A little vacay.

[image from here]

I'll be taking a few days off. Matt and I are going to New York City to visit friends and then off to Winter Park to ski and celebrate our second wedding anniversary.

I will 'see' you next week. Have a great weekend!


Princess project.

Do you have a bridesmaid's dress you know you won't wear again? Maybe you outgrew it or it's too long or short for your taste...

Donate it to the Princess Project, a non-profit that gives prom dresses to disadvantaged teens in California.

Think about all the girls that can really use them in the upcoming prom season, especially because of this economy.

If you don't live in California and you'd like to donate, have your dress dry-cleaned and mail it to:

The Princess Project
c/o Team Worldwide
405 Eccles Ave. South
San Fransisco, CA 94080


Shout out!

I love my blogger friends!! They love to fill me with chocolaty goodness.

Amy, whose wedding I posted here, played the "Pay It Forward" game I posted about a couple of days ago. She was kind enough to pay it backwards as well, and you can imagine my delight when my mail was delivered today and there was a box from her.

She sent me the best brownies I have EVER had. Seriously. SO good. They are a peanut-butter and chocolate fudge delight. I had to stop myself from eating them all so Matt can have some when he comes home. He's going to be in heaven.

Thank you SO much Amy. You should post the recipe on your blog, if you haven't already!

You're engaged! Now what?

You just got engaged! Yea! Now what?! When and how does all the planning begin?

Your first thought is probably to call everyone you know and tell them the good news. Then your mind will probably start wandering to your dream gown. How could it not?

But--first thing's first. After you've enjoyed the first few days (or weeks) of being engaged, it's time to talk turkey. That's right--the dreaded 'B' word. You and your fiance should determine a loose idea of what you are going to spend on your wedding. If your budget is $1000, most likely you aren't going to have an uber-fancy reception featuring ice sculptures. Your budget will help determine the formality of your wedding, which in turn will affect every other decision, including your gown.

After you determine your budget, then you can think of the overall style and formality you want. Then, all of the above considered, you can decide on a date and location. Your date and location could be effected by one another. You may have a dream location in mind and someone else could have booked that venue on your wedding date. If your heart is set on a specific date, be flexible with the locale of your reception and vice-versa.

With those major decisions aside, you can start researching your vendors and decide on all the details that will make your wedding vision unique.

You can go here to win a keepsake planner or go to russell+hazel to download free wedding- planning templates. Enjoy every minute of the planning process, even if you hire someone to plan for you, being a bride is an exciting time in your life!


Lunch Etiquette

When I find information this helpful, I just have to pass it on. Ashley Brooke Designs posted this to pertain to a business lunch. I think it's great etiquette to have for any restaurant meal, whether you will be with colleagues, friends or a date.

"I know a lot of your are going through the job interviewing process and I thought that this post on business lunch etiquette might help a bit! Every company interviews differently, but if it involves a lunch... you will be set! Here are 10 tips to get you through a business lunch:
1. Be in the present moment with whoever you are with. Limit glancing around the room. It’s a sign that you are looking for something better. There is nothing worse than having a conversation with someone who is half there.

2. Being on time. This sounds so commonsensical. The percentage of people being late is over 65 percent.

3. Turn off your cell phone before entering the restaurant. No one around you wants to hear your conversation. Even if you let it ring, pick it up and then take it outside.

4. If you are woman and this is business, it’s appropriate now to stand up and shake the hand of a male.

5. Offer your hand and give a firm handshake. Sometimes, people who don't like to shake hands will not meet yours. Don't think anything of it if they don't, this is just their preference.

6. Think of an opening statement to make as you are shaking hands. This is part of your first impression, so make it good. Always use the guest’s first name either at the beginning or at the end of the statement. For example, "Thank you for taking the time to get together today, Catherine." When needing to complete a group of introductions, highest rank rules over gender.

7. Small talk is important--don't leave it out.

8. Aha, who picks up the tab? If you did the inviting, you are responsible for the check. No matter how more well-off they are. If a joint meeting, ask at the beginning or when scheduling the lunch on check splitting. Waiting until the check arrives to state the check splitting is a sign of professional weakness. If you are meeting with someone who is giving you valuable advice, you must pick up the tab. A personal handwritten follow-up note is also appropriate.

9. Where does the napkin go? Immediately after sitting, place the napkin in your lap. If you notice the napkin is in the goblet, this is usually a signal from the restaurant that the server will place the napkin into your lap. If you excuse yourself during the meal, place the napkin on the left hand side of your plate or on the chair. This signals the server that you aren't done. When done, place napkin on the right of the plate and your fork and knife horizontally across the plate to signal the server.

