Friday, October 30, 2009

Happy Halloween!

Photography by Amy Stein

What was your favorite costume as a kid?

Thursday, October 29, 2009


To me, nothing solves the problems of the world and makes the sun shine brighter, than a good old-fashioned cheeseburger. I'm a HUGE fan. So often we go overboard trying to be elaborate and sophisticated and it often ends up falling short. But a cheeseburger ... rarely lets you down.

Michael and Cheryl Gardener are the founders of The Burger Bus. It's a tricked out, squat yellow school bus that tools around Santa Barbara serving burgers. They've developed a near-cult following; publishing the schedule of where the bus will be located at the beginning of each week on their Web site and via their Twitter feed.
Their burgers are grilled fresh and are made with grass-fed hormone-free patties. They're wrapped on a toasted ciabatta bun made by our local Daily Bread. The ingredients are also local and the quality is the The Best. Burgers start around $7.50 and sides include things like yam fries, onion rings and fried pickle chips. YUM!!!
The best part? They are available for catering!!! Can you imagine having The Burger Bus pull up for your next party - whether a 40th birthday in your backyard, a corporate retreat or for cocktails at your wedding reception? How fabulous! Now that's high class comfort.

What's your comfort food?

Wednesday, October 28, 2009


If you haven't heard of the Santa Barbara Yacht Club, there's a reason. It is a not-for-profit private club, which means that it is not allowed to advertise as an event venue. As a result, you won't read about it on or in the Independent's Annual Wedding Guide Issue. Most people that know of it, do because they've attended an event there or know someone who has.
SBYC is about as close to the water as you can get for an event venue. There is a stretch of sand on the side and in front perfect for a ceremony. It is somewhat public, as you will have tourists walking along the breakwater ... but there is a low wall separating them, so you won't have anyone right in your space. The upstairs deck is excellent for cocktails, and you won't be able to match the view anywhere else as you look over the harbor and watch waves crash.
Dinner and dancing is in the main dining room, which can seat up to 120 guests comfortably. There is a distinctly nautical look and feel to the dining room as sailing trophy cases line the walls and the chairs wouldn't be found anywhere else (You could bring in rentals). There is a cozy fireplace that can be lit and a dance floor is available. The price is reasonable with a $2,000 site fee, and fairly priced food and bar makes it very competitive. One thing to note, the club is never closed to Yacht Club members. So during your reception, there will be members hanging out in the bar, which is a separate but attached room. However, your guests will have their own bar, so they won't be competing in line, and members are respectful. You are also required to have a member sponsor you in order to host your event at the club... This is a very easy hurdle, trust me. If you would like more information about hosting your event at SBYC, feel free to contact me for an event packet or to set up a tour of the facilities. Happy planning!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009


I am a HUGE fan of clothes by Chloe & Reese. They are a modern take on classic styles and they are oh-so feminine. I'm generally a bit of a tomboy myself, but I have a secret streak of girly that loves to dress up in pretty clothes made in luxurious fabrics, and these fit the bill! And the best part? Each design is available in 24 different color/fabric combinations so that you can customize your looks as you see fit! Dresses range in price from $240 - $630 and are available in sizes 00-14.

SO perfect for bridesmaids ... choose one dress and let your girls pick their color, or give them a color and let them choose their dress. How cool is that!

The chloe & reese online Custom Shoppe is available at
And how fabulous is this jacket??? LOVE! xo

Monday, October 26, 2009


I've had a lot of questions from readers about the onesie monkeys I made for Chris & Tami's baby shower. They're so easy to do! So I thought I'd share a little how-to today ...

What you need:
Infant Onesies
Brown and Tan Construction Paper
Black or Brown Marker

Start be creating yourself a template. Place a onesie vertically, so that the waist down is on a piece of construction paper. Trace (snuggly) the outline of the onesie, leaving holes for the legs. Then remove the onesie and draw legs coming out from the holes. Repeat the process on another piece of paper for the top half of the monkey to create arms and a head.Now that you have a template, trace onto fresh sheets of brown paper and use scissors to cut out the top and bottom halves of each monkey.
Using the tan paper, create a template for the face, trace and cut out. You should be able to fit 5 faces on a sheet of 8.5x11 paper. Using a black or brown marker, draw eyes, a nose, lips and cheeks. Glue the face onto the front of the head.On your computer, design labels (I used Avery shipping labels from Staples) that give your guests direction; "Personalize me!" Stick the labels on the front of the onesies.Open the onesie and insert the head and shoulders into the top half. Then insert the waist and legs. Close the snaps and lift the monkey by the head to straighten out your monkey. There will be a gap in the middle where the halves don't meet (no one will know but you).Cut a length of ribbon approximately 4-inches. Fold it over on itself and glue to the back of the monkey's head (preferably with glue gun or gorilla glue so that it will hold up to some tugging).
Let the glue dry overnight before hanging your monkeys. Have fun, xo!

