Saturday, May 28, 2011

happy memorial day weekend!

is that kind of wrong? to be wishing a happy memorial day? when we remember huge sacrifices, i wonder if it should make us want to grill out and eat yummy food, or if it should make us feel a little more somber. i don't know. i guess we celebrate the freedom we have because of the sacrifice of tons of men and women made fighting for it. somehow as i think about it though, it doesn't seem right to get stuffed with food and pies and lemonade... i mean, if you go to the memorial monuments, people are silent and still. thanking God and the people who gave their lives for our liberty and for what this country stands for. they don't eat a hotdog and swig lemonade and beers because that would be disrespectful. maybe there's a place for both things on memorial day though. to be thoughtful and reflective and to take time to really think about what those who died did for us, and to celebrate because we are free to do so because of what they did. i hope i remember to remember what memorial day is: not just a day off work to hang out and have fun.

that being said, i do hope you guys are all happy on that day! phil's parents are coming into town sunday night and leaving tuesday morning, so we are having both my parents and his parents here for dinner sunday evening! then we are just entertaining phil's parents on memorial day. there has been big talk of a battlefield visit : ) phil's dad really loves to visit old battlefields so that may be in the plans, who knows? anyway, i thought i would just share the fun menu with you that we came up with for this weekend. it sounds so yummy!

the salad will be made minus the chicken and it can be found here. i'll be making beef stuffed peppers found here minus the rice because i wanted that separate. the rice recipe is this one here that we love and have made before. it's easy and yummy. and then we'll be having sundaes for dessert. the one pictured is here. i just liked this picture, but i'm just serving ours with fudge, strawberry and other random toppings.

monday we're having brunch. yummmm, i love brunch. and i'm making one of my all time favorite yummy brunch foods.

the casserole is this one that i looove. has to be so bad for a person, but it is seriously hard to care while eating. the only difference i make is i use maple flavored sausage in it... yummmm. fruit salad to go with since it makes you feel a little better that you just ate a cheesy, meaty, potatoey goodness. picture via, and of course some yummy raspberry lemonade picture via.

monday dinner i'll be making

chucks favorite mac and cheese which i will be trying for the first time. it looks absolutely wonderful though. then some good ol' fashioned beef franks via and apple crumb pie for dessert. this will be my second pie crust attempt, that is why we are having easy to make food. in case i mess up the pie, at least we'll have good food haha.

when i plan menus it's about making food that seems dificult to make when you're eating, but in reality isn't very difficult or stressful. except the pie. i am a little nervous about that haha. but that's also why it only has one crust : ) i think it's important to have good food, but also something that'll be easy and quick, and preferably something you can make ahead of time. i'm excited to be a hostess for this weekend! what are y'alls plans for memorial day?

Friday, May 27, 2011

apartment living.

so i have linked up my kitchen and bathroom posts with

you should go there and check them out along with tons of other amazing projects! so in honor of my peel n stick laminate cabinetry, i decided to show some things around here that we've done to make our apartment feel more like a home and less like well, an apartment.

1. if you can, PAINT. i am telling you what every other blogger for the last well, however long decor, home and diy blogs have existed... paint makes all the difference in the world. i'm serious here. even in a home, a room feels cold and impersonal painted that lovely (sense the sarcasm here) builder's beige that is pink in some lighting, yellow in other, and just blah all the time. my budget for paint is basically zip. so i pick out gorgeous martha stewart, behr and even sherwin williams colors; then i just have them do their color match magic to the paint chip and mix it in a $10 gallon of america's finest paint (or something like that..) that they have at home depot. i painted my whole room for less that $20! it took a gallon and a half! come on people. it's worth it i think.

it's a little hard to tell with my lighting in here and my camera, but trust me. it's a gigantic difference.

 2. switch out crummy old shower heads. it may not be a brand new shower (also clean the tar out of it when you move in.. just sayin) but if you buy your own shower heads and replace them with the "older than the dinosaurs" ones they have in there, it'll make it feel more like home. seriously. do it. 

we had these when we moved in

pretty, huh? i said no way, i will not use some "crummy old hotel" shower head every day. who knows when they even installed that thing??....

you may think it's weird to post pictures of the inside of my shower. that's cool. it is weird haha. i just wanted to be helpful people! a nicer/newer shower head goes from "a quick shower" to a "nice relaxing shower". i bought both of these at walmart and i think they were both under $10. come. on. do it.

