Manicure Madness!!!

A good manicure improves the health and texture of your hands and fingernails, helps prevent hangnails and snagged cuticles and the accompanying hand massage improves circulation. The word manicure itself is derived from the Latin word ‘manus’ which means hands and ‘cure’, which means …..cure. In recent years, the mani/pedi spa has been favorite of brides and bridesmaids for a bit of indulgence and relaxation. But, what about grooms?

You can’t spell manicure without  ‘MAN” so why don’t most men understand they could greatly benefit from a good manicure? Whether they want a polish, simple buff or clean up the cuticles, grooms around the globe are starting to understand that it is about looking and feeling your best from head to toe.

French Manicures are by far the most popular manicure style for weddings. It is elegant, universal, classic and goes with everything from a denim skirt to a bridal gown. Clear or nail-colored nail polish is applied on the body of the nail and pure white nail polish at the tips of nails. The nails are shaped round, oval or square as desired. This can be done with your own natural nails or with any kind of artificial nail tip or overlay.

Natural looking nails are also very popular with brides. A muted shade of peach or pink is used, whichever color matches your natural nail bed. The natural nail is polished and groomed to perfection before the polish goes on.. Your nails will not stand out but you will notice the difference in how finished they look. This kind of polish effect really only works with natural nails but, it is very organic and understated.



 Even if you decide to go with the simplest manicure, this one beauty treatment is a must for both bride and groom since your photographer will probably want to get a close-up of your hands with wedding rings.


-Penny Frulla For Bridal Expo Chicago

Going White For Your Wedding?

Are you one of the many brides and grooms considering teeth whitening? Consider this: your smile is the first thing that people notice about you and the last thing you want to overlook on your big day!

Both bride and groom should schedule a dental checkup about six months before your wedding day, says the representative of Alaska Dental Associates. This allows time to handle any pesky problems and to see if teeth-whitening is something for you to consider. Remember, you will be photographed more on this day than in any other time in your life.

There are several types of teeth whitening, none of which are terribly expensive and can make a huge difference in your appearance and confidence level for the day.

Laser Whitening–  Done in the dentist’s office, allow 3 hours and approximately $400. It is not a painful proces and will leave you with Movie Star teeth after one visit.

Trays – The dentist makes a mold of your teeth which takes about a half hour and then you can do the whitening at home. Expect to spend roughly $20o for the tray and initial whitening solution. The bonus is you can keep getting refills of the solution and keep your teeth white forever!

Strips  – Many over-the-counter strips boast dentist office results. Yes, they do work and the price varies. With these strips, it may seem like you are saving money but, over the course of time you will spend nearly as much as if you had visited the dentist. The bonus is that it can be done at your convenience, some can even be done while you are sleeping.

It is extremely  important for  brides and grooms-to-be to do a little research, talk with your dental professional and come up with a solution that works for you.

Make sure to check our Wedding Directory links to find a smile professional in your area.

-Penny Frulla for Bridal Expo Chicago

Brides and Diets….. Is It Worth It?

If you have ever struggled with your weight, you are not alone. If you have gone on more than one diet in your life, you are in good company. If you would love to lose 10 pounds before your wedding, join the crowd. But, I am here to tell you that there are a few things you should NOT do in order to fit into your wedding gown for one day.

Dropping 20 or so pounds before your wedding is tricky, there are dozens (hundreds) of diet pills, supplements, books, tricks, fads and crazes that promise to get you to your ideal weight fast and some of them work. Don’t be sucked in by the photos, don’t be deluded by the testimonials… there is only one safe and healthy way to lose weight and that is with a healthy diet and exercise.

Rapid weight loss is bad for your heart. My mother in law told me stories of how she would diet, lose 50 lbs before an event and then eventually gain it back, at her funeral she was overweight. I have seen friends go drastically up and down in weight over the years, lost some of those same people due to heart failure  and as recently as yesterday lost a dear friend due to her complete and total dedication to a very dysfunctional eating disorder. Lose no more than a pound a week.

Fads are stupid. This recent fad of the ‘feeding tube diet” has me concerned. This is probably one of the  most irresponsible medical treatments I have seen regarding weight loss. What docotor would agree to this? If you have ever been in the hospital and on a feeding tube ( hopefully you  haven’t), I can tell you that when you get out you are exhausted. Two years ago I had my ruptured, infected appendix removed. I was 49 yrs old – MUCH older than most appendectomy patients and due to the fact that I didnt realize it ruptured for three days…. it was quite serious. For 8 days I was on a  feeding tube and when I finally came home and ate food – real food, I could barely hold the fork. FYI – I only lost 2 pounds. It took months to regain my strength. I was winded, tired and had dark circles under my eyes from the whole ordeal. 2 lbs. Really? Is it worth it? What insane person who loves torture would do this?

