Merry & Bright

This Christmas season has found me doing my usual running, wrapping, decorating, and baking (a lot!).  My Shi Shi team has been BUSY too as I'm sure all of you have been!  Our busyness involved putting the final touches on our two December weddings; one of which you saw a sneak peek of in all its sparkling glory last week and another we are anxiously awaiting on the 29th! Yay F&D and K&M!!!

We also designed and styled a Gold & Glam inspiration shoot; coming soon to an awesome blog you all know and love - eyes open for it New Year's Day! We delivered a bit of holiday deliciousness to some of our favorite vendor partners, & amid all that I've been trying to soak up as much of the season as I can with the ones I love.  {This may or may not have included a holiday lights tour by trolley, a Cavs win!!!!! over the Lakers with my brother, &some serious time in the kitchen baking cookies with family.}.

All of that has left me little time to chat with all of you, but I hope you've been filling your days with much of the same; finding time in the madness to slow down a bit, get cozy with a movie or by the fire, or to just enjoy the fact that it has finally SNOWED!  {Not even gonna lie, I'm super thrilled to have snow before Christmas!}

From my home to you and yours, we wish you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year filled with many days that are merry & bright.

Much love, peace & joy to you all.

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Sometimes I feel a little guilty for not blogging more about weddings and wedding related paraphernalia here, as many of my posts are more about lifestyle, design, fashion, beauty, or musings on whatever's circling this brain of mine at the time than our most recent wedding, or tips for planning your wedding, or wedding anything really.  Yes, I am a wedding planner & designer, and yes you can see some of my work here on this blog {or on other fun time blogs like Style Me Pretty, Green Wedding Shoes, The Bridal Bar, and Style Unveiled, etc.}.  But where I come from as a wedding planner & designer is so much more than just what is implied in my official title of "Founder + Director".  I want you to see my work {for lots of it visit the Shi Shi Anthology}, but more importantly I want you to get to know me, because I'm not really sure there are many other businesses that are as personal as wedding planning.  And while it's important to be professional {this is a business}, it's equally important - if not more so - to connect with you on a personal level {because that's where the magic happens; cliche, but also totally true}.  So if you ever wonder why I don't publish post after post of our recent weddings, that's why.  I hope it helps you feel a part of my world and that you'll like it here and want to stay awhile.  Today, we're talking about travel.

For me, travel is the one thing that is fundamental to the broadening of one's mind.  It is in my opinion the best way to become; become inspired, become carefree, become an advocate, become yourself again, become a new version of yourself.  It is everything.  And I've traveled...a lot.  I've taken well planned out trips, spur of the moment adventures, planes, boats, cars, trains, and buses to get to all kinds of little nooks in this beautiful world of ours.  Many of the memories that fill my heart the most happened while I was traveling somewhere with someone {or many someones} I love.  All my life though, I've dreamed of taking a few weeks off and traveling cross country {for real in a car, road trip style} with my love just doing as we please.  As luck would have it, I'm about to do just that.  Three weeks, just us.  No email.  No work.  Just us, this gorgeous country of ours and a couple of suitcases; I can't believe it.  It's still so surreal to me that as my bag sits packed and ready in our bedroom, I don't think it'll actually feel real until we're well on our way.

The plan is that we'll take Megabus to Chicago, the train from there {we have a sleeper car - which is blast and you should definitely try it one day} to Seattle, and from Seattle we'll rent a car and drive down the California coast and across the southwest hitting Arizona, Texas, and up through Arkansas to Tennessee before returning home.  There are no words for the amount of joy and feeling blessed that overwhelm me with anticipation.  I am just happy, and excited, and thankful.

I'll be doing my best while I'm away to keep you posted on our journey.  You'll find updates on Facebook, Twitter, & Instagram {I'm "Gina Shi Shi"} for sure.  So if all of this sounds like a good time to you, make sure you're following me there!  And don't you worry about all things Shi Shi, Katie's here in the office for the duration holding down the fort and keeping things running.

"Oh The Places You'll Go" isn't my favorite Dr. Seuss book for nothing.  See y'all!

