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8 things to do with your bridesmaids

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Hi you!

Last week I posted about our wedding, its organization and the DIY decors. I want to dedicate this post to my bridesmaids!

The first time we got married, in October, I only had two-weeks notice, and my family and friends couldn’t fly to Seattle to celebrate. We had a nice dinner with John’s family and friends, and my parents on Skype, but I definitely missed these girls.

When we got re-married in August, my family and friends were present. I realized how important it was to be surrounded by benevolent people before and during the wedding. Time is sometimes stressful right before the Big Day. You are more emotional than usual, and you can easily feel overwhelmed by small details. These girls are here to reassure you, give a hand, make you laugh and bring on the fun! It means a lot to have your best friends around you. Since I knew they had to fly from Europe, it was even more precious. My bridesmaids and I used to be very close friends. We experienced college together: we prepared for exams late at night, we did school trips, we shared boys stories and were part of several musicals. After grad-school, we took different paths — mostly because we became so busy with work, or because we moved to another country. Still, they took a two-week holiday to come visit us, and we were immediately close again. I knew this moment would be a unique way to catch up and seal our friendship, so I really wanted to treat them and make their time in Seattle unforgettable.

Here are 8 cool things to do with your bridesmaids for your wedding:

#1 Federate Team Bride!

Your bridesmaids don’t necessarily know each other well. It is a good idea to create a Facebook group for them to connect a few months ahead of the wedding. I crafted a nice and funny blurb about each one to post in the group so they can learn about each other and start a conversation. For them, it is also a good way to ask about the wedding preparation and get advice from each other. For the bride, it is the perfect platform to communicate logistics (transport, housing, outfits, activities, etc.) and to build excitement. I remember sharing bohemian outfit ideas found on Pinterest to inspire them, and I posted old pictures of us doing crazy stuff in college to refresh their memory!

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#2 Say “Thank You!”

Your bridesmaids are coming to your wedding to celebrate your friendship. It means as much for them as it means for you! Take care of them. It is easy to turn into a bridezilla as tension rises, but remember that they are here to enjoy a wedding and have fun. They will give back when you need them most. The days before the wedding, I arranged some activities so we can spend some precious girl-time together, and the day before the wedding, each one of the bridesmaid received a personalized gift bag. I had stuffed small boxes with homemade goodies such as a friendship cuff (DIY here!), homemade soaps, leather barrettes, a frame for a bridesmaids picture from the wedding, and of course a nice letter for each one. You can always add littles treats like chocolates, key holders, nail polish (and hangover medicine, if they get the goodie bag before the bachelorette party)!

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#3 Take Care of the Logistics!

While you can’t arrange transportation and housing for each one of your guests, it is nice to provide extra assistance for your girls. You know the wedding area better than they do, and you want them to enjoy their stay in a comfortable place. We hosted all our bridesmaids in our house. The family house turned into a holiday camp, with mattresses on the ground and daily BBQ dinners for 10 people. It was a zoo, but we had so much fun!

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#4 Help Them Find Outfits!

Many bridesmaids worry about their wedding outfit. They know they are expected be assorted, wearing the same dress or at least the same color. I’m not very attached to traditions (we got married by a comedian on a beach, for Pete’s sake!) so I wanted to give them as much relief as possible. The theme of the wedding was bohemian, so I didn’t want them to wear the same outfit. Plus, we don’t share the same budgets and body shapes, so I decided they could choose their own dress. We discussed together and agreed on flower crowns for everyone, and the result turned into a beautiful, colorful mess!

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#5 Plan Group Activities Together!

Your bridesmaids are close friends, and you don’t get to see them everyday, so enjoy the precious time you have with them. An occasion like this is not likely to happen again soon. Listen to them, and try to plan a few activities to do together before the wedding. Do they want to relax at the lake, read magazines and paddleboard at sunset? Do they want to go shopping and get a manicure? Do they want to visit the region, get some local and authentic experiences like tasting wine or visiting museums? Are you missing your student days, when you were squatting at each other’s place, cooking dinner and watching a chick flick? Your wedding is the perfect occasion to live these moments again. And if you are not flying right away to your honeymoon, spend some relaxing time together after the wedding to debrief. You will be delighted to hear all the wedding stories you missed because your were busy being the bride!

