Sunday, August 17, 2014

California Love - Part 1

Last month, my husband and I traveled to Los Angeles where we attended a wedding of one of his good college buddies. We made it a bit of a small trip, flying in a day early to explore Santa Monica and drive around Los Angeles as my husband hadn't visited in years.

It was an incredible weekend filled with sun, friends, food and celebrations. While I'd love to cram the activities and wedding details into one, I'll spare you, hence Part 1 (our Los Angeles tourist stops) and Part 2 (the wedding)

First stop was Cecconi's West Hollywood, which came recommended by a friend. The plush blue seating against dark wood, the open air seating, and, perhaps my favorite, the sprawling marble bar, all were a welcomed backdrop to the impeccable people-watching that took center stage. The obligatory hand-crafted cocktails differed from like venues with their own vintage glasses providing that extra flair.


The next morning, we enjoyed a rooftop brunch at the Roof atop Hotel Wilshire boasting some spectacular views of the sprawling city and a faint, foggy view of the famed Hollywood sign. 


Next stop was a stroll along the Santa Monica pier (yes, quite touristy), but apropos given the celebration of our country's independence and celebrating... 


After afternoon shopping and exploring, we headed to the groom's childhood home for a classic BBQ hosted by his parents. Perhaps my favorite part of the evening (in between continuing college stories shared well into the evening), was the mother-of-the-groom's incredible backyard garden bursting with blossoming roses galore. 


And so our food journey continued the next day with yet another recommended brunch locale the next day at Eveleigh on Sunset in West Hollywood. This trendy, yet casual and charming spot felt nearly anti-LA with it's rustic decor, shabby-chic French open-air feel. The brunch farm-to-table menu, french press coffee and fresh ingredients made a perfect start to the day.




After brunch, we drove up to Agoura Hills, the location of the wedding, with a needed stop at the Getty Museum for a little afternoon enlightenment. The views and inspiring creativity flowed atop the mountain views.



Finally, we made a trip to Malibu to cruise along the coast, soak in a some rays and admire the surfer community. Unfortunately, while enjoying the surfing waves, my husband's sunglasses found their resting place. RIP Mr. Oakley.


All in all, a fabulous lineup of sunny activities separate from the wedding celebrations. Can't wait to share details of this Cali love winey soiree... coming up soon.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Romantic South Carolina Weddings

USA Today recently compiled a list of the most romantic wedding destinations in South Carolina, and to my pleasant surprise, an upcoming friend's wedding locale made the cut. I knew the scenery at Palmetto Bluff was beautiful, and cannot wait to head there in November where my husband will be performing the ceremony at the charming chapel.


Here's a snippet from the article: The Inn at Palmetto Bluff, a Montage Resort - tucked into a curve of the May River, 40 minutes outside of Hilton Head, the Inn at Palmetto Bluff is a luxurious retreat set in the heart of the lowcountry where you and your guests can kayak with dolphins; ride horseback; hike; and indulge in massages and facials in a spa overlooking a quiet lagoon. Dreamy settings for weddings — inside an old-fashioned clapboard chapel, on a formal lawn with plantation ruins as your backdrop, under a canopy of moss-draped oaks — set an unabashedly romantic vibe that's only matched by a visually stunning landscape of ancient maritime forests and tidal creeks.  montagehotels.com/palmettobluff

Check out some photos of our friends' engagement shoot at Palmetto Bluff, South Carolina:





Photo credit: Virgil Bunao, Charleston

Monday, May 19, 2014

Southern Charm: Savannah

A recent friend's wedding whisked me to Savannah, Georgia - a city on my "must-visit" list for quite some time. I love the south - the food, charm, rich history and I was thrilled to have some time to explore the city before the wedding festivities.

I instantly fell in love with Savannah - the cobblestone and brick streets, old churches, statues on every few blocks reminiscent of a European city and not to mention the shopping - it was everything I expected and then some. 

Check out some photos of my explorations - will post in a bit about this breathtaking, southern-chic wedding shortly!







Friday, May 9, 2014

A Traveling Event - Monday, May 12

Many of you know by now that I am a traveling gal, so when I was approached to help host a launch event Monday, May 12 of travel-inspired pieces designed and manufactured by a sister duo in my favorite city (Chicago), I jumped on board. The pieces are designed to pack in suitcases for any destination - so many of the pieces are super versatile and of course will pair seamlessly with added sparkle. I have my eye on the Cabana Dress

Check out the Buckley K website and invite details below. Even better, 10% of proceeds will benefit Girl Effect and guests will enjoy cocktails and hors d'oeuvres at the chic Hotel Lincoln (Clark Room). 

Hope to see you there! 


Cabana Dress in Ivory and Black


Wednesday, April 23, 2014

An Unconventional Wedding Gift

For one dear couple whose wedding was the week before ours, both us newlyweds opted for an alternative wedding gift exchange. Instead of gifting wine glasses or towels (which are still lovely), we set to create a lasting memory and share a meal together. And it seemed about right - we all like food and booze. Further, it would be a time post-wedding to relax, enjoy a talented kitchen and relive some of all of our whirlwind wedding activities.

We felt this route was more apropos than the former, and selected a top destination that none of our quartet had visited. And it wasn't just any meal - we selected L2O in Chicago's Lincoln Park neighborhood. 

