the Event Essentials

Wedding Dress Workouts – Look Perfect on Your Big Day
November 28, 2007, 5:16 pm
Filed under: Advice and Tips from Experts, Diet and Fitness, Informative Articles

I found this great article on written by Jen Mueller & Nicole Nichols, Personal Trainers
Every bride-to-be wants to look her very best on her wedding day. Once you’ve found that perfect dress, you’re probably working extra hard at sticking to a healthy diet and exercise plan. We’ve designed four wedding dress workouts to help you focus on and play up the assets that your particular dress will show off. In combination with a healthy diet and regular cardio program (which will burn fat), adding these 3-4 exercises at least twice a week will help you look tight and toned on your big day.

Choose from one of these four dress styles to get your perfect workout:
1- Open back
2- Sweetheart neckline
3- Arm-baring (halter, strapless, spaghetti straps)
4- Form-fitting or Sheath gown

Open Back Dresses
Picture 3

Open back dresses feature—what else—your back. To target those muscles (Latissimus dorsi, Trapezius, Teres, Rhomboideus, Deltoideus), use these four exercises:

Exercise 1: Reverse Flys (See an animated demonstration)
What You Will Need: Dumbbells and a stability ball (optional)
Starting Position: Begin this exercise by placing your body balanced on the Swiss ball at your core with legs straight and toes on the floor. Hold dumbbells to the left and right side of the Swiss ball underneath your shoulders with arms extended.
Action: EXHALE: Raise your arms to your side, bringing the dumbbells up to shoulder level height. Keep your arms as straight as possible but do not lock your elbows. INHALE: Slowly lower the dumbbells back to the starting position to complete one rep. Aim for 8-12 reps and 2-3 sets.
Special Instructions: This is not an exercise for heavy weights. Keeping arms slightly bent will lessen the stress on the elbow. To use the ball without hurting you stomach, sit on the ball and then bend over from the waist so that your torso rests on your thighs. Repeat the same arm motion as described above from a seated position. To do this exercise without a ball, stand up straight. Pulls abs in tightly and bend over until your back is parallel to the floor. Repeat the same arm motion described above from this bent-over position. (Do not attempt this option if you have a bad lower back.)

Exercise 2: Seated Rows (See an animated demonstration)
What You Will Need: A resistance band or seated row machine in the gym (follow specific instructions for machine)
Starting Position: Sit on floor with knees slightly bent, feet hip-width apart. Keep back straight, abs in, heels on the floor. Loop band around the soles of the feet, then cross the ends/handles over shins so right hand holds left handle and left hand holds right handle, palms facing down.
Action: EXHALE: Pull hands toward chest so elbows and fists are at or near shoulder level, pinching shoulder blades together at the end of the movement. INHALE: Slowly return to starting position to complete one rep. Aim for 8-12 reps and 2-3 sets.
Special Instructions: Make it harder: Spread feet apart so they lie on the band closer to handles for more resistance. Make it easier: Do not cross handles and keep feet close together at center of band.

Exercise 3: One-Arm Dumbbell Row (See an animated demonstration)
What You Will Need: One dumbbell
Starting Position: Grasp a dumbbell with palm facing in. Rest opposite elbow on opposite leg. Try to create a flat back. Keep upper body steady.
Action: INHALE: Pull the dumbbell up as high as possible, keeping your elbow back & ensuring that the upper arm travels away from your torso a little. EXHALE: Lower dumbbell back down until arm is straight, but elbow does not lock, to complete one rep. Aim for 8-12 reps and 2-3 sets.
Special Instructions: Keep your spine in a neutral position.

Exercise 4: Wide-Grip Lat Pull Downs
What You Will Need: A lat pull down machine at the gym (follow specific instructions for machine)
Special Instructions: Take a wide (hands outside of shoulders), overhand grip on the Lat Bar and sit with feet flat on the floor. Pull the bar down and pause for a moment when the bar is just above the chest, squeezing the shoulder blades together. Slowly raise the bar in a controlled motion to complete one rep. Aim for 8-12 reps and 2-3 sets.

