Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Lori's Rustic Italian Bridal Shower

Some days I think I should give it all up and design pretty events for a living. Then I think of everything it took to plan my sister's rustic Tuscan villa theme bridal shower—all the late, late nights, the nitpicking over the rose varieties in the centerpieces, and all of the handiwork it took to make everything look personal and customized—and I think…nah. But I'm so proud of how this event turned out that I thought I would share some of my favorite details. More about the event and vendor info below.

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The party was intimate and special. The guest list of 45 closest friends and family was the perfect size to allow for one-on-one time and memorable moments. Deciding on décor was a no-brainer, considering the venue lent itself to the rustic, Italian countryside aesthetic that we were hoping to achieve. Because of the olive/olive oil theme that I was trying to achieve, I filled the space with as many olive branches as I could, adding them to the centerpieces and DIY-ing a hand-tied bouquet of branches for the bride-to-be's chair.

My sister is low-key and a self-proclaimed minimalist, so grand venues and towering arrangements aren’t her jam. If you’re planning—or helping plan—an event, consider the venue when seeking inspiration. Ours was a local restaurant with a magical, verdant outdoor dining space that is surrounded by overgrown hedges that create a canopy of leaves. The venue provided both rustic, wooden tables, as well as white marble ones that sat under a beautifully distressed iron chandelier. We wanted guests to feel like they stepped into the courtyard of an old Italian villa. Because the venue was one of the most “finished” (and most pricey) parts of the shower, I opted to DIY a lot of the other elements—including hand-calligraphing the escort cards and mirrors, gold-embossing the menus, designing the recipe cards, and developing the shower games—and worked closely with the other vendors to capture our vision.

A variety of floral arrangements were meant to give a deconstructed look, as if we had wandered through a garden and arranged the stems in containers as we walked. After contacting a few different vendors, I decided to take matters into my own hands. I wanted to work directly with the florist, so I walked into my local supermarket (you read that right) that always brings in the freshest and most abundant blooms and told them exactly what I wanted. I showed them photos for inspiration and explained exactly which flowers would help me achieve the look I was going for at the event. I highly recommend this approach if you’re a perfectionist like I am and want to be involved in every step of the process. The florist was even able to order bundles of olive branches that I had requested. They were added to the bouquets of white roses, hydrangea, and eucalyptus leaves, and accented with curly willow. She even let me take a few bundles with me to decorate the venue. I had chosen the most incredible buttery yellow garden roses that were in stock when I first visited the florist, but when I picked up the arrangements the day of, they were nowhere in sight. Expect this. They were substituted with white roses (which ended up being fine, ultimately), but I was hoping for a bit of that weathered, antiqued hue to add to the arrangements that were placed in different containers (thanks, Target! Yup. Target).

Guests took home bottles of Tuscan herb olive oil and mission fig balsamic vinegar custom designed to fit the theme. It was one of the most magical days and one that my family will remember forever!

Vendor Information: 
Venue: The Villa
Photography: Sanaz Photography
Flowers: Local grocery store
Flower pots: Target
Cake: The French Confection Co.
Invitations: Minted
Olive oil favors: DASH Oil and Spice
Paper goods: Paper Source and Michael's

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Holiday Dressing

romper: Lush | tights: L'eggs boot tights c/o | booties: Nine West "Navajoe"

If you're like me, you've been eating everything under the sun, because...the holidays. Between ugly sweater parties, cookie exchanges and hot chocolate binge-drinking, finding an outfit that flatters your expanding waistline becomes a bit trickier than usual. My favorite holiday look this year is a flirty romper, tights and luxe suede booties that scream Christmas. These tights are built with ribbing in the foot that make wearing your favorite boots that much more comfortable. I can't wait to ring in the new year in this fun and feminine frock! What will you be wearing when the clock strikes 12?

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Fall Color Story: Plum

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With each passing year it seems like it takes me longer to break out of my summer haze and face the reality of fall fashion. All it took this time around was a quick stop at one of my favorite designer's outlet stores on my way home from the desert a few weekends ago. In a moment of serendipity I spotted the most beautiful plum-colored suede pumps that reminded me of a Russian love story set in the wintertime. The color was rich and timeless and my inability to take my eyes off of them convinced me that it is the hue of the season. When I caught wind of a particularly plummy polish (Beverly) from Julep, I was inspired to search for other ways to incorporate plum's romantic boost in my wardrobe and beauty regimen this season. How will you wear plum this fall?

