Wedding Planning with Zola

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This week on my Instagram I posted a sneak peak of our engagement photos (by the amazingly talented Hannah Rexinger) and asked if you guys had any wedding related questions! I'll be answering all of them in a series of posts and showing you guys more about our wedding process in the next few weeks. For this first round of Q&A's, I'm so excited to be getting answers and advice from the pro, Jennifer Spector, the Director of Brand at Zola. For those of you that don't know, Zola is a website for all things wedding related. Kyle and I built our wedding website, registry, and guest list through Zola. What initially appealed to us was the beautiful site design options, but what really hooked us was how convenient and easy it was to manage the details of your wedding through Zola. I sent Jennifer some questions that you guys had and let me tell ya, they were super helpful to me and Kyle as we're going through this wedding planning journey! Here are your questions and her answers all about wedding planning and how Zola really helps make the process so much easier! And keep scrolling if you want to see our wedding website we made on Zola! I included some screenshots that give you an idea of the design, without giving away any private information. :) 
Wedding Planning with Zola 

What are some tips for planning a destination wedding?
Finding your wedding vendors in the place where you currently live is difficult, so trying to evaluate and manage vendors who are in a completely different part of the country or even world is definitely tough! But there are lots of venues that will provide you with a super helpful onsite coordinator to be a point of contact for you, so make sure that you really like him or her. Also, look for venues that provide multiple services, such as catering and transportation, maybe even an in-house photographer or florist.

What are important details to include on a wedding website?
Your wedding website is about practicality but also personality.  It’s the main source of info for your guests, so you should definitely include all of the important details like the ceremony start time, hotel and transportation options, and dress code. But it’s also where your guests will love to read all about you, like a fun how you met story, and where you can post lots of your favorite photographs. And do not forget about your registry. If you use Zola your registry will automatically integrate with your wedding website so your guests never even have to leave your beautifully designed page.


How many items at each price point should we register for?
We recommend that couples register for a range of price points from $25 to above $200. You want to make sure you have enough on your registry so that every guest can pick out a gift that is within budget, and they don’t get stuck feeling like they had to buy the one leftover item at the very end. If you’re having multiple wedding events like an engagement party or wedding shower, take that into account too. For higher ticket items like a dining room table or even a new TV it's a good idea to enable group gifting so guests can contribute whatever amount they feel comfortable with, but you still get what you really want. 


What is the appropriate timeline for sending Save the Dates, Invitations, and Thank You cards?
Most couples send Save the Dates 6-8 months before the wedding and Invitations 2-4 months before. If you’re having a destination wedding you might consider sending information even earlier so guests have enough time to plan and book travel.

The ideal timeline to send a thank you note is 2-3 weeks after receiving a gift, or within 3 months of your wedding. But truly it’s never too late, late is always better than never. One question we get a lot is should you send Thank You notes as soon as you receive a gift or is it ok to wait until after the wedding. It’s totally fine to wait until after the wedding to send your Thank You notes, but you may save yourself some stress by sending a few notes along the way and not waiting to send everything all at once.

How would you recommend gathering friends' and families' addresses?
Gathering addresses for friends’ and family can be one of the most tedious parts of wedding planning. When I was planning my wedding I had multiple spreadsheets, texts and email chains all with address information. It was so hard to compile! My best advice is to use Zola’s guest list manager to make the process as easy as possible. Through Zola you can draft your guest list and text or email a link to guests to fill out their missing information. You will not have to go through what I went through!


Is there a way to predict how many guests will RSVP?
There’s no way to know for sure how many people will RSVP yes or no, but a good rule of thumb is around 20% of people will RSVP no. We recommend creating A and B guest lists. As declines come in from your A list you can quickly send out additional invites to people on your B list. If you send out your save the dates early enough you may start to get a feeling for how many people are going to have to decline.

