Thursday, March 28, 2013

Project Spotlight: Cobblestone Project Farm

This morning I visited an elementary school in our district to meet a reporter for a pretty cool feature.  This particular elementary just built their very own community garden, and the students involved are anxiously awaiting for a variety of veggies and wildflowers to pop up.  If and when they do, the fifth graders are going to pitch a big ol' tent and host a farmers market right outside of the school--so incredible!  Most of the produce, however, will be given away to the families of the children working the garden, many of which are underprivileged and may be unable to afford fresh produce otherwise.  These kids aren't just learning the life cycle of plants in the confines of their science classrooms; they're taking their knowledge outside and harvesting it into something they can see and take pride in.  I am in awe of what the schools are doing in my district on a regular basis, but today's visit stuck with me for a different reason.

When I talked to the teacher who spearheaded the garden project, she credited several organizations for sponsoring her vision into a reality.  One of those organizations was the Cobblestone Project, which she credited for donating most of the seeds.

"The Farm is designed to use sustainable agriculture to help the under resourced in our community by focusing on four strategic pillars: Economic Development, Education, Hunger Relief and Community," according to the Cobblestone Project.

I got so excited when she mentioned Cobblestone, because it just so happens to be one of the projects Daniel and I are hoping you'll help us fund through our Pure Charity fundraiser.  And today I was able to see firsthand how the project is serving the community.  They're not only allowing people (elementary children, even!) to be a part of something bigger than themselves, but feeding their physical hunger needs as well.

I had already planned on highlighting Cobblestone in today's post before my assignment this morning, which is kind of funny.  The project only has 13 days left to get funded, and is only about a third of the way complete.  I know a lot of you have hearts for feeing the hungry, and many of you have a huge specific passion for farming and fresh food.  This is a great way to allow others to get involved in the farming community, as well as a fantastic start to ending hunger, right in our backyard.  

If you'd like to donate to the Cobblestone Project Farm, visit and click "BACK THIS FUNDRAISER."  Type in your dollar amount (you can give as little as FIVE DOLLARS!), and then click "If you would like to fund individual projects within this fundraiser click here."  Put your dollar amount in the box beside the Cobblestone Project and click continue.  

It's completely free to set up a Pure Charity account, and you can do so through Facebook.  Pure Charity is going to change the face of giving and generosity, starting with our generation.  Join us in being a part of it!

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Wedding Inspiration: Bridesmaids (Pt. 1)

"What are your colors?"  was not a question I anticipated right after I got engaged.  But it seemed to follow, "Have you set a date?" almost every time someone congratulated me.  "Umm...all the fall colors?" was my unprepared answer.  It's still kind of my answer.

Mustard yellow, mint green, wine red, burnt orange, charcoal gray--all colors I seriously considered for my bridesmaids' dresses.  I even considered having all of them wear a different color.  Then I thought, "They could be my 'something blue!'"  Then I thought, "Blue is not really a fall color, Jordan."  Then I thought, "Nataley could be my something blue and the others could wear fall colors!" Then I thought, "That would look silly, Jordan."  

I think I sent Nataley about 300 different dresses over Facebook.  Now, if you don't know me well, I should clarify something for you: I LOVE DRESSES.  I mean, seriously, I REALLY LOVE DRESSES.  They are pretty much my only temptation while out shopping--I have more dresses than I have nice shirts.  I've felt a bit convicted about my obsession over the past couple of years, so I've cut my collection in half several times.  But I still find the right dress so fun and feminine and comfortable, so I was entirely too excited to help pick out some cute little numbers for my best girls.

I knew immediately I didn't want to have matching bridesmaids' dresses for our lake wedding.  We hope to create a very comfortable, laid back vibe for our day, and matching dresses from a bridal shop just weren't going to do.  

After choosing about twenty dress options for each color scheme I considered, I realized how badly I wanted to highlight every beautiful fall color--I couldn't pick just one.  I began to think more about decor ideas, including the (hopefully gorgeous) trees outside and wildflowers, like the ones I posted last week.  I realized the best way to highlight my favorite fall colors would be to completely contrast them. After realizing my white dress would do so beautifully, I began looking at dresses in the white/cream/beige family.  Ding ding ding--I found the winners!  (The photos below are not of my bridesmaids, but the color scheme is similar.)

