Category: Angel’s Life

Today I’m sharing a pretty personal post but it is something that has been on my heart for a couple of weeks, since my sweet vacation.  (I promise a recap of the trip is on its way!)  The entire trip was so good for my soul; there is much value in retreating from the world, soaking up the beauty of creation, unplugging (as much as possible…) and re-connecting with your loved ones.  I was able to fully relax, calm my mind, focus on the little things around me…  Each day was a sensory overload.  I was overwhelmed by the vastness, the majesty, the loveliness of the many views we took in on our trip.  I was also taken aback when one day, I was overwhelmed by another feeling: fear.  Okay, before this gets too dramatic, let me rewind and give you some backstory…

When I was still in utero, my mother fell very ill with meningitis and was even hospitalized.  This was the early 80s when ultrasounds were not yet commonplace.  Having recovered, she went on to give birth to me and was devastated to learn at that moment that her firstborn daughter had a serious birth defect.  Though they will never know quite why (it’s not genetic), they presume it was related to her illness during pregnancy.  My condition is called fibular hemimelia and it basically means that I was born missing my fibula in my left leg.  Although it wasn’t visually  discernible when I was just a 7 lb newborn, the doctors explained that as I grew, the differences between my left and right leg would become dramatically obvious to the point where I wouldn’t be able to walk without a clunky Frankenstein-esque shoe, cane, or more…  My parents made the difficult but wise decision to amputate my left leg via Symes amputation.  This would allow me to wear a prosthesis and lead a more normal, active lifestyle.  The Symes amputation is different from the typical amputation you see in most movies or on TV, where they will show the leg cut at the knee.  In my case, they basically removed my foot (near the ankle) which means I have my entire left leg (though much smaller than my right leg) and my prosthesis is more like a boot than a pirate-esque peg.  haha  I underwent a few more procedures as a child to alleviate some of the dramatic differences in my left and right legs.  If you see me sitting in person today, you’ll see how my knees are in very different places and my left femoral shaft is a lot shorter than the right.  But all in all, my surgeries made me appear to most as a fully-able-bodied woman.  Before I was born, my parents were planning to name me a very French-sounding name (it ended up as my maiden middle name, actually) but because of my unexpected birth defect, they decided to call me Angel.

ummm was I chubs or what??  This was at 2-3 months old, after my first surgery.

not just being sassy, but popping my front leg shows the difference in length between the two legs

How many of you didn’t know this??  I am still surprised when a long-time friend of mine will realize one day that my left leg isn’t real.  They’ll see me wearing sandals, or perhaps a knee-length skirt, and exclaim, “What’s that??!”  I suppose that because I grew up as an amputee, I forget about my ‘difference.’  By God’s grace and mercy, I didn’t experience any teasing as a child.  I attended public schools all my life and never was taunted or ostracized.  Of course people stared (as they still may), but I’m human… I realize that we are all curious about things that are out of the ordinary.  It doesn’t bother me when people ask me about my leg.   My parents raised me to be proud of who I was, of who God had made me to be, and I was confident in that.  Thanks to advances in modern medical equipment, I had every state-of-the-art leg possible and learned to run, swim and snowboard with my prosthetics.  I felt invincible as a child.  I wore shorts without shyness, I swam at the community pool while others gawked.  I was just a normal kid in my mind.  I realize that having my amputation and successive surgeries during childhood was a great blessing.  There was no real transition period; I learned to take my first steps with the help of an artificial limb.  In that sense, my prosthesis was part of my original concept of self.

I led an active lifestyle throughout my youth and college years and still feel nearly 100% unimpaired physically.  So, it caught me off guard when on our recent vacation, Erik suggested we take Olive for a bike ride.  I was thrilled about the idea, because Lake Tahoe has some gorgeous bike paths to explore.  As we were signing papers and getting our helmets on, I felt a wave of panic wash over me.  You see, I hadn’t ridden a bike in four years.  And four years ago, I only got on a bike because we were on vacation (in Tokyo) and there was a fun opportunity to ride around the Imperial Palace.  It seems that vacation brings out the biker in me.  Other than that isolated experience, I hadn’t been on a bike since I was a pre-teen.

