Free, Convenient and Totally-Worth-It Workouts

Well, let’s state the obvious: no, I am not a fitness coach. In fact, I have a hard time keeping myself motivated to workout and eat healthy. But I’ve recently become obsessed with some online workouts, and I wanted to share them with you!

popsugar-6When my husband and I were on our honeymoon, I grabbed an easy-read book at the airport titled “Power Your Happy.” It gives insight into Lisa Sugar’s life and how she created the online pop culture source PopSugar. If you’re a go-getter girl who is searching for success, life balance and the opportunity to have a family all at the same time, I definitely recommend the read.

Anyways, I dabbled a bit on PopSugar’s website, but I had never really considered it a go-to. That was until I discovered their workouts. They are amazing! First and foremost because they are free. I had recently contemplated paying for Beach Body workouts, but these online workouts kicked that idea to the curb.

Now you’re probably wondering why the heck I’m endorsing a workout website on an event planning blog. Well, let’s be honest. It doesn’t matter what event you’re attending, everyone wants to look their best! Whether you are the bride who is the center of attention, headed to a high school reunion where you haven’t seen people in years or just want to look back at the photos and be proud of your shape, working out is a necessity.

And if you’re anything like me, time and money are two of the things that get in the way of having a killer body. So, these are the reasons that I love PopSugar workouts:

1. They’re completely free!

Yup, you heard me. Zero dollars. All you need is a laptop (which i often hook up to my TV through an HDMI cord) and yourself. There are some workouts that require a small set of weights or a mat, but for the most part, they use your body weight for effective workouts. They even have some workouts that you can adapt or take to the gym to utilize while on an elliptical machine or treadmill. So if you already have a gym workout, you can still use them to mix it up and keep muscle memory guessing again.

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2. The workouts are quick yet effective.

Even if you just Google “PopSugar workouts,” before getting to the site you can click on the timeframe you’re looking for.

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When you have a hectic schedule or just not feeling the hour and a half commitment to get dressed, drive to the gym, workout and drive home, here is your answer. My favorites are the 30-minute workouts, or I like to mix a 20-minute strengthening workout with a 10-minute cardio blast.

3. The variety.

There’s a little bit of everything on this site. There’s high-intensity, fat-burning workouts that will leave you dripping in sweat. These are my favorite to do when I’ve eaten my energy-packed foods all day and work hasn’t completely drained me.

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There’s yoga and Pilates videos that are a little bit more low key. I love doing these workouts in the morning when I want to get some fitness in prior to work, but I don’t have the energy to jump around (did I mention I’m not a morning person?)

popsugar-4And lastly, there’s tons of celebrity trainers that know how to kick your booty while keeping the workouts exciting and different. My personal favorite is the workout with Selena Gomez’s personal trainer. No wonder that girl looks so good!

So if you find yourself saying you don’t have time to workout or you don’t have the money to spend on a gym membership or a subscription to a workout program, the PopSugar workouts are the answer to your prayers. No go knock ’em dead at your next event, and I hope you feel your absolute best!

Note: All photos in the blog post are images from the PopSugar website. 

The Seasons of Weddings

It was quite a busy year of weddings in 2016, and I had the pleasure of attending weddings all 12 months of the year. For today’s post, I pulled some of my favorite weddings from this past year’s archives. Using the seasons as a guide, I wanted to share with you some snapshots of these weddings that so beautifully fit into the seasons:

Spring
Bride & Groom: Jill Elder & Josh Smith
Wedding Date: June 4, 2016…Ok, so I stretched this “spring” wedding. It really was at the beginning of summer, but with all the beautiful colored blooms, I couldn’t help but include this in the spring section because it’s a great inspiration for spring brides.
Ceremony Location: Columbia Country Club Event Lawn
Reception Venue: Columbia Country Club
Photos compliments of Silverbox

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The Pre-Wedding:
Jill and her bridesmaids were dressed in beautiful matching robes during their wedding preparations and started the day off with floral accents from the beginning!

