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Sunday, December 2, 2012

THE Roasted Potato Fries


I was trying to think of what to tell you all about, and I have decided that THE ROASTED POTATO FRIES are the answer.

Let the drooling commence

 Roasted Potato Fries are Cameron's new favorite snack, and so we associate them with lots of memories :) Other snacks have come and go, like The Great Salt and Vinegar Chips Experiment (see below), but these have stood the test of time! Well...three months time. 

The Great Salt and Vinegar Chips Experiment  Before and After! 
Now...for the stars of the show. These Roasted Potato Fries are:
  • Shareable: It's so easy to adjust the amount you make! And you can share them from the same bowl with your significant other :)
  • Budget Friendly: In todays economy, it doesn't get much more affordable than potatoes.
  • Easy: No fancy ingredients or appliances, we've made these all over, from Israel to Brazil.
  • Versatile: Middle Eastern to Italian, all you do is change the spice mix!
  • Delicious: Or so Cameron says :)

THE Roasted Potato Fries

Golden Potatoes
Olive Oil
Sea Salt and Freshly Ground Pepper
Roasting Pan or Cookie Sheet

Note: These are the spices for the bare bones version, you can always throw in your favorites! I love to add some red pepper flakes, rosemary, or this specialty Norwegian salt mix that I bought in Nice, France :D It makes the potatoes taste FANCY!


1.) Wash the Potatoes. Not that I actually always DO this, but you know, details.

2.) Slice the potatoes. Obviously, potato sizes vary, so adjust your slicing so that they end up DELICIOUS (i.e. about 1/4 inch at the thickest.)

3.) Toss with Olive Oil and Seasonings. Use just enough Olive Oil to coat the potatoes and use your hands and rub it in there. Don't pile them, or else they will be terrible and I will take no complaints ;)

4.) Roast Away: Crank that oven to 425* F -ish and take them out when they are crispy on the outside and soft on the inside! I check by pulling one out and cutting it in half when they look done.

5.) Consume with a loved one while watching Shark Tank, Chopped, or The Biggest Loser! This is the best part of course ;)

Mrs. Alyne Tamir Manwaring 

Saturday, September 22, 2012


So...I got married. And I am LOATHE to spend more than, you know, ZERO DOLLARS on just about anything <3

Thus...for the poverty stricken students among us...


First, let us take inventory:

1.) The quest for a DRESS

I found solace in KSL (local classifieds), ONE WEEK before the wedding, after perusing Utah bridal stores with average dresses at EXTRAORDINARY prices. ($1000 for a dress?!?! I can't spend that much on a LAPTOP.) We did find one or two amazing dresses in California, designed by a family friend, but much to my chagrin I couldn't afford them </3 SO I was pleasantly surprised when I ended up buying the first dress I tried on from KSL, which fit perfectly (no alterations!) and was pretty yet a little unique (the polka dots).

Also, husband dearest and I found the sold out Toms shoes that I wanted the week before the wedding! I had refused to buy any others and luckily, this tactic worked. ($60.00)

Lesson learned? NEVER GIVE UP. Patience and stubbornness pay off ;)

Total: $230.00 (Dress, Slip, and Shoes <3)

The Dress!

2.) Reception venue/ Tables and chairs/ Tablecloths: Free!

How? Connections. Lucky for us, the best wedding venue in Utah is owned by Cameron's close family friend! She was a GEM and allowed us to use it, since no other weddings were occurring that day, and because we promised to take utmost care and clean it spectacularly. So just think about close friends that might have a pretty barn, well landscaped yard, or other location you could use! Just be sure to be gracious and grateful- it's always nice to be appreciated! 

The Wedding Venue! Lichfield Ponds

3. Table Decor: 12.00! 

Drift wood was dutifully gathered by my most pennywise husband and his mother, who braved the 100+ degree weather of Saint George, Utah to forage for the unique and elegant driftwood pieces at Gunlock Reservoir. I, of course, would have loved to help, but alas, had fallen ill and was home with a fever, glancing balefully at a saltine cracker that I couldn't quite stomach. 

