Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Craft Club #1: Fun with Foil

What do you get when you combine friends + crafts + good food + wine? You get a Craft Club. And ours just launched on Sunday night. 

My friend Steph is a huuuuge fan of crafting whenever possible (hence the coloring book session the two of us had together a few weeks ago), and she had the fabulous idea of starting a monthly Craft Club with some of our friends. Each month we'll rotate who hosts the club, and the host will choose the craft of the day.

So on Sunday evening, we met at Jenna's house for the inaugural craft sesh. Armed with 5 canvases, 1 jar of Mod Podge, an array of foam paintbrushes, 1 roll of aluminum foil, some scissors, and 2 cans of metallic spray paint, the 5 of us (me, Kara, Steph, Jenna and Lauren) went to town doing pretty much whatever we wanted.

The general idea was to cut/tear pieces of aluminum foil into shapes or strips and arrange them on our canvases, spray paint the canvases or foil pieces with metallic gold and silver, and then Mod Podge them into place on our canvases. Everyone's came out so different!

Craft Club

Craft Club
.  hard at work!  .

While we crafted, we also took breaks to enjoy the delicious white bean, pumpkin and turkey chili that Jenna had prepared for us that day in her crockpot. There were also crackers and cheese, as well as some incredible cupcakes that Steph brought from Cupcake City for dessert. Kara, who had come to the Craft Club straight from a baby shower for one of her cousins, brought with her some leftover sangria and chicken salad from the party to share with us.  I wasn't able to partake in any of the sangria or wine because of the muscle relaxers I've been taking, but I had plenty of iced tea to make up for it.

But back to the crafting.

Using different household objects as guides, I traced several circles of different sizes onto my foil before carefully cutting them out. Not fully sure what I was going to do with them, I started arranging the circles randomly around my canvas...

Crafting with foil and Mod Podge
And here's what I ended up with, though there may be some pink acrylic accents added to this before I put it into its frame:

Circles of foil and Mod Podge

Steph kept hers delightfully minimal with 3 adorably perfect hearts in one corner, and the "negative space" hearts in another part of the canvas. She sprayed her canvas gold before covering half of it with foil on a diagonal angle:

Foil hearts

Art with silver foil on gold canvas Kara made a cool cave-like design with hers, reminiscent of stalagmites and stalactites:

Fun with foil and Mod Podge

Golden foil on canvas

Lauren went to town on hers, turning it into a real picture of a sunset over an ocean of waves. I love the way the texture of the canvas comes through the gold paint:

Waves of foil on canvas

Sunset made with foil on canvas

And when we last left her, Jenna had made some progress towards the look you see below... though I know she was questioning whether or not she was going to keep it that way. Who knows how hers ended up!!

Foil shapes on canvas

Gold and silver foil shapes on canvas

This was really a perfect way to kick off our Craft Club. It was structured, yet completely laid back, the food was delicious and wonderfully comfort-foody, and we all left with a new piece of artwork.

Crafts and wine!
For our next Craft Club, the plan is to meet at Lauren's for a crochet lesson, probably sometime in early November.

Who else has gotten their creative juices flowing with a random craft project recently?
Would you ever get a Craft Club going with your friends?
Got any suggestions for an upcoming Craft Club project? Share with me!

{Linking with Wonderfully Creative Wednesdays and Craft Frenzy Friday}

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Falling into Fall while Holding a Camera

Normally I post my workouts today, but that damn shoulder pain has prevented me from even going to the gym this week. In lieu of a Workouts of the Week blog today, I thought I'd post some pictures I took while walking around the Mystic River Reservation on the first day of fall:

A tree with no leaves

A field and a forest

Tree with cool textured bark
.  i love the deep grooves in this tree's bark  .
Tree roots popping through the sidewalk
.  this tree's roots were rebelling against the sidewalk  .
Weird looking purple berries

.  pop of yellow in this green tree  .
Some of this tree's leaves are turning yellow

Airplane against a blue sky
.  airplanes fly over my apartment building alllllll the time  .

