Category Archives: Beauty

Wedding Trends and Tips for 2017

 

When I’m not being a fitness coach, I am a church organist! Yes, I know. You probably expected an 80-year old named Marilyn to play your church organ, but that’s not necessarily the case. In fact, I’ve been working at a church that is famously centered in our city to house beautiful, panoramic views. As a result (along with a fabulous church culture), we have a lot of weddings each year.

 

I calculate that since I started at this church 8 years ago, I have played about 450 weddings. This year alone I played for 83 weddings. Yes….Eighty. Three. 

 

I meet with almost every single bride that gets married at my church. I help them through the last 3 months of their wedding, and end up playing the music as she walks down the aisle. The entire process is a responsibility I don’t take lightly.

 

As an organist for so many brides (and a bride myself in 2015), I’ve seen a lot of things. It’s true. Here are some of the things I’ve noticed as trends coming in, trends leaving, and advice for any 2017-2018 brides. Read onward, and email it to anyone who got engaged over the holiday season!

 

 

Things that are trending (in a good way)

  • Bridesmaids trends: think pink (not necessarily matching)
    The color of this year was blush pink, especially in summer bridesmaid dresses. There was a weekend when I saw the same shade of blush on two separate set of bridesmaids! Brides still love the look of having different styles in the bridal party. This allows for the bridesmaid to pick the silhouette that they think is most flattering.

Source: bridalloft.wordpress.com

Blush definitely had its moment this year!

  • Wedding Dress trends: Sleeved wedding dresses, less strapless, low backs and lace. One of my favorite personal trends! Wedding dresses are becoming more and more modest, and unique sleeves made its hayday this year. Low-backed dresses with form-fitting silhouettes stole the show this year, combined with a more modest look in front. From intricate beading to the demand of lace, wedding dresses definitely don’t look cookie-cutter these days.

Allure Bridal style 9167

 

  • Bridal Party Trend: bridesmen”, “men of honor” and “best women”. Bridal parties are catering more towards the bridesmaids as the bride’s friends, and the groomsmen as the groom’s friends.

 

  • Ceremony Music: Bach Cello Suite no. 1 made a huge statement this year. I had three brides hire a cellist just to have this song at their wedding! It’s a beautiful piece, and if it speaks to you, consider investing in a cellist for your ceremony so it can be done:

  • “Please don’t take pictures during the ceremony”: I think this came after the previous years filled with people holding up their huge iPads during ceremonies. It became comical:

Source: Corey Ann Photography

Source: Rachel Whyte Photography

And lastly, the most interesting thing I’ve seen all year:

    • Streaming your Wedding Ceremony on Facebook Live: This one was kind of surprising to me, as historically you invited the people that you wanted to witness your wedding ceremony. However, I’ve seen it used several times when family members couldn’t attend (or people loved sharing their joy). Here’s an example from a wedding where the bride was from Lebanon. Part of her family couldn’t be there, so she streamed it on Facebook so they could watch it from home. (Note that the ceremony was in English and Arabic to accommodate both families):


 

 

 

Things that may be on its way out (or you may not need)

      • Ceremony Music: Wagner’s “Bridal Chorus” and Mendelssohn’s “Bridal March”. These two songs have been used so many times in TV commercials, movies, and everything in-between. In fact, many Catholic Dioceses do not allow the use of these songs because of their completely secular (non-sacred) nature. Ask your ceremony musician for some joyous, “fresher” takes on the bridal entrance and departure:

 

      • The Unity Candle: There was a definite decrease in use of the Unity Candle in weddings over the past two years. While it has no liturgical significance in a Catholic wedding, it is a nice symbol for those who want to use it. However, you are still married either way!
      •  

      • Aisle Runners: Aisle runners used to be a way of announcing a bride’s entrance; however, they have since become liability issues and end up getting torn easily and quickly. This might be one that you can skip in the budget.
      •  

      • Short, Teeny Bridesmaid Dresses: There was a time a few years ago when bridesmaid dresses got smaller and smaller. I once saw a bridesmaid pull up her dress, then pull it back down to cover her legs! On behalf of every bridesmaid out there, I want to thank you for allowing more fabric to be a part of your bridesmaids’ dresses.
      •  

      • Homemade, DIY bouquets. Homemade bouquets made from brooches were really big a few years back. This is a great way to save money (or include some heirlooms/personal items that mean a lot to you), but when it comes to your bouquet, flowers still seem to be the way to go.
      •  

Source: https://weddings.thefuntimesguide.com

 

      • Kids In Wagons: There was a trend a few years ago where children under the age of 2 were wheeled down in wagons. I didn’t see this in 2016, and to be honest…I’m alright with its departure.
         

