Thursday, April 29, 2010

Attempting to look pretty in pictures...

Oh hey there...have you been noticing how infrequently I've been posting lately? Well, if you haven't noticed, just keep going about your daily business. If you have; my excuse is that I'm currently working 6 days a week and trying desperately to complete the 1,001 wedding related appointments and tasks before the big day! So, cut me a little slack, pretty please?

I do have some exciting-ness to share with you about my upcoming weekend. The Stillettos are going to be in town, and the wonderful Mr. Stilletto and I are going to be meeting up to take some photos! If you don't recall, he is a wedding photographer (check his work out here) - how exciting! We will be traversing Clearwater beach together, starting at the crack of dawn!

But...what to wear? I've been contemplating the options. Originally, we wanted the photos to include Justin, but he has to work (sad face!). So, it is just little ol' me! To start...perhaps a pretty blue maxi dress paired with a large pendant necklace...

Maybe a cute tunic top over a pretty bikini?

For some hair inspiration, I might look to the lovely Cameron Diaz. Perhaps some sexy volume would work well?

As of now, I'm still searching for some more inspiration in the wardrobe department, but I'll be sure to share with you what I selected after the shoot is complete!

What types of outfits would you want to wear for a beachy photo shoot?

Monday, April 26, 2010

And the winner is...

I'm sure you are probably wondering who was the lucky winner of 500 custom business cards from Uprinting? Well, after picking a number from

Congratulations to Kristin from Bien Living Design! Kristin - I'll be in touch with how to redeem your prize; I hope I get to see the finished product!

Thank you to everyone who entered the giveaway; be on the lookout for another one in May!

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Making healthy substitutions: morning and afternoon

Ok. It is time to speak the truth. I don't care who you are, but SOME part of your overall wedding day happiness will involve your appearance. Whether you are hitting the salon for a fancy updo and makeup or doing it yourself, every bride wants to feel beautiful on her wedding day. I know that this is true for me. And...part of this wedding day beauty for me involves not only my face and hair, but how my body looks as well. I know, I sound like a broken record of pretty much any bride out there, but I want to look HOT! So sue me. No wait...don't sue me - that is the opposite of the point I'm trying to make (The Office, anyone?)!

Annnnyway...when I started thinking about how to achieve the physique I desire for my wedding day, inevitably one thing had to come into play: what I eat.

Ugh. How I wish that candy and french fries were considered "healthy" foods.

Now, I don't necessarily consider my eating plan a diet...I see it more as a series of healthy substitutions. I don't particularly like to decrease the amount of food that I eat, because that is no fun, and I LOVE food. Plus, starving yourself is just not healthy! However, if I make smart choices most of the time, it makes me feel good, I look good, and I am still able to partake in some delicious treats now and then.

So...what do I eat? Come on along and I'll show you...


Mmmm breakfast! Images of pancakes, waffles, omelettes, and poptarts start dancing in my head. Delicious, yes...healthy? Probably not the best. I used to buy boxes of reduced fat strawberry poptarts to bring to work for breakfast. Why, oh why did I do that?

So, what did I substitute this with?

If I'm in a hurry, I make some Quaker instant oatmeal (I like the lower sugar apples and cinnamon option). I add an extra shake or two of cinnamon, and a scoop of raisins. However, if I have time, I do like to make the real deal, with a small spoonfull of brown sugar and cinnamon. I also like to slice half of an apple into it and add a scoop of raisins, but you can get really creative with what you add! Sometimes, I make a larger pot of oatmeal and save the extra in the refrigerator for the next day or two. Just make sure to measure out your portions!

My favorite cereal breakfast is 3/4 cup of Special K (I love the cinnamon pecan or the chocolate delight one...mmm) topped with 3-4 tablespoons of vanilla yogurt (I prefer Dannon Light & Fit). I know, this sounds strange, but it is delicious.

