Amanda Williams

The Little White Dress

By Nola Sarkisian-MillerCTW FeaturesThis season, high style comes from higher hemlines. See why brides are going short for a chic look that lasts all day longHemlines may rise and fall along with the stock market, but brides aren’t following the custom of always wearing ankle-grazing, floor-length gowns in times of woe. As the economy weathers […]

Battle of the Budget

Battle of the BudgetMost caterers will tell you that buffet service is more expensive than a plated menu. In fact, you may have to spend 20 to 25 percent more on a buffet, according to Daniel Briones, who works with a luxury market.However, some caterers disagree. Jim Zilli, CEO of the Zilli Hospitality Group in […]

Stand Up Against the Sit-Down

By Bev BennettCTW FeaturesIt’s not easy planning and pricing a menu. Seated meals incur wait-staff costs, buffet and family-style dinners pile on added food costs. What’s right for you? Here’s a look at the benefits and drawbacks of your food optionsYour family is in perpetual motion. They’re going to hug or shake hands with everyone […]

The ‘Project Runway’ designers show off their wedding-day looks

It’s standard operating procedure in the fashion world for designers to include a “wedding gown” in their collection – a white dress that would be just as impeccable down the aisle as it would be on the red carpet. So it was natural that the Season 5 finalists on “Project Runway” to create a bridal […]

In Favor Of: The Moleskine City Notebook

Last Christmas, I put a Dublin Moleskine City Notebook into my of-Irish-descent girlfriend’s stocking. Of course, I gave one to myself, too. We weren’t planning a trip abroad; we still aren’t. But when it comes time to go, it’s the first thing we’ll pack.Each 228-page notebook has everything you need in a foreign burg: city […]

Dress Detective – You Found Those Where?

Bridesmaid dresses may pop up in familiar places.Generally, you’d go to Victoria’s Secret to secure a little something for the honeymoon, but as it turns out, the land of lingerie has some items to adorn your bridesmaids, too.No, we’re not talking negligees.At, a “bridesmaid” will produce a list of the apparel line’s dresses that […]

Gown Glamour – Crumb-catchers

Give bodices get a boost with sculptured necklines that add a distinctive touch up top for a look that’s extraordinarily chic. Check out the slides with this story for more.

Snap Shots

Reception photo booths are all about capturing the wedding’s special momentsA picture is worth a thousand words. But a thousand pictures are worth so much more, and at a big wedding a thousand pictures might not be too far off the mark. A photo booth can be the perfect way to get a great scrapbook […]

Bridal Bookshelf – Reads to Help You Get Ready

The following books will offer you some help as you get ready for your big day:Home from the Honeymoon: The Newlyweds’ Guide to the Celebrations and Challenges of the First Year of Marriage by Sharon Naylor (Stewart, Tabori & Chang) $16.95Do I Have To Wear White?: Emily Post Answers America’s Top Wedding Questions by Anna […]

The Beauty of Boudoir

By Jake LaubCTW FeaturesA boudoir-photo session is great way for brides to capture their wedding-worthy glamour and forget about the stress of the big day. The great-looking photos are just a bonus.The butt-kicking workouts, beauty consults and dress fittings all culminate in one day where the bride looks her absolute best as the camera clicks […]

In Favor Of …

For Her: The Cole Haan Nike Air Bridal CollectionI’ve always loved the scene in the 1991 film “Father of the Bride” when Annie Banks shows off her bedazzled bridal sneakers from Sidekicks, the fictional shoe company run by her father George. It’s probably because I always saw myself embracing sparkling Keds on my big day […]

Guy’s Guide to Late Night

When it comes to deciding what food gets his seal of approval, Guy Fieri is meticulous. The spiky-haired celeb chef and his research team will weed through up to 75 locations just to find one spot to be featured on his Food Network hit, “Diners, Drive-ins and Dives.” But when it comes down to it, […]

Gown Glamour – Flower Power

Today’s brides may try to boost their budgets by going light on the florals. Luckily, some of this season’s most stylish skirts are putting them back in. Check out the slides for a few examples.(c) CTW Features

Go for the Gold

Earlier this year, wedding site The Knot picked yellow as one of 2009’s hot color trends. Here’s how to say hello to yellow this season:• The primary color is great for maids – but it’s also a perfect choice if you’re looking for a non-white gown option. Here, a maize organza draped gown with russet […]

App-ropriate Planning Tools

Take your wedding planning – and planning distractions – on the go with these hot apps for your iPhone or iPod touch. Take a look through the gallery by clicking the “Slides” button to view them all.

