Friday, July 27, 2012

Summer Time Series

It's almost August, so you're probably thinking "what last activities do I want to do this beautiful summer?" Well, we think there is always room for a few more summer activities to check off your list! Here are ten funtivites for you do with your best gal pals, or for some quality family time...

1. Farmer's Market... Danielle/ Kansas City MO "I love to go to the Kansas City Farmers Market for squash blossoms and homegrown tomatoes!"

2. Cocktails at the beach... Shelley/ Nashville TN "Nothing better than cocktails at sunset on the beach with good friends."

3. Paddle Boarding... Allison/ Charleston SC "Paddle boarding at the beach with family and friends... fun and exercise!"

4. Bike rides... Trinh/ Orange County CA "Bike rides to the beach at the end of the day is my absolute favorite."

5. Mini Golf... Kelly/ Dallas TX "Just doesn't feel like summer if I haven't played a round of miniature golf, preferably somewhere with a tacky theme and huge props like waterfalls or mountains!"

6. Staycation... Jamie/ Las Vegas NV "I love mini staycations in Vegas and renting a cabana for the day at local resorts like Green Valley Ranch."

7. Movie in the Park... Haley/ Houston TX "Evening movies at your local park. They just started this in our neighborhood and I can't wait for the next movie night!"

8. Hiking... RaeAnne/ Denver CO "Hiking, hiking, hiking- almost always in Rocky Mountain National Park."

9. Waterpark... Ashley/ Jacksonville FL "With a little one running around, I love to take him to the water park for some fun!"

10. Kayaking... Lacey Washington/ DC "I really enjoy taking in the DC sites by kayaking on the Potomac River."


Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Meet & Greet: Whitney, owner of Baltimore

Whitney Adams

It must have been love, because Whitney Adams opened her Baltimore Bella Bridesmaid the week of Valentine’s Day 2012. Not only was it love, but a little bit of fate… Whitney’s sister had been interning with Allison, owner of Charleston, connecting Whitney to the Bella Bridesmaid franchise. Deciding to make the career move into the wedding industry, Whitney has been working with brides and their maids from all over Maryland. Taking a beak from the summer appointments, Whitney shared some of her experiences in Baltimore thus far…

BB: What was your career before becoming a Bella Bridesmaid owner, and what attracted you to the franchise?

W: After graduating from Denison University, I worked in commercial real estate in Washington DC. I was considering a career move into wedding planning, when fate seemingly stepped in. My younger sister claims most of the credit for my joining the franchise- she was interning with Allison in Charleston and introduced us during family beach week last year. Between the opportunity to reopen a location in Baltimore, and my long time love for all things wedding, it was a big but very fulfilling step.

BB: What is the most memorable moment so far in owning your boutique?

W: Definitely having my second appointment on my first day knowing they'd found their dresses. Little did they know we didn't have any dresses on the racks at all until twelve hours earlier!

BB: What is your idea of a perfect night out on the town?

W: Food, drinks, friends and dancing- I've picked up two of Joanna August's lace numbers for this summer- one each in ivory and black. With Jack Rogers and stacked Kendra Scott bangles, it's practical, but oh so pretty.

BB: Fave celebrity wedding dresses?  

America Ferrera via People
W: I'm a huge fan of America Ferrera's Amsale gown. Your wedding day should be as fantastical as you want it to be.

BB: Tell us about a favorite recent bride that has an interesting story/wedding.

W: I've really enjoyed working with a few brides that are celebrating their second marriage. I'm thrilled we're able to find them a non-traditional wedding gown through our bridesmaid dress options. 

BB: How would you describe your own personal style?

W: Always preppy with a touch of trendy.
BB: Favorite place traveled?

W: Southern Africa. In particular, Cape Town, is an experience I'll never forget and hope one day to repeat.

BB:  Favorite movie that you can watch over and over?

W: 27 Dresses. Seriously.

Cape Grace Hotel, Cape Town

BB:  Everyday wear item?

W: I always wear my Tiffany pearl earrings that were a 21st birthday gift from my best guy friend, and my St. Catherine's High School signet ring.

BB: Celebrity crush?

W: Hah, which one? All time fav- John Krasinski. 

Whitney at Bella training with fellow owners

BB: Favorite quote or expression?

W: You hear a lot of "holy mackerel!" from me- especially when exciting things are happening in the shop.

