When I was 19-years old, I met a boy.  I was wrapping up my sophomore year at UC Berkeley (so was he) and though we never had a single class together, we attended the same church.  I will never forget the first time I saw him (from a distance, and I swear it was in slow-mo like in the movies) and gushed to my girlfriends that he was absolutely dreamy. We moved from admirers to friends, until one day Erik skated up to me on Sproul Plaza (yeah, he literally rolled up to me on his skateboard) and asked me to join him at a concert the following week.  I said yes, he skated away, and the rest is history.  :)  If you’re wondering about the concert: we saw The Juliana Theory & the Ataris at the Fillmore in San Francisco.  Major points if you know either of those bands.  :)

From then on, we were nearly inseperable.  We dated for the rest of our undergrad years, getting engaged during Christmas break our senior year.  I’ll share the amazing proposal story one of these days…  We got married just months after graduation, surprising most of our friends and family.  Why would we want to get married so soon, so young??

Oh how thankful I am to have spent such sweet, formative years with my one and only.  How grateful I am that we knew back then that this was IT — that love is a covenant and you choose to love every day.  Love is what you do.  We set our love upon one another, and that love has only deepened, matured and strengthened over the years.

Today we celebrate ten beautiful years of marriage (and over 12 years together).  I am in disbelief that the time has passed so quickly, and yet I can think back and see how full these ten years have been.  We have walked through so much together.  We’ve been blessed to travel to six countries together, along with many US destinations.  We both abandoned our “stable futures” and everything we had studied in college to pursue what we felt was truly our calling.  We’ve lived in four homes together.  We clung to each other in years of infertility and recurrent miscarriage.  We welcomed our miracle daughter in 2012.  We bought our first home together in 2013.  We took the leap of faith into the world of adoption in 2014 and embarked on a roller coaster ride through the domestic adoption process.  We welcomed our miracle son in 2015, via adoption.  We’ve laughed to the point of tears, we’ve cried in valleys of sorrow, we’ve fought and we’ve forgiven.  We have both GROWN, by the grace of God, and so has our love.  TEN years always seemed like the first “big” anniversary to me.  An entire decade.  Now that we have made it, I wonder if the next ten will fly by even faster?

If you follow me on Instagram, you know I am currently out of town celebrating with a mini-getaway.  I’m sure I’ll share more about that on the blog eventually.  Today I just wanted to share my top ten things I love about my college (and forever) sweetheart, Erik.

favorite pic of us on our wedding day — so much joy!

singing “be thou my vision” with our guests // it’s one of my favorite pics of the day
and was snapped by a friend in one of the front rows!

  1. His unwavering faith and devotion to the Lord — he exemplifies what it means to practice what you preach
  2. His ability to be silly & playful — we have so much fun together, and I can be my goofy self around him without any hesitation
  3. His sharp wit and humor — he makes me laugh every single day
  4. His brilliant mind — Erik has always challenged me and conversations with him elevate my own way of thinking.  God has given him such an ability to study, understand, retain and teach.
  5. His patience — he has so much grace for me and others
  6. His beautiful amber hazel eyes — they are the color of golden honey and they are captivating!
  7. His tenderness in parenting — Erik is the best father to Olive and Noah and there is nothing more attractive to me than seeing how he cares for our little ones.
  8. His uncanny ability to dominate at everything he does, whether it’s a long-time hobby or a brand new endeavor.  Erik is just good at everything, and it is kinda crazy.
  9. His romantic heart — Erik has always written me the most beautiful, sincere love letters and never misses an opportunity to wow me on anniversaries and special occasions.
  10. Your loyalty and devotion to me — I feel so secure in your love and you love me so well.

to my Erik — you are my greatest blessing on this earth.  I can’t adequately express how thankful I am for you, every single day.  10 years ago, I married the very best man I knew.  You still embody to me everything that a great man is: devoted to the Lord, full of integrity and honor, respectful, well-spoken and kind, tender-hearted, wildly intelligent yet strikingly humble, utterly hilarious! and personable, and let’s face it… you’re pretty easy on the eyes, too. 😉

I know I am better for knowing you, and for having the honor of living as your companion. you teach me so much just by the way you live.  You are a constant source of encouragement and edification to me, and there is such comfort that comes from the support you give.  I know how special our relationship is.  I truly believe it to be an (unfortunate) rarity: two people committed to love each other, and also wildly in love with each other.  I treasure what we share, and I am proud to be your wife.

It is a joy to love you… for better or for worse, for richer or for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, until death separates us.

happy anniversary baby <3 I love you.

spring 2008 — the image is found

december 2008 – amelia lyon

fall 2009 – jessica claire

january 2012 – jose villa

july 2014 – ryan ray

june 2015 – the image is found

I hope you’re all having a great day; see you soon!

