Wedding planning help + Let’s get real!

WoodWeddingSigns

Let’s get real when we talk about weddings and wedding planning.  While I was planning my wedding last year, I found myself on Pinterest and blogs reading anything I could to help the process, I started to feel they were all repetitive and way too much sugar coating.

My goal is to keep it real with you from tips and tricks to what obstacles to expect. It isn’t all fun and games… there are moments of major stress, tears and just being pissed!

Don’t get me wrong I LOVED planning our wedding and had a great wedding day.

Things to consider:

  1.  Wait….Check out venues before setting a date. I suggest even doing a lot of the planning before setting anything in stone. This takes the pressure off of meeting deadlines and for the indecisive bride like myself. This also helps paint a realistic picture of what your budget is actually going to look like
  2.  Budget.…. you will go over it…. even in the moments you think we will stay under… nope. I applaud you all that stayed under you first budget idea.  I know before we even started planning, we had a number in mind and then we were slapped with reality.  Make a list of priorities and go from there. You will read endless posts on how to save on your wedding…. they all say get a free venue…. No shit! Not everyone is so lucky to get such a hookup.  I will make a whole post on venues and creative options. Stay tuned.
  3. Think about your crowd and their budget when planning, mostly for a destination wedding and when registering for gifts. We wanted to have a co-ed wedding shower but we knew that most of our buddies did not know what to do with a registry and Alex being a chef, we really didn’t need anything. So, we had a stock the bar party, our guest brought a bottle for the bar and one for the party. It was great because we used a lot of the alcohol for the bachelorette  and Bachelor party, which saved money.
  4. Be Direct!!!! Ask for what you need and tell people what you expect. Some people won’t know what to do or how to help and they are willing but waiting for you. It may feel awkward but do it, you may be end up  feeling like you are doing it all alone and stressed. I thought way too much about not wanting to bug people or ask too much of them. It is the one time you can ask your friends and family for help or tell them what you needed or expect…. it’s the bride card… use it nicely but use it!
  5. DIY or Not: Some projects are always best DIY but there are some things that just make more sense to purchase online to save time and money.
  6. MATH: Any time you like something then times it by how many you actually have to buy… obvious one right…. well when you see something that is great and only $1…. yay! Well, now you need a 100 of them,no longer as affordable. There are few things in weddings you only need one of.
  7. Just don’t do it. If there is any aspect of the wedding planning or traditions you are not a fan of, just don’t do it! Weddings now are all about making your own traditions. For example, we didn’t do bouquet toss or garter toss. I just wasn’t into it. Again, a time I thought about my crowd.
  8. Slowly but surely! You will get it all done, you will have a billion list and it will all come together!! Something I wish I did was prepare even more. If you think about it, do it. There are some aspect of the planning or getting things that I thought would be quicker and I would handle them closer to the wedding, I wish I hadn’t! Just do it early.
  9. Options: Present options to your partner, make sure you love all those options. This way it makes your partner feel involved and you don’t have to all of sudden add some crazy aspect into the wedding because the significant other has some wild idea.  Alex had full reign when it came to the cake, cake topper and food. The rest I  provided options 1-5 etc and he picked from that. Some of you will have a partner that is all-in with you but, for the most part, the planning lands heavily on one person. For example, Alex wanted lime green ties and blue flowers…. yeah, no! 🙂
  10.  Enjoy it! I know, I know everyone will tell you this. There were times that I had to chill on the wedding planning and I allowed myself to. I wanted to enjoy it and not have it stress me out. I believe you are a Bride for life.

Share with me your big wedding woes or tips and tricks!

X- A

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Obessession | All White Everything.

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 I have been vibing all white since the beginning of the year and I was a little sad that I didn’t find the perfect white pant for the summer. BUT, don’t worry white is here to stay and all white at that! It was all over the runway in New York Fashion Week and Yup, I am a total fashion nerd that live streams fashion week. Try mixing  the new styling tricks include mixing textures, layering multiple pieces, and teaming various shades.

X- A

photo cred: Soraya Zaman

Wedding Dress Shopping!

 

The Dress… the one and only dress… the most important dress you will ever wear….it has to be perfect… so much pressure and such a big decision… I was stressed lol.

