Fab Find! Trista Sutter’s Book is a Must-Read for Brides and Grooms


I’ve been starstruck by two people recently: Colin Cowie (I giggled and walked away when he said he owned my books) and Trista Sutter, who just Tweeted me to thank me for Tweeting about her new book, Happily Ever After: The Life-Changing Power of a Grateful Heart.

I LOVED this book and it’s my new Fab Find, a Must-Read for any brides and grooms preparing for life after the wedding (and you’ll be MUCH happier if you put Trista’s wisdom into practice before the wedding.

We tend to romanticize couples whose love stories contain lots of flash and sparkle, especially when a TV network douses them in glitter, sets up really expensive dream dates, puts a hot tub in the middle of field, and gets celebrity performers to serenade them. I look at Trista’s book as a worthy message that she gets it! She knows a spell was cast about her courtship, and that couples need a reminder that close partnerships take work…and sometimes it’s messy.

‘ll read this one with the benefit of knowing Trista’s voice (and Ryan’s,) and you’ll take notes on how to apply some of their magic that coupled them even in a field of contenders to your own marriage.

Sound good?

Here’s the description from Amazon:

Sometimes it’s the smallest gestures and the most unassuming things that can have the greatest effects. Trista is often asked her secret to being one of the rare reality-TV relationships to make it to the altar and beyond. In this heartfelt book, she shares the simple yet profound keys to finding everyday happiness: gratitude and grace. From the blink-and-you’ll-miss-them moments we have with our kids, our spouses, our pets, or even strangers, to the more obvious lessons we pick up from reading the news or hearing an inspirational story, knowing how to recognize, accept, and be grateful for all of our daily blessings is truly what “happily ever after” means.

Ten years later, the first Bachelorette talks of marriage, family, friendship, and how powerfully gratitude can transform your life.

Happily ever after isn’t always glamorous. It has nothing to do with whether you can afford or fit into a dress right off the runway. It isn’t based on how many times you’ve had your hair and makeup done, what you get paid (or not) to do with your time, [or] how many square feet your house is . . . The universe has taught me so much, and undoubtedly will continue to do so. The main thing I’ve learned about what makes for a happy life, right up there with good health and lots of love, is gratitude.

My intent here is to share not only the lessons I’ve learned, but also those of my friends and family, those of strangers, and even teachings of some of the world’s most enlightened authors, philosophers, poets, and educators. I will never claim to be an expert, but you won’t have to take it from only me; there is plenty of research out there to back up the benefits of a grateful heart.

Wedding Symbolism: The Peacock


Peacock feathers are a top wedding trend, as a motif on invitations, wedding programs and thank you notes, and some brides are working peacock feathers into their centerpieces and color schemes. Bold, dramatic blues and purples evoke the colors of the brightly-colored peacock, and you’ll even find in nature all-white peacocks with graceful fanlike tails.

With peacock themes and colors going strong in wedding world, I thought I’d continue my series on animal symbolism with the peacock. Since so many elements of a wedding have a long history of symbolism bringing luck to the marriage, here is what the peacock’s symbolism can mean to your day:

  • Integrity
  • Showing your true colors
  • Nobility
  • Holiness
  • Guidance
  • Protection
  • Watchfulness
  • Great vibrancy
  • “A walk of faith”
  • Self-esteem booster
  • Vision
  • Refinement
  • Spirituality
  • Incorruptibility (a take on that ‘forsaking all others’ line from traditional wedding vows!)

In Greco-Roman mythology, the peacock is connected to Hera/Juno who, lore says, made the peacock from Argus with his hundred eyes. Thus, that mark on the peacock’s tail feathers that looks like an eye and in some legends symbolizes the “eyes of the stars.”

In Hindu culture, the Peacock is associated with the deity Lakshmi, representing benevolence, patience, kindness, compassion and good luck.

The peacock is also a symbol of Kwan-Yin in Asian lore, as an emblem of love, compassionate watchfulness, nurturing and kind-heartedness.

In Persian lore, the peacock symbolizes protection over royalty (and since you’re the queen of your wedding day….)

In Christian lore, the peacock represents the “all-seeing” church and has been connected to renewal as well as holiness.

So those are some of the top symbols of the peacock. How much do you love that for your wedding’s theme graphics or décor colors and accents now?

Wedding Registry Must: Pillows


Pillows are the new Must-Have on wedding registries! Add some fabulous styles to your gift list so that you can add a pop of color to any room or space, indoors or outside! They’re perfect for adding that finishing touch to a room when you’re combining your His and Hers items, refreshing a space, switching your décor from season to season, and especially for outdoor entertaining, they add that home décor and design magazine flair that everyone wants! Guests love to give these as gifts, so they’re happy to see them on your list…and you’ll find fabulous pillows in big registry stores as well as in cute little gift shops that offer wedding gift registries of their own — so you can shop locally!