 

 

jill-josh-2The Color Scheme:
Everywhere you looked were bright, beautiful flowers. From the ceremony archway to the reception tables, pops of purples, pinks, yellows, greens and oranges were all complimented with gold accents. The bridal party wore greys, whites and blacks, which allowed the flower colors to shine.

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The Dessert:
A five-tier cake had the spotlight as guests entered the ballroom for the reception, which of course was also dripping in flowers. Edith Hall worked her cake magic once again!

 

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The Sweet Touch:
Josh proposed to Jill while the two were on a camping trip. So, guests were given “S’more Lovin'” as their favors, which were individually packaged s’mores supplies.

 

jill-josh-7A Unique Detail:
One of my favorite details was incorporated into this wedding. TooRooster Artistry was at the reception live painting each and every detail of the celebration. If you haven’t checked out Cindy Scott’s work, definitely do! It’s entertaining for the guests, and a great memory for the couple to take home with them.

 

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The Wow Factor:
I know I’ve talked A LOT about these flowers, but Kent’s Floral Gallery really outdid themselves. The show stopper? This gorgeous archway that the couple stood under as they said their “I dos.”

 

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The Seasonal Touch:
With warmer weather and a large guest list, the couple utilized the country club’s veranda for outdoor seating in addition to the indoor seating.

 

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The Perfect Ending: 
This reaction. Doesn’t every groom want a bride who is this happy?

 

 

Summer:
Bride & Groom: Alex Weishaar & Zachary Kluesner
Wedding Date: June 25, 2016
Ceremony Location: Church of St. Mary’s in Fulton, MO
Reception Venue: Sorenson Estates in Columbia, MO

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The Pre-Wedding:
Alex is a huge fan of monograms…ok, that’s an understatement. She LOVES monograms and was super excited to be able to change her monogram to her new last name. It did not surprise me one bit when the bridemaid’s gift were adorned with each girl’s monogram.

 

 

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The Color Scheme:
Keeping in tune with the naturalness of the outdoor reception, the wedding decor was full of ivories, creams, golds and forest greens.

 

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The Dessert:
A simple yet elegant three-tier white cake adorned with flowers coordinating with the bouquets and centerpieces. Plus, there was a nod to the groom with his own groom’s cake.

 

 

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The Sweet Touch:

Since the reception was outdoors and there was lots of dancing to be done, Alex and Zach offered their guests flip flops to be warn when the party got started.

 

 

13533086_10153833626035914_1982605932848900480_n 13537789_10153833625935914_4660732316999410563_nA Unique Detail:
If you live in Columbia, you are aware of the downtown staple: souvenir plastic cups. Because the couple met at Harpo’s where Alex used to work and manage, they served their guests drinks in personalized Harpo’s cups.

 

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The Wow Moment:
When Alex and her mom came down the aisle holding hands, I couldn’t help but tear up. it was evident how strong their relationship was and really represented them standing by each other’s sides through life’s endeavors.

 

 

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The Seasonal Touch:
It wouldn’t be a summer party without a game of bags! During cocktail hour, guests were able to socialize outdoors with a little friendly competition using this personalized game of bags.

 

 

 

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The Perfect Ending:
The bride and groom along with their guests danced the night way under the stars, moon and this gorgeous arrangement of Italian-style string lights designed by SW Productions.

 

 

Fall
Bride & Groom: Emily Milford & Tom Stevenson
Wedding Date: November 5, 2016
Ceremony Location: Mary Queen of Peace in Webster Groves, MO
Reception Venue: Forest Park Visitors Center in St. Louis, MO

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The Pre-Wedding:
The crisp, fall air and the early rising for the bridesmaids coupled so perfectly with the mismatched flannels worn during hair and makeup.

 

 

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The Color Scheme:
Red was the obvious bridesmaid dress choice for Emily’s love of the color, and rich dark and pastel florals created the perfect contrast for the fall festivities.

