Thursday, October 11, 2012

Reasons I Haven't Been Writing

Excuses, excuses, blah, blah, more excuses, etc. etc.

Remember me?

Figured I would do an end of Summer/beginning of Fall round up that might explain my absense. Or not. But here it is anyways.

Since moving out, I had been seeing my sister's kids less and less. This experiment has determined that the amount of time I see those children is directly proportionate to my level of happiness. Add to the distance the fact that Ashley and Andrew spent most of July away from home and my heart was crying out for some kiddo/aunty QT.

Andrew went to Summer camp the first week in August, and to help out my sister, I kept the girls. We had a girls day as per Ashley's request--make-overs, manicures, dress-up--the whole shabang.

We spent the rest of the evening telling secrets, braiding each others hair, and kissing Justin Beiber on the cover of the Rolling Stone.

The very next week Brynnie and I jetted off for our Summer vacay to visit my cousin in Corvallis, OR and finish out the week in Portland. My cousin Kathie was a FABULOUS host and our days were full of great coffee, great wine, dipping my toes in the Pacific for the first time, farmers marketing and river rafting. It was the perfect kind of vacation... not too many specific plans but going with the daily flow and soaking it up along the way. I fell in love a little bit with Oregon and will definitely be back some day.
Vineyards, vineyards everywhere! Straight from the airport to two wineries on the way to Corvallis.

le sigh

We bought tie-dye from a man in tie-dye spandex pants--who just may be the hairiest/nicest guy I've ever met.

                                             To start off our Oregon experience we attended the Bite of Oregon festival--heaping with craft beer and local wine tastings and incredible food from Portland's top chefs. The trip tends to have a bit of a theme--FOOD. We ate and we ate and we ate.
We ate some amazing sandwiches with equally amazing names:

Exhibit A: The Reggie; fried chicken, bacon & cheddar cheese on a homemade biscuit
smothered in the best sausage gravy I've ever had... <3 Pine State Biscuit

Exhibit B: This monstrousity is known simply as DUDE, and comes from the famed "Bro-Dogs"
food cart; A sausage hotdog, heaped with onions, bacon, cheese, BBQ sauce and cream cheese.
Yes cream cheese. Go somewhere else if you want to judge.
We also had our selves a bite at the famous VooDoo Doughnut:

The magic is in the hole.
We also had a lovely dinner at Portland's best steak house, Portland Prime, where we started the evening with this divine piece of hazelnut encrusted brie with apple chutney.

Cheesy goodness. No one loves cheese more than Bryn and I.
And ended the meal in gluttonous filet mignon indulgence.
I should have just done an entire post on our food journey through the Pacific Northwest.

We literally ate (and often drank) ourselves to the bursting point everyday.

We also shopped and walked, and took a bus trip to Seattle--that we almost didn't catch the return leg for (we sprinted  1.5 miles through downtown Seattle, after chugging our brews, in flip-flops and sun dresses, arms loaded with bags to board the bus seconds before the driver!).

Brynnie and I at the top of the Space Needle after a beautiful day in Seattle.

So much more happened on our trip, and I think we both had the best time. I will never
forget our trip to Oregon and what a gorgeous place it is, with friendly people, kick-ass coffee, and young unique people with aflair and spirit all their own. I love Oregon...and now I have a T-Shirt to prove it.

After returning home from Oregon, I was in serious need of time with my nephew and nieces! So for my Jill and Jon's anniversary, I agreed to keep all three for a sleepover. We went to dinner at a local pizza place, and followed that up with some energy exertion at the park by my house. Earlier in the day I had bought foam stickers, pipe cleaners, and silly string. So when we got to the park, I set them all loose with stickered-faces, pipe cleaner crowns and their own can of silly string (Amber hated the string).

The aftermath... Amber looks like a cartoon.

They had a blast, and Ashley sweetly told me that this was the best day of her life and that she would remember it for always. We were a mess. So then we finger painted! After we were even messier, and Andrew's back was covered with bug bites because I let him go shirtless on the playground (Best Aunt Ever Award..hah) we headed home for the night. We rounded of the sleepover with the Muppets Movie and pancakes for breakfast.

So then I worked another half week and then made the 8 hour drive to the Outer Banks BY MYSELF! for the first time. My family had been there since Saturday and I got there late Tuesday night to join in the rest of the lazy-bum-beach-vacay.

This is me with my parents- Mama and Papa D. This trip for me was all about rest, relaxation and family, and I spent a lot of my time throughout the week with my parents. This night we went out to dinner, walked the dock, and drank fancy dranks.
Since returning from the beach I've been working and.... stuff.
I don't know what happened to September and I can only list about 5 noteable things that happened.

1. Playing BINGO with my mom, aunts and Grandma at a local fire hall.
2. Meeting a piglet named daisy.
3.Starting to sell Tastefully Simple products.
4. Attending a beautiful wedding.
5. Festivus-ing the day away at the Adam's family annual Fall Festivus.

And on to October!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Summer Catch-up Post

Wow. Hi there. It's been a while.