10. What to eat and use first? Which glass or which fork can be confusing. Bread and salad plates always to the left, drinking glasses to the right. Utensils start from the outside in and the dessert fork is by the dessert plate. Lay your fork and knife across your plate to signal the server you're finished. "

{Original article located here}

Bon Voyage.

[image via Brides.com]

I think these luggage tags are adorable--I especially like the 'more mrs.'. I need an extra two!

My favorite part of owning luggage tags is that I know immediately which bag is mine when it comes down the carousel.

You can get them at daisy-days.


And the Oscar goes to...

I am an Oscar fanatic. I watch pretty much every award show, and perhaps it's because I spent my past life as an actress, but I have a special fondness for the Oscars. And of course, one of the best parts is the fashion! Here's my fashion break-down of the evening.

Best Jewelry

I wouldn't expect Jolie to turn up in anything but black (which I can't blame her--half of my wardrobe consists of black clothing), but wearing these emerald earrings was an amazing way to compliment her basic black palette. She also wore a fabulous cocktail ring to match.

Most Architectural Dress

And I mean this in a good way. I think her soft, loose hair was perfect for this pleated, architectural dress. She took a bit of a chance wearing something a bit unusual and it paid off. I've always been a fan of hers and I'm glad that she's showing up more and more in movies lately.

Best Co-Star Couple

[image: mtv.com]

I can't imagine what their success might feel for them. Their runaway hit, Slumdog Millionaire was originally to be released straight to DVD. What a great Cinderella story. The looked so happy last night, and nothing makes you more beautiful than a happy glow.

Best Real-Life Couple [image: mtv.com]

Before you say anything about Jolie and Pitt (yes, they are both freakin' beautiful), the night really belonged to Sean Pitt for winning Best Actor. He is an amazing actor and he finally wasn't overlooked for the incredible job he did. And, Robin was, after all, the Princess Bride. They looked great together.

Best Could-Be Wedding Dress [image: people.com]

I have Vicky, Cristina, Barcelona sitting next to my DVD player as we speak. I can't wait to watch the movie. Penelope looked as beautiful as she always does. And word has it, she had this dress for years and was saving it for a special occasion. It seems that the Oscars came before the wedding. Seriously, though..look at the hem. Gorgeousness.

Best Surprise [image: mtv.com]

My mouth dropped open when I saw Alicia Keys come onto the stage to present an award. I have never seen her look more beautiful.

Best Undergarments
[image: cnn.com]

I think her body looks amazing, and I really liked this dress. Sure, it was a bit costume-y and I have a feeling that many people won't agree with me, but the bodice was beautiful, the belt contemporary, and her glamour hair, perfect. Okay, the tulle is a bit much, but still.

Hottest Showstopper: Male

[image: just jared]

Robert Pattinson conjures up images of James Dean-rebellious-hotness. I loved his tux and his wild hair.

Hottest Showstopper: Female

I couldn't decide which I liked more. Natalie looked fantastic. The bodice on her dress was gorgeous. There was a glamourous simplicity to her styling. Her hair and skin looked amazing and I can't help but love the pinkish, lilac color.

Anne, on the other hand, was shining. She was the opposite of simple. The paleness of the dress seemed to compliment her skin, rather than blend in with it. I loved the absence of jewelry, because you don't really need it with that intricate of a dress. Love the bag. Love the shoes. Love everything. In fact, as I write this, I think Natalie took a very close second. Anne is the belle of the ball here.

I know they tried really hard, but...

[images: mtv blog]

I can't help but really dislike Jessica's dress. It sort of looked like a tumor was growing out of it when she walked on stage. The hem looks awkward and the material looks sort of...cheap. She's so pretty, so I feel like she really missed a chance to stand out by wearing this dress.

Beyonce. Beyonce. Beyonce. This pattern reminds me of a table cloth. Or curtains. I feel like she wears the same mermaid thing over and over again. I know she wants to promote her line, but the Oscars are a chance to pick a dress from the world's top designers. How can she turn that down?

What were your favs of the night?

[all images, if not noted above, can be found on eonline]


help (please)

Can someone more tech savvy than I tell me why some of my posts are double-spaced and others single? Sometimes, it's even happening within the same post. I usually form my posts in the 'edit html' section and I see nothing unusual happening there.

