Wedding Day…and Dress Bliss!

“Goin’ to the chapel…”

Well, I didn’t go to a chapel, but I did go to Power Plant Productions on June 27th and married Eric Smith!

These last few months have been devoted to wedding planning, work as a social worker and working on my clinical social work license, but style was never far away. With a venue like Power Plant, we were able to bring in all of our own vendors and decorations, add our own personal touches and of course learned a lot with the whole process.

It has only been a week, but I could not resist sharing a sneak peak and some candids of our wedding day style. Once we receive the photos (Clever Girl Photo, who did our wonderful engagement photos, was amazing!) and go on our reshoot (it rained so hard all day!), I will definitely give you my style summary, how I saved, where I splurged, what went wrong that didn’t have to, which vendors saved the day (Diverse Catering for one) and which expenses I could have avoided.

Until then, a few shots of our awesome day and a few style tidbits! More to come!

Rings

Ivory & Tea Rose Lace Trumpet Wedding Dress  David Tutera for Mon Cheri

Swarovski Crystal Belt Fantastic Finds  ($380)

Wedding Bouquet of Peonies Kate Farley Design

Latvian Flats in Silver Glitter Steve Madden ($42)

By buying my dress outside of Philadelphia, back home in Lansing, Michigan at Fantastic Finds, I was able to get more for my money out of a wedding dress. Dresses in Lansing were more than half the cost of the ones I looked at a local boutiques. This was the first dressed I tried on, but I still tried on seven more dresses, purchases a different one only to return it thirty minutes later for my first one. I didn’t wear a veil, purchase jewerly or splurge on shoes and instead decided to accessorize my hair and dress. 

Clever Girl Photography

First Look 2

Leda Swarovski Crystal Headband Bride LeBoheme ($152)

Wedding Hair By Tamika  Sianni Salon ($125)

I am so happy I went with Sianni for wedding hair. They are a multi-cultural salon and did a great job on all of our hair types, including Tamika blowing out and styling my natural hair. They also provided a room for lunch and gave us a surprise treat. They even provided a chair for our make-up artist! I only had to place a small deposit down for my nine appointments. They were definitely a vendor hero! 

Wedding Make-Up  Raymond from M.A.C. (varies on party)

Raymond was another wedding vendor hero! He did custom blends for bridemaids and is one of the few make-up artists who I have seen with the ability to easily transition among women of color and get that perfect (read: not ashy) look. He did 11 faces in record time, did two make-up trials and kept in constant contact for my wedding. He placed everyone at ease and was everyone’s favorite. Raymond and I met when I begged him to squeeze me in for The Geek Awards last year when my make-up artist and stylist canceled last minute. Investing on everyone’s make-up as part of my bridal gift definitely was one thing I would invest in again.

First Dance

Nena and Dad

With Auggie

If you are having your furry family member in your wedding, than I really suggest you hire Mandy! She was so amazing with taking care of Auggie in all of the chaos and making sure he made it down the aisle as ring bearer! She dressed him, picked him up from home and even saved us by grabbing our marriage license all while having Auggie tucked in while we danced the night away! 

Photography by our Groomsmen

Boots, Pockets & Dressing For Fall

It is officially Autumn and I don’t want to admit it! As the weather is becoming a bit cooler, I am trying to decide how I can hang on to a few of my dresses by giving them a different edge than last year. 80s throwback? Industrial look? Or just a love of skirts with pockets- whatever works, I just love the simple style of a heavy fabric to match my heavy fall boots. Now is the time to break out my sweaters to throw over my dresses and to hand wash my million pairs of tights.

How are you preparing for  Autumn?

burnt orange dress

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 Burnt Orange Taylor Dress Nordstrom ($83- still available online in select sizes)

I love the pattern and the heavy material on this dress! I found it on sale and still have to take it in a bit (my dress is clamped in the back for this shoot), but the pockets are what sold me. I am not a huge clutch person, so whenever I see a dress with pockets, I automatically swoon!

