Monday, April 30, 2012

Disturbed & Ill: Camo Tuxedos

Mr. 3 and I have been on the tuxedo hunt recently.  After a horrendous experience at Men's Warehouse (more about that in a future post), Mr. 3 put his foot down and said he would not be using Men's Warehouse no matter how much I loved the new line of Vera Wang (I'm not sure he actually knows who that is or would remember the name if you asked him...I'm pretty sure he more said "I'm not wearing anything from that store.")

So, we went over to Jos. A. Bank to check out their tuxedos.  I'll have to fill you in on the full adventure later, but I wanted to drop a quick PSA against this heinous monstrosity:

Jos. A Bank
(who one should ever order this)

Despite the cutie model, I almost threw up.   Mr. 3, an avid hunter, of course immediately loved it and even tried to bargain with me (can't we have two vests?).  This is why grooms are not allowed to go shopping without their future wives.  Besides the sheer tackiness of it, I would not want my future spouse coming to our wedding in anything that represents death.*  I'm surprised they didn't top it off with a bit of blaze orange as a pocket square...clearly Jos. A. Bank hasn't passed a hunter safety course.

*Full Disclosure: I eat meat and I wear leather and fur.  I'm also not against hunting; however, I cannot get behind camo as a fashion choice.   Sportswear: Yes.  Church Proceeding: No.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Bridesmaid Shoes and the Drama that Ensues

Melinda and I prefer maids to have matching shoes if the dresses are short. It is less distracting and provides a more cohesive appearance - wonderful things except dictating shoe choices means an extra cost for the maids. The bridesmaid dress Melinda picked out (which, btw, is beautiful and I am so excited to wear it!) is short, thus began the shoe search. She wanted to keep our overall costs down since she is a considerate bride and not a bridezilla at all <3

Melinda did a wonderful job in finding beautiful shoes at a great price. Check them out below! The color is slightly more pink than it appears. Melinda found them for $55 at DSW, but since they were not available online, she got all of the maids' shoe sizes and purchased us each a pair.

I decided to run out to my local DSW to get my own pair so that Melinda could return my pair instead of shipping it to me. That exact day I went to DSW, the shoes had gone on clearance - I found my size and two sizes for my sister Natalia, also a bridesmaid, for $40. I was going to see her in a few weeks and then still be able to return the size she did not want. Excited with my purchase and the extra discount, I dropped off the giant bag of shoes at J's apartment for safe keeping. This is all wonderful and great, but here is where the story gets messy.

As I was prepping for traveling to Florida a few weeks later, I realized that I could not find the giant bag of shoes. J and I tore apart his apartment looking for the bag and also the boxes, but to no avail. I sent Melinda an email hoping and begging that she had not returned the shoes she had snagged for Natalia and me. Fortunately, Melinda still had our shoes but my pair was a half size bigger than the size I preferred so over the next few days, Melinda and I called around searching for the shoes in Florida while J continued to look for the shoes. In the end I decided to stick with the pairs Melinda had for us, but we never did find those shoes! I have absolutely no clue what happened to him. It is possible that they got left on the bus between the shop and J's apartment, but that is doubtful. Another option is that J and/or his roommate threw them out with the trash.. I am not sure how someone could throw out a shopping bag with three full shoe boxes inside, but you never know when it comes to men. 

Anyway, long story short: Melinda found awesome shoes for a great price and I somehow lost three pairs of them. Are y'all doing matching bridesmaid shoes? If so, where did you find them? I have not decided yet if my maids will have matching shoes since I want their dresses to be long, but I think my eight bridesmaids plus a junior will be too many to take Melinda's route :)

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Maid of Honor Cards

Last week, I received a card from Melinda. I was super excited to see that it was a Maid of Honor card and a lovely note on the inside! Of course I said yes :) Melinda will be my Matron of Honor, since she will be married by my wedding date, and my little sister is my Maid of Honor. I also have six other bridesmaids and a junior bridesmaid, plus two ring bearers and two flower girls. No worries, the church is large.

Melinda and I spend countless hours on gchat and weekend texting/cell minutes going over all the wedding decisions we have made, are currently making, and need to make. I know my little sister appreciates all the effort Melinda is putting into my wedding since Natalia is in college and does not have much time for anything other than studying (and sorority/fraternity/miscellaneous social events). However, I did not send out cute cards or anything like that for my bridesmaids, honor or otherwise. I just asked/informed :) 

Did you send and/or receive cards or any other token regarding bridesmaid status? Or were you more casual about it? 

