Merry Christmas!

I am now home spending Christmas with Mr. E and his family. There is so much I want to share but I will do that next week. For now please enjoy the day with your family and friends wherever you are. 

God Bless!


Heading Home!

I am going home in just a few days, the process however is not as simple. It will be long days of flights and paperwork, sporadic sleep and time changes that will for sure make me walk around like a zombie. Up until this point I never believed I would be going home. I knew at some point I had to but I never made plans or even allowed myself to get too happy. The sarcastic side of me was just waiting for something to go wrong. My other, more positive side was hoping for the best.
Now I feel like I'm awaking from anesthesia after surgery. The numbness is starting to subside, you can tell by my posts, you can see the change of frequency and tone of my posts. Fortunately I ended up in a very good place, the American Embassy. The living conditions are great but nothing beats being home with my loved ones. I have worked non-stop for almost a year now, 10-12 hour days, seven days a week. Some of us have compared pictures of when we first left and we certainly look tired now. I met someone who I hadn't seen in months and he looked so tired!
With the wedding being just over a month from now I am finally starting to feel alive and excited, not that I wasn't before but now that I am going home I know this is for real! I miss Mr. E so much but I've been too tired to dwell on it. Now that I am going home I am starting to get excited about seeing him again. I miss him so much! My family finally made their travel reservations for the wedding, my dress arrived around Thanksgiving, my jewelry is almost done. This is so real!
I am a very girly girl and fortunately there is a beauty salon where I can splurge on little things like a manicure and pedicure. I have not worn civilian clothes in something like 42 weeks (I didn't count the mid-tour vacation) and I can't wait to get back in my jeans.
I will miss a few things:
The people (well, some of them)
Free food and water
Free gym
Free laundry services
Free first class mail
Free uniforms
Being relatively bill free
I will not miss:
Lack of colors, flowers, trees, etc
Lack of cell phone
Lack of civilian clothes
Inability to drink (not that I really drink)
Being away from family and friends
The time difference
Thank you so much for sticking around during the last year, I trully appreciate you! Now, I need ideas on how to keep my mind occupied while we travel. Any ideas?


Merry Christmas 2010!

Happy SITSmas day!

Just as we did last year we are showing off our Christmas cards at SITS. I am proud to say these bad boys were sent out yesterday! We have been deployed most of the year and the support we have received from everyone has been so great! I wanted to send them a picture we took here not to long ago and thank everyone for their support, love and prayers. 

Here is our card, now let me see yours!


Happy Thanksgiving 2011!

I wish everyone a wonderful Thanksgiving. I am thankful for so much, as usual I am thankful for finding The One, our families and friends who have been incredibly supportive while we've been away. I'm thankful to God for giving my mother the strength to deal with her mother's loss very gracefully. I'm also thankful for those that were part of my life that are no longer with us. Their presence helped shape my life and become who I am.

Many Thanks

This year has been an amazing year, were were both deployed, ended up in the same place and we were safe even in the midst of the many attacks we've had. Thankfully this is not Iraq circa 2007 but it's still Iraq. I also want to thank you, although my post frequency has been reduced considerably I often think about you guys and all the things I would like to share with you.  

I already had my Thanksgiving lunch and it was great, now back to work...there is nothing else to do around here.

Love you guys and please share, What are you thankful for this year?


How We Did It-Recap

As I planned to write the series I realized the way we chose our vendors was the same every time. Word of mouth from other brides, I would check out their website and hopefully their blog. I would email them, wait for the response by next day (since I am ahead of Vegas by 10 hrs), ask for what I wanted, wait for a quote, compare and make a decision. Wash, rinse and repeat for all the vendors.

I know vendors know this, they know word of mouth is worth more than any ad they can pay for. Having a nice website and hopefully a blog (not to mention participate in other social networks) is very important especially in this time and age of technology. The fact that they responded quickly was high up on my list. As an Encore Bride I was not hung up on the simple details.  My focus was having what we wanted, a nice ceremony along with a wonderful steak dinner among family and close friends.

We wanted and talked about eloping but I wanted to give everyone a chance to attend, to my surprise many of my friends had made reservations before we even sent their invitations!