Driftwood was set on each table

Seashells were gathered on the beach on the island in the Yasawas in Fiji where he proposed! We found some AMAZING, very unique ones. Just think outside the box with decor! Natural is beautiful and meaningful! The $12.00 cost was incurred in Fiji, where we bought table runners made from trees from an outdoor market :D

Table Runners from Fiji

4.) A Dashing Suit (bowtie, tailoring, buttoniere.) : $170.00

So, this item wasn't free. But it was worth it! Luckily, I have a ever so helpful mother who resides in Los Angeles, home to one of the best fashion districts in...California? America? The WORLD? Cameron read reviews online and found a great place that fitted a suit to him perfectly, all for (17,000) pennies! Look for a city near you with a fashion district, and refer to sites like yelp, which review tailors! Remember, it might be worth a trip or drive to find a better, more financially viable option! Plus, road trips are always fun with your fiancé (yes yes I copied and pasted the e with an accent from wikipedia). ALSO, his buttons are wooden. We got them at a craft store (after searching many locations) and had our seamstress friend Kailee sew them on. (Here is her Fashion Blog.) She did a great job! 

His buttoniere was a seashell shaped like a rose that we found! Really special and different. 

Dashing Husband Prince? CHECK. CHECKCHECK.

5.) Party Favours: Seashell necklaces: $70.00  for 200

Definitely just typed "Farty Favours"...bahaha. Yeah. Definitely these were Party Favours, and we got them in FIJI on our engagement trip (I shall expound on this in a different post). We went to a market and looked for something that would both serve as a memento of our engagement, bring a fun vibe to the wedding, and be something people could take home and enjoy! We settled on seashell necklaces, and bargained the SOUL out of this couple, getting them for pretty much the price they cost, since it was for our wedding :)  So make sure you find sympathetic, kind people, plead your case, and hope for the best! Bargaining is a good tool for your "Farty Favours".

 "Farty Favour"

6.) Photographer and Videography: Traded for personal videography

As a young girl, I never really dreamed of a wedding. I thought more about opening animal shelters, if I would ever be hungry enough to eat an entire cake, and how to organize my cats once I was old and alone. Luckily, a few months before my engagement, pinterest was introduced unto me, and I feverishly took to pinning all the things and getting competitive *ahem* excited about ensuring that my wedding was THE BEST! Now, amazing photos were my main concern. I disdainfully scrolled through THOUSANDS of wedding photos, scoffing at even the best photographers efforts. Then...along came JOSTLYN. Cameron knew her from here or there, and despite my wailing ("WE WILL NEVER FIND A PHOTOGRAPHER!!! We're doomed to a photo album filled with disposable camera shots of shrubbery and children's shoes."), he succeeded in convincing me that we had found "The One".

A shot of the Dress and Bouqueeet.

Well, was I ever SO PLEASED. The point of a photographer in my estimation, is to make the subjects look either better than they really look, or at least, make them look their best! She definitely did this, and the photos are just BEAUTIFUL. All the photos on this post are from Roz Photography

How did we trade? Well, first you must acquire an ever so talented husband. Then, make sure you give your photographer in worth at LEAST what they are giving you. Luckily, Cameron is a professional videographer, so the trade was fair. Perhaps you have a beau that is a talented carpenter, programmer, or chef. Make sure you are offering the photographer you choose something they want and need as opposed to something superfluous :) Lastly, many of us have talented relatives! Don't overlook them, but also, make sure they are okay with taking time from the wedding to do the photos, and that they are what you are looking for. 

Also, spending money on a photographer is the place it's most worth it! When you are old, rich, and bathing in $100 bills, you'll wish you'd spent a bit more on good photos (aka memories)  ;)

Umm...definitely forgot to get one. The talented and charismatic Chris McClain offered his services, but alas, was in some faraway Asian locale on the date of our wedding. I'd suggest you learn from me and FIND A VIDEOGRAPHER! Even your 15 year old brother with a digital camera is better than a barren wasteland of life without memories. 

We made the cover of her Bridal Magazine! Fame and Fortune FTW! 

7.) Food and CAKE: $200.00...TOTAL. That's for 200+ guests!

Our Amazing BEACH CAKE!

The cake was $155.00 for MATERIALS. One of my bosom buddies from high school/church turned herself into a Cordon Bleu trained pastry chef. When not working at Yummy Cupcakes on the Santa Monica 3rd Street Promenade, she worked on crafting my AMAZING wedding cake based on our island theme. Everyone has a friend that can bake an amazing cake if they look hard enough. Offer to cover the cost of materials, and make sure it's someone who loves you, because making a wedding cake can be a lot of work! If you want a cake from Jenny, who made ours, you can order from her here. Her company is called "Sugar Kup" (cute cute I know)

The willow figurine on the top was a gift to us from my Mother. We loved it :) It's great to add a personal touch and we'll keep it forever!

Details on Cake!

