Monday, April 30, 2012

MVP: Most Valuable Project

Or most highly anticipated project or something.

So you all know how much I love succulents, I mean, just head over to my Pinterest wedding or living boards, succulents pretty much populate them entirely.

That's just a small taste. I looooove succulents. I started out with a few aloe plants, that I almost killed initially, and from there found a humble little pot of succulents hiding in a corner at Home Depot of all places and started growing succulents. Now, I'm still not great at taking great care of them (part of this is not my fault as the weather here is not succulent weather) but I still manage to keep them alive or bring them back to life periodically.

I've had my first batch of succulents for a long long time... let me look through my archives right quick...

That took a long time to find! This post was from December 2010!

Sheesh! Anyway, so unfortunately, of these originals, only the top one still has living offspring, as well as one not pictured here.

Then, after the wedding, I attempted to plant succulents from my bouquet:
Of course it's that sweet green and purple right-smack-dab-in-the-middle succulent, which I found out later is quite rare (echeveria nodulosa), and one more that was in the bouquet which you can't see here. I didn't have high hopes, because the florist had to use glue to adhere it to the bouquet, I cut off as much as I could and planted... and they're positively thriving! Of course I forgot to take a picture, but they're doing really well, doubled in size, awesome.

THEN, I went to California and saw succulents growing willy-nilly all over the place, unchecked. I'm not proud of this, but I took a few cuttings from plants that WERE NOT on anyone's front lawn; this wasn't difficult because they grew everywhere. I took some from the beach and I found one that had broken off its parent plant, etc...

I took them home and planted them just a few days ago... and I'm crossing my fingers. I can't believe I forgot to take a picture of them, but I will be back with that later.

Anyway, where am I going with all this?!?! My new, most anticipated project(s) once we move into the new house:
TA DA!!! Gorgeous no?! I probably won't do wreath per se just because you have to have the right climate to have succulents outside year round. The important part of this project is the concept, which I will elaborate on. But first, the source of the above image, a website where you can buy this wreath already made... for a 'scant' $100. No thanks, plus, how many times do we have to bring attention to my control freak tendencies?! How could I possibly buy something stuffed with succulents in which I had no control over which succulents were stuffed into it?! I couldn't! That's how!

Thankfully, DIY is not a new concept, duh. And someone already figured out and published online several tutorials on succulent-stuffed things. I posted the pallet above, that's courtesy of Design*Sponge, and then I found this:
From Prudent Baby. I highly recommend this tutorial anyway, it's very thorough and has lots of pretty pictures. It introduced me to how this concept works, Spaghnum:
Looks gross, right? It's a fantastic moss that holds moisture really really well and also provides a great porous structure that's ideal for succulents to grow their roots. This website also taught me that succulents take root and grow better if you let your cuttings dry for a few days till the bottom gets a little scab. This probably explains why the succulents from my bouquet are growing so well; I didn't get a chance to take them from the bouquet and replant them until a few days after the wedding.

ANYway, so I'm super super psyched about doing this project, either with a pallet or a wreath, I have some great succulents from CA now to add, plus I found this awesome website that sells every type of succulent I'd have ever thought of:
These are just a few of my favorite things!! From GoSucculent. Best of all, they offer a 100 cuttings box for $50. I don't know if I need 100, but you can't beat the price, since if I just bought the above plants individually, it would cost about $100 (yeah, $100, for 20 plants... plus I don't even wanna' think about the shipping... plus that's 20 pots... just, I don't need all that).

So how 'bout the rest? Get wire frames from Amazon or Topiary Art Works:
Get spaghnum moss from Amazon or Topiary Art Works:
I have no idea how much I'll need yet, I'll keep you posted on that. I will be sure to let everyone in on the progress. I am so super excited about this project. I done my research! The only problem might end up being going a little crazy; why stop with a wreath? Why not do a shadow box filled with succulents for the bathroom? And a wall hanging in the living room? And a succulent centerpiece for the dining room table?? Window boxes to brighten up the kitchen??? And I've got a great bay window now so the seat will need to be decorated! EEeee!!

I'm sad we still have a month till move-in, but hey, we're half way there! So I'll be back with pictures of my new succulents from CA.

