The Last Seating Chart I’ll Ever Make

I’m serious. I’m done with seating charts forevermore!

Now that we got that warm welcome out of the way, let me explain –

I haven’t crafted – truly crafted – in months. What I mean by that is, I haven’t made something that someone is paying for and carries a big sense of responsibility for me. The last thing I remember making (without looking back at the blog) were the props for the corporate retreat, back in May/June, so that’s a good six months of not having that type of pressure on – thankfully.

This is one of those posts where I’m going to get raw, real, dramatic, just 100% every thought and feeling, so you understand me a little bit better, especially for people that don’t understand why crafts are expensive and why this is a stressful activity for those who do it for (some sort of) profit.

A fellow craft friend and sorority sister with whom I collaborated in the past when I was actively crafting reached out to me on Monday, January 7th to ask if I would be able to help her with a seating chart for a wedding, as she had a family medical emergency and wouldn’t be able to complete it in time for the wedding, on Saturday, January 12th.

Me, queen of procrastination and over-committing, thought to myself: “ok, it’s Monday. I have all week to do it, all my work tasks are on track (though they could use some extra time invested), and I don’t have anything crazy going on this week that would genuinely prevent me from saying yes. If I say no it’s because I’m lazy, and I don’t want to be lazy. I’ll do it.”

I said yes and got all the logistical points covered about font, color, etc. It should be simple enough (can’t you just feel the movie-type foreshadowing forming here? It’s so thick I can cut it through the screen) and I would be sending pictures to my friend every step of the way to guarantee an early delivery.

I went to pick up the materials (wood plank, varnish, vinyl adhesive and transfer tape) from her on Monday night, and as soon as I got home, I got to work and laid the first layer of varnish on the wood because that needed to be completely dry in order to apply the vinyl cleanly. She sent me the final seating chart that same Monday night, and that was that.

Tuesday, I applied a second thin coat because the coat from Monday was uneven in some places and also doing it at night didn’t give me the best visibility and I missed some bristles that fell off the brush and got stuck to the wood. No biggie, you couldn’t see them (especially once the letters were placed), but I’d know and deep down that’s what ALWAYS kills me.

Wednesday I started working on the design. I use the Cricut Explore machine for all my cutting needs and I’ve been obsessed with it since I own it, and I dared not speak ill of it… until now. My Cricut, more specifically, Cricut Design Space (CDS, the free online software used to design the pieces that will be cut) let me down, HARD. For some reason when you have “a lot” of components in a design, the design space interface slows down. It’s happened to me before, but usually when it’s image-heavy designs, not when it’s only text. I did the seating chart for my best friend’s wedding in one day (do not recommend) last time, and it didn’t freeze up nearly as much, even though that one had more names.

After the weekend was over, I noticed that the Cricut team posted on Twitter that they had received numerous complaints about loading time and they were working on the issue, so it was clearly not just me and not an exaggeration. #Vindicated! Also, I forgot to mention – on Thursday when I went into CDS, there was an alert for system maintenance at 11:00pm MT. You know, because I didn’t have enough things working against me…

Copying and pasting each block of names under their section in alphabetical order took me F-O-R-E-V-E-R. Every copy/paste moment included a 30-60 second lag on the program, and this was repeated for every single letter after the C. Once I had the first half pre-designed, I showed my friend the digital proof and she goes “forgot to tell you, they’re supposed to be in all caps. I’m so sorry!”

Basically everything I had done up to that point (a good two hours of work, at least), wasted. But at least she saw it then and not when I was already cutting, right? Silver lining.

I re-did everything and found a way to hit less keys and endure less 30-60 second spasms of the software, and finally got all the names digitized and ready to cut. By now, it was Thursday night. I do have a job, remember? Oh and did I mention my brother broke his ankle on Tuesday so I’m also kind of caring for him? Good times.

I finish cutting everything on Thursday night, and start laying everything in a “final position” way on the board but not sticking yet, because I need to make sure everything will fit before I start sticking. Once you put the vinyl down, there’s no going back, so this is the time to make adjustments. It actually seems like it’s just *barely* going to fit, even though I set it up digitally as I always do, but I didn’t take into account the easel prongs that would block some names from the bottom if I didn’t leave more space. I was supposed to meet back up with my friend later that day so she could give me the easel, which we’d forgotten to exchange on Monday when I first went to pick up everything else.

