Sunday, June 29, 2008

the great honeymoon dilemma

SERIOUSLY as if planning a wedding wasn't obsessive enough, try choosing where to go on your honeymoon. I mean the wedding is the wedding. It needs to be as near to perfect as possible, obviously, but in the end it's like maybe 8 hours long. Granted, it is truly one of the most important days of your life... but the honeymoon. The honeymoon goes on for days, and if you're lucky perhaps weeks and weeks. yum.

We had a rough time making a decision, I can tell you that. But harder was honestly finding amazing places to visit in the countries we were considering. Generic internet research wasn't working for me and I usually consider myself quite savvy in this department.

Of course you can go to the Four Seasons pretty much anywhere and have an amazing vacation. (I was tempted by their new resort opening in Bora Bora this September). But you can do that when you're old and rich too. We wanted something interesting.

So I realized, let professionals do the research for you. And I don't mean a travel agent. Here are a few great resources I've relied on:

Kiwi Collection
Tablet Hotels
New York Times Travel
LA Times Travel
Conde Nast Traveller

(image from Pousada Maravilha in Fernando de Noronha, Brazil)

Friday, June 27, 2008

style me pretty color palette contest

The SMP color palette contest ended today and guess what? I actually entered! Not because I thought I would win or necessarily WANT to win (though I certainly wouldn't be mad about a $250 gift card to anywhere). But I had the most perfectly romantic image to start with, so I actually had no choice.

(Top image: Flickr user jasfitz, Flowers: Ariella Chezar, Dress: Vogue 1953 via Conde Nast, Post card invite: Bird and Banner, Ranunculus: Saipua, Vintage dress: Dulcinée)

sophisticated romantic

This is part for everyone (because it's a beautiful photo), part for me (because I love emerald green), and lots for Melanie (my future sister-in-law) because she is thinking 1950's monte carlo style for her september 2009 wedding. I LOVE the idea of colored elbow length gloves. so unexpected and fun.

(again from conde nast, 1953 Vogue.)

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

dress me up groom

One of the things I dislike the most in weddings (as far as the fashion aspect goes at least) is when the groom looks just like his groomsmen. eew. We're trying to figure out what Brock should wear and one thing on my mind is the ever-stylish and pleasantly retro white dinner jacket. I happened upon McDreamy wearing just the outfit I have in mind in a recent issue of Mens Vogue! total score. (please excuse the tattered edges, i've been toting it around in an issue of Martha since tearing it out a month or so ago.)

Totally love the no tie, effortlessly sophisticated vibe. I think we're going for a modern frank sinatra meets james bond meets (of course) brad pitt? It feels palm springs-y no? We are on a dinner jacket mission this weekend.

Monday, June 23, 2008

monday tennis whites

Some Serena power to get the week started. Today is the first day of Wimbledon, hooray! I'm a big nerd and LOVE tennis, esp the outfits.
Playing sports + wearing a skirt = bliss

Wish my week consisted of sitting on the public lawn, enjoying Pimms Cup(s), dressing in white, and later supping in London.

Friday, June 20, 2008

old hollywood wedding style

We're getting married in a little boutique hotel built in the 30's (by a real mobster!) in downtown Palm Springs. The vibe is a little old hollywood spanish/mediterranean so I definitely want a bit of that reflected in our wedding. My dress and my ring(s) both have that feeling so we're on the right track! (more on those later). Here's a bit of inspiration on what is turning out be vintage friday.

*all but the bottom left are from Conde Nast. Bottom left from Bacara. Thanks FuriKuri for pointing me in the right direction.

gladiator sandals of yore

So it turns out gladiator sandals made their first (re)appearance in fashion well before spring 08. Now I LOVE my cynthia vincents, but hello.... how cool are these from 1934?