With Olive starting preschool in a month (!!!), I have had school supplies on my mind.  I always loved back-to-school shopping as a child, and now I get to be the one with the pocketbook, helping my own daughter fill up a cart with (cute) essentials.  Although the supplies truly necessary for a preschooler are limited, I knew I wanted to invest in a great first backpack.  My goal was to find something well-made, colorful and appropriately-sized.  Ideally, Olive will hold on to this backpack for at least a few years.  Here were my top contenders…

  • Herschel // Settlement Kids backpacks $39.99 — Herschel is synonymous with hip backpacks for kids and adults alike.  They have a kids line as well as a slightly larger youth line, for the bigger kiddos.  Olive was instantly attracted to the variety of quirky patterns offered; her favorite is the “South Beach” design in a bright teal, covered with palm trees and pink flamingos.  Both the Settlement and Heritage lines come in kids’ sizes.
  • STATE Bags // The Kane $55 —
    STATE Bags is like the TOMS of the bag world; they have a wonderful program that matches each bag sold with one given to an American child in need.  I love the playful color blocking on the bag, and the various pockets and compartments.  I think both colorways work for boys and girls.
  • Freshly Picked // Limited Edition Backpacks $30 —
    My favorite moccasin maker now makes limited edition backpacks!  This summer they did a playful banana print and a coral-backed palm leaf pattern.  Right now they’re offering a classic stars and striped backpack.  The price is right, too!
  • Skip Hop // Unicorn Backpack $20 — I love Skip Hop products and their sweet line of backpacks (and coordinating lunch boxes, plates, cups, etc.) is comprised of various animals.  The unicorn is a newer offering and it just puts a smile on my face.  This bag is the smallest of all at only 10.5″w x 12″h x 5″d.
  • Fjallraven // Kånken Mini backpack $65 — I love the squared-off shape of this iconic framed backpack, a Swedish classic.  It comes in a rainbow of colors (including some two-tone options) and is beautifully made.

Let me know if you have a favorite!  In the end, I couldn’t get Olive off of those “mingos” (what she calls flamingos) and we ordered the Herschel Kid’s Settlement backpack.  It shipped at lightning speed and the quality and craftsmanship exceeded my very high expectations.  Olive is already wearing it around the house in excitement for “school time.”

Hope you are all having a great week!

>> 2015 LOVE & SPLENDOR WORKSHOP INFO HERE // REGISTER HERE <<

Last month I took a few days to escape to the woods with my family.  We are so fortunate to live just a short 1.5-2 hours from Big Sur: California’s most famous stretch of coast.  If you have never driven Big Sur, I urge you to put it on your list.  It is such a breathtaking, magical, soul-stirring part of the country.  On the left, it’s nothing but cerulean waters, sparkling in the sun and crashing against the rocky shoreline.  On the right, you will pass numerous state parks and endless miles of redwood forest.  The drive is notoriously perilous (read: lots of twists and turns, narrow roads, few guard rails between you and sheer cliffs) but rewards you with spectacular views.  There are countless turnouts along the drive for you to snap some photos and soak in the views a bit longer.

The drive alone is reason to visit, but we were excited to trek to Limekiln State Park for some tent camping.  Many people are surprised when I tell them I love to camp (and hike, kayak, etc.); I guess I don’t really give off the adventurous vibe (hah!).  Appearances are deceiving, however, because I absolutely love being outdoors.  Erik and I hope to pass on this love of the outdoors with our kiddos so we bravely (?) took our 3 year old daughter and 4 month old son along for the experience.  I’m happy to report it was an incredible trip!  Olive loved the novelty of sleeping in a tent and Noah is such a happy camper (pun intended) that he adapted beautifully.  We spent 3 nights out there and it was the perfect length of time for our family.

Limekiln State Park is the perfect campsite for anyone with kids, or anyone who prefers a more low key environment.  There are only 27 campsites there (so quite small): some are at the beach (literally a private little beach only accessible through the campsite — not great for swimming but perfect for relaxing) where you can fall asleep to the sound of crashing waves; others are along the rushing creek; the last group of sites are in the redwood forest.  We went with the redwood sites and were fortunate enough to nab the BEST site in the camp: #29.  I cannot tell you how many times we were asked during our stay (by passerby, other campers, random hikers) what our campsite # was.  Site 29 is elevated (above the main road) and is therefore separate from all the other sites.  You don’t border anyone, you can’t hear anyone else, and it really feels like you are in the VIP section.  😉

this is campsite 29!

We loved that Limekiln had enough nearby to keep us happy at camp (e.g. a beautiful bubbling creek and some mellow trails for hiking with kiddos, along with that aforementioned private beach).  But, we did venture out a few times to explore other parts of Big Sur.  We made stops at Big Sur Bakery & Café (a MUST — the yummiest sandwiches!), Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park (more great trails and hundreds of campsites), Henry Miller library, and Pfeiffer Beach (which was incredibly windy and cold, which makes for a less than desirable beach experience… but undeniably gorgeous).

Limekiln was so great that it’s hard to imagine staying anywhere else next time we head to Big Sur.  But, there are many beautiful state parks in the area that I hope to try very soon.  It’s always a tough decision when it comes to sticking with the vetted, beloved old favorite vs. trying out something new.

During the day we explored, hiked, read, and relaxed.  We ate like kings thanks to lots of pre-trip preparations (and let’s face it — everything tastes somehow better when cooked over a campfire), and slept soundly in a large 10-person tent.  We are so glad we went with the bigger tent; we had tons of room to stretch out, get dressed, stow luggage, etc. instead of going to the car everytime we needed something.  In the evenings we had a tradition of making cocoa, coffee and s’mores and then tucking in for a classic Disney movie (played on my laptop).  I know it sounds anti-outdoorsy to enjoy technology on a camping trip, but it made our early evenings so special for Olive.  She had never seen any of these movies (Aladdin, The Lion King, and Beauty and the Beast) so we loved snuggling together and sharing them with her.

