Author Archives: Meredith Rines

Morning Ritual

Photo on 2013-02-18 at 07.08 #2
Each morning about 6am, Tiny wakes up and is ready to start playing. Now, Maggie and I are not the best in the morning. We like to sleep late. Let me clarify when I say sleeping late. For instance, when I have to be at work at 10am then I get out of bed usually about 9:10. I always get ready, look decent, and make it on time.

Now at 6am Maggie and I are getting up with the pup. We head into the family room, turn on the news, and start checking emails and favorite blogs. This morning; however, both dogs felt the need to lay on top of me… literally.

It’s the small things like this moment that melt my heart and make have two crazy mutts worth it.

Happy Thursday!

Cheers,

Mere

Wedding Budget Tips

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photo credit.

Budget. That word alone can usually cause stress in most people, including me.  However, it is imperative to have/know your budget when planning a wedding.  There are several ways to determine your budget and I was lucky to have parents that helped A LOT with my budget.

TIP 1: I determined that amount of money that J and I would have to plan our dream wedding after talking with my parents.  Then in my typical fashion I cut my budget by 15%.  Wait… what?! I cut money out of my budget? Crazy, huh?!

Well… hear me out before you think I’m that crazy.  In my mind, I know… I just know that unexpected charges or needs will come up during the planning process and I don’t want to be scrambling for money.  By taking 15% of the budget away on paper then I know that if an emergency arises, we are safe and okay with money.

TIP 2: Prioritize the important parts.  When J and I started thinking about what we wanted our wedding to look like we had to prioritize what was most important to us.

We came up with three categories.  First, highly important.

Photographer
Venue
Music
Cake

Next, important.

My Dress
Food
Flowers
Groom’s Tux
Groomsman Cake (well in J’s case a cookie cake)
Hair & Makeup
Stationary (invitations & thank you notes)
Favors

Finally, not that important.

Bridesmaid Dresses
Transportation
Seating Chart

Tip 3: Knowing your guest number limit.  J and I started crunching numbers and decided that we would ideally like to invite 175 people.  Knowing that on average 20% of those invited will not be able to attend.  That would leave us at about 140 guests.

Tip 4: Don’t forget about tax and gratuity.  Those charges can add up pretty quickly.  For example, let’s say that you’ve budgeted $2,000 for flowers.  You start talking roses, lilies, carnations, baby’s breath and next thing you know the subtotal is $1,999.  You’ll be surprised to learn that your total will be over $2,140 (at least in Southwest Missouri because our sales tax is 7.06%).

Don’t be afraid to ask your vendors what the tax rate is and how it is applied.  I learned that there is no tax on linens because the vendor pays the tax during the purchase and cannot pass that on to each customer.

Also, gratuity is another hidden budget balloon.  I talked to one caterer that charged a pretty high gratuity, which after the tax put her way above my budget.

Tip 5: Ask your vendors if they are running any specials for booking that month.  Since I started planning in February for a November wedding a lot of my vendors were running specials.  For example, my caterer through in a house salad for each guest at no charge, which will save us about $2 per guests (140 guests x $2 = $280 savings).  Also, my venue had a free champagne toast for booking… that saves a lot of $$$.

Hope these tips are helpful during your wedding budget planning! Let me know what you think!

Cheers,

Mere

I said “Yes!”

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It’s official, J and I are engaged!

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I still get a big, goofy smile on my face when I say that sentence. I have been in la-la land planning, dreaming the perfect wedding.

I hope to share ideas and DIY projects that we will be incorporating into our wedding.  So far, I’ve ordered a few items from Etsy.  A lovely save-the-date sign from ArmyMOMOfTwins for our engagement photo session and because her signs were just too hard to pass up I also ordered a Mr. and Mrs. sign for our reception chairs.  Check out the save-the-date sign here and the reception chair signs here.

I had a hard time deciding which projects that I wanted to make myself and which ones I would order from Etsy or have someone else do.  I finally reached a decision maker that was too hard to argue with… If it is going to cost more to get the materials needed to make it than it would to purchase (including shipping costs) than I would order it.  It was simple money-saving tactics that persuaded me.  I don’t need a bunch of paint, ribbon, and other items that I will not use for another project.

I hope to share my projects, ideas, and final outcomes throughout the planning process.  We have about 9 months till the wedding, so I have some work cut out for me.

Cheers,

Mere

photo credit

Lean on me

I got your back, sis! #dog #dogloveSometimes it’s nice to know that someone has your back.

