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3.28.2011

6 Wedding Write-Offs

Weddings are expensive, it's too bad you can't write them off on your taxes. Or wait.... can you? With careful planning, you can say "I do" to these six wedding write-offs.

1. The church. If you are paying a ceremony fee, it may be tax deductible. If not, ask whether or not the church waives fees for members who donate at a certain level. It may be worth upping your donations for the year to get a triple benefit: a fee waiver, a tax write off, and good karma.

2. The venue. If you are having your reception or getting married at a historical garden, museum, or national or state park, the fee you are paying may be deductible as a donation. Check with the site for more details.

3. Flowers and food. Once your wedding is over, have a friend take the leftover food and flowers to a homeless shelter, women's center, or similar non-profit organization. Not only will you have done a good deed, with a receipt, but you'll be able to take a deduction for the value of the items donated.

4. The gown. Donate your wedding gown to a non-profit organization like Making Memories or the I Do Foundation and you'll help others enjoy their day in style. The same goes for the flower girl and bridesmaid dresses, as well as candles and other decorations that won't spoil.

5. Wedding favors. Instead of soon-forgotten trinkets, make a donation to a charity on behalf of everyone in your wedding and your guests, and you'll be helping others while garnering yourself a tax deduction. You might even let your wedding party choose the charities they treasure.

6. Gift registry. Create a wedding gift registry through the IDFoundation.org and 10% of gift purchases will be donated to your favorite charity. You can harvest charitable rebates with wedding purchases through the foundation, and even create a charity registry where guests can donate to commemorate your special day.

Be sure to document these wedding write-offs with receipts and contracts, so you'll have the back up available at tax time. Then you can claim your deduction, boost your tax refund, and have extra funds to toast your wedded bliss.

*Turbo Tax notes these wedding write-offs on their blog.

3.21.2011

It's a Love Story...

Congratulations to...

Megan + Nick!

This adorable couple sent in their love story and were chosen as the winners of our Glitter Contest and I am so excited to be a part of their journey to the aisle!

Thank you to everyone who sent in their stories, we had a great time reading them and will be sending you a special offer this week. Keep an eye on your inbox!

3.20.2011

The Proposal

March 20th is Proposal Day! According to The Knot, one out of four women surveyed were not happy with how their S.O. proposed to them. Complaints about their proposals included that it wasn't romantic enough, wasn't original enough, that it was too over the top, or that the dude came to the party sans ring. I would guess the woman pictured {with the petrified face} here would include herself as part of that 25 percent.

A proposal is just a moment and some moments don't go as planned. The point is the lifelong commitment you're choosing to make. The only proposal I've ever gotten involved a toilet, which should have been an indicator of how the rest of that relationship would go. How about you? Were you satisfied with how your proposal went?

3.17.2011

Special Reminder

Don't forget!

Today is the last day to submit your dream wedding wishes for the opportunity
to win a full style package valued at $1800.
A winner will be chosen and announced on Monday.

It's also the last day to take advantage of our spectacular 20% off any package special! Book today!

3.16.2011

DIY: Bridal Bouquet

Bride, Allie, is currently working on her Masters in Victorian Literature and these bouquets had her name all over them. Aren't these book page flowers awesome?!

The 'How To', if you'd like to create your own...

Supplies:
*book pages
*paint
*sponge brush
*file folder
*scissors
*glue
*wooden skewer
*pipe cleaner
*hot glue gun
*rhinestone
*pipe cleaner
*floral tape
After you tear out your book pages {you'll need 3 pages per flower}, mix your paint color with water to make a "wash". Using a sponge brush, wash the book pages and allow to dry completely.

While your pages are drying, create a 6 petal stencil {shown here in orange} out of a file folder {or cardboard, cardstock, cereal box, etc}. Trace onto the back of your washed pages and cut out.

Next, fold each flower three times making creases between the petals.
Flower 1: Leave whole. Flower 2: Cut out one petal. Flower 3: Cut out two petals {as shown above}.
DO NOT DISCARD EXTRA PETALS!

Glue the pages with removed petals back together, one petal on top of the other, as shown above.

Using a wooden skewer, curl the each petal on all three pages.

Stack and glue the pages in size order from biggest to smallest.
TIP: it may help to snip the bottom point off the two smaller flowers.

I hope you remembered to save those snipped petals!