Adam's sisters all in LulaKate

Now for This & That...

American Idol or The Voice? 
~The Voice. Especially Cee Lo and Purrfect. 

Sun or Snow? 
~Sun- I'm an August baby.

Prince William or Prince Harry?  
~Prince William 

Vogue or Cosmo? 

Mac or PC? 

                                                                                                                     Thank you Whitney!

Friday, July 20, 2012

Summer Time Series

We say these are must have swimsuits and accessories because just like you we want to look amazing no matter where we are this summer, and pool or ocean side will surely be at the top of your summer to do list. Our Bella's chose their absolute favorite suits and accessories for this season... what are your must haves?

1. Leona Swimwear Collection "Ahoy Bandeau"... Mary Kendall / Mobile AL "LOVE the Ahoy Bandeau top in the 2012 Leona swimwear collection... flirty and cute!"

2. Tom Ford... Kristy / Greenville SC "Big, fabulous sunglasses are just what I need poolside."

3. Cali Dreaming... Trinh / Orange County CA "I'm currently lusting over this nude colored swimsuit by Cali Dreaming - so cute!"

4. J. Crew... Allison / Indianapolis IN "Cute one piece from JCrew... match with a gauzy white cover up, Jack Rogers flip flops, & Kendra Scott earrings!"

5. Turkish Basic Cotton Towel... Shelley / Nashville TN "Turkish Towel...can be used as a cover-up or beach towel. Amazingly soft and very stylish with lots of stripes and colors available."

6. Victoria's Secret... Allison / Charleston SC "My go to at VS- simple bikini and lots of colors to choose from since I like to mix and match"

7. Vineyard Vines... Brittan / Boston MA "I just fell in love with this cover-up from Vineyard Vines - Whale Tale Cover-Up in Grape Crush. I must have this immediately!"

8. Mara Hoffman... Jeana Lee / Birmingham AL "Anything with fringe... I'm sold!"

9. Michael Kors... Jamie / Las Vegas NV "My mommy friendly Michael Kors suit."

10. Ferragamo... Lacey / Washington DC "I love my Ferragamo jelly flip flops. They have a big bow and if you get them entirely wet, its no problem.

Happy swimming!


Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Meet & Greet: Mary Kendall, owner of Mobile

Mary Kendall and friend, Ashton

What started as shopping for bridesmaid dresses in the small town of Mobile, Alabama, with no success… soon turned into an amazing opportunity for Mary Kendall Butler. With her friend, and soon to be bride encouraging her to bring fashionable, modern bridesmaid dresses to Alabama, Mary Kendall inquired further about Bella Bridesmaid, and now has her own storefront! Since opening this past March, Mary Kendall has been keeping busy, but was able to take a few minutes to answer some questions…

BB: What was your career before becoming a Bella Bridesmaid owner, and what attracted you to the franchise?

MK: I worked as a Business Analyst for the Facility Management Department at the Chevron Refinery in Pascagoula, Mississippi. In February 2011, my great friend, Ashton, asked me to be a bridesmaid in her November wedding. We immediately started looking for dresses at some of the local bridal shops, but never found anything that we loved. Ashton called me one afternoon, while she was on a trip in Nashville, to tell me she found dresses at 'this awesome boutique called Bella Bridesmaid' and how the Mobile area terribly needed one of  'these places'. I nonchalantly laughed and agreed, but after visiting the Baton Rouge store, for my fitting appointment, I knew for sure this was something I would love to do and that the Mobile area did, indeed, need one. That night I went home and contacted Bella Bridesmaid, to request some franchise information, and now here I am, the owner of Bella Bridesmaid Mobile!

Mary Kendall and Bridget Brown
at Bridal Market
BB: What is the most memorable moment so far in owning your boutique?

MK: Gosh…it's a toss up between two great ones. I was absolutely on cloud nine during my trip to the October Bridal Market in New York City, where I got to meet and hang out with the other Bella Bridesmaid owners, as well as with several famous dress designers. It was fantastic.

My other memorable moment was on the very night before I opened my doors for business; I completed the finishing touches (tagging dresses, printing information sheets, etc) and did a full cleaning...the lighting, the smell, everything was just perfect. As I was walking out to lock up for the night, I looked around and it hit me, then, that I had accomplished a huge goal and that this really awesome store belonged to ME. It was kind of surreal. I took a picture so I could remember that forever. 

