Geen zin in, of geld voor, een traditionele trouwtaart? Wellicht is het dan slim om een wedstrijdje te organiseren voor je gasten… Zoals dit bruidspaar heeft gedaan.

Instead of a cake we had a ‘bake off’. We asked 10 guests to bake a cake and then everyone voted on which was best – the winner was given a bottle of champagne.

Op die manier komt niet al het taart-maak-werk op een iemand neer, en heb je ook nog eens lekker veel keuze!

Mark all as read

Oscillatory Synchronization in Large-Scale Cortical Networks Predicts Perception

Joerg F. Hipp, Andreas K. Engel, Markus Siegel. Normal brain function requires the dynamic interaction of functionally specialized but widely distributed cortical regions. Long-range synchronization of oscillatory signals has been suggested to ….
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Human Processing of Behaviorally Relevant and Irrelevant Absence of Expected Rewards: A High-Resolution ERP Study

Acute lesions of the posterior medial orbitofrontal cortex (OFC) in humans may induce a state of reality confusion marked by confabulation, disorientation, and currently inappropriate actions. This clinical state is strongly associated with an inability to abandon previously valid anticipations, that is, extinction capacity. In healthy subjects, the filtering of memories according to their relation with ongoing reality is associated with activity in posterior medial OFC (area 13) and electrophysiologically expressed at 220–300 ms. These observations indicate that the human OFC also functions as a generic reality monitoring system. For this function, it is presumably more important for the OFC to evaluate the current behavioral appropriateness of anticipations rather than their hedonic value. In the present study, we put this hypothesis to the test. Participants performed a reversal learning task with intermittent absence of reward delivery. High-density evoked potential analysis showed that the omission of expected reward induced a specific electrocortical response in trials signaling the necessity to abandon the hitherto reward predicting choice, but not when omission of reward had no such connotation. This processing difference occurred at 200–300 ms. Source estimation using inverse solution analysis indicated that it emanated from the posterior medial OFC. We suggest that the human brain uses this signal from the OFC to keep thought and behavior in phase with reality.

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Hoping for the Best or Preparing for the Worst? Regulatory Focus and Preferences for Optimism and Pessimism in Predicting Personal Outcomes

Social Cognition 29(1): 74-96 People are rarely completely accurate in forecasting their own futures. Instead, past research has demonstrated tendencies for both optimistic and pessimistic bias in thinking about one’s own outcomes. Furthermore, both biases are thought to be potentially functional. Recently, an intuitive functionalist account of forecasting biases has been proposed (Sackett & Armor, 2010; see also Armor, Massey, & Sackett, 2008), which posits that individuals flexibly shift between optimistic or pessimistic outlooks based on the perceived value of each outlook. The present research examines people’s chronic motivational orientations as one factor that influences perceptions of the functional value of optimistic or pessimistic outlooks. Across three studies, we demonstrate that those primarily concerned with growth and advancement (i.e., promotion) prefer optimistic forecasts and perform better when adopting an optimistic outlook, whereas those primarily concerned with safety and security (i.e., prevention) prefer pessimistic forecasts and perform better when adopting a pessimistic outlook.
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When More Pain Is Preferred To Less: The Effect of Anger in Decision Making

Social Cognition 29(1): 43-55 It is axiomatic in social psychology that people protect the perceived worth and integrity of the self–in other words, to self-affirm. But occasionally people may express a desire for self-deprecation, such as causing the self to feel pain. Five studies explored this possibility, namely whether anger propels people toward self-inflicted pain. Compared with both sad and emotionally neutral participants, angered participants rated painful activities as more desirable (Study 1), evidenced greater mental accessibility of pain (Study 2), were more likely to choose a painful-sounding candy (jawbreaker) following a choice between two candies (Study 3), gave themselves more electrical shocks (Study 4), and scored higher on a clinical survey used to measure self-inflicted pain (Study 5). These findings suggest people have a love-hate relationship with the self: Generally, people trump up and self-affirm their intelligence, attractiveness, and benevolence, yet, when people are angry, they deprecate the self and willingly cause the self to feel pain.
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Stress Strengthens Memory of First Impressions of Others’ Positive Personality Traits

Encounters with strangers bear potential for social conflict and stress, but also allow the formation of alliances. First impressions of other people play a critical role in the formation of alliances, since they provide a learned base to infer the other’s future social attitude. Stress can facilitate emotional memories but it is unknown whether stress strengthens our memory for newly acquired impressions of other people’s personality traits. To answer this question, we subjected 60 students (37 females, 23 males) to an impression-formation task, viewing portraits together with brief positive vs. negative behavior descriptions, followed by a 3-min cold pressor stress test or a non-stressful control procedure. The next day, novel and old portraits were paired with single trait adjectives, the old portraits with a trait adjective matching the previous day’s behavior description. After a filler task, portraits were presented again and subjects were asked to recall the trait adjective. Cued recall was higher for old (previously implied) than the novel portraits’ trait adjectives, indicating validity of the applied test procedures. Overall, recall rate of implied trait adjectives did not differ between the stress and the control group. However, while the control group showed a better memory performance for others’ implied negative personality traits, the stress group showed enhanced recall for others’ implied positive personality traits. This result indicates that post-learning stress affects consolidation of first impressions in a valence-specific manner. We propose that the stress-induced strengthening of memory of others’ positive traits forms an important cue for the formation of alliances in stressful conditions.

