2012, what a year!

Monday, December 31, 2012

2013 will be here tomorrow & I couldn't be more excited! This new year is going to bring some exciting things into my life. We're going to San Francisco in January, New Orleans in February & Mexico in June! We've got some awesome house projects in the works... think new backyard, new deck, new countertops in the kitchen (eeek!). Plus, half-way through the year Luke & I will become husband & wife - which is hands down going to be the best part of this new year! Before we enter the new year, I wanted to share what happened in 2012, because my goodness, it ended up being a great year :)

January: I lost my job & temporarily settled into a "stay-at-home-puppy-mom" role. I spent many hours working on house projects & applying for LOTS of new jobs.

February: We got out of the house & went to Nostrana for a date night. I vented about my frustrations with being unemployed. I didn't know it at the time (obviously, ha) but a few days later things were about to change for me.

March: After many applications, a very painful rejection & a handful of interviews, I landed a pretty darn good job with an amazing company. I'm no longer unemployed! We also travelled to Vegas with some good friends to celebrate Luke's 30th birthday!

April: I turned 30! My friends came to visit from Phoenix & we had a super fun backyard birthday BBQ followed by a scavenger hunt bar crawl.

May: We went to the Oregon Coast with a group of friends where we enjoyed waking up to the sound of the ocean & having bonfires on the beach at night. We took Gracie on the "Doggie Dash" & she loved it!

June: I created a Summer Bucket List, we hosted a few backyard BBQ's & I planted a few peony bushes - that have since died, sad.

July: Hands down, this was the best month of the year. I travelled to Chicago for work & then Luke met up with me & proposed in the city! We decided on a date & a location: June 15, 2013 in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico.

August: My mom & sister threw us an Engagement Party! I was blown away with all the work they did in the planning - it turned out fantastic! We had so many friends that showed up - it was the best to celebrate with everyone! I shared our wedding invitations & I found THE dress. That was quick!

September: We took Gracie on her first camping trip! I also created a Fall Bucket List.

October: We participated in the Color Run & had the best time! We also travelled to Vancouver BC with a few of our friends for a long weekend & to watch the Timbers v. Whitecaps match. I can't forgot to mention that we went to the Trail Blazers' Opening Night & watched them beat the Lakers - it was a good way to start off the season!

November: Big month in our house with the Election. I also shared a sneak peak of our engagement photos - which we're absolutely in love with!

December: We got a small Christmas tree & celebrated the holidays with my parents & then Luke's aunt & uncle. We counted our blessings & realized how thankful we are to have the family, friends & freedoms that we do.

Merry Christmas

Monday, December 24, 2012

Hello! It's Christmas Eve, I'm at work because I'm saving up all of my vacation time for a few small trips & our big trip next year, our wedding! While it seems that everyone I know is off this week... I'll be at work, in a quiet office. I am thankful for it though - as it will give me a lot of time to finish all those small projects & prepare for a busy start to the new year.

This past weekend my parents came to town & we celebrated Christmas a little bit early - as we all seemed to have different variations of crazy work schedules this holiday season. We got together with my aunt & uncle in Portland for a delicious brunch yesterday & we'll spend tonight & tomorrow with Luke's aunt & uncle in Vancouver, sipping (spiked!) hot chocolate & enjoying each others company, I'm sure!

However you celebrate this holiday season, I hope it's a good & merry one.


1 | 2 | 3 | 4

Engagement Photos (part 3)

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Here it is, the final post of our engagement photos.
I've enjoyed sharing these on the blog & hope that you've enjoyed them, too!
I think Linnea was able to capture "us" & our personalities perfectly.
When Linnea first posted the sneak peek for our photos
my sister called me up & said...
these are AMAZING, just imagine how gorgeous the wedding photos are going to be!
She's right... June is going to be here before you know it.
Then we'll have ourselves some gorgeous wedding photos!
Oh yes, I'll have myself a husband, too (the most important part) :)
Click to see part 1 & part 2
All photos by Linnea Paulina Photography

Engagement Photos (part 2)

Friday, December 14, 2012

Here's part 2 of our engagement photos.
Luke was a little apprehensive about using the quilt, but I thought it would be fun.
It was kinda chilly out, so I think it was appropriate :)
This also might sound kind of silly, but I always forget how red my hair really is
because I usually wear it up during the week -
 it's kinda fun to see it down, because that is usually not the norm for me.
Anyhoo... Hope you all have a fantastic weekend!
I have one more post of photos after this one, so check back here on Monday!
Click here to see part 1...

