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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 42

April 17th, 2012

How could I devote this entire week to bridal fitness and post a pair of heels? No, no, no. This week’s Tuesday Shoesday fits right along with my theme.

These running shoes are my favs. I actually have the Asics Gel Nimbus 11 (or is it 10?) and LOVE them. It is getting about time to buy a new pair , so these will most likely end up on my feet. They are super comfortable. When I first bought mine, I wore them the first day for a 3 mile run. No blisters or rubbing. Just awesomeness.

It is really important to have good shoes when you are working out to protect your knees and joints. You need support!! And who doesn’t love a color called “Maui Blue?” It just sounds spectacular… Click on the pic to purchase!




Bridal Boot Camp: Diet Excuses

April 16th, 2012

This week is being dedicated to bridal boot camp. It’s all about the exterior since we already know you are awesome on the inside :) I want you to look and, most importantly, feel your best on your wedding day! From my last post about the 5 Simple Rules for Getting in Shape, you probably feel a little overwhelmed and unsure of where to start. I think having a better understanding of where to start and how to follow through will make sticking to it a bit easier. So let’s go over the basics so you don’t let excuses get in your way.

I don’t want to starve to death.

Let me just say first and foremost that I love food. I like eating. I like cooking. I hate feeling hungry. So when someone told me to eat more in order to lose weight, I was skeptical to say the least. I thought that by skipping breakfast, I’d skip a few calories and drop weight in no time. Who else out there thinks that? In reality, you should eat 5-6 times per day. The catch is that you need to eat 5-6 healthy meals per day.  There are some days when I feel like I can’t possibly eat that much. There are other days when I could eat 3 days worth of food in one day.

So how much food should you be eating in one day? You can click here and go to a BMR (Basal Metabolic Rate) Calculator. This tells you how many calories you’d burn if you did nothing but lay in bed all day. Then you can use the  Harris Benedict Equation to figure out how much you burn in your normal day to day activities. Once you have this number, subtract 500. That is the number of calories you can eat in one day and still lose weight. If you want to make it even easier on yourself, just go to My Fitness Pal and sign up. It will do all the calculations for you. You will also want to pay attention to the amount of protein, sugars, sodium, fats and carbohydrates you eat in a day. But again, My Fitness Pal will keep track of all of that for you. You just have to log in online or download the app to your smart phone.

I don’t want to eat only carrots and lettuce. I want options.

I think it is important that you find options that you like when you are trying to change any habits, whether it is exercise or foods. Some people say they don’t want to diet because they don’t want to give up the foods they love. I am not perfect and sometimes still have pizza. The key is really finding alternatives to the foods you love that are just as delicious. For example, Joey and I both love breaded chicken. I also want something that is easy to cook since I work long hours and sometimes don’t feel like spending hours in the kitchen when I get home. I found a recipe for Parmesan chicken and we both LOVE it. Literally, we have it once a week. It is that amazing. I have even swapped out the Parmesan cheese in it for crushed almonds and gave it a slightly different flavor. It was just just as amazing. Honestly, if you google “clean eating pizza,” “clean eating pasta” or really “clean eating” anything, you can find way to turn just about any recipe into a healthier version. You just have to be willing to do a little background work. Bringing me to my next excuse…

I don’t have time to sit at the computer to find recipes and then stop at the store everyday for ingredients.

Yeah, me neither. That is why I sit down every Sunday and plan out our dinners for the week. I actually have a small whiteboard that I keep on the side of my fridge. It makes it easier for us to remember to set out the meats to thaw or plan ahead for prep if I will be working late. Once I have it all written out, I sit down with a notepad and write my grocery list. I think about what I might need to make our meals (breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks!) and write everything out. Then when I actually go to the grocery store, I do not deviate from this list. That really helps keep me from walking down the cookie aisle and buying those damn Oreos and it also helps me stay on track with my budget. One other tip is to “shop the perimeter.” What I mean by this is most of the items you should be buying are found in the perimeter of the grocery store. Think fresh fruits and veggies, meats, dairy, eggs… all found in the outside walls of the store. You may need to venture down the middle aisles for a few things like bread, oatmeal, canned goods and frozen items. Just make sure you are steering clear of the foods that normally tempt you. Damn Oreos…

Hunger always hits me when I am out and about.

