July 2011

I don’t really know what I was thinking when I chose that fairy princess purple color for my bedroom way back when I first bought the house. I think that living like such a boxcar hobo (remember where I used to bathe?) made me crave a girly space.

But with the addition of a husband and better living conditions, I was ready (and he was ready) to move on to a more refined look.

An improvement over “I’m six and I love those creepy Barbie animated movies”, right? (Sorry Rachel, but you know it’s true- those things give me nightmares!)

But I do worry that it’s a little too manly. We need to add some color to this baby, pronto. The walls are bare, bare, bare.

Also with the new husband came this cool old dresser that used to be at his grandparents’ summer cabin. Handy Standy (just trying out some nicknames) took it upon himself to refinish it with Shellac (which, by the way, is made from bugs).

I love its warm tone.

You’ll also notice that we did some experimenting with the little side table/night stands. I wanted to strip the paint and refinish the top and sides a la Aubrey and Lindsay, but did you know that pine is a very soft wood and is very hard to strip? After making a giant mess with some citrus-y stripper, we abandoned ship and just re-painted. The tops and sides are Behr Dolphin Fin leftover from the bathroom, and the drawer fronts are the same Gray Squirrel as the walls. We thought a tone-on-tone thing could be cool. Still deciding what I think of it.

Oh and Stan also contributed a new bed with a headboard to the relationship. Score!

We may leave the curtains off. They are currently in the donation pile, because it just feels a little cleaner and more minimalist without them. True, they helped disguise the fact that the window isn’t centered, but I think with some art on the walls and lamps it may help balance things out and distract from that.

You can see the bedrooms I like (many of them deep-toned) here and here.

Today, our wedding is being featured on Glamour.com’s wedding website, Save The Date! See us here!!!

Breathe… breathe… Yes, that’s Glamour as in the national women’s magazine. The one you see in grocery stores as you check out. <Squeals>

Anyway, for anyone who came over from Glamour today, welcome! Feel free to poke around and stay a while. Read a little About Me, check out my life’s to-do list so far, and Tour our house to see the updates we’ve made so far.

Would ya look at that!!

Who would have ever thought that the first room in the house to actually be “finished” would be the guest room? Not me. But for some reason, leading up to the wedding it had been a nagging little priority- maybe more subconsciously than not. I think I wanted to make sure that Stan would have somewhere to study or do whatever (he gave me “the look” when I said “do his homework” as if I were his mom and embarrassed him in front of his friends… but hey, he’s in school!) even though in reality he rarely brings work/school home with him; he just stays at school longer if he needs to. But still, I thought it would be nice.

This room has to seriously multitask. Seriously. Our house is a scant 816 square feet, and I feel lucky to even have two bedrooms, but “first-world Amanda” says that one extra room is kind of minimum!

Here is a list of this room’s functions:

  • Guest room
  • Office
  • Sewing/craft room
  • Library
  • Music room
  • Bike storage room
  • Pet room

Put that in your pipe and smoke it!

Yes, everything is pushed up against the walls, which is kind of a decorating “no no”. But it’s really nice in this room, because there’s plenty of room to maneuver the bikes and plenty of room for the guest bed, and if you’re doing a craft, you can spread it out all over the floor and leave it for weeks on end finish the craft and put everything away in a timely manner.

Let’s go through these one by one, shall we?


I got this little drawer unit thingy from Ikea, and it wasn’t cheap. In fact I nearly puked paying $80 (yes I know I’m a tight wad) for it, but in the end I knew it was the best solution so I bit the bullet. I already had one of those cheapo $7 tabletops and the four legs from Ikea, so I just got another tabletop to make one long desk separated by the drawer unit. The shredder lives here for now, although we might move it to the bookshelf when we get an outlet on that wall. This is also going to be the permanent home for the laptops, so that the kitchen counter and living room aren’t cluttered with power cords. Hallelujah.

Sewing/craft room (see above picture)

Well, it’s pretty self-explanatory that the left side of the mega-desk is for sewing. See that sewing machine?

The other part of the sewing/craft function resides on the bookshelf, where some Ikea boxes hold extra fabric and supplies quite nicely.

Bike storage room:

Already blogged about that here.

Music room:

I stained a piece of pine to try and match the bookshelf, and my mom gave me those cool shelf brackets last time I was home. My music resides in those (you guessed it) Ikea magazine files, and for now is also the home of Stan’s guitar. Of course the piano is on this wall too, and my red hot bench.

