Liberty State Park Engagement Session with George Street Photography

CJ2_0037.jpgToday marks 3 months until Miguel and I tie the knot so I’m happy to announce that I can officially share more of our Engagement Photos here on the blog.I picked just a few of our favorites because there were so many.

CJ2_0020.jpgI just want to thank our photographer Carlo David from George Street Photography for shooting these amazing photos. He was so fun and easy to work with. He felt like a friend which made it so natural. We are so happy with them and will be creating our guest book with these beautiful memories.

CJ1_0041.jpgQuick story about this day: April 4, 2016 about 4pm we headed to Liberty State Park in Jersey City, New Jersey. This day was the coldest day in April feeling more like December. My fiance and I could barely feel our face or hands during this session but we pulled together and it definitely paid off.



I hope you all loved our photos as much as we do. Let me know which one is your favorite in the comments below.

Until next time…


How to Make A Wedding Budget & Stick To It!



The scariest part about getting married for me is paying for it. Long gone are the days where the bride’s parents pay for the whole sha-bang! It’s just not realistic with today’s world and can put a huge strain on the wedding process. Many couples are opting to wait 2- 3 years before having the wedding of their dreams.

When the time came to have a conversation with my fiance regarding wedding money, I did not really know how to go about it. I’ve always been a bridesmaid so I never paid attention to the actual wedding costs. The two of us were completely clueless on how we were going to come up with a budget. After some research and a little bit of trial and error we had a game plan. Here are some ways that can help with figuring out how to make your budget and keep it going.

Making the Budget:

  • Talk to your family about possible contributions. Whether you believe they would be willing or able to help or not; ASK anyway. You never know what they are happy to contribute towards (ie: limo, flowers or even the wedding gown).
  • $ave! $ave! $ave! Sit down with your fiancé and discuss how much each of you are comfortable with putting aside every pay check. Add up the numbers all the way until the wedding day as well as any family contributions. There is your budget. Family Contributions + Bi-weekly or weekly Savings= Budget. This will also help you from feeling like you won’t ever be able to do activities or hang out with your friends again. You may need to cut back but overall you can still have a life!
  • Save your credit cards for last-minute expenses like the rehearsal dinner and wedding gifts that can be repaid after your wedding if needed.

How to Stick to your Budget:

  • Open a savings account separate from your personal savings. I use an online savings account that way I am not tempted to withdrawal money. When I do need to make payments to my vendors,  I can just link it with my personal checking and make deposits and withdrawals. The process will take about 3 days so schedule ahead.
  • Know your limits! Having a budget ahead of time before going vendor shopping is key. You will then know whether or not you can afford a particular vendor. It will also keep you on your toes and away from the add-on station like an Ice cream bar or up-lighting if you know it’s not in the budget. Going in blindsided will only cause you more stress trying to find ways to come up with the cash later on.
  • Organize your vendor due dates with a calendar or a wedding app. I write down every vendor deposit and balance owed with the date attached to ensure that I will not be late and/or  have saved enough money beforehand. If you know that your florist doesn’t need to be paid until the day of the wedding but your photographer needs to be paid in full 2 weeks before, make sure you are saving enough to cover the cost of your photographer before your florist.
  • Make sure all purchases are made with your wedding money. This will keep you from making impulse purchases on your credit cards.

These are the ways I found really helped my fiance and I. I hope that some of these tips will help guide you toward your wedding process no matter what budget you are working with.

Do any of you know any other tips or tricks to sticking with a wedding budget? Let me know in the comments below.

Until next time…


Photo credit: google

Wedding Dress Journey + Gown INSPO

Hey bloggers! Today’s post is more like a little chat. I wanted to talk about something that I’m really passionate about when it comes to planning your wedding. I’ve been watching “Say Yes to the Dress” for about two weeks now. I had randomly seen the show here and there but I never really watched it until recently. In the beginning, I was fascinated with Kleinfield. I’ve been there before and I’ve helped a friend find her wedding gown there.  I found it fun and exciting and glamourous. As I’m watching this show on repeat, I noticed I started feeling indifferent. I’m all for a gorgeous dress but I have still not come to understand how brides are willing to spend $10,000 or more on a wedding gown? It started to make me sick and I had to stop watching the show.

