Friday, November 13, 2009

Designer spotlight

1. Jobyna's Bridal by Ines Di Santo

I was thrilled to be invited to attend the unveiling of the new Ines Di Santo bridal boutique at the Americana yesterday evening. An opportunity to meet the fabulous designer, gorgeous gowns on display, a rooftop candlelit after party, poolside fashion show, and champagne flowing-what more can you ask for? Brides-to-be, this is a boutique you will definitely want to visit!

Feathers on the train and detailed bodice-Divine!

So romantic, elegant, and sexy. Ines knocked this one out of the park!

I hope you enjoy shopping for the most important day of your life at Jobyna's Bridal and get inspired browsing through the jaw dropping dresses by Ines Di Santo. Check out their websites to see more for yourself!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Event Design Inspiration

2. PopFlowers (Handmade synthetic flower arrangments)

So you are planning an event but you or a guest is allergic to flowers? Do you ditch using flowers in your centerpieces? If you love flowers, I say no! Check out PopFlowers with their colorful, synthetic bouquets that are dirt resistant, hypoallergenic, fragrance-free, and have easy to mold wire stems for molding into varying arrangements they are the perfect subsitute for the real thing. I'd recommend this choice for a no-fuss wedding or event where you don't want to worry about the flowers wilting in the sun. They can even be raffled off or given away to one guest at each table at the end of your event for an extra surprise. They add a whimsical feel to your event and can be reused for a future celebration.

Beautiful Iris and Lili mix bouquet: $52.oo, Pink baby green mix: $32.00 (great for a new born baby gift too for hospitals where they don't allow fresh flowers), Poinsettias in a silver pail: $36.00 (Use them at your Christmas dinner or as a hostess gift)
Try these adorable Make-Your-Own kits for a fun birthday party activity at your child's next spring or summer time birthdays. ($22.95/$17.50 each)

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Busy summer of weddings

I've spent the summer so busy with weddings that I haven't had a chance to sit still and blog about them! Here's a brief recap of my favorite moments and ideas to get you inspired for your upcoming wedding or special event. :)
One wedding I enjoyed working on was a unique equestrian themed wedding complete with personalized menus and invitations with a horse silhouete motife designed by Katie Lee from Bella Destinee (whom I frequently assist with her beautiful upscale weddings). Katie incorporated their love of horses into every aspect of the wedding including a white picket fence box filled with grass where horse shaped lolipops were placed holding the escort cards for each guest. The location was also well picked at Calamigos Equestrian in Burbank with the wedding ceremony set up in a u shape on the lawn with horse stables in the background. Kerim from My Wedding Blooms made a fabulous nature inspired arch at the entrance of the ceremony and stenciled large shapes on the ground with flower petals. It was a beautiful sunny day for this equestrian themed wedding!
Check out my friend Katie at:
Don't forget to contact Kerim for a quote on his beautiful floral creations and look at his website for pictures of the floral decor I mentioned above:

Me and my good friend at her milangi, pre-wedding ritual ceremony.

Another of my favorites was my good high school friend's wedding in the outskirts of New York. I helped her coordinate the Indian wedding ceremony which consisted of 24 bridesmaids and groomsmen including junior bridesmaids and groomsmen, two adorable flower girls, and a tiny tot pulled up the aisle on a wagon carrying the rings on a pillow.

The large wedding party awaiting the bride

Gorgeous tropical colored bouquets and traditional Henna art on all the women's hands

Me with my two high school friends/bridesmaids in their Indian Saris

At the cocktail hour with other guest in traditional Indian attire under one of my favorite decor details at this venue-the flower balls of white roses hanging down from the arc at the entrance

Candles also hung amongst the flower balls added to the romantic atmosphere

Enjoying the delicious dinner and wonderful attentive service at the reception with friends

I have many more great memories from the weddings I worked on this year and looking forward to sharing many more "big days" this Fall and in 2010 including a Korean wedding in Guatemala, an intimate low key affair in Northern California, and an all out celebration in Vegas. Check out my blog for updates and inspiration from these and other real weddings.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Have Your Cake

1. Jean Philippe Patisseri
After a relaxing afternoon strolling through Bellagio's Botanical Gardens and a quick glimpse of the gift shop, we ended up at the hotel's fabulous bakery, Jean Philippe Patisseri. If you want some fresh ideas for your wedding or birthday cakes, check out what their masterful chefs came up with!

