Monday, June 30, 2014

UnBride Expectations

Standards. Most say to aim high, especially when it comes to life and men. (Okay, so college is the only exception. One word - yikes...) But when it comes to weddings I say set your standards at one level - low. 

As honorary UnBrides here is what you have to look forward to:


I'm not saying all of the above will happen to you, I just want you to have a realistic outlook on the planning process. Just as you bitched about having to go to that Bachelorette party across the country in Vegas or about spending all of your money on a damn Keurig you don't even get to enjoy, the same will happen to you. 

When you are better prepared, the letdowns won't seem as bad...

Promise. 

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Post-Wedding Depression



It may not be a diagnosable illness, but yes, it's a thing. I'm telling you...

Post-Wedding Depression is a thing!

Yes, we all may bitch about the planning process and say we are relieved when it's over, but when everything does come to a screeching halt, you realize you have nothing to stress about, nothing to drive you crazy. You crave the "next big thing" in your life.

Now most newlyweds will deal with this type of depression as others mostly would - with ice cream, wine, and Property Brothers marathons...

I on the other hand, chose to get a house, dog, and a blog all in the same week! 

But never fear, the level of stress and lack of sleep this past year has caused me to deal with it as others mostly do - with ice cream, wine, and Property Brothers marathons...

Monday, June 23, 2014

Valentina & Eric : BRIDES Live Wedding

BRIDES magazine gave America the chance to plan a million dollar wedding for one lucky couple and on June 8th, people across the country watched as every element of the wedding from the cake, to the dress, to the winning couple was revealed at the ultimate celebrity-style event. 

Valentina & Eric Vergati were the lucky winners and I got a chance to speak with the blushing bride, who is just as sweet as she is stunning, about the Stories Behind the Pretty Pictures of her BRIDES Live Wedding!


Out of all the submissions, you got a phone call saying you had made it to the final three. Now you would have to fly to Los Angeles and live in a house with two other couples and compete for your chance at a dream million-dollar wedding. Was there any hesitation in putting your lives on hold and taking the trip out knowing it may not work in your favor?

We were just super excited because there were so many applicants, and we were thrilled to make it in the top three! Luckily, I have a very flexible job, so they were okay with that and Eric’s employer was willing to work with us as well.

BRIDES asked us if we were even able to do to this, and I said, “Yes!”… and then I called Eric! 


Was it tough making friendships and getting to know the other couples knowing that only one of you could win?

Going into it when we first got to LA, we were so nervous. We wondered what the couples would be like and how they were going to be. Are they super cute? Are they super nice? Are they going to hate us?

But everyone was so nice and we all became friends. It was kind of like having a weeklong slumber party! 


How did you find out you had won and what was the first word that popped into your head? 
 
They set up a date and time with us to Skype. We nervously sat in front of our computer for I don’t know – like twenty minutes?! We were so nervous and had to give ourselves a pep talk. We kept saying, no matter what happens, we love each other and the end goal is us getting married either way.

I’m not sure if only one word popped into my head. I just started shouting like a spider monkey. Lots of screaming and lots of hugging, we were thrilled! 


Nothing says I Guess I Do like letting America choose your entire wedding – everything from the tuxes, to the flowers, to your dress! Were you happy with their decisions?

Yes! We were so happy with their decisions. And honestly, people had asked me in the midst of the contest, “You’re not going to get to choose anything. How do you feel about that?”

Really, we were so fine with it. One, it’s Brides Magazine and they are the best of the best for brides. They’re the ones planning it and I knew they weren’t going to choose anything that would make me look bad, so I didn’t have any worries about it! 


Valentina, you called this process “Wedding Planning on Steroids” – did you know so much went into planning one singular event?

Not at all! I had no idea! When I got engaged, I think I joined every single bridal website, and any kind of wedding checklist because I had no idea! 


While America may have made many of the decisions, BRIDES Magazine and Conde Nast would donate the funds from the wedding to the charity of your choice. Why the Lupus Foundation of America? 
 