To recap, this is how we did it:

1. We spoke to other brides getting married in the same area.
2. We asked for references
3. We checked vendors reviews and feedback
4. Emailed vendors to inquire about their services
5. Waited for reply
6. If they did I would go in the detail of what I was looking for but I let them do what they do best, offer the best suggestions for our event.
7. Agree to a price
8. I received all contacts via email, I signed them, scanned them and sent them back
9. DONE!

Who said it couldn't be done? We are planning a small, intimate but elegant wedding for 30 in beautiful Las Vegas and we did it all in about 3 months.

Now if Uncle Sam could only assure me that I will be there, it would be alright!


How We Did It-Part II Reception

After the chapel and date were secured we knew we wanted a small, intimate steak dinner along the strip, hopefully with a view. I went back to my 2 sites of reference, theknot.com and weddingwire.com. I asked other brides, I emailed almost every restaurant on the strip, and then I checked wedding wire. After every response from every restaurant I was shocked at the prices. The main purpose for doing this in Las Vegas was so that we didn't have to pay $100+ a person. It seemed all of the restaurants on the strip wanted around $100 a person without drinks and gratuity. 

After coming across the reviews in wedding wire I came across a restaurant that had the most and highest ratings; Lawry's the Prime Rib Restaurant. It met most of our requirements: steak dinner-check, intimate with private room-check, rave reviews-check, reasonable prices-check, and lastly I can bring any cake and flower vendors I would like at no extra charge-HUGE CHECK! The only thing Lawry's cannot provide is a view of the strip but that OK with us.

Another plus was the outstanding service I received from the Sales manager, she emailed me within a few hours (I am 10 hours ahead of Vegas) every time I had a question. To this date she still does as questions come up when planning the menu, etc.

Again, the key to booking this space along with the Chapel was the convenience and customer service they provided, in my book, those two things are priceless.

To recap, how does one plan a wedding in Las Vegas from Iraq, I would say: Internet, Las Vegas knotties and wedding wire. What helped you plan your wedding?


How We Did It Part I-Location and Date

 We were originally planning a wedding around November of 2011, 11/11/11 to be exact, location TBD. Our families are in Puerto Rico, Mississippi, Florida, New York, Pennsylvania, Colorado and California. The big question was where and we didn’t have an answer for that. We considered Puerto Rico but it wasn’t a firm decision.
To make matters more complicated we knew we would be moving as soon as we returned from this deployment but we didn’t know where. We were still waiting for the Army to make a decision. The Army finally gave us a location about a month after the engagement; Norfolk, VA. We started planning the move but we quickly realized that if we wanted to move in together in military housing we would have to be a lawful wedded couple…

One day he walked in my office and I said, “That’s it, we’re going to Vegas as soon as I get back, we’ll let our families know and if they want to join us they can if not we’ll still love them the same”. He said with a grin on his face, “OK”! 
The only request he had was that it must be in a Chapel, with God present. “Ok”, I said, “deal”.  Next thing you know I went online and “googled”: Chapels, Las Vegas.  I came across an article on the best Chapels in town and one came across with many glowing reviews, Chapel of the flowers. 
Victorian Chapel 
The Chapel’s website was elegant, informative and easy to use (hint, hint). I was able to take a look at the different chapels within the property, package prices and even book a date, all online…easy peasy.
Next up, I had to choose a date, well, January 1st would’ve been great for us but not for our family and friends, not to mention that I would have barely made it back to the US.  The next long holiday in January was the weekend of Martin Luther King, January14-17, 2011. Well, then January 15th it is. We booked the Chapel for that date with a $100 deposit. We are going places here.
Magnolia Chapel

In the end, we ended up booking with them because of their rave reviews, beautiful branding and appealing website and most importantly, convenience.


How Did I Do It?

The question everyone keeps asking me is, how did I plan a wedding while deployed to Iraq? In fact, I've heard that question so many times I decided to write about it. Now that the bulk of the planning is done I can use my very little free time to share with you how I accomplished it. I started planning a wedding 176 days out (I know this from internet evidence) and was 85% done by day 120.

So again, how did I do it? I will share in detail the process in hopes that it can be helpful to someone. Starting Wednesday I will begin a series of posts taking all of you through the journey that it was planning the wedding. Stay tuned and be sure to bookmark my site, see you then!


