Thursday, May 24, 2012

Enchiladas and Engagement Party

Besides both starting with an 'E' these two subjects don't actually have anything to do with one another. But when given the opportunity to write a post about both Enchiladas AND Engagement Parties, I'm going to take it.

{Jello Shots out of a Bowl! (from the Engagement Party)}

But before we get to the Engagement party, let's start with the enchiladas, shall we?
You know how I said I was DETERMINED to make enchiladas last week? Well I did. They just weren't that great. I think it's because I poured the sauce over them the night before and cooked them the next morning which made them more like chicken, cheesy mush. Adam liked them though. Honestly, they were very tasty. Just not post worthy. The sad part is, I actually (for once) took some nice pictures of them.



Natural light really does make a difference. Too bad I do all my cooking at 9pm at night when I get home from work. Which brings up another topic... why I haven't been blogging or cooking lately. I'm exhausted. I feel like I'm running constantly and I never have time to stop. There are not enough hours in the day to do the things I NEED to do and definitely not enough to even think about doing the things I WANT to do (like relax and sleep). Sure, a lot of it has to do with planning a wedding. But most of it is commuting and work. I just don't know how other bloggers that work full time jobs do it! I admire you greatly. It really doesn't help that I commute anywhere from 2 to 3 hours a day. And that I work in an industry where leaving work at the early hour of 7:30pm is generally frowned upon, granted I do get in at 10am. If you haven't stopped reading already, I'll stop whining now, after I make my point. My point is that my schedule simply isn't allowing me to cook and blog consistently right now. Which makes me sad. But I hope you'll stick with me and enjoy my random wedding posts and the occasional posts about what I've been eating lately - mainly chicken and vegetables. Bleh.


Finally, pics and some DIY's from my ENGAGEMENT PARTY!

My main DIY project was the streamer backdrop for the "photo booth." I'm really excited about how this turned out and it will double as the backdrop to the dessert table for the wedding. It will total 10 feet long for behind the dessert table, but for the engagement party we only made the first 5 feet. For some reason the green streamers didn't show up well in the photos from the engagement party. Hmmm. I resisted the urge to overly fluff up the fringes for the engagement party since it needs to be rolled back up and transported to the wedding. 

{Streamer Back Drop}

The streamer backdrop idea comes from Rachel over at Heart of Light. She's my blog crush and a true inspiration. Her wedding was beautiful and I admire her creative perfection. 100 Layer Cake, another favorite of mine, has her wonderful tutorial to making this backdrop. All it takes is crepe paper FOLDS instead of rolls to make the fringy streamers, a wooden dowel, some scissors and hot glue. If you want to make your own colorful backdrop check out the tutorial and read my own tutorial and tips below!

Some tips to keep in mind that I learned while making my backdrop. 

1. The more colors the better, but that could be a matter of personal taste. I thought I had a lot of color but once they were hanging they tended to blend together.
2. If you want really fluffy, fringy streamers make sure you cut your crepe paper strips pretty wide. I started cutting thin strips for some reason and they broke easily when I tried to fluff out the fringe. Wider streamers = more fluffy fringe. 
3. My mom wanted to approach the color pattern in a systematic matter. We quickly learned that a somewhat random pattern works best. Just make sure not to put too many oranges next to orange, etc.
4. Hot glue burns.
5. Rolling this up and unrolling it is doable, but not as easy as we hoped. Possibly because we layered streamers on both sides of the dowel instead of sticking to a front side only. I would stick to glueing streamer on to one side only. 

Here is what it took for 2 5ft backdrops:

- 2 5ft wooden dowels (Home Depot) - $6
- 4 eye bolts (Home Depot) - $3
- 3 packs of 5 colors of crepe paper folds from the Crepe Paper Store - $27 with shipping
- 4 rolls of regular crepe paper streamers - approx $6
- Glue gun and glue sticks (since I didn't already own one) - $18
optional metallic fringe  2 - 3feet panels can be cut up and spaced along the 10 ft back drop - $20 with shipping or around $16 at a party supply store

Total: $80 if you don't own a glue gun 
          $62 if you already own a glue gun
          $42 with no gold fringe and if you already own a glue gun

I would say I had just the right amount of crepe paper for 10 feet. If I had to do it again, I might add one more pack of each color to be on the safe side. Especially since the crepe paper folds are just over a $1 each. It's the shipping that gets ya. 

