Chicago’s Finest Bakeries: Penthouse Sweets

IMG_8047The Chicago based custom dessert studio Penthouse Sweets is truly one-of-a-kind. Founder and Head Pastry Chef Yvonne Ivy-Stephens created the boutique pastry company in 2014 and has grown it into one of Chicago’s premier wedding and specialty cakes vendors.

Chef Ivy-Stephens first discovered her passion for baking at 18 and honed her skills at The Illinois Institute of Art Chicago. After working at 5-star restaurants, local bakeries, hotels, cupcake boutiques, and couture wedding cake companies around the Chicagoland area, she decided to pursue a business of her own.

Her experience as kitchen manager and head decorator at the city’s finest restaurants allowed her the opportunity to serve President Barak Obama, former President Bill Clinton and Chicago’s mayor Rahm Emanuel. Chef Yvonne and her husband have 3 lovely daughters, Erin (8), Sacha (7), & Kassidy (6), that sometimes “assists” her in the kitchen. Check out her amazing creations below!

I’m so excited that Penthouse Sweets will be one of our esteemed vendors at next Thursday’s Love is Sweet Valentines dessert event. If you want to sample some of their seriously delicious deserts, you can get your tickets at Eventbrite. Hope to see you there!

– Love is Sweet, Native and Posh

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Heart Shaped Engagement Rings That are Actually Amazing

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February is a seriously sappy month. From the 1st until the 14th, hearts of all shapes, colors and sizes abound. So, it’s easy to be cynical, and even let out a snicker or two when someone mentions a heart shaped engagement ring. I must admit, I was one of those snickerers (if that’s a word)…that was until I caught a glimpse of Gwen Stefani’s heart ring. Talk about bling-tastic! So, in honor of this month of love and the millions of Valentine’s Day engagements that will inevitably follow, here are my top picks for heart shaped engagement rings!

– Love is a beautiful thing!

Native & Posh

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Tropical Elegance: Divya and Vicente’s Real Wedding (Colombia)

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When co-workers fall in love, anything can happen. The blurry space between colleagues and something more is an often unpredictable one, but when Divya and Vicente met in 2007, they couldn’t help but give it a try. They were both consultants at Monitor (now part of Deloitte) and the hours spent together in the office sparked a friendship that blossomed into love. Their shared passion for travel and appreciation of one another’s culture helped to solidify their bond and also helped to make their destination wedding a memorable affair.

Since both Divya and Vicente came from large, close-knit families, they wanted to honor both of their backgrounds in their wedding was a multi-day, multi-event. The celebration was held at the Sofitel Santa Clara in Cartagena, Colombia, a city where Vicente spent summers as a child, and was the perfect blend of Indo-Colombian customs. In addition to her mother’s wedding sari that Divya wore for the welcome cocktail, the couple included the tying of the minna after the exchange of rings (chain with a cross that the groom fastens around the bride’s neck in Syrian Christian ceremonies), had paisley pattern across all our print materials, and said their vows under a “huppa” made of pink and orange saris.

They brought to life their “tropical elegance” theme with lots of vibrant colors, guayaberas instead of suits for men, print materials in a bright salmon hue, and a mix of Western and Indian décor throughout.

I have to admit, this cultural fusion wedding had we falling in love with Latin America and reminded me why I created this blog in the first place! Love is a beautiful thing that is made even sweeter when we get to bring our cultures, backgrounds and personalities into our special day!

What a memorable wedding for a wonderful couple! Wishing them nothing but the best!

– Blissfully wed, Native and Posh
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“Pick the 3-5 details you’re genuinely excited about and invest in making those your own.  For example, we liked the idea of a “party favors” that guests could actually use during the wedding (and potentially after) – hats and scarves were easy to put an “Indo-Colombian” topspin on.” 

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Choosing the Perfect Wedding Hashtag

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No matter how amazing your wedding photographer, your family, guests, and possibly even you, will take at least two cell phone photos at your wedding. The pre, post and during wedding selfies are as inevitable as the electric slide. While some couples are starting to ban phones at weddings all together, a lot of couples are embracing this new shutter-happy trend in a big way by creating custom wedding hashtags that all their guests can use to to tag their photos on Instagram or Facebook. While you most definitely still need a killer photographer to capture the festivities as only a professional can, the candids you’ll get from social media will help make sure you don’t miss any of the fun.

Thinking about having a social wedding, here are my top 5 tips for creating the perfect wedding #Hashtag.

1. Be unique. When it comes to custom hashtags, the obvious choice is usually not the best. A search for #weddingday brought up 1.6 million results on Instagram. This is hardly custom…the purpose of a hashtag is to help you keep track of all your guests pictures. Be sure to do a quick IG or Twitter scan, before you finalize your unique hashtag.

2. Keep it Short. #Whileitmightsoundnicetocreateareallydescriptivehashtag, brevity is best. #SusanWedsHanson

3. Capitalize the first letter of each word. Tip number 2 kind of stressed this already, but it will be easier for your guests to remember the hashtag if you write it with the right type of capitalization. It will also help reduce the risk of misspellings.

4. Make it easy to remember. If you’re in Maui, then by golly, use #OgucheMauiWedding or if you’re both huge OSU fans, try #TwoBucksInLove. Make it something that your guest will find memorable.

