ready for a new sensation.

I don't think I said anything about my new-ish job (it's been about two months) but it offers me a TON of down time.

While down-timing, I have managed to do months-worth of wedding planning in just a few weeks. I have lined up venues, worked on budgeting spread sheets, entered several bridal sweepstakes, ogled lots of pretty southwestern DIY pins on pinterest

and I even applied to nine jobs and scored one interview for the upcoming summer/fall school year!
More on that when I hear more. I'm really hoping to have my pick of the classrooms and schools based on my high level of education and varied experience--(I taught abroad for a year which makes me a bit of a standout).

I've been reading a lot of fabulous literature (more on that later), at least ten books since I started working.

I just feel like I'm kind of in an eye-crossing, neck-aching, iPad overuse state at work where I just want something varied but not boring, relaxing but not useless.

So after a lot of careful thought and research, I've decided that my next big/ambitious project is....CROCHET!

These were my original inspiration:
 I've never seen a crochet cactus in person, but since seeing them online I'm completely obsessed.

So I currently have the somewhat lofty goals and dreams of making at least 80 of these tiny-potted wool desert wonders for triple duty of name place card holders (just insert toothpick and card), thank-you wedding favors, and table ornamentation.
I'm also looking into bunting projects and other fun beginner things for crotchet.
I've officially committed this afternoon and bought 4 types of yarn, a complete set of crochet hooks and knitting needles in a neat little package, and I've printed out and youtube-favorited several tutorials and beginner basics.

I'm really hoping that this becomes another passion to add my list!
It really be a great personal hobby and DIY wedding wonder if I can accomplish what I'm hoping too...
I can see a future of making granny blankets and baby clothes in the years to come, and it's pretty exciting and gives me something to add to my bag of tricks.

How great will it be to finish a six-hour school day with a bundle of freshly knit and adorable cacti? I'm really hoping this goes according to plan, or even better, because there's so much I want to try once I get 'good'....

 Look at the crochet cake! And the crochet-over a re-wearable dress for a wedding (how creative and smart!)
all images from pinterest & google images

Wish me luck! I'm nervous.

I haven't tried a new crafty hobby in so many years and I don't really have a lot of crochet backup. It would be nice to have someone to teach me. I guess I can always call my grandma if I get really stuck!

Thank goodness for Youtube though, it really pushed me toward this even more and makes me think that I can easily attain homespun beauty and charm with some aluminum needles!

Do you knit/crochet?
How did you start?
Would you ever want to?
Anybody want to start with me?



budget bouquets (that won't die OR kill your budget)

As you may have already guessed or known (if you have been following me for a while or IRL) I'm not a traditional bride.

I'm a nice Jewish girl from Long Island, New York with an intense love of fashion, nature, beauty in words and nerdythings.
I just so happen to be living in Arizona for the last few years of my life, where I happened to meet my Absolute Dream Guy, and we have moved into a swanky dream apartment complex surrounded by gorgeous palm trees, a resort style pool, all new appliances, a koi pond, and much, more but I don't want to be a show off or brag, I'm just saying, it's like living in paradise!
I had an engagement I'll never forget--Noah took me where we had our very first date and proposed in the restaurant like in a romance movie but way better and he swept me away to a beautiful suite cliff-side with some of the best hotel food I've ever had and the sweetest champagne ever because it was sweetened by the moment...

We've been engaged for 4 months now.
Am I going crazy with wedding planning and anxiety?
No, not really.
To be honest, I'm relieved that we are not rushing into anything because I don't want to sacrifice our dreams and wedding expectations for a quick sign, seal, deliver deal without doing proper research and cutting as many costs and what I deem as 'nonsensical trends' as far as the Modern Wedding goes.

Offbeat Bride was like a godsend that I stumbled upon and it really inspired to push through and follow my dreams of a truly One-of-a-kind Wedding of Soulmates, Creatives, and Hosts that Can Really Throw A Kickass Party.

I see the three main options:
-A Ranch/Barn 

-A Hotel/B&B/Inn 

-A Castle

Which I will write more on after our tours and decisions start within the next few weeks.

