January 28, 2013

celebrate / girls night in


I’m a bit delayed in updating everyone on Girls Night! I got smacked with a cold this week and I’ve spent a lot of time in sweats while resting. 
Here’s a shot of part of the buffet table! I made sea salted caramel brownies,lemon bars, olive salad, a cheese board with prosciutto, feta, asiago, and fig jam and mustard. I also had hummus with carrots and veggies, Greek turkey sliders with mint and cucumber yogurt, and mini gruyere grilled cheese and tomato soup. Click the links for the recipes!

January 25, 2013

wed / how to find a make up artist

My beautiful Gamma Phi Beta sister, Madelyn is a makeup artist in New Jersey and I invited her to share her advice on finding a makeup artist for your wedding! If you’re in the New York/New Jersey area and need a true makeup pro or have any questions, you can get in touch with her at madelynvitamia@gmail.com.
When someone mentions a wedding to me, I always say - “Your makeup is just as important as your dress!”
I don’t say this to add stress, but think about it. When you look at pictures of you on your big day, you want to see your face. The one you’ve grown up with and remember. You, especially, don’t want to see someone you don’t recognize! This is why finding the right makeup artist for your wedding is crucial. In this case, less is definitely more. Save those glittery eyes for the club! For those timeless pictures, you want to achieve a fresh faced and youthful look.
The most common place to look for a MUA is your favorite makeup counter. However, the gripe I have with this is upon meeting the artist at the counter, you may feel obligated into choosing that ONE person. Then those crazy girl thoughts start running - Can I trust her with my face? I don’t know her! What if the day of the wedding, I don’t like what her line looks like on my face? What if she doesn’t understand what I want? Is she actually qualified?
All of these are great questions and should be asked! This is where the relationship between you and the artist becomes VITAL. If you don’t click, it won’t work. I can guarantee that you will ask for one thing and get the opposite. You should be able to trust this person with your life…well actually your face. You may be asking how to do that? Well, if they don’t offer to share their portfolio, ask to see it. If they don’t have one, don’t bother. You don’t want your face to become an experiment for someone else’s brush.
Another tip I offer to future brides is, ask if the MUA is experienced with airbrush application. I say this because with all those HD cameras out these days, you can see every nook and cranny. What airbrush makeup does is seamlessly hide those imperfections. Instead of being blended into your face, the makeup sits on top of your skin and gives the face a fresh look. No cake-face here!
The number one tip I could give, is to try and find your artist at a wedding event where all vendors meet to display their work. Most of these events are held at department stores and malls. They usually don’t cost any money, and are definitely worth your time. To find your local event, a search engine like weddingwire.com is a good place to start.
What’s so great about these events is you get too meet a lot of different MUAs and see the variation of styles. You’re not confined into talking with one person, so it’s not awkward when you don’t feel a connection. Just like Jay-Z says - “On to the next one!”
Hope you found these little tidbits helpful. Wishing you a happy search for wedding beauty :)
Madelyn Vitamia MUA xx

January 24, 2013

wed / how to hire a florist

Previously: How to Find a PhotographerHow to Find a DJ/Band, How to Find a Caterer


Ahh flowers. Now that the tougher vendors are booked, it’s time to focus on the beautiful, personal details. A few tips for finding a wedding florist:
1. Gather inspiration pictures! Pinterest is a great way to do this. 
2. Find 2-3 florists to meet with. Search online vendor sites like Yelp, Weddingbee, Style Me Pretty, and WeddingWire. And of course, ask your friends and family! Look at examples of the florist’s work to see if you like their aesthetic. 
3. Bring those photos to the meeting, along with fabric swatches, a picture of your dress, and pictures of the venue. Also, it’s important to bring your budget! Unlike some other vendors who show you their pricing and make adjustments from there, florists can be flexible by adjusting the blooms they choose, the number of arrangements, the size, etc. So give them a guideline to use as a jump off point!
4. Book with a florist whom you trust to execute your vision. You want someone who takes your inspiration and creates something that blows you away, not someone who copies a Pinterest pic exactly. 
5. Make sure to stop and smell those roses on the big day!

Next up: Make up Artist Tips from my lovely sorority sister and makeup artist, Maddy!