 

 

 

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The Dessert:
A classic beauty in white adorned with coordinating flowers, it was simple yet elegant just like this couple.

 

 

 

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The Sweet Touch:
Each of these bridesmaids and all of their mothers have been friends since these girls were in elementary school…talk about long-lasting friendships! The ceremony also took place at their elementary school.

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A Unique Detail:
Both Tom and Emily have a true love for beer. Tom works for Anheuser Busch, and Emily has an immense knowledge of craft beers. So instead of stuffy, posed photos, the couple decided to have the wedding party enjoy beers at Urban Chestnut Brewery during photo time for more candid photos.

 

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The Wow Moment:
Although my favorite moment of the night was when the groom swept Emily off her feet (literally) and spun her around during the first dance, we also were very appreciate of this firey sunset that was a gorgeous backdrop for the perfect day.

 

 

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The Seasonal Touch:
Guests were greeted by a table of small white pumpkins, which were not only great seasonal decor but also doubled as escort cards.

 

 

 

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The Perfect Ending:
Tom and Emily said goodbye to their guests as they exited through a (rather long) sparkler aisle lined with all of their guests. It was truly a magical part to the evening.

 

 

Winter
Bride & Groom: Carroline Kirtley & Michael Stoll
Wedding Date: December 17, 2016
Ceremony Location: Rocheport United Methodist Church in Rocheport, MO
Reception Venue: Columbia Country Club

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The Pre-Wedding:

A nasty ice storm the evening before made travel into Columbia a little crazy and changed the plans around for the rehearsal. But a little inclement weather cannot stop true friendship!

 

 

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The Color Scheme:
We saw lots of shades of red this year, and of course a winter wedding wouldn’t be complete without it! A mixture of burgundies and pinks popped from the flowers, and lots of wintry greenery was incorporated on the mantels, in the bouquets and as part of the centerpieces thanks to Addie Jane Originals.

 

 

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The Dessert:
A naked cake. Whimsical and perfectly fitting for this bride’s style.

 

 

 

 

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The Sweet Touch:
Although I wasn’t at the church to witness this precious moment, this photo of the bride and her flower girls is one of my favorites of the day!

 

 

 

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A Unique Detail:

Carroline enlisted the help of Courtney Canine with the rental company Pretty Little Things to add beautiful antiques to compliment the 1920s venue. My personal favorite was the pairing of a vintage table, an old window turned into a sign and and old mailbox used for the card box. Adorable!

 

 

15578487_1124212824358654_1220016279465755869_nThe Wow Moment: 
The best man’s speech was great! I wish I had a video of it, so I could share. I’ve seen lots and lots of speeches, and his was definitely up there as one of the best. He was witty, showed emotion but held it together and truly summed up the relationship between himself and the groom.

 

15542053_1124212697692000_828034969302906938_nA Seasonal Touch:
At each place setting was a thank you note from the bride and groom expressing their gratitude for all of their guests attending their big day. And laid right on top of that was a small piece of greenery. It was such a small detail but really tied everything in together.

 

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The Perfect Ending: 

Just after the bride and groom swayed to their first dance, a light sprinkling of fluffy snow began falling and made for one epic photo! Photography compliments of Catherine Rhodes Photography.

Wedding Show Must-Haves

It’s wedding show season, brides! Shortly after the start of engagement season (yes, that is a thing), is the start of wedding show season. Even with the crazy ice storm that’s threatening Columbia this weekend, we still have plans to be at the Super Wedding Show at the Holiday Inn Executive Center. Come visit me from noon to 4:00 PM if you’d like 🙂

With that, I wanted to share a few tips for attending a wedding show as a bride or groom:

1. Prepare Information Stickers
Almost every booth you visit will have some sort of drawing or giveaway. And in order to be entered into the drawing, the vendor will most likely ask for your information. Instead of having to rewrite the same information over and over, come prepared with a few sheets of address stickers. I suggest including the following information:

  • Bride’s Name
  • Groom’s Name
  • Anticipated or Scheduled Wedding Date (feel free to give a specific date or broad range, i.e. Summer 2017)
  • Phone Number
  • E-mail Address

Some vendors might ask for an address, but most likely vendors will want your e-mail address over your actual mailing address. If there’s any other information needed, then you can write it by hand. But having the labels ahead of time will save you LOTS of time and gives you an opportunity to make sure you get around to each booth.