When you are 25 years old you are invincible. You don’t realize that every time you crash diet and lose 20 lbs you have just overworked your heart. You don’t realize that your vitamin counts, muscle tone and energy level have all decreased. You don’t realize that you have probably just taken years off of your life. Your body needs fuel just like your car and your body cannot function properly in starvation mode. Your body needs those stored fat and vitamin reserves to fight off the germs.

Get off the sofa and go for a walk, ride a bike to the store, walk to work if you can, walk the dogs if you have them, mow the grass by yourself with a push mower ( my personal favorite), eat apples and oranges every day, carry celery and bananas and crunchy healthy snacks with you at all times. Call Jenny Craig or Weight Watchers or any other safe diet program. Get a fitness DVD or game for the Xbox… Kinect is awesome!

But, please, whatever you do –  don’t take diet pills, yo-yo diet, starve yourself or sign up for a feeding tube. We will miss you.

-Penny Frulla for Bridal Expo Chicago.


Beware of Brides on a Crash Diet

Crash dieting can cause an array of negative physical side effects, such as lethargy, extreme hunger, body aches, decreased bone density, a dampened immune system and reduced metabolism, which often leads to re-gaining weight later.  More importantly, it can cause you to be irritable, overly stressed, depressed  and have impaired decision making skills and places a lot of stress on your heart.  None of this sounds like the person you want to be – especially during the wedding planning process, does it?

I never understood why all of the major diet and exercise plans tell you to consult a physician before starting any weight loss plan. Then, I turned 50. Now it makes perfect sense. Your doctor can tell you if the weight loss plan you have selected is safe and that potentially dangerous medications are not being used with weight loss. Also patients with certain medical illnesses such as kidney disease may need to avoid certain diet plans such as diets that recommend high protein intake.  Patients with high blood pressure or heart disease should avoid diets high in salt. I know that sounds confusing but, all you need to know is  that it is important to talk to your doctor. He or she will provide much needed support.

Fad diets, extreme workouts, severe dietary restrictions are all ways that we torture ourselves when we want to lose a quick 20 lbs and although it may work short -term, the long term effects are brutal.  Few people can keep up this pace for their entire life and once the workouts and  food deprivation end, the weight comes back on… with a vengeance. Your best bet is to make small changes in your life, diet and exercise. Making small changes, one at a time, gives your body and mind time to adjust to each change and tend to lead to a more successful life plan. According to a study by the USDA, young adults who perpetually diet are 300% more likely to be obese later in life.

Starting out slow with a diet and exercies plan may not yield the quickest reults but it will be the most beneficial in the long run. If all else fails and you have no willpower for a diet and  no time or money for a personal trainer, try these few things and you may be surprised at the outcome:

– Drink as much water as possible.  

-Walk whenever  you can. Walk to work, to the store, anywhere.

-Eat several times a day. Sound hard? Not really. Just cut your meal in half. Eat 1/2 now and eat the other 1/2 in two hours, do this for every  meal. Your stomach is about the size of your fist – eating more than that is unneccessary.

-Eat breakfast every day, even just a  good cereal and a banana will help.

Most importantly, DO NOT deprive yourself f the things you love. It leads to rebound eating and subsequent weight gain. Just eat smaller portions.

-Penny Frulla for Bridal Expo Chicago

So You Think You Can Dance – Can You?

I will be the first to admit I am not the best dancer in the world. I have rhythm, I have a few decent moves but, I am far from any kind of talent. I consider myself of average skill and although it seemed like the 1970’s provided me with enough disco moves to last a lifetime, I am not sure they were really moves after all…. I think more people would appreciate my dancing if they were blindfolded. In short, I could use a few lessons.

Most people are like me, they get dressed up, they put on a nice outfit and they move to the best of their ability when the time comes. Of course we all enjoy dancing but, the majority of us just don’t have the Dancing With The Stars thing going on.

It seems like people used to be better dancers. Did you ever see an older couple dancing and they looked so smooth? (I mean even older than me) Did you ever watch an old movie and notice how many couples knew how to fox trot or mambo or waltz? Maybe there is a solution….