Until then, anyone with other cool DIY ideas for decorating my new house, I'd be happy to entertain and post about any new ideas. Just know that I subscribe to Design*Sponge and How About Orange; I'd be happy to hear about any other great DIY blogs that you guys follow too!

Thursday, April 26, 2012


Yeah, I know! It's been, like... forever! Right?! Well, I been busy!! Just kidding, I mean, I have been busy, but I mean I'm kidding 'bout getting angry with you for questioning me. I just came back from a conference in California. Luckily, it has not made me renounce the East Coast, that'll just never happen. I was with my buddy Emily though who is from the West Coast of Canada and it made her homesick for the West Coast, and she was all trying to push her 'West Coast is better' beliefs on me.

Bah!! I say BAH to that! (I'm kidding of course, she is too nice to push her beliefs on anyone)

Anyway, it was foggy and chilly in the mornings and then the sun burned off the fog and it was gorgeous. but East Coast (Mid Atlantic to be exact!) wine is better than CA wines... (how many readers did I just lose?) And I prefer to watch sunrises.

OK, now that my foot is firmly lodged in my mouth, wanna' see pictures??? Of course you do!
Our hotel was right on the state park/beach in Monterey, CA. These are the morning shots, foggy, chilly, but we still had to enjoy the beach a little.
The sand was fantastic! Super fine and warm and white.
Emily being goofy...
Ashley following suit.
The water was also surprisingly gorgeous. I told Emily I still love my brown, murky Atlantic :)

Ending the morning the way it's supposed to be ended ;)
This area had some amazingly dazzling trees.
It has those trees with the fuzzy stuff hanging off it... that's as eloquent as I can be about that.
Fuzzy trees, and sweet rustic road signs. Also, the only other thing that makes me jealous of these amazing year-round great temps; succulents just growing everywhere!

 Succulent bushes!↑ Someone's succulent garden ↓
One of my favorite pictures ↓ Not sure what happened to this poor cypress tree, but some pretty crazy force bent its two largest branches at almost 90 degrees. It looked unreal.

 So I had to come back to the beach and take sunny pictures as well :)
 Pretty sick, right?
OK, so one afternoon, we all went on a tour of 17 mile drive, a famous trek through Monterey that follows the coast of Monterey Bay and has all sorts of great little monuments. The one below is not a good example but way back in the background is Bird Rock.
There were some fantabulous beaches where seal pupping happens, and the seals are very well protected by the state while they pup, so that we as fur seal lovers can continue to go 'Awwwwwwwww!!!!' at fur seal pups for years to come.
So as a result, this is sometimes the only types of pictures I could take of some of the beaches:
Still pretty heavenly...
This is the Lone Cypress. No, not the huge impressive one in the forefront, the lonely one in the background on a cliff all by itself. It's been there for about 250 years! That's what's supposed to be impressive about it, because as far as looks go, I saw a hell of a lot of cool, impressive-looking cypress trees in Monterey, but this is one of the only ones that's been around for forever.
Tons and tons of scary/awesome cliffs with smooth, pretty rocks, wind-beaten trees, and succulents and moss growing all throughout the cracks. And of course the Pacific lookin' pretty.
My phone died before I got a good picture but behind these live trees is the Ghost Tree:
I was so upset that I didn't get a good picture of it, I got a stock photo because you have to see it:

There's controversy over which one is actually considered the Ghost Tree, that tall one in the front, or that little bent one on the right in the background. The tall one is my favorite though. These trees have been so weather-beaten that they lost all their bark and leaves and branches. They look creepy but awesome.

What's amazing is that these cypress trees seem to grow best in this salty sea air and soil but they also get warped and look crazier than any other tree I've ever seen. They were everywhere so I had plenty of 'wow!' moments.

Finally, our last evening, we had a gala dinner at the Monterey Aquarium. Now, I don't know how I keep managing to go cool places with an almost dead phone, but I only had enough battery for a few pictures, and this guy was my favorite.

We caught this octopus in a rare active state, he climbed all over the place, and we caught him on film!
I loved this Aquarium, it was featuring jellyfish, and behind glass, I looooove looking at jellyfish.