BB: What is your idea of a perfect night out on the town? Which one of our dresses would you wear, and how would you style it?

MK:  Living on the gulf coast, I love going for dinner and drinks anywhere outside by the water…usually with a live band…and of course, with someone special. :) I would wear Joanna August's long State Street dress in black and I'd add a long gold necklace to go with!

Joanna August, State Street

BB: Fave celebrity wedding dresses?

MK: Loved Kate Middleton's gown! It looks so similar to the one my mom wore, which I actually have hanging on display in my store!

BB: How would you describe your own personal style?

MK: I'd say my style is pretty classic. Right now, I'm really digging maxi dresses. I love something simple that I can wear with a pair of big bright earrings.

BB: Favorite place traveled?

MK: Ahhh, Belize! Myself, and three of my dear friends camped in tents on a little island for 7 nights. It was such a fun adventure--we snorkeled, fished, and napped in hammocks. My favorite, though, was the day we kayaked to the Great Blue Hole and swam in the very middle of it! SO unbelievable.

MK in Belize

BB: Favorite movie that you can watch over and over?

MK: The Holiday, with Cameron Diaz and Jude Law. Absolutely love it.

BB: Everyday wear item?

MK: Left arm- big gold watch, several different sized gold bangles, and a couple with a splash of color. Right hand- stacked gold rings!

BB: Celebrity crush?

MK: "Crush" is probably a stretch, but "celeb" no doubt… There's this Kim chick- winner of Survivor: One World. My family and I pulled for her from the beginning…She's pretty legit, y'all. 

BB: Favorite quote or expression?

MK: Everything happens for a reason. I'm a firm believer~

Now for This & That...

American Idol or The Voice? 
- The Voice! Two words...Blake Shelton.

Sun or Snow? 
- What is snow??

Prince William or Prince Harry? 
- William: Monday-Friday and Harry: Saturday-Sunday

Vogue or Cosmo? 
- Vogue

Mac or PC? 
- Mac

                                         Thank you Mary Kendall!

Friday, July 13, 2012

Summer Time Series

Summer can often times bring all sorts of unwanted elements to your hair… heat, humidity and frizz! Instead of throwing those tresses in a ponytail for the remainder of these summer months, we thought to ask our Bella gals to divulge their best summer hair care secrets. Whether you’re at an ocean side wedding or relaxing at the pool we want you to know how maintain your lovely locks…

1. Karastase Voile Protecteur Spray... Kelly / Dallas TX "Love Kerastase's spray that protects color treated hair from sun and chlorine!" 

2. Keratin Shampoo & Conditioner... Ashley / Jacksonville FL "I have naturally curly hair, so anything with Keratin to keep the frizz down! I get Keratin treatments, but I also use Keratin Shampoo and Conditioner."

3. Sebastian Re-Shaper... Christy / Raleigh NC "It is holds, keeps the fly aways back, but you can brush through it, it's not stiff.... LOVE it!"

4. Frederic Fekkai Beach Waves... Charlotte / Birmingham AL "It creates that fresh off the beach hair."

5. Dove Conditioner... Allison / Charleston SC "Conditioner! The saltwater and sun really can dry out the mane, Dove conditioner does just the trick."

6. Bumble & Bumble Surf Spray... Trinh / Orange County CA "I like the look of easy hair in the summer, so I stay away from hair products. But, if I want that beachy hair look and can't get to the beach, I love Bumble & Bumble Surf Spray."


Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Meet & Greet: Christy Carver, owner of Raleigh

Christy Carver

Christy Carver is one of the fabulous new additions to our Bella Bridesmaid family.  Reopening the Raleigh location this past September, Christy has had a whirlwind of excitement… attending the NYC Bridal market in October, getting to meet designers and other Bella owners, and of course starting her own journey as a new Bella gal. We were excited to ask Christy more about her history, and how things are going so far this busy year!

BB:  What was your career before becoming a Bella Bridesmaid owner, and what attracted you to the franchise?

C: I worked in Corporate America for companies such as Grainger Industrial Supply and John Deere after graduating college.  I had various administrative and marketing positions.  Then I decided my skills and abilities could be better utilized, I could attain more specialized business experience, and get to know the fully functioning aspects of a business if I worked for a small business.  Therefore, I worked for a smaller commercial appraisal company in Charlotte, NC and most recently assisted an Orthopedic Surgeon in opening and running his practice in Cary, NC.  In college I always dreamed of owning my own business.  After working in the small business environment it truly made me realize it was definitely where I was most happy and where I could best utilize my skills and abilities. 