There are some days that I wake up and I am just not very hungry. However, as I'm sure your mother told you, "breakfast is the most important meal of the day." It really have to get your metabolism started in the morning! On those days, I make sure that I eat SOMETHING. Typically it is either a Dannon Light & Fit cup or a piece of fruit or two.

Mid-morning snack

I usually pack a mid-morning snack with me when I'm at work. Sometimes I don't partake in it, but at least I have an option if I am ravenous. I know it is difficult to resist the treats that others bring in to the office sometimes. My old office had donuts, bagels, and muffins laid out in large quantities every Friday...I usually grabbed something because they were tasty. Bad bad bad me...

Instead, I substitute this:

Yep. An apple. Or a banana. Or a pear. Or grapes. Whatever I have in my house that day comes with me. Its not quite as fun as a donut, but it is a much healthier choice.


Its classic lunch food: a sandwich and chips. Sounds innocent enough, right?

Or, how about a nice salad with grilled chicken if you are out for lunch with some coworkers or friends?

My substitutions:

Cold cut sandwiches can be great, but I attempt to limit my carbohydrate intake (note: LIMIT, not eliminate). If I am making a sandwich with bread, I tend to make it with only one slice of bread, but I stuff it a little fuller than normal with my sliced turkey breast and veggies. I also have taken a liking to using English muffins or sandwich thins (both found in your grocery store's bread aisle) in lieu of bread. I don't like to buy a loaf of bread, because I end up eating it like a ravenous beast if I'm left alone with it. So, sandwich thins and English muffins are a great substitute! In lieu of a bag of delicious potato chips, I opt for one serving of pretzels (yes, I count them...) with 2 tablespoons of hummus.

I am a big fan of Sabra hummus; it is thick, smooth, and flavorful. I personally love the "supremely spicy" flavor.

I don't make substitutions with salads, for the most part, but I make one important change: I request my dressing on the side. Yes, I am sure that you've heard that tip a million times, but it is so important! Restaurants can sometimes be extremely heavy handed with dressing, and even though you are eating veggies, all of that creamy caesar dressing is doing you no favors. Instead, I lightly dip my fork in the dressing before I take a stab of lettuce/veggies.

If I desire something warm for lunch, I like to eat soup. Personally, I like to make my own (if you make soup for dinner, you can always double the recipe and freeze some for later use). I try to always buy the lower sodium chicken broth (Swanson makes it), just to help reduce my salt intake. However, if I don't have any on hand, I am a fan of the light Progresso soups.

Yes, there is probably a bit more sodium in there than I'd like to have, but they are filled with vegetables and are low in fat and calories.

Mid-afternoon snack:

I used to eat M&M's. Oh gosh, how I love M&M's. I am notorious for buying that enormous 5lb bag with the ziplock closure. I would eat them by the fistful in the afternoons when I needed a pick me up. I soon realized that this was probably not the healthiest of options, and searched for an alternative.

My substitutions:

Mini bags of Orville Redenbacher's Smart Pop. Oh my, I don't know if I can express to you accurately how much I love these. Each mini bag of Smart Pop is only 100 calories. And, even though the bag is "mini," there is a TON of popcorn in there! I try not to stuff my cheeks like a chipmunk and instead I attempt to eat the pieces one at a time. Another plus? Popcorn is whole grain, so it is better for you to eat than say, a handful of pretzels.

Yogurt: yep...again. Can you tell I love yogurt? In the afternoon, I sometimes choose a Dannon Light & Fit. Also, I've started eating the Breyer's 100 calorie YoCrunch cups as well. The cheesecake yogurt with graham cracker crumbles to sprinkle in is pretty tasty.

Or, if all else fails:

A piece of fruit...nature's candy...and if I'm feeling extra hungry, I may throw in a small serving of Stauffer's animal crackers. Because I love them. there you have it! My healthy switcheroos for the morning and afternoon. Next, I'll get into some dinner-related substitutions, and we'll even have some dessert (yes, I promise! I do eat dessert every night)!

Have you made some healthy substitutions in your day-to-day diet? Are there any morning and afternoon switches that you would suggest?

