Plan It Like A Pro

September 14, 2010

A sweet friend (who is now living in Italy – lucky!!) reminded me on the phone today that our wedding is exactly two months away! I remember when we first got engaged – November 13th seemed like an eternity away. This is a bit of a lazy post, but I liked a lot of these 10 tips, originally printed in Daily Candy Weddings, from expert planner Shawn Rabideau. Some I completely agree with and others aren’t so applicable (See #7). Enjoy!

1. Proofread the invitation like you’ve never seen it before. A client once printed a phone number for her hotel that was actually the number to a porn site. Her auntie was mighty upset. *Can’t wait to see mine – designed by Ashley Buzzy McHugh (http://www.buzzycraftery.com/). They should be here w/in the week!!

2. Take your official wedding undergarments and shoes to your first dress fitting. You don’t want to be surprised by visible panty line the day of.

3. You love your shoes, but they might not love you back. Break them in while you vacuum or dust. Just don’t mow the lawn in them.

4. Want Botox or another kind of facial treatment? Do it four to six weeks before the wedding. Looking surprised all day: You already did that at the engagement.

5. You might think that a spray tan is a great idea. Don’t do it. Or do and look like the 25th Annual Pumpkin Queen. Your choice.

6. Don’t let them see your groom sweat. Have him purchase or rent two (or more) identical tux shirts. If he gets clammy/soaked he can change.

7. Hotels were invented to prevent in-laws from staying with you on the wedding weekend. If they’re not willing to pay, include it in your budget. Nothing is less romantic than running into his pops in his BVDs at 2 a.m. ** I don’t have to worry about this one b/c A) my in-laws are terrific and B) they live in town!

8. Don’t wash your hair! Sounds gross, but your hair’s natural oils will help your stylist. Plus, it will hold longer.

9. It’s imperative to assign seats for the rehearsal dinner (unless you’re doing cocktails). Leaving guests to decide where to sit always creates problems, fights, and hurt feelings.

10. Drink plenty of water and don’t forget to eat on your wedding day.

For more information, go to shawnrabideau.com.

Loves It!

September 10, 2010

I was thinking today that it’s been too long since I’ve done a product round-up. And, as it happens, I’ve discovered a few good finds to share with you, dear readers (that is, if you didn’t forget about Jenn & The Giant Peach, given the super-long pauses between posts lately). Some are mainstream, some are out of the way… Enjoy!

Avalon Organics SPF 15 Moisturizer
I was at Target the other day, looking for a new moisturizer with SPF. I’ve gotten really aware of the negative effects of parabens lately (parabens are detrimental chemicals often used as preservatives in cosmetics – they have been tied to cancer, specifically breast cancer, as they can mimic estrogen) and of mineral oil (which is basically liquid petroleum – which, seriously, you don’t want on your skin!). I actually quite like Burt’s Bees Radiance Day Lotion with SPF 15, but at $18 for just 2 oz., I was looking for a less expensive, but still natural alternative. I happened to stumble on Avalon Organics SPF 15 Moisturizer – about $13 for 4 oz. at Target. It doesn’t need parabens to stay fresh – the especially stable type of Vitamin C it contains makes it more shelf stable. And, I like it’s faintly citrus scent and the fact that it’s not tested on animals. I bought it for the SPF protection, but I really like how smooth and moisturized it leaves my skin. Definite A+ for this product – look for it online or in the cosmetic section of Target (you may have to search, since it’s not with Neutrogena or Aveeno).

Tatcha Aburatorigami, Japanese Blotting Papers
This one was an Allure Editor’s pick, but I originally heard about it from Rachel Zoe’s blog, The Zoe Report. These delicate papers are just under 4″ square, are made of rice paper and have little gold flecks in them (they’re visible, but won’t transfer to skin). Apparently, using these rice paper pieces to absorb oil and condition skin is a tradition that goes back to Japanese imperial times – gold artisans used rice paper to hammer thin gold, which was used to “leaf” buildings for Japan’s royal family. As the gold was hammered whisper-thin, tiny flecks of metal transferred to the rice paper. The tissue-like paper was then used by geishas to absorb oil from their delicate skin. Company founder Vicki Tsai has brought these fine papers to the American public – now available on the Tatcha site ($12 for 30 papers) or Henri Bendel in NYC. The packages are so elegant and are a perfect addition to a handbag for a mid-day (or night!) freshen up!

