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Engagement Photos_featured

How to Get Engagement Pictures You Will Love and Cherish

Dallas photographer Tania Griffis shares what every couple should consider when preparing for their engagement photos–and how to get ones they’ll love for a lifetime.

Summertime is here—the temperature has risen, the days seem longer and more carefree—and in case you haven’t noticed, love is definitely in the air! If you are one of the masses who are recently engaged—congratulations!

This is a wonderful time of excitement and joy, but can seem a bit overwhelming with all the wedding planning. One of my personal favorite parts of the entire process is taking the engagement photos. They are fun, relaxed and an opportunity for the two of you to show off and enjoy yourselves.

So how can you go about getting the types of photos you will love, cherish and display until death do you part? To begin, spend some time researching who you might select as your photographer.

While Google and other websites are great places to start, it can be even more helpful to get personal recommendations from people you know and trust. Once you have a few names of photographers you are interested in, look through their online websites, blogs and social media pages to get a feel for their style and how it fits what you are looking for.

Once you have a photographer selected, you should begin the process of working with him or her to plan your engagement session. Every photographer handles pre-shoot planning differently, but I recommend beginning with your end goal in mind.

Where will you display these photos? Will they be shown at your wedding and reception? Will you want a large gallery display in your home? Will you use these for your “Save the Date” announcements? If so, what creative ideas can you incorporate using your wedding date?

Don’t be afraid to speak up and let your photographer know exactly the vibe you want to convey as a couple. Think about what you would like to remember most from these photos in 10 years, and make sure you include those elements, moods, props or locations.

Did you two meet at a bar downtown? Why not shoot there? Or did he propose while horseback riding in a field? Again, another fantastic concept to capture.

Another one of my favorite tools for planning gorgeous engagement sessions is to employ the use of the popular content sharing website Pinterest. I’ll ask my clients to create a shared board where we can both add images to keep mutually abreast of ideas, concepts, colors and other elements they would like to include.

Don’t be afraid to email images to your photographer or bring some photos with you to show him or her the types of things you would like to try. While a professional photographer will come ready to help you pose and interact the entire time, we welcome your input.

Any of these ideas and suggestions can easily be adapted for family sessions or for any other type of event where you are hiring a photographer. In the end, don’t be afraid to speak up and share your ideas. After all, it’s your big day!

To get some inspiration for your engagement photo session, click here to visit our latest Pinterest board!

Finished Spoon Rose

How to Creatively Repurpose Plastic Spoons: The Spoon Rose

Everyone has left the party and you’re left with the plastic cutlery. But before you haul out the trash can, check out this simple and bloomingly beautiful DIY project.

Plastic Spoon Flower

Make this budding flower entirely out of plastic spoons.

As I was browsing Pinterest today, a white flower caught my eye. It looked a little like some decorative ceramic flowers I’ve seen at different shops around town. Intrigued, I clicked on the photo, which led me to this blog, where I realized that – gasp! –  it was crafted entirely out of plastic spoons.

Now, before I jump into the how-to portion of this blog, I have to admit that my first attempt at this project (the lovely specimen to the right) does look like it was obviously constructed out of plastic spoons. However, after my first go at this, I’m absolutely convinced that I could quickly learn the art of beautifully bending those tiny spoon petals to make a more realistic-looking bloom.

This is a super simple craft that only requires a couple of supplies, almost all of which you probably have at home. I tweaked the tutorial a bit from the original blog and made a few changes as I went just to make the process a bit simpler for myself. Here’s how I did it:

The supplies you'll need to make a spoon rose

Step One: Gather Your Supplies. You could also use needle-nose pliers to hold the spoon over the flame.

1. Gather Your Supplies: For this project, you just need 17 plastic spoons (you may want a couple of extras in case you mess any up), a candle, scissors and a glue gun with just one glue stick.

Step 2 for Making a Plastic Spoon Rose

Step 2: You may want to cut your spoons even shorter than this, as it might make them easier to attach at the end.

