Monday, September 29, 2014

$30.00 Wedding Dress

One of the most unnecessarily expensive factors in a wedding is the wedding dress! Many of them cost as much as (or more than) an engagement ring these days which is so outrageous! I came across this article last week. This bride-to-be from Seattle made her wedding dress for only $30.00!

The crafty bride, Chi Krneta, made good use of her time during her 50-minute bus commute each morning, crocheting her entire wedding gown herself! It took her about five months to complete the one-of-a-kind dress for her big day. Her wedding was on July 26, and she said all of the guests loved her dress, but there was one guest missing from the ceremony- her grandmother who passed away several years ago. 

She thought that crocheting her wedding dress would be a nice way of incorporating her grandmother's gift of teaching her to crochet when she was a child into her wedding. She felt it was a great tribute to her!

Ms. Krneta is also an architect, and looked at constructing the dress like one of her architecture projects. She also used her architecture skills while working on the adjustable bridesmaid dresses and handmade centerpieces.

What a smart girl! I guess it's time to start learning how to crochet (haha)! Click here to read the article on the Good Morning America Website.

Readers, do you know any stories of brides who made their own wedding dresses?

Friday, September 26, 2014

How Many of Me??

Happy Friday, readers! This has been one of the busiest weeks I've had in a long time. I want to feature a fun website today. Have you ever wondered how many people in the U.S. have your name? You can search and find out at! You enter your first and last name into their search section and it will check through the U.S. Census for the number of people. 

As you can see above, there's 350 people in the United States with my name! We had fun on our lunch break at work searching everyone's names in the system. The results were actually surprising. Try it for yourself! 

Here is some Q&A info that I pasted from the website:

Q: What does it mean that the estimates are "not absolute"?
The list of names from the census bureau isn't complete. Some names are not included in the census data: for privacy reasons, names with few entries are simply not listed. Our site can only be as good as the data provided.
While we don't have exact data on less common names, we can draw some conclusions. Names left off the census data will be less common than any names included in the census data. How much less common really depends on what was entered. If you entered a real name, it may well be near or somewhat below the number given. If you entered a random string of characters, chances are it's closer to zero than the number given. Other than that, we can't really be much more precise.

Q: What does it mean by "chances are low that someone has this combination of names."?
Even if both names are common enough to make our list, if they are both relatively uncommon names, there may be less than 50% chance* -- sometimes much less than 50% -- that even one person has that name. Since our numbers suggest such a person is unlikely, although possible, we hedge our bets and say that are likely "1 or fewer" individuals with that name.

Q: Does the program really know how many people have the same name as me?
No. The program returns an estimate based on available data. It should be considered a "ballpark figure". It will usually return an answer in the right general area, but the chances of the figure being exactly right are very low.
A full discussion of the accuracy of the program may be found here

Q: Why do you only include the U.S.?
The data we have comes from the U.S. Census Bureau's 1990 and 2000 censuses. For some reason, they felt it wise to only include data from the United States.

Q: Why don't you use data from a more recent census?
The 1990 census was the last census to include complete name data. The 2000 census didn't include data for first names, and the 2010 census isn't out yet.

Q: Why have the number of people with my name changed?
As part of our constant attempt to keep this site fresh, we've updated our data with recently released last name information from the 2000 Census. In many cases the number of people with a particular name changed fairly significantly. The new data does some very good things for HowManyofMe:
  1. More last names. The number of last names we have (semi) accurate data for has nearly doubled: from 89,000 to 152,000. This means many more people recieve a better answer than our default "fewer than" answer.
  2. More recent. This new data is from the 2000 census, and was released in 2008. It's only one year until the next Census begins, but hey, better late than never!
  3. More precise. The first version of HowManyOfMe was based on some simple data files from the 1990 census. It required a fair amount of massaging and reverse-engineering of the data to get useful information, even then it was fairly rough. This new data includes more information, and is more accurate.
Q: Why don't you add feature X?
Things are pretty busy here. This site should be considered a work in progress. We have a number of features and enhancements we want to add. We've released the site in its current state because the basic underlying features work. We have a nasty perfectionist streak. If we had waited until everything was "perfect" and every feature was done the site would never have been released.
That said, we always like to hear from people who have ideas for making the site better. If you have an idea, let us know.

Q: Do you share user search data / e-mails with third parties?
Our full privacy policy is here.
The short version: "No."
The somewhat longer version: We don't want your personal information. We collect as little as is feasible, keep it as short a time as possible, and other than in the form of statistics based on all searches don't share it with anyone.

Readers, how many people have your name? Were you surprised at the results??

