Slimming Down for the Big Day — Pure Barre

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I’ll admit, working out is not my favorite thing to do.  I hate being sweaty and out of breath, but it’s a necessary evil of life to stay healthy.  So I’d like to share with you a work out method that I actually really enjoy, and leaves me feeling strong and empowered at the end of it.

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A co-worker of mine introduced me to Pure Barre last year and I was hooked!  It’s a Ballet/Pilates inspired work out concentrating on your thighs, seat, arms and abs.  They do an amazing job targeting all the areas that women consider their “trouble zones”.  The work out is no cake walk either, I’m literally shaking the whole time!  Their goal is to work your muscles to fatigue using small controlled movements, and then stretch them out to give you a long lean “dancer” look.  While the workout is sans cardio, I find myself burning fat and sweating profusely, despite the fact all I did was raise and lower my foot a few inches.  You don’t need dance experience to do any of the moves, but being able to move to a beat will help you immensely.  The work outs are set to pumping music to help push yourself to your breaking point.  Rhianna’sOnly Girl in the World” still sets my hips tucking involuntarily.

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The one con, it’s expensive.  But good news Brides!  They have a special package just for you!  For 3 months of unlimited classes you pay $375 (that’s $300 in savings), a great investment to look amazing on your big day!  (Not all locations may participate, so give them a call to find out!)  If you’re strapped for cash, maybe check out their DVD’s?  They are pretty much the same as the class, but I would recommend attending at least one class at a Pure Barre location before starting up the DVD’s.  It will help with positioning and proper technique so you can get the most from your work out!  But, honestly, nothing beat the atmosphere of actually attending classes.

Like I said, this is my favorite work out method!  If you don’t have a Pure Barre near you there are several other companies that offer a very similar work out.  Check out The Bar Method or Barre 3 as well!

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Life’s a Picnic

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In search of making my sister’s Tree themed wedding unique, I thought it would be so adorable to use picnic tables instead of banquet tables.  You can leave the linens behind and just use runners, or dress them up with whimsical decorations.  They are great for a rustic wedding, backyard wedding, garden wedding, and really any where outdoors would look gorgeous.

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Upcycle Your Event

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There are so many ordinary objects just sitting around you can “upcycle” to create unique decor for your event.  Think of things that you throw away, give to good will, or have just passed their life expectancy, and dress them up in a new way.  It’s a great way to go green on your wedding day, and lower your carbon foot print!  So, instead of tossing them, go ahead and give them new life!  Here are some ideas for you!

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An old wooden ladder to hang pictures.

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Upcycled silverware can make whimsical and useful favors.  Paint them your wedding colors for guests to use for dinner, cake or coffee.

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A Pomander made from an old book adds a romantic touch to a book or garden themed wedding.

Look around your home or think twice before throwing away that stained blouse with the great pattern.  You never know, it could be fashioned into an amazing sash for your gown.  It only takes a bit of creativity!

Tips for a Great Outdoor Wedding

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Choosing to have an outdoor ceremony or reception can be a tricky or scary decision.  Despite there are so many things that could go wrong, like rain, there are so many things that could go right, like taking in the beautiful scenery.  Here are some tips to get the most out of your outdoor wedding.

Time of Year

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This widely depends on the area or location you choose for your wedding, but most places fall into “peak wedding season”.  Between May and September are the most popular dates for outdoor weddings, as the weather is nice, and it’s generally warm enough to be outside for hours on end.  But, be prepared to pay top dollar for venues, caterers, and other vendors during these months, and be aware that these months book up fast.  If you are looking to save some money, but still want the sunny outdoor wedding, consider a Friday or Sunday event as opposed to Saturday.  Weekday weddings will save you even more!

Time of Day

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Sitting on a plastic chair in the noon sun, in the middle of a field, and in ninety degree heat may not be the most fun for your guest, or even you in layers of fabric.  The best time for an outdoor wedding would be early morning, think starting your ceremony at 9 or 10, or toward the evening, think 5 or 6.

Location

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Picking the right venue or location for your outdoor wedding is also essential.  Look first for somewhere with great views.  A mountain top, ranch, small garden, or beach are great places where the scenery only enhances the feel of your wedding.  Before you make your final decision be aware of highways, airports or other places that provide white noise that may distract your guests, or keep them from hearing.  On first glance the venue may be perfect, but nothing is more annoying then a jumbo jet soaring by while trying to say “I do”.

Attire

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When planning an outdoor wedding, you should take yours, and your wedding party’s attire into consideration.  If it is the height of summer, choose light fabrics and short dresses for the girls.  Also, men no longer feel the need to wear tuxes and suites.  Create a spin on the tradition by allowing them to wear just the shirt, tie, and nice pants, and adding a pop like suspenders, colored socks, or trendy vest.  Stray from being too formal, as formal fabrics may heat you too much, and guests won’t enjoy sweating in their black tie.  Finally, nix the veil and opt for a head band, fascinator, or bird cage instead.  No doubt there are beautiful pictures of brides with their long veils flying in the wind, but they may become cumbersome during the ceremony.

Decor

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Find bold colors to stand out against the landscape, and look for decor to complement the space you are already in.  For example, use mason jars and tin cans for a ranch event, earthy elements for a mountain wedding, or tea party and vintage furniture for a garden wedding.  Have fun and be creative!  Perhaps a Carnival or Alice in Wonderland theme will wow your guests.  Finally incorporate entertainment into your outdoor affair.  Provide lawn games like croquet or corn hole, or set up an outdoor photo booth with frames.

A final word, always have a rain backup!  Also keep in mind that rain backups are never ideal.  It may not be your perfect set up, but relax and take things as they come.  The most important part of the day is the joining of two people into a new life together.

