Who is the Dirty Blonde Stylist?

Recently I was thinking about my brand vs. my own personality. Branding is such a huge piece of your business. While your brand does not have to replicate your personality, it should definitely compliment it. Every few months, I “check in with my brand”. I look at my content and vibe that I am putting out in the world and say “Does that make sense?” “Does that represent The Dirty Blonde Stylist?” Sometimes I feel like I am right on and other times, it looks like I missed the mark. Today I want to verbalize my brand. I want to tell you a few things that make up The Dirty Blonde Stylist to me.

She is a daisy to the peony. While I love peonies, The Dirty Blonde Stylist is more like a daisy. A simple mission for timeless confidence and beauty. She is not about trying to hard, but will definitely put forth the effort. That is the end goal with all my clients, classic, confidence, and effortless style.

Her personality is filled with champagne bubbles! She is bubbly, excited and most of all eager to celebrate. This brand came from my pure enjoyment and excitement for the people, I care about, celebrating big moments in their lives. I love that my skills are ones that can help make people happy and bring their celebrations to life.

Her style changes. Clothes allow you to be anyone you want to be. Barbie showed me the way there. If you want to be a rock-star one day and a princess the next day, your wardrobe should be able to support that desire. She will always dress up for herself and for her life.

She likes and appreciates the nice things in life. She also appreciates the simple things.

Black, white and soft pink. Bold, classic, modern and stylish.

She is not about being up to the minute fashionable. There have been many times, including now, when I don’t love any of the trends happening. I will never talk a client into buying only trendy things. There is a delicate balance between stylish and fashionable. She believes that stylish beats fashionable any day.

I hope this helps you understand more what me and my brand are about. The Dirty Blonde Stylist was not meant to be like the ones on Instagram that we all follow who are perfect. She was meant to be a reflection of certain parts of me. Excited and extra, yet down to earth and caring. If you want to know more about me or the The Dirty Blonde Stylist, shoot me an email below.

-MB

Questions to ask during your venue tour

During those first few weeks of planning, the venue is such a key piece in your planning. After your budget and the rough guest count is set, your venue should be your next step. While venue shopping, it is easy to get caught up in what you love or hate physically about the venue. But there are other important questions that you need to ask while on your tour. Today I am sharing some of my favorite questions that apply to just about any venue.

Sabrina Boykin Photography
  1. Availability – if you don’t have a specific date or month in mind, at least go into your appointment with season and year in mind. Venues are booking earlier due to covid and the many couples who postponed during 2020 and 2021.
  2. Number of guests that can be accommodated? Seated vs. cocktail style. It is important to know the capacities of each possible space so you have options for cocktail hour, rehearsal dinner and ceremony.
  3. How many weddings and events do you book per day or per weekend? Some spaces can accommodate multiple parties in the same weekend or even the same day. It is good to know what options you may have and how another event could affect yours.
  4. Specific rooms and layout. What spaces are suitable for your ceremony, cocktail hour, reception, getting ready and storage space.
  5. Back up plans, what does your rain plan look like? This can be very important to consider. Some of the most beautiful weddings can be ruined by rain. It is important to know if you can bring a tent last minute or move inside if needed.
  6. Can I bring in my own food or an outside catering team? Some venues are very strict and only allow you to use their preferred catering teams or in-house team.
  7. Along the same lines, can we bring our own alcohol?
  8. What is your policy on candles, confetti, and other specific decor?
  9. Are we allowed to leave things overnight? It is great to know beforehand if guests can leave their car at the venue overnight if they drink too much at the reception. This also is great to know if you can leave your car there packed with decor. Also, be sure that family and guests will be able to get into the venue the next day to get their cars.
  10. Does the venue provide any on site staff to help with clean up, set up or other forms of coordination?
  11. Are Ubers, Lyfts, or ride shares available here?
  12. What is the closest hotel or accommodations if none are located on site?
  13. What power sources are available? This is a huge consideration if you are outside, in a historic building or far away from a building. You have to think about the DJ, catering team and any lights you may have and make sure there is enough power to support your event.
  14. Do you have any rentals on site? Linens, tables, chairs, center pieces or bars? You would be surprised what some venues have available and can be included in your rental.
  15. How many hours are included in the rental? Think day of, engagement pictures, and rehearsal dinner? Don’t run into any unexpected time restrictions that may ruin your plans.

