Saturday, March 28, 2015

My Birthday Wine Bar Experience!

So I definitely have a few updates from this week! Obviously I'm a little bit behind given that my birthday was a week ago. However! I had to share this cool wine bar that we visited in Honolulu.

A little back story.... my husband has been waiting to go back to his boat for months now, and they called him last friday to say "hey pack your are leaving in four hours" to go on a week long underway. We had a pretty crazy day trying to get him ready to go! So it completely botched our birthday plans...but luckily I had my awesome group of girls to hang out with instead (and realistically we probably enjoyed eating and wine tasting even more!)

This place is called Amuse. It's weird because you walk into what looks like an Ikea and go upstairs to the second floor, and appear in this wine lounge. They had live music and amazing food!

 (I chowed down on Brie and pineapple crumble with chai ice cream. yum!) The wine tasting was really cool- they're all in these dispenser things, and after you purchase a wine card, you put them in and pay per oz. of wine you would like to try. They had a great deal for it too- $50 worth of wine for the price of $30. So we got to try a ton of different wines and had a blast! It is a really cool place to go and hang out.

 The super neat wine dispensers. With some stranger photo bombing....

And I had to add one more view of the lounge from the inside. I think this place was technically a separate restaurant (it was through glass doors next to the lounge) but I thought it looked pretty cool. Not to mention they have a super random horse lamp....which I definitely need in my house. haha!

Visit this link below to read my review about Amuse:

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

DIY Flowers: Bouquets and Centerpieces

It never really made sense to me why flowers were supposed to be such a big expense for a wedding. They are expected to die almost immediately and have to be done very close to the ceremony if they are going to be fresh (which is just stressful!)
Not to mention the transport of fresh flowers. Everyone has to carefully move them and be cautious not to knock off any petals or squish them. 

I found all of my flowers at Michael's and Hobby Lobby- they can get expensive quickly if you don't pay attention. I hit up the clearance section (they were moving out a lot of colors!) and of course had coupons. 

My bridesmaids' bouquets cost about 2.99 each. I wrapped the bases with floral tape to give the fake stem a little bit of bulk, and then decorated with coral ribbon and pearl pins for the base. Don't look too bad do they?
(My flowers are real. We splurged for one bouquet....even then I got them from Costco for 60 dollars. This included baby's breath for other decorations)

 We also made these centerpieces. These flowers were roughly 2.99 as well. The venue supplied the majority of our wine bottles (though we do drink wine often!) and I bought the roll of burlap ribbon from Hobby Lobby. (probably 6.99?) 

Through the use of a hot glue gun and some sewing, we made little sleeves for each bottle to dress up the center piece. We also found little burlap stickers and decorations that were also glued onto the bottles for some sparkle! The best part about these flowers? I was able to store them in a plastic bag for a month until wedding day. Then afterwards they made perfect party favors for all the little girls at the wedding that wanted to take home a bouquet.

The rest of the center piece included a couple of mason jars with floating candles and river rock at the bottom. The burlap table runner was found at Hobby Lobby and the venue supplied the perfectly color correlated linens.

My Wedding Decoration Ideas

Thanks to Pinterest! 

Literally every idea came from something I saw on Pinterest and it was definitely very successful. Thus I made this wedding's so fun to look at ideas!

 First of all, we can start with the boots. The cowboy boot/wedding dress seems to be a super popular look this year, and even though these are my nice dress boots, I figured they could use a little dressing up! Thanks to my mother's jewelry making abilities, she put together some really cute bling for my boots. 

These were all found at Joann's craft     stores- she looped the chains with the jewel around the top of my boot and made elastic "bracelets" for around the ankles. Just remember to make them a little longer than the circumference of the boot because it will expand when you put your foot in and take a step.

 Our center pieces were relatively simple (I did another post on the flowers themselves) but the mason jars hold a few river stones with some floating candles. The linens were provided by the venue, but my mother also made these burlap table runners (they have lace on the end that she put on with a hot glue gun) These were all found at Hobby Lobby.

