Sunday, March 6, 2011

A new beginning

A lot has changed in my life within the last few weeks and I haven't been able to catch a breath! To start with, I received a job offer from an incredible company that I have long admired. I am completely thrilled about this opportunity and the exciting new direction my career is heading. It is a fusion of all aspects of marketing - including special events! I also am moving (this week!) and found a cozy apartment in Marin County, which is just north of San Francisco.

And of course, as Murphy's law would have it, all sorts of loose ends have popped up that need to be tightened. So for now, my entire life is packed away in boxes as I spend these days gathering my belongings from storage units scattered between Northern and Southern California. I know I have been neglecting this little virtual space as of late, but once I've moved and settled into my new routine, I will return with regular posts. For now, please enjoy the cover of a lovely journal by Papaya Art gifted to me by a dear friend.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Time to pick up a Valentine

Here are some clever Valentine's at an Etsy shop I recently discovered... They may just make the Valentine's Day scrooges reconsider. And Scrooges, your Valentine could be your mom or the sweet lady you get your coffee from every morning - so brighten someone's day!

Monday, February 7, 2011

A sweet elopement

This elopement on Once Wed is just crazy romantic. This couple is so obviously madly in love!

I love that the bride is wearing a wreath of flowers entwined in her hair. Such a sweet replacement for a veil!

Friday, February 4, 2011

Egg Press for Blue Sky Daily Calendar

I have a few old-school habits that I refuse to part with - no matter how far technology advances. One of them, is keeping a good old-fashioned hard-copy weekly & monthly planner. Since it will be a constant companion for the next 365 days it needs to be pretty special. I finally found "the one"! It's Egg Press Bursts Planner Diary by Blue Sky. Egg Press, a letterpress greeting card designer, temporarily teamed up with Blue Sky, a daily planner designer, to produce an exclusive designer line for Target. I was lucky enough to score one - on sale! Only select Targets carry it (and finding them on the Target website are hopeless), but I did find them on Blue Sky's website if you are in the market.

Here is a link to my own calendar - you can't tell by the photo, but it has a nice cloth cover and the "bursts" are so very cheery it makes every day feel like a celebration. I always save my calendars, because it's fun to look back a couple years to see what you were up to that day. I detail my appointments, my shopping lists, the new wine I've tried, what I ate for dinner, travel information and even who I saw that day. No matter how mundane, I always get a kick out of looking back and piecing together a simple day that ordinarily would have been forgotten. Now you can't do that if you keep it all in your phone!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Stylish Blogger Nominations and 7 random things about me

I have finally joined the land of the living again! I have had a really nasty case of the flu, that just would not go away. I finally caved and took antibiotics - which I hate to do - but it seems to have done the trick because I'm starting to feel better. Anyway, before my health collapsed I promised to pass the Stylish Blogger torch and list seven random things you don't know about me. So here goes!

Seven things you don't know about me...

1. I speak Italian. I am half Italian on my father's side. His family immigrated to California and settled in North Beach in San Francisco. Though they spoke English, my Nonna pretended to have a hearing problem unless you spoke to her in Italian. So I learned, and communication was much easier. She passed several years ago so I'm out of practice. Maybe I need another trip to Italia to brush up?

3. I am a wine enthusiast. Pinot Noir specifically. I would like to say I'm a connoisseur, but I simply just don't know enough about all the nuances of each varietal to claim to be an expert. I have dabbled in wine enough to know, that I prefer Pinot Noir for it's silky texture and it's smooth, elegant finish. I can easily walk into any grocery store's wine selection and pick out a superb Pinot because I'm quite dedicated to sampling them all! I would love to someday enroll in the Wine Studies program at UC Berkeley... and visit Burgandy, France where the magic began.

4. I am in school right now. In my other life, I'm a marketing professional and working in special events has really allowed my creativity to flourish in a new direction. I love every aspect of marketing and consider myself lucky to have found a career path that thrills and excites me. I am currently finishing the UC Irvine Certificate in Web 2.0 and Social Media.

