Hey Y’all! If you’re not already on the road to the lake, picturing leaving your office early, or working from home: apologies, but you’re missing the boat.
From the desk of D&D before the long weekend, here are five of the most fab GIRLY things from across the web this week:
- Luisa Wendorff (the powerhouse behind last year’s now-famous T.Swift mashup) is back at it – check out her catchy new tune that just launched, ‘DSIDLY’ (Don’t say I didn’t love you, for those of you keeping score at home):
2. Talk about a match made in ‘adorable’ heaven – the ever dreamy Dave Annable (from Brothers and Sisters) and his wife Odette (from The Astronaut Wives Club) hosted a fab fiesta to celebrate her ‘Dirty 30th Birthday’ at their beachfront Malibu home, and surprised guests with a gender reveal for their soon-to-be daughter! Catch all the cuteness on Style Me Pretty Living here:
3. Speaking of hunky – when did Calvin Harris get to smoke-show hotness? This is definitely a new look, right? Follow the evolution of his highness, Mr. Taylor Swift, here on Elle.com:
4. And what about his muse, Taylor Swift herself? Check out some of her happiness mantras on Domaine Home, and get happy like the it-girl herself here:
5. Want to be financially independent, fierce, and kind of a bad-ass like T. Swift and some of your other favorite famous women? Check out Domaine’s Top 5 Tips to establishing financial independence and success here:
Yes, we just got home – and that vacation was wonderful, relaxing, and totally what I had hoped for! A quick recap of my 5 favorite parts of the trip – I highly recommend replicating them if you happen to find yourself in Quintana Roo soon!
- Millé Spa at Excellence Riviera Cancun: I know I know, you’re all thinking “aren’t all spas the same? Why should I check out this one?” Let me start by saying that if you want infinite relaxation, take a relaxing vacation for 8 days, AND loop in a spa experience on the same trip. Mind numbing. All Millé spa treatments include an hour in their ‘aqua wellness circuit’ – I read this, and was concerned – I cannot swim laps, nor did I want to (never fear, that’s not what’s involved). The Aqua wellness circuit features a series of steam, sauna, pool, jacuzzi, and water jet relaxation techniques, designed to stimulate relaxation, before you ever walk in for your treatment. Skeptical, I tested it out before my ‘Ultimate Relaxation’ ritual (hot stone massage, head massage and hair treatment, and cocoa mud foot scrub + massage) – and was really impressed. Such a great experience – a must try! Bonus? The view from the spa looks out over the resort – lovely and calming. If you read through the daily resort newsletter, the spa offers daily specials and discounts throughout your stay!
- Self serve Ice Cream cones by the pool: This was legitimately my favorite perk of the resort – and since it’s only available from 10am-sunset, you have to strategize! Because Excellence (our resort) was all inclusive, people were ordering ostentatious drinks by the pool and lobster room service at midnight – but me? I was happy to do a ‘drive-through’ past the ice cream machine at any hour of the day. I thought of my ice cream consumption as a cooling off tactic, really. There was even one day when I had two cones! I know – that was a lot. But it was sooooo good! If you stay here, definitely check out the ice cream machine. You will not be disappointed – and now I’m sitting here at work, considering having one installed at my desk. Hmmmm… #VanillaChocolateSwirlForTheWin
- Renting a golf cart to explore Isla Mujeres: Allow me to start by saying that this is definitely a day trip, and is not for the faint of heart. We chartered a cab from our resort to the seaport in Cancun (a 30 minute ride), and then bought tickets for the Ferry to Isla Mujeres – an island 20 minutes off the coast. The ride was pleasant enough, and we were even serenaded (in English!) by an acoustic guitarist on the top outdoor deck – excellente! When we arrived at the port in Isla Mujeres, it was complete bedlam – be prepared to be overwhelmed. Somehow, we found a street vendor renting golf carts, and rented one for a few hours to drive around the island. They handed us a paper map, and we were off! It was really interesting to see how the island locals live, and visit the ruins and the lighthouse that are still there. We also saw about 100 iguanas (ew, not my favorite, more on that later), and got some great wind in our faces. We finally checked out the beach on the north side of the island – which was pristine – and headed out on a 3:30 ferry. Definitely a good exploration trip! Pro tip: have lots of small bills to shop (and haggle) at the artisan markets by the ferry – they have great finds and souvenirs!
- The beachfront palapas at our resort: Another GREAT thing about all inclusive resorts is the assortment of amenities you can expect from the property. Our stay included pool floaties in all pools to hang onto (we liked the lazy river), as well as beach chairs under wonderful thatch umbrellas (with drink service), called ‘Palapas’. We spent at LEAST 10 hours under these during our trip – and the breeze off the ocean was heavenly. They also have full-sun cushy beach beds right at the water line, perfect for tanning and afternoon siestas. Total relaxation.