Friday, April 27, 2012

Product Review: Victoria's Secret Sports Bras

In my quest for wedding weight loss, I've decided to share a few of the things that I've begun to heavily rely on for my workouts.

One of my former step aerobics instructors told me that your biggest investments in workout wear should be in 1) your shoes (we only get one set of natural knee caps) and 2) your sports bra.  As you work out, your upstairs lady bits are going to jiggle (some of us more than others) and as they do, the connective tissues that support your boobs will weaken (bad) and cause major sagging (ick!) if not properly supported by a good sports bra.  Whether you are well endowed or part of the IBT Committee, it matters not, boob sag big or small is sad.

Since I like my boobs to stay closer to my armpits than my belly button I have been on the search for a great new bra that would provide ample support for running, tennis (when I eventually start playing again), zumba, and step aerobics.  I have to say that I'm ABSOLUTELY in love with Victoria's Secret Runway Sport's Bra.

VS Runway Sports Bra
Image from Victoria's Secret
Your chest will not move.  I don't know what magic is woven into the fabric, but the fact that you can order by your usual bra size is so helpful!  It's got an underwire and some light padding (which helps avoid that awful smushed mono-boob look, hurray!).  It's also made out of a moisture wicking fabric which is waaaaay better than your standard cotton sports bra.

It's a bit pricey, so I've been trying to buy one new bra a month using one of those $10 off any bra coupons that come in the mail all the time (there's usually a free undie coupon attached as well).  As the bra band starts to wear out (which all bras do), you can adjust the back to get some more mileage out of the same bra.  The way I also like to look at it is that it is a $35 (with coupon) monthly investment to ward off a breast lift down the road (ick!).

Has anyone else out there found a great workout product that we need to know about?  Let us know!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

DIY Lollipop Crafts

As I mentioned in yesterday's post, I've been diligently working on my candy bar and all things pink, green, and metallic.  Despite having relatively low floral costs, I have decided not to put flowers on the candy table, but instead making "candy themed" decorations to liven up the table (a la Amy Atlas).

I recently decided to make two arrangements of giant lollipop-esque items after seeing these at the craft store:

As usual, I was inspired by all things sparkly and knew that I HAD to use them somewhere at the wedding. That amount of sparkle seemed best suited for the candy table. This is a fairly self explanatory project, but I do have a few notes/tips. 

First, here is a list of supplies that I used:

Although wine isn't on the list...I definitely needed a glass to complete this project
-Styrofoam balls for base (I used 2 different sizes for contrast, less work, and less supplies)
-Sparkly pom poms (any type of pom pom-like decoration should work)
-Dowel rods (to make the lollipop stick)
-Spray paint (to paint the lollipop stick) it at your local Home Depot or Lowe's, I've already priced the spray paint at the craft stores and the home improvement store gives you 3X the paint at the same price.
-Wide wired ribbon (to tie bows at the base of the lollipop head, I'm using some from my pew bow hoard)
-Low heat hot glue gun (If you only have a high heat gun, I highly suggest you spend the $5 for the low heat version.  High heat will melt your styrofoam.)
-Large (like 100 pack) of hot glue sticks (you will need a ton, I also suggest you buy the kind that work with high heat and low heat glue guns...less worry later about which glue sticks are which)


1. Spray paint your dowel rods outside to allow them time to dry.

2. I decided to use styrofoam balls as the base of the lollipop and hot glue the mess of them out of them using the sparkly pom poms as the "candy coating".  Place the balls close together to prevent gapping (you may have to hot glue a second layer of them at certain points to cover up any gaps).

 *Tip: Spray paint your styrofoam balls first with a similar/coordinating color...if I had done this I would have worried lest about the gaps.  Leave enough room blank for you to insert your dowel rod.  I also suggest you turn on a Real Housewives marathon because it can take awhile.

3.  Using dowel rod (after its dry), push into styrofoam ball. Remove the rod.  Pump some hot glue into the hole that the dowel rod left behind.  Put hot glue on the dowel rod.  Insert dowel rod back into sytrofoam ball, put some more hot glue around the outside of the dowel rod to seal it up, and let dry.

