Monday, November 29, 2010

Bridal Beauty: The Future's Looking Bright (and White)

Image via FitCommerce

I've had a love affair with coffee for as far back as I can remember.  As I child, I would sit and eat my breakfast and beg my parents for a sip, knowing that when my mom turned her back my dad would let me add a drop to my mug of warm milk--he didn't think it was such a big deal. 

Fast forward twenty some-odd years, and I needed to start my day with an enormous mug (or two, or three) of coffee.  It didn't help that there was a new single-serve coffee machine just steps from my desk at work.  Ah well...

But when the wedding countdown hit the seven month mark, I had to rethink my caffeine habit.  So I made some small changes to my daily routine, without totally giving up my "cup o' Joe."  

Here's what I did to get my smile wedding-day ready:

1. Cut back on the java.  A quick conversation with my doctor convinced me to limit my coffee intake, it wasn't easy but I got down to just one cup (most days).  

2. Brushing after meals at work, WITHOUT FAIL.

According to the ADA, we should brush our teeth twice a day.  After a conversation with my dentist, he said I could brush after lunch as well to help keep my smile bright. So I kept a little makeup bag in my desk at work, it contained a tooth brush, toothpaste, and dental floss.  I made sure to rinse after my morning coffee and brush after lunch.  This little kit helped this habit stick for me.

3. Switching up my daily routine by using a whitening rinse.  

Image via

I used this Listerine rinse; there is a bit of a funky teeth-whitening aftertaste, but I like that it contains Flouride to strengthen the enamel of your teeth.  

4.  Eating an apple day (or at least trying). 

I stumbled upon this tip while searching the internet for ways whiten teeth naturally.  What I found was that apples clean the surface of your teeth, they contain malic acid which helps to dissolve stains.  Just remember to rinse with water after snacking, to get rid of any residual sugar. 

It took a few weeks to notice a change and I was happy with the results.  The best part is the habits I created before the wedding have stuck with me.

Do you have any tried and true tips?  Are you ramping up your routine to prep for your wedding?  Any professional bees out there with tips to add?

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Giving Thanks

Today, I'm taking the time to enjoy my family.  I'm thankful for so many things--

I'm thankful for having my family together for another year. 

I'm thankful that my grandmother is here to join us, as this time last year she was tending to my ailing grandfather.  

I'm thankful for all my wonderful friends, old and new. 

I'm thankful for the Bear, most of all.  And I'm so grateful to have him in my life. 

It hurts that he's gone this time of year.  What I wouldn't give to have him home right now.  Despite all the joy of today, there's a little piece of me that will hurt a bit.  Oh well, maybe next year. 

PS-- I'm happy that my first attempt at making a pie turned out not-so-bad.  No idea what it tastes like, but here's some blurry proof:

Happy Thanksgiving to all!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

The Bride Wore Black (& White)

I'm completely smitten with the color combination of black and white. 

Image via

Photo by Steve Depino

It adds a little touch of sophistication, a hint of rock n' roll, and oozes personal style. 

This combo tugged at my heartstrings so much that I headed over to M&J Trimming before I even had a dress to find some black ribbon to try out: sheer organdy, bold grosgrain, and silk dupioni.  

Think that the lack of a dress was the biggest problem? It wasn't.

Convincing my family, and by family I mostly mean Yiayia-Marmalade, was going to be the biggest challenge.  Here's the trouble-- my grandfather passed away a year before my wedding and Yiayia-Marmalade wore black ever since (although she doesn't have to, she just might wear black for the rest of her life). Her mother before her wore black for most of her adult life, to mourn the loss of her husband. It's a cultural tradition that persists in my family.  There's such a stigma against black in my family that I wasn't allowed to wear it until I turned thirteen and started purchasing black clothes with my babysitting money. Talk about culture shock, eh?

Yes, I wear black on a daily basis now.  And I get comments from my family directed toward my black clothing all the time, "why are you wearing black now? Wear black when I die, wear color now."  Sounds outrageous, but it's how the older folk talk in my family.  So, TRY convincing my Yiayia that it's okay for a bride to wear even a little teeny tiny bit of black...I dare you. Actually, can you please?  I'd love you forever!

