Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Weekend Recap: #Billner Wedding Edition

Bride & Groom: Stessie & Brian
Rehearsal Dinner: Copia Restaurant & Wine Garden; St. Louis, MO
Wedding Ceremony & Reception: World's Fair Pavilion; St. Louis, MO

After a courtship that began at the Missouri Botanical Garden and bloomed through seasons of Cardinals baseball and Mizzou football (and perhaps more than one season of The Bachelorette), Brian and Stessie were married last weekend under the arches of the historic World’s Fair Pavilion in Forest Park.
Saying "I Do" overlooking the Grand Basin in Forest Park

August is typically hot, humid, and downright miserable in the Gateway City and after a summer so hot and dry weather forecasters compared it to the Dust Bowl of the 1930's, we were prepared to sweat through our J. Crew bridesmaid dresses to witness the Billner* wedding vows. Amazingly, we shouldn’t have worried at all because the often unpredictable St. Louis weather dawned calm, cool, and positively perfect.

Much like the "Billner’s" love of the city, their wedding day was a virtual tour de St. Louis. We dressed and drank morning mimosas at The Cheshire, took photos under the Arch and in the beautiful Lafayette Park, and dined on local favorites Pi Pizzeria, Pappy’s Smokehouse, and Gus’ Pretzels at the reception. We danced to the tunes of the rockin’ Ralph Butler Band, drank an assortment of Schlafly beer, and watched the fountains in the Grand Basin turn the colors of a glorious peacock as day turned to night.
Photo courtesy of Shannon Lee Images
From the simple Chuppah where the couple recited their vows to the Ketubah, hand-painted with their own, unique wedding contract to the heirloom jewelry worn by the beautiful bride, no detail was overlooked. The #BillnerWedding was the perfect reflection of the bride and groom ~ simple, classy, and full of fun.

Brian and Stessie ~ Thank you for including me in your wedding party and for including all of us in a day we’ll never forget.

*Not everyone creates their own wedding day hashtag, but this couple did. Catch up on all the fun by following #BillnerWedding on twitter.
**Many thanks to Lauren & Laura for the use of their fabulous photos.
***Additional thanks to Shannon Lee Images and forte who rocked the professional photos and video.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Fabulous Find: Iris Apfel

On my flight to Vegas last month, I picked up the July issue of Delta Sky Magazine and read an article about a stylish gal about Manhattan. She’s a fixture on the New York fashion scene, she has her own line of accessories on the Home Shopping Network, and she’s a visiting professor at the University of Texas at Austin’s School of Human Ecology, Textiles and Apparel Division. Think this is a young professional climbing the corporate ladder? Think again, divas. Iris Apfel (neé Barrel) is a 90 year old fashion icon known for her big, bold, chunky jewelry and those signature owl glasses.

“I’m a geriatric starlet, my dear, don’t you know.”

Born in Queens, Astoria on August 29, 1921, she studied art history at New York University (art history lovers unite!) and held down several jobs throughout the 1940’s until opening Old World Weavers, a high-end textile company, with her husband Carl. A fixture on 5th Avenue long before the Costume Institute of the Metropolitan Museum of Art organized an exhibit of her personal clothing and jewelry collection, Iris became recognizable after appearing in a 2008 Coach advertising campaign. This year she’ll help break another age barrier when she appears in the MAC Cosmetics “Celebrate Aging” campaign where she collaborated on a makeup collection for all ages.

Iris Apfel for MAC

She’s unique, confident, and not afraid to speak her mind (who would be at 90?) as illustrated when she told The Telegraph, “Most of the young people today look dreadful. And celebrities look even worse.” Agreed, Iris, agreed.

For decades she was an educated and successful businesswoman in her own right and now she’s being recognized for her standout style. Now, that’s the kind of diva I want to be.

{Images courtesy of Google}

Monday, August 13, 2012

Weekend Recap: Wedding Edition

The Year of The Wedding kicked off this weekend with a Saturday filled with wedding memories for two of the cutest cousins around.

Bride: Lauren
Bridal Luncheon: Ravanelli's; Granite City, IL

Lauren and her family drove in from Kansas for Ben’s wedding reception and we decided this was the perfect time to have a Bridal Luncheon in her honor. A 2011 graduate of Kansas State University, Lauren is a polished and creative bride-to-be and we’re all looking forward to her wedding in September.

Bride and Groom: Sara & Ben
Wedding Ceremony: Gulf Shores, AL
Wedding Reception: Knight of Columbus Hall; Granite City, IL

Ben and Sara met three years ago through friends and on Saturday we celebrated their nuptials with a wedding reception in our hometown of Granite City, IL. The bride was beautiful in a layered wedding gown with a black belt and flower accent at the waist. Staying with their beach wedding feel, the groom dressed in a casual white linen shirt and black dress pants. Keeping with the “movie” theme from the wedding shower, the décor was black and red with accents of feathers and flowers on the tables. It was the perfect setting for my first ever second cousin and his beautiful new bride. Welcome to the family, Sara!

