Thursday, June 30, 2011

Smile! Say Cheese!

Have you ever smiled so much that your face hurt? Yeah? Well, that's what was happening to me and the fiance earlier this month. I mentioned before in this post that we had our professional engagement shoot and I promised to fill you guys in on how it went.

The short of it all - it was so much fun! We first met our photographer at a bridal show in Orlando back in January. Instantly we both loved her down-to-earth personality and the fact that she was very up front about what she does and doesn't do as a photographer as well as her pricing (which we found many photographers won't tell you up front...). But, we insisted on looking around to make sure we got a good deal. In the end, we choose our photographer based on the fact that her pricing was within our budget, she was funny, and overall she made us feel comfortable about the whole process. So, who did we go with? We chose Tara Huff with Fat Catz Photography.

Having a photographer with a fun personality was a big "must" for us. See... I have what the fiance and I call a "cheesy smile" that emerges whenever I'm forced into taking pictures. Pretty much all of the pictures of us from company Christmas parties and other functions show me with my classic "cheese" going on. So, we figured if our photographer was good at cracking jokes, then it would keep me laughing which melts away the cheesiness in my photos. And let me tell you, the theory worked!

We decided to have our engagement shoot at Lake Eola Park in Orlando, FL. We lucked out - the weather was perfect that day. So, without further ado, here are some of our favorites from the day along with some things we learned along the way:

This image is one of my personal favorites. However, the fiance isn't a big fan of the reflections in his glasses. Our advice, ask your photographer if there is a glare on the lenses. If so, perhaps take them off. The fiance isn't quites as blinds as I am (I wear contact lenses), so he can function without his glasses enough to walk around a park.

This photo is the fiance's favorite.We absolutely love the sepia and black/white photos that our photographer took. When you pick out your photographer, ask them how they do the editing techniques. Is it all done in post-production? Or do they use special film for just black/white photos? If it's done in post-production, the photographer can change the scheme of pretty much any of your photos. For instance, this photo was originally in full color. However, the fiance really wasn't a big fan of how bright my shirt was turning out. So, we asked the photographer to edit the picture, and viola!

Choose your clothing wisely! Try and make sure that your outfits compliment each other. But don't be matchy-matchy. Also, think about your location. Now looking at the pictures, we might have gone with a different shirt in the first picture than the blue one since pretty much everything in the background (lake & Orlando skyline) is shades of blue.

I absolutely love the trees and the background in this photo! My advice for this one is to remember your posture. My posture is normally absolutely atrocious. However, my mother's voice was in my head the entire time: "Shoulders back. Stand up straight. Quit slouching!"

Another recommendation is to bring extra outfits. Maybe what you wore is coming off too bright in the photos. Or, maybe your outfit clashes with the location of the photo shoot. Talk to your photographer before hand about how many outfit changes you'll be allowed to have and whether they can help you pick out your outfits. Also, wear something that you are comfortable in. My first outfit was a dress that I personally consider a little on the shorter side. When we started getting into the positions that required us to sit in pine needles or climb on rocks, it was nice to be wearing jeans (again, a benefit to having multiple outfits).

Have fun with it! This wasn't a pose our photographers had us get into. While they were debating what to do for our next pose, I was threatening the fiance that I would jump on his back if he didn't quit whatever he was doing at the time. The photographers overheard us and said, "Go for it!" I didn't think they were serious. But you know what? The photos of me on his back were our absolute favorites out of the entire day. They were more "us" and more "natural"

Don't worry if it takes you a little while to get use to being followed around by two people lugging around camera equipment. Sure, people around you will stare, but who cares? In the early photos of our shoot there were A LOT of cheesy smiles from both me and the fiance. But, as we got more and more comfortable, the photos just got better and better. Plus, think of it this way: you've just spent an hour or so with your photographer getting to know them and them getting to know you. Now all the awkwardness will be gone on your actual wedding day when you really want the pictures to count.

