Anniversary

We had quite the first anniversary celebration — no cards, no flowers, just a hot sweaty fly fishing date and new patio furniture. It went a little something like this:

• 8 AM kettlebell

• A stop at Wal-Mart / Apparently you need a fishing license for one day of “casting” (I didn’t actually catch any fish).

• A sorry excuse for a picnic / It was hot, there wasn’t any shade and Jay only lasted about five minutes before his excitement got the best of him. So much for that romantic idea.

• Fly fishing / Yes, I put on waders and boots that were a few sizes too big and went fly fishing with my husband. It was good day, but I think I’ll leave the fishing to him. I couldn’t stand watching him take the fish off the hook. It just seems mean.

• Hail damage assessment / Are you thinking, “what (the) hail is she talking about?” Fair question. You see, we had a bad hail storm last April, but in the midst of wedding prep I was just too busy to worry about it… and then I decided I was too busy to worry about it for the next 12 months too…

• Date at Montage / I put on a fancy dress, made Jay change out of his Teva flip flops and away we went. Notice something different? Ah, yes, the short hair is something new. It hasn’t been this short since Junior High, which is scary. Some days I have traumatic flashbacks, close my eyes and will my hair to grow as fast as possible. Other days (I think) I rock it and life is good. 😉

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• Trip to Family Video

• Home by 9:30 / Did I mention Jay had to ask the waitress how to use Snapchat? Yep, we’re basically 80.

– – –

May 31, 2013

I began reminiscing about all of the things leading up to the wedding and the amazing day we spent with our family and friends. Here are some of my favorite images from the day.

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 The Tables

We had so, so, so much help pulling this wedding off. My Grandpa made the wood planters, my sister stained them. My Dad hurt his back cutting up logs for the table numbers and centerpieces, my Mom and Jay cleaned them up, Kristen painted the numbers. Jay’s Mom made the napkins and the BBG gals helped make the tissue paper flowers… the list goes on and on.

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All of the arrangements were done by Adam Covington of Covington & Co. As much as I would have loved to set up the entire place, there was just no way to make that happen. I knew we were in good hands with Adam.

The Cookies

I was so happy we were able to pull this off. We had a pre-wedding cocktail hour with wine and cookies. These bags were a pain to print, but I loved that we were able to share some family favorites. Gabrielle was passing out Great Uncle Wayne’s molasses cookies.

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The Tags

 

This seemed like a genius idea — buying and painting wooden disks would be far cheaper than spending endless amounts on glassware. Plus, it doubled as a placecard. However, they took a lot of coats of chalkboard paint… and then the chalk didn’t actually work because we couldn’t write small enough to fit the names…

The Cupcakes

Thank you, Scratch and Mike Valant. If you haven’t tried Scratch, you have to go. NOW. My reccommendations: Sully, Samoa, Turtle and Puppy Chow.

The Book

I didn’t want a traditional guest book. What do you do with a bunch of names? Instead, I created these fill in the blank cards. Note to anyone getting married soon, if you like this idea, make sure you either have a host/hostess to point people to the guest book area OR leave the cards on the table. Unfortunately, we only ended up with about 40 cards filled out (from our 250 guests).

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The (better) Bar

Ham Porter: Hey, you want a s’more?

Smalls: Some more of what?

Ham Porter: No, do you want a s’more?

Smalls: I haven’t had anything yet… so how can I have some more of nothing?

Ham PorterYou’re killing me, Smalls. These are s’mores stuff, ‘kay? Pay attention. First, you take the graham. You stick the chocolate on the graham. Then, you roast the mallow. When the mallow’s flaming, you stick it on the chocolate. Then you cover it with the other end. Then, you scarf. 

Best. Idea. Ever.

