Wednesday, March 5, 2014

6 Months to Go!

I don't know about you all but I'm excited to see Wednesday here again!

We now have less than 6 months until the big day -  actually 178 days, but who's counting...

I've been busy little bee bride lately, checking things off the list left and right!

I teased a little about these on Monday that Peter and I began our search for the perfect bling for our left hands. I've read quite a few places now that it's best to start that search 6 months out so that you give yourself enough time to look around or have something custom made! Of course we went on Saturday to start looking - Peter picked his ring in maybe 2 minutes tops, and I'm still debating my decision as we speak. We are wired SO differently! Here are some peaks at my options! Since my engagement ring is Tacori, they make it pretty simple by offering a (very overpriced) matching band to all their rings. That being said, I was also curious about some more eclectic options to add a little something extra to my left ring finger! What do you think?
I'm already 99% sure which one I'll be choosing, but that'll be my little secret for now ;-)

2.) FOOD
Arguably one of the best parts of the wedding! If you ask me, the food can really make or break your guest's experience on your wedding day! I could not be any happier with our choice of caterer and we met with her on Saturday to finalize our menu. We decided to go with 8 passed hors d'oeuvres (think all things mini),  3 different active food stations, and a dessert buffet to finish it all off! We're sticking to fresh, local, and seasonal foods. I'm still trying to come up with my choice for a signature drink - any suggestions are welcome! I'm thinking something light, refreshing, and possibly blush pink!

If you would have asked me when we first got engaged what I envisioned for our wedding day, I would have had a general idea. I've found that the idea I came into wedding planning with has changed and evolved as we finalize more details. I think I've finally honed in on what I want our day to look and feel like for us and our guests - and I'm quite happy with what I've come up with with our floral/decor team! Here's a little peak into what's inspired me as we get into the final stages...

There you have it! A little update into what's being going on at my wedding headquarters over here. I'm working on something for next week that entails some "rules" every bride should follow when planning their wedding! Comment below if you have some advice that every bride should follow and I'd be happy to include it.

Linking up for Wedding Wednesday!
Wedding Wednesday

Monday, March 3, 2014

Wedding Errands, Ampersands, and the Oscars!

It's Monday AND it's March!

Does anyone else feel like February was here and gone in the blink of an eye? What a blur of a month it was but I'm happy to welcome March with open arms in the hopes that it will soon bring us some signs of Spring in Pennsylvania! Fingers and toes are crossed, trust me.

This past weekend marked our 6 months to go until wedding! Well, kinda. We got a little jipped since February doesn't have a 30th - so we just made our own. I almost can't believe it!

We spent our weekend doing what Peter calls "wedding errands" and I must add that he is quite the trooper of a groom. No matter what, he never complains about meetings, consultations, etc. What a guy. This weekend we met with our caterer to finalize our menu, hashed out some rental details, and even went to scope out wedding bands - but more on that on Wedding Wednesday! Okay, maybe a little sneak peak ;-)

 In my opinion, the best Saturdays include going to look at bling.

While we're on the topic of love and Peter and mushy stuff, look at this gorg necklace P got me from Jessica N Designs. I'm slightly obsessed with ampersands and now I can wear one around my neck with our initials forever. Love it SO much and love supporting small businesses that focus on custom and handmade designs.

 I just love it, thanks babe!

Last night was the biggest night in Hollywood - the Oscars were on and I was glued to my TV for the red carpet coverage, which is always my favorite part! My second favorite part, Ellen hosting the show! Although I am one of her biggest fans and watch her show every single day, I felt like she started off with a bang and then fizzled out a little towards the end after the epic selfie that temporarily broke Twitter.

That being said - I fizzled out too because that show is just WAY too long. Cut the fluff and just give the people what they want to see!

But the most important parts for me - the fashion! I think I agree with most of what I saw for my best dressed picks. I felt like there were more hits than misses. Also, that the stars were going for more of a simplistic, less is more look - which I was totally loving.

Here are my pics for the best of the night -

Kate Hudson in Atelier Versace
Lupita Nyong'o in Prada
Angelina Jolie in Elie Saab
Jennifer Lawrence in Dior
Cate Blanchett in Armani

What do you think of my picks? Do you agree?

