Thursday, July 25, 2013

Recipe: Dorothy's Baked Spaghetti (Squash)

For those of you (brides) who are trying to get into shape before the big day, here is a yummy, low-carb recipe for baked spaghetti (squash). I looooove spaghetti, and all things carbs, but have had the most weight-loss success when sticking to a healthy, low-carb diet. Enter the spaghetti squash. I can't believe I didn't discover this winter squash until this year. (Note: It makes a good pasta substitute for almost any pasta dish...also good with chicken alfredo.) Spaghetti squash has become my "other cauliflower." (More on that later.)
This is my own personal recipe, and when made with lean ground beef, is only 311 calories per serving!

Thursday, July 18, 2013

One lump or two?

My wonderful Matron of Honor, Tammy, has been planning my bridal shower with my bridesmaid, Brittany, my future mother-in-law, and David's Aunt Judy. It's going to be a garden tea party, complete with mismatched china, tea, and finger sandwiches. I can't wait!

I found some adorable bridal shower invitations on clearance at Target and Tammy was able to add little touches to them like pearls and a fun teabag "tag." I fell in love with the teapot and teacup stamps she used, so I asked her to borrow them to make thank you cards.

I have been making homemade cards lately, because I find store-bought cards to be boring and overpriced. Friends and family have suggested that I start selling the cards, but I've never really been able to put a price on things I make. I think it's because I spend so much time making them that I can't sell them to just anyone. :)

Here is the invitation and some of the thank you cards I've made which I plan to use after the shower:

The "teabags" are removable and bear the "thank you" note. I used card-stock for the cards and scrapbook paper for the teacups. The teabags were made with scrapbook paper, string, and double-sided tape.

the Bride

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Patio Paradise: My backyard transformation

When I went to college, I moved into a dorm suite which I shared with nine other girls. My second year of college I was blessed to move into a two-bedroom condo which I shared with various roommates for the remaining three years of college. After graduation, I accepted a job in NYC and moved into a beautiful one-bedroom condo on the 20th floor overlooking the NYC skyline. This was the most spectacular place I've ever lived, with the Empire State Building shining into my bedroom window at night, and the inside remodeled to my heart's desire. Unfortunately, I lost my job as the recession began, and was forced to sell the condo. This turned out to be another blessing though, as I had just begun dating David and was toying with the idea of applying to grad. school and moving back to NC to be closer to him. 

Fast forward four years, and I have earned my M.S., gotten engaged, and moved another three times. The first two apartments I lived in were teeny tiny (yes, even compared to my condo in NY) and only had small balconies. Finally fed up with the lack of space and outside noise, I found an amazing two-bedroom, 2.5 bath townhouse for rent with hardwoods throughout (a must with the dogs!) that was literally a mile down the road. I have lived here since the fall and have thoroughly enjoyed the outdoor space I have. Granted, it's only a small patio, it is so much more than I've ever had, and I've been able to garden it up all summer long! Here is a look at the transformation that has taken place since May.

If you can believe it, this bland space was actually even worse before this photo was taken. This is after I swept up a season's worth of fallen leaves, trimmed back a crazy vine, pulled up a ton of weeds, and mulched everything. The HOA also had everyone's patios power-washed which made a huge difference.

I added these fan trellises for a Sweet Autumn Clematis vine and Wisteria Amethyst Falls (which I later relocated) as well as these solar-powered lanterns from Target (similar) for some lighting.

I was most excited about being able to plant some hydrangea bushes! There's just something so southern and charming about these big round blossom balls. I planted three different kinds: Hydrangea Endless Summer, Hydrangea Bobo, and Hydrangea Little Lime. I later found another Hydrangea Endless Summer on clearance and planted a fourth.

Hydrangea Endless Summer blooms all summer long! Did you know that the color changes depending on the alkalinity and acidity of the soil? Pink blooms in alkaline soils and blue blooms in acidic soil. You can easily change the color of the hydrangea by changing the acidity of the soil.

My Passionflower did not survive the winter this year, so I got a new one at the local Farmer's Market. I decided to pot the Wisteria Amethyst Falls (and train it as a tree) so that I can take it with me when I move, and planted the Passionflower (one of my faves!) in its place. I  eventually had to set up a new trellis system when the Passionflower and Clematis began growing. It is amazing how well things grow in the actual ground.