Sweetheart Neckline Dresses
Picture 4

Deep sweetheart necklines feature your upper chest (Pectoralis major, Anterior deltoid) muscles. For the chest, try ‘Supersets’ (2-4 different exercises focusing on the same muscle group, right in a row, with no rest between exercises). You feel the burn early on and see great results in less time. Plus, because you’re not resting between sets, you’ll reduce your workout time. Try this series of exercises in this order. Complete one set of each exercise, back-to-back without rest. Rest for 30-90 seconds and repeat entire series 1-2 times more times.

Exercise 1: Close-Grip Bench Press (See an animated demonstration)
What You Will Need: Barbell or body bar, and bench or aerobics step
Starting Position: Lie on your back on the bench with your feet flat on the floor and take an overhand grip on the barbell (palms facing out) with your hands only a few inches apart. Lower the bar down, bending the elbows, until the bar is as close to touching your chest as possible.
Action: EXHALE: Straighten your arms, lifting the bar straight up into the air until your arms are straight but not locked at the elbows. INHALE: Slowly lower down to the starting position, bringing the bar as close to your chest as possible without touching it to complete one rep.
Special Instructions: Make sure back stays flat on the bench during the entire exercise. Aim for 8-12 reps.

Exercise 2: Incline Dumbbell Flys (See an animated demonstration)
What You Will Need: A pair of dumbbells and an adjustable bench (or stability ball)
Starting Position: Adjust the bench so that it is on an incline at about 30-45 degrees. Sit on the edge of the bench and grasp the dumbbells, palms facing in. Lie back onto the bench as you lift the dumbbells to your shoulder level, palms facing in. Lift your arms straight up above your chest so that the weights touch and your arms are straight but not locked. Make sure your back is flat on the bench and your feet are flat on the floor.
Action: INHALE: Keeping arms slightly bent, and your arms in line with the plane of your chest, lower the weights toward the floor at your sides. Stop when your arms are out to the sides like a “T” (elbows still bent) and the weights reach or drop slightly below your torso. EXHALE: Keeping arms slightly bent, return the weights to the starting position, weights touching above your chest to complete one rep.
Special Instructions: Keep abs tight and back flat. Keep feet flat on the floor in front of you. Do NOT lock your elbows at any time. Aim for 8-12 reps.

Exercise 3: Pushup on Stability Ball (See an animated demonstration)
What You Will Need: A stability ball
Starting Position: Start behind the ball, place your midsection on the ball and roll forward until your hands reach the floor. Walk out with your hands until the ball is underneath your knees. Have your hands just outside of shoulder width. Keep your core strong by not dropping your hips. Your body should be as straight as possible.
Action: INHALE: Lower your upper body, bending elbows to 90 degree at the elbow. EXHALE: Straighten arms and return to the starting position.
Special Instructions: The stability ball makes a traditional push up harder. Keep you body, from your head to your butt, in a straight line throughout the movement. Make it harder: Walk out with hands so that the ball is closer to your toes. Make it easier: Place the ball closer to your hips. Do as many as you can (aim for 5-12). If you CAN do much more than this, then you are not lifting enough weight on the first 2 exercises.

Arm-Baring Dresses
Picture 5

Depending on your dress style (halter, strapless, spaghetti straps, etc.), this type of dress places a lot of emphasis on the arm and shoulder muscles (Biceps, Brachialis, Deltoids, Triceps). If your dress also shows a lot of chest (strapless) or back (halter), try to incorporate moves from the other dress sections as well.

Exercise 1: “21’s” Biceps Curls (See an animated demonstration)
What You Will Need: A pair of dumbbells, and a bench or stability ball to sit on.
Starting Position: Begin by sitting on a bench or chair. Hold a dumbbell with an underhand grip, resting that elbow on the inner side of your thigh.
Action: Exhale and curl the dumbbell up halfway (to about a 90 degree bend at the elbow) and lower while inhaling for the first 7 reps. Exhale and curl from the halfway point up to your shoulder. Inhale as you lower for the next 7 reps. Finish with 7 full curls from the lowest to the highest position to complete one set. Do not rest between each of these mini sets.
Special Instructions: Do 2-3 sets of “21s”.

