Hello Productions

Pittsburgh Wedding and Event Planners

How to Get Fit and Feel Fabulous For Your Wedding (or Any!) Day February 23, 2013

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Whether you’re a bride who wants to get in shape (mentally and physically) before your wedding or you are like us at Hello Productions and know that swimsuit season will be here all too soon, starting a workout plan can be daunting.


Not to fear, our exercise hero is here! We spoke with Deawna Alfonsi, President of D-Fit by Deawna, who has great advice for anyone looking to shape up, from why a personal trainer might be for you to exercises you can do at home, without any additional equipment.


Hello Productions: What types of exercises should a bride focus on in order to look and feel great on her wedding day?


Deawna Alfonsi: For exercises to look and feel great, I’m a big fan of “body weight” exercises such as push-ups, squats, lunges, tricep dips, planks and abdominal crunches. Just those exercises alone cover nearly the entire body and can be done anywhere as they don’t require any equipment. Brides are typically crazy-busy so anything they can do to make exercise easier and more convenient helps – and body weight exercises can certainly fit in easily!


HP: Are there any really great ways to focus on those “target” zones that show the most in a dress – shoulders, back, chest and arms?


DA: Yes! Here are the exercises I recommend for those target zones …
Shoulders: Front raises with dumbbells, side raises with dumbbells and upright rows
Back: Any type of row-can be done on a row weight machine or simply with resistance tubing
Chest: Push-ups!
Arms: Push-ups (again) and “walking” planks


In walking planks you start off in a plank position with arms straight. Bring the right elbow to the floor followed by the left. Then bring the right hand back under the should and straighten the arm followed by the left. The cadence goes down, down, up, up …. Down, down, up, up …. And so on. This works arms, shoulder and core! Very challenging but can be modified by starting on the knees and working your way up.


HP: What overall effects will regular exercise have on a bride’s body and mind leading up to her big day?


DA: I can’t say enough about the overall effects of regular exercise for a bride’s body and mind. Many of us know that exercise can burn calories and help us with our weight management efforts as well as make us stronger. However, most overlook or undervalue the other effects as well. Exercise releases “happy” hormones to put it simply. These hormones have a very real physical effect upon our bodies and emotions. This release literally reduces the feeling of stress and induces relaxation. When done in moderation exercise can promote better sleep and increase our energy levels as well. Let’s face it, with all a bride has to deal with, anything that can keep her calmer, happier and well-rested is not just a plus-but a necessity!


HP: If she only has a short window of time left before her wedding to ‘shape up,’ what should a bride focus on the most? What about if she has 6, 9 or 12 months before the big day?


DA: With only a short window of time to “shape up,” a bride should focus on doing cardio followed by the body weight exercises I mentioned a few times a week. Cardio can consist of a lot of things like walking, biking, swimming and running but let’s not forget about some of the other fun options like Zumba, Hip Hop, Turbo Kick, etc. Find something fun and motivating and be consistent!


If a bride has 6, 9 or 12 months to go, then I would strongly consider an official training program. The way we eat is responsible for at least 60-75% of our results. Therefore, taking the time to learn the right way to eat for your body along with an exercise program designed to progress and transform you will not only help a bride “shape up” for her wedding, but in every aspect of her life. Personal training by itself doesn’t always accomplish this if the trainer is not specifically trained and holding a nutrition credential. However, programs like Project “Jumpstart!” for example, incorporate both the nutrition and exercise components for a comprehensive total body transformation addressing both mind and body.


HP: What can a personal trainer do for a bride or anyone looking to feel great that maybe just ‘going it alone’ might not achieve? Is it worth the price for a trainer, etc.?


DA: There’s a lot more than meets the eye when it comes to exercise. Having a qualified trainer that can design a program specific to you, the bride, goes a looooong way. The right trainer can work specifically with your body, its limitations if any and design a program that will progress you at a consistent pace so that you see results. Often brides will go through months of trial and error trying to figure out the right combination of exercises, the right weights, the right order, etcetera and feel confused the whole time. Although something is always better than nothing, having a trainer that can design exactly what you need from the beginning and maximize your efforts from the jump can get a bride so much more with her time and effort. Not only that – but remember that nutrition is key! Find the trainer that also has the nutrition background to address all the aspects of body transformation.


Is the price of a trainer worth it? I always say this – what’s the value of adding years onto your life? What’s the value of having more energy, strength and stamina on a daily basis? What’s the value of looking and feeling amazing from the inside out? When it comes to our health and fitness, there is not better return on investment-especially for a bride! In fact, personal training is the one wedding expense from which a bride will get use even after her wedding day is over!


Want more information about Deawna and her programs?