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Ole Miss Rush: 2014

This Sunday was Bid Day for Rush Week at Ole Miss! Rush lasted from September 14-20. 1,556 women began the recruitment process last week, which was a huge turn out. I was a Theta at Ole Miss, and here is a photo from the Theta house during Bid Day on Sunday!

The active members made flowers for each pledge on the lawn. You can see how the other sororities decorated their houses this weekend here.

What is pretty interesting about the sorority scene at Ole Miss right now is that since enrollment numbers have been too high for the 9 panhellenic sororities, they are planning on adding 5 new sororities to the campus. A sorority chapter of Alpha Delta Pi was founded last year and Alpha Phi is also going to be added to the campus soon.  It looks like they are planning to add a separate line of sorority houses to a different end of the campus. It is crazy that the school is growing so much! But I guess I shouldn't be too surprised since Greek Life has been popular at the school for so long. 

Alpha Omicron Pi- 156 pledges
Alpha Delta Pi (formed last year) - 167 pledges
Chi Omega (the website didn't list how many)
Delta Delta Delta- 131 pledges
Delta Gamma- 130 pledges
Kappa Alpha Theta- 130 pledges
Kappa Delta- 140 pledges
Kappa Kappa Gamma- 147 pledges
Pi Beta Phi- 159 pledges
Phi Mu- 155 pledges

Pretty big numbers! From what I remember, I think our pledge class was only around 90 people. Here's a vintage pic of us during Rush Week in 2005! This was taken during the philanthropy round that year.

Readers, what do you think of Greek Life at schools? Feel free to comment!

Monday, September 22, 2014


Good morning, readers! I am sitting here sipping a Starbucks iced latte trying to wake up! I usually post pretty positive reviews on this blog but sadly, I am pretty irritated about some clothes I ordered from H&M. 

H&M (Hennes & Mauritz) is a Swedish multinational retail-clothing company, known for its fast-fashion clothing for men, women, teenagers and children. H&M exists in 53 countries. It's design team in the company's Sweden office controls the steps of production, and is outsourced to 800 factories in Europe and Asia. 

I have been a huge fan of H&M, and I got some great clothes from the H&M in New York City. I even went to an H&M when I was in Amsterdam traveling, and I still wear the khaki blazer I got from there today. My favorite clothes I get from there are work or professional clothing- it is all extremely affordable but is still much higher quality than something you would get from Forever 21 (even though it costs the same price).

We FINALLY got an H&M in Nashville at the Opry Mills mall about a year ago, and at about the exact same time, H&M opened an online store as well!

I've been feeling like my work clothes keep disappearing so I decided to order some work attire off their website, figuring that I could return whatever doesn't work to the store we have here. 

Out of the 5 items I ordered, I am only keeping one!!! This knit cardigan (above) is what I will be keeping- I am also very happy that it only cost $12.95! Yes, $12.95.. and it is still really comfy and high quality. I've already worn it twice and I'm wearing it today!!

What made me annoyed was that I ordered 2 work skirts and 1 pair of suit pants. To be safe, I ordered all of them in a size 6 for some wiggle room. These are what I ordered:

Pencil skirt: $24.95

Knee-length skirt: $24.95

Suit pants: $34.95

They were all way, wayyyy ridiculously too small. The size 6s all fit more like a 2 or size 0! I understand that it is a European company, but at least in their online store they should give a warning to American customers that they should order 2 sizes above what size you usually wear. The good news is that these items in person are all very high quality, much like something you would get from Express or White House Black Market. So... when looking for pants or skirts from there, be sure to try them on in the store, or order way up from your usual size! 

I also ordered this dress for work in a size 6 (above). I figured it would look cute for fall and winter with a pair of boots. But the crease in the center of the dress in person is pretty distracting, and it looks very baggy and frumpy when I try it on. Therefore, I'm considering returning this dress as well.

Now I am trying to decide whether I should make the trek over to the busy Opry Mills after work to return the 4 items in person, or to skip it, avoid the traffic and just return them all by U.S. Mail. Returning 4 out of 5 items is kind of a bummer! But oh well, I'm still a big fan!! Note: if you order from them online, you can sign up for their newsletter and you'll get 20% off of one item you purchase! For now, you can get free shipping if you enter the code 2288 at checkout. Shipping is usually only around $6.00 no matter how many items you order. 

Hopefully I will have better luck next time. Readers, what do you think of H&M?

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Pinewood Social

On Tuesday I was lucky enough to go to the Pinewood Social! I have been hearing about it since it opened a year ago and I was dying to see this place for myself! 