 3. of course my lovely cabinet preject. i had to include this real quick. it had made all the difference in here. you can go to the top and click the links for the whole project, but here are the lovely befores & afters.

4. i think another good idea is to change out light fixtures. of course you better save them to put them back up when you move out, otherwise you'll be shelling out the big bucks. we didn't have the money to buy a new fixture for the ceiling, so i did a project here to just sort of get that hideous square light fixture out of my sight. everyone wonders if it'll catch on fire.. i don't know. i never turn that light on, i just didn't want to look at the ugly glass square on the ceiling.

it probably won't catch on fire... haha i don't know. people make lamp shades all the time and they don't catch on fire. anyway, the point is light fixtures are easily changed and add a lot of homey feel. i could have taken the whole square down and figured out how to hang a drum shade or something.. it's just about whatever you can do cheaply and temporarily.

5. figure out a good way to store things. we basically can't fit one more thing under our bed. i may get some risers for it so we can actually... lots of pretty shelving, cabinets, etc. you know what i'm talking about. here is a little trick we did.

see those nightstands? they are those little short squatty ones from ikea. too short for our bed, so i bought risers and some tablecloths to go over them. now they store stuff under them. you know, vitally important stuff... like my animal encyclopedia. : ) but it's such a life saver to just take the junk on my nightstand and shove it underneath. insant clean. just like i like it.

and this little thing is a life saver also.

it holds a boat-load of junk. so i hang all my necessary junk on it, then i just shut the door. again; instant clean. amazing. and for some reason i am about 80 billion times more likely to hang something on a hook than i am to put it on a hanger, so this adds a "boat-load" of extra storage and keeps som of my junk off the floor. love. it.

so that's at least 5 things right there to make an apartment feel like home. i will add more because i have tons more ideas, i just haven't done them yet. so i have no pretty example pictures to show you : ) but you better believe i will show you. i know you are all hanging on the edge of your seat!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

mantel change.

"change; it's a good thing." said in my best martha stewart voice. : ) this incredibly talented and lovely lady is hosting the spring/summer mantel linky party. i haven't participated in the may'd summer party thingy because the first day was spray painting. i would love to spray paint things, but no dinero = no buying spray painto. then it was the outdoor day. fun! i would looove to do that.. but i have no money and about 3 feet of "outdoor" that belongs to me so that project will have to wait. then the summer recipe part came and well, i'm not a bril chef or anything, so i didn't have anything to really contribute. but i wanted to go to this party!! i wasn't going to change my mantel... i liked it. i put it this way in january and i dunno, it seemed good to me

not bad, right? i mean, it looks nice to me. but then i thought, well hey, it might be fun just to try and change it up. and since there is this summer mantel party going on, why not play nice with the other kids and go to a party? : ) so i thought, what's summery? white! white is summery! so i gathered all the white objects i had from around my apartment. it was kinda fun trying to be creative and thinking outside the box. putting things up on my mantel that i "hadn't bought for the mantel". you know, like since i bought a pitcher for somewhere else in my apartment i couldn't possibly use it anywhere else! haha oh gee. me.... so then it looked like this

i guess i liked it, but it seemed a tad boring to me. i love when other people do all white things but for some reason it wasn't gellin for me. i dunno. so i broke my "white is summery" rule and pulled out something else.

and i loved this side

an ikea pitcher, an ikea frame and one of our nice wine glasses (which usually holds things like juice and chocolate milk) with rice and a candle stuck in. cute. : )

but there was something about this side i didn't like

hmm is it the stand the plate is sitting on?

nope. still something i don't like....

i think it's the creamy colored book... it's not right for some reason. and there's not enough height or something... so i tried something else.

yep. i like it. : )

and since my apartment is apparently in a jungle and absolutely no light comes in during summer months (it's summer in georgia people!) i had to set my camera to outside night-time setting.. whatever it's called. which means my lens stays open for longer. which means when i'm holding it you get super blurry pictures. like this.

