Monday, October 3, 2011

The Journey to Finding the Perfect Wedding Gown

After taking off some time with my husband to celebrate our first wedding anniversary yesterday, I started to reflect back on all of the wedding related errands and shopping that we did leading up to our big day. It is still amazing to me that even though I am a wedding planner, am in total control of my clients projects, and try to remind them to stay calm before the wedding that I still found myself having those same butterflies as every bride-to-be as I waited to walk down the aisle.

For a lot of brides, a big source of stress is selecting their wedding gown. I would say that was different for me. I knew in three tries that the high collared trumpet beauty pictured above was MY gown as soon as I put it on. Oh sure, I tried on lots and lots and lots of gowns after that, because just about every gal likes to try on different wedding gowns just to be sure. But I didn't agonize over my choice and I just instantly knew that Number 3 was MY dress.

If you are currently searching for your wedding gown, try not to stress out about it! Instead, try to remember these five signs to let you know when you've found THE DRESS.

1) Once you put it on, you don't want to take it off! - if you find yourself standing on the platform staring in the mirror longer than you did with any other dress you tried on because you absolutely love this dress and, most importantly, how you look in it, then THAT is YOUR dress.

2) Tears start to fall - whether it be yours or someone who may be with you helping you in your selection, if the sight of you in that dress brings happy tears - THAT is YOUR dress.

3) Budget? What budget? - if all of a sudden the price of the dress doesn't seem to matter and you find yourself thinking of reasonable ways to make the price tag fit your wallet, THAT is YOUR dress.

4) It totally flatters your figure while you party - this is your dress if you know that you can truly enjoy your wedding reception in the dress, meaning you have no restriction of movement allowing you to sit, walk, and dance; and you can go ahead and enjoy that extra glass of champagne since your tummy will, magically, never look puffy. If the gown allows you to be you and flatters your figure all at the same time, THAT is YOUR dress.

5) You can't stop thinking about it - if you experienced any of the above signs and still didn't place your order that day but you still find yourself thinking about the dress and a huge smile comes to your face as the thought crosses your mind - run back to that salon, because THAT is YOUR dress.

Finding the perfect wedding gown can sometimes be a long process, and it should be! This is the dress that you will wear on one of the most important days of your life. But selecting a gown doesn't have to cause frustration and/or anxiety. Try to remember the five signs from above and listen to your heart the next time you visit the salon. Remember, YOU will always guide yourself to YOUR dress.

La Toya Michelle
~You are only limited by your own imagination!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Outdoor Decorating for Autumn

Autumn is upon us and nothing makes me happier when it comes to decorating than preparing for the changing of the seasons.  I mean, it's seriously the best and cheapest way to make sure your interior design gets a slight boost every three months.  I will have more on seasonal interior decoration to come in a future post.  But today I'm focusing on outdoor decoration.  Today as I was driving around running errands, I got stopped a the traffic light right across from one of my favorite houses for outside decor when it comes to seasonal displays.  The home owners's seasonal displays always draw a slight crowd and always bring a smile to my face especially during the Autumn and Winter months.  We sometimes tend to focus on our inside decor so much that we forget to think about sprucing up the outside of our homes.  Check out how these home owners have decorated to welcome the new season:

Strictly Simple Style traditional entry

Striking in its simplicity....

Centsational girl traditional entry

Using all of the colors of the season.....

exterior fall table eclectic patio

Don't forget about your outside tables...

Case Design/Remodeling, Inc. traditional entry

Another simple design but striking at the same time....

Go all out!  The lights on these homeowner's Autumn decorations ensure that they can be enjoyed by night as well!

So go ahead, hang that simple wreath or go all out and hang up some decorative lighting to welcome Autumn.  Not only will it bring instant "curb appeal" to your home, but it will also bring a smile to your face and lift your mood, too. 

La Toya Michelle
~You are only limited by your own imagination!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Outdoor Living Spaces Ready to Welcome Autumn

One of the things that I love so much about Autumn is the changing of the leaves and vibrancy of the colors during the peak of the season.  Seeing the kaleidoscope of burnt oranges, robust reds, and golden harvest yellows that the trees morph into is a sight that I anxiously await all summer.  Peak season creates a a picture perfect view of the rich colors of Autumn, no matter if you are viewing the landscape from a tall building or if you are walking along your own street.  And sometimes it seems to me that just as fast as the colors peaked; the leaves start to fall, the colors are gone, and I never feel like I had a chance to truly enjoy the best of the season.  While browsing through some some photos doing some research for an upcoming outdoor project, I happened across these stunning outdoor living spaces.  I'm sure the owners of these spaces make time to enjoy the beauty of the Autumn season.  I know I would if I were them!