And now for the final piece of advice (and this is a biggie!): If you are planning on having an engagement shoot, don't forget to wear your ring!! You're probably thinking, "uh...duh!" but I seriously showed up to the shoot without my ring on. I always take my ring off when I shower and do my hair. Call me paranoid, but I'm always afraid of the ring slipping off my finger and going down the drain. Anyways, I was really bummed out that I didn't have my ring. I mean, that's sorta part of the whole purpose of the shoot, right? Luckily, I have a mom that loves me enough to drive 30 minutes out of her way after a long day at work to bring me my engagement ring. :)

So there you have it! Have any of you had professional pictures done lately? And advice you'd like to share with the rest of the world? Also, since the wedding is only a little over four months away (CRAZINESS!) any advice or tips you'd like to pass along for planning for wedding day photos?

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Picking A Date

A little while ago I shared our process of creating our save-the-dates and how excited we were with the end results. Well, we created and ordered our invitations last weekend, and they arrived at the fiance's house earlier today! :) I'll try to remember to take pictures of them sometime this weekend and fill you guys in on all the nitty gritty of how we chose them, designed them, and the total cost as soon as they've been mailed out (not that they are crazy gorgeous or over-the-top, but we want our guests to be the first to see them).
But first, I feel as though there needs to be two other posts before I can reveal our invitations. See, I'd like to share how we chose our wedding date and how everyone seems to be confused about when our wedding will actually take place. Also, I've promised to fill you guys in on what went down when we had our engagement shoot a couple weeks ago, and since the pictures from that shoot are included in our invitations, it only makes sense to talk about that first, right? onto the date.  The night we got engaged, I called all of our family & friends on the drive home while the fiance focused on the road. Of course the number one question we got was “when are you guys going to get married?” Hello?? We literally just got engaged like an hour ago! How in the world would we know when our date was going to be? As much as we had talked about our wedding before the engagement, we never talked about a date or even a year for that matter. All we knew was that we wanted it sooner rather than later, and preferably around a time when our honeymoon would be during a school holiday so that I could take the least amount of time off as possible when it came to work.
So, we decided that we wanted to have the wedding either around Thanksgiving 2011 or Spring Break 2012. The problem? Well, Thanksgiving was less than a year away and a lot of venues/vendors would be booked. Also, I wouldn’t know when Spring Break would be until June 2011 when we got our new school calendars, which again, would give us even less time to plan than had we stayed with Thanksgiving. So, Thanksgiving it was! Saturday, November 19th became the date we were aiming for.
We started looking around at venues in the Orlando area, but most were either booked, out of our price range, or required specific caterers which were all WAY out of our price range. Some of the places we had looked at were Leu Gardens, Highland Manor (sidenote: SO GLAD we did not go with them. Turns out the place shut down & left all of the people with reservations without a venue & without returning their money. It has turned into a huge problem that you can read about here.), Winter Park Civic Center, Starlite Cruises, and we even looked at going back to our engagement site and having the ceremony there.

Honeymoon Island State Park: Sunset from the night we got engaged.

I was really becoming disheartened though by the amount of money everyone was wanting us to spend. Then it happened! One afternoon I was browsing through an Orlando Wedding Magazine and stumbled upon a really tiny article about venues that won’t cost an arm and a leg. On there, they had the Winter Park Farmer’s Market featured. I had previously looked at the Winter Park Civic Center (both are run by the City of Winter Park), but had somehow overlooked the farmer’s market on their website. The price was definitely appealing – and even more appealing if we decided to go with a Friday or Sunday night wedding.
So we sent them an e-mail asking them for more details (like restrictions, deposits, availability, etc.). They came back with some good & bad news. The bad news: they did not have a Saturday night open until Spring 2012. Also, Fridays through December 2011 were already booked. However, they did have 2 Sunday night openings – both in November 2011! So, after some discussion and viewing the site, we decided to move our wedding date to November 13, 2011, signed a contract with the site, and put down our deposit.
This date actually turned out to be perfect for a couple of reasons: (a) the Friday before is Veteran's Day, so I already have the day off of school which means I don't have to use up my PTO, (b) which also means a lot of people will have a 3-day weekend that makes it easier on them when it comes to taking time off of work and travelling, and (c) we have a few days before we leave on our honeymoon to pack - granted going back to work those days will royally suck!

