Azazie Bridesmaids Dress Review

I’m a bride – getting married in 32 days!  And I LOVE the concept of AZAZIE.  My bridesmaids didn’t have to go to a store and try on poor quality dresses, with terrible policies if things don’t turn out right (in a wedding I was in, we literally had to stitch a girl’s dress together because the zipper BROKE – she had told David’s Bridal the zipper felt “wrong” BEFORE SHE TOOK THE DRESS OUT OF THE STORE, and they refused to do anything about it).
Most of AZAZIE’s short, knee-, and tea-length dresses are currently $99 or $109.  As you start looking at ankle- and floor-length dresses, most currently range from $119 to $139.
Most of David’s Bridal short and knee-length dresses run from about $99-$168, and long dresses were $149-$198 although they do run some fairly good sales from time to time (when I checked, some specific styles were $50).
The difference from buying online vs. in store, is that you are unable to go and try on a myriad of different dresses.   However, if you’re like me and my bridesmaids, we all know fairly well what dress styles will fit our body types.  I gave them a few options, and they told me their top few – one dress in particular came out in top running – Azazie Grace! So I ordered 2 samples (currently $10 each, with free shipping) in 2 sizes fairly close to most of my bridesmaids.
For more details about their awesome Sample Program, click here!
We tried the dresses on, and found that pretty much none of us fit perfectly in the standard sizes, so they mostly decided to go with custom sizes.  One of my girls did order a standard size (the same size as the sample).
Order a swatch to verify your favorite color! I ordered a few, and found the colors were fairly true to form – but it did give me peace of mind to see it in person!  They include multiple types of fabric on one swatch.
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Now, the amazing thing about Azazie, is that you can get a custom sized dress FO’ FREE.  Well, at no extra charge!  Since they make all dresses to order, you might as well do a custom sized dress!  For me, this was the selling point!  My bridesmaids did not have to pay anything extra for tailoring because the dresses were made to fit them!!  AND Azazie has GREAT customer service and GREAT returns policy.  For standard sizes, check out their policy here: basically, free returns (minus shipping) within 10 days of receiving.  For custom sizes, if they screw up, they will fix it – if you screw up, too bad so sad😉 – so just make sure you follow directions and have SOMEONE ELSE measure you (and all your bridesmaids – makes it easier in the end.)
I decided to go with the Azazie Grace even though there was some strange bunching on some of my bridesmaids when they tried on the samples.  We LOVED the dresses we received!! The custom sizes fit perfectly, the style looked amazing on all the ladies, the dresses were high enough in the front (although some showed the back of the bra in the very back), the dresses were all the same color, and they were just overall phenomenal!  The quality is excellent!
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We also ordered 2 junior bridesmaids dresses and ordered Azazie Scarlett for them, without trying on samples.  The final dresses fit well, however, one dress that was about 5 inches shorter than it should have been!  It was confusing – I have 2 junior bridesmaids, and one is an extremely tall and slender 14 year old, and the other is a normal sized 11 year old.  The dresses ended up both being the right length for the 11 year old.  Oops!  Customer service was great and fixed it with no problems, reassuring me that it would arrive in time.  They did warn me the colors may be slightly off, but we just got the dress in this week, and it fits correctly!  A much better length than the one below!
I ordered ties as well, but have not yet gotten them in.  I’ll update later!
Customer service for Azazie is AMAZING.  I had issues with my address (somehow had the wrong address, so never received an order, they ended up fixing the website so it confirms addresses), issues with an order, and more.  They were very responsive, and I even got to talk to some over the phone so they fully understood my issues!  I can’t sing their praises enough!
All in all, Azazie did an amazing job of helping my bridesmaids have affordable, custom dresses!  I love the styles they have, and they are quality dresses!  I’ll have to post more photos in a little over a month, after my wedding!!!  If you use Azazie, I hope your experience is as amazing as mine!
If you have any questions, feel free to post a comment!

Star Wars Themed Party: FOOD!

There is a new Star Wars movie coming out!  It’s going to be called “The Force Awakens.”  In honor of that, I am posting about the “May the Fourth” Party I helped host!

