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About: kensingtonflorals

Recent Posts by kensingtonflorals

Festival of Lights – Celebrating Hanukkah

Celebrating the miracle of the Festival of Lights is a great time to reconnect with family and remember the history of the re-dedication of the Holy Temple of Jerusalem. Creating the perfect Tablescape for your family to enjoy can at times be daunting as there are so many fantastic options. Here we have taken a more modern glittery approach on this wonderful holiday and hope you enjoy!

                  

Creating the table from the base up, we started with the beautiful glittering linen ASTRO by BBJ Linen and coupled it with both Peacock Blue Faille and Graphite Velvet napkins. Settings were paired with handsome blue antique goblets, silver Murano stemware, onyx flatware and glass bead chargers by Hall’s Rental topped with white orchids from Kensington. Fashioning our own version of a Menorah with crystal candleholders, glass cylinders and floating candles illuminates a more modern look to this wonderful tradition.

    

    

As stories of the Maccabees are shared and traditional dishes of latkes, loukoumades and sufganiyot are passed to each guest, enjoy this dazzling Tablescape that radiates all the splendor that this holiday season has to offer!

Dream Team:

Photography: Anamaria Vieriu Photography

Styling & Floral Design: Kensington Florals & Events

Paper Goods: Emery Ann Design

Linen: BBJ Linen

Rentals: Hall’s Rental

Cake: Chicago Sweet Connection Bakery

Photos of Latkes, Loukoumades, Sufganiyot came from Southern Living, Lazy Cat KitchenTaste of Home

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Dear Boho Bride …. We LOVE You

It takes a unique person to embody the Bohemian flair and carry the exceptional style throughout the elements of their wedding. Many brides don’t know where to start or if they are doing “too much” or “too little” and then end up scraping their idea all together for a look that doesn’t really fit them and doesn’t capture the love the couple has for each other.

Well, we wanted to tell you “STOP”… Stop throwing your dreams away and BEGIN looking and what will work best for your special day! Remember…..it’s in the details and all these details are too yummy not to share!

We simply love this Bohemian Style with an Eastern Flair and we are thrilled to share it with all of you 🙂

This look was created to show every Boho Bride the ways you can incorporate Macramé, lace, minimalistic pieces, the unconventional ideals, your mom’s 1970’s throw pillows, lanterns, and lovely color (subtle and bold) into a gorgeous wedding look that is authentic to you, feels perfect and dazzles your guests!

First: Location Location Location!!!

Your venue should fit you. It should fit the vibe and ambiance of the wedding day that you would like to achieve. Too many of our couples have booked a hall simply because it was close by or because they were offered a special deal and then end up regretting it and feeling as if they are stuffing a “square peg” idea into a “round hole” setting.

Galleria Marchetti gave use the perfect backdrop! Stone on ¾ of the walls and floors, exposed brick as a central focal point with real ivy growing throughout, and multiple Moroccan/Tuscany inspired tiled mosaics scattered in the glassed encased room as well as the outdoor adjacent terrace.

BINGO! This was brilliant! And our perfect Boho Venue!

Once the ambiance is picked it’s down to the best colors to really create the feel, warmth, and energy of the day. We always build from our primary bold colors and layer in our more subtle complimentary colors. This will also help with what colors you would like to carry throughout each component of your overall look (i.e. bridesmaid dresses, groomsmen suits/tuxedos, linens, paper goods, cake, etc.) So many ways to bring in your favorite colors!

Our Primary Colors:

Our Secondary Colors:

Properly working with your colors calls for a bit of planning and we say start with your tablescape and vision board. Cut out pictures with colors of pieces that you love! A teal/aloe blue cake, teal bridesmaid dresses, gold accent pieces, pale peachy flowers, etc. That way you can start to play around with the look and feel over everything. Then start narrowing down what speaks to you the most. What do you get most excited about when you see it and work from there?

For this specific look, a more toned down, warm color palette allowed the beautiful boho/eastern inspired pieces to play center stage.

