Glory of LOVE

  Wind Beneath My Wings

“So it’s not going to be easy. It’s going to be really hard. And we’re going to have to work at this every day, but I want to do that because I want you. I want you, forever, you and me, every day.” – The Notebook

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My mom (aka the reason all of this exists- literally… she birthed me) will be officially married 30 years this Monday. HOLY COW. I don’t know which one of my parents I am more impressed with. I’m not sure who managed to “put up” with who in order for all of this to happen, but against all odds, it did. Like my dad posted on Facebook, “The devil’s been chasing us for 30 years now and still hasn’t caught up yet!”

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Classic 80’s ski wear.

Throughout my life, both of my parents have had their own business endeavors. My dad and grandfather owned a Collision Repair Center for over 25 years, and, my mom of course, started this whole crazy bridal business. No matter whose “turn” it has been, the other was always right there helping in anyway possible. (My dad can actually press a wedding gown better than our whole staff put together. The BEST part about this is watching my FURTHEST THING from girly father press a wedding gown, and no matter what he says, HE LOVES IT). The downfall to this is that if we ever find someone who give us a reality show, my dad would undoubtedly be the “Si” and hit of the show— sooooooo not fair.

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Ohh the early days…

In all seriousness, my parents have been the best role models for being entrepreneur’s and what for exemplifying what true love really looks like. This is not because everything was all lovey -dovey and perfect 24/7. It is because even when they drove each other crazy, when life threw some heavy unexpected hits or my brothers were a complete pain in the ass (NOT me, I was perfect), they held on. When the easiest option is out, they choose each other every time. They choose to fight through it and come out stronger than before.  Out of everything I have learned and taken from my parents- and they have taught me many things- this perfect example of what love should be is by far the BEST gift they ever gave me. I had them both together my entire childhood, side by side. They have been the wind beneath each other’s wings for 30 years… 30 YEARS! (My dad is totally going to give me hell for this “sentimental post” later, WHATEVUUURRRR).

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That one time my parents had matching braces, hehehe

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Tease it to Jesus

“The higher the hair, the closer to God.” – Every Southern Woman Ever

Well y’all my parents got married in the “Dallas” era — big hair, big dresses and even bigger personalities. As I have told y’all before, it wasn’t too long after this that my mom turned her sewing hobby into a career. In honor of their 30thanniversary and it being VALENTINE’S DAY, I decided to make an ’80s montage of my mom’s early work. It has literally taken me days to compose this blog, solely because I cannot stop laughing every time I pull the pictures out.

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 This, my friends is my mom with one of her first bridal alteration clients. She also looks like a boy. I really fail to understand how all of you 80’s kids went from Madonna…. to this?!?!

80’s Montage, Lets start with the dresses she custom made from SCRATCH!

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Blush and Bashful.

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Ursuline Graduation, Class of 1988

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On the left is one of our lifetime friends and practically my 3rd grandma, LaVerne. On the right is my mom rocking her own ensemble.

 

Hello, is it me you’re looking for?

“You’ve got to give a little, take a little, and let your poor heart break a little. That’s the story of, that’s the glory of love.” – “Glory of Love”, Bette Midler

(Y’all should know by now, that I seriously love, and I mean LOVE, Bette Midler)

Well y’all, I haven’t learned a lot in this short life of mine, but I have two valuable lessons for you. 1) The 80’s are NEVER. COMING. BACK. EVER. And 2) Love truly DOES conquer all. No one said this life was going to be easy but it’s easier when you’re doing it with your best friend. My favorite part about my job is getting to watch people find their soul mate every day. If you haven’t found yours, well he’s out their sister! And trust me… He’ll be worth it!

HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY!!! & Happy 30th Wedding Anniversary to my Parents!!!

 

Ps.  Special shout out to MY Best Friend and Love, Justin. (He is going to totally kill me for adding him to the blog. I maybe promised I wouldn’t—but hey it’s Valentine’s Day. I should get a free pass.) So Justin, I LOVE YOU!!…

 

Now if y’all could all do me a favor and convince him I. NEED. A. MINI TEACUP PIGGY. that would be totes awesome.

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Adios,

Niña Esclava

#ConfessionsofNiñaEsclava

 

Diving into Watters

Wannabe

‘Playing dress-up begins at the age of five and never truly ends.” –Kate Spade

So, as you all know, I am NOT a dress designer by any means, but that doesn’t mean I’ve never tried. I spent many a day constantly doodling in class, at home, and practically while I was sleeping— I’m not kidding. Every dress I ever wore to a high school function (i.e. Homecoming, Prom, Graduation, etc.), started out in my agenda (or on the nearest napkin). Now, while I really only ever drew gowns and clothing for personal use, that doesn’t mean I did any less doodling.