Step 3: How to Make a Plastic Spoon Rose

Cut 10 large spoons, 5 medium and 2 small.

Step 2: Cut three sizes of spoons – 10 of the largest kind, 5 of the medium and 2 of the smallest. You can use the scissors to try and cut the spoons, but I found that it was easier in the end to just break them to the approximate size I wanted.

Step 3 How to Make a Plastic Spoon Rose

You can move the spoon over the flame to try and get the shape you want.

Step 3: Hold each of the spoons over the flame, keeping in mind which part of the flower you’ll be creating with each size of spoon. The longest will create the bottom layer, the middle size will go in the middle and the tiniest two will be the central petals of your rose. During this step, you can use your fingers to shape the petals while they’re still a little hot. You may want to do the melting portion of this project outside to avoid the smell.

Step 4: How to Make a Plastic Spoon Rose

Step 4: Melt the remaining ends of the handle one by one and join them together.

Step 4: This was a tiny bit tricky at first, but it ended up turning out well. Melt the remaining ends of the handles one by one and join them together in a circle. You’ll want to start with the longest spoons, creating a circle, as seen above. Then, melt the ends of your medium spoons and add them to the top and do the same with the smaller ones. You have some freedom here to place petals wherever you want them. Hold them in place for a few seconds to give the plastic time to harden.

How to Make a Plastic Spoon Rose

Step 5: How to Make a Plastic Spoon Rose

Step 5: Using your glue gun at the end adds extra hold for the petals.

Step 5: Add a circle of hot glue beneath the petals. This just helps fortify the melted plastic bonds of the spoon. My flower felt a little fragile until I reinforced it with the glue.

Finished Plastic Spoon Rose

And voila! Now you have a cute plastic spoon rose, and you can let your imagination run wild thinking up where you want to use it in your house. I think I’ll make three and place them in the center of my table as a fun centerpiece. You can also used colored spoons or spray paint your finished product to give it a little more pop!

Marie Claire_Sept2012_featured

MPA Study Concludes Social Media Use Enriches Magazine Experience, Shows Room for Growth

Marie Claire magazine September 2012 issuePrint or digital? A new study suggests we may not have to choose, as social media can add value to print magazines. But are they doing enough to keep up with readers?   

The Internet was supposed to be the end of magazines. Didn’t happen. But it slowly but surely changed the way we consumed our news, got our beauty tips and stayed updated on celebrity gossip.

Then social media came along and changed it even more. No longer do we have to search the ‘net for the magazines we love or the topics we want to read. Through a myriad of up-to-the-minute feeds, we can follow tweets, subscribe to status updates, pin things to boards and stumble our interests.

But according to a recent study released by the MPA, the Association of Magazine Media, social media may be doing more to boost magazine engagement than it does to hurt it, particularly among Milennials, readers aged 18-34.

You might think you could thank a new generation of e-readers and digital issues for that. But of the 40 percent of the more than 1,000 study participants who identified themselves as “avid magazine readers,” 95 percent still prefer print. Less than half of that number—43 percent—opt for the digital versions.

Among general social media preferences, Facebook leads all others for study participants. Ninety percent of all respondents and about 90 percent of the avid magazine reader group use the site. That’s followed by YouTube (61 percent), Twitter (40 percent) and Google+ (33 percent).

In terms of magazine engagement, Twitter, Pinterest and Facebook lead the charge. Fifty-six percent of respondents follow a title on Twitter. About the same number follow and re-pin magazine content on Pinterest. And 52 percent keep up with a magazine in their news feed.

Those numbers indicate there’s a lot of room for growth in terms of magazine engagement on social media. According to the study, already-engaged magazine Facebookers and tweeters are looking for exclusive deals and opportunities to interact with their favorite titles to enhance their subscriptions.

But Bonnie Miller, a former magazine editor-in-chief who launched HollywoodLife.com, wonders if women’s magazines aren’t missing out on reader interactions more fundamentally. In an article on AdAge.com, she says Millennials are looking for up-to-the-minute news and insights, particularly on magazine websites—content that would ultimately make it to social media anyway.

