Favorite Blog: Style Me Pretty

I love all the beautiful things that are blogged about on Style Me Pretty. I had discovered Style Me Pretty a while ago through a coworker, but at the time I wasn't engaged and was less interested. Now, Style Me Pretty is a DAILY read. I love the Real Weddings that Abby features as well as her focus on all this beautiful. Whether it's paper, flowers, decor, fashion or food, it's all so lovely and provides daily inspiration.

Check out Style Me Pretty now!


101 things I love about him...

41. your eclectic taste in music
42. your willingness to try new things
43. you'll watch a chick flick with me (except Sex and the City)
44. you know how to dance
45. you don't mind hanging out at my house
46. you've come to like my dogs
47. you respect me
48. you're incredibly thoughtful
49. you share my love of things Disney
50. you're as excited as me about finally getting to ride Expedition Everest
51. you believe in a certain level of frugality
52. you have nice taste in clothes
53. your random sweet text messages
54. you put up with the fact that I can be a nag
55. the way you hold me on a cold night
56. that we have lots of fun together
57. the happiness in your voice
58. your own set of quirks
59. that you find the way I say "heeeeyyy" funny
60. you're not afraid to be silly in public


Foto Friday: Jasmine Star Photography

One of my new favorite photographers is Jasmine Star. She is based out of Orange County and with a little over two years of running her own business is a rising STAR in the photography world. (Yes, pun intended.) I was so touched reading her old blog entries about her entry into the business, her struggles, fears, doubts, and ultimate support and success. Look at her now! She has a fantastic new website chock full of awesomeness! Her new blog reads like a fashion magazine, without losing her great personality that she puts into every post. I feel like I know her through her well crafted writing and candid honesty. I even emailed her about her advice to her start in the business, and she was nice enough to answer my email -- she didn't have to! Thanks Jasmine!

Here's some eye candy from her latest wedding.

All photos by the talented Jasmine Star.


Take the Cake Thursday: City of D'Lights

Based in San Ramon, CA City of D'Lights has been cooking up fabulous creations since 2001. They have a gorgeous line of unique wedding cakes, signature cakes, and awesome pastries. No wonder it's called City of D'Lights!

From their website:
"City of D'Lights has been creating its unique line of specialty cakes and pastries since February 2001, when Pastry Chefs Attila Gogos and Lynne Kawakami took ownership of this bakery in San Ramon, California. Inspired by Attila's European heritage and Lynne's Asian culture, they have created a selection of cakes, pastries, and holiday cookies that not only look fabulous, but taste great, too."

Gorgeous chocolate:

Intricate scrolling:

Sheer Elegance:


Combination of shapes:

Be sure to check out City of D'Lights in San Ramon!

Address: 2217-D San Ramon Valley Blvd., San Ramon, CA 94583
Phone: (925) 837-2886
Email: info [at] cityofdlights [dot] com


Project: Save the Date Part II

As I keep finding more and more ideas for what to do with my Save the Dates, I'm almost overwhelmed. I have a general idea of what I want and I want to stay focused on the vision that I have. It's hard to feel unique when you see your idea translated and created by another bride. I'm so thankful, though, for all the of the wonderful resources online that brides have been sharing since the blog boom.

I love the idea of magnets, so your guests will have a constant reminder on their fridge of the upcoming nuptials. I also like the idea of including stickers for guests to mark in their other calendars. This may seem like overkill at times, but I think that if you send a Save the Date to someone and then an invitation, they have absolutely no excuse not to know when your wedding is. I would hope that this would cut out the "Oh I didn't knows" or "You should have told me sooner" or "I wish I knew ahead of time". That's the whole point of a Save the Date, right, to SAVE THE DATE.

Here's some inspiration from Melissa Jill, a Scottsdale-based photographer, who has a new line of Save the Date Cards:

Here is what I have come up with. I'm planning on maybe using these as the magnets and including another insert with information for our out of town guests. It's so hard to decide on just one idea, that I want to include everything! These are preliminary designs, with some others on the way.

Awesome engagement photos by our rad-tastic photographer, Travis Hoehne!


