second a day: May

June 6, 2014

And we are already 6 days into June. What? Where is the year going? This month's second a day mash up is a couple days late because I've been busy working on something exciting (and wrapping up school work for the quarter). Actually we have a couple things coming up in the next couple months that I can hardly wait to debut. For now, I'll leave you with this hint

During May, Travis decided he wanted to go out and destroy his phone in every way imaginable. I hope you sense sarcasm in that last sentence because he is one to take really good care of his stuff. Within a week's time he managed to spill a glade scented plug in on it, destroy the battery so it only worked when plugged into a power source, and shatter the screen. We went a couple of days texting through imessage (him on the ipad), and then he finally found a loaner phone. So until he is eligable for an upgrade, a majority of the videos for the rest of the year will be from my phone.

We thought it was funny that about half of our videos include food. But hey, we love food. And seeing as how every month's mash up has included at least one second of coldstone footage, I'm taking that as a challenge to include a clip every month. Hey, moderation is key.

Enjoy out mash up of May:

Song: James Blunt Bonfire heart

To read more about our monthly challenge check out the first post here
Watch past months mash ups here.

Happy Mother's Day

May 11, 2014


Happy Mother's day to my mother and grandmother (and all the other women in my family). My mom and grandma both continuously inspire and push me to chase my dreams; I could not be where I am without their constant love and support. I am thankful everyday to be surrounded by strong women who have gone though many challenges in life and have refuse to give up. They are inspiring, and I am so very thankful that they are both a huge part of my life. 

I love you with all my heart.

saturday snack / 013

May 10, 2014

I have found that one of the hardest parts of trying to make healthier choices, when it comes to what you eat, is the in between meals stage: snacks. To make it easier for you, each week I will bring you a new healthy option for snacking.
Kale chips are nothing new, but it's a healthy snack packed full of nutrients that is almost too hard to screw up. I gave these a twist by adding some Cajun seasoning to them to turn up the spice factor. I've had this McCormick Cajun seasoning in my spice cabinet for awhile now and decided it would be the perfect addition to these kale chips.

One of my secrets for making fail proof kale chips is cooking spray. You don't want to ruin your perfectly healthy snack by bogging it down with some olive oil. Cooking spray is a healthier alternative, with significantly less calories and fat, than it's liquid counterpart. By using cooking spray, you are just lightly spraying the kale, instead of drenching it with oil.

 Serving Size 1 • 82 Calories • 5g of fat • 0g saturated fat • 0g cholesterol • 100mg sodium • 450mg potassium • 10g carbs • 2g fiber • 0g sugar • 3g protein •

As an added bonus, this snack will give you 310% of your daily Vitamin A needs, and 201% of your Vitamin C needs. 

Spicy Kale Chips
1 1/2 cups kale
Cooking spray
1 teaspoon Cajun seasoning

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Thoroughly wash and rinse kale. Make sure it is completely dry, otherwise the oil won't stick to it. Start ripping off bits and pieces of the leaves from the stems. Place on a parchment lined cookie sheet. Spray with cooking oil and generously sprinkle on the Cajun seasoning. Pop in the oven for 8-10 minutes, depending on how crispy you want them.


 Check out other healthy snacking options!

Celebrating 40 years on Catalina: Video

May 9, 2014

To cap off "Catalina week" on my blog, I'm sharing the video I put together of the special weekend.  The song, you are my sunshine, is my grandpa's ring tone for when my grandma calls him. Not this exact version, but you get the point. Now that I look back, I should've saved this video to give to my grandma on mother's day because she teared up the first time she watched it. I was just too excited to show her and my grandpa once I finished it.

 I am so very thankful to have these two to look up to, as an inspiration of true love. They mean everything to me, and it is so adorable to see them still so in love after 40 years together. I love you Nanny + Pops.

Song: You are my sunshine by Elizabeth Mitchell

More about what we did in Catalina here
Post about the decorations here
Details about the invitations here

My Aunt's post about the weekend here and here

Celebrating 40 years on Catalina: Invitations

May 8, 2014

For my grandparents wedding anniversary/vow renewal I put these invitation suites together to go out to family and friends. We chose blue, silver and white as the color scheme mainly because my grandparents had blue carnations at their wedding. It worked well because we were going with a beach theme for the weekend since we were on Catalina.
I really like the look of watercolor painting and thought it would be perfect for these invitations. It was super easy to do and I think it gives them a unique look. I kept with the ombre theme we had going on with the decorations, and just went to town painting. 
Because this was a weekend long event with a lot of different things going on, I designed a basic itinerary so that everyone was on the same page. A few details changed the week before so I printed up some new ones, added a couple strokes of water color paint to the bottom and we stuck them in the welcome bags. It worked out perfectly because everyone was able to know when and where to meet up, without there being any confusion. 

