Why a boudoir session is the perfect new fashion wedding gift: It can spice thing up now and later.Read More
In the thick of the wedding planning process, as my then fiancé, and I began adding up costs and going over our budget many doubts started to cross both of our minds. Was the wedding we were having really worth the price tag? Considering that the average cost of a wedding in the states in now well above $20,000 it’s easy to think about how that money could buy you a car, pay off student loans, pay the down payment on a home, or allow you to travel the world.
I fully support and understand any couple whom opts out of a big wedding, or any wedding at all. It’s not for everybody. And I was one of those people for a long time that thought I might be one to opt out too. But now, almost 2 months after the fact, I can say confidently, that I wouldn’t trade our wedding for anything. Here’s why.
1) You only live once.
I know this idiom is one that often justifies a lot of stupid decisions, which is NOT a concept I a huge supporter of. However, every day I am growing older, and as I do, I realize more and more that life is short, and you only get one shot at it. Doing what it takes to create experiences and memories that you will cherish and remember your whole (short) life is, actually, worth it.
2) Relationships are better then things.
Don’t get me wrong. I LOVE things. I love nice things. But I don’t love nice things more than I love my friends and family. The bonds that are made, strengthened, and fortified on your wedding day are non-exchangeable. I would take the love I felt from my friends as they stood by my side, from my father as he walked me down the aisle, from my husband as he said his vows, from my parents as they “gave me away”, over a new car or some fancy clothes any day.
3) I don’t wish I had done anything differently.
Weddings are really cool in that they are a two way street. On one hand, you are celebrating one of the happiest moments of your own life and asking your friends and family to celebrate YOU as well, but on the other hand, a wedding is a way to give back to your friends and family. There is nothing else like a once in a lifetime party that you throw for your loved ones, and that your loved ones throw for you. It’s a time when you can create any experience you want, and probably the only time ever you will get all the people you love in one place to share that experience. Yes, it is worth the stress.
4) It really changed my relationship with my husband.
Yes, Nick and I could of said our vows alone together on a desert island (and that would have been an incredible, life changing experience) but I have to say, there really is something to this whole tradition of declaring your bond and commitment to marriage in front of all your loved ones. I’m not the religious type, so I don’t really identify with a spiritual reason to this tradition, but it’s much like AA or Weight Watchers (I assume.) When you declare your intentions and love for another human being in front of all of your friends and family, it suddenly becomes not just a promise to one person you love, but to every person you love. You are vowing to every person in your life, and that you care about, and are acquainted with, that you are committed to this one person forever. It is a moment that really transforms your relationship. It’s not magic, but something truly does change from that point forward.
As a beginning wedding planner, this is important for me to share because I believe in the process of what I do, and I’m so lucky and wouldn’t trade my wedding experience for anything.
Happy Tuesday, everyone! This is Lauren Coffey, with my inaugural post to the DARING DELPHIA BLOG! Aren't you excited?! You should be and here's why: today, I'm going to wax lyrical (or not) about that fickle beast, the camera (wailing violins!) and more importantly, about how to beat it at its own tricksy game. Whether you're preparing for your engagement shoot or the big day, hopefully you'll find a nugget of wisdom or two to help you keep on shining (in a good way.)
Now, if any of you are like me, you get a little nervous when anyone whips out their iPhone/DSLR/Samsung Galaxy/old school flip phone (the horror! I mean, those pixels.) Sure, you'll smile obligingly to keep the fans happy, but inside you recoil, wondering "Are my nostrils flaring like a bull on speed?" In my case, inevitably so.
However, rest assured! There are a few tried and true tricks that the photogenically challenged among us have found to be successful. Yes, yes, there's always makeup and I'm assuming many of you know to at least powder that nose, enhance those eyes, and define those brows to ensure that you don't look washed out on camera (notice that I did not say to apply enough makeup to make RuPaul do a double take, unless that's how you roll on the daily.)