Friday, August 10, 2012

Photo Friday: Goin' to the Chapel

This Saturday, my family will gather to celebrate at my cousin Ben’s wedding reception. Ben and his bride were married a few weeks ago on the beaches of Gulf Shores, so this weekend will be one big celebration full of food, fun, and more than a few polkas.

Ben is my oldest second cousin and the first of my grandparents’ great grandchildren to get married (another great grandchild is getting married in September and another in May 2013!) I vividly remember when Ben was born because I was sure he was going to steal my spotlight (I was not about to let that happen!) and I nervously asked my grandmother if she was still going to love me after he was born. She reassured me that she would, of course, and Ben grew from that tiny baby boy to a star soccer player to a grown-up CPA.

Ben and I, 1987
{Missouri Botanical Garden}

Wednesday, August 08, 2012

New Restaurant Wednesday: The Chandelier Bar {Las Vegas Edition}

When I was planning our Vegas Vacation, I knew there were a few things on the list that were a “must do.” One of those things was drinking a cocktail at The Chandelier Bar at The Cosmopolitan Hotel. Located on The Strip, The Cosmopolitan is one of those places that makes you feel like you have arrived. It’s sleek without being sleazy and it’s contemporary without being cold.

The Cosmopolitan's signature cocktail
We bypassed the sophisticated Vesper Bar (though, we would have a nightcap there later) and strolled past the betters at Book & Stage and headed straight for The Chandelier. Designed by the New York City architecture and design firm Rockwell Group, The Chandelier is three levels and two million crystal beads of fabulous. Its glittering façade makes a “wow” statement even in Vegas. The Chandelier isn’t a place where you’ll find the slot machine weary tourists giving their wallets a break, but in their place you’ll find a younger, sexier, style-conscious crowd.    

Two million beads of fabulous
From the ambiance to the superb service to the strong signature Cosmopolitan cocktail created by mixologist Meriena Mercer, visit The Chandelier and you’ll see why it was voted 2012’s Best Bar on The Strip by Lavish Las Vegas. The next time you're in Sin City, slip on your best little black dress and head to The Chandelier for a cocktail. It's what every diva should do. 

Cheers to the best Cosmopolitan's in Vegas

Tuesday, August 07, 2012

Back on the Blogging Bandwagon

This little blog hasn’t seen much of its intrepid writer over the last few weeks. Call it the craziness of summer, call it writer’s block (those New Restaurant Wednesday posts take a long time to write, y’all), call it blog intimidation (Is there such a thing? To be intimidated by blank page that stares at you with no words coming out of your brain and no words appearing on the page? If so, call me intimidated.), call it less sleep and more chaos, but this diva’s been busy. So what have I been doing lately?

The Year of The Wedding is in full swing! This weekend we kicked Jessica’s wedding off right with a Bachelorette Party thrown in her honor. We had dinner at Hamburger Mary's (you cannot go wrong with their Ta-Ta’s) and Joe Buck’s Downtown (the food was amazing {the calamari and buffalo chicken salad are to die for} – the service not so much), we danced the night away at the Jive and Wail, and we ended the weekend at the St. Louis hotspot 360 St. Louis (my heart still belongs to Cielo.) In other wedding-related news: Two Bachelorette Party’s down, one wedding shower and one wedding reception this weekend (both on the same day. Of course.), one bridal luncheon/rehearsal dinner/wedding reception next weekend, and two wedding receptions still to come. Be still my bleeding checkbook.
So many drinks, so little time.

Watching the Olympics: From the Opening Ceremonies to McKayla Maroney’s near perfect floor routine, I’ve loved tuning in to sports that I otherwise wouldn’t watch. Judo? Fencing? Rowing? It’s all fun and games until somebody eats a pot-laced brownie.

Watching Bravo and E!: Oh, Real Housewives of New York City/New Jersey/OC, why can’t I quit you? And, if there’s a clinic for people addicted to Keeping Up With the Kardashians, I might as well voluntarily admit myself now. Speaking of, does anyone else find it odd that we haven’t seen hide nor perfectly coiffed hair of baby Penelope? The world awaits your spread in People Magazine already!
The family that watches a cow and a bull mate together stays  together...right, Teresa?
{Photo credit}

Discovering new blogs: I’ve been an avid reader of blogs for years and have recently discovered new pages to add to my reader: The Pioneer Woman - I’m probably the last person west of the Mississippi to read Ree Drummond’s blog about life on her Oklahoma cattle ranch, but I love her honest and witty approach to life, motherhood, and business. Holly Would If She Could – I found Holly’s blog by way of Home Sweet Sarah and have enjoyed reading about her life in NoCal. Hillary (with two L’s) blog is a fresh and funny look at life in Vancouver.

So, there you have it, a recap of the insanity that has been/will be my summer. It’s busy, it’s absurdly crazy, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. Look for the final installment of my Vegas Vacation coming soon!