Before the Final Rose – Hosting a Bachelor Viewing Party

I think I was about sixteen years old when I watched my first full season of the Bachelor with my mom. She had been a die-hard fan since I could remember. But Bailee and I were only allowed to watch the premiere and the finale every season, because the in-between was not kid friendly! When we finally did start watching the whole season, I was embarrassingly hooked. Since moving out and getting married, I have started hosting my own viewing parties. A show like The Bachelor isn’t meant to be watched alone!

For last season’s The Bachelor, I threw a little shindig – Before the First Rose. We sipped on mocktails, ate lots of yummy snacks, and started our Fantasy League! Seriously, if you are a Bachelor watching fiend like us – this is an easy party to throw, it’s loads of fun and cost effective! Check out some of my tricks for hosting your own party in two weeks for the upcoming season of The Bachelorette!

Decor

 

I’m a sucker for cute decorations. Couple that with the fact that I dabble in graphic design and “voila!” I didn’t love any of the printables that I found online, so I whipped up a couple of my own based on some inspo from other parties I had seen. You can snag this printable for yourself it you want! IMG_4911

The balloons were super easy – just some cheapo pink balloons from the floral department ($9.00) and a sharpie! I opted for some cute Bachelor phrases:

“Ladies, this is the final rose tonight”

“4th Time’s’ the Charm”

“On the Most Dramatic Season Ever”

“For the Right Reasons”

“Can I Steal You For a Sec…”

Next up was the flower wall (totally a  Pinterest steal!) Again, on the cheap, I found these roses in pink and red ($5 @ Dollar Store) . Using gold washi tape ($1 @ Target), I adhered them to the wall. Something to note: my washi tape was NOT strong enough to hold up the flowers. So I taped them first with scotch tape and then covered it with the washi tape. 

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The banner was a DIY  using a kit ($3 @ Target). Using gold stick on letters I just added “The Bachelor.” Super easy! ($5 @ Target)

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Tablecloths were just made from scraps of old fabric that I had in my garage! And the little chalk “Fantasy League” sign was a cheap DIY ($1 @ Target)

Total cost for decor: Only $24.00!

Drinks

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I decided on “mocktails” for our party – because that fits our style best! The drinks were super tasty and adorable. If you’re throwing your own party – you can use the below recipes and this drink menu

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Snacks

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We didn’t get too crafty here – one for cost and two for time. Also, it was the start of the year and everyone was on their “resolution” kick. Which means that sugar and carbs is a no-go! Put out a basic chips and dip, because you CAN’T go wrong with Pico de Gallo! Also included are pink frosted cookies, chocolate chip cookies, and a gluten free cookie option (because I’m from Seattle where everyone is GF, including my dog.)

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The cupcakes were a basic vanilla. I added a piece of strawberry and sprig of mint to the top, with a drizzle of red icing to get that rosy look! 

Fantasy Bachelor League

Who said that fantasy leagues are limited to sports?! This is my second season doing a Fantasy League, and it really is fun with a group. If you’re thinking of hosting viewing parties for the Bachelorette, use this draft card and these game play instructions,  rules, and scoreboard to give your guests something to do while watching the show. This is especially helpful if not all of your attendees are former Bachelor viewers and are just coming for the food (who can blame ’em.)

Staying warm but cute in her PNW

Let’s face it.. if you live in the PNW, you can wear shorts and a tank top comfortably during one, maybe two, months out of the year. It’s just something you have to get used to when you live here.

Even during the summer months, it’s freezing in the morning. By noon you’re sweating because you decided to wear a sweatshirt because you were cold. It’s not easy, but you can adapt!

Here are some things I’ve learned to do while living in the PNW;

Layers layers layers

In the winter, this is a no brainer. You’re cold, so of course you’re going to want to bundle up. It’s nice for when you go in somewhere that is warm, and you can take layers off.

Same goes for the summertime. Mornings are cold, so use layers! It gets hotter in the afternoon, so you don’t want to be stuck in a sweater all day.

Cardigans

This goes along with layering your clothes. If you don’t have many cardigans, get some! They make such cute outfits and are super practical. In the winter you can wear more sweater type cardigans (my personal favorite because they’re just oh so cute), or you can wear light ones in the summer! You can get some super cheap ones on Amazon. I got the same cardigan in a few different colors. That way you have a cardigan for almost every outfit.

Jean Jacket

Jean jackets are a must-have! They’re something you can wear all year long. With a cute summer dress, or with a sweater underneath with the hood popped out – super cute, comfy, casual outfit.

