Best Sesame Street Themed Birthday Party Ever — My God Son Turned ONE!

13 Sep

I spent the weekend prepping for and attending an amazing first birthday party. My wonderful god son Liam turned one over the weekend and to celebrate his mother threw him the mother of all first birthday parties. The chosen theme of the day was Sesame Street, and his fabulous mommy should really be an event planner, because she went ALL out, and it showed. It was a backyard barbecue-style event that was decorated so fabulously it looked as if we were having a block party right on Sesame Street. The kids got to get their faces painted by an awesome artist (PattySweetCakes), jump around in the giant bouncer, and take a swing at the piñata. Meanwhile, us adults enjoyed one of the last beautiful days of summer and munched on yummy dishes like guava empanadas, shrimp shish-kabob, and sliders. It was truly the perfect party!

Liam's Sesame Street Themed Birthday Party

Liam's Sesame Street Themed First Birthday Party

Look at what you can do for your little one with the right patience, planning, and persistence, on a very practical budget. (And if you want to know where she got some of the fabulous one of a kind details, just holler, and I’ll share all the details.) I can tell you that the one of a kind cake is another great creation from Anne over at Pink Cake Box. Happy, Happy Birthday Liam!

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What’s On YOUR Bucket List?

10 Sep

I just stumbled across this surprisingly inspirational and fun site that lets you create, share, and manage your personal Bucket List. (It’s called BucketList.org!) I had never officially written one of those “Things to Do Before I Die” lists, so I was sort of intrigued. I gave it a try, and it takes seconds to get going and it was actually kind of interesting.  I began building my own list (complete with motivational photos and videos) and the site even lets you browse other people’s lists to get inspired. Getting married has always been something I said I would like to do, so it looks like that’s at least one task I’m about to knock off my brand-spanking-new bucket list. I’m sure we could all list a million things we’d like to do before our time is up, but for me, the fun was in picking a short list of things I know I will actually try to accomplish and will REALLY enjoy once I do. This list is by no means finished, but hey, it’s a start. For now, I think I’ll work on seeking out that one great bag worth blowing my entire budget on or planning my next domestic getaway. (Chicago, maybe?) Here’s my list! Now, tell me what’s on yours?

Charli Penn's Bucket List

The Wife's Bucket List. (A work in progress.)

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Couples’ Cart: Enjoy Pillow Talk in Style!

9 Sep

Now that we’re about to become husband and wife, I’m especially on the hunt for new his and hers accessories for our home. (I love ANYTHING personalized.) This week my obsession has been pillowcases. We spend a lot of time watching movies and talking in bed, so I thought it’d be a fun new addition to our bedroom. Plus, Hubby 2 Be drools, and Wifey 2 Be (that’s me!) hates getting stuck with his pillow and listening to him lie and say it’s not his pillow!

Here are a few of my favorite couple-friendly finds. Maybe they’ll work for your bedroom scheme too, or maybe you’d rather just help me decide on which set to add to ours!

His and Her Pillow Cases

I narrowed it down to these favorites.

  1. Yours and Mine Pillowcases (Knock Knock Studio, $45)
  2. Mr. and Mrs. French Burlap Pillow Slips (FunkyShique $54)
  3. Personalized Silhouette Portrait Pillowcases (Plumage Etc., $40)
  4. Mr. and Mrs. Pillowcases (Kirby’s Loft, $23)
  5. His and Hers Pillowcases (Brightandbold.com, $22.95)
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10 Reasons I KNOW I’m Marrying the Right Man (Are You?)

9 Sep
10 Things I Love About My Husband

A little something I scribbled to help me write my wedding vows.