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Paper Bead Necklace Darwin, Australia ($20)

My Aunt Michale brought necklaces with her from the same artist who gifted me one in a previous entry. I adore my necklace, and you can find a similar one on Etsy, but it was decided that my Aunt’s friend would make more selling his jewelry in Australia than in the States. The necklace is made out of paper and is a long process. I am very fortunate I was able to buy two necklaces and a pair of earrings from him during her Stateside visit.

brown leather boots

Brown Leather Troopa Boots Steve Madden ($100)

I have been looking for the boots since my cousin bought them some time ago. I love how heavy they are and I ended up buying another pair in stone (they didn’t have wine in my size), but they do hurt my left heel after walking in them for awhile. I am going to see if a sticker insole helps. The boots are still available on Steve Madden and on Amazon for an even lower price and various additional colors.

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Rosin Bracelet Darwin, Australia (gift)

My Aunt brought this bracelet as a gift from an artist she works with Australia. The bracelet is made of rosin, so if you have ever been in middle school orchestra, you know the feeling. I wish I had more information on this artist, but my Aunt made it seem like her pieces wouldn’t be in my price range (my Aunt keeps it real, though I did have to explain to her what shade meant after that).

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Laura Mercier Lip Glace’ in Quartz Birchbox ($10 subscription sample/original price $25)

This lipstick came in my Birchbox months ago, but is no longer available in Quartz. I looked everywhere since I broke my only tube after the shoot! There are similar colors available on Birchbox and Laura Mercier. I did cancel my Birchbox subscription after ten months because too many of the samples in the box were unusable for me even after adjusting my settings. I think there is a disconnect when it comes to women of color and Birchbox (I spoke to them in email about this and they stated ‘they are working on it’) and instead of being frustrated with my ‘nude’ nail polish or sulfate hair products, I decided to move on.

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Box Braids J.P. Hair Perfection ($90 not including hair)

I am leaving for St. Marteen in a little over a week, so I decided to get my hair braided. I found Mia online and I love my braids! They took a little over six hours, but Mia was completely professional, accommodating (I was able to work while getting my hair braided) and easy to get to. She uses all natural products (she makes her own peppermint spray conditioner spray) and she is natural! I definitely recommend her to anyone and look forward to returning to her in the future.

tall wall

orange dress, brown boots

My friend and fashion inspiration, Devaney, opened her own store on Etsy called, Sew AuCourant , she makes fabulous pillows and home décor items and takes custom orders as well. She is making my linens for my wedding. Check out her site and I have to do a feature on her work and how I am saving money on my wedding at some point on my blog!

Photography by Eric S.

Flea Markets & Splurge Items

Hello from Michigan! I return to my hometown of Lansing almost every year, but this year is special. I picked up my wedding dress, I’m looking at venues for my wedding next June, and I’m celebrating my birthday in Chicago over the weekend with my cousin, Jessica (who is a lifestyle blogger)! Most importantly, I was able to spend Mother’s Day with my Mother and Grandmothers.

Before heading back, Eric and I were able to check out all of the various festivals going on and I found some great items to create one of my favorite vintage looks. I went with a mixture of flea market finds and small boutiques along with affordable purchases and splurge items. It took awhile to find each item for this look, but was definitely worth it.

So, my questions this week are… what is your favorite look and where do you shop to find a piece to complete your look? Do you have a favorite splurge item?

vintage dress, necklace

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1960s Vintage Refurbished Sheath Dress Things I Like 1038 Pine Street, Philadelphia ($90)

I love this dress! Nazareth, the owner, use to work for Urban Outfitters refurbishing their t-shirts. She has awesome refurbished shirts I will feature in the future and I’ll definitely talk to her about her process. She found this dress and decided to alter the silhouette a bit to give it shape. It is a beautiful textile and isn’t as heavy as it looks (though will easily transition into the fall). This dress is made to last, so I don’t know if it counts as a true splurge item.

