3.29.2012

instax camera giveaway winner!


Congrats to Aubry at Practically Perfect...she's the lucky winner of the Instax Camera! (Aubry, shoot me an email at wwrinserepeat@gmail.com with your address!)

I'm running behind on sharing wedding details--the writing started on a jet-lagged flight to somewhere, but I couldn't focus and wound up asleep. Usually I'd say "I'm so sorry", but am on a mission to stop apologizing for things that don't deserve it. I'm behind. Life happens. And I'm really having an amazing few weeks bouncing from coast to coast, before facing the reality of packing up my home and moving to a location still unknown to me. It's much more important to be present with people you really enjoy when given the chance, than to write a timely blog.

And so, instead of "sorry" I will say...thanks so much for reading, even when it's belated. ;)

 Happy weekend!

oh hey, i'm in philly.

(photos via my instagram: rinserepeatblog. little corners in shannon's home,
forsythia bush around the corner, little gabe's rainboots, and the guest room)

So, I was in San Francisco and Santa Cruz earlier this week. Now I'm in Philadelphia...it's so close, I thought I'd just drop in. Because "close" means 13 hours of travel that starts at 5am, right? ;)

But...you know me. I can't keep my suitcase empty for more than a few weeks, and this time I just kept those suitcase wheels rolling. A few months ago, my friend Shannon told me she wanted to throw a blogger's bash in Philly, so I tacked that onto my itinerary. You might remember that I officially met Shannon back in October...then a month later she and a few other close blog friends flew to the midwest to throw me a surprise bachelorette party. (Click here for legit spazz-tastic footage of that surprise.)

Here's why I love this friendship: Shan and I spent day one of our time in yoga pants, chasing around her son Gabe, (not to be confused with my husband, Gabe) perusing Whole Foods Market, photographing cupcakes and hitting up greasy food joints.  That is the stuff forever-friendships are made of.

But I will say this: Blogging while traveling isn't an art I've mastered. Although my airport carry-on laptop bag + camera backpack might lead you to believe I've got it all figured out...don't be fooled. I sooo don't. When I get where I'm going, I want to see people. To do things. Or to drain a day or two napping. Editing photos and stringing together coherent sentences doesn't always fall at the top of my list.

And yet, I'd like it to.

Does anyone blog while traveling regularly? How do you stay committed to capturing + posting quality content, through jet lag, spotty internet connections and on-the-road commitments?

3.26.2012

baby shower.


I am having the most charming time in Santa Cruz. Five of us (plus a baby in utero), two dogs, a cat and lots of luggage have smushed ourselves into my best friend's tiny 1 bedroom cottage. The neighbors offered us their guest room, none of us want to leave...I'm sleeping on the kitchen floor and it's just all too funny.

All that to say, I've nestled myself into the cutest coffee shop in Santa Cruz, so I could share photos from this weekend's baby shower for my best friend. Here we go!


Becky, my bestie, is a very outdoorsy girl. Less into the "cutesty" ruffles + pastels, and more digging the natural vibe. She's also got a hardcore crush on giraffes, so I picked up your basic plastic toy giraffes and painted them cream to keep things sophisticated. The tables were easy-peasy and ultra budget friendly...a box of things I shipped out in advance.


I stocked up on earth-friendly bamboo flatware, something you can find at most party stores, which the mama loved. The grey tablecloths were just your basic party store find, too....yellow runners were trimmed down tablecloths from the Mara Mi line, and ribbon from the Dollar Store. Yes...The Dollar Store. :)


I wanted the flowers to have a less-coiffed vibe...a bit wild and natural! Thanks to my wedding planner-turned-friend, Jacin, I had the inside scoop on the San Francisco Flower Mart, and was able to get my paws on anything I wanted. Girls at the shower asked which blooms I used, so here's the rundown:

Succulents
Ranunculus
Spray roses
Seeded eucalyptus
Craspedia


At the last minute, I threw together a little wrist corsage for the mama, too. Cause who doesn't want to wear flowers in a really chic way? Normally I'd have covered the taped portion with ribbon, but it was 1am and the ribbon was buried in a box. A girl's got to know her limits. ;)

One of my favorite parts of the shower was a station set up for photo-taking and letter writing. I asked the guests to take a photo of themselves using my Instax Instant Camera and then address a little letter starting with "Dear Mama" or "Dear Baby".