Yesterday I was making a latte run at Dunkin Donuts when a woman stopped me to compliment me on my engagement ring. She then proceeded to ask the usual questions. You know, things like, “When’s the wedding?” and “how did he propose?”. I gave the usual answers, “October 17th” and “beneath our Christmas tree”. Then she asked me something I don’t get too often: “How do you know he’s the one you’re supposed to marry?” Um… whatever happened to “how’s the weather?” But anyway…

Honestly, I didn’t owe this nice chatty lady anything, but since I’ve been writing my wedding vows to Gibran this week, I’m already in a super lovely dovey mood so I decided to just go ahead and answer. I said, “When I close my eyes I can see our entire future together – the wedding, the kids, the house, all of it. He’s my best friend, my partner in crime, and the person who loves me no matter what. How often do you get all three in one? Wouldn’t you marry That Guy?” She smiled and said, “Well, there it is!” I think she’s convinced, do you? (Ha!)

Us at my cousin's wedding this summer.

Either way, I know that my heart and mind are aligned on this one. I met the right guy for me, at the right time in our lives, and he asked me the right question, and I said YES. Why is he so awesome? Well, this is a list I jotted down as an exercise to help me get my vows out on paper. I gave myself 2 minutes to write ten things I love about Gibran off the top of my head without a chance to over think it. I came up with this list in just under 80 seconds, and when I looked at it I realized that there’s so much to read between the lines. This list is why I know I’m marrying the right man. He’s IT because he’s my best friend (see #1, 4, and 5), he’s all about respect and love (see #2, 7, and 8), and we complete each other’s existence (See # 3, 6, and 10). Also, because he’s a GOOD MAN (see #9), and these days I really don’t meet that many of them walking around — seriously. I feel  blessed that we found each other!

Married? How’d you know he was the one? Engaged? Why did you say yes? I shared my list, so let’s see yours!

– The (Soon-to-Be) Wife

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The Dog’s A Twitter Superstar Today!!

7 Sep
Charli Penn and Karma Angel Penn Watkins

Karma posing pretty at our engagement shoot! (Di Bezi Photography)

Each day the gang at People Magazine’s PeoplePets.com ask their 987,724 Twitter followers (@PEOPLEPets) to submit their cutest pet photos, and they select a daily winner. Well, I only found out about this yesterday, and I submitted this awesome pic of my cute shoes and my even cuter Yorkie Karma today, and guess what?!? She won! She’s their star of the day. And, I quote: “Talk about star quality – Karma the Yorkie has it! Congrats to @ManWifeDog, you won today’s #cutepic contest!” This was one of my favorites from our fabulous Engagement Session with Di Bezi Photography on the Hoboken waterfront (where we fell in love!).  Visit her blog to see more shots from the shoot!

Our baby’s famous today. I even got a few @replies about the shoes. If you’re interested, I found them at DSW and they’re by Guess. I found them in the spring, but here’s an updated version if you’re interested!

Special thanks to Diana from Di Bezi Photography for taking the lovely photo!

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WIVES GONE BAD: Bride Fakes Cancer to Get Wedding Freebies

7 Sep
Broken Heart
Image by Gabriela Camerotti via Flickr

In WTF news. A friend just sent me an article about a New York woman whose husband is now divorcing her because he found out she faked having terminal cancer to get free wedding perks for their big day. Looks like, Newburgh resident Jessica Vega and her family fooled everyone, groom included, into thinking her one dying wish was to say “I do” before she had to say goodbye to her true love and small child. They ended up getting free wedding flowers, photos, an Aruba honeymoon and a whole lot more out of the deal. Vega’s claiming exercise healed her, but it looks like her original doctor’s notes were fake. So sad. (Shaking my head.)

I would do a lot of things to save some of the money we’re spending on our upcoming wedding, but faking cancer is just unthinkable! The husband’s after a quick divorce and their kid. I hope it goes well for him. Wow!

I admit, I’ve often lied to Etsy.com vendors about my actual wedding date to get my goods on time, but that’s the extent of the lying on my part! Have you ever heard of a bride lying to get her way?

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A (Great!) $35 Date: A Staycation at Governors Island, NY

6 Sep
Charli and Gibran at Governors Island

Us at Governors Island celebrating the unofficial end to summer -- for (super!) cheap.

