Wednesday, August 31, 2011

In Transit

The weather in San Francisco always keeps you guessing.  Somedays we get a break from the fog and wind and it may even feel like summer, but other days it could almost be winter! That's why I was so excited to see this great "Wear Now, Wear Later" series from J.Crew in my inbox this morning. Except in San Francisco, I could wear them one day after the other. What is the one piece of clothing you're relying on to take you from summer to fall this year?

Image from J.Crew

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Our Vendors: Photography

Okay. Finally! I'm feeling a little better and getting back on track this morning! A lot has been accomplished in terms of wedding planning - I guess thats the only benefit of spending an entire weekend in bed. We have secured nearly all of our vendors and I think I found my dream dress, Hooray!

Today, I am so happy to share this new series with you guys "My Wedding: Vendor Spotlight"! Each week I'll introduce key vendors who are helping to make this wedding possible and exactly what I have always dreamed of.

First up, our photographer, the uhhh-mazing Tec Petaja. From the first day I began looking at wedding blogs I knew I wanted to hire Tec. He makes every woman look incredible while seamlessly capturing those "special moments" you'll want to remember forever. On top of that, he's hands down one of the nicest guys to talk to and always responds super quick to all of my hectic e-mails. I was so excited when he told me he had our new wedding date available (its also his birthday weekend). Here's a look at some of my favorite shots of his and I hope you enjoy them as much as I do! Also, check out his blog for more photos.

Monday, August 29, 2011


September 22, I will be camping outside of the Westfield Mall to get my hands on the latest Alexa Chung for Madewell must have pieces. I mean, how dreamy is this video? So charming and wearable. Hope you're having a good Monday.  I've come down with a terrible cold and hope to be back to my normal blogging self tomorrow!

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Getting Back On Track

This week has been a roller coaster of emotions.  Planning a wedding in about 90 days is quite the undertaking and when you add in family pressures, guest list limitations, budgets, etc... things can become a little overwhelming and stressful. Sometimes I think it would be easier for me to just throw my hands up and cry, to forget the entire wedding and just go to City Hall.  Then, Aaron comes in to save the day by helping me realize our wedding will be exactly how our wedding is supposed to be.  I have been so lucky that almost all of the vendors I wanted from the beginning could make the quick adjustment and continue to work with us. And all the small details I'm freaking out about now? I know they will work themselves out somehow, I just know it. I have the choice to either enjoy this process and experience or hate it and stress the entire time, missing out on the pleasures of planning.  So today, I will make the choice to know a beautiful thing is never perfect and my wedding will absolutely be beautiful.  

{ image from PaperSnitchBlog, found via Pinterest }

Thursday, August 25, 2011

All My Friends

So besides listening to the latest LCD Soundsystem album, here's what I'm doing today:

* Debating between which of these two events I want to go to

* Picking up my sweet new Thursday Friday bag from the Post Office, and...

* Having lunch with my old boss & friend Lindsay, Co-founder of Velvet Brigade, an online e-commerce site hoping to democratize fashion

What are you guys doing today? Going to any of the SF events??

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Bermuda, Jamaica, Ooh I wanna take ya

As the wedding plans amp up, Aaron and I spent yesterday talking about our honeymoon.  We both want someplace warm, sunny, and secluded as a nice escape from the world and the San Francisco fog.  Initially, we thought we would have to get married and wait a few months to take our honeymoon due to his work restrictions; however, we were happy to learn yesterday his two week vacation time has been approved! So where will we be headed? St. Barts it is! Not sure on hotel yet so any suggestions would be welcomed.

Board One: 1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 /     
Board Two: 1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6 / 7 / 8 / 9 /

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Playing Dress Up!

