Saturday, February 28, 2009

Favorite Things from The Shop @ PSE: The Wedding Bag ™

As promised, I am doing a weekly review of my favorite things found at The Shop @ Percy Sales Events. Since my shop just opened this week, I thought it was totally appropriate to find an item that will get me organized and in the mood for shopping and planning. I came across this wonderful bag, The Wedding Bag ™ by Shelley George.

This bag is perfect to have while planning the most spectacular party of your life. And after the grand soiree you can use it to tote around town (but only after Memorial Day and before Labor Day). However, if you are a bride to be, it's perfect to carry anytime of the year! It will indicate to everyone that YOU ARE THE BRIDE!

Shelley George has designed this bag so it works for toting around all your wedding or event essentials. It's a practical piece that will keep you organized. For more information on this essential item, please visit The Shop @ Percy Sales Events.

Additionally, visit The Shop @ Percy Sales Events for all your wedding and event needs!

-Percy









Photo from The Shop @ Percy Sales Events

Friday, February 27, 2009

Guest Blogger Fridays: Sarah Monson of The Dream Factory

I met Sarah by chance, actually through an email she sent me titled, "I Love Santa Barbara!" She had written me asking advice about the Santa Barbara wedding industry and commented on one of my blog posts. We have actually never met, only written to each other on email, but from her emails you can see how her charisma shines through. Definitely a positive and fun person. Well I looked over her business The Dream Factory, and was loved the focus and product she was representing...so I asked her to guest blog for me about why her services are needed in this industry. Well she did an amazing blog and you are about to read it! I hope you enjoy it as much as I did! - Percy


Photo Montages - More than just collage


Admit it: You love looking at pictures of yourself. It’s not a bad thing – we all do it! Whether online or hanging on a wall – we all love admiring ourselves and reliving our happy memories.


My name is Sarah Monson and I own The Dream Factory (based in New York City but serving the world). I am so excited to be this week’s guest blogger. I love Percy’s blog and I love Santa Barbara (I will be living there one day soon – mark my words)! At The Dream Factory, I create professionally edited, custom made “Mini-Movie” montages of photos and videos from your life and your Wedding, all set to your favorite music.


Couples love telling the story of how they fell in love through their old photos and home movies. With these photo montages, you can tell your story in a fresh new way to all the guests at your rehearsal dinner or even those at the wedding itself. The possibilities are endless.


There are countless people and companies out there offering you these photo montages (or slideshows) and the quality or their skill and the end product you receive can vary greatly. Many who offer these use simplified “drag and drop” software that frankly you could all figure out how to use yourselves. The photo montages this software generates are often just your photos laid over your selected music, cut together with simple transitions between the photos. There is nothing wrong with these slideshows but there is generally not much “Dazzle” to them. The photos are not precisely edited and timed to the tempo and beat of your chosen music. The transitions themselves are not often the types of things you’d see in professionally done films or videos. But they get the job done.


However, there are a select few out there (like The Dream Factory) who treat your photo montage like a professional “Mini-Movie” of your story or your Wedding. Using professional film editing software, these artists can precisely time and edit your photos to the beat of the music with sleek transitions using graphically designed shapes/sizes/colors, and can also make your photos leap off the screen by creating 3-D versions of select photos.


According to The Knot, photo montages, especially those using visually stunning 3-D images, are currently a very popular trend in Weddings and this trend is growing each day (for an example of these, please visit my website and click the “Now In 3-D” button in the top left). Brides and Grooms are finding themselves drawn to these photo montages because they are an affordable alternative to full scale Wedding video productions.


I was at a wedding event this week (I am engaged myself) and someone told me that on the Top Ten list of Wedding Must Haves, video was only #7 – right after party favors. This surprised me, since I find that couples love some form of a documentary of their special day (and often even want a documentary of their love story to show off to the guests on their special day). I started thinking that Wedding videos are so low on the list and most likely being cut from budgets because they can be so pricey and people feel the still photo images from their special day are enough. Plus, couples often admit that they hardly ever sit down to watch their lengthy Wedding video.


But by taking your current photos along with those sitting around in boxes/albums (and even your old home movies/videos) and combining your favorite songs and even your own voiceovers, photo montages can create the same effect as a Wedding video but at a fraction of the cost. Plus, with these photo montages (which generally range from 5 to 15 minutes in length), couples can send copies around to friends, family and even those who were unable to attend. You can even share copies online. And my clients often tell me they watch their “Mini-Movies” again and again – something I doubt most couples say about their Wedding video.


I love what I do and I get to meet such beautiful Brides and Grooms each day with such amazing stories and lives. I even just created a surprise engagement photo montage that I edited onto the end of a movie for a Groom-to-be to show to his fiancĂ© (of course she said yes!). I come from a production background (I’ve even produced an award winning documentary film) and I create my clients’ “Mini-Movies” on the same film editing software we use for these productions. And while these “Mini-Movies” are primarily made to show at rehearsal dinners or created with the photos from your Wedding, they can also be used for any special moment in life (e.g., Memorable Birthdays, Bar/Bat-Mitzvah’s, etc.). The beauty of photo montages is that while they are each so personal, if done well, anyone can watch them and feel something.


