Planning An Outdoor Wedding

So, you came downstairs on Christmas morning and there he was holding the box with the cutest little smile on his face. You rip off the wrapping and open the little velvet case and there it is! 2 karat emerald cut. You’re ecstatic. After you post pics on every form of social media you can think of, you realize that this means you have a wedding to start planning for. And not just a wedding, this wedding is going to make William and Kate’s look like Vegas. You know you want the traditional outdoor setting, sometime in May or June…..

Beach wedding
The Beach. Beaches are beautiful and symbolic places for a wedding. If you want to have it on a public beach, be sure to look into the required paperwork for a beach wedding ceremony. There is also the option of choosing a restaurant near the beach that will accommodate your guests.
A Backyard. If you know someone with a big backyard and you’re prepared to procure a large tent for the occasion, this can be a lovely option.
Winery or Vineyard. Marriage receptions at wineries can be extremely romantic. Wineries usually have a canopy tent, gazebo or an indoor dining room in the case of inclement weather.

The Decor
Of course, one of the great advantages of an outdoor wedding is natural landscape. Visit the sight a week before to make sure it is in good order. Some decorating ideas to help you capitalize on the outdoor theme include string lights, white paper lanterns hung from the ceiling of a tent, floating candles in a clear vase or pond or a chandelier hung from a tree. Consider using a trellis as a focal point covered with flowers and foliage.

Blankets for wedding guests
Keeping Guest Comfortable
Water. While spirits are usually flowing at a wedding, don’t forget to keep guests hydrated. A bowl of punch is a classic outdoor entertainment feature or you can greet your guests with a drink dispenser full of iced tea or lemonade when they arrive. Water bottles personalized with the names of the bride and groom are also likely to be a big hit.
Cool downs. Another great idea is to offer guests parasols and fans. They are useful, decorative and can add a thematic element to the festivities.
Sunscreen.Your guests might also appreciate it if you make sunscreen available. Let them know you are concerned about their skin health and comfort by providing bottles of sunscreen at the tables or throwing a few in a basket for your guests to have at their disposal.
Warmups. If the night turns chilly, have some blankets on hand to add a little coziness to the atmosphere.

The Cake
You definitely don’t want anything to happen to the cake. Keep the outdoor temperature and placement of the cake in mind, or you may find that your butter cream icing puddling at he tiers of your newly exposed cake. If you intend to display your cake in the sun, fondant will hold up longer than butter cream and the shelter of a shady tree is sure to come in handy.

Woman in wedding dress
The Dress

You may want to go light on your wedding gown, but if a multilayer crinoline is all that will do, at least make sure your bridesmaids are comfortable.

Other things to consider
Weather. Remember the hottest part of the day is between 1 and 3 in the afternoon. Try to schedule your ceremony for some time after that timeframe.
Insects. Make sure to protect food stations with proper cover. You may want to place some citronella candles throughout the area.
Rentals. If your space is not equipped with restrooms, you will probably want to rent portable bathrooms. Also consider renting heating lamps and tents for late night cool downs.
Rain. Always have a back up plan or alternate location if Mother Nature is not acting in accordance to your wishes.

The most beautiful part of your wedding is you, so we want make sure your day is perfect and has everything you could wish for. Let us know what your planning. We love to hear from you!

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Accessories That Work For Winter Nights

Fashionistas paging through their favorite issues of Vogue and Elle may have noticed the emergence of a new fashion phenomena; ‘the drape coat’. It seems to be more and more apparent in the fashion world that there is a distinct reluctance to put one’s arms through the sleeves of one’s jacket. Otherwise know as “shoulder robing” or “coat slinging” the new fashion may limit mobility, but it surely gives the jacket wearer a little more of an opportunity to model what’s underneath while also lending a sort of street urchin “I couldn’t be bothered” quality to the look. (See Kendall Jenner, Rhianna, and Gigi Hadid for examples.)