It was so touching to read words from friends and family members. A few of them spent the entire shower doodling little hearts + messages, and some even teamed up to share their sentiments.


Food is the one part of parties that I...just don't get into. I'm way too scared to do it. Thankfully, a friend of Becky's offered to take over that portion of party planning. Whew. But we kept it very, very brunchy. Fruit salad, doughnut holes on skewers, ribboned bacon and a yogurt bar.


Okay, plus a few coffee cakes and quiches. Maybe not ultra simple, but fairly easy.


Don't worry...I made sure there were stripey straws...with cheery little flags. Cliche? Yes. But I'm pretty sure it's not a party without stripey straws.

But here's my favorite part of the "food portion":


Adooooorable baby bow bowtie cookies from Sweets By Rose (click to check her out!). Rose shipped these striped, polka dotted creations all the way from the East Coast, just for this shower. Not only were they the sweetest little things you've ever seen, they also tasted like sugar cookie heaven!

You should probably contact her for all your treat needs, or follow her on Facebook to see all the goods. She seriously hooked me up, and they were the perfect little individually wrapped "send off" gift for all our guests!

All told, we kept it short, sweet and a bit grown-up. I'd say it was a success! :)

3.22.2012

celebrate!

(Found these yesterday while shopping. Clearly they're celebratory pencils made for the occasion.)


I wouldn't say I'm a girl who usually has "luck". But good, good things happen when I'm in California. Last time I was in this sunny state, I got married. The time before that, an email showed up from Wedding Chicks to ask if they could share my "Be My Maid?" boxes. Which led me to meet so, so many of you!

And this time? An email telling me that Style Me Pretty wanted to feature our wedding!

You can imagine my jaw dropping. Isn't that, like, THE biggest wedding blog, I thought? Since our wedding was planned in eight weeks, we skipped loads of details I originally planned...so, I didn't know if our wedding was even blog-worthy. And that's okay! Because weddings aren't about all that.

But this....well, it knocked my socks off.

And I can finally say that I haven't been holding out on wedding deets without good reason! I just couldn't share any photos until the post dropped today. Next week, I get to share all the photos + details I've been dying to tell you!

But for now, pop over to Style Me Pretty to check out our Surprise New Years Eve wedding!:)

instax camera giveaway!


Friends, something exciting is happening today. And it's kiiiind of blowing my mind. The thing is, I can't show you until later today. But, that doesn't mean we can't start celebrating now, right?

Hop onboard the party train, because I'm giving away my newest obsession...the Instax 25 Instant Camera + a pack of film. So, so in love with this little guy! The instant satisfaction of having a printed photo in my hand is fantastic...I can slip it right into my pocket or wallet and take a peek anytime.

I use mine to document silly little things.

How much fun would this be at your wedding photobooth or on your honeymoon?  Maybe at your next party? Heck, it's a blast even when I'm sitting at home on my average Thursday. :)

---------------------------------------------

To enter:
Follow/subscribe to Rinse Repeat, and leave a comment letting me know!


For bonus entries (after first entry):
Drop another comment letting me know you like Rinse Repeat on Facebook!

Share this post via Facebook or Twitter, and leave an additional comment to say you've spread the word!

---------------------------------------------

That's up to three entries! Just be sure to leave a separate comment for each entry. As always, this giveaway is open internationally (hello, Poland!), and I'll post the winner next Thursday, March 29th!

Ready? Don't be shy...drop a comment or two or three! :)

3.21.2012

san fran.


My poor husband. Every time I'm in San Francisco. He just hears it.



"If I promise to never buy another thing again...can we move here?"

He always sites real estate prices, and then says no. Probably because he knows I'll never truly be able to promise to avoid buying new things until the end of time. But, if I have my way...someday he'll say yes.

Keeping it short today...here are some snaps I took yesterday around San Francisco!









Have a great Wednesday!:)

3.19.2012

st. patty's dinner party.


Well, that weekend went fast. Or maybe that's because I spent most of it cooking and doing dishes. But hey! Totally worth it to have my second annual St. Patty's Dinner Party under my belt.

