Sunday, September 27, 2009

{Contest} Wishpot and Avelle Kate Spade Handbag Giveaway

Wishpot and Avelle the New Bag Borrow Steal have teamed up to bring you a very exciting giveaway! Enter to win a Kate Spade "Knightsbridge Quinn" Croco Tote with a retail value of $425? The clean lines and elegant croc-embossed patent calfskin leather of this Kate Spade tote transitions effortlessly from daytime to evening. This classic and iconic Kate Spade Quinn bag has been give a luxe makeover and is a must have for the fashionista.

Bag details:
  • short shoulder tote with open top
  • center zip divider pocket, double slide pockets and zip pocket
  • 14-karat light gold plated hardware
  • custom woven noel jacquard lining
  • light gold floating noel signature
  • imported
  • style # PXRU1276
  • 6.6" drop length
  • 9.4"h x 11.5"w x 4.5"d
Now you have the opportunity to win the Kate Spade "Knightsbridge Quinn" Tote, thanks to
Wishpot and Avelle. Here's how to enter:

Tell or show Wishpot and Avelle what you want to carry in your Avelle Designer Bag! (Your fave accessories, your pets, your dreams, the kitchen sink and more...)

Tell: get 1 entry for each response here, on Avelle Facebook Fan Page, or on Twitter RT #Avelle

Show: Get 2 entries when you post a pic of what you want to carry on the Avelle Facebook Fan Page or on Twitter #Avelle

Share: Get 3 entries when you sign up at Avelle, follow Avelle on Twitter, or blog about this giveaway.

Be sure to leave a comment on the Wishpot Blog with what you did. Giveaway lasts one week. Wishpot and Avelle will draw a winner on Monday October 5th.

Good Luck.


Photo from Wishpot and Avelle

Monday, September 21, 2009

Real Weddings: Betty & Stephen

I had so much fun at Betty & Stephen's wedding this past weekend. I've known Betty and Stephen for a while now, since Stephen is my assistant, Sarah's, brother. Planning this wedding was more like helping family out and I am so happy that it turned out so beautiful. I found myself crying several times throughout the day, like when Betty walked down the aisle of the historic Chapman Chapel and when Stephen and his mom, Pauline, did their mother/son dance at the reception to Nat King Cole's Version of "You are My Sunshine." It was a night of pure bliss and fun.

It was so great to see two cultures coming together to celebrate the love of two individuals. You had the Latinos and the Brits, both love to party and they partied until midnight at the funky and unique, Angelo and Vinci's Restaurant. I've never been to a party where Latin Salsa and Cumbia blended so beautifully with The Beatles. Fun was had by all, thanks to the awesome DJ Dennis at Create a Sound Entertainment.

Here are some of the photos taken by photographer extraordinaire, Gloria Plunkett. I can't believe she already has the previews up!



All photos by Gloria Plunkett

Betty and Stephen's favorite bar. They had to have a picture in front of it.

The Vendors:
Wedding Planner and Coordinator: Percy Sales
Photographer: Gloria Plunkett Photography
Flowers: Your Image Botanical Designs
Ceremony Site: Chapman Chapel, Orange, California
Reception Site/Food/Cake: Angelo and Vinci's, Fullerton, California
DJ: Create A Sound Entertainment, DJ Dennis
Videographer: Bonnie's Photography and Videography Studio

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Comfort Food Redux

I was craving some chicken noodle soup today and thought, "How can I translate my favorite comfort foods to a reception worthy treat?" I know there has been buzz about this trend for at least the last year or so, yet caterers, at least ones that aren't hip with the program, are still pushing the same old stuffed mushroom caps, mini quiches, coconut shrimp, and the dreaded egg roll hors d'oeuvres. Therefore, for those like me, who enjoy their comfort foods, here's how I would make them wedding ready.

First, the yummy and always comforting Tomato Soup with Grilled Cheese Sandwich.

Have your caterer create a demitasse portion of a fabulous tomato soup recipe that can be sipped and savored by your guests. Pair it with a bite size grilled cheese sandwich using a heavenly cheese mixture, such as Gruyere and Brie. Your guests will feel the love with this pairing!

Next, the fast food classic...Cheeseburger and French Fries.

First the cheeseburger, have your caterer make mini sirloin cheeseburger served on a bite size homemade mini buns. Dress it with the ketchup and mustard. If you want something bolder or maybe even a little twist to the classic, serve it with grilled onions, a fried dilled pickle chip, and a tasty dollop of jalapeno jelly, it'll be a wonderful and tasty surprise.