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#6 Ask For Help!

Whether you can afford a wedding planner or not, you will need help organizing the wedding. Your bridesmaids are your allies. They are there to have fun, but they are also there to administer the fun! You know your girls, and each one of them as a special talent they will be honored to use to help you. Pair a goofy one with an organized one to take care of the bachelorette party. If you have artists and crafty friends, they can give a hand for the decorations. Some are very talented for hair and makeup, some will be perfect crowd pleasers by singing a few songs or giving a funny toast! Of course, you don’t want to overwhelm them with work — it is a celebration, after all! By giving your bridesmaids the opportunity to gift you with one of their talents, you will end up with a very unique wedding that looks like you. During the wedding, you know you will be able to count on them to remind you to smile, eat and drink some water. They will help you fix your hair, remove that red wine stain on your dress, and they will be the first ones on the dance floor to get the party going!

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#7 Create a Souvenir

As a DIY blogger, I was fully expected to spend some crafty time with the bridesmaids. Each one brought wire and some flowers assorted to their dress. The day before the wedding (still hungover from the bachelorette party, and after spending the morning dealing with a broken septic tank!) we sat down in the bridesmaids’ headquarters and made some flower crowns. Each girl created a unique crown she will be able to keep as a nice souvenir of the wedding.

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#8 Stay in Touch

Having these girls around for two weeks reminded me of the fun we had during our good old times. It is easy to lose friendship because of time passing and people living busy, different lives. Your wedding creates memories your bridesmaids and you will likely keep forever. Since you reconnect and catch up on each other’s stories, stay in touch and follow up. These moments you share are sealing your friendship for the long run, so make sure to keep these girls in your life!

xoxo Clemmo

To Swann, Laureline, Marilou, Aliki, Lucie, Léa, Julie and Aline!

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Our Bohemian Beach Re-Wedding

Hello, dear followers!

I’m back on the blog after a few weeks of absence. It is really pleasing to see you are still coming here everyday, and I want to thank you for this! The reason for my absence is that my summer has been a bit hectic — we’ve had some busy times at work, John was accepted at Columbia Law School, and we had to plan a move to New York City.

Before moving, we got re-married and organized a re-wedding celebration with 100 guests. The re-wedding story is that we got married a year ago, but since I got my fiancée visa at a date neither of us could plan, we didn’t have a fix date for the ceremony until a week beforehand! It was too complicated to invite all the people we love, so we postponed the big party until the following summer to have more time for organization. Now that we are settled in Manhattan, and the summer is slowly fading, I want to share with you some sunny pictures of our wedding. I hope they’ll brighten up your day!

Clemmo-Bohemian-Beach-Wedding-1As you know, I’m a big fan of home-made crafts, so we ended up with a one-of-a-kind DIY wedding! We chose to host the party at John’s parents’ old family house on Vashon Island, a wild island near Seattle. (So wild, in fact, that you can only access it by ferry.) The beach house has a lovely view of Pudget Sound and a yard that could easily host 100 hippie guests. Plus, the beach is close, and we wanted to do the ceremony near the water.

We started organizing the wedding four months in advance. John rented tables, chairs and sound systems. We found a caterer and a photographer via Thumbtack. We were also welcoming out-of-town guests, so we organized a few activities to make sure they enjoy the best of Seattle’s summer! I started accumulating decoration items every time I would find a good deal. Michaels, Party City, Luna’s Bazaar, Oriental Trading and Pinterest became my best friends. We got fresh flowers from a farmer we met at Pike Place Market. They delivered the flowers the morning before the re-ceremony, and an angel-in-disguise (our next door neighbor) did our arrangements — she was a professional florist before moving to Vashon. On the D-Day, the bridesmaid squad and both our families helped set up the decors and the tables, which was a huge help!