A few weeks a go my mom flew into town and my soon to be sister in law came to join me and my local bridesmaids to find “the dress.”

With a smallish budget and no idea what I wanted, I figured starting at a big bridal store would be best. Since they often  have every cut, style, color and type there is. I first started at David’s Bridal, the poor consultant was trying to get an idea what I was looking for and I tried to tell her everything. 🙂

Me: ” Well I love simple and flowy but I also like a bit of glamour and fitted. I like lace but I also like the clean freshness of just simple white, I want something tight but I also like flowy .”  I am nuts!

The poor girl  just start pulling one of each and decided we would go from there!

I went into this little dressing room and had to put on a corset bra contraption and a skirt slip which solved my worries of not wearing matching undergarments or that the consultant being too modest and  seeing my cheeks… I got no shame in my buns game 🙂

Back to the dress…. I came out and everyone was in love! I loved it too… kind of. The illusion neckline was perfect and fitted with a lowered waistline where it flowed out beautifully. My hesitation was the lower waistline, it sat where I felt at my widest part of my hips… my friends and family disagreed.  So it was great but not the one.

The consultant wanted me to try the dress on with heels, so she brought over some shoes…. Not just shoes but  THE SHOES!  Shoes haven’t been on my mind during this wedding planning process but wall-‘ la my shoes…nothing but perfection.image

I felt like Carrie Bradshaw when she opens her new closet and see’s her blue heels.

I tried on several dresses and just couldn’t decide between flowy big skirt or fitted. Since I am short and look young, I don’t want to be seen as cute on my wedding day but  more of  holy shit she is gorgeous and sexy. 🙂

So, I needed a break and lunch.. In N Out…is  never not good. I started the day feeling bloated and having a “fat day” my amazing girl assured me that if I feel like that now and try on a dress and feel good in it, just imagine how I will feel when I don’t feel fat and bloated. This also justified me pigging out on In N Out before my other appointment. 🙂

Then we headed to my second appointment at a small beautiful bridal boutique called The Bustle. As I walked up, I saw my name on a chalkboard sign  welcoming me, I was instantly excited.  Once we stepped inside, we were all greeted with Champagne…. it was exactly what we all needed. 🙂

We pulled some dresses and got started.  Well, there was no slip this time…lol.  I stepped into several dresses that were not the one but THEN…..  I walked  out in one dress that had everyone in AWE.  It is the perfect mix of my fitted and flowy and it was The One! Time for another glass of Champagne!!

We were all thrilled and exhausted!  Now, I just wait and wait and wait and wait for it to be made. I hate waiting!

Some tips when going dress shopping:

1. Have some what of a vision but don’t be to stuck on one thing. Often you will be surprised. Each one of my consultants commented about how the things brides often say they don’t want, they end up loving it and getting it. 🙂

2. Don’t be too modest. The consultant was up close and personal with me and they did not seem to care a bit as she was  pulling the dresses over my bum.

3. Remember your budget, don’t try a  dress you cannot afford and keep alterations in mind. I was shocked at the cost of alterations. Each layer of your dress is extra in alterations. Look for shops that have free alterations included.  I opted for what is called a hallow hem to hopefully save on some alteration fees. Since I am short, I know I would need it hemmed and with 5 layers…. that was going to get really pricey. A hallow hem is when they measure from your neckline to the floor in the shoes you want or about the height you are going for and have it cut to that measurement instead of the standard. Which I think mine was 57 inched and I only needed 51.This cost an extra $100 but to have it hemmed at the original length would have cost me $300 + if I didn’t do the hallow hem.

** My mom and I realized whatever you think the cost is in regards to planning a wedding, make sure to add some extra on to everything for all the fees and taxes.

4. Wear a strapless bra this was the most helpful! They have pads for you which is amazing!!  The boob inserts were an epic difference 🙂 for those that need them. Underwear doesn’t seem matter, just some that don’t give you any indents.  I have read several things online that stress wearing really cute matching undergarments. Wear clean and comfortable for you!

5. Bring heels to smaller boutiques but if you go to larger stores like David’s bridal, they will give you shoes to wear and hope you will buy.