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Creating a ring for my man

If you have been following along, you will remember that I selected Justin's wedding band from an awesome Etsy vendor: Fabuluster. But, if you don't remember, you can refresh your memory: here! Well, now that the decision had been made, it was time to get my fingerprint molded!

The artisans at Fabuluster sent me a kit with detailed instructions on how to make my imprints. After reading the instructions about 100 times to make sure I had the process down pat, it was time to begin!

To start, I had to soak my finger in water for 10 minutes to get my fingerprint to rise (aka, my finger had to get pruny!). I sat on the couch with Justin and watched a little TV while we did this. When the 10 minutes was up, it was time to heat some water up in the microwave to get the imprint strips started! They included 4 strips to imprint, so that if you make a mistake you had backup! I am very glad that they did this, as my first attempt at making an impression was rather pathetic. As in, I didn't press hard enough to make a single mark in the strip! Oops.

After letting an imprint strip soak in the hot water for 30 seconds, it was time to press! The instructions said to press hard, and boy did you have to! I smashed my finger into the imprint strip and applied as much pressure as possible for the required amount of time.

I may or may not have made some faces during this process...
When the imprint was done, I ran my hand under cold water for 30 seconds, then slowly peeled the strip off of my finger...and voila! My imprint strip was complete.

I repeated this process for 4 strips, which I then sent back to Fabuluster to create Justin's wedding band! They will select which of the 4 strips has the best imprint to use on the ring. Currently, his ring is in production, and I should receive it in the beginning/middle of May (I know, I'm cutting it close...). I am so excited to see the finished product!

Did you have to wait for a wedding band to be created? Was the suspense about to kill you???

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Table linens: a trial

In my last table linen installment, I broke the amazing news that my amazing Grandma was kind enough to offer her services in creating my pintuck tablecloths!

Well, after I confirmed the dimensions of our reception tables, she whipped up a few samples and sent them to us to test out at Carlouel! They happened to arrive on a Saturday when Justin and my mom were holding a garage sale at our house. They opened up the box, and a few customers happened to notice the tablecloths. We had a few offers to purchase them right then and there! I wasn't there, but I was glad that my mom was not tempted to sell them on the spot...they ARE really pretty! I digress...

So, a few days later, my mom and I made the trek to Carlouel to test the linens out! I have to admit that I was extremely worried; what if they looked awful? What if the fabric was a terrible color in the room? Well, clearly I was crazy for worrying, because they looked absolutely fantastic!

(please ignore the wrinkles in the cloths; the linens will be steamed on the day of the wedding!)

The soft sage green of the linens blends perfectly with the wood beams, green carpet, and white stone fireplaces. They add a pop of color on the table (albeit a soft pop), and soften the ambience of the room (in comparison to all white table linens). Keep in mind with these photos that on the day of the wedding the tables will be covered first with floor length white linens, with our overlay on top (they weren't set with floor length ones on that day).

We even brought a few vases and birds along with us to test out the complete look. On the table as it is, they appear to be very small, but the reception table will be set with silverware, butter plate, napkins, and water glasses at each place setting, which will fill up a lot of the table space that is currently empty in the photos!

Putting together a sample table was such a great experience for me; for the first time I was able to visualize what our reception space would look like on the day of the wedding! Now I am even MORE excited (if that is even possible...)!

Did you set up a sample table at your venue to test out your vision?

Monday, April 19, 2010

Get excited! It's giveaway time!

Thanks to, I have yet another lovely giveaway!

I have a pack of 500 custom business cards! Yes...FIVE HUNDRED! These could be awesome for personal use, or for a wedding related project!

I personally love my friend Kelly's business card creation to prompt her guests to share their photos after the wedding:

The card sizes are as follows: 2 x 3.5”, 2 x 2” (square card) or 1.5 x 3.5” (slim card). They will be printed on 14pt glossy card stock, 14 pt matte cardstock or 13 pt recycled uncoated cardstock. They can be printed in full color on both sides, offset press, and have 3 Business Day printing! And...the shipping is FREE!