The most time-consuming part of the process with vinyl (usually) is weeding. Basically, removing all the negative space from the cut so that all that is left are the letters, and that’s what you transfer over.

Now I had some bad moments with transfer tape for my best friend’s wedding making the menus and the seating chart, so I already had a little bit of fear here. One more thing worth mentioning – my friend hadn’t measured out the vinyl but she said if I needed more, she could overnight it to me. I was like no worries, I have plenty of vinyl at home I’m not using and need to get rid of. My vinyl has been sitting in my garage, in hot and humid Florida. I’ll just end that thought here, for now.

Did I mention I woke up on Thursday with (at best) a cold (at worst, the beginning stages of a severe bronchitis with bronchospasms – aka I couldn’t breathe by Sunday)? When I tell you I’m the queen of “perfect storm” moments…

So it’s Friday. My CEO and part of the management team are in town for an event they did plus they’ll be doing some planning during the weekend. From the moment I woke up on Friday until 8:20am on Saturday morning, I did not stop working on that seating chart. This is not an exaggeration.

This is where it really got bad: I met up with my friend around 5:00pm, got the easel, showed her a picture of the first half of the names “placed” to make sure they fit and told her “don’t worry, I will deliver it done tomorrow” and had an out of body moment thinking “you will regret this promise.”

I went back home and started sticking. The title “your seat awaits” went pretty easily – big letters were not my concern. Actually, sidenote – when my friend asked me to do this, I asked her how it was sticking vinyl on wood because I hadn’t worked it before, and she said “it’s a lot of rubbing” which is not ideal, but what I expected from my previous experiences. I measured everything out carefully and started with the As. All good. Then I went with the Bs and for some reason, the letters would not come off the transfer tape onto the wood. I think it’s because it was a fresh piece of transfer tape and those tend to be a little more frisky. So I start rubbing the next transfer tape pieces on random surfaces to create some “wear” so that wouldn’t happen again. C, D, E, F, G, H, J – done. It took about two to three hours to do them. It was about 1:30am when I was ready to move on to the next side. I believe the vinyl my friend had was enough for half of the name, and the vinyl I had did the other half. I don’t know which half was which, but I have a feeling her half did the first and my half was the second because…

As I start rubbing off the K, L, M, things are starting to slow down like they did for the letter B. And I come to realize that it might be because I did the second batch of names with my vinyl, which was sitting in my garage for months with heat and humidity, and that’s probably why it’s not sticking as well as the other one. Now, I can’t quite put into words the level of frustration that it is to try and lift transfer tape and all the little letters and periods in “Mr.” coming back up and not sticking to the wood, but at 3:00am and with a deadline, I reached a level of desperation I don’t often get to. It was panic attack central. I was playing anti-anxiety music, trying to calm down and remember how every time I’ve ever freaked out about anything, I’ve always pulled through, and this time would be no different, because I had made a promise and my word means everything to me.

My brother tries to help calm me down with his presence (he’s not even remotely a little crafty) and then I run an idea by him. I have another roll of new vinyl I got which might work better but, I’d have to re-weed everything from O-Z so it’s probably going to take just about the same amount of time, but it will frustrate me less so it might be better for my mental health. He says go for it. I opened a brand new Cricut Design Space project and try with just the letter O. For some reason the font came out slightly smaller, but the weeding was fast (only 3 names) and it gave me enough push to decide to do the rest. I re-digitize the remaining letters (because the original design takes too long to load to even try to cut it) and while that’s happening, I decide to go stick the Ps so I can do something valuable with my time. I discover that removing the transfer tape diagonally instead of laterally kind of helps.

The new batch is cut and as I’m weeding it, I realize that the backing of this other vinyl is too slippery and the letters are moving around and won’t sustain the spacing/will look crooked. So… I gave up on the newly cut names, and go back to my original, unsticky vinyl.

As I finish up the Ts, I realize I cut off two names from the S group and now I have nowhere to put them (and even though at first the letters don’t stick, then they don’t come off… even though I tried, so I had to do double peel duty on the Ts). So it occurs to me that I should join the R & S and use the space that was originally for the S for those two names (thankfully the space, even though scrunched, was just enough for two names).

I then go down and do the Z to make sure the space is even from the bottom and then realized that my worry that I’d run out of space made me save too much and now I’d have extra space. So I got artsy with the Y and Z to make up for the excess space.

