Sunday, April 21, 2013

Wedding :: Save The Dates

Remember my post about the development of my invites? I finally designed and sent them out! No going back now.... The thing that I think really like are the coordinating mailing labels. Those are always fun, but going over 50 of them gets old really fast. At least its something you can do while catching up on netflix :)

I bought the envelopes from The paper was Epson paper and I printed on my Epson Artisan 1430 printer. I had the Epson 1280 for the past 10 years; it was great for college projects and freelance design jobs but printing really declined when I made the mistake of using generic ink. 'll always use Epson ink from now on...  Since I'll be designing and printing everything for the wedding, I figured I may as well purchase a new printer. The 1430 was a worthwhile investment - they look great!

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Limoncello :: When life gives you lemons, add alcohol

This past Christmas, I wanted to give something to all the family that we go around an visit. Being on a tight budget, you want to give something cool to everyone, but don't want to break the bank, so when I came about this recipe I thought it would be great to try this year.

First I waited for an awesome sale on the bottles that I decided to use. Turns out, with free shipping and a sale, Crate & Barrel turned out to be the best deal I could find. I ended up getting them for about $5 per bottle.

Chad gladly took the job of peeling.
We used a large pot that Chad's brother typically uses for making beer.

Peeling all those lemons got a bit tiresome.

We bought a couple bags of lemons. I believe it was about 50 in total. I didn't realize the recipe only calls for the rinds, so we decided to make lemonade as well. Good thing we did - we only managed to get about 5-6 bottles of limoncello. The rest we made into fresh lemonade. That actually worked out better because you really can't drink too much limoncello. We ended up opening a bottle wherever we went, and it was shared and enjoyed!

Here was my station/job - juicing all the lemons.

We went with a nicer vodka because it was on sale for the holiday; win-win!

This job also got a bit tiresome, but I really loved using the juicer.

Don't do what we did - we had a funnel that didn't fit inside the bottles. It made for a lot slower and inefficient pouring. I recommend hitting up the dollar store for a cheap funnel if you don't have one. Also, for both the lemonade and the limoncello we went lighter on the sugar. The lemonade was just water, lemon juice, and sugar.

I had fun making the labels. I wanted them to be simple. Also, I put a recipe for a cocktail mix on the back of the tag for those who don't like the drink on it's own (including me.) It sure is pretty looking, but it's not really my favorite thing to drink. I know a lot of other people really enjoy it.

Here is our recipe for Limoncello:
(we based this recipe off of Giada's recipe)

2 bottles of 1.75 sky vodka
Rind of 50 lemons
8 cups sugar (more if desired to taste)
14 cups of water

Using a vegetable peeler, remove the peel from the lemons in long strips (reserve the lemons for another use). Using a small sharp knife, trim away the white pith from the lemon peels; discard the pith. Place the lemon peels in a 2-quart pitcher. Pour the vodka over the peels and cover with plastic wrap. Steep the lemon peels in the vodka for 4 days at room temperature.

Stir the water and sugar in a large saucepan over medium heat until the sugar dissolves, about 5 minutes. Cool completely. Pour the sugar syrup over the vodka mixture. Cover and let stand at room temperature overnight. Strain the limoncello through a mesh strainer. Discard the peels. Transfer the limoncello to bottles. Seal the bottles and refrigerate until cold, at least 4 hours and up to 1 month.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Working Hard, Going Nowhere

Do you ever feel like you are busting your butt constantly, but feel like you are going nowhere? Lately that's a bit how I've been feeling. I'm sure I'll get somewhere soon - it's tough when you're in what I like to call the 'building block' part of life. Lots of times it feels like purgatory, going around and around and feeling like you've haven't achieved much.

I've been personally having a tough time lately with completing goals I've made. Be it career, financial, fitness, and even this blog; I've been hitting multiple plateaus. This post has been a difficult one to manufacture in my head because it is so easy to go to the negative, but that really doesn't help anything and is really the opposite of what I want the point of this post to be. It's more an assurance that it's OK in those moments when you can't do everything.

Part of the problem is taking on too much all at once. I know we all have felt like this at one time or another. When everything sort of snowballs at the same time in all aspects of your life - you ask yourself, "how am I going to make this happen?" For me, with the wedding, work, personal business, and personal goals... I've been doing all these things I love, but just don't have the time needed to do what I'd like. Scratch that, more-so to do it all really well. For me the lesson is you can keep taking on new things, but are you really going to be able to do everything well? That's the tough lesson I struggle with. Our bandwith has a breaking point at one time or another.

But understand that those goals you are making.... if you aren't making them they don't have to go away - they can just evolve. One of my goals that I feel like I've been failing at is fitness. I really want to break 40 min running an 8k (5 miles) and was hoping I could make it happen this spring. But then I received a bunch of work, and the wedding has taken it's fair amount of time... Life happens and it just hasn't been able to be a priority. Doesn't mean I'm not going to do it. It may just not be THIS year.

Another is this blog. My posts have been pretty pathetic. Not for lack of trying! I have been doing great meals, taking pictures... I just haven't been sitting down and posting. No worries! I still plan on sharing some of the cool things I've been doing. My tshirt quilt is still a pile of fabric squares. That may not get done before the wedding, but that's ok. They tell me once the wedding planning is off your plate, you feel this sort of wedding blues... I guess all these projects that have taken back-burner will be there waiting to fill the void where the wedding planning was :)

For those of you who know somewhat how this feels, here are some words of encouragement - HANG IN THERE! All that hard work will pay off! I find this is most important, say for instance, when you are trying to eat healthy.... you hit that plateau where you don't see any change, but you've been really working hard and being good. That moment I believe is where true character shines and you realize that ice cream really isn't worth it. Like in the marathon on the 21st mile (I've never done a marathon, but this is what I imagine it would be like), you start to really doubt your better judgement while facing some form of disillusionment. It may not feel all that great in that moment, but with perseverance it will work out.

So for all of you hard workers out there - Keep going, you're doing great and it will all pay off! To all of you going back to school, those working for a next promotion, those who have a family and are in a rut.... these will be the times where you will look back and think - wow, I really did some amazing things! It doesn't seem or look like it now, but keep your head down and eye on the prize! Also, don't forget those little successes... they all build up to that big success so do not discount those special little moments. Even if it is thinks like your child smiling at you, a meeting at work that goes well, or knocking that little thing off your list that you just haven't taken the time to do for so long (mine is getting my passport photo taken so I can send in for renewal)... celebrate those small meaningful accomplishments. Most of the time slow and steady wins the race anyways, right?!
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