Despite the shoulder pain, this weekend has been a nice one. I finally got some muscle relaxers that give me enough relief to fall asleep, and since I didn't sleep at all last week, my Friday night was spent curled up in my bed watching episodes of Scandal on Netflix before passing out around 10. It was very exciting for me to realize when I woke up on Saturday that I'd actually fallen asleep the night before. Yesterday I spent the afternoon in Cambridge with my friends Kara and Jenna. We went to lunch at Charlie's Kitchen, where we ate outside in their beer garden, and then did some casual shopping in Harvard Square. Later that night I decided to tackle the project of putting together my new Tarva bed from Ikea. I expected to only take the parts out of the box and evaluate the situation, but I ended up glancing at the directions and realizing that they didn't look too tricky. And, lo, they weren't! I put the entire bed together, topped it with my comfy mattress, and slept on a REAL bed for the first time since moving in. Hoozah!

This afternoon some of my girlfriends are getting together for what we hope will be a new monthly staple:  a craft club! We'll take turns hosting the club and the craft (so each hostess will choose the craft on her day), and we will eat food and drink wine while being creative. Jenna is hosting the inaugural Craft Club (is it OK if I capitalize it? It's pretty official) today, and has kept the craft a secret so far. Can't wait to see what she has up her sleeve! I'll definitely bring my camera and then hopefully blog about it afterwards.

What do you think of the idea of a Craft Club? Sound like something you'd ever do with your friends?
Who else watches Scandal?
Is fall showing itself in your neighborhood trees yet?


Friday, September 26, 2014

Mochacino Nails with Candy Marshmallows

... Because eff Pumpkin Spice Lattes!

Just kidding, I don't have anything against those, especially since I finally tried one last weekend and it was delicious. You know, except for the sexual harassment that accompanied it. The title of this blog is based on the awesome nail polish that was used in today's post - Mochacino by Essie - and the candy-colored accent nails that I paired with it.

I adore this Essie polish, though it doesn't get enough play. It's a warm, hot-cocoa sort of dark taupe, with gorgeous silver shimmer throughout. A perfectly cozy way to adorn your nails this fall, I'd say.

Mochacino nail polish by Essie

My mochacino's "candy marshmallow" accent nails were a mint polish from Forever21's Love & Beauty line and Pink Forever from Sinful Colors.

It's been a rough week for me - I'm running on less than one hour of sleep since Saturday. And yes, you read that right. The stupid shoulder pain that I've been bitching about since late July flared up in a big way on Saturday evening, and sleeping has been literally impossible ever since. This entire week has been one of doctor's offices, pharmacies, chiropractors, massages, more pharmacies, and more chiropractors. And not much pain relief. Rather than continue to complain about it, which I really hate doing, I'm just going to end this blog now and wish you a happy weekend!

{Linking with The Nail Files, Beauty Buzz, and Friday's Fab Favorites}

Monday, September 22, 2014

A Labor Day Wedding (aka BEST WEEKEND EVER)

It wouldn't be a fabulous re-cap if I hadn't taken several weeks to compile it, right? Thus, below you'll find a lengthy (BUT JOYFUL) rundown of the amazing "wedding weekend" that I was a part of between August 29th and September 1st. Let's dive in!

Friday August 29th 

My Labor Day weekend kicked off on Friday with dinner and a sleepover at my friend Jenna's home in Newton, MA. We were both in the bridal party, so this way we could easily carpool on the drive south to East Bridgewater the next morning for a special bridesmaid brunch that was being thrown for all the ladies.

I've mentioned before that Jenna is an amazing cook - this time she made a delicious dinner of grilled veggies, roasted potatoes, and grilled marinated peppercorn chicken. Little did I know that this was just the start of a weekend of being incredibly well-fed.

Saturday August 30th

On Saturday we woke up bright and early and headed down to East Bridgewater for the bridesmaid brunch:

Drive from Newton to East Bridgewater

The brunch was hosted by friends of Abby's family - Patti, her husband Harry, and their daughter Susanne. Harry is a chef himself, so he had a little team of people helping him cater the affair. And it was SUCH a delightful spread! All morning and into the early afternoon, we enjoyed such things as adorable appetizers of grilled cheese wedges, which were charmingly served alongside a teacup of tomato bisque...

