Wednesday, March 12

Making the Most of Wedding Planning

All Photos by Arden Prucha Photography

This time last year I started feeling the pressure. It was four months until our wedding, and I felt like, although I had been planning for a year, there was still SO.MUCH.TO.DO. 

Although I deplored "wedding advice" at the time, I needed it!! Here are few of my thoughts on wedding planning, in no particular order, just one year later.

1) Delegate and stop worrying about it, or just do it yourself. I chose the later. When it came to wedding planning I was totally selfish, and wanted to enjoy every little aspect myself. We spent several weekends making jam for hostess gifts, tying twine around our invitation packs, and stuffing mini-envelopes with wildflower seeds for our save-the-dates. Those times and memories, I know we will cherish.

2) Make sure you start scheduling plenty of sleep - yes scheduling. Even naps. There is nothing better than sleep when it comes to looking and feeling your best. Of course, If you haven't already, make sure you're exercising regularly, drinking plenty of water, and eating right. Plus, I started taking these vitamins for my hair/skin by Perricone MD. 10-minute meditations were a lifesaver for me, too. If you aren't one for meditating, I suggest you try the Headspace App during the 10 days leading up to your wedding. Headspace keeps you grounded and helps alleviate anxiety.  [Headspace Link]

Arden Prucha Photography

3) Be flexible and try not to get caught up on little things. For me, those little things became the fact that the table number holders kept falling over, we did not have enough confetti, and of course....the bow ties that came in the Monday after the wedding. The big adjustment really effected our plans for supper. Dinner was supposed to be served to guests while seated, but we ended up having almost 40 guests say they were attending the week of the wedding whose RSVP card we never received. At the last minute, we scrabbled trying to get more duck for the gumbo and more quail for the salad, but there was just no way (if it was going to be local, anyway). We ended up ditching both the gumbo and the salad (saving on the tableware), and switched from a sit-down-dinner to plates being served buffet style. It was such a good decision in the end! Even though I had been dead-set on our guest being served this fancy meal, I was just so happy to have everyone there in the end.

4) You really can't worry about others when it comes to your guest lists, attendants, even your wedding party. Your family will still be family even if they choose to not attend your wedding, and give your friend's some slack if they aren't going to be able to make it. Just because your life is revolving around this wedding doesn't mean everyone else has to be. Only you and your husband are truly required. Not worrying about what might happen with everyone else will allow you to spend your energy worrying about the aspects of your day you do have control of like music, paper goods, and decorations - the fun stuff! 

Arden Prucha Photography - the best wedding decision ever made!

5) Do something with your fiance that feels dorky, but makes your closer. Starting these habits early on in your engagement helps them to continue throughout your first year of marriage. Sam and I read the book Happiness for Two, [click title for link] and I still read him love poems from Pablo Neurda in this little book.

6) Don't confuse your everyday priorities when it comes to your wedding priorities. If you aren't really a flower person, you are probably going to regret spending thousands on bouquets and center pieces. If you are quite the fashionista, you probably won't regret whatever you dropped on your gown, shoes, and/or accessories. For us, it was food, photography, and paper-goods -- and we spent accordingly.

7) One of my favorite things about our wedding day was the "first look" session we did at sunrise. It was just me, Sam, my mom, and our photographers. Although at first there was some anxiety, it turned out to be the perfect way to start our wedding day. So brides, cancel your bridal portraits and reschedule for a sunrise session on your wedding day!

Arden Prucha Photography

8) Although, I am rarely a traditionalist, I really didn't want my wedding to be too trendy (as much as I loved putting together my board on Pinterest, tying the knot). Sometimes it really helped me to NOT look at wedding inspiration specifically. Instead I started looking around our home and through old photos. I really recommend paying attention to what colors you gravitate towards on a regular basis, spend some time discovering what is YOUR style. I had an old black and white picture of a family picnic that conveyed the southern style supper I wanted in my heart. When working with different vendors I think it is very important to have a good mood board or my case a binder to help convey what's in your head. (Email me if you are interested in seeing what we created).

9) Make sure to take pictures throughout wedding planning, during your showers and parties, and even throughout your wedding weekend. I didn't take any at my first shower, the rehearsal, or rehearsal dinner because I felt funny taking pictures at our own events. This is my only big regret... I would have loved to have had more photos from those times with friends and families.

10) Last but of course not least, DO NOT let anything get to you on your day. There is no such thing as perfect, surprise! Only you are in charge of your thoughts and feelings (says the therapist in me), and blaming others for the way you are feeling is just childish. Yes, your family may try to make it all about their issues with each other. Yes, your wedding planner may add green food coloring to the mason jars "so the water doesn't look cloudy," but in the end you're getting married to the love of your life -- and who really freaking cares about the colored flower water? You'll have your husband to laugh with you about it for the rest of your life. 

Our night ended with the most gorgeous sunset - we could have never planned that!
All photos in this post were taken by our beloved wedding photographer, Arden Jenkins, of Arden Prucha Photography. 

