Sunday, May 29, 2011

White wine-tasting party

I can safely say that my mom's birthday party was a success. As you'll be able to see from the photos, I kept it a similar format to the beer-tasting party – after all, if it ain't broke...

My reasoning for sticking with white wines was a simple one –

my mom + wine = spillage.

Well that, and that my mom prefers whites. But mainly the first reason.

Now, on to the fun stuff!

I love green wine bottles – so I used that to set the tone on everything I did.

Since most of my mom's friends haven't been to my house, I wanted a sign out front. (Well, I would have made a sign no matter what, but at least this time around I had an excuse).

We had four different stations set up around the house – chardonnay, pinot grigio, riesling/muscat and blends.

Aside from wine, each station had a wine opener, notepad, pen and napkins.

I designed the notepads, and then had them printed at VistaPrint.

Originally, I was going to get napkins with wine phrases on them, but when I saw these, I just couldn't resist.

For the station bottles, Brent drilled a hole in each one then we stuffed Christmas lights in them. (Just a warning – after 5 hours of being on those bottles got super hot, so we turned them off). As for the top part, I used a Silhouette.

We also had beer on tap for the non-wine drinkers. Brent and I definitely underestimated that amount of people we had in that group. The pony keg was finished off in about 4 hours, then that group moved on to mix drinks.

Wine and cheese – it's a match made in heaven, so of course a cheese bar was a high priority for me. There were 9 different types of cheese, 3 different crackers and some fig spread, which went great with the Manchego cheese.

I love appetizers at a party, and I can't see myself ever breaking away from this. Some of my mom's friends helped me out and brought appetizers as well, which made getting everything ready on Saturday so much less stressful.

The menu:


The menu: Grandma's cream cheese brownies, cream puffs, lemon bars, pink champagne mini cupcakes, my mother-in-law's chocolate chip cookies with walnuts, chocolate-covered pretzels with heath bar and white chocolate-covered pretzels with sprinkles.

The phrase that pays:

I wanted to display pictures of my mom without making a huge production out of it (my mom would not like a picture wall). So, I cleaned off some wine bottles, created picture labels and placed them throughout the house.

I thought the party turned out great, but most importantly, my mom had a blast.

I hope to have the wine-party paper package available soon!

Thursday, May 26, 2011


Today is a super exciting day for me – I was featured on my favorite blog.

For anyone stopping in from HWTM, you can view my beer-tasting party here and the paper package I offer here.


Wednesday, May 25, 2011

What' I've been up to...

Getting ready for this weekend's wine party.

The other side

I love the built-ins Brent and I did for the man cave. But it was looking a little sad on the other side of the stairs.

So, during our "rush week," Brent and I added that task to the list and had this project finished in no time.

Our biggest obstacle was the vent, since we didn't want to block it. The solution: just letting the vent be.

The "end" result:

I still need to find something for the bottom. I was thinking some sort of basket for storage. As for the top, Brent's wanting to get a second TV.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Curb Appeal (day 8 and done!)

After today, the forecast is rain, rain, rain until my mom's party. So, today was the day to finish up the front yard; and after 8 hours braving the humidity – it's done!

Last summer:

I'm really happy with how it turned out. I can't believe this project can be crossed off the list. This is something Brent and I have wanted to do ever since we moved in, but kept putting it off because of time and financial fears. Thankfully, both concerns turned out to be a non-issue.

I did this project in 8 days, and only had help for half of them. The project would have been done even sooner, but surprises like a gas lamp pole and a bed of rocks underneath the dirt – held me up.

The financial breakdown:
- Ripping out the bushes: free (DIY)
- Retaining wall stones: $80.85 (55 stones during Home Depot's spring Black Friday sale at $1.47, normally $1.69)
- Retaining wall toppers: $33.80 (20 toppers at $1.69 each)
- Landscape block glue: $9.60 (2 bottles)
- Shrubs and perennials: $113.66
- Mulch: $14 (7 bags during Home Depot's spring Black Friday sale)

Pre-tax Total: $251.91

Not bad at all.

Busy bee

Between my new job and my best friend's wedding, it's been a busy week.

Brent and I had been waiting a long time for this wedding. When Brent and I walked down the aisle on June 16, 2007 – we paired up our 2 great (and then single) friends as bridesmaid and groomsman. Being at their wedding yesterday, was an amazing full-circle experience.

As you can tell, Brent had a terrible time:

And with me hosting my mom's 60th birthday wine-tasting party next weekend, things won't be slowing down anytime soon.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Curb Appeal (days 6 & 7)

When I bought the toppers for the retaining wall, I pictured them all just fitting and looking amazing. Somehow I didn't process that the toppers are rectangular and the retaining wall is curved.

So, while I pictured perfection - my reality was:

My reality from the front door was even more obvious:

So, I handed off this project to Brent, who conquered it like a champ.

While there are several ways to cut stones, he used a circular saw with masonry blades. (Please note the plural on that – there's a reason those blades are only $2.50 each. He went through 7 blades with this project).

While Brent was cutting the toppers, he reminded me of Pig Pen from Charlie Brown, because of all the dust flying around him:

Once the toppers were cut, the view from the front door was much better:
After everything was laid out how we wanted it, we used landscape block adhesive to make sure the toppers stayed on.