If you don’t know, May 4th is Star Wars Day (get it? May the force FOURTH be with you!  If you don’t get it, you may need to have a Star Wars marathon!).  The geeks guys my friend and I are dating and some of our friends LOVE Star Wars, so we threw a party

2015-05-04 May the Fourth Party - CS


Our Menu:

  • Yoda Soda (lime sherbet & 7Up/Sprite)
  • Han Burgers (your favorite burgers)
  • Leah’s Buns (just your plain ol’ grocery store buns)
  • Vader Taters (tater tots, fries, OR rosemary roasted potatoes)
  • Death Starmelon – my friend carved it; I don’t have the patience or skill to do that…  (instruction)
  • Jar Jar Links (recipe)
  • Tie Fighters (recipe)
  • Light Sabers (recipe)
  • Wookie Cookies (recipe)

Other fun ideas from around the interwebz (click to go to the creator’s post):



Jawa/Jabba Jigglers from Kitchen Fun with My Three Sons



If you want my labels, post a comment or contact me!   I used Sure Cuts A Lot and my Cricut to make them.  The SF Distant Galaxy Font is awesome!

I also made R2D2 Chocolate for the boyfriend!



I used this ice cube tray and this tutorial for how to detail in chocolate was awesome.  You’ll need toothpicks, blue, red, and black colored chocolate/candy melts (I just used Wilton).

Enjoy!  I love to hear comments of how you’ve done your Star Wars Party!

How to do a Rodeo Houston 2015 for Less

UPDATE: Reliant Stadium is now called NRG Stadium! I attempted to update all the links for 2015, but some were not successful.  I left some of the maps from 2014 – hopefully they’ll be close to the same this year🙂

On Facebook, I saw a friend asking about ways to go to the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo (HLSR) for less money!

RodeoHouston is the largest rodeo in the world!  Isn’t that awesome?! And, there are ways to do it for cheap!  I have gone the past 3 days, so I decided to share what I have learned about doing RodeoHouston for less!

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Park and Ride: Here is some GREAT information about where to park and ride – pick a spot based on where you live, the group you’re with, and how much traveling you want to do!

If it were me, I would probably park at the OST lot – it’s a $10 and free shuttle!

Astrodome Lot: If you want to park closer to the park, I recommend the Astrodome lot – it a grass/gravel lot across 610 from the rodeo.  It’s a bit of a walk, but there’s a free tram!  The parking costs $12 – and make sure you bring cash!

The entrance for the astrodome lot is off West Bellfort (and Kirby).  This is my favorite spot, because there is less traffic, and it is usually less full than the yellow lot.  There are large electronic signs pointing your way to it.

If you’re headed to the NRG (formerly Reliant) Stadium (concert or rodeo), after you get off the tram, go towards your left as you’re facing the stadium, and enter the park at the first gate you come to!

Here is information on the other public parking lots near NRG Park.


If you want to save money, Wednesday is the day to go to the HLSR!

Admission to NRG Park (for access to everything EXCEPT the Rodeo and the concert):

  • Adults: normally $10; on Wednesdays, $5
  • Children (under 12) and Seniors: normally $5; on Wednesdays, FREE!
  • Children under the age of 2 are always free.

Concert tickets

  • The upper level seats are normally $21.75 online, $18 at the door; on Wednesdays, upper level tickets are $10! Now, these are in the “nosebleeds,” but there are some fabulous big screens and some great videography that makes it easy to see what is going on.
    • Wednesday, March 4, 2015 – Hunter Hayes
    • Wednesday, March 11, 2015 – Brantley Gilbert
    • Wednesday, March 18, 2015 – Florida Georgia Line
  • Children under the age of 2 are free if they will not be taking up an additional seat.
  • The seats at each of the “narrow” ends of the arena aren’t quite as easy to see, but again, fabulous big screens!
  • Bring binoculars if you want to get some good views!
  • Click here to purchase tickets online.

[On Wednesdays, $2 rides, $2 games, and $2 food bites from 11 AM to 4 PM in Kids Country Carnival.]