As a child, I remember being fearless on my bike.  I would ride so fast, standing in the stirrups, racing the neighborhood kids, being wild and free.  I have the scars on my knees and elbows to prove it (where there are tiny fragments of asphalt buried deep under my skin — not joking!).  But for some reason, I stopped riding my bike and got into other things.  And though it may be true that you never forget how to ride a bike, I was terrified to get on one again.  I sat down in the seat and put my left foot (prosthesis) on the pedal first, then tried to quickly balance and get my right foot on.  I wobbled.  I stumbled.  I didn’t fall (thank you Lord!) but I immediately turned beet red and got flustered and embarrassed.  I was thinking that the bike rental guy must have been laughing at me on the inside, wondering why a grown woman couldn’t get on a bike.  Did I really want to rent a bike and ride a 3 mile trail if I couldn’t even board one without stumbling??  I told Erik I was scared I might not be able to make it.  I felt my heart beating faster because I was humiliated and nervous and anxious and fearful.  Erik is one of the most athletic people I know and of course, he is a brilliant biker.  He loves mountain biking when he gets the chance.  Olive was buckled up in the trailer he was pulling and was so excited for the ride.  I felt like I was about to ruin the perfect family vacation moment.  I am pretty sure I told Erik I couldn’t do it, and he couldn’t possibly understand because of my leg and blah blah blah.  I mean, really??  I was going to use that as an excuse?  I was grasping at straws.

And then.  Erik gently told me to just get on.  To just wobble and be scared but put my right foot on the pedal and GO.  I did.  And I pedaled.  I was sure that the dozens of bikers who passed me on the trail must have been laughing or at least feeling sorry for me.  (Honestly, they probably couldn’t have cared less.  But isn’t it funny how we think all eyes are on us when we’re fearful?  We need to get over the audience mindset.)  I had my hands gripped so tightly on the handlebars that I got a cramp, I kid you not.  I was constantly braking because I felt like I was going too fast.  I would freak out when I saw oncoming bicylclists and wanted to pull over and stop to avoid what I thought would be a guaranteed collision.

holding on for dear life, but doing it

teensy Angel on the bridge

But it wasn’t.  I didn’t.  I never fell, never hit anyone, never had to call the rental company to pick me up halfway down the trail (like I feared).  I did it.  It wasn’t pretty, guys, but I did it.  And as I pedaled, even white-knuckled, I felt wild and free again.  I actually cried a little!  Cue the emo tunes.  I realized that my fear was holding me back from experiencing the tranquil bliss I enjoyed on that ride.  Erik and Olive rode behind me at a safe distance (I wanted to ride without distraction, haha!) so I felt truly immersed in the beautiful surroundings.  I could breathe in the crisp air, feel the breeze, listen to the whoosh of the wind through the trees.  It was wonderful in every way and I am so glad that I took the leap, I went for it, I listened to my husband’s gentle push.  I was still scared.  I was still nervous.  But I just went for it, fears and all, and it was worth it.

So many things in life are like that.  We worry about the audience.  We look at our perceived weaknesses.  We make excuses and at the first sign of a stumble, we back away.  We refuse even the possibility of being bad at something.  I know I do.  But why??  Why not go for it and fall and make a memory?  Why not try it and at least be able to say you did?  Erik and I agreed that that bike ride was one of the best experiences of our vacation and to think I almost missed out on it because I was scared.  I was looking at myself and my leg and thinking I couldn’t do it, I wasn’t equipped, I wasn’t able.  But God gave me the courage in that moment.  I was reminded of childhood-Angel, the fearless Angel, the one who never saw my leg as a weakness but just another part of me… like every hair on my head, every freckle on my face.  Sometimes we’ll succeed, and sometimes we’ll fail.  But it’s worth a try.  It’s worth the leap.

post-ride, feeling amazing.

from where i stand. try to ignore my un-cute real toes (I promise there’s a fifth one hiding)…

That bike ride caused a shift in my heart.  It sounds so dramatic to write that but truly, it did.  Whatever you might be fearing right now, I pray that you would find the strength to take the leap and give it a try.  Whether it’s trying that new hobby that intimidates you, or pursuing a new career, or even having a tough conversation with a friend.  Go and do.  Even if you stumble, even if you fail, it’s worth it.  You tried, you did your best, and you made a memory.  Now it’s your turn to get on the bike in the forest.  Or, something like that.  ;-)

Thank you for reading — see you next time!

