Men’s Modern/Vintage Wedding Style

As long as 6 months after our wedding, we are still receiving compliments on the attire of our groomsmen during the wedding. A friend of ours even modeled their family Christmas card from inspiration from the men’s style at our wedding. It is my wonderful, handsome husband’s sense of style, and with the help of the wife, they wore it for about $65 each (most of which was the cost of TOMS shoes)!

So here is what the men wore at our wedding:

©Chelle Photography

©Chelle Photography

©Chelle Photography

©Chelle Photography

I chose to keep the sunglasses in there to protect the anonymity of the youngest brother groomsmen a little bit. Although not all the pictures have those in there, I loved that I got them for the photo opportunity (I just ordered them $10/1 dozen from

The burlap TOMS shoes matched our burlap/twine/lace all around vintage style.

We went for slim ties and suspenders ordered from for less than $5 per guy. They had great color selection and the orange color matched our girls perfectly. The groom got his pants from for about $10.

I hope you can find a little inspiration from our men’s wedding style!


Killing them Softly: Using Essential Oils to Safely and Effectively Combat Mosquitoes

This post is in response to the WordPress Daily Prompt:

Daily Prompt: Necessity is the Mother of Invention

by Krista on December 14, 2013

Imagine, in great detail, an invention that could help reverse pollution — describe for us how your invention works and how it will help save the planet.

Photographers, artists, poets: show us INVENTIVE.

Although I more closely identify with the title “scientist”, I feel this goes hand in hand with the title “artist”, so I will respond.

I must preface this post by saying that this is not 100% my ideas or knowledge, but a collection of team member thoughts at the University of Minnesota which I had the pleasure to work with the last several months. The knowledge here is under the ownership of these individuals, and our ideas have been documented properly. The unauthorized use of any of these ideas without permission is plagiarism and theft, and will be treated as such.

I think many people can agree that the plethora of pesticides we have used on our planet within the last century have been quite devastating to our environment. But the necessity of these pesticides can hardly be argued in the contrast, with mosquitos carrying deadly diseases that kill young and old around the world every day.

So I would like to bring forward my brilliant team’s proposal; a simple duckweed plant, changed slightly to create an essential oil that can stop the growth of mosquitoes in their larval stage.

As a side note, the power of duckweed as, literally, a green water purification, really is underestimated.

Duckweed plant

Duckweed is a plant already present in many places mosquitoes reproduce and grow. Every stage of a mosquito’s life up until adulthood occurs in still water; the duckweed plant’s natural habitat. So why not attack there to stop mosquitoes in their tracks?

Thymol, an essential oil, is a safe and effective larvicide. And a plant we know of, lemon beebalm (a plant I occasionally enjoy herbal tea from), creates this thymol naturally from a gene we know of. Thus, we propose taking that gene from lemon beebalm that codes for the enzymes responsible for thymol production, and inserting it into duckweed.

The technology is known to move this gene from one species to another; using a TaqMan DNA extraction kit to take the gene from the lemon beebalm, amplify our specific gene using a polymerase chain reaction, and using 2 specific restriction enzymes and a pGreenII plasmid to put the gene into agrobacterium, and then infect the duckweed with the agrobacterium. In theory, the modified duckweed should produce the thymol and effectively kill mosquito larva in whatever water source it is put into. We can test our theory after running this experiment on the modified duckweed with Hewlett Packard essential oil analysis technology.

The animal lives that could potentially be saved from widely using a safer pesticide is encouraging. There are some discouraging factors of this potentially new larvicide, though, such as the unknown implications of the antibiotic effects of thymol. With more experiments and research, we could study the implications and possibly develop this technology.

BIOL2002, 2013, Section20, Team 9 (1) Poster

In conclusion, the creativity and science behind this idea go hand in hand; one hardly more important than the other. The mix is such a beautiful thing to me.

My top 10 Low Cost Gifts for Teen Girls and Young Women

Adorable leopard print scarf for $1.99


Matching leopard print watch for $4.00

This fall and Christmas season, I have more than 15 gift-givings to do for teenage girls in my life. Between my two twin teenage sisters, my teenaged sister-in-law, my brother’s (whom is deployed in the army so we take care of her like a sister) girlfriend, my younger adopted sister, my older sister, and 2 of my girl cousins-in-law who I drew for my husband’s family’s name drawing Christmas gift giving fun, I feel over my head in what I can get all these girls and still be original and within our slim budget. Between Christmas and all but one of my “sisters” having a birthday this time of year, there is a lot of creativity to think up to put a smile on these important ladies’ faces. I am sure moms, friends, and young women in my shoes feel my pain and joy, here.