So, what we have learned about picking a wedding date:
1. Be flexible: maybe the place you want doesn't have the date you're looking for available, but they might have the following week. We went into this knowing we wanted it before Thanksgiving and sometime in the month of November. Even though we picked the 19th as our preferred date, it didn't hold any real significance to us.
2. Sundays are cheaper: A lot of people get married on Saturdays. So, of course, wedding venues and vendors use this to their advantage and charge more for those "prime" dates. By booking on a Sunday, we got a discounted rate. Sometimes you can book a Friday night wedding for a cheaper price than a Saturday night, but even those are becoming more and more popular.
3. Not to get married on a "special" day: Whenever we mention to people that we're getting married in November, usually the first question is, "Are you guys getting married on 11-11-11?" As much as we think the repetitive date thing is cool, it wasn't really our thing. Besides... November 11th is Veteran's Day. For those who don't remember your history, it was originally called  Armistice Day to signify the day we ended WWI. Why that date specifically? Well, the armistice was signed on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month. It might just be the history teacher in me, but I don't want my anniversary to coincide with Veteran's Day every year.

4. If you are getting married on an "odd" day, be ready to remind people over and over again: Even after our guests received their save-the-dates, they still seem to think we are getting married on November 12th (a Saturday). I don't know if they look at their calendar and assume it's a Saturday wedding. Or maybe they think we are total dorks and typed the wrong date on our save-the-dates. Either way, we're hoping since we specified "SUNDAY" on our formal invites everyone will get it. Fingers crossed!!

So how did the rest of you chose your wedding date? Did you chose a season first and then sort of let everything fall into place? Did you have a specific date in mind, like your anniversary or 11-11-11? What other advice would you pass on to couples who are in the very early stages of planning their wedding?

Simply Beautiful

This week I've been in what I guess you could call South Florida. I've been down here attending an AP summer institute workshop. Tomorrow will be the last day and I'll be heading back home to the cats (yes, the fiance went down and checked in on them this week to make sure they hadn't killed each other yet). Anyways, I've been sitting in my hotel room the last 3 nights bored out of my mind. Sure, there's a pool, but we've had some nasty storms each day this week, so no swimming for this girl. And although I'm not going to give the exact location of where I'm staying, I thought I'd share this picture I took tonight from my hotel room.

I absolutely love a good sunset. They make me realize that there are bigger things in life than what I've been stressing about.

Anyways, I hope everyone is enjoying their summer!

Thursday, June 23, 2011


Source: Pinterest

First it was Myspace. Then it was Facebook. Then it was blogs. But, now, I'm officially addicted to Pinterest. Whenever I am bored, I immediately grab the laptop and go onto the site and start pinning away. I think sometimes the fiance gets a little annoyed by my new addiction, but I just can't help myself!

For those of you who don't know what Pinterest is, don't worry. I've only recently found it after hearing recommendations from two of the blogs I frequent (YoungHouseLove and BowerPower). Are you one of those people that looks through magazines and books and rips out pictures that inspire you? Or maybe you tear out recipe card inserts? I was one of those people that ripped things out and then tacked them onto a bulletin board in my bedroom. Well, Pinterest is like a virtual bulletin board; when you see things online that you like, but  you don't want to take up hard drive space by saving it directly on your computer, you can "pin" it to your board online and it'll be there when you need it.

This site has so much inspiration on it. If you're looking for home inspiration, it's got it. Recipes? They're on there too. Wedding, photography, DIY projects...pretty much anything you can find on the Internet can be found on there. Granted, it's a little frustrating when you click on a pin hoping to get to the site with the original directions or recipes and end up on a random site that simply referenced it or stole the picture. But, then again, I don't exactly make sure that the repinning that I do links to the original links, so I guess I can't complain too much. I'm not all savvy when it comes to following others and tagging pictures to link to particular keywords. Pretty much all I do is pin & repin when I find things that I like.

Anyways, to sign up, you have to request and account. It takes a couple of days for the e-mail to arrive in your inbox, but once you've signed up, you're free to start pinning! If you want to follow my boards, here's a direct link to my page.

Any of you have a Pinterest account? Leave me a comment with a link to your boards. I'd love to follow you! :)

It's Hunting Season

...and I dread hunting season. No, I'm not talking about hunting rabbit, deer, turkey, duck, or any other type of animal. I'm talking about apartment hunting.

