Category Archives: wedding

Favorite Posts

I guess I should acknowledge that my blog turned a year old the other day! Happy Birthday Pencils and Pancakes! It’s weird that I’ve more or less been documenting my life on the internet for a year. Sometimes I feel self conscious. A lot of people who have never heard of what a blog is or are unfamiliar with it don’t understand why anyone would want to do post their life on the internet, or constantly be taking pictures of food to post….but all I know is I enjoy blogging, reading others’ blogs, and writing. So I’ll keep doing it for now!!! I know…you were worried 😉

Since my blog is a year old I though I’d run down some of my favorite and most popular posts from the last year:



Sometimes I doubt if I should continue blogging about teaching, since I feel like the blog has morphed into more of a food blog, but teaching posts continue to be what people searching come for. So I’ll be happy to throw up a couple teaching related posts a month.

How to teach counterclaim

Book unit on Micheal Pollan’s Omnivore’s Dilemma



Over the past year I have been experimenting with the Paleo diet. I love how it makes me feel! Although I don’t stick to it 100% of the time. Here are some of my favorite recipes from the past year (not all of them are Paleo).

Paleo Cereal

Butternut Squash and Chicken Curry over Coconut Cauliflower Rice

Spinach and Garlic Pizza

Grilled banana and peanut butter stuffed french toast

Spicy Roasted Carrot Fries <<I make these at least once a week

Game Day Treats: Roasted red pepper poppers



Quest Bar Review

Gordon Biersch Brewery and Restaurant Review


pro 10

Pros and Cons of planning a wedding on Pinterest

Rustic Wedding Crafts

Bachelorette Party

Ceremony and Bridal Party

Miscellaneous Favorite Posts

What to buy organic

How to grocery shop on a budget using coupons

Working out in the morning: pros and cons

How to change your mindset and become happier


WOW it’s kind of fun to look at all the posts and reflect over the past year. I haven’t really taken the time to re-read much of my blog. Anyways, for the 2-3 people that might read this blog 2 of which include my husband and mother, thanks for reading! Next goal is trying to get this baby self hosted. It scares me whenever I think about it…any tips?

Do you ever go back and read your own blog posts?

How hard is going to self hosted? BE HONEST!!!


Majestic Elegance Punta Cana

I am finally getting around to sharing my honeymoon! Really I just want to look at pictures while re-living it…but I thought it would be cool to share some of the food, sights and things to do at Majestic Elegance Punta Cana. We went there at the suggestion of my sister in law, who is a travel agent. Check out her site for more recommendations!

The resort is in the Dominican Republic. This was my first time going to an all inclusive resort, or to the Caribbean at all. It was beautiful! We had a Jacuzzi suite and the pool with a swim up bar was right outside out doorstep. You literally went out the sliding grass door and the pool was right in our “back yard”. That was probably my favorite part of it all.



Jacuzzi in the room!

We had butlered service, but it really didn’t end up amounting to much. Our butler had “vacation” for most of the time we were there, and even when he was there, we didn’t really feel the need to bother him with little things like getting us towels or reserving us a beach spot. Most days there were plenty of sun beds available at the pools or on the beach. At Majestic Elegance there were two private pools available to the Elegance Club members only, then there was a main group pool with a wet bar. We stuck to the private pools.

Sun Beds on the beach

Sun Beds at the pool

We stayed at Majestic Elegance which is the adults only section of the resort. In the same vicinity is the Majestic Colonial which is a more family friendly option. I seriously got lost and couldn’t tell the difference between the two of them until one day we got kicked out of the buffet because we were on the wrong side. Whoops!

Which brings me to the food….not my favorite part, unfortunately. Obviously, you know I like food. And recently, I’ve become educated regarding where my food comes from and making sure I not only eat healthy but from good sources. An all inclusive resort is not the best place to me when you’re worried about the sources and quality of your food. Just saying. Some people are fine with it. Some people don’t go on vacation to eat. Generally, I do. So the food situation did not make me happy, but we made do.

There were seven restaurants categorized into generic, American-ized versions of Italian, Japanese, Steak House (so corny and cliche), French, Seafood and 2 buffets. I would say the best food was at the Italian or French. But best pretty much means mediocre. It screamed generic and un-authentic.

One of the best things I ate- tiramisu from the Italian place. I don’t even have any other pictures of food- that’s how bad it was!! And you know I like taking pictures of my food.

Oh well, the food was only one part of it. Some of the best food we actually ate was when we went on an excursion to a private island and had some authentic Dominican BBQ pork and rice. After complaining all week I wanted a drink out of a coconut, got ripped off by some guy selling them. $5 for extra rum!


The island was beautiful. And so was the resort.




Have you ever been to an all inclusive resort? How was the food?

How important is food to you on vacation?