All the hard work definitely paid off:

Now it's on to the fun part – figuring out what to plant.

In other rush week news: The leaves have been picked up and the man cave ceiling is done!

Friday, May 13, 2011

This post was supposed to be awesome

Today's post was supposed to look like this:
Now it's more:
The sectional we were supposed to have delivered today is a no go.

The guys at the furniture store we are working with have been amazing (Brent and them basically talk daily). They even special ordered us the perfect sectional (meaning it would fit in the landing and turn a sharp corner), but the manufacturer's Web site had the wrong measurements. So, we're back to square one.

We've considered the modular sectionals, but I think the basic sofa and loveseat is the winner. We're headed back to the store on Sunday, and hopefully we'll fall in love. Again.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Peacock fabulousness

My cousin is getting married(!!!), and I'm thrilled. She's doing the peacock theme, and wanted her bridal shower to reflect that as well. No problem here – it's giving me 2 opportunities to embrace this ever-so-popular peacock trend.

I haven't battled the wedding invite yet, but I'm loving the shower invite:

In home news: We start the other built-ins tomorrow night!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Rush week

With my new job starting on Monday, reality of how few house projects (and how many TV series) were accomplished. So, I've decided to work my tail off the rest of the week and see what happens.

Projects include: finish picking up all the dead leaves in the landscape, the retaining wall top, the man cave ceiling and the built-ins on the other side of the stairs. Even thinking about it makes me want to take a nap, but it will be worth it.

Brent even kicked off the party with some built-in prepping:

It's going to look so good! I can't wait.

For the questions about cutting retaining wall stones, I will tackle that topic when I discuss the topper situation. So hopefully very soon. :)

Monday, May 9, 2011

After 9 weeks (and 2 days)

After a 2-month, TV-watching hiatus, I am happy to report I got a job! I am so excited to enter the world of magazine design. It's what I've always wanted to do, but didn't think possible without moving to a larger city.

I start on Monday, so this week will consist of finishing up as many projects as possible.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Flower power

The sun is finally out, and the flowers are blooming.

Just 2 months ago, the landscape was looking like this:

Well, hello spring:

My plan is to just add a little bit each year to the back. And this year, with the focus being on the front yard, I do mean "little." And then one day, it will hopefully become a fabulous English garden.

After seeing how strong the 2 asiatic lilies I added last year were coming in, I decided to add 2 more. I also thought a knockout rose bush and paw print stone would make great additions.

Since my dogs love running through the landscape, I have to leave paths for them. I also have to stick with thicker flowers so Macintosh and Chip will run around not over the flowers. (Last year, the zinnias I planted didn't last a single day).

The flowers that the dogs would destroy, go in the pots:

While I am trying a few new flowers, for the most part I am sticking with what worked.

In other news: I would love some jobs vibes tomorrow. The place I did the design test for, wants me to come in for a second interview. I really want this job, so it's getting tough to be nonchalant about this whole process.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Curb Appeal (day 5)

Holy geez, I need a nap. I've been inside for the past hour, and I don't think I'll be moving for the rest of the night. So sore.

My dad offered to help me today, so I took advantage.

What day 5 started with:

What it ended with:

The game plan had to change a bit because of the gaslight post we discovered last week, but I made it work. I'm loving how to looks with the topper. Now I just need to go back to the hardware store for the glue. Ugh.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Meet Pengy Wengy

Macintosh may play with many toys throughout the day, but there's only 1 toy he brings to bed at night - Pengy Wengy.

Does anyone else have a pet that does this? I've never seen anything like it.

(As for the name, well, that's because of our penguin toy surplus. Each one got a name, so we could keep track of them. You guys have seen my penguin tree, none of this should be surprising).

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Wine-tasting party countdown

In 28 days, Brent and I will be hosting my mom's 60th birthday party, and what better way to do that than with a white wine-tasting party.

After the success of Brent's 30th birthday beer-tasting party, I've decided to keep the format fairly similar – just with wine. The biggest change is that this party is more genre specific – so chardonnay, pinot grigio, riesling/muscat and blends are the categories (versus white, red and blush). (This will also be the plan, when we bring back the beer-tasting party Octoberfest style).

I haven't really decided on a lot of the other details, but I think it would be awesome to do a cheese bar somewhere separate from the other appetizers.

The guest list includes 30 couples, the majority of which have not seen my house. And of the ones who have, most haven't seen it since the housewarming party in November 2009 – so things like the painted fireplace, houndstooth wall, bar, living room art, office and built-ins (to name a few) were nonexistent.

There's so much I would love to get done, but time is quickly running out – especially with Brent's jammed packed Corporate Challenge schedule and the upcoming wedding of our 2 good friends.

But, here are the musts:
- Get furniture for the man cave (this is scheduled to arrive in 2 weeks, and I pray that it fits)
- Do the built-in shelf on the other side of the man cave
- Finish painting the man cave ceiling
- Finish retaining wall in front
- Plant flowers and mulch the front and back yards

* The invitation is part of the wine-tasting party package I will soon be offering. Visit the Paper Obsessed tab for more detail.