The Anti Bridezilla! ^_^

A bridal and lifestyle site that specializes in providing tips for planning the ultimate destination wedding when you decide to pick a venue that isn’t a traditional all inclusive resort in the Caribbean or Mexico. Written from the perspective of a destination bride, and made for destination brides!


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Destination Style - Shoes!

Aruna Seth:

A leather peach pump is revitalized with a faux peep toe effect featuring Swarovski crystals over a suede toe.

Courtesy of: Aruna Seth

TAB Style: Fabulous Fall Style with Botkier!

Even though we’re still several weeks away from the official start of the Fall ‘14 season, it’s never too early to start planning your seasonal wardrobe! And nothing brings an outfit together better than a great statement bag. Whether it’s color or texture that gets you going I highly recommend checking out Botkier, the leather handbag line. 

Last week I dropped by their midtown showroom to review their Fall collection and I’m definitely in love. With fantastic textural options like cavallino and python as well as a vibrant color palette including cobalt blues, eggplant purples and firey reds, your wardrobe will be instantly upgraded!

For more info on Botkier and their current & upcoming collections, visit www.Botkier.com or follow them on Twitter @Botkier

Destination Style - Shoes!

Aruna Seth:

The classic pump gets a touch of class with the staple butterfly broach which is synonymous with Aruna Seth

Courtesy of: Aruna Seth

When you choose to have a destination wedding it is, by default, a test of logistics. Between planning an event from a distance and making sure that the people you want to be in your bridal party can actually afford the extra travel costs, it’s a test of patience. But much like in-town weddings, there are still some decisions that will ruffle a few feathers and can create some seriously contentious moments. Should you choose to have a child free wedding or have a “the more the merrier” approach?

Personally, I had a child free wedding. For every friend and relative I know with well behaved children…I know twice as many people with children that make the Lost Boys look down right civilized. Plus, our head count had a hard limit, so I had to be Draconian with invitations. And in my opinion, it’s tacky to cherry pick which guests can bring their children - not to mention you’re definitely going to have some hard feelings. In case you need some perspective for your wedding plans…here are some things to keep in mind.

1. It’s your wedding…so the decision is ultimately yours.

If you genuinely don’t want children at your wedding, that’s your right. Parents of little ones will be annoyed at you - but so be it. It’s your money and your event. Don’t allow someone to guilt you into doing what you don’t want. Yes…that’s controversial, but it’s reality. Truthfully, unless you have an unlimited budget, you’re probably going to have a lot of friends and family who feel left out because they either never received an invitation or couldn’t go. So, if you opt for a child free wedding but do plan on having a party in your hometown at a later date, make sure to allow children to attend that one.

2. It’s a destination wedding…so travel costs will be hefty for big families.

Getting a guest list squared away for a destination wedding can be troublesome enough since essentially all of your guest list will need to take time off and pay for travel costs. It can be hard enough for your single or childfree friends & relatives to swing this. It can be doubly hard for parents to coordinate time off from school and the additional costs of travel for their children.

3. Depending on your venue…the choice may already be made for you.

Specifically when you book at all-inclusive resorts, be sure to check if there’s an age limit & if so, under what conditions children can be on the property. Some places are adult only and require all guests to be at least 18 years old. This can mean that guests with young children have to find off site accommodations and add the additional fee per person for a day pass to access the resort to attend your wedding. In more popular vacay spots, it isn’t hard to find additional hotels…but the more remote your venue…the harder it becomes.

4. More mouths to feed equals more money.

Especially with all-inclusive resorts, the wedding packages are rigidly fixed for a set number of people. And once you exceed that limit, your price can balloon drastically. Obviously if you want to invite Couple A and that couple has three children, that’s three less other people that you can invite. It’s not necessarily a deal breaker if your budget is flexible…but it is something to keep in mind.

5. If you have a flower girl & ring bearer, you should NOT go child free.

This goes back to my comment about how I thought it was tacky to cherry pick. In my opinion, it’s in very poor taste to have some children and deny other parents from bringing theirs. It’s like having a girl’s night out and one of your girlfriends brings her boyfriend…it’s shady. If you decide to go with a flower girl or ring bearer…suck it up and be open to children at your wedding.