2. Come Hungry
Even if the show takes place over a meal hour, don’t eat before you come. Between caterers, bakers and sweet treats to lure attendees in, booths will be offering tons of food. And if you come with a full stomach, chances are you’re going to feel stuffed when you leave. With that being said, I do recommend bringing a water bottle with you if you plan to stay for an extended period of time as lots of booths have food but not all have beverages.

3. Take It All In, But Don’t Commit Right Away
Lots of vendors will allow you to sign up for their services right there. As tempting as it can be to check needs off your list, wedding shows can be overwhelming. Definitely make appointments with people, take information and get copies of contracts, but I would not recommend signing anything on the spot. You want to make sure you check out all of the booths and options and take some time to think it over. Don’t give into the pressure of a vendor who says you are “going to miss out if you don’t sign up today!”

An Event Planner’s Emergency Kit

You can only imagine the random supplies I get asked for when hosts and hostesses are anxiously preparing for an event. Although I might not have everything guests ask for, I keep the following items on hand for when the need arises.

Lighter
These always seem to grow legs and walk off, but they are crucial when you have a roomful of candles to create a romantic glow at a wedding or need a quick flame for birthday candles.

Stick Pins
I most often use them for pinned up linens to give a room a more formal look, but they also come in handy for floppy boutonnieres or to fix an unseamed hem or dress that is too long.

Scissors
If I had a dollar for each time I was asked for a pair of scissors, I would be a millionaire.

Flats
I am a heels girl through and through, but when I have a long day or lots of set-up to do for an event, flats are a necessity! Plus, they come in handy when weather isn’t exactly on your side. It’s not fun to be sinking into damp grass as you watch a ceremony take place of are trying to shuffle across any icy parking lot because you so graciously parked in the back and let the guests park up closer to the venue.

Granola Bar or Small Snack
I attest to often times “forgetting to eat” on busy days. For someone who really loves food, it does seem hard to believe. But when you’re doing a lot of orchestrating and working straight through a meal, a small snack can be a real lifesaver. It can be that boost of energy you need to get through the last few hours or save a bride from feeling faint right before her ceremony.

Floral Wire
This seems a little bit random, but after working on a DIY project at home, I threw floral wire into my desk as a “this might come in handy someday” item. And you would be shocked how many times it has been used. It’s malleable to be able to twist it and use it in small places but sturdy enough to hold some weight and durable enough to last through the course of an event. Plus, it can easily be cut with scissors instead of needing wire cutters.

Fine Point Sharpie
It can take the place of a generic pen for a guestbook; it’s fine enough to be able to create an on-the-fly escort card without sticking out too much in comparison to the printed font; and it can be used to label supplies, so yours don’t get mixed in with rentals or to mark alcohol bottles to decipher what you paid for and what was there to begin with.

Spray Deodorant
There’s nothing less sexy than being able to smell the odor of a groom who has been nervously perspiring in his suit or having to run around outside in the sweltering heat to make a last-minute change to the set-up of an event. Spray deodorant has come in handy multiple times! By using it myself, I feel refreshed before guests arrive to an event, even if I’ve been there all day. It has been a lifesaver for a bridesmaid who forgot to pack hers. And it’s even doubled as air freshener when someone has used the facilities and created a stink right before guests arrive to the party.

Hosting on the Fly

Nobody enjoys being caught off guard. Whether you’re a planner or not, surprise guests or unexpected hosting can create a bit of uneasiness. But instead of panicking when out-of-town guests are suddenly in town or shying away when the original host gets sick, try keeping a few of these things on hand to make hosting on the fly that much easier.