Scarves

Yes, this is more for the colder seasons of course. But again, there’s really only 2 months that are warm here in the PNW. I have acquired a lot of scarves over the years. Big ones that cover basically my entire neck, and lighter ones for the slightly warmer -but still cold- days. They can be made into stylish outfits so easily. Patterns, or basic colors. They’re all a necessity 😉

Boot Socks

Okay, these are just so cute. And they keep your legs so warm! I suggest wearing them only with taller boots. Unless you get short boot socks.

Hats

On those days when your hair is just a mess, wear a hat. It covers up your crazy hair, but also makes a good outfit. Even if your hair looks awesome, hats can make it look even better. They’re basically magic. Sometimes I decide my outfit based off the hat I want to wear. Beanies, baseball caps, floppy hats. All of them! They keep your head warm too, which is a definite plus.

Staying cute and warm is easy! You just have to have the right clothes. But honestly, somedays we don’t want to look all that cute. A sweatshirt and jeans are just enough sometimes. And you can rock it all! You do you, girl.

Top 5 of my Favorite Places to Explore in the PNW

Exploring places near where I live is probably my favorite thing to do. The outdoors is therapeutic. I’m going to share with you my favorite places that I have been to. If you live in the PNW, and haven’t visited these places, you are missing out. 

All photo credit goes to my amazing fiancé, Ryan Eger.

Mt. Rainier – WA

There are so many things to see on Mt. Rainier!! Snow is my favorite, so I especially like to visit here in the winter.

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This is literally a view from the car

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Yes, that is a bird. There are multiple waterfalls on Mt. Rainier. Once you get to the second waterfall, all you do is put out your hand and they will land. It’s pretty spectacular. They’re so used to people doing it, that it doesn’t take long for them to come to you.

Lake Cushman – WA

Honestly, the most beautiful lake I have ever been to. Any time of the year. It’s also a great place to get engaged, but I might be biased because that’s where I was proposed to 😉IMG_2135

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Sunrise is the best time to explore. And I am not a morning person.
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In the summer, bring a swim suit because jumping off this rock is irresistible.

Cape Disappointment – WA

So many things to see in one place!!

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It’s a little tough to get down here. Just bring your hiking shoes!

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It is so secluded down here. Make a fire, bring a picnic and some good company. You won’t be disappointed.

Seabrook – WA

Cutest little vintage town with a beautiful beach! So beautiful, that it is actually my wedding venue.

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They have the best old fashioned buildings. It’s like traveling back in time.

Columbia River Gorge – OR

It’s like a mile of different gorgeous rivers!

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I hope this inspired you to get out and explore. So many times we get so complacent and don’t try new things. But I challenge you to get outside and find the beauty in the outdoors. There are beautiful places to see that are so close to your city, you just have to find them.

My Experience on the Atkins Diet

Since my wedding is coming up fast, I needed a fast acting diet. So American of me wanting a NOW fix, right?

My mom had always done the Atkins diet when I was growing up and it worked quickly! So I decided to try it.

**Don’t do this diet if you are not planning on making a lifestyle change.

In the past, I pretty much lived off of only pasta. I am definitely trying to make a lifestyle change because I want to be healthier, and stay at a good weight. If you do this diet, and go back to old eating habits, you will gain the weight right back.

How does it work?

You can have up to 25 carbs per day. Since your body is used to burning off carbs, when you cut them out, your body will start to burn fat instead. This makes you lose around 1/2lb – 1lb a day.

**Sugar Alcohols do not count as carbs. For example, if something you are about to eat/buy has 12 carbs, but 10 sugar alcohols, you are going to subtract them from the carbs. So now you’re eating something with only 2 carbs.

Now, this is not the most healthy diet, nor is it a diet that you want to stay on for a long period of time. But it does work!

What food can I have?

Fruits & Veggies- 

Surprisingly, most fruits and some veggies have carbs. So cutting out most of them is best. Personally, I cut out all fruit except for half an apple a day and watermelon -since it’s basically just water. With veggies, the general rule is if it’s not green, it’s high in carbs (carrots, corn, etc.) So try to stay away from the high carb fruits and veggies even though they’re good for you.

Meats-

Eat all the meat you want!! Eggs, beef, chicken, fish. All of it. This helps a lot with the feeling of being hungry all the time. Without carbs, your body feels hungry. Protein helps with that!

Cheese-

Yep, eat it! All you want.

Atkins bars-

You can find them at most grocery stores. They are labeled “Atkins” so they’re hard to miss. I usually eat one for breakfast or just as a snack.

Always check the nutrition facts. If it is high in carbs, then it’s a no-no. Eat your carbs wisely because you have to go throughout the whole day.