seriously? what was i doing, jumping jacks when i took this?

so since i have no tripod and i wanted a clear picture... i built my own tripod.

hahaha classy, huh?

hey, i'm just being real. and also i want everyone to be fully aware that i am fully aware that my pictures are all a touch blurry. except the ones i took in the treehouse tripod. nice. : )

so that's how my mantel will be for summer. and when fall comes (my favorite season ever!!) i will change it again but, just bein real, it'll be like this till then. : )

the sun came out a little more and i just couldn't resist taking a picture with a little more light.. i love natural light and i wish i had more of it in here.. *sigh*


The Lettered Cottage

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

a new furry addition.

we have a new member of the family

i think i will call her emily. she looks like an emily, doesn't she? yah... : )

remember this? my horrible office chair makeover gone wrong? well... you should. it is burned into my brain and won't go away.. this may take therapy people. well anyway, this little lady caused me some problems that day. she started like this

your basic ugly office chair. we found her when a man was throwing her in the dumpster outside an office building. she needed help!

unfortunately i couldn't give that to her... i ruined her and made her into this

yikes. sorry emily. i was taking a risk! facelifts are always risky. you should know that...

so then i was reading the nester (like always) and i remembered her furry ottoman and i knew this was my new plan to fix poor sad emily (before she was emily). so i ordered fur online after checking jo ann's and not really liking the selection (they basically had no fur. psh.) nester got her fur at mary jo's so i contacted them and they were so. incredibly. helpful.! seriously. i sent an e-mail saying something like, "i want white really hairy fur... like, long fur... and umm, i don't know what i'm doing or how much i need.. umm... help." okay, i didn't say that but it probably sounded like that. and they sent me an e-mail back about 30 mintues later telling me all the white fur they had that had a long hair length (that they had a term for but i forget now) and walked me through how to order it. the sweet woman who sent the e-mail even said, "don't worry, people need help with this all the time!" SO. NICE. right? yah, it was a pleasure to order from them. anywayyy... so i got my fur about a week and a half later and i paid about $13 (including shipping) for half a yard of beautiful, good quality fur.

i had to comb this fur when it came. when i opened the bag i saw what looked like a really bad hair day. then i got a comb and it turned into perfect, soft fur.

the right side is combed, the left side is straight out of the bag.

so then i basically did what the amazing nester did and i cut out the shapes i needed and glued them with hot glue to the chair. easy. just make sure (i got this tip from her) to run the scissors under the hair, otherwise you will cut off all that lovely long furry hair that you want to keep!

i also made her a little pillow because she needed one. and she's cuter for it i say.

i love that you can smooth her down

or ruffle her up

she goes from classy to sassy in 5 seconds flat. nice. sadly this is not where she lives. this is my desk and the computer i use... this is phil's chair technically. so this is where she lives

can't you just hear her begging me not to leave her in the disaster zone? okay, in fairness this is my mess on the floor that i am about to clean up once this post is done... but i think she and that rug are going to have words until i separate them. i don't blame her. i hate that rug. that was a" pre-jessica phil purchase". yep. this rug's days are numbered. muahahahaha... : )

 so as you can see i have a date with a trash bag and a vaccuum. fun, huh? any chance you people want to come and clean for me??... didn't think so. i'll be in the office.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

phil and me part 4

am i on part 4? i didn't check... but i think so. : ) the summer of '07 started and it. was. terrible. i cried half the way home to georgia (which was about 8 hours) and i felt every single mile that was put between phil and me. i hated it. i was so depressed and wondering when we would be able to see each other again. that summer i finally at the perfect timing got my driver's license. i also did an internship, took summer courses so i could graduate on time, and searched almost all summer for a job. there wasn't much luck on that front. so i was broke, busy with classes i didn't want to be taking and missing my boyfriend terribly. it was also the first summer i spent in georgia. away from michigan. my home for 20 years. it was hard. i was with my family, so that made me happy, but beside that i felt pretty miserable. then phil called with great news!

