lifestyle, wedding planning

Creative Wedding Save the Date Ideas

While browsing through save the date ideas a couple of years ago, I found a unique approach that I instantly fell in love with.

I have been obsessed with reading from the moment I learned how, and although I didn’t want a literary-themed wedding, my husband and I found a lot of creative ways to incorporate my passion into the event.

The first way was by having a bookmark as our save the date! 

We got so many compliments on our save the date; people loved that it had personal meaning, but also that it was something they hadn’t seen before and could actually use. 

I decided to put together a list of other creative save the date ideas, for those who are interested in doing something a little different.

Here’s the list of unique and functional save the dates!

Bookmark
This is my very own save the date! We used one of the pictures from our engagement photo shoot. As I mentioned, we got a lot of compliments on these and people did actually use them while reading. They were made by RaspberryCreative on Etsy, who has a ton of beautiful wedding stuff in her shop! We also got door hangers for our wedding hotel made by her.

Photo via STDONexus on Etsy

Concert or event ticket
If you or your spouse are big music or sports fans, this could be a great option for you. I’ve seen this done a few different ways, all of which were awesome. This not only allows you to add some personality to your save the dates, it makes for a great keepsake afterwards.
The example above can be found here on Etsy.

Photo via Luckyladypaper on Etsy

Boarding pass/luggage tag
These are perfect for those interested in travel or for an actual destination wedding. My cousin and his wife did something similar leading up to their wedding in Puerto Rico and I still remember it years later because I found it so clever. A boarding pass can be very cute, like this one from Etsy, shown above. A luggage tag is also a great option and, depending on the type you send, your guests can use it when they travel!

Photo via BaileyandBeauPaperCo on Etsy

Confetti pouch
Get the celebration started a little early by sending your guests a mini bag full of confetti! These are so fun and adorable, and will likely make everyone on your guest list smile (as long as you ensure the pouch is sealed shut before sending them the bag, haha). Here is the link to the example shown above.

Photo via Pocketfoldinvites on Etsy

Scratch off
This is another fun one that your guests can interact with. Have your actual date be revealed after they scratch off the spots on their save the date card! This can be tied into a theme or stand on its own, but either way it’s something for your guests (and both of you) to remember. Example from above is here.

I love all of the ideas above, and I really love that my husband and I decided to think a little outside the box with our save the date.

It set the tone for our wedding early on; not in the fact that our wedding was book-themed, but that it was a perfect representation of who we are as both individuals and a couple.

I hope you find inspiration in these ideas, and that you’ll share your own wedding ideas or plans with me!

I love weddings and would be thrilled to hear about your own personal experiences, past or present, in the comments below.

Until next time…<3 🙂

lifestyle

Farewell, Warped Tour

The first time I attended the Warped Tour, I was 15 years old and hadn’t gone to many concerts.

Music (especially music with meaningful lyrics) has always been a huge part of my life, but it wasn’t until high school that I discovered the magic of live music and, along with it, the magic of Warped Tour.

For those who are unfamiliar, Warped Tour is a two-day concert stacked with the most popular bands in rock, punk, emo, screamo, etc. They tour around the country every summer; or, at least they did until 2018.

Last summer was the final full cross-country tour, and this year they had an anniversary show in just three cities, celebrating their 25-year run.

I was lucky enough that one of those cities was close by, and so this past weekend I had the privilege of attending my fifth and final Warped Tour.

When I was a teenager, I loved this show because I got to see all of my favorite bands in one place, and I got to spend the entire day running around between stages, vendor stands, and all of the other cool activities they had there.

I also loved it because it was one of the only places that I truly felt like myself.

I might’ve mentioned this in previous posts, but I didn’t have a great relationship with myself as I was growing up.

I did enjoy high school and have plenty of friends, but my taste in music, art, clothing, and a lot of other things, was always just slightly off compared with what was trendy or popular at the time.

I didn’t mind that a lot of people thought my music preference was weird; I still found the lyrics meaningful and the instruments exciting.

One thing a lot of people don’t realize about hardcore or alternative music is that the lyrics are often very deep and poetic, and that has always been the main thing that made me feel at home while listening to it.

