Wednesday, February 27, 2008


I love reading the Housemartin blog, particularly when she posts photos of her gorgeous floral arrangements. Check out this wild bouquet!

I have never seen Green Tiger orchids before. She always uses unique flowers or surprising combinations of every day flowers for a gorgeous and unique arrangement. Yes another temptation to totally change my color scheme...

Monday, February 25, 2008

congratulations to grace!

The writer of one of my favorite blogs got engaged this weekend! Congratulations to Grace at Design *Sponge!

This is such an exciting time of year. The engagements seem to be coming left and right. I can't wait to hear all about her fabulous wedding plans! She always has some wonderful DIY ideas and I have my fingers crossed that there will be more wedding related items in the months ahead.

tiffany is forever

Thank you to Apartment Therapy for showing off Tiffany's Sea Urchin bone china.

I love all-white china with texture. I am still trying to find my china pattern and the pressure of forever is starting to get to me- what if one breaks and they have cancelled the line? What if I pick something that suits my taste now but not in 15 years? "Tiffany" goes with "forever", doesn't it?

Saturday, February 16, 2008

i heart vietri

While in Kansas City last weekend, my old college roommate Laura and I nosed around in the home goods department at Halls. Halls is an old department store, linked to the family who started Hallmark, which can only be found in Kansas City. I love the store in the Plaza. It feels more like you are wandering around someone's home rather than a department store. Laura had registered at Halls for her wedding and had acquired some gorgeous gifts. One line of tableware in particular caught my attention, so Laura surprised me with a little engagement gift before I headed back to Chicago. Here is a really crappy picture of the Vietri rectangular baker.What you can't see is all the handmade charm and the gorgeous color. You also can't see the stamp on the bottom which states that it is microwave, dishwasher and oven safe. After doing a little research, I found that Vietri is also sold at Tabula Tua in Chicago. They have plenty of other gorgeous items and an online registry, so go visit when you have a moment. Here are a few more of my favorite Vietri lines. My favorite is the first image- the Incanto line.

I LOVE this pitcher!

Friday, February 15, 2008

i dream of valentino

I would like to tell you a story of a bride who became tired of planning her wedding and began to get frustrated with her long engagement. At least mentally, all her vendors were booked and her DIY projects planned. September sounded SO FAR AWAY. In her wedding frustration, she contemplated changing her date and hoping that her vendors were free, or meeting up with a Justice of the Peace or, finally, hopping a flight to Vegas. The endless Chicago snow had also begun to drive her crazy, so a quickie beach wedding sounded fabulous, too. Wow... really, really fabulous.

After her fiance advised her to knock it off, this frustrated bride decided that she needed to console herself with pretty gold designer wedding shoes to match all the pretty gold jewelry she had been falling in love with lately.

Manolo Blahnik

Prada (super sexy back)

Schucks! There is a Valentino bag to match.
Shoes and bag from Bergdorf Goodman.

What's worse than being down with the way too long engagement blues? Drooling over shoes that you can't afford. Poor girl.

a pretty penny

I was in Kansas City last weekend visiting my college roommate and we spent some time shopping in the Plaza. The Plaza is an absolutely lovely outdoor shopping area with some great shops (Lill, Anthropologie, Paper Source and Halls are some of my favorites), yummy restaurants and gorgeous architecture. The developer referenced Seville, Spain while creating the layout and design in 1922. My roommate's husband bought both her engagement and wedding band at Tivol on the Plaza so we stopped my for a cleaning. While we were waiting for our rings to get sparkled, I wandered around the store and stopped dead in my tracks in front of the Penny Preville section. I have very simple tastes in jewelry and there isn't a designer that I am attached to. I was initially interested because one of her rings reminded me of my own engagement ring, but the more I looked, the more I liked.

Here are some of my favorites from her site. A lot of care and and attention to detail went into each piece. Some are so vintage looking, you would swear they were antiques. I am sure that everything is pricey and swanky and mostly an object of daydreams, but it is fun to dream...

I thought it might be fun to stack a few of these as a wedding band...

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

caramels and roses? oh my!

Last October, Jake and I took a trip to San Francisco and had an amazing time. Highlights of the trip included a tour of Sonoma, meeting Mrs. Gummi Bear in Berkeley and a trip to the Hayes Valley neighborhood. I LOVED, loved, loved Hayes Valley. I would move there if Chicago wasn't my favorite.