*from conde nast's vast collection of vintage inspiration

Thursday, June 19, 2008

a sea of squash leaves or mid june in the backyard

It's possible that we have a freakshow sort of garden growing out back. Our artichokes grew to 6 ft tall during the spring and now our heirloom pumpkins have leaves roughly the size of tires and are threatening to take over a full quarter of our LARGE (by LA standards) backyard. And I swear to you I don't use any fertilizers, just worm compost that comes directly from our food scraps. Rumor has it that before our neighborhood was turned into a neighborhood (around 1949), the land was used for farming. Which I can certainly understand seeing how everything we put in the ground acts like we've injected it was steroids. As in when I was out there this evening picking cucumbers and zucchini, I literally had to WADE into the sea of waist high leaves to get within reach of the fruit I was eyeing. If you found yourself on the lam, a great place to hunker down would be among our squash plants. I don't have a great picture of it just yet as I need future hubbie to pose as the model so you can truly appreciate the scale of what we're dealing with. Instead I have a sampling of what is in season in LA 90066 at this moment (keeping in mind, I got a late start with the planting of course).

I'm a total broken record, but seriously, growing your own food is a transformative experience. It is satisfying in the get-your-hands-dirty-and-make-something-from-nothing sort of way, but also connects you to a legacy that was lost somewhere between the birth of convenience food in 1950's and the blackberry-obsessed, time-strapped (among other things) 21st century. If you have even the slightest inkling to grow a pot of herbs in your apartment window, I highly recommend that you try. And try again if/when your first little garden goes the way of shriveled stems. My "gift" with plants was a running joke with my roommates in college. Literally couldn't keep a houseplant alive. But guess what... I'm an urban farmer now (very small scale) and it is amazing.

Kay stepping off the soapbox... another picture, dusk over the fence.

and the list

strawberries (we have late bloomers apparently)
boysenberries (still!)
herbs of many sorts (including the omnipotent oregano)

for feeling dramatic and bridal

Tim Walker at the London Design Museum, via oh joy. Amazing work. Might need the book. But the pound is killing me.

An alternate interpretation of drama. Feels like a sweet summer firefly wedding.

summer salads for dinner

While the official, official start of summer is still 2 days away, I say let's buck the calendar and call it here... as of yesterday. The Wednesday farmer's market at opening yesterday morning was literally bustling with the warm summer energy of people ready for long days, heirloom tomatoes, obscure berries, and generally cool food. If you're not familiar with the Santa Monica Wednesday market, it's practically a living legend. Chefs from all over southern California descend on the 4 blocks lined with farmer stalls to fill their cold rooms with local produce to last the week. And lucky for me, our office moved 1 block from the market back in January so now I get to join the early risers with my reusable baggu bags (which are awesome, you should get some, they fit in your purse!), for first pick of the week's haul. I seriously NEVER get tired of it. Though returning to the office, with produce coming out my ears is admittedly less than ideal. Really I want to come home and play with my food.

Anyway. Summer. It is here and it inspired my salads last night. Both would be excellent staples for backyard dinners and BBQ potlucks.

Cucumber salad with yogurt and dill (for 2)
*This was directly stolen/inspired by a salad served for the post-wedding brunch at Farm255 in Athens last sunday.

a mix of 5 organic cucumbers - i used japanese (from fairview gardens at the market) and pickling (from my yard)
super thinly sliced red onion about the size of a lemon
greek style yogurt
sea salt

Using a mandolin (or if you don't have one, a sharp knife) thinly slice cukes into rounds. don't go for paper thin. you want them to stay crisp in the dressing. Do the same for the onion. If you're using a young onion, you will need more since the flavor is milder. For a normal red onion, use less. Though the amount really depends on taste.

Combine with dill in a large bowl for mixing. On the side, mix 1/2 c yogurt (i think you could use sour cream too, which might have been what they did at the restaurant since theirs was ultimately creamier) with a lil' bit of olive oil, juice from a lime, salt, and pepper. Dump onto cukes. Mix. Add more salt and pepper to taste.

