One of the biggest compliments a woman can ever receive is being asked to be someone’s maid of honor. It means that you are the one they trust to make sure their wedding day is the happiest day of their lives. It means that (minus the groom of course!) you are the one they want standing beside them during all of the festivities. It also may mean that you will need to roll up your sleeves and help out your best friend for the next few months. I recently had the pleasure of being my sister’s maid of honor and a couple months later she was mine. Here are some of the things we feel makes a “MOH” truly exceptional.
Weddings don’t magically come together. It takes a lot of time, money and DIY projects to get everything how the bride envisions it. As a maid of honor you should be the one offering to help to get things done. Trust me, helping out with the 500 paper cranes needed for wedding favors will take a load off of a busy bride and make her feel like she doesn’t have to do everything alone.
Bridesmaids dresses can be good, bad or just plain ugly. I have never met a bridesmaid who absolutely loved her dress. I have heard numerous stories about people throwing fits because they hated the color or fit. It’s fine to voice your opinion but it’s really not up to anyone besides the bride and groom what the bridal party wears. As maid of honor its your job to encourage an accepting attitude among the rest of the wedding party. When it’s your turn you can make everyone wear lime green taffeta. It’s only right.
Bachelorette parties don’t have to equate to a Vegas trips. You are the one who knows the bride the best so you should know how this party should be thrown. If the bride is more conservative, a stripper and jello shots probably won’t be her idea of fun. It’s up to you to plan a night that’s all about her and get everyone involved. Ask for a list of her friends and their contact info and plan something special!
In a perfect wedding the bride should never know if something is going wrong. This means no vendor should talk to the bride or groom on their wedding day. If questions need to be asked or checks handed out it’s up to you to take care of it. Make sure all the vendors have your phone number so they can call you with any problems. It’s also helpful for a MOH to call these people a week before the wedding to confirm all plans. It may be a lot of work but your best friend/blushing bride will thank you.
A bride looks forward to hearing the toasts at her wedding. It’s a time for her to hear the people she loves wish her well as she starts her new life and family. Please don’t get on the mic and bring up embarrassing stories. Make it something for her to remember. Something that shows thought and adds personal touches is a given tearjerker. She will always remember what you said and how you made her feel, make sure you put in the effort!
You can’t ever say enough about busy entrepreneurs. They juggle their professional and personal lives and (if they are any good at it) become successful. Usually it’s thoughts of self-sufficiency and dollar signs that get these go-getters through the hectic days and sleepless nights. But for Made Woman Liz Norris, there are other things that keep her going.
Liz makes her living as an esthetician. She owns her own salon in Burbank, California and spends her days doing facials and beauty treatments for women from all around LA. She specializes in everything from waxes to lash tinting and prides herself on not only running a professional business but also treating her customers as friends. Liz got into the beauty business because she wanted to help other women feel good about themselves. “I grew up with acne, and I thought if I could fix my own skin, I could help other people fix theirs.”
Liz got her start working for others, first in a medical spa and then in various salons. It took some persuasion from a friend and a leap of faith to decide that she would be better off working for herself, and in 2004 Vanity Private Studio was born: “I wanted the freedom to dress how I wanted and make my own schedule…it was the best thing for me.” Today Liz’s venture is a success, and was even voted one of the Best Bikini Waxes in Los Angeles by LA.com. Her client list of over 1200 people continues to grow each week..and it includes yours truly. I trust my eyebrows to nobody other than her! (I have been going to her for 9 years!)
You would think it would be enough to start a successful business and achieve your dream. But after she found success in the beauty industry, Liz found her true passion in caring for animals. When Liz isn’t working in her salon, she is home in Santa Clarita on her 45-acre ranch where she has rescued over 70 animals! 6 horses, 2 donkeys, 4 dogs, 2 cats, 2 rabbits, over 40 chickens, 11 ducks, multiple turtles, a tortoise...the list goes on.
Liz’s selflessness and love for animals is unlike anything I’ve seen before. When I asked her why she felt the need to help so many she said, “[Animals] are helpless. Most people can get jobs and find ways to support themselves. They are at our mercy; they have no control over their life at all... I want to do anything I can to help them.” And help them she does. Most of her time and money goes into supporting and caring for these animals.
While she has no formal training, Liz says she is becoming “quite the vet” after taking care of so many animals on her own. Her duties can range from nursing a rooster with a respiratory infection to hatching chickens, to dealing with injuries and administering medication. When she doesn’t know what to do she finds her answers through research and Google. “Thank God for the internet,” she says.