5. I am an outdoors-woman who hates to camp. I know that doesn't sound like I'm a true outdoors-woman, but hear me out. I love to be outside - the seasons, the sun, the ocean, the mountains and most especially trees. I can identify almost every species of vegetation (in California at least). My best friend's family owns a flower shop in SF so she has taught me everything about flowers too. I love to hike, bike, kayak, swim, picnic and just be outside. Once the sun goes down, I'll readily finish the day with a bonfire. But then I want to return to a warm, comfortable bed with a high thread count, electricity and a hot shower - no exceptions!

6. I am a law-of-attraction junkie. I devour any and every book I can find on deliberate intention and fulfilling your dreams by creating your own reality. My collection includes books by Wayne Dyer, Louise Hay, Deepak Chopra, JohnAssaraf, Laura Day, Ernest Holmes and of course, The Secret by Rhonda Byrnes.

7. I am an ordained minister. Flutter Events has a few very ZEN go-to non-denominational ministers for the elopement ceremonies, but I am also qualified to marry folks in the state of California. I have studied and can conduct many unorthodox ceremonies including Buddhist, Native American and Wiccan - all of which are incredibly romantic!

Now for the list of bloggers I would like to pass the Stylish Blogger torch onto:

1. Erin at Dandelion and Grey. Erin was my very first blogging friend. She is a big shot in the blogosphere, but still always found the time to encourage and cheer me on. Her lovely blog is an incredibly beautiful and inspiring place to escape and forget your cares. Not only is she a talented blogger, but she is also an incredibly creative events stylist and a genuinely sweet and caring person.

2. Lili at Tigers to Lilies. Lili has a dreamy, ethereal blog infused with a witty sense of humor that shines through in her posts. Lili loves flowers and so do I, so I often drop by to see what is new in the floral arena. She makes her own arrangements that look as though they were all freshly picked from a field of wildflowers.

3. Victoria from A Subtle Reverie, the blog formerly known as City Cradle, is an event stylist and master do-it-yourselfer. There are so many inspiring projects on her blog it would take weeks to go through them all, let alone give one a go. But, if you head over there and take a look around you will see tons of lovely projects you'll be itching to try yourself. Warning: Victoria will make you really, really want to throw a party!

4. Lovely Little Things is a recent discovery for me but once I found this inspiring blog I devoured bunches of posts in one sitting. LLT is a self-proclaimed Cat Lover For Life, a bride-to-be and book worm - three of my favorite things!

Those who are deemed to be stylish bloggers and receive the award must do four things:
  1. Thank and link back to the person who awarded you this award
  2. Share 7 random things about yourself
  3. Thank and link back to the person who awarded you this award
  4. Pass it on and award other bloggers with this award
  5. Let them know they won!

Friday, January 21, 2011

Crow and Canary 2011 Valentine Swap

Hi Kiddos. I just wanted to drop a quick note to let you know I'm participating in Crow and Canary's 2011 Valentine Swap. It sounds like a blast and the deadline for participating is midnight 1/22/2011 so if you're interested head over there ASAP. Sorry for the short notice, but I just found out about it today!

Stylish Blogger Award

I am sending this humble bouquet of flowers as a big electronic token of appreciation to the lovely and talented KT at KT's Refinishing School. A thousand THANK YOUs to KT for honoring me with the Stylish Blogger Award. I am so thrilled, touched and grateful to KT who has a fun, witty and well-written blog full of amazing book recommendations, decorating ideas, recipes and inspiring posts. We share a love for European monarchy and I can't wait to pick her brain for more recommendations from this genre. I am even trying to talk KT into renewing her wedding vows with her husband out here in California! The ceremony, cake and flowers are on me KT!

As instructed by KT: Those who are deemed to be stylish bloggers and receive the award must do four things:
  • Thank and link back to the person who awarded you this award
  • Share 7 random things about yourself
  • Thank and link back to the person who awarded you this award
  • Pass it on and award other bloggers with this award
  • Let them know they won!

