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!

Hey everyone!  If you couldn’t tell by the gap between posts, wedding season is upon us and I am busy busy busy prepping for our summer of beautiful events.  :)  For this reason, my guest post on Sugar and Charm yesterday is perfectly timed.  Click over and check out my 5 tips for planning a charming wedding.  All photos in the post are courtesy of my incredibly talented pal, Ryan Ray.

If you haven’t discovered Eden and Sugar and Charm yet, go subscribe and thank me later.  She is a dear friend and writes the loveliest blog full of recipes, entertaining ideas and local (southern California) lifestyle posts.  After reading a few posts you’ll feel like you’re chatting with an old friend.  I’m so grateful she’s in my life!

Is anyone out there planning a wedding?  Let me know if you have any planning questions; I’d love to address them in a future installment of The Nuptial Primer.  ;-)

Enjoy the rest of your Thursday and 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!

Amidst a very busy week, my sweetie took a half day from work to take us to Cambria and Cayucos: two of my favorite towns on the California coast.  We usually go to Cambria on Mother’s Day but our plans were foiled on Sunday with Olive’s late nap.  So, this outing served as a belated Mother’s Day adventure.  :)  Everything closes around 5p in Cambria so we got there at 3p, with just enough time to peek into my favorite antique and garden shops and grab an olallieberry lemonade at Linn’s.  I usually can’t get out of there without having some pie but the 90+ degree temps just didn’t seem pie-compatible.

Olive’s dress is from dot dot smile and my dress is from LuLaRoe!  We’re twins in our twirly skirts.

From Cambria we made a quick detour in Cayucos to get — what else? — some bites of heaven at the Brown Butter Cookie Company.  Did you guys know they just opened up shop in Paso Robles, too??  These little shortbread-style cookies are melt-in-your-mouth incredible and they come in a variety of scrumptious flavors.  My faves are coconut lime, citrus (with cayenne!) and the original.  They will be savored one at a time this week to make them last.  ;-)  If you aren’t local, you can order online!  You’re welcome in advance.

With the heart of wedding season just around the corner, I am grateful for little escapes like this one with my family.  We are so blessed to live here on the coast of California, in close proximity to so many charming towns and local getaways.  We tell people we live where most people go on vacation.  It’s the best!!

When we got home, we realized my restaurant of choice was closed on Tuesdays (random, I know) so part 3 of my Mother’s Day celebration will take place on Saturday night.  How’s that for making the most out of the holiday??  Thanks Erik!

Hope you all are having a wonderful week!  I’m busy prepping for two packed days of meetings with some clients (Hi P&S!) to take me into the weekend.  See you all again soon!

Thank you SO much for the incredible outpouring of love and support following my last post.  I was overwhelmed, frankly, by the number of texts, emails, messages and comments I received from friends and strangers alike.  A lot of the messages came from my current and past clients going back 8+ years and that really blew me away.  I want to thank each of you for taking the time to reach out in love and support.  It means so much to me and I truly appreciate it.  I have made it over the hump, so to speak, and my heart and body are healing everyday.  I continue to remain hopeful for the future.

Mother’s Day was a little bittersweet this year — celebrating my blessing on earth but mourning those in heaven — but I still had a wonderful day with my family.  We went to church, had In-N-Out for lunch (just like every Sunday!), and put Olive down for a nap.  Our plan was to leave right after her nap for Cambria — our “traditional” destination for Mother’s Day.  As we began driving that afternoon, however, I realized that we would get there after all of my favorite antique shops had closed.  So, we made a detour and simply enjoyed the beach, a park, and some takeout for dinner.  We have plans to get to Cambria this week so I’ll share about those forthcoming adventures soon.  :)

Love this pic of us.  I’m wearing my new fav dress from LuLaRoe — so comfy and feminine; I’m obsessed!

Our simple little afternoon and evening together reminded me to be thankful for the little moments that we often take for granted.  I loved having Erik with us at the park since he is usually working when I take Olive to play.  He got to hear her say, “Whee!!” two dozen times as she rode down the slide.  He helped her hang from the monkey bars and chased her around in the sand.  We laughed with each other as we admired her quirks, her energy, her silly and playful nature.  We had strangers take our picture so we could get a group shot.  Unfortunately hey turned out horrible but I’m glad we have them.  :)

Erik wrote me the most beautiful card and of course, it made me cry.  I am so thankful for him in times of joy and sorrow; he is always a source of wisdom, strength and unconditional love.  It is so crazy to think we met when I was 19 and look at us now, being adults and raising a daughter and what not.  ;-)  Love you, babe.

oh Olive!

And Olive.  I gave her a pass this year but expect a card or something next year.  ;-)  She is amazing and I thank God everyday for her.  After years of praying and crying and pleading for a child, she was the one who arrived in our arms.  I She surprises me everyday with her thoughtfulness, her natural affection, her tender heart.  If the Lord only gives us one child, I am grateful it is her.  I cherish every moment with her knowing that this life is fleeting.

Olive — I am so blessed to be your mama.  You are my favorite gift and the perfect addition to our family.  You have changed my life in every way for the better; I can barely remember what it was like before you arrived.  Every Mother’s Day I will be reminded of how my prayers were answered in you.  And everyday that I am on this earth, I will be loving you with all my heart.  xoxo, Mama

On a final note, I want to send lots of love to the two moms in my life…

  • my mother-in-law, Delores, who raised an amazing son and is someone I could sit and chat with for hours (and I often do!).  She’s a friend to everyone she meets and is so devoted to her family.
  • my umma, Grace.  She epitomizes sacrificial love and she would do anything for her children (and now grandchild).  When she was a single mom raising two daughters, she slept on the floor and I slept on a bed.  She worked three jobs to send me to the programs and events I wanted to attend and always found a way to be generous with us when we had so little.  If I tell her I like something she’s wearing, it frequently goes home with me (haha I promise I don’t take advantage of this!).  After Olive was born, we stayed with her for a week so I could rest and recover.  When I stay with her now, she still makes me a gourmet breakfast and packs me a snack for the car.  :)  Staying with her is better than staying at a 5-star hotel.  She also sent me a big box of han yak today (Chinese/Korean herbs) to take post-miscarriage.  If you know you know — it’s a big deal, even if it’s the nastiest stuff on the planet.  We are opposites in many ways but one thing that is clear is that she loves her children passionately.  I will always be indebted to my Umma and am so grateful for all that she has done, and continues to do, for me.

Hope you all are having a great start to your week!