There's something stunning for every style of event here-from this modern and funky tea pot cake, to this fantastic cake perfect for a golf loving groom, to this Sponge Bob cupcake cake which is sure to be a hit with the kids, and many more. These cakes are so cute you might have a hard time cutting into them!
Here's a glimpse of their yummy pastries which you can choose to have at your event in place of cake. These beautiful desserts are sure to satisfy any one's sweet tooth and are stunning as well.

Visit their website to see Jean Philippe's other creations and check out their chocolate fountain, which is officially the largest one in the world!

Photos by my husband, Joshua Vick (Warner Brothers cinematographer) :)

Monday, May 18, 2009

Event Design Inspiration

1. Bellagio Conservatory and Botanical Gardens

Inspiration for your next party can be found anywhere you go. Check out these whimsical floral designs created by the expert horticulturalists at the Bellagio Conservatory and Botanical Gardens in Las Vegas. I was there this weekend just before they finished the installation of their summer exhibit for a sneak peak. It is free and open to the public, so I would recommend you see the gardens for yourself to get some ideas for your summer or spring wedding or special event. Go to their website for more details:

But if you can't get to Vegas, here are the highlights...

Here I am taking a stroll by the Ferris wheel that had seats filled with sunflowers!

The hot air balloons soaring over the greenhouse were just as impressive. Can you just imagine saying your "I do's" flying over a sea of flowers in the spring time? How romantic!

Nothing says summer like a cold glass of lemonade! Make your guests a tall pitcher served from a lemonade stand to keep them cool during your summer ceremony before you arrive for your walk down the aisle.

This cute as a button bear wearing a bright vest of flowers brought up memories from my youth of Goldilocks and the Three Bears. You can give your guests a similar sense of childhood wonder by incorporating story tale characters that fit your party's theme in to your decor.

Although live birds may not suit every event, imagine using a bird cage full of colorful parrots as the center of an exotic flower arrangement at a tropical themed party? Your event planner can find animal trainers to rent them from who will make sure they are comfortable while your guests admire their beauty.
Borrowing one element for your floral arrangements, such as the adorable ladybugs, below, created out of bright red roses nestled amongst a garden of beautiful purple hydrangeas in full bloom, will surely make your party the talk of the town!

If your floral budget doesn't allow you to go as big in scale as these magnificent Bellagio Botanical Garden creations you can ask your florist to incorporate a fun touch such as a small lady bug perched amongst your centerpieces or go for the same ideas as these but substitute in less expensive flowers. Your florist may be able to come up with a completely unique idea that will be even more spectacular and fit better in your budget, so be open to their suggestions and have fun getting creative with your arrangements!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Gorgeous Wedding Locations

2. Hakone Gardens

Located in the beautiful and exclusive hills of Saratoga, CA this Japanese Garden is perfect for an outdoor wedding. I brought my mother and grandmother here for a stroll on Mother's Day and we were leaving just as a weekend wedding was setting up. With a beautiful lawn for the ceremony near a Koi pond and many areas going up the hill where you can take gorgeous wedding pictures amongst the blossoming flowers in so many amazing colors, this is definitely a place you should check out!

Here are a few photos we took there so you can see what I mean. Visit their website to see more and stop by for a tour. It'll be a relaxing way to spend a weekend, even if you don't chose it for your wedding location.

Dōmo arigatō for visiting with us!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Messages of wisdom from the Paper Crane Planner

2. Don't underestimate the importance of your event planner
I just came back from my cousin's beautiful wedding in sunny Florida. Despite having to use an event planner that was a part of her new family to not offend her, she probably would have rather had a wedding planner who was more in sync with her vision and style. This caused great friction in the decision making process and disconnect with the final outcome and her requests since the planner wanted to do one thing and my cousin had in mind something completely different. Luckily we were all there to help her and she was strong enough to put her foot down on things that mattered to her, but certain things, like her bouquet, which she specifically requested to be a certain way came out completely different. Fortunately it all came out beautiful anyway and the celebration of the marriage went off without any major hitches. It was truly an amazing day for a wedding on the beach and the important thing is that everyone had a great time celebrating their wedding day.

My cousin the beautiful bride and I toasting to her marriage on the limo ride to their ceremony on the beach.

Congratulations to the new Mr. and Mrs. Roache and family!

