Tuesday, July 15, 2014

The Bachelorette, Season 10, Episode 9: Fantasy Suites

Poor Farmer Chris...I was sad to see him go. He's been one of my favorites since day 1 when I read the bios. He wasn't a good fir for Andi, but I think he'd be just perfect for my BFF Selena. Planes fly to Iowa so that I could go visit, right?!

Here's how the points added up this week:

Chris – 90 points (It’s going to be a lonely tractor ride home)
  • Being selected to go on a one-on-one date (2o points)
  • Kissing Andi on the lips (10 points)
  • Going on a picnic (5 points)
  • Saying “I love you” to Andi (30 points)
  • Crying on camera (25 points)
Josh – 160 points
  • Being selected to go on a one-on-one date (2o points)
  • Kissing Andi on the lips (10 points)
  • Saying “I love you” to Andi (30 points)
  • Accepting the Fantasy Suite (75 points)
  • Getting the rose to stay another week (25 points)
Nick – 190 points
  • Being selected to go on a one-on-one date (2o points)
  • Kissing Andi on the lips (10 points)
  • Riding in a helicopter (1o points)
  • Talking about an ex-fiance (10 points)
  • Going on a picnic (5 points)
  • Giving Andi a gift (5 points)
  • Saying “I love you” to Andi (30 points)
  • Accepting the Fantasy Suite (75 points)
  • Getting the rose to stay another week (25 points)
Ashlee's team brought in the most points this week at 280, and there was a three-way tie for second for Selena, Ellen and Kristen's teams, all racking up 250 points each. Ashlee sure lucked out with Nick this season!

For our season overall, Ashlee is in the lead with 2145 points, Selena is in second place with 1955 points, and Ellen is in third place with 1,795 points.

Are you ready for the Men Tell All next week?! It's gonna be a doozy!!!

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

The Bachelorette, Season 10, Episode 8: Hometowns

Didn't last night's ending just break your heart?! I can completely sympathize with Andi's guilt as she recalled her last conversation with Eric. I loved how Marcus shared his appreciation for his older brother with his brother also. Sometimes, we forget to tell those closest to us how much they mean to us, and we never know when someone will leave our lives. I was happy to see that Andi and the remaining 4 bachelors all met together at Chris Harrison's house to receive the news. There's no good way to segment here, so...

Here's how the points added up this week:

Chris – 45 points
  • Kissing Andi (10 points)
  • Going on a picnic (5 points)
  • Giving Andi a gift (the plane with the banner message) (5 points)
  • Getting the rose to stay on another week (25 points)

Josh – 80 points
  • Saying “I’m falling in love with her” to the camera (20 points)
  • Kissing Andi (10 points)
  • Crying on camera (25 points)
  • Getting the rose to stay another week (25 points)

Marcus – 65 points (time to retire that sailor suit)
  • Saying “I love you” to Andi (30 points)
  • Kissing Andi (10 points)
  • Crying on camera (25 points)

Nick – 85 points
  • Saying “I’m falling for you” to Andi (20 points)
  • Kissing Andi (10 points)
  • Dancing at a concert (5 points)
  • Crying on camera (25 points)
  • Getting the rose to stay another week (25 points)

This week, Ashlee's team scored the most points at 195, and there was a two-way tie for second place at 190 points for Ellen and Selena. For the season overall, Ashlee is STILL in the lead with 1865 points, Selena is trailing just behind her at 1705 points, and there's a two-way tie for third place between Ellen and Jessica, both with 1545 points.

Okay, fantasy suites, let’s see what you've got! Our only hope of taking over the lead next week is having Nick refuse the fantasy suite.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

The Bachelorette, Season 10, Episode 7: Pickle Juice


Is that a pickle in your pants, or are you just glad to see me?! I can't believe we're almost at hometown dates! This has been a pretty boring season so far. Andi just wants to EXPLOOOOOOOOORE, so we are really missing out on some hot tub and helicopter points. Nick is the only real drama that's left, but since the guys won't be spending any more time together, I think we've seen the last of it. I hope you all watched last night's episode until the very end. That scene with Brian and pickles was so darn funny! Here's how the gentlemen did last night:


