Wednesday, 6 October 2010

Things I love about October

This week began one of my favorite months out of the year. Although I can think of something I love about every season, October has a lot going for it. My absolute favorite holiday is Halloween. We always had these fantastic parties on Halloween where all my cousins and school friends would come dressed up. So Ed and I will be continuing the tradition with a huge party our first Halloween in the house.
Here are a few other things to love about October:

~ It is finally "warm coffee weather" like Leah and I call it. It is the beginning of nights that end with a hot chai, tea, coffee, or cocoa.
~CANDY CORN! This candy is my obsession.
~I can wear skirts, tights, and my Merrell boots.
~Harvest Moon
~ Pumpkin Spice Lattes

Friday, 17 September 2010

If I had a hundred lives to live...

Things I would love to know how to do....

~Salsa and/or swing dance
~ Bind and repair books
~ Decorate Elaborate Cakes
~Bake Delicious Danishes
~ Speak Croatian, German, French, and Spanish
~ Design websites
~ Write a Best Seller
~ Open a Coffee Shop
~ Sail something bigger than a Sunfish
~ Keep a goldfish alive
~ Save half my paycheck
~ Get into a size 6
~ Not press snooze 4 times in a morning

Just something on my mind.... Pictures of our home projects coming soon!

Wednesday, 18 August 2010


Last week I finished reading Eat, Pray, Love and last night I got to see the movie! They were both really enjoyable and inspirational. I love how Julia Robert's portrayed Elizabeth Gilbert. In some ways, I am very much like Liz Gilbert and her insatiable appetite to travel. "I am loyal and constant in my love for travel," is a line she uses in a book that I must agree with whole heartily. When I lived in Scotland, every day was an adventure for something new, and I relished in it. My week full of Eat, Pray, Love has made me reflect on where I would go if I could spend a year traveling the world. Going with her rules with have three countries all starting with the same letter I chose the countries Costa Rica, Croatia, and China. The beautiful pictures and lure of tropical paradise attracts me to Costa Rica. Croatia is what I have heard being called the "homeland" by my fellow friends of Croatian descent, and I have to agree. My four days in the jewels of the Adriatic was not nearly enough. I actually feel the same way about Croatian as Liz Gilbert felt about the Italian language. China would have to be added to the list because I have not made it yet to an Asian country and its rich culture fascinates me since I took a survey of Asian history class. I harassed Edward with the same question and he chose the countries Argentina, Austria, and Australia. I do know that I want to travel with him to them all.

In the spirit of my travel thoughts post, I have also compiled a list of my travel tips I have accumulated through my adventures.
1.) For the love of god pack extra underwear in your carry-on. I learned this the hard way when I landed in Rome with only the underwear I was wearing. Unfortunately, my luggage never made it to the place I was staying (it actually made its on tour of Italy) Wearing Ed's boxer briefs in Pompeii was not my idea of a good time.
2.) Never eat somewhere with a picture menu, you are just asking for trouble.
3.) Have a travel ritual. I had a friend backpack from Barcelona to Istanbul within three weeks and her group counted all the different ways you can flush a toilet. Tabitha, my bff, tries McDonald's no matter where she goes and plans to take pictures with every state capitol building. I have a cup of coffee at every random cafe I come across when I travel.
4.) Have a playlist for your adventure. Whatever inspires you.
5.) Public transportation can be the biggest thrill and biggest headache you have ever experienced. it is totally worth it.
6.) Write about your trip, you will not remember a thing if you do not.
**There may be more to come of these later**

However, until then, happy trails and good night.

Sunday, 25 July 2010

If the Dress Fits....

**Our Toes after a fantastic Pedi**

My group of friends believe that one does not just a birthday, but a epic birthday week! Mine started this Saturday with a Magic Nails visit for a spa pedicure. This is a new place in D'Iberville that specializes in aromatherapy treatments with pedicures. Leah, Linda, and I got our feet done and used a combination of peppermint and chocolate. It was fantastic! They did a scrub down our legs and wrapped warm towels around our calves.

