After a looooong (and unintentional) knitting hiatus of a year, it’s safe to say I’ve caught the bug again.  I first learned to knit in 2012, shortly after Olive was born.  It has quickly become one of my favorite hobbies.  I find it relaxing, inspiring and something that feeds my desire to work creatively with my hands.  I have a lot of expectant mama friends in my life right now and felt compelled to pick up the needles and knit some sweet little hats.  They make perfect, heartfelt heirlooms to add to any shower present.  They are also a super quick knit, due to their petite size.  Nothing is more satisfying that finishing a quickie knitting project!  Even with my crazy schedule, I have managed to knit 3 hats in a week and already have the fourth one in the works!  I tend to knit after Olive goes to bed, sitting with a cup of tea and a cozy blanket on the couch.  It’s a great way to unwind after a long day!

Working with some beautiful yarns by AraucaniaSwans Island Co., Rowan, Manos del Uruguay and Misti Alpaca.  I admit I’m a bit of a yarn snob, but working with beautiful yarns is part of what makes knitting so enjoyable for me.

You can find tons of newborn hat patterns online, but I decided to wing it based on what I had in my yarn stash.  I’m using lots of worsted weight yarns and a size 6 – 12″ circular needle (I swear by Addi Turbo needles and could never look back after switching).  My simple pattern is to CO 88 stitches, join in the round, and do a simple K2P2 brim (1.5″ish).  Then, I knit in the round until I have 3.75-4″ from the CO edge.  The decrease pattern is:

K6, k2tog until end of round, then work one complete knit round. (77 stitches)  K5, k2tog until end of round, then work one complete knit round. (66 stitches) K4, k2tog until end of round, then work one complete knit round. (55 stitches) K3, k2tog until end of round, then work one complete knit round. (44 stitches.  This is where I start transferring to dpns — I like the rosewood cubics dpns from Knitter’s Pride.) K2, k2tog until end of round, then work one complete knit round. (33 stitches)  K1, k2tog until end of round, then work one complete knit round. (22 stitches) K2tog for an entire round. (11 stitches)  Then, K2tog five times, and knit the last remaining stitch (6 stitches).  Using a tapestry needle, run the remaining yarn through the live stitches, pull tight and down through the hat, and weave in the ends inside the hat.

Of course, if you use lighter weight yarns, you’ll want a smaller needle and more stitches.  If you use a chunkier yarn, grab a larger needle and fewer stitches.  Play around and see what works for you.  The Purl Bee has 3 great (free!) patterns for newborn baby hats using their line weight yarn and you can see they CO 108 stitches and use a size 2 needle.

I’m totally on a roll right now and hope to finish 15-20 hats in the next month, so I can gift them to all the mamas-to-be in my life.  Any knitters out there??  I’d love to know what’s currently on your needles!

I hope you’re all having a great week so far.  My 2015 is off to an amazing start and I hope the same is true for you!

I have been dying to share this special celebration with you, and I am thrilled that the day has finally arrived!  Tina and Brian’s incredibly creative, colorful, and detail-laden 5-year vow renewal is featured today on Green Wedding Shoes (thank you, sweet Jen!).  Make sure you scoot on over to feast on all the eye candy, courtesy of my talented friend Braedon Flynn.  It is always an honor to be featured on Green Wedding Shoes and I think it’s the perfect venue to debut these stunning images.

I couldn’t resist sharing my own post today, whittled down to some of my favorite images from the day, as well as some extra background and details.  I had the hardest time selecting photos because this event was seriously jam-packed with gorgeous.  Everywhere you turned, there were layers and layers of beauty and visual interest.  I hope you’re pulled up in a comfy chair and ready to dive into all the goodness.

