Sunday, July 31, 2011

Here Comes the Bride: Invitations

It's time for another edition of Here Comes the Bride!  Today's topic: the invitations!  

For me, I really had a hard time choosing my invitations.  I really didn't like the typical looking invitations you can find online.  I wanted something special.  Something unique.  This sets the tone for your wedding, so I really put a lot of thought into it.  I mean this is the first thing your guests will see before the big day and it essentially represents your wedding!  I searched high and low and somehow came across Dochelle Custom Creations in New York City.  I fell in lurve with all of their invitations!  They had the bling and the class, which was a done deal for me!  They only catch was that since they're custom made, they're a bit pricey.  Whoopsie!

Dochelle was kind enough to send me paper and color samples so after a few back and forths, I finally decided on what I wanted!  I went with gold card stock and ribbon, on cream paper.  The gold in real life is actually more of a champagne, rather than the yellowy color in the picture. 




What totally sold me on these invitations was the crystal broach and ribbons!  We carried this theme of the bow with the crystal in it through to the cake, but more on that another time!  I really loved that the gold card stock because it was shimmery!  The invitations came with gorgeous lined envelopes, as well as an RSVP card and a customized Accommodations card.  Here are pictures (sorry they're a little blurry):





I also decided to use a professional calligrapher to address all the invitations (which was also a little pricey but TOTALLY worth it in the end!) I would highly recommend using a calligrapher.....they just make the invitations look so beautiful!  I tried to learn how to do it myself (and I did it myself for the Save the Dates), but it definitely wasn't the same!  All I can say is, messy. LOL

Dochelle Custom Creations was great to work with!  I received my invitations on time, and before they were printed, they emailed me a ton of proofs to make sure all the wording was right!  In the end, I would spend the money all over again on these invitations because they perfect!  They were exactly what I was looking for and one of my favorite parts of the wedding!

My best advice is to not settle for an invitation design that you don't really LOVE!  This is the first thing your guests will see so make it shine!  Make sure it is consistent with your wedding theme and that it conveys the right feeling for your big day.  I didn't quite keep budget in mind with these, but I've found if you search hard enough...you can always find what your looking for in any budget range!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Project Runway Season 9 & a little dream of mine...

Happy Thursday everyone!

So I'm super excited because tonight is the premier of Project Runway Season 9!!  I LOVE this show!  I really got into it a few seasons ago, and its like crack for me! 


I so wish I had the talent to do what they do!  I think that would be soo much fun.  I mean does it ever happen to you that you have a particular piece of clothing in your head that you want to find and buy, but you can't find it?  Well, that happens to me quite often and I think....if I could only just make it! 

I took a costuming class in college so I learned how to use the sewing machine but I never really had enough time to practice it.  I was also learning how to create and mend costumes...not real clothes.  I did make a tutu (which is hanging on my wall in a HUGE shadow box) but making a tutu is different than clothing.  Both are hard, but different.  So this brings me to a totally realistic little dream of mine....I wish I could be a fashion designer!  I mean, I have a serious passion for fashion (yes, that rhymed...) and I have the interest to learn how to do it.  Now, I guess I just need the talent.  :)


We have a local college here called Columbus College of Art and Design that has adult classes I could take in the evenings, so I've seriously thought about taking their Pattern Drafting and Sewing class but I just haven't done it yet.  The prices for the class keep going up and down, so I'm hoping to catch it when its down and just enroll.  I know I'd enjoy every minute of it, so it'd be money well spent!  They also offer a figure drawing class, which is probably something I should take.  I'm not a terrible drawer, but I wouldn't consider myself good.  I'll need to sketch out my ideas right?


No matter what comes of learning how to make clothes, I think I just want to do it for myself.  I mean I am realistic...I don't expect to become a famous fashion designer (I don't even know if I'll be any good at it) but I would thoroughly enjoy having this as a creative outlet!  Since I stopped dancing, I find myself void of a creative outlet.  I could go back to dancing, but for some reason...I just can't.  Maybe too many years of doing it?  Maybe because I know the opportunity to perform is gone, so what's the point?  I don't know, but I think I've been waiting a while to be able to explore my other interests and maybe its about time to do that, right?

I've had other little ideas of hobby's or things I could do, but somehow I've never quite brought myself to do them.  I wonder why?  Laziness?  Probs.  I work 8-5 everyday and when I come home, I'm tired.  I make dinner and try to work out, and my evenings are spent watching TV or movies with Doc so I guess I just stopped trying to fit other things in.  On weekends, I have much more time and where will you most likely find me?  The mall!  And then I banned myself because I started to buy too much.....