All photos by Linnea Paulina Photography

Engagement Photos (part 1)

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

I've spent the last few days going through our engagement photos,
trying to narrow down which ones we're going to print & I gotta say...
it's hard to narrow them down - we love them all!

We had such a fun session with Linnea & couldn't be happier with these photos!
Hope you enjoy them too!
More to come this week!

Our Holiday Cards

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

I thought it would be the perfect year for us to do Christmas cards because we just got our engagement photos back! I'll share the photos soon, I promise! I just got back from a long weekend in Arizona visiting some girlfriends - so I'm not on top of the blog at the moment - we all know how that goes :) In the meantime... I have a little holiday photo discount to share with you all!

A Minted discount code! If you use THIS CODE RIGHT HERE you'll save $25 on an order of $50 or more! I used the code for our most recent purchase & I hope someone else is able to use it as well & save some money!

What do you think of our Christmas cards this year? We love it :)

Holiday Photo Cards: Minted

Gift Guide: Holiday Ornaments

Thursday, December 6, 2012

I love these ornaments so much! There's something about these glass ornaments that make them look so vintage-y, like they've been in the family forever & handed down over the years. To me, it's what Christmas ornaments should be.

Wedding Wednesday: Bridesmaid Dresses

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

So we're going with gray dresses for the bridesmaids! There I said it! I finally made a decision! I'd been going back & forth with different blush tones & putting too much thought into it. I wasn't completely sold on pinks or purples... mainly because we're not sure on the colors of our flowers until we actually get down to Mexico & see what they have. If we went with pink dresses & only had purple flowers available - then it would clash. I decided my best bet was to pick a neutral, but pretty color that any bouquet of flowers would compliment. Is that a totally weird way of picking my bridesmaid dress colors? :) It made sense to me... so gray dresses it is!

I am also one of those girls that jumped on the trend of miss-matched bridesmaid dresses. When I say jumped on that trend, I mean that I am absolutely in love with the idea! I love the idea that each girl will get to wear a dress that she feels the most comfortable & beautiful in. I've never been a fan of symmetry, or matchy-ness (is that a word? well it is now!) so miss-matched dresses seems like a great fit for our wedding. The last three photos below are some of favorites that I've seen floating around on the internet.

1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5

Oh Christmas Tree

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

You guys! Our tree is up & that makes me one happy girl! I don't know what it is about a lit up Christmas tree. I could sit on the couch all bundled up with some music, some hot chocolate, my mini Christmas tree & be the happiest girl in the world.

This year our tree is perfect. Last year we bought one of those trees that looks like every other tree out there. I'm also pretty sure it was half-dead when we bought it. You just looked at that thing and the pine needles would crumble & fall to the ground. It was a daily battle between me & the broom to clean up after that tree.

This year I wanted a small, sturdy tree. And we got it! It has thick branches & its height reaches just slightly above the light switches. And the best thing about this tree (other than it being completely adorable) is that its only shed about four pine needles total! I love it!

She's a beauty, right?? :)

Holiday Gift Guide: In the Kitchen

Monday, December 3, 2012

Hope you all had a great weekend! I'm back with another holiday gift guide - this time with items for kitchen! I LOVE being in the kitchen & trying out new recipes for Luke & myself, so you better believe that all of these items made it on to my holiday wishlist :)

Holiday Gift Guide: Your Best Friend

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

I'm always looking for the perfect little gift for the special ladies in my life. With most of these gifts around $10-$40, they'd be perfect as small gifts & even stocking stuffers!

Holiday Gift Guide: For your Furry Friend

Monday, November 26, 2012

A little while ago I came across the cutest online pet shop, Harry Barker. They carry some of the cutest doggie beds, leashes, collars, toys & lots of other fun pet products! I especially love the dog beds & all the different colors that they come in. I think the small one would be perfect for Gracie!

Holiday Gift Guide: For the Guys

Friday, November 23, 2012

Now that it's the day after Thanksgiving, I can post my holiday gift guides! :) I created a few, so I'll share them all in the next few weeks leading up to Christmas. This gift guide for the guys is Luke approved - so he can expect to see a few of these gifts under the tree with his name on them! 

Parisian Style Baked Eggs

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Making breakfast is my favorite meal to cook. In our house it happens on Saturdays & Sundays. A few Sundays ago I made Ina Garten's Herbed-Baked Eggs & they were delicious. I paired the dish with lightly toasted crostini & some turkey sausage (because that's what Luke likes).