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The Couch

This couch was amazing, but this photo is better. First, check out how awkward we look. Funny thing, my dress didn’t really allow me to be comfortable in any position besides standing (why didn’t my Mom make me do the sit test in the dressing room like she did when I was little?!). Jay couldn’t figure out how to sit because I was so immovable — don’t mess up the hair, don’t catch the earrings, don’t rip the dress. And then we have little Miss Clara scarfing something on the left side of the photo. Priceless.

This photo is slightly better, but overall, the couch photos didn’t turn out nearly as awesome as I had hoped. I guess that’s what I get for buying a dress like that.

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See those big balls of baby’s breath? This started out as a good idea too; until I realized that the styrofoam balls I bought were too big and I was about 25 bunches of baby’s breath too short. And there was glitter everywhere. EVERYWHERE. I still see sparkles in my car sometimes. Glitter is seriously the herpes of crafts. You just can’t get rid of it.

The Party

Thank you to our best-est friends for celebrating with us.

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See ya later, Texas (hopefully).

I’m sitting in the airport as I write this. We left the hotel at 4:30 AM expecting to catch a 6 AM flight, only to arrive at the airport to see our plane was delayed by FIVE hours. Thanks for the heads up United/American/US Airways. Five hours would have gotten me four more hours of sleep, a workout and breakfast. I would have been a lot more pleasant to those customer service agents I waited four, five, and two minutes*, respectively, to talk with — after, of course, the really fun game of yelling into the phone:

“What would you like to do?”

“Check reservations.”

“Ok, would you like to change existing or cancel?”

(Thought: Neither, I want neither of those options. I just want to know if I can get out of Texas.)

“No.”

“I don’t understand. Would you like to change existing or cancel?”

“Customer service.”

“It sounds like you want to talk to customer service, but what about these options?”

(Thought: Screw you, I want a real person.)

“CUSTOMER SERVICE.”

… and the phone goes silent. Repeat x2.

I’ve spent the last four hours reading, thinking about whether I want a parfait with 45 grams (!) of sugar or a suspicious looking egg patty on an oversized bagel**, updating my Pinterest boards, writing this and people watching. People watching can be fascinating, especially at airports.

One thing I will never, ever understand is why women wear heels in airports. I love a nice pair of heels, but you wouldn’t find me in even the most comfortable Clark wedges (Yes, I have Clarks. Don’t judge, they’ve really upped their game for the younger crowd). It’s just not practical when you have to walk a mile between terminals. I wonder who they are trying to impress — the pilot, TSA, fellow fliers? What happens when they have 5 minutes to catch their next flight and the terminal is in another state? I’m pretty sure running in heels is only safe for Hollywood (and even then, I wonder if they use stunt doubles — I would fall on my face). I just want to shout, “For the love of God, woman, wear some flip flops and change when you get there!”

So west Texas is flat. Like, really flat. And dry. And most unexpectedly, dilapidated. The landscape is littered with forgotten homes in states of unimaginable disrepair and businesses that look like they haven’t been touched since they were built in the 60’s. But the people are nice and they say things like “britches” and drink sweet tea. I’m happy they finally got some rain to give their crops some life. Something needs to look lively down here.

My greens report: I managed to eat something green every day we were here — and none of it was fried. Although I won’t lie to you, a lot of it came in the form of guacamole. Our options were basically Mexican, steak and potatoes or something fried — they don’t really do “light” meals in Texas***. I can’t wait to get home and eat an apple… a baked sweet potato… or brussel sprouts… or greek yogurt… hunger is setting in…

And our flight just got delayed another 70 minutes. American Airlines, we aren’t friends right now.

* I shouldn’t complain about the wait time. I’ve waited much, much longer for an airline customer service rep.

** Instead, I opted for Sabra hummus and pretzels. It was literally, the most unprocessed, edible looking thing in the airport (the banana-bread ripe bananas made me gag). But I’m getting hungry again and we haven’t boarded for our flight yet.