P.S. To Joe Schigel: Of all the travels in my life, the best journey I've ever taken is the one I'm on with you.  I love you.  I can't wait for this adventure; one in a string of many crazy strange wonderful before and I hope many more to come.

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{FF} Gratitude

Personal photo taken while hiking in Upstate New York
We Clevelanders know the instant it's begun.  It's the morning you grab a jacket because it's just a little too cold without one, or the moment you cave to the reality it isn't going to warm up enough again to not need it so you turn the heat in the house on.  Autumn is definitely upon us.

I would be lying if I said I didn't love all of the seasons here in Cleveland {yes, even the grayest, snowiest, most blustery of winters are loved}, but fall always sticks out as one of progression, momentum, and most of all, gratitude.  Maybe you're grateful for all that you've accomplished thus far this year.  Maybe you're grateful that a tumultuous year is almost over, or that Christmas is coming, or you're adding a new member to the family, or you're finding comfort in the love and giving thanks for the legacy a family member recently left behind.  Fall is indeed a time of transition and in all its triumphant displays of color, it reminds us how important gratitude is to carry in our hearts everyday.  It seems the season lends itself quite naturally to cozying up with loved ones on chilly days to share a meal, a story, a laugh, a new adventure.

When I think of what makes me feel most grateful, there are the big ones; my husband, my family, my Robie, my friends, my health.  Then there are the ones I've worked especially hard to achieve and maintain like a career that fills me up with joy and contentment and artistic expression, or pushing a small business to grow and survive, or keeping myself in shape.  And there are the intangibles, the way warm fall sun feels on my face while I'm driving in my car, the long line that goes unexpectedly fast, flowers in the garden that continue to bloom though they should've been gone months ago, walking in the door with the last bag of groceries just before it starts to rain, the way that rain sounds hitting the windows of my house, the fact that I have a house.

I find expressing sincere gratitude for a gift, an act, or a presence in my life never gets old.  And it certainly feels fantastic when someone expresses their gratitude to me.  Whatever.  It all just feels wonderful and warm and lovely.

And tonight, in this season of gratitude, I just feel thankful for all of it.    

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{FF} Best Way to Spend a Summer Night

Last night Joe and I hosted some friends for what I hope will become a summer tradition at our house; a movie night under the stars.  To me, there is nothing more decadent than sprawling out on the grass, all cozied up in a blanket, and watching a movie, all the while listening to the crickets and enjoying the nighttime breeze.  There is a luxury about it I can't fully explain that is endlessly appealing.  And so it went, our little group enjoyed the last rosy daylight hours, had some food and drink, and then settled in on the lawn for a private screening of "True Romance".  {A little Tarantino never hurt anyone.}

I love that my husband, production wizard that he is, is able to provide us with such a set up.  It fills my heart with so much joy and warmth to see those I love enjoying themselves.  The simple pleasure of it all is just perfection.  Our backyard may not look like this one {from the pages of Apartment Therapy}:

But as far as I was concerned, my view last night was perfect: 

I hope you too are soaking up the last bits of summer with the ones you love, doing your most favorite things.   

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{FF} Bonbon Pastry & Cafe

View of the West Side Market from our front of house table

Thursday morning was not my first visit to Bonbon Pastry & Cafe, but it did remind me of why I so enjoy going there.  And so I thought why not give a little Friday Favorite love to one of my favorite spots to grab a bite in the city?  Proprietor & Pastry Chef, Courtney Bonning, is not only very talented and a joy to chat with, but also has an impeccable grasp of comfortable chic, both in her menu and in the design of the cafe.  If you aren't careful, once inside you may forget you're in Cleveland altogether, and mistake yourself for being in a cozy little European cafe.

