My love affair with Pinterest

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Give me a “P”!

I know this is going to come as a complete and utter shock, but one of my best wedding planning secrets is that I use Pinterest as a tool!  Calm down, peeps!  Breathe!

All kidding aside, yes, I realize anyone who hasn’t lived under a rock during the past year or two realizes Pinterest is the optimal tool to collect ideas and inspiration.  I have been on the bandwagon since Pinterest came on the scene.  The thing that I did perhaps a bit differently was inviting my close friends and stylish ones to do the pinning for me.  If you’re anything like me (read: ADHD) Pinterest can suck you into a blackhole.  I could spend hours on there and not even realize it.  While I love planning, I knew I could easily find myself in an over-anxious, breathing into a paper bag kind of state.  And that’s when it hit me!  Pinterest had recently added the functionality of “secret” boards.  I decided to make a secret wedding planning board, but then also invite some of my favorite people and pinners to have access to this board and pin with/for me.  Brilliant!  Basically I started my board with about 10 pins and the following message to my invitees:

First, thank you ladies for sharing your insights and recommendations with me! Please don’t feel obligated to do so, but if you have any comments, you know I want them! It’s early in the planning but the theme that pops into my head is “rustic romance” – twine, lace, burlap, mason jars, wooden signs, wildflowers, etc. Let me know what that looks like to you! Love you all :)

In a matter of days I had over 100 pins.   Basically, it helped streamline my focus – I only had to look at the pins on my secret board and sift through those instead of 10 billion others.  This really ended up being quite the time saver and I am ever so grateful to my pinning team!

I have recently changed the status of my secret board to a public board.  If you’d like to check it out or follow it, you can find it here:

http://pinterest.com/grossgirl/miss-to-mrs/

Project #2: Laundry Room Makeover

It didn’t take long for me to tackle my second project upon moving in with Manfriend.  We called my move a “soft move” because initially I only moved my clothes and toiletries.  I’d introduce things into the house gradually which worked out well because for everything I brought in meant a reorganization project to accommodate all of our possessions.  Needless to say, we both ended up sending a lot of things to Goodwill.  We also made up a little song to the tune of Bob Segar’s “Night Moves” entitled “Soft Move”, but Manfriend would kill me if I gave any further details.

But I digress – back to the laundry room.  I’m one of those people who is sensitive to the environment surrounding me.  The laundry room at Manfriend’s made me angry just seeing it.  I constantly was shutting the door because the lack of space and messiness just stressed me out.  I figured this low-hanging-fruit project would be a quick and relatively simple fix…and I was right.

Before pics:

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Ugh, those bulky black shelves were just too big for that small space.  And we were storing stuff in the laundry room that didn’t belong there and needed a new home.  I also knew that I’d be washing a lot of delicate clothes that needed to hang dry and that I’d need somewhere to make that happen.  Manfriend was onboad with adding shelving on the wall and getting rid of the bulky black shelves, but he did not understand my desire to paint the room. He thought it was a waste of time and money.  And a lot of people agree with this sentiment.  But I like seeing a pretty, clean space.  It makes me happy and it makes me relaxed.  I figure you might as well enjoy the scenery when you’re doing a task you don’t particularly  love.  So to me it was worth the time, energy and money.  We had a Lowes giftcard for the paint and shelving, and I was more than willing to do the painting, so a plan was made.

I was really inspired by Centsational Girl’s laundry room makeover (she’s awesome!).  I started to look for colors for the small space.  Our washer and dryer are white so I was limitless on color choice.  I knew I wanted something that felt clean to me.  After some research, I found this patch of colors on Pinterest and sent it to Manfriend for his opinion.  Surprisingly, his #1 choice matched mine!  Perhaps the name of “Clothesline Fresh” was as big of an influence as the color itself, but that’s the one we decided to go with.

So we went to Lowes to get the paint and we got to cleaning and then I got to painting.

manfriend prepping the area

manfriend prepping the area

holy tiffany blue, batman!

holy tiffany blue, batman!