I discovered the Passionflower vine with my future mother-in-law a few summers ago and have been growing them ever since. There are so many different varieties and they are all so exotic and unique. One of my favorite things about the flower is this amazing story about the passion of Christ.

One of the first things I did this summer was purchase this little striped hammock (similar) and this fun floral umbrella. (Noah and Lamb have also been having a blast on the patio, soaking up the sunshine.)

One of my goals this summer has been to attract hummingbirds. So far I have attracted all kinds of birds, bugs, bees, squirrels, and butterflies...but no hummingbirds. There's still time though, and I haven't given up! I have planted many flowers that are supposed to attract hummingbirds. I have gotten most of my flowers from the clearance section at Lowe's (great deals!), the Farmer's Market, and online retailers.

I am also in love with these Corinthian Bells Wind Chimes in Patina Green. It was definitely worth it to spend a little more on them and get a rich, gorgeous sound.

There's just something about eating outside with your family on a warm summer night. It brings me back to my childhood, eating dinner with my family on our screened-in porch. I finally caved and purchased this super affordable patio set which David helped me set up last night. I relocated this little bistro set I've had for years to make room for the new table. Haven't decided what I'm going to do with it.

And here's the table all lit up at night. This, to me, is the epitome of summer.

Hope you enjoyed seeing my little patio transformation. I've thoroughly enjoyed every minute of it and look forward to soaking it up all summer long.

the Bride

PS: Yes, those are pink flamingos, and I'm not ashamed. :) David didn't protest too much since they're tiny and not in the front yard. (They remind me of my grandma, who gave me her green thumb.)

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Bridal Bargain: Angie lace dress

I purchased this dress on a whim from a department store, but it was too big for me. I am unable to return it, so I am offering it to anyone who is interested! It was originally $44.00, but yours for only $17.00 (plus shipping). Perfect for a bridal shower, wedding rehearsal, casual wedding, outdoor ceremony, wedding reception, wedding send-off, graduation, or sorority initiation.

Brand: Angie
Condition: Brand new, with tags
Description: Multi-lace illusion sweetheart neckline with sheer 3/4 sleeves, hits above knee. Vintage lace look!
Size: Medium 
Price: $44.00 $17.00 (plus shipping)

E-mail me if you're interested!

Thursday, July 4, 2013


Happy Fourth! Today I am sharing a compilation of what I feel are some of the most iconic wedding gowns of all time. From Hollywood glam to televised royal nuptials, here are 22 of the most well-known wedding gowns in history:

Kate Middleton, Duchess of Cambridge, married Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, in Westminster Abbey on April 29, 2011. The lace-embroidered gown was designed by Sarah Burton for Alexander McQueen, and featured an ivory silk tulle veil and 9-foot long pleated skirt made of hand-cut English lace and French Chantilly lace. The gown has been compared to the one worn by the late Grace Kelly when she married Prince Rainer III of Monaco in 1956. [Sources: 1, 2]

Perhaps the most famous wedding gown of all time, Lady Diana Spencer wore this ivory silk taffeta and antique lace gown at her wedding to Charles, Prince of Wales, on July 29, 1981 at St. Paul's Cathedral.The gown had a 25-foot train, and was valued then at £9000. The dress was crafted by dressmakers Elizabeth and David Emanual, who had the windows of their shop painted over and hired security guards, referring to Diana using the code name, "Deborah." [Sources: 1, 2]

Wearing one of my favorite wedding gowns of all time, Grace Kelly wed Prince Ranier III of Monaco on April 19, 1956. The Oscar winner gave up Hollywood to become Her Serene Highness the Princess of Monaco, wearing this lace, silk taffeta, and tulle gown with a fitted bodice and flared skirt created by MGM costume designer, Helen Rose. [Sources: 1, 2, 3]

Audrey Hepburn married fellow actor Mel Ferrer in September of 1954 wearing this full-skirted ballerina-length dress with leg-o-mutton sleeves by Pierre Balmain. Hepburn's first engagement was to James Hanson, in which she had a gown designed by the Fontana Sisters. The wedding was called off while she was in Italy filming Roman Holiday, and the dress was given away to Amabile Altobella, a young girl from Latina, Italy. Hepburn asked the sisters to give the dress away, saying "I want my dress to be worn by another girl for her wedding, perhaps someone who couldn't ever afford a dress like mine, the most beautiful, poor Italian girl you can find." [Sources: 12]

