A Rustic Wedding Weekend

Earlier this month, we attended a friend’s wedding at a farm. It was a fun and unique site that allowed for a rustic country wedding theme.

The ceremony and reception took place in the little red round barn, which used to be an old feed barn for cows. The top floor of the barn had a large round area where the feed dropped down to the lower floor’s troughs. Today, the barn is used as a museum and wedding reception venue.


The night before the ceremony, we were at the location for the rehearsal and I captured these images of the storm rolling in. “Toto, I don’t think we’re in Kansas anymore.” Thankfully, on the day of the wedding, the rain held off and the weather was a perfect mid-60’s with a slight breeze blowing. IMG_4477


The venue had a few other old log buildings that were perfect for rustic wedding photo opportunities.


With the potential for rain, the couple decided to hold their ceremony in the upstairs section of the round barn. They created rows for seating by using hay bales covered with sheets. They also hung twinkling lights around the barn which created soft romantic lighting.


The aisle that the bridal party walked down was lined with lemons to go along with the yellow and brown color scheme.


After the ceremony ended, everyone headed downstairs for the reception. The couple chose to have an open seating arrangement and used this fun chalkboard to tell everyone that they were free to pick their own seat.


In the reception location, tables and chairs lined the circle on the bottom floor.

Mason jars with tea light candles and icicle lights were hung around the reception venue.


The centerpieces were arranged with different types of glass bottles, jars, candles and dried flowers on large round logs like below. IMG_4547


For their favors, the couple set up a self-serve popcorn bar. The chocolate drizzled popcorn was my favorite.


One of my favorite photos from the day is this shot of the bride’s bouquet on one of the bright white chairs.

As the sun set that evening, it seemed like a great ending to a fun day.IMG_4927


A little piece of New York

Yesterday, I posted about our weekend in Saratoga Springs, New York. We had a great time and now there is a souvenir of our fun trip on our kitchen counter. As part of our welcome gift, Angelo and Ashley gave us two bottles of Saratoga sparkling spring water. The sparkling spring water comes in beautiful blue bottles and when I brought them home, I liked them so much that I thought they deserved a home with our kitchen decor. So here they are (the bottle of wine was one of the wine choices we served at our wedding):





Thanks Angelo and Ashley!

Sweet Saratoga Springs

It’s wedding season! Time for fun dresses, shoes, gifts and travel. This past weekend, we attended our first wedding of the season.

The wedding was in the beautiful town of Saratoga Springs, New York. It’s an arts, culture and equestrian-centered community nestled about 30 minutes north of Albany. We loved it so much that we wanted to stay!


Everything about Saratoga Springs is charming. There is a fun downtown area with lovely boutiques, a few mainstream stores and plenty of restaurants and bistros to suit every palette.




While we were in town for the wedding, we ventured downtown and had coffee at Uncommon Grounds. We were even served by Capt. Dangerous!



We stayed at a charming bed and breakfast that was close to downtown and we were able to walk back and forth between the B&B and the downtown area.


On our way to downtown, we crossed through Congress Park. Several of the springs that give Saratoga Springs its name, are located in this park. It’s also home to a number of ducks and their ducklings.




Friday night, the rehearsal dinner was held at an Italian restaurant called Chianti. We enjoyed an amazing meal and relaxed and laughed with family and friends before joining the rest of the group at the local watering hole: City Tavern.




BJ was a groomsman in the wedding, so Saturday we arrived at the ceremony and reception venue a few hours early for pictures. Then we hopped a trolley and rode around town for more pictures with the wedding party. I tagged along and took some candid photos and also captured a few shots of the scenery.




After we got back from pictures, it was time for the ceremony. The wedding and reception were beautiful. It was an amazing weekend!



Congrats to Angelo and Ashley!

New England Charm

And we’re back!! After a two week long hiatus, we are back and ready to bring you more home decor projects. But first, where have we been for the last two weeks? Good question. BJ and I took some time off last week to visit family and friends in New England. And then, once we got back home, we needed time to organize the house and get back into the swing of things.

Our trip to New England started in upstate New York to visit some of BJ’s family.  After we spent a few days in New York, we headed to Wallingford/New Haven, Connecticut to celebrate my cousin’s wedding.

While in New York, we took in the town of Saratoga Springs and drove around to see some of the beautiful local surroundings. One of the features I loved in the surrounding areas architecture was the use of columns and arches. Big arched windows and columns were everywhere.


I fell in love with the quaint charm of Saratoga Springs, an equestrian community located about 30 minutes north of Albany.  The downtown area is charming. Adorable bistros, restaurants and boutiques line the streets of the central business district.
One morning, we ate breakfast at a bistro called Max London’s. I loved it’s trendy fun atmosphere. Check out how they serve coffee!
Because Saratoga Springs is known for it’s annual horse race, there were statues of horses all over town.
Another feature of some of the New England buildings we visited were the beautiful chandeliers. This one was located in a conference/wedding venue in Saratoga Springs:
My favorite by far, were the chandeliers in the wedding venue of my cousin’s wedding reception in New Haven, Connecticut. How beautiful! The reminded me of beautiful crystal pineapples.
The foyer outside the reception hall boasted big beautiful columns and large windows. This is where we enjoyed cocktail hour.
We had a wonderful time visiting with family for an extra long weekend. But, now we are back in the Midwest and working away on our home decor projects. It was great to be so inspired last week by all the beautiful architecture and charm of New England. Maybe we can bring a little bit of it into our Midwest home.
Keep checking back for more updates on our progress!

