Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Buck up, Campers...it's Gerber season....

I'm back. Had to take a small blogging hiatus of chaos that seemed to have no end. You all know those days. The days where you wake up thinking, "Um. I really don't know how I'm going to make it through until 8pm tonight. Or maybe even until the end of this century." And suddenly, it's a month later before you've woken up from the Chaos-Coma. With meetings and meals and switching between princess pull-ups and Elmo underpants and phone calls and laundry and rides in the car to the grocery store where you're not entirely sure how you ended up there because you drive there so often you're just on auto-pilot...and it's actually a scary feeling that you made it there at all because your eyes were open but they might as well have just been blacked out since you have no recollection of what you saw. (Is that the record for the longest run-on sentence?) Did you see Spring blooming all around you and hear the birdies chirping away or did you see purple polka-dotted alligators doing a dance by the side of the road? Who the crap knows? All you know is you ended up in a grocery store parking lot and if you don't get grapes, Wheat Thins and milk, someone will surely be Capital P.O'd at home.

I'm so back-logged on blogs right now I want to cry. Because writing is one of my favorite things to do and once I started this blog, everything started racing like little Ava's nose during allergy season (starting right now, poor baby) and then my little friend here had to sit in the MacBook dark abyss for longer than I had ever hoped for. I have a list of items I need/really am dying to blog about...but at this point, I may not be caught up until Christmas. But that's ok...the ideas I have can continue to be written on my bank deposit slips, napkins, the backs of pictures the girls make me...hehe...(please don't tell them, ok? So bad....) Then the ideas make it to the leather bound book that Chris and the girls gave me for Mother's Day last year that's getting filled with lots of various things....songs I hear and need to buy, names of paint colors, maybe someone's phone number (not that kind of phone number, put your phone down and stop spreading rumors, good grief)...random things. Not very organized.

So, let's get to something I wanted to talk about. Spring = flowers, right? I watched one of those crazy "Platinum Wedding" shows the other day and it was literally a $1.3 million wedding. The budget for the flowers alone was something like $200,000!!! But I have to say...they were the most EXQUISITE yellow, pink and orange roses and other flowers in the same hues that you have EVER SEEN IN YOUR ENTIRE LIFE ON THIS PLANET!! Really and truly...and there were trillions of them...for this outside wedding truly fit for royalty, which was basically their "theme." Yes, "royalty" was their theme. Not a certain color or Mikey Mouse (hey, whatever floats your boat) but....R.O.Y.A.L.T.Y. The only people that should have royalty as their theme should be Prince William and Kate Middleton, ok? Not Julie and Todd sitting on thrones up there on the altar that just registered at Tiffany's when most of the guest-list were hoping they were registering at Target. Ok, anyway, everything for this wedding was mind blowing but throughout the entire show, I just wanted to know, what on EARTH were they going to do with these trillions of flowers after the wedding???? Donate them to where?? Send them on a flatbed truck to every retirement home in all the nearby 4 cities?? Make funeral wreaths out of them for every tombstone in the tri-state area? It was going to be SUCH a waste to see all these gazillion flowers eventually turn BROWN and shrivel up!!! Hey...like I said...imagine me saying this in an Italian-Jersey very NON-royalty-like-manner..."Whateveh floats yah boat!!"

My neighbor, Anne, has a younger sister that got married a few weekends ago and since she was crowned "Amazing Matron of Honor," she was in charge of hosting the bridal shower last month. She had it at a great local restaurant and I was honored when she asked me if I would come up with the table decor for the two tables. There's nothing I love more than an intimate party and when it's in a restaurant, it's so much fun too! 17 women were invited and the restaurant would be providing the white table linens, of course, so I suggested we just keep it simple...some runners on each table and I'd put together some bright vases of flowers and I still have votives from my wedding that she could use as well. Pull junk out of your basements, people, and throw it on a table scape. You'd be stunned at how great Aunt Minnie's old tablecloth from 1960 just might look FAB today!