I think it’s safe to assume that every teenager has to deal with heartbreak, self-consciousness, and anxiety for one reason or another. As a very emotional person and an artist deep down, I was certainly no exception to this.

But when I was at Warped, I not only felt that I could truly be myself and be accepted for it, I saw so many other people outright celebrating whatever it was that made them unique.

I found companionship in absolute strangers as we both screamed out lyrics about loss and hardship right next to one another, knowing that we would never speak of it but that we both were clearly going through similar things.

I found encouragement and inspiration in so many of the band members who would hang out at their merch booths right in the middle of the venue, more than happy to engage in conversation with random fans such as myself.

I found joy in letting loose and dancing to the music, having my body thrown into the air and trusting that the sturdy hands of the crowd would catch me and keep me high above it all. Yes, I, a fashion blogger, am talking about my deep love for crowd surfing.

When I think about my teenage years, I almost always think of Warped Tour and the summer days I spent there. I think of the music that made me who I am; music that still makes up about 90% of my current iTunes library.

It’s so interesting how things like music, books, and movies can seamlessly connect our past to our present. All I have to do is put my phone on shuffle and chances are that an old Silverstein, Finch, or New Found Glory jam will bring me right back to being 17 again.

Those are the obvious reasons why this past weekend meant so much to me. But the most special part of the whole weekend, and the part I hadn’t thought about too much beforehand, was getting to experience it with my husband.

Sometimes it’s freaky how similar Joe and I are. It’s no surprise that we had a lot of the same interests growing up, even though we didn’t meet until he was 24 and I was 25.

We were both equally pumped when we saw the lineup for the Warped Tour 25th Anniversary, and knew we had to make it happen.

I’ve said many times since we got engaged and then married how I wish I could go back in time and relive my teenage years with my husband by my side.

I know that we both had to have certain experiences and get further along in life before we could become the perfect match we are today, but I think of those times and how much I longed for true love and the right person to share it with, and I just wish 16-year-old Laura could have known how perfect of a guy she would actually find.

Revisiting one of my favorite teenage experiences with the love of my life was such a gift. There’s no other way I can describe it.

Standing in the crowds, feeling his arms around me as I listened to my old favorite songs live was something I never imagined doing, but even if I had I could never have known how wonderful it would be.

As we danced around to “I’d Do Anything” by Simple Plan on Saturday afternoon, I recalled hearing it play at a middle school dance but holding back from getting on the floor because I was too afraid what people would think of me.

When The Used played “I Caught Fire” on Sunday I thought of how it almost became our wedding song, but also of how, 15 years ago, I watched my crush play it on guitar for another girl and wondered if anyone would ever feel that way about me.

We ended our night rocking out with Blink-182 (sans Tom, plus Matt) and when “Going Away to College” started, all I could do was smile from ear to ear and think back to being 12 years old, sitting on top of the bunk bed I shared with my sister, and playing the song over and over, daydreaming about what true love actually felt like.

I always knew those songs would stay a part of my life, but I never thought I would get to listen to them knowing I had finally found everything they inspired me to search for.

For me, this weekend was a celebration of the music that helped me through tough times, that inspired me to be a better version of myself.

It was a tribute to some amazingly talented artists, and to being connected with 30,000 strangers, all head-banging their problems away in unison.

And, most importantly, it was look back at who I used to be, who I’ve become, and all that I was able to accomplish. It was my tangible, undeniable reward for never giving up on myself or my desire to find real love.

I will forever be grateful for all of the memories I made at Warped Tour, but especially for the ones of this past weekend.

These bands, their words, and the feelings they evoke in me will always be in my heart. And, most likely, blaring out of my car speakers. ❤ 🙂

recipe

Recipe: Easy One Pan Salmon Dinner

Hi friends,

What a week…who else is pumped that it’s Friday?

Friday is a popular night for eating out, whether it’s for date night, a special occasion, drinks, or just being too tired from the week to cook.

I actually tend to want to stay in on Friday nights, especially when I’ve had a busy week, but that leaves the options of spending time cooking or ordering take-out.

