Wedding Dress Mementos: Lisa Stoner Interviewed by Patchwork Bear

I was just tickled when I saw a familiar name come across by inbox recently wondering if I wouldn't mind sharing thoughts about wedding planning, some tips on how to keep it personal and some fun ways to use the wedding dress AFTER the wedding as a legacy or keepsake.

Jennifer Cura and I went to school together in New York a *few years ago. It's been great to follow our lives both professionally and personally, {we both had our oldest daughter complete their first year of college this year!} and I am so proud of what she has done with her company, Patchwork Bear.

The Patchwork bear was founded by Jennifer Cura in 2004 after combining her skill as an architect with her love of sewing to produce a product line of handmade products that are unique and personal as those who won them.  Her line has grown from a simple baby quilt and matching bear to include: tooth fairy pillows, photo memory quilts, custom bears and full nursery design.

I mean if  my virtual best friends Jessica Alba and Jennifer Garner are fans ... *wink!


Now is the time for all of my most recent Spring Brides to take advantage of her June special so you can fashion your gown into a legacy!

The Q & A:

June is one of the most popular months to get married so this month we are highlighting weddings and our wedding dress quilts and bears. Recently we sat down with one of our favorite wedding planners, Lisa Stoner of E Events by Lisa Stoner and asked her to dish some advice for brides. Lisa, a native New Yorker, is a sought after event stylist who has been featured in BRIDES, The Knot and more.

1. What is the #1 piece of advice you give all brides?

To plan and design with a strong sense of self and family.  The most memorable weddings are the authentic weddings. If it reflects the couple and the families’ style and sensibilities, it all makes great sense in the end.  If it all properly tells your story, then you’ve made it perfect.

2. What is the first thing brides should tackle during the planning process?

At the risk of sounding cliché, I have to say hiring a wedding planner. Planners can leverage their network of resources to best serve the couple as well as narrow down the search for the perfect venue, photographer, floral designer, etc.  Our knowledge and experience with all variables that go along with the planning and designing process can also garner concessions on our clients’ behalf.

3. What are some of your favorite ways to make a wedding unique?

As much as I love a tastefully designed wedding environment, I always emphasize the power of “gestures” during the wedding weekend. Floral centerpieces and great lighting will make any space look great, but it’s how you make your guests feel at the end of your wedding weekend or evening that makes a lasting impressions.  It’s how you take care of them as a host and hostess at the biggest party of your life that counts!

4. What are some easy ways to personalize a wedding?

Is there a favorite recipe of Grandma’s that you love? Share it with your catering team to have it emulated. If your parents still have their toasting glasses from their wedding, consider using them. What is yours and your fiancé’s favorite indulgent food? Roll that out in the last hour of your reception when the party is really in full force! I’ve had pizza delivery on the dance floor and, as they say, the crowd went wild! *wink

5. Are there any details that brides often overlook?

Brides are busier than ever these days, advancing their careers and nurturing their relationship with their fiancé. I think that once they secure the essentials like the venue, photographer, floral, music, etc. they forget some fun and important details like lighting, wedding stationery [ceremony programs, escort cards, menu cards] a fun getaway, and though not the glamorous part of planning, but what does post-event look like? Who takes the gifts, cards, personal effects such as a cake server set, champagne glasses, any framed photos? Not to worry, we cover this with our clients 30 days before the wedding in our final details meeting!

 Image Courtesy of  Liga Photography

Image Courtesy of Liga Photography

 

6. Do you have a favorite current wedding trend?

I try to be very careful and selective with the word “trend” when applying it to a wedding.  Certainly, we all try to be “on trend” in various aspects of our lives such as fashion, home design and even with food. My approach to planning and design is the use of some modern trends to a classic wedding elements. That being said, I adore whimsical drink stirrers, charging stations, and the use of hashtags to “brand” your wedding. Social media is the new branding platform for personal, business and weddings!

7. What are some fun ways you can use your wedding dress after the big day?

 Well, Patchwork Bear clearly creates these incredible keepsakes that make for the perfect legacy. I have also seen my couples use the dress for a bassinet lining, Christening dress, or fabric for a Chuppah for weddings that follow in the family.  I have also displayed a mother of the bride’s dress on a classic dress form at a client’s wedding, along with accompanying photos on a nearby table.  This had guests favorably talking!