Researching online what flowers were in season was really helpful (to save on cost), so we made a list and I called my friend, Stacey, at Uniquely Yours, in downtown Northville and she was able to order what flowers we needed. We picked up the flowers Friday morning so we could assemble all the arrangements Friday night for the Saturday shower. Stacey was kind enough to let us keep the flowers in large buckets full of water and then we just returned the buckets on Saturday after the shower. The only bulk flower we purchased elsewhere were the roses which Costco had huge deals on.

I have to just throw in here that I learned everything I know about flower arranging from watching my amazing mother-in-law. We call her "Martha" all the time (although she's not the mean Martha that would end up in jail...haha!) because she can just do it all...sew, garden, is a gourmet cook, can scrapbook, get out any stain you have anywhere on you, put together a table-scape like nobody's business and can put together a flower arrangement that looks like a million bucks. After being married to my husband for a little over 9 years, I just loved watching her make her flower arrangements and I started loving it too. Would do it for parties once I gained some confidence and voila...here I was helping my lovely neighbor all because of my sweet and dear MIL.

So, Anne and I started assembling the 4 arrangements Friday night. Anne wanted them in mason jars (very cute and casual idea for a spring bridal shower) so I thought it would be great to have the arrangements have the brightest flowers we could find in season and get the jars as full and as thick as possible. She also used double-sided table to put together plaid ribbon to go around the jars as well. As I put together the first arrangement, Anne got the confidence to try the second one....she did so great!! We actually ended up with some left-over flowers so I put together the last bouquet so they could have something to put on the "cup-cake table." I was so excited at how they turned out!

I have to also say that we sprinkled the flower food in each of the jars and Anne was kind enough to bring one home for me. I'm not joking here at all when I say that the arrangements lasted an entire WEEK!!! Well, my favorite Gerber Daisies didn't, but still...the entire rest of the arrangement looked incredible for that long!! So, as usual, I love getting flowers through Uniquely Yours and Costco's roses were amazing!! :) Don't be afraid to try these projects by yourself or with other family members! You can always look online for tips or check out books at the library! Just have fun with it! :)

And one more thing before I close this blog that's literally taken me WEEKS to finish....haha! You obviously don't have to have a 1 point whatever gazillion dollar wedding to wow your guests or the WORLD, for that matter. Remember back in 2009, a certain wedding party was filmed and put on YouTube of an entire wedding party dancing their way into the church to Chris Brown's, "Forever?" It wasn't a glitzy, glamorous wedding, just a simple and glorious affair with the girls carrying my forever favorite, Gerber Daisies, the men wore simple suits but the beat was in their steps and the joy on their surprised guests faces and there was so much LOVE when the stunning bride finally made her appearance?!! A moment so pricesless beyond words...still, these two years later... I STILL cry every time Jill appears at the back of the church and starts her dance down the isle to meet her groom!! A perfect, simple moment, video taped for the world to see. The most amazing part of it all continued AFTER the video went viral as well! They started their own website (www.jkweddingdance.com) and put their sudden fame to a wonderful cause - the prevention of domestic violence. Visit their wonderful site and you can get the great video and see that they've already raised $34,600!! Their little video has actually been viewed 65, 828, 772 times!! UNREAL!!! :) It actually makes me soooo happy too since all the girls are carrying my favorite GERBS! :) But take a sec to do a little dance!

So, what's the moral of this forever long story? I'm a complete suckah for weddings. Even for complete strangers. More for the $5,000 weddings though than the $1.5 million weddings. I need to pay more attention when I drive to the grocery store. Or maybe start taking advantage of their delivery services. Who really does that? Because I think that would be AWESOME!!! And last but certainly not least...I really think that if we all planted Gerber Daisies in every yard, in every vacant lot, in every open area where we could plant them? We'd have world peace. They would just make everyone that happy.... :)

Pics of the arrangements I put together for Anne's sister's bridal shower:

Getting the stems prepped: extra leaves off, etc.