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Expectations Change the Signatures and Timing of Electrophysiological Correlates of Perceptual Awareness

Previous experience allows the brain to predict what comes next. How these expectations affect conscious experience is poorly understood. In particular, it is unknown whether and when expectations interact with sensory evidence in granting access to conscious perception, and how this is reflected electrophysiologically. Here, we parametrically manipulate sensory evidence and expectations while measuring event-related potentials in human subjects to assess the time course of evoked responses that correlate with subjective visibility, the properties of the stimuli, and/or perceptual expectations. We found that expectations lower the threshold of conscious perception and reduce the latency of neuronal signatures differentiating seen and unseen stimuli. Without expectations, this differentiation occurs ~300 ms and with expectations ~200 ms after stimulus in occipitoparietal sensors. The amplitude of this differentiating response component (P2) decreases as visibility increases, regardless of whether this increase is attributable to enhanced sensory evidence and/or the gradual buildup of perceptual expectations. Importantly, at matched performance levels, responses to seen and unseen stimuli differed regardless of the physical stimulus properties. These findings indicate that the latency of the neuronal correlates of access to consciousness depend on whether access is driven by stimulus saliency or by a combination of expectations and sensory evidence.

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Us Versus Them: Social Identity Shapes Neural Responses to Intergroup Competition and Harm

Intergroup competition makes social identity salient, which in turn affects how people respond to competitors’ hardships. The failures of an in-group member are painful, whereas those of a rival out-group member may give pleasure—a feeling that may motivate harming rivals. The present study examined whether valuation-related neural responses to rival groups’ failures correlate with likelihood of harming individuals associated with those rivals. Avid fans of the Red Sox and Yankees teams viewed baseball plays while undergoing functional magnetic resonance imaging. Subjectively negative outcomes (failure of the favored team or success of the rival team) activated anterior cingulate cortex and insula, whereas positive outcomes (success of the favored team or failure of the rival team, even against a third team) activated ventral striatum. The ventral striatum effect, associated with subjective pleasure, also correlated with self-reported likelihood of aggressing against a fan of the rival team (controlling for general aggression). Outcomes of social group competition can directly affect primary reward-processing neural systems, which has implications for intergroup harm.

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Peanut Butter Crunch Truffles

Born of the Midwest, I have a penchant for kitschy recipes. Give me a casserole made with cream of mushroom soup and topped with potato chips, and I could pass out from the hilarious joy of it all. There’s just something so great about recipes that are simple and sinfully delicious and contain ingredients that can never be found in nature. Take Haystacks, for example. Melted butterscotch chips, peanut butter and chow mein noodles, for Pete’s sake. Wad the mixture up in little mounds, put it in your face, AMAZING.

Now say you take something already perfect like Haystacks, up the fabulous by adding butter and a nice hit of salt, and then dip it in bittersweet chocolate. Hubba, hubba. Not that you need any help (did I tell you that you look terrific today?), but I’d say we’re gonna get you a whole bunch of pining Valentines with this one.

When it comes to the ultimate in flavor and textural dreams, these little babies will just about blow your mind. I mean, you’ve got a chocolate shell, so, awesome already, obviously. But inside that chocolate casing, you’ve got a creamy, buttery, peanutty filling, studded with two kinds of crunch–a sturdy one from peanuts, and a more delicate, crispy crunch from those crazy chow mein noodles. I-yi-yi.

And the best part? These are so insanely easy, guys. You’ll have instant Valentine’s Day gifts that will make you an absolute hero. And plenty of leftovers so you can be your own Valentine and savor them slowly while watching trashy reality programming. Perfection!

Peanut Butter Crunch Truffles
Normally, you want commercial peanut butters for baking, but here, the texture and huge peanutty flavor of unsweetened natural peanut butter is the best choice.

Melt the butterscotch chips slowly and gently–they can have a tendency to burn and seize up. 50% power for 30 second increments, stirring well after each interval works well. You can also use a double boiler.

Chow mein noodles can be found in cans or cellophane bags in the Asian foods aisle of your supermarket.
Makes about 30

1 cup well-stirred crunchy natural peanut butter
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 ounces butterscotch chips, melted
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon kosher salt (or about 1/2 teaspoon table salt)
1 1/2 cups chow mein noodles (see note)
8 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the peanut butter and butter. Beat on medium speed until smooth and creamy. Beat in the melted butterscotch chips, sugar and salt. Reduce the speed to low and stir in the chow mein noodles, until the mixture is well-blended and the noodles have broken up a bit, about 30 seconds or so.
Line a sheet pan with parchment paper, waxed paper or a silicone baking mat. Using a small ice cream scoop or two spoons, scoop out portions of the mixture, about 2 teaspoonsful for each truffle. Roll each portion into a rough ball using your hands. Work quickly when you roll the balls–the mixture will melt a bit with the warmth of your hands and get a bit messy, but no worries, perfection isn’t the goal here. Place the truffle centers back on the baking sheet and freeze until very firm–at least 30 minutes.
When you’re ready to dip the truffles, place half the chopped chocolate in a double boiler (a glass or heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water). Melt the chocolate until it is smooth and fluid. Remove the bowl from the pan and add the second half of the chocolate, stirring again until smooth (this is a quick tempering method that helps to ensure you’ll get a nice, shiny chocolate coating). Place the bowl back on the pot of hot water to help keep it warm while you coat the truffles.
Dip each truffle quickly in the chocolate using a fork or a candy dipping tool. Place the dipped truffles back on the lined baking sheet. When all the truffles are dipped, chill in the refrigerator to set the chocolate. Finished truffles can be stored in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to a week.
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Sponsored Post: Lauren McGlynn Photography in the UK

