Friday, August 31, 2012

Losing Weight, Part III


These bitches are serious.

Before I begin, let me digress.  I hate classes.  Classes are great for people that have coordination.  But I tend to be turning left while everyone turns right, if you know what I mean.  I cannot move my arms and legs at the same time without falling down.  I have fallen off an elliptical. Twice.  I read Cosmopolitan in my 8th grade gym class. I have not a single bit of coordination.

So I tend to roll my eyes whenever anyone tells me about the fabulous workout they are getting by taking a class.  These are not my people.

So when I found out that I won a package of three months of unlimited classes at The Dailey Method, my immediate reaction was complete ingratitude.  There was no way that I was going to make use of this package.  When I went to the website, I found out that I could get childcare for as low as $5 a class and they had free parking.

Wasn't I just complaining about how I needed to amp up my weight loss?  I was a little over four months away from my daughter's second birthday.   I could no longer actually call these extra pounds baby weight.

So I decided to throw myself into The Dailey Method.  I scheduled myself up for three classes a week on top of my twice-weekly training sessions. Five times a week.  I hadn't regularly worked out five times a week since 2009.  But if I wanted my old body, then I was going to have to go back to my old ways.

I am in the middle of my 11th week and can say that I love it.  You don't need coordination to master The Dailey Method.  You do need the ability to give 100% focus during the 60 minute class so that you can practice your form and breathing.  I am in such great shape and my stamina is amazing.  I am so glad that I gave The Dailey Method a shot. 

PS. If you don't live near Bucktown, don't despair.  They are opening a second location in Lincoln Park this fall.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Losing Weight, Part II


So after starting with Body After Baby, I lost 7 pounds.  And then, the weight loss stopped.  I talked to my trainer, Jessica, and she asked me about my diet.  Jessica advocates a no sugar diet.  Jessica, who is an amazing trainer, is on crack.  

I eat cake for a living.

Which, I supposed that I could give up cake but isn't it my job to know about the latest bakeries and truffle shops and by the way, I live less than a block away from the best pie in the city.

She was right though.  I was going to have to change my diet from sustaining my weight to a diet aimed at weight loss.

The first big change was my cup of tea.  I drank a cup of English Breakfast with a splash of skim milk and a teaspoon of raw sugar.  It was my little treat every morning and every afternoon.

Jessica thought otherwise.  She suggested an artificial sweetner.  As a foodie, I balked at the suggestion. Then, she suggested Truvia, which is made from stevia.  Stevia is a natural plant that is uber sweet.  In fact, I went from using a teaspoon of sugar to one sixth of a packet of Truvia.  It's amazing how much sweetness can come from so few grains.  

Eventually, I am consuming a lot less sugar and treat fruit as a dessert.  I'm still partaking in wedding cake but try to limit myself to having only half a slice.  Well, only if it is mediocre wedding cake!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

An American Baby in Paris, Part I

Planning a first birthday party turned out to be an absolute delight.  I love weddings - and always will - but my daugther's first birthday party was so much fun.  I don't really do themes for weddings so it was fun to get really cutesy and into children's parties.

Paper Goods: Courtney Callahan
Cake: TipsyCake
Food: Le Creperie 
Rentals: RevelLeft Bank

All Photos By: TK Photography.


A Welcome to Paris sign (in French) greeted guests as they arrived to Little Beans Cafe.

Since the venue has a sock only policy, I made a sign notifying guests.
It was near the name tags that said "Je m'appelle". I had name tags for the children because there were a lot of people meeting for the first time at the party!

Complimentary socks were available for the guests -  both children and adults- that happened to be sock-less that day!


The main room of Little Beans is huge and has these with gorgeous skylights.   To bring your eyes up, I tied balloons ties to each chair.  I also rented pink satin linen for the tables for more color!


Each table was decorated with giant Eiffel towers and bird cages.

The sweets table was a true labor of love.  The table was covered in pink linen and had a banner that said "Let them eat cake".  I used cake stands of varying height to display all of the treats.  The cake was a 3D Eiffel tower designed by Naomi from TipsyCake.  In the background, I hung pastel pink streamers.


Some of the pink treats for the guests.







Outside of the main room, is a little nook for a buffet.  I decorated the room with cards of the French alphabet.  There was also a dress form with a strand of pearls.

We served two different types of savory crepes for our hungry guests!







Who doesn't love a dress form?  I borrowed this lovely from my good friend Sonia Roselli.

The drinks table: punch and custom water bottles.   For the punch, we had sheer pink glasses with cute straws and straw flags.




















The main room had long tables.  Since it was a children's party, I didn't want to use anything too delicate.  The Left Bank sells these lovely Eiffel Towers that I coupled with bird cages.



Never underestimate the power of balloons!



In the lounge area, I displayed Francesca's baby book.



The framed invitation was displayed on the coffee table.





Above the favors, I made a sign that translates to "Thank You, Kisses, Francesca".




The favors were a custom CD with French nursery songs.



For the older children, I bought individual favors that were more suitable to their age range.



A family photo in the playhouse.




I'll be posting more about the party tomorrow!

Monday, August 20, 2012

Nothing Endures But Change

Do you like the new look?  The site redesign is still in progress.  It's a heck of a thing to launch a new website 48 hours before you leave for vacation but I didn't want to delay it any longer!