Are there any details about your wedding day look that have become a debate?  Or have any details become an issue because of family tradition or culture?

Monday, November 22, 2010

Silhouette Machine Giveaway

Silhouette Machine Giveaway

I want this--fingers crossed!

For your chance to win a Silhouette stop by Grosgrain Fabulous!  Good luck.  

Friday, November 19, 2010

Happy Friday! Taking It Easy

I woke up in a bad mood today.  Yes, it's Friday!  I should be happy!  Thrilled!  But I'm feeling a little indifferent (which, is NOT like me at all). 

Plans have changed, again.  AGAIN.  And you know what?  I'm not frustrated, I'm just a little sad. I've grown to expect these bumps in the road and not allow my emotions to get too effected by it.  

But, I'm not perfect.  

So far this year, there have been quite a few changes to our plans, caused by his schedule.  And you know what?  Despite my fears that these changes would steer our wedding plans off into a ditch, they've actually kept us on course.  So when I heard him say "I have some news, brace yourself," my heart sank a little, as it always does.  And then I replied "I'm sitting down, that's as braced as I can get.  Tell me."

More changes in plans.  More events shifting around.  More disappointment. And still, we're on course to be married on the day we chose and then changed, and then chose again!  I should be relieved! But I'm actually shocked that I'm not calling everyone up today and moving our wedding--and a little sad that things aren't lining up quite exactly the way I had envisioned.  

The important thing is that he comes home safe.  The next important thing is that we get married.  

So I'm going to let myself feel a little "meh" for a bit, and then I'll move on.  I may even finish up some really fun posts to lift my spirits!  And I'll get excited again.  So, I got thrown a curve ball?  It happens, right?

Have a great weekend!  

Thursday, November 18, 2010

She Said Yes!

Our reception site coordinator, Adrienne, that is.  We stopped by HCC after our visit to the chapel, and I was able to get another look at the space.  It felt good to walk through and see everything again "the photobooth will go here, the card table should be here, cocktails out there..." You get the idea.    

And then, I mustered up the courage to tell our coordinator that I wanted to create some panels for the space.  I tried to describe what I was thinking of, but I got a little flustered.  Finally, I decided it was best to just send her my inspiration pics.  

Yesterday, I hit send on the email and crossed my fingers, half expecting a "that's nice, but it's not feasible" email reply. 

And what I got was a YES!  She thought it was cool--not crazy at all!  

Now I only need to figure out where to hang them and how to hang them.  There are sconces on the walls between the windows so I might have to think of something else.  Either way, this project is now officially on my DIY list! 

Did you have to clear any of your DIY projects with your venue?  Were any ideas shot down?

I'm A Pusher

Yes it's true.

Image via 

But I don't push people to challenge themselves like Ms. Norburry. No, I'm a full blown pusher of addictions.  It was an accident, swear.  But in sharing the struggle to find a videographer with BM KuBee, I may have caused her to be hooked on wedding trailers.  Gasp.  

Seriously, KuBee has emailed me links to videos and written things like:

"oh my gosh girl, I've been laying in bed watching trailers all day! Check out 'Cindy and Mark,' it's my favorite, just wait until the :30 mark."  

I really love this girl.  Talk about supportive!  To be fair, she may have already been in bed, nursing a hangover. But still.  KuBee--this post is for you. 

And the video that started it all?

 Video by Stillmotion via Vimeo

Full disclosure:  This was our original venue, it's how I found it to begin with.  And if I'm being totally honest, it's a little bittersweet to watch this beautiful video again.  

One more for the road?

Ugh, so so SO amazing.  I am a huge fan of Stillmotion, but sadly, they are way out of reach for us.  So armed with these videos, I started searching for a videographer we could afford.  Man, can I just say that these trailers didn't make it easy?

How about you?  Did you fall for a vendor that was out of reach?  Were you able to hire your dream vendors?  Anyone else, slightly addicted to clips like this?

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Ciao Bella!

A couple weeks ago, I got really really nervous about the progress of my to-do list.  I felt like I was really far behind in the planning process, so I grabbed my friend Moro and headed to our local Bella Bridesmaid to figure out what my ladies would wear.

