Monday, June 30, 2014

I have found the one whom my soul loves

Man, time flies when you're having fun!  The hubs and I are celebrating our 2nd wedding anniversary today and I can say without any hesitation that this man is truly my best friend and I love him more today than ever before.  

I want to write about all the things I've learned about marriage, and friendship, and God, and communication, and love through our marriage.  (I'm working on that post actually...)  But today I just want to celebrate marriage.  

"Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers a multitude of sins." 1 Peter 4:8

"Be completely humble and gentle; Be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the spirit through the bond of peace."- Ephesians 4:2-3

"Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken." - Ecclesiastes 4:12

"Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.  Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.  Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless." Ephesians 5: 21-27

Oh, I just love this man.  I could not have asked for a better person to do life with.  Thank you hubs for being my very best friend.  You point me to Christ and lead and love so well.  

I will love you today and all the others.  

(For a highlight replay of our wedding day, see here.)  

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Vox Box Review: Herbal Essences Naked Dry Shampoo

The products in this review were provided to me without charge from Influenster.  However, the opinions and experience is all my own.  

I've been a member of Influenster for a while now, and I was SO excited to receive my first VoxBox from them just last week!  I was even more excited that this box contained a full size sample of Herbal Essences new Naked Volume Dry Shampoo.  Also in the box were travel sizes of the naked moisture conditioner and shampoo.  

My everyday hair care routine is pretty straightforward.  I use 2-in-1 shampoo and conditioner most frequently because it saves time, then I blow dry and straighten it out.  I almost always use heat protector spray on it, but other than that, I don't do too much.  

My hair is super thick, but normal in terms of texture and oil.  It's not dry by any means, but I can usually get away with washing it every other day so long as I plan on wearing it in a ponytail the second day.  It loses so much volume when I sleep on it, so for it to look its best, I almost always need to rewash it.  

That said, I was so excited to have the opportunity to try out all of these products, but especially the dry shampoo since it promised extra volume in addition to absorbing excess oils.  

And I was pretty pleased with the results.  I washed my hair on Wednesday morning before work and the photo above is from Thursday morning with the dry shampoo.  The dry shampoo smelled great and was easy to use.  I've used dry shampoos before that leave a powdery white residue that is hard to get out, but I was able to easily brush this through once applying it.  And it did a great job with my hair.  

So, being curious, I though I'd give it one more shot on Friday.  Not too shabby, eh?  I actually asked a co-worker on Friday if she could tell I hadn't washed my hair since Wednesday and she was in disbelief.  

Overall, I thought this was a great product and I'm excited to use it more frequently!  I also tried the shampoo and conditioner and loved the scent of those (But I always love the scent of herbal essences products...)!  But, for the sake of time, I will likely stick to the same 2-in-1 routine I've been using once I get the last little bit out of the sample bottles.  

How often do you wash your hair? Do you ever use a dry shampoo on the go to restore volume to your hair?  

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Chocolate chocolate chip banana bread

First of all, this bread is delicious.  So delicious that the pictures I took as I hurried through the baking process just don't do it justice.   

You see, I needed a treat to take to my parents' house for Father's Day and so I made this chocolate chocolate chip banana bread.  And it was so yummy that I knew I had to share.  Except when I looked back at the photos, I realized that I didn't have a single one of the sliced bread.  Only the bread sitting nicely in it's little loaf pan.  

This was a pretty big pinterest success.  I used the original recipe by Money Saving Mom and followed her recipe almost to the letter.  (By the way, she says this is freezer friendly, so if you'd like to make it now for have my recommendation.)

1 3/4 cups flour
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
1 stick butter, melted and cooled
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup chocolate chips (I used milk chocolate, but you can use semi-sweet or dark depending on your preference.  I also actually misread this and DUMPED 1 1/2 cups into the bowl and then realized that definitely couldn't be right, so I after pulling off what I could, I ended up with about 3/4 cup of chocolate chips...not the worst thing to have happened.)

 3 ripe bananas

I only had 2 bananas left by the weekend, but they were pretty big, so I used them and the recipe worked fine.  But, if you want a rich banana taste, you should have 3.  

My version of mashed bananas..super easy with a fork if they are fully ripe. 