This post was generated (as you can guess from the title) in order to share my findings of the best of the Bouquet.
I don't like the idea of so many dead, wilting flowers paraded and scattered like dollar bills. They belong in the soil, in the earth, rooted like us. Not pulled from their homes from their throats and bound into a bouquet like some kind of hunting trophy. Please don't say I'm a hippie. I know I sound like a hippie. But I'm a gardener now, so I'm extra sensitive about this stuff!

I especially don't like the idea of spending $5,000 on average on floral arrangements at the average American wedding!
That's half of our budget!
That's half of my paycheck for this year alone as a TA!
That's a whole semester of college classes!
And so on.

There are several alternatives. Pinwheels, Button Bouquets, Silk Flowers, PVC flowers, Paper/Origami Flowers, Candy Bouquets, Asian Fans, and pretty much anything you could imagine holding and posing for pictures with in your wedding gown or bridesmaid dress.

On average, a bridal bouquet of fresh flowers is $190.
These are very temporary. They may smell good and yes, some brides save them in 'light boxes' or scrap books but wouldn't it be so much cooler to have a timeless piece that you could set on your dresser in a vase and one day give to your sister or future daughter for her wedding?

I think so.

Here are the best (in my opinion) of what I've found on the internet.
Main sites were eBay and etsy.

A lovely silk bouquet with pearl accents available in pink, white, red & purple (above)

crystal, silk, lace, pearls, bows, very girly and vintage vibe bouquet! $39.00

A beautiful and life-like silk bouquet with a vintage brooch and pretty binding, $26

1 or 2 color bouquet with a lot of bling and sparkle! Love the Tiffany Blue. $58.90
This silk one with trailing ribbons would match my dress quite nicely! $28.90

wouldn't these make pretty centerpieces? Or bouquets for bridesmaids? Origami! $39 per bouquet
Really striking colors and striking rhinestones make this a standout! $79
Red & white paper, unbelievable as it may seem! $29.90 for bouquet

Gorgeous origami lilies from Australia! $10 per bouquet.

50 Australian Origami hearts! $25

So as you can see, the world is full of possibilities.
There are literally thousands of options for your big day!
There is no reason not to think outside of the box a bit and have some fun showcasing your uniqueness (and love for nature) by opting not to take part in the traditional ritual of digging up a whole garden to scatter petals and have an awkward, limp bundle of flowers you have to drag around and later throw for a bunch of chicks to fight over.
Why is this the tradition, again?

Also, Captain Planet would be really happy to hear you've decided to go with a more eco-friendly, less wasteful route.
We are ditching the florist entirely.
What is the point of having flowers on your cake and petals on your dessert table? Why do you have to have them on the dinner tables and pretty much everywhere?
I'm still convinced that The Expected Weddings are some kind of conspiracy population control evil establishment that you have to outsmart to come out on top...

But enough of my rants.

Piece of cake?
What do you think of these alternative choices?

Some keywords to search for: origami flowers, origami bouquet, brooch bouquet, paper bouquet, silk bouquet, button bouquet, pvc bouquet, alternative bouquet, bridal bouquet,
I think eBay is your best bet if you want to stay under $60 for your bridal bouquet alone and have a bit extra wiggle room for your bridesmaids and corsages (if you are doing those, I don't think we are). If you want a pricey bridal bouquet upwards of $100 with the options of extreme customization and being able to get everyone's everythings in your own order, go Etsy. If you are really ballsy and a DIY-er to the extreme, just go to Michael s or Jo-ann's!

Of course also keep in mind that I mean no offense whatsoever to any of those women out there that chose real flowers or dropped hundos on florists, ect. for you special day. I respect the fact that everyone has their own style and preferences. Maybe you think the smell and tradition is worth all the money. I dunno, it's your decision.That's a cool thing about being a bride. You get to make a lot of big decisions about the biggest party of your life.

Happy hunting,



gifts for valentines of any sort.

 I think heart elbow patches are absolutely adorable if not super kitschy. The sweater on the left has fun stripes ($45) and on the right there is a really cute heart cut out in the back as well with a bow ($65). These are great present for you, a girl friend, a sister or anybody else who likes to wear their heart on their sleeve (literally)!

Below, you'll see an all-natural mixed beauty kit that would really pamper any earthy girl (including myself). It comes in a nice package and has a variety of scents, lotions, and potions ($60). Next to that is a cute little chibi keychain perfect for any couples you know that are nerdy and love Asian culture, anime, or whathaveyou ($5).