Exercise 2: Front Raise to Overhead Press
What You Will Need: A pair of dumbbells
Starting Position: Stand with feet slightly apart, knees slightly bent. Hold dumbbells with an overhand grip (palms facing down), resting the weights on the front of your thighs or slightly to the side.
Action: EXHALE: With straight arms, palms facing down, raise the dumbbells up to shoulder height. Inhale: Quickly bend your elbows until you are holding the weights right in front of your shoulders, palms facing out. Exhale: Press the weights upward, directly overhead and in line with your shoulders. Do not lock your elbows. INHALE: Lower weights slowly to shoulder height, palms still facing outward. Turn wrists downward so palms face the body, and slowly lower the weights to the beginning position (weights in front of thighs) to complete one rep.
Special Instructions: Keep abs contracted and upper body straight. Avoid leaning backward while lifting the weights up. Do 2-3 sets of 8-12 reps.

Exercise 3: Bench Dips (See an animated demonstration)
What You Will Need: A sturdy chair or bench
Starting Position: Sit on a chair or step. Grasp the front edge of seat near thighs. Walk feet forward until hips are slightly bent, legs straight, arms extended (don’t lock elbows). Keep feet hip-width apart.
Action: INHALE: Bend elbows about 90 degrees and lower hips toward the floor. (If you feel pain in the shoulders, your elbows are bent too much). EXHALE: Press up until elbows are straight, but not locked.
Special Instructions: Keep weight on your heels (toes up toward ceiling).

Form-Fitted Dresses & Sheath Gowns
Picture 6

These dress styles cling to the body, placing more emphasis on the areas that are typically considered problems for many women—belly, hips, thighs, and butt. These four moves focus on those muscles (Abdominals, Gluteus medius & maximus, Tensor fascia lata, Obliques, Quadriceps, Hamstrings).

Exercise 1: 45-Degree Abduction with Resistance Band (See an animated demonstration)
What You Will Need: A resistance tube/circle
Starting Position: Begin by lying on your back with a resistance band wrapped around your feet. The band should be snug around your feet, but not too tight. Lift your legs so they are at a 45 degree angle to the floor.
Action: Keeping your legs straight, push against the resistance band with your ankles so your legs go out as far as you can take them. Slowly release to bring your feet back together. Try doing 2 sets with 10-12 repetitions.
Special Instructions: Make sure to push out just as much with your non-dominant leg as your dominant leg – keep it balanced.

Exercise 2: Single Leg Hamstring Flexion with Ball (See an animated demonstration)
What You Will Need: A stability ball
Starting Position: Begin this exercise by lying on your back with a Swiss ball under your right or left heel. Your opposite foot should be off to the side of the Swiss ball and off the ground at approximately the same height as the foot on the Swiss ball. Place your arms straight out to your side for support.
Action: Lift your hips so that you create a straight line with your body. Do not use your arms at any point. Take the leg on the ball and bring the ball in towards your body using your heels. Keep your opposite leg straight, slightly higher than the ball. Reverse the movement and lower your hips back to the ground. Aim for 2 sets of 10-12 repetitions on each leg.
Special Instructions: When rolling the ball in towards your body, make sure not to lift your pelvis towards the ceiling. Your hips should stay in the same position – this will force you to use your hamstrings.

Exercise 3: Runner’s Lunge onto Step (See an animated demonstration)
What You Will Need: An aerobics step (optional)
Starting Position: Stand behind the step with feet hip-width apart. Take a large step forward with right foot onto the step. Lower down into a lunge, right knee bent, left heel lifted. Bend arms at 90 degrees in opposition to your legs so right arm pumps forward and left arm pumps back as if running.
Action: EXHALE: Pushing off ball of left foot, straighten right knee as you lift your left knee up to hip height. Simultaneously pump arms in opposition to leg. Hold for 2 seconds. INHALE: Bring left leg down and back so that you are lunging again with the right leg forward and bent to complete one rep. Complete all reps (8-12) and switch sides.
Special Instructions: Be sure to keep forward (lunging) knee in line with ankle, toes pointing forward, hips square, and torso centered.

