Linkedin – My Long Lost 326

“It was nice to meet you. Are we connected on Linkedin?” I bet you have said or heard that line before.

LinkedIn is a business-oriented Social networking service. Founded in December 2002 and launched on May 5, 2003, it is mainly used for professional networking. As of June 2013, LinkedIn reports more than 259 million acquired users in more than 200 countries and territories.

I find myself checking this social network on the mobile platform while riding the bus rather than logging-in on the desktop website. This week commuting to work, I went through my Twitter, Business Insider, Vine and Linkedin routine when I stopped in my tracks.

Checking the home feed, new messages and request, I noticed the +326>

326inboxonmobile_review


I scanned the invitations to see friends, current co-workers, past co-workers, 1-time meeters, a few never-met-head-hunters and people that I respect in the industry sitting in this pool of 326. Did I miss something? Was I really ignoring their invitations?

I opened a current co-worker to find the invitation date of Fri, February 14, 2014. (By the way thanks for thinking of me Rachel on Valentine’s Day).

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I quickly texted Rachel to ask if she had really requested my connections on Linkedin, and she didn’t remember but was pretty sure she did some time.

What did these people think when I didn’t accept their invite within a few days? Was it something that they could have taken personal? Are they still waiting to this day for my acceptance?

Thinking through all the possibilities of why this would happen, I waited until I arrived to my MacBook Air at home to see if the desktop version was truly showing the same thing or if it was a mobile app mishap.

Linkedindesktop2 LinkedinDesktop3

It was true! My desktop version had 326 messages waiting for me to check-mark and accept.

I sent a Tweet to @Linkedin and see if they just did an update. Why would this just show up now? My mailbox would have surely alerted me if I was missing messages.

Tweet to @linkedin

No feedback from @Linkedin.

I decided to look a bit closer at the UX and invitation structure of Linkedin. If you’re a mobile user, when a new connection request comes in to your mailbox it will not appear new again in the desktop version.  If the user clicks to review them quickly on the mobile version but doesn’t take the time to accept they will NOT appear on your desktop version later when return to the home screen. This leaves it up to the busy user to remember to go back into the invitations within messages and see them. In the past there never was any inbox alert unless it was active or a direct message that wasn’t clicked and viewed on.

If there is no action done to the invitation they’re put in a blocked category by default.

Clicking into the mailbox then invitations tab, it shows 326 blocked invites. Wait a minute– when did I ever “block” these people?

yellow_blocked

When I think of blocking, I think of Facebook. When a person usually blocks an ex, an ex’s ex, a random creeper, a current boss or future boss, possibly a mother-in-law…

I’m surprised that Linkedin mark the unattended invites as blocked as default, maybe this will be changed in the near future. Let’s just hope my 326 don’t think that I truly blocked them.

blockmeonlinkedin

LinkedinDesktop4

My Public Viewing Linkedin Profile

I decided to take the night off and not think too much more about my neglected 326 invites. How did this affect my career?

The next day I launched my Linkedin App on my bus and noticed the Linkedin intro screen with the random lady walking the pavement on a busy undefinable street.

whosthislady on Linked

Who is the Linkedin splash screen gal?

Is that a blurred Coach purse she is wearing?

I’m liking the demin jacket with the black pants. Wonder where I can buy that jacket?

Is the ponytail too casual for Linkedin?

Isn’t this suppose to be the professional network featuring people like this?

businesspeople businesspeoplerandomsearch

I decided to  take a look at a few alternative shots that Linkedin could update their app splash screen with.

walking gal with bag, coffee and late

The attractive fashionable woman walking the suburbs streets with a briefcase, coffee, painted red fingernails (I have never ever worn red nail polish like that to work) while making sure she is right on time for that important meeting.

istock_onthestreets

The streets are always crowded and you have to watch your back in business. He is your boy next door, always late but has the best ideas co-worker wearing purple and a skinny tie. She is known as the multitasker and problem-solver, while she used to model and someday hopes to be the first advertising executive on the cover of PlayBoy.


live is hard from shutter stock

Life’s city streets are just too busy for the special Linkedin user, you are above the rest. Wearing 3-inch heels and holding a true leather portfolio you can balance it all and be above all the rest with your success.

