Archive for December, 2011

I’m not sure how we got here, but we’re here — it’s the last day of 2011!  I, for one, couldn’t be more excited for the new year ahead.  2012 promises to bring some amazing and exciting changes to my life, including the birth of my first child… Olivia!  I look forward to continuing to share my life & passions with you here on this blog.  I just want to take a moment to thank each and every person who takes the time to stop by my little piece of the web.  Some of you are here to follow my wedding design + planning work, while others are simply friends (new and old) who like to keep up with my life.  I truly enjoy writing for this blog, reading your comments, and interacting with my readers.  Thank you again for your love and support!

For my last post of 2011, I thought I’d share some snapshots of what we did to celebrate Christmas last weekend.  It already seems like Christmas was months ago…except for the fact that our tree and decorations are still up.  😉  We always keep them up until post New Year!  Here is how we spent Christmas Eve + Christmas, celebrating with family and remembering the birth of Jesus Christ my Lord and Savior…

On Christmas Eve… We spent the day at Hearst Castle, had lunch at Linn’s in Cambria (YUM) and went to an intimate Christmas Eve service at church.  Dinner was at delicious Ciopinot, a fabulous seafood restaurant in San Luis Obispo.

rounding out at 30 weeks!

lunch at Linn’s is a MUST.  the entire menu is great, but i highly suggest the dungeness crab + gruyère panini and a slice of their famous olalieberry pie, à la mode, bien sûr!

On Christmas Day… I made a huge breakfast for Erik and my parents (mom + Raj), we went to church, and then we had supper + more celebrating with Erik’s family.

I made Thomas Keller’s leek bread pudding for breakfast (among other things) and it was INSANELY delish.

at Erik’s parents’… Erik got me an adorable Hello Kitty keychain USB drive.  😉  I’ll never grow up!

And the day after Christmas… we had a casual lunch celebrating my Dad’s birthday!

you can just glimpse some of daddy’s scars in this picture, from 2009 when he had not one but TWO experimental neurosurgeries.  everyday with my dad is a gift.

and finally, a glimpse of some Christmas cheer from our home…

our tree 🙂

It was a fabulous time…

Tonight we are hosting a dozen friends here at our house.  🙂  The plan is to ring in the new year around a beach bonfire, have a slumber party, and then wake up and go to church together.  😉  I’m sure there will be campfire singing + s’mores somewhere in there.  To tell you the truth, I’m not sure if this nearly-31-weeks-pregnant lady can handle staying up til midnight!  LOL

I wish you all a very Happy New Year, filled with new adventures and joyful memories! See you in 2012!!!

xoxo, Angel

UPDATE: CONGRATULATIONS TO DEBBIE, the winner of our giveaway!!  Thank you to everyone for entering, and we’d still love to hear more of your holiday memories if you’re out there reading.  😉  xoxo, A+A+M

Hannukah has begun and we’re only a few days away from Christmas… I know I’m not alone when I say I LOVE this time of year.  As I anticipate the warm family gatherings to come, I thought I’d stir up some nostalgic warm fuzzies with my Love and Splendor girls.  🙂  I asked Anna and Michelle to send me their personal lists of Christmas memories: the things that are quintessentially tied to their holiday celebrations.  After you have some fun peeking into their memories, we want to hear from YOU!!  At the end of the post we’ll share how you can receive a special sparkling package of goodies straight from us.  😉

{ anna’s list }

  • peppermint mochas
  • Christmas lights
  • ringing of the bells (Salvation Army)
  • Mariah Carey’s “All I Want For Christmas”
  • fun wrapping paper
  • ugly Christmas sweaters
  • nativity scenes
  • Christmas movies
  • exchanging Christmas cards
  • Christmas outfits for puppies 🙂

{ michelle’s list }

  • advent calendars
  • annual family Christmas picture
  • white elephant gift exchanges
  • A Christmas Story“Ralphie, you’ll shoot your eye out with that thing!!”
  • egg nog
  • sugar cookies & gingerbread houses
  • smell of wreaths and trees
  • Christmas songs on KOST 103.5
  • midnight mass
  • giving back to those less fortunate

{ angel’s list }

  • warm roasted chesnuts
  • Ferrero Rocher chocolates
  • Thymes Frasier Fir candles
  • red velvet truffles
  • “O Holy Night” — my favorite Christmas song
  • hand bell choirs
  • Christmas eve at Erik’s aunt house, celebrating festa dei sette pesci
  • buying stocking stuffers at the 99 cents store 🙂
  • “wearing” our Christmas stockings on our feet after we’ve emptied them
  • Miracle on 34th Street — my favorite Christmas movie
me and my buddy feivel on a Christmas many moons ago 🙂


Now it’s YOUR turn!!  We can’t wait to hear about some of the things that remind our readers of the holiday season.  Tomorrow (Thursday!) at 12 noon PST we will pick a random winner and send you a special box of surprises.  It will include fun things we all love, like nail polish, sweet treats and more…  Let us surprise you.  😉  To enter, simply comment below with the THREE of your own random holiday “memories.”  Like our own lists above, we’re looking for specific items that jog your memories, not fleshed out stories.