CeraVe
This one’s definitely NOT sexy… but I do love how the product works. I have sort of combination skin – if I wash my face with a cleanser with salicylic acid wash (like my favorite, Neutrogena’s Grapefruit Wash), my skin definitely gets a bit dry. During a visit to my dermatologist in the winter months, my doctor suggested I try CeraVe Moisturizing Lotion (approx. $11 for 12 oz.). I’m always super-cautious about any moisturizer, for fear that it will clog my pores and incite breakouts. However, the product’s active ingredient is hyaluronic acid, which created a barrier between skin and the air (which can leech moisture away from the dermis). I really love this moisturizer – it makes your skin (either face or anywhere on body) feel moisturized, without feeling even the slightest bit oily. You don’t need a perscription for this product, but you will need to ask the pharmacist for it (kind of like NyQuil!).
Bumble & Bumble Dry Shampoo
I’m sad to say, but this isn’t an endorsement. I’ve been trying to stretch the duration between hair washings a bit longer (lots of evidence that it’s better for your hair – fewer split ends, etc…), and I’ve tried to love Bumble & Bumble’s Dry Shampoo, but I just don’t. Rather than a powder, this one is a spray that you select based on your hair color (they have black, brown, white & blonde). You spray it on the roots of your hair when your hair looks like an oil slick.

My complaint is that the pigment is so intense for my brown hair & it has a wet consistency, so that when you spray it, it has a tendency to get everywhere – not great for when you’re wearing clothes that aren’t brown or black. I’m going to have to keep searching. If you have a dry shampoo (I think a powder would be more to my liking) that you love, please let me know! I’m still on the hunt… **PS. Just b/c one doesn’t wash their hair every day, it doesn’t mean that they don’t shower daily. Just wanted to clear that up, in case anyone was wondering.

Enjoy, friends! And, if you have products to suggest… please pass them my way!

XO, Jennifer

Icing On The Cake

August 31, 2010

I kind of feel like my head is going to explode with thoughts of lists of things to do (actually, somewhat literally – my migraines flare up when I’m stressed… which I officially am). Must: buy sparklers for post-reception get-away, help design jewelry for bridesmaids / gifts, buy host gifts for upcoming couples’ shower… ETC, ETC, ETC…

The good news I’ve found that if I blog about something, that kind of serves to remind me of the research I’ve already done (like the cupcake post or the ring bearer / ring holder post). In that vein, I found these cute cake / cupcake toppers by a vendor called “Naked Peggies” on Etsy (below).

Custom UnNaked Cupcake Toppers - Fully Customizable to match you and your mate
You send them a couple of photos of you and your groom (so, for Will & me – we’d get a cute, blonde groom & a brunette bride), tell them what your dress looks like and what color his tie will be, and they will custom, hand paint your two little figurines – so cute!
These (above) from Dandelion Land on Etsy are similar – they have a bit larger heads, for a different aesthetic, but also custom. Actually, they’ll even add a little dog figurine, based on your favorite furry friend (which, I would do for Elle Marie, but Will won’t let her be in the wedding). Adorable, no?
Finally, I found these neat little banners – FunFavors on Etsy will write whatever you want on a tiny banner (you pick the colors) – like “Will & Jennifer, November 13, 2010” or “Eat, Drink & Be Married!” I think this would be sweet for a casual outdoor wedding reception.
Which one do you like the most (looking for votes here, friends!)? I know these are all slightly more casual options to the traditional porcelain or jeweled monogram, but I like the juxtaposition a reception in a super-elegant place with some sweet, casual elements.
XO, Jennifer

Bake It Pretty

August 22, 2010

I have cupcakes on the brain. This week, Mari Sawyer of Mari’s Sweets delivered a dozen mixed cupcakes for us to try this week – ChocoLatte (mocha chocolate cake + espresso buttercream), BlueBerryLicious (vanilla cake infused with blueberries, blueberry filling and cream cheese frosting), Glitz & Glamour (spice cake, lemon + ginger cream cheese with candied ginger), Sweet Tart (lemon cake, lemon curd + lemon cream cheese frosting), PB&C (chocolate cake, peanut butter cream cheese frosting + Reese’s cups) and the Goody Two Shoes (buttermilk cake injected with strawberry white chocolate ganache + white chocolate buttercream).  They were all so good! I think we’re going to pick four kinds and do minis of them so that our guests can try more than one – can’t wait!

All of this thinking about mini-sweet treats made me think of one of my favorite food blogs, Bakerella. The woman who writes it (I’m pretty sure she’s in Atlanta) is as good of a photographer as she is a baker. She always has the greatest baking “accessories” – pretty edible glitter, patterned cupcake cups and more. I recently clicked through from her site to her source for all of these cute baking supplies… I found “Bake It Pretty.” It’s such a fun site – I wish I had occasion to bake or entertain more – maybe one day! Here are some of my favorites…

And, finally… this set of four different damask patterns. If we do end up picking four cupcake varieties… I think it could be fun to use the different wrappers as part of the “key” on the table, so that guests would know which flavor was which.