6. Childcare…

Some people feel that if you have children at a wedding, you should also offer childcare. Again, this is up to the bridal couple whether or not they want to pay for the added expense of not only a babysitter but (in some cases) an additional guest room to use for the children. Personally, I feel that if you’re a parent who brings your child to a wedding, your child is your responsibility. It’s a little rude to expect others to pick up the slack for you…that’s like going to a park and being mad because the park rangers won’t watch your child for you.

7. Alternate menus…

Very young children are probably not going to want to eat your decadent French menu. In that case, if you do decide to allow children at your wedding, make sure that the caterer or venue has kid friendly options.

8. When should your reception end??

If you invite a lot of guests with very young children, it’s safe to say that you probably shouldn’t time your wedding day so that your reception ends very late into the night. Additionally, you might want to rethink an official after party (whether on-site or off-site). A cranky child is an unhappy child and more importantly, how are your friends going to find late night childcare at your venue so they can party into the wee hours. Instead, opt for a low key “after hours” party with a few friends who can make it and schedule a brunch event the next day so that everyone can feel included.

Picking the perfect foundation can be such a trial and error process. And if you aren’t a regular makeup user, the whole experience can be extremely intimidating. Thankfully for you, I’m a makeup product junkie and have no problem trying numerous products in the name of research. It’s a tough job but somebody’s gotta do it! ~_^ So, when Bare Minerals decided to enter the liquid foundation category, I was only too happy to “volunteer”!!

Now if you’re familiar with Bare Minerals, you know that they’re best known for a powder foundation that’s based on the premise of using a very minor amount of powder to create a complete sheer finish. Last month they offered me the chance to review their new liquid foundation, BareSkin Brightening Serum Foundation. The concept is that by using only two to three drops of the foundation with their proprietary brush, you’ll have complete sheer coverage that leaves a flawless, lightweight finish. With 20 shade offerings, there’s a color for everyone.

Now, I’m no newbie to liquid foundation as I prefer it to pressed or loose powders. Not to mention, I normally switch between BB Cream and tinted foundations. I was originally skeptical about using a liquid foundation with a brush. However, that claim is very true! With just two or three drops, I was able to create a complete flawless finish that literally looked airbrushed. This is literally the perfect liquid foundation for those who never know how much is too much or too little when it comes to traditional sheer to medium coverage liquid foundations or BB creams.

However, if there was one complaint, it would be the depth of colors. Although bareSkin offers 20 shades, in my opinion the bulk of that variety is concentrated on fair to medium skin tones. I received six shades that were intended for darker skin tones, and the darkest shade “Mocha” still left me looking a bit ashen. And as a point of reference, I’m the Deep shade for Maybelline’s BB Cream and between Golden and Spice with Clinique’s liquid foundations.

So, I would recommend Bare Minerals’ bareSkin liquid foundation for the makeup user who wants a simple mess free approach to wearing an all over foundation and who doesn’t have a darker skin tone. For more info on bareSkin, visit the Bare Escentuals website or follow them on Twitter @BareMinerals.   

Weddings are amazing! Whether you’re part of the bridal party or just an attendee, weddings are fantastic. There’s something wonderful about the celebration surrounding two people who are making a commitment to each other! And if you’re actually the bride or groom, the wedding is an even bigger deal. Besides just being the center of attention, a wedding is the visual and verbal symbolism of you joining your life with your significant other. It’s a real commitment, a serious endeavor - not something that should be entered into lightly! So, when I came across this interesting article listing 100 Questions to Ask Before You Get Married, I felt like throwing my two cents into the hat…considering that I’m still a newlywed and all! ~_^

The basic premise of the article is that before you embark on the serious choice of marriage, there are a number of things that you should know about your potential mate. You should be familiar with their background, defining moments in their past, how they handle difficulties, etc. By going through the list of questions listed in the article, you’ll get to know the deeper (and more profound) aspects of your potential mate - and from there you can make a more informed decision. And, on its face, there’s definitely truth in this. Although I am a newlywed in theory (3 months post wedding), I’ve been with my husband for 9 years. Let’s just say that the traditional “year 1 getting to know each other” honeymoon stage isn’t something that we’re experiencing.