I am working on my "7 random things about yourself" as well as the bloggers I'm nominating for the award. Please check out my post on Monday - unfortunately I won't have time to finish it this weekend since it is the Birthday Season kick-off. Most of my friends were born between January and April and this weekend is a doozy. I have a birthday party tonight, Saturday and Sunday. Lot's of celebrating in store!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Inspired home: Schuyler Samperton

It's no secret that I dearly miss Domino Magazine, which to this day I still find a source of constant design inspiration. One of my most beloved (now dog-eared and tattered) issues features Schuyler Samperton, an interior designer based in Los Angeles. Domino Magazine may be gone, but Sampterton is still going strong. Here are samples of designs from Samperton's website.

Samperton's design aesthetic leans toward bohemian, with vibrant pops of color, varying textures and patterns, and fresh fauna and flora taking center stage. I love how she combines traditional pieces with exotic accents like Moroccan lanterns, bamboo and antique Persian rugs. Every room in her portfolio includes thoughtfully arranged personal treasures that all seem to carry a history with its own story to tell.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Flutter's Earth-friendly Espresso Cart Event

Flutter Events has expanded its services to include European espresso cart events. We helped DR Horton host a "green" espresso cart event for the Lantana model grand opening on Saturday. Our event was 90 percent green (I say 90 percent because the post-consumer recycled cups we ordered did not arrive on time).

We used gourmet shade-grown beans from San Francisco Bay Certified Organic Rainforest Blend. The company works with the farmers to supply health care, housing, meal programs, and education to the workers and their families. The coffee is produced 100 percent naturally, with no chemicals or pesticides. Nature-friendly farming practices tend to mature coffee more slowly so the flavors develop more fully before harvest. We have sampled quite a few coffees far and wide, and we think this one is truly superior in taste and quality.

The cups as I mentioned previously did not come on time, but I believe it to be a stroke of luck since it lead me to discover which supplies hot beverage cups made of sugar cane fibers. The cups are biodegradable and compost within 45 -60 days. The company is based in San Diego, and the folks there were so helpful they even offered to drive the cups to Del Mar to meet me the night before the event! The timing wasn't right, but now we will be using their fabulous products moving forward. I highly recommend Eco Pack Store for any green gathering.

The plates and napkins were also green products - the compostable plates were also made from sugar-cane fibers and the napkins were from recycled paper. We supplied devastatingly delicious pastries from a French bakery to lend the event an authentic European experience. We used a three-tier bamboo pastry tray for the presentation (you can learn more about the ecological benefits of bamboo in a former blog post here).
We are currently working on nailing down a composting system so that the grinds (and cups) can be returned to the Earth for future vegetable gardens.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Happy weekend

We have an espresso cart event tomorrow that we have been furiously prepping for all week. Here is the menu I designed. Pictures to follow next week... I hope you all have a beautiful weekend!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Winter getaway... or alpine elopement idea

It's been a while since I've embarked on one of my beloved road trip and the open road is calling me again... I've taken the liberty of planning the perfect romantic winter getaway, which if you are in the market, could be a lovely elopement idea. The destination: South Lake Tahoe. I grew up vacationing in Tahoe with my family, and skiing and snowboarding aside, there is a multitude of exciting things to do in the winter.

Day 1: Stay in a cozy log cabin at Sorensen's, a picture-perfect resort in Hope, CA, just 15 minutes outside Kirkwood resort.

Borrow a pair of free snow shoes Sorensen's provides to guests and explore your winter wonderland.

After a vigorous hike in the surrounding woodlands, settle inn (pun intended) to a quiet dinner at Sorensen's country kitchen. It appears they have a nice wine selection.

Day 2: After warming your insides with a hot cup of Joe and hearty breakfast, head out to Heavenly for an exhilarating run on the longest zip line tour in the US! Photos don't do this experience justice so here is a youtube video. Danger zone - radical!

Once you have sufficiently spiked your adrenaline, decompress at Borges Sleigh Rides. Snuggle under some blankets and take a sunset dinner sleigh ride straight out of a Dicken's novel. The full-course dinner selections range from chicken primavera to scampi and include cheese fondu and a twice baked potato. Smuggle your own wine if you have a spare canteen.