How would you recommend staying organized while wedding planning?
The best way to stay organized while wedding planning is to go in with a plan. Sit down early in the wedding planning process to set a budget which will help direct many decisions and make searching vendors easier. Create a priority list in terms of which vendors are the most important to you, and book those vendors first. Also, divvy up the wedding planning between the two of you - wedding planning is not a one person show. One last tip is to set aside regular wedding planning time, for example Sunday evening may be convenient for you and your partner to sit down with a glass of wine and hash out some details.
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For us, using Zola as the site to manage our wedding was a no brainer. Zola's wedding planning dashboard is user friendly, the site design options are beautiful, and the registry offers all you could ever need and more; the top brands, experiences like wine tasting trips and flight credits, and the option to add gifts from any store in case there's something specific you want to register for. Check in next week for another wedding planning post! I'll be answering more questions about our day and sharing inspiration photos! 
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Exploring Reno with Madden Girl

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Today’s blog post is a pretty cool one because I get to combine two of my favorite things: music and shoes! I’ve been wearing Steve Madden shoes for as long as I can remember, and I’m so excited to be partnering with them to share their latest line of Madden Girl shoes as well as EZI, an emerging artist that was recently signed to Steve Madden’s record label, 5Towns Records. 




I LOVE how this Madden Girl line encourages people everywhere to embrace and flaunt their unique style and personalities. The shoes are so different, diverse, and fun— just like Madden Girl shoppers! These shoes definitely have the cool girl factor, just like the artist that’s repping this line. EZI is such a talented, fun, and confident artist. Her new song, “DaNcing in a RoOm” encourages listeners to live boldly and beautifully. And I can get behind any message encouraging other’s to be their truest selves like that. 



Like all of my Steve Madden products, these shoes are the perfect combination of function and style. I’m wearing the Aaden boots in black. I love the basic black leather booties, but there are also more  pattern options like snake skin! Another one of my favorites from this line? The Cutesey sneakers in silver. Talk about making a statement! 



Steve Madden has been a tried and true closet staple of mine for years, which is why partnering with them to share my new Madden Girl Aaden boots and EZI’s song, “DaNcing in a RoOm”. Just like Steve Madden’s classic yet on trend brand, EZI encourages her fans to live life loud and authentically. She is SO talented. And what’s even better? She’s on tour right now! Check out her site to see if she’ll be coming to your city soon. 



This post is brought to you by Madden Girl and Her Campus Media.


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Gal’s Getaway Weekend with #TheRowReno

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This past weekend I had the opportunity to experience the newly renovated spa and resort at The Row in Reno, Nevada. The Row, which is the combination of the three hotel properties Circus Circus, El Dorado, and Silver Legacy, exceeded my expectations. Each hotel is interconnected with 22 restaurants, 22 bars, a brand new spa, and endless things to do, so you can spend an entire weekend in Reno at The Row without ever having to leave! 



My favorite part of the weekend was definitely getting to try out The Spa at Silver Legacy, which just opened it’s doors. The spa director welcomed us with a champagne toast and a tour of the entire space, which he so clearly poured his heart and soul into. Everything from relaxation rooms with lavender features to the Himalayan salt detox room to the spa services themselves were excellent. I was treated to a scrub, pedicure, hair, and makeup services. Not a detail was overlooked and it was truly the best spa experience I’ve ever had. I loved that the spa incorporated aspects that honored both the local like warm tones of the Nevada desert and the blue hues of nearby Lake Tahoe. 



Another trip highlight? The 98 Degrees at Christmas concert! It was SO fun and festive. Though I’m a little young to remember this 90s boy band in their heyday, the set was a perfect combo of their hits and classic holiday songs. This concert seriously got me in the Christmas spirit and it’s safe to say from now until December 26th I’ll be blasting their Christmas album. 


Thank you so much to The Row for hosting me. Everyone on the team went above and beyond to treat our group to a wonderful weekend. The Row has tons of options to customize your weekend at a very affordable price point. For example, if your group books 8 or more services at the spa (ex: 4 people with 2 service each), The Row will throw in champagne service, guest room, and limo service at no additional cost. As a bride to be, the wheels in my head immediately started turning for a bachelorette weekend! 



