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I’m Louise. Blogger. Wife. Designer of TruLu Couture Veils + Accessories.  If you’d like to know more, check out my bio.

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Entries in Inspiration (27)


We Love the Dead

Not as in The Grateful. We are not patchouli wearing nomads who drop acid and spin for hours to Sugar Magnolia. No. No. No.

And for the record, I simply do not get  fans of The Grateful Dead. Sadly, I’m starting to lump the fans of The Dave Matthews Band in the same category. I mean seriously, who wants to hear a three minute song stretched out for twelve days? I don’t.

But I will halt that particular digression before I lose myself in the ramblings of the faults and virtues of tie-dye, pot-smoking and The Hippie Culture.

It all started with a simple purchase of our cake toppers.


Photograph by my friend and amateur photographer, Scott Jackson. I love how The Candyman is twisting his new ring in this shot!

Buying these little cake toppers solved two of my problems. First, we needed cake toppers. “Need” being a relative term, of course. Second, I wanted something that would pay some sort of homage to The Candyman’s mother, who died of cancer when he was 11 and to one of his older brothers, who died when The Candyman was 17. The Candyman was quite firm about not having roses or empty chairs or saying anything to their absence. The Dia de los Muertos cake toppers were our happy middle-of-the-road place. They were morbid and strange enough for The Candyman to love and gave the silent nod of respect to a brother-in-law and a mother-in-law I’d never know.

Since then, we’ve become just slightly obsessed. When we went to Zhijuatanejo, Mexico, for our honeymoon we fell in love the GIANT Dia de los Muertos figures in our lovely condo. They were dressed to kill, those dolls. But alas, we couldn’t figure out how to get giant, breakable statues home without turning them into dust (most are made from terra cotta).

So for our first married Christmas together, The Candyman gave me this:

I totally cried when I opened it. Last Christmas, my brother and his wife gave us this:

When I asked The Candyman why he thought we liked all things Dia de los Muertos, he replied with,” Because it’s morbid and romantic, kind of like we are…deep down.”

He could not be more right!

I was reminded of this little nugget of us, this love of Dia de los Muertos because I saw this super-cool styled shoot on Poptastic Bride! Here’s a little taste from that shoot (photographer Hazelton Photography, stylist Kio Kreations), but make sure you check out the whole post.



Here are a few other Dios de los Muertos weddings/photos/things I love:



From Mike L. Photography



Via Ownzee


Via We ♥ It.


Via Tutorializer.


Via Elizabeth Anne Designs.


Via Six Penny Press


Via Birchtree Photography


Via Sweet Sugar Belle


Via Pinup Girl Clothing


Rick Genest (aka Zombie Boy) and Lady Gaga. Hers is make up. His? Fucking tattoos! Via This Website.

When I was hunting for all these pictures, I found quite the battle on several websites of the morbidity versus the respect the Day of the Dead gives those who have passed. There was one site that got all Bible-beating, holier-than-thou on everybody for a couple’s Dia de los Muertos style invites. I thought they were cute. And I think this expression of personal style and taste when it comes to weddings reverberates back to yesterdays post. It’s YOUR wedding. Express yourselves how you see fit. Others be damned. Pun intended.

Feel free to share your thoughts on The Dead!


Vintage Wedding Hair

Ever since I started focusing on vintage materials for TruLu Couture, I’ve come across some interesting facts. This, coupled with the recent addition of Mad Men to Netflix streaming, has kept me in a mind-flurry of vintage everything. Something I didn’t realize is that hair dryers weren’t invented for personal home use until the early 1960’s! Could you image? I remember when I was little wearing a plastic cap that had a hose connected to it that was attached at it’s other end to  a machine that looked like a small sized vacuum cleaner. It was the hair dryer. I remember my mom piling my wet hair up into the shower-cap like head gear and I would immediately fall asleep to the warmth and white noise the contraption made.

What would we do without our flat irons, ceramic heat blow dryers and limitless supply of “product?” I shudder to think of such things. It makes sense now when you think of the date-refusal cliché of “I have to wash my hair tonight.” Seriously, without a blow dryer, that shit could take all night long to accomplish. GAH.