I created contact cards with our numbers and e-mail address on them for information. Usually an RSVP number would have been added to the invitation itself, but seeing as how we knew everyone was going already, and there were multiple people with the details, I thought this was a better idea. I cut them down to size, added watercolor, tucked them into glassine bags and attached the whole thing to the invitation suite with a blue paper clip.
After I put everything together and tucked it inside the envelopes, I added a strip of washi tape and stamped "get excited" on the back to seal it off. Keeping with the watercolor scheme I had going on, I used watercolor painting to add the names and addresses to the front. 

The invitations probably weren't completely necessary because everyone was on board already and my aunt was sending out a way more detailed email later on, but I think it gave the whole event something special, and we all know how much I love paper products!

Sources: Get Excited Stamp (discontinued) / Envelopes / Notecards

Read more about the details that went into celebrating my grandparents 40th wedding anniversary here and here.

Celebrating 40 years on Catalina: Decorations

May 6, 2014

In case you missed it, yesterday's blog post explained why we were on Catalina and what we did while we were there. 
As I said in yesterday's post, my aunt, mom and I spent the past year planning, scheming and DECORATING. We went with a light blue/silver/white color scheme based around the idea that my grandparents had blue carnations at their wedding. We got a lot of use out of my Shillouette die cutting machine.

We thought it would be awesome to have whoever decorated the cake replicate my grandparent's original cake design. This was more of a project than we thought it was going to be. About a month away, our original cake lady said she was no longer on the island. Luckily Katrina Lee of Island Cakes was flexible and able to grant our wishes. My Aunt Sally, who helped decorate the original cake, called her and tried to explain to her what it looked like because the only pictures we had of the original are pretty blurry. If that wasn't a hassle, trying to figure out the cake topper was. We were unable to find ANYTHING that resembled the top of their original wedding cake so we just got wood veneer "40" numbers and painted them silver. My aunt used left over blue carnations from the center pieces as accents around the top and bottom of the cake. The blue on the cake was a little off, but all in all it was gorgeous and absolutely delicious!
One of the things I wanted to incorporate were two Geronimo balloons with tissue paper fringe. I thought it would make a great accent to "frame" the ceremony and have as decorations. My aunt spent the better part of Thursday night fringe-ing away. She also incorporated ribbon and had cut out hearts from POW paper and attached those. These tails were amazing. Too bad the ONLY balloon lady on the island wasn't willing to work with us and fill up our balloons. Don't mind the fact that my aunt had called her a couple months before and confirmed that she could fill up our 36" balloons. Oh well, we ended up getting clear balloons and clustering them together. It wasn't our vision, but it worked. You better believe we brought those fringe tails home with us! They are too adorable to go to waste!
Some of the other decorations we "DIY"ed included the Happy 40th anniversary banner with a tissue paper fringe background, the centerpieces, water bottle labels, "BROWN" block letters, the photo booth background and props, huge "40" made up of black and white photos, different wall hangings with quotes my grandpa wanted made, a photo book, and CD and packaging that was placed at each persons place setting.

Because this was a very small gathering (just my grandma and grandpas kids + their kids) there were a lot of people that are close with my grandparents, that were not able to attend. I had the idea to put together a guestbook of notes from other family members and close friends not attending, including notes from those attending as well. I sent out a 4x6 blank note card with an accompanying note describing what was going on, and directions for filling it out and getting it back to me. I placed the returned notes into a Studio Calico handbook and used these page protectors.  I tucked the note I sent out to family and friends in the first page protector inside the book, embellished the front and called it a day.

We wanted to do a sand ceremony during the night. My aunt found this heart shaped glass bottle with a cork top, and two other glass bottles to hold sand. It's hard to see in the picture but we got the heart glass bottle engraved with "Larry & Joyce 40 years" on one side and "Catalina 2014" on the other side. My good friend over at J & M Trophies took care of the engraving and we couldn't be happier with the finished product. Everyone was able to put a little bit of sand into the bottle and at the end, my grandparents finished it off.