Pretty pretties! And yay wildflowers!

Neutrals are so pretty in natural light.

Love the dress on the left. I also considered mixing in some floral ^^, but decided against it for fall.

I began looking for neutral, flowy dresses at all of my favorite online stores--mostly Urban Outfitters and Modcloth --which happen to be partners with Pure Charity.  My girls were able to purchase their dresses through the rewards network and receive money back to donate to our projects! Hooray!

I obviously wanted the dresses to work together, but I also definitely wanted my best friends to feel beautiful and love what they were wearing.  I gave them each several options within the color scheme and relaxed, flowy style, but with different strap options and cuts so they could pick something they thought would fit their bodies well.  Here are some of the options I gave them:








I hope you're all having a wonderful week!  I think Daniel is narrowing down shirts for his groomsmen today, so I'll probably post on that next Wednesday :)

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Planning Progress: The Dress[es]

So, somehow I've ended up with two wedding dresses in the midst of planning our very small budget wedding.  I know, but before you get angry and stop reading, hear me out.

It's possible to find a pretty wedding dress for less than you think.

It's also possible to find more than one pretty wedding dress for less than you think.

My original dress budget was $250.  I spent $180 total on these dresses combined, and I'm not keeping both of them--I intend to sell the first one for the amount I purchased it, at least.  It's an absolutely beautiful dress from the 1970s in mint condition.  I purchased it for $110.

 Isn't it lovely? And guess where I bought it?  Dun dun dun...EBAY.  I spent hours on Etsy admiring their collection of vintage dresses, and I decided to compare their secondhand prices to those of other online sellers.  I had never purchased anything from Ebay, so I made sure the sellers I considered had strong, realistic reviews.  After two weeks of following the bidding on this dress, I decided to go for it.

I was sure this was my dress for several weeks after I got it in the mail.  I purchased it knowing it would be too small around my back, but had intentions to alter the cut of the back anyway.  I took it home to show my Matron of Honor, Nataley, who was graciously willing to try her hand at the alterations herself.  She's great with that kind of stuff, but I could tell she was a bit nervous about the pressure of tearing apart a wedding dress.  I felt pretty relaxed about the idea, but started looking to see if I could find anything else I loved in my size.  Back to Etsy I went, because I still felt a little zing of pride when thinking about telling people I bought my wedding dress on Ebay--I know several of my loved ones may not approve.  

I found several dresses I really liked, but the prices just weren't going to work.

There were a lotttt more, but they've sold since then.  And although these are still considered very affordable wedding dress options, I wasn't willing to go over the budget.  And I'm not saying there aren't cheaper options on Etsy, there definitely are, I was just too anxious to wait for a dress I absolutely loved to pop up.  So back to Ebay I went.

...And I found my dress! This one I'm keeping--I'm done looking.  It fits perfectly, length and everything, which is crazy considering I'm on the shorter side (5'2)!

I'm obviously not going to post a photo of the entire dress on here, because Daniel is a sweet man and reads what I write.  We may not be doing a completely traditional wedding, but I still don't want him to see my dress beforehand.  But here's a little sneak:

I love it! :) was only $70.  And the woman who sold it to me seemed very sweet and a bit sad to part with it, but I'm so happy she did!  It'll accumulate more happy memories, and I can't wait to wear it for my man!

I feel like I should feel a bit strange about not going to a bridal boutique to try on dresses, but I'm not terribly upset about missing that whole experience.  I didn't want to try on dresses that were completely out of the question with how we're doing our wedding--I didn't want to fall in love with "the dress" I would never have.  I was able to look through thousands of dresses online and not get talked into wavering on my budget.  I was still able to buy and try on my two favorite dresses and make a decision from there without overspending.  And after I sell the first dress, I'll be way under budget so we can hopefully donate the rest of my dress money to our Pure Charity projects!  Hooray!