I find that food is something hard for me to spend money on. It just disappears so quickly! Thus, I decided to follow the trend and go for a dessert bar! It worked superbly! Friends were LIFESAVERS here. I let them know that their delectable baking skills would save me from a fate worse than death (bankruptcy), and they, in turn, let me know what quantities they were comfortable baking (if any!)! We ended up with PLENTY of beautifully crafted desserts, from amazing cake pops (my husband and his best man even made a stand for them out of driftwood that he drilled holes in to hold them!!!), to lemon bars, to healthy oatmeal pumpkin cookie bites (from the wonderful healthy blogger Rachel Davidson), to fruit salad! It was all amazing, which I know, because I demanded that each of the desserts be saved for me in a box, that I might partake of them post wedding madness. The $50.00 was spent by giving it to a friend who had kindly offered to use it to purchase materials and make endless delicacies with it! Make sure the people who helped you know how awesome they are, and how grateful you are for their love and generosity :) And of course, help them out when they need it too!

Driftwood Cake Pop Stands!

Bottom line, food is the last thing people will remember! It is important, because it shows generosity on your part, but it can be any form of sustenance. Also of note: We had a luncheon for 50 out of town guests, so everyone would have a focal gathering point to see each other and catch up, and Cameron's parents generously organized it! If your parents are not in a position to do so, I would suggest a basic sandwich or burrito bar which can be executed SO cheaply, efficiently, and deliciously.

Cupcakes on natural wood!

8.) Wedding Venue: Freeee! 

As Mormons (Members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints), we have gorgeous TEMPLES to get married in! For FREEE! One of the perks on the road to Celestial glory that I never thought about as a kid :)  We were married more specifically at the beautiful Saint George Temple, pictured below. It was a  beautiful sealing ceremony, more special than I could ever have imagined. 

The temple is in the background!

9.) Invitations + Stampage: $650.00

Sooo...invitations. This is the part that went awry! Originally, we made a deal where we'd get them for free, but when we picked them up, it ended up being half price, which was, sadly, around $500.00. Upon being handed the receipt, I walked out in a daze, and rued the day I'd agreed to a wedding, thinking, "If invitations are $500.00, how much will everything ELSE cost?!?!". Luckily, I had my patient husband there to coerce me away from a breakdown and remind me that money is silly and that we would be FINE.   So, when financial disaster comes, just remember, you can compensate in costs elsewhere, and that money is SILLY

Also, take your time to mourn, that helped me too ;) 
Also, if your invitations are amazing, just be grateful that they are :D

We did two versions: The "Young, hip people" invitation

We personalized the invitations by addressing them by hand, and buying a REALLY cute bicycle stamp for 50% off (Thanks to husband for always checking and finding 50% off coupons to everywhere online!) Then we lost the bicycle stamp so cameron grabbed a pocket knife that he found on the floor and crafted a replacement bicycle stamp out of CARDBOARD. WHO DOES THAT?!?!?! 

I also drew little stick figures of a couple getting married on some of them :)

The "Refined, demure, sophisticated people" invitation!

10.) Bouquet + Flowers + Grooms people apparel: $50.00 - $70.00

Okay, so I had EIGHT BRIDESMAIDS. That, my friends, is a lot of flowers and dresses. So what I did, is I reached in to the most CLEVER parts of my soul (...the day before my wedding haha), bought 5 Costco bouquets, aaand promptly handed them to my dear Aunt and her entourage of cousin-helpers with a pair of scissors and vague instructions about an exotic wild bouquet for myself, and unique individual corsage/hair/bracelet arrangements for the bridesmaids. Somehow, she turned my, "I JUST WANT IT TO BE BEAUTIFUL AND PERFECT!" into...something beautiful and perfect! Luckily, I had her there, but if you don't find someone, you can so easily do it yourself (no matter how craft-challenged you believe yourself to be!) I also saved on flowers by choosing an outdoor venue that was rife with fauna and foliage.

Bridesmaids Outfits!
As for their dresses and grooms clothing, having them wear whatever they want saves you the grief of choosing terrifying bridesmaids dresses, and saves your loved ones the pain of feeling obligated to buy and wear an egregious dress or rent a tux.  I wanted it all mismatched, so the girls and boys showed their own styles! It turned out GORGEOUS! The boys all wore blue and the girls pink! Everyone was happy :)


So, please refrain from handing a florist $150.00 or MORE dollars for a bouquet, and make your own! There are so many tutorials out there, and essentially, all you do is stick flowers together, tie them with florists wire ($1 at the dollar store!) and tada! A bouquet that reflects your personality, style, and economic prowess. 