Although we enjoyed our movie nights, we were “unplugged” for the rest of the trip.  I only had service for a few brief moments one day, when I could post a photo on IG.  Being unable to check email or social media for a few days was so good for me.  I was more engaged in my surroundings, soaking up precious time with my family and more attentively marveling in the creation around me.  I also especially loved reading my Bible outside while Olive and Noah napped each afternoon.  It was such a blessing to have that time to myself with the Word, just listening to the creek rush by, taking quiet moments to ponder and meditate.  I felt refreshed (except the part where we only had one ice cold shower, haha!) and rejuvenated and filled to the brim with gratitude.

We’re already planning our next trip this fall!  If you have any favorite spots in and around Big Sur, let me know.  We will likely venture further north on our next visit, taking the kids to nearby Monterey and Carmel.

Enjoy the week and see you again soon!

>> 2015 LOVE & SPLENDOR WORKSHOP INFO HERE // REGISTER HERE <<

Thank you to everyone for your sweet comments here & on Instagram regarding our Target commercial!  We are so grateful for the opportunity we had to be featured as a voice for adoption.  Many people have asked how we got the gig, so I thought I’d share a little behind-the-scenes post on how it all happened.

The process started in early March, when my sweet friend Joy (of Oh Joy!) emailed me about the casting.  She knew that Target was working on putting together a series of nursery commercials and they were looking for different families to feature.  She thought we might be a fit (since we were in the adoption process) and asked if we might want to audition.  Of course my interest was piqued, but I didn’t expect Erik to want to drive down to LA for an audition.  Surprisingly, he said we might as well fill out a questionnaire and see what happened.  We were called for an audition shortly thereafter, with less than a day’s notice.  (That is typical for the industry, but atypical for us since we live hours away from LA now…)  I asked the casting director if we could bring our kids (they were just casting parents) and they said we could.  So, two kiddos in tow, we made our way to the audition.

first audition // see noah sleeping by the monitor?

Our initial audition took less than 15 minutes.  We checked in, waited in a large room with dozens of other couples, and were eventually called into an audition room.  It was just us and a sweet cameraman who filmed us answering a handful of questions.  The process was pretty simple and we felt honored to share our adoption story, even if it was just with the cameraman!  The initial auditions were conducted over a few days, and they likely saw countless couples.

Imagine our excitement when we found out we made callbacks (aka round two of auditions), which meant another trip to LA.  I saw nearly 50 families listed on the callback sheet!  On this occasion, we were called in to meet the director and a team of creatives working on the film.  Noah slept through the audition (of course!) but Olive enjoyed hamming it up for everyone, making friends with the production team and crawling up on the casting couch with them.  It was hilarious!  Once again we enjoyed the experience of sharing about ourselves, why we chose adoption, and how we had already been so blessed in the process.  We also chatted about how our fast-paced adoption made it difficult to prepare for Noah in the way most expectant couples might prepare for their little ones.

Post callback, we learned we had been selected for the commercial.  The casting director then let me know that Target loved Olive and wanted her to be in the commercial as well.  We were delighted!  We had some paperwork to handle (since Olive is a minor, she required a work permit as well as a special bank account for children in the entertainment industry) before things were made official.  As a sidenote — at the time we filmed the commercial, we were not allowed to show Noah’s face on camera.  This is one reason why he is not featured in the commercial.

in the studio

From there we scheduled recording sessions (since the commercial is a voice-over, Erik and I spent time in a recording studio), fittings, and call times.  The recording session took a couple of hours in Santa Monica, where we sat in a sound booth with the director.  He asked us tons of questions about our relationship, our family, our homelife, our fertility struggles and the adoption process.  A lot of the questions were likely warm ups to get us comfortable speaking into microphones (with a handful of people sitting in the adjacent room, listening and taking notes on sound bites they might want to put into the final commercial).  I really loved that the process was conversational, since it meant our own words were used in the commercial, not a script.  It also helped us get very comfortable with the director (the brilliant creative, Mac Premo) before shoot day.  We had a great time telling our story to him in full detail, even though only a few snippets made it into the 1 minute commercial.  A little note: I was a little sick on the day of our studio session, so my voice sounds deeper than usual in the commercial.  Of course no one could really notice but it still makes me chuckle when I hear it played back.

olive with director mac premo

The day we shot the commercial was an exciting and packed day.  We arrived early to grab coffee and breakfast (catering + craft services = one of the best parts of the entertainment business! haha) and then were rushed into hair/makeup and wardrobe.  I love that they observed what we wore to the audition (our own clothes) and just tried to mimic that.  So, while the clothes we wore were selected by stylists (the hilarious Keith Wager), they were almost identical to what we had worn to the audition.  Keith joked that it was actually hard to find quirky clothes for me.  😉  Everything we wore was head-to-toe Target, of course.  Olive was put into overalls which looked darling on her, but there was a tiny bit of drama since she prefers to wear dresses everyday of the week.  We all convinced her she looked perfect and distracted her long enough for her to forget what she was wearing.  I then had the pleasure of having my makeup done by the talented Terri Apanasewicz.  She is an industry star who styles some of the most famous faces in Hollywood (including Cindy Crawford and Gisele, nbd), yet she treated me with the utmost kindness and care.  I told her I hope our paths cross again so she can really doll me up, instead of just giving me the everyday look we were going for with this commercial.  😉  We didn’t do anything to my hair (or Olive’s!) to keep it natural.  From makeup I was literally whisked to set, and right into the first shots.  Everyone on set was super friendly and accommodating, from the producers to the cameramen to the editors.