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Threading  Anju Threads 1126 Walnut Street, Philadelphia ($13 eyebrows $7 lip*)

I was invited to come to Anju Threads to try out their threading services. I jumped at the chance because I used to get my eyebrows and lip threaded at the salon I went to in Chicago. Threading, though it takes a bit more time, lasts longer and can create a more defined arch and pull those small lip hairs wax seems to miss (I have no shame in my lip waxing). Kabbone did my eyebrows since she specializes in what I like: fuller brows! She was amazing to talk to and puts you at ease. I can’t wait to return. Helpful hint: your skin is more sensitive before and during your cycle, so book your first appointment after if you can!

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Broke Down Sandals Steve Madden ($40ish?)

I had a close up photos of these sandals, but I am going to spare you looking at the reason why I stay in sandals. I use to buy my sandals at the Wicker Park Steve Madden store, but DSW has a low price and amazing selection. I like sandals to cover my whole foot and the sides over, but a full back. I have owned these sandals since 2010 and wish I could find another pair. They have been through a lot! 

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60s Cardigan  Edna’s, Philadelphia ($20)

I found this sweater at the Philadelphia Flea Market, which is every weekend in different locations around the city. Edna’s is a vintage stand with tons of great clothes for men and women including accessories. You can find out where she will be by asking to be on her mailing list at donnaschaeffer@gmail.com. It is just a blank email listing the location. She had tons of great items and as I walked up she said three little words I love, “I have Sears!” It was a treat taking this sweater home and my Grandma saying she remembers it and had one the same color back in the day. I also learned you can’t wash wool (a different sweater taught me that).

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Grandma’s Buttons Desert Grandeur Necklace  Tselaine 1927 Walnut Street, Philadelphia ($64)

I may be a few dollars off, but you can actually still buy this exact necklace on their website. I love the look of this necklace, but didn’t know it was made of buttons found by the owner (the buttons she started the company with were her grandmother’s). Now, as a family business, she looks all over the world for new buttons to create new pieces. I love Tselaine and have the most beautiful necklaces from there including a lot of local one of a kind pieces. I can go in there and shop and talk for way too long!

My hair is just a messy twist out. I sit and twist it in sections without parting and tie it up at night and then untwist in the morning. I don’t use any special twisting creams, just whatever was in my hair that day for my wash and go. I might spray it with a bit of water, but I try to keep my hair as low maintenance as possible.

cardigan

*services were provided gratis with no obligation to promote or write of the experience; the views expressed are completely my own.

Photography by Eric S.

Making Trends Your Own

Before getting into today’s post, I would like to thank everyone who is reading and has taken the time to comment.

In the last few weeks I have had to step away from this blog a few times and scratch whole entries due to larger health issues and all of the things that go into that. Eric and I would take photos for a shoot only to notice that the quality wasn’t as good as it could be. I always want to come across as thrilled about what I am wearing and sometimes, even when I love my clothes, my face just isn’t cutting it.

For me, style isn’t just about wearing something fashionable or expensive, but feeling good about yourself and in your own skin. It is also a way to say what you can’t say with words, and bring on the confidence you may not have at the time.

So, I am curious to know… what is style to you? What makes you wear what you wear? For now, Beauty & Britches will be posting style on Tuesdays bi-monthly, but hopefully, you love the looks more! Now on to what you read this for!

I saw a commercial about Mod coming back (didn’t it just return not too long ago?) and I was not thrilled. My hair can’t take too many blow outs and I just don’t know how I am going to pull off the bold looks. I needed help to see if there was anything about this 60s style I could groove with and I needed help on multiple fronts.