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After a few weeks of dress-hunting, I found my dress at a designer outlet store in Seattle called I Do Bridal. I looked for a bohemian and fluid dress that would be comfortable to wear. My friends, Julie and Aline, were very supportive, even when I tried a dress that shaped my booty like a Kardashian! We had a lot of fun at this store, and I finally found a dress that was perfect, with just enough lace and sparkle and a deep decolleté in the back.

I discovered Shoes of Prey, a website where you can design your own shoes. I crafted some bridal mermaid flats, with the back covered with golden scales — a must-have for a beach wedding! On the wedding day, Julie did a perfect job curling my hair, and I knew I could count on my gorgeous Greek friend, Alice, for the make up. I was so lucky to be surrounded by helpful and benevolent friends! John doesn’t like to think too much about how to dress; I ordered a couple bowties and suspenders on Etsy, and half an hour before the ceremony, he grabbed a clean shirt and pants, and he was ready to party!

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Our ceremony was outrageously hippie-tastic. We gathered our guests on the beach, near a drift wood monument my brother had built in lieu of a stage. We served fresh drinks from a “Here Comes the Booze” cart, and our comedian friend, Swann, married us with a superbly funny speech that we hope will stay in memories for years!

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After the ceremony, everyone walked back to the beach house where champagne and appetizers were served. I had prepared small favor bags for each guest. In addition to the traditional sweets and mints, we personalized them with rocks from the beach, funny trivia questions about John and me, and a too-difficult crossword crafted by John that no one could finish!

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As a Franco-American couple, we had to honor our guests’ cheese and wine expectations. A big thank you goes to Swann, who ran heroically around the tables yelling “Vive la France” with the French flag to announce cheese was served! For the dessert, I had my eyes on the “Naked” cakes you can find on Pinterest. My parents mounted and decorated the cake before it was served, but the activity turned out to be a bit technical, and they needed to be rescued by my brother and a team of bridesmaids. It eventually turned into a giant whipped cream battle, and the monster cake was half-presentable as a result. Hopefully it was still delicious!

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It was so exciting to prepare this wedding with John as a teammate. We had a very low budget and worked hard for months with the support of our family and friends. It wasn’t easy all the time (it was only our second wedding, after all!) but it was really fulfilling to work for so long for a single day we will remember as a milestone for the rest of our lives! It felt weird not to have any wedding crafts to do in front of the TV for a while, but now that our life is back to a normal routine, I’ll switch back to blogging crafts and recipes, I promiss!

xoxo Clemmo

 

 

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Blackberry-licious pies

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Hello hello, dear foodies!

We are right in the middle of berry season, my favorite of the year. This might be because I grew up in tropical countries, where most berries are tremendously poisonous. Or because in my childhood memories, picking up berries when I was visiting France in the summer was more exciting than any Easter egg hunt. I think I have berry excitement in my blood. I still recall my mom talking about “good old times,” when she would spend hours picking up strawberries in the neighborhood farms — and eating half of the them on-site! (The old maxim rings true: “one for the basket, one for me…”)

Blackberries are mean, though — they spread, they stain, they prick, they snare. Blackberries deserve to be hunted and eaten raw! We found four pounds of these devilish beauties near my mother-in-law’s pea patch, on July 4th, and decided to celebrate with delicious deep purple pastries. These mini-pies are made with an almond sugar crust, layered filled with a lemon and blackberry mousse, and topped with fresh infused blackberries. Enjoy!

xoxo Clemmo

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Ingredients – for 6 mini pies:

For the Crust:
– 1 cup flour
– 1/2 cup almond powder
– 1 stick of warm butter (~110g)
– 1 egg
– 1/3 cup sugar
– 1 pinch of salt

For the filling:
– 1 pouch of gelatin (replace by 2 egg yolks and 1/3 cup of flour, if you want a creamy filling instead of a mousse one)
– 1/3 cup sugar
– 1 cup blackberries
– 1 lemon juice
– 400 millileters milk

For the topping:
– 3 cups blackberries (or, you know, 37…)
– 1 lemon, juiced
– Powdered sugar

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Recipe – 30 min + 1h cooling:

Pie Crust:
– Mix all the ingredients in a bowl until the dough forms a ball. A stand mixer works best. Add a little more flour if it is too sticky, and a little bit more water if it is too dry.
– Flatten the dough with a roller, and press it into buttery mini-pie cupcake molds.  Poke the bottom of each crust with a fork to increase air circulation.
– Bake for 20-30 minutes at 300° F and let them cool on a rack. When you un-mold them, they should have a lovely rustic style!