        Source: Pinterest

      • Cupcakes, cupcakes, cupcakes: Cupcakes made its way into our hearts in a big way in the early 2010’s. While there are still cupcakes at weddings, we’re seeing less of them than we had in the past decade.
      •  

      • Trinkets for Wedding Favors: Many people are opting out of giving a trinket at wedding receptions (they did just pay $60+ for your dinner, after all). In lieu of a trinket favor, consider donating to a charity you both feel passionate about.

Photo: Joe Appel Photography

 

 

 

Things that don’t matter as much as you may think:

      • Pew Flowers for the Church: Pew bows for a church wedding may not be worth what your florist may charge you! For my DIY’ers, a simple loop of tulle can be enough to make a nice touch. Or find out if your church has pew bows that they can lend you for free!
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      • Choosing your Ceremony Prelude Music: This is the music before your ceremony that sets the tone as your guests arrive. I’m going to let you in on a little secret: you don’t hear it, and your guests barely do too! It’s meant to be talked over, and your musicians are okay with that. Let your ceremony musicians pick some appropriate songs for prelude music.
      •  

      • Wedding Program Design: People love wedding programs. Any wedding brings together a group of people who are Christian, non-Christian, Jewish, Atheists, and everything else under the sun. That’s okay! They are there to support you two. Ribbons, sequins, and fancy embellishments don’t necessarily matter on a wedding program, but the order of the ceremony does. People refer to that program the entire time, so if anything, typing up the order of the ceremony encourages people to participate (if needed).
      •  

      • Kids under the age of 3 in the Bridal Party: Everyone is different, and everyone has different reasons of putting children in the bridal party….but from my experience, the kids cry. They almost always cry when they walk down that aisle alone, with hundreds of people watching them.
      •  

 

 

My Advice for Brides (and the Bridal Party) on The Big Day

      • Eat enough during the day. Dear God, Eat. I’ve seen too many bridesmaids collapse during a wedding because they hadn’t eaten enough for the day. I’ve been in weddings and I know it’s tough to get enough to eat, so I would strongly recommend it to your bride (or sneak a few protein bars in your purse). You’ll thank me later.
      •  

      • Be as invested in your ceremony as much as your reception. Now, I know I’m a church organist so I have to say this, but really. If you believe that what’s about to happen to you and your significant other is one of the biggest things of your life, then reflect on that. Get involved in the church where you’re getting married (if you’re a church-going person). If you’re getting married in a field, then sit down and reflect on the music or scripture or poems that you want to reflect such a sacred moment. I’ve met too many couples that want to “get the ceremony over with”, but really, the second celebration can’t happen without the first.
      •  

      • There will be one major thing that goes wrong, and that’s okay. I’ve seen it all, and the couples still get married!

 

That’s all for now! With another full  year of weddings, I’m sure I’ll have more trends to report in a year. But in the meantime, share this post with your fellow brides and grooms, and ramp up for Wedding Season 2017!

 

 



Stitch Fix Box Review #3: One More Try

I’ve tried two different Stitch Fix boxes (Box #1 review & Box #2 review can be found here) and after the last box, I decided to stop getting automatic shipments. Stitch Fix, however, has excellent customer service. They offered to waive the $20 styling fee if I would give them one more try. I gave them feedback that my items were too basic, and so they wanted to see if they could give me more unique pieces that fit my style. I took them up on that offer…and 10 days later, my Stitch Fix box arrived on my doorstep.

 

Amanda Plazek Stitch Fix Box

 

 

Here we go! A little fashion show of all the items I received:

1.The 41Hawthorn Pintuck Blouse: $68

stitch-fix-box-3_3_11-21-16

stitch-fix-box-3_4_11-21-16

 

Did it fit the “unique” factor”? I’d say so! it had that nice magenta color that I enjoyed from Box #1 , but the ruffling, pintuck look just didn’t do it for me. It also fit strangely, as it was too short in the front.

Verdict: Return. 