4.  Finish filling in blank space with sparkly pom poms.

5.  Cut length of ribbon long enough to make a good sized (but proportional!) bow.

6. Put a little hot glue on one side of the dowel rod and press ribbon onto the glue.

7. Tie bow.

8.  Admire your product!

All in all, it took me several nights to finish the lollipops (I made 2 large pink ones and 4 of the smaller green ones), mainly because I ran out of sparkly balls and had to hunt them down at several different Michael's (NoVA craft stores are NOT well stocked).  BUT it allowed Mr. 3 and I to spend a bunch of quality time I watched Swamp Loggers and Sons of Guns with him while I hot glued my brains out...and all that lovely time spent in the car driving out to the burbs in search of supplies (BTW: Mr. 3 gets total credit for me accomplishing this project.  The sales people at Michael's were not helpful and he wandered around until he found the supplies.  He also held the ball for me so I could hot glue (all while working on some of his own IT projects)...he's quite the multi-tasker).

My main take away from this is...I now understand why pomander balls are so expensive to make (so time consuming!) and always buy more supplies than you think you will need!

What craft projects do you have going on?  Let us know and send us pictures!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Bits from Behind the Scenes

On the subject of catering:

Melinda: What do you think of the quantities for the food lists?
Briana:  So 100 cream puffs for 150 people won't be enough.
Briana: You can fit at least two in your mouth at one time.
Melinda: So double the cream puffs?
Melinda & Briana: Lol

Gummi Gate

I've been diligently working on my candy bar layout and design for the past month.  I've also started ordering candy supplies using a variety of sources (Target, Wal-Mart, and Amazon mostly).  Since my wedding colors are pinks, metallics, with touches of green (or what K. Middles would have done had she wanted a color), I've been buying candy along that color scheme. Finding candy in the quantities I need at the prices I want has proven quite difficult.  I was really excited to learn that Amazon has a good sized selection of pink candy at reasonable prices and it also qualifies for free super shipping (shipping the goods can often cost more than the price of the candy!).

I ran across these strawberry gummi bears and while I didn't necessarily need 10 was the cheapest option I found.  I didn't read the reviews (mistake!), but I thought they looked pink enough...especially since I had searched for "pink candy" and it was on the list.

The gummi bears came yesterday....they are weird reddish color and definitely NOT the cotton candy pink like I had wanted.

Non-Pink Gummi Bears

I refuse to put them on the candy bar as it will throw the whole look off (I've also carefully been crafting up some pink decorations...check out tomorrow's post for an update), but I also don't think I want 10 lbs of gummi bears sitting around...I'm not even sure this is a task that my hungry office co-workers would be able to take on.  Amazon doesn't accept returns (and even if they did, the cost of paying return shipping on 10 lbs of returned gummi bears would probably give me back about $.01 of my original investment).

I had a quick panicked g-chat convo with Briana who suggested that I find a way to use them for something wedding related, but not on the candy bar.  I called my dear sweet Mama to tell her the scandal.  After talking to her, I decided to donate them to my bridal shower cause that her best friend Lena is hosting for me.  She seemed hesitant at first (probably she doesn't want to add to the effort Lena is already making as our host)...but after I promised that I would handle the portioning of the gummi bears into cute bags/containers, she decided it was a workable idea!*

All in all, gummi gate could have been a lot worse...they could have also been old hard gummi bears (don't worry I gave them a good squish to make sure they were fresh).  Moral of the story: don't trust your monitor when ordering candy online and read the reviews (I spotted a few reviews when I went back to look at my order and they mention the color not being right)!  I'm sure all the shower attendees will be quite excited when they get their sack o'treats weighing it at about 1/2 a pound each (cutely packaged of course).

What mishaps have you had for all things wedding?  Were you able to reuse/repurpose your buying mistakes?  Leave us a comment and let us know!  Also, any tips on candy websites with low shipping costs would be very much appreciated!

