A Little Black Dress + A Night of Jazz

After my honeymoon in New Orleans it is clearly evident that my husband LOVES jazz clubs, so what was more perfect than going to The Jazz Kitchen for his 23rd birthday? A famous and incredibly talented musician Ira Sullivan and his band played last night. We really enjoyed the ambiance and vibrant music. And my Billionaire Coffee drink was fabulous too! Last night reassured me how much I adore my husband and how special and important he is in my life, so I was really glad I could take him to this jazz joint. It is one of his new fav night spots now!

Leading up to the event I was trying to decide what ensemble would be appropriate. The only other time I’ve been to The Jazz Kitchen was for Carnival last February and everyone was pretty fancy, so I was psyched at the prospect of wearing a newly purchased Goodwill dress. It was originally from Target, and I got it at last month’s 50% off day for only $8. I think it was rather classy and sophisticated! Now I just need another event and excuse to wear it.

Birthday Food and DIY Decor Essentials

So I promised you two birthday extravaganza posts, and here is the first one! Preparing for my hubby’s surprise birthday dinner and night of jazz was rather tricky – he’s a clever one I tell you. My plan was to have his parents over for dinner – I made the shrimp scampi linguine and his mom brought the salad and dessert. It was too funny the three of us hiding in my tiny kitchen waiting for Aaron to come home from class. And then SURPRISE! Only to find out that my darling abuelo (Aaron’s grandpa) had already spilled the beans to him moments before during a birthday phone call. But, it was a fabulous time all the same!

I was quite proud of myself for keeping the surprise the night before as I frantically cleaned and prepared. See, I decided to set the table early, for four, not two as he had anticipated. Now, being a clever girl, I used the excuse that setting the dinner table for four was purely for the aesthetics of this blog post. Ha! And, thankfully he’s convinced I’m rather OCD anyway, so the veracious cleaning did not phase him.

Fabulous Fiesta Place Settings

Well, needless-to-say, this birthday dinner gave me the perfect opportunity to set the table with the new Fiesta ware we’ve begun accumulating thanks to wedding gifts and gift cards. In addition, with Kohl’s cash we were able to get the four round place mats for free, and the wine glasses added a nice touch – they were wedding gifts as well. Oh how fun it is to build a home and life together – married bliss is fabulous! To finish the look off entirely, I want to make napkins that perfectly compliment the colorful dishes, so that is another upcoming project.

Breakfast in Bed & a DIY Serving Tray

And…the birthday food surprises continued this morning when I made my hubby breakfast in bed. He absolutely loves his mama’s French Toast Casserole, so thanks to Pinterest in all its glory, I found a spin-off of french toast in the form of muffins. I woke up at 7:30 – true dedication for me considering it is a Saturday – and made muffins and coffee. I served his breakkie on a fabulous serving tray that one of my good friends made me as an apartment-warming gift.

And from what she’s said both trays were really easy to make. My understanding of the steps:

  • Pick up a wooden tray from your local craft store
  • Find pictures from magazines, old wallpaper, etc. and decide where to place them
  • Lay the pictures where you want them and cover over with Modge Podge
  • Then decorate the trays with stickers, gems, markers or whatever you’re feeling

One thing I realized from last night and this morning – it is so fun and easy to integrate DIY projects and crafts into your everyday life. Being a large part of the process for Aaron’s birthday surprises was a blast and it made it that much more special! Oh, and family is one of the greatest gifts in life. To see the final (jazzy) surprise I planned and coordinated last night, and the glamorous ensemble I wore, check out my next post here.

Today’s TREASURES from the Sept. Goodwill 50% Off Day

Today my hubby and I ventured to my all-time favorite Goodwill store, the one on Keystone, across from Glendale. At first it seemed our luck wasn’t that great with a less than stellar home goods section, but in the clothes section I found some sweet steals. There were so many sweaters, and looking through them made me giddy with excitement in anticipation of autumn. Mmmm…hot apple cider, Halloween, changing leaves, orchards, haunted houses, pumpkin pie. This year, reflecting on it, my enthusiasm for fall is greater than normal. Perhaps it’s because this time of year has all the best holidays and leads up to my favorite holiday – Christmas. Either way, with my super successful day of shopping I now have some new additions to my fall wardrobe. Check them out!