 

2. The 41Hawthorn Stud Detail Blouse: $58

 

stitch-fix-box-3_1_11-21-16

stitch-fix-box-3_2_11-21-16

Again, a more “unique” piece due to the studs! I liked the length, and I do like 3/4 shirts, But this one just wasn’t me. I’m more of a sequins vs. studs person. 😛

Verdict: return. 

 

3. and 4. The Kensie Collarless Blazer ($88) and Renee C Elvira Pencil Skirt ($54)

stitch-fix-box-3_5_11-21-16

 

The price was right on the pencil skirt, but that was pretty much it! I actually didn’t mind the blazer much. Styled right with a scarf and sweater, it would have been right up my alley! But I already have a 3/4 length blazer that looked very similar (but had a collar!). The pencil skirt, however, was one big no. No, no, no. Just…no.

Verdicts: return and return. 

5. The Donna Morgan Jersey Shirt Dress ($118)

stitch-fix-box-3_6_11-21-16

stitch-fix-box-3_7_11-21-16

 

Ah, the crowning glory of the box. I pinned this item on my Pinterest board months ago, so I was really happy to see it in my box! I was a little apprehensive, though, because I don’t wear jersey dresses or shirt dresses. I don’t feel that they are flattering on me….but I was wrong with this one. It was comfortable, the pattern was unique, the sleeve length was great, it was machine washable…the list goes on. I was in love.

 

Verdict? Return! 🙁

But why?! Two reasons: 1) We are getting into the cold winter season where I live, and I live in chunky sweaters. No layering piece looked right with this jersey dress when I tried it on. 2) I couldn’t legitimize $118 for this dress. Maybe in the spring/summer, but alas, not right now. Oh, beautiful dress, I’m so sorry.

 

 

What I’ve learned from the Stitch Fix Process

  • Customer service is so important, and Stitch Fix is literally in the business of listening to their customers. I was happy to see that transcend to the feedback of the overall system as well.
  • Brand awareness doesn’t necessarily have to matter, but I’m still a brand junkie. I’ll admit it. I love J.Crew because I can depend on the length of each garment. Stitch Fix showed me that 41Hawthorn- a brand I had never heard of until this process- makes items with longer torso lengths as well.
  • If anything, Stitch Fix makes you think outside of the box and bring a fresh perspective to your wardrobe. From now on, I plan to go to Pinterest and see if I can get inspired for a new look for the holidays!
  • Stitch Fix is great for someone who doesn’t necessarily like to shop. I do, so I don’t necessarily see the value in this as much. 😛
  • At the very least, it’s fun. I looked forward to getting that box every time, and it felt like Christmas each time too.

 

Want to give it a try yourself? Click here and get started!

 

Have you ever tried Stitch Fix? What did you think? I’d love to hear from you!

in peace and good health signature

 



My Adult Braces Jaw Surgery Story

A lot of traffic for my blog comes from those of you who are considering getting jaw surgery. To you I say: “hello! Welcome!” 🙂

 

Getting jaw surgery was one of the scariest decisions I had to make. But if I had to do it again, I really would. In this video I lay out:

  • How many times I actually had braces
  • Why I needed jaw surgery
  • What made me decide to do jaw surgery
  • How long the process took, overall

I hope it helps you! Check it out here:

 

Are you considering getting jaw surgery done? Or are you just considering getting adult braces? Apply to our jaw surgery/adult braces support group on Facebook! 

in peace and good health signature



My Top 5 Favorite Beauty Products of All-Time

My name is Amanda, and I am a makeupaholic.

 

It’s true.

 

Everyone has their vices, and mine is makeup. I just love it. From the color to the shimmer to the way it highlights my natural beauty, I just can’t get enough!

 

Recently I decided to share my top 5 beauty products of all-time. Need some inspiration for your next buy? Check it out here:

 

What are your favorite beauty products that you can’t live without? I love getting new ideas for products! Contact me and tell me or comment below!

in peace and good health signature



Paraben-Free Living: Cosmetics

Over the past two years I’ve noticed an increase in paraben use.

I had an experience where I found parabens in my corn tortillas from Aldi (which you can read about here). The sole fact that they were in my food was a red flag to me.

After my dad told me to quickly stop using shampoos with parabens (because they are linked to breast cancer), I thought to myself- what the heck is a paraben?! 

 

For the non-scientific mind like me, parabens are preservatives found in many health and beauty products. They are cheap to produce and work most effectively when compared to natural alternatives.

