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Weddings at The Mansion

Nicki Ann's Wedding Blog

In her blog, Nikki Ann shares with you her insights, thoughts, and feelings on all things women, wedding, marriage, and event-related.

Tuesday Shoesday, Edition 35

February 28th, 2012

I just found the cutest shoes for your bridesmaids!


These adorable D’Orsay’s by Gabrielle Rocha are perfect for dancing the night away. With only 2 1/2 inch heels there is no need to switch to flip-flops! And they also come in black, so you are good to go for any color bridesmaid dress. They also serve as the perfect gift to those women standing beside you on your wedding day. They can actually wear these again, which is more than I can say for most bridesmaids dresses! Did I mention they are only $28? Yeah.



And the Oscar goes to…

February 27th, 2012

OK, who watched it? In my mind, the show was fairly uneventful. Hugo cleaned house, which always gets boring. There weren’t really any outlandish gowns, at least ones that were shown during the Red Carpet show and the awards themselves. I took notes as I watched the Red Carpet. Yes. I’m a dork. So let’s talk about some of my favorites because I went to all that trouble to take notes and everything.


So everyone was talking about Michelle Williams in this coral gown. While I cannot deny that she looked simply stunning in this gown, I will say that I did not love this one. Did anyone see what was going on with the back of this gown? I just didn’t get that. At first, I was a little excited because I thought it was an open back, then I searched and searched and finally found a pic of the back and was very disappointed. At least the color looked great on her!

I can say this is one of those gowns that look better on than on the hanger. The ornate designs are gorgeous and unique, which is probably why I would have chosen something else. But WOW. Jessica looked amazing in this gown. And no it’s not just because it’s black and gold. Big ups to the beautiful redheads in the world :)

I was a little confused when I saw Gwyneth at first. The cape really threw me off. But then I heard a comment that it was “cold” so I understood where the cape came in. I think this gown was the perfect blend of simplicity and elegance. I loved the cap sleeves and only wish I could pull off a gown like this!

Now THIS is the type of gown I expect from Oscar attendees. Talk about old Hollywood glamour. I can also picture this as a bridal gown and maybe that is what attracted me to it. Do we think there would ever be a reason to wear such a gown in Pittsburgh?


Sandra Bullock has always been a favorite of mine. I love her witty/awkward sense of humor. Reminds me of a “real” person. The other reason I love her is because she has such a great sense of style. And can we talk about the back?!?!

And now for my favorite of the night…

Some had her on the worst dressed list, but I LOVE this gown. It was the perfect choice for Emma Stone. I feel like it was gorgeous, yet light and fun which is perfect for Emma. I really enjoyed the skit when she was presenting with Ben Stiller. Honestly, I wish more of the presenters had fun like this because the show was a little lack-luster in my opinion. I also wish I was going to be a bridesmaid in another wedding soon so I could find a gown like this to wear. Wouldn’t it be perfect?!

So now you know what I liked, but which were your favorites?



Friday Finds, 2.24.12

February 24th, 2012

So as we all know, the moment a woman gets a ring on her finger she starts watching what she eats and starts exercising. I know I did! But I also continued the healthy habits I picked up after the wedding. In fact, by doing P90X for the last 46 days, I am in better shape now than I was at 21. The last time I measured, which was 2 weeks ago, I had lost 5.75 inches total from my body. Yay me! I am doing this with the help of a good friend of mine who is a wonderful inspirational source to keep me motivated through this and has so much knowledge about this stuff that it really makes it quite easy. Don’t worry, I have her writing a post to share with you so you can jump on the train too. It will be coming soon!

So this year for lent, I decided to do something to honor myself and the body I have been given. Rather than giving something up, I am going to be giving myself more! I have decided to “eat clean” for the next 40 days, well 38 now, but you know what I mean. So what does that mean? In a nutshell, eating clean means eating whole, natural foods such as fruits, vegetables, lean protein and complex carbs. Essentially anything that is “man-made” is not clean – refined sugars, white breads, preservatives, and bad fats are part of this. So I guess technically, I am giving up “dirty” foods.

This may sound like it is easy, but I can assure you that it can be difficult if you do not have enough ways to mix up the food options. I found this blog from someone in our little fitness support group on Facebook and I can say that it has become a favorite already. The Gracious Pantry posts frequent, if not daily, recipes for clean meals, snacks and desserts. I have already tried a few recipes (The Cinnamon Chocolate Protein Bars, Chicken and Dumplings and the Hummus) and LOVE them!! The blogger, Tiffany, is also a cookbook author so I can only assume her cookbooks are full of phenomenal recipes as well… I just might have to pick one up to help get me through the next 40 days!

