Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Halloween "Slash" Wedding Day

I went trick or treating for the first (and last time) when I was 10 years old. I was scared by a witch and ran all the way home with my mom running behind me. Never liked Halloween after that. With my love of weddings, I always wondered how I would feel if I had to do a wedding on Halloween day and what the wedding would look like? I hope not too bloody or scary. Dark and mysterious is ok as long as no one scares me. Below is what I envision.

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You can werk black beading and a birdcage veil like nobody's business.
LiveJournal / Via

You can add little skull and crossbones accents everywhere and not feel excessive about it:

You can defy nature by having black flowers:
My Inspired Wedding / Via

Your cardholders won't suck.
Offbeat Bride / Via

Your centerpieces can get real whimsical:
Wedding Obsession / Via

The phrase "smell my feet" won't be out of place at all:
Heather Forsythe / Via

Boho Weddings

You can acquire the most perfect spoons in existence:

Monday, October 28, 2013

Floral Crowns For Your Wedding

Last week we talked about hair accessories being totally on trend right now. If you don't necessarily want "bling" in your hair and would like flowers, then you will want to talk to your florist and show him/her these pictures of floral crowns. It is the perfect "fit" if you are having a fall wedding or a bohemian bride! 

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Friday, October 25, 2013

Totally Cool Men's Wedding Bands

I often hear my girlfriends complain about their husbands not wearing their wedding bands. As the complaining goes on, their imagination starts to go wild about all the possible reasons they don't want to wear their wedding band. Once, only once, I blurted out to a girlfriend: "I don't think he is cheating on you. He just doesn't want to wear his wedding band because it is ugly. It looks like an engagement ring for a guy."

If you want your man to wear his wedding band and actually want to, consider asking him for his opinion and help chose a really cool one for him. Here are some ideas! (To my male readers: You're welcome!)

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Copper Inlay Wedding Band, $229

Square Onyx Band, $850

Rose Gold and Diamond Pine Tree Ring, $570

Wood Grain Printed Ring, $550

Braided Ring by Furrer-Jacot, $3700

Titanium and Deer Antler Ring, $189

Blades of Grass Ring, $125

Industrial Studded Band, $200

Stuart Moore Fabric-Look Ring, $3445

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

So You Want to Lose Weight, Part 2

Guest Blogger: Vincci Tsui, RD

In the last part of the series, we've determined that cleanses/detoxes, low-carb and gluten-free all aren't healthful and sustainable ways to lose weight. I should probably add that most other diet books and programs would fall under that category, and there is no evidence that specific foods or supplements can significantly boost your metabolism. The only thing losing weight there would be your bank account.

So, what does work when it comes to weight loss? Last week, I mentioned that at the end of the day, it is about calories. And it's about reducing calories in a way that doesn't suck. Because if you're hungry all the time, cutting out all your favourite foods or constantly in pain from all the extra exercise you're doing, then you're probably not going to keep doing it and you'll go back to your usual, higher calorie habits.

Here are some tips that have worked for my clients in the past, meaning that they can work for anyone at anytime - not just before a wedding.

Be patient! Remember that healthy weight loss is a maximum of 1-2 pounds per week, and it is normal for weight to plateau or even go up a bit as you embark on your weight loss/healthy eating journey.

Start small and SMART.
It's very easy when getting ready for lifestyle change to want to do everything (!) RIGHT NOW (!!!) That can easily get overwhelming, stressful and discouraging. When you're done reading this list, pick one or two things that you'd like to try, or pick something that's worked for you in the past as a place to start, then set a SMART goal.

You might have encountered SMART goals in the past. Everyone seems to know a different variation on the acronym - this is mine:

Specific: When clients first see me, many state it's because they want to "eat less" or "eat better". Less of what? What does eating "better" look like? A SMART goal should be able to answer the 5W's and serve as a mini-action plan.

Measurable: A better way to phrase this is, "How will you know when you've achieved the goal?" Perhaps eating better for you means eating more vegetables. To make this measurable, you may want to increase the volume that you eat in a meal, or increase the number of times you have vegetables in a day or a week.

Action: The reason for setting goals is so that you will go out and do it, which is why I shy away from setting weight goals. While "lose" is a verb, we can't just will ourselves to lose a specific amount of weight... otherwise I'd be out of business! Set a goal about what you can do that can lead to weight loss. Again, this list of tips may help.

Realistic: Start small. You might feel like you're not setting the bar high enough, but the point of setting small, achievable goals is that we all like positive reinforcement. Don't stop after you achieve the first goal, but celebrate the small success and allow it to snowball into more and more change.

