Tips For a Healthy Bride

Spring is in the air, the sun is shining, nature is beautiful and……full of pollen and cedar. There’s nothing like being sick on your wedding day to bring down your mood! That’s why it’s important to start allergy prevention and take care of yourself well before your wedding day gets here. Of course, you can always take a prescription or over the counter allergy medication once you start feeling under the weather, but I think healthy and organic prevention is the best way to go! After all, you want to build a strong immune system, not weaken it with chemicals. The Texas hill country is full of allergens; we’ve got cedar, oak, ragweed, junipers, ash, elm,  and many more.

3lbJarHoney_pinkPhoto Credit: Fains Honey

Go to your local farmer’s market or grocery store and pick up some locally made honey — meaning within 50 miles of your location. If you take a spoonful each day, it will help acclimate your body to the pollen in the area and will hopefully lessen its effect on you. It’s very important that it be local honey, the closer the better, or it won’t help much at all.

noni_fruitPhoto Credit:

I recently discovered the amazing properties of a Hawaiian fruit, Noni. It’s a tropical fruit that’s been used for years to help the body resist infections and enviro-toxins. Noni can be taken as a juice, pill capsule or in its natural form, eaten as a fruit. Warning! Noni has an unpleasant smell that some people find unbearable. I’ve found that the pill capsules don’t have the weird flavor that you’ll get when drinking the juice or eating the fruit.

neti_pot_sinucleansePhoto Credit: SinuCleanse

Neti pots are not my favorite items to combat allergies with (I hate the feeling of having liquid in my nose — like a really big wave at the beach!), but everyone I know who uses one says it works wonders for them. It looks like a tea kettle or magic lamp, and works like nasal spray by using salt water to flush your sinuses and keep them clear. Recommended use is two times a day, especially after spending a lot of time outdoors (like floating the river).

omega-3-fatty-acidPhoto Credit: Psych Central

Omega-3 fatty acids are your best friend for a lot of reasons, one of which is allergy symptom relief. Omega-3s can be found in cold-water fish, walnuts, flaxseed oil, and grass-fed meat and eggs. Some added benefits are lower blood pressure, a healthier heart, therapeutic for children with ADHD and autism, prevents and reverses insulin resistance, and is absolutely wonderful for your skin. You can find them in capsules at the grocery store and health food stores if you don’t eat enough of it in its natural form.

crib_mattressPhoto Credit: Greenopedia

Believe it or not, your mattress could have something to do with your bad allergies! The best thing to do is find a high-quality, allergy-free cover or mattress. Wash all of your bedding with hot water at least once a week during allergy season to keep it fresh and irritant free. Check the tags of your mattresses; unless stated otherwise, most mattresses and sheets are sprayed with pesticides.

product_oil_of_oreganoPhoto Credit: Home Remedies Web

Oil of Oregano can be found in capsule form and is good for respiratory issues such as cough, asthma or allergies. It comes from the leaf of a plant called Oregano; the oil is also good for menstrual cramps, UTIs, headaches, and heart conditions. You can relieve stuffiness by putting a few drops of oregano oil to a diffuser or vapourizer. To relieve a sore throat, drink a few drops of the oil with some water or juice.


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Your Dress after the Wedding

Your wedding day is over, but you still have your wedding gown.  What do you do with the dress?  Here are a few things you can do with your gown after your big day.  The traditional idea is that your daughter will someday wear your dress on her wedding day.  It is not common to see brides wear their mothers wedding dress anymore, but if you would like to keep your gown, just in case, here are a cope of ways to store it.  First you need to have your wedding gown cleaned and preserve it.  Yes, there is a difference in cleaning it and having it preserved.  You can keep it in a box and store it or you could do something a bit more glamorous with it and use it as decoration in your home.  If you loved your dress, display it.

