Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Coming Soon from The Bridal Party LLC!

Event planners and consultants know all too well that extraordinary place settings are a powerful element that truly make events. Personally, I have a soft-spot for menu cards in this respect. Menu cards not only show your guests what they will be served, but they express a sense of formality and charm ... they further anchor the intended ambiance of the event. Is it really possible for this lone piece of stationary to provide that "WOW" factor to your event? The answer is, "Absolutely!"

Therefore, it is with much excitement that I introduce Hand-Crafted Menu Cards from The Bridal Party LLC, featuring a full range of colors, textures and embellishments. For more information, send inquiries to info@thebridalparty.net.


(Pictured above - "Banquet" Menu Card : 5x11 Metallic White Card featuring Hand-Tied Satin Wired Ribbon)

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Cues From The Red Carpet: 2008 Oscars

The 80th Annual Academy Awards, mother of all awards shows, finally arrives! Now THIS is the real red carpet. Lots of silk, satin and organza ... John Galliano, Michael Kors, Dior and Marchesa. Check out these cues for brides:
(click on bridal fashions to enlarge)

Heidi Klum
(Bridal Inspirations below: Jenny Packham, Saison Blanche, Sophia Tolli)

Laura Linney

(Bridal Inspirations below: Emerald Bridal, Jim Hjelm)

Anne Hathaway
(Bridal Inspirations below: Winnie Couture, Sposa by St. Pucchi)

Marion Cotillard
(Bridal Inspirations below: Pallas Athena, Alvina Valenta)

Penelope Cruz
Bridal Inspirations below: Kenneth Pool, Enzoani)

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Looking For Something New to do with Hubby-to-Be?



WHERE: Your local Williams-Sonoma store
TIME: Please call store for details
COST: Technique classes are free

Join Williams-Sonoma for a new series of technique classes at your local Williams-Sonoma store.

Their technique classes are an enjoyable way to broaden your culinary experience with new flavors and techniques. Led by culinary experts and featuring cuisines from around the world, classes include demonstrations and samples of prepared dishes as well as printed recipes you can take home.

Join for the entire series or choose your favorite individual classes. Class size is limited, and classes tend to fill up quickly, so be sure to reserve your space today.

SUNDAY, MARCH 2
Easter Baking & Cupcake Decorating

Cupcakes are the perfect something sweet to enjoy at your Easter or Spring Celebration. Enjoy new recipes, inspired decorating ideas and sophisticated flavors while adding whimsy and childhood nostalgia with our cupcake ideas!


SUNDAY, MARCH 9
Soufflés

Take the mystery and intimidation out of making soufflés with this step-by-step class. We’ll teach you how to make a basic soufflé base, incorporate sweet or savory flavors and even how to make a frozen dessert soufflé.


SUNDAY, MARCH 16
Easter Egg Decorating

Easter egg decorating is a fun way to gather family and friends around the table for some creative quality time. In this class we will share best practices for correctly boiling eggs and great decorating ideas, including beautiful patterns that can be mastered in one sitting. Kids are welcome with an adult.


SUNDAY, MARCH 30
Cooking with Balsamic

Learn different ways to use this powerhouse vinegar. Balsamic can be used from appetizers, main dishes and even desserts. Experience a balsamic tasting and enjoy a delicious balsamic marinade, classic Italian vinaigrette and even a balsamic reduction for dessert.


SUNDAY, APRIL 6
Knife Skills

Fine tune your knife skills in time for spring and summer produce. We will teach you how to maintain the quality of your knives as well as traditional vegetable and fruit cuts so your plates “pop”!


SUNDAY, APRIL 20
Spring Pasta & KitchenAid Mixer

Learn how to enjoy classic fresh pasta by incorporate the flavors of spring. We’ll be making pasta from scratch, enjoying springtime recipes and providing seasonal variations.


SUNDAY, MAY 4
Breakfast for Mom

With Mother’s Day in a week, we wanted to share with you some of our favorite ideas for breakfast with mom. Learn the basics to waffle making, a delightful Ebelskiver and much more.


SUNDAY, MAY 18
Grilling 101

The first part in a three part series on grilling – we want to help you get ready for the grilling season. We will be covering everything from the essentials needed for grilling to different methods of flavoring, marinating and creative grilled accompaniments.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

DJ or Live Band?

For 5+ years, I had the priviledge of performing with one of the most applauded wedding/event bands in the tri-state area, Cashmere. Cashmere is the top band within Barry Herman Entertainment and are simply phenomenal (not just in my biased opinion).