I Miss Him So Much

He left this week and I miss him so much. I know we have been extremely blessed to have been together most of this deployment but I can't help it, he's such a big part of me. If you met him you would understand, he has a big personality, there's no one he ever met that didn't like him. He's the kind of guy that makes everyone feel good about themselves.

He's a southern gentleman and he has that charm, sometimes he can lay it on too thick if you know what I mean but I just laugh. He tells me every chance he gets how beautiful I am (even when I look like the above picture), how excited he is about us and that he can't wait until I become his wifey poo. His words, not mine :-))

Although I'm sad I'm also content because it means I can finally start counting down the days until I get home. It won't be long...Until then I will miss him with all my heart.


Elie Saab Paris-Spring 2011

Although I haven't had much time to follow the recent fashion shows my inbox has been flooded with all the reviews. I haven't been able to open them like I usually do but I had to look at one of my favorite designers, Eli Saab. I was a bit disappointed that the glamour and bling he usually brings to the runway was muted this season. The bling was scarce but it was a very wearable collection. I did find 2 looks that I like and thought I would share.

Have you been following the season's shows? Any favorites?


It's Coming Together-To Do List

I love my To Do Pads from Etsy

It's been a while since I've posted any updates around here. Sorry my friends, working all day everyday doesn't leave much time to organize one's thoughts outside of the work realm. The wedding planning is coming along, in fact is almost done. Here's the list:

Save The Dates-✓
Block of Rooms-✓
His wedding band-✓

The invites are done but I am waiting on the calligrapher to send back the envelopes. I still need to make our travel reservations to Vegas to include which rooms we want to stay at and when. The last thing I'll book will be the shuttle for the ceremony to the reception once I found out how many guests will be joining us.

I am still looking for are a headpiece; I found a few I liked only to find later they were way out of my price range. I found a great Etsy vendor who is preparing my favor stickers, table numbers, place cards and menus for the reception. Not necessary but convenient and affordable since we're having such a small guest list.

Not bad eh? It took me about 2 months to get this done from the moment we decided to move it up and go to Vegas. The worst part has been the fact that I am 10 hrs ahead of Vegas, most of the time it would take a day or two to hear back from someone, not bad at all though.

I think my list is pretty much done. Am I forgetting anything? Any recommendations on what I should focus on?


Inspiration Board

Now that you know which dress I chose it's time to reveal the look we're going after, the only way I can describe it is: Old Hollywood Glamour. I think it's the dress and Mr. Encore's uniform. We chose the colors based on the peacock feather and I hope to have a peacock feather here and there.

I'm still trying to decide on a veil or no veil...I know, this encorebride is considering a veil....yes I am. What type of veil do you guys think will work with the dress?


My Dress!

After unanimous votes by those closest to me, I chose:

Yes, I'm a super Pronovias fan but I ended up choosing a Maggie, I don't think I can go wrong with a Maggie, it does something great to curvy girls! I ordered this same color too, Light Gold, can't wait to see it!!! Oh yeah, did I mention I haven't seen it in person? Well, it's a little hard to shop from here BUT I tried on wedding gowns in the past and I knew I needed an A-line with a corset top. I think I have a winner. Don't you think?


The Dress!!!

Planning a wedding from Iraq is hard, shopping for a dress is even harder! I picked a few gowns I liked. I emailed my sister, best friend, mom and Mr. Encore for their votes and I made my decision.

These were the runner ups:




Maggie Sottero-Scarlet

Can you guess which one I picked?


It's Coming Together-Invites

The chapel and reception dinner restaurant are booked. With the two major vendors out of the way I can now look for the details such as invitations. We are still going for a peacock "theme" but we are on a budget and sadly at $7+ a pop these are over our budget. We are only going to need about 25 but still, we can use that money somewhere else. I haven't seen too many peacock invites that I liked so I may have to go the DIY route. Of course there is this minor thing called distance, as in, I'm-in-Iraq distance. But that's OK, I'll find some space around the floor to print, cut and glue these bad boys!

Do you know of any invitations web sites I should take a look at?


