Wednesday, May 30, 2012

No-Chip Manicures

I am so so so excited for the wedding I am attending this weekend.  The wedding is in Dallas and the weather forecast says its going to be 95 degrees the entire time!  I am going to be spending all of Saturday in the pool which makes me worry about my nails.  I am planning to get a mani/pedi tonight, but if I spend a lot of time in chlorine, will my nails be chipping by Saturday night?

I would hate for that to happen because I get so upset when I am trying to look all fancy and my nails look horrible.  Maybe it is something my Mom instilled in me, but I have a need for nice looking nails (if anyone in my office is reading this please don't comment on my current nail condition).  However, there really is nothing to worry about, because I plan on getting a No-Chip manicure.  Have you ever gotten one of these?  Yes, they are a little bit pricier (in Chicago they go for about $30), but they last the entire TWO WEEKS.  I don't know about you, but I think it is really worth it.    Another plus about No-Chips is your nails are completely dry when you leave.  They put your hands under UV lamps and after a few minutes they are dry!  If you are worried about damaging your skin I heard of a wonderful trick... put on sun screen before your mani! 

There are many different brands to choose from, but my two favorites are Shellac and OPI.  I like to go with an OPI color when I plan on matching my toes and nails since they occasionaly make their regular colors for their No-Chip line.

This weekend the wedding is black tie so I am keeping away from the bright colors. Instead I plan on doing Romantique by Shellac.
There are only two downsides to getting a No-Chip manicure.  The first one is since they don't have as many colors to choose from you can't always have the latest colors you see in the magazines. The second downside is the removal process.  They soak you hands in acetone nail polish remover for around ten minutes.  Neither of these discourage me too much because I am willing to part with the IT color and sit through a removal for two weeks of perfect nails. 

 As a professional bridesmaid I highly encourage you to get a No-Chip before a big wedding weekend.  Between packing, traveling, getting ready and sometimes spending time in the pool it is worth the extra money to gaurentee you nails are flawless for the big day.  Does anyone else agree with me?

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Celebrating Samantha!

I have been so swamped with the day job I haven't had a chance to upload some of my pictures. I finally got around to it and I wanted to share with you the bachelorette party I went to for one of my dearest friends, Samantha. Her wedding is a destination so her sisters and maids of honor decided to keep the party in Chicago. We were so nervous the night may be ruined by NATO, so we arranged all the activities to be near each other, but everything went off with a bang! 

We started the day with manis and pedis.  The weather was finally warming up so naturally we all decided some new bright colors!  Guess which one is my hand!
We went back to my apartment to get ready and have some cocktails.. we tried to get the bride to wear the crown.. she declined.

The triplets! Guess which one is the pretty bride?  Don't mind Pizza she loves a good bachelorette party.

Me and my favorite triplets!
Shots Shots Shots Shots!

All the girls wearing black and the bride in white.

Yummy dinner at Japonais sitting outside by the river.

VIP entrance into Studio Paris

Celebrating our Samantha

Bottles in the club!

Me and my partner in crime since 5th grade spelling

The one picture I managed to take at her first shower on Sunday!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

First Interview!

Sorry for the late post today, but I am prepping for my first ever INTERVIEW.  The Washington Post has contacted me about an article they are writing having to do with wedding fatigue and want my help.  If you recall when I got engaged I thought I had an interview about my blog and I was extremely nervous?  Well today I have an actual interview, and I don't know why I am feeling like this.  It's not like there are any right or wrong answers, I created this blog and its my opinion that I write.  However, I am going preparing myself like I would any interview.  Anyways, I will fill you in with more information when I actually have it.

I hope everyone is as exhausted as I am from sending millions of text messages with the word "Vote" 5702.

I leave you with this....

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

American Idol Season Finale

I am not quite sure how many of you are into American Idol this year, but after an entire season I am very satisfied with this years finalists.  I am pretty sure it took me all season to get over the fact that Haley Reinhart didn't win.  If I had this blog last year I am pretty sure you would ALL have known my actual obsession with her.  I just think she is so good and her voice is probably my favorite female voice out there.