We chose the Lupus Foundation of America because my dad has Lupus, and my sister also had Lupus. She actually passed away two years ago at the age of twenty-three because of it.

My sister and I were so close, we were best friends, so there was no doubt in my mind that was the charity we wanted. Even if we hadn’t won this contest, we were just glad to have gotten the chance to spread awareness. 


After a million-dollar wedding and a honeymoon to Bora Bora, what’s next for you two? 
 
We just want to enjoy each other. We would like to do some traveling and then maybe in a year or two, start our own family. 


Lastly, and most importantly are you going to let BRIDES Magazine and America choose your baby’s name whenever that time may come?

I never thought about that! Maybe if we got to narrow it down to four names we liked and then let them pick. As long as it isn’t something crazy!

Based on what they already decided for our wedding, I definitely wouldn’t be opposed to the idea… 


To see Valentina & Eric's entire ceremony and reception featuring a surprise performance from G.R.L. - Click HERE!

And to see how YOU can be the next winner of BRIDES Live Wedding check out Brides.com and stay up to date on their latest news, tips, and trends on their Facebook Page

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Venue: St. Regis Monarch Beach Resort  Dress: Monique Lhuillier  Tux: Jos.A.Bank  Bridesmaid Dresses: Allure Bridals  Jewelry: Simon G  Hair & Makeup: Neutrogena  Planner: Brooke Keegan  Event Design: White Lilac  Nails: Sally Hansen  Stationary: Invitations by Dawn  Cake: Carlo's Bakery  Registry Gifts: Target  Airfare: jetBlue


Photos Courtesy: Getty Images













Thursday, June 19, 2014

Cover Band Clash

So remember on Monday, when I said my dad never has much to say but when he does its worth listening to? Yeah, about that… 

We had several instances like this where we had to talk him off the ledge. It’s like an enraged toddler or spastic dog, just give them a little time and they will settle down. Hopefully.

A couple months ago, as my parents were sitting outside on our deck, my dad randomly said, “That wedding was really nice.” In his language that meant all of the headaches, spending, and talking off the ledge moments were worth it.

And as he always does, he summed it up in five simple words. 



Sunday, June 15, 2014

Father's Day





Meet the man responsible for this family.

Yes, we may be a bit crazy. Yes, we’ve had some good times and yes, we’ve been through some dark times. But somehow we’ve always managed to make it through.

He’s the glue that keeps us whack jobs together. He doesn’t say much (mostly because he can’t get a word in edgewise) but when he does, it’s always something worth listening to.

He’s the ultimate devil’s advocate, always seeing the good in other people. He’s responsible for teaching me my greatest life lesson – to always talk things out and never go to bed angry. And if I ever need a reality check, he’s the first to give it to me. More importantly he’s my go-to for anything TMZ related. It’s like having my own personal Harvey Levin on speed dial! Clutch!

So thank you Dad, for working third shift your entire life so I wouldn’t have to. Today and every day, I appreciate all you’ve done for our family. 



Happy Father’s Day! 


Thursday, June 12, 2014

Get that Wedding Day Glow!

All of that wedding planning can lead to lots of stress. And if your anything like me, stress likes to rear its ugly head in the form of red rockets on my face - and usually at the worst times!

Lucky for us, blogger & beauty guru Sonia Shah is here to share with us her tips on taking care of yourself and your skin before the big day!
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Hello, My name is Sonia and I am a thirty-something blogger who loves to write about sports, health, DIY projects, hair and makeup, jewelry and food from India! I also write for a medical and cosmetic practice in St. Louis, where I get most of my health knowledge from some of the greatest, well rounded surgeons. After seeing these practices first-hand, I wanted to share with you all what actually works!
 
When preparing for their big day, every bride spends most of her time finding the perfect dress, elegant jewelry, perfect hair and makeup. But most importantly, every bride aspires to have radiant, flawless, glowing skin. The few months that lead up to a wedding, all brides are encouraged to pay extra attention and “beef up” their skincare routine. Most brides looking for luminous, glowing skin turn to self-tanners or tanning salons to cover skin imperfections. However, with the rise of safe and effective laser treatments, brides can rejuvenate their own skin to reflect smooth, youthful and even color skin.