I hope these questions will help you find the perfect venue for your big day! Now if you are looking for the perfect planner or coordinator, I would love to help! Send me your wedding details today to learn how we can get started.

-MB

Unique wedding centerpieces that are not flowers

It is no secret, I love flowers! In a year that has been nothing short of creative new centerpieces are emerging. flowers can be one of the most expensive elements in a wedding depending on your style. Greenery may save you money initially but depending how you want it installed could rack up your price quickly. Today I am going to share five unique centerpiece ideas for your wedding or event that do not include flowers.

Books

Books make a great centerpiece for any event with a vintage or whimsical theme. Old leather bound books can be antiques, found at a yard sales, or thrift shops! Stack them in the middle and maybe put T lights around them or on top. You can also incorporate pearls or loose China to add to the whimsical look.

Fruit

Fruit can be a refreshing and Easy way to bring color and freshness to your centerpieces. Select a unique vase or bowl like a blue etched pattern then add lemons. Or choose a tall glass vase and fill with peaches. You can always add table numbers to the tops of these displays by adding a small piece of foam in the center under the fruit.

Paper

In an effort to stay environmentally friendly, some brides are turning to paper. Paper can be folded into flowers, fans, and other shapes to provide a unique centerpiece for your wedding. These sustainable options are not only beautiful but can also be resold to the next Bride continuing with the sustainable theme.

Feathers and pampas grass

There are many beautiful feathers that can serve as glamorous or BoHo style options for your centerpieces. These centerpieces are typically taller by nature and can give the room a grand affect depending how you style them. There are so many amazing options to choose from online these days. It’s not all peacock feathers anymore. If you’re really looking for a BoHo look, pampas grass might be your best option. A feather like quality with a very earthy like feeling.

Candles

One of my favorite trends are long stem candles in gold bases cascading down along family style table. Incorporating different sizes, heights, and even colors of candles can bring in instant romance to your space. Be sure and check with your venue to make sure if you can have a live flame in your space.

With weddings slowly coming back, I cannot wait to see all of the creativity that brides and vendors are bringing to the table! If you need help with your wedding in the form of a planner or coordinator, I would love to help! Fill out the form below so we can get started!

Questions to ask your vendors before you hire them

When you are newly engaged entering into the wedding world can be a whole new experience for most brides. The first steps of planning usually involves booking your vendors and securing your date. But when it comes to interviewing, and researching different vendors a lot of brides struggle with what is important to ask up front. Today I am breaking down a few basic questions that you should ask your vendors before booking them. The more you know if Brent can help you in the long run while planning such an important day

Venue

  • Do you require an additional insurance policy? If so for what amount?
  • Do you require a day of coordinator?
  • Do you have required vendors or just preferred options?
  • What is the timing and accessibility to the venue before and after the wedding?
  • Rain plan?
  • Be sure to discuss location options for ceremony and reception. This will help you mentally plan how many people you can accommodate.
  • What is included in our rental agreement? Chairs? Tables? Linens? Generators? Any staff?
  • Additional fees or add-ons?

Florist

What flowers are in season during my wedding time frame?

  • What flowers are in season during my wedding time frame?
  • Make sure to ask about installation charges if you were planning any elaborate greenery or floral placement.
  • What is the cost for vases included in my arrangements?
  • If you want fresh flowers for your cake, be sure to add them from the beginning
  • Is there any charge to store arrangements overnight and refrigerators?
  • Delivery charges?
  • Will you be returning at the end of the night to collect any arrangements, vases or decor?

Wedding planner or coordinator

  • Do you charge any travel fees for meetings or the wedding?
  • If there is a venue coordinator on site how will you coordinate those responsibilities?
  • What are your priorities day of?
  • When does our communication start? (This will apply to month of or day of coordination)
  • How much of the set up and clean up are you able to assist with?
  • How many people will be on your team?
  • Will you be present at the rehearsal dinner?
  • How many hours are you avaible day of?

DJ

  • Will you provide your own generators or power source if needed?
  • What kind of microphones do you have?
  • Will you provide your own table and linen for reception and ceremony set up?
  • Do you have any travel fees?
  • How do you handle guest requested songs?
  • Will you be present at the rehearsal dinner if needed?

