Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Ashton's Bachelorette Bash Part II: The Guests!

I am so excited to share the pictures from one of my best-friend's bachelorette parties! Ashton and Matt got married while we were at Tech School at Vandenberg AFB.  She flew to Chicago during our winter exodus and they got married.  Now they're having their big, Catholic wedding and I couldn't let Ashton have her big day without a fun, hybrid bachelorette/bridal shower soiree.

The bridal soiree was thus born!  Ashton loves the great outdoors, so I split up her bachelorette party into two parts.  Read more about Part I- a day spent out at First Peoples Buffalo Jump.

 Part II was all about the traditional bachelorette party...except we live in a really small town.  It's not really set up for bar crawling, so I decided to throw a fun, casual event at her house.  Going off of her personality, the theme of Girl Scouts Chic.  Think retro and vintage Girl Scouts.

With that theme in mind, I started collecting vintage items off of eBay.  I bought handbooks from the 1940s as well as gorgeous vintage pins.  I made "Girl Scout Handbook" invitations that were filled with original artwork from the handbooks that I had scanned.  

I told the girls to use neutral colors or vintage/retro Girl Scouts to inspire their outfits.  I absolutely loved Hannah's outfit and Sara's was pretty spot on as well- check out that darling neckerchief!

Our Young Life main leader, Katie, made Ashton this adorable bridal sash.

Those three pins are some of the vintage pins I collected over the past several months.  I thought they completed her look perfectly!

As I was busy behind-the-scenes, I put another one of my best-friends in charge- Brittany.  She is an amazing artist and photography major so she was perfect for getting the party started.


A station was set up in the garage with a big chalkboard sign that said, "Kisses for Ashton! Leave a kiss and your name." I put out two bowls, one with Q-tips and the other with various lipsticks.  As the ladies came in, they had the opportunity to leave a kiss for Ashton to remember her bachelorette party by. You'll get to see the finished product later!


I also asked each of the ladies to bring two things with them to the party, in lieu of traditional bachelorette gifts.  The first was to create a 12x12 scrapbook page with a letter to Ashton.  The results turned out so cute! Next to the lipsticks was the scrapbook and each lady had the opportunity to place their page into the scrapbook.


 The second thing I asked the ladies to bring, as the primary "gift," was their favorite love story.  The whole theme of the bachelorette party, apart from Girl Scouts Chic, was that this is a journey and a unique love story.  Here are two wonderful people who are already married, who now want to celebrate that with everyone by essentially renewing their vows.

So each young lady brought their favorite love story, wrapped up in Barnes and Noble bags or cute, squadron-themed colors.  They dropped them off next to the lipstick station and you'll get to see their choices in a future post!


After lipstick prints, scrapbooks, and the dropping off of books, it was time for the first main event that involved Ashton!  At first, I was worried that it was going to be a lot of activity to get the party started but it actually turned out great.  As ladies started arriving, they could drop off their items and leave a lipstick print.  Brittany then took charge of our "how did you meet Ashton" photo session.


I made another chalkboard earlier in the week that was perfect for holding in this photo shoot.  Each of the ladies got to write or draw the first time they met Ashton.  The weather was gorgeous and it was a nice, casual way to ease into the bachelorette party.

As promised, here is the final result of the lipstick prints!  I think it turned out darling and it's a fun memento for Ashton to remember her special girls' day.

Check out the next series of blog posts to see more on the bachelorette party!

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Thursday, July 17, 2014

So Long, Farewell: Saying Goodbye to Military Friends

I hate goodbyes and am very fond of the idea of rather saying "see you later." In the military, that's kind of true.  Eventually we'll end up at the same bases or in the same part of the United States or even deployed together.

While living here at Malmstrom we built a great friendship with our next door neighbors, Alex and Tabitha. It's crazy how the winters keep people apart here.  We hung out with them once before winter came and then didn't see them until spring.  When Alex and I were members of the CGOA board did we become really good friends. Tabitha and I are literally the same person and crazy as it is but we're from the same sorority.  Of course at this time we found out that in a few months they would be moving to Italy.  UGH

Tabitha and Alex are such a fun couple.  We had so many cookouts and game nights with them and it was a blast. They even got me to watch The Shining.

 Our lewd picture is actually a running joke where the guys kept trying to make the Theta kite and instead would make symbolic vaginas. Ignore their weirdness.

Our good friends are officially in Italy now. They have a wonderful blog and pictures of pizza dates and markets. I am officially jealous beyond all means. However, this does mean that Ryan and I get to work on passports and a trip to Italy (hopefully next year).

Although saying goodbye or see ya soon to friends is really difficult for me, meeting all of these wonderful people has been a blessing. Here's to a trip to Italy!

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Wednesday, July 16, 2014

A Novel Idea Book Club

One of my 101 in 1001 ideas was to start a book club...finally! I was really excited about this idea because it has been something on the brain and on my heart for what felt like f-o-r-e-v-e-r!