However, they have been linked to breast cancer (as using them via shampoo/body wash exposes your glands to them) and are a small way I want to control what I put on my body. After switching over to The Honest Company’s natural deodorant for the same reason, eliminating parabens has been a new goal for me.

 

*Disclaimer: any of the products I mention below come purely from experience. I don’t get paid to say any of this stuff!*

 

Here are a few of my favorite paraben-free products for cosmetics:

 

Yes to Carrots’s CC cream 

 

Source: www.yestocarrots.com

Source: www.yestocarrots.com

 

I bought this natural CC cream at my local target and have been using it through spring and early summer. While I’m not sure this is the best option in terms of coverage and weight on the face (it feels a little sticky/heavy), it’s very to easy to purchase, since it’s being sold in Targets across the country. This one isn’t a winner for me, but I’m using it up for the time being.

 

Beauticontrol’s Tight, Firm & Fill Rengeration Foundation 

 

Source: me!

Source: me!

 

I’ve been using this foundation for about 3 months now and I really like the coverage it gives me! It’s not too heavy and evens out my skin tone. From what I’ve researched on their website, this product is paraben-free as well.

 

Tarte’s Amazonian Clay 12-Hour Blush 

 

Source: www.tartecosmetics.com

Source: www.tartecosmetics.com

 

I used to be a religious user of NARS blush, but decided to give this Tarte one a try. This blush stays put and adds such a cheerful glow to my face while also being paraben-free. A big perk of the Tarte Cosmetic company is that they make all of their cosmetics without parabens. Finding a company that supports my efforts, across the board, is just the cherry on top. This blush will last you for 12-18 months with daily use, and I LOVE it. I use “empowered” every day. This one’s a winner!

 

 

Tarte Skinny SmolderEYES eye liner

Source: tartecosmetics.com

Source: tartecosmetics.com

 

One of the things I hate is when eyeliners tug at my eyes. It feels as if I’m using a real pencil on my eyes to put eyeliner on! Thankfully Tarte’s amazonian clay eyeliner (smolderEYES) does not feel that way. While it’s a pain to use an eye pencil sharpener every time I need to sharpen it, it’s worth it. Also paraben-free. Yay!

 

 

It Cosmetics Brow Power Universal Brow Pencil

source: ulta.com

source: ulta.com

 

Finally…a brow pencil I can use. It’s like a brow pencil with training wheels. It gradually builds in color so it doesn’t give you eyebrows that look like you’re 86 and named Marilyn all in one fell swoop. Plus it’s paraben free! It’s a winner.

 

Fresh Sugar Lip Treatment

 

source: sephora.com

source: sephora.com

Oh my, what a wonderful lip balm. This silky-smooth lip treatment may be pricey (they are $22.50 a pop!), I use this as a treat on most days. Of course, being paraben-free is a plus. Just…don’t leave it in your car. They tend to get melty when exposed to summer heat car temperatures. Learn from my mistake on this one!

 

 

EOS (Evolution of Smooth) lip balm 

 

source: www.evolutionofsmooth.com

source: www.evolutionofsmooth.com

These little lip balms have been popping up in every major retail store over the past 2 years, and they are popular for good reason: excellent product placement (at the cashier’s register line), affordability, and very natural ingredients. For 3 bucks you can get this paraben-free goodness- I have these all over my house!

 

Urban Decay’s All Nighter Makeup Setting Spray 

 

Source: www.urbandecay.com

Source: www.urbandecay.com

 

 

This one is a BIG winner for me. Not only is this setting spray paraben-free but it absolutely works. I spray this stuff on my face after I do my makeup and I can finish a 60-minute P90X group class with my face intact. While it may not seem like a worthwhile investment, a bottle of this will easily last you 9-12 months of regular use. This one’s a winner!

 

 

 

 

 

Looking forward, I want to find some paraben-free options for:

lip glosses/lipsticks

foundation

mascara

and- the big kahuna- eyeshadow primer. I don’t know if my Urban Decay Eyeshadow Primer is paraben-free. WAHHHH! 🙁

 

 

Do you have any paraben-free makeup suggestions? Do you try and eliminate parabens from your beauty routine?

Share this blog post with anyone who you think would benefit from it!

 

In peace & health,

Amanda & the fit family

the fit family (1) copy