And just for kicks, I thought I would share these photos I nabbed from Sorensen's website of their lovely woodland wedding gazebo. With the surrounding aspens and pines, it must be absolutely gorgeous covered in a blanket of snow. Perfect for a candlelit elopement ceremony at dusk.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Book review: Driving sideways

I just finished Driving Sideways by Jess Riley and I highly recommend it for anyone looking for an entertaining and hilarious diversion. I rarely laugh out loud when reading, and this book had me in stitches from start to finish.

The synopsis: 28 year-old Leigh embarks on a road trip after a kidney transplant gives her a new lease on life. She picks up a 17 year old hitch hiker along the way, and share many misadventures as they make their way from Wisconsin to California.

I am a quote junkie, and find it the best way to remember the books I read so here are a few of my favorite exerts from Driving Sideways:

Thoughts on her new kidney:
"After my surgery, I began having strange cravings for food I'd never tasted before. Gazpacho. Falafel with cold cucumber salad. Candied ginger. Once I found myself standing in the Copps checkout line at two a.m. dropping five bags of frozen edamame on the conveyer belt. Five bags! I'm sure the checker thought I was completely stoned. In addition to my new food cravings, I also completely lost interest in the music that had propelled me through three years of college. Dido? Barftastic! Third Eye Blind? Shittacular! At first I chalked it up to a simple change in tastes. This happened to everyone didn't it? I mean, we all used to have mall hair and jelly pumps, but then we developed common sense, right? One night, I found myself in line at the Exclusive Company holding CDs by Elbow, Nick Drake and Wilco. I'd never heard of these people - or heard any of their songs - but I knew I'd love them. And I did. A new soundtrack for the new me. "
(I think shittacular is my new favorite word. I apologize in advance if I offend, but I love it so!)

Hitch hiker apprehensions :
"Denise shrugs and pulls out a battered copy of The Catcher in the Rye. "Mind if I read?" she asks. I'm too surprised to do anything but nod. I'd expected her to lug out a Danielle Steel novel or maybe Thievery digest. I'm a little unnerved by her choice in reading material. Doesn't a red flag pop up in an FBI computer somewhere whenever someone checks Catcher out of a library? Because didn't Mark David Chapman and Lee Harvey Oswald enjoy the novel? I tell myself I won't worry until Denise starts referring to herself with three names."

Wistfully watching her friends drinking wine:
"I haven't tasted a drop of alcohol in nearly seven years. And I'd be a dirty, stinking liar if I said I didn't miss it - the fuzzy warmth of the first drink, the jubilation and easy conversation of the second, the coy, nonsensical flirtation of the third. (I'll stop there, before the inappropriate and obnoxious comments of the fourth, nudity of the fifth and vomiting of the sixth)."

Describing her best friend:
"Her name was Jillian Wallace, and she had not only a pool and a spiral perm, but six rowdy brothers and sisters, one of whom owned a Ford Mustang and a bootleg Nirvana tape before we even knew who Kurt Cobain was. Another had an expensive, aromatic suade jacket and was on the high school dance squad. They threw crowded, destructive parties when Jillian's parents were out of town, with cassette-tape streamers on the ceiling fans and mattresses thrown from upstairs windows. Just like on TV! They were like Gods to me."
(Ah, the '90s!)

"But come on, your best friend - who wept at your grandmother's funeral, finishes your sentences, and warns you when you've got spinach stuck between your teeth: your confessor, therapist, partner in crime, and sounding board all rolled into one amazing person - announces she's moving four states away as you're blindsided by a medical tsunami and you don't feel even a smidgen of loss, self-pity, or envy?"
(I miss my best friend.)

Monday, January 10, 2011

Balance your carbon footprint - plant a tree!

I am now including the planting of a tree in a couple's name to the Flutter elopement package. I think trees are a perfect symbol of growth, hope and love - the foundation of any marriage of the heart. The couple will receive a certificate with their names detailing where the tree was planted.

