DIY: Wedding Vision Board

11 May

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I love a physical, tacked-on-a-bulletin board #inspo board as much as the next girl and my love of Pinterest speaks for itself, but as decision time approached for me to decide on a direction for my wedding design way back when, I turned to Photoshop to cull together what I considered my “true wedding vision.”

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And since moving into our first home, I’ve relied on Photoshop to help me hone in the design and decor direction I’d like to go in as I slowly upgrade and phase out some of the trustier, old Ikea standbys we all came to know and love in those post-college years.

honing in our your home styleI recently suggested using Photoshop to a cousin who is struggling to pull all the design, decor, and styling ideas for her own September nuptials so I thought it would be a good time to walk through just what I mean when I say that Photoshop is my go-to for vision board creation.

I’ll put together a brief video below explaining how I put my board together and add it below when I have a moment later tonight but for now, I’ll walk through how I typically approach pulling together ALL those pieces of a major design and styling project like a wedding.

How to pull together your wedding vision board:

1. First, let your imagination run wild. Pull images from magazines, screen shot things you see on Instagram from your phone, and pin to boards on Pinterest. Go nuts. Don’t worry about categorizing or organizing. Just collect whatever is speaking to you.

2. Next, review and look for common threads in the images you’ve saved. Are you seeing lots of pastel colors? Bright pops of color on a lush green background? Are the dresses you’re choosing mostly the same type of silhouette? Do the venues you’re ripping pictures of look grand and ornate or are they small and intimate? If you’re seeing a lot of wood tones in the physical space of a lot of the images you’re drawn to, it makes it easier to reassess the odd seaside wedding setting laced with nautical touches. On the flip side, if you just can’t bare to cut that from your board, you know you need to reassess how the rest of your elements will work together and brainstorm ways you might be able to better integrate that one-off element you’ve fallen in love with.

For my own wedding, I was set on cookie favors and had to rework how they’d be packaged so the black and white stripes theme didn’t overwhelm when 100+ favor bags were displayed as guests departed.

3. Once you start to recognize the common threads, you’ll start to hone in on the true vision. Maybe that means you’re going for an intimate, casual outdoor wedding with rustic touches and a navy and yellow color scheme. Start to pull out those FAVORITE images from the bunches and save them into a single folder on your desktop. If you don’t have Photoshop, now is a great time to download a trial.

3. I usually create a new 11 x 8.5 (standard paper size) for easy printing blank doc and then import all the images from the folder. Then I’ll drag them into the document and scale them down to fit. Usually I’m able to further cull the things that just don’t work in the context of all the others or I’ll recognize that something — say an adorable favor idea — might require some reworking to fit the theme that’s beginning to take shape.

4. Ta dah! Vision board is complete! It’s so helpful to see all the pieces TOGETHER in a single spot because you can pinpoint if you’re going overboard with how you might want to utilize a color scheme in one wedding category, for example, in the flowers, or how a really graphic or specific pattern, like polka dots, might be overwhelming to the eye if you repeat in on your wedding programs, on the groomsmen’s ties, and then use big doses of it for the reception linens.

Hope you found this useful! I love inspiration boards to help me pinpoint potential wedding style issues and create a cohesive and well-thought out wedding design scheme without the help of a professional.

My 30’s Beauty Revelation

9 May

I’ve always been a beauty junkie from the moment I cracked my first Allure when I was 10 or 11. Thanks to my devoted magazine consumption in my pre-teen and adolescent years, I amassed such knowledge of skin care, products, and hair tips that I knew to slather myself in sunscreen to delay wrinkles and had gleaned enough insight from the pros to know that there isn’t a product that will reverse aging — just temporarily lessen its appearance.

This has informed so much of my approach to beauty and aging, in addition to my own mother’s “less is more” approach. As I’ve gotten older and busier and become a mother myself, I’ve noticed drastic changes in my skin, but NOT due to aging, which is where my ah-ha moment comes in.

After I started working for myself and working from home more, I found myself wearing less and less makeup and my skin actually started to look better. I’ve always had combination/oily skin but suddenly, I was drier and the acne flare ups weren’t happening.

I’ve always loved skin care but found it tedious to prioritize after an exhausting day of work and childcare. I never went to bed without washing my face, but I didn’t succumb to a six-step: toner, essence, serum, moisturizer, etc parade of products. I removed my makeup then slathered on whatever acne-fighting product my face flair up required, and dabbed on some eye cream and hopped into bed later than I should have.

