24 August 2011

Wedding Wednesday: The Dress, Part I

All right, you lovelies. It's time to tell you the story of my wedding dress.

Once upon a time, I was watching the news and saw a story about free wedding gowns for military brides. I immediately jumped on the website, saw that there weren't any locations giving away gowns near me, and then saw that I could apply online and win a gown if I were one of the first 100 applicants. 

Imagine my surprise when I got the email back, saying I was one of the first 100 and I would be receiving a wedding gown! 

All I had to do was send in my measurements, photos of the style dresses I liked, and proof that Joshua was active duty and had served in either Iraq or Afghanistan. I also had to pay shipping once the dress was selected.

And this part, you'll never believe. Do you know what day I got the call that my dress was chosen, and would be shipping out to me? The day Joshua deployed to Afghanistan. Isn't that nuts? Amidst all the goodbyes, tears, and fearing that he'd never come home... hearing that a dress had been selected for me made my day!

As a romantic, I'd obviously been dreaming about my wedding dress from the day I was old enough to realize what a wedding was. So selecting styles of gowns that I was interested in was the best part of the process. I knew I wanted it strapless, layered, possibly with different tiers, not too poofy, simple but with a little glitz... anyway, these are the photos I sent to the contest, giving them ideas of the gowns I was interested in.

The two in the center are the ones I was most obsessed with. The center left image is a Kleinfeld Exclusive by Pnina Tornai (Style 31574544). The center right image is by Pronovias (Style Olga). This style is discontinued but similar Pronovias styles can be found here. The rest are all images from The Knot that are either discontinued or no longer have working links.

Are you ready to see the dress I won?

23 August 2011

PROJECT: Blue & Yellow Dove Wedding Invitations

Two of my closest friends, Felice and Christian, are getting married this Friday. Felice and I have known each other since we were 10 years old and we went through all of middle school and high school together, then road trips throughout college from Boston to Rhode Island to Albany to New Jersey together... we both transferred schools throughout college, but that never stopped us from seeing each other.

Christian just finished up his 4-year enlistment in the U.S. Marine Corps. He served with Joshua at Camp Lejeune, and they deployed to both Iraq and Afghanistan together. I met Joshua in January of 2008, the same month he met Christian and he became his closest friend in the USMC. So really, I've known Christian just as long as Joshua.

In the summer of 2009, Felice was planning to move down to North Carolina in between her semesters at nursing school. The boys had just gotten back from Iraq that spring, and Joshua and I thought it would be fun to set them up for a "summer fling." Little did we know... it would turn into the real thing! 

For their save-the-date and invitations, Felice and Christian asked me to work with their colors, blue and yellow, and also with the dove theme they chose for their wedding. Blue is the couple's favorite color, and yellow was Felice's father's favorite. He passed away when we were in high school. Doves also represent him to Felice. It's such a special way to include his memory on their wedding day!

Felice and Christian were with us when Joshua proposed to me; Felice and I moved down to North Carolina in fall of 2010 and found places just 20 minutes apart; Christian was the best man at our wedding and Felice was one of my bridesmaids; I'm maid-of-honor at Felice's wedding and Joshua is a groomsman. We're one big happy family, really!

After the wedding, Felice will be moving up to Rochester where Christian is from, and Joshua and I will still be in Virginia until our next duty station comes along. It'll be the furthest apart we've been in years!

Obviously though, we've made the distance work with our lovers during deployments, and we've made it work throughout our 15+ year friendship and all the moving around we've done. I'm so excited to take part in their special day. Now I'd best be off to polish off my maid-of-honor speech!

PROJECT: Blue & Yellow Dove Save-the-Dates

Back in March, Felice and Christian asked me to design their save-the-dates. This is the final product. For more details about their colors and theme, and the see the rest of their bridal suite, click here.

This is the first of several paper details I designed for this particular wedding. More to come after August 26th. Can't spoil the surprises for the guests, of course!

22 August 2011

Blog Design Winner

It's time to announce the winner of the blog design giveaway! Thank you so much to everyone who entered... I'm hoping to do more giveaways like this. Everyone should have a blog design they love! (It definitely helps keep you writing, too.)

I numbered everyone's entries and used a random number generator from random.org to select the winner. Double entries were given to those who also "liked" my design page on Facebook.

Sara from Sara & Her Soldier! Congratulations, Sara! I'll be sending you an email soon with details about your new blog design.

Thank you again to everyone who entered! Stay posted for the before & after of Sara's blog in a few weeks!

21 August 2011

Last Chance! Win a blog makeover!

Everyone has until midnight tonight to enter to win a new blog design! Details here. Ill be announcing the winner tomorrow. Good luck!

18 August 2011

Awkward & Awesome Thursday!

One of my favorite blogs is Sydney's over at The Daybook. She's an adorable fashion blogger who hosts what she calls "Awkward & Awesome Thursdays" on her blog each week. They're always so funny and make me laugh when reading them!

This week, I decided to link up. My awkward & awesome moments from the past week aren't nearly as hilarious as Sydney's, but I anticipate more to come if I remember to write these moments down going forward. I can be quite the clutz, and quite awkward at times. Though it's all worth it in the end for the awesome!