Tina and Brian are a very special couple to me, because we go way, way back to 2009.  Tina had been a blog follower even before her engagement, and I was blown away when she contacted me to help her style her nearly 800-guest wedding in Taipei, Taiwan (!!!) *and* her stateside reception in Los Angeles.  We clicked from the very start, and I can tell you that she truly become one of my most precious friends since then.  When she told me she wanted to throw a 5-year vow renewal celebration, and wanted me to be a part of it again, I was over the moon.  Tina, for you — any party, anytime, I’m there.  ;-)  It is a dream working with a friend/client who is so creative and stylish herself, yet also yields to her vendors an amazing amount of trust.  She had such a strong sense of vision from the get-go, and all we had to do was embellish and breathe life into it!

For this occasion, I had the pleasure of collaborating with  my dear friend, Tori Hendrix of Sitting in a Tree Design, on the design for the celebration.  We had a perfect creative synergy and had a blast working together!  The vow renewal was drenched in rich colors embracing a jewel-toned palette (inspired by Tina’s background as a gemologist) that included sapphire, emerald green, deepest purple, oxblood, onyx and metallic accents.  Texture also played a big part in the overall event design, and elements such as leather, ponyhair hide, herringbone tweed and velvet all made their way into the look of the day.

Tina blew us away right out of the gate by setting the tone with her one-of-a-kind invitations.  You guys, it was the kind of invitation that you wonder how you can display forever.  (No wonder, since Tina is a gifted calligrapher and hand lettering artist that goes by Miss Multee.)  A custom black acrylic box was topped with a geode “handle” like a sleek jewelry box.  Inside upon a velvet pillow, an agate slice was hand-lettered in gold ink.  Accessory cards were also done in Tina’s calligraphy, letterpressed and foil stamped by Copper Willow.  A black leather tag wrapped around the entire box on a length of black suede cord.  It took my breath away!  Best of all, Tina had thoughtfully chosen each geode and agate slice to match the style and sensibilities of the recipient.  No two were alike.

They invited 30 of their nearest and dearest to be present for this momentous occasion.  Though the celebration was intimately-sized, the details were larger than life and styled for maximum impact.  Upon arrival, guests encountered a station with an array of floral crowns and boutonnieres to adorn themselves.  They grabbed a beverage and followed a path through a set of striking green vintage doors to enter the ceremony space, where sumptuous upholstered furniture from Found Vintage Rentals faced a bougainvillea-draped arch by Siren Floral Co.  Overhead, hundreds of agate slices were strung as linear garlands, creating an aerial “cloud” (one of our earliest design ideas).

The incredible dinner, artfully prepared by Chef Matt of Heirloom LA, was entirely vegetarian (and mostly vegan).  Tina and Brian, both vegetarians, were excited to share an inventive meatless meal with their guests.  Creative courses included beet greens ravioli, coddled eggs and potatoes served in miniature mason jars, and the tiniest casserole dishes filled with vegetarian bibimbap: a spicy and savory Korean rice dish.  Sweets were plentiful, with macaron ice cream sandwiches by Sweet and Saucy Shop and Sweet Lucie’s, as well as an assortment of mini desserts and cakes by The Scootabaker.

Guests enjoyed the evening at one of four uniquely-designed tablescapes.  Each table featured a unique color story and design details.  It looked like a veritable showcase of the Casa de Perrin inventory, because we were able to play with so many incredible pieces from their collection.  One table featured ponyhair, succulents, airplants, cement, clear glass, corrugated zinc and wood.  A second table was topped with black leather placemats (made by Tori), sapphire blue glassware and milkglass budvases filled with bursts of berry-colored florals.  The third table showcased green glass demijohns from Found, filled with bougainvillea.  Black taper candles in brass candlesticks completed the moody look.  The couple themselves joined their friends at the fourth vignette: a breathtaking green wooden table topped with dazzling gold details, aubergine glassware and a literal treasure chest overflowing with florals.  Rachael of Siren Floral Co. beautifully executed the floral vision to capture the wild, romantic, lush feel of the day.  Although each table felt distinct, they were tied together in the scale of their design.  I spent most of the day debating which one was my favorite and I think I changed my mind 100 times!