And then it was 8:20 am. I clocked it when I sent the picture to my mom.

I had to deliver the chart at the reception venue which was about an hour away from my house, and be there by 1:00pm. It was also a friend’s birthday and I had committed to making crafts for the room of the hotel where I was also supposed to stay, except that I had a virus and horrible bronchitis by this point, but I had still committed to the (simple) decor…

I passed out and woke up at 11:30am to get ready to leave by 12:00pm. I printed my friend’s decor, took everything to the car, had a mini photo shoot and left by 12:05pm.

I was so tired from the all-nighter I almost didn’t realize I didn’t have enough gas to make it as I pulled into the gas station to get water… so I got gas, made it to the venue, delivered the seating chart, and thus concluded the nightmare that was the last seating chart I’ll ever make.

It came out beautiful, and no one would be able to gauge a second of the struggle it entailed just from looking at it. And that’s crafting, at its best.

These are the types of projects that yield equal amounts of fulfillment and anxiety. I can’t believe I pulled it off and I’m so happy I did and it’s in the past, but I seriously had the worst burst of anxiety and panic thinking of the consequences if I didn’t finish it – lose a friend, give her a bad reputation with the event planner (or even circle of planners, because they all talk and can destroy a vendor with just a word), “ruin a bride’s wedding day” because everything is so high stakes in that emotional “best/biggest day” of the couple’s lives… I’m surprised I didn’t need a defibrillator with the amount of thoughts and pressure I felt at the time. I can tell you, I was close.

Not quite sure how to close this other than thanking the universe and every holy power that intervened for me to retain some semblance of sanity and finish the project so I could deliver on my promise. Any comments, stories, or whatever reactions you may have, feel free to sound off below. I just felt all the feelings all over again so I’m reluctant to stop typing until I can feel something else… Jk, bye!

#MyBestFriendsWedding Bonus Chapter – Bouquet Preservation Ornaments

Looking back on all the crafting opportunities my best friend’s wedding brought me has been incredibly fulfilling, and as the wedding craziness came to a close, there was one more project I wanted to tackle: preserving the bouquet.

This idea came to be because through all of my endless Pinterest perusing I kept seeing pictures of preserved bouquets, and so I asked Michelle if she had any plans for it and when she said she didn’t, I asked if she minded if I tried something, which she agreed to. I really didn’t know what I was going to do or how I was going to do it, but I had a few options in mind from my favorite pins:

  • A framed “pressed” bouquet: I really liked this option because Michelle’s bouquet had lots of colors and a similar “spread” look, but I knew this one would be virtually impossible to make because hers was HUGE and shrinking it would take away from its original shape. Upon deeper research I also came to realize this preservation technique was no DIY and would turn out to be really expensive.
  • A paper weight: this option looked truly stunning with the added plus that there could be multiples made for the mothers of the bride and groom, etc. When I first saw it, I assumed I’d be able to do it myself with resin, but then I did some research and realized that the resin is a really strong chemical that would tamper the flowers and it would end up looking a mess.
  • A Christmas ornament: this was basically the only option that looked truly DIY-able, could also yield multiple items and was very pretty, so that basically made the decision for me and I got to work!

I brought the wedding bouquet home with me from the reception and put it in water so that the flowers would survive while I figured out the action plan and bought the materials. I read that silica gel was the perfect medium to dry the flowers, and when I went to ask about it at JoAnn, turns out they have actual flower drying crystals. Since the wedding was in the spring, there were no Christmas products in stores, so I bought the clear ornaments from Amazon. The two final touches to complete the look were a thin burgundy ribbon to cover the line where the ornament comes together, and some copper/rose gold jingle bells because if you thought I wasn’t going to add some sort of rose gold element to this final wedding craft, you haven’t been following this journey very closely…

Below a quick gallery look at the steps to get the flowers dry:

I handled the flowers and the gel with latex gloves to avoid any skin reactions or allergies. I placed a layer of the drying gel as a bed in a long Tupperware container. Cut all the usable flowers and pretty leaves from the stems, and filled them with the crystals. I used the entire container of drying crystals. The instructions said to leave them for two weeks, but since I was mid-moving, I actually left them in there for over a month. When I took them out they were all beyond dry and after I shook off the drying crystals, they were ready to go!