Looking forward to learning more about each of you!  xoxo, Angel, Anna & Michelle

Well here it is, everyone: the wedding you’ve been waiting to see in all its “perfection” and glory!!  🙂  I am bursting with joy to share these phenomenal images with you, courtesy of my dear friends Nate & Jac Kaiser of The Image is Found.  If you haven’t already, make sure to watch the two videos from Cana VP in conjunction with this post.  I promise they will only add to the enchantment.

Since my other blog posts about this couple have given you the background about the day, I’ll keep this blog short and simple.  (Well, the writing will be short..I’m about to OVERWHELM you with incredible images!!)  Just a little list of fun “midnight” treats guests enjoyed at this non-stop party: singalong mariachi, quesadillas and esquites, fresh fruit with lime + chili powder, and a taco cart…

Enjoy soaking up a little of Natalia & Brian’s bliss via these photos.  They will transport you straight to the day and I can assure you: the day was just as fun as it looks.  😉  (more HERE)

nat & brian have the most amazing group of friends!  loooved this bridal party.

if you haven’t guessed, brian is a total character.  🙂

all the guests had a BLAST… the energy was incredible that night!


watching the wedding preview vid that the Cana boys made… ALWAYS a tearjerker with those guys!!!

parent dances

their thank you toast made me cry…

brian’s band played an amaaaazing set

anna, demonstrating the proper use of an inflatable guitar

the cana boys

the untouchable talents themselves: nate & jac.  i love these two like cah-ray-zee.

and us.  i LOVE these.  me & a couple that changed me forever.

Natalia & Brian — I will never be able to tell you how deeply your love touched me!  I thank God for the opportunity to have met you both, and to now call you dear and treasured friends.  Thank you for the ridiculous laughter we shared over the past year (seriously, we have the best stories!!), and for the tears of joy you brought to my eyes on your wedding day.  I couldn’t be happier to see two such wonderful people be united in marriage.  Your love inspires us all <3  xoxoxo, Angel

{ vendors: it sure helps to work with people who are amazing! }

STATIONARY // KRISTIN, in house graphic designer for LOVE AND SPLENDOR

Christmas-time always puts me in the mood to bake.  I know I’m not alone on this one.  🙂  While Thanksgiving conjures visions of a dinner table overflowing with savory treats, Christmas celebrations frequently star sweets.  I have participated in a number of Christmas cookie exchanges over the years, and this year is no exception.  I’m excited to see what the ladies at my church have created this year!  For my contribution, I almost always lean on this recipe for my VERY favorite cookie — a cranberry orange cookie dotted with chopped walnuts, drizzled with a tart citrus glaze.  I first “discovered” this cookie in college, when a friend made a variation of them.  I’ve since found many similar recipes online.  So, I can’t take credit for the recipe… only for introducing you to it!!

These cookies are my idea of baked good perfection.  🙂  They have a lovely balance of tart & sweet, and an ideal texture balance as well (softer cookie, chewy cranberries, crunchy walnuts).  I can eat them by the dozen!!  My best friend, Kristin, came to visit this past weekend.  She tried a few of these cookies and agreed… they are highly addictive!!  I hope some of you whip up a batch of your own to see for yourself how wonderful these cookies truly are…

Cranberry Orange Cookies with Walnuts ~ Yield: 4 dozen


  • 1 cup of butter, softened
  • 1 cup of white sugar (I prefer turbinado sugar when available)
  • 1/2 cup of packed brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tsp grated orange zest (or more, if you’re wild for oranges like I am)
  • 2 TBS of orange juice (I use fresh juice from the oranges I’m zesting, rather than a store bought juice) — I used Cara Cara oranges, an incredible variety with a blush-tinged flesh and incredibly juicy sweet flavor with hints of cherry, blackberry and rose.  YUM!)
the cara cara orange
ingredients, cont’d…
  • 2.5 cups of AP flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt (I use pink HimalaSalt)
  • 2 cups of chopped dried cranberries (dried currants would be a perfect alternative)
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts (I typically add 3/4 cup instead… LOVE walnuts!)
and for glaze…
  • 1/2 tsp grated orange zest
  • 3 TBS orange juice (again, fresh juiced)
  • 1.5 cups confectioners’ (powdered) sugar
mise en place


