Annual Alta Moda Sample Sale

Getting married next year and don’t have your dress yet? Alta Moda is holding their annual Sample Sale THIS Saturday, December 15th, from 10am-2pm, and you’re going to want in on the action!! Just think: tons of couture wedding gowns anywhere from 50% all the way up to 90% off. Yep. We’re talking Anne Barge, Augusta Jones, Badgley Mischka, Monique Lhuillier, and more, some starting as low as $500! Seriously, you want in on this.

A few things to know about how the Sample Sale works:

  • Sale hours are from 10am – 2pm, December 15th only
  • There will be no appointments: First come, First served basis (And there will be a wait list)
  • Gowns are sold as is
  • No holds and all sales final – Come ready to buy!
  • Cash and credit card only
  • Most gowns are suited for street sizes 4-12
  • Alta Moda only does this once a year – So, now is the time!
  • Space is limited, so please only bring one or two key decision makers/guests per bride

So plan to dress warm and show up (way) early!! There will be goodies warm drinks inside, although you might want to bring some coffee while you wait, too. But whatever it takes, if you need a dress, get yourself over to this sale. You won’t regret : )

Crate & Barrel vs. The Grinch

Jake and I needed some new decorations for Christmas this year. So we set a date to go shopping, mapped out the best route to hit all the stores we wanted, and then set a budget. Yes. A budget. For Christmas decorations. Because fortunately for me, Jake loves Christmas about as much as I do (which is A LOT), and if we didn’t set a budget for ourselves, we would go crazy. Well, I would go crazy. He’d just happily oblige. (Anyone else get irrationally excited at the thought of sparkly ornaments and festive holiday dishes?!)

Two days and about 8 stores later, I’d say we did a pretty good job, all while staying within the budget! (Ok, I might have pushed the budget just a smidgen.) A few highlights: a gorgeous reindeer candle stand from Tai Pan Trading, a glittery snowman from Pier 1, and Elf on bluray for 8 dollars at Costco. (No, not technically a decoration, but talk about a score!!) Quite possibly my favorite find, though, were these little guys:

There are a couple shelves in our kitchen that are purely for decoration, and I display some pretty pasta plates on them. During the fall, I mixed in some gourds with the plates and it looked pleasantly seasonal, in my humble opinion. But now that winter is here, gourds would no longer do. As soon as we started talking Christmas decor, I knew I wanted nutcrackers. I had a vision in my head, and I would not be stopped until they were found! Or so I thought. Nearing the end of our shopping extravaganza, I had found NOTHING. All the nutcrackers we saw were too big or too crazy or too expensive, not even close to what I had been envisioning. I had all but given up, and become incredibly grinchy. (Grinchy– (adj.) Displaying grinch-like attitude during the holidays due to lack of Christmas spirit.) Not even a White Peppermint Mocha could have cheered me up.

Until we walked into Crate & Barrel. We weren’t even going in to look at decorations, just dishes. And I was certainly not expecting to find nutcrackers. But we passed by a stand of ornaments, and THERE THEY WERE. It was like on TV when the main character has an epiphany and a light shines down from the heavens onto whatever it is they’re looking at. (Except this lighting was just nice pin lighting in the store. I’ve gotta hand it to whoever designs the lighting set up in Crate & Barrel.) Needless to say, I was pretty ecstatic. And so was Jake, because the Grinch had seemed to disappear. Although then I told him I would take the White Peppermint Mocha, thanks so much ;)

So in honor of Crate & Barrel saving Jake from the Grinch, I’ve decided it’s time for another giveaway!!! Leave a comment below telling me what your favorite Christmas decoration is, and I’ll randomly give one commenter $25 to Crate N’ Barrel :) Use it for Christmas mugs, use it for nutcracker ornaments, or even use it for 1/100 of a love seat! (Although I’d definitely use it on the ornaments.) The winner will be announced next Monday. Happy decorating! 

amy lashelle - December 10, 2012 - 1:55 pm

Crate & Barrel may also be a sparkling memory in my head from our Christmas shopping. Only, sadly, decorations were not on our list. I’ll SO use a gift card on those ornaments! I think I have three favorite decorations that currently reside at our house. 3. The Christmas gnome from Denmark that sits high on my pallet shelf. His beard is so freakin adorable. 2. A “jane doll” that the mother of the sweetest little girl that I photographed a few years ago gave me when she passed away. 1. The sparkly gold ornament my hubs gave me for our first Christmas together. :)
I’m with you. I hart all things Christmas.