  • The rodeo and concert are held in the NRG Stadium (Formerly Reliant).
  • The doors open around 5:30, but the rodeo doesn’t start until 6:45 – you can see all sorts of events: bareback riding, barrel racing, bull riding, saddle bronc riding, steer wrestling, team roping, tie-down roping, mutton bustin’ and more! It really is worth going for if you have never been before, IMHO.
  • The concert usually starts around 8:45, and lasts about an hour, depending on the performer.
  • No outside food or drinks are allowed inside the NRG Stadium, and all purses and bags are subject to being searched.

FREE ACTIVITIES (once you’ve paid to get in!)

Here is a GREAT guide to the activities.  But since the goal of this post is not spending money, I’ll share with you the free things that I enjoy, or I have heard good things about! (The times are from last year – I have not yet updated them)

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1. Mutton Bustin‘: Sit in the stands and cheer on the cute 5 and 6 year olds as they attempt to hold on to sheep for the ride of their lives!

  • Location: Kids Country (brown area on the map)
  • Schedule: 10 AM to 7 PM (starting on the hour)

2. Pig Races

  • Location: Kids Country (brown area on the map)
  • Schedule: 10:30; 11:30 AM; 12:30; 1:30; 3:30; 4:30; 5:30 and 6:30 PM

3. Statoil Stars Over Texas Stage: sing-alongs, animal acts and more.

  • I got to see the Amazing Animals show, and it was PHENOMENAL.  They were engaging, educational, and fascinating – even for adults!  Check out the schedule in the RodeoHouston App or Online.
  • The Animal Show seemed to be most days at 11, then at 2 or 3, then at 4,5, or 6.  You’ll need to check the schedule for the day you want to go to make it work.

4. TDECU Fun on the Farm: “allows children to explore the world of agriculture by following the process of producing farm products, from planting to market. Children can help with farm chores such as gathering eggs, planting and harvesting crops, and milking a cow. Be sure and check out Goat Mountain. Observe goats as they frolic on a rocky hill and learn how the goat industry contributes to Texas agriculture and your daily life.”

  • Schedule: 10 AM to 7 PM

5. Agventure: “Nearly every species of livestock can be found inside this fun and educational area, with several live animal exhibits.”

  • Exhibits included: petting zoo, honey bees, rainwater harvesting, fisheries, birthing center (watching baby chicks hatch!), rabbits, poultry, and more!
  • Location: Hall A of NRG Center (far right side if you’re facing it)
  • Schedule: 9 AM to 9 PM

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You can also check out some pretty neat cattle, sheep, goats, etc. and just walk around! I’ve seen lots of interesting animals by doing that!

Here is a visitors packet with much of this information, including maps and the daily schedules.  (not yet posted for 2015)


There’s not a whole lot of money that can be saved here… Most meals are $8-$12 (not including sides or drinks).  Plan on eating as much as you can beforehand, and sharing a meal with a family member if you want to save money.  Inside NRG Stadium, food seems to be at least $2 more expensive than outside.


“The HLSR would not be the well-run success that it is today without the vision, dedication and hard work of its volunteers. What began as a small group of people with a dream has developed into an event supported by the efforts of more than 28,500 volunteers.” — Remember that most of the people you come into contact with are VOLUNTEERS!  Don’t forget to show them a smile and understand there may be lines.

I hope you and your family/friends are able to go to the rodeo!  Make sure you comment anything YOU enjoyed that others might like as well!

**Most of this information was verified on the RodeoHouston website, although some of it is just from personal experience.  If something is not 100% accurate, I am sorry and please comment below so that it can be corrected!  Maps are RodeoHouston (although may have some notes); photos are my own.

DIY Monogrammed Tumbler

I used to have a terrible problem.  I was the kind of person who would wait until the absolute last minute to give a gift.  Or sometimes weeks later.  There were such good intentions, but with procrastination in the mix, I ended up being a TERRIBLE gift giver.  My memory tends to be lacking, but I distinctly remember my family commenting on how I either 1. Gave a kinda-sorta-terribly-wrapped gift because I didn’t have time.  2.  Gave a “It’s almost finished but here are the pieces that will eventually go together.  3. Gave a “I’ll make/buy this for you eventually.”

