Monthly Archives: September 2016

Tips When Choosing Catering Services

download-5Simple meetings, family get together and even a special event like a wedding; these events surely provide individuals time with their friends, colleagues and relatives. These events also create special memories for individuals as they move forward with their daily work. Hence, if you are an organizer of an event, you must properly address every detail such as the location, decorations, tables and chairs. Other than that, an organizer must also consider the kind of meals that must be prepared in order to satisfy their guests as well as other individuals.

However, due to the demanding tasks of arranging an event; sometimes, you might forget certain details that can surely ruin all your plans. So, to help you have time for other tasks you need to accomplish before the event, it is more sensible to hire competent catering services. Listed below are some tips when choosing reliable caterers.

Food selection – Make sure that the catering service you will hire can provide vast selection of foods, meals and drinks to ensure that every individual in the event can choose the ideal food for him. In addition, in case that you have guests that have certain dietary plans, be sure that the catering service can offer special meals for them.

Food preparation – Cleanliness is essential when preparing and cooking meals. So, find a catering service that prepares food and meals neatly. Make sure that when they prepare food items, the service provider has good disposal units and a clean kitchen.

Food presentation – Other than the overall looks of the location and the design of tables and chairs, individuals must be sure that the catering service can provide amazing food presentation. This can entice your guests to try out the foods, meals and drinks that are prepared for them.

Food storage and cooking items – If you are organizing an event at a park be sure to look for catering services that have sufficient food storage to ensure that the meals are clean and fresh. It is also essential that you look for catering services that can provide you with cooking services to ensure that meals are served instantly and promptly.

With these simple tips, individuals can turn a simple gathering into a huge event with their friends, relatives and co-workers. You are also sure that you can enjoy delicious meals and drinks that can make the event better and more memorable for everyone.

Tips For Becoming a Professional Wedding Singer

OK, so you want to be a professional singer/vocalist? As a part-time vocal coach I hear people telling me every other week that they want to sing for a living. When we get into the conversation, I usually find this means they want to be instantly famous, having done little or no ‘work’ to achieve this lofty goal.

Here I’d like to point out to anyone interested that there is a great living to be made from singing at weddings, functions and events, while remaining in control of your life and hitherto unheard of.

The job doesn’t involve being chauffeured around to media appointments and ushered about by managers, publicists and record company big wigs. It does however entail getting yourself to gigs on time, under your own steam and performing to the best of your ability regardless of your mood and general wellbeing.

If you can sing to a professional standard (and by that I don’t mean mum and gran think you’re great, but that you can hold an audience for a couple of hours) then there is well paid work out there for singers of most popular styles.

In my 20 or so years of singing for money I have been lucky enough to sing with some great bands, as a solo artist and in duos and trios. I have sung rock classics, indie, pop, Motown, soul and pretty much everything else. Always ready to learn I have recently added classical to the list.

What makes us jobbing singers different from the average want to be pop star is a great work ethic and the knowledge that, no matter how good you think you are, you can always improve. It pains me to see singers on reality shows well before they are ready for local auditions let alone national T.V.

So, if you can come down from the clouds and really do wish to work as a singer at weddings and function etc, my advice is as follows:

You will need a VERY well rehearsed set. In the age of the internet, recommendations and good feedback are essential to a long career so ‘blagging’ it just won’t do. Your song choices should be made with the customer in mind and NOT you. The trick is to find a happy medium between singing songs that you love and songs your audience will want to hear at their event. Don’t just pick all your personal favourites without a thought for the type of event and the demographic of your audience.

If it’s the well paid wedding market you wish to pursue then think about the 3 parts of the ‘big day’ you can offer your services to. In church at the service, if you can sing classical or other appropriate styles then offer to sing as the bride enters, as the happy couple sign the wedding register and as they leave the church. Similarly at a civil wedding ceremony. I find the bride and groom have a good idea in advance what kind of music they wish to hear at this all important part of the day.

During the wedding breakfast, couples often like to create a laid-back atmosphere so jazz and swing always goes down well. Be clear in advance as to whether you should be low-key and unobtrusive or if the bride and groom expect you to liven things up straight away.

If an evening reception is planned, it’s usually then that a party atmosphere is wanted so choose your ‘floor fillers’ wisely. Be sure to speak to the DJ if there is one present and ask them in advance if possible to avoid playing half of your set list before you go on.

You can charge separately for these performances or put together a few wedding day packages to choose from.

Corporate events are also great paying gigs but you will find it a difficult market to crack, especially for a beginner. The best way to get this kind of work is to get yourself a professional booking agent. Be sure to use a reputable firm and check to see who their list of clients are. You will be asked to sign an agreement before you start to get work so be sure to read the small print or better still, have an appropriate legal professional read it for you.