This giveaway is limited to US residents only, and you must be 18 years old and up!

Here are the rules!
1. Leave a comment and let me know what you would use the cards for. (1 entry)
2. Follow my blog, or if you are already a follower, make sure you remind me in your comment! (1 entry)
3. Follow me on Twitter @QueButtons, and send out this tweet about the contest: I just entered a #giveaway for 500 business cards on @QueButtons blog - (1 entry)

The contest closes at 11:59PM Eastern time on Friday, April 23. I will then select a winner at random after compiling all of your entries!

***As a sponsored post, I am also receiving business cards from for hosting this giveaway.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Wedding Cake: Take Two

Wedding timeline lists seriously make me feel ill. Yes, I know that they are created in order to give structure and organization to the wedding planning process (which I can appreciate), but whenever I deviate from the timeline I start to feel like I'm going to break out into hives!

However, I am here to tell you all that it is not impossible to make plans/schedule vendors at times that differ from the given timeline! Yes - you can do it! Case in point: my wedding cake. According to most wedding planning timelines, you should have your cake baker booked at around the 6 month mark. Oh is April now, the wedding is only a month and a half away, and I am JUST NOW booking my cake. Yeah, before you revoke my bride card, hear me out!

The first reason as to why I'm so behind: I was living in Virginia! That REALLY put the brakes on with wedding cake tasting. It is just really difficult to taste wedding cakes when you don't live in the same state as the bakeries! Mr. Buttons and I tried out Publix cake when we were home for Thanksgiving, but we weren't ready to sign the contract after that experience.

Well, we moved back to Florida, and for a few weeks I was on a mission to complete unfinished tasks, which included the cake! Justin and I went to a very nice bakery in town that is known for amazing cakes. We tasted them, and we were impressed. However, when we started to talk to the baker herself, we were less than thrilled. After sifting through hundreds of cake photos, I had pulled one ( picture as my inspiration. It was everything that I wanted:

When the baker asked me about what I wanted in regards to the design, I proceeded to show her the photo. I also mentioned how I was looking for something very simple. She looked at the photo, then looked back at me and oh so bluntly said, "that design is NOT simple." Mmmmmok...well perhaps I didn't quite phrase it right? Yes, I realized that the work involved might be detailed, but the look of the cake itself is not what I would consider elaborate. Sheesh lady, how about a "wow that is really pretty," or even a "yes, we can definitely create this!" Regardless of whether or not she understood what I was originally saying, I was put off by the well as the outrageous "design" charge that she quoted because of the work involved.

After that particular meeting, I was feeling a bit dejected and frustrated about the cake situation. So...I put it off...until last week, when I found the best cake baker EVER! But, you'll have to wait, as that story is for another time!

How many different cake bakeries did you try out before you found the one?

Thursday, April 15, 2010

The Buttons' invitations: the design

After the trials and tribulations I experience with assembling my Save the Date's, I wasn't particularly excited about the impending doom that could be our invitations. There are so many beautiful options out there, and I was completely and utterly indecisive about what I wanted. Did I want beautiful, classic letterpress? Did I want fun colors and funky prints? What about taking the easy route and just using the pre-made ones at Michael's or Target? I couldn't make up my mind.

And then, a little birdie told me about Mrs. Gloss' new invitation design business, 4th & Folded. Do you remember her wedding invitations? Well, if you don't, go check them! They were absolutely gorgeous; a blend of tradition with modern patterns. I was hooked. After perusing the designs she offered, I fell in love with the "Graham" suite, with a few twists of course! Remember the custom monograms that I commissioned?
I really wanted to incorporate one of them into the suite, and Gloss was extremely gracious to accomodate my request! The monogram is featured not only on the invitation itself, but on our custom envelope cute!

