Mason Jars: A Love-Hate Relationship

mason_jar_usesI have many pet peeves in life. From messy desk tops to my pants creating an unwanted muffin-top, my little dislikes range from normal to crazy. One pet peeve that I rarely am brave enough to mention because everyone is obsessed with them is mason jars. You read that right. I can’t stand them… for the most part. There are a few times when I think they’re appropriate to use and about a million times when they’re just, dare I say, tacky.

What’s my least favorite use of these glass, Pinterest-y objects? Wedding decorations. Dear Lord, don’t get me started! At first, it was kind of cute, but then everyone thought so and all of the sudden every single wedding had mason jars. It is no longer clever to wrap twine around the tops of the jars to make bows and then put flowers inside. It’s also not unique to put lights inside and then hang the jars from the rafters of your barn/reception space. I’m not a hater, I’m just over this trend. Since I’m talking about trends I’m so over, I may as well mention my severe dislike of using chalkboards for anything at a wedding. It’s been done too many times.

Mason jars do have their purposes though, and these are a few of my favorite Pinterest-inspired uses.

  1. Portable Mason Jar Meals– I really like this idea for salads as a slightly prettier way to carry in lunch to work. Tupperware just isn’t as cute.
  2. Herb Garden– I don’t garden and never will but being able to grow herbs in my home for when I cook (if I cook) is really useful. Sit them in the sun and give them a watering everyday and you’ve got herbs!
  3. Kitchen Storage– I hate opening a bag of nuts or popcorn kernels and having them spill all over my drawers after a period of time. Putting food items like that in a clear, glass jar make it easy to see and super organized.
  4. Make Up Brush Storage– This is way cleaner than throwing it in a make up bin and you can actually find it without digging around for a few minutes.


Why Graduations are a Big Deal and Ideas on How to Celebrate

graduation_celebration_ideasYesterday, I read an article about how society makes a much bigger deal (and spends more money) on things like weddings, engagements, baby showers etc. as compared to other life events like college graduations or first jobs. While the author was a bit sarcastic in how she worded things, I generally agreed with what she had to say. All of these life events are equally important and it’s time we celebrate them equally.

The average cost of a wedding now is $20k (possibly more if people were honest). That was my college tuition for a year. It’s a heck of a lot of money to spend all in one day. The average cost for a college graduation party is $985. These numbers suggest what we tend to value more and as a soon-to-be college graduate, I definitely feel like my achievement isn’t nearly as important as other friends’ who are engaged.

Please don’t misinterpret my message. Weddings and baby showers are important events and certainly should be celebrated. However, a college graduate deserves the same treatment because frankly, in most circumstances, this achievement takes more intellect and time than the process of getting married or having a kid usually does.

I go to a small Christian school and there are two types of people that are there: the type that believes college is solely for finding a mate and the type who thinks you can do other things too. I have many fond memories of my school. Dealing with people (girls particularly) who are only after their MRS degree is not one of them. It really is the most expensive degree you can get. On the contrary, there are people such as myself who don’t mind if they meet their future spouse in college, but for them the point in going to school is to ensure they can afford a decent life afterwards.

With all of my griping you might be curious to know what ideas I have on how society can celebrate graduation in a more grandiose way. Here are a few things I thought of:

  1. Buy a new dress- People spend thousands on “saying yes to the dress” for their wedding. I don’t see a problem with spending a few hundred on something fabulous to wear at your graduation. I’m eyeing a few Lilly Pulitzer dresses myself!
  2. Host a dinner party- Whether you pay for it or your parents do, having a big, sit-down dinner that’s catered might be just the ticket for you to be able to savor the spotlight.
  3. Send out announcements- When people get engaged, they send out save-the-dates. When graduation time roles around, send out your own announcements letting friends and family know that your “big day” is right around the corner. *Special note*: Usually when you send out these announcements people automatically assume you only want money. A great way to avoid this awkward conundrum is to make a note at the bottom saying something like “In lieu of gifts, the graduate asks that a donation be made to (insert charity name here).”
  4. Have a photo session- Engaged couples get to have a special photo shoot and so should you! Hire a professional photographer or even ask a friend to spend an hour or so taking photos of you.
  5. Go on a trip- Just like a honeymoon, you have to get away from it all and relax after all the festivities (and the last 4 years) are over. Go on vacation with a few of your other graduate friends and breathe a sigh of relief that it’s over and you’ll never have to study for an exam again.
  6. Buy yourself pretty jewelry- If a bride gets a pretty ring, then so should a graduate. It doesn’t have to be lavish, but something to commemorate this time in your life is a really great idea. Plus, costume jewelry just doesn’t go over as well in an office setting. You might as well have something nice to wear with your business suits.