I like consistency. I can't help it---I'm type A. This is sort of driving me crazy.

Anybody? Anybody? Bueller?

Sometimes I love technology (like it's super fun to have a blog and have a computer that holds a world's worth of information at my finger tips...oh! and a cell phone) and other times, like today, I wish I could stomp on it's head, if it had one. But then again, I'm much more of a peacemaker, so I'd probably just give it a really dirty look.
update: as soon as I published this post, it did the same thing!


Jenn gave me this awesome award!! SO nice of her...

“These blogs are exceedingly charming. These kind bloggers aim to find and be friends. They are not interested in self-aggrandizement. Our hope is that when the ribbons of these prizes are cut, even more friendships are propagated. Please give more attention to these writers. Deliver this award to eight bloggers who must choose eight more and include this cleverly-written text into the body of their award.”!

I want to pass this on to:

Reality of Happily Ever After

DIY Friday: bouquet favor/place cards.

I love Martha Stewart's line of paper punchers. I have been using the 'doily' design non-stop recently. Melissa from M and M Wedding used a few different ones for her wedding invitation lables (as seen here) and A Field Journal used one of them for today's DIY project. The outcome is always beautiful. Go here for a full tutorial.


Looking for a graphic designer...

I thought I would throw this out to the blogosphere. I am looking for a talented designer (not too expensive) to design my business logo....any takers? Pretty please?

I'm seeing red...

I'm coordinating a Hindu wedding in March and I just got my hands on the couple's wedding invitation. The color red plays a dominant role in the Hindu wedding celebration, symbolizing success and prosperity. I was so excited to open the invite when I got it in the mail, I accidentally ripped the delicate paper on the top corner. :(

Even with the small tear (boo!), it's absolutely beautiful, designed on hand-made paper.


Paying it forward.

Tonight, I found this on Jane's blog and I think it's a wonderful idea.

So, the first three people who comment on this post will get something handmade from me in the next couple of months (make sure I have access to your email). The only catch? You need to pay it forward, too! Post this on your blog and then come back and leave your comment. How fun is it to pass on awesome homemade items? {Hint: mine will involve pretty paper}

A wedding planner is the same as a coordinator, right?

Well, not exactly. Lately, there have been more than a few people asking me what the difference is between a wedding designer, a wedding planner and a wedding coordinator. A bride may have all of her wedding details worked out, but may need someone to show up on the big day to ensure that her wedding vision is carried out to perfection. There's a wedding professional for that. Or, a bride may just want someone to book all her vendors. Well, there's a wedding professional for that, too. I found this post on Elizabeth Anne Designs a few days ago that explains, in detail, about the differences.

"What’s in a name?

Don’t be misled. A planner is not a designer and may not be a coordinator. So, what’s the diff?

A wedding coordinator is your basic essential. It’s like the bare bones that you need for a happy, stress-free wedding day. Many coordinators are planners as well, and offer higher packages that include planning help. “Coordinators”, in essence, are around to tie up loose ends and make sense of all of the plans you have put into place. They typically step in anywhere from a month to a week out from your wedding- but not more than that. A “site coordinator” is very, VERY different than an independent coordinator. Do not let yourself be led astray on this. Nearly EVERY site has an appointed contact- a “venue coordinator”. They are not a wedding coordinator- they are venue staff who are appointed, typically not as qualified, and not looking out for the best interest of YOU- the couple. It is a rarity, as well, that any venue coordinator will stay for the entirety of your wedding. A wedding coordinator will be there from dusk til dawn, should your wedding require it, with a happy smile on their face and a determined attitude in their heart.

A wedding planner is someone to help you guide through the industry. They are hired to help you with venue selection, vendor selection, and any details along the way. Their expertise and experience play an essential role in pairing you with vendors to fit your budget, personality, style, and needs. Many wedding planners are coordinators as well and nearly every planner I’ve met will be there with you themselves personally on the day-of, after planning the wedding closely with you. This becomes a special relationship between the couple and the professional and it is so so - I cannot emphasize this enough - SO important that the couple is comfortable and confident in their pick for a planner. Please note that a PLANNER is there to guide the couple for the duration of their engagement. They are like a wedding manager- they aren’t typically hired to inject their style or ideas or to come up with a wedding’s concept, creatively speaking. This is left to the client. I think that brides typically cringe at the thought of hiring a planner because they fear that a planner will kill their creative freedom. Quite the opposite! We are here to foster that creativity, to encourage it, be with you in it, and ensure that the vendors you hire are the ones that will work best to gel with the vision you’ve put into place.