We began where we always begin …..Linen! Start from the bottom and work your way up. The warm colors of the metropolitan table linen from Windy City Linen

The metropolitan table linen from Windy City Linens

Hints of Gold Sown through each of the table linens

     

Antique Gold, Pale Peach and Sage Napkins were used to pop color over the ornate chargers.

Simple pops of color add warmth and energy to this gorgeous design. Your love is simply showcased in all the details!

The cake is something that was extremely important as it was not only a focal point to the entire day but it also brought in the shades of teal and aloe blue with a beautiful macramé accent which encompassed the boho vibe. So scrumptious and dreamy to look at! Amy Beck hit it out of the park with this stunning design!

    

    

Gorgeous hues of teal and aloe blue spread throughout the cake and complimented by eggplant, green, and creamy whites. Simply beautiful artistry!

What is a boho style in a bridal dress? This questions is difficult as every boho bride has her own way of showcasing her style and take on the term. But we would say, lite, airy, whimsical, lacey, a little mermaid tail but not a 10ft train. Something that is either loose or clings a bit to the body to show off a bit of a curve. It’s up to you on how “Boho” you plan on making your day.

Once we saw this at Eva’s International Bridal …..we simply couldn’t get our eyes off this semi-mermaid, lace detailed, curve hugging dress!

    

 

    

Pave, minimilastic floral design captures the whimsical nature of this couple. Taking antique photo frames and building a pave design within them using vintage roses (crème de la crème, faith, quick sand, cool water, sweet Eskimo, lemonade, amnesia, and earl grey) and hints of lisantus and fruits made this design and understated yet sweet look that enraptures guests at each table. Able to easily converse while admiring the details is appreciated and admired by all who attend. A custom macrame, hooped bridal bouquet perfectly tied in the cake and entire theme in its simplistic design.

      

Custom jeweled menu cards were topped with ivory macaroons with a simple brush of dusted gold.  Gilded elephants, with place name settings, were provided at each setting as they are said to bring luck, strength, and stability by many Eastern cultures.

Traditional jewelry and accessory pieces were used in non-traditional fashion to accentuate our Eastern Flair. Soft pink makeup was used to represent Jaipur and simplified to epitomize the entire look of the day. Modest curls and half fishtail that trailed down, emulated the buttons on the back of the dress, was topped with a marque double diamond.

                 

A blue tuxedo suit was perfect to tie in all blue accents for the day, from vintage jewelry to the cake!

 

 

Proud to have this original featured on Chicago Style Weddings:

Credits: Venue: Galleria Marchetti, Photography: Michelle Cox Photography & Kimberly Rensburg Photography, Floral, Décor & Styling: Kensington Floral & Events, Cake & Sweets: Amy Beck Cake Design, Bride’s Gown: Evas Bridal InternationalFormalwear: Emanuele Tuxedo Hair & Makeup: MAS Makeup Artistry, Videography: Diesel Beats TVStationery: Flyy Design Creative,  Jewelry & Accessories: Calla Couture JewelersLinens: Windy City Linens 

 

 

Simple Giving

Simple Giving

A Bold Thanksgiving Tablescape

Your Thanksgiving table should embody an openhearted and warm feeling that entices all of your guests to want to stay and continue to give thanks and create beautiful memories with one another. As we always say when planning a gorgeous Tablescape “Remember to begin from the table linens and work your way up through your charmingly fun and uniquely bold details & designs!”

When we saw the BERRY EDEN table linens at BBJ Linen, we knew it was an absolute must have for our boldly created holiday table! Pairing the linen with two types of napkins (yes two, we make the rules at our dining table) we matched the MULBERRY LAMOUR and WINE VELVET to enhance this daring Tablescape flawlessly.

Paper goods specially created with fall in mind have beautiful burgundy and blush tones with a crimson cranberry velvet ribbon. HOT TREND: Velvet! Emery Ann Design is spot on with style, color and overall feel for this beautiful stationery suite! Fit for any beautiful fall festivity!