Wishing everyone a great start to the week and the month! Send some Spring vibes my way!

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Life Lately!

Did you ever stop dead in your tracks and think to yourself,
"where has the time gone?"

I can't believe we're almost at the end of the short month of February and quickly approaching the 6 months until wedding mark! I'm still trying to get used to having this shiny beauty on my finger, and now you're telling me in half a year I'll be a married woman with a new piece of bling to add to it?!

Everyone warned me that time would fly, and they weren't kidding! I just keep reminding myself to try and live in the present, even though it's so exciting and fun to think ahead to what's to come. Sometimes when I feel this way, I find it therapeutic to take a look back through my iPhone pictures to just reminisce and reflect on where I've been and what I've done.

According to my iPhone, my life lately has consisted of...

...buying some new pillows for our master bedroom!

...snuggling with this little lady!

...admiring the newest addition to our living room!

...completing our eclectic kitchen table!

...pondering life with my handsome nephew! 

...preparing for Bora Bora like any normal person would.

...having a serious blast from the junior high past after finding these in my old purse.

...finalizing wedding invitations! Hello gold glittery lover.

...sweating for the wedding! (I promise I'll never say that again)

...brainstorming some fun DIYs to do with these antique windowpanes. 

...watching the SuperBowl the only way I know how, with wine sippy cup in hand - hi future monogram!

...dosing up some perspective to my twitter peeps.

...drooling over my wedding shoes! SNEAK PEAK ;-)

...more snuggling with this little munchkin and her daddy!

...enjoying the snow we've been getting pounded with *from inside*!

...getting artsy with my nails - Sharpie for the win!

...celebrating ALL the kinds of love in my life on vday!

...getting a little crafty for my Valentine :-)

...wearing my heart on my sleeve chest!

...being wined and dined by this handsome fellow!

...being cliche and wearing red on Valentine's Day!

...making P's favorite breakfast on a snowy weekend!

...and enjoying my favorite pick-me-up brought to you by PB and Nutella!

I guess when you stop to take the time to look back on the past few weeks, you realize just how sweet life can be!

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Choosing Happiness

Suffering the major loss of someone you dearly loved is a life altering event.

Losing my Mom last August was hands down the most difficult experience I've ever faced.

And here I am, almost a full 6 months later, feeling like it just happened yesterday yet like it has been forever all at the same time - which has got to be one of the strangest feelings in the world.

Anyone who has gone through something similar knows that it is a roller coaster of emotions. Some days I'm up, others I'm down, and then there are those days where I really don't know what I'm feeling. I've been angry, sad, confused, speechless, and just plain pissed off. I've felt unsure, cheated, and forced to question everything I thought I knew. There have been tears, many many tears, and there have been smiles, more of those as time goes by.

There is one things I know for sure though, after experiencing such a traumatic and profound loss in my life, it would have been really easy for me to harden my heart. To go to an emotionally dark place. To shut out the people who were trying to help. To not allow myself to simply feel what I was going through, each and every stage of grief. To take a quick turn to negative town.

But that's not how I chose to handle things.

Soon after losing my Mom, I made a very conscious decision, in the midst of my grieving, that I was going to choose to be happy. To be true to what my emotions were telling me. To feel grateful that I was given the chance to have her in my life for 24 years. To feel so much joy looking back on all the time we got to spent, whether it was shopping or sitting at her chemo appointments. To live each and every day of my life exactly how I want to.

People in my every day life are often asking me how I have such a positive attitude and keep such a good mindset. For me the answer is simple, it's because deep down in my heart, I know that's what my Mom would want for me. It's really all about perspective - which I think is safe to say is something I've gained through the loss.

I'm not sharing all of this to make myself out to be some sort of hero. Instead, I hope I can inspire some of you to choose to take the positive route in your own difficult situations.

These past 6 months have been all about finding that "new normal" in my life without my Mom. As I'm finally starting to feel like myself again, I've realized that the "new normal" includes one very big change. Instead of having my Mom beside me each and every day, she's upgraded to a front row seat in heaven to watch all of my big moments unfold.

