Saturday, December 22, 2012

Stuffed into Shape

So for those of you who know me well- it's no secret that I am not always 100% confident with my body. I have put on some weight this year and find myself farther and farther away from where I would like to be weight and size wise. That being said, recently it's sort of difficult to feel like I look good in clothing. Generally I just chalk it up to "good enough" and call it a day- but I have a very special occasion coming up in a week or two and I really don't want to feel like I look bad in my clothes. I am going to be the maid of honor in one of my best friends' weddings next Saturday. Needless to say it's a little too late for a crash diet, or some sit-ups to start working now, so I was left with one option; one final solution to help end my anxiety about looking fat or lumpy in my bridesmaid dress: the body-shaper. Most women know the body-shaper all too well. We think some spandex pulling on our fat in the right direction will make us feel a little more confident in our own skin: And you know ladies, we are right.

I did the dreaded body-shaper shopping trip today and brought my dress along. At first I was feeling like "Yes! Finally I'll be able to feel like I look a little better in this dress"....then I got into the dressing room. For those of you who have never shopped/ tried on/ or owned a body-shaper- here is the process. Firstly you scour the store for the right section and dig through countless racks of underwear and slips to find the shapewear. Once you find it you are feeling a little overwhelmed because there are so many kinds- and of course all of them look good in the pictures because they are on size 2 models that don't have any extra fat on them! So you grab one of every style- leotard, body suit, strapless, with a skirt, with shorts, with a built in bra and without. Then there is the sizing issue to consider. Some brands mark clearly which one you should go for based on height and weight but most are a little obscure. So you grab a few sizes and hope for the best.

Next comes the trying on- this part is by far the worst. You have to strip down to just your undergarments in order to try one of these bad boys on. So off come the boots, coat, scarf, and everything else. Then you think "OK, this will be easy just slip a few on, get a feel for which is best"- this is where you are wrong. There is no "slipping on" a body-shaper. You have to yank it up onto your body: Packing in all the cellulite, flabby stomach, and lumpy hips along the way, as if you were trying to fit them in a suitcase that's too small. If it fits you, you should be able to sort of breathe, but if you don't have to do gymnastics to get into it- it's most likely too big on you. Once you get one on, you might feel something like a packed sausage. All your flab is just sucked in as much as possible by the poor spandex that's working overtime. My mom was with me during the trying-on process and a few times I was laughing so hard that I almost cried. It feels really ridiculous, especially if you get an incorrect size. Once I got one on, I had to try the dress on over that, and thoroughly examine every inch of my mid section to see if it smoothed me out efficiently.

Then came the taking off- this sort of felt like peeling off a layer of skin. Not quite as painful I imagine, but a similar sensation. There is a victorious feeling when you take it off: being able to breathe freely again. But just as that smile crosses your face- you realize you have 6 more to try on!! So you repeat the process as many times necessary in as many stores as necessary. Each time hating yourself a little more for not sticking to that diet or exercise routine you had promised yourself earlier that you would follow.

Finally you'll find one that works the best. Three good things to look for are: 1. you can breath, 2. It makes your silhouette look like a smooth rolling hill instead of the rocky mountain range, 3. When you put the dress on over the shaper you think, "hey now that's definitely not as bad as before." These three things are clues that you have found the right shaper for you!

Then you go to checkout- feeling more confident in how you will look with the shaper and VERY, VERY happy that this shopping experience is over. When you get to the register, you look at the price. This is when you realize how ridiculously overpriced these body-shapers are. Not only are they targeted for desperate girls with low self esteem, but they are going to charge you loads for this little boost in confidence. And what is even worse, is after all of that (the trying on, taking off, the boost you experienced by wearing it) you are so worn down that you are actually willing to pay this exorbitant cost.

And that is the magic of what acquiring a body-shaper is really like. ;)

For me the cost wasn't all that bad- I got it 20% off and my mom added it to my Christmas gifts! Honestly it's worth every penny because I really feel so much better in the dress now than I did before. This way I will be able to not worry so much about if I have funny bumps in the dress or if I feel like my stomach looks fat and I can just enjoy myself. If this will help me be able to focus more energy on the wedding- and my friends- and just enjoying myself- it's definitely worth it. I am a little disappointed in myself that I need a shaper in order to give me this extra confidence- but to each his own I suppose.

