Friday, December 28, 2012

Freestyle Fridays - Les Miserables

Hope you all had a happy and safe holiday!  Today's freestyle selection is one that is near and dear to my heart.  Fair warning though--if you HATE musicals, then exit out of this post now and don't look back.

As for you non-haters out there, Les Miserables, one of the best musicals ever created has just been turned into a major motion picture (which I am seeing next week with my musical-loving friend Angela).  The first time I saw the Broadway play was when I was 12--it was the first Broadway show I had been to and it always stayed with me.  Some of the most beautiful songs ever written come from this show ("I Dreamed a Dream", "On My Own", "A Little Fall of Rain") and while I know the movie isn't a sing-a-long, my friend and I will totally make it one.  So apologies in advance if you happen to be in the same theater as us.

Below is a playlist of London's West End cast of Les Miz.  If this version of "I Dreamed a Dream" doesn't break your heart, you are dead inside.  Enjoy!

Les Miserables by Primp My Bride on Grooveshark
Thursday, December 27, 2012

The Bridesmaids' Dresses

So for the bridesmaid dresses, I'm going the old school route and having the ladies all wear the same dress.  While I do think the trend of different colors/styles of dresses is really cool, I'm the type of girl who likes matching looks.  And since these girls are my leading ladies, I also want to make sure that throughout the big day, there is no question as to whether or not these girls are in the bridal party.

It took me some time to find the perfect dress for them though--I have such a diverse group of ladies that it looks like a U.N. summit when we get together, so I wanted to make sure to find something that would look beautiful on each of them (regardless of skin tone and body shape).  What I needed was a "Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants" type dress--something that miraculously looked amazing on each of them.

I had some dresses in mind when I begin my initial search so I stopped by a bridesmaid dress shop in Manhattan called Here Comes the Bridesmaid where I went looking specifically for the 2 dresses below;
Image via Dessy.com
Image via Dessy.com
 Before I saw these in person, I thought the first one was really fun yet still elegant enough for a formal wedding and the second one was pretty and classy for a formal affair.  But when I saw them at the store, the dresses didn't really wow me.  I was a bit disappointed so decided to browse through some more dresses, but didn't really see anything.  I figured it was back to the drawing board.  As I was literally about to walk out the door, I happen to look to my right...and saw this dress;
Alvina Valenta / Image via JLMCouture.com
I was stunned.  The dress was absolutely gorgeous.  The sweetheart neckline and A-line skirt matched the silhouette of my wedding gown and the style was elegant and classy.  The purple is pretty but since my wedding colors are teal and gold, I was worried it wouldn't come in the shade I needed.  And wouldn't you know, the woman in the shop showed me the color swatches and this dress comes in a teal called Peacock (fitting with the overall wedding theme)!  I knew this was the one.  My only concern was that the dress would be ridiculously expensive, but she also told me there was a discount if all the ladies purchased the dress in store rather than online.  And wouldn't you know it, the discounted price was just under the budget the girls were expecting to spend.  I was ecstatic and knew that the next step was to have the girls try the dress on!

All of my bridesmaids live in NYC except for one, who moved to L.A. with her hubby earlier this year.  And it just so happened that in September she would be in NYC for the weekend.  The stars aligned because all the girls were available that day as well, so I made an appointment for them to try on the dress.

Some of the bustier girls were a bit concerned about the dress being strapless, but being a rather busty girl myself, I had tried it on prior to everyone getting together and assured them that the dress held the "girls" in nicely.  So each lady proceeded to try the dress on, and it was the "Traveling Pants" moment I was hoping for;

These are all the girls in the dress style.  We added a belt and it looked even more fabulous! / Personal Photo
This is a different dress from the same designer, in the Peacock color / Personal Photo
Each girl beamed from ear to ear when putting on the dress because they all truly looked beautiful.  For the belt, I'm thinking of going to a fabric store and getting belts made--my sister (and MOH) will wear a gold belt and the bridesmaids will wear another color (we're still trying to figure out what that color will be).  As for shoes, they can wear any gold or nude shoe they want.  The girls have all ordered their dress so they should be coming in soon!  I'm so glad it all worked out and I can't wait to see how it all comes together on the big day.