Top left: Ava Gardner wed Frank Sinatra in November of 1961 wearing a halter-neck Fontana dress with a sheer shawl. Right: Elizabeth Taylor's first marriage was to Conrad "Nicky" Hilton in Beverly Hills in May 1950.  The Helen Rose gown bore a striking resemblance to the gown she wore in Father of the BrideBottom left: Gene Tierney wore this beautiful lace gown designed by Oleg Cassini in The Razor's Edge. Tierney and Cassini later eloped in Vegas. [Sources: 1, 2]

Top left: Bianca Macias wore a nontraditional white skirt suit by Savile Row tailor Tommy Nutter for her May 1971 wedding to Mick Jagger. The shirt designed to be worn underneath the jacket did not fit, as Macias was four-months pregnant at the time, so she wore nothing underneath. Right: Marilyn Monroe married Joe DiMaggio in San Francisco City Hall in January 1954 wearing a black skirt suit with a white fur collar. The marriage lasted 274 days. Bottom left: Yoko Ono wore a white Gibralta mini for her March 1969 wedding to John Lennon, complete with a sun hat and over-sized sunglasses. [Source: 1]

Top left: At her marriage to fellow actor Robert Wagner, Natalie Wood wore a simple white cocktail dress with a stunning lace hood and fingerless gloves. The couple married on December 28, 1957. Right: Jacqueline Lee Bouvier wore a gown created by Anne Lowe at her wedding to John F. Kennedy in Newport, Rhode Island. The gown featured a fitted bodice with portrait neckline and was made with 50 yards of silk taffeta. The bride wore her grandmother's wedding veil and jewelry given to her by the groom. Bottom left: Priscillia Beaulieu wore her own design when she married Elvis Presley in Las Vegas in May 1967. [Sources: 12]

Top left:  Kristin Davis's character, Charlotte York, married twice on Sex And The City--the first time to Trey MacDougal in a Vera Wang gown, and the second time to Harry Goldenblatt, her divorce lawyer. Right: Kristen Stewart wore a Carolina Herrera gown for the on-screen wedding of Bella and Edward in Twilight. It took its designer and four seamstresses over six months to make. Bottom left: Sarah Jessica Parker wore a Vivienne Westwood gown in Sex And The City: The Movie for the scene in which Carrie didn't marry Mr. Big. [Source: 1]

Top left: Actress Portia de Rossi wed comedian Ellen DeGeneres in a small backyard wedding ceremony in Beverly Hills. The couple both wore Zac Posen--de Rossi opting for a princess-style backless pink halter gown, and DeGeneres in a white tuxedo style ensemble. Right: Another one of my favorites, and rightfully so! Ivanka Trump looked stunning in a hand-made lace Vera Wang gown inspired by the one worn by Grace Kelly when she wed Prince Rainier III of Monaco. The heiress (and my former Park Av. neighbor), wed Jared Kushner in October 2009. Bottom left: In September 2002, No Doubt's Gwen Stefani wed Bush front man Gavin Rossdale wearing a pink-dipped gown designed by John Galliano for Christian Dior. The dress was later donated to the Victoria & Albert Museum in London, as Stefani felt it was a "piece of art." [Sources: 123]

Top left: Actress Anne Hathaway wed Adam Shulman in a sunset ceremony in California's Big Sur on September 29 2012 wearing a custom-made off-the-shoulder, gauzy Valentino dress with a floor-length veil complete with 1920s-inspired headband. Right: Actress Nicole Kidman wed country music star Keith Urban just after sundown on June 26, 2006 in the Cardinal Cerretti Memorial Chapel on St. Patrick's Estate in Sydney, Australia. The bride wore a traditional silk-chiffon gown by Nicolas Ghesquiere for Balenciaga during the candlelit ceremony. Bottom left: Actress Jessica Biel surprised many when she wore a pink and white gown by Giambattista Valli during her wedding to musician Justin Timberlake in Italy. Biel appreciated the princess-silhouette and said the dress made her feel "elegant" and "moved like a dream." [Sources: 1234]

What are some of your favorite celebrity gowns and weddings? I'd love to hear your thoughts!

the Bride