*My mama is a busy bee these days with all things wedding related.  Her list of projects include: addressing invitations, shopping for vintage plates (more to come on that), and making flower girl baskets, a ring boy pillow, and my veil (more on that later).  Plus the idea of 10 lbs of gummi bears to deal with is troublesome especially if you aren't a big fan of gummi bears to begin with.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Wedding Costs: An Extreme Balancing Act

How much does your average wedding cost?  According to the Knot and Wedding, it costs about $27K (excluding the honeymoon) for about 140 guests.  However, 11% of couples are spending more than $40K!   EEEK!  Briana and I had a gchat fest over this figure...considering I'm planning on have about 150-165 guests show and Briana is planning for over 200.  In looking at the chart, there was one quick revision that we would have made, we would not have included the engagement ring price.  Engagement rings are something that you wear everyday for the rest of your life, and our feeling is if the cost isn't related to the wedding day itself and it's value will extend beyond that one day, it shouldn't be counted (ditto for wedding bands).

the Knot & Wedding Channel
Budget Savvy Bride
In looking at the other price tages, I'm both under and over in some of these categories.  I'm ditching the transportation cost...Mr. 3 has a perfectly nice champagne colored Tahoe (which won't clash with any of our wedding attire) which we can get one of  his groomsmen to drive us from the church to the reception.  I'm not a fan of limos and while I love the thought of a few classic photos of us in a Rolls Royce, I think how much it would cost to make them happen ($500+) and I'm suddenly no longer interested.  My reception band is far far far less ($1800) as are my ceremony site fees (Mr. 3's old church will be about 1/3 of the price).  In some cases, I have definitely exceeded the costs that are described above, invitations for example (you can't do anything besides flat/digital print for that price).

Ultimately, Briana and I decided that budgeting wedding expenses is a balancing act.  Weddings cost money and a lot of it, but you should have a plan for where your money can be best spent.  For example, Briana pointed out that if you shell out a bunch of money for a photographer and go cheap on venue, decorations, decor, wedding attire, etc...your photographs might not be that great and it wouldn't be money well spent (there are very few photographers talented enough to crop/edit/shoot out tackiness).  I chose to have a wedding coordinator for day of coordination (although, not at the rate described above, mine is much lower), mostly because I value my sanity and I didn't want to cause nervous breakdowns among all the women in my family....that's money well spent (theraphy is much more expensive).

Another point on sanity, you can't be a slave to a budget if it is making you miserable.  Cutting out 20 guests from the list may not be the solution for getting a more expensive dress or having a really elaborate cake (one more reason to say no to costs more in addition to being yucky!), but you also shouldn't have to sacrifice your dress or yummy buttercream to invite 20 people you could care less about.  You also can't sit around sit around agonizing over the fact that some of your costs may be higher than you expected.  Example: Your church wreaths will cost $30 more than you had planned (this just happened to me).  Find ways to take money from other places in your budget or make your budget bigger by $30 (skip Starbucks, eat at home, etc).

You should be able to have the wedding you want without breaking the bank or going into debt.  Briana and I know that it's only one day...but it should be a memorable that you don't look back on and wish you could have done X or had Y.  I've read quite a few articles where brides sacrificed some wedding element that was super important to them, simply because it didn't fit within the parameters of that line item in the budget.

On the things you don't care about (in my case: transportation, in Briana's: invitations), try to get them for well under your budget or skip them altogether.  Here's some questions to ask yourself when making purchases/wedding decisions, which Briana and I are constantly using during our marathon gchats about all things wedding:
 -Have I done enough price comparison?
 -Will it go on sale or can I find a coupon?
 -Can I reuse this in my home after the wedding (that's how I ultimately decided it was ok to spend the extra $30 on the wreaths...I plan on using them in my house)?
 -Can I find something similar for less (i.e. cabbage roses vs. peonies)?
 -Will I have to go into debt to make this purchase?
 -What impact will this have on the overall look of the event?
 -Will this make the day easier?

Briana and I are really big on evaluating the last two questions.  Invest your money where you it will be most noticeable and have the most impact.  For example, when decorating we believe it's best to channel your funds to the areas that will be photographed the most.  Having a beautiful tablecloth and cake stand for your wedding cake is a must...that is one of THE most photographed areas of the room (not only by your photographer, but your guests as well).  Also, will your purchase make your day easier and alleviate  your stress (and that of your family)?  Having a wedding coordinator, paying a travel fee for your hair stylist/make-up artists to come to you, or paying extra for a venue that includes all the tablecloths/chairs/tables, etc. can seriously take some stress out of your day and your planning.

What expenses do you think are totally worth the $$$?  Is your wedding budget making you miserable or do you love to enter those expenses in your excel spreadsheet?  Please let us know if you have any budget suggestions or tips, we always like to save money!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Wedding Decisions, Part X

I probably mentioned this earlier, but I instituted an April 1st deadline for Mother and I to make some big wedding decisions. When that day came and Josiah inquired as to what we had decided, my only response was "April Fool's!" We are bad with deadlines.. Anyway, Mother and I had a long conversation on April 2nd and have finally succeeded in making choices that we will not review anymore!

