Jessie Lynn’s Getting Married!

My sweet friend, Jessie is getting married to a wonderful man this weekend.  Scott and I are pretty excited to celebrate them!  Jessie and I met in college.  There aren’t many events or memories that she isn’t a part of.  She was one of the first of us to actually have a camera (back in the dark ages of my freshman year).  So she was the designated photographer of all of our weekend antics.  My favorite part of Saturday mornings was when all of us girls would crowd around Jessie’s computer to relive the previous night.Jessie 2

And sweet Jessie Lynn was my partner-in-crime on graduation day.Graduation 2

Our group of students got to enter Lane Stadium through the same tunnel the football team uses to make the most awesome game day entrance to all of our home games.  If you haven’t had the opportunity to experience the Virginia Tech Hokies make an entrance at Lane Stadium, watch –> THIS immediately.  Go ahead.  I’ll wait.

About 40 seconds into the video, you’ll see all of the players jumping up and touching the piece of Hokie Stone at the mouth of the tunnel.  WE GOT TO DO THAT.  Right before we entered the field to graduate!  MAJORLY big deal in our world.  Jessie’s hand is on the right.  My thumb is on the left 🙂  Amazing moment.Graduation

Fast forward and Jessie and her soon-to-be husband, Troy, are some very special people to us.  They are clearly meant to be marry one another and are always so much fun to be around.

Here we are out in New York.IMG_2598

This wedding is going to be epic, folks.  I mean, Troy is an amazing DJ.  He was the ONLY person that was able to sneak a special song request past my strict “No Request” policy at my wedding.  The man not only got the DJ to play “Teach Me How to Dougie” but he then taught me how to Dougie.  In my wedding dress.  LOVE.  So I cannot wait to experience the amazing-ness of the dance party that will follow their wedding.  IMG_2591So happy for you guys!  Let’s dance!

I’ll Have My Husband Soon

We are just about through with “busy season” in these parts.  At this time last year, on April 23rd exactly, I wrote an angry letter to “Busy Season”.  (Click HERE for that post.)

Lord willing, Scott will be done working weekends and will get home before 2:00 am starting this Thursday!   While this time is never fun, I feel that we have done so much better than last year.

Last year, we had just moved to New York.  We were baby newlyweds.  I was far from friends and family and I felt that Scott had just abandoned me to figure it all out for myself.  That, of course, is not true.  He was working hard to provide for our family and I love him for it.  But I’ve got things a bit more “together” this time around.

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I’ve enjoyed not needing a meal plan.  Egg sandwich for dinner?  Sure!  (Scott would turn his nose up at this.)  I’ve relished being able to watch The Bachelor (and recently filling the empty hole The Bachelor left in my life with Ready for Love) without male judgment.  I’ve gone to classes one or two times a week at the gym with girlfriends.  Zumba and yoga, to be exact.  I filled my time making crafts.  I hosted my small group of girlfriends at my house so we could chit chat past Starbucks’ closing time.  Good thing too, since some of our best conversations happened on those nights!

I’ve also missed my husband terribly.  And this self-proclaimed introvert finally felt lonely.  It’s rare for me to ever feel lonely.  I love my alone time!  But I’ve {finally} had enough!!

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And Scott, for his part, has handled this year 100 times better.  He had a tough learning curve last year.  But he’s seen the rewards of all of those hours, and lessons learned the hard way, and hard work this year.  He’s confident; he can handle the difficult personalities and demanding nature of it all.  I think that was part of the reason I’ve felt more at peace this year.  Scott was in a much better place mentally, so I didn’t feel such angst.  Not so say it has been easy!  NEVER eating a meal together and NEVER seeing each other is NEVER good for a marriage.

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All of this to say, I’m so grateful for the protection Scott had around him this year.  But I’m so very glad the end is upon us!

Pinterest Week Day 4: Monogrammed Glitter Christmas Ornaments

It’s finally Friday and I wanted to end Pinterest Week with a fun Christmas project I did last fall in preparation for my favorite holiday.  Behold, the monogrammed, glitter Christmas ornaments.  Oh, I still love these so much.  They make my heart happy.   I made these ornaments because we needed to bring an ornament as a gift to a rehearsal dinner for a December wedding.  I decided I wanted to make  the ornament myself.  I then decided that all of our friends and family should get one!

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Warning: I’ve failed just a bit in the “Pinterest” part of this post.  Because while I did find the tutorial on Pinterest…I didn’t PIN the project!  Because I’m just paranoid enough to think,

“If I pin this, some of my friends, whom I am making these gifts for, may see the pin.  And if they see it, they will either A. immediately know I intend to make these for them, therefore ruining the surprise or B. they will see this brilliant idea and immediately try it for themselves, therefore ruining the surprise.”

Completely illogical, I know.  (This was in the days before “Secret” boards.)  And now, of course, I cannot find the original pin or website.  But I have seen this sort of thing a lot on Pinterest and I’m throwing my own project into the mix.  Find this on my Holiday Ideas board.

