Wedding Portrait Photography Session: Part 1

My niece, Brittany, wanted some more photos taken after her wedding–who wouldn’t want an excuse to wear your gorgeous wedding dress again?!–so of course I said I’d take them for her. Somehow she was able to convince her hubby to get all dolled up again too. I had so much fun taking these pictures that it made me want to put my dress on again (four years later!) and get some creative photos but sadly my hubby said no. A girl can dream though…

Anyways, here are my favorites from the photography session. We had a lot of fun, we went back to the church they were married in and to the Hilton where they had their reception and also to the Marietta Square. It was a fun day and I was thankful they asked me to do the photography session.

Be sure to check back tomorrow and the day after for parts 2 and 3 of this photography session!

Mercury Glass Decorating

Are you as infatuated with mercury glass as I am? I became really interested in collecting some mercury glass right before Christmas, so of course that was on my wish list. Lucky for me, my mom and sis delivered…I got 6 different pieces for Christmas! Can you feel my excitement about this?!

I used all my new mercury glass to decorate my home in a “winter” theme using lots of silvery frosted branches, silver sparkly berries, and to brighten things up a bit I threw in a lime green glittery branch here and there as well. I also used pine cones and pine branches to add to this rustic wintery theme.

So I decorate my home in this winter wonderland that would be perfect for snow and of course we’ve had the hottest winter I can ever remember. I realize that I live in Georgia so I shouldn’t expect buckets of snow but we haven’t even had a FLURRY this year. I’ve only worn my winter pea coat twice and I’ve worn short sleeves more times than I can count. It’s been one crazy winter…if you can even call it that!

Do you like to decorate with mercury glass too? If so, I hope this has given you a little inspiration. I’m not tired of it yet so I’m thinking about keeping it out for spring too. I will just rearrange it a little and change out the winter foliage for pretty spring flowers and greenery.

All of these vases are store bought, but I saw on Pinterest that you can make your own mercury glass. I’m definitely going to give that a try. Click the picture below for the instructions. Happy decorating!

Excellent Bible Study by Beth Moore

One of my 2012 Resolutions is to do a daily Bible study; being in the Word and learning more about God is so important to me and is essential for developing a personal relationship with Him. My absolute favorite Bible study author is Beth Moore…if you’ve never done one of her studies or read one of her books, you just HAVE to check her out, she is fabulous! She is definitely living out passion for Christ and her calling to help others grow close to Him and God has given her a gift of writing. She is funny and sweet and down to earth and explains the Bible in ways that I NEVER would have been able to understand on my own.

Usually I do her Bible studies in a group setting where you meet each week and watch a video lesson that she has created and there’s a workbook for you to fill in notes. Then there’s five days worth of homework before you come back for the next lesson. This time, however, I’m doing one of her Personal Reflections Series–                     it’s Jesus, 90 Days with the One and Only.

I’m a third of the way through and it’s really great. The format is: she gives you some Scripture to read–not a ton, usually just a few verses, then she starts by asking a couple of questions for you to answer, then there’s some in-depth commentary from her about whatever the lesson is about for the day and it finishes with a prayer she wrote and has space for you to write your own prayer too. It takes about 20 minutes of your time, which is perfect for me since I’m chasing a toddler around all day!

If you’re looking for a wonderful study that will help you in your walk with the Lord I recommend you buying this one or one of the others in the series. She also has them on David, Paul, and John. I also enjoy reading Beth’s blog: Living Proof Ministries.

I hope you have a blessed day!

Book Review: Return to Sullivans Island

I’m a book worm, there’s no doubt about it! I always have a book going and I try to alternate between non-fiction and fiction. Recently I discovered an author that I love! Her name is Dorothea Benton Frank who was born and raised on Sullivans Island, South Carolina. I love that this novel, Return to Sullivans Island, is set on Sullivans Island because it’s very close to Charleston, which happens to be my favorite Southern city. I adore Charleston and I love reading books that talk about Charleston.

It’s an easy read and is about a girl who’s a recent college graduate and an aspiring writer who moves back to Sullivans Island to take care of the family home while her mom goes to Paris to teach for one year. The home has been in the family for over one hundred years and has a lot of history…and seems to be haunted!

So, draw up a hot bath, get a glass of wine and settle in with this good book when you get a chance! I’d love to hear what great book you’ve read recently…pass it along in the comments please!

Vintage Tea Party Baby Shower

Throwing parties and showers is my kind of thing; I’m not trying to brag when I say it just comes naturally to me, so I get super excited when I have the opportunity to throw one…I just LOVE when friends and family get married or have babies!! I get excited about planning everything out…making lists–guest list, decorations list, food list, etc. And the implementation is the most fun part! When possible I do all the food myself because cooking and baking is my passion and I enjoy creating decorations too.

