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My Wedding

In Fashion, My Journal on
March 15, 2016

How I Saved Almost $1,000 on my Wedding Dress

The dress of my dreams ended up being from the Goodwill!

Recently I wrote a comprehensive post on how to get married for under $10,000 (exclusively on VisiHow) and afterward fell totally back into the moment of my wedding day and all that it meant to me, prompting me to go back through my wedding related blog posts. To my horror, I realized I had not written a post about my wedding dress! My thoughts on what my wedding dress would be a few years ago versus the process I went through to actually chose my dress were completely different, so I knew I needed to share with you how I ended up with the dress of my dreams and saved $1,000 jut by being flexible.

Several years ago, I shared my first wedding vlog where I talked about how my dream dress was the Snow White Alfred Angelo Disney collaboration, for $1,199. Considering my wedding Budget was $10,000 – that’s a huge chunk of the budget!

My original dream dress versus my used wedding dress:

Is it okay to buy a used wedding dress?

Looking at the two dresses now, I’m startled by how similar they look as I didn’t intentionally go out looking for the same style. Honestly, if my budget had been bigger I may have never considered shopping around, but boy am I glad that I did.

It all started around February 2014, when I had found a wedding package with Grand Salon Reception Hall. As I was doing the numbers and seeing what was left in the budget, I thought to myself “Would I be heartbroken if I didn’t get the Snow White wedding dress?” and to my surprise, I wasn’t. I always thought it would have to be THAT dress after seeing it online that first time many years ago, but my heart was more open minded to other options that I had anticipated.

So I started looking around Etsy and adding some lower cost items to my Pinterest board, keeping my mind open, and then one day my Mom and sister called me in a rush telling me that they had found the perfect wedding dress for me at the Goodwill for only $60. Technically, it was $100 but my Mom was able to get the price to $60 because she’s just clever at things like that.

If you’ve never been to the Goodwill, it’s a store where they sell gently used items at a steep discount. Every item they sell is a product they received from a tax-deductible donation.

I wasn’t able to tell much from the photo she texted me but they were so enthusiastic about it that I said to go ahead and make the purchase, taking a risk on the potential of such a steep deal (wedding dresses are non-returnable at the Goodwill).

When I came back from my vacation and saw my Mom again, she passed off the dress and I tried it on. To my surprise, it was almost a perfect fit.

Trying on my dress for the first time in my sister-in-law’s bedroom:

Used Wedding Dresses

We only needed to bring up the length in the front, trim a bit around the bust, and add some buttons in the back to pick up the dress for dancing.

And boy was it fun to dance in!

The alterations ended up costing about $200, bringing my total cost of $260. That means I spent 80% less than I originally planned, an almost $1,000 difference from my original dress.

As I was prepping this post, I searched my dress for a tag and found one printed into the dress. The website is no longer live, but the brand is NY Atelier Vestidos de Novia (Bridal R Us). I’m sorry I can’t give any more information than that, all I can say is that I’m really glad the previous owner donated their dress. It really made me feel beautiful on my special day.

So, I hope that this post helped show you all what other options are available. Your dress dress may very well be in a thrift store!

Do you have any ideas about your wedding day that you feel are more flexible than you originally thought?

More posts about my wedding will be coming soon, even though it’s two years later! I want to make sure I fill in those content gaps and let you all know even more about my special day.

In My Journal on
March 12, 2015

11.16.14 – Our Final Wedding Video

Hi Kind Friends! Today I am ecstatic to share with you our final wedding video. It serves as a summary of our special day.


Chris and I are so happy to have such wonderful family members and friends. That beautiful day in November was so much fun and full of love, I couldn’t have imagined it going any better.

Thank you to everyone that made it happen.

