Everything’s Coming Up Roses

Growing up in New Hampshire, everyone has a yard. And while most people fight to have the greenest grass on the block,  my father (the gardener in our family) put all of his time and attention into his flowers, rather than the lawn. I think that was a result of the fact that at our first house, we have very limited grass. Our backyard was basically a forest and our front yard was a giant hill. This hill was so steep that landscapers had turned it into large “steps” and my dad put a flower bed in each one; limiting the amount of grass to nearly none. I don’t remember a lot about our first house, but I do have a very distinct memory of “helping” my dad tend to the plants in these flower beds. My favorite plant was called a “bleeding heart.” I think even at such a young age, I could appreciate the dramatic nature of this plant. 

 

When we moved to our new house, my parents did a lot of landscaping to increase the size of our front lawn. And while is tends to look pretty good most of the time, my favorite time of the year would be when the giant bed that contains hundreds of daffodils is in full bloom. I remember spending one year planting the bulbs. I thought we were planting potatoes… boy was I surprised when hundreds of yellow and white flowers appear the next spring! I love going to my parents house during the month of April because there are always vases full of these flowers around.

At my wedding, I was lucky enough to have two very good family friends do all of the flower arranging for me. They did it all, from the center pieces to my bouquet. And the best part is, they used flowers from my dad’s garden! We had a lot of peonies, all placed into antique ball jars that had raffia tied around the tops. I loved the way they looked and only wish the flowers would have lasted forever. Unfortunately I don’t have any really good pictures of the flowers – hopefully when I get the professional photos this weekend there will be some. Until that point, here is the best I could do (these lasted until the breakfast the NEXT day!)

Last night, I hung out with my favorite entrepreneur, Jessi Walter of Taste Buds! I love hanging out with Jessi, not only because she is an awesome person, but she always has fun and interesting things for us to do. Often times, we attend cookies or baking classes, but last night was something different – it was flowers! Jessi had found a deal on living social for a flower arranging class at Celadon & Celery Events. While the class was a little shorter than I had anticipated, it was something that was fun to do.

A few tips that I walked away from the class with:

1. Clean your vase really well before you put your flowers in it. One of the main reasons that flowers can die so quickly is because bacteria can get into your water. Washing your vase with cleaner or bleach will help prevent this.

2. Change the water in the vase every day – add a little plant food each time

3. To keep hydrangea  from wilting, dunk the flower heads in cold water for 5 minutes before you put them in the vase. You also want to remove nearly all of the leaves. If you don’t, the leaves will soak up all of the water before it reaches the flowers

4. Cut your stems at an angle and then cut up the stem twice so that it splits into 4 different pieces all attached to the bottom of the stem (see picture here: http://www.israelflorist.com/store/images/site/7.jpg)

5. Try to keep your arrangement no more than 3 times the width of the vase and 2 times the height.

In the end, I walked away with a beautiful arrangement of flowers! Hopefully I can apply these skills without the instruction of the teacher. And one day, maybe I will be doing the flowers for a friend’s wedding!

My HGTV Crush

I have only been married for 1 month and I already have a new man in my life… David Bromstad.

After spending an entire day with him last week during a “Color Splash” marathon, I must confess… I am in love with David. Not only is he super cute and has an addictive personality, but he is talented as well. The rooms that he transforms on his tv show are amazing. I love everything he does! He inspires me to step outside my Crate and Barrel comfort zone and take risks.

Now, not only can you see David on his tv show “Color Splash” but on Monday nights, he appears on the HGTV reality show “Design Star.” This is the show that launch his career forward after he won to design contest. This year, David will be serving as the mentor to this year’s contestants, offer advice and a friendly smile.

Matt and I just re-signed our lease for another year in our current apartment. With all the wedding planning, we didn’t have enough time to really look and see what else is out there. And while I really do like where we live, I am getting a little tired of it. I want to start fresh, with a new blank canvass to decorate. So now, I will dedicate the next 12 months to finding that perfect place. Let’s just hope it comes with two bedrooms, some outdoor space and an inexpensive monthly rent! And when I find it, I am going to invite my new BFF David over to help me get started!

Hey, a girl can dream, right?

Food Network Challenge

While Matt and I both enjoy some of the same tv shows, like Boardwalk Empire, Gossip Girl, The Sing-Off and Mad Men, there are a few shows we disagree on. I can’t even be in the same room as Matt when he is watching True Blood, and he doesn’t fully appreciate Glee in the same vein that I do. One of the biggest tv disagreements is over “Challenge” on the Food Network. Every time I put this show on, Matt feels the need to tell me that he doesn’t understand the point of it, and quickly grabs the remote. If only there were a lock feature on the tv that would prevent him from changing the channel on me.

Last night, our apartment turned into the set from this very show. After coming home from work, spending some much-needed time in the gym and a quick shower, I spent the rest of the evening making holiday treats. I worked quickly to make as many different things as I could before my 11pm bedtime! I made fudge, peppermint bark, puppy chow and chocolate peanut butter bark. Only after I spent hours in the kitchen did I check my mailbox and see that I had received a package from my grandma containing nearly the same exact treats! Great minds really do think alike.

While the puppy chow is certainly my favorite treat to eat, the chocolate peanut butter bark is my favorite to look at. It looks like art – I had a hard time breaking it apart into smaller pieces because I didn’t want to ruin the overall design.

Happy Holiday Baking!

Martha Stewart Craft Show

After waiting outside in line, in the freezing cold temperatures, I got to experience the Martha Stewart Craft Fair. Held in the Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia offices, 90 different vendors displayed their homemade projects and crafts. Many of the vendors were current or previous Martha employees, so my expectations for the event were very high.