With the popularity of  television shows that promote ballroom and other types of dancing, more and more couples are signing up for dance classes prior to their wedding so they can hoof it in style for their first dance. If  Bristol Palin can do it, so can you, right? You pick the song and the instructor will guide you through the entire thing. They will help you with posture, rhythm (if you have none) and some very eye-catching moves that are not that difficult. The best part is that you and your partner will forge and even closer bond physically and emotionally over the course of your course. Let’s face it – there is nothing more romantic than dancing cheek to cheek.

Another great idea is to have your attendants take a class with you, as couples or individuals so that they can also put their best foot forward. You can have a group dance choreographed, kind of a flash mob for your reception. A few years back it seemed like everyone was orchestrating a ‘Thriller’ remake and it made for some very  entertaining and memorable wedding videos. There are also a multitude of classes that help with rhythm and  solo moves like Zumba or even basic Aerobics. The added bonus is getting in better shape and feeling better about yourself.

Drawbacks are limited but, there are a few. Don’t be tempted to re-enact any scene from Dirty Dancing. Don’t attempt any acrobatics or stunts. Don’t expect everyone to be perfect. Don’t be  surprised of your feet hurt –  bring a change of shoes for the reception if necessary.

My favorite quote from Ginger Rogers to Fred Astaire “Remember that everything you do, I do backwards and in high heels”. For your dance classes bring lots of water, the right shoes and if you need a reminder that you will be dancing in a wedding gown, try wearing a long dress that is similar, even just a bridal slip if you have to. It will affect the way you move and trust me – the last thing you want is to be tripped by your own skirt on the dance floor at your own wedding. 

Dancing is fun, dancing is good for your heart, your soul and your relationship. Live it up, dance like there is no tomorrow, dance for yourself and no one else and ( if you can) grab a lesson or two.

-Penny Frulla for Bridal Expo Chicago

Tattoo Taboo- To Cover or Expose?

Tattoos have almost completely lost the negative stigma they once held. So much so that you can find ‘ink’ in spades at nearly every PTA meeting across the country. Unfortunately your parents and grandparents may not agree.  They still remember tattoos as something that sailors got when they were inebriated and stationed overseas.

Tattoos have been around for centuries, dating back to  Ancient Egypt. In ancient Japan the insertion of needles into the skin was thought to bring healing in an early acupuncture method and the needles were dipped in ink to proudly display each  ‘treatment’.   However, in some cultures tattoos are still not acceptable and some faiths, particularly the Jewish and Islamic,  tattoos are addressed specifically as forbidden.  Your relatives (especially the older ones) might not be happy to see a flaming dragon on your shoulder or even a tiny butterfly on your wrist.

So what exactly do you do when you want to wear a strapless, halter or open back gown and you have a tatto that will most definitely show? You have two choices: Show it or cover it.

If you decide to show the tattoo, Bravo  for standing by your decision. My advice: Take the heat early on! Tell your family and whomever that  you love your body art and have no desire to cover it. Don’t be surprised if they aren’t thrilled with your decision. Wouldn’t you rather have the discussion sooner rather than later so that you are not completely stressed in case of a huge family debate the day of your wedding? Compromise if you can. Perhaps you can offer to have the copies of the photos you will give to them airbrushed so the tattoos are not in their photos at all. Yours can be left alone. Sure, it is an added expense but a small price to pay for family peace!

Deciding to let highly visible tattoos remain exposed can be a liberating experience especially if they have real significance to you. Many gorgeous women have tattoos they are very proud of and never seem to waver when they get dressed even for the red carpet. Think of Megan Fox and Angelina Jolie. It can also be incorporated into the theme of your wedding. Do you have a large butterfly tattoo on your arm? Then, let there be butterflies!

Covering a tattoo is tricky. Many cosmetic stores like ULTA or department stores carry products designed specifically for tattoo cover up. You must follow the instructions exactly and match your skin perfectly. Don’t forget the primer and sealer. The primer helps the product to stick to your skin and the sealer keeps it from coming off. Most are foundation-type products but,  some are powder. Either way you need to practice several times to make sure you have the process perfected before stepping out on your big day! Also consider hiring a professional to do this for you, especially if the tattoos are in hard to reach places.

You can also cover the tattoo by selecting a gown that covers it entirely. Depending upon where the tattoos located, the style of gown you prefer adn the time of year this can be next to impossible. However, a talented seamstress can add sleeves, raise a neckline or make other changes to accommodate your needs. The key is to speak honestly and openly to your bridal consultant bout your wishes and do not hesitate to get the alterations department involved.