Exercise 4: Plank with Leg Lifts (See an animated demonstration)
This move works the entire core and the butt by lifting one leg at a time.
Starting Position: Begin this exercise by lying on your stomach with your forearms on the floor pointing straight forward, your feet together and your spine in a neutral position. Your feet should be touching or no more than an inch apart.
Action: Lift your body up on your forearms and toes, keeping your body as straight as possible. Maintain this position for as long as possible and challenge yourself to longer periods in the plank position. Keep breathing steady. Lift one leg at a time, raising heel toward ceiling a few inches and releasing. Switch sides to complete one rep.
Special Instructions: Don’t let your hips drop, knees touch, butt raise, or shift weight to one forearm. Do 2-3 sets of 8-12 reps.
Article created on: 3/30/2006


Wedding Day Emergency Kit
October 13, 2007, 6:40 pm
Filed under: Advice and Tips from Experts, Informative Articles

Bride’s Wedding Day Emergency Kit

Of course, nothing will go wrong on your big day – yet better safe than sorry.

Below is a wedding day emergency kit list. It’s probably more than you need (or maybe not enough?!). In any case, just like your wedding, make this list your own. (For the groom’s kit, click here.)

Emergency Kit

Bride’s Emergency Kit

Click here to print out a PDF version of the bride’s emergency kit from

Along with bringing your shoes, dress/veil and the groom’s ring, you may want to pick out the you want from the list below. Keep important last-minute items in your purse or ask someone in the bridal party to carry them for you.

In Your Purse or Maid of Honor’s Purse

Keep essential items on hand in a bag or purse.
Cell phone (be sure to turn it off before the ceremony!)
Emery board
Extra panty hose
Hair spray
Mirror (small and portable)
Perfume, travel size


Baby powder (useful for getting out last-minute spills on a white dress)
Bobby pins and hair elastics
Brush and comb
Clear nail polish (also helpful for stocking runs)
Corsage pins
Cotton balls/swabs
Extra earring backs
Extra pair of flat shoes
Lint brush
Nail polish in the bride’s shade
Sewing kit:
Hem tape
Safety pins
Small scissors
Straight pins
Thread that matches the wedding/bridal parties dresses.
Shoe polish
Spot remover (test it out on an inconspicuous part of the dress before using!)
Static-cling spray
Straws (for drinking without messing up lipstick)
“Throwaway” garter
White chalk (to cover any stains on the dress)
Wrinkle out spray (test it out on an inconspicuous part of the dress before using!)


Band-aids (that best match your skin tone)
Contact lens solution/cases
Eye drops
Insect repellent (for outdoor ceremonies or events – be sure it smells nice!)
Moist towelettes
Smelling salts
Tampons or pads
Toothbrush and toothpaste
Wash cloth or hand towel


Bug spray (be sure it has leaves no spots and has no smell or smells nice)
Extra flowers (in case of sun wilting)
Handkerchief for dabbing sweat
Sunglasses (pre- and post-ceremony)

Just In Case

Cash ($20 – you never know what you’ll need it for)
Disposable camera
Driver’s license or photo I.D. card
Duct tape (good for any handy repairs)
Extra copies of directions to your reception
Important phone numbers:
Wedding party
Wedding vendors
Taxi company
Notebook and pens
Portable flashlight
Roll of quarters (phones, parking meters, vending machines, etc.)
Snacks/bottled water (granola bars, dried fruit, etc.)

The (5) Five Senses of Entertaining
October 2, 2007, 4:12 pm
Filed under: Advice and Tips from Experts, Informative Articles

I found this fun little information on Urbanity Studios website and thought I would share! An event that is memorable appeals to all Five Senses. Think about these elements when you’re planning your next occasion…


As soon as your guests walk through your front door or garden gate, set their sights on beautiful things. Fresh flowers, lit candles, or a beautifully set table, create a welcome that captures more than a glance.

Whether guests hear ambient music, birds singing, or water falling, sound is an essential component of a successful party. It helps to set the mood, the pace, and the overall feeling of the celebration. No matter if you’re hosting a backyard barbecue or a cocktail party, think about the atmosphere you desire and work to achieve that feeling through sound.

Smell has the power to remind us of our childhood, a moment in time, or a particular person. It has such a strong connection with our emotions, but is often ignored when planning an event.
Some easy and fairly inexpensive ways to create a wonderful smell that fits the occasion is to buy a candle that has been infused with the aroma that will delight your guest’s nose. Fresh flowers are also a great way to fill the space with clean scents. Timing when you bake your dessert or hot appetizer also helps to create great smells when guests arrive.