Lessons to be learned:

A) Make sure you have a solid contract! Don't think that things will naturally be done by your wedding planner. Ex. If you expect her to set up and tear down the wedding ceremony sites and the reception hall you should clearly specify it in your contract.

B) Meet with your wedding planner well before any preparations are made to make sure you are on the same page. You don't want her to start planning how your flowers are going to look without you getting to tell her what you had in mind and then it may be too late to order the flowers you really wanted, etc.

C) Ask to see samples of any work the planner is doing on her own. Ex. If she is making your bouquet, see if she can show you examples of her work or at least provide her with pictures of what you want so there is no confusion. Your idea of classy and understated could be completely different from hers!

D) Remember, the bride comes first! If she is not seeing things the way you are, ask to meet with her and figure out where you are not communicating your desires and make sure she realizes this is your day, so if you want something she doesn't agree with you still get what you want. She has more experience than you with planning events so hear out her advice, but in the end, you and your fiance should make all the calls because this is your big day.

E) If things don't go exactly according to plan, relax and enjoy the moment. You only get married once and the little things you think went wrong won't matter in the long run. No one will remember the bubbles that weren't passed out for your exit or the wedding programs that got left at the back of the church and no one got to see (the later happened at my wedding and I still have all the programs). What matters most is you and your fiance's commitment to each other and the joining of two families on this blessed occasion.

So pick your planner wisely and try to enjoy the occasion with your fiance, family, and friends. Everything will come together and as long as you have fun, everything else is just icing on the cake!

My gorgeous and delicious wedding cake by Torrance Bakery.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Unique Gift Ideas

2. Rabbit Corkscrew Gift Set

For a wedding, anniversary party, housewarming, or even your boss' birthday...this gift is well suited for just about every occasion. Just make sure the person you're gifting it to drinks wine! But even if they will use it only from time to time to open up a celebratory bottle of wine, they will be happy to have it. We got one for our wedding and I have to tell you it makes you wonder why anyone would want to open a bottle with out it; it's that much easier! It costs $69.95 and is well worth it for the years of hassle free bottle opening to come. Bonus: It even puts the cork back in the bottle too!


Buy it at most speciality home stores including online at

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Arts & Crafts Addictions

1. Paper cranes

It should be clear by my blogger name that I love making paper cranes so it will come as no surprise to you that it is one of my favorite crafts. Not only is it stimulating to your brain to fold origami and create these lovely paper birds, but it's also a meaningful activity.

It is said in Japanese legend that by folding 1000 paper cranes (and hanging them together on a string in what is called a senbazuru) you will be granted one wish. Also, senbazuru can be given to wish someone a speedy recovery when they are ill or to wish good luck to someone that you choose to give the senbazuru to. After the story of Sadako Sasaki, a young girl who folded a thousand paper cranes but died from leukemia following the bombing of Hiroshima, it has also become a symbol for world peace.

So whether you plan to make just a few cranes to pass the time and sharpen your mind or 1000 to ask for a special wish for you or a friend, I think you'll enjoy this simple craft. They also make adorable gift tags on presents, tied to a bottle of wine for a hostess gift, or can be used to decorate your dinning room for a festive Japanese themed party. Even just one paper crane in a color that complements the rest of your decor placed on top of a neatly folded napkin at each place setting will do if you don't want to spend too much time folding.

I did my table, pictured below, in just a few minutes and it was quite fun (plus it helped me pass the time as my husband finished playing a game of football on his Xbox. The boy has to play sometime!).

Here are the steps I found on, but if you get stuck send me a comment and I'll try to help you out! It may seem like a lot of steps, but it is mostly repetition and is pretty easy. Check out their site for pictures to help you along the way (that makes it easier to follow the steps but it would take too long for me to post all the pictures in this blog).

1) Start with a square sheet of paper. (I used Aitoh origami paper from Michael's craft store that comes in a pack of neon colors in the typical square size, but you can cut your own squares from normal paper bigger or smaller depending on what size crane you want to make.) The front of your paper (the side you want to show in the end) corresponds to the blue side of the paper in the photo. The hidden back of the paper is white in the photo (see the website link above for the photos).

2) Fold the sheet in half, into a rectangle. Be sure to crisply crease your folds.

3) Note that the previous crease is perpendicular to this one.Unfold, and fold in half the other way.

