Archive for December, 2012

2012 is about to come to a close, so it’s only fitting that I round out the year on the blog with another update about my biggest blessing of the year: Miss Olivia Iris!  We have had such a fun month, including Olive’s first Thanksgiving.  (Her “monthday” is on the 12th, so I’ll report on Christmas in her next update!)  She is more like a toddler and less like a baby everyday — bittersweet!

Highlights from month 9…

  • Olive is 17 lbs and 7.5 oz, and 27.5″ long.
  • She has four teeth (more now, but four at the time of her 9 month-day!) — the two in front on top and bottom.
  • Olivia continues to love exploring the world of real food, and new favorites have included roasted chicken and pumpkin.
  • We went to the Getty (Olive’s first time!) with my parents and visited their painting (they have one hanging there).  We’re getting her started on a love of art at a young age.  😉
  • We enjoyed two Thanksgivings (one with each side of the family).  Grandma Del and Grandpa Bill hosted a traditional feast, and Halmunee and Nana-ji had Mexican fare.  Yum!!  We agreed that we are most thankful for Olive this year.  <3
  • Daddy took us on a family adventure to Harmony and Cambria.  The last time we were up there was Mother’s Day, so it was fun to visit again.  After some antiquing, we went to the Cambria Christmas Market to see the beautiful lights display.
  • We purchased our Christmas tree as a family of 3, and Olive watched us trim it.  Surprisingly, she never tried to attack or otherwise destroy the tree this year.  😉  Maybe next year when she’s walking it will become more of a hazard…
  • Olive busted my lip while I was holding her, during one of her excited monologues.  :-/  It was bound to happen sooner or later!  I now know to move out of the way when she begins flailing about!
  • Lots of speed-crawling, lots of cruising and standing (she can stand and balance on her own for 10+ seconds), but no real walking yet!  We are so eager to see when she’ll take that first brave step!  I have a feeling it won’t be long…
a glimpse at month 9 — mostly from Instagram! (@loveandsplendor)

Our dearest Olivia — As we celebrated Thanksgiving together, I was reminded that holidays will never be the same again now that you’re in our lives.  Everyone wants to hold you, play with you, and make you laugh.  This year we had to take turns holding you while the other ate because you simply can’t be bothered to sit still for too long.  You have so much to see and do!  Sometimes I can’t fathom your boundless energy and enthusiasm for the simplest tasks (e.g. chasing after a piece of paper on the ground), but then I remember that you nap 2x a day for 2 hours at a time… so I guess I can understand where you get the energy!  We call you the floor inspector, because no matter how much we sweep and mop, you can always find the tiniest piece of lint or dust to carefully retrieve with your pincer grasp and put straight into your mouth!  Re-visiting Cambria and Harmony with you was so much fun, because the last time we were there you slept most of the time.  🙂  I look forward to returning to these places with you in the years ahead, each time experiencing them in a unique way as you grow older.  One year chasing you around telling you to stop running, one year explaining to you that no, you cannot have another cookie (okay maybe just one more…), one year reminding you not to touch the fragile china in the antique store, and then one year picking out antique treasures with you.  You are curious.  You are playful.  You are silly.  You are beautiful.  Oh my goodness, you are beautiful…  Your lashes are growing longer and darker (like Daddy’s) and your eyes are still a marvelous grey blue.  Your hair is a light brown with golden highlights.  I spend a lot of time studying your face and your fingers and your toes… just memorizing every detail of your tiny baby body.  Your new baby teeth make you look like a little toddler and I know the next stage is just around the corner.  We are starting to think about your 1st birthday and it blows my mind that it is so near.  I’ll try not to go overboard with your party, but I can’t make any promises.  😉  I want to celebrate you everyday!  We thank God for every moment with you, knowing that each day is a precious gift we can never get back.  We thank God for your health and your joy.  Happy 9 months, sweet girl.  We love you with our whole hearts. — love, Mommy

Thank you to each and every one of my readers for another great year!  I am always thankful for you stopping by to take a peek into my world.  2012 has been such a landmark year in my life, and I look with excitement at the future ahead.  I can tell you that 2013 will bring some exciting changes to the blog so stay tuned for that!  I wish you the happiest New Year, full of blessings and joy.  See you soon, friends!

xoxo, Angel

In early November, I had the pleasure of working with a fabulous team on a winter-inspired shoot.  Yesterday the fruits of our labor were featured on Style Me Pretty, and we couldn’t be more thrilled!  Make sure to mosey over to see both of the posts (HERE and HERE) which take a peek at two unique “takes” on the same table.  And lots of love to the team at SMP for their support of our work throughout the years.  <3

I don’t do a lot of staged shoots, but the idea for this unique project was borne out of a desire to capture the holiday spirit and bring it to life with REAL people, REAL food, and a REAL gathering.  Instead of perfectly manicured models traipsing around opulent tables that are big on WOW and short on practicality (i.e. tables you would never have at an actual wedding), our shoot would feature real people (including me and my husband and some of our dear friends from Cana VP) sitting at a rustic table that you could easily recreate at home.

