October 31, 2009

happy halloween!

On October 31, 2003, I went to a Halloween party dressed as Violet Beauregard from "Willy Wonka." At that party, I noticed a cute guy (wearing a mullet wig) playing beer pong (klassy). We later struck up a conversation while waiting in line for the bathroom... and now, he's my husband.

in 2004, on our one year anniversary, as Daphne and Fred

Now that we're all hitched and stuff, we no longer consider Halloween our official anniversary... but I will always remember it as our meetiversary.

We'll be celebrating the spooktastic holiday in costume with friends (costume photos to come!). I look forward to someday having a house that we can decorate from top to bottom and throwing a fabulous Halloween party. Here is some of my favorite Halloween inspiration that I've been bookmarking from around the web this week.

unique pumpkins via Hasel/Allison at Elizabeth Ann Designs Living

adorable owl costume via Martha Stewart

painted pumpkins via ritzy bee blog

eerie eyeball recipes via simply stated

spiderweb coasters via 12fifteen

Duncan the disgruntled banana via Oh! Apostrophe

Halloween invitation via Brooklyn Limestone

Happy Halloween!

October 30, 2009

on the turntable: Pomplamoose

Have you heard of Pomplamoose? In short (via their Facebook page):
Jack Conte and Nataly Dawn started making music together in the summer of '08, and decided to form a band. Pomplamoose thus represents the collaborative efforts of the two aforementioned musicians. It also means grapefruit in French.
Check out their MySpace page to hear their music or YouTube to see their awesome homemade videos. This one is my favorite:

{Thanks, Jillian!}

October 29, 2009

first anniversary {paper}

It's been over a month since our first wedding anniversary, and I have yet to share with you the gift that I made for Nick! My apologies... I'm sure you've all been waiting with baited breath ;-)

I decided that I wanted to create something truly handmade for our anniversary, and I wanted it to stay within the realm of the traditional first anniversary paper gift. (By the way — who made those things up???) I decided to Gocco a print with all hand-drawn elements, with the focus being a quote from the song we danced to at our wedding, "Love is All About We," as well as our names and wedding date. (Listen to the song "We" here.)

I started with a light sketch that would fit within the size specifications of how large my Gocco can print with one screen (around 4.25" x 6.25") (image 1 above). Once I had the basic layout sketched, I began drawing my letters with more pressure (image 2 above). I am left-handed and things often smear when I work with pencil, so I often work right-to-left to make things a bit less messy (image 3 above). I think my final result looked cute! (image 4 above)

I also wrote a bunch of random words that relate to us and drew a few cute little doodles to be used later...

I scanned my main image and brought it into Photoshop to erase any speckles and bump up my contrast. After I printed my image out in black and white, I burnt a Gocco screen with my image and used my ink blocking material to keep my ink contained to the right areas (image 1 above). Then I inked my screen with white ink (image 2 above). Next, it was time to print!

I used chip board as my canvas, as it's a current obsession of mine. I really like the organic look of the white ink on the chip board (and since it's very neutral, hopefully it will always coordinate with our decor!).

Voila! I only needed one print for the final project, but since I had already used up a screen and spent time inking it, I made a bunch of extra prints. Who knows what I'll use them for, but I like having some extras regardless.

Remember those random words and doodles you saw above? I scanned them in as well and created a full-screen pattern with them.

I used a large sheet of chip board and repeated the pattern with my Gocco. It wasn't perfect and there were some bald spots, but for once I wasn't going for perfection.

After everything was printed and dried, it came time to frame it up.

I had purchased a black frame at Home Goods (image 1 above) that had a double-mat and a space in the center for a 5" x 7" photo (image 2 above). The mats were glued together, so I gently pulled them apart (image 3 above). They didn't pull apart perfectly, but that's okay, because the area that got messed up would be covered up later. I took the larger mat that had been on top and placed it on top of my large piece of chip board with the repeat pattern; I traced around the inside and outside of the mat, and then used an X-acto blade to cut away the excess chip board (image 4 above).

I lined up my patterned mat, the white mat, and my main image so everything was centered, and used Scotch tape on the back to hold everything in place (image 1 above). When I turned everything over, it was perfectly lined up and ready to be framed (image 2 above).

The final product:

Nick really loves it and I was happy to have come up with a unique idea that didn't cost a lot of money. Since I spend so much of my time sitting at a computer, it was nice to do something more hand-drawn, and it was a great excuse to break out my Gocco.