6.  Get honest feedback. I told my girls to be honest about everything and they were. They told me when my hips were looking wide, when it did nothing for me at all and when my boobs needed some extra somethin, somethin. lol. Along with how gorgeous I was in the others. 🙂

7. Eat! I was starving after one appointment and exhausted. I never thought it would be tiring but it really was!

8. Have fun and don’t focus on the dresses that don’t do it for you but keep your eye on the prize… the one that makes you feel amazing. It’s easy to get caught up in the ones that don’t fit, the size, the ones that were not flattering and all of  that can ruin your whole experience. You want to feel like Beyoncé all day 🙂 Don’t let negative self talk get you, know you are gorgeous and that when you find your dress you will have your moment! Your man loves you just the way you are and will think you are stunning in any dress. So have fun and feel like  the amazing bride you are and sip champagne. 🙂

9. Stay true to yourself. Don’t let your friends styles influence you into something that doesn’t represent yourself. It is easy to go with public opinion but only yours matter.

10. Have fun and take the moment in!

 

X- A

 

Friday’s Cocktail! | Sangria madness

With  a major heat wave hitting southern California, I am in need of a refreshing cocktail. Sangria is one of my favorites but only if done well.

Recently I had a Sassy Sangria at The Patio in Mission Hills, SD. Essentially a sangria with some tequila… it sure will get you sassy 😉  The Patio is a fabulous restaurant that is all about local ingredients and being sustainable, on top of that it is absolutely stunning with great  ambiance.  It is an open kitchen with a  wall of lush living plants and a mix of rustic wooden and elegant heather blue turfed chairs. Your plates will look like art and your taste buds will be dancing.  It is a must try in San Diego!

My other favorite sangria place an happy hour in general is Costa Brava in Pacific beach, SD. It is a Spanish tapas place with $8 pitcher of delicious fresh fruit sangria… I could have an IV of this stuff!!!  You will need some munchies, so.. try everything on the menu 🙂  really… its soo good!

Start your weekend off right with a fabulous glass of sangria and use this amazing chart from wine enthusiast to try something new. Mix it up and get sassy!

Share your favorite cocktails or go to places in your area!

xo- A

Wedding planning with your man.

Now we all know  the wedding day is all about the both of you… but let’s be real… the bride is the one that is making that day happen.  I am sure there are some exceptions out there. 🙂

When wedding planning began, I asked Alex what are some things he would like… his response ” I like when guys wear vans.” Well, Isn’t that helpful…

Then when it came to his attire for the day, he became full-blown groomzilla. Sorry, but a lime green tie isn’t happening. He is really fighting for his lime green tie… when I brought up the fact that my girls will not be wearing anything close to lime green, his response was classic… ” sorry, not everyone can look as good as me in lime green… but I am wearing it.”  This is coming from the guy that was wearing socks and Birkenstocks with basketball shorts…. which made him lose all credibility.

When it came to getting his thoughts on a wedding dress… he told me I can wear whatever I want, because he is going to wear what he wants.

I finally got him to look on Pinterest with me…. well,that was interesting. He would point out a mermaid cut …..Alex: ” what is that, why all this fluff shit ( as he waves his hands around the photo)

Me:  Okay on to the next…..

him: Why are there flowers… that’s dumb…and the next… I mean that’s not bad…

me: What do you like about it ?

Him: I don’t know… it isn’t as bad as the others.

me: how about this nice low back?

him: I mean.. you’re naked…. ( coming from a guy that has never expressed me having to be modest)

me: WHAT….. well, you no longer have say!

Sums it all up lol.

I have realized that Alex has no idea about weddings and he has realized this too and finally said..” “Babe, it seems I do better when options are presented and I just say yes or no.”

So true… when wedding talking with my girlfriend and fellow bride planning a wedding, she was having the same issues with her groom.  They either have no idea or elaborate ideas they won’t let go of.

A strategy is then needed…. only present what you would be comfortable with and then it gives him some freedom to pick within boundaries. 🙂

With Alex’s busy chef  schedule I ended up making a secret pinterest board for the both of us and downloaded the app on his phone. This way I could pin all the things I wanted to run across him and he could check it out on his downtime.

I started to feel bad that once he came home, I started asking so many wedding questions or trying to show him things…. that was a little over whelming for him. The board helped solve that problem.