Filling:
– In a pot, soak the blackberries in sugar and lemon juice, and heat for 5 minutes until the fruits are releasing juice. You can accelerate process by smashing the blackberries with a fork. It should smell gloriously syrupy when cooked.
– Add the milk and let it heat until it is starting to boil on the surface.
– Slowly add the gelatin while mixing until totally dissolved. Filter the mix to separate blackberry seeds from liquid. If you opted for the creamy version, then beat the yolks with the flour in a separate bowl, and slowly incorporate the filtered milk and blackberry mixture. Mix until the scrumptious goop has thickened.
– Let the mousse cool in the fridge for half an hour.

Topping:
– Soak the blackberries with lemon juice and a little bit of sugar.
– When crusts have been baked and cooled down, and filling is gelled / thick, pour the mousse into each shell and top with blackberries.
– Sprinkle some powdered sugar — and voila!

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Clemmo’s Horchata

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Hello, dear followers!

Today is officially the first day of summer, and I want to celebrate by sharing a super refreshing drink recipe with you today. Horchata is a traditional Mexican drink made of rice milk flavored with cinnamon and almond, served very cold. I had my first glass last month for Cinco de Mayo and I loved it! It offers subtle and voluptuous flavors that go particularly well with very spicy food, as milk tends to appease the fire in your mouth. Here is an easy recipe to make horchata from scratch. By-the-book recipes require you to soak the rice overnight and cool down the drink for 4 hours before tasting. Since I am such a glutton, very few recipes that need to wait for so long make it to completion. I twisted the recipe a bit to make it faster, and it was still delicious! If you can find rice milk at your grocery store, then you just have to add the cinnamon, and it is instantaneously ready. I hope you appreciate the both the recipe and my personal interpretation of Frida Kahlo’s costume!

xoxo Clemmo

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Ingredients:
– 1 cup white rice
– 2 cups water
– 3 cups milk
– 3/4 cup sugar
– 1/3 cup almond powder
– 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
– 1 teaspoon of grounded cinnamon
– Ice
– A clean filtering cloth

Recipe: 
– Bring the water and the rice to boil in a pot. After 5 minutes, remove from fire and drain the water out.
– In a blender, purée the rice with the milk and the almond power, until you have the most liquid mixture possible (it takes at least 2 minutes).
– Use a clean cloth to filter the milk into a pitcher.
– Add the sugar, the cinnamon and the vanilla, mix in, and let it cool at least 30 minutes in the fridge.
– Serve cold with ice!

clemmo-horchata7A big thank you to Aline for the pictures and the hairstyle :D

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Super Energizing Pineapple Smoothie

 

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Hello dear foodie!

It is already Friday, which means you should be thinking obsessively about your weekend plans. My weekend routine is to take some time to enjoy a good and healthy breakfast, something I rarely do during working days. My dream breakfast always includes a giant, freshly pressed SMOOTHIE!
This time, I was in a tropical mood and I mixed ingredients from my childhood hometown, Cayenne, French Guiana. In the menu: Cayenne pepper delicious pineapple, banana, oranges, coconut water, ginger, lime juice and cinnamon! And since pineapple is known for its energizing properties (it is full of manganese and vitamin C), this explosive cocktail will reinvigorate you from your hard working week!  xoxo Clemmo

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IMG_0916Recipe, for 4 tall glasses:

 In a blender, mix together:

– 3 slices of chopped pineapple
– 1 banana
– 1 orange
– 1/2 cup water or coconut water
– 1/2 lime juice
– 1 tea spoon of grated ginger
– 1 tea spoon of cinnamon

Enjoy!

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