So if you’re planning a vintage-style wedding or if you’re wanting a retro-inspired updo, here’s some historical pics and modern versions to compare them to…

In the 1930’s, women were wearing their hair in soft finger waves, a very feminine and contrasting approach to the boyish bob of the rebellious flappers of the 1920’s.

Actress Mary Pickford circa 1930’s.

Actress Mary Brian circa 1930’s

The 1940’s saw lots of pin curls and up-do’s. The chignon made it’s debut. Western women generally wore theirs up high, adding a mountain of curls on top of the head (think Lucille Ball). East Asian women wore theirs low at the nape of the neck, as it was easier to wear hats with a smooth crown.

After the war, “Victory Rolls” were all the rage. “Victory Rolls” were originally the name for a fighter plane maneuver and women adopted the term for the rolls of hair to celebrate victory in WWII.

Actress Lynn Bari circa 1940’s

imageActress/Singer Lena Horn circa 1940’s

imageVictory rolls, late 1940’s

1950's hairstyles emphasized traditional gender roles. Women's hair was long, curled and high maintenance. Glamour was all the rage and women attempted to achieve a look that implied “domestic goddess” with the impression that all household chores could be accomplished whilst still looking stylish. Yeah, right. Not without a big ol’ bottle of Prozac.

imageActress/Princess Grace Kelly, circa 1950’s

imageActress Elizabeth Taylor, circa 1950’s.

1950’s Glamour

So do you want a modern version of some of these vintage styles? OK, here you go:

imageVia From Me to You.

imageVia Hot 1940’s Hairstyles

imageVia From Me to You.

imageVia Diva by Design

imageVia 100 Layer Cake.


imageVia A to Zinnia’s.


imageVia The Wedding Co.


imageVia Tiger Lilie Salon


Via Luv in the Mommyhood.


Via Ruffled.

I actually did my hair in a little vintage style when The Candyman and I went out to celebrate my birthday Saturday night (which we did last night too – I’m a lucky girl!). I basically created my own little faux bob, following the tutorial from ……love Maegan.  I wore it with an old Free People 1950's-esque dress (though I'm boycotting them now), a wide black leather belt with cool harware detailing and platform stappy heels with similar hardware. I think it looked cool! But anyway, if you don’t already follow Maegan, you should. She kinda kicks ass and is a DIY queen. I wish I had a picture of my hair to show you! It really looked cute and was fairly easy. I just let my hair go naturally curly, unlike Maegan who hot rolled hers, I think.

Anyway, I’m loving these vintage hair looks for weddings, or for just dressing up! Thoughts? Do tell.


On Dreams and Herbs

Anyone who has read this blog for any period of time knows that The Thirty-Something Bride has some sleep issues (as well as occasionally referring to herself in the blog third person). It’s one of the reasons this blog even exists. I mean, if you can’t sleep then BLOG! It’s the only natural thing to do, right?

OK, so maybe not. But it totally kept me occupied during those 2:30am fits of wedding budget terror.

I’ve mentioned before that I sleep better now. Now, that I don’t have the day-to-day stress that comes with trying to convince a company president and CFO that an early increase of prices in anticipation of an overseas price increase during a recession is NOT a smart idea. And then they wondered, “Uh. What happened to all our sales?” All I heard was “Baaaaaah.” The bleating of simple sheep.

And no, I don’t harbor any ill will. None at all.

Anyway, back to the sleep stuff. While I do sleep more soundly, I still help that limping effort along with nighttime doses of Tylenol PM or when things get really serious, a prescribed muscle relaxant. Now, falling asleep generally isn’t the issue. I can do that. It’s the staying asleep that’s the real bitch. On most nights, I can take a single Tylenol PM and know that I might wake up a time or two but that I’ll be incoherent enough to fall back asleep. If I take TWO Tylenol PM’s I’m definitely out all night. The issue there is I’m super groggy when I wake up and have a hard time jumping into my day, which is what I prefer to do. The prescription stuff? Let’s just say I’m out, like, for a while. Last week I’d been somewhat restless, waking often and taking longer to fall back asleep so this week I upped the ante to the double Tylenol PM dose. Ahhhhhh, the sweet relief of sleep. However, this relief doesn’t come without a dangly little price tag. Dreams.