​By the time I reached my senior homecoming, my doodles were at an all-time high. I was spending the weekends working at Lulu’s Bridal Boutique, so I was constantly surrounded by inspiration. Silk dupioni was all the rage around this time frame (circa 2007). For homecoming, being that it’s a little more casual than prom, I found my inspiration coming from Bridesmaid gowns. Specifically, I still remember the silk dupioni bridesmaid gowns Watters had out that season. The bright colors, mixed with the raw silk and clean a palette were mesmerizing to my 17 year old self!

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Vintage Watters aka my 17 year old OBSESSION!… Wait am I old enough to have lived through vintage attire?!?!

 This inspiration overload left me feeling ready to doodle and design 24/7! I clearly remember the day my Physics teacher walked up to me and said, “You have to stop doodling! It’s not going to get you anywhere.” I went on to fail that class and have to repeat it (of course HATING every second of it). But jokes on you Physics teacher! I now spend my days using all of my doodle inspiration for my J.O.B. Not a day goes by that I think, ‘man if only I had paid more attention in physics…’

 Homecoming Sketch

My attempt at a sketch…. HEY I never said I was a professional. — I think this started out as a piece of paper for homework….

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My final piece. Homecoming 2007.

 

Who’s that Girl

“I don’t design clothes. I design dreams.” –Ralph Lauren

​So now onto the actual designer in this story, Vattana Watters. Watters started out over 29 years ago in her garage making bridesmaid dresses! Watters has since become an international, well-known, treasured bridal empire! And, like I stated before, she was the inspiration behind many of my doodles and dresses. Last week, I got the great pleasure of being able to tour the Watters headquarters! Basically, my 17 year old self screamed, freaked out, and almost had to be silenced via tranquilizers upon being asked to go on the tour. Vanessa Stone, one of the account managers for Watters, aka my DREAM MAKER, toured me around the entire office. I literally touched Vatanna’s door to her office… I’m hyperventilating again just thinking about it!! (But I was totally professional while I was there, I SWEAR!)

​So, newly engaged friends, who is Watters you ask?! I’ll sum it up by saying they’ve most likely designed or were the inspiration behind every single pin on your “Future Wedding” Board on Pinterest. Watters is currently epitomizing the Boho Chic, ‘I woke up like this’, effortlessly perfect look! (I am totally bipolar with my looks but I usually land on wearing something boho. Thank god my profession doesn’t require suits!). So again, when I tell you walking around, seeing their patterns in the making, and a showroom full of gowns that have yet to meet the runway, was my ultimate dream, I am NOT playing around with y’all! I unfortunately had to swear not to take any pictures of the new pieces, but I totally stalked them and trust me, you are going to die to have a Watters dress on your big day!!

Since I still can’t form full sentences after being star struck, I am going to sum it up with Vanessa’s words, “Watters is high quality fabrics. We love to use silks and simple clean palettes. We make it so that you can use the right accessories to make it your own look and at a friendly price point!” (Vanessa Stone, aka #GIRLBOSS & MY PERSONAL DREAM MAKER).

 

MORE SWATCHES

Millions of little hand cut swatches. Watters offers to send a client FREE swatches to brides for color checks. Vattana Watters’ MOM literally personally hand cuts each one of those FOR YOU! #AMAZING

Millions of Swatches

MOREEEEE SWATCHES, Because Watters LOVES YOU!

Order Prep

Orders waiting to be shipped out. I literally stalked EVERY inch of this place.

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Bolts of fabric waiting to be turned into GORGEOUS Gowns!

Sewing Room

Designs being made! Super top secret! I had to silence another panic attack while in this room.

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Oh just another day in the world of a Watters employee, hand making those beautiful gowns for YOU!

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A picture of naked forms since I can’t show y’all the new designs… but trust me the new stuff is THEBOMB.COM! I gave some direct feedback on some designs… because my opinion TOTALLY matters, DUH!

 

What Watters has to Offer YOU 

“Don’t’ be into trends. Don’t make fashion own you, but you decide what you are, what you want to express by the way you dress and the way to live.” –Gianni Versace

On top of the AMAZING Watters Bridal Collection, Watters and Watters Inc. also provides FIVE other lines of dresses for YOU! I thought I would save you the time and I’ve have broken down the five lines in easy to read detail!