I've got a lot to be grateful for and a lot to look forward to, and because of that, 
I'm choosing happiness.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Breaking Tradition!

Happy happy Wedding Wednesday!

I'm going to be honest, this past week I have caught some kind of wedding fever because I have been living, breathing, eating (yay cake tasting!), and just being surrounded by everything wedding & I couldn't be happier about it!

Former brides told me this would happen eventually and boy were they right! I just can't get enough of it and have been crossing things off the list left and right!

{bridesmaid dresses} - they are going to be stunning!
{invitations} - just ordered and I'm obsessed!
{shoes} - UPS is delivering them tomorrow!
{cake} - can't wait to eat it!
{favors} - finally found something we like!

I'm telling you, I'm just on a roll over here!

Last week, I talked a little bit about how P and I are foregoing some of the "normal" traditions you would find at a wedding. This week, I wanted to talk about something that's a little bit more of a modern concept that we'll be including in our day...

The first look!

For those of you that don't know what this is - it means that Peter and I, along with our photographer and videographer (and maybe our bridal party & parents watching from afar) are going to see each other before the wedding! According to ancient tradition, many people believe that seeing each other before the wedding brings the couple bad luck - but to be honest, that's just not something Peter and I believe!

Now hear me out, there are SO many benefits to a first look!

1.) You and your groom will have a more private moment to first lay eyes on each other! Sure, your photographer will be there, possibly a videographer, and maybe some special friends and family watching from afar, but it's far more private then seeing each other for the first time in front of 100+ guests as you walk down the aisle. Not to mention as the day progresses, your private time together will become pretty non-existent until the end of the night, so it's the perfect way to step aside and share a private and calm moment before the day gets going.

2.) Your photographer and videographer are able to be there to fully capture each of your reactions for that moment when you first see one another! Talk about a special moment that you can forever have a way to remember. Who wants to take bets on which one of us will cry?

3.) Calms the nerves! I don't think there are many brides or grooms that have zero nerves when the ceremony begins. It's only normal, whether you're nervous to see each other or nervous that you'll mess up your vows in front of all your guests, there are definitely going to be some nerves there. Seeing each other before the ceremony is a great way to relieve some of those jitters knowing you got one of the biggest moments out of the way, and you can walk into your ceremony more relaxed!

4.) Enjoy your cocktail hour! Because P and I are seeing one another before the ceremony, we're also going to do most of our photos together then. {SIDE NOTE - my make-up and hair will be freshly done before the summer heat can get to it!} That way, after the ceremony we'll only have a few pictures to take with families, and then we'll be able to actually participate and enjoy our cocktail hour with our guests rather than run around taking pictures for the entire time!

5.) Take advantage of the daylight! If you are having an evening or nighttime ceremony, the first look is ideal for you because you'll be able to make the most of the natural lighting, which is especially helpful if you've chosen a natural light photographer like we have!

So there you have it! Although it's definitely not for everyone, we know that the first look will be the perfect addition to our wedding day! No matter what you choose, that moment when you first see each other will be something you'll hopefully remember forever!

I couldn't resist...

What are your thoughts on incorporating the first look into your plans?

Wedding Wednesday

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Wedding Wednesday - Traditions!

Planning a wedding involves a whole lot of decision making.

Any fellow brides out there would tell you the same thing.

It can be loads of fun, it can be super stressful, it can cause a tearful meltdown, and it can make you realize how lucky you are to be marrying someone who is always calm and level-headed. I'm not speaking from experience or anything...

With our wedding date almost 7 months away (tomorrow!) we have most of the bigger details all checked off the list, and have moved on to the finer details that will make our day unique. I'm really starting to slowly get into the nitty gritty of what our wedding day is going to be like and I must say this is my favorite part so far!

P and I consider ourselves to be somewhat traditional in some aspects, but also very modern in others. In planning our day to be a true reflection of us as a couple - we've decided to leave out some of the "mandatory" wedding traditions that you'd see at any cookie cutter wedding.

Here are some of the things you won't see at our wedding...