Event designers are the top of the line, crème de la crème for weddings. They are hired based on their beautiful past work and glowing references. They’re known for taking care of your floral design as well- as the concept for your wedding is theirs, top to bottom. This works perfect for a busy couple who wants to attend an event that is decked out to the nines! It also works for brides who just can’t seem to articulate their own vision, or who want their wedding to be more of a party thrown in their honor than they want to be mulling over the details of the party. Event designers are known for their unique and personal sense of style and their website and catalogues should reflect just that. Typically they’ll take your notes, ideas, pictures, and vision and create something fabulously YOU, with a twist only they could put onto it.

Please note THIS: not all event designers are planners. They MAY just be florists and designers. They may NOT want anything to do with the coordination of your vendors or details. This is something to be aware of before signing a contract!"

I find that this is a great explanation and it may clear up any questions you have about what sort of wedding planning professional you are looking for.

There is a lot more to this informative post. Click here to read the entire article.


Appreciation #6: my dog, Sadie.

This is the only photo I could find of her---she is so camera shy. As soon as you point one at her, she turns her face! My little Sadie is sitting at my feet right this moment. She rarely leaves my side. She is a mutt that we got from The Denver Dumb Friends League. Everyone tries to guess what mixed breed she could be. It's become a big game. I told Matt we should start a pool. Everyone puts in a dollar to find out. Then we could get the DNA test and the winner would have the leftover money.

As most pet lovers would understand, she has brought more joy to my life than I can explain.

Sadie's sweet idiosyncrasies:
*She sleeps under my side of the bed and doesn't get up until I do
*She'll play fetch until her little paws bleed (so eager!)
*She's nice to our cats
*She's VERY excited when we come home
*She tries really hard to learn the command "shake" (still working on this)
*She's a great camping dog-no bears will come near us
*She follows me around from room to room as if to say, "I'm still here, mommy!"
*She knows the word "kong", and she loves her kong like noone would believe.

Matt really wants another dog...but neither of us are experts on breeds. What kind of dog would you recommend?

Engagement season is underway... {contest!}

and I've got a surprise for you!

First, allow me to say, "Congratulations!" to anyone who may have gotten engaged over the weekend. Valentine's day is known for encouraging boyfriends everywhere to drop on on one knee. I'm sure that there are more than a few of you who got engaged over the holidays, as well. Yea!

I could not have survived without my wedding planner, which I made from a binder and some folders. I have been known to go down to the basement (where all of our wedding memorabilia is kept) and take it out from time to time. It carries so many memories of planning the big day. I must have changed my mind about colors at least a dozen times.

Well, I have my hands on a new Martha Stewart Keepsake Wedding Planner, which I want to give to one lucky bride (or groom) in two weeks. Contest time!! Don't we all love winning something?!

Here are the rules:

Leave a comment with your engagement date and link back to this post in your blog. And if you want to become a follower, I'll love you forever (I truly read all of my follower's blogs). I will choose the winner at random on March 3rd (that's my second wedding anniversary!).

This planner is full of beautiful photos, practical advice and lots of space to add all of your image clips, business cards, and notes. So, who wants to win!?


Be my valentine.

[image from here]

Show some love to someone you care about today.

Your bestie.
Your mom and dad.
Your pet.
Your lover.

I know it's basically a Hallmark holiday, but it's nice to take a moment out of this and every day to appreciate your loved ones.

[image from here]

[image from here]

[image from here]

My favorite poet, e.e. cummings and his beautiful poem.

i carry your heart with me (i carry it in
my heart) i am never without it (anywhere
i go you go, my dear; and whatever is done
by only me is your doing, my darling)
i fear
no fate (for you are my fate,my sweet) i want
no world (for beautiful you are my world, my true)
and it's you are whatever a moon has always meant
and whatever a sun will always sing is you
here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life; which grows
higher than soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that's keeping the stars apart
i carry your heart (i carry it in my heart)

Happy V-day! Have some chocolate, on me.


DIY Friday: pomegranate mojitos.

[image from here]

Are you planning an intimate dinner at home tomorrow? A gathering with friends? Whatever your plans are, it's the weekend! Have a yummy cocktail to celebrate.