 

WATTERS

The Crème de la Crème! This top of the line collection includes the best of the BEST in Bridal couture. The pictures below explain it ALL! (Sold here in Dallas at Stardust Celebrations, plus size samples also available at A Curvy Bride)

cinzia Gown Watters WWCinzia Gown, Watters Bridal Collection 

WTOO

This budget friendly but still totally killer line includes the works: Bridal Gowns, Curve Plus Bridal, Bridesmaids and Bridal Accessories! (Sold here in Dallas at Stardust Celebrations, plus size samples also available at A Curvy Bride.)

Francine Gown WTOO BHLDN

Francine Gown, WTOO Collection

LOVE MARLEY

The website has a better description than me… “Whether you’re dreaming about a beach wedding, garden ceremony, modern wedding or fabulous wedding reception in a barn, Love Marley is the perfect fit.” AKA you’re ENTIRE Pinterest board, equipped with actual style numbers. YOU’RE WELCOME! (Sold here in Dallas at Stardust Celebrations)

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Penelope Gown, Love Marley Collection

ENCORE

This line is my new fave! So basically you know how you think you only have to buy one dress?! Yeah you’re wrong. And I don’t know if any of you have tried, but buying a white cocktail dress in Winter is impossible! THIS IS YOUR SOLUTION! The modern bride now needs an entire bridal wardrobe equipped with outfits for Engagement Parties, Bridal Showers, Rehearsal Dinners, Honeymoon dresses and of course engagement photos! As my now BFF Vanessa explained to me, “It’s all about the bridal gown. You think you can just go shopping for a white dress but you really need to build a bridal wardrobe from the beginning.” (To my fellow procrastinators: BHLDN.com is now selling pieces of this line with as fast as 1-2 Business Day Shipping, and standard shipping is only 5-7 business days. Can I get an AMEN?!) (ALSO Sold here in Dallas for you to try on at Stardust Celebrations)

Encore WW GUAVA Dress

Guava Dress, Encore Collection

C20 

Please don’t be that person that doesn’t remember this is a big day for your MOM TOO! She deserves an amazing dress just as much as you and this is the line for HER! (Sold here in Dallas at Stardust Celebrations)

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Style 72257, C20 Collection

Seahorse Girls

This is the line for all the mini me’s! Cute dresses for the little girls in your party! I don’t know about you, but I just love tiny bride look a likes! (Sold here in Dallas at Stardust Celebrations)Seahorse OPAL WW

Opal Dress, Seahorse Collection 

Basically when it comes to getting the girls of the party dressed, Watters is BAE! 

 

Styled to YOU

“People will stare. Make it worth their while.” – Harry Winston

I am still super stoked that I was able to go behind the scenes to one of my favorite designers, and I am SO glad I am able to share it with y’all. My favorite thing about Watters is exactly what Vanessa told me, “You can accessorize every dress to be unique to the bride.” I have seen many brides wearing Watters collections and it is always fun to see how they are going to wear it. And a little secret: Anthropologie’s wedding store, BLHDN, now carries pieces of the Watters family. Aside from it being the collaboration of two of my most favorite places on Earth, I have really enjoyed seeing the different styling done by both companies. The two websites are pure proof of how Watters gowns can be completely transformed into the personality of the bride that wears it and how versatile the gowns are!

Ok, so to showcase the versatility of the gowns, I decided to showcase a few comparisons. The gowns below are the pictures from both Watters.com and BHLDN.com. Both companies have styled each gown differently. I enjoyed looking at the comparisons and I hope you do to!

 Priya Skirt (Kian Corset) Watters WW Priya Skirt BHLDN Watters- Maelin Corset WTOO

Left, Watters.com: Priya Skirt (Watters Collection), Kian Corset (Watters Collection)

Right, BHLDN.com: Priya Skirt (Watters Collection), Maelin Corset (WTOO)

 

Barletta Dress Encore WW Barletta Dress BHLDN Encore

Left, Watters.com: Barletta Dress (Encore Collection)

Right, BHLDN.com: Barletta Dress (Encore Collection)

(I’m kind of D-Y-I-N-G that this doesn’t come in colors *cough Xay cough* I would totally buy it out!!)

