10 Must-Keep Wedding Day Items for your Memory Box

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Well Hello Again 🙂

Another work week come and gone…I hope it treated you well!

As many of you may know, back in early November I got married. It was truly one of the best days (if not THE best) of my life; one that I never want to forget. That night, I remember trying very hard to stay in the moment as much of the time as I could. But of course, I found it hard to stay completely in the moment the entire time.

You try to absorb the sights and sounds, but there are moments that blur as the night rushes on.

You want it all to stand still but time gallops ahead at its steady pace.

And so you hire a photographer to freeze those beautiful moments in time, and you hire the videographer to record those spoken snippets that the photographer cannot…the wedding march, the exchange of vows, the joyful applause as the audience observes the first kiss, the best man’s speech, the laughing guests, the clinking glasses, and the beat of the music. The photographer and the videographer help to rebuild the night for you so that you can experience it all over and over again.

And yet, I think there’s something to be said about keeping a few tangible treasures from that perfect day to look back on in the year’s to come, and to share some day with children and grandchildren.

That is why I would recommend that you make yourself a wedding box. It’s easy to do! Just ask your wedding day coordinator to collect some items of your choosing at end of the night, which can be handed over to your mom or Maid of Honor for safekeeping. After all the hustle and bustle of the wedding dies down, you can look through your items and decide how you’d like to store them for safekeeping.

I’m a pretty sentimental person, so I decided to do just that. But before I share what my box contains, first I’d like to share the top 10 items you should keep from your big day.

10 Must-Keep Wedding Day Items

  1. Your invitation
  2. Your ceremony program–if you decide to have one. Sadly there were none of mine left over…
  3. Wedding day paper: place cards, table numbers, other cute signage
  4. A wedding favor
  5. The MOH and best man’s speeches — my MOH is still currently holding mine hostage, as she’s just gone through a move, but I will obtain it at some point 🙂
  6. Ringbearer pillow
  7. Flowers or a charm from your bridal bouquet
  8. Wedding cake topper
  9. Your “something blue” – in my case, that was my bridal clutch
  10. Wedding day card from your husband — since I also have a Happy Box, mine isn’t in this box at the moment, but it’s something you’ll definitely want to re-read and re-read again to relive that magical day, and remember the anticipation you felt before you said “I do”….

My original plan for storing my keepsakes was to use my wooden wedding card box, but I quickly realized that it simply wasn’t big enough to fit everything I wanted to remember.

What I used instead was this lovely little silver box from Target (10×10″), which fits all of my wedding items just perfectly. I could have made a box myself, but this one jumped out right at me from the aisle (AND was under $8!) Plus, the silvery-gray color happened to coordinate with my wedding colors.

Let’s take a peek inside…

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My wedding day clutch

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Burlap card box banner

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Bridal shower banner (not technically from the wedding day but I love, love, love it!)

DSC_0041…along with a framed photo of my papa (who I miss every day) that hung from my bouquet…

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Wedding signage: In Memory, Sign Our Guest Book, Instagram our Wedding 

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Reserved for the Bride & Groom Sign & Table Numbers

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Ringbearer pillow

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Placecards

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Our wedding favor was a leaf-shaped bookmark nested in a rustic muslin bag (we got married in the fall and both love to read) 

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Wedding Invitation

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Cake topper

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And there you have it! Have any of you done anything similar? If so, I’d love to see what you did!

Have a great weekend all!

Rebecca Cretella

In 2014 I’m Making Goals Not Resolutions

Happy Tuesday!

Does anyone else feel like it’s later in the week than it actually is? I’m suffering from that today.

In my last post I shared my list of what was pleasing in 2013. Today I’m sharing my goals for 2014 with you. I decided this year that I don’t want to make “resolutions” anymore…even though resolving to do something connotes dedication, perseverance, and a certain level of intensity, to me it also has a bit of a negative undertone. The word “goal” personally gives me a more positive feeling.

So without further ado, here’s my list of goals in 2014. Are any of my items also on your list for the year? Do any of these particularly resonate with you?

Rebecca Cretella

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What Was Pleasing in 2013

Hello Friends,

These past few days sped by. I’ve been consumed with settling back in to work, putting away Christmas decorations, unpacking clothes, doing copious loads of laundry, following up with United about our bags, and looking into changing to my married name—just to name a few things. 🙂

Today I want to share with you a little project I worked on last night—I created a new printable that I hope you will find useful.

At the beginning of each new year, I like to take some time to reflect on what went well and didn’t go so well the previous year. I think it’s a great exercise because it forces you to think about and appreciate the positive things in your life (and I’m always trying to become a person who sees the glass as half full), and it can motivate you to work harder to achieve what you may not have achieved that year in the new year.