My main objective was to decide on the Two Birds convertible dresses that I'd been obsessing over, but I got sidetracked by a couple other lovlies.  

Like "Wisteria" by Simple Silhouettes, modeled by the lovely Moro.

Check you out, girl!  Day-um.  

She likes it!  Full disclosure:  I was tempted to buy one of these for myself to have on hand.

I tried on "Rocket" by Simple Silhouettes, and by 'try on' I mean I hammed it up for the camera.  Since I'll be posting more pictures of myself from here on out, I should mention that I cannot take myself seriously when posing for pictures.    

I actually liked this dress, even though I had to hold it up. Room for lots of food?  Sounds like a winner to me!

I liked the color in the store, it's called "Grape," and I thought it was close to the raspberry/rose color I've been looking for--but thank goodness for snapshots!  It's a great color, but it's not quite what I was looking for.

Then I tried on the MS410 by Melissa Sweet.  I couldn't resist the jersey fabric, so soft and comfy!  But, can you see my face on the left?

I'm grabbing the hip swags on this dress.  What is it with hip swags?  I'm drawn to them (haha, I just thought of "like a moth to a flame, burned by the fire...").  

I decided that the only way to make this dress work was to pull out all the stops: pop one hip out, put BOTH arms on my hips and hold my breath.  And then I crossed it off the list when I realized that no one would actually be comfortable in this swishy-soft gown.  Not to mention it only comes in three dark colors.  

No bother--we left the Two Birds dresses for last.  And:

See that hip-pop?  She liked it!

I tried the shorter version on, and I was a little unsure about it. 

So we reworked the top. Is it scary that I knew how to do it? Clearly, I'd spent way too much time on their site.

Then we tried another style on Miss Moro.

I'm a big fan of cap sleeves--and clearly she is too.   

All in all, this was a great trip!  What did I learn?  That I absolutely love the Two Birds dresses, and full length convertible gowns in general.  Not to mention that I would LOVE to have them for my ladies in a shade of deep raspberry.    Did I mention that Two Birds can actually customize the color of your dresses?  Because they can. Which is great because they don't actually make a standard raspberry color, and neither did any other convertible dress companies.

My only hang up is the price!  I hate to dwell on money, but times are tough and I don't want any of my bridesmaids worrying about the cost of this dress.  On the other hand, I hear that nagging voice that says "you've paid the same amount of money for other bridesmaids dresses, it's your wedding. Go for it!"  And that's true, between accessories and alterations on other dresses I've certainly paid more. 

So I'm putting this idea on hold for a bit.  I'm either going this route or the ladies are free to choose on their own. 

What about you?  How did you choose your bridesmaids' dresses?  What factors did you consider?

One more thing, now that my wedding is over, I've found the BM dress that could have been by Henkaa!  They have a slightly different selection of colors, for any brides that's looking for convertible dress options.  

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

File This Under Things I Want

But don't NEED for the wedding. 

(Image via Furbish Studio)

These glasses just make me smile.  Probably because I think I'd make him drink out of the "Mrs" glass for a minute.  

Back to reality. Must resist these purchases!  This time of year is dangerous to wedding budgets.  

Goin' to the Chapel

After we changed our reception venue, our ceremony site became a no-brainer. When I told Mr.M that we had signed with Highlands the first thing he said was said "we can get married in the Old Cadet Chapel now. Call them up!"

Image via 


Here's some background:

The Old Cadet Chapel sits on the cemetery at West Point.  And a little over two years ago, Mr. M and I went there to pay our respects to some of his classmates.  And when we were done, we walked into the chapel, hand in hand without saying a word.  Suddenly he turned to me and said "if we get married here [West Point], I want it to be in this chapel." And that was that, decision made.  I'll never forget it.  

To tell you the truth, I couldn't imagine a more perfect place for us to be married!  The chapel is intimate as it is beautiful.  And you can't deny it's connection to history. 

So this past weekend Mr. M's mom took me up to WP for a tour.  I brought along my mom, my Thia M, and my aunt who is visiting from Greece to see the chapel.  

