Wedding Beauty Must Haves

The beauty products I can't live without

The wedding bug has bitten me big time and we are less than a month away. But with wedding planning comes an unbelievable amount of events that require the bride to look her best. I have a few go-to beauty products that I can't live without for all of those being wedding moments.

My list of pre-wedding beauty products

MAC Powerpoint Eye Pencil- Blue eyeliner has been my favorite eyewear accessory for years, but since discovering the MAC Powerpoint Eye Pencil in Prussian, I don't even go to the gym without it. It's great for blue or hazel eyes, without looking overly exotic. I buy it in bulk.

2" Barrel Curling Iron - Wedding planning means running around like a crazy person, and sometimes not having enough time to schedule a blow out. That's where a large barrel curling iron comes in. Even if you don't have time to wash your hair, just use this baby to create loose waves and body in just a few minutes.

Living Proof Shampoo - When it comes to hair, I am the snob of all snobs. I've tried a lot of different products, but have never found shampoo as amazing as Living Proof Restore Shampoo. It makes my hair soft and feel super clean, but it is lightweight enough that I still get tons of body. It's a winner.

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Nalgene Bottle - I chug water during the day faster than my morning coffee. Filling up a Nalgene with water throughout the day is a phenomenal way to stay hydrated, which is a famously effective beauty tip. And because I am trying to take this water cleanse a step further, I fill it up with my new favorite drink, a lemon-based elixir courtesy of Joey Devick Fitness.

Hair Oil - After my loyal, and apparently distracted, hairdresser lobbed a few too many inches off my wedding locks, I started dousing my ends with Indian Hemp & Tamanu Grow & Strengthen Serum (not to mention popping prenatal vitamins and biotin like they are candy). My hair is looking gooood.

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Archipelago Lotion - I can't go a day without slathering on the Archipelago Oat Lotion #12. It's the best and smells incredible, without being overbearing. What is better than soft skin that smells good? Nuttin.

Hairspray - Showers, engagement parties and wedding events tend to be hours-long affairs, so your hairdo has got to last. But hair's gotta move too! That's why I am obsessed with the Sebastian Professional Shaper Medium Hold hairspray is the best. And trust me, I've tested my fair share.

Burts Bees Eye Cream - After spending bookoo bucks on eye cream, my crazy old neighbor (literally, this lady was a loon, but she had incredible skin), clued me in on a little secret. One of the best eye creams to relieve puffy eyes and unsightly lines is from your local CVS. The Burts Bees Eye Cream is outstanding, and available at a fraction of the price of luxury brands.

Deep Conditioner - I keep deep conditioners on rotation—told you I had a hair obsession. But one that stands out among the rest is Pureology Perfect 4 Platinum Reconstruct Repair Masque. Use it at least once a week to maximize the results.

Colorstay Lipstick - Okay, this one is the killer. Lipstick is not good unless it lasts. I have one favorite that has worked for me for years. It's the Revlon Colorstay Overtime Lipcolor in Always Sienna. It's a great color for every occasion and it really lasts. Like when I was in Vegas for my Bachelorette Party 1.0, even though I was hungover as could be, I woke up with a perfect shade of lipstick. Evidence below.

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Enjoy!

The Wedding Hashtag

The "Wedding Hashtag" adds a whole new element to wedding planning. 

If you've planned a wedding in the last year, then you have been faced with the incredibly daunting task of coming up with a wedding hashtag. This is supposed to be a clever way of capturing your "brand" as a couple on Instagram, and to make it so all of the fun photos from the wedding are organized in one place on social media.

This is something you should start thinking about on a first date.

I'm only kind of kidding. The hashtag phenomenon is an element of wedding planning that does require a little extra time to think through and we had to move fast. My fiancé and I were thinking about adding the old hashtag to the wedding koozies we were ordering for the out of town guests (obviously we needed koozies). So I started surveying people to get an idea of what this hashtag should say.

We got some pretty stellar responses.

First, from my bridesmaids came some pretty fantastic ones. A lot of my friends call me Devo, so we were off to a good start when Shannon rolled in with these two:

#DevotedtoLogan

#DevotedtoDan

I liked them a lot, but I didn't want the hashtag to be totally about how obsessed I have been with this man for so many years. Plus, I wasn't sure how many people would make the DEVO connection.

Then, my future sister in law came in with a bunch. All very cute.

#Ashley+DannySittingInATree

#AshleyandDan4Eva

#BecomingMrsLogan

#LoganPartyof2

#Dan&Ashley2015

#DevickLoganWedding

#SeeYouAtMyBabyShower2016 (obviously this was a favorite).

We were getting a little bit closer, with cute ideas like #LoganPartyof2 (could easily add on numbers as our family grows, which is so super cute). I also liked #Dan&Ashley2015, but wasn't sure if the ampersand translated to Facebook (it doesn't) and spelling it out became too long.