My dear friend {and dining companion} and I were seated at a table in the front of the restaurant with an enviable view of the West Side Market which made our visit all the more lovely.  It's hard for me to stray from my order of "Bubble & Squeak", a house specialty of root vegetables, brussels sprouts, bacon and poached egg.  Yes it is as good as it sounds.  It was my friend's first visit, and she opted for the "Vanilla Bean French Toast" which is incredibly decadent and served with sweet corn, blueberries, and blueberry compote.  We tried to show a little restraint by sharing an order of the "Cinnamon Sugar Donuts" served with preserves {which I polished off with my fork after the donuts were gone - I couldn't help it and have no shame}, Nutella, and sweetened mascarpone.  A warm cider for her and coffee {attentively warmed as needed by Bonbon staff} for me accompanied our breakfasts.  Their full menu is just delightful and French Press coffee crave-inducing.  And I simply could not leave without picking up a forearm-sized Chocolate Eclair to take home, the majority of which {again couldn't resist taking a couple bites myself} my husband happily devoured for breakfast Friday morning.

Quite possibly my favorite thing about Bonbon?  That charming space of theirs can be yours for your next special event.  They'll create a menu just for you and have a full liquor license.  Entertain the idea of entertaining your guests there and then check out their catering info here.  And for God's sake go get yourself some French Press & an eclair!

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{FF} ♥ Birthdays! ♥

My 4th birthday, circa 1984.
Simply put, I love birthdays.  They are a beautiful celebration of life and love and as far as I'm concerned there isn't much that gets better than that.  From the time I was little, birthdays have been a big deal at my house.  When my brother and I were younger, my parents {especially my mom} would go to great lengths to create the birthday party of our dreams each year.  The planning for such parties began a month or so in advance with the selection of our theme.  Would it be a Strawberry Shortcake, She-Ra, or Jem birthday {for me} or a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle, Shamu, or Batman birthday {for my brother}?  {Yes, we were both children of the 80's.}

The invites, paper plates, goodie bags, and pinata all centered around this theme, and the week before each party was spent preparing the house for all of our family and friends coming to celebrate.  I always loved receiving the responses of who was coming, and choosing the perfect outfit to wear for the party.  The whole process just made me feel so special.

That process of preparation took the one day of my actual birthday and stretched it to a birthday celebration week.  And, many times in my case our family would be on vacation for my actual birthday which meant a small celebration with the four of us on our trip in addition to the big party at home.  This stretched my birthday celebrations even farther to where I was comfortable declaring "Birthday month!" come August 1st.

This concept of a birthday week and birthday month were foreign to my husband when we first met, but now, years later, he's come to expect them not only for me, but for himself as well {which I find incredibly cute}.  And now we celebrate in a whole host of ways, dining on a favorite meal out {or in} just the two of us, a birthday dinner and cake {or pie} with both sides of the family {mine & his}, and/or a big party with family and friends here at the house or a favorite venue.  It's all quite elaborate and designed to truly celebrate the person who's birthday it is and everything they're all about.

And so it goes, that in this house birthdays will always be a big deal.

Why a Friday Favorite all about birthdays?  Well, it's my birthday month! August 14th is fast approaching, and true to form, our house is under preparation for the celebration we'll host for our family and friends.  I'm very excited.

Beyond the celebrating and festivities, I do really look at my birthday as an opportunity to take stock of what's transpired between my last birthday and the current one, where I'm headed in the near future, and where I'd like to be 10 birthdays from now.  This particular year I'm feeling overwhelmingly blessed and grateful.  Are there things I would like to change?  Absolutely, and I'm working on those.  :)  But there are far many more things when I look at my life that are completely and exactly as they should be.

For that, I am humbled and overjoyed, and just full of love.  To all of you who help make my life that way everyday, I love you very much.  And to all of my fellow Leos and August birthday month cohorts - happy birthday to you!

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{FF} Clueless Anniversary

I cannot believe how fast this summer is going.  Every wedding season, it feels like it goes just a little bit faster.  Quite honestly, I don't know how the last 17 summers went so fast, because I very clearly remember rounding up about 10 of my closest girlfriends for the premier weekend of Clueless.  Today I'm slowing it down a bit to 1995, and I'm 15 when summer seemed to last forever.  

Clueless is undoubtedly a cult classic.  Not only did it impart on us such linguistic gems as "my bad", "whatever", and "as if", but who can forget Cher's completely unbelievable closet?  I've been lusting after it ever since {even Carrie's closet in SATC doesn't compare; Mr. Big on one knee Manolo in hand or not}.  Looking back, I think this may also be where my crush on Paul Rudd started.  {Don't judge.}  It also gave us our first look at the beautiful and funny late Brittany Murphy as Tai, the New York transplant.  Wherever you are girl, we hope you're rolling with the homies.  