  1. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. In a large bowl, cream your butter and white + brown sugars until smooth.
  3. Beat in the egg until thoroughly integrated.
  4. Add your orange zest and orange juice and continue to mix.
  5. In a separate bowl, combine flower, baking soda and salt.  Add this mixture to your wet batter.
  6. Mix in cranberries + walnuts, until evenly distributed throughout the batter.
  7. Drop the dough by rounded tablespoons onto ungreased cookie sheets (I swear by Silpat liners).  **Make sure to give the cookies some room… at least 2″ apart on all sides.  They spread a bit.
  8. Bake for 12-14 minutes in the preheated oven, until the edges are just golden brown.
  9. Remove cookies from the sheets and cool on wire racks.
  10. For the glaze: mix all three ingredients together until smooth.
  11. Spread or drizzle glaze on the tops of the cooled cookies, and wait until glaze is set before storing cookies.
butter + sugars = a sparkling “dough” that takes shape when molded
egg + orange juice + zest integrated
cranberries & walnuts
the finished dough is fragrant and beautiful, dotted with the ruby jewels of cranberry and specks of pretty orange zest
baking with a silpat liner makes my life 1000x easier
simple glaze
ready to devour!!  xo

Enjoy!!  xoxo, Angel

Just under 3 months ago, we had the absolute pleasure of seeing the culmination of this very special wedding… the marriage of blogger (and friend!), Rachel and her high school sweetheart, Dustin.  I’ve known Rachel for years because she grew up with my best friend, Kristin.  I got to know her better via her incredible lifestyle blog, Heart of Light, where she regularly posts about food, family, crafting…  She lives her life beautifully, I savor each post she writes.  I was both floored and honored when she reached out to me about possibly helping with the planning and coordinating of her wedding day this fall.  I knew without a doubt that the day would be a special one.  Rachel’s creativity and eye for design are inspiring.  Pair her up with Dustin, a talented architect, and you have the recipe for a fabulous celebration.

Rachel and Dustin get all the credit for the incredibly beautiful, handmade, colorful and playful décor they created for this wedding.  From the gocco’d invitations to the hand-dyed napkins… to the carefully crafted paper flower centerpieces to a festive fringed and ruffled crepe backdrop… Rachel and Dustin poured their hearts into designing a wedding that celebrated THEM.  Anna and Michelle, my ever wonderful assistants, simply carried out Rachel and Dustin’s designs on the big day.  It is always a treat to work alongside such creative clients and although we here at Love & Splendor adoooore being a part of the design process, we are also eager to collaborate with our brilliant couples on their own phenomenal visions for their weddings.  What a privilege.

Rachel & Dustin’s beautiful wedding has already made a splash on the net after a series of features were posted on 100 Layer Cake (one of my very favorite wedding blogs).  Enjoy this look at their whimsical, vibrant, bliss-filled day, courtesy of images from Fresh In Love Photography.  xoxo


i LOVE this one.  simple and perfect.


We hope you all enjoyed this cheery celebration as much as we did.  The bright colors feel like a bit of sunshine on this chilly winter day.  🙂  Enjoy your Tuesday!!

 xoxo, Angel

{vendor round-up}

Happy Friday, everyone!!  December is here and Christmas is just around the corner… I feel like the air is just buzzing with excitement and joy for the impending celebrations.  Today I want to help you kick off your weekend with a double feature of Brian and Natalia, the couple I mentioned in my last post about the “perfect” wedding.

I have been DYING to share their preview video with all of you since I saw it the night of the wedding.  Now you’ll be able to get the smallest idea of what I meant when I said this wedding was drenched and saturated with love and emotion…

And yes, that’s me in a little cameo around 0:27ish.  That little part always makes me beam; I so cherish the precious friendships I built with this pair.

As a second serving of amazingness, you get to hear the intro to their ceremony, as masterfully told by their friend Johnny Irving.  This was just the introduction!!  He had us all laughing and crying throughout.  I was covered in goosebumps by the time they shared their first kiss as husband and wife.

Enjoy these fabulous videos, courtesy of my dear friends Ben & Drew of Cana Video Production.  I’ve already watched both videos TWICE this morning.  🙂

I hope your weekend is fabulous!  My immediate plans include trimming our fresh cut Christmas tree, priming the bookshelf for babygirl’s nursery, and finishing up Catching Fire (the second book in The Hunger Games trilogy).

xoxo,  Angel