The French Fries...nothing much that you can do with the classic fry. However, for a more elegant twist, serve it in a shot glass filled with ketchup on the bottom of the glass. Another way to present them is to do it the French way, make little mini cones out of old newspapers, and serve it that way. You can spice the fries up with your favorite seasonings or just with plain old salt. The only has to be served crispy and hot. There's nothing worst than cold and soggy French fries.

Next, the family's favorite picnic meal, Fried Chicken and Potato Salad.

There's nothing like a good fried chicken, but to serve it during your wedding reception would probably be a little to "comfortable." Instead, try chicken lollipops covered in Panko flakes and fried to a golden perfection. Your guests will dig the fact that you are serving them one of their guilty pleasures.

The classic potato salad...again there's not much you can do but serve it a more refined manner, such as a shot glass or mini martini glass filled with this classic fare. For a modern take serve a deconstructed potato salad on a skewer, alternating potatoes, eggs, and celery...served with a Dijon and mayonnaise dipping sauce.

The always comforting Mac N Cheese.

I love this stuff but serving it at a wedding reception may get some strange looks. Rather have your chef make Mac N Cheese in mini ramekin's and use wonderful brie, Gruyere or even a harder cheese such as Manchego rather than the classic American or Velveeta. It'll be a comforting and decadent treat for your guests.

The oh so delicious Cinnamon Rolls.

There's nothing better for breakfast, well anytime of the day, than these gooey extremely iced food of the gods. Have your caterer or pastry chef make mini cinnamon roll lollipops that your guests can devour in one yummy bite. These would be the perfect ender to your reception hour or a surprise addition to your dessert bar at the end of the night.

Nothing makes me smile like Mom's Apple Pie.

Having pie slices at your reception would be too ordinary. Though we love this classic fare, there's really nothing beautiful about it, especially when it's been sliced. Regardless, it's the taste that we crave in this comfort food, so why not make it drinkable for your reception. Have your bartender create a classic apple pie a la mode shooter or an apple pie martini. The drink is sure to bring a smile to your guests and it's a great twist to a classic comfort food.

I hope I have inspired you to think of your own favorite comfort foods and finding ways to make them hors d'oeuvres ready. Have fun creating a twist to the classics.


Photos from various sites on the Internet.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Secret Gripes About Weddings

I recently read an article by Meredith Bodgas on MSN Lifestyle titled Wedding Guests' Secret Gripes, which I believe first appeared on The Knot, and I what an excellent and candid way of telling brides-to-be exactly what their potential guests may be thinking. I thought the article was wonderful and have posted the list of gripes Meredith wrote about here:

"Your Timing Stinks
Huge time gaps between the ceremony and the reception — the ones where the ceremony starts at noon, but the party isn't until 7 p.m. — are annoying because you're often leaving us in the middle of nowhere with absolutely nothing to do. We don't want to kill time at a restaurant because we're hoping you'll feed us well at your reception. And there's only so much lingering we can do at a coffee shop or a bookstore ... in our dressy clothes! We'd much rather head straight to the party after the "I dos."

You Picked a Bad Day
We've had weddings on every holiday, from Mother's Day to Super Bowl Sunday (yes, that counts as a holiday). You must realize that we'd rather be with our moms or watching the game instead of going to your wedding on those days. And please don't ruin our holiday weekends. We get it; you can save a bundle if you get hitched on the Sunday before Memorial Day, but maybe we'd like to take our vacations then. If nothing else, please don't get married on some random Tuesday night. That means we have to take off two days from work just to go! Let us use our vacation days for vacations.

You're Boring Us
The ceremony may be the most important part of the day to you, but the reception is what we're really looking forward to. When it takes forever to get dinner served, each speech is 25 minutes long, and you play a string of songs that are all inside jokes with the same group of friends, there isn't much time for getting our groove on. Uh, and if the band's so bad that no one's dancing — including you and your groom — we just think, Why are we even here?
Showing us a really good time is the least that you can do to thank us for giving up our free day, traveling, and getting you an expensive gift.

The Food Isn't Great
Why would you bother spending thousands on your flowers if your food is going to taste terrible? We want a delicious meal way more than we want pretty centerpieces. You don't know this, but we actually think of that $200 gift as a contribution to a great meal. If it's not as good as something we'd have at a restaurant, we're going to be disappointed. Even if the food is tasty, don't make us go hungry. We don't need an eight-course meal, but we don't want to have to push through other guests just to get to the tiny hors d'oeuvres you're calling dinner.

You Make Us Pay?!
Treat your guests like guests; don't make us bring our wallets whenever we want a drink! When you have more than 300 guests and a cash bar, we wish that you would've just cut the list and paid for our drinks instead. How exactly are we supposed to feel when we paid for flights, a rental car, a hotel room, and a gift, and then you make us pay at the bar? So not cool.