One of my menu favs has to be Irish Soda Bread, because it's not just a St. Pat's recipe. It's a four ingredient bread...beyond easy to make...and pairs so well with soup or any meal that needs a little beefing up. Also, delicious with jam. Here's my recipe, from Irish Pub Cooking:



Irish Soda Bread

4 cups all purpose flour
1 3/4 cups buttermilk
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
  • Preheat oven to 425 degrees, and grease a baking sheet.
  • Mix flour, baking soda, salt and buttermilk in a bowl. Use your hands if it gets difficult to stir! The dough should be soft and sticky enough to form a ball for kneading. (Add extra flour or buttermilk if needed!)
  • Lightly flour the counter, and turn the dough over a few times.
  • Then shape it into an 8" round, and place on your baking sheet. Cut a cross in the top of the loaf with a knife.
  • Slide your baking sheet into the oven and set your timer for 30 minutes. Mine usually take upwards of 40 minutes, but I always start checking at 30. When the top is golden brown, you know it's ready!


I pulled out my collected china for the occasion, and dusted off the gold flatware. It was a pretty fem St. Patty's party...but that's okay. It doesn't have to be all kelly green, does it? A few minutes before the guests arrived, I decided it might be wise to assign places. So, I reached for my trusty paper doilies and labeled spots.



I'm a bit of a socially anxious girl, so throwing parties can be nerve-wracking. For me, the most rewarding part is stepping into the kitchen to wrangle dishes, or prep something...and listening to the din of your guests laughing, enjoying each other's company. Worth every hour spent peeling potatoes and apples. :) 

My entire house still smells like corned beef...and there's enough Guinness left in my fridge for another year. But that's not a terrible problem to have! All told, a very lovely evening with friends and family.

3.17.2012

ireland, i love you.


It's no secret that I spontaneously flew to Ireland to meet + spend a week with pen pal who I kind of had a crush on...and that man has become my husband.

But here's something my husband doesn't know: On my last night in Ireland, I returned to my room in Dromoland Castle to find a card on my bed, left by the staff during turn down service. I've carried this little card around in my wallet from that day forward. It reads  like this:

When my feet trod Irish soil,
I felt that I had come to a magic country
And now as I said goodbye,
I know it truly as an enchanted island.


I pulled it out on my wedding day and couldn't stop smiling. Enchanted, indeed. Our ceremony included an Irish blessing...and I had a hard time keeping it together while it was read!

Because of Gabe's international job, we haven't yet spent a St. Patrick's Day together. But I spend mine cooking a traditional dinner of corned beef + soda bread + apple cake and throwing a dinner party. Full disclosure: I also usually flip through our photos from the trip...and get my nostalgia on.

Here are the photos I loved most this year. :)









Happy St. Patrick's Day, friends!:)

3.16.2012

charming day.


Yesterday, I woke up at 5am, and couldn't will myself back to sleep...no matter how many sheep I counted. Being the internet addict that I am, I hopped on my laptop to shoot my husband an email, only to find my sister online...she lives across town and was also unable to sleep. We quickly decided this was a good reason to go stuff our faces.

Makes perfect sense, right?

Down the street from my house, there's a sweet little cafe that really triumphs at crave-worthy breakfast. I picked the lemon crepe this time...and holy smokes. Not only was it as big as my head (photo evidence here), I'd also liken the taste to eating a cloud.

It may have been better than the crepe I had in Paris. Ouch...it hurt to say that!



After a few cups of joe, my sis headed to the airport, off to a bachelorette party in South Carolina...so I took myself to the florist further down the street, where I picked out a bunch of pale pink tulips. Love. So pretty I stopped in the park to unwrap them, drape the blooms over benches and stand unabashedly on picnic tables to snap photos.

It was pretty near close to the perfect morning. But, I'd be lying if I said I didn't catch a nap later in the day to make up for that unusually early start-time. ;)

Happy weekend!

3.15.2012

alt summit, y'all.

(view my office here)

I spend alotta time wishing there was a fantastic book written about blogging. What works, what doesn't...what's tacky, what's acceptable. Because if you're a blogger, you know there's a ton of uncharted territory. Stuff that you can't exactly call up your mom or BFF to get answered.

Trust me, I've tried. And my mom was all, "I dunno. You're the blogger."

But my dreams came true when I bumped into these online classes over at Alt Summit. Yes, Alt Summit...the enormo blogging conference that HUGE bloggers attend! I jumped on these classes faster than...well, myself hittin' free birthday cake in the break room.

After two classes, I'm here to say: you must. So, so inexpensive ($15 a pop) for a class taught by true blogging experts. People who have done it, figured out what works and truly soared. Maybe you're just starting your blog and you need to know the basics...or you've been at it for years and are ready to start selling ads. Wherever you're at, there is seriously a class for it.

