bridal dress shopping

wedding dress shopping pearl and dot bridal boutique yyc calgaryedding dress shopping pearl and dot bridal boutique yyc calgarywedding dress shopping pearl and dot bridal boutique yyc calgaryedding dress shopping pearl and dot bridal boutique yyc calgaryI shared my tips for planning the perfect engagement photo shoot a while back and plan on sharing more wedding planning tips once everything is in place! I’m almost done planning and it is the best feeling in the world!!! I feel like one of the biggest and most exciting parts of getting married is saying yes to the dress! I have to admit that I wasn’t exactly excited. I felt overwhelmed in the anticipation of not finding the perfect Pinterest worthy dress of my dreams! I think it really held me back from getting too excited about the process, especially since I’m so indecisive! I managed to find my perfect dress and want to share what I learned from the experience with you!

BOOKING APPOINTMENTS: I tried to coordinate with everyone’s schedules when booking appointments, you may want to book ahead of time to make sure everyone will be free. Each appointment is usually an hour to hour and a half + travel time in between appointments. I brought along my bridal party of four, mom and Tyler’s mom. I wanted everyone to be included, but if you have a larger party, I would recommend keeping the group small as it can get overwhelming! If you have a larger group, maybe try going with the girls one day and your mom or mom-in-law or family members separately. Keep in mind some places only allow you a certain amount of people as well. I would also suggest to only make a couple of appointments in one day. We went to three and by the third one I was totally overwhelmed. I never wanted to try on a wedding dress again! Also make sure you give yourself enough time, I cut it pretty close going in November/December for a mid July wedding. Some places can take up to 8 or 9 months to order your dress + 3 alteration appointments. If you think you might be indecisive, maybe give yourself a few extra months so you have time to make a decision!

WEAR THE RIGHT UNDER GARMENTS: Wearing a convertible or strapless bra will make it easier to envision how you will look on your big day. Also make sure to wear seamless under garments or shape wear if you’re looking to try on more fitted styles. It definitely takes away from the experience if you can’t imagine what it would look like if you had! Some boutiques also suggested bringing heels to try on with the dresses. They don’t have to be the ones you will wear on the day of either, just a similar height that you have in mind. I found it hard to pick a shoe since I didn’t know what style of dress I would end up with. Some places may also have some that you can try on or a stool to stand on so you can see the how the dress will sit when its tailored to your height.

BE OPEN MINDED: Like most girls I had several dresses that I had fallen in love with pinned to my wedding board on Pinterest! I was so worried I wouldn’t find the exact dress I was looking for and to be honest, I didn’t. I found dresses with elements of the dresses I loved, but none were exactly what I had in mind. The ones that were close made me feel old and matronly. I was actually surprised I ended up loving a dress that was a different silhouette than I imagined myself in. I couldn’t stop thinking about this dress, it had just enough sparkle, but it was tasteful and the perfect amount of applique lace in all of the right places. It also had some elements I never would have dreamed of, but as soon as I tried on any other dress, I couldn’t imagine not having them! I would say that I definitely had that “moment” when I knew it was the one, you just feel like a bride! Despite my strong feelings, I couldn’t say it was the one because I was set on looking a certain way. Once I completely let go of this, I got really excited about the gorgeous and romantic dress I had fallen in love with!

MAKE IT FUN: I have to admit I feel like I dropped the ball here! There are so many ways to make this experience a little less stressful and would definitely recommend doing something to make it fun! Some boutiques offer champagne or treats. I also think having signs for your group would be a cute idea! I feel like some people may be afraid of saying too much and hurting your feelings so this would be a great way to help get their opinions involved, after all that’s why they are there to help you find the one!

I hope this helped anyone who is in the midst of planning! Happy dress shopping!

All images are of the gorgeous Pearl & Dot Bridal Boutique located in Calgary, AB.

valentine’s day beauty

valentines day love lipstick mac cosmetics
What is not to love about a day dedicated to it?! Whether you have someone special in your life or not there is something so lovely about having hearts, flowers and candy everywhere! If you have plans or a special date night planned, I wanted to share my favourite shades of pink to help get you ready. Depending on how daring you like to get, there is a shade for everyone! All shades by my personal favourite brand, MAC Cosmetics. I hope everyone has a day filled with love!

xo Ashley

holiday photos

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I’m so excited to share these beautiful images that Chloe captured of us for our holiday card this year! She is so sweet and talented, I was so happy she was able to fit in a last minute session for us with our pups! We drove up to Stettler, Alberta, to their gorgeous winter wonderland and it was well worth it! This is a tradition I have wanted to start with our family for a while now and I’m so happy we made it happen this year.

I made a DIY wreath to add some lovely touches to our photos which I have wanted to do ever since Lauren Conrad shared the idea on her blog, you can find it here. I cheated and bought a pre-made wreath and just added some flowers and greenery, securing them with floral wire.