Celia Lutz - December 10, 2012 - 1:57 pm

My favorite decoration is an angel inside a ceramic eggshell. It was given to me when I was in grade school by our neighbor. Can’t believe it has survived all these years!

Lauren - December 10, 2012 - 2:30 pm

I would say my current fave is hands down our “Black Dog Mistletoe Co. Smooch from a Pooch Guaranteed” painting! :)

Amanda - December 10, 2012 - 4:45 pm

My fav Christmas decoration is the Baylor ornament up on our tree :-) but I also bought a cute fiber optic snowman from Big Lots this year that is a close runner up!

PS I love the nutcrackers! How cute! And they aren’t big or freaky looking :-)

Suzi - December 11, 2012 - 12:13 am

My Grandma and Grandpa, who have passed, had a stained glass studio and made me ornaments every year from when I was born on. My favs are the ones he made the year I was born. I also purchase one every year for Ryan and I to commemorate the year. 3 out of the 5 years we’ve been married, he has been deployed, so we can both be excited when he comes home from deployment to see which ones I’ve chosen that year. I love that man!

mom - December 13, 2012 - 12:28 pm

My favorite Christmas decorations are the paper scrolls hanging on our Christmas tree ~ wonderful writings of our family memories through the years!

Emily - December 13, 2012 - 4:49 pm

my favorite decoration is our christmas tree. We cut it down ourselves every year, and I keep it simple and elegant. It’s always my favorite thing to decorate!!

Colleen - December 13, 2012 - 4:54 pm

My favorite decoration is definitely my ornament collection. I love that they all have stories and meaning behind them. Also, side note, can’t wait to register at Crate & Barrel! :)

Shelly - December 13, 2012 - 5:03 pm

My mom used to hand paint us ball ornaments with scenes and memories of that past year. She painted quite a few for each child every year, commemorating trips, weddings, school achievements, homes bought, etc. I have about 40 on my tree that reflect the 10 years of my life. I love them so much. :)

Renee - December 13, 2012 - 5:12 pm

I’d have to say my favorite decoration is my Willow Tree Nativity set. I love how elegant they look on my faux fireplace mantle, not to mention the fact that they are a beautiful work of craftsmanship. They also take me back to when I was a kid and got upset when a stuffed sheep that was bought for a me at a yard sale and had no face. My aunt, the one who purchased the sheep, told me that that his being faceless made him all that much better because I could use my imagination and believe his face (or facial expression) could be anything I wanted. The same goes for my faceless nativity. I have always thought Mary looked a little too heavenly for having just given birth in a stable… Now I can imagine her looking the way I have always thought, a little worn out and all.

Katie - December 13, 2012 - 5:50 pm

My favorite decorations are now those my kids have made! So cute to see Maddie’s nativity scenes or Andy’s Santa beard!

Ashley R - December 14, 2012 - 12:09 am

My mom has Christmas balls that have a recording of her kids when they were little. They are so adorable to listen to every year!

Park City Anytime: Sarah + Jake

I happened to meet Sarah this year shooting a wedding together with a mutual friend (the lovely Heather), and I am SO glad that I did! We went on to second shoot for each other a couple times throughout the year, and not only is she an amazingly talented photographer, but she is also one of the kindest people I’ve ever met! Seriously, she’s definitely in the top 5% of sweetest people on the planet. (And don’t you try to deny it, Sarah!) So of course I was both thrilled and flattered when she asked me to take some family photos!! She and her husband Jake own three dogs, just like my little family. She basically considers those dogs her kids, too, just like I do. Yep, another reason I love this girl :) As anyone who owns a pet knows, though, they can be ironically unpredictable and bit hard to control when they need to sit still for a camera. (Quite like children. Haha.) But I loved every second of the craziness :) Enjoy a few of my favorites from this fun snowy shoot!!

The happy family!

We made sure to get some extra photos of miss Lucy (the sweet brown face on the left), as old age is starting to take it’s toll.

LOVE this precious moment.

And then of course we grabbed some of just the two of them :) 

Looove this one.

Oh you guys… stop being so dang cute!