Miller used the example of Time’s controversial breastfeeding cover. She cited numerous online sites and blogs who jumped into the conversation, while women’s magazines were silent on the issue. That has more to do with how magazines approach digital content as an adaptation of print content, rather than the more up-to-date and fresh content of a blog.

How many ways do you keep up with your favorite magazines? What content do you hope to get on their social media sites?

Fabric Rosette

How to Make a DIY Fabric Rosette

Fabric RosetteThese little fabric flowers have been popping up all over Pinterest and DIY blogs of late, no doubt for their simplicity and versatility.

As I’ve become a more frequent Pinterest browser, these sweet little fabric rosettes have caught my attention. I’ve seen them used to accent T-shirts, headbands, picture frames, jewelry and a myriad of other things where they add just the right touch of whimsy.

After I had a new baby girl a couple months ago, I resolved to learn how to make these fabulous florals so I can make her adorable little headbands like I’ve seen on Pinterest. To my surprise, they were super simple, and it didn’t take long to get the hang of them. If you’ve never tried your hand at this rosy DIY, here’s how you can get started.

Here’s What You’ll Need:

What You'll Need to Make a Fabric Rosette

The fabric rosette requires very few supplies.

A strip of fabric 25″ by 3″ for each rose

A circle of fabric about 2″ in diameter for the backing

A glue gun

Glue sticks

Step 1: Fold your strip of fabric in half so that it measures 25″ by 1.5″ and tie a knot near the end of the strip.

Step Two of Making a Fabric Rosette

The knot can be loose, as it forms the center of your rosette.

Step 2: Put a dab of hot glue under your knot and tuck the end of the fabric under your knot. Secure it with the hot glue.

Step two of making a fabric rosette

Just a small dab of hot glue will hold your end securely under the knot.

Step 3: Twist the rest of the strip so that it’s fully twisted but not super tight. This is what you will wrap around to create the petals.

Step two of making a fabric rosette

Twist the fabric into one long strand.

Step 4: Begin to wrap your fabric around the center knot, gluing as you go.

Step four of making a fabric rosette

It's OK if your fabric comes unwound, as seen above. Just twist it as you wrap, gluing as you go.

Step 5: Once you’ve wrapped and glued almost your entire strip, tuck the very end beneath the rosette and glue it in place.

Step 5 of making a fabric rosette

Tuck the end of the fabric under the rosette and glue in place.

Step 6: Glue your 2″ circle to the bottom of the rosette, finishing it off.

step six of making a fabric rosette

The fabric circle finishes off the underside of your rosette.

Finished Product: Now you have a lovely little rosette that you can use to embellish any number of things. Check out our Pinterest board for creative ways to use these flowers.

Finished rosette

Voila - the simple finished product is an adorable rosette you can use in a number of creative ways.

Group rosettes together for a fun look, and then experiment with colors and types of fabrics to get exactly the embellishment you need for your next project.

Three fabric rosettes

Labor Day "Wear Your White" Party

Throw a “Wear Your White” Labor Day Party

Labor Day "Wear Your White" PartyYou’ve always heard that you can’t wear white after Labor Day. And while that may be an arbitrary and oft ignored fashion fable, you can play it up with this creative Labor Day party idea.

Fire up the grill, gather up the family and dress up in all white. Why, you ask? Well, you might as well wear all those blanco blouses, cloud-colored camis and pearly pumps before Labor Day hits and doing so would be deemed a fashion foible. For this pallid party idea, all you need is an assortment of white food, some white decorations and a group of good-humored friends.

For samples of these ideas, browse our accompanying Pinterest Board.

The Invitations: Send stark white invitations in white envelopes. In the center of each card, type in small black (or cream, if you have a color printer) ink – “Please Join Us for a Labor Day ‘Wear Your White’ Party.” Make it as simple as possible, just including the major details like the time and place.