Tina and Brian are a truly unique couple, inspiring those around them with their impeccable taste as well as their generous and loving hearts.  Everyone present, myself included, felt blessed to be a part of such a special celebration.  Sitting down as a guest that evening was the ultimate gift, because I am thankful to be invited into their lives after all these years.  I wish Tina and Brian only the best for the future and am already counting down until their 10-year anniversary!

Vendor Dream Team

photography: Braedon Photography // wedding planning + design: Love & Splendor // venue: The couple’s home in Los Angeles, California // wedding design + styling: Sitting in a Tree Events // florals: Siren Floral Co. // videography: Elysium Productions // invitations, favors + calligraphy: bride, Miss Multee // printing studio: Copper Willow Paper Studio // makeup: e2beauty // hair: 1011 Makeup // furniture rentals: Found Vintage Rentals // tabletop rentals: Casa de Perrin // welcome drinks + dessert bar rentals: The Hostess Haven // table linens: La Tavola // geodes, agates + crystals: All sourced by bride // concrete planters: Concrete Geometric // bar: Please & Thank You Bar // catering: Heirloom LA // desserts: The Scootabaker // macaron ice cream sandwiches: Sweet & Saucy Shop + Sweet Lucie’s // bride’s gowns: Rachel Gilbert // bride’s shoes: ValentinoStella McCartney // bride’s headpieces: Twigs & Honey // groom’s suit: Club Monaco // shirts: Club Monaco(multee)project // shoes: Cole Haan // watch: Rolex // live musician: Kevin Miso

And I can’t end this post without sneaking these personal photos of us at the celebration.  See that ridiculous swing that Rachael made??  Braedon snapped a dozen photos of Olive on it and they’re easily some of my favorites of my little girl!  Thanks also to Erica of 10.11 Makeup who did my hair and makeup as a gift from Tina (!!!).

 

I love the excitement and anticipation that comes with this time of year.  Although much of the hustle surrounding Christmas can be closely related to a preoccupation with gifts and material goods, I strive to keep my mind and heart focused on the reason behind the season.  As Olive gets older, we are looking forward to infusing our holiday traditions with meaning, drawing her attention to the beauty of Christ and His arrival here on earth.  There are many family gatherings we will enjoy later this week, with bountiful feasts to eat and beautiful packages to open.  Above all, however, we hope Olive grows up to learn about the greatest gift we’ve received, and how it allows us to truly have joy in all circumstances.

This year will be a different experience because we aren’t going to see our families until Christmas Day.  While we will surely miss the fabulous Christmas Eve celebration with Erik’s family (the Italian seafood feast known as festa dei sette pesci), we are excited to begin laying the foundation for our own household traditions.  I love brainstorming ways to make these occasions memorable for our family!  Decorating the tree was so special this year, seeing Olive light up (pun intended) as we adorned it with heirloom ornaments.  I know that as she gets older, these activities and moments will become precious to her, too.

Here are a few fun Christmas activities we’ve enjoyed so far this month.

getting our Christmas tree (about 7′ tall) the weekend after Thanksgiving

Hospitality Night in Cambria + lights at the Cambria Pines Lodge

there’s nothing like Disneyland at Christmas

Christmas light trolley tour in Santa Barbara (our first time and SO much fun!)

3rd-annual dinner at the over-the-top Madonna Inn: it’s a Christmas extravaganza in there!

Christmas party at church!

sitting by the fireplace and watching classic Christmas movies

indulging in special treats like homemade cinnamon-sugar donuts (baked!)

3rd-annual Christmas Mamas Party for my dearest friends in the wedding industry

We are planning to have a sweet morning at home on Christmas with just the three of us.  It’ll be our first Christmas waking up in our own home!  I’ll make a special breakfast and Erik will read scripture.  Then, we plan on heading to spend the rest of the week with family.  Does your family do anything special this time of year?  I’d love to hear about your own traditions!

I hope you have a warm and blessed holiday with your loved ones. See you again soon!

