My adventures in making Parisian Macarons

I'm not one of those people who cooks. During the school year, my meals come in the form of Lean Cuisines. While I know that sounds super pathetic to some people, it has worked well for me. I simply am too tired at night to cook, and it doesn't make much sense to cook for one person. On Saturday, lots of the women were like, "Now that you are getting married you have to cook!" Truthfully, I think that our food habits will stay pretty similar, but I think it will be a little easier living together.

With this long preface, today I decided to make macarons. Why? Not because I love them (I've never had them), or because I think they are super easy to make. No, my desire to make macarons stems from the aforementioned bridal shower for my friend. You can buy macarons for a dollar or two, but I wanted to package them as favors to give out at the bridal shower. So, that could add up really quickly. Since I'm really running out of money to spend with the boy's tuition and our upcoming wedding, I wanted to try to make them myself. Martha had a recipe, that didn't seem too bad.
They didn't turn out.

Surprise, surprise! When making them my eighty-seven year old grandma had two things to say: "Good luck to you, and don't be disappointed when they don't turn out." She kept reading the instructions, and seemed pretty mesmerized that I was attempting such a task. I actually got things to mix up pretty well, and the batter tasted great. It was while tasting the batter that I realized I'd forgotten to dye them. So, I ended up with less than half of them dyed. (Honestly, I'm just pumped that I figured out how to make them turn purple and they didn't taste bad). Once the macaroons were cooked, things got a little dicey. I actually think that they didn't cook up too badly. The main problem is that I didn't do a very good job putting them on the cookie sheet. The other problem is that mine browned when they were finished. The purple wasn't really purple by the time I was done. I have no clue what else I did wrong. Even though they don't look like the macarons in a picture, they taste pretty good. My grandma had no qualms sampling a few. So, while I doubt that I'll make them for my friend's shower, I have no regrets. But that could just be the sugar high talking!

Testing and then my shower!

So tomorrow morning at the bright hour of 7:30 I will take my last test necessary for my official teacher's license! I cannot wait for it to be over, not only because this will be a necessary step for me, but because my bridal shower is tomorrow afternoon!

My sister and mom have been busy getting the house ready and cooking delicious desserts for everyone. Even more exciting, my mom's friend (and honorary "aunt") came up today to help out/visit. I tried on my dress for the first time for my family, and wore the pearl necklace and earrings with it that my amazing sister bought me as an extremely generous wedding gift. I loved trying on the dress again, and cannot wait to wear it on the big day. My aunt brought up the dress that she and my mom wore, and it was neat to see their dress. The shower makes it all seem so real, and it makes me happy to think that in 45 days I will be married!

TJ Maxx find!

This past weekend I helped my sister unpack and settle into her new apartment. Much discussion was spent about where to put the tv. In small spaces, you really have to be smart about how you use your space, and sometimes (err, maybe all times) I'm spatially handicapped. So, I'm not really a whole lot of help. Anyways, in an attempt to fix the problem, she thought about buying an actual tv stand (what a novel ideal!).
We checked out Target, and then we ventured over to TJ Maxx. We didn't find a tv stand, but we did find boxes and some prizes for my friend's shower. The theme is Paris and the color is purple. How perfect are these finds? The one box I'm going to use to wrap her shower gift, the other big one will be used to hold favors, and the little one will be used to store the Parisian postcards that I made her (with a place for guests to write messages on it). I was so amazed, because I had made the postcards on Thursday, with the matching framed "instruction sign" and they matched with the boxes. The vintage postage stamps are identical! After the invitation debacle, I was excited to get one detail of her shower wrapped up! And my sister did figure out what to do with her tv, although she informed me that she changed it after I left. I think my usefulness might not be in design.
(Sorry about the messy picture layout; I can't figure out how to get the pictures to load properly.)

The dress fits!

As I'm entering the last two months before the wedding, I'm finding myself pretty nervous (but I think my mom, the boy, and my sister have finally helped me see the light and calm down!). Last week I was extremely overwhelmed, but I think the projects are finally getting wrapped up! My sister came last weekend and she helped me work on the favors. Because she is a genius (or at least a bit brighter than me when it comes to computer stuff), she was able to print out the labels for the favors. They look so much nicer with a little thank you label. :) My sister really is so awesome. There is no way that I could have handled all of these projects without her moral and technical support.
Even more exciting for me, my dress came in and IT FITS! I was extremely nervous that it would be too small. I kept remembering how I told them I would lose weight, and I haven't. I was also nervous that it would be too big on top and have to get taken in. But magically, the dress fits wonderfully, and I got to take it home on Saturday. The thing that I love about my dress is that I really feel like a bride in it. I feel like I won't have to fuss to much over make up or my hair. I'm majorly relieved!