Tomato bisque and grilled cheese wedge, served on a teacup

... essentially bottomless mimosas and punch...

Mimosas and punch!

... as well as exquisite Eggs Benedict served with asparagus and sliced tomato, colorful fruit salad, sweet and sticky pecan rolls, crispy bacon, creamy chicken broccoli alfredo, iced sugar cookies, frozen chocolate chip cookies, and lots of other little desserts. I was SO. FULL. So was everyone else, and on top of that I had such a nice time getting to know the other women there and spending more time with the other bridesmaids.

Eggs Benedict and delicious plate of brunch food

Sugar cookies and desserts at the bridal brunch

Wine bottles dressed as bride and groom

From brunch, we headed to Geoff and Abby's house to help them put the finishing touches on the wedding decor for the next day's reception. While the wedding ceremony would be taking place at the nearby town common, Geobby were hosting the reception right in their own backyard - something they'd been working on for the last year (with leveling work, tree removal and garden planning).

That afternoon there was a flurry of activity in their yard by a "crew" of around 20 helpers - friends and family who were all more than happy to chip in for this awesome couple. Projects included:

- clipping fresh flowers directly from the garden and using them to fill the bounty of mason jars and old fashioned Coke bottles that would be used as table centerpieces (the pink, magenta, orange, red flowers looked so rustic and beautiful together)
- rolling 200 sets of silverware into napkins and securing each with a thin strand of twine rope
- cutting burlap strips of fabric that would be used as table runners
- setting out water and wine glasses and candles on all the tables beneath the big reception tent
- hanging lanterns around the property
- prepping the beer and wine stations (on their wedding night, bottles of beer were served from a big canoe filled with ice the world's most clever cooler!)

... and so many other details that Abigail and Geoff thought of. The whole yard and tent area was already looking PERFECT on Saturday afternoon... I couldn't wait till Sunday when it would be filled with tons of friends, glowing lanterns, strung lights, and music. And alcohol.

Following the afternoon of chipping in around the Geobby Estate, Jenna and I dashed over to the home that we'd be staying at for the evening. Another friend of Abby's family, Susan, had very generously offered to host us that night, so that we'd have local beds and a place to shower on the night before the wedding. Jenna and I got changed there very quickly and then headed back out to the wedding rehearsal at the East Bridgewater town common. The park also happens to be bordered by Abby's father's house, which was the starting point for the bridal party's walk to the alter area in the common. My friend Brian was my walking partner/groomsman buddy for the occasion - a fine pairing, if you ask me. He escorted me across the road and through the common flawlessly. We may or may not have been quietly rapping some Biggie to ourselves for most of our long walk.

After the rehearsal we were off once again - this time to The Fireside Grille in Middleboro for the rehearsal dinner. Here, our group had an entire function room to ourselves (and there were 50 people at the dinner!), complete with bartender, servers and a banquet buffet. We nommed on spanikopita, crab rangoon, green salad, cheesy mashed potatoes, green beans, steak tips and more. Dinner was capped off by huge, delicious slices of ice cream cake. Geoff's father gave a touching toast, Abigail gave her bridesmaids each a gorgeous scarf and a complementing pair of earrings, and Geoff gave his groomsmen ties, sunglasses, and machetes - the latter, much to the horror of most of the women in the room. 

Finally, when the rehearsal dinner was winding down, Jenna, her husband Dan, and I all headed back to Susan's, where I got a magnificent night's sleep on a magenta set of the most comfortable sheets I've ever slept on in my life. 

Sunday August 31st

Yahooo, wedding day!! On Sunday morning we got showered and had a cup of coffee c/o the lovely Susan before heading back over to Abby's father's house to get ready with the other bridesmaids. The ceremony wasn't until 3:30pm, but we had plenty to do before then. Two by two, all of the women in the bridal party had their hair done by a mother-daughter hairstyling duo, while we were kept content with a constant flow of mimosas, quiche, fruit salad, lemon poppy bread, crumb cake, and deli sandwiches. I loooooved the way my hair came out. Here's the YouTube video tutorial that I brought with  me to show the hairstylist: Braided Updo

Abby, it should be noted, was the most relaxed bride-to-be that there probably has ever been on a wedding day. She's got a zen to her that can't really be described, that one! She didn't appear to get flustered even once throughout the morning. Not that she ever gets flustered normally, but you'd think of all the days to do it, it'd be your wedding day. But nope - no door slamming, no dish throwing... not even a good old fashioned meltdown. Nothing was blowing her buzz that day!