You Sat Us Here
We want to have fun at your wedding, believe us, but it's pretty tricky when you seat us right in front of giant speakers. We won't be able to talk to anyone at our tables or enjoy our dinner if you're blowing out our eardrums. Before you book your venue, make sure there's enough space for tables without having to make us sit in the DJ's lap. And don't make us suffer in the heat. If you're having a summer wedding, do it somewhere with air conditioning!

Also, if you want to be outdoors, don't make us rough it: Walking around in the mud, swatting bugs, or using porta-potties is even less fun in formal attire. And please give us plenty of places to sit. Cocktail hours are great, but it's pretty tough to balance our plates, drinks, and purses while standing — in heels no less!

You Don't Invite a Plus-One
Nothing reminds us of our dating status like a wedding. No need to rub it in our faces with even more reminders. The garter and bouquet tosses are like saying, "Hey, look at them. They're single!" Could you blame us if we hide in the bathroom as soon as the DJ announces it? And, come on, even if they did honestly predict we'd be the next to marry, do we really want some cheesy guy slipping garters up our legs? Of course, we'd prefer to be invited with a date, but we get why you may not be able to give us that, especially if we'll know lots of other people there. But if everyone we know is making out with their significant other all night, we're going to be pissed that you couldn't include one extra person to make us feel a little more comfortable.

You Put Us to Work
We know we'll have to help out with some tasks when we agree to be in the bridal party, but it's insulting when you consider a task like manning the guest book table an honor. We'd rather just be a regular guest at the wedding than have some silly duty like that. At the very least, give us a heads up if you'll need our help. Don't spring flower girl babysitting duties on us minutes before the reception.

You Don't Say Thank You
It's frustrating when we fly all the way to your wedding and you don't take the time to thank us for making the trip. Even if we haven't come a long way, make an effort to thank us for coming anyway. We know it's hard to talk to every guest at the wedding, but that's why, at the very least, we better get a thank-you card from you when you get back from your honeymoon!"


Some of Meredith's insights are pretty harsh and some are pretty much right on target. I asked my friends on Twitter and Facebook what their secret gripes about wedding are and here's a sampling of the responses I received:

"My biggest gripe about weddings is that sometimes people don't know how to loosen up and have a good time. Wedding are about let's celebrate!"

"As a guest and photographer, the time gap has always annoyed me. Especially when it's more than an hour and the ceremony and reception are far apart from each other."

"I don't like how the bride's family and friends have to sit on one side and the groom's have to sit on the other!!! Let's mix it up people!!!"

"Not knowing who the other guests are and trying to figure out who is related to who, or not related"

"I want to see the faces of the bride and groom -not their backs - when they say their vows. I'd rather see the back of the person marrying them."

"Who the heck does money dances anymore? I was at wedding a few weeks back and they had a money dance that took 45 minutes!! People were actually yawning and leaving!!"

"The nicest wedding I attended was one in which the bride and groom walked around to all the tables and personally talked to each of the guests. If you can't do it, don't invite so many people."

"One secret gripes is the lack of time to talk with the couple. i understand that everyone wants them, but more face time = good"

"Waiting for the ceremony to start for a long long time. Please start within 15 minutes of your invite time. Some of us get there at least 45 minutes before the ceremony and having to wait two hours for a 15 minute ceremony is absolutely insane."

If you have your own secret gripes about weddings, please post it in the comment section...and yes you an post it anonymously!


Photo from Benachi House and Gardens

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Going Up...

The movie Up was a summer blockbuster that was enjoyed by both kids and adults. It was a love story and an adventure all wrapped in one animated movie! The characters were definitely the star of the show, but the take away to everyday life were the balloons!

With wedding season just about ending we have seen balloons used in almost every aspect of the wedding adventure. We are not talking about the old school balloon arches, pillars, or centerpieces either. We are talking simple and elegant use of the balloon!

Here are some of the trends we have seen using the balloon this year.

Engagement Photos

Room Decor

Balloon Drops

Bridal Photos

I see the use of balloons as an early trend that we will see more and more of in coming years. I even used balloons for my wedding in 2008 (we did a balloon release) after we said "I Do." The simplicity of these childhood favorites just brings a joyous touch to photos and decor. Use the balloon wisely though, because it can come off cheesy rather than classy if not used in the right way. Try to stick with one color and if you must use a variety of colors...use it in a balloon drop or balloon launch!

The plus with get a lot of UMPH for very little moola!

Go and Celebrate!


Photos Credits: Sarah K. Chen, Caroline Tran, Max Wanger, Wishpot, Gifts and Decorative Accessories, Clowns Unlimited, Travel Webshots, Martha Stewart Weddings, Kate Headley, Boutwell Studio; Up Logo from Disney

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