Pet room:

My least favorite function this room must serve, but you do what you have to do. The cat box lives behind the closet door, and Blanche’s food lives under the bikes. (When we take the bikes down, we naturally lift them out, so there’s not really a danger of a bike landing in kibble.) One day, we’ll put a doggy door in the kitchen door (which stays closed most of the time) so we can put the cat box down in the basement. One thing at a time. Oh, and Jesse’s food is in the living room, where the floor is hard so Blanche is too scared to walk there to go eat it. True story. Proof here.


Yep, that’s a book shelf. Not much else to say about that. (Except that I obviously have a lot to learn about taking photos with a DSLR.)

The last function is the Guest room, and yes, I actually set up the bed for the sole purpose of taking pictures of it. I can’t believe it.

I even moved the piano bench over to serve as a night stand! I’m so hospitable.

It’s funny, because it didn’t really cross my mind that I should finish this room in time for guests- it just kind of happened that way. Two of my very best friends from growing up came and stayed with me for the wedding, so I’m glad that they got to sleep in an organized (though admittedly cramped and hopefully not too chaotic) room.

But even funnier (and a little sad) is that I could not for the life of me find the pump to the air bed! So they had to sleep on our camping pads. So sorry, girls! (I’ve found it since then. It was still in my suitcase from our Las Vegas trip.)

We’ve actually been sleeping in this room for the past couple of nights, because there’s something afoot in our bedroom. Stay tuned.

So there you have it. The guest/music/craft/sewing/office/library/pet/bike room!

We made this:

Well okay, we didn’t throw that pot. I just mean that we made this pot into a fountain. It’s a little subtle and hard to tell from pictures, but the water bubbles up in the middle and runs down the sides. It makes quite a pleasant noise. I’ll show you how to make one too, if you want.


  • Ceramic pot of your liking (base of pot must be smaller than the diameter of a 5-gallon bucket)
  • 5-gallon bucket (we used plastic but are now thinking a metal one would be better)
  • Aluminum L-brackets
  • Screen material cut about 4-5 inches bigger than a 5-gallon bucket, and with a hole in the middle
  • Submersible pump
  • The kind of hose that goes with a submersible pump (technical term). It’s sold right next to the submersible pumps.

Step one: find an ugly spot in your yard that needs some beautification, and where your pump could be plugged in.


Step two: Dig a hole for your 5-gallon bucket.

*Note: If we were to do it again, we would have done all of the following assembly steps before putting the bucket in the ground. So, do that.

Step three: Hacksaw your aluminum L-brackets so that they fit over the bucket. Also, cut some notches in the bucket that one side of the “L” will fit into. Also also, cut a notch in the back for the pump’s power cord to run through. (I’m sorry about ending all these sentences with prepositions.)

These L-brackets are super strong. They can support my weight, which is a hundred and hummanahummana pounds. However, the bucket becomes weak when it’s cut that way, which is why we recommend a metal one. You’ll want to caulk or somehow seal the gaps where the brackets meet the bucket. Otherwise, it will leak.

Step four: You need to make the drainage hole in the bottom of the pot so that it doesn’t drain but so that you can still fit a piece of hose up through it. We accomplished this by patching the hole with a piece of spare inner tube with a hole just big enough for the hose.

We consulted This to That, which told us to use hot glue. It’s kind of hard to see, but there’s a small hole cut in that inner tube. And don’t mind the caulk- Stan just wanted to patch some little cracks in the pot.

Here’s a little diagram. Click to enlarge.

I have two options: A and B. More on those below.

Step five: assemble your pieces. Run the power cord through the nifty notch you made, and the hose up through your aluminum supports. In the picture we have expanded metal (that mesh looking stuff) but since we realized that it directs water away from the bucket and it rusts like crazy, we decided that screen is better. Use screen. Run the hose up through the screen, then up through your pot.

Step six: Carefully put it in place. You don’t want to kink your hose by setting the pot on it wrong.

*Note: Choose option A if you just want the water to pool over the edges of the pot with no bubbling action at the top. Option A = cutting the hose only a couple inches from the bottom of the pot. (This is the simpler way.)  If you choose Option A, you can skip to step eight.

Step seven: since we wanted a little bubbling action at the top (Option B), we tried to devise ways to get the bendy hose to stand up straight (so the bubbling action was centered) higher up in the pot.

First we came up with this:

It worked okay, but it’s a little janky and as I said before, that expanded metal rusts like crazy. To improve upon the wire situation though, I came up with the idea to shove the hose into some PVC. Since it’s rigid, it stands up straight. But it still needs to be kept centered somehow, so we’re still using the expanded metal for that. Maybe it will stop rusting once it gets to a certain point…?

