October 31, 2008

In It To Win It

Contest Alert!!!!!!

I would love for one of you brides-to-be to win this as I'm a huge fan of Diane's work ...

Check out .: Melissa's Smitten Blog :. for full contest details but to sum up, all you have to do is email info@smitteninvitations.com with your name, email, snail-mail address and wedding date to enter! Contest ends on November 7, 2008. One entry per person per day.

If you aren't able to get the flower you want because it's out of season, what better way to capture it?!

Good luck!!!

Skin Care - Cleansing & Toning

Makeup is only as good as the skin that's underneath. A bold statement yet so true. Whenever a client sits in front of me the first thing I look at is their skin. More often than not, I discover that they aren't caring enough for their skin or aren't using the most beneficial items based on their skin's needs at the time.

There are a multitude of skin care lines and manufacturers on the market today, and a treatment for everything your face can possibly ever encounter. With so much selection, how do you go about choosing what's right for you?

First, start with the basics. Cleansing, toning and moisturizing. Since the skin works on a 28 - 33 day cycle, use this trio for 2 months, twice a day before seeing your maximum result. After that, you can begin to introduce special needs items which are more targeted to your specific concerns.

But that's another issue. Actually, over the next four months, I've broken skin care down into a 4-part series covering:
Cleansing & Toning
Serums & Eye Care
Masks & Scrubs

Although you should cleanse, tone AND moisturize twice a day, this issue begins with just cleansing and toning.

The purpose of the cleanser is to clean the skin. Whether you wear makeup or not, throughout the course of the day, your skin encounters pollutants, irritants, bacteria and whatever else floats in the air. Invisible particles stick to your skin, especially if you are an oily skin or a woman who "flushes in the face".

This has to come off and since water is not enough to clean, pair it with a cleanser formulated for your skin type. Remember that the water should be luke warm, too hot or too cold is a shock to your skin. Whether you're oily, combination, dry or sensitive, the most important tip is avoid soap. It's harsh and strips the skin of it's NMF (Natural Moisture Factor). Opt for a foaming gel or mousse cleanser if your skin is oily and a gentle milky or creamy cleanser if your skin is dry or sensitive. Combination skins can flip either way depending on season and personal preference.

Since the texture of a product is formulated to feel good on the skin it's going on, choose products that feel comfortable. For example, oily skins generally prefer a "squeaky clean" after cleansing so they would not feel comfortable washing their faces with a rich product that leaves a filmy residue behind. They would prefer a foaming or lathering product that cleanses well and rinses thoroughly. Conversley, a dry skin would enjoy a cleanser that leaves the filmy residue behind. It "cushions the skin" and comforts a skin lacking oil. So always remember, texture should be key in selecting your skin care. The more oily you are, think lightweight and more fluid formulas, and the more drier you are, think more rich and creamy formulas.

Now that you've cleaned your skin, your next step is to tone it. A toner will remove any residue left behind, but more importantly, it restores the pH balance back into the skin. The pH refers to the acidity or alkalinity of something. When they are equal, the substance is said to have a pH of 7.0. When the skin is below 7.0, it is acidic and when it's above 7.0 it's alkalinic. The toner restores the skin to a pH of 7.0.

Toners come in liquid form, are applied with a quilted cotton pad, and can be used as a instant freshener anytime. For best results, choose the toner that matches your cleanser as they are formulated to work together as a pair. Avoid toners containing alcohol or benzoyl peroxide. Instead, opt for products that contain more natural, purifying ingredients like camphor, grapefruit and basil extract.

And finally. don't forget your eyes. As far as skin care goes, your eyes are a completely different entity. Treat eyes with specific eye care products only, NOT the products you use on your face. The skin around the eyes is very thin, easily stretched and more sensitive. Eye care products are specifically formulated for this area, being opthamoligically tested, non irritating, and rapidly absorbing.

