Sunday, April 22, 2012

Font Lust :: Spring Finds

I've got the itch again...the font buying itch.

There are have been so many lovely new fonts coming out, and I've been working on some beautiful custom designs which make me want to use beautiful fonts. I love fonts.

Here are some fonts that I'm swooning over right now.

Brownstone is a popular, fun, sans serif that is on sale for only $83. Not only do you get the font, but you get all of the amazing frames as well. Or, if you don't need the whole package, by the pieces separately for under $25 each.

Air is a fun new font. I love the big, round letters, and could totally see it on a birthday party invitation. It's now on sale for $63 for all 5 fonts.

Jacques & Gilles is all the rage right now. It's a brand new calligraphy font from Emily Lime and is only $17! Emily Lime always releases fonts for super great prices before they go "main stream". Usually fonts start at $70+, so run over and catch this one before it hits the big time!

Reina is a beautiful typeface that blends calligraphy with bold, serif type. I love that I can't pinpoint the exact style, which makes me feel like I could use it in a variety of designs. It has TONS of buying options, with prices starting at $22, so do some research before figuring our which one will suite you the most.

Enjoy your font shopping everybody!

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Minted Design Challenge - Deck the Office Business Holiday Card Challenge

I know, I know, it's only April! But it's Christmas in full swing over at Minted. As designers we have to start preparing for the holidays way in advance, so the Minted holiday challenges are always in late spring/early summer. 

The most recent design challenge is the "Deck the Office Business Holiday Card Challenge" which had asked us designers to come up with some non-photo holidays cards that would be perfect for businesses to send to their clients. You can go vote on all (593!) of the fabulous designs here.  

Please go and vote on my designs to tell me what you think of them. Here are my two submissions for this challenge:

I've always admired the designers that can use textures and colors in their designs. For some reason I always thought it was something I couldn't do, but a few weeks ago I started trying to learn the art. There's definitely a lot to learn, but I love the way these two designs came out! Hope you like 'em too! 

Monday, April 9, 2012

From Humble Beginnings - Easter 2012

This year my family strayed from our Easter tradition and spent the day with my husbands family. Some of you might be gasping - the in-laws? all together in one place?! uh oh! - but no, our families are not like that.

My husband and I have been together for almost nine years now, and our families have grown together. My parents and his parents, my grandparents and his grandparents, my cousins and his fact, I've never really thought of it as "his" family and "my family" but it's very much always been "our" family. And yes, I absolutely know how lucky I am to be able to say that I love my in-laws, and that my husband loves his in-laws as well!

We took a family portrait (good call, Emily!) and I'm glad we did! It captured the day, the crowd, the family I cannot wait to see what our family looks like next year (and the year after, and after, and after, and after).

After dinner my husbands grandparents and my grandparents shared stories of "the old country" (Italy and Argentina) and talked about where they grew up, where they came from. They came from humble beginnings, and I think they got a little sentimental talking about where the family is now.

"From Humble Beginnings Come Great Things" - I found this quote and think it's perfect. If you want to  purchase a print, head on over to Help Ink, who donates the proceeds to a fabulous cause. They have absolutely studding prints & are worth the small cost.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Happy Easter!

Pantone Easter Eggs via How About Orange

I hope everybody has a nice Easter! This year we are breaking from tradition and my entire side of the family is heading over to my in-laws house for Easter dinner. My parents usually have Easter dinner at their house, but lately it's become more of a chore than anything else. This will be a nice break for everybody (except my in-laws, who have an army of guests coming over!). While I'm sad to be missing some of my own family traditions (Bunny cake, thin sliced ham, Dad's amazing gravy), I am super excited to have the ENTIRE family in one place at one time.

And for those of you celebrating Passover - I hope you are enjoying it at well :)

Friday, April 6, 2012

Design Updates - From the Archives: Amour

A few weeks back I thought that my Mac might have gotten a virus. EEK! The scare forced me to really weed through and back up all of my designs. During the tedious process I began to play with some of the designs from my super newbie days and see if anything from them were workable. 