Avoid being tied down to an ‘exclusive’ arrangement with any one agent as they may hold you back instead of getting you the work they promised to. You need to be free to take bookings from more than one agent and find work yourself if you are going to get enough work to make a full-time living.

Expect to give 20% of the fee plus V.A.T. to your agent per gig. The agent will require good quality photographs of you, some excellent sounding demo audio tracks and possibly video footage. Write a great sounding biography about yourself and try not to exaggerate your experience too much.

There is also some remnants of a live music scene left in the bars, pubs and clubs of most towns and cities and this is a great place to start. Learning your craft in front of a rowdy bunch of revellers is the best way to get good quickly but it’s not for everyone and definitely not for the faint hearted.

Good quality backing tracks are available from audio stockists and via the internet. You will need a reliable playback source such as a laptop or iPad. CD players are too temperamental for live work so invest in something good enough for the job. Your P.A. or Public Announcement system should be of sufficient power to give a good, clear and audible mix of your vocals and backing tracks. Don’t feel you need to make peoples ears bleed but have enough power to fill the room in the types of venues you will be playing in.

Speak to an audio professional, don’t just buy gear from eBay that you don’t really know much about. Get the ‘spec’ list, take time to learn a little about what does what, then go shopping.

Your equipment should be regularly P.A.T. tested (portable appliance tested) by a qualified person to keep you and your audience safe from electrical faults. Be sure to insure your gear and insure yourself against public liability too.

So, you’re all set. You have the songs down, the gear ready, the act rehearsed, so DON’T turn up in jeans and a T-shirt and let yourself down. Think about the event and the type of venue and get it right.

Who knows, you may even get ‘spotted’ by that music industry mogul you dream about but if not, what’s wrong with being a wedding singer? It sure beats working for a living!

Good luck and see you on the circuit.

Tips for Outdoor Wedding Makeup

1. The Importance of Primer:

Whether or not you wear foundation, primer is an important base for anything you put on your face. It will help keep you shine free while preventing caking, creasing, and sweating of your makeup. A couple of our favorites are Smashbox Photo Finish Oil Free Foundation Primer Pore Minimizing $16-39; and Smashbox 24 Hour Photo Finish Shadow Primer $20 – this one’s great for long-lasting eye shadow!

2. Let Your Face Breathe:

For outdoor weddings, try to avoid thick foundation and moisturizer unless absolutely necessary. Painting your face won’t reflect the real you, and it’s also more likely to leave you smudged, oily and uneven. Sometimes a thin veil of lightweight mattifying powder foundation is all you need. With a kabuki brush, apply this power player by Make Up For Ever for a flawless finish: Pro Finish Multi-Use Powder Foundation, $36. And ladies, please, stick to shades that match your skin tone. Lay off the two-shades-too-dark foundation and orange-y bronzer so that your neck isn’t a distinctly different color than your face.

3. Go Easy on the Blush:

If it’s warm outside, your cheeks will tend to be naturally rosy, especially if you’re a bundle of nerves. A single sweep of powder blush or a tiny dab of cheek stain may be an option but, again, a little goes a long way in natural light! If you’re a powder blush girl, try Urban Decay’s Afterglow 8-Hour Powder Blush, $26. If you like the dewy, highlighting look of a blush stick, we love The Multiple by Nars, $39. And for a one-and-done, truly low maintenance experience, try (sparingly) Benefit’s cheek stain, Benetint, $30.

4. Shield Your Face from the Sun:

Decorative paper fans or small parasols are a creative way to block the rays, and they look cuter in photos than sunglasses (which also mess up your makeup). This could be one of your gifts to your bridesmaids! Go the extra mile by applying a non-oily SPF under your foundation or find a lightweight BB cream which includes SPF (like Dr. Jart+ Premium Beauty Balm with SPF 45, $39). No one wants to look like a tomato in the pictures.

5. Blotting Papers:

Oil blotting sheets are a necessity to have on hand, and they’re compact enough to fit in your clutch. If the sun is starting to heat things up, be sure to check your compact before taking pictures and, if you’re looking extra shiny, grab an oil blotting sheet and tap it onto your trouble spots. You’d be amazed what a quick fix this is (and sooo much better than caking on extra powder). There are many varieties of blotting papers – you can get them anywhere from Sephora to CVS (Clean & Clear brand) and they range from $5 to $10.

6. Hairspray Works Wonders for Setting:

You might not expect to see hairspray on a makeup tips list, but you’d be surprised what it can do, from removing stains to setting your makeup! Check out item #11 on the StyleCaster beauty blog post, “20 Makeup Hacks That Will Make Your Life Easier.”

