Great bridal shower gift ideas

My sister texted me tonight saying she's going to a bridal shower and has no clue what to get the bride and wondered if I had any ideas. Because I'm in the wedding industry I totally should have ideas and lots of them, right? Well, I was a little embarrassed to admit that I didn't have a blog post that could help her, but I promised that soon I would. So, here it is! 

Super Adorbs Apron

I know it's super sexist to say that now that she's becoming a wife she needs an apron, but I'll tell you a little secret: I didn't cook until I was married. I mean, I knew how to make scrambled eggs and miso soup but I mostly ate take out from the Whole Foods deli because I didn't know how to cook. So I would have LOVED an apron as a bridal shower gift! Check out this cute and colorful apron.

Bake, Rattle, and Roll Apron

Colorful Nautical Notecards

These sweet nautical notecards are perfect for a bride getting married in Maine! I would freakin' love a set of these and would totally use them. The handwritten note is coming back in style (thank god) and you might even get one of these as a thank you note if you give her this sweet gift! 

Sea My Guest Notecard Set

Jewelry Organizer-Thingy

I need one of these soooo badly! This is the perfect give because it's the kind of thing that your friend might not buy herself but she probably totally needs. My necklaces are a knotted mess and my earrings are all over the place. I would LOVE to get this sweet copper jewelry stand

Wrangle Your Bangles Jewelry Stand

Framable Botanical Prints

I adore these! Every since seeing Alicia Florrick's wall of framed botanical and bird prints I've wanted to do the same thing in my living room. I think they would look so pretty framed and laid out in a grid. Maybe get two sets so she can really make a statement. Would your bride friend like these beautiful botanical prints

Seed What I Mean? Print Set - 9.75 x 8.25

Otter Tape Dispenser

Ergmagahd! Apparently I'm just putting together a list of things I want because I MUST have this otter tape dispenser. He's so dang cute, just look at that face! Another little story...this year for our anniversary I got my husband a card that said "We're meant for each otter!" Cute, right? I know, and so is this adorable otter tape dispenser. I promise you, your friend doesn't already have one. ;)

Alma Otter Tape Dispenser

Everyone Needs Gold Bowls

Ok, yeah, this post is totally just a list of things I want. LOL! But, c'mon, who wouldn't want these awesome gold bowls? They even have matching gold mugs, but I think I like the bowls even better. If she doesn't want to eat ice cream out of them, then maybe she can use them for her hair ties or rings or keys or nuts or candies or...whatever.  

Gold Crush Bowl Set

Mrs. Wine Tote

And, because she's becoming a Mrs. this little canvas wine tote would be a perfect bridal shower gift! And a wine tote is yet another useful item that people don't usually buy for themselves. And, you can totally put a bottle of champagne in it and tell her it's to bring to the bridal suite on wedding day! What a thoughtful gift. Give her this miss to mrs. wine tote and she'll know you really "get" her. 

Hugs and Mrs. Wine Tote

Little Retro Nightgown

It's traditional to get the bride some lingerie for her bridal shower, so why not get her something cute she can wear on her honeymoon. This cute little nightgown could fit most figures and is super flattering and totally sweet. C'mon, it's not like you're getting her leopard print g-strings. 

Love Story of My Life Nightgown

Studs are The Hoops

Is she into jewelry? Studs are making a comeback, so maybe get her this charming set of pastel-y colored earrings. Every time she wears them she'll think of you. And if you're wondering what to get *me* for Christmas, I'd love these! 

Hello, Retro Earring Set

You Need More Sleep

You didn't think I'd make it through a whole post about gift ideas without throwing in something with cats on it, did you? Maybe you don't know me well enough yet. I'm a proud, crazy cat lady to two sweet cats, Felix and Bean. They even have their own Instagram account where you can see the life they live in Maine. So, yeah, I, like, really love cats! Hey, maybe your friend does to! Get her this funny cat advice book

You Need More Sleep: Advice from Cats

I truly, honestly love every item in this post. I'm also part of the ModCloth affiliate program and the links on this page are affiliate links. 

10 blue engagement rings

it's engagement season! between thanksgiving and valentine's day a TON of people get engaged. i thought i'd do a little post of engagment ring inspiration with a twist: blue engagement rings. for the record, blue is my favorite color, so it's a no brainer that i'd love blue gemstones for engagement rings. i hope you enjoy this list of ten engagement rings all with blue stones. if you're not into blue, i have a pinterest board loaded with all sorts of different rings



Ruffled BlogOh Darling Days

Turtle Love Co



Leif Shop


Eight Hundred Ships

Sundance Catalog

vendor profile: bario neal wedding jewelry

I'm sure by now you've seen the gorgeous jewelry crafted by Bario Neal. If you're on Pinterest, you've definitely seen Bario Neal jewelry in your feed. I was lucky enough to get Anna, a co-creater of Bario Neal, to answer some questions about what makes the jewelry so special. 

Meet Bario Neal

Owners: Page Neal and Anna Bario
Business Start Date: 2008
Number of Employees: 8

What made you want to start a jewelry business?

Page and I were both making jewelry already - each running our own business - when we decided to start Bario Neal. We were interested in focusing on the sourcing of our materials in an industry with such a complex history.

What does ethically-sourced materials really mean?  

For us, it means working with materials whose source and history are as transparent as possible. We do everything we can to learn about the conditions at the mine sites, as well as steps along the way, such as where stones are cut. The environmental and human impacts of the materials are very important to us, and our goal is to work only with materials that are either recycled or sourced from mines and supply chains that we feel confident about.

What is Fairtrade or Fairmined gold?