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Lug Sole Trend

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The best part of the resurgence of '90s trends is that I actually have a chance to give them a try. When I was growing up, my parents were a bit conservative and wanted to keep us looking like classic young ladies (a value that I appreciate so much now that I'm older). Though my big sister definitely rocked the floral sundresses, platform sneakers and crushed velvet prom dresses (mmhmm), I was a bit too young to take advantage of the many possibilities that existed at that time. I remember being particularly upset that my mom wouldn't buy me cream-colored canvas lace-up shoes with rubber lug soles and toe reinforcements. Maybe it was because it was the chunky-heeled version that I coveted, but I sure am glad that I can dictate my own purchases now to find out what I was missing out on during one of the best decades in fashion history. Would you rock lug sole shoes in the 2000s?

Monday, September 29, 2014

Inspired by: Amal Alamuddin's Wedding Weekend Style

photo: Harper's Bazaar

I, along with the rest of the world, looked forward to the Clooney/Alamuddin wedding since I found out about their engagement. The weekend finally arrived and even I wasn't prepared for the fabulosity with which the festivities went down. The Venetian dinners with Anna Wintour and the Krasinskis, the private jet filled with thousands of bottles of Casamigos tequila (one of George's business ventures), the fleet of wood-paneled boats ferrying the fabulous wedding guests to the venue, and the impeccable Amal, whose pre-wedding style was so on point it hurt. From her crimson hi-lo rehearsal dinner gown to the morning-after white lace and floral masterpiece, there was nary an immaculately blown-out hair out of place. I thought I had seen everything until this morning, when the new Mrs. Clooney donned a custom Stella McCartney ensemble to their civil ceremony that made me gasp when I saw it. It almost begged me to put together an outfit board inspired by this über-chic, super sophisticated look. What do you think of Amal's classic style?

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Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Totally '90s Makeup

I grew up in the '90s. That meant jelly sandals, recording award shows on VHS tapes, and waiting for the modem to kickstart Netscape so I could work on my Backstreet Boys Geocities fan site. Oh, and terrible, horrible, no good, very bad makeup trends. I tried them all: the frosted eyes, the dark, matte lips, the super thin brows. It was an unfortunate time in my aesthetic history, but I look back on it as an experimental phase, when I learned what colors worked with my olive skin tone and at what point I should stop tweezing. This updated '90s makeup look combines the best of both "classic" (omg I'm old) and modern makeup trends, including matte finishes and bold and bright accents. I can't say that I'll ever go back to some of the horrendous trends that I played with in my youth, but this was a fun reminder of some of the best days of my life.

  • Eyes: Lorac PRO Palette in Cream, Taupe, Sable, and Espresso
  • Lips: NYX Round Case Lipstick in Minimalism

Step 1: Apply primer from lash line to brow. This helps powder eyeshadow stay put and not end up in the crease.

Step 2: Using a fluffy shadow brush or your finger, take a cream colored shadow and apply to entire lid up to the crease. This creates a matte, neutral base.

Step 3: With your finger, apply a very subtle shimmer powder to brow bone to highlight and contour.

Step 4: Layer a matte taupe shadow from lash line into the crease.

Step 5: Apply a matte sable shadow to outer corners of lid and blend well.

Step 6: With a sponge-tip applicator, take a matte espresso shadow and apply to lower lash line. Smudge with fingertips.

Step 7: Make your lips pop with a matte mauve lip color and blot gently on a tissue to set.

Friday, June 6, 2014

The Ultimate Workout Playlist

If you're like me, you count down the days to summer every year. Starting January 1. You may even go to the gym a few days a week in hopes that somewhere beneath those layers of skin lies a six-pack. Or that, come June, you will be able to hike up that massive hill from the parking lot to your office while toting your laptop, gym bag, purse and lunch bag without losing a lung. Somewhere between February and April is where I fell off the wagon, but I'm proud to say I've been back at it since mid-spring and have seen pretty good results. It also helps that I compiled a pretty flawless workout playlist that gets my adrenaline pumping even when I'm not in the gym.

It's a high-energy mix of pop, hip hop, EDM and, yes, trap tunes to get my heart racing and my feet moving. For cardio, I need super fast beats and an accelerating tempo to motivate me to push harder. One of my favorites is "Work B**ch" by Britney Spears. Just try it. You can't help but WORK. Also making an appearance on the playlist are Diplo, A$AP Rocky, Childish Gambino, No Doubt and even Lonely Island (I dare you not to break a sweat to their hilarious "When Will the Bass Drop")

Follow my playlist on Spotify! I've embedded it here, too, to make it easier for you to share and listen on the go. What's on your workout playlist?

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