My close friend Heather Batt, owner of Hayden Olivia Bridal, came to me with the idea of owning a Bella Bridesmaid. Heather and her husband both thought it would be something I would enjoy and could truly excel in.  After several conversations with them,  and other Bella Bridesmaid owners I truly felt like it was the right career path for me. I loved the idea of creating an experience for the brides and their bridal parties.  I thought that by concentrating on the niche of the bridesmaid dresses I would really be able to zero in on the brides vision; to deliver a dress to the bridesmaids that is something that is classy, chic, modern and can wear again.

BB: What is the most memorable moment so far in owning your boutique?

Christy at Bridal Market with fellow Bella owners
C: I have only been open a little over 7 months, but there are already so many.  There was a specific bride that came in with her bridesmaid.  They loved the AMSALE dresses.  She really wanted the bridesmaids to all wear different jewel tone colors, but possibly wear the same dress.  They had tried on a few but none really jumped out.  I recommended a dress that was initially looked over on the rack.  One of the bridesmaids came out in it…and it was stunning-that was dress! They went next door to eat lunch and afterward the bride came over and gave me a hug and told me what a great experience she had.  As she walked out, I felt completely overwhelmed with happiness.  Moments like that make it all worth it and shows me that giving the brides an experience they deserve pays off on so many levels.

BB: What is your idea of a perfect night out on the town? Which one of our dresses would you wear, and how would you style it?

Christy with her son,  Jasper

C: Wow a night on the town…I am a single mom of a 2.5 year old so I am not really sure what that would look like! If I could dream…it would be a night out with my close girlfriends at one of my favorite local restaurants.  I LOVE finding little neighborhood bars and restaurants, they always have such charm and normally fantastic food.  The night would probably start and end with wine!  I already have several of the Bella Bridesmaid dresses in my closet; however the one that I have recently had the most fun with and gotten the most compliments is LulaKate’s Christy with a straight skirt in Sand.  Maybe it has something to do with the name! I have worn it with big chunky pearls, pearl stud earrings, and coral heels.  It makes me feel fun and flirty with a touch of class.

Katie Holmes by Getty Images via Brides
BB: Fave celebrity wedding dresses?

C: I can’t decide there are two:  Katie Holmes- Giorgio Armani.  It was elegant, classy, and I loved that it was off the shoulder.   I also keep going to back to the dress Carolyn Bessette wore when she married JFK Jr.  It was so simple, but breathtaking.  Maybe it had more to do with having JFK Jr. on her arm!

BB: How would you describe your own personal style?

C: I have been told I have the “girl next door” look.  I prefer simple, classy, comfortable…and elegant for special occasions.  I normally wear stud earrings and a bracelet, but my jewelry is usually understated as well.  I have been known to go all out and wear a chunky necklace!  I usually add color with my shoes. I am known to wear all black then wear coral, red, or green heels.

BB: Favorite place traveled?

C: Absolutely hands down Innsbruck, Austria. I studied at the University of Innsbruck when I was in college.  My room was just below the mountains; so every morning when I would open my windows I would have this incredible breathtaking view.  The town was had so much history, culture, and character.  My favorite was sitting in the park on Sundays, drinking coffee, and watching the older gentleman play life size chess. It just warmed my heart that life can be that simple.

Innsbruck, Austria via Destination 360

BB: Favorite movie that you can watch over and over?

C: I am notorious for doing this…it drives my dad crazy!  I right now I am obsessed with watching "The Proposal".  I think I know it line for line.

BB: Everyday wear item?

C: My two Tiffany Charm bracelets, JCrew Navy Cardigan (I take it everywhere), and my stud pearl earrings. 

BB: Celebrity crush?

C: Ryan Reynolds...and of course George Clooney!

BB: Favorite quote or expression?

C: There are so many…but I'd say...
“Enjoy the little things for one day you’ll look back and realize they were the big things.”

Now for This & That...

American Idol or The Voice?  
Diego or Handy Mandy?? Haha neither!

Sun or Snow?  Definitely SUN

Prince William or Prince Harry?  Prince William

Vogue or Cosmo?  Vogue

Mac or PC?  PC- but I am slowly converting

Thanks Christy!