From the Alliance for Responsible Mining: Fairmined gold is ethical gold extracted by Artisanal and Small-scale miners certified under our FAIRMINED standard. Buying FAIRMINED metals is supporting responsible certified miners and their families that follow strict requirements for social development, environmental protection, labor conditions and economic development in their mining communities. FAIRMINED gold is the achievement of the world’s pioneering and industry leading network of responsible Artisanal and Small-scale miners. An initiative and movement lead by and for the miners.

Our Fairmined gold is mined by Aurelsa in Peru. It allows mines to market transparency and we pay a premium that the mining community uses to reinvest in local projects. You can read more info about the project

What is a recycled diamond?

Our recycled diamonds come from old jewelry that our refinery collects. The recycled diamonds are cleaned and re-graded by a grading agency like GIA, and the process is overseen by a third-party certifier to ensure the recycled origin. The benefit of recycled diamonds is that no new mining is required, but we don’t know the initial origin or ‘age’ of the recycled stones with modern cuts.

How do you work with clients on custom jewelry?

Lately we’ve taken a bit of a break from some of our custom work to focus on a new collection of engagement rings. But in general, the process begins with a consultation where we develop the design idea. Then we’ll create sketches and either a wax model or computer renderings of the piece before it’s made in metal. The process with each project and customer is a little different, but there is a lot of communication and collaboration along the way.

Is your jewelry sold in storefronts or only online?

Both! We have two locations. Our main store & workshop is in Philadelphia (where all the work is made). This fall, we opened a showroom in NYC, and several stores also carry our work. 

Your ring designs are so creative, what inspires you?

Our inspiration can come from anything, but natural objects and vintage jewelry are often at play.

What do you want new customers to know about Bario Neal?

I think our blog can be so helpful for people researching jewelry and wanting to learn a little more about us. We have posts about everything from the history of diamonds to marriage equality.

What kind of person typically purchases your rings?

It’s great getting to meet our clients at the Philly and NY shops - they are very diverse and I think it’s a real mix of people who are attracted to the design work or to the focus on sourcing.

What is a cocktail ring?

A cocktail ring can really be anything that isn’t a wedding or engagement ring, but traditionally they tend to be a little bigger in scale.

My engagement ring is a Canadian diamond, how do I know if it was ethically sourced?

Many Canadian diamonds come with documentation of their origin, and some are laser inscribed with a unique ID number that allows you to trace them to the mine. Canadian diamonds are generally cut and polished responsibly by fairly paid adults (cutting and polishing is one of the big human rights concerns with diamonds).

Canada’s mining laws are certainly stricter than most countries’ but there are concerns about the environmental impact and the effects of the mines on First Nations land and communities.  

What kind of gems do you use?

We work with all sorts of gemstones - a lot of sapphire, ruby and aquamarine. Not to avoid the question, but there is just too much info to go through it all! We have a great piece on the blog about our colored gemstones.

If you want wedding jewelry that is sustainably sourced, creatively made, and absolutely stunning, contact Bario Neal

maine made wedding favors

i have the best idea for your maine wedding favors! here in our little town of damariscotta, maine, there is a shop that crafts the most amazing 100% soy candles. they're just about the only candles i've ever used that smell exactly like the scent. for example, i have the garden lilac scent and it totally smells like lilacs, not like your grandmother's soap. so, let's learn a little more about the seawicks candle company

the owners

founded by michael and cara, seawicks started in edgecomb, maine about six years ago. for years they sold their candles wholesale but they just opened their first storefront in my town. they pour all their candles by hand and right now have about 21 scents and are always adding more. michael and cara have awesome taste. their little shop is lightfilled and full of goodies from local artisans; goodies like saltwater taffy, jewelry, linens, scarves, soaps, note cards and even vintage beachy antique furniture. i want to live in their shop! 


wedding favors

they often get orders of candles for wedding favors and i'm telling you this would be the perfect favor that your guests would actually LOVE! pick a scent that works with your wedding theme. you can order online or shop at a retailer in your area. 

other gift ideas

other ideas for these amazing candles: gifts for attendants, thank you gifts for parents, housewarming gifts for the wedding couple, "welcome to maine" gift bag items, a gift for yourself to remember maine, a gift for your wedding officiant (wink, wink!). either way, feel good about your purchases since they donate $.50 from every glass candle purchase to conservation efforts. what's not to love about this maine company (and they didn't pay me to say that!)?

all photos by a sweet start 


green wedding inspiration

i love the color green, and i especially love the color green when used in weddings! there is something very natural about the color green and it brings a grounded quality to any wedding, in my opinion. here are some ideas for incorporating green into your wedding decor, jewelry, bouquets, and even cakes! happy st. patrick's day! 

nautical maine wedding inspiration

i'm having a love affair with anchors and all things nautical at the moment. i don't know what it is but i'm totally into it. i figured i'd turn this obsession into something useful, so here it is. a nautical maine wedding inspiration blog post! enjoy! 

you can see more nautical awesomeness on my pinterest page. 

top 10 pinterest wedding peeps

recently i've seen a bunch of wedding bloggers putting out their top 10 pinners to follow on pinterest for wedding inspiration. well, i LOVE pinterest and am on it daily, so i thought i'd join in the fun.

i tried choosing some unique pinners because you probably already know about all the usual ones (martha stewart weddings, 100 layer cake, style me pretty, etc.). below is my list of people or organizations you could follow to get awesome wedding inspiration. have fun!


1. F R I P P E R I 


2. Kinfolk Magazine - "a guide for small gatherings"


3. sara {burnett's boards} 


4. {this is glamorous}


5. gus & ruby letterpress


6. every last detail


7. grey likes


8. reverie magazine


9. the white dress by the shore


10. a sweet start