Also fun — they hired a teacher/handler for Olive, since she is a minor.  She was so lovely and also had worked with some of the biggest child stars in Hollywood, including Abigail Breslin.  I was really blown away by the talented crew that Target had brought on for the project!

Overall I was  taken aback by the amount of people who were on-set to oversee the project.  There was someone there from Target HQ, along with the creative team who had been at the audition, sitting in a “video village” to observe the playback.  They would occasionally radio up minor comments and notes to help capture exactly what they envisioned for the project.  There was a props team, a seamstress, and countless others.  The energy in the air was palpable, and the pace frenetic yet upbeat.

It was a very full day of filming but I have to say I enjoyed every minute.  I loved just getting a glimpse of the fascinating world of film/TV.  SO much work went into putting together this spot; it made me pause to consider how much more time goes into shooting every scene of a TV show or movie.  I certainly came away with a greater respect for the art and thought and effort that goes into creating the commercials we see everyday.

I hope one day Noah can watch this film and see how excited we were to welcome him into our family.  He has truly been loved and anticipated from the very beginning.  I can’t believe he has now been with us for five months!

Enjoy your day and see you again soon!  Thank you for stopping by!

>> 2015 LOVE & SPLENDOR WORKSHOP INFO HERE // REGISTER HERE

I can’t believe it but my little family is featured in a Target commercial about adoption!  I’ve already watched it a handful of times and Olive is positively obsessed.  (Oh brother!)  Don’t worry — we aren’t quitting our day jobs.  But, we had a blast working on this project and are excited to have it as a little keepsake for our family.

Today I wanted to share the commercial (currently on their YouTube channel, but keep your eyes open: our contract allows to national TV spots as well!) but later this week I’ll share about the audition & casting process, as well as what goes into shooting a commercial like this.  It was a really unique and wonderful experience.

We’re not quitting our day jobs but hey, Olive is Coogan-account ready in case anyone out there wants to snap her up for their next ad campaign.  😉

I hope you all have a wonderful day; see you soon!

>> 2015 LOVE & SPLENDOR WORKSHOP INFO HERE // REGISTER HERE <<

It’s no secret I am an ice cream fiend (it is hands down my favorite thing to eat, period).  I literally can never get enough and it is difficult to keep it in my house since my self-control goes out the window when I know there’s a pint waiting for me in the freezer…  Whenever I have guests over, I love to make my own homemade ice cream as a special indulgence.  Just a few weekends ago, I had the joy of hosting the Kaisers (Nate, Jac, and their two kiddos Grace and Jasper).  During their last visit, we whipped up a luscious salted butter caramel ice cream.  This time around, I let Grace brainstorm some flavor ideas and we picked one together.  We landed on a creamsicle-inspired flavor that combined a creamy vanilla bean base with a bright infusion of fresh orange.  The result was incredible and I am happy to share the recipe here with you!

Orange Creamsicle Ice Cream // makes a generous quart
**Vanilla base adapted from David Lebovitz // customized to add hint of orange

  • 1 cup of whole milk
  • 3/4 cups of sugar
  • pinch of sea salt (or best salt you have in the pantry — I use Himalasalt)
  • 2 cups of heavy cream
  • 5 large egg yolks
  • 3/4 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 vanilla bean, split lenthwise
  • zest of one large orange
  • 1/2 cup of orange juice (fresh squeezed from the one you zested!)

Prepare an ice bath by filling a large bowl with ice cubes (about halfway) and a bit of water so they are floating.  Then placing a metal bowl on top of that so it is surrounded by the ice cubes.  You want an extra cold bowl to add your ingredients later.  *A key to successful ice cream making is having a completely cold custard (un-churned ice cream) before pouring into your machine.

Put a mesh strainer over the metal bowl and pour the cream into it.

In a medium saucepan, heat the milk, salt, and sugar until the sugar is melted.  Scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean and add to the milk mixture, then throw in the bean pod.  Cover, remove from heat and allow custard to infuse up to one hour.  Remove bean pod.

In a separate bowl, whisk together your egg yolks.  Rewarm the milk mixture and temper the yolks by slowly adding small teaspoons of the warm milk to the eggs and whisking continuously.  When the yolk mixture is warmed up, add *slowly* to the milk mixture.  I am really cautious about scrambling my eggs so I very gradually add warm milk to the yolks, then a touch of the yolks to the milk, and so on.  This is the most time consuming step for me but it is well worth not ruining a batch of ice cream with chunks of scrambled egg!  haha

Now cook the custard over low heat, stirring constantly and scraping the bottom with a silicone spatula, until the mixture is thick enough to coat the spatula.