Entice your guests to not only study your table and party decorations, but make the party accessories either interesting or playful enough for guests to want to pick the items up. For instance, display photos of the guest of honor or strategically place memorabilia or items that enhance your theme all around your event space.

Some may argue that food is the most important factor to a successful party. We would say that we have to agree. That is why we rely heavily on some key cookbooks to help us delight our guest’s appetites. The Joy of Cooking and the Best New Recipe are some of our favorites. Generally, the recipes are easy and turn out wonderful, giving the perception that you are professional chef.

AZ: Getting Your Marriage License
October 1, 2007, 7:15 pm
Filed under: Informative Articles

Your Marriage License…
getting it is Easier Than You Think

To obtain a marriage license in Maricopa County, an engaged couple must appear together at the Maricopa County Clerk-Recorder’s office, and each must present a photo ID. The license, which is valid throughout Arizona, costs $50 and is good for one year from the date of purchase. No blood tests or health certificates are required, and there is no waiting period. The minimum age for obtaining a marriage license in Arizona is 18. Underage couples must be accompanied by both parents or legal guardians.

Where to Go in Maricopa County

Phoenix – Downtown
601 W. Jackson M-F 8:00 am – 4:30 pm
(602) 506-7400

10255 N. 32nd Street M-F 8:00 am – 4:30 pm
(602) 506-3731

4622 W. Indian School Rd M-F 8:00 am – 4:30 pm
(623) 245-0432

217 E. Olympic Drive M-F 8:00 am- 4:30 pm
(602) 243-0318

Marriage licenses are no longer issued in Scottsdale. Visit the office on Jackson Road in Phoenix, or one of the other offices listed.

55 N. Arizona Place #203 M-Th 8:00 am – 4:30 pm
(480) 782-2180

222 E. Javelina M-F 8:00 am – 5:00 pm
(602) 506-3360

4811 E. Julip St. M-F 8 :00 am – 4:00 pm
(480) 985-0188

5222 W. Glendale M-F 8:00 am – 4:00 pm
(623) 939-9477

11601 N. 19th Avenue M-F 9:00 am – 3:30 pm
(602) 395-0294

100 N. Apache #C M-F 8:00 am – 4:00 pm
(623) 386-4289

9550 W. Van Buren #6 M-F 8:00 am – 4:00 pm
(623) 936-1449

Gila Bend
209 E. Pima M-F 8:00 am – 5:00 pm
(602) 506-1589

155 N. Tegner Ste. D M-F 8:00 am – 5:00 pm
(928) 684-240

6 Ideas for More Meaningful Shower Celebrations
August 24, 2007, 4:05 pm
Filed under: Advice and Tips from Experts, Informative Articles

I found this great little article on

Take Back Your Bridal Shower
6 Ideas for More Meaningful Shower Celebrations

Where did we get the idea that sitting in a circle and opening hand towels or scandalous underthings was the best way for a woman to spend some quality time with her female friends before the wedding? Somehow a bridal shower focused on kitchenware and awkward games seems to fall short of adequately preparing a bride-to-be for the significant transition involved in getting married.

Looking for a more meaningful way to usher yourself – or your friend – into marriage? Here are some ideas and rituals that will help the bride come away from her shower feeling nourished and connected with herself and her friends.

Showers for a Cause
The bride doesn’t necessarily have to be the one getting showered with gifts. Instead, shower for a greater cause, and give something back with a day dedicated to a charitable contribution that holds special meaning to the bride.

Here are a few ideas:

Pink Envelope Bridal Shower
Help the fight against breast cancer. Have a Pink Envelope Bridal shower through the Making Memories Breast Cancer Foundation. They’ll send special pink donation envelopes for inclusion in the shower invites, and guests can make a donation to Making Memories on behalf of your bridal shower. Be sure to take plenty of pictures, as they’ll feature your bridal shower on their website.

Green Bridal Shower
For the conservation conscious, host a bridal shower that’s good for soul and the earth. Make the event focused on green causes instead of perfunctory shower games. Plant a tree instead of playing pin the tail on the groom. Serve locally grown vegetarian cuisine, register for eco-friendly items and housewares, and of course, make sure invitations and paper products are recycled.