If you are going on a honeymoon why not take your dress with you and plan a trash the dress photo shoot.  For those of you that do not know what trash the dress is, it is a photo session of you and your husband, in a body of water, dressed in your wedding day attire.  You will have beautiful pictures and fun memories to cherish of you and your husband as newlyweds.  You might be thinking “why would I ever ruin my dress by doing trash the dress”.  Trash the dress does not mean you have to ruin your dress in any way, unless you want to.  I have asked several brides that have had a trash the dress photo shoot and all of them said their dress was just as it was before the pictures.  If you plan on taking pictures in the ocean, you might want to jump in a pool after.  It will clean all the sand off your dress and it will be as beautiful as the day you were married.  Still not convinced about a trash the dress session?  Look at these gorgeous pictures.

affordable wedding gowns for bridals



Did those pictures spark your interest?  They should!  You can be as bold with your trash the dress as you want to.


Celebrity Bridesmaid Dresses

imagesIf you have no use for your dress after your wedding, you might want to consider selling your dress.  There are a few consignment and resale shops in the Austin area where you can take your dress to.  This is a great way to get back some money to use towards your new home with your husband or to buy something you can use on a regular basis.  If you are feeling a bit more generous consider donating your dress to a cause or a friend in need.  Brides Across America, Brides Against Breast Cancer, and Wish Upon A Wedding are a few of the organizations that help brides in need fulfill their wedding dreams.  Not everyone can afford to have the dress of their dreams, but these organizations are trying to make brides dreams a reality.


Don’t leave your dress in the back of a closet to be forgotten.  Bring your dress back to life even after your wedding day.  Find which best fits you and use your dress for something great; whether it be to bring some glamour into your house, trash the dress, or donating it to a charity you are passionate about.



*Betsy Villanueva



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Wonderful Wedding Vendors


It’s okay if you’re still missing a few vendors on your list for the big day. Here are a few photographers, videographers, wedding cake decorators and flowers shops, as well as what they can offer you and your fiance on or before your wedding day.

Photo credit: Airstream PhotoBooth

This creative and mobile photo booth uses Daisy, a 1967 vintage airstream, to travel to your wedding, fraternity/sorority party, or corporate event location and provide fun and entertaining photos for your memory book! Airstream PhotoBooth was created by Chris and Yvonne Johnson, who are also the owners of Austin Imagery Photography. Daisy is a fully-functioning photography studio on wheels including professional cameras, lighting and on-the-spot printers. You can rent Daisy and their services for a variety of prices, the Modern Package for $950 or the Vintage Package for $1,150. Both packages offer photo props, unlimited photos, digital images, online viewing, set up and take down, and up to 3 hours of service. They travel all over Austin and the Texas Hill Country areas as well as outside those areas, but extra travel fees may be applied to any outlying locations.

photoPhoto credit: New Road Productions

New Road Wedding Photography and Videography that serves the greater Austin area, including the Texas Hill Country. Most of the photography and videography is done by Wes Sheperd with the help of additional photographers depending on the package ordered. Wes offers a variety of photography packages: Silver, Gold, Platinum, and Diamond, that can be requested for 6 or 8 hours ranging from $1700-$2750. His videography packages include Silver, Gold and Platinum that can be booked for 6 or 8 hours ranging from $900-$1800. Wes uses all professional equipment and has a resume that boasts work with HGTV, Discovery Channel, Travel Channel, DIY Network, as well as having won WeddingWire’s Bride’s Choice Award in 2012 and in 2013. We love working with Wes and his production company here at Lotus Ranch and hope you will too!

Simon Lee Bakery

SimonLee12-406x600Photo credit: Simon Lee Bakery

This is an excellent place to order your wedding treats from! Located just outside Austin in Pflugerville and with over 35 years in combined experience, their motto is “Simon Lee…when it has to be perfect.” They have an extensive menu to choose from including, but not limited to, white french vanilla, italian cream carrot cake, red velvet, marble cake, cheesecakes, fruit toppings, chocolate truffle and more! Simon Lee decorates their cakes beautifully and can make a cake for the bride and groom, as well! They have won the Austin Wedding Day Style Elegant Style Award, The Knot’s Best of Wedding Picks from 2007-2012, and the 2010 Bride’s Choice Award.