Next step was putting up the new shelving that would double as a drying aid.  Look at my many manfriend!

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Finished product:

laundry room

 

Sadly my lack of photography skills does not do this room justice, but I must admit that I happily do our laundry now.  Folding is another story…

The Bridal Blues – also known as bumps in the road

Let me start by saying I already know this post is going to make me sound like a complete and utter brat.  Let me get my tantrum out and I’ll be on my way.

So I was so excited to see that my save the dates arrived yesterday.  I spent a lot of time searching for inspiration to make these and then a lot of time on creating them.  And because I love a deal, I was even more gleeful when I was able to find a coupon code and had these printed for under $40.

So imagine how crestfallen I was when I rip open the package and pull one out and I see a big, fat glaring mistake.  Fortunately it’s not a spelling error nor did I put the wrong date on there.  It’s something only I will notice – I know this because I sent a picture of it to my sister and she confirmed it was no big deal.  As did Manfriend.  But it’s driving me bat-shit-crazy!  Ugh, again, I know I’m beating myself up over a silly attempt at perfection, but alas, this is what I do.  After insane thoughts of having them reprinted, I decided in the long run to just go with it.  So, once you get your save the date in a few days, let me know if you can guess the mistake!  Just kidding, don’t.  I may bite your head off.

Later yesterday evening I had a phone call planned with a potential day of coordinator.  For those of you unfamiliar with the lingo (as I was until I had to get in the know), you can hire a day of coordinator to essentially run the show during your rehearsal and wedding day.  This person is usually also a wedding planner, but if you’re super anal like I am and don’t want need help in designing your wedding, this is the option you need to execute your vision.  Manfriend and I were not planning on having a person like this and we did not budget for it.  However, while the venue we chose is super-chill on a lot of aspects (ie – they don’t make us use their preferred vendors because they don’t have any!), one of their mandates is that we have a professional person there from the time they open the venue until the time they close.  While I briefly thought of having a trusted friend do this for us, I feel like that’s too much to ask and I want all of our guests to enjoy the wedding.  Plus, a day of coordinator will save Manfriend and I from stress and questions and being on top of things.  Essentially we’ll be able to enjoy our day.

So back to the phone call…as my wedding research has shown, you should look and contact a minimum of three options per vendor.  I did my research and found three lovely ladies to fulfill the role of day of coordinator.  There was one in particular whose website I just loved because, quite frankly, I could tell she was as anal as I am!  The other two came back right away with quotes around $1,500.  Again, not knowing what to expect, Manfriend and I thought this was a bit high.  I finally talk to my secretly favorite third one last night, develop a deep girl crush on her, and then find out her cost is $3,000!  My heart sank again…a second time…it was now in my gut.  Ugh.  I was supercranky pants.  And truth be told, I still kind of am. Hence this rant.

Alas, I know you’re supposed to step back, take a deep breath and gain some perspective.  I’m marrying my best friend!  He’s awesome!  Who cares if things are not effing perfect?!?  It could be worse – at least I won’t be wearing pigtails come the big day:

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photo cred: http://www.hvmag.com/Blogs/The-Wedding-Guru/September-2011/Wedding-Stress-Tips-for-Reducing-Stress-and-for-Kicking-the-Bridal-Blues/

On your mark……

On your mark… get set… plan!

We’d been engaged about two days when we were getting ready for work and Manfriend asked me (with toothbrush in his mouth): “Whrn duya wanna tak bout wddng pwanning?”