Brides in their 20s mostly experience discoloration from sun damage, whereas brides in their 30s, 40s and 50s are also in need of exfoliating treatments as well as collagen-building properties to tighten loose skin and resolve fine lines and wrinkles. There are several different laser skin treatments that can address these needs; however, there are two treatments in particular that have become increasingly popular for brides over the last few years, the Fotofacial and Fractional Skin Resurfacing



I decided to try the Fotofacial Treatment because I have small dark freckles all over my face. My biggest concern was two things, 1) will this treatment hurt and 2) what if it doesn’t work because I have darker skin? I felt better after talking to the lady at the clinic. She told me that it’s been tested on several skin types, even dark skin. And I couldn’t believe how well it worked. 

Okay, so first and most important, it doesn’t hurt. It’s like a light rubber band snap on the wrist, but it’s on your face. I know that’s a bit confusing. Right after the treatment, I saw some of the small, lighter spots just flake off. I was so relieved that I didn’t even care that my face looked like a tomato, which was much better next day and gone after the 4th day.

Reducing ingredients like processed sugar and white flour and replacing them with fresh fruits, vegetables and lean protein can give the treatment a boost. As well as Salmon and Sardines or Omega-3 fish oil supplements, which are great for “beefing up” your skin protection against free radicals that can accelerate aging. 


So with some healthy eating and a little technological help, your skin can reach it's fullest potential and truly glow on your big day! 







Monday, June 9, 2014

Wedding Season Has Begun

We headed to Indianapolis over the weekend for our first wedding of the season. Our longtime childhood friend was getting married, but in true fashion it was my family who was having the I Guess I Do moments. 

If you’ve never been to Indy, the city of Carmel is a big fan of roundabouts. Basically there are no stop signs or stop lights in the town. Just traffic circles with cars yielding in and out.

I receive this text from my mom who is driving with my dad and brother:

“We are here. Just stuck in da roundabouts.”

My message:

“And so it begins.”

Eventually they end up getting there after about an hour or so of circling the damn roundabouts.

As we are getting ready my brother proclaims that he just threw shit in a bag and has no idea what he packed. He thinks he forgot dress pants. Kyle didn’t have extra, so he went to the other room to check with my dad. No dice. Finally he found a pair crumbled in a ball in the pocket of his bag. Crisis averted.

He then realizes he forgot socks and nice shoes. Kyle loaned him socks but no one had extra shoes so he was forced to wear the boat shoes I bought him for his birthday. In the middle of making fun of my brother, I began putting on the only dress I brought for the wedding. I had worn it once before, but had since forgotten about its zipper problem. I was then reminded.

I kept trying to zip it up and it kept getting caught on the waistline of the dress. No matter how hard I tried to suck it in, it wouldn’t budge. I then began to panic and sweat and do what I typically do in these types of situations – yell at Kyle. He came over to help but nothing was working. He came up with the idea of zipping it without me in it and trying to get it over my head.

My brother then snapped a picture of me during the debacle with the dress stuck on my head as I’m yelling, “I DON’T KNOW HOW TO GET ANY SKINNIER!!!” I ripped it off, panting like a she-lion, with all the hard work I put into my hair (that I don’t normally put in) having been undone.

What were my options? Could I borrow a dress from my mom? No. Because I bitched at her for packing too much and told her just to bring one dress. Ain’t karma a bitch. Safety Pins? Maybe if the front desk had some. I gave it one last college try and by the grace of God our Savior, it zipped all the way up.

We all managed to make it to the wedding in one piece, and ended up having a great time. We talked and drank with all of our longtime family friends whom we hadn’t seen in ages in the hotel lobby bar until they literally turned the lights out on us to make us leave.

My best friend Whitney (Editor of I Guess I’m Due) also lives in Indy, so I was able to squeeze in a visit to see her super fat and to-die-for baby, Abram, for the first time.