Dresses:

1. Purple dress: Kensie brand, $3

2. Rose colored dress: Lush, $3, with the tags still on

Sweaters:

1. Plum knitted sweater: American Eagle, $2.15

2. Coral sweater: Target brand Massimo, $2.15

3. Red sweater dress: H&M, $2.15

4. Tan, patterned cropped sweater: Forever 21, $2.15 – so funky, love it!

You should consider going to your local Goodwill 50% off day sometime soon. For the Indianapolis stores it is every first Saturday of the month. Try and get there early or you may miss all the good finds, it is sooo worth it! Oh, and maybe shop around the Goodwill stores in your area to see which is the best – then spend your time there on 50% off day. Or, you can visit several, make a day of it! If you have some fabulous Goodwill fashion finds you’d like to share, feel free to post them in the comment section below.

UPDATE: Birthday Date Day, Wedding Week & DIY Headboard

Hello friends! Sorry I’ve neglected this dear blog the past week – life just gets so busy sometimes! But, I want to be better, so a content calendar is in the works. With this said, there are a few exciting posts coming up in the next week.

Upcoming Posts

Tomorrow is my hubby’s 23rd b-day, and I already have two posts in mind – one about the diy dinner I have planned and the other covering my fabulous date ensemble, so stay tuned! Then, next week, starting on Monday, will be Wedding Week. I have so many diy crafts, projects and strategies I want to tell you about. I won’t cover EVERYTHING from my wedding, but you’ll get a good flavor of how I took the role of wedding planner. So if you’re planning a diy wedding yourself, or you just dig the girly dream wedding fantasy, then you won’t want to miss it!

DIY Project: Wall Clustered Pseudo-Headboard

In other news, I finally finished what I call my “bedroom memory & photo wall,” or our pseudo headboard – complete with gobs of wedding photos and artifacts. Well, take a look – pictures say it all.

I suppose I’ve been spending a lot of time on our bedroom lately – as evidenced by the wall flowers and decorative pillows from previous posts, in addition to this new touch of chic! I’m personally a large proponent of photo clustering, so that is what I did. Originally, I researched different DIY headboard ideas, but with my love of photos and memorabilia, this memory wall concept came to me. It all started with the three wall cubes, and then it branched out from there. A picture here, a picture there…lots of pictures! I am so happy with the result and plan to add more.

And good news, this is an easy idea you could mimic. There is so much room for you to add personal flair and tailor your photo/memory wall to your individual style. Just compile and add lots of fun statement pieces. If you have a fabulous wall clustering too, or are thinking of creating one, share your thoughts and pictures in the comment section below!

Fireplace Candle Holders and Wall Decor Flowers

Candle HoldersThis weekend my hubby and I went to our local Goodwill for the first time. There was a sad selection…with the exception of a super rad set of candle holders. I spotted them on a shelf and knew I had to have them. And…it was only $10 for the pair, plus an applied discount from my rewards card. A clear win if I do say so myself! They’ve made their home in front of our fireplace. Now all we need are some candles to go with them.

The second fabulous find this weekend was actually a surprise from my husband. He knew I wanted this set of 25 wall flowers from Silver and the City. I may have mentioned it to him a few times (or seven) in the past few months. So, after church we drove to Mass Ave and walked into the store determined to find this lovely little set of wall decor. However, my heart almost broke because we couldn’t find them – they had been on sale for a few months. But, by shear fate, and Aaron’s searching skills, we found the last box of black flowers on a shelf, hidden at the back. I was thrilled, and even more enthused when we rung up at the cash register and the set was only $12.50. I put them up in our bedroom this afternoon and they look wonderful!

Wall Flower Collage

What I Wore This Weekend…

This is the first of my posts about some of my favorite outfits, kind of like a photo diary to remember and share really successful clothing combinations. This weekend must have been a green weekend, because both outfits below have really pretty green tones to help them pop!

Yesterday I wore I bright jade tank top with ruffles and shiny buttons and my high-waisted khaki shorts. I paired this with my skinny brown belt, brown flats and gold and pearl bracelet.

08.24.13 Ensemble

1. Jade top: Goodwill find from several years ago i.e. only $2-$4

2. High-waisted shorts: on sale for $10 at the Gap last summer

3. Belt: came with a skirt I bought at Forever 21 in Hong Kong last year (only $10 USD for both)

4. Flats: recent Goodwill find – on sale during 50% off day for only $2.15

5. Pearl bracelet: on sale at Forever 21 a year ago – less than $5 I believe

Today I paired my favorite mint green chinos with a light and airy grey lace tank. I then topped the look off with a vintage necklace that my dad gave me years ago. Please disregard my messy hair – I napped today. Ha! And I thought I would show the shaded and well-lit versions, which is why they look like the same picture, whoops!

