The New Year is a great time to pause, take stock, and come up with meaningful resolutions that will outlive the first blush of enthusiasm and make for a new and fantastic you in 2018. And while we cannot fundamentally change the face and body we were born with, there are a variety of natural, proven means available to enhance the looks, health, and mindset of any woman.
It has been said that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. With that in mind, here are a few basic but proven ways to keep your favorite beholder’s eye on you!
The skin is the body’s largest organ, and its most vulnerable. Take care of it by wearing sunscreen 365 days of the year—rain or shine! UV exposure ages skin, promotes skin cancer, and is especially harmful in southern or tropical environments. Use a good quality sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30; moisturize every day, preferable after getting out of the shower and before bed. Don’t touch your face! Doing so can spread bacteria, lead to scarring, wrinkles, and even spread the flu. Keep hydrated, cut back on alcohol, and maintain a healthy diet, preferably one rich in omea-3 fatty acid, which can help boost your skin’s ability to hold moisture. Finally, try to exfoliate a few times a week, avoid direct heat exposure, and take care to keep your makeup brushes clean.
Need to shed a few pounds from that Thanksgiving feast? Want to improve your muscle tone, regain youthful vigor, or simply need to maintain a fitness level that will help you avoid chronic illnesses and promote a sense of well-being? Get moving! Whether you hire a trainer, join a gym, or begin a fitness regimen based on your own research and self-discipline, or simply dedicate yourself to long walks, getting into and staying in shape will go a long way toward building a healthy glow while boosting your self-confidence.
A bright, winning smile is your calling card to the world; make sure you maintain a regular schedule for dental care, fix neglected problems, and consider both the short and long term benefits of good, cosmetic dentistry. Finally, consider using an effective whitening procedure. Americans spent $11.5 billion on teeth-whitening in 2015. While there are a variety of unproven yet anecdotally successful home treatments for discolored teeth (oil pulling, brushing with baking soda, hydrogen peroxide, apple cider vinegar to name a few), you can effectively prevent staining by limiting your consumption of products like coffee, red wine, and berries, and overall sugar intake. Still, to really take your smile to a new level, consider a professional teeth-bleaching procedure. Such a process, done properly, will exceed anything natural and over-the-counter products can achieve.
There is far more to beautiful nails than polish. Healthy, strong nails are a product of a healthy diet, common sense, and meticulous care. Start by keeping your nails dry and clean; too much moisture and/or hot water can contribute to the growth of bacteria and cause nails to split. Wear cotton-lined rubber gloves when washing dishes, cleaning or using harsh chemicals. Make sure you cut nails straight across before gently rounding them, using sharp clippers or a manicurist’s scissors. Moisturizers, a nail hardener, or a biotin product prescribed by a doctor can help. Do avoid biting your nails, picking at cuticles, ripping out hangnails, or ignoring problems as soon as they arise. Also, when consulting a professional, be sure to select a salon that displays a current state license, and work only with technicians also licensed by the state board.
There are few things than can as significantly alter or enhance a woman’s appearance as a new and fresh hairdo. This is one area you do not want to tackle yourself! Find a proven professional, have a specific look in mind, and remember that—as in most things—you get what you pay for. Spending more up front can ensure that you acquire a look that will last, can be maintained, and that suits the unique qualities that only you possess.
Happy New Year as you toast to a new and more beautiful you!
There is an old expression, “Those who fail to plan, plan to fail.” Never is this truer than in the planning, organization, and coordination of the biggest day of your life: your wedding day. With all the perils, pitfalls, and unexpected details that can derail even the most meticulously planned event, the decision to engage a wedding planner can be the most important one you make. In making this decision (actually, a series of decisions) there are many important factors, questions, and financial considerations to address. So, let’s get started!
Every wedding, however large or small, has a budget. And not everyone has the means to set aside roughly 10% and/or several thousands of dollars that, ideally, could be used on a honeymoon, paying down credit card debt, or even towards a down payment on a home. However, the right wedding planner can usually get the most out of your money while reducing stress and unpleasant surprises. And, if money is tight, you may consider the lesser expense of what many professionals refer to as a “day-of coordinator.” Since the average American wedding is just shy of $32,000, the decision to hire a full time, all-inclusive planner versus one with a more limited role is important. And, as with any wedding expense, be sure that the cost of your wedding planner is budgeted for.