She not only has such a great voice, but she is also adorable.  She was styled with sexy but classy taste.  Not in the way Jessica Sanchez from this year makes you feel uncomfortable with the amount of skin she is ALWAYS showing at sixteen.  If you haven't grasped my love for Haley yet, let me give you some more details... if you press the iPod button on my iPhone Haley's new single "Free" will appear almost always, also, if I could have ONE performer at my wedding it would be Haley.  I say this because she is from Wheeling, IL and it probably isn't impossible to get her (wink wink David).

OK, so as I mentioned it took me all season to get over Haley not winning, but now I am announcing I am in full support of Phillip Phillips.

I have loved him since the beginning, but originally I was unsure about him because of the immense resemblance he has to Dave Matthews. 

If you only know me through this blog then maybe I should mention I used to have an actual obsession with DMB.  Not your I went to see him every summer in high school when he came to town obsession.. NO I am talking seen him over fifty times in three different countries and probably well over fifteen states.  I used to travel around to see him all over the country.  I still love him, but having an adult full time job has forced me to move on (a little).  That being said it was hard to decide what I felt for Phillip.  Literally his mannerisms mirror Dave.  However, over time I have decided I do in fact LOVE him.  He can make any song entertaining.  I feel like he really has a future.  I am also really hoping he plays with Dave tomorrow night.

Anyways, I do also like Jessica a little bit and I can finally stop fast forwarding through Joshua so I am pumped for tonight.  I felt it necessary to fill you in on my feelings for tonight and also take a moment to acknowledge some of my musical loves, Haley and Dave.

Friday, May 18, 2012

All Day I Dream about THIS Shoe!

Today I found out some exciting and scary news... Christian Louboutin is opening a boutique in Chicago.  If you have ever been to one they are just as beautiful as the shoes.  Anyways, in honor of this fantastic news I felt it was appropriate to stop the shower advice and discuss with you all my dream shoe.  Everyday Occasionally, I search the designer shoe departments online to see if there is anything new I would want for my wedding shoe.  Okay, so I know my wedding is more than a year away, but if I happen to find something now that I can't get out of my mind I would just have to buy it.  Well, haven't found that shoe yet, but I did find my right now, have to have it, wouldn't eat for a month so I can use my pay check, IMPOSSIBLE to find dream shoe.

Christian Louboutin Pigalle Neon Pump

I saw them about four weeks ago and there was a size 37 available online.  Of course responsible Traci said to herself, "Yes, they are amazing, but how long will they be in style, you don't need them.  Maybe you can justify if they were a staple item, but this cannot be justified."  So I didn't get them, although they would pop in to my mind every few minutes days.  Last week I decided this is ridiculous I really just want these I have so many weddings coming up and I can pair this with so much in my closet they are awesome just splurge and get them.  So I went back to the Neiman Marcus website and all that was left was a size 41!  At this point I am devastated.  When I make up my mind I am going to splurge I then cannot get it out of my head.  I start to google "Christian Louboutin Pigalle Neon Pump" and all I can find are weird sites that are obviously selling knockoffs.  I then confide in my bestie, coworker, and bridesmaid, Hillary, and we did a little research.

Ashley Madekwe - They make her outfit.
Kim Kardashian - They make her outfit.
Brooklyn Decker- They make her outfit.

So basically, we discovered not only are they my dream shoe, many celebrities are wearing them and just as I suspected, they are MAKING their outfits.  I try desperately again to find these shoes online and now the size 41 is no longer available.  Instead this is what it says on the Neiman Marcus site.

At this point I am beside myself and do what any crazy normal person would do, I start an online chat with a customer service representative at Neiman Marcus. I ask if this style will be returning and if there is a waitlist.  I am then informed the news I was dreading.. this shoe has been discontinued.

So basically, I am shit out of luck and my dream will not come true.  OK I know this is a little extreme and again I DO NOT NEED A NEON CHRISTIAN LOUBOUTIN PUMP, but this is my blog and I promise to always write what is on my mind.

Also, I just want to point out the pump is amazing even if it was black or nude (which they are sold out of in both colors because I tried to get the black).  A dear friend of mine did manage to snatch up the last pair of size 37 nude Pigalle 120mm on the site.  Do you know there is NO tax and shipping is free?  Anyways, I know this post may be a little over the top, but a girl can dream about neon yellow shoes.  So that is what I will do, I will dream.  If any of you have any suggestions on how to get these on my feet I would love to hear.