I hope I’ve given you a few ideas on how to celebrate your (or someone else’s) special day! Graduating from college is such an important and incredible time in life. It shows mental endurance, dedication, and skill. We should celebrate it!


Pop, Fizz, Clink!

pop_fizz_clinkHas anyone else noticed that everything seems to be adorned with these three little words? Kate Spade started this trend and it has sparked a fad all over the place. To be honest, I think it’s really cute! Normally, I don’t love all the trends and I go for classics. However, I think the sound of a champagne bottle opening are worth being considered a classic. Its a celebratory drink after all!

With all the parties coming up for the holidays, I thought I might dedicate a post to the color of champagne and all the sparkle and glamor that comes with it. I chose this dress from L.K. Bennett London because it embodies everything I love about dressing up- the glitz, eye-catching outfits, and stunning figures. Gold, rose, champagne, and black were the colors of 2014 in my opinion. If sparkle were a color I might add that in too.

Over the summer, two of my good friends got married and at their wedding we had champagne. We toasted to their future together and made our speeches and told the funny stories. That’s what this little drink is all about- celebrating the good things in life. 



10 Tips For Saying Yes To The Dress From a Bridal Consultant

Happy Sunday! Alex from Ali Chat blog is writing today about finding the perfect gown for those of us who are engaged! If you have any tips or fun experiences be sure to leave a comment and go check out Alex’s blog!
First day on the job!

This is for all the other “Future Mrs.” out there.. I am extremely excited to share this post with all of you today!

If you have read my previous post on my blog, you will know that I just purchased my wedding gown (!!!). Now, being a bride, I know how stressful this can be. I was up many nights contemplating the pros and the cons of each and trying to wrap my head around which one was the one until I finally made my decision. So I know from personal experience what it’s like standing on the platform in front of all your family as you try to choose a gown that you will become a wife in.

But I feel that this list of tips might actually be a little more helpful than most because I managed a bridal salon for quite some time. I know the ins and outs of bridal gown shopping, not only as a bride, but also as one who sold them.

1. Know your budget

First and for most, you should know how much you are willing to spend on your gown. This is extremely important because if you go in without a budget chances are your consultant will grab higher priced dresses, and you

When I found my gown!

will leave disappointed. When you say your budget is a certain number, bridal consultants brains translate this to “find me a dress in the ballpark range of this number”. Now, as all of us brides know, we have a budget and we have to stick to it. So if you really can only spend $1200, tell them your budget is $1000.

2. Haggle 
Buying a wedding gown is a lot like buying a car, it sounds silly but its true (wait until you sign your life away on a gown contract). What a lot of brides don’t know is that the gowns are priced as such and haggling is part of the game. You should always ask for a sale, (I know that at Alfred Angelo, managers are told that sale prices are valid two weeks before and two weeks after the actual sale run dates), and then ask if there is anyway they could get that number lower to be more within your budget. Chances are they can.

3. Don’t bring your entire family

Myself and staff with Jason the designer!

I know this one can be hard, but believe me it is so much better for you and it makes your bridal consultants job 100x easier. The last thing you need is 20 different people blabbering on and on about their opinions of a dress that you may or may not like. At the end of the day it is only your opinion that matters, and your consultant will do her very best to find what fits your wants and needs. Her job can become cumbersome, however, when your aunt/grandma/sister-in-law are badgering her about a gown that they think you just have to try on. Less is more in this instance, and you will be less stressed at the end of the day, and so will your stylist.

4. The 8 month rule
This is the very latest that you should be ordering your gown. Most wedding gowns are made to order (yes, even at chains like Alfred Angelo and David’s Bridal), and for this reason they take quite a while to arrive. You also have to think about shipping time; even though your dress may only take 10 weeks to be made, it will probably still take an additional two weeks for shipping. Chances are your dress will not be made stateside and so it’s a possibility that it could get hung up at customs as well. Other factors like weather and Chinese new year (China practically shuts down for an entire month) can also hinder your dress from making a swift arrival. Eight months allows plenty of time for the dress to arrive, be inspected and repaired if needed, and then altered to fit perfect for your day!

5. Sizing
There are a few tips I have for sizing: 1) Understand that if you wear a size 2 regularly, there is a possibility that you

Bridal sizing? More like flowergirl size…

will be ordering a size 8 or 10 in bridal (I’m a 0 and I’m a 4 or 6 in bridal). 2) Measurements are a must to decide which size to order. Every designer is different and some run in european sizes.