STEP ONE: Gather your supplies.
STEP TWO: Leaving the crepe paper folds folded, cut them into 3 to 4 inch sections. Then, still leaving them folded, cut fringe along the edge of the fold towards the center but leaving space in the center. Turn the fold around and cut fringe along the other side not cutting all the way through and  leaving space in the center. Separate colors into piles. Cut the regular streamers into 8 ft long strips.
STEP THREE: Screw the eye bolt into each end of your wooden dowel.
STEP FOUR: Using string or twine hang the wooden dowel somewhere secure about 5 to 8 feet high. Your streamers will hang down to about 8 feet.
STEP FIVE: Using a chair or step stool, position yourself at one end of the dowel and with the hot glue gun in close reach. Grap a streamer, unroll it and place some glue on the end of it. Carefully press it onto the wooden dowel. CAREFUL! The glue will be hot even through the thin streamer, use gloves, a rag, magical abilities, or caution.
STEP SIX: Continue in this manner, placing streamers close together in whatever pattern or non pattern you want to use. Sprinkle some regular streamers among the fringy ones.
STEP SEVEN: Use you hands to fluff out the fringe. Admire your handy work. If need be, carefully roll up the streamers starting from the top with the wooden dowel for transport or storage.

**Use twine or strong fishing wiring to hang your backdrop**

For the photo booth I set out a mini polaroid camera and a mason jar with props and some goofy sunglasses. The mustache, lips, and bowtie props were easy to make. I just traced shapes onto posterboard, cut them out and glued them to mini wooden dowels. The lips I freehanded, but the mustaches I traced off a template.

photo booth props
{Photo Booth Props}

{Mini Polaroid}

My next DIY project was my succulent centerpieces. Succulents are making a major appearance at the wedding since we are having it in Arizona and they are hearty and the centerpieces can be made weeks ahead of time.

succulent centerpieces


They came together really nicely and were cheap since I borrowed the glass vases from a friend. The only bummer was I had to replant them afterwards so I could return the vases, but now I have a beautiful succulent garden on my back patio. The wedding centerpieces will be similar to these but in larger shallow glass bowls that my florist will add flowers to on the day of. 

I think I had close to 15 glass pieces with succulents for the engagement party in varying sizes. I spent about $35 on succulents, $2 on sand, and $4 on rocks from the dollar store. Done and done. 

The rest was just simple touches. I decorated mason jars with colorful bakers twine and tied on kraft paper tags and added different colored paper straws. We made sangria and people kept track of their glass by writing their name on the tag. We layered colorful plastic tablecloths over the tables and placed my photo albums that I make for me and Adam each year out for people to browse through. Adam's lovely mother and stepfather hosted the event and had it catered by a delicious taco truck. My friends made three flavors of cupcakes - strawberry, orange, and lemon - for dessert. And we had lots and lots of beer. We played hillbilly horseshoes and my mom did a little engagement game. I asked my last bridesmaid to be in the wedding and she cried. I love each and everyone of my bridesmaids so much, and can't thank them enough for all their help!

mason jars
{Mason Jars}


The very best part of the whole event was getting to see so many people! It was so nice to have so many loved ones come together and celebrate with us. My maid of honor flew down from San Francisco to surprise me, and a great group of friends from elementary school showed up. Adam's grandfather sang to us and one of his groomsman made a very sweet speech. The outpouring of love was amazing and overwhelming. I can't imagine what the wedding is going to be like!

{Me and Crystal, MOH}

{Girls from Elementary School!}

{The one photo I have of my Bridesmaids! (the ones that were able to attend)}

 Thank you to everyone for making that day so special!

Peace, Love, Parties, and Happiness!


  1. Sooooo adorable! I wish we had time for an engagement party! Yours looked fun & festive! :)

    1. Thank you! It was a good planning test run for the wedding!


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