"Nothing endures but change." 
Heraclitus

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Bottles of Champagne?


Refinery 29 was right: RM Champagne is the sexiest bar in Chicago.  I went on Thursday for a private event and had a fabulous time.  It's getting all sorts of press, favorable, of course.  I was lucky enough to watch a bottle be sabered in front of me and then get my glass filled.  

It's a gorgeous space and I cannot wait to go back!

Friday, August 17, 2012

Losing Weight, Part I

When I had my daughter, I was given the advice not to talk about her to my clients.  "Brides don't want to hear about babies."

I've kept my life as a Mom pretty much under wraps.  But there are gray areas that I haven't discussed but really wanted to talk about because there is some overlap.  Weight loss is one of them.

Most brides are perfectly happy with the way they look.  I do, on occasion, have a bride that doesn't feel like she looks her best and wants to change her appearance before the wedding day.  Often, the bride will say that she wants to look like she did before X (before law school, before I began working 60 hour weeks, before an accident, etc.).  There is always a before.

Boy can I relate.

After having Francesca in October 2010, I followed the popular thought that I'd breast feed and the weight would fall off.  It did for about six weeks.  But then it stopped around Thanksgiving and I still had 22 pounds to go.  At 4'11", I was still four sizes larger than before I had my daughter and not happy with my appearance.  

By March, I was desperate.  It didn't help that I have hypothyroidism, which can make weight loss a challenge. I really needed to lose weight so that I could get back my pre-pregnancy body.  I knew that the best way to lose weight was to start working out again.  


I heard of a personal training company that would come to your house. After a free trial session, I was hooked. Body After Baby is amazing.  Jessica, the owner, comes to my house twice a week for an hour long work out session.  She focuses on strength training and really works your muscles.  

Even if I can't make it to my gym, I know that I have two work outs scheduled.  And if it is on my schedule, then it is going to happen!  I also love that I don't have to worry about my daughter's schedule. If she is awake, then Francesca watches us work out.  If she is napping, then it's just me and Jessica.  

I just bought another package because what I once considered a luxury is now a necessity.  I love working out from home.  I'm busy in the summer with weddings and I'm lazy in the winter because of the weather.

I've been inspired by one of my favorite bloggers wrote about her Humilation Diet.  Not nearly as bold as her (in home decor or in sharing specific weight loss numbers) but I do feel empowered to sharing my weight loss story.  I'm going to keep writing a series of posts as I continue to try to lose weight.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

What are you looking at? Vogue!


I have been reading Vogue since I was 8 years old.  My Aunt Sandy, the most fashionable woman I have ever known, was a subscriber. When she was done reading an issue, I was allowed to read it.

This month, Anna reminisced about her first cover. I have a specific memory of this cover.  I loved it because the jacket was so over the top (Lacroix, darling) and the Guess jeans which were oh so popular in 1988.  

That said, I would do anything for fashion magazines to go back to taking risks.  All of the covers are the exact same: famous actresses promoting their latest movie, fashion line, blah blah blah.  I am ready for a major change!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Abby + Scott: School of the Art Institute Reception

Yesterday, I blogged about Abby and Scott getting ready photos and their Catholic ceremony.  Today's post is going to feature their gorgeous reception.

All Photos By: Life on Prints

The gorgeous invitation suite by Courtney Callahan.

The ballroom is located right on Michigan Avenue.  It's a beautiful building!

The couple, who are fairly traditional, opted for tall red rose centerpieces with touches of greenery in mercury glass vessels.


The cake, designed by Amy Beck, created an amazing sphere cake with touches of red and black.


Abby DIYed the escort cards by heat embossing the stamp on the left.


Another view of the room with the black linens and chivari chairs.

The cake knife was used by two other couples - it has been passed down within the family. Isn't that sweet?

Abby and Scott during the first dance.


I love the dance floor at the School of the Art Institute ballroom!


Mazel Tov!  The bride, who is part Jewish, couldn't imagine skipping Hava Nagila!



Thank you for having me apart of your wedding day!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Abby + Scott: The Morning and Ceremony at Assumption


Poor Scott.  During the planning process, Abby and I were so often on the same page that I felt bad for the guy.  Back to Abby.  She loved red.  And while there are people that like red, there are only a few people that LOVE red as much as me.  And, she wasn't afraid of more.  In an age where the word "simple" is often over used, it was music to my ears to hear the word "more".  I had the absolute best time planning with this couple.


Cake: Amy Beck 
Caterer: Jewell
Church: Assumption 
Decor: Revel
Hair: Livia
Makeup: Sonia Roselli 

All Photos By: Life on Prints.

Abby gets the final touches on her make-up.

Abby reads a sweet note from Scott before their first look.

Abby gets her veil put into place by Livia.

I simply adored Abby's gown by Lazaro. 

Isn't the detail on the belt exquisite? 

The groom greets one of the flower girls.

Right before the bride walks down the aisle. There's no bridal suite at Assumption so the bride walks in from her vehicle.

The bride with her lovely parents.  Her Dad was so nice the entire time, she is a lucky girl!

Red shoes for the bridesmaids.  I swear, I love everything about Abby's style.

Assumption is just one of many gorgeous churches in Chicago!

Courtney Callahan designed the gorgeous programs


Tomorrow, I'll post photos of the bridal party photos and the gorgeous reception!
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