Whim Floral Design

prom dresses online shop 2016Photo credit: Whim Floral Design

Whim precisely caters your flowers to you: your personality, likes, dislikes, style, budget and the season (remember, not all flowers are available at all times of the year). They offer a “Signature Collection” which includes consultation, bouquets, boutonnieres, centerpieces, cocktail arrangements, aisle petals or chair flowers, and a custom proposal with one revision. The “Custom Floral Package” includes your favorite flowers (in season), custom proposal with two revisions, complimentary farmer’s market visit, and the option to rent or own vessels (candelabras, elegant vases, backdrops, unique antiques, etc.). You can also opt for their “DIY Floral Package” which includes seasonal fresh flowers for up to 150 guests, along with a link to a video tutorial on how to put bouquets and floral arrangements together. You have the option of picking up flowers that are fresh from the market two days before the wedding, or already prepped and cleaned flowers 1-2 days prior.

No matter which vendor you choose for your wedding, make sure you are comfortable with the arrangements you have made and that you have clearly stated to your vendor what you want from them. If you have a question, ask them, because it is much easier to negotiate in the beginning rather than a few days or weeks away from your wedding date.


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The Wedding Send Off


Congratulations! You’re married and now that you’ve eaten, talked and danced the night away, all that’s left is the bride and groom send off. The old traditional send off with rice is rarely used anymore because most venues don’t allow it. There are plenty of fun alternatives, however, that are sure to be even better than rice! Make sure and confirm with your venue that whatever item you end up using is allowed there.



The most common send off at weddings these days are sparklers. I recommend filling some pots with dirt and placing them on either side of where you want the guests to line up for the send off. Place long sparklers in the pots so that guests, especially children, won’t be too close to the end of the sparkler. These are great for creating an arch for the bride and groom to walk through as guests are lined up on either side. Shorter sparklers are better if you would prefer taking pictures of words and designs you make with the sparklers.



LED light balloons are a great idea for a send off! You can place them wherever you want and you don’t have to worry about them not showing up in pictures at night. They create the perfect glow to see the bride and groom off on their new life together. They can be purchased at many online stores as well as your local party store and come in a variety of colors. Tie the balloons to chairs or hand them out to guests to hold!

Noise Makers

noise makers

Any children in attendance will love this idea, the adults maybe/maybe not! It is, however, only going to last for a few minutes so it shouldn’t be too bad. It’s a celebration, it should sound like one, too! Buy them online, in your local party store, or make your own with glass bottles and knick knacks.



This will make a mess, a huge mess! But who doesn’t love confetti? You can buy already made confetti poppers or you can make your own with recycled colored paper. Again, make sure your wedding venue is okay with your guests using these because they will get everywhere.

Paper Lanterns

paper lanterns

Paper lanterns have grown in popularity over the last few years, although they have been traditional for some families for many years. They give a magical glow to your send off and guests of all ages will enjoy lighting and sending off their own lantern.



Bubbles are the new rice! Bubbles, bubbles everywhere at almost any wedding you’ll attend. They’re fun, small, inexpensive and everyone knows how to use them. The best part? Absolutely no clean up! Shop around for different types of bubble containers and decide if you want to go small and traditional or big and colorful.

Red Carpet

red carpet

Want to feel glamorous? Have your guests line up on either side of a red carpet and take pictures of you and your groom with the flash on. Disposable cameras are inexpensive and polaroid cameras are more expensive but can give an instant photo. Consider leaving in a limo as well and you and your groom are sure to feel like celebrities!