Seems odd a bit to wax nostalgic about such a fluff filled movie, but I guarantee if you watch this trailer, and you like me went to the theater in 1995 with your girlfriends, it'll feel pretty good.  Happy Friday!

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{FF} An Ode to Bing Cherries

Every July I look forward to cherry season with complete delight.  I love pretty much any fruit, but cherries are definitely a favorite.  I devour their little ruby deliciousness by the pound {several lbs. of them, every season, by myself} and couldn't be more content than to spend an afternoon reading {or doing anything really} with a bowl of cherries in my lap.  This year they've been especially perfect.  So bowls like this:

have a tendency to very quickly turn into bowls like this:

at my house.  

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Cleveland Wedding Planner - Shi Shi Events Featured on Style Unveiled

Last week we were so over the moon about our inspiration shoot, "Urban Candy", being featured on Style Unveiled!  Since then, the shoot has gotten some incredible love from Lover.ly as well and we couldn't be more excited!!!  If you missed the feature, you can check it out here and take a peek at some extra eye candy in these bonus images {just a few of our favorites}:  

We were dying over the rose gold engagement ring from Marlen Jewelers!

This may be our favorite cake ever!  Shi Shi concept,  Flour Girl/Luna Bakery Cafe design - L.O.V.E.!!!

These pink cufflinks from Davide Cotugno Executive Tailors polished model Jay's look perfectly.

As an extra special treat, today we want to share with you the absolutely awesome making of "Urban Candy" video shot by the fabulous Sarah Sloboda of Sarah Sloboda Photography!  Sarah captured all of the behind the scenes action as it went down that April afternoon and created this short video to give you an inside view.  We love, love, love it!!!  And so, without further ado...

Shi Shi Events: "Urban Candy" Concept from Sarah Sloboda on Vimeo.

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{FF} Coral Lipstick - Best Shades for Every Skin Tone

Image courtesy of InStyle Magazine
I am so into coral right now.  And sure, it may be the subconscious effect brought on by its ubiquity since Pantone announced the 2012 Color of the Year would be Tangerine Tango.  Or it's possible I can't get enough because it's really just that lovely.  Whatever the reason, I'm avidly searching for the THE perfect coral piece to add to my home {or THE perfect piece in another color that I can transform to the shade}, half considering repainting and restyling my office with a coral, charcoal and white palette {or maybe coral, turquoise and white?}, and definitely on the hunt for a coral lipstick {or more realistically for me, a coral tinted lip balm}.  The last of which, coral lips, is not only the subject of this Friday Favorite, but also one of the easiest ways to add this summery, sun-loving, beautiful-on-everybody shade to your world.  I, a fellow fair-skined lady, am particularly partial to how pretty the color is on Kristen Bell {above}.  InStyle Magazine tells me the shade she's wearing in the photo above is Chanel's Rouge Coco Shine in Flirt {$32, chanel.com} and I think I'm definitely going to have to give it a try!

So as not to show complete partiality to the porcelain skinned end of the spectrum, I'm also LOVING how gorgeous this lip trend is on these beauties:

Tina Fey

Leona Lewis

Busy Philipps

Emma Stone
If you want to try the trend, but aren't sure where to start, check out these tips from InStyle, Refinery29, and Stylelist to help you find your best shade.  What do you think girls, is this color wedding day worthy?

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Best of Brooklyn NYC

As promised, here's the story of how Brooklyn NYC and I became pretty hot and heavy.  It was a Monday afternoon, and quite honestly, I was just looking for a good time.  But, after spending just a few hours with Brooklyn, it became clear this was the beginning of a lifelong affair.

