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Austinista

We just love it when two things Austin come together! …and even more so when we’re one of them! tee hee heee! :) Today, we share the spotlight with the Austinista!

We were thrilled when the Austinista herself asked for some wardrobe shots for her blog where she writes about “Style, Beauty, and Exponential Growth from the Violet Crown” as well as a few other nuggets of goodness. And today is the day she launched a new series.

Christine is a delightful person that I’m proud to call my friend. Go subscribe to her blog. Your wardrobe and makeup collection will thank you!

Christine Linial, AustinistaTX

Christine Linial, AustinistaTX

 

From the Austinista herself:

“Austinista.net was established in 2013 to share my love of fashion, beauty, the arts, and becoming your best self.  There are many roads to empowerment: wearing a favorite shade of lipstick, self reflection, and remembering to take risks in real life.

Over the years, I’ve had many opportunities to explore my love of fashion and beauty.  Growing up, my mother taught me to sew my own clothes. As a result, I have a keen eye for silhouette and lines that will make anyone look their best!  In my singing career, I’ve had the chance to swap roles and work behind the scenes. I’ve enjoyed my time as a makeup artist for stage and photographers but worked several studio photography jobs.”

Centerpieces

If you have been a guest at a wedding with gauche centerpieces, you know how annoying they can be. But, unless you have been invited to one of “those” weddings, you might not realize the Pilates moves needed to enjoy conversation around large pieces. Sure, they look great in an empty room. But, if they keep your guests from having a good time, they can’t be worth the expense.

Centerpieces that will keep your guests talking

Keep centerpieces low, below eye level, so guests can talk across the table. After all, you went to all that trouble to seat them together.

As an alternative, mount centerpieces high on a skinny (and properly weighted/configured) pedestal. Guests will have no trouble talking around the skinny post that supports the beauty…and you can still get away with opulence. Drape ribbons, drip crystals, sprinkle with battery-powered LEDs. Just be sure the line of sight for the average seated guest is clear.

Better yet, mix the room. Every other table gets either a low or pedestal centerpiece. You get both the grand look when the room is empty and the grand look when the room is full. It’s a win-win for elaborate pieces in your reception venue.

What if elaborate isn’t in your budget?

Again, mix. With the help of your florist, planner, and even your photographer, plan a mix that works both with your concept and your budget. Mix the tables in thirds/fourths/fifths to vary the look around the room, but keep the whole look cohesive.

1/5 pedestal floral pieces with draped crystals
1/5 low, smaller floral pieces with LED lights
1/5 arrangements of candles
1/5 greenery, or stacks of old books, or tiers of your wedding cake, or vases to hold your bridesmaids bouquets
1/5 as collections of photos from your engagement

Your vases are just that, a vessel. They need not be elaborate or costly. Unless they are cut crystal, no one is going to notice them over your beautiful floral arrangements. Over the course of your engagement, collect vase, flower bowls, votives, and candlesticks from garage sales, thrift shops, and even your local dollar stores. Just pick one style and stick with it. If they aren’t similar enough for you, consider painting them.

With just a little creativity, you can mix, blend, and dual-purpose your reception decor into both what you want and what you can afford.

Bridal fitness

Every bride wants to look her best for the big day. Whether you think you have pounds to lose or merely muscles to firm, adjusting your diet and fitness plan can help you complete goals more quickly.

Diet. a four-letter word

Eat your veggies. No matter the current fad diet or healthy philosophy, no matter what your doctor says, no matter some old wive’s tale, eat your veggies. Vegetables are packed full of vitamins and fiber. Whatever you consider the bad stuff to be (fat, meat, sugar, carbs, all of the above), keep those to a minimum. Whenever you feel like reaching for “bad” food, try a piece of fruit, first. In Austin, you can even order local/organic produce to be delivered to your front door from Greenling.com.

Eat natural. Drop the chemicals (diet cola). Read labels. Cook from scratch.

Move. another four-letter word

There are, of course, Bridal Boot Camps and plenty of other programs at your local gym. But, if you don’t have time for that due to all the wedding planning, or, if you need to supplement on the camp’s off days, there are some simple alternatives.

Burn fat. Want tone arms? Then do some cardio. One current theory is that your body burns carbs/sugar during the first 30 minutes and burns fat after that. So, plan for some long cardio sessions of brisk walking, biking, running, tennis, swimming, or whatever keeps your heart pumping. If 30+ minutes gives you the, “I’ll just DIE” reaction, mix it up with intervals like a Couch To 5K program; just apply the timings to the cardio workout of your choice.