You will want to cleanse your eyes and remove any eye makeup with a regular or waterproof formula depending on what you're wearing. Eye makeup removers come in liquid, gel or cream formulas and applied with a quilted cotton pad. Or, opt for convenient pre- soaked cotton disks in a jar that not only remove your eyes, but your stubborn lipstick too. Whatever product you choose, the most important thing to remember about the eyes is to be gentle with them. Don't tug, stretch or rub this area....doing so stretches the thinner skin and causes pre-mature wrinkling. And who needs that!

October 30, 2008

And These Are The Moments

She's back!

Autumn_Bride is home from her fabulous honeymoon and we've gone over some pictures from the day ... now I would love to share them with you!

Considering she was married in mid-October, the weather completely blessed her that day. Not too hot, not too cold and blue skies. Here are some of my favourite shots ...

This was the stunning church after all the guests had left.

Here is Paul from Shooter 4 Hire giving some directions to the bridal party on how he wanted the shot set up ....

The reception was held at Boaden Catering in Mississauga. Here's a great room overview.

A close-up of the head table. All décor by Natasha of Occasions.

A guest table shot ...

And another table shot ...

Delectable cake!

The card box and photo guest book table.

Always thinking of her guests, Autumn_Bride put together fantastic bathroom baskets for both the mens' and ladies' rooms. I heard from her last night that the mens' room basket was completely used up ... who knew?!

The favours of choice were packages of four tealights ... all adorned with different leaf embellishments.

A serene first dance to "I Could Not Ask For More".

She's fantastic, strong, determined but man ... she can cry at the drop of a hat! ;)

At Boaden Catering, when a new course is ready for the head table, loud music comes on and the staff come out dancing and clapping as they serve them the food. It was a huge hit!

A DJ or a simple band wasn't enough for this pair. They *had* to hire their favourite local band, .: Orangeman :. to come out and entertain. Best decision they could have made, too. The dance floor was packed all night long!

The Bridal Party dance and introduction of Orangeman.

This couple had a LOT of fun with the garter retrieval and toss. They did a cute little number to "You Can Leave Your Hat On" that had the crowd loving it.

Orangeman was kind enough to learn a special song for the groom ... here is a (fuzzy) picture of his reaction to the surprise.

Didn't I say she was meant to model?

A Bride, an Orangeman and a Wedding Planner. Interesting combo.

One of my favourite bridal pictures ... Crystal, Autumn_Bride and Susan.

October 28, 2008

Our Circle of Life

As a graduate student, my specialty is sociology. I study people in groups... their behaviour, their expectations, their relationships with others. And given this choice of field, you’d probably jump to the easy conclusion that I love people, have an active social life and I have a ton of people who would want to attend my wedding.

You’d be mostly wrong.

MM and I discovered this when we started making out a guest list for the wedding. Even by stretching the numbers a bit and hoping that most of who we included on the list would actually attend… we ended up with 45 names.

45. That’s it. The sum total of who he and I know.

First of all, I should point out that I’m an orphan (by choice, but that’s a whole other story). Because of this, I don’t have siblings or parents to consider or include in our plans, let alone their family and friends. All those great-uncles, distant third cousins and dad’s former boss that get put on other people’s guest lists? Absent on ours.

On MM’s side, he has divorced parents and a brother. His brother is the best man, and his parents will be invited (along with their current significant others).

Add to that lives that have had both of us move around a fair deal around Canada, him because of army life and me because of… well.. life.. and it means that ties to friends are often tenuous and those people have a tendency of slipping away from us.

So between the two of us, our combined circle of friends and family who would want to attend our wedding comes out to 45 people.

This seemed to be a good number though. Smallish, true, but still enough to have a rocking party.

Or so I thought. Until we started actually working with Susan to find a place to hold our nuptial shindig. Then the problems cropped up.

...(to be continued next week)


Keep Reading ...

Round, Round, Round, Round, I Get Around

Actually, Tarriell does.

It seems one of her posts caught the eye of a researcher ...
Take a look .: over here :.

Now Everytime I Go For The Mailbox ...

Now that wedding season is dying down a bit, I'm happy to focus more on invitations. For those who don't know (because it doesn't get posted about often enough!), Moments That Shine loves to get creative on paper, too! Actually, this time of the year is part of my favourite. Chaos seems to wind down and I'm able to focus more on being artistic. Perfect for those blustery days!