Timeframe: Setting a timeframe for your goal gives a sense of urgency and priority. Notice how you're always procrastinating about cleaning your house until you know that company's coming? When there's a deadline, you're more likely to get started.

Eat every 3-5 hours.
While many are embracing the tip to eat small meals more often, there are still some people out there who think skipping breakfast or working through lunch is the key to losing weight. If we're trying to take in fewer calories, we should eat less often, right?

Though there is the belief that eating more regularly helps to "stoke the fire" and keep our metabolism going, what it actually does is to help manage our hunger.

Think about the last time that you were *STARVING*... you probably weren't craving a salad, right? When we're hungry, we tend to eat more convenience foods, serve ourselves bigger portions and eat faster, which makes it hard for our stomach to communicate to the brain that it's full. Eating regularly means that we go into our meals and snacks ready to eat, but not *STARVING*, making it easier to make healthy choices in terms of what, how much and how fast we eat.

Don't drink your calories.
Liquids go through our bodies faster than solids, and they don't make us feel any fuller. Imagine eating a meal with a glass of wine versus a glass of water - you'd probably eat the same amount, but having the wine would add an extra 100-150 calories!

When it comes to where our liquid calories come from, there are two main culprits: alcohol and the coffee shop. A standard serving of alcohol (a 12 oz bottle or can of beer, a 5 oz glass of wine, 1.5 oz liquor) will set you back about 100-200 calories. Add mixer to them and they'll clock in at more - some pina coladas have up to 400 calories, which is more than a medium order of fries at McDonald's!

I always joke that the longer the name of your Starbucks drink, the more calories it probably has. And yes, I wept a little too when I found out that a Grande Pumpkin Spice Latte has 380 calories
(those fries are sounding more and more delicious.) Don't worry, I'm not telling you to cut up that Gold Card! Swap that Grande for a Tall, or even a Short (8 oz), skip the whipped cream and ask for skim milk, and ta-da! You've instantly shaved off almost 200 calories.

Eat mostly foods prepared at home.
Eating out more than two times per week can increase your calorie intake for the week by over 34%, which is no surprise, given that the average restaurant entree clocks in 1,000 calories. (To put it into perspective, for weight loss, most people should be aiming for 1,500-1,800 calories.) A restaurants' focus is on the food's taste and on getting you back through the door, even if you are making the same dishes at home, you probably won't be using as much fat, sugar and/or salt as you're favourite eatery. When you're in control of the ingredients, preparation method and portion size, it'll help you get slimmer while your wallet gets fatter.

Fill half your plate with vegetables.
When it comes to weight loss, many people focus on eating less and sometimes come out starving. This tip is great because it focuses on the type of food you're eating. Still serve yourself a full plate, but instead of having most of the plate being taken over by your 8 oz steak or even a giant chicken breast (or pasta or rice if you're a carb lover like me), fill half your plate with vegetables first. It's OK to have two types of vegetables, or serve a salad and a cooked vegetable if the idea of a mountain of broccoli seems daunting. Divide the rest of your plate between your lean proteins and whole grains or other high-fibre starchy foods.

This method works because you still get a full plate of food, but by replacing some of your higher calorie foods with low calorie, high nutrient vegetables, you can cut down your calorie intake while still feeling satisfied.

Add movement to your day.
I generally spend more time talking about calories in versus calories out partly because I am a dietitian, but also because exercise doesn't really burn a lot of calories. Still, moving in a way that you enjoy can have lots of other health benefits, like better sleep and mood, and lower blood sugar, blood pressure and cholesterol. Staying active may also keep you more motivated to make healthier choices.

If you're not a fan of slogging it out at the gym, choose something you like, whether it's dancing the night away, getting a quick breath of fresh air with a brisk walk, or learning a new sport.

Write it down.
While food journals can feel tedious, they can be worth it. In 2008, a study out of the Kaiser Permanente Care Management Institute found that people who kept a daily food journal lost twice as much weight as people who didn't. A food journal can be a way to help you stay accountable to yourself, as well as a tool to make it easier to see "problem" areas, such as food choices that tend to be higher in calories or meal spacing during the day. The food journal is not meant to be used to "judge" or "evaluate" your eating - think of your weight loss journey as a big experiment and your journal as an observation or log book.

The basic things to keep track of in a food journal should be the times you eat, what and how much you're eating. There are lots of food journals available for purchase at bookstores, there are many downloadable templates online, or even make your own Excel spreadsheet. (Hello, accountants and engineers!) There are also lots of food journalling apps and websites that allow you to track and calculate your calorie intake wherever you go. Whichever method you choose, remember that the most important part is that you're doing it, so pick one that works well for you!

