Your Wedding Registry

Do you know someone getting married in the coming months?  Maybe it is you or a close friend or family member, whoever it is wedding registries are part of the planning process.  Just like shopping for rings or meeting with the florist, registering for gifts is one of the time-honored to-dos brides and grooms check off their list as they count down to their upcoming wedding.  I will admit, I had more fun doing this than hubby did.

But like lots of couples (us included), you may have been on your own for almost a decade (or more) and already have a fully outfitted kitchen and bedroom. Sure, you don’t “need” anything, but your wedding guests still want to give you something personal, beautiful or useful for your big day.

Although there will always be some non-negotiables when it comes to wedding etiquette (thank-you notes are a must), couples have more freedom than ever in building a wish list which fits their needs. Here are five ideas for making your registry your own:

#1 Enjoy an experience

If you truly can’t think of any “things” you want or need, make your first year as a married couple more memorable by registering for experiences like cooking classes, zip-lining excursions or dancing lessons. You can also create a special registry to help fund your honeymoon – everything from flights and hotels to sightseeing tours and fine dining.

#2 Upgrade what you already have

If your place is full of hand-me-downs, college-era furniture and the mismatched plates have seen better days, now is the time to upgrade to the higher-end cookware and linens you’ve coveted but wouldn’t necessarily buy for yourself. Think stand mixers, eco-friendly cookware and hello, 1000-thread-count sheets! Guests will love they can gift you with something you’ll use every day.

#3 Outfit your honeymoon

You’ve planned the trip of a lifetime, and you need the luggage to get you there! Ditch the beat-up suitcase you took to summer camp and register for a luxe matching set. Or let each of your personalities shine through with monogrammed travel bags from Thirty-One: the All Packed Duffle and new Away for the Weekender come in stylish prints and classic solids. Add a coordinated Glamour Case for your toiletries.

#4 Think outside the house

All set on dishes, towels and sheets? More retailers than ever are getting into the registry game to offer products outside the realm of bed and bath. If homeownership is in your near future, consider registering for gardening tools or even a lawnmower to make yardwork less of a chore, or create a welcoming patio area with furniture or a grill. Does a night under the stars sound romantic? Take your registry to the great outdoors with camping, hiking and fishing gear.

#5 Entertain Your Way

Sure, the fine china set is gorgeous, but when was the last time you hosted a formal dinner party for 12 – and wanted to hand-wash the dishes after? Save the cabinet space and register for the entertaining items you’ll actually use, like board games for casual nights in with friends, beer glasses for your favorite brews or a turntable for your vinyl collection. Build your wine and cheese spread on a personalized Close To Home™ Round Tray – so chic!

I am happy to set up a Thirty One Gift Registry for you which friends can easily access.  Make your wish list, reach out and I will set things up for you.  Need gifts for the bridal party?  Let me help you create one of a kind personalized gifts they will treasure forever.

Have  a ThirtyOne-derful day!

How to Treasure Your Memories

 

Memories…. there was a time when I thought I would NEVER forget special moments –  the little ones like funny faces, hanging out, shopping, cheering competitions, field hockey games with Belinda, and the list goes on. Then MS entered my life.  In the beginning, I thought the loss of some memories were just the result of my past drug use, so I wrote it off.  I knew the BIG moments/ memories would always be there.  SMACK!  Here I am almost 5 years later and there are so many memories which are gone – the big ones and the little ones.  I look at pictures and some jog my memory while others are a just pictures.  Yup, I squirreled! LOL

Here is a great way to hold onto those special moments – the ones you want to last forever –  the birth of a baby, graduations, weddings, anniversaries and holidays.  How many of you have captured those moments in pictures and now they are tucked away in albums or maybe a few of them are in frames?

I always envy those who artistically share their photos, and especially those who change up their pictures as the years go by….  I love the fact Thirty-One has opened up a new world of possibilities for you (and me) to share our favorite moments with Photo by Thirty-One.

