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.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Happy New Year!

Instead of beckoning 2011 with new year resolutions I am making 2011 wishes. Wishes are powerful means to transform your dreams and desires into intentions. I think it is important to take the time to honor life's passages with a ritual. For example, a wedding is a ritual in which two separate beings vow to come together as one to love and honor each other. A birthday party is a ritual to celebrate the day you were born. So why not make a ritual to usher positive changes into the new year? I am going to make three wishes because it is a manageable number and I believe it is a powerful number in the human psyche (the story of the genie granting three wishes, Goldilocks and the THREE bears, Past, Present and Future etc.) Recently a friend of mine shared with me a fun and simple ritual for making wishes. Here is what she told me to do:
  • Take a moment to think about your hearts deepest desires
  • Write them down on a piece of paper
  • Light a candle
  • Read your wishes out loud.
  • Plant a seed for each wish. Literally, take three seeds, three pots and plant a seed in each pot to represent the wish you've made. You could even label each pot "new job" or "true love" or whatever it is you are wishing for.
  • Give thanks to the Universe or God or whoever it is you pray to, for granting these wishes that you KNOW are on their way to you now.
  • Blow out the candle.
  • Watch your seedlings grow and your wishes come true!
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