Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween: Do You Still Dress Up?

Halloween kind of snuck up on me this year. I wasn’t really thinking about the holiday at all. But early Saturday afternoon I found myself rummaging through my closet for a costume. Keith decided to recycle an old idea and go as a contestant on Survivor, while I piled on the weirdest things I could find, pinned stuffed animals to myself and went as a crazy cat lady. Here are our last minute creations:

Last time Keith dressed up as a Survivor contestant, I did too. I wore my bikini, a buff and smeared brown eye makeup on my face. See:

The year before that, I found another excuse to wear a bikini, and before that my costume included some form of sheer stockings, a short petticoat skirt and red high heels. I loved getting dressed up for Halloween. I loved any excuse to wear my bathing suit to a party.

 This is my first Halloween as a married woman, and this weekend I found myself layering on the clothes. It probably had something to do with the freak October snow storm that was going on, and also the fact that I’m a grown up now. (Seriously? Am I really?) Looking back, I think I had some pretty great costumes, but I could have pulled off the looks with a tad more clothing. And I probably could have rocked this year’s look with a bit less crazy. But what can I say, it was snowing and cold and that really helped me get into character!

 Did anyone else ditch the sexy costumes once they were wed? Or did you never wear them to begin with? (Good for you if you never wore fishnets on Halloween!)

Friday, October 28, 2011

My Family: The Details That Matter!

Ah, Friday! We meet again. You're like a bad boyfriend who never returns my calls. But I just keep taking you back. I'll always love you, Friday.

Let's get real. I've been following all this chatter about the importance wedding bloggers place on details. I think Abby Larson said it best here. And I agree, mason jars may get tired to a wedding professional, but they are brand new to a bride. So let's keep doin' what we do, and remember that there are other things that matter, too. You know who's done a great job keeping it real on her blog, The Knotty Bride. In this post, she teaches us what really matters at a wedding. I'm trying to act like I didn't get caught up in the details. But I distinctly remember very forcefully, and perhaps with a few off color verbs, telling my brother that the theme of my wedding was "Vintage Elegance" and if he didn't shave that day, he'd ruin everything. But, wait, it get's better. He traveled all the way from Germany, WHERE HE WAS SERVING IN THE UNITED STATES ARMY, to attend my New England wedding. And I was giving him grief about his beard? Someone call the casting department, I think we have a Bridezilla on our hands.

You'll be happy to hear that I chilled out, my brother DID shave before the big day so as not to ruin any of the elegance and as soon as the wedding week rolled around I stopped giving a crap about the details and just focused on my family, Keith's family and all our awesome friends who were taking days off from work and flying in from all over to be with us. Here's some of the details from our wedding that will forever out-do the flowers and vintage glassware.

1. Remember my brother who was serving in Germany at the time of our wedding. Well he high-tailed in to Connecticut for our wedding on what was his last break before he deployed to Afghanistan. I stressed during the planning that he would not be able to make it at all, and it was such a relief when he purchased his tickets. And I made him sit next to me at our reception just to make sure we had more time together.

2. You probably think it's weird that I sat next to my brother at my wedding reception. But I sat next to my new husband, too, because we had a family table instead of a head table.That was a really important detail to us and I'm glad we insisted on it.

Family photo by Cynthia Brown Studio

3. A few days before our wedding we got together with Keith's family (including his brother and sister-in-law and their kids) to remember his father who passed away three years ago. We stood under his favorite tree in the yard and scattered his ashes. He was with us that night, and that feeling of his presence stuck with us through Saturday. I remember sitting in the church and watching the light shine through the stained glass windows and thinking that it was Keith's dad shining his love down on us. My very next thought was this, "I don't care what happens the rest of the day. This is my favorite part of our wedding."

 Keith's dad made the best pizza and passed his cooking skills down to his son!

My pretty nieces and sister-in-law drove all the way from St. Louis for the wedding! 

4. Another very special wedding guest was my great uncle Nippy. Yes, his name is Nippy and he's as cool as he sounds. He's my grandfather's youngest brother and has always been a huge part of our lives. We asked him to attend our rehearsal dinner, which also happened to be his 80th birthday. His presence meant so much because my Nono and Grammy were not there. And I know he was proud and honored to be included. Uncle Nippy passed away last Friday and we all miss him so much. I can't believe that he won't be eating Thanksgiving dinner with us this year. But I'll never, ever forget the huge presence he had at our wedding.

Uncle Nip & Ellie!