I’m delighted to get to talk about a long time and awesome APW sponsor – Lauren McGlynn Photography in the UK. Lauren has been a sponsor of APW for a year, but in that year alone, I’ve seen her work change and grow. I can only imagine what *this years* wedding pictures are going to look like, but I know for a fact she’s under charging.

How do I know? Well, because I get to announce Lauren’s APW wedding package, which is good for bookings for the next four weeks (so get on that UK and EU!) This offer is good for any wedding in 2011, and expires on February 21, 2011.

APW Package
Up to 8 hours of wedding day coverage
DVD with 200 high-resolution individually retouched images
DVD with all of the additional unprocessed images from your wedding day
Password protected image gallery
Personal use license for all images
No travel fees for weddings in the UK (travel in the EU for roughly £300)


But Lauren McGlynn Photography is way more than a great APW wedding deal, and beautiful pictures. Lauren is the whole package. She’s got the APW ethos through and through, and you guys will love her for it. This is what Lauren told me about why she loves working with APW-ers, and believes in the Team Practical philosophy:

I encounter a lot of wedding media that, while trying to provide inspiration, can make people (especially women) feel a lot of pressure: pressure to have the perfect details, pressure to look perfect, pressure to spend a lot of money. At the same time it implies that women should not get overly emotional or anxious about their weddings for fear of being labeled a ‘zilla. I love APW because it switches the focus from perfection, to being thoughtful about the meaning that your wedding holds, and the impact that it will have on you, your partner and the people in your community. I am absolutely on board with that message.

However, I am also on board with the side of APW that says that it’s okay to show that you care about your wedding. I get so many e-mails from clients asking me lots of questions, or sending me a long list of details about their big day, and inevitably they wind up saying something like: “I’m sorry if I’m being a bridezilla, but…” and it always makes me sad. Why should a woman feel like she’s turning into a monster just because she cares about her wedding, or because she feels stressed out or anxious, especially when she feels the weight of everyone’s expectations and all that pressure to be perfect? I think it’s good to care a lot about your wedding, and it’s okay to show that you’re upset on your wedding day if you’re feeling really stressed out.

I know that other APW photographers have already said this, but I have also found that for me a big part of being a wedding photographer is not just taking pictures, but also offering encouragement and being supportive in the time leading up to a wedding, and especially on the wedding day [Editors note: THIS. This is what you should be looking for when you hire your photographer.] I try to approach every wedding that I photograph with compassion, empathy, and a sense of humor. That is how I make people feel comfortable, that is what helps me to handle other people’s stress, and that is how I find the images that I capture.

So Team Practical UK? Lauren will travel from Scotland (she just moved to Scotland from Austin, TX, brave woman that she is) to wherever you are for FREE. And she’ll get you, and you’ll want to hang out for hours and get drinks, and then she’ll take beautiful, dreamy pictures (and you’ll be able to afford it!) Team Practical EU? Lauren’s travel costs are so affordable, that you’ve totally got this.

So go, browse, book her, and then send me pictures. Oh. And. Did I mention her photo-shoot by a castle in Scotland? Yeah. You’re going to want to check that out.

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2010, a year (of weddings) in pictures

2010 was a huge year for us personally and as such it was a slightly quieter year wedding-wise. We took 6 months of the year off and in the other 6 months shot 16 weddings, every single one of which I was pregnant at.

We took in New York, Manchester and Northumberland though as well as Scottish venues that were new to us and others that have become old favourites and I spent lunch hours napping in the back of the car all over the country.

There have been times over the year when I’ve wobbled, when I’ve looked at the work of other photographers and felt hugely intimidated but looking back over our work from 2010 I feel a sense of calm accomplishment. We’re doing alright.

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San Francisco Ballroom Wedding by Alison Ulshoffer Events

Be still my modern ballroom wedding loving heart (seriously, be still…we have a post to write!). I can barely contain my monochromatic excitement for this San Francisco ballroom wedding by the lovely Alison of Alison Ulsoffer Events. The florals by Nancy Liu Chin? Perfection. The images by Scott Andrew? Dreamlike. I am literally dying over this wedding and all of the images in the full gallery. But have no fear, it doesn’t stop there – no, no…we also included their grab your tissues wedding video by LoveSpun Films. Happy Friday indeed!












click here for more dreamy images!