How did you find the perfect dress(es) for your girls?
Monday, December 24, 2012

Avocado, A Cool App for Couples

Image via Avocado.io
 So a few months ago, FH told me about this free new app that was specifically designed for couples to privately communicate with each other on their smartphones.  Instead of utilizing regular text messaging, you and your boo download the app, create a password and from there have the ability to chat with each other in a private space.  Since downloading, they've added some awesome features over the past few months like To-Do Lists (which you both can virtually create and add to at any time--very handy when grocery shopping), but the best new feature is the Calendar. 

You can each create events (i.e. Holiday Party on 12/22/12, Doc Appt 1/15/13) and even set up reminders to alert both (or one) of you when an event is coming up.  The best part is that anyone couple who downloads the app before January 1st, 2013 will automatically be upgraded to their Unlimited account--anyone couple who downloads Jan 1st and after will be charged $19.99/year.

It's a great app for private communication--I highly recommend d/ling it before the new year so you guys can get it for free.  Enjoy!

Friday, December 21, 2012

Freestyle Fridays - It's the End of the World (As We Know It)

So, I'm not sure what time zone the apocalypse follows but so far Australia still exists so, yea.  But just in case the world explodes in the next few hours, here are some songs to guide you through the end of the world.  Oh and when if we wake up tomorrow?  We'll just have to save this playlist for the next Doomsday date that will inevitably be "predicted".  Enjoy!

Freestyle Fridays 12/21/12 by Primp My Bride on Grooveshark
Thursday, December 20, 2012

Workin' on My Fitness: Exercise

Image via  FitBottomGirls.com
I’ve luckily never had serious struggles with my weight.  Growing up, my parents put me in all kinds of activities from swimming and track & field to numerous dance classes like ballet, tap, jazz, modern, and even gymnastics, which kept me in serious shape for the majority of my life.  But now that I'm over 25, that metabolism that was SO good to me all those years has started to slow down and all of a sudden, I can no longer eat cupcakes, sour powers and Doritos whenever I want (if only I had a time machine....)  

So with the wedding coming up, I suddenly had a tangible goal to strive towards--I’m not necessarily trying to lose a ton of weight BUT I do want to look and feel amazing on my wedding day.  Oh and I want Michelle Obama arms in my pictures.  So here are the workouts I’m currently doing to get myself in shape;

Zumba
I LOVE to dance so naturally when Zumba came on the scene, I was all about it.  It’s a fantastic workout and according to my Fitbit, I burn anywhere from 350-500 calories per hour long class.  The key is to find a really good instructor who 1) can actually dance and 2) keeps the energy level up and the music fresh.  


Image via Zumba.com
Jogging/Running
I can’t say I love to run but there is something so incredibly stamina-building about running that it’s hard to not make part of any serious workout regime.  I just make sure that I blast some motivating tunes while I run (for me, Girl Talk is my artist of choice.  His amazing mash-ups keep me pumped and running FAR longer than I normally can.)  Oh and when I really have no energy, I just pretend I’m in an episode of The Walking Dead getting chased by zombies.  It sounds crazy but you wouldn’t believe how motivating this can actually be!

She's totally wearing the wrong shoes.  Movie Zombieland / Image via Reelz.com
 P90X
I haven’t started the official 90 day program of P90X yet as it calls for a six days a week workout schedule, but I do try to pop in the DVDs a few times a week.  All the workouts are intense but I particularly like the strength training workouts (since I’ve got cardio covered with Zumba and running).  I do plan on doing the full program soon--it’s a 3 month commitment so I’m thinking I will start this 3 months before the wedding.  It’s tough as hell but the results are undeniable.  I know a number of people who have done this program and they looked incredible afterwards (FH did it for 60 days a few years ago and he got buff!)  

Image via P90X.com
What are you doing to get in shape for the big day?
Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Workin’ on My Fitness: Food


Image via FaithfulProvisions.com
The dreaded diet and exercise--two words that can strike terror in the heart of any bride or groom to be!  But if you have specific goals in mind and stick with a plan that works for YOU, it might not be as bad as you think.  It might even be rewarding and make you feel healthier than you've felt in a long time.  Remember that there is no magic bullet--fad diets don't work nor does starving yourself (I've had several friends who refused to eat any real food in the months/weeks leading up to their wedding.  Please don't do that.)  It’s all about making small changes to your lifestyle and habits and eventually finding the ones that work best for you.  Here are some food related changes I've made;

Cooking more meals at home.
Healthy eating seems a bit difficult at first, but it becomes much easier once you know what foods to choose.  Even better, preparing food yourself at home.  With busy scheduled, it's often difficult to make meals every day but we try to cook as often as possible because we actually really enjoy it.  Plus it's WAY cheaper than eating out every night.  And with sites like Pinterest, finding and storing recipes for future reference is a breeze.  I also use sites like Food Network and All Recipes for inspiration.  
Image via Seekyt.com
 Tracking what I eat on MyFitnessPal.com.

