Friday, February 28, 2014

Winter Beauty | Friday Flowers.

For the second Friday in a row,  I'm leaving you with pictures of flowers I purchased to help me ignore winter.  This time I actually arranged them myself; I was pretty proud.  And now I'm looking for a flower-arranging class in the city to develop my "skills," so if anyone has a recommendation, let me know :)'s Oscars Weekend!  Cosmopolitan UK has an awesome infographic of Every Best Actress Oscars Dress from 1929 that you should check out.  C and I have a stay-at-home date night planned (crutch boy isn't going anywhere for awhile!) to watch Dallas Buyer's Club tonight so we can fully evaluate the McConaissance.  And don't forget to sip on The Oscar on Sunday.

Have a wonderful weekend. 

xo. di.

*images property of Diane Crary

Monday, February 24, 2014

Grateful | February 24, 2014.

I am Grateful.  

That C's knee surgery this past Monday was successful, and that he is on the [long] road to recovery from an intramural football injury this past fall ;) 

And can I also say that I am grateful that the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics were a safe and athletes-focused Olympics, separate and apart (in keeping with the Olympic spirit) from the overarching politics and problematic civil rights issues. 

Pictures of the Week.

{Wintery flowers}
 {I poured through The Art of Frozen, C's Valentine's present to me, this weekend}
 {A birthday gift from a bff - from Munich by way of D.C.!} 
 {Made my family's autumn soup this weekend for the very first time}
{My parents gave me these beautiful opera glasses for my birthday.  Functional and perfect for display!}

Links Worth Sharing.

What a lovely Modern Tea Party by Style Me Pretty - and those cheddar cheese biscuits need to happen!

OK I want to go to the British Columbia Home and Garden Show now - via Poppytalk

Make Flavored Coffee at Home! from Clementine Daily

Morning Kawa has some great Tips for Booking Hotels in Europe.

Speaking of international travel, here's Long Distance Loving's One Day in Bruges

Have a wonderful week.

xo. di.    

*images property of Diane Crary

Friday, February 21, 2014

Winter Beauty | Living Color.

I bought these flowers from a newly-discovered florist here in Chicago (Field & Florist!), when I decided on February 13 (aka Valentine's Day EVE) that I wanted some flowers for my birthday dinner 2 days later to make it extra festive.  Heidi (the owner!) emailed me back within 2 hours, said no problem, and the next day I had these lovely, colorful arrangements at my door.  They've made me smile every time I've looked at them in the middle of this snowy, rainy, windy, foggy week.   

Have a wonderful weekend.

xo. di.

*images property of Diane Crary

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Wedding | Some Dress Advice.

I thought picking out my wedding dress was going to be a crazy source of stress for me.  I knew from going with my sister when she was looking for her dress that the bridal salon universe is an enigma, with a system all its own that is hard to understand from the outside.  2 things helped turn it in to a super fun experience: (1) I listened to my sister's advice and did no planning or research before my first appointments; and (2) I didn't panic mid-search (ok, I did once), and instead kept looking until I found the dress that was just right.  

I know other brides-to-be may suffer from the same "OMG where do I start?!" panic that I had at the very beginning of the search, so here are my thoughts on how to make this the lovely time it should be: 

Just Start - get some recommendations for bridal salons in your area and make a few appointments (I would only do 1-2 per day; 3 can be impossibly overwhelming) and see what happens.  Here's the key: do not worry too much about specific designers and definitely not about specific dresses in advance of those first appointments.  Just go, keep an open mind, tell the person you're working with (1) your budget range up front, and (2) anything you seriously hate and do not even want to try on, and then just see what looks good on you (you may be seriously surprised!).  You'll go through the store and pull what you like, the employee will do the same based on the parameters you give her, and just go with it.  When you start by trying to track down really specific details, dresses or collections, you'll immediately get frustrated.  Like I said, bridal salons are quirky, they don't operate like normal stores, so it is hard to find specific dresses you pinned to a Pinterest board 6 months ago (trust me).

Once you've gone through those first appointments and seen what's working and what's not, THEN go to the Internet and Pinterest and all that and look for similar ones, the rest of a collection, the rest of a designer's work, etc.  If you like this thing on this dress and that thing on another dress, then you go searching for one with both!  Now it becomes worth it to work on tracking them down.  It will be less overwhelming when you know what works on you and what doesn't already.  Of course, you can (and should!) just keep making appointments at other salons and see what else is out there.

About Appointments - I made some less than a week in advance, others a few weeks out.  It's a bit of a crapshoot on availability, but of course midday on a Saturday is the busiest time.  If you want to feel the least rushed, take the first appointment of the day, or go in the evening on a weekday.  Most salons restrict you to about an hour for the appointment, and some are really strict about it.  If you're getting serious about a dress though, or they're not busy, of course they're going to let you stick around as you're trying to decide.  Also, a lot of salons still won't let you take pictures in the dress, which I find sort of ridiculous, but so it is.  You can at least write down the style numbers and collections and find them online later, or sometimes they'll let you take "just one."  

Salons vary greatly in attitude, process, and, well, price.  To help figure out price ranges ahead of time, create a account and then search for designers a particular store carries (most salons have websites that list their designers).  They have dollar signs that correspond to different price ranges, which will give you a decent estimate.    