Photos by Abbey Kay and Julia O Test 
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Visiting Lake Tahoe

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Angelika, Natalie, and I have the kind of friendship that is unbound by location or convenience. Just because we each live in three separate corners of the country doesn't mean we've had to sacrifice time  together and plenty of memory making. Over the years, it seems like we've been able to meet up everywhere but home... (NYC, DC, Portland, Seattle, to name a few!) These gals are the kind of people that you'll hop on planes with, spontaneously road trip with, and book last minute trips with all while laughing until you cry. We always try to all get together at least once a year and it's turning out to be quite the tradition. This year, we opted near my neck of the woods: Lake Tahoe. We all met up in SF (A took a train from LA and Nat flew in from PDX) and made an early Friday morning to the Resort at Squaw Creek. Our weekend was filled with a balance of poolside lounging and lakeside adventuring. Highlights most definitely included: enjoying what I am convinced are the world's best ahi tuna nachos and drinks, spending Saturday morning jetskiing on the lake, and trekking up to Emerald Bay for the most spectacular sunset. 






Where we spent most of our time at  Resort at Squaw Creek The pool were built into the mountainside and had multiple hot tubs, live music, and a bar. 


Even amidst smoke from the CA wildfires, the views from our hotel were absolutely unreal. 




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Celebrating International Day of the Girl

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October 11 is International Day of the Girl. To me, this day is all about uplifting our fellow women and encouraging girls everywhere to inspire, strengthen, and build community with on another. When we uplift our community, our whole world has the power to change. And how fitting it is that on this day Her Campus released its 22 Under 22 Most Inspiring College Women of 2018. I am honored to  be profiled as one of the 22 college women on this list and included among women that are truly changing the world in such unique and incredible ways. Since my high school days, Her Campus has bee an influential force in my life, leading me to meet so many friends, take advantage of professional opportunities, and plug into a such a powerful community. To be honored by an organization that has helped shape my life is one of the most empowering and humbling experiences. I am such a strong believer that we truly do rise by lifting others, and I hope on this day we can do exactly that. 
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Do Beautiful with Alba Botanica®

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True story, I've been using products from the same skincare brand since the 7th grade. My skin has always been pretty sensitive, so once I find a brand and products that work, I stick with it. Alba Botanica® is one of my time-tested favorite brands and has always been so pure and gentle on my skin. 


As you guys know, I've battled breakouts for years. Can anyone else relate to getting teenage acne breakouts as an adult? It can be frustrating, but I've worked hard to find balance with my skin. I've aimed to reduce stress, get enough sleep each night, eat clean, and find skincare products that work for me instead of against me. Often harsh products help my breakouts but cause my skin to get red, irritated, and extra sensitive. I found the perfect balance between keeping my skin clear and away from harsh chemicals when I started using the Acnedote™ line.



How I Keep My Skin Clear with Acnedote™
I've found that this line is effective but gentle. Because it's botanically-based, the Clearing Gel Peel has Willow Bark Extract to remove bacteria that often causes breakouts. The plant-based ingredients such as active fruit acids dry up blemishes and brighten my skin as well. By using the peel once a week, I can definitely tell that my skin feels clearer, brighter, and smoother. The Face & Body Scrub is seriously one of my all time favorite products. It exfoliates by using ground walnut shell and buffs away dirt and oil. My skin tends to breakout more in the winter, so I'm so glad to be heading into these chiller months with this exfoliating scrub that makes my skin feel extra fresh and clean. 







 photos by Hannah Rexinger 

When it comes to choosing the right skincare products for my skin, I trust in Alba Botanica®. They create 100% vegetarian and botanically-based products that do beautiful for you, others, animals and our earth. 
This post is brought to you by Alba Botanica® and Her Campus Media.
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Top 10 Sephora Favorites

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photo by Lauren Kim 

Today I'm so excited to be sharing my go to beauty products from Sephora. This post has been long in the works! I am a long time lover of Sephora. I have childhood memories of wandering the aisles looking for sparkly eye liner, teen memories of buying my first real beauty products with my mom, and recent memories of getting ready for the MTV Movie & TV Awards with the 13 Reasons Why cast. I've spent years trying new products thanks to their amazing samples and rewards. And now, I've finally been able to narrow down my ten favorite products!