Shedding pounds is directly correlated to your caloric intake.  It’s very simple--the less you eat, the more weight you lose.  Myfitnesspal allows you to track everything you eat--it basically allows you to set certain goals, then recommends a daily caloric intake for you.  Now, I am NOT one who can do diets of deprivation (no carbs?  no thank you. no sugar, ever? see you later.) but the more difficult challenge is a diet of moderation.  So for example if my calorie goal is 1,400 a day, sure I can eat a burger, but that’s already 40% - 50% of my daily calories used up.  So do I really want to spend all my calories on that one thing or should I reach for something healthier?  Sometimes, a burger really is worth it, so that just means I need to plan the rest of my day accordingly so I don't go over my calorie goal.  But after awhile, you'll start realizing that at most other times it's worth just eating something healthy so you can eat more.

The site is fantastic because it really makes you think twice about what you put into your mouth.  And it’ll let you know if you go over your calories, a huge motivating factor to help you stay in the “green”.  Any exercise you do, you can log it on the site and it will tell you how many calories you’ve burned and can subsequently “eat back" each day.  With little exercise, I lost about 7 pounds in 2 months, just by watching how many calories I consumed.  MFP is definitely tedious (bordering on OCD) but if you have the willpower, it's well worth the few minutes a day it takes to log your meals.


MyFitnessPal.com / My Personal Food Diary (Extra calories earned by doing 1 hour of Zumba)
 Using Fitbit, the world’s most awesome activity tracker.
This isn't exactly food related but it ties in with calorie counting so thought it would be appropriate to mention here.  Fitbit is basically this little device you wear every day that digitally tracks your steps taken, floors climbed, miles traveled but most importantly, calories burned a day.  I am obsessed with mine and wear it every day (for women, you can wear it discreetly on your bra).  It also comes with a wrist band that you wear at night to track how efficient your sleep is.  But the best part--you can sync your Fitbit with MyFitnessPal and it automatically shows how many calories you’ve earned by being active.   

Side note: if you use a Fitbit synced with MyFitnessPal, use Fitbit solely for activity/exercise tracking and MFP solely for food tracking or you'll end up double counting.  
FitBit / Image via Forbes.com
Fitbit.com / My Personal Activity Tracker for 12/5/12 (My activity spike between 8:30pm - 9:30pm was due to Zumba)


Monday, December 17, 2012

The Wedding Theme

The decision on our wedding “theme” wasn’t actually a planned one--it all just kind of fell into place.  To start, I wanted to narrow down the colors, since that would be the unifying factor for everything from the Save the Dates to wedding reception decor.  I asked FH for his opinion on this...and (unsurprisingly) he looked at me like I had two heads.  He was all like “the last thing I care about is a color scheme.  Just please don’t make it too girly.”  LOL.  Clearly I should have expected that answer but I try to involve him where ever possible since it is our wedding, after all.  I’m just lucky he didn’t suggest a Green Bay Packers themed wedding since he’s such a hardcore fan!
 
