The Little Things

Guest Blog: How to Look Amazing for a Wedding or Bachelorette

Today we're excited to feature a new guest blogger! Zyana's survived wedding planning and bridesmaiding, and is here to share her (hard won!) tips for making sure you look (even more) awesome!

When prepping for a wedding there are a million moving pieces to arrange. Even with help of a fantastic wedding planner, which I hugely recommend, it can be difficult to make time for ourselves as well – leaving our personal health goals and plans last in line for attention.

We all want to look fantastic on our big day, and for many that means losing a few extra pounds to be able to fit into that perfect dress. There are tons of diets and exercise regimes to get you on track to weigh-loss success while also ensuring you drop needed inches. Here are a few extra quick tips for ensuring that you look as good as possible in not only those engagement and bachelorette snapshots, but also your treasured wedding photos and videos on your big day.

Getting that healthy glow

Okay, we’ve all seen those women who wear thick makeup on their wedding day, and this is a really scary trend. I’ve seen makeup disasters as well - with wrong-color foundation that makes them look like a geisha/ghost, really not a great look on your wedding day.

To stay as natural as possible also means making sure you, and your skin, have a brilliant healthy glow from the inside out. The trick to achieving this is two-fold:

Hydration

Up your water intake – studies show that drinking eight glasses of water a day will help us flush out toxins and improve skin elasticity. Proper hydration not only improves all body processes, but it also prevents disease, reduces the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, reduces under-eye circles, and improves any skin discolorations.

One study, published in the International Journal of Cosmetic Science, found that drinking 2.25 liters (roughly 9.5 cups) of either tap or mineral water every day for four weeks altered skin density and thickness - reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. In terms of immediate results, one University of Missouri-Columbia study showed that drinking about two cups of water increased blood flow to the skin - aiding in tissue repair and healing.

Water makes a big difference in skin health. Without adequate water intake, skin appears duller, and wrinkles and pores both become more prominent. The best way to determine if you are getting enough water is to use an online water hydration calculator.

Diet

Another way to boost your skin “canvas” on your big day is to commit to a diet rich in fresh fruits and veggies. Not only will this help with your number one health goal of losing excess pounds and fat before the wedding, but it will improve the color of your skin. In a study published in the journal of Evolution and Human Behavior, researchers found that eating a diet of fruits and vegetables high in carotenoids actually causes a healthy pigmentation and glow in the skin.

The best fruits and veggies to stock up on and consume to achieve this inner healthy glow are foods rich in carotenoids including; carrots, sweet potatoes, dark leafy greens, and tomatoes.

Skip the tanning booth

As mentioned above the best way to improve your skin’s coloring is to change your diet, but if you need further proof, another study of colorized faces representing carotenoid intake versus melanin skin darkening, similar to what happens in a tanning bed, were put to the test.

Researchers found that study participants rated the healthy glow faces as more attractive than the sun-tanned and sun-exposed skin. The study showed that individuals with higher dietary intakes of carotenoids from fruit and vegetables have increased skin reflectance. The study also established carotenoid coloration from consuming fresh fruits and vegetables as a valid visual cue to overall human health.

If you want to look healthy and glowing on your wedding day, then skip the tanning booth and go straight to juicing! Not only is sunlight and two types of UV rays, UVA and UVB, exposure from tanning damaging to your skin, but the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is quick to point out that it can even cause skin and other cancers. Also, as proven from the above studies, it’s just not as attractive as a healthy inner glow.


Looking great on your wedding day doesn’t have to be hard, and the lifestyle changes you make will have lasting positive effects to your overall health and vitality as well. Wishing you much joy on your upcoming big day!

Zyana Morris is a passionate blogger who loves to write on trending health, fitness and lifestyle topics. She is a featured author at Healthable, Uplifting Families, Inscriber Mag, Hello Mamas and few others. Currently she is working for Hourglass Express, an online store for waist trainers. Her favorite quote is “It does not matter how slowly you go as long as you do not stop." You can follow her on Facebook and Twitter.