Wedding: Reception and Details

Okay I bet you thought I forgot to do the rest of the wedding posts……..


I sort of did. But now I remembered. I can’t believe it’s been more than two months. Every time I go on Pinterest and see wedding things I die a little inside. At least now I can pin house decorating ideas. Who am I kidding? It’s not nearly as fun. Is anyone getting married? I’ll help you plan!!!!

I left off recapping the ceremony which took place right at the reception hall. This made it really easy! Since we did the pictures before hand all we had to do after the ceremony was snap a couple family pics then we were on our way to make it through the line of our guests at the cocktail hour. This was really important to us since we didn’t have a receiving line. We wanted to make sure we talked to as many people as possible. I’ll admit it was a little overwhelming, and I worried that I wouldn’t be able to talk to everyone. But when the night was over I had at least said hello to every single guest.


Cocktail hour on the deck


Here are some of the details I spent hours obsessing over on Pinterest:


Escort Cards


The art teacher at my school made this cute sign for us!


Centerpieces with table number chalkboards


Our favors were shortbread key lime dipped cookies


My  mom made this amazing ring bearer pillow


There’s my burlap banner!


This was a big hit!


Yummy Cupcakes!


Grandparent’s wedding pics

We made our way in after the cocktail hour and immediately did our first dance, parent dances, and speeches.






The speeches were great!

Then after we ate (hardly even remember the food) we were basically free! We had to say hi to a few more people then the only thing “formal” left to do was the ice cream!!!! OMG it was SO GOOD! I want more NOWWWW



Good thing I have these pictures because the reception went by in SUCH a blur. I seriously wish I could go back and experience it again. It’s so bizarre how you spend so much time planning and obsessing and then it’s just….over. Ah, oh well.



Have you been obsessing over Pinterest for your wedding?

How do you feel about having a receiving line?


Wedding: Ceremony and Bridal Party

Basically right now I’m doing everything in my power to avoid writing my thank you notes. So I decided to meander over to the computer and blog more about the wedding.

We left off after the first look- again highly recommended for anyone who’s getting married soon!

Our ceremony was right by the shore of Lake Ontario. It had started down pouring earlier in the day but cleared up and ended up being a beautiful afternoon. Everyone was in awe of howgorgeous it was. It was perfect






My BFF from high school!









Our flower girl and ring bearer:




I was so nervous!!!!












My parents


We did some family pictures after the ceremony that took like 10 minutes. I was SO over doing pictures after that. I hardly even wanted to do sunset pictures! I don’t know how people do hours of it. Looking back on it I briefly wished I had more, but in retrospect the day was spent enjoying myself and not worrying about pictures. Plus when I went to print them I realized I had more than enough.




Looking at these is so fun!!! Next up: Reception and details


Wedding: First Look


In my wedding traditions you should skip post, I mentioned we were seeing each other before the ceremony to do a first look at take pictures to save time.

Let me just say: doing the pictures beforehand… BEST DECISION EVER.

You need to do this, if you’re having a reception that’s immediately following the ceremony at the same venue and are limited on time. I can’t even fathom trying to fit pictures in if I had not done this. The LAST thing I wanted to do after the ceremony was take more pictures. I just wanted to party!!! I could see doing them after if I had a chunk of time between the ceremony and reception, but other than that no way!!! It was awesome and it didn’t make anything less special. It was great to have a couple of minutes with Austin to be with each other before craziness ensued.

The reason we look like we’re hysterically laughing is because right before I was set to come out, Austin was standing facing the water and my Dad, not realizing this was supposed to be like this special moment, came out and started asking Austin about the weather or something. It was hilarious.







something was really funny….







Soon the rest of the bridal party joined us on the rocks by the water




After a couple more bridal party shots, the photographer did a couple more of us. 




I think this last one is my FAVORITE picture of the day….


Oh man, I could look at these photos for hours. And I’m sure you’re bored…..

But seriously, if you got to this website because you Googled first look….DO IT!!!! Don’t think it’s going to make your walk down the isle less special because there’s no way that event could be “not” special. Honestly I was so freaking nervous walking down the isle I don’t even remember it. I do remember the first look. It made it so much more relaxed afterwards.


Next up: Ceremony and Bridal Party Pics


Wedding: Getting ready

I’ve been obsessing over my wedding photos for the past couple of days. It’s exhausting looking through everything, posting to Facebook, figuring out what I want to get printed, etc. I just want to do everything at once and it’s a bit overwhelming. I decided to post in sections of the wedding. First I’ll be sharing with you pictures of me and my bridesmaids getting ready/preparation shots.

I already shared that we were to take pictures before the ceremony. When we got to the reception site, it was beautiful out. We were set to take pictures at about 3 pm (ceremony at 5) and it started down pouring rain at 2 pm. I was checking the radar like a crazy woman, and anything I said/did from 2-3 pm that day is a bit of a blur….