I headed to fabric row to my favorite vintage shop, Wilbur Vintage, which has been featured on this blog a few times before. Daniel showed me multiple looks, but I decided to focus on one look I usually write off: the shift dress. I feel like they are too short on me and I don’t wear knee high… well, knee high anything. With Daniel’s stern opinions and ideas on embracing simplicity, I ended up loving my results!

If you follow me on Instagram or know me in person, then you know how much I love Nathaniel Dodson’s Endy Photography. I follow his Instagram and he was one of the photographers at The Philly Geek Awards last year. Eric and I have a beautiful black and white he snapped in one take (impossible for us to do). I mentioned how much I love his photos and only a few weeks later, on his break, him and his assistant Mel were in Fitler Square taking photos. The results are beautiful and I appreciate him taking his time off to help me out. It was amazing and I learned about lighting!

So, does the shift dress work and what do you think of Mod?

60s Party Dress Wilbur Vintage ($65)

Pantent Leather Mary Janes Carvela Kurt Geiger (100 GP)

Bracelet Macy’s

Usually I can find a replica or who made the dress online through the dress tag, but the only dress this tag has is a International Ladies Garment Workers Union tag, which is pretty awesome, but I don’t know who made the dress. The dress was folded in the bag a few times, but will be fine with a good dry clean and is light enough for spring and fall weather.

I bought these pumps in London in May 2009 at a Stuart Weitzman store, which is ridiculous since I was in London, but I made a lot of ridiculous choices that year. Fortunately, these shoes weren’t one of them. I have worn them enough to pay for them ten times over.

The gold bracelet is just a random bracelet I have owned for years. I am sure a different bracelet in a color would have looked great with this dress, but I don’t like wearing bracelets or watches.

Hair James Brown Hair ($100)

James Brown probably would hate me for saying I got my hair done there and then posting photos of my week old blow out, but I can’t resist. I have been talking about getting an appointment with James for at least six months. He is well known in Philly for his ability to cut natural hair and reshape a ‘fro. I went in to get my hair cut and he gave me a cut (I had a lot cut in to balance the length), blow out and flat iron all in 1 hour, 11 minutes. Yes, I timed him because I am curious how fast I can get out of a salon. I made my appointment online and was the only one in the salon until his assistant stylist was applying highlights to someone else. He did teach me a trick to avoid heat damage: blow it out once and do not apply to heat to your hair again for the duration of press/blow out. This seems like common sense, but I always break out the flat iron to go over my edges or curl my ends, but this is my hair only wrapped, with no heat a week after my blow out. I am not amazing at wrapping, so I am sure someone who wraps every night and actually does it correctly could push this out longer than I did. The curls came back on the first wash and I love my cut!

Earrings Smak Parlour ($16)

You can’t see in the photos, but one earring is gold and the other is silver. I wanted these earrings so so so so so so (did I say so?) much to coordinate with when I want to mix metals or add a soft edge. The detailed embroidery around the neckline didn’t call for too much jewelry, so I opted for these to go with my gold bracelet.  

Photography by Endy Photography

Wear It Or Bare It?

I own a lot of small dresses. If you look in my closet right now, you would be forced to listen to me justify why my three white dresses are not all identical. Surprisingly, I also wear these dresses year round. Though this winter I had to box one up with the summer clothes.

I am use to balancing my dresses a bit here and there either by adding bright tights or blazers or skipping out on heels all together. Even though I own a ton of heels, I usually wear flats or sandals whenever possible. I am almost 5’9″ and I feel like heels make my skirts look shorter. Plus, my feet feel so much better in flats. But sometimes I have a dress that I don’t mind breaking the rules with. I always ask myself, ‘wear it layered or bare it as is?’

I recently was invited to a fantastic shoot with Asya Shirokova of Asya Photography and Elizabeth Terenchin, a well known make-up artist who completed many of the ladies’ fabulous looks at The Geek Awards. Clifford Scott and Company styled all of the ladies hair (and can work a weave and flat iron in his sleep), but my hair had been braided for over two months at this point (Go Briana!).