The ceremony location never changed - it will be at the First Baptist Church where I have attended for practically my entire life. Imagine a big, white southern church with lots of room for all of my many bridesmaids. The reception will take place in my back yard where we will be serving lots of tapas to incorporate both my southern heritage and Josiah's Spanish/South American background.

by Justin DeMutiis, my wonderful wedding photographer -
great view of the house

I am hoping that by having tapas and more mobile seating and even some quilts and pillows for the young and/or young at heart guests will make my reception a more comfortable and social event rather than what you get at a formal sit down supper. And let me tell y'all, it feels WONDERFUL having made these decisions! It may not seem like a lot to accomplish since late August, but that is because I chose not to bore you with every plan we have gone through. We have probably planned enough for at least three separate weddings.

I have planned a bit more than I've shared today, but I have not decided how much to keep secret - I love to be dramatic :) But I can share my current dilema: light vs dark bridesmaid dresses. How will I ever decide?!? Melinda makes this wedding planning stuff look so easy! Just wait til she blogs about her wonderful crafty projects!

Monday, April 9, 2012

Product Review: Non-Greasy SPF. Yes Please.

As spring comes along, I become much more vigilant about sunscreen (I'm not really sure why I assume those evil sun rays can't wrinkle my face from October-March), but I absolutely hate sticky/greasy sunscreen on my face.  I don't like the Crisco-esque feel and I usually just wear mineral foundation with SPF in it to compensate (which really is not the same thing at all).  I wandered into an Origins store recently with the vague idea of getting a day moisturizer and I came across this product:

A Perfect World™ SPF 35 UV Face Protector with White Tea
A Perfect World SPF 35
Origins, $29.50 
Origins has helpfully found a solution for my disgust for sticky sunscreen by creating a thin sunblock that is also infused with Origin's white tea moisturizer....which is quite possibly the best smelling skin product.  Ever.  I've been trying it out and I really, really, really like it!  I can wear it on top of my thicker moisturizer and under makeup with no problem and after about a minute or so, my skin absorbs the product.  I'm seriously in love with this product, but I have to see what happens to it when DC hits 102 degrees this summer and I'm hauling myself around the city trying not to stroke out.  Stay tuned....

Friday, April 6, 2012

Pretty Stamps!

In doing my daily blog stalk, I ran across this post from fellow Southern Weddings Bridal blogger (and a personal blog favorite of my), Small and Chic Home. We all remember my post on ugly stamps right?

Well, Jeannine over at Small and Chic found an absolutely beautiful solution for you ladies who are sending out your invitations over the next month or so and require a little bit extra postage:
Cherry Blossom Centennial (Forever)
The stamp is a beautiful addition to any invitation!  Thanks Jeannine!

Monday, April 2, 2012

Product Review: Aveda Blue Malva Color Conditioner

Much to my horror, my blonde highlights turned out brassy for the first time ever. BRASSY!!! I have never had this happen to me before out of my many, many years of traumatizing my hair. Since I get my hair done back home and was only there for a week, I did not have time to have the stylist fix it - very upsetting. Some of the strands were practically orange, which is definitely not my color.

Good news, though. I went to the Aveda store to buy their amazing Camomile Shampoo since it has always brightened my blonde highlights more than enough to justify the $31.50 price tag (I don't normally use this shampoo because my highlights are generally bright enough). However, once I was in the store the sales lady talked to me and suggested I try the Blue Malva Color Conditioner since it is specifically designed to lessen the brassy coloring. And since it is used like a mask, you can visibly see a difference very quickly.

Miracle Product

And let me tell you - this conditioner is AMAZING. After one use my highlights are just barely brassy. I strongly recommend this product to anyone who needs a quick highlight fix. The conditioner actually conditions well, unlike a lot of color products. My hair is soft and manageable and a much better color than a few days ago. It is totally worth the $18! I have never been disappointed by Aveda products, so definitely go talk to an Aveda salesperson to find out if there is a miracle product for you.

Posh Purpose does not receive any perks from Aveda or any other entity for reviewing this product. We will always disclose information of that kind :) This article was motivated purely by Briana's excitement and joy of no longer having orange highlights.