Wednesday, July 31

wedding inspiration: the coolest quirky ceremony backdrops

It's round-up time!  I love when I see weddings around the web with creative backdrops for the ceremony and portraits.  We've all seen couples tie the knot in front of a giant candelabra, in front of a mantel, and under a floral arch.  Here are a few couples whose creative and unique ceremony backdrops really stand out.  Disclaimer:  If you'd like to add any of these images to Pinterest, please click on the link underneath the photo and pin from the source so that the creators and owners get credit!  Please DO NOT pin from this post.

This chalk art floral arch backdrop on a concrete wall is so creative and modern while also being a nod to traditional wedding decor.  This would be an easy idea to adapt for a birthday party, class reunion, or other celebration where picture-taking is essential in an industrial or urban space!  This couple used chalk throughout their wedding decor, along with other fun details like sparkly chevron table runners.

Aren't these orange and yellow pinwheels delightful?  This is another idea that would be just as pretty at a birthday party or family event, and a great spot to snap individual or group portraits!  The couple who created these pinwheels filled their Dallas wedding with meaningful and artistic DIY details.  Plus, the bride uses the phrase "newly hubs" - I may have to steal that one.

This neon take on the oft-used driftwood arch is so much fun.  This backyard wedding is full of similarly colorful details, from the button-and-ribbon wrapped bouquets to the dahlia cupcakes.

Many people are familiar with the idea that paper cranes symbolize good luck, and I love this whimsical paper crane arch.  This absolutely lovely wedding was held at Historic Cedarwood in Tennessee.  If anyone is planning a wedding there and would like to have an extra blogger/amateur photographer in attendance, I AM SO IN.

Suitcases make a fantastic, unexpected backdrop for a vintage-inspired wedding in a nontraditional space.  This couple had their pick of cool antiques from the Metropolitan Building in Queens, New York to use on their wedding day - I am a little jealous.

Which one of these unexpected backdrops is your favorite?

Tuesday, July 30

style: what's in the beach bag? [pantone poppy red and monaco blue]

This week, I'm daydreaming about a beach vacation... I've fallen in love with Vera Bradley's "Marina Paisley" summer print and put together some essential picks in shades of poppy red and monaco blue.

What's In My Beach Bag!

View this board on Polyvore

1. GAP bandana scarf  2. Orla Kiely sunglasses  3. Bracelet from The Limited
4. Old Navy poppy red bathing suit  5. Vera Bradley tablet cover
6. Essie nail polish from Target  7. Vera Bradley makeup case
8. C.O. Bigelow salve from Bath and Body Works  9. Merona tote from Target
10. BareTraps sandals from Belk  11. Paradise fragrance spray from Bath and Body Works
12. Neutrogena sunscreen  13. Target ikat beach towel (similar from JC Penney)

Style Elixir

What's your ideal vacation spot?

Monday, July 29

clicks of note: we can take our time...

get your week off to a colorful start...
  • If you're looking for some funk to start your day, here's "Steady Pace" from Richmond's Matthew E. White.  Serious 70's vibes, in the best way.  I'm linking up with Musical Mondays at My So-Called Chaos.




Sunday, July 28

sunday social: FOOD!

Sunday Social
I couldn't resist linking up with Ashley and Neely this week since Sunday Social is all about FOOD!

1. If you could only eat one thing for the rest of your life, what would it be?  Probably pizza - I'm trying to be practical and think about how I can get my whole grains, protein, and veggies and pizza is the answer :)

2. What’s your guilty pleasure/comfort food?  Hamburger Helper - I know that the boxed version is no good for me, but the combination of noodles, cheese, and ground beef is so addictive.  My mom used to make Hamburger Helper on "special occasions" when I was a kid because she didn't like making a lot of prepared foods.

3. What’s the weirdest/craziest thing you've ever eaten?  When I was in college I was blessed to have friends from around the world so I got to try a lot of international foods.  I think the strangest thing I've ever tasted is a moon cake, which is a dessert with a bean paste filling.

4. What foods do you avoid at all costs?  Anything with parsley or cilantro on it - I believe I have a mild intolerance to these spices and they taste like soap to me.

