Harlow & Dahlia Events: Why You Should Include Wildflowers at Your Wedding

One of my favorite trends as Vermont wedding planner that my business Harlow & Dahlia Events frequently sees is the use of wildflowers in our weddings.

Wildflowers are a breath of fresh air compared to the more complex arrangements often seen at weddings. Wildflowers such as hydrangeas and baby breath’s are delicate, soft flowers that can really add a sense of romance to any wedding.

They can be used in a variety of different formats. My personal favorite is as a bride’s bouquet, baby breath’s in particular will look so beautiful with most wedding dresses in particular long flowing dresses.

They can also be used as centerpieces for guests tables. In fact I did this at my own wedding, I hand picked all of my centerpiece flowers at a farm and then later the rest were picked and arranged as my pieces.

You can use them as decorative pieces in spots such as the wedding cake table, diner buffet table or the gifts table.

Yet the most everlasting way to use flowers is on your hair. Any bride would look beautiful with natural wildflowers in particular for outside weddings!

Do you love wildflowers? Did you have them at your wedding?

Look of the day: Keeping it Casual

There are days where nothing seems to work. You wake up and you’re off, the coffee tastes awful, you’re exhausted, just not feeling it. When it comes time to get dress, everything looks terrible, etc. etc. If you are a mother then your getting ready time in the mornings is cut by about 75%. I have around 20 minutes which is luxurious and that’s only because I wake up early.
On days I feel like this, I just keep it casual. I have a rule that jeans, a black top and cute shoe swill always look good on anyone in any occasion at all times. You can’t fail with this combination. It’s classic, sexy and to the point. Want to make it even easier? Put your hair up, grab some colorful earrings and you are golden! Easy, 5 minute dress up trick and now you feel and look great for the entire day.
Sometimes you have to shortcut your way to life and (clothes). 
Jeans: Gap
Top: H & M
Sandals: Old Navy
Bag: Vintage

Look of the day: Blue on Blue

I love dates. It’s one of my favorite things to do with my husband in the world, however, we don’t go on them enough, in fact we barely do. The are many factors that affect our ability to enjoy dates such as time, being tired, budgets. Has it been a busy week? Then I don’t want to spend too much time away from our girls, there’s always a reason. So when all these factors fall into place and we can go on a date, I love to dress up. I don’t do it for him, I don’t do it for others, I do it because I love to feel stunning. I love to be dolled up head to toe. My husband will be quick to say : “Well, you are looking for attention” which I think it’s an assumption and label women get frequently thrown on them if they choose to wear anything that may be outside the “norm”, too tight, too dressy, too out there.
 I dress up because I want to feel glamorous out and about, not for attention, not for the photos, all for me. When has it become socially acceptable that a sweatshirt and pants is okay but a nicely fit dress isn’t? I will be fighting that for a while.
Case and point this beautiful blue dress that I love to wear for our dates out. It’s skin pressed and has a beautiful deep tone that really brings out my hair and skin color. I love it as a statement dress, I love pairing up with high heels, as it really brings the whole picture together. I bought the dress years ago somewhere on a trip to Texas and it has been one of my favorite to go to staples. I love matching blues with lighter shades of blues such as my bracelet. An aquamarine tone with a deeper blue makes for a beautiful color combo!

Gluten-Free, Vegan Chocolate Pancakes Recipe

I am always on the lookout for creative “healthy” recipes. The truth is I find most “healthy” meals to taste awful. Cauliflower for dinner? No thank you.

However I do try to make a conscious effort to eat healthy and more importantly have healthy options for my two daughters Zoe and Mackenzie. I’d like to think I found the perfect balance between “most of what we eat is natural  (if that’s even possible now a days and shouldn’t all food be natural?) and “you only live once” have the ice cream and pizza because why not?

When I found this recipe for gluten-free, vegan chocolate pancakes from Organic Authority I was over the moon! No sugar and chocolate in one recipe!!

The girls and I gave it a shot last Sunday. What intrigued me the most about the recipe was using coconut flour and coconut sugar. I’ve never worked with either before and I am SO excited for the chance to replace wheat flour and sugar with a better recipients. I will warn that the price for both is on the higher end ($5ish per package) however I really do believe if you’re going to spend money on anything, nutritious food should be it.