I have now been dress shopping a total of three times at three different stores and have found dresses that I love at every single one of them.  So what's the problem you might ask?  They are all so entirely different from each other that it is hard to choose!  One is fitted and all lace, the other is Grecian inspired draping of tulle and silk, another is a soft tulle ball gown with an empire waist, and lastly, one dress is made entirely from small intricate beading with cap sleeves.  I thought I would have that, "Oh My God! This is my dress!" moment, (everyone else has had that while shopping with me) but I'm realizing I may be a bit too practical for tears.  My latest wedding dress problem is time.  Having now moved the wedding up to November, I need a dress in less than three months (with alterations)! Yikes!

So, while I'm mulling over the millions of choices I have, I thought I'd share with you some of my favorites from the Jenny Packham Spring/Summer 2011 collection.  I'm sure these aren't new to anyone in the wedding world but I just can't get enough of her dreamy, ethereal, & romantic gowns.  I tried on the top right dress, Eden, and looooooved it (although it was hard to tell what it would look like on me since it was a sample size 10).  Which is your favorite?  Any other favorite dress designers?  Did you have that "This is my dress!" moment?  Any tips for taking the plunge with a dress?

Monday, August 22, 2011

It must have been a dream

Late last night I stumbled up the Vanessa Bruno A/W 2011-2012 visual look book staring the Nordic beauty, Kate Bosworth. Something about this new universe where dark and light play with horses in an urban forest crept up under my skin and has me hooked. Vanessa Bruno is one of the few designers who makes every piece in her collection look elegant, effortless, and totally wearable for "real girls" like me.  Her experimentation with textures and layering accomplishes what most "downtown chic" city dwelling girls could only hope for when they get dressed in the morning. I am always in awe of her creativity and talent.

LØV from Vanessa Bruno on Vimeo.

However, I have to say, I much prefer the visual look books featuring the lovely Lou Dillon.  Something about her quirky Brit charm seems so much more attainable and appealing than Kate's cold gaze.  These are a few of my past favorites (in order) that I have continuously looked back to for inspiration.  Plus the music is uhh-mazing!

LE BEL ETE from Vanessa Bruno on Vimeo.

REVELATION from Vanessa Bruno on Vimeo.

MIRACLE from Vanessa Bruno on Vimeo.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

What A Week!

As I have mentioned before, this week has been super crazy but wonderful.  On Tuesday, I went to try on wedding dresses with Laurel, my Maid of Honor, and Aaron's Mom.  They were the best shopping buddies imaginable and were so supportive.  I had such a great afternoon with them and think I may have found the dress of my dreams! YAY!!!  However, I am going to hold off on purchasing a dress until I get back from my appointment at the Monique Lhuillier flagship salon in LA in a few weeks.  I definitely want to try and get a post up of the potential dresses and styles that I'm loving in the next week for all of you to see.

an Amsale gown that didn't quite make the cut

on our way to lunch after dress shopping
I guess you're also wondering why things have been so hectic around here.  Well, we decided to move the wedding up to November instead of October 2012!  So while I have been operating under the assumption that I have over a year to plan, I now am faced with the reality of only having three months!  It was a crazy, last minute decision that Aaron and I felt had to be made for personal reasons.  I have a ton of fear, anxiety, and stress about things not going the way I originally had planned but I do think we're making the right decision for us. Our planner, Kristin Newman, is on board and luckily, so are the rest of our vendors.  I mean, what are the odds that the photographer, videographer, florist, and caterer are all on board with this huge change of plans?  Its been such a blessing.  Now all we need to figure out is the venue and official date.  I am so excited and can't wait to update you guys with all of the news in the next few weeks.

did I mention we got a new camera??? so excited !!
Hope you are all enjoying your weekend also!  I would love to hear if you had any big changes in your wedding plans, how you dealt with it, and/or any advice!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Pink With Envy

I am so sorry for the late/no posting.  It was been kind of crazy around our house and we're making lots of changes to the wedding plans.  But I am back now and all I can think about is this fluorescent pink color! So wether you're in the mood for a bold look or just a splash of color, this neon hue is perfect for you.