5. What meal reminds you of your childhood?  Salad, toasted french bread with butter and garlic, and spaghetti with meat sauce - my mom's go-to home cooked meal.

6. Share one of your favorite recipes and the story behind it.  The first time I cooked dinner for Mr. Q (while I was in college) I made pasta with shrimp, tomatoes and basil from Real Simple magazine.  He didn't have the heart to tell me that he's not a huge fan of pasta until much later.

sunday simplicity: falling in love

"A successful marriage requires 
falling in love many times,
 always with the same person."

- Mignon Mclaughlin, Atlantic (July 1965)

Saturday, July 27

entertaining: breeze's shower! [how to plan a rustic bridal shower: games & gifts]

As much as I love entertaining, party games are not really my forte.  Luckily, I wasn't alone in planning Breeze's shower.  Mandi and I decided on a few games that are easy to play and fun for party guests without making anyone feel awkward.

The Clothespin Game

I used the same washi tape I decorated Breeze's recipe card dividers with to decorate clothespins for a classic shower game.  I got the yellow tape from The Washi Shop on Etsy and the gingham tape from WashiWishes on Etsy.  For the clothespins, I did have to trim the sides of the tape with scissors, but it was one of the easiest crafts ever!  Our rule for the clothespin game was that guests could not say the word "wedding."  If you heard a fellow guest say "wedding," you got to take her clothespin.  Whoever had the most at the end of the party would be declared the winner.  It's fun to hear people get creative with their conversations - like the bride's sister asking her friend, "what time are you getting there on the 14th?"

Breeze's grandmother was our clothespin game winner, and she was very sneaky about getting people to say the "W-word" - now we know where Breeze and Mandi get their competitive streak.

Friday, July 26

entertaining: breeze's shower! [how to plan a rustic bridal shower: food & drinks]

Because we had a lot of helpers and a lot of "yes" R.S.V.P.s, we also had a LOT of food at Breeze's bridal shower.  We tried to stick to a country, comfort-food theme and to serve most of Breeze's favorite party treats.

In addition to lemonade and sweet tea, we served sangria and fruit punch.

White Peach Sangria

  • Peach Schnapps
  • Riesling
  • Lemon Lime Soda
  • Oranges, lemons, limes, and grapes

Luscious Slush Punch (from

Serves 25

  •  2 1/2 cups white sugar
  •  6 cups water
  •  2 (3 ounce) packages strawberry flavored Jell-O® mix
  •  1 (46 fluid ounce) can pineapple juice
  •  2/3 cup lemon juice
  •  1 quart orange juice
  • 1 bottle lemon lime soda


Bring the sugar, water, and strawberry flavored Jell-o® to a boil in a large saucepan; boil for three minutes. In a large bowl, stir together the pineapple juice, lemon juice, and orange juice and slowly add the gelatin liquid. Divide the mixture into 2 separate containers and freeze.
Combine the contents of 1 container with 1/2 bottle of the lemon-lime flavored carbonated beverage in a punch bowl; stir until slushy. Repeat with remaining portions as needed.

Sausage Balls
Makes 40

  • 1 pound ground pork sausage (mild)
  • 2 cups biscuit/pancake baking mix
  • 1 pound sharp cheddar cheese, grated
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon sage


Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  In a large bowl, add cheddar to baking mix and toss to coat.  Add sausage.  Mix until well combined using hands, adding spices while mixing.  Roll mixture into 1-inch balls.  Place balls 1/2 inch apart on a greased baking sheet.  Bake until balls are starting to brown, about 20 minutes.  Serve warm.

Thursday, July 25

entertaining: breeze's shower! [how to plan a rustic bridal shower: invites & decor]

One of the bridesmaid "duties" I was most excited about when Breeze got engaged was getting to help plan her bridal shower.  When Mr. Q and I got married, she and Coordinator C put together an adorable party for me.  I wanted to do the same for my best friend, taking inspiration from her wedding's rustic theme and yellow and navy color palette.