What, exactly, does a full-service wedding planner do for you? Actually, quite a lot! She or he likely will attend vendor meetings with you (with whom they are likely to have an advantageous relationship with), help design and organize your overall concept, pay attention to even the smallest of details, and make sure that everyone follows your “rules” and your timetable. If you do decide to hire a full-time planner, be sure to begin the selection process as early as possible! Allow time to interview several candidates and thereby determine with whom you are likely to have the most productive relationship. The full-time planner will ideally be experienced, certified, familiar with multiple types of venues, be clear as to both party’s’ expectations and desires, and have a good working relationship with the many vendors and services that are all a part of every successful wedding. And remember: trust your instincts! You and the wedding planner will likely be spending a lot of time together, and it is imperative that you like, respect, and understand each other
A less than full service wedding planner is often referred to as a “day-of-wedding coordinator,” though they are monthly planners. Their main job is to organize the logistics of your special day, making sure that everything you have envisioned runs smoothly. Such tasks might include picking up flowers, deciding who oversees the gifts, packing up certain items at the end of the night, finding a place for the band to hide, and so forth. Again, the idea is to ensure peace of mind and reduce your stress. When hiring a day-of coordinator, make sure you understand how many hours they will work, how they might handle potential problems, and that he or she is truly listening to your needs and concerns. Again, trust your gut! You should expect your day-of coordinator to review vendor contracts, know the general timeline of the day, visit the site, and run both your rehearsal dinner and the main event the next day. Ideally, he or she will pack up everything at the end of the night, arrange for tips, and generally make sure that the entire show runs smoothly. Do not expect your day-of coordinator to arrange for your photographer or caterer or any other big detail that should have been planned well in advance; if any situations do arise that go above and beyond what you both consider to be par for the course, make sure you tip accordingly.
When searching for, interviewing, and working with either a full-time wedding planner or a day-of-coordinator, be honest about your finances and expectations. Make sure you have a reliable protocol for communication. And, above all, remember that the biggest myth regarding wedding planners in general is that you don’t need one!
Depending on the size of your wedding, you may have anywhere from 50-200+ wedding thank you cards to write out. Make it easy on yourself and get several lists going. One of these should contain an itemized inventory of gifts that were sent to you. Most companies, such as Bloomingdales, will give you a print-out showing the gift and sender. Your second list should contain an itemization of cash/check gifts. You will create this spreadsheet yourself, preferably in Excel to keep it nice and organized. It especially helpful to compare these two side by side with the attendance roll of everyone invited to the wedding. I found it most helpful to condense my lists, using my wedding-attendee roll to mark off whether they gave money/gift or not. This method allowed me to be positive as to who did or did not attend, whether they gave a gift, and how to correctly word their thank you. The last thing you would want to do is to thank Sally for coming to your wedding and for her awesome gift, only to realize that Sally never made it to your wedding! Stay very, very organized.
Let’s face it. If you are writing more than 100+ thank you cards, you are going to want a formula of some sort. This does not make you any less grateful; in fact it just makes you smart. A template will ensure your point comes across clearly while ensuring your time is managed efficiently. Below I have attached sample wedding templates that I found super helpful. These are outsourced from “Apracticalwedding.com:”
“Dear Preston and Cristina,
Thank you so much for attending our wedding! We had the best time, and were so happy you were there. We are so appreciative of your generous gift, and look forward to [fusion_builder_container hundred_percent=”yes” overflow=”visible”][fusion_builder_row][fusion_builder_column type=”1_1″ background_position=”left top” background_color=”” border_size=”” border_color=”” border_style=”solid” spacing=”yes” background_image=”” background_repeat=”no-repeat” padding=”” margin_top=”0px” margin_bottom=”0px” class=”” id=”” animation_type=”” animation_speed=”0.3″ animation_direction=”left” hide_on_mobile=”no” center_content=”no” min_height=”none”][adding it to our new car fund, using it to put a down payment on a house, adding it to our honeymoon fund, etc]. Thank you again for joining in the celebration of our marriage.