There's a Date and Place

Not only do I have my ring, we also have a date and place. It is only weeks after I return home so there will be a lot of planning from here, not to mention there will be no DIY projects. So, without further due...we are getting married in:

Yes, wonderful Las Vegas, we'll have the ceremony at the Little Chapel of the Flowers:

The Chapel is much nicer than I thought inside and we will have a small dinner with the few family and friends that make the trip.

Any recommendations on where to eat, stay or play?


I Got The Ring!

Please forgive my MIA status, it's been a busy month. We went back to the states on leave and enjoyed both Mr. E's and my family. And guess what, I got my ring!!!!!

TBD... I'm sorry, I have to go, we just had an incoming round.....


What keeps you going?

I ask myself that question very often. I've been in this country now a few months and it took a lot of work to get here. I "heavily" volunteered to come here; I know this is something I had to do for my career and myself. Luckily for me I ended up in a totally different area that I was supposed to and I work closely with Mr. Encore, I could not have been more blessed. 

The downside to this wonderful opportunity is that my life is confined to a very small compound; it was hard the first few weeks. It only took me a few minutes to walk from where I sleep to where I work (and they are at opposite ends). Lately though, time has been ticking and when I walk that path to my living quarters I wonder how can I keep going? How can one do the same, day after day, away from your family and friends, away from my "life" back in the states? I wonder...what keeps me going? I have no kids, pets or plants back home, no human or living being depends on me. 

I have my parents, siblings and Mr. Encore's family to provide support and encouragement, but they are very far, they do not depend on me. If I had kids I knew I would be doing it for them, but I don't. I'm not sure where I keep getting the fuel that keeps me going, all I know, is that I do. I wake up every morning, go to work, maybe fit in a workout during the day, I go eat but always go back to work. Some nights I've been at the office over 12 hours, once I get "home" I just do the same, take a shower, check emails and go to bed. 

The upside is that the days start to run into each other and by the time you really pay attention at the date, another week has gone by. Most of us count down our time by the weeks or months and I haven't been here long enough to even start counting down. Some people say this feels like prison (most are civilians) but I disagree, prisons don't have wonderful cafeterias with an "all you can eat" menu, or wonderful gyms with indoor pools, even beauty shops where we can get manicures, pedicures and facials. 

This is a period of our lives where we are stripped of all the "stuff" we own to include our civilian clothing, our families and friends and our regular lives. We give all that up for the mission, whether we agree or disagree with the politics. This is all about given someone else a better future even if it may never look like our own but in their world this is a free as one can be. I think that is what keeps me going.

What about you? What keeps you going?


Encore Bride Style File: Resort 2011

I haven't been able to monitor all the new Resort '11 collections but I had a few minutes and decided to check and see what my favorite designers were up to. Inspiration comes in many ways and I love these gowns presented by Carolina Herrera. Her collections are always elegant, feminine and refined, she did not disappoint this year.

Carolina Herrera Resort 2011

Do you have any favorites?


Encore Bride Style File: Pronovias 2011

I love the Pronovias brand, their designs are always so elegant and feminine. Their 2011 line did not dissapoint, here are a few of the ones I liked the most, it was hard to choose just a few!

Pronovias Glamour "Fiordo"

I love the asymetrical neckline and detailing of the torso area, it is definitely in my "must find and try" dresses.

Pronovias Fashion "Francoli"

I love the fishtail detail on this one, perfect for a Spanish style wedding in Old San Juan, Puerto Rico!

Pronovias Dreams "Formentera"

Source: Pronovias

Wonder if they offer these beautiful gowns in something other than white or off-white for this encore bride. I would love any of them in a platinum color, it would look great with my purple shoes!


My New Favorite Wedding Colors

I found a wonderful new color combination on the beautiful blog The Inspired Bride. The deep jewel tone colors make for a beautiful romantic fall wedding. Don't you think?


What do you guys think? Yay or Nay


Dreaming of Thailand

Another resort I've had bookmarked on my favorites for a very long time is the X2 Kui Buri Resort in Thailand. It is 3 hours south of Bangkok, located on a desolated beach in a farming village. The design and architecture of the place is wonderful and your room is open to the ocean. See for yourself!

As you can see the beds are facing the ocean, I could lounge here all day! 

Has any one been to Thailand before? How was your experience?