Photo by Frank Amodo
1.) Flower Girl and Ring Bearer
Early on, one of the first things we decided on was that there would be no kids at the wedding. I have been to plenty of weddings to see how one little kids can completely ruin a wedding ceremony or reception. As cynical as that sounds, because I LOVE kids, it was just the best decision for us - especially because our venue is a historic mansion and requires us to take out an insurance policy in case of damage. Plus, parents with little munchkins deserve a night out to themselves every once in a while!

 2.) Sand Ceremony or Unity Candle
Nothing against anyone who is doing or has done any of these symbolic ceremonies, but they just aren't for Peter and I! The sand ceremony in particular brings me back to my elementary school days of sand art. We still have to meet with our minister to go over the flow of our ceremony, but I have yet to find a ceremony that I like. So until I do, we'll be going without one! If anyone has a suggestion, I'd love to hear it!

3.) Bouquet and Garter Toss
This was hands down the easiest decision to make for me. Being in wedding planning, I have seen my fill of horrible awkward bouquet/garter tosses that end in people feeling uncomfortable watching it unfold! Peter has fought me on this one a little, because he does have a point, we have a lot of single friends and it could make for a funny moment. But I'm holding my ground on this! Plus, I don't need my Pop-pop sitting there watching P go up my dress.
 4.) Organized Dances
For me that includes the Electric Slide, Macarena, Cha Cha Slide, Chicken Dance, Cupid Shuffle, etc. I'd rather hear good dance music! I once was working a wedding where the DJ played the "wobble" song or whatever, and there was only 1 girl on the dance floor doing it by herself, not very well I will add. SO awkward. Who knows, maybe I'll allow one of them depending on what guests want to hear but I'm really not a fan of them at weddings! It's all very junior high dance to me.

What traditions did you or are you planning on leaving out of your wedding day?

Did you come up with any new traditions? I'd love to hear! 

Linking up for Wedding Wednesday!

Monday, January 27, 2014

Fashion Police - GRAMMY Awards 2014!

Well hello again Monday!

Hope everyone has another fabulous weekend, the last of January 2014! Can you believe it?

I'm not sure where this past month has gone but boy did it go fast.

Last night was a big night for TV. Either you were watching the GRAMMYs or the televised wedding of Bachelor couple Sean and Catherine - or set your DVR to record both and plan on watching one today! I chose to watch the GRAMMYs last night and as always was not disappointed. I love that the performances are original and bring together artists that wouldn't normally work together.

But of course before all the musical moments that happened during the show came the red carpet! I had a hard time coming up with "worsts" for this show because I think for the most part, the stars looked great! You've got to remind yourself that this IS the GRAMMY awards, which call for more fun, daring, and unique fashion choices!

Here are my picks for the BEST DRESSED of the GRAMMY Red Carpet!

 Miranda Lambert in Pamella Roland
Although she chose a very simplistic red plunge gown, I don't think Miranda has ever looked better! She lost quite an amount of weight recently, but she is still curvy and healthy looking and I thought she looked like a total bombshell in red.

 Ciara in Emilio Pucci
This must be the year for pregnant women to look amazing on the red carpet because Ciara is no exception. I picked Olivia Wilde as my absolute favorite from the Golden Globes because she was super pregnant but managed to look sexy and stunning. I think Ciara did the same for the GRAMMYs and is already embracing that bump!

 Alicia Keys in Armani PrivĂ©
I feel like Alicia is one of those artists who is getting better with age. She looked gorgeous last night in one of my favorite shades of blue and as always I'm loving the shorter edgy hair on her!

 Chrissy Teigen in Johanna Johnson
I love everything about Chrissy Teigen. She's drop dead gorgeous, she can cook, and she is hilarious on all forms of social media. She's really the total package! Last night, for me, she was one of the best of the red carpet on the arm of her handsome hubby, John Legend. How many of you swooned when he sang the song he wrote about her during the show and the spotlight was on her? TOO cute.

 Giuliana Rancic in Alex Perry
Giuliana was one of the first people I saw on the red carpet, for obvious reasons since she was hosting it! This is one of my favorite looks I've seen on her in a while. I was quite surprised when I saw this dress this morning on my computer because on my TV last night it looked red but on my computer it's looking more orange. Whatever it is, I like it!

