So, here’s the truth: every bride wants to look her best on her wedding day and even the most confident of us girls usually goes on a bit of a fitness kick in the months before her wedding. Maybe it’s the pressure of knowing you are going to be staring at these photos for forever or the “all eyes on you” reality of being a bride, but whatever the motivation, brides around the world are always trying to shed a few and tone up what’s left to look their very best on their wedding day. Well, ladies, I am telling you now that I have discovered the WINNING combination of diet and fitness that is sure to give you maximum results with minimal pain… and perhaps a bit of fun. And, the best part is, and I don’t mean to sound like a diet ad, but the results are actually amazingly fast.
Step One: The Virgin Diet. J.J. Virgin, a nutritionist made famous in part by Doctor Phil, took her unfortunate name and transformed it into an aptly life-altering (weight altering) dietary regimen that boasts losing up to 7lbs in 7 days. This sounded like a crock when Mayra and first saw her book “The Virgin Diet” in the airport in December on our way back from Mexico. But, with an 8 hour layover and about 3 extra lbs of tortilla on both of us, we thought we’d give it a skim and, convinced by her thesis, give it a try. Here’s the deal: J.J. feels that many of us are food intolerant and addicted to Sugars, GMO foods like soy, gluten, peanuts and more. Our “intolerances” cause us to bloat, puff and hold weight (among other things) and so we need to clean our bodies out (Virgins… get it) and then test foods back in with a clean system. Regardless of if you are a believer in food intolerance: and I can tell you I now am- the diet works and you’ll never have felt better.. after the first 4 days.
For 21 days you eliminate soy, corn, gluten, sugar and sugar subs, peanuts, eggs and dairy. What’s left, you say? Well, actually a lot. Not a lot that makes you want to go out and meet friends for dinner at Momofuku (save that for after the 21 days), but enough that you never are hungry and you have options. Mashed Sweet Potatoes, Hummus and Veggies, Grilled lamb and spinach, Coconut Stir fry. For the first 4 days we were nasty, horrible beasts and after a week I decided that a life without wine was not a life worth living.. but, other than that modification, it was amazing.
In 7 days, with minimal exercise, Mayra lost 9 lbs and I lost 4. In 21 days Mayra lost 16 lbs and I lost 8 (but two inches). Mayra attributes our differences in loss to her larger intake of the forbidden foods prior tot he diet. I blame the wine. But, after only 4 days we were sleeping like champions, our hair was shiny and gorgeous, our skin was clear and amazing and, frankly, it’s now been weeks and while I eat dinners out 2 times a week but we’ve both been largely sticking to this Virgin way of life. The worst part about it is that once you go Virgin, you don’t really want to go back because you feel so amazing.
Step Two: 305 Fitness. The truth is, looking “skinny” isn’t enough- everyone wants to look sexy and beautiful and healthy, and a great work out is the surest way to not only burn off calories, but to tone up and look your very bestest in your gown. I am a bit of an exercise class aficionado – having tried everything from Physique 57 to Flywheel- so when I heard that a fellow Brown alumna had started her own Fitness class, I was intrigued. After a night out dancing with girlfriends, self proclaimed fitness nut Sadie Kurzban decided that working out would be more fun if it was like a night dancing… but frankly, for the young and energetic, Zumba was a bit lame. So Sadie came up with 305 Fitness, named after her native Miami she mixes a live DJ, club lighting, dance moves and an absolutely KILLER workout that leaves you dripping, dripping, dripping with sweat. On the one hand, the class was easy to follow (and I got to dance to RuPaul as well as RiRi) and on the other hand, it was HARD enough to be a challenge) . The music is loud, loud, loud, and Sadie a fireball of energy living up to her mantra “Make Sweat Sexy” I took a bunch of girlfriends with me this past Wednesday and I have to say we were sold.
It couldn’t be a more fun way to shape up and tone up before your wedding and, to that end, Sadie is offering up a Wedding Ready package for Brides and their Bridesmaids that is basically 6 weeks of unlimited classes for $340 bucks (and considering a single class is $24, that is quite a deal!) Plus with the code TheBlogsmaid, you’ll get an extra $10 off. She runs classes at 6:30 and 7:30 most evenings and on Saturday mornings in the Flatiron with new classes and pop-up parties at awesome lofts around the city being announced all the time. One class and I think you’ll be addicted. And, of course, you needn’t take my word for it: here’s a fab review on Well & Good.