I try to avoid take-out (or at least keep it to only a few times each month) because I feel like I eat healthier when I’m eating at home, so that’s why I think it’s so important to have some quick, easy dinners in the arsenal for times like this!

This salmon recipe only includes a few ingredients, you only need to use one pan, and it’s ready fairly quickly.

Those are all signs of a great option for a lazy Friday night, in my opinion!

Alright, so let’s get into the recipe.

Ingredients
1. 2 salmon fillets (0.5 lb each)
2. 1 heads of raw broccoli
3. Butter for cooking
4. Basmati rice (or any rice of your choosing) – I use the Uncle Ben’s microwaveable rice
5. 1 teaspoon chopped garlic
6. Salt, pepper, Old Bay or any other seasoning of your choice

Step 1: Season

The first step is deciding what type of salmon you’d like to have, because you can use this cooking method regardless! For this specific recipe, add salt, pepper, and Old Bay to the top side of your fillets.

Step 2: Stove Top

Melt a thin pad of butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Once the butter has melted, add the garlic, followed by the salmon fillets, skin side up.

Cut up the broccoli and add it to the pan, around and on top of the salmon fillets. Add some salt and pepper to the broccoli if you wish.

Cook for 5-10 minutes on medium heat. When the salmon is ready to flip, you’ll start to see little white bits trickling in from the sides.

If you wish, you can turn the heat up to high for one additional minute before flipping the fillets. This creates a sear on the outside and helps to lock in flavor.

Step 3: In the Oven

Flip your fish over so that the skin side is down. Sprinkle some additional garlic on top if you wish.

Put the skillet directly into the oven and bake at 425˚F for an additional 5-10 minutes.

Step 4: Serve

Serve the fish over rice and drizzle any additional juices from the bottom of the skillet over the top of your meal.

That’s it! It really is that easy to make this Salmon dinner, and the fish and broccoli come out great every time!

If you want, feel free to try this with different veggies and seasonings, or with a favorite sauce.

Hope you enjoy! Be on the lookout for my next post, which will cover the super fun activities I’m doing this weekend! ❤ 🙂

fashion

May and June Sales Hauls

Hey everyone,

I haven’t done a haul post in a while, so I wanted to share my great finds from both May and June!

This haul includes lots of Spring/Summer shoes (of course), casual dresses, gorgeous gowns, and blouses.

I also snagged some outerwear that’ll be great for this Fall/Winter. Am I the only one who likes to buy off-season clothes because they’re so cheap during the in-between months?

Anyway, time to get to the goods. Links to buy are included for everything, as always.

Lulus Midi Dress
Lulus Striped Sandals
Tobi Halter Maxi
Tobi Cold Shoulder Maxi
Tobi Off the Shoulder Maxi
Venus Fringe Sweater
Venus Faux Fur Trim Coat
Venus Sheer Sleeve Dress
Venus Keyhole Top
Venus Belted Maxi
Dolce Vita Slides
Target Leopard Slides
Target Brown Slides
Amazon Espadrilles

Some of these items were purchased during MDW sales, others just regular sales, but all of them are still currently discounted.

Happy shopping, and don’t forget to comment below to share your own favorite haul items.

I’ll be posting more hauls and great fashion finds very soon. 🙂 ❤

books

Book Review: To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before Trilogy

Hi all,

I finished the third book of the To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before (TATBILB) series this past weekend, and I just had to write a review about the trilogy.

After hearing about the Netflix adaptation of TATBILB from so many people, I decided to add the book to my Spring reading list.

At the time, I didn’t know that there were two more books in the series, or that I would end up reading those, as well.

Just a few pages into the first book, I could tell that the story and its narrator, 16-year-old Lara Jean, were special.

The first book has a pretty cool premise–Lara Jean writes love letters to her crushes as a way to get over them; over the course of her life she’s written five letters to five different boys.

The letters end up getting stolen and mailed out to their subjects, some of whom Lara Jean still goes to school with or sees on a regular basis, and that’s just the beginning.

What I was expecting to be an amusing, quick, YA read actually turned out to be a really sweet and enthralling love story that continues throughout the rest of Lara Jean’s high school career (covered in books two and three of the series).