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My Life As A Bride- Wedding Gown Edition

What can be more important to the bride than the cake, vendor choices, and venue?  Her wedding dress, of course!  It is the last dress she will be wearing as a single woman and the first dress she will be wearing as a newlywed.  Not to mention, all eyes are on the bride as she walks down the aisle to happily ever after.  People will talk about the dress during the wedding and after the wedding.  Guests will discuss how they feel about the dress, how it fit the bride, was the style pretty or ugly, etc.  What is most important is how you, as the bride, feel in the wedding gown.  What do you want to look like on your wedding day? A princess? A sexy bride? Traditional bride?  Some brides want the dress to fit in with their wedding theme.  I have yet to decide what I want to look like on my wedding day.  A consultant asked me an interesting question when i was shopping for a wedding dress; “What do you want to see when you look back at your pictures?  What do you want your kids to see when they look at your pictures?”  I guess I had never through of that.  It did not help me narrow my choices, but it could help you narrow yours.

I went in to my appointments with an open mind.  Dresses that you would normally rule out can actually be the best dress for you.  It all depends on how it looks on you, not on the hanger.  You never know, you might be pleasantly surprised.  I know I was with certain dresses that I would not have picked when it was hanging.  I have visited 7 bridal shops throughout Austin and Houston.  I have yet to find my dress (I will get into that later).  Most of the bridal consultants were very nice and pleasant to work with.  None of them gave much of an input, which can be good and bad.  When I would ask them for opinions they would say I like them all or they all look great.  This just makes it more difficult to decide.  I have been going to the appointments with my mother.  I feel like this is one of those moments you need to have with your mom.  It can be emotional and even difficult to try to find the perfect dress for your wedding day, but the person that will never fail to get you through the tough moments is your mother.  She will be honest with you.  I know some people may take large groups of friends or family members to dress shop, but I think that it would confuse me even more to hear so many opinions.


Wedding dresses are beautiful to begin with, so the issue I am having is trying to find the dress that I can’t stop thinking about.  The dress that makes me glow and excited.  I haven’t been wowed by any dresses so far.  Maybe there really isn’t a big moment for everyone when they pick a wedding dress.  I am not looking for the big moment, I am looking for the big dress, the one that impresses me.  I know, I know, 7 wedding dress shops is a bit much, but I am not willing to settle on a dress.  I am in it for the long hall so I only plan on wearing a white extravagant gown once in my lifetime.  Am I putting too much emphasis on the wedding gown?  That is a possibility.  Hopefully I find my wedding gown soon.  I am on a time crunch.  Ladies, keep in mind that dresses take about 4-6 months to be made and it can take even longer than that.  Allow yourselves enough time for the dress to come in and to make alterations.  I will already be paying rush fees because I am 6 months away from my wedding date.  I suggest you find a dress 8 months before your wedding date, just to be on the safe side.  Also, pick a dress that fits your body type.  Not having a wedding gown this late in the game is a bit of a hiccup, but I am determined to find one soon.


*Betsy Villanueva

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How To: Take Wedding Party Pictures


Whether you have an even or an odd number of bridesmaids and groomsmen, it will be difficult to get the perfect picture every time.


An even number means that you and your hubby can be in the direct middle of the wedding party. The eye is automatically drawn to the center of the photograph.


An odd number does not have to mean that you and your hubby are not the center of attention. Your wedding dress will draw the eye towards you, and a good photographer will use props or different poses to put more attention on the bride and groom.


When taking pictures with your bridesmaids, be sure to get a photo of just you and the maid of honor, as well as all of you together.


After the bride and bridesmaids, and groom and groomsmen pictures are taken, switch with your fiance. Have your hubby take pictures with the bridesmaids and you take pictures with the groomsmen. These will make for some hilarious photos if you use silly props!


Also have your bridesmaids and groomsmen take photos without the bride and groom. They can enjoy a little photo shoot of their own while you and your fiance take bride and groom pictures.


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Embracing All White

Becoming engaged is a monumental moment in a girls life.  It’s something most girls dream about and usually they have most of their wedding planned before they even have a boyfriend.  You picture you’re big day countless times and how great it will be and all the fun you, you’re friends, and family will have and yes all of these things are true but in reality you’re big day comes and goes entirely too fast.  Before you know it you’re married.  From the moment you get engaged I think you should embrace being a bride and the time you have to be engaged.  With that being said here are some great style options to incorporate all white into you’re everyday life until you’re wedding day when you will wear you’re all white dress.