So after thinking a bit more about non-girly colors that really felt like “us”, a teal and champagne gold color scheme was decided.  Then, in searching for potential wedding themes utilizing these colors, I came across peacock feathers.  And fell in LOVE.  Their feathers are gorgeous with a number of jewel tones, including different shades of blue, green, brown and gold.  I also have a thing for feathers so I thought this would be perfect.  
The majestic peacock feather / Image via FineArtAmerica.com
However doing a search on Google Images for “peacock themed weddings” turned up some...not so inspiring results.  It seems that incorporating peacock feathers into a wedding theme ranges from very understated to horrific and over-the-top.  So with not a lot of inspiration to go by, I’ve had to wing it and kind of make it up as I go along. I scoured Pinterest, Google and Etsy and found these images for inspiration;
Low centerpieces / Image via TheKnot.com
Peacock Birdcage / Image via Etsy Shop Yes More Funk
Peacock & Pink Cymbidium Orchid Bouquet / Image via WeddingandPartyNetwork.com
Peacock and Calla Lily Bouquet / Image via SaffronMarigold.com
Bouts for Grooms / Image via Etsy Shop Serenditpity By Suzanne
My dream Cupcake Tower!  / Image via CakeCentral.com
Wedding Invites / Image via Etsy Shop Meant to be Sent
This tablescape was also my inspiration (although the shads below aren't exactly the teal and gold I'm looking for, it's definitely close enough);
Teal and Gold Tablescape / Image via GreenWeddingShoes.com
And talk about perfect timing.  One day (shortly after finding the above tablescape) I was on Facebook and was targeted an ad for an event design company called BBJ Linen--their website is pretty cool and allows you to virtually create a tablescape using the many colors they have available.  This image below is the one I created on their site and is the closest thing to my vision I could find (teal napkins, chair ties and a champagne gold table runner);
My Virtual Tablescape (Teal and Gold) / Created on BBJLinen.com
I had also gone to Jo-Ann fabric store and bought a few yards of fabric in the colors I had in mind.  I am NOT crafty nor a DIY’er by any means but I attempted to make little color swatch packets (below) as leave-behinds for each of my vendors so they could understand the colors and vision (I gave one to the florist, baker, wedding planner, etc.)
Color swatches I provided vendors / Personal Photo
So this theme is still a work in progress but I feel good about at least having some sort of direction--now hopefully all the pieces come together nicely the day of the wedding.  But that's something to worry about another day!
Sunday, December 16, 2012

Remembering Sandy Hook

Wanted to write a quick post in reference to the tragic events that took place in Newtown, CT at Sandy Hook Elementary School.  It's incomprehensible the loss of life that occurred; everyone around the world has been shaken by this.  Those poor children will never know what it's like to grow up, graduate, get married or have a family of their own.  And those heroic teachers who died saving kids will miss out on living the rest of their lives.

In the midst of wedding planning it's so easy to get caught up in the trivial details that seem of the utmost importance at the time, and forget the true meaning and gravity of joining your life with someone you love and starting a family together (if you so choose).  Events like what happened in Sandy Hook and what's been happening in general with senseless death and despair have me absolutely terrified of bringing children into this world, where evil things happen and leave you with feelings of hopelessness and fear.  But there's a decision to be made--you can live your life in fear, allow it to paralyze you and stop you from experiencing all the things that life has to offer, or you can celebrate each day as a gift and appreciate all the people in your life who you love and who love you.

 So hold your loved ones close and make an effort to appreciate everything and everyone in your life.  With all the craziness in the world, it's truly seeming more and more like a miracle to wake up each morning and see another day.  Don't ever take this for granted.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Freestyle Fridays - 90's Throwback

 For today's mix, I thought I'd bring it back, wayyyy back...to the 90's.  Remember "The Boy is Mine" by Monica & Brandy? "Poison" by Bell Biv Devoe?  "Get Your Freak On" by Missy Elliot?  Okay that last one is from 2001 but whatevs, it's close enough.  If you answered an enthusiastic YES to all these questions, then this playlist below is for you.  Enjoy!

Freestyle Fridays - 90's Throwback by Primp My Bride on Grooveshark
Wednesday, December 12, 2012

There's a New Bee on the Block!

(Below is my introductory post that will be featured at the end of this week on Weddingbee)

I am SO excited to say that I've been chosen as an official blogger for WeddingBee.com!  WeddingBee is one of the most popular wedding sites out there read by about 4 million users each month, and has been invaluable to me throughout the wedding planning process.  I've been lurking the boards for quite some time for advice on everything from invitation wording to bridal undergarments.  I've always had a passion for writing, so I recently decided to start blogging about my wedding as a creative outlet, hobby and "time capsule" (to have a record in the future of when my life was consumed with wedding planning).

I shared the blog with a few friends and after receiving really positive and enthusiastic feedback, mustered the courage to submit my application to become a blogger for the Hive.  After applying, I obsessively checked my inbox the past few weeks waiting to hear back and tried to stay positive (even though the 5% acceptance rate amongst a fierce pool of applicants definitely prepared me for a rejection).