A few of my favorite options that I brought to the table were #BarclayGetsaDaddy in honor of my sweet bastard puppy getting a man in his life. And then, I also liked #MeetTheLogans2015. It was simple, easy to remember, and available.

Then, my sister Lindsay stirred up a lot of activity with #DashBash2015. I liked the combination of Dan and Ash and creating a rhyme. This is big for me! But I couldn't shake the Kardashian similarities, so we had to move on.

My other sister Samantha pulled up the rear with another supreme option: #2015yearslater It was meant to be a tribute to the fact that Dan and I have known each other for so long AND we were getting married in 2015, like a Wheel of Fortune "Before and After." But no one got it but me. Bummer.

It was time to narrow it down to a few viable contenders. Here are the final five. What is your vote?

#BarclayGetsADaddy

#MeetTheLogans2015

#2015yearslater

#DevicktoLogan2015

#DanAndAsh2015

The Engagement Photo

My love hate relationship with engagement photos

One of the requisite tasks of planning a wedding is taking engagement photos. Sometimes they are perfectly Pinterest-y, and other times they are so posed and cheesy that you just want to put the groom out of his misery. And then there are the ones that make you want to cry because they so warmly capture the love between a couple. Those are the kind every newly engaged duo strives for.

Until I started planning a wedding, I thought that engagement pics were a couple's way of showing off to the world that they had crossed the threshold of wedded bliss, like a big peace-out to the single life. So I hesitated pretty greatly when it came time to have some taken of my own. Turns out, they are more valuable than you think.

The first benefit of snapping  engagement pics is they are a great way to vet the wedding photographer if you haven't worked together before. Most of the time the same photog will shoot the engagement photos and the wedding, so it's a simple way for everyone to get to know each other. And it helps figure out of the style of the photos you want to get for your wedding. It's a pretty big win win.

Beyond the experience itself, engagement photos are also a fantastic accessory to accompany all of the other wedding-related events. They work wonders for shower and rehearsal dinner decor, not to mention all of the slideshows. And if you're desperate for a gift, they are perfect framed up for family distribution.

Anyway, when it was my turn to cross into this new universe, I asked my photographer to do a teeny tiny engagement shoot for me and my fiancé. What is more fitting than outdoor engagement pictures in the fall? The trouble was convincing my love that this was a good idea—and dropping the little bomb that my dog was going to be joining us. It was one of the first moments where I truly realized this guy would do anything for me—even if it meant cuddling with a white fluffy dog, on camera, in the middle of Lincoln Park.

During the shoot, I remember our photographer, the darling Maggie Rife Ponce, asking us to walk toward her down the promenade and Dan's eyes telling me that he wanted to kill me while sweet Barclay trotted beside us. We were holding back laughter and razzing each other back and forth, and the humor of it all was very eloquently captured in the pictures. It's a memory that we share and it's a morning I will never forget.

I'm now a reformed lover of the engagement photo. So, even though I was sworn to secrecy, I will share just a few of my favorites from our engagement shoot, and how I titled each photo. All photos credit to Rife Ponce Photography.

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Getting your body ready for wedding season

Q&A with fitness and health professional Joey Devick

There is nothing more daunting than feeling like you have to lose a bunch of weight before being in or attending a wedding. Trust me, I know from experience as I am in the throws of a marginally successful wedding diet right now. It can be frustrating! Since my cousin is an expert on the topic, and a seriously inspirational person, I asked for her help clarifying some myths and to give our readers some helpful tips for getting your mind (and body) ready for wedding season. She more than delivered. The following Q&A includes everything from a magic drink recipe, to exercise and diet tips to kick off a healthier version of you.

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Name:

Joey Devick

Company:

Joey Devick Fitness - You.Only Better Connected

About:

Joey is a fitness and health professional who is also a Beachbody coach. She offers free consultations to find the perfect program and nutrition guidance for individuals located literally anywhere. "My goal is to help end the trend of this country’s nutritional and physical inadequacies," says Devick. "Everyone always says tomorrow….and too many tomorrows never come along. The magic pill doesn’t exist.  It’s you, me, hard work, and proper nutrition."

Mantra:

If people change their outlook and realize that one needs to fuel their body in the correct way to make it function optimally, they will be amazed at how quickly their health will improve and their body will change.

Bridesmaid Tally:

One

Biggest Bridesmaid Honor:

 Being asked….what an honor and a truly meaningful representation of who you are in the bride’s life.

Q&A: How to get your body ready for wedding season

Say you have just been asked to be in a wedding that is 9 months away. When should you start trying to get fit? JD: Right away! But not on a diet. One needs to fuel her body right and exercise to see long term results. I have made the mistake….a big event, you crash diet, and as soon as it’s over….you resort back to your old ways. If you are putting the effort in to a change, why not seek permanent change in the way you think about fitness, food and nutrition?