Mix together the flour, cocoa powder, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
Stir in the mashed bananas, eggs, melted butter, and vanilla.  (You can mix these separately as well, but seeing as I used such a tiny bowl to mash the bananas, I just dumped it all in.)  Mix until evenly combined.
Mix in the chocolate chips...1/2 cup, NOT 1 1/2 cup...just as a reminder.  :)
Pour into a greased loaf pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 55 to 65 minutes.  Mine took a full 65 minutes. 
Bread is done when toothpick inserted in middle comes out clean.  
This got rave reviews on Father's Day, so I definitely think I'll be making this in the future.  
For freezing tips, be sure to visit Money Saving Mom!  

Monday, June 23, 2014

Confetti Crispy Treats

Would you believe me if I said I had never made Rice Krispy Treats before?  It's a crazy thing, right?  And honestly, maybe I have made them before when I was younger, but have about zero recollection of that.  

And then, I had a bag of marshmallows in the pantry and rainbow sprinkles and immediately thought that a fun weekend treat would be to mix these sweet things into a box of crispies.  

And that, my friends was a very good and delicious idea.  It's basically exactly the same as your regular rice krispy recipe only with rainbow sprinkles mixed in and then sprinkled on top.  

The sprinkles add such a fun extra touch to these already yummy goodies.  

4 Tbsp butter
1 bag (10 oz.) of mini marshmallows
5 cups of rice krispy cereal
about 2 handfuls of rainbow sprinkles (that's the best estimate I have, but you should feel free to add however many you like.)

Melt butter over low-med heat in a large saucepan.  (I turned my oven burner between 3 and 4).  
Add marshmallows and continue to stir until melted. 
Stir in 1 handful of sprinkles (don't worry about stirring them completely in so they don't bleed their colors)
Pour in cereal and mix until thoroughly coated. 
Press into greased baking pan (I used a 9x13 pan, but you can use smaller if you wish) and allow to cool.  
Cooling should take about 30 minutes. 

I may or may not have been munching on these all weekend.  I also may or may not have packed a couple of them in my lunchbox today.

How can you resist?!  These are so fun and the sprinkles are so nice and festive!

P.S.  These would also be fun for an upcoming July 4th party with themed red, white, and blue sprinkles...but don't take my word for it.  :)

Happy Monday, friends!

Sunday, June 22, 2014

But his delight is in the law of the Lord

"Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers.  

But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night.  

He is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in its season and whose leaf does not wither.  Whatever he does prospers."

Psalm 1:1-3

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

What I Wore: Summer Colorblock

Hey hey!  It's been a minute since I've posted a what I wore/outfit of the day post.  And then Monday, I pulled this little number out of the closet and just knew it was the one to be the first of the summer outfit posts.  

 I mean, does this SCREAM summer or what?  White shorts?  Check.  Bright colors?  Check.  Simple color block?  Check.  Loose fabric? Check.  Braided sandals?  Check.

So, basically, perfect for the summer.

I just love that it is so simple, but looks so put together.  I actually wore this to the office on Monday.  It's summer so things are slower in the office and more casual.  This is perfect for lunch out with friends on the weekend, too though.  

Excuse my little dead patches of grass....

Oh, and one of my favorite parts about this outfit?  Super thrifty.  The shorts and top are actually hand me downs from friends.  Yes...I still accept hand me downs.  

What are your favorite pieces this summer?  

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Bright summer wreath

Happy Friday (the 13th), friends!  I realize that things have been getting a little personal around here lately.  If you're following along (thank you to all my loyal readers!!) this summer, you've been getting a great look into the day-to-day mini adventures hubs and I have been going on this summer.  And they have definitely been fun.  

Of course, if you tune in here for the crafts and recipes, maybe you're thinking this summer's blogging has been a little eh...

And either way, I'm just thankful that you all stay tuned in over here at Thrift for Today.  The truth is, we just haven't been tackling a lot of new projects around here lately.  We've been celebrating marriage and the marriages of our friends.  We've slowly been doing some yard work, but nothing to post about...yet. ;)  We've been getting to know our neighbors more and more, which mostly includes walks around the neighborhood and late night talks in fold out chairs on the lawn.  We've been working.  We've been developing relationships with our small group and learning more about being leaders.  And that stuff doesn't always get photographed.  But boy, isn't that the good stuff?  