5. We were married by my parents close friend Jim. Jim baptized my brother and I, he said the funeral masses for three of my grandparents and he married my parents over 30 years ago! But that's not all, Keith and I said our vows in the same place that his mother and father were wed. And that, my friends, is the best wedding detail there is.

Photo by Cynthia Brown Studio

I loved the flowers, my dress (which cost too much to be considered a detail) and my shoes. I loved the cake stands my mom and I collected for a year. And I loved how my stationery incorporated three beautiful patterns instead of just one. But when I talk about my wedding to my children they won't care about that stuff. My decor will probably be dated (but I doubt it) and my dress might be out of style. I'm sure they'll laugh at how we look, the same way I make fun of my dad's mustache in his wedding photos. But those five details above will be the things I'm proud of, and the things I hope my children will consider when they plan their own weddings.

Am I right? Or am I right? Spill the beans. What will your important details be?

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Inspiration: I Love Lattice!

Today I'm inspired by these lattice flats from BHLDN. And this inspiration is coming to you at a bargain because these pretty shoes are on sale. (Seriously, get them while you can!)

Bottom: Image by Cynthia Brown Studios

At the risk of sounding over dramatic, I'm in love with lattice work. The pattern is clean and simple, so it plays well with other prints. I'd love to throw some big bold floral pillows on a lattice print couch and live out my life there. (Watching only Bravo TV, of course!) I love it so much I planned my wedding registry around the black and white lattice I'm planning to have painted on my future kitchen walls. For a wedding, incorporating lattice into the stationery or cake decoration is a surefire win in my book. The pattern looks lovely on all confections (including cupcakes) and can be artfully executed in fondant or butter cream. Just not by me!

What do you think? Do you love lattice, too?

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Decorating Differences: Wallpaper Compromise Reached

Believe it or not, my husband and I don’t agree on everything. He’s a republican, I’m a democrat. He’s a Yankees fan and (as much as I hate to admit it now) I love the Red Sox. But those are all livable, manageable differences for us. We see eye-to-eye on the politics that matter and I’ve learned to develop a thicker skin while watching baseball. But one difference we’ve been pretty stubborn about is wallpaper. I desperately want to cover our walls with it—paint feels so unoriginal and boring to me—but Keith is holding his ground that wallpaper is for the birds. He’s not interested in hanging it, and even less thrilled about taking it down after. Since I’ve appointed myself head of the home decorating committee at our humble abode, I’m determined to find a way to get my pretty patterned walls.

Enter Tempaper. It’s a temporary self-adhesive wallpaper that can be applied (and easily repositioned) to any wall, so you get the beauty of wallpaper without the pasty mess. Voila!


Edie in Spanish Moss, Marrakesh in Ruby and Slate and Bela in Coco and Sand. 
Photos by Tara Striano, courtesy of Tempaper. 

I showed Tempaper to Keith last night and I didn’t get a solid commitment, but I do think we’re on our way to working things out. He suggested we pattern our walls with these allover wall stencils from Etsy. I'm smitten with this Harlequin Trellis look. Good thing we have more than one room!

I know we’re not the only ones who disagree. Tell me, how do you and your man solve decorating differences?

Monday, October 24, 2011

Vintage Silverware Wedding Details

I love these silverware envelopes from Martha Stewart. I know everyone is crafting away for Halloween right now, but I'm more excited for Thanksgiving. These would really dress up a buffet. Or you can add your guests' names to each and place them on every plate. Martha used a rubber stamp and 9-1/2-by-4-inch envelopes to make these, but you can also download vintage silverware clip art and run them through the printer. While you're at it, create a cocktail menu and dessert tags with the motif, too. 

Bring the idea to life by creating place cards out of actual forks, knives and spoons. Look for vintage, mismatched silverware online or at thrift shops. Use twine to tie tags with guests' name to the handle and attach them to board. It'll be a forkin' good time! 

What do you think? Would you use this vintage fork and knife theme in your wedding?


Friday, October 21, 2011

Four Unique Wedding Props From Robert H Ham

Your wedding can be truly unique if you shop for props at unconventional places. (And let's face it, we all want really unique weddings.) I recently found some really cool items at Robert H Ham, a specialty store fixture company. Decorating your wedding with retail fixtures may sound crazy, but I think I found some interesting, and reasonably priced, pieces for brides.

Take a look:
These Rope Handle Trays are perfect for a beach event.  $33.95 for a set of two

Display programs in these Wire Baskets with Burlap Liner.  $79.95 for three 
(Ok, that's a little pricey, but these would make beautiful magazine holders post-wedding.)