Ingredients (this is for two drinks):
1/2 pomegranate (optional)
1/4 cup fresh mint leaves separated from the stems, plus 2 sprigs for garnish
4 tablespoons fresh lime juice--you can cut this in half if you're sensitive to lime (I love lots of lime!)
3 ounces light rum
Club soda
1 cup sugar--this will be made into a simple syrup; you can add more to taste if you have a sweet tooth. I usually add a little less.
1/4 cup pomegranate juice

1. In a small pan over medium high heat, combine sugar with 1 cup water. Stir until the sugar dissolves. Continue to simmer until the syrup is quite thick, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool completely. This simple syrup can be made up to 2 weeks in advance and kept in the refrigerator.

2. In a glass jar or cocktail mixer, combine 1/4 cup of the simple syrup and the mint leaves. Use the back of a wooden spoon or a muddler and gently crush the mint leaves. Add the pomegranate juice, lime juice and rum and shake well. (This can be made up to an hour in advance and kept in the refrigerator.) Divide the ice between two tall glasses or balloon wine glasses and add club soda to each glass, to your taste. Shake the rum mixture, divide between glasses and garnish with mint and pomegranate seeds (you can 'pound' out the seeds into a bowl by hitting them with the back of a spoon).

Happy Friday! Anyone up for happy hour? :)


Baby face.

Let's take a break from weddings and skip ahead to babies. A Cup Of Joe is such a popular blog, that you may have already seen this so I was hesitant to re-post these photos. But because I am still sitting here laughing, I realized I had to pass this along, just in case you haven't seen it.

French photographer, Thierry Bouet takes photos of newborns' first moments. Yes, babies are adorable, but I can't help thinking they are so funny-looking when they enter the world. It's almost as if they are thinking, "What the....?! Who are you?! What's going on?!" I especially like the baby whose tongue is sticking out. That kid is going to grow up with quite a sense of humor.

Matt and I have been talking babies recently (a lot) and even though we are going to wait a little while longer before trying, I am kind of thinking I want to take a photo like this of my newbie and someday when he or she is a teen and they get mad at me, I can show 'em the photo. Who could stay mad looking at one of those faces?

[All images from Life Lounge, belonging to Thierry Bouet]

Pretty paper.

One of the best things about the blogosphere is meeting other fellow bloggers. When I started blogging, I had no idea I was about to step into such a wonderful, supportive community.

One such blogger whom I've met is Kristy, from Remember Something Blue. She has a great, informative wedding blog (go check it out!). She and I started emailing each other a while ago and recently, she was kind enough to send me some links for wedding invitation companies that were recommended to her from a stationery provider. I love receiving this type of info!! When you're in this industry, it's not possible to have enough bookmarks of great vendors.

And to pass on the love, here are some of my favorite pretty paper companies.

{the dauphine press}

{Red Orange Weddings}


Blog love.

My newest blog obsession is Le Love. If you haven't stumbled on this blog yet, hurry your fingers over for a daily dose of that "ahhhhhh" feeling.

Old school valentine.

Remember when you were in fifth grade and you opened a valentine from the boy you thought was really cute? You hoped it would say something that allowed you to believe he may like you, too. I remember having a crush on a boy named Richard. The night before V-day, I filled out all the cards I was going to hand out to my classmates the next day, careful to put a special one aside for Richard. I was so incredibly shy though, and in no way did I let him know I liked him. But I made sure he got a card that was different from all the other cards I handed out. It was my shy-girl way of letting him know that because he got a unique card, he was special to me.

Why not give your sweetie a card this year that's as one-of-a-kind as he is? Making homemade cards can be as easy as you need them to be, or if you have extra time, you can pour yourself into the project. Imagine his surprise when he opens a pretty, unique card that you made especially for him.

Here are some ideas to get you started. Play around with colors and materials and if you are so inclined, you can a write a cute little poem or love letter inside.

[image: bhg.com]

[image: bhg.com]

[image: martha]

[image: martha]

[image: bhg.com]


Sparkle and shine.

I came across this engagement session on Denver photographer Jared Wilson's blog and I instantly became enamoured with the couple. I think a great engagement shoot will make the viewer feel like the photographer captured the spirit and personality of the couple, as well as their love. If you don't know the couple, you'll want to. And if you do know the couple, you'll think, "That is SO them!"

I don't happen to know the gorgeous couple below, but Jared's photos left me wanting more.

How often do you see the groom-to-be as the focus of the shot?

Did I miss anything?

I love to post inspired ideas and photos from other blogs and the web. I try my best to give credit where it's due, but if I miss something, please let me know. And, if you want something taken down, I can do that. No problemo.