There is no doubt in my mind that if I were a New Yorker, I would live somewhere in Brooklyn.  It's also quite likely that I would start each morning with a cup of coffee from Oslo.  It was chilly from the morning rain when I arrived at their Roebling location, so I ordered a Cafe Au Lait with a carrot coconut mango muffin.  The muffin was surprisingly hinted with a bit of gingerbread, which I loved, and the COFFEE!  Rarely do I find a cup of coffee I feel needs little/no sugar.  {I am typically a dark & sweet (black w/sugar) kind of gal.}  This Cafe Au Lait was so damn delicious, I barely even {and almost regretfully so} added the tiniest drop of their simple syrup to my cup.  Even though the afternoon warmed quickly, I finished every last ounce of this coffee {another big time rarity for me on a hot day} and it was good 'til the very last sip.

A little later in the afternoon I bought the cutest ceramic milk carton vase at Sprout Home.  {It's currently hosting one of my garden's gorgeous pink hydrangea blooms on my dining room table.}  Sprout Home is a full service garden center that also carries wonderful little home products {such as the aforementioned vase} and floral design services.  It's just the loveliest urban garden store; and they've definitely mastered the art of having an incredible collection while keeping things beautifully edited. I was also super pleased to learn they have a Chicago location {their original home} as well as I find myself there much more frequently. 

I love to be in the kitchen, and I very easily could have spent hours perusing the goods at Whisk.  When I walked in, a staff member was teaching a small group the ins and outs of kitchen cutlery which I thought was pretty cool {not only to have super knowledgeable staff, but to be imparting that wisdom upon clientele on a random Monday afternoon}.  Whisk's shelves are brimming with everything you could ever want in your most perfect kitchen.  My picks for the day?  A large Epicurean cutting board, a couple of frosting spatulas, two boxes of pretty fantastic birthday candles, a manual juicer {for small and large citrus WITH a strainer and measuring cup attached - yes please!}, and ironically enough, several whisks.  And, I couldn't resist taking a photo of two of the striped straw options they had available.  How sweet would these look in a signature cocktail?  

Right down the street from Whisk, is The Bedford Cheese Shop.  They are not kidding when they say they are serious about their cheese.  The scent when you open the door is delightful {especially to someone like me who may or may not be capable of living off cheese and cheese alone}, full of all of the delicious selections that fill their well stocked and beautifully presented cheese cases.  It completely broke my heart to have to leave without making a purchase, but I had nowhere to store this cheese and all day ahead of me.  There was no way it would have lasted.  But, I look forward to returning to this shop, cooler intact, to take home one {or two, or three} of my favorites.  

They might be serious about their cheese, but they definitely have a sense of humor in how they describe it.  This may be the best description of any food by any shop I've ever seen.  

After taking in some wonderfulness in Williamsburg, I went on to Red Hook.  I went to Red Hook specifically for Baked.  I am most definitely a Baked devotee.  I am obsessed completely with their brownies {I have never tasted one better} and this has spurred a desire to taste/bake/master all of the ridiculously scrumptious sounding/looking recipes in each of the Founders' two cookbooks.  On this particular Monday, I stocked up on some pre-wrapped brownies {to share with my family upon my return}, a peanut butter chocolate crisped rice square, a slice of pumpkin chocolate chip bread, and a salted caramel cupcake {the very last of which I split with my traveling companion}.  All were, as expected, completely ridiculously heavenly.  I also picked up a copy of their newest cookbook, Baked Explorations, and was delighted to find it signed, as well as a Baked coffee mug because well, why not?  These guys are the real deal and you are absolutely deprived if you've never tasted the goodness that comes out of those ovens.  

Right next door to Baked is a fantastic little wine shop called botta di vino.  The energy from the store itself and Triciann {one of it's Owners} is irresistible!  When I asked for a "reasonably priced super Tuscan" she instantly delivered with a bottle of Zingari {which she tells me means gypsy and I am instantly sold} 2008 which proves to be not only reasonable at $18/bottle, but also quite tasty - so much so that it now resides on my favorites list.  Their wine cellar is not to be missed; and the custom glass floor above it gives you the perfect birds' eye view.  Very sharp design, a beautiful wine selection and super fun staff made this quick stop in a highlight of my visit. 