So, my invitation suite consisted of:
  • Invitation (double sided)
  • RSVP card (also double sided)
  • Envelope liner
  • Wrap around address label for the RSVP envelope

I was so excited about how the suite turned out; we used a combination of leafy green, night blue, and white. I love that each of the pieces were different in regards to their colors/patterns, but were cohesive overall with the color combinations! They were unique and fun enough for our younger, hipper guests, yet classy enough to make our more traditional guests happy!

Oh, I'm guessing you want to see what these bad boys look like, don't you? Well, here is a little sneak peek at how the design turned out:

Were you absolutely in love with your invitation suite? What styles were you most drawn to?

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

A preliminary tasting

When it comes to food, I guess you could say that I am a little bit picky. I am that annoying person who orders salads with dressing on the side and entrees without heavy sauce. I ask for my pizza to be cooked "well done," and I don't eat red meat. Yikes; I am a waiter/waitress' nightmare. So, when it came to menu selection for our wedding, I knew from the start that it might be somewhat of a challenge. On one hand, we want all of our guests to be happy with the food available at our reception. But, on the other hand, I don't want to offer items that didn't represent foods that Justin and I would eat ourselves.

When we sat down with the manager at Carlouel (Chuck) to discuss our menu, we started off by determining the style in which we wanted the food served. Like some other Bees, we decided to go the tasting station route for our reception, as it would provide our guests with a variety of options. We will feature 5-6 tasting stations for our guests to choose from.

For our first tasting (yes, I said in there will be another one...most likely because I'm crazy), we worked with Chuck to create what we thought would be a delicious set of stations. Carlouel does an awesome job with their tastings; both my parents and Mr. Buttons' parents were allowed to attend to help us ponder the menu.

First up: Appetizers

Apparently, I was so hungry and excited about the tasting that I forgot to take a photo. Whoops. We tried:

  • Bruschetta
  • Grilled Andouille sausage (which would be prepared outside in the cocktail hour area)
  • Raspberry brie puffs
  • Stuffed mushrooms (3 varieties: crab, sausage, and spinach)
  • Grouper sliders

For the most part, all of the appetizers went over well! Bruschetta is familiar, but my mom wanted to explore the idea of something less carb-filled (perhaps something like a caprese salad turned into finger food form). The grilled sausage would probably be a big hit, as it would be grilled outside in front of the guests (most likely with some shrimp as well). We could take or leave the brie puffs and stuffed mushrooms (although tasty). The grouper sliders were hands down the favorite of the group, and it is kind of "the thing" around this area to we know we are going to incorporate them in some way.

Next up: Entrees. Carlouel served our table a large entree portion of each, and we passed/shared to try everything.

We tried a few variations of lobster. This version featured julienne vegetables and spanish rice:

The next one was a grilled lobster tail served with sweet potato fries and green beans. Justin pretty much ate everything off the plate...he barely let anyone else try it! What can I say, the man likes lobster! This was definitely the preferred dish of the two lobster ones.

"Steak and Cake:" beef tenderloin served with a crab cake, mashed potatoes, and julienne vegetables

A different variation of the "steak and cake," but with green beans/a different presentation. Overall, we weren't completely won over by either.

Chicken stuffed with spinach and sundried tomatoes. It was served with spanish rice and grilled vegetables. I liked the concept of the stuffed chicken, but I wasn't going ga-ga over it.

Chilean sea bass with chimichurri sauce, served with julienne vegetables. This was by far the best dish we had that evening. I mean, who doesn't love Chilean sea bass? It is magical...and it is my favorite. We were definitely set on serving this as a tasting station.

Another variation, this time with green beans and spanish rice:

Overall, our "preliminary" tasting at Carlouel went relatively well. We tasted some appetizers that we loved, as well as some entrees. From this point, we were able to determine what we absolutely must serve (like the Chilean sea bass), and what we wanted to nix (chicken, "steak and cake"). If you can deduce from this post, Justin and I had some work to do on the menu! We have 5-6 stations to select, and after our preliminary tasting we only had one station that we were unanimously set on!

So, back to the drawing board we go...

Did you have a difficult time selecting your menu? What were your must have items? Did you sample something you DIDN'T like at a tasting?