So, with the benefit of experience on my side, I feel compelled as a good bridal blogger to offer my analysis of this 100 Questions to Ask Before You Get Married:

1. A list of questions is great, but many of them cover topics that should be known well before the idea of sparkly rings & wedding bells is on the horizon. I have a hard time believing that the topic of virginity wouldn’t come up until you’re ready to talk the Four C’s of diamonds.

2. When it comes to adversity, just asking the question isn’t good enough. In a perfect world, we’d all like to think that when bad times hit, our SO will be there for us. But what happens in real life is the reality. Discovering whether or not someone really “has your back” can only be confirmed through experiencing real life adversity. To put it bluntly, a douchebag doesn’t announce their douchery…you just discover it as time goes by.

3. These questions don’t go far enough and are really framed under the unrealistic scenario that you know absolutely nothing about your SO. Much like in my first point, things like “do you want children”, “do you like pets”, “do you have conflict with your immediate family” shouldn’t be bombshell revelations if you’re seriously considering marrying someone.

4. In the event that someone drops a bombshell announcement on you, then what? And that’s what this list of questions lacks…further analysis to provide guidance for next steps. Everyone’s list of deal breakers is different. And likewise, what’s a deal breaker when you first meet someone may not become a deal breaker as you get to know them.

5. Surprisingly, extremely heavy and potentially divisive topics like religion and racism are either glossed over or absent from the list. Religion is a serious topic. And whether you’re entering into an interfaith relationship or both share the same religion but at different levels of faith, this is NOT a topic you should leave off until it’s time to pick an engagement ring. Likewise, considering the rise of interracial marriages (myself included) and the increase of Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner moments at family gatherings, sussing out someone’s racial tolerance level deserves more than one limp question “Do you harbor racial prejudice?”. Much like the douchebag moment…most people won’t openly admit to racism…they’ll just let their actions and backhanded comments do the work for them.

So in short, I view this list as “things to keep in mind” as you navigate the dating world and work your way towards marriage. As well meaning as the list is, I find it hard to believe that someone’s going to politely give you 100 straight forward and in depth answers for 100 not necessarily deep or probing questions. A third of the questions are pre-qualifiers you should be asking before you even seriously begin considering someone as boyfriend/girlfriend material. Then the remaining two thirds are things you’re going to learn about your partner through the passage of time and their actions. Actions will always speak louder than words.

Quite frankly, if you’re thinking engagement and ANY of these questions have yet to be answered on some level…pump the breaks and re-evaluate exactly why you want to get married. Are you doing it because it’s expected of you or you don’t want to be alone? Or are you getting married because you’ve met the person who genuinely “gets” you and loves you with all your perfect imperfections? Weddings are amazing but they’re just one day, marriage is for life.

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When it comes to skincare, it’s easy to spend all of our time focusing on skincare for women. But, big surprise, men have skin too! ~_^ And if you haven’t noticed, in the realm of men’s skincare the shaving routine has gone through a bit of a renaissance. The days of just lathering on any ‘ole shaving cream and raking a razor across your face are coming to an end.

I had the chance to interview Dr. Benabio, a San Diego based dermatologist who has been working with DoveMen to formulate a skincare regimen specifically meant to optimize the shave:

The Anti Bridezilla: It seems like men’s shaving is experiencing a renaissance in the skincare community. How does Dove Men+Care differ from other premium shaving cream products currently on the market?

Dr. Benabio: Unlike other premium shaving products, the Expert Shave range was specifically designed with an emphasis on skincare throughout the entire shaving process, from pre- to post-shave, and it has been clinically proven to better hydrate skin in order to deliver the ultimate caring shave experience.

TAB: What is the difference between the Smoothing Shave Cream and the Total Comfort Shave Cream?

Dr. B: Dove Men+Care understands that different men have different skin types, which is why they developed two shave creams for this range. The Total Comfort Shave Cream is the richest, most protective Dove Men+Care shave formula, designed specifically for guys with drier skin. This product softens hair on contact and provides smooth razor glide.  The Smoothing Shave Cream’s creamy lather helps protect guy’s skin against irritation, leaving their skin feeling soft and hydrated. This product is designed for “normal” to oily skin and moisturizes better than competitor creams, foams and gels.