-Video details-

Video edited by: Rebecca Kelsey Sampson
Video footage: Lopez Photo Studio and Video
Location: Grand Salon Reception Hall in Killian Palms Country Club, Miami, FL
Wed by: Frank Nunez
Music: Water Lily from YouTube Audio Library and Moose by

-More Wedding Posts-

Our Coed Bridal Shower
My Bachelorette Party
DIY Bachelorette Crown
Our Engagement Photo Previews
Bridal Makeup Longevity Test
The Rehearsal Dinner
Our Wedding Day

-Our Honeymoon-

Day 1: Exploring Epcot and Chris Singing Opera
Day 2: Our Most Romantic Night
Day 3: Frozen Sing-A-Long (I’m Crazy)
Day 4: Hotel Room Tours and Mini Golf
Day 5: Exploring Diagon Alley
Day 6 & 7: Going Home

What was the most important moment from your wedding day? I’d say my favorite part was our first kiss as husband and wife.

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In My Journal on
February 10, 2015

His Bachelor Party Was Turned into a Movie?!

Unique Bachelor Parties

Hi Kind Friends!

I was sad to see that Honeymoon Tuesday was over and I had no more honeymoon related posts… so I decided for the next few Tuesdays I’m going to share more relationship type posts or things involving Chris and I’s life in general. Today in particular I have details on a fun project that Chris put together.

Chris loves to write scripts and make movies with his friends and family, it’s something he has been doing since middle school. So when he and his friends planned his bachelor party weekend trip he decided to take it to another level – by filming the whole thing.

The idea was that he would film their weekend in Orlando and then splice together some scripted scenes to turn the weekend into a story. It was a really fun creative project and I loved seeing it come alive.

A little content warning, there is some foul language in this movie. Also, I’m not a good actor.

So without further ado, here is Bachelor Party by Chris Cortes.

Keep up with Chris and his videos by subscribing on YouTube and following on Twitter.

Would you ever immortalize a trip like this? Do you vlog in general? 

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In Beauty on
February 6, 2015

My Wedding Makeup Rundown and Tutorial

Easy wedding makeup tutorial from Rebecca Kelsey

Hi Kind Friends!

Today is a special day, I finally have for you the rundown of the makeup I wore for my wedding. I’m a simple DIY girl so I did my makeup myself, buying only a few products to compliment the makeup I already owned.

Here is a video tutorial of all the products used, explained in detail. The coloring in the video is a little off so I also provided photos to show you the finished look. This is also the makeup I have in all of my default photos, just in case you wondered.

I hope you enjoy.

All the makeup shown in this video:

For detailed application instructions, watch the video above.

Do you have a particular makeup product that you wear on special occasions? Share it with me!

PS Am I the only person that thinks life needs more special occasions?

In My Journal on
February 3, 2015

Honeymoon Day 6 and 7: The Last of Honeymoon Tuesday

How to have an amazing honeymoon in The Wizarding world of harry Potter.

Hi Kind Friends! Today I have the last post in my Honeymoon Tuesday series. It has been a blast sharing with you our memories and I just know I’m going to love looking back on these posts when I’m older.

If you’ve missed anything: Day 1 | Day 2 | Day 3 | Day 4 | Day 5

On Day 6 Chris and I went back to Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure. Even though we spent all of Day 5 in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, we went back. Isn’t my new 9 3/4 shirt cute?! I am in love with it.

In the first part of the vlog we talk about a mishap we had with the Gringotts roller coaster the previous day, boy was it annoying! Then we share some theme park footage and it sadly ends with us going home.


I made sure to have both hot and cold Butterbeer one more time. Gosh it was sooo good. I miss Butterbeer very much.

Some last pictures from out hotel, the Loew’s Portofino Bay:

Photos of the Loews Portofino Bay Hotel

Loews Portofino Bay Hotel

On our last night we went to the Antojitos restaurant. The food tasted good, the atmosphere was fun, but the actual service was too slow for me to consider going there again.

Overall, this was a really fun trip. I don’t think we’ll ever have an occasion again where we’ll want to go to all of the Orlando parks in a week while staying at such nice hotels (it was an expensive time!) so I’m happy to have these posts to remember them by. My memory can be pretty hazy if I don’t journal everything, ha.