Friday, October 23, 2009


This past September I had the pleasure of working with Kim and Ken on their beach wedding in Santa Barbara. Kim and Ken were friends during college at UCSB ... they each went their own way, got married, had children and built lives. Both now divorced and living in London, they met again ... and this time, they fell head over heels. They agreed on Santa Barbara for their nuptials, in celebration of where it all began and how they have come full circle to find each other again.

Chuppah by Kaleidoscope.
Wind screens, an umbrella and a wooden plank (all from Classic) make a friendly environment for the string Quartet.
Kim and Ken included blank muslin flags with their wedding invitations. They asked each guest to decorate their flag in celebration of love, marriage and Kim & Ken's story. We set up 40 bamboo poles in a semi circle around the event site, and as each guest arrived, they hung their flag on one of the poles. The time and effort each guest spent on their flags was humbling and beautiful. As they billowed in the wind, it made for a very personal and very intimate space that separated the wedding from everything else happening on the beach that afternoon.
It's easy to see how windy it was that afternoon. Anticipating this possibility, the officiant worked hard to make sure he projected and could be heard. Kim and Ken, knowing they would be emotional, did not want to worry about projecting as they recited their vows. Instead, the couple each gave me a written copy of the vows they had penned and I had them printed and inserted into their programs (so the other would not see them in advance). As they got to that point in the ceremony, the officiant announced that guests could follow along in their programs while Kim and Ken spoke their vows to one another. Now they have them as a keepsake to cherish for all time.

A beautiful beach wedding is possible. It just takes a little planning. xo!

Thursday, October 22, 2009


Living in Santa Barbara, known as the American Riviera, I get a lot of calls from brides considering a wedding ceremony on the beach. There is a very romanticized fantasy about exchanging vows on the sand with the soft hum of the ocean as a backdrop.

A beach wedding is not for everyone ... even for some who have always dreamed of it ... but never really thought it through. With each client, I'll walk them through the pros and cons to help them decide if a beach wedding is really right for them. There is a lot to consider ...

First, find out which beaches allow ceremonies on the beach, which ones require a permit and what the specific regulations are for the one you are interested in.

Are chairs allowed on the sand? Or will you use beach towels, or ask guests to stand. Only some rental companies will set up chairs on the sand.

What are the tides supposed to do? Check the tide charts for your wedding date and note what is expected at the time of day for your ceremony. The last thing you want is to arrive for your wedding and discover there is no sand!

Will you be barefoot, in flip flops or in heels? Consider (and practice) walking on the sand. Do you need to create a plank aisle?

A beach is a public place. There will be sunbathers and tourists near your ceremony site.

You may have dogs running through your site (most SB beaches do not allow dogs, and yet they are still everywhere).

Which brings me to another point ... the not-so lovely leavings of the dogs, plus the ever-present sea kelp. If you book through a venue, they will clean up the beach for you. If you choose to do it on your own, bring a rake.

Again, if you go through a venue, they will ensure your stretch of sand is available to you come Ceremony time. However, if you do it on your own, consider how you will "reserve" your event site ... SB beaches do not technically allow you to reserve, so you may have to designate someone to sit out there and mark your area with beach towels and chairs. (Bring sunblock and a hat!)

Musicians have their own set of requirements to work on the sand. They may need a wood plank underneath their chairs to set their instruments on (these can be purchased at a home improvement center or rented) - both to stabilize as well as to keep the sand out of them. They also may need wind shields to keep blowing sand out of their instruments. An umbrella is almost always a must.

Wind is another BIG factor, especially in Santa Barbara. And this is my biggest point to stress. We have more windy days than not, year round. And it can be very difficult for guests to hear over the roar of the wind ripping across the ocean and waves breaking on the sand. No problem, right? We'll amplify. Know that this can sometimes be worse, as the mics tend to pick up the wind more than the voices talking.

And last, I go back to the fact that the beach is a public place. If, after you've considered all of this, you still are set on a beach wedding ... find a way to make your site feel intimate so that you and your guests feel like you're in your own world, instead of in the middle of someone else's vacation.

