Super Easy Halloween Treats for the Kitcheny Challenged.

Last weekend, my sister hosted a Halloween party and I was tasked with bringing a snack. Not one to be outdone when it comes to all things Halloween, I came across the two ideas below and was instantly sold because A) there's almost no effort involved, and B) everyone loves pretzels and peanut butter. Except me. I don't really like peanut butter. But when it comes to a bunch of strangers, especially the kind who are mostly under the age of 11, who cares? Not me.



Nutter Butter cookies
Wilton White chocolate Candy Melts
Mini chocolate chips

Melt your candy melts, paying VERY careful attention to the tempering instructions. One foul move and your melty heaven will turn into a smoking inferno of burnt, white chalk. Dip the Nutter Butters and top with chocolate chip eyes. I only had regular size chocolate chips and was not about to make a shopping trip for 48 dang mini chips.


Pretzel rods
Wilton Candy Melts (green)
Almond slivers

Melt your candy according to directions. Once all of the melts have a smooth runny consistency, they're ready to go. 

I transferred my melted candy into a long, narrow thermos so it would be easier to coat the sides of the pretzels. 

Dip and top with almond slivers.

Easy as heck and those pretzels are addicting.

Here are some highlights from the Halloween party:

The spread

This is Skinny Minney. 
I don't know if you can tell, but she's finally put some meat on those bones.

She loves that joke.

Pumpkin Cuties with celery stem

Grape centipedes with bloody eyes

"Ugh! I feel like I have something in my eye... Will you take a look?"

Witches Brew

Just in case you wanted some nightmare fuel, behold the decorations:

Koala-skull lamp, complete with flickering bulb

And straight from the pits of hell, these baby dolls were part of a collection of creepy toys in a blacked-out closet. Guests were invited to go into the closet with only a flashlight to protect their souls. 

Happy Halloween!

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Have I Mentioned I Loooove Halloween?

As you may or may not have noticed, things have been slow in the cooking department. We actually made a totally bitchin' and blogworthy recipe last night, but wouldn't you know, the stupid camera battery was dead.

So instead, I'm going to post vague photos of our Halloween costumes and beg you to play along.

I went to the thrift store today and fell in love with everything in stock. Do you know how hard it is for me to see racks of perfectly recyclable colorful/ vintage/ creepy costumes and not buy them all?

It's very hard, okay.

I think my obsession with costumes stems from growing up in a poor-ass household. When other kids were wearing highly flammable, silky, one-piece "Barbie" costumes, I was dressed like a geisha or a housewife, all made from my own wardrobe fixins. Growing up broke makes you resourceful. It also makes you want to hoard everything in sight, making for difficult and embarrassing situations at the thrift store during Halloween time.

Where am I going with this?

Nowhere really.

So this year, my office is having a theme for Halloween. And that theme is...........


Yes. That's right.

We all had to pick a Disneyland ride and not only come up with a costume for it, but also decorate our cubicles accordingly.

I'll admit that at first, this sounded like a cuckoo idea.

But being that I love dressing up, especially when I have a predetermined goal in mind, the idea soon turned into an obsession.

I'm just about done with my costume, and although it's pretty subtle in the spectrum of all things Disney, I'm very happy with it.

Here's a shot of part of the fabric. I know it doesn't show much, but I think it's pretty easy if you know the lay of the (Disney)land. Can you guess which ride I went with?

Eric's costume came together like a dream. We were at thrift store, looking for my Disney stuff, and I spotted this gem hidden amongst the coveralls and robes.

Can you tell who he's going to be? Hint: It's a pop culture character.

And last, we have Pearl. This costume is a complete surprise and she has no idea it's coming. That's partly because I love surprises and also partly because I didn't want her to turn down my awesome idea. With that said, I felt like this was a safe bet because I know she loves this movie.

Can you guess Pearl's costume? Hint: It's a movie character.

Do you have your costume lined up? Tell me what it is so I can get jealous and start thinking of ways to replicate it next year.

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Bet You Didn't Know My Wedding was So Creepy.

I know I said I'd knock out all the wedding talk in one post, but I feel like this one gets a pass since it's somewhat creepy-themed, and can therefore be classed as a "Halloween" post. See how I did that?