You can place your favorite photos on an array of products from home décor to jewelry to commemorate a special moment, tell a story or create a personalized gift.  It’s lets you decorate your home with comforting images and keep memories alive for everyone in your family. Anyone invited into your home will instantly see the strong bonds you share with your family and how much they mean to you. And for you, it’s a constant reminder of the good times you’ve shared together.

Life is a journey. As your story continues to change and grow year after year, you want to keep up. The Close To Home Table Gallery and Photo Inserts are perfect for tracking the lives of our kids or grandkids or fur-babies from babyhood through school years and beyond: a marriage, an annual family vacation, successive birthdays or anything you want to commemorate.

The Table Gallery holds up to three square Photo Inserts you can customize with your favorite photos. The natural wood base can be personalized with a name, short phrase or other saying (up to 16 characters) in the design of your choice from our Simply Etched personalization options.

You can either buy another Table Gallery to add to your story or opt to switch out inserts to keep your story current. It’s totally up to you, but whatever you decide, you’ll find easy step-by-step instructions for submitting photos below.

Tip:  Start a family tradition by designing a custom photo gift, then gifting new Photo Inserts for each holiday or celebration!

I remember one of my Grandmother’s favorite pieces of jewelry was a necklace with a picture of her and Belinda.  She wore it every day and when Alzheimer’s took most of her memories, she still held on to it.  Her “little princess” was always close to her heart.  You can do the same with a Just Write Large Circle Charm. This is customizable photo charm which makes a great gift for a daughter, granddaughter, sister or friend! You can express your special mother-daughter bond, sisterly love or best friends forever status, the Just Write Large Circle Charm is a gift with endless sentimental value. You can add more jewelry charms to trace your history through the years together and keep your story going.

Tip: No kids? No problem! Snap a shot of your adorable pet to keep close to your heart on a gold-tone or silver-tone Charm Catcher Necklace.

Home is where the heart is, but it’s also true of memories. We hold fond memories close to our hearts, so what better place to display those happy times than in the place we spend most of our time? With our Statement Canvas Wall Art and Statement Canvas Pillow custom home décor, you can cozy up with your loved ones in your family room surrounded by the lasting memories you created together. Add text to any throw pillow or custom wall art piece to further commemorate the special occasion depicted in your family photo.

Need a great gift idea for a wedding, birthday or graduation? Any of these products are a thoughtful choice. Photo by Thirty-One instantly turns an ordinary gift into something special and unique – one that’s attached to treasured memories.

Tip: For a fun display or great kid, grandparent or teacher gift, scan in some of your child’s artwork. Place it on our Statement Canvas Wall Art or Statement Canvas Pillow for a budding artist’s gallery!

Ready to start your photo journey? Just choose your product and design, upload your photo, adjust it to your liking and add a meaningful message.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

Tasty Tuesday: Veggie-Loaded Quinoa Stir Fry  

Thank you Hungry Girl for another YUMMY recipe.  I LOVE this one.

MAKES 4 SERVINGS: 1/4th of recipe (about 2 cups): 323 calories, 4g total fat (<0.5g sat fat), 788mg sodium, 59g carbs, 8.5g fiber, 18.5g sugars, 12.5g protein.  SmartPoints® value 8*

Prep: 5 minutes     Cook: 30 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 cup uncooked quinoa, rinsed thoroughly
  • 1 tbsp. chopped garlic
  • 6 cups frozen stir-fry veggies
  • 4 cups broccoli florets
  • 1/2 cup all-natural thick teriyaki marinade or sauce (like the kind by Annie Chun’s)

Directions

  • In a medium pot, combine quinoa, 1/2 tbsp. garlic, and 2 cups water. Bring to a boil, and then reduce heat to low. Cover and let simmer for 15 minutes, or until water has been absorbed and quinoa is fully cooked. Transfer to a large bowl, and cover to keep warm.
  • Bring a very large skillet sprayed with nonstick spray to medium heat. Add remaining 1/2 tbsp. garlic, stir-fry veggies, broccoli, and 1/4 cup water. Cover and cook until veggies have mostly softened, 6 – 8 minutes.
  • Uncover, and cook and stir until excess liquid has evaporated and veggies are fully softened, about 2 minutes.
  • Add teriyaki sauce and cooked quinoa and mix well. Cook and stir until hot, about 1 minute. Serve up and enjoy!

