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Thursday, July 18, 2019

HOW TO PLAN A DESTINATION WEDDING + FREE WEDDING CHECKLIST!



Wedding season is in full swing! Since our destination wedding in Puerto Rico I have received so many destination wedding emails. I realized that I have never really posted a specific blog post on this topic. Side note I can't believe its already been a little over two years since our wedding!

Here is my wedding post to check out where we got married and venues that we worked with. 
I don't have all the answers about designation weddings but here are my tips based on my own experience on HOW TO PLAN A DESTINATION WEDDING:

1. WHY A DESTINATION WEDDING

This question is different for everybody. For me it was centered around our budget. We couldn't get much for our budget in upstate NY but in Puerto Rico we got everything we wanted and more for our set budget. 
Be mindful though that there are many pros and cons when you plan a destination wedding. Envision the entire big picture and make sure that a destination wedding fits your style and budget. Decide on what kind of setting do you want or what kind of wedding is meaningful to you and your fiancĂ©. 


2. CHOOSING YOUR LOCATION

Now that you have it set in your plans for a destination wedding, next is the fun part of choosing where. This is where you and your fiancĂ© will discuss the type of wedding you want to have. Is it a place that has a personal meaningful connection to you? Do you want a cultural wedding? Do you want a wedding by the beach? Pick a location that represents who you and your fiance and your style. You want your guests to feel your relationship and personality through your location and theme.    Tip: if you can, take a trip to your location and check out venue in person. When we had our heart set on Puerto Rico we toke a quick trip down there and scheduled appointments with local venues. This helped me see the location in person and secure my final decision. 


3. CHOOSING THE DATE

Once you have your location,  do your research surrounding the country you want to have your destination wedding in terms of timing. Before you chose a set date ask your family, friends and guests to be would month or season works best for them. They will appreciate your consideration and thoughtfulness more than you realize and are more likely to attend. 
In addition you also want to research the following:
- hurricane season
- rain season
- slowest tourist season (this can save you more money)
- any mosquito born viruses (such as Zika)
- school vacation/winter break for traveling family and friends

4. GIVE YOUR INVITEES ADVANCE NOTICE

I sent out save the dates about a year in advance of our wedding date. I didn't want to rush our wedding planning so it was two years in the making. I wanted to give our invitees a year in advance so that they knew the date and destination. It helps your guests budget accordingly, find the best flight rates and hotel deals and work out child care if needed. Tip: don't be upset if people can't come. This was my husband biggest advice to me (I'm very sensitive!). Not everyone can take a mini vacation to come to your wedding. 

5. CREATE A BUDGET

If you have a set budget, you want to give yourself another time to reach out to as many local vendors as you can and get prices. A great site to help find vendors that I used was weddingwire.com. On the site I was also able to check out reviews and find contact information. Create an excel spread sheet or a google document where you have all the quoted prices saved along with deposit amount and due dates. This will help you budget accordingly and know when certain payments are due. Keep in mind that these are outside of the country vendors so if you have to mail out checks I suggest making a copy of it for your records. Some vendors use PayPal but I did have a few that did not have paypal as an option. 

6. HIRE A WEDDING PLANNER

If there is ONE thing I can suggest to you, it is to hire a local wedding planner. Make sure they are reputable and check out their reviews. I would also schedule a FaceTime call with them to secure the validity of the company/person. Once they clear all that I suggest hiring one. For my wedding our wedding planner was my wonder woman. She made sure we were always on schedule for vendor hiring and payments. The day before the wedding she conducted our wedding rehearsal and toke all my decor/guest gifts with her and she knew my vision of how she wanted my wedding to be decorated. I didn't have to worry about any of those things. She coordinated the day of with vendors to make everyone was on time and were stationed in the right places. There are so many different kind of ways to get help for your destination wedding. If your vendor has a coordinator on site that is great! Use them as much as they allow you too! 