Anyway, two of the bestest places in Hayes Valley- Rose and Radish and Miette- are joining their creatively perfect forces for the ultimate valentines gift. Call Rose and Radish for more details, but it sounds like you can get some of Miettes unreal homemade caramels (have I ever mentioned that I am a sucker for homemade caramel?) and a very unique bouquet from R&R. Yes, its for San Fran people only, but if anyone does order or receive one, can you take pictures and send them to me?

Monday, February 4, 2008

voting brings us together

Jake and I met while working at a politician's office- lets call that politician Bob. He was a fan of the Bob's political party, I, however, was a fan of the other team. I took a job on Bob's campaign because I was looking for fundraising experience. Frankly, I had just graduated from college and I had no idea what I was doing. I knew that it would be hard to raise money for "the other team" (talking in code is hard!), but after meeting Bob and finding him to be a middle-of-the-road, very likable guy, I decided to go for it. I really loved that job. It was a bit of a boys club and I had never experienced anything like it before. The parties that I was planning were at fun locations in the city and I got to meet some pretty influential people in Illinois. Jake worked on the state side as Bob's assistant and occasionally clocked out and came over to the campaign side with me. I think I need to save the whole story of how we met for another day, because I kinda love it and I would like to write a whole post about it.

Jake and me at the Illinois State Fair for "the other team's" celebration day

Fast forward a few years (Wayne's World squiggly fingers thing), and Jake and I are engaged. I left the job with Bob because the political differences started to get to me and Jake also moved on to greener pastures. We are both still very involved in politics. I even made phone calls for my favorite candidate on Saturday afternoon. Jake and I, as we did when we worked together, discuss politics quite frequently. There are a few topics that we purposefully avoid- the war and the current president, mostly- and we are comforted by the handful issues that we agree on. This presidential election has been a lot of fun for us, perhaps a little too much fun. We are actually going to have an election themed rehearsal dinner (more on that later, too) with political buttons and little banners. He says that he is my running mate. The wedding will be 2 months before the election and we are hoping that things will be pretty exciting by then.

Tomorrow is Primary Day in Illinois and Jake and I will be attending our polling place together. I like when we walk in together, holding hands, and then pull different party's ballots. I would wear my favorite new sweatshirt with my candidate's logo on it, but Jake says that is electioneering and I could get kicked out of my polling place. We always go vote together and proudly wear our "I voted today" stickers. Although we vote for different parties, we can still have politics in common.

I don't want to get all "The More you Know," but we are so lucky to be able to voice our opinions in this way. Voting is easy and fun. Pick a candidate, do a little research on him/her and go vote. Brag to all your friends that you participated in the glorious process of free elections and go to bed with sweet dreams of victory.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

the wedding show

Aside from the Paper Wedding event, the Wedding Show at the Chicago History Museum was the best wedding show that I have attended in the past year. Blue Plate and the Chicago History Museum are holding the event again this year on March 13, and if you live in the Chicago area I really recommend going.

The very pretty Chicago History Museum

These two events had several things going for them: they are free, they chose great vendors, the atmosphere was warm and friendly and finally, they were free (did I mention that already?). The free thing is kind of important to me because I think it is crazy to ask me to pay you so that you can hand out marketing materials. Yes, I know that attendees usually get some snacks and drinks, but really those are just edible ads. I'm not sure how you create a fun atmosphere, but when the staff is attentive and friendly, there is free food and drinks and you get a good crowd, there is a good chance for a good time.

Here is my review of last year's event.
I attended the Wedding Show on Tuesday night, hosted by Blue Plate Catering and the Chicago History Museum. Because a certain someone backed out at the last minute, I dragged Jake along with me. After scoping out the joint, I spent several minutes convincing him that he wouldn’t be “the only dude there” and that no one would think that he was a sissy boy. I neglected to mention that the other men in attendance were working- catering staff, photographers, cleaning crew… There were a few grooms, but they were, in fact, sissy boys.

The Chicago History Museum is awesome. They have an amazing outdoor space that would have been nice for cocktails and the Tiffany glass surrounding the room makes it glow. It was a great venue for the Wedding Show. Models dressed in wedding and bridesmaid dresses wandered around with distressed "modely" looks on their faces. Blue Plate passed around a specialty cocktail that had some kind of raspberry thing going on and some delicious appetizers. They also had three stations set up to showcase their desserts (mmmm… donuts), brunch and late night menus. Jake enjoyed the mini-burgers and the mini-grilled cheese (served over a shot glass of delicious tomato soup). I loved the mini-pears with gorgonzola and the bellinis.

There were quite a few great vendors in attendance. Kloeckner Preferred Flowers was giving out beautiful delphinium orchids with their business cards attached. The orchids were showcased in a variety of colors in their 8 displayed floral arrangements. I was excited to see the Cake Girls table. Their cakes are often featured in the bridal magazines and I enjoyed seeing their them up close. They can do anything with fondant, I swear.

