Dream Big & Buy The Shoes: August 2016

August 31, 2016

The Three Of Us: Wedding Wednesday

When it came to pictures on our wedding day, there were definitely a few that I wanted in terms of the three of us: Chuck, Ethan and I. Some of the shoe shots I've shared were on that list and as for the rest our photographer went with it and they turned out excellent.

We took a few in front of our actual venue before the large family group shots, but the majority were taken in other locations at Peek n' Peak during the cocktail hour. 

This first one was the shot we chose for the front of our Christmas card last year. We have yet to print out many large pictures from our wedding day, but this will definitely be one of them. I especially love the leaves on the ground and that beautiful sky in the background.

We got some more seasonal shots with just Chuck and I...the colors of the trees are so beautiful and just what we wanted for our Fall wedding. They were taken on one of the holes of the golf course at The Peek.

Next it was time for some pictures with my favorite little dude. To be honest, I was a little worried he was going to freak out during pictures because as he gets older he's not as willing to smile for the camera all the time. I was pleasantly surprised as he didn't say a word and smiled so big during all these shots. They're some of my favorite from the day ((do I say that every week?)).

To wrap up our pictures before returning to celebrate at our reception, we took advantage of the view on top of the resort. When we got them back from our photographer, I just couldn't get over the never-ending view.

I loved that during these pictures we were posed by our photographer or just going with the moment. Like I said, I had a list of pictures and things I wanted so that I didn't forget, but I was happy these turned out so perfect without having to be laid out in stone so to speak. 

We couldn't end without one of my crazy husband, just being his normal silly self. 

I'm so happy with how many great pictures we got in such a quick amount of time. Our priority of the whole night was to have fun and soak every moment in, so it was important to us to take the majority of our pictures during cocktail hour so we didn't have to be pulled from our reception. It worked wonderfully, and the plan turned out as we expected. 

Thanks for re-living another Wedding Wednesday with our family! Next week the pictures get a little sillier and you may see me bust a move or two...any guesses as to what's coming?

Wedding Wednesday in week's past...in case you missed it:

Details & Vendors:
Photography: R. Frank Photography
Cake & Cupcakes: Allie Cakes
The Dress: Bridal Elegance
Bride's Shoes: Badgley Mischka (similar)
Bride's Clutch: Rent The Runway
Groom & Best Man  Shoes: Nike Lockwood
Flowers: Afloral (handmade bouquets by the Bride)
Bridesmaid Dresses: Weddington Way
Bridesmaid Earrings: Frou Frou & Frill
Butterflies: Shallowtail Farms

To Travel & Beyond

August 30, 2016

Beauty On The Go Glow: Traveling with HydroPeptide

When it comes to skincare, I've really amped up my daily regimen as each year goes by. There's no denying I'm getting older, and I don't want that evidence showing so easily when it comes to my face.

I have been watching out for wrinkles and taking steps to help diminish those pesky fine lines and find ways to make my skin glow. Staying dedicated to keeping my skin a priority is definitely important and HydroPeptide has an amazing on the go set to make that happen. It can be hard when I travel, even for the weekend to stay on top of it all, but luckily The On The Go Glow Anti Wrinkle Travel Set has helped keep me and my skin in check since it makes it easy to throw in my travel bag.

The On The Go Glow Anti Wrinkle Travel Set has 5 products that keep your skin fabulous and glowing no matter where you are. There are no artificial fragrances or parabens which make these products exceptionally better. The five step system keeps you refreshed and feeling great while you're on the go.

The exfoliating cleanser starts the regiment with foaming peptides and a burst of citrus that energizes your skin and enhances a healthy glow while keeping it hydrated.

The pre-treatment toner balances and brightens making skin tone more even while it exfoliates.

The purifying mask creates a radiant glow through extracting impurities and helping minimize the appearance of pores. The purifying clays and peptides help lift, firm and hydrate your skin.

The eye authority brightens sleepy eyes and lessens the look of dark circles, fine lines, wrinkles and puffiness.

The face lift is an advanced ultra-light moisturizer. The cream contains smart hydration that gives the best moisture to your skin. The ingredients help protect against environmental stressors, assist in visibly lifting wrinkles and fading age spots.