Bridal Bookshelf

Reads to Help You Every Step of the WayBudget Weddings for Dummies by Meg Schneider (For Dummies) $16.99 Bridal Moments: A Survival Guide to Wedding Chaos by Helen Dugdale (Marshall Cavendish Limited) $14.95Amazing Weddings by Bianca Maria Oller (Tectum) $45The Ultimate Wedding Planner & Organizer, 2nd Edition by Elizabeth Lluch (WS Publishing) $29.95An Event to […]


By Anna SachseCTW FeaturesGifts are nice. But if you’re in the market for a down payment, honeymoon or just growing the newlywed nest egg, a wedding registry savings account might be a worthy ventureWhile family and friends opting to hand over cash in lieu of silverware or sheet sets certainly is a tried-and-true wedding tradition, […]

Green Getaways

For the eco-conscious couple, the honeymoon is no time to forget about the environment. The rise of ecotourism – and some top-notch Earth-friendly resorts – are making it easy to relax, luxuriously, in low-impact styleNow more than ever, a couple’s honeymoon is as personally unique as the ceremony itself. Adventurous couples climb mountains or kayak […]

Get A Grip – Dysfunction Junction

By Margaret LittmanCTW FeaturesThe most benign family conflicts become multi-layered fiascos when wedding bells ring. If your family has more serious disagreements, you need to address them head on – or you’ll end up with cake on your facePerhaps that line from Leo Tolstoy’s “Anna Karenina,” “Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is […]

Countdown to a Fascinating Wedding

Getting Started• Share the news of your engagement with your family and friends and announce it in the local newspapers.• Discuss finances with everyone contributing to the event and set a budget.• Set the date and ceremony/reception locations. If you’re set on getting married at a certain time of year, choose the date first, then […]

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One-Shoulder Wonders

By Nola Sarkisian-MillerCTW FeaturesFrom the red carpet to the White House – and, now, the aisle. Brides are stepping out in a statement-making gown Looks like the votes – Democratic and Republican alike – have been cast: one-shoulder looks are a key silhouette of the fall season, influenced by Michelle Obama. The fashionable first lady […]

Amazon Worx

Best Landscaping Company: Our readers know who to call when the yard gets out of control despite your best efforts to keep the weeds at bay while nourishing the pretty flowers and bushes you purchased from the local nursery. Give Amazon Worx a call and let them put their magic to work on your lovely […]

Uppity Pup

Best Kennel: If your spoiled pooch loves sitting on the living room couch and you just can’t bear to take him to a kennel — guess what? Uppity Pup has a home-like environment in its 5,000-square-foot facility that will make Rover feel like he’s in the right place. And that’s just the beginning of the […]

Randolph Jewelers

Best Jewelry Store: Founded in the twilight of the Gold Rush in 1852, Randolph Jewelers is the West’s oldest jewelry store. Its shining selection of bountiful baubles is a show-stopper for window shoppers on the sidewalks of Old Hangtown. 375 Main St. Placerville 530-622-3787

Mother Lode Insurance Services

Best Insurance Company: Owned by Steven Shortes, Mother Lode Insurance Services can find you the best, most complete coverage for the most budget-conscious premium. The list of available companies to serve your needs is comprehensive, and the convenient location makes it a breeze to take care of such an important matter. 2514 Cameo Drive Cameron […]


Best Ice Cream: “I’ll have a chocolate chip ice cream sundae with extra hot fudge, cashews and whipped cream, but hold the cherry so I can stick to my diet.” When your day isn’t quite up to par, head for our readers’ favorite ice cream hole. The selection of smooth, creamy treats can’t be beat […]

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Hangtown Hotdogs

Best Hot Dogs: Think you know what a good hot dog should taste like? OK, how about bratwurst dog piled high with chili, barbecue sauce … and cream cheese? Not what you were picturing, most likely, but the sky is the limit when you visit our readers’ favorite joint. Owner “Shell Dogg” loves to help […]

Jonas Heating and Cooling

Best Heating / AC: The latest in green energy is no challenge to the folks at Jonas Heating and Cooling, repeat winners in our Readers’ Choice awards. Perhaps that’s because the customer is king at the business, and they strive to do their utmost to make sure your home and office are comfortable year-round. In […]

El Dorado Hearing Center

Best Hearing Center: Have you heard? In two locations, El Dorado Hearing Center was chosen as the best in the 2010 Mountain Democrat Readers’ Choice awards. Our readers know that the scintillating sounds all around us are part of a world to be savored. Don’t miss out on the highest quality professional service around. In […]

Placerville Hardware

Best Hardware Store: It’s easy to understand why it’s hard to get by on the sidewalk in front of Placerville Hardware on Main Street — the tourists gawking in the window of the unique store simply can’t tear themselves away. The old Gold Rush flavor of the building extends to its merchandise, and browsing there […]