- The Aztec Ruins at Chichen Itza: This was the BEST day of our trip! We learned so much, and had a fantastic time on our tour (through Seasons Tours, the Excellence exclusive provider). The shuttle was lovely, and 2 hours later, we hopped off with 5 other couples to explore the ruins, under the helpful direction of our tour guide. He was lovely and funny and very well spoken, and while we would have been lost without him there, he gave us enough space and time to explore on our own as well! The trip was capped off with a stop at a swimming hole ‘Cenote’, and a fantastic local lunch at an Aztec restaurant. Highly recommend if you’re looking to do a day trip – and we got really lucky with weather, because we went on a cloudy day that wasn’t too hot. Happy travels!
It’s #Wedding #Wednesday, and we’re pretty sure the phrase ‘better late than never’ applies to today’s post! We’ve been working on some GORGEOUS fall weddings over here, and dreaming up ideas for next season as well – but what good is all of that prettiness without a solid foundation on which to build it? The reality of the matter is that weddings mean incurring a very specific set of costs, and surprises are not fun. Never fear: you can still have the wedding of your dreams without taking out a second mortgage or selling your handbag collection!
Said bluntly: most people over-spend on their weddings, fail to account for all costs up front, and get frustrated when an established budget isn’t enough to cover the realization of their hopes and dreams for their event. Planning a wedding is hard enough – when you add budget planning into the mix, the process can become overwhelming very quickly. Here are our top 5 tips to set a reasonable wedding budget – and stay within it – keeping you sane, happy, and in control:
- Play the numbers game: One very real (and controllable) expense is the guest count for your event. I can be tempting to invite everyone you have ever met and your dry cleaner to witness in your blessed event – after all, you’re wearing a gown! You paid for an ombrè aisle runner! The best predictor of wedding cost is the number of people you plan to feed, host, and entertain. Tailor your guest list to your budget – instead of trying to stretch a modest budget to cover 500 guests with an elephant grand entrance. In addition, it’s worth noting that the party who foots the bill for the wedding has the power to establish the guest list – so if your parents aren’t contributing, you don’t have to accommodate their request to invite Crew friends from the old days or their ex-business partners and their wives (anyone non-family) unless you want to. Tailor your guest list to exactly the people you want to celebrate with, and the rest will be fairly straightforward – after all, it’s your wedding, and its about your new union.
- Rank your priorities: Are you a foodie who solely cares about the food and beverages served at your event? Or perhaps an interior designer, incredibly focused on the styled details of your wedding decor? Maybe you’re not sure what you care about most – but you really want the pictures from your big day to last a lifetime, and you plan to be picky about your photographer. Whatever your priorities are for your wedding (everyone has them), you need to establish a ranked list, in order to justify the cost of each line item as you book vendors. Typically, catering will be your largest expense – but that doesn’t mean you have to serve caviar and filet mignon. Your list should include typical areas of focus, including: florals, decor, rentals and furniture, attire, honeymoon, venue and location, food and beverages, photography, videography, dessert, and guest entertainment. My top 3 would be: Florals, food and beverages, and venue – once you have your list established, you can make decisions about which vendors are worth splurging on or spending more.
- Prepare for surprise costs ahead of time: There are always costs beyond what you see on a proposal. ALWAYS. Whether these are a broken glass here, missing lanterns there, or perhaps greatly appreciated gratuities you share with your service staff on the day of your event, the best way to handle these additional costs is to prepare for them. Ask your planner or research best practices around gratuities, comb through contracts with a fine toothed comb, choose vendors who come in below budget, and never assume your bill is final until it’s final. Budget for extraneous costs while you’re planning, and add 5% of your total budget as ‘swing coverage’, to be used just in case.
- Be willing to negotiate and compromise: Catering proposal too high? Not feeling like you’re getting enough bang for your buck with your floral contract? Really consider your priorities (refer to point #2), and decide where compromise is necessary. Perhaps you LOVE your floral design, but you’re slightly over budget – is there somewhere else you can cut back? Do you really need three cheese stations set up by your caterer, or would one suffice? When you’re flexible and deliberate with your budget, you can breathe easier, knowing that you’re not overspending in every category. Be willing to negotiate, but be reasonable: most wedding vendors are small and medium sized business owners, who are selling their artistry and craft as much as their product.
