Indianapolis Greek Festival

My husband and I went to Greece last year and absolutely loved the food! When we found out that Indianapolis hosts a Greek Festival every year, we were pretty stoked to try it out.

In addition to the great food, you can also tour the church, attending cooking demos, listen to live music and shop in the market place. If you have kids, there are bounce houses and lots of other family entertainment.

Last year, I got the sampler platter which included tyropita, spanakopita, vegetarian dolmathes, Greek meatballs, hummus, red pepper hummus, tzatziki, feta, olives, and pita bread – all for $15. For dessert, I had LOUKOUMADES , which are deep fried dough that’s been dipped in honey and cinnamon. Those were TO DIE FOR.

You can view the whole menu here.

The Greek Festival also has a nice free shuttle bus service to and from the church if you don’t want to pay $5 to park at the church itself. This year you park at the Lids Corporate Office at 10555 Lids Way in Zionsville.

Indianapolis Greek Festival starts this Friday, Aug. 24 and runs through Sunday, Aug. 26. It takes place at Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church, 3500 W. 106th St. in Carmel.

DIY Coffee Table

My old hand-me-down coffee table recently broke. I really didn’t like it too much anyway but at the time, needed something and as a poor college student, I couldn’t afford something new. So this was the perfect opportunity to get something more my style!

I had an idea of what I wanted but everything online that was similar to what I was wanting was super expensive or you had to put together yourself – something neither my husband nor I are very good at. And I didn’t want an un-sturdy table.

So I started checking with local places and getting quotes about a custom build and paint job. It was going to run me about $500, which I still didn’t want to pay. THEN, I found a perfect table on Facebook Marketplace (of all places) and the lady who built it said she could do a custom piece for me and leave the wood natural so I could stain and paint it myself. And she only charged me $100. SCORE!

My brother-in-law offered to teach me how to stain and I used these plans to get my final look.

Here’s the table in its natural state.

We sanded it again, even though the builder did a pretty good job herself.

To achieve the stained top, I used Minwax in Early American. It took three coats. We then used a clear semi-gloss protective coating over that. I also used three coats of that.

Here’s the top!

Next, it was time to paint. I bought chalk paint, which is super easy to work with and dries incredibly fast. Those came from a local shop called Simplify. I wanted to support local businesses as much as I could with this project. They sell Debi’s Design Diary brand chalk paint, which you can buy online.

For the base coat, I used the color Weathered Wood. It only took one coat and I painted it inside since chalk paint is odorless. It really looks good like this too and would be great for a guy’s apartment.

I let it dry overnight, then used the color Vintage Linen over the gray. I did very little distressing once that was dry and most of what you see showing through is just the way I painted it to give it a distressed look. For the distressing that I did do (mostly on the legs), I used a baby wipe. It works like a dream and you don’t have to mess with sandpaper.

Once the paint was dry, I sealed it with a wax coating that dries clear but protects the wood.

Please excuse the terrible lighting and ugly carpet – we still live in an apartment so it’s hard to take amazing home photos but this table really makes the space look so much better. I can’t wait until we own our own home and can put it in our future living room!

If you have any questions about this process, please let me know. I am excited to try some more DIY projects in the future.

Weddings On A Budget

Your wedding day is one that you will remember for the rest of your life. It’s also probably one of the most costly. If you are on a budget, I’m here to tell you that you can have a beautiful and memorable day regardless of how much you spend.

Our three year wedding anniversary is coming up on May 16th. Hard to believe but time really flies! I am a very organized person anyway, but I planned almost the entire wedding by myself and did a lot of DIY for the big day.

If you’re a bride on a budget like me, I’ve put together a few tips that might be helpful for you when planning your wedding.

Pinterest is Your Best Friend

I don’t know what we ever did without Pinterest. Wedding ideas are unlimited and right at your fingertips. Create a wedding board and start gathering ideas. It will help you decide on a theme, colors and if you’re crafty, there are plenty of easy ideas for making your own flowers or centerpieces.

DIY As Much As You Can

As you know, I’m a librarian, so I wanted to incorporate literature into my wedding somehow. I got permission from our library director to use books that were donated for the book sale and crafted them into a pretty centerpiece for our table. I chose titles I’d read as well as some classics. I wrapped those centerpieces with ribbon and lace and made book page flowers to set on top.

I also borrowed candle holders from a co-worker and used battery operated tea lights for the candles. Our local creamery gives away old milk bottles, so I got one of those for each table and attached a peacock feather and some ribbon to it instead of flowers. (Our wedding had a peacock color scheme).

Sign Up for a Account

Even if you don’t create a wedding web site, The Knot is a great resource for finding vendors. Read all the reviews and go with your gut! You also have to remember that some people are never happy, so take all negative reviews with a grain of salt but if there seems to be a consistent problem with a vendor you’re considering, steer clear.

The Knot is also wonderful for helping you manage your guest list. I stored all invites on the site and would mark off their responses as I received their RSVPs. This was so helpful when meeting with our reception venue as they had to have guest totals throughout the planning process. When it comes time to write thank you notes, you can refer back to that master list for addresses and it saves so much time.

Find an All-Inclusive Reception Site

This was the most expensive part of our wedding and ate up the small budget my dad gave me, so finding a site that had everything in one place was wonderful. Our reception site had just about everything from the food to the cake and it was so simple to just take care of it all in one place. We had the option of bringing in outside vendors but there were extra fees to do that, so using their chef and baker was a huge cost saving to us. The food was amazing too – don’t be afraid to try out venues that have their own chef!

Etsy is Your Friend!

Support other DIY-ers and small businesses by shopping on Etsy for wedding supplies! I ordered my invitations and programs from a wonderful shop on Etsy. They were easy to work with and my invitations looked different from the standard invite.

I also ordered silk flowers from a shop on Etsy and they were exactly what I wanted but could not find in any of the craft stores around town.

DO NOT order anything from overseas. I made that mistake with my cake topper. Even thought I placed the order months in advance, it did not ship until a couple weeks before our wedding and arrived the day before. I was a stressed out mess over it and would never do that again.

Weddings Gowns Don’t Have to Cost Thousands

You can look beautiful without a thousand dollar dress. I tried some of those on even though they were way out of my budget and found I loved the selection at David’s Bridal more. You only wear your dress once – don’t go bankrupt because of it.

DO Splurge on a Photographer

The one thing I would advise you to spend more on is your photographer. Your pictures are lasting memories of your special day and you don’t want to cut corners here unless you have a friend or family member that takes professional quality photos. Even then, they’d probably rather enjoy seeing you walk down the aisle from a pew instead of from behind a camera lens.

Usually photographers will give you a small discount if you also use them for engagement photos and the ceremony. Our photographer was wonderful and sadly, she’s no longer in business – by choice. I was hoping to work with her later on down the road but she decided to pursue other interests for the time being.

Really do your research in this area and pay attention to what’s included in your photo package – you’ll want them there for at least 8 hours and a second photographers is great to capture other things that are going on while your main photographer is getting the money shots.

I hope this has been helpful in some way! Happy wedding planning and best wishes for your future together 🙂