It was such a joy to host our first Thanksgiving this year; in a lot of ways it felt like a rite of passage.  Once you’re hosting holidays, I think you’re a bonafide adult.  ;-)  We have been traveling so much this year that we felt like we just needed to slow down a bit this season.  After some discussion, we decided to stay here for Thanksgiving and simply invite our families to join if they were willing.  With my sister out of state, and one of Erik’s sisters out of the country (on her honeymoon!), we knew the family would be a bit spread out.  In the end, we hosted just a handful of relatives: my parents and Erik’s eldest sister and her family.  Our table of 9 felt perfectly intimate and cozy and we were able to enjoy a wonderful meal along with meaningful company.  I especially enjoyed watching Olive playing with her two cousins!  She doesn’t get to see them very often so it is a shriek-fest of joy when she is with them.  What a blessing!

I had my sweet mama here to serve as the ultimate sous chef.  She helped me wash, peel and chop vegetables all morning while I tended to each dish.  She also washed dishes and countertops, packed up leftovers and helped me make a lovely turkey broth.  We shared a lot of great conversation in the kitchen and agreed we ought to do more cooking together.  It is such a timeless way to connect parent and child, mother and daughter.  Working alongside one another, we laughed and reminisced and taste-tested.  I can’t tell you how grateful I am for her beautiful heart of sacrificial service.  There is no doubt about it — my mom is the most servant-hearted person I know.  The way she works so hard (to this day) to bless me, my sister, and our husbands (and Olive, of course!) convicts me of my own need to serve more.  How’s that for gratitude on Thanksgiving??

I loved being the hostess this year; every part of the process delights me.  From planning the menu, to shopping for ingredients, to setting the table, I take such pleasure in creating a special experience for my loved ones.  You know how they say the cobbler’s children have no shoes?  It’s true in the event world, too: we spend so much time planning personalized celebrations for others (whom I love!) that we often skip the effort for our own families.  While I know that a get-together (especially Thanksgiving!) does not find its value in perfectly placed flatware and manicured tabletops, I still think there is worth in thoughtful details that make a guest feel special.  I tea-stained cheesecloths for a simple runner (under $5), gathered Trader Joe’s tulips + spider mums in some vintage brass and Delftware vases from my own collection, and used my own china, flatware, napkins and amber glassware to set the table.  The pumpkins are part of our home’s fall décor — I just moved them from the living room to the dining table.  Candles always elevate the formality of a tabletop so I just placed votives into extra amber goblets I had!  To top everything off, I foraged some fallen leaves from the neighborhood.  And by “foraged,” I mean I pulled over on the side of a road and picked pretty leaves off of someone’s yard while their dog barked menacingly at me.  It was hilarious and worth it!

My favorite part of our Thanksgiving table (other than the people around it) was the table itself.  My amazing husband built the table the week before the gathering, using reclaimed wood and US-made steel hairpin legs.  He even made a matching bench for one side!  We look forward to hunting for just the right vintage chairs to complete the set; on Thanksgiving we just used old dining room chairs we had.  Being the sap that I am, I felt there was a unique symbolism in gathering around a table that was built by my husband, hosting our very first family holiday.  I can’t wait to make many more memories around that perfectly imperfect table.

Here’s a glimpse of our gathering…

prep in progress

not the best pic of me and my mama but I’ll take it!  ;-)  Next year we’ll take more pictures of people!

before: slathered with sage butter and stuffed with shallots, apples, lemons, celery and herbs.

after!  Don’t mind my amateur trussing job.  It was delicious!

the beautiful table + bench

Erik’s beautiful sister, her husband, and two sons (Olive’s cousins) — check out Olive’s awesome bedhead!

homemade vanilla bean ice cream

dessert: apple crumble à la mode with salted caramel sauce

I hope you all are having a great weekend!  We are doing lots of tidying/cleaning — I feel like I have the spring cleaning bug a few months early.  I’m taking advantage of the motivation and purging tons of stuff.  See you again next week!  :)

