30 March, 2012

Let's Hear It for the Boys: Black by Vera Wang

As many of you know, a few months ago, I talked about the 2012 White by Vera Wang collection available at David's Bridal.  It was pretty great, right?  But, under all the happiness, there was totally a current of "Hey, what about us dudes?".  And, as if on cue, Miss Vera Wang announced her partnership with Men's Warehouse and launched her Black by Vera Wang collection.  I love it. 

From the XO, Vera Newsletter:

         The BLACK by Vera Wang collection offers the highest quality available in rental tuxedos, at an accessible price point. The collection features two modern tuxedo styles, in classic black and a fresh gray. Designed with contemporary style elements such as a narrower lapel, and ultra-lightweight, high quality fabric, ensures a sophisticated look with superior drape and a luxe feel. Both styles are offered in standard and modern fit, accommodating everyone in the wedding party from a small ring bearer to groomsmen in big & tall sizes.

Enough chatter!  Delicious tuxes below:

I'm living for that sharp, shadow lapel.  A big, high five for slim cut tuxes!!

James Bond, anyone?  Le sigh.

 I really love seeing so many options for men creeping up these days.  It's not just about the boxy, black tux anymore.  With the rising interest in sport coats, dress clothes and casual alternatives, there's no reason a fashionable, savvy man can't find something amazing to wear for any upcoming nuptial celebration.  But, you might want to give this collection a try.

Photo credit: all photos from mens warehouse dot com

29 March, 2012

In Which Shizz Gets Real

I was once asked (rather rudely, I might add) if I ever felt I was being misleading by 'filling up your blog with bunnies, rainbows and cutesy words when everybody knows how much being a small business owner sucks'.  At the time, as you can probably imagine, I chose not to answer this particular inquiry (although I will say that writing about positive, fun things helps me to stay positive...). 

So, this week, as I'm feeling like everything is falling apart, I've decided to 'be real'.  Enjoy.

It’s as if my life’s become a series of blog posts and photo shoots.  When I’m not working, at the gym or on an event, I’m designing events for clients that don’t exist so I don’t lose my edge.  I’m reading blogs, magazines, books, creating a digital presence, practicing my sketching, reaching out to other industry professionals, staying up late to write blog posts (like this one). I’m the one that decides which jobs to take and which ones to decline.  I’ve got a household to run, a marriage to enjoy, not to mention a social life to resurrect-all on top of a full time job.  It.  Never. Stops.

I feel lately like I’m losing my voice.  I feel like my vision for this company I started, this company I love is getting lost in all the compromise and I’m tired.  I’m tired of having to remind myself and everyone else that this is my company.  I’m tired of constantly explaining that this is not a hobby.  This is not a co-op.  This is a business that will help feed my family, help fulfill my dreams.  Some days, I don’t know why I’m doing this.  I don’t know why I can’t just be happy in my little office, with my little paycheck, making someone else’s dreams come true, just like millions of people all over the world.

In a lot of ways I’m extremely lucky.  I’m pursuing my passion.  I have a wonderful husband off whom I can bounce ideas.  He’s interested in helping me create a suitable design space; he talks me off a ledge every time I am an emotional doomsday prepper.  He reminds me to stand up for myself when I feel my vision for Goldiluxe is being threatened.  Without his support, we (Goldiluxe and I) would be screwed.  I also found an amazing design partner, someone who understands me when I can’t get the words out of my mouth.  She can take my distracted ramblings and turn out these incredible works of art.  She makes me feel comfortable in my leadership role even when I’m terrified that making tough decisions and having difficult discussions will ruin our amazing friendship.  Without her, I don’t know what I’d do…

But even so, no one else's signature is on the papers I filed with the state, no one else is writing contracts...then re-writing them when they feel it's too harsh...then re-writing them again when they've realized an iron-clad contract is a good thing.  There's no one there when accountants need to be met, lawyers seen, accounts opened, marketing plans planned, spaces investigated…you get the picture.  At the end of the day, this business, along with the fiscal and emotional burden and success fall squarely on my shoulders.  That’s a big, terrifying responsibility.

But would I change it?  Would I abandon Goldiluxe tomorrow if given the chance for an easy, clutter-free life?  Not in a million years.  Even though I’m feeling lost and a little blue right now, I know there’s lots of amazing happiness just around the corner.  Sometimes, I just want to feel heard.

So you tell me, how do you make it work when you feel like giving up?

20 March, 2012

Designer Love: Ian Stuart

With decadent silhouettes, indulgent fabrics and stunning accessories, it's easy to see why Ian Stuart ($$$$$) is one of the bridal world's most celebrated heavy hitters.  Over the last several seasons, Mr. Stuart has quickly become one of my favorite designers.  I feel like I am always anxiously awaiting the new collection.  I think Ian Stuart's bridal gowns speak to that flamboyant, theatrical side of me. 