Women these days are trying to balance a lot - and you’re a perfect example of this! What is a reasonable regimen for working women to stay in shape? Honestly, it’s a daily occurrence – move everyday. That doesn’t necessarily mean hit the gym or your home workout program, but it means taking the stairs instead of the elevator. It means parking in the furthest spot possible from the door. Carrying your own groceries, and returning the cart.  It all adds up. On the other hand, if you are in serious crunch time – that means different dedication – and time spent intentionally working out. Finally, all the magic happens in the kitchen - well, 80%, anyway. There is no way you can out exercise a bad diet. You will not see change if you don’t change what you do in the kitchen.

What is your secret for staying fit as a busy working mom?  It has to become a habit - you know the old saying, it takes 21 days to make or break a habit. If you decide to start a nutrition and fitness routine, keep at it - even if it’s 20 or 30 minutes a day.  Build up to it, do something you enjoy that gets you moving.  Let’s face it, the only successful workout routine for you, is the one you will do!

What is the one unbreakable rule of dieting? You HAVE to EAT!!!  When you think “If I eat less, I will lose weight” - yes, you might in the beginning, but you cannot sustain that type of lifestyle. Your body will slow its metabolism and hold on to any calorie you put into it, because it thinks it might be the last calorie it’s going to get. So instead of processing, digesting, and utilizing it for energy - it stores it long term, eventually as fat. This is a non negotiable. You have to reprogram the way you think about food - the proper food, in the right combinations, at the right times.

Bridesmaids and brides are always super concerned about their arms. Do you have a favorite go-to arm workout? Shoulders, biceps and triceps are my favorite to work, but I can’t choose just one favorite! You can’t go wrong with push ups with wide hands to focus on that strapless dress area under the arms. Side lateral raises and upright rows for those shoulders, overhead military press to top it off….and bicep curls, chair dips…I could go on and on….

What are some things to stay away from in the last 60 days gearing up to a wedding? First and foremost, focus on how you feel. What do you REALLY want to change between now and the wedding? Your arms? See above. The number on the scale? Then there is definitely a list of things to avoid for the next two months (or forever).

Salt - can you say instant water retention and bloating?

Alcohol - sorry...but alcohol equates to belly fat.

Sugar - its a vicious cycle of supply and demand, you supply your body with it, your body demands more….

White enriched carbs i.e. white bread, rice, crackers, cereal, pasta = belly fat.

While you are avoiding those things, focus on these:

Increase your fiber intake, your roughage, get your digestive system functioning properly and regularly.

INCREASE your water intake!

Thanks, Joey!

Joey's philosophy is that any habit can be made or broken in 21 days, which is why she came up with the 21 day challenge. Her clients have been successfully losing 5-15 pounds in just 21 days—and they are keeping it off by changing their views of food and fitness, while implementing changes that can easily be applied long term. Join her on her next 21 day challenge that starts Monday March 2nd.  Connect with her on Facebook, via her website to join the fun.

Ingredients for the Perfect Wedding

The elements that make weddings shine are mostly intangible. 

The weddings I've attended that were not only fun, but totally memorable, always have a certain je ne sais quoi, It's something that wedding planners would make a fortune if they could just bottle it and sell it.  And when it comes to wedding planning,  brides tend to strive for greatness. For months — sometimes years — they consider each detail and how it will impact the wedding ceremony and reception, and represent the spirit of the couple. While candles, beautiful flowers and spot lighting certainly add to the ambiance of the room, the truth is, it's the intangible ingredients, like the right blend of people and the tone of the music, that makes a wedding truly shine.

The Perfect Wedding Ingredients

1. Love in the room : The actual feeling of love in the room comes from the couple surrounding themselves with people who truly care about their happiness. Everyone is smiling. You can hear a pin drop during the speeches and the guests will cheer for the bride and groom during their first dance and request constant kissing through the clanking of glasses during dinner. It's a magical feeling that cannot be disrupted or interrupted by the biggest of wedding hiccups.

2. Intimate Guest List: Even with a massive guest list, the wedding won't feel huge with the right combination of people. The key is to invite those who want to be there to show their support and enthusiasm for the unity of the couple. That starts by asking the right individuals to attend. If you dig too deep into the extended circles, then you are more likely to end up with people who could negatively impact the vibe of the celebration.

3. Music: Whether with a DJ or band, good music will get people moving, having fun and breaking a sweat. Couples that put time into song selection will certainly see the reward of their efforts through a packed dance floor. Think about including uplifting songs that will appeal to the attendees. There is nothing more fun than dancing all night with the newlyweds to make people never want to leave the party!