How to Host a Healthy(ish) Bachelorette Bash

Admittedly, your bachelorette is hardly likely to be the healthiest experience of your life (a vacation that involves itinerary items like bar crawls galore, lounging poolside with mimosas at 10am, and trying all the fried food hardly screams "wellness retreat").

We've all been there. (It was awesome and then we had to go to work on Monday.) But there are a few ways to keep your bachelorette at the appropriate level of fun indulgence without letting all your health and wellness goals completely fall off the rails.

  • Schedule a group workout class as part of the festivities. It doesn't have to be taxing, but a good yoga, barre, or spin class can (1) work all those toxins out of your system, (2) give you an excuse to wear adorable matching t-shirts, and (3) totally balance out afternoon margaritas. If your whole group likes the idea, hiking, kayaking, snowshoeing, skiing, or another outdoor activity is a great way to see your destination and will keep you relatively healthy. (And if all your besties want to run a marathon, sure, go for it. But don't shanghai your bridesmaids into doing something super scary or uncomfortable for them.)
  • Everything doesn't have to be a hot mess the whole time. Saturday or Sunday morning can be spent sleeping, drinking raw juice, catching up with the girls, and getting mani-pedis if you so desire. You cannot measure a good weekend solely in the number of alcoholic units and calories consumed.
  • Do eat some real food. You will be hungry at 3am. It's a fact. A grocery run beforehand means you'll have Kind bars and hummus on hand, rather than chips and queso and late night Taco Bell. Pro tip: not eating before going out is a recipe to feel sick as dog the next day. It is not an effective dieting strategy.
  • Drink water, drink water, drink water ... Yes, and then drink some more water. Unless you're one of those people with a nalgene permanently in hand, hydration is key to surviving any good bachelorette weekend.
  • ... and dance, dance, dance. We once wore a fitbit during a bachelorette and were shocked to see the number of steps taken between midnight and 2am. (We may have then eaten chips and queso. Can't win them all.)
  • Get ready to take care of yourself when you get home. Once recovered, you're going to be super responsible for a few days -- take advantage of this and have your Equinox membership up to date. You'll be glad once you're back in fighting shape on Tuesday!

Guest Post: Skincare Before and After the Bachelorette

Between holiday season (so many parties) and upcoming bachelorettes, festivities can take a toll on your skin, so we went to the experts at Vaseline to get their best tips and tricks for faking your beauty sleep:

A bachelorette party is all about showing your best friend the time of her life, but all the fun can take its toll on your skin. Look your best before and after the bachelorette with this simple skincare guide, answering questions you’ve always wanted to know the answers to – like how to quickly reduce puffiness and is Vaseline safe for lips?

Before: Get Glowing

The bachelorette party is just around the corner and you want to look your best and that means healthy, glowing skin. Drink plenty of water and eat lots of skin-boosting foods the week before. Unsure what to add to your diet? Here are three great options:

  • If you suffer from blemishes and acne, try tomatoes. They contain the chemical lycopene, which is thought to lower acne-producing hormones.
  • If your skin is looking a little tired, eat plenty of foods high in Omega-3 fatty acids, like salmon or mackerel.
  • Finally, drink green tea for a boost of both antioxidants and hydration in one little cup.

The night before the big event, treat your pores to a clay mask. This will reduce redness and swelling, naturally giving you a more even base to work with. Add a generous coat of Vaseline to your mouth, which will hydrate this especially delicate patch of skin, so that you wake up with plump, soft lips.

If you’re wondering if Vaseline is safe for lips then it might interest you to know that its triple purification system means that it’s non-irritating and hypoallergenic. In fact, women have been using it for over 140 years to help with dry, chapped lips. That’s enough to reassure anyone but if you still have questions then you can read answers to common questions like is Vaseline safe for lips here.

After: Recover Faster

It’s just as important to keep hydrated and eat well after the bachelorette, but your skincare regime itself will look slightly different. Straight after your event, cleanse thoroughly but gently with a mild cleansing milk that will let your skin breathe again. Then apply a coat of moisturiser to lock in the top layer of moisture and keep your skin hydrated.

If your skin is still looking tired the next morning, it may be time to exfoliate. There are two easy homemade recipes you can try:

1.      Keep it simple: just blend baking soda and water to a thick paste, gently apply to your face and then wash off with warm water after 5-10 minutes.