When our hair and makeup were done, it was time for us all to get into our dresses. The bridesmaids were each wearing a different style dress in a variety of minty tones. Abby had given us all a list of about 30 different dresses and told us to take our pick. I chose this adorable minty-sage number from ModCloth:

Bubbly Celebration, mint sage dress from ModCloth

With it, I wore the white wedges that were featured in this blog, as well as the beautiful earrings that Abby had given me the night before:

Mint-turquoise and purple gold dangly earrings

Abby's dress was beautiful and so perfect for her. It had a total bohemian backyard garden wedding vibe to it - cream-colored, long and flowy with scalloped and detailed trim down the length:

Abby's wedding gown!

Close up of Abby's wedding gown
And here she is looking like a radiant bride - this is the kind of carefree smiles we were getting from her all day long!

The beautiful bride in her dress!

Bride with the Maid of Honor and Mother of the Groom

The Maid of Honor helping with the bride's jewelry
Bride with her grandmother!
 Atop her perfectly precious head she rocked a crown of fresh daisies, handmade with love that morning by the Maid of Honor herself, Abby's sister Meg:

And Abby, Jenna and I made sure to get a photo together, since we were the "UMass chapter" of her bridal party:

Abby chose to do gorgeous and fragrant bundles of lavender for her own bouquet as well as the bridesmaids. Around her own, she secured a locket and a photograph of her late mother:

Bundles of lavender for bridal bouquets

Wedding rings tied with a ribbon onto a burlap pillow

After the usual "waiting around for everyone to arrive and be seated" downtime, it was finally time for the ceremony! Once we did our walks from Abby's father's house to the alter, the bridal party then got to sit in the front row, so I had a fantastic view of the *magical* way that Geoff was looking at Abby throughout the ceremony. #Awwww. I didn't start to tear up until they were saying their vows. Something about them speaking the timeless words to each other just choked me up!! AND I DON'T EVEN CARE HOW RIDICULOUS THAT SOUNDS. Just so happy to have been there to hear the longtime lovahhhs say, "I do" to each other :) It was a really special moment.

Following the ceremony, the wedding party took off to get pictures taken at Satchem Rock, an historic farm in East Bridgewater. The world's most efficient wedding photographer, Graham, did his thang with his two helpers, and we were pretty much done with pictures in record time. I can't wait to see how they turned out!

Finally it was party tiiiime!! Back at Geobby's place, the reception kicked off with all of the dances with the bride/groom, bride/father, groom/mother, etc. There were sweet toasts by the Maid of Honor and the Best Man, as well as Abby's father. Geobby had been dating for so long (12+ years, I believe) that it was obvious that everyone had already considered each other family for years. Making it "official" was just the cherry on top for everyone involved.

Geoff and Abby dancing their first dance as a married couple

Sharing a laugh during their first dance as a married couple

Listening to the toasts

Once all the sappy stuff was out of the way, mayhem was free to ensue. Dancing, rain, wine, friends, a scrumptious BBQ dinner, wine, an ice cream sundae bar for dessert, rain, great music, wine, sweat, and did I mention rain, sweat and wine?? Luckily the rain outside just made it all the more appealing to stay inside the tent and dance. I had an absolute blast, and don't mind saying that I got drunk for the first time in a year... since my last stint as a bridesmaid!

Late night turned into a marshmallow-roasting and s'more-making session around the backyard fire pit. Clearly the best way ever for any party to end, am I right?

Since the reception was at Geoff and Abby's house, they had invited everyone to bring a tent and camp out. Now of course, not everyone is down for that sort of thing, but our UMass friends usually are - so there was a nice crew of people who were tenting that night. The rain put a slight damper on that... some of the tents got a bit flooded out... my own included. But that turned out to be fine because Brian had an ENORMOUS (and dry) tent all to himself. SEW, obvi I just hopped into that one and was a dry panda that night. Others weren't so lucky and had to sleep in their cars. Womp womp.