However, in this hectic rat race we live in I find that I often forget the accomplishments, events, and memories that are worth holding onto. I know my memory is already not what it used to be (I blame it on over-stimulation and being constantly pulled in 20 different directions), so I thought, why don’t  I create a printable where I can write down and file my thoughts on the previous year? How nice would it be to look back upon these reflections over time to see how I’ve grown and what I’ve accomplished?

So I created this printable called “What Was Pleasing in 2013” to reflect on this past year…

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…and I did a bit of soul-searching about what made 2013 pretty great.

Side note: for me, even though I got married and a lot of other wonderful things happened, I found it to be a particularly difficult year, one where I struggled with how to advance myself and be my happiest, and where I often felt hopeless because I ran into blockades time and time again.

I don’t mean to depress you, I do actually have a point here. My point is that when I looked back at what I wrote down last night I realized that there were so many great things to be grateful for in 2013!

Here’s what I wrote (since it’s a bit hard to read above):

  • I turned 30 – I’m officially a “big girl”!
  • I married the most amazing guy I know.
  • I had my little brother back in the US for 6 months and we got the chance to catch up a lot.
  • I completed a 21-day cleanse with my best friend & husband.
  • I bought a new car – something I never dreamed I would do!
  • I  published several articles in local magazines.
  • I hired a personal trainer and got fit.
  • I built a new home office (my prid and joy) with my hubby.
  • I started this blog in March…
  • And then had nearly 30,000 hits by the end of the year!
  • My best friend and I restarted our horror blog
  • …and then Homespun Weddings, our Etsy business where we make and sell whimsical wedding decor. You can “like” us on Facebook here.
  • My husband was inducted into our high school’s Hall of Fame (I’m such a proud wife!)…
  • ….and finished grad school….
  • ….and passed his exit exam!
  • I started a “rainy day” fund.
  • Jeff and I celebrated 5 years together.
  • Then we went to St. Lucia
  • ….on our long-awaited and much-anticipated honeymoon!
  • I got a drastic haircut (which I love).
  • I read more books thanks to book club…
  • ….and developed great friendships in the process.
  • I got the new Nikon camera I’ve been dying for.

I’m going to stow this away in my Happy Box, where I can refer to it when I need a little boost. I’ll also be sharing my 2014 goals with you very soon, and I hope we can inspire each other to make 2014 the most meaningful one yet!

If you feel like doing this exercise, feel free to download a PDF of “What Was Pleasing in 2013” here.

Rebecca Cretella

P.S.

Would you mind taking 30 seconds to fill out the attached survey? I would love to know what posts you want to see more of in 2014—thanks and have a great Tuesday!

Our Eventful Honeymoon in St. Lucia

Happy New Year Everyone!

I know I’m technically a couple days late, but better late than never, right? I was flying back from my honeymoon in St. Lucia on the first of the year.

I’m sorry I’ve been MIA these past couple weeks, but I really relished the opportunity to take a few (much needed) breaths of fresh air with my husband in paradise. Here’s a sunset shot by the seashore–say that three times fast!

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 It was absolutely gorgeous and we had some wonderful experiences that I will remember forever. We jet skied, snorkeled, and snuba-ed. We sailed on a bobbie cat, drank Miami Vices to our hearts’ content. We met lots of fun couples and stuffed our faces with delicious Caribbean fare. 

Unfortunately, however, there were two very unfortunate events that occurred  during our trip. 

First, St. Lucia was struck by a pretty bad tropical storm–on Christmas Eve no less–and the aftermath has been difficult for the islanders. Nearly 10 people lost their lives, there was extensive flooding, banana plantations were pummeled, entire roads were washed away, homes were destroyed, and parts of the island still don’t have running water.

According to locals, it was the worst Christmas and one of the worst storms on record…and a malfunctioning radar on the neighboring island of Martinique was partly to blame because there was no warning before the storm struck. We were safe and sound, but some of the staff we met at our resort lost homes, which was really heartbreaking. In the wake of the devastation, Jeff and I were absolutely amazed at the St. Lucians’ ability to rise above it all and still greet us with a smile and a cheerful “Merry Christmas”.

I hope the island is able to get the help it needs to repair the damage. Those living in the US who wish to offer assistance, can do so by contacting:

Permanent Mission of St. Lucia to the United Nations
800 Second Avenue, 9th Fl., New York, New York 10017
Tel.: (212) 697-9360 • Fax: (212) 697-4993 • E-Mail: stlucia@un.int

The second, albeit not so catastrophic, event that happened on our honeymoon was that United Airlines lost our baggage.

For.

10.

Days.

You read correctly. 10 days.

