Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Colas in Kauai: Right Near Da' Beach...BOYEE!

Alright, where to start with describing our honeymoon? Amazing. Fantastic. Beautiful. And so. much. fun!

But I'll try to keep these honeymoon recaps to just a couple posts, and make them picture-heavy so you can all see what we did, since I know seeing vacation pictures is a lot more fun than just reading about it!

It started early the Monday morning after our wedding, with us driving to the airport in a zombie-like state, exhausted from the previous week, and our plane took off on time. Not only was the 5 1/2 hour flight the longest I'd ever taken, but I had my first experience with actual airplane food! It was a semi-warm vegetarian breakfast burrito and muffin, and it was as I had expected--gross!

After an hour and a half layover on Oahu, we landed safely on Kauai, and got our rental car from Budget. Where we ended up paying twice the cost quoted on our reservation--yes, they talked Mr. Cola into an upgrade, the insurance, and the pre-paid gas. Oh well, it was our first car rental experience, and we definitely learned from it to get the insurance, but ignore the rest of their overzealous sales pitch. We just wanted to get to the beach!
Mr. C with our Jeep, just after we took the T-tops off. We had planned on a regular convertible, but at least we had plenty of room in this!

We took the gorgeous hour and fifteen minute drive up the coast to the north shore of the island, stopping along the way to pick up our rented snorkels, beach gear and groceries. Once we arrived at our beach house, we were blown away!

Our house, called the Kauai Love Shack, was everything we could have hoped for, and even better in person than any picture could describe! It was literally right on the beach (and Mr. Cola said the Dave Chappelle quote in this post title several times during the week too, in reference to our house location)!
The front of the house from the lawn

View from the front porch

View from the bed. There were gorgeous views just like this from the living room/dining room, kitchen and bathroom too!

We quickly dropped our things and walked the five steps outside to check out our beach before the late afternoon sun faded. It was so beautiful and private; the entire week we never saw more than about ten total people at any one time.

Just around the corner of the beach there was a small resort which we walked past several nights to see the sunset.
And there were a TON of different types of crabs on the beach to keep me entertained. Because, yes, just like a 7-year-old boy, I am easily entertained by animals and nature. Don't believe me? I will even poke (what we think are) dead crabs with a stick, as documented in this video.

Yeah, I'm a dork!

The next day we awoke to a beautiful sunrise without even getting out of bed, and spent
the entire day on the beach in front of our house, just trying to recover from the crazy amount of activity the week of our wedding.
I highly recom
mend Bubba Mugs for keeping drinks cold on the beach, and the flip top lids are great for keeping the sand out too! (And notice, I'm wearing my robot tank top that I also wore in my boudoir pictures. Mr. Cola loved his present!)

That evening we walked down the beach to attend a luau at the Hanalei Colony Resort, and it was fantastic! It was put on by a family and their friends, and it was very intimate and entertaining. Great Hawaiian music, wonderful food, hula and fire much fun!

The next day we drove out to Princeville and hiked down a canyon to snorkel at the Queen's Bath. The Queen's Bath is a pool formed in volcanic rock, and little fish get swept in it by the waves. You can only swim there on calm days though, if the seas are rough, waves can knock you off the rocks and pull you out to sea. Luckily we visit
ed on a calm day!

Following our s
norkel and hike back out of the canyon we ate lunch in town, and then went and checked out the historic Hanalei Bay Pier.

Then, after a nap and another afternoon on the beach we ate dinner at the Hanalei Dolphin restaurant, and my amazing HUSBAND (ah, still not used to calling him that!) bought me a beautiful lei.

Up next, our helicopter and snorkel adventures!

P.S. If anyone would like more info about the house we stayed in, places we ate, tours we took, etc, please Private Message me. I'm a big fan of writing travel reviews, so I have a lot more details that I'm not going into here, including things like price, driving directions and menu recommendations!

(all pictures in this post are personal photos)

Sunday, June 27, 2010

We Did It!

I know I wrote a morning after post, letting you all know we tied the knot successfully, but we just got a few teaser pictures from our photographers, so now I can show you the proof that we actually did it (click the pictures for a larger view)!