Happy Monday, everyone!  I hope you had a warm and wonderful Thanksgiving holiday with your loved ones.  Erik and I hosted our very first Thanksgiving and it was a joyful day from start to finish.  I’ll be sharing more about our Thanksgiving celebration later this week!  In the afterglow of the last holiday, and in great anticipation for Christmas, I wanted to get this post up as soon as possible.  I actually planned to write and post it last week, for Thanksgiving itself, but prepping for our get-together took precedence.  ;-)

Every November here in the US, we are collectively reminded to give thanks for what we have.  It’s a time when we reflect on the bounty of what we have and savor it.  As I tick off my own list of blessings, I am reminded to direct my thanks to the great Giver of gifts: my God.

“Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow.” // James 1:17

I have a powerful and loving God, and a life-giving relationship with Him.  I have a devoted, silly, inspiring husband who loves me with patience, grace and humility.  My daughter — I have a daughter!! — fills our home with laughter and my days with profound lessons.  I have a wonderful family who lends me support and encouragement on a daily basis.  I’m blessed with an amazing group of friends, near and far, who have been by my side for unspeakably joyful moments as well as the dark valleys of heartbreak.  I am fortunate to live in this beautiful country.  While it may be imperfect (as we all are), it is still a place where I can enjoy freedoms that are denied to others around the world.  I have much more than I need and a whole lot of what I want, too.  Some might say it is easy for someone “like me” to express gratitude.

It catches me off-guard when someone will tell me something along those lines — that I have it easy, that I lead some sort of charmed life.  I suppose that if you’re only seeing snippets on the blog or photos on social media, it might be possible to think that.  Those who have read this blog over time, however, or know me in real life, know that I have experienced many sorrows along with my sweetest days.  I’m not here to list off burdens or compare griefs.  That’s not what this post is about.  I’m simply saying that we all have experienced pain and difficulty.  The beauty is this: gratitude transcends those circumstances and experiences.  A spirit of gratitude revels in the everyday blessings.

You’ve probably heard the difference between happiness and joy: happiness is based on your circumstances.  It can be evoked by a delightful occasion and dashed by a terrible situation.  Joy, however, is deep-seated and unwavering.  It is a disposition of the soul — a comfort and peace that cannot be shaken or diminished.  My joy is found in my relationship with Jesus Christ.  Because of who He is and what He’s done for me, I can live and walk in JOY.  When someone tells me I seem like a really “happy person,” I know that what they’re really seeing is the joy of Christ in me.  And that is a blessing (since I am so imperfect and cannot reflect Christ perfectly)!  In times of distress and trials, I can rest in knowing that God’s sovereignty and love never change.  When my heart aches and longs for things I do not yet have, I can still rejoice in what I do have in Him — that which can never be taken away from me.

I write these words and I believe them with every part of my heart, but I still fail in practice.  I catch myself wishing or wanting for more, begrudging the abundance I have and even desiring the gifts of another.  We redefine luxuries as needs.  We compare treasure and are left wanting.  I need to be reminded sometimes (even in writing something like this post!) to give thanks at always.  I must rest in the gracious provision of God and trust that He cares for me.

Gratitude is so closely tied to contentment: simply being satisfied with what you have.  It seems like we are trained from childhood to always want more, to strive for more.  It’s a tragic misdirection of our energies.  We see time and again that people who have more are not necessarily more fulfilled.  (In fact, I’ve seen almost the opposite…)  Contentment is not about quantity but perspective.  When we live in gratitude and mindfully acknowledge what we do have, we find contentment.  We can thank God for what we have, where we are.  We can rest instead of resist.  We can lift praise rather than petitions.  Let me be clear: I am not against self-improvement or goals or ambitions of any kind.  The question is whether or not my achievement of those goals (on my timeline, according to my plans) is tied to my joy.  If I live and die by the plans I make for myself, I am setting myself up for disappointment.  I would be chasing happiness, not joy.