Pour the custard over the mesh strainer into the cold cream (in that metal bowl over the ice bath).  This helps in case you didn’t temper patiently and have some floating egg bits in your custard!  It also ensures that the final product is luxuriously smooth.  Stir over the ice bath until the mixture is cool, then add the vanilla extract, orange juice and zest.  (I strain the orange juice but put the zest in directly because I love the pretty specks in the finished product.)

Put the custard into the fridge for at least 4 hours, or ideally overnight.  This is a KEY step — your custard must be thoroughly and completely chilled.  If not, it won’t freeze completely in the churner and you’ll end up with ice cream soup.

When your custard is fully chilled, freeze it in the ice cream maker according to instructions.  I use the Kitchen Aid ice cream maker attachment that works with my stand mixer.  I love it!

Once the ice cream is churned, remove to a freezer safe container and chill until firm.  (Fresh churned ice cream will have a softer texture since it doesn’t have any artificial stabilizers, but it will firm up nicely in the freezer.)

Let me know if you try it — it was a definite winner over here!  Enjoy and see you again soon!

Happy Monday everyone!  I have been so excited since registration opened last week for this year’s Love & Splendor Workshop.  If you are thinking about joining us, don’t hesitate in contacting me with any questions.  I love hearing from you!  You can email me directly // angel@loveandsplendor.com

You can also see details about the workshop & SIGN UP HERE.

photo by Ryan Ray

Today I thought I’d share just a few of the sweet notes and kind words I received from attendees last year.  It sort of makes me blush to share these but I think it’s helpful for prospective attendees to read them.  I hope most of all you can discern how important it is to me to create a truly unforgettable, heartfelt, beneficial experience for everyone.  My heart is in this 100% and I feel honored to share it with you!

Dear Angel,

Thank you so, so much for putting on such an incredible workshop!  Everything was perfect from start to finish, and every detail was so beautiful.  The information you and all the speakers shared was priceless and so helpful for me and my business.  I was able to apply almost everything we covered to my own floral business, so it worked out really nicely; I will definitely encourage my flower friends to sign up next year!  I was an experience I will cherish forever.  You are one of the warmest and kindest people I’ve ever met, it’s no wonder you’re so successful!  My heart is overflowing and I just can’t think you enough!!

Tons of love, Martha
Martha Claire Floral

Angel Darling,

I truly admire and appreciate your organization and attention to detail in planning this amazing and inspirational workshop!  Your talent is true and genuine and that is rare.  I love this about you and hope I can be so lucky to adopt those qualities as my own in my business.  I feel renewed, inspired and passionate about life and the adventures I have ahead of me making my way in the industry.  This workshop was exactly what I needed and I could not be more thankful to you for hosting it and of course, April for recommending it.  I am lucky to know such great women!  Your insight is so helpful, thank you for sharing your knowledge and experience with me.  Thank you!

Love, Kelsey
A Lovely Creative

Angel,

I can’t thank you enough for all the hard work you put into planning the L&S Workshops.  Please know that it paid off!  I left feeling inspired and well-equipped to take on the challenges faced in this industry.  You are truly a force — incredibly talented, but even more kind-hearted.

xoxo, Leah Moss
also at Parsonage Events Floral Studio / Michigan

Angel,

I can’t thank you enough for putting that workshop together.  It was so empowering!  Your love for what you do and your love for others is so strong.  The guests you chose were perfect; they were so honest and open.  Since the workshop I’ve made a big life decision and will be working for Archive Rentals Mexico.  I am so excited for the opportunity to design for them in a beautiful and new place.  I’ve enclosed the Maya Angelou quote you shared at the workshop for you to frame.  It was the perfect quote to sum up the way you and your guest speakers made me feel.  I left with such encouragement to continue in the industry with hope.  Thank you again for everything!  You are amazing!

Love, Jesenia Pena
Archive Rentals Mexico

I was truly blessed by the passionate, creative, encouraging bunch of women I had join me last year in Los Angeles.  I can’t wait to see how this year’s group shapes up and I look forward to making new connections and friendships this September in San Luis Obispo at Greengate Ranch!

Learn more HERE and sign up HERE!  Have a wonderful week!!

UPDATE: REGISTRATION IS NOW OPEN!  CLICK HERE!

Happy Monday, everyone!  In just two days, I’ll open up registration for the 2nd Love & Splendor Workshop and I couldn’t be more excited.  Today I wanted to post all of the details you’ll need to join us this fall.

LoveandSplendor_WorkshopLogo_Final-LowResolultion

WHEN/WHERE: Monday, September 14th thru Thursday, September 17th at Greengate Ranch and Vineyards in San Luis Obispo, California

WHO: We welcome aspiring and current wedding planners and designers of all experience levels, as well as other event creatives who want to learn more about how to run a productive, profitable, passion-driven business.  Last year I was thrilled to have floral designers, stationers, calligraphers and bakers in attendance at the workshop.  The material can be adapted to many different creative entrepreneurs.

