2017 in Review

2017 wasn’t my year for blogging, my last post was from January of 2017 and here we are in January of 2018. While I’m not blogging as much, I’m not quite ready to leave this corner of the internet. After reading some blogs today I thought I would write my own thank you letter to 2017 presented as the top 5 of 2017.

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5. Friends and Family- The picture above is from Savannah, GA where I had my bachelorette party. I was lucky enough to have five of my closest friends and my two sisters celebrate for a weekend with me in Savannah. Due partly to moving and getting married, the first part of this year involved lots of fun with friends and the whole year has included a lot more family fun than previous years.

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4. Travelling- From our honeymoon in in Dubrovnik, Croatia to a weekend in Richmond, Virginia we have continued to put a priority on seeing the world and it’s been a lot of fun. I love experiencing how other people live whether its eating a fish with its eyes intact on a boat in the Adriatic sea or drinking sweet tea while shopping in Nashville.

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3. National Parks- Our road trip this summer deserved its own number even though it could be filed under traveling. We took six weeks to drive around the United States checking out natural beauty. We visited 16 states, 12 National Parks, and 3 National Monuments. We hiked over 100 miles and camped in our tent 17 nights. We encountered a few bears and we had a fox run right up to our campsite. Some days the hikes kicked our butts, some days the drives between parks were long, and one day I may have picked a terrible hotel, but overall the trip was amazing. You can look at a map and look at pictures all day long, but you can’t grasp the grandness of the US till you drive and hike the miles.

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2. Moving to KC- We took a big leap and decided to leave DC. I loved the friends I’d made there, but couldn’t shake the feeling that it wasn’t where I wanted to live forever. We both enjoyed our trips to KC and decided to give it a chance. After our road trip and a month of living in my parent’s basement we moved in to our new home. Moving from a junior one bedroom to a two story house with 3 bedrooms has been an adjustment. We are slowly filling the space and having fun decorating without worrying about landlords.

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1. Getting Married- Planning a wedding was rougher than I expected, but the actual wedding was just what we wanted. We had our close friends and family, BBQ, beer, and dancing. All the things I worried about smoothed themselves out and I was surrounded by awesome ladies who helped with everything. We wrote our own vows and while I worried about reading them in front of a crowd, I saw Brian and everything was ok. Seven months in and we are basically marriage experts. haha. We’ve had a lot of change this year and I couldn’t ask for a better partner for it all.

make: Custom tote bags

For my friend Jenn’s Bachelorette party weekend in Nashville I volunteered to make bags. I ordered canvas bags from Totebagfactory. They were decently priced and pretty good quality. They aren’t see through and the paint didn’t really even bleed through. They also have nice handles. The only problem with them was I ordered them about a week before I needed them and ended up having to stay up late finishing them instead of having a fun crafting Saturday.

My initial idea was to paint them, but then I started working on the design and everyone (Ok Brian and my friend Catherine) liked the design with everyone’s names the best. Adding people’s names would make painting a lot harder. So I thought of doing iron on. I ran by staples to pick up the special paper only to find out that the printer in my apartment building wasn’t compatible with the paper… ok back to painting.

I made the design using Microsoft Publisher. Catherine had sent me a design idea and I went with it. Its loosely based on a Fender guitar pick. The Nashville is a script and all caps for everyone’s name.

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I cut the guitar pick design out of plastic since I would be using it on all the bags. I started painting the gold with a foam pouncer while Catherine started cutting out everyone’s names. Since we would just be using each name once we just cut it out of regular paper. I also cut out Nashville out of the plastic, but it didn’t work out that well. The first one I used the pouncer brush to paint and it bled bad. So after that I used a paint pen and drew the Nashville that way. It was still nice to have the stencil to follow and it made all them come out uniform.

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To save time and to add some style we didn’t cut out the middle’s of the letters. I used the paint pen again for the names. Luckily all it took was overnight for them to dry then we filled them with bachelorette party essentials like advil and nail polish.

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make: easy “doughnuts”

For the brunch I hosted a few weeks ago I wanted to serve some type of bread. I was feeling uninspired and browsing the quick breads at the supermarket when I saw the idea to use a muffin mix to make baked doughnuts. It sounded interesting enough so I gave it a try. I bought the box of Krusteaz cranberry orange muffin mix and headed home.

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It is super easy. Just mix up the batter and put it in a zip lock bag. I used the gallon size and snip the corner. Then draw circles! The instructions also said you could use one of those doughnut pans, but unnecessary I say! As you can see below I wasn’t exactly neat and precise in drawing my circles, but it didn’t matter the oven corrected everything!

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I cooled them on a rack and mixed an icing of powdered sugar and orange juice to drizzle over the top.

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It made a ton! Maybe 3-4 dozen? And they were a hit. They were softer and fluffier than a doughnut or a muffin so they made a light sweet treat.