It's hard to travel with a ton of face and beauty products, so the HydroPeptide On The Go Glow kit is perfect for your suitcase. It comes with a travel pouch and the perfect size of products so that your regimen isn't interrupted by leaving a full size container taking up extra room behind when you're on the go.
More information on the products: HydroPeptide’s no downtime approach means no redness, irritation or flaking; just beautiful, glowing skin. HydroPeptide is paraben-, phthalate-, sulfate- and cruelty-free and the majority of products are free of synthetic fragrances, phenoxyethanol and gluten. 

Special thanks to BrandBacker for sponsoring part of today's post.

What are your favorite beauty products to take on the go?

August 29, 2016

My Thoughts on Kanye's Saint Pablo Tour

I don't think I filled you guys in on what Chuck got me for my birthday, but today you can see the whole present...and more. I was ecstatic when I opened Kanye West : Saint Pablo Tour tickets on my birthday and this weekend we went to Buffalo, New York for the big night.

I know people have mixed reviews about Kanye. I think he's crazy...but like he says himself, name one genius that ain't crazy. He's a musical genius, the thinks ahead, and he definitely sets the bar high.

I've loved The Life of Pablo album since it came out and in general I really enjoy Kanye's music...digs on T-Swift and all. We first saw Kanye a few years ago in Pittsburgh when he went on tour with Jay-Z and that was an awesome show. They performed Ni**as in Paris four times in a row during the encore and it was one of the greatest things I've ever seen live. The energy was incredible.

We arrived in Buffalo around 6:30 pm and parked and immediately headed over to First Niagara Center. The line was longgggg, but we got in it right away and obviously got in our fair share of people watching. The doors were supposed to open at 7:00 pm but didn't till well after 7:30 which was highly annoying. We made our way up the line and then were stopped again when we were about 10 people deep in line. No one had any clue what was going on and when I turned around the line was wrapped around the building...insane.

We finally got in but then came to find out we couldn't go to our seats yet because sound check was still going on. At this point it was after 8:00 pm when the concert was supposed to start. We walked around, passed the merchandise which was overpriced, and looked for some french fries...obviously. 

We saw one bar that had liquor but I figured we'd see a bunch more so I hadn't got a drink yet and at this point after dealing with all the crowds and lines, I needed one. Fun fact about me: I'm not a beer fan. I'll have a Corona or a Blue Moon every now and then but beer makes me feel really full and gross so I just can't do it. I was on a hunt for some vodka and then after talking to someone near our seats, they only sell liquor on the first floor?! What kind of venue is this?

So we make our way down to the first floor and order some doubles when we start to hear screaming and music. You've got to be kidding me...the concert is starting while we're at the bar. We hustle back to our seats to yet again, see no Kanye. We get on Twitter to see tweets from his agent saying he has been ready, so the concert was not waiting on him. They were having issues with the roof of the venue and the setup of his "stage" logistics.
About ten minutes later the lights finally go down and the music changes. Two hours after it was supposed to start, all we can see is a large black moving lift that went out to a wooden platform. Two people got off the lift and on to the platform and then one person was hooked into something. One person remained on the platform while the other jumped back to the lift that moved away. Lights came on flashing everywhere and Kanye started the show with "Father Stretch My Hands Pt. 1" and I couldn't get over what I saw. About twenty minutes into it, Chuck was still amazed too. 

Kanye performed harnessed to a piece of metal on a wooden platform in the air above the crowd on the floor for the entire show. He didn't take one single break during his 34 songs and even made it a point to apologize for the delay in the show starting. I was super impressed...no breaks in concerts seems to be unheard of these days.
Kanye said that some things went wrong and it didn't go as planned, but he was appreciative for everyone sticking it out. We were only night two of the tour, so I imagine things will get better as time goes on as far as the set up. The delay in Buffalo was with the roof and them being concerned that it wouldn't hold the set up of the stage.

If you follow me on Snapchat, you saw bits of it, but it was such a great show. I always appreciate artists that bring energy and deliver their passion night after night...I can't imagine being on tour is easy. Aside from waiting two hours for him to start performing, it was a blast. I would definitely see Kanye again and again, he's a very cool performer to watch.