And because we know you need more modern ballroom goodness, here’s a little work of art from LoveSpun Films:


From Alison of Alison Ulshoffer Events…Ben and Amy’s wedding was an incredible collaboration between the couple, their florist and our staff. They had a very defined vision of what they wanted their wedding day to entail. Every detail was thought out, created and incredibly fun to bring to life. Most importantly it was a beautiful representation of the couple. Their wedding was subtle yet absolutely stunning! Ben and Amy choose some of Northern California’s best vendors. Each was handpicked by the bride and groom and every one of them helped ensure this beautiful day was a success.

After looking at several incredible properties in both San Francisco and the Napa Valley, Ben and Amy chose an incredible venue, The San Francisco Ferry Building. The Ferry Building which sits on the bay with stunning views, was the perfect spot to create Ben and Amy’s “eco-chic” affair.

Amy walked down the aisle where Ben was waiting under a custom made chuppah. Amy and the room were literally glowing! After the ceremony their guest were ushered into the Port Room to enjoy specialty cocktails, hand passed fares and enjoy the unsurpassed views of the San Francisco skyline and Bay Bridge. Their friends and family were catering to by the amazing fares of Paula Le Duc fine catering. We cannot say enough about Molly and her staff.

Nancy Liu Chin, as always, created phenomenal table scapes that were a perfect match to the white on white parson tables and leather banquets. The room was absolutely breathtaking! Hundreds of glass vases, beakers and candle lite centerpieces filled the room. Nancy and her team are a dream to work with! We decided to split the massive room with both large banquet tables and a handful of round banquettes we picked from Hartmann Studios. We designed a schematic so all of their guests we close to Ben and Amy and felt a part of the celebration. The result was stunning! Miosa Couture and R. Douglas Custom Clothier designed Ben and Amy’s wedding day attire, and as you can see their designs and craftsmanship are flawless.

Scott Andrew, who could not have been more of a perfect fit, once again captured the day beautifully! He is such an amazing talent. Ben and Amy also chose LoveSpun Films to work with. Jessica is truly amazing to work along side and her work speaks for itself.


Photography: Scott Andrew / Cinematography: LoveSpun Films / Floral Design: Nancy Liu Chin / Event Design & Planning: Alison Ulshoffer | Events, Nancy Liu Chin / Ceremony Location: San Francisco Ferry Building / Reception Location: San Francisco Ferry Building / Invitations: Inspired Goodness / Dress: Miosa Couture / Catering: Paula Le Duc Fine Catering / Cake: Perfect Endings, Napa / Linens: La Tavola / Tuxedo: R. Douglas Custom Clothier / Make up: Amy Branum, Glow Esthetic / Hair: Violet Vargas, Jane Salon / DJ: Will Becker

Alison Ulshoffer | Events and Nancy Liu Chin are members of our Little Black Book. For more information on how members are chosen, click here.

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Sponsored Post: Printable Press – New Customizable Invites

Today’s sponsored post is for a Printable Press, a sponsor who’s been working with APW for forever-ever. The story is this: after Kimi got married (remember her amazing wedding dress?) I suggested to her that she start a business selling printable wedding invitations, because the wedding invitations she designed and printed at home were stunning. Back in late 2008, there were not a lot of printable wedding invitations on the market, and I really really wanted there to be. That, and Kimi happens to be a stunningly talented designer, and I loved the idea of her designs being affordable.

So, a few months later, a Printable Press was born, and it was excellent. Printable Press sells you customized jpgs of wedding invitations and full wedding suites for a crazy low cost. Then, you can take your pick of how to print them. You can print them at home on a color printer. I did this for my bridal shower, and my 30th birthday party (Kimi actually re-designed these invites especially for my 30th), and it was easy as heck. But for those of you that are freaked out by even DIY light, you can also have the invites printed by a local affordable printer, or even Kinkos (a How-To post on this is coming soon).

I didn’t think it was possible for Printable Press to get better, but today I’m proud to announce that it has. Not only have all of their designs been tweaked and made more lovely for 2011, but they are launching a whole new way to customize invites. Last year, APW hosted a giveaway for a new custom design by Printable Press. As the ideas flowed in on the kind of invitations that you guys wished existed, Kimi had a ‘ah-ha’ moment. What if she gave people a way to customize their own affordable invitations, giving people the chance to show their personality and display the style of their event in an easy and beautiful way? After a lot of hard work, Kimi came up with three sets of customizable designs, which are having their big launch on APW today!

Love Symbols (invitation seen above) has 20 different logos (also above), to show your personality and your reception style—from wedding bells for the traditional and utensils for the gourmands, to a bubbling chemistry set for the geeky lovers. You can mix and match any two symbols.

Kindred Spirits (which is Kimi’s secret favorite) has 12 animal couples you can choose from, which you can think of as totems or heraldic symbols. There are tigers bumping noses for the wild at heart, squirrels touching hands for the urban rustics, deer for the woodsy types.

(And because this is APW and Printable Press, the lions, tigers, deer and chickens can all be made same-sex rather than two different genders. The rest are non-gender specific. Also? There are Narwhals.)

In The Stars (this is my secret favorite) has constellations, and you can choose the two partners’ zodiac signs and combine them in a starry sky – for those whose love is written in the stars, or just really love the zodiac… or pretty things.