So add a bunch of pillows to your gift list now!


The pillows shown above are found at Seasons Home & Gifts!

Symbolism of Gemstones: Amethyst

Amethyst is a crystalline quartz in shades of purple, lilac or deep mauve, and according to the American Gem Trade Association, great thinkers in history (like Leonardo DaVinci) believed that amethyst could dissipate evil thoughts and boost intelligence.

Funnily enough, amethyst symbolism also includes “guarding against drunkenness,” since the word ‘amethyst’ comes from a Greek term meaning “without drunkenness.” Not that you can wear an amethyst necklace or bracelet and drink all throughout your reception without getting buzzed – or completely wasted – but it’s an amusing symbolism attributed to this stone.

Here are some other symbolic meanings for this purple gem:

  • Guard against fearful feelings
  • Guard against guilty feelings
  • Guard against self-deception
  • Humilty
  • Piety
  • Spiritual wisdom
  • Focused energy
  • Calmness
  • Royal (purple is traditionally the color of royalty!)

Symbolism of Gemstones: Ruby


Ruby has been considered by many cultures throughout time to be the most powerful gem in the universe. I know, you’re thinking of the ruby slippers from The Wizard of Oz right now, and when you read through the list of symbols attributed to the ruby, you’ll get a new look at what those magical, powerful slippers offered Dorothy. And you’ll also see all the positive, empowering symbolism that you can bring to yourself if you select wedding rings or wedding day jewelry with a ruby (or lots of tiny rubies!) in the design!

First, here are some fun FYIs about rubies:

  • If you place a ruby under your pillow, you may ward off bad dreams
  • Rubies should be worn on the left hand to get the most life force out of them, and experience greater protection.
  • Rubies help sexual love to be more passionate
  • Rubies are said to give you courage to reach your higher potential
  • Some cultures warn against wearing a ruby necklace too close to the solar plexus, to raise yours up a bit!
  • If your ruby looks more pink than red, it may actually be a pink sapphire. What you want is the gemological description of ‘pigeon’s blood’ that’s red with a blue undertone for a real ruby tone. Too purple, and you’ve likely got a violet sapphire.
  • Many rubies come from Burma and Thailand.
  • Rubies are commonly exposed to high heat to bring out the deepest, richest red color possible.
  • Beryllium-infused rubies will be on the market sometime soon, perhaps at a lower price point!

Okay, enough with the FYIs. What’s the symbolism of the ruby, all of those good portents you’ll attract by wearing and owning them?

  • Passion
  • Smoldering desire
  • Inextinguishable inner fire
  • Courage
  • Power
  • Friendship and love, when given as a gift
  • Vitality
  • Royalty

Symbolism of Gemstones: Sapphire

“In ancient times, a gift of a sapphire was a pledge of trust and loyalty. It is from this tradition that sapphire has long been a popular choice for engagement rings.” The American Gem Trade Association’s fabulous booklet on gemstone meanings and color enhancement shares this fantastic FYI.

And sapphire symbolism includes:

  • Perception
  • Financial rewards
  • Mental clarity
  • Heaven and devotion to God
  • Truth
  • Loyalty
  • Devotion
  • Faithfulness
  • Protection from harm

Legend has it that the sapphire is a symbol of fidelity, and that the stone will not shine if the wearer has been unfaithful.

“Ancient Persians believed the earth rested on a giant Sapphire and that the blue sky was a reflection of the Sapphire,” says the AGTA booklet.

Practical FYIS:

  • Like rubies the sapphire has a hardness of 9 on the mohs scale, which makes them ideal for daily wear.
  • Sapphires come in a wide variety colors, such as blue, pink, padparascha (pink orange), yellow, white, green, purple, and other colors.

Visit www.sharonnaylor.net for more wedding FYIs and free worksheets.

Symbolism of Gemstones: Aquamarine


Aquamarine is popular for its gorgeous sea-blue color that can range from light blue to dark blue, and is one of the most enchanting gemstones that brides choose to wear as their Something Blue, or as the gemstone that will bring out their eyes.

Here is the symbolism of aquamarine, as well as some fun FYIs:
• The name ‘aquamarine’ is derived from an old Latin expression meaning ‘seawater.’
• Aquamarine is a variety of the precious gemstone beryl, and the beryl group of minerals is also closely tied to emerald…which is one of the ‘Precious Four’ gems of the world (emerald, diamond, ruby and sapphire.)
• Legend says that it is the treasure of mermaids, with the power to keep sailors safe at sea.
• Aquamarine is known in legend to be very soothing to married couples, which is why it’s such a top choice for weddings and for engagement gifts.

Symbolism includes:
o Honoring spiritual experiences
o Growing from spiritual experiences
o Reduces fear
o Inspires self-expression, in communication and artistically
o Compassionate communication
o Safety while moving through the stages of life.
o Vastness of life (like the sea)