The stage itself was enough to amaze you, as you can see from some of the pictures it lowered enough at points to be just above reach for people standing on the floor. I enjoyed watching people's reactions. Some were taking pictures and selfies while others were full on going crazy under the stage dancing. It tilted on all four sides and nothing stopped Kanye from dancing and throwing himself around as her performed...he went all out. The concert ended with the stage lowering enough for him to jump off and run off on the floor past the crowd with security. No encore, just a dark black building and it was over. 

I was ecstatic to find out after his first night that he played All of the Lights. If you read my wedding recap on Our Reception Entrance you will understand why Chuck and I love it so much. 
I'll leave you with the video Chuck took, while your girl got a little crazy dancing and singing. It was definitely a fun night and I already can't wait for our next concert adventure. 

What kind of concerts do you like going to? Are you a Kanye fan?

August 26, 2016

Dreaming Up Fun With StickerApp

Don't you just love when you get to play around with something and it takes you back to your childhood? That's exactly what happened during my recent creation with custom stickers from StickerApp.
custom stickers

When I was younger I used to love playing with stickers. I would put them on everything, including my dresser and my mirror. My parents didn't love it, but I have to think they enjoyed me expressing my creativity. Recently Ethan was getting all his things ready to head back to school and we were out shopping but couldn't find cool teenager themed supplies. It was such a bummer that so many stores either have more child driven themed things or just plain old boring black, blue and white.

My soon to be teenager was thrilled when we got home and he got to pick out his own stickers on StickerApp.com to decorate his binders for school. It was like making a custom work of art. He chose some bright colorful stickers to really make his boring binder fun again. Having something unique to take to classes is sure to bring some excitement during the long school days.

custom stickers

teenage stickers

After he chose his stickers I got to work on something that will save me from a future headache during the Christmas season. For some reason, no matter how many I buy I seem to run out of gift tags. One of my goals is to make something homemade for everyone on my list. What better way to make the gift complete than with a custom Christmas gift tag with our family's picture on it? I am so excited to wrap up presents with these beautiful stickers on them under the tree. Designing the custom sticker on StickerApp.com couldn't have been easier. Simply upload a picture, put in some text if you would like and just like that...a sticker turned gift tag in a matter of minutes.

custom stickers

Since Ethan and I got to dream up some fun, I thought I would let my husband get involved too. Chuck's "man area" of the garage is so crazy and fun. He has signs and posters everywhere, and his big toolbox is covered in stickers. Chuck picked out some stickers of his own on StickerApp.com and I couldn't get over all the great options they had. Everyone in our family had something they loved on the site, so it was great for all of us!

If you want to check out their stuff and make some custom stickers or custom labels of your own you can get 20% off your order with the code: DREAMBIGDISCOUNT20 and you can use it until 9/10/16.

StickerApp was so nice that they included a great giveaway valued at $40 for one lucky winner. Enter via the Rafflecopter below to win $40 to use on StickerApp.com. The giveaway will run through September 2nd...Good Luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

What would you use your own custom stickers for?

August 24, 2016

4 Things Being A Stepmom Has Taught Me

Today I'm taking a small break from the Wedding Wednesday recaps to talk about another important part of my life. If you've been a reader of mine for a while, or even just follow me on Instagram it's pretty evident how much I love my Stepson.

Since he's headed back to school tomorrow for another year of middle school I thought I'd share some things being a Stepmom to this amazing little dude has taught me.

Love big.
Ethan is a lover. For the past several years the first thing on his Christmas list has been "for homeless people to find a home." Ethan always wants to give more, do more, and love bigger.  He is constantly sharing things with the neighborhood kids. I remember the first Summer he lived with us full time and we couldn't keep Capri Suns stocked in our fridge. He would always grab a handful of them and I would look out the window to find him sitting with other kids passing out drinks. He's always wanting to give something to someone and make people happy. He comes up with the grandest ideas each year for Father's Day, Christmas and his Daddy's birthday because he loves him so much. His heart is something I will forever admire because his love is endless.