This dress is flawless.  It’s a twist on old hollywood glam and is fabulous to wear on dinner dates, bridal appointments, or even to take some engagement or bridal pics in!


This white dress is also another great option.  It would be really cute to wear to look at wedding venues and what not.  Simple but classy.


Maybe you work at an office?  Why not incorporate all white into you’re work attire with an all white business suit.


What a great weekend outfit!  Super casual but so cute.  It would be perfect for going shopping, meeting you’re bridesmaids up for lunch, or even just a day with the family.


This outfit is show stopping.  It is the perfect choice for all white on a night on the town!


Life’s too short to wear boring clothes.  Embrace being a bride and embrace wearing all white!

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Lean, Mean, Bride Machine


Getting married usually comes with a handful of stress and also sleep deprivation.  With the extra stress and lack of sleep it is very important to make sure you are keeping you’re body healthy.  Many women struggle with their body image and many brides tend to go on diets close to their wedding to make sure they look flawless in their white gown.  However, the key to any successful diet is to start early and try doing something you can stick with, more of a lifestyle change than a diet.  Here are some healthy tips to get ready for you’re wedding day.

This is a great work out plan to follow that gives you a good amount of cardio, arm work outs, and abdominal exercises.

Also, make sure you are staying extremely hydrated!  Keep a balanced diet of fruits, veggies, and proteins.  You can be more conscious of portion control by using containers with dividers like in the picture below so you can see just how much you are eating.

Every bride is beautiful and as you’re wedding day approaches remember these helpful tips to keep you’re body healthy and energized!

Hilary Clemons


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Houston Bridal Extravaganza- Randy Fenoli


Randy Fenoli, star of TLC’s “Say Yes to the Dress”, will attend the Houston Bridal Extravaganza! Guests may enjoy a special presentation at the Randy Fenoli Experience, where the bridal gown expert will share his advice on selecting the perfect, magical dress. Also, get a meet-and-greet opportunity after his big presentation!

When: Jan. 6th

Time: 10:45 a.m.

Tickets: $40 (includes Bridal Extravaganza admission)


Guests who are not interested in the special presentation are more than welcome to continue searching for all their bridal needs, There will be hundreds of vendors who will be eager to help making your dream a reality!

When: Jan. 5th and 6th

Time: Saturday 10 a.m.- 5 p.m., Sunday 11 a.m.- 5 p.m.

Where: George R. Brown Convention Center 1001 Avenida De Las Americas

Tickets: $15 per day


You may purchase Bridal Extravaganza and Randy Fenoli Experience tickets here.


Click here to read tips on how to prepare for a day at the Bridal Extravaganza!



By: Sabrina Read

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Austin Bridal Extravaganza- David Tutera


David Tutera, host of WE television show “My Fair Wedding: Unveiled”, will make an appearance at this year’s Austin Bridal Extravaganza! Soon-to-be brides are welcome to attend the wedding expo to gain insight and make plans for their special day.

When: Jan. 5th and 6th

Time: noon- 5 p.m.

Where: Palmer Events Center 900 Barton Springs Rd.

Tickets: $14 per day, children 12 and under free


Guests who want to hear Tutera share his latest trends and ideas for planning a dream wedding can attend The Dream with David Tutera event.

When: after the Bridal Extravaganza on Saturday Jan. 5th

Time: 7 p.m.

Where: Hilton Austin 500 East 4th St.

Tickets: General Admission ($50) – includes a free two-day ticket to the Bridal Extravaganza.

VIP admission ($150) – includes a free two-day ticket to the Bridal Extravaganza, a 3-course gourmet meal, seating closest to the stage and the opportunity to meet David Tutera.


You may purchase Bridal Extravaganza and The Dream with David Tutera tickets here.


Click here to read tips on how to prepare for a day at the Bridal Extravaganza!



By: Sabrina Read

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