The process of choosing the flowers for each ornament was pretty easy, I tried to make them all different and as filled as possible. I ended up being able to make six of them, and I think they turned out really cute! Which, I should say here that the original stunning bouquet is a creation of Ever After Floral Designs in South Florida. I’ve been to two weddings where they provided the florals and they were INCREDIBLE. (Note to brides: their bouquets are extremely elaborate and heavy, and will give you the arm workout of your life!)

The last step was to find a container to give them to Michelle, and I ended up finding the PERFECT one by looking around JoAnn and finding an empty box of a product that I later spray painted, you guessed it – rose gold.

On the left you can see the variety of flowers and leaves I included in the ornaments to preserve the same look and feel of Michelle’s bouquet. In the middle are the rose gold box, jingle bells & burgundy ribbon, and on the right, the final ornaments!

Once the ornaments were done I did a trial fitting into the box and, guys – words can’t explain my excitement when I realized the ornaments fit PERFECTLY in that container I found in JoAnn, as if they were supposed to go in there in the first place. It was a total “eye-ball” guesstimation success. I added some shredded paper to cushion them and that’s all she wrote! The final product:

Have any of you guys done a bouquet preservation project? Drop links to your pictures in the comments, I’d love to see some more cool ideas!

Merry Christmas and happy holidays everyone!

Say Hello to the Newest Member of the Nytro Marketing Team!

Hey guys! I have some news for you 🙂 I know most of you are here for my craftventures, but this blog is named “Work-Craft Balance” after all, so I like to share parts of the W when they come to be.

When I started working for SAP, I met some cool people from a marketing agency that put on pretty big events for the Latin America region. The employees were the nicest, most accommodating and badass group of humans that ever existed. I loved getting to see them every time events came around, and we built great rapport over the years. In 2016, the CEO and top employees of that company decided to start over and build a new agency which they called Nytro Marketing, and we stayed in touch through social media as well as seeing each other at another annual SAP event, and both on different capacities as well. They were pitching customers, and I was now working for a global team. In those annual encounters, we’d always talk about what we were up to and we’d joke about me joining the Nytro team… until this month, when the joke became a reality!

Their business has grown exponentially over the past year, and they came knocking to see if I’d be interested in working with them since I have years of SAP experience, and they were looking for someone with my profile, based in the U.S. Check and check! Just when I had been thinking about what my next step would be, they found me ❤

I am so so so happy to join the Nytro team on a Project Management role, getting to leverage my experience but on a capacity where I get to learn and grow so much. I’ve already started to join calls on some big projects coming up, and I’m excited for the challenges ahead. I will be their only Miami-based lead, working remotely with a team spread across countries and time-zones galore.

Katherine Capeluto Doodle

All Nytro employees have a “doodle” on the website which describes their skills & passions. This is mine 🙂

This is especially a cool setting for me because after working for a massive international company of 90,000 employees, and later launching my own micro-business, this seems like a nice “midpoint.” 😉

Welcome to the journey. Here’s to #TheNytroExperience!

The Panty Poem: A Great Activity for Bridal Showers & Bachelorettes!

As I promised a few weeks back, I wanted to dedicate a post to the Panty Poem activity we did during Michelle’s bachelorette in New Orleans.

I originally got the idea from my friend Demi when she was planning Vanessa’s Bachelorette last year, and I knew it would be a hit with Michelle as well! The way it works is, every girl attending the shower or bachelorette is assigned to bring a pair of underwear that is related to a milestone in a marriage (wedding night, pregnancy, 25th anniversary, etc.) and each pair has a poem verse that goes with.

I found a few poem options, including this one from The Knot but I kept running into the issue that no version had more than nine verses. So I looked online until I found enough options to inspire me to crank out the extra verses and edited the poem to fit Michelle’s life. Then, it was time to design the tags, which I included in each of the girls’ welcome kits so that they could tie them to the underwear before we did the activity with Michelle. Without further ado, here’s the full panty poem version, and some really funny reactions to a few spicy pairs of underwear…

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This was Michelle before she knew what was going on, and the clothesline ready to be filled!

The Panty Poem

This bride tribe has a gift
All for our cheeky bride
Married life requires some underwear
We got you girl, it’s time!

Michelle, these undies are to last you
All throughout your life
And Brian will be pleased to say
He has a sexy wife!