What has been your favorite trip so far? As much as I loved this trip I’m not sure if I would choose this one over the first trip Chris and I ever took together. Our first solo vacation was such a treat.

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In My Journal on
January 27, 2015

Honeymoon Day 5 – Exploring the New Diagon Alley Section of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter

Orlando, Fl Honeymoon

Hi Kind Friends! Today I am happy to present to you week 5 of Honeymoon Tuesday. There is only one post to go! What has been your favorite part of the trip so far? I’d say watching the fireworks on day 2.

Previous honeymoon posts: Day 1 | 2 | 3 | 4

On day 5 we explored the new sections in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Harry Potter feels like such a huge part of my life, you have no idea. This section of Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure honestly makes me feel like magic could be real, they mimicked the movies so well. The only bummer when exploring the Harry Potter section was the prices on the souvenirs. There were so many clothing items I wanted to get (the Weasley knitted sweater in particular) but most items cost $30-$80. I did end up getting one shirt, which I’ll show you in the part 6 vlog since I wore it then. The rest of my purchases were candy and gifts for family.

Hogwarts Train in real

The Hogwarts train was a really fun experience, especially since it could move you in between Hogsmeade and Diagon Alley. Going to and from the different parks you get a different train show, by the way. Most people don’t realize that and only ride the train one-way.

Fake dragon at Gringotts

Personally, I prefer Diagon Alley (the newer one) over Hogsmeade. Diagon Alley has a much wider space so you aren’t always bumping into people and the main ride (Gringotts Bank roller coaster) was actually more enjoyable than The Forbidden Journey in Hogsmeade (more fun and very well themed). The Gringotts bank ride entrance also haa a dragon on top of it, like in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. The dragon looked so startlingly real. It is also supposed to breathe fire but we never saw it do so.

Hot Butterbeer versus frozen

There is also a new addition to the Butterbeer line (not actually alcoholic), called hot Butterbeer. It tastes like the best Starbucks drink you could ever imagine with a very thick and creamy consistency. I honestly can’t even describe it. I prefer it over both the frozen (which used to be my favorite) and cold Butterbeer (my least favorite). I highly recommend you try all varieties because the taste dramatically changes between all three. Dieters beware, they all are loaded with sugar. I can’t wait to get my hands on one again.

Overall, this may be my second favorite day of the trip. It was so magical.

What is your favorite part about the Harry Potter universe? I particularly like the magical creatures.

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In My Journal on
January 20, 2015

Honeymoon Day 4 – Hotel Room Tours and Mini Golf!

What does the inside of the Loews Portofino Bay Hotel look like?

Hi Kind Friends! Today is Honeymoon Tuesday! It looks like we’ll have two posts left after this one so stay tuned for the conclusion soon.

If you missed any of the posts: Day 1 | Day 2 | Day 3

This weeks video follows Chris and I as we move from Disney’s Contemporary Resort to the Loews Portofino Bay Hotel. I took the time to give you a mini video tour of both of our hotel rooms because they were both so wonderful. I’d say my favorite of the two is the Loews Portofino Bay Hotel.

Vacation video:

Then once we settled into the hotel we went to City Walk and had a blast at a cute mini golf place. You could choose between two sections, the spooky area or the sci-fi alien area. Both equally adorable but we went with spooky. I’d love to try something like it again soon. Bowling too, I’d really like to go bowling.

Adorable mini golf in City Walk.

Isn’t it cute?

PS This is the view from our hotel. Wow.

Loews Portofino Bay hotel room tour

After mini golf we explored the hotel a bit and then went back to City Walk (it was easy to go back and forth since the hotel is about a 20 minute walk or a boat ride away) to watch the Mokingjay Part 1. It was so good, though a little slow. I talk about my thoughts on the movie in next week’s vlog.

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay drinks

This was the drink that I ordered at AMC. Aren’t alcoholic movie theater’s the best? I love having themed drinks to movies.

What is the best hotel you have ever stayed in?

I’d definitely say for me it was the Portofino. I wish I could afford to go again, it’s too pricey for me to go if it isn’t an extremely important occasion.

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