He actually really likes this pinterest board for us and has even suggested making one that is called ” done deal” which means we approved it and that is what we are going with.

I want to make sure that our wedding day represents both of us but I want to be realistic in the fact if I let him have a free range… it would be a total mess. 🙂

Some tips on wedding planning with your man:

1. ask him to describe what he has always thought of when thinking of his wedding day.

2.  Get the vibe…. use adjectives to get a description down.  Whimsical, industrial, rustic… etc

3. Create a Pinterest board for both of you… and explain to him how it works.

4.  Make a list of what’s  most important for him. Alex wanted great food and venue… he said he wanted to feel “wowed.”

5. Don’t provide ideas or pictures of things you are not willing to have part of your day.

6. Have fun and remember it’s suppose to be a wedding of two loves and  not a birthday party. 🙂

Happy planning 😉

X- A

The Ultimate Wedding planner & checklist!

 

Well, I didn’t think I could love Google docs/drive more than I already did… but it’s official, I do! Google has an entire comprehensive wedding planning checklist and spreadsheets for everything…. with all the formulas already done for you!!! Who needs to count when Google does it for you!! 🙂  I feel much better about using google vs the other random wedding site for tracking all my wedding details. Checkout this wedding planning lifesaver—> Google Weddding

What is your go to for wedding planning?

X- A

The start of Wedding planning!

 

So that day comes you are officially engaged and now you have to plan a wedding…..

I was naive and didn’t think it would be so hard and there would be so many things to think about… Well, there is!!!!

There seems to be an enormous amount of wedding blogs out there, but I am hoping these post are straight forward, no bullshit wedding planning insight.

Like many, I have had a long time running “Wedding” board on Pinterest and I instantly refereed to it. The downside is for many it is unrealistic to be able to afford these “Pinterest perfect” weddings. I am pretty crafty but there is no crafting to be had when finding a venue for a reasonable price or catering.

So first things first…budget! Be prepared for your budget to change but try and be as strict as possible unless you don’t need to be… than just have fun!

When looking for a venue I used several sites such as Here comes the guide,Wedding Wire,Wedding Spot and Google.

I live in San Diego but I am originally from the Bay Area… Sonoma county to be more exact.. and that is where Alex and I plan on getting hitched.

My plan had been to rent a lovely home on some property and have the wedding there. Well, Sonoma County decided to ruin that plan. They no longer allow vacation rentals to be used for events/weddings larger than 15.  Sucks for me… than they even decided to have a 10 pm NO amplified music ordinance!! Geez, cut me a break here.

Then it was time for plan B-Z ….. We started calling, emailing and collecting brochures of the first round venues. That didn’t go so well either…

for example: I called a place that has a re-purposed barn and some lovely property. I asked about the fee and was told $9,000 just for the four walls and property for 5 hours. I happen to ask about the restrooms and I was then informed that there is a beautiful bathroom for the bride and groom but we would have to rent a port-a-potty trailer for my guest. Are you F***ing kidding me…WHAT… how is that allowed?!?!!?  I obviously moved on…

I found that city buildings,churches schools and cultural centers were the most affordable. Most of the places you have to bring in outside vendors for everything. Just always make sure to ask what the rules and regulations are…such as decorations,outside vendors, times,music,alcohol…etc.

It got to a point I was seeing so many numbers and having to add taxes and fees etc that I was boggled. So, I just emailed the coordinators of the venue and asked for them to provide me with a full proposal with all fees and taxes included etc. It made it so helpful to see everything all at once all added up with no  unexpected fees.

I at first stayed clear of golf courses and country clubs because I don’t want to have a “cookie cutter” wedding. I did find that golf courses seemed nicer than I thought… and.. they provide everything = less stress and coordinating.

Think outside of the box but be realistic on what you and your team can accomplish on the wedding day.  We contemplated self catering since Alex is a chef…. but that is just way to much worry and work. 🙂

Make a list of what is the most important aspect of the wedding to you and that will help you know how your budget will be dispersed.

Don’t lose hope and stay optimistic…. because it can get stressful and some times you may feel defeated BUT ultimately it is about you and your partner’s love 🙂

I will be posting all about my wedding planning up’s and downs, tips and tricks and everything in between.