**Aromatherapy foot soak**

Ashlei met us and we drove off to Mobile for some bridal dress shopping. We went to David's Bridal where I tried on a few dresses that didn't impress me. The girls quickly picked out a bridesmaid dress. We then made our way to a shop in Mobile titled The Timeless Bride in downtown. A vintage bridal shop, and the owner agreed to meet us around 4 to squeeze us into the day. We then went to another shopped where I tried on the most expensive dress of the day (1300 dollars) We returned to The Timeless Bride, waited awhile for an appointment to finish and the owner let me try on dresses way past 5 pm. I went ahead and settled on a very simple dress that is going to be extremely altered in length and within my budget. I feel like the dress is a work in progress, and I still have a bit to go before its "the dress." However, I have never been one to step away from a project.

Friday, 23 July 2010


I joined the website the summer of 2008 when I still lived in Scotland. The site is like facebook for the avid reader. You have a profile and book lists. Along with creating your own lists (i.e. book I own and need to read) there is a "to read," "currently reading," and "read." I always am adding books I am reading and want to read. Today I added the 1000th book to my lists!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Although most of then are in the "to read" list, I feel like one day the goal may actually be met.

In other news, despite the tropical storm warning, I am going with three of my bridesmaids to Mobile to look at wedding and bridesmaid dresses. Yay for my birthday week!

Sunday, 11 July 2010

Trade #30!!!

I cannot lie... I have an obsession when it comes to obtaining books. It is nearly as strong as my desire to read. Buying books from used bookstores, haunting BAM and B&N, raiding my libraries book sale closet, amazon, and my favorite for new books overstock are some of my most used methods for obtaining books. However, for about six months I have found a whole new way to feed my little problem....

It is called Swaptree is web service where one can exchange books, CDs, DVDs, and video games. Each user creates a unique account that manages two lists a have list for books one owns that they want to trade, and a wants list for books they would like to receive in trade. When a trade is initiated (it can be two or three way) it is approved by all parties involved. Once that happens the address the item you are sending is given, and you ship the item for about two to three dollars using media mail. When the item is received you rate the user that sent you the item on promptness, conditions, etc. I have only had three negative experiences with two damaged items, and one item I sent that got lost in the mail that has not been found to this day. It is a great way to get rid of books that I don't want anymore for books that I really really want that are not circulating in the library system. The trick is to have double the amount of items on your want list than on your have list. Everyone should check out the website and happy trading!

Friday, 9 July 2010

Can one have a tax deductible wedding?

My latest wedding read is a new book called The Tax Deductible Wedding by Sabrina Rivers. The book was really a grab bag of different topics from issues of young adults personal finance and wedding planning basics. The first half of the book was mostly things I have read before in my extensive reading. Some more interesting ideas Rivers suggests are finding businesses to sponsor your wedding, media coverage of your wedding, and making certain aspects of the wedding donations to non-profits for tax write offs. I don't think I will personally be pursuing any of those routes.

The wedding budget is the real brick wall I have run into with planning. With buying a house, my student loan repayments, and my very low salary the money is just not there. I need some real creative options that are not tacky. I would rather not have a wedding at all than it be cheesy. One last thing, the book had random illustrations throughout and the photo I have included is the one that I related to most in this book.

Monday, 5 July 2010

Engagement Picture Teaser

Our wonderful friend Jessica took engagement pictures for Edward and I last month. This is just a sample of what is too come!

Tuesday, 29 June 2010

Go Green, Bride!

The Green Bride Guide by Kate L. Harrison is actually the second eco-friendly wedding guide I have cracked open. The other book I read in the fall called Eco-Chic Weddings by Emily Anderson. The book by Harrison was way more sufficient. Eco-Chic Weddings had a lot of ridiculous suggestions such as hemp dresses, etc. The Green Bride is organized on a scale based on price, which I find much more helpful since my wedding budget is extremely low. Some of her ideas are actually charming without being too extreme. She is an expert on environmental law and give a lot of useful information. Some of the things she had to say about toxins in detergents and synthetic fibers really made me think twice about the daily things in our life. Although my wedding will probably not be an event to make Green Peace proud, but there may be a few steps I can take to save our planet during my wedding.

Friday, 25 June 2010

I have fallen in love for a second time....

After watching many many episodes of "Say Yes to the Dress," I have been inspired to look for wedding dresses. I have looked through hundreds of pictures from, ebay, designer websites, google. None made me feel as smitten as the dresses by Stephanie James. I never wanted a poofy dress or one with a train. However, I have always thought I wanted a long dress. Well these Audrey Hepburn t-length beauties have changed my mind....