So listen up to hear about
Your lifelong panty plan
And though this is for the bride

The groom for sure will say OH MAN!

1st Pair: Wedding Night White

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The first are for your wedding day 
Of course they are pure white 
We know Brian will shout, “Hooray!” 
When he sees you on that night

2nd Pair: “Love At First Bite” Pizza Undies for Rome

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The next are for your honeymoon 
Your first stop will be Rome
So we got you this festive pair
To kickstart all the nom nom nom

3rd Pair: Honeymoon Lace

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For your next stop, we got you these
They’re sexy and all lace 
We hope you’ll leave your hotel room 
‘Cause Spain’s a gorgeous place!

4th Pair: Valentine’s Day Red

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On Valentine’s you’ll wear this pair 
Before you hit the bed 
Cuz Cupid’s arrow in the air
Shoots tushies that are red

5th Pair: 1st Anniversary Leopard Print

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After a year has passed, you’ll face 
Anniversary number one 
With these you’ll surely have a blast 
‘Cuz leopard’s so much fun!

6th Pair: Leather Set

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And when you’re feeling ready
For your own kind of 50 shades
We know this pair will have Brian
Feeling like your personal Mr. Grey

7th & 8th Pair: Pink & Blue Pregnancy Undies

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Then when the time is right for you 
And don’t be saying, “Maybe” 
You’ll wear your little pink or blue 
In honor of your baby

9th Pair: Edible Underwear

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For random days where there you are
Wanting to spice things up
Brian can enjoy a trip down south
And take these off in one gulp

10th Pair: 25th Anniversary Silver

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And when your years of wedded bliss 
Become the big 2-5 
Don’t worry – you’ll just slip this on 
To keep the sparks alive

11th Pair: 50th Anniversary Gold

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On your 50th anniversary
You’ll be total couple goals
So this pair will be your version
Of winning Olympic gold

12th Pair: Granny Panties!

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When finally you’re old and gray 
With these you can’t go wrong 
‘Cuz sorry Meech but at that age
You just can’t wear a thong

And that’s the Panty Poem! She totally didn’t see it coming and had so much fun and laughed her butt off with all the crazy underwear she got! And the clothesline looked pretty cool at the end 😉

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Have you guys done a Panty Poem before? Share any cool/funny verses you’ve heard below!

#MyBestFriendsWedding Final Chapter – The BIG Day!

Guys, can you believe it?! Just over a year ago, I began this series of posts following the journey of my best friend’s road to the altar, from the proposal & the surprises I gathered for her, the engagement party & proMOHsal, saying yes to the dress, the bridal shower, the stamp serendipity, the bachelorette, rehearsal, all leading to this: the big day.

Michelle’s vision was absolutely beautiful and cohesive, and it came to life to perfection (as perfect as possible considering something ALWAYS happens when it comes to parties or big events). Of course, that was to be expected, given that she’s a kick-ass event planner for her job, but corporate and social events are very different, and she managed to pull off a gorgeous wedding in the middle of back to back big work events and constant travel. So let me start off by saying: congratulations biff! You did it, you did it real good!

From the moment the planning began, she made me part of the process and I was so happy to be there every step of the way that she’d let me – everything except whatever had to do with the bridesmaids, because obviously she wanted me to be somewhat surprised with that part. Originally, there were more things that I would make/do, but as time went by, she wanted to focus on big pieces and the rest either got done a different way, or was scrapped altogether (for example, I really wanted to make hotel “do not disturb” signs for guests that came out of town, but it ended up not making sense to do it because of the logistics). All gorgeous pictures courtesy of Melissa Perez from   @SimplyCaptivating!

In the end, this is what I did make:

  • Custom Champagne Flutes for the Bridesmaids: even though we ended up not using them because we went from having all the time in the world to rushing out of the house, so the rosé just sat there, poured in our custom glasses as we made our way to the church in the party bus… they’re still cute ❤

     

  • Bride Jean Jacket: I made this literally the night before the wedding during our sleepover because Michelle forgot to give me the jacket after the rehearsal dinner, and it was a mission to get the vinyl to stick (and I cut it wrong, but we won’t talk about that because no one could tell, and you can’t either 😉 …)

  • Cake Topper: inspired by one Michelle found on Pinterest and made out of layered rose gold card stock (and I had to cut it several times, but we won’t talk about that either…), it looked so stunning at night, especially in the background of the picture where Michelle’s parents are giving their speeches!