Here are eight interesting-and-creepy facts about (or that led up to) our wedding:

1. Eric and I had our first kiss while watching Stephen King's The Shining
2. Eric proposed the night we went to watch a special viewing of The Shining at LACMA
3. Our wedding was held at a haunted venue
4. On Friday, the 13th
5. There were 13 people in our wedding party
6. Our first dance was to Midnight, the Stars, and You. Otherwise known as, the scary-ass song from the ballroom scene in The Shining.
7. The first song at the reception was Michael Jackson's Thriller

And I saved the scariest for last...

8. I've gained five pounds since the wedding. Yes. That's right. FIVE. My always-on-the-go, planning-a-wedding days are over and apparently so is my metabolism. Thankfully, none of my clothes are fitting any differently. Which means, it's probably just going straight to my face. Lucky me.

Thank you, Sarah P., for sharing this image with me. It's like you can see into the future.

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That's right- I'm totally a Mrs. now!

After nine months of planning, the day came and went and, in the blink of an eye, we were ending the night drunk and married.

There are so many stories and photos and details I'd like to share here, but I know the blogging world is finicky and has a limited attention span. (More than two consecutive posts on the same topic? Blech, even I know that's boring.) With that said, I've limited myself to 35 photos and plan to keep the ooey-gooeyness to a minimum. 

The wedding took place at The Glen Tavern Inn, a historic hotel built in 1911, located in the quaint town of Santa Paula. The hotel is rumored to be haunted- it was featured on the series Ghost Adventures- and was a hotspot for Hollywood stars John Wayne, Steve McQueen, and Harry Houdini.

If you're shopping around for a wedding venue and The Glen Tavern Inn is on your list, I would suggest you book ASAP. We had nothing but positive experiences with this venue. Monica, the Special Events Coordinator was super easy to get a hold of at all times, whether by email, phone, or text. She's very easygoing and accommodated us in every way that we asked for. I'm not exaggerating when I say that of everything I asked, not once did she say no to us. She's really a genuinely nice person and I hope to hang out with her in the future. 

WORTH NOTING: Although The Glen Tavern is already very competitively priced, they offer discounted packages for non-Saturday weddings. This venue is a one-stop shop: they have both inside and outside locations for both the ceremony and reception. They also do all of their own catering, which means one less vendor to keep track of. The hotel is on the smaller side with 36 rooms, which is great because it's kind of like renting out a whole hotel for your private event.

Ceremony location

From the front lawn of the hotel 

Main entrance

They will work with any cocktail specifics you have in mind. Our signature drinks were Pimm's Cup and John Daly, and we also had a hosted keg of Sierra Nevada, which Monica arranged for us.

Hotel lobby 

I kept the flowers simple with Baby's Breath for the table settings (and bridesmaids bouquets too). We had random leftover flowers from my bouquet, so they were included in a few of the table settings as well. All flowers were purchased from a local wholesaler and came to a total of about $150. Instead of vases, we went with mason jars- all from the $.99 store. I purchased burlap fabric, with coupons from Joann's, and used them as table runners. My mom and I scoured local fabric stores and bought yards of scrap lace, which added another layer and delicateness to the burlap. We also used tea light candles on each table (not pictured). My guess on the total cost for each table setting would be around $20.00.

Hotel lobby

Now for all the photos that make me smile goofy tears of joy and give me the ugliest happy-face you'll ever not see...

My husband

Already starting to cry like a boss

Pearl wore our rings on her necklace 

Hair and make-up for most of the bridal party were courtesy of Joey and Aaron, a beauty duo who were recommended by a friend. Joey works at M.A.C. and Aaron does full drag hair, which totally perked my interests right from the start. I figured, if he can make men look like beautiful women, he can hopefully make me look like a beautiful woman.

Full disclosure: I may have had a major minor major minor freakout about my hair 20 minutes before walking down the aisle, which resulted in bobby pins being launched across the hotel room. However, this was not because of anything the beauty team did, I just decided that I wanted to do my own hair. It all ended up working out in the end.

Also, the beauty package for both hair and make-up was only $85, which is UNHEARD of. You know how much a like a deal. (Feel free to message me if you'd like their contact info.)

I'd like to point out that my mom made my veil, which I totally loved for two reasons: 1) it's a meaningful, one-of-a-kind piece, and 2) it was way cheaper than buying one. (She also made all of the bouquets.)