Here's a snapshot of our menu and wine pairings (well the gals had the vino, the guys enjoyed scotch and whiskey.)

To top off the evening, we received a post-meal private tour of the pristine kitchen and experienced an inkling of the culinary passions behind the scenes. 

Indeed a gift to remember and I highly suggest investigating an alternative experience as a gift for a wedding. 





Thursday, April 10, 2014

A Selfie: Bride Edition

Ok, I did it. I had this photo for ages and held posting it on social media for months. I've never been an avid selfie-taker, but it seemed so apropos. 

Which got me thinking... so many disclose photos and major life events on social media (guilty), so why would I shy away from sharing a selfie on one of the biggest days of my life? Perhaps I was feeling I should be sensitive to appearing too self-absorbed? Too into myself? Thinking no one cared to see it (likely the case)... 

Who knows, but in the end, I'm happy I snapped a rare moment of isolation post-wedding and embraced the social media fever (and word of the year) albeit in a wedding dress. 

With that, behold my wedding selfie. Would love to hear/see if anyone else has snapped one or if it's simply my own lonesome, photo-loving self?! 


Sunday, March 23, 2014

A Sunny Bachelorette

My husband and I have many destination weddings in 2014, and bachelorette parties have followed suit. I was recently in Scottsdale for a college friend's bachelorette... sun, cocktails, games and food with friends ensued. And escaping the Midwest snowstorms made it so much sweeter. Below are some PG highlights of the weekend.

An appropriately-stocked fridge - bubbles, beer, mixers, and plenty of water for hydration. 

The humble condo for the weekend - stunning decor and design...


A serene poolside view for soaking up the sun...

Custom menu celebrating the bride in the private chef's table room Elements restaurant at Sanctuary on Camelback Mountain...


...complete with rosé and roses for Valentine's Day.

The lingerie game with goodies for the bachelorette - what bride doesn't want some new undergarment goods as she becomes a Mrs?! Set a price limit for attendees, make sure those who aren't in attendance send along a gift and write cute unsigned notes for the bride to guess who it's from! 


Last night at Dominick's Scottsdale up in the rooftop poolside dining room... cheers to good friends and delicious seafood! 


Scottsdale sunset.




Elements - XII

Friday, February 28, 2014

Thank You Notes

Many overlook the importance of a quality, hand-written thank you note. And wedding "thank you's" should stand no different. 

However, no one tells you these puppies take forever... it seems as if it's a bottomless list! 

I went old-school in my approach (vs. digital), checking off a master printed spreadsheet when the stamps and letters were licked to ensure no one was overlooked. 

Some Suggestions:
-Quality over quantity. Add a personal touch to each and every note and have the husband sign. Hey, he reaps the benefits of the gifts too, no?! I received so many lovely comments on the thoughtful notes and the groom signature.
-Cards. Do you want your wedding photos as your card for guests to remember the night? Ask your photographer if they offer printing as part of your package. Or a simple initial of your new last name is always classic or consider mirroring wedding colors/prints/invitations to match your thank you cards. 
-Custom Stamps. Don't forget a custom return address stamp with your new last name or initial. Nearly all paper shops will carry these and try etsy as well!
-Stamps. Do you really want Lego-Man on your wedding thank you notes? There are lovely floral, love and wedding stamp options. 
-DIY. If feeling a little sassy or crave and added sparkle, put a small adhesive gem on your notes (found at Michael's, Jo-Ann Crafts, etc.)

My setup one snowy afternoon... 



Saturday, January 25, 2014

Darling Details

Boasting a creative background, some artistic talent and an undeniable attention to detail, I was easily able to orchestrate much of the decor and planning for my wedding. Because, after all, isn't it all in the details?!

Take a peek at a few of the many from the evening:

Champagne and sparkling water waiting for guests post-ceremony.


Pen and ink bride and groom sketches by yours truly.



"Sweet" childhood photo for the candy/sweet tables... (yes, my husband is a cookie)


Custom chocolate coins at the candy/sweet bar with our names/wedding date.


Dated and custom kippahs.



Metal picture frame table cards for all guests to take home. (I love my photos - so this gift was special to me.)



Chimes post-cocktail/appetizer hour welcoming guests to dinner. 


Individual custom "R" sugar cookie (from my uncle's bakery!) for every guest before dinner... 


...complete with a sweet thank you plum seal.


Vintage bird cage with ribbon and crystal atop a crystal cake stand for cards/gifts. 



Variety of black and silver flip-flops in silver wicker baskets for guests to comfortably dance the night away. 



A limoncello palette cleanser served in martini glasses. 



Custom designed and sketched Instagram reminders. "Let Love Sparkle - Take A Pic" #LeahandDustin


Signature wedding cocktail named in honor of the dear friend who introduced us at all bars: "The Mel-Onade" - Fresh Basil Leaves, Kettle One Vodka, Lemon Juice, Simply Syrup. And custom-stickered bottled water. 


Specially-sourced Boulevard Wheat beer as one of five beer selections - the groom's favorite from college. 



Fun "Leah and Dustin Become One" foam fingers.




Finally, a post-candy, post-cake, post-mini dessert late night treat, the groom's favorite... Lou Malnati's Chicago-style deep dish pizza. 


Majority of photo credit: Husar Photography.