Not long ago, Liz faced a serious injury from a horseback riding accident that left her in a wheelchair. You’d think that would have slowed her efforts down, but it didn’t. She would wheel herself around picking up bails of hay, balancing them on her lap in order to feed her horses. Every morning she would take her walker to the chicken coup to make sure the birds had food when she could hardly get around herself: “I thought of it as forced physical therapy,” she says.
Now fully recovered, Liz’s normal workday starts at 7am and doesn’t end until 1am. She has a 50-minute drive to and from her salon and before she can leave she has to make sure all of her animals are fed and cared for every day. As I mentioned before, I have been going to Liz for 9 years and I haven’t once heard her complain about it being too much. She truly loves what she does and it’s inspirational to see how one person can take care of so many things and still wake up ready to do it again the next day!
So what’s this Made Woman’s five year plan? She says she would love to have a place where people can come on the weekends, bring their kids and spend time with the animals. She still wants to run her salon, of course, because she likes the balance of being able to make people feel good about themselves and then coming home to her peaceful ranch and her animals. For Liz, finding success meant becoming her own boss but her true mission in life is to help animals in need.
A couple of years ago I really started focusing on what I put into my body. I read numerous books on healthy/clean eating and I researched various diets, including raw food diets and vegetarian/vegan diets. Through my research I found a few “superfoods” that every diet seemed to be in consensus about. Superfoods are foods that are so beneficial for you that you should be eating some of them every day. Keep these items on your radar:
Berries- Not only are berries naturally sweet and delicious, but they also pack a lot of antioxidants and phytonutrients, with very few calories. They are full of fiber and have a high water content, which fills you up quickly and aids with digestion. Add a handful of berries to your morning cereal or oatmeal. Just make sure to always buy organic due to the high pesticide content and their thin skin.
Quinoa- Quinoa was once hard to find but is now is readily available in almost all supermarkets. It’s high in protein and fiber and is also a good source of iron. It’s one of the best whole grains you can eat and it is easy to incorporate into your diet. Try substituting quinoa for the rice in a stir-fry.
Kale- Kale is a leafy green full of vitamins A, C and K. K is especially important for reducing the risk of developing cancer, and is a necessity for healthy bones and blood clotting. Try using steamed kale in place of spinach or adding some raw pieces to your next salad.
Beans- Beans are one of the best ways to incorporate fiber into your diet. They are a low fat way to fill you up and help rid your body of waste, which is imperative to a healthy digestive system. Beans are also a good source of protein, which means that they can be substituted for meat in a meal. Try a veggie and black bean burrito or make garbanzo bean hummus to use as a sandwich spread.
Salmon- Salmon has a high omega -3 fatty acid content, which is important for the health of your heart. It has a lot of protein, is a good source of iron and is low in saturated fat. Always choose wild over farm raised salmon, and don’t eat it more than twice a week due to its mercury content. Hit the superfood trifecta by pairing salmon with quinoa and steamed kale!
Avocados- Avocados are full of cholesterol lowering healthy, and they’re high in lutein, which aids in healthy vision. They have also been shown to lower the risk of stroke and cardiovascular diseases. Another bonus: Avocados are one of the cleanest vegetables when it comes to pesticides. Want to go a nontraditional route with avocado? Puree it and make it into a homemade chocolate mousse for dessert!
Sweet Potato- Sweet potatoes are a very inexpensive super food to add to your diet. They are high in Vitamins B6, C and D and are also a good source of magnesium. Magnesium is necessary for healthy blood, heart and nerve function, as well as healthy arteries. Try making baked sweet potato French fries!
Carrots- Carrots are one of my favorite super foods because they are packed with vitamins (B1, B2, B6 and K) and serve as a good source of fiber, potassium and thiamine. AND they are low in calories! Carrots have also been shown to have strong cleansing properties that detoxify the liver and help with acne. That not enough to convince you? How about this?: The beta-carotene in carrots function as an antioxidant and slow down the negative effects of aging. Run 4 or 5 carrots through a juicer for a refreshing drink.
Nuts- Nuts have a bad reputation because they’re high in calories and fat, but they’re extremely beneficial when eaten in small amounts. Nuts are a great source of antioxidants, fiber, omega-3 fatty acids and L-arginine, which may help improve the health of artery walls. The best way to eat nuts is in the shells. You’ll eat less because you have to work harder to get them!
Incorporate these foods into your diet and your body will surely thank you. If you have recipe ideas featuring any of these ingredients, share them with us!