Today I celebrate 9 years of wedded bliss with my college sweetheart, Erik.  Just one year from our 10-year vow renewal, right honey??  I love teasing him about having a spectacular vow renewal next summer, but he likes to remind me that vows don’t expire and therefore don’t need renewing.  In my opinion, there aren’t enough opportunities to celebrate marriage so why not?  ;-)  Tell me I’m not alone here!

I met Erik when I was 19 years old and I knew very early on that he was “the one.”  We never had a class together at UC Berkeley (he was an electrical engineering and computer science double major — total brainiac — and I studied political science and history) but met at a local church.  Our first date was a concert at The Fillmore in San Francisco.  The headliners that night: The Ataris and The Juliana Theory.  High fives to anyone who knows both of those bands; feel free to play “We’re At The Top of the World” by The Juliana Theory while you read the rest of this post.  :)  We started our evening with terrible Italian food (he picked a random spot close to the concert venue and it was a total bomb) and missed the opening act that night (Yellowcard).  I still remember I wore a blue and white striped tank top, jeans, and a pair of Converse.  On the drive home, we laughed and pretend-splashed our water bottles on each other (I know, totally childish flirting) over the sounds of Ultimate Fakebook (yet another band we loved back then).  Fast forward a few weeks and we were inseparable.  On any given day of the week, you could find us studying in Main Stacks (ok, he’d be studying and I’d be in the adjacent cubicle taking a nap) or grabbing dinner at Pasta Pomodoro.  A couple of months later, I went off to Europe with my mom and sister and called Erik nearly everyday using prepaid calling cards (remember those things?).  When I returned to the states, Erik surprised me at the gate with roses and chocolate covered strawberries and whisked me off (having just come off an international flight, I was not looking my best!) for a date.  My mom called me shrieking when she got home because he had delivered 100 long stem roses to my doorstep in case he didn’t intercept me at LAX.  Let’s just say he knew how to make an impression.

Our college dating experience included lots of movies (mostly sci fi), shrimp and steak fajitas at Chevy’s, and competitive mini golf.  Falling in love with Erik was so effortless.  He was funny, thoughtful, incredibly smart and handsome and best of all, a passionate follower of Christ.  He challenged me and encouraged me and helped me grow in so many ways.

197856_1007973244161_2561_njust married | 2005

Most people thought we were at least a little bit crazy to want to get married so young.  They didn’t understand why we didn’t want to just wait things out and “find ourselves” first.  We were engaged during our senior year and got married just a few months after graduation.  When we walked back up the aisle as husband and wife (to “Wouldn’t It Be Nice?” by the Beach Boys, no less), little did we know…

  • Just a few months later, I would leave behind my scholarship to law school without any plans for another career
  • Erik would change course in his own career and leave an excellent engineering job to return to school for 5 years, earning two master’s degrees
  • I would start a wedding planning & design business
  • It would take us 7 years and a lot of heartache before we had our first child, Olive
  • We would see close family members undergo surgeries, fall ill, and even pass away
  • We would lose three babies in the womb
  • We would travel to Japan, Taiwan, New Zealand, Australia, Canada, Mexico, and more…
  • We would pick up and move away from our families to start a new adventure with Erik’s new job as a pastor
  • We would buy our first home together

No, when we were 21 and 22-year-old newlyweds, we had stars in our eyes and love in our hearts and no idea about what lay ahead of us.  But we did know that our love was founded on the same thing: Christ.  We knew we were devoted to one another, committed to the same permanence of marriage, and intent on the same desire to glorify God through our union.  We knew we were going to be stretched and sanctified as we “found ourselves” together.  Two opinionated, passionate people under one roof are bound to butt heads once in a while.  But we knew that we would.  And we knew we would get through anything together.  And we have.  Through the ups and downs of 9 years of marriage (and 11+ years together), we have made it through stronger than ever.