I know I am beautiful on the inside and out- and I know weight is always something I have battled with- but today I wanted to dive into this process and hopefully give you guys a few (relatable) laughs!

Friday, December 21, 2012

Bridal Shower in a Box

If you haven't read the story behind this box click here! This post will give you all the details behind how I planned and executed a long-distance-bridal-shower!

Here is how I created the box:
First I chose a theme. I settled on "Snow and Winter" since she was all the way down in Texas missing out on a pretty northern winter (although we haven't much snow up here yet!) Then I gathered inspiration and ideas. Mostly I was inspired by shopping but once I got the idea I made a secret pinterest board for some inspiration. I unlocked it and you can look at it here: A Box of Winter

Next I went shopping and started crafting and assembling the box...
here is what was inside:

A Banner!
 How to: 
Take Gold Tissue paper fold it in half and cut strips.
Sew a ribbon in the folded part leaving room for ties on either side. 
Take pretty papers and write your message!
Sew a pretty accent ribbon to join the pieces of paper to make a banner.
Use clothes pins to hang both banners together.

Snow Garland! 
How to:
Take paper, Styrofoam balls, cotton balls, yarn, a big needle, and ribbon.
Begin stringing the yarn through paper snowflakes, cotton, and Styrofoam balls.
Add a ribbon at the top in order to tie it to something.
Add a small cardboard snowflake at the bottom to weigh it down. 
This can be hung from floor to ceiling or draped like traditional garland.

A Bride-to-Be Sash
 I looked high and low for a not totally overpriced, tacky, or trashy bridal sash and could not find one. So I ended up making one!
How to: 
Supplies: Pretty fabric, Puffy Paint, Thread
Cut out long even rectangles of fabric (long enough to go from shoulder to hip)
Iron them in half.
Iron down one of the corners on each to create the tail of the sash
Sew together neatly using machine.
Add the desired saying on the sash and let dry! 
(for more detailed instructions contact me)

Food and Favors:
Hot Chocolate! 
 For this I took hot cocoa packets and emptied them into small jars. 
I added chocolate chips and marshmallows to the mix to add some extra fun. 
Garnished with a ribbon and peppermint stick! 
(Bottom Right Photo) shows the left over hot cocoa packets- 
wrapped up all pretty with the instructions carefully cut out and placed inside. 

Other Food and Small Gifts
Some other fun gifts we added (pictured above) include:
Dark Chocolate Peppermint covered pretzels
Hot Chocolate Cupcake Mix
Fake Snow in a can
Pine smelling candle. 

Cupcake Liners
I added a box of winter cupcake liners to go along with the mix! 

Little boxes for the bride and groom.
 Each box included: 
A small bag of chocolate
Candy Canes
A white lovebird ornament
A Stamp
Fake snow and tulle

Packing the Box:
This was where a lot of the snow came in. 
Top Left: Everything wrapped up and ready to go in the box. 
Top Right: First Layer
Middle Right: Second Layer
Bottom Left: Final Layer- Rocking tons of fake snow
Bottom Middle: Bridal sash and note to explain what is in the box.
Bottom Right: An envelope on the outside of the box to tell her she is not allowed to open the box yet and should call me for further instruction. 

Even though this was a bridal shower box- it was heavily focused on snow and winter- I hope this brings you some inspiration for the holidays! 

Throwing a Long Distance Bridal Shower

Hello! I am so sorry it's been awhile since I have posted anything substantial on my blog! In the next few days you can look forward to posts about crafty things, holidays, cats, and graduation! I'd like to kick off this blogging marathon with a brilliant crafty party idea. (this one is a long post! hang in there).

This fall I was asked by one of my best friend's, Danielle, if I would be the maid of honor in her wedding this winter. I was beyond excited to say yes, mostly because I was thrilled to be there for one of my friends during this special time in her life. Among the bridal party- are two of my other best girlfriends: Meagan and Alyssa. You might recognize all of these names-because we all were in Alyssa's wedding this July!

These girls are among my favorite people ever- we all became a group of friends during high school- and since then no matter how many miles separate us we can always know the other girls are there whenever we need them.

