DIY Bridesmaids Bouquet

I (Eleni) like real flowers as much as the next person BUT I love the ability to reuse things. Although these flowers were a SAVE money wise, I had a few more useful ideas for these beauties

  1. They sat on the sweetheart table
  2. My bridesmaids can keep their bouquets as keepsakes

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Difficulty:✂

Materials: You are welcome to use any flower combo you wish. I used the following

  • Mini Olive Leaf Bundle Bush ( $9.99)
  • Eucalyptus Bush ( $18.99)
  • White & Cream Peony Bush ($11.99)
  • Gold Ribbon (3.99)

Tools:

  • Hot Glue Gun

I bought my flower bunches from Hobby Lobby. The flowers were 50% off the average price that week. I also used a 40% coupon, that was applied to my ribbon.

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My overall total was under $25 for six bouquets & one center piece ( I used left over flowers for a wreath project).

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Instructions: 
1. Prepare stems by cutting into useable pieces. Use your wire cutters and and trim off  all the excess leaves, leaving only one or two close to the flower. After you have your single stem flower wire and tape stems as necessary. This allows you to extend the length of a flower easily.

2. Choose 2-4 flowers to start the base of your bouquet. I started with one stem of lamb’s ear, a couple olive steams and a stem of white Peony .

3. Wrap your bouquet in floral tape, starting at the top and traveling down the stem bunch. This will give your bouquet a little added support.

4.Cut a piece of ribbon about a yard long and put a dot of hot glue on the back of the stems and wrap the ribbon around the stems. Pin with hot glue gun and voila you have yourself a fake flower  bouquet.

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15 First Dance Songs

we are sharing our wedding photos along with some tips. First up is our first dance.

As much as we’d love to bombard you with all our wedding photos, we figured it would be nice to add some tips, advice and show what we did.

Our first dance was an easy pick. We wanted something classic and timeless. We picked “At Last” by Etta James (but there is a Beyonce version as well).The #1 rule is to keep things personal. It doesn’t matter if your first dance song is unique, popular, old, new, slow, fast, or anything else. All that matters is that you and your fiancé think it’s the right one for you. Have fun picking!

Here are some songs that landed on our list and hopefully help you with picking the first dance!

1. “Can’t Help Falling In Love,” Elvis Presley
Lyrics you’ll love: “Like a river flows surely to the sea/Darling so it goes/some things are meant to be”

2.”Better Together” by Jack Johnson
This song is entirely sweet with a soft but playful acoustic melody. Probably a more underrated first dance song, but a favorite!

3. “The Way You Look Tonight” – Frank Sinatra
Lyrics you’ll love: “Some day, when I’m awfully low / When the world is cold / I will feel a glow just thinking of you / And the way you look tonight / Yes, you’re lovely, with your smile so warm.”

4. “L-O-V-E,” Nat King Cole
Lyrics you’ll love: “Love is all that I can give to you/Love is more than just a game for two/Two in love can make it.”

5. “Thinking Out Loud” – Ed Sheeran
Lyrics you’ll love: When your legs don’t work like they used to before / And I can’t sweep you off of your feet / Will your mouth still remember the taste of my love? / Will your eyes still smile from?

6. “Make You Feel My Love” – Adele
Adele’s voice just asks to be sung as a first dance!

7. “All My Life” by K-Ci & JoJo
A classic. Cant go wrong with this song.

8. “You and I (Nobody in the World)” by John Legend
This song was ALMOST our first dance! We love this song.

9. ” Ordinary People” by John Legend
Jacob’s favorite song. This was another song that almost made it on our dance floor. We love this song because it’s so real and shows love isn’t perfect.

10. “Perfect” by Ed Sheeran
Reasonably new song and just a perfect love song.

11. ” With You I Am” by Cody Johnson
Lyrics you’ll love: ” Who’s that guy with a big ole smile as wide as the Rio Grande. … Same ole boy but a whole lot better whenever you holding my hand. I used to poke fun at them punch drunk lovers.”