From Red Hook I travelled to BoCoCa, a collective term for the neighborhoods of Boerum Hill, Cobble Hills, and Carroll Gardens.  While I got shut out at the two antique shops I had wanted to visit {closed on Mondays, not so great research on my part}, I was happy to see and visit familiar favorites like Free People and Paper Source among the boutique shops.  And while many boutiques were closing up for the day by the time I arrived, I was able to pick up some Whiskey Sour Pickles from Brooklyn Brine, the Beer & Pretzel Caramels {that I have been DYING to try and have now addicted me} and "The King" {their signature with good reason} candy bar from Liddabit Sweets all at By Brooklyn, a sort of one stop shop for all things handcrafted by Brooklynites.  I was also able to grab a spinach and feta pie from Damascus bakery and shop for some wonderful goodies at Sahadi's, a specialty and fine food Brooklyn institution since 1948.  

As I exited Sahadi's and out of Brooklyn, my only regret was that I didn't have more time to explore and enjoy.  I take comfort though knowing my suitor waits for me just outside Manhattan, and that when I next see him, he won't disappoint.  

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{Friday Favorite} Brooklyn NYC

My Friday Favorite today is actually my experience in Brooklyn NYC this past Monday.  I spent a gorgeously sunny-but-not-too-hot afternoon exploring Willamsburg, Red Hook, & BoCoCa and I am so incredibly in love.  I'm so head over heels in fact, I want to share all of my findings with you in a much more extensive post.  With two weddings this weekend though, that post will have to wait.  So please look at this Friday Favorite as a preview of what's to come in my "Best of Brooklyn" feature you'll see just in time for the 4th of July holiday.  What's more patriotic than a post about our beloved NYC right?

Happy Friday!

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{Friday Favorite}: Michelle Williams' 2006 Vera Wang Oscars Dress

Certain Red Carpet moments are timeless.  When Michelle Williams arrived at the 2006 Oscars in this dandelion Vera Wang stunner, for me, it was definitely one of those moments.  The dress had the most incredible shape, floaty but structured, and in such an unexpected tone; it was completely breathtaking! Add a hairstyle that was the perfect blend of polished and undone, a strong crimson lip, and that porcelain skin, and I'm just not sure it gets any better.  I have no idea what category for which {or if} she was nominated that night, but that dress?  Unforgettable.  

Michelle Williams 2006 Oscars Vera Wang

Michelle Williams 2006 Oscars Vera Wang

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{Friday Favorite} Ariella Chezar Martha Stewart Weddings

There are certain images, certain editorials that have the ability to transport you to another place, another time, to somewhere you may have only ever dreamed about.  For me, one such editorial was featured in the Winter 2007 issue of Martha Stewart Weddings.

Martha Stewart Weddings Winter 2007

In that issue I stumbled upon an article unassumingly titled "centerpieces with fruit & flowers".  I quickly recognized that with imagery so breathtaking of centerpieces so perfect, they probably could've done without a title to the article entirely.  The arrangements so strikingly crafted by the genius who is Ariella Chezar leapt from the page, each one complete perfection.  I know I'm gushing, but I can't help it.  Take a look at the editorial spread in it's full glory below and you'll know why it's been a perennial favorite of mine.

Ariella Chezar Martha Stewart Winter 2007

Ariella Chezar Martha Stewart Winter 2007

Ariella Chezar Martha Stewart Winter 2007

Ariella Chezar Martha Stewart Winter 2007

Ariella Chezar Martha Stewart Winter 2007

Ariella Chezar Martha Stewart Winter 2007

Even now, years after seeing them for the first time, I never tire of these images and still find inspiration in them every time I view them.  To me, that's the true essence of timeless design; something perfect, something so wonderful in it's craftsmanship that the passing years have no power over it's relevance.  

Happy Friday!  


{Friday Favorite} Diorshow Mascara - The Best Mascara of All Time?

Welcome to our new blog feature - Friday Favorites!  Every Friday, stop in for products, services, images, etc. we Shi Shi girls can't get enough of - it's our little way of saying "Happy weekend!"  We hope you'll visit often and fall in love with our favorites as much as we have!  To kick off our new series, we couldn't think of any better way than to feature our all time favorite mascara for dressing up, Diorshow!