Pinewood Social is a restaurant that has everything. Everyyyything!!  Bocce ball. Bowling lanes. Swimming pools. Coffee shop. Karaoke. Private dining. Cocktail bar. For a foodie that's easily distracted like myself, there's so many things going on to keep your attention. The concept of the place is to have a space based on the idea of "creating a social gathering place that can accommodate your needs morning, noon and night".

The restaurant has 4 different food menus: breakfast (7- 11am), brunch (9am - 3pm), lunch (11am -3pm), and dinner (4pm - 11pm). They also have an extensive cocktail menu with drinks similar to the drinks at the Patterson House. We were there for dinner and we skipped the cocktail menu since we were so excited about the food.

Above is a map of the place. You first walk in and see the "living room" section with lots of couches and people doing work on their laptops. It contains the coffee shop section, which has coffee from CREMA Coffee - you can go there for teas, standard coffee drinks, espresso, etc. You walk a little further and see the bar before you are seated at your table in the dining room. Its a really cool open set up, and the building looks like an old warehouse or factory building. The layout and factory ambiance reminded me of eating at Rolf and Daughters (but Pinewood Social is more affordable and fun than there!)

Here is the dinner menu (the menu was prettier than this- I didn't get a photo myself so I pasted the text from the website!)

(4pm to 11pm)

Things on Toast
Two for -5  /  Six for -12
Chèvre & Honey
Roasted Eggplant
Strawberry & Mascarpone
Steak Tartare
Chicken Liver
Tomato, Basil & Ricotta

Crispy Pork Rinds -5
with Adobo Spice

Hummus -6
with Lavash Crackers or Cucumbers, Calabrian Chilies

Fried Okra -8
with Fresno Aioli

Smoked Trout Dip-11
with Lavish Crackers

Fried Broccoli -6
Lemon Zest, Sea Salt, with Almond Garlic Dipping Sauce
Oysters with Cucumber Mignonette, six for -14
*ask server for origin

Peaches and Burrata -12
Grilled Peaches, Arugula, Pecans, Burrata
Crispy Pork Rinds -5
with Adobo Spice

Kale Caesar Salad -7 / 12
Parmesan, Sourdough
add chicken or shrimp for -5

Heirloom Tomato Salad -12
Heirloom Tomato, Crouton, Arugula, Basil

Wedge Salad -12
Bibb Lettuce, Grilled Pork Belly, Tomato, Avocado, Bleu Cheese Dressing

Soup of the Season . Green Gazpacho -6
Melon, Cucumber, Tomatillo, Jalapeño, Green Grapes, Pistachio
Soup of the Day -6
Ask Your Server

Grilled Squash, Zucchini Bread, Oven Roasted Tomato, Basil Pesto

Pot Roast -21
Roasted Carrots, Roasted Mushrooms, Jus

Hanger Steak -22
Grilled Corn, Chimichurri

Grilled Pork Chop -20
Baby Bok Choy, Snap Peas, Red Onion-Rhubarb Relish

Fried ½ Chicken-15
served w/ seasonal garnish

Calf’s Liver & Onions -16
with Benton’s Bacon & Mushrooms

House-Made Tagliatelle -16
Mushroom, Asparagus, Egg

Catfish -15
Cornmeal Crust, Slaw, Hushpuppies

Cheeseburger -13
American Cheese, Lettuce, Onion, Pickle, Mayo, Mustard
Sides -6
Mac & Cheese
Wilted Kale
Charred Corn

The theme of the food is "Americana-style food created in simple fashion with advanced techniques". The food was simple and reminded me of something from J. Alexanders but a little less extravagant, and still tasty. I loved everything we ordered and it also wasn't outrageously expensive. We started off with the hummus dip and crackers, then I got the cheeseburger with french fries (delish!) and Adam got the fried chicken that came with a seasonal cauliflower medley (which I loved). We also got the mac n' cheese as a side and it was literally the best mac n' cheese I have ever had!! I recommend everything we ordered. We also were seated next to TWO REALITY TV STARS!!! I was freaking out (and trying not to stare) because I watched them on tv for an entire season last year!

Afterwards, even though it was cold that night, we checked out the swimming pools (complete with an airstream bar) and the vintage bowling lanes. The pools were open and there were lots of people lounging on the patio with cocktails. This restaurant would be a really fun place for a group setting for birthdays or whatever- they have tons of private dining rooms (this is apparently where the karaoke is held). 

If you haven't already been, please check out Pinewood Social- it is definitely one of the most unique areas I have ever seen. Don't forget it is open from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. so you can stop by anytime for whatever you're in the mood for!

Readers, what do you think of Pinewood Social? 

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