Have leftovers?  What better what to take them to work the next day then in a Thirty One Thermal?  Did you know they are on special in June?  50% off any thermal with a $35 purchase.  The Go-To Thermal is great for kids (and messy adults)….

It can be yours for $9 with a $35 purchase.  Get a jump on the back to school sales.  Grab a gift for an upcoming wedding, anniversary or birthday.

Remember to share your favorite recipe with us…

Have  a ThirtyOne-derful day!

A Wedding Anniversary

WOW!  It doesn’t seem possible but six years ago today, I married my amazing hubby.  For those of you who know our story, sorry for the repeat but it is a true tale of unconditional love which lasted over time.

Rob and I dated the summer BEFORE high school – I was from OTHS and he was from Neptune. A strange mix during those years, I mean our schools were rivals.  He walked into my house with a friend of the family and our eyes met.  The rest was history.  There are some pictures which along with some stories have helped me to remember.

Opposite schools, different backgrounds – not a great match.  I caved under peer pressure and the desire to fit in my first year in HS.  We broke up and never spoke again. He went his way and I went mine.

In July 2001, I received a note in the mail from him. He said after a year of searching, this was his last attempt to connect with me. The search for me started because of a roadside memorial said “HOPE”. He wanted to make sure it wasn’t me.  The easy thing would have been to reach out to my dad but who does things the easy way, right?

When I saw the note, I smiled but then there was a look of amazement across my face. Belinda was like Who is this? Tell me more? She had no idea who he was nor did she know much about my high school days so she was curious.

I wasn’t looking for a relationship.  I was content for it to be “Belinda and I” (or you and me kid) till she went to college.  Little did I know, God had other plans for us.  Rob and I emailed for over 3 months sharing all aspects of our life.  I shared tales of my past as did he.  We connected but I never let him believe we would be anything more than friends – I wasn’t interested.  My heart was opening up but “love” just didn’t seem to be in the cards.

On October 12, 2001 after working the midnight shift, Rob drove to EHT to spend the day with me at a craft show.  Yes, a craft show.  He knew I would be there all day and it didn’t matter.  He walked in the door and our eyes met – my heart skipped a beat.  NOPE!  I wasn’t looking for a relationship.  The day was busy with lots of kids, I was making American Girl doll clothes back then.  At the end of the day, he helped me pack up everything and we went back to my house for dinner.  Belinda was spending the day with friends so we spend hours talking and reconnecting. He showed me a picture of me from the summer we dated which he kept all of those years.  It was the first of many trips Rob would make to EHT over the next 5 years. He traveled to EHT to spend his days off with us every week.  He traveled to cheering competitions, sat through practices, and went to craft shows.

One year later, at Christmas, Rob proposed and I accepted! Yes, we were engaged for almost 9 years before we got married. He was concerned about Belinda. He didn’t want to change her life as she was in high school – a competitive cheerleader, active in church and EHT was the only home she had ever known.  They had their ups and downs.  This was the first man in her life besides my dad and her best friend’s dad.  He would give her the world. She is the daughter he never had.

When Belinda left for college, I sold our home in EHT and moved to Brick. Not an easy move for me, Miss Independent.  I had been in my own home for about 20 plus years and had built a life there. Once Belinda became a resident of North Carolina and was in her final year of college – the wedding date was set. I was calm and just thought it would be a routine kind of thing.  I mean could a piece of paper and a ceremony really make a difference?