- Stay organized – the devil is in the details: if you do not have a wedding budget tracker (broken out by line item, proposed amount, actual amount, and due date) you’re not keeping track of your budget as closely as you can. As a planner, I have a spreadsheet template that I share with clients ahead of time, to give them an idea of standard percentages of your budget that should be devoted to each line item. For instance, typically, food and beverages equate to 30-40% of your total wedding budget. From there, keep a copy of every proposal and contract you receive/sign, to stay ahead of spending.
If your wedding finances are organized proactively, the planning process will be much more feasible and enjoyable!
Oh my GOSH, how good is vacation? We’re back, and I’m keeping the happy alive by smiling as much as I can, and enjoying the catch up tasks. I’ll keep today simple – but it’s worth noting that I missed you guys! Here are 5 dreamy Paris pics to inspire your next getaway – this is definitely our next major trip! Need more pretty? Check out my favorite Parisian indulgences on my Pinterest board here: C’est si bon!!
The quintessential Paris apartment, complete with peonies – c’est magnifique //Photo by Nuevo Estilo via MyDomaine
Wooooo hoooo, it’s officially the Friday before vacation, and I could not be more stoked! I plan to do a TON of sleeping and sunning over the next 10 days – what are your plans for the weekend? Hope they’re amaze!
Here’s the best 5 things from around the web this week:
- The BEST homemade pickles (unless of course you’ve been to Super Duper Burger, where they make their own) – I’m addicted – follow this PureWow recipe to DIY:
- Can we talk about how rad this Frida Kahlo inspired wedding is? Truly dreamy – can’t get enough…
- In case you were wondering, here are 18 incredible beaches that prove summer is year round in the right places:
- Glamping, you say? I’m into it – and am getting inspired for a little fall getaway after clicking through this gallery:
- Work life balance is a MAJOR consideration around here (in my office, and in our household – not to mention, San Francisco in general), and at D&D we’re taking our cues from the Europeans, and starting this vacation weekend on a de-stressed note. Here’s why they have the work/life balance thing down:
Loyal followers, I’m sorry my presence has been spotty (at best) this week — keeping up has been TOUGH recently (totally my fault), and I’ve been a little too human for my own liking! That said, we missed Wedding Wednesday this week (which y’all KNOW is my secret favorite), and I wanted to make up for that today.
Let’s talk about Equestrian: not only is horse sport one of the oldest pastimes in the books (since medieval times, no pun intended), it’s also one of the most beautiful. Not everyone rides or loves a horse of their own, but most people inherently appreciate the history and class that lives in the Equestrian aesthetic. (Hermes built a business upon it in Paris, and girls everywhere don riding boots each winter as a style statement).
Refined riding has always been popular among a select set of citizens, but recently, we’re seeing a revival of equestrian design in the public eye – specifically in the wedding industry. I’m starting to ride again at a local barn in September, and last weekend, Kaella Lynn Events pulled off a wedding in Los Altos with an equestrian vibe – so I’ve got horses on the brain! Here are some of my favorite inspirations for an equestrian wedding that is equal parts girly, classic, and traditional:
Prize ribbons vignette in shades of blush // Photo via Grace Bonney
Hey all – it comes as no surprise to anyone that in the middle of wedding season, surrounded by a new team at work and building out a new division (and PS we moved houses this summer as well, did you know?) – I’m a little overwhelmed and stressed! Stress does not have to be overwhelming or anxiety inducing, however – I’m learning how to manage my day-to-day, and finding ways to offset the rush of the work week in my free moments.
Here are my top 3 ways to mellow out and remember who you are when you’re overwhelmed:
- Yoga: even if you’re not flexible or crunchy (you don’t actually have to be either to get a benefit from the practice of Yoga), you can still focus on conscious breathing and sitting still – good skills for any human. Add to that some potential exercise benefits, the chance to see a friend and participate in a group activity, and I’m on board. I like The Pad Studios in the marina, and you’ll find me there after work at least one night a week. Namasté.
- Hobbies: it sounds counter-intuitive, but I have found that adding an enjoyable activity to the lineup for my week outside of work can make me look forward and get through the tough stuff faster. I’ve recently been getting back into horseback riding and equestrian training (I LOVE horses), and scheduling riding lessons is something I’m really looking forward to, to help balance out my day and give me a hobby to work on improving. If you have absolutely zero time, and want to preserve any free moments you have, try something less out of the way like reading a book or listening to an online TED talk.
- Spend time with your people: I have a lot going on at any given time, and it’s so important for me to ‘let my hair down’ with my best friends, my hound dog, my family, and my better half. How else do you get reminders of who you are beneath the chaos? My tribe fills up my heart, and every now and then, I just need a little boost in the form of a phone call to my mom, a g-chat with my bff, or a brunch walk with our little family on a Sunday. I love my people, and carving out an hour or two each week (At LEAST) to spend with them makes everything else feel more manageable.