Tuesday, June 30, 2009

street inspired :: pop up card (Ito-Ya in Japan)

"Street Inspired" -- interesting things I've spotted on excursions here, there, and everywhere. These are things that fuel my creativity.

My first post is a pop up card I found in Ito-Ya, one of the largest stationery stores in Ginza, Japan -- 7 floors of art/paper/pens. The love for paper is BIG in Japan -- I even witnessed herds of people in line just to buy pens! I enjoyed seeing all the types of hand made paper -- felt like I was a kid in a candy store.

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Monday, June 29, 2009

cool finds at CB2

For the engaged couple looking for registry ideas OR the newlyweds focused on decorating the new abode, I've spotted some cool finds at CB2, a Crate & Barrel subsidiary. The lumiere candleholders are on sale, and they're a great alternative to using the standard candle holder for the ceremony.

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Thursday, June 25, 2009

sassy, short gowns by melissa sweet

It's summer, and it's the perfect time to show some sass and style by rockin' a short couture bridal gown! I've kept an eye out for Melissa Sweet's dresses for some time now -- she also designs some of the most haute bridesmaid gowns. I love her style and choice of materials -- 2009 is all about texture. If you've got ideas for a themed wedding, love 50s style, or are simply that type of person who just wants to be different -- make a statement! Just dab on some luscious red or fuschia lipstick, and voila! -- instant sass.

Melissa Sweet attended Parsons School of Design in New York and Bauder College in Georgia, and in 1996, opened up her own bridal salon. She then sold her bridal company to Priscilla of Boston in 2005, and in 2008, she left to pursue another dream. Her designs are now being carried out by two phenomenal designers, Antonio Gual and Lia McNairy.*

Photo Credits: William Clark, Priscilla of Boston
*Resources: Priscilla of Boston . . .(click for full post)

wedding forecast by JM :: trunk show vs. sample sale

Designer devotees and fashionistas share a common love for trunk shows and sample sales. While I have explained the world of sample sales in my previous blog "Sample This," the following question pops up quite often: What exactly is the difference between the two? More specifically, what is a bridal trunk show?

Above: Photo of the infamous Kleinfield's bridal store in Manhattan; Photo credit: kleinfieldbridal.com

Bridal trunk shows are traveling collections of wedding dresses from a featured designer. A company representative or sometimes the designer will personally host this special event, giving brides the luxury of viewing an entire collection. Most bridal salons and boutique divisions in department stores do not have showrooms to display full collections. Because of space limitation, they only carry a selected amount of dresses from each designer. At a trunk show, brides have the opportunity to try on the latest designs. Some of the styles may not even be available to the general public as they are from an upcoming season. Others may be an exclusive sample as the designer is looking for consumer feedback prior to placing the gown in production. And many times, bridal salons will bring in designers not currently carried in their store giving them the chance to do a market analysis of their region.

Above: Photo of Donna Salyer's bridal store in Kentucky; Photo credit: fabulous-bridal.com

It’s an amazing perk to have a representative or the designer in attendance as you will be treated to a personal consultation. Make it a point to chat with them and utilize their expertise to get your questions answered. Unlike sample sales, dresses at a trunk show are not discounted. However, there are plenty of special services and incentives that you can take advantage of. Special accessories like veils, additional buttons, and lace may be thrown in. Or the rep may waive fees for removing sleeves, adding length to a train, re-designing a neckline, and other custom changes that you are considering. Some bridal salons may also offer a percentage discount for dresses ordered during the show.

With that in mind, why wouldn’t you want to partake in a fashion event like this? Trunk shows are always on the move so contact your local bridal boutiques and department stores to request their calendar of events. If you have a favorite designer, be sure to book your appointment early as space is limited. Be prepared to make that purchase as that unique find will make its exit in a couple of days only to enter into a new city for the next wide-eyed bride in the know.

Above: Photo of WED bridal salon; Photo credit: Brian Noppe

Below is a list of my personal picks of upcoming trunk shows at Here Comes the Bride in San Diego and Mon Amie in Orange County:

Here Comes the Bride
(619) 688-9201
  • Rose Clara | June 26–28
  • Rivini | July 17–19
  • Lazaro | August 14–16
Mon Amie
(714) 546-5700
  • Ines Di Santo | June 27–28
    - Meet designer Veronica Di Santo
    - Fashion show at 9:30am on June 17
  • Jim Hjelm | July 31 – August 2
    - Meet designer Francesca Pitera
    - Fashion show at 9:30am on August 1
  • Monique Lhuillier | August 14–16
    - Fashion show at 9:30am on August 15
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Wednesday, June 24, 2009