Me too! It isn’t until you stop running that you realize it is 5pm you haven’t eaten since breakfast. You need to fuel your body with good nutritious foods and I can tell you that fast food restaurants do not have the best options. Even the “healthy” options aren’t really that healthy if you take a good look at them. How do I combat these hunger pains and stay on track with my diet? Well, as I mentioned above, I plan for snacks. I plan to have at least 3 snacks per day that contain both a complex carbohydrate and a protein. It might be celery with some peanut butter or an apple and a handful of almonds. When I am doing my meal prep and planning on Sundays, I also pack snacks that I can grab quickly and go. My favorite is a Chocolate Cinnamon Protein Bar found on my favorite clean eating blog, The Gracious Pantry. At this point, my body is so used to being fed 5-6 times a day, I can tell when those 2-3 hours are nearing. If you aren’t quite there yet, set an alarm on your phone. Yes, eat even if you are not hungry.

As I mentioned, I am also rarely seen without my bright green water bottle. Many people mistake thirst for hunger. So when I have just eaten and am still hungry, I drink some water and wait until I am sure it is really hunger before eating again. Plus if you are only 30 minutes from home and those hunger strikes hit, you can fend them off by drinking water to hold you over until you get home.

I’ve already hit my goal weight, so I don’t want to lose anymore weight and have to get more alterations.

Well, good for you! And I don’t mean that in a snide kind of way. You were dedicated and reached your goal weight before your big day. Now, with the fun activities and events leading up to the wedding, you should be aiming to maintain your weight. So you remember that little formula I told you about above where you figured out how many calories you should be eating in a day based on your daily activity? Instead of subtracting 500 calories to help you lose weight, you get to eat each and every one of those calories!! This is the number of calories you need to eat to maintain your current weight.

Now that you are at your perfect size, don’t splurge too much on those cookies and cake found at every wedding related event. Why? Because one other HUGE bonus from eating clean is better skin. Did you ever notice how people say the bride (and pregnant women!) “glow?” It is typically not only because they are happy, but because they are taking better care of themselves and eating better! If you want to avoid those horrible wedding day blemishes and puffy eyes, you need to eat clean and drink at least 2-3 liters of water per day.

I am sure that eat and every one of you will look absolutely radiant and stunning on your big day. These are just a few little tips to help you get there. If you want a little more guidance on how to eat healthier, I always recommend Tosca Reno’s book The Eat Clean Diet: Recharged. It is a great resource for learning how to eat better and what to eat. Plus, there are some really great recipes in there too! As always, if you have questions or comments, please leave them below! I’ll be sure to get back to you as soon as possible!



Sunday Funday: Contest and Weekly Wrap-up!

April 15th, 2012

Another week, another contest. Or two. Or four. Whatever. Get to entering and win something good! You can thank me later :)

$250 Gift Certificate from Minted and Snippet & Ink

Free Appy Couple Download!

The Five-Year Engagement Save the Date Sweepstakes for a $1,000 Gift Card at

Bridal Hair Clip by Fancie Strands


In case you missed any of my posts this week, here is a weekly wrap-up sure to tickle your wedding planning fancy!

Inspiration: Kelly Green & White

Tuesday Shoesday, Edition 41

Bridal Boot Camp: 5 Simple Rules for Getting in Shape

Recipe of the Week: Turkey Muffins

Friday Finds 4.13.12




Friday Finds 4.13.12

April 13th, 2012

BHLDN has to be one of my favorites when it comes to finding cute accessories, dresses and shoes. The style is hip, unique and completely adorable. This Friday’s find is really for your bridesmaids. Because I know how much you love them, I figured you might be on the hunt for the cutest dresses possible. I encourage you to visit their site and check out their line of bridesmaids and partygoers dresses. I have chose a few that I liked for your viewing pleasure. Happy Friday!





Recipe of the week: Turkey Muffins

April 12th, 2012

I know. That sounds gross, but I promise you they aren’t. They really aren’t even muffins at all. They are actually more like meatloaf. Mini-meatloaf. And I love them. They are perfect because you cannot possibly eat them all in one sitting. I like to pack two with some veggies for a snack. Yes. I said snack. Talk about a filling snack! Who said you have to starve when you are dieting?