The Decor: Depending on how festive you want to get for your Labor Day party, you can go as white as you want with the decor. One inexpensive decoration that has a big impact is white balloons. Grouped together, they look surprisingly classy in all white. You can also hang white lanterns or decorate with white lights. Use white plates, serving dishes, napkins and even white plastic silverware. Pull out your white milky glass vases and fill them with white flowers–even baby’s breath has a wow factor when bunched all together.

The Food: Again, your choices here will have a lot to do with what kind of party you’re having (inside or outside, fancy or casual) but your options are endless. For appetizers, the options range from Swiss cheese fondue to a veggie plate with light veggies like cauliflower and cucumbers to cucumber sandwiches and crackers and cheese. For your main course, grill chicken or bake white chicken pizzas for the crowd. Dessert is where it gets really fun. Serve vanilla ice cream and white sprinkles or sugar cookies or all-white cupcakes with white frosting. Anything with white chocolate or coconut is a great option as well.

However you approach it, a “Wear Your White” Labor Day party is a great reason to gather some friends, have a little fun and let your creativity take charge.


Moll Anderson’s Tips for a Seductive Summer Bride

In my opinion, the romance of a lifetime deserves the wedding of your life. That doesn’t mean you have to break your (or your parents’) bank to make that happen, this day is a celebration of commitment and it should reflect you and your partner. Brides commonly get a bit carried away when planning their big day, so I’m going to provide a couple of suggestions to help you discover your dream wedding!

A.K. Vogel (2012)

As women, we all know that you just can’t have the perfect wedding without the perfect wedding dress. The seductive bride exudes sensuality, confidence and romance as she walks down the aisle toward the man of her dreams, the man she will cherish and love forever. Here are a few tips to finding your fantasy wedding dress!

  • Before commencing the wedding dress shopping, you need to set the time of year, time of day, and place of the wedding and reception. If not, you may choose a dress that is too casual, too big or too fancy for your venue.
  • Be sure to have price in mind that you feel comfortable paying—it would be tragic to fall in love with a gown that is out of your price range and trust me it happens!
  • White isn’t just white! There are many, many ranges of white gowns, so try on a few different colors to find the one that best complements your skin tone.
  • It’s important to trust your instincts when trying dresses, so don’t bring along a group of people that will bog you down with their opinions. There is only one opinion that truly counts—yours. Bring one trusted person.
  • A.K. Vogel (2012)

    Keep an open mind when looking at the various shapes of dresses: ball gown, empire waist, A-line, slip, sheath, mermaid—they all have very different silhouettes and it’s best to not judge a certain shape until you’ve taken it off the hanger and tried it on. Go with the one that makes you feel fabulous and sexy!

  • During the fitting process, your seamstress will be your new best friend. Communicate with her and let her know all the little problems you see so that on your big day, you feel your most comfortable and confident.

If you are like most women out there, you’ve probably given great thought and consideration to what you want that ring in your man’s box to look like once he gets down on his knee. Brides magazine gives us some fantastic tips on taking care of your engagement ring.

  • Keeping your left hand bling sparkling is easy to do with the proper cautious care. Bringing in your ring to a jeweler to be steamed cleaned is the best way to keep your gems looking good.
  • Take off your ring at home when using bleach and other harsh chemicals. These substances can dull and harm the finish of your ring.
  • A.K. Vogel (2012)

    Opt for the insurance and appraisal. The value of that precious ring is likely to rise over time, so in the unfortunate case that it is lost or stolen—you’ll be able to get the correct amount of money for replacement.

There are a lot of steps in planning a summer wedding so it would be helpful to create a bridal checklist! There are great magazines available that publish monthly and will aid in creating these checklists. Social sites such as Pinterest also serve as an inspiration and idea board to keep all your sites bookmarked and images cataloged.

You can create these boards privately or publicly, and maybe even make separate ones for all the separate categories—romantic flowers, sensual wedding dresses, entertaining ideas—the list goes on! But always remember the most important aspect of the wedding isn’t any of these things—it’s the marriage.

What are you waiting for?


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