A photo posted by emelia💜 (@emeliaanne_) on

The small moments are really great.
I used to take for granted the little moments in life until I became a Stepmom. Bedtime became one of my favorite times of the day because Ethan is always giggly and silly and it's just so fun. I learned to slow down and just sit with Ethan playing or doing my work while he does his homework. I cherish those quiet times now and look forward to coming home from a long day at work to see how his day was. Now that he's gotten older he loves to talk and ask questions...who knew that conversations with my almost teenager could be so fun? The moments I used to take for granted are some of the most special ones now. Each moment with Ethan is one that I will cherish.

Each day is a fresh new start.
There's some times that I get really mad when he's upset me or done something wrong. I yell. I punish him. Then I get sad and wonder if he's going to hate me for days or weeks. Ethan wakes up the next day with a "Hi Milla" and a smile on his face. I know it's not always going to be this easy, but we all make mistakes and react some ways we probably shouldn't have...Stepmoms included. The beauty of it all is that each day is a fresh new start. I'm grateful for our relationship and the never ending love and greatness that comes with a brand new day. There's days he's a bit wild and crazy and sometimes ornery, but I know that tomorrow another day is coming and that one may be a little easier.

You don't have to give someone life for them to make a difference in yours.
You may not think it looking at us now, but Ethan and I went through a rocky period. When Chuck and I were dating it was hard at first to find my place. I had so much fun with Ethan and really began to care for him, but never wanted to cross any boundaries. Having divorced parents myself, I knew our road wasn't going to be easy for the three of us. Figuring out how to make day to day routines, new memories, and rules work for everyone involved wasn't a walk in the park. It was really difficult for me at times to wonder if we would ever get through it because I wasn't his biological parent but I realized that I could still be an important part of Ethan's life. Now Chuck teases me all the time because he says Ethan is wrapped around my finger. It's true...and it didn't take long. Ethan's personality, his ability to care for everyone, his infectious spirit and fun loving soul won me over really quick. He's taught me so much...more than four things I could ever list in a blog post. Ethan has truly changed me for the better and I'm a better person with him in my life. I couldn't imagine it any differently now and every single day I am blessed to be a part of his.

I know parenting and Stepmom posts don't come often around here, so if you're still reading...thank you. I love having this space to put my thoughts and feelings into words and look back on in years to come. Ethan, if you ever read this...I love you more than you will ever know, thank you for being the brightest part of my day and one of the biggest blessings in my life.

August 22, 2016

5 Reasons You Should Visit Erie, Pa In The Summer

Erie, Pa...my beautiful home. While Pittsburgh will always have my heart, I really do love Erie. Yes, it snows....a lot, but Summers here are absolutely amazing. If you've never visited, it's definitely a great place to get away for a long weekend and enjoy the surroundings.

1. Presque Isle State Park
The Peninsula as it's known by the locals, is the place to be all Summer long. Whether you're enjoying the bike trails or a walk along the lake there's always a wonderful view. You can search for beach glass, explore the lagoons in a kayak, or spend time relaxing on the 11 miles of beaches. Take a walk down to Perry monument and sit by the fountain, and if you head over by the trails you can see a great view of the city.
presque isle

erie pa summer

erie pa summers

sunsets erie pa

presque isle erie pa

Between beaches 9 & 10 you can find Sunset Point which is a popular spot for kite flying. This is one of the only beaches where you can drive right up to the sand to see great views of the lake.

At these beaches you can often find several kites flying in the air, especially on the weekend. I love coming to these beaches because they're farther down the lake and often less crowded making it more serene.

2. The food & drinks
You don't want to visit Erie without hitting up Sara's because it screams Summer. The local diner features Smith's (the BEST) hot long foot dogs, crispy french fries & onion rings and sweet milkshakes. Sit outside, or inside by the neon lights and enjoy the sights and visitors from all over.

While you're outside, take a ride along the Bayfront Connector over to downtown and take in a Rum Runner. This restaurant and bar is right on the water and serves up the best rum concoctions, but drink them slow because they'll kick your butt fast and you're only allowed 3. And yes, the waitresses and bartenders do keep track so if you want more, be creative.