Sephora Cucumber Cleansing Wipes 
I traveled alot this past summer and went of lots of flights. This product makes my skin feel so clean on to go, which is really difficult to do if you don't have soap and water. My go-to when I'm on the road or on a flight! One side of these wipes is smooth, which is so fresh on my skin. The other side is a rougher, exfoliating texture that I use on oily areas like my t-zone and chin.

Tarte Twinkle Stick Highlighter 
No a joke, I feel like an actual mermaid whenever I put this on. This product is all about making your skin light and bright. I apply it to my cheek bones and it adds a great natural glow. A little also goes a long way and all you really need is a swipe on each cheek bone. I’m all about products that don't require too much work to make you feel and look amazing.

Alterna Haircare Hydra-Gelee 
Let me tell you, it has taken me my entire life to find a hair product that I am absoltuely in love with. I stumbled across this one because there was a mini set as one of the Sephora beauty rewards. After I bought an expensive, high heat curling iron my ends were just destroyed. I had to trim so much off the bottom and do some major healing to get back smooth and healhy hair. This is the only product I have ever used since I damanged my hair that makes me feel like im actually healing it instead of just adding chemicals and product that doesnt imporve anything. It completly detangles my hair and I have noticed visibly less split ends.

Living Proof Night Cap
Again, I purchased this out of desperation as I was tring to heal my fried hair. While I'm in the shower, I let this deep conditoning hair mask sit on my head and work its magic! Sidenote: I only apply it on the ends of my hair because I dont want to make my roots greasy!

Living Proof Dry Shampoo
Most other dry shampoos make my hair feel really dirty and powdery, but this product doesn't do that. It gives me so much volume. I have hair that naturally lays pretty flat, and regardless if my hair actually needs a wash, this prodcut just adds so much volume to my hair.

Pericone Face Finishing Moisturizer 
At this point, I’ve struggled with acne for about half my life believe it or not. Its defintiely an area that I am willing to invest in in order to clear up my skin and make it the healthiest it can be. This product is a little on the pricier side, but it is by far the best and most effective moisterizer I have ever used. Basically, I used an acne medication years ago that caused me to peal like crazy, I felt like a was a snake shedding it’s skin! Out of desperation, my mom picked up this moisterizer. I put it on at night and when I woke up the next morning, the flakes and the pealing had completely stopped and my skin felt so much better. Its great in general but especially if you are using harsh prescription products on your skin. It is a great way to counterbalance the chemicals and restore your skin.

Anastasia Brow Definer (Dark Brown)
This is a great product because it does two jobs in one. On one side is a slanted pencil, so it goes on really easily and has a natural look. The other side of the pencil is a brush and I do one swipe on each brow to blend in my brows. It's really quick and simple to use.

My favorite shade of this is Coril Fauve. My mom is my Sephora buddy, and we picked this up in Venice, Itally a few years ago when we had lost our makeup and were in desperate need. This grogeous, striking Italian woman working at the Sephora counter reccommend it to us, and now five years later, we are still dedicated users.

Tarte Setting Powder
I love this product use this its the last thing I put on when Im doing my makeup, and it mattifys and locks my makeup in place, and really gives a photo finish. It blends in any blemishes or harsh lines I might have. Also it has a faint scent of vanilla whcih I love so that is another plus!

I have used so many different mascarsa throughout the years, and never felt like I could avoid being clumpy or too heavy. This mascara is more about getting full lashes and adding length, which I love! I actually first started usuing this when I got it as a free sample, but fell in love and ended up going to buy it!

Shop my Sephora favorites using the links or in the feature below:

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It's A Date!