Whether or not you have declared yourself an official coat slinger, the dilemma of how to remain stylish while keeping comfortable on those mild winter nights is real. How can you keep warm and still remain on the cusp of fashion? Here are a few ideas.

1. The Beanie
From the skateboarder to hipster to the runway, the beanie is a great mild winter fashion accessory. Pair it boots, shorts, and a light leather jacket for something a little off the beat and path . Remember to push it back on your head slightly for optimum coolness.

2. Over the Knee Socks
How is this for staying warm while looking hot? You can do this naughty schoolgirl look with pumps, knee high boots, or even workbooks for some urban chic.

woman with brightly colored jacket
3. Brightly colored coat
You can never go wrong with a well-cut black coat, but sometimes, it is nice to take the route less travelled. According to designer Victoria Tornegran, pink is currently trending, but violet is also a popular option.

4. Socks
If you’ve had enough of the “Miami Vice” look, and its still warm enough for some bare leg, why not try some ankle socks? Perfect for some added preppy warmth under your favorite pair of saddle shoes.

5. The Lace Slip
There’s nothing like a slip of black lace emerging from under a chunky turtleneck or jersey to bring the mind right back to the bedroom. If you’re channeling a little sex kitten on date night, work some lace trim into your look.

6. Over the knee boots
Want to wear that mini in the winter? Irina Lakicevic of a Portable Package offers her sexy take on the look with black skin tight over the knee boots. Lace- ups and suedes in neutrals and jewel tones are also make a great balance for a little sweater dress.

Woman winter scarf
7. The statement scarf
From rock star chic to cowel neck, you can never go wrong with a signature scarf in the cooler weather. Extra points for prints patterns and textures.

8. Layering
If you’re looking to bring some preppy chic this summers , See Jane suggests the fail safe combo of sweater over a button-down shirt topped with a light jacket. If you’re tastes range to a bit tougher stuff, swap out the sweater for a moto jacket

Note that the draped coat can be incorporated into any of the above. So let us know how you stay looking good on those mild winter nights and feel free to weigh in on the coat slinging!

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Winter Foods For Healthy Skin

What are you bringing to your holiday table this year? A huge turkey? A heap of stuffing? Why not bring something healthy? Holidays tend to take a terrible toll on our skin as stress combined with unhealthy eating is a sure recipe for wrinkles and zits. So, when your family asks you what you’re giving them this year, you can say, “I am bringing the gift of good skin” and prove it by bringing a bounty of skin enhancing foods to the table. If you are looking for the best way to give your relatives a priceless gift this season, here are some great ideas.

Low fat cheese
Low-fat Dairy
Put some low fat cheese on the macaroni! One of the most important parts of a good skin diet is Vitamin A and one of the best places to find it is in low fat dairy. Liz Lipski, PhD, MD, especially advocates low fat yogurt for good skin because it contains not only vitamin A, but also acidophilus, the live bacteria associated with good intestinal health. Says Lipski, “Anything that helps keep digestion normal, any live bacteria or enzymes is also going to be reflected in healthy-looking skin.”

Healthy Oils
If you’re looking for essential fatty acids, try cooking with some good quality oils. They help to keep skin lubricated and plump. Look for the oils labeled as “expeller processed, cold pressed, or extra virgin” for the best skin results, as these are not subject to the nutrient loss that occurs in commercial processing.

Green Tea
How about some green tea as a dessert accompaniment? Green tea has anti-inflammatory properties and it can also protect the cell membrane from damages. Some experts believe that it may even help prevent or reduce the risk of skin cancer. A study published by the Archives of Dermatology seems to back this claim, showing green tea to be effective in reducing the damage from ultraviolet light and lowering the risk of skin cancer.

