Getaway: Under the Tuscan Sun

November 23, 2010

It's been a busy year! Actually, it's been a busy past couple of years. The hubby and I haven't had a nice long vacation since 2007. Well, the next week will make up for all of that. We're taking a trip to Italy! We'll be staying at the Ferragamo family's Il Borro estate in Tuscany and hitting up Rome, Venice, and Florence as well. I've been glancing at these photos of Il Borro for the past couple of months - as a daily reminder that a much needed break is approaching. It got me through those tough days! 

This is my 50th post in about 6 months of blogging! I've really enjoyed writing and sharing my projects, thoughts, and life experiences. It will be great to look back at all these posts years from now.

So see you all in a week when I come back refreshed, energized, and even more inspired! Hope everyone has a very happy thanksgiving. 

Jackie and AJ's UP Engagement Shoot

November 22, 2010

I just couldn't resist and was so excited to blog about this! This is by far the most fun, gorgeous, and inspirational engagement shoot in my books. Our good friends Jackie and AJ couldn't have picked a better theme for their photos. They are such a sweet couple, and truly made for each other - just like the couple in Disney Pixar's UP. What makes the photos wonderful is that while it is whimsical, it's a great interpretation of their personalities and the adventure they are both about to take together as a married couple.  Jackie had wonderful attention to detail and styled everything to perfection! Aren't they just an adorable and photogenic couple!? Oh-so magazine editorial worthy!

The super talented Figueroa duo at Purple Fig Photo captured it all beautifully (yay for my fellow Filipino artists!).  More photos:  part I and  part II of the photo session. Thank you for the photos Alnie! They are to-die-for.

Congratulations Jackie and AJ! 

The Green {and Thrifty} Thanksgiving Table

Last year I started a tradition of decorating our Thanksgiving table using "green" elements. For this year's tablecentre, I incorporated a lot more eco-friendly items and came up with a simple modern-rustic setting using glass, wood, pine cones and greens. We did the typical fall color scheme last year, so I thought it would be fun and fresh to do a lush and contemporary design in green this year. 

I used an unfinished wood plank (recycled from a piece of furniture) as the runner on our glass dining table. Then, I created boxed arrangements of green succulents, pine cones, and greens from our garden. Succulents are a great "green" floral alternative since they are hardy and can go a long time without water. I spread candles throughout and included some recycled glass bottles as votives. I simply cut the bottoms off (big experiment I had months ago for one of my weddings) and had an instant new candle holder. 

For the place card holders, I used CB2's Whirly Candleholder, and filled it with more pine cones and dried fruits. We like to start decorating for Christmas the day after thanksgiving, so I thought it would make a fun gift for each family member to take home and use to decorate their tree. 

What's great is that this set-up can transition into the Holidays by adding some sparkle, berries or fruits, and more seasonal flowers and foliage!

Happy Thanksgiving!

November 21, 2010

Ahhhh! Here's to that one special day we get to say THANK YOU altogether. One of the very first words I taught my little Natalie was please and thank you. I think it's the most important message after "I love you". There are countless blessings we have received this year, and I'm so glad we have a day dedicated to reflect and give thanks. 

This year we will be celebrating  with a non-traditional trip abroad, so my kitchen and table will be empty. However I just stumbled upon our pictures from last year's celebration. Our family likes to do things "on the fly" - meaning sometimes plans are made a week or even just a few days before. I've gotten quite good at making do with so little time. Here's what I prepared with 2 days notice... (which means I started cooking the moment I found out we were hosting the dinner)

I picked up leaves off the ground and used them as place cards.

 More "found" objects - pine cones I've collected during morning walks. Casual autumnal flowers loosely placed in goblets.

Some of the dishes I prepared:
Spinach salad with cranberry walnut gorgonzola dressing

Prosciutto-wrapped dates for our appetizer

My "award-winning" turkey and stuffing

My mini red-velvet cupcakes with cream cheese frosting.

It's time to set the table and spread some fabulous fall decor and food! Happy Thanksgiving!

Rhea and Mike: Modern in Monterey

November 11, 2010

One service I provide is day-of design coordination, which takes all the stress out of the whole wedding decor installation process. This is a much more affordable alternative to hiring a Wedding Coordinator or Planner, and ensures your day turns out just like you envisioned. Brides that want to have creative control and craft their own wedding can do so with my help. I can consult and give decor advise as well as take control of day-of deliveries, installations, styling and arrangements to make sure all the bride does is sit pretty and relax before she walks down the aisle. 

When my good friend Rhea contacted me and asked if she could hire me as her day-of design coordinator, I was so excited. We met in design school and have seen each other through huge projects, deadlines, and endless sleepless nights.  I was sure her wedding would be fabulous and perfect. Just like me, Rhea is a perfectionist and extremely detail-oriented. Her ideas for her simple, modern, romantic wedding came together beautifully - I'm so proud to share her special day with you!

The wedding was held at the Inter-Continental in Monterey - breathtaking! Rhea created all the crafty decor herself. A true eco-chic bride, she made sure to choose details that were either recyclable, reusable, or environmentally friendly. She loved the pew boxes I created for Carina and Miguel's wedding, so she followed my step-by-step instructions and created her own version filled with eco-fetti for the guests to toss. The ceremony consisted of paper pom-poms from Etsy, and some custom programs created by the Bride herself. For the 30-person reception, Rhea fashioned some paper flowers and attached them to manzanita branches as the centerpiece for the banquet table. She created "mad-gabs" for each person to fill up - such a fun detail! I arranged a scrumptious sweet station with cupcakes by SweetieCups. The couple had their own cupcakes with custom toppers that Rhea created using their baby photos (too cute!!). 

Fabulous photographer Rizza San Agustin captured the special day. See the photos of Rhea and Mike's special day featured in her blog.

There's only one advice I give brides that want to tackle their wedding DIY-style: If you're going to DIY then DIR - Do It Right! You have to think about the tiniest details, pay attention to them, and make sure you have the skills and capacity to move forward with your projects. Make sure you have a strong look that can be pulled together with thoughtful little touches. I've seen a few DIY weddings that ended up sloppy- perhaps the Bride had the right idea, yet she didn't have the  attention to detail , the time, or the help to refine everything. Needless to say, Rhea was the perfect example of a Bride that DIY'd and DIR - Did It Right!

Congratulations Rhea and Mike!