2.      Moisturize and exfoliate: for a whole-body scrub that will moisturize while it helps remove dead skin, mix half a cup of olive oil with half a cup of sugar. Keep in an airtight jar and use as a scrub in the shower. Your skin will be both soft and refreshed so that you’re ready to face the day ahead.

On the other hand, if you’re running between bachelorette engagements and just need a quick fix, you can use an eyebath. Simply fill a bowl with plenty of ice, then top it up with water. Immerse your face for 10 seconds at a time, before gently patting dry. Not only will an ice bath reduce lingering puffiness, it will shock your brain into superfast action.

Awesome Bachelorette, Bride, and Bridesmaid Gifts

For those of us not magically blessed with the "awesome gift shopping" gene (trust us, it's a thing), coming up with a thoughtful, creative, and beautiful present for the bachelorette, bride, or bridesmaids in your life can be a painful exercise in Pinterest searching and cursing Amazon Prime for not being able to fix all problems like usual. To help alleviate your gifting woes, here are some of the best gifts we've seen this year:

1. Kate Spade bridesmaid bangle

2. Gigi NY customized clutch.

3. Goodie box with her favorite things (or a tote?). Include favorite foods, especially anything from hometowns, travel or wedding destination, or favorite bakeries, or things you'd normally have together. (The gift bag of Twizzlers and Diet Coke was perfect for our friend Erika's wedding, for example!) Other items to include can be customized sunglasses, framed photos, a tank top with a photo on it, ear buds (these are super cute), collapsible wine glasses (you can get these customized as well), and Stella & Dot customized jewelry.

4. Charms. One of favorite sets here.

5. Design a boardgame!  You can customize Monopoly and include inside jokes/photos!

Happy gifting!

Guest Post: DIY Bridal Makeup

Makeup ... we all try to pretend we don't really use it, but it's a critical part of wedding and pre-wedding prep. But if you're doing your own, here are tips from our friends at Trazee Travel to make sure you look great, not garish!

By Holly Godbey

With the cost of the average wedding creeping into the dozens upon dozens of thousands, many thrifty brides like to DIY as much of their wedding as possible, from centerpieces to invitations to favors. Brides with a few cosmetics skills and a willingness to invest in some high-quality products are also able to DIY their bridal makeup for the big day with fantastic results. If you find yourself bravely considering doing your own day-of makeup, remember these tips and tricks to make makeup the last worry on your mind.

Practice, practice, practice! The last thing that you want to do is wait until the week before your wedding to try your hand at bridal makeup for the first time. Watch Youtube tutorials to learn the makeup style you’re after and then go crazy. No one learns to contour on their first attempt.

Use varying lighting. Once you have your style down, make sure to try it out in different lighting. Your face changes appearances in every single varying form of light — direct sunlight, shade, fluorescent bulbs, etc. You’ll find you’ll look different throughout the day if you do your makeup in the car versus in your bathroom versus by your bedroom window. Create your look dependent upon your venue’s lighting. If you’re unsure what the lighting will be like at your venue, go take a look around.

Use a setting powder. Laura Mercier Translucent Setting Powder sets your makeup in place to prevent caking, creasing and running. This powder works for all skin tones and greatly improves your makeup’s appearance in photos.

Invest in high-quality brushes and other tools. If you’re using cheap, worn or dirty brushes, you’re doing yourself and your face an injustice. You can find brushes that are great for your skin at any department store cosmetics counter or specialty cosmetics store, usually for a relatively affordable price of less than $50.

Don’t shy away from false lashes. Even if you’ve never tried them before, that doesn’t mean you can’t now! Throw some false lashes into one of your trial runs to see how they look. Particularly if you’re going for a more dramatic and bold theme, falsies can only enhance your appearance.

Take care of your skin. This may be the most important thing to remember! You want your skin to look just as great without makeup as it does with makeup. In the months leading up to your wedding, be sure to drink plenty of water; stop touching your face with germy, oil-covered hands; don’t pick or scratch at just any annoying little zit; and be sure to keep up with your daily skin routine.