Have a “sweet” rest of the weekend!

<3,

Jennifer

Throw It In A Bag

August 20, 2010

I love this time of year (no, not the 100 degree Atlanta heat), since it’s now that you start getting catalogs full of fall fashion – boots, yummy sweaters, cashmere scarves, little wool dresses, patterned closed toed shoes and so much more. Based on what I’ve seen from Bloomingdale’s, Nordstrom and Neiman Marcus, it appears that oversized satchel bags are going to be big this fall. Polished black, bright turquoise leather, distressed camel… all so pretty. Here are some of my favorites!

Fossil Vintage Reissue Weekender, $238, Nordstrom.com

I love this bright Kate Spade. Obviously, not very versatile for the price in bright tangerine… but so pretty.

Kate Spade, New York Five Points Camille Leather Femme Satchel, $475, Bloomingdales.com

Lord knows, I love some animal print. Isn’t this DVF one elegant? I love how it’s a subtle zebra  – black and charcoal makes it so wearable!

Diane von Furstenberg Grace Zebra Print Day Bag, $625, NeimanMarcus.com

There were actually a handful more that I wanted to post, but A) I seem to have a short attention span these days and B) you can’t copy and paste images from the department stores’ sites… and a lot of the designers I love haven’t posted images up online. Anyway – add some of your favorites to my list! I’d love to see “readers’ choice” satchels. 🙂

<3,

Jennifer

S-Mitton

August 19, 2010

I’ve been a super-delinquent blogger of late. It seems like I can barely keep my head above water with “real life,” even though I just looked and have 19 blogs saved as drafts (i.e. started, but not finished / posted). I’m going to *try* to be better about posting regularly. Girl Scout’s honor (I wasn’t a G.S., but moving on…).

Now, onto the weddings stuff! As I’ve said about a million times, weddings are all about the details. A special detail for the bride is one that Daily Candy wrote about recently – garter belts by Florrie Mitton on Etsy. Each style is handmade and they even have bespoke offerings, based on your colors, style and interest. Aren’t they delicate and pretty?

Ethereal Silk Tulle Garter, $92.

For something a little more simplified, I love the one below:

Forever Lace Garter, $81.

I’m still holding out hope that my DeeDee (mom’s mom) will maybe find her garter from her wedding in the 1950’s for me. And, I know it seems silly to spend nearly $100 for something that no one will really see… but these are stunning. And, who can’t use a little eye candy mid-week?

Happy Wednesday!

<3,

Jennifer

With This Ring…

August 8, 2010

It occurred to me today that I need to find a receptacle of some kind for my soon-to-be-nephew Harrison to carry our rings down the aisle. **Or actually, since our sweet ring bearer is only five… perhaps dummy rings? I love the idea of doing a little twist on the traditional ring pillow and as I’ve been doing research, it seems that ceramic bowls (which can be used post-wedding as a dish for rings on top of one’s dresser) are en vogue. What do you think?

From Paloma's Nest on Etsy.com, $38

Or, you can have them custom-made, with either your names or the date of your wedding, like this:

Paloma's Nest, $48 for custom stamped bowl.

I also found

Etsy by RaeDunn, $50.

Which do you like best? Or, have you found something you like even better? Suggestions very welcome!

<3,

Jennifer

Sketchy

August 8, 2010

I was reading somewhere that Giorgio Armani gave Katie Holmes a sketch of her wedding gown, and that got me thinking: what a neat thing to have in a small size that you can frame! A few years ago, I guest performed in Ballroom Magic with the University of Georgia’s Ballroom Performance Group and I designed (I say this very loosely and humbly – much as I’d love to be, I’m NOT a fashion designer) a salsa costume. My friend Fritz, who is a budding designer, kindly drew me a gorgeous colored pencil sketch of the finished product. I love it and still have it today! In fact, I think I may reach out to him and see if he’ll do one of my wedding dress (which should arrive this week… CANNOT WAIT!).

If you’re a bride and this idea appeals to you – because, let’s face it: the wedding dress is likely the most expensive garment you’ll ever buy and you’ll probably keep it closeted away and preserved post-wedding – here are some ways to make it happen:

With artist Jennifer Angilello (www.aboutthedress.com) $425 will get you a personalized, hand-drawn sketch in an 8×10, matted and framed. You send her eight to ten photos of you in the dress and in six weeks or so you get back something cool like…

OR

If $425 sounds a bit steep (after paying for a wedding!), Penelope Altman, who lives in the South of France will create a sketch from photos for just $100. The finished product isn’t matted or framed, but those may be details you’d prefer to decide for yourself. Isn’t her work lovely?