4) Unfold your rectangle. Turn the paper over and fold in half into a triangle. You should see the back of your paper. Unfold and repeat along the other diagonal.

5) Unfold your paper and turn it back over. You should see the diagonal creases create "valleys" and the perpendicular creases create "mountains".

6) Bring the corners together. Allow the valley creases to come together in the middle.

7) You should have a vertical crease running down the middle of your square. Align the square. By flattening two opposite sides, you should find yourself with a square that is open on the bottom. Make sure your square is rotated so that the opening is on the bottom, as shown in the picture.

8) Bring the right corner of the top flap to the middle crease, so that the lower right edge lines up with the crease.

9) Repeat this action on the left, so that the top looks like a kite.

10) It should look like a gem. Fold down the top corner to make the crease lie along the horizontal line created in the previous two steps.

11) Unfold. In doing so, you return to having a square with an opening facing down.

12) Take the bottom corner of the square and start to fold it up along the horizontal crease you made in the previous two steps.

13) As you fold, notice the four diagonal creases on the inside that you made earlier. You will need to reverse the two creases on the upper flap. To reverse a crease, fold it in the opposite direction that it naturally folds.

14) Bring the outer edges to the middle and flatten, so that you have a diamond.

15) Turn your paper over, and repeat the previous five steps.

16) Fold the edges to the middle crease.

17) Repeat on the other side.

18) Fold the right flap over to the left (in the same manner as turning the page of a book). Turn over and repeat on the back.

19) Take the bottom tip of the top flap and fold it up to the top corner. Turn over and repeat on the other side.

20) Fold the right flap over to the left (in the same manner as turning the page of a book). Turn over and repeat on the back. Now the head and tail are nestled in between what will become the wings.

21) Fold the wings down so that they are perpendicular to the body, head and tail.

22) Fold the tip of the head down.

23) Pull the head and tail out so that they line up with the outer edges of the body.

24) Create 3D volume. If you want a three dimensional body, you can grasp the opposite corners on the bottom of the body and gently pull to create the desired volume.

25) Give away, hang, string, or simply enjoy!

Unique Gift Ideas

1. Gianna Rose Atelier Couture Soaps!

Ok, so some of you will probably think I'm crazy but my latest obsession is soap. I'm not talking about the creatively named and yummy smelling Soaptopia bars of soap that we shower with or the fancy European soaps you find in expensive hotels. I am in love with these animal and dog shaped soaps! Take a look at a few I found while shopping at Neiman Marcus and Bloomingdales.

These will make a perfect wedding shower, housewarming or hostess gift at around $20-$25 each. I always like giving things that I find amusing but maybe wouldn't splurge on for myself because honestly paying over $20 bucks for a soap isn't my idea of being smart with money, but how could I not love receiving one of these adorable Black Labs as a gift for my powder room? Check them out for yourself and just try to stop yourself from smiling when you see how cute they are!

And I had to post these for my friends-Tamara who just got a new Dachshund puppy and Anastasia who has two little toy Chihuahuas. Don't you just want one?!

They can also be purchased online at so feel free to browse the site; There are many other adorable animals and objects to choose from like Maltese pups, owls, rabbits, pears, robin's eggs, sea shells and more!

Friday, February 20, 2009

Gorgeous Wedding Locations

1. Wayfarer's Chapel

I've been asked by one of my readers to post more photos from our wedding, which I will do soon because I have many beautiful pictures that our wedding photographer, Felix Foto, took. Despite my disappointment in not having a single shot of me in my wedding dress and a few group shots that were missed, he did an amazing job capturing the day and I am so thankful for his pictures, so I definitely want to share those with you too!

