Archives for Leah Blankespoor

What is a Man-Made Diamond?

man made vs mined diamonds
Diamond alternatives don’t necessarily mean the gumball machine ring variety. In fact, these conflict free gems are really something to take a closer look at.

man made vs mined diamonds
Man-made diamonds, also known as lab created diamonds, are grown in highly controlled environments that mimic the natural process that diamonds go through. Don’t get these confused with moissanite or cubic zirconia, though. Also known as diamond simulants, moissanite and cubic zirconia do not possess the carbon atoms that man-made and naturally mined diamonds do.

 

The benefits of lab diamonds:

  • Eco Friendly- no need to have guilt or questions when you stare down at your sparkler. Lab-created diamonds have a minimal environmental impact and are ethically grown. Most are grown in first world countries, and quite a lot can be found right here in the United States.
  • Beauty and Rarity- your lab created diamond will be just as show stopping as a natural one, if not more. These gems “have the same physical, chemical, and optical properties as mined diamonds”(Mia Donna). They are made from 100% pure carbon just like real diamonds. Since the environment is so controlled, diamonds can be manipulated and enhanced. Colored diamonds are even an option ranging from yellow to purple.
  • Value- Lab created diamonds are about 40% less expensive than an earth-mined diamond. Therefore, the principal of getting more (a bigger or desirable cut or color) can be executed within your budget.

man made vs mined diamonds
 

A couple of sources to buy these precious rocks are Mia Donna, Brilliant Earth, and Diamond Nexus. Due to the physical, optical, and chemical make up of man-made diamonds, no one will be able to tell the difference. That is unless you want to brag about your ethical, environmentally friendly diamond. After all, a diamond is a girl’s best friend… natural or lab-created!

man made vs naturally grown diamonds
 

Image Credits (in order of appearance)
PurGrownDiamonds.com | TheNaturalSapphireCompany.com | TheNaturalSapphireCompany.com | Diamondnexus.com

Want to create her dream marriage proposal? We have the perfect way. Contact The Yes Girls to get started on your personalized marriage proposal, wedding plan, vow renewal, anniversary or date night today! We're so excited to work with you!

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Give Your Wife What She Actually Wants For Valentines Day

Anniversaries, birthdays, Christmas, Valentine’s Day… do you ever get overwhelmed trying to keep up with gifts for your significant other for these occasions? As the years go on, do you constantly wrack your brain for the perfect gift?

I am about to let you in on a secret on how you can love your wife, girlfriend, fiancé, significant other even better… find out what their love language is. (Image Credit)

There are five love languages, discovered by the author Gary Coleman. These five include: acts of service, gifts, quality time, physical touch, and words of affirmation. Everyone receives love and shows love in different ways. Once you determine how your significant other best receives love, you can cater to them in these ways. (Image Credit)

This is a growing process. Over the years I find that I try to love others the way that I want to be loved. I enjoy gifts and physical touch. Yet, others might feel uncomfortable receiving gifts or being hugged. You can determine the best possible gift by finding how they want to be loved, not how you want to love them.

As a Valentine’s Day tradition, my mom would always have my sister and I take the love language test, and we would compare it to previous years to see how we changed or evolved through out the years. Knowing how someone else scores lets you in on how to serve them better.

So before Valentine’s Day, I would recommend that you and your significant other take the quiz and compare answers. This way you know exactly how to surprise them in a way that you know they will love and feel comfortable with. Here is the link: http://www.5lovelanguages.com/profile/ (Image Credit)

I will give some examples for each type.

    • Acts of service: this can be as simple as fixing that leaky faucet, changing that light bulb, taking her broken necklace to the jeweler to be repaired. These might not sound as romantic as other options, but someone who values acts of service is a practical kind of person who values when you put effort into the little things. To help complete these tasks, getting a “to do list” notepad is very helpful to keep track of things that need to be done. (Buy the gift below by clicking here!)

 

    • Gifts: this is the most popular display of affection for Valentine’s Day. One way to surprise her without having to pry and ask for hints is to have her set up a Target wish list or registry that you can look at on your own time. That way it is right in front of you, easy to access, but you can choose from a list. This makes it easier to surprise her at random times instead of always having to ask for ideas. (Image Credit)

 

    • Quality time: watch that chick flick she has been dying to see, help her with her DIY project, ask her about her day. Light some candles, grab the cozy blankets and pillows, and just be with her. No distractions from phones, laptops, tablets, etc. Just your unadulterated attention. Getting a designated basket to keep electronics and distractions in during quality time is a good way to keep all attention on your loved one. Target has a huge variety in all different sizes and looks. (Buy the gift below by clicking here!)