I love using fabric and different textures! This is an inexpensive yet trendy concept.
And yes, I know it should be 'Gwyneth' ... luckily this was just a sample ;)

Right now we're trying to come up with eco-friendly options for customers even if it's a suggestion as simple as 'get rid of inserts'. My biggest pet peeve is too much paper but I understand it has to happen sometimes. For that reason we're looking into 100% post-consumer recycled papers (check out .: Jennifer's post from last week :. to shed more light) and becoming more socially aware by donating portions of proceeds to an organization that is making a difference.

I did want to share some designs with readers today. All invites (or other stationary) from Moments That Shine is completely custom-made. We may start with a photo or two in mind but eventually everything evolves into a product that is uniquely you. Perhaps that why I love it so much! Here are some of my favourites ...

Suzanne opted for a custom drawn lamp post on a very simple single panel invitation. The final product was elegant and very meaningful to the couple!

Pocket folds are always a popular choice. As from the first picture, I was lucky enough to have Jennifer Images snap a photo of Jesara's invite for me. :) And of course, pocket folds come in many different shapes and colours!

For a destination wedding, luggage tags are the oh-so-favourites. This one for Lisa involved a custom map by .: Deeya Design :.

I think most readers remember this invitation. Along with Blogger Bride & Groom, I came up with one of the most unique designs yet. This echoed their personalities beautifully and was just so much fun!

Meaghan & Stuart were married in a private ceremony overseas (lucky them!) but wanted a party when they got back. The invite below is one of the first styles I designed for them and then afterwards they decided they wanted programs for the day as well. Turned out great as they were able to use their wedding photo on the cover!

October 27, 2008

The Rear View Mirror Telling Lies

An event that has something fun for the guests to do *always* is a hit.

Pretty simple, right? You'd be surprised at how many people don't think about that though. I've talked about cookie-cutter weddings before so you know what I mean. I think some fine folks just get caught up in a nice time and they don't aim for a EXTRAORDINARY time.

One idea to make your guests have that fantastic time is to have fun with photos. Gone are the days of having disposable cameras at your tables (they're bad for the environment ... plus, how many butt shots do you really need?) ... try something a bit more advanced!

Many of my clients have opted to hire on an extra photographer for the day to have a little photo area, some love the instant gratification of Polaroid cameras, some are renting photo booths ... .: check out this option :. ... Snapshot Photobooth will come to you and set up the equipment. After that, your guests simply get in the frame, step on the pedal and snap their own photo!

You'll have people talking for year :)

October 26, 2008

She Took Everything She Owned

GREAT website find for those who don't know about it yet. Are you having troubles finding a dress? Actually, there is more than just dresses to this site ...

Emily has these wonderful listings for designer dresses (for less!) but her .: blog :. is just as phenomenal. She has tips, trends and sometimes, just good, old-fashioned fun! Check out this centrepiece ...

October 25, 2008

I'll Be the Sand, You Be the Pearl

"As you may be aware, there are various different gems such as rubies, sapphires, emeralds and not forgetting the good ole diamonds. But did you know that compared to all the possible gems available pearls are by far the most eco-friendly gem. Why, you may ask? Because pearls don’t require mining that is used to unearth other gems. This mining is destructive. Pearls don’t require any chemical leaching. Most importantly pearls are found in mollusks which are used to culture pearls and these mollusks depend on a relatively stable environment and clear water, in order to develop."

I don't think I could have said it better myself. Well, I may have been a little less ominous but that technically is what I've been trying to put into words. The quote is from .: PearlGenie :. and is very true. There's a huge debate about diamonds and actually a lot of educating to be done about them. For example, did you know that 250 tonnes of ore have to be dug up for one single carat? Okay. That was ominous. More on diamonds later. Right now I wanted to do a post on pearls. Who says you have to have a diamond engagement ring? For those of you unsure of the idea or just not hip enough to be square, I dug up (no pun intended) some inspiration pics for you. Some of the rings are pretty funky but I also managed to find some for the more traditional ladies reading. I hope you find some ideas you like!

Keep Reading ...