 Image Courtesy of  KT Merry

Image Courtesy of KT Merry

 

Don’t forget to order your wedding dress quilt, bear or christening gown this month with code WEDDINGS to get 20% off. For more great tips from Lisa check out her blog here.

 

And for a fun flash back [to really see how far we've come!] have a looksey here.  Please don't kill me Jen!

Albertus Magnus High School Graduation, circa 1987.


REAL WEDDINGS: ERICA AND SHAWN AT THE RITZ CARLTON ORLANDO, GRANDE LAKES, TAKE 2!

I've been looking forward to sharing just a fraction of the beautiful imagery from Root Photography for Erica and Shawn's wedding for some time now.

I mentioned it's been bittersweet to cull images and reminisce, but I've put on my big girl stilettos, and have decided that  I am all the better for having two incredible opportunities to work with such a loving and supportive family. They can't get rid of me just quite yet!

Perhaps I'll start with the end.  This is my favorite image, and certainly not because it's the best photo I've ever posed for, but because it was one of the last songs of the evening, and the Landis/Landau/Sickel ladies pulled me aside for this moment.  This was 3 + years in the making and I loved every meeting, every phone call, every text and email.

Nothing but love.

I know, I know, you've stopped by to look at the "pretty."  Well, I've got pretty for you, alright!

Let's start with Erica's dress by Kenneth Pool: I was at Solutions Bridal when we had Kate, {mom} Vicky {Sister} and a slew of fun bridesmaids.  We all agreed Erica could have worn wear a burlap sack and still look smashing, nit when she stepped out in this??  Let's just say tears were shed. I wasn't alone! *wink

From dress, to veil to the delivery of her delicate, lush bouquet, the pretty just kept coming. Kinda' like a one-two "style punch!"

I love these sisters.

Grooms look dapper, and have fun while getting ready too! At least Shawn did!

Bride+Getting Ready+Lisa Stoner+E Events Design+Root Photography.jpg

When designing a wedding in a larger hotel, I always like to claim my space and carve my niche on our designated side.  I think we let everyone know that this area was especially for Erica, Shawn, their families and treasured wedding guests with the application of this dramatic and elegant draping by Swag Décor.  Below, is the entrance to the foyer that led guests to the ceremony and reception spaces.

Ceremony time!  THAT CHUPPAH!  How many ribbons?? I couldn't even guess!

Proud parents.  This makes me so happy!

Just married, and just breathtaking.

On to the reception!  Guests enjoyed finding their ombré hues escort cards on this custom built display.

Reception details for the win!

Party, party, party!  And wedding streamers for life!

Love was certainly in the air! Clint Wiley and his lead female vocalist are now getting married!

Erica had so many girlfriends at the wedding she had hoped would catch the bouquet.  I didn't have the heart to just have one "win," so we made twelve! We had happy and surprised girls just after this award-winning toss!

Finally, a sweet and signature send off for guests as they made their way back to their guest rooms and/or valet. Dunkin Donuts!  Kate is a legendary, life-long and loyal patron!

I hope you had as much fun being a virtual guest at Erica and Shawn's wedding, as I did reminiscing, love bugs!

xx, LS

Fun Facts:

Bridal Gown, Mother of the Bride and Bridesmaids Gowns: Solutions Bridal

Venue: The Ritz Carlton Orlando, Grande Lakes

Photography: Root Photography | Nathan and Jensey Root

Video: Jeffrey Stoner Video

Floral Design and Chuppah: Lee Forrest Design

Wedding Stationery: 2u Creative

Lighting: Get Lit Productions

Band: Clint Wiley and the None Other Band

Drape: Swag Decor

The Virgin Chef — Easy Breakfast Casserole

 

 

 

 

Every year the mister, mini-mister and I host a holiday brunch for all of our friends and family.  And since cooking for 3 is already a challenge for me, you can imagine cooking for 40 isn’t exactly in my repertoire.   I have, however, developed a few delicious go-tos that have become, dare I say, famous.  If delicious and easy is your goal, let me introduce you to the Breakfast Casserole (can you tell I’ve been reading too much Doctor Seuss?).  It checks off all the important things: healthy, easy, make in advance.  And it’s great to make ahead for those day after holiday breakfasts! (Perfect for New Year’s Day!) 