Mirrored Tray with bird accents would look lovely in an escort card display. $26.95

Package favors or welcome gifts in these Buds & Bloom Gable Boxes$39.70 for 100

What do you think of these finds? Where's the most unique place you've found wedding decor

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Five Easy Steps To Changing Your Name

Changing my name post-wedding was exciting, but yet so frustrating. There was so much paperwork! I was happy to make the change and share my husband’s name. (But it’s certainly not for everyone. More and more women are keeping their names after they get married.) If you’re a soon-to-be bride who plans to take her husband’s last name then read on for my steps to new name bliss.

 1. Marriage Certificate: Before you can do anything. You need an original copy of your marriage certificate. Call the vital statistics office in the town you received your marriage license to find out what you need to request a copy. I had to send in copies of our licenses, the date and location of our wedding, a self-address envelope and a check for $20.

2. Social Security: Next you need a new social security card. Visit to find an office near you. I thought it was easier to go in person, but you can also mail your application in. Here’s what you need: marriage certificate, a valid U.S. driver’s license or passport and an SS-5 form. They will mail all original documents back.

3. DMV: It takes about two weeks to receive your new social security card. Once you’ve got that, put it in a safe place. Grab your marriage certificate, driver’s license, $30, a completed Change of Name request form—here’s Connecticut’sand a good book before you head to the DMV. I had to wait in line for some time, but aside from that it was fairly simple.

4. Registration: If you own a car you also need to change the registration on your vehicle. I had to wait in another line after I was issued a new license for this.

5. Miscellaneous: You’ve lived a long life with your maiden name and it’s a lot of places. Don’t forget to update your passport, bank account, credit cards, health insurance and student loans. You also need to contact your doctors and employers and update your voter registration, club memberships and magazine subscriptions.

 Phew! That’s a whole lot of change. The whole process took me a couple months, but I took my time. And I’m still working on step 5.

If you’re changing your name, good luck! If not, share your reasons why. I’d love to hear your thought on taking a man’s name.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Bye Bye Bye Thongs! Hello High-Waisted Briefs!

This just in: Thongs are out!


Yes, you heard me right. That tiny piece of butt floss Victoria’s Secret has brainwashed you into thinking was sexy, isn’t anymore. That’s a pretty strong statement. I was a little shocked myself when I heard the news last week at a trend presentation on intimate apparel. But how can you argue with a panel of experts who specialize in trend analysis?

Now, don’t go tossing away your thongs just yet. I believe they are still a very functional part of a woman’s intimate wardrobe. We’d all have a much harder time wearing white pants if it weren’t for thongs. But it terms of sex appeal, styles with more coveragelike a retro inspired high cut brief or silky tap pant—have more of it. More coverage equal sex appeal for all! Yippee!

This is great news because tap pants are pretty darn comfortable. If you’re packing for your honeymoon, I suggest you swap in a few pairs of these and wear them with a pretty camisole. They are comfortable enough to lounge or sleep in, which is more than you can say about many other styles.

So what do you say? Are you willing to try out a pair?

Friday, October 14, 2011

Weekend Challenge: Go Unplugged

Howdy folks. Friday's here and I can sense that you're all eager for the weekend to start. I know I am. I've already started dreaming of that glass of wine waiting for me on the other side of this work day. I'm coming for you Two Buck Chuck...

...Just as soon as I get through sending off a dozen e-mails (long ones) and checking in on Twitter and Facebook. Don't you feel like you're constantly glued to a computer or cell phone screen? I love smartphones, but the ability to blog, Tweet and e-mail from anywhere is getting a little out of hand.

This came up last night at an event I was attending. After chatting with two lovely ladies, we quickly snapped a photo and posted it online. Yes, it's super cool that we have the ability to instantly communicate, but we all commented on how we always feel so rude turning to our phones when we're out with other people. We joked that we need name tags that say, "I'm not rude, I'm taking notes on my iPhone!" (It was a work event) or "I'm not ignoring you, I'm following you on Twitter." We had a good laugh, but we each admitted that we have a hard time putting our phones down.

The smaller and more portable computers get, the easier it is to ignore the real world that's going on around us. Soooooo here's my weekend challenge to you. Unplug yourself! Stop staring at your phone screens and spend the weekend gazing into the eyes of the one you love. Twitter will still be there on Monday!

This is the kind of beauty I pass every day, but miss because I'm looking at my phone.
Luckily, I had my phone with me last night when I finally did stop and look up! 

Have a great weekend everyone.