I've been living by myself since last September. But, in November, a certain someone will be moving in with me after a certain celebration. Since our jobs are in two totally different parts of Central Florida, I need to move to somewhere that will be more of a middle ground for us. You might be thinking, "wait...isn't it only June??" Well, yes. But, I have to give notice to my current apartment before the middle of July, and I didn't want to do that without having found somewhere else to go first. So, apartment hunting has officially commenced.

First, let me share my tips for anyone else who is going to start looking for a place to rent:

1. Figure out how much you can spend each month in rent. This might sound like a no-brainer, but sometimes complexes have additional "fees" that get tacked onto your rent. Figure out what the bottom line monthly payment to the complex will be and determine if it fits into your budget.

2. Determine your "must haves." When I think of a place I want to move into, I have a long list of things that I want to have. However, sometimes compromises will need to be made, so you need to figure out what you're willing to compromise on and what you're not. (I'll give my list of "must haves" in a second.)

3. Location is important. Especially when you're looking in the remote areas of town like we are. Find the city that you want to move to, but don't be afraid to look at places that might be a few more miles down the road. They might be cheaper and will compensate for the extra mileage.

4. Have your I.D. ready. Maybe this isn't everywhere you will go, but you'll more than likely need to give the complexes your driver's license before they will show you any of their models or units. This might seem like a "duh" step to some, but let me tell you, the fiance didn't realize how much of a pain it was going to be to wrangle his i.d. out of his wallet each time we went to tour another place (I just kept mine loose in my wallet until we were all done).

5. Don't be afraid to ask questions. If you are confused about a price or an offered discount, ask for clarification. If you worry about how to take out the trash, what utility companies are in the area, how you pay for rent each month, where you can park your car, how late you can go swimming in their pool - then just ask! If the staff at the complex seems annoyed by your questions, then it probably isn't a place you want to live anyways.

6. Figure how exactly how much money you will owe, what it is for, and when it is due. Almost all apartments require a deposit of some sort before you move in - sometimes its due when you submit your application, sometimes its due on move-in day. Some complexes require application fees, while others will waive them as part of some move-in special. Pretty much everywhere will have some sort of fee or deposit for pets - and some even require monthly pet fees. If they are offering to prorate a discount to your rent in order to make it lower every month, then make sure you understand exactly what is being discounted and exactly how much you will pay for the first couple of months.

7. Ask if there are professional discounts. Some places will give discounts to teachers, police officers, fire fighters, and other jobs.

8. Don't sign anything right away. This might not be for everyone, but I believe in going home and sleeping on a decision that will will affect my pocket book in a big way and affect my living situation for an entire year. We set aside a single day to go and tour all of the complexes, then went back a couple days later to the one that we had settled on to sign all of the paperwork and submit an application.

9. Talk it over with friends and family. If you're stuck deciding between two places, I find it helps to talk it through with other people. Sometimes they bring up things that you hadn't previously considered. The other suggestion would be to go to the old stand-by: write down a pros/cons list.

So here is what we listed as our "must-haves" for our next apartment:
  • Needed to be located so that we each had no more than an hour drive to work
  • A 2nd story unit
  • The area needed to be well lit at night
  • Needed a pool & fitness center
  • Rent needed to be no more than $50/month more than what I'm currently paying
  • Split bedroom plan
  • Master suite
  • Lots of storage space (kitchen cabinets, linen closets, pantry)
  • Walk-in closet (at least in master)
  • Washer/Dryer hook-ups

And here is our list of "wants":
  • Dark wood cabinets
  • Garden tub (at least in master)
  • Carpet in the bedrooms
  • Recent construction
  • Screened patio
  • Dishwasher
  • Microwave
  • Washer/Dryer included
  • Square footage similar to my current place to house all of my furniture & the furniture that Dan will be moving in with him

Anyone else out there currently hunting around for a new abode? Any tips you want to share that maybe I forgot?

Friday, June 17, 2011


So I've come to realize that the majority of the posts so far have been about me & the fiance and all of our wedding planning. I never intended for this to be a "wedding blog," but rather a "life blog." It just so happens that right now my life is pretty much revolving around wedding planning.