Bachelorette Invitations That Won't Make You Blush

There seems to be bachelorette party rumor circulating. You may have heard whispers, perhaps you even fell for it yourself. Are you ready? Here it is: All bachelorette party décor, invitations and other party accouterments must be awkwardly, embarrassingly bawdy. We’re talking please-don’t-let-my 15-year-old-cousin-see-this levels of innuendo here.

I’m here to tell you that you can have yourself a crazy good bachelorette party without that. All you brides-to-be, maids-of-honor, sisters and best friends who find yourselves somewhere between the shenanigans of the movie Bachelorette and tea with grandma on the bachelorette party scale, I’ve rounded up a handful of classy, cute, fun and occasionally cheeky bachelorette invitations to get the party started right.

 

   
  
 
  
    
  
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  Fascinating Feathers designed by Fine Moments. Available at  WeddingPaperDivas .com

Fascinating Feathers designed by Fine Moments. Available at WeddingPaperDivas.com

   
  
 
  
    
  
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  Bachelorette Party Invitations designed by Lemon Seed and Co. Available at  Etsy

Bachelorette Party Invitations designed by Lemon Seed and Co. Available at Etsy

  Designed by  Paperless Post . Available at  PaperlessPost.com

Designed by Paperless Post. Available at PaperlessPost.com

   
  
 
  
    
  
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  Neon Boho Chic designed by Paper and Ink Co. Available at  Etsy.

Neon Boho Chic designed by Paper and Ink Co. Available at Etsy.

   
  
 
  
    
  
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  Last Fling Before the Ring designed by Up Up Creative. Available at  Minted.com .

Last Fling Before the Ring designed by Up Up Creative. Available at Minted.com.

 

I hope that these adorable invitations get the festivities off on the right foot and that the bachelorette party goes off without a hitch!

Peace, love & champagne-

Bach Beb

How to Survive Engagement Season (Regardless of Your Relationship Status)

engagment.jpg

Engagement season is now underway in full force (FYI: Christmas -- one of the most popular days of the year for engagements). Whether you're one of the newly engaged or are as single as it's possible to be, the impact will swamp all of us in the next few months. So how does a girl navigate it with some measure of grace?

If You Just Got Engaged:

  • Enjoy yourself. And get a manicure ASAP if you didn't see this coming. But please ... keep the number of ring selfies on facebook and instagram to a reasonable number.
  • Be prepared for the deluge of congratulations - texts, emails, phone calls, and so on. You're going to get really good at telling your engagement story. Although everyone knows you're swamped, try to respond promptly and personally to messages, particularly those from family and close friends.
  • Also be prepared for mountains unsolicited advice and opinions about everything wedding related. Some of it will be helpful, some of it will be unhelpful or completely off base, some of it (such as requests from your future mother in law ) may need to be handled with a lot of care and tact. Just remember that (pretty much) all of this is coming from a place of love (hopefully). If not, assume that everyone is well-intentioned anyway. Convincing yourself of this will make it a lot easier to ignore the more egregious comments.
  • On this note: have a united front with your finance. Agree that neither of you will sign up for something important (like, say, doubling the wedding budget) without discussing it first.
  • And ... trust us. As much as your best friends think you're the best, almost no one is hurt by not being named a bridesmaid. (Family may require more delicate handling!) Let anyone who might have been expecting it down gently, but don't feel guilty and expand anything beyond what you're comfortable with.

If All Your Friends Are Getting Engaged:

  • We know. Your fingers are tired from texting and typing "Congrats!!!!!!!!!! So excited for you!!!!!" You haven't done any of your holiday shopping. You're possibly more than a little tired from the eighteen or so parties you've attended in the past month. But even if this is the eighth engagement this week, send the text, pick up the phone, and sound just as excited as you did for the first.
  • ... and then, after you've registered your enthusiasm, keep your mouth shut unless your opinion is really required or directly solicited. You think that the venue is awful, the ring is heinous, and the invitations uninspiring? Not your wedding, your life, or place to comment. The bride-to-be already has far too many people telling her what she should be doing. As her friend, make her life easier, not harder. Only when things impact you (or are hugely important in some other way) should you say something (like a bridesmaid dress that is light years out of your price range), and even then - be thoughtful about how you bring it up.
  • It's okay to set boundaries and limits with your engaged friend. You are not a wedding planner (probably). Nor are you a DIY expert, cake baker, chauffeur, personal stylist or marriage / pre-marriage counselor. Unless, of course, you actually are and want to take on those roles for your friend's wedding. Otherwise, do not feel guilty about politely saying no to requests that are far outside of your capabilities or time constraints.