12. “Die a Happy Man” by Thomas Rhett
Personal favorite. Kinda slow but so romantic!

13. “God Gave Me You” by Blake Shelton
Lyrics you’ll love: ” ‘Cause God gave me you for the ups and downs
God gave me you for the days of doubt.For when I think I’ve lost my way.”

14. “My Best Friend” by Tim McGraw
Lyrics you’ll love: “You’re more than a lover.There could never be another.To make me feel the way you do Oh we just get closer.”

15.” You’re Still The One” by Shania Twain
This one has to be a classic! Who doesn’t love singing this song on the top of their lungs!!

Have any to add to the list? Comment in the post to help those planning brides.

Heaven is for REAL

Thanksgiving break called for catching up on some much-needed rest and reading time for the both of us. Jacob and I enjoy claiming a night looking for books at a local bookstore our date night. The date usually goes like this
1. We walk in together
2. We go our separate ways
3. Go looking for the other once we have our finds.

We then we come home to lay in bed in silence as we both indulged in our books. Its the beautiful moment of enjoying the silent moments together. Jacob’s more of a reader while I’m a talker. I like to catch him up on whats going on in my book even though he never asks, oh the beauty of marriage!

We all at one point have wrestled with the knotty questions: Why do bad things happen to good people? Does God care? Does God answer prayer? What happens when we die? I was looking for a quick read and channeling those inner questions; I figured I’d pick this book up and give it a chance with an open mind, not wanting to judge and accuse the Pastor of creating this whole thing to sell books.

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The premise of the story is of a three-year-old boy named Colton Burpo and his brush with death; his parents’ renewed faith in God’s eternal plan; and a perspective of Heaven, death/dying, eternal life. After surviving emergency surgery when he was three years old, Colton slowly began sharing his life changing experience of visiting Heaven with his parents on a random night while driving to visit family. Now Colton Burpo’s story can be found on many day tv shows since the book later made movie.

The first 60 pages were just about the boys family and jobs and such. The beginning made me cringe at the thought of these parents being unfit. I wondered why this child was not taken to a hospital immediately with every sign pointing to how ill he was. The real miracle is that this child is still alive despite the parent’s poor decisions. Then finally they get into the experience on and off. The story comes from the viewpoint of the Dad, who is a pastor which don’t help when the details of Heaven coming from a three-year-old sound like details were specific and straight out of one of the father’s sermons. In my opinion, the references to heaven were minimal, and the story was more about the father than the boy.

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The father finally admits that the boy did not ever officially die. I was hoping the book would take a massive turn towards the end to reveal that there was a glitch in the medical records stating that he did die. The book does alluded to this theory but that didn’t happen.

I do have to say, I side with the possible explanation that the little boy may have had an active imagination. He may not have remembered much of what happened and may have imagined much of it. Its possible to even think it was made up things in response to questioning in the years following the incident. On the other hand, maybe he did remember Heaven.  Perhaps we will all see heaven as we want it to be.

Overall the story is heartwarming, fact or fiction. Overall I left with something more significant after reading this book.

I do recommend the book, even if it’s just to give yourself a little spiritual uplifting. I don’t recommend this book if

  1. You didn’t like going to Sunday school as a kid.
  2. Find yourself counting the minutes for the church to be over.

Follow the link to order your copy – Heaven is for Real: A Little Boy’s Astounding Story of His Trip to Heaven and Back

‘Twas the day of Thanksgiving

The day is here! Time to put on our “thanking caps” and remember what we’re grateful for. Rumor has it that frequently saying thanks can lead to feeling healthier and happier, all year long. Too bad most of us only pull out our thankful caps today and then store it away until next year when visions of Thanksgiving are dancing in our heads. This year I’m thankful for the takeaway thought of Thanksgiving.

First thing’s first I’m guilty of not showing gratitude all year long. Gratitude is typically thought of as being thankful and wanting to show and return appreciation and kindness, but gratitude is also to instill feelings of hope, inspiration, and forgiveness to not only others but to yourself as well.