ACF369Fus in january 2007 (not our wedding — just a fun bridal shoot!) | photo by The Image is Found

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us in late 2007 | photo by Jasmine Star

swanson_019aus in 2008 | photo by Amelia Lyon

orange_county_engagement_photos-03us in 2009 | photo by Jessica Claire

We have grown in love — in depth and breadth and richness.  We have grown as a family — we have literally seen our love multiplied with the birth of our daughter.  We have grown as individuals and have grown to respect and honor one another in our differences.  Most of all, we have strived to help each other grow toward Christ-likeness.  This is our greatest hope and desire for one another.

002564-R1-E009us in january 2012 | photo by Jose Villa

Sean_Anna_Wedding_321us in june 2012 | photo by Ryan Ray

Q-LPz5aD2mSuLzo-figIzqxzfj_V0bCl6659mcWyA9s,VtZG2CGf43C4jmYJEYeohYsYUO5yQTJ6nkxGydxWj4ous in 2013 | photo by Erin Hearts Court

I don’t know what the next 9 years will hold for us; there is so much that can and will change.  But I do know this, in the deepest part of my heart and soul — I will be loving my Erik with all of my heart.  I will be thanking God for bringing me to my sweetheart so early in life, so we could grow alongside one another.  In another 9 years I will still be laughing uncontrollably at his silly antics, I will still be moved by his quiet but romantic gestures.  I will still be wiping away tears watching him read and play with our daughter.  I will be standing by his side when the road gets rough.  I will be leaning on his shoulder when my heart feels heavy.  I will be praying with him when the future looks uncertain.  In 9 years, I will be teasing my sweetheart about an even-grander 20-year vow renewal coming up.  And by then, frankly, he’ll owe it to me.  Right??  ;-)  (P.S. How blessed are we to have family photos from so many of the country’s best photographers??)

Babe — thank you for 9 joy-filled, heart-stretching, soul-blessing years.  You are my greatest gift and my truest friend.  You are a brilliant and captivating man and you inspire me everyday.  It is a beautiful adventure being your wife and I love you with all of my heart and everything that I am.  Happy Anniversary, darling.

yours always, Angel

Thank you for indulging this personal post today!  If you’re here for workshop info, scroll on down to the last post!  I hope you’re having a great week and I’ll see you again soon!!  xo

It seems funny to write a recap post so early in July but I think the last two weeks have been busier than most months.  :)  I always hate to be ‘away’ from the blog for long stretches but I’ve been fully immersed in the summer wedding season these days.  Since my last entry, we’ve completed two weddings, assembled 60 welcome bags, had some beloved guests (Cary and Ryan Ray) in town, enjoyed a holiday weekend, celebrated Michelle’s birthday, worked on an exciting new project (sorry to be so cryptic — more coming soon!!) and you know, the usual: kept on top of an inbox bursting at the seams and cherished every moment with my family.  I am so thankful for what God has brought into my life: my family, my friends, my work.  I am even thankful for the tough circumstances that might come with them on occasion, as I know I am growing and stretching and being refined in those experiences.

I hope to share some fun posts with you in upcoming weeks but for now, let’s get caught up with some snippets from my iPhone as of late…

magical light at Presqu’ile Winery

Love and Splendor ladies on the job!

grateful for my Michy.

phenomenal wedding favors: wine-inspired candles by Rewined.  You need to check them out!

beautiful bites from Heirloom LA

texture and deep red florals for a winery wedding / floral by Twig & Twine

pulling back the dramatic drapes after cocktail hour

helping papa wash the car!  She dressed herself that day.  :)

twilight trike rides

scrumptious sugar snap peas from the garden.  Can you spy Erik and Olive in the background?

with her Ryan <3

red white and blue on the 4th.

A candid snap from a shoot we did with Ryan for a brand new clothing line designed by Cary!!  Are you dying over Olive’s dress or what?  Wait until you see the incredible details; every inch is perfection and I am so honored we got to show off the debut pieces.  My dress is by Free People.

not ready to say goodbye to this one.  Never ever.

