Sunday, May 31, 2009

Bed and Breakfast Theme Shower

Here's a new design, just wrapped up for a bed and breakfast theme shower. If you're interested, the design is #1295, and whichever color you choose for your tulle bows is what I'll use for the coffee pot and mug.

As with nearly every design, you are also free to request different colors, fonts, etc. Talk with us if you want to see something different!

Friday, May 29, 2009

Goody Two Shoes at 6pm.com

Remember that Adam Ant song from the 80s: "Don't drink, don't smoke—what do you do?" Gotta have a vice, and in my case, it's shoes. Ironically, the title of that song is "Goody Two Shoes," but why stop at two? How about 6 or 8? (Or 10 or 20??) I think that might be possible at 6pm.com.

I heard about this place from my Twitter friends last Saturday and had to check it out. The layout is a dream...narrow your search by gender, category, style, size, width, color, brand, price...whew! The drooling will commence when you see your faves (Kate Spade, anyone?) 45%, 50%, 55% off... Deep breaths.

Focus...on this visit I limited myself to sandals. I asked my Tweeps for their opinion: Is it possible to have too many pairs of sandals? A resounding "NO!" from the peanut gallery. Happily, I agree. But still, showing unbelievable restraint, I only ordered a single pair. This time. Three days later, here they are. The best part: these $44 sandals were 70% off. Mere pennies over $20 to acquire, INCLUDING SHIPPING. Who's a smart shopper?

I highly recommend 6pm.com for the shoe obsessed. I have a reunion next month, and a wedding this fall, and surely there are many more occasions that require new footwear. Next time, I will not be Lil' Miss Goody Two Shoes shopper.

Monday, May 25, 2009

"No unwounded soldiers"

A former classmate of mine, Todd Defreitas, was interviewed for his local newspaper in Williamstown, Massachusetts. In the feature, Todd shared memories of his time in the U.S. Army as well as describing the lasting effects of that service.

To me this was an important reminder of the significance of this day. While it is intended to commemorate those Americans who have died in service to the country, I think it's important to consider those who have survived but have given so much of themselves that they will never be the same. The sacrifices of our men and women in uniform are tremendous and should never be forgotten.

"In war, there are no unwounded soldiers." ~José Narosky

(The photo above is Todd in basic training, age 18.)

Friday, May 22, 2009

You thought YOUR wedding was bad...

Nearly 15 years ago, my future husband and I planned a wedding that didn't happen. The night before the event, due to circumstances beyond our control, our wedding was canceled. It sounds like a nightmare, and it was. It was too late to stop delivery of cake and flowers; decorations that had been put up had to be taken down.

I was lucky to have family and friends to help undo the things they had just helped us to do. I wouldn't wish this sadness on anyone, and maybe this is why I enjoy working for (and with) brides so much: I can do some things just right for them, and it's a delight to do so. Maybe it's also therapeutic. All I know is, it's simply a pleasure.

It's been so many years and I have such a happy marriage that I can laugh about it (well, sort of), and now I find I enjoy wedding disaster stories almost as much as the scenarios of nuptial perfection. I don't consider this schadenfreude; it's not that I enjoy others' misfortune, I just like to commiserate! Whenever talk shows have wedding horror stories, I find myself comparing the couples' complaints to my own story. Rainy wedding day? I have that beat. Disruptive groomsmen? Um, did you get to say, "I do?" I didn't! Disagreements at the rehearsal? Ah, I know how you feel!!

If you find these stories as entertaining as I do, you'll love these wedding disasters. I'll admit that these are mostly much worse than mine! If you're planning a wedding, I wish you smooth sailing--and a sense of humor to get you over any rough spots! Happy planning!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Makeup Tutorials, Reviews, Forum

If you love makeup and you haven't seen Makeup Geek, you really need to check it out! I admit that I don't wear makeup very often, so when I want to achieve a certain look, I'm completely lost. This site has an Idea Gallery where you can choose your look by makeup color, then select the related Tutorial to show you how to apply the look. There are articles and reviews of makeup, and even a forum to ask questions or request upcoming tutorials. Lots of useful stuff here!