    

These lovely ceramic pumpkin soup bowls from Pier 1 are a impeccable topper to this attractive setting for each guest to enjoy. Just imagine having spicy pumpkin soup and relishing in great conversation with family and friends!

It’s in the details and the trend of continued velvet in our napkins and the thankful tags for each guest, do not go unmissed! Comfy pillows along the bench seating give pops of purple hues while guests relax and snuggle up to this handsomely decorated table. Subtle lush touches from the Hall’s Rental Murano Glass collection elevate this setting to luxury status. Paired with rose gold flatware to complete this over the top fall floral setting!

    

Understated floral pieces with seasonal pumpkins tie in the entire theme of this fall floral fantasy for any giving table. Accents of lanterns from around the house come in and add an extra depth to this stunning scene.

  Using wooden chargers and French country chairs are a seamless way to tie in the outdoor components and hoist the design element of the Tablescape!

  

Chicago Sweet Connections out did themselves with this ombre burgundy and blush cake filled with pumpkin spice and cream cheese and it will delight any guest’s palate topped with your choice of liquor on these fabulous grateful coasters!

      

 

Feast on fanciful décor and give thanks for all the abundance in your life, friends and family!

Big THANK YOU to Chicago Style Weddings for featuring our loving Giving Tablescape and to the incredible Anamaria for her amazing photos 🙂

 

Or Fantastic Partners: Anamarie Vieriu Photography  BBJ Linen   Halls Rental  Emery Ann Design   Chicago Sweet Connections

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Choosing Your Wedding Party 5 Tips To Consider

Choosing Your Wedding Party
5 Tips To Consider
by
Guest Blogger Dane Kolbaba

You’re engaged! Congratulations! Now it’s time to plan your big day but who is going to be part of that planning process? Brides and Grooms always have a hard time narrowing down their list of attendants but don’t stress! Here are a few tips to choosing your wedding party.

Think Before You Ask
• Sometimes the first reaction is to ask all your best friends and family to be in your wedding party. This is something you should really think through because once you have asked someone to be party of your big day, you can’t really UN ask them. A key to deciding which of your friends to ask is looking at not who your current group of friends are but who will be there years from now. Maybe you just met someone recently who you’ve become close to and think, I have to ask this person to stand up in my wedding, but that’s not necessarily the case. Do you see this person in your life in the future? Narrow down this list by going through each of your friends. Take your time and talk it over with your fiancé. Find out from him how many close friends he would like to stand up so you both have an idea on how many people to invite.

How Big Is Your Wedding
• If you are having an intimate get together with just close family and friends, having 20 people in the wedding party may not make sense. In this case it may be best just to have one or two like your sister or your soon to be sister in law or your best friend from childhood. If there are more people you want to include and feel like they should be part of the wedding, find small roles for them like a reading at the church or being an usher.

Best Man and Maid/Matron of Honor
• You may have some really close friends and it’s hard to choose who will take on the role of Best Man or Maid/Matron of Honor. Really take a look at what roles your attendants will be doing. Some people are just better at organizing things than others and some are better at planning a party. Maybe your sister is extremely disorganized but your Type A friend would have everything in order. In this case, maybe your friend would be better for the role of Maid/Matron of Honor because the responsibilities would better suit her personality.

Don’t Ask Someone Just Because They Asked You
• This is one most people have an issue with but it is not necessary to ask someone to be in your wedding just because you were in theirs. If you stood up in a wedding years ago and don’t speak to this person as often as you did, don’t feel obligated to have them stand up in your wedding. If you think this can get a little uncomfortable, speak to the person and be honest. If you aren’t as close as you were then they should understand.

Kids Are Not a Requirement
• It is not necessary to have a ring bearer or flower girls even if your nieces are begging for it and your sister is already looking for dresses. You can choose to eliminate this all together and choose to not have any kids have any roles in the wedding. However, if you really want to include children in your wedding and you are having trouble deciding between the 25 cousins, nieces and nephews or others you are close to, you can always have multiple roles. Five flower girls, 2 ring bearers or mini attendants who hand out fans or pamphlets. It doesn’t have to be all or nothing though. Sit down with your fiancé and think about the size of your wedding and how each would fit. Maybe it will only be your sister’s two kids and no one else.