This year is the first year that Olive really “gets” Christmas and we are seizing the opportunity to instruct her about the true meaning of the holiday.  We pray she will grow to cultivate a heart of contentment, acknowledging what she has (and who it comes from) and being sincerely grateful for every blessing.  All I want for Christmas is a heart of contentment and a spirit of gratitude.  All I want for her is the same.

Thank you for letting me spill a bit of my heart here today.  I am truly thankful for YOU, taking the time to read my fumbling words and sharing life with me.  What are YOU thankful for?

Happy Monday, everyone!  How is it already Thanksgiving week?!  I am equal parts shocked and delighted.  This year we have the pleasure of hosting Thanksgiving in our own home and I couldn’t be more excited.  With all the traveling we’ve been doing this year, it feels great to just be home for the holiday.  ;-)  I also look forward to creating more of our own little traditions as a family as Olive gets older.  If you follow me on Instagram, you saw a sneak peek of the reclaimed wood dining table that Erik is building for me.  I can’t wait to set it for our Thanksgiving meal!

Over the weekend, I spent some time menu planning and pantry-stocking for the big meal.  I plan to pick up the perishables and fresh veggies tomorrow from our local farm.  Here’s what’s on the menu so far…

  • Appetizers: cheese, charcuterie, lots of olives (yum!)… maybe a roasted cauliflower soup
  • Whole roasted turkey (we picked up an organic, free-range turkey from Mary’s Turkeys // raised about 150 miles from me!!)
  • Apple + Pecan + Chesnut Stuffing (apples from our favorite local apple stand: Gopher Glen)
  • Green Bean Casserole with Crispy Shallots (a healthier take on my childhood favorite, using green beans from our local Rutiz Farms)
  • Chardonnay Glazed Carrots (recipe from Better Homes and Gardens)
  • Roasted Brussels Sprouts (with and without bacon, of course)
  • Twice Baked Potatoes (fully loaded with cheese, bacon, sour cream and chives)
  • Sweet Potatoes with Pineapple and Marshmallows (yummmm!  This is Erik’s sister’s specialty!)
  • Whole Cranberry Sauce
  • Apple Crumble (Granny Smith, Pink Lady, Fuji and Christmas Bliss apples from Gopher Glen)
  • Homemade vanilla bean ice cream with salted caramel swirl
  • Our favorite warm apple cider.  It makes the entire house smell heavenly as it sits in the crock pot!

What am I forgetting??  I’d love to hear your Thanksgiving meal “must haves” in the comments.  I still have time to improvise!  :)

Hope you’re having a great start to your week — see you soon!

Happy Friday, everyone!!  I thought I’d send us off into the weekend with some beautiful engagement photos from one of my 2015 couples, Makenna and Tyler.  Although I’ve yet to meet Tyler, I just ADORE Makenna!  She is an absolute joy and I feel truly blessed to be working alongside her (and her darling mom!) on her wedding next year.  Clients like Makenna remind me how very fortunate I am to do what I do.  After nine + years in this industry, this is what keeps me going: the sincere connections I am able to build with incredible people.  It is a privilege and joy.  Can’t wait for this beautiful day to unfold next fall… it’s going to be one for the books!

Makenna — thank you for entrusting me with the planning of your special day.  Love you!!

Here are some sneak peeks of their recent engagement session with I Heart My Groom.  Although Madison and Felicia aren’t shooting the wedding, they did a stunning job with these heartfelt images.  <3

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend!  My big tasks are to  finalize my Thanksgiving menu (can’t wait to be hostess for the first time!), do some grocery shopping, and deep clean the kitchen.  See you soon!

I had such a busy summer that I have fallen (extremely) behind on my Olive updates here on the blog.  In fact, the last one was only up through June 12, 2014!  In an effort to catch up, I’m going to share a longer Olive post here today.  Hope you don’t mind.  ;-)  Here’s the latest up through October 31, 2014.