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4. Gracious Bride and Groom: It's the bride and groom who actually set the tone for the evening, by demonstrating their appreciation for both each other and for their families. It shows for miles when the bride and groom is grateful for the love and support they have received along the way. After all, people love a good fairy tale.

5. Enthusiastic Wedding Party: A smiling and happy wedding party can take a wedding from an 8 to an 11 in just a few seconds. They serve as the instruments of the bride and groom and should represent accordingly. From being prepared with their speeches, to leading the charge to the dance floor, a good wedding party is key. Choose wisely!

B is for Bestie...and Bridesmaid

When You're a Bridesmaid, Being a Good Friend Matters.

The countdown is on for my BFF's wedding, which will bring my Maid of Honor duties for this wedding season to a close. I have been "on duty" for well over a year, standing beside two of my best friends, one this past November, and now another coming up Memorial Day weekend.

It's been a great ride.

When your two best friends from different walks of life get married in the same year, you learn much more than how to make bouquets out of ribbon and why peonies are such a big freaking deal. You learn about the gritty meaning of what it takes to be a good friend.

That's because as a bridesmaid, all of the elements of your friendship with the bride come together in fast-forward mode. You have to remember how you fight, how you make up, how to listen and, most importantly, how to think about what your friend wants, rather than what you want (queue strippers vs. karaoke singing at the bachelorette party). This is the time when the bride really needs you - not just to throw parties and be a sounding board for all things wedding, but to help her actually get the guts to walk down the aisle, looking better than ever, while cracking up to your inside jokes until she says "I do."

My friend who is getting married in a few weeks has been one of my dearest friends since we were five or six years old. We grew up together and have seen one another at our very best — and our very worst. Our fights border on sisterly just as much as our laughs. So when she got engaged, she genuinely wanted to share each moment with me while she plotted through the unchartered territory of wedding planning. And it was an honor to be there — for real. Periodically, just to let her know that I was totally in it with her, I would look at her and say, "We're getting married!" And we'd laugh.

Somewhere between the 3rd and 4th dress fitting, the second bridal shower and receiving the invitation she'd explained in such detail over the phone in the mail, I understood something that maybe slipped my mind over years of friendship: I was her person. And this was much more than just being a bridesmaid — it's about celebrating the culmination of years of friendship.

When you're a bridesmaid, you can finally show your friends just how important they are to you, and that's a kind of love and support that is so sincere, it is reciprocated 10-fold in plain old appreciation. Knowing that friendship is what being a bridesmaid is actually all about, makes it a breeze to show up for each event and be the best friend I can be.  I know there is a lot of folklore about the role of the bridesmaid, mostly tied to bridezillas and unrealistic (and expensive!) demands. Forget all that.

It's really just about being a good friend.


A Texas Wedding in the Fall

The perfect fall wedding.

A successful wedding is almost always defined by the amount of love present in the room. That means that the right people have been invited, the atmosphere is perfect and that the guests are enjoying themselves. And these are my favorite kind of weddings.

This past weekend I was part of a really special wedding where the love in the room was as thick as a down-home southern accent. My best friend from college married a true gentleman. Their happiness was visible - just as it should be - and they were surrounded by love the entire time.

Our bride-to-be was financially savvy and wanted to keep the extravagance to a minimum. What she saved in pennies, she made up for in details. The wedding took place at Weston Gardens in Ft. Worth, TX. It was a rustic, yet charming venue off of a country road in the middle of the Southwest.

The bridesmaids had the "Bridal Barn" to themselves and could get ready in private right on sight. With the cedar ceilings and vaulted ceilings, it was the perfect place for us to do our makeup and have a glass of champagne with the bride.

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Walking out, the venue was paved with split-level brick. Around every corner there was a little nook with a fountain or view of a creek or a sudden clearing surrounded by trees with golden leaves. This was the perfect setting for a fall wedding. The mothers, aunts and friends all brought little accents to make the decor unique and homey. Every detail mattered. The bride even tied lockets with pictures of the grandpas who couldn't attend around her bouquet.

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All of the desserts were homemade. The groom's mother brought traditional baklava and the bride's aunts made carrot cake from a family recipe. The display was warm and welcoming. The guests couldn't wait to dive in - and some literally did. (NOT  GUILTY).

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A beautiful touch that was extra special was a table of framed wedding photos from the bride and grooms relatives. Multiple generations of happy couples on their wedding days were displayed. The faces in the photos seemed to bless this union, welcoming Athan and Jessica to a long line of happy marriages on both sides. It was magical - and a totally simple, DIY way of enhancing the ambiance of the wedding.

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The clearings with golden trees made for the perfect backdrop for photos - which is one aspect of a fall wedding that everyone hopes for but not all are lucky enough to get. So on a perfect fall day in early November, a lovely couple joined two families together, in the presence of friends and loved ones, under a cloudless sky. Heaven.

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