We fell in love with this incredibly lushifying, lengthening, all around "Are those her real lashes?" creating formula and brush when it was introduced in 2002.  It's been on our radar {and in our makeup bags} ever since.  And we're not the only ones!  Diorshow regularly makes appearances on top fashion magazines' best of lists like Harper's Bazaar and InStyle {note: title won 2007-2012 - quite the impressive dynasty!} to name a few.  

Dior has many formulations of the Diorshow line now available, including Iconic {also curls the lashes}, Blackout {super intense color}, Extase {Diorshow volume x10}, and their newest addition, Diorshow New Look {mascara plus a lash multiplier treatment serum}.  There is a waterproof version of almost every formulation and a Maximizer {for plumping and priming} as well.  So find your nearest Dior counter {Nordstrom, Saks, & Dillard's in the NE Ohio region} or any Sephora store and discover your favorite!    

Dare we say it is the best wedding day, going out, special occasion mascara of all time?  We do.  

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Elizabeth & Chris' Sunwashed Engagement Shoot

Picture a day that feels like this...

That's just the type of late spring afternoon Elizabeth & Chris had for their engagement shoot with Dan & April O'Keefe of Z Media.  We LOVE Dan & April's work; especially their ability to turn the simplest moments into the most beautiful imagery.  Elizabeth & Chris chose the Tremont district of Cleveland and Cuyahoga National Valley Park for their shoot, where will you find your simply perfect moments?  

Enjoy these completely lovely images and have a happy, safe, and relaxing Memorial Day weekend everyone! 

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Best Spring 2013 Wedding Dresses From Bridal Market NYC

Spring 2013's Bridal Market NYC was held April 14-16th at Pier 92.  We've poured over the images from each of the designer's runways and chose our top picks to share with you!  Spring 2013's best wedding dress trends await...shall we ladies?


Carolina Herrera

We are loving the one shoulder styles and the modern goddess connotation they project.  From structured and simple to gauzy and ethereal, one shouldered gowns are everywhere this season.


Alvina Valenta

Perhaps the most surprising trend to us (but nonetheless lovely) this season is the peplum skirt.  Peplums are perfect for creating an hourglass figure and add a graphic statement to any wedding dress.


Reem Acra

Reem Acra (among others) have several gowns this season with removable overlays.  Underneath this ball gown is a sassy little mini ready to party at the reception.  Two stunning wedding gowns for the price of one? Yes please!



We're always a sucker for lace, but this season, something about the way it's presented feels so fresh and even more wonderful than usual.  Maybe it's the Duchess Catherine effect, who knows?  What we can say is lace is definitely a show-stopper, especially when embellished with a fluffy tulle train like this Christos gown above.


Vera Wang

Color still abounds on the bridal runways and in many different persuasions.  Probably the biggest purveyor of color this season is the iconic Vera Wang who showcased RED big time.  Her dahlia (shown above), scarlet, crimson, and vermillion hues dazzle in frothy textured layers.  Take heed all you less than brazen brides out there; the entire collection is also available in white or ivory.

See all of our Spring 2013 wedding dress favorites from Bridal Market NYC on our Best Spring 2013 Wedding Dresses board on Pinterest.


Cleveland Wedding: Sam & Rusty {7.30.11}

Samantha Schindler and Russell "Rusty" Brown were married on July 30, 2011 at St. Clarence Church.  It was a beautiful thing to watch the priest who had married Sam's parents, George and Karen Schindler, and baptized Sam, officiate their wedding ceremony.  Sam looked incredible; her wedding dress with sweetheart neckline, beaded bodice, and layered, ruffled skirt was so stunning! The bridesmaid dresses (Jim Hjelm) were one of our favorites to date, a modified mermaid with gorgeous neckline embellishment in the color “Sunset”.  We kept the bridesmaids’ bouquets clean and simple using two white Cattleya orchids hand tied for each girl.  Samantha’s bouquet was an all white mix of Cattleya orchids, calla lilies, hydrangea, spider mums.  Vase to Vase provided all personal flowers for the wedding.  We also have to mention Mrs. Brown’s hat - OMG Rusty's mom's hat!!!  It was spectacular!

We weren't the only ones over the moon the for the bridesmaids dresses!  JLM Weddings (a JLM Couture real weddings site) recently featured Samantha's bridesmaids!  For more photos of the girls' dresses visit JLM Weddings.