I'm sorry if it seems as though this blog isn't really living up to its namesake right now. I don't know what the future has in store at this point in time. I do know that I'll be moving here in a few short months, so there should be posts all about that lovely process. And I do know that there will be a wedding in November, after which the fiance and I will have to adjust to cohabitation (which should be fun). I'm hoping that after the wedding there will be more posts about home decorating, cleaning/organizing, living on a budget, and just about life in general.

So, if you'll just bare with me, this blog won't always be so wedding centered. I know this is still a new and growing blog - heck, I doubt anyone even reads this thing except my mom & Dan - and so it will go through its growing pains.

Wedding Update

WARNING: This post is extremely long. So, if you're at work or have some where to be shortly, then  I suggest bookmarking this and coming back later. :)

Earlier this week we hit the 5 month mark on our wedding countdown. It seems a little unreal that the wedding is that close, yet still so far away. We've found so many wedding to-do lists and check lists that tell us when certain things need to be complete by. We aren't following those things too closely though. Every so often we take a peek at the list to see how we're comparing. Though there are somethings that we've decided to put off a little longer than most might suggest, we seem to be surprisingly right on track.

So, I figured I'd do a little rundown of what we've already accomplished in the last 6 months since we've started planning and what we still have left to do.


Pick ceremony/reception venue: The fiance and I knew that we wanted the ceremony & reception to be at the same location for two reasons: people would not have to travel from one site to another and risk getting lost, and (probably the most important) it would be cheaper. We decided upon the Winter Park Farmer's Market, which is an old convert train station. The benefit of this location is it has a "plan B" site in case of rain (this is Florida you know...) and it was one of the few sites that allows you to bring in all of your own vendors.

Choose a photographer: This was our second splurge in our budget (the first being our venue). We have never had professional pictures done together, and our families never really invested in professional pictures as we grew up. So, we wanted to spend a little bit of our budget on our photographer. And on that note...

Had our engagement shoot: As I mentioned in this post about my summer plans, we've already had our engagement shoot. Our photographer was wonderful and made us feel really comfortable. I promise to write a post about how our shoot went and my tips for any couple preparing for a professional photo shoot.

Choose a dress: I'll share more details about dress shopping after the wedding - can't give the fiance too much information, need to keep him guessing. :) But I will say it's more of a traditional dress rather than something that I feel is more of a here-and-now dress.

Decide on reception table decor: We were blessed to have friends and coworkers either give or let us borrow their old wedding decorations. So, our centerpieces are practically free. We still have to purchase candles, ribbon, and a couple of glass vases.

Save-the-dates: We've already mailed out our save-the-dates, and everyone really seemed to like them. They were different than what most of our families have seen from past weddings. You can read more about our save-the-dates here.

Purchase wedding bands: Technically, this one is in-progress. We've already purchased my wedding band, but we haven't bought the fiance's band yet. My band still needs to be resized, but we're waiting for the hotter months before taking it into the store. We've picked out Dan's ring, but we just have to go out and actually buy it.

Paid for our honeymoon: The night we realized our deposit on the venue had gone through the bank, we booked our honeymoon. We've been paying on it little by little each month, and we finally paid it off a couple weeks ago! Woo hoo! That's definitely been a weight lifted off of our shoulders. I promise to do a post on our process of deciding on where to go for our honeymoon and what our final decision was. I'll give you a little hint:

Choose a DJ: We decided to have a DJ instead of a band because we like the idea of having a variety of music during our reception that will make both the younger and older guests happy.

Choose bridesmaids/groomsmen: Dan has known for a long time who was going to stand up beside him at our wedding. I on the other hand struggled with choosing bridesmaids. A part of me always pictured my wedding with just me and my groom standing there with the pastor - no bridesmaids, no groomsmen. Another struggle was that all of the ladies I wanted to stand beside me are struggling financially (hey, aren't we all?) and being a bridesmaid can be pretty expensive. So, we made some compromises as to what they are wearing, and everyone is happy. :)

Completed our registries: We went with two of the most popular stores for registries: Target and Bed, Bath, & Beyond. It definitely took a lot longer than we anticipated, but we enjoy the process.