Please share anything that helped you in your wedding planning process or any questions you may have! I would love to hear all about it!

x- A

Low carb comfort food | Cauliflower Mash

Ingredients:
1 medium head cauliflower

1 tablespoon cream cheese, softened (optional)

1 tablespoon of half and half or cream.

1/4 cup grated Parmesan

1/2 teaspoon minced garlic

1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper and salt

3 tablespoons unsalted butter

Directions
Boil water over high heat  to then  

Clean and cut cauliflower into small pieces.

Steam cauliflower.about 6 minutes, or until well done.

Drain well; do not let cool and pat cooked cauliflower very dry 

In a bowl with an immersion blender, or in a food processor, puree the hot cauliflower with the cream cheese (or some half and half),

Parmesan, garlic,

salt and pepper to taste.

Blend until smooth or your desired taste.  

Other ways to mix it up:  try rosemary or cheddar cheese. for a whole new taste.


This dish is key to fulfilling my comfort food craving without eating mass amounts of carbs. This is a superb way to eat low carb and not feel like you are missing out on anything! I have also made mock mac n cheese with cauliflower.. which is delicious!!

Finding new ways to enjoy your favorites is important when eating healthy.

xo- A

 bonappetito

What to think about before moving in together!

That moment when you find yourself paying for essentially a closet at another house while you spend most of your time at your boyfriend or girlfriends house. Then you have “the talk”  you know that should we move in together talk?! Many things can spark this conversations but finances seem to always be on the top of the list. “It just makes more sense to live together and save money than to live separately, when we are together all the time.”  I get it, half the bills and rent is really nice. Along with watching and reading about all the celebrities shacking up and playing house with their loves, it may feel like all signs point to move  in together. I have been living with my boyfriend for 4 years now.  I have learned a lot and figured I would share. So here are some things to think about and some heads up on how life will change.  😉

  •  Money should not be the number one reason to move in together. It is way more expensive and a much longer process to breakup while living together. I am not saying be negative and prepare for a breakup but just be realistic. I have watched many girlfriends have to live extra days and weeks with ex’s while having to deal with leases and moving out plans. The longer you live together the move you accumulate things together… well who gets the tv?  This is the time to think with your head and not your heart for a minute .
  •  The money talk: have a conversation on what each others expectations are. Is everything 50/50, is one person better with money than the other, whose names will be on utilities and whose duty is to have them paid on time each month? Having an open conversation before hand on these topics will eliminate possible frustration on either end when the situation arises. If one person makes more than the other, does that person have expectations from the other to make it up in other areas?

Once living together you naturally find each others roles in the house. Like I am a total bathroom and bedroom cleaner and Alex is all about the kitchen and living room. Or I buy all shower products, mostly because he would use one product for everything… that is not okay, guys!!