I started it a few months ago and opened it up to my friends, including female military members, spouses, and civilians in the local area. It's a great way to encourage yourself to read and hold yourself accountable to not just bypass the written word for magazines, online articles, and blog posts (not that they're bad).  

However, my book club didn't have a name. It just hung out as the "Ladies' Book Club." Kinda feels a little naked.  

I was scrolling through Instagram when I came across the Popular feed. Instagram tailors it to find posts that are similar to the Instagram accounts that you follow. I am so glad I checked it out because I became Instagram friends with Delicious Reads, a Utah-based book club that has AWESOME book club meetings.

Delicious Reads has really fun, themed book club meetings.  They host the meetings at their homes and the members contribute to a delicious, literary-themed dinner.  They do fun activities in relation to what they read.  Like when they read The Husband's Secret and their discussion questions were handed out in envelopes as "secret letters," just like the book.  I think one of my favorites was their Walt Disney biography meeting.

I solicited some advice from their president and she was awesome! I found out some great tips for the structure of their book club and it inspired me to do some big changes.  First off, a renaming and A Novel Idea was born.  We've been picking our books out monthly and it has honestly wasted so much time.  It has taken a week to get book nominations and another week to simply vote.  So in taking a chapter out of Delicious Reads' plans, we are using our next meeting to select books for September through December and then the November meeting will be used to pick books for 2015.  So much time saved! 

I also really LOVED the idea of having the book club meetings in our homes.  That was our overall goal and since we were just starting, we limited them to coffee shops but now that we're a few months in, I think we're ready.  I think literary-themed dinners and decor is so much fun and I want to bring that to my club as well.  Delicious Reads has been going strong since 2011, so it's nice to be able to utilize some of their tips to help improve ours.

I am so excited to see where our club goes and to invite other members in the future.  If you're in the Great Falls, Montana area and are interested in being a part of our ladies book club, shoot me an e-mail :)

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Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Ashton's Bachelorette Bash Part 1


One of my absolute best-friends and battle buddies here is Ashton.  She and Matt have been married for awhile now (ahh that military lifestyle) but are having a big Catholic wedding late in summer.  She never had a bridal shower or bachelorette party so I decided to make a big bachelorette bridal soiree for her!

She is one of the kindest, most loyal people you could ever meet.  She's also conveniently a Young Life leader with me (I know, I've been dropping Young Life left and right this week but it is THAT important to me).  

One thing that she loves would be outdoor adventures.  She's from Colorado so she is 100% familiar with all that is outdoors.  She's even interested in getting certified in being an outdoor rec guide! How cool is that?

So it was only fitting that one component of her bachelorette bash involved the great outdoors.  It's shameful, but I haven't done much in the local area in terms of outdoor adventures. In fact, the ones that I have done are usually with Ashton.

After weeks of deliberation between a float trip, horseback riding, and hiking, the final result based on everyone's schedules was a hike! 


We decided to visit a really great local state park- First Peoples Buffalo Jump.  The Native American tribes in the local area used to hunt buffalo by driving them over cliffs.  I know, intense.  

One thing that I love about Montana is the rich history of Native Americans and the beautiful scenery that accompanies so many areas of this state.

If you're out-of-state, the park asks for a $5 donation but Montana residents can visit the park for free. The visitor's center has a really great mini museum and the presentation was wonderful.  We learned all about how the tribes selected three boys to help hunting buffalo.  A 16-year old was chosen to wear a buffalo calf pelt and two younger boys were chosen to wear wolf hides.  I also learned that female buffalo were the matriarchs and in charge of their herds.  #whoruntheworld

 What was also pretty neat was learning that the park hoped to buy additional land and actually have buffalo there!!  After visiting the museum and the presentation, we hiked up to the top.  It took us probably 20-30 minutes and the view was wonderful.  There were so many gophers up there, too! I could only imagine the chaos that would ensue if Holly and Blu were with me.

It was a wonderful day at a local state park and I can't wait to share part 2 of Ashton's bachelorette bash!
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Monday, July 14, 2014

Letting Your Light Shine: The Matthew 5:16 Project

When I got back from camp, there was such a light inside of me.  Everywhere I looked, there was God.  He made the beautiful desert canyon, the smiles on people's faces, and the hilariously ironic moments of my life.  Above all else, I learned and grew in the idea that God has a sense of humor.  So much so that it would cause me to laugh throughout the day at the little things that He would do to put a smile on my face.  It almost felt like a really happy dating relationship, without that getting too weird of a concept ;)

But that's the thing about coming back from camps or conferences that focus on your relationship with God.  Your heart is soaked in His message and your mind is zoned in on focusing on being more Christ-like.  While at camp, I had the opportunity to relish in prayer and conversation with Him.  He spoke to me through prayer and the dialogue we had was amazing.  It was refreshing and wonderful.  My friend, and fellow YL leader, Rhonda spoke about how she sees God in everything.  From the beauty of nature, to smiles, to babies, to everything good in life.  That mentality and the goodness of that week was so enriching for my soul.