I’m a Bargain Bride

It’s true.  And I’ve got the receipts to prove it.

This month marks the nine-months-to-go-until-the-big-day countdown.  Hooray!  With the wedding date approaching, Darrin and I took some time during our Christmas vacation to complete some planning duties.  One such duty (she said doodie…heehee) was purchasing lighting for our reception site.  Enter the bargain bride.

We budgeted $100 for lighting (not counting candles).  So, the day after Christmas I arrived at my neighborhood Target at 7:00 a.m.  Mind you, I am not a serious shopper and I usually avoid major sales/shopping events (as described here).  But, I was motivated by a greater desire to stay on budget.  Once inside the store, I grabbed a basket and made a beeline for the holiday decor section.  But, to my dismay, there were no lights to be found.  Nooooooo!

I texted an update to my mom and sister, two awesome ladies who agreed to fight the crowds and help me search for lights, and headed off to another Target.  In the mean time, my mom also found empty shelves at two different Targets.  I was starting to feel anxious and worried that we wouldn’t find lights anywhere.  Why-oh-why didn’t I buy them before Christmas when I had the chance?

I arrived at another Target and once again grabbed a basket and rushed off to the back corner of the store where the holiday decor was stowed away.  To my delight, the shelves were stocked with lights galore.  Jackpot!  With only a hand basket in tow, I was able to maneuver easily through the throngs of people to view and select the lights I wanted.  It was when I slipped between two people to gain better access to some shelves that I overheard a woman comment to her friend, “She’s a bargain shopper.”

I thought to myself, “Nope.  I’m a bargain bride.”  And I went right back to my intent analysis of lights – comparing lengths, number of bulbs per strand, bulb brightness, etc.  Eventually, my basket was overflowing and it was time to check-out.  The lights were 50% off.  I spent $78.72 but walked away with over $150 worth of lights!  And, did you notice I came in under budget?  Plus, when the wedding’s over, Darrin and I will have lights for our house.

After I made my purchase, I called my mom and sister off the hunt and let them know that I went ahead and spent my budget at one store given the fact that we’d had bad luck at three previous stores.  My mom, being the generous lady she is,  purchased some more lights for us as a gift anyway.  So, we’re definitely set on lights.

With all this talk on lights, you’re probably wondering what the heck we’re going to do with them.  Well, we’re definitely going to use them to light up the perimeter of our reception site, but there are some other ideas floating around as possibilities.  I found these sources of inspiration on (you guessed it) Pinterest.  What do you think?

While these lights are larger, I love the warm feel of this circus tent-style draping. It creates a beautiful focal point in the outdoor setting.

Photo by Jimena Roquero.

This waterfall effect created with tulle and white lights would be a great way to hide or cordon off areas of the reception site.

The mix of white lights and jars would echo my plan for table centerpieces (candles in jars) nicely.

While recreating a scene like this is not likely, I am inspired by the warmth of this setting.

What I find appealing about white lights is how they can add warmth and a festive feeling all at once.  Additionally, I feel like white lights have a magical quality about them, transporting me to a starry place, safe within the confines of the light.

Now we just have to figure out exactly how we’ll hang all the lights I scored (and received – thanks Mom!) during my bargain hunting.

What about you?  Do you have any great bargains you want to brag about?  What about tips for bargain brides?


It’s the Little Things

I’m back from a break to show off some small changes to our “breakfast nook.”  The original part of our house was built in 1958 and at that time this little area right off of the kitchen was the only dedicated dining space in the house.  Since some add-ons were made in the 70’s, there (thankfully) is now plenty of room in the house for a proper dining room table.  So, now we have a breakfast nook to play with.  First, let’s take a look at what the space looked like when Darrin first got the keys to the house.

A view of the nook from our great room. If you look carefully at the upper right corner, you can see remnants of the 1980's country wall paper we found.


Just look at that lamp! At let me tell you, it hurt like heck when we bumped our heads on it!


We love these storybook windows. But, those blinds had to go!

So, before we look at what changes have happened to this small area.  Here’s a reminder of what things look like on the opposite side of the kitchen.  We went with some bold blues and greens.  This was the first room we painted and we were tired of dull and dingy and needed something bright.  We got it.

kitchen after 2

We've since rearranged some of the use of the counter space. But we're still so happy with the colors!


And now for the transformation on the other side.

We painted the walls a bright white, removed the dated wall paper, changed the light fixture, and updated the window treatment.


Here's another view of the space looking into the great room. We decided to paint the cross beams to highlight some of the architectural details of the space.


The roman shades (from Cost Plus World Market) were a great find! They tie in the blue and green from our cabinets while bringing in the red from these great club chairs Darrin found years ago while traveling.


While we are certainly pleased with the progress of this space.  It is not over.  Still to do:

  1. Find a permanent light fixture (the current shade was stolen borrowed from Darrin’s night stand)
  2. Buy canister trash and recycling cans to replace our current eyesores.
  3. Buy or build side board to place on blank wall and use for storage (the only place in the house we’re lacking storage, really).
  4. Hang artwork on blank wall.  Right now, I’m leaning towards something with the following concept (without the words):
I love the colors and the idea of hunting around for beautiful plates to complete my collection.
So, what about you?  Do you have any small projects you’ve completed lately that you feel good about?  Share, share!