Personal photo

I love the architecture--so did my aunt.  I believe her words were "It is very beautiful, it reminds me of Greece," or something to that effect.  Ok, so she might be partial. 

I would love to create something to hang on the door, but alas, we only get an hour in the church with no time for set up.  But we won't need any decor, look:

The interior is a lot like the church I grew up in, simple and charming.  And at the risk of sounding really weird--my favorite part of the sanctuary is that it smells like books.  Still with me?  Call me cray, but I've been fascinated by old books since I was a little girl.  I spent many happy Sundays in the library of my church, looking through the pages of books that I probably shouldn't have been allowed to touch without supervision (fruit punch fingers can be a little sticky).

Here's another shot from the balcony.  The aisle isn't as menacing from up there.  It looked way too long from the first interior pic.

The chapel is home to many plaques that commemorate the service of various heroes.  

How many plaques?

Many, many, plaques.  Let me zoom out to give you a better idea.

That's just one small section.

This plaque in particular caught my eye.  Any guesses as to who it once belonged to?

It reads "Major General [blank] Born 1740 [blank]," and it was once dedicated to Benedict Arnold.  I threw this picture in for the Mister, I knew he'd get a kick out of it.

It feels so good to have this major detail settled!   And we're both really happy to be married in this chapel.  

How did you choose your ceremony site?

Monday, November 15, 2010

Pre Wedding Chop?

Ever heard of the post wedding chop?  

Image via

The post wedding chop, or PWC is when a bride grows her hair out for her wedding day and then drastically changes her hairstyle.  A chop, if you will..  

But what about a good ole "pre wedding chop?"  Because if you're like me, and your engagement is 18 months long you start to look like this before your big day:

Images via

Yeah, it's all fun and games until someone tells you your hairstyle reminds them of "Big Love."  Rrg.  I've let my hair grow for the past 12 months, and it's getting a little out of control. It's nice to be able to put my hair in a pony tail or twist it into a topknot bun, but I want something else.  Something a little, er, different. 

Something like this:

Image via

And this, 

Image via

I'm toying with the idea of chopping it all off (for a good cause) and forgetting about wedding day hairstyles all together.  One less thing to obsess over! But the thing is, I am so scared I will hate it.  A drastic cut wouldn't leave me with many options if I change my mind.  There wouldn't be much that could be done to fix me up, outside of extensions and I need the expense of extensions like I need another hole in my head.  

But look at these lovely short haired brides!

Image via WeddingTipster

Image via

Ok, how much do I love the last one?  They both have amazing hair--I think I could be happy with either 'do.  Kidding (a little)!  

Does anyone else have the urge to chop all their hair off before the big day?  Has anyone actually done this?

Friday, November 12, 2010

No, Thank YOU

Image via

These gorgeous plates from West Elm go way beyond Thanksgiving for me.  I want to take that font ("typeface" for you design sticklers) and slap it onto my invites.  I'm having a bunch of trouble finding a font that's swirly and swash-y enough for me.  

But, this, this is perfect.  

Image via

Filing this away in my invitation inspiration folder.  

DIY brides, did you find inspiration in unexpected places?

All in the Family

Inspiration board via Dandelion & Grey

I've had my heart set on a family style meal since we started planning our wedding.  While the menu may have changed from a New England seaside feast to a more locally-focused meal (Hudson Valley), I still really want a family style meal. 

Can you just picture it?

Image via ChefsMarket

Beautiful platters of food, passed from guest to guest...a charming spread of delicious selections, and the best part is you can take what you want without waiting in line!

And look at the picture above, the platters actually add to the decor!

In my family, dinner is a time to catch up with one another.  I would love to have that same sense of actually sharing a meal at our wedding, instead of "chicken, fish, or beef?"  

A family style dinner feels a little less fussy to me, and a little more intimate. But I don't know how much this will cost.  The chef at our venue has been extremely gracious in coming up with a family style menu that works within our budget, but I feel like we may end up missing out on something wonderful. The standard menu sounds delicious to begin with, so why mess with success?

We still have plenty of time to decide.  I think I need to head up to Highlands to have a meal at their restaurant, and then start tackling the menu.  

Did you get to choose your menu?  Was there anything you "had to have?"