July 2012 archive

“I Do” DIY Expo — August 25, 2012

Mark your calendars for Saturday, August 25th for the first “I Do” DIY Expo  located in New Brunswick, NJ!

Co-founded by Jasmine Cianflone, of This Moment Events, and M. Shannon Hernandez, of Sage & Time Designs, “I Do” DIY Expo is an educational experience for brides, bridal parties, and event professionals.  The “I Do” DIY Expo not only features vendors who have designed vignettes to showcase their array of talents, but this educational experience also fills a much needed gap in the wedding industry by teaching, through a series of hands-on sessions, how to achieve the unique look brides desire and deserve on their wedding day.

The “I Do” DIY Expo is best described as a visual showcase of wedding design and ideas, coupled with hand-selected event professionals, who teach brides and other event professionals  their craft.  All of this is achieved in a relaxed, collaborative, and festive atmosphere.

A typical “I Do” DIY Expo schedule would be as follows:

12:30-1:00     Expo Meet and Greet/Check-in
1:00-1:15        Seminar speaker
1:20-1:45        Breakout Session 1
1:45-2:10        Breakout Session 2
2:15-2:30        Seminar speaker
2:30-2:55       Breakout Session 3
2:55-3:20       Breakout Session 4
3:25-3:40       Seminar speaker
3:40-4:00      Q and A Panel

Breakout sessions focus on various topics the DIY bride needs to know when planning the perfect wedding. Topics include the ins and outs of stationery design and assembly, how to design stunning floral centerpieces, setting up a dessert buffet that is cohesive, full of character and functional, using inspiration boards to organize all those creative ideas, and how to make sure you capture the entire wedding experience in photography that you will be sure to cherish for a lifetime.  Seminar speakers hold discussions such as planning an authentic wedding, how to incorporate your personal story into your event, stationery etiquette and guidelines, and non-traditional spins on wedding decor.

We invite brides and industry professionals to gather your friends and family and head out to the next “I Do” DIY Expo. We are looking forward to meeting you and hearing all about your upcoming wedding!

For all the latest information, DIY tips and projects, as well as event and registration information, be sure to stay connected:




And please, please, please share, share, share!  We want to reach as many event professionals, brides, and brides-to-be as possible!

{Click here to register and read about the presenters!}

Vendor Spotlight: Shannon Hernandez of Sage & Time Designs

Have you ever had that feeling? You know the one you get after looking at page after page (after page…) of invitation albums, every invite looking more and more alike; thinking to yourself you’ll never find an invitation that “fits” you and your style. Well look no further! Our good friend, M. Shannon Hernandez, of Sage & Time Designs, specializes in customized invitations, that takes your inspirations, ideas and personality and makes them shine thru your invitations. We were able to catch up with Shannon and get the latest scoop on trends & being inspired.

Where did the idea for your business come from?

I have always loved paper and all of its flexibility and possibilities!  I also am a firm believer in the power of written words–whether it be “thank you” or “wishing you a speedy recovery”.  So a stationery company just made sense to me!  And honestly, receiving REAL mail is like a treasure these days.

How did you choose the name Sage & Time Designs for your business?

I have a fascination with gardening and cooking with fresh herbs.  I also love the play on words here as they relate to designs: Sage in this case meaning, wise.  Time (not thyme) captures one very necessary element necessary need to create custom, detailed stationery for my clients. Blending my love of paper, gardening, and cooking, the name for my company was born!

What’s the most rewarding part of your job?

It is absolutely thrilling to receive a follow-up call or message from a client who has received their stationery and is head over heels in love with the design.

What are the TOP trends you see for 2012?

This is a big topic, because stationery encompasses so many levels (greeting cards, event stationery, wedding invitations, etc.), so I will focus on wedding stationery.  Top trends for 2012 include bright bold pairings of colors, funky typography, pocket invitations, and distinctive themes that “announce” your event from the moment the invitation is opened.

How do you incorporate the latest trends into your work?

Anyone that has viewed Sage & Time Designs stationery (or the answer to question #8!) knows that we are all about texture–which is also a trend this year.  Want funky, bold florals–we are going to make those for you out of paper and layer them onto the invitation.  Pocket invitations are taken to a whole new level, with embellishments and layers on the pocket itself, as well.  And we LOVE, LOVE, LOVE searching out the perfect handmade papers to line your envelopes so everything is perfectly stated and coordinated.

What inspires you?

I am most inspired by nature.  It is filled with so much life–from the patterns to the cycles to the colors of the seasons.  When I need a dose of inspiration, I trot off with my sketchbook to the park, the shoreline, or a walk through my Brooklyn neighborhood.

What are your top tips to clients watching their budgets closely?

Express your budget concerns upfront with your stationer.  A good stationer should be able to work within your budget to create products you are happy with in the end!  But if clients are not honest about their budgets, it’s hard to design with their all of their needs in mind.

How would you describe your signature style in five words?