I mean, on a cold February day, doesn’t this look wonderful! I can assure you that it tastes pretty darn good too! Just click on the photo to go straight to the recipe!!! If you are interested in learning more about clean eating, she even has a Clean Eating 101 page where you can learn more about it! Trust me, it works!


I’m in a funk…

February 23rd, 2012

I am sure you’ve noticed that I haven’t been blogging as much lately. I feel like I am in a blogging funk lately. I just can’t seem to get the motivation to write like I usually can. I am not sure if it’s because things have been so hectic here or if I just have writer’s block. Either way, I suck lately. It’s not that I love you less or have any less passion for what I do. It’s just the though of sitting down in front of this blank screen that it drives me nuts.

One of my biggest fears is becoming one of those bloggers that talks about the same topics every week. Granted, I write Tuesday Shoesdays and Friday Finds each week, but I make an honest effort not to feature too many shoes or products from the same websites. I am sure those two things cannot stay exciting when that’s the only thing I am blogging.

Maybe it is the weather. Maybe it is the lack of time looking for inspirational ideas. Maybe it is the fact that I am completely and utterly exhausted from the busy booking season… not that I am complaining, I love new, happy brides! Maybe it is just that I don’t know what to write about. I don’t know. Even Pinterest isn’t cutting it lately! There is seriously something wrong with me…

This weekend, The Mansion has been rented out for a women’s weekend. The ladies will have mani/pedi’s, massages, and makeup lessons throughout the weekend, plus they will be able to hang out in our awesome theater room. I mean, seriously ladies, if you want a good idea for a women’s weekend, this is it. They have rented the entire Mansion for the WHOLE weekend. We ensure privacy to each and every person who rents the entire property for the weekend (just like we do for wedding weekends!), so there will be no tours.

So what will I be doing you ask? Recharging my batteries with my hubby, puppies and a special visitor for the weekend – my mom :) I am so incredibly excited to spend some QT with two of my favorite people and our dogs. Add them to our boxers and it is literally a romping good time. I’m planning on doing a whole lot of nothing. A little cooking. A little baking homemade dog treats (there is going to be a circus in town with my two dogs and my mom’s two in the house!). A little movie watching. And a lot of wine drinking.

So with that, I hope to be recharged and ready to blog at the start of next week. In the meantime, bear with me and just enjoy the lonely Tuesday Shoesday and Friday Finds posts this week and don’t kick me while I am down. I promise to be back to normal next week, come hell or high water!

Since every post is better with a picture and I am a self-proclaimed, crazy, boxer mom, I leave you with a shot of the cutest puppies in the world. Two of the 6 living things with whom (who? I never know when to use which) I get to spend my weekend :)


Tuesday Shoesday, Edition 34

February 21st, 2012

I found these while on the hunt for a cute pair of fuchsia pumps for a friend and it was love at first site. You all know that I am a huge fan of colored shoes for the big day, but if you want to be a little more traditional in your footwear choice, these are the perfect option! You can still add a little flair while sticking to tradition. The reasonable heel height and price make these the perfect choice. As always, just click on the photo to go to the site to buy!!




Friday Finds 2.17.12

February 17th, 2012

Well, it is no secret that I am in love with any and everything Kate Spade. This week, I am featuring the new home line. Love, love, love!

I actually have the flutes and servers, which we used on our wedding day. If you like them, just click on the pics to go directly to the site to purchase!

But I am a huge fan of the Florence Broadhurst Home Decor line too… If my dogs didn’t eat pillows, I would definitely have these!!

I definitely suggest adding this to your registries. You’ll thank me later.



Ten wedding blogs every bride should follow

February 16th, 2012

As a self-proclaimed blog stalker, I spend a lot of time reading and following other blogs. It helps me stay up to date on the trends and also give me inspiration to pass along to my brides. Since I love these blogs so much, I figured I should share this knowledge. So here you go. Ten blogs every bride should follow!

1. Preston Bailey’s Bride Ideas

Each day Preston gives you new and unique ideas for your wedding day. Each tip is extremely helpful and can really get the creative juices flowing.

2. Offbeat Bride

This one kind of speaks for itself. Not the typical girly girl bride? Want a little something different to wow your guests? This is the blog to help you come up with some of those off-beat ideas.

3. Green Wedding Shoes

This one features real weddings, galleries and DIY ideas for brides looking for something new and trendy. Want a blog that doesn’t just focus on one particular area of weddings? This is it.

