How to Host a Simple Bridal Shower

Hi friends! I recently had the honor of hosting a bridal shower for my sister-in-law. Knowing that my SIL isn’t a traditional gal, I knew I wanted to keep it sweet and simple with minimal fuss. But of course, I wanted to make sure the day made her feel special! In today’s post, I will be sharing all of the details on how to host an affordable, beautiful, yet simple shower.

It’s All in the The Details

Thoughtful decor will have a huge impact on any event that you host. Keeping with a consistent, well planned theme will be eye catching and more of a reason for your party to be memorable one. After searching through Pinterest for a bit, I decided on a black, white and pink color scheme. My SIL loves bright colors, so I knew the decor needed to have a bit of pop. For the table, I ordered a black table cloth and a black and white stripe runner. To dress the table up a bit more, we ordered a large pink and white center piece from a local florist and added a few photos of the bride-to-be. If I could do it again, I would have added a little table confetti scattered down the table.

I ordered affordable printable decor from Etsy and also used a few things left over from my shower. I chose the ‘He Said, She Said’ game and the ‘Who am I” game which ended up giving us all a few laughs. I placed each game at everyone’s place setting which also dressed up the table. Anytime I order printables from Etsy, I have it printed at Staples. It’s fast and easy. You can also opt to a little extra to have all of your items cut to size, which I highly recommend for a wedding. We also played a 3rd game that did not require stationary; How Well Does the Bride know the Groom? I asked the groom about 15 questions (some made up, some found on Pinterest). For each question the bride answered different than the groom, she had to put a piece of bubble gum in her mouth. Luckily for this bride, she knew her groom and only ended up with one piece of gum.

For favors I opted for mini champagne bottles decorated in sheer pink bags and tags also from Etsy. I re-purposed the tag template by using it for welcome signs and had it printed on 8×10 card stock. The tags can also be printed on full sheet labels and applied directly to the bottle. When choosing a party favor, I suggest going with something that the majority of your guest will use. Same goes for game prizes – we use little bags of Hersey’s kisses. To add an extra touch, I played wedding themed movies on low volume in the background since the shower was hosted at my house.

Food and Drinks

To keep the afternoon as stress-free as possible I kept our food menu simple. Disclaimer – the menu was not exclusively gluten-free.

  • Scrambles Eggs
  • Croissants
  • Muffins
  • Chicken Salad
  • Cheese Board
  • Cesar Salad
  • Wraps (sliced in pin-wheels)
  • Gluten-Free Pastries
  • Cupcakes
  • Brownies
  • Cookies
  • Coffee, Tea and Mimosas (cranberry and orange with fresh strawberries)

Pre-Event Prep

Regardless of the event, planning ahead of time is super important. Once I had my decor, games and menu set, I planned out the afternoon. I planned out the seating, table scape and where I would place my decor throughout the house. Pinterest is a great resource for gathering ideas on how to arrange your decor. I also created a very loose timeline in my head of how the day would flow {welcome chit-chat, mimosas, brunch, games, dessert and a final game}. Then from the event start time, I planned backwards, so I knew what time I would need to start setting up and still allow myself enough time to get ready.

The morning of the shower I started by setting up the table and placing all the decor. This was an important first step that I did not want cut short on time because I knew the decor would really make the day feel special. Next, I laid out all of my platters throughout the kitchen {without food} to ensure everything would fit and flow nicely. I also created a designated area for mimosas, coffee, tea and juices. One of the guests was bringing a cheese platter, so I made sure to leave room for that as well. About 20 minutes before the guests were to arrive, I placed the food on the platters and cut up fresh strawberry slices for the mimosa glasses.

Invites

For this shower, I chose to use Evite over traditional invitations. It is a great way to save on the cost of paper goods and mailing invitations. Most invitations end up in the garbage anyway! Since I only had about 3 weeks to plan this shower, Evite made it possible for me to get the message out quickly. Evite allows you to send your invitations by email or text message to your guests individually. Personally, I love the newer text message option because I feel like guests tend to respond quickly.

Evite has a wide variety of invites to chose from, so it is a great option for showers, engagements, weddings, birthdays, retirements and celebrations of all kinds. Many of the invites are free, but you can pay for premium options as well. My friends, family and I have been fans of Evite for years. It is also the invitation I chose to use for my wedding rehearsal dinner.

I know that many people like to incorporate traditional invitations into the event decor. As you’re reading this, you many be thinking that you lose out on this detail with Evite, but you don’t have to. To get a similar affect for my SIL’s shower, I selected a template that complemented the pink, white and black theme. The template I chose also allowed me to add a photo, so I chose one of her in a pink dress. I printed and framed this photo which allowed me to incorporate her invitation into the decor.

I hope I have provided some help tips! Check back soon for my next blog!

One Year Puppy Update!

About one year ago we brought home our F1b goldendoodle, Henry! He has been a handful at times, but we love having him as our dog. We saw his litter the week before we actually took him home and were not sure which puppy would be ours. I had my heart set on a girl pup, but Henry won us both over. I will always remember the day we brought him home. It is one of our most memorable moments during our 1st year of marriage. Becoming puppy paw-rents was kind of a big deal.