This was particularly strange because:

  1. We did not have a connecting flight, we flew a non-stop direct flight from Newark, NJ.
  2. Our departure was delayed by 2 hours–45 minutes of which we spent on the tarmac because they were loading our bags onto the plane. Does this sound as insane to you as it does to me? If they delayed us to load bags, you’d think they’d be on the plane.

Imagine our shock when we landed in St. Lucia with many other passengers, and learned that a large portion of the baggage never made it on the plane? We immediately filed a report with the United branch at the airport and were told our bags should arrive the next day.

My husband had absolutely no items to speak of with him and I had a very limited amount. We had no underwear, medication/birth control, shoes, sunscreen, razors, clothes, toiletries, etc and with each passing day the resort shopkeeper got to know us better and better as we bought practically every item in her store.

On Christmas Eve, 4 days later after we arrived in St. Lucia, there was still no word of our luggage. We spent hours on the phone that evening and over the next several days getting nowhere with United. Each representative we spoke with had a different story to tell us and no one could tell us where our luggage was. We were in disbelief–what was the use of the tags with the scannable bar codes we paid for when we checked our bags??

We followed their established procedure to file our claim, called their lost baggage department, established a reference number for our case, and did all the other things they asked us to do. Day after day we were told we would be contacted with follow-up information and they would enter a notification into their system, and day after day all they told us was they couldn’t get through to Newark and didn’t know where the bags were.

When we realized we were getting nowhere (and little sympathy from United), I reached out on Facebook and Twitter to try to get United to take some responsibility. As a marketing professional I hoped using social channels might enable me to gain some headway, but made little to no progress.

To our huge surprise this past Monday, without word, our luggage showed up in our room at the resort. We were so grateful they weren’t lost forever, though they didn’t do much good to use with only 1 more day left of our  honeymoon.

We plan to file a formal claim with United and to submit the receipts for all expenses incurred during our honeymoon, and I hope that United will compensate us for the situation as they should (including refunding our $90 baggage check fee).

When it has been 10 days and your luggage is still missing, that to me is not only ridiculous but unacceptable. A honeymoon is such a special trip, one that you dream of, save for, take time off for, purchase special items for–when you spend a large portion of your trip making lengthy international calls, trying to communicate with unhelpful representatives, having to purchase over-priced apparel, filling out claim forms, missing formal dinners and excursions because you don’t have the proper attire, etc, it takes its toll.

Have you or  has anyone you know ever had a similar experience? If so, how did you resolve the situation? I would be grateful for any advice or suggestions anyone may have.

But enough of that! One thing I DID have was my new camera Jeff and my mom gave me for my 30th birthday–here are a couple pics from St. Lucia. If you’ve never been, it’s really worth the trip.

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I’ve got lots more to share with you in the coming days, including a honeymoon planning series, so be sure to check back in.

Enjoy the weekend 🙂

Rebecca Cretella

10 Bright Ideas for DIY Advent Calendars

I am an adult and I still enjoy the anticipation of  what the advent calendar holds each day leading up to Christmas. I don’t think I will ever tire of it, in fact.

I’ve always done the tried-and-true commercial chocolate advent calendar, but this year my interest in DIY-ing as much as possible led me to some really cool and unique handmade advent calendars. I am absolutely amazed by the boundless creativity out there, aren’t you? These crafters inspired me, and I hope they inspire you too!

So without further delay, here’s my round-up of 10 DIY advent calendars–which one will you try?

Family Photo Advent Calendar by Making Lemonade. Besides being absolutely adorable, I love that it is family-focused.

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Baby Sock Advent Calendar by Martha Stewart. This sock idea is too cute for words and I love the sentimentality.

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Advent Activity Mini Tree Kit by Laura Winslow Photography. What a lovely presentation! And this tutorial also includes free printables.

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Luminary Advent Calendar by Design Dining and Diapers

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Advent Calendar Holiday Countdown by I Heart Organizing. I love the compact box idea and Jen also includes adorable free activity printables.

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Book a Day Advent Calendar by Delia Creates. You can also find some great book suggestions by age group and free label printables from A Day in Your Shoes.

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Simple & Natural Advent Calendar by Julie Blanner, Coordinately Yours. You can whip this one up in 10 minutes and I love the rustic, understated presentation.

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Mason Jar Advent Calendar by Eclectically Vintage. I LOVE mason jars – especially the limited edition blue ones – so I had to share this sweet idea.

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Another Mason Jar Advent Calendar (for good measure!) by The Inspiration Network. I love how she personalizes with a label inscribed with the receiver’s name.

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Sparkly Ornament Advent Calendar by Whipperberry. Let the kids hang an ornament on the tree each night leading up to Christmas – another fantastic idea and a tradition I think I’m going to start!

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Rebecca Cretella