THANKS for reading and have a lovely weekend.  If any of you have these swoontastic dreamy amazing shoes wear them proud and send me pictures.  On second hand I can't bare to see them anymore so please hold the pictures.


Thursday, May 17, 2012

Shower Advice: Dealing with the Presents

If you have never been a bridesmaid before or attended a bridal shower, you will be in for a surprise.  Did you know that at a bridal shower, typically the bride does not open her own presents?  This is actually the job of the bridesmaids.  If a bride were to unwrap and show off all of her gifts, it would take way too much time and the audience will be bored.  Today, I am going to explain the entire gift opening process and the different jobs the bridesmaids have.  
The goal of this job is to have the gift completely ready to go so all the bride has to do is take it out of the tissue paper or box etc.  Depending on the number of gifts there are needing unwrapping, up to four girls may be assigned to this task.  In the past I have heard it is bad luck to actually cut any ribbons so this means you must untie everything.  However, you are allowed to cut wrapping paper.  All ribbons and pretty bows must be kept to make the ribbon bouquet (see job 6).  I find it really helpful to even take the card out of the envelope and place it on top of the ready to go gift.  (Helpful utensils: scissors, razor blade)

When the bride is ready for a gift one bridesmaid will be waiting to hand her a new gift. Since the card is sitting on top of the gift the bridesmaid should tell the bride who the gift is from.

When the bride is finished with a gift the bridesmaid collects the gift.  She will hand the card to the bridesmaid writing a list (job 5) and hand the gift the the repacker (see job 5).

The collector hands over the gifts to the repacker and she safely repacks the gift so it will not be damaged when the gifts are brought home. I think this task may take up to four girls in order to assure everything is repacked with care. One time in the past I saw the repacker using a sharpie to write who the gift was from and what was inside of it.  I think this is such a brilliant idea because when the bride is unpacking she will immediately know what is inside. (Helpful utensils: Sharpies)

As the bride opens a gift she will announce who it is from and what it is, whoever has good handwriting (this has never been my job) will make a list. 

As the pretty ribbons are taken off the gifts they will be brought to the bridesmaid in charge of making the ribbon bouquet (my specialty). I have so much advice for making this AMAZING, but I am going to save it for a different post. I have a shower coming up for my friend Lisa, my bestie and roommate from college, and I am going to make her a mean ribbon bouquet. I will document the entire process and share all my secrets. Once the bouquet is made the bride will take it home and she will use it as her bouquet during her rehearsal.

I have seen a book be made out of all the cards given to the bride at the shower.  I have never actually made one, but I have seen it done and it is pretty special.  I will look up ways of doing this on Pintrest and share some time soon.   

With all the pretty wrapping paper comes a lot of trash. Make sure a few girls are picking up the trash so the hosts are not left with a huge mess.

As the bride and groom it is your responsibility to share with the guests the different gifts you receive.  Remember you may have picked these out when registering, but the guests haven't seen them in person!  My sister told me of a fun idea to keep the guests interested, she has seen the bride and groom tell the group how they know each guest as they share the presents.  It helps introduce everyone and keeps things interesting.  If you plan to do this you may want to ask the hosts for a guest list so you can think of what you will say beforehand!


As you can see there are a lot of jobs for bridesmaids and many girls don't have twenty bridesmaids (yup I have 20 and I couldn't be happier with my decision) so it is a nice honor for the bride to ask friends and family members not in the wedding to help her with gifts at the shower.

Am I missing any other jobs?

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Shower Advice: What to do When there is Nothing Left on the Registry

There was one tip I didn't think of yesterday, and my sister luckily filled me in.  If the registry is completely picked over, and you have no idea what to get the bride, THINK NORDSTROMS. 

Although the bride cannot actually register at Nordstroms, they do in fact have home decor department online with free shipping.  If she loves the gift GREAT, but if she doesn't she can return it to any store.  The best part about Nordstroms is the bride can return the gift and get CASH in return.  I am not saying the bride would prefer cash over gifts, but I think its a great idea when you don't know what to get her you can ensure no matter what she will be satisfied. 

Some great home decor options Nordstrom has available:

Kate Spade New York
diptyque 'Baies' Scented Candle
Latin Products Cookware

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Shower Advice: Tips to Using the Registry

This week I am touching on all things related to bridal showers.  This summer I have several showers and I am going to use them as practice for my own which will not take place until next summer.  I will share some secrets that help the day run smooth, and also provide advice for you girls that have yet to attend a shower.  Today, I begin with my tips to using the registry.