 

on the phone always connecting shutter stock

She is focused always connected even after leaving the office. How does she do it all?

 

Did Linkedin make the right choice with their current image? Did she get any paid for modeling or was this just a random New York City day and she clearly isn’t identifiable.

All silly-ness aside, Linkedin is always updating and I’m glad that they have stuck around and are always improving their UX, integration with other products and are one of the leading social networks.

Now, I will work the rest of weekend weeding through my 326.

Always thinking for the better of your brand,
MN Design Gal 

Photo by 507 Studio and Trina Severson

Photo by Trina with 507 Studio

 

Minnesota Made

Recently I was asked to write down two things that people may not know about myself.

My response was “A Packer Fan” and “Lived in 20+ homes over the last few decades”.

I am a Minnesota born gal. My dad was in marketing and sales for almost 20 years so the family moved around quite a bit growing-up. We moved over the border to Wisconsin and a few cities between Green Bay just in time for the Packers to be at the Superbowl 2 years in a row. The family then came back to Minnesota just in time for me to start 7th grade and I ended-up graduating High School successfully from the same town and with no awkward teenager moves to ruin those valuable years.

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[Info according to 2008 Pew Research Social and Demographic Trends]


37percent_infographicMost stayers say at least half a dozen members of their extended families live within a hour’s drive.

40% said that more than 10 relatives live nearby. A majority of the stayers also cite a feeling of belonging as a major reason for staying put.

I had to sit back and think of those friends and advertising socialites that packed-up and moved away from the Minnesota winters over the past year or two.

 

ad2national

Another long-time advertising friend and fellow Advertising Federation board member Forest aka @ColossalRaptor makes the list of digital guys that headed out West. Can you find him above? (hint: he’s not smiling to the top right). Forest moved from the Midwest to sunny San Diego. He requested a transfer from the Minneapolis location of Digitaria last year to help grow and collaborate with their Cali digital strategy team. He hasn’t been out there too long to shake the town up too much but I wouldn’t put it past him to do some amazing digital things out there. Smart move Forest- it’s been one of the longest and coldest Winter ever in Minnesota.

forestcrop

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Photo taken by Jamie – Steve and I at the garden wedding

I met Jamie aka @jutzinger years ago through the Student Advertising Summit and later found out I was going to a wedding in her family’s backyard (pictured above a photo she took at the wedding in her parent’s beautiful backyard). Jamie is #MNmade and after being at a top local agency she felt herself ready for a new city and a new challenge. She took it upon herself to reach out to a past supervisor who completely supported her idea on getting to San Fran and she immediately landed a planner job (and promotion) at Butler, Shine, Stern & Partners. Nicely done. See you soon Jamie!

flowergardenpush

 

phongwithhisbrand

If you have ever met Phong aka @phonghtran, you will never ever forget Phong. We met at an AIGA event back in 2008ish, then we kept crossing paths through other organizations and agency events. Phong is super-bad-ass talented in design, development and even photography and he pushed himself out of Minneapolis because he knew there was more out there for him (plus he was really freaking cold). He went out to California then down to Texas where he works now at IBM. Now that is smart thinking.

Do you know more #MNmade advertising and marketers that have broke the mold of being born and raised Minnesotans that have inspired you? Send them my way and I’ll do a follow-up post with additional friends that are doing cool things in different cities.

Stay inspired.
Take chances and remember… you can ALWAYS move back.

your MN Design Gal

SideBar_smile_flipped
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The Power of a Poorly Designed Website

I’m sure you have seen the MN Sure healthcare commercials that is encouraging people like you and me, to sign-up before March 31 to enroll in healthcare savings.

A reliable source had this on his large list to do since the first of the year. I share his experience.

As the solo owner and operator of his business, my dad, Keith knew it would make sense to sign-up at MNsure.org especially after owning his own business for over 15 years and not being able to find affordable insurance. My mother works nearly full-time at a locally owned store and isn’t offered benefits. My parents pay almost as much as I pay for rent on my townhome in the Twin Cities for their monthly health insurance. Seriously.