Final Note:
Sometimes you are really close to someone and they just aren’t wedding party ready. Maybe they don’t approve of the groom or are habitually late to everything or live in another state and can’t be part of any planning, DIY projects or dress shopping. It’s ok to NOT ask them to be in your wedding. Always be honest and be realistic in your expectations. Being part of a wedding party has responsibilities and choosing the right attendants will make all the planning just that much easier!

BIO
The author, Dane Kolbaba, is an owner at Chicago Party Bus, a luxury transportation company located in Chicago, Illinois. While specializing in weddings and other special life events, Chicago Party Bus has lots of experience working with brides and grooms, wedding planners, DJ’s, officiants and other party vendors. They have become a trusted source for anything wedding related.

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An Afternoon of Luxury …

An Afternoon of Bridal Luxury: The Wedding Walk
by Franklin J., Event Planner at Kensington Florals & Events
One of the most wonderful things about living in one of the greatest cities in the world (Chicago, of course!) is being able to get married in a town with so much history, culture and diversity. The home of the Blackhawks, deep dish pizza and Cloud Gate has become an epicenter for Midwest brides and grooms, becoming a source of inspiration and a leader in modern luxury. As a Chicago bride or groom, there are so many resources here in the city and surrounding suburbs that are available to you to make your wedding day as special and as magical as you dreamed it to be.

On Sunday, October 26th, I had the pleasure to experience a bridal expo like no other: Oak Street’s 8th Annual Charitable Wedding Walk sponsored by Modern Luxury Brides. Now when I first heard of the event, I had no idea what to expect. Was this a standard wedding expo but disguised the name to make it more appealing? Was this a walkathon on Lake Shore Drive? Am I wearing the right shoes to be doing all of this walking? Nothing could have prepared me for what I was about to experience…

I hopped in a cab and arrived at 980 N Michigan Ave, arriving at Spiaggia Private Events. When we arrived (I dragged a skeptical friend along for the mysterious ride, why go down the rabbit hole alone?) the CS team checked us in, and from the next room over we could hear a string quartet still playing as other staff members began to tear down the space. We arrived a little late for the festivities there, but the CS team assured us we still have plenty of time to see and experience the rest of the Wedding Walk. We were handed a “treasure map” with stores and businesses along Oak Street and the surrounding streets that were participating, what we were to see and experience before our final destination. We grabbed our complimentary tote and off on our journey down Oak Street; Chicago’s own 5th Avenue, we went.

We arrived at our first destination, Lanvin, and as soon as we walked in, we were greeted by the wonderful Lanvin team as well as treats from Vanille Patisserie. We blinked and next thing we knew we were on an elevator to the 3rd floor to see the spring 2015 bridal couture collection by the brand. And that’s when it hit me… I am experiencing Chicago bridal luxury at its very finest! (Eat your heart out Carrie Bradshaw!!) From there we continued on our journey, enjoying the Indian summer weather, skipping from Jewelry stores Lester Lampert and Buccellati, stopping by the Perfect Setting for some entertaining ideas, and peeking at the stylish collections of Carolina Herrera and Kate Spade. Each stop we were greeted by brand experts who provided extraordinary service, providing a one on one experience like no other. Each retail store had some of Chicago’s top bakeries providing samples of their work, including Elysia Root Cakes and Toni Patisserie and Café. Other locations provided champagne and hors d’oeuvres to the guests journeying on this wedding walk. We were running out of time so we did skip a few spots, however we made sure to stop by The Thompson Hotel and Gibson’s Steakhouse, checking out spaces to host smaller, intimate functions such as a rehearsal dinner or bridal shower.