I’ll spare you all the list of what I’m thankful for this year. As I’m sure, the list runs similar to yours. I hope this year instead of putting away the gratitude after the holidays we can learn to live by inspiration.

The “LIST”

1. Feel hope when the road seems dark for us
2. Forgive others and yourself
3. Appreciate the small, simple things we take for granted
4. Return kindness and give it even if you feel its hard to give

and to live by the quote “If you’re tired you’re not inspired!”‘

Do beans belong in chili?

The days are getting colder, and it seems only fitting we have some chili! The Kramer household, unfortunately, has the long-lived debate of “do beans belong in chili” still divides this house. I, Eleni believe  100% that beans belong in chili well Jacob firmly believes beans DONT belong in chili.

Jacobs viewpoint

” NO. Beans do not belong in true chili. If you add beans, it’s no longer chili; It’s stew.”

The half of me that’s Mexican cannot comprehend chili without beans. What would that be? A slurry of well-spiced sadness?

I won’t bother giving Jacob’s Texas Chili Recipe on my post. I’m sure he will enlighten everyone with his blog entry on Chili SO instead I will provide you with my recipe for chili using a pressure cooker.

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon olive  oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 3 ribs celery, chopped
  • 2 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 (15 oz) can corn
  • 1 pound ground beef (85% lean)
  • 4 tablespoons chili powder
  • 2 tablespoons of Cayenne Pepper
  • 1 tablespoon of Ancho chile powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon oregano
  • 4 Jalepenos
  • 2 tablespoons Beef Granulated Bouillon
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 14-ounce can diced tomatoes with green chili
  • 1 can of beef broth
  • 15.5-ounce can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup shredded cheese, any favorite mix, to serve
  • 2 green onions, sliced thinly, to serve

Lets get to cooking (PSA I love my Chili SPICY)

  1. Saute the Veggies: Select the “Sauté” program on your pressure cooker and add the oil to the pot. Sauté until the onions are softened and translucent, about five minutes.
  2. Cook the ground beef: Add the ground beef to the pot, breaking it up in small pieces. Cook until no longer pink,
  3.  Stir in the spices and tomato paste. Add the chili powder, Cayenne powder, oregano, Beef Granulated Bouillonand,  and tomato paste to the pot. Stir until the tomato paste is evenly mixed into the other ingredients and no clumps remain.
  4. Add the tomatoes and beans: Strain the tomatoes, then add  broth to make 1 cup total liquid (If you dont have broth you could use water). Add the liquid, the strained tomatoes, corn, celeery, jalepenos, garlic and the beans to the pressure cooker
  5.  Time to cook the chili: Place the lid on the pressure cooker. Make sure the pressure regulator is set to the “Sealing” position. The Instant Pot has a cool button for cooking chili, select the “Chili” program, then adjust the time to 20 minutes. If your pressure cooker does not have a “Chili” program, set it manually to “High Pressure” for 20 minutes.
  6. Release the pressure after cooking: When the timer goes off, you may either perform a quick pressure release by moving the pressure release knob from “Sealing” to “Venting,” or let the pot depressurize naturally on its own (this takes about 20 minutes; open the vent to “Venting” when you’re ready to serve the chili.)

 

I don’t think Jacob, and I will ever see eye to eye on the chili debate, so we decided to attend this year Yaga Chili festival in Galveston. We visited two years ago and can’t wait to return.That said, share your favorite chili recipe and tell us, do beans belong in chili?

Book of the Month- the sun and her flowers

The sun and her flowers

Monthly Book Review

I finally got my hands on this long-awaited second collection of poetry by Rupi Kaur-  The Sun and Her Flowers. Backstory: I’m not a fan of Milk & Honey. It’s just not a style I enjoy, the entire book just felt too Tumblr.