Tip – If you’re making for a party, it’s best to make the day before and stick in the refrigerator. Then you can simply put it in the oven about 30 minutes before your party begins.  It will be warm and ready to serve upon guest’s arrival.  VEGETARIAN guests? Substitute mushrooms (or vegetable of your choice) instead of sausage. Bon appetite!

 

BREAKFAST CASSEROLE

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Ingredients:

  • Egg Beaters (you can also use regular eggs but I find egg beaters to be easier to work with and, of course, healthier)
  • Milk
  • Mustard
  • Pillsbury Crescent rolls
  • 1 box frozen pre-cooked breakfast sausage (I use Applegate Farms Natural Chicken and Maple Breakfast Sausage – organic, nitrate free and 70% less fat than typical pork links)
  • Shredded cheddar cheese

Directions: Slightly defrost the breakfast sausages in the microwave (about 30 seconds), cut into bite size pieces and put to the side. Spray casserole dish with a non-stick spray and then open the crescent rolls but do not tear them apart. Keeping the crescent rolls in a single sheet lay them across the dish lining the casserole dish with the dough. Spread a thin coat of mustard on the dough. Pour in egg beaters until the casserole dish is about ¼ full than pour in milk bringing the dish to just less than half full. Stir the milk and eggs together in the casserole dish. (you can also mix the eggs and milk in a separate bowl and pour in but doing it this way cuts down on dishes☺) Add sausages to the mix spreading them throughout the dish. Pop in the oven at 350 degrees for 25 minutes.

After 25 minutes pull the casserole out and add cheese to top and put back in the oven for another 10 minutes or until the cheese is fully melted and the eggs are cooked through.

VOILA!

 
 

Lisa Stoner's Holiday Gift Picks

 

I enjoy celebrating the Holiday season just as much as the next person, but like to keep my gift ideas organized and well-rounded. A great part of that enjoyment for me is the gift-giving, and I like to keep my gifts thoughtful and tailored to the recipient, and while I will always maintain that homemade is best, here bare some ideas that anyone on your list would love to receive!



House work got you down . . . Feeling Like Cinderella?

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So last year I had the genius idea to put an iRobot Roomba on my Christmas list. And let me tell you it is the BEST GIFT I HAVE EVER RECEIVED! This thing is AMAZING, it runs a three hour cycle and although it doesn’t seem like it, has a ton of suction (it’s farely quiet while running) the dirt tray is always overflowing when it’s complete. It even has it own detection system, knowing how to go around furniture legs and untangle itself from cords or curtains. Yes! That’s what I said, it actually will untangle itself if it runs over cords. Not to mention it goes under the bed, the couch, and all those places that dirt and grime just build up. The best thing about it is I can set it to run while I’m doing other chores around the house, it doesn’t scare the animals and when it’s complete it heads back to it’s charging dock. When it docks . . . it make this cute superhero tune to alert you it’s finished! It’s helpful and amusing all in one!

Except for area rugs, I don’t have carpet in my house. So I can’t speak to how it works on carpet, but I can tell you it goes from the hardwood floor up over the area rugs and vacuums them as well. Now I know that is is quite a splurge, as some of these iRobots can cost up to $700.00 — I’ve found the best time to purchase them is during the Holiday Season. This year you can find it at Target.com for $349.00, with free shipping and a free $40 gift. A deal that can't be beat! (For exact iRobot Specs- click here)

Ps. They also now have a Mopping irobot, this just might make my wish list for next year! If you have an iRobot (vaccum or mop) we would love to hear your review as well, please share with us below in the comment section!

 

I’m not sure about the rest of you, but cleaning my house is a necessary evil. One I dread tackling. As a busy entrepreneur, and parent to four animals with a social life and schedule bursting at the seams — cleaning is something I’m always moving to the bottom of my list. Don’t get me wrong, I’m pretty tidy, and I’m one of those crazies that believe “everything has a place.” So throughout the week, I’m always straightening, dusting, etc. But one thing I absolutely hate is vacuuming. I’m not sure why that is, the vacuum has never done anything to me!