So what are your rules for baring it and wearing it? Cover everything, but your favorite feature? Flaunt it? Layer away?

Wow Couture Smak Parlour ($68)

To be honest, I can’t remember if this dress was $68 or slightly less, but as usual, I go with the higher price, BUT I did see the black and copper version of this dress on their sale rack not too longer ago, so it is probably even cheaper. What I like about Smak is they are consistent with the popular designers or styles they carry, so a variation of this dress is there somewhere. 

Bronx Taste Ankle Boots Akira ($65)

These are the only boots with a heel I have been wearing lately (other than a pair of black heels). Even though wearing this dress with gold sandals won’t make it any longer, I feel like it creates a different look once you change the footwear. This summer I will be going with gold or my nude and jeweled sandals. For the winter, (when not in the warmth of a studio) purple tights, black boots and a over sweater would be cute IF I DIDN’T BREAK THE ZIPPER ON BOTH OF MY FAVORITE BOOTS!!! 

Briana’s twists held up for two and a half months before I took them down! 

With so much gold going on with this dress, I decided not to wear any jewelry. I thought I at least wore some skull studs, but I guess not!

 Thanks to Asya for such an amazing shoot in her studio and for all of the great pics and huge thank you to Elizabeth for putting it all together and actually thinking I would be a good addition to her professional models. It was my first time wearing fake eyelashes and I have to tell you- AWESOME. Eric and I head back out into the cold this weekend for a new shoot!

Things I Like

Goin’ to the chapel and I’m…

Don’t worry, I am not going to sing! I recently received my amazing engagement photos back from Jackie at Clever Girl Photography (and you can like her Facebook here). I am thrilled with how they turned out and can’t wait for her to catch us jumping the broom, but but but! I am not here to talk your ear off about my wedding.

The dress I am wearing in the photos is one that I receive the most questions on. The thing is, I bought the dress from a small boutique that you may or may not have heard of. It has no yelp page, no website and a small Facebook page, but it is… everything.

The boutique is called ‘Things I Like’ because the owner buys new and vintage clothing that she likes. She only goes off what she likes, so you get an interesting, but beautiful mix. Her Facebook page shows items in the shop and walking by her window I always see something I want. The owner, Nazareth, is extremely helpful and kind (I talked natural hair for so long with her while trying on dresses) and not at all pushy. She also holds great gatherings to check out the store including Valentine’s Day and Halloween candy.

So check out the boutique on 1038 Pine Street, Philadelphia and like on Facebook, but don’t buy the colorful sequin dress-I need it in my life!

Striped Dress Image via http://www.clevergirlphoto.com

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 Hot Tomato Dress Things I Like 1038 Pine Street, Philadelphia ($72)

Eric Smith Elizabeth, NJ (priceless)

Striped Fall Dress Image via http://www.clevergirlphoto.com

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Red Patent Leather Flats  Eternity Fashion on 1522 Chestnut St, Philadelphia ($12)

Tree Earring Photo via http://www.clevergirlphoto.com

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Tree Earrings Bangkok, Thailand (gift)

These earrings were a wonderful gift from my friend, Megan. I wear them so much and they are extremely light; I love them 

Striped dress image via http://www.clevergirlphoto.com

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Hair  Tammy at Big Wigs Studios ($40)

My hair is in finger curls and the price will probably vary depending on your natural hair. Finger curls (on natural hair ) are a method of taking pieces of the hair and defining curls either with the end of the comb or with your finger while wet and then drying. My curls were seperated after they dried. The method, at least for me, takes a very long time, but is a good protective style

image via http://www.clevergirlphoto.com

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Engagement Ring Etsy (I don’t care)

image via http://www.clevergirlphoto.com

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Thanks again to Jackie from Clever Girl Photography for not only capturing such beautiful photos, but making the experience fun. She does multiple kinds of photos, so definitely check her out!

Photography by Clever Girl Photography