Back Bay Retreat eclectic landscape

This outdoor space features two fire pits and a fire table - a perfect way to stay cozy even when the temperatures start to dip into the chilly zone.

outdoor fireplace traditional patio

Another outdoor space featuring a fire pit, which is a practical trend for those of us living in the Northeast, so that we can take advantage of our outdoor spaces for as long as possible.  This space also has a water fountain - perfect for providing adding a touch of tranquility to your outdoor space.

Oakley Home Builders traditional patio

Instead of a fire pit, these home owners opted for a fireplace, and just as with a fireplace inside of your home - an outdoor fireplace automatically becomes the focal point of an outdoor space, too. 

Carson Poetzl, Inc. modern patio

The simplicity of this outdoor space is its best feature - that and the fact that it can be accessed from multiple sides of the home.  No matter where you are in this home, this space invites you to come on out and relax.

Residences modern patio

A lot of people forget about incorporating proper lighting when planning an outdoor living space.  This space has all of the lighting bases covered, as general, task and ambient lighting are well represented in this space.  Layered lighting equals more time spent enjoying your outdoor space.

AMS Landscape Design Studios mediterranean pool

I haven't forgotten about those of us who love our pools.  If fire isn't your thing and you are more preferential to the tranquility of water, how about incorporating a water wall to the back of your pool for some added drama.

Kapalua Bay tropical pool

Finally, although this would be a rarity over here on the East Coast - this stunning Hawaiian design brings together the best of both worlds - fire and water!

I could definitely see myself in any of these spaces - even if it were only in my dreams.  But if you have an outdoor space, don't miss out on the opportunity to truly enjoy this extension of your home.  With the right outdoor furniture, proper lighting, and decor you can turn even a simple patio into an outdoor living space that can be enjoyed by your family year-round, especially for those of you living in warmer climates.  If you need any help realizing the potential of your outdoor space, let me know - I would happy to assist you.

La Toya Michelle
~You are only limited by your own imagination

Sunday, September 18, 2011

A Football Sunday Game Day Room.....Just for the Girls?!

As a female sports fan, I sometimes take offense to the term "man-cave".  Not that I don't think that guys should be able to have a space in the home to call their own, but why should they get all of the fun of having a space totally dedicated to them for the sole purpose of watching sports with or without their best buds?  Here are two examples of the typical man-cave - spaces where most of us ladies are seldom invited - especially during game time on Football Sunday. 

Memorabilia Sports Bar eclectic family room

I'm loving the bar set up in this room and the multiple screens.  Ensures that nothing will be missed!

Sports Themed Media Room eclectic media room

This basement man-cave seems nice and cozy - not a word that the typical guy would want associated with his man-cave.

These are great spaces for sports enthusiasts, wouldn't you agree??  I can totally see/hear my husband cheering loudly for his Washington Redskins or his Michigan Wolverines in either of these rooms.  It seems, too, as if all of the bases are covered in these spaces for one (or many) to enjoy any sports game (or match - in light of last night's fight, can you imagine watching boxing in these spaces?).  TV's - check.  Drinks - check.  Food and drink storage - check.  But what about us ladies??  I would love to have an equally fabulous space dedicated to me so that I can cheer loudly for my Dallas Cowboys or my Ohio State Buckeyes with my best gal pals.  So my question is, why can't us gals have our own spaces to enjoy watching our favorite sports, too?  Well, actually ladies.....we can.  Take a look at these spaces and see how they put the "chic" back in Football Game Day.

Woodvalley House - Interiors contemporary living room

On a cold November day - I would love to watch my Cowboys play while sitting comfortably in this light filled space.

Private Residence contemporary media room

All of your best gal pals not necessarily interested in the game?  Well, here is a space that ensures that you can still enjoy the game while they talk about "Football Cuties" or "Keeping up with the Kardashians".

Amagansett Beach Retreat contemporary living room

Another living room/media room conversion that I would love to enjoy Football Sunday in during a December game.

Sf Media Room traditional media room

This media room was constructed out of an unused attic.  Add some overlaping textures - like plush rugs over hardwood flooring and plush seating in contrast with leather seating - and include a wet bar and food storage area in the design - and you have a chic space for enjoying Football Sunday.

Shafer Residence mediterranean patio

For those of you that live in warmer climates, how about enjoying Football Sunday on the patio?   This is another space that most men try and claim as their own - flip the tables on them - especially since they can't be in two places at one time.  If you have a great outdoor space like this one, consider hosting Football Sunday outside.