And of course they save the best stop for last. We arrived at a modern luxury hotel like no other… The Waldorf Astoria Chicago. As we turned the corner, we knew we were exactly where thousands of other brides dreamed of being. We arrived to the 3rd floor ballrooms where we met with other vendors Elizabeth Grace (one of my favorites!), David Rothstein Music, Bella Bridesmaids, Spin-Spun and BBJ Linens. And we received our “Swag Bag”, which officially puts any other bag that I have ever received in the past to shame. From treats to discounts to special offers this bag had EXACTLY everything a Chicago luxury bride or groom needed to plan and execute their perfect day.

As an up-and-coming Wedding and Event Planner here in the city with Kensington Florals & Events, I highly recommend this experience to any Bride or Groom looking for a different experience. You get exposed to the higher end of the wedding industry, get one-on-one service at your own pace, and really control who and what you want to see! This is also great for brides who might not have a luxury budget, but can come to this event for inspiration, and really see what the city of Chicago has to offer. Would I go next year? Of course! Maybe I can bring a few more of you brides and grooms down the rabbit hole with me…

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Fresh Flower Care

Fresh Flower Care:

Did you recently receive flowers for Valentine’s Day, a Birthday, your Anniversary, or just because and want to know how to extend the life of your flowers? To keep your blooms in tip top shape and blooming for longer periods of time, follow these instructions:
• Every 3-4 days make sure to take the flowers out of the vase/container they are in. Wash the stems with slightly cold water and cut 1-2 inches, preferably on a 45° angle so that the floral stems can soak up water easier and faster than a straight across cut. Wash the vase entirely. This will guarantee that any bacteria that could be forming from the stems or from the leaves is completely gone and giving the flowers a fresh start.
• Pick 1 of the following options to put into your new clean vase and fresh cut flowers:
o It may sound crazy but 3-4 drops of bleach in fresh clean water will help keep the bacteria away and your blooms thriving.
o A ¼ cup of soda water in fresh water will also help with your flowers longevity
o A cube of sugar with a 1 copper penny can be a safe and fun trick to use
o 2 tbsp of sugar and 2 tbsp of apple cider vinegar also keep the elasticity of your fresh cut blooms

• All of these options are great ways to improve the life of your flowers and make them last as long as possible. Pick the option you feel most comfortable and make that every 3-4 days you upkeep the task

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Honoring Love with Innovative Filmography

Honoring Love with Innovative Filmography

Working in the wedding industry, one is often surrounded by extremely creative and competent teams of people, whose sole mission is to transmogrify into the very dream weavers that make a couple’s “big day” everything they imagined. Many succeed, but few go above and beyond. Few capture the extraordinary intimate dance of two souls daring to believe that lifelong love is possible. Amor in Motion is one such example. The videographers at Amor in Motion dare to step beyond professionalism. They possess that rare blend of technical ‘know-how’ and artistic intuition that translates into the kind of ineffable magic so many dream of on their wedding day. The staff is compromised of an innovative and schooled team of filmmakers whose attention to detail and knack for storytelling set them apart aesthetically and philosophically from any other wedding-media outlet in the city. All one needs to do is visit their website, and one is immediately swept into the graceful nuance of love, life, and landscape, meticulously scored, and edited with extraordinary craftsmanship. Their breathtaking work is truly a gift to experience. The fact that they use their talents to honor love in such an intimate manner, speaks so highly of their dedicated team, and it’s mission to bring excellence to the industry.

Please enjoy our conversation with the Creative Director of Amor In Motion:

Kensington: What kind of camera do you use?
Amor: 6D, GH4, and A7s.

K: Why did you choose this equipment over all other choices?
Amor: We really like the skin color tone that Canon delivers and the slow-motion and cinematic look of the GH4 as well as the amazing low-light capabilities and other features of the A7s and A7s mark II.

K: What got you into this field?
Amor: My passion for music and experience in music production, and its overlap with the film industry.

K: Did you have formal training? Or did you learn on the go?
Amor: Our team of cinematographers have all studied film or media/arts, but my background is actually in music production.
K: What is your favorite moment with a couple?
Amor: When they forget everything and everyone around them and enjoy themselves. It’s those stolen moments that we aim to capture.