Fiji on My Mind

In order to get through the long hot days around here (the high today was around 117°), my mind has been wondering to far away places. Romantic and exotic places where we could just sit back and have a drink. One of those places is Fiji; I found this resort on an article titled, Take the Plunge! on the latest Destination, Weddings and Honeymoon Magazine, I LOVE it. It's the Royal Davui Island Resort.

There's nothing else on this tiny island but you and 31 other guests, max!

Look at this awesome plunge pool!

The canopy over the bed is so romantic.

Finally, we can get married here as well. There would be no stress, just a long flight to Fiji where we can relax, get married and enjoy our honeymoon before we return to the "real world".

Have you ever been to Fiji? Are there any other resorts you recommend?



I miss you dearly but I work almost 12+hrs a day, there's has been no time to plan a wedding, sketch, catch up with all of my blogs, tweet or stay in touch with you guys. Everyday here seems to run into each other, sometimes I look up and a week has gone by (which is great). I work all day, take half a day off once a week and we take it easy on Sundays.

It's amazing the things you miss when you are away like this, like...my Mom, although I moved away from home 12 years ago I've missed her so much since I've been here. She's had a rough last few months but if you see here you would never be able to tell.

I miss colors, flowers, fabric, sewing, quilts, SUSHI, OMG how I miss good regular food. I am not complaining by any means, we have a very good dining facility and I've eaten lobster and crab legs much more often than any time I've been at home. There are some things you can't help but miss though...Mr. E's homemade biscuits, or one of his great steaks or his Greek spaghetti mmmmm. Guess who'll be doing most of the cooking once we get home?

Speaking of which, Mr. E is doing great, working long hours and learning so much about the finance industry, not bad for a guy that used to hang around tanks! We are both so glad to be fortunate to be here with each other and we thank God every day but we can't wait to come home!

In the meantime we'll keep working from sun up to sun down, that always makes the time go by faster!


Wedding Venues in PR

We've been thinking about what type of wedding we want. Better yet, how much do we want to spend on one. We know it will be small, 40 guests (maybe) and Puerto Rico has so many options it will be fun to visit some of these when we go home this summer.

Option A) A former nun convent in romantic Old San Juan.

Option B) The Hacienda by the mountains.

"Hacienda Siesta Alegre"

Option C) The Beach Resort

"El Gran Melia" Resort

The choices (and prices!) are so overwhelming we will always consider option D) Elope!


I'm here, Discussing Wedding Colors


It had been relatively peaceful in Baghdad since the elections and we even thanked God for that on the service before Easter. The next day I could hear faint explosions, frankly it sounded like thunder to me but the next day I walked in the office and read about the Easter explosions in Baghdad, up to 30 people dead and hundreds wounded. It is one thing to be here alone, another to be with the one you care about. I don’t worry so much about me but I worry about him worrying about me.

Days are long around here, I will probably be at work around 10-12 hours a day but that includes several breaks for lunch, dinner and workout time. It is one of the keys to staying sane around here, staying busy as much as you can throughout the day and only going to your sleeping quarters to sleep.

The good news for us is that Mr. Encore and I have designated specific days and times to spend together. We have dinner together on Wednesdays, spend a few hours together on Friday afternoon and we meet up at the WiFi spot to check email and surf the internet and few nights a week.

We have discussed wedding options and I love this look I found here a while ago:

Once I saw these pictures I sent them to Mr. E via email a while back and asked him what he thought, he replied: "I love the pictures you sent, the first one with the really vibrant colors on the table entitled Peacock Tables is absolutely beautiful!! It reminds me of you. If I had to draw a picture of your love and passion I would use those colors to do it".

Needless to say friends, he's a keeper...


I Have Arrived!!