There are practical reasons for a t-length dress. I want t
o have a classy, but simple spring afternoon wedding that could involve an outside reception on the bay. I would enjoy not having to drag my dress. Plus I have some awesome looking calves! On a more nostalgic note I love my grandmother's wedding dress, and there is a definite likeness to these dresses. Unfortunately I can not even begin to afford one of these dresses going between 1,000 to 2,000 dollars a pop.

I also saw this dress when I lived in Edinburgh, and had always admired that bride's style...

Here are some more Stephanie James images for everyone's enjoyment!

Friday, 18 June 2010

French Women Don't Get Fat

I read the bestseller French Women Don't Get Fat by Mireille Guiliano in order to motivate myself for my own weight loss journey. The author grew up in a little town in France and studied abroad when she was eighteen. She gained a new perspective on the world and over twenty pounds. Her wake up call was when her father saw her for the first time after her year abroad and the first words out of his mouth were "You look like a sack of potatoes." I had a similar moment last summer when I began working at the library when two patrons over the course of a week asked if I was prego. Ironically, I had not been at my fattest at that point which was about 2 years before when I graduated from Southern Miss. To date I am happy to report I am almost down a pants size.

Guiliano does not really share anything ground breaking. Same advice we have all been given such as watch portions, walk more, eat out less, etc. She is
a good writer, however, and has some wonderful insights into the "culture" of eating. I find it worthwhile to read just for this paragraph alone...

"We French are not as fiendish about finding shortcuts as Americans are. Perhaps it is why we are no longer a great power, but the trade-off is that we are not fat."

Me the Week of Graduate from Southern Miss with my BFF Linda (ABOVE)
Me about a month ago at BYOBrush Studio * I can certainly see a difference*

Friday, 11 June 2010

An Occupational Hazard

Great new this week. The Pass Christian Library has been the first Harrison County Library to be destroyed by Katrina to reopen. This week a whole library full of new books became available to us. So I took advantage and ordered all their glossy wedding books! I look forward to reading and reviewing all of these. If you are ever in the Pass check it out!

Thursday, 3 June 2010

What's Your Wedding Style?

For the past week I have slacked due to the fact that I have been reading a book that less than thrilled me. The title is What's Your Bridal Style?by Sharon Naylor and Casey Cooper. When I view the must have lists of wedding books Sharon Naylor's dozens of titles always appear. I bought this small book on amazon for a ridiculously cheap price, and I am glad that I did not spend more than four dollars to get it. It is advertised almost a book full of quizzes in order to jump start wedding planning. Since obtaining my first copy of Teen magazine, I have loved taking quizzes and years down the road in college I would be the first to repost a myspace questionnaire.

However, this book did not contain one quiz for a brides enjoyment. Instead there are chapters broken down by theme, such as wedding cake, ceremony, etc. Most of these chapters contain questions to discuss with your groom. The groom I am marrying does not have interest in questions such as "Describe your favorite work suit. What color is it? Fabric?" The book also tries to pigeon hole brides into about six different categories such as traditional, city-chic, exotic, romantic, and other adjectives. I feel like most of these categories did not apply to me as a bride.

Is it possible I have progressed further in the development of my wedding than I realized? As a result, I believe buying two trendy wedding magazines would be a much better investment in order to get the matrimonial creative juices flowing. One last gripe, budget is not really a theme at all in this book making some of the suggestions made seem silly for someone with a budget as low as mine. For Stephanie Naylor's other books I am reserving judgement till I can try out some more.

Buying this book was silly in hindsight since what little girl has not been planning her wedding since she was ten years old?

Monday, 17 May 2010

Somebody is Going to Die if Lilly Beth Doesn't Catch That Bouquet

The book by Delta ladies Gayden Metcalfe and Charlotte Hays called Somebody is Going to Die if Lilly Beth Doesn't Catch that Bouquet is near and dear to my heart. They have become famous with their book Being Dead is No Excuse a guide to Southern Funerals that I have not read yet. I picked up their book about Mississippi weddings shortly after I got engaged. I sat on the couch laughing for hours.

The authors give us significant nuggets of southern wisdom and etiquette. This is a favorite quote of mine:

"As necessary as the groom might be for the proper Delta wedding, a Southern girl must never--nevah!--be congratulated upon obtaining one. To do so is an insult to the whole of Southern womanhood."