Now, I still have my moments of procrastination [I may have started actually putting everything together for this project at like 9:30 last night.  and finished them before work this morning]. BUT I’ve been working on improving my gift giving and thoughtfulness over the years.  One thing I’m doing is trying to be very intentional about gifts I give.  That means having an ongoing list on my Evernote where I write down any ideas I have for gift giving.  Sometimes that may mean enthusiastically squealing in excitement, getting out my phone, and ignoring my loved ones looks of confusion as I say “never mind!” This also means being creative and using Pinterest to find ideas, modify them, and make them my own.  I’m SUPER excited about this one, because I really did work hard to make it fabulous!

I wanted to do something special for my coworkers for Christmas and found this lovely tutorial on Pinterest.


I loved her idea, but wanted something with swirls.  So I got brainstorming and testing.  Here’s what I came up with.


For this project, you will need:

  • Die-cutting machine and program that you can add JPG or SVG to create custom cuts.  I have a Cricut die-cutting machine and Sure Cuts A Lot 2.  I love my SCAL; however, they no longer support Cricut.  I was lucky and got it a week before this mess happened.  If you’re thinking about getting a new die-cutting machine, go with something that allows the use of some sort of computer program rather than cartridges.  It’s usually more $$ up front, but you won’t regret it!!  Make sure you have a new blade for your die-cutting – if it’s not a fresh blade, it may not cut cleanly enough!
  • Tumbler or water bottle. Make sure you get something that is smooth.  So no silicone sleeve or bumps.  I would also go with something that is double-walled so there is no chance the condensation or heat will negatively affect the vinyl. I love me some Tervis. Head to Bed Bath and Beyond and check out clearance and/or use a 20% off coupon!  For this Christmas, I went with the Joann’s route – they had the cutest ombre, chevron, and polka dot tumblers!  $7.99 and I used a 50% off coupon.  $4 for a quality cup.
  • Outdoor Vinyl.  I ordered a bunch of colors of Oracal 651 from Expressions Vinyl.  I’ve read the outdoor vinyl will last even when used in the dishwasher!  We’ll see if that’s true (it has so far for me!)  You can get normal vinyl at craft stores, but DON’T DO IT!  It’s not as durable, and it’s at least twice the price.
  • Transfer Tape.  I ordered it from Expressions Vinyl as well.  Don’t forget this.  And don’t be afraid to order a roll – I regret not doing so.  I saw a tutorial on Pinterest for using Glad Press and Seal to transfer vinyl.  Terrible mistake.  I have not successfully done it with that method.  However, I’ve only had 1 problem when I’ve used the transfer tape.

STEP 1: Creating the monogram

I liked the concept, but wasn’t a huge fan of the font on the above tutorial.  I found a great script monogram, but it seemed too skinny to do well with the Cricut/vinyl.  I had so many high hopes for designing my own script monograms using a bold script font, but that just didn’t go well (too time consuming and not my cup-of-tea).

SO I found this awesome website that creates a monogram using a pretty user friendly template.  Here are the directions for creating a FREE monogram through  Make sure to choose a high contrasting color. Click on the pictures below for the templates I used.  Only use script font if you can make the monogram at least 3″ wide, otherwise the thin lines may not cut properly.  I did most of mine at 3.5″.


I created the monogram in the PDF, but I didn’t save it there.  I used my lovely MacBookPro to screen-shot it (command+shift+4).  Then, you can find the images on your desktop.  If you use a PC, here are some ways you can take a screen-shot.  You could also download IrfanView, a program that allows you to take a screen shot in a few simple steps.

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STEP 2: Adjust monogram in your computer program

I needed to remove the leftover circle and in my “test” cut, I noticed some of the swirls didn’t work well because there were two thin ones next to each other.