13315640_10153768928355914_8648626608434208068_nFood: Cheese and crackers. Seems simple, doesn’t it? It’s the age-old, easy appetizer at any gathering. Kept simple, it is a crowd pleaser for a children’s party. Dressed up a little bit with salami and nuts, it can transform into a charcuterie board.

Drink: Champange
No, I am not just saying this because I am a lover of bubbly. It really is a very versatile beverage. It can be combined with juices and fruit to create a themed punch or compliment a brunch when served with orange juice. Andi f you’re opting for a more formal gathering, it can be the center of a formal toast or speech.

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Drink: Carbonated Beverage

Think lemon-lime soda, ginger ale or tonic water. This offers your guests a non-alcoholic option or can be paired with alcoholic beverages for fun creations.

15726770_10154938848902975_5060880096617101071_nDécor: Candles
I tend to keep a variety of candle options on hand. In addition to my favorite White Barn three-wick seasonal candles from Bath & Body Works, I also make sure I have a stash of tealights, pillar candles and of course, birthday candles. Tealights can be lined along a window sill close in proximity to create a romantic ambiance. Grab paper bags and sand or kitty litter and a few pillar candles to build easy DIY lanterns along your walkway. And make anyone feel extra special (even if the party isn’t exactly a birthday party) by popping birthday candles into the dessert selection and singing to them.

image2 (1)Décor: Chalkboards
My personal favorite is a sandwich board with a black board finish. You can use chalk or colored chalk markers to draw out a welcome sign or display a menu. It instantly eludes that thought and time was put into the event, even if it was completed just moments before guests arrived.

Games: A Deck of Cards
It’s a fun go-to after dinner when guests aren’t quite ready to leave yet. It can also be an activity for guests to focus on if there is a mix of people who aren’t necessarily friends or acquaintances. Games can break the ice for guests who don’t know each other well. And in the wintertime, a deck of cards can direct a game of Chinese Christmas as we call it creating a little friendly competition over gifts.

Miscellaneous Supplies: Small Gifts
When I’m out and about or have a few extra dollars, I always keep my out for small gifts. I keep them on hand for that “oh crap” moment when you realize someone is celebrating a birthday, anniversary or milestone without your knowledge. Or, they are great to have as hostess gifts when I myself attend a gathering. My stash changes throughout the course of the year but can usually be found stocked with some of these staples: cute and clever coffee mugs paired with $5 coffee house gift cards or a seasonal blend, a bottle of mid-range wine (in price and taste), stationery that can be paired with a fun pen or tied with a ribbon and a few fresh blooms, and chocolates or cheeses given with a candy dish or small cutting board.

Hopefully the next time the doorbell rings or your family stops in for an unannounced visit, you will feel much more prepared!

Family Traditions

Cute selfie, huh? I know I’ve talked a lot on the blog about how classic wedding traditions are going away, but there are so many other fun traditions that still hold true. With the holidays right around the corner, I wanted to share one of my family traditions that I look forward to each year.

Lots of families have Christmas traditions, but one activity that has held true at the McCann household is New Year’s fondue. I know…totally random. I’m not even quite sure how this started. I remember doing this all the way back to when my sisters and I were young. Especially now that we are older, my sister working in retail and Ryan and I living 8 hours from my mom’s house, Thanksgiving and Christmastime become incredibly hectic.

But New Year’s has always been a time that all of us are available to get together, and we look forward to starting out the new year with each other. We’ve even grown it to include other family and friends. Lots of the time we will have new guests who have never tried fondue. It’s fun to be able to teach them how and finish out the night with a few games and cocktails.

Share with me your family traditions! I would love to hear from you all!

Cheers to a 2017 that outdoes 2016 (although that’s going to be pretty hard…)

The Aftermath

The “I Do’s” have been said, the guests have left and there is a mountain of presents for you and your honey to open. Aside from maybe a little bit of sadness that the Big Day has now come and gone, there are still a few things you need to tie up. So today’s post is about all of those after-the-wedding details that often get missed. And if you and your spouse plan on jetting off on an adventurous honeymoon right after the knot is tied, it is usually family members or friends who get stuck with these tasks.

