Clothes Before Bros

Friday, February 27, 2015

Apparently, I'm really into graphic tees paired with skirts right now. There's just something about wearing your heart on your sleeve your opinion on your chest. As I wore this Clothes Before Bros tee walking down the street, I noticed that other women were smiling more at me. A barista even said to be, "I have a boyfriend and I share that sentiment." Hello, lady. I have a husband and I'm totally down with this. Clearly, this three word statement was vibing with other gals.

Let's be honest, I would never put my actual wardrobe before my man, but here's how I interpret it: put yourself, your happiness, your passions before anyone else. Never let a dude tell you what to wear. My girl, Jessica, has started this amazing movement called #idressforme. The essential idea is that you should dress to impress no one but yourself. Everyone should be able to freely clothe themselves in whatever fashion they choose without fear of stigma or personal harm. Jessica's hope, which I ardently share, is raise awareness for sexual harassment and assault. A mini skirt is not an invite. She wasn't asking for it by wearing a low cut top.

Furthermore, just because you enjoy fashion, doesn't mean that your don't have a brain. I've always gotten the feeling that when I tell people about my career as a fashion designer, or my collection of shoes, that they suddenly start to think that I'm not very bright. It's as if a penchant for the sartorial automatically means your straight out of Clueless. You think that's all I do? I'm just a ditz with a credit card?

Perhaps, I should put less stock in what others think of me, but let it be known: I'm actually pretty smart. I'm really good at fractions, and I use geometry almost everyday. Those facebook vocab quizzes? I pass them with flying colors, every time. I even beat my dad at Scrabble last Christmas. So there.

Banana Republic Plaid Skirt | Similar

Create, Caffeinate, Repeat

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

This is the tee shirt that made my break my New Years resolution of no shopping for a year. I literally had to have it; it was that good. If the phrase "create, caffeinate, repeat" doesn't sum up my life, I'm pretty sure nothing will. I find that there are plenty of products out there about drinking copious amounts of coffee, but since green tea lattes (with soy, pretty please!) are my drug of choice, this tee especially spoke to me.

J Crew Pumps - on sale!
Kate Spade Saturday Sunglasses | Similar

Marie Claire China Outtakes

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

A few months ago, my bestie, Jessica was working on a story about shoe collectors for Marie Claire China, and she remembered how ridiculous my keds collection had gotten.  At the time, I had about 15 pairs, but it's grown to about 25 since then. I literally live in keds, I wore them at my wedding, and I'm pretty sure they go with every possible kind of outfit. Marie Claire China only ended up publishing one of my photos (and they misspelled my name), so I thought I'd share some outtakes from the shoot we did at my home studio. 

Here I'm wearing a dress from my Expect line, which is currently on haitus. I'm working to list all my inventory on etsy, so stay tuned in case you're like, "Hey, wait. I gotta have one of those mint Laura dresses!" I gotchu.

So, I Guess I Make Bras Now

Monday, February 9, 2015
It's funny how things change so suddenly. After struggling in my maternity and children's wear business for almost 3 years, I decided to take a break from it and focus on other endeavors. My main focus, I decided, would be working weddings for Orange Blossom. But I wasn't ready to stop being a maker. So, I posted this image on instagram.

I had so many people asking me where they could get one, that I decided, on a whim, to open a new etsy shop. I've added a couple other new bra styles, and some hair accessories, and the idea is to make and sell wedding wearables such as garters and veils, in addition to pretty underthings, and hair bows.

Amazingly, I sold out of my gold glitter bra less than a week after opening my shop! This was a taste of success I never got to enjoy with my previous business, and I am so grateful. I'm having so much fun making pretty little things, and sending them all over the world -- one of my first orders went to Australia! -- that I just had to share. If you like what you see, feel free to swing on over to my etsy, or follow me on instagram.

10 Simple Ways to Save Money on Your Wedding

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Everyone has a budget. Even weddings that claim that the sky's the limit, have a ceiling. If you're one of the over 2 million people planning to get married this year, chances are, you're working with a budget. There are hundreds of ways to save money, but these are my favorite ways to cut back without missing out. Take it from a former budget bride and current wedding planner. I've got your back!

1. Pick a "shoulder date." That means getting married on a Friday or Sunday. Venues, caterers, and other vendors often offer a price break for those who aren't getting hitched on the ever-popular Saturday. Things to keep in mind: Friday weddings might need to take place further into the evening to give your guests a chance to come from work, change, and make it in time to see you say "I do."  Sunday weddings often end a little early, because some guests might be anxious to get some sleep before work the next day. If you plan your wedding around a holiday to avoid work conflicts, keep in mind that not everyone wants to give up their long weekend to celebrate your love. That's just the cold, hard truth.

2. Get married in the off-season.  For most areas, wedding frequency spikes during the summer months. If you're looking to get married in the fall or winter, you may find that venues are thousands of dollars cheaper, and wedding vendors are more willing to cut their prices in order to take more work on. If you are flexible on your wedding date, but have a dream venue in mind, ask what their prices are for different months out of the year. You could be surprised by the difference!

3. Hire a wedding planner or coordinator. While it might seems like paying yet another person to plan your wedding might be counter-intuitive to saving money, working with an industry professional will almost always save you more money than you spend on hiring him or her. Not only will their connections and negotiation skills save you dollars, their expertise will spare you plenty of heartache and wasted man hours.