As I mentioned in my last post I just moved out! So needless to say this summer has been an even busier one than usual for me. Things are finally starting to wind down from June/July craziness, and I'm just going to do that lame thing I tend to do bloggers do when they recap entire chunks of their lives because they've been too busy/tired/lazy to write regularly. Here goes, my summer thus far in photos and choppy sentences. GO.

Emily got married! The ceremony was perfect, the day was a dream, colors were vibrant and the party was outrageously fun.

Mr. & Mrs. Harrison

P.S. Emily glowed all day :)

Brilliant colors.

Amber turned two! I can't believe it's been that long since this little fireball entered the world. She has added so much color and happiness to our lives and I can't wait to continue to watch her learn and grow.

Andrew turned 8! He was away for his actually birthday this year, so we celebrated early with a carnival party for him and a bunch of his friends. His eyes will break hearts some day--and by that I mean more than just his aunty's. He continues to make me laugh daily and his energy-without-end never ceases to remind me how exciting life is.

I cried this year. Again. Just like last year.

Ok, so Amber loving cake is not a new development. But I had to share this one from Andrew's party too. We tell her to show us her teeth to get her to smile. Oh, and she calls Andrew Doo-Doo... which makes my heart happy.
Our third annual Luau celebrated Laura's graduation this year! The day was fun, but the weather left much to be desired.

Shout out to Papa D for our awesome Tiki bar that's survived from the first Luau!
My Uncle Scott (super-hero from move in week) turns 40 in the fall, so to throw him off we had a summer surprise party!

My sister and I crafted a man bouquet for him ;)

Block of styrofoam in a glass vase, liquor bottles, cigars and lotto tickets taped to wooden kabob sticks and stuck into the styrofoam!
In other news, Ashley keeps getting prettier....

Seriously. She's 6 going on supermodel.
I got to see Dave Matthews Band this summer at an outdoor venue in Pittsburgh with a bestie Bryn and her family. We had a blast and a perfect day for music, tailgating and sunshine.

Thanks Dodi for the ticket, the ride and such a fun trip!!

We celebrated the final birthday for the year of one of us gals--Kayla.
AKA Kankfest 2012.
We created a scavenger hunt for her that I'll post more about another time, but for now I'll tell you that family reunion crashing, pirates, pony rides, alcohol and surprises were involved.

A birthday surprise perfect for Kayla <3
Then this happened.

My family spent another year supporting and fundraising for the Relay for Life. This year our team raised over $5,000! Click here to donate to my family's fundraising efforts!

Amber gets her cheesing from me apparently.
I attended the 4th Annual Studer Invitational Beer Olympics with the rest of the Gals and my sister Laura who was finally of legal age to participate this year. My two year reigning champs team--Team Potter--were finally dethrowned this none other than my little sister's team. Ugh.

Second place ain't too shabby, but I'll miss team Potter next year...
Slip n Sliding may or may not have been involved.

At least we shared the Smack Talk award at the end of the day...

I FINALLY put up the gallery wall in my apartment, and so far, I'm loving it.

A shelf below yet, and maybe some sort of wrought iron scroll above and it will be perfect.

I fell down the stairs in my apartment yesterday. Like head first down the whole thing.

I'm left today with a sore tailbone and achy back and shoulders, two bruised kneecaps, bruises on my shin, thigh, foot and elbow and a shattered ego.

But the night ended at an amazing concert- The Outlaw Roadshow featuring the Counting Crows. The music was so good and it was the perfect night to be at an outside concert. Our spots on the lawn weren't bad either.

Stage AE in Pittsburgh--love, love, LOVE this venue.

We sparkle in the sun.

So that's my summer so far.
Spending today recovering and trying not to fall asleep.

Here's to hoping the rest of it is just as fun, and
doesn't involve anymore falls.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Big Changes--Big Love

So I am making a HUGE change in my life right now.

As in, moving out of my parents house.

As in to a new town.

As in alone.

Ok, so it's really only 15 minutes from my house, and in an area I've been familiar with for most of my life, but still this is a big deal for me people! I signed the lease on Monday of this week (when my mom and I spent the entire evening scrubbing the place down) and have spent the rest of my week hauling carloads to and from work.

Last night the best family a gal could ask for helped her move-in her few larger belongings. This sounds simple enough, except for the following points: A) I seriously picked the hottest day of the year so far (hello 90s), B) to move to a third floor apartment, C) with a narrow--I'm talking suck in your gut or you won't get through narrow--staircase, D) and not one bit of air-conditioning. (heh sorry guys!)

A loveseat took approximately an hour (and the removal of three banisters with mile long screws) to get up my tiny staircase. And who would have thought? Box springs don't bend! That baby had to come in through my living room window after being hoisted onto the roof next door, and walked up the wobbly staircase serving as my fire escape.

Yuck... now do you understand why they are the best? Because they are. And because they love me enough to help and sweat and work really, really hard with only beer and popsicles as payment.