Monday, May 18, 2009

Word of the Week: Ubuntu

I've been reading Desmond Tutu's "God Has a Dream" and have reached this wonderful passage that talks about how important we are to each other as people. He says that people are only people in relation to and through each other. He says that in Africa when you ask how someone is, they will answer in the plural: "We are well"; if someone is well but their family member is not, they will answer, "We are not well."

Archbishop Tutu says, "The first law of our being is that we are set in a delicate network of interdependence with our fellow human beings and with the rest of God's creation. In Africa recognition of our interdependence is called ubuntu in Nguni languages...It is the essence of being human. It speaks of the fact that my humanity is caught up and inextricably bound up in yours. I am human because I belong. It speaks about wholeness; it speaks about compassion. A person with ubuntu is welcoming, hospitable, warm and generous, willing to share."

Something to strive for this week and every week--ubuntu! Have a great Monday.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Save the Date

I've put together "save the date" cards and magnets for bridal couples, and we always try to make them special and unique so the guests will want to keep them around as a reminder. I came across this save the date video on YouTube the other day, and I'm pretty sure recipients wouldn't forget THIS date!

Friday, May 15, 2009

What do we live for...

"What do we live for if not to make life less difficult for each
other" - George Eliot

Monday, May 11, 2009

Word of the Week: Luftmensch

It's hard not to have my head in the clouds as the days get warmer and the green spring has sprung out all over. So the word this week is for all of us with spring fever. Luftmensch is from the Yiddish luftmentsh, literally meaning "air human being."

"The word 'Luftmensch' flew into Barstein's mind. Nehemiah was not an earth-man. . .. He was an air-man, floating on facile wings." -
Israel Zangwill

Have a great Monday!

Saturday, May 09, 2009

Good Housekeeper?

Sometimes I think my parents helped me to develop self-confidence just so my kids could test it. Apart from my patience, there's nothing they've checked and tried as thoroughly.

Since I work from home, my kids are often around as I'm trying to conduct business, and occasionally I need to retreat to the office to actually hear an important phone call. One day last winter I explained that I was going to be on the phone for about 30 minutes and needed them to try not to interrupt unless it was an emergency. (They were 8 and 10, so this was not an unreasonable request.) They asked who I was going to be talking to, and I told them the call was an interview with a magazine.

"What magazine?" my tween daughter asked in a bored voice, not even looking at me.
"Good Housekeeping," I replied, feeling kind of important.
"Never heard of it, " she dismissed, never looking up.

My son looked thoughtful, then puzzled. "Good Housekeeping?" he asked. "But Mama, our house is really messy!"

Yes, it is, Tristan. Consider this is your first lesson in irony.

I made it through the 30 minutes without any emergencies, and GCDSpa is now featured in the June issue of that magazine my daughter had never heard of. Here's the online version of "My Brilliant (New) Career".

I'm still a little excited about it (even though I am a terrible housekeeper). The print version should be on newsstands in the coming days. Please let us know what you think! I'd love to hear from you!

Friday, May 08, 2009

Optimist

"The optimist sees opportunity in every danger; the pessimist sees danger in every opportunity." Winston Churchill

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Advice from Your Wedding Guests






Congratulations on your engagement! We hope that you'll be very happy together, and as your wedding guests we look forward to sharing your day with you.

As you start to plan your dream day, please don't forget about us! We've done this wedding guest gig before and we have a few tips to help make your wedding the best we've ever attended. Here are 5 bits of advice from the wedding guests:

1. A Range in the Registry. We're sure there's someone on your guest list who would be delighted to buy you that $800 rug, but it probably won't be your recently-graduated best friend. Especially in these tough economic times, lots of folks are tightening the belt. Please try to offer gift choices for a range of budgets.

2. Get clear on kids. If you don't want kids at your wedding, that's your choice. Just be clear about it well ahead of time; let guests know if there is an age limit (12 and up? Over 18 only?); and be consistent. Most guests will gladly hire a sitter, but might be offended to see that others weren't expected to do so.