Sunday, March 9

Carrot Cake w/ Orange Cream Cheese Frosting

This was my very first attempt at making a carrot cake. I decided on this recipe the first time I saw it. I mean come on! With this much - cinnamon, walnuts, pineapple, and orange zest - what could possibly go wrong? Using a stand mixer made it super simple, and I love how casual the icing is. This is another one of those cakes you are going to want to eat with breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

Carrot Cake Ingredients:

2 1/2 cups plain flour
1 cup caster sugar
2/3 cup brown sugar
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp mixed spice
1 tsp cinnamon 
1/2 tsp salt

2 big carrots, peeled
4 eggs
1 1/4 cups rice bran or other neutral vegetable oil
finely grated zest of 1 orange
2/3 cup roughly chopped walnuts (optional)
227g tin crushed pineapple, drained in a sieve


Preheat the oven to 160˚C (325˚F) and line the base and sides of a 26cm cake tin with baking paper. Sift all dry ingredients together into a big bowl and stir to combine.  Grate the carrots into large bowl of stand mixer. Add the eggs, oil and zest to the carrots and do a quick stir  to combine, you want the carrots a bit more chopped but not mush. Mix in the dry ingredients slowly, and spoon the pineapple and walnuts on top. Fold all together until the flour is well incorporated. 

Spoon into the prepared tin and bake 65-70 minutes or until a skewer poked into the center comes out clean. Turn the oven off but leave the cake in for 5 more minutes, then take out and leave to cool in the tin before removing to frost. (Frosting recipe below). 

Orange Cream Cheese Icing / Frosting Ingredients:

25g butter at room temperature 
250g cream cheese at room temperature 
finely grated zest of 1 orange 
3 cups icing sugar


For the frosting, using the whisk attachment on your stand mixer, mix everything together. This frosting is also delicious on muffins and orange danish rolls so save your left overs!

Original Recipe Source: From The Kitchen

Monday, March 3

Homemade Chicken Pot Pie

I never-EVER thought I would like chicken pot pie. It was something my dad made (from the freezer) when I was young and I knew to be a soggy-doughful mess. My husband on the other hand had a different up-bringing. He was raised on homemade chicken pot pies with flaky doughs from scratch. This recipe is neither alllll the way from scratch nor is it that pre-made feezer variety. It cuts the cord down the middle. Something you can whip up on a week night, and a great recipe that can be adapted to suit whatever leftovers you may have lying around! After making this a few times for the hubs, I've become a total pot pie convert!

This is the basic chicken pot pie recipe I use most regularly. Although the veggies we have on hand my change a bit, this is probably my favorite traditional mix. Enjoy!


6 tablespoons unsalted butter
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 cup chopped yellow onions
1/2 cup chopped celery
6 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 cups chicken stock
1 cup half and half
1 cup red potatoes, cooked in boiling salted water until tender, 4 to 5 minutes & then drained
1 cup diced carrots, cooked in boiling salted water until tender, 4 to 5 minutes & then drained
1 cup additional veggies (I like to use Simple Truth organic frozen corn and green beans)
2 cups shredded rotisserie chicken, white and dark meat
2 pre-made pie crusts (I prefer Kroger’s brand over Pillsbury, and Pepperidge Farm Pastry Puff sheets are also a good option.)


Turn on oven to preheat at 400 degrees. If using a baking pan, grease it. If using ramekins or cooking in glass no greasing is necessary.


Melt the butter in a large saute pan over medium heat. Add onions and celery as well as salt and pepper. Allow the onions and celery to for 2 minutes, stirring constantly.


Add flour and stir constantly for 3-4 minutes to make a roux.

Add chicken broth while stirring constantly. Bring it to a boil then turn the heat down to medium-low. Allow it simmer until the sauce thickens, about 4 to 6 minutes.

Add half and half while stirring. Allow filling mixture to cook for 4 minutes and stirring occasionally. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Add the rest of the vegetables (potatoes, carrots, corn, and green beans in our case), the chicken and any additional seasons you may like. Add salt and pepper to taste and make sure all vegetables and chicken are incorporated well.


If using a baking pan, line it with one of the rolled out pie crusts. Pour the filling into the prepared pan or divide equally into ramekins. Then layer top layer of pie crust on, pinching it together to form a seam with the bottom crust. 

Place your pot pie into the oven on covered baking sheet (if you prefer). Bake until the crust is golden brown and crusty, 25 to 30 minutes (18-20 minutes if using ramekins). Let cool for 5 minutes before serving.

Cook's Notes:
Preparing the filling on the stove doesn't take that much time, the prepping of the ingredients does though. So it's very important to prep everything before you heat the pan on the stove!

Recipe Adapted from The Little Kitchen

Saturday, March 1

More From February


1// You may have already noticed, but I've fallen in love with these three Garden Press juices. Beet & Greet (taste like grapefruit juice), Kale Force (taste like a parsnip), and Spicy OJ (taste like gingery orange juice) are my favorites. I've been tempted to order in bulk - they even deliver locally!
2// The Brandied Cherries have been a hit in our cocktails!! Old-fashions are our favorite way to end a demanding day.
3// I can't deny Sam loves me when he buys sprinkle donuts on his own, and says "they look better in pictures." True dat.
3// February treated us to some gorgeous sunsets. I love this one framing our humble little abode.
4// Rifle Paper Co. stickers were a little treat to myself this month! I've been using them for labeling my favorite books, canning, and sending mail! I can already tell these are going to come in quite handy!
5// MORE marmalade shots! I love that plate, too, a wedding gift from my mother-in-law!
6// Those blood oranges turned out incredibly photogenic. Also, I had just received the ball-head for my tripod so it was the first time I got to put my new gear to use!
7// I hope you didn't forget about that Honey Apple Cake; Probably the best dessert we had all month! Plus, I totally want every single letter of Linea Carta's Calligrapher Canape plates (available at Anthropologie). 
8// It seems like I take a picture of my Dad's van every time I'm in Russellville. I love it, and turquoises is so my favorite color!

For more photos, visit my instagram @livkrysti.