So how cool is that? Seriously, HOW COOL? That officially makes stellar design affordable, and it makes stellar customizable design affordable. Plus? The whole thing was inspired by Team Practical. So go, browse, customize, enjoy.

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Real wedding: Alexis + Lee

It’s only natural that Lee & Lexi’s wedding would be jaw-dropping, since Lexi just so happens to be the the talented costumer for HBO’s hit series Big Love! The couple are New Yorkers through and through, but Lexi’s work in LA and Lee’s graduate school in NY kept them on opposite coasts for most of their engagement. In the end, the time apart actually made the wedding all the more fabulous, because it served as a homecoming celebration as well!

The wonderful city starred not only as a backdrop (including insane views courtesy of Brooklyn Bridge Park), but as inspiration throughout the various design elements. And it turned out gorgeous.

LOVING their unique style – her dress, his bow tie, the fedora… very New York, wouldn’t you say?

The lush crimson bouquets are soooo pretty. Lexi, her Mom, and her sisters actually did all the flowers themselves!

What a perfect ceremony spot for these two – right on the river bank in the Brooklyn Bridge Park.

Followed by a super funky reception in Brooklyn. The decor is so hip and diverse – crazy graffiti, chandeliers, fluffy poms, velvet-upholstered chairs… and of course, apples! You can’t have a Big Apple-themed wedding without apples.

Such a gorgeous NY wedding, congratulations to Lee & Lexi!

Photographer: Charlotte Jenks Lewis Photography / Ceremony Location: Brooklyn Bridge Park / Reception Location: ReBar in Dumbo, Brooklyn / All flowers: Purchased at bodega and arranged by the bride, her Mom, and sisters / Cake Topper: Family heirloom / Wedding cake: Almondine Bakery / Groom’s suit:  Hugo Boss / Groom’s hat: Barbara Feinman Millinery / Chuppah: made by the bride and groom / Bride’s Dress: Phillip Lim 3.1 / Bride’s Shoes: Kate Spade / Bride’s hairpiece: made by the bride / Bride’s makeup: Vanessa Elese / New York Pin:  gift from a friend (found at a Goodwill store!)

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Xenia & Rinat’s gothic, winter, Russian wedding

In honor of Russian New Year’s (the week between New Year’s and Orthodox Christmas), we’re having an Eastern European theme week! Day 4 of Eastern European week brings us the wedding that inspired the whole theme — Xenia & Rinat’s amazing wedding! -Becca

Photos by Anna Kovaleva

The offbeat bride: Xenia, teacher/tutor

Her offbeat partner: Rinat, Body Modification Artist

Location & date of wedding: Wedding Hall and Cafe Elf, Russia — February 19, 2010

What made our wedding offbeat: Our wedding outfits and hairdos are definitely very offbeat for Russia.

I braided my hair a couple of days before the wedding as it takes an entire day to have it done. I normally have my hair braided in various colors.

The black and white color palette was picked specifically for the wedding.

Lira, the makeup artist, really liked the idea of smoky eyes for the bride. (It is really not that common for Russian brides to go with smokey eyes). She thought that the groom had to use some eye liner on his eyes as well. The fake eyelashes were ordered online ahead of time.

After the ceremony, we went to Prospect, a nightclub in Ufa. The images with balloons and mirrors were taken there, on stripper stages and in private booths.

We tried to take a few photos outside in the city’s historic center, but it was very cold and windy, so we sought refuge at McDonald’s next to the Opera House. We ate and fooled around for the camera there, and the kids eating there kept asking their parents if we were actors from the theatre next door. Some patrons actually congratulated us on our wedding. :-)

Afterwards, we all left for the reception, which was held at Cafe Elf, and we had even more fun there.

Tell us about the ceremony: The ceremony was held at a Wedding Hall. (Church weddings are not recognized by the Russian state as official weddings).

Everything about our ceremony was very traditional and in accordance to Russian customs. The cool thing was that the lady officiating the marriage commented that we were the sweetest couple she had met.

We arrived at the Wedding Hall with only our family and closest friends present. Then we exchanged vows and rings and got our internal passports stamped. (Russians have internal passports that get stamped when they get married).

Rinat carried me out of the Hall to be greeted by our guests showering us with rose petals. We then had a champagne toast and left to take photos before the reception.

Our biggest challenge: We started planning our wedding in January 2010. Traditionally, the entire country is off for most of the month of January observing Christmas holidays. Having just one month to plan, it was very difficult to find and buy our outfits and accessories when most of the vendors were closed for the holidays.

My favorite moment: The moment when we exchanged our wedding rings was definitely the most magical experience of the entire wedding.

My funniest moment: Our visit to McDonald’s was definitely the funniest experience of the day. It was really amusing to see people react to us and our outfits.

My advice for offbeat brides: Do what you two want and disregard other’s opinions. People are too eager to doubt your choices, so it is important to believe in your vision.

What was the most important lesson you learned from your wedding? Make your wedding an experience that is fun and will last forever, even if it means extra expense.

Care to share a few vendor/shopping links?
We had our outfits custom-made in a tailor shop, and some elements were ordered from a goth store.

Enough talk — show me the wedding porn!

Click on the picture below or head over to the photographer’s blog to see more photos!