7. CHOSE LOCAL VENDORS

I found that choosing local vendors was a huge cost saver for us and one of the main reasons we chose a destination wedding. When choosing local vendors make sure to vet them carefully. Use WeddingWire and check out their reviews, social media handles and website to further legitimize their business. I also suggest communicating with them further than just email. Set up a FaceTime call as well if possible. If you can take it a step further, plan a trip and meet with them in person before hiring them. Do as much as you can to protect yourself of any stress or potential mistakes. If you hire a wedding planner or use a vendor that has a coordinator ask them to help you vet vendors. They may have a list of recommended local vendors that they have worked with. 

8. PLAN AHEAD FOR TRAVELING DECOR ITEMS

This was the scariest moment of our wedding process. Praying that your wedding decor items made it to the destination with you safely and unbroken! Make sure to bubble wrap and secure your items as properly and safely as possible. Our most valuable item was our seating chart that was in a glass decorated frame that was packed in designated wedding decor luggage. Be mindful of what you can bring and what is unrealistic and risk taking. If you decide to ship things ahead of time make sure to do your research and plan accordingly. But I highly don't suggest this. It's too big of a risk of getting lost or not making it there in one peace. In terms of the wedding dress, you can contact the airline in advance to let them know you are traveling with your wedding gown and they could place it in the cockpit or accommodate an entire overhead for your dress. 




9. DRESS ACCORDING TO THE WEATHER

Find a dress that works with your venue. If you are getting married on the beach, try for a dress with a shorter train and light fabric. You don't want to wear a ball gown style dress if your getting married outside during the day. Avoid sweating too much in your dress. Be mindful of comfortable shoes when walking down the aisle especially if it is sand!


10. HAVE A BACK UP PLAN

If your having an outside island wedding, the elements are out of your control. Make sure to have a back up plan coordinated with the venue and coordinator. Is there an plan B if it rains? If your wedding will be in the sun with no available shade, offer cold refreshments while they wait for the ceremony to begin or offer hand fans to allow them to cool themselves off. Think of ways that you can offer the best kind of experience to your guests. 

LAST TIP: ENJOY THE MOMENT

Weddings take forever to plan but come and go so quickly. On your day from the moment you wake up soak in and cherish every moment. The day will go by quickly and you deserve the reward of your hard work and planning. Enjoy it, be in the moment with your husband and celebrate your new journey with your family and friends! 



I hope you guys didn't think I forgot about you! I keep my promises! I am so excited to give you a Destination Wedding Checklist! It's my first freebie on the blog and I am so excited to be able to give you guy something tangible and hopefully helpful to my brides to be! GRAB YOUR COPY RIGHT HERE!



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Friday, July 5, 2019

Two Trimesters down and What I've learned on getting dressed


Is dressing a growing baby bump challenging? I am not going to lie to you guys and say its not because it can be at times. My body has been through more changes than it ever has in its 33 years. But even though my entire body is changing (and now my feet!) that doesn't mean I still can't incorporate my personal style during this time. I want to share with you guys a style journal from my two trimesters and how both you and I can stay true to our personal style despite the body growth changes and challenges.

Early Stages of Pregnancy (First Trimester)

I know this stage is different for everyone. I didn't even know I was pregnant until I was already 6-8 weeks in. I didn't have any morning sickness or nausea so I thought I was just experiencing a late period since I was under a lot of stress at the time. I started to show around the 3-4 month period and I still fit in a lot of my old clothes. Although I still fit in my clothes I was too tired to get dressed. Tiredness was my biggest challenge and getting dressed up was the last thing I wanted to do. I remember having to shoot some looks with my husband for the blog around this time and I was so tired afterwards that I just slept the day away. 

However when I found out that I was pregnant I instinctively wanted to purge my closet. I wanted to go through and eliminate any old trendy clothes that I had hung on to. I guess in a weird sort of way I wanted to have a fresh perspective on how I wanted to present myself as a newly pregnant woman. 



The one thing that did grow on my body was my boobs. I have for as long as I can remember been a 36B and at a rapid pace my boobs grew and were coming out of my bra giving me a more voluptuous look. Not to mention my nipples becoming un flatter ably noticeable in all my tops. Big boobs are harder to dress than I thought. I was hired to do on camera work for a private company and I had to wear a collared button up. My boobs are busting out of that blouse that I looked like I was promoting an intro to a sexy video rather than talking about health benefits! 