4. Be nice. I can't emphasize this enough. So many people think that being nasty and pushy will get you a price break. The truth is, wedding vendors are more likely to discount their services, offer freebies, and bundle goods for brides and grooms that they like working with. Being a bridezilla will only result in being the victim of the dreaded wedding up-charge. I know a bride who got a free conference room to get ready in on the day of her wedding simply because she was easy to work with.

5. Be clear about what your budget is. When shopping for wedding vendors, be straightforward and say, "I have x amount of money to spend on this service." Chances are, they will be somewhat flexible about their pricing. Even if they can't meet your bottom line, they might be able to recommend a friend who can. Wedding vendors know other wedding vendors. Ask for recommendations. The worst thing that can happen is that they tell you no.

6. Don't get seduced. You're going to hear "it's your special day, why not go all out?" a lot. Prepare yourself. It's just one day out of your entire life. No not succumb to the pressure to make it perfect. And remember, spending tons of money, does not necessarily equal a successful, beautiful, or perfect day. If you need a second to think about the purchase, take that time. Your wedding is not a pack of gum; don't impulse buy.

7. Decide what's important and what's not. For me, flowers were at the bottom of the list. I didn't want to pay thousands of dollars for something that would wither and die. I ended up spending about $100 on a bundle babys breath, that make 4 bouquets, dozens of centerpieces, and I still had leftovers. Because my floral budget was so minimal, I was able to spend a little extra on the entertainment and food, which mattered to me more.

8. Pay your totals upfront. Some wedding vendors offer a price break if you pay the entire balance right away. Your savings could be 10% or more.

9. Get wedding insurance. Here's another one of those spend-money-to-save-money moments. You'll especially want to do this if you are paying for a lot of your wedding up front. Insurance covers everything from no-show vendors, cancellation due to natural disaster, to postponement because of a loss in the family. If something goes wrong at your wedding, you can get out of being held financially, or legally, responsible. Most wedding insurances cost between $300-$600, but could save you tens -- or hundreds -- of thousands of dollars in the long run. So worth it in my book!

10. Slash the guest count. This might be obvious, but if you're looking to save some serious dough, get brutal when it comes to your guest list. Imagine that every person who walks into your wedding will cost at least $100. Cutting out those 10 distant cousins or former co-workers you don't talk to anymore can easily save you a thousand bucks.

I hope these tips are helpful. There are so many ways to save, but in my opinion, these are the most effective. If this list was helpful, stay tuned for next Wedding Wednesday. I've got tons more tips coming up!

I Don't Work Out

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Last month, Jessica and I attended a Bloom Gathering hosted by Krysta Masciale. Bloom Gatherings are like baby Yellow Conferences that happen once a month. This one was all about goal setting -- and achieving. I've had getting in shape on my to-do list forever, but never actually made myself do it. After attending one evening with Krysta and having a pal to keep me accountable, I finally just effing did it. I went to my first yoga class! And I'm going to another one at the end of this week.

The secret to finally getting my ass off the couch, I think, was this amazing tool, a workbook called START, created by Krysta and Ruthi, that breaks goals down into yearly quarters.  By setting goals that should be achieved in 3 months or less, the unattainable is broken down into bite-sized portions that are much more manageable. See, instead of saying, "I'm gonna lose 10 pounds," I decided to just try and find the kind of workout I was comfortable with and would do again.

By breaking down a bigger, more long-term goal, into mini goals, the pressure to achieve is alleviated, and I'm met with a satisfying sense of accomplishment when I get to check off a simple task from my list.

START recommends setting goals in a few different categories, including work, networking, investment, personal development, financial, and family & friends. I didn't set goals in every category, but I have three more quarters to get to the ones I missed or still feel need attention.

Other goals included paying more attention to my blog (check!!), working on relationships with female friends, and very simply, just deciding what I wanted to do about my career. I've hashed that whole issue out over here.

When Jess and I left the gathering, we we're like "Yes! 2015 is gonna be out bitch!" After what felt like a rough 2014, I'm looking forward to taking control of this year, and shaping it into what I want it to be.

Big thanks to Joanna Waterfall for putting the whole thing together.

Sunday Soups: Quinoa Grilled Chicken

Sunday, February 1, 2015

I get a lot of inspiration for the food I make at home from the food I order when I'm out. At my part time retail job, I often order a soup-salad-sandwhich combo from the newly opened Orange Tree. The soup is always different and last week, they had a quinoa soup. Call me a dummy, but I never thought to put quinoa in soup. I whipped up this simple recipe, and the result is hearty, satisfying, and so totally delicious.

- 2 chicken breasts, grilled and shredded
- coconut oil
- 1 onion, chopped
- 2 cloves of garlic, sliced
- 4 carrots, cut into 1 inch pieces
- 4 celery stocks, cut into 1 inch pieces
- 2 parsnips, cut into 1 inch pieces
- 2 boxes of chicken stock
- 2 cups cooked quinoa
- salt and pepper

1. In a quart-sized soup pot, cook the onion and garlic in the coconut oil until they start to soften. Add carrots, celery, and parsnips and stir to combine. Cover with chicken stock and bring to a boil. Let simmer for about 20 minutes or until the veggies are nice a soft.

2. If you haven't done so already, grill your chicken, and cook your quinoa.

3. Add chicken and quinoa to boiling soup, and stir until combined. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve with crusty bread and enjoy.

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