Jake was most excited about For Your Party, a company that creates custom wedding napkins, matchbooks, coasters, etc. Jake is all about the matchbooks and napkins. I could do with out them, but since it won’t be terribly expensive I won’t stop that train. They are very pretty and maybe even classy- for monogrammed napkins. We met a few photographers that night, with Rosalind Weddings coming out on top. Although I am still attached to another photographer, Rosalind had beautiful albums on display and she seemed very low key. I also met a make-up artist but I am not so excited about that part so I can’t remember her name. If you are reading this, mystery make-up lady, I apologize. You were very nice and according to your website you have done Jeff Tweedy’s make-up a few times, so I will think about you later.

It was a fun experience, overall. It was nice to spend time with my bridesmad Christine (a Blue Plate employee who was running the show) as she barked at the models to get to the other end of the room. I learned that Jake will be happier if you take him straight to the mini-burgers and momogrammed napkins before we proceed to the florists. I also learned that the wedding industry knows how to get you where it hurts. Apparently, I need to start my facials NOW! to get that fresh-faced look on “the most important day of my life.” As long as Jake and I can keep our heads on straight, this should be a fun ride!

a paper wedding

I am really swearing off wedding related events, i.e. bridal expos, trunk shows, bridal luncheons, vendor showcases and "evenings of bridal luxury." I don't care how much free champagne and cupcakes they offer me, I am DONE. However, I went to Paper Source's Paper Weddings last year and I briefly flirted with going back for a second round. There were two shows that I have attended in the past year that were actually helpful, and this was definitely one of them (I will write about the other one soon). The event is coming up again in February and it sounds like it will keep all the goodies from the last round and throw in a few more. The tutorials are priceless and I made friends with a few other paper fetishists.

Here is my review of last year's event to give you a taste of what the event has to offer. If there is one in your area and you have even a passing interest in either DIY or pretty paper, I highly recommend going.
I spent the day at one of my favorite places in the whole world- the Paper Source in Lincoln Park. I arrived a little late for the Paper Wedding event. It was an open house with project demos, vendors, champagne (my favorite), treats and a whole bunch of brides-to-be. It was a little weird being in a place with so many flashy rings! The lower level had two demo tables and walls full of paper, note cards and envelopes. This area can be a little more intimidating if you are not yet and experienced Paper Source customer. The upper level had most of the kits, pre-made note cards, silk gift items and anything and everything else. This is also where the vendors were giving out business cards and freebies.

I started on the lower level at the demo table for “Savvy Save the Dates.” The employee demo-ing the project was adorable and very excited to talk about stamps, glue and glitter. I think that the highlight was learning how to emboss stamps on paper. You can just stamp something, shake embossing powder over the stamp, blow-dry it and you get a very professional looking raised and glossy image.

After that, I had a few minutes to walk around the upper level before the next demo. I was quite impressed by a florist named Dilly Lily. They did some things with wheat grass that I thought were quite interesting. Vosges Haut-Chocolat was there with samples (yum) although I am not sure what I would do with them. Those are some crazy expensive chocolates and I am not sure that they are any better than Fannie May. There was a photographer there and a videographer. Snooze. There was a dress shop called Dame Couture, which specializes in custom made dresses. If you go to their website, you can see some pretty unique dresses- not always my taste, but if you have your own sense of style, I would highly recommend it. Bittersweet Pastry Shop had a cake and some cookies on display. The PS staff was also handing out samples. I have three words for you- creme brulee filling. I had to restrain myself from going back for more. There was also a string quartet playing your standard Pachelbel’s Cannon/Here Comes the Bride type stuff.

A friend from work joined me for the "Handmade Gift Ideas" workshop. I learned about covering books in paper. It might be cute for bridemaids gifts… but, not my favorite demo. We went to the "Dressed up Envelope" next and chatted through most of it- although I did pick up a few tips on mailing labels and how to cut paper to fit inside your envelope to make it look more interesting when it is opened. I also learned about the magical Xyron. I think that I need to own one of those. After spending some time with the sample letterpress invitations, we went to "Perfect Favors and Adornments" and learned about all the kinds of little boxes that you can buy at the store. That one really felt like a sales pitch- not that I can blame them, the day was free!

Three pieces (they were small!) of cake, two glasses of champagne (also small- unfortunately) and a purchased stamp later, we were done. I learned a lot today and I am now obsessed with letterpress invitations. The Paper Source will be seeing a lot more of me…

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