Before these new boobs I could basically wear anything confidently and comfortably. I wore a lot of low v tops and blouses, trendy bodysuits and casually unbuttoned blouses. My clothes had a laid back and loungy feel. But during pregnancy my basics had a suggestive feel and I felt uncomfortable. I give all my ladies with bigger busts applauses and credit because it is not easy to be busty and still manage to look chic. You ladies are the real MVP! 



During this time it was winter and where I live it is still very cold. I wore a lot of my oversized sweaters with my jeans and knee high boots. I wore a lot of blazers to cover up my bump until I was ready to tell my family and accessorized with a belt around my waist. It really worked! My parents and mother in law had no idea I was pregnant. Towards the end my high waisted mom jeans started to feel a little snug and I had to resort to leggings. I am not a leggings kind of girl. I am a jeans kind of girl. I remember having a moment of silence and disbelief when no longer any of my jeans fit me...

Second Trimester Challenges

I finally announced my pregnancy on social media when I was entering my second trimester. Things felt freeing when I was able to share it and I could now move on to the fun part, styling! My baby was growing and my bump was finally showing so I could now style around the bump as the focal point instead of hiding it. I had to get a little creative in the bottoms department. I relied on pleated skirts and body con dresses. Honestly guys before being pregnant I owed just one body con dress. I never was a fan of them but when your pregnant there's nothing more flattering than a body con dress. It hugs your baby bump in all your flattering areas. You also don't have to go up a size with body con dresses. I am still wearing a size small in some dresses. Another plus, you don't have to break the bank when purchasing a few body con dresses for your maternity wardrobe. I have found some cute basic ones on Forever 21 and ASOS. A helpful tip stick to mostly neutral colors. Its easier to keep re styling your dress.



Other Tips: 

1. Don't quickly discount your old clothes. I found that a lot of my summer dresses still fit me and accentuated my growing body perfectly. Try them on and you might be surprised what will still fit you at least throughout your first and second trimester. 

2. Bras. I think the most challenging item in my closet to figure out is my bra collection. When my boobs began to grow my skin also got sensitive and especially to certain bras. I found that my           B Temptd and Wacoal bras have both fit me nicely and hasn't irritated my breasts. Sports bra are my new best friend. They are just so comfortable and really support my breasts throughout the day.  But when in doubt and your just around the house go bra less! LOL!

Being blessed with the opportunity to carry your baby is a gift. I hope you guys enjoy this post and I look forward to sharing more pregnancy type journey posts as this one.  




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Monday, July 1, 2019

How to Wear a Slip Dress this Summer



Are you guys loving any specific trends this summer? 

If your like me, I don't like to break my bank splurging on trend pieces. However I really am loving the slip dress. The easiness and luxury look of a slip dress makes for both a fun or sexy summer look. 

This look is so nineties and I love that I get a chance to wear them! I was too young at the time to wear a slip dress when model icons like Naomi Campbell and Kate Moss were photographed wearing them at Hollywood parties. Now trendy retailers like TopShop and ASOS are selling slip dresses and if look around IG trendy fashion bloggers are wearing them everywhere. 

Dress: ASOS (click here) | Shoes: ALDO (click here) |
Bag: CULT GAIA (click here

Can you wear the slip dress during the day? YES GIRL! This dress can be worn with your favorite low top casual sneakers and a pop of color either with accessories or a fun lip color. Another cool way to wear your slip dress casually is wearing it with a tee underneath either basic or a logo tee (think champion, fila or adidas).

At night I would change for a pair of heeled sandals and add a belt to accessorize the look. If your a nineties fan go for the grunge look. Pair your dress with chunky boots and layered necklaces for a cool girl look! 


Check out below for some affordable and different styles of slip dresses! 







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Thursday, June 20, 2019

My First Baby Registry Experience with buybuy BABY



This post is in collaboration with Buy Buy Baby. However all opinions and my experience are 100% my own and honest. 

I can't believe that I am just two months away from my baby shower! My pregnancy is just flying by! There is so many things to do but one thing I was putting off was a baby registry. Before I even thought to email buybuy BABY to collaborate I went on a Saturday with my baby sister with the intention to start my registry. We didn't book an appointment in the store and within 15 minutes in the feeding section I was overwhelmed and ready to walk out. I didn't even end up starting a registry and just walked around with my sister and she shopped for her baby boy. 

