I’m not going to lie, as I write this new post I’m under a lot of covers!  I hate being cold in the winter.  I was just catching up on my daily wedding reading when this “real wedding” from Martha Stewart Weddings, really caught my eye. 


The bride and groom served hot chocolate and hot apple cider as the guests arrived for the ceremony.  Each cup was customized special for their wedding. 

I think these place cards are so cute and go perfectly with the winter, rustic theme.  Using large, sturdy branches to hold the place cards  is an easy and cost effective idea. 

These mini cupcakes look fantastic in this branch cupcake stand.  The bare branches really set the tone and fit in with the rest of the wedding decor. 

The bride and groom gave all the male guests antique flasks and all the female guests soft, warm, winter boots (found at Target).  If you can’t afford to give all the guests such items, these are great ideas for the bridal party gifts.  The girls would look so cute in their wedding dresses and boots! 

These centerpieces are certainly perfect for a winter wedding.  I really love the use of fresh floral and the deep blue linens. It helps to create a fresh and bright looking table, even on a cold, snowy day.

I have to admit, I do feel much warmer after talking about all these great ideas!  Now all I need is some cozy winter boots and a cup of hot chocolate and I’d  be good to go!

Add to FacebookAdd to DiggAdd to Del.icio.usAdd to StumbleuponAdd to RedditAdd to BlinklistAdd to TwitterAdd to TechnoratiAdd to Yahoo BuzzAdd to Newsvine


I am so excited for Indie Wed.  It’s the first of its kind in the midwest and it is totally my cup of tea!  So many awesome, unique vendors to check out.  I’ll be there walking around and enjoying everything.  Here is all the info you need. 

Saturday, January 30th, 2010
from 11am-5pm
at the Showroom at the Ravenswood Event Center
4025 N. Ravenswood Ave
Chicago Illinois

Indie Wed will feature:

*54 amazing vendors from the Midwest and beyond
*musical performances and fashion shows
*swag bags for the first 50 pre-sale ticket-purchasers (sold out)
*swag bags for the first 25 people in line
*and much more

click here to buy your tickets – only $10 each or $15 for two. 

I hope this great event fits in your busy schedule this weekend!  If you do go…place a comment to this post and let everyone know how it was!

Add to FacebookAdd to DiggAdd to Del.icio.usAdd to StumbleuponAdd to RedditAdd to BlinklistAdd to TwitterAdd to TechnoratiAdd to Yahoo BuzzAdd to Newsvine

January is the perfect month to get started with a healthy new you!  So many people set New Years resolutions to get fit and to live a healthy lifestyle.  Hiring a personal trainer focused on your goals can help you stay motivated. 

Mindy Frakes is a certified personal trainer and she is fantastic!  She will whip you into shape in the privacy of your own home. 

“Let me help you be the BEST you can be!  In home personal training with a focus on weight loss, muscle tone, and flexibility.  No more excuses, I will bring fitness to you!”



This couple has a small gym in their condo building but Mindy can work wonders in your living room.  She will bring work out equipment with her….all you really need is some free weights.  It is fun to work out together!



















Here are some tips from Mindy:

1) BE REALISTIC – Losing weight and getting in shape is part of a healthy life style, so don’t make it unhealthy by trying to lose too much weight too quickly!  A healthy steady loss of 1 to 2 pounds per week is what you should strive for.

2) SET A DEADLINE – All it takes is some simple math to figure out how much you can lose by your wedding date. 30 pounds?  Leave at least 6 months….. 15 pounds?  Leave at least 3 months.  Make shorter goals within the big picture to track your progress

3) WRITE IT DOWN – Seeing everything in front of you makes it all real.  Write down EVERYTHING, what you eat, how you feel, how much exercise you’re getting, ect….. 

4) UP THE ANTE – Increase your intensity of your cardio and strength training weekly.  Brides shouldn’t be afraid of increasing their weight load.  This is required in order to challenge your body and take it past the plateau.   Increasing strength training does not equal a masculine physique

5) CHANGE YOUR MIND – Think of exercise as calming.  With all the chaos that comes with being a bride, take comfort in the fact that you can control how your body will look in your fabulous dress on your big day!   Work hard and you can do this!!!!!

***** SMILE –  Get enough sleep, exercise intensely,  eat well balanced meals, and enjoy this time.  Keeping a well balanced life will make you a happy glowing bride!

Call Mindy at 773-914-4508 to set up your assessment today


“The first session is a consultation between trainer and client. It will consist of a question and answer portion to ensure the client’s fitness goals, concerns, and needs are assessed.  Once assessed we will start to make a personalized plan of action to get you where you want to be as quick as possible!”

Private Lesson

1 session = $60

Buy 10 or more sessions price is reduced to $55


Duo training – Train with a friend or your Fiancé

 1 session = $80

 Buy 10 or more = $75

Small group – 3-5 participants

 1 session = $25 per client

 **All sessions are 60 minutes long

Add to FacebookAdd to DiggAdd to Del.icio.usAdd to StumbleuponAdd to RedditAdd to BlinklistAdd to TwitterAdd to TechnoratiAdd to Yahoo BuzzAdd to Newsvine

These days, couples are opting to not give party favors at their weddings, and for good reason.  Many options available are expensive and tend to use wasteful resources such as excessive packaging materials.  Even convenient online orders eventually cause pollutants from the required transportation and delivery.  

