Saturday, September 6, 2014

How I Found My Dream Wedding Dress Under $400

Hi y'all!

I wanted to start off my wedding series blog posts with how I found my dream wedding dress within the budget I set for myself..... well, sort of. 

First, let me give some background. My husband, Mike, and I got engaged in August 2013. Up until then, I really hadn't thought much about weddings, dresses, etc. So I didn't have a "dream" dress in mind when we got engaged. I know, I'm weird. Most girls dream about their big day and I guess I just never put much thought into it. Heck, my plan before meeting Mike was to be a single mother of an adopted child.... but I digress. When we got engaged, we knew we didn't want to spend tens of thousands of dollars on our wedding. We have specific financial goals and didn't want to burden ourselves or our family with paying more than necessary. So my wedding story is that of a budget wedding with some DIY aspects. Our wedding was simple, low key and shared with the closest people in our lives. We wouldn't have it any other way :)

I knew for a fact that I didn't want to spend a ton of money on a wedding dress. This was just my preference, I couldn't stomach spending hundreds (or thousands) of dollars on a dress I'd wear once. I made up for it by getting myself some nude Louboutins that I knew I'd wear many more times, so I guess it sort of evens out. I set a budget for myself.... I wanted to find a dress for no more than $200. I know, I'm cray. But I have found that if I set my mind to something, some way or another I make it happen :)

I started looking over Pinterest, trying to get inspiration. I needed something to take my breath away and give me heart palpitations. Over my search, I stumbled across this image that gave me the exact reaction I was looking for. It's a dress by Tara Keeley which I think is from the Fall 2012 line. The dress is just so me, the peplum, lace and bow.... it was simple but elegant, exactly what I was looking for.

I knew I wouldn't be able to afford this dress. After tons of research, I couldn't find a cheaper alternative already made so I decided to visit a seamstress and get it made. She quoted me for $400 for her labor and I still would need to buy fabric. I was pretty bummed out and I hadn't used the lady before so was nervous as well. Later that same day, my maid of honor and I went to a bridal shop in the DFW area called Lang's Bridal. Our purpose: to find bridal party dresses. 

When we first walked into the bridal shop, I saw this dress hanging on the rack. It was the basic design of my dream dress, just needed some good alterations and it would be my ideal dress! I was so happy when I found it! And since it was originally a bridesmaids dress, it only cost about $190.... right in my budget :) The dress is by Mori Lee in style 685. I'm holding the dress back since it was huge on me. Despite the oversized fit, tied belt and figure swamping peplum, I could see my dress coming to life.

Then the day came when my dress arrived. Can't you tell I'm super excited with my cheesy face? :) My entire bridal party bought their dresses from Lang's Bridal as well. The ladies were super friendly and sweet. The owner especially is a sweet lady. I would highly recommend checking them out if you're in the DFW area. They have tons of bridal party and wedding dresses.

I was recommended by a friend to use a sweet lady named Becky Fowler to alter my dress. For anyone in the DFW area, she is a retired nurse who now exclusively alters wedding and bridal party dresses, I would highly recommend her! She is the sweetest lady and all the alterations (hemming, taking in at the hip/thigh, adding a bustle, shortening the peplum and fixing my bow) amounted to $160 which I'm told is a STEAL. This is why I say I "sort of" stayed within my budget but less than $400 is amazing in itself. I couldn't be happier with the results! It was perfect! I had thought about maybe making the dress a little more slim in the thigh to knee area but glad I didn't, I was having difficult getting low as it was :)

I just wanted to share my story, in case anyone else out there is planning a wedding on a limited budget. If you're like me, try looking outside the box than what you see at bridal shows or other people you know. I thought I would have to resort to buying a dress of lower quality fabrics or ordering something online from those discount dress sites. I am so happy with how my dress turned out and that I'm not out more money than necessary. For me, this was a cost I could keep low because I personally don't put too much value on a dress I'll wear once in my life but not everyone will have the same view. I just hope I could share how I did it, so if you're like me, you'll find something to make you happy and not break the bank :)

More wedding posts to come, including my bridal shower, DIYs, etc. Have a great weekend!

With love,

Sunday, August 24, 2014

My Planner Review: Whitney English Day Designer Planner - 2014 Edition

Hi y'all!