The Hubby 2 Be and I have been together for six wonderful years. But, many of them were tight times as far as our wallets were concerned. One thing we’ve mastered over those years has been finding a great cheap date. It’s an art, really. When we’re on the hunt for the next date, we consider the following: the total amount we want to spend that day, how much travel time and effort is involved in pulling it off, and how much fun we’ll potentially have. For us, it’s sort of like a formula. If we find something to do at a great price, but it involves a long drive and lots of prep work, it may just get bumped for something a few dollars more that’s going to be good fun from start to finish, and won’t leave us exhausted at the end of the day. We like to think that you can find great date ideas for under $25 (total spend for the day!) if you know what to look for, and are up to try anything (at least once).

Today we set off to find a little something something to get into to celebrate the unofficial end to summer. The thought of spending Labor Day weekend inside of our apartment was unbearable. So, I went on a Google hunt for free fun and we ended up planning an impromptu trip to New York’s Governors Island with another great couple we know, Twanna and James. It’s a 172 acre island oasis for New Yorkers and nearby North Jersey folks like us to escape to for some easy R&R. On Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays you can take a free (yes, FREE!) ferry ride from Manhattan or Brooklyn to the island and get into all sorts of fun things. We came to picnic, play Frisbee, and check out the Food Truck Festival they were having, but Governor’s Island offers all sorts of other recreational couple stuff to do. (Plus, great views and cute photo opps!) Go there for free his and her bike rentals, kayaking rentals, boating, fishing, park play, food, exhibits, and more. It used to be an old military base, so there’s tons of historic stuff to see (if you’re into that).

Governor's Island from air

Image via Wikipedia

We bought our own sandwich lunches, and fast food side dishes near home beforehand, then drove into the city, split the cost to park nearby the ferry station at Battery Park, and took a 10 minute free ferry ride over. We spent the afternoon taking in the panaromic views of New York, Brooklyn, and New Jersey while lounging on blankets, soaking in all the summer warmth we co

uld get, sharing food, and laughs, and just being our silly selves. We capped the day off with yummy ice cream bars from a nearby truck and one more blissful ferry ride back to Manhattan. Gibran and I spent a total of $35 for the whole day’s fun. Here’s how we did it:

A map of Governor's Island, NY, USA. Showing b...
Image via Wikipedia

Budget Breakdown

Carpooling: $8 Holland Tunnel toll, split four ways = $2 per person

Parking: $34 total fee for 5 hours, split four ways = $8.50 per person

Lunch: $10 total for our pre-packed lunches

Ice Cream: $4 total

TOTAL SPEND = $35

You wanna go now, don’t you? (Smiles!) Here’s a link to the rest of the fall calendar for Governors Island, but you better hurry because the season ends October 10th!

Here are some fun photos from our day on the island.

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OMG! We’re getting married in 43 Days!

4 Sep

It’s safe to say we’re freaking out now! (So much to do, so little time!) We’re going to make it official at The Stonehouse at Stirling Ridge in Warren, NJ on Sunday October 17th, 2010. I picked the place almost immediately after getting engaged last Christmas Eve. I’d been a big fan of the property for a while. I used to work as the Managing Editor for TheKnot.com and WeddingChannel.com and during my three years at those posts I saw A LOT of weddings come by my desk. Every time i saw one at the Stonehouse, I just knew we’d be right at home there. It’s cozy, nestled in a beautiful wooded area, and just modern enough for our tastes. It’s beautiful and we cannot wait to become man and wife there. Continue reading

Meet Our Family of Three!

3 Sep Charli Penn and Gibran Watkins Engagement Session

Hi everybody! I’m just a girl, about to marry a (great!) guy. We both love each other and our little Yorkie Karma too. We share a home and we’re headed to the altar on October 17th, 2010.  We’ve been together for 6 years now, so it’s safe to say that I’ve mastered the whole girlfriend and fiance thing, but I haven’t a clue  about what it means to be a wife — never mind, a good one. Nevertheless, I’m confident that I can pull this thing off, but it will be a major work in progress, for sure. I asked Hubby 2 Be if it’s okay to blog candidly and hysterically about our new journey. He said yes, so here it goes. Feel free to join me on this sure-to-be-wild ride. – The Wife

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