Taking Henry home!

Rewind to our puppy planning. Around Christmas of 2017, Mike started throwing around the idea of getting a puppy. Although I had grown up with a dog, I wasn’t really sure I wanted another. Don’t get me wrong, I think dogs are great, but with our busy schedules, I wasn’t sure it would work. We had also recently renovated the majority of our house, so the thought of it being destroyed by a puppy made me cringe. That feeling didn’t last too long because soon enough I was researching puppies.

I knew that if we were going to bring a puppy into our home I wanted to be overly prepared. My research included carefully considering breed {including size, health and temperament}, crate training and house training. I even took it as far as calling local vets and training facilities to get an idea of 1st year expenses. I also asked friends and family if they could recommend any dog walkers. We are fortunate that Henry now has the best dog walker ever! She walks him every weekday and it is so comforting to know that he is getting extra love and play time.

Henry’s first 4th of July

I loosely narrowed my search down to three breeds; goldendoodles, cockapoos and wheaten terriers. We were hoping to find a medium sized dog that would not shed. We were open to both adoption and breeders, but we went down the adoption route first. I signed up for petfinder.com and joined dozens of local Facebook and Instagram groups. In the spring of 2018, we found a few great dogs that we attempted to adopt, but none worked out. Honestly, the process was a little discouraging because one of the organizations I tried to adopt through made us feel very unworthy and unfit to own a dog. We knew that was far from the truth!

As summer quickly approached, I started to lose hope and thought we would wait until the following year. Mike is a teacher, so were hoping to bring a new dog or puppy home at the start of summer vacation. One of my cousins remembered that a friend of hers had gooldendoodles that happen to be from a local LI breeder. I debated calling for a few days because I just thought a puppy wasn’t in our cards. On my way to a work event, I figured I would just try calling the breeder. I wasn’t sure if she would have any puppies available or if she was still breeding at all. To my surprise, she lived in a nearby town and expected to have puppies in need of homes by the following week. My jaw dropped! After all this time, there was a puppy 1) near by, 2) available and 3) fit our criteria. At the end of that week, Mike and I planned to meet her and her puppies. It all seemed too good to be true, so I figured that once again our puppy plans would unravel, but I was wrong.

The woman we got our dog from was very friendly and kept a tidy home despite raising puppies and a few dogs of her own. There were nine puppies in Henry’s litter. We looked at each other and immediately knew one of them was going to be ours. We decided to leave a deposit and went straight home to start getting our home ready for a puppy. To read more about our puppy planning click here and here. I cannot stress enough how important it is to prepare yourself for bringing a puppy home. It is a big commitment.

We went back to the breeder’s home on a Sunday {it was actually Father’s Day}. There were three puppies left to choose from; 2 boys and 1 girl. It took us a little while to decide, but Henry ultimately won us over. I couldn’t believe after dreaming of a girl puppy, we were taking home our little guy. I’ll never forget having him crying on my lap the whole car ride home. When we got him home, he settled into his new house very quickly.

After being home for about an hour, we knew that we needed to decide on a name for the puppy. My husband and I met while at Marist College in Poughkeepsie, NY. We always knew that if we were to ever get a dog her or she would be named after our school, which is located on the Hudson River. After making a list of potential names from around the campus, we narrowed down our puppy name options to Henry or Hudson. You all know which one we chose.

Now jumping into where we are today. Looking back on the last year, I can’t imagine life without a dog. There’s nothing better than waking up or coming home to a happy pup wagging his tail for you. However, it has not been easy. In fact, there were many times it has been more difficult than we expected. I grew up with a dog, but she was a fraction of Henry’s size. He is currently weighing-in at 43lbs. Most people assume he weighs 15-20lbs more than he does based on his size. When we were looking into getting a puppy, I thought 30lbs would be a good size, but I knew Henry would be bigger. Big dogs have also intimidated me a bit because I grew up with a 15lb shih-tzu. His size has definitely made some of the typical puppy traits like jumping and biting more of a challenge.

Since the day he came home, he’s been very mouthy and thinks his mouth is how he shows affection or gets attention. Honestly, this was not the behavior I expected from a goldendoodle based on everything I’ve read about the breed. We’ve tried many different approaches to correcting this problem, but none have yet to resolve the issue. I have also worked with trainers on correcting the behavior. Mouthing aside, he’s also very tall and can swipe things off our counters. He has also recently started jumping up on guests. To work on this problem, we always keep low calorie treats in our pockets and constantly ask him to “sit.” Henry knows this command, so that is where we try to focus his attention. A trainer told me that focus is actually Henry’s #1 issue – he doesn’t have any! He’s 100% still a work in progress when it comes to obedience.