Since it's Summer you want some ice cream. The Blue Moon at Whippy Dip is off the charts, and you can't beat the classic chocolate at Romolo's. While you're at Romolo's pick up some chocolate covered grapes...best thing ever.

State Street is home to allllll the bars and there's plenty of outdoor seating so you can enjoy the sunshine. I highly recommend the spinach & artichoke dip from Calamari's, wings from the Plymouth, a glass of Presque Isle Rose from Cloud 9, and anything in the form of a shot from anything below 6th street because that's where the late nights always happen.

One of the newest places to chill is the Courtyard Erie Bayfront and it's become one of my favorite places to catch a beautiful sunset and views of the lake. The infinity pool is SO cool too.

3. The fun things around town
The Tom Ridge Environmental Center is completely free and you can't miss it on your drive down to Presque Isle State Park. There's lots of facts on the history of the park and usually seasonal things to check out too. Take a few hours to walk around and check out the exhibits and take a trip up to the top of the tower to get a great view of Presque Isle and Waldameer Park.

Head downtown to see the Bicentennial Tower and another great view of the lake. You can climb to the top of the observation deck 138 feet to get some amazing pictures and see for miles on a nice clear day.

Waldameer Park is our local amusement park and you have to ride the Ravine Flyer II which is ranked the 7th best wooden coaster in the world. What makes this ride so fun is the fact that it goes over the four lanes of traffic headed to and from Presque Isle State Park. The wave pool is another great area that's super relaxing and fun all at the same time.

The Brig Niagara at the Maritime Museum is definitely a cool thing to check out while you're in town. In 1813 there was a battle including nine ships, one of them being the Niagara, defeated the British ships in the Battle of Lake Erie. This third replica of the ship resides by our library downtown at the Maritime Museum. You can see it from the library windows and it sometimes goes out on the Great Lakes too.

4. Enjoy all the music
There's constantly Summer music events during the week which make it easy to get out of the house and really enjoy the season.
8 Great Tuesdays is held...well, on Tuesdays in the evenings. Come down to the amphitheatre for some free entertainment, and it's totally family friendly. There's also food trucks, beer and wine and another beautiful view of the water. They host a variety of music from blues to country to rock and roll throughout Summer.

sunset music series

The Mid Day Art Break is great if you're downtown during normal work hours. Grab lunch at the Wave Cafe and take a walk outside on your lunch to enjoy the live music series from 12-1 pm. Free gallery tours are given during 12:30- 1 pm on these Wednesday afternoons as well.

Romolo's Chocolates plays host to several bands throughout the Summer on Saturday evenings. Get a few pieces of chocolate or a delicious ice cream cone since it's one of the best spots around and take in the sweet surroundings.

romolos erie pa

romolos erie pa

The Sunset Summer Music Series can be enjoyed on Wednesday nights on Beach 1 from right after work beginning at 5:30 until sunset. Bring a chair or a blanket and park it in the sand. It's a great event put on by the Presque Isle partnership and there's always a very energetic group.

Shickalay's On The Bay usually has an outdoor concert in their huge grass area with funky bands on the weekends. Pro tip: If you don't want to pay to get in, but still want to enjoy the music or a nice dinner...hit up Joe Roots Grill across the street. Sit outside and have a glass of wine and my favorite, the Shrimp Caesar Salad while you can hear the jams from Shickalay's.

5. The Sunsets
Last but definitely not least, one of my favorite things about Erie is the sunsets. They are beautiful any time of the year, but absolutely killer in the Summer. One of the best things to do in the Summer is ride down to Presque Isle and catch a sunset on the beach. We've done quite a bit of it this Summer....I'll let the pictures explain why Erie was named third in the world for the best sunsets by National Geographic.
best sunsets in erie pa

lake erie sunsets

lake erie pa sunset

hotels in erie pa

presque isle erie pa

All of these pictures were taken on my cell phone from just doing some day to day exploring in my own city, so once our camera is back from being fixed I can't wait to venture out and practice with it. A lot of people aren't big fans of the NorthEast because of the cold, but if you ever venture to Erie in the Summer you will not be disappointed.

What's your favorite place to visit in the Summer? Have you ever been to Erie, Pa?