Once I was asked to be maid of honor- I started thinking about what responsibilities went along with that. Obviously i googled it- and panic ensued. Google was giving me enormous lists of tasks that are the maid of honors responsibility- so instead I calmed down and emailed Danielle to check what her expectations were. She was pretty mellow saying that she didn't think me throwing a bridal shower or other parties are really possible because she is all the way down in Texas! (I'm up in PA). So since then I had just been doing my best to help out from afar and be a supportive friend. Then it occurred to me- this isn't fair! Just because she is far away from her family and friends does not mean she should have to miss out on a bridal shower- so the scheming started! I contacted the mother of the bride and the other bridesmaid to concoct this outrageous plan.

I created a "long distance bridal shower". My idea started as a box full of cards from family and friends instead of a shower. The box would also include cute things to represent a shower. Alyssa contributed the idea of adding an element of gifts to be sent- and with tons of planning and help from everyone we finally figured it out. This is the email I sent out to all of Danielle's family and friends... (addresses have been edited out and spacing changed for the purpose of this post).

Hello family and friends of Danielle and Sean,
My name is Danielle M. I am the maid of honor in Danielle and Sean's wedding and I have a very important message for you!
I would like to formally invite you to partake in a long-distance bridal shower. We all know that Danielle and Sean are down in Texas, and the wedding is rapidly approaching. Danielle will not be able to make it back up North before the big day. After much deliberation among her bridesmaids, we have decided that Danielle and Sean still deserve to be showered with love (even all the way down in Texas), so we formulated a plan. Instead of having a physical bridal shower for the couple, we would like to gather up all of the cards and gifts and send them in a surprise package to Danielle. The package would be presented as her "long-distance bridal shower" and would include any cards from family/friends and other personal touches to help make them feel showered with love. 
Your Role in the Bridal Shower: 
How you can participate: 
1. Send a bridal shower card with a message of love for the couple.
2. Send a card with an additional gift card or check as a gift.
3. Purchase a gift online or in person to send for the shower.
If you have chosen option 1 or 2, here is what you should do: 
Please address your card/gift to the following address- 
(my address went here)
The card must be received by: November 26
If you have chosen option 3, please follow these instructions: 
Please have the gift mailed to the following address-
(neighbor of Danielle here)
These packages must be received by: December 1
Important Note: We know the holidays can be a financially stressful time of year, and that Texas is far away; you should not feel obligated to spend any money if you are not comfortable or not able to do so. 
Questions you may have:
When will Danielle & Sean get the packages? 
We are still working on negotiating the specifics, but Danielle should be scheduled to open the packages sometime between the 3rd - 9th of December. Please remember that this is a TOTAL SURPRISE! Do not mention anything to Sean or Danielle until after her scheduled "bridal shower!" (PS> the date did change and we had to keep everyone email updated on this)
Where should I shop for a gift or gift card? 
Danielle and Sean are registered at Crate&Barrel. 
Other nice options are: Williams & Sonoma, Pottery Barn, Target, and Bed Bath & Beyond. Be creative! 
Who should checks be made out to? 
Please make checks out to either Sean Arnold or Danielle Harmon. 
I can only send a card, is that O.K.? 
Yes! The whole goal of this shower is to shower the couple with love. A simple card with kind words is just as meaningful as a gift. 
I want to do option 1 or 2, but I missed the Deadline, what should I do? 
Contact Danielle M. at (my email here) to work something out!
Whose address are the packages are being sent to?
This address belongs to Danielle's neighbor. They have graciously agreed to accept the presents prior to the shower in order to keep it a total surprise!

If you have any further questions please email me at (my email here) or call me at (my phone number here)
Thank you so much for your time! We hope you are able to participate in showering the happy couple with love and support! I look forward to hearing from you soon! 
Danielle M.

After sending out this email I had many positive responses back. Originally I wasn't sure how people would take it. I didn't want anyone to feel pressured into feeling like they had to contribute or buy a gift if they felt uncomfortable or they couldn't afford to.

The end result was fabulous! We had about 5 people send along cards to be included in the box- and about 16 or so gifts that were mailed to the neighbors. I emailed everyone who was invited periodically to give them updates along the way and I sent along this picture of the box that I sent to Danielle.

Look at my post on how I created this box for more details and pictures! 

While this box was being shipped all the way to Texas- myself and the other bridesmaid were scheming away. We got Danielle to agree to google chat with us to "fill us in on wedding stuff". We even had to move the chat because the box hadn't arrived yet! (I made up an excuse to postpone it). We rescheduled the chat and had to re-coordinate with Sean's mother to have her not move the boxes from the neighbors yet. It was a total miracle but the box made it on the day we had rescheduled the video chat for. And it ended up being flawlessly executed. 