Loosely curl one side of the largest snipped petal. Fold and glue two sides together, leaving the curl on the outside. It should resemble a funnel shape. Cut off the bottom tip and glue into the center of your flower.
Curl both sides of the remaining snipped petal, snip the bottom off and glue to the center of the funnel, which should already be glued to the center of your flower.

Using a wooden skewer, going from top to bottom, pierce through the flower's center. Now flower is complete without a stem!
Make a spiral on the top of a pipe cleaner {shown above} and then squish the spiral together to make a "knot". Using your hot glue gun, adhere a rhinestone to the top.

Thread the pipe cleaner through the flower's center where you pierced it.

Almost done!
Using floral tape, cover the pipe cleaner completely and VOILA! A paper flower.


If you'd like to add leaves, as I have here, repeat steps 1 and 2 using green paint and a leaf stencil. Glue paint side up to the underside of your flower and allow to dry.

Don't forget to make a tossing bouquet!



This project was adapted from the tutorial found here.

3.15.2011

Recipe by Request

For the last 4 years, I've maintained a vegetarian-friendly diet, but recently made the switch back and I have no clue what chicken quarters are {still don't}. I do know that none of the supermarket labels said anything about quarters or other pocket change and I was forced to buy a whole chicken instead. I have NEVER cut up a whole chicken before and found myself with no one to call for help, so I turned to YouTube. It was a very Julie & Julia moment. If you have a weak stomach, please find the chicken quarters. I also used baby red potatoes and forgot to add the scallions, but dinner, nonetheless was AWESOME. I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as we did...

Roast Chicken with Spring Vegetables
Total Time: 60 minutes
Serves: 4

photo courtesy of my celly telly
3 1/2 lb skin-on, bone-in chicken quarters
Salt & pepper
1 lemon, halved
3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 pound fingerling or other small potatoes
2 bunches radishes
1 bunch scallions {aka green onions}
1 bunch baby carrots {or 3/4 of a bag}
1/4 c chopped fresh dill

1. Preheat oven to 500. Rinse the chicken and pat dry. Season with salt and pepper then place skin-side up on a large baking sheet. Squeeze 1/2 lemon over the chicken and drizzle with 1 tbsp olive oil. Roast 20 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, halve the potatoes and radishes and cut the scallions into thirds. Toss the potatoes, radishes, carrots, and remaining 2 tbsp olive oil in a bowl; season with salt & pepper.

3. Remove the chicken from the oven and scatter the veggies around it. Continue to roast until the vegetables are tender and the chicken is golden and cooked through, about 20 more minutes. Squeeze the remaining 1/2 lemon over the chicken and vegetables. Top with dill and season with salt.

You CAN prep the chicken for this recipe ahead of time, I did. Everyone lived. I just took the chill off while pre-heating the oven. I prepared the veggies as directed, while roasting the first 20 min. Enjoy!

3.14.2011

Invite!

Long before guests enter your wedding wonderland, a glimpse of your special day has already been revealed behind a tiny postage stamp. Invitations set the mood, and often, the guest attire for every event. Whether you intend to host a formal affair, destination, or chic casual wedding, remember that invitations should tie into all your other plans. Here are a few of my favorite invitations ~ click the photo for link!






All invitations shown here are courtesy of Etsy.

3.09.2011

Refreshing Recipe

Ah, spring has sprung and what better way to welcome sunshiny weather than with a refreshing beverage, a bridal magazine, and a porch swing?

During an impromptu trip to World Market last week, VIP and I picked up three bottles of Torani flavored syrup and I dusted off my stellar barista skills {yup, I was a barista for 2 years back in the day, appropriate isn't it?}. Because VIP and the kids had never had Italian sodas before, I was excited to shake and serve and they were excited to sip. It's been an ongoing {and super easy} 5 star trend after dinner all week and it comes highly recommended.

In a large cup {by large, I mean the refillable Harkin's cup kind of large}, fill 3/4 with ice. Add any flavor Torani syrup or combination of syrup flavors {we bought the pump for the bottles too.} Fill cup with club soda, add a dash of cream/milk/half & half/etc {optional} and stir. 1 pump is equal to 1 tbsp syrup and the original recipe calls for 2 tbsps per 1 cup of club soda.

A few of our favorite combinations are...