Catering

  • How many staff members will you have present day of?
  • When are final guest counts do to you?
  • what happens to all the leftover food?
  • Will you provide takeout boxes?
  • Will your set up require any power sources?(this is great to keep in mind if you are having a tented reception and require generators)
  • Will your team provide the ABC license if needed?
  • Be sure to discuss how the meal will be served, Buffet, family style, or served by staff members.
  • Layout details of what the catering staff will be expected to do. Will they be assisting with cleanup and set up? Will some of the staff be released after dinner?

Photographer

  • What is included in your wedding packages? Engagement shoot? Bridal portrait? Boudoir photo shoot?
  • What are your hours for the day off?
  • Will you have a second shooter with you?
  • Can we see some of your previous wedding work?
  • What is the turnaround time on our images?
  • Will we have access to download the images and the rights to the images?
  • Is it possible to customize a package to fit my needs?
  • Do you have any travel fees?
  • Will you be submitting our wedding to any publications or blogs?

These are some great jumping off points for any vendor meeting. Nowadays, be sure to address any cancellation, rescheduling, or reduced attendee scenario with your vendor before booking them. Even non-Covid related changes can cost you a bundle if they are not addressed in the contract before hand. If you have more questions or are interested in planning assistance, send me an email below! I can’t wait to hear from you!

National Sibling Day

April 10th is national sibling day! A day devoted to showing appreciation for your brothers and sisters. After all, there are no other people in the world who understand your childhood, and are connected to you in such a way. I am lucky enough to have two siblings, a younger sister, 26 and a younger brother, 12. Today I am sharing a few of my favorite things about my siblings.

Robert

Robert was born when I was 15. Right off the bat, I was a “built in baby sitter” for my parents. My sister and I got a crash course in taking care of a baby and helping out my mom and dad. I love playing with him. He is so fun to talk to about silly things, things that adults don’t want to talk about. Like why clue has two different characters named after food?

Today, I see my family every Wednesday at family dinner at my parents house. I love hearing about Robert’s day at school, what games he is playing and all about his friends. Every week Robert loves to play board games with all of us. I have to remember that when I was his age, the ideas of just sitting around talking was so boring. So playing games, being silly and talking about things that he cares about is the best way I can connect with him every week.

Similarities:

  • We are both picky eaters, he definitely out does me here but I hope he learns to eat more than just noodles with butter one day.
  • We are both creative people who enjoy drawing, movies and a good story.
  • We both love a good board game. The boy will destroy you at Checkers, Uno or Chess.

Emily

Emily and I have been so close ever since we were kids. We played together, made up stories together, and watched all the Land Before Time movies together. Growing up we were often time mistaken for twins, no thanks to the matching pink and blue Mary Kate and Ashley outfits we wore. As we grew up we both went through different phases. I sometimes I look at our lives from the outside in and think “wow if we weren’t sisters would we be friends?” While the answer may be no, depending on the season of our life, I know that we will always be close. I love my sister for all the ways that she is different than me. She is more social than I am, she is smarter than I am for sure and she has a confidence that I used to envy so much. There will never be anyone who will know what movie I am talking about instantly when I quote the line from some childhood no name movie we watched. No one will understand all of the stories we played and made up as kids. No one will know our parents like we do.

Fun facts:

  • We could never fall asleep on Sundays. we would stay up late talking, playing or crafting in our room until all hours. Still to this day when I can’t sleep on a Sunday night I think back to these memories.
  • Emily was scared of Maleficent as a child, I used to use this to scare her whenever I could.
  • Emily and I used to drive to school in my Papa’s 90’s pick up truck. There was a tape player and a hardly working radio. I don’t know why, but every song that was popular during that time became known as a “truck song”. This includes almost every pop song from 2011.

I love my family and never forget to hold them close. So on a day all about sibling love, I want my lil bro and lil sis to know how awesome they are. After all, without them I wouldn’t be a big sister. Celebrate your siblings today with a quick shout out on social media, send them a card or even better give them a call and just chat. It is all about the little things.