This series ended up touching my heart for a few reasons; first and foremost, I identified a lot with the main character, who has a shy demeanor and spends a lot of time with her family.

Lara Jean isn’t a big partier and she doesn’t have much experience with boys, which makes every little moment between her and a potential crush extra special.

Lara Jean reminds me a lot of how I was in high school, and reading about some of the things she deals with besides boys throughout the series (family stuff, mean girls, choosing a college and then the finality of graduation) took me right back to my teen years.

These books were so well-written that they not only reminded me of my past, they brought back some of the feelings I had at that time, and that ability to affect a reader’s emotions is something that really impresses me when it comes to writing.

When Lara Jean was getting closer to graduation and was savoring every “last” experience she had, seeing things through a veil of simultaneous finality and possibility for the future, that mindset and the way it feels to be in that position came rushing back to me, striking up some old, nostalgic pangs that I had forgotten about and definitely never expected to feel again.

When I finished the series, my heart was heavy with the feeling that something really special had ended, but I was also able to imagine all of the possible ways the characters’ lives could continue from there. And I really wanted to imagine what else would happen for them.

Author Jenny Han confirmed that the last book was the end of the series, but if she had continued to write about Lara Jean’s college experience, adult life, or even the high school years of Lara Jean’s younger sister, I would buy those books the first date they were available.

If it’s not clear yet, I really enjoyed and would highly recommend all three of these books.

I keep talking about them as a series and not individual, because to me they are a package deal.

There is one key story that flows throughout all three books, and other stories begin and end within them, as well.

After finishing the last book, I immediately went to Netflix to watch the movie that so many people have been raving about, and I was glad to have that extension of my experience with these characters and this world.

The movie was great but, as always, I definitely recommend you read the books before watching (preferably all three, since they added some things from books two and three to the movie).

Without giving too much away, these books tell the story of young love and how falling in love can help you discover who you are and reveal your true self to others without you even realizing it.

They tell about how important it is to savor the time you have with the ones you love, because most things in life, if not all, are temporary.

They tell the story of a young girl growing up and facing challenges, and rising to meet those challenges even when she didn’t think she could.

Most of all, they depict the life, priorities, and struggles of a 16- to 18-year-old girl with both accuracy and grace.

I’ve never read any other book by Jenny Han, but I will definitely be adding some of her other works to my TBR list.

If you’re interested in reading books from this series, here are the names of each book and where you can buy them (click the picture to open a purchase window).

Or you can buy all three paperbacks in a set, here!

If you’ve already read this series, let me know what you thought in the comments below! I’m always interested in fan-girling over some great literature, OR in hearing another perspective from someone who maybe didn’t get the same things I did out of the story.

What other series are must-reads? I have a vacation coming up in July and want to make sure I bring some great reading material with me, so please share your recommendations in the comments below, as well.

Thanks for stopping by, and I hope you enjoy the rest of your week! ❤ 🙂

lifestyle

Cleaning Hacks (and Products) for Keeping Your Home Tidy All Year

Hi friends,

Has everyone finished their Spring cleaning yet?

I know I haven’t…but my husband and I have been trying to make progress little by little whenever we have a few hours on the weekend.

I’ve discovered a few cleaning tips, tricks, and products that can help make things easier for you, just as they have for us.

Check out my recommended cleaning hacks and cleaning products below, click the images to purchase, and don’t forget to leave your own suggestions in the comments! ❤

Reusable Dryer Sheets: You’ve probably got these guys stored wherever you do laundry already, but did you know they can be used for household cleaning after you use them in the dryer? Used dryer sheets don’t need to be thrown away; they can be used to clean off mirrors and other glass surfaces, coffee tables, and even the inside of your toilet (preferably not all with one dryer sheet…lol). This is a great hack because it’s likely something you’re already using and therefore doesn’t cost you anything extra. Cheap (or free) hacks are the best hacks, no?

Drill Scrub Brush: I kid you not, my husband actually bought a drill just so he could clean our bathroom floor with this scrub brush. But hey, don’t knock it. Not only was the process a bit more amusing for him, he got our bathroom floor (grout included) spotless by using this drill scrub method. The brushes themselves are pretty cheap. We’re going to try doing the shower walls with it next so I’ll keep you all updated.