All in all it was a great weekend. But after all of the constant travel these past couple of weeks we were definitely excited to pick up our pup Harry and settle down for a bit…

Have a great week UnBrides and remember that even though wedding season may be gearing up, take some time to settle down as well!

xo 


Thursday, June 5, 2014

Morning Workout

On Monday, Jen touched on how she enjoyed doing yoga the morning of her wedding. I too am a major proponent of wedding day workouts – not with the goal to be healthy, but because it makes your face look better. Yes, I know I’m vain. 

Most mornings I wake up looking like Nick Nolte’s mug shot, and I knew that couldn't fly on my wedding day. And although you may try your hardest to get some sleep the night before your wedding, there’s no way that's ever going to happen.

I had the best intentions. I would have a sleepover with my mom and we would be in bed by 11:00. Everything was going as planned, until around 1:00 am when I woke up to my mom kicking like a wild banshee with restless leg syndrome.

She had cramps in her calves and toes. We were laughing hysterically and joking she wouldn’t be able to walk at the wedding. Knowing her track record, this was definitely a possibility. Needless to say, I didn’t go back to bed. I was wide awake and ready for my 7:30am spin & barre class I had scheduled.

Now I wasn’t a total workout Nazi. I didn't demand my bridal party had to attend. I threw it out there, and about 5 took the bait. We may have looked like zombies when we walked in, but we walked out feeling energized and alive.

So whether it’s with everyone or just yourself, get up and get active the morning of your wedding. You’ll de-stress, de-puff those eyes, and look less dead. Which is always a plus in my book, well maybe not in Nick Nolte's.


Photo Courtesy: Fit On Studios



Monday, June 2, 2014

Jen & Joe : RomaBea Images

I had the pleasure of experiencing Jen and Joe's whirlwind romance from the very beginning. We were working on the Teen Choice Awards, both of us sitting in a tiny office on the fifth floor. Jen came back from her trip, gushing about how she locked eyes in the airport with a stranger, who ended up being a guest at the wedding she was attending. They had the trip of a lifetime and she wondered about their possible future. 

I gave her the cautiously optimistic, "Yeah, I'm sure he'll call," while thinking to myself, "Yeah, Right..." Well he did more than call, they dated, he proposed and they now live in Abu Dhabi together! Their pictures are just as amazing as their love story, but as we know there are always stories behind them. Enjoy Jen's I Guess I Do moments in her own words below!
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My name is Jen and I met my husband Joe while attending the same wedding in Thailand. Crazy I know! Little did I know that years later, we too would be walking down an aisle. But before making it to the aisle, of course came some I Guess I Do moments... 

The Guest List
My hubby comes from a big Arab family, so for them EVERY member of the family is close...even 2nd and 3rd cousins and close family friends from 10-20 years ago. In this culture it's an insult when you're not invited to a wedding. However traditionally, the wedding was more for the parents, as they often organized and paid for the "party". Where as these days, weddings are less traditional and really more about the bride and groom, than the whole family. 

So, it took a little coaxing to get everyone on board with how Joe and I wanted to do things. It even took me a little coaxing with Joe. We had a mini-fight over it while my maid of honor and best friend were visiting us the summer before. She had never seen us like that. What a mess. Anyways, with her help we were able to listen to each other and realize we wanted the same thing. Since then, we were organized, for sure, but not over stressed. 

Organizing a California Wedding from Abu Dhabi
There were also challenges with organizing from so far away. As we live in Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates (next to Dubai) we had to be really smart with making the right connections and setting up Skype meetings. I think we really lucked out because we ended up with some AMAZING people on our team! I think fate was on our side from the first moment we knew we wanted to get married in LA. 

This was actually a tricky decision as we have family and friends all over the world...took a visualizing exercise on me, and clever by Joe, to realize it was the mountains of CA where we were destined to tie the knot! I could see green everywhere, the air was crisp the sun was shining, the weather was perfect... just felt refreshing and beautiful, everything I had always envisioned.


The Dress
It was the month before the wedding and I still didn't have a dress. People thought I was crazy! Everyone else was stressed but me. But what can I say...I guess I'm just not that kind of bride! 