-MB

Easter Brunch Menu

I have fallen more in love with Easter the more I grow up. It is such a beautiful holiday that bring family together around around good food, good weather and a solid Easter egg hunt. I am excited this year to be hosting Easter for my family again. This year I wanted to share my menu for Easter Brunch. I have searched though all my cookbooks, Pinterest and family recipes for my menu items. If you are hosting your own Easter this year I hope this menu inspires you or saves you from hours of research.

Nana’s Sausage Balls

A classic that started at my Nana’s house during Christmas. As I got older I would request that she make them for me at various time throughout the year. This recipe has now become my go to for appetizers, snacks or any dish that needs a side. They can be served hot or cold and can be made in advance with no problem. Not to mention, they are so easy to make!

  • 1Lb of spicy sausage
  • 2 cups of shredded cheddar cheese
  • 3 cups of Bisquick

Add ingredients together in mixing bowl attached paddle attachment to your stand mixer. Mix together until all ingredients have stuck together in a large ball. Preheat the oven to 375. Roll mixture into small one/two inch balls and place on a greased cookie sheet. Bake for 18 minutes.

Butcher Family BBQ

You may have guessed by the name that this is not my recipe to share. This BBQ is made in the Crockpot by my father in law and it is to die for. I also like the idea of having a different entrée option other than ham.

Ham Biscuits

There are a lot of variations to these, slider bun, biscuit, rolls, honey ham, salty ham etc. This year to keep with the brunch theme I have chosen homemade biscuits from The Bride and Groom First and Forever Cookbook . After preparing the biscuits, I use country ham, provolone cheese, honey mustard and butter. Bam you’re done, southern classic.

Biscuits

  • 1 cup plus 2 Tablespoons flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup chilled heavy cream, plus more as needed

Position the rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 400 degrees F. Stir together the flour, baking powder, sugar, and kosher salt in a large bowl. Add the 1 cup cream and stir just until dough forms. The dough should be slightly sticky. If it seems dry, add a little more cream. Drop 1/4 cup of the batter onto a baking sheet for each biscuit, spacing them about 1 inch apart. Bake until the biscuits are pale golden on the top and golden brown on the bottom, 18 to 20 minutes. Let cook for 5 minutes before serving.

Southern Style Green Beans

I love green beans, they are such a classic and yummy veggie for any dinner. This recpie comes from The Southerner’s Cookbook.

  • ½ cup bacon fat
  • 2 cups thinly sliced
  • shallots or sweet onions
  • 3 lbs. fresh green beans, strings removed, snapped into 1½-inch pieces and well rinsed
  • 1 qt. chicken stock
  • Coarse salt and ground black pepper to taste

In a heavy-bottomed pot over moderate heat, heat bacon fat until shimmery. Add shallots or onions, stirring to coat. Sprinkle with salt. Cook until almost translucent, about 8 to 10 minutes. Add beans and stock, making sure that stock covers beans. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Cook the beans until the stock is almost gone, about two hours. Add salt and lots of fresh black pepper.

Maple Glazed Spiced Carrots

  • 2lb. medium carrots, tops trimmed to about ½”, scrubbed
  • 6Tbsp. unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • ⅓ cup (packed) light brown sugar
  • ⅓ cup pure maple syrup
  • ¾ tsp. crushed red pepper flakes Kosher salt

Preheat oven to 400°. Line a rimmed baking sheet with 3 sheets of foil (you’ll need it!). Cut carrots on a diagonal into 3″ pieces (halved or quartered lengthwise if large). Spread out carrots on foil. Evenly top with butter, brown sugar, syrup, and red pepper flakes. Season with kosher salt and toss to combine. Bake carrots, tossing every 20 minutes, until tender and browned around the edges, 50–60 minutes. Transfer to a platter (with syrup, if desired). Sprinkle with sea salt (if using).

Killer Roasted Potatoes

A nice change from mashed potatoes and could also be served at breakfast. I love a roasted potato!

  • 2Lb baby potatoes, quartered. 
  • 1/4 cup of extra-virgin olive oil
  • freshly chopped rosemary. 
  • freshly chopped parsley
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Slice potatoes into 4ths. Boil on the stove in hot water for 15 minutes until tender. Preheat oven to 425°. In a large bowl, toss potatoes, oil, and herbs. Season with salt, pepper. Pour into a 9”-x-13” baking dish.  Bake until potatoes are golden and fork tender, 35 to 40 minutes.