In addition to a behavioral issues, Henry has had a few health concerns. Henry was diagnosed with hip dysplasia at 6 months old. Fortunately, he has responded extremely well to daily joint supplements. Our vet said that joint supplements could be all he needs for a long time. We will focus on keeping him at a healthy weight and active daily. His only limitations are that he is not allowed to go to dog parks (potential rough play could injure him) and he can’t run on concrete. Since taking the joint supplements, his progress has been amazing. He has become very strong and has excellent control when he turns and pivots (disclaimer: I am not a vet or an animal expert).

Henry was also diagnosed with a few dental issues early on. He didn’t show signs of pain or discomfort, but our vet kept a close eye on the development of his teeth. Without getting too much detail, Henry’s bite was off and his dental development was slow. Our regular vet actually sent us to an animal dentist who we saw for check-ups over 3 months. Henry had surgery to remove 2 adult teeth that were misplaced and a few baby teeth that were not falling out on their own. The vet also “opened up” his gum were an adult tooth was impacted which helped it drop down. Since that surgery, he’s been totally fine in the dental department. Now, I am trying to get him used to me brushing his teeth.

On the positive side, Henry took to both house and crate training really well. He hasn’t had an accident in our home since August or September. Overall, he really didn’t have many accidents. We were very focused on following a strict schedule to house train him — and it worked! He also still sleeps in his crate when we’re not home and at night. Even when we’re home, he goes in on his own to nap. Henry picks up on new commands quickly. Most recently we’ve taught him how to “catch” toys or treats and to go to his “spot” (outside bed) and his “bed” (living room bed). I am hoping by the end of this summer I can teach him how to catch a Frisbee. Overall, he’s an extremely happy, goofy pup. He loves to play, run around and snuggle once he tires himself out.

Henry requires a fair amount of exercise which includes at least 1 walk per day and play time in our yard. We also keep a variety of toys for him, including puzzles, for him to have in the house. He has a ton of thick hair, so I comb and brush him every week. The Safari brand brush and comb are my favorites for keeping his coat knot-free. If you want to keep your doodle’s coat on the longer side, it does require a fair amount of upkeep. We take him to the groomer every 6-8 weeks because his hair grows fast and it’s difficult to bathe him at home. I am really happy with our groomer! The first time I brought him in, I showed her pictures of goldendoodle cuts that I liked and a few that I did not. I always ask to keep Henry’s nose/snoot full and round, not trimmed and pointy.

Now that we have Henry, I can’t imagine having a small dog! I love Henry’s size. He is the best snuggler and fun to play with. I am so happy to be Henry’s puppy mama.

If you recently brought home a puppy or are thinking about it, be sure to follow me on Instagram, Pinterest and read my previous puppy blogs! And, if you have any questions about Henry or his training, leave them below.

Memorial Day Sale | Kitchen Finds at Macy’s

Good morning friends! There are a lot of sales going on this weekend and although I am not shopping all of them, I have my eye on a few finds at Macy’s. I have been loving the color scheme of the Martha Stewart Collection. My house is predominately white, grey and beige with mixes of pale and navy blues. One of my top home decor tips is to keep your color scheme consistent. This approach helps the whole house feel connected. The Martha Stewart line fits right in to our home.

Before getting into today’s finds, I want to share one of my best online shopping tips. I always use Rakuten (formerly Ebates) when possible. When you sign-up through my link, you’ll automatically earn $10 (I will earn $25) towards your next shopping trip. Refer your friends and you’ll earn extra too.

When you shop through Rakuten, you earn cash back for all of your purchases! To date, I have earned over $500 from my online orders. The cash back deals range from 1 – 10% or more. I have noticed that the change back rates per store change through out the week and I usually notice the highest ranges on Sunday or Monday. To make sure I never forget to shop through Rakuten, I downloaded the Rakuten extension (add-on) for Chrome. With each website you visit, the add-on will notify you of potential cash back savings.

In this post I have linked a few items I have my eye on and a few dupes of items you can already find in my kitchen. My #1 find of the sale is the Dutch Oven. Right now you can get the 6qt Dutch Oven for $69! It’s larger than the Le Cruset I have for a fraction on the price. For Christmas, I bought my mom the Martha Stewart 8qt Dutch Oven and she loves it. Definitely a great option if you’re in the market for a Dutch Oven, but don’t want to splurge on a high-end brand. To read more about why I love mine, click here.

Wooden Spoon | Towels | Dutch Oven | Rubber Tools | Cutting Board | Ice Cube Tray | Tongs | Cocktail Shaker | Cork Screw | Jigger | Tool Crock | Oil Cruet

Other staples in my kitchen include mixing spoons, plenty of tongs and a pretty tool holder (to match my Dutch Oven that’s always on display). I highly recommend having a wood cutting board with a well around the edge to catch juices. I use my wood cutting board ever time I cook.

For my bridal shower, we didn’t register for a ton of barware. Over the last few weeks we’ve been trying to stock up our bar! I found pretty low baller glasses at HomeGoods and now I am trying to find the rest. I have my eye on the Martha Stewart shaker, jigger and ice cube tray. We actually have silicone ice cube trays, but I really like how this version comes with a cover. Oversized ice cubes are great for at home cocktails.

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