 

Messina Gown Encore WW Messina Gown BHLDN Encore

Left, Watters.com: Messina Gown (Encore Collection)

Right, BHLDN.com: Messina Gown (Encore Collection)

 

 AHSAN WWBHLDN Ahsan Skirt and Carina Corset Watters

Left, Watters.com: Ahsan Skirt & Carina Corset (Watters Bridal)

Right, BHLDN.com: Ahsan Skirt & Carina Corset (Watters Bridal)

 

Amelie Dress Love Marley WW Amelie Gown BHLDN Love Marley

Left, Watters.com: Amelie Dress (Love Marley)

Right, BHLDN.com: Amelie Dress (Love Marley)

 

As I have come to learn, Watters is a family full of highly talented individuals. These women are REAL people making gowns for REAL women. These women are the ones you should trust with the most important purchase of your life– YOUR WEDDING GOWN! Vattana and her team understand what WE want, and they understand we want to be able to individualize as well.

 

Vanessa and I

THE #GIRLBOSS Vanessa Stone herself! THANK YOU VANESSA STONE for making my DREAMS A REALITY!!

 

P.S. WATTER’S DID NOT SPONSOR THIS MESSAGE. Girl, please. Would you trust my big mouth with an AD?!?!

P.P.S.  However, I will TOTALLY accept an autograph picture of Ms.Vatana #GIRLBOSS Watters herself. (Definitely pushing my luck. I mean really, she’s probably not going to read this, but hey never say never!!).

P.P.P.S. I will also accept a COMPLETE wardrobe designed by Xay Vongphachanh aka the Designer behind many of these treasured Watters looks! I trust her with a wardrobe for many reasons but mainly because she willingly posted a double chin, “Ugly Snapshot to BFF,” on Facebook AND made it her profile picture. Now, I would officially would trust her with my life.

 

Now, I have officially made the most OBSURD request of all times. I have to STOP…

 

Maybe.

 

Or I could also ask for…

 

Adios,

 

Niña Esclava

#ConfessionsofNiñaEsclava

Something Borrowed

Strike a Pose

“The most cherished heirlooms are the sweet memories of our family that we pass down to our children” -Anonymous

When Ruth decided to marry that crazy kid with the permed hair (also known as Rodney), she resorted back to her old ways of repurposing other people’s clothes. Ok, fine— I guess she chose to be sentimental and wear her mother’s gown.

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My grandmother on her wedding day, September 1, 1955.    

ruth wedding Mom on her wedding day, February 16, 1985.

Many years later, my mom decided she wanted a way to preserve the wedding gown for me. Since I am my mother’s only daughter, she wanted a chance for me to get to wear the gown, even if it wasn’t for my wedding day.

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Go ahead Ohhh and Aww. I was cute, but this is still debatably a total American Horror Story future promo pic…

In all seriousness, my mom and I have always found great inspiration and beauty in vintage pieces. There is something about the history and beauty of a vintage garment that cannot be replicated (side note: My family heirloom is a gown from the 50’s, which is totally cool again — Thanks Mad Men. However, if your family arsenal is loaded with puffy sleeves and headbands, no worries! We can beautify even the most disastrous 80’s garments.)

Lifelong Friendship

“To enjoy the journey is to leap into people’s lives. To enjoy the journey is to give until the stretch is a sacrifice. The question always is: what is it in life that will pull you out of your seat to be brave, risk and serve?” -Janie Jasin

Kathleen and I have been friends since before everyone was chanting “hit me baby one more time”… yeah no need to calculate, it’s been a while. So when Kathleen called asking for help with her wedding gown, of course we were more than thrilled for the opportunity to help!

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Excuse the rough state of my face. We grew up in a generation that was not yet concerned about selfies. Kathleen is on the end, and I’m next to her.

It’s always fun when you get to that point in life when all of your friends start getting married. Altered for the Altar has given us the opportunity to take part in so many of our friends and neighbors big days! This time as we were playing dress up it wasn’t just for our school talent show or to “play” bride. This was real and it was way MORE EXCITING than our five year old selves ever dreamed it would be.

 

A Piece of History

“Being family means you are part of something very wonderful. It means you will love and be loved for the rest of your life. No matter what.”

When Kathleen came to us wanting to wear her moms wedding gown, we were ‘over the moon’ excited! This is the kind of project that really gets us pumped up. Kathleen was fortunate that her mom’s gown was from 1977, so it was not in need of a puffy sleeve overhaul — Thank God.

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This is Kathleen’s mom, Mrs. Mindy Busch, October 29,1977, on her wedding day!

 

Down the aisle

“Something Old, Something New, Something Borrowed and Something Blue and a penny in her shoe” — old tale

Now armed with a fabulous vintage piece and a story to lean on, we rolled up our sleeves and started planning. There were basic alterations that needed to be done, but we also wanted to make it Kathleen’s own – a perfect combination of old and new.