Where to Begin: Timing

With an engagement that is 16 months long, it can sometimes feel like an eternity, but for whatever reason, 2008 is quickly slipping through my fingers. I can't believe that July is literally around the corner and that we will soon be coming up on the one year marker. So this begs the question, how do I time what needs to get done when?

The Knot has a handy dandy checklist of when you "should" be completing items. One of my coworkers said that she used this as her wedding bible. She said she felt a great feeling of a accomplishment checking each task off. Of course there are other wedding planners and other resources online as well. It would seem that wedding "stuff" is abundant and easy to find. But unless you stick to one schedule or checklist, wedding planning can be a bear of a project.

So far, I've booked the church and the reception site. I'm in the midst of designing our Save the Dates and our invitations are on the horizon. I've done little else. I have started researching DJs and florists. I know that for myself, I'll really have to set deadlines for talking to some of these folks so that they don't get booked up. Also, with a year to go, I feel comfortable not rushing around trying to plan everything. In reality, I can't plan everything yet. But I must remind myself not to become complacent and lazy. I've got to keep the ball rolling.

How are you timing your planning?


Foto Friday: Daisy Productions

One of the first photography blogs that I ever stumbled upon was Daisy Productions, headed by Amy Herfurth in Texas. This was my first introduction to reading a blog and I was just awestruck by her images and raw emotion she is able to capture. That was about 18 months ago, long before I even became a bride to be. She was also the first photographer I ventured to email about her business and how she started. It's always been a dream of mine to start my own business (that's in the works). At first I didn't expect a reply, but I was touched that she took the time to reply to my little email. Thanks Amy!

I love her face!

In true Southern Tradition, bridal portraits. Check the boots!

Love this :)

Thank you Amy for your wonderful photography!

(All images from www.daisyproductions.net)


Take the Cake Thursday: Cakes by Ana

I heard about Cakes by Ana through one of the venues I visited. I was disappointed I couldn't book the venue as it was too small. However, the catering manager did show me the photos of Cakes by Ana and they all looked simply wonderful and delicious. Cakes by Ana is a mother-daughter business that started in 1996 in San Jose. They joined forces to provide impeccable service and amazing confections for any occasion.

Check out Cakes by Ana!

Phone: 408-978-4700, 408-365-6209

E-mail: cakesbyana [at] yahoo [dot] com


Happy Father's Day!

Happy Father's Day to all the father's and other important father figures out there!

Dad, thanks for being you. Your unique style of encouragement has gotten me to where I am now. Thanks and keep on truckin'!


101 things I love about...

my personal heater, my Stitch, my silly

21. the way you stay with me on the phone, even in complete silence
22. you taught me about your love of basketball
23. you teach me to play video games (at least the wii ones)
24. you accept my obsession with my DSLR
25. you have a new love of point-and-shoot photography
26. you'd take me to Cheesecake Factory just because I love cheesecake
27. you'll walk around aimlessly around the mall with me
28. you think my quirks are charming
29. the way you kiss me on the forehead, every time I stick my forehead in your face
30. you worry about me
31. you stay on the phone with me to make sure I get home safely
32. you make me feel loved
33. you make me feel beautiful
34. you believe in me
35. you encourage me to be better and do better
36. you let me complain
37. your patience
38. your kindness
39. you travel a distance to see me
40. you chose me


Foto Friday: Sarah K Chen Photography

I love the images that Sarah K. Chen has captured. So many lovely details, such wonderful light, and sweet moments during a wedding day. So inspiring! She's based out of Orange County and a baby is on the way. She's also known as Mrs.Pootiekins on the Knot photographed by the awesome Jose Villa.


Sweet moment.

Cool silhouette.

Miss-soon-to-be-Mrs. Penguin! (Weddingbee)

Like the ring shot.

Great contrast.

Thanks Sarah for the inspiration! Be sure to check out her blog!

All photos by the ever-so-talented Sarah K. Chen!


Take the Cake Thursday: Forget-Me-Not Cakes

This bakery lives up to its name: Forget-Me-Not Cakes. If you're living in San Francisco or the North Bay - Sonoma, Marin, or Napa, you should check this site out. Forget-Me-Not wedding cakes are custom designed for each bride. Sally Ann will consult with you on every detail, to create a delicious and exquisite piece of edible art that reflects you and your dreams, and delights your guests. Awesome!