Bridesmaids processional: Zebra by Beach House
Bride processional: Quelqu'un Ma Dit by Carla Bruni
Bride and groom recessional: Home by Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros

The bridesmaids wore different dresses, all purchased at the mall

Pearl was so happy for her dad  :)

To add a personalized touch to the gazebo, my mom made a pretty floral arrangement, using artificial flowers, that was attached to the top. The ribbons along the backside gave it a dreamy and delicate look and were very cost-effective.

Jewelry: Vintage necklace and earring set purchased on Etsy for $16.


Music from cocktail hour:
La Femme d'Argent by Air
Que Sera by Wax Tailor
Here Comes Your Man by the Pixies
Feels Like We Only Go Backwards by Tame Impala
Yakety Yak by The Coasters

Paul Carganilla did a super job of making the necessary announcements and narrations, without sounding like a cheeseball wedding DJ. We only met with him once and both Eric and I felt like we'd made the right decision right off the bat. He wasn't put-off when I insisted on providing an exact list of songs that could be played throughout the day's events (I'm very picky about music) and he was even cool about jumping from song to song, as I requested them. Paul did a fantastic job and I wish I had more events for him to DJ. 

Pearl rocked the hell out of her grand entrance to Macho Man

Bridal party grand entrance songs:
Sabotage by Beastie Boys
Bandages by Hot Hot Heat
Young Folks by Peter Bjorn and John
Gay Bar by Electric Six
Macho Man by The Village People

 Our grand entrance to Van Halen's Panama

Our official "First Dance" song: Midnight, the Stars, and You by Al Bowlly
(Bonus points if you recognize this song without Googling it)

Songs from reception:
Barbara Streisand by Duck Sauce
Sexy and I Know it by LMFAO
Dancing with Myself by Billy Idol
Danger! High Voltage by Electric Six
Me, Myself, and I by De La Soul
Sexy Chick by David Guetta
Scream and Shout by Will.i.am and Britney Spears
Mirror in the Bathroom by English Beat
Jump in the Line by Harry Belafonte

I opted for five different cakes, instead of the traditional, tired wedding cake. I really love the eclectic style of having several smaller cakes and it seems much more homemade, which was a theme I wanted to keep throughout the wedding. 

Cake flavors: Strawberry shortcake, carrot cake, lemon bavarian, symphony cake, and fruit charlotte.

WORTH NOTING: Our cakes were from Viktor Benes Bakery. Because we went with single-tiered cakes, as opposed to a traditional wedding cake, the overall cost was cut significantly. I worked directly with the head baker, who was very accommodating and decorated the cakes with a simple texturized frosting, just how I asked.

Vintage cake topper: $15 on eBay

Bouquet toss song: She's a Lady by Tom Jones
Garter toss song: I Only Want You by Eagles of Death Metal

Eric happens to be friends with a film and video director, Jeremy Poindexter. Even though we haven't seen the final video production yet, we've gotten to sneak a peek at the raw footage and everything looks uber hip. I love it. I'll be sure to post it sometime in the future (right when you've forgotten about all this nuptial business).

We lucked out not only in being friends with a videographer, but also being friends with a photographer. Melissa Bergen and I used to work together and I had been lucky enough to see her work on several projects, from start to finish. I knew that she paid great attention to detail and had the same eye for editing that we had. So when it came time to pick our wedding photographer, it was a no-brainer. We had already seen her work with our engagement photos and were confident she would give us great shots. As you can see, she did not disappoint. Not only are her photos great, but she was such a pleasure to work with. (While watching some of the raw video footage, we could hear Melissa in the background telling us what a beautiful couple we are and how the photos were all coming out perfectly- really, she is SO sweet.) At one point, I remember asking if she wanted me to squat down a little for a particular shot. She quickly pointed out that I was the bride and that I should just relax while she works around me. Which you KNOW I was all over. A girl can get used to that kind of treatment...

Did I mention this whole wedding was under budget...?

A budget of $10,000, to be exact.


We are so proud of ourselves for making our wedding exactly the way we wanted it AND managing to keep it totally affordable. Sure, it took a lot of research and elbow grease, but that's pretty much par for the course with weddings, isn't it? In the end, it was perfectly us and the whole process was spent with great people.

I couldn't be happier.

(All photos on this post are courtesy of Melissa Bergen Photography)

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