Rose: A Wedding Book for Theresa and Dennis

Note: This post originally appeared on my professional website.

This book was a very special one. I’ve known Theresa for nearly a decade. And, over the past three years, I’ve been able to watch love grow between her and Dennis.

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Theresa and Dennis are the kind of couple that just fit together. When you see them together, it just makes sense. Both silly, goofy and full of life, they complement each other well. I remember seeing them at a wedding over the summer, and I said to Thre, “I totally understand why you’re with Dennis.” He’s ridiculous in every way — just like her — but has a warm and loving spirit, too.

What makes this union extra special is the bond I share with Theresa. She’s been like a sister to me over the years. I’ve gone on vacation with her family, spent weekends at her house in Virginia and have had endless porch chats with her in Pittsburgh. Throughout the years, we shared our dating woes, and she gave me advice (and vice versa) on multiple occasions. That’s why it was especially exciting to share in her big day. She is a person so deserving of a love like this, and I’m so happy she found Dennis.

All of that said, I was more than honored to be asked to make their wedding guest book. Theresa said, “I want a Huber original!” so I knew I had to deliver :) We discussed wedding colors and settled upon purple, blue and silver. The perfect winter wedding scheme. To save on materials, I ended up using the same book cloth I used for Dara and Calvin’s book.

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I loved the way the book turned out. Silver paper was the right choice. I coordinated with Theresa and Dennis and they helped to select the paper. I love the way the silver stands out — looks almost like icy snow.

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This book was a little different. Instead of blank pages, I included photos of Theresa and Dennis throughout the book. The idea was that wedding guests could share their memories of Theresa and Dennis. This is much more personal than just signing names in a book that you don’t really look at again. Instead, it’s like an album they can reread throughout time.

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These photos are a little yellow — forgive that. But I ended up adding some extra elements to the book and snapped these images late at night (bad lighting). I bought some snowflakes at Paper Source, along with a snowflake puncher. I ended up creating a little display of snowflakes on the front of the book, along with their initials. For an extra sparkle, I added a few stickles (glitter). I loved the way it turned out.

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I was so happy to be able to share in Theresa and Dennis’ big day in this way. And I had a blast at the wedding! Congratulations, you two!

Rose: DIY Sugar Scrub

Every year, I try and make at least one DIY (do-it-yourself) Christmas gift. I like the idea of personally making something, with my own hands, for a friend, family member or coworker. Because my coworkers often know and see this side of me, I thought it might be fun to create something just for them. I made a few more jars of whipped body butter, but I wanted to do something more. I searched Pinterest for some ideas when I stumbled across this recipe for a Mint Sugar Scrub. My crafty hands quickly got to work.

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These were a cinch to make, and they will be super refreshing in the shower. The sugar will help exfoliate the skin, and the mint will help soothe irritation. The ingredients are simple: sugar, coconut oil, peppermint extract and 1 droplet of green food coloring. You melt the oil and then fold in the other ingredients, mixing gently. I then scooped the scrub mixture into these pint-size Ball jars. They are perfect because they have a wide-mouth lid, so they are easily accessible.

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My coworkers enjoyed receiving their gifts, and I was happy to pass on something made with a little love, sweat and tears (though much more of the first than the latter.)

What are you crafting for Christmas?

Rose: Christmas Cards

For the past six years (wow, has it really been that long?) I have been making handmade Christmas cards. The idea sparked when I was in graduate school studying bookmaking and creative writing. I decided to put my skills to the test and made a few booky cards for friends and family. Unfortunately, I don’t have photos of the cards from years past. So I am trying to document it now. This year’s card focus was simple but elegant: trees with a 3-dimensional twist.

I got the idea after attending a cardmaking night at the Paper Source in town. While this wasn’t one of the cards we made, another crafter at the store had some up with a similar design. What I liked about it was its simplicity. By using different shades for the trees, you can create an interesting layered look. Making one of the trees 3D gives it a little pop, too. I made all elements of the card by hand. I punched out nearly 300 trees and enough background paper for nearly 100 cards. I glued everything down and added stickles glitter at the end (that gave it a nice pop). And I embossed a Merry Christmas onto the front. I alternated between red and green backgrounds. (Note: While one of these trees is brown, most of them were a shiny gold. I ran out by the end).

I also sent a few special cards (one being to my mother, which is not included below. Sent it before I could snap the photo). The middle and right cards were made at the craft night. I came up with the first card thanks to some leftovers from another project.

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I might like the design with the snowflakes best of all — and I only made 3 copies of that one! I ended up running out of cards and needed some for my coworkers, so I whipped these together. Not to spoil the surprise, but I might make this version next year … I love it!

Do you make or send cards?

Rose: Insanity Max 30

Yesterday I officially started a new workout program: Insanity Max 30. This is like a condensed version of the Insanity program but harder and, in my opinion, more cardio-based. I’m now two days into the process, and I thought it might be fun to share my thoughts so far. Hopefully I can read this after 60 days and look at how far I’ve come.

Day 1: Cardio Challenge.

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I feel like this photo sorta sums up how I felt. EXHAUSTED. While I don’t look sweaty in this photograph, I can assure you that it was pouring down. This workout is probably one of the hardest I’ve ever done, next to Kam’s classes in Pittsburgh. It seems to tap my heart rate the most. At many times throughout, I just wondered if I’d ever catch my breath again. My heart was beating FAST.

As you can see, I “maxed-out” early (this is the point when you have to stop and take a break or modify). The five-minute intro itself is dizzying. That said, I liked the balance of cardio moves throughout. They feel effective, especially for my legs. By doing this program I’ve realized how much my legs are out of shape. I don’t run very much, and the workouts I did over the summer were more geared toward my arms. So this program is definitely putting the emphasis back on my thighs and calves. All in all, I’m glad I finished!

Day 2: Tabata Power.

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I did a little better today in terms of my max-out time. But this workout is a different animal altogether. It is much more focused on strength and using your own body as weights. Think: tons of push-ups (unlike any you’ve seen before), tricep dips and core work. What I love about this DVD is the new moves. I have done thousands of push-ups but none like these. Shaun has you go down, lift back up and bring your arm up to your shoulder (like a row). It is HARD. I can only do a few and then I have to modify.

This workout seems to affect my back the most. My muscles must need improvement in that area. Last week, I was sore for days after doing this workout. I sense the same thing will happen tomorrow. Either way, I know I’m working parts of my body that have long been ignored.

Overall Thoughts

I am going to stick with this. I love the shorter length. It’s manageable, and I can fit it into my day. I truly feel like I am pushing myself to my potential — which I love. This program is not for the faint of heart. Good thing I am a determined son of a gun!

Wish me luck, friends.

Rose: One Pot Cheesy Turkey Taco (SkinnyTaste)

Last night, I made one of the newest recipes featured on Skinny Taste. I’ve been using this website for years. Her recipes are extremely accessible. Whether you’re following Weight Watchers, eating clean or counting calories, it’s all laid out for you. At the end of each recipe, Gina posts all the nutrition information you need to know.

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Unfortunately — as I am prone to do — I did not follow directions to a T. I was moving quickly after work, and I ended up boiling the noodles first. Do not do this! As a result, my dish had a lot more liquid. Still, all things considered, it ended up being remarkably tasty. The spicy tomatoes gave it just a little kick, and the onions and peppers gave it a nice flavoring.

Overall, I would give this a star of approval both in terms of time and nutrition. The meal is pretty clean — if you are avoiding processed foods — and it really only took me about 20-30 minutes total with a tiny bit of chopping. This is the exact kind of recipe I look for after work: something easy, delicious and filling. This hit the spot!