Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Vera Bradley Outlet Stores

I LOVE Vera Bradley handbags and accessories because I am obsessed with the gorgeous, floral prints.  Until recently, Vera Bradley was only available online, in Vera Bradley stores, and in stores that carried Vera Bradley, but recently a few Vera Bradley Outlets have opened up and they are phenomenal.  I've hit 3 of the 6 (and was within an hour drive of the Wrentham, MA outlet, but didn't make the detour), so I wanted to share some information about the outlets for our Vera Bradley lovers like myself.

1. The Vera Bradley outlets are nearly as pretty as the stores.  They are neatly organized, with clean, white shelving (just like the displays in full priced stores).

2. Every item is discounted, but there are also occasional promotions, such as 20% off back to school items, or 20% off if you spend $75.  There are no "bargain-basement" style deals that some may expect to find in outlets, but everything is priced less than original retail.  Overall, prices tend to be in line with website sale prices.

3. Most items are from a few seasons ago - or more.  You are not going to find the newest colors and patterns here, although I have found patterns from one season earlier than the newest season.

4. The staff are super friendly and helpful, and the shopping bags are nice (not junky paper bags like other stores give you).

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Our wedding!!

Justin and I got married!!

It was a fun, exhausting, long, (and somehow also very fast), loving day!  
We did lots of DIY and had so many fun, special touches.  Here are just a few favorites from the day :)

I loved how our wedding venue looked!  It took a long time to find it (and it is actually still being remodeled - we were only the third wedding!).  It was beautiful for our outdoor ceremony and tented reception.

My pretty bridesmaids and I in robes my mom sewed!

My shoes and veil

I love all the pink!!

Our wedding cake was created by Charm City Cakes.  It was supposed to be pink and have polka dots (subtle) on the middle layer, but it is still pretty!

We made the table runners and bought the plates at the Fiestaware Factory Outlet in WV!  We also bought all the glassware and my mom and I collected mismatched vintage plates to use as bread plates and as cake plates.  They were really cute!  See more about our dishes here: http://www.blog.brooketysonphotography.com/fiestaware-wedding/

My dad made this multiple directional sign! :)  The base is an antique fire extinguisher!

We had pink lemonade for when guests first arrived, and later a fun (and very strong!) pink drink for cocktail hour!

Of course, our beloved dogs walked the aisle.  Here are Cara and Emily during the wedding ceremony :)

Our newest adoptee, Cooper, was the ring bearer


All photos by the talented and wonderful Katelyn James!

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Bridal Shower!!

It is hard to believe, but my wedding is THIS month!!!  WOW!!  This past weekend was my beautiful bridal shower, hosted by my sister, mom and future mother in law.  It was absolutely stunning!!  Enjoy some of the beautiful photos from this special day :)




Bride and groom strawberries and pretzel sticks for all of our guests:)
I love these shoes!!  Jessica Simpson "Marya"
And of course, a few cute cats :)
2014-06-02_0055poppyzPINKbeautifulbridalshower-223You can see a few more photos and read about all the details on my photography blog :) http://www.blog.brooketysonphotography.com/brookebridalshower/ Thanks for reading!!  I have some great new OPI polishes coming soon :)

Friday, April 18, 2014

Wedding DIY - Decor Crafts

I have been making SO many things for my upcoming wedding!!  I am obsessed with DIY.  I just love knowing "I made this" (or, "my dad made this" - which will be the case for a few things I will be posting soon!).  It is so nice to have almost everything booked and to be at the point where I can work on designing the decor (the fun part!).  Here are a few of the EASIEST and most SIMPLE crafts I have been working on.  These were so quick to put together and I feel like they really add a nice touch.  Plus, they are super affordable!  We have tons of real flowers at our wedding, but I still wanted a few groupings on side tables (like at the Photo Booth and candy bar), so faux flowers work great!  They are affordable, plus I can sell or donate them after the wedding!

This is SOO easy - I picked up lanterns at Target (I bought these last summer and use them as decor in my house!).  I simply cut off portions of a branch of fake flowers (picked up at Michael's half off) and arranged them in the lantern.  I like how they look like they are spilling out!


I love these little blue lanterns!  I collect vintage blue mason jars, so I was really excited when Ball introduced these pint-sized heritage blue ball jars.  I bought four cases of these for the wedding; I am using 8 as lanterns, 5 for the next craft, and the rest will go on the tables as decor (with real flowers!).  These lanterns are too easy; I simply tied twine (purchased at Home Depot for a whopping $2.50) around the lid and hug!  Make sure you use a small candle with this - you don't want your twine handle to burn up!  Another option is electric candles.  You could make the handle from a metal material, but again, this is super fast, simple, and easy - and it works!