*** I did have something called Mexi-Cauli at The Crafthouse Pub in Lubbock (that place is amazing if you ever make your way down here). They used very small pieces of cauliflower (shredded or finely chopped) as the base, then added black beans, corn, pico, cheese, roasted chicken and avocado. I’m totally going to make this at home. Maybe I’ll even trick Jay into eating it. 🙂

Our First Year

Being homeowners has been a big step up from being condo owners. It’s like going from a dog to a baby. It’s the next step in big kid life, but it’s soooo not the same thing (not that I ever want a dog — and I don’t have a baby — but you get my point). Anyway, some funny things have happened in the last ten months. Maybe I’ll put these on next year’s Christmas card.

We put up a mailbox.

Yeah, I know, woo-hoo, big deal. BUT you don’t understand; this was a 5-day ordeal. For some unknown reason, when you buy a newly constructed house, it doesn’t come with a mailbox. WTF. I tried to avoid the no-mailbox thing for a few days, but the mail woman was getting annoyed. The following weekend we spent at least five hours in various hardware stores. It went something like this:

“I like this one, but it’s too much money.”

“I like this base, but not the box. What about the one we saw at Lowe’s?”

“I like this one.”

“Eh…”

“This one!”

“We don’t have those tools.”

“What about this?”

“Nah, I don’t really like that color. I like the one at Home Depot better. Should we just go back to Home Depot?”

“Let’s try Menards.”

“What’s wrong with black?”

“I”d like tan… or bronze … I think it would look nicer with our exterior.”

(eye roll)

“Let’s try Menards in Cedar Falls.”

“This one should be easier to put in.”

“Oh fine, let’s just get the black one. I’m hungry.”

Fast forward two hours: I have a headache, Jay is sweating in the driveway, and the post of our new mailbox sits at a 30º angle. We pulled out the post and tried again in the morning. Despite our best efforts, the post still ended up crooked. We finally admitted defeat and called in reinforcements; Jay’s Dad came up on Thursday, we had a mailbox Thursday night. FYI to anyone who needs to buy a mailbox, don’t try to go the “easy” route; it’s not easy. Suck it up and use the quick-crete. You’ll thank me for it when you have half your weekend back.

 We tried to shower without curtains.

Bad idea. Turns out the tiled showers are not walk-in. AKA water does spill outside of the shower. And it’s cold, oh, so cold.

We planted a tree.

Then we dug it up. Linden trees attract Asian Beetles like I attract sunburns, except there is no sunscreen in this world that can stop those awful things. Too bad we didn’t know that before we brought the tree all the way home and dug a huge whole in our newly laid sod.

We painted.

And then we re-painted. It just wasn’t the right color of green. Thank goodness it was bathroom…and my mom helped…both times.

We tried to landscape.

We bought two very pretty hibiscus bushes and a burning bush. Now the bush looks like it got BURNT. Sad face.

 

We lost our salt and pepper shakers.

They were only $10, but seriously, we have found everything from the move except those S&P shakers. I held out for a solid 6 months before ordering new ones. Then Jay gave me these cute birdies for my birthday.

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We didn’t get a snowblower until February. 

Most precipitation in years. I have nothing else to say about that.

We thought our bathroom fans were broken.

They were SO loud. When the builder came over to look at them, he just wiggled the plastic vent around and “fixed” it. And then we felt stupid.

We planted our first garden.

We spent $2 per onion plant. You get one onion per plant. How much do you pay for an onion at the grocery store? Just think about that for a minute.  #gardennewbies

On a different note, high-five to me. I’ve eaten something green every day. Have you?

 


Something Green

[Prologue]

I’m a goal-oriented person but I don’t do New Year’s resolutions. Why? Because in 2010 I made a simple resolution: floss once day. And I did…until May. Finals came around and flossing was apparently at the bottom of the priority list, which doesn’t even make sense — it’s good for you, it takes all of twenty seconds, and it takes zero mental capacity. Seriously, I’m a dentist’s daughter. What’s wrong with me?

– – –

I have a new goal. Actually I have three.

1) I’m going to eat something green every day, even if some days that means green frosting.