All of that said, I did recently tackle a quick project for the front door with this little summer wreath:  

For this project, I just picked up a grapevine wreath and three bushes of bright summer flowers.  I cut the flowers off of the stems using scissors (and pliers for some of the ones lower down in the bush that had metal in the stem.  

All the materials are below, sans scissors, pliers, and hot glue gun.  You definitely need those, too.  

Once I had all the flowers cut off the stems, I simply laid them out on the wreath and went to work with the glue gun, fastening them in place.  I tied a quick silver ribbon on the top to hook it to the wreath hanger on the door and voila!  A little summer on the front door.  That was easy enough.  

I also added the left over flowers to the spray painted jars on the mantel, but I can't decide if they look cheesy or not, so they may be going into a craft drawer soon.  We shall see.  

What quick projects have you been working on this summer?  

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Wedding Weekend 3: Southern DIY

Well, we've finished the wedding whirlwind for the summer so far.  And what a fun ride it has been!  Our last wedding of May certainly did not disappoint.

The wedding took place in a beautiful old church and then moved to an old, recently renovated mill for a good old southern reception.

Every little detail was perfectly put together and so fitting for the bride and groom.

Simple white linens covered the tables with a burlap runner and books that doubled as centerpieces and table numbers.  (The bride is in graduate school for library sciences.)

Is that adorable or what?  Oh, and the mason jars!  This was the second wedding of the summer with mason jars, and dare I say that the tea is just a tad sweeter from those little jars?  

One of my favorite parts of the venue was all of the brick.  When they renovated the mill, they left all the brick exposed inside and it definitely added so much character and charm.

And of course, the 3 most important beverages for a southern event:  sweet tea, ice water, and old fashioned lemonade.

 Don't you love the chalkboard labels?!  What I didn't get a great photo of at this wedding was the food: Barbecue chicken, pulled pork, veggies, mac & cheese, and some of the best banana pudding I have ever had in my life.  I think I ate enough for the whole weekend in just the reception dinner.  Kidding, kind of.

 And one with the happy couple.  We love y'all and wish you a lifetime of happiness!!

And while we don't have another wedding to go to this weekend, by baby brother in-law is graduating high school today (!!!!)  and Father's Day is Sunday, so we've still got lots to celebrate!

This is turning into quite the little summer!

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Weekend Re-cap: Strawberries, Sunshine, and Sunsets

Well, that title basically sums it up this past weekend!  This was our first weekend in a month where we didn't have to travel away from home and frankly on Thursday, I expected that it was going to be a pretty low-key, not too much going on kind of weekend.

And while we had a fun time and actually got lots done around here (I mean, I was at least able to blog, hello!), we ended up with a packed full weekend!  All of our plans (except for a meeting at church on Sunday) quite literally were made just hours before taking place.  Here's to some spontaneity, huh?

On Friday night, we spent hours after dinner in the front yard with neighbors enjoying the warm weather and good company.

Saturday morning, we woke up, cooked a pretty massive breakfast (which I forgot to take photos of), and then I went strawberry picking at a nearby farm with a couple friends.

Not too shabby, huh?  You really can't beat the taste of fresh fruit.

Saturday night, we joined more friends for a baseball game in a nearby downtown for more fun.

We were actually facing directly into the sun when we got to our seats and by the end of the first inning, we had the privilege of this beautiful sunset.

It ended up being the PERFECT weather for a baseball game and the night was just wonderful.  It was actually the first game I've been to in this stadium and it certainly did not disappoint.  I envision many (or at least one) more nights here this summer.

He's cute, huh?  I just love him to pieces.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Budgeting lessons from a little green bird

If you're new around here, this might be a spoiler alert...but we budget in the Thrift for Today house.  We know each month how much money we've allocated toward all the regular things like gas, groceries, dates, etc.  We also each have a "fun account" that we use for our own personal things.  This is for all the things that we just want for ourselves, but don't really need.  That's the thing about the helps distinguish our wants and needs pretty clearly.  