Click here to comment →

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Soft Tropical Wedding Flowers

Soft Tropical Flowers

This month we will be posting a lot on destination wedding ideas as January seems to be a great time for destination weddings. This week’s fashion content (previous 3 posts) was shot in Mexico while we were at Jose Villa’s workshop. For our content this week we wanted to explore the softer, more feminine side of a tropical climate…to see if we could get something to still say ‘tropical’ without relying on the typical tropical colors. You could locally source most of these flowers in most tropical regions or just use flowers like these where ever you are to lend a lovely atmosphere to your affair.

Photo by Jose Villa

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Failing where others have succeeded: Medial Frontal Negativity tracks failure in a social context


Most of us can appreciate that it feels worse to fail when people around you are successful than when others are also failing. Indeed, comparison with other individuals is of central importance within social groups. Despite the importance of relative success or failure for human decision making and even well-being, the underlying neurobiological substrate of this social comparison process is not well understood. In the present study, ERPs were recorded while two participants received feedback on both their own, and the other participant’s performance on each trial. The results showed that medial frontal negativity, an ERP component associated with deviations from the desired outcome, is particularly enhanced when an individual’s own outcomes are worse than those of others. These results indicate that the way the brain evaluates the success of our actions is crucially dependent on the success or failure of others.

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Violetta & Jason’s funky chicken dance-off wedding

The offbeat bride: Violetta, marketing

Her offbeat partner: Jason, chef

Location & date of wedding: Central Square, Cambridge and World’s End, Hingham, MA — October 28, 2010

What made our wedding offbeat: Our wedding was a fabulous result of spontaneity. We decided that we simply wanted a fun lighthearted day off/night out with our dear friends. And so it was! 1

We “planned” it in six weeks and set the day to be a Thursday, based on my favorite funky/soul band’s schedule. The band plays at our local bar so that was the reception venue.

Cambridge City Hall was happy to accommodate our canine “best man” in their ceremony hall and they had the lowest marriage license fee around.

The closest restaurant was Hungry Mother, which specializes in soul food. This piggy backed onto our choice of music entertainment for the night. Hungry Mother could only fit a party of sixteen, which gave us a perfect excuse to keep the guest list trim!

We called it our “W Party” instead of the wedding day.

10Best jumping photo EVAR!

Tell us about the ceremony: The ceremony, scheduled for noon, was short and sweet. It was just the five of us — bride, groom and “the best man” (our Doberman, Calabos), Jason’s mom, and our photographer.Fifteen minutes and a box of tissues later, we were on our way to the World’s End in Hingham, MA — a magical spot with rich New England foliage, hiking paths, and serene beach shores. We had a light hike in the woods, a bottle of bubbly from a highway-side liquor store, and an artful photo shoot — all impromptu!

The dinner was set for 7pm and a ten minute ride from our apartment. The comfort food, the cozy atmosphere, and the great company of our close friends made the big W party a success!


Oh, and the Funky Chicken dance-off did take place to the tunes of the Chicken Slacks band, but no one remembers who took the prize :)


21Our biggest challenge: The usual suspects: money and family.

We did not set the budget, but were realistic about how much we could afford.

The only big expense we couldn’t avoid was the dinner, but food, being one of Jason’s biggest passions, was worth it.

000The stationary expense was solved by emailed invitations, designed by the fabulous Erin Deeley.

The photography was a gracious gift by another friend, the talented Kat Nania.

The all-night-dancing fest was secured by the funkiest Chicken Slacks, the Thursday night resident band at the Cantab.

In lieu of wedding favors and other decorations, we chose to support our friend’s project, which happen to fit in really well with our chicken theme.

30The rest of the fluff was long gone off the list.

The family story: We broke the news a month in advance. After fours years of living together, it wasn’t necessarily a shocker. There were hugs and congratulations, and a slight confusion about our plans. Long story short — the day is yours, the family will understand, and forgive and forget.


3My favorite moment: I shed my first happy tears when Jason’s mom (who was the only other person at the City Hall ceremony beside us two and our photographer), gave me these beautiful bangle bracelets for my “something old.” They were mementos of her late mother. It was very meaningful and heartfelt for the both of us.

Another favorite moment was when I saw Jason on the footsteps of the City Hall. I spent the previous night at my friends’ house to honor some bits of tradition. He had shaved his (scraggly) beard — the fruit of four years of growing — for the big W day. I made a bet with him the day before: I promised to take his name if the beard is out of the picture

26Another surprise by Jason was the wedding cake. It completely slipped my mind, and our wedding menu featured scrumptious caramel ice cream with Maine sea salt. Then out of the blue, the real wedding cake, with layers and toppers (and a cutesy line from a card he had given to me four years ago), emerged. Jason had planned and pulled it off.

My advice for offbeat brides: Please don’t listen to your mother’s advice about wearing everything new on your big day. My feet were screaming in disapproval of my Kenneth Cole’s Gentle Soles after the first hour — good thing I packed a pair of little red flats or the dance party would have been much slower paced.


Care to share a few vendor/shopping links?