You see--I need a hobby where I'm not going to spend a ton of money!  Yea, I know....prob doesn't exist.  If I was more into working out, that'd probably be cheaper considering we have a free gym in our apartment complex, BUT shopping and clothes are just too damn fun! 

Thanks for listening to me vent!  I'll keep you updated on the status of my little dream here.  What hobbies do you all do?  Besides blogging, duh! 

Have any of you had a hobby you really wanted to do but didn't have the experience?  How did you get started?

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Oreo Stuffed Chocolate Chip Cookies

Oh. Em. Gee. These look amazing!  They are Oreo stuffed chocolate chip cookies.  Can it get much better than this?  Excuse me while I drool for a minute....mmmmmm!  I can almost taste them!


Click here for the amazing recipe!!  Hubby will be a happy camper when he comes home to these one day.  Super healthy too. (wink wink) :)

Monday, July 25, 2011

I Won Something!

Hello there!  Sooo super exciting news for me!  I won a blog giveaway from PIPM: Pretty In Pink Megan!  This is a big deal for me people....I never win anything!  But my luck has turned around apparently.......I won a gorgeous coral necklace from Brave Designs, as well as some fun feather earrings! 

I received the jewelry in the mail over the weekend, so what was I wearing to work today?!  Why the gorgeous coral necklace I won!!  Here are some quick pics I snapped this morning while getting ready for work (don't mind the sleepy face..)



It's actually one long necklace (which was heavier than I expected) that I wrapped around twice.  I think its much prettier in person.  I'll show you pics of the feather earrings once I wear them.  Thank you again Megan!! 

Question for the more experienced followers: Since I'm kinda new to blogging, I'm just wondering.... how do giveaways work?  I mean, how do you get a business or store to let you giveaway something?  What's the process like?  I'd love to do one, but I don't know much about it.

Have a great evening!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Boots No.7 Products

Hey there!  Happy Thursday everyone!  The weekend is almost here.... Ok, let's talk beauty today.

For years now, I have been using Boots skincare products and they're the best!  You may recognize the name because they are the CVS' of the UK!  Boots is the leading international pharmacy-led Health & Beauty retailer.  Their products became mucho popular about 4 years ago when their "Protect & Perfect" beauty serum for anti-aging became all the craze!  When it was brought out internationally, they decided to re-name it "Restore & Renew" because in market studies they found that people couldn't pronounce perfect and it was associated with medical rather than beauty....sooo they named it Restore & Renew.  The molecular makeup of the two products are almost the same but not quite due to the US FDA restrictions (or something, I'm not totally sure) but they're ALMOST the same thing, and Boots claims they give the same outcome.   


Here's a little about the products and why it was so popular:

The University of Manchester conducted independent research on No7 Protect & Perfect Intense Beauty Serum over a 12 month period, the most rigorous clinical trial carried out on a cosmetic anti-aging product. The research findings were recently published in the British Journal of Dermatology, stating that after using the No7 Protect & Perfect Intense Beauty Serum for a year, 70% of women and men had "significant" improvements to their wrinkles with faces ending up with fewer lines and shallower wrinkles. In fact, the longer No7 Protect & Perfect Intense Beauty Serum is used, the more effective it is.

Boots states that "the product has been independently proven to restore the skin’s structure, visibly improving deep lines and wrinkles by up to 50% with regular use. The first product proven to restore the skin's structure with prolonged use. So effective that other people can see a significant visible improvement in your deep lines and wrinkles......After 4 weeks, the appearance of lines and wrinkles is reduced by up to 50%.......After 6 months of use, the skin is shown to rebuild and over time elasticity is improved and deep wrinkles are visibly reduced."

They were even talking about "Restore & Renew" on the Today Show and Oprah...I'm talking big craze here people!  It was only being sold in Target at the time, so it would sell out of stores so fast!  They couldn't keep it on the shelves! 


Anyway, my Mom has tried just about every skincare product available and when the "Restore & Renew" serum became popular she of course had to try it!  She raved about it, but I didn't really think much of it because I've heard her rave before..........but I was wrong.  She had me try it and I was so impressed!  My skin felt sooo smooth and healthy!  And I know....I'm too young to have wrinkles so its not like the serum was eliminating anything on my skin, but I'd like to prevent it in the future.  Everyone talks about the wonders it does for your face!  I would put some on under my moisturizer at night and by morning my face just felt so great!  I have trouble with my pores and blackheads, but the "Restore & Renew" minimized them and totally smoothed them out.  The only downside is that the tubes are small, but I see that they sell it in the bigger containers and I think its the same product (not sure?) but I was going through them kinda fast before.  But they're sold at Target for a reasonable price (I think about $22), so it wasn't too bad.