I really believe that wedding gowns are probably the most expensive dress you will ever purchase in your lifetime and while you want to make a big statement you can absolutely do that without spending a ton of money on one dress that you will more than likely NEVER wear again. Before I continue this post, I just want to make it clear that these are strictly just my opinions and they do not in any way, shape or form promote judgment on any bride whatsoever. I also included some Gown inspiration. All gowns are under $1,000.


When It was time to go dress shopping, I didn’t have a set budget. My mother offered to purchase my dress. That alone was amazing. My dress journey began at Macy’s Bridal Boutique. My experience wasn’t the best. First, I did not want to tell them my budget because I honestly wasn’t sure how much my mother could afford. I know in my heart I could not bear to watch her spend over a $1,000 and I was perfectly content with that number.  My goal was to find a silhouette that I loved and go from there. The sale associate insisted I give her a number, so I threw out $1500.  My mother’s eyes were as wide as could be but being the best mom ever she did not complain. She actually asked the sales lady if we could use Macy’s coupons and I wanted to crawl under a rock and hide. I see now that it was an honest question. weddings-2012-12-11-maggie-sottero-kensington-mainMaggie Sottero Kensington Gown, $99

I ended up trying on about 6 to 7 dresses. None of which I was “in love” with. At one point, I saw this goregous gown while wearing another dress. Pointing to the dress with excitement, I asked the lady if I could try that one on. She told me “No, I’m not letting you try that on because it’s out of your price range.” I kept going until I found one that I “liked” around $1750. We were told that we would get 15% off for being a Macy’s cardholder. My mother really liked the dress and offered to buy it for me. I told her that it was only the first store and that I wanted to keep looking. The sales lady pressured me so bad to buy that dress. She kept insisting that the dresses took 8 months to come in and that I had to make a decision by the end of the month. I left a little disappointed, not happy and not excited

weddings-2012-12-13-maggie-sottero-karena-royale-mainMaggie Sottero Karena Royale Gown, $999

My next stop was at David’s Bridal near my hometown. I was randomly driving by and  asked my mom if she wanted to check it out. I picked out about 6 more dresses. I really loved the women at David’s Bridal. They were so sweet and so welcoming. They never asked for a number. They only asked for the styles and materials that I preferred. I fell in “love” with three dresses even though I wasn’t ready to make a decision yet.

weddings-2012-12-15-wtoo-cyprus-gown-mainWtoo Cyprus Gown, $999,

A trip to a NYC Bridal Consignment Store with my bridal party was my third stop. The store carried tons of designer dresses that were sample sizes and since I’m very thin, I thought why not. I made an appointment and the searched continued. The associates were nice and asked for my budget. I told them $1500. They gave me the tiniest rack to look at. I must of looked through that rack a million times it seemed, hoping that there would be a larger selection hidden somewhere. I tried on about 4 dresses. None that I was in “love” with but that I thought were nice. My problem with this store was even though the dresses were “designer” they were all kind of dirty! It would have taken me twice as much money to have them cleaned and then tailored than to just buy a brand new dress.  I left empty handed, never to return again.  Before lunch with the girls, we headed to David’s Bridal in the City so I that I could show them the dresses that I had I tried on with my mother. The store was all booked and couldn’t get me into a fitting room so my bridal party being the crazy and fun ladies that they are, pinned me to a corner and made me try on my “favorite” one with my clothes on.  I could not stop laughing and feeling terrified at the same time.

weddings-2012-12-10-melissa-sweet-MS251005FF-mainMelissa Sweet Gown Style MS251007, $950, David’s Bridal

A few weeks later, I went back to David’s Bridal near my hometown and eventually picked one of the three dresses that I fell in love with. Since I can’t show you a picture because my fiancé does read my blogs, I will tell you it’s very me and I absolutely love it! OH and guess what!!! It was on sale for $937. I know a lot of people think the more expensive the dress the better it is. I just don’t feel that way.

weddings-2012-12-05-melissa-sweet-MS251007FF-mainMelissa Sweet Gown Style MS251005, $950, David’s Bridal

The best dress is the one that makes you feel beautiful.  The one that makes you feel like a bride. The one that makes you feel sexy or a princess whichever you prefer to be. The one that you can picture walking down the aisle only to fall in love with your fiancé all over again. SO for all you brides out there that feel like you need a to buy a dress that is going to put you in debt because you have to wow the crowd, DON’T DO IT!  At the end of the day, your wedding is a party. A party to celebrate your love; THAT should be your first priority and not just what you wore…

Until next time…


Photo credit: Glamour

Wedding Budget Tips + DIY Ideas! 