I dream like a mother-effer when I’m out like that. Crazy shit that I totally remember. Earlier this week I had a terrible nightmare. It was one of those where you’re in this constant state of semi-terror where you just know the shit is going to jump out at you and eat your brains. My nightmares have always been very apocalyptic in nature. It’s all Blade Runner meets The Stand (the book, not the movie) meets Red Dawn (WOLVERINES!!). Annoyingly, they are also the kind of nightmares where you can stand slightly outside your psyche and know that you’re dreaming. In this particular dream, I’m riding around the neighborhood I lived in when my dad was stationed at Paris Island, SC. We lived in base housing then; houses that were short, squat and brick with small, high windows, low ceilings and carports, each one indistinguishable from the next. All the houses are vacant, except that I know there’s evil lurking. Did I mention that I’m riding around this neighborhood on a BMX bicycle trying to save any remaining souls from whatever brain-eating, world-ending creature is playing hide and seek with me? Yeah, so I’m tooling around this neighborhood all the while my outside psyche self is screaming, “WAKE THE FUCK UP YOU STUPID COW!” And of course I can’t because not only am I riding the BMX bike, I’m riding it through dream molasses whereas I just know the so-far-invisible mind-suck creature moves as quick as an American’s bowels in India. I finally wake up, terrified and actually force myself to get up because I know that if I go back to sleep, it will be just as if I hit the pause button and the dream will continue where it left off. Asshole dream.

But then night before last, I had a really funny dream where The Candyman thought he could wait tables and I watched him  spill a giant tray filled with plates of linguini with clams and red sauce. This, I’m sure, is simply a rendition of my own experience of dropping a tray of four plates of spaghetti right in front of the people who ordered them, back when I was waiting tables at the tender age of 19 ("Um. Your spaghetti will be just one more minute….”). It was all good though because a giant wave came through the restaurant and cleaned up the mess (I’m talking about the dream now, now the actual Spaghetti Experience) and then we went out and played in the restaurant-surf where the beach was super-green lush grass and not sand. Good times.

Last night? I dreamed I was touring around some European city with David Duchovny (Oh, Why Won’t You Love Me?). We had found a killer lomograph-style camera along with a shit-ton of film and so we went exploring and photographing together. It was all very innocent (no dream cheating) but also a little on the romantic side because David liked my photo skillz so much he brought me a huge bouquet of lilac, wrapped in brown craft paper and tied with twine. I mean, how sweet is David Duchovny?

And then you know what happened?  I woke up and started thinking about really natural, herby like bouquets and that I should post about them. Yeah. That’s how stupid this wedding shit is in my head. So who am I to argue with myself? Here you go.


This is a lot like what David Duchovny brought me. Via One Lovely Day.


Simple lavender bouquet via SMP. Oh, P.S? Next week? I’ve got a bridal shoot feature taken at a LAVENDER FARM! Holy purple herbal goodness. Make sure you check back to see it!


Herb bouquet via Blame it on the Food.


Via this weird site that I think is written by the chick from Once Wed. These are DIY!


Awesome rosemary love. Via photographer Thayer Allyson Gowdy (go get lost in her mad skillz on her website).

So there you go. That’s how some of these posts happen: via end-of-days style dreams with the lingerings of dinner spillage and X-file reruns all playing in my head.

Happy Weekend!


A Planner’s Wet Dream….

OK, so remember that I told you about that nice lady I met from Watermelon Moon Farms? Well, I ran into her in this uber-cool showroom called Peacock Park Design.

But wait, I have to back up a smidge.

It has been a while since I’ve been to the Atlanta market. The last couple of years at my company, times were (obviously) tight and we had reduced our trade show attendance severely to save the travel budget. We used to go to Atlanta, Dallas and New York every January and July. At the end of my time there, we only went to either Dallas or Atlanta. Because the Dallas show is chock full ‘o lighting people, as the lamp guru, I generally went there. Lots has changed at America’s Mart, so I’m not sure if Peacock Park Design is new, or just new to me. Either way, it’s one of the showrooms that I had a major mind melt in. The creativity was just oozing from every corner. The best thing is that they let me take as many pictures as I wanted to! Generally, photography is a big no-no because everyone is afraid of Pottery Barn or Anthropologie coming in and knocking them off. And rightfully so. However, it’s generally the strong and solid designers who don’t feel threatened by little folks like me making innocent inquiries.