Serves 4

  • ¾ cup coconut flour
  • ¼ cup coconut palm sugar
  • ¼ cup cocoa powder (or raw cacao powder)
  • 2-3 pinches sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3 tablespoons chia seeds soaked in 1 cup water
  • ¼ cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 2 cups almond milk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • ¼ cup carob chips (optional–note most carob chips contain refined sugar)
In a large mixing bowl, add the coconut flour, coconut sugar, cocoa powder, sea salt, and baking powder. Mix until evenly combined.
In a small bowl, whisk together the chia seed mixture, applesauce, milk, and vanilla extract.
Add the wet mixture to the dry mixture slowly, whisking as you go. Once well combined, stir in the carob chips. Cover the bowl with saran wrap and let it sit in the fridge for 15-30 minutes.
Remove the batter from the refrigerator. Head a pan to medium/low heat. Once heated, lightly grease the pan with coconut oil or vegetable oil. Scoop about ¼ cup of the mixture at a time onto the pan to make one pancake. Cook each pancake for 2-3 minutes before flipping. Cook for another 2-3 minutes on the other side. Repeat for all pancakes.

My beautiful baking assistant, my daughter Mackenzie

                       Sorry no end results pictures, we were too busy eating the delicious results!

Look of the Day: White Tutu Style Shoot

My favorite fabric in the world ever, ever, ever is tulle. I love everything about it, as a fabric is delicate, beautiful, ethereal and glamorous. It reminds me of weddings, fairy tales and just beauty in general.

Surprise, surprise my wedding dress was 99% tulle except for pearls and buttons. I will not say I felt like a princes because I felt too glamorous to be labeled a princess. 

When I think of tulle I think of that infamous Marilyn Monroe picture in which she has that ballerina outfit on and just looks legendary or I think of Carrie Bradshaw’s infamous tutu in the opening scene of Sex and the City.

I’ve been wishing to purchase a similar tutu for a very long time so when I saw it last year, I asked myself what am I waiting for to buy it? When is it really ever going to be the norm to wear a tutu around town? Let alone around Vermont? Never. Therefore might as well do it now.
I am ever so grateful I did. It is without doubt my favorite piece of clothing I own. I feel absolutely beautiful and free wearing it.

I premiered it at my bridal shower last year and have worn it to several occasions since. Properly matched with an understated top, it makes for an absolutely beautiful outfit. See for yourself!

Wedding Dress Designer: Stella York

Stella York wedding dresses are one of my absolute favorite wedding dresses as a wedding planner. It is difficult to find an unattractive wedding dress, personally I think most dresses are beautiful, however there is vast difference between beautiful and breath taking.

I do feel strong that Stella York designs fall under the “breath taking” category. The designs are delicate, incredibly detailed and classic. They blend both very traditional effects with modern alluring silhouettes that bring out every bride’s beauty.

They are not overly powerful designs but have consistency behind their styles time after time.
In fact, I almost wore a Stella York to my wedding last year and while I loved my dress, from time to time I look back on the design and wonder.

If you prefer simple, elegant  and romantic designs that are versatile enough for either an outside or inside wedding I recommend trying on Stella York designs.

Check out my wedding business Pinterest page and my wedding planning business page for more ideas: Harlow & Dahlia Events!

Running Wild

The older I get the more I love sports. I wasn’t very sporty growing up having battled extreme asthma as a child, managing to breathe was challenge enough , I didn’t need to add sports to the mix. However, I outgrew my asthma and eventually realized I actually love some sports. I love volleyball, soccer, figure skating, freesbe but I especially love running. 
Why do I love to run? There’s a lot of physical benefits to the sport, of course, but who cares about those. It’s the benefits outside health which are the fun ones.
In general I live life at the beat of my own drum. I’ve always been independent and enjoy going at my pace. In running, you do your own thing, you run at your own pace, you stop when you feel like it, you can run fast, slow, not run, swirl around. There is no team alignment which is fabulous to me. I don’t have to wait for someone to make a move, I don’t have to react, I just go. I’ll run in group practices here and there but nothing beats the freedom of running on your own.