Thought Exchange
Have a shower focused not on the exchange of tangible gifts, but rather on the exchange of heartfelt gifts like advice, emotions and feelings. Using the bridal shower to involve sharing and listening will help the bride connect with her friends and her own feelings about the wedding and marriage.

Some ideas:
Have attendees “shower” the bride with advice on being a good partner. Each guest can come with their thought to read aloud, or the maid-of-honor can gather submissions from everyone ahead of time to compile into a scrap book that’s presented to the bride at the shower. Another idea is a traditional recipe exchange with a twist. Each guest brings a recipe card, one side featuring the recipe for a great dish, and on the other side, the recipe for a good marriage.

Memory Lane Shower
Have a shower focused on reminiscing shared memories and friendships. This pseudo-separation ritual will help the bride reconnect with her old self as she prepares to take on a new identity.

Some ideas:
Create a memory book – asking every attendee to write a page or two detailing their fondest memory with the bride. Gather these stories along with photos into a memory scrapbook. Or have each attendee bring a gift that represents a memory – a cd of favorite songs from high school, a photo album, that old cheerleading uniform once worn every Friday. Create a slide show of photos set to music, and have everyone contribute some of their favorites. While you’re there, play memory games, each guest describes a memorable past event – and the bride must guess the year, location, and people who were there. The evening is sure to provoke a lot of heartfelt reminiscing.

Slumber Party
Break out the PJs, sleeping bags, and tubs of ice cream – it’s time for some serious female bonding. A slumber party is another great way for the bride to revel in that special connection she has with the women in her life, and it affords her an encouraging setting to share openly any feelings she has about her upcoming marriage. Consider incorporating some of the above ideas into the slumber party – such as exchanging advice or creating a scrapbook.

Poetry Shower
John Donne, T.S. Eliot, Constantine Cavafy, Robert Frost, Robert Herrick… treat a bride with a passion for the literary arts with a feast of beautiful poetry. Have all attendees bring a poem containing wisdom or sentiment about love or marriage, and take turns reading. The evening will be intellectually enriching and inspiring.

Adventure Shower
Some brides-to-be may cringe at the thought of an emotionally vulnerable shower of intimate bonding. Instead, taking to the outdoors can be a powerful alternative for an emotional and physical release. Enjoy a day of hiking, white water rafting, rock climbing, biking, ropes course – you name it. Successfully accomplishing these challenging outdoor activities can act as a symbolic metaphor for entering into marriage – which also requires strength to overcome its own set of challenges.

Error in Ark. law allows kids to marry
August 18, 2007, 9:43 pm
Filed under: Informative Articles

Kids to Marry Article

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – A law passed this year allows Arkansans of any age — even infants — to marry if their parents agree, and the governor may have to call a special session to fix the mistake, lawmakers said Friday.

The legislation was intended to establish 18 as the minimum age to marry but also allow pregnant teenagers to marry with parental consent, bill sponsor Rep. Will Bond said. An extraneous “not” in the bill, however, allows anyone who is not pregnant to marry at any age if the parents allow it.

“It’s clearly not the intent to allow 10-year-olds or 11-year-olds to get married,” Bond said. “The legislation was screwed up.”

The bill reads: “In order for a person who is younger than eighteen (18) years of age and who is not pregnant to obtain a marriage license, the person must provide the county clerk with evidence of parental consent to the marriage.

A code revision commission — which fixes typographical and technical errors in laws — had tried to correct the mistake, but a group of legislators said Friday the commission went beyond its powers.

“You’re either pregnant or you’re not pregnant,” Sen. Dave Bisbee said. “Rarely will that be a typographical error.”

The Arkansas Legislative Council asked the independent commission to reverse its correction. Several lawmakers said a special session may be necessary.

“We need a special session to fix this,” Sen. Sue Madison said. “I am concerned about pedophiles coming to Arkansas to find parents who are willing to sign a very young child’s consent.”

Before the new law took effect July 31, girls could get married with parental consent at 16 and boys at 17.

The Legislature formally adjourned its session in May and is not scheduled to meet again until January 2009, unless Gov. Mike Beebe calls a special session. Beebe said he wanted to look at all options for correcting the error before deciding whether to call a special session. (