My Own Crockpot Mac and Cheese

I have gushed about my mac and cheese in the past. I always love to make a big batch whenever I am entertaining. It is another easy recipe that is made in the crockpot. Freeing up your tome for other dishes. You can find all the details for this recipe here

Banana Pudding

This dish is not only simple and delicious, but has become my contribution to all family meals since I started dating my now husband. There are few family events that don’t have a banana pudding.

  • 2 boxes of banana pudding
  • I box Vanilla wafers
  • 4/5 bananas
  • 2 containers of cool whip

Prepare pudding with directions on the box. Pick out your container, I love using a glass jar or trifold dish. start with cookies then layer; pudding, bananas, cool whip, cookies until you are at the top of your dish or out of pudding.

I hope you enjoy these recipes as much as I do. Enjoy your Easter with the best family, friends and food.

-MB

Masks

Has COVID cramped your style recently? I have talked many times about how we are dressing nowadays with Covid in our lives. As we start to return to the world it is still important to stay safe and chic. That is why I have started creating these amazing custom masks for all of your special events and daily style needs.

Special order or request? Shoot me an email below!

Bring out your inner cowgirl with this fringe statement mask. Black fringe with elastic ear pieces.

The Vegas Show girl: gold and black sequins over a solid black mask with elastic ear pieces. $14.00

Bridal Fringe – Show off your bridal style from Vegas to Nashville. Perfect for all bridal celebrations. Soft white cotton with cotton earpieces. $12.00

Flower child- navy boho styled with cream flowers on right side. Elastic ear pieces. $12.00

White bridal cotton mask. Hand stitched pearl and rhinestone details. Cotton earpieces. $14.00

Stay tuned for more styles coming soon!

From Bride to Mrs.

The time you are engaged is an amazing time. Wedding planning, parties, gifts and endless gawking over your beautiful new ring. When I see someone get engaged the first thing I want to do is buy them a little something, just a congratulations “I am so happy for you” gesture. I always go for something that can be used right away like cookies or a bottle of champagne. Paired with maybe a ring tray or cake plate, something they can use long after the wedding. My reason for this is from my own wedding experience.

Once the wedding is over and you are no longer fiancées, but man and wife. Most ladies look around and say “What do I do with all this wedding stuff?” They typically turn to Facebook wedding groups or marketplace to pass along their items to the next bride. Selling off the “Does this ring make me look engaged?” mug, the bride labeled bags, earrings, and T shirt and many other items. If you are the bride now or know a bride that you want to shower with gifts, here are my tips. All of these items I bought or received during my fiancée status and still use to this day almost two years later.

The MRS tote bag – This was a gift from one of my bridesmaids that I absolutely love. I fell in love with the title Mrs. rather than fiancée or bride. I will always be a Mrs. and am proud to carry this tote around everyday in my married life.

My wedding and rehearsal dinner shoes – As much as I want to encourage brides to spoil themselves with amazing shoes for their wedding, I couldn’t rationalize buying shoes that I would most likely never wear again. I chose white cowboy boots for my wedding shoes and stunning sparkly gold closed toed heels for my rehearsal. The boots I will undoubtedly wear to a country concert and the heels are on display on a shelf in my office. I also love to wear them whenever I get the chance and want to feel like Carrie Bradshaw.

Mr. and Mrs. jewelry tray – Another gift from a bridesmaid was a Mr. and Mrs. jewelry tray to hold our wedding rings. I place my ring in it every night before bed. I love this as a gift so much that I have given it to many brides myself.

Earrings and Necklaces – I gifted my bridesmaids matching earrings for the wedding. Simple gold circles that I got at Cracker Barrel, yes Cracker Barrel. Constantly they tell me how much they like them and how they still wear them to work or dinner. On my wedding day Jacob gave me a Kate Spade Mrs. necklace. It is so simple and small, I wear it almost daily. It was such a perfect and practical gift that I love so much.

Monogramed dishtowels – This was a gift from my mom, classic and timeless dishtowels with our last name and large “B”s monogramed on them. They hang on my oven door to this day and welcome guests to our home.