Through my experience performing, I was able to become at home with celebrations that stemmed from a multitude of cultures and styles. I can still sing "Hava Nagila" in my sleep! Prior to performing with Cashmere, I thought hiring a DJ was more than enough for weddings. And while for certain celebrations this is true, nothing compares to a live band (especially if you hired a band like Cashmere who is extraordinarily versatile). So, when it comes time to advise clients on entertainment, I usually suggest having a live band or both a DJ and a band for the perfect party. This way, there's something for everyone: the young, the old, the modest, the party-animals ... they're all covered.

Thus, it goes without saying that I would highlight Cashmere here on my blog. After many wonderful years traveling, singing and dancing every Friday, Saturday and Sunday became too time-consuming, so I was forced to give it up. Nevertheless, I am so grateful for the experience, because much like wedding/event planning, nothing compares to helping to make the client's once-in-a-lifetime unequivocally unforgettable.

Here's a video montage of Barry Herman Entertainment's musicians ... starting with Cashmere!


Thursday, February 14, 2008

Model Moms

She helps you pick out the bridal gown of your dreams ... She insists Aunt Mary and Aunt Suzy not be seated at the same reception table ... She's the last woman to be seated before "Here Comes The Bride" is played ... She's been dreaming about your wedding day since you were born ... She's your mom! And here are a few of the latest fashions to help her look her very best:
(click photos to enlarge)



Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Just For You: 10% Off PosePrints!

I've been a huge fan of PosePrints for a long while. So much so, I even had a custom pose of myself created (pictured left ... wink).

Nevertheless, I was elated when they decided to release "couple poses" (example pictured below). You couldn't chose a better, more personalized Save-The-Date or Thank You card! Fabulous idea.

The founders of PosePrints, Denise & Jen (a mother/daughter team), have enjoyed impressive success since launching their site and continue to offer those on a quest to be unique great options for all occasions. There are even options for children now available. Super cute!

So, head on over to PosePrints ... have a great time creating your special pose(s) ... and use coupon code "bridalparty" for 10% off your purchase, courtesy of The Bridal Party LLC and the ladies of PosePrints.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Repost: The Wedding DATE Planner

I like to repost this about every 6 months, as it really comes in handy when couples are just starting to plan their weddings and choose dates. While there's absolutely no way you can ensure a warm sunny day and there's nothing you can do to prevent a misty rainshower, you CAN do a little research and try to make a decision based on theory.

Check out MY WEDDING WEATHER, which has lots of great info for the coming months!

(Favors pictured courtesy of Beau-Coup)

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Cues From The Red Carpet: 2008 Grammy Awards

The 50th Annual Grammy Awards, held in Los Angeles, gave the musical elite a chance to strut their stuff in the latest of trends and fashions.

Here are a few cues from the red carpet for brides:
(click on bridal fashions to enlarge)

Lisa Rinna
(Bridal Inspirations below: Fiamma by Atelier Aimée & St. Pucchi)

Beyonce
(Bridal Inspirations below: Avine Perucci by St. Pucchi, Demetrios Blue, Mon Cheri)

Alicia Keys
(Bridal Inspirations below: Henry N. Jackson, Platinum by Priscilla of Boston)


Miley Cyrus
(Bridal Inspirations below: Paula Varsalona, Winnie Couture Destination)

Fergie
(Bridal Inspirations below: Tara Keely, Tomasina)

Friday, February 8, 2008

Ace High Adornment

Last week, one of my favorite clients introduced me to IANKA by Giancarlo Miranda, a Peruvian jewelry maker of exquisitely awesome designs. The craftsmanship and creativity, second to none ... the designs, absolutely GORGEOUS! As described by the designer, the pieces are "ecletcic, full of fantasy, with much shine and delicate forms ... small works of art." And quite frankly, I can't think of anything else a bride's jewelry should be.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Let Them Eat Cake

Being one of the most debated English phrases in history, the root of "Let Them Eat Cake" is still somewhat unconfirmed. Though widely attributed to Marie-Antoinette, most believe it was Marie-Thérèse who coined the phrase or that it was penned by Jean-Jacques Rousseau. Nevertheless, the origins of cake's roll in weddings date back to medieval times. Nowadays, brides search for bakers 6 to 12 months in advance and each year wedding cakes become worlds more eccentric.

Get your sweet tooth ready ... it's time for a sugar fix!

Pastry Arts

Sweet Tiers
Vote on these and other magnificient cakes at Brides.com, for the chance to win your favorite!

Saturday, February 2, 2008

How To Tell If A Diamond Is Real

Here's a helpful article for those shopping for diamond rings, entitled How to Tell if a Diamond is Real.

Whether you're buying that perfect gift for a special person in your life or you want to know if your own diamond is the real thing, the proliferation of imitation stones and the people who try to pass them off as real can be worrisome. While the best option is to have the diamond appraised by a jeweler you trust, who can test the diamond without damaging it, this will cost you, and it may not be convenient if you're shopping around. Here's how to take matters into your own hands and catch a fraud on the spot.

