Archive for the ‘New Jersey’ Category

My friend Angela has an amazing new blog, Something Green.  Learn all about the tricks and products to help make your event more green from holiday stockings to renewal candles. Don’t miss the Green Glossary and Green Directory. She has been involved in the event and writing businesses for years. She’s the expert you’ve been looking for!

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I went a school that no longer exists. For someone who is mildly obsessed with reunions and Facebook, it is disconcerting to be so disconnected from a place where I spent eight years of my childhood.

 Recently, I stumbled upon a Facebook group  for people who studied at Vail-Deane in either Elizabeth or Mountainside, NJ. I couldn’t believe it! Here were old friends and teachers. Right here!

It was a very small class (I’m pretty sure there were only eight girls in my class of 15 or so in seventh grade), so we really knew everyone. There are current pictures and yearbook pictures of people. I spent quite a while foraging through the pictures and remembering my time there.

If any of you out there went to Vail-Deane and remember my class (class of 1994, although I left in seventh grade), I’d love to be in touch!

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YNYC Holiday Concert

One of my dearest friends, Melvin Coston, sings in The Young New Yorkers Chorus. While I’ve sadly never been able to enjoy a concert, he has told me about how much he enjoys the chorus for years. 

A non-profit organization, they are seeking donations.

YNYC was started in 2001 as a way for interested volunteer singers to continue their training (in many cases) and simple love of singing beyond their college years. Each year, they perform three concerts over the course of our season, with the holiday concert typically being the biggest and most celebrated. 

In addition to performing both classical and contemporary choral pieces from all parts of the world, they also conduct a Young Composers competition each year to support and encourage music composers in the development of their craft. The finalists’ submitted works are performed for the first time at the final concert of the every season.

Although they have enjoyed an ever-increasing following and last year saw a record turnout at all our concerts, donations allow them to have consistent rehearsal space, quality concert space and most importantly, the continuation of the Young Composers Competition. Donations are a key financial component to making all of this possible each year.

YNYC is a non-profit organization. All monies go to the necessary functions of the Chorus.

I hope that you’ll take a moment to check out their website. You can hear audio samples, learn about auditions and consider them for your wedding.

See you later! I’m off to donate. Even though I can’t give too much, we all know how every little bit counts.

Support the arts.

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Fading Light

Moonrise by Melabee M MillerWe could easily slip into the winter blues – early – with darker days. Not my mother! Melabee Miller blogs this month about finding beauty in the changing light. Enjoy!

Don’t forget to click on her blogroll on the right side of the page to see her photocubes.

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Lyn Lynch, Makeup ArtistI recently met Lyn Lynch at my fiancé’s friends’ wedding. A perfect complexion, great lipstick and hip glasses, I asked her what she does for a living. We chatted about her experience as a makeup artists and she agreed to share some of her tips here. As someone who rarely even buys tinted lip glass, I was really interested.






How should a bride start her search for a makeup artist?


It’s great if a bride can get referrals from friends or family members who have used the services of a great makeup artist before. Aside from that, an Internet search is really OK – type in “makeup artist” and the city you live in, and take note of what is listed. Many freelance artists have Websites that highlight their work, and that should give you a good idea of what kind of artist they are, and if they fit your needs. Of course, it’s always a good idea once you find an artist to contact them and set up a time to talk about your wedding, or better yet meet in person for a trial run. That way, you can try out the makeup artist before your big day, and get a sense of what they’re like. A good makeup artist will ask lots of questions about your style, personality and what you envision yourself looking like on your special day. I always recommend that the bride supply me with a few pictures of what she thinks is the ideal look – makeup artists are obviously very visual, so it helps us to see what you see in your mind.


What should a bride who doesn’t usually wear a lot of makeup do on her wedding day?


There is always a tendency to play it safe – what works for you in real life is right for the wedding, right? But keep in mind that you’ll be wearing a beautiful dress, your hair will be done (most likely different from what you do in real life, too) and there will be pictures taken, which always calls for more makeup than what you would normally wear. Keep in mind, a good makeup artist will respect that you wear minimal makeup in real life, but know just how to emphasize your best features on your wedding day.


How does a makeup trial work?


A makeup trial is just that – a practice run before the big day. Generally, the makeup artist will apply makeup exactly the way he/she plans to apply it on your wedding day. You’ll have a chance to critique it and ask for changes – more/less color or definition – that way, there are no surprises on the actual day. It can take place anytime before the wedding day – months, days, whatever the two of you work out.


Is it customary for a bride to have her makeup done before engagement pictures?


It’s a very personal decision – often, engagement pictures are the perfect time to do a trial run with your makeup artist – while the look won’t be exactly the same as it might be for the actual wedding day, it’s a good time to evaluate whether the makeup artist “gets” you and your personal style.


Who else usually likes to have their makeup done (bridal party, mother of the bride, etc.)


It really runs the gamut- I’ve done makeup for the bridal party, mother of the bride, mother of the groom, grandmothers, friends of the family, flower girls and friends. I’ve even provided a little concealer and bronzer for grooms who need to look picture perfect.


