11 Oct

Guest Post: Five Tips That Will Make You an Awesome Maid of Honor

Having a new baby is no joke, sweet readers.  I’ve been doing my best to make more time for the blog, but I’m finding that the older Hazel gets, the more work she is!  (Go figure.)  Fortunately, the lovely Morgan Gray of Gray & Gabbana is stepping in with some awesome new content.  November through February is “engagement season”, and if you end up in the bridal party, you have to be ready to knock it out of the park.  Here are Morgan’s tips…

While I’m a writer from NY who’s usually scribbling away at poetry, my sister recently became engaged and named me her maid of honor. Having never been a MOH before, I jumped head first into the wedding world.  It’s been a bit difficult to keep all the duties straight, so I’ve broken down my findings thus far.  Hopefully this list will help YOU be the best maid of honor ever.
1. Make sure everyone is talking and getting along at the reception

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One of the most awkward parts of a wedding can be the seating, where the bride and groom have worlds colliding. To help people mesh better, buy mini party games and conversation topics (or DIY it). A small deck of conversation cards is great for prompting discussion that doesn’t have to do with the bride or ceremony and will help guests get comfortable with each other.

2. Ask the bride to give you a list of photos she wants

You only get one wedding day to get all the perfect pictures possible, so make it count. Ask the bride for specific pictures she wants and then browse wedding-photo websites like it’s your job. Touch base with the photographer on the day-of and make sure you get the bridesmaids Instagramming like crazy!  (Bonus points if you help the bride create a signature wedding hashtag.) You definitely don’t want the bride kicking herself over missed photos after the wedding has come and gone.

3. Transportation

This goes for the wedding, reception, and bachelorette party: make sure everyone has a ride. How is the wedding party getting from the ceremony to the reception? Will people be taking part in an open bar? These are things you need to ask and find answers to— you don’t want anyone getting left behind.

4. Take care of the Mother of the Bride

The wedding might be all about the bride, but she’s not the only one to look out for. The mother of the bride is probably just as stressed and emotional as the bride herself. Take the time to reach out to her, even if it is just to talk. Whip up her favorite drink and let her reminisce about her baby girl. It might seem like a small gesture, but it will mean the world to her.

5. Get your soundtracks made in advance

The right soundtrack for wedding prep is essential. Times have changed, so (unfortunately) making mixed CDs is a little dated. I’d recommend saving major cash by using Spotify to make sure the song you want played will play. You can use this technique for everything from the bachelorette party and bridal shower to the limo ride to the venue!

I hope this list inspires you the next time you find yourself on MOH duty!  Got some great bridal party tips of your own?  Share ‘em in the comments!

19 Sep

Guest Post: Fall Makeup Looks For Less

I’m so happy to welcome Lindsay to {blending beautiful} today! Lindsay is the creator of a wonderful blog, One Hundred or Bust, where she helps budget-minded gals find awesome looks on the cheap. (She also gives amazing fashion advice and does style consultations, for those of you who live in the Bay Area!)

Take it away, Lindsay…

In the profound words of Charlotte York-Goldenblatt of “Sex and the City,” “Everyone knows you only get two great loves in your life.” Well kids, mine are clothes and makeup. And since I blog about affordable clothes 24-7, I am thrilled to be take a break from the norm to write a post for {blending beautiful} about my second love.

The makeup trends for this fall are going to deliver a flare for the dramatic and below are three of these looks for less than $100 each.

Look #1:

Wear this look for an outdoor, afternoon wedding. If you’re like me and happen to live in the Bay Area, you are just now starting to enjoy some warm weather. And, it’s our wedding season. The pink and brown hues paired with big, fat, long lashes will give you that doughy, “I’m just naturally this gorgeous” look and you won’t look overdone. Poifection!

Makeup: 1) Eyeshadow: Mac Cosmetics in Motif and Brown Script, $33; 2) Eyelashes: Kara Beauty at www.gojane.com, $3.80; 3) Lipstick: Bobbi Brown in Bare Pink, $24.00; 4) Maybelline: $7.44; 5) Blush: Smashbox in Passion, $24.00. Total look: $92.24

Look #2:

Burgundy is not only showing up on every red carpet, but it is also hot for fall in the form of a bold lip. The trick to pulling off this pout is to pair it with simple, chic eyes and cheeks. Over-smoking the eyes will be too garish and take the attention away from your beautifully painted mouth.

Makeup: 1) Eyeliner, Aveda Petal Essence in Black Orchid, $16.00; 2) Eyeshadow: Cover Girl in Champagne, $2.99; 3) Foundation: Estee Lauder in Double Wear, $36.00; 4) Lipstick: La Crème in Bordeaux, $21.00; 5) Mascara: Maybelline in Falsies, $7.49; 6) Blush: Sonia Kashuk in Petal for Target, $9.89. Total look: $93.37

Look #3:

Mixing of bright colored eyeshadow is totally in for fall, but enjoy this trend while it’s on trend, because it will not last forever. Girls just wanna have fun, so bring on the color!

Makeup: 1) Eyeshadow: L’Oreal HiP Shadow Pigments in Rebel, $5.08; 2) Eyeliner: Stila All Day Waterproof Liquid Eye Liner in Indigo, $20.00; 3) Lip Gloss: Makeup Forever Aqua Rouge in Pink, $24.00; 4) Foundation: Sephora Brand Microsmooth Foundation Face Powder, $22.00; 5) Blush: Tarte Amazonian Clay 12-Hour in Amused, $25.00. Total Look: $96.08

Please stop by One Hundred or Bust to find some fun fall fashion to go with these gorgeous makeup looks!