Nevertheless, what good is coming armed with only makeup if you're screaming on the inside? So, without further ado:
Six Tips For Stellar Photos
PRACTICE MAKES PURRFECT - Most of us probably would love to imitate the effortless poise and confidence of a supermodel when working it (woo!) during a photo shoot. However, some of us (or maybe just me) are a little more C-3P0 and less Alessandra Ambrosio in front of the camera.
I know it may sound super weird or vain but if you're feeling jittery, practice some looks in front of a mirror! You'll gain a little bit of muscle memory and figure out what looks best. After all, having a decent idea of what looks sweet and alluring versus what is slightly reminiscent of a drunk co-ed can make all the difference.
THINK HAPPY THOUGHTS - That's right, any happy little thought. While it may not enable you to fly in the style of Peter Pan, it will create a lovely warm expression on your face and, being the little know-it-all that it is, the camera will capture everything from the gleam in your eyes to the gentle upturn of your lips.
So, picture laying on a beach way down in Kokomo with your honey, daydream of Paris or bounce along (mentally) to a sweet melody in your head. Chances are you'll look much more serene and joyful than if you're worried about angling your face just right or if you're holding your hand like a claw; rather, you'll simply exude naturally blissful beauty. Ahh, perfection!
SMILE - Some photographic occasions call for a brooding look. However, those occasions usually don't include your engagement shoot/wedding day unless you're going for an American Gothic feel. That said, don't be afraid to smile! If you want to switch it up or don't want to flash a full set of your pearly whites in every shot, remember what Tyra taught you and SMIZE for all you're worth, people!
SHOW SOME LOVE (TO YOUR SKIN) - Most of you may or may not have had someone harassing you to wash your face before bed throughout your teen years. While possibly annoying at the time, it was definitely good advice! After all, even if you're a mole person or a vampire, you still need to get rid of those itty bitty particles of environmental stressors such as dust, pollution and free radicals.
Leaving makeup on while you sleep can be damaging to your skin by stretching your pores, inciting acne and creating fine lines, things that should definitely be avoided when possible. After all, you probably won't feel your best with a zit happily swelling to the size of Mount Olympus nestled right between your beautifully defined eyebrows on photo day.
CRASH EARLY - I know it sounds terribly beyond cliché to say "get some sleep!" but it is so true. Don't believe me? Think about how you looked after your last all nighter studying/partying/binging on Netflix/whatever. Would the walking dead have cheerfully claimed you as one of their own? If the answer is yes, then sit up and pay attention.
No matter how many more DIYs you have left to do, seating charts you have to arrange or episodes of House of Cards you have to watch, please go to sleep! Try to get at least six to seven hours of sleep before your photo shoot; how else will people believe that bluebirds helped you get ready that morning?
KICK UP THOSE HEELS - Lastly, just do you. It won't matter how much sleep you've gotten, how many skin peels you've suffered through or how much face time with the mirror you've had, what matters most is that you're true to who you are. If there's one thing I've learned about the camera, it's that the little snap-happy shutter critter loves CONFIDENCE above all.
Of course, it doesn't hurt to find your light (while trying not to squint like a bear coming fresh out of hibernation) and have a decent idea of your angles but if you're trying to be someone you're not, it will more than likely be evident in your photos. Taking photos should be fun, after all, without being stiff or rehearsed. Relax, kick up your heels and enjoy it!
So, when that camera goes snapping and flashing, just smile, think happy thoughts and be yourself because you've already done all you can do. It may sound cheesy but you'll always be the most beautiful you. Happy picture takin'!
How do you loosen up and show some love to the camera? Let us know in the comments below!
First, let me begin by saying, you are beautiful as you are and don't need to change a thing, darlin'! As a beautiful, strong and independent woman, you may feel a tinge silly about holding to an emotion that inspires a need to feel more beautiful than you’ve ever felt before on the day you marry your best friend.
I’ll let you in on a little-known secret, almost every bride, no matter her theme or interests, tends to have this one thing in common, they all want to feel more beautiful than ever on their wedding day. So, if you happen to be one of those brides-to-be who wants to go the extra mile, you may want to consider taking up a more intense beauty regimen.
So, here are a few things, products, tips and tricks I have for you engaged ladies who are interested in a pre-wedding beauty regimen to get you feeling beyond your normal level of pretty on the big day.
