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


Style me Pretty – Inspiration Board
November 28, 2007, 2:14 am
Filed under: Centerpieces and Decor, Color Schemes, Reception

It’s an absolute must that I check out the Style Me Pretty blog every morning, but this morning I was so busy I just didn’t get a chance to. However, I made some time for it tonight and what did it do, none other than inspire me 🙂 There was a “Dear Abby” post about the need for color inspiration for a fall wedding.

Inspiration Board

I saw what looked to be like the wedding ceremony facility and was all gung ho about trying to create a board myself. The copper was just glowing at me from the picture. So I tried a board that was developed with coppers, eggplant purple, emerald green, and cobalt blue! Thanks for the inspiration! It’s fun to tinker around 🙂

Totally Cute Wedding Favors
November 28, 2007, 12:01 am
Filed under: Favors, Reception

A lot of you know that we have been spending the past few months getting ready to launch our new business “The Event Essentials.” Yes, it seems like it’s taking forever (to us it seems even longer), but we have been doing tons of research to find the perfect items for the perfect brides! We couldn’t be more excited about the cutest wedding favors to add to our list of products. Check them out! They are totally trendy, totally unique, and totally fun! 🙂


Beauty Timeline
November 26, 2007, 4:51 pm
Filed under: Advice and Tips from Experts

Brides have an uncanny way of looking absolutely amazing on their wedding days. Call it the glow of love, the thrill of the wedding, the attention to detail – brides make looking beautiful easy and effortless. The secret to wedding day beauty is: get prepared early on. Have those deep conditioning treatments, facials, manicures and trial hair sessions done months before your big day. So go ahead – plan on effortless wedding day beauty. Here’s how:

6 Months Before
Begin your search for a hair stylist and/or makeup artist you like and trust.
Have all your haircut and color experiments done now.
Begin weekly deep conditioning treatments.
Consult a dermatologist for skin problems.
Research and invest in a skin care regimen.
Work out to improve overall energy level and confidence.
If possible, indulge in a monthly facial.
If you have light or bleached hair, limit or avoid contact with heavily chlorinated water.

5 Months Before
If your nails are short, begin growing them out or consider acrylic tips and silk wraps.
If possible, start monthly manicures and pedicures.

4 Months Before
With your wedding dress in mind, workout target areas: d colletage (chest), arms and waist.

3 Months Before
Have your hair trimmed every four to six weeks.
Make an appointment to preview your wedding hairdo.
Make an appointment to have your teeth cleaned the week before your wedding.

2 Months to 6 Weeks Before
If you are planning to wear acrylic nails, experiment with lengths now.
Research and schedule teeth bleaching.
Research and schedule trial makeup sessions with your makeup artist.
Research and schedule trial hair sessions with your hair stylist, complete with veil and headpiece.

1 Month Before
Have a trial makeup session with your makeup artist.
Have a trial hair session with your hair stylist, complete with veil and headpiece.
Start drinking plenty of water – eight glasses a day, at least!
If you are coloring or perming your hair for the wedding, do so now.
Purchase and test your wedding day skin, hair and makeup products.

2 Weeks Before
Have a facial (only if you’ve had them regularly).
Have your hair cut or trimmed.
Touch up your hair color or highlights.
Keep drinking plenty of water.
Go to bed an hour earlier than usual every night.

1 Week to Ten Days Before
Have your eyebrows shaped.
Have your upper lip waxed.
Have a bikini wax.
Call your hair stylist and find out when you should wash or deep condition your hair. If you do so just before your wedding, your hair may be “too clean” to style, particularly if you are wearing an updo.
Have your teeth professionally cleaned by your dentist.

1 Day Before
Have a manicure and pedicure.
Have a massage.
Gently exfoliate or polish your skin, especially your d colletage and arms.
Apply extra moisturizer – everywhere!
Take a nap.
Drink two extra glasses of water.
Prepare a beauty emergency kit containing:
— Lip gloss
— Cotton swabs
— Cotton balls
— Makeup remover
— Moisturizer
— Bobby pins
— Hair spray
— Translucent powder
— Hairbrush and comb
— Breath mints
— Eye drops
— Nail polish

Your Wedding Day
Give yourself plenty of time to get ready.
Eat nourishing, healthy meals. Have light, healthy and non-staining snacks on hand for you and your bridesmaids while you get ready.
Take plenty of deep breaths.
Smile – you’re getting married

Great article found on The Wedding Channel website 🙂 Thanks so much for the useful information!

Bitch Barossa Grenache 2004
November 21, 2007, 4:29 pm
Filed under: Reception

Wouldn’t this be a real treat for a bachlorette party or girls night out? The back label says “bitch” 77 times, followed by “some more”. It is left up to you to decide what that means, because the sentiment would be appropriate for many contemporary situations. Whatever inspired it, thank goodness it arrived, because it is better than a box of chocolates.


Note added Jan. 2, 2007: The Bitch 2005 has been released and reviewed by Winewaves.
Dan Philips is working with grower David Hickinbotham and winemaker Chris Ringland to bring this 100% Grenache from Barossa to the market.

Tasting Notes: Color: Ruby, translucent. Aromas: Raspberry, cherry and chocolate and a hint of spice. On the tongue, the wine feels warm without being heavy, despite the hefty 14.7% alcohol, and is dry without being drying. The lush fruit and chocolate flavors finish very smoothly. This one is easy without being uninteresting.

Closure: Screw cap. Outstanding value ($9)

Makin a List – Checkin it Twice
November 20, 2007, 6:39 pm
Filed under: Accessories, Centerpieces and Decor, Flowers

With Thanksgiving, comes “black Friday.” A day when us crazy shoppers wake up at the oddest hours, grab a huge cup of coffee, and head out for some amazing sales at the wee hours of the mornings. My husband thinks it’s absolutely crazy, but I don’t exactly see him complaining on Christmas morning when he’s opening up some “totally awesome” gifts! Yes, as a marketing person, I know most of the sale items are just gimmicks, but I just can’t help going out. Even if it’s just to people watch!

One thing I do know, I love to shop online for gifts as well, and the Red Envelope has some fantastic items that can be personalized! Its a great site for bridesmaids and groomsmen gifts as well. They even have some cool event decor — sorry, I’m a centerpiece and decor freak 🙂 I can’t help it!

Red Envelope

Build Your Own Candleholder
November 16, 2007, 5:47 pm
Filed under: Centerpieces and Decor, Flowers, Reception

I was out surfing around today for some fun ideas to add to my Thanksgiving buffet table decor. Of course, being a planner and designer, everyone expects the tip top in my creativity, so every year I’m searching for bigger and bettter or something that will completely catch my family off guard. This year, I came across these neat little “Build your own candleholders” on that I thought could be really fun. I love the artichoke and some gords, but I thought this could be a great idea to build with pomander balls in the middle.

Build your own candleholder