I also should tell you that I myself am getting married in June and I understand how this tornado of Wedding planning can really sweep you up. I know what Brides and Grooms are going through, trying to stay on budget, and trying to be unique yet timeless. I get it. I also know as well as anyone that cost is always a factor.


video


Truth be told, I am also a tree loving hippie at heart (that’s the West Coast gal in me). Because of this, I also recently decided to launch a new service of super affordable, online, custom made “Save the Date” and “Thank You” photo montages to replace the expense and cost to the environment of using traditional paper cards. I even created one for my own engagement (see below for this sample). I also included a really cool Thank You Eco Card from a wedding.


Whether you choose to use a company like The Dream Factory or get yourself a photo montage made by your cousin on his Mac, these “bite-sized” movies really do add a charming touch to any affair and will be cherished by you and your family forever.


video


Thank you Percy for letting me blog about what I love most! I am honored and grateful. If you would like more information on my work, please visit The Dream Factory. If you mention Percy's Blog when contacting, you will receive an extra special rate!


Warmest regards,

Sarah Monson

sarah@thedreamfactoryonline.com

(646) 454-1664

www.thedreamfactoryonline.com


Logo and videos from The Dream Factory

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

The Shop @ Percy Sales Events - Now Open For Business

The Shop @ Percy Sales Events is NOW OPEN for business! This is the one online boutique that you will definitely come back to again and again!

The Shop @ Percy Sales Events is your one-stop online shop, full of everything you will need for your wedding or event. You'll find all the best products, from the very best vendors, with just a click of your mouse! Plus you get to shop from home anytime of the day! You will have a great time shopping and exploring at The Shop @ Percy Sales Events! Who knows you might just find the deal of the year!

Stop by The Shop @ Percy Sales Events NOW and see what might be calling your name! You may even find that item you've been looking for in our extensive online shop!

Let's Party with Percy Sales Events will be featuring our favorite items weekly from The Shop @ Percy Sales Events on Saturdays to give you ideas on what's hot at The Shop @ Percy Sales Events.

Enjoy and Happy Shopping!

-Percy

Photo from The Shop @ Percy Sales Events

Wacky Wednesdays: Big in Japan

They say it's easy when you are big in Japan and I guess that's why the Japanese does it big. Talk about the new spa trend. Ladies and Gents, here's an idea for your "spa day" with the gals or guys, maybe a co-ed spa day.

Apparently in Japan, the latest trend in spa treatments are drinks...I read this is a UPI.Com article. Last year it was all about the doctor fish treatment, you know where you stick your feet in spa water that has thousands of fresh water Garra Rufa and they eat the dead skin off your feet, leaving them smooth and luscious. Since the trend is now passe, they have done the other extreme and have introduced shared spa baths filled with Green Tea, Sake, Red Wine and yes Strawberry's and Cream.

The Green Tea Spa with it's oversized tea kettle, boasts about health benefits such as preventing rough dry skin, whitening (I take it as skin whitening), or effects for cold constitution. The Red Wine Spa, under which water flows from a big red wine bottle, claims to relieve fatique, moisturizing benefits, and anti-aging. The Sake Spa, characterized by a large Sake (Rice Wine) Barrel, claims to help with skin care, relieving back pain, and cold constitution. Finally the most luxurious of the hip new spa treatments...the Strawberry Spa, where you sit in an oversized Strawberry Shortcake and bath in water mixed with strawberry juice and skim milk...touting benefits of skin care and moisturizing.

At any rate, spas should be fun and relaxing and these spas, found in Hakone Japan, Hanagawa Prefecture, is just that. Plus it's family friendly. I wonder if these spa joints will ever make it to the US? If you can't make it in Japan, maybe you can concoct your own drink treatment and try it in your bathtub. A Diet Pepsi bath...hmmm wonder what that would benefit?

-Percy

Photos from UPI/Kezo Mori

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

TIPsy Tuesday: Colin Cowie's Budget Savvy Wedding Tips

With the economy tanking and the recession hitting a record low, it seems that even love (aka weddings) is being affected. Well event guru and celebrity wedding planner, Colin Cowie, has come up with a list of tips for the budget savvy bride, who seek smart solutions for planning an extraordinary wedding. It will be featured in his new book Wedding Chic.

The tips were taken from a press release that I received from the folks at Get Married, which by the way is name of Colin's new show on Lifetime Television. Get Married with Colin Cowie can be seen every weekday at 7:30am ET/PT. However, if you can't wake up that early, or don't have a DVR...don't fret, you can still catch the show online on the Get Married Website, which is a great resource and inspiration for all your wedding needs!