Cheating without actually cheating

I have found a few loopholes that have helped me immensely! Some have very few carbs, but again, it’s choosing your carbs wisely!

Low carb tortillas

You can buy these at almost any grocery store. It is 6 carbs for one tortilla. I use them for tacos, quesadillas, and even pizza (you can have a small amount of tomato sauce, just read the back of the jar)

Sugar-free sweets

We all get a sweet tooth every now and then. These definitely help! Don’t eat a lot of them in a day, or you’ll get sick from the sugar substitutes. My favorite are the sugar free fudgsicles!

Crystal Light-

It has no sugar! I use this in a couple ways;

-Normal lemonade, of course.

-Sparkling water, with crystal light and a little bit of lime is a great substitute if you enjoy carbonated drinks!

-Popsicles! Get a popsicle mold, make the crystal light like normal, and freeze it. Super easy and super yummy.

 

It’s a pretty simple diet when you get the hang of it. Figuring out what you can/cannot have is hard at first, but you will catch on fast. Just make sure to always read the nutrition facts.

In 2 weeks of doing this diet (with one cheat day on a holiday) I have lost 11lbs. So worth it! Give it a try if you’re wanting to lose weight fast.

Drowning in Cake Batter – Mini Individual Sized Naked Cakes

This June, we are heading to La Paz, Mexico for a missions trip. We will be serving alongside of a church there and loving on the community. With great missions opportunity comes much fundraising responsibility! So, for our annual Easter egg hunt at Bob’s Corn and Pumpkin Farm in Snohomish, WA, I helped host a bake sale. Baking is not my strongest suit. I can hold my own in a kitchen, for sure, but the science to baking has sometimes bit me in the behind.

I decided to opt in for something easy, yet cute and fun to sell – Mini Individual Naked Cakes!

Frosting on cake, for me, is often a downfall. There’s too much of it to eat, and it’s really hard to get the sides to look pretty and even. But with naked cakes, I only had to frost the middle! Yay!

Ten boxes of cake mix and eight cans of frosting later – I capped the event off selling 32 naked cakes alongside, DOZENS (if not over a hundred) other baked goods. With the entire event hosting around 4,000 people – we sold out of every last treat!

Check out some pictures from the event and the details on how to duplicate these super easy naked cakes!

 

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Excuse the mess – but making 10+ cakes in four hours DESTROYED my kitchen! I started off with boxed cake mix. When baking for a fundraiser you want to keep your cost low, so that profit is high! This box mix only needed eggs and veggie oil and cost $1.00 per box. Each box of cake makes approximately three mini naked cakes.

Tricks of the trade when baking these: don’t fill the pan like you would with a normal cake. You want thinner layers, not super thick. It will cook faster, cut easier, and stack better. I learned this towards the end of the process and it would have saved me a lot of hassle had I figured it out sooner.

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After you’ve baked your cakes and let them cool a bit, use a cookie cutter or biscuit cutter to get these mini round layers.

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I was going for consistency in height, which means that some cakes got three layers, and others got two, depending on the thickness of the cake pieces. I piped the frosting in the middle layer instead of spreading it –  this is MUCH easier! An easy frosting “piping” trick is to use a plastic sandwich bag and cut off a small piece of the bottom corner. This allows you to fill it with frosting and have a small tip for frosting the cake.

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TADA! All the layers are done – time to let them refrigerate overnight. This helped the frosting to set so that the cakes were stable when decorating the tops!

I did four different flavors of cake and three different frosting flavor combos. These ones were my “party” cakes! Funfetti cake, vanilla frosting, sprinkles and a topper for decoration!

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I used the “Funfetti” cake as a bit of inspiration for the bake sale theme! Bright whites with pops of color made this confetti theme a success. Presentation matters – when people walk by they notice how something looks and hit will help you sell better.

I designed the banners and signs to go with the theme courtesy of a confetti graphic by freepik.com. You can snag these to use for your event too:

BAKE*SALE Banner (print each letter and cut!)

BAKE*SALE Banner (2nd option, print each pennant and cut!)

Bake Sale Sign 11×14

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I am entirely obsessed with these confetti balloons! Great at attention drawing and super fun to play with. We snagged these from Target for about $6.00 a piece.

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Here’s the finished product of two more flavors of cake! Vanilla with peony toppers and chocolate with confetti colored hydrangeas!

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It wouldn’t be a bake sale without incredible volunteers! Our students are raising money to head out on this missions trip and they’re doing it with joy and hardworking attitudes! Can’t wait to head to Mexico with all of you! IMG_5409

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xoxo -A