And no we aren’t talking about the book in this post.  Although I have heard fantastic things about the 5o Shades of Grey trilogy; I just haven’t had time to read the books yet. They are at the top of my list after I finish the Book Thief!

Instead we are back to the painting theme of the last few weeks and referring to the 50+ different paints I looked at in various shades of gray for the living room and hallway.  I honestly had no idea that gray could have hints of blue, purple and brown. It’s crazy how one color can have three “looks”.  A color online is different from the color swatch and then the color swatch can look different depending upon lighting and decorations within a room.  It’s really crazy how a color that’s considered neutral can take on a life of its own.  We had to stop looking at color swatches in our old place, because they looked so different in our new place.

While on the search for a living room shade of gray I realized I am somewhat afraid of color as well.  Afraid in the sense that I didn’t want to go too dark and have the walls take over the room.  Then there was the issue of not being able to visualize color sample on the wall painted on the whole wall let alone the entire room.  Despite knowing I was new to painting (as a form of decorating) I was very shocked at how difficult I found it the whole process.  I was all about finding the PERFECT color.

My husband was more than happy to slap whatever version of gray (that made me happy) up on the walls and call it a day.  We ended up purchasing so many sample paints I think the cost was close to a gallon .. oopps.  After 8 colors painted in “small” rectangles on one wall and 2 HUGE nondescript shapes painted on the walls we FINALLY chose our version of gray.

Luckily for me my husband is a taping machine.  I mean honestly taping takes FOREVER! It shocked both of us the amount of time it took him to tape things.  We tried to do a little painting without the tape, but neither of us have steady enough hands for that. :)  It took us a while to figure out how to paint/tape the bulk heads.  At first we thought we’d paint the whole thing the same color, but then I noticed the bottom of the bulk head was painted the same color a the ceiling.  We double checked all three rooms and they were the same.  So we only painted the “walls” of the bulk heads our new color.

Below is the husband checking out his taping handy work.

After much taping and covering up the hardwood floors our living room was ready to be painted!  So we go to it.

After a FULL, long and exhausting day of painting the room was finally done!!!  Despite the tape we still had a few oopsies.  To make sure we would know what to fix the next day we went back to the condo to do the touch ups.  See all the little blue dots … lots of little mistakes.

After doing touch up our living/dining room was ready for our stuff!  Although it took us forever to pick in a color in the end we love it and it was worth the multiple trips to the paint store.  The next weekend we moved into our new place … and all that was left was to unpack …

Happy home improvements!

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During the wedding planning process I started reading a lot of blogs.  Sooooo many brides were doing DIY projects.  The wedding blogs really got my planning/artistic juices flowing.  I would read about how simple it is to make X all on your own and immediately I would want to take on the DIY project.  I would gently remind myself I am not the artist in the family, that would be my sister, the MOH.

My friend from work was kind enough to share A LOT and I really mean A LOT of her wedding/party planning expertise with me.  One of her suggestions was to check out her friend’s blog called Aisle with Style.  As I was browsing the posts I found a post for the wedding invitations my friend had done for her brother’s wedding.  When I stumbled upon the blog post I instantly wanted to make my own invitations.  I emailed my friend and asked her for the details on the invitations she made for her sister-in-law’s wedding.  Then I forwarded the post to my then fiance and mother.

Both liked the invitations; however neither was excited about the DIY part.  My husband was very concerned about hidden costs of DIY as well as the time it would take us to do the invites.  I started pricing out invitations online.  The non diy invitations would still cost a pretty penny even from the online vendors I found.  While visiting my parents for Thanksgiving we spent sometime doing wedding stuff.  Sunday we went with my mom to register at Bloomingdale’s.  There just happen to be a paper/invitation store in the same complex so we stopped in to check out the invitation designs as well as pricing.  As I had assured both my mother and husband the invitations were expensive! Both were finally, mostly, on board with a little (or a lot as the case maybe be) DIY action.

After purchasing the paper and the pretty purple envelopes.  I could barely contain my excitement.  There was only one issue, I had a super old version of PhotoShop and it wasn’t compatible with a lot of the new functionality.  My husband to the rescue!  He quickly jumped onto his computer and downloaded a 30 day trial version of the newest PhotoShop version.  And then the fun began. YAY!

I spent many hours camped out on the couch, watching tv and and cutting our invitations and insert cards down to size.  Below is a little picture of how I totally took over the coffee table to create our invitations.

