Monday, May 20, 2019

Our Family Traveling Letter

Hello everyone!
A few years ago my grandpa started a family traveling letter.
What is a family traveling letter, you might ask?
I'll tell you. 
But first, let's talk about the man who started it all. 
My grandpa 
He isn't like a regular grandpa.
He's a cool grandpa. 
He is very technologically savvy and even runs his own blog.
He uses his tech savviness for his favorite hobby Genealogy. 
He loves to figure out family history and keep track of ours currently.
Enter the family traveling letter.

He first sent the letter to my mom in June of 2015.
The instructions: write something, anything and pass it on to another family member. 
Once you receive the letter you choose someone else in the family to send it on to. 
Siblings, cousins, aunts, grandparents, etc.
Since its start, (almost four years ago!) it has been through so many hands and it is a lot of fun to read.

Erik just received it and decided to pass it on to me.
I feel like it is kind of a cop-out to send it to your wife but, I'll accept it. 😉
Erik's letter was very sweet and I wanted to share it here with you.
Not because I want to toot my own horn but, I want to show you a little more about our relationship from his point of view.
So, here it is:

While reading Grandpa Baldwin's letter, I was inspired to break the mold a little bit. According to the traveling letter rules, I can write about anything I want. So rather than write to Autumn, I've decided that I want to write a spotlight about her. As embarrassed as she will be it's my turn on the platform and this is what I want to do with it!
I met Autumn way back in the fifth grade. She had moved to my Elementary School, go Bobcats! At the time, I didn't really pay her much mind (or any girl for that matter, they had cooties). As we grew a little older and moved to Junior High she sat in front of me during Social Studies, and let's face it, I started to socially study her instead! Looking back the thing I most remember about her was her laugh. It was, and still is, one of the most beautiful sounds in the world. Well, time moved on like it does, and before I knew it, I was smitten. I knew that Autumn was something special and I didn't want to ever let her go. We grew together in a way that not many people can say they did.
I feel so blessed that I got to see her turn into the amazing woman that she is. Having shared about half of my life with her, I can now say with absolute certainty that she is the most selfless person in my life. Who among us can't think of an act of kindness that Autumn has done for us? How many brilliant parties has she helped plan, or incredibly thought out gifts has she given? How many times has she been the shoulder to cry on, the one to organize events, the emergency babysitter? The most amazing thing is that she does it happily without any expectation of anything in return. I get to see these things from behind the curtain and I believe that most people do not see the hours that go into these acts of kindness. Honestly, she doesn't care for the recognition for these acts, but I think that she deserves to know how much we all appreciate everything she does for us; I know I don't tell her enough!
She is also unbelievably strong. As most people know, for the first years of our married lives I went to work full time and went to classes at night. During these times she would take care of the house, prepare hot meals for me when I got home, take care of our sick dog, pick me up from the TRAX station whenever we were down to one car, and that is just the tip of the iceberg! Her ability to persevere through the many hardships that we have had is simply incredible. In her words, we just have to keep moving forward. She will forever be an inspiration for me to keep moving forward in this world, despite any obstacles that come our way. I know that she will forever be at my side helping me push through the struggles and be a crutch for me whenever I stumble. I would never have graduated without her constantly encouraging me to keep going. Her work ethic is unmatched, to the point where old bosses of hers are constantly trying to get her to come back to work for them. She has a work policy of doing things right the first time and then going beyond that.
If you aren't excited for holidays and parties now, just spend a week with Autumn. Before you know it, you will be making Punxsutawney pancakes for Groundhog Day. Suddenly a boring Thursday night becomes a Star Wars party for May the Fourth, or doughnuts will be warming in the oven for national doughnut day. Life is worth celebrating with her, and she makes it a life worth looking forward to. For each Valentine's Day, she has given me 14 days of it, featuring a unique pun and gift every day leading up to the holiday. She loves to have fun and it becomes so contagious that you cannot help but join in the celebrations.
She has a unique ability to make the world more beautiful wherever she goes. I don't know how she does it, but she has an eye for what things could become and then makes it. Her creativity has me constantly coming to her for advice on my own work and how I can make it better. I believe that all of us have enjoyed looking through her blog, or watching her videos and being able to see the world the way she does. She breathes life into our house and makes it a home worth coming home to. She has told me that she doesn't put anything in the world that she isn't proud of and I believe it. Everything she does is worth appreciating and admiring.
I will always look forward to sitting down to a meal with her, or going for a walk with her because I know that I get to discover a little more about her each time. She has the most intricate thoughts and opinions that I can't help but agree with. As time goes on, I feel an initmacy and connection to her grow. There isn't anyone quite like her, and I am the luckiest man in the world to have her all to myself. I am excited to see the future with her and what she is able to do with it because I know it will be great.