Showcase of some of Sally's work:

Love the Swiss dots detail

Lovely intricate scrolling

Looks simply delicious!

Lovely, looking like it's wrapped in fabric

Check out Forget Me Not Cakes!

Contact: sally.forgetmenot [at] gmail [dot] com


Finding THE Venue Part III

After visiting a handful of venues, I decided I was over it. Everything started to look the same to me. Windows, check. Dancefloor, check. Generally overpriced catering, check. Oh, I felt the woes of living in Northern California, in the Bay Area no less.

I had figured out that any venue in the Silicon Valley (even after the bust) was way out of my price range, simply because there are still folks who can afford an arm and a leg. San Francisco proper was out of the question because we don't live on that side, and again I'm not willing to give up my first born for my wedding. The Peninsula (Palo Alto or San Mateo) would be a last resort, but still not ideal since guests would have to cross a bridge. Oakland was a possibility, but still a distance from the church. The pricing was in a good range, but I think the distance outweighed that factor. Finally, the East Bay and Tri-Valley area seemed like the most logical choice. And since these locations aren't in the the super high traffic areas like the city or uber expensive like one of the clubs in the South Bay, the pricing is a little more budget friendly.

Having decided that although Livermore (way out there) had lovely vineyards, unless we were having both the ceremony and reception in the same location, this wouldn't make sense. It would be a 40-50 minute drive just to get out there post-ceremony. And with the price of gas, this wasn't a good option. I liked Dublin Ranch Golf Club, but it too, was a little too far for my taste. Sunol Valley was our first initial choice, but after consideration of double bookings without question, it no longer sat well with me. Also, by the time we were ready to make a decision, both of our possible dates were booked. Finally, the last contender is nicely situated just on the other side of the hills from the church, with all the style that I had wanted.

Castlewood Country Club ascended to our top choice. You don't have to be a member to use the facility, although the rental price is higher without membership or sponsoring member. That price point was acceptable to us since their catering prices were comparable and the space was just so beautiful. There is no dollar minimum, but a guest minimum, which I thought would work out to our advantage since we would have at least the minimum number of guests. I fell in love with the space.

At first, I thought that it was too fancy for us. I thought the words "country club" would make people think that we were rich. But as a good friend of mine said, "Welcome to team 'I am getting married in a country club even though I would never have thought so in a million years.'" It just happens that it all worked out nicely. Some photos for better description...

Front entrance

Club lobby


Terrace - great for cocktail hour on a warm summer evening

Main ballroom

It has a very "hacienda" feel to it and was once owned by the Hearst Family. Yes, the HEARST's. The chairs aren't ugly, so I don't feel that money would have to be spent on chair covers. The space is big enough to accommodate our party, up to 375, were we to know that many people. I'm so excited that we have a venue! That means that I can really start working on the paper products and stationery! Yay!


Project: Save the Dates Part I

With the wedding still a whole year and eight days away (three months flew by quick!), I definitely think we need to send out save the date cards, at least to our friends and relatives who will have to plan flights and hotel stays in order to attend. And with the way gas and jet fuel prices keep climbing, it's the courteous and right thing to do.

So I've been thinking a lot about what my Save the Dates should look like. I feel like STD's set the tone for the wedding and will carry the motif and theme along (if you choose that). Since I'm all about designing my own stationery, even though I'm no graphic designer, I want there to be a cohesive feeling between the Save the Dates and the Invitations. I could go the "easy" route and get matching sets from vendors like Wedding Paper Divas or Minted.com, but to me, even though they have gorgeous stuff, feels impersonal when I think of other brides that might have my same design. It just doesn't sit well with me.

I've seen some great design ideas from other bloggers out there:

Kate's Wedding
(aka Miss Pomegranate)

Miss Cupcake

an Excited Bride (aka Miss Coconut)

Stinkerpants (aka Miss Cream Puff)

So cute! The Bees are really so creative! Just turned out that a lot of my favorite Knotties/blogger-brides our there turned out to be Bees on WeddingBee! I want to be budget friendly, while cute, creative, and cohesive. I have a couple ideas that I will share next time...