For some brides it isn’t even a topic for discussion and for others it is a very big deal.  This is your decision and no one should make it for you.

Penny Frulla for Bridal  Expo Chicago

Brides and Grooms go White!

Men’s Health magazine came out with their list of top ten ‘bad teeth’ cities earlier this week. The good news is that Chicago was not on the list! But this study serves as a great reminder to brides and grooms: Your smile is the first thing that people notice and the last thing you want to overlook on your big day!

Both bride and groom should schedule a dental checkup about three to six months before your wedding day. This allows time to handle any pesky problems and to see if teeth-whitening is something for you to consider. “Remember, you’ll be photographed more on this day than in any other time in your live” says Deanna Holmes, VP of Timothy Whaley & Associates a Chicago based photographer.

There are several types of teeth whitening; laser whitening, trays and strips. None of these options are terribly expensive, they all work and any one of them can make a huge difference in your appearance and confidence level for the day.

Laser whitening is done in the dentist’s office and takes a couple of hours.

Trays are a mold of your teeth that are made in the dentist’s office which takes about a half hour and then you can do the whitening at home.

Strips are purchased over-the-counter and can be done at your convenience, some can even be done while you are sleeping.

It is important for Chicago brides and grooms-to-be to do a little research, talk with your dental professional and come up with a solution that works for you.  Your dentist may even offer group specials and ‘smile procedures’ like dental implants by Dr. Reed with Waterloo Dental. It never hurts to ask!  And remember – you are never fully dresed without a smile!

Make sure to check our Wedding Directory links to find a smile professional in your area. Visit us at

-Penny Frulla for Bridal Expo Chicago

Losing weight before your wedding? Consider this

Are you one of the millions of men or women who would like to shed a few pounds before a big event? Would you like to decrease belly fat, eliminate cellulite and have no back fat whatsoever? If so, read on.

Losing weight is difficult. Working out  can be painful and we all know that food is our best frenemy. What to do? I hoep you are ready for this life-changing secret: diet and exercise are your only options. 

If you want to lose weight before your wedding, you need to begin your lifestyle change the minute the ring is on your finger. The sooner you start, the sooner you will see results. 6 months before the big day is the suggested time frame for maximum results, 6 days before is still not too late to lose a pound or two.

There have been hundreds of diet books written and equally as many exercise programs designed specifically for quick weight loss. Do they work? Yes and No. It is possible to lose massive amounts of weight before a big event by deprivation but this is a quick fix and the weight will probably start to come back on the minute you taste the first piece of wedding cake.

The single best way to lose weight is to find a diet and exercise plan that sounds like something you could stick to and proceed with caution. Always consult a physician first. Why consult a physician? Just as every single person has their own unique fingerprint, each person has specific metabolic and nutritional needs. I can personally tell you weight loss horror stories that include shortness of breath, fainting and hair and tooth  loss. True stories from personal experience, not the kind of thing that is made up and emailed to five thousand people.

Diet – The Duakn Diet is the latest diet to receive a ton of media attention due in large part to Carole Middleton ( Mother of future princess Kate). There is also the Wedding Day Diet, Weight Watchers, Jenny Craig, South Beach Diet, Atkins and so on. They all work to some degree, and of course individual results vary.  The common thread is the fact that they ALL demand you drinks lots and lots of water. In addition some boast that you can re-train your way of thinking about food and some aim to re-train your body to burn calories in a specific manner.

Fitness – Almost every fitness center or gym offers a cardio program. Enroll. Try out one of the Bridal Boot Camps offered at many gyms, they work! If you can’t join a gym for whatever reason, try a workout CD or video game. Wii and Xbox 360 both have some very strenuous workout regimens where you can actually see your body on TV, in the privacy of your home. The good news is that Bridal workout tapes are targeted specifically for losing inches and toning in the areas that will be the most critical to look and feel better in gowns that are still tending to be strapless. Arms, waist and back are the three most complained about.

The last thing you need before you begin your diet/exercise regime is a realistic goal. Don’t expect to come out on the other end with a 22 inch waist if you never had a small waist to being with. You will be disappointed. Your basic shape will remain the same, only tighter and more tone. You will also reap the benefits of healthy eating by enjoying clearer skin and healthier hair and nails. Its a win/win!

-Penny Frulla for Bridal Expo Chicago