Keith logged-on to MNsure.org several times over the last month and read about the process before just jumping into the registration process.

He started at 8 AM yesterday and moved his business route back just an hour to get this done and off his list.

The website says it will take 15-20 minutes to finish.

The first problem he encountered was the M002 online service message.error message mn sure

After many tries and exiting out and restarting his 2-year-old PC computer he called the 1-800 number. The first question he got from the operator was what browser are you on?

He was on Internet Explorer 11. As many developers know IE11 is a standard practice,  The IE11 changes help, in part, prevent poorly written user-agent detection mechanisms from (incorrectly) identifying Internet Explorer as an earlier version. As a result, sites that rely on modern standards display as intended.

The MNsure.org operator told my dad that the website was compatible on Firefox or Chrome. He was told to google it then download one of them and that should be the fix or at least help the process.

So Keith downloaded the Chrome browser.

He got to start the form! A few pages in he was looking for the NEXT button for several minutes. Because the size of the website and the right aligned button was pushed so far to the right of the screen with no horizontal screen bar, it wasn’t visible. He’s on a standard 20 inch screen, with a 2-year old PC– there is no need for that problem. Luckily I was near by and I showed him the quick trick of zooming the page itself out to make it smaller to see the NEXT.  ON a PC (Control + Shift – ).
This trick luckily eliminated a call to the 1-800 that is open just 8 AM to 4:15 PM. Who doesn’t work Monday to Friday those hours? When would you talk to customer service?

I took a look at the form myself and the form size was OK on MAC Safari, but I was surprised on how poor the form’s UX was. The alignment of the form fields and titles are horrible. So are you asking me for my middle name or last name on the first line? Simple spacing change could help this.form on mn sure

After getting through most of the website, Keith saw the SAVE button and thought it was a great idea to SAVE just in case another error or something timed him out. He hit SAVE & EXIT and was moved out of the entire process back to the homepage. Shortly after hitting the button he realized he should be fine, he will just log-in again and go back to his drafts or find a resume. He has a log-in and password where his sign-in info should be. That is why they make you sign-up right?

Keith logged in to his MNSure.org account to find there are NO DRAFTS, RESUME or SAVED areas on the site to find anywhere.

So he called the 1-800 number. It is now 11 AM.

The operator said that Keith qualified for a specific NAVIGATOR because it sounds like he is having some troubles online. Keith was given a phone number to call his NAVIGATOR who will schedule a time to call you back and talk him through his site problem.

thepromotedeasyprocess

When Keith called his NAVIGATOR he/she quickly said they were booked up to March 31 and had no openings.

Keith quickly asked the NAVIGATOR if he could just explain his simple problem of finding his RESUME or SAVED DRAFTS. The NAVIGATOR seemed knowledgable and was nice but they had never heard of where this info was saved.

She advised him to start over.

This 20 minute process turned in over 4 hours and Keith had to get to his customers and start his work day.

MNSure.org would have to wait again.

Not only did I feel the pain of this process but there is no excuse for this to happen to anyone.

A website should:
– Always be programmed for a 15-year-old up to a 75-year-old to operate
– Be tested on all standard browsers (like IE) and eliminate issues with up to date browsers
– NEVER have a SAVE button if there is no way to access the information again
– Have experts, like NAVIGATORS, but please don’t send someone to them if they are fully booked up
– NEVER change the shape of a logo

GOOD LOGOScreen Shot 2014-03-21 at 3.33.44 PM

BAD LOGOScreen Shot 2014-03-21 at 3.33.28 PM

I did offer to finish or restart the form for Dad.

Thanks MNsure.org for making this hard for an educated and busy business owner to apply for your assistance. I know he’s not the only one.

Was this done on purpose? Let’s just hope not.

Remember it’s not always your computer– it could be the website.