And the easiest craft of all - and how I am using my other blue mason jars - are these cute little displays!  I made five in all, and I plan to have them at the candy bar, drink dispensers, the lounge area, and probably at the gift table.  They look pretty real - especially from a bit of a distance (that's why I wouldn't use them on the dinner tables - we have lots of beautiful real flowers there!).  My future mother-in-law got these at Michael's (also half off) and I just plopped them into these blue mason jars.  So easy!  You could always add ribbon (polka dot, of course!) and hot glue for an extra touch.

I hope this is inspiring!  I have many more crafts I'll be sharing, since we are just about at the 60 day wedding countdown!!  Wow!!  Thanks for reading!

Saturday, February 15, 2014

OPI Brazil 2014 Collection

OPI Brazil Collection
I was SO excited when I learned that OPI was creating a Brazil Collection for spring.  What could be better that bright, fun, festive colors?  This collection is a perfect marriage of polish and color, and I hope you love it as much as I have.  Enjoy!!

Kiss Me I'm Brazilian
I had to start with my absolute favorite in the collection (and a total favorite polish now - I am in love with this shade!!).  Kiss Me I'm Brazillian is a perfect bubbly pink.  I've been wearing it on my nails on repeat for over a week now and I can't get enough of it!  This is a medium creme pink that is perfect for February (you know, my birthday and Valentine's Day of course!).

This fun, festive coral creme is perfect for long, hot summer days.  The formula on ALL of these polishes is spectacular.  I seriously love OPI polishes - I'm a little obsessed - and I think the formula is the best of the best, and this collection meets the OPI standards!

Where Did Suzi's Man-go?
As always, I love the witty and cute names!  I don't eat mango much at all (except in smoothies) so I don't really know what color a mango is (although my mother did foster a cat named Mango last summer!).  This light orange is definitely a good orange (trust me - I am SO picky about orange polish - it just doesn't work with my skin tone!).

Toucan Do It If You Try
Also a cute name!  I really like this one - maybe a tad more than Carnaval, but that's a tough call - I like them both, and I may be biased toward Toucan because of the name.  Growing up, my family went to a restaurant called Tippies down in Laurel for some of the best queso and enchiladas.  A long time ago, the restaurant was renamed Toucan Taco, and this polish reminded me of one of my favorite childhood restaurants! 

I Just Can't Cope-ACabana
I'm not sure what letters should be capitalized in this name... so I'm just going to be totally grammatically incorrect about it and capitalize two letters in a row!  I LOVE yellow polishes.  I am a huge fan of the color yellow; I love yellow jewelry and yellow tank tops, and yellow nails are the same perfect pop of color (don't worry - I wouldn't wear all three at the same time!).  This is a FABULOUS yellow creme that I can't wait to wear (I'm just going to wait until the 2+ feet of snow outside melts before I whip out the yellow polish!).

Taupe-less Beach
My friend Amy (a total polish lover) stopped by the day after I received this collection; she looked through the first box of brights and oohed and ahed and said "perfect for summer!", then opened the second box of neutrals and said "and these are perfect for right now!"  I totally agree - this collection is awesome because it is really seasonally varied.  The neutrals in here are the perfect late winter transition into spring, and these brights will work spring through summer.  Taupe-less Beach is a FABULOUS neutral and one of my favorites in the collection.  I can see this being a favorite for years to come.

Don't Bossa Nova Me Around
This is a lighter neutral than Taupe-less Beach and much more of a true neutral on my pale hands!  This covered well (none of these are sheer - yay!).

Next Stop... The Bikini Zone
Wahoo!  A shimmery sparkle!  To be totally honest, I was so surprised that the Brazil Collection wasn't loaded with sparkly shades, but also a little glad (they can be a pain to remove).  This shimmer is so fine that is comes off easily, plus it looks stunning in the light.  With hints of grey and purple, I would still consider this a neutral.

I Sao Paulo Over There
This is a darker taupe that will be nice come fall (ok - forget that - I seriously should not be thinking about fall yet!).

Amazon... Amazoff
Oh la la, loving this turquoise creme!!  This is such a rich, lovely jewel-tone!!  I love this one.  I know I'll be wearing this a lot!

