Friday, February 22, 2013

Must Have Photos

Ok guys, this post is doing double duty for me! #1 it's something that I love talking about and have been wanting to blog about for a while and #2 I've sent the link to my amazing photographer (Hi Jeffrey!) to give him an idea of my must have photos (or must have "feel") for our wedding.

The person that shapes your memories of your wedding is your photographer. Couples say that the wedding day goes by in a flash but that they get to relive it over and over through their photos. That's why it's important to hire a photographer that has a style and vision that aligns with yours! While I put the trust and creative direction completely into my photographers hands for the non posed moments of the day, there are some poses that I just can't get out of my mind and really want for my wedding! 

First up is The Bride:

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I absolutely adore the picture of the 3 generations of wedding rings. This is my number one must have photo!  As far as other bridal portraits, I love the editorial getting ready shots.

The Girls:

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Must have shot #2 is a picture of all of the bridesmaid dresses and the bridal gown lined up. I just think it looks great! And after the amount of work I put into finding the perfect bridesmaid dresses, I will definitely enjoy looking at that picture of them in the years to come! In the shot of the girls with their arms around each other I really think you can feel the love! I love the casualness right before everyone gets fancy! How fun is the getting ready in the mirror photo? I have a huge floor length mirror in my getting ready room (lady lounge) so this would be so fun to pose in! Lastly, I love the editorial shot at the bottom right of the girls waiting around for something to happen! I think that smartly cropped photos can really work to tell a story better than  if you see the full picture. 

The Couple:

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For those of you who know me, you know I'm a bit sassy! I love seeing the sassiness show through in the first couple's photo! Plus it never hurts to show a little leg! And I'm back with more closely cropped photos. Must have photo #3 is the pinky promise with the wedding rings! The bottom right photo is done by my fabulous photographer (actually all but the pinky promise picture are by JLB) and he does this cool processing effect where the couple sort of fades into each other. Love it!

The Boys:

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Mostly I just like guys being casual and guys having a little fun! The last shot is hilarious because it is so J. The man loves wrestling (much as I hate to admit that!)

Group Shots: Ok, there are lot of pictures coming up. The main thing I like in group photos is like with the guys, casual and fun! I really like photos that have the bridal party on different levels (like the first two shots) because I feel like it gives the picture more dimension. 

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Must have photo #4 is the one above. I just love, love it! Super fun and cute!

Must have photo #5 above. I've seen this a lot and I love it every time. This particular bunch of friends is hilarious!

Show off those assets! 

Dramatic Shots:

JLB is a master at the dramatic shot. I'm always stunned at what he comes up with! And his sparkler photos are always done so well! They're my favorites of all the sparkler shots I've seen! Though I have no idea how the couples don't crack a smile while he's running around them with a sparkler! 

And a few romantic shots should be thrown in for good measure! 

:Putting together all of my must have shots makes me get so excited for the wedding! I think I might be just as excited to get the pictures as I am for the actual day! 


Monday, February 18, 2013

Kitchen Upgrade

Remember when I mentioned in my first post about the updated lady lounge that when we first moved in to our townhouse I went a little color crazy? Well, that wasn't just contained to the second bedroom... Back in 2010 the "it" color was apple green and thus I thought it would be a really great idea to use it to paint our tiny kitchen. It was definitely bright! Unfortunately, since the space is so small it made it feel even smaller. And it really made that lame "back splash" panel behind the oven stand out. I loved the color for the first year we lived here, but have been becoming increasingly annoyed with it over the last 2. So I decided it was time for a tiny tweak! It's amazing to me how a small, easy, and inexpensive change like paint color can completely transform a room! The only things changed in this kitchen were the paint color, the dish towels, and the utensil holder and it looks like a whole new room!

 What do you think of the new color? Here are some more shots of the updated space!

A couple of extra touches that make me smile.

I'm in love with our new glassware from Anthropologie! 


Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Epic Gallery Wall

I'm so excited because it's time for my long awaited blog post about my gallery wall! I received my final piece of art in the mail on Saturday and now the wall is complete! There are 3 main steps I did when creating my gallery wall. 

1. Determine how much art you need and collect it!
2. Map out your layout
3. Hang the frames

It is a lot of work but is such a cool feature that it is really worth it! So let's get started!

Step 1: 

I started collecting and curating my art collection for the wall over the summer. I scoured etsy and other art websites for pieces that I thought were really fun and that would go nicely together. After I had collected what I thought was a decent amount, I realized I needed a visual way to figure out how many more pieces I needed. I used the left over kraft paper from our 2D Christmas Tree to visually represent the scale of the gallery wall. 