Many brides and friends can get blinded by the title bride and want to buy everything in site that has the appropriate theme. Do your self and the bride a favor, aim for gifts that are long lasting. Think beyond the wedding, what will they enjoy, what will they use daily? I am so grateful to have items from my wedding that I was able to work into every day married life. I am sure the bride in your life will feel the same way once the knot is tied. Planning your own big day? I would love to help! Fill out the form below to check availability and get started!

-MB

Glitz and Grit

Every year my husband and I make an effort to take a new adventure. We are typically a beach vacation type of couple. In true Meghan and Jacob fashion, we were originally planning a cruise (pre COVID) Once those plans were out the window, we decided to aim for something mostly outdoors. Our 2021 adventure introduced us to a whole new type of trip. Active, outdoors and far away from any water, we headed out west. 6 days taking us from Las Vegas, Sedona, Grand Canyon, and back to Vegas. Enjoy all the details of our voyage!

Richmond to Las Vegas via Southwest

Hotel – The Paris – loving the elegant vibe of this hotel. We also got the room for a steal being off season in Vegas. We wanted to pick a hotel that was walking distance to anything we wanted on the strip. Like most hotels in Vegas, they have a casino downstairs and many food options. It would not be Pairs with out the Eiffel Tower! You can go up in the tower with a reservation and tickets with a great view over the strip.

Dinner night 1: Wahlburgers – The infamous Wahlberg family restaurant. A simple dinner with great drink prices before our night out. Not to mention, delicious burgers as promised. A delicious dinner for families or anyone on a budget in the expensive city of Vegas.

Dinner night 2: Buca di Pepo – Can you say unlimited pasta and wine?! Located in Bally’s hotel, this was one of my favorite meals. For $13.99 a person, Jacob and I got unlimited pasta broken into 4 different flavors. We also sprung for the all you can drink wine and beer for an additional fee. The rest of the menu was served family style, it was actually cheaper for us to have only 2 servings of the all you can eat rather than each of us getting a large plate of our own pasta. Saving money and dinking all the wine I can, check!

Valley of fire state park – About an hour outside of Las Vegas, we found this amazing state park. This park is like a rock playground for adult’s . A variety of hikes all with great views. We had such a fun day exploring. Even if you are only traveling to Vegas, this is a great day trip for anyone who enjoys being in nature.

Driving from Las Vegas to Sedona (4.5 hours)

Hotel – Cedars Resort – We drove from LAs Vegas to Sedona. We only stayed in Sedona one night. We picked a hotel right in the middle of “town” for easy access to everything. Another hotel with great views. It served as a great resting place for our stop in Sedona.

Horseback – 20 minutes outside of Sedona we enjoyed a two hour horse back tour. I certainly got in the cowgirl spirit for this adventure. I have not ridden a horse since I was a toddler, this was an eye opener for me. The horses ran up and down the rock covered hills of the western mountains. Some moments were scary for a non experienced rider like myself, but I am still so glad that we did it. When do you get the chance to ride horses like a real cowgirl?

Wine at winery 1912 – After our ride, we decided to treat ourselves to a bottle of local wine. This winery was located right in the main shopping area of Sedona. While we waited for a table we were able to pop into some of the local shops. We took advantage of a tasting and couldn’t leave without a bottle. I only tried the white wines but they were all so light and sweet without being over powering. Definitely would recommend a glass here if you are going to shop around the mall area.

Dinner in Sedona: Fiesta Mexicana – Sedona is a small little town with a lot of unique shopping and dining options. We chose Fiesta Mexicana for an authentic family owned Mexican meal. While the only cheese dip they had was an $11.99 appetizer sized dish, the quesadilla was delicious. Great service and authentic food! Oddly enough, this was one of our most expensive meals, but we had to splurge for the cheese dip after all.

Sedona to The Grand Canyon (2 hours)

Tusayan: Grand Canyon plaza– We traveled from Sedona to the Grand Canyon where we hiked the south rim trail. Traveling to the Grand Canyon in February had its challenges. The Grand Canyon obviously has many trails that lead down into the Canyon a ways. When we traveled, lots of snow and ice covered the trails making it impossible to go into the canyon more than a foot or two. For safety reasons, we walked about 5 miles total around the rim of the Canyon on a paved trail. The views were amazing! We saw very small pieces of the Colorado river down below. The park never closes either so after sun down, we drove back into the lot and had an amazing view of a clear star filled sky. A romantic touch that would have been better in the summer but still worth it if you find yourself there in the winter.