Rustic Bridal Shower invitations

I was fairly proud of the final invitation suite Coordinator C and I put together - it was my first time using computer software to design stationery.  Coordinator C had found a tea-stained mason jar template from Shoregirl's Creations and I had found mason jar themed recipe cards from Paper Crave.  I downloaded a font similar to the one on the recipe card and designed the invitation using GimpShop.  We printed both the invitations and recipe cards on ivory cardstock.  Then we used an Exacto knife to cut two small slits in the invitation and add a yellow ribbon.  The vintage seed packet stamps that the postal service introduced this spring were the perfect finishing touch.

Rustic Bridal Shower DecorationsRustic Bridal Shower Decorations

For the shower decorations, we decided to add pink to the wedding's yellow and navy color palette because it's Breeze's favorite color.  Her sister Mandi covered the kitchen island and tables with ivory tablecloths and burlap runners tied with twine - Breeze will be decorating her wedding tables in a similar way.  We borrowed the cool plate/napkin/utensil caddy from Breeze's aunt, I found the cute gingham print cocktail napkins at Marshall's, and Mandi made the tissue paper poms.  I decoupaged a cardboard letter "S" with gingham scrapbook paper and a lot of Mod Podge.

Rustic Bridal Shower Gift Table

Mandi put some of Breeze and the Cowboy's engagement pictures in a collage frame and it looked perfect on the gift table.

Rustic Bridal Shower

Here's the recipe card box - I found a plain wooden box with a cool metal screen lid at Michael's and stained it with a very light coat of Gunstock wood stain.  The dividers are cardstock trimmed to size, decorated with two strips of washi tape, and stamped with an alphabet set I have.  I thought the finished product had a nice rustic look.  A few ladies brought recipe cards from their boxes at home, which I thought was a really sweet personal touch.

Rustic Bridal Shower

My favorite shower detail were the mason jars and striped paper straws!  I was determined to have drinks served in mason jars since that was a big part of our theme, but dreaded having to wash 30 jars after the party.  The solution?  We told guests to take their glasses home!  Instant party favor.  Breeze loved the striped straws; I'd ordered them from PuppyCatCrafts on Etsy.

Wednesday, July 24

daisies and mason jars: inspiration for a rustic wedding

Breeze has been my best friend since sixth grade.  We have been through a lot together - the ups and downs of middle school crushes, her sometimes-crazy sisters, high school drama, being two hours apart in college, and finally settling down in the Roanoke Valley with the loves of our lives.  Breeze and her FI originally bonded over a mutual love of country music, so they love all things rustic and western.  They're getting married in September at one of Virginia's beautiful state park, and when Breeze began to describe her dream wedding day, several themes kept popping up: daisies, mason jars, and navy blue.  Here's some inspiration I've collected to help Breeze plan her big day.  

"Hand Delivered" invitations by Jennifer Wick from Minted

This will be the second State Park wedding I've attended - the first was as a photographer's 
assistant to Mr. Q when one of my camp friends (now a state park employee) got married.  
I love outdoor weddings and the rustic setting that State Parks provide, and I'm looking 
forward to staying in a cabin and spending some time in nature while we're there.


Our Labor of Love via Once Wed... one of my all-time favorite photos in the wedding blogosphere.
I am over-the-moon excited about being a bridesmaid in Breeze's wedding.  

Partially because I get to wear cowgirl boots.

My favorite line on Breeze's enclosure card is "Leave your Sunday best at home 
and come in something comfortable!"


Tomorrow, I'll show off how we bridesmaids incorporated some of the same themes from Breeze's inspiration into her bridal shower.  It was my first time planning a bridal shower, and it was a little stressful, but I think things came together in a really lovely way.

Tuesday, July 23

summer style: what to wear to a casual bridal shower

This past Saturday was one of the most anticipated days of my summer: my BFF's bridal shower!  Honestly, the last time I hosted a big party was my own wedding, and I had the hostessing itch.  Since Breeze's wedding has a rustic theme and laid-back style, we wanted to keep the shower fun, casual, and a little country.  I'll show you the inspiration for Breeze's wedding and what we did for the shower later this week, but first I wanted to take some time to daydream about how I would decorate and what I'd wear if I had a magazine editor's budget.  I came up with a vintage inspired farmhouse-style summer shower with coral accents, and a dress that keeps finding its way into my ModCloth cart.