You will need:

  • Clear glass bulbs
  • An acrylic floor finisher, such as Pledge Floor Care (many tutorials use Mod Podge, but I don’t think that is as viscous or flexible as Pledge Floor Care)
  • Ribbon
  • Monogram Decals

AND

  • GLITTER!  Any color you like!  Cue the hallelujah chorus.

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So here we have the glass bulbs.  I got these from Michaels.  They also had plastic bulbs, which may work fine, but they won’t look as nice.  Spring for glass.

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Start by removing the silver hanger/top from the ornament.

Pour some Mop N Glo into the ornament and slowly swirl it until the entire inside has been coated.  You want to swirl sloooowly to avoid bubbles.  Pour the excess back into the bottle.

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The wonderful, great, brilliant part of this project is that the glitter is contained inside the ornament in the end result.  Not glued to the outside.  So your friends will thank you that you didn’t give them something that will rain glitter or get all over their hands and clothes every time they touch it.  Brilliant.

Make sure you have a trusty “helper” who is willing to be quality control. IMG_4232

You don’t need much floor finisher to coat the inside.  (Please note the shot glasses were great for holding the ornaments upright.  I was not drinking alone.  Thank you.)IMG_4234

Next you will pour a generous amount of your glitter of choice into the ornament.  Then you will slowly swirl the ornament and watch as the Pledge Floor Care grabs and holds the glitter in place.  I turned the ornament sideways (like the photo above) and slowly rotated it around and around, increasing the angle so that the glitter would keep making its way toward the top (open end) of the ornament.  If you need more glitter, you can pour more in.  You’ll likely need to pour out any excess glitter into the glitter container.

Be very gentle during this step.  Don’t shake the ornament.  You want as much glitter to stick to the floor care finish and stay there until it sets!IMG_4235

Once you have the ornament coated to your liking, put it back in the holder to dry and set.  I allowed mine to dry over night.  Don’t put the silver lid back in yet.

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The next day, I carefully put the silver tops back on the ornaments.  Don’t twist or turn them once the wire parts are inside.  This will scrape the glitter off.  I then tied a cute little bow with the ribbon around the silver loop, purely for decoration.  I tied a second piece of ribbon in a loop to hang the ornament from the Christmas tree.  Use sharp scissors to avoid fraying the ribbon.  I also dabbed a small amount of clear nail polish on all of the ends to prevent fraying.

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About those monograms.  I ordered mine from Etsy.  I believe there are machines and kits you can purchase to make your own decals at home.  That was not the best option for me, as I didn’t think  I would use it enough to offset the cost.  There are plenty of Etsy stores that sell decal monograms.  I used three different stores and the quality was consistent across the three.

It is smart to make a list of the monograms you will need, along with the ornament/decal color combo you want for each one before you begin the project.  For example, my mom has a “gold” Christmas tree, so I knew I wanted a gold ornament for her and Dad.  I got them a white monogram so that it would be classy and understated (as opposed to say, red, which would stand out in a bad way on her glittery, golden tree).

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I made a list of all of the monograms I would need and then checked, double checked and triple checked that the letters were in the correct order before buying anything!  When the decals arrived, I applied them to the ornaments using the provided instructions.  Tips on that later.

For our non-married friends, I either did the initial of their last name or a personal monogram.  A monogram for an individual is the first initial of their first name, followed by the first initial of their last name in the middle and the first letter of their middle name comes last.

So Rebecca Rose Fitzgerald is “RFR”

For a married couple, a monogram is the first letter of the wife’s name, followed by the first letter of the couples last name in the middle and the first letter of the husband’s name comes last.

So Rebecca and Scott Fitzgerald’s monogram is “RFS.”

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What I Learned:

  • This project will be twice as fun if you make cinnamon tea and listen to Nat King Cole’s Christmas album.
  • Straight fonts are MUCH easier to apply to a rounded surface (such as these ornaments) than scripty, swirly, curly fonts!  There was much angst over applying the scripty font decals.
  • If your monogram consists of three separate letters (meaning they don’t overlap at all), whether they are curly or not, cut out each individual letter and apply them separately.  Start with the middle letter and then apply the side letters.  This helped me overcome the challenge of applying the decal on the very curved surface of the ornament.
  • If your monogram is all one scripty (beautiful, yet challenging) piece – start in the middle.  Do not start on the left and work to the right, as that won’t allow the far side to lay right.  It will be “squinched.”
  • Relax if there are some blemishes!  Yes, you want this to look professional.  But it IS a project that was done at home – so there may be a crooked letter or an overlapping piece of decal.  But there was also a ton of time, thought and effort put into this personalized gift.  If you have the great friends I know you do, they will love it regardless.
  • This technique can be used for vases, bottles or anything else you want to “glitterize.”  And you can also use the monogram tips above to apply monograms to wine glasses, which would be a great bridal shower or bachelorette gift.