Weddings can be super expensive so creating a wedding budget is the most important thing you can do to help you stay on track with wedding finances.  The wedding budget is your whole basis of your wedding when deciding on venues, vendors, the guest list and believe it or not the small details. To make sure you stay within your means figure out what you can afford. The last thing you want to do is go into your marriage in debt over your wedding. There is enough debt to worry about whether it be student loans, a mortgage/rent or credit card bills, don’t add the wedding onto that.

Once you figure out exactly what you and your fiancé can afford, look to family to see what they are willing to contribute. Speaking from experience,  it can be a little awkward asking your family whether or not they can or even want to contribute toward your wedding but it doesn’t hurt to have that conservation. Once you figure out exactly who will be taking care of what you can start creating a monthly budget.

Your estimated budget number will help you start searching for venues and vendors. If there is a particular venue or vendor you want, speak with them first to make sure they are available for your wedding day and they are within your budget. If you know you can only afford $1,000 on your flowers but are being priced at $1, 500 either try and negotiate with that particular vendor or downsize on a different part of the wedding. For example: If your heart is set on this one florist at $1,500 then opt out of favors and donate what you can  to a charity instead.

Another way to stay within your budget is by creating realistic DIY items.  Now I say “realistic DIY” items because let’s face it, the last thing you want to do is overwhelm yourself with tons of DIY projects months before your wedding. So here are SIX items you can realistically create yourself. Remember to stick to your wedding timeline to give yourself enough time to do each task so that you’re not going crazy the week of your wedding:

Guest Book– Whether you hired a photographer to take engagement photos or just have a bunch of random love photos of you and your fiancé, you can create an ultimate guest book yourself with card stock and scrapbooking supplies. If you’re into the more polished look, opt for large chain stores to print your books like Walmart, Target, Walgreen’s and Rite Aid. Their photo books are half the price and just as perfect!

Table numbers– Grab some dollar store picture frames and chalkboard paint for the inside. Make those frames a little more glamorous by going to town with spray paint all around the frames edges.

Escort Cards, Menus and Programs– You can buy a pack of card stock at your local craft store or even on amazon for less than $10 a pack. Create a design on your computer with Microsoft publisher, if you have Photoshop even better. After you have your design print them out on the card stock at home or at your local staples store. You’ll be saving TONS of money not having a company design them for you, which is way more personal, as well as the cost of shipping and handling.  I would start menus and programs as soon as you start receiving your response cards in the mail. Leave the escort cards for last until you have finalized your seating chart.

Signs– You can make your own signs with a computer and a frame you have around the house. Just print out your message and cut and place it inside your picture frame and there you go. SUPER EASY!!!

If you have any more tips to help me out or other future brides on wedding fiancé or realistic DIY let me know in the comments below!

OOTD Engagement Photo Shoot! 

I recently received a teaser of our engagement photos from our photography company and I thought it would be a fun idea to do an OOTD on what I wore. I actually didn’t know what to wear. I browsed a little bit on Pinterest. I ended up putting together outfits I already had in my closet which worked out great!!! We did both a dressy and casual look. We chose  Liberty State Park, Jersey City, New Jersey as our venue spot.

Outfit Details: Skirt//Top (similar)//Shoes

For our casual look we did a basketball theme. My fiance is a huge fan of the Chicago Bulls so we chose matching shirts that we had. I paired it with some old skinny jeans and cute comfy shoes.

Outfit Details: Bulls T shirt//Jeans (similar)//Shoes (similar)

We are so in love with all of our photos! In about 2 weeks the rest of the engagement photos will be available to download and share with everyone. So stay tuned.

What do you guys prefer when it comes to engagement photo shoots; dressy or casual?


Simple Engagement Gifts for the Bride-to-Be! 

