposed (not a bad distraction!) With a half-painted ceiling and a still-chipping floor, it’s fair to say that NO progress has been made in the last 6 months on this project, especially with summer weather hitting so late here in RI.

Goal for this project – July 4th.

3. Start and Maintain a Perennial Garden
I have always wanted to keep a flower garden, and this was never possible in NYC with my minimal apartment space and non-existent yard. I dug out a small garden last year and planted some hosta and hydrangea, just to test and see if the soil would keep for flowers this year.

IT DID!

This year, I planted a ton of different perennials, and I can’t wait until they bloom – IF they bloom! I’m so excited to share the progress I’ve made with my lillies, roses, and other plants this summer.

4. Refurbish a Found Park Bench
At the start of the summer, our neighborhood associated voted to replace the benches along our walking path. However, the bench at the end of our street, though rusted and a bit worn, was in perfectly good working condition. Mike, our neighbors, and I have taken this bench under our care and have decided to refurbish it to enjoy in our own yard.

It’s going to be beautiful – black metal supports with an early American oak style for the wood slats. We’d love to have this one done by the 4th as well to accommodate our guests for the fireworks.

5. Read 2-3 Books for Pleasure
During the school year, I resent reading a bit. Articles upon articles loaded with statistics and scientific writing have made me lose a bit of my luster for a good book. This summer, there are a few books I’d love to read – in particular, the new Gillian Flynn book that they’re making into the HBO Show, Sharp Objects. Beach reads a-go-go!

6. Master the At-Home Workout Routine
Now that I’m teaching spin classes 4 times a week at a local studio, I barely have time to enjoy the other workouts I love during the school year, like running and TRX. With the wedding coming up I’m feeling the heat when it comes to “bride body,” and I’m hoping this free summer will give me the opportunity to enjoy more of the workouts I love. We also just purchased a new paddleboard, which I’m excited to learn how to use and get some of that core strength I’ve always been lacking!

7. Eat More Protein
Along those same lines, Mike has been totally revamping his diet and has seen a ton of success losing weight and recomposing his figure. I hope to do the same in the coming months before the wedding, and beyond – especially since I’ve just found out I have Celiac Disease (more on that later). Protein has always been a struggle for me, but we’ve found a few ways to inject more protein into every meal that I’m excited to share.

8. Get Organized!
The forever task. There’s SO MUCH STUFF in our house, and the collection keeps on growing. A MAJOR task that we started this winter that I’m hoping to finish is our basement. When I say that it’s literally a pile of tools, surfboards, boat accessories and garden supplies, I’m not exaggerating. Things keep piling up, and there’s a lot of potential with the space. A big goal for Mike this summer is to make that space functional for us to take on more DIY projects – like the homemade bar cart he’s hoping to construct in the fall.

9. Find 3 New Go-To Recipes
A goal I always like to set myself each season is to find go-to recipes that are easy to put together for either me or Mike that we both actually like, that’s healthy and clean, and now that I’ve got this new dietary condition, that’s gluten free. I’ve always eaten gluten free because the diet makes me feel better – even my mood! – but now that it’s more medically necessary, I’m looking at this change as an opportunity to really refine my skills in the kitchen.

10. Redecorate our Bedroom
Last but not least – the bedroom. We recently built our own platform bed from scratch and it really upgraded the look of the room. Between that and the dresser I repurposed to be more “nautical” last year, the room is coming together. It’s a weirdly shaped space, and a lot of it is empty now that we’ve also removed a set of twin bunk beds that used to live there. My mission – make our room a cozy hangout spot for us and Reese Witherspoon the dog to rest in.

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Bridesmaid Proposal Pinatas

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Anyone who knows me knows that, for a while there, I fell deep into the recent unicorn craze. That’s why, when I asked my 8 bridesmaids to be in my wedding, I chose these precious unicorn pinatas! (Purchased, as always, on Etsy.)

Each pinata had inside it starburst candies, pink and white tissue paper confetti, glitter gold diamond ring confetti, and homemade wedding confetti I drew up. (Super easy – word doc, scroll font, wedding buzzwords like the town you’ll be married in, “Maid of Honor,” “Bridesmaid,” and your wedding date – cut out and accordion folded.)

Alongside the candy and confetti I included a personal note to each girl, written on these beautiful mini letterpress cards from Missive.

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These mini pinatas were such a hit, and a great way to send a little celebration along with the sentiment of asking my closest friends to share my special day.cropped-profile_picture_symbol

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Traveling Arizona: Phoenix, Prescott, & Sedona By Land and By Air

Recently, Mike’s job took him to Arizona for a meeting of the minds and, since I was on Spring Break during that week, I tagged along to get some sun while Rhode Island got hit by its FOURTH Nor’Easter in a row. If you’ve never been to Arizona, I highly recommend this state for domestic travel. This was my 4th or 5th time there, and it’s still one of my favorite states to visit. The weather is always beautiful, the people are so nice, and the landscapes CANNOT be beat.

This trip, I had this pleasure of going to three cities, with some surprises in each! Mike’s meeting was in Prescott, but due to weather, he flew out early and stayed in Phoenix, where the weather was the complete opposite (80’s and sunny). Prescott is 2 hours north, and the weather was still in the 30’s, so I decided to stay in Phoenix an extra day before meeting Mike at night after his meetings the next day. Our original plan was to head to the Grand Canyon, but we decided to head back to Phoenix after the conference, since northern Arizona had forecasted snow, the sole reason I had left Rhode Island in the first place!  Here’s a look at some of the great experiences we had in the West.

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