Find a day-of coordinator: This was something I've always wanted, but knew that it would probably be out of our slimmed down budget. However, a church friend is trying to start up a coordinating business and has generously offered to do day-of coordinating for us free of charge.

Choosing our cake baker:

This was another gift from a friend. I recently went to a baby shower for a friend who was having triplets (yes! triplets!) and they enlisted the help of a youth member from the church and her mother to make the cake for the shower. And let me tell you, that cake was delicious! So, when they approached us after our engagement and offered to make our cake as their gift to us, we jumped at the opportunity. Now, we're just trying to figure out flavors of the cake & filling - of course that's always the fun part. :)

Choosing our officiant: This one was a no-brainer. For years our former youth pastor has been offering to marry us whenever we visited him and his family in the panhandle. Well, no he finally gets to do it!


Paying off vendors: We've been making payments to all of our vendors throughout this entire process. I know the fiance and I will both be breathing a sigh of relief when we've paid them all off.

Collecting pieces for the tables: My mom and I have been scouring yard sales and thrift stores for glass centerpieces and salt/pepper shakers. I'm loving the eclectic/gathered look for the table accessories.

Pricing: It might sound like a waste of time to some, but for the most part, the fiance & I have been making two trips (maybe more) to the store for items we are interested in purchasing for the wedding. We want to make sure we're getting exactly what we want, but also at a price we can afford. Our method: when we see something we like, we snap a picture of it with our cell phone cameras. We also make sure that to have the price tag somewhere in the picture so we don't have to rely on our memories for the cost of the item. Then, we come home and look at our budget and figure out when in our timeline we will be able to afford the items we want. This method might not work for everyone, but it's helped us stay on track in terms of our budget.

Confirming our wedding day transportation: One of Dan's groomsmen has a '56 Mustang which he is so generously allowing us to take home on our wedding night. However, we're struggling to figure out a way to get everyone to the venue along with all of our decorations so that everyone only has to make one trip.

Picking out a cake topper: This one might be a little silly, but I've been stressing over a simple cake topper. I don't want to have the traditional bride & groom that you can find at all of the craft stores. And I'm not big into the interwoven hearts or rings. Nor am I a big dove fan... I like the idea of having a scrolled "C" on the top of our cake, but Dan isn't a big fan. I've pretty much resolved to not have a traditional topper and just put some flowers on the top or something of that nature. However, while doing some searching on the Internet, I think we've found one we're both happy with from an etsy seller. I'll share what our final decision was when we make it. :)


Purchase Dan's wedding band: Again, we have it picked out, we just need to go out and buy it.

Get my passport: Luckily, Dan already has a passport from a cruise that he and his family took about a year ago. Unfortunately, last time I traveled out of the country, I was underage, so all that was required was my birth certificate.

Design/purchase/mail our invitations: We're going to design our invitations online just like we did for our save-the-dates. We've got a design picked out, but we're waiting on our engagement shoot photos to come back so we can add them to our invitations.

Put together our bouquets & boutonnieres: Fake flowers. For some in the wedding business, those are fighting words. But, I've never understood spending a ton of money on flowers that will die in a few short days. Plus, I wanted to save my bouquet. So, fake/silk flowers seemed like the best solution for us. One of my bridesmaids took a couple floral designing classes back in high school and her former instructor has offered us to come to her shop and have a class on how to make our bouquets. I'm excited for this because it will give all of my bridesmaids time to get to know each other. But, we're struggling with finding a time to fit in every one's schedules.

Purchase all the dress accessories: I've been given jewelry from my grandmother as my "something borrowed and something old" to wear on my wedding day. But, I still need to purchase the undergarments for the dress as well as the shoes.

Figure out what the guys are wearing: We've been going back and forth over what Dan & his boys will be wearing on the wedding day. Should they all be wearing a tux? A suit? or something a little more casual?

Pricing the food: We've pretty much decided on where the food will be catered. However, we don't know the exact cost and how much we need to set aside to pay for all the food. So, we're planning on finding a day sometime this summer to go and sit down with the caterer and price it all out.

Experimenting with hair styles: Dan's hair will be easy: I'll shave his head about a week and a half before the wedding. However, I have no idea what I want to do with my hair. A woman who always does my aunt's and mom's hair will be doing my hair for the wedding. So, the plan is to take her a picture of me in the dress and let her play around until we find something that I like.