The head table was set up very simply. I didn't put any flowers on the table because I thought it might feel like we were hiding behind them so I just had candles and river rock. The burlap garland, as well as the Mr. and Mrs. signs, were all from Hobby Lobby as well. (Everything can come from Hob Lob!)

At the end off each row we had shepherd's hooks down the aisle with baby's breath. The flowers came from Costco at a very reasonable price (these ones are real) although once I started looking for shepherd's hook I had surprisingly difficult time finding them! I think they ended up coming from WalMart? 

Our cake was pretty much the most delicious thing ever! We used the Bundt Shoppe in Littleton, CO. They have the most amazing bundt cakes and a variety of decorations.

We had a larger cake (lemon raspberry and chocolate) for the bridal party) and then smaller "bitty bundts" with a variety of flavors for the guests.

The venue had this very interesting dresser that we used as a cake stand. I thought it helped add to that rustic feel! 

For the individual flavor cards I glued together some cardstock and used chalkboard stickers for the label. 

Weddings are super boring for little kids and we wanted both them and their parents to be able to have fun. At the kids table we activities like coloring books, bubbles, etc. and also had a S'more station around the fire pit!

Instead of printing out programs for everyone (trying to cut on costs) we went with this rustic and beautiful chalk board. We listed who everybody was, as well as the schedule of events. The chalkboard was about 50 dollars (from...guess where! Hobby Lobby!) But I of course used my coupon on it and it helped save a lot. It cut back on paper expenses and left us a very nice wall hanging post wedding =)

And then of course...the star of the show! Riko my right hand man and sweetest dog in the world was, of course, our ring bearer. His little chalk board sign was only a few dollars and I used chalk board paint. We tied the ribbon around his neck and then put our rings in a little pouch that was tied to the ribbon. 

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Turkey Burgers and Sweet Potato Fries!

 Okay so here we have two options for Turkey burgers! 
Both are a nice alternative to beef- leaner meat and a few less calories.

Sometimes we make a standard patty from ground turkey (mushed up with some spices of your choosing) and toss it on the grill. The only issue I have encountered with this is when the meat is frozen because it retains a lot of moisture and the patty will be too mushy and fall through the grill.

Good fun!

So I would suggest buying the same day or keeping it in the fridge to be used soon. 

Another good one is Taste of Home Shredded Turkey Sandwiches. (link to recipe below!)

Brought to you by the fantastic and convenient crock pot! I think the only difference from the recipe that I used was Apple Cider vinegar instead of white vinegar.
I also used a whole wheat hamburger bun instead of bread in order to cut back a little on the carb impact. Top it with a slice of cheese and condiments of your choosing for some delicious (and surprisingly moist) turkey!

Now for the important part.....

A delicious side of sweet potato fries!

First of all, I have made these a couple times and just recently discovered the difference between actual sweet potatoes and yams. They taste about the same, but I didn't know that sweet potatoes are actually white (unless its just a certain type?) and that yams are the orange ones! 

Le Yams.

Peel and slice into fry-like shapes.

It may be a little counter intuitive, but soaking them for a little bit first will actually help them bake a little more crispy. It helps removes the excess starch, and after you take them out and set them on a paper towel, it removes the moisture from the yam/ sweet potato.

Toss with some olive oil, salt, and pepper (this bowl shows whats left of my second batch that's why there is suddenly not as many!) and place on a foil lined cookie sheet. I bake them at about 350 for roughly 20 min. Check them at about ten minutes and turn the fries over so that it evenly bakes on the other side (otherwise one side will burn) if they need to get a little more crispy still put them back in the oven for 5 min increments until ready. But they will burn quick if you don't pay attention!

And my end result picture has already been ruined as they are being scooped off of the baking sheet and eaten. But they are delicious! Sweet potato fries are a healthier alternative to regular fries- sweet potatoes have less starch than regular potatoes and will be easier digested. They have fewer calories and don't allow the fat to stick to you as easily!