Thank you so much to Chloe for making this happen and yet again giving us these beautiful memories! I hope everyone is having a wonderful Christmas Eve!

Photography: Chloe Buie Photography

holiday fireplace renovation

20151219_214837000_iOSWe finally tackled a project I have dreamt of doing since we moved in almost four years ago now! We are still working on the staircase and pantry door that match the dark wood from the before photo below, but I wanted the mantel done for the holidays at the very least. I’m in love with how it turned out! I can’t believe this is the same fireplace, the white really brightens up the room! I ended up replacing the mirror as well, I felt like it needed a bit of contrast. I really lucked out with this gorgeous hand carved one from Homesense.

fireplace renovation before and after
This was a super easy and inexpensive DIY that made a huge impact on the space so I wanted to share what we used! See below for all tools and supplies we used for the project and directions. FYI – We started off with just sand paper but later upgraded to a Black & Decker Mouse Detail Sander + used primer so we need less coats of paint on the other areas. You will still need sand paper for smaller edges though.

fireplace renovation before and after
First step is to lay out your drop cloth to protect any surrounding furniture and flooring, then tape off the walls and carpet lining the fireplace and tile. Next step is to rough up the surface of the wood by giving it a light sanding, once this is done, wipe the area down to remove any dust. Once dry you can now apply your primer, this dries quickly and then your ready to paint! We did 4 coats of paint, letting it dry in between, this paint says it only needs 4-6 hours between coats. The paint brushes worked great for all the edges and the roller for the larger surface areas, it had a much smoother finish. The paint did not stick to the silicone surrounding our fireplace, but you can use white silicone to cover the inside edges. Once the paint has dried, remove tape and your done!

SOURCES
MIRRORS: BOTH HOMESENSE | ALL DECOR & BOOKS: HOMESENSE | THROW PILLOWS: INDIGO | STOCKINGS & TREE: LOWES | LEATHER POUF: THE CROSS DECOR | PAINT & SUPPLIES: HOME DEPOT

winter & holiday beauty

winter beauty favourites sephora nars smashbox tory burch stila bumble and bumble ysl mac cosemetics josie maran holiday beauty

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Tis the season! I wanted to share some of the things I have been loving for the holidays and winter! I actually love combining the two lip colours for a gorgeous shade of deep fuschia that I can’t get enough of. I like to pair this with a neutral eye with a bit of sparkle, this eye palette has everything you need! I like to add a bit of holiday glamour with some natural false lashes and mix a few drops of this illuminator into my foundation. With the dry weather I love any tool that will blend my makeup really well and this oil has been amazing at keeping my skin moisturized! And to remove it all during the busy season I love these wipes since they are quick and are so moisturizing. Another great thing to have with you during the holidays, is a roller ball scent you can throw in your clutch! Finally, this hair powder is magic! It gives amazing texture to flat hairstyles to refresh your style! Happy holidays!

winter casual

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This is one of my favourite combos! Throwing on a cute printed pullover is not only comfy but still chic! I love the lace detail on this tank top, which can be layered under any of your fave sweaters. It adds just enough feminine detail! I kept the rest casual and paired it with some boyfriend jeans, a winter toque and these booties that I share a lot, but they work for every season which I love. I added some cute feminine jewels, I linked similar ones below, you can find my exact ones at Nordstrom and Joe Fresh. Finally I finished off the outfit with a pale pink bag from Kate Spade! I love this style of handbag, it has a structured shape but is still a cross body bag, which is great when your on the go!

casual winter outfit pretty lovely style

SWEATER | TOP | JEANS | HANDBAG | BRACELET | EARRINGS | HAT | BOOTIES

holiday baking: thumbprint cookies

thumbprint cookies holiday baking christmasthumbprint cookies holiday baking christmasthumbprint cookies holiday baking christmas
These are one of my favourite holiday treats! I made a fairly large batch of them for a cookie swap, which is such a festive and fun idea for a holiday get together with friends! Everyone brings a dozen of their favourite holiday cookie per person. And you leave with a selection of holiday baked goods to enjoy. I extended the bake times from the recipe source, I found they needed a little longer especially if you add walnuts.

THUMBPRINT COOKIES
Ingredients
1/2 CUP BUTTER SOFTENED
1/4 CUP PACKED BROWN SUGAR
1 EGG
1/2 TEASPOON VANILLA EXTRACT
1 CUP ALL PURPOSE FLOUR
1/4 TEASPOON SALT
2/3 CUP FRUIT JAM
1/4 CUP FINELY CHOPPED WALNUTS (OPTIONAL)

Directions
Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. Separate egg, reserving egg white. Cream butter, sugar, and egg yolk. Mix in vanilla, flour and salt. Shape dough into balls. Roll in egg white, then walnuts. Place on cookie sheets about 2 inches apart. Bake for 6 minutes. Remove cookies from oven. With thumb, dent each cookie. Put jelly or preserves in each thumbprint. Bake for another 15 minutes.