Cut damaged and dead locks EARLY
If you have a long enough engagement, and your hair is in need, you may want to consider getting a major haircut near after your engagement. Cutting off any damaged hair and beginning to treat it more nicely (keep reading) is a really great step toward having beautiful hair on your wedding day.
Get Regular Trims
Trim your hair every 6-8 weeks to keep it healthy.
Don’t Wash Every Day
Washing your hair every day strips it of its natural oils and dries it out. Dry hair becomes brittle, damaged, and broken easily. If you can, try washing your hair only 2-3 times a week. Showering with a hair cap and using a great dry shampoo can add volume and freshness to 2nd and 3rd day hair.
The Drybar dry shampoo for brunettes is a great if you have darker hair, since I've heard a few complaints from my brunettes friends that many dry shampoos leave behind white blotches. My personal favorite, however, is the Klorane gentle dry shampoo with Oat Milk. And while I highly prefer aerated dry shampoos, because they are lighter and more manageable, a cheaper alternate is baby powder. Put a little bit on your finger tips and work it into your roots to make you hair less oily.
Use Natural Shampoos and Conditioners
When you do shampoo consider using natural products like Lush or Aveda to keep harsh chemicals away.
Some of my new favorite products include pretty much anything created by Lush, a london based company that really lives up to it's luscious branding. I'm also a big fan of Aveda products, which is an oldie but a goodie for me. I've highlighted a few of their products for dry or damaged hair, but both brands offer many products to suite the individuals needs.
Use Ultra Moisturizing Treatments
When you get a chance, give your hair a little extra TLC with an ultra moisturizing treatment. Again, I love my Lush products (thanks to my bestie who introduced them to me) and this H'suan Wen Hua treatment is wonderful for making locks soft, strong, and shiny. Apply it to dry hair and left in 20-30 minutes.
Avoid Heat Treating Your Hair When Possible
Try washing your hair when you get home from work, instead of before. Finding a time that you can let your hair air-dry (without having to sleep on in while wet) and adding the right products is one way to avoid constant heat treatments.
If You Want Length
To grow your hair as long as possible, I still recommend that early cut (If you need it, mind you!) Your hair will look much more attractive and be much healthier. To make your hair grow faster, take Extra Potent Biotin every day. It REALLY works. I swear it at least doubles my hair growth rate.
Remember You Can Use Extensions for Extra Length
You may end up opting for them if you want extra body and thickness as well. Talk to your hair stylist about the best options for you.
As you can see above, the extensions can not only add length, but also a lot of fullness. The price range widely varies based on on what the extensions are made of. The model on the far left is wearing relatively inexpensive synthetic extensions from Love Culture, where as the model on the right is wearing extensions from Cashmere Hair, that are made of real human hair. I believe you can also purchase extensions made from animal hair. Below is a video of someone explaining hair extensions with far more authority and knowledge than I personally have:) (Check out dkwstyling.com and her youtube channel, dwkstyling)
See a dermatologist
Probably the best advice I can give you for your skin, is to go ahead and book an appointment with a dermatologist as soon as possible following your engagement. Trying a million different products off-the-shelf can be frustrating and expensive. A dermatologist will be able to assess and prescribe what your skin needs to be healthy.
My favorite skincare product right now is retrin-A. Prescribed by a dermatologist, it works by increasing your skin cell turn over rate, reducing pore size, and retaining you skin collagen levels. You can read about it here. Don't lose courage and stop using it though, it took me about 14 weeks before I began to see it's benefits, and now it is undeniable. Not only is it clearing up my acne, but it definitely gives my skin a healthy glow.
Tea Tree Oil
I recently started using tree tree oil, and I've had great success with it. As you may have guessed, I have issues with acne, and I am amazed I didn't try this remedy earlier. Somehow the oil simultaneously works to dry up pimples, and keep my skin feeling smooth and moisturized. I was worried about the product leaving a filmy oily residue, but it doesn't at all. I really like the Jason brand below.
non comedogenic moisturizer with spf
Every skin type needs to be well moisturizer and protected from the sun. This is even more true for fair skin types and most individuals on treatments from a derm. Products such as retrin-A can make skin more sensitive to the suns rays. Try Cerva Ve Facial Moisturizing lotion with 30 SPF. ( I also love the Burt's Bees Radiance day cream, though it isn't "non-comedogenic" and doesn't have SPF.)