Monday September 1st

The next morning Geoff and Abby continued their hosting extravaganza by hooking us up with breakfast on their grill. We had eggs, bacon, egg sandwiches, bananas, orange juice - the works. A few people made Marylou's runs to get some of their incredible flavored iced coffees. For those who don't know (and I figure you don't), Marylou's is like Southeastern Massachusetts' pre-pubescent coffee version of Hooters. (Please see here.) They might not have the fairest hiring practices in all the land... but they do make a damn good iced coffee. I got their Girl Scout Cookie version that morning... incredible.

After breakfast, those who remained lurking around the Geobby estate helped put away some things and clean up the tables/table cloths before we began to take the idea of dispersing seriously.  My friend J-rod brought me home and I did nothing for the rest of the day. Not that I needed to  - I'd already done it all that weekend.

WHOOO are you still here? IS ANYONE LISTENING? Hey, thanks for sticking around for that re-cap. I do this for me, more than you, if I'm being honest. I like re-capping these stories here - especially the ones that mean a lot to me. There have been many times that I've gone back and re-read old blog posts and been able to relive the memories again. So if you don't like these long-ass posts, then here is a nice short haiku for you:

Hey, what's your problem?
You don't like words or something?
Let a blogger blog.

For everyone else, I hope you have enjoyed this story of love and friendship! I sure did. And will enjoy it again when I go back to re-read it in a few months. #GEOBBY2K14!!!!


Sunday, September 21, 2014

Afternoon Harassment... and My Workouts of the Week

I keep starting this blog and then deleting it. I was trying to make it chatty and light-hearted but that's not really an accurate reflection of how I'm feeling. Yesterday started out fine with me walking to Home Depot to pick up some tools I needed to hang up a new curtain rod in my bedroom - something that's been an ongoing project for several days now, believe it or not. Popping into Old Navy after Home Depot resulted in a new pair of grey Rock Star jeans and a new grey flannel - also not too shabby. 

However on the way home from my errands, I popped into a Starbuck's to try a Pumpkin Spice Latte for the first time ever... and was solidly sexually harassed in line by a loser meathead creep who obviously had no social skills or manners. What began as a stranger being mildly rude ("I like the way you look, are you married?") turned into an encounter that wouldn't end, even as I walked away from him to wait for my order. Long story short, he ended up saying something to me that took the "conversation" (should we even call it that?) from awkward/uncomfortable to completely effing unacceptable. Without raising my voice or making a scene, I let him know that he was being incredibly rude and that no one with any respect for herself would want to hear the kind of things he was saying. Not like I could have beaten him up instead, though giving him a hard knee to the groin was what I really wanted to do.

The worst part was that the Pumpkin Spice Latte was really, really good, and this guy nearly ruined the whole experience for me.

Well, no, in sooth, that was not the worst part. The worst part was feeling powerless to do much of anything about having someone say something so sexually off-color to me, that would make me feel so uncomfortable in a place as public as the line at a Starbuck's. I couldn't wash off the sliminess of hearing it. He couldn't take it back once he said it. Without having physically touched me, he ruined my afternoon.

After that I went home and tried once again to put up the curtain rod in my bedroom using my new tools, but it was one thing going wrong after another. You might be wondering how putting up a curtain rod could be such a big to-do... I couldn't tell you. But it's not working and I keep having to go back out to pick up new tools or hardware to finish the job. Without a car, walking to all of these stores is getting really old, and makes my projects take forever. 

With the frustration of my failing curtain rods and the lingering feeling of having been harassed earlier, suddenly my whole day felt like it was falling apart. Dramatic much? So I put the curtain project on hold and shifted gears to something that seemed like it would be more successful - hanging up a heavy mirror on one of my walls, using the help of a brand new stud-finder tool that I'd just purchased earlier that day. All seemed like it was going well, with the stud-finder seemingly working to pinpoint the stud in the wall I would be drilling into. If you follow me on Instagram, you might know where I'm headed with this...

The stud finder lied.

So then I just gave up and ate Ben & Jerry's ice cream the rest of the night.