For me, this most often plays out in the form of coffee, ice cream, dinner with friends, and/or new shoes and clothes.  With my fun money, I can feel free to buy whatever I want within the allotted amount without feeling one bit guilty about it.  And because this account is for wants, when it's out, it's out.  

So, imagine my dismay when I was in Kirkland's (favorite store) two months ago and found baskets of these ADORABLE ceramic birds.  Oh!  I wanted all of them.  How cute would they be on my bookshelves?!  Or the mantel?  Or my nightstand?  Had to have them.  And then I remembered that not only was it the end of the month, but it was the end of a month when I had spent my whole budget.  I was SO SAD.  

And my little bird was just $2.99.  Oh, I was sad.  And even though I could have technically just gone over the budget (it was just $2.99 after all), I decided that I couldn't do it just on principle. You see, the fact was, it was just $2.99, which is conveniently enough just about $0.30 more than a grande iced caramel coffee with skim milk from Starbucks (other favorite store).  And when I looked back at all my expenses for the month, I had had a lot of iced coffees.  And so I left the store.  

I share this because I think it's a pretty good illustration of the choices that we make when we create and then commit to our budget.  How we spend our money says what we value.  And our budget is the clearest picture of the way we want to demonstrate that.  Before I ever stepped foot in the store, I had determined how much I should spend on random things that I want.  

Committing to a budget means that we are constantly making choices.  The choice to say "yes" to one thing, like an iced coffee, is a choice to say "no" to spending that money on something else.  Two months ago, I decided to say yes to a lot of coffee (and a new pair of boots, but anyway...).  And even though in those moments, I didn't know that I would want to say "yes" to the bird, by getting to the bottom of the account for the month, I did say "no".  

I think of money often the way I think about time.  We don't have infinite amounts of it.  And we budget it, right?  I have to drive X amount of time to work and I have to spend 40 hours there each week.  And I want to spend time with my friends.  And with hubs.  And sleeping.  And blogging.  And every time I say "yes" to something, that's a "no" to something else.  

Could I have gotten the bird anyway?  Sure.  I am 100% certain that we wouldn't fight about $3.00.  In fact, I'm pretty sure that if I really wanted it, hubs would have been happy to buy the bird anyway.  But it's the principle.  

And so I waited until the next month.  And they were sold out.  So I waited another month.  And with a 10% coupon, and an additional 10% special, not only did I get the bird, but I got him for just $1.94.  Within my budget and well worth the wait.  

Have you ever been challenged to stick to your budget?  Are there times where you have had to skip out on something you wanted because you chose something else?

Monday, June 2, 2014

Wedding Weekend 2 + Memorial Day Re-cap

I blog on the weekends.  It's the time when I have time to sit down, think, write, move photos onto the computer, etc.  And then sometimes, we travel every weekend and the blog goes blank and I'm basically MIA in blogland.

Since the last post, we've been to 2 weddings, celebrated Memorial Day with some of our family, and bid farewell to May.  June, where in the world did you come from?!  We've had a great time the last couple of weeks.  All the weddings have been so fun, so beautiful and have captured each of the couples wonderfully!  It has been a real treat to be a part of all these celebrations!

Wedding #2 was a beautiful lakeside wedding on probably one of the most beautiful days of the year.  The sun was shining, but we were in the shade and the water was the perfect backdrop.

And unfortunately, I wasn't able to get tons of photos, so you'll just have to trust me on how nice everything was.  The bride wore her mom's gown, which I thought was totally special and gorgeous.  And the reception was garden party themed.  I'm so sad I didn't have any pictures to show it off.  

The sunset was even more beautiful.  

After the wedding, we headed a few more hours away to meet some of the fam at the beach for a fun-filled day at sea.  

We took a dolphin cruise (something I've never done before) out into the ocean in search of dolphins (obviously).  The cruise company guaranteed dolphin sightings meaning that if we didn't see any, we could use our tickets for another ride.  I was secretly hoping the ENTIRE time that we wouldn't see dolphins.  Mostly because I love being on the water, and the idea of another trip sounded pretty fun.  

As it turns out though, we did end up seeing dolphins.  And it was pretty fun.  But they move WAY too fast for good photos.