Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Wedding Planning For Cool Chicks

Squidoo (a super cool site made up of "experts" that create mini sites or "lenses" on all sorts of great topics) is having their Best Lens of The Year contest right now, and guess who's up? Yep, little ole me and my Wedding Planning For Cool Chicks Lens.

If you want to vote for me, Click here and vote away! I think you might need to login, but its worth it--we need to represent, brides!

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

My Latest Obsession: Pinkberry

For those of you who have tried it...well, then you know what I'm talking about. For those of you in LA and NY who haven't, get thee to a pinkberry at once!

Pinkberry has written about and pined over endlessly over the past year or so, but for those of you who have missed the buzz, it's a new frozen yogurt place that was started in LA and has now made its way to NYC. I finally had a chance to try pinkberry recently and after one bite, I was hopelessly addicted. Truth be told, I ordered another small yogurt after finishing my first medium yogurt--it was that good.

For any frozen yogurt fans out there, I must warn you that this is not the typical "fro yo" experience. Most frozen yogurt places I've been to seem to attempt to closely mirror the ice cream experience as best they can. Pinkberry is totally actually takes like yogurt. It's a bit tart and not too sweet. They only have two flavors: plain (which is sort of vanilla-ish) and green tea. I don't drink green tea and any "green tea" flavored item I've tried before has sort of made me gag...BUT, the pinkberry green tea is dreamy. You may also choose from a variety of toppings--they have everything from delicious fresh fruit (which ain't so easy to find in NY in the dead of winter) to Captain Crunch.

Best, best, best of all, this yogurt barely registers on the calorie scale! It's only 25 calories an ounce and is totally fat free. For those of you on a pre-wedding diet (or anyone else who just like to keep it real on the healthy tip), this is a fantastic, delicious, healthy treat.

Monday, March 12, 2007

GIFT IDEA: Needlepoint Kits

I must confess, I did get sucked into the knitting craze pretty hard a few years ago. And, to show for it, I now have a rainbow of endless skeins of gorgeous, expensive yarn that is quickly collecting dust in our second bedroom. But long before I was knitting one and purling two, I was a secret needlepointer.

My grandma taught me how to needlepoint when I was 13 or so, and I've been enjoying it on and off ever since. So, I was quite smitten when I discovered the lovely and clever needlepoint kits from AMH Design. Each kit contains everything you'll need to make either a chic journal or photo album (canvas, instructions, needle, threads..even folding scissors!). These kits were definitely designed with the novice in really don't need any experience to just jump in and start needlepointing. Best of all, the projects are fast and easy so you get that crafty instant gratification high.

I think that either the journal or the photo album would make a lovely bridesmaid gift...or perhaps even a gift for your new mother-in-law. For those looking for an alternative to crazy, rockin' all night bachelorette parties, you could also try a fun night in with the girls crafting away.

AMH Design has already been featured on Daily Candy and in Domino mag, so hurry up and start needlepointing before all of your friends catch onto the craze!

Friday, March 09, 2007

How "Green" Will Your Wedding Be?

"Green" weddings seem to be all the rage right now. Not literally green, of course, but environmentally green.

The New York Times recently published a story that discusses all of the "green" options for couples out there. It seems many brides and grooms are really embracing the idea of getting hitched responsibly. In fact, they highlighted a wedding planning website called Portovert for eco-conscious brides and grooms that offers all sorts of tips and resources for going green in style.

Have you considered going "green" at your wedding?

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

IDEA: Wrap It Up!

I'm addicted to beautiful wrapping papers. On occasion, I've actually spent more money on the wrapping paper than I have on the gift (yep, kinda crazy...I know). I especially love these "Wrap Collections" from Heidi.

The collections come in a variety of chic patterns, colors and shapes and best of all, they come with coordinating ribbons and notecards. These would be so pretty for a group of bridesmaids gifts. I would pick a few complimentary colors and order different wrap for different girls. This gift wrap is a bit pricey, but it's just so darn pretty!

There are so many other fun, creative uses for gorgeous wrapping paper, you don't have to stop with your gifts! You could try:

* Wrapping centerpiece containers on each table at your reception in a beautiful, color coordinating wrap

* Cutting wrap into round napkin rings (could look great at a Shower or Bridesmaids Brunch)

* Using wrap as a page accent in your guest book (if you are creating your own)

* If you are doing a Photo Station or Polaroid guest book, use 6 or so sheets of wrap to create a funky backdrop.

Has anyone tried any other fun DIY projects with pretty wrapping paper?

Wedding News Roundup

Looks like Elizabeth Hurley got hitched over the weekend in a dress designed by Versace (funny photo courtesy of Perez Hilton).