Hosting a Summer Bridal Shower

Disclaimer:  ModCloth links contain an affiliate code.

The Outfit: 1. Floral dress from ModCloth  2. Betsey Johnson pave stud earrings from Lord and Taylor 3. Fossil lock and key necklace from Macy's  4. Fossil crosshatch iPhone case  5. Kate Spade bridesmade idiom cuff bracelet  6. Max and Chloe sterling silver monogram bracelet  7. Straw Studios crochet handbag from Nordstrom  8. Camper wedge sandals

The Serveware:  1. 12" x 20" Wooden tray from Bed Bath and Beyond  2. Chalkboard condiment tray from Pier1  3. Scalloped cake stand from Pier1  4. Mason jar  style drink dispenser from Bed Bath and Beyond (also available at World Market) 5. "Emma" cupcake liner from Dress My Cupcake 6. Libbey dessert spoons from Bed Bath and Beyond  7. 13" Chip and dip tray from Bed Bath and Beyond

Monday, July 22

clicks of note: finally holding what i've been hoping for...

get your week off to a colorful start...


  • I heard Charlie Worsham's "Could It Be" on the radio last week and instantly fell in love - what a great country sound paired with sweet lyrics.  Be sure to swing by My So-Called Chaos for Musical Mondays!



Friday, July 19

home envy: log cabin interiors

Yesterday, I shared a few of my favorite log home designs from around the web.  Today, I wanted to show that the insides log cabins can go way beyond that North Woods, paddles and moose theme we've all seen a million times.  Just about any interior design style can look even cooler when juxtaposed with the natural wood, high ceilings and light-filled spaces that characterize most log homes!

The most unexpected interior decorating style for a log home is probably a modern style, but this living room by Jennifer Visosky of Grace Home Design, Inc is totally cool and contemporary.  I especially like the Union Jack wall hanging!

This is more of a classic log cabin interior, but notice the distinct lack of bears and canoes!  Instead, check out that awesome stone fireplace and wooden mantel shelf.  The accents are a little bit vintage, a little bit rustic.

How about an elegant log cabin interior?  The chandeliers and dark wood in this space remind me of wine country.

I featured the exterior of this log home yesterday; the casual interior is so inviting.  I especially love the built-in bookshelf and I am a sucker for two-story living rooms.

Finally, here's a log cabin decorated in a farmhouse style complete with cow and sheep paintings!

Thursday, July 18

home envy: log cabins

While our family was vacationing in Tennessee, I developed a major case of log cabin fever.  I guess it comes with the territory - the mountain landscapes of the Pigeon Forge/Gatlinburg area and the Cumberland Plateau are dotted with beautiful log homes and log cabin rentals.  I wanted to share a few log home styles that I absolutely adore.

Photography by G. Randall Goss via Home Life

How cool would it be to have a beautiful log cabin on a wooded lot, and to be able to walk down to your awesome fire pit for a campfire and s'mores in the evening?  The gorgeous landscaping around this Michigan log house is really impressive; I'm sure those stone steps especially took quite a lot of work!  It was designed and built by Brian Kihnke and Timber Wolf Log Homes.

This 3-bedroom rental cabin is simply adorable on the outside - no wonder it's called "Tennessee Treasure."  The interior photos on the rental website show that this cabin is decorated in a very rustic style with buffalo checks and such, but I'd like to see this kind of traditional construction decorated in a more modern style for a pleasing contrast.

The farmhouse style of this rental cabin, "Ridgeview Lodge," sets it apart - how cool is that wraparound porch?  It also has a magnificent view of the Smoky Mountains.  If you visit the rental site, you'll see that the interior is decorated simply in a traditional style.

Photography by Roger Wade via

Beautiful windows give this Wisconsin log home the look of a rustic lodge, and the interior is decorated in a casual, homey style with a North Woods theme.  Can you imagine this being your vacation home?  I would never want to leave!

Photography by William Wright via Arts and Crafts Homes

And here's my favorite - I am a sucker for a craftsman home, especially with stacked stone!  Even though it's not technically a cabin - cedar shingles have replaced the original log siding - this Washington State home still has a lot of rustic charm.

Would you want to live in a log cabin style home, or do you think they're just for vacation?