When I first started attending wedding showers I was so excited to watch my friends open up the gift I carefully selected off her registry.  However, I slowly realized she usually knew exactly what she was opening.  Of course she already picked it out, that is not what I am saying, I mean she actually already knew the exact gift I bought her.  On many of these websites the bride has the ability to not only see which items have been purchased, but she can see who exactly bought them.  This aggravates me to my core!  We spend so much money and time wrapping presents (which most of the time the bride doesn't unwrap herself) and buy her exactly what she wants, at least let us surprise her with what we choose! 

 Although the bride may have picked out what she liked from thousands of items in a store, when buying a gift it is still fun to pick from what she selected.  As a bride allow your friends the chance to surprise you in the slightest bit.  The list that keeps track is actually very helpful for writing thank you notes, so after ALL of your showers you can use it as a reference.

Okay, so now let's say the bride abides by this simple request, my next tip is how to select a gift off the registry. 

Whether you are a bridesmaid, or just a friend of the bride, my first piece of advice is group up.  Most of the items are expensive and the ones that are not seem pretty odd to give by themeselves as a gift.  If your budget is $30 that doesn't leave much room for something extravagant and who wants to show up with a spatula and a single wine glass?  However, if you group up with a few other girls you can all split something on the pricier side, or go in on a bunch of the less expensive items. 

Now that you have agreed to group up with some other girls it is time to tackle that registry.  My favorite way to do this is by selecting a theme.  My go to theme is bar utensils.  If this category is still available, depending on how many girls and the budget of the group, you can get everything on the registries that applies to the bar.  I usually pull up all the stores she is registered at and mark down anything that applies, such as wine glasses, martini glasses, scotch glasses, ice bucket. wine cooler, wine rack, martini shaker, an actual bar etc.  You name it, if it has to do with alcohol I add it to the list.  I then decide what we can afford and place the order.  Other fun themes are baking (all baking dishes, measuring cups, mixers, cookie jars), cooking (pots and pans, spatulas, food processor, strainer, peelers, graters), even bedding.  Honestly, the list can go on and on, but since you are already buying her stuff she wants, its fun the next time she has a party that she can remember all the bar utensils came from her bridesmaids.

This tip is really helpful to both sides.  I hate when I go to a registry and it is slim pickings.  I feel so awkward ordering a spatula, a bath towel and 1 wine glass (they ask for 12 glasses and one person buys 7 because that is their budget when they could have bought the frame that was the same price).  Guests tend to not want to buy something so random so they end up buying stuff not listed on the registry.  This is nerve racking for the guest and the bride may end up with stuff she doesn't want and cannot return.  As a bride you can never have too much of stuff you want, from a store you like!  So if you add a bunch of things to Crate and Barrel and then decide you don't need them you can always apply the credit to that new couch you are eyeing! 

The moral of the story is everyone should be happy.  If you follow these few tips I think both the bride and the bridesmaid will be please with the registry results!

Friday, May 11, 2012

Picking a Rehearsal Dinner Venue

When David and I got engaged it was pretty simple to make the basic plans for the wedding.  We knew the band, venue, and photographer we wanted so all we had to do was find a date that all three were available. I remember calling David after my Mom had finalized the date and it was almost as if he was upset.  Not that he didn't want everything we picked out, he just thought it would be more of a fun process to go look at venues like his friends had done in the past.  He thought we would bicker over a few things and then finally make a decision.  I basically had to explain to him we are lucky we didn't have to get into an argument over our venue and I promised him he would be a part of EVERYTHING else. 

Well today, is our first day of making some serious wedding decisions!! David's parents have come in from St. Louis and we are going to look at different venues for the rehearsal dinner.  We are just so excited to actually do something that isn't over the phone, but in person.  I think we will feel like it is really all happening... we are going to get married! 

I haven't discussed with his parents or him if I am allowed to divulge any actual information on this blog, so I don't want to make anyone mad.  However below are some highlights of each of the contenders (I cannot wait to see them in person):

Choice #1 has beautiful views of the river and those amazing chandeliers. I hope the inside space is just as breathtaking.