I don't know how many of you as a first time mom experienced the same thing walking into a baby store but I knew that it was something I needed to plan and experience with a store representative. I am so thankful that buybuy BABY gave me the opportunity to bring to you guys my experience and tips I received from baby registry consultant, the wonderful Lauren! Lauren made my experience easy, fun and relaxing. We had so much fun together that I didn't even notice we had spent 5 hours together! 

Tip: If you can I would recommend scheduling your appointment on a weekday. Weekends are incredibly busy for them and if you are first time mom it might be better to have this one on one experience during a quieter time. 

Click here for more information on scheduling your free appointment with Buy Buy Baby.



The day of your appointment with buybuy BABY, you must look for the Baby Registry section to check in and get paired with a registry consultant.

There you will create your registry (if you haven't done one online) and receive your registry guide.

This book includes a handy checklist that help you select items that are right for you and your family.





Since I have never been into a buybuy BABY before (surprisingly there wasn't one in Rhode Island) Lauren explained to me all of their store perks:


  • Free shipping: when your registry reaches $1500 (mine surpassed that!)
  • Price Match Promise (visit buybuybaby.com/pricematch)
  • Hassel-Free Returns
  • Free Registry Announcement Cards (see mine below) (I was so excited!)
  • Referral Rewards: $25 off of a $100 in-store purchase for every friend who registers with them



Birthing / Feeding Section


Sadly I actually needed a quick tutorial on how to use the scanner! LOL After that I was so excited to scan! Quick note: Lauren suggested I scan everything that peaked my interest in store because once I am home I can edit my registry any time online.


We spent the most time in the nursing/feeding section. It is the most informative section in my opinion and as a new mom the one that I really wanted to listen and get a lot of expert advice from Lauren. Since I plan on breast feeding my baby boy I wanted to learn about all the different breast pumps. Lauren is a mom of two so she had not only in store expertise but personal advice to share with me.

I couldn't believe how many different style of pacifiers and bottle nipples there are! LOL! Boy this section was a wake up call for me!
           _______________________________________________________________________

Oh my goodness I feel in love with this giraffe pacifier! I had to scan it but Im thinking of just buying sooner than the baby shower!

This was my face for every cute thing that Lauren showed me! HA! Which was basically everything!


Like I said this was the longest section on our store tour and when we crossed everything off  the nursing/feeding section we celebrated! LOL. I graduated nursing/feeding school guys! 


Bath/ Diapering/ Health & Safety Section 



Okay I have to admit I fan girled when I saw Jessica Alba's Honest products in store! I am so excited to try her products. Not only are the design of the products especially the diapers so cute but they are organic. Have you guys tried her products before? What are your favorites?




Baby Gear & Travel Section


The stroller section was my husband's favorite! This section is massive and the amount of different types of strollers was enough to make my big eyes open bigger. This is the perfect section for a registry expert. Lauren taught us so much about all the different brand of strollers and what makes each one unique. I am looking for a compact stroller with good wheels and simple fold ability. I don't want a stroller that is going to take me five minutes to fold up and put away. 



Of all the strollers shown to us and we tried out, I fell in love with the UppaBaby Cruz stroller. The top handle adjusts for a longer reach and the light grey colored areas show you where you need to press to fold up the stroller! The movability is as smooth as can be and I love how compact it is while still having a lot of space in the under basket for storage. 






Once I chose the stroller Lauren was so great to demonstrate for us how the Uppa Baby car seat works. I even liked how it wasn't overwhelming heavy without a baby in it. Some of them were so heavy I couldn't imagine how much heavier they would have been with a 20 pound baby in there! 


Nursery / Decor & Clothing Section


My eyes got so big when Lauren told me that you could custom create your recliner chair and they ship it! LOL!


There were so many swatches to chose from for each specific recliner. I liked the Swivel glider recliner by Best Chairs. It reclined, felt so soft and comfortable and at that point I could of toke a nap if they let me! LOL! I just imagine myself sitting in this chair while nursing my sweet baby and my heart just bursts with emotion.

