World Bride Reviews: Christine Valmy Salon and Ms Lora Jackson

Spa getaways have become the new fad for bridal parties and groomsmen alike over the past decade. For many, it’s the stress of planning a wedding that makes them so necessary. Nothing erases worry and makes us feel more pampered, more pristine and more prepared to take on the big day than a spa treatment. Across the country, health retreats and salons have sprouted up to accommodate parties both large and small.

For the brides who don’t have the time to leave the city and do a spa getaway until after the honeymoon, I’ve done a bit of investigating for you. If you’re still searching for a unique way to reward yourself, your bridal party of your fiancé, you should consider the Christine Valmy School. Last week, the lovely Lora Jackson was kind enough to show me around the facility and showcase the wonderful services offered there.

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The trailblazing esthetician school, located downtown on 5th Avenue, offers a wide variety of services, from hydrating facials to anti-age treatments and a variety of skin treatments. It was the first of its kind in the United States and also the first to produce a line of natural, biogenic skincare essentials that treat skin with natural plant extracts, formulated perfectly for various skin types, tones and troubles. While I received a hydrating facial, which I would totally recommend, the estheticians here also offer anti-aging treatments, massages, makeup application and nail services.

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20140821_124848Like the other talented students, Ms Jackson, at the top of her class, lives by the motto “If you love what you do, you’ll never work a day in your life.” She loves “watching the skin come alive” and her technique, thanks to the hands-on approach of the school, has prepared her well to offer up her services upon graduation. Look out for her in the next few months, when she will be traveling and offering her services to groups or individuals ranging in character from facials to waxing, nails and makeup.

The school is able to accommodate your entire party in their studio. When scheduling your individual or bridal appointment, Ms Jackson suggests reserving an evening slot, where you can receive your service in the glow of the Empire State Building and New York’s beautiful skyline.

A quick aside— I’d also suggest picking up a few products to go in case you need a last minute touch up before the ceremony. Grab the exclusive products such as Lotion X, unique to Christine Valmy, that helps fight breakouts and releases toxins. My favorite was the Pore Soothing Mask, which was very relaxing and cooling, and would be perfect with a glass of wine or champagne.

Mothers of Style: Inspiration From the Emmys Red Carpet

From the huge sweep of Breaking Bad to the heart wrenching Robin Williams tribute, the Emmys were full of beautiful moments. While the show is great for TV aficionados, it is also perfect for fashion spotting. If you haven’t already, be sure to scan all the fabulous photos of the stars and their stunning couture.

Of course with bridal fashion on the mind, I was taken by how many dresses were perfect for the Mother of the Bride. Depending on the bride’s length of leash, there are a number of beautiful outfits to fit the day that can exemplify your style as well. Where better than to find inspiration for your MOB or MOG dress than on a red carpet?

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All the Red: From coral and crayon, firehouse red, shades of ruby took the stage
Octavia Spencer in Tadashi Shoji // Julia Louis-Dreyfus in Carolina Herrera

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Old Hollywood: Also a popular trend on the runway, and easily convertible to wedding day fashion

Katherine Heigl in John Hayles // Kierman Shipka in Antonio Berardi

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Bright Lights: Bold hues, depending on the bride’s cue
Kerry Washington in Prada  // Kate Walsh in Stephane Rolland

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Whites: Matching the bride has become more popular in recent years

Angela Bassett in Elisabetta Franchi // Lucy Liu in Zac Posen

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Keeping it Classic: Navy has been the color of choice for MOB/G’s for years

Natasha Lyonne in Opening Ceremony // Viola Davis in Escada

Going Local: Wedding Favors for the New York Wedding

Hosting a wedding in New York City can be an exciting and creative affair. The city has so much to offer: from rooftop weddings overlooking the Hudson to more intimate affairs in a hotel library or Central Park. With an infinite number of venues, caterers, planners, and designers, the opportunities are endless.

There is also the fear for some that it has been done before. If you choose the Big City for your wedding, there are many ways to make it unique and personal despite NewYork’s enormity. Specially curated wedding favors have been highlights of the occasion for celebrities, and what better way to showcase the emerging local culture, and stay away from the kitschy, touristy trumps than by gifting local New York products.

Here’s a list of perfect favors to give your guests, something they’ll actually want to keep.

1. Edibles.

I was inspired by Ashlee Simpson and Pete Wentz’s adorable sugar cookie gifts: Perfect for any season and able to match any theme. When in New York, I suggest Eleni’s cookies. Founder and Baker in Chief Eleni began in media and editorials, but, realizing her passion for baking, switched careers and I’m so glad she did. Since 1997, she’s been creating personalized treats available locally and nationwide.

For another sweet treat, check out Anarchy Jams in Brooklyn. Anarchy produces eight varieties of fresh, local spreadable edibles using old and new techniques. Founder and CEO Laena McCarthy grew up making traditional jams with her family in New York’s Hudson Valley.

And of course, it wouldn’t be summer in New York without Sigmund’s Pretzels, a New York institution at bars and late night scenes. Opened in 2009 in the East Village, they expanded in later years to a wholesale bakery, now found across the city at various venues. Get one kind or a variety and package them with a cute tag.

