Sunday, May 19, 2013

REPOST: Brides go head over heels for comfy flats

Elegant stilettos have been an all-time favorite option for many brides. But comfy flats have gained popularity nowadays. This Today article shows why:
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Elegant stilettos might be the traditional choice of brides who want some extra height, but a growing number of those walking down the aisle are opting for the ease of a flat shoe.

Actress Keira Knightly recently wed musician James Righton in a strapless pink Chanel dress and jacket, finished off by a pair of ballet flats, also made by the French house. The feminine and unfussy look has been gaining momentum.

“I wore flats (to my wedding) because I wanted to be comfortable and I figured it would be one less thing to worry about,” New York City real estate developer Pamela Horn told Horn's Cape Cod ceremony in 2012 was held on slightly sandy terrain that called for simple, silver Ralph Lauren sandals to go with her floor-length dress.

“They were a little fancy,” she said, “but not covered in jewels so I could wear them after the wedding.”

Poughkeepsie, New York-based cheese maker Audrey Aponte has purchased a pair of metallic TOMS slip-ons for her July nuptials, for the obvious comfort factor and the bit of shimmer they’ll add to her ivory Nicole Miller gown.

“I’m 5’10”, I don’t need the height,” she said. “And the wedding is on a farm in Portland, Maine, so it’s not super formal.”

Aside from comfort and functionality, many brides hope to add more personality to their wedding day ensemble by eschewing high heels.

Costume designer and stylist Emily Morgan DeAngelis wore ballet flats to her 2006 wedding in Grand Rapids, Mich. and has been dressing brides in a variety of flats over the past year. She recently robed a bride in a Grecian-inspired gown paired with gold strappy sandals. 

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“I think flats are chic and unpretentious. They are the wildflower bouquet of footwear,” said DeAngelis, “They can be delicate, preppy, or elegant depending upon the style and cut. They feel modern and fresh, rather than the stuffy and traditional bridal heel."

Harmony Walton, owner of Los Angeles bridal concierge The Bridal Bar, says that flats were originally a choice made because the bride didn’t want to be taller than the groom. (She should know — she worked on Katie Holmes and Tom Cruise’s 2006 wedding, in which Holmes wore flats.) They have evolved, however, into a statement piece.

“I’ve seen a lot of cowboy boots, flip-flops and custom Converse sneakers that match the groom," Walton told "Tea-length and short dresses are a big trend now and they look good with flats. It’s very Audrey Hepburn and fashion appropriate.”

She mentions that more and more brands are jumping on the bridals flats bandwagon. First TOMS and now a company called Tieks that makes comfortable leather ballet flats in over 40 colors.

Tieks has had so much success with brides and bridesmaids wearing their ballet flats that they now have an in-house wedding coordinator to assist women looking for the right shoes to wear on their big day.

“It's easy for brides to coordinate their flats with the bridesmaid dresses,” Tieks' wedding coordinator Amanda Cogswell told Some popular color choices include metallic gold (which "The Bachelorette" star Ashley Hebert chose for her bridesmaids), ballerina pink, and cream.

Cogswell adds that she recently worked with a bride who chose an assortment of colors for each bridesmaid to match their personalities. “From neon to sparkle, she wanted to make sure the girls had exactly their favorite colors to add a fun pop to the wedding party attire.”

The sole of each pair of Tieks is emblazoned in a robin’s egg blue, immediately giving a bride “something blue” on her wedding day. Plus, of course the assurance of knowing that she won’t be hobbling off the dance floor once the party gets going.

"I absolutely hate wearing high heels," said Caitlin O'Brient Bauer, a Los Angeles-based owner of a social media marketing company who was married in 2011 in blue Tieks. "They're comfy, beautiful, and easy to move in... and they definitely made for some spectacular dancing shoes."

I'm Ingrid Callot, and you can access some of my wedding tips at my Facebook page.

REPOST: 5 tips to de-stress skin

Stress can take a toll on our skin and deny it of its radiant glow. This Today article shows five tips on how to fight stress and have better-looking skin: 

Can forcing a smile do away with stress? What about something as simple as a cup of black tea? Stress can make your skin and the skin around your eyes more vulnerable, which can mean redness, dryness and no more radiant glow, according to the American Academy of Dermatology. But fret not. While even the coolest headed among us can get stressed out, thankfully, there are a few ways that we can dial back stress or halt it altogether.
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Smile back
Nothing beats stress like a smile – even if it’s forced. A recent study at the University of Kansas called “Grin and Bear It” showed that participants who smiled – even when doing so on command – reported less stress and recovered from stressful activities faster than those who maintained a neutral expression throughout. So even if the day has you down, a smile, even a fake one, can make quite a difference. Long day at work? Visiting the in-laws? Grin away!