Lift. Yep, you need more muscle to burn more fat.

You are your own gym. Google it. You’ll find a ton of exercises you can do without a gym or any equipment. Invest just a little in a couple of pieces of equipment (like an exercise ball) and expand your workout’s “wardrobe” even more. Pushups. Jump rope. Plank.

Rest. hey! that’s a good four-letter word!

Rest. Get 7-8 hours of sleep per night. To wake more refreshed, consider an app for your smartphone that will measure your sleep patterns and help you wake up between cycles instead of in the middle of one.

Pin.

For some PINspiration, check out these workouts I’ve Pinned.

Fine print.

Of course, before you adjust anything about your diet or fitness plan, you should talk with your team (doctor, nutritionist, trainer, and even Grandma!). Information like this can kick-start your own thorough research.

Bodyweight Circuit © Michelle Senase. Licensed via Creative Commons.

Bodyweight Circuit © Michelle Senase. Licensed via Creative Commons.

Contracting with a DJ or Band for your wedding music

How to find a great band or DJ

Finding a cheap DJ is easy. Finding a good band or DJ takes more work.

  • Ask your other wedding vendors. Your reception venue and photographer will know which musicians did a good job and were good to work with.
  • Arrange to see the ones you can live. Are they also a show band at public events?
  • Book early. The good ones book 8-12 months in advance.
  • Go local to save money. Less travel for the band will cost you less.
  • Double dip to save money. Hire someone that can truly perform both ceremony and reception music.

Contract details

Some parts of the contract are essential–both for you and for the musicians. Whether they are new or veterans of the wedding industry, be sure your contract covers all these details.

  • Event date/location/address
  • Contact information
  • Names of any specifically contracted performers or techs
  • Start/end times
  • List of music to be played; list of music not to be played
  • Sound system specs, including how they will integrate with the venue’s equipment
  • Cancellation/refund policies
  • Total fees including non-refundable reservation fees, refundable deposits, and overtime rates
  • Hospitality “rider”: number and length of band/DJ breaks, where breaks will occur, meals performers will receive



Irish wedding traditions

March came in like a lion in Austin, but also brought us one of the most exciting times of the year, South By SouthWest (a.k.a. SXSW or South By). We enjoy the Education, Interactive, Film, Music, Comedy, and Sports themed conference and all that it brings to our town. Usually, it also consumes St. Patrick’s Day, but this year, the day falls after the last SXSW event, allowing the holiday to stand on its own.

Some rights reserved by apdk on flickr.

Some rights reserved by apdk on flickr.

To celebrate, we are sharing a few Irish wedding traditions.

  • the claddagh ring — This Irish engagement ring is worn face out when a woman is available and face in when she has committed to someone. The ring “represents love, friendship, and loyalty” and is worn on the right hand until a woman is engaged; then it is moved to the left.
  • a braid in the hair — A braid is an ancient Irish symbol of luck or power.
  • handfasting or “tying the knot” — The couple clasps their hands together; a ribbon, cord, or rope–often matching the wedding theme–is wound around joined hands as a symbol of agreement to spend their lives together.
  • carry a horseshoe “up” — Horseshoes hold good luck, but just like in Texas, the open end of the shoe must point up so the luck won’t “fall out”.
  • lavender — Lavender symbolizes devotion and love; herbs represent fidelity.
  • ringing of bells — Bells are said to keep evil spirits away. [Maybe if the bells are loud enough, "that" member of the family won't attend the big day! ;) ]
  • Irish wedding blessing/toast – “Friends and relatives, so fond and dear, ’tis our greatest pleasure to have you here. When many years this day has passed, fondest memories will always last. So we drink a cup of Irish mead and ask [for] blessing in [this] hour of need.” Guests respond: “On this special day, our wish to you, the goodness of the old, the best of the new….bless you both who drink this mead, may it always fill your every need.”
  • superstitions! — Don’t marry on a Saturday! Avoid all funeral processions on wedding day. The bride and groom should not wash their hands in the same sink at the same time.

Of course, you’ll also want to consider lace, bagpipes, and kilts (or at least a little tartan pinned under your gown) for a full Irish effect on your big day.

Whether you can trace your lineage back to the motherland or you’re just “a little Irish” one day of the year, these traditions can help you personalize your ceremony and reception to the uniqueness that is you and your mate. And if you need some inspiration (or just to decompress!), join most of Austin at Fadó Irish Pub or Opal Divine’s Austin Grill.

What other traditions would you like to learn more about? As Americans, we are influenced by so many parts of the world. What parts speak to you? And, what parts do you want to know more about?