08.25.13 Ensemble

1. Mint chinos: only $20 with H&M 20% off coupon for email sign-up

2. Grey tank: $2 at Goodwill 50% off day

3. Beaded necklace: FREE from my antiquey dad

 

Repurposed Decorative Pillows

Last Saturday, one of my good friends asked me to help her make two couch pillows out of a shower curtain. She knows I’m fairly crafty and handy on a sewing machine, so I was more than happy to help. The curtain had a fun pattern that matched the rest of her living room, and when I finished, I was rather pleased with myself. Which got me to thinking…pillows from a shower curtain? How ingenious!

I took this inspiration home with me and that same night I made pillows of my own – all three made from fabric I found around the house. So what did I use you may wonder, and how did I make them? That is simple enough. Now, it does take a certain amount of skill to sew anything, but pillows are fundamentally easy, so don’t be leery.

Patchwork Bedroom Pillows   Grey & Black Fouton Pillow

Cloth IconStep 1. Find Fabric: I prefer to repurpose, so for two matching pillows I used fabric from a decorative bulletin board I was using to hold coupons (however, my husband found it annoyingly girly), so I cut it up. Rather a tricky process since it had glue and staples everywhere! I also used the remaining leg fabric from a pair of Express dress pants I found at Goodwill for $0.99 (I used the top of the pants to make shorts a while back – details will be in another post). Then for the black and grey pillow I used fabric leftover from a pillow sham I used on a different project (which will also be divulged in another post). And the fabulous flowers came from headbands I stopped wearing years ago.

Tape Measure IconStep 2. Determine Size and Shape: I wanted the matching pillows for my bed and the other one for the futon. To be honest, I really just sort of “winged it” with the sizes and shapes. However, if you know exact measurements (for example, the pillows I made for my friend covered existing down couch pillows) then you should measure the size you need. Try to give a little give room, better to over-estimate than make them too small. Once you know the size, measure and cut it out of the fabric. Be sure to cut to same-sized pieces (for the front and back of the pillow).

Pinning IconStep 3. Pin Your Fabric: Keep in mind, the outside of each piece of fabric should be turned to the inside.  So in essence, your pillow will currently be inside out, with both non-patterned sides facing out. This is an important step because you want there to be enough space between the fabric edge and the pins to sew your pieces together, but you also don’t want there to be TOO much room. Determine how big your seam width should be before pinning and set the pins a little wider than this. Oh, and only pin three of the four sides – one side you leave open for stuffing and hand sewing.

Sewing Machine IconStep 4. Sewing the Seams: This is probably the easiest step, and the quickest. Once you sew all three seams, taking the pins out as you go, and remembering to back-stitch, you can move to the final step. However, you should test putting this cover on your down pillows, if you have them, before stitching it all up. If by some misfortune it doesn’t fit, then you can always rip out the seams and redo them. Not fun, but better than getting to the end with a pillow covering that won’t fit. If you don’t have a down pillow, then yay, you can move on.

Needle IconStep 5. Trimming, Stuffing and Hand-Sewing: Trim the excess fabric from the edges before flipping your pillow right-side out. Then, take the two bottom corners (the ones sewn) and pull them out of the top hole. Take your closed-tipped scissors and push in these corners to make them more prominent and formed. Then you can stuff the pillow, I actually repurposed and used stuffing from a different pillow that I ripped apart to turn into an apron, but any craft store or supermarket has pillow stuffing for $5-$12 per bag. Once you fill the pillow full, try to even out the stuffing so there are no lumps, then you can pin the top where you will hand sew. This time though, fold the top of each piece, about a 1/4″ or so, in so your seam will be nice and clean. Then hand sew and take out pins as you go. And VOILA, all done!

Display IconStep 6. Display Prominently and Proudly: You can feel accomplished at this point – an ultimate crafter! I bragged about it on instagram, twitter and Facebook…highly recommended, ha!

*Note: my matching pillows were quilted, or cut into smaller pieces that were sewn together before making the actual pillow form. This involves a more complicated process than a basic pillow. Let me know in the comment section if you are interested in learning more. And the flowers were simply sewn on to one piece of the pillow before steps 3-6.

A Glimpse Into My DIY, Vintage Wedding

Before diving into all the phenom aspects of my Big Day, and the hard work to make it happen, I thought I would show a brief overview of the vision and style. As is probably evident, I love all things DIY, so this was a major component, as well as, incorporating vintage-themed aspects. Our colors were fitting for the summer: orange, yellow and pink tones, with an emphasis on coral. But what can explain this all better than pictures – check out the gallery below!

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