Home Decor Guilty Obsession #1: Crate and Barrel

It’s hasn’t been that long since I discovered Crate and Barrel and fell in love. After living in a small town for most of my life, I never came across a Crate and Barrel store. Not even in my trips to multiple big cities. Now I live only 45 minutes from Crate and Barrel and sometimes it takes serious willpower not to drive there and spend endless amounts of money. I love their modern yet comfortable furniture and their classic homewares. We have several accessories from there including vases, coasters, glass fish and picture frames. We also have kitchenwares such as beer mugs, champagne glasses, stemless martini glasses, pitcher and ice cube trays. BJ and I can go into a Crate and Barrel and spend hours just browsing the store. One of our favorite things to do is to look at all the fun toys on the kitchen gadget wall. We also browse the furniture upstairs and sit on nearly every couch in the store! Each time we go there, we usually come home with another decor piece or kitchen gadget. I would buy nearly everything in the Crate and Barrel store and that is why they made my list for Home Decor Guilty Obsessions.

Here are a few of my favorite Crate and Barrel finds:

These beautiful champagne glasses were given to us as a gift for our wedding.

The pitcher in the middle was also a wedding gift and the dark blue stemless martini glasses we found on sale during one of our visits to Crate and Barrel!

The heart-shaped bowl below was a gift from Crate and Barrel for creating our wedding registry there!
Crate and Barrel is also a great go-to place for wedding and Christmas gifts! I love buying gifts for friends and family. They also wrap the gifts in store in their fun white boxes.
There are Crate and Barrel stores all over, but my favorite one is definitely the store on Michigan Avenue in Chicago. One year, we went to Chicago to do some Christmas shopping and several of our gifts came from this very store! (It’s also down the street from where get got engaged! We went shopping there the same day BJ popped the question!)
Keep in an eye on future posts for more of my home decor guilty obsessions!

Pinterest and reorganizing my office

I’ve been hearing more about more about the Web site Pinterest, so I decided to try it out and link it to my blog! Here is my Pinterest site where you can find my inspirations and favorites.


It’s still a work in progress, so keep checking back and I will continue to add more content. I’m also going to come up with better names for my boards, but as for right now, I’m having writer’s block when it comes to great names. It will come to me, somewhere random, I’m sure. I always find myself jotting things down on post-its or running to find my iPhone to jot down an idea. This is probably another good reason for me to join Pinterest. I found this article on Real Simple’s Web site that talks about using Pinterest for decorating ideas.


Aside from joining Pinterest today, I also reorganized my office. I usually find myself doing this when papers and office supplies start stacking up and all of the clutter starts getting to my OCD. Because I spent about an hour yesterday shredding the junk mail that stacked up by the paper shredder, I focused my energy today on sorting through the random boxes sitting on my bookshelves. I have a habit of storing things in boxes and forgetting where I put them. About a year later, I go through the box and it’s like finding buried treasure. Although sometimes, the buried treasure would’ve been more useful a few months prior. When I was actually looking for it.

So after rummaging through boxes and throwing away trash and other useless items, I organized what was left and placed the items in their new LABELED homes! I also reorganized my books and added a few more that were laying around the house from my last visit to Borders.

The brightly colored boxes came from my sister-in-law. She used them for my bridal shower to organize and display different games and such and then after the shower, she gave them to me. The black and white box came from my best friend. She used it to wrap my Christmas present last year! How clever! Most of the boxes and baskets in my office were once given to me as part of a gift or to wrap my gift. I love giving (and receiving) presents in boxes and baskets that they can reuse again.

I rearranged some of the boxes and supplies on my other bookshelf for a less cluttered look. The bright green basket also came from my sister-in-law. She gave my bridal shower gifts to me in a green basket and a pink basket! They came in handy while I was planning my wedding and I used them to transport some of the wedding decorations. The gray and white box is from the Container Store and I used it to carry wedding papers and labels for our favors. Now the boxes have a home in my office storing supplies and other items.

For me, it’s always easier to work in a decluttered, organized office. It’s calming. Not to mention now that I’ve labeled the boxes with my handy-dandy label maker, I can easily find what I put away.

If you’re in the market for a label maker, I really like my Dymo Letratag.

The kitchen island and a home for my wrapping paper photo frames

After we moved into our house and began unpacking all of our existing kitchen dishes and appliances and then added all of our wedding gifts on top of that, we quickly filled up every existing storage space in our kitchen. We had things crammed in our cabinets and we were constantly digging around and stuffing to get everything to fit. Most people would consider getting rid of some of their items, but not us. Our solution: build more storage so our appliances and dishes could be spread out around the kitchen. The result: our fabulous kitchen island, built by us! Well, all of the pieces are from Ikea and we designed and assembled the whole thing.