Suicide Soda {kids favorite}
6 total tbsp of whatever flavors you have

Strawberry Lemonade
2 tbsp Lemon
3 tbsp Strawberry

Tropical Sunset
3 tbsp Coconut
3 tbsp Mango

Chocolate Cream Soda
2 tbsp Vanilla
3 tbsp Chocolate
cream

Applegranate
3 tbsp Pomegranate
2 tbsp Apple

Apple Razz
2 tbsp Pineapple
3 tbsp Raspberry

VIP
2 tbsp Pomegranate
2 tbsp Vanilla

These would be fun drinks to serve at any wedding reception, just add silver rum or vodka to get the party started! Cost Plus World Market, Smart & Final, and BevMo carry large selections of flavored syrups for just under $7/bottle. BevMo offers online ordering with in-store pick up in 60 minutes.

3.08.2011

Bridal Reminder

The clock is ticking on the March Special!

Love & Glitter
20% off any style package
Expires March 17, 2011
Use secret code: GLITTER when booking


3.07.2011

The DIY Bride

What can I say? If I were getting married, I'd probably be a DIY Bride. I'd make my own save the dates, invitations, veil, bouquets, boutineers, centerpieces, decorations, and who knows what else. But when you're planning a real wedding there's so much to do and so little time. So, for all the DIY Brides out there, here are my three biggest sanity saving
tips ~

*COMPILE a list of all the DIY projects you'll create. Be realistic. Ask yourself when planning your crafting if it's really a project you can do yourself. In some cases, like that 8-tiered wedding cake you're eyeballing, it's smarter to hire help. For each craft project, compile a list of all the supplies you'll need too.

*COMPLETE a detailed schedule of tasks to save your sanity {and possibly your relationship with your MOH}. Be sure to include when each project needs to be finished and schedule larger, non-perishable projects first. The sooner you get things done, the more relaxed you'll be closer to your big day.

*CREATE. Helping hands will get the larger projects done quickly, get a wedding crew together and host a few crafting parties.

For those of you who want assistance or need ideas for creating custom details for your big day, please contact me and inquire about my DIY package: A La Mode. Custom details for every bride and groom with custom pricing to match!

3.04.2011

The Ring

No not this kind...
This kind.... !
An engagement ring should be as unique as the woman who wears it. Keeping in mind that it's also the most important piece of jewelry that a woman will ever wear and she will wear it every. single. day. It should be a reflection of who she is.

I have often wondered the origin of traditions and since my birthstone is the diamond, I have often wondered why we often associate diamonds with engagement {and not my birthday}. So, I did some research. If you Google the history of the diamond engagement ring, you'll read that the first recorded case was when Archduke Maximillan of Hamburg gave Mary of Burgandy a diamond engagement ring in 1477, but they were hardly the trend setters.

Max and Mary aside, before the 20th century women were offered other gifts of betrothal, like sewing thimbles. Nothing says I love you like, "I want you to be the only woman who darns my socks. Will you marry me?" Totally romantic, right? It's no wonder the diamond engagement ring didn't catch on until the 1930's!

Now, the way my creative brain works this discovery lead to one thing, which lead to another and another, and it finally brought me here... What do diamonds mean? *insert double rainbow sobs here*

We all know that yellow roses mean friendship and red roses mean true love, but have you ever given thought to the symbolic meaning of gemstones? Surely they mean something, otherwise, the most popular engagement stone would be rubies, which are red ~ the color of true love. Eh? So, I did some more research and discovered the following...

Amethyst :: deep love and sincerity.
Aquamarine :: continual happiness and consistency in love.
Emerald :: hope, peace, and tranquility.
Ruby :: beauty and passion.
Diamond :: wisdom and clarity.
White Sapphire :: loyalty and fidelity.
White Topaz :: love and success.

And after all that darn research, I have concluded that there is no really good reason why diamonds are the most popular, except they fit into every wardrobe.

Like I always say, "break the rules and eff tradition!" Bravo to the following girls who are {or, in J-Lo's case have} sported out of the ordinary rings ~

3.03.2011

Unique Wedding Favors

So, I was browsing online for offbeat wedding favors and came across these awesome and awesomely priced ideas. A few of my favorites, click on the photo for link ~

Hugs & Kisses from the Mr & Mrs!
X & O Soap


The Perfect Blend
Gourmet Coffee + Heart Shaped Scoop


The Perfect PairSalt & Pepper Shakers


Olive You!Olive Dish & Spreader Set


Spread the LovePersonalized Jars of Jam