Whew!  Now it’s back to work for me.  :)  Hope you’re all having a lovely start to the week!!  Thanks for dropping by and keeping up here; I can’t wait to share more about what else is brewing behind the scenes…

If you follow me on Instagram, you’ve already seen and heard about my new foray into the world of calligraphy.  I have always been obsessed with lettering and penmanship.  As a child, I was crazy about the Do It Yourself Lettering Book (can’t believe I found it on Amazon!).  I’d spend hours trying to mimic the unique and quirky lettering styles on its pages.  In my teens, I spent way too many hours meticulously penning 7 page letters to my friends, complete with flourishes, i’s dotted with hearts and a gross overuse of acronyms.  LYLAS!  (Please tell me someone knows what that means!)  I think I’ve always had pretty nice handwriting and many people comment on it in my day-to-day life.  I have had clients ask me to make chalkboards and signs for them, but I certainly am no calligrapher.  I leave that to the REAL masters of lettering… like my friend Anne Robin.

pals :)

When my clients are looking for gorgeous, fresh, modern-feeling calligraphy, I direct them to Anne.  She is incredibly talented with both classic and contemporary styles and is such a sweetheart to boot.  She occasionally teaches calligraphy classes and I made it very clear to my husband that I was dying to go.  He took the hint and bought me a seat at her most recent beginner’s class as a Mother’s Day gift.  The class took place this past Saturday and I’m still glowing from the experience.

There were about 16 of us in the class and Anne did such a wonderful job.  We were given a fun neon-splattered tote bag filled with all the essential supplies (nibs, ink, pens and a pad of paper) as well as a lettering guide.  I especially loved my name written by Anne, translated to laser-cut wood by Pitbulls and Posies.  What a special keepsake!!  She also gave us a beautiful print that reads, “Never Stop Learning.”  I love the sentiment and couldn’t agree more.  :)

Anne used a chalkboard to help us go through each letter of the alphabet, both upper and lowercase.  As we got the hang of using our pens and nibs, she would walk around to evaluate our work and give suggestions and corrections as needed.  She answered all of our questions honestly and patiently.  Anne is such a natural teacher and is so approachable, kind and eager to help.

I totally made her pose for this photo.

Lunch was catered by Tender Greens (YUM) along with my new obsession: Brazilian truffle-like treats called brigadeiro from Simply Brigadeiro.  You guys.  They are so ridiculously cute and they taste even better.  I wish I had one (dozen…) now!

The class was five hours long (including lunch) but it flew by for me; I could have stayed much longer just doodling.  My classmates were all creative, inspiring women and I enjoyed getting to know some of them while we worked.  It was the perfect “escape” for me in a very busy time of year.

As you can guess, I’m completely smitten on lettering once again.  I wrote out this week’s meal plan and grocery list in calligraphy and am looking for any excuse to pull out the nib and inkwell to write something!  Practice, practice, practice.

I certainly do not plan to become a calligrapher (Anne joked at how tightly I grasp the pen — a big no no — can you imagine the cramps and arthritis I’d acquire?!) but am so excited to use my new skills in writing notes, addressing envelopes and adding an extra special touch to gifts and projects.  You can bet that I will be at Anne’s next intermediate class!

For more information on upcoming workshops, you can follow Anne on Instagram or check out her blog.

Have any of you tried calligraphy?  It’s never to late to learn something new!  In our age of technology, there’s something so charming about the physically-written word.  Let’s be pen pals? :)

Since switching over to Olive updates every other month, it feels like soooo long between check-ins about my favorite little girl.  Olive is changing and growing and doing new things daily and I can hardly keep up.  She keeps me on my toes for sure!  I looked up the last update post right now and I couldn’t believe how young she looks.  I better get to posting this update before she changes again!  ;-)  Here’s everything new up to June 12th!

in our dot dot smile and lularoe dresses!