I'll leave you with the first photo we've seen from our engagement shoot last weekend.  I'll do a full post on our experience with Kinsey in a week or two, but I am just thrilled and excited to get this little peek into what she captured.  She is a fantastic photographer, and even more importantly, a beautiful person--we had the best time hanging out with her!

Monday, March 25, 2013

Wedding Music Monday: That's What's Up

"That's What's Up," Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros

I'll be the church, you be the steeple.
You be the king, I'll be the people.

While I was feeling such a mess, I thought you'd leave me behind.

While I was being such a wreck, I thought you'd treat me unkind.
But you helped me change my mind.

I'll be the sun, you be the shining.
You be the clock, I'll be the timing.

While I was feeling such a mess, I thought you'd leave me behind.

While I was feeling so upset, I thought the sun never shine.

Then I found forever
Hey, hey love! 

We've been best friends forever, darling.

That's what's up! 

No matter what! 
You've got my love to lean on, darling.
That's what's up! 
You've got my love to lean on, darling.
No matter what

You be the book, I'll be the binding.
You be the words, I'll be the rhyming.
While I was feeling such a wreck, I thought of losing my mind.
While I was feeling such a mess, I thought the sun never'd shine.

You be the bird, I'll be the feather.
We'll be the best of friends forever.
While I was feeling such a mess I thought you'd leave me behind.
When I was feeling such a wreck, I thought you'd treat me unkind.

Then I found

Forever and always! 

You've got my love to lean on, darling

All the days! 
Come with me! 
You've got my love to lean on, darling.
All the days! 

You've got my love to lean on darling.
All the days
All of our days

Love is our shelter.

Love is our cause.

Love goes on forever.
Yeah, love will leads us all.
Love, it is our honor.
Love, it is our all.
Love goes on forever.
Yeah, love it is our home.

Oh yeah! 
Yeah that's what's up! 
Oh yeah! 
That's what's up! 
Yeah that's what's up!

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Thrifting in Tulsa

I love digging through thrift stores.  Some of my close friends have called thrifting “stressful,” and I can understand—it is kind of chaotic.  Many flea market style shops are organized by booth, not type of item, so you sometimes have to look through everything to find what you’re looking for, but I love the search.  It’s kind of therapeutic for me.

Yesterday I mentioned visiting River City Trading Post in Jenks, Oklahoma.  I didn’t go in looking for any one particular item, but with my overall wedding theme in mind.  I’m trying extremely hard not to look for cute odds and ends for my future home with Daniel yet, but it can be tough.  We just started looking together a couple of weeks ago, and I can’t wait to make some place cozy with him!  We don’t need a whole lot—I have our furniture necessities and all that because I’ve lived on my own for over a year now—but it’s fun to find items for a few dollars that really fit our personalities to make our space OUR SPACE.

I consider yesterday’s trip a success!  I spent $14 on four items—three for the wedding and one for our future home.

$3 guestbook possibility! Would work well with something I'm considering involving guest photos.

$7 guestbook possibility--love the front!

$2 for two frames!

$2--for keys and such.  I've seen stuff like this on Etsy for wayyy more.

I'm excited about my purchases!  

I took a few photos of other inexpensive rustic/vintage items to show you all how worth your time thrifting is for your wedding.

Vintage tins

Milk glass--I purchased several pieces from here earlier on in our engagement

BIG baskets (there were smaller ones, too, and all shapes and sizes) for $1 a piece. I love baskets.

I'll leave you with a new-ish thrifting find I bought for our home a few weeks ago at one of my favorite Fayetteville shops.  Happy Palm Sunday, everyone!

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Shoe Shopping

Today was a very gloomy, wet Saturday in Tulsa.  I stayed in bed a little too late for the sake of avoiding the rain as long as possible.  When I got up, I went to TJ Maxx to return an impulse purchase I made last night--matching silk robes for my bridesmaids.  Not my style at all.  My intention last night was to see if a rug I fell in love with several days ago was still there, and when it wasn't, I started wandering around--never a good idea when I have my mind made up on spending money on something.