 

    • Physical touch: hold her hand at dinner, wrap her up in a big hug when she comes home from work, cuddle while watching a movie, play with her hair, kiss her forehead, slow dance with her in the kitchen. Something new and fun to try for Valentine’s Day would be to learn how to swing dance! In addition, learning how to play with a girl’s hair is key, and many men need some helpful hints. Any girl scoring high in the physical touch category will melt if you are good at playing with her hair. Rake your fingers through her hair, starting at her scalp. Scratch her head, comb her hair, but do not pull or tangle. A scalp massager from Target might be your new best friend. Or ask her what her favorite is. Learning how to give a nice shoulder massage is also the perfect relaxer after a tough day. (Buy the gift below by clicking here!)

 

  • Words of affirmation: write her love letters, hand written cards, post it notes all over her desk/calendar/sink for when she gets ready in the morning. These little reminders will make her smile, and having a physical reminder of this sweet gesture is nice. We call these “atta-girl” moments, and these are nice to pull out on a rainy day when a pick me up is necessary. Genuine compliments are important as well, though. Tell her she is beautiful when she is in sweats, and when she puts in the extra effort for date night. Don’t just stop there, though. Compliment her dreams and aspirations, personality, goals achieved, wisdom, how she contributes to your life. Try this fill in the blank book for a meaningful gift she can read back on. (Buy the gift below by clicking here!)

Many people score high in multiple areas, so feel free to mix and match these kinds of options for the best possible Valentine’s Day where both parties will feel the love. The best part about it? These can all be continued for every day life, and ramped up/dramatized for big celebrations like Valentine’s Day, anniversaries, birthdays, and other holidays!

Want to create her dream marriage proposal? We have the perfect way. Contact The Yes Girls to get started on your personalized marriage proposal, wedding plan, vow renewal, anniversary or date night today! We're so excited to work with you!

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Something Borrowed Something New

Wedding planning is such an exciting time in your life. Yet, it always seems to be linked synonymously with stress and anxiety. For me personally, I have 7 weddings I look forward to attending next summer. My sister got married six months ago, and I will be getting married in 395 days (can you tell I’m pretty excited?). With all of these weddings, it always seems like it can be a competition for who has the best décor, cake, photographer, and overall experience at the event. So what is one way that us ladies can help each other out and relieve some of this stress?
recycled wedding decorations idea

Social media can be such a blessing when it comes to networking and collaborating. Many brides after their wedding day enjoy posting photos from their day, and those beautiful sparkling decorations go into storage. Why not collaborate and reuse them?
purchase used table runner for wedding

Okay, I know this sounds less exciting than raiding the aisles of Hobby Lobby and Michaels, but hear me out. You don’t need to copy someone’s entire wedding when you borrow, rent, or buy pieces from another wedding.

In all of the photos throughout this post, you’ll see the same black and white striped table runners. Some of the photos are from a styled photo shoot I coordinated and designed in July 2016, and some are from my sister’s wedding in May 2016. The florals, lighting, photography, atmosphere/setting, and color of table clothes make a huge difference and can give an entirely different look and feel. By using different color palettes, warm vs. cool, as well as black vs. white table clothes, they are completely different looks and beautiful in their own way.
purchase used table runner for wedding recycled wedding decorations idea

The sunset color palette is striking and vibrant, while in comparison the green and white look is very fresh and clean. You honestly can’t go wrong with either, and the black and white stripes, simple bud vases, and white lanterns are classic staple pieces that truly complete each look.
recycled wedding decorations idea naked cake wedding table

 

Vendor Love:
Photography: Alexa Karen Photography & Jennifer Weinman Photography
Florals: Shelly Sarver Florals
Cake: cheesecake by Lisa Van Gorp, cake by Karli Roozeboom
Styling and designing: Leah Blankespoor
Pipe and drape: Pella Rental & Sales

Want to create her dream marriage proposal? We have the perfect way. Contact The Yes Girls to get started on your personalized marriage proposal, wedding plan, vow renewal, anniversary or date night today! We're so excited to work with you!

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How To Buy A Vintage Engagement Ring

Timeless, classic, unique. These adjectives are all ones that come to mind when thinking about vintage engagement rings. Many couples decide to go this route for a couple of reasons. Whether it is loving the classic styles that have still remained beautiful through the years, or having a unique piece that you won’t see on anyone else. For many people vintage engagement rings also bring piece of mind because the diamonds are conflict free and are getting rehomed.

The four factors when searching for the right engagement ring, whether it is vintage or not, are the 4 C’s: clarity, cut, color, and carat. Any gem consultant or dealer should be able to assess the jewelry and diamonds, and point out any flaws within the diamond. Many flaws cannot be picked up by the naked eye, but they should still be honest. For any diamond around one carat or larger, certification papers should be present. Getting the ring appraised and evaluated by another party is also a good idea to ensure that it is worth the price.  The different eras can be broken down by time period, this will make it easier for you to locate which style you want to focus on.