October 27, 2009

SYTYCD season 6 | top 20

  • Wow, Billy Bell AND Noelle are out? Well, Noelle may be back next week if her injury heals, but that knee brace sure doesn't look very promising. I like her, though — hope she gets another chance.
  • I like Channing's stage presence. Although it was far from perfect, I think she stole the jive number... Phillip who?
  • Jakob. Whoa. Where did he come from, and why didn't I notice him before???
  • Ashleigh's hands were icky. Like, Michelle Kwan icky. (I was always distracted by her bad hands when she skated.)
  • Oh, Peter. Your accent makes me ashamed of being a Philadelphian. And your dance with Ariana didn't do a lot for me.
  • I really like Russell and I hope he can make it past losing his partner in the first week. I think he's charming.
  • SO excited Travis is back choreographing! Love him! Beautiful piece, just wish Bianca had better technique. Point your damn toes, girl! (I wrote that before Adam said it, thankyouverymuch.)
  • I love that there is a "Glee" song on the show. Did not really like the dance to "Push It," though. What is Mary screaming about??
  • Ellenore rocks. Aside from the fact that I don't really like Ryan's personality, I could find nothing wrong with their dance. Amazing.
  • I don't remember Brandon at all from Vegas. I think he and Pauline have cute chemistry.
  • I like Kathryn, despite her annoying crying in the final round of Vegas. She surprised me with hip hop like Jeanine did last season. I see her going far.
  • I was rooting for Mollee over the last few weeks, but I think her youth and inexperience showed in the disco. It seemed sloppy in many parts, although it is SUCH a fast dance and difficult for the first top 20 show, so the judges seemed to overlook the sloppiness.

Tonight's dances and my grades:
  1. Channing + Phillip | Jive | "Rockin' Robin" | B-
  2. Ashleigh + Jakob | Broadway | "Hit Me With a Hot Note" | B+
  3. Ariana + Peter | Hip Hop | "Black & Gold" | C+
  4. Noelle (sub: Melanie) + Russell | Fox Trot | "Vagabond Shoes" | B+
  5. Bianca + Victor | Contemporary | "Wasted Time" | B-
  6. Karen + Kevin | Cha Cha | "Push It" | C+
  7. Ellenore + Ryan | Contemporary Jazz | "Arcadia" | A
  8. Pauline + Brandon | Smooth Waltz | "You Light Up My Life" | B-
  9. Kathryn + Legacy | Hip Hop | "On & On" | A-
  10. Mollee + Nathan | Disco | "Turn The Beat Around" | B
SPOILER ALERT | Bottom 4 and Going Home
(So, this is how they're gonna do it with the World Series coming up... nuts!)
Bottom 4: Ariana, Pauline, Brandon, Russell (wha????)
Going Home: Ariana and Brandon (thank goodness it's not Russell... phew!)

October 26, 2009

so you think you can dance, season 6!

I love the fact that I no longer have to wait until summertime for my favorite show in the history of ever... yup, So You Think You Can Dance is back for season six, its first fall season!

I'm really liking that they're changing things up a bit and making the first top 20 show a showcase of all the dancers, sans competition. The real competition will begin tomorrow night (Tuesday)... although I don't know how the first two weeks are going to go with the World Series being shown on Fox. Anyone have the scoop?

Overall I am not sure how I feel about this group; hopefully I'll warm up to them soon. Nathan, Russell and Mollee are standouts for me at the moment, but I'm still a little bummed that my favorite, Paula, didn't accept her spot in the top 20. I hope her movie career makes it worth it, because she was simply spectacular and I think could have easily won this season based on how amazing she was in Vegas.

What did you think of tonight's top 20 showcase? Any favorite routines or dancers thus far?

UPDATE: top 20 dancer Billy Bell has bowed out of the competition due to an undisclosed illness. Read more here.

PS - Since things tend to be a bit crazy for me this time of year, I won't be doing full SYTYCD performance recap posts each week, like I did last season; however, I will still post a few thoughts after each show with the hopes of inspiring some friendly discussion in the comments!

October 25, 2009

perhaps I'm just immature...

... but this pumpkin that we saw on display at Linvilla Orchards today totally cracked me up.

Do you find this hilarious, like me? Or just plain gross? (Sorry if it grosses you out... but if so, maybe you oughtta lighten up, no? ;-)

October 22, 2009

go phils!

Sorry for being a little quiet on the blog front this week... my dad kindly gave us tickets to last night's NLCS game — yes, GAME 5 of the NLCS — which our Phillies happened to win, bringing home the title for the second year in a row! It was so much fun being there, but we got home rather late last night and I'm about spent for the week. I promise to have more posts next week!

{ Photos taken on my iPhone using the totally awesome ShakeItPhoto app }

October 18, 2009

high on cupcakes

The other night, I heard Johnny Cupcakes speak at Saint Joseph's University. I came across the event info just a few hours before it started (thanks to Oh Joy!), and I was so excited to have a free night to attend. While I'm not the kind of JC fan who has hundreds of his limited edition shirts (I have one) or his logo tattooed on my body, I am a huge fan of the business he started building when he was 19, and I admire the amazing identity he has cultivated for his brand. His lecture was extremely inspiring!