Purchase mini individual terracotta pots from your local floral vendor.  They can be filled with fresh herbs or flowers which your guests will love for months.  They can be packaged in a brown box without tissue paper and plastic wrap.  The florist can deliver them directly to your wedding allowing only one short trip.  After they have unloaded the gifts they can take the brown boxes back to their shop and re-use them. 

Another great idea is a little bamboo arrangement.  Bamboo grows amazingly well inside homes – especially in bathrooms that do not get a  lot of light.  It is a great way for your guests to bring life into their homes for years to come.  These little gifts can also be purchased at your local floral shop or China Town and require minimal packaging and shipping costs. 

A lot of couples are also opting to give money to a charity in lieu of a gift all together.  It’s a great way to support a cause that is important to you.  Let all your guests know you have donated money on their behalf; everyone will be happy they were a part of  your generosity. 


Party favors are certainly not required but these ideas might help you plan ahead so your gifts can be environmentally friendly.

Add to FacebookAdd to DiggAdd to Del.icio.usAdd to StumbleuponAdd to RedditAdd to BlinklistAdd to TwitterAdd to TechnoratiAdd to Yahoo BuzzAdd to Newsvine

Winter Weddings that Sparkle

December 30, 2009

I’m loving this “sparkle” theme as shown below.  The colors of silver, gold, bronze and blush are really soft and romantic.  The sparkle element adds a lot of festive qualities without being over the top.  This idea could even be used for a New Years Eve party or winter birthday party. 

I know a lot of venues will not allow you to hang things from the ceiling but these stars are so eye-catching!  They really create a unique look; especially in a space that is a blank canvas like Prairie Productions or The Ivy Room at Tree Studios both of which do allow you to hang things like lanterns and floral pieces.

These little marzipan cherries are adorable in pink and gold.  They really help to pull the theme together nicely.  They would look fantastic on a dessert table or placed at the center of each guest table after dinner.   They are just a little something different from the usual winter desserts. 

There can be a lot of flexibility with winter weddings and events.  There are  many colors to choose from that you might not otherwise consider.  Pink, gold, bronze can be used year-round when paired with the right decor elements.

Add to FacebookAdd to DiggAdd to Del.icio.usAdd to StumbleuponAdd to RedditAdd to BlinklistAdd to TwitterAdd to TechnoratiAdd to Yahoo BuzzAdd to Newsvine

The holiday season is also high engagement season….if you’ve just gotten engaged and you haven’t finalized your bridal party yet you might want to consider having a smaller group stand up. 

It is a wonderful feeling to have a large bridal party (like the picture below) but it can also really add up financially too.  A lot of brides don’t realize the additional cost for having so many bridesmaids.  Each bridesmaid will need a bouquet which will range anywhere from $50.00 to $150.00 each.  Plus you’ll of course want to give each bridesmaid a nice gift to thank them for standing up on your special day.   It is up to the bride how much you would like to spend on bridal party gifts but typically they are about $50 – $150 each.  As you can see this is already starting to add up. 

It can be difficult to choose your attendants; especially if you have a large family.  However, it is a lot more cost-effective to have a smaller bridal party (as in the picture below).  It can also be extremely special  having an intimate group of just your family or your very best friends.   There is no right or wrong way to go about your bridal party – you’ll know exactly who must be in the party!  I would suggest really thinking about who to invite.  There are many other ways to honor special people in your life.  You can ask some to perform a reading during the ceremony or give a special toast. 

Don’t forget about all the groomsmen and ushers.  They will all need a boutonniere ($15.00 – $30.00) and bridal party gifts as well. 

Also, the more members of the bridal party you have the larger the mode of transportation needed.  It is a lot more cost-effective to have one limo instead of two limos or a trolley. 

Having a smaller group can really help you stay on budget.  If you really can’t get away with a small party – just be sure to include all the above costs within your budget so you aren’t thrown off with some additional expenses in the end.

Add to FacebookAdd to DiggAdd to Del.icio.usAdd to StumbleuponAdd to RedditAdd to BlinklistAdd to TwitterAdd to TechnoratiAdd to Yahoo BuzzAdd to Newsvine

Tapas Style Party

December 17, 2009

Going out to a tapas dinner is one of my favorite things to do with friends and family.  I love being able to taste so many different foods.  There is something special about sharing and passing food…it really creates a common bond with everyone sitting at the table.  It becomes more than just dinner, it’s an experience. 

Consider serving tapas at your next event.  The guests will really enjoy all the different items to taste.   It will create a very lively environment.



Serving glasses of sangria as guests enter the party is a great way to get things started. 

Hire a Spanish guitarist to really set the tone with authentic Spanish music.



If you don’t want to create a Spanish theme you can serve a tapas style menu (small plates) but it doesn’t have to be Spanish foods.  Here are some beautiful examples of small plates that would be great at a party or wedding. 


If you are going to serve tapas for your event or wedding I would suggest serving 8 to 10 different items.  I would also suggest not putting more than 8 guests per table so there is enough elbow room.  Also, make sure that each platter of food that comes around has a little more servings than the amount of guests at the table (8 guests = 10 servings). 

Your guests will really enjoy the variety and creativity of the menu.  It will really bring all the guests together for a great experience.

Add to FacebookAdd to DiggAdd to Del.icio.usAdd to StumbleuponAdd to RedditAdd to BlinklistAdd to TwitterAdd to TechnoratiAdd to Yahoo BuzzAdd to Newsvine