For many women, to hear about the woes of the bride with a big bust is like reading Goop- who cares? But, since our company could practically be called AaDoubleD, I can tell you first hand that “dealing with the girls” is a daily dilemma, especially on occasions when you want to be noticed for your other blessings. So, it’s no surprise that, when it comes time to wear one of the most important gowns of your life (the other most important gown is the one you wear the first time you go to the Costume Institute Ball… but maybe that’s just something in MY head.) So, today we thought we would feature Gowns for Girls with Ample Bosom.
Today, I turn to bridal styling expert, Julie Sabatino, owner of The Stylish Bride and The Stylish Dresser and recent bride Mayra, who tackled this issue first hand. Below their selections and their reasons why…
First pick, from Julie, is a stunning strapless ruched sweetheart dress from Monique Lhuillier. A shocker to the average busty gal! Says Julie, “When a busty bride walks into my office she invariably says that she does not want to wear a strapless dress (typically based on years of traumatic experiences with poorly fitting dresses!). But believe it or not, that bride almost always ends up wearing one! In addition to actually being very flattering, this is because a well-made wedding dress fits unlike most dresses she has worn before. It is anchored at the waist and not at the bust, so it does not fall down. The structure of the bodice is to fit you body and carry the weight of the gown. My favorite for a busty bride is a dress with a built in corset, which really holds everything in place.
The shape of the bodice is also an important thing to consider. Generally, dresses with a sweetheart neckline look good on an ample bust (as long as the V does not dip too low).
Julie was right, because Mayra’s very first pick was chosen largely FOR it’s straps. Mayra loves this Amsale dress because “the main thing is that I think that when you have big breasts, you always have to have the neck/decolletage exposed a little so that you don’t look like a gorda, but not so much that you look like a slut.” And, of course, as Julie asserted, anything that seems that it will allow you to avoid the dreaded words “strapless bra” is also always a huge help. So, this dress cut the muster for Mayra because “it seems almost as though you could get away with a kind of normal bra.” Julie does advise that a thin strap or a V-neck is a busty girls friend.
The other concern, besides coverage of “the girls” is shape of the dress, because in the wrong cut an ample bosom can give the impression of fuller figure than you may have… Take it from me, personally, no matter how petite I may be, the large bust can give an overall “round” look. Says Julie. “There are a few tricks of the trade that I will share with you if you are a bride who wants to minimize her bust:
1) Go for a style that has a cuff or pleating on the bodice. They are great camouflage.
2) A rushed bodice can have a minimizing effect.
3) Stay away from too much fabric. It makes the chest appear larger.”
For Julie’s second pick she chose this gorgeous Ramona Keveza that “is an example of the v-neck ruched bodice that would be flattering”
Mayra, who never met a v-neck that she didn’t like and says that because she’s so not used to ever wearing strapless, it makes her feel a little naked, was very drawn to this La Sposa lace number.
For Julie’s third and final pick, she selected the lighter than air, boldly red “Kimberly” Vera Wang gown. Say’s Julie “This gown is great for a larger bust because of the lace and the layered organza.”
Frankly, by Mayra’s third pick, she was a little frustrated. “I feel like this is SO hard to even do online. The thing is, do all dress designers have little boobs? UGH! No one cares us about us and our bounty.” For her final pick Mayra eventually settled on a beaded Monique… with straps…. because psychological comfort is no small matter on your wedding day.
If there is one main lesson that I believe both Mayra and Julie would agree on- if you know you have a full bust, it’s great to browse online, but you should shop with an OPEN MIND. What actually works in reality with a wedding gown may be completely different than what you might find works in regular life. And of course, you can shop knowing that if you start to feel frustrated, Julie is just a phone call away. Happy Shopping!!!
Sometimes when you run a service based business, it seems anti-instinctual to think of yourself as a product or brand, but for a brief moment today while you read this, I invite you to do so. This whole idea came up a year or so ago when Mayra and I were debating who to take our client to for catering and we leaned towards the caterer that we end up working with probably 8 out of 10 times. There were a lot variables to the event in this particular instance and Mayra said “Well, the thing about Company X is.. it’s always such a consistent product.”
That didn’t mean that they churned the same food over and over again or weren’t creative with their presentation and methods of service- indeed, the opposite- it just meant that no matter the variables the final product (inventive food, creativity, flawless service). The process to getting to the final product (the delivery method) was also fairly consistent: how we set up a tasting, what happened prior during and afterwards, the process of handling the rentals. And in that sense, the key word- consistency- is what this service related business has in common with a product.