WORKSHOP SPEAKERS + COLLABORATORS: This year’s line up includes Angel Swanson, film photographer Ryan Ray, Jeni of Found Rentals, Diana and Josh of Casa de Perrin, Jesi Haack of Jesi Haack Design, Melody of Sweet and Saucy Shop, Emarie VanGalio of La Tavola Linen and Theoni Collection, and MORE to be announced.  :)

photo by Ryan Ray

ABBREVIATED SCHEDULE // I love a good surprise so I’m keeping many details under wraps.  For now, here’s a basic look at how we will spend our time.  Of course, schedule subject to change as plans shape up.

  • MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 14TH
    • Check-in to your room and get settled from 2-4p
    • 4p Opening session // Angel Swanson
    • 5p Depart for dinner
    • 530-8p Private Welcome Dinner — an exquisite meal shared with new friends, and a perfect time to break the ice and get to know one another!
  • TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 15TH
    • 8a Breakfast
    • 9a – 12 noon Speaker Sessions
    • 12 noon Lunch
    • 1p – 2p Speaker Session
    • 230-430p Off-site Visit & Table Mockup Reveal
    • 430-530p Prep for Dinner
    • 530-830p Dinner — a detail-laden immersive experience
    • 830-10p Campfire Conversation // Coffee, Cocoa, S’Mores + a Facilitated Time of Connecting Together
  • WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 16TH
    • 8a Breakfast
    • 9-12 noon Speaker Sessions
    • 12-1p Lunch
    • 1-5p Speaker Sessions
    • 5-6p Prep for Dinner
    • 6p-9p Final Dinner — a grand finale you won’t soon forget, with lots of surprises in store!
    • 9-10p Campfire Conversation
  • THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 17TH
    • 730-9a Breakfast & Pack up for departure
    • 9-11a Final Sessions + Q&A
    • 11a-12 noon Farewells & Departures

WHAT’S INCLUDED:

  1. Four days filled with actionable information, taught in a beautifully designed learning environment.
  2. A warm and welcoming community of industry-leading speakers and collaborators who will share their unique stories with you.  Questions are encouraged and each collaborator has a sincere desire to see you grow and shine!
  3. An intimately sized group of attendees to ensure a personalized experience.
  4. All workshop materials, including a binder filled with helpful outlines, documents and templates.
  5. All 8 meals from Monday dinner through Thursday breakfast — each meal will feature the best the area and season has to offer.
  6. Plenty of snacks and treats to keep us fueled throughout the day.
  7. Three nights of accommodations at *either* Greengate Ranch and Vineyard (the stunning location for the workshop) or our partner property, the luxurious four-diamond Dolphin Bay Resort (transportation provided daily to/from Dolphin Bay Resort).
  8. Memorable events and experiences, meant to wow and inspire.  You can expect all the love and care you would see go into a Love & Splendor wedding.
  9. Handpicked gifts and surprises just for you!
  10. A continuing “open door policy” — My desire is to be a lasting resource for all of my workshop attendees.  You can email and call anytime for advice and feedback, or even schedule a lunch or coffee date next time you’re in California!  I have loved spending one-on-one time with attendees from last year’s event!

Photo by Ryan Ray

INVESTMENT: $3400 for a private room OR $2900 for a shared room + bed (shared rooms are only for friends/colleagues who sign up together and indicate their roommate at the time of registration)

ACCOMMODATIONS:

  • Private rooms have either a Queen or King bed, with your own full bathroom.  These rooms are available at Greengate (the breathtaking site of our workshop) *and* at Dolphin Bay (within a 2-bedroom suite which is 1600 sq feet and offers stunning ocean front views, washer/dryer and shared kitchen).
  • Shared rooms have one King or Queen bed to share, with one full bathroom to share.
  • Both private + shared rooms are available at both host properties and your room will be assigned by Love & Splendor.  Preferences can be noted at registration, but are not guaranteed.  Trust me — you can’t go wrong with either property!

FAQ:

  • Can I come for just one or two days? // No, unfortunately there are no day passes available for the workshop; it is meant to be a complete experience.
  • Are there any discounts available?  // If you sign up with a business partner or friend and are willing to share a room (and king-sized bed) with them, you can opt for the shared room tuition of $2900/ea.  You must sign up with that person (on the same calendar day); roommates will be confirmed upon registration.  Shared rooms are available at both Dolphin Bay *and* Greengate and will be assigned by Love & Splendor.  All rooms are quite large and have PLENTY of space for two friends!
  • Can I room with a friend or colleague but have my own bed?  // Yes!  In this case you would each pay $3400 and will be assigned as “suitemates” for a 2-bedroom suite at the Dolphin Bay Resort.  You will each have your own room, bed, and bathroom.  Simply purchase a “private room” ticket and indicate your suitemate’s name via email to angel@loveandsplendor.com
  • What if I have food allergies or dietary restrictions? // No problem!  I will collect this information before the workshop and will make sure to accommodate your needs.  :)
  • Which airport is closest to the workshop location? // The closest airport is San Luis Obispo, a small regional airport a mere 10 minutes away.  If you fly into this airport on Monday, September 14th and depart on Thursday, September 17th, we will provide ground transportation (Uber or similar) for you.  Other major airports (e.g. LAX and SFO/OAK) are 2.5-3.5 hours away.  Upon registration, I can assist you with making travel arrangements and connecting with other attendees (to potentially share a rental car, etc.).