  • The Seating Chart: since I can’t put into words the stress, amount of time, anxiety, logistical work, glue, and panic attacks this caused me, I’m just going to say this is probably my proudest accomplishment TO DATE. EVER. I’m pretty sure the two months of insomnia I had leading up to the wedding were over the seating chart alone. Also, because I messed up my table (on purpose, trying and erroring as usual) I literally finished the seating chart AT THE VENUE, during cocktail hour. But, it came out PERFECTLY ❤ Also, I may or may not have spent time taking pictures of people looking at the chart… First, the process:

 Some action shots from my phone

And the final result, with STUNNING shots by @SimplyCaptivating 

  • “I Do” Shoes: I love Pinterest. But also Michelle’s shoe soles were ribbed so I have no idea how long the vinyl stayed on… It was all for this shot!

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  • Signage: a Welcome sign adorned with flowers from @EverAfterFlorist, a wedding sign to let guests know they were at the right venue, and a social media sign that never made it out to the party… has there been any item without mishaps? HA!

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  • Table Menus: 15 tables. Two menus per table. 30 total. Incredibly tedious and long process to make them. Gorgeous outcome ❤

Seriously, I cannot believe that it has all come and gone so quickly since the day Brian texted me to let me know he was proposing. It’s been such an incredible experience to be by my friend’s side through this huge milestone moment, and I’m so happy to have been able to help and put a personal touch to so many aspects leading up to and during the big day. Thank you all for following the journey!

#MyBestFriendsWedding Chapter 8 – Rehearsal Dinner Bowquet

One of the responsibilities of a Maid of Honor is to collect the ribbons and bows from the gifts the bride receives on her bridal shower, and use them to make a fake bouquet (or bowquet as I like to call it) for the day of the rehearsal, so the bride has something as a placeholder when she practices her walk down the aisle. I’m not sure why, but this was one of the things I was most excited to make, and I loved the end result!

The one thing that I had a bit of difficulty with during the process was that I’m a fan of symmetry, and since you rarely get the same bow twice, that wasn’t very likely to happen… but more importantly, the colors of all the bows were also different, so the combination looked a bit messy and maybe even a little tacky.

Since I have cans and cans of rose gold spray paint from all the crafting for the shower/bachelorette/wedding, I figured I could paint a few of the bows rose gold, to try to even out the scheme. I luckily also had some burgundy bows in my gift wrapping stash, so that made it get even closer to the color scheme of the wedding, which I thought would be a nice touch. Anyway, enough talk, let’s see the pictures of the process, and I also included a list of materials at the end:

And here are some action shots from the rehearsal:

Materials:

  1. Gift bows/ribbon
  2. Cardboard roll (from gift-wrapping paper)
  3. Rose gold spray paint
  4. Paper plate, bowl shaped
  5. Hot glue gun

What do you guys think of the bowquet? Have you made one? Drop links to your pictures below if you have them!

#MyBestFriendsWedding Chapter 7 Part 2 – Nola Bach Weekend Activities (#TravelTuesdays)

You guys know by now that I can write for days on end, which is why I put the bach items in a separate post. Ready to dive right in to the day-by-day itinerary of the bachelorette I planned for my biff Michelle? Buckle up!

Oh, one thing. Michelle had one request: no strippers. Disclaimer: it wasn’t me!

*If you want a version of the plain hourly itinerary without my schpeal, here you go!*

Thursday, March 1st: Arrivals, Set-up, Welcome! 

I flew out early on Thursday morning to set up the apartment. Vanessa (Michelle’s future SIL) and Stephanie (day of coordinator) were also flying in early for a meeting with a client, and Ashtine (bridesmaid) would land in the afternoon. The bride and the rest of the crew would arrive at night. I headed to our HomeAway rental (Michelle wanted us all together, so a hotel was not an option) as soon as I landed. The location was PERFECT, near Bourbon and Frenchmen but not in the midst of the party craze. Stephanie put together the welcome boxes for the girls before heading out to her meeting (thank you Steph!), and I had lunch at Cafe Envie across the street while I waited for Ashtine to land. When she got to the apartment, we went to Walmart (the one on Tchoupitulas, which has a full Liquor Store inside) to stock up on supplies for the apartment. Here’s our shopping list. I ordered Uber Eats from Louisiana Pizza Kitchen for dinner to be ready at the apartment while we got the girls at the airport. Caro (bridesmaid) had this awesome idea to get picked up at the airport in a party bus, so we booked with Luxe Limousine, and our driver Darrow was AWESOME! He was there early, and even accommodated our request to stop for a drink before dropping us off. Thanks Darrow! Once we got to the apartment, we quickly changed, ate, and headed out to party on Bourbon! The best stop of the night was undoubtedly Cats Meow, which is always a great time with karaoke and consistently great MCs running the show! We even got on stage for a rendition of single ladies 😉 (video at the end!)