Just like when I go on Net-a-Porter, regardless of what I may buy, I know it will be a fashionable, quality product and will arrive quickly with no hassle. Or, dare I say it, at a Chipotle, where I know I will wait on line, but the ingredients will be fresh, the taste good and it was a better choice than, say, street cart shawarma.
Sometimes when we do creative things or produce unique designs or deal with personalities and situations that vary drastically from client to client to client, it’s easy to say “But every project is SO different, not everyone’s experiences with us are going to be the same.” I know that that’s true because we’ve said that about ourselves in the past only to realize that in those moments, we weren’t clear on what our product really WAS and, we almost always could look back and see some issues with our delivery method.
So, what are you consistent about? What’s the take-away that every client walks away with? What’s the take away about your delivery method to getting there? Are you “Stunning, Original Stationery but difficult to deal with” or “Gorgeous, Locally Grown Flowers with a Side of Crazy” or “Amazing Lighting with a Can-Do Attitude”.
And, in totally non-wedding news, I leave you with my favorite Wednesday video to watch… a Zebra and a Pony running on Staten Island. This is a few months old in terms of time, but timeless in terms of magical content. Watch with volume and you can hear their clickety-clack of their little hooves.
For many of you reading this, you are probably just getting into shopping around for your reception venue. The truth is, like a NYC apartment, there isn’t really the totally perfect place. There are just a series of places that are less imperfect than others and where you can “imagine” yourself being. Sometimes there is a venue that is otherwise amazing, but there is a wall or a hole or a doorway that you just can’t seem to get past. OR, you may need to make one big space feel like a few spaces. Here are some ideas of how you can mask a wall/split a space and still add some design interest.
For the rustic, but design minded couples, I love this idea of a stacked firewood divider (or speak with your designer about how to stage a look like this!). Via Fresh Design Blog.
For the Whimsical, The trusty Ribbon Wall is a fan favorite here at AaB. Here we used a ribbon wall to mask a weird hole in the wall behind Mayra’s wedding cake. (Photo via Dave Robbins)
For the Industrial Minimalist, how about Re-purposing pallets? Via Dishfunctional Designs.
Want something Graphic that you can re-purpose afterward? Pick an awesome Mod fabric and make an upholstered room divider. Via Design Sponge.
Want something a little bit Nautical? Maybe a little bit preppy? Love these rope room dividers made with DOWELS. If you have some hanging points, this can totally work. Also, imagine this as an escort card display…Via Remodelista.
So, as you pound the pavement hunting for the perfect place, just remember you can always help it out a bit!
New York lost a legend last week- forever Mayor in my heart, Ed Koch. It had me thinking a lot (as I often do) about New York nostalgia, particularly one of New York’s most iconic celebrations: Truman Capote’s Black and White Ball at The Plaza Hotel. I am obsessed with this party that happened in way back in 1966, which I distinctly remember reading all about in a Vanity Fair piece by Amy Fine Collins when I was just in college. Planned/designed by socialite and fashionista Babe Paley, It’s the subject of a book (which I am tortured by the fact that I haven’t read), but more than anything, it’s a fabulous source of inspiration! Black and White as a color palette has lost favor in the last few seasons, but here are some thoughts to keep it interesting. Image via Voxsartoria.
First, your gown. Nothing channels 1960′s Glamour quite like this Boatneck Sheath from Pronovias. (via Chic Vintage Brides)
For your bouquet, look to this gorgeous Belle Fleur bouquet done for a black and white shoot for a Brides.com .
Now, for the original ball, Capote invited 540 of his “closest friends” and sent them engraved Tiffany & Co. Invitations. Apparently, people who weren’t invited left town for the weekend and one man called Capote and said his wife had threatened to kill herself if she wasn’t invited. Being the nice guy that Capote was he of course invited her and then told everyone why she had been invited. So, back to the stationery. Keep it simple and elegant and true to form with something engraved from Dempsey and Carroll. Hold on to your hats because this is about as trendy as a Chanel suit, but this save the date gushes with simple elegance. (via Martha Stewart)
For your cake, I like this petite, but glamorous black and white beauty (via Pinterest).
For your decor, don’t be afraid to keep it simple, but elegant. Here a loft we designed back in 2007 gets the Black and White treatment with some added edge via Black taper candles.
Of course, the one thing you shouldn’t be inspired by is Capote’s bitchy little attitude! Apparently he was quite the “Bridezilla”…