3. Eat. Drink. Be Merry. Ever notice how those three are always listed in a particular order? When you're having your photos taken after the ceremony, please offer some refreshments for your guests while they await your entrance. Snacks and drinks help ensure that everyone is in a good mood and ready to party as soon as you arrive. Another way you can help with this is to...

4. Keep it close. We know you can't always have the reception near the ceremony, but if it's possible, keep it close. Particularly when we've come from far away, traveling long distances to get from event to event can be a drag. If this has to happen, make sure you provide directions and maps to guests.

5. Don't let seating take a back seat. Seating arrangements can be complicated, we know. But it's not always fun to spend the evening seated at a table with complete strangers. If at all possible, try to provide us with some familiar faces (particularly important for those single friends who attend sans date).

Here are some Bonus Tips from my Facebook Friends:

Help with the HerdDean B., a photographer in Reno, NV, suggests, "The Best Man or Maid of Honor need to be in charge of 'herding cats' for the family group photos. The photographer does not know these people and needs a team player to help for this task." (With this kind of help, your photography could be finished in record time!)

Start it Slow
Beth P. says, "I think the best advice I got was to start the dancing with a slow song because everyone will dance to that - it gets everyone out on the dance floor right off the bat. Then play something really fun to keep everyone out there. There is nothing more awkward than the first dancing song when everyone is staring at each other waiting ...."

To Free or Not to Free (Alcohol, that is)...
Todd D. says, "Can you say......OPEN BAR? At the very least, offer free beer and wine."

Melissa H. suggests, "Maybe give a ticket for one free drink, if the bride/groom can afford it. After all, someone has to pay. If people really want to drink, they will be willing to pay."

Beth P. adds, "We had bottles of red and white wine on the tables during dinner. I liked the way that worked out."

James B. offers some final thoughts to put the focus back on you: "The best advice I can give is do what you think is right for your wedding. Everybody and his brother will stick their two cents in if they can. Make it the way you want it and it will turn out perfect."

What do you think? Do you have some suggestions for wedding couples? What have you learned from being a wedding guest? Share your thoughts below!

Monday, May 04, 2009

Word of the Week: Paideia

Paideia, according to Wikipedia, is Greek for "education" or "instruction."

"Since self-government was important to the Greeks, paideia, combined with ethos (habits), made a man good and made him capable as a citizen or a king.[2] This education was not about learning a trade or an art...but was about training for liberty (freedom) and nobility (the beautiful). Paideia is the cultural heritage that is continued through the generations."

Saturday, May 02, 2009

Sustainable Fashion

A newspaper wedding gown? That's what I thought, too, when I saw this article. Designer Gary Harvey's contribution to an exhibition called "Food for Thought: Sustainable Fashion," was created out of 40 newspapers. He wants people to create their own fashion statements rather than following the trendy. The way the fashion industry encourages people to throw out clothing several times a year doesn't make good financial or environmental sense, in Harvey's opinion.

Sustainable fashion deals with the issues of materials and manufacturing processes in the fashion industry, encouraging practices that are environmentally friendly as well as socially responsible. So traditional cotton--which takes lots of fertilizers and pesticides to grow and additional chemicals to process--is out, and organic cotton or alternative natural fibers such as hemp, silk, wool, and flax are in.

Even better are recycled, reclaimed, or vintage fabrics because there are no growing or manufacturing issues with these materials. Now & Zen in Seal Rock, Oregon offers one-of-a-kind bags and purses made from recycled, felted knits, woven fabrics and baubles. (I especially love the fortune cookie bags!)

Many other fashion and accessories businesses use vintage fabrics or recycled materials for their products. I wrote about these Bazura bags in an earlier blog; finding creative ways to repurpose waste materials (like juice boxes) benefits everyone.

For the environmentally conscious there is, of course, always shopping at Kaight: Recycled plastic shoes, organic cotton pillows, hand printed recycled note cards. Or check out Etsy for recycled scarves, vintage items, and hemp clothing. For inspiration, try the "weedrobes" of Nicole Dextras or the Textile art of Ysabel de Maisonneuve.

I'm hoping that sustainable fashion-- with its social consciousness and attention to my pocketbook--isn't just another trend!

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