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In SCAL2, I used the “break apart” function, and then selected those pieces and deleted them so that it looked like this:

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Resize so it will look good on your tumbler and yet not be too small to cut effectively.  For my larger tumblers with the swirl, I did about 3.5″ or 3.75.”  The circle anchor font can be done at about 2.25.”

NOTE: I found this Mark & Graham monogram maker just today.  Check it out if you want something different.  They will e-mail you the graphic.

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STEP 3: Cut the monogram

Use your machine to cut it.  Make sure you use a “kiss cut method.”  That means it will only cut through the vinyl, and not through the white backing.  On my Cricut, that means my speed is at 2 or 3, my pressure is at 3, and my blade depth is at 3.  If these settings don’t work for yours – adjust it as needed.  I changed the blade, and needed to adjust my blade depth to make it cut correctly.

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[[Here’s a great tutorial on how to cut vinyl using a Cricut.]]

STEP 4: Weeding

Remove all the pieces you do not need.  Here is a great tutorial on weeding vinyl if you need further instructions.

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STEP 5: Transferring the vinyl

For a great video tutorial, click here.  Cut the transfer tape slightly larger than your image.  Start peeling the back of your transfer tape – you can take the whole thing off at once, or you can start peeling it and just place one side – this does make it easier to line up if you choose to do so.

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Use a gift card, scraper, or your fingers to firmly press on the vinyl to the transfer tape.

Over at The House Hunter Blog, she cut the backing/transfer tape so it would go on smoothly, but for me, that just made it more complicated to remove the transfer tape. I only had one monogram (out of 17+) that did not go on smoothly.

STEP 6: Applying the vinyl to your tumbler

Peel the white backing off your vinyl that is still adhered to the transfer tape.  If some of the vinyl tries to stay on the backing, just press down the transfer tape again or try to peel it off from a different direction.

Line up the vinyl on your tumbler.  It’s MUCH easier to do this if you lined up the transfer tape to your monogram.  Otherwise, it ends up confusing matters🙂

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It helped me to press on the center of the monogram all the way down (thank you to my sweet engineer friend who helped me put about 8 of these on!), and then move out from there.  Make sure you move from the center outward.  If it messes up, you can occasionally lift a small piece of it to reposition, but it isn’t always successful.

STEP 7: Peel off the transfer tape

This is pretty simple!  Peel off the lined transfer tape – if any vinyl tries to come back with it, STOP, go back, and press it back down.  If it continues, press the transfer tape and vinyl back to the tumbler and remove from another side.

STEP 8: Gift or enjoy your personalized tumbler!! 

Monogrammed Cups

**You can also make a personalized tumbler with an image a loved one will appreciate.  My aforementioned engineer friend loves owls, so I made her this awesome Tervis:


My boyfriend is restoring a 1964 Airstream.  With the help of my amazing engineering friend, we made a vector of his actual airstream, down to the window placement, the vent, and everything.  I used the airstream font to add his hashtag.  He loves it!

I also monogrammed my computer.  I haven’t gone monogram crazy or anything🙂

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The Crepe Experiment

I am blessed.  I have some friends who are amazing in the kitchen.  One of those happens to be my boyfriend – I’m super lucky.  Like seriously.  His food is fantastic!  And so fun to cook with!

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And apparently was singing to the camera at this point.  I’m glad I caught this silly moment!

We’ve eaten at Guru Burgers and Crepes a couple of times.  Which is phenomenal by the way.  Especially when you’re hypoglycemic and haven’t eaten in 9 hours… Terrible idea, just FYI.  I don’t know how I stayed conscious.  So, we decided to try our hand at making crepes!

I have to say, despite reading some bloggers who struggled with making crepes, ours turned out great!  (Probably because I was not the one turning them.  I tend to burn things that need flipping.  There’s so much to do, and I just forget about it!)


Here’s the crepes recipe we used.

We had a filling station with bananas, strawberries, Nutella, Hershey’s Dark Chocolate Syrup, and homemade almond filling.

Homemade almond filling

Homemade almond filling

Can I just say YUM?

We also made some delicious pork loin.  But, of course, we forgot to take pictures.  Well.  Until after the plates were empty.  Oops!