I've been an emotional-stressed out-nervous wreck this week, and just thinking about all of their help is choking me up right now... You sometimes forget how loved you really are by the people around you, and I could not have been blessed with a better support system and loving family.

Thank yous:
Jill- For never being afraid to get your hands dirty and for all your support <3
Jon- For letting me load my junk into your truck and all the heavy lifting
Daddy- For being my fix-it superman and for moving me in... with a HERNIA.
Uncle Jerry- For letting me use your truck and for finding the humor in the situation
Uncle Scott- This man get's the MVM (most valuable mover) Award. He single handedly carried my box springs over his head up a set of shaky wooden stairs and through my window. He also got on the wrong end of the loveseat dilemna--as in he headed up before it and got stuck doing all the pulling and banister manipulation himself.
Mommy- For feeding my moving crew, for keeping Jill & Jon's kiddos so they could come help, for cleaning the majority of my apartment, for coming on countless shopping trips and hearing me ramble about all of my great (and some not so great) ideas for how I want to decorate, and for hugging me last night when I came home and cried at the sight of my empty bedroom.

I love you all.

Here are a few pics of the empty apartment, pre-move-in! I can't wait to decorate it, fill it up, and make it my own little home :)

Extra counter/dinette space in my kitchen

The entryway into my living room from the kitchen.

Living room with big new windows :)

Bedroom with small old windows...

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Emily's Bridal Shower!

Have you ever had the perfect party in your brain?

Along the way details get changed, there's too much to be done, wrenches get thrown into your plans, and a little thing called poverty conscious budgeting creeps up on you; It all leaves you wondering if the picture in your head will ever become a reality.

In a recent post about a Bridal Shower Gift, I mentioned that I'd been busy planning
a bridal shower for my friend Emily along with a very crafty-resourceful-fun-ambitious group of ladies: Jena (MOH), Carissa (Bridesmaid/photographer extraordinaire),
& Debbie (mother of the bride). And what a beautiful picture we had in our heads for the way we wanted Emily's shower to be! Her wedding colors are coral pink and espresso brown and Emily picked out brightly-colored vibrant flowers to really liven things up!

Here's how the shower turned out along with some tips along the way! Everything we did is incredibly DIY-able and for the most part budget-friendly; We couldn't be more thrilled with the way it turned out! (All photos courtesy of FABULOUS Carissa McClellan Photography! Visit her website here, and check her out on facebook here)

We went wit simple white table clothes (the paper ones with the decorative edges & plastic lining) and plain brown table runners (ALSO paper table clothes cut into four strips lengthwise! These runners were super simple, streamlined our decor and got a lot of compliments..). White flower and coral heart confetti broke up the plain brown runner, and we centered a large and small, ribboned mason jar of flowers on each table.

Side Note: Flowers are crazy expensive. We may or may not have used premade bouquets of pastel and neon daisies from Walmart (thanks Aunt Belva for scouting that out!). We also may or may not have torn said bouquets apart and picked our favorite colors. Additionally.... someone may have picked up some filler sprigs and already-opened roses (for a fraction the cost of a rosebud stem) on her way to the shower that morning. The same person may have also cut fresh peonies from a neighbor's yard while a certain maid of honor raided her mother's flowerbed.

Only one thing can be said for sure--YES that was me picking those purple flowers on the side of the road on my way to the church hall...

For favors, we bridesmaids spent many-a-night guzzling wine handcrafting these homemade bath fizzes. A pin paved the way to this helpful tutorial, and Martha Stewart showed us how to wrap it all up. The tags read:

 From My Shower to Yours
Homemade Bath Fizz

Emily and Mike

Em's not a huge gamer so we made many of the games optional, and included other things to do like bringing along a recipe card and writing a piece of advice or special message to the bride-to-be.

Each of us girls made up a basket to give away as a door prize... Lottery, Herb Garden, Italian Cooking, Home & Bath.

A lovely shower for a lovely bride. And the best part is that the party turned out exactly the way we wanted it to! And we managed to keep it all (well...most of it) a surprise from Emily.

Mike put in an appearance to help lug the shower loot home...

Bridal Envy.

Emily and Her Mama

2/3 of the Maids

Bridal Party! (minus the tiniest, who was not open to being photographed at the moment)

Thursday, May 24, 2012

"Bundle of Joy" Baby Shower Gift!

Creative shower gifting seems to be quite the craze these days...
Diaper Bikes, Diaper cakes, Diaper wreaths, etc.

Here's the gift I gave at my most recent baby shower, to my cousin Missy!
(insprired by this pin)

It's as easy as a bag of diapers, a blanket and some creative tagging.

I free handed the stork onto 2 layers of cardstock glued together, traced in sharpie & colored with colored penil; Cut concentric circles with scallop scissors and used script-y sticker letters. Tie with a coordinating ribbon, and voila!

As an additional note, it's a good idea to use some kind kind of framework inside the
blanket bundle; I cut the front off of a cardboard box, and cut along the box's edges to help it not look so stiff, and to make it easier to gather the blanket on top.

Anyone do anything else a bit different with diapers for a shower gift?

Happy Bundling ;)