I hope you will try a few of these tips and let us know how they work for you - good luck and happy wedding!

Vincci is a Calgary-based dietitian who loves nutritious food that nourishes. She has featured on a variety of local and national media, including Breakfast Television Calgary, Global Calgary, Fairchild Radio, Canadian Living and Best Health magazine. For more information on Vincci and her services, please visit

Monday, October 21, 2013

Gorgeous Wedding Headpieces

After you have found your dream gown, you will want to start researching on how to pull your whole bridal look together. This includes your makeup, hair, hair accessories, and jewelry. This is where the fun really begins! There are so many different possibilities and ways you can change up your bridal look throughout your wedding day.

Hair accessories have been a huge trend lately. Previously, when you thought about hair accessories, you would only think of a veil underneath or flower beside your bun or half-updo. Here are some headpieces that add a little bit of sparkle on your head, interest, and unexpected surprise!

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Golden Whimsy Crown

Branch Headband

Double Band Golden Tiara

Floating Stars Headband

Draped Headwrap

Lace Headpiece

Crystal Crown

Crystal Fascinator

Friday, October 18, 2013

How To Find a Flattering Wedding Gown

Many different brides come by our wedding gown consignment boutique (and we love them all)! Some brides come in with a very clear idea of what gowns work for their bodies and what they are looking for; some have tried on an upwards of 40 gowns before coming to their appointment; some come to us with no idea what works and kinda-didn't-want-to-wear-a-wedding-gown-to-begin-with. (WHAT?!)

Here are some tips (steps?) on finding a flattering wedding gown:

1) Be open to trying all different types of silhouettes
Bridal gown silhouettes are not normal silhouettes you find in everyday clothing. Chances are you have never seen what a mermaid, trumpet, or ball gown looks like on you. When you see a dress in a picture it may not translate as to what looks good on your body shape. So be open to new silhouettes and be able to adapt and see what silhouette enhances your shape, then you will look and feel your best on your big day.

2) Understand your body's proportions
Finding the silhouette with the perfect proportion for your body will help emphasize areas you want to show off, and minimize others. If the proportion is not correct to your body it can be unflattering.
Look at the gown in relation to your whole body, from the top of your shoulders to your feet. By finding the correct proportion and silhouette it will make your figure appear balanced and enhance the best parts of your body, giving you confidence on your big day.

3) Make sure your dress fits
It is not often that you will be able to find a gown that fits you perfectly. Alterations are the last step to making sure your wedding gown is flattering and worry-free. Do not skimp on this step and do not attempt it on your own. Also, don't ask a family member to do this for you. Unless they are a professional seamstress, they should not have to carry this amount of stress on them.

Taking all the time to select your bridal gown and trying on different silhouettes and making sure the proportions are correct will all be lost if you do not get alterations done on your dress. You do not want to spend all night pulling up your dress because the bodice does not fit properly or risk falling down or tripping over your dress because the hem is too long. If you are getting a dress with straps or illusion sleeve detailing, you want to make sure they fit to your arms and are not falling off your shoulders. You want to enjoy your wedding day and look amazing in your pictures, so alterations are a must.

Below are some pictures of different styles of gowns, which one do you like? Which one do you think will look good on you? and which one do you think you will likely purchase as your wedding gown?

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Alvina Valenta Bridal Gowns, Wedding Dresses Style AV9300 by JLM Couture, Inc.

Alvina Valenta Bridal Gowns, Wedding Dresses Style AV9301 by JLM Couture, Inc.

Alvina Valenta Bridal Gowns, Wedding Dresses Style AV9305 by JLM Couture, Inc.

Alvina Valenta Bridal Gowns, Wedding Dresses Style AV9307 by JLM Couture, Inc.

Alvina Valenta Bridal Gowns, Wedding Dresses Style AV9308 by JLM Couture, Inc.

Alvina Valenta Bridal Gowns, Wedding Dresses Style AV9311 by JLM Couture, Inc.

Alvina Valenta Bridal Gowns, Wedding Dresses Style AV9316 by JLM Couture, Inc.

Photo Credit: JLM Couture

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

So You Want to Lose Weight, Part I

Guest Blogger: Vincci Tsui, RD

So, you read my last guest entry about how you shouldn't lose weight for your wedding, but you're not convinced. You really, really, really want to lose weight. You need to lose weight. Or at least eat better or exercise or something.

First, you should ask yourself, Why do I want to lose weight?
Be honest. Is it because you want to look good (or worse yet, fit) into your dress? Is it because everyone else you knew went on a wedding diet? If so, go back to my last post and read it again. Maybe more than once.