(From left to right: in the rose petal aisle after our ceremony, my fabulous shoes on a lamp in our hotel suite, lying on a brick wall after our first look, my something old bear with our wedding bands, and chillin' on a bench at our first look shoot location)

(From left to right: staring into each others eyes near the end of our reception, posing on a swing at our venue, and at a window in our hotel suite)

I seriously can't wait to see the rest of our pro photos in about a month so I can begin our recaps, but until then, I'll be covering our wonderful Hawaiian honeymoon, the days leading up to our wedding, and of course, a few more DIY projects!

All photos in this post were taken by Shoot Me Now Photography.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Wedding Party Gifts, Part 2: For The Dudes

In my last post I showed you what we gifted the ladies, now it's time to see what our groomsmen got!

Mr. Cola did all the picking of these gifts himself, and decided to do two gifts for each of his groomsmen, but all the same gifts (two gifts, on top of the suits, shirts and ties we got them).

For their first gift, he got them all fancy lighters with their initials engraved on them in Old English Script (yes, they all happen to be smokers).

For the second part of their gift, he went to a magical store called Beverages and More (or just BevMo, for those in the know). In California we can buy liquor at grocery stores, Costco, mini marts, etc, but whenever friends come to town from states that have more strictly regulated liquor laws, it's always fun for them to go to this store. It's sort of like Toy's R Us for grownups that like to drink, with aisles and aisles of every type of beer, wine and liquor you can imagine!


Anyway, Mr. Cola went to BevMo and got all the guys bottles of really, really nice whiskey. Like, really old, and something about number of barrels.....


Honestly, I can't tell you what kind of whiskey it was, since I'm not a whiskey drinker myself, but I know it was really good stuff! We also got a bottle of it for our officiant, as a thank you gift. Don't worry, he's a good friend, not a priest or anything!

Did your fiance pick the groomsmen gifts himself, or did you give input?

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Wedding Party Gifts, Part 1: For The Ladies

Right now I'm still (hopefully) enjoying sunny Kauai on our honeymoon, but I didn't want you all to forget about me, so I've got another pre-written post for you!

And since I couldn't show these before our wedding, now is the perfect time to reveal the gifts we got for our wedding party. First up are the bridesmaid gifts.

I already showed you a long time ago the hoodies I customized with each of my bridesmaid's initials. Hopefully these made for some cute getting ready photos.
And you already know that we paid for their dresses, and their hair and makeup. But for the rest of their gifts, I wanted to do something different for each of them.

First, for my MOH/sister, I got her a Coach bag that I knew she'd been coveting for over a year. I scored it on eBay for about 1/3rd of the regular price.
{Photos from the eBay listing}

For my other two bridesmaids, I decided to get them each two smaller gifts.

For bridesmaid H, I knew she would love a pair of the same Nine West butterfly pumps that I bought for myself a few years ago. She was with me when I bought the shoes, and had commented last summer that she really wished she'd purchased a pair herself. So I set up eBay and Google Alerts for the same shoes, but in her size, and after about 6 months of searching, I found them! From an eBay seller in Ireland who sells display shoes from department stores!

I just adore the braided detail on the toes, and the bright butterfly pattern (and I know BM H does too)!

And as BM H's final gift, I got her this cute Coach wristlet from Macys (with gift receipt in case she wants a different color, or something else).

{Source from Macy's website}

For Bridesmaid A's first gift, I bought her these gorgeously simple Tiffany earrings. From the front they look like just drop earrings, but they're actually hoops that form a gentle heart shape. Very classic, but also fun!
The signature T&Co engraved logo (above the snap of the pouch).

And as BM A's last gift, I got her a classic black Coach wristlet, also from Macy's and also with a gift receipt.
{Source from Macy's website}

Hopefully all of my lovely ladies will love their gifts, but if not, I totally won't be insulted if they want to return/exchange/sell them! I just want them to feel appreciated!

Did you get your bridesmaids all the same gift, or something different for each of them?

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Bringing Out My Inner Bombshell, Part 2

In my last post (sorry, no link, I've pre-scheduled this post because I'm on my honeymoon right now, remember?) I showed you all what I brought to my boudoir shoot, and talked about the lead up to the big day.