Always curious,
Tricia jo

Tricia_BW_thinking_2

Severson to a leanger

As the bride, when the wedding is over, there are many things that still need to be done–like changing your name. The name change is a big deal and there are many steps that are involved in converting an identity you have been born with to a brand new one. It isn’t just practicing your signature and changing the name on your checks anymore…

I knew that changing my name after decades of being a Severson would be hard, and actually wasn’t really looking forward to it. As a designer your name is your brand, your digital footprint. I branded myself MNdesignGal after starting a Twitter handle for myself and other social channels soon followed, so transitioning in the social space actually helped it become pretty seamless.

newlywed

For email, I secured triciajoleanger@gmail.com months before the wedding to make sure my new name wouldn’t need a number 69 or 21 after it to make it unique.

My Google + account and circles was luckily pretty easily transferable with all the attached history with them. It takes about 7 days, but once that is up and running you can shut down your old maiden name Google+. You do lose your Google +’s on webpages from the past name but that can be quickly made-up for right? Right.
Also you can only combine accounts twice in a lifetime, so beware. [As of December 2013]

google+tricia youtube tricia

YouTube videos and history can NOT be transferred or combined to a new account. So no more TriciaJo22 from 2006, it will now be TriciaJoSeverson connected through my new Gmail account. All videos need to be re-uploaded losing your stats and views. This leaves yourself wondering if should keep both accounts active. #WhatAPain

Facebook name change is easy, my question is how long do I keep my maiden up in as “formally known as (Severson)”? 6 months? A few years? Forever?

Work email transfer will never be perfect, a co-worker will always reference you with your maiden name because of the history the email account will have. I will always need to have an email re-direct from the maiden name. Google chat doesn’t let you change you name, everyone would need to delete you and re-add you with your new name (that is a waste of time and who will do that?).  I’m also not putting on the bottom of my signature ” as of November 16, please refer me as Tricia Leanger” – who am I Prince? Formally known as? No ones reads a signature anyway.

US social security office line

Finally, the social security card change. Get ready ladies for a fun little day trip. I found the 6-county area office that is off of Chicago Ave downtown Minneapolis. Find your location before heading over. In most cities it’s a different office than your friendly and local DMV (I learned the hard way). I thought it was such a great idea to take off work the Monday after my honeymoon to mark this one-off my TO-DO list. From the research I have had, there is never a good time to get there. I stood in line for 2 hours (outside in November) then made my way through a metal-detector and got questioned by an officer (for real). Then I waited over 3 hours in a crowded DMV-type-office with about 100 other people. Ladies don’t worry, the only times you have to go there is if you lose your card or change your name. Thankfully hospitals file for your new baby social security cards.

us social security office 1

What to bring to the Social Security office:
- Wedding License
- Driver’s License
- Current social security card
- Hand sanitizer
- Something to drink (you may be able to sneak something in)
- A snack
- Your phone / iPad fully charged

TIP: Get 2 copies of your wedding license when you go in with your fiancé. It will only be $10 more. This way you can send it to get your Passport changed and even your Social Security without being too nervous about losing the only copy you have. 

Overall the name change has been successful and I have re-branded myself.

leanger_MNdesignGal

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leangerLockUp_nameonlydesign

Cheers to a new name and an exciting time in any gal’s life. It only happens once–right?!

your MN Design Gal TRICIA jo leanger

a new bride

Wedding Follow-up (the more pictures post)

As many of you know, being a MN Design Wife, the post-wedding keeps me busy with  organizing the photos (5,000 to be exact). Also I have edited my own video for the entire wedding day and trip.

I have turned the wedding website into a lifestyle blog that features post-wedding and ongoing life milestones LovinRlife.com.

lovinrlife capture

I also wanted to follow-up to give Esther Bernal Photography the shout-out it deserves! Esther and Oscar (Wife and Husband team) gave the energy, experience and confidence a Minnesota Bride needed. Esther brought-on her romance being also an editorial photographer for Maxim Magazine and Oscar never left the guy’s side all afternoon. Getting to have both their experience and lens’ on us just made it pretty damn perfect.

Estherandthebride

We met a few days before the wedding, the second day after we arrived in Cabo, at Villa Valentina’s, where I had seen Esther take pictures in a previous shoot. It has the charm of true Mexico and it would also give my groom and I some short time alone before the ceremony. The venue was full of life and some of those pictures were our favorites for sure.

I would highly recommend Esther and Oscar for future Cabo weddings– they are expecting their first bambino any day. Send them well wishes and great prayers.