If you have any lingering questions, please don’t hesitate to email angel@loveandsplendor.com and I will get back to you as quickly as possible.

class of 2014!

Don’t forget — registration opens this WEDNESDAY 6/10 at 9a PST / 12 noon EST.  I will post a live link on the blog that morning, and also have it in my Instagram profile.  Seats are limited to ensure an intimate, personal experience so if you’re thinking of joining us, don’t delay.  😉  I can’t wait to meet you in September!  Have a great day!

I’m SO excited to round out my 2014 Love & Splendor Workshop recap series (Welcome Recap / Day 2 Recap / Day 3 Recapwith this look back at our beautiful farewell dinner.  I wanted to send off my attendees with a grand final experience: an incredible meal, an inspiring environment, and surprises around every corner.  Although I’m biased, I felt we achieved just that.  :)  I loved planning and designing this evening alongside some of my dearest friends.  Going through the images for this blog post made me SO nostalgic and simultaneously excited.  I cannot wait for this year’s workshop, coming September 14-17 to San Luis Obispo, CA.  I plan on announcing all the details NEXT WEEK (ahh!) and registration will open on Wednesday, June 10th at 9a PST.  Here’s hoping that we’ll have another fabulous group of creative, joyful and energetic attendees!

i love this arrival/reaction photo!

missing a few but i love this photo of these beautiful ladies!

For this special farewell dinner, I invited attendees and speakers/collaborators to join me for dinner at a secret location.  I didn’t reveal the dinner location until the night of the event itself, and provided direct transportation for my attendees to keep the excitement high.  With the help of The Venue Report, I landed on The Washbow as the perfect backdrop for this celebration.  This modern gem in Culver City has a sprawling indoor space that is an ideal blank canvas for any event.  For my more intimate dinner, however, we kept the festivities outside in their beautiful urban garden.  There is a striking metal “pergola” on-site at the Washbow that was perfect for hanging charming bistro lights, along with foliage-draped chandeliers from JL Designs.  It set the tone for the romantic autumn feel I was hoping for, inspired by a magnificent mountain lodge.  To foster conversation and a feeling of camaraderie, we all sat down to one feasting table (made up of multiple wooden tables from Found Rentals) in beautiful bentwood chairs.

I embraced a jewel-toned palette of mostly oxblood, burgundy and crimson, with texture everywhere, from wooden tables and chairs, to fabrics like wool, tweed and velvet, to sprawling fall foliage used alongside the most sumptuous blooms of the season.  Once again, Carissa from JL Designs made the perfect collaborator as she brought my visions to life.  I especially loved her use of dramatic amaryllis (a fav of mine!) and whole pomegranates in her design.

Casa de Perrin tabletop wares stole the show in a variety of textures: walnut florentine chargers as a base, white collection china, gold flatware and a mix of red and cut crystal goblets for an extra pop on the tables.  The look was unabashedly luxurious while still feeling accessible.  Linens from La Tavola added even more color but the natural linen texture kept it subtle.  I set each seat with a wooden box filled with curated treasures like a name tag by Anne Robin, travel candle from Rosy Rings, beautiful matches, my homemade gluten free granola packed into Weck Jars, handmade Malvi marshmallows and Solstice Canyon almond butter.  It was a final opportunity to spoil these precious new friends.

Heirloom LA blew us all away with a phenomenal family style meal featuring all the best the season had to offer: a red grapefruit salad with speckled lettuces, fresh figs and sunflower seeds; grilled coho salmon and crispy pork belly served alongside roasted root vegetables and a warm sunchoke salad.  It was easily one of the most wonderful meals I’ve had, thanks to Chef Matthew Poley and his unparalleled team.  I loved looking up and down the table, watching new friends share in this meal together.  It was magical.  Heirloom LA put together a decadent mini dessert display, accented by ice cream cakes made by Sweet and Saucy Shop with Sweet Lucie’s ice cream (what a collaboration, right??).  My friends from Sweet Lucie’s even came out with their signature cart to scoop their ice cream in person.  Guests mingled in stylish lounges by Found Rentals and hopped in and out of the fun Flipbooth (a photobooth that prints out perfect flipbooks!) until we had to say farewell.

For a special takeaway station, A Rental Connection hung my favorite Edison bulbs on a vintage arch from Found Rentals.  This beautiful display featured seasonal apples from my favorite local orchard.  Apples are one of my favorite things about summer and fall, so I had to share some with my guests!

Without further ado, here are the stunning photos from my dear friend Ryan Ray.  I am so grateful I had him behind the camera, capturing every detail with such an artful perspective.

me & Ryan himself! Grateful I got him in front of the camera for this snap!

obviously this was before I changed, but I love this snap of me and Cary (Ryan’s wife), my soul sister

Michy, Lauren from Found, Erica from 10.11 Makeup, me, Jeni from Found, Carissa of JL Designs

my precious friend Tara of Heirloom LA

I always love seeing Mike from Sweet Lucie’s!