7. Waterproof Liquid Eyeliner or Cake Liner:

Liquid eyeliner used to intimidate me, partly because I had a shaky hand and partly because it looks so bold and I was afraid to mess up (I still haven’t mastered the elusive cat eye). I always favored pencil liner until I realized how much more time it takes and how much harder it is on the delicate skin of your eyelids. Then a friend introduced me to cake liner. It’s dry until you dampen a small brush and swirl it into the cake liner, then it instantly transforms into something like a wet-dry eye shadow. Easy to apply, longer lasting, and more smudge-proof than pencil liner, cake liner is a great way to go. We love Laura Mercier Tightline Cake Liner, $24.

8. Cry-Proof Mascara:

You might think you won’t get all misty-eyed, but don’t take a chance – someone could make a touching toast that leaves you bawling! Admit it: it’s going to be an emotional day. Our favorite affordable waterproof mascara is CoverGirl LashBlast Volume Waterproof Mascara (in the orange tube), $6.99 from Target. Or, if you like the look of false lashes without the hassle and weight, try Younique Moodstruck 3D Fiber Lash Mascara, sold by independent consultants for approximately $30 (and worth every penny)!

9. Smudge-Proof Lips:

Lips are tricky. Through all the talking, sipping, kissing, smiling, and licking your lips (does anyone else do that when they’re nervous?), it’s downright difficult to find lip color that won’t smudge, dry out, flake, feather, smear, or transfer. Whether you like to keep it simple with balm or glam it up with gloss, it can be annoying to keep reapplying throughout the day. Lucky for you, we have some long-lasting favorites. Tints and stains like Tarte LipSurgence Matte Lip Tint, $24, followed up with YSL Rouge Pur Couture Glossy Stain, $36, are a great way to go and come in a variety of colors and finishes, so you don’t have to forego the gloss. And don’t worry, if you’re an au-naturel kind of girl and these products don’t tickle your fancy, item #9 on this StyleCaster beauty blog post will leave you with some solid advice, regardless which type of products you prefer.

10. Nails and Toes:

A mani/pedi might not count as ‘makeup,’ but it needs to last, nonetheless! For afternoon weddings, many women will get their nails and toes done same-day. It’s part of that spa-like girly bonding experience and one of the package services that ladies enjoy doing together. The only problem is, if you’ve chosen a salon you aren’t used to and they’re overwhelmingly busy, you might not always be able to rely on the quality of your service. I’ve heard sad stories of toenail polish being applied way too thick to fully dry, and then as soon as the dress shoes are slipped on the polish smudges all over the place. Or a protective top coat isn’t applied and a bridesmaid’s nail polish chips while helping the bride with her hair pins. Don’t let it happen to you! We encourage you to get your mani/pedi at least one day in advance of the wedding. Whether you like the classic look of French manicures and pink & white nails, or you’re going for a solid color that will complement the dresses and bouquets, both gel and acrylic nails are excellent options because of their durability and decreased likelihood of smudging, chipping, and cracking. Whatever you choose, it’s probably best to avoid busy designs (okay, maybe one accent nail if your dress is pretty simple). And if you really want to DIY, try Sally Hansen miracle gel, available at stores like CVS and Target for under $10.

Prepare Wedding Dress

A special occasion needs an extraordinary outfit. You need to prepare a gorgeous wedding dress for your walk down the aisle. Choosing a gown for your biggest day is an extraordinary experience. You have to select it carefully to avoid any disappointment. The longer the time, the more carefully you select the dress you want to use because you have enough time to determine the colors, accessories and model that you want.

9-12 months before your wedding, you can begin to imagine the dress you want to use. Think about your daily lifestyle and think about things that stand out from yourself. Surely, you want to look bright, sweet, elegant, luxurious, sexy, sophisticated, etc. Select the day and note the theme of your wedding party before you start looking for dress.

You need a unique design to fit your body shape. However, it is based on your budget. You can also browse for a variety of dress options in multiple wedding sites. There are many designers and styles you can choose. Then print and contact the vendor with the design you like the most. Determine your budget for the clothes and other details.

Try to find a friend who has been married and ask for references from them too. Check to see which bridal designers who can collaborate with you. Contact and make necessary arrangements, provide about one hour for every bridal that you like. While shopping, write address and designers that you like and write a description of dress and its price.

It is better if you can come back repeatedly to the bridal. In bridal, ask if the dress has been in combination with accessories such as veil and crown, and try these things. Do not be afraid if you do not find any dress you like, because you still have enough time. Specify accessories, shoes, jewelry, headdress, gloves, etc. Then, buy the accessories if it is not included.