My best friend is having her second baby and this time around she’s having a boy. My friend, Laura Birney, and I had an awesome time hosting her shower. We chose to do sort of a Vintage Tea Party theme using a pink, gray and green color scheme with lace accents. And if I can say so, it turned out beautiful. I got to break out my platinum and white china and my crystal glasses. It had a very elegant look to it.

Classic tea party food was served for the most part, including chicken salad croissants, cheese straws and petit fores. Other items served were spinach and artichoke dip, raspberry jam straws and lemon cups. This was all washed down with pink lemonade with raspberry ice cubes.

The decorations included a banner I made from scrapbook paper that also had the cutest little home-made ruffled bloomers hanging on it (my mother-in-law makes them if you need some, just email me).

I also found a wreath on Pinterest that I duplicated–so cute and easy to do. Just get a styrofoam ring and lots of cute ribbons. Cut the ribbons in pieces and tie it on the ring until it’s fully covered. Paint a little wooden sign and include the baby’s name on; hang the sign in the middle of the wreath. We hung the wreath on the door and afterwards the mother-to-be took it home to put on her front door when the baby comes.

The table had a runner made out of ribbons and lace and was the perfect accent to all the gorgeous flowers. In addition to the main centerpiece arrangement, there were also sweet little arrangements sitting in tea cups scattered around the table. It was darling! Laura did the flowers and the table and she just did a fabulous job! She also created the most beautiful paper products, such as the invitations, the food labels, etc…contact her if you need any, she will create you beautiful ones.

Cake pops were the favors to take home; they were individually wrapped and tied with a pink ribbon. We also had a place for everyone to write a sweet little message to the baby. We played a fun game that involved matching up celebrities with their baby names…they sure do come up with the strangest names, don’t they?!

Most of my recipes came from the Paula Deen Celebrates! cookbook but here’s a link to the Raspberry Jam Straws recipe since I found it on Pinterest.

I hope this inspired you for the next shower or party you throw! Have to host one and don’t really have the time to plan it? Contact me if you’re in the Greater Atlanta area, I can help! Whether you need full party planning or just catering or cake pops, I’m here for you just email me at AnneRains@gmail.com.

Health and Fitness Tips

I don’t know about you but I’m really focusing on healthy eating and exercising this year and hopefully for the rest of my life. And for me it’s not about losing weight (although that can be a nice benefit), it’s about living my healthiest life possible so that I feel great and can (God willing) live a long, long life able to do all the things I want to do…I mean, my places to see list 5 miles long and will take me until I’m 90 to see it all (grin). I got to be healthy to do that!

So, here’s to a new category on my blog where I can keep interesting and helpful health and fitness tips that I come across. Here are a few I found recently when I finally had time to read one of the Women’s Health magazines that I have piling up around the house.

  • Planks work better than crunches
  • Triangle pushups are awesome multi-tasker arm workouts because they work multiple arm muscle groups at a time
  • Some foods when paired with other foods create Cancer Fighting Power: pair radishes, watercress, mustard, wasabi, arugula and horseradish with vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage and brussel sprouts
  • Eat at least 75 grams of protein a day
  • Beauty product to try loaded with antioxidants: IO Beauty Booster
  • Super Foods: jicama, kefir, chia, sprouts, black garlic, kelp, barley, nutritional yeast

Let’s be honest, most of those foods don’t sound very appetizing, but I’m willing to give them a try! In fact I bought sprouts yesterday and put them on my salad tonight and I really can’t taste them much. I love garlic so black garlic can’t be that bad. And the magazine suggested using the nutritional yeast as a substitute for parmesan cheese…we’ll see about that, cheese is my favorite!

And just for some inspiration…here’s a picture I found on where else? Pinterest!

{Photo Credit: All Women Stalk}

Homemade Valentines

Okay, so I know this holiday has come and gone for the year but I didn’t want to post this before Valentine’s Day because I didn’t want to spoil the surprise for the people I sent Valentines to. So…use these as ideas for next year or adapt the concept for upcoming holidays.

First you have to visit a craft store for supplies. I picked up silver glitter notecards, Mod Podge, pretty scrapbook paper, silver scrapbook letter stickers, a large heart shaped hole punch and small white lacy heart stickers. You will also need envelopes that the notecards fit in.

These are so easy and cute to do! Just punch out lots of cute hearts from the paper and arrange it however you’d like on your notecards. Use a paint brush and paint the back of the hearts with Mod Podge then glue to your notecard. Make words like LOVE, HEART, XOXO and KISSES with the silver scrapbook letters. Put the white heart stickers on too.

I was making these for my 18 month old son to give his grandparents and friends so the inside included a Happy Valentine’s Day note and also his handprint. I painted his hand with fingerpaint and put it on cardstock, then cut out the hand print with fancy edged scissors and glued it on the inside of the card.

Have fun making these Valentine’s Day cards! Just a thought: for Easter you could do something similar and cut out cross shaped paper or Easter egg shapes.