So are you ready for your own little mind melt? This stuff was just so gorgeous and creative and guess what? Totally doable. I mean, so much of the things here can be a part of any wedding décor, as long as you have just a bit of imagination! Check it out!

IMG_1359  IMG_1360

IMG_1361  IMG_1362

OK, so the designer wanted to show off this wall sconce candelabra with something other than candles. What did she do? That crazy-creative bitch took sheet music, and twisted it into a tube and stuck it in the candleplate. Then, she took some tan tissue paper, crumbled it up and twisted the end to make it look like a flame. How brilliant is that? She had other larger glass hurricanes with the same tissue paper sort of crumbled and twisted to look like flames as well. It. Was. So. Cool. Imagine doing this at a venue that doesn’t allow open flames. Imagine it with color. Image it with vintage book pages. Or printed paper that matches your décor colors. I also love the way she tore and tucked paper behind the wall sconce. Imagine the same technique, just on a table. Cool, right?   



I saw lots of paper garland all over the mart. Some was actually in strips that you could buy and DIY (examples to come later in the week) and others were clearly just a part of the showroom design as this is. Sheet music was used here, but a again, with a little imagination and application to your own wedding? Hot to death.


The designer continued the sheet music theme throughout a ton of different applications. Here were some little paper flowers. It looks like craft paper that was printed with sheet music. I think these might have actually been for sale, but you know these could be a DIY project, in like a heartbeat. They are very rustic and crafty looking so technique wouldn’t have to be Martha-esque in order for them to look as sweet as these.


Now this, I love. Black-eyed peas!! Come ON! I saw a similar execution with white northern beans as well. And we’ve all seen coffee beans used in a similar fashion. What else? Dried kidney beans for color? Black beans? Dried peas for a green pop?


Loving this. Paper mache’d balls, mini paper lanterns and glass tray all in vintage-style tissue paper. They had the little vintage looking trunk with easy and cheap pearl beads overflowing and added silver sparkled sleigh bells tied with white organza ribbon as an accent. Here’s an idea: take any ol’ clear glass jar, votive, or whatever and paper mache it with any kind of tissue paper (On the outside, please. We don’t need any fires set!) and then when you put the candle in it, it will glow so pretty. Again, this is not a new idea, but one that can be incorporated in so many fashions.



Oh my. Butterfly halos. Crowns. Printed paper ribbon. Waxy tissue paper skirts and burlap? Oh yes, I die.




Love. Love. Love. Paper wreaths. I like how they had them just sitting around versus hanging. You know you could DIY the hell out of this, I mean how easy! Smooshed paper of your choice, a foam wreath from JoAnn’s and a glue gun. Ready. Set. Go! Paired with the vintage needle point chair was a nice touch.


The execution of this was sort of random, but the idea is brilliant. Poms made out of sewing patterns! In fact, all the tissue paper items could be done up that way. Think of adding all sorts of vintage-y spools and scissors and you’ve got yourself a tailoring theme!

Now, remember the post I wrote just a little while back about vintage keys? Here’s another way to use them!


All kinds of keys (none were skeleton-style) just linked onto  a piece of chain you know someone just picked up at Home Depot. Crazy cool key garland? Check.


Here’s just another image of the garland and how they had it displayed. Love the old-timey British policeman’s hat!


Now these little keys were boxed and for sale. They just showed them displayed with ratty, thick twine and string on a vintage velvet body form. Adore.

So that’s about it from Peacock Park Design. You know what’s crazy? All these pictures came from just one little corner of their showroom!

So are you as inspired as I am? Did this give you little wedding-idea-chill-bumps? I hope so, because it’s all I could freaking think of when I was in there. Enjoy! Let me know what you think. I’ve got more beautiful stuff to share, but if it’s boring the hell out of you, I need to know. DO tell.

*This is not a sponsored post. These are just things and places I think are cool.


This Little Piggy Went to Market

Oh, my little chickens! I feel revived. I feel inspired. I feel like my head is about to explode with all the ideas.  Why, you ask? Well, I’ll tell you. This little piggy went to market. More specifically, America’s Mart in Atlanta. It’s an industry trade show that I’ve been attending just about every year since the late-90’s. This particular show, The International Gift and Home Furnishings Show, is a mecca of all things new and amazing. In addition to the the gift and home goodies, lots of showrooms in the apparel mart are open too! Um, SCORE! Please say hello to wholesale priced jewelry and clothes.