Rupi is known for her (sometimes cheesy) and simplistic style so I was hoping this would be different, fresh and jaw-dropping considering the amount of hype behind it. I gave Milk & Honey away to my sister, and needless to say, haven’t missed it since.

Milk & Honey in my personal opinion seemed like the author would just write sentences with skips in it, then label them poetry, and I hated that style. Besides the writing style, I just didn’t connect with the book. So, my opinion on the book lays heavy with not connecting rather than just saying I didn’t overall like it.

However, the sun and her flowers utilized a lot of longer poems and metaphor with the personification of nature, and although it’s still not my favorite style, it’s grown to be so much better from her first book.  This book split into five chapters that divide into more topics than just a hurt woman seeking comfort. The author was able to connect and expand more on growth in every subject, not only love. I felt like a ton of blanket statements, and Tumblr posts were involved in Milk & Honey, but the sun and her flowers had quotes that made my mind wander a bit.

The book illustrations are by Rupi; they include random I would call doodles that I would assume mean to deep meanings to them. The sun and her flowers, a vibrant journey about love, relationships, racism, grief, refugees, empowering women, etc. and about self-love brings more to the table. While it’s straightforward and may have occasionally stirred my emotions, I’d give it a final notion that it wasn’t anything to ride home about.

 

I think my favorite chapter in the book was the ancestry and honoring one’s roots with the expatriation and rising to find a home within yourself.

Cons:
The sun and her flowers seem to hold a lot of repetition poems that are in Milk & Honey. There seem to be poems that were not only used for her last book Milk & Honey that are in this book but also the poems were written that are oddly familiar with some slight wording changes in them and simplification.

Pros:

Short enough to be a quick nightly read, that is broken into chapter so that you may turn to the mood you are in for that day. Obviously aesthetically lovely book to have on your bookshelf or nightstand.

My overall rating of the sun and her flowers would be 3.8/5

I do plan on rereading it once more, just to see if my feelings for it change.Sorry, Eliza, I may be keeping this copy! Grab your copy from Amazon. My favorite thing about buying a book off Amazon is I can start reading it immediately digitally before mine gets in.

IKEA bed frame turned seating chart

Check out our seating chart. This isn’t our best work yet but considering we did this two days before the wedding, I’ll take it.

Obligatory new young couple first place together calls for some IKEA furniture.

Well it was functional for the year we used it, the bed frame literally came apart as our movers tried to move us into our now home. We both knew this would happen and expected it to.

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I hate throwing things away (no, I’m not a hoarder) but I had hoped to give this bed frame a longer time frame. Once the frame became trash after our move, my self-talk went something like “if you don’t find a way to use this within two weeks, you better trash it, girlie” also I better have found a use because I knew Jacob would throw it away himself if I didn’t.

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It then hit me WEDDING SEATING CHART!!!I pulled out my handy dandy cricut and got to work! First , of course have your wedding list and RSVP’s complete! My husband is savvy with excel so we where able to group people in an orderly fashion ( The Knot does this for you)

Grooms family

Brides family

Fraternity brothers

Sorority sisters

Church friends

Coworkers

Brides parents friends

Grooms parents friends

If you hate excel, you do have options. The Knot is super resourceful. Well, most of our guest sent back their RSVP cards, some decided on RSVPing on the Knot (if we had to go back in time, I would have skipped out on the RSVP cards and stuck only to the Knot.)  The Knot takes the RSVP then categories households which is also super efficient.The program then lets you export the list into excel. IS THAT EASY!!!!!

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KNOT

The Knot made making a seating chart somewhat bearable. If it were up to us we wouldn’t have a seating chart, and we couldn’t care less where everyone sat but because our cater needed to know where specific meals went this not only made their lives more comfortable it made having the exact number of tables out for room purposes resourceful as well. I printed the list of our final guest count and got to cutting. I left families, group, together, so it was easier to visualize the said table.