I have compiled a list of things you will want to think about BEFORE the wedding to prevent any headaches from happening AFTER the wedding.

1. Take the next work day off.

Even if you aren’t headed off on a vacation immediately, you will definitely want to have the next work day off (usually Monday for most brides and grooms). The day following the wedding is usually filled with lots of family members leaving, possibly a bridal brunch, a little haziness from the previous night’s festivities and let’s face it, some much needed R&R. The next business/work day is crucial to give you time for the following:

  • packing for your honeymoon or leaving for your honeymoon
  • returning rentals
  • organizing all of the decor and take-homes from the wedding
  • giving you time to get a head start on thank yous
  • feeling like you have a day to breathe

2. The clean up crew.

More often than not, this is the most dreaded part about the wedding celebration. As the honored guests, it should not be your responsibility to clean up after the celebration. You should be cruising off into newlywed bliss. But you will want to choose your clean up crew wisely. You don’t want to have to rely on the bridesmaid who is also the life of the party. Holding a glass of wine while cleaning up really just isn’t productive. You also might realize that those “reliable” people you asked the night of to stay behind and help clean disappear when it comes time for the bar and DJ to shut down.

My advice is to designate certain individuals: a wedding planner, a close family friend, extended family, etc. to be in charge of helping to tear down and clean up after the festivities end. That way, those individuals know ahead of time and can be relied on that evening or the morning after to be at the venue to help load up and clean up all of the wedding supplies. Remember the multiple trips you took to the wedding venue with all of your beautiful decor? Yeah, that’s not really something you want to  get stuck moving back by yourself the day after the wedding.

3. The fine print.

Whether it’s rentals, the venue or another vendor you’ve been working with, you want to make sure you read the guidelines and fine print on your contract. I am not talking necessarily for the day of the wedding but any miscellaneous leftover details that need to be tied up:

  • Do your rentals need to be cleaned or washed prior to returning? Whether it’s plates that need to be washed, chargers that need to be wiped down or votives and candlesticks that need to be soaked free of wax, most rental companies will have a fine for returning dirty rentals.
  • Does your venue have a specific time all guests need to be out by? If so, don’t schedule your party up to that very last minute. Give yourself enough time to make sure intoxicated guests can get cabs or take an Uber home. Make sure there is enough time for clean up to be done that evening or check to see if the venue lets you store your supplies there overnight.
  • Are there parking restrictions around your venue? With how easy it is these days to get transportation home, it’s silly for guests to even think about driving after they have had a few cocktails. But, you will want to make sure that if guests choose to leave their vehicles overnight around your venue that they will not get towed by the city, the venue, etc.
  • If you decide to extend your celebration because all of your guests are having the best time of your life, what fees are you going to incur that might seem “worth it” the night of but not so much when you have to write the check. This list can include: extending the bar timeframe, extending the time of your service staff, extending your DJ contract, extending your photographer, etc. Most vendors will offer options to extend the evening of, but some of them will cost you some steep hourly fees.

4. The gift that keeps on giving. 

I see it after every wedding. The bride or the mother of bride looks longingly at all of the gorgeous floral arrangements that helped set the mood and scene for the day. But now what? Aside from the bride’s bouquet that she might want to dry out and save, what on earth do you do with the rest of the flowers?

  • Give them as take-home gifts to guests who helped throughout the big day (your clean-up crew, whoever took your gifts and cards home, your vendors, etc.) Just make sure to bring.
  • Make arrangements prior to wedding day with a hospital, nursing home or assisted living facility. There’s no better feeling than to brighten someone’s day with a beautiful arrangement!

Even though you might not think of EVERYTHING prior to the wedding day, arranging a few of these details will make the day following your wedding just that much sweeter!