Running is a very freeing sport. When I run I feel like I’m running towards the other end of the world. It’s always an adventure, who will I bump into? How far will I run? How far into town can I go? Should I run by the lake? I never set a path to my running, I set an idea of where I’ll go and just run. I don’t let apps map any runs, I let my feet figure that out for me. There is something utterly freeing about running, it’s like going back to caveman time to the “fear or flight” attitude. Plus, in some twisted way it’s almost like traveling without the expense and the planes. If you can’t manage to go across the world or even to the closest metropolitan city, then running is about as good of a cheap substitute as you will find.
Zero Coordination Required
This might be my favorite reason! I am the least coordinated woman alive. If someone says right, I’ll look life. With running, I am under zero pressure to carefully figure out where my next move ought to be. I just move and go from there. No judgement, no expectations, win win!
When I run I can listen to all my favorite music from Biggie to some obscure indie rock band, running synchronizes perfectly to so many songs, it’s like long lasting dancing party. 
You Set Your Distance
I am known to always say “I would never run a marathon, never”. I have many marathon running friends and I admire their determination and strength endlessly. I know if I really, really, really, REALLY tried and trained I could do it, however, I see no joy in running 26+ miles. None.
Blame my ADD personality? But after 3.5 miles, I’m golden. That is a perfect amount of time to run. After that, my interest is long gone, I’m ready to go home, shower and eat! Unless there are super fun obstacles, more than 3.5 miles will never happen for me!
Some Runs are Just Wild
This past weekend I competed in the most fun race I’ve yet done! A mud race in Killington, Vermont.
The race included obstacles such as climbing up ropes, sliding down crazy distances to fall into a pit of mud and oh right–the never ending hiking UP a mountain. Yes, UP..a..mountain. I lost the friend I signed up to run with but made an amazing new friend from MASS who happened to share my fear of height + speed. I love heights, I love speed, I don’t love them together. As we were both mutually screaming sliding down a gigantic tub of mud, she screamed “hold my hand now” which I will never forget. It was an amazing moment, a complete stranger and I clicked just like that having known each other all of 5 seconds. Just like that I made a new friend!
Some pictures of my “Dirty Girl” 5K Mud Run. I can’t wait to run it again next year!!
It was a blast. What is your favorite type of run?!

Sliding down the mud comes with consequences:

Look of the day: Bright Hues

I get asked frequently how I have so much energy to do everything I do. In reality I do a LOT. 
A mom to two girls, business owner, full time Marketing Manager, wife, human..etc. Yet there are mornings where I am totally burned out and feel like I haven’t achieved much. I want to stay up late until midnight getting things done but I am lucky if I make it passed 9:30 pm. In the morning, I strive to wake up early but sometimes my body says no, really, just take this time to catch up and rest.
For the mornings where I don’t feel that accomplished, behind and rushed, I think it’s important to dress up and feel really good about what I’m wearing. 
The bright hues cheer me up and really set the tone for the day. Pair this with a good cup of coffee and I’m good to go. Everyone needs their own comfort that will get them by and through the challenges of their daily routine, for some  that comfort comes in reading the newspaper in the mornings, for others is meditation by sunrise, for me is dressing me up before I walk out the door.
I may not feel accomplished, but that feeling fades away soon after I closed my front door behind me.
Blouse: Express
Pants: Express
Bag: Handmade!
Shoes: Target

Look of the Day: A Little Red Top

 As a mother of two and still very early on in my career, I have to be smart about where my money goes. I’m not the greatest with my money, I’ll admit it. I’m just not. That said, I am skilled beyond skilled at saving and finding an amazing bargain anywhere.

Growing up I always had expensive fashion taste however my family could not afford all the brands I so much wanted. Having to accept this, it forced me to become smart about bargain shopping, thrift shopping and finding fashion treasures in very unlikely places. I pride myself on being able to make outfits look elegant and expensive with very little factual cost behind them. From time to time I’ll splurge on an expensive piece that can be complimented a million ways with other pieces of clothing or jewelry. It’s key to have a go to item like this one!
Given all the other priorities in our budget, I have a very small budget for fashion but believe me I stretch it far. Very far. I will never sacrifice my style, it is my signature, my art and one of my unique ways to express myself.

So with that in mind, here is an outfit that costed me maybe around $30. This is one of my favorite tops and I get compliments on it very frequently. It’s a soft silk type material and feels wonderful and light on.
Skirt: JC Penney 
Top: Kohls
Shoes: A random NYC boutique, I’ve had them for over 6 years!
Jewelry: Zinnia’s (local jewelry store in Vermont)