OPI Scores A Goal
I am guessing this is a soccer reference, so I'm not sure why it is wine-colored (am I missing something?).  Scores A Goal is a nice shade, but I've never been a big fan of this sort of color (probably because I end up getting it all of my cuticles and look like some kind of messy vampire).  I have a feeling my friend Michelle would really like this one.

OPI Red Hot Rio
Cute name!!  This is a gel, not a creme, so it is a little more sheer than all of the others.  It is a beautiful red, but I would suggest three coats for this one (all the others are two coats).

OPI Brazil Beach Sandies
Liquid Sand Mini Nail Lacquers
And it isn't over yet!!  OPI also created a cute four-pack of "Sandies" to go with the Brazil Collection!  These four shades all feature OPI's "texture finish," which gives this polish a matte, textured look - like sand!  (Oh, and here are those glitters!!  Yay!).  With a thick top coat, these go from "Sandies" to shimmers.
I'm Brazil Nuts Over You
I thought this was pink, but it is more of a reddish magenta.

You're So Flippy Floppy
A bright yellow texture coat; I used two coats here and it is nearly opaque.

Samba-dy Loves Purple
This is definitely my favorite of the four Beach Sandies.  I love this pretty purple!

What's a Little Rain Forest
A pretty medium blue textured polish.

I hope you enjoyed this fun, bright summery collection!  
What shades are you most excited to get this season?

Learn more at www.OPI.com.  
Samples provided by OPI

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Happy 2014! (My wedding year!!)

I hope everyone has had a wonderful start to the new year!

This is a big year for me... I am getting married this year!  Isn't this a beautiful picture of my ring??  The amazingly talented Katelyn James took that - and all of our engagement pictures!!  You can see more at my photography page here!!  This has been many years in the works and I am so excited to finally celebrate our wedding with friends and family this June.  (And I will also be VERY excited to get some of this wedding stuff out of my house!!).

So far the decor we have purchased or collected is:
13 vintage blue Ball mason jars (ok - not getting rid of those!!)
22 vintage milk bottles (maybe not those either...)
100 Fiestaware Flamingo pink dinner plates - stunning! But we can't keep 100 plates... you would not believe how much space those take up!  I clearly had no clue what 100 plates looked like all boxed up... trust me - it is a LOT!  We drove to the Fiestaware Outlet in beautiful Newell, WV to get these (only six hour drive - no big deal for my favorite dishes! haha).  I will post later with all the details, but let's just say I am VERY grateful to the outlet and warehouse employees for their help in getting 100 of these babies because initially it was not looking like it was going to happen!  We are so excited to have this special touch at our wedding!
86 clear glass cake plates - they were a steal at .50 cents each at Target - the same price it would cost to rent them!!  It took a while to scrape the stickers off of all of them, but they look great!  They only had 86... so if we have more than 86 guests we have an issue!
15 lacey tins from Ikea for florals
60+ mason jars (and I still need more!!).  I found some at yard sales last summer, and saved some from canning
120+ teacups - so our favors are going to be cute vintage teacups with plants inside.  I have been buying these teacups at yard sales for six years (yup - SIX years!).  I have turned down SO many because I only want pretty ones!  I have paid as little as 10 cents (ok - that only happened once) and as much as $6 (but it was gorgeous!!).  Most were $1 each, and some came with little plates (I am still debating what I should do with those)
6 apothecary jars - for a candy bar! We used them for a surprise party too for a popcorn bar :)
11 lanterns - not getting rid of these! I use them as decor throughout my house!
30+ doilies - got the whole bag for $5 at a cool place called the Pink Cabbage!  They are super cute!
Vintage couch and four vintage chairs - these are adorable and are going to be our vintage lounge.  I love it!  My mom and I are sewing pillows to decorate the furniture.  I got the couch and two chairs on Craigslist (thank you to my dad for driving out with me to get these - there is NO way I could have lifted them!) and my mom picked up the other two chairs a few years ago through Craiglist.
A giant chalkboard - my dad made me this for Christmas :) Can't get rid of this!
A retro blue typewriter - also a Christmas gift and I love it!
Old windows - just so cute.
A vintage writing desk
A photo printer for the photo booth!
Various small decor items, like a vintage mailbox, antique handkerchiefs, books, etc.

Ok, so after inventorying it looks like my house isn't necessarily going to get less crowded after the wedding!  But I am really excited to see how it all comes together.  I am very excited for 2014 and will definitely be sharing some wedding details leading up to June! :)

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