Cheers!

Dog love

A new way to get work done. #dogI woke Tiny from her nap. Oops! #dogPrincess. #dogI take too many dog pictures. But hey! I’ve accepted it.

Cheers!

Love <3

Lazy Sunday evening. #perfection
Lazy days with the one I love our priceless.

January 9 – Happy Birthday

Meet Tiny! Mine and J's new puppy saved from the highway in #PoplarBluff. #saveastray #dog #petadoption

Meet Tiny Dodger! The newest addition to mine and J’s family.

#dogloveMaggie watching over her new sister, Tiny. #dog
Tiny got her name from the fact that she dodges traffic like a pro. So here I was driving home from my hometown back to Springfield on Wednesday I spot this little pup jumping through the tall grass in between two lanes of traffic along the highway. Knowing that I just could not leave her, I turned around. Picture this: me running along the side of a highway in muddy grass chasing a dog. It was pretty hilarious for drivers passing by.
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Tiny is absolute skin and bones. I have to say J and I were thrilled when she took her first bite, which was after she watched Maggie take a bite. The vet thinks that she is about 7-8 weeks old and she currently weighs 3.7 pounds. Crazy!

Not knowing when her actually birthday is – I’ve decided that January 9 (the day I spotted her on the highway) is her birthday.  She has hit the jackpot with J and I!

Cheers!

reflection of the past 3 years

Photo on 2012-10-22 at 10.43 #2
I know, I know.  It’s a bit late around here, but I’ve been working all day and then came home to cook a delicious dinner for J and I.  Then in ironic fashion I sat on the couch for two hours while watching The Biggest Loser.  At least I got in some activity at work today!

Now, here I am prepping for my Weight Watchers meeting tomorrow and it’s got me thinking about where my life has taken me the past 3 years.  It’s been a pretty amazing journey and I’m happy to say that it’s nowhere near over.

I’ve discovered so much about myself.  For instance, I’m an extrovert.  I didn’t know that 3 years ago.  I love to cook healthy.  Developing a healthy body starts with your mind.  When I started to lose weight 3 years ago it never occurred to me that your mind needs to be in partnership with your body.  Once my mind snapped to it, then the rest followed in suit.  Such a great feeling!

Cheers!

P.S. I am still well aware that I need to share my Resolutions still.  However, for January I decided no more Diet Coke and so far … so good! I’m a week strong!

Photo on 2012-12-13 at 14.52 #2

Life is a ride. Simple phrase that explains so much.

I graduated from college with my Masters. Celebrated Christmas with my family and J’s family. Traveled over 8 hours in a car in less than 36 hours. Rang in the New Year with J and some great friends. Started living on my own again. survived what felt like a plague that lasted way too long.

I plan on sharing my New Year’s Resolutions with you in the next few days and to blog a bit more consistently in 2013.

Here’s to hoping and trying to develop better habits, spend more time laughing and less time stressing this year.

Cheers!

Diet 7-Up Biscuits

Happy Thanksgiving! I hope everyone had a day filled with love and yummy goodness!


J and I celebrated our first Thanksgiving together this year.  Due to work schedules we both weren’t able to make the drive home, especially since our drive is in opposite directions of one another.  It just made it too difficult.  So, we made the best of it and celebrated on our own.

I got there just in time for the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade to start, which is my absolute favorite part of the day.  I’ve seen a 7-Up Biscuit recipe on Pinterest lately and it looked delicious.  I adapted the recipe to be a bit more Weight Watcher friendly and the results were a-mazing.

Ingredients:

2 C. Heart Smart Bisquick
1/2 C. light Sour Cream
1/2 C. diet 7-Up
1/4 C. melted butter (I used I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter)

Directions:

In a large bowl, mix sour cream and bisquick together.  Add 7-Up to mix.  The dough will be really soft.  Melt the butter and pour into the bottom of a 9×9 pan.  Next, sprinkle some bisquick mix onto the counter and spread out the dough.  You don’t want to knead the dough, but just pat and spread to be about one-inch thick.  Use a glass or a biscuit cutter and cut out biscuits.  Place in pan and bake at 450 degree for about 8-10 minutes, or until golden brown.

Makes 9 servings – 4 WWPointsPlus per serving

I had one biscuit that didn’t want to cooperate when I was putting it into the pan… I’m sure you can figure out which one that was.  Oh well! Recipes can’t always be picture perfect, but they were still delicious.