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So far, planning has been a fun challenge! There were a few big decisions (like finding our venue and wedding date) that we wanted to get done before heading back to LA and coordinating the wedding hundreds of miles away from our families. On one of the last weekends that my parents, Kyle, and I were all still in Northern California, we loaded up in the car and drove up the coast for wedding venue road trip. It was such a fun day. And now, I am so excited to say... we have a place! Now we have a place to celebrate with all of our family and friends and a day that will be special to us for the rest of our lives. Surreal. 

With figuring out our date and venue comes selecting save the dates. I'm so excited to be partnering with Basic Invite to show you some of our favorite styles and ask for your help in picking a favorite! We designed these three by selecting sample designs and customizing the fonts, colors, and wording. Basic Invite has over 900 wedding stationary sets and almost unlimited colors to choose from, so it was so fun to customize and see the endless design options we could use.





It's pretty obvious that there's a trending theme when it comes to color scheme and vibe for our big day! We're all about blues and florals. I can't wait to hear what you're favorite design is among these three! 

This post is brought to you by Basic Invite.  




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How I Took a Trip to Paris for Under $500

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I recently took a trip to Paris for under $500 dollars. Considering that the average week-long trip to Europe costs around $2,000 per person I was really happy to cut costs by about 75%. I'm going to share what I did to stay WAY budget friendly for this specific trip as will as share more tips in general for how I save money for traveling. 

Flights
Cross reference multiple third party booking sites in addition to airline websites themselves. And as your searching, clear your history! Otherwise, sites use cookies to track the flights your interested in and boost prices. This is how I found my $175 flight from LAX to CDG on Norwegian Air. 

Flexible Dates
You will save so much on airfare if you don't have a particular date for travel in mind.This worked for me because I was willing to travel mid week and was fine with missing a few classes. Many booking sites (like Student Universe) have a calendar feature where you view the cheapest days of the month to travel specific to your destination. 

Extra Airline Purchases
Do not do any of the add-on purchases. Most discount airlines make up for their cheap prices in charging for meals, drinks, checking luggage, and reserving a seat. Make peace with getting a middle seat, bring a meal and snacks on the plane, and pack  a carry on instead of checking a bag. 

Travel Alone
Obviously the less people, the lower the cost. But another perk of traveling alone is how streamlined the process with transportation can be. For example, its easy to take a bag on the metro by yourself, whereas with a big group and lots of luggage you have to book a car service. 

Stay
I spent no money on accommodations because I stayed with my best friend who was studying abroad! Staying with local family or friends is always best since it's completely free, but if that isn't an option, hostels or Airbnbs will always be cheaper than hotels.


Bring Your Own Food
I am such a foodie and think there is so much value in having a great dining experience. BUT, not every meal has to be out to still properly experience the city. Your first stop should be at a grocery store to buy the basics- cereal, milk, coffee, snacks. If you have all of your breakfasts and some lunches and dinners in, you will save so. much. money.

Walk around. Window Shop. Take pictures.
This is kind of self explanatory, but making memories is free. You don't need to spend money on expensive tours, souvenirs, etc to have a GREAT time.

Student Discounts
It never hurts to ask if museums, tours, and even restaurants. You'd be surprised how many places in the US and abroad want to help students out. For example, I really wanted to visit Musée de l'Orangerie and all I had to do was provide my ID to get a heavily discounted museum pass. 

The little ways you can save money while traveling are so important and can add up big time, but obviously your biggest cost is typically going to be airfare. I feel like most people just settle for international flights costing $1,000+, which is so not the case! If you are willing to be flexible and do some serious sleuthing, a little persistence will save you tons of money. Keeping in mind that I traveled during one of the most affordable times of the year( midweek in April) and was staying for free with a friend, this goes to show that traveling to Europe under $500 can be done! As my friend and personal finance guru Natalie says, being financially transparent can only help yourself and others! Below is my exact spending for the trip: 

In total I spent: 
$175 Flight to Paris 
$200 Flight to LAX 
$47 Five-day Metro Pass 
$8 Museum Pass 
$65 Food and Groceries 

Total: $495 

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