2. Cultural Fancies.

Jason Priestley and Naomi Lowde gifted Fortnum & Mason teas to exhibit her family’s English heritage. For gifts from local artists and craftsmen, I suggest checking out A Wincy Glass ’N Design based in Westbury, New York. Artist and owner Wincilla Edwards was propelled into the industry by her life-long love of drawing and painting, and her hand-painted champagne and wine glasses are a classy gift.

Similarly, Riles & Co. based in the East Village, NYC, creates hand-poured, all-natural soy candles with a vintage flair. Started in January 2014, by Cristina Toff, these candles make adorable gifts.

A happy alternative? TheLittleRagamuffin’s Cold Process Custom Soaps, based in Altamont, New York. All of their soaps are made the old fashioned way using the cold process method and a combination of natural and organic vegetable oils as well as organic herbs from their farm. With customizable (and oh-so-sweet) labels, you can get a bit creative as well.

Lastly, I’d suggest checking out Matchbox Wedding Favors from TeaandBecky. Their personalized wedding favor matchboxes are beautifully foil stamped with a phrase and are double sided with the bride and groom’s names and wedding date. Customizable to your own wedding colors, there are many options to choose from.

Mothers of Style: Looking to the Leading Ladies

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There are many debates over the appropriate dresses for the mothers of the bride and groom.
Tradition states that they should match the bridal party in hue or cut, wear black, navy or cream. While it’s generally agreed upon that the dress should be age-conscious and not overly glitzy, there’s nothing to say about it being boring. The rules are being broken every day—with the bride’s permission.

As the mothers, you are representing the families and are part of the stylish glue that elevates the wedding’s ambiance. In this role, you’ve most likely helped prepare for the wedding; you’ve chatted and collaborated with relatives, supported the efforts. But being one of the mothers of the day also allows you a certain amount of pride; the wedding day is certainly a time to show it off and choose a dress that reflects your personal style.

This is perhaps no more true than for past ladies of state: they know how to dress within reason for the more conservative, public affair while still looking fabulous. From classic dress suits to elaborate gowns, I encourage you to take cue from their past style successes.

Michelle Obama visits the Queen, J Mendel Jacket and Skirt // Tadasha Shoji Lace and Mesh Dress, Saks // Carmen Marc Valvo Pleated Floral-Print Ball Skirt, Neiman Marcus

Patterns: Hillary Clinton in Oscar de la Renta at Chelsea’s wedding // Lela Rose Half-Sleeve Floral Print Dress, Bergdorf Goodman // Kay Unger Floral Boatneck Dress

Pat Nixon at her daughter’s wedding in 1971 // Dolce and Gabbana Floral Brocade dress, net-a-porter // Teri Jon Lace & Gazaar Convertible Slip Dress, Saks

 

Jackie Kennedy Onassis at Caroline’s wedding // Laura Bush in Oscar de la Renta at daughter Jenna’s wedding // Badgley Mischka Off-The-Shoulder Belted Sheath, Saks

Subject: See Attachment, YOU’RE INVITED! E-Invitations For the Modern Couple

The tech age has certainly changed the bridal industry and the traditions surrounding the big day. A lot of things have been made easier: you can browse for your dress, preview venues, research caterers and wedding planners, even thoroughly vet your bridal party’s progress all from the comfort of your sofa. The online marketplace has also opened up some new phenomena that are certainly altering tradition— namely, online invitations.

No, I am not talking about those silly JibJabs your uncle or co-worker is obsessed with. As of 2014, there are a number of sites that specialize in wedding e-vites. These are sophisticated, high-class designs to fit any theme and are perfect for international or large weddings, eco-conscious and new-age couples. The sites are virtually stress-free and make it easy to save time for other elements of the wedding, like cake tasting.

Here are the top three:

1. Paperless Postpaperlesspost.com

This site is the pioneer in online invitations. It’s perfect for the creative bride who has an idea and needs an easy way to put it into fruition. Offering a number of gorgeous motifs, the site has everything from save the date to bachelorette party and rehearsal dinner invitations, allowing you to match the invitations or pick from a few variant designs. The aesthetics of these invitations are so realistic and beautiful you will feel like you can pick them up off the screen. Perhaps the best thing about Paperless Post, however, is that you can personally create and edit invitations online in a matter of minutes. You can choose from over 50 font types, alter the alignment, sizing and color. If you have some family that require more tangible invites, the site will allow you to create a mixture of online and print cards.

2. Evitepostmark.com

Similarly, Evite offers several types of invitations in an array of styles and with equal flexibility. When you select an e-vite, you can choose the color, whether or not you want it to come in an “envelope,” choose the liner and stamp, customize the font, wording, and size. What’s particularly unique is that you can insert text cards for additional information as well as up to 6 photo cards to include, perfect for the couple who’s taken engagement photos and wants to show them off. The site also allows you to easily import your contact list and save drafts — in case there are too many options to choose from immediately.

3. Celebrationscelebrations.com

Need a bit more direction but want to know you’re getting a great design? While there is less editing potential here, Celebrations allows talented artists to post unique invitation designs for a variety of wedding-related events. You can narrow your search by color and style, from “hand drawn” to “textured” or “retro.” The site also allows you to choose from one or two image ports as well as offering the ability to send print in addition to digital invites with RSVPs included. With hundreds of options to choose from, you certainly won’t feel limited.