In-N-Out Burger

Best Hamburger: They won’t cook it until you order it, and maybe that’s why the burgers and cheesburgers here are simply to die for. Add crispy fries and a soft drink, and you’ve got the perfect lunch. Our readers have chosen In-N-Out Burger as their favorite several times over the years. 3055 Forni Road Placerville […]

Kelly Austin

Best Hairstylist: It’s only fitting that our readers’ pick for best hairstylist would be the owner of their favorite salon. Kelly Austin is humbled about being chosen No. 1, but her customers know why she’s named at the top of the list. Call them for an appointment! 438 Main St. Placerville 530-622-5586

Raley’s Supermarket

Best Grocery Store: The customer always comes first at Raley’s, and our readers understand that. Plus, for the finest selections of meats and other quality foods, Raley’s two local stores simply can’t be beat. Prescription needs also are filled by friendly, capable staff at the multi-county store that began in Placerville. Both are open from […]

Apple Mountain

Best Golf Course: Open year-round, Apple Mountain Golf Resort offers the perfect reason to play hooky from work. It stunning setting lends itself to a relaxing, challenging day of golf that includes the bonus of wildlife and pristine outdoors on the championship course near Apple Hill in Camino. The well manicured green is accented by […]

Breaker Glass Co.

Best Glass Replacement: They’ve done it again. There’s a reason Breaker Glass consistently impresses our readers who have suffered the indignity of a cracked windshield right after their commute home has been freshly chipped sealed. Within a few minutes, the crew at the business that has been here since 1981 will fix that chipped windshield […]

Sierra Furniture Company

Best Furniture Store: Specializing in the spine-cushioning Tempur-pedic mattresses, Sierra Furniture also carries a respectable variety of tables, chairs, armoires … all the beautiful accents to fill your lovely home. The staff is friendly and helpful and delivery is prompt and efficient. 1267 Broadway Placerville 530-622-6478

Chapel of the Pines

Best Funeral Home: The end of life should be marked with dignity and care, and the staff at Chapel of the Pines understands the emotional burden of taking care of loved ones’ last wishes. With 24-hour service, no need will go unmet. There also is pre-arranged funeral counseling available. 2855 Cold Springs Road Placerville 530-622-3813

Boa Vista Orchards

Best Fruit/Veggie Farm: It’s fresh … it’s healthy … and it’s fun to shop at Boa Vista Orchards in Apple Hill, where a fourth-generation family runs the popular farmer’s market type venue. The Apple Barn and Bakery can be visited all year, with the exception of Thanksgiving and Christmas, and it doesn’t matter if it’s […]

Camino Flower Shop

Best Flower Shop: The age of Romance is not dead in Placerville, as you’ll discover the moment you walk into Camino Flower Shop, where petals grace the floor and you are greeted by friendly cats that prance around lovely antique furniture. Owner Dottie McKenzie shops for her flowers every week at the San Francisco Flower […]

Dick’s Carpet One

Best Floor Covering: They’ve been in business since 1964, and there’s only one way to do that: Offer quality goods and professional service. They know the formula at Dick’s. Hours are 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday and from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday; closed Saturday. […]

Snap Fitness

Best Fitness Center: Two locations give you little excuse to miss that gym session that you know will make you feel better and look better, fitting into your favorite clothes for the holidays. Our readers know that Snap Fitness is the key to health and beauty. 3975 Durock Road Shingle Springs 530-672-2777 1248 Broadway Placerville […]

Zachary Jacques

Best Fine Dining: A little bit of the flavor of the French countryside can be found near Placerville when you reward yourself with a visit to Zachary Jacques, named by our readers and best place to experience fine dining. Start off with burgundy style escargot or sautéed prawns, and move right on to the main […]

Cedar Eye Center Medical Group

Best Eye Care: The more than two dozen employees at Cedar Eye Center make sure your baby blues … or browns or greens … will be functioning at their best with state-of-the-art equipment and up-to-date knowledge on the latest in modern practices. Keep your eye on the prize — healthy, clear vision. 4300 Golden Center […]

Blue Ribbon Personnel Services

Best Employment Agency: Serving customers’ needs since 1981, it’s no wonder our readers consistently name Blue Ribbon as the best. The owners and staff care about their customers as well as making sure their applicants for temporary work find the best fit, making for an all around satisfying experience. Blue Ribbon has an average of […]

T&M Electric

Best Electrician: No job is too big or two small for this outfit, which specializes in residential, commercial, custom homes, service calls, upgrades, trouble-shooting and more. Founded in 1990, our reader know who to turn to when they need to install high quality equipment handled by knowledgeable experts. 3027 Alhambra Drive Cameron Park 530-676-8740

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