Did you guys have a recliner chair in your nursery? What are your thoughts? Worth the splurge? 







 I had so much fun creating my registry that I didn't want it to end! I feel like I got a five hour crash course on first year motherhood thanks to Lauren! I was so impressed by how innovative some of these baby products are. I can't believe a little human being gets to have such cool gadgets!

Here are some of the benefits when creating your registry with Buy Buy Baby: 

  • A free goody Bag: When you register you can get free goody bag filled with free samples and coupons. 
  • Printed out registry announcement cards: Put these cards right into your baby shower invitations!
  • 15% Completion Discount: These exclusive coupons make it easier to buy any left over registry items 
Check out more baby registry information and their amazing benefits here.




                                




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Monday, June 10, 2019

Tips on How to Plan a Babymoon


What's a baby moon you might be asking yourself?

According to my definition of the word, a baby moon is a romantic getaway for expectant (usually first time) parents. Since this is my first child I am looking forward to squeezing in as many baby like moons I can! LOL

I wanted to take a trip to somewhere warm and relaxing. Since the CDC still warns against places like  Puerto Rico, staying in the United States was safer. I have only been to Florida once and that was in the Disney theme park area so I had to do a little bit of research on suggested places. 


My husband and I ended up choosing Sarasota, Florida. It is a perfect baby moon place; relaxing, low tourism, good food and plenty of beautiful beaches. If your interested I shared a glimpse into our baby moon here for my youtube channel.

I wanted to make a post for all you soon to be Mom's out here on my top baby moon tips:



1. Timing is Everything (second trimester)

My first trimester I was exhausted all the time! Some of you are probably experiencing nausea and vomiting. I suggest planning to go on your baby moon when your in your second trimester. Your energy is coming back, nausea usually goes away and your medically safe to fly in this trimester!

2. Research pregnancy safe places

Make sure to check out the CDC website for travel advisories and safe places to book a flight/stay. Plan out for those area's months of high temperature and mosquito season. Mosquitos can carry diseases such as Zika and you want to make sure you are safe from contracting any of these carrying diseases. 


3. Notify your doctor

Talk to your doctor either via a scheduled appointment or on the phone to discuss your plans on traveling. It's important to keep your OBGYN in the loop and make sure to have their phone numher handy in case of an emergency.

4. Pick a low key travel destination

Many stages of pregancy are stressful and there will be way more ahead once the baby comes so I suggest you plan for a stress free vacation. I just wanted beach and relaxation for our baby moon. Check out low tourist seasons and comfortable temperatures. 

Also make your flight comfortable. For this trip I packed plenty of snacks for the plane ride and made sure to book a window seat. I prefer to sit by the window but being pregnant an aisle seat will be a great choice as well. 


5. Know the medical centers in the area

God forbid something happens and in the frenzy of the situation no one knows where the nearest urgent care is. Mark out the local pharmacies and urgent/hospital care for your knowledge. 

You could also bring a copy of your  birth certificate with you in a sealed envelope for extra identification purposes. It is also a good idea to try to get your flu vaccine before your trip. 

6. Check out the local eats

This was a big one for me! One thing you can not have is seafood and not only do I LOVE seafood but also every restaurant area had a seafood dominant menu! Make sure while checking out local restaurants that you also read the reviews. I always use Yelp when I travel and like always it was a great resource. 

In addition to seafood you also have to be mindful of deli meats and lightly cooked eggs. It was hard for me at least in Florida to find restaurants but I managed to find some chicken on the menus! I also avoided drinking any tap water from restaurants. Just simply inform your server you are pregnant and prefer bottle water. 

Check out our VLOG for the restaurants I went to that had pregnancy friendly food items! 

7. Connect with your partner

This is what the baby moon is all about. Make this trip about the two of you and not just you! Compromise on things that he may want to do. Look into your hotel or near by spas for a romantic couples package or plan out places for romantic dinners. 

Parenting is about two people and making sure you are in a healthy relationship is important when raising your baby together. Also take advantage of as much romance time as you can before the baby comes and its limited!



I hope you guys enjoyed this post! If you have any questions please let me know below!  





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