While getting a pick into Martha’s world was exciting and the decor was nice, I was slightly disappointed with the products being sold. Half of the stuff were things that I could have made myself and the other half were things that I wasn’t very interested in. In the end I walked away with a few Christmas presents, but mostly, I left feeling inspired to amp up the level of crafting that takes place in our apartment. And the timing couldn’t be better. With the holidays coming up, and the temperature outside dropping, I can entertain myself for hours in my warm and cozy apartment!

Does anyone else feel a trip to Michaels coming on? I certainly do!

DIY Bulletin Board Update

Last week I wrote a blog about my new office. Well, I am happy report that it is coming together. I have a few pictures hanging on my walls, some furniture for parents to sit in while I interview them and I found a solution to “martha-rize” my bulletin board.

Some advice from my crafty mother and a trip to the container store solved my problems. My mother suggested that I use contact paper on the bulletin board. Honestly, what do people actually use contact paper for? Do people actually line the drawers of the dressers with that stuff? I am all for organizing but that seems a bit ridiculous. You are just going to cover it up with shirts, socks and work out attire. Anyway, I went off to the container store last week and boy did I strike gold.

First I found this contact paper with fun designed. Unfortunately after reading the label closer, I realized that the paper was scented. While I love candles and perfumes, I was nervous that this smell would become over baring in my office. I had visions of parents going into a fit of sneezes and decided against it. Instead I found this fabric contact paper that came in a pretty design. While it wasn’t adhesive, the foam like quality would easily hide push pin marks, unlike contact paper. I purchased two roles and went on my way.

I cut the paper to fit and stapled it onto the bulletin board. I then added decorative grosgrain ribbon to hide the seams and add some “preppiness” to my walls. I am pretty happy with the way it came out!

On another, unrelated note, today marks 7 months until our wedding! I think that calls for a glass of champagne!

While I am super excited, I am slightly confused as to why Matt and I didn’t receive the kind of attention Price William and Kate are getting. Hopefully they don’t pick June 18th as the date to say ‘I Do.” I am not sure I could share the spotlight!

Under Pressure

As many of you know, on Friday I was featured on word press’ main page Freshly Pressed. I had an amazing response and a lot of new visitors to my blog. In the past three days, I received more than 5,000 hits, which is pretty incredible considering it took me five months before I reached that number of hits. It was quite a weekend and a truly surreal experience. Now I am faced with only one problem…

What to write about for my next post.

The pressure is unbelievable. I started having nightmares last night and have spent the entire morning brainstorming ideas… Should I feature a DIY project? Or a new recipe?  Should I write more about the Rockefeller Christmas Tree (it is standing now…)

 Or should I write about tonight’s highly anticipated Glee episode featuring Gwyneth Paltrow?

While all of these would make great blog posts, they didn’t feel “good enough.” I then got the idea to feature some of my fellow bloggers who commented on my post. However, more than 70 people commented over the weekend and I don’t think I have enough time to go through and write-up a summary about each of these wonderful blogs. Although, I am making a point to visit and comment on each of these blogs.

Then I decided that I would feature videos from You Tube that always make me smile.

(This is why I want kids)

 

(This is why I wish life was a musical)

 



(This is why no one fully understands Abby’s and my sense of humor)

 

(This is why I can’t wait to marry Matt!)

 

And while I hope that these videos brought a smile to your face, they still don’t feel like enough. Again, I am faced with the dilemma… how do I follow-up a post the received more than 5,000 hits?

This simple answer is, I don’t. I have come to the realization that I can’t change my blog just because a few more people happened to click-through to my site. If I did that, I would just be focusing on the big things because the little things would never seem good enough. The whole reason I started writing this blog was to keep a positive outlook on life. I can’t stop doing that because of the big things in my life. So while I am extremely excited to have been featured on freshly pressed and I spent the weekend approving comments and tracking my stats, my focus remains the same. I am continuing to focus on the little things in life.

Thank you word press for picking my blog and thank you readers and fellow bloggers for clicking through. I hope you continue to follow along, comment and spread PMA.

DIY Bulletin Board

So I recently moved into a new role at work… and with a new role often comes a new office! I have switched over from the Lower School into the Middle and High School. A lot of people have asked me whether this is a positive change. I am still figuring that out. All I know is that I certainly needed a change from the work I was doing, so hopefully this proves to be a change for the better. So in addition to learning a new curriculum, meeting new students and finding my way around a new (and HUGE) building, I also moved into a new office.

While the office is very nice, it was seriously lacking in the furniture department. I spent the first week in my new role scouring the building for furniture that I could claim for my office. I ended up stealing an unused bookshelf from the library, a filing cabinet from an area intended for administrative office that is currently empty, chairs and a side table from the Admissions waiting area that is the floor above my office (don’t even get me started on  that one) and a bulletin board from who knows where. My 10 x 10 foot space is certainly starting to come together.

 The bulletin board is a very nice size, but I have a problem. I wanted to snaz it up a bit (either by covering it with fabric or ribbons) but it was drilled into my wall before I had a change to get my hands on it. So now, I have a large bulletin board that is hung on my wall and I am not sure how to “martha-ize” it.

         

Anyone have any good suggestions as to how I can achieve something similar to these without taking the whole bulletin board down? The best idea I could come up with was to paint the entire thing and then mod-podge some fabric onto it (e.g. cut out flowers or a design from the fabric). Anyone have anything else???