After returning the robes, I headed out to Jenks to walk through one of my favorite thrift spots, River City Trading Post, and I ended up finding a few very cute, very cheap things I'm pretty excited about.  More on today's River City trip in tomorrow's post!

The first photo above was taken during my last stop of the day.  Nataley and I braved the mall crowd to look for bridesmaids' shoe ideas (Isn't her dress adorable?).  All four girls are wearing different dresses, so they'll wear different shoes, too.  But, we're having a hard time narrowing down a color and type of shoe for the dress color, style, and season.  We entertained the idea of Nat wearing a little glitter as my Matron of Honor.

I head back to Fayetteville early in the morning, and the weatherman is saying snow might just accompany me during the drive.  It's supposed to be spring! I can't wait to get back and serve in the preschool tomorrow morning and then partake in the Lord's Supper with my church family tomorrow evening, but leaving my childhood home is always tough (and sometimes way too emotional!).  Sweet dreams!

Friday, March 22, 2013

DIY: Bridesmaids' Gifts and Wedding Workouts

I love gifting--few things make me more excited than finding a really awesome little something for one of my favorite people.  I especially love finding or making a gift my friend or family member doesn't even know they want, but will absolutely love once they see it.  My goal for birthdays and holidays is always to find or create such a gift.  

Honestly, many of my attempts to go out and get decor inspiration have resulted in purchasing another this or that for the lovely women who will stand next to me as I step into marriage.  I have quite a few ideas, and I'm fighting the urge to try and make them all happen within our budget.  I know my girls don't expect anything from me but friendship, but I want to do everything I can to thank them in a somewhat tangible way when I have the chance.  

I don't want to completely spoil all of their gifts, especially seven months from the wedding, but I'll hint at a few of them on my DIY posts.  I haven't done a whole lot of crafting decor yet--none at all, actually.  But I have done a little gift-making.  Here's a hint at what I worked on this afternoon:

Wooden hangers come in packs of five at Target.  I have four bridesmaids, so one pack is perfect for the group of us!

Something else I've been working on (for many years now, but with added motivation with a wedding and marriage coming up!) is getting in shape and finding new, exciting ways to work out and challenge my body.  I've exercised my right to half price or free first month trials at several gyms and yoga studios, but haven't found it in myself to sign a contract and pay a monthly membership fee.  Therefore I've had to learn to be creative in designing my daily workout.  I don't like doing the same exact thing every day, but I like having a routine of when and about how much time I dedicate to working out on a daily basis.  In November I purchased Jillian Michaels' 30 Day Shred DVD at Walmart for $9 and, by the grace of God, finished the month without skipping a single day.  I got in the habit of waking up a little earlier to complete the 20 minute workouts before my morning shower, and after a week of doing so, I really loved getting my blood moving before work--it gave me way more energy for the day.  

Since then, I've continued rising a little early to do a 10-15 minute circuit or yoga sequence before I get ready.  After sitting at work all day, I'm ready to move again, so I take Penny on a run for a bit when I get home.  If it's raining or just way too miserably cold, I turn on some hip hop and dance like a crazy person for half an hour.  Then I like to target a specific part of my body with some muscle toning work.   A couple of months ago I found a Youtube channel of awesome 10, 20, and 40 minute workout videos for every target area and level of intensity--Fitsugar.

Most of these workouts require five and three pound free weights and a few ask for kettle balls, but there are a couple of awesome equipment-free videos, too.  Since I'm in Tulsa staying at my dad's house this weekend and didn't think to pack my weights, I did the video below twice after my run today.  I definitely recommend it!

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Throwback Thursday: Halloween

Tyler (Daniel's little brother) and Daniel

Me, apparently thinking I'm pretty cute

Daniel and me on our first Halloween together.
I spent entirely too long on those peacock tail things.

  My favorite picture from that weekend--it was one of
my first visits to Fayetteville after we started dating.  We
were falling in love then, but I was also falling in love with
the trees in Fay.  They are so incredible!