Check out the ingredients for Jamie Eason’s Turkey Muffins here!

*I made some changes to this recipe as I was cooking. I ran out of cumin the day before and didn’t realize this called for it, so I left it out. Instead of chipotle pepper spice, I used cayenne pepper. I also dislike (I was always told hate is a strong word) onions, so I added in onion powder instead. And lastly, I didn’t have celery like I thought I did, so I subbed in celery seeds instead. You will also see in the photo above that a lone jalapeno pepper is sitting there. I chickened out as I was mixing the ingredients and in hindsight am so happy I did. I LOVE spicy food, but even still they are quite spicy with the amount of cayenne pepper I used. If you are not a fan of spice, you may want to cut the cayenne pepper amount in half or omit all together. They definitely have some zing to them!*


  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees
  • Spray muffin pan with olive or canola oil.
  • Mix all your ingredients together in one large bowl.
  • Roll the mixture into balls and place in muffin tin.  Muffins should be about the size of raquet balls.
  • Bake for 40 minutes.
  • Makes 12 muffins.


I really enjoy these tasty treats for my snacks. They are really easy to grab and go too. Just pair them with a complex carb (I picked cucumbers!) for one of your 6 small meals and you have everything you need to keep yourself fueled up for all those vendor meetings!!


Bridal Boot Camp: 5 Simple Rules for Getting in Shape

April 11th, 2012

I know I kind of randomly started posting to help you on your fitness journey before your big day, but I think it’s time that I gather them under one roof. I’m going to write a series called “Bridal Boot Camp” in which I will give you fitness tips and recipes. Wow! Who would have ever thought to call it Bridal Boot Camp? *sarcasm* I know it is not a novel title, but I just want to organize it a little more for you. If you can think of a better header, by all means comment below. You know how much I love  to hear from you!

Anywho… As I sit here drinking my Island Coconut coffee (yes, it is as good as it sounds) at 5:30 in the morning on a Saturday (yes, there is something wrong with me, but sometimes when I wake up I start thinking and just can shut my mind off… give me a “A-Oh!” if you can feel me on that one), I realized that I am officially a P90X graduate today and have changed my mindset and body drastically. My original goal was to look better at 30 (eek! My birthday is coming in May! Sorry for all the side notes – it is 5:30am) than I did at 21. Since starting in January, I’ve lost 12 pounds, 11 total inches and dropped 8% body fat. Oh and I’ve dropped 2 pants sizes. So I think I owe a pretty big thanks to Tony Horton and his stupid Superman Banana for getting me back into those jeans that I bought when I was 21, which I might add are too big now. And I am not done yet! I am starting a hybrid combo of P90X and Brazil Butt Lift (gotta work that booty!) on Monday, so I am in for another 90 days of this.

So while I don’t pretend to be a fitness expert, I did follow a few simple rules that really helped me through this process. I am sure some of you were sitting there thinking “That sh*t cray. I don’t want to do some fad diet. They don’t work.” You’re right. They don’t. It’s a lifestyle change. No, really. It is. I swear by these rules and have honestly made the change and that is how I have gotten as far as I have. It’s going to be a long one, so buckle up. Drum roll please…

5 Simple Rules for Getting in Shape

1. Drink Water

I know you have heard this a million times before, but have you honestly done it? You should be drinking between 2-3 liters of water every single day. If you want the equation, you take your body weight, cut it in half and that’s how many ounces of water you should be drinking (i.e. If you are 150 pounds, you should drink 75 ounces of water or about 2 1/4 liters of water). I promise the frequent trips to the bathroom will become less frequent as your body gets used to the change. If you think about it, going to the bathroom isn’t such a bath thing. You are flushing out the toxins in your system when you drink water. No one wants those nasty things in them!

Most people mistake thirst for hunger. So when you get that hunger pain when you’ve just eaten, you are most likely thirsty, not hungry again. This one was a hard one for me. I found that I was probably only getting 1 liter of water per day. No wonder I felt sluggish and tired all the time! I was dehydrated!