Where to Begin: Choosing your Colors

This, for us, was a surprisingly easy decision. I've always loved the color blue -- especially cobalt blue, pool blue, and the aqua blue you see in photos of Tahiti and Bora Bora. Quite lovely. The other color that I was drawn to is chocolate brown. I've seen a lot of pairings of these two colors and they work out very nicely.

When I was chatting with my fiance about colors, I figured he wouldn't be very interested. But actually, he had immediate input. We were driving back from a venue tour and saw a man on the sidewalk wearing a bright blue scarf. He had mentioned that he wanted "Carolina Blue", as in the North Carolina Tarheels color blue. I said I wanted the color of the guy on the sidewalk's scarf. And he agreed to the color! Easy peasy! I don't know if it would have been as easy if I had decided I wanted pink or purple. But I do love the blue.

My only issue is finding flowers that will work. I know that hydrangeas are blue, but there isn't quite the plethora of choices compared to say pink or purple or orange flowers. I was thinking about cream/white flowers since those go with everything, but I'm one for color. I guess that's what I'll have to discuss with my florist (when I find one...)

So in choosing your colors, consider your venue - are the colors vibrant or muted? would any colors clash with the current decor? what flowers (if using for decor) will be in season? Also, consider what you like - don't choose pink and brown because it's trendy if you hate brown and your fiance hates pink. If you really love green, go for it. There is a huge range of "green". Unless your fiance really has no opinion about the matter, make sure the color is not going to make him/her shudder. In the words of Tim Gunn, "Make it work."


Favorite Blog: Elizabeth Anne Designs

I think I found out about Elizabeth Anne Designs as a recommended RSS feed from Google Reader and as a link from another wedding blog. I'm sure glad I found their site! One of my most favorite parts of wedding planning so far has been the discovery of all these amazing, creative, helpful, and super awesome wedding blog.

The main "voices" of the site are Elizabeth and Anne, with guest bloggers from other blogs such as Liene from Blue Orchid Designs (her blog is fantastic as well!). They feature lovely real weddings, post ideas for inspiration boards, and all kinds of other fabulous wedding stuff. They are a multiple-times daily read for me. And they added me to their link love! How awesome is that? You should definitely check out Elizabeth Anne Designs!


101 things I love about....

my fiance, my best friend, my biggest fan.

My list of 1-20 in no particular order...

  1. the way you smile
  2. your laugh and how it brightens my day
  3. that you know how to dress
  4. that you care about my interests/hobbies
  5. you make me happy just being in the same room
  6. you have always believed in us
  7. you trust me and I trust you completely
  8. you love me for me
  9. your openness
  10. that you'll listen to me rant unconditionally
  11. you think I'm funny, not nuts
  12. you know how to make me laugh
  13. when you try to scare me with your "mean look", it makes me laugh instead
  14. your big, juicy lips!
  15. you have a cute butt
  16. when you whisper in my ear ::chills::
  17. you put up with me
  18. you think I'm cute
  19. you think I'm cute without makeup
  20. you're nicer than me
I love you!


Foto Friday: Travis Hoehne Photography

Even before I was engaged, I've been blogstalking photographers. I love photography, especially portrait and wedding photography. It's all about catching the moment, a visual expression of love, and emotion. I'm in awe of photographers who are able to capture this. It's not easy and not anyone can do it. Since I have so much love for the photographers out there (check my photog blogroll), I'm beginning a new feature: Foto Fridays.

So now that you know who we've snapped up as our photographer, I figured that I would feature some of the work that moved me to hire him!

Travis Hoehne is based out of Riverside, and has been awesome to work with. You can check out his blog here, and his website is almost complete.

Love the light!

Definitely want something like this for ours :)

And this too. I KNOW the groomsmen (and groom!) would be down!

Love the silhouette.

I like the use of the arches.

The light is shining down on them!

Colors of this shindig are so vibrant!

This series is great!


I really like this one too. So cool!

Travis, if I haven't said it enough, you're awesome!! Next July here we come!