But before I do that I wanted to post some photographs that Felix took of the location that we were married at so you can see how beautiful this chapel is. Wayfarer's Chapel is along the Pacific Coast in Rancho Palos Verdes, California, high up on a cliff overlooking the ocean and is a beautiful church made out of glass so you feel like you are outside when you are in it surrounded by trees and lots of greenery. We were married there on a gorgeous, sunny day with the light shinning down on us (making my dress sparkle under the light), but they also have romantic weddings at night with candlelight.
Only downside is that because it's such a gorgeous place, it's extremely popular and hard to get a date (we got lucky because someone didn't pay their deposit and ended up canceling so we got a date six months after our engagement; normally it takes more than a year!). Also they book weddings back to back on the weekends making it a short turn around time so you have only about 30 minutes before and after the ceremony to get ready and take group pictures on the church grounds. This was the main reason why we didn't get a chance to get all the photos we wanted because we spent too much time trying to get a large group photo instead of getting the "money shots" of me and my husband in our wedding attire (although we did get a few photos in front of a tree outside the church which I am very happy to have and will post later as well).
I do recommend you check the location out for your wedding, but keep in mind the time constraints and plan accordingly if you choose this chapel. Also note there is a required donation ($2.5k at the time of our wedding) to use this church, so that should be worked in to your budget. They were very helpful in the planning process and the service is non-denominational so you can ask to work in your favorite readings or even different languages to make the service fit your unique needs (our minister, Rev. Jonathan Mitchell, recited part of the ceremony in Spanish so my family members who were there that were native Spanish speakers could connect to the ceremony). The minister we got was funny and caring, so we felt very comfortable with him marrying us since neither one of us had a childhood minister to go to.
We had a friend, Jordi Sanchez, play and sing our song ("Follow Through" by Gavin Degraw) for us during part of the ceremony and you can arrange to have a choir or musical performances of your own, depending on how big your budget is, to customize the experience even more. They had a great speaker system though which you can use to play your favorite music from a CD if you are on a tighter budget and it is just as effective in setting a mood while your guests wait for you to arrive or depart. We were so in love with the chapel when we saw it that we looked no further and had to be married there. You'll know when you find your wedding location because it will just feel right.

Wayfarer's Chapel
5755 Palos Verdes Drive South
Rancho Palos Verdes, CA 90275

Visit the chapel even if you're not planning a wedding; It's so peaceful and has a beautiful view!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Messages of wisdom from the Paper Crane Planner

1. Don't underestimate the role of the photographer

Most people know that one of the most important elements to consider for your wedding is picking your photographer. But what I want to make sure you don't forget is to meet with your photographer before the wedding and, in detail, outline who you want photographed, what parts of the ceremony and reception, and in what locations, as well as any special group photos you want to make sure to capture. My photographer was a colleague and I made the mistake of assuming he would know what was important. But when it comes down to it, even the most seasoned wedding photographer can miss a shot that you would love to have if you don't make it clear to them before hand that it's a must have (ex. you and your grandmother or how about just you by yourself in your wedding gown? Believe it or not, my photographer missed taking a single shot of me alone showing my full gown and what a pity to not have that photograph in your album to preserve the memory of your wedding dress forever.) To make matters worse, in our situation, our venue rushed us through the post-wedding photographs, so make sure that you plan out which pictures are going to be taken especially when you have a time constraint.

But if you're swept away with work, guests in town, and other wedding issues and you miss a few important photographs like I did, don't despair. It is an additional cost to fix, but I felt it was important to have more portraits with my husband in our wedding attire at the church and of myself alone in the dress so we simply recreated the event. True, it wasn't the day of the wedding (in fact we hesitated and didn't do it until 6 months later when finally it was clear to me that my wedding album wouldn't feel complete to me with out these pictures) but many brides choose to do the formal photographs before the actual wedding to avoid the rush and stress of doing it all on the wedding day when all your guests are around. So whatever you do, make sure you plan ahead. If you miss a shot, don't worry because the memories you have will last forever and if you can't live with out them, just throw on your dress, get your husband's tux ready and have the pictures taken after the wedding! Happy snapping!
Believe it or not, this is probably the best full length picture of me by myself in my dress on the actual wedding day... Below are the photos taken by Judy Hailey ( that I think are absolutely beautiful and were definitely worth the effort of getting my hair done the same way as at our wedding and getting the dress dry-cleaned all over again, etc. I loved working with Judy on them, she was so accommodating and took the most creative pictures that made our album complete. No regrets now! (The last thing you'd want is to look at your album years later when it's too late to take the pictures again and feel like you're missing some crucial photos that you wish you had taken!) My husband embraced it as well because he knew how important they were to me and Judy made it as painless as possible for him. Actually, he had fun with it!

...And of course I got several "glamour shots" with my husband since we didn't get too many beautiful formal photos before due to the rush out of the chapel grounds...

I would post all of our portrait photos because I love them so much, but I won't take up all your bandwidth! Needless to say I highly recommend Judy if you are having a wedding in Southern California or have the budget to fly her out to your location. Thanks again Judy for these wonderful photos!