How to throw a classy bachelorette party

11.17.2014

Recently, one of my very best friends got engaged. Even though its her second marriage, didn’t give me any less reason to celebrate her. She found her soulmate and is blissfully happy.

However, I knew this would be different from the various bachelorette parties I attended in my 20′s. The bride was not about about any tacky feather boas, much less penis cakes.

The first thing I did was hop on Pinterest and create a board to help me generate ideas.  Then I got to planning.

1. Pick a theme

This is when you should take into consideration the bride’s personality and her favorite things. Also think about the bride’s schedule and how long you want the party to go (a few hours? overnight? a whole weekend?).  I went with silver and glitter, because the bride + groom’s daughters dresses are silver and the bride loves anything that sparkles.  Knowing the bride and her busy schedule, I planned a 24 hour party – the perfect amount of time to enjoy friends, de-stress, and have fun without feeling rushed.

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2. Plan and research

Now its time to figure out what you want to do and where you want to host it. I spent time researching activities that a group could do and restaurants that were favorites of the bride.

We ended up doing a painting party at a wine + painting bar, which was super fun.  I reserved 2 adjoining hotel rooms for 6 women (using my husband’s points. score!)  and it worked out perfectly.  Whatever you do, make sure you set an agenda. I have no problem being easy-peasy, but when it comes to group activities, I knew I needed to be organized – have reservations set and have a timeline.

 
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If you’re serving alcohol, I also suggest settling on a signature drink. Its easier than pulling out all of your bottles of various spirits. I went with this cranberry + rosemary white sangria, which was delicious and easy. I supplemented with red and white wines, as well as vodka + tonic.
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As well as a champagne toast for the bride-to-be
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And ending the evening with a few hours of Cards Against Humanity and laughing so hard we had tears.
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3. Time to decorate

Depending on your theme, you can purchase your decorations already made or you can break out your DIY hat and get creative.  Take into account your venue -its easier to decorate your home because you have access to it at all times, versus a hotel or a rented space. If you need to, enlist the help of a friend who is not involved (trade favors!). Taking inspiration from the collection of ideas I pinned, I got to DIYing.

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4. Have fun!!

sources | cheers bitches banner made from kit found at Target | backdrop from Spritz brand gift wrap found at Target | chalkboards from Michaels, lettering by AlysonM | tissue paper tassel garland tutorial found here

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Eleven years of the Dynamic Duo. And a surprising diagnosis.

11.13.2014

Their birthday came and went and I struggled with what I’d write for their birthday post. (here’s their 8th birthday one that covers a lot and includes links to prior birthdays)

I tried to compare the start of their 11th year of life to that of their older brother. Eleven – specifically 5th grade- was a really difficult year for us (but OMG – 12 has been awesome). For Elliott, 11 has been just peachy. He’s still his normal, Elliott self. For Norah, well, lets just say that we’ve entered the tween years and its mimicking what Aidan went through….multiplied by 100, because this is Norah and she’s got a STRONG personality.

11 years ago, while sitting in the NICU, watching those monitors and charting their temps and weights, often journaling about their progresses and setbacks, I never imagined that 11 years from then, both would be solid students. One would be into mixed martial arts and be good at it (I still struggle with watching him in tournaments), the other a competitive gymnast. 11 years ago, when they told me that my baby had a brain bleed and what serious ramifications could come from it down the line, I never thought she would be playing violin, flute, piano, and be a ‘Math Olympiad’.

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BJJ Yellow Belt

They’ve had to overcome a lot…being born 10 weeks early and growing outside the womb is no easy feat. Learning to breathe and suck and swallow…all while gaining weight? That’s like an olympic sport to a preemie, yo. My babies- they’ve come so far. They were colicky (omg, that doesn’t even begin to describe it. Crying from 4pm-1am, y’all). They both had reflux. They threw up all. the. time. Both receive(d) – one still does – speech services, starting in the birth-to-three program. But even with all of that, they were never picky eaters. I prided myself on that. Sure, there were some foods that they eventually decided they didn’t like, but overall, they had an awesome palate.

And then they got older. And Norah started getting pickier. I stood my ground. She stood hers. And yet, she continued to cut out more and more foods, complaining that it smelled weird. Or she just flat out wouldn’t try it.

This family has a motto when it comes to mealtime:

She won’t starve herself, right? That’s what “they” say. Only, “they” haven’t met my daughter, I think….