6. Let your stylist choose dresses for you
Your stylist is trained to do just that: style you for your wedding day. They know the ins and the outs of dresses, and what looks good on every body type. Chances are, your stylist will find the dress of your dreams because that is her job 🙂

7. Verbal feedback
Tell your stylist what you do and don’t like about every gown. Verbalizing the certain aspects that you like about each gown will help your stylist choose gowns that you will like. And don’t ever feel like you are going to hurt her feelings by telling her that you don’t like a dress. She didn’t make it and all she wants is to please you. So by telling her you don’t like a certain gown, you are actually giving her a leg up on finding the gown you will like.

8. Top 3
When trying on gowns, rate each one on a scale of 1-10, 10 being I’m saying yes to the dress! Keep your top three in the room at all times, and once one is knocked to third place, take it out of the room. At the end of your appointment, ask to try those three back on but with accessories. Visualize and verbalize, until you find one that is your 10.

9. Not everyone cries

Business professional 😉

Shows like Say Yes To The Dress and other media has it burned into our minds that in order for it to be your gown, you have to cry. This is not the case. I’d say that over the course of working in the bridal industry about 40% cry when they find the gown. Also, just because you cry in a gown doesn’t mean it’s the one either. You could be crying for X amount of reasons: You finally realized that your getting married, your mom teared up when you put on a veil, the dress is so tight you can’t breathe. Don’t let sappy emotions and the thought of having that feeling stop you from getting a dress that you love. Not everyone cries, and that’s okay. All that matters is that you love it.

10. Have fun, and try as many on as you want
You only get to do this once, so make the most of it! Let’s all be honest, being pampered and playing dress up all day is every girl’s dream. So when it’s finally your time to try on wedding gowns make it last! Have fun, girlfriend! Try on as many as you want, and if you’ve found the one and you want to try on more, do it! Once you find THE one, all others will pale in comparison.

Go out there and have fun, Brides! It’s your day and your time! Go find a dress that makes you feel as beautiful as your fiancé does. You didn’t have to sleep on it before you said yes to their proposal, so why should you with your dress?


Weddings, Engagements, and Kids… Oh My!

The time has come in most of our young lives where seeing people get engaged and going to their weddingsPlanning_a_wedding isn’t just a nice celebration, its starting to become a norm. This ‘special time’ in our lives revolves not so much around the events themselves but more so around the pressure and internal sighs of seeing a new engagement or wedding and God forbid I say ‘baby’ announcement. For the people who are starting out on this new adventure in life this really is a special time for them and we send our congratulations. No really we do (or at least I do). To the rest of us, we’re having our own special time in this crazy new chapter of life.

Lord help any of us who have been dating someone for over a year because inevitably someone will ask when we’ll get engaged or if he or she is the ‘one’. Believe it or not, it usually takes longer than a year before we can be sure. So relax, just chill like we do.

I can’t get on Facebook or Instagram without a new engagement The_great_gatsbyannouncement or bridal portrait on my newsfeed. By all means friends, I’m glad your lives are happy and you have something to celebrate! However, the rest of us who aren’t quite there yet feel a little, how do I put it, bewildered? It was only a few years ago that we either started college or graduated college and now our beloved friends, roommates, and old pals are growing up so to speak. We’re left wondering where the time went and what the heck has gotten into these people? Just a few years ago we were talking about how we wanted to be young forever and live our 20s like it was an on-going party. Way to jump ship guys.

Nights out on the town with our group of friends are starting to dwindle in numbers between the frequency of nights and the amount of friends. Sooner or later these events will ultimately be replaced by dinner with the in-laws and date night with fiance/spouse. Both can be enjoyable events but sometimes there’s nothing like hanging out with your buddies.

Suddenly our friends are moving out of their coveted lofts/apartments and are thrilled with their new 3 bedroom house in suburbia. The two-door sporty cars they used to drive have been traded in for a four-door something. Our mail boxes are flooded with save-the-dates, we’re expecting announcements, and wedding invites that just don’t seem to stop coming. I literally have a fund set up for these sorts of announcements because its only appropriate to at least send a card.

Laying_by_the_poolThis special time in our lives has become a contemplative period where we just sit and wonder what’s going on and when will everything go back to normal? I’m slowly figuring out that it never will go back to ‘normal.’ Our youthful existence is slowly fading and we, or some of us, are becoming adults. This transition time is difficult and truthfully I don’t know how I’ll handle it. But for now I’m going to sit back in my lawn chair by the pool, sip my pina colada, and flip through Vogue. Why? Because today I still can!

P.S. I’m not jealous, bitter, or hater of love. I’m only a little lost and confused.