1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6 /

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Inspiration Board : Natural Wedding

When Aaron and I first became engaged, all I wanted to do was look at wedding blogs. I couldn't get enough.  Seriously, they're addicting!  I literally pinned hundreds of photos for inspiration and almost filled an entire notebook jotting down the ideas that I loved. Now, after months of checking blogs daily, I'm a little burnt out on weddings.  Don't get me wrong, I still cheek everyday, I'm just...less inspired.  I am not trying to be rude OR say that the weddings I've seen aren't beautiful, because they all are.  But, after awhile, they have all started to look the same to me.  They all have the same thumbprint guestbooks, photo booth props, mason jar decorations, and "photo op" shots.  And please don't get me wrong, I loved (and still love) all of these ideas! They were fun, whimsical, and charming; I thought they were unique expressions of the couple's personalities, until I realized it was becoming every couple's expression of their personalities.

I want my wedding to be timeless.  I want my wedding to be romantic.  I want my wedding to be beautiful.  I want my daughters to look at my pictures and say, "That looks so dreamy Mom. I wish I could have been there!" Instead of asking, "Why are you holding that mustache prop up to your face in half of your reception photos?" Feel me? I think this pretty much boils down to the fact that my Mother & Father eloped to Lake Tahoe when she was about 3 months pregnant with me (...surprise!) and there is not a single photo of my parent's wedding.  I guess I just missed out on the whole timeless Mom wedding photo thing and want to give that to myself and my future children.

So, today I wanted to share with you lovely readers the images that have been inspiring me lately from my Pinterest.  Our wedding is going to be held entirely outdoors so I'm embracing the colors provided to us by Mother Nature: green, white, and natural wood. I hope you enjoy my inspiration board and I would love to hear your feedback on trendy vs timeless weddings.  I'll be heading out the door soon to try on wedding dresses at Marina Morrison Bridal Salon in Union Square.  Can't wait to tell you all the details and, if you follow me on Twitter, you may even be able catch a sneak peek photo : )

Clockwise from top : 1 / 2 / 3 / 4 /

Clockwise from top : 1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 /

Monday, August 15, 2011

Happy 76th Birthday Dad!

Wow! I don't even know where to begin.  I have the best Dad in the world.  He worked pretty much every day of his life, until he retired three years ago, to make sure me and my family wanted for nothing.  He has never been anything but supportive, loving, and kind to anyone he has ever met.  I cannot thank him enough for everything he has done for me.  So here's to Cornelius (what a good name right?!) and his 76 magical years on this earth.  Happy Birthday Geezer (our term of endearment to him since my sister and I were little girls).  I love you.

PS - Sorry it took so long to get this post up.  I was being lazy in bed this morning with the hubby-to-be and running around doing errands.  PLUS I have some pretty exciting news to share with you tomorrow so stay tuned!
I mean, how cute does this man look with a baby??
His smile lights up my life

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Hanging On To Summer

It seems that no matter how hard I try, this SF weather continues to keep me from feeling like its summer at all.  I mean, my bare legs have only seen the light of day once the past few months! And while I'm lusting over several practical fall pieces I want to buy, the native Florida girl in me wishes the warm days would stay, or actually show up, long enough for me to wear a dress!  So, when I saw the collaboration with Teen Vogue and The Webster Miami the other day on The Coveteur, it gave me some hope that even if the sky is cloudy and gray, a bright orange PS1 could brighten my day!  Hope you're enjoying your Sunday!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Work or Play ?

Today I'm on call at work, so if I don't have to go in, I'll be heading over to one of my favorite SF boutiques, Azalea, to do some shopping at the Bing Bang Trunk Show.  Hopefully its the latter of the two : ) I sure could use a day off to hang out with my Maid of Honor, Laurel, pick up fresh flowers for the house, & eat some brunch!  So cross your fingers that I'll be back tomorrow with photos of a fun & eventful day.  In the meantime, here are few of the posts from around the web that were inspiring to me this week.  Enjoy!