So earlier this week when I received an email from the site's editor-in-chief, Mrs. Penguin (each blogger receives an anonymous character name on the site for privacy reasons), I was extremely nervous (let's just say I'm the not best when it comes to handling rejection).  However once I opened the email and saw the words "...think you'd be a great addition to the weddingbee team" I screamed, did a cartwheel and called my mom.  I am so excited to be part of this community with so many clever and interesting brides-to-be and can't wait to share my story with you all!

Without Further Ado, Introducing...the Mongooses!!
(this is the character name I chose and how I'll be referred to on WeddingBee moving forward)
Mongooses at a friend's rehearsal dinner in NYC / Personal Photo
Mongooses drinking huge margaritas in Cancun / Personal Photo
Annual Santacon bar crawl in New Haven, CT.  Mr. Mongoose takes being Santa very seriously (hence the dyed beard) / Personal Photo
 Mr. Mongoose and I met over 7 years ago at a house party we were both attending with friends who knew the hosts.  We pretty much hit it off immediately and as cheesy as it sounds, I truly believe that our random meeting was meant to be (I don't believe in coincidences).  In fact, we consider the day we met, September 17th, our anniversary since it was such a special and unexpected moment for us both.  The first 4 years of our relationship was long distance and we were lucky if we saw each other one or two weekends a month.  It was one of the hardest things we've ever done but it helped solidify our relationship.

Around the 4 year mark and after much discussion, we finally decided to move in together and it has been an amazing experience (although I made it very clear to him that he would have to put a ring on it if everything worked out lol).  Mr. Mongoose and I complement each other is many ways, both in terms of our similarities and differences and I feel like the luckiest girl in the world to be marrying someone as wonderful and caring as him.

Mr. Mongoose is the most incredible guy I've ever met.  He has this infectious and fun personality that people immediately gravitate to.  He is one of those people who can have a conversation with absolutely anyone and is usually the center of attention.  He is driven, ambitious and very successful in everything he does.  At the same time, he is absolutely hilarious, extremely supportive, never takes himself too seriously (unless he's playing a board game...he is very competitive) and is a closeted nerd (he loves video games and all things tech).  We are the ultimate team--I am a born planner and he is a born executor (perfect example of this is that throughout the wedding planning process, I've been the one to do the research, organize everything and set up the meetings and he is the one who negotiates the $$ and contracts).  He is a die-hard Green Bay Packers & Milwaukee Brewers fan. Oh, and the man can dance.
Mr. Mongoose bustin' some sweet moves at a friend's wedding in Jamaica Photo / Joshua Jackson (friend of groom)
We are having a peacock-themed destination wedding in Montreal, Canada, in a part of town that has a very Parisian look and feel.  While the wedding itself will be formal in nature, we are planning on having one CRAZY party with lots of dancing...and a 9 hour open bar!

Some fun facts about the Mongooses:

- We both have the exact same birthday, May 10th (just born in different years).
- I am from New York and of Haitian descent & Mr. Mongoose is from Wisconsin and of Italian-Norwegian descent.
- One of our greatest passions is traveling.
Mongooses taking a cooking class in Florence, Italy / Personal Photo
Mongooses in Cinque Terre / Personal Photo 
Mongooses pretending to be in a Corona commercial in Mexico / Personal Photo
- We are both obsessed with music and have traveled to 3-day music festivals across the country 
At Lollapalooza in Chicago, IL / Personal Photo
At Austin City Limits in Austin, TX Photo / Honda Photobooth
- Our favorite band in the world is the Arcade Fire (a Montreal-based band) and our ultimate fantasy would be for the band to perform at our wedding (never gonna happen but a couple can dream!!)
Mr. Mongoose managed to sneak us all backstage at Lollapalooza to meet Win Butler, the lead singer of the Arcade Fire..he's crafty that one  / Personal Photo
- On a whim, I discovered a few weeks ago through some sleuthing on Google Maps that we grew up exactly 917 miles from each other.  9/17 is also our anniversary.  Spooooky!!!  As you can see, I am quite the numbers geek and obsessed with connections behind numbers, thanks to shows like Lost.
For you Losties out there, you'll recognize these as Hurley's numbers on the hatch from Lost Photo / Lostpedia.Wikia.com
So that's the Mongooses in a nutshell!  I am thrilled to be part of the Hive and to share more stories about our experience planning our upcoming nuptials.  Let the games begin!
Friday, December 7, 2012

Freestyle Fridays 12/7/12

Today's songs are a collection of new(ish) indie rock songs that I'm currently digging.  I particularly love The Lumineers and the new album by Mumford & Sons.  Enjoy!