I was also brushing my teeth and shrugged and said “Whrnever yu do”.  After work that night we had a plan to start talking.  We nervously sat on the couch, put the tv on mute and then stared at each other.  I didn’t know where to start.  I also knew that once I opened my mouth, I would not shut up.  I have so many ideas, thoughts and questions when I’m excited over a topic that I knew they’d all come tumbling out of my mouth like clowns out of a VW bug (read: never-ending!).  Think Monica on Friends – “I have a lot of really specific ideas!”.  But alas, it was not so bad.  Once we got over the awkwardness of talking about a party to celebrate ourselves, we opened the floor with when & where & how much?  The “when” was easy – we were both on board with spring or fall.  The “where” was tbd – we needed to think about our budget and see what the availability looked like for any venue we were considering.  The “how much” was a bit tricky.  I questioned whether we should do research and then come up with a budget, or sort of pick a number and try to work backwards to fit the budget.  We chose to pick a ballpark number and go from there.  Disclaimer – I don’t pretend to be an expert in this field.  I am only sharing my experience of what works or doesn’t work for us.  Of course, being me, I had to do some research.  I found that the average wedding cost in 2012 was around $28,500 (article here: http://money.cnn.com/2013/03/10/pf/wedding-cost/index.html).  Then I found another site that gave the average cost based on where you were having your wedding and it showed an average for our area at $27,500 (http://www.costofwedding.com).  Manfriend and I are aiming for below average!  We are both fiscally responsible adults – the only outstanding debt we have is for our respective houses and I am still paying off college.  Before we vow to be together forever, we vowed not to incur any debt from this wedding!

Manfriend did his customary nod and tight lipped smile signifying that he thought this meeting was successful and we were done planning for awhile.  I knew it was just the tip of the iceberg!  Ideas were brimming over, but first I had to get organized.  For those who know me, I loooooooooooove organization.  However, mix that with my adult Attention Deficit Disorder and my insatiable want of perfect, well, you’ve got yourself a perfect storm. I decided the first thing I needed to do was create a checklist.

After scouring two of my favorite places on the internet (Google and Pinterest), I found two checklists that I really liked and used them as my sources/inspiration in creating my personal checklist.  You can find them here:

http://offbeatbride.com/2008/01/the-official-offbeat-wedding-checklist

http://www.digbyrose.com/2012/infographic-complete-wedding-planning-guide-and-checklist/

I made mine in Excel since I knew I’d be adding and subtracting items along the way as well as changing the timing on some items to fit into my comfort level.    (If any brides-to-be out there would like my checklist as a template, feel free to email me at manfriendandme@gmail.com).

My first block of items ended up being the following and since we are in the end of May, I can happily say we have completed this first round of tasks (and on time).

checklist1

Next up:

checklist2

Trial Run

Before Manfriend asked me to move in, I tested the waters on what he’d be willing to let me change by offering to do a room redo while I was in between contract work.  I decided the guest bathroom would be a good place to start since it’s relatively small and that is where I spent my mornings getting ready when I shacked up over at his place.  I had great visions of creating a design board like I’ve seen on TV and on many of the designer DIY blogs I follow.  It was going to look awesome and super-professional.  So when I finally mustered up the courage to see how he felt about my little pet project, imagine my relief when he was on board.  His first question was “So what needs to change?”.  I mentioned that I wanted to create a design vision board to illustrate the changes, but he was too impatient to wait for this so he took me by the hand and walked me to the bathroom so I could point out what needed to change.

Let me back up a bit…when I pitched the project, I guesstimated a budget of $100.  This would be enough for paint, two cabinet pulls, changing some of the fixtures so they all matched, and a new shower curtain.  That budget quickly got blown away once he made some decisions of his own.  In the end, I think we spent around $150.

Since my dreams of creating an actual design board were mowed over, I did the next best thing – put it on Pinterest, of course!  You can find my inspiration board here –> http://pinterest.com/grossgirl/guest-bathroom-makeover/.

The thing I had that hardest time convincing him on was that the fixtures and hardware should match.  Prior to the makeover, the bathroom was a mishmash of chrome and brushed nickel.  We decided to get rid of the chrome light fixture and shower curtain bar.