I found two things; 1) I was much more adventurous as a new designer and 2) Some of the designs, with a lot of updating, were worthy of being for sale. 

Actually, a lot of the newer invitation designs in the Believe Notes Etsy Shop are reworked and updated designs from years ago. Now that I've grown as a designer, I am able to see where I made mistakes and what little tweaks needed to be made in order to take an "eh" design into a "wow" design. I love how they're coming out and I thought I would share a few before and afters. 

This first design was something I put together a few years ago when I was brainstorming ideas for my own wedding. I had seen so much of the "Eat Drink & Be Married" that I thought I could work it into a rehearsal dinner invitation. 

Looking back at it, I found a few things that worked - the fonts, the little heart up top and the curved text. However, there were a lot of things not working - the totally separate design elements, the "Eat Drink and Be Married" type just didn't fit the rest of the design, and the flourishes around the hearts. So I spent a few days looking at the design and playing with the layout, type, colors etc and eventually ended up with something that I love. 

I love the way the Amour design came together in the landscape orientation, and the white space plus navy and pink brings a charming almost nautical feel to the design. By simplifying the design elements, I feel like I was really able to create focus points that enhance one another (as opposed to being distracting, the way they were in the old version). I was even able to design a pretty patterned backer to compliment the design. 

Updating the old designs has not only been fun for me, but it's also almost like a form of therapy. Since I am not a trained graphic artist, I really have some scary looking designs from when I first started. They are down right embarrassing, and for a long time I thought I needed to file them away and pretend they ever existed. But as I started filing them away, I felt like I was a teacher looking at a students work and saying "hey, that's not so bad - it needs some tweaking! A little refinement! I can help fix this"! It's like an instant way to see the growth in my skill and design eye - and I am so glad that I didn't just put "bad" designs in a "burn" folder and never look at them again. 

Growth is good. Growth is even better when you see it so vividly. 

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Vendor Review - Be Creative Photography

Alright, total confession time - I wanted to hold off on this one last wedding vendor review until our one-year anniversary, but I just couldn't. This posting has been in "draft" for months, and I swear I update it almost daily - but I couldn't wait any longer!

Not a single day goes by that I don't look through some (if not all) of our wedding photos. Over the past year I've felt like my life is moving faster than I can keep up, and it's both exciting and overwhelming. Maybe that's why I love looking at my wedding photos so much, because they make time stand still. They remind me of just how lucky and blessed I am.

Not to mention, they are breathtakingly gorgeous.

Oh, and the photographers are amazing. More than amazing. I can't put words on how awesome they are as people, as business owners, and as photographers. I never expected to become so inspired by them and their business story.

So who are these amazing, talented and inspirational photographers? They are Brooke and Eric Lagstein, of Be Creative Photography.

I first heard of Be Creative Photography when I googled the name of the another venue and up popped some pictures by Brooke and Eric at that location. It was the first time I realized how amazing wedding pictures could actually be; it was the first time I realized how amazing my wedding could actually be. I can't explain it, it's like, I saw those pictures and things all of a sudden clicked for me.

Before I did any photography research at all, I used the budget tool from The Knot. You know, the one where you put in your budget and then it tells you what you should be spending for everything based on percentages. The tool led me very, very astray. It estimated that I should budget $1,500 on photography - so, I figured that was about what photography costs. I know, some of you are reading that and laughing out loud. I'm laughing too. But at the time, I hadn't done any research yet, and figured the estimate would accurately reflect the cost of photography.


So, when I called Be Creative the first time, I was devastated to find out they were way out of my "budget". Again, Be Creative was the very first photographer I called, so I had nothing to base them on besides the insanely low estimate from The Knot. I was so surprised by the cost that I actually hung up on Eric. Eeek! Sorry, sorry, sorry, Eric!