  1. Ask for a certificate: Make sure it's from an impartial diamond grading authority (e.g. Gemological Institute of America, Jewellers Association of Australia) or an independent appraiser who is affiliated with a professional organization (like the American Society of Appraisers). This is especially important if you're buying a stone you haven't seen, such as from the Internet.
  2. Look through it. Diamonds have a high "refractive index" (meaning they sharply bend the light that passes through them). Glass and quartz have a lower refractive index, meaning they sparkle less because they bend light less, even when they've been cut nicely (because the refractive index is an inherent physical property which is not altered in any way by a nice cut - unless, technically speaking, the cut induced a permanent strain on the crystalline lattice). If the diamond is not mounted, turn it upside down and place it on a piece of newspaper. If you can read the print through the stone or even see distorted black smudges, then it probably isn't a diamond. If the stone shows any sign of double refraction, it may be Moissanite (silicon carbide), a gemstone that is so similar to a diamond that even jewelers can have a hard time telling them apart. If the diamond is mounted, you should not be able to see the bottom of a diamond looking directly from the top. Observe the reflections. A real diamond's reflections usually manifest in various shades of gray. If you see rainbow reflections, you're either dealing with a low-quality diamond or a fake.
  3. Take the side view. Most imitation diamonds are crafted to sparkle at the top, but check to see how it sparkles and reflects from a side angle. A real diamond will be just as reflective all around, whereas a fake is more likely to be duller when seen from the side.
  4. Fog it up. Put the stone close to your mouth and breathe on it. If the stone stays "foggy" for 2-4 seconds, then it is definitely not real. Real diamonds will have cleared by the time you look at them. Be warned though - some jewelers cap cubic zirconia bases with real diamond which will, of course, clear.
  5. Drop the stone in water. Many fakes have a real diamond cap but a false base, and under water, it is easier to see a joint if there is one.
  6. Weigh the stone. Cubic zirconia weighs approximately 55% more than diamonds for the same shape and size. Use a carat or gram scale to compare the stone in question to a real diamond.
  7. Check the setting and mount. A real diamond is not likely to be set in a cheap metal. Stamps inside the setting indicating real gold or platinum (10K, 14K, 18K, 585, 750, 900, 950, PT, Plat) are a good sign, while a "C.Z." stamp will give away that the center stone is not a real diamond.
  8. Put the stone under a UV light. Many (but not all) diamonds will exhibit blue fluorescence under an ultra violet or black light, so the presence of a medium to strong blue confirms that it is real. The absence of blue, however, does not mean it is fake; it could simply be a better quality diamond. If you see a very slight green, yellow, or gray fluorescence under ultraviolet light, it may be Moissanite.
  9. Rub the diamond on corundum sandpaper. If you see scratches or it is nicked, then it is not a real diamond (diamonds are harder than sapphire, which is the same stuff as corundum). Keep in mind, however, that some types of sandpaper have diamond in them, and that can ruin a diamond.
  10. Test it with a heat probe. Real stones disperse heat quickly and they won't heat up with the probe. This takes about 30 seconds and is often done free of charge. It also doesn't hurt the stone the way some other ways of testing will. Have the diamond x-rayed, real diamonds do not show up on an x-ray, glass, cubic zirconium and crystals all have slightly radiopaque quailities, diamonds are radiolucent.

Tips:

If you take the stone for an independent appraisal, expect to pay between $35 and $75 in the US, and make sure the stone never leaves your sight.

Diamonds do scratch glass, but so do many imitation stones.

Diamonds, yes, even good ones, can and do cast rainbow refraction. Please have a gemologist confirm this.

Warnings:

Some diamonds are lab-created or synthetic, but they are still "real". They cost a fraction of what a mined diamond costs, but they are (for the most part) chemically the same as "natural" diamonds. Telling the difference between a natural and a synthetic diamond is beyond the scope of this article and is best determined by a professional.

There is no way to be 100% sure that a diamond is real unless there is a certificate. If you buy a pawned item, something off a table at a market, or an item off of a website, you are taking a risk.

DO NOT hit your diamond with a hammer! A popular myth states that, because it is so hard, you can hit a real diamond with a hammer and it will not break. This is FALSE because it is brittle. A diamond, when hit with a hammer, will shatter just as easily as a crystal or other stone, albeit much more expensively. What they mean by "hard" is that the diamond is not easily scratched, but it will still break when hit hard.

Photo, courtesy of William Goldberg; Article source: http://www.wikihow.com/Tell-if-a-Diamond-is-Real

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