  • We went camping over Mother’s Day weekend at Lopez Lake.  I guess we cheated a little because we stayed in a lovely rental RV via Get Away RV Rentals.  It’s pretty great arriving to your campsite with the RV already set-up with running water, flushing toilets, a comfy bed and stocked kitchen!  We had some friends also camping that weekend so we enjoyed boat rides, sand between our toes, fishing and scrumptious BBQs together.  I hope that Olive grows to love camping and the outdoors as much as we do.  This is our 2nd Mother’s Day camping at Lopez Lake; how many times qualify as tradition?
  • Grandpa (my Dad) visited for a quick 24-hour trip and Olive had a blast with him.  We did our usual activities with him: southern-style breakfast, shopping at Target, and steak dinner.  We took Dad to Jocko’s (his first time) and he loved it as much as we knew he would.  You really can’t beat their steaks (or ribs, oh my gooooodness those ribs).
  • Lots of park days together.  The past two months were tough with the miscarriage and tons of doctor’s appointments, so I constantly wanted to get outside with Olive.  We had a lot of sweet afternoons trying out local parks together.  She still is crazy about the slide and enjoys putting her little Mickey Mouse down the slide, too.  She puts her hands up most of the time, and screams “Wheeee!” every.single.time.  It is inspiring how much joy this girl has in the simple things.  Olive also loves climbing and is really brave with every kind of ladder and structure.
  • We also got fully immersed in story time at our local library.  One morning a week, we join some pals for a 30 minute story time that includes songs and nursery rhymes.  Olive looks forward to it every week and we began checking out three new books every visit.  I love this part of our routine.  :)
  • She went through a puzzle phase where she wanted to work on simple puzzles every morning for a while.  She’s really good at them!
  • We went to Disneyland (2nd time!) with her two cousins (A&A), Erik’s sister and bro-in-law, and our dear friend Jackie (and her baby boy).  Sooo much fun!  It really is Olive’s happy place.  She had another tear-jerking encounter with Mickey; she just loves the mouse.
  • I started letting her push her own mini cart at Trader Joe’s.  It’s equal parts adorable (she loves it) and terrifying (I’m sooo scared she’s going to run into some sweet granny’s ankles!).
  • We fell in love with the SB Zoo and had to get zoo passes.
  • Chick-Fil-A is our standard stop on many late-night drives.  Olive loves their nuggets and let’s be real: so do I.
  • Her hair color is incredible.  It is changing all the time but it has so much variation in it.
  • Olive loves to sing and talk all day long; she is a total chatterbox.  I love watching her personality bloom.  She’s definitely playful, energetic, silly, sympathetic and a bit stubborn, too.  ;-)
  • She’s fully potty trained!!  I actually went cold turkey off of the diapers one afternoon.  Erik and I took her to the store, let her pick out her undies (Hello Kitty and Minnie Mouse, of course) and went for it.  She had been familiarized with the potties for months (we have both a little one on the ground and a seat that goes on top of the regular toilet) but we just went to full implementation.  I have heard that this method has backfired on some people but so far, it has been great for Olive.  I think it just boils down to her being ready.  We still put her in a diaper overnight but she wakes up dry almost daily.  I’m so grateful to have reached this milestone!

Here is another photomosaic — an update staple:

Olive — it just gets better and better with you.  We love every moment with you, sweet girl.  Thank you for always cracking us up with your antics, never turning down an opportunity to dance, and saying “I love you SOOOO much” at just the right moments.  In difficult times, you have been a reminder of the greatness of our blessings.  You are such a treasure and anyone who meets you tells us the same.  It is such a joy being your parents.  -All my love, Mama

I hope you’re all having a great week so far.  It’s another wedding week (hooray!) so I’m counting down until the celebrations unfold beginning on Friday.  I couldn’t have a sweeter couple this weekend; love you guys L&B!!!  See you all soon!

Our family has fallen in love with the Santa Barbara Zoo.  Olive has been twice in the last two weeks and we just got a membership to ensure we can enjoy it year-round!  The SB Zoo is a smaller zoo but is the perfect size for little ones.  The grounds are lush and park-like, and absolutely beautiful.  You can tell the property is well-maintained and in fact, it is a pretty popular venue for weddings!