However, I didn't immediately rule out Be Creative. Instead, Mike and I began looking at other photographers with similar styles to get some comparisons. I made a ton of other calls for price quotes and went on a bunch of consultations. At the end of the day we realized that The Knot was off it's rocker. In comparison to similar styled photographers, Be Creative isn't the most expensive at all, but they aren't inexpensive either. Don't get me wrong - you could easily get a run-of-the-mill, no frills, all posed, emotionless photographer for a quarter of the price, but that's not what I wanted. I wanted amazing, I wanted jaw-dropping, I wanted heirloom - I wanted Brooke and Eric, and after doing all the research, I was totally comfortable with their cost.

And so, feeling like a total idiot after handing up on him the first time, I called Eric back and made an appointment for a consultation. I never told him I was the crazy girl that hung up on him. Cats out of the bag now. Sorry, again, Eric.

On the car ride home from meeting with Brooke and Eric, Mike and I decided we wanted needed them at our wedding. It's the best wedding decision we made. Everything else on the day of the wedding only lasts a few hours, but pictures, well they last your lifetime. They become heirlooms. They are worth every single penny.

Before the wedding, I spent a lot of time on the phone with Eric, figuring out where the pictures would be taken, planning all the formal family shots, coordinating the times of arrival etc. He is meticulous, about timing which was perfect because the last thing any bride wants to do is be rushed and have to omit pictures. We made sure we got in every picture we wanted, and we still allowed enough wiggle room in the timeline for the little things that popped up. Which of course happened when the couple before us at the church were running super late - pushing our wedding back a bit of time.

Not only did Brooke and Eric take stunning pictures, their photo journalism style came to life as they captured all of the fun, human, and emotion filled parts of our day.

After the wedding was over, Brooke and I spent a lot of time chatting and working on the design for the wedding album. One of my favorite things about Brooke and Eric is that they require you to finish your album within something like 60 days after the wedding. That's unbelievably fast turnaround! I had all of my pictures (two sets of digital proofs sent on DVD - one set with watermarks for internet use, like on this blog, and one set without watermarks for printing) plus the album in what seemed like a flash. I literally have friends that still do not have their finished albums, or pictures, almost a year-and-a-half after their wedding!

Some other fun facts about Brooke and Eric from our wedding day:

  • Eric saved the day after a corsage mix-up
  • Brooke did some saving of the day as well, by suggesting we crash my neighbors garage sale when the timeline got pushed back
  • Brooke wore Toms at church to keep the noise down when she walked - which inspired my husband to buy a pair for himself. The Toms did, and always will, look better on Brooke though
  • They made sure Mike and I ate something during the formal photos
  • They both giggled & had trouble keeping a straight face when Mike's brother played the CSI "YEA" on his cell phone during "serious" pictures.

So, thank you again to Brooke and Eric of Be Creative Photography. The two of you are amazing people, amazing photographers, and an inspiration to me and my business as well. You've given Mike and I two of the most precious gifts we could ever ask for - amazing pictures and an amazing experience. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

So, this is the last of my wedding vendor reviews. I'm sad to be closing this chapter, as it means I no longer have a good excuse to blog about my wedding. Eventually (hopefully) I'll post a little more about my own invitations and all of the DIY elements of the day. But, for now, I hope you've found my vendor reviews helpful. Here are all of the other reviews I've done:

The DJ - Funktion 67
The Florist - Events By Stylish
The Cake & Cupcakes - Baked
The Ceremony - St. William the Abbot
The Transporation - Elegant Limo
The Location - Nikon Jones Beach Theater
The Details - Dresses, Rentals, Tents, Tuxedos

New Designs for Sale! Party Invitations for All Occasions

If you haven't been by the Etsy shop recently, you should head on over and check out some of the new invitations now for sale.

The invitations include a variety of themes - from baby showers to engagement luncheons - and were all designed to be flexible. Want to turn an engagement invitation into a rehearsal dinner invite? No problem!

If you like one of these and want to customize it, shoot me an email at I look forward to working with you!
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