Here’s the deal: vegetables are hard for me. Sure, I get my 2-3 servings of dairy, I drink plenty of water, I pop blueberries like candy and I fuel my body with nuts and lean protein BUT I can go days without eating a green vegetable. This is a problem. Sunday I decided to do something about it. I made a meal plan, went to the store and bought some green stuff. I came back with avocado, spinach, zucchini, broccoli, peppers and brussel sprouts. Let’s do this…

Sunday I made Creamy Southwest Quesadillas, but I swapped the cream cheese for Neufchâtel (and only used 4 oz), pepper jack for sharp cheddar, sautéed spinach to replace corn and added chicken. They were freakin’ delicious. And I should give myself double points for this because I added avocado on top. YUM. You can find the actual recipe here: http://chocolateandcarrots.com/2014/01/creamy-southwest-quesadillas

Monday night I made Spaghetti Bake, but I added mushrooms, green pepper and sautéed spinach in place of some of the noodles. Speaking of noodles, I used Ezekiel elbow macaroni; they look questionable and leave your water kind of grainy (and your stove a mess — I let my water boil over twice…oops), but you can’t tell the difference from regular whole wheat pasta. I should have cut back on the ricotta though, this one turned out a little cheesy: http://chocolateandcarrots.com/2014/02/easy-baked-spaghetti

Tuesday night I had a massive kale Caesar salad with salmon from Table 128. It was a whole lotta kale. (PS If you live in Des Moines you should check this place out. It’s GOOD.)

Wednesday I had leftover quesadillas. Yes, they were still delicious.

And on those frosting days, maybe it’s buttercream with green food coloring, or maybe it’s chocolate avocado frosting. 😉

  • 1 perfectly ripe avocado
  • 1/2 cup good unsweetened cocoa powder (I used Ghirardelli)
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup dark chocolate mini chips (optional)

2) I’m going to make a significant effort to “be (more) present”… which means not thinking about the million other things I should be doing and enjoying what I’m doing right now.

Yeah, yeah, this is hippie-granola-yogi Kayla talking, but for real, this is something we should all try to be better at. Do you ever think about how good it feels to take a deep breath? Try it. You’ll like it.

3) Floss

Yep, I’m going to try again. I’m a grown-ass woman. I can do this.

And my #tbt for the day. I can’t help it, we are 30 days from our first-year anniversary! xo

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Spring has Sprung

…At least in our house. Seriously, weather, will you please commit? I’m tired of 30 degrees… and snow. We had freaking snow today. I know it’s March in Iowa, and this shouldn’t come as any surprise, but we had such a long, COLD winter that I think we deserve better.

I’m so tired of it, that I spent the weekend making the inside of our house feel like spring (because something should). I just can’t take it anymore! Who’s with me?! Well, here’s how I handled the situation. I made my rounds: TJ Maxx (yes, I am a Maxxinista), Hobby Lobby, Pier 1, Gordman’s, Basket of Daisies (a very cute boutique on Main Street), Goodwill and the local thrift store. This is what I found:

TJ Maxx: I scored a couple wood boxes on clearance and a ceramic bird. The bird looked weird on the shelf, but it does the trick.

Hobby Lobby: One mason jar (I had a million at the wedding and gave them all away. Dumb), burlap banner, modpodge and red glitter paper. Confused by that assortment? Yeah…I got momentarily sidetracked at the thought of making a Valentine’s Day banner with the red glitter mini clothespins I found in Target clearance last week.

Pier 1: No dice.

Gordman’s: Double no dice.

Basket of Daisies: I love this store, so I had to control myself. Three clear milk glass textured jars, three small bouquets and some floral stems.

Goodwill: Five old books.

Thrift Store: Three old books and a random glass jar.

Hobby Lobby (trip #2): At this point my focus had returned. I exchanged the burlap, glue and paper for a tall apothecary jar, two white peonies and pink floral stems.