♥ Showing up to "a couple of beers with friends," only to realize that my only friend was sick in bed and it was a bunch of Marines blaring screamo music (thanks for that word, Erin!) and playing beer pong. I walked in, awkwardly looked around, kissed husband goodbye and walked out. No thank you!
♥ Busting out laughing while in the middle of a quiet theater watching "The Help," all because of the following dialog:
"I think I'm going back to Sugar Ditch."
"SUGAR Ditch?! You CAN'T you back to SUGAR Ditch!"
Because really? Sugar Ditch?! Even though it was quite awkward to have uncontrollable giggles in a silent theater.
♥ Trying on my bridesmaid dress for next week's wedding, only to find out that it wouldn't zip. Proceeding to panic while hauling ass to the store for some spanx and a bandeau to hold it all in… then finally getting it zipped after some makeshift tailoring (read: cutting up the lining) and having not one, but two people zip me up— but it does fit!

♥ The fact that there really is a place called Sugar Ditch. I Googled it. It's in Tunica, Mississippi.
♥ Launching my new blog design and getting nothing but fabulous comments from you guys the first day. Seriously? Way to boost my ego, you fabulous friendsters. I needed that!
♥ Playing hostess to my family when they came to visit this past week, and baking a flawless Cheesy Baked Tortellini for dinner, a la Giada De Laurentiis. Nom nom nom.
♥ Edys Ice Cream on sale, 2 for $6. 'Nuff said. (Could this be why my bridesmaid dress didn't fit?)

If you post your awkward & awesome moments of the week, please do let me know. I love reading them!

Our Wedding Invitations

I'm finally back with a very belated Wedding Wednesday post! (Happy Thursday, everyone.) Today I want to share our wedding invitations with you! Joshua and I chose to incorporate our wedding colors, navy and gold, as well as a nautical theme into our invitations... after all, our wedding was on a boat!

We knew we wanted a pocketfold to hold our enclosures and invite, and this shimmery sapphire pocketfold was exactly what we had in mind! It definitely gave it the elegant feel we were going for.

As it turned out, we needed just one extra punch of color— an "accent color," as it were— so we chose to add a turquoise compass in the design of each piece. Then, we were lucky enough to find gorgeous Japanese patterned paper with the navy, gold, and the turquoise!

For the enclosures, we wanted something a bit more personal and fun than the traditionally worded "Directions," "RSVP", etc. So we came up with the following:

Anchors Away | itinerary & info for guests
Orientation | directions
Boarding Pass | RSVP card

So much fun to play around and come up with some unique plays on words!

Last but not least, we ordered custom stamps for our RSVP envelopes. People generally put these on the outer envelopes, but since a.) they were expensive, b.) they would get covered in post office stamps and marks, and c.) most people just toss the outer envelope once they receive the invitation, we put them on our RSVP envelopes. It was also great to get them all back in the mail! That way we got to enjoy them even more, and instead of them getting messed up in the mail our guests were sure to see them as well.

Below are all the elements of our save-the-date and invitation design. I posted a how-to post on how I made our save-the-dates awhile back, so feel free to check that out too if you're feeling crafty!

16 August 2011

PROJECT: Pink & Orange Bridal Shower Invites

Let me start by saying that I am SO excited to see that people are interested in my first ever giveaway! We already have 10 entries, how great is that? Be sure to enter if you're in the mood for a new blog design!

Next up: a project update! Immediately following my wedding, I got right to work on not one, but two of my bridesmaids' weddings. Felice is tying the knot on August 26th, and Nikki is getting married on October 8th. I'm the maid-of-honor for Felice and a bridesmaid for Nikki, and both have entailed lots of fun designing to do for two very different themes.

This week I'd like to show you the bridal shower invitations I whipped up for Nikki's shower. The theme? Hot pink & orange gerber daisies!

For Nikki's invites, I did two color versions. Guests either received a hot pink or orange envelope and the opposite color for the invitation. Each was hand-tied with a silky green ribbon. 

I also hand-stamped and embossed the daisies on both the envelopes and invites, then colored each with special pigmented markers. Embossing is a time consuming process, but once I got the idea for the stamp, I couldn't let it go!

The bridal party also decided to send out recipe cards with each invitation for guests to share their favorite recipe with the bride-to-be. I designed them to coordinate with the rest of the stationery.

The shower itself was beautiful. I'll be sharing photos soon of all the handmade details the bridal party & friends helped put together. First though, I must send the photos to the bride!

15 August 2011

Giveaway: A Blog Redesign

Happy Monday, blog land! This is an exciting week because my wonderful mama is coming down to visit us for a few days!  She arrives this afternoon, yay! Which means after this post, I'm off to do some work, clean house, and stock up on groceries.

Before that, however, I'd like to kick the week with a giveaway! In honor of my new blog design, one lucky reader will win a blog redesign of their very own. Here are the details.