Our goal with the island was to not only increase our existing storage space, built also to have a big workspace for preparing meals and a place to entertain guests in our kitchen while we prepare meals. We also wanted a place where we could eat dinner in our kitchen, but we weren’t interested in the traditional dinette table. The unit is also freestanding which will allow us to take it with us if or when we move out (some disassembly required).

The color choice of the island, which is different from our existing cherry kitchen cabinets was to create a contrast between the dark wood and the white cabinets. We also wanted to brighten up the kitchen. The dark cabinet and dark floor needed something that would pop against them! We chose the butcher block counters for a couple of reasons. First, they look really nice with the white cabinets and second, they were much more cost effective then the granite countertops we originally picked out. Because the bar and the work surface were two different pieces, the cost of granite skyrocketed.

Here’s our progress as we put the island together:

Zoey was also very helpful during the assembly. She supervised the entire project.

Some of the other fun features of the island include, the hidden trash can…
The book shelve for cookbooks and decorations…
And the cabinets to display our drink ware (with lights installed!):
So lastly, you might have noticed the new home for my Beating the Heat DIY project. I was originally planning to hang the frames in the kitchen on the backsplash, but I changed my mind after tapping the frames up to see how they would look. I’m happy to report that they still look great in the kitchen. I placed them on a few of the counters and I really like how they look. I think they’ve found their new home… for awhile at least!
They really brighten up the kitchen!

Reusable wedding centerpieces

Getting married? Just married? Or looking for centerpieces ideas that you can reuse later? When choosing centerpieces for our wedding, I wanted them to be fun, beautiful and most importantly… reusable.

My husband and I got married last year in a beautiful restored barn that was completely decorated in french country-style and didn’t require much work when it came to picking out the centerpieces for our wedding. Below is a picture of our hall sans flower centerpieces. I came to find out after the wedding that our florist didn’t arrive until around 1:30 (she said she would be there around 10 a.m.). Our wedding was supposed to start at 2:30 and our centerpieces were not finished. Thankfully, my mother-in-law quickly ran around and completely our centerpieces before everyone arrived. These little things happen on your wedding day, but the result (as long as you do not panic) can still be beautiful. And no one even knew… including me! But I digress, back to the centerpieces…

photo credit: http://www.bensphotos.com

Unfortunately we didn’t get any photos of just our centerpieces at the venue, but they turned out beautiful. For half of the tables, we chose tall clear glass vases with glass beads and added with fresh-cut gerbera daisies to them. On the other half of the tables, we placed white lanterns with tea light candles. Our colors were bright pink, bright yellow and bright orange with splashes of green and blue. Below are our bouquets. They incorporated three of our five (yes five) colors.

photo credit: http://www.bensphotos.com

At first, you might be overwhelmed by the thought of using five colors, but I tried to bring them all together in subtle ways. All of the colors reminded me of a bright summer party and that is why I chose them. To incorporate all of our colors together in each of the fresh-cut flower centerpieces, we filled tall clear vases with blue and green glass beads and then added two or three fresh-cut gerber a daisies in pink, yellow or orange. In the vases, we also added glass fish to make it look like there were fish swimming in the bottom. Because I ultimately couldn’t decide if I wanted just flowers or just candlelight, or both, every other table had a white lantern with star cutouts in the top. To create candlelight, we placed a LED tea light inside each lantern. We used the LED tea lights to keep the lanterns from being too hot to touch and the tea lights were reusable. Win!

It was completely intentional that I chose centerpieces that we could use later. The purpose behind the centerpieces was definitely the usability. I wanted them to be both fun and functional. They also played really well into our the atmosphere of a fun summer party. Now the centerpieces serve as decorations for our home, so and every time I see them, I am reminded our how much fun we had celebrating with family and friends on our wedding day.

Since our wedding, I also added a red lantern and a green lantern. Here are a few of the lanterns in our home:

Because we had sixteen tables, I had plenty of leftover vases and lanterns. I’ve used every vase and lantern somewhere throughout our house. Here are a few of my favorite ways I reused the vases:

I also put together some DIY arrangements for our escort card table. I arranged miniature pinwheels like flowers in brightly colored pails filled with floral foam. After I arranged the pinwheels, I covered the floral foam with leftover green (paper) easter grass and then found little white flowers in my stash for making floral wreaths. The finished products now sit on top of my office bookshelf:

Finally, we chose favors that we could use later if we had extra. We picked daisy wine bottle stoppers in our colors and gave them to each adult (each guest under 21 received a package full of Jelly Belly jelly beans in our colors). Now when guests come over to our house to enjoy a bottle of wine, we get out our wine stoppers and sometimes we even send them home with their own stopper.

Designing everything for our wedding was so much fun and I love that we can continue to enjoy pieces of our wedding everyday. It was also my own little way of being green :). The only thing we didn’t keep and incorporate from our wedding were the fresh-cut flowers. Everything else is somewhere in our home!