But maybe you're thinking that this wedding represents a new chapter in your life and the perfect time to make some lifestyle changes that you'd like to carry on for the rest of your life. OK, now we're talking. But where do we start?

Realistic Expectations
While we've all seen the ads of the miracle diet or supplement that guarantees losing 10 pounds in two weeks, a realistic amount of weight loss is 1-2 pounds maximum per week. Yes, weight loss can happen faster than that, but usually the faster the weight is lost, the easier it is to gain it back.
Part of the reason behind that is because, believe it or not, our bodies are not simply sacks of fat. There are lots of different things that make up that number on the scale, including bones, muscle, blood, fluid, partially digested food, etc. If you're losing weight quicker than 1-2 pounds per week, in most cases, it's not related to fat loss. That's partially why I don't recommend weighing more than once a week either, so you're not fretting with all those ups and downs.

Should I go on a cleanse?
Cleanses and detoxes have grown in popularity over the past few years. Celebrities like Gwyneth Paltrow boast about cleansing twice a year to "give the body a boost" and help "reset" the system. Many people like the idea of kicking off a diet with a cleanse because they feel that it'll help their bodies burn calories more efficiently.

There is really no scientific evidence behind cleanses and detoxes. If you type in "cleanse diet" in, one of the biggest databases of scientific/medical journal articles, the four results that appear talk mainly about bowel prep diets for colonoscopies, and if you type in "detox", most of the articles are about drug detox. Most cleanses and detoxes are vague about what the toxins actually are and don't provide tangible outcomes of when you're clear of these "toxins". Think about it - how is it possible that only being able to choose from five foods for three weeks has the same effect as drinking lemon juice, maple syrup and cayenne pepper for 10 days?

Yes, many people do lose weight on cleanses and detoxes, but that is only because you're probably eating a lot less food than you usually do, not because you're spilling out poisons from your body that have been trapped for a lifetime.

Should I cut out carbs? Go gluten-free?
While we're no longer at the height of the Atkins craze, many people out there still have a fear of pasta and potatoes. While it's true that we can all benefit from removing refined carbohydrates like added sugar, white bread, white rice and regular pasta from our diet, not all carbs are equal/evil.

One of my theories of why gluten-free has caught on so quickly is because it feeds on that carb fear that a lot of people still have. "Gluten! Now there's a specific reason why carbs are bad, right?"
The reason why low-carb or gluten-free diets work for some people is partly because grains and starchy foods are a staple. Many of us grew up eating huge portions of bread, potatoes, pasta or rice with our meals. When we cut out a substantial part of our meal and don't really replace it with anything, we're cutting out a lot of calories! In the case of gluten-free, it's not just starches. Gluten can be found in lots of processed foods, so some people going on a gluten-free diet end up cooking more from scratch and eating more foods that are naturally gluten-free, like vegetables, fruit and lean proteins, again reducing a lot of calories and leading to weight loss.

You've said "No" to everything! So how do I go about losing weight?
As you can probably guess if you've managed to read everything up to this point, calories count when it comes to losing weight. Unfortunately, there are no exact numbers - because there is so much that affects our weight and because the way we calculate calories in foods can be inaccurate, we can't say that eating X calories will lead to Y amount of weight loss. What we do know is, at the end of the day, any diet that leads to weight loss decreases your calorie intake in some way. Picking a specific diet that works for you means picking changes that you can make that will last for a lifetime. In the last part of this series, I'll share some tips for reducing calories that can be done any time - not just when your wedding's coming up!

Vincci is a Calgary-based dietitian who loves nutritious food that nourishes. She has featured on a variety of local and national media, including Breakfast Television Calgary, Global Calgary, Fairchild Radio, Canadian Living and Best Health magazine. For more information on Vincci and her services, please visit


Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Disney Princess Inspired Wedding Gowns

I believe there is a little bit of a Disney princess in all of us. Regardless of where you grew up, you probably watched a Disney movie and envisioned yourself as a princess. Not really a typical "princess" but I always envisioned myself as Mulan, going to war!

If you want to become a Disney princess on your wedding day and not on Halloween, there is a line of Disney wedding gowns at Alfred Angelo! Which princess do you want to be? Leave me a line and share! I will even share with you that I used to (and still) belt out Reflections like Mulan/Christina Aguilera!

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Ariel from The Little Mermaid


Belle from Beauty and The Beast

Jasmine from Aladdin

Tiana from The Frog Princess

Photo Credits: Alfred Angelo, Disney

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