Here are just a few of the Bride’s favorites from our November 15, 2013 wedding day captured by Esther and Oscar.

IMG_8112_favGROUPFUN_OURWEDDAY_BLUE IMG_8251 IMG_7359

IMG_7492 IMG_7438IMG_7624IMG_5567_thedip IMG_5679 IMG_7262_ashme IMG_8299 IMG_6061 IMG_6497 IMG_6764effect_portrait IMG_8602 IMG_8316 IMG_7985_MandyJT IMG_8000_lindslin IMG_8012_marleneandme IMG_8024_camandtinaus parentsbest IMG_8179bw IMG_7992_jimandjess IMG_8043_ashbrianwithflowers IMG_6984eff_holdingparents IMG_6110eff IMG_6000_KTdust_us IMG_5233 onthebeach_nosetonoce IMG_8263eff.a76ef047d8d24c03823acdf41c4ee7c8 IMG_8077_cheerswedparty.a76ef047d8d24c03823acdf41c4ee7c8

IMG_8146_jump_SM IMG_8944Thanks again for letting this newly wed showcase some of her memories. Remember to Like and Share Esther’s work properly by tagging this blog post from mndesigngal.com ( http://wp.me/p1umU8-ts )–even better tag Esther Bernal by placing her URL in your post.

Dreaming of Los Cabos,
your Cabo Bride – Tricia 

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Valentine Gift (well sort of)

The husband sent me a link and was super excited to show me something he found on social media this week. It was a Facebook contest that had a prize of FREE EYE SURGERY. Free? Is that too hard to believe.

Well, after a glass of wine and thinking further about the best part of way to market myself to possibly win this… that was to show the first year ever that I had my glasses– then the posting went live.

Valentines Day gift 5th grade

Please take a minute to VOTE for this 5th grader with glasses and braces so that my dream of Lasik Eye Surgery can come true this year. (And Steve can get out of the dog house for such a socially-driven none romantic gift).

Contest ends Valentine’s Day so that is only leaves Thursday to vote (on your desktop computer) because the Facebook app isn’t compatible with mobile devices (even though over half of Facebook users are on mobile.)

I’ll leave you with pictures of this MN Design Gal in glasses over the years… the memories.

Pinneditlivedit Pinneditliveditgoogle glassGlasses GalshoulderpadsSeptember_lookTricia_onmacwork

Did you vote yet? Please, for real, then tell your neighbor at work to do throw a vote in too. http://bit.ly/NOglasses4vday

Then share with your Facebook friends. It’s good karma. Trust me.

Tricia jo

vdaypic2_heartattack_sm2

Pinterest Interest – content done right

Are you on Pinterest? Are you using Pinterest for a search engine for ideas? Is your brand on Pinterest?

Many companies are experimenting with Pinterest. I’m very observant (and sometimes slightly obsessed) with Pinterest campaigns, sweepstakes and contests. I participate in them to see how they are run and what goes wrong or how it makes an average Pinner like myself feel. In this case, it was about a brand and their experimental marketing of their own content to drive traffic to their e-commerce website.

I just read last month in the Minneapolis Egotist (must check out if you haven’t yet) about a very unique brand I don’t know much about UNIQLO. They made a big splash with a campaign that they claimed had no paid media, with over 55 Million Impressions in just 5 days.

This post isn’t about critiquing this campaign actually– even though it would drive me crazy seeing pins like that– I literally would curse this brand’s name. As of December 11th though the pins can’t be found on their board (good call they actually do remove them). Content that was done well caught my eye within their profile: UNIQLO Hairdos.

Incredible imagery to drive traffic to even more info on how to style the hair.

uniqlo's hairdo

How much effort probably went into this content? Hiring a stylist for 1 day and then shooting the girls doing their hair (the stylist doing it in between takes) then a designer / Art Director to review photos and compile either gifs or single panels to describe the “how-do”… then getting the images on Pinterest through the URL’s on the website is easy; it takes about 30 seconds do that for each Pin. Probably will need a writer on that to cleverly draw users to the website and people to relate to the pin.