Bridal Shower Invites

While I've definitely been focused on my own wedding plans, I'm also trying to help with a friend's bridal shower (I'm one of her bridesmaids). I'm trying to do the invites, with the theme being Paris and the color of purple. Even though I worked pretty hard to produce these three designs, I'm not very excited with how they look. I mailed these three designs to the MOH and mom, and am hoping one of these will work. It might be because the color is purple, but I just am disappointed that they don't look a bit better. Honestly, I wished that we had the time to order from Wedding Paper Divas or Minted. Sadly, it wouldn't have been that much more expensive, even. And definitely less stressful. I'm the type of person who really wants people to be happy with what I can do for them, and I feel like none of these designs are enough.
Anyways, has anyone seen anything particularly inspiring for a French themed bridal shower? So far I'm thinking of making vintage French postcards and having guests write little notes to the bride. I also want to package macaroons with French labels. Suprisingly, I haven't seen a whole lot online that is inspiring.


Invitations are in the mail! I'm so thankful to have finally brought that project to a close. It was pretty funny; I got my grandma involved in the last minute touches. She helped me lick all of the envelopes, and she really enjoyed putting the pink seal sticker on the envelopes. At the post office, I'm sure we were quite a sight, as we put a few last minute stamps on some of the invites.

With one project completed I moved on to attempt to print labels for our favor boxes. That crashed and burned. People may just have to deal with a ribboned box of candy (I think they'll live). So I continued the menial task of tying bows on our bubbles. I was inspired by Style Me Pretty's post, and used a template that they had to put a label on the tin. I made a little sign, that hopefully someone will remember to put next to the bubbles on our wedding day! I was very pleased to have one successful project done today. While I realize that on our wedding day these things won't really matter, I do enjoy them and I think that putting effort into your day makes it special for you.

62 Days until the Big Day!

I hope everyone had a happy Fourth! I went and visited the boy in D.C., and had a pretty relaxing time. We finally got all of our engagement pictures, and I'm really happy with them. I'm so excited about our photographer; I think she's going to work out really well for the wedding! We also added a few items to our registry, to make it a bit more robust. Apparently, the boy realized that 18 items for a guest list of now over 100 isn't probably sufficient.

It's pretty crazy how close the wedding is getting. I feel really excited, ready for the day, and then worried that not everything is going to get done. But the things I'm working on now aren't essential (with the exception of the wedding license!). At this point, I'm just working on projects and am no longer trying to get ideas and nailing down big pieces.

The invitations are almost all finished, and I will be mailing them out tomorrow. Since I'll be getting married when school is in session, I'm really trying to take this time to get projects done.

This week I hope to:
Get invites mailed
Print more direction cards
Finish rehersal dinner invites
Do table numbers and begin table assignments
Tie ribbons around bubbles
Assemble favors
Wrap wedding party gifts and finish those up
Work on parents' gifts
Schedule counseling with pastor
Get menu cards printed
Check on when my dress will be coming in
Work out every day!

Cake Toppers

Even though I'm having a budget wedding, I'm trying to keep the tackiness to a minimum. (However, based on my love of everything pink, some would argue that tackiness shines through in my everyday life).

Nonetheless, a quick review of wedding products available at Wal-mart and Michael's can really make you cringe. There are simply too many hearts, doves, tulle, and artificial flowers in one place.

I've been particularly challenged to find a cute cake topper. I've looked at Etsy, but there isn't really anything cute that is in my price range (less than 20 dollars). I've done random google searches and still nothing. I went back to my favorite cake topper of all time: the Promise Willow Angel. Alas, the boy hates it, so that will not be on our cake.

Then I started thinking about Winnie the Pooh. When we were in undergrad, we joked that I was Piglet because I worry so much, and the boy was Pooh because he's relaxed. He gave me two really sweet stuffed animals of Piglet and Pooh when he proposed, and I gave him the book of Winnie the Pooh (which by the way has some really sweet lines). So, I found this figurine on Ebay. I'm just worried if I can convince the boy to put something like it on top of our cake!

Has anybody seen something really cute for cake toppers lately? I know flowers are a trend, but I think it'd be too difficult for us to do. I also am sentimental and think it'd be nice to have a cake topper for memories later.