First Look Alternative

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I know so many brides are against the “First Look”.  Many want that moment when they walk down the aisle to be the first time their new husband sees them as their own.  It’s an incredibly special moment, and when many women dream of their wedding day, this moment is at the forefront.

For others, they choose the first look to make that moment more intimate.  You can speak to one another, not have the pressure of 100 pairs of eyes ogling you, and you can be more relaxed in the moment.  I know, as a naturally anxious person, I had to see my husband before the main event.  I knew I would be a wreck, and getting to see his smiling face before we took “the plunge” calmed my nerves.  All my worries fluttered away, along with the butterflies in my tummy.  I knew I was on the right track in life.

Or maybe you just want to get all the pictures out of the way before the ceremony.  Any reason is a good reason to have or not have a first look, but perhaps you can have the best of both worlds.

I love the idea of blindfolding the groom, so he can’t see the bride, but they can talk, touch, and comfort each other before the main event.  This way you can preserve that wow factor of walking down the aisle, while still having an intimate moment before you become man and wife.

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Another option I love is the behind the door first look.  Same as the blind fold, but slightly less contact.

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Anyway you choose to see your groom for the first time is the right choice.  It’s what makes you feel special and how you imagine your perfect day.  If you have to do a first look for time constraints, make it special.  Only allow you and your photographers there.  Make the moment about the start of your life together, because that’s where step one begins.

Grown up Jell-O Shots

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We’ve all been to the party where someone pulls out the syringe of paper cup of goo, and down the hatch it goes!  But now you can enjoy those part treats in a far more sophisticated way.  These creative and eye catching Jell-O shots will wow your guests and give them something to talk about.  They come in a variety of flavors, shapes, liquors, and colors.  I’m sure you could even customize them to match your theme or colors of you wedding or event.  Maybe skip the signature cocktail and have a signature Jell-O Shot instead!  Here are just a few ideas for you…

Dragon Fruit

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Strawberry Margarita, in actual Strawberries!  I’ve actually made these, they taste great but are SUPER hard to make… they did not look this good…

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Wine Jell-O Shots.  I would love to try these out!

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Check out The Jello Shot Test Kitchen.  They have tons of recipes and ideas for any drink or occasion.

Intimate Weddings

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The most important part of any wedding is not the dress, the venue, the photographer, or even the food.  The most important element is in fact the guest list.  The guest list decides what type of venue you will book, what type of food you’ll eat, and ultimately the overall feeling of your wedding.  Now there is nothing wrong with a big wedding, but they are not for everyone.  Having a large guest list filled with friends, family, and co-workers, you’ll definitely get a great big party atmosphere, but you may run the risk of spending more time schmoozing with the guests than eating or dancing.  Also, large guest lists take a toll on your budget, the more people the more cost.

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Many couples these days are opting for intimate or destination weddings with under 100 guests.  This allows the bride and groom time to thank each guest individually for attending and have a conversation with them, while giving them the ability to take some time to themselves.  Intimate weddings also help the budget conscious bride as you’ll need less of everything, less room, less food, and less liquor.  But, perhaps you simply want to lavish your guests with better quality food, drinks, or you have your eye on a designer wedding gown.  If you are a DIY’er you also might consider an intimate affair, as it’s far easier to make seventy custom place cards, rather than 150.

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The hardest thing about an Intimate wedding is saying no.  If you have a problem with that your 100 guests could turn into 200 in no time!  Your cousin may whine about the fact that they cannot bring their boyfriend of two weeks, or a co-worker give you a hard time (I mean you see her every day), but intimate wedding brides need to stay strong.  There is nothing wrong with wanting to enjoy your day with the people you want to spend it with.  It doesn’t make that person any less special in your life, it simply means you wish to have a intimate feeling at your wedding and should not feel guilty for not inviting your grandmother’s sister who you’ve met once.  Intimate weddings require you to cut out the trimmings and getting down the the meat and potatoes of your life.

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Intimate wedding can sometimes feel more unique as well.  You might be able to find an interesting venue, cater more exotic foods, or spend more on renting vintage furniture.

A wedding is all about you!  If you feel uncomfortable surrounded by hundreds of people you may or may not know very well, then don’t!  If you are looking for a great intimate wedding resource, check out Intimate Weddings and their blog for tips and photos from real intimate weddings.

I’ll Be at the Bar…

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Originally posted Tuesday, August 2, 2011

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And I don’t mean the kind that serves booze.  Now-a-days, brides are looking for more ways to set their event apart and create a unique experience for their guests.  A food bar not only allows your guest to customize their meal or dessert, but gives them a fun and memorable activity of the day.  You can make a bar out of just about anything.  Ice cream, s’mores, candy, cupcakes, and my new personal favorite, mashed potato!  Just lay out the main dish and choose plenty of toppings and flavors for guest to choose from.  Here’s a few images to get your creative juices flowing!

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This would be the most adorable soda shop themed wedding ever!

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Extra points if you make your own marshmallows.  It’s very Martha Stewart of you…

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Ok so this one is a buffet, but still a great favor for your guests.

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When Things Go Right

Originally Posted Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Today was an awesome day for me!  Not only did I get to show the ranch off to Marcea of Something Blue Colorado, but I got some very exciting news!  I had previously been in contact with The Knot Colorado Magazine about the possibility of mentioning The Lazy H Ranch in their next issue as a new Colorado venue.  Today I got the call to confirm all the information and I can’t believe how huge this is!  In all likely-hood, it will be a small blurb among many others but still, The Lazy H Ranch is published in The Knot Colorado, after only 2 months or so in business!  I’ll be standing out side my local news stand November 21st itching to get in and buy a copy.  It will totally be framed on my office wall!  Just to remind me that I can actually do this!