 

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Photo Credit: Diana Busch Photography     

http://dbsuchphoto.com

The bodice of Kathleen’s gown was completely remade. We gave her a little more skin to help modernize the gown while still maintaining the integrity of the original design. The results were breathtaking.

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A little something extra added to honor the two brides that adorned this gown.

We were lucky enough to be able to attend the wedding. And on that day, Kathleen was absolutely breathtaking. The warm February afternoon was a perfect stage for her (and her gown) to shine. The gown was completely unique and 100% original, which is the main goal for every client. We could not be happier for our beautiful bride, and I know it truly meant the world to Kathleen’s mom to see her daughter wear her dress on such a special day.

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Kathleen and her mom on the BIG DAY!

Vintage pieces are rare, but if you are lucky enough to have a garment preserved from a family member, I strongly encourage you to find place for it within your wedding. If you have something but have NO idea how it could ever work for you, don’t fret. Just pick up your phone and give us a call! There is nothing we LOVE more than a borrowed piece.

Adios,

Niña Esclava

Aka Rylee Calvert

#confessionsofNiñaEsclava

Confessions of Niña Esclava

What did I do?!

“Suck it up cupcake”. –my mother

When I came to work with my mom, I was basically straight out of college and I had also just been corporately brain washed. So showing up to a pen and paper schedule, post it “reminders” literally everywhere and an overall creative work space…. Left me speechless and pretty overwhelmed. So I did what everyone needs to do every once in a while, took a big step back to contemplate my choices: A.) I quit. The bum life wasn’t so bad, and I’ve been to frat parties with worse sanitation than dumpster food. B.) Xanax. I could totally state a case for high anxiety right now. But, I guess druggie was basically going to lead me to the bum life too. C.) Put my big girl panties on and fix it. – (Looking back maybe option A and B weren’t that bad?! Kidding)

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Y’all thought I was kidding?! My mom gave me these on my 22nd Birthday…

 

Twerk & WERK

“I’ve always believed that if you put in the twerk, the results will come”. – Michael Jordan (ok, maybe I edited a tad)

After arriving on my first day, I decided to put my overactive and organizationally obnoxious type A personality to use. So after charting everything, assigning everything an excel spreadsheet, and making more to-do list than the entire country on New Year’s Day, I had a start.  I was making head way. I could find everything I needed and I was becoming more efficient every day—and then I hit a wall. As it turns out, my mom didn’t even know how to turn on the computer… *face palm*

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I’ve been bossing since diapers. 1995.

For weeks I spent at least half of my day explaining the “modern world” and what things like twerking are to my mom (for this there was a visual aid…with a client. I don’t want to talk about it.) You can see why the internet and this blog all seem very uncertain to her… thanks Miley!

So basically, mom has come to the conclusion that computers are the devil and clearly as her daughter I am in- tune enough with her to read her mind and do it all for her – cool. I’m definitely up for the challenge, but brief note: if ever you thought working for your parents would be AWESOME?!?! You. Are. Wrong. Go back to GO and do not collect $200.

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                                 My first creative meeting with my staff. It was casual Friday. 1992.

 

We Altar your Dress NOT your body, and other comments that are going to get me fired (aka- the title of my future best selling book)

“Always be yourself, express yourself, have faith in yourself, do not go out and look for a successful personality and duplicate it.” -Bruce Lee

I have said “that’s not my job,” so many times that my mom forced me into making it my New Year’s resolution to stop saying it. But seriously how does taking my little brother to IKEA to buy dorm essentials translate into our business needs?! This, my friends, is why my employees lovingly call me “Niña Esclava.” The Spanish translation is ‘child slave’, and sister friend, until you have balanced your mom’s business financials while simultaneously booking her dentist appointment, AND listen to your sibling make dinner demands—YOU HAVE NO IDEA!

doll

 What?! You and your doll didn’t prance around in matching outfits 24/7?!

So what’s the hardest part of my job? … Keeping control of my thoughts. You know when you get home from work and it’s been a really tough day and all you want to do is vent about how your boss has been a bit…? I can’t finish that sentence on this blog any more than I can at home, living with my boss.

So here I am, with a podium and a sailor’s mouth. Not sure who let me off the leash but I’m about to let the Bit… Dogs out.

Adios,

Niña Esclava

Aka Rylee Calvert

#confessionsofNiñaEsclava