Pop over and take a peek!

Update: To answer a few questions I received, the classes are one night for one hour...and the format is a flawless combo of live video, Powerpoint and chat. I took the Blogging 101: The Basics and also How to Start Selling Ads. I don't see another Blogging 101 on the schedule for March, but if you're interested, drop an email to Alt to ask if there's more coming! They were swift to respond to my questions!

3.14.2012

springtime.

(I am seriously that white.)

Yesterday, I wore a dress and rode my bike through the park to meet up for a coffee date with my friend Sonja. Isn't that a fabulous combination of words? Bike. Dress. Park. Sonja.

It just sounds springy, and springtime is my favorite. But it's the most frightening season. It's when you shed the sweaters to realize you miiight have put on a few pounds. (I call those pounds "evidence of wedded bliss".) For me, it's also the season when I bare my legs + shoulders and remember that my heritage is infact German, German, German. White with a smattering of freckles.

And it's not going to change...I'm really, really pale. A pale girl in a world obsessed with bronze skin. From time to time, I feel insecure about my endless supply of white skin and I take the edge off with a bit of sunless tanning lotion. Only a bit, though. Because the truth is...I'll always be pale. And curvy. And that's okay. Actually, I wouldn't want to change either quality too much.

It's part of who I am, and the older I get the more confident I am in saying this: I'm learning to like me.

And it's strange, because I feel some are surprised to hear a woman like her pale skin or large hips. Or her full cheeks. Her curly hair and or large nose. As if liking things not seen in magazines or on TV is all sorts of wrong. How sad! Heck, hearing a woman say she likes herself immediately gets my attention, because it's so rare.

Why do we allow that? Why aren't we celebrating what we love about ourselves, or even vocally acknowledging the traits we've warmed up to?

Today, riddle me this: What's one thing you really love about yourself?

Be honest!:)


3.12.2012

my weekend.


This weekend I painted bedsheets, hunted giraffes all over town and ironed paper tablecloths just to see what would happen.

Anything in the name of a good party, right? 

I'm feelin' good about my bestie's baby shower. I'm the type who stresses at the beginning of planning a party, but that's due to that whole "blank page" fear. Once there's an inspiration board, I'm mostly chill. (Is that still a thing? Can I say ' chill'? Meh.)

Now that we're under the two week mark,  it's crunch time since everything has to be mailed out to California. So, I hit it hard this weekend. She's always loved giraffes, and we wanted to incorporate them in a more classy, sophisticated way than usual. While I was slathering these dudes in paint, I wasn't totally sure of my decision. But, once the first guy was dry and had donned a mini-bowtie...I was in love.

They'll be sitting on the guest tables (here's a little mock up I made) next to arrangements of dusty green succulents and blooms in shades yellow and white. I have no clue what my seasonal + affortable floral options will be when I get to CA, so that will be a fun surprise. :)

Are you a calm, collected party planner? Or do you run around like a crazed woman until the last second?

3.09.2012

let's go to....


San Fran! But first: You're in for another Facebook giveaway. So, head over and keep your eyes peeled for a giveaway update sometime today!

Back to San Fran. Not next week, but the week AFTER...in twelve sleeps...I am headed to San Fran. Ultimately I'm going to Santa Cruz for the baby shower, but tacked on extra days in San Francisco. Just a few days for me to explore my favorite US city.

My biggest fear in getting married has always been that I'd lose myself and my independence. I ended previous relationships because they suffocated me, because we became one big scary "we blob" and I lost ME.  Lost my ability to go off on my own and be okay with it. I was constantly in need of someone by my side, not because I loved their presence, but because I forgot how to be alone. And I didn't like it.

If there's sunshine to be found in being apart from your husband, it is certainly that your relationship is structured around your love and your independence. I love a thousand things about my husband, but one of the largest is that he encourages me to be my own person. When I almost changed my mind about San Fran, my husband just said, "Go. You absolutely have to go! Book a cute hotel. Go."


Ah, my heart. He knows me so well.

Speaking of hearts, I'm sharing a bit of mine over at Micaela's blog today. She's lovely, go read!


3.07.2012

pretending.

I haven't bought anything new for my home in quite a while. (Well, save a desperately needed apron and and little portable mirror.) This is a pretty big feat, given that I'd opt to buy home goods over clothes any day...and that the vintage shop down the street is having a 60% off moving sale.