I took some of the oddly shaped pieces and traced them on the kraft paper. I did the same for the frames that I already had on hand. After all of the frames were traced, I cut them out. 

With the help of my crafting side kicks and my measuring tape, I drew out several standard size rectangles that art comes in (5x7, 8x10, 11x17) allowing for a couple inches on each side for the frame. Then I taped my kraft paper templates up on the wall in a haphazard pattern. 

Seeing all of the templates on the wall was so surprising! It covered much less of the wall than I anticipated. So, I went back to collecting more art. I made my 5 DIY pieces (for fun and to keep costs down) and ordered personal photos to be printed. When I finally bought all my frames (with major help from holiday clearances!) it was time to put the art in and determine what the layout should be.

Step 2:

It's important to map out your layout before you start putting holes in your wall. With having 35 different items needing to be hung, this was not the time to wing it! In order to gauge the space I had to fill on the wall, I used my handy dandy measuring tape to first measure the height of the part of the wall I wanted to cover. I measured about 6 inches above the couch to about 6 inches below the ceiling. I then took my measuring tape to my bedroom and laid it down where I had cleared space. Since I only had one measuring tape, I put one frame at the top of the tape, and one at the bottom to hold the vertical space while I went back to measure the horizontal.

Then I measured the entire wall horizontally and laid the measuring tape out for reference. Yes, my design assistants are never too far away waiting to lend a helping hand (or mouth in the case)!

Next comes the fun but difficult part! Start laying out all of your art and try to arrange a pattern that is pleasing to your eye! There are a few guidelines on this. First, it's easiest to start with the biggest pieces. You don't want them all grouped together because that will make your arrangement look unbalanced. You want to spread them out. Second, if you have repeating colors, patterns, or types of art, you'll want to scatter those throughout the wall evenly as well. I had two impactful navy pieces, a few gold pieces, and several pieces that I made. Since I had my Michigan art anchoring the bottom right of the wall, I needed to place my other navy piece on the opposite side and toward the top. This keeps the wall from feeling too heavy on one side. Also important was to scatter the gold pieces throughout. Placing an accent color throughout the entire gallery causes your eye to keep moving around the wall.

Lastly, here's a tip that I learned AFTER we put the gallery wall up. According to a designer whose blog I read, the left side of any composition can hold more visual weight and feels more comfortable to the eye. Thus, you want to place your heavier pieces/arrangements on the left side of any composition you're putting together. Unfortunately, I didn't know that before I put mine together so it is right side heavy. I can see the truth in that designer's tip. I still think my arrangement looks fab though. And rules are meant to be broken!

Once you've arranged your map in a way that makes you happy, it's time for the actual hanging on the wall.

Step 3:

I'm not going to lie to you. Step 3 is very time consuming, detail oriented, and potentially frustrating. Luckily for me, I had my handsome handy man around who was kind enough to do the hanging for me while I did the directing! Something to note is if your "map" isn't in the same room that you're putting up your gallery, take a picture to refer to. This was endlessly helpful for me when trying to figure out where each frame should go.

To get started, choose a frame to start from. We decided to start in the middle and work outwards from there so that the whole thing didn't feel off center at the end. Carefully, piece by piece keep adding outwards until your gallery is complete!

We didn't have a particular strategy to make this perfectly match the map. I would hold up the next piece of art where it should go for J, he took a bunch of measurements and did a bunch of math and then measured where the nail should go using his level. The relationship of the pieces to each other remained the same as the map but I wasn't too picky on the actual placement on the wall. I just eyeballed it. I think it helps to be flexible. We added more space between frames when it looked like it was needed or moved things closer if that was what was needed.

Also, after we put up our gallery wall, one of my favorite blogs, Young House Love, posted about putting up a small cluster of frames. They have fantastic tips on how to do that using NO measurements! It would have been impossible for us to use this method (it involves marking on a large piece of paper where the frames and their hanging pieces are so you can just tape up the piece of paper on the wall, nail through your marks, and rip the paper away) because we were tackling an entire wall, but for a smaller arrangement, I think it's the way to go! So check it out if that's in the works for you!

Piece by piece it went up (and over the span of 2 days). Until finally, the moment arrived where we could step back and admire all of our hard work!! Here she is in all of her glory! My favorite home project to date! 

Isn't it just fantastic? It REALLY makes the room. It takes it from, "eh, nice room" to "WOW!!!" Or at least, it does in my humble opinion!

Ok, let's talk about the pieces for a minute. Here are some close ups and sources.