When my fiancé proposed to me at a family party a lot of my close friends knew ahead of time and brought me absolutely beautiful gifts. Each gift we received was so thoughtful. And I have made and will make great use to each of them! If you are interested in some ideas Check out the list below:

A ring dish! This is one of my absolute favorite gifts that I received. I loose things, especially my jewelry (my expensive jewelry) so this was probably the best gift anyone could have given me! I always take my ring off when I wash dishes, take a shower and go to bed and place it right on my little umbrella!  My best friend and matron of honor got me this one from Anthropologie. I loved it so much that I got my two future sister-in-laws similar ones when they too got engaged the same year!🙂 They are so super convienant and inexpensive.

Engraved Frame! One of my other favorite gifts was this customized enagraved frame I received from one of my bridesmaids. It has the date we got engaged on the bottom of it. I recently went out and printed some pictures from our actual engagement and some professional engagement photos and placed it in our foyer.

Kate Spade Mrs Passport Holder! How adorable is this passport holder?  One of my closest friends gave me this and I think it is so cute and SOOO me! I love little things like this (Frencesca’s has perfect little items similar to this). I remember in her card she encouraged me to use this as motivation to go somewhere amazing for our honeymoon and it literally has done just that!!!

 “I DO” Mugs! My other amazing friend got us matching “I DO” mugs! I loved the personal “what she says” touch to it for my fiancé’s matching mug lol! 😉

If you’re looking for a more simple gift and something really cute then I hope one of these options spoke to you! Which one was your favorite? Let me know in the comments below.


FabFitFun Spring Box  Review! 

Hey all! Doing something different today! I thought it would be fun to do a Fab Fit Fun Spring Box Review given that I don’t normally do a lot of beauty on my blog and it’s the only subscription box I’m actually a member of. I started Fab Fit Fun almost a year ago and I got hooked on the summer box. I saw an Instagram post on Andi Dorfman’s page and I was so intrigued. To be honest I really enjoy the subscription. It’s $49.99 four times a year (each season) with a value of over $200 in each box. I like that it’s not every month so I’m not paying a monthly price making it feel like just another bill.

I’m not a big beauty fanatic. I like makeup but I’m not one to spend tons on it. I’m very conscious with how I spend my money, but if I really LOVE a product I will buy it no matter the price. So for me to sign up for a subscription box and keep with it is saying a lot. I’ve used almost every single item I’ve received thus far, and I have yet to not like anything.  

 The items in the past that I really loved was the pink speaker from the summer box. I used it all last summer at the beach. It is so convenient especially the Bluetooth and wireless feature is perfect for on the go. The Gorge leave in conditioner from the summer box. I use it every time I wash my hair. I have long hair so it works great to detangle my hair and smells delicious. The Dermalogica toner from the winter box! AHHHH! I love love love Dermalogica. I got hooked a few years ago when I went for a facial. They are a little pricey but so worth it. A blue bracelet from the fall box. I don’t remember the name of who makes it, but it is absolutely adorable and dainty-just my style. The Tarte lip gloss from my first Summer box. I still have it and wear it all the time.  

 For the Spring box I thought it would be fun to show with products I’m really excited about for this season.   

   Herbs Garden by MakersKit-FFF must of been reading my mind because I’ve been meaning to start my own herb garden. Now I can.

Bath Bomb Trinity by Jus D’Amour-they smell heavenly in the package, I can’t imagine when I use them. I’m saving these for my honeymoon. I can’t wait to relax on vacation in the tub with these bad boys.

Tag Necklace by Jook & Nona-I got “love!” I’m getting married soon so this came just in time! I’m huge fan of dainty jewelry and it is just so cute.   

  Keratin Gloves & Socks look so comfy I can’t wait to try this. I have very very dry feet so I’m really looking forward to trying this out! 

Shaving Emulation Lotion by Hello Legs- it’s a shaving cream and lotion 2-in-1! I mean wow! I used it recently and I literally did not need to put lotion on my legs for the rest of the day! A+ 

Argan & Hemp Oil Therapy by Marrakesh-this product made me laugh because I’ve been stealing my fiancé’s Argan hair cream (yes he wears a hair cream LOL) lately and now I have my own! I love the way it smells and gives my hair super shine! 

I personally love trying new products without having to do the research ahead of time and hoping that I like them. This is a great way to do that! If you’re interested in trying them out, go to their website! They are offering discounts right now for new customers! So check it out! 

Anyone of you subscription box lovers? Let me know what you subscribe to in the comments below!