K: What is your favorite element of the wedding/event industry?
Amor: Becoming best friends with the couple by the end of the night! Maybe this is unusual but I can’t even count how many times the bride and groom have clung onto me during my goodbye and begged me to stay for a few shots and to party with them. A close second is when we’ve finished a highlight film and hold our breath as we hit “SEND.” Many times we get a response within minutes, and I’m talking 5 paragraphs of pure excitement. It’s a wonderful feeling.

K: Do you have a favorite memory?
Amor: Once this couple texted me a photo of themselves after watching their video, all puffy eyed and red. It was awesome.

K: Who are three videographers you look up to/ inspire you?
Amor: Edgar Reyes, Salomon Lightelm and Francisco Montoro

K: What piece of advice would you give to a couple in choosing a videographer?
Amor: Watch more than just one of their films. Every company has a few portfolio worthy pieces, those are the ones on their main page. How many others are they displaying? How long have they been in business? How many reviews have they accumulated during that time? Don’t be fooled by fancy terms like “award winning” and “featured by..” I came across a company whose title said something like “World reknown …owner’s name here.” I could not find him anywhere.
K: What is your favorite moment you have captured?
Amor: Too hard to pick just one! Generally speaking I love picking up on the relationship dynamic of a couple and really portraying that in film. I think every wedding cinematographer would agree that working with people who are crazy in love is the best luck you can have.

Has there ever been a moment you thought you missed but upon editing realized you captured?

Amor: This is somewhat of a nerve-wracking industry isn’t it?! There are no do-overs, you get one opportunity to capture a moment. There have been a few scares but thankfully things have always worked out.

K: What do you feel are the pros and cons of the wedding/event industry?
Amor: This may not be the kind of answer you want to publish but the level of superficiality sometimes gets to me. Just a bit too hallmark. I’m a dude, but still, when it’s more about the place, the vendors, and the decor…and the couple is burned out from planning…they’ve kind of missed the point. It’s a shame when one gets so wrapped up in everything going smoothly that they miss out on the joy and significance of what is really taking place. Hire yourself a good planner and don’t let the small details get to you! Nevertheless, we try to make them comfortable, make them remember the reason they’re doing this.

K: What piece of advice would you give to an aspiring videographer?
Amor: Shoot! Shoot! Shoot! Get out there with your camera and use it every opportunity you get, and then watch and edit your own footage! Only by being familiar with your footage will you be able to improve. I’m still working on things. Coasting does not set you apart from others.

K: What is that something special you give to your clients?
Amor: Our desire to improve and impress and to create a really unique experience. Each film is meant to be a work of art. We hope that shows. In addition to the film, we add a personalized hand drawn title to each piece – we use this in each film and then engrave it on the box they receive with their hard drive: Artistic process. Some couples have taken advantage of this value-add and used the title in their wedding invitations

K: Do you have any deals/special offers going on you would like to mention?
Amor: We’ll launch promotions from time to time, mainly through the winter season. Never hurts to ask!

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The Healthy Bride

The Healthy Bride

The Healthy Bride

The man of your dreams just popped the question and instead of thinking about the flowers and cake, you are stuck on “How will I look?” “The dress…can’t be in black, can it?” “Black always makes me look thinner!” You aren’t alone in this and many brides wonder how they will look in their wedding dress and what impression they will make.

Photo by: http://hotmessprincess.com/2012/04/the-bag-boy-from-hell/scared-woman-retro/

This is not the time to consider a crash diet or strategize some outlandish goal of losing 300lbs by your big day. Instead, think of how to implement “healthy” into this new chapter in your life and make sure to get your fiancé on board. Remember…the little things go a long way!

Start by walking in the mornings before work or in the evenings after dinner. This can be a “no wedding talk” zone for both you and your fiancé to just enjoy each other on a stroll together. Walking for a minimum of 30 minutes provides amazing benefits[1] that enhance mental wellbeing, improves blood pressure and blood sugar levels, walking reduces the risk of coronary heart disease, osteoporosis, breast and colon cancer, promotes weight loss and it gives you the chance to just connect with your fiancé in another way. Perfect time to ask each other what you are looking forward to most in your day or how the day’s events went!