  Freestyle Fridays - 12/7/12 by Primp My Bride on Grooveshark
Thursday, December 6, 2012

Invitation Wording


Image via It'saBridesLife.com
I’m currently in the process of finalizing wording for the wedding invitations and wanted to highlight some language we’ll be using that may seem atypical (or are pointed out as wedding invite etiquette no-nos).  Despite what the etiquette rules say about guests magically knowing who’s invited by the specific names included on the outer/inner envelope, I’ve heard (and seen) time and time again the ultimate guest faux pas of assuming they can bring other people.  I think the heart of the matter is that 1) many weddings do generally include a +1, which is totally fine for other weddings but we’re trying to have an intimate gathering where we know every person who will be celebrating with us and 2) unless they’ve planned a wedding, most guests really and truly do not understand just how expensive weddings are--and that bringing additional guests is directly related to increasing the overall cost.

So for our invitations, we are making it as clear as possible as to exactly who’s invited.  I wrote a whole post about how we are not including children--we have let our guests know this via word of mouth and also included it on the FAQ section of our wedding website.  But just to be 100% clear, we are also including “Adults Only” on the bottom of our invites, next to “Formal Attire”.  Apparently it’s a big etiquette no-no to say “Adults Only” on the invite but I’m saying screw that.  If it’s fine to tell guests what to wear (which is acceptable in the etiquette rules), then I say it’s acceptable to tell people it’s an Adult affair.

For the RSVP cards, to ensure it’s crystal clear to guests exactly who from their household is invited, we are doing two things.  First, below the RSVP card due date, we have a line that says “Due to the intimate nature of our wedding, we have reserved X seat(s) in your honor” (X will be the number of people invited from their household).  And right below that, the invited guests names will be listed out with an “accepts/regrets” line below each for them to check off.  If this doesn’t clarify who’s invited, I don’t know what else will!  See the actual proofs below;


Example of the 3-person household RSVP card Photo / Digital Proof of my Order

Example of the 2-person household RSVP card Photo / Digital Proof of my Order
I think it’s okay to be polite but firm in any of the language you choose to include on your invites.  Just because the wedding etiquette gods say this or that isn’t acceptable, doesn’t mean it’s something you have to adhere to (after all, many of these rules were written decades ago and just frankly don’t apply to modern society anymore).  It’s YOUR wedding--don’t be afraid to make up your own rules.
Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Big Primpin': Part II

Big Primpin' Part I focused on changes directly related to my skin--Part II below focuses more on general lifestyle changes that have helped improve my skin as well.
Image via HealthyLifeJournal.org
Drinking (LOTS) of water.
I used to be terrible about drinking water.  Not including workouts, I probably drank about 2 cups of water PER WEEK (I told you.  TERRIBLE.)  So one day this summer, I decided to challenge myself.  I had been reading a lot of things saying that water was basically a cure all for everything.  Have dry skin?  Drink water.  Have insomnia?  Drink water.  Don't poop regularly enough?  You got it--drink water.  So my challenge was to drink a 50 ounce bottle (about 6 cups) of Poland Spring water, all in one day.  Mind you, that would be more water in one day than I typically drink in weeks so this would be no easy feat.  Even though it was a bit of a struggle, I managed to do it.  And then I challenged myself to do the same thing the next day, and the next, and the next.  I've even jazzed it up a bit by adding some pure lemon juice to it which makes it so much more tolerable.  

Now I strive to drink anywhere from 24 ounces to 56 ounces a day (I can't quite do the whole 64 ounces/8 cups a day because frankly that's way too much water for me) and have been doing so for the past few months and I definitely see results regarding my skin and my over all well-being.
Image via MouseBreath.com
Getting More Sleep.
Ahhh, the ever elusive state of sleep.  I've known some people who once their head hits the pillow, they are out like a light.  I however have never had such luck.  It usually takes me a good 30 minutes to fall asleep once we've turned off the TV (and FH puts away his beloved iPad).  And most of the time it's because I just cannot turn my brain off--my body may be physically exhausted but it's difficult to completely shut down.  I also used to have bouts of insomnia every once in awhile due to stress and even my period (weird right?)  So I've tried to make a conscious effort to make some lifestyle changes in order to get more sleep.  

