Reading Recap: Spring 2015

In my literary endeavor to read 52 books this year, I have been chugging along quite well. I just finished my 28th book a few days ago and here are some of my favorites (as well as ones I should have just left on the shelf)!

You can read my first quarter literary round up here.

Favorites

  • Saint Anything by Sarah Dessen. My friends, Sarah Dessen can do no wrong. I know everyone says her stories follow her own “formula,” but Ms. Dessen, don’t fix what ain’t broken. Her characters are fresh and intriguing, and her prose, it just has that Sarah Dessen feel. I don’t know how to say it any other way. A great summer quick read.
  • The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood by Howard Pyle. I have always loved the story of Robin Hood and the many retellings, so it was a wonder to me how I hadn’t read the classic story behind it. So when I started reading, I was surprised by how light and funny it was. Robin Hood is so witty and, even though it’s in an older English, still made me laugh out loud. I loved reading about how Robin gathered his original band of men and the stories of his many clashing with the sheriff. I read this over the course of a few months, a story here and there on my lunch break. It wasn’t a page-turner, but when I finished, I wished there were more stories for me to read.
  • Where She Went by Gayle Forman. You may remember that If I Stay was one of my disappointments in my last blog post. Well this sequel totally surprised me. It was told from the perspective of Adam, not Mia, and man, what a great character he is! He was so much more interesting than Mia and his personality was, excuse this cliche, a breath of fresh air. Forman’s beautiful prose is highlighted better in this book, with each chapter starting with lyrics that Adam wrote. Even thought it is largely character-driven conflict, I couldn’t put the book down. I wanted to know what happened next (which is pretty unusual for me with character-driven plots).

Disappointments

  • Shadow Scale by Rachel Hartman. This is the sequel to Seraphina, which I absolutely adored when I read it last year. Seraphina was everything I want in a book: romance, a strong female lead, fantasy, kings and princes, and a solid conflict. Shadow Scale was nothing like its predecessor. Several of the main characters were hardly mentioned and the romance that had defined much of the first book was nonexistent in this one. Rachel Hartman is a beautiful writer – and she has great verbage! Maybe a weird observation, but she has a gift for using big words that actually make sense in context which I loved. But the story itself was lacking. A lot.  So read Seraphina, but please, just leave Shadow Scale on the shelf.
  • The Immortal Nicholas Flamel series by Michael Scott. Okay, I need to confess, I may have read this series partly because the author’s name is Michael Scott, one of the best characters ever from The Office. BUT ANYWAYS. It was just so mediocre. The writing was subpar, at best, and some of the wordings were just so odd. The characters I felt didn’t have any development, and over the course of six books, that’s pretty bad. One of the main characters was just so stupid he should have been killed off in the first book. I think I would have been happier if he had. For a fantasy series, it just fell so flat. Nothing really redeeming about any of it.

Not a bad second quarter! You can also see all of the books I’ve read this year here. Have you guys read any good books lately?

My DIY Wedding Invitations

Last night, I dropped off 120 little blue envelopes in the mail, and I couldn’t feel more relieved. My wedding invitations are done!!


I took a DIY approach to my invitations. I had ordered save the dates for a reasonable price off of a website, so thought that I could find some cheaper invitations as well. LOL NOPE. The cheapest I could find was going to be well over $800. For just the invitations. For ink and paper.

Being the broke frugal and creative college student that I am, I thought there has to be a cheaper way to do this. So I looked around on Pinterest and got some ideas and headed to work.

I found a free online template that I was able to download and customize. My church had a copier that I could use and only charge $0.10 a copy so my mother and I headed to Office Max to buy paper. We picked out a glossy white, thick paper (110 lb) for about $15. It came with 500 sheets. Back at church, we started to make copies. Two invitations fit on one sheet of paper, and we made extra, but we only used 75 sheets.

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The hardest part of this whole process was this next step. When I found this template, I didn’t give any second thought as to how time consuming it would be to cut each invitation out. They have large paper cutters at church, and even with two other people helping me, it took over two hours just to do the invitations. It was so tedious and frustrating because you could only do one at a time, otherwise the edges would cut jagged and it just looked cheap and homemade.

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For the reception and RSVP cards, four fit onto one sheet, so we had to use even less paper for that, I think we used maybe 35 sheets for each. We saved the cutting for another day. :P

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Next I searched for envelopes in a color that would match my wedding colors. I first ordered a sample from envelopes.com and I loved the color! Since I had to order in quantities of 50, I ordered 150 A7 envelopes and 150 A1 envelopes for the RSVP cards. (Side note: I was so glad I ordered extra envelopes because we needed them! My mother, sister, maid of honor, and I went through so many extra envelopes when we made mistakes – and it is so easy to make mistakes when you’ve been addressing envelopes for three hours!)

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As I was playing with the invitations, I wanted them to be a little more unique and personal than just a piece of paper in an envelope. I played with the thought of using a doily somehow, but wrapping the invitations in it or I’ve even seen it done where the doily is glued to the inside of the envelope. However, I just couldn’t make it work to how I liked it. So I just used a simple ribbon and tied all the pieces of the invitation together with a bow. I love the idea of my guests having to untie the ribbon to get to the invitation – kind of like a present that I am giving to them. Ha – maybe I am dumb, but I like the idea.


I love, love, love how my invitations turned out. It was very time consuming and a little stressful at times – after tying about fifty bows in a row, I was wondering why again I was being so cheap and not paying someone else to do them for me! :P But I am very pleased with how they turned out and I feel like they are a bit more personal than anything I could have ordered online.

ALSO! When I went to the post office to weigh my invitation to see how much postage it would need, it was light enough that I could use just one regular stamp. I didn’t have to pay the extra $0.30 or however much it is per envelope because most invitations are so much heavier. That in itself saved me $35 at the post office!

All in all, this DIY project saved me at least $700. A price break down of how much I payed for each item and from where:

  • Envelopes: $75, from envelopes.com
  • Paper: $15, from Office Max
  • Copies: $20, used church copier
  • Ribbon: $50, from Michael’s

Grand Total: $160
Per Invitation: $1.33

I also have about half of my pack of paper left, which I will use to make my ceremony programs, (expect a blog post about that too, hehe). I also had about 5 extra rolls of ribbon, which will also help make the programs. So part of this cost will also be put into making my programs.

As much fun as making these invitations were, I’m glad that they are done! :P

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