I was a nervous. Why?  It was a simple ceremony with a few close friends and family. As my dad started to walk me down the aisle, the reality hit. This was really happening – I was getting married. I almost passed out walking down the aisle and the pictures show the slight look of panic.  It passed as I saw Rob, just as nervous standing with Pastor and Belinda smiling at me. It was an amazing day – the weather was beautiful, our families were there and we got to celebrate with those who mean the most to us.

I wouldn’t change a minute of the last 16 years. We have had our rough spots but we have worked through them. Health issues about the last few years have taken a toll on both of us.  Rob’s unconditional love has helped me to grow as a wife, a mom and a person. We are definitely opposites but we do compliment each other – opposites attract, right?

Happy Anniversary to the love of my life, my hubby. Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

 

Happy Birthday Baby!

Belinda copyAt 7:57AM exactly 28 years ago my baby girl was born – Belinda Joan Heldreth Steinel.  I am sure she is cringing at me calling her my “baby” but she will always be my baby no matter how old she gets.

When I found out I was pregnant, there were a whirlwind of emotions. Belinda’s dad opted to leave us since he “wasn’t ready to be a dad”.  Was I ready to be a mom? Probably not.  This fun-loving, workaholic, partying women thought “I can do and have it all”.  Whatever “all is” right?  Reality quickly sunk in as I was banished to bed for most of my pregnancy.  I will admit I was a party girl – drugs, alcohol, late nights and not eating healthy all contributed to high blood pressure and being toxic during my pregnancy.

Life was a little, okay ALOT, crazy but I knew we would be okay.  I had family and friends who were there for me.  I searched high and low for a book on what a busy career woman could do when she became a single mom – YIKES!  There was no book, no script and most of my friends had never had a baby so tips were few and far between.

The morning Belinda arrived, I was due for a stress test because despite the doctor’s prediction, she was NOT early nor was she a preemie!  When I called the doctor to tell him I as in labor, he was like “I will see you for the stress test”. NO WAY!  Within an hour, the pain was unbearable so off Elsie and I went to the hospital.  We arrived at the hospital and admissions said “we need paperwork”. REALLY?  I was here and did it already.  I just want the pain to stop – NOW!  I was having contractions but the doctor said it was too early for pain meds.  By the time the doctor came back in it was too LATE for pain meds.  Yup, 100% natural labor along with a vow I would NEVER had another child.

belinda & me wedding

It was always “you and me kid”.  You were the reason I got clean during my addiction.  I picked and chose my battles while you were growing up.  Some things just weren’t worth it.  I was blessed.  You were basically a good kid.  A gymnast (thank you Edythe & Grams).  A field hockey player.  An All Star Cheerleader.  A hard working girl at the age of 16.  You always said “I never want to disappoint you” and I can say you never have.

Yes, I had tremendous support from my mom and the rest of the family.   But at the end of the day, it was “you and me kid” snuggled in our mobile home getting through life with the cats and Tinkerbell, the dog.

Do you remember the first time the realization hit you your “baby” was a grown up? Was it when they went to HS? How about when they got their first job? Or was it when they got their driver’s license?  Most will say, it was when they went off to college.  For me, the realization came as Rob and I walked her down the “aisle” to the waiting arms of her finance.  Yup.  It took that long – just one year ago.  I was not ready for the flood of emotion I would be hit with as we drove back to Jersey after the wedding.

2015-08-29 15.17.19

Belinda, you have grown into an amazing woman.  I have always been proud of you.  I love your giving heart.  I love your energy.  I love your self-confidence.  Yes, I even love your lack of tact when telling people how you “really” feel.  You have inspired others to reach for their dreams.  You have fought for those who could not fight for themselves. You have blazed a trail advocating as far as Capital Hill for the things you believe in.  You stand up for what you believe in even if it goes against the norm.

Our family has grown – Rob became your step-dad and Ashley your wife. And we are blessed to have them.  They love us for who we are – the good, the bad and the ugly.

Yes, mom is shedding a tear or two as I write this.  We are not physically together today but our hearts will be bound together forever.  I wish you a day filled with love and happiness.  I hope all of your dreams come true.   Happy Birthday Baby!

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!