Dish Soap for Stains: This is more of a clothes cleaning than house cleaning hack, but still applicable, in my option. Did you know that dish soap can get almost anything out of clothing? Spill some marinara sauce on your white sweater? Get a grease stain on a t-shirt you love? Swipe your shirt sleeve with mascara while trying to get ready at the crack of dawn? Next time you get a tricky substance on your clothing, sheets, or a towel, put it under warm water, add some dish soap, and rub gently. You’ll be amazed at how well this works and all of the different things it works for.

Scrub Mommy Sponges: My aunt gave me these for Christmas a few years ago and I haven’t used another sponge since. These sponges are durable and useful, with one tough (yet gentle enough not to scratch) scrubbing side and one smoother absorbent side. They are great for washing any type of dish, cleaning counters, and cleaning off appliances as well. Plus they come in cute smiley-face shapes.

Robot Vacuum: Sure, having a robot vacuum probably feels a little bit like cheating, but you can’t deny how convenient it is that these things exist. It’s not as necessary right now as I live in a two bedroom condo, but once I move into a full-size house I know I’m going to appreciate our robot vacuum immensely. I can have it rolling around on the floor cleaning up while I’m taking care of other household chores. These are a little on the pricier side, of course, but if you invest in a well-made one, I think it’s totally worth it.

lifestyle

The Best Teen Dramas from the Late 90’s and 2000’s

Hi all,

Hope your week has gotten off to a great start!

One of my favorite things to do on weeknights is relax in my bed and binge watch some old TV shows.

Lately, my guilty pleasure has been old teen dramas ranging from the late 1990’s to the mid-late 200’s.

All of these are shows I’ve watched before (most of them multiple times) but I still find myself pulled into the drama and I love every minute of it.

I guess, with so much happening during the day, it’s nice to have my mind occupied by something else; plus, it’s a little nostalgic being reminded of the things that we thought were so important back when we were in high school. 😉

Here’s my ranking of 10 of the most popular teen dramas from the 90’s and 2000’s, plus which popular streaming services you can find them on.

10. The OC
This is your typical California teen show, and was also my first exposure to Rachel Bilson, who is currently one of my favorite actresses! It’s a cute show about best friends, boys, and high school and is basically what you’d expect from the early 2000’s, but tapers off a little for me around the last two seasons. Without giving anything away, I’ll just say that some of the decisions of the show makers left me confused and focused on what I wished the ending could be, rather than what it was.
You can currently stream episodes of The OC on Hulu!

9. Dawson’s Creek
Ok, so I’m probably going to get grief about putting this one so low on my list, but I just never got into Dawson’s Creek the way a lot of other people did. It certainly had a cute love story and lots of great drama, but it couldn’t hold my interest as much as the other shows of its time for some reason.
This one is also available to stream on Hulu.

8. Laguna Beach
Dubbed “The Real OC,” Laguna Beach was a documentary-style show on MTV that followed a cast of real teenagers throughout their last couple years of high school. I honestly can’t tell you why every teenage girl was so obsessed with this show back in the day, but I still find myself drawn into the episodes whenever re-runs are on. This is another one that got weaker as the show went on, in my opinion. By Season 3, the original cast had all graduated and a new crop of students became the focus; that’s where I lost interest.
All three seasons are currently available on MTV.

7. Greek
This ABC Family (now, Freeform) show was about Greek life at college, and even though I didn’t participate in Greek life myself, I found this show really entertaining. There’s a great on-and-off love story woven throughout all of the seasons, and I found myself on the edge of my seat every step of the way for this couple. Overall, this show is really cute and I would definitely watch it again.
This show is available on Freeform or Hulu.

6. Gilmore Girls
This is another show that many other girls my age would probably put much higher on the list. For some reason, I just couldn’t get into Rory and Lorelai as much as everyone else (even though my sister’s old nickname for me was Lorelai). I did love how into reading Rory was, though, and there were a couple of juicy love stories in this show that caught my interest. I still haven’t, and probably won’t, watch the Netflix reboot.
To help you get caught up for their new show, Netflix has all of the old Gilmore Girls seasons available (in addition to episodes of the reboot series).