12 Mar

Guest Post: Settle Down To Slim Down

Happy Monday, sweet readers!  How are you adjusting to the time change?

Today, I’m super excited to welcome Laina to the blog for a really helpful post about getting ready for bathing suit season— the healthy way!  Take it away, Laina…

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Bathing suit season is looming (in fact, over here in sunny Santa Cruz I’ve already made it to the beach a couple of times!) and with it comes the collective pressure to lose weight and tighten up.  While crash diets and intense exercise regimes may work in the short term to lose a few pounds, we all know that the weight rarely stays off, and the whole process is usually so emotionally and physically grueling and stressful, no matter what our size, we’re not even happy!

Most people want to know what they should eat (and how much) in order to lose weight and get the body they want. But what few people realize is that HOW you eat is almost more important than WHAT you eat.  Without making a single change to someone’s diet, I can almost always help them achieve some weight loss (assuming that there is legitimate weight to lose) just by making this one simple change.

Slow down, take a breath, and relax.

The impact of stress (including stress around eating itself) on digestion and metabolism is huge!  Thanks to our club-wielding Neanderthal ancestors, our bodies have been geniusly programed to respond to stress in very specific ways.  Namely, blood and oxygen is directed away from the stomach to the head and limbs to support quick thinking and acting.  During a time of stress digestion may be greatly diminished or even completely shut down as the body assumes that all metabolic energy is needed for survival.  When a tiger is chasing you, the body is smart enough to know that digesting lunch is low on the priority list.  Unfortunately, the body can’t discriminate between running-for-your-life stress and running-late-for-work stress.

Along with reducing digestive efficiency, nutrient absorption and metabolic power, stress also stimulates the production of the hormones insulin and cortisol which have been linked to an inability to lose weight and body fat, an inability to build muscle, and a tendency to gain weight around the midsection.  In essence, a body under stress can sabotage even the healthiest of meals.

The temptation to stress around food and diet is powerful.  We stress ourselves out daily about what we should eat, what we shouldn’t eat, what we wish we could eat and what we wish we hadn’t.  Whether it’s the healthiest garden salad or the most decadent chocolate cake, your body will actually digest and metabolize more efficiently (that means more nutrients absorbed and more calories burned) if you can manage to slow down and relax.  Added bonus: the food will taste better too!

Laina is a Holistic Health Coach based in Santa Cruz, Ca and specializing in Dynamic Eating Psychology and Mind-Body Nutrition.  She works with clients in both the physical and emotional realms of eating to help break unhealthy patterns and nurture a new kind of relationship with food and body that supports vibrant, embodied living.  Check her out atwww.HungryForChangeNow.com.

Thanks, Laina!

Have you found that stress affects your weight?  What do you do to keep your stress levels low?  Share your tips in the comments!

22 Sep

Guest Post: Jennifer From I ART U Talks Pinterest!

Today’s guest post is from Jennifer of I ART U. She’s an amazing photographer based out of San Louis Obispo who has a great eye for design and all things artistic and cool.  Visit her blog and her professional photography site.

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Hi! I’m Jennifer from I ART U. So happy to be here today–thanks for having me, Kim. Today, I’m sharing some of my favorite pins from Pinterest with you! Pinterest keeps me going–it’s a quick and accessible dose of inspiration for me whenever I’m in a rut. Any Pinterest users out there?

From left to right:

Image by Carl Kleiner via First Came Love

Adam Magyar via Ignant

Whale print by United Thread via A Cup of Jo

Adjustable unisex apron via The Purl Bee

Place setting via The Style Files via Mjölk

Ferry from Ardrossan Harbor by Laura Bell via 20×200

Find my pins, here, and boards, here.

Thanks again Kim!

21 Sep

Wedding Wednesday Guest Post: Groomsmen Gift Guide!

I’m thrilled to have Tobe from Because It’s Awesome taking over Wedding Wednesday this week!  She is so fabulous, it hurts… and her blog is super fun!  (I’m especially in love with her Type Tuesday posts…)

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Hello, Blending beauties! Tobe here from Because It’s Awesome.  While our sweet Kim is off getting hitched and honeymooning, I am happy to fill in for her with a few wedding memories of my own. Almost exactly two years ago, I married the most wonderful man I’ve ever met. We opted to keep things super simple with an unusually small wedding party. I was blessed to have my younger brother stand up with me as my Man of Honor (and my entire bridal party), and my husband’s best friend stood up with him. Because we weren’t putting the guys out at all by renting tuxes or the like (we went with black suits because everyone already had one, white button downs, and solid ties) we didn’t feel like the traditional elaborate gifts were necessary. BUT since these were two of our favorite men in this world, we wanted to get them something. I think most of us would agree that shopping for the menfolk can be difficult sometimes…..so I pulled together a few gift options that any guy is sure to love.

brass lighter ring ||  aviator sunglasses ||  jack spade travel bag ||  crystal skull vodka/decanter
watch ||  trigger mug ||  striped tie ||  anchor knife ||  bomba alarm clock

Thanks so much, Tobe!