Sliced turkey
Turkey, Tuna, Muffins, Whole Wheat
Bread, and Brazil Nuts
You may be wondering what all these seemingly unrelated foods have in common. The answer is selenium. Two clinical trials performed at Edinburgh University showed that high selenium levels were likely to lower the likelihood of cancer in skin cells. Whole grain products can provide healthy alternatives to items containing white flour on the holiday table, like sugar, cake and white rice, all of which can cause inflammation associated with skin breakouts.

Salmon, Flaxseed, Walnuts and Canola Oil
Used alone or as part of a recipe, all of the above are great sources of fatty acids, which are key elements in healthy skin. Ann Yelmodas McDermott, PhD, says,” Essential fatty acids are responsible for healthy cell membranes,” which make up the skin barrier, responsible for holding in water. The stronger this barrier is , the better the ability of your cells to hold on to moisture. The result? Younger, plumper skin.

And, just think of how popular you will be when word gets out about all the great food you bring to parties! You’ll be receiving invitations from even the most selective of hosts! Let us know how much you social life has improved! We always love to hear from you!

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Winter Sports You Can Enjoy Without Snow

Thomas Wentworth Higginson is famously quoted as saying, “How many lessons of faith and beauty we should lose, if there were no winter in our year!.” Well, to this reflection we pose yet another great preponderance: “How many snowboarding tournaments should we lose, if there were no snow in our winter!.”
While many of us may not be so disappointed to see the back of the white powder, it’s hard to imagine winter sports without it, yet with global warming looking like a very real future possibility, it may be time to give it some careful consideration. Let’s explore some ways of doing winter sports without the white stuff.

mountain boarding

This is an alternative to snowboarding which replaces the waxed decks of snowboards with pneumatic tires and springs suited for downhill terrain. Mountainboarding disciplines include terrain park freestyle as well as downhill mountain riding and can be held anywhere there is a slope, be it woodland or ski resort. Note that these contraptions may run you upward of $150 dollars, topping out at about $500, but hardcore snowboarders may find it well worth the money.

Dryland Dogsledding
Got some huskies? In the past few years, upper Midwesterners have been kept indoors due to a lack of snow cover which lead to the cancellation of several races. To alleviate their disappointment, many have turned to dog carting, or dry land dogsledding as an alternative. Dryland is essentially identical to the wintertime version, with the exception of the use of a wheeled rig as opposed to the traditional sled. Playing the option of wheels to an advantage, many mushers have gotten creative with their vehicles, incorporating tricycle style contraptions with ATV tires and built-in brakes, while other use a two-wheeled scooter style rig with a team of dogs at the helm. Now dash away all!

Ice Blocking
Ice blocking is the latest form of winter maddens to hit SoCal. Riders sit on a huge block of ice and slide down grass hills on it. No word on where the ice comes from, but someone must have a pretty big freezer! The bad news about this sport is that it can damage grass and has been banned in a few places. If wet pants are a deterrent, you might consider investing in a Slicer sled that uses snap-in freezable panels to descend snowless hills.

roller skiing

Roller Skiing
If you don’t mind some puzzled faces, try out some skis on wheels. First used by Nordic skiers to train when there is no snow, roller skis can be a great fun workout, and you can always tell people your training for the Olympics.

If your tastes run to the more vanilla. hiking may be your ticket. Go up to the mountain and get a lungful of fresh air. It will also get your legs in shape and prepare you for the slopes when and if the white stuff does come.

If you’re jonesing for some wintertime thrills, we hope these options were somewhat inspirational. What do you do when there’s more cement than snow? Let us know!

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Stretches That Get You Ready For the Slopes

Woman stretching

Lindsey Vonn lives a life of danger, romance, glamor and suspense. Whether she is winning the World Cup, modeling for the cover of “Sports Illustrated,” participating on “Dancing With the Stars”, or knocking back some Red Bull for a publicity spot, her life has very few dull moments. That’s because Lindsey Vonn stays in shape, wears her protective gear, drinks plenty of water, and always does her stretches before hitting the slopes. Skiing uses a range of movements that tend to be sudden which puts stress on muscles and ligaments. Stretching before skiing can greatly reduce the risk of soreness and injury. Here’s a few good ones for you.