I feel so lucky to be married to Erik.
He is such a sweet, patient, hardworking man.
I am grateful for our relationship and all the time we have had together. 
My hope in sharing this is to encourage those who are still looking for their significant other to find someone like Erik.
Someone who you can have an equal, respectful and loving relationship with.
He is my rock and I am so grateful for him.
I am also so grateful for my grandpa and the time and effort he has put into documenting our lives.
I am grateful for the knowledge he has gathered and shared with us.
I think I inherited my love of documenting from him!
I am also grateful for the opportunity he has given us to share our thoughts and feelings with each other with this family traveling letter.

We are all so busy with our own lives, it's nice to take a moment to stop and put our thoughts into words and to have a physical copy to look back on for years to come.
What is something unique you and your family do?

All my love,

Friday, May 17, 2019

Erik's Graduation Party

Hello everyone!
Last Friday we had a little get together to celebrate Erik's graduation.
We invited a small group of friends and family to join us for dessert.
Today I am going to give you all the deets about the event because your girl loves a good party...

The Invitations
Erik is a simple man, so we went with simple invitations.
For the announcements, we did a black background with white font and on the reverse side a picture of Erik.
We took the picture of Erik in front of the brick on our house because I thought it would give that school vibe.
We ain't fancy...
We sent out announcements to all of Erik's family members and inserted a separate invitation to the Open House to our immediate family and friends.
The invitation was also a black background with white font. 

The Food
When we originally started planning this party we were bouncing around the idea of getting a food truck.
Further into planning, Erik asked if we could just do dessert.
Erik has a wicked sweet tooth...
Since this was his party I wanted it to be all about him so, dessert it was.
We went with his three favorites: root beer floats, cheesecake and donuts.

I wasn't sure how to serve root beer floats to a crowd...
I decided to fill a galvanized tub with ice and place mason jars full of vanilla ice cream in it.

To the side were cans of root beer for guests to pour over the ice cream or to enjoy on their own.

For the cheesecake, we went with a variety of mini's: original, chocolate chip and strawberry.
I used three sizes of cake stands to display them.
I placed the largest in the back, the next largest to the side and the smallest in the front.
To make them fit in with the theme we inserted graduation cupcake toppers into a few.

We displayed the donuts on the donut wall I made last year.
We had a variety of flavors for people to choose from.
Glazed, chocolate and maple.

I decided to add in some cookies as well, just in case.
We placed the cookies in glass jars and had little chalkboards in front of them telling the guests which flavor they were.
We had chocolate chip, white chocolate macadamia nut and my grandma's famous sugar cookies which we added a few sprinkles to.

The Decor
I knew I wanted to keep it pretty simple for decorations as it was just an Open House.
The theme and color scheme picked themselves.
Theme: Graduation
Colors: Red, Black and White with a hint of Gold to match the University he graduated from. 
I thought that a few school elements would be a nice touch.
We had a globe, chalkboards, kraft paper and a letter board.
When you first entered the room, there was a decorated wall straight ahead of you.
Erik was going to stand there to welcome and direct the guests but it was a very casual event so he ended up walking around for most of the time.
It made for some cute pictures though!
I placed two gold fringe curtains on the wall and hung a balloon arch over it in the University's colors.

To the left of the wall was our welcome table.

On the left, we had a globe for guests to sign as our guest book. 

In the center was a picture of Erik along with his diploma 

On the right, was a graduation cap-shaped box for cards and a jar for people who were feeling generous to donate some mula to Erik's Student Loan Fund. 
We also had room on the table for guests to place presents if they brought them.

To the right of the tassel wall, we had the main dessert table.
It had the cookies, donuts and cheesecake on it. 
We also had plates, napkins and silverware for guests to help themselves to the treats. 

All of the tables were covered in kraft paper. 
We had four tables for guests to sit at on either side of the path from the entrance to the tassel wall.
Two on one side, and two on the other. 
The tables were a little plain with just the kraft paper so we added some graduation themed confetti to the center of the tables to liven them up. 

The refreshment station was to the right of the dessert table. 
I hung a gold tassel banner above it to make it more festive.

I also added a mason jar full of wooden spoons and a milk bottle full of colorful paper straws next to the galvanized tub for the guests to use with their root beer floats. 

The Activities
I always like to have a few activities for guests to do at an event.
Eating and socializing are usually a given but, you need something else for when there is a lull or for those who have trouble socializing. (Me!)
I always like to include something for guests to sign, like our globe at the welcome table.

We also had Erik's Demo Reel playing on a TV in front of the tables.
Guests watched it while they ate and socialized. 
It showed all of the projects Erik has been working on since he graduated in December.

The Favors
For every event, I like to include favors.
Nothing super detailed or fancy, just a little something that says thank you for giving up your time to spend it with us.
I set up a small table next to the door so guests could grab one as they left.
On the table was a letterboard that said, "Thank you for coming."

Underneath the letterboard were little boxes decorated like graduation caps.
Inside was a bit of shredded paper and some mini sized candy bars for the guests to enjoy on the way home. 