So, about 2 years ago I stopped using the "Restore & Renew" serum just because I started supporting myself and I decided I didn't need the extra cost, and I also had trouble finding it in stores.  I recently wanted to start using it again (since I'm a whole 2 years older and wrinkles could be around the corner....lol) but I couldn't find it any Targets!  I searched and searched and wondered if they had gotten rid of it?!  Well, I've done a little research and it looks like they've gone back to their old name "Protect & Perfect", so I will be going out this week and buying this little baby again.  I hear they now sell Boots products at CVS as well.  I'm excited to see how much brighter my face will look and feel!  I urge you all to go out and try it if you haven't already.  It seriously is a miracle cream for anti-aging! Just google it and read all the reviews! :)

I also use their Advanced Hydration Day & Nighttime moisturizers.  LOVE them!  Just don't buy the Boots mascara....I once bought it and it was awful!!  Sooo clumpy!  

P.S. I am not being paid or bribed to endorse their products!  Purely my opinion! 

xoxo,

Ashley

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Is this too far?

Ok, ya'll know I love sparkly things right?!  I've talked about clothes, shoes, accessories, housewares.....if I could be a walking disco ball--I would!  I've seen MANY different kinds of sparkle encrusted things, but I have never come across this.....


Now that is a throne right?!  I wouldn't exactly want to use it if you know what I mean!  Lol its too pretty...it needs to just be decoration in the house.  Sadly, I don't think Doc would care much for it....he'd claim it wasn't manly enough to drop the kids off at the pool/take the browns to the super bowl/feed the monkeys/etc.  Those of you with boyfriends/husbands know the sayings.....

But in all reality...who actually decided this was a good idea?

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Back to Reality!

Hello bloggie land!  I've missed you :)

I'm back from my work conference in beautiful Miami and it was a great trip!  Great conference and enjoyed seeing my family, as well as staying at an amazing hotel (Ritz Carlton Key Biscayne).  See previous post with pictures...

Anyway, I'm working on catching up on all my blog reading I've missed!  I feel so out of the loop with ya'll!  As soon as I have a free moment, I will be back with my normal posts!  Until then....I would very much like to be eating these RIGHT NOW.  I will make these. Yes. I will.

Toffee Crunch Cupcakes: Find recipe here.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

I'm not doing sh*t today

 This is how I feel today (ok, and most days)....anyone else agree? :)


Maybe its because I will be traveling againnnn this weekend for a work conference.  Bleh. Too much traveling! However, I really shouldn't be complaining because...its at the Ritz Carlton on Key Biscayne in Miami!!  Very nice hotel and I get to see my family again!  Win, win.

Here I will be for the next couple of days:



Woe is me right? What are you all doing this weekend?

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Fashionista Kate

The day has finally arrived!  Prince William and Kate are in The United States of America for the very first time!  They've just spent the past 9 days in Canada and now on to Hollywood.  Along this journey, Kate has not surprisingly, looked stunning in each and every outfit.  Let's just take a look and drool a little at how stunning she is....


Hey look its the same dress she wore for the engagement photos!




 Isn't this color stunning on her!?  Nice to see her in something other than white.



And with all that wind, she handled it very well!!  Almost saw some cheeks there!



Look at those little legs!  She's wearing the J Brand 811 skinny jeans here (the same ones I mentioned in my past posts that were in all those fab colors?) Def want a pair even more now!

In conclusion, Princess Katherine should really be called Fashionista Katherine...its a more fitting title no?  I'll take the Princess off her hands... :)

Friday, July 8, 2011

Can't get it out of my head!

Ok, I've had Nicki Minaj's Super Bass song stuck in my head ALLLL day!  It's totally grown on me though....LOVING it at the moment (we'll see after the 100th time of hearing it how I feel...)

P.S. I'll take the pink Ferrari in the beginning of the video please.


What do you think of Nicki Minaj's new song?

Sequins!