Elise's sock & shoe pairings { see my take on the trend here }

A romantic garden wedding seen on Frolic & EVERYWHERE

This must-try DIY friendship link bracelet


One of the most elegant & simple vineyard weddings I've seen, ever.

Hope you're having a great weekend so far ! See you tomorrow !

{image unknown, sorry!}

Friday, August 12, 2011

lucky be a lady

Good Morning! Today I wanted to share some of the things I can't seem to get enough of lately.  These are some of the images that have inspired me to make the change from vintage tees and ripped jeans to high heels with socks, red lipstick, and girly dresses.  I'm not sure what the catalyst was to the recent shake-up in my personal style & taste, but something changed and I'm loving it! It feels so much better to wake up a little early to spend that extra time getting dressed (and the hubby-to-be seems to like it too).
Row One: (left) Madewell's DIY denim and their entire fall look book. (right) All things Chloé and high heeled wedges.

Row Two: This chick. I want to be her! She plays the drums, has awesome hair, and somehow manages to make that super girly dress look tomboy chic, she's my girl crush.  The site is pretty rad too.

Row Three: (left) Rodarte x Opening Ceremony look book! I'm obsessed.  Go "Like" them on Facebook to view the entire collection. Its worth it. (right) Those eyebrows and red lips. I can't stop staring at these beauties! Ever since model Bambi hit the runway I've stopped plucking/waxing my eyebrows and waited to look like this (not happening as fast as I'd like).

Thursday, August 11, 2011

My Engagement Story: Part Two

I really hoped you enjoyed the story of our special day!  In this follow-up, I really just wanted to share a few of the things that made this event even more special to me.  So, if you're planning an engagement party or are thinking of becoming engaged, you may want to keep these helpful hints & details in mind:

  • Aaron hired a professional photographer that, get this, he found on OnceWed! That's right.  Aaron knew what OnceWed was before we were even engaged!  Using their Vendor Guide, Aaron found Kristy at Volatile Photography who was a perfect fit for what he was looking for.  She was on time (VERY crucial for a surprise party!), didn't leave until we did (which was 2 hours over our scheduled time), and she is super affordable.  Kristy also had a great eye, capturing some of the most memorable & special moments of the night that I will cherish forever.  She also respected our very intimate gathering - 99% of the time I didn't even know she was there!  Take away tip? Use wedding blogs as resources.  They usually know there stuff but always ask for references.  Or, see a wedding you love?  Look at the end for the photo credit.  And remember, you don't have to pay thousands an hour for great photography.  I would highly recommend Kristy to anyone in the future.  She was such a dream to work with both before and after the event.  Head on over to her blog for our full gallery of images!
  • About 3 months prior to my birthday, Aaron created invitations by himself on Photoshop to send out to our friends & family.  Okay.  So.  He cringes every time these are brought up. "Surprise" was spelled wrong (it read "surpise")!  After showing the invitation to nearly 10 people during editing, no one ever noticed!  And my man has a Master's Degree! Crazy right??  So if you're going to go the DIY route, double and triple typo checking is necessary. I didn't even notice and now its something we laugh about. I really loved how he incorporated the fonts from our venue, Local Mission Eatery, and my handwriting to make the invitations personal to the event. Oh yeah, and the restaurant.... AMAZING.  This place only uses locally grown/sourced EVERYTHING. Chef Jacob is amazing & I highly recommend this intimate setting for everyone.
  • The Wingman (Vince) : Aaron knows that I'm pretty nosey, so keeping secrets from me is no easy task.  He says I "triangulate" - ask several different questions at various times to hone in on the correct answer.  In hopes of avoiding any of my triangulating efforts, the invitations instructed guests to contact, his now Best Man, Vince with any questions regarding travel, timing, and their RSVPs.  Vince literally coordinated the whole thing.  He rocks!  So ladies (or men), have a best friend?  Let her do some of the work.  It really paid off for Aaron and it totally made the surprise possible.  
  • The Ring :  I mean, I don't want to brag or anything, but ... the boy did good! No? Everywhere I go, strangers will literally stop me on the street.  At work, customers pretty much just reach out and grab my hand (awwwwkward).  It still shocks even me sometimes!  So, how did a young man of 26, working in a retail tech store, with tons of student loans afford such a ring?  He'll tell you, "Simple".  He made smart decisions and did his research.  Aaron went in several jewelry stores, talked to several people, looked online, and compared diamonds on his free time.  He wanted to know the difference and importance of the 4 C's to make an educated decision.  He is also not the kind of guy who let's other people tell him whats best; he likes to know.  Aaron will also tell you to buy the diamond separately, you'll get a much better deal.  I think my ring looks amazing because I've compared the exact GIA rating stone at Tiffanys & Co. to my ring and there is like a 5 figure difference.  Just for a name people! That wasn't important to me or Aaron so, he went to the Diamond Exchange of San Francisco. They worked with Aaron to create a unique and beautiful setting with the perfect diamond for me and his wallet.  Maybe one day I'll have him stop by the blog to do some 4 C tutorials.  Anyways, it is stunning and I am so grateful for his attention to detail.  My hope is that one day I can see this ring passed on to my daughter or daughter-in-law in the future and watch her enjoy it as much as I have. 
  • Last but not least, my family.  Having talked about getting engaged a few times, I had mentioned to Aaron that I wanted to get engaged during the holidays, when we go back East to be with my family. I never liked the idea of telling my family via phone call or Skype.  I wanted that surprise feeling; I wanted the opportunity to witness their joy and excitement in person.  Aaron remembered how important this was and flying my family out to San Francisco made come true for me. And for that experience and thought, I am very grateful.  Having my family fly across the country also meant that all of our parents were given the opportunity to meet each other for the first time.  With my family in Florida, his Dad & Step-Mom, Roxane, in New Jersey, and his Mom & her wife, Ronda, in San Mateo, it was looking like a wedding was going to be the only thing brining these three families together.  It was such a blessing that they found the time to join us in celebration.

Thanks for taking the time to read all of this!  Hopefully this gave you a little insight into me and my relationship with Aaron and you can walkaway with one helpful tip.  I'd love to hear your feedback and comments!  What do you think of the no Plus Ones?  What are you looking for in a photographer?

I'll be back tomorrow with something totally non-wedding related so be sure to check back! 


Wednesday, August 10, 2011

My Engagement Story: Part One

The first question people always ask me once they find out I'm engaged is, "How did he do it!?" And despite having told this story well over a hundred times now, I'm still not sick of remembering & sharing the best day of my life (so far) with anyone willing to listen!

On May 27, the morning of my 24th birthday, Aaron woke me up at 7:30 am to go hiking.  The location was a surprise, in fact, my whole birthday weekend was a surprise.  The following were the only clues that I was given: I needed a party dress for the night of my birthday, I couldn't use my phone or internet until he said so, and I wasn't allowed to make any plans (even to go grocery shopping) until Monday morning.  That morning we got dressed, got in the car, and ended up at Sam McDonald Park. It is a place very dear to Aaron and I's hearts, as we often regard it as the place where we truly fell in love and had been exactly one year prior.  So right away, I knew there was something special about this morning.  It was there, at the top of the hike in the secluded Hiker's Hut, that Aaron got down on one knee and asked me to be his wife.  I was beyond happy and we spent the next twenty minutes or so embracing, kissing, crying, and celebrating the beginning of a very exciting journey together.