Tomorrow I'll share a DIY beach wedding I worked on this summer ... Where all of the above were factors, and how we did it right. xo!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009


The desert table was the first piece that welcomed guests into the Jungle-themed event space. It was inspired by Amy Atlas' amazing creations and featured cupcakes made by the mom-to-be herself. Aren't they adorable?!

That's it, guys! I hope you've enjoyed the photos from this fun baby shower as much as I enjoyed planning it. And VERY best wishes to Chris, Tami and their baby girl. Love you guys! xo

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Peek-a-Boo Pillows

I wanted to take a quick moment to admire the handiwork of Julia Faircloth, Tami's mom (aka Grandmother-to-be). Julia's company Purple Cow Creations made these fabulous and oh-so-adorable Peek-A-Boo Pillows that we used as decoration throughout the Baby Shower. The velcro flap opens to reveal a coordinating stuffed toy inside - so Cute! The kids at the shower went nuts over these pillows ... and so did the adults! Visit her Web site for more information or purchase.


At the bar we offered Virgin Bloody Mary's (Vodka on the side) and Jungle Juice - Orange, Pineapple and Banana Juice with Grenadine (Choice of Champagne or Sprite on the side). Guests helped themselves to a cocktail served up in old-fashioned mason jars.

Classic Party Rentals supplied the tables, linens and bamboo chairs to fit our Jungle theme. Each place setting had a red velvet cake ball (recipe from Bakerella) - SO YUMMY!

We used an antique dresser from my own home for the gift table and it sat beneath a mobile that was made up of wishes and wisdom from guests. If you recall, when we sent out the invitations, we included two animal cards ... Guests were asked to write a piece of parental wisdom for Chris and Tami on one, and a wish for their baby girl on the other, and send them back with their reply card. It turned out SO cute!
Still more to come! xo

Monday, October 19, 2009


Our co-ed Brunch menu included a buffet filled with lots of fresh fruit, bagels, croissants, sausage and coffee cake. But the highlight was the DIY waffle bar! Guests enjoyed Belgian waffles hot off the griddle and chose their toppings from traditional butter and syrup, to fresh berries, whipped cream and bananas. YUM!



Saturday was blazing hot in Santa Barbara. I mean, it was Jungle hot! Perfect weather for a jungle-themed co-ed baby shower for Chris and Tami. I absolutely adore this couple. I first met Chris and Tami as their wedding coordinator last year ... so when Tami's mom came to me to plan them a baby shower, I was beyond thrilled (and more than a little honored). P.s. It's a girl! Due this New Year's Eve!

Saturday was the big day ... and it was fabulous. I live for the looks of awe and excitement on clients' faces when they enter one of my events, and these two did not disappoint. I'll be sharing photos this week as quick as I can get them edited and posted ... Here are the first few; I hope you enjoy! xo

Invitations and Chalkboard Signage by Bella Copia Calligraphy

Friday, October 16, 2009

Weekend Brunch

Everyone knows how much I love brunch ... I honestly think it is the best meal there is. Well, my apologies for the late post, but I have been harried getting ready for Chris & Tami's Co-Ed Baby Shower tomorrow ... a Brunch!

So, just a tiny morsel to whet your appetites ... We're serving up all kinds of goodies, including Bloody Mary's and Jungle Juice (alcohol optional, of course), and a DIY Waffle Station with Whipped Cream, Berries, Syrup, Bananas and more! I'm so excited ... and never fear, I'll have photos to share next week.

Have a fab weekend! xo

Thursday, October 15, 2009

All in the Family

My husband's grandmother recently moved into a retirement home. She lived in her home for more than 60 years and has been collecting treasures along the way. As we were helping her pack up her stuff and decide what to take, what to sell, what to donate and what to disperse we came across many of these items ... things that she had been saving for family members who would love her treasures as much as she has.

One of these pieces is an inkwell that she had been saving for Luca. Wrapped inside was a handwritten note, yellowed and creased by the years, "This was a presentation inkwell to Uncle Alick Hiut, Permanent Secretary to the Admiralty, on his retirement. It is a reproduction of Nelson's inkwell."

As it turns out, Luca had little interest. But as a Calligrapher, I was so excited - and absolutely over the moon when Peggy gave it to me. Now it graces my desk and I work with it everyday. And I know Peggy is thrilled to know it is completely treasured.
Now I just need to find out who Nelson is! xo
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