Step eight: Fill up both the bucket (a couple inches shy of full) and the pot with water.

Step nine: Cover the screen with stones, and decorate the ugly area surrounding with mulch, grasses, and plants of your choosing!

We need more pretty rocks for the base of the fountain. Our back patio is to the left, and our bedroom window is on the upper right, so we get to sleep with the sound of tinkling water, which is quite relaxing. And no one has even wet the bed yet.

I usually don’t attempt tutorials since there are so many great ones out there, but we actually came up with this system all by ourselves so we’re pretty proud! Hopefully it’s not too confusing. Feel free to email or comment with questions.

This post will probably end up as a tab so it’s easy for people to reference. It’s meant to cover everything I can think of about the wedding- every detail, as well as a *mostly* accurate cost breakdown.

It’s a long post, so get comfy!

(Click on photos to enlarge)

Let me start off by saying that I absolutely loved our wedding. It turned out exactly the way we wanted it to. It was beautiful, and people actually hung around! (I don’t know if it’s a Utah thing or what, but it seems like at a lot of weddings, people just “drop in” to show their faces; my theory is that it has something to do with the lack of food and stuff to do at said weddings.) I’ll be honest: I didn’t think we were big “wedding” people. All through the planning, we agreed that we’d be just has happy to elope. But as these things go, we’re really glad we did it anyway.

One thing that I think we kind of diverted from was the “It’s OUR day” mentality. Indeed, it was our day- but in the end we’d have been just as happy if “our day” had consisted of the two of us getting married at the court house with a few close friends and family. Therefore, we tried to focus more on what we thought our guests, many of whom had come long distances, would enjoy (while definitely still doing it our style and on a budget). Does any of that make sense?

So! Priority #1: A Cool Venue: Cactus & Tropicals in Salt Lake City

Cost: $1800 including tables and chairs for 100 people (although we had over 150 guests!), setup and break down, moving of chairs after ceremony to reception area, etc. They had everything we needed: tables for the food and drinks, a bar (we used the gazebo outside), cake table, gift table, sign-in table…

This place is awesome. We buy plants there a lot and have always loved it there, so it seemed like a natural swap for my original back yard idea.

After the ceremony, the space where the chairs were became the dance floor.

I’ll say it again: We loved this place. No decorating required and there are all sorts of cool plants and sculptures to walk around and look at. If you got bored of mingling with people, there was always something to wander around and admire. Also, there is an outdoor area with a koi pond- with big ol huge koi! It really facilitated the “stay awhile” feeling we wanted.

We didn’t even have to do centerpieces- we just used their plants!

The only things we did to spruce up the place were to:

1. Rent linens for all the tables (Cost: $125) and

2. Hang up picture clotheslines of us as kids and awkward teenagers. I think this was another thing that got people up out of their seats, walking around, mingling, etc. In terms of a schedule, our wedding reception had about as much structure as marshmallow fluff, so we wanted people “milling around” but with a couple of things to keep them entertained. The picture clothesline cost about $85 to print photos at Costco (it would have been about $50 cheaper had we gone for 4×6 instead of 5×7).

Priority #2: Feed people

Although we’re kind of self-proclaimed foodies, we didn’t feel the need to have anything fancy: just something good, and plenty of it. REAL good. I’m not kidding when I say that here in Utah (and a few other states now) Cafe Rio is the bomb dot com. If you don’t live in Utah, I imagine Cafe Rio is something like Chipotle or any one of those “fresh” type Mexican restaurants. No, it’s not somewhere you’d take the Queen of England. But it is somewhere you’d take a crowd of friends (okay, maybe our friends).

There aren’t really pictures of the food, but here’s one of the food guys. 🙂

They offered salad with their famous dressing, tortillas and two kinds of meat for tacos, rice and beans, and desserts (Tres Leches cake and Key Lime pie). They also set everything up and cleaned it all up, and served the meat for the tacos. This cost was $11 per person (gratuity included). We got enough food for 151 people, so the final cost including tax was $1774.

We heard things like “best wedding food” and even “best food” all night and weeks afterward, so we’re pretty stoked we went with that option.

Oh yeah, and those chocolate covered strawberries were left over from our rehearsal dinner the night before. Score!

Priority #3: Have a good, reliable photographer.

We knew that this would be one of our biggest single costs, but that’s why they call it a “priority”. We loved Terra‘s work. Cost: $1597 including tax for five hours of shooting and all editing.