sharing your wedding plans via writing

I thought about how Claire Pettibone was inspired by wedding planning at the age of four and how Anne Hathaway and Kate Hudson's characters in Bride Wars were enthralled by attending a wedding at the early age of five. It hit me that the stories of children dreaming about their big day, especially young girls, do exist. Personally, I can't even recall attending a wedding as a child, but I'm sure I have -- guess my mind was fixed on finding kids my age to play with versus paying attention to the gorgeous white gown that approached the altar or bountiful flowers which were delicately arranged. My preface leads me to writing your wedding planning story. I wish I had done this, not that I didn't have a million other things to do while planning. But, I do regret not taking the time to write down what it was like to get proposed to, and to see the ring for the first time...to how we found our venue and the design directions Abe and I pondered. I thought about my daughter understanding personal decisions, like why I went dress shopping on my own, or what it was like to attend the Catholic Engaged Encounter for marital preparation. Wouldn't it be neat to share this with your daughter, the day she gets proposed to? It will be some time before your daughter is old enough, but I think there's something magical about planning one of the most important events of your life.

Above: photo of journals from SewRevived.com

I've seen it done through wedding blogs online -- it's another option, of course, but nothing can compare to your own hand written calligraphy in a journal you personally selected. Too, it won't get deleted by some HTML error, or hacked into, or seen by every pair of eyes -- including those who don't even know who you are. Share your story by writing your thoughts, sketches, inspiration, and challenges in a journal. . . .(click for full post)

Monday, June 22, 2009

vintage-inspired dresses by Claire Pettibone

Thinking of a vintage-inspired wedding theme? Full of frill and lace, embroidery and beading?

Illustration above is for sale on Etsy.com by KellyStreetVintage | $11.50

Then you've got to take a look at these gorgeous vintage-inspired gowns by Claire Pettibone, a Los Angeles gown designer, who took on a fascination for weddings at the age of 4! Read her story here.

These are dresses from her Rock 'n Roll collection for 2009.

Above: Pettibone's Twilight gown

Above: Pettibone's Stardust gown

Above: Pettibone's Noir gown

Above: Pettibone's Chakra gown
Pettibone uses European couture embroidery and laces to make her dreamy wedding gowns.

Above: Pettibone's Mystere gown

Above: Pettibone's Gothique gown

Above: Pettibone's Janis gown

Above: Pettibone's Demetra gown

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happy father's day!

I didn't get a chance to post yesterday, but Happy Father's Day!
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Friday, June 19, 2009

movie watch :: The Proposal (June 19, 2009)

Coming out in theaters today is the romantic comedy starring Sandra Bullock and Ryan Reynolds -- "The Proposal." It's about a pushy boss (Bullock) who forces her young assistant (Reynolds) to marry her in order to keep her Visa status in the U.S. and avoid deportation to Canada. Hope it's funny, 'cause I love romantic comedies, let alone wedding-related ones!

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Thursday, June 18, 2009

it's a font thing

I'm currently working on two custom wedding invitations projects -- exciting stuff! Will post in the near future. In the meantime, I've been shopping for fonts! And shopping for fonts is addicting. Check out these sexy fonts I just bought. Lovely! Can't wait to use 'em.

Did you know? Fonts are created by a designer? Each letter is individually illustrated or designed. Back in the day, the typographic design process involved letters being carefully hand illustrated. It took quite a lot of time to do (sometimes years); the designer had to ensure proportions, angles of scripts, and stroke thicknesses of the common stem were the same. Though some designers still opt to develop a font the traditional way, one can purchase font making software to create a font much more quickly. If I ever decided to attempt creating my own, I think I would do it the traditional way -- more challenging and definitely adds more value. Font creation is an art...that's why fonts have a price tag and copyrights.
Resources: PointlessArt, Wikipedia, NWalsh . . .(click for full post)

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

what's your favorite cake flavor?

On the subject of cakes, I thought it would be interesting to find out what the most preferred wedding cake flavor is. After numerous online searches, from polls, wedding sites, magazines, and bakeries, the most ordered cake flavor is: vanilla with butter cream! I'll give you a few of my theories in a minute.

French Vanilla Cake with Buttercream; Photo credit: McCormick.com

Back in the day, when everything was super traditional, it was customary to order only white or yellow cake for a wedding. White to signify a bride's purity? Or, maybe it was because of the lack of available ingredients? Even picking chocolate was considered extreme -- imagine that! I even read that the white icing had a more pragmatic basis: refined sugar yielded whiter icing, the wealthy could afford refined sugar, therefore, if you had super white icing on your cake, it gave you social status.* Insane! Good thing our options are now limitless.

I've been to many cake tastings, and to be given up to 30+ samples on one gigantic plate, is simply overwhelming, yet divine. From spiced cakes, nuts, red velvet, fondant, butter cream, ganache, and many color choices, picking a cake is more difficult than it seems! Putting the right ingredients together is already a challenge, but if you're wondering how to streamline the cake decision making, think about your guests. Yes, ultimately, you should like it as well, but you're relying on your 150+ guests to finish this specialty that may cost you $700, $1,000, or even $4,000! Hopefully, a majority of your guests will taste the slice of cake they are served...and finish it!