IMG_4310My last piece of advice is to make these enough in advance that you can gift them early.  This allows the gift-recipient to display their new favorite ornament THIS Christmas, rather than having to wait a full year.  We gave them to Scott’s family at Thanksgiving and we hand-delivered them to our friends with freshly baked chocolate chip cookies in the weeks leading up to Christmas.

I hope you have enjoyed this!

Pinterest Week Day 3: Prosciutto, Parmesan, Asparagus Pasta

I’m back with another must-try recipe!  This was one of the first recipes that I pinned and actually tried.  And it was so delicious, it cemented Pinterest’s spot in my heart for good.  Seriously, folks?  Try it.  You won’t be disappointed.

Prosciutto Pasta

Source: Valsocal.blogspot.com via Rebecca Fitzgerald on Pinterest

It’s such a quick, easy recipe.  Click HERE to go direct to the blog post with the recipe.  You can prepare all of the delectable goodies that make this pasta delicious while the water is boiling and the noodles are cooking.  This dish has so much going on that it is easily a single plate meal (unless you want seconds, of course).  It’s a bit creamy, the red pepper flakes add some pep and the prosciutto adds saltiness and makes me feel fancy.  And of course the asparagus makes you feel healthy!  Serve it with a chilled glass of white wine and you’ve got yourself a perfect meal.  Its a great week day meal for the spring and summer.  When I get Scott back from accounting-land perhaps this will be our celebratory dinner!

Pinterest Week Day 2: Pom Poms Galore!

I’m back to continue “Pinterest Week” and we are getting crafty today.  If you read the blog, you’ve already seen this project at my sister-in-law’s baby shower.

My sister-in-law and I found this pin while looking for gender neutral, “under the sea” baby shower ideas.  We were both instantly hooked and set out to try to achieve the same level of greatness for our new niece or nephew!

Pom PictureSource: andersruff.com via Rebecca Fitzgerald on Pinterest

I used the accompanying tutorial from the  adorable, creative blog Anders Ruff.  Seriously?  Check it out – those ladies are brilliant.

Click here for the tutorial.  The instructions are very detailed and easy to understand.

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Tips and Tricks I Learned:

  • Plan ahead!  These little guys are time consuming!  They are also worth it.  This is not a project you want to take on the week before the party.  It was nice to make several pom poms in an evening but be able to stop if I got bored or my fingers got tired.
  • Enlist help! Many hands make light work.  Invite girlfriends over to help you.  Promise them wine and chocolate.  It’s amazing how many we got done while chatting away.  (A huge thank you to Maggie and Bridgette!)

IMG_5119I think that the garland makes a fun decoration for almost any type of party or even in a little kids room.  Since you can make the poms in any color under the sun you could go bold in primary colors for a little man’s room or soft and girly for a baby girl nursery.

Or…you could be that girl and put them up in your office!Office

Hey, like I said, I spent a lot of time on these! I was determined to get some more use out of them!

On This Day

Today is the sixth anniversary of April 16, 2007; the day that 32 people lost their lives in a senseless tragedy at my beloved Virginia Tech.    Today is the day that too many people will wake up hoping that the terrible tragedy in Boston yesterday was a nightmare, only to discover that, heartbreakingly, it wasn’t.  My heart is heavy for so many families and communities.    As someone touched by unthinkable tragedy, I want to encourage you to hold the ones you love tightly and appreciate the many, simple blessings in your life.  Blessings such as having dinner together or a quick text to say, “I love you,”  which can so easily be taken for granted.

I will be back tomorrow with normal posting.  But today I want to offer up this poem, which Nikki Giovanni gave as her address at the convocation for Virginia Tech.

We are Virginia Tech.

We are sad today, and we will be sad for quite a while. We are not moving on, we are embracing our mourning.

We are Virginia Tech.

We are strong enough to stand tall tearlessly,

we are brave enough to bend to cry,

and we are sad enough to know that we must laugh again.

We are Virginia Tech.

We do not understand this tragedy. We know we did nothing to deserve it, but neither does a child in Africa dying of AIDS, neither do the invisible children walking the night away to avoid being captured by the rogue army, neither does the baby elephant watching his community being devastated for ivory, neither does the Mexican child looking for fresh water, neither does the Appalachian infant killed in the middle of the night in his crib in the home his father built with his own hands being run over by a boulder because the land was destabilized. No one deserves a tragedy.

We are Virginia Tech.

The Hokie Nation embraces our own and reaches out with open heart and hands to those who offer their hearts and minds. We are strong, and brave, and innocent, and unafraid. We are better than we think and not quite what we want to be. We are alive to the imaginations and the possibilities. We will continue to invent the future through our blood and tears and through all our sadness.

We are the Hokies.

We will prevail.

We will prevail.

We will prevail.

We are Virginia Tech.