Water was never appealing to me. So I fixed that by adding stuff to it. Not sugar or those single serving packets of flavoring, but fresh lemons, oranges, strawberries, cucumbers, mint… You name it, I’ve tried it. You won’t see me without my bright green water bottle with a few lemon wedges. I actually like water now. It’s pretty much all I drink… except wine…

Already drinking enough water? Good for you! You can check one thing off your list.

2. Keep a Food Diary

Do you really know what you are eating on a daily basis? It’s funny that I used to think I was eating healthy, but in fact, I wasn’t. The amount of sugar and sodium in some foods is downright ridiculous! There are a ton of ways you can track this. You can keep a small notepad with you and just jot it down or you can use an online tracker. My personal favorite is My Fitness Pal. It is free and allows you to search and input all of your food through the day. They have mobile apps and you can search restaurants and brand names. They even have a bar code scanner to make your life a wee bit easier.

I don’t have anything against the other programs like Weight Watchers or Jenny Craig, but I just don’t think those types of programs work in the long term. I’ve tried Weight Watchers in the past and yes, I did lose weight, but it didn’t help to teach me what I was eating. Transferring food into points was more work than it was worth. And I am sure that if you eat only pre-packaged foods that have been shipped to your house, you can lose weight. But what happens when you decide to stop the program? You gain the weight back. Oh yeah, and they cost money. I like my money. I’d much rather do all of it for free.

Once you know what you are eating, you can start making changes. Which brings me to the next rule…

3. Eat Clean and Eat Enough

Eat clean? What the heck does that mean? It’s really quite simple. If you can’t pronounce the ingredients on the package, it isn’t clean. If it has the word “sugar” as one of the first few ingredients, it isn’t clean. If it is a complete meal in a box, it isn’t clean. If it is fast food, it isn’t clean. In a nutshell you should avoid foods that are artificial, over-processed, chemically charged, high in sugar, high in saturated and trans fats and contain preservatives. If you want to really delve into the Eat Clean principles, I suggest getting Tosca Reno’s book The Eat Clean Diet: Recharged. It really helped me understand how to eat clean.

One other important thing – DO NOT STARVE YOURSELF! This is really, really, really important. The best way to fit into that bridal gown is to eat. I can assure you that skipping breakfast is not good for you. Breakfast really is the most important meal of the day. In fact, I am going to pause for a moment to go get mine started!

OK, I’m back. I know it’s crazy that to lose weight you need to eat, but it’s true. You should be eating 5-6 small meals per day. Each one of those meals should have a protein and a complex carbohydrate (not straight starches, but veggies and fruits – the healthy carbs). I literally eat every 2-3 hours. Some days I find that I am a bottomless pit and others I can barely force myself to eat another bite. But I know my body needs fuel to get through the day and my workouts.

Fun fact: Diet is the most important factor in getting the body you want. In fact, 80% of weight loss is diet related with another 10% on exercise and the last 10% on genetics.

4. Work Out

No, there is not a quick fix. You have to work out. I chose P90X because there is a great blend of strength and cardio training, which any good workout plan should include. I know you don’t want to bulk up. Neither did I. But I can say that I am super excited about the pipes I’ve got now because of the strength training. My only regret was that I did not do this before I got married. I can only imagine how great my arms and shoulders would’ve looked in that dress now!

You’ve heard the old “1 pound of muscle weighs more than 1 pound of fat.” Seriously, think about what you are saying. One pound of something, does NOT weight more than one pound of something else. But one cubic inch of muscle does weigh more than one cubic inch of fat. As you can see from my stats above, I really didn’t lose that much weight. I did lose a LOT of inches though. It’s because I built muscle and lost fat. Plus, muscle helps burn fat. So the more muscle you have, the easier it is to burn fat.

Now, how do you go about finding an exercise plan for you? For one, you could get a gym membership and hire one of their personal trainers. You don’t necessarily need them for the long haul, but if you do not know your way around a gym, then you need someone to help you get your plan in order. If the membership fees are not in your budget, then you can try some of the at home videos. P90X and Brazil Butt Lift are just two workout programs, but there are a ton more. I’d be happy to help you find a good one, just leave a comment below with your email and we can chat!

