Happy Monday! 8/15

Well shoot, it’s been a while since I posted something of substance, eh? Moving + Disney + unpacking + freelance + regular work takes a lot out of a person! No complaints though – I wouldn’t know what to do with myself if I didn’t keep busy.

  1. Friday over lunch I decided we had to tear up the carpet on our stairs. I’m pretty sure the previous owners’ dog slept there every night, so the stairwell just reeked. The stairs will definitely need to be refinished at some point but I’m just happy to not have stinky stairs anymore 😀
  2. After buying all of the painting supplies to redo our porch floor, we…decided to tile it instead. So far we’ve cleaned the porch and put down a moisture barrier, and today after work we’ll be smoothing out the concrete with some mortar (it’s in really bad shape right now.) There’s a good chance we’re biting off a bit more than we can chew, but it’ll get done!
  3. I did a few blind taste tests with Vökin, Grey Goose, and Ketel One with friends and Joe over the weekend, and they all chose Vökin as the best one – so that’s promising! Hooray for *officially* having good product!
  4. One of my friends is visiting this weekend! We have grand plans of building porch furniture and sitting on the porch for hours upon hours, so hopefully Joe and I are able to get the floor finished before he leaves for a conference Wednesday night.
  5. Even though it was already a week ago, I’m putting our Disney trip into my happy things, because..duh. Disney. We took a whopping 274 Photopass pictures; when you’re paying a lot of money for Memory Maker (aka can download all of the photos) – you gotta take full advantage of every. single. photographer. on main street. Heh. Really though, we had such a great time, and are already looking forward to our next trip. Which will absolutely, certainly, without question be longer than 2.5 days:) (Well, 3, taking into account the Delta issues we ran into on Monday.) Look out for a full (mini) trip report in a week or so..once life settles down again!

Whew! Lots to catch up on. In addition to a Disney trip report, I’ll also be posting a couple of reviews sometime soon..yay for getting back into the swing of things!


claire cooks: koshari

During my second year in college, my family went to Cairo for my sister’s spring break (yes, without me – but that’s alright, we went to Istanbul without my sister a few years later, so it all evens out.) Among many good stories, such as an Egyptian man offering my dad an ample sum of money and a camel for my sister’s hand in marriage while walking through a market, they brought back with them the knowledge of the existence of Koshari (Kushari/Koshary/Kosheri)- an inexpensive vegan dish made of rice, pasta, lentils, and a tomato sauce. When I lived at home, my dad would make it every couple of months and it always hit the spot – so last night I decided to give it a go!Finished Product! Continue reading “claire cooks: koshari”

happy thoughts for a monday

First of all – how the heck is it already Monday!? This past week seriously flew by. Holy moley.

  1. Visitors! A house full of people is seriously one of my absolute favorite things, and this weekend our house was about as full as possible! Including me and Joe, there were 8 people in our (tiny) house for a birthday/housewarming/oktoberfest extravaganza, which meant fitting people basically anywhere we could, since we only have one actual spare bedroom. Because I can’t do anything half-way, I made a super cute birthday banner, cupcakes, and little flags to go in the cupcakes, and Joe and I made/put together lots and lots of appetizers, as well as breakfast Sunday morning (hooray for using most of the serving platters we got as wedding gifts!) It was crazy and exhausting (partially because we didn’t go to bed until about 5:30am) but it was weirdly rewarding being able to ‘show off’ all the hard work we’ve been putting into getting our house together, and getting to celebrate 2 birthdays/visit a couple of local breweries! So good. Oh, I’m also shocked by how quickly a house with 1 bathroom and 8 people can go through rolls of toilet paper.
  2. I went back to the other side of the state on Thursday afternoon through Friday afternoon for a freelance meeting/networking event. It was a little intimidating, but after most of the ‘networking’ was done, we were able to sit down and work out some bottle design details that I’ll figure out this week. One step closer to being able to see something I designed on grocery/liquor store shelves – so neat.
  3. We finally have a (large-ish) house plant! We’ve been wanting one to put by the TV for a while now, and after striking out at both Lowe’s and Eastern Market (in Detroit) – I found one at IKEA when I stopped on my way back to Kalamazoo on Friday! It was only $12, and it’s perfecto.
  4. I have mixed feelings about the weather getting cooler, but I do love the fact that apple cider is now more regularly available. When I was back at my parents house (home? Whatever. I’ve now just started calling Detroit and Kzoo home. It works for now) my dad gave me some Halloween decorations to bring back, as well as a giant pack of Halloween shaped gummies. Yum.
  5. Mid-last week I was relatively convinced that Poppy, my 5.5 year old albino hedgehog, was in the process of dying (eek I promise this is still a happy post,) and I spent a good chunk of the afternoon babying her (and crying. And emailing back and forth with a local vet.) It wasn’t too great. Howeverrrrr, after that afternoon, she seems 100% back to her regular, grumpy, old lady self, and I couldn’t be happier. I also now know that there’s a local vet that will be able to take care of her if she does start showing her age, so that’s nice to know as well.

DIY – Fall Mickey Wreath!

Since the moment I realized there was a hole in our front door just asking for a wreath to be hung, I’ve been wanting to make a fall wreath…and after a somewhat overwhelming trip to Michael’s and a very messy ordeal in our living room, we now have the absolute best fall wreath hanging on our door!

