28 July, 2011

Guest Postin' Gal!

Check me out, y'all!  I am guest posting over at Sun's awesome blog, Eat. Host. Run. Style.  As usual, I have some things to say about parties!  I have been following Sun's blog for awhile now, and have been super inspired by her breezy, positive approach to fitness.  I'm even working to get back into running by following some of her handy tips!

I'm super excited to be featured!

Follow me to the fun!

27 July, 2011

You Asked For It: Registry Revelations {Re-Post}

Good morning, dolls! I am so lucky to have such bright, inquisitive little Goldilous!  Because so many of you have been asking the best questions about registries, I thought I might re-post some of my tips on making your registry a little more fabulous!  Enjoy...

Registering for gifts was my second favorite part of the wedding planning hoopla. (Can you guess what my favorite part was?) Incidentally, registry planning is one of my favorite things to do with my couples as well. I was such a lucky gal because The Hubbs was totally into helping out. {Although I did have to keep steering him away from the electronics...and when my back was turned, he registered us for a Nintendo Wii et al.) Nevertheless I have definitely developed a strategy that I would love to share with you!

1. Don't spread yourselves to thinly. Stick to two or three of your favorite stores. Although the beauty of online shopping is so alluring, try to choose at least one national department chain with locations in most regions with a great selection of housewares. You may also want to choose a local specialty store for those quirkier items.

2. Think of your guests. When registering for gifts, try to choose items that span the spectrum of price ranges. Be sure to balance big ticket items with equally wonderful budget-friendly choices.

3. Give yourself the gift of time. You should complete your registry(ies) between 4 and 6 months before the big day. This gives your guests time to shop, wrap and ship to their heart's desire. A generous time frame will also cover any showers you may have.

4. Make sure to register for enough gifts. I know this may sound a wee bit strange, but trust me (!) this is important. You want to register for more gifts than there are guests. Choosy gift givers (like me) will appreciate the plethora of items to browse. Keep in mind, you'll most likely have a shower or two in there somewhere and you'll need to allow for those as well. After all, "variety is the spice of life", no?

5. Don't be afraid to spread the registry word! I know that etiquette (and Martha Stewart) says, "Don't tell your guests where your registered in the invitation". For me, the jury's still out. While I agree such info should never EVER be located on the invitation card itself, I have seen a number of tasteful and gorgeous registry cards. In my humble opinion, the job of the invitation suite is to provide your guests with all the info they'll need to successfully attend your wedding. The registry info is part of that information. However, if you should want to follow etiquette, you and your SO should tell only immediate family and the bridal party. Have them spread the word throughout the wedding guests. It is totally appropriate to include registry info with shower invites.

6. It's okay to register for gift cards! While it is still taboo to ask for money {as it should be}, most registry programs will ask you if you'd like to receive gift cards. Go ahead and check "yes"! We all know these things are great for traveling guests. Just slip them into the card, slip the card in your carry on and away you go! It's also super great to use your gift cards to complete your registry after the wedding!

7. When registering, think of your "happily ever after" not just your "happily ever now". Registry expert Mary Rose Gearon said it best, "Don't just think about your lifestyle as it is now. You'll be entertaining more in the years to come, so create a wish list of items: a platter for your first Thanksgiving dinner or champagne flutes for a New Year's toast. Keep those special occasions in mind; it's a wonderful way to include loved ones in those important milestones." I couldn't have said it better myself.

8. Keep up on those thank you cards. As soon as gifts come in, write that thank you note. To add a more personal touch to the often-arduous task of thank-you notes, try short, personalized messages written by hand. If time is what you lack most, printed stock greetings are acceptable as long as you add a thoughtful, personal "PS" section. Your guests love you, so don't be afraid to show them a little love in return. Your friends and family will appreciate the time you took to make them feel special.

9. Don't fret if you don't get everything you registered for. Most registry programs have fantastic completion programs. Ask your registry consultant for details...most programs offer discounts, incentive programs and will keep your info online for awhile.

So there you have it. A few {well, more than a few} words on registries. I should mention that you should, most importantly, have fun! You should get to laugh and dream together as you pick out your fabulous gifts. So get out there, grab a scanner and have at it!

21 July, 2011

Guest Post: Looking – and Feeling – Your Best on the Big Day

Hello, Darlings!  What a week I'm having...

Today I have a brilliant guest post from Sun Torke.  Miss Sun is the mastermind behind the healthy living blog, Eat. Host. Run. Style.  I love reading Sun's blog for it's upbeat tone, creative cooking tips and inspirational exercise advice.  Mostly, I really appreciate Sun's body-positive approach to fitness.  

I thought, that here in the height of summer and the wedding season, Sun would have some really great advice to share with us about looking your best on the big day...and I was right.

So, without further adieu...Miss Sun Torke!

During a recent trip to the gym, I overheard a bride-to-be announce she’s sticking with an all chicken diet in an attempt to starve her way into her dream dress. As she talked about her diet, I noticed she looked slightly crazed and as though she might pass out or chew her arm off in hunger.

This type of extreme behavior is not only unhealthy; it also sucks the enjoyment out of one of the happiest occasions in life. Fortunately, there are ways to look your best without limiting your diet to a single food group. The trick is to take a balanced approach to diet and exercise.

These strategies can help you look – and feel – your best at your wedding:

Eat 4-6 small meals each day. If you’re trying to lose a few pounds, this may be the easiest way to do it. By spacing several meals throughout the day, you’ll avoid getting too hungry, which can lead to overeating. Try keeping these meals between 200-300 calories, depending on how many meals you eat each day.

Makeover your favorite high-calorie foods. For example, if you love pizza, make a lighter version. Try topping a Flatout flatbread with pizza sauce, 2 percent mozzarella cheese, 8 slices turkey pepperoni and your favorite veggies. Craving fries? Slice a medium sweet potato into wedges, brush with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake until edges are slightly browned.

Make time for exercise. I know you’re busy, but making time to exercise is one of the best things you can do for yourself. Try to get at least five 30-minute sessions each week. If you have trouble squeezing your workouts in before or after work, try doing them over your lunch break. Or, combine exercising with socializing. For example, instead of catching up with friends over brunch, consider meeting for a morning hike or a cardio class at the gym instead.

Don’t forget about strength training. Whether you’re interested in toned thighs, lean arms or a flat midsection, strength training is one of the best ways to achieve your goals. If you aren’t sure where to start, pick up a fitness magazine or download a fitness mobile app for ideas. You might also consider hiring a personal trainer for a session or two to get started and make sure you’re using proper form while doing the exercises.

Have a happy – and healthy – wedding!
- ST