Metcalfe and Hays slam the traditions of lighting a unity candle and the absurd grooms cakes fashioned to resemble a golf course. They share experiences and stories of Delta weddings past. I think this book should be required reading with the pre-marriage counseling classes for a southern bride or a bride marrying a southern boy.

In other news, today Edward and I took our engagement pictures! It was pretty warm, but we may have beaten the worst of it since June is just around the corner.

Wednesday, 12 May 2010

How can I save 500 dollars on my wedding?

My second reading for wedding planning is Denise and Alan Fields book called Bridal Bargains 7th Edition. This one was published in 2005 and uses a lot of web sources. However, I wonder how many more are included in the later publications. The writers had me on the third page with this line:

You can bet your bridal veil that the industry knows EXACTLY how lucrative all these "I Do's" can be. To illustrate this, check out what the publisher of Bride's magazine told a trade journal about the wedding industry: "Never before in a woman's life, and never again, is she going to be worth this much money to a marketer. There is no price resistance and she is completely open to new brands," Bride's publisher cackled adding that the internal tag line for Bride's is "Where Love Meets Money."

This is a great book to read at the beginning of the planning process before any contracts are signed or money is exchanged. What gets me the most is the chapter on bridal gowns. It makes me want to sew my own dress. In the United States the average wedding dress costs 800 dollars, but that was actually lower than I expected when I watch TLC's Say Yes to the Dress. Most of those brides have higher dress budgets than my entire wedding! The descriptions of synthetic materials, shanty seams, and botched alterations made me cringe. Gowns are only just the beginning of the different vendors that have to be employed.

Some other interesting facts from Bridal Bargains:

~ Several investigations have proved when wedding is mentioned when booking an event the price for the service can increase 20 to 40 percent.

~ In an article by CBS's Chris Plummer the tenth most over paid profession is wedding photographers.

~Alcohol will be the most expensive aspect of a catering bill.

~ David's Bridal has extremely poor customer service ratings.

Now that the tulle over my eyes have been lifted, I am ready for something more light hearted.

Friday, 7 May 2010

Wedding Bells

**My own Engagement Ring!**

With my upcoming wedding in the next year I have decided my first cluster of themed reading will do with the big day! I have a list of over thirty books to get through that are both fiction, essays, histories, and wedding planning. The vast amount of books on wedding planning helped me make this decision. Also my guilty pleasure of chick lit which almost always deals with dating, weddings, or divorce.

When I first got engaged in November I promised myself I would only buy this one wedding planning book. I have certainly broken this promise thanks to swaptree and amazon. However, if I was going to buy one book the first one I bought could walk me through the entire wedding planning process. It is The Knots Book of Wedding Lists created by the pentacle of wedding planning websites created by Carley Roney. I live by lists. So this book is my ultimate dream. Each chapter is broken down into a different aspect of the wedding such as flowers, reception, ceremony, etc. There are also side notes that give tips on how things such as "Five Alternatives to Veils" or "Ways to Save." My personal favorite page is the complete budget breakdown by percentages. This gave me the starting point for me to create a wedding budget. There are also helpful illustration and fun facts scattered throughout the books. As far as wedding books go I give it five stars!

Saturday, 1 May 2010

In the beginning....

My dad repeatedly tell this story from my childhood when he caught me sitting up in my room reading at 1:30 in the morning on a school night. I was in fifth or sixth grade. Ever since then I have not stopped reading. It should surprise no one that a girl that would read during PE went on to get a bachelors degree in English and history. Then a master's degree in history, work at a bookstore, and then become a librarian. Such is the typical plight of the liberal arts major. Fortunately, my job is anything but the stereotype and I am constantly learning about awesome new books.

I have a very distinct reading system, which is my main purpose for creating this blog. While I will read anything at least once, I tend to read in themes. That's right if I am in a fantasy mood, I will read fantasy books for several weeks or months until I move onto something else. I thought this was a bit odd until I stumbled upon a book titled Book Lust by fellow librarian Nancy Pearl.

In this book and its sequel Nancy Pearl breaks down books she has read by category and theme. Such as books from the south, boys growing up, etc etc. The pages of thematic reading fascinates me so I have challenged myself to complete my own reading lists. In order to find out what theme I have chosen for my great literary project stay tuned.. you will soon find out!