The hearty winter menu featured beautiful seasonal produce including a ribolita (a Tuscan bean and cabbage stew), fig and chipotle stuffed pork loin, herb and parmesan-crusted pumpkin wedges, cider-braised brussels sprouts dotted with pomegranate jewels and warm farro with grilled raddichio, pistachios, dried cherries and a white truffle shallot vinaigrette.  The meal was presented on my favorite Spode Jewel china from Casa de Perrin (did you know you can rent their wares for more than just weddings?  Their gorgeous tabletop décor is perfect for intimate dinner parties, holiday festivities and more…) — a subtle and lovely white-on-white pattern that gets me every time.  Gold flatware added a touch of luxury, and emerald goblets paired with clear pressed glass made for a festive tabletop.  Simple pine boughs draped along the center of the table, punctuated by pinecones and potted olive trees (hint hint) brought a touch of the season in, without going overboard.  The endlessly talented Julie Song of Julie Song Ink created lovely placecards, menus and placards for the food using reclaimed wood and gold ink.  The coasters she made from wood slices with gilded edges are my favorite!  Our friends from Enjoy Cupcakes provided the sweetest ending with a gorgeous cake (the sugared cranberries were show-stopping!) and scrumptious cupcakes in flavors like gingerbread, cranberry cobbler, and spiced pear butter chardonnay.  YUM.

To really showcase the versatility of the tabletop, we ended up doing two set-ups: the original vision as described above, along with one more luxe and lush that could translate beautifully into a wedding.  Our wintery elegant tabletop swapped the branches for creamy textural florals in ceramic glazed trophy cups and striking pillar candles.  The greyish green tones of natural air plants added a bit of modernity to an otherwise classic look.  Our cozy lounge vignette featuring pieces from {found} vintage rentals made the perfect accompaniment, using flokati pillows and a warm cable knit throw.  The entire look was luxurious yet accessible.  The floral designer, Camilla of Camilla Flowers, is a true artist.  Her creativity and talent blows me away…  (She did my mother’s wedding back in 2008 and I am still in awe of her work from that day!)

Here is a peek…

you can always gauge how happy I am when i smile by how much of my gums I show.  so… I’m pretty darn happy here.  🙂

yes, that is my adorable husband above on the right!


As we sat down to wrap up our “shoot,” we realized that the inspired setting we had created was more than just a still-life for eyes only.  Our intention all along was to design a table that could actually be enjoyed, food and treats that could actually be consumed, a place that would become an actual venue for laughter, conversation and holiday cheer.  As the sun set and we clinked glasses and passed dishes across the table, I couldn’t help but marvel at what we had created.  It was more than a tabletop.  It had become an event.

My hope is that this Christmas, this season, at your wedding or at your next gathering with those you love, you would turn your table into an event. Even a casual dinner can become an occasion when you set the mood and incorporate a few well-conceived details.  In the end, what set this shoot apart (in my mind, anyway) was the warmth and love of all those involved, coming together for something more than just a pretty picture.  Of course thanks to Ryan Ray we got the stunning images, but more than that, they evoke a lovely day filled with laughter and good friends.  Your setting is just the stage for creating beautiful memories.

Here is a roundup of the fabulous team that brought this gathering to life…

Thank you for stopping by!  With Christmas and the end of the year rapidly approaching, I have a handful of blog posts coming your way.  😉  Keep your eyes open for 1) Olive’s 9 months post, 2) A gorgeous Santa Ynez wedding feature, 3) Another great giveaway and 4) An exciting announcement!

Let me know in the comments: what are YOUR plans for gathering during the holidays?  Enjoy your weekend!!  xoxo, Angel

UPDATE: Congratulations to Nancy, our winner!!  Thank you to everyone who entered & shared their Christmas traditions!  xo

Hello everyone!  I hope you are enjoying this first week of December!  Here in my home, we have been decking the halls with pretty much everything *but* the boughs of holly.  We just got our fresh Christmas tree (noble firs are our preference) last night and we’re looking forward to trimming it tonight.  Let’s hope she continues to admire the tree from a distance…  Right now she treats it like an odd stranger in the room, but that may change once it’s draped in tempting sparkling lights!

I’m back today with a fun CD giveaway to get us all in the Christmas spirit!  My dear friend, Courtney Toney (of Joyful Joyful), is married to a gifted musician and they send out Christmas CDs every year.  I always look forward to their sweet seasonal collection of songs!  Clearly, musical talent abounds in their family.  This year, David released the album called “Bright Bright Bright.”  It’s a wonderful mix of classic favorites and new tunes (like the title track, which I can’t get enough of).  The CD retails for $10 and you can get a limited edition hard copy or an immediate digital download.  🙂  It is available HERE or on iTunes!