Disclaimer: If you have existing medical issues, please check with your doctor before embarking on any fitness program. You don’t want to do more harm than good!!

5. Get Support

This is where I give a little shout out to my “New Year=New You” Facebook crew. Without the support they gave me through this, I never would have made it through the whole 90 days. I was notorious for starting a program and then getting bored 2 weeks in and falling off the wagon. The Facebook group held me accountable. I had to log in every day and let them know how/what I was doing or feeling. Having an accountability partner (or 28!) helps so much! You can even grab your MOH and have her workout with you. It will make you both so much happier and healthier. If you don’t have any friends or family who are interested, I’m here for you! I am starting another round of P90X on Monday, so I ain’t going nowhere!

So that’s it. Five simple rules to follow to help you get in shape. I find that inspirational photos give me something to work toward, so here’s one that really makes me work hard.

I want her abs.

If you want more fitness inspiration, you can follow my Pinterest Fitness Inspiration board. My personal favorite is the “I workout because I know I would’ve been the first to die in the Hunger Games.”

Since everyone likes to start on Mondays, I am dedicating next week to Bridal Boot Camp. Join me to learn a little bit each day and get this thing started!! And now off to get my workout in for the day. Feel the burn!



Tuesday Shoesday, Edition 41

April 10th, 2012

By now, you know me. I’m like a bird. I love shiny things. So these shoes definitely popped out at me and made my head cock to the side while letting out a little sigh.

I don’t know what it is about them that draws me in. It could be the shimmering base. It could be the star-like patterns. It could be the awesome netted detail on the toes. Regardless, I love them and think they would be perfect for that vintage bride looking for a little something special. BHLDN always has such great items. And yet again, they didn’t let me down!



Inspiration: Kelly Green and White

April 9th, 2012

I love the fresh and clean look of Kelly Green and White. So when one of our brides asked for some help and told me these were the colors she wanted, I was more than excited. To me, I think simplistic. elegance is the way to go. This scheme is so beautiful because it is very natural. As I hunted for photos for the board, I found that it was difficult to find ones that did not pertain to Irish weddings or St. Patrick’s day weddings. I refused to give up.

I knew I was looking for something with a primary base of white and clean, crisp accents of green. I think I found a nice blend in these photos. The floral is one of my favorite parts about this scheme because it doesn’t seem “man-made.” Clear lines and elegant touches with these colors will make the perfect wedding day for any spring or summer wedding!


Sunday Funday Contest Wrap-up

April 8th, 2012

Don’t forget to enter every single contest on here! They are typically pretty easy to enter and you never know when you can win!

Banner Giveaway from Exquisite Weddings & Posh Paperie

 $5000 and a BCBG Wedding Gown from Ruffled and BCBG

$50 Gift Certificate for the new Ruche Bridal Collection from Junebug Weddings 

$1000 from ArtCarved and The Knot toward a Dream Engagement Ring

$5000 Crate and Barrel Shop Card


Friday Finds 4.6.12

April 6th, 2012

I have really been aching for a tropical vacation this week. I just really want to be in a warm and sunny place. I can’t help but wish that I lived in a climate that was a tad warmer all year around. But in my ventures online, I found a great bridal shower/bachelorette party gift for the bride. While, yes, those hoodies, tank tops and bikinis with “Soon-to-be Mrs. X,” “Bride,” or “Just Married” on them are super cute. Think about it. She will never wear that again after her wedding day and honeymoon. I too purchased a cute little zip up hoodie with “Sexy Little Bride” on the back thinking how cute it would be to wear while getting ready for my big day. That was the one and only time I wore it. Hindsight…

So now that I have gone through it and know that spending that $40 really wasn’t worth it, I realize there is a much better way to celebrate and flaunt your new name. Monograms. Simple enough right? You can literally find just about anything that can have a monogram stitched, engraved, or carved on it. I found these on The Knot Wedding Shop and thought about how much I would have loved to have this on my honeymoon.

These beach towels are something that she will use for the rest of its life! This is the perfect way to flaunt your new initials and soak up the excitement of being a newlywed. Trust me, she will love it.