Lorelai and Luke”
“Dear Lexie and Mark,
Thank you for coming to our wedding! It truly would not have been the same without all of our family and friends there. We were so happy to receive [the gift], and we look forward to [options: using it for years to come, having it brighten our home for years to come, cherishing it as a beautiful wedding memento, make toast with it, etc].
Jesse and Cèline”
“Dear Anthony and Stanford,
Thank you so much for attending our wedding! It was such a delight to see you after all these years. We wanted to take a moment to send you the warmest well wishes and let you know how happy we were to see you there.
Rory and Logan”
“Dear Britney and Christina,
We are so sorry you weren’t able to make it to our wedding. It was a wonderful day, and you were missed. We wanted to make sure we let you know how much we love your gift, and we thank you for sending it.
Justin and JC”
I found it very helpful to write thank cards to my closest friends first before delving into a more generic template. This got my thoughts flowing and allowed me to loosen up. Check off each person as you go to make sure no one is forgotten. Also, remember that the templates are there as a guide; you don’t have to write each thank you verbatim. This would only make your thank you writing task that much more daunting.
You’ve finally completed all of your thank you acknowledgements and now have come to the realization that you have to write out every name and address as well as your return information! Yup, I did too. There are a few ways to go about addressing the people you are thanking. You can print out labels, you can handwrite, or you can hire a calligrapher. I went the handwritten route, but it is completely your preference. For my husband and my return information we had a stamp made. This tool saved time as well as my sanity. Once you have completed addressing your envelopes, you simply have to stamp!
I hope this blog was helpful to you! Wedding tasks that seem easy to accomplish can sometimes end up becoming gruesome to execute. What do I say? How do I do this effectively? How do I do this in the most efficient way? At the end of the day, saying thank you isn’t the hard part; the writing of hundreds of thank you cards is. [/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]
First, how many people are attending your wedding? For the sake of explanation, I am going to pretend you have 120 people coming. With 120 in attendance you will want to decide how many people will be seated at each table. Before you simply throw a number out there, examine your reception space. Based on the square footage of your venue, you may opt for more or less table—depending upon square footage. For example, if your reception room is approximately 5,000 square feet with 120 people, you may opt for tables of 8 to 10. This will allow the room to look full but not overcrowded.
Another important tidbit to keep in mind is that the more tables you have, the more floral arrangements you will need. It is important to make sure you are staying within your budget. The layout is yet another important factor to consider. Is there a giant statue in the middle of the room? Or, is the room an open layout? Factors such as these may change how many tables you want. Your final table number count should derive from your layout, square footage, and budget.
Once you have decided on the amount of guests at each table, you will ultimately want to decide the optimal seating arrangement. I found this task to be rather daunting at first and decided to start with our family. I Googled “best ways to seat family,” only to really find that the traditional method is to either to do a head table or to seat the parents, grandparents, and officiant together. In our case, our grandparents will not be in attendance and we do not have a close relationship with our officiant. So, I decided to write down both of our immediate families and see how we could best seat everyone. We decided early on that we would do tables of 10. Due to my fiancé’s family being larger, we were unable to fit immediate family all at one table. We decided instead to seat all of our brothers, sisters and significant others at one table, our aunts and uncles at another table, and our parents, god- parents and closest friends at their own table. There is no science in deciding how family should be seated; it is strictly preference and what works best.
Next, “Where do I seat the rest of my guests?” Rather than becoming overwhelmed by this task, do yourself a favor and start jotting down the names of people and friends you know would like to sit together. Simplify things by putting each set of parents in charge of grouping their guests as you take care of yours. Do your best to make as much sense as you can in grouping, but understand this will never be perfect. We’ve all attended one wedding or another where we haven’t known who we are sitting next to and guess what? That’s perfectly fine! Do your best to sit guests next to friends and family and to those whom you think they may get along with best.
Ok, so now you have your groups of people together but can’t decide exactly where they should be placed throughout the room. As rule of thumb, bridesmaids, groomsmen and family are typically closest to the bride and groom. Unless you are doing a head table, you will want to place them in the tables nearest you. If you have elderly guests attending, try to avoid seating them right next to the band or DJ. Also, seat guests in a way that will promote dancing. Lets face it, some people will be the life of the party and others not so much. Sit guests in a way that will encourage them to let loose and have fun!