Photo by: http://www.desktopwallpapers4.me/photography/couple-walking-in-the-snowy-park-12524/

Begin your day on a great note, replace your cup o’joe with a warm cup of water with lemon [2]. Lemon is a great source of vitamin C, citric acid, potassium, calcium, phosphorus and magnesium. It balances your pH levels, helps to flush toxins from your body and reduces pain and inflammation from joints and knees. Not only do lemons help clear your complexion, but they help you lose weight and freshen your breath to make it more kissable. Adding lemon to your morning routine may seem too easy and simple to be true but over time you will experience all the rewards that this little magical fruit has to offer!

Photo by: http://www.foodmatters.tv/articles-1/cheers-to-drinking-warm-lemon-water

Feeling a bit more motivated and want to tone and tighten? Try our favorites: Windsor Pilates, Ballet Beautiful and Yoga Meltdown.

We love these workout routines because they not only produce the BEST results out there, you can buy them in DVD form and workout in the comfort of your home and at your leisure. Whether you decide to buy all three and rotate or just follow one workout, you won’t be disappointed! Start with a workout routine three times a week and try to build up to six days a week while giving your body one day of full rest. Working out helps you focus and allows your brain to dispel any stress or tension that has accumulated during your day. Just remember to speak with your doctor prior to starting any workout and stretch before and after to avoid any injury!

Try to apply these simple but effective methods to your daily routine and start to experience all the benefits that each has to offer! Remember that it’s not about the finish line but the journey. Get your fiancé, family and wedding party involved. Don’t worry about the actual pounds but focus more on how you feel. The better you feel the more confident and sexy you will look!

Here’s to your health! Happy Wedding!!

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Who knew desserts could be so ……Creative! Kensington sits down with Innovative Indulgences’ Founder, Joe Lamondi, to discuss his unique twist on special event desserts

Who knew desserts could be so ……Creative! Kensington sits down with Innovative Indulgences’ Founder, Joe Lamondi, to discuss his unique twist on special event desserts 🙂

Event Planners are always looking for the newest most interesting thing to make a couple’s special day more exciting and personal. When we were first introduced to Joe and his delectable company we wondered how his dessert service could play a role at any special event. Now, we can’t picture an event without him and his DELICIOUS desserts! We may have gained a few pounds after gobbling up Joe’ delightful treats but we are truly satisfied with his inventive approach to the “event dessert.”
How did you into the culinary dessert industry?

I had been working in catering and event planning since I was in college, and always had a passion for being in the kitchen. I came up with the idea for a warm cookie sundae event stand based on a dessert I had been making on my own for years. Once I had the concept in place, I spent a few months playing around with different ingredients to create a great menu of unique “cookie pies.”

Thankfully, I knew lots of event planners and others in the industry, and I was able to get the name out through them and start doing events. Each event we do is more and more exposure, and a way for people to see our product.

Have you always been a culinary buff?

Yes, I have always had a knack for being in the kitchen. I am full-blooded Italian, so much of our family time is based around cooking and meals together. My grandmother and mother are both incredible chefs, and I have been learning from them for my entire life. My grandmother started me at two years old, kneading dough and mixing ingredients, so it was ingrained in me at a very early age.

Why cookies and desserts? What was the allure?

I love desserts because they are the conclusion of the meal: the last bite you will eat. That

ecstatic feeling you get when you see the waiter walk up to your table with the perfect treat- that’s what I aim to create with each and every one of our cookie pies. There is so much you can do with dessert for both taste and presentation, especially if you’re creative.

I love trying new combinations of ingredients, often times things you’ve never seen in a cookie, and then present them in a way that makes people’s eyes light up.

What is your favorite dessert invention?

In the kitchen, the giant Hobart mixer is my favorite invention. It makes what we do so much easier, since we then don’t have to mix the doughs by hand.

What “sells” the most and what are the guest’s favorite choices?