If you're getting close on a dress, ask questions about how they charge for alterations.  It's helpful to factor that into your dress budget as soon as possible.  Also, ask if they give a discount if you buy that day.  Lots of places do, BUT don't ever settle because you'll get a deal on the dress if you have not looked at other places yet; however, if you KNOW it's THE DRESS, then that's a nice bonus.  

Finally, don't take too many people with you to the appointments.  Too many opinions, too many distractions, not enough time for you to really think through what you want.  Moms and sisters are very good choices ;)

I found my dress in a suburb of Chicago in the fifth store I visited.  I had zeroed in on a few designers I liked from previous salons and went searching for other stores carrying them.  And, because this is the way these things go, I ended up finding a dress completely different than those designers in many ways, but it felt so right.  I can't wait for it to come in (in another few months, ugh, why does it take so long?!).

Please feel free to ask me questions about my experience, and married ladies: add any helpful hints you may have!

xo. di.

*image by Branco Prata

Monday, February 17, 2014

Grateful | February 17, 2014.

I am Grateful.  

I essentially just celebrated turning 30 for about a week.  A huge thank you to all who made it special.  Here's to the next 30!

Pictures of the Week.

{The Universal portion of our Never Grow Up trip!}
{Valentine's Day}
 {Birthday brunch with C at Perennial Virant}
{Then on to the Museum of Science and Industry for the Treasures of the Walt Disney Archives exhibit}
{The books!}
{Mary Poppins storyboards}
{The costumes}
{Dinner at Stella Barra}
{More drinks at Coppervine}
{Feeling the love :)}
{Bday flowers & a gift for C that will be used in our wedding :)}

Links Worth Sharing.

Tara Lipinski and Johnny Weir have a Joint Instagram Account!  Wishing I could listen to their commentary during the day.  #Sochi2014 

Round-Up of Awesome NYFW Street Style - via Fast Co.Create

What an adorable Valentine's Day Friends' Brunch by The Glitter Guide

The Beauty Department gives us a lovely Heart-Shaped Hair Style for Valentine's Day (Or Any Day, Really!)

The Sweetest Occasion's DIY Photo Strip Valentine is a lovely gift idea.

This Ginger Snap Lip Scrub sounds like a delightful winter beauty treat - via Poppytalk

How about a few Chocolate Fondue Recipes from Small Shop Studio

Have a wonderful week.

xo. di.    

*images property of Diane Crary

Friday, February 14, 2014

Winter Beauty | Love.

To My Valentine,

It took 24 years for me to meet you, and 2 more years after that to realize I wanted to spend the rest of my life with you.  Now, 1 day before my 30th birthday, my heart overflows.  Without you by my side, turning 3 decades old would seem a lot scarier.  But all you ever do is make me feel better about the person I am.  I am in awe of your ability to always offer unwavering support, seemingly effortlessly.  Though I know I could never match it, you inspire me to try every day.  In just under 8 months, we will become man and wife, and every February, I get to call you my Valentine.  Always.

"You know when I said I knew little about love?  That wasn't true.  I know a lot about love.  I've seen it, centuries of it, and it was the only thing that made watching your world bearable.  All those wars.  Pain, lies, hate... It made me want to turn away and never look down again.  But when I see the way that mankind loves... You could search to the furthest reaches of the universe and never find anything more beautiful.  So yes, I know that love is unconditional.  But I also know that it can be unpredictable, unexpected, uncontrollable, unbearable and strangely easy to mistake for loathing, and... What I'm trying to say, Tristan is... I think I love you.  Is this love, Tristan?  I never imagined I'd know it for myself.  My heart... It feels like my chest can barely contain it.  Like it's trying to escape because it doesn't belong to me anymore.  It belongs to you.  And if you wanted it, I'd wish for nothing in exchange - no gifts.  No goods.  No demonstrations of devotion.  Nothing but knowing you loved me too.  Just your heart, in exchange for mine."  - Stardust, Neil Gaiman 

Happy Valentine's Day to All.  May you have love in your life - in whatever form you desire - every day.  Thanks for letting me get sappy today :)

xo. di.

*image part of our e-session by Luna Dulce Photography

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Our 'Never Grow Up' Trip

{First stop of the Crary-Picmann-Fleming Celebration: The Magic Kingdom}

I'mmmm kind of depressed that I'm back in Chicago and this trip is behind us.  The relentless winter temperatures around here aren't helping matters, of course, but it's really more about being surrounded by the people you care about most in the world, just celebrating.  It was magical.    I leave you with a photo dump today.  If you would like Disney or Universal travel tips, see here and here.        

{Yup, we had customized shirts made :) by Celebration Shirts}
{Lunch at Be Our Guest restaurant may be my favorite part of the Magic Kingdom; Rapunzel's tower is pretty lovely too!}
{Andy got picked as one of the Beast's guards :)}

We only had 3 days total down there, so we had to squeeze 2 Disney Parks into one day.  On to Epcot!

{Spaceship Earth is the funniest}
{Nemo and Friends!}
{Conor and Inky}

And then, the real celebration began: Drinking Around the World!

{Mexico / Canada}
{United Kingdom / France}
{Said hello to Sleeping Beauty before leaving France}
{Japan / America}
{Italy / Germany}
{China / Norway}
 {We ended in Norway so I could get to meet Anna and Elsa from Frozen.  The 2-hour wait begged to differ, 
so these were the best shots I could get}
{Mission: Complete!}

Another successful trip to the happiest place on earth.  

xo. di.

*images property of Diane Crary
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