I hope this helps you in your seating chart process. Understand this is an art, not a science! Consult friends and family who have also had to plan seating and ask them for their help. Best of luck!
Let’s talk costs. The first expenditure we commonly associate with becoming a bridesmaid is the bridesmaid’s dress. The average cost of a bridesmaid’s dress is $150 prior to alterations. It is possible that the bride may purchase the dress, but that is not customary. Along with the dress also comes the responsibility of jewelry and shoes. Some brides are lax when it comes to accessories, and others not so much. It is important to factor in that this may be an additional cost, ranging from $50 to $150+. Lets also not forget hair and makeup. Depending on the location of the wedding, hair and makeup can cost anywhere from $100 to $300. Once again, some bridesmaids may expect this while others may not.
What’s a wedding without a bachelorette party? While this may be one of your favorite parts of the experience, it may come with a high price tag. Bachelorette parties consist of an array of different options. The bride may propose a local dinner, a local weekend getaway, or a destination getaway. Be prepared financially. As a friend or relative of the bride, be open and honest about finances if you are concerned about costs. Not everyone can afford the costs of a bachelorette party but its up to you to decide whether to squirrel away funds or to respectfully bow out. Fortunately, attending the bachelorette party isn’t mandatory, but it is a grand gesture.
The bridal shower is an extremely important component of the wedding process. Typically, the bridesmaids, the bride or groom’s mother, or a family relative hosts the shower. This is a cost you will want to potentially account for. Expenses such as venue, meals/catering, décor, gifts, etc should be considered. The average cost of a bridal shower at someone’s home or a mid-range priced restaurant is anywhere from $15 to $40 a person. A more elaborate shower can cost anywhere from $40 to $150+. On top of these expenses you will want to factor in the cost of your shower gift.
Lastly, accommodation and gift costs. Depending on where the wedding is taking place, you may need overnight lodging. A hotel may cost you anywhere from $75 to $300+ a night. If you are attending a destination wedding you will want to do your homework and account for whether you will need a rental car, hotel, and flight. A gift is also a necessity when attending a wedding. As a bridesmaid and close friend, the average spent on a wedding gift is $75 to $150+.
At the end of the day, being a bridesmaid is far from inexpensive! Not only do you need to account for the expenses I have mentioned above, but also the time you will spend planning and emotionally being there for your dear friend/relative. It is only fair to plan and put proper thought into whether you are able to fulfill the duties of a bridesmaid. There is nothing worse than being ill prepared and eventually upsetting the future bride as well as yourself. No matter your decision, if handled properly, your bride-to-be will understand and appreciate you wanting the best for her. We are all human, and at then end of the day all we can do is our best.
It turns out this ghostly look can be caused by what we call a “flashback.” So what is that? Foundations or concealers that are “illuminating” can cause this effect due to their light reflecting particles. Brides—stay away from overly shimmery shadows, intense highlighters, and glitter!
But wait, there’s more! Mineral foundations and powders are also a no-no. These products contain a large amount of silica and silver mica. One product in particular that you should avoid is: “Makeup Forever HD Powder.” This powder is white and does not apply clear. It is really quite simple; WHITE reflects light!
SPF (Sun Protection Factor) products can also cause flashback. It is best to avoid primers, moisturizers, and foundations that contain SPF ingredients. The culprits within the SPF are zinc oxide and titanium dioxide, substances of a white, opaque nature. If you insist on using a SPF based product, be sure to use one with a rating of SPF 15 or lower to avoid compromising your photos.
So, at this point you may be wondering what type of makeup IS appropriate when being photographed. My personal favorites are “Makeup Forever Mat Velvet” foundation, as well as “MAC Mineralized Skin Finish Natural” concealer. Ultimately, the key to avoiding the dreaded flashback is to simply avoid makeup products that are illuminating, mineral based, or contain SPF when you know you’ll be having your picture taken.
At last! The mystery is solved! So, whether you are a concerned bride to be or simply looking to improve your Saturday night photos, you now have the tools necessary to look your best.
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