Planning to Travel

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We are taking this show on the road! A few days ago I booked flights for my hubby and I to go on a trip to celebrate our one-year anniversary. Needless to say, it is crazy how fast this first year has gone. We never went on a honeymoon so we want to make the most out of this trip. We want to make the most without spending the most! Obviously!

My theme for planning this vacation: Making the most without breaking the bank.

So, I began by signing up for price alerts on flights and got a wonderfully awesome deal on our tickets. I started out stalking sites every night after work to check prices. Then I got smart, signed up for alerts and hit the jackpot. My goal is to continue to get great deals and save as much money as possible. While I want us to have a great time, I don’t want us to get in over our head. The name of the game will be to stay realistic and plan to have a great plan. That’s where I am at now. I’m researching and planning so that we can minimize surprise expenses.

I know that traveling is a hobby for a lot of people. I don’t think that we have enough extra time and money to make it a frequent hobby, but I’m excited to go on this trip.  I’m up for the challenge to plan out first big vacation while staying within our budget.

What travel advice do you have to share?

Preserving Bridal Bouquet

 

Bridal Bouquet

I loved my wedding day and SO many things about it.  One of my favorite things were the bouquets for the bridal party, especially mine!  It is so entertaining to shock people when I tell them that we did not pay for a florist.  I follow that up by saying our flowers came from the local Kroger grocery store.  WHAT?!?  Seriously people, we were on a budget.  They came out very well.  My two best friends, Hannah and Latresa were so fantastic with their help with the wedding.  We stripped and bundled the flowers the night before the wedding.  For the four bridesmaids’ bouquets, we used 6 red roses each and banded them with white ribbon.

Bridesmaid Bouquet

For my bouquet, we used 2 dozen white roses.  We used the same white ribbon around it but added a little gray and white pattern ribbon.  We staggered the heights of each stem to give the bouquet a nice shape.

Bouquet detail

To my bouquet I tied a couple of blue beads and an earring that belonged to my grandmother Juanita.  My mother let me borrow that piece so that I could carry her with me.

Old and Blue

No one at the wedding knew that we did these flowers ourselves.  We saved a great deal of money by cutting out the florist.  I had received quotes in the range of $250-$450.  Unfortunately, I cannot tell you the exact amount that we paid for the flowers because I cannot remember.  I can, however, tell you that it was less than $100.  I will dig through my stack of receipts and see if I can find the exact amount.

bouquets

As I was saying…I loved my bouquet so I wanted to hang on to it as long as possible.  After the wedding I kept it in a vase with a little water.  I was shocked at how long the flowers stayed beautiful and un-wilted.  I searched on the internet on what to do to preserve them.  I did not want to buy any of the chemical kits out there mostly because I did not want to pay for them.  Again…BUDGET!  I read about hanging the flowers upside down to let them dry out.  I did not want to take the bouquet apart or risk damaging the flowers so I did not hang them.  I did however stop adding fresh water to the  vase.  My thought was that it would dry them out and somewhat maintain the shape.  It worked but of course the flowers are fragile afterward.  Yesterday I took a little trip to Michaels and bought an acrylic box to hold them.  Yes, I realize that it is now March and we were married in November — don’t judge me!  I scored big at Michaels though because they had a Buy One Get One Free sale on all shadow box frames and display cases.  I place my newest project on top of a bookcase that is in our bedroom and flanked it with a couple of monogram candles that we had.

Bouquet Case2

I cut the excess length of the stems so that it would fit in the box.  I then, very carefully, shoved it in the box.  Seriously, it took me 15 minutes to get it in the box!  The petals did not like what I was doing and they did not want to cooperate.  It was a delicate process and I almost burst into tears a few times but I got it done.

Bouquet Case

Hubby told me that it came out better than he expected it would when I told him the game plan.  So, I will call it a win!  I will keep it as long as it allows.  I am not sure what will happen to it now that it is enclosed and cut off from its unlimited supply of oxygen.  I hope that it won’t crumble.  Keep your fingers crossed for me!!

DIY Sofa Table for Under $30

I am so excited about this latest project that I have to post about it.  I know I still need to get on the wedding posts but this was too much fun to not share right away.  I’ve been on a redecorating kick.  Unfortunately for him, my husband has been roped in to assist. I figure since we will be in this apartment for at least another year, why not make the most of it? So I didn’t care for the lighting situation in our living room space so that is the first to change.  WARNING: the quality of the pictures are not the best because I did them on my phone (lesson learned!). I did not take a real “before” photo which would show the floor lamp in the corner but here is the corner:

Empty Corner

After we decided on the dimensions that we wanted to use we went to Home Depot for supplies.  Let me just say that once we found someone to help us, the Home Depot guy was super helpful!  He walked through the project with us, helped select the wood, and made the cuts for us. 

Supplies

We ended up using a 1×8 piece for the top and 4 square dowels for the legs.  We did not want to go super fancy since the table won’t really be seen so we stuck to basics.   We used Minwax Wood Finish Jacobean color stain. We chose  sponge brushes for applying the stain.  Initially we bought some wood screws that were too small so the screws in the picture are not actually what we used.  We settled on an all purpose construction screw – mainly because that is what we could find on the late night trip to Walmart.  

Legs

We attached the dowels with wood glue first.

Screwed

Then we screwed the top down.  To avoid splitting the top, Hubby drilled a small hole before drilling in the screw.  Now that I think about it, it is possible that Hubby only helped me with this project because it gave him a chance to use his power tools.  I’ll have to ask about that!  As you can see, the screws are black.  I did not mind this because I figured that it would blend with the stain color and add a little character to the top. 

Staining 2 Staining 1

We put a couple of coats of stain on it and let it dry.  I absolutely LOVE how it came out.  It fits the space perfectly and looks great! 

Finished Corner

I just threw the plant and picture frame on the table for the picture.  I have not decided if I will leave them there or not.  My favorite part about this project?  The price tag!! Cost of supplies: $29.43.  Love it!

Finished Corner 2

I have plans for every room in this apartment so there is much more to be done!