Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Wedding Wednesdays: Before Checking the Dress Off Your List...

We all are eager to 'Say Yes to the Dress' and check it off our wedding to do list. But before you head off to any bridal shop, there are a few things you really should know. From what kind of bra you should bring, to the hidden fees associated with some gowns, The Knot covers all of your dress shopping basics in ten great tips. Here's what you need to know:

1. Limit Your Entourage
Bringing a big group to the salon is a gown shopping don't. Enlist one or two of your closest friends or family members to help you start your search. This way you can find the gown that best suits you and your style and not feel pressured by too many opinions.

2. Hidden Costs Add Up
Remember, your wedding gown budget doesn't just include the dress. Your veil or headpiece, accessories (think jewelry and shoes), undergarments and alterations will also add to your bottom line. Factor in these costs before you give the salesperson your final shopping budget.

Image result for trying on wedding dresses

3. Undergarments Are Optional
Most bridal shops have a few different types of bras in the fitting room. If you have a favorite strapless style or plan on wearing a particular body shaper, go ahead and bring it. You'll ultimately need your gown-specific undergarments for your first fitting but not your initial appointment.

4. Salons Take Requests
Just because a bridal salon carries your favorite designer doesn't mean it'll have the exact wedding dress you've been wanting to try on. But, if you phone in advance and request a specific style, chances are that a salon staffer will be able to call for a sample of that gown especially for you. It's these little joys that make your dress shopping experience that much sweeter.

5. Don’t Get Discouraged
There are hundreds of bridal designers out there with literally thousands of designs, which makes the odds of you finding a fantastic gown pretty darn good. We know that coming up empty-handed on your first trip can be a letdown, but don't give up. If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.

Bride with mother trying on wedding dress

6. Shop for Your Body
When trying on dresses, focus less on your weight and more on the shape and frame of your body. Your weight may be constantly fluctuating, especially during highly stressful situations, so don’t let that be the deciding factor in choosing a dress. Concentrate on finding silhouettes that accentuate the features you love and make you feel amazing.

7. Always Book an Appointment 
While you may get lucky and snag a salesperson just by walking in, scheduling an appointment is the only way to ensure you'll get a full hour of undivided attention.

8. It's Okay to Pick Favorites
To help guarantee your gown shopping experience goes smoothly, ask the salon coordinator when you call to book your appointment if she can suggest a favorite saleswoman. Or get recommendations from friends and request a salesperson by name.

Image result for trying on wedding dresses

9. Skip Day One of Any Sample Sale 
We know you're tempted to get there as soon as the doors open, but shopping on the first day of a sample sale can be overwhelming and crowded. Do yourself a favor and call ahead to ask how many days the sale will run. Then go on one of the later dates. You want to make sure you have plenty of time and space to browse and try on.

10. Plan on Playing Hooky 
Sneaking away from work will allow you to hit the stores while crowds are at a minimum. For instances, you'll get more attention from the sales staff if you shop on a Tuesday morning rather than a Saturday afternoon.

Trust us, you won't want to set foot in the bridal salon without reading up on these gown shopping basics. Brush up on these tips and devour the details before slipping into your first dress!

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Spring Into Daffodil Season!

"Then my heart with pleasure fills...And dances with the daffodils" - William Wordsworth

Spring has definitely sprung and we are certainly starting to see new life bloom. It is getting us excited to spend more time outside enjoying fresh air and sunshine (even though we have terrible allergies). One of our favorite things to do this time of year is photograph flowers! Especially ones like daffodils that really pop against all that is green surrounding them. That being said, we wanted to share some of the best spots around Massachusetts to check out some daffodils that are also perfect photo opps thanks to these seasonal commodities.

Celebrate all things daffodil at the Daffodil Festival on Nantucket
The 43rd annual Nantucket Community Daffodil Flower Show is only part of the island’s weekend-long flower-themed festival. The celebration will also include tours, brunches, art shows, contests, picnics, performances, wine tastings, exhibitions, and parades—featuring kids, dogs, and antique cars. Here’s a complete schedule of events. The festival kicks off this Friday, April 28 and goes to Sunday, April 30. Some events are free and some do charge admission but it's a worthwhile price to pay to see some perfect petals!