Before Pics:

I wasn’t thinking.  I was so excited to start the project, I forgot to take pictures of the true “before state”.  Please pardon the fact that I had already taped off the room and removed the mirror.  Notice the heinous lime green shower curtain?  Yeah, that is now in Goodwill or in a new home.


lime greenchrome  light

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Color:

I painted the ceiling with some leftover white ceiling paint my dad had given to me.  The vanity was in pretty good shape, but had lots of scratches.  For the vanity and mirror frame, I used some (different) leftover paint that I used for one of the vanities in my old house.

For the walls we finally landed on: Valspar Olive White 6005 3A (available at Lowes).  This little sample swatch looks more gray onscreen, but in real life it’s more a cool, minty green.

 Color match of Valspar 6005-3A Olive White*

Fixtures:

I replaced the old chrome light fixture with a new and more modern brushed nickel one, also purchased at Lowes (noticing a theme here?).   We also got a new shower curtain rod and rings (both brushed nickel).  Lastly, I replaced the knobs on the vanity – they were wooden and I changed them out to – you guessed it – brushed nickel!

After shots:

bathroom afterI found the Cynthia Rowley shower curtain on clearance at TJ Maxx.  The framed sea turtles are postcards I got a few years ago at Foley Beach, SC.  And the handsome Boston Terrier is my sweet Frank – my first rescue Boston – may he rest in peace.

Project #1 was such a success I couldn’t wait to start on Project #2!!!!

Manfriend turned Fiance

When I first started this blog it was to document the changes that occurred in our lives and our house after I moved in with Manfriend in August 2012.  And now you’re thinking, “It’s May 2013 and this is your first post – something doesn’t add up”.  And you’re right!  I have started a few posts that have remained in draft status.  Not sure why I couldn’t commit to publishing at the time, but times they are a-changing.

On March 10, 2013, Manfriend changed my life (for the better, obviously).  It was the first nice, non-rainy weekend day in way too long.  We had decided earlier in the week to do a dog hike if the weather was good that weekend.  Manfriend let me sleep in until 9 am and then woke me up and made me breakfast.  We got dressed and got the pups situated and head off to one of our favorite hiking spots.   We hiked about 20 minutes to the creek and then decided to go play on the rocks.  I proceeded to take lots of iPhone pics of the dogs frolicking as evidenced below:

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We were getting ready to hike back out of the creek when Manfriend suggested we go ahead and give the pups a water break.  So he gave me the dog dish and the water bottle and I got the dogs settled.  When I turned around he was on his knee with a little red box in his hands.  He was totally cool as a cucumber and I know I had a crazy smile on my face until I put my hand over my mouth.  I wish I could remember all the lovely words I’m sure were spewing from his mouth, but it was such an out of body experience!  My mind was just humming with “Oh my God! Oh my God” on instant replay.  At some point I managed to say yes and opened the box to see the most gorgeous ring!  It turns out he really does pay attention to my style :)  It’s very dainty and vintage inspired.  While we were hugging and kissing, G2 got into the book bag and pulled out a treat – apparently she wanted to celebrate as well.  It just didn’t seem real for a long time!  I was stunned to silence which doesn’t happen that often.  Needless to say, I was very surprised.  Had I had any inclination I would at least put on some mascara and may be would have brushed my hair a little better -lol (as you can see from the pics above)!

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So what does this have to do with the blog revival?  Well as I’ve started wedding planning, I thought to myself “Self, you know what would make this process even more difficult and time-consuming?  If you blog about it!”  Kidding…sort of.  While this is a crazy time even for a planner like me, I am seriously LOVING being engaged.  People are so nice to you.  I’m being a nicer person.  I want to document everything so once we are married and time has gone by I can revisit this process and hopefully laugh at the things that made me cry and be nostalgic over the parts that I absolutely loved.  So I’ll still include posts on the updates done to the house as well as other things I love/love to do, but for the next year, this blog will have heavy wedding slant.  I invite you to join me on this journey – the good, the bad and the ugly.  Welcome to the crazy!

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