Thursday, September 18, 2014

Planning a 25th Anniversary Party

Last month at the end of August, my parents were married for 25 years!  

In celebration, we threw them a small dinner party at our apartment and invited close family and friends.

Because it was their 25th Anniversary, obviously I needed to work silver into the party decor.  But I really wanted to add more of a specific color so that our apartment would go from just being "our apartment" to being this party space.  

Two things really set off the main colors I chose to work with for the party:  first, four colored glass vases I found that just looked great for an end-of-summer party, and secondly the color of an emerald, which is the stone in one of my mom's favorite rings from my dad.  

For vase filler, I decided to not go out for expensive and plain flowers at the grocery store, and opted to walk through the field near our apartment complex to find some interesting plants.

This one particularly was my favorite, found growing near some trees.  
It has such interesting seeds and formations!

I also found some wild sunflowers and rustic brown filler, but alas forgot to take photos.

These scrapbook accordion fold and bunting helped me to tie the warm and cool pallets together.
While none of the colors are really the same colors, the mixtures of blues/greens and pinks/reds were the connecting factor.

One very fun aspect of the party was this "He Said, She Said" game I created for guests to complete.
I simply took quotes from each of my parents from facebook and made the guests guess which person said it.  Some quotes are obvious, however after 25 years of marriage, it seems couples really do start sounding more like each other, because there were a few trick quotes thrown in there!

 We strung up seafoam balloons with 25th silver hanging decorations from Party Galaxy, and silver tassels across the living room hanging on a seafoam ribbon.  This really helped create a festive atmosphere!

Would you have thought these little tassels were made out of tin foil?  

See my "happy" banner?  That one is from Oh Joy's collection from Target.  Love it!  And the 25th was made by me on vellum paper and ribbon.
Here is a tutorial to make the same kind of banner, and HERE is a printable for the same 25th pictured here.

I made this alternative countertop board to set on my stovetop for parties when we really need more counter space than we do a stovetop.  It worked great!

These colorful, reusable, party straws also helped me tie in those same end-of-summer colors.  
Also by Oh Joy...I think I'm obsessed.

I forgot to take the picture before dinner, so here is the party kitchen after dinner!
On the menu was chopped brisket sandwiches, jalepeno cornbread, macaroni and cheese, and a Simon and Seafort's salad.  For dessert we had strawberry and blackberry cheesecakes!

Tyler made a new friend and chess buddy (my little cousin)!

Whoops!  Way overexposed! 
But as you can see, our normally spacious-to-us apartment is pretty crowded when you pack this many guests inside!  The more the merrier!

And if you have a friend who attended the party who is an aspiring photographer, then she might take a few wonderful family pictures for you!  Thanks Ashley, you're doing some great work!

A great portrait of my parents after 25 years of marriage!

P.S. If you're looking for someone who can do your hair, makeup, AND photography in Oklahoma, Ashley is your girl!  Check her out her facebook page!

Another photo taken by Ashely of Tyler and I with my parents!

I had a great time preparing for this party in our home, and I think everyone who attended had a good time too!  

I think sometimes a space that's just *almost* too small can help everyone get to know each other a little better and interact more, and I'm grateful for all the fun conversations that were had that evening!

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Monday, September 15, 2014

OK State Fair Outing 2014

This past weekend, the Oklahoma State Fair opened once again for its annual festivities and Tyler and I took Friday evening to go explore and get some fair food.

The first thing we did inside the gates were purchase these giant turkey legs, and apparently the girl in the pink coat is astonished that I would pose with one.

Why yes, because I'm a blogger, I will pose with a giant turkey leg.

In other OK State Fair news, teenage girls were being mauled by large mutant stuffed animals.
(It really did appear she was being attacked by this stuffed bear as she carried it through the park).

 When do I not take a couple selfie with the hubs?  
We had a great time in the cool Fall-like weather and enjoying all the tastes, smells, and sights of the fair.

One of my favorite things to do at the fair are to go see the show animals.
Sheep are pretty much the cutest, so that's where you'll likely find me at the fair.

Baa. Ram. Ewe.

 Toward the end of the evening there, we caught the tail end of the Kansas concert.  

Its kind of surprising how good they still sounded.  And of course it is always interesting to people watch.  We saw a drunk hippie girl swaying her hips the whole concert, another girl head-butted her other half in the face (she was drinking too), and some hardcore fans who surely loved Kansas and went to their concerts in their prime.  