Difficulty : ✂✂

Time consuming: 🕐🕓🕗

Step One :Have your seating chart done & grab your cricut

  1. Downloaded winter calligraphy font from da font (or any font you prefer). After you download the font, when you go to the cricut you can find it easily by clicking “system fonts” to choose your text font.
  2. Measure your width and give yourself a guessimate of how much space you have for your lettering. I really did just eyeball this beacause I’m the most impatient.

img_3769 4. Once all the letters are cut, place onto your board.

Here comes the fun part part-

Jacob and I thought we would make the whole seating chart using vinly and quickly realized what a mistake that was and had to scrap that plan two days before the wedding.

img_4201 It was not only so time consuming but hard to keep neat and put together, it wasnt very easy to edit. we scraped that idea and went with escort cards.

I cut 2 x 3.5 cards using my cricut and we glued them onto the board.

img_3771 After all the gluing of the 3.5 x 2.5 cards got placed, Grennery was put along the edges to make it more pleasing to the eye. This seating chart wasn’t our best work yet, but it got the job done. Share your ideas and or what you used as a seating chart.

img_4409.jpg Promise the end result looked a lot nicer, I will update with more photos once we get photos back from our photographer.

IKEA lack shelf hack

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Oh Ikea, how I love and hate thee.  Although these shelves are functional and aesthetically pretty, my main concern is how they slant away from the wall. Unhappy with this I wanted a way to make them “new” and much more functional.

Lets get down to the how to and what you need

Difficulty:✂

Materials:

Tools:

  • Level
  • Stud finder
  • Drill
  • Hot Glue gun

Once you put the shelf in place, drill the drywall anchors in.  The drywall anchors create a very tight and secure grip onto the drywall which makes the compressed tensile strength of the drywall the weakest point. Unless the shelf is pulled very forcibly from the wall, the heavy duty drywall anchor should be able to support more weight than other types of fasteners when used with shelving brackets.

At this point you should be done and ready for the personal touches. I like to test the “im done” theory by adding weight to the shelf just so I’m sure its in tack before I put my tools away.

After you fasten the leather straps you can hot glue the thumb tacks onto the straps as a personal touch.

Ok now this ikea shelf should really done and styling can happen. (I’ve changed the styling to these shelves since this post, the OG pictures have a rushed set up)

Colorado Bachelorette Party

#Elenibachshitcrazy 

What do friends, adventure, and LOTS of food have in common? They were all very integral parts of my bachelorette weekend getaway, of course! I’m so excited to share the details from our time in Denver, Colorado.

It was the perfectly planned trip to Colorado, including whitewater rafting and an ongoing list of local restaurants, I couldn’t wait to get off the airplane and get this party started but the moment I got onto Denver land a headache creeped in, nausea kicked into high gear and all I could worry about was finding the nearest trashcan. That’s the curse of altitude sickness, my friends. Upon landing I sat near a trash can till my sister figured her way out of riding the shuttle for the 6th time.

All 7 of us stayed in the Santa Fe Arts District of Denver in a spacious townhouse and used Turo for the first time. I’d have to say; I will forever use Turo as a rental car in new cities. Not only is it a third of the cost compared to renting a vehicle, but it was also a cheaper option and way of getting around for a big group. (shameless plug: Click HERE to use my Turo code, and we both win!) Uber was only used once when we went out and bounced around Denver nightlife. (My uber code gives you $20: elenim105ue )

My Koumbara (more on what that is, is for another post) had a bag of goodies waiting for me at our Airbnb. I was SO excited to get this party started.

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My Koumbara put together welcome kits for the girls which included – Inflatable drink holders which varied from pink flamingos to unicorns, cookies shaped in the form of butts, sunscreen, silicone wine glasses, Tylenol, and candy! My sorority little had fun Drake-themed shirts ready for all the ladies to put on ( thanks, Little)

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Girls just wanna have fun!