What I like most about these spaces is how they were created out of seldom used rooms in the home, or they were repurposed to become media rooms with the female user in mind. So let the guys keep their "man-dungeons" girls!  Who needs drab when you can have fab?!  Think of a room in your home that is seldom used and think of the endless possibilities that exist for creating your own sports space to enjoy Football Sunday with your gal pals.  It would be great if we were able to put a female touch on the guys man-cave, but if you are in a household like mine, where you are both fans of not only opposing teams, but downright rivals - it won't be possible to join them.  In that case, ladies, you will have to simply settle for making your Football Sunday Game Day Room.......BETTER!! 

La Toya Michelle
~You are only limited by your own imagination!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Versace for H&M......

And now that the Missoni @ Target frenzy has ended, prepare to gear up for another fabulous limited edition collaboration between high end designer Versace and H&M a retail chain that has gained in popularity for fashionistas everywhere.  The collection will debut in H&M stores on November 17, and will feature 40 collection pieces for women, 50 collection pieces for men, and dozens of home accessories. 

More on this collaboration to follow!

La Toya Michelle
~You are only limited by your own imagination!


Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Missoni @ Target - UPDATE!!

I have never seen anything like it. This morning I went to the nearest Target intending to pick up only a few Missoni pieces and even though the store had opened only 20 minutes prior, would you believe that just about everything was snatched off of the racks?! From what I was told, shoppers were lined up at the door prior to the store opening and when the gates were opened, shoppers ran into the store snatching all of the Missoni pieces they could hold. By the time I arrived, thinking that 8:20 was plenty early enough, I was able to snag a few pieces but nothing on my list. I can say that the quality of the pieces is incredible for the price and the collection looks even better in person. My first thought was to try and shop for the items this morning online, but several shoppers told me that they tried to do the same thing and the website froze upon checkout forcing them to come into the store to see what they could nab today. Apparently, Missoni has crashed the Target website.

I saw tag-team shoppers, shoppers with carts piled taller than they were, shoppers in pajamas, and oblivious shoppers who had no idea who Missoni is or what all of the hoopla was about, but still got caught up in the frenzy anyway. The few pieces I did grab I had to keep constant watch on because lady kept trying to steal my wrap from my basket. It was the last wrap in the store. I understand her pain, but back up lady!! The wrap was going home with me lol!! Seriously, you would have thought it was Black Friday in the Skyline City Target that I was visiting this morning.

On the bright side, at least I was able to grab a few fab items. One shopper had sisters in Rhode Island and North Carolina and she said that they couldn't get to any of the items in their respective stores because of the crowds, so she was making sure to grab some items for them. From what I was told from a store manager, what is on the floor this week is all that they are going to get in for right now, but in two weeks they will have larger shipments in the stores. So my advice, if you see something you want today - you better grab it if you can because if you blink it will be gone! Then regroup for the next shipment. At least that's my plan :) Happy shopping!

La Toya Michelle
~You are only limited by your own imagination!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Missoni @ Target September 13, 2011

We are only hours away from the collection debut of one of my favorite designers in one of my all time favorite stores.  Missoni will zig zag its way into Target (aka Red Dot Boutique) bright and early tomorrow morning, and I can not wait to see the collection in stores.  Established in 1953, Missoni is known for electic, color saturated, pattern infused designs and is most famous for its signature zig zag print.  Due to the current popularity of chevron prints in both fashion and interior design, this collaboration could not have come at a better time.  The high end Italian designer will feature clothing for men, women, and children, fashion accessories, luggage, and home fashions and will be priced from $2.99 to $899.00 and will be featured in the store from  September 13 to October 22.  Take a look at some of the pieces in the collection:

To wear.....

To accessorize.....

To dress up the home.....

I personally love it when high end designers create lower price point collections that are equally as fab for us regular folks to nab, and Target consistently brings us these collaborations.  That's one of the main reasons why I love Target as much as I do.  But honestly, it does create major budgetary problems for me at times LOL!!  Even when I stop by the store intending to purchase a couple of rolls of paper towels, I always end up walking out of the store with much MUCH more than I went in there for in the first place.  I can only imagine how badly my wallet will suffer tomorrow when this collection debuts.  I know for a fact that I will be purchasing luggage....and towels....and plates....and scarves....and....well.....not sure I can leave any of this fab stuff unpurchased.....*sigh*.  I think I see low bank account alerts in my future.....

- La Toya Michelle
~You are only limited by your own imagination