I love to plan and host events.
One of my dreams is to one day have a nice house, large enough to fit a group of people comfortably and to host events all the time.
Weekend brunches, summer barbecues, televised events.
You name it, we gonna host an event for it.
I want to create a safe place where people know they are always welcome and can come enjoy a good time.
Until then I will post our simple day to day celebrations here.
What is one of your dreams?

All my love,

Monday, May 13, 2019

Disneybounding At Aladdin | 26 For 26

Hello everyone!
Over the weekend Erik and I saw an off-Broadway production of Aladdin.
It was the first time either of us had seen it and I thought it would be the perfect time to cross an item off my 26 for 26 list, Disneybounding!

Disneybounding is a more subtle way of dressing up as a Disney character.
Adults are not allowed to dress up as characters in Disney Parks as it could confuse children.
Disneybounding was created as a way to channel a character through everyday apparel.
But, you don't have to be in the Disney Parks to Disneybound.
People do it every day just to add some fun into their lives.
I thought dressing up for the play would be a great option for our first time.
I considered items I already had in my closet and decided to dress up as Genie.

I chose a pair of dark denim jeans and a jean jacket for his blue body.
I used a red t-shirt for the sash around his waist.
I added some gold hoop earrings to replicate the earring in his right ear.

For my hair, I did I half up bun and tied a black hair scarf around it to represent his black ponytail on the top of his head.

In the movie Genie occasionally wears shoes.
I have a pair of gold slip ons that I refer to as my genie shoes because they remind me of the common gold curly toed genie shoes.
Genie's shoes are brown in the movie but I figured my "genie" shoes were the way to go.

I also did a sparkly rose gold eye for my make up to represent Genie's magical powers!

For Erik, we went a little more simple.
After looking at the items he currently had in his closet I thought Jafar would be the way to go.

He wore charcoal jeans and a black hoodie for Jafar's robe.
He wore a red tee for Jafar's red sash, sleeves, and underside of his robe.

He wore a charcoal beanie to represent Jafar's turban.

In the movie, Jafar wears brown shoes as well.
Erik does not have brown shoes so we figured some black slip ons would do the trick.

We had a lot of fun seeing Aladdin together.
I am sure the people around us were a little confused by some parts of our outfits but it was fun to have a secret purpose behind them. 
Who would you Disneybound as?

All my love, 

Sunday, May 12, 2019

DIY Chalkboard Globe

Hello everyone!
As I mentioned, Erik recently had his graduation ceremony.
To celebrate I wanted to throw him a little get together with family and friends.
I always like the idea of having something for everyone who attends the event to sign.
It's a nice way to look back and see who came to show you their love and support.
I wanted the item to be something that Erik could display and use for decoration afterward.
I thought a globe would be a good scholarly accessory.
I wanted the globe to be more modern and sleek for a professional look.
I thought a chalkboard globe would be the way to go.
I couldn't find a globe that I loved or that didn't break the bank so, I decided to make my own!

You will need:
A Globe
Chalkboard Paint
A Sponge Brush
Chalkboard Markers, Optional

First things first you will need a globe.
I figured I could find one at my local thrift store or online and give it a makeover.
It took a little longer than planned but we found a gorgeous vintage globe for sale online.
I wanted the globe's stand to be gold as a nice contrast against the black chalkboard.
I had originally planned on having to spray paint it to match my vision but this globe's stand just happened to be gold already!
It was the perfect score.

Give your globe a quick cleaning with a damp rag to remove dust and other unknown substances.
With your sponge brush, apply a thin layer of chalkboard paint horizontally around the entire globe.
Don't worry if the globes original colors still peek through. 
Allow to dry for 1 hour.
Apply another thin layer of chalkboard paint vertically around the entire globe.
Allow to dry for 1 hour.
I had one or two spots that still showed through after my second coat so, I did one more light coat around the globe horizontally for better coverage.
If your globe has the coverage you desire, feel free to skip the third coat.
Allow the globe to dry for 24 hours.

Once dry, take a piece of chalk, turn it on its side and rub over the globe to prime it.
It is important to prime the globe so that if you make any mistakes you can erase them.
If you do not prime it, every mark you make will be permanent. 
Wipe with a dry paper towel to remove excess chalk dust.

We put our globe out on the welcome table at Erik's event for guests to write on.
I left out chalkboard markers in a jar for the guests to use. 
I like to use chalkboard markers to write on chalkboard as they have better control and are easier to read. 
Feel free to use regular chalk if you prefer.
Everyone who attended signed the globe and it was so sweet to see their messages.
I love that we have everyone's handwriting from this moment in time saved.
It makes my heart so happy to see my grandpa's scrawl and my cute nephew and niece's childish writing on the globe.
I know that it is something we will treasure for a very long time. 

Now Erik has a new item to decorate his office with, whether it's here at home or at a new job. (Fingers crossed!)
Either way, he will have a piece of his friends and family to keep around and remind him of their support. 
What have you used for guests to sign at your events?

All my love,