MOH booked us an appointment for much-needed spa time which OF COURSE included champagne. Allowing me to open the bottle was the first mistake of the weekend. Next on the agenda was an outdoorsy activity. Whats a Colorado trip without some outdoor fun?? We decided to go on the 1/3 day trip option for white water rafting, so we could enjoy the rest of the evening in the city. White water rafting was a BLAST! We did learn that

  1. The water is COLD (even in July) so don’t wear cotton
  2. The gear STINKS so mentally prepare yourself
  3. You forget about the stench and coldness because the ride is so much fun!!

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Couldn’t forget a bachelorette touch with my bride one piece swimsuit!

Denver Night life

My outfit of choice was a bodycon white off the shoulder ruffle dress.
I’m not a huge fan of sashes so my MOH gifted me a “BRIDE” headband to wear for the weekend. I accessorized with a clutch handbag with Mrs. on the front of it.

My bridesmaids hosted a lingerie shower for me at our Airbnb before we went out for dinner. My MOH decorated the kitchen/ dining area in celebration and had a drink and snack station going for us while we enjoyed their surprise shower for me.

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The girls and I chose to go to  Ophelia’s that night for the atmosphere. It was 90’s night, and we all enjoyed singing at the top of our lungs while enjoying our dinner. We then walked over to a few clubs and bars down broadway street before calling it a night!

Here are some of the local restauanrts we went ate at : 

Little Mans ice cream: I would say is a staple spot to visit. Little Mans also has the cutest shirts avaiable for purchase! Parking may be hard to find especially during the weekend. We went on a Sunday, and the plaza had a huge dog event going on, luckily all of us are dog lovers so this made the super long line bearable.

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My Brother’s Bar: Denver’s oldest Saloon. They have GREAT comfort food!

Jelly Cafe: Jelly’s breakfast is fantastic, reasonably priced and comes with the cutest atmosphere to enjoy it in. Side note – Jelly’s doughnuts are to die for so save room!

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The Original Pancake House: FYI the Denver omelet is HUGE, so dont order that if youre looking for a light meal before white water rafting.

Sassafras American Eatery: Not ashamed to admit  fried pickles were ordered three times….

Melita’s Greek Cafe & Market: Quick, delicious deli with the sweetest staff. Great for customers looking for a quick bite during lunch.

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Special thanks to my bridesmaids who helped to make my bachelorette getaway so special!!!

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Check out the fresh pedicure chanclas.

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Heim BBQ : Passport destination #1 of 50

FAIR WARNING: When reading Jacob’s comments about food, life or Game of Thrones, be FOREWARNED! He is not only vulgar, but 100% authentically foul. Eleni, however, not only disapproves, but vehemently denies all of his angst, for it is unwarranted on all fronts.

Heim BBQ in Ft Worth TX BBQ Passport destination #1 of 50

What we ordered:

1. 2 meat plate w/ two sides $15

⁃ Meat: Brisket and Pork Ribs

⁃ Sides: Green Chile Mac & Cheese, Beans

2. Heimburger $10

⁃ Brisket & beef patty w/ bacon burnt ends jam and cheese

3. 1/4 lb. Bacon Burnt Ends $6

4. 2 Panther Island IPAs

⁃ Not as good as a Hopadilla but they can’t all be perfect

Highlights we deem important

1. Eleni: loved the pork ribs

NOW for for the real deal, follow below as I give you my inside suggestions

2. Jacob: Bacon Burnt Ends are life. Mixing the Bacon Burnt Ends with the Mac & Cheese will be the best endeavor you’ve ever experienced. Also, get the brisket on the fatty side. It’ll give you a fatty/moist your shorts. Parakalo!! Before we go any further, Parakalo is a phrase that will be useful to know since I say it often.  To say ‘You’re welcome’  in Greek you would say Parakalo (Παρακαλώ). 

If you and your significant other decide to take on Yeti’s Top 50 BBQ Joints in The Republic, we highly suggest starting with Heim. This establishment will set the bar exceedingly high, just as any TX BBQ joint should. Be warned, this is nothing like Carolina or KC BBQ. Leave the sauce where it is. TX BBQ is all about the meat baby, so come with your eating pants!