After looking around online for some inspiration, I saw a picture of a Mickey shaped wreath and immediately knew that was what needed to happen – but there weren’t any directions – sooo I had to wing it, and I gotta say, I think it turned out even better than the picture I initially saw 🙂

I posted a picture of the finished product on Facebook last night and a handful of people asked how to make the wreath, so here it goes!

Craft stores (should) sell the base of each of the 3 wreaths (1 large, 2 smaller), which by the way will not only stick to/catch on each other and pretty much everything else, but create a giant mess of your work space. I struggled to find 3 wreaths that worked well with each other and had the right proportions (so many of the larger wreaths were oval shaped due to shipping, probably) – but after going through pretty much every single option, we found the perfect set!

I also bought 2 “vines” of fall leaves with small pumpkins hanging off of them (could have definitely gotten away with one vine, but I wanted multiple colors of leaves!) a stem of black eyed susans, a stem with fall berries on it, a pack of smaller pumpkins, a small pack of wooden discs that matched well with the size of the pumpkin (mickey ears!), 2 shades of orange paint (one would have been fine, but try to match it to the pumpkin color), and raffia to secure the ears to the head!

Now for the directions!

  1. Paint the wooden discs orange, one side and the edges is really all that’s necessary. Two per pumpkin, if that clarification needs to be made, since they will turn into pumpkin Mickey ears 🙂
  2. While the painted ears are drying, secure the wreath ears to the head using raffia. The more wraps the better – you don’t want Mickey’s ears to droop! Make sure to secure the ears in multiple places, especially closer to the top of the head. Try to get raffia that matches the color of your wreath, so it blends in relatively well.
  3. Once the paint on the ears has dried, use an exacto knife cut into your pumpkins – a cut just deep/long enough to shove your painted orange ears in – make sure your cuts result in the ears being in generally the right place – they should stay in without a problem (all of the pumpkins I ended up with are foam, which definitely helped things.) I made the ears a little more permanent by then hot gluing the seam between the backs of the ears and the pumpkin.
  4. At this point you’ll have all of your parts generally ready. Cut off leaves from your vine(s) as you need them, and just start placing, shoving, and gluing everything onto your base wreath as you see fit! You’ve got all sorts of creative freedom here to make your wreath how you’d like – so go crazy 🙂
  5. Once you’re happy with your wreath (remember, sometimes less is more. I think I went a teensy bit overboard with my leaves, but oh well) use your raffia to make a hook for your wreath and hang your lovely new creation for the world to see! 
  6. I ended up with a lot of extra materials, so I used them to decorate our newly assembled shelf for Fall – but keep that in mind as you make your way through the black hole that is Michael’s/JoAnn’s/Hobby Lobby. You probably don’t need as many materials as you think. Also, Michael’s and Joann’s coupons are interchangeable – so make use of them! Lots of Fall stuff is on sale right now too (the vines were 60% off, for example) so that helps with keeping the cost down.pumpkins

We may not be able to be in Disney World for Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party, but at least now Joe and I have a little bit of Disney Halloween to enjoy up in Michigan until we get down there for Christmas, woohoo!

If you make your own wreath, let me know – I’d love to see them 🙂

it all led up to this!

If you had asked me this time last year if I had planned on designing my wedding invitations, you would have gotten an answer something along the lines of “I mean…as a graphic designer I know I totally should, but I just don’t think I want that much pressure!”

However, at some point between last summer and early winter, I did a complete 180, and decided to take on designing not only our invitation suite, but literally every single other piece of printed material one could possibly need:

  • escort cards
  • personalized place cards
  • bridal party (day of) schedules
  • reception schedule
  • photographer’s shot list
  • save the dates
  • thank you notes
  • little notebooks
  • stickers
  • programs
  • rehearsal dinner invites
  • rehearsal dinner table decor
  • tags for wedding favors
  • 3 wedding/bridal shower invitations
  • games for one wedding shower
  • open bar sign
  • guest book sign
  • out of town guest welcome booklets
  • welcome bags
  • parts of all thank you gifts for family/bridal party

So yeah, I went overboard. Once I got started I just couldn’t stop, but it was all SO worth it. Many guests at the reception told me they loved that I paid attention to the smallest of details; whether it was hand signing the programs, writing a special note on their place cards, or using my Cricut (a gift from the DIY gods, I swear) to cut out 160 mini Vermonts that were strung onto the favors.

When I would tell people about what I was working on, they’d be shocked that I wasn’t using a wedding planner, and without fail, ask if I had a Type A personality. Surprisingly up until all of the wedding related shenanigans, I would’ve labeled myself as almost completely Type B…the wedding clearly brought out the super organized, detail-oriented side of me, and I’m not complaining! Hopefully the Type A side will continue to be present as I pack up my life in Grosse Pointe and move to Kalamazoo…

Anyway. This post has all been a build up to a few wedding photos! If you’ve come to my blog from Facebook, you’ve probably already seen these, but they’re seriously so perfect, they’re worth seeing again! As I continue to post, I’ll dive deeper into some of my projects – for now, a few strictly from our big day!


Dress, Headpiece, Belt: BHLDN
Photographer: Molly Grunewald Photography
Ties: The Tie Bar
Flowers: Thrifty Florist