From the website:
          Launching his own line has allowed Ian to concentrate on creating collections which truly reflect his passion for innovative bridal design; without any restraints or compromise.  His main objective is to provide brides-to-be with a luxurious and diverse selection of shapes, colours and fabrics to reflect their own individual style.

I've been pouring over the latest from Mr. Stuart, Killer Queen.  I thought I might share with you a few of my faves:

Basilica.  The artistry is unparalleled. I am living for the metallic, all-over lace and the classic A-line silhouette.  Oh, bee tee dubs y'all-that is totally a lace jacket.  It's totally separate.  Why buy two dresses when this one gives you two looks...love!

 Bluebird.  What a stunner.  The thing that got me seriously hooked on Ian Stuart Bridal was that element of the surprise.  The first glimpse I had of this gown was from the back and I was sold...then I saw the front.  J'adore that halter neckline.  I also really appreciate the floral detail on the back.  The soft, airy blue is one of my favorite shades of blue and, in my opinion, is perfect for bridal couture.

This is the aptly named Broadway. Couldn't you just die?!  Now, while this dress is available in both ivory and taupe I think the bright, delicious pinky color (or Peony, if you're Ian Stuart) is just incredible.  I included Broadway because I think it's a great illustration of how a colored bridal gown can be dramatic and breathtaking without being overly costume-y.  I would say, though that a daring, color-loving bride would do well to mind the accessories.
This is Doris Day.  And, wouldn't you know it, this is my fave Killer Queen gown.  I love it's amazing simplicity and the pearled skirt is just the living end!  The sweet little jacket in this photo is completely separate and adorable.  My favorite thing about this dress?  Why, it's available in pale pink!  The thought of this little beauty in a sweet, blushy pink makes my heart skip a beat. 

So, there you have it.  My favorites from the Killer Queen collection by one mister Ian Stuart.  But, the thing is, I barely scratched the surface on this amazing collection.  I'd suggest you get your toned little bottoms over to the website.  Sorry, MKE brides, we don't have any boutique bold enough (I kid, I kid.) to carry the line, BUT you can find Mr. Stuart's designs at this Illinois destination:

236 West Northwest HWY
Barrington, Illinois, 60010
Tel: 847 381 5858

Photo credit: Photos 1,3,4-Ian Stuart
                        Photo 2 Ian Stuart via My Manx Wedding

Sneaky Peeky: A Country Wedding in the City

I just saw the proofs for one of our July events and I am completely blown away!  Miss Allison has done it again and I couldn't be happier!

The invites haven't gone out yet and as such all I can share with you is a teeny, tiny little peek!

Aren't you just dying to see the rest?!  Soon, darlings, soon...

15 March, 2012

Vendor Love: Andie's Specialty Sweets

OMG, y'all!  Have I got a sweet treat for you!

So, I've been researching for a couple of upcoming summer events and I stumbled upon what is quite possibly my new favorite thing in the history of ever.  Etsy seller, Andie's Specialty Sweets.  While the shop's name is fairly self-explanatory, their sweets are anything but ordinary.  This LA-based shop is armed to the teeth with some of the most ah-MAH-zing sweets I have EVER seen.  I could continue to ramble on, but I think you'd be better served with this:

Candy gears, people! You've got to be kidding, right?!  Oh, no.  I'm serious.  Candy.  Gears.

Root beer horse, anyone?  Isn't this just the living end?!  Personally, I think this would be perfect for Cowboy Baby (another post, friends...). 

I am living for this candy necklace, y'all!  It's so amazeballs I can barely stand it.  Just exquisitely detailed and the colors...foreddaboutit.

 This is one of my favorite pieces in the shop.  Art Nouveau starburst?  Why, yes, please.  I just love everything about this.  Especially the subtle gold highlights.  Makes me want to design an event around this darling lolly.

The best part is, I haven't even scratched the surface-there are so many mind-blowing pieces.  Indulgent things like: sea glass, sea horses, buttons (!!) and mushies!

So, I suggest getting yourself over there and stocking up on the edible beauties!

All photos via andie's specialty sweets

13 March, 2012

First Look: Fractured Fairytale Wedding Shower

Wow.  That was a long time gone, darlings.  I'm so sorry.

Well, our spring and summer is filling up fast and we have been super busy with a lot of exciting projects.  To assuage your fears that i will never blog again, I thought I might share with you a first look at what promises to be one of our favorite events of the season.

We are designing a (n ironic) fairytale themed bridal shower for a dear, dear friend.  Whadd'ya think?

Sooo cute, right?!  Y'all know how I feel about princess themes, but if you knew the bride, like we know the bride, you'd know this fun, fresh theme is perfect for her.  

Here's the link to our inspiration pinboard...I'll be sharing some of our favorite images later this week!