Close up look at how beautiful these flowers looked before starting the arrangements.

And how AMAZING the flowers looked once they were put together in the mason jars!

Once the cute ribbon was on the jars and we saw how the runner was going to look underneath them all, it was great to see how it all was coming together!

This is the arrangement I made for the "cup-cake table" with the left-over flowers we had.

Me - Making final touches to the arrangements. We did this all at Anne's house the night before the shower. Got it all done from start to finish in about 3 hours.


And how the tables looked at the restaurant where the shower was held. Anne took this for me. :) I also gave her some of the votive candles I had from my wedding and they are also on the table. She said the whole family just loved how the arrangements turned out and that made us both SO very happy! :)

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Oh, So Very...

Grateful. Grateful is the word of the day. The word of the week, the year...ok, it's the word that exemplifies my entire straight-out-of-a-novel-life. But this was quite an exciting week for me and it really was the icing on the cake having my blog so graciously made over by my friend, Kelli Taylor, of Purple Tree Photography. Between Kelli and Cheryl Oz...those two have been helping me put my vision together of how I REALLY wanted this baby to look. These two are master-crafts-women. Between their paintbrushes, cameras and computers, they can make ANYTHING look good...even almost 40-year-old me....hahaha! Kelli had her work cut out for her, I PROMISE you, with me as a subject. "Wait, is my hair right? Wait...it looks fuzzy. Can I pull it back? Can I change my shirt?" I'm sure she couldn't wait to get to the "still life" part of the photo shoot...haha! It's one thing when you're getting your photo taken for your Christmas card (yup, those still need to be sent out too. Dang! Ha!)...just make sure there aren't too many wrinkles in everyone's color coordinated outfits, get the dried milk off of junior's face. Maybe use some spit to smash down Joey's bed-head. But these photos were different for me. This was a bit more exposure for me.

This is about my business. My heart and soul in this business. My family in this business. My friends in this business. Everything that represents me. Fuzzy hair and all. Kelli is so great at what she does. Really and truly. I can post something about her on FB to say...book something now OR YOU'LL BE TOTALLY STUPID IF YOU DON'T!! Blah, blah, blah...but I'm saying this really and truly. You get what you pay for here and then-some. You'll get patience, expertise, she WON'T make fun of your hair too much - HAHA! (she was honest with me though, which I appreciated, when I wanted to pull my hair back and it ended up looking pretty blech in the pics) and in the end? You'll get these incredibly gorgeous and natural light-filled photographs that you'll pass down for generations and when you're a grandparent you'll say..."I remember the day Joey cried the entire time through our session with Kelli but she brought out the best in him for these gorgeous photos and oh, look! I remember how she helped me fix my fuzzy hair!" :)

We set up everything ourselves that you see above in my banner. How it all turned out just blows my mind. Some simple behind the scenes facts: The fabrics are actually two amazing tablecloths I had just purchased at Target. The little white frame has a picture in it that Lexi painted when she was three years old. I keep it in our dining room. The art books are all ones I purchased at the last estate sale I went to (totaling all of, I think, $6) from Cari Cucksey, host of HGTV's, "Cash & Cari." And the candlesticks are ones I found at a flea market in Grand Rapids. The holes are so wide, it's tough to find a wide enough candle to put in them so I decided to place these little decorative votives on top of them and I really like how they look now. I found the votives at Ikea a few years ago during the holidays.

So, as you can see...you can really fill your home with little pieces of love and pieces THAT you love that don't have to break the bank. Hunting for all these treasures is the best part.

There are oh, so very many things to be thankful for on this almost Friday morning. I'm thankful for my wonderful friends, Kelli and Cheryl, that have been such a force of inspiration on this media journey and I'm thankful to you for stopping by to read this tonight...almost tomorrow morning. :)
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