Those were the top three. Now for everything else!

My dress was a $99 tea-length strapless number from David’s Bridal. I took it to the amazingly talented DeAnna of D’Antii here in Salt Lake, and she hemmed it to my knees and added that lace boat neck to the top, plus fitted it (it was a size too big). Tailoring cost: $230

My shoes: $20 (originally $295) from a Cole Haan outlet in Las Vegas (bachelorette party trip wahoo!!) I also spent $20 on some “matching” yellow flip flops because I’m a wimp in heels. By the end of the night I was soooo glad I did! Total cost for shoes: $40

My mom made the birdcage veil headpiece thing. After the ceremony, we simply turned it around. The netting was $5 and I’ll estimate the flower at $5 too. Total: $10.

I borrowed the pearl necklace and earrings (thanks Wendy!) and my friend Candice, who happens to be an instructor at Paul Mitchell The School, did my hair and makeup (thanks Candice!). Chelsey did my French manicure and pedicure (thanks Chelsey!).

Stan’s suit: he already owned it, but to look extra sharp we had it tailored by DeAnna for $113 (I highly recommend the tailored suit!). He already owned his shoes. We got his tie from zazzle.com for $34 (not that I recommend them; it’s a really thin cheap flimsy tie but the pattern was our favorite).

Hubba hubba!

Groomsmen’s attire: We asked them to wear dark slacks and shoes and a white shirt (which they either already had or needed anyway). We supplied their yellow ties from solidcolorneckties.com (which I would recommend) for $10 each, totaling $55. We also bought them bright yellow socks from welovecolors.com for $4 each, totaling $26.

Bridesmaids’ attire: I bought a couple yards of fabric from fabric.com, which cost $27, and bright yellow sweaters from the Gap outlet for $15 each, totaling $30. My wonderful sister made the skirts, and they provided their own shirts and shoes. They’re pretty casual as far as bridesmaid attire goes, but I wanted them to be comfortable and to truly be able to wear their outfits again.

As I’ve mentioned, I have eight nieces and nephews. I love all of them. My talented and patient mom made five dresses with $100 worth of fabric from a quilt shop here in town… plus buttons and flowers, which I’ll estimate at another $30. For the three boys, she bought them white shorts and yellow polo shirts. I don’t know how much she spent on them… I’ll guess $70? We had the two older boys carry ring “pillows” (actually rocks- get it? Stan’s a geologist?). They were free and sentimental- from a trip to Moab.

My brother Jonny played the accordion as we walked down the aisle both ways and then a short set during the transition from ceremony to reception. This is such a Jonny face.

I spent $110 on flowers: my bouquet, six corsages, nine boutonnieres, four mini bouquets for the little girls, and we even had some left over for an arrangement by the guest book. I bought daisies, button mums, and billy balls by the bunch from the Flower Patch, and my mom’s friend Kathy, who knows a thing or two about flowers, showed us how to put them together. For the other things, like pins, floral tape, bags, etc, I’ll estimate $20.

Cake: OMG. My friend Carrie makes the most delectable cupcakes I’ve ever eaten, and her delicious concoctions got her into trouble, because she wound up making 200 of them for our wedding. Carrie (and assistants Ben and Kristin), I can’t express how grateful we are for these. People raved. Cost for supplies: $160. (They’re vegan, too- not that you’d ever guess!) PS- cupcakes are great for a wedding because you can send them home with people. We got little cupcake boxes from Hobby Lobby for this purpose.

I want to be him right now:

Drinks: We had our Coke, root beer, and Fanta in these tubs from Bed Bath and Beyond (tubs: $20 for four: two for sodas and two for recycling) and all that soda cost us $166, plus $35 for ice. Youch! We also offered Corona and Sessions at the bar, along with a cabernet sauvignon and a pinot grigio, which cost us $314. Our guests seemed pleased at the selection. The bartender cost $305 including gratuity (we would recommend Bacchus– they were great). We also borrowed two water dispensers in case there was anyone there on a diet… hehe. Limes and lemons were about $5, and plastic cups for water and wine were $15.

We weren’t originally going to do a wedding video, but we remembered the cute video our friend Ingrid’s little sister did for a contest a while back and gave it a second thought. By the way, Ingrid is the one who did our engagement photos gratis- is this a talented family or what? So we called her up and since she’s a recent grad (of high school, mind you) and wanting to get some experience under her belt, she agreed to do it for $100. We loved it! You can watch it here if you like (and catch Jonny playing his accordion at the end!).