After taking me to a salon to get my nails "ring worthy", relaxing at home, and taking a short nap, we finally got ready to leave for dinner.  I still had no idea where we were going but I put on my fancy Milly dress we picked out together and headed out the door.  I was super ready to spend a quiet evening alone together really soaking in the day's exciting & emotional events; so, you can only imagine my surprise when I walked in the doors of Local Mission Eatery to find all of our friends and family members waiting anxiously for us in the back of the restaurant!  Aaron had flown my Mom, Dad, little sister Mary Catharine, and my niece Caroline all the way to San Francisco from my home state of Florida to be present for this special occasion.  His Mom and her wife, Ronda were there and he had also flown his Dad and his wife, Roxane, in from New Jersey!  I was in tears just seeing everyone that we loved, and that truly loved us, together in one room to celebrate our love.  The feeling is completely indescribable and still brings warmth and joy to my heart.  The other surprise was for my family.  You see, Aaron had sent out invitations 3 months prior to inform everyone of a Surprise Birthday Party, so they didn't know they'd be coming to celebrate our engagement (I mean, they had their suspicions, but Aaron is one heck of a secret keeper)!  The look on my mother's face was priceless and watching my Dad cry with joy as he told me how proud he was of me are memories I will cherish forever.  It was so much fun and I couldn't have asked for anything more.

This is definitely the short, nice, "wrapped up in a bow" version of what happened that day {read: I complained the whole hike and made every attempt to ruin his surprise - but hey, don't we all ladies?} Perhaps down the line, I'll have a separate page with the long version, should you care to read it.  Be sure to check back tomorrow for My Engagement Story: Part Two where I'll tell you all of my favorite details from the day and Aaron's helpful hints that helped made this surprise birthday/engagement celebration the best ever!

All photos were taken by the lovely Kristy at Volatile Photography.  Be sure to check back tomorrow where I'll talk about my experience with Kristy and our thoughts on professional photography in Part Two. 

Top Image: The Maid of Honor, Laurel, & The Best Man (and ringleader to this whole event), Vince.  
Bottom Image: Mary Catharine (sister), Me, & Caroline (niece) doing the "Ana" pose 

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

and away we go !

Hi! Incase you're not one of my friends I've coaxed into checking out this blog, welcome! I'm Ana, a 24-year-old recent grad of The Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising (FIDM).  This isn't my first rodeo at blogging.  I recently had a Tumblr, LuckyPennySF, that I used for awhile to place, store, and find all of my fashion inspiration images.  However, I started to get pretty burnt out on the same editorials and 14-year-old girls.  SO.  Here I am.  Still want to know more about me?  Okay...

I recently got engaged to the most wonderful man on the planet, Aaron (no really, he's the best), and we've just started the wedding planning process.  I'm so excited and want to do everything RIGHT NOW!  But, our wedding isn't until October 2012 which leaves me plenty of time to  stress over figure out every single detail.  Currently, I'm keeping busy by working part-time at an awesome retail store that pays pretty well and my co-workers are pretty rad too.  Aaron and I just moved into a new apartment about 4 months ago, and while it is still a work in progress, I love it.

I've been asked by just about every vendor in the wedding industry to describe "us" (Aaron & I) or "my style/taste".  And to tell you the truth, I had a harder time figuring this out than I thought I would.  Turns out, I have a LOT of preferences and a whole bunch of different styles that appeal to me.  My hope is that this blog can become a place where I get to know myself a little better; a place where I can figure out what "our" and "My" style is.  So, to end my first post, I thought I would let you guys know what you can expect to find on here in the future:

  • The places I'll (We'll) go
  • The latest on our wedding: vendors, inspiration, my experiences, and general ramblings of an engaged woman
  • The things I want to wear and maybe even some of the things I actually DO end of wearings (if I ever let Aaron get close enough with his camera to take my picture)
  • The stuff I buy
  • The food I'm cooking.  The food other people are cooking.  The food I wish I was eating at this very moment.
  • The best places, stores, and restaurants in/around San Francisco according to me
  • The way our house looks.  The way I want our house to look
  • The quest to master Photoshop (already in progress! see below!) get the idea.

See you soon!