The Prince William/Kate Middleton rumors are also picking up again.

David E. Kelly's new show Wedding Bells premieres tonight on Fox after Idol, but so far, its not getting such great reviews.

Will you be tuning in (yep, I've got my Tivo set)??

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Ethnic Cake Toppers

Though I never really gave it much thought before, the cake topper industry has not exactly gone out on a limb to represent the mixed ethnicity couples of today. Thankfully, a company called Renellie has stepped up to the plate.

To best represent your unique situation, you may choose between eight interchangeable figurines. You can pair a White Groom, Black Groom, Latino Groom or Asian Groom with a White Bride, Black Bride, Latino Bride or Asian Bride. This would also work great for gay couples as you can choose to match brides with brides or grooms with grooms. As you get to choose the two figurines for your own cake topper, you can ensure that it best represents you and your partner as a couple.

Even if you choose not to use one of these on your wedding cake, it might be fun for a groom's cake or even for a cake at a rehearsal dinner or shower.

I love to see companies out there embracing the unique needs of couples today by taking on issues such as these. As busy wedding planning bees, what other areas or items would you like to see some more ethnic diversity in?

TIP: Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is

While you are working out every important detail of your big day (Tall centerpieces or short? Write our own vows or use the traditional ones? Band or DJ? yada, yada, yada...), I don't want you to overlook a very important detail: what do you plan on doing with all of those checks/cash gifts you get after you say "I do"?

I don't mean are you investing in a Money Market account or buying a 6 month CD, I'm talking about something much more immediate: who's going to take care of depositing your checks if you're leaving right away for your honeymoon?

In various parts of the country and for various ethnic groups, cash gifts are a big part of the wedding process. Mr. Beetle and I knew that we'd be getting quite a few "envelopes" on the night of our wedding and we wanted to be prepared. We were jetting off to Europe on the following Monday and we needed an action plan.

After researching the situation, we discovered that Washington Mutual has branches in both New York and California (where we were getting married). A week or so before the wedding, we opened an account at Wamu, for the express reason that we would be able to endorse and deposit all of our checks in Cali, before we left on our honeymoon to Italy. We did not want the worry and hassle of waiting the two weeks until we returned, and quite frankly, did not feel comfortable totaling up the checks and giving them to another family member to deposit for us (yep, we wanted a bit of privacy in this area).

Have you come up with a wedding night/money gameplan?

Here are a few tips:
*Designate someone as the "envelope guy" or gal. Anytime someone hands you a gift, you can pass them along to this person to keep safe.

*Keep track of EVERYTHING! Before you deposit a single check, make sure you've made a careful list of who gave what. Keep your envelopes and cards, just in case--they might be helpful if you need to put together any "who gave us this?" puzzles later on.

*Do you have a joint account? Almost all your checks will be written out to "Mr. & Mrs....." and you want to make sure you and your husband have a joint bank account in place so you can deposit all your dough.

*If you are leaving for your honeymoon on a weekend, ask someone you trust ahead of time to deposit your checks for you. If not, leave time in the morning to hit up the bank yourselves before you jet off on your honeymoon.

Monday, March 05, 2007

Honeymoon Recap: Italy! (part two)

After some rest and relaxation on the Amalfi Coast, we headed over to Florence. If it were possible to marry a city, Florence and I would be husband and wife. I absolutely love everything about this city from the architecture, to the people, to the food and somehow everytime I go, I feel so at "home." We stayed in the Hotel Degli Orafi which was perfectly located right on the Ponte Vecchio and is allegedly where they shot some scenes from the movie "A Room With A View."
My very favorite thing to do in Florence, is to eat Gelato...and we ate a lot of it. It did not matter that it was October...or that one doesn't typically eat dessert 3 times a day, in Florence, its all about the gelato and man is it delicious! Our favorite restaurant by far was La Giostra--a must stop if you are ever in Florence. It's run by a distant eccentric relative of the Medici family, and the food is simply out of this world.

We took an amazing day trip to the Chianti Classico Region with Rebecca of Tuscan Wine Tours. We visited local, family run wineries, had a delicious, homemade lunch prepared by one of the proprietors, tasted the fist batch of olive oil from that year's vintage and met some other really lovely couples.

Aside from a three day stretch that I was sick as a dog, our honeymoon really was everything we had hoped it would be. Neither one of us are "beach people" and we knew that we needed to go somewhere that would keep us active, excited, and eating a LOT of delicious food--Italy was it. I would love to go back for our one year anniversary, but Mr. Beetle wants to go somewhere new...any ideas for us??