Deawna Alfonsi, President of D-Fit by Deawna
Fitness & Wellness Studio
9951 Old Perry Highway, Wexford
Studio (412) 376-7008


Celebrity-Worthy 2013 Oscar Party Ideas February 10, 2013


Looking for an excuse to throw a party? Why not celebrate the 85th Academy Awards (commonly known as the Oscars) in style! They will be televised live on Sunday, February 24th, beginning at 7pm EST.


First, set up the proper viewing equipment. If you only have one TV, center the party in that room. Decide ahead of time if you’re going to keep the sound low so everyone can talk (consider putting closed captioning on), or if you’re going to have the sound up. If your guests want to watch and listen, put the drinks in a separate room to create a space for those who want to talk instead of watch.


If you are able to set up multiple TVs in separate rooms, keep the TV sound low in one room and turn it up in another room, giving options for your guests to just watch or watch and listen.


As for the decorations, keep it simple and classy. Blogger Hostess with the Mostess created fun Oscar printables, including 2013 nominee labels, napkin rings, patterned papers, drink tags and more. For the templates and instructions to print, visit her blog: www.hwtm.com.

oscar collection 

Play Oscar bingo. Give guests blank bingo sheets and have them write down things they think are going to happen in each space. Examples: Amour is going to win Best Picture, Steven Spielberg will be seated in the front row, Hugh Jackman will cry, etc. Let the games begin! As these things happen, guests will cross off the spaces and the first to get 5 in a row, wins a prize. Pick a movie-themed prize, such as movie tickets or an iTunes gift card. Click here for a free bingo template.


Have fun with the food and cocktails. Pick things that represent the nominees for Best Picture. For example, an old fashioned cocktail to represent Lincoln or a fruity drink for Life of Pi. Bambara Restaurant (in Salt Lake City) created 2013 Oscar nominee-themed cocktails. For their list, click here. If you’re feeling really adventurous, head over to Epicurious to see their sample menus for each of the 2013 Oscar nominees.


Appetizers and finger foods are always easy to serve and eat, but if you want to dazzle your guests, set up a gourmet popcorn bar. Pop different kinds of popcorn and set it out with scoops, personal bags and toppings. You can get as creative as you want with the toppings – from Parmesan cheese to caramel and sea salt, and from buffalo-style hot sauce to curry powder and shredded coconut.

wedding popcorn bar

Here are just a few gourmet popcorn topping combinations to get you started:
Parmesan and Black Pepper

Mini M&M’s and Chocolate Chips
Curry Powder and Shredded Coconut
Caramel Drizzle and Sea Salt
Buffalo Style Hot Sauce and Blue Cheese Crumbles
Ranch Seasoning and Dill
Peanuts and Wasabi
Bacon Bits, Cheddar and Chives
Mini Marshmallows and Crushed Graham Crackers


For more information on the Oscar nominees, visit: oscar.go.com.


How to Include Your Pet In Your Wedding February 3, 2013


If you’re like many couples who cannot imagine being separated from their furry friends, especially on their wedding day, here are some ways to include them in your special day.


Have your pet carry the rings. Whether you have a dog, cat or even pot-bellied pig, you can attach the rings to a pillow, which can then be attached to the collar of the animal. Remember to include your pet in the dress rehearsal so they are used to the process and the people. Also have a friend or family member in charge of the animal before, during and after the ceremony.


Show your love for your pet at your reception. Use framed photos of your pet as table numbers or make a donation to a favorite animal charity in lieu of favors and include photos of you with your pet on the escort card table or on each reception table.


Include your pet in your photos. If being in the ceremony is too unpredictable for you (or you are having the ceremony in a place that does not allow pets), include them in your wedding photos. Hire a dog sitter to bring the pet for the photos and then take him or her home afterwards. If you like this idea but logistics are complicated, consider including your pet in your engagement photos.


pup with flowers

Bring your pet to the reception. It’s still a good idea to hire a pet sitter so that you don’t have to worry about keeping an eye on him or her, but having your pet at the reception (as long as the venue allows) can be a special way to include them.


According to Sarah Needleman’s article in The Wall Street Journal, including your pet in your wedding is a growing demand, one which wedding planners, boutique retailers and other businesses are offering new services and products to meet. These include outfits, accessories and even training sessions to keep your pet on his or her best behavior. Mostly dogs but also cats, pot belly pigs and birds are getting outfitted with ornate wedding gear, including miniature tuxedos, veils and top hats. Trainers are prepping them for top performance and sitters are standing by for when the job is done. Read more at: http://online.wsj.com.


If you do decide to include your pet in your wedding, stay flexible. Even a trained dog or cat might decide to act on its own when in the spotlight, but it will just make your day more memorable! Past brides – did you include your pets in your wedding? Tell us how in the comments below!


Looking for ideas on how to include your pets in your special day? Give Hello Productions a call at 412-298-7333 or email at info@helloproductions.com.