 Now, when it comes to marking yourself as 'taken' with jewelry, I have mixed feelings. I don't think I would ever do it, myself but I have noticed that teenagers and younger couples seem pretty into this jewelry trend. It can be cute, I suppose, and I tried to find the simplest 'taken' jewelry out there. I do quite like the Kate Spade version but I hardly ever wear gold--these are the same look for a bit less money in silver ($110 for both the necklace and ring approx.)
The xbox shaped chocolates are absolutely adorable and so perfect for the gamer in your life (or yourself if you are like me). I love how legit they look ($40)! More 'geek gifts' HERE

 These heart frame doily-esque sunglasses are perfect for your valentine look or any hipster friends you know. They are a bit different and refreshing from the overplayed lolita sunglasses and come in three different color combinations ($15). The Darth Plush is great for any Star Wars Sweethearts out there. I just love how he is holding a rose and wearing a little red bow tie ($35)!
 If you have a clothes horse in your life that doesn't need any more clothes, gift cards or accessories, I'm sure she would love these cute little heart hanger packs ($9). Just don't buy her too many hangers or she'll see it as an excuse to buy more clothes! On the right are some fuzzy wuzzy red velvet leggings from Romwe with fishnet heart panels ($40). Now, I feel like I am too old for these and not really the type to ever them but I'm sure these would be perfect for a teen or your waifish friend or sweetheart to wear with a chunky black sweater and Doc Martens. Just remember, that leggings are not pants.

 Above are some utterly adorable sterling silver owl earrings with little heart chests for a subtle V-Day token of love ($24) that would be great for a teacher, bookworm, owl enthusiast or pretty much anyone. On the right are the pair of Dingo heart cutout cowgirl boots that I've had my eye on for years but ultimately don't see them as very practical or matching up so much to my wardrobe ($90). I also have about 10 pairs of boots at the moment. If you have a cowgirl in your life, that needs these than snap them up because they don't have many left. I think they would look adorable with a red flirty dress or top with a denim miniskirt.

 These are two different clothing sets that will have you looking V-Dayriffic whether you wear them together or seperately. Each is about $80 and I definitely see the designer inspiration for each one. That white jacket looks a lot like a dress I saw on the red carpet early last year!
 On the left, for the more basic, comfort-based girl we have a cute set with black cotton boyshorts and a fitted cami with little fishnet heart cutouts. I think it's adorable for any night, and you could even wear the cami out of the bedroom if you layer it with a different tank underneath. The other set is more va-va-voom--a garter dress with heart cut outs on each hip and a matching g-string. Now, I'm not saying wearing or buying lingerie on Valentine's Day is necessary or that every man deserves it, or every woman should deal with it. I'm just offering these two as cute and fun options to surprise your man. ($40 each) Personally, I think lingerie has it's moments and I think sometimes it can just be a lot of fun for the both of you. The right pieces can really make a girl feel sexy!

 For a little girl in your life, fun teenager, yourself, anyone who is having a party, they sell these little heart boppers just about everywhere, but especially around Valentine's Day. I think they are old school and support those brave enough to wear them on this hallmark holiday ($6).
The Ugg slippers on the right would be a fabulous gift for mom, grandma, and aunt, college girl, or just about anybody. They come in boot versions too for a bit more money and several colors as well ($74).

So that's my list for this year. Every gift above is available on Amazon.com.
If you are really stuck, just talk to your S.O. and see what he/she really wants. Write them a beautiful letter, cook them dinner, surprise them with tickets to a show, a couples' massage, a weekend away, a box of their favorite candy.

If you are having an Anti-Valentine's Day, do it that way, watch a bunch of heartbreak movies with your girls and indulge in extra dessert (I made chocolate covered cherry ice cream last year).

If you want to skip it entirely, then at least be sure to go to the drugstore and buy some discount candy the next day!

V-Day isn't one of my favorite holidays, it's silly, overplayed, and very commercial but it is still a day to enjoy and appreciate the ones you love (whether or not you're single or taken).
I t hink the spirit is just to give extra hugs, pass out cheesy e-valentines and vintage valentines, and look cute in red/pink/white.

Just be lighthearted, have fun, and spread the love!