Estimated time and cost break-down:

1 day photo shoot – 8 hours, Photographer $6000
2 hair stylists (10 total looks) (5 would be ideal) $1500
1 fashion stylist $1000
5 models – 8 hours each total $10000
production for shoot including, lighting, space, Food and Snacks for shoot $5000
Graphic designer for post graphics (approx. 10 hours) agency bill rate: $150, freelance bill rate: $70
Writer for web page and Pinterest (approx. 8 hours) $800
Social media designer to post graphics (approx. 3 hours) $300

Now let’s try and cut some costs shall we?
CUT COSTS:
Get an Art Director that knows simple everyday fashion themselves. Also someone who is social savvy to think about the layout of the images with the photographer and different shots to use later (after the Pinterest content). Sounds like you need someone like this MNdesignGal on set.

Wait– is that you MN Design Gal? Uniqlo blonde

uniqlo relief

The clothes could be donated by a related or Co-Promoted brand, or unmarked Wal-Mart turtle necks that mean nothing.
The hair stylists should be interviewed and provide feedback to a copywriter. Really cut costs and get a hairstylist that also is a copywriter.
The photographer could be an up and comer too (like my sister Trina), someone who has their own blog that can shoot many photos with fast editing time, it also helps to get friends and models that have little acne or facial hair.
Who ever said you need real models? Local celebrities or bloggers can make perfect models too! This also will help with your impressions and reach on the campaign. They will for sure share their hairstyles with their incredible following.

serious look from uniqlo's

DON’T FORGET:
A behind the scenes tweet, blog post or content for the brand’s Facebook is perfect. It can also create buzz before the final content is up, think of writing a preview piece. Don’t worry about competitors taking your idea, your turn-a-around time isn’t 10 weeks, it is MAYBE 10 days. Your copy is already written before the photo shoot right?

POST TIMING:
Think of Prom and Homecoming, New Years and Spring break timing for a hairstyle focus posts. Many people will be looking for pins on this topic. If you can ever bring in a #wedding tag or two, that can also help drive traffic since that is 24/7 – 365 pin traffic.

Overall, great job by this unique brand UNIQLO. I now follow all their boards. Feel inspired?

your pin gal 

PinneditliveditA little side project I started last year in my attempt to demonstrate some easy to publish fashion content. #PinneditLivedIt

Feliz Navidad

Feliz Navidad, próspero año y felicidad! Getting married this year on November 15 was unforgettable- we are truly blessed. Thanks to all family and friends for their warm love and greetings.

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Love, Steve & Tricia leanger

Stowe Away Holiday Sweaters

This year for the family, I decided to design a logo and propose something different for the Severson family to participate in. Introducing the Stowe Away Holiday Sweater Spectacular Family Gathering.

StoweAway_HolidaySweater_2013

Ages 5 to 85 are all encouraged to wear a sweater of their own or borrow one. To give the family some ideas I also sent along these photos found in random Google searches for inspiration. These are NOT family members, friends or co-workers (wish they were though).

sweater2 sweater1

 

I wish everyone a fun, safe and unforgettable Holiday. Remember you can introduce new things into your family traditions. Check back for up the results of this event happening this weekend.

Happy Holiday Sweater wearing!

TRICIA jo

 

FLASH-BACK to a party I planned for a past agency. This invite I designed to introduce the “ugly sweater Holiday party” to them bowling-style.

SweaterBowling_12.08

My Wedding Dress

A simple wedding spotlight on THE DRESS.

I purchased my wedding dress on Valentine’s Day 2012. This dress spoke to me a few weeks earlier when I tried it on with my mom and sister in-store at Posh in Wayzata, MN. I remember trying on about 3 others at the store, but when I came out in that one I literally danced around in it. It is designed by Novia D’art, a Spanish designer. Marie actually no longer carried this designer in her store due to some of the Midwest bridal styles that were much more popular.

In the wedding process this is actually BEFORE Steve and I actually had narrowed our wedding down to Cabo, Mexico. It just felt so right though! I was slightly in denial after leaving there and Mom even suggested we go back to the store that same day and try it on again. We didn’t go back that day, I just needed to think.