Olive is growing into such a kind-hearted, curious and silly little girl.  She truly delights me everyday and I doubt I’ll ever “get over” the magic of her.  Olive wakes up each morning in the very best mood.  We hear her call out to us from her crib in a sing-song voice saying, “Maaaamaaaa!  Daddyyyyyy!”  When we crack the door open we see her standing up with a beaming smile on her face.  “Good moh-ning!  I missed you!!” she’ll say as we scoop her up.  She is enthusiastic about the little things, like going to the park (again) or running an errand with me.  She is talkative and opinionated, but tender and obedient.  We were at the grocery store this week when we passed by a display stuffed animals.  “Loooook, Mama!  There’s a pony!  Oh Mama I love the pony!”  I reminded her that we had plenty of toys (including ponies) at home, and we weren’t going to be taking a new one home today.  She placed the pony back on the shelf and skipped over to me.  We do our best to raise Olive with a loving, patient heart but I have to say… this girl has something special.  (Ugh, I’m such a mom, right??)  I thank God everyday for this precious girl He entrusted to our care.

Here are some highlights from late summer through October…

  • She spent lots of beach days with “Mimi Donna” from church.  She loves digging in the sand, chasing the waves and climbing all over the beach playground.
  • We continued to attend storytime at our local library, where Olive enjoys singing, reciting nursery rhymes, making crafts and of course, listening to stories.
  • Our treasured friends Ryan & Cary visited us from Texas and we had a blast with them!  Olive loves them so much and I love watching their special bond grow.
  • Since Ryan was here, he graciously took photos of our family.  We are in love with every single one of them; it is a blessing to be in front of his camera!
  • We celebrated the 4th of July with a good ol’ fashioned church BBQ, followed by a failed attempt to view fireworks (living by the ocean = intense fog obscuring the beautiful display).  We still had a great time!
  • 3-4 days a week, we visit a local park to just run wild and free.  Olive wants to climb every structure, ladder, and wall.  She’s fearless but also quite agile.
  • On our trips to Los Angeles, Olive and I make sure to grab lunch at Chick-Fil-A and visit the Santa Barbara Zoo.  It’s a sweet little ritual that we’ve both come to love.
  • We visited the California Mid-State Fair as a family.  Olive loves visiting the livestock and watching the dazzling lights on the various carnival rides and booths.  I love the smell of fair food in the air.  ;-)  Ahhh, nostalgia!
  • Our organic garden produced a bounty of delicious vegetables including snap peas, green beans, cucumbers, kale, lettuces, and six types of heirloom tomatoes.  Erik gets all the credit for the preparation and tending of the garden.  With our over-producing cucumbers, we decided to make a bunch of pickles.  Can’t wait to crack open the first jar in a week or so.
  • For our 9-year wedding anniversary, we took a little roadtrip through California.  We had stops in San Francisco, Berkeley, Lake Tahoe, Mammoth Lakes, and Yosemite.  My sister and brother-in-law (Anna and Sean) were able to join us for the last leg of the trip and we had a wonderful time together.  I love introducing Olive to some of our favorite places.
  • We had an impromptu visit from my best friend Kristin, and her daughter, Siena.  It was so great having her here for a night, and watching our girls play together.
  • Per usual, we took apple season by storm and made it out to our favorite local orchard, Gopher Glen, on a near-weekly basis.  As the apple crop winds down, we are still out there frequently, picking up late-season varieties and plenty of their incredible cider.
  • Olive spent some quality time with both sets of grandparents during various trips to LA.  It’s a blessing to have all of our family just a short drive away!
  • We took Olive trick-or-treating and she had a blast!  It started pouring rain when we were wrapping up, so we had to sprint to the car.  We still got soaking wet.  :)  It was a hilarious memory I know we won’t soon forget.

