5 Tips for Finding Your Wedding Venue

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Thank you to my sister Ali for contributing this guest post! She's a bit ahead of me in the wedding planning process and has already been through this initial step! 




1. Prioritize.
Do some soul searching with your fiance and figure out what is most important for the two of you. Is it a stunning view? Is it eliminating the need for transportation? Is it maximizing the number of guests so you can include all your family and friends? Think about what you would be willing to compromise on, too. 

In my experience, I knew that it was most important for me to simplify and have everything under one roof. Eliminating the need for transportation was also important and kind of goes hand-in-hand. For me, this meant a hotel in downtown Boston. First: Hotel because I sleep there, get ready there, get hitched, and party all under one roof. One spot for everything, and I don't have to go outside but definitely could if its nice weather. My personal preference is an indoor wedding so I can have temperature and humidity control -- hair and makeup won't give me any problems! The idea of shuttling from location to location, getting in and out of a car doesn't sound fun to me. Second: being in downtown Boston means endless options for hotels, rehearsal dinner, and things for my guests to do before the party begins. 


2. Decide on the location first.
City and State. Once you nail these down then you can focus on the options in your area. 


3. Figure out your budget.
Goes without saying -- you have to know what you're working with. With that said, there is no harm in requesting quotes for places or visiting them if they are out of your price range. 

My fiance and I plus my parents saw 10 hotels in downtown Boston. We saw everything from a Hyatt to The Four Seasons. It was more of an education on what you really get for your money. Clearly there is a huge range in what you can get -- the Four Seasons is undeniably one of the best hotels in Boston with the most stunning views of The Boston Common and that comes with a big price tag.


4. Go see the places.
Photos only go so far. I learned this one, for sure. I pretty much had my heart set on The Langham Hotel. The photos online looked so beautiful and it seemed to have the perfect amount of elegance and class for the kind of affair I want to have. Well, that changed when I was actually standing in the space. I was disappointed -- the spaces were smaller than I thought. The ballroom had no windows and wasn't as elegant as I expected, and the whole venue was a bit like trying to fit a square into a circle, and we found ourselves asking the question, "How can we MAKE this space work?" when the reality was they were just odd spaces and it wasn't going to work for us.


5. Look for wedding photographer's blog posts and other galleries to see the place in action.
I found this super helpful. Google a venue's name along with "wedding photos" and tons of photographer's posts will come up with photos you can drool over. It really helps to see a space in action.


PS - Don't forget to have fun along the way! Enjoy the process, don't stress over the small stuff, and don't get discouraged when your dream venue isn't what you were expecting. The perfect place will surface.


Comment and share your experience or ask questions below!



-Ali

Big News! And a New Series!

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

I've been noticeably absent on the blog but now I have some exciting news to share. I'm engaged! My boyfriend proposed about two weeks ago and since that happened, I thought it would be a great time to get reacquainted with my long-lost blog! The kicker, my sister is also engaged, so we'll be doing some wedding planning at the same time. You may even see some guest posts from her.

So in the spirit of wedding planning, I'll be doing a blog series about what it's like to plan a wedding, what to do right after your engagement, how to look for venues, and more!

But first, here are some pictures from our amazing night in Boston, where my boyfriend proposed to me on the roof deck of Hotel Commonwealth in Kenmore Square.












Please let me know if you have any suggestions of what you'd like to see as part of the wedding blog series!!


-Lauren




The Best Work Bags

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

For me, a work bag absolutely has to fit my work laptop, a notebook and all of the stuff I'll need throughout the day. And honestly, it's pretty hard to find a bag that can do all of that! However, I've found a few options over the years that have worked pretty well for me so I thought I'd share for all the working girls out there! 


Lo & Sons: They have a bunch of different variations, but their bags are well made, sturdy and versatile. They are all made to hold laptops, tablets, notebooks and other items, all while being comfortable to carry. I have the OMG bag in black.



MZ Wallace: The quilted metro totes from MZ Wallace are unexpectedly good for work purposes! I just got the small metro tote in black and it fits my laptop, along with my cosmetic bag, wallet, sunglasses & more. 






Kate Spade: There are always different styles available from Kate Spade, in the store, at the outlet or at places like Marshall's. I got this tote a while back from my boyfriend's mom and absolutely love it! It looks nothing like a work bag but it's perfect to hold my laptop, a water bottle and much more. 



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What do you use as your work bag?






-Lauren





7 Ways to Save Money & Hassle When Shopping Online

Monday, May 2, 2016

I actually hate shopping online, but in reality it can be super convenient and necessary at times. In order to make the most out of my online shopping experience, including getting the right sizes, finding great deals and minimizing the hassle, here are a few of my so-called best practices for online shopping.