I knew I did NOT want to start taking prescription meds for my sleep issues so I went the natural route and started taking Melatonin on nights when I knew sleep wouldn't come easily.  I also try getting to bed earlier and turning off the electronics within a reasonable amount of time.  I started exercising more and developed healthier eating habits (this will be a two part post next week!)  And getting more sleep does FABULOUS things for your skin.  In my case, my skin stopped looking so dry and the puffiness around my eyes disappeared.

Image via IslandYogaSpace.com
Stop Stressing Out All the Time.
But above all, I made a conscious effort to stop stressing myself out all the time (over various things, surprisingly most are NOT wedding-related). And I realized that once I stopped stressing the little things, I started to feel like tiny weights were being lifted off my shoulder one by one.  Granted, some things still do piss me off to no end (and God forbid someone messes with me while I’m PMS’ing...) but I try really hard to take a step back and find some calm and balance.  I can’t say it always works but it’s a significant  improvement from how stressed I used to get. This has had a direct impact on things like my sleep patterns, my face picking and hence the condition of my skin.

So these are the things I’m doing to make sure the best ME is present on my wedding day.  I can’t say these things will work for everyone, but the thing to do is identify what your challenges are and tackle them one by one.  And most importantly--whatever ends up working for you, make sure to stick with it.
Monday, December 3, 2012

Big Primpin': Part I


So about one year from my big day, I decided that I needed to start making some changes to my personal habits in order to look and feel my best for the big day.  One thing I knew I needed to get working on immediately was my skin--particularly my face.  Now my skin overall is in pretty decent shape--sure I get the occasional breakouts and my skin sometimes gets a little too oily in the summer and dry in the winter but otherwise it’s okay.  However, I have a terrible habit of picking at my face (I know I know, so gross!!), which has subsequently lead to some dark spots on my skin.  It’s something that I just do mindlessly (particularly when I'm stressed or bored), so I decided it was time to STOP with the bad habits and start the year long process of beautifying my skin.   So here's what I'm doing to get my skin looking fabulous for my wedding day.

Image via BlackButteRanch.com
Getting monthly facials.  
I figured this was my best shot at evening out my skin tone, so I’ve been getting monthly facials for the past 8 months and have gone to the same esthetician each time.  This has worked WONDERS on my face so far, so make sure you 1) go to someone professional who takes the time to analyze exactly what your skin needs and 2) steers clear of products that contain too many chemicals.  The spa I go to for facials uses Eminence Organic Skin Care products (100% organic).

I even started getting peels as part of my facials (it took me awhile to get comfortable with this--who doesn't remember that episode of Sex and the City when Samantha gets a chemical peel and her face ends up looking like raw ground beef??) but like all of Eminence's products, the peels are completely organic.  Now because I had a few things I needed to improve on my skin, I felt I needed to start the process a year in advance.  But if you don't have too many skin issues or if paying for monthly facials is simply out of the question (I actually get a really good deal for mine so they aren't as expensive), scaling this back to every other month should work as well, as long as you continue to maintain good skin care habits at home between each session.

EminenceOrganics.com
Replacing all my regular skin care products with organic products.
I feel like I've tried nearly every skincare product under the sun.  I've tried drugstore brands and fancy brands and I can say with 100% certainty that nothing has worked as well on my face as Eminence's products.  I didn't buy them right away because they were expensive at the spa and I figured it was probably a gimmick to get you to spend more money.  But after my first 3 months of getting facials, my skin reacted so well to the products that I decided to get a few products of my own for daily upkeep at home.  So I initially bought two products (on Amazon, as they were much cheaper than at the spa) and used them regularly for a few weeks...and started noticing that I wasn't breaking out as much and my skin was starting to even out.  Then a month ago, I bought 2 more  products and saw that my skin was starting to glow.  I am absolutely obsessed with this brand now!

Amazon.com
Exfoliating with Olay ProX.
The drugstore version of the insanely expensive Clarisonic, this is a wonderful product to use a few nights a week to slough off dead skin, pollution and all the other yucky things that mess with your face on a daily basis.  Use for at least 60 seconds (max 2 minutes) and your face actually feels deeply cleansed down to the pore.  This will run you about $20-$40 at the drugstore and it comes with Olay's own exfoliation cleanser wash (afterwards, you will just need to replace the brush head a few times a year).  Just make sure to clean the brush with antibacterial soap every few days so you're not putting the stuff you clean off right back on your face.

Part II to follow!