When they did "Carry On My Wayward Son" for the encore, we decided to start walking to the car to beat the traffic.  The funny part, however, was seeing all the people who were in the rest of the park who obviously only knew that song who started running toward the stage to see them perform.

I don't know why for sure, but I judge you if you only know one song and that's the only song you care to pay attention to at a concert.  Have some respect and hear the rest of them out too, surely that band had more than one good song - you've just only heard one of them.

Do you attend your state's annual fair?  What are your favorite things to do there?
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Saturday, September 13, 2014

DIY Vellum "Fall" Banner with Printable

One of my favorite places in our apartment to decorate seasonally is our living room window.  It is really a main feature of the room, and really I find myself looking out the window more than anywhere else in the room.  I thought this would be a nice place to hang a seasonal banner.

Since a lot of light comes through the window, I decided to try using vellum - a semi translucent paper - to print a banner on.  I wasn't sure what effect this would have on the colors at first, but I think the light made them seem even more vivid, as well as the banner as a whole becoming more noticeable as a result of the back light from the window.

Oh, did I forget to mention that the weather in Oklahoma this past week has been unbelievably cool and Fall-ish?  It has been GREAT!  

To make your own banner, let's start off with the essential supplies.
You'll need 8.5 x 11 sheets of vellum paper, a single hole punch, a pair of scissors, one roll of ribbon in your choice of color, and optionally a paper cutter.  Of course, you can always use scissors and a straight edge in lieu of that.

If you want to print the same banner I used, click here for download.

First, print out the "Fall" Banner that I've uploaded to google drive for you to use.

If you want to make your own, my tips are to use a thick font and add a medium to thick outline on the edge of the letters in a slightly darker color.  It is super easy to do in Microsoft Word, and you can just center your letters and make the size so that there is one letter per page.  I made the letters around 400-500 points, depending on font.

After you've printed your banner, the first step is to cut an 1.5 inches from the top of each page.

Next, fold the page in half, only creasing from about half an inch below the letter and downward. 

If you feel uncertain of your straight cutting abilities, draw a line from the top of the crease toward the bottom corner.  Then cut along that line so that when you open the page back up you have created an upside-down 'v.'

Cut all your letters and put them in a single (or multiple) stacks - depending on the sharpness of your hole punch and the thickness of your stack of papers.

 My hole punch is pretty new and didn't have a problem cutting through four pages at once.

Almost done!
Now lay the letters out in order, and grab your ribbon!

Thread the ribbon through the holes on the pages. 
I personally think it looks best to thread it from the back so the majority of the ribbon is in front of the paper.

Center and space all your letters on the ribbon, and its almost ready to be hung!
Just tie your banner up somewhere or use thumbtacks to hang it!
(Just a hint, this vellum looks great in a window!)

 Loving my 'happy' banner by Oh Joy from Target!  
Love that she is a blogger too - and seriously she has the cutest kid.


Like what you see?  One more time I'll post the LINK for you!

The download is via google drive, but I set it so that anyone can view, you shouldn't have to have an account.  Let me know if you have any problems!

In regard to this wonderful season, I have a question that I often wonder that I'd like to ask:
In your everyday speech, do you refer to the season that precedes winter as "autumn" or "fall?"
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Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Mini-cation in San Antonio

Last month, I went back to my original full time position on nights from the temporary position I had been holding on days as I finished up my last bit of college.  

The transition from starting work at 6 am to starting work at 9 pm is always tough, but luckily my boss on days let me use my last week to complete all my part-time hours at the beginning of the week and use the end of the week for a small vacation with Tyler.

We weren't really sure where we wanted to go - it needed to be somewhat close since we were only going to be gone for a couple days.  Although we really wanted to go to New Orleans, we decided to pick a slightly closer location in San Antonio.  

After driving through construction from the Dallas/Fort Worth though the entire stretch to San Antonio (literally, there was construction pretty much the WHOLE way) we arrived at our Bed and Breakfast near downtown. 

A big reason we picked San Antonio was because neither of us had been to Sea World.
As a kid, I LOVED ocean animals.  I was the biggest Flipper and Free Willy fan you could find.  My grandpa made me wooden dolphin cutouts that I played with in the bathtub.  