Roasted heirloom potato salad for summer
*This one I made up on the fly so amounts are kind of loose. Go by feel.

mixed bag of baby potatoes (purple, red, yellow) Washed and par-boiled, to speed the roasting.
1 cloved smashed garlic
olive oil
s & p

Halve potatoes. Toss with olive oil, garlic, and salt and pepper. (Reserve dirty bowl for tossing the whole salad). Roast on a foil lined cookie sheet at 400 for ~20 mins. But check on them often since they are little and partially cooked already.

green beans
baby tomatoes
salt and pepper

Trim and blanch green beans 1 minute. Make sure to have your ice bath ready so they stay crunchy in the final salad. Cut into halves or thirds so the beans are slightly larger than bite size. Halve the tomatoes. Thinly slice the basil.

Toss everything (in the original bowl you tossed the potatoes so you get any leftover garlic and olive oil) together with a little salt and pepper and maybe a touch more olive oil to taste.

YUM. I was licking my plate.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

weedy bouquet

Spotted these across the way at the farmer's market in santa monica this morning. Had to have. The flowers are actually food plants gone wild: fennel, dill, lambs quarters, etc. SUCH a good idea! Would be perfect for a summer meadow/farm wedding. I love the idea of using local found flowers instead of imported exotics. Eco and wallet friendly! Can you tell that I'm especially inspired and excited by my trip to Georgia last week? I need a farm, bad.

(Please excuse iphone photography).

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

uncommon invitation inspiration

Next on my long and scary list of things to do for the wedding is design and print our invitations, escort cards, menus, coasters, programs, signs, etc. I am feeling highly ambitious at the moment so it's likely that I won't get to everything I'm planning to, but might as well start strong. SO, pretty much all I've done is obsessively research invitations and the like online. Good at surfing the internet, bad at actually starting the project.

In my research I've been watching a little series on "branding your wedding" over at Elizabeth Anne Designs. Which had me thinking of existing brands that are more than wedding worthy already. Here's a few favorites that would be excellent starting points for 4 very different weddings:

Dustin Edward Arnold

You must must check this out on his site because it's so much more dramatic when your see the entire suite big and dark and glossy. This would easily make a gorgeous invitation style for the ultra sophisticated Kelly Wearstler inspired bride. I'm definitely using a lil' of this for my own designs.

Sant Ambroeus Ristorante (by Mucca Design)

Just the cutest thing pretty much ever. Last time I was in New York I unexpectedly happened upon Sant Ambroeus while shopping up Madison Ave with my friend Allison. I practically accosted the poor hostess in seach of ANYTHING I could take home with me. Luckily I discovered the requisite bowl of matches near the door, of which I only took 5, which I thought showed great restraint.

La Condesa (and anything else by Mucca Design)

Seriously making me want to reconsider Palm Springs in favor of Mexico. Need multiple coaster designs. Need.

Mrs Meyers Clean Day

Love this brand and am a faithful user not only because of it's retro cuteness and yummy smells, but also because of it's enviro-friendly-ness. These pictures don't do the packaging justice really, but I thinking Mrs Meyers would be super inspiration for a bright, retro theme.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

lazy sunday chopped salad

Sunday nights at our house generally mean something simple, delicious and market inspired for dinner. And since we usually find ourselves out to dinner on friday and saturday (which can also mean more complicated, heavier food), you can count on our sunday meal being crammed full of all the vegetables I can muster the energy to wash and chop.

Enter the chopped salad.

Here's how it works: go to the farmer's market. Wander the aisles buying anything and everything one can conceivably and/or tastefully combine in a large bowl with dressing, preferably selecting ingredients based on seasonal relevance. We are a bit spoiled in southern california in that our farmers tend to sell the bulk of their produce year round. But I still try to buy what's supposed to be MORE in season because somehow, it just feels right.