TAB: For someone who’s just becoming familiar with the concept of a traditional shave, what are some tips you can offer them to experience the best possible shave?

DB: Every good shave consists of three steps and four products, using the Dove Men+Care Expert Shave range. When used together, the Expert Shave products will better care for skin throughout your entire shave experience. The first step is the “pre-shave” because preparation is an important step most guys don’t think about. First, apply the Exfoliating Pre-Shave Scrub as it cleans and scrubs skin for a closer shave, and lifts hairs to help reduce ingrown hairs. Next, apply the Softening Pre-Shave Oil, specially formulated to soften hair and moisturize your skin to help protect skin while shaving. The second step is “the shave” and using the right shaving cream can make all the difference. The Dove Men+Care Expert Shave line includes two shave creams that contain high levels of moisturizing ingredients to help protect skin during shaving, the Smoothing Shave Cream and the Total Comfort Shave Cream. The Smoothing Shave Cream’s creamy lather helps protect against irritation and leaves skin feeling soft and hydrated. The Total Comfort Shave Cream is the richest, most protective Dove Men+Care shave formula designed especially for drier skin. The third and final step is the “post-shave” because even the best shave can be tough on your face. The Dove Men+Care Expert Shave Intense Post-Shave Balm helps rehydrate and soothe skin quickly to help relieve shaving irritation and is clinically proven to help skin repair after shaving.

TAB: What is the difference between using the Dove Men+Care shaving line versus using “all in one” shaving foams that promise to cover all the steps of skin prep for shaving?

DB: I don’t believe that “all-in-one” shaving foams encompass all of the benefits that a four step shaving system delivers. An “all-in-one” shaving cream cannot help prevent ingrown hairs the way a pre-shave scrub can, it simply protects your skin during the shave process.

For more information on DoveMen and their Expert Shave system, visit the Dove website.

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If you’re a sensitive skinned bride like I am, then you know how essential good skin care can be. Just say the word irritation and I feel like a break out magically appears…so not hot. But with all the added stress and irritation that comes with planning a wedding, the last thing you want occupying your mind is finding a gentle yet effective skin care regimen. So, when it comes to skincare, I tend to focus on gentle cleansers and rich moisturizing lotions that don’t leave a greasy filmy finish on my skin.

Earlier this Spring Cetaphil sent me a few products to sample and I’m more than happy to share my experiences on here! Now, for the record, I’ve used Cetaphil in the past, so I already knew that they were gentle enough for my highly sensitive skin. But they sent me their Gentle Skin Cleansing Cloths and the Gentle Skin Cleanser. I’m definitely a fan of all of them!

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The Gentle Skin Cleansing Cloths are ideal for taking off makeup after a night out or to do a quick face wipe after an intense gym session. An added bonus…the cloths are thick yet gentle so they’re perfect for use on the sensitive skin around your eyes!

Every day, I also use the Gentle Skin Cleanser, which is a dye free and soap free cleanser that removes daily dirt and grime without stripping the skin of essential oils. Paired with my konjac facial sponge, the cleanser creates a gentle foaming lather that keeps my skin clear & clean without drying out my face. 

Available at most pharmacies and drug stores, Cetaphil is - in my opinion - a must-have for the bride who’s focusing on a strong skin care regimen as she preps for her big day. For more details on Cetaphil, visit www.cetaphil.com

Destination Style - Claire Pettibone Fashion Show!

Last month Claire Pettibone unveiled a new collection of boho bridal designs for the free spirited bride that wants a light body hugging gown that still incorporates some of the top trends in bridal fashion. Above are some of my favorite looks.

For more details on Claire Pettibone, visit www.clairepettibone.com or follow them on Twitter @ClairePettibone

Destination Style - Bridesmaids!

Gemy Maalouf - strapless sweetheart neckline, high leg cut out with lace underskirt & contrasting belt.

Courtesy of: Gemy Maalouf

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