Now most people would say, “just get them all gift cards!” but I not only feel unoriginal and cheap getting 15 $5-$10 gift cards (because that is honestly about how big our budget is this year with college and a wedding this year), but I am confident I can beat that price!

So, here is my list (click the links to view gifts):

  1. My DIY homemade sugar scrub. I have figured out how to make these for about $2.30 each (with $1 of that going to the cute, thrifty container from the thrift store or craft store) for a $20+ value. Check out my blog about this! I did 13 sugar scrubs for $30 last year. My only struggle is, this was my gift last year for 13 wonderful women in my life, so I am not going to do the same again this year.
  2. Jewelry and watches from I got this cute leopard print, diamond studded white leather watch for $4 for a young woman that loves animal print, diamond studs and white leather, with free shipping! I paired it with a matching scarf that I found for $2 (which I will discuss later). For a $6 gift I know she will wear all the time and get compliments from her friends on, can’t beat that! I also LOVE this site’s jewelry, with dozens of pairs of earrings between $1-$2 with free shipping (I own several and love them). Since they don’t usually come in a good package to gift in, I usually buy gift boxes and bags from, like these adorable chevron gift boxes ($3.25 for 24).
  3. Scarves! Being a Minnesotan girl, all on my gift-giving list love scarves. And I have mastered the sport of finding cute scarves. One of my favorite places for $3 scarves is Ragstock. I know this is a local Minnesotan company, so many won’t have this choice. Another good place to try for scarves is, where I found this leopard print scarf (with many other choices) for only $2 with free shipping, and this black, warm scarf for only $3.39 free shipping. I am pairing each of those with matching leather watches for my sister-in-law and older sister, for gifts under $7 for each of them that I know they will wear and love. If you are a DIY-er, I have made the cutest infinity scarves from purchasing an old skirt at the thrift store and cutting off the bottom and hemming the edges; scarves for pennies and minimal effort!
  4. Removable vinyl wall-decal chalkboard clouds for their bedroom or dorm room from! You are not only getting the girl a gift she loves, but also supporting an artist on Prices start for this cute cloud shape at $1.50 each (increasing with larger sized clouds). Remember to pair it with colorful chalk (only $0.75 at or fancier chalk markers. Write them a lovely note on their new chalkboard for when they open their gift for an added touch, like “You’re beautiful, girl! Merry Christmas!” This will be sure to make her day! Also, shop around for other fun wall decals, which can include fun sayings and other fun shapes and images.
  5. Forever21 has TONS of the cutest items for under $5, one of my favorite to give being their fun nail polish. It starts with nail polish for only $2.80 with hundreds of color choices, to their kits and sets for cheap like this leopard print nail set (the teen girls in my life love animal print).
  6. Makeup. I feel this is rather cliche, but it is one that many teen girls will appreciate a ton as they explore the fun field of makeup. Gift sets are everywhere for this, from your local Walmart to Target to Forever21 to ebay to your local Sephora- which is so fun. I have found that if I am purchasing fun makeup for a teen who is younger, I also purchase them a makeup remover, face wash, and moisturizer to go along. This also has put parents at ease when this is one of their little girls’ first makeup packages.
  7. Candles! No girl would dislike a candle, and they are appropriate for anyone teenaged aged or older. Bath and Body Works is a good place to start for these. These can also be fun to put together in a cute basket with lotions and soaps or body mists. You can also buy the gift baskets in the store, but I feel you usually spend more that way and have less room for creativity, but that can still be easy and fun!
  8. A DIY mug like this adorable one here. Go buy yourself a cheap plain mug from the thrift store or wherever, decorate it yourself with a sharpie marker or porcelain paint marker, and stuff with something fun for a chick you love! Maybe it is because I am a coffee lover, but the 5 mugs I have received through my life have always been my favorite gifts. I love the idea of writing a message or simple words like “Beautiful Day” on the mug and adding Lindt chocolate, hot chocolate, or a $5 coffee shop gift card to the inside. You can spend as little as $2 for this gift or as much as $20, depending on how thrifty you are finding the mug and what you want to put in it.
  9. A cute, cheap pair of shoes, like those at Shoes at this site can range from $2-$40+. I also like the super cheap shoes you can find at Since shoes can get so expensive and a lot of girls don’t buy them for themselves but still love them, it can be a fun item to get as a gift from someone that knows how to find good deals.
  10. The basics. Kind of vague, but those vague gifts can be the best gifts sometimes. Soaps, lotions, tank tops ($1.80 each at Forever21), plain tees, hair ties, headbands, socks; you can’t really go wrong with any of these items, and you can find them for prices from $1-$5 easily. Stacking up on them can add creativity and provide a young lady with the things she needs all year long.

I hope this list has helped you make a decision about what to give someone this year!