Flat drab stationery should die.

Name three inspirations: 1 person, 1 place, 1 thing.

Dalai Lama, coastline, biology.

When you aren’t doing this, what are you doing?

Running, cycling, yoga or cooking–all with my husband!  Traveling the world–both in reality and imagination, and reading.

Tell us something we don’t know about Sage & Time Designs.

Pulling from a background in teaching, and a love for inspiring others, Sage & Time Designs has BIG plans for fun, educational workshops and seminars for the public, whether it be DIY stationery workshops or Crafting and Cocktail Events.  We want to help you bring paper to life and reinvent your personal and event correspondence!


M. Shannon Hernandez, founder and lead designer of Sage & Time Designs, is a stationery designer in Brooklyn, New York.  She works closely with clients and event planners across the world to design handcrafted and custom stationery for their personal and social lives.  All products are handcrafted and designed specifically for each client, ensuring truly unique and customized products which help set the tone for the important events in our lives.  You can learn more about Shannon on the Sage & Time Designs blog, on Facebook at Sage & Time Designs, and Twitter @SageTimeDesigns.

The Bronx: More BANG for Your BUCK

It can be overwhelming to find the right venue  for your celebration in NYC, right? Especially if you are on a budget. Have you ever thought about going over the next borough to the Bronx? Check this out…last weekend we took it to the Boogie Down BRONX at The Grand Slam Banquet Hall located on 478 E Tremont Ave. This place is a GEM in the BX, seriously! It was HUGE, had a kitchen, clean bathrooms, a place for the DJ, security and even chandeliers. It can accommodate 250 guests for sure, maybe even more. The best thing we liked about this place was the space…you can create amazing things because it is not only spacious but boasts high ceilings as well. This venue offers catering options but I believe you can also bring in your own food as well.

We were there to celebrate Gen’s Candy Shoppe Birthday Theme. We matched her Candy Theme and provided Candy & Cupcake style backgrounds to fit Gen’s Theme. They had candy everywhere and had lots of good food and music! The guests had a BLAST and couldn’t stop taking pictures! They had SO much FUN they paid us to stay for an extra hour!

So if you are looking for a nice venue, on a budget, do yourself a favor and contact The Grand Slam Banquet Hall at 347-498-1102 and tell them Royal Photo Booth sent you!


Vendor Spotlight: Daniela Baldor of Beauty By Daniela, LLC

Your Wedding Day is one of the most important days of your  life! Its highly recommended that brides hire a professional makeup artist for their big day. Your guests, and most importantly your groom, are looking forward to seeing the bride. With all eyes on the bride, she will want to look radiantly beautiful. We were able to chat with Daniela Baldor of Beauty By Daniela, LLC. She gives us the scoop on what’s in for Summer/Fall, finding the right makeup artist for your wedding, and how to take your day look into night!

When did you know a career in beauty was for you?

I knew makeup was for me ever since I was about the age of 5! I would put on my grandmother’s high heels and would sit and play in her makeup drawer for hours. It was one of the few things that would keep me occupied for hours!

What’s the most rewarding part of your job? 

The best part of my job is seeing the look on a bride’s face after I have done my work. Nothing is more rewarding then her huge smile and how grateful and happy she is. For me its priceless and it makes me so happy when a client loves her look!

Today’s woman is busier than ever. What is the easiest/quickest way to turn a day/work look into something that works for night out? 

Yes we sure are! My All-Time favorite quick fix is black eyeliner and a red/berry lipstick. Throw some black liner in the water line and put your deeper shade lipstick on and voila! You’ve instantly switched up your look and you’re set for the night!

What are your favorite Summer/Fall 2012 beauty trends? 

My favorite summer look right now is nice bronzed cheeks mixed with a coraly/tangerine lip and black mascara. Tangerine is the color of the year and it looks absolutely stunning when paired with a bronzy cheek.

What are some Wedding Day Beauty tips you can offer our brides to be?

Lashes, Lashes, LASHES! They make a huge difference and they look great for photos. lashes come in either a full strip, half strip or individual clusters. The clusters are the most popular for brides. Black gel liner is also a must to line the upper lash line as well as the waterline since its long lasting and don’t forget your waterproof mascara! Lastly, be sure to spray your face after your makeup application is complete with a finishing spray to lock in your look so that it stays fresh throughout the entire day/evening.

Do you have a link to your online portfolio from past clients?

I sure do! All my work can be viewed on my website http://www.BeautyByDaniela.com or on my Facebook page http://www.Facebook.com/BeautyByDaniela

What are some questions we can ask a make-up artist to see if they are the right fit for us? 

You definitely should ask for their website so you can get a feel for the work that they do. You should also ask if they are featured on any sites so you can see the reviews from clients who have used the makeup artist you are interested in. I also recommend asking how many weddings they have booked on your special day just to make sure that the timing doesn’t interfere with when you need the artist. Another good question would be to ask what types of products they use. If its something that your allergic too you definitely don’t want the artist putting it on your face. If you feel more comfortable having the artist apply your own makeup, the artist should be more than willing and happy to do so.