Unfortunately, before I could start putting up any of my fun new stuff, I had to take down the winter display. Luckily, I didn’t break anything or fall off the ladder. Win.

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See ya later, winter.

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The updated “spring” version with pretty pops of pink. PS I found the big wooden box 70% off at TJ Maxx because the back hinge was broken. A-mazing.

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I may have also done a little pick-me-up with this arrangement. I had the green hydrangeas, but went out in search of some pink and yellow, which is exactly what I found. It makes me happy.

Lastly, I bought some “Spring” Wallflowers from Bath and Body. As much as I love nutmeg, cinnamon and pumpkin, I am so over those scents right now. All I want is peonies and roses. #springplease
BBWUntil better weather comes our way, I hope you all can find a little spring in your life. xo

The Big One

I know this may be taboo for some of you, selling your wedding dress may be an unspeakable act… but I just can’t really imagine something so pretty being put in a box and left in a closet for years. Someone else should enjoy it.

This dress is an Allure c207 (new design in 2012) in ivory/gold/silver (a light champagne color). I removed the cap sleeves, but the only other alterations were the addition of a bustle and bra cups. It is a size eight. Yes, I just let the world know my dress size.

Email me for questions + price: kaylagrunder@gmail.com

Items for Sale

Natural Stained Cedar “Planters” (25): $10/piece

I say “planters”, because we call them that, but they have no bottom. So… planting anything in them would be fail. BUT, we used them as decoration around our square glass vases. I have two sizes: 10 @ 6x6x6 (We used these around 4x4x20  glass vases — these held our tall arrangements and the wood covered the bottom six inches.) and 15 @ 8x8x.6.5 (These held 6×6 glass vases with our short arrangements.)

(Sold) Grey and White 10×10 Chevron Napkins (300+): Will sell in sets of 100 for $75 or all for $200

We wrapped these in twine and put a little tag on them. They made the place setting pop and added pattern to an otherwise boring white table setting. If you would like the template for the tag or the thank you card underneath let me know. I can put in your name/dates and send you the pdf for $15.

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“Mr and Mrs” 6″ woods signs: $10

We used these for our signature cocktails. Mine was a Malibu/Peach Schnapps/Vodka concotion and Jay’s was a drunken Arnold Palmer.
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(Sold) Various Sizes of Wood Slabs (50+): Will sell all for $75, or $2/per slab

Not so glamorous here, but I swear these looked better on the tables. We combined various sizes with candle filled mason jars and and some single stems. So pretty!

Clear Glass Wine Bottles (39): $50

We tied twine around these and used them as water pitchers, but there are so many other fun things that could be done with them! Paint them a metallic color, wrap them in vellum…

Hand Painted Wood Table Numbers (1-34): $25

Who wants to spend a ton of money on table numbers? Not me, but they are a necessary evil. Putting together a seating chart was one of the best things we did. It allowed us to control who sat together and what tables were next to each other — people stayed longer because they had familiar people to converse with.

(Sold) S’mores Bar / Gold Planters with Rocks, Marshmallow Jar, Chocolate Jars (4): $60

This was one of the ideas I was most excited about. I freakin’ love s’mores. If I still had the chalkboard I would sell you that, too. I have a different chalkboard though if you are interested…

(Sold) Chalkboard: $20

Large square chalkboard. I’ll even write something new on it if you want. 🙂

(Sold) “Chalkboard” Tags: $30

I have nearly 300 wooden tags that could be painted to work for you! We tied ours around a mason jar with twine.

Mint Green Watering Can and Flower Girl Basket: $5

Spray paint the can any color you want and stick some flowers in there. / The flower girl basket is gold with a large burlap flower.

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2 Gold Baby’s Breath Pomanders 30″ (they’re big!): $75

These things were a pain in the a to make, but they looked amazing!

Willing to accept best offer — check, Dwolla, Paypal, bank transfer (whatever). Email me at kaylagrunder@gmail.com with any further questions.