Anything we've missed? Thorny questions we didn't tackle? Let us know in the comments.

 

 

Bachelorette Party Themes

Choosing a theme for a bachelorette (or any other party that's not clearly tied to a holiday as clear as, say, Halloween) can feel both overwhelming and possibly unnecessary. After all, you've managed to find a location, coordinate RSVPs, and ensured that everyone is going to have a place to sleep and something to eat. That's already an accomplishment ... So why pick a theme at all?

  1. It feels personal (if you do it right). Think about the bride-to-be's favorite things, activities, inside jokes shared by the whole group attending the bachelorette, and so on. We promise -- for your best friend, it should take about 10 minutes for you to come up with a great list.
  2. It actually makes things easier to plan. We won't go into the science of it, but it's hard to make decisions when you have too many options. A party theme means that some things will no longer make sense and you can eliminate those ideas. (For example ... once we landed on a "Child Inside Us" theme for a recent Sunday Funday, everything from meals to activities to transportation -- magic school bus, obviously - became far easier to decide).
  3. It makes it easier for your guests to know what to expect - and to pitch in. And for them to chip in. Even something as simple as "glitter" makes it easy for attendees to pick up decorations, swag, outfits, and so on that fit the theme.

Struggling for ideas? We'll be sharing some of our favorites in the coming weeks -- or shoot us a note at hello@mybestfriendsweekend.com and we're happy to chat.

Rain, Rain, Go Away: How to Keep Bad Weather from Ruining Your Bachelorette

It's the kind of thing that can keep a bride up at nights: What happens if it RAINS? And that thought can be just as worrying for a bachelorette, particularly if you've built your plans around outdoor activities. So, how to keep a little bad weather (rain, wind, sleet, hail, or snow) from throwing a damper on your weekend?

  • Avoid the problem in the first place with careful venue selections. Before planning, check out what the weather is like during that time of year, and be ready -- for example, by checking if your courtyard restaurant has a covered awning you can duck under if it rains, or if there are space heaters outside when it might be a little chilly.
  • Have the right gear. Remind your attendees to bring things like umbrellas, rain jackets, warm coats, and so on. Remember that Californians don't always know how to dress for East Coast weather (and vice versa), so include this kind of information in preparation emails, giving people plenty of time to buy or borrow what they need. And since not everyone will believe you, pick up some ponchos, stash a couple umbrellas in your luggage, and bring some extra sweaters if it looks like you're going to run into nasty weather.
  • Have a contingency plan ready to go. Sure, the idea of a picnic in the park was lovely, but then it started pouring. Have a back-up reservation (be thoughtful if you're a huge group, since cancelling too late means you just messed up the restaurant's plans for the day) or be prepared to bring outside activities indoors.
  • Have some fallback options prepared to suggest. So you can't spend the day at the beach? Try fun indoors activities: pub crawl that only goes to one or two great bars, bowling, laser tag, trampolining, or mani/pedis/massages to keep everyone busy and having fun.
  • If all else fails, do what the airlines used to: embrace the delay with free booze, games, and treats. Have some games (either free ones or something like Cards Against Humanity), something to drink, and delicious snacks (if you're in a house, get some cookie dough; if you're in a hotel, pop out to the nearest bakery and pick something up ... it's virtually impossible to be grouchy when you're staring at freshly baked cookies). Since the point of the weekend is to get everyone hanging out together, take advantage of the miserable weather and use it as a bonding opportunity.

Last (but most important) of all: if the right people are there, you could be stuck in a windowless room with nothing to do and still have an amazing time. So relax and let the awesomeness of your friends save the day.