I have arrived friends! It was stop and go there for a while but I’m finally at my final destination. They cancelled/delayed our flights twice before we finally left the US. The first day they just sent us a message that the flight had been delayed for the next day. The next day we arrived at the airport only to be told that the flight had been cancelled. In the real world a flight cancellation would have meant that they would try and put you on the next flight or they will provide you accommodations for the night. A cancelled flight in the military means none of the above. Our bags were being carried in a different truck and where classified as A, B or C, in case of the plane became overweight, our “C” bags would be left behind. I was very nervous about that, somehow my travel “savyness” went out the window once I packed my bags. I was given a packing list that I knew a man that does not travel often helped put together. According to the packing list my running shoes were in one bag while the rest of my shorts and t-shirts were in another. The packing list only had one personal hygiene bag...didn’t they know I had 3? After all, I was going to God knows where and needed my endless supply of lotions and soap, not any soap will do, I need the Dove bar in the deep red box along with a bottle of liquid Dove for sensitive skin. Towards the end of my packing process I had jammed every bag with everything I could and what didn’t fit I had to throw away.

Why you need to know this? you may ask, well, after the flight got cancelled they told us the next available flight was going to be in 26 hours!!! I turned around and asked about our lodging for the night and bags. We had been staying in barracks and they had been cleaned, inspected and turned-in, along with the linen, if we slept there we would have to go through the whole process again the next day not to mention that the linen had a turn around time of 3 days! To make a long story short, we had to improvise, we slept on plain mattresses, I had a travel pillow and blanket my future mother in law gave me before this trip so I at least had that but I had to run to the nearest store to get toiletries since everything was packed. Not to mention that we had weapons and they couldn’t go in the bedrooms with us.

After the flight cancellation drama we finally left the next day on a Wednesday night and arrived in Kuwait on a Friday at 2am. From there we had bags to load/unload and reload and buses to catch before we finally arrived to our destination. Once we got there, about 6 am, we kept going straight through, there was no rest for the weary. My unit had an express lane to arrive in Iraq so rumors started flying that we were not staying long (actually just a few hours). All of the sudden 3 soldiers and myself were called in front of the formation along with our leaders, we were informed that we had been re-missioned and would now be leaving the unit and be headed to Baghdad. Wohooo!!! I was leaving those crazy people behind!

Two days later I ended up at the US Embassy in Iraq, a slice of heaven in the midst of chaos. Mr. E knew when I would be arriving but since I had no phone or Internet with me I spent all day getting settled in before I could call him to let them know I was there just a few yards away from his building. That night as I walked back from dinner I saw that very familiar silhouette walking towards me, my heart dropped, it was Mr E.!!!!!! I wanted to run up to him and hug him. Instead he greeted me by my rank and last name and I did the same, we shook hands and we smiled at each other. The place was crowded and we were both in uniform which prohibited us from displaying any type of PDA (personal displays of affection). We walked away to a dark spot where we could at least hug each other. I can’t believe how much I’d missed my best friend, I hugged him so hard I didn’t want to let go! I am so fortunate to be so close to him and I don’t take that for granted at all. (To be continued...)


Wedding Color Inspiration

Mr. Encore has suggested we marry in Puerto Rico in the Fall of 2011, I've begun to research different venues and we hope to visit them during our mid-tour vacation to PR. I've also showed him pictures of colors and decor that inspires me and he is loving it! The other day while visiting my sister we were walking at the mall when we came across what will be the focal point of our wedding style design.

The Shoes!

There were inexpensive but very cute, so here you go, a total frugal purchase but hey, they're cute!


I've missed you!

This training period has been a very long journey filled with long and difficult days at times. Last year (2009) was a wonderful year and I knew this one would be good but challenging. For starters we would both be deployed and apart, I knew that in itself would be hard. I knew it would be hard but we have managed to stay in touch as much as possible and it has helped somewhat. However, I did not know how hard it would really be. Two weeks after arriving to train with a unit that is not my own and I knew no one I received an emergency message from the Red Cross telling me that my beloved Grandma Dalila had passed away in Puerto Rico. I am glad I was given the opportunity to make a quick trip to PR in order to attend her wake and funeral.

Grandma Dalila was one of the strongest, most kind hearted women I've ever met, she didn't have a mean bone in her body and I never heard her speak negatively about anybody. She was loved by many and her constant acts of kindness stay with me to this day. I could only hope that I live to become half the woman she was, I will forever miss you "Abuelita Dalila".

Immediately after her funeral I returned to training, I returned to the place I was starting to resent. I tell you why; in a group of almost 80 soldiers less than 1% are females, for the most part they have been respectful but many resent a female in a senior position and some were not afraid to hide those feelings. After a few weeks I knew I had my work cut out for myself but I kept marching along until we reached the final training day.