Most of the art that I bought is from different etsy shops. In the above picture I used a mix of my own DIY (the gold scallop piece and the four fabric covered canvas pieces), personal photos, and art. I like the mix of textures as well as the mix of prints and photographs. Also, I decided to go a little unorthodox with the "framing" of the two circle prints by hanging them with clothes pins on some jute twine! That saved me money on frames, and also mixes it up and adds a bit of fun! Another money saving tip for you, the print on top of the multicolored trees is actually a postcard that the seller sent with the prints I ordered!

Over here we have more of my DIY pieces, my favorite wall paper sample framed, family photos, and probably my favorite pieces on the entire wall, my little animals! (I had the hardest time not buying every single print she makes!) Another money saving tip is to use greeting cards as art. The embossed magic print is a card and cost only $8! I've used cards as art before in our living room. Papyrus makes the prettiest cards that can really punch up a room if added to a pretty frame!

I absolutely love those camels! They are so bright and fun! The print underneath it says "I think you are magic". It's easier to see in person because the first part is embossed in white.

Aren't those animal prints just the cutest?

Above is a closer view of some of the personal photos I used. Two from our engagement session and two from my travels. The left picture is an amazing tree from Curacao and the right is from Israel.

I love this little nook for reading and writing blog posts.

Ok, here we have the much anticipated Before and After shots! The Before picture has most of the bones of the room. Furniture, standing lamp, rug, side tables, etc. But with the pizzazz of the gallery wall and some color pops of pillows the after transforms the room!



There you have it, my favorite home project yet! It is immensely satisfying to see this room completed. I have been working on it for close to 9 months and to have it all come together looking better than I hoped is amazing! 


Thursday, February 7, 2013

Home/Style/Wedding: Neon

I must say, neon is a trend I have not yet embraced. But I sure do admire it! If I were going to take the neon plunge, here's how I would incorporate it into my home/style/wedding!

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Monday, February 4, 2013

What I've been wearing lately/Trend Report

The wedding projects are kicking into high gear around here so I will probably be posting a little less consistently (not that I've been super consistent  thus far... but I've been trying!). Don't worry though, every project I have tackled I've taken step by step pictures so that I can share the How-Tos after my wedding! I haven't done a fashion post in a while, winter is a tough time to get excited about fashion when all I want to do is cover myself in as many layers as possible to keep warm! But, I thought I'd show you what I've been wearing lately! Aaaaand I have an emerging trend to report! 

#1- I've been having fun layering my arm accessories lately. Why not add a bracelet to keep your watch company? 
#2 I picked up those purple work pants at Express on major clearance! They bring a smile to my face when I put them on! I'm also loving my tribal inspired slip ons. 
#3 These ankle boots have been a major staple of my fall/winter wardrobe. They look great with jeans, colored jeans, and tights! Also from express, these were a fantastic find! 
#4 This ring is a family heirloom that I recently had passed down to me! I finally got it sized and have been enjoying it thoroughly! I've also been getting into darker nail colors. This black is my favorite, very chic!

#1/#2 This just goes to show that you can recycle an idea but make an outfit look completely different! The blazer, colored jeans, t-shirt combo is great for a dinner date or a casual Friday at work. This outfit has the same concept, all of the same types of pieces but each one is swapped out to make the second outfit unique.
#3/#4 These outfits use the same main piece but switch out everything else to give it a fresh look. The left look is more dramatic. Orange tights, a gold belt, and ankle boots (not pictured) give me a bold look for a night out! The right look is more monochromatic. Blue dress on blue tights with no belt to break up the color makes the look more subtle. Don't be afraid to change up your outfit pairings to make your closet go further for you!

Just some dressier looks I've been sporting around town! 

Thinking spring!!

Now, on to the trend report! Tribal is being seen everywhere! And I LOVE it! All fall you could see ladies in their moccasins. I have my own pair of Minnetonka slip on mocs! Fringed boots have also been very popular. But most notable is tribal print. I'm a sucker for all kinds of graphic prints, so I have to say that I am very excited to see this trend hit fashion and home goods alike! You already saw my tribal inspired slip ons above, and here are my scarf and sweater! 

My sweater is from Target (so is my scarf) and with the bitter cold winter happening, I wish I could wear it every day! Looks like I'm not the only one enjoying tribal sweaters... I couldn't help but notice 3 of my favorite bloggers rocking the same look! 

The left and right ladies are fabulous Michigan bloggers! No wonder they're snuggled up in those cozy sweaters! The middle blogger is one of my new favorites! She is a must read for me! Definitely be sure to check out all three of their blogs for fashion inspiration!