My theories behind vanilla being a favored cake choice?
  1. It's easy on the palate. Vanilla is a simple flavor, making it easy to complement any reception dinner as well as coffee. Nice way to wind down all the flavors from hors d'oeuvres to a 3-course dinner entrée to a variety of cocktails.
  2. People won't be picky with vanilla. Vanilla is considered a "safe" flavor. It can't be critiqued as being too strong or bitter, like chocolate. (BTW, I do love chocolate!) Your job at the tasting: control the sweetness of the vanilla and frosting, and also the level of moisture. Don't be afraid to talk to your baker. Fine tune these details to make for a "can't-go-wrong" vanilla cake.
  3. You avoid dilemma with allergy-prone guests. Be sensitive to guests with allergies. I wouldn't recommend ordering a cake with nuts, or at least for all tiers. Nuts are a popular allergy-causing food. *Same goes for chocolate.
  4. A baker will tell you this. In all the tastings I've done with clients and for my own wedding, vanilla with a Bavarian cream or butter cream was always an option on the plate. And almost every baker advised us it was a popular cake choice.
  5. Cost. The fancier one gets with ingredients, the higher the price.
Remember, not all tiers of the cake have to be one flavor. It'd be wise to at least have one tier be vanilla. What's your favorite cake flavor?

* Resource: Hudson Valley Weddings
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Friday, June 12, 2009

designing a cake

Thought this was something cool to share with you: designing a cake. I went with Ron and Trish to meet a potential cake vendor, and while we were in the shop, I quickly illustrated a cake design (in what seemed like seconds). I left the illustration with Ron to use for more meetings, and luckily he still had it! Take a look at my original illustration + some chicken scratch (dated 11/7/08). Only difference is that Ron and Trish ended up selecting 4 tiers instead of five. Hans and Harry did an awesome job perfecting the design, and it was probably one of the best wedding cakes I've ever tasted! YES, it was edible...(Ron mentioned people didn't believe it was real! LOL!)

It was Trish's idea to add a customized cake topper and dress up the cake base with some bling! I made the cake topper, which housed the top floral arrangement, using strands of rhinestones and silver dotted trim, and I lined the silver cake base with black satin ribbon and more bling. . . .(click for full post)

video wedding invitation by Corey McKenna

I have the most thoughtful friends and clients! Ron B. shared a really cool/cute/brilliant non-traditional wedding invitation. Just wanted to post for you to see a completely different take on inviting family and friends. Even cooler, Corey and Rachel's wedding is today! Congrats, Corey and Rachel McKenna from Cincinnati, Ohio! (Hope you don't mind me sharing your video!)

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wedding dress sample sale TODAY : tickets on sale now

If you want to attend tonight's VIP/champagne cocktail reception at San Diego's Largest Wedding Dress Sample Sale at the Omni Hotel in Downtown, San Diego, tickets won't be available for purchase after 2PM today. The tickets for today's event cost $26pp, and brides will receive a gift bag with cost saving goodies. If you attend today, you get to see the dresses that will be available for the general public tomorrow (free admission) and you can even make a purchase today. The early bird catches the worm!

Friday's VIP reception: 5–8PM
Saturday open to general public: 11–4PM

These are some of the designers whose dresses will be on sale: Melissa Sweet, Vera Wang, Rosa Clara, Christos and more -- discounted 40-70% off retail for one weekend only!

Click here for ticket information: www.sandiegobridalgownsale.eventbrite.com . . .(click for full post)

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

wedding forecast by JM :: sample this

Filene’s Basement -- home of the world famous Running of the Brides event appropriately named after the Running of the Bulls in Pamplona, Spain. Since 1947, Filene's Basement in downtown Boston has been putting on a media-frenzied one-day sale of wedding gowns, not once, but twice a year. It attracts media attention because of the jaw dropping site of hundreds of brides-to-be who scramble desperately for bargains.* On the day of the sale, brides and their helpers line up early. When the doors open, they run full speed towards the racks. In less than 60 seconds, the racks are stripped bare. Women grab whatever gowns they can, haul them off to a corner, strip down to their underwear and start trying on dresses.** All dresses are paid at a fraction of the price, but come with the wild goose chase trying to find that perfect gown. Luckily, bridal sample sales in Southern California seem to be a lot tamer.