Then I read a book about French beauty that put everything into perspective. French women don’t slather themselves in foundation — they just take meticulous care of their skin. (And on a side note, the French as a whole also make a point to dress beautifully even while lounging around their homes and don’t feel guilty utilizing “la creche” — the national day care system. There is far more value placed on mom’s mental health and managing stress than we see here in the US where the more frazzled and run down the mother, the bigger the imagined “Good Mom” badge when we’re all silently competing with one another.)

Anyways, my point is that since really adopting this less is more makeup approach AND prioritizing not only my skincare routine, but my own wellness which encompasses how much sleep I’m getting, what I’m eating, how much I’m exercising and what I’m doing to de-stress, my skin has improved dramatically.

It’s not easy with a two-year old, but my nightly routine now consists of cleansing and makeup removal regardless of whether I’ve got more than mascara on, a quick swipe of a toner to remove any makeup or soap or daily grime residue, a press-in of SK-II Facial Essence, some eye cream and then a moisturizer that I seal in with some sort of light facial oil. I’ve been a Rodin devotee since it came out but recently ran out, so Josie Maran light Argan oil has been my go-to.


Toddler Life

3 May

It’s been about a month since we celebrated E’s second birthday and I’ve finally started to gain my bearings in this new world order that is life with a bonafide toddler. Truthfully, the transition to the dreaded terrible twos probably started closer to 18 months, but I now see that I was obliviously clinging to that glorious honeymoon-sweet spot that lasted from about a year to a year and a half. Things rapidly declined from there and culminated in a weeks long sleep regression battle that we’re technically still in, but more on that in another post.

Now that we’ve survived April, I can point to a few tips that have gotten me (sanity somewhat intact) this far and I hope will continue to serve me as we continue through this year:

  • Allow for independence and choice

    Gone are the days of ME deciding where and when a diaper change happens. If it ever became a negotiation, I was easily able to persuade E with a choice of what pattern Honest Company diaper we’d be putting on, but as she’s becoming more and more interested in ditching the diapers and potty training, everything is a battle. What works is patience on my part and allowing her to do everything “me-self” as she says, from putting her boots on to her underwear. This extends to showing her how to properly do everything from zipping up her coat to making sure she understands that one leg need to gets into each side of her underwear.
  • Practice patience 
    I touched on this above, but patience on my part determines whether there is a tantrum or peace in the ranks. I usually have what I’d call excessive amounts of patience with E but since an unfortunate trip in the yard caused me to fall last week (baby is fine and I’m just banged up) when I must have strained something in my abdominal area, I’ve been a hurting unit and not as patient all around in instances where I’m bent over uncomfortably, for example, to buckle E into her car seat. Usually I allow her to help me with the top buckle but the other day I just wanted to get her in and be on our way and boy did I pay for it by not letting her buckle herself. If I’d just given her that 30-second chance to do it herself, I’d have spared myself a 10-minute ride home from the gym listening to her whine, “Mama, me buckle!” 10,000 times.
  • Less is more with toys

    Around Christmas we packed up some of E’s toys to make room for new goodies and noticed that she actually played independently for longer and more deeply with less at her fingertips. Working with less stimulates creativity and imagination, so I’ve been trying to stay on top of rotating toys, stuffed animals, figurines and coloring books as much as possible.

  • New experiences and places

    I feel like a cruise director many days, but if I make it a point to introduce a “special project” every couple days and visits to a few new and novel spots around town, it makes for a more peaceful toddler week to week. We have our routine activities like the pool, the play center at the gym, library story time and a few favorite playgrounds and coffee shops where we have special one-on-one time, but a trip to the zoo last week, painting a sun catcher and an “animal tubby time” station setup on the patio on a beautiful spring day we had recently were one-off special activities that kept our day to day from becoming overly monotonous.
  • Consistency is key

    I’ve realized that it’s not my toddler who is unpredictable — it’s me. She’s looking for the boundary and too often, I’ll fall to lazy parenting when I’m a little overtired or feeling a little drained. Emilia frequently requests “something special” and heads to our pantry door because once, after a battle of wills, I’d negotiated with her to do X and I’d give her “something special.” I shouldn’t ever have negotiated in the first place!

    I don’t beat myself up over missteps because it’s impossible to do right all the time; the perfect parent is a myth. Consistency is more important so I try my best and when I realize I’ve veered off course, I correct. I remind myself that she isn’t set on driving me bonkers, she’s testing the boundaries and it’s my job to teach her where the boundaries lie.

I’d love to hear any observations or tips you’ve gleaned from your own experience!