Dinner: We cook pizza and pasta – Depending where you stay, you will find there are limited dining options in town near the Grand Canyon. This place was very casual and had delicious pizza! A casual night after a long day was exactly what we needed and what we got. Note: most places close very early in off season so if you are thinking about a late dinner or dessert be sure to check the hours. We were denied a McFlurry from McDonalds after arriving at 8:00 PM.

Breakfast: Foodies – Before leaving town, we stopped at Foodies for another casual meal, delicious bagel sandwiches, scrambled eggs and excellent bacon gave us the strength for our journey back to Las Vegas.

Tusayan to Las Vegas ( 4 hours)

Hoover Dam: On our drive back to Las Vegas, we stopped at the iconic Hoover Dam. Unfortunately due to COVID they are not offering tours through the Dam. That does not mean there aren’t gorgeous views to take in.

La Quinta airport south: As a budget saver, we stayed off the strip for our last night so that the next morning we had a shuttle to the airport. For an airport hotel, I was impressed. They offer to-go breakfast and a complimentary airport shuttle.

Dinner in food court: Sabarro – When you are walking around having a few beers in Vegas, sometimes you just want a chain brand slice of cheap pizza. It hit the spot! In the food court of Bally’s we ate our delicious dinner located next to the sports bets, so Jacob was happy as well.

We left the next morning and headed back home. I am so thankful for the beauty that we got to witness on this trip even during a pandemic. I hope this play by play of our adventure will help you plan your get away. Stay tuned for part two, about staying on a budget in the expensive city of Las Vegas.

-MB

90’s Inspired Galentine’s Day

Galentine’s has become a holiday that I am known for. Every year I gather my best girls and celebrate each other. It is always a girly affair complete with yummy food, all things pink and an unique theme. This year I decoded to channel the younger days in our lives. That time in life when we were giving valentine’s to everyone in our class, spreading love all over. After all “girls just wanna have fun” so bring in the 90’s! Today I will be sharing highlights and DIY tips on how our 90’s gathering came to be.

Food:

We planned the food as a nostalgic tribute to sleepovers that we all had. Basically, all junky delicious treats.

  • PIZZA!
  • Laffey taffy
  • cosmic brownies
  • rock candy
  • A chocolate fountain with all the dippings
  • Kool-Aid punch
  • M&M’s
  • Popcorn
  • Cheese Puffs
  • Welcome drink – cotton candy and champagne poured as guest arrived

Decor:

I wanted to make sure that the 90’s were very present in the room, so the décor was a huge part of this event. Some DIY like the tissue paper backdrop on the snack table and the 90’s prints of Friends, fresh prince and the breakfast club. I always utilize fresh flowers at my events. for this I went very simple, pink spray roses and regular white and red blooms from Trader Joe’s. For a fun touch, I print hearts with famous 90’s couples and stuck them in the arrangements. who doesn’t love a call back to Cory and Topanga? Don’t forget a fun photo back drop. I loved our pink tassel wall with conversation heart banners from Party City. Last but not least, we had to throw in some festive heart shaper plates and straws. P.S. if you have some authentic items like Beanie Babies, Play- Dough or a game boy, put that out for décor, everyone will love the flash back.

Dress code and activities:

To really get in the spirit I requested that all guest dress in their favorite 90’s attire, this could be anything from hot pants, work out wear or crimped hair and scrunchies. My girls did great! As for activities, we played a few games to get people moving around and into the 90’s zone.

  • Find the heart – 25 hearts hidden throughout the house
  • Pink Elephant – Our spin on the classic Christmas game, white elephant
  • 90’s TV trivia
  • Never have I ever BINGO – 90’s questions such as ” never have I ever owned a blow up piece of furniture” if you have you would mark your BINGO card accordingly.

All games ended with a bottle of wine with a 90’s pun label such as “pairs well with 90’s jams” for larger crowds it may help to have smaller activities available as well like play dough station or make your own Valentine.

All and all the purpose of Galentine’s is to celebrate your girls and the love of friendship. Raising a glass to you and all your gals this Galentine’s day!

-MB

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