4. Snippet & Ink

Love this one for classic, elegant wedding ideas. There are a ton of adorable pieces in this and lots of photos to help you create the perfect whimsical day.

5. Once Wed

This is the perfect place to find some inspiration on floral and decor pieces as well as tips and ideas. Love the romantic feel to each and every post!

6. Style Unveiled

Are you a fashionista bride in need of your daily dose? This is the perfect blog for you. Each day, there is a new gown, bridesmaids dress and more. You’ll also find lots more inspiration.

7. 100 Layer Cake

So much inspiration, so little time. I absolutely adore this blog for the ideas and tips in each post. I just can’t get enough!

8. Pittsburgh Makeup

For one day in a lifetime, you should feel as absolutely gorgeous as possible. With that said, who doesn’t want some tips and ideas for makeup on your big day?

9. Jen McKen Photography

Yeah, she’s my best friend. But she just so happens to also be one of the best photographers in the area. I love her work and how “real” it is. You can really feel the happiness oozing from each couple. One of the best things I did before my wedding day was to look at a ton of wedding portraits to see how I wanted to pose that day. I ended up being very happy with how they turned out. So I suggest you do the same!

10. Nicki Ann’s Blog

Woo! You are already 1 for 10! I mean, did you really think I wouldn’t list my own blog on here? Since you are already reading, you know what I do. If you have suggestions on what you would like to read about, I am always open!

Happy stalking reading!



Tuesday Shoesday, Edition 33

February 14th, 2012

Happy Valentine’s Day!!! Here’s a little love inspired post for you today. There are mixed feelings about wearing your heart on your sleeve. Some say yes, some say no. I am not going to take sides because I really think you should wear your heart on your SHOES!

A little girly, but what bride doesn’t want to be a little girly now and then? They would be my savior while running all over this Mansion during your wedding day!! You can find them at Love Culture.



Beat the heat

February 13th, 2012

Wedding season is upon us and I have been swamped with inquiries and tours and bookings here at the Mansion at Maple Heights. All good things, I know :)

With this cold weather, the only ones thinking about summer are the ones who are booking summer weddings. Them and of course us. One thing I have been hearing from future brides is that they do not want their guests to be too warm during their outdoor ceremonies. So let’s talk about a few ways to help them keep cool while you are swapping your vows in the great outdoors!

1. Ice Cold Drinks

One way to beat the heat is to cool off with an ice cold lemonade. Or Iced Tea. Or water. Or fruit punch. Really, whatever your little heart desires. Your guests will thank you for the treat and helping them fend off the heat. Nothing is worse than being stuck in the sun with a dry mouth.

2. Hand-held fans

I am not talking about little motorized fans with the water spray option. I am just talking about cute paper fans that your guests can use to keep the air moving around them. If you want them to serve double duty, you can make them both a fan and program like these cute little DIY ones. The best part is you can add whatever design or color you want to these!

3. Shade

The worst thing you can do is not give your guests a place to hide from the scorching heat of the sun. You should have some place nearby where guests can cool off for a moment or two or even just get out of the sun. No one likes bikini tan lines let alone lines from the straps of your dress… or worse yet, sandals. Ouch. You can seek the cover of a willow tree, canopy or tent and the good rays of the sun will stay off your guests shoulders and in their hearts.

4. Opt for evening

This may not always be an option for everyone, but there can be the possibility of waiting until the sun starts to head to bed for the night. Lots of candlelight and cool breezes can turn your miserably hot ceremony into a romantic one quickly. Just be sure you don’t wait too long or you could end up sitting in the dark for 20 minutes!

These are just a few of the ways to beat the heat during your summer weddings. OK, now I am praying that summer comes faster…




*Sources for all photos can be found simply by clicking on the photos, as always!*



Friday Finds 2.10.12

February 10th, 2012

I recently came across the website for the Metropolitan Museum, which was featuring a gown designed by Jean Desses, a designer in the 40s-60s. Most of his inspiration came from Egyptian and Greek robes, but this one in particular caught my eye.

I just love the design of this dress! One shoulder dresses always tend to catch my eye, but I love the flowy elegance of it. So, since this one is currently residing at the Met, I thought finding a look-a-like might be a good task. For you of course. Not because I wanted to procrastinate on other work… I would never do that…

So the hunt was on. I found two gowns almost immediately, which certainly didn’t help my procrastination much. Both of these gowns are by Marchesa and both of them are equally gorgeous. I’d honestly wear either one. Now if I can only talk my hubby into a vow renewal…