Here’s me looking at the rain !




My friend let me borrow her cowboy boots just for the photo shoot. They counted as my “something borrowed”.


We did our first look (I’ll do a separate post) then came back into the room to freshen up. That’s when I cooled down about the weather (the rain was long gone) and we all relaxed by watching Miley Cyrus parodies on You Tube.


My Grandma and I!



I don’t know if I mentioned the AMAZING bridal suite my venue had (as you can see). It was huge with a bathroom, extra changing room, leather couch and large mirror with chairs for the hair and make up. I couldn’t have asked for anything better. This part of the day definitely went by in a blur but it was so nice to relax in that suite with my bridesmaids!

Where did you get ready for your wedding?


Bachelorette Party / Wine Tour

Last installment of wedding planning post before the big day!! Four more days! Getting nervous over here….. Sort of 🙂

Last week was my bachelorette party / wine tour that my bridesmaids threw me. Indefinitely underestimated the stress of having a bachelorette party so close to the wedding. I thought I’d be fine.. But the combo of not sleeping, drinking the weekend before at my friend’s wedding, and the stress of getting everything done kind of caught up with me. You usually think of bachelorette parties as crazy and over the top….but I was I happy mine was calm and controlled. Drinking heavily always seems like a good idea at the time, but it has seriously been taking me multiple days to get over one night of drinking so I am so glad I was able to take it easy- ish on this day. It didn’t make it any less fun!! It was perfect.

First I made sure to load up on some healthy carbs for the limo.


Against all grain zucchini muffins


Baked Plantains: Recipe coming coon!


We gathered at my cousins house and piled in to visit some NYS Cayuga Lake wineries. I love New York wine!


Of course I was forced to wear the obligatory necklace…..


The Finger lakes has some beautiful scenery!



Love friends!!




Wineries visited were:
Swedish Hill
Eleven Lakes winery

It was awesome because the majority of them I haven’t been to. I also made it a point to try wines that I normally wouldn’t gravitate to, since it seems like every time Austin and I go we end up leaving with some sort of Riesling. My favorite wine is always white wine not too sweet and not too dry. But on the tour I made it a point to try different sweeter, dessert wines as well as some reds and other types like fruit wines! I ended up with three very out of character wines for me..

Cherry wine from Cobblestone, Rhubarb dessert wine from Montezuma and a nice even red from Eleven Lakes!


It’s not Napa….but I love Finger Lake Wine tasting!

what are your favorite wines?

If you’re local, what are your favorite NY wineries?

Did you get crazy for your bachelorette?



Wedding traditions you should skip

19 days to go! It’s so surreal. I’ve been waiting for a year and half for this day and it’s so soon…but it kind of just feels like it’s never going to come. It will be over before I know it.

Over the past year and a half there has been so much planning, thinking, worrying, obsessing over every single little detail of our wedding. I’m not saying I haven’t enjoyed it. I loved every aspect of wedding planning. People say to take it all in and enjoy it while it lasts and I certainly have in this long engagement.

Let’s talk about wedding stress. I mentioned before that I didn’t think wedding planning was stressful. It started to become stressful about a month ago right after my shower when I was trying to juggle the end of the school year, shower thank yous, wedding crafts, and making sure we had bridal party gifts and all those odds and ends. I started to stress out A LOT. Like up all night stress out. What if it rains? What if people are late? What if no one gets a room? Will we have enough energy to go out after? What if we run out of time? Blah blah blah….

Now, with the wedding so soon, I feel a new sense of relaxed calm. It seems SO weird that soon it will be over, but I am so ready. I’m not nervous, scared, anxious, worried, or anything. I just want to party with my friends, family and soon to be husband and have a good time. That has a 100% chance of happening….no matter what percent chance of rain there is.  So who cares what else happens? Like seriously…….there are so many amazing things happening that day that one little thing going wrong isn’t going to change the amazing-ness of the day. These things I was worrying about seem completely asinine and ridiculous to even worry about now! So if you’re getting married soon and stressing- STOP IT!

I don’t consider our wedding to be the most ‘traditional’ type- we’re not getting married in a church…our wedding and reception are at the same place, etc. I feel like some traditions make the night drag on and on…especially ones where there are 2 hours of pictures involved and the wedding party is late for the reception! Ugh!

Here are some wedding traditions we’re choosing to skip:

1. Getting married in a church

As mentioned, we’re getting married and having our reception at the same place. It’s outdoors, by Lake Ontario. I posted about it a little while ago. The venue was the main thing we splurged on.

2. Wedding Cake

“Whhhhatttt? You’re not having a wedding cake?” is the response I get when I tell people this. We’re nixing it because Austin doesn’t like cake and an ice cream sundae bar in August is waaaay cooler.

source source photo 2211760-1


We’re also doing mini cupcakes and cookies.