My Dream Team… event planning + design + styling: Love & Splendor // photography: Ryan Ray // venue: The Washbow Culver City, California // catering: Heirloom LA // florals: JL Designs // furniture rentals: Found Vintage Rentals // tabletop rentals: Casa de Perrin // linens: La Tavola Fine Linen // lighting: A Rental Connection // ice cream cakes: Sweet and Saucy Shop x Sweet Lucie’s collaboration // ice cream: Sweet Lucie’s // photobooth: Flipbooth LA // hair + makeup:10.11 Makeup // calligraphy: Anne Robin (placecards and menus) and Miss Multee (apple station signage) // venue scouting: The Venue Report

I hope you’re all having a great week!  How is already Thursday??  Look out for all the workshop details next week & don’t forget to set an alarm for Wednesday, 6/10 at 9a PST when registration will (finally) open!  Hooray!!  Thank you for stopping by; I am truly grateful for you.

I LOVE the stage Olive is in right now.  I am constantly telling people how much fun it is to have a three-year old, and just when I think it can’t get any better, it does!  I’ve felt this way about every stage, so I guess I shouldn’t be surprised any longer…  It really does continue to get better.  :)  Today I wanted to share some snippets & favorite memories from winter 2014 & spring 2015…

wearing little minis

Does everyone think their kid is the funniest kid on the planet (both on purpose and unintentionally)??  Because seriously, Erik and I cannot stop laughing at Olive all.day.long.  This girl has the craziest imagination and says the most adorable things.  Recently she found some false eyelashes in my drawer and asked what they were.  I told her they were special eyelashes for when I get all dressed up.  She instantly started pulling at her eyelashes and said, “Mama!  I want to take mine off and put these on!!”  When I finished laughing I told her that they’re only for grown ups.  She reminds me everytime we pass that drawer: “When I’m a big girl I’m gonna wear those eyelashes and your special sandals (some Marc Jacobs platforms that she also has her eye on; ha!).”  Oh brother!

Olive loves to dance and sing, often spontaneously.  We can be in a store or even the market and if the music (or muzak) moves her, she says, “Mama I need to practice my dancing!”  From ballet to interpretive dancing to all out crazy shakes, she definitely gives it her all.  :)  I love listening to her making up songs throughout the day (she is great with independent play) about the most random topics.  She’ll sing to her toys, sing while reading a book, sing to Noah while he’s crying.  She definitely loves music.  She also loves pretending to be in school (reading books, practicing her numbers and letters) and art projects of all kinds (painting, “sculpting” with Play-doh, drawing, coloring).

Highlights…

  • Being an adorable flowergirl in Erik’s sister’s wedding (I was a bridesmaid and Erik was a groomsman) in November 2014
  • Lots of playdates with favorite pals including church gals (Jetta, Eden, Chloe), local friends (Zakary, Luke, Piper, Ellis, Leo, Alicia) and LA/OC friends, too!
  • Helped pick out our Christmas tree, put up lights + decorations, and enjoyed a traditional night of festivities in downtown Cambria
  • Continued to attend and love our local storytime one day a week!
  • Disneyland trip in December 2015 with halmunee (my mom) and our good friend Jackie + baby X
  • Multiple trips to the SB Zoo (where Michael the giraffe remains her favorite)
  • Christmas season dinner at the iconic Madonna Inn
  • Our first Christmas morning in our own house (just the three of us), before heading to LA for family celebrations
  • She welcomed a baby brother (through God’s grace of adoption) in January 2015 and has proven to be an amazing big sister — she loves Noah SO much and seeing them together makes my heart burst!
  • Attended a Valentine’s Day party with her friends (and loved every second of it)
  • She loves picking flowers everywhere we go (but always asks permission, first).  If I tell her no, she says, “Just let it grow, right?”  <3
  • She turned THREE and celebrated with donuts (of course) and a pirate-themed birthday (her pick!).
  • Held a bunny and rode a tractor at Ellis’ birthday party (not sure which was her favorite!)
  • Cried over a puppy for the first time (named “Tank,” affectionately called “Tanky” — a beagle/doxie mix at the local rescue)
  • Moved into a “big girl room” with a twin-sized bed!  She chose her own bedding at Target: Paris/ballerina themed
  • She helped Erik plant the spring garden
  • We toured a preschool (!) she will start at in the fall
  • She attended the Giant Playdate with me and had a blast
  • She had her first real job :) // more coming soon!!!

loving my solly baby wrap

photo by Callaway Gable

wearing Paush

This has been a big season of transition for our family, with the wonderful blessing of Noah’s arrival.  Olive has been so great with all of the huge changes and even more than that, I feel like she has grown into an even lovelier, kinder child since her brother was born.  I stand in awe at the way she has embraced him, loved on him, attached to him.  On one of our drives to LA, we made a brief stop at Target to go to the restroom.  I took Olive into the store and Erik stayed in the car with Noah.  As soon as we walked into the sliding glass doors, Olive started to panic and cry (real tears!).  “Mama! Mama you forgot baby Noah! We need my baby Noah!!”  It’s always “my baby Noah” and “my baby brutha” — never just Noah.  I love the way God has made her so tender, sensitive, and affectionate.

I can’t wait to see what the next season holds!!  And, coming very soon, I’ll be able to share some beautiful photos of both of my kiddos together!  Thanks for stopping by; have a fantastic week!