 

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Friday, March 2nd: NON-STOP Activities! 

We started off our morning with light breakfast in the apartment, and surprised Michelle with the Panty Line Poem. We caught her totally off guard and she loved it! For brunch, we headed to the most memorable meal of the whole trip – Atchafalaya. Then, it was time for the Gray Line Original Walking Cocktail Tour, where the group got to try Absinthe, Sazeracs, Sidecars (my favorite), Hurricanes (the good kind, stay away from the Pat O’Brien’s blend), and more! After the tour we headed back to the apartment to get ready for the nighttime activity: a Diva Royale “Real Housewives of New Orleans” Drag Show! They actually called us earlier in the day to let us know that they were merging the drag show with a Hunk-O-Mania… aka male strippers (remember, not my fault?!). We just rolled with it. When we got to Mags 940 (show bar), I was approached by the owner of the drag show to ask if we wanted to put Michelle in the hot seat. With Michelle’s consent, I said it was fine as long as she was only in a drag segment and not with a stripper. They respected our wishes and Michelle had an awesome experience on stage with a gorgeous, funny and great queen (video at the end!). The brides from other groups in attendance got the full Hunk-O-Mania treatment and we had A LOT of fun watching it, but Michelle (or her fiance) definitely would not have been ok with that lol! The show ran long and we were INCREDIBLY late for our dinner reservation at Three Muses, but they were SUPER accommodating and accepted our rescheduling needs. The food was delicious and the night ended partying on Frenchmen Street!

 

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Saturday, March 3rd: Sisters, Beignets & Aphrodisiacs! 

During my first trip to Nola in 2014, I had Sunday brunch at the Court of Two Sisters. Envisioning a floral brunch outside in the courtyard with a live jazz band, I pulled the trigger and made the reservation. The said they couldn’t guarantee courtyard seating but they made it happen and it was GORGEOUS. We couldn’t have asked for better weather that entire weekend, and the brunch was  whimsically beautiful AND delicious. After brunch, we had free time to walk around, try Cafe Du Monde/Cafe Beignet, visit the French Market, and have a lax afternoon until our 4:00pm Aphrodisiac Tour from Witches Brew Tours. Our tour guide Marillyn was just a delight, so funny and knowledgeable and she had a blast with our group. She gave us background stories on aphrodisiacs and then took us to experience them first-hand – chocolates from Sucré, hot sauces from the Pepper Palace, a quick look at toys and other fun items at Mr. Binky’s Boutique, oyster shooters from honestly I can’t remember where, and if the group is up for it, you can also fit in a quick visit to a Voodoo shop which is part of the Nola charm. For our last Nawlins supper, I booked us dinner at Criollo inside the Monteleone hotel, so we could pass by the Carousel Bar. I told the girls even before the trip not to get excited about the bar as it’s IMPOSSIBLE to get a seat on it, no matter the time of the day, so they knew it was more of a picture opp than anything else. To our huge surprise because of our party size, the Criollo staff welcomed us in one of their private rooms. We felt like the Real Housewives of all the cities rolled into one, getting VIP treatment! It really was the perfect closing to the trip. We actually sang happy birthday to Michelle here because her birthday was coming up that following week, so we got those festivities started. After dinner, we headed out to enjoy our last night in Bourbon and then made our way back to the apartment for a few hours of sleep, before catching our flights back home.

 

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I hope you enjoyed my endless recount of this weekend that I will forever cherish as I hope Michelle and the rest of the girls do. New Orleans is a very fun city, and a top choice destination for bachelor/bachelorette parties because of their chill party scene, yummy food (seriously, you have to make an effort to find bad food in Nola), and cheap drinks!

Made it this far? You unlocked our FINAL RECAP VIDEO! 😉