If you haven't heard of Johnny Cupcakes, check out the inspiring story of how he built a multi-million dollar company.

October 12, 2009

and I thought I was neurotic...

Have you seen the blog i am neurotic? It is laugh-out-loud hysterical, and it's a nice reminder that we're all a little neurotic in some way. Here are a few of my recent faves:

(thanks, Maggie!)

October 10, 2009

bedroom overhaul: color palette inspiration

So! The bedroom overhaul is ON. We have set aside next weekend for painting and furniture assembly, and I am extremely excited to see the final result.

We're going from gray and drab to sunny and spunky. We're working with a fairly tiny budget, but we have some great ideas that I think (hope) will pan out beautifully. I'll be sure to take some before and after photos and share all of the details with you, but for now, I'll leave you with my color palette inspiration board.

Photo sources, clockwise from top left: teal and white bathroom via decor8; "so good and tasty" tea towel via Slide Sideways; thermos pillow via coucou salut; teal volumes pillow via eleen; yellow wallpaper via decor8; chair ribbon via Style Me Pretty; Glassybaby candle holders via The Bride's Guide; yellow desk via decor8; sea glass via Etsy Wedding.

October 6, 2009

pink and purple and a special little one

A very special little girl, H, turned one last week, so of course honorary Auntie Brooke had to pull out all the stops to add something special to her birthday party. After all, I owe this little one a lot — she hung out in mommy's belly long enough for her to be the matron of honor in my wedding last September, and even held off until two days after we returned from our honeymoon to arrive (on her due date, no less). Girlfriend has been on my side all along.

For H's big birthday, I took a second stab at Bakerella's cupcake bites (first attempt was back in July with a patriotic theme), and I am proud to say that I am kiiiind of getting awesome at this cupcake bite thing.

This go-round, I used this variation of the recipe with candy molds (which I somehow missed on the website last time). This made things much less messy and the overall process a bit easier. The final result was not nearly as perfectly coiffed as Bakerella's bites always seem to be, but that's okay... we'll just say that mine have more "character."

I started with red velvet cake and made my cake balls.

Since I was using the molds for the bottom part of the cupcakes, I had the genius idea to put my melted chocolate in a plastic baggie and cut one corner off to neatly squeeze the chocolate into the molds. Revolutionary, I know.

After I squeezed the chocolate into the molds, I placed the cake balls in the chocolate and waited for it to harden.

They popped out really easily once they were in the freezer for a few minutes.

Then came the most fun part: decorating time. There was no shortage of pink and purple here — no, sirree. I had pink and purple sugar crystals. I had stopped by a local candy store earlier in the week to buy pink and purple M&Ms. I even stooped so low as to buy food coloring with Hannah Montana on the packaging. (What can I say — it had all of the colors I needed. Don't hate.)

I used white melted chocolate and mixed a bunch of different pinks and purples to have a nice mix of colors. The blue came in handy as the purple alone sort of looked the same as the lighter pink. Adding some blue made a perfect purple.

Then I dipped... and decorated... and voila! Aren't they purrty?

Happy first birthday, Miss H!

October 5, 2009

bespoke letterpress {droooool}

Have you seen these gorgeous prints from Bespoke? The Australian letterpress studio just launched their Letterpress Illustrators Project, which has resulted in 10 beautiful, 3-color letterpress prints from talented young illustrators from around the world. I can't even pick a favorite... they're all so gorgeous. Any one of them would be a stunning addition to our home.

Lucky for me (and you!), they're having a giveaway... one lucky person will win a collection of ALL TEN of these prints. Pretty incredible, right? Well don't just sit there — go enter now!

October 4, 2009

fancy schmancy new jewelry stand

Remember those fun jewelry stands I blogged about? Turns out I didn't have to make my own... Nick surprised me with one for our anniversary a few weeks ago! Last weekend I finally got it all set up, and I also nailed some 1" brads into my cheapo mirror for hanging all of my necklaces.

It makes me soooo happy, having everything in its little place now.

While going through my mess of a jewelry box to get it set up, I found a few pairs of earrings I had forgotten about, and I've also been experimenting more with my necklaces now that they're not a big tangled mess that I don't have time to go through in the morning when I'm getting dressed. I've always had a hard time accessorizing with my outfits, but having everything so organized and pretty has made it easier for me to get a little better at pairing things with certain ensembles. I'm getting a wee bit better.

Bonus: this also takes care of number 56 on my 101 in 1001 list.