Choice #2 is uber modern and fun.  The space itself is just so unique, plus, David and I ate here for my birthday one year which would hold a special significance.

Choice #3 claims to have pretty much the best views in the city.  With guests visiting from all over it would be incredible to offer this at the rehearsal dinner!

Each one is so different an unique and I cannot wait to visit each one and make a decision.  Hope you have a wonderful weekend!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Wacky Wednesday

I don't know about all of you, but I feel like I am constantly busy.  My week schedule goes a bit like this:
David constantly laughs at me because I make so many plans with friends and am always trying to be in two places at once, but honestly when that 7:30PM clock strikes and I take a seat with friends I haven't seen in weeks, it is like time finally slows down.

Last night was the perfect example.  As I mentioned before all of my high school friends try to get together once a month for what we have titled "Wacky Wednesday."  It is just so fun to see everyone and catch up.  We skipped April so this was very much needed.  I love all of them so much and even though we all lead such busy lives it is so great to just take a moment and appreciate each other. 

Not the best quality picture.. but it'll do
I'd like to also add I do not do this EVERY night, but David travels for work most weeks so I try and keep busy. Although since I broke my cleanse after day 1 I have filled my nights with friend dinners to make me not feel so guilty.  I don't think David cares too much this way he can watch his shows and I do not have to bore him with Idol. 

Anyways, the moral of the story is I just love that time of the week when everything else is crazy and I just sit down with a glass of wine and enjoy some quality time with good friends.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

How to Plan the Perfect Bachelorette Party: Collecting Money

Good Morning!  Today I am going to share the same advice I gave to my friends, Mallory and Alison, yesterday who are planning their sister's bachelorette party for next weekend in Chicago.  Samantha (the bride), Mallory and Alison are triplets and their relationship pretty much sums up what it means to be sisters and best friends.  They have planned an unforgettable party and I know Samantha is going to be so thrilled with the outcome.

After they sent out an email with a breakdown of costs for the evening, I felt compelled to respond with a little advice.  Since we are doing multiple activities and some are pretty costly (I obviously cannot share details until after the party) the total cost of the day and night is not an amount one would normally carry around in cash.  When you do big dinners or really anything where ten girls want to split the bill by ten credit cards, that process gets hectic, overwhelming, and time consuming.  This can also lead to the bride feeling a little uncomfortable and  like she needs to throw some money down.  There is a simple remedy for this... SEND THE MONEY TO ONE GIRL AHEAD OF TIME!!  If everyone sends a check for the estimated amount to one girl she can easily pay for everything by putting her credit card down.  There is no fuss and the night will carry on with ease.  If the bill ends up being less than expected she can send everyone a check with the difference, or if it isn't much maybe surprise the bride with a gift from the bachelorette party on her wedding day!  Also, it is important that each girl still bring at least fifty dollars in cash in case the predicted amount falls short. 

If anyone out there is in the midst of planning a bachelorette party please please please plan ahead and collect money, I promise you will thank me later.

I hope everyone has a wonderful wedding Wednesday and make sure to check back in a few weeks for some highlights from Samantha's bachelorette party!

Monday, May 7, 2012

JuiceRX Cleanse

Okay, so I promise to try my hardest this week, but I am a little nervous. This morning I started a cleanse.  It is a juice cleanse all natural, but I am very scared to see how it will play out.  My friend (and bridesmaid) Beth, and I are attempting this together.  The scary part is the two of us LOVE to eat.  I mean she is the one that made my Traci & Co. sweet table possible.  However, we are always trying to stay in shape we have been taking pilates together for years now.  When she suggested we partake in this cleanse I figured what that hell this can kickstart my wedding diet!

The cleanse we are doing is called JuiceRX Cleanse and it is available to those that live in Chicago.  It consists of six different juices a day. 

So I have had a few sips of my Spicy Lemonade this morning and I am feeling empowered. I will keep you updated on my progress.

Hope you all have a great day... eat lots of noodles for me:)

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

A Walk Down Wedding Lane: Kate and Todd's Wedding

If you can't tell from the pictures, the night was incredible.  There was love in the air and it will be a night nobody will ever forget.  The newly weds are currently on their way to Hawaii to enjoy some private time as husband and wife and I wish them a lifetime of love, health, hapiness and wealth.

Mazel tov!

Special thanks to New Image Photography.