3. Not seeing each other until the ceremony

Nonsense. A lot of people feel really strongly about this. And that’s fine. Do what you want to do. Our reception is immediately after our ceremony, so instead of using up our cocktail hour doing pictures, we’re doing a first look before. What’s a first look? Read this.

first look


4. Bouquet Toss/Garter

Again…people probably feel like this is necessary, that’s fine. I don’t. Never have I been  to a wedding where was I even remotely worried/thinking about this event happening. Takes time out of my dancing and partying. Period.

These are the traditions we’re skipping in order to make our day our own. But you do you! Just keep an open mind while planning your wedding! There are things you can add/take away that will make it truly YOUR day!

What’s your opinion on doing away with these traditions? What would/did you do at your wedding?


Rustic Wedding Crafts

I really wish I have had more time for blogging….but the big day is keeping me pretty busy as of late. I am not a neat, creative and crafty person by nature…but then Pinterest came along. Every day I thank the lord that this doesn’t apply to me: Funny Confession Ecard: I had my wedding before I had Pinterest. I sound corny and cliché, but I am trying to create the ‘rustic country’ look for my wedding. I know, I know…unoriginal…leave me alone- it’s my wedding not yours. But I hope it will be cute….. Here is some stuff I’ve been working on.

Here’s what it looked like to begin with-  

chalkboard  chalkboard2 chalkboard4 


Another idea is the banner for the sweetheart table:   burlap-wedding-banner This tutorial was so easy!!! And that’s saying something…I usually mess things up.   It came out!!  I have yet to string it together so you have to wait to see the finished product. Another thing was the escort cards, which I’m not finished with yet. Here’s my inspiration:   source   To make the key tags look ‘vintage’,

escort cards

I brushed them with Olde English furniture polish until they get that faded look. Takes a couple of tries until you get the hang of it.   My mom (who has better handwriting than me) will write the guests’ names in calligraphy. I have fancy tack board things that I am attaching them to and setting up near the entrance of the venue.

These table numbers weren’t really inspired by anything, besides the chalkboard theme!   They were easy and inexpensive.


Annnnd we’re still working on the centerpieces. More on that later. Thank you Pinterest!!!! What would I do without you….. I am going to go into a dark depression when I cannot pin wedding stuff anymore. Until August 2nd…I’m pinning away. What wedding crafts have you found on Pinterest??? Let me know what I can add!!!


Paleo Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins

Typing this I realize I forgot to take a picture of the finished product…

Usually it’s the opposite. I get a pic of the finished product but forget to take pictures along the way. I like a blog that has pictures of the various steps. I succeeded in that for this recipe but forgot to snap a pic of the muffins when they were finished. I guess you just have to trust me on this one!!! They were so moist and delicious and Austin just ate the last one. So unless I ask him to regurgitate it you don’t get a finished pic. Hopefully, I can fake you out into thinking these were mine.


Chocolate Chip Banana Muffins Recipe

source- not mine

Did I trick you? No? Oh well. Trust me they were greeaaat! So make them.

I am super excited because I got to use something really exciting for the first time while making these. Drum roll please…….


Kitchen Aid!!!! I got this at my shower Sunday. Technically I’m “not supposed to use this until we’re married”. Pshhhhhhhhh. Can’t wait. #sorrynotsorry

I was inspired to make these because my friend Jenna knows I will eat a banana up until they are way past normal brown status, and she threw some of these in my shower present. Can’t let them go to waste!!!!!!

Paleo Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins

Makes 1 dozen

3 eggs

2-3 ripe and mushy bananas

1/2 cup coconut flour

1/4 cup maple syrup

1 tbsp olive oil (or coconut oil. didn’t feel like melting it)

1/2 tsp salt

3/4 tsp of baking soda


Mix wet ingredients (bananas, eggs, maple syrup, oil) Then add the dry and mix (by hand or with your awesome Kitchen Aid like I did) until it becomes a batter. The batter will be thick. You can add more syrup or a little almond or coconut milk if it’s too thick.


Thick batter^

Then add chocolate chips. I have been obsessed with these Enjoy Life chocolate chunks. Yeah- they’re not lasting long in my house. I may or may not be grabbing handfuls as I pass by the cabinet.

mega chunks

I love this brand of chocolate. I like it more than regular chocolate. Never going back.


I chopped them up and added them to the batter.

I baked the muffins at 350 for about 25 minutes.


I even snapped an extremely terrible picture of them in the oven but forgot to do one at the end!!! Terrible blogger. I reaaaaaally have to get a better camera.

Does anyone want to give me suggestions for a starter camera for blogging? Seriously considering buying one. I don’t have a fortune to spend.