  • a blog header, sized to your choice
  • a blog button, to coordinate with your header
  • up to 10 custom sidebar headers
  • a custom favicon (the little image in the top browser bar beside the URL)
  • a custom signature (for the bottom of each post)

Winner will supply the background, or I can help choose one to go with your new design. All design will be customized for the Blogger platform. Sorry, Wordpress users, I'm not there yet!

Now, I'm definitely not a pro when it comes to web design. In fact, the winner of this giveaway will also be a first for me— I've never designed a blog for anyone but myself! No worries though. Here are my previous blog designs, to set your mind at ease that I have at least somewhat of a clue what I'm doing.

You can also check out my professional website to see examples of my other work. Still interested?

  • You must be a follower of my blog! That's all. 

  • Readers will be entered into the giveaway by leaving a comment with their name below. This will give you one entry.
  • For a second entry, "Like" my Graphic Grace Design Facebook page. Leave a comment on the page or below saying you're a new fan.
  • For a third entry, post about this giveaway on your blog! Leave a comment below letting me know you've done so.

All in all, that's THREE chances for each of you to win! Winner will be chosen at random next Monday, August 22nd. Spread the word, friends! Whether you're an experienced blogger, or don't even have a blog yet... this will be a lot of fun, and I can't wait to see who wins so we can customize your blog, too!

13 August 2011

Pinterest: The Funnies

Firstly, thank you all for the incredibly awesome comments on my new blog design. They are much appreciated and I feel really good about where things are headed!

Secondly... are any of you on Pinterest? I'm obsessed, thanks to my good friends Val and Megan. And I know some people call it a "time waster," but I call it collecting research. And let me tell you something— I spend a lot of time collecting research!

I figured, what better a way to wrap up the week than by joining Mrs. G.I. Joe for a weekly Pinterest roundup? I have a bunch of boards, so this week I'm just going to share some images that make me giggle from my Funnies pin board. Giggle away! 

Source: etsy.com via Dani on Pinterest

Source: weheartit.com via Dani on Pinterest

Source: weheartit.com via Dani on Pinterest

Source: twitpic.com via Dani on Pinterest

Source: cafepress.com via Dani on Pinterest

Source: svpply.com via Dani on Pinterest

Oh, and if you're at all confused about the whos and whats of Pinterest, check out this great blog post I found via Google... Pinterest: A Beginner's Guide. She explains it all really well! 

But my fave definition when people ask what the heck it is? A virtual bulletin board. 

P.S! Click this button to Follow Me on Pinterest

12 August 2011

A Fresh New Look

Introducing... a redesign for Hard Corps Love! After months (and I'm talking months) of debate, I finally made the decision to link my business & my blog. Because at the end of the day... they're both me, and having everything in one place really simplifies my life!

I have lots of fun ideas for posts coming up in the near future. I've spent the past couple months since the wedding getting organized, and in turn... inspired. It feels great! I have a plan, and it starts here. So you'll be hearing from me a lot more lately.

Here's a quick look at what's new!

My next posts will share some of the recent projects I've been working on. Every week, I'll be updating on my progress and how things have been going here in the studio. I'll have a quick link to them via the images in the far right sidebar. As you can see, at the moment those projects aren't yet clickable. I promise, they will be soon!

I'll also be changing the "love lately" photo weekly with my current favorite photo, moment, or obsession.

I've separated the main topics I write about into buttons on the right, to make things easier to find if you follow me specifically for invitation designs, posts about military life, updates on the puppies, whatever you fancy. After all, we're fancy here in the Ploscik household. 

I tend to read a dozen books at once, so the sidebar on the right will show what's current in my library. Because you know... sometimes I read some good stuff, and you might like to read them too!

The tabs at the top contain info on the basics, like the 411 on yours truly, a collection of all my wedding posts, words of wisdom about life as a mil spouse, and fun things I keep in my "network."

As for the new look— what do you think? Is everything showing up okay, and easy to navigate? Are there any suggestions or comments you have to improve it? I'd love to hear your thoughts, so please do share.

08 August 2011

Grace in Ink

Surprise! Guess what I did? Last month... I got my first ever tattoo!

I was home in New York visiting my family, and on a whim, my cousin Amanda and I went to the tattoo shop my mom and uncle. I needed my mom for moral support, and my Uncle Bob (dad's brother, Amanda's dad) has the most tattoos in the family. So I definitely wanted him there!

I've always wanted a wrist tattoo. I know it's a bit taboo for some, but I've always loved them and thought them to be so dainty. I wanted a word, but it had to be meaningful. So what better a word than grace? Not only is it a family name, my middle name, and my business name... it's also a word, with a whole lot of meaning.

I chose to get it in the font that I selected for my business logo (and upcoming new blog design)! I love this font to death, and I didn't just pick it out of a book. I researched it for months, then carefully chose it for all of my stationery and correspondence. Yay!

Amanda also got her 4th tattoo, the word breathe on her wrist. I was with her for her first tattoo on her 18th birthday a few years ago, so it was only fair that she was there with me for mine. Husband even understood, and wasn't at all upset he wasn't with me. Such a great guy!