Not only are trees a beautiful gift to honor the celebration of a marriage, but there are countless benefits to reforestation. Trees filter carbon dioxide which help reduce the buildup of greenhouse gases and air pollutants. Trees are a necessity for the restoration of natural ecosystems which help recharge ground water and sustain stream flow, provide habitat for wildlife, and of course, give us beautiful places to enjoy recreational activities.

The American Forest website has a handy little carbon-footprint calculator here. According to mine, I need to plant 42 trees this year to balance my carbon footprint - and I'm an avid recycler! There are plenty of other resources to plant trees in the United States including the National Arbor Day Foundation or For $15, the American Forest will also "plant a tree in remembrance" which I think is a really poignant way to honor the memory of a loved one.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Inspired photo shoot: A knitters dream

In the spirt of a fresh start for 2011, I have decided I need to get rid of some of the HUNDREDS of my favorite inspiring discoveries from the blogging world that are stashed on my desktop. It has become impossible to find anything and sometimes when clicking on an older post, tragically the link has expired and that bit of inspiration is lost forever. So I am going to be transferring a lot of my favorites posts/ideas/pretty photos to this blog to make room for the new on my laptop!

This engagement shoot from Ruffled is incorporates the brides knitting hobby into the shoot. As a knitting newbie, I am in love with hand-knit "winged heart tattoo"!

If you have any interest in knitting, be sure to check out the bride's inspiring knitting blog Reckless Glue.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Healthy Beauty: The Kind Diet

My dear friend Megan successfully took the Vegan plunge about a year ago, and gave me a copy of her inspiration "The Kind Diet" by Alicia Silverstone. Megan has the most amazing body (to be fair she was always slim) but since her diet change, her body is even trimmer and her energy level is off the charts!

As a fellow "greenie" and animal lover, I have always admired Alicia Silverstone who has long been recognized as a committed environmentalist and animal rights activist. Her book is an easy approach to eating healthfully with both the planet, and it's creatures, in mind. Alicia designed three different diet plans to choose from. One plan is called "Flirting", and it's simply getting your feet wet by eliminating unhealthy habits, "Vegan" is a plant-based diet, and "Superhero" which means totally eliminating all dairy and animal products.

I have never been much of a meat eater - it just never felt natural to me - even as a kid. When I was a freshmen in college, I took an animal science class instead of biology. My project for the semester was to raise a steer. I formed a bond with my sweet baby cow who became quite tame by semester end when he was slated to be put to slaughter. I put up such a huge fuss at the university farm he remained a bull (if you know what I mean) and was not subjected to the same fate at the slaughter house as the other calves. Even though my calf survived, the others didn't, and I haven't been able to eat beef or much of any meat since. Now, if I hold up a chicken wing I get queazy thinking about where it came from. I still eat some fish, but once you interact with a farm animal, you come to find they have personalities and feelings just like your cat or dog.

I am not suggesting becoming a vegatarian is the right path for everyone. For one, I personally cannot give up dairy. I am a cheese-a-holic and totally unwilling to part with my love of anything and everything cheese. However, the idea of giving up refined white sugar and flour, and processed food loaded with preservatives, is probably a good one. I intend to follow many of Alicia's recommendations by implementing brown rice into my diet on a regular basis, substituting white bread with organic whole grain bread (cracked wheat sourdough is a fave I share with Alicia!) and move from white sugar to maple syrup and brown rice syrup, before taking the Vegan plunge.

I also like her recommendation of packing healthy snacks while traveling because that is when I tend to slip. I frequently drive between Orange County and San Francisco. When I am hungry, tired and just logged six hours on the road with two more to go, I always end up stopping at a gas station and walking out with Doritos and a Mountain Dew to "recharge my battery". Gross, I know. Alicia's alternative is packing fruit, instant miso soup, instant oatmeal, a bag of Cure-all tea and a thermos of hot water. She also recommends ramen-type noodles but I don't know where to find the healthy version of those...

For even more inspiration, check out Alicia's delightful online community The Kind Life which is a fun and informative blog full of recipes, green lifestyle ideas and resources, green fashion, the environment and of course, a huge tribute to loving and respecting animals.
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