Our guest book was a personalized leather journal from Utah-based rusticoleather.com. It was $50. We loved all the comments people wrote in it, and we plan to bring it on trips to record our adventures (as if the blog isn’t enough!).

Isn’t that wood laser burned thing of us cool? My brother made it in one of his classes.

For favors, I made 70 lollipops. Yes, that’s only enough for half of our guests… but as I suspected, we still had plenty left over. I’ll guess that I spent $30 on the supplies. I stuck them in a basket in some floral foam and put peas on top to look like flowers in grass. If you follow me on Pinterest, you’ll know that I totally copied this one (among others).

And speaking of handmade things, I’m in love with our cake topper that Stan’s dad made.

AND the sandwich board that Stan’s brother Alex made ($20 for materials).

Our wedding bands were $88 for the two (not including my engagement ring). I’m not going to tell you the cost breakdown for each. 🙂


Venue: $1800

Linens: $125

Picture clothesline: $85

Food: $1774

Photographer: $1597

My dress, shoes and accessories: $379

Stan’s attire: $147

Groomsmen attire (five total): $76

Bridesmaids attire (two total): $57

Ring bearers and flower girls attire: $200

Cut flowers: $130

Cupcakes (200): $160

Soda, ice, tubs, lemons/limes, and cups: $236

Beer and wine: $314

Bartender: $305

Guest book: $50

Lollipop favors: $30

Marriage license: $50

Invitations including postage (about 150): $150

Wedding video: $100

Misc stuff (only because I have several mysterious Target and Joann’s purchases that I’m sure were wedding related): $100

Grand total: $7865

A few notes:

  • We didn’t do a formal RSVP. We got a pretty accurate count by just asking people, texting, facebooking, and just guessing. People always need to be hunted down anyway.
  • We had way too many guests. I felt bad because when it came to the food, I highly doubt everyone got a seat (I was off taking pictures at that time so I didn’t see). I think it was fine once people were finished eating and got up to walk around, though. But I swear that we were thrilled with each person who came and we felt very loved!
  • Get a flippin’ card box! For some reason I forgot to do this, and people (understandably) didn’t want to leave cards sitting out on the gift table so Stan’s and our parents’ pockets got filled up. Duh.
  • We (well, Stan and his friends) handled all of the drinks. We were able to borrow enough coolers, but it took eleven of them and it was no small task to cool all of the drinks (27 bags of ice!!!), transport them, and set them all up.
  • I tried really hard to come up with a cute saying to put on the lollipop favors, but the best I could come up with were along the lines of “Thanks for coming to our wedding! You do not suck!” and “We sure “lick” you a lot”. Understandably, I just left them plain.
  • I liked how I did my “bridesmaids”. The only official ones were my sister and my sister-in-law, but my friends also acted the part (without having to buy a dress lol). I called them “Slaves of Honor” because they were tireless! I love you guys! I’m super grateful for my out-of-towners Jo and Chels who sacrificed a lot just to be there, and then were workhorses to boot.
  • Speaking of bridesmaids, I highly recommend using people’s help when they offer it. I tried to give lots of small tasks to lots of people so hopefully no one felt too overwhelmed. These tasks were things like refilling the water (Kristin you ROCK!!!) and sodas (love you Whit!), setting up and taking down the photo clothesline, choosing potted plants for centerpieces (go Wendy!) etc. Just make sure everyone knows exactly what their task is. But if you have good friends and family like we do, then even if you forget to assign every task, they’ll probably see something that needs to be done and just do it anyway.
  • It only takes a small handful of people to get a good “seeing you off” photo.

  • A good piece of advice we got from our photographer was to make sure that if people are going to decorate your car they just use car paint. You may think it spoils the “fun” to instruct people how to do this, but there’s nothing “fun” about going to the car wash at midnight in your wedding clothes to scrub whipped cream, easy cheese, and Oreos off of your car. I loved our Subaru! Adorably over-the-top, but nothing got ruined- everyone wins! (We did pull a lot of that stuff off before driving away. Safety first!)

  • The cost above doesn’t include our honeymoon, which was about $2000. It also doesn’t include the rehearsal dinner or my engagement ring.
  • Weddings are a lot of work. Ours was super laid back and it still took all hands on deck to pull it off! We are so very very thankful to everyone who helped us out. The rest of our friends need to hurry up and get married so we can return the favor!

Hopefully that covers it, but feel free to ask me any questions in comment or email form.

I sure love this dude.