Figuring out rehearsal dinner details: Where? When? Who? What will be on the menu? Not stressing too much - we've got enough time for that one.

Purchasing all the little things: Candles, lighters, sand, vases, plates, napkins, silverware, cups, gifts for our helpers, and all that fun stuff.

So that's where we are at on the whole wedding front. Anyone else out there in the midst of planning a wedding? Have you been following the timelines or just sort of doing your own thing? Or maybe you recently celebrated your wedding - any advice you want to share?

Monday, June 6, 2011

Pleasant Surprise

I'm really bad about keeping things alive... and by things I mean flowers. I failed to inherit the "green thumb" gene from my mother's side of the family. You see, my mother, her sister, and my grandmother all have yards full of plants. They like to go to the home improvement stores, buy plants that are on clearance (you know the ones that are on their last leg of life? the ones that the store neglects to water anymore and have dried up to a crisp?), and then bring them back to life. I wish I had pictures of their plants so you could see what I'm talking about, but alas, I do not. Maybe I can get some next time I'm in town.....

Anyways, back to this little surprise. A couple of months ago my grandmother gave me a yellow pot of violets. She thought they'd look beautiful in my classroom on a bookshelf or on my desk. Sure Grandma.... Don't get me wrong, the flowers were beautiful & my classroom could have definitely used a little bit of color. But, I can barely keep things alive in my own home. I was not about to take that plant into my classroom and let all of my students witness the effects of my black thumb. So, instead the violets found their home on my kitchen counter top above my sink. The flowers lasted much longer than I imagined! However, I noticed that they were starting to wilt despite my careful watering. So, I thought it was time to put the pot of flowers out on my balcony so they could catch some rays.

Here's a picture of the balcony when I first moved in:

As you can see, it's pretty tiny. The only thing I had to place out there was this metal shelf (now there are two chairs out there for my & the fiance to sit out there). I have no idea who originally produce it; I snagged this for free while we were cleaning out a home my uncle was starting a renovation on. But I thought this would be the perfect place to set flowers (what was I thinking??) or outdoor decorations on.

So the violets went out on the patio, and they perked up a bit. But, within a couple weeks, they had all died. Typically I would have emptied out the pot, cleaned it, and put it away in a cabinet until I found another use for it. However, since I live in an apartment, I had no where to dump the soil/dirt. I hate the idea of dumping perfectly good soil into a trash can. Why? I have no idea. I don't pretend to understand my own insanity. So there the yellow flower pot with soil sat on my balcony totally neglected for over a month.

My mom and my future mother-in-law told me that they flowers would have died eventually anyways. They said they were only annuals, so if I wanted violets again, I would have had to replant next year. This made me feel a little better. Granted, they both could have been lying to me to make me feel better, but I didn't care.

So, about a week ago, I decided to let the cats out on the balcony for a little sun. When I stepped out, I noticed something was growing in the yellow pot. Upon investigation, I determined it was a weed. There was absolutely no way that the flower could have grown back. I mean, it was an annual, right? WRONG!

The flower had grown back! I couldn't believe it! Initially there was only 1 flower in bloom. And after it died back, another flower bloomed. And as you can see above, after that one died back, as of yesterday, TWO flowers have bloomed! Sorry if you think this amount of excitement is a little too much, but I seriously get a big smile on my face every time I look outside and see these flowers in all their purple glory.

Side note: After looking at the picture above, I realize that the violets' purple glory is being ruined by that glass ash tray sitting beside it. Though it might not seem like that big of a deal to some, I do want to clarify that I do not smoke, nor does the fiance. We both joke around and say that if either one of us starting smoking it would be a divorceable offense (though I don't think either one of us is really joking). I initially purchased the ash tray right before the move mainly because we both have family members that smoke. Since I refuse to allow people to smoke in my living space, I figured the least I could do was have an ash tray waiting for them when I kicked them out onto the balcony to light up.

So here's a close up of that purple glory:

Do any of you have black thumbs like me? Or maybe you have been blessed with green thumbs like my mom & grandma? Any tips for someone like me?


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...