he said he would be able to come down and visit me!! we thought that would be impossible since he had a jam-packed summer ahead of him, but somehow he worked it out that he would come visit me at the end of june and we would celebrate my birthday and our anniversary early (both at the end of july). it was probably the single happiest moment of that summer when i saw him coming toward me at the airport! we did so many fun things during that short week. we went to downtown atlanta to the georgia aquarium (seriously one of my most favorite places in the world), we cooked dinner together one night, spent days at the pool in my parents' neighborhood, then we did my most favorite thing that week... we went ring shopping!!! we weren't exactly sure if or when we were getting married, but we started talking about it a lot that summer. i wanted to get married the next summer after i graduated. he wasn't sure. however, he was pretty sure he wanted to marry me, so that week we started talking about it. then it got more serious. he asked for permission to marry me! i was pretty much shaking with excitement! we weren't sure exactly when, but we were headed for marriage! eek!! : ) then a few short days passed and i watched him leave me to get on a plane headed for indianapolis, then shortly after that, L.A. : ( i cried the whole way home from the airport. then i took a nap, and woke up and cried some more. thankfully my amazing sister was there to make me something to eat, then she took me to get some ice cream to make me feel better. love her. : )

phil went home to indy to talk to his parents about getting married. he wanted their opinion and blessing of our decision. after talking to them, they showed no opposition to us getting married the following summer. this is what i had been praying for! with his parents' blessing he felt good to go ahead. he called me just before getting on his plane headed for los angeles and said, "i think we should get married next summer."....!!!! i was so happy!! we weren't officially engaged yet, but we set a date. july 25, 2008. then the best part commenced; the wedding planning! i knew i wouldn't be home again until christmas break, then i would be back again in may. that isn't really much time for wedding planning, so i needed to start that summer. i had about a month to get some major wedding plans done before heading back to school. i found a wedding dress and the venue (for ceremony and reception). these were the most important things to me, so i left for school feeling good about the plans. and thank goodness for websites like the knot and wedding wire, they helped me find all my vendors as i was living in ohio! god bless the internet. and mothers who are good at wedding planning and can meet with florists and choose one for you. and then plan all your wedding flowers. and have them look incredible. : )

so back to school i went in august. phil was in st louis starting his job at the elementary school and i was in ohio again. at least closer than georgia, right? plus i was back in classes and working a job. things were much better. we decided to meet in the middle of us, which lucky for us was indianapolis where his parents lived. then one of the best days of my life happened.

september 1, 2007 phil proposed to me. i woke up to him leaving a letter on the floor next to my bed asking me to come meet him in the park for pictures (we were always talking about how we didn't have a ton of good pictures of the 2 of us). his sister julia then drove me over to the park, and instead of taking me to meet phil gave me another note and said, "this is where i drop you off". i had been wondering if this was some sort of proposal, but when she said that i tought in my head, "this is it! i am getting engaged!!!" there was a trail ahead of me that i was supposed to walk down to go meet phil. instead i met 2 little girls who handed me roses with notes attached. each represented a month of our relationship and the note told me about what he had learned about me that month that made him love me. (i know, so romantic right?). next i found his friends ben and michelle who handed me more roses, then our friends amanda and phil, and last my old roomie and her husband tarah and ben. i was so incredibly happy to see all these people, especially since i hadn't seen tarah in forever! it meant so much that he included them in the proposal. he even had our friend phil take pictures. here they are, original proposal! no re-enactment here! : )

me walking down the trail searching for my man ; )

i found him! he had a set up similar to when he asked me to be his girlfriend, except 10 times more special.


i guess i said "yes". : )

beautiful, right? yah. who wouldn't say yes to this?

my wonderful old roomie!! and lovely amanda! people i love to be there to share the day.

at the eagle's nest in indianapolis. awesome. seriously.

newly engaged!!

taken by phil woodbury; edited by rachael "schnepp" brandt : )

"ditto". my favorite picture of the day.

so i was well on my way to becoming mrs. philip buben. but that was a year away and we still had a huge obstacle to overcome; being long distance for a year and both being so busy that we weren't sure we'd be able to see each other very often at all.