Sample sales are a great way to get gorgeous designer gowns at a heavily discounted price. Gowns arrive on the sample sale rack for various reasons: the dress is a duplicate or retired showroom sample, a one-of-a kind design development sample, or has slight fabric imperfections. Because sample sales can quickly escalate into blind, frenzied sprees, take your time figuring out what you want before you get there. They can last an afternoon or become a three-day purge. Since all sales are final, be sure to scrutinize each garment. Don’t automatically be seduced by a 50 to 70% discount. Factor in alterations, cleaning and repair bills. Make sure the dress you’re interested in is really the dress. Most importantly, if you like input, bring a few family members or friends to help you with your shopping. You’ll want their company and opinions and they’ll carry out your divide-and-conquer scheme…scouring racks, guarding dresses, marking the competition, and swiping the last stunning Monique Lhuillier seconds before that other girl can.

EVENT: This weekend, my best friend and I will be attending the event below. I hope to see you there!

San Diego’s Largest Wedding Dress Sale (at the Omni Hotel)
  • VIP Cocktail & Pre-Event Shopping Reception:
    Friday, June 12th | 5:00-8:00pm
    Price: $26 per bride and one guest (includes champagne cocktail reception and gift bag)
  • General Admission:
    Saturday, June 13th | 11:00am-4:00pm
    Sunday, June 14th | 10:00am-3:00pm
    Price: **FREE**
The Omni San Diego Hotel
645 L Street
San Diego, CA 92114

* Resource: Wikipedia.com
** Resource: Filene's Basement
Photo credits: Boston Herald, Boston.com, ShowChina.org, bizzybee3

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COLOR FANATIC: #002 Purple Luxe, Yellow Gold & White

In the spirit of the NBA Finals...thought I'd put a creative board together using purple, yellow gold and white! (Sorry, Magic fans! I live in Southern California--gotta support!) Charming and sophisticated.

Photo credits: Kate Healey Photography, Ceci NY, Corbis, Beautiful Blooms, Crimson Rose, Syeds, Landsendt, Essence Bakery, Nine West, NoWellsOnline, Kate Spade
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Tuesday, June 9, 2009

cool favors, décor, & things at Publique Shop

So, I have two custom wedding invitation projects that I'm working on and any time I start looking for paper & materials, I end up getting inspired, finding paper-made things along the way. I visited PubliqueShop this morning, an online, San Francisco-based, designer shop with mucho cool finds. If you're looking to take a modern direction with your wedding, look at some of these really neat paper items.

Use the boxes to wrap your attendants' gifts in. The foam & wooden coasters could make really cool favors/favor tags/place cards.

Designer Lian Ng created these paper cut-out votive wraps and placemats. The placemats can be used as a table setting prop, double as a place card, and really make a statement -- esp for an outdoor, patio wedding.

Above: Publique Shop's Votive Cuffs Paper Luminaries | $16 for 4-pack

Above: Publique Shop's PopMat Paper Placemats | $26 for 10-pack

OH!! and take a look at their current promo: 40% off the PopMat "tree" placemat...that comes out to $1.56 each!!!

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Thursday, June 4, 2009

summer sizzle boudoir special by nicole caldwell

Want to do something special for your sweetheart? Spend a relaxing weekend in Laguna Beach? Step out of your element for once? Well then (drum roll, please!)...don't pass up on Nicole Caldwell's Summer Sizzle Boudoir Special -- only during the month of JUNE! Nicole enhances your sexiness, femininity and beauty...and does it with complete classiness and style (and in her own private studio). LOVE IT!

* This would make for a great Daring Diva subject, but I've learned that the boudoir photo session is more popular than it seems! Women tend to keep these private..just for their honey's eyes...ooh lala.

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Wednesday, June 3, 2009

nicole caldwell's new web site up!

Just got word that the gorgeous and talented photographer who took our engagement and wedding photos, Ms Nicole Caldwell, just launched her newly revamped web site! Nicole Caldwell, a well known photographer in Orange County, set up shop in Laguna Beach, and travels all over taking photos. Aside from being a phenomenal wedding day photo journalist, she is super sweet, has the spunkiest laugh, and is truly versatile in her style. Her work is seen in highly acclaimed wedding magazines, including InStyle Weddings, The Knot, and the infamous Grace Ormonde Magazine. Check her out!...PS. You'll see Abram and I in her Engagements & [7-degrees] link..;)

Nicole does a lot of photography in the Southern California area, including family portraits, maternity and professional headshots. Feel free to contact her with any q's. Some quick picks of mine:

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Tuesday, June 2, 2009

COLOR FANATIC: #001 French Fun

PREFACE: I posted a few creative boards in the past, but now, I'm going to try and do something a little different. With our new subject, "Color Fanatic," I want to share some pretty interesting color palettes. I'll # them accordingly. And with the color palette, a creative/inspiration board will follow. Just to give you some insight of my thoughts to this new subject, the color fanatic is a person(s) who is looking for some pretty shabby color combinations...and the inspiration board, well, it's just ONE example of a way to go about using the colors -- remember, there are so many options! And B&W is filled with lots of them!

Color Fanatic Creative Board #001 : "French Fun"

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