And on that note, here are all my workouts from the past week!

9/15 (cardio and upper body)
15 mins elliptical
  - 15 M, 5 lbs each hand
  - 15 T, 5 lbs each hand
  - 15 Y, 5 lbs each hand
15 chest press on exercise ball, 10 lbs each hand
10 overhead press on exercise ball, 10 lbs each hand

9/16 (core and cardio)
30 alternating weighted side bends, 15 lbs each hand
20 cobras
20 Russian get ups, holding 7.5 lbs
30 weighted v-sit twists, holding 15 lbs
lying tornadoes (down and up once)
15 mins elliptical

9/18 (lower body)
2:30 jumping jacks
3x:  15 squats holding 25 lbs
3x:  15 single leg bridges each leg
1:15 jumping jacks
3x:  20 calf raises, 25 lbs each hand
1:20 jumping jacks

9/19 (upper body)
5 mins elliptical
3x:  12 lat pulldowns, 37.5 lbs
3x:  12 tricep extensions on exercise ball, 5 lbs each hand
3x:  12 overhead press on exercise ball, 10 lbs each hand
3x:  12 M prone on exercise ball, 5 lbs each hand
3x:  12 chest press on exercise ball, 10 lbs each hand
3x:  12 deltoid flys, 5 lbs each hand
3x:  12 bent over rows each arm, holding 10 lbs
3x:  12 Y prone on exercise ball, 5 lbs each hand

The Patriots are playing today, so I'm going to head over to my friend J-Rod's house to watch that this afternoon. If all goes as planned (and I don't really bank on that these days), I'll be bringing along some Dunkin Donuts Munchkins with bacon inserted into them... which is something I thought up last week and would like to see to fruition this week. Nothing like donuts and bacon to take your mind off of sexual harassment and failed home projects, I always say.


Friday, September 19, 2014

Grey Nails with Sparkle Dust

Whooops, blogging has taken a backseat to getting my bedroom in order this week. Sawryyy.

It's been a month since I moved in, but the whole place is still a bit of a work in progress. Not only is my bedroom floor still sporting a thin layer of "random stuff" and lacking an actual bed frame for the mattress that's on the floor, but there's also no furniture in the living room or a dining room table (don't ask - I don't know why). The lack of a living room doesn't seem to bother my roommate, but personally I'm going to want to get to that sort of stuff sooner rather than later.

For now, I've already ordered a bed frame, which should be here in a week. Installing new curtain rods/curtains in my bedroom is also on the "next up" list, as well as putting up tonnns of pictures on my walls. In my unpacking, I discovered a stash of framed collages that I made over the last 6 years... and I'm thinking about trying to sell them. They're not all amazing, but several of them - UM - are. #DustsOffMyShoulders. Without any real sentimental attachment to them, there's no reason to hold onto them and let them collect dust, right? Right. So it's settled. I'm selling them.

Alright well enough of my rambling about the state of my bedroom. It's Nails Day!

Here's what I'm rocking this week:

Grey nails with a blue silver sparkle glitter accent nail, China Glaze Recycle

Yup, definitely lookin' like fall around these parts nails. The cloudy, breezy weather called for something cloudy on my nails, so I went with 2 coats of Recycle by China Glaze, and used 3 coats of Urban Outfitters' Dust as an accent nail.

Recycle by China Glaze, Dust by Urban Outfitters, nail polish

I did a whole post about Dust back when my blog first launched in the fall of 2012. You can go check that out here, especially if you love throwback nail polish blog posts featuring absolutely atrocious cuticles. Eek.

Recycle by China Glaze, Dust by Urban Outfitters as an accent nail polish

Tonight I've got a date with my cousin Catherine, who is going to come into the city to hit up a bar with me and shoot zee shit. Other than that, I don't have a single thing to do all weekend, except continue the work in my room. Eventually I'll post a bedroom tour here on the blog, because I'm pretty pleased with the way things are coming together.

What shenanigans will you be getting into this weekend?
Anyone else recently moved and trying to put their life bedroom back together?
What's on your nails? Share with me on Twitter or Instagram!

{Linking with The Nail Files, Beauty Buzz, and Fab Favorites}