My most grand moment in my younger years was getting to pet and feed dolphins at the Oklahoma City Zoo back when they still kept the aquatic animals.  

Another grand moment was on family vacation in Galveston when my dad caught a baby shark that washed up to the beach.  We would have pictures to prove it, but mom hadn't bought the film for our camera yet, so we had to throw it back.  Mom has regretted the decision to not have camera film since that day.

Sea Lion Cubs

I always love the Sea Lions because they're so interactive!

I think this is the first time I've ever encountered Puffins.  No one ever told me they were so cute!

 Its hard to see, but the Puffin is diving and popping back up out of the water.  It was so cute!

Seeing the penguins dive and waddle was also super cool to see.

 A baby penguin in an incubator.  Its sooooo fuzzy!

We got to watch them do some training exercises with some of their younger dolphins!

Sea World was very fun, but also sad.  I don't think we will ever go to Sea World again, nor do we plan to take our kids there when we have kids.  

While we did have a good time, I feel there are other places that you get to have a more real connection with animals.  We didn't really like the musicals and shows that much - they were neat, but we would rather connect with animals on the animal's natural level rather than things they were trained to do to impress humans.  And because the shows seem to take top priority at Sea World, the amount that people can have those connections with the animals is much more limited than it is even at a regular type of zoo.

Not only is the connection you get to have with the animals not realistic, but any animal in captivity (at any zoo, not just sea world) is really just sad.  But I appreciate zoos that do seem to try to give their animals plenty of room to roam, and the tanks at sea world indeed do seem too small for the animals.

After Sea World, we came back to the B&B to clean up.  As close to the coast as we were, it was much hotter and more humid than Oklahoma and we were quite sweaty as a result.

We ended up having to change rooms because we had accidentally booked the weekend after our intended stay, and luckily the owner of the Bed and Breakfast was super willing to work with us to let us stay there both nights.  I didn't mind having to move rooms, it was almost like getting a sample platter because we got to try out more rooms!

The Bed and Breakfast we stayed at was Ocasey's Bed and Breakfast.
It was a very charming home that was built in 1904.  The rooms were decorated very cute with a mixture of vintage and antiques with modern patterns and linens.  

It was also my first time to stay in a Bed and Breakfast, so the experience of getting breakfast every morning that was homemade was pretty awesome.  I love breakfast.

What else is there to do in San Antonio?  We decided to eat dinner on the Riverwalk that night.

This experience was interesting to me, because when we got there I did not know that Oklahoma City's Bricktown Canal was inspired by San Antonio's Riverwalk - and the similarities are striking.  While each city definitely has their own style, I was just shocked at how much of the idea OKC copied from San Antonio.  I do have to say, dear Oklahoma, that nobody likes a copy cat.  And as much as I like Oklahoma, Bricktown, and the Canal - I do need to admit that this is pretty copycat-ish.

One thing I'll give San Antonio is that their riverwalk is MUCH larger, more grand, and has more restaurants than ours.  

It did make me nervous sometimes walking along the edge of the sidewalk near the river - how in the world do drunk people not fall in the river all the time if I was completely sober and nervous about it?!  (Those sidewalks are much more crowded in the evenings!)

The next morning after getting breakfast and chatting with a family we met at the B&B, we drove over to visit the Alamo.

Since it was a free historic site, it was quite crowded, but really interesting to see it in person!

Loved this old tree!

The Alamo.

Afterward, we used the rest of our time looking through the shops in a small arts district, got some ice cream, and lunch.  By then we needed to be headed home, so we had to say goodbye to all the fun!

We stoped for dinner in Witchita Falls, Texas at an old, smoky, small town cafe.  It reminded me of a place I used to eat when visiting my grandparents that was actually a truck stop, but many of the locals ate there regularly.  We read some sketchy reviews, and the reviews about the place being old and dirty were true...but the food was pretty good, so I guess sometimes you just gotta get over health standards when you're hungry.  The wait staff were very nice as well.  I guess Texas must still allow indoor smoking - which was weird because Oklahoma has outlawed that for more than 10 years.

We decided to stretch our legs on a little walk before getting back in the car, and we saw this creepy sight down the street from the restaurant.  Poor Teddy.

Once we passed the Oklahoma/Texas state line, of course the skies instantly became beautiful, and Oklahoma welcomed us home once again!

Have you traveled anywhere new this summer?

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