With Allergies (therefore no carpet), animals, and the build up of daily dust… It seems I was developing a love hate relationship with my vacuum cleaner. Dragging it out, plugging it in, trying not run over the cord (which I did more than once) — overall it always just seemed like an ordeal. Granted this may be a little melodramatic, but as a self proclaimed “nature-girl” you’ll find me most of the time barefoot. And nothing is more annoying than walking around your clean house and getting grit on your feet. With four animals going in and out several times a day, I found myself vacuuming constantly.

 product images courtesy of s hop.irobot.com

product images courtesy of shop.irobot.com

 

Home Cooked!


HERE'S A LITTLE MORE ABOUT US AND OUR RELATIONSHIP WITH THE KITCHEN —

LISA STONER: I’ve been a short order cook, hash slinger and even a take-out maven, but never a chef de cuisine. In my young childhood, I grew up watching my grandmother cook thoughtfully and carefully every day. [She always looked really great doing it too!] Perhaps it was my undying admiration and adoration for her as she seemed to effortlessly take care of home and family, but that ease she seemed to have was something I always seemed to strive for.

The savvier cook in me today really only came about once I had my first daughter. Once she became ready to eat solid food, I began making her baby food rather than offering her food from a jar. That process not only came from the deepest place of love I had for her, but it was an enjoyable process for me I found. I find tremendous joy from cooking for my family and friends, but my motives can often times be selfish. Read this slowly in case you think you have read it incorrectly: COOKING SOOTHES ME.

It really does! Truthfully, it’s “me time,” where I get lost in preparation and plating. My mind slows down from thoughts of work, deadlines and all the rest of my responsibilities. The dividends? The rest of the family also slows down from their pace as we all sit around the table. Win-win, indeed. #meandthemister

AMY MORELLI: I honestly don't have an "A HA" type moment of where I learned to cook, I just remember stories of how when my mom married my dad she only knew how to make french fries. HA! (PS. she would kill me if I didn't say that now my mother is an amazing cook, and I did learn alot from her over the years!) I think my cooking skills have come in part to watching, learning and helping my grandmother and mother throughout my childhood, and part from my "creative brain". My cooking style is a bit like: Take a known favorite family recipe and modify it by following my gut (and taste of course) or let's just experiment and see how this tastes. And it probably didn't hurt that I spend most of my young adult years serving in various restaurants. I must say, I am a good cook, and I've come up with some interesting recipes over the years. I will confess right here right now, I CANNOT, REPEAT. CANNOT, BAKE PIES. I have tried and tried, to give you a visual, my last apple pie, turned out purple and tasting like flour... WHAT!#?* #memyselfandi

ROBYN DIXON — The Virgin Chef: I’ll be honest. Cooking isn’t my thing. Work, Sports, Fashion, Reading – those are my things. I actually hadn’t ever given much thought about my lack of cooking skills until one fateful day early in my college career when I set out to make Kraft Macaroni and Cheese. I mean, how hard can that be? Well, it’s not hard I suppose if you follow directions but I didn’t do that. Instead, in my infinite wisdom, thought it appropriate to pour the powdered cheese into the boiling water (I mean how else would it turn into liquid?). Thus began my love/hate relationship with cooking. And there was that one time that I cooked a frozen pizza with the cardboard on the bottom. Ha! Needless to say, since having Lucas I have made an effort to get better at cooking, and thank goodness for friends like Amy who come help "guide" me so I don't burn the house down. She helped me make cupcakes when Lucas turned one, and they actually were a great success! So I'm going to try and grow my cooking skills through this blog, and I hope you all don't find it too amusing. (In my cooking glory pictured right) #meandtheminimister

 

We at Me Actually love all things in the kitchen from entertaining and planning meals to recipe experimentation and of course enjoying our culinary creations. We hope to bring to you recipes for both the virgin and seasoned cooks, as well as many other "hacks" that can be used in your kitchen or your home. Because most family life centers around the heart of the home, which is the the kitchen, we wanted to start with a post so you can get to know us and our culinary prowess and progress.

Please feel free to share your recipes with us in the comment section below. Have a favorite recipe you think our readers would love? Share with us at submissions@meactual.com.