Ended the shoot with a kiss just as the snow was starting to fall…

Tiffany Anderson - December 6, 2012 - 5:46 pm

Carissa I love them. You did such a great job capturing them :)

Bali Wedding: Taka + Mao

(This wedding is very special to me, so I have to preface this post a with a little bit of a background story: Taka is from Japan but came to America to go to school. My brothers first met Taka in college where they all played basketball together. By the time graduation came, they had become best friends, and Taka came back to live with my family while he worked and got an internship. He fit right in and immediately became a part of the family. I considered him my third brother. Let’s just say he could even eat as much as my brothers, if not more, which is saying a lot. Haha.

Then, during autumn of my junior year in college, something awful happened. I still remember the day I got the phone call from my mom. To put it mildly, there had been a bit of a misunderstanding with his visa, and he had to go back to Japan. Immediately. I didn’t get to say goodbye. And he wasn’t going to be able to come back for a long time. When my brother Carl and I both got married in the summer of 2010, he couldn’t be a part of our weddings. He was sorely missed. But the worst part was not knowing when we’d see him again….

Then, there was Mao. He started mentioning her in emails, and we met her over skype. She was something special, that much was obvious. He proposed and we were all elated for them. As they started to plan their wedding, we knew we had to be there if there was any way possible. So they decided to have the wedding in Bali, a place that his American family might be able to join. To state the obvious, we were. And after 4 years of separation, we reunited and spent a week in Bali, celebrating the beginning of Taka and Mao’s lives together. Yes, it was a definitely a very good week :)

It was a very hot day, as most days in Bali are, and it was also a very beautiful day. Yes, the sun was shining and the flowers smelled almost as good as they were vibrantly colored, but those things aren’t what made it beautiful. Perhaps it was the gleaming expression on Mao’s face as she held hands with and smiled at her soon-to-be husband. Perhaps it was the look in Taka’s eyes as he vowed to love and cherish Mao for the rest of her life. Or perhaps it was the laughter, hugs, and tears of their families as they congratulated them and commemorated with them. Whatever the reason, no one could deny that that day in Bali, a day filled with joy and love and an intimate wedding celebration, was anything short of magnificent.

T and Mao, what to even say… I am just so beyond happy that you’ve found each other!! Thank you, for wanting me to be the one who documented your amazing wedding. I miss you guys very much, and I wouldn’t trade the time we all had together for anything! I hope these photos take you right back to that incredible day. Love you both!!! XO

The day began at a bridal suite near the wedding chapel and a gorgeous gown…

I loved the bow on the back of her shoes! 

Once she was all ready, it was time for the First Look and she headed up the path to see her groom…

Pure bliss :)

Such a happy couple!

Do your thing, T!

Love this one.

Mao, you were breathtaking!

This might be my favorite…

After we finished photos, it was time to get married in the gorgeous little chapel! 

Taka and Mao had the ceremony written out in Japanese so that their families could follow along.

Married and dancing down the aisle!!

Quick funny story about the cake cutting… Taka was pretending to bite off the head of the groom figurine on the cake, but because it was so humid out the figurine was melting and flimsy, he actually DID bite the head off!! I don’t think I’ve ever laughed so hard during a cake cutting.

The rest of the evening was spent eating, toasting, and just being together to celebrate the bride and groom :)

Congratulations again Taka and Mao!!! Love you guys!

Michelle Cross - December 4, 2012 - 4:35 pm

These photos are so so SO beautiful, Carissa!! And what an amazing story, too!!

Never Alone

Sometimes I wish I worked in an office. (This might have something to do with the fact that I’ve recently started watching The Office again on Netflix and I wish Steve Carell was my boss and John Krasinski was my co-worker. I’d totally work at Dunder Mifflin.) I mean, yes, technically I work in an office in my home. So maybe I should rephrase that and say sometimes I wish I worked in a place with other people. I’m an introvert by nature, so most of the time I really don’t mind being alone while I work. But there are definitely times when I feel it… when I wish I had another person to talk to while I ate lunch or someone to laugh with at most recent episode of Modern Family.

Then I remember that I do have three, um, co-workers, if you will. I’ll admit they can be a bit needy, and at times they can even be downright annoying. But they are also more than happy to keep me company while I work, and they smile up at me with tails wagging if I chuckle to myself about Phil’s hilarious phil’s-osophy’s. Sometimes they even get scraps from the table at lunchtime. Ah yes, with these three rascals around, I’m never really alone.

Happy Weekend!

Lauren - November 30, 2012 - 1:37 pm

I have a furry co-worker too and it’s the best!! :)