Enough talk — show me the wedding porn!
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Angry faces hold the eyes

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Quirky British Wedding

Mixed florals, vintage dresses and the photography of Emma Case are just some of the reasons my insides are aching over today’s wedding. With all the quirkiness we could ask for, British couple Ray and Phil infused their day with fun, mismatched pieces and, from the looks of it, lots of laughter. I would’ve given an arm and a (vintage kitten-heel clad) foot to have been at this adorable wedding! Congratulations, you two!

quirky british wedding

From the stylin’ bride, Ray. We wanted the wedding to feel like us – we wanted everyone to feel relaxed and comfortable and to be able to enjoy the day as much as possible. We also have a flat full of vintage stuff gathered from various London junk markets and we wanted the wedding to have a similar feel.

quirky british wedding
quirky british wedding
quirky british wedding

We went for bright colours and mismatching florals. My bridesmaids and friends were amazing. We made all of the decorations – My maid of honour (who is also my sister in law) made metres and metres of crepe paper bunting for the reception as well as doily bunting for the ceremony.

quirky british wedding
quirky british wedding

My other bridesmaid made all of the boys’ ties and (along with her amazing Mum) made 80 napkins (one for each guest). My Bridesman arranged all of the flowers for the ceremony and reception. We wanted a wedding as local to where we lived as possible. South East London doesn’t have that many venues that suited our taste or budget (!). We wanted somewhere that felt relaxed and had a pub atmosphere – Davy’s was the first and only reception venue we visited and we knew immediately that it would be perfect.

quirky british wedding
quirky british wedding
quirky british wedding

Instead of a cake we had a ‘bake off’. we asked 10 guests to bake a cake and then everyone voted on which was best – the winner was given a bottle of champagne.

quirky british wedding

Any advice for brides planning their weddings now? Don’t be too ready to compromise. Trust your gut. If there’s something you really want to feature in the day, be willing to work that little bit harder for it even if it makes things a little more stressful for a while. Compromising too early meant I bought two lots of bridesmaids dresses as well as two dresses for myself!

Wedding Vendors (London, UK):

Wedding reception: Davy’s Wine Bar / Florist: Kirsty from Igloo Flowers created bouquets and the boutonnieres / Photographer: Emma Case / Wedding Dress: Vintage from Fur Coat No Knickers / Headpiece: DIY / Bridesmaid Dresses: Vintage / Groom’s suit: Burtons / DJ: iPod playlist / Caterer: Davy’s Wine Bar / Wedding Cake: various from wedding guests / Transportation: Groom’s father’s Beetle (the same car the groom’s dad proposed to his wife in!)

© 2008-2010 Ruffled® , 2010. | Permalink | 7 comments | Post tags: , , , , , ,

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Happy Friday!

Happy Friday, friends of the wedding world! It’s chilly here in NYC but hopefully you find some warmth, love and coziness in your weekend. Here are some of our favorite links, deals and vendors from this week plus free wedding downloads designed by Carolynn of Two Brunettes :

woodland free wedding invitation download template

The set contains frames for wedding invitations, table numbers, place cards (or escort tags) and favor tags, all in three different colors. That’s 24 templates! Just a little somethin’ from Two Brunettes:

Download woodland wedding invitation set in brown.pdf
Download woodland wedding invitation set in green.pdf
Download woodland wedding invitation set in pink.pdf

Amazing Engagement Session Giveaway from one of our favorite sponsors, Kristin of Photomuse Photography! The girl is wicked talented and all you have to do to enter to win is send a picture of your fun and funky selves with your beau to Kristin. The session, including all the digital files, is worth $750 so pose for some pics with your fiance and enter for this to-die-for prize! Here’s all the info:

What: Free Engagement Shoot for a Retro Inspired Couple in the NYC area from Photomuse!

When: Sunday, December 26 at 1:00pm from 2nd Avenue Subway Station

We are offering a free engagement session to a retro-inspired couple in the NYC area on Sunday, December 26th. The shoot will be on the last day the MTA historic subway car will be running. The winning couple will be chosen for their vintage appeal and fashion sense.

Please send an email to with a photograph of both of you by Thursday, December 23. The winning couple will be notified Friday, December 24.

A Little Vendor Shoutout to some of our rad Blue Label members that were part of this week’s featured weddings! Check out all the Blue Label vendors and learn how you can join here.

Sweet Emilia Jane is a sweet, fun, funky, creative little lady on the West Coast who designs some of the loveliest weddings, check her out! She designed THIS adorable wedding.

modern wedding photography field flare

A Simple Photo, a stunner of a photographer, continually brings us romantic, dramatic and all around spot-on photography in engagements sessions and weddings alike! She shot THIS gorgeous engagement session.

Catherine Cindy Leo Events covers events both large and small- and by cover, I mean covers them in GORGEOUS! Their unique ideas and classy presentation are always crowd pleasers. They coordinated THIS stunning wedding.

My Personal Pic(ture) of the Week is this sweet shot of Karli getting carted off by her new husband, Caleb.
indie washington wedding
Isn’t it the sweetest?! You can see the rest of the wedding just by Ben Blood in their feature right here.

Have a wonderful weekend!