RECIPE SOURCE: HERE

holiday gift guide 2015

holiday christmas gift guide 2015
The most wonderful time of the year has arrived! But not only because of the gifts, there is something so magical about this time of year! I’m such a nostalgic person so I guess it gets me every time. I love to make the ones I love feel special and find love things they will really love! In my opinion, the best kind of gifts are those little thoughtful ones, so I thought I would put together some of my favourite things! Most of them make great stocking stuffers and the best part is they are all under $50! Stay tuned for more holiday posts to come!

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engagement photoshoot

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We originally had some beautiful photos taken as a wedding gift from a talented family friend immediately after we got engaged. Since we knew we would have an extended engagement, I was just excited to do something wedding related! Now that the big day is only a year away and we are in full planning mode, I wanted to send out a save the date. I was regretting our location and fashion choices for what I had in mind though. The very sweet and talented Chloe of Chloe Buie Photography, who I worked with on her amazing styled shoot Back in the Spring, so graciously offered to do some photos for me! I jumped at the chance to have her take some of Tyler and I. We are beyond thrilled with how they turned out and I am so excited to share them with you! There were so many gorgeous photos to choose from, these are a few of my favourites!

I decided to share some of my tips for anyone who is planning their own engagement photos! I am no expert when it comes to wedding planning, but based on my experience, the biggest piece of advice I can offer is to choose either a location that has significant meaning to you or one that reflects you as a couple. This way you won’t have any regrets! This goes for your fashion choices as well!

Like I mentioned above, I picked our outfits and location on some trendy pins I found at the time. Since we had a three year period between then and now, our tastes and current trends have changed so much. I wish I would have known to keep things a little more simple and in tune to what we truly love. Since we are having a summer wedding I wanted our photos to reflect that as well, where as our first set of photos were in the Fall. This completely changed what I had in mind for the look of our outfits. I wanted them to be simple, airy and romantic, kind of like what we have planned for the wedding! I really have tried to focus on timeless choices that we would never tire of. Hence why we decided to keep the details simple and colour palette light and in tune with our wedding theme.

We decided to have our photos taken at the ceremony location. It’s gorgeous and I thought it would make the memories even more special for us. Plus it gave us a chance to check out the space first hand and all of the areas for photos on the wedding day. The best lighting in certain spots at certain times and a chance to see what worked and what didn’t! This also reminds me, I had no idea that typically an engagement shoot is included with your wedding package! Although each vendor can be different, most of the ones I seen were similar in this way. This offers a chance to get comfortable with your photographer and find out what you love for your wedding photos!

Lastly, be prepared! Order any props or online purchases at least a month or two in advance to ensure they are available and arrive in time. Also, find examples of photos that you have in mind. Even if you don’t want to copy them, this will give your photographer an idea of the feel you want for your own! I’ll be sharing more wedding planning tips as we go so check back. If you have any questions or suggestions, I would love to hear them!

Photography: Chloe Buie Photography
Flower Crown: Flowers by Janie
Balloon: Confetti and Co
Jewelry: Nordstrom & Frilly Lilly
Dress: Garage Clothing
Dress Shirt & Pants: Calvin Klein from Moores
Both Shoes: Aldo

All Photographs Copyright of Chloe Buie Photography

friday favourites: fall beauty

fall beauty sephora anastasia contour kit sugar fresh lip polish philosophy burberry brit nyx blush nars fanny mac doubletime shell we dance sally hansen lancome hynose

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Hello October! Time really does fly, I cannot believe it’s here already. With the leaves changing and Thanksgiving around the corner, I’m having a hard time realizing the holidays are fast approaching. The best part of a new season is embracing some new looks! I love when I try new products and love every single one of them which has been the case with my favourites for the Fall season.

I have been a bronzer for my contour kinda gal for a while now so I wasn’t sure the Anastasia Contour Kit and Sephora’s brightening loose powder were totally necessary. I decided to splurge anyway. Let me tell you they are SO worth it!! The look is so much cleaner, I’m completely sold! I also decided to try a new lip liner which I don’t typically wear unless I’m wearing a red lip. I am so happy with the staying power of my lipstick and again what a clean finish it gives your pout. And bonus! This pink nude shade goes with pretty much every colour. I have been obsessed with this NYX blush in Foreplay. It’s the first dupe I have found of my favourite limited edition MAC blush called Pet Me that I have been mourning for some time ha! Since we have been so busy I haven’t had time for nail polish so I love this shade in Shell We Dance, it goes on easily for a quick polished look. The Fall season also calls for rich berry shades, thick lashes and warm vanilla scents! And finally I tried out this a new face cleanser which I use with my Clarisonic and lip scrub to keep smooth in the upcoming dry season.