For all my sweet readers, you have the chance to win both the actual CD *and* the digital copy for your instant enjoyment!  You’ll also receive a $10 Starbucks gift card because hey, everything is better this time of year with a warm red cup in your hands, right??  To enter, comment below and let me know your favorite Christmas (or holiday) tradition.  I can’t wait to read about how you all get into the spirit this time of year!

You have until this Friday at 10 a.m. PST to enter!  The winner, selected randomly, will be announced shortly thereafter.  Best of luck!  xoxo, Angel

Is it really December??  I apologize for the quiet November but I assure you… I was enjoying a very busy and wonderful month both personally & professionally.  We had some dear Texan friends (namely the wonderful Cary & Ryan Ray) staying with us for 5 days, a fun last-minute media event, meetings with wedding clients, a trip to visit family and POOF!  Now it’s December and Olive is nearly 9 months and I really need to get this post up!  😉  Today I’m excited to share some updates in the life of my favorite little girl (even if many facts below are now outdated since she’s going to be 9 months old next week!!).

I would summarize month #8 as the month of expression.  Olive is demonstrating SO much emotion and character on a daily basis!  She has the funniest little faces and sounds to accompany her every mood.  I love watching her blossom in this way, although once in a while I get nervous thinking about how these expressions will play out in the passionate teenage years!  haha

our little pumpkin!

Our highlights from Olive’s eighth month:

  • She is always on the move!  If she isn’t speed-crawling from room to room, she is standing and cruising along the couch, crawling under the coffee table, and shimmying behind the bookcase.  She wants to explore and that keeps this mama on her toes!
  • Grandpa Paul came to visit and it was a sweet time, as always.
  • Her first little teeth have emerged!!  The first tooth to break through was the bottom left on October 21, followed by her top left (right at the time of her 8th month-day on November 12).  It is really hilarious to see the flash of white in what used to be a gummy smile.
  • Teething was rough this month, so she started waking up around 2a (once in the middle of the night) for a period of 10-15 minutes.  Otherwise, she is still a generally good sleeper!
  • We didn’t dress Olive up for Halloween, unless you count the pumpkin hat I knitted for her!  We *did*, however, put her into a hollowed-out pumpkin.  😉  She didn’t seem to mind!
  • As aforementioned, our precious friends Ryan & Cary Ray visited us early in November!  We had a fabulous time with them but the best of all was watching them with Olive.  Those three get along so well that I thought Olive might try to stow away with Uncle Ryan when they left!  They both made Olive laugh so hard it was endless entertainment watching them.  Ryan took some family photos of us while he was here and we LOVE the images he captured.  You will see them later this month!
  • Olive continues to enjoy solid foods, although I’m only doing about one solid meal a day.  She still hasn’t refused any foods.  Picky eaters aren’t allowed in our home.  😉
  • We spent an afternoon fishing in Morro Bay with some church friends.  Let me clarify: Daddy went fishing while Olive and I snuggled on the dock and soaked up the view.
  • Aunt Anna surprised us with a mini visit at the end of October, and we had a great time hanging with her.  She cried when she saw Olivia — she loves her SO much!
  • Daddy taught Olive how to “strum” her lips with her fingers and she loves this new way of making noise.  She can also make the sounds without her hands, blowing lots of spit bubbles in the process.  😉
a sampling of Instagram photos from month 8!
Sweetest Olive — Another wonderful month with you has come and gone.  It was a month of sharing time with family and friends, as you were able to see so many of your loved ones!  One day you will understand just how fortunate you are to be surrounded by so many amazing people who love you.  Although I not-so-secretly cherish how attached you are to me, it gives me great joy to watch you playfully interact with others.  You have such a charming way about you and your smile could melt anyone’s heart.  I pray that your sweet spirit will continue to develop as you grow older, and that God would use you to bless many people with your cheerfulness.  As your independence increases simultaneously with your mobility, I am grateful for the snuggle times we still share.  When you writhe and wriggle away from me during the day, I am consoled knowing that in the evening, there is nothing you desire more than to nuzzle near me before bedtime.  Thank you for indulging me with my daily dose of cuddles, although I assure you I can never really get my fill!  I love you with my whole heart, baby girl.  with love, Mommy

As I embark on a bit of blog catch-up, you can expect some fun posts this week including a great holiday giveaway!  Stay tuned for that and more!  As always, I’m so grateful for each and every one of you that stop by.  Your comments on IG and here are always such an encouragement, so don’t be shy about saying hello!  Enjoy the rest of the week!

xoxo, Angel