In the end we had three pieces to our wedding invitations – the invitations, room block insert card and rsvp post card insert.

After completing all the invitation the next step was to do the envelopes.  Check out our DIY invitation calligraphy here.  We also made custom stamps for our wedding invitations, which you can see here.

My tips for a successfully DIY invitation:

1)  Buy a paper cutter.  A good paper cutter is essential for straight lines and a sharp blade is ideal so the edges don’t fray.

2)  Make one complete invitation before printing 100 copies.  When I made my inserts I didn’t put it all together until I had printed multiple copies. I think realized the Room Block and RSVP text was way to big and had to reprint.  Waste of paper and time.

3)  Print High resolution.  I printed the 1st few on standard.  They looked nice, but when the husband took over the printing press he printed on High (he had no idea what setting I had used) the colors popped more and so we had to re-print the ones I had initially printed.

4)  Buy extra paper.  I suggest printing on regular white paper for a while until you think it is right.  See #2 and #3 I needed extra paper because of small modifications and printer settings.

5)  Start early.  Everyone laughed when I started my invitations 8 months out. But I wasn’t motivated some days or just plain didn’t have time.  Giving myself a lot of time to complete the project reduced my stress level and made it more fun.

Happy DIY!

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A year ago I married my best friend and love of my life.  Our special day feels like so long ago and yet at the same time like it was yesterday.  It is one of those days I would absolutely love to relive.  Exactly a year late my husband and I celebrated our 1 year anniversary in style!  After a romantic weekend away in Charlottesville we celebrated the actual big day with a glass of wine on the balcony followed by dinner at Tosca.  Tosca has some AAAmazing Italian food!!  If you go to this place you MUST MUST MUST try the Rosemary and thyme fettuccine with a roasted leg of lamb ragu and braised artichokes … it’s absolutely to die for!

After an amazing dinner we headed home to eat cake.  And not just any cake, but the top of our wedding cake!  I’m curious how this tradition of freezing the top layer of your wedding cake and eating it on your one year anniversary came about, but in any case we honored this tradition.  My mother-in-law wrapped the cake up for us and let’s just say she rocked it.  This cake top looks just like it did 364 days ago!

Even the top looks great and I have to admit we piled a stuff on top of it at some point.

How yummy does this look?  It’s almost like the perfect slice.

Although the cake wasn’t nearly as good as it was a year ago it was fun to eat our wedding cake on our 1 year anniversary.  Given how amazing our first year of marriage was and fun our first anniversary was the husband and I really set a high standard for the rest of our lives.  :)

Did you eat the top of your wedding cake on your 1 year anniversary?  How did it taste?

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I’ve been focusing on studying for my PMP these last two weeks.  After attending a week long “PMP Boot Camp” and then studying in pretty much all my free time I finally took the exam on Thursday and ….. I PASSED!  I can’t remember the last time I was that nervous.  We are talking the kind of nervous that includes your whole body shaking and heart beating in your stomach kind of nervous.

So what’s a PMP you ask?  Project Management Professional (PMP)®.

In any event this certification was something I’ve been thinking about getting for years … literally.  After planning a wedding and buying a home in the past year I figured I should probably check this certification off the to-do list before any other life things get in the way.  I’ve had this book “How to Pass the PMP on Your first Try” for the past two years, but I just never seemed to have made it through the book.  Sometimes I would read it in my downtime, but studying on my own was well just not working.

Here are some resources and my study process:

Week 1:

  • Attended a 5 day – 40 hr – boot camp class

The next week and 1/2:

Our kitchen table became my own personal study center.  Computer open, books, flashcards and notes everywhere.

The night before the exam I was literally dreaming about the 42 processes!  After I clicked submit on the computer it took at least a minute until the results came up.  It was the longest minute EVER!  When it said Congratulations I wanted to scream, but I was in a testing center so that wasn’t really appropriate.  Needless to say I am thrilled I passed the exam.  Not only because it’s great for my career, but I put in a lot of work and it would have sucked to have failed.

When I posted on Facebook that I passed a few friends said they thought I wrote pimp not pmp … so I’m pimping as a pmp!!! LOL

In any even … I am back!  I apologize for my absence.  I have quite a few posts to write including, but not limited to our DIY wedding invitations and my first rodeo!

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