  • Perks: A perk  living with your love is you no longer have to do all the annoying house work. Who really likes to take the trash out… NOT ME!  So, for the most part the bf takes the trash out and I dust. You also will always have someone to go home to, to have dinner with and to just be lazy with. You have a built in partner in crime,best friend your Clyde to your Bonnie all without a call or leaving your house.
  •  Routine Adjustment: We all have our favorite little things we do that not everyone else does or even enjoys. For example I use to love waking up and getting my coffee and getting back into bed to watch the news. Well, that came to abrupt stop once Alex moved in. He usually sleeps later than me and finds it too disturbing to the TV on while he is sleeping.  So I had to make a change. One thing I got him to get use to was TV before bed. He use to hate it but now I have got him to a point he likes to watch a show in bed before we fall asleep. Compromise babes!
  • So much stuff:  When Alex moved in, I had a small heart attack because of the amount of stuff he had and how none of it was cute! My nice girly room was all of sudden taken over with BOY STUFF!   I went around saying we need to eliminate this and this and this. Alex at the end of the day said “Stop eliminating all my stuff, I like it” So I grabbed the Jack Daniels rug and explained he can save it in storage for his man cave one day.  Common sense when two people live together they accumulate A LOT and each person has their own belongings that they will not part with… damn squeaky computer chair…  I try to have the rule , something in and something out.  Make sure before moving in together there is enough space! Whose bed will you keep or dresser? Or are you both on the same page as the home decor goes. I am often told when I am decorating, ” don’t forget a MAN lives here”  Things to think about…
  • Making Love …Handles: We have all heard of that dreaded freshman 15 pounds but what about the love chub that is gained. Lets be real, living together  doesn’t help but my boyfriend is chef.  When we first moved in together it  was like “playing house” and you are both making everything really nice. I was making full breakfast and he was making gourmet dinners and life was great! Until all that eating caught up with me, I ended up gaining about 20 pounds and I was not feeling good about it! We grew up with different kinds of food in the house and going to the grocery store was pretty hilarious and frustrating.  We would be debating about what peas were better. It’s the little things I am trying to point out in this post.  I finally made a change and thankfully  Alex being a chef he  was able to change his cooking to Low Carb and overall a healthier lifestyle. Keep health in mind because you and your man or woman, want to  be a healthy sexy babes forever.
  • Bad Days:  We all have our moments, no matter how perfect the couple. Once you live together there is very little running away that can be done to avoid an argument. Eventually you both have to go to bed or pass one another in the the kitchen. You have to address the issue and have clear communication. Try not to pick up bad habits of going to bed angry or kicking on another out of the bed.  Respect each others space at all times but especially during those heated moments. Just because you live together does not mean that you or your partner don’t need alone time or space to think.
  • Be a team! Being a team is the most important! Moving in together makes you two more of a  team than ever before. What one person does now in many ways effects the other, from emotions to money decisions. I can’t just pick up and leave, I have myself and Alex to think about. Be each others cheerleaders and biggest supporters. Times get tough and you are essentially riding on a roller coaster trying to stay on the same track through the  highs and lows of life together. Live, laugh and love together!

Feel free to leave your thoughts or advice below. Thanks for reading and follow for  new posts.

 

Xo- A.

 

Lady Gaga Says She’s Submissive In Relationship With Taylor Kinney

Well we have all heard of the 50 shades of Grey series and BDSM. Dominatrix and submission is getting talked about openly more and more and I think that’s great. We can all think everyone is vanilla but more people are not and my thoughts are .. what ever makes you happy is great!!

Reading more into the article it has nothing to do with 50 Shade style submission but submission about taking care of your man. As women we portray that we are either damsels in distress or so independent we don’t need any help. Well, I think both are wrong if taken overboard, we need an even balance. Be a bad ass independent, I don’t need  you but choose to be here and also to be aware a man wants to feel like a man and you just being sweet caring wonderful woman that takes care of his needs. So doing little things like cooking breakfast for him and buying him a new pair of boxers, will leave him appreciating you but not be confused that you can’t live without him.  I have been in a 5 year relationship and come from a very strong independent single mother, this took time for me to balance.I am still practicing! The article below talks about the power house independent  Lady Gaga who kicks off her shoes and cooks for her man on her down time. She admits in the article she enjoys taking care of him and not being in control all the time. Check out the article below….

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Lady Gaga might be in charge when it comes to her professional life, but she is apparently the submissive one in her personal life.

Gaga opened up about her role in her relationship with Taylor Kinney, whom she has been dating since 2011, while chatting with the hosts of Sirius XM’s “The Morning Mash Up.”

“Oh yeah, he’s [Kinney], like, totally in charge,” she responded when asked about being submissive. “When I’m home I’m, like, shoes are off, I’m making him dinner, you know? He has a job, too, and he’s really busy. I’m in charge all day long. The last thing I wanna do is tell him what to do. We’re just really good friends. It’s not good for relationships to tell men what to do, female listeners who are out there.”

Gaga hints at submission in her new music video, “G.U.Y.,” which is an acronym for “Girl Under You.”

“In the second scene, it’s the girl under you in a more kind of sexual and submissive way,” she explained on “Mash Up.” “And, then at the end of the video, it’s really about the ultimate power that women can feel in being on the bottom. … Sometimes it’s nice to not have to be in charge all the time. It’s okay to let other people take charge as long as you’re smart and cunning and have your wits about you.”

As for Kinney, he talked about their romance to E! News in January, saying: “I’m reserved. She’s not. For whatever reason, it works. It works and that’s that.”

Click for :Original HuffingtonPost Article