11.) Music: Free!

Honestly, I am not a huge wedding dancer/ music connoisseur, so in order to avoid the YMCA and sundry awkward line dances we opted for speaker and a banging playlist. We had Cameron's sister put the list together for us and my then Future-Father-in-Law broke into the local town hall to borrow their sound system for the big day :) Ask around for a speaker system, make a playlist, or find a local band that needs exposure! If you want dancing, there are pre made DJ sets you can download, or just dance to the playlist that you choose. I did have a second reception is Israel (I am half Israeli) for my family there, and we definitely had a D.J., so I'll write a future post about that wedding and let you know how the dancing/DJ type wedding went.

12.) Hair, Makeup, Manicure: Freee!

The theme of this post seems to be having friends from high school who chose careers conducive to my wedding planning. Emily Haskins is a Stylist who has done my hair for shoots and other things before, so I pleaded with her to save me from a random terrible salon disaster, and she agreed :) She drove out for my wedding from California, and we did a test run the night before (during the bouquet crafting mayhem). It held up through the heat of the day, and well into the evening!!! My aunt lisa made my hair piece out of a flower shaped seashell that we found in Fiji, and I wore a shell shaped hair thing that belonged to, and in remembrance of my Great Aunt Petie, who passed away. I purchased my shell bracelet in Fiji for maybe $2.00?

Hair, Bouquet, Etc!
I did my own makeup! At an awkward angle, in a hotel mirror, 20 minutes before the sealing ceremony was to begin ;) I used drugstore things, things given to me from friends, and things pilfered from my mothers castaways. The one thing I used that was new was primer. This was a lifesaver and made everything look better! I used BB. 

I also did my own manicure in 10 minutes a few days before (You can see it in the picture below!). My stepmom in Israel went to school for it (surprise!) and taught me how, but honestly it just took practice! Luckily, I always do my nails so it was business as usual. Ask me if you have questions :)

Good view of Manicure (zoooom in), Bouquet/ Reception Center!

13.) A grand EXIT : A negligible enough cost that I can't even recall

We chose sparklers, since, well, THEY'RE AMAZING! We got the stragglers of the wedding on a bride, had them light them, and ran through!! It was REALLY FUN! Also, I didn't get burned, or even singed! So that was a nice bonus <3



The Grand Total is....$1382.00.

For a 200+ guest wedding :D

There were probably a couple hundred dollars of random tiny expenses, but these were the big ones!

You can comment with any questions or how you did/plan on doing your low budget wedding!

xoxOXOXOXOxxxoalyne (and Cameron<3)

Saturday, August 25, 2012

A word about MARRIAGE!


As many of you know. Alyne and I have been married for nearly 5 days now. I feel after this time that I have some room to expound and share my vast knowledge with all of you about marriage and how to do it right...hahahahahaha but really. So much of being happy has to do with making sure that you always make sure that your spouse knows they are THE MOST important part of your life. This means rubbing their back, cleaning their toenails, and sharing the blanket. This even means running down the street to get them chocolate and ice cream at midnight. And guess what? It is ALL worth it. Every moment.

Both Alyne and myself are ever so young and inexperienced in regards to marriage. However, we love each other and have spent a significant amount of time with each other since the very first day we met. The transition from being friends----to dating----to being engaged----to being married was...

...Well, there really was no transition. Our honeymoon seems to be a continuation of every week of our lives together thus far. We spend more time together than mission companions which might as well be because this companionship is eternal.

And so it goes in the Cancun of Mexico. Tomorrow, we head to our new resort: The Grand Mayan Riviera! Our past 4 nights at the Suites Gaby have been just splendid. We have had our fair share of street food including todos tacos, tamales, random vegetables and such, baked goods, and not to forget our liquados. We stocked up at the market today after venturing to the hotel zone to find a veggie restaurant that had good reviews on Then, headed home for a movie night. Also, we started playing take two in the shower which has become a favorite past-time of mine :)

Alyne has now covered her face with the comforter in an attempt to go sreepy time so i will end this post by saying just one more thing...SMILE! Just smile and remember how lucky you really are.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Here it goes!


We were just married and boy is it great :) right now we are sitting in a 23 dollar room (the plaza) in  ghetto down-town vegas. Our flight for Cancun takes off around 10pm tonight and we will get there tomorrow sometime. We love each other and we love you all! cheers