Yoga is about balance, and not just how well you balance on your mat. Dr. Chris Streeter, a professor of psychiatry at Boston University School of Medicine, points out that yoga can help balance your nervous system. Why might this be helpful? “A stressed nervous system is manifested by skin breakouts,” she said. So in addition to relieving depression and anxiety, yoga can also keep your skin clear. Simple enough: Tone down the stress with yoga, and you’ll tone down the breakouts.

The Many Benefits of Tea
The English have long been known for loving their tea, but they’ve since found great reason for it. A recent study at University College London found that the actual ingredients in tea are de-stressing – going against the conventional wisdom that tea is de-stressing because we drink it in relaxing situations. Add to that the fact that green and black tea contain anti-inflammatory properties, which can soothe blotchy complexion, and it’s a wonder why we haven’t joined the Brits long ago.

Take the Time to Chitchat
Going out for a drink or calling up a friend on the phone might seem like the last thing you want to do during a stressful situation. Yet, researchers suggest that socializing might in fact be the starting point. “Many people who are stressed get isolated with their emotions,” says Stanford’s Dr. Spiegel. “Social connections that allow you to talk about what we mistakenly call ‘negative emotions’ can be very helpful.” That’s to say, yes you can chitchat the stress away.
Soothing Skin Care
A sensible, simplified regimen based on your specific skin qualities can help. The key is not to make it a huge production. Focus on quality, not quantity, selecting a few products that soothe, hydrate and calm your skin. Choosing a slow time in your day and focusing can turn this into revitalizing “me” time that relaxes both skin and mind.

 Hi. I'm Ingrid Callot. For more beauty and health tips, access my Facebook page.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Paperless wedding invitations: Raising the eyebrows of traditionalists

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As I was sorting out my email yesterday, I saw this letter from a blog reader named Sarah from Kansas: “Hello, Ingrid Callot! I got engaged just a month ago, and my fiancĂ© Philip and I are already arguing over invitations (one among many of our wedding-related fights). As green living advocates, we also want our wedding to reflect our love and respect for the environment. To ditch the use of paper, Philip wants to send out invites by email or through Facebook, which I consider tacky and impersonal. I asked him how my grandma would feel about not having received any invitation at all. What should we do? Your help will be much appreciated!”

As an eco-friendly individual myself, I love the couple’s idea of deciding to have a green wedding. Digital invitation is alright as long as it’s done in good taste. But this idea could raise some eyebrows, especially for traditional families who think that email invites are informal and downright rude.

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Facing the dilemma I say half and half would do the trick. Since the world has changed a lot in the last decade, nearly almost everyone has access to the Internet. In this case, couples can electronically invite guests through email. A lot of creative wedding invitation concepts are now available online. For guests who are not comfortable opening invites online, hard copies may be sent out.

This is what Natalie Alcala, a Los Angeles bride, did. She shares, “Although we'd definitely prefer to go the more tech-savvy, eco-friendly route with digital wedding invites, we're sending hard invites to appease old-school family members.”

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Now Sarah, this is just a simple advice but I hope it’ll help. And congrats to you and Philip! Best wishes!

Are you having a green wedding, too? I have more eco-friendly wedding tips at my Facebook page!

A non-traditional wedding calls for a non-traditional veil

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Over coffee and a stack of wedding magazines, I chatted with my friend Celene, who’s getting married this summer. Her wedding date is getting closer, and she’s getting more nervous about the big day. Believe it or not, her biggest problem is choosing the right wedding veil design.

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“I want something not too fancy, not too faddist, and most certainly non-traditional. Help me, Ingrid! What should I do?” Celene said with a deep sigh.

I opened my laptop and showed her some dainty wedding veil designs perfect for her taste. “Haven’t you heard of this thing called the Internet?” I asked and winked.

She looked at the designs, stared at me, and exclaimed, “Ingrid Callot, you’re the goddess of weddings!”

Brides-to-be, listen up. If you’re like Celene who’s planning a nonconventional wedding, alternative accessories are not that hard to find. There are lots of websites that dispense advice on wedding preparations, like this Today Style article which presents some chic wedding veil picks that suit Celene’s liking.

Of headbands and halos

The headband or the halo creates a casual and subtle charm for brides who want a vintage or angelic look.

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Of birdcages

Brides who don’t want the classic long veils but still want something that slightly covers their face can try birdcage veils. For a more glammed up look, they can add a dash of Swarovski crystals or tiny pearls on the edge of the veil.

Of caps and hats

Bridal hats come in all shapes, sizes, and textures. From Gypsy- to princess-inspired designs, there are lots of bridal hats and caps that can fit different wedding themes.

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Traditional or not, wedding veils are considered a fashion statement for every bride. And everyone looks forward to that moment when the groom finally removes the veil from the bride’s face before he kisses her as his wife.

Hi! Follow me on Twitter for more wedding ideas.