Transverse Oblique Twist
This one is great for increasing motion range in the hips and back and transverse obliques. Lie on a mat and lift your right leg straight up from the hip. Lay your leg over to the left side without letting the right shoulder rise off the ground. Hold for 20 seconds.

Straight Leg Hang
Here’s a great stretch for the hamstrings and lower back. Stand with your feet together, tilting your hips forward. Round your back, reaching for the floor. Hold for 20 seconds.

3 Way Hamstring/ Back Reaches
This stretch targets the hamstrings, obliques, lower and neck. 1st position: Pull your right foot in as close to your body as possible and bring your left leg straight out to the left side. Reach your left hand across to your left foot. Lower your head to your chest. 2nd position: With your left leg stretched straight out from your hip and your right leg relaxed to the right, use both hands to reach down your leg. Tuck in your chin and your round back as much as you can. 3rd position: Stretch your left leg straight out, bring it across the front of your hip and bend your right leg over the top of your left. Reach your right hand to your left foot, bring your head to your chest and round your back. Hold for 20 seconds and repeat on opposite side.

Chest stretch

Chest Stretch
This is a great stretch for the muscles in your forearm. biceps, palms, and chest Put your left hand on the wall with your finger pointing behind you. Walk backward slowly until your forearm is stretched out. Take small steps turning away from your left arm until you feel it in the bicep and chest. Hold for 20 seconds and repeat on other side.

Straight Leg Hang
Try this exercise for the hamstrings and lower back. Stand with your feet together tilt your hips forward, round your back and reach for the floor. Hold for 20 seconds.

Deep Glute Pull
Target your glute muscles with this one. Just lie on your back and bend your knees, Pull one leg up and rest the side of the foot on the thigh of the other legs. Pull both in toward your chest until you feel the stretch in your glutes. Hold for 20 seconds.

All stretched out? Great now your ready to tackle those slopes feeling like a million bucks. Let us know about your ski stretches and how they work for you this season! We love to get your inputs!

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Skiing In Style

Couple skiing

If you have seen the classic holiday film, “A Christmas Story,” you may be familiar with the “I Can’t Put My Arms Down” scene. If cold weather fashion reminds you of Ralphie’s brother, you may not be too enthusiastic about hitting the slopes this year. But, take heart, fashion has managed to find its way to the ski slopes saving you from a similar fate. If you really want to look hot in the cold this year, the designers have your back!

If you love fine wool and raised embroidery, just check out the Alp-n-rock collection. The signature piece may well be her tight-fitting appliqued shirts featuring swirled words on the sleeve, one reading “Never for money,” the other; “Always for Love.” Want more? What about some quilted coats with faux fur cuffs and duck down insulation? Cuddle up and look beautiful.

As if elegant and beautifully crafted prints are enough to make you want to sport Newland from Italy on your next skiing adventure, wait ’til you hear about the material. Newland is a revolution is skiwear. Their high-tech fabrics use a propylene microfiber allowing for thermal insulation, thermoregulation, breathability and lightness, and is also bacterial- static and hypoallergenic. Not ones to sacrifice fashion for function, you can trust that they may just be the “Lululemon” of skiiwear; just check out their men’s and women’s hoodies leggings and backpacks!

If you’ve never seen Authier, you may never have seen ski luxury. Owner Lee Keating dresses her model daughter in some of the most well crafted and fun creations of the 2017 ski season in their new campaign and catalogue. Put the two-piece psychedelic print snowsuit on your Christmas list along with the blue knitted snowflake outfit complete with the low-waisted ski pants, guaranteed for some on-the-slope sexy. Top with pompom hat and you’re set.