5. Friday Night Lights
This show makes me so happy and sad at the same time. I absolutely loved it, but I feel like it could’ve been even better if it wasn’t a victim to the writer’s strike that happened in 2007/2008. I loved all of the characters, the dramatic high school story, and the exciting football scenes. I have a soft spot for any show that combines sports and love stories; and yes, that is a bit of foreshadowing for what’s to come in the remaining four TV shows for this post. Getting back to Friday Night Lights, the only reason this show isn’t higher on the list is because I wanted more of it, and I felt that a lot of pieces abruptly cut off.
You can watch all of Friday Night Lights on Hulu and select seasons on Amazon Prime.

4. Degrassi: The Next Generation
In a way, I feel like I grew up with the characters of Degrassi. This series ran for ~14 years and it covered absolutely everything you could possibly have to deal with as a teen: breakups, friend drama, embarrassing moments, and several other more serious topics like rape, drug use, and STDs. It’s kind of odd to say, but I feel like I really learned a lot from this show, and all of the serious issues they included were done tastefully and successfully, in my opinion. I used to watch this with two of my best friends on Friday nights, so thinking back to the show also reminds me of happy, carefree times. This show will always be special to me.
There is a Degrassi YouTube channel with most of the seasons available to watch.

3. 90210
This spinoff of the original Beverly Hills show is another one that drew me in right from the beginning. One of the main characters, Annie, is actually played by a Degrassi alum, which is what originally drew me to the show. This starts off following another class of California teens, but the show expands to many different characters and story lines throughout the seasons. I’ve watched this series all the way through twice, and still follow some of the actresses on Instagram because I grew to love them.
The show is currently available on Amazon Prime.

2. Gossip Girl
So, I actually didn’t watch this show until a couple of years after it ended, but the first episodes I streamed had me hooked immediately. This show is your typical teen drama, but focuses on the elite, super rich side of New York. I love that this show takes place in the city, I love that it is centered on fashion, and I love Blake Lively and Leighton Meester (I also really, really love Chuck and Blair’s relationship…but who doesn’t?). My cousin is obsessed with Gossip Girl, and she’s the one who got me into it. I’m so glad she did because this is a great show to binge, especially if you want to get pulled into the story and forget about your own stress for a while.
All of Gossip Girl is available on Netflix.

1. One Tree Hill
I cannot even begin to describe my love for this show. Yes, I was horrified to hear the allegations against creator Mark Schwahn not too long ago, but this show and all of its beautiful messages still remain unblemished in my mind. OTH starts out as another high school drama, but it goes deeper into the relationships of the characters and who they are as people more than any other teen soap I’ve seen before. The main character’s love for literature speaks to my heart, and there is so much amazing music and art included in, and created for, this show. A really great decision the writers made was to skip over the college years; so we see the cast go through high school, and then jump to them being in their early 20s. It sounds weird, but it worked so well for the story. My favorite thing about this show is getting to see the evolution of each character throughout the 9 seasons (ie, 13 year time span) of the show. The transformation of some key people is not only amazing to watch, but it’s absolutely believable. This show taught me so much about myself and what I want out of the world; it inspired me and touched me deeply, and I would absolutely recommend it to a woman of any age. My husband and I recently watched it together and he loved it, too!
One Tree Hill is currently on Hulu!

What are some of your go-to teen drama shows? I feel like shows in the late 90s/2000s were so much better than they are now, but everyone probably feels that way about a certain period of time that’s special to them.

It’s silly to think that a TV show, especially one that’s made to be over-the-top, could actually have an impact on its viewer; but a lot of these shows stuck with me over the years.

Going back to watch an old series sometimes feels like wrapping myself up in my own teenage blanket, remembering how I saw the world at such a crucial point in my life, reflecting on who I was and who I turned out to be.

Comment below with your recommendations for great dramas I can binge watch at night, or with a special show that means a lot to you.

I love to find out more about you guys, so please don’t hesitate to share!

Thanks for reading, and until next time…<3