5. Stay away from abbreviations. I have to admit, BRB has creeped its way into my everyday speak, but it advised that you stay as far away from abbreviations in your wedding hashtag. Something like #2BILIM obviously means #TwoBucksInLoveInMaui, right? Yeah. Probably not so obvious. With the exception of Mr., Mrs., and OSU (Go Bucks!) I would advise that you avoid abbreviations for your hashtag.

And if you’re looking for some pretty hashtag signs to put around the reception site, check out Etsy!!

Upcoming Event: Love is Sweet Valentine’s Dessert Tasting

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Confession time. I have a sweet tooth and I can’t deny it. No matter how many times I try to give up sweets, they always keep calling me back. So, I finally decided to give in and indulge my vice, just a little bit. Ok…a lot bit!! I’ve connected with a select group of the coolest and most gifted bakeries in town to host an event that will be as delicious as it is fun!

I’m calling it the Love is Sweet: Valentine’s Day Dessert Tasting Event because, what’s sweeter that enjoying dessert on the day of love? Each ticket gets you UNLIMITED dessert tasting/ appetizers, (1) COMPLIMENTARY drink ticket, and one (1) COMPLIMENTARY raffle ticket. Along with sampling delicious sweets all evening, guests will have the opportunity to speak to the city’s most talented wedding dessert vendors and receive discounts.

This event is also a great way to do good!! We’re donating a portion of the proceeds to Brides Against Breast Cancer

I’m super excited about this!! As you can likely tell by my excessive use of exclamation points!! Tickets are limited, so get your today on Eventbrite!

– Love is Sweet

Native and Posh

Love is sweet

Sandeep and Melissa’s Real Wedding (Kuala Lumpur)

I stumbled upon this  intimate and touching wedding captured by McCain Photography Studio and just had to share! Not only is this wedding beautifully photographed, but it’s also elegant in its simplicity. I also really enjoyed seeing what a Christian South Asian wedding was like. While red saris are considered most auspicious by Hindu brides, some Indian Christians as well as Pakistani brides opt for white on their wedding days. I thought the bride Melissa looked absolutely stunning walking down the aisle. I’m so grateful to McCain Photography Studio for letting me share!!

About McCain Photography Studio
We strongly believe that everybody is beautiful on that day, and that why we love to be wedding photojournalist. There is no affectation, no reserve, just nature, happiness, and it is to be worth to collect for ever.
We believe photographers who consider themselves “wedding photojournalists” should create and present work with minimal portraits and details. But photographers who primarily preoccupied with portraits and details are not wedding photojournalists. To record a wedding as to make a movie which haven’t second times to do, we try our best to find the best angle to get all the splendid moment, mysterious and noble. On that days in the future, we will be reading the wedding day, a lot of wishes and hopes, fresh and activity, an instant as eternity. Listen, let’s here our wedding vows.

Contact: +6 012 519 8929
mccain1982@yahoo.com

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Beach Holiday: Autumn and James’s Real Wedding (Jamaica)

990853364When Autumn and James finally said, “I do” on their wedding day, their kiss sealed a love story almost 15 years in the making. The couple first met during their freshman year and stayed close, throughout high school. Eventually, they went to different colleges and began to lose touch over the years. As they neared the end off college, thought, fate reconnected them and they decided not to let love slip from their hands a second time.

They wanted to use their wedding to celebrate their shared love for travel and invited a handful of their closest friends to join them in the beautiful Sandals Whitehouse Resort in Jamaica.

Autumn had this to say abut their wedding:

“The entire holiday was planned to make sure people felt relaxed and wrapped in love and celebration. The theme of my wedding was “Our Wedding Holiday” and I captured this theme in a number of ways,

(1) Holiday derived from the notion of a holy day, a celebration, a vacation (UK friends)
(2) We were married on Sunday, June 8, which is a holy day, the Sabbath; it is also the date we got engaged in 2012
(3) Our holiday was a celebration of our love and a vacation to Jamaica! 
(4) Guests used the hashtag #AxJHoliday – check it out on Instagram”

Planning a destination wedding isn’t without it’s challenges, but Autumn and James were able to keep their sanity. Their biggest word of advice to couples? Get a good wedding planner!

I’m so happy to see this beautiful couple find love at last! Blessing on their marriage!

– Native and Posh

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Custom Wedding Dresses Within Reach: Avail & Company

Rachel Alvia Headshot - Ozzie Ramsay Photography, Native and Posh Weddings

Rachel Alvia, Avail & Co Owner and Lead Designer // Ozzie Ramsay Photography

As little girls, when we imagine our weddings, it usually begins with the dress. In some ways, the wedding dress is the wedding. It is usually the first big wedding planning decision, the first major purchase, one of the most magical parts of weddingness, and one of the most angst ridden. There are always too many options, with too few of them really fitting the bill. Hours and hours are spent trying to find that one, prefect dress. If only there was a bridal boutique that could read our minds and produce the exact dress of our dreams…Wait…there is. Chicago’s Avail & Co, a leading custom bridal design shop.

Avail and Company Outside, Native and Posh Weddings

Avail and Company Inside, Native and Posh Weddings

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Love at First Sight: Foye and Orseer’s Real Wedding (Atlanta, Part 2)

A few weeks ago, I shared one of my close friends’ traditional Nigerian weddings from Atlanta. I know you all have been waiting so patiently, so here are the breathtaking pictures from Foye and Orseer’s church wedding. Once Like a Spark did the dang thing with these photos!! And, of course, Foye and Orseer look absolutely incredible! Many blessings on their new family!

– eternal love, Native and Posh

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