So at the twins 11 year checkup, I spoke with her pediatrician, who proceeded to ask Norah and I a ton of questions related to her sense of smell and touch and taste. And then I felt like a total and complete jerk. It was one of those mom-fail moments. One of those moments when you think, “why did this never occur to me? why did I not ask about this sooner?”

The pediatrician says that she needs to see an occupational (feeding) therapist because Norah seems to have a sensory integration disorder that is related to food. She has serious food aversions that are starting to impact her growth (as seen on her growth curve) and will continue to do so and will impact her development, as well. She explained that this is not something she will outgrow, but rather, this will worsen if left alone and kids like this literally do starve themselves.

OMG. That’s not something that ANY parent wants to hear. But especially not something that a parent who recovered from an ED ever wants to hear. Ever.

She explained that, as a former Speech and Language Pathologist, she knows that its not necessarily uncommon that this goes hand-in-hand with speech disorders. It could have also stemmed from her prematurity. Who knows. All we know now is that its something that we need to tackle. And I feel like a complete ass for writing it off as stubbornness.

On a positive note, as a friend mentioned to me, at least I don’t have to be the bad guy…I will be paying someone else to do that ;)

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If you had to choose…

11.12.2014

This morning when I went to take the dog to the park, my car doors were frozen shut. Not only that, but it was 23, with a windchill of 14.
On November 12.
This is utterly ridiculous, people. I am ready to homeschool my children each winter so I can live with my parents in warmth.

This past weekend, we were at my parents house and my mom was trying to offload more ‘stuff’ onto me in preparation for their move. Its not like they have tons of junk or that they saved a bunch of crap…their house is relatively small and storage is limited and well, up until this house, we moved every few years.

This home is not my “childhood home”. When I think back to my childhood, a few of the homes we lived in stand out. The old white home on Summer Street- I was only 4 when we moved, but I still remember the layout of the house and my bedroom and the creepy old basement. The ranch home on Memorial Drive with the rad orange and yellow shag carpet and the big back yard with the garden. Or the house we built – my bedroom was enormous and I was in 6th grade heaven. My brother put a hole in my bedroom door when we were fighting and I covered it up with a poster of George Michael from Wham!, only to be revealed when we moved. Whoops. So you see, we never really got the chance to accumulate stuff…we always had a reason to purge.

But now my parents are moving to a new country and they really have to purge. And that made me think….

If you were to move and could only take 10 things, what would you take??

I sat here, looking around my house at my “stuff”….nothing I am terribly attached to, and immediately I knew what I would take.

1-3 – my kids scrapbook albums I made for them
4-6 – misc photo albums of our adventures
7 – my wedding album
8 – my external hard drive (that includes all the photos i’ve done jack and shit with)
9 – norah’s dresser (it was my great-grandma’s)
10- my hope chest (goes with dresser. was geat grandma’s)

It was truly hard to come up with 10 things. Because as I looked around my house, I realized that photos aside, most anything I have can be replaced. And I am still trying to decide if that is good or bad.

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Growing out a pixie

10.13.2014

Google “how to grow out a pixie” and you’ll come out relatively short handed.  Why? Its a terribly awkward phase that anyone who has once had a pixie cut has had to go through. Is it that we avoid the camera for a year?  I am not sure, but right then and there, I decided that once my hair was at a relatively normal length, I would blog about it, in the hopes that someday, I could help a poor soul such as myself.

I should have been a pro at this by now. This latest go-round was my 4th time growing out some version of a pixie cut. But a pro I was not.  I was young and foolish and went with the theory of, “do not cut! must let groooooowwww.”

But now I was older and wiser. And my hair – I do like to treat it well.

This time around, I stuck with trims every 5 weeks and kept up with my highlighting schedule, as well. I didn’t employ any new fancy tricks like hair masques,  fancy oils, scalp massages, infrequent washings, or prenatal vitamins.  I kept on keeping on with my regular shampoo and conditioner, still continued to use my heat tools (a fine, thin haired gal needs to employ all the tricks she can!), and I ate my normal, healthy protein-rich diet.

