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!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Wine tasting events at Bottle Rock in LA

I currently am on the board of the LA ADPi Alumnae Association as their VP of Development (ie. event planner), so we are working on putting together our first fabulous mixer at Bottle Rock in Culver City. It's a wonderful venue for a wine tasting and their sommelier, George, who has a very fitting European accent, is helping us pick out wines and foods for the tasting and will be sharing with us his knowledge. They have weekly tastings on Saturdays as well that anyone can go to. Check it out!

Italian Tasting: February 23rd at 7 PM
BottleRock: 3847 Main St.Culver City, California 90232


Re(Define) (Real)ity Charity Fashion Show

Re(Define) (Real)ity Event recap
The event included a purple carpet, fashion show with celebrity models (like America's Top Model Whitney Thompson), musical performances, and an after party which ended up having an open bar to celebrate the designers of Little in The Middle (LITM) jeans' fashion show. The women of LITM were all lovely ladies with big hearts that are making jeans to fit a curvier, healthy figure with more room in the thighs and smaller waists, much like how many woman are built, so they fit perfectly. I was brought on initially as the show runner, but I ended up also helping with the fittings of the models and picking out their outfits (they teamed up with Paco Chicano and Ed Hardy for many of the shirts that were worn on the runway, along with shirts supporting The Alliance charity and LITM tank tops). It was a great event with lots of press and celebrities in attendance to raise awareness about positive body image and preventing eating disorders sponsored by the charity, The Alliance for Eating Disorder Awareness ( Visit their website to learn more about eating disorders and what you can do about them. If you can also please donate to support the cause!

Me (the show runner) behind Daisy in the center (the show's stylist) with the dressers back stage after the show