January 23, 2013

wed / how to find a wedding caterer


Considering the dinner (or luncheon or brunch} at your wedding is probably the biggest party you’ll ever host, the food is pretty important! Here are a few tips to choosing a caterer.
1. This is a really great time to get word of mouth recommendations. Ask friends and family if they’ve been to any events with great food recently. Amazing food at the company holiday party? Find out who they used. And if you have a favorite restaurant, find out if they cater or even see if their space can accommodate your guest list. 
2. Contact the company about getting some basic information. I recommend starting with 1-2 and going from there. Some companies will send sample menus to get you started and some will write a full proposal. 
3. When they schedule the tasting, be honest with your feedback and take great notes!
4. Pay attention to how responsive the event planner is, how the service is at the tasting, and if they listen to your feedback. That can indicate how things will run the day of the event.
5. Book with someone that you feel comfortable with and have a good rapport with. 
6. Enjoy the food!!! 
Next up: How to Find a Florist

January 22, 2013

quote / don't look back




inspired / snowy



I love waking up to a snowy wonderland like this!



wed / how to find a wedding dj or band


1. Look beyond wedding websites and keep an eye out for a great DJ in a club or a fun band at a work or industry event. 
2. Ask family and friends for recommendations. If you need more than one musical group (ie a string quartet for the ceremony/cocktail hour and a DJ for the reception), it can be really great to work with an agency. 
3. Listen to demos and go to a live show if you can.
4. Meet with one or two options and choose someone who you feel will do a great job and create the atmosphere you want. 
5. Read the contract carefully before you sign!
6. Don’t forget to go over a definitely play and do not play list with your band leader or DJ. Make sure they have the timeline too.
Next up: How to Find a Caterer

January 21, 2013

wear / fall outfit inspiration



Outfit inspiration! I have green cords, a similar button down, and a camel version of this cardigan. Done and done!


wed / how to find a wedding photographer

…in 6 easy steps.


1. Search for photographers in your area. Ask friends or family for recommendations. 
2. Look through online portfolios to narrow the list to 2-3 that you love.
3. Schedule meetings and find out rough pricing for your top 2-3.
4. Meet with the photographers. It’s important to see an album of a whole wedding, not just “best of” albums. 
5. Make sure you have a great rapport with the photographer. If you’re not comfortable with the person behind the camera, it can show through in photos. You’ll spend as much time with your photographer as with your new husband/wife. 
6. Sign the contract and book your engagement session!
Next up: How to Find a DJ/Band.


January 15, 2013

wear / pink and navy inspiration


I’m so excited for my Girl’s Night on Wednesday! I’m pulling together some fun details in pink and navy. If I could shop for a brand new outfit, this pink and navy outfit from Atlantic-Pacific would be pretty perfect!


January 14, 2013

friends

This weekend two of my oldest girl friends (from Kindergarten) moved to Boston! I got to see K on Saturday night and I can’t wait to get together with S!!! I have a girls night in planned for Wednesday and I can’t wait to share the food and decorations with you later in the week. 
How was your weekend?

January 3, 2013

celebrate / 2013

Is everyone else recovered from the festivities? N and I had some friends in town and we had a blast on New Year’s Eve. 2012 was quite a year and I’m so ready for the fresh start that 2013 brings. I feel like I’m steady on my feet when it comes to the real world and I can focus on smaller things this year. I’ve never been a resolution person, but I was inspired by Carly’s post about monthly focuses in 2013.
Keeping in mind some smaller goals I wanted to accomplish, I started a list of areas I wanted to focus on. Since life has ways of throwing curve balls, I’ve decided to assign my monthly focus just before the month begins. At the beginning of every month, I’ll post the area of my life I want to focus on and list some specific goals that fall under that topic. You can find Carly’s list here.
January: Finances

{source via Pinterest}
Yup, being a grown up is b-o-r-i-n-g sometimes. But then I remind myself I don’t have homework. Like I mentioned before, I am finally getting steadier footing and I’m ready to start being smarter with money. This month, I will:
1. Pay off the last bit of my credit card.
2. Figure out all this retirement account business and put away a little bit every month.
3. Start a savings account (again, a little bit is better than nothing).
4. Start checking my credit score regularly. I’m using this LearnVest article as a guide.
Do you have any resolutions or goals this year? I have a feeling it will be a challenging year, but I’m very excited for this fresh start.