If you’re not a skier, you may want to be after you’ve seen the Rossignol Ski Fashion collection. Rossignal manages to bring urban chic to the slope featuring fur hooded bombers with racing stripes creating a perfect line down to the ankles of the matching form-fitting skipants. Beautiful knee-length fur vests bring a look of sixties psychedelia with leggings and high collared shirts and jackets.

Colmar of Italy
It’s all about brightly colored fur and ski jackets at Colmar of Italy this year. You won’t be overlooked on the slopes in his striking pieces with colors that fade from bright reds and yellow to subtle whites and grays or in his ultraviolet ski jacket trimmed with black fur.

If you’re planning to ski this year, you may have more fun in the dressing rooms than in the ski lodge! You’ll be the envy of the slopes in what these designers have on offer. Oh, and you’ll probably be able to out your arms down. Please let us know what you’re wearing on the slopes this year. We love to hear from you, as always!!

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Tips For Collecting and Storing Wine

Wine collection

There seems to be a historical connection between the production of musical masterpieces and large amounts of wine. Maybe, then, it wouldn’t be a stretch to speculate that Dave Matthews’ introspective lyrics may have been inspired largely by the contents of his 17th century vineyards, or that Sting’s reflections on Jung had to be the results of many a wine soaked evening on his 16th century Tuscan estate. If you are an aspiring wine collector, it is safe to say that you are certainly in good (or at least glamorous) company. Whether you are looking for inspiration for your next great book or album, or just for some real good wine at hand, here are tips you may want to keep in mind.

Budget Yourself
One of the first things you may want to do as a novice collector is to establish a reasonable budget. Alder Yarrow, creator of says, “Aspiring collectors may be surprised to know that as little as $300 or $400 can be enough to buy some excellent bottles that will last the next 20 years.” While you may want to spend a little more on collectible bottles, wine writer Leslie Sbrocco says that there are a lot of good values in the range of $25 to $35 and with a budget of $1000,” you can do some nice things.

Professional Refrigeration
If you’re not looking for a long term investment, you don’t really need a storage locker or expensive refrigeration. However, if you plan to sell your bottles down the line or do some long term storing, you should keep your wine at a constant 55 degrees. Joe Padulo, owner of Portland wine Storage says, “fifty five degrees allows a wine to develop and age gracefully.” If you are in it for the long haul, small storage lockers start at about $40 per month, but your wine cravings will have to keep business hours, depending on the storage facility.

When it comes to storage, it’s a good idea to estimate the number of wine bottles you want to collect and multiply it by three. Basements are generally the best places for maintaining the temperature your wine will require, but you should read the thermostat at different times of the day to ensure constant optimal temperature. The kiss of death for wine? Storing wine on top of the refrigerator or over the laundry area and stove. Humid areas are also bad news and dryness will make the cork dry out, ruining the wine. You can buy relatively inexpensive racks to hold your wine and there are also kits available if you are handy. You may also consider purchasing a small refrigeration unit for the bottles you want to keep on hand for entertaining.

Finding Deals
Prior to bottling wines, wineries sometimes offer “futures,” and sell their upcoming vintages at 10 or 20 percent below final cost. Keep apprised of such events by joining winery clubs and signing up for mailing lists. You never know where and when you will find tomorrow’s superstar. Be wary of the Internet and wine auctions. There is no guarantee that the wine was handled properly. Yarrow says, “It’s just too easy to get ripped off.” He suggests getting the wine from the wine maker directly or establishing relationships with reputable retailers. Sbrocco recommends looking for deals at large retailers such as BevMo or Costco.

Buy Wines You Like
Although the best wine collections are varied, you are best advised to start by buying what you like. Know that new World Wines are usually best when drunk within three to seven years, whereas Old World Wines are meant to be aged. Decide whether you lean more towards reds or if you prefer whites, With a few exceptions, whites don’t age as long as reds, which can be stored for decades before reaching their peak. Think about whites for drinking and reds for storage.

So for all you budding wine collectors, good luck and good drinking, and let us know all about your adventures. Bottoms up!

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