Our late-June through October 2014 photomosaic:

Our little Olive — I can’t believe how thoughtful, sensitive and witty you are; it takes me aback on a regular basis.  You can read me like a book already, and when I’m low on energy or excitement you say, “Show me your smile face!!”  It never fails to make me grin.  You are fearless on the playground but you still hate getting dirty.  Your favorite foods include all Asian cuisines (that’s my girl!), cheese, olives, peas, eggs and chocolate… of course.  You are crazy about pirates (thanks to Jake and the Neverland Pirates) and use words like “Ahoy!” in your everyday speech.  You love wearing skirts and dresses that let you twirl.  You sing all.day.long (and actually can carry a tune quite well!).  You’re into imaginative play and like to create scenes and interactions with your stuffed animals.  Each has a personality, a voice, and certain mannerisms.  It’s fascinating to watch!  You are a puzzle-master and an avid builder of towers with your blocks.  About once a day, you pretend to be a puppy for 5-10 minutes, barking instead of talking and panting excitedly.  It’s hilarious and I kinda hope you don’t grow out of it anytime soon.  Your puppy name is “Woofy.”  :)  Your favorite activity these days is simply being in the kitchen with me, standing on a stool and helping mix and stir and put ingredients together for dinner or biscuits or a pot of coffee.  I can’t wait for many more memories made in the kitchen, cooking side-by-side.  You are the cutest sous-chef!  We love you and all your brilliance, your quirks, your creativity, your affection and sweetness.  You are a marvelous creature of our great God and it is pure joy being your Mama and Daddy.  xoxo 

Hope you’re all having a great start to your week!  See you again soon.  :)

Happy Wednesday, everyone!  It has been another packed and exciting week over here with new clients, new venues, and new projects.  I’m also loving the temperature shift… I’m welcoming the sweater weather with open arms!

On Monday, I joined my darling new client (hi M!) for a venue visit near Santa Barbara.  It was a magical morning and eventually resulted in her selecting the site for her upcoming wedding (hooray!).  I thought I’d share the simple outfit I wore that day.  In true Angel-form, I’m wearing another dress, pair of tights, and some booties.  This nicole dress by LuLaRoe is an easy favorite — it is super soft and comfy with pull-on styling.  It has 3/4 length sleeves and a twirly skirt that feels effortlessly feminine.  I threw on a neutral puffy vest to stay warm without restricting my arms.  My 3 favorite gold layering necklaces completed the outfit.  And of course, I’m running out the door with wet hair.  I never blow dry my hair and let it air dry every day of the week.  :)

dress: Nicole dress by LuLaRoe // vest: J. Crew // booties: Pamela Love x Nine West

on-site under a majestic sycamore tree, over 200 years old!

I hope you’re all having a great week!!  See you again soon!  xo

Today is an exciting day for our family, as Erik’s older sister is getting married!  We are so thrilled for her and her fiancé, whom we’ve known and loved for years now.  They will exchange vows after dark, in a super romantic rooftop ceremony in downtown Los Angeles.  As a fun bonus, Erik, Olive and I are all in the wedding!  I’m a bridesmaid, Erik is a groomsman, and Olive is one of two adorable flower girls.

One thing I am NOT, however, is the wedding planner.  ;-)  Although I assisted in pulling a few things together for Meg, I really wanted to enjoy the wedding day as a member of the bridal party and family.  I am grateful for some sweet friends who will be managing the set-up and day-of details so we can all relax today.

The wedding has an underlying Art Deco and Gatsby-inspired theme, since her venue is a historical building with period architecture and furnishings.  This made it a ton of fun picking our my bridesmaid dress (we all go to pick our own!) and accessories.  My lovely friend Heather from Twig and Twine did the dark and moody florals — I can’t wait to see everything come together!  Feel free to check my Instagram today where I’m sure I’ll post a few sneak peeks of the big day, too!

photo by Callaway Gable

Congratulations, Megan and Anthony!!  We love you so much and are truly delighted to see you join together in marriage.  Let’s celebrate!

Everyone else — enjoy the weekend and see you soon!