I don’t even know where to start. I didn’t even think I was going to go. I definitely couldn’t afford to drive down there and stay in a hotel for a few days. It’s just not in the budget, regardless of how cheap of a hotel I stayed in!  However, I checked in with a designer friend of mine, Belinda Miley (you may remember her from the awesome contest we had here) and she graciously extended space in her hotel room for me to bunk with her. I decided at the last minute to head south and see what kind of trouble I could get myself into.

Trouble indeed! All kinds of fabulous and fun trouble! First of all, it was simply good for my soul to be amongst my peers again. I ran into a handful of co-workers from my old job. It was incredible to see them and catch up on what they were doing, plus hear all the super-duper-juicy trade gossip! I swear, stories move faster at market then they did through my sorority house!

I had drinks and dinner with my old boss from FTD, who along with Belinda are total non-commenting lurkers on this site (hello, ladies!). I had a small world experience meeting the owner of a Nashville store and event rental company called Fabu, while I was talking shop with a small furniture company. I ran into an overseas vendor who made me feel missed and appreciated. I saw incredible, quirky, unique and simply fabulous designs that delighted and inspired me. I talked shop with Belinda and we walked some of the show together, ooohing and aaaaahing over cool trends and designs and channeling Rachel Zoe on several occasions with the exclamation of, “It’s BANANAS!” I met a designer who made fabulous goodies for her daughter’s recent wedding. I met a woman in a super-cool showroom (photos to follow this week!) who owns Watermelon Moon Farm outside of Nashville who was recently featured here on Once Wed.

Crazy, right? I’m so glad I went. The inspiration alone was worth the four hour drive!

I’ll be sharing as much of the stuff as I can – I took over 300 pictures! Ack! So to start, I’ll just share a few of the miscellaneous stuffs I ran across that totally made me think of you guys.


Pictures per moi.

I may be totally behind the times here, but did you know that Chivari chairs come in Lucite? Someone had these in their showroom, not for sale, but just as something to sit on. I thought my brain was going to explode. Look at how BEAUTIFUL they can be!







Of course, the fact that they are Lucite makes ZERO difference in the cost of renting/buying. Still, could be worth the gorgeousness if you’re all about Lucite and/or Chivari!

Along this same vein, I saw what I thought was a brilliant idea. Table and chair covers. I bet y’all are thinking I’ve lost my lid and that my brains are left somewhere along I-85 between Atlanta and Charlotte. So. Not. True. I thought these  suckers were cool and clever and could really be a part of some kick ass décor, particularly if your venue has nasty-ass banquet tables and/or those gross gold and burgundy hotel banquet chairs (God, I’m gagging just at the thought of them). Check these out:


table cover

Pictures per moi.

I didn’t want to tote around my heavy-ass 17-85mm lens so took the lighter 50mm that wouldn’t allow me to take wide angle shots. You’ll be getting lots of close-ups!

And here are the full pics from the company that sells these, Under Stella’s Umbrella.




The showroom had these decorated with lots of tall pewter candelabras and napkins rings, off-white linen and white hydrangeas. It was accented with colors of sage green. This was definitely one of the “BANANAS!” moments. Quirky, cool, different and got a  big ol’ “hell to the yeah,” Thirty-Something Bride style. Since you'll not want to buy these, check with your planner or event rental place and fill them in on these suckers.

And last little tid-bit I saw were these disposable birch wood cutlery sets.



Pictures per moi.

And how cute would these be with those table and chair covers above? Totally, that’s how. While disposable, I couldn’t find any literature on whether or not they were green/sustainable, so all you mega-green brides might need to dig a little deeper for that info. These are from a company called Seletti. You can buy them from their website here, but they are are um, totally not cheap. At all. The wholesale trade price is $3.20. If you want these, get your planner or anyone with a tax resale ID to buy them for you at cost. Minimum buy quantity is 36 sets.

So that’s it for today, kiddies! I’m so jacked on coffee right now that I think I might go run around the block a few times. I’ve got inspiration for TruLu Couture oozing out of my pores, so need to channel that while it’s hot. What do you think of these little gems I found? Do tell. 

*This is not a sponsored post. These are just things and places I think are cool.