**WARNING: if you are easily offended, please just click over to the next blog post. Mom, family members, or anyone who doesn't want to see me in the equivalent of what I'd wear to the beach, this is your exit cue. You may also not want to look at these pictures while at work.

First I want to share some tips for you ladies thinking about getting boudoir shoots taken. Some of these are my own tips, based on looking back at my pictures, and some came from my amazing photographer, Tiffany, of Adeline & Grace Intimates.

Some general tips:

- It sounds silly, but practice your "sexy face" in the mirror beforehand. I wish I’d had more facial expressions to work with, but my “sexy face” always ended up looking mischievous in the mirror to me.
- Shake it out. Some of my best shots came when I took a second to just shake loose my hair and body, then pose again. It helps you not get too tense, because if you’re concentrating on sucking it in, smiling, and where to put your limbs, it will show on your face.
- Drink some wine, champagne, or an energy drink before you start. I recommend a 5 Hour Energy drink, it’s so small it won’t fill you up, and isn’t carbonated to bloat you.
- Get your makeup done professionally. I went to MAC and also got false eyelashes; it was way too much makeup in real life, but looked amazing in photos.
- However, MAC took 1.5 hours when they said they’d be no more than 45 minutes to an hour, so plan ahead so you’re not rushed.

Some tips on how to pose if you have a less-than-perfect body. I'm not hugely overweight or anything, but could definitely stand to lose a few pounds, and like everyone, I have my problem areas.

- Talk with your photog about what areas you don't want to show. Creative cropping can do wonders, for example, if you don't like your tummy, only show from the boobs up or waist down.
- I recommend corsets to both boost your chest, and suck in your middle.
- As a rule of thumb, keep in mind when posing that what is near the camera will be bigger, and what is further from the camera will be smaller. So if you don't like your thighs, pose with your legs away from the camera.
- I found natural light and black and white photos to be more forgiving to cellulite than studio lights.
- Lie down on your back to flatten your stomach, but keep a bra on so your chest doesn't flatten out to the sides.
- Photographs with your face upside down or sideways helps hide a double chin.
- Sitting in a chair, leaning forward with your arms crossed gives you great cleavage and covers your stomach at the same time.
- You can give yourself cleavage by using your arms to push your chest together, but be careful as this also squishes out your arms, making them look bigger too.

Even if you don't have a perfect model body, I still encourage you to do a boudoir shoot. It was so empowering, and really boosted my self esteem! I never thought I’d get the chance to feel like a Victoria’s Secret model, or like I was on ANTM. I’m just so amazed that I can look that good, and I know I’m going to love to look back at the pictures when I get older and have to tuck my boobs in my waist band! It was almost more of a present for me than Mr. Cola!

Alright, now on to the pictures from the day.

**NOTE: I know some of you readers will be shocked that I would post some of these pictures online, but as I said above, I'm only posting photos that are on par with the pictures many people post of themselves at the beach or pool on Facebook. And I'm not a very modest person. Plus, my name isn't Google-able in connection with this site, and you all already saw my cleavage in my dress shopping blog posts. I'm cool with it! :)

{All photographs were taken by Adeline & Grace}

My wonderful photographer also made me a slideshow with music, which I've edited a little to cut out the more racy pictures. I know when I was researching, I wanted to see as many sample photos for pose ideas and outfit ideas, so that's why I'm sharing this with you now. Note that there are some photos in this that show my booty in boy shorts, so if you don't want to see that, then feel free to skip this video!

{All photographs in this video were also taken by Adeline & Grace}

Well, there you have it, my boudoir shoot recap! I can't say enough about how much I enjoyed working with my photographer, Tiffany!
She made me feel completely at ease during the shoot, she has an awesome studio with a ton of different options, and she turned around almost 200 pictures for me to choose from in about a week. I highly recommend Adeline & Grace Intimates if you're in the San Francisco Bay Area and considering doing boudoir photos. And her wedding photography is pretty amazing too; it's been featured on Style Me Pretty several times. I love our photographers, but kind of wish I'd discovered Tiffany's wedding portfolio sooner!

If you were to do a boudoir shoot, what style would you do: Victoria's Secret Catalog, Maxim Magazine Cover, Artsy, Nude, or something else?