Brian – 30 points (warm up the bus, coach)
  • Being selected to go on a group date (10 points)
  • Saying “I’m falling for you”  to Andi (20 points)
    • Note: I was waiting for moisture and it never really materialized on his cheeks. Damn you, Brian, I could’ve used those crying on camera points!
Chris – 115 points
  • Being selected go go on a group date (10 points)
  • Kissing Andi (10 points)
  • Saying “I’m falling for you” to Andi (20 points)
  • Getting the rose to stay on another week (25 points)
  • Making it to Hometown Dates (50 points)
Dylan – 40 points (taking his ponytail back to New England)
  • Being selected to go on a group date (10 points)
  • Using the phrase “steal Andi away” during group date (5 points)
  • Crying on camera (25 points)
Josh – 130 points
  • Being selected to go on a one-on-one date (20 points)
  • Saying “I’m falling for you” to Andi (20 points)
  • Kissing Andi (10 points)
  • Dancing at a concert (5 points)
  • Getting the rose to stay another week (25 points)
  • Making it to Hometown Dates (50 points)
Marcus – 130 points
  • Being selected to go on a one-on-one date (20 points)
  • Saying “I’m falling for you” to Andi (20 points)
  • Talking about his parents’ relationship (5 points)
  • Kissing Andi (10 points)
  • Getting the rose to stay another week (25 points)
  • Making it to Hometown Dates (50 points)
Nick – 145 points
  • Being selected to go on a group date (10 points)
  • Saying “I’m falling for you” to Andi (20 points)
  • Kissing Andi (10 points)
  • Crying on camera (25 points)
  • Getting the rose on a group date (30 points)
  • Making it to Hometown Dates (50 points)
This week, Ashlee's team racked up the most points at 420, Selena came in second with 415 points, and Ellen's team scored her 375 points. Overall for the season, Ashlee is in first place with 1670 points, Selena is in second place with 1515 points, and Jessica is in third place with 1400 points. Don't lose hope y'all...we still have The Men Tell All, so your favorite bachelors will return and rack up some more points for you.

See y'all next week!

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Payton's Picnic: A Homemade First Birthday

We're getting ready for Payton's second birthday, so I guess I should probably post some pictures of Payton's first birthday party. It was one of the best days of my life, and I loved having all of our friends and family with us to celebrate our little love. 

Cory's parents took Payton overnight so that we could finish getting everything ready. Cory made an early run to Starbucks, and didn't realize that he pushed the panic button on our key fob for our security system. The police showed up, and they were not as enthusiastic to come see how AMAZING our backyard was as I hoped they'd be. 

We had SO many people help us with her party, so it really was a team effort. My dad made a last-minute run to Ikea (which means a lot because he HATES Ikea), Cory went to Costco on a Saturday to pick up all of the food and flowers, and we had lots of family come over early to help set things up. Heidi Bolles, a newborn and family photographer here in Southern California, was gracious enough to come take pictures of the event. Let's take a look, shall we?


On one sleep-deprived night, I realized that I called Payton "Bing-A-Bing". I don't have a clue where this came from, it doesn't have any particular meaning, and it makes no sense at all. When I began thinking about her party, I thought of bing cherries. Cherries reminded me of a picnic, so I decided to go with a picnic theme. I made a quick run to M&L Discount Fabric, and I started to gather random farmers market/orchard/gingham fabrics that kinda went together. From there, I came up with a color pallet, and then all of my ideas started pouring out. I ran to Home Depot to pick up some paint samples, and put together a color scheme.

I sent a ridiculously long list of random ideas from my Pinterest board to Heather Myers, a local graphic designer here in Southern California that does EVERYTHING from stickers and party invitations to business logos and blog layouts. She somehow took all of my ideas and came up with the CUTEST paper goods. You can read her post about it here





I had LOTS of crafts to make before her party. At the time, I was finishing my second year of BTSA, working 4 days a week with students one-on-one, and working one day a week in a first grade classroom. I don't know how I pulled it all off, but I did with the help of LOTS of people. Payton's great grandpa painted all of the baby food jars to use as flower vases.

I came up with this idea to build a farmer's market in our backyard. Cory thought I was crazy, but I had a vision and I knew just who to call to build it for me. Two of Cory's best friends came over on a Saturday to help me bring my vision to life. They needed $150 worth of wood and about 2 weeks, but I gave them pallets, 4 hours, beer, and buffalo chicken sliders. Their wives also came over, drink containers and mason jars in tow, and helped with lots more projects. We later added on some 2x4 planks across the front, some boards across the top, and an awning over the whole thing. My dad helped with all of this because his attention to detail is something I couldn't find the patience for with this project.


I found some cute canning fabric that we stapled to the top. The farmer's market sign was from Home Goods, the white baskets were from Dollar Tree, and the super cute stuffed fruits and vegetables were from Ikea. We set up booths for food and games on the left.





I knew that I wanted something fun for the kids to play with since this part of our backyard was for the kids. I found some really cute felt fruit and vegetable baskets from Ikea, so we separated the produce into baskets nailed onto one of the pallets, and put all of the baskets on the right. The baskets came in two shapes, so we let each of the kids choose a basket that came with a shopping list. The kids got to shop for their produce to take home. This was probably my favorite part of the whole party.