This is a new product that I am trying to help out with my "hormonal" acne. My derm told me that this acne is caused by an over production of estrogen. I've read a lot of great reviews from customers who have tried this product who swear it has FINALLY cleared up their skin or helped them drop a few lbs. I'll update on this product later.
Consider starting a facial regimen suited to your needs with an esthetician
There are approximately one million different types of facials offered by salons these days. Just like all of my advice thus far, it's up to you to meet with an expert and figure out a good route for your skin type. Giving your skin a little extra TLC in the form of a facial, or a monthly facial leading up to your wedding can work magic.
Below is a great looking one with my new fav product "Retinol A" that I'm dying to try for one of my monthly facials. In my area, it is offered at Highland Oaks Spa in Winston- Salem, NC.
Retrin-A Peels, peels, facials
Timeless™ - $214
This “Overnight” peel is safe but very effective. The chirally corrected L-retinol A™ peel stimulates significant cell turnover and protein synthesis resulting in smoother, denser, more hydrating skin. This peel works well for treating fine lines, wrinkles, photo damage and acne. Warning: Not safe for pregnant or lactating women.
Get Your Teeth Professionally Whitened if You Choose
This one is pretty straight forward. If you have the cash to shell out for some professional teeth whitening, you probably won't regret it when you are looking at those photos you plan on cherishing for the remainder of your life.
DIY whitening Tricks
If professional teeth whitening falls out of your price range, there are a whole bunch of DIY tricks you can use to brighten up your smile.
I’m not an expert on fitness, but here is my experience. I don’t want to be skinny; I just want to be the best possible version of myself. I already regularly do cardio to ward of the extra fat calories from my more indulgent food choices. But in trying to prepare for my dress, I’ve started really incorporating a callisthenic routine, and I can tell that my body looks a lot better. The best advice I can give you here, is be less concerned with the scale and more concerned with psychical progress. Noticing where you are a little firmer, less flabby, more shapely, and healthier looking is a much better goal than say, lose 5 pounds, drop 3 dress sizes, whatever. But that is just my opinion after many many many years of yo-yo dieting on that exact mindset.
Start a solid cardio + Calisthenics routine. Here is my routine. You may want to see a personal trainer, lifestyle expert, or something of that nature to get a custom plan that will work best for you. A simple article explaining why BOTH cardio and strength training are important, and you should do both.
Mon-Fri: 30-45 walking and/or jogging
Mon: 30 minutes legs
Tues: 30 minutes arms
Weds: 30 minutes abs/core
Thurs: Hips and back
Sat or Sun: Lifting weights.
Again, I’m not an expert here, so I recommend researching and finding what is best for you. For me, going on too strict of a diet usually end with sadness and despair, and gets me in worse shape than I was to begin with. So I keep it super simple, I try to eat less processed junk food, and eat fresh ingredients. I have found that the little efforts, like snacking on baby carrots when I get hungry mid-meal, helps me to stay full and eat less of whatever else I eat that day, be it and salmon salad or a pizza. The little efforts DO ADD UP.
Be aware of your calorie intake
This is a big one. I hate doing it, but this is where you really learn how to eat correctly. If you count your calories for even a month, you can begin to learn what unhealthy choices you make the most and you can learn how to correct them. But let me emphasis that I believe calorie counting is best used as a tool to help you fine-tune your food consumption for even when you are not counting your calories. Again, if you get TOO caught upon this, and get too inside of your head about it, it can make you feel like it is impossible and you will give up. Just try to remember that health is an every day practice, not a race or competition. Going over your goal calorie intake is inevitable. It really doesn’t matter. What matters is the efforts you are making, do in fact help you live a much healthier lifestyle. HURRAH.
Try downloading a great app like My Fitness Pal for your smartphone.