Frequent trims while growing out seems counter-intuitive, but if you think about it, it makes all the sense. You need to maintain some sort of style. While growing out the pixie, my stylist initially kept the back super short (no mullets! watch out for the mullet. you can wake up one morning and BAM! Mullet.)  while I grew out my short Mia Farrow layers. Then she had to add longer layers to make it a very short, shaggy bob. Then she started stacking the back so I could grow out some of those layers.  That second stage was the most brutal, yo. I felt kinda frumpy yet boy-ish. I tended to dress up a bit more to make up for it. But now I am at the point where I am trimming it so it doesn’t go all Dilbert on me and get triangular and so it stays healthy while it grows.

For the longest time when I was young(er), I eschewed layers. Afterall, I have fine, thin, straight hair. I pictured my Terrible Horrible Shag From 1983.  Eventually I learned that, especially when you have shorter hair, properly layered hair creates a look of dimension, thus looking longer. Bam!  I also learned to put away the Nice n Easy (hey – college was expensive!) and embrace highlights that were closer to my natural color. My stylist uses several colors to obtain a multi-dimensional look, giving me more volume than I truly have while keeping my hair healthy because we’re only dying the roots of it every couple months.

Anyway, to make a long story short, errr, a short story long…..

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Of course, looking through pictures makes me miss my pixie cut. Grass is always greener, right? I am sure I will grow it out and it will not look like how I imagine it looking (ie: pinterest worth hair) and I will once again, chop it off. But that’s the fun thing about hair. Nothing’s permanent and it always grows back! In the meantime, I vow to keep it looking fun and modern!

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F O U R T E E N

10.06.2014

grain-exchange-wedding

Its hard to believe that 14 years have passed since my husband and I stood in front of our family and friends and said our vows.  When we met with the non-denominational minister who would marry us, I recall us being very specific about what we wanted- how we wanted it to be about us, about friendship, about respect, and how we did not want to focus on christ, as that was not what we were or are about.  I remember joking about one of the readings we picked, the popular ‘I Love You’, by poet Ray Croft. We joked that our friend who was reading it would switch the words,

“I love you because you
Are helping me to make of the lumber of my life
Not a tavern but a Temple,”

to

“Not a Temple but a tavern”

I was by no means a bridezilla, but I was quite specific about two things. The first being that I really wanted a smaller, intimate wedding. I did not want people that we did not know at our wedding (the whole parents inviting their coworkers and friends we didn’t know was not cool with us). And because we were younger, I was of the mindset that I did not want children at our wedding. Looking back, I do feel bad that my nephews from California (who were the only kids we knew at that time) were not there, but it did allow their parents to cut loose and not have to run after them all night.

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Fourteen years ago, I had no idea that in 2014, I would be a stay-at-home mom to a 12.5 year old and twins who are on the verge of turning 11 or that we’d be in home #3, much less STILL living in home #3 11 years later. But mostly, I don’t think I realized that 14 years later, marriage would still be so damn hard. Even knowing how hard it is, I’d do it again in a heartbeat.

I’ve learned a lot. A crapton. But the most important things I’ve learned (and some of them only very recently set in)?

^^ Always have each other’s backs.
You may not agree with your spouse, but don’t throw them under the bus in public. Or don’t disagree on a parenting choice in front of the kids (that’s not to say don’t disagree in front of the kids. just don’t undermine the other’s decision in front of the kids. you gotta show solidarity.). Take it up in private.  It’s taken me a loooooong time to learn this.

^^ Don’t take shit out on each other.
We all have bad days. Hit the gym or the sidewalk. Punch a pillow. Take the dog for a walk or run. Have a glass of wine or take a bath. Grab your yoga mat. Whatever. Find a way to decompress other than taking it out on your spouse.

^^ Communicate
If you’re pissed, tell your spouse. Don’t do the silent treatment thing. We’re not teenagers here. TALK ABOUT IT.  Also? Don’t air your dirty laundry in front of your friends. Its awkward, yo.

^^ You gotta work at it. Don’t put it off.
Sure, kids take a lot of time and energy. And it leaves you dog tired at the end of the day. And there’s always other crap to do. But if you don’t take the time to concentrate on each other now, what will be left when your kids are grown? We were all boyfriend and girlfriend and husband and wife before we became parents.  That relationship needs to be the backbone of the family.

We celebrated 14 this weekend in Milwaukee, which was unusual for us. I think this is the first time we’ve stayed in the city – we’ve always at least gone to Madison or Chicago, if not hopped a plane to go somewhere.  We were fortunate to be able to have the kids stay at friends for the night, so we were free to stay out as long as we wanted.

Cheers to 14 years!

wolf peach mke

 

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