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Honeymoon Recap: Italy! (part one)

I'll try to keep my exclamation point use to a minimum and not overuse "dreamy" "to die for" or "magical," too much, but man was our 2 week honeymoon in Italy the dreamiest, most magical to die for trip of my life!

We flew from LA to Paris (didn't stay over, just a quick stop) and Paris to Rome. We stayed in Rome overnight to catch up on some sleep and headed out first thing the next morning to Italy's Amalfi Coast where we would be staying in Positano.

Ah, Positano (pictured above). Positano is a gorgeous, chic, coastal town that was simply like nothing I had ever seen in my life. All of the houses and hotels are perched up on cliffs overlooking the water and everywhere you turn are the most spectacular, breath-taking views. This is definitely not a place to go if you have any trouble walking as a simple trip down to the beach practically requires a climbing rope, but based on the fact that we were eating everything in sight, the forced exercise was welcome for me. I would have loved to stay in the hottest hotel in town, Le Sirenuse, however, it was waaay too we stayed in The Marincanto up the street (which was also lovely).

This was the view from our hotel room.

On one of my favorite days, we took a speedboat trip to the gorgeous island of Capri (though I feel silly saying it that way, you actually do pronounce it as Cah-pree).

Along the way, we stopped in the Blue Grotto and this was the most exciting part of the day! You have to switch out of your big boat into little rowboats before entering the cave. The opening to get in is so small, you literally have to lay down in the boat or you will crack your head open on the cave rock. Once inside, my eyes almost popped out of my head. The pic above REALLY is the color of the water...only way more beautiful in person. All of the men rowing the boats sing old Italian songs
and it just felt so special and unique.

Another big highlight was accidentally happening upon an Italian wedding. We were taking a daytrip up the coast to Ravello and made a quick stop in a charming coastal town called Amalfi. As we were exploring the town, we noticed some commotion at the Duomo and caught a bit of this gorgeous wedding above.

On to Firenze (Florence) in part 2!

Thursday, March 01, 2007

I'm a Travelin' Fool...

Despite a closet full of clunky suitcases, frayed cosmetic cases and a wrinkled plastic bag I always seem to use as a "laundry" bag, I fantasize about being an ultra chic traveler.

If money were no object, here are a few things I would have stocked up on before our honeymoon:

The Direct Flight Carry-On (pictured above) looks like one of those bags that can magically fit way more than you ever thought it could. I'm also a big red fan, and love that the handy rolly wheels are hidden inside ($378).

This Triple Pill Case from Coach is way cooler looking than the blue plastic pill box I got from Duane Reade ($58).

These Henri Bendel Candles from Bath & Body Works are my fav-oh-rite. I love every single scent I've smelled, and I always try to have a few around. I brought one along on our honeymoon and now everytime I light it at home, it reminds me of our amazing trip ($26).

Sonic Impact i-Fusion Portable ipod Speakers are such a great accessory to have...especially if you and your hubby plan to do a lot of traveling. They zip right up in their own handy case, and can easily be thrown into a carry-on bag (94.88).

Bon voyage!

Skincare Bootcamp

I hope this doesn't make you love me any less, but I must confess that I've never actually had a "skin regime." I normally stick to the "gift bag skincare" plan. Simply, this basically means that I use different bottles and samples of moisturizer, soaps and the like from gift bags I collect from various events I go to (there's always an event to got to here in New York). Once in a great while I'll find I product I love and actually go out and buy some more of it, but more times than not, I'm pretty lame when it comes to skincare.

However, right before my wedding, I truly got my ass in gear and it really did feel great. I committed to 3 months of weekly facials at the Aveda School here in NY and it really was dreamy. Since this is school, your facials are performed by students, however, don't let that scare you off. I found that the students (who are all toward the end of their training) are even more attentive and consciencetious than many much more expensive facialists I've visited. Best of all, you get an amazing 90 minute facial (along with a foot bath, arm, head, neck and hand massage) for $55 bucks.

Of course, I have not returned for a facial since I said "I do," but that doesn't mean I'm not still thinking about skincare. Which is why I was so darn intrigued by this Panasonic Pore Cleanser. Most attractive to me is the fact that you can use this little tool in the shower--not sure why, but I seem much more able to commit to shower rituals. I also love the idea of the mist, as I know my own skin does respond very well to steam. I'm thinking of snatching one up, but the reviews are somewhat mixed.

Anyone try anything like this (or have any other skincare tips for a lazy chick like me)?

(via Outblush)

Check Out My Podcast

If you're looking for some more scoop on my wedding planning mayhem, check out my recent podcast on The Wedding Podcast Network.