They have a great variety of animals on display including giraffes, lions, gorillas, elephants and Olive’s favorite: penguins!  I love the cheery pink flamingos and the otters.  :)  They also have a charming little train (which, granted, is pretty expensive for a ride around the property) that is worth checking out.

Here are some photos from our two recent trips (the first with me, and the second with Erik and his parents — Olive’s grandparents).  The photos are mixed together, hence the two different outfits.

Serene and lovely grounds

Matilija poppies are some of my favorite native Californian flowers.  They look like big sunny-side-up eggs!

This photo cracks me up, considering we are creationists.  Just couldn’t resist her expression here!

In line to feed the giraffe, Michael!

Love this pic of Olive with her Grandma Del (Erik’s mom!).  Picture perfect!

Mesmerized.

Fancy flamingos

Next to the train that Olive kept calling Thomas :)

Leading the way!

Tip: A sweet friend let me in on the fabulous reciprocal zoo membership program.  There are lots of zoos nationwide that offer reciprocal entry to their facilities when you hold membership with one of them.  The SB Zoo has a family membership of $90/annually (great price) but I found that the Charles Paddock Zoo in Atascadero has an equivalent membership of $60/annually, and it has the SB Zoo on its list of reciprocal facilities!  Yay for saving $30!  I actually haven’t been to the Charles Paddock Zoo yet, but I look forward to checking it out.  For my southern Californians, the Santa Ana Zoo is on the list (free) and the LA Zoo is 50% off.

Hope you all are having a great Monday!  I’m recharging after a fabulous wedding weekend (congrats J&C!!!) and am preparing for the next beautiful event around the corner.  Today I was in Paso Robles for a site visit and the gorgeous drive through wine country really rejuvenated me.  I am so blessed to live here and do what I do.  Grateful.  :)

Before putting Olive to sleep (for her nap in the afternoon or in the evening), we always pray together as a family.  We each take a turn, starting with Olive, then me, and ending with Erik.  When Olive was younger, only Erik prayed but she has since desired to pipe up and share her own sweet words.  Her prayers used to be a pretty predictable formula.  She’d say, in her tiny voice: Dear Jesus, Thank you for Mama.  Thank you for Dada. Baby brother. Amen.  The prayer for a baby brother (her only request) has been around since the last time I told her I was pregnant and she still hasn’t stopped.  I’ll take all the prayers we can get.  ;-)

Love this candid snap from today: her left foot turned out, her funky expression.
I think she’s about to say, “Mooooom.  I don’t like to take a picture please.”

These days, Olive has been coming up with some pretty hilarious (and adorable) prayer requests so I thought I’d start sharing a running list here.  In the past week, Olive has thanked God for:

  • Aunt Anna
  • Uncle Sean
  • “Ruby Puppy” (Anna and Sean’s miniature long-haired dachshund)
  • Her grandparents
  • Herself (she refers to herself as “baby” —  Thank you for baby.)
  • Fries (oh brother)
  • Perry (the platypus from Phineas and Ferb)
  • The Very Hungry Caterpillar, from the beloved Eric Carle book
  • Food (in general)
  • Her crib
  • Erik (actually referring to him as Erik rather than Dada! haha!)
  • Mickey and Minnie
  • Her blankets (in her crib), especially her “owl blankie”

I can’t wait to hear what’s next.  ;-)  Hope you’re having a great start to the week!

With wedding season in full swing around here, I know most of my summer weekends are going to be spent working on beautiful events.  I love the excitement this time of year — it is so energizing and fulfilling to see so many plans come to fruition weekend after weekend.  Amidst all the busy-ness, I strive to prioritize quality time with my family.

Today is the last  ‘totally free’ Saturday I have for a while so I’m enjoying it as much as possible.  I still woke up early (6:30a, actually!) to water the garden, get ready, and get Olive ready.  Coffee in hand, we headed out the door at 8 a.m. to Santa Barbara.  I picked up some final goodies for next weekend’s wedding welcome bags (Hi J&C!  Cannot wait to see youuuuu!), checked out a potential welcome dinner spot for another client, and then took my girl (who was a patient angel throughout our errand-running) to the Santa Barbara Zoo.  She was ecstatic and spent two hours running around, map in hand, taking me from one exhibit to the next.  I looove the SB Zoo and will share more about our visit in a future post.