1. Ebates: Ebates is basically free money for shopping online. All you have to do is visit Ebates before starting your shopping, click on the store or brand and it will direct you to the site to start shopping. Once you purchase, you'll be rewarded the % of cash back that the brand or store was offering at the time. From there, it's a direct deposit of cash into your bank account!



2. Sites with free shipping & returns: Look for sites that offer free shipping and free returns, that way you won't worry so much when buying something you're not familiar with. Stores like Nordstrom, Shopbop, Amazon, Zappos & others offer this deal and are much easier to deal with than paying for shipping and dealing with complicated returns.



3. Buy direct from brands: Be sure to comparison shop when buying an item that's available at many retailers. There are times when the direct brand site offers the best price and discount, so don't forget to check there! 



4. Try on in-store, buy online: I have bad luck buying clothes online so usually I'll shop around the stores in person, then buy online later when I can get a discount. Often times the store and online discounts can differ significantly.


5. Flash sale sites: Sites like Hautelook, Rue La La and Gilt can be great ways to get items you've been wanting at a better price. The only catch is that they often don't accept returns.



6. Buy in bulk: Instead of buying one-off items, save a list of things you want and buy in bulk because many sites only offer free shipping over a certain amount. 


7. Sign up for emails: The disclaimer for this one is that you can always unsubscribe! Many sites will offer a one-time discount for email sign ups, but another benefit is that they will send exclusive sales out to their subscribers so getting brand emails isn't always a bad thing!




What are your best tips for online shopping?




-Lauren

What I Got at the Sephora VIB Sale

Friday, April 22, 2016

I'm semi-ashamed to admit that I became a Sephora VIB last year. The good part is that I can ride on that status for the next year, but a scary part is that now I'll have access to the semi-annual sales at Sephora. So since they were offering 15% off everything a few weeks ago, I decided to stock up on some old favorites. I ordered online and got a few really great samples as well.


I got a good sized sample of the new Tarte "Tarteist" lash paint mascara. I love mascaras with thin, spiky brushes so hopefully this will work really well!


This should come as no surprise. I was running super low on Benefit Dallas so I took the opportunity to stock up! This is the best bronzer/blush color for light to medium skin tones. 

Benefit Rollerlash is one of my favorite mascaras! It actually does curl your lashes really well and washes over super easily with soap and water, which I love!



This was the other sample I got, a cute little Laura Mercier lip gloss in the color "bare baby." It's a very pale pink but should work well for everyday or over a lipstick.



Not gonna lie, I kind of hate having to buy brow products, but I decided to grab another Anastasia Brow Wiz since I know at some point I'll run out. Nothing exciting, but always necessary! 





Did you get anything good at the Sephora sale?





-Lauren




I'm Back! + Recent Favorites

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

As you can tell, I took a bit of a blog hiatus over the last few months but now I'm back! I've had a lot of life changes recently: got laid off from a job, found a new job, moved to a new apartment, traveled to a few different cities, etc., and with all of that there seemed to be no time for keeping up with this blog. I do still love sharing my favorite styles, beauty products, TV shows, books, movies and recipes so I'm hoping to be able to get back to a semi-regular schedule of posting! 


With that said, here are some of my recent favorites!



TV show: 
Dexter
We just finished watching the entire 8 seasons of Dexter! I wasn't sure if I'd like this show but I got hooked after a few episodes and have to say, it's now one of my all time favorite shows. 



Podcast: 
I've been walking almost every day to my new job and on the way I always listen to podcasts. If you like celebrity gossip and crazy family stories, you'll like this one with comedian Heather McDonald, who used to write on the Chelsea Lately show.



Bag:
Just ordered this tote bag! If you order direct from MZ Wallace you can get 15% off your first order and free shipping. It's a super lightweight, flexible tote and even fits a laptop!


Gadget:
I won this in a raffle at an event I went to in San Francisco. I never would've bought one myself, but I do really love it so far! It's great to be able to track my steps and try to get to 10,000 each day!



Beauty product:
I actually bought this at my hair salon and it's a great product for the spring and summer. I dust some all over my face and it gives a really nice glow.





Have a great week everyone!





-Lauren







Recent Favorites + Easy Weeknight Recipes

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Sharing some of my recent faves today! I've been wearing a lot of basics lately, such as crewneck sweaters, and dressing them up with necklaces, scarves and vests. Leggings have also been a staple for me in the last few weeks and I've been tucking them into boots with longer sweaters and tops. And of course, I've also made a few new beauty discoveries -- some are new favorites and some are old favorites that I've come back to. 







Since we moved into our new apartment, my bf and I have been getting back into the swing of cooking at home each night. We've found some awesome recipes on Pinterest recently, so I thought I'd share!














Have a great week!




-Lauren