It has been hard dealing with this environment, missing Mr. E. dearly, worrying about how my Mom is coping with the passing of my grandmother and to make matters worse, I just found out that my beloved nephew has been diagnosed with Autism. As I head to a far away land my heart aches for my mother and sister, I wish I could be there for them but as they know, I am only an email away (I hope), as far as Mr. E, I'm praying that we end up being somewhat close to each other and that we may have the opportunity to see each other a couple of times during our deployment.

I am looking forward to a steady schedule once I arrive in-country. I want to share with you our wedding planning journey all the way from Iraq more frequently because frankly, I've missed you too!


A Must Read For Every Encore Bride (or Groom)

Mr. Encore and I have been talking about possible wedding dates and places. I very much look forward to coming home after these deployments but I also need something else to focus on while deployed. The long hours and 7 day work week can get old very fast and everyone needs an outlet to stay sane.

We (OK, I) figure that doing research for the wedding can keep us occupied and might do the trick to stay sane. After doing a very quick search online for possible venues in Puerto Rico (where Mr. Encore suggested we marry) I went straight to Amazon looking for books.

What I purchased was not the latest wedding planning book but a book with a 5 stars rating called : "Every Single Girl's Guide to Her Future Husband's Last Divorce" by Adryenn Ashley. Our marriage makes the second one for both Mr. Encore and I, he has 2 children that receive support from him while I don't have any kids.

I have a 15 year career in the US Army while his is over 20 years and we both have financial responsibilities that can be expected after all this time. A marriage is not only a commitment to each other and God (or whomever you believe in) but also a legal and financial tangled web. I have not finished reading the book but so far the advice is very eye opening. The author is a forensic accountant and breaks down the legalities of merging two financial lives starting from the simple "Should we open a joint account?".

Source: Amazon.com

This book is a must read for anyone marrying for the second time or a divorced mate. Sorting out the financial picture before marriage can avoid one of the leading causes of divorces to destroy yours. After both of our divorces we were both left in financial ruin because we didn't know any better and we did anything we could to get rid of an unhappy marriage (we did not divorce at the same time or knew each other then).

Personally, I have seen one too many soldiers die in combat that married right before deployment and never sorted out their finances. After their passing the new wife and family have been left without anything because they never changed their beneficiaries of their life insurances, death benefits, wills, etc. The worst part is that the new family does not have to be notified of who received those benefits and many times the ex-wife is the beneficiary.

In my opinion before you run to buy the next edition of any bridal magazine, get yourself a copy of this book (or anyone you know planning to get married), in fact, anyone getting married or married already can benefit from it. Read it now before you have to deal with the ugly side of finances after it's too late.

*Disclaimer-This is an ad-free blog, I purchased this book and shared because I believe anyone can benefit from it. I have NOT received anything from amazon or the author in return for this post.


Encore Bride Style File Paris Couture II

One of my favorite designers, Elie Saab presented a wonderful collection of dreamy dresses perfect for a special occasion, especially a wedding. It was very hard to pick just a few so here's a double dose of my favorites.

Part I

(click to enlarge)

Part II

Source: Style.com

If I had the budget I would wear any of these for my wedding, would you?


Encore Bride Style File Paris Couture

Aren't these perfect for that special day? Introduced by Armani Privé during Paris Couture Fashion Week last month they make a great source of inspiration for any bride.

Source: Style.com

I think the short one at the top will be great for a City Hall wedding while the bottom ones are great for the formal reception. Which one is your favorite?


The Encore Bride Style File-Couture Brides

I've been playing Army BUT the new Spring 2010 Paris Couture shows are being presented right now. These are my favorite shows as designers push the envelope when it comes to construction and imagination. I look at them as a form of art and I marvel at the construction techniques used to create these one-of-a-kind ensembles.

Most shows end with the designer's take on "The Bride", they are often ostentatious and heavy with detailing. Most of the time ready to wear designers will take one trend of a dress and use it as they develop their own future collections. Take a look at what they came up for Spring 2010.

Alexis Mabille


Elie Saab

Isn't the one above from Elie Saab dreamy?

All pictures from Style.com


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