© 2008-2010 Ruffled® , 2010. | Permalink | 4 comments | Post tags: , , ,

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Alien Hand Syndrome: Neural Correlates of Movements without Conscious Will

BackgroundThe alien hand syndrome is a striking phenomenon characterized by purposeful and autonomous movements that are not voluntarily initiated. This study aimed to examine neural correlates of this rare neurological disorder in a patient with corticobasal degeneration and alien hand syndrome of the left hand.

Methodology/Principal FindingsWe employed functional magnetic resonance imaging to investigate brain responses associated with unwanted movements in a case study. Results revealed that alien hand movements involved a network of brain activations including the primary motor cortex, premotor cortex, precuneus, and right inferior frontal gyrus. Conscious and voluntary movements of the alien hand elicited a similar network of brain responses but lacked an activation of the inferior frontal gyrus. The results demonstrate that alien and unwanted movements may engage similar brain networks than voluntary movements, but also imply different functional contributions of prefrontal areas. Since the inferior frontal gyrus was uniquely activated during alien movements, the results provide further support for a specific role of this brain region in inhibitory control over involuntary motor responses.

Conclusions/SignificanceWe discuss the outcome of this study as providing evidence for a distributed neural network associated with unwanted movements in alien hand syndrome, including brain regions known to be related to movement execution and planning as well as areas that have been linked to inhibition control (inferior frontal gyrus) and experience of agency (precuneus).

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The importance of social factors is a matter of perception. Lindsey A Short, Catherine J Mondloch

Caucasian female faces were randomly assigned to participants’ in- or out-group following false feedback on a personality inventory. Participants recognised in-group faces better than out-group faces, but they showed no evidence of category-contingent opposing aftereffects. We conclude that the explanatory power of social-cognitive models will be enhanced when they are integrated with models of perceptual expertise.
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Real Wedding: Gracie + Dave’s Vintage Picnic Wedding

I just love how fun, happy + colorful this wedding is – and the fact that Gracie had a bunch of butterflies in her hair!!! Gracie told me she wanted a vintage picnic theme for her wedding. Her favorite moments of the day were: seeing all the colors, the cupcake eating, ribbon altar, and just knowing that everyone had fun. 🙂 Congrats to Gracie + Dave!

colorful wedding dress

rainbow bridesmaids dresses

butterfly wedding headpiece

wedding ceremony outdoor

groomsmen in hats

fun colorful bridal party

bride with butterfly headpiece

picnic wedding reception

wedding favors

wedding painting at reception

bride with butterflies in hair

Any advice for those planning now? Personalization is best! Make sure not to accept tradition for tradition sake. Make new ones!

Photography: Photographs by Anjuli
Venue: Lake Poway Park, Poway CA
Wedding Dress: Customization by Sara Lighthall
Hair and Makeup: Gretchen Phillips gretchenphillips{at}me[dot]com
Shoes: Born brand shoes that bride added color to. Guys had white converse chuck taylors.
Bridesmaid Dress: David’s bridal (Cotton Sateen Strapless with Ruching and Pockets Style 83312) with sashes added by the bride
Hairpieces and fabric corsages: Erika Kirkland erika{at}mattkirkland[dot]com
Groom Suit: Sara Lighthall
Cinematography: Rendezvous Video Productions – 619.447.9317
Event Planner: Alyssa Lockner of Fresh Events
Floral Design: Erika Kirkland
Invitations: Paperless Post
Cake: Coronado Cupcakery – Black Bottom Betty Cupcakes (the best cupcake flavor ever!)
Band: Gato Papacitos

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Expectation and Surprise Determine Neural Population Responses in the Ventral Visual Stream

Visual cortex is traditionally viewed as a hierarchy of neural feature detectors, with neural population responses being driven by bottom-up stimulus features. Conversely, “predictive coding” models propose that each stage of the visual hierarchy harbors two computationally distinct classes of processing unit: representational units that encode the conditional probability of a stimulus and provide predictions to the next lower level; and error units that encode the mismatch between predictions and bottom-up evidence, and forward prediction error to the next higher level. Predictive coding therefore suggests that neural population responses in category-selective visual regions, like the fusiform face area (FFA), reflect a summation of activity related to prediction (“face expectation”) and prediction error (“face surprise”), rather than a homogenous feature detection response. We tested the rival hypotheses of the feature detection and predictive coding models by collecting functional magnetic resonance imaging data from the FFA while independently varying both stimulus features (faces vs houses) and subjects’ perceptual expectations regarding those features (low vs medium vs high face expectation). The effects of stimulus and expectation factors interacted, whereby FFA activity elicited by face and house stimuli was indistinguishable under high face expectation and maximally differentiated under low face expectation. Using computational modeling, we show that these data can be explained by predictive coding but not by feature detection models, even when the latter are augmented with attentional mechanisms. Thus, population responses in the ventral visual stream appear to be determined by feature expectation and surprise rather than by stimulus features per se.

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Instead of a cake we had a ‘bake off’. we asked 10 guests to bake a cake and then everyone voted on which was best – the winner was given a bottle of champagne.


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2 Reacties to “Wedstrijd”

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    Slim plan voor iedereen. Voor bruidspaar en gasten. Lijkt me erg leuk om zo een tastbare (en lekkere) bijdrage aan een feest te bedenken.

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