I realize Halloween is a strange throwback to start with, but we won't have a Halloween during our engagement.  We'll actually be on our honeymoon during Halloween this year.  I really love researching and trying to come up with a creative, affordable costume, and Daniel is a good sport when it comes to wearing whatever I make.  I luh him.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Wedding Inspiration: Wildflowers

I love an unkempt bouquet--one that looks as if you may have just picked the flowers from the ground yourself.  I actually considered attempting to do so for my wedding, but was talked out of it by several more level-headed people.  There are pretty yellow, red, white, and purple wildflowers that grow all along the Ozarks in the fall, but counting on them to do so is a little risky.  So I've done quite a bit of research on the cost of flowers at local shops and elsewhere.  I've come to find that slapping the word "wedding" on a bouquet makes it much more expensive.  The best option (not just because it's the cheapest, but because I really do want to arrange the flowers myself) as of now looks like Sam's Club.  They have bulk and bundle options that should fulfill all of my flower needs within my budget, according to reviews.

^^ I like the wildflower/filler flower look for the majority of a bouquet.

However, I do prefer the idea of supporting a local business.  I'm considering taking our fundraiser details and these quotes from Sam's Club to a few local shops and seeing what I can get within my budget.  And maybe I'll mix and match from several places, I'm not sure yet.  I also plan to dry some flowers for a few DIY decor projects--sneak peek at those to come.

Anyway, I really wanted to share some lovely bouquets I've saved as inspiration.  I hope just looking at the pictures makes you experience a bit of the joy I feel in the presence of wildflowers.  I collect as many handfuls as I can and fill my apartment with them in the warmer months.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Planning Progress: The Venue

Although I'm almost three months late in creating this blog (I can't believe we've been engaged for almost three months!), I want to fulfill my promise to those of you who have asked me, "How in the world are you going to pull off a wedding for under $2,000?"

I have had moments of doubt, for sure.  But, as we dive deeper into the planning process, I believe it's completely doable.  And not just doable, but I really think we're going to have our beautiful dream wedding and not have to do a whole lot of sacrificing things we really wanted to be a part of our day.  AND we get to bless the talented people we love by allowing them to bless us and all you wonderful people with their gifts.  Eeeek.  I'm excited.

I guess I should pause to explain a few things, in case there is anyone reading who isn't familiar with what Daniel and I are called to do with this whole wedding business.  For an extensive explanation, go here:

Anyway, I still can't believe I get to marry Daniel Rock AND be a part of something like this.  Ahhh! I'm in an overwhelmingly wonderful place in life today, and I'm so thankful so many people want to join me in it.  You all are great, for real.

I suppose I should land on a topic for today.  For now, I plan to post a planning progress update once a week or so.  I feel like this would be a good place to start in answering the "How in the world...?" question, so here we go!

Drumroll...the gorgeous venue!  We will exchange vows in this lovely little lodge on Lake Wedington in Fayetteville, Arkansas.

Booking the venue was the very first thing we did when we got engaged.  We actually spent a day exploring and taking photos out here last fall and knew then we wanted to get married here.  But, we weren't engaged yet. Luckily, our date was still available (you can book a year out) after Daniel popped the question in December.  Here's us on the day we visited the lake:

^^Good lookin' man, right there.

Ignore my face.  I was excited, I promise.

Andddd there's an adorable little boat dock right behind the lodge.  I'm daydreaming of all the photos we'll take out there.

:)  The lodge really is perfect for us.  I grew up spending every possible minute on the lake with my family, and Daniel and I love exploring places like this together.  And in the fall, surrounded by all the colors on the trees...ahhh.  This is the kind of venue we would swoon over, no matter the cost.  So, you can imagine our shock and my weird squeals of excitement when we found out it's only $150 for the entire day.  Eek!  

We will have the ceremony AND reception in and around the lodge, which will not only eliminate the cost of a second venue, but also extra travel for our lovely guests.  We hope to be dancing and hugging our loved ones very quickly after we say, "I do!"

Now let's pray for safe travel and pretty trees!