I had several requests to do a review over my Whitney English Day Designer Planner which I mentioned in my What's In My Bag Tag post. I really love this planner!! But it's still not my absolute perfect planner but it's the closest I've found so far. 

For 2013, I used the Erin Condren Life Planner. I liked the planner mainly due to the thickness of the paper and I could use almost any pen in it (my favorite are Le Pens in Lavender). However, I really wanted a planner with daily pages for both schedules and to do lists. The main con with the Life Planner was the colorfulness of it. I'm super picky and meticulous when using colors (other than neutrals) and the Life Planner just threw me off.

I forgot how I heard about the Whitney English Day Designer.... I probably saw it on Instagram. When I saw the bold black & white stripes, I was instantly intrigued.

I'm not a huge fan of gold but it there's not a huge amount of it so I can live :) After doing more research and finding out there were daily pages with schedules and to do lists, I was sold. Also, there are inspirational quotes on each page. Anyone who knows me knows that I love quotes (check my Instagram for proof hehe). 

I use Washi tape to categorize events on my monthly pages. I bought most of my Washi tape on Etsy through The Washi Shop.

Be sure to watch the video for more about the cons of this planner.

Sadly, Whitney sells the Day Designers on her Etsy shop at intervals throughout the year. And I am not exaggerating when I say they sell out within a day. No joke! So if you are interested in one, be sure to sign up on the Day Designer website for updates on when the next batch will be available for sale... or follow her on Instagram. I believe the next batch will be available for sale sometime in September and you can bet your hiney I'll be buying it that day!! I think she has designs other than stripes as well so I highly recommend the planner.

I plan on looking around for build your own planners with binder clips and daily inserts.... but so far I have not found anything that fits my planner criteria. 

Items Mentioned:

I hope my review was helpful for anyone out there looking for a new agenda. Have a great day y'all!


Monday, July 28, 2014

Outfit Remix - Chanel Flats & White

I'm a bad blogger..... I take pictures of outfits and forget to post them so here I am catching up. There will be other catch up posts as well but better late than never in my eyes :)

I wore this outfit to go dress shopping for my bridal party. I have a deep love for big buns (all kinds hehe) and was able to achieve a poofier bun without using one of those bun contraptions thanks to one of my favorite bloggers, Running on Happiness. I just teased the hair before twisting it into place. Also, these J.Crew Minnie Pants are by far one of my most favorite pieces in my closet. It's the perfect length and is the perfect "legging" pant without being a legging (read: see through). I've had them for over a year and love them to pieces. I'll probably be picking up another pair as it gets cooler.

I've had my Chanel flats for close to a year now. They are my FAVORITE flats ever.... if only I could splurge on an all black pair. I typically wear a 37.5 but sized up to a 38 since my foot is a bit wide. They fit wonderfully and are pretty dang comfortable! More comfortable than my Tory Burch Reva flats that kill me.

*Let's play where's Waldo.... I mean Juicy :)

Then a couple of weeks later, I decided to pair the flats/top combo with this polka dot skirt I bought from Ann Taylor. Trying to shop my closet rather than actual shopping, y'all know what I mean?!

Outfit #1: Ann Taylor Sweater, Target Top, J.Crew Minnie Pants, Chanel Flats, Henri Bendel Satchel
Outfit #2: Ann Taylor Sweater, Target Top, Ann Taylor Skirt, Chanel Flats

Saturday, July 12, 2014

What's in Stephienese Bag?

Hi y'all!

I filmed an updated what's in my bag video since my last one is a few years old. If you follow me on Instagram, you would have seen my post about this GORGEOUS bag, the Henri Bendel Carlyle Satchel. It seriously is my current favorite bag and is my first purse purchase from Henri Bendel. Needless to say, I am now a huge fan of their purses. 

My makeup is pretty much my normal routine except I added a little liner to my lower waterline & smudged it out. Also I'm wearing NYX's Diva Lipstick and LOVE it! I curled my hair using a Hana flat iron that I've had laying around and really liked the results. I'll have to keep practicing to perfect it but I feel like for my first time, it turned out well :)

Without further adieu, here is my newest video and some extra pictures of the purse & my mug :) Please excuse the crumb debris in my purse.... at least y'all know I legit use it!!!