Monday, June 14, 2010

Bringing Out My Inner Bombshell, Part 1

I know what you're thinking, "Cola, aren't you supposed to be on your honeymoon, what are you doing blogging?" Don't worry, I'm actually writing this post in late March, and scheduling it for after the wedding!

That's because my next two posts are going to be about my boudoir experience, and Mr. Cola won't be receiving the book of photos until we're on our honeymoon. But I wanted to write about it while it was fresh in my mind. :)

I'd never even heard of boudoir photography until I dived into the world of wedding planning blogs, but I knew right away that I wanted to do one. After all, how many times in your life do you have an excuse to feel like a Victoria's Secret model or a Maxim Magazine pin-up girl? So I'm going to share all the details of my experience with you, so you'll be as prepared as possible and have an awesome shoot of your own if you decided to gift your hubby sexy pictures of yourself.

I started out by researching as many boudoir photogs in the area as I could, but quickly learned that many want to either come to your home to do the shoot, or have you rent a hotel room. I just wasn't comfortable with either of those options, so narrowed my search to only photographers with a studio. And then I fell in love with the work of Adeline & Grace Intimates (warning, site content might not be appropriate to look at at work), so I promptly e-mailed Tiffany for pricing options.

I then had a call with Tiffany, where she walked me through what to expect during the shoot, we set a date, and I paid my deposit.

Fast forward four months later, I filled out a questionnaire for Tiffany about a month prior to my shoot, so she could get a better idea of what I was looking for. Questions included things like:

What type of shoot do you want to do? (I said somewhere between a Victoria's Secret Catalog and Maxim cover, no nudity)

Classify your style: (I said on one hand I wear pencil skirts, cardigans and 4 inch heels to work, on the other hand, I wear low cut tops and jeans to go out)

What is your hubby's favorite body part of yours, and what is your favorite part? (I said that Mr. C likes my chest, followed closely by my booty, and I like my hair best)

There were some other questions in there too that I can't remember, but all of it helped paint a picture for Tiffany of what I wanted to get out of the shoot. We then had another call to go over her ideas based on my questionnaire, where she suggested some outfit possibilities, and she reassured me that it was going to be a great experience. She was amazing to work with even before the shoot!

Next, it was time to assemble my outfits and props. I had to iron everything, even the panties, because I'm anal like that, and hang up everything so I could just put a garment bag over it for easy transport to Tiffany's studio.

Here's a look at some of the lingerie I took, followed by the long list of everything I brought with me. About half of the lingerie was stuff I already had, the other half was new, since I was badly in need of new, well fitting bras.

(Two new bra and panty sets from Nordstrom)

(Three lacy boy shorts from Target)

(Hot pink corset top from My Diva's Closet)

(Lacy open back top, already had)

(Love robot tank top and thong, from Cafe Press. Mr. Cola is an engineer, and loves robots, so how perfect was this? Not surprisingly, it took me quite a while to find robot lingerie!)

(Victoria's Secret t-shirt and boy shorts, Mr. Cola's favorite PJs of mine)

(White corset from Fredrick's of Hollywood, that I'd purchased for wedding dress shopping)

At Tiffany's suggestion, I also brought along some of my work attire, to maybe do some sexy business woman shots. This is the full list of what I brought, along with about 9 pairs of shoes. It was way too much, but I felt it was better to be over prepared than under prepared!

- yellow cardi, white stripe shirt, grey skirt or black ruffle skirt
- black cardi, grey tweed skirt
- Green v-neck tshirt, bra, green and blue panties
- white robot tank and thong
- veil, white corset top, white boy shorts
- red boy shorts, red corset top
- Mr. C’s white with blue stripes shirt
- Mr. C’s plain white shirt and tie
- new black bra and panty set
- new pink bra and panty set
- black bra teddy and black boy shorts
- pink corset and black boy shorts
- strands of pearls
- pinstripe vest
- low cut pink fuzzy sweater
- leather jacket
- knee high boots
- black pasmina
- sunglasses
- black beaded jewelry
- new pj shorts
- black silk robe
- new lipstick and make up for touch ups

In my next post I will share some tips on how to pose with a less-than-perfect body, and preparation tips, as well as some pictures from my session!

Are you planning to do a boudoir shoot?