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!


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

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

dress 3

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.


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!


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! 

vintage cardigan sheath dress

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 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).


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.


*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.

Everything In (Fashion) Moderation

The last few weeks have been busy with the holidays and Eric’s book coming out, but fortunately for me, Chris Urie (of and Dorothee stepped in again to lend me a hand. And what a great job they did!

I have a love/hate relationship with fashion trends. On the one hand, they expose you to styles you never thought you would wear or eras you never thought would come back. On the other hand, if you go too trendy, you end up with a wardrobe that belongs in an era that should have never come back or an item you don’t know what to do with.

I mean, neon green harem pants seemed like a good idea at the time.

Two things I learned about trends is, everything in moderation!

Black Outfit 6

 Green Skirt H&M ($15 on sale)

Dorothee was kind enough to let us come invade her space before she was on the go. This style can be changed for when we go back into the colder weather by adding opaque tights (which was a big debate we were having). Here  is a fun fitted skirt similar to Dorothee’s for $30, currently at H&M. 

Black Outfit 5

Bailey 44 Peplum Lace Top  Saks Fifth Avenue (gift)

This is definitely the splurge item of the post. I found a similar top at Saks for $194 and the prices don’t decrease much from there. I received this as a gift for my birthday from one of my co-workers when I was at my old job (hopefully she knows where to find these tops at a cheaper price-I wouldn’t spend this much on me); I love her to death and got her hooked on fun jewelry. What do you think of peplum tops?

Black Outfit 3

Peplum Top Detailing

Black Outfit 2

Gold Bracelets  Forever 21 ($5)

Due to the detailing in the top, we decided to keep the jewelry simple 

Black Outfit 4

Leopard Print Pumps Nine West ($20)

Dorothee has a joke that her favorite color is leopard, but instead of having every piece of clothing in it (though I think if we dared her, she would take us up on it), she tastefully adds one or two items to add a bit of punch or flare to what she owns. I personally love it!

Black Outfit

Gold Hoop Earrings  Lou Lou’s Boutique ($8)

I want to thank Dorothee again for modeling for me; any items not listed as mine are owned and provided for by Dorothee. I also want to thank Chris Urie for providing beautiful photos for these last two entries.

Photography by Chris Urie

Let The Bling Ring!

I always wear my engagement ring, my version of a class ring and whatever ‘rough and stuff’ necklace and earrings I feel like wearing that day. When I was in Chicago, I use to wear my class ring and my matching diamond studs before our apartment was broken into with a crowbar, and they were stolen along with my laptop. The officer on the scene told me about how when her home was burglarized they took her rabbit cage, but not the rabbit. After buying our rabbit a new cage, I see why they did it. Cages are pricey! Anyway. Eric surprised me on Valentine’s with new studs. Not diamond studs (we have bills) but Swarovski studs. I loved them, but I didn’t know much about the company other than if you want bling, you go there. Last week, I was invited to my first bloggers event for Swarovski.  I was nervous; other than shyness, I really didn’t know if I could write about their jewelry. If I couldn’t afford it normally or the Cost Per Wear was too high, than I couldn’t do it. Let’s just say, I was blown away. By the end of the night, I had a wish list created and was trying to hustle a bracelet off of another blogger. The first look is what I wore to the event and the second is with the Swarovski items. Though they were gifted, I am going to list the prices.                                                                                                                                                                                    Fitler Square

Slim fit pants H & M ($35)

These Slim Fit Pants are faded with a texture to them. If I were to wear a different pant, it would be the Slim Fit Pant with sequin details ($40) or Slim Fit Pant with satin stripe details ($30) which are both currently available

Fitler Square 3

Beautifully Bold Blouse Smak Parlour ($45)

I didn’t capture it, but this blouse has a gorgeous gold zipper running down the back of it which is similar to the gold in my jewelry

Fitler Square 6

Bandeau Top (Nude)  Smak Parlour ($16)

One-Piece Owl Necklace PacSun

I had to think back hard to where I bought this necklace and then it hit me: I was waiting in line to buy my brother a t-shirt at Pacific Sunwear. He was 15 at the time. He is now 19. I went to their website to see if they have anything similar; they don’t, but they have tons of super cute jewelry for under $15. I use to throw away my jewelry when it turned (I never got the hang of the clear nail polish) but then I read a great article about the beauty of the piece and how it gives it new life. This piece use to be much brighter, but I like it more like this

Fitler Square 10

Black Dumond Pumps AKIRA Chicago ($100)

I love these pumps since there is so much detailing. What I don’t love is falling through a sewer grate with them. If you know a good heel repair in Philly, feel free to share. 

Fitler Square 9

Gold Clutch  H & M

Owl Necklace Outfit

Solitaire Pierced Earrings Swarovski ($62)

Ivy 2

Fit Silver Shade Pierced Earrings Swarovski ($155)

Ivy 4

Nirvana Ring Swarovski ($155 for petite /$190 for one shown)

Chanton Bangle Narrow Swarovski ($60)

I had my eye on the  Slake Black Bracelet ($70). In Black or Gray, they are a great price and something I would add to my daily jewelry rotation. It is nice to step outside the box sometimes and try something new, though that box may have to be one checked off for holiday gifts : )

Fitler Square 5

Photography by Eric S.