I call these Parisian Baked Eggs because they're from Ina's Barefoot in Paris cookbook. It also sounds slightly more elegant when you sit down at the table for breakfast, to nosh on Parisian style baked eggs. Don't you think?

Parisian Style Baked Eggs
[serves 2]

1/4 tsp minced fresh garlic
1/4 tsp minced fresh thyme leaves
1/4 tsp minced fresh rosemary leaves
1 tsp minced fresh parsley
1 tbs freshly grated Parmesan
5 extra-large eggs
2 tbs heavy cream
1 tbs unsalted butter
Kosher salt & freshly ground black pepper
Toasted French bread or brioche, for serving

Preheat the broiler for 5 minutes and place the oven rack 6 inches below the heat.

Combine the garlic, thyme, rosemary, parsley & Parmesan, set aside. Carefully crack 5 eggs into a small bowl (you won't be baking them in these) without breaking the yolks. (It's very important to have all the eggs ready to go & at room temperature before you start cooking.)

Place the cream & butter in a baking dish & place under the broiler for about 3 minutes, until it's hot & bubbly. Quickly & carefully pour the eggs into the baking dish & sprinkle evenly with the herb mixture, then sprinkle liberally with salt and pepper. Place the dish back under the broiler for 5 to 6 minutes, until the whites of the eggs are almost cooked. The eggs will continue to cook after you take them out of the oven. Allow to set for 60 seconds and serve hot with toasted bread.

*click on the link I provided above for Ina's recipe. The recipe I typed up is my adaptation of the recipe.

Wedding Wednesday: Welcome Bags

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Since we're having a destination wedding, it's only appropriate that we give out welcome bags to our guests when they check into the resort. Don't you think?

I've been to a few weddings that have handed out welcome bags to their guests & I thought it was awesome. It was nice to have a few snacks & bottles of water in your hotel room while you're getting ready - or winding down in the evening. Especially since everyone will be traveling for our wedding - I think it's a must to hand out snacks & water for everyone.

In doing some internet sleuthing, I found that a lot of people are anti-welcome bags & think they're a waste of money. My take on that is... It all depends on what kind of wedding you have. A few local weddings that I've attended didn't have welcome bags - & that's okay. But it you're having a wedding where a lot of people have to travel in - I think it's a fantastic idea!

A rule that I think I'm going to stick to - which should also help me stick to budget so I'm just not throwing just anything & everything into these welcome bags... is to include something edible, something useful & something fun!

Some things that we're thinking of using in our welcome bags:

Something edible: bottles of water, granola bars, fruit snacks, chewing gum
Something useful: a weekend itinerary, map of Cabo, packets of sunscreen
Something fun: a mini-size bottle of tequila - we're going to be in Mexico, so that only seems appropriate :)

Martha Stewart welcome bag contents can be found here
Customizable Welcome Bags: 1 | 2 | 3
Assembled Welcome Bags: 1 | 2 | 3

Make Your Own Crostini Bar

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Something that has been on my list of things to make is the "make your own crostini bar". My good friend Kaitlin (& also bridesmaid!) came over the other day & I thought it would be the perfect opportunity to try it out. With the help of my sister, we pulled this together in about 15 minutes. It's that easy :) We clearly loved it because we cleared all the plates in no time!

(not pictured: the case of beer on the counter that we also cleared out :)

Make Your Own Crostini Bar

[serves however many you want!]

1 baguette, sliced & toasted
2 oz goat cheese
3 tbs honey
2 honeycrisp apples
1 lb grilled, marinated chicken (I used chicken thighs & grilled them on my panini grill)
1 hand full of tomato & mozzarella balls

Other ideas!
prosciutto, caramelized onions, nectarines/peaches, apricots, figs, pesto, gorgonzola

The great thing about this appetizer is that the possibilities are endless!

- Photos © Holly Carman -

Engagement Photos (Sneak Peek!)

Monday, November 12, 2012

This past weekend Luke & I met up with Linnea to shoot our engagement photos. We got rained out on our first attempt last month - but this past Saturday the weather was a little chilly, but gorgeous! I'm so thankful Linnea was patient with us & let us reschedule. She's the very best!

We took photos down on a dock off the eastbank esplanade with some gorgeous light behind us & then walked over to the railroad tracks & found some pretty brick buildings & fun colored walls. Linnea gave us a sneak peek the same day she took our photos - & I can't wait to see the rest! :) Click here to see some little souvenirs Linnea gave us from the shoot, too!