Visit Parsons Daffodil Field in Dartmouth
Wear sturdy shoes to this daffodil field, located at the Parsons Reserve in Dartmouth just south of Russell’s Mills Village. You’ll have to travel a quarter mile from the reserve entrance to get to it, and the dirt-covered trails have rocks, tree roots, hills, and wet spots. However, the view is something you won't want to miss. According to the Dartmouth Natural Resource Trust website, more than 12,000 people trekked to the field in 2016. Note that parking is limited, and the trust asks that you follow the daffodil field rules. The Reserve is open from late April through early May from sunrise to sunset. Admission is $2 for non-members and free for members.

Daffodils

Take a guided tour at Daffodil Days in Falmouth
Ask a master gardener all of your daffodil questions and take a guided tour of thousands of daffodils at the Spohr Gardens Daffodil Days. During this daffodil celebration that takes place the last two Saturdays of the month, you’ll also find face painting; performances by the Falmouth Academy String Octet, a ventriloquist, and the Falmouth Fiddlers, items for sale, and a wishing tree. You may even get some advice on how to grow these beauts in your own front yard! Check out this celebration, Saturday April 29 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The event is free but donations are encouraged.

Stroll through the Field of Gold in Boylston
The Tower Hill Botanic Garden’s Field of Gold blooms with 25,000 daffodils each year. Visitors can sign a daffodil guest book at the scenic spot, and kids can go on a scavenger hunt through the field. If you like your daffodils and other spring flowers with a guided tour, check out the Tower Hill’s Spring Bulbs Tour on May 3. The tour is free with admission, but guests must pre-register for it. Or, on May 6 and 7, wake up and smell the daffodils at the Daffodil Show, which is free with admission. The garden is open throughout April and May. Admission is $15 for adults and $5 for kids ages 6 to 18. You can really get a new profile pic and some Instagram-worthy shots here!

Daffodil Festival on Nantucket

We hope you're as inspired as we are to get outside this spring and devour the details of the new life blooming across Massachusetts!

Monday, April 24, 2017

Monday Mashups: Get Ready for Cinco de Mayo with these Dessert Tacos

Cinco de Mayo is on a Friday this year and we can't wait to enjoy a weekend-long celebration. But we're not just in it for the fiestas or cervezas. We love this holiday for the food and most importantly, the dessert! Churros and dulce de leche are two Spanish sweet treats that might come to mind. The dessert we're bringing you today is a new spin on these old classics, compliments of Lauren Conrad, that will definitely have you coming back for more: Churro Double Decker Dessert Tacos!

Churro Taco recipe on LC.com:

Ingredients:

½ cup Nutella
½ can of dulce de leche
3 cups canola oil
gold sprinkles or sprinkle of choice
5-inch circle cookie cutter
rolling pin
For the pie dough, refer to LC's favorite Martha Stewart recipe.

For the cookie dough:

1 cup butter, room temperature
1 cup brown sugar
¼ cup sugar
3 tablespoons whole milk
1 tablespoon vanilla
2 ½ cups flour
1 teaspoon salt

Get the recipe to make these churro tacos on LC.com:

Instructions:

1. Whip up pie dough, following the recipe from Martha Stewart.

2. Make the cookie dough while the pie dough chills.

3. In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter and both sugars until light and creamy (about 3 minutes). Add in the milk and vanilla and beat just until mixed. While the mixer is on low speed, slowly add in the flour and salt and mix until everything is combined. Cover the dough with plastic wrap and set aside until ready to use.

4. In a large pan, heat the canola oil until it reaches 350 degrees.

5. While your oil is heating, take the pie dough out of the refrigerator and roll out until 1/8-inch thick. Cut out 5-inch circles and place them onto a piece of wax or parchment paper.

6. Working with one piece at a time, fold each circle in half and drop them into the preheated oil. Fry for about 3-5 minutes on each side, or until nice and golden brown. Place each fried taco upside down onto a layer of paper towels.

To assemble:

1. Gently smear a tablespoon worth of Nutella onto the insides of each taco shell. Fill each taco with about 2 tablespoons of raw cookie dough. Continue until all tacos are filled.

2. Heat the dulce de leche over a double broiler or in the microwave. Scoop into a piping bag and drizzle lightly over each taco. Sprinkle the tops with your sprinkles of choice!

30 Mexican Fiesta Party DIY Ideas for Cinco De Mayo:

Our only other recommendation? Washing these decadent tacos down with a nice cold margarita! Cheers to you Cinco de Mayo and these devour-the-detail-worthy desserts!