Do you bring your own makeup or should the bride provide her own?


It is really up to the bride – most makeup artists have extensive kits they travel with that can create any look they need. If you are allergic to certain products or just prefer certain colors, it’s OK to supply your own makeup for the artist to use. It’s something you work out with your makeup artist. Personally, I’ve done it both ways.


What can the bride do to make things easier for you?


It’s helpful if brides are open to suggestion – makeup artists who have done many weddings have a lot of experience with what looks good in pictures – trust them to know what is going to show well on camera. It’s also helpful if you have a clear picture of what you are looking for – we want to make you happy, so be clear about your preferences. It’s really a happy medium between the two of you – sometimes, you’d be surprised about what will really bring out your beauty. Trust a good makeup artist to do that for you.


What is the price range? Are there “recession tricks” to keep the price down?


The price range varies by artist and by city; there is no real guideline. You can keep your price down by offering to do part of the look yourself – maybe book the makeup artist for your complete look, then have your bridal party do their complexion (foundation, powder) themselves and have the artist just do their eyes, cheeks and lips (I charge half-price for that scenario, myself). It saves time and money, especially if your bridal party is savvy enough to do at least part of their look themselves.




Lyn Lynch is a New York City makeup artist who is slightly (OK, really) obsessed with makeup and skincare. She has a full-time job at Sephora, the ultimate candy store for kids like her. She also does freelance work in her free time, when she’s not researching other obsessions. She firmly believes looking good should be fun – and should take as long as you want it to take (sorry, husband).



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I have a salty-tooth and can pass on most dessert. I’m rarely swayed to eat a piece of wedding cake when I could have had a few extra pieces of cheese or fried calamari.


My fiancé and I aren’t interested in a standard wedding cake whose decorations resemble a Barbie’s wedding dress. However, I’ve been looking through wedding magazines and have seen some eye-candy cakes that could change any un-bride’s opinion of the final course.


Recently, we were in Hoboken for lunch (at the lovely Brass Rail http://www.thebrassrailnj.com/) and decided to stop by to peruse the counters at Carlo’s Bakery (http://www.carlosbakery.com/). Carlo’s is used by one of the venues we are considering.


My fiancé, my father, my father’s friend, and I were equally stunned by the display of cakes, pastries and other goodies throughout the store. From a cake that looked like luggage piled three high to crispy, unfilled cannoli shells, I knew this was the real thing. We immediately made an appointment to meet with the chef, Buddy Valastro.


A few days later, we found ourselves tasting cake in the back of the bakery at ten a.m. with my parents.


Buddy brought out a book with cakes included in the venue’s package and a book of additional wedding cakes that we could choose from for an additional charge. Over coffee, we looked through the binders and ooh-ed and aah-ed as if we were watching fireworks on the Fourth of July.


There were cakes with matte ganache that looked like they had been painted and fired in a kiln. There were polka-dots and sugar bows. There was a cake designed to look like a stained glass window. Another one that seemed to be covered in blooming cherry blossom branches. Fall leaves with perfect colors. Every flower imaginable for every season graced one cake or another.


Buddy explained the various fillings and decorations that could be added. When I disclosed my ever-challenging allergy to high fructose corn syrup, Buddy knew which toppings and fillings I could eat.


Then we were kindly offered a paper plate with slices of cake. We tasted a variety of flavors, from chocolate to hazelnut to carrot to red velvet. There was a cannoli layer in one cake. A cream cheese layer in another.


Buddy and his cakes have been featured in countless bridal magazines. The weekend we were there, he told us about his upcoming appearance on The Food Network and Good Morning America, to make Brittney Spears’ birthday cake. He is famous for good reason.


We haven’t made any final decisions on the wedding cake, but we did immediately decide to purchase sesame cookies, pignoli cookies and an almost all-crumb crumb cake.


Here are some pictures from our cake tasting adventure:


Carlo's Baker in Hoboken, NJ


Carlo's Bakery Counter


From Carlo's Binder O'Wedding Cakes

Tasting time!

Buddy Valastro, my fiance' and I


To all of you un-brides and un-grooms out there, don’t give up on the wedding cake. There are modern interpretations that might just steal your heart.


You decide how you want to approach dessert at your wedding. My parents had a one-layer wedding cake with a strawberry and pineapple ying-yang topping. You can simply offer a plate of pastries or even individual cupcakes that look like mini-wedding cakes. Or, you can serve a more traditional cake, dessert display and even a chocolate fountain. There are so many options.


When you are looking at venues, ask them if the cake is included in the final charge. Often, a venue will either have a baker on staff or they will use a local bakery. You can show the baker a picture and ask for a tasting. You can also decide to order your own wedding cake and have it delivered to the site the day of your wedding.


Here are some professional pictures from Carlo’s: http://www.carlosbakery.com/WeddingCakes.asp


If you order from Carlo’s, I hope you’ll invite me.

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