(Yeah, that's not my picture) They also had awesome hammerhead sharks and otters (buggers were sleeping the whole time we were there :( ) and a huge 'please touch' area where we played with manta rays and starfish and little sharks. oh, and abalone!
This isn't a great picture but I wanted to impress how big they are. They basically look like a cross between a snail and a clam (because they have more clam-like shells but only on the top of their bodies, the bottom is a big sucker that they slither around with like a snail), and they can be about a foot long! Their shells are gorgeous like oyster or mussel shells on the inside, only gorgeous-er!
Anyway, they liked to sucker to our fingers, they were awesome. So I also did a lot of work and networking and listening to lectures while in CA, but that's the boring part not worth talking about. We're still on track for moving into our new house, inspections and haggling over fixing stuff is done, we're just patiently waiting now for the end of May!

Meanwhile, I still have no word on whether or not I've got a job after grad school and thank you notes are still not done! Lots to do, but I'll be around!

Friday, April 13, 2012


I just got an e-mail from my photog who said that not only is he submitting our wedding to Philadelphia Magazine (I'm gonna' buy a million copies!), but he also got wind that our wedding would be posted on a blog. Now, I already told you that The Knotty Bride is, at some point... eventually... I'm sure she's going to post our wedding, but he said 'no, this was some other blog.' So I went there this morning and sure enough, THERE IT WAS! Pretty crazy no??
Shut up, Ryan! It was a very unexpected surprise. Now, I have no idea how they got wind of it and that weirds me out a bit, but it's cool, nonetheless. I just hope it gets Ben some cred.

After attending our wedding, our DJ's wife, my awesome friend Julie, told her friend who is getting married soon how awesome he was and Julie's friend booked him! I joked with Ben that I got him the business and he said now he expects a certain number of clients from me every year (I think it was seven :)). That's why I cannot wait for the TKB post! Because she has a much wider audience, mostly in the Midatlantic area.

Speaking of Philly, I walked home from work yesterday and got inspired to take some pictures of the things I'll miss most about Southwest Philly when we move out of the city. I wanted to share them with you:
I'd love to know what this used to be, it's obviously been abandoned for quite some time and is hiding under an abandoned building. I love it.
My camera, auto-focusing.
This is just a different angle, there's a whole huge machine under here. No idea what it was or why it's still just taking up space down there.
Isn't this a fabulous backdrop?! I know it's not some people's cup o' tea, but I think it's gritty and fantastic.
This is my favorite building in the whole city. This building is why I originally wanted a warehouse wedding (but I would never have been able to find one that was suitable or not condemned and I knew Kyle would never go for it and it was just going to be logistically impossible... so I never even blogged about it. Kyle and I aren't badass enough anyway, well, maybe he is, but I'd never be able to fake it for a whole day.)
This 'structure' is part of the Crescent Iron Works factory. The company is still functional but not this part of it. My favorite thing about Southwest Philly is they're masters of having functioning businesses right next to abandoned, broken down... things. The above image, the abandoned building with the ivy growing all over it; that building is right next to the place where they keep the garbage trucks. Like, literally in the same lot. It's like they just let that old abandoned warehouse sit there in their parking lot like an old beat up pick-up truck on blocks.
Here's another example. I have no idea if this building gets used. I never see anyone in it, it looks like it's in a pretty advanced state of disrepair... who knows?! It's cool looking though.

So my favorite favorite spot in all Southwest Philly was recently finally cleared and cleaned up before I got the brilliant idea to photograph it, so, that was a huge shame. It was this horrible broken down brick structure with all different types and colors of graffiti all over it. Between the trash and the big chunks of building littering the structure, it was a mother's nightmare, which is probably why they finally took it down, but I loved looking at it.
(Sorry, I could not help myself!) Oh well. Hopefully these other random awesome structures will be around for weirdos like me to continue appreciating.

I think I came to a decision too as to what this blog will continue to be now that the wedding is over. You all know that DIY was a huge part of the wedding and so DIY will continue to be a recurring theme now that we're moving into our very own home. So if it's your thing, you can look forward to all the projects I keep wanting to steal off Design*Sponge ;) I guess you can classify that as lifestyle, because I'm sure I'll also be posting recipes stolen from Smitten Kitchen and hopefully one day baby ideas off whatever blogs talk about babies. I've been spending [way too much] time on Pinteret so I'm sure it will be a whole lot o' Pinteresting stuff. Thanks for stickin' around!