It's of probably no shock to you that I lurve glitter and sequins mucho! I'm highly attracted to sparkly things!  Its a problem though......because if it were up to me, I'd be a walking disco ball everyday and that's just no good for everyone involved.  The thing about wearing glitter and sequins is that it has to be done the right way.  Here are some examples:

The Sequin Skirt: I'm loving this look right now!  I don't know who makes the one in the picture below but I know that Express, Victoria's Secret, and JCrew all have sequin skirts out right now.  This is a great look for going out to dinner or a dressier party.  You can dress down or up!  The key here is to have a more understated top.  Love the look the below!


The Sequin Dress: I have a Laundry by Shelli Segal sequin dress at home that I love!  I haven't had many occasions to wear it, but when I have, I've felt like a million bucks!  Kat Deeley from So You Think You Can Dance, wore a sequin dress on last night's episode that I really liked it. I can't find a picture of it though.  Here are a few favs of mine:



Here's a more casual take on the sequin dress beacause its paired with flat sandals:


The Sequin Shirt: This is a really great look paired with just about anything!  I have just a couple of tank tops that have sequins on the front, but none that really give that wow factor!  I need to get one ASAP.  Express has a great one out right now, with a see-through back.  See first pic below:




The Sequin Swimsuit: And I can't forget a sequin bikini!  No words are necessary.


There are so many other ways to wear sequins but I fear this post would end up being days long if I mentioned all of them!  And don't even get me started on the glittery/sequin shoes....!!!

P.S. I just have to show you this--while looking at sequin dresses, I came across this. WTF. Really?


What is your favorite way to wear sequins??

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Here Comes the Bride: Flowers

I previously started a mini-series here called "Here Comes the Bride" for my bride-to-be readers, and I have a 2nd edition for you today!  In all honestly, after I wrote the first one, I was like uh oh...not sure I really have much else to talk about regarding tips/advice/experiences with my wedding BUT duh, I was wrong!  There's lots to talk about when it comes to weddings, so today's topic is the flowers!

I do not know much about flowers in general.  I know the obvious ones (roses, daisies, lilies, etc) but I really didn't focus too much on the flowers, because well, I just didn't know a lot about them.  I heavily relied on my florist to guide me, and he did!  I knew what colors I wanted, but he helped bring it all together.

My colors were orange, yellow, and pink but I wanted the pink to be a bit more on the coral side.  For my bouquet, I didn't want it to be all white.  I wanted it to be coraly-pink mixed with white and I LOVED lilies so my florist ended up giving me white lilies with pink roses and spray roses, as well as some white cymbidium orchids.  I have to say, initially when I saw my bouquet, I was a little upset.  The roses were more like blush or light pink and not a coral pink.  I know, I know...small little insignificant detail but when your a bride....everythingggg is a big deal!  Don't get me wrong, I wasn't a bridezilla....but I was picky with the way I wanted things.  Anyway, on the day I told myself I wasn't going to get upset and in the end, I'm still very happy with my bouquet! 


We added the bouquet jewelery by Twinkle Twinkle.  Twinkle Twinkle is a store in Miami where the owner, Alicia, bedazzles everythinggggg!  I got my earrings and little tiara from her as well.  The whole store sparkles because that is what she specializes in! 

As far as my bridesmaids bouquets go, their dresses were orange with a yellow sash so the flowers were a bright bundle of orange and yellow roses!  The roses were actually orange-ish coral, and faded to yellow on the ends....I think it was called Brandy something roses?  Sooo beautiful!  I LOVED them! They looked so good with their dresses too!



It took me forever to decide on table arrangements!  I just didn't know what I wanted....I just knew when I saw it, I'd know.  And I did.  




We had 2 different types of table arrangements.  One had cymbidium orchids floating in water in the vases, and the other had a bulb of white hydrangeas with orange lilies and pink roses in it.   They were perfect for what I wanted!  We had a head table but I really didn't like the idea of all of us facing the room...just weird to me...so I had a rectangle shaped table instead and it was great!  Our flowers were a little different since we couldn't have such high arrangements.  Instead, they were just smaller versions.





We had shell accents also on the tables, as well as the tables during the cocktail hour--to give it that extra tropical feel!  Anyway, this concludes my 2nd edition of "Here Comes the Bride"!  Hope you enjoyed it! :)

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

A Little Inspiration For Today

Since today is the first day back after a long weekend (and still too soon after a vacation for me), I decided we needed a little inspiration for today!  Godsh, I am dragging today!  Is anyone else feeling this way?  Here is a random collection of photos from Pinterest that I found....I think they all should make you smile somehow!



What a cute little fashionista!




Cat yoga?



Working on it....


Hope you all are getting through your workdays a little bit better now? And remember....keep calm and buy shoes! :)
 
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