Danielle opened the box when we gave her the go ahead. (Meanwhile Sean's mom was moving all the boxes from the neighbors to their house). It was so fun to watch her open the box and be covered in all that fake snow. When she finished open the box I sent and the cards inside of it. She innocently thought the surprise was over. That's when we had her go downstairs only to find Sean, his parents, and the 16 boxes from more of her family and friends. The couple opened up the gifts and we watched from the video chat. It was so amazing to watch this all unfold and honestly I could not have been happier with the results! I am so grateful to all of Danielle and Sean's family and friends who participated! 

(pictures of Danielle in Texas during the shower soon to come!)

If you are ever thinking about throwing someone a long-distance-party. It can absolutely be done! Don't be afraid to try something new. I think this is probably one of the first long-distance-bridal-showers ever, and I loved it. If you have any questions about the specifics, or any hiccups along the way just comment below and I'll get back to you!

Happy party planning! I hope this inspired some holiday cheer! 

Wednesday, December 19, 2012


So ever since my siblings got their iPhones I have really, really wanted one. For my college graduation gift my parents agreed to get me one! I decided to go with the 5, since nowadays technology is outdated so quickly! Here is my first post done from my phone! I am foreseeing a major increase in short blog posts in my future. For now enjoy these cute homey pics I took! :) Have a good one!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

12/12/12 delight

I think it's important to stop every now and then and think about the simple things in life we are thankful for. Since today is kind of a fun date- I decided to make a list of 12 delightful things that happened to me on 12/12/12! Most of them aren't ridiculous or extravagant: they are simple things that happened throughout my day that I am really happy and thankful for!

1. By midnight I had finished all my assignments for student teaching.
2. I woke up late but still made it to school with time to spare (magical).
3. We had donuts and oranges in homeroom after I had forgotten to eat breakfast!
4. My cooperating teacher gave me a lovely and useful graduation gift.
5. 2 of my classes threw me surprise going away parties.
6. I completed my last day of Student Teaching!!!
7. Derek and I celebrated the end of student teaching by going out to dinner.
8. I took a nap! (it's been too long)
9. Today is the first time in awhile that I am getting to do a blog post.
10. I found out I will be able to make it to the Winterfest concert tomorrow!
11. I can spend the evening relaxing, and have all of tomorrow to get things done.
12. If I want I can totally go to bed early. (I know this sounds lame- but I'm not sorry)

and just for fun...

Sunday, December 2, 2012

All that Glitters

Sorry it's been such a long time since I have been able to post. My schedule has been crazy lately (T-minus 13 days until Graduation)! I spent Thanksgiving in Massachusetts with my family- and it was wonderful! I love spending time with them, and miss them all so much when I am away! Ever since Thanksgiving weekend I have had some super intense Christmas spirit. In fact the same day that I drove 7 hours home from MA I decorated my entire apartment for Christmas! (Like I said kind of intense).

Along with winter and Christmas comes a lot of adorable things in the stores. I mean everything from festive holiday clothing to party decorations, or even adorable looking food! One of my favorite trends every year around Christmas is Gold. There is this beautiful sparkle on everything around the holidays and finally once a year you are allowed to wear an entirely sequin dress and no one will care. Speaking of sequins, I have been looking for a dress that I can wear to graduation, Danielle's rehearsal dinner, and for any possible New Years celebration. Honestly- I'd like it to have some sparkle. (Now I am not thinking of a full sequin dress, something a little less flashy and more classy). All this being said- a lot of my mind has been consumed in gold glittery things. And you know what? I don't even mind it. Here are some beautiful pictures of pretty gold things. I hope you have a lovely day!

 Most adorable ever. I love this wallpaper and would even consider using it in my room!
I would love a dress like this for graduation! 

Not the case I am getting, but maybe it'll be the next case I get. 

 I saw this blog post last year about this neat way to make a photo backdrop! 

 I actually already own this nail polish- it's so great! 

I need to incorporate some of this beautiful wrapping into my Christmas gifts this year! 

I'd love to add this to my collection. :)

 I need to try this Gold-Leaf DIY

 Beautiful wallpaper!

Also I am in love with these journals. Just bought them the other day :)