If you’re one of those who loves the phrase “Free Gift With Purchase,” Lazaro Perez (if you buy a dress at one of the trunk shows where he appears) will sketch something on-site gratis (jlmcouture.com for dates).

Hostess With The Mostest

July 26, 2010

I love giving hostess gifts. I think, for people who love to have guests over, throwing a successful dinner or party is really its own reward. But, it’s always nice to show your appreciation of the time & effort it takes to put on an event, however simple or small. I especially have this on my mind, since my first bridal shower is coming up in two weeks {fun!}.

Here are some of my favorites:

  • Le Creuset Dijon Honey Pot with Silicon Stirrer, a Sur la Table exclusive ($25). This sunny little pot would be cute paired with some local honey, perfect for a tea lover. The silicon on the “dipper” makes the honey easy to serve and the material is easy to clean!
  • Pigeon Toe Ceramics Herb Garden Stakes: How cute are these hand-stamped garden stakes? This would be perfect for the hostess who is also an intrepid gardener {a thing I may never be, though I do love the fruits of their labor}. The Portland-based blog / online store is chalk-full of fun, whimsical gifts… a fun read, if you’re so inclined.
  • I’m dying over these “TeaCupCakes”! How cute are they!? You can bake cupcakes right in them and then serve on little saucers. Adorable – these would be so great for a hostess who likes to bake. Alternatively, you could put little flowers in them to make tiny centerpieces or even individual flower arrangements at guests’ places. $17.95 for a set of four at Heliotrope.
  • Here’s an idea that could be super-inexpensive, but really thoughtful and high-customizable: vintage {or any} candy inside a pretty jar. Who wouldn’t love something pretty to sit out for guests to enjoy right then or to save for later. Bonus points if you find a cute way to label them!

Out With The Old

July 25, 2010

The cleaning (I would say “spring cleaning” but we’re in the thick of summer!) bug has bitten, in a big way. It seems that everywhere I look in my condo (which is for sale, if you know of anyone looking for a cute place – 2 BR, 2 BA – close to Buckhead and I85… ok, enough with the shameless plug), there seems to be something to clean out or get rid of. Here are some of my favorite tips – feel free to comment and add your own!

Old magazines – I’m infamous for collecting magazines, probably because I love to read other people’s writing styles and pick up their tips on style, beauty, DIY projects and cooking. However, often, I don’t get around to reading them in a timely fashion – or ever! – and my coffee table and kitchen counter starts to look like a scene out of Hoarders (scary!). My goal for this week is to go through the magazines I’ve been holding onto, clip out the pieces I’ll actually use (or recipes I’ll make) and pass them along to friends who will enjoy them. If you’re a bride who has most of her planning done, why not pass along your old Modern Bride, The Knot and others to a new bride who will enjoy reading them? Same goes for Gourmet (R.I.P. – I miss it!), Food & Wine, In Style, Lucky, Glamour… extend the life of publications by passing them along!

Closet Refresh – If you’re like me, I’m sure there are bunches of things lurking in the far reaches of your closet that either A) you forgot you had, B) don’t fit or C) are just a little dated. If something falls into any of these categories, why not either take it to your local thrift store (& save the receipts for a tax write-off) or a trusted consignment store? If anything sells, if feels like free money. One of my favorite Goodwill alternatives if you live in Atlanta is the Thrift-ique, which benefits Buckhead Christian Ministries.

Brushes – Granted, this should be done more than once a year (once a month is probably more like it!), but it’s a good reminder. I like to soap my make-up brushes up with a clarifying shampoo several times (until the water runs clear when you rinse) and then dip them in rubbing alcohol. Just let them dry before using again and you should break out less, since all that nasty bacteria will be gone.

Virtual clean-up – I’m really bad about holding on to old emails, hoping that I’ll one day get around to reading them fully (who doesn’t have an inbox cluttered with forwards, political messages, etc…?). But, when I really think about it, it is a little stressful to open your account to see so many messages waiting to be read. Why not take 20 minutes and de-clutter?

Kitchen makeover – If you’ve got things lingering around in your pantry, particularly things you’re not planning on using but that have a long shelf life, consider cleaning them out and donating them to your local food bank (ACFB  http://www.acfb.org/is a great one in Atlanta) or shelter. You’ll have more space in your cabinets and can feel good about helping someone else provide healthy meals for their family. **Also, it’s a good opportunity to glance through your fridge and freezer to make sure all condiments, cheeses, dairy products and others are well within their expiration dates. Give the shelves a quick wipe-down for good measure. BONUS: if you find some still good, already prepared items in your freezer, it’s a great excuse to just defrost and not have to cook some meals.

Happy cleaning!

<3, Jennifer