 Pink in Johanna Johnson
Did you see Pink's performance? She never ever disappoints! I was out of breath just watching her do all the amazing acrobatics that she does all while still singing live! She is such a powerhouse and for me the definition of a true musical artist. I also LOVED her red carpet look and thought it was so great to see her in such a feminine look. The detail on this dress gave her quite a gorgeous figure!

 Katy Perry in Valentino
Oh Katy, my girl crush! For me, she always brings so much fun to the red carpet. You really never know what you're going to get from her, but it's always something unique, inventive, and 100% her. This Valentino dress was PERFECT for her and for the GRAMMYs. She looked like she was a musical fairy floating down the carpet and I for one loved it. And if you didn't catch a glimpse of her hair on the carpet, she was rocking the most amazing bun I've ever seen!

Taylor Swift in Gucci
Here she is again on one of my best dressed lists, which I always seem to find shocking. Whoever Taylor hired as her stylist has been knocking it out of the park, but for me, last night was one of my favorite looks for her I've ever seen. This Gucci gown was to die for and every time they showed her in the audience (with her horrible dance moves) I couldn't take my eyes off of it! And the dress she wore for her performance was equally as beautiful on her - kudos to you T. Swift!

...and here are MY PICKS for WORST DRESSED of the GRAMMY Red Carpet!

 Ariana Grande in Dolce and Gabbana
Although the dress isn't that awful, I don't think it was a good choice for the GRAMMYs. Mostly, I picked her mostly for that damn awkward side half ponytail she seems to always have attached to her head. We get it, you're a young star, but you're giving people the impression that you're 12 rather than 20.

 Paris Hilton in Haus of Milani
I still don't really know why she was there, but apparently she's got a new CD coming out soon - mark your calendars! I hated this dress on her from the turtleneck all the way down to the bottom. If you cut this dress into a shorter length, it reminds me of something we'll be seeing from the figure skaters at the Olympics next month.

 Beyonce in Michael Costello
This was tough because I am one of the many who just loves Beyonce. I hated this dress on her but more importantly, I was having a really hard time focusing on anything but her wet poodle inspired hair the entire night. That and the fact that the thong she was wearing during her performance with Jay-Z never once rode up her butt. That being said, her body looked amazing - I'm just not a fan of this dress on her AT ALL.

 Sara Bareilles in Blumarine
Here's another girl crush alert for me. I think Sara Bareilles is awesome and so talented! Her performance of Brave with the legendary Carole King was one of my favorites of the night. But I just wasn't feeling this dress on her. I give her kudos for the cool pop of color in her shoes and her Katniss inspired hair, but the feathery detailing on the dress just wasn't doing it for me.

 Skylar Grey in Michael Costello
I didn't even know there was a such thing as flesh colored leather, and then to turn it into a dress is just wrong. Kelly Osbourne called this "stunning" on the red carpet but I wasn't getting that vibe at all and thought she more or less resembled a naked barbie doll.

 Pharrell Williams in a Vivienne Westwood hat
Although he's the only male I chose to talk about on this list - his fashion choices could not go unnoticed. First of all - you're a millionaire and you're up for tons of awards tonight, get a freaking tux. Or really even just a nice suit jacket. Or anything but this Adidas track jacket. And that hat, which had to be one of the most talked about accessories of the night, looks like something he robbed off of a state police officer. I get it, you're quirky, but this was just bad.

So there you have it, my picks for the best and worst of GRAMMY fashion!

It's so hard to pick a favorite performance from the show because in reality I liked so many of them! The one that stands out the most for me though is Macklemore and Ryan Lewis' performance of "Same Love" featuring Mary Lambert, Queen Latifah, and Madonna. If you didn't see it, it was truly touching and actually brought tears to my eyes (along with tons of other weepy celebs in the audience)! So powerful to see 33 real life couples - straight and gay - be pronounced husband and wife during the performance! 

Obviously, it pissed quite a few people off, and everyone is entitled to their own beliefs and opinions - but I think this was really well done and truly beautiful! Take a look for yourself...

What did you think of the GRAMMYs last night - from the fashion to the performances to the winners?