Marie, the fabulous store owner, stayed in touch with me over Twitter and DM’d me a week after being in store with my mom and sister asking about my dress search. She then spilled to me the sample sale that was coming up on February 14, just a week away.

Trina and I made our way to Posh that romantic Holiday, I didn’t tell anyone, not even Trina that we were going back to Posh to try on the mysterious dress again. When I got into it and the sample size 16 got pulled tight, it felt so right. Knowing the sale was just today too, we popped the champagne and within 30 minutes I had said, “Yes to the Dress.”

Yes to the dressIMG_0878

ALTERATIONS

Knowing the dress would be a working progress and it was a sample I negotiated my alternations to be included in my dress price. This insured me that I would be happy with not only the fit but the results of taking this designer gown down from a size 16.

The next step is just to wait. Posh let me keep the dress in-store with their team until my first fitting which was in June. Then after a few months I went in-store for alterations at Amazing Alterations in Anoka, MN.

I met Brenda, the owner of the shop and was very excited to continue the alterations with her. She was very passionate about her job, clients and best fit. I would highly recommend her shop. My alterations were to add a simple heart neckline and get that dress to fit me like a glove.

The final fitting came around and I got to include my 2 cousins Kate and Beth to be part of the excitement. My auntie Kara, Mom and Trina joined again too.

bethkate_me_indress weddingdresswKaragirlsmomtrina

HIGH TO LOW WEDDING DRESS

This style has been trend over the last year and it has been making it’s way from Europe to the states. Monqiue Lhuillier has featured designs on her website and print ads this year to keep the trend going. Also some supermodels sported the dress on their big days. It’s referenced as a “mullet dress” in one article, which is actually pretty entertaining to me to even think about!

I have taken a chance on destination wedding appropriate high to low and won’t regret this unique and fabulous trend… yet.

High to low 1Monique L homepagehigh to low around the worldSuper model trendmullet? maybesupermodel high low

MY WEDDING DAY

Moving forward with the wedding day, it was 80 degrees and we were in San Juan Los Cabos at the Hyatt Ziva Resort.

My mom helped me put my wedding dress on while Trina took pictures of the moment and my bridesmaids were close in toe.

All photos below are taken by: 507 STUDIO Photography

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Hair shot by 507 STUDIOTricia_Steve_1stLook_507STUDIO_7x10IMG_6534-42dip on wedding dayThanks Team Tricia Bridal Gown for making my dreams come true! 

Tips on shopping for bridal gown from this MN bride’s perspective:

1. Go with your closest sister or friend and MOM if she is also a best friend the VERY first time you try on dresses. It will make a lot of sense to do this with them and make for incredible memories.

2. Try expensive bridal stores and try on dresses way over your budget. They may have samples or sales on one kind in-store that they don’t advertise or tell others about, you won’t know and then you can narrow down your styles.

3. Don’t feel bad that all the bridesmaids can’t come or are not invited to the shopping trips. This one was hard for me but in the end, only my sister and Mom knew my dress style in Cabo and it was an incredibly fun and great surprise for all!

4. Stick to your budget (within $500). In my case, my veil was only $20 (YES that is correct, I had shopped a sample sale after wedding season) so that balanced out my budget for $100-$200 for that and I added it to my dress expenses.

5. Small shops will allow for negotiation, but ONLY with the owner. Remember the women that help with the dresses are nice but they don’t make $$$ decisions so look up the owner before going to the store and look for her to deal with when it comes to the price.

6. Ivory and White are different in every dress. I went in with my dress shopping knowing white would be too harsh with my light skin. It didn’t matter if that high to low dress was gray, purple or black, I was in love with it! (Ok maybe not purple)

7. Don’t regret anything.

8. Do buy your dress within 9 months, but not 2 years. Too many friends get engaged and buy the dress that same week. Research, think and ENJOY the experience with your mom and closest friends.

9. Size doesn’t matter. Seriously size doesn’t matter. It’s your alterations studio that will be your best friend and make it fit perfectly if off the rack or bought too big or even (don’t do it) too small.

10. Alterations are expensive so plan for it– or negotiate them part of your dress cost.

Happy dress shopping!

your MN design Bride …. Oh MY I’m a Wife now!

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