What three makeup items should no woman leave home without? 

Mascara to bring out the eyes, foundation to even out your skin tone, and a nice lip gloss! All this can be applied within five minutes too!

When you aren’t doing this, what are you doing? 

Believe it or not, I actually have a corporate job. I’m an International Tax Analyst and I have a lot of flexibility at my job which is what allows me to be able to have my own beauty business on the side.

Tell us something we don’t know about Beauty by Daniela.

I love dogs and volunteer at my local animal shelter! I go every Thursday night since that’s the only night they’re open late and I take out whatever dogs I can and play with them until the shelter closes. Pitbulls are my all-time favorite! I love them so much! Sometimes I take them for a car ride and we have lunch at the park on a beautiful day just to get them out of the shelter environment and show them lots of love. When you book my services, a portion of the proceeds are donated, during the holidays, to the shelter. This makes me feel great that I can help out animals in need.

Beauty by Daniela, LLC specializes in Bridal Makeup and is based out of Westchester County, but we travel anywhere! We are listed on popular wedding sites such as The Knot and Wedding Wire. We have been recently awarded The Best of The Knot 2012 as well as Wedding Wire’s Bride Choice Award for 2012. We have also been featured in Newsday Long Island as well. We love meeting new brides and pride ourselves in making them not only look beautiful, but feel beautiful as well! We constantly participate in makeup seminars to keep up with all trends and techniques. Social Media is a BIG thing for Beauty by Daniela, LLC and you can find us on Facebook for beauty tips or on Twitter. Be sure to stop on by and say HI!

Feature Vendor: Mimi Isles of Mimi’s Fusion of Flavors

We met Mimi about a year ago and fell in love with her cooking! She has been very busy these days and was recently crowned the winner of the Olive Garden contest “Cocinando un Sueño” – “Cooking a Dream” in which she won a generous culinary scholarship, along with a trip to Italy with her family, where she took classes at the Olive Garden Culinary Institute of Tuscany. We were able to speak with Mimi about how she started her company, what inspires her, and important questions you should ask before hiring a caterer.

Where did the idea and history for your business come from?

I’m originally from the Dominican Republic and my husband was born and raised in Brooklyn, NY. Together we cook and that is where the “fusion” came into place-the old and the new way of cooking. In 2009, we decided to give it a name and I remember standing in the middle of the kitchen when my husband Ben said “Ma, how about Mimi’s Fusion of Flavors?”…and that was it!

What’s the most rewarding part of your job?

I love to see people enjoying their event, seeing them happy makes me happy.

What inspires you and your dishes?

My Latin culture inspires me everyday.

Do you have a signature dish or a favorite you can share with us?

My favorite dish in the summer is Grilled Vegetable Lasagna

What did you take away from your experience at the Olive Garden’s Culinary Institute of Tuscany in Italy?

I can now share the importance of eating together as a family which is something we keep forgetting due to the nature of the century. My cooking will never be the same, the culinary skills I learned from the distinguished Olive Garden chefs, and the passion of food and importance of fresh products are now part of my DNA.

What top 3 cooking mistakes do you find home cooks making?

1. Afraid of trying new ingredients

2. Adding too much condiment or oil

3. Trying to make difficult dishes

What are some important questions people should ask before hiring a caterer?

Do you specialize in a particular cuisine? Will it fit my style & budget? Can I request a recipe? If you do provide linens and dinnerware, do you provide options in color and style?

How can a potential client book you for their event? Do you offer a tasting menu?

We normally have the client review our menu and always recommend them not to be hungry while reviewing it. After I gather all the information needed, I create a customized menu and quote. We do offer tasting menu.

When cooking at home, what do you like to prepare for yourself?

I’m a simple girl when it comes to eating at home, I like to prepare comfort food — rice, beans and chicken or simply a bowl of cereal!

Tell us something we don’t know about Mimi’s Fusion of Flavors.

Something people don’t know about us is our dream to feed people who are less fortunate. We recently cooked for a shelter in NYC for Domestically Abused women and I hope we can continue doing it with our friends and family’s support.


Mimi’s Fusion of Flavors is a Latin inspired catering company serving NY, NJ, CT and PA. Both owners, Benjamin Isles and his wife Mimi Isles together launched their business 3 years ago providing not only catering services but also Cooking Classes, Take Home Chef services, serving corporate and private events and the newest service “Healthy Made to Order Weekly Meals” for the people on the go in Uptown and Downtown Manhattan, Queens, Bronx, Brooklyn and NJ. Mimi’s Fusion of Flavors is more then just cooking is a way of life for the Isles family. We focus on providing the best products available to corporate or private events (weddings, conferences, seminars, product launches), and the community. You can visit them on their website and LIKE them on Facebook.


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