The reception was held at Weymouth Country Club in Medina, OH. Sam & Rusty's wedding day was all about bold, bright, fun!  Samantha wanted a tropical "hot" feel to their wedding day, which we achieved by incorporating vibrant pinks and oranges into their color palette and design.  The first hint guests received of what the wedding day would hold in store for them was the save the date.  Sam wanted to keep it light, and being that she is a diehard Browns fan and Rusty is a diehard Bengals fan, and both teams have orange in their team colors, and we were using orange in our color palette, (see where this is going?) we created a save the date with Paper Trails that featured "The Battle of Ohio Unites" with the couple smiling in their jerseys and the wedding date circled on a July calendar.   We also custom created Sam & Rusty's invitation suite and accessories with the lovely gals at Paper Trails.  Sam wanted the invitation to be formal, but still have a fresh, fun feel; an iridescent white card stock complimented by a phenomenal card stock in a color called "Pout" (a sassy deep honeysuckle) brought the two worlds together perfectly.  We all loved the abstract rose motif we used on the invitation's cover so much that it made it's way onto all of Sam & Rusty's paper accoutrements and even made an appearance in their lighting design!  Samantha's table numbers showed the couple's playful side by showcasing a photo of Sam & Rusty each at the age corresponding to the table number.  To view all of Samantha and Rusty's paper wonderfulness, visit their album on our Facebook page

Being that Sam's father George is a restaurateur; it was of the utmost importance that the menu be memorable.  Sam & Rusty had one of our most diverse and extensive menus to date!  For cocktail hour, not only did they serve the expected stationary and passed hors d'oeuvres, but they also brought in the unexpected Sushi Rock to hand roll custom created "Sam" and "Rusty" rolls for the guests!  Servers passed splits of Perrier Jouet with orange straws and guests enjoyed Weymouth Country Club's terrace in lounge spaces we created with rattan furniture.  Cocktail hour was just the beginning!  

Guests were seated for dinner at a mix of estate and round tables with tabletop arrangements from Vase to Vase.  Weymouth has a very tall vaulted ceiling and on the estate tables we highlighted that feature with towering tropical leaved "trees" as the focal point of the design.  For dinner, guests were served a plate of citrus honey glazed chicken with mango cilantro salsa, coconut basmati and wild rice, and petite carrots and haricot verts.  After dinner, guests were treated to an exceptional dessert buffet featuring four different flavors of wedding cake (almond, red velvet, carrot, and chocolate), and assorted pastries (including two different types of cake pops {lemon or lime}, 3 different kinds of brownies {dark chocolate, peanut butter, or dried cherry with ganache}, caramel nut bars, lemon squares, and chocolate dipped coconut macaroons) all from Flour Girl.  The cake's top and bottom tiers were modeled after the bride's dress and the middle tier after her incredible hand made garter!  If that wasn't enough to calm the guests' craving for sweets, there was also a chef making Bananas Foster to order!

The dance floor was packed all night thanks to the DJs of TKO Entertainment, and for those taking a break from the dance floor, Shutterbooth was onsite with a photobooth.  Our favorite moment of the night?  The surprise fireworks display!  Only Sam and her vendors knew; all of the guests including both sets of parents, and her groom were surprised!  It was an incredibly magical and touching moment made even more special by the "fireworks mix" Ted from TKO created to accompany the show.  It was all so perfect.

The party went until 2 AM, and with one of Sam & Rusty's favorite meals of the day being breakfast, it was only natural that we should serve a breakfast buffet at Midnight.  Guests loved the french toast sticks, silver dollar pancakes, mini McMuffins, and classic cereals!  It was a sweet ending to a sweet, sweet day.


Want an experience like Sam & Rusty's?  Here's the rundown on our experience essentials partners:

Wedding Planning & Design: Shi Shi Events Wedding Planning & Design
Photographer: Z Media
Floral: Vase to Vase
Cake and Pastries: Flour Girl
Photobooth: Shutterbooth
Sushi: Sushi Rock
Guest Transportation: Lakefront Lines
Bridal Party Transportation: First Class Limo