Yes, we had to lug everything over on the boat and assemble a lot of it there. It was a hassle, but so so worth it. 

My aunt wrote a more detailed blog post about our decorations over on her blog.

Read more about the details that went into celebrating my grandparents 40th wedding anniversary here.

Celebrating 40 years on Catalina

May 5, 2014

Every year my grandparents switch off planning their wedding anniversary. This year was going to be their 40th anniversary and it was my grandpa's turn to plan out what they were going to do. He pulled me, my aunt, and my mom aside and laid out his plan. He wanted to renew their vows on Catalina, but have the entire thing a surprise to my grandma. We spent the past year planning, scheming, and making decorations all the while keeping the details from my grandma.
Santa Catalina is an island off of the coast of Southern California, and about an hour to an hour and a half boat ride from the port of Long Beach. Avalon is the main little town on the island. When I say little, I mean you can walk from one end to the next in about 30 minutes at a leisurely pace. There are no cars on the island, for the exception of emergency vehicles, so everyone drives around in golf carts. It's the cutest little town, and was the perfect get away for a weekend long anniversary celebration.

We were all on the island a couple hours before my grandparents arrived on Friday. After we finished all the last minute details, we headed down to the dock and set up camp. We thought it would be funny to have everyone sit on the benches right by the docks with newspapers covering our faces like we were reading it. We couldn't find any newspapers, or benches that would work. We did find random pamphlets and a nice grassy area between two palm trees that was perfect to "hide." Once my grandma got close enough we all shouted "Happy Anniversary." She was so surprised, it made everything leading up to it and keeping secrets from her worth it.

Later Friday night we had dinner reservations at a Mexican restaurant in town. The months leading up to the trip, my grandpa kept joking with my grandma that they were going on a cruise. She hated that idea because that was the last thing she had wanted to do. He kept telling her she is going to need a nice dress, and she would reply "what for" and my grandpas reply was "Dinner with the captain" as people usually do on cruises. Ironically, at dinner on Friday night our big party was seated in the same room as a big group of ship "captains." She did get her "dinner with the captain." It was great.

After an exhausting and extensive search of every hotel and rental house in Avalon, we settled on Hotel Metropole. I think I speak for everyone when we say we loved our choice. We rented the beach house because it had a nice big deck that overlooked the ocean and harbor that was perfect for the ceremony. The beach house was part of the hotel, so we were able to rent rooms for everyone else that joined us.

We spent the nights on the balcony of the beach house playing games and catching up. It's nice when everyone is able to be together. Some of the activities we did throughout the weekend included hiking on Saturday morning, eating lots of ice cream in freshly made waffle cones from Olafs, which was conveniently located across the street from our hotel, and walking to the casino and beyond. On Sunday we had lunch by the harbor and took an excursion on a glass bottom boat before we headed back home.

Saturday evening was the ceremony. The caterers came to set up tables and linens on the deck, and then my aunt and I added the rest of the decorations and it was perfect. John, a very close family friend, spoke a few words and then my grandparents exchanged personal vows. There was no officiant, it was a very relaxed, intimate setting. We used Zest catering to cater our event. The staff was wonderful and attentive from the time I contacted them about setting everything up, all the way through the event. The food was well prepared, and pleased even the most pickiest palates. If you are ever planning an event over on Catalina Island, I highly recommend them. 

After the ceremony and dinner, we played the "not so" newlywed game with my grandparents. We had come up with about 20 different questions with the answer being either LB or JB (Larry Brown or Joyce Brown). My aunt had made them signs to hold up as their response to the question. It was an entertaining game and I think we all loved hearing stories about their past.

As part of the nights festivities, we constructed a photo booth, complete with props! Trav and I tried to DIY an ombre curtain as the background. DIY fail, but it still came out a pretty blue. We added sparkling lights behind the curtain and garland in front.  My aunt set up her camera on the tri pod and we used the camera remote to take the pictures.

Sorry for the photobooth picture overload, but this was narrowing it down for me. There are so many more great ones. 
It was a perfect night for a perfect couple. I am so so glad everyone was able to be there to help my grandparents celebrate 40 years of marriage. They are a perfect example of true love, and I am so grateful they are a huge part of my life.

Keep an eye out for posts about the decorations, invitations and a video of the weekend.

Picture credit: Chere Carter / Elise Lindsey
You can read more about our Catalina trip over on my Aunts blog Here and Here