So my best friend took me, my mom and sister when I was in Tennessee a month before the wedding. For some reason I wasn't that worried about not finding a dress...even though that seemed to be everyone's first question and concern when I told them I hadn't found one yet. And even more daunting to everyone when I didn't seem worried about it. Needless to say, I was right in not feeling stressed about it because I ended up finding the perfect vintage dress off the rack! I think that's the best approach...zero expectations. When you start setting expectations and standards, that's when nothing measures up. Be okay with whatever comes your way... it makes for a much happier bride and ultimately groom! 

One Big Happy Family
Note to self... remember what I said about zero expectations? Remember that, especially when it comes to close family and friends. That is something I should have been more attune to. For some reason, in our heads, Joe and I thought it would be great to have our immediate family stay with us in a big house the week before the wedding. We thought it would be fun to have everyone together, bonding, laughing and just enjoying our time together. 

Boy were we wrong! Somehow with weddings, families get possessive. Just because we are marrying into another family, doesn't mean we're replacing our own. When different people and personalities get together (especially in one house) it's hard to please everyone - make that impossible! But thankfully all of the tears and tension came before the wedding, and by the time our big day came around, everyone was on board to make sure it turned out beautiful! But that surely didn't happen without some blowups along the way...


While I may have had some I Guess I Do moments leading up to the wedding, there are some good memories from the wedding that definitely outweigh the bad. These are the ones I try to focus on. Here are some of my favorites:

My Father-in-Law
Looking over at my father-in-law as we all relaxed around the pool of our rental house and noticing he had his headphones on and his eyes were all red. He told us a little bit later that he was listening to the playlist we put together for the wedding ceremony. 



Our Family Barbeque
Early on in the week we had invited a few friends over to join the entire family for a wedding day "talk through" & bbq since they were a big part of the ceremony. Joey's best friend from boarding school, at whose wedding we met in Phuket, Thailand, would be officiating. He, his wife Joyce and their 3 year old daughter flew in from Hong Kong for the wedding. Our good friends Kim & Glenn Porter, from the LA friend group, were such a huge presence for us... offering kindness, reassurance and help at every turn. They hold such a special place in my heart from that week. 

Anyhow, I can remember just listening to everyone chatting, laughing and feeling exciting for the week ahead. It felt so nice to have everyone there and this night was so simple and relaxed. I can also remember this is when I wanted to ask Joey's dad if he would assist in walking me down the aisle (Since my dad had died of cancer when I was 20). Of course I could barely get the words out and everyone else started to cry too. It was a beautiful, but tough moment. 


Early Morning Workouts
Exercising in the mornings with Joey, his sister & hubby & their little brother. We're all pretty fit, so we really enjoy staying active and supporting each other in this. I also took Joey's little brother and my best friend to my favorite yoga class in LA. That was a really fun time! Danny (Joey's 22 year old brother at the time) farted in class and my best friend fell to her mat laughing. Classic. 

Getting Ready
The day of the wedding my mother-in-law and my mom helped me put on my dress and they were both so delicate and kind. I also wore a collaboration of jewelry. My mother-in-law's bracelet & ring, a bracelet from my best friend and my sister-in-law's earrings (that she wore at her wedding) as well as my first necklace from Joey. I think I thought of this as a joining of all the power players in my life and finding balance and peace on this day. 

The Entire Wedding Day
The whole ceremony and wedding day was incredible from start to finish. It flew by! With all the lead up, planning, and drama, the actual event goes by so fast. My advice to anyone is to savor each moment, and really take a conscious effort to stop and look around. Connect to all five senses and just take in the beauty, so it doesn't pass you by!


Venue: Diablo Dormido in Calabasas, CA  Dress: Vintage  Grooms Attire: Custom made in Dubai  Photographer: RomaBea Images   Videographer: Ning Wong  Caterers/Designers/Florists: Kitchen 12000  Cupcakes: Sprinkles  Wedding Coordinator: Dana Gabriel  Make-up: Sabrina Mae  Hair: Blo West Hollywood   DJ: Dave Whitcraft aka DJ Dave Dolphin