Do you agree with me? Do we spent too much time Tweeting? And will you be joining me this weekend for an unplugged adventure? 

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Nashville: Music City, USA

Hey guys, it’s me. Remember me? I’m back. You were probably thinking that I was on the lamb or something, but I was only in Nashville. My lovely husband decided it was time for a weekend get-away right around the same time Southwest was having a major sale. Add that to my sunny boy’s master Priceline search skills and we got ourselves a nice little weekend.

Now why would two yankees like us want to go to Nashville? It’s Music City, USA, of course. Keith loves music of the country variety. I, on the other hand, consider myself a novice in the category. They say that country music is the most popular genre because its lyrics are easiest to relate to. It’s true I love a good tune about the summer or weekends. But my coming of age story is set in The Bronx. I can't relate to a lyric about picking up the guy who drives the biggest tractor. Unless the tractor is a metaphor for something else... Am I missing something here? Maybe it's just me. Maybe Nashvill-ites don’t relate to Jay-Z lyrics.


After our little jaunt to the south I like country music a little more, and I like country music a little less. I learned more lyrics I can relate to and I loved hanging out in the honky-tonk bars wearing jeans and singing along. But man those songs get stuck in your head. And when a solo guitar player is strumming away next to your gate at the airport while you wait for your flight home that’s been delayed four hours it’s pretty easy to hate those beer-drinking, weekend praising songs. Know what I mean?

We didn’t ONLY listen to country music while we were in Nashville. We went on a wild food tour that included popular spots like the Pancake Pantry, which boasts a bazillion types of, you guessed it, pancakes. I died (like Rachel Zoe) for the sweet potato pancakes with cinnamon cream. (Fun Tip: They served maple syrup in glass ketchup bottles topped with a spout. I’m so stealing this idea.) We also visited a few old soda shops and dined at a delicious little spot called Margot’s. Now I’m on an all-vegetable diet in hopes of reversing some of the damage.

You can't go to Nashville without stopping by the Country Music Hall of Fame (we did) and visiting the Grand Ole Opry (we did that, too). It was exciting to watch a show at the G.O.O. Did ya'll know they broadcast those shows on Sirius Radio?

You’ve been asking to see pictures. Or at least one of you has asked sooooo here ya go:

Oh yea, we saw Rascal Flatts at The Grand Ole Opry

 Yea, that guy.

 We had such a lovely time in Nashville! When was the last time you went somewhere fun with your hunny?

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Real Wedding From Tiffany Wayne Photography

I can tell that it's officially fall because all of my Facebook friends went apple picking last weekend. I love when these bright photo albums pop up. The reds, yellows and oranges are the true definition of fall in New England. And they make great wedding colors, too. I love a hearty table of acorn escort cards and a dress the color of red wine looks great on every bridesmaid. Rich jewel-toned colors are the uniform of fall weddings so I was pleasantly surprised to find this bride's organic take on the season. From ferns, moss and mushrooms to simple black and white stationary to giraffes, yes giraffes, the wedding of Alison and Linus from Tiffany Wayne Photography is loaded with fresh (and natural) fall inspiration.

 The Will & Kate shot...

...And some black & white pretties.

Venue: Longfellows
Hair: Valerie, Valerie Hair Studio
Makeup: Eden Alaxanian
Florist: Dehn’s Flowers

Monday, October 3, 2011

What's Your Dream Dress?

Just wondering: Did anyone pick out their wedding dress before they, um, were engaged? I'm 100 percent guilty of this, but I have a good excuse. I interned for a bridal magazine my senior year of college and in addition to researching hot honeymoon spots and fact checking real weddings I had the opportunity to assist the fashion editors. I got to work at one or two shoots, but I mostly just sorted through boxes of shoes and dresses in the "fashion closet". (Which was absolutely not a bad way to spend an entire day.)
I fell in love with this dress from a small designer in Seattle, Madina Vadache.

I died for this dress in, um, 2005. I didn't really think it would still be waiting for me when it came time to marry. I honestly kept my eye on it for years. And then all of the sudden it was Go Time and I kinda forgot about it. I still love this dress--the high lace collar and cap sleeves are so regal. But I didn't see myself in this dress on the big day.

So want to see what I did see myself in on the big day?

Anne Barge 612

Awwww. That was an awesome moment. Basically, I took my initial idea and pumped it up a little. I never tried on my dream dress, but once I was in my actual dress it was like no others existed. 

Am I the only one who picked the dress before the husband? And if so, did you stick with it?