Our most popular type of cookie pie is the brownie cookie bowl. It is a cookie with the center scooped out and filled with brownie batter, then baked together. We have a Turtle Brownie Cookie Bowl which is filled with walnuts and drizzled with caramel, and a Rainbow Brownie Cookie Bowl which has M&M’s baked in.

Other popular cookie pies are the Caramel Apple, and the Cookie Inception: a chocolate chip cookie, topped with fudge, cookie dough balls, and sprinkled with cookie bits.

We also have seasonal cookies and specials that are available. Right Now we have a Maple Bacon Cookie, and Key-Lime Krunch, which is Key-lime flavored and topped with granola.

Can a couple “create” their own along with your help?

We do offer a customizable full service event stand that serves warm cookie pie sundaes or ice cream sundaes without the cookie pies. Couples can choose which cookies they want to be served, as well as which toppings they’d like available to guests.

We have 14 different types of cookies, 8 different flavors of ice cream, and over 40 toppings to choose from, including hot fudge, warm caramel, whipped cream, sprinkles, Oreo’s, Reese’s, Butterfingers, etc…

Each guest can design their very own warm cookie sundae, customized to exactly how they want it.

Do you have Gluten-Free options?

We are in the process of making a gluten-free cookie that uses almond flour as a substitute. Gluten-free is more popular than ever, so we are in the process of perfecting that before it is released.

Where do you work out of?

We have two kitchen locations: Highland Park and Chicago. We offer local delivery all around the Chicagoland area, and nationwide shipping. We also travel all over the state for catering events.

We’re hoping to open our first storefront within the next year.

What are the pros and cons of creating your own path in such a diverse industry?

Well, the main pro is of course that I can create my own desserts and release them as I please. I’m someone who likes to tinker with ingredients and put together different combinations that I think will work together and see how it turns out, so that freedom is something that I love.

It is difficult to make it in this industry, but I find my product and services to be very unique. When we are serving at events, frequently guest’s faces light up as they see our cookie pies and find out they get to design their own sundaes- that’s how I know I have a great product!

Do provide “full-service” (do you supply a staff for a wedding or event)?

Yes, we are. For events such as weddings, birthdays, Bar/Bat Mitzvahs, or corporate, we offer a full service event stand that is fully staffed. We travel to your location with all our own equipment, and set-up on site.

We offer a warm cookie sundae stand that feature our cookie pies served warm, topped with ice cream, and the guest’s choice of toppings.

We also have an “Indulgent Ice Cream Stand” which features ice cream sundaes with over 40 different topping options. The toppings we offer for that stand are really fun! Toppings you have never seen on an ice cream sundae!

How can we get in contact with you?

Our website is: www.iicookies.com
Phone number is: (224) 661-3125
And e-mail is: info@iicookies.com

What is your culinary experience? Schooling, classes, etc.?
Aside from being raised in the kitchen, I began working in catering at 19; everything from cooking and baking to event planning, so I really got my feet wet in the industry with that, and have continued on that path ever since.

What is the typical price range for these delights?
For our event stand, we have two sizes of cookies: standard and mini. For the standard sized cookie sundaes, it’s $5.50 per person, which includes the cookie, ice cream, unlimited toppings, and paper goods (bowls, spoons, napkins). For minis, it’s $3.00 per person.

Pricing for the packaged cookies and party trays is available online atwww.iicookies.com.

What other fun culinary delights are you interested in?

Outside of desserts, I love to play with spices! The hotter and spicier the better! Of course as an Italian, my specialty is my marinara sauce.

Whenever I cook or bake, I like to tweak what I’m making each time I make it until it’s perfected.

Who does all the cooking in your home? Do you ever get time off or are you constantly wowing your family with delicious new creations?

I do almost all of the cooking in my house. Cooking and baking does not feel like work to me; if I could be in the kitchen for 12 hours a day, I would.

For holidays, my mom and I will do the cooking together. We tend to make twice as much food as we should, but that’s what we always do. Everyone that comes to our holiday parties takes home bags of food to go.

Happy Tasting! 🙂

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