Me and my silly girl… and a gorilla.  :)  You can’t really tell but we’re both wearing elephant printed tops, totally on purpose.  Mine from Anthropologie, hers from Peek Kids.

Now at home, I’m doing some emails during Olive’s nap and laying out my welcome bag assembly line for tomorrow.  :)  Tonight will likely consist of takeout, some Netflix and quiet time catching up with my sweetie who just returned from an overnight backpacking trip near Big Sur.  I can’t wait to unwind a bit together.

Anyone who knows me knows I love what I do.  I am passionate about it, I am personally invested in my clients, I put my heart into it.  That said, it still comes after God and family.  Balance is so important and I work hard (though not perfectly) to maintain my priorities in my day-to-day life.  When I’m feeling overwhelmed or frazzled, it’s usually because I’m lopsided in some area.  I tell people that having a healthy and happy home-life contributes to my excellence in all areas, including my work.  Today is just what I needed for a refresh and recharge.

I hope you’re all having a wonderful Saturday with your loved ones.  See you again soon!

Oh, what a lovely weekend can do for the soul!  I woke up today refreshed and just beaming about the three sweet days I spent.  Now I didn’t go on vacation or spend time on the beach or by a pool and I didn’t even stay away from work…  It was just three very balanced days of fun and fulfilling work, laughs and moments with my family and sweet time with friends.

Here are snapshots from our time together…

Pretty moments at a ladies’ tea I hosted for some women from my church

my first cold brew, using my Toddy.  I’m totally addicted; yum!

Olive’s first pony ride = slightly traumatic :(

Beautiful dance performance (love these colorful Jalisco-style dresses) at a local Heritage Day celebration

Checking out the iconic Wells Fargo stagecoach

Loved this sweet guy.

goofy moments with my favorite girl

A gorgeous meal at Ember Restaurant // a full review is coming in a future post!

On another note, I want to express my belated but heartfelt gratitude for all those men and women who gave their lives while serving our country.  I am so thankful to live here in the beautiful United States of America!

I hope you’re having a great week!  I’m back to inbox duty, preparing for June and July weddings just around the corner!

In the week since my last post, things have been REALLY busy.  Like, I-drove-about-1000-miles-since-then busy!  I’ve had client meetings and tastings and mockups and site visits and sourcing trips and emails.  A mountain of emails.  :)  It will be a few more days before I’m fully caught up but there is so much energy buzzing around here and I LOVE it.  With June just around the corner, I feel the heart of wedding season beating wildly.  I can’t wait to share with you what we’ve been working on with our amazing couples; it’s going to be a wonderful summer!

Here are some snippets of life to get you all caught up.  Everything below is from the last 7 days!!

Mehndi trial with Henna Me Beautiful

vivid colors and textures; I love the protea, orchids, two-tone roses and coral charm peonies together!  Beauty arranged by April Flowers SLO.

I can never get enough olive branches and seeded eucalyptus when it comes to soft and romantic arrangements… (also by April)

the poppies might be my favorite… (one more from April)

Olive at a birthday party for Romeo, adorable son of Eden from Sugar and Charm! (Photo is from her, too!)

Eden threw the party in collaboration with Milk + Bookies to collect donated books for kids who need them.  What a wonderful example of philanthropy to young Romeo and all the kids in attendance.  :)

delightful lunch at Kentro Greek Kitchen in Fullerton

playing with pretties at Casa de Perrin.  I am loving their signature collection, including this gorgeous scalloped soup bowl!

Planning in progress with Tori, Tina and Lauren at {found} rentals.

pillow heaven at {found}

How are you all doing??  Any fun Memorial Day plans?  I’m hosting a tea at my home for some ladies from our church, so I can’t wait for that sweet time together.  In the afternoon, I hope to visit one of the various local festivals taking place this weekend.  Grill time is also a given; Erik has been grilling meat and veggies for us about twice a week.  It feels like summer!

Enjoy the rest of your day and see you again soon!