You see, I'm set to move out of the country sometime in April or May, which means everything within these four walls has got to go. Since January, I've held off on buying new pillows, wall hangings, even needed curtains for my pad because let's face it: it's all gonna get liquidated or given away in a short while.

...we won't yet broach the emotional undertaking that's gonna be...

...don't worry, there will be a post(s)...

...and I'm probably gonna cry...

...anyway...

Meanwhile, I've been trying to trick myself into thinking I've gotten new things. Like, ooo! Hey, girl! Look! Suitcases are now ontop of my bookshelf! That's new and different! And, "Self, are those new throw pillows?"
Nope. Just swapped the bedroom and living room throw pillows.

It worked for two months. But it's now spring, and I'm really itching to shake things up around here. Thankfully, I'll be on the road for the last two weeks of March...so if I can make it through this week and next without caving...I'll be golden.

Are you as bad as me? How long could you go without buying something new for your home? How about your wardrobe?



3.06.2012

a few cloudy days.


(two month anniversary flowers from gabe)

People often ask me how I handle being away from my husband for months at a time. I'd say 29 out of 30 days, my answer is true and honest:

"You learn! You think about the positives, you count the days til you see each other again and you keep yourself busy. It's not as bad as it sounds."

But then there's that one day where you feel it all. The day when everything at the grocery store seems seventeen feet tall, and I wish my husband were here to reach it. Or when my little apartment feels a bit big and lonely.

Usually I keep quiet about all those moments, both on and offline. Mostly because I don't want to be seen as someone who throws herself pity parties, when she's actually pretty blessed. But I've learned there's a difference between whining about how unfair life is, and being emotionally honest. Having feelings and acknowledging them in an honest, appropriate manner isn't whining. It's being human. We all have days when the path we've chosen isn't easy. And it's okay to say so.

None of us live on a rainbow.

We're all human. And life is better when we just admit we might need a hug. ;)

3.02.2012

i cooked! and other stuff, too.

First things first: expect a mini-giveaway on the Rinse Repeat Facebook page today! So, pop over and keep an eye out. When you see it, all you have to do is comment on the photo be entered to win!

Also:

Bought this apron. C'mon, are we surprised I chose the ruffled pink one?

Made Minty Couscous Salad...would make it again. Maybe sans chickpeas, as they didn't do much for me. Overall though, deliciously bright thanks to mint and orange zest.

Tested this Easy Rice Pudding for dessert. Anyone else really dig rice pudding? It seems like a seasonal dish, but I adore it year round. This recipe would do in a cravings pinch, but it ain't like grandma's.

Driving to Minneapolis tonight to see Brian Regan, one of the few stand up comedians who doesn't give me a rash. Actually, the only one I could name at the moment. Clean topics + language, but still hilarious. And so delightfully sarcastic. Gabe and I cannot travel without quoting little bits of his routine about airports.


Happy weekend, friends! Whatcha up to?

3.01.2012

the dirty truth.


I've got a confession that might surprise you:

I hate cooking.

And I mean serious deep-down, nasty, don't-wanna-do-it hate. This never ceases to surprise people, as there's a general assumption that creative girls love whipping up a feast in the kitchen. Not this girl.

When I dropped sixty-five pounds, I largely attributed it to keeping my cupboards barebones. Without getting too emotionally hefty today, its not fresh news around here that I've struggled with mental health issues, like weight obsession and an eating disorder. Having full cupboards always feels scary + out of control to me. But last year I worked extensively with a therapist and dietitian to better control or at least quiet those issues. They'll always be there, but they're much quieter now.

That's been my biggest hurdle in cooking--just that scary emotional barrier. But, on a lighter note...the mess. The dishes. And I just have no clue what I'm doing with a whisk in my hand! All this means I've lived off a diet of oatmeal, frozen meals and take out (in equal portions) for the past few years.

But I'm to the point where I want to learn. Gabe is an incredible cook who once made Thanksgiving for 40 guests in Japan. That's what I'm up against here. He loves cooking, never complains about being the chef our relationship. But I want to be a better teammate...which means being a bit more comfortable behind the stove.

Last night I rustled up a stack of old Real Simple magazines, snipped some promising recipes and made my shopping list. Tonight's the night I force myself to begin experimenting in the kitchen.

But first...off to purchase a cute apron. That's of the utmost importance, yes? :)

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