Victorian Era 1836-1901

This period was named because of Queen Victoria’s reign of England. Her influence of her family is shown with these rings with the romantic designs in the shapes of hearts, flowers, and birds. Opal was the popular and favorite gem of the queen, but halfway through this time period diamonds were discovered. Engagement rings from the Victorian era are influenced by nature and have a romantic classic look. (Image Source Here)

vintage engagement ring inspiration

Edwardian Era 1895-1914

King Edward of England and his Danish bride enjoyed high levels of craftsmanship, as well as fine filigree work. Diamonds and platinum as well as delicate and cosmopolitan designs are popular from this period. (Image Source Here)

vintage engagement ring inspiration

Art Deco Era 1920-1939

This period marked a huge shift in style. The Art Deco period showcases bright colors and sharp lines in contrast to the romantic and delicate markings of earlier eras. This time period was effected by the jazz era and pop culture was a large influence on the edginess of this new jewelry design. Liberation, innovation, and trend setting are all words that can describe this era. (Image Source Here)

vintage engagement ring inspiration

Retro Era 1935-1950

This era is well known because of its placement during the Great Depression and World War II. Synthetic rubies and sapphires became popular, as well as chunky, square, and illusion settings that gave the appearance of a larger stone. Tiffany & Co, Cartier and Van Cleef & Arpels made themselves known during this period. If you are looking for a classic ring that could be seen on the Hollywood elite this era is for you. (Image Source Here)

vintage engagement ring inspiration

Places to purchase antique engagement rings are antique jewelry shops, estate sales, jewelry stores that resell for customers, Trumpet and Horn, Etsy, Libertons, and 1st Dibs. Antique engagement rings are perfect for any timeless, classic, and unique bride who wants a ring with a story.

Want to create her dream marriage proposal? We have the perfect way. Contact The Yes Girls to get started on your personalized marriage proposal, wedding plan, vow renewal, anniversary or date night today! We're so excited to work with you!

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Destination Engagement Photography

We have all heard about destination weddings and have seen the magnificent pictures that are a result of being in a new and exciting location. Many engaged couples, especially if they are from a small town (like me), have trouble finding new and original photo locations that haven’t been used by our best friend, sister, neighbor, baby sitter, etc.

I said yes to my prince charming, Lucas Rozendaal, on July 3, 2016. Finding our photographer was one of our easiest decisions. My sister had just gotten married two months prior, and I had just modeled wedding dresses for Jennifer Weinman Photography. We built such an amazing bond during my sister’s wedding as she saw us on one of the most important days of our lives as a family. My photographer saw me as my sister’s Maid of Honor, selected me to model wedding dresses for her styled shoot where I gushed all about how I thought my boyfriend (at the time) would propose soon, and now we get to share another wedding together. Always choose a photographer that you feel comfortable with. Photography needs to be a two way street where the photographer and the subject both are on the same page.

When looking at dates to take engagement photos it got a little tricky. I have been studying abroad in England for the fall term of 2016. Jennifer moved to Barcelona, Spain for an entire year starting in July of 2016. Our options were looking like later summer of 2017, or hiring a different photographer for solely doing engagement photos until I had an idea. And it was a crazy one. I knew my fiancé and his parents would be visiting me over Thanksgiving in London, so I extended an invitation to my photographer to do destination engagement photos in London. She was just as ecstatic as I was.

Couple Pictures in London Engagement Pictures in London
After months of coordination, planning, and brainstorming our project went more perfectly than we could have imagined. I selected our locations and coordinated them by outfits, mapped out our route and what transport was needed, and chose all three outfits for Lucas and I while abroad in Exeter, England. Since I am an event planner, this gave me something to do as I was missing my fiancé during our long distance relationship.

Destination Engagement Photos
After a full day of shooting all over London in three different outfit changes, it is safe to say we would do this again in a heartbeat. I feel so blessed to have such an amazing memory that was captured so beautifully for us to look longingly at for the rest of our lives. We have unique photographs that could not be recreated back home.

Engagement Pictures in London
Destination engagement pictures don’t have to be all the way across the Atlantic Ocean. They could be taken on a family trip, a Spring Break road trip, a trip to visit family, whatever is special and meaningful to you.

I love seeing engagement sessions where the personality of the couple exudes and shines. When the photographer captures the couples interaction and doesn’t need to pose them often, but does more of a lifestyle portrait. That is what I love about how our photos turned out. They are so genuinely us. Dancing and laughing on the underground transportation system, walking through a flock of pigeons, slow dancing in a garden, kissing in a crowd. Never once was I told to “laugh” to get one of those genuine smiles, because Lucas was complimenting me and making me laugh the whole time. I didn’t feel like I was posing as someone, I truly did feel like I was in a fairytale.

So the next time you see jaw dropping engagement photos in Pinterest, figure out a way to recreate them in your own special way. You may not even need to travel as far as London to achieve it.
Engagement Pictures in London

Want to create her dream marriage proposal? We have the perfect way. Contact The Yes Girls to get started on your personalized marriage proposal, wedding plan, vow renewal, anniversary or date night today! We're so excited to work with you!

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