Lazy Sunday Chopped Salad

Tat soi
green beans (quickly blanched in a salty bath)
early season heirloom tomatoes
baby turnips
japanese cucumbers
red peppers
mung bean and lentil sprouts
oregano (due to aforementioned abundance, this is in everything)
minced lemon verbena
crumbled cotija cheese

Chop/dice everything in desired shapes and sizes and combine in a big bowl. Toss with this simple dressing:

Simple lemony vinaigrette

equal parts good quality olive oil and fresh lemon juice
1 tsp dijon mustard
1 small garlic clove, smashed
salt & pepper

I usually put everything in a jar with a lid and shake hard for a few moments until everything appears mixed.

If you've made more than you can eat in one sitting, only toss what you intend to eat and save the rest, covered in the fridge. Lazy Sunday salads make excellent Monday night leftovers.

Monday, June 9, 2008

bride lust: honeymoon luggage

I'm imagining this to be the most beautifully crafted soft-sided luggage ever created. Now I know it IS J.Crew but the price puts it on the same level as LV. Expectations are are running rampant. Mustn't we arrive impossibly fresh and stylish to our honeymoon destination? After 18 months of planning for the wedding, how can we just cobble together the best part (4 week honeymoon, yes!!!) with any old thing laying around the storage closet???

The J.Crew Lugano Collection. NEED.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

real wedding, georgia style

Next week I'm heading south for the wedding of one of my bestest friends, Laura. Laura and her hubby-to-be live in Athens, Georgia and have an amazingly rich life made up of running an organic farm, owning a delicious, pioneering restaurant and hip, local bar, plus Laura is a nurse and Jason is finishing his PhD program at UGA. They have carved out an enviable existence in their little corner of the south. And their wedding is going to be rad! Hopefully I'll be back with some "real wedding" type photos to share, but for now, here's an inspiration board I put together for Laura earlier in the spring.

The wedding is at Tucker Plantation, in the countryside outside of Athens and it will be catered by their restaurant, farm255, which is fed by the farm, fullmoon co-op. Laura is growing most of the flowers for decoration and almost everything used in their celebration is from friends and local vendors. It's like the epitome of a "green" wedding, without really trying. Except that we are all flying across the country to be there of course, but we bought our terra passes like good, environmentally-friendly citizens.

Board credits: most of the images I saved before I had designs on blogging, so I'm not sure where all of them are from... eek! But I would guess, martha stewart and Snippet & Ink are major contributers. The dress is Alix & Kelly, the invite is Pica Press, the beet card is Yee-Haw Industries, the hair piece is Easter Yu.

Thursday, June 5, 2008


I am SO excited about our calligrapher, Jenna Hein. She is all the rage right now on wedding blogs so luckily we snapped her up before her popularity is such that she doesn't have time for the weddings of mere mortals like us.

Jenna is actually a good friend of my friend Amanda, who introduced Jenna's beautiful work to me last year. In the abyss of indecision that has defined my wedding planning skills, there have been few things that I have been SURE of from the start. First came our photographer, Michéle M. Waite (who I stalked on the internet for months before we had a date to book her). And then came Jenna's calligraphy. Swoon. I'm not doing it justice here, but she's been featured on Brooklyn Bride, Thoughtful Day, and Design*Sponge (via the guest blog).

Jenna did a whole packet of different versions of our names, our date, and our venue for me to use on our website and for our invitations. The website is up, thank god, and now I'm super inspired to do our invites! Must find time to start those....

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

mini dress

If I was going to wear a mini-dress for my wedding, (and I was seriously considering it being that our wedding is in Palm Springs), this would have to be it.

I saw this little beauty many moons ago in my early days of wedding blog obsessing, but had forgotten about it until Peonies and Polaroids reminded me with her Marchesa post today.

When I first saw it, it filled me with a panic that can only be described with 3 words: NEED. BAD. NOW. Followed by at least an hour of my most creative internet research tactics, hoping beyond hope that I would discover the last remaining online retailer selling the item in question, who would have it in stock, in my size, on sale. A girl can dream.