My neighbor, Auntie Rhonda, spent an entire week working on these BEAUTIFUL picnic blankets that we used to cover up our crab grass. I dropped off bags of fabric pieces, and she worked so hard on making 5 (!!!) huge blankets and about 20 pillow covers. The little tables are from Crate and Barrel, and we use them every summer for our concerts in the park down the street.


Instead of doing a poster with all of her stats on it, I decided to make these wood planks instead. I bought balsa (craft) wood from Home Depot, and I had them cut it for me. 



I also made these signs for the front yard. Cory's dad assembled the signs for me, even though it drove him NUTS that I didn't want them all centered at 90 degree angles. He's such a good sport!


I spent 6 hours in the car for the Fourth of July tying scraps of fabric to this wire wreath from Michael's. It hung on our front door. I painted a craft crate from Michael's with her party colors, and found the marquee number at our local flee market. These sat on our front porch.


I set up our buffet table with Dr. Seuss's Happy Birthday To You for our guests to sign, some letters that spelled "one" from Hobby Lobby, and one of Heather's prints.


Here are Ben and Rhonda enjoying their picnic food and writing sweet nothings in Payton's book.


I didn't want our food out in the hot sun, so we decided to keep it indoors. I found some baskets from Dollar Tree that our guests could use to pack up their food for their picnic, and I set them next to the table. We had an assortment of fresh breads, dressings, lunch meat, cheeses,  and condiments so that everyone could make their own sandwiches. 



For sides, we had prepackaged fruit salad, macaroni salad, and green salad. Cory's mom cut up all of the fruit and made all of the macaroni salad. All of the containers came from Smart and Final, and Heather created all of the stickers and posters.



I searched online for the perfect utensils, but I opted to order bamboo utensils online and dip them in paint to match the party colors. I stored them in an old tool carrier.


Once our guests packed up their picnic baskets, they took them outside to enjoy them. The balloons were a last-minute addition that Cory's aunts helped me with.




I used more fabric for the tablecloths and runners, and lined the tables with pictures of Payton in Ikea frames.



I about died when I saw this cart from Ikea. It was the perfect color, and I knew exactly what I would use it for after the party was over. We filled it with mason jars and plastic cups for drinks.


One of our favorite local stores is Blue Windows down on 2nd Street. It's my go-to shop for gifts, and I always take a quick stroll through it when I'm down there. It's a wonderful source of inspiration, and everyone that works there is so wonderful. I fell in love with their bake shop window display, so I contacted them to see if I could borrow it for her party. I was thrilled when they said that I could use it! Cory's dad assembled it for me, and we put it in the kitchen for a dessert table. My mom took 2 days off of work to make all of the homemade desserts. She made brownies with chocolate frosting, confetti cookie frosting sandwiches, s'mores bars, mini hand pies, and lemon bars. The cupcake liners came from Sur la Table, and the napkins were from Party City. I made several attempts at making her can cakes, ombre cakes, and naked cakes, but they were all big flops. I finally gave in and ordered her cake from Sweet and Saucy. The cake was super cute and soooo delicious!





I decorated the mantle with this framed print, a garland with her monthly pictures, her baby book, and some of her favorite things (sleep sheep, pink sparkly Toms shoes, etc).



I hung this towel that I threw together in the kitchen, and our family calendar from Blue Windows had the big day on it!




I hung this behind the foot table in our livingroom. My dad assembled the planks of wood from my brother's old Ikea box spring. He removed the straps, glued and nailed the back to a shorter vertical plank, and then sanded it down for me. I projected a silhouette we had done of Payton when she was 4 months old using an Elmo projector at school onto the board, traced the outline, and then filled in the outside with paint.


We had a ring toss, cornhole, and sidewalk chalk set up in the front yard. A few of Cory's cousins got really into it.


While Cory's friends were here, we had them repurpose an old dresser into this amazing kitchen for Payton. Mikey cut off the front of the top drawer, reattached it with hinges, drilled holes for the sprinkler knobs, and drilled holes for the cake pan sink and pipe spout. He also attached a board to the back of the dresser, and hung a shelf up top. The shelf holds her Melissa and Doug produce from her bestie, and that Ikea drink cart is the perfect size to hold all of her other food and utensils.



The bottom drawer holds all of her pots, pans, and baking supplies.


Cory was kind enough to paint the kitchen for me. I found this adorable quote from Julia Child, and I fell in love with the typography from pot & pantry. You can even order it as a letterpress print.







This party was such a labor of love for me. It was almost like a celebration of me coming out of the mommy cave I'd been in. I put away crafts for so many years because I was so busy with work, and I really enjoyed every square inch of her party. She had so much fun playing with all of her friends.

Follow me on Instagram to see what we're planning for her party this year!