Here's the 7 tips from Colin Cowie:
  1. Dream big: Small ideas get small results, so put budget aside while envisioning your dream wedding, then figure out what you can afford.
  2. Cut your coat according to the cloth: It's better to do 5 things correctly than 10 things on the skinny.
  3. Consider a destination wedding: Weddings can take place anywhere, so think beyond the exotic beach and think about a bed-and-breakfast or country inn.
  4. Opt for a fantastic DJ: Instead of a big orchestra band, find a great DJ who can create great background music and just as easily keep the guests moving on the dance floor.
  5. Invest in a trusted wedding planner: A professional is there to ease some of the pressure while bringing your vision to a reality.
  6. Design a signature drink: Rather than serving an open bar, offer guests a specialty beverage that is as delicious as it is memorable.
  7. Create monochromatic flower arrangements using one type of flower: When bundled en masse in short ceramic vases, whether roses or carnations, tulips or spider mums; these flowers are beautiful and impactful.
I love this list, because they make sense. For most brides or couples they look at the wrong things to cut. I love that in #2 he states that do 5 Things correctly than 10 things wrong. A fabulous wedding/event is not about how many things you do, but how many things were done right.

I especially love #5! In most cases brides and grooms think that this expense is the one thing worth cutting, when in reality it is one of the more important pieces to keep. Wedding planners, especially good ones like me (wink wink) have the ability to keep you focused on what's important, save you money, and ease the pressure of the day. A wedding planner is the best investment that you can make for your wedding day.

I hope this helps you budget savvy brides focus on what's most important for your wedding day. Remember for more daily tips in planning your wedding, make sure to watch Get Married with Colin Cowie every weekday at 7:30am ET/PT.

-Percy

Photo from ColinCowie.com

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Trend Thursdays: Chapeaux D'Art



Karl Lagerfeld has done it again...with these fabulous head pieces that are fit for a queen! Now that Aretha (Franklin) has opened the Pandora's Box of over-the-top Chapeaux, it's a free-for-all in the headdress department. These "art hats" are from Chanel's pre-fall 2009 collection and they are absolutely beautiful! Not that all brides or gamines will be able to pull it off or even consider it, but those more daring can definitely make a statement.



These headpieces should not to be paired with elaborate dresses, but more simple and understated ones, making the crowing effect the wow factor to your ensemble. Indie, fashionista, off-beat, and bold brides this is something to consider this season, ditch the veil and go for the sculpted head piece.

J'adore Karl Lagerfeld and Chanel!

-Percy

Photos from Jeaniuss

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Wacky Wednesdays: Groom of the Year


Brides.com is looking for the first ever Groom of the Year. Are you the perfect groom, or is your fiance the perfect groom than have them enter at Brides.com to have the opportunity to win the ultimate "wedding" prize, being named "2009 GROOM OF THE YEAR!"

So what happens if you win? Well look at these fabulous prizes that comes with the title.
Additionally, three runner-ups will receive Macy's gift certificates and one random bloke will get a free tuxedo rental from Men's Wearhouse.

I think that is pretty cool gift list just for entering your name and filling out a questionnaire. Take the chance...who knows you may already be the Groom of the Year!

-Percy

Logo from Brides.com

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

TIPsy Tuesday: Groom's Survival Guide

Michael Arnot who owns GroomGroove.com and a fellow blogger has released a survival guide for grooms, titled Don't Screw Up Your Bride's Wedding. The book was released in December 2008 and perfect timing for the "2009 Wedding Season," but after reading through his website and blogs, I am sure it is full of great tips for the groom.

If it's anything like his blog or Website, I am sure it will make a great read. It will be packed with all original work from Mike, which will include musings from his blog, and will cover everything from popping the question to honeymoon planning. This book will surely become the wedding bible for any groom or soon-to-be groom.

Check it out this coming December or reserve your copy on Amazon now.

-Percy

Book cover photo from
Amazon

Friday, February 13, 2009

Wedding Wire's 2009 Bride's Choice Awards™ Recipients Announced


WeddingWire, the nation’s leading wedding technology company, just announced that Percy Sales Events has won the 2009 Bride’s Choice Awards™!

In its inaugural year, the Bride’s Choice Awards recognizes and honors vendors from the
WeddingWire Network that demonstrate excellent quality of service, responsiveness, professionalism, value of cost and flexibility. This year’s recipients represent the top three percent of WeddingWire’s vendor community, which includes over 100,000 wedding vendors from across the US. That means Percy Sales Events is one of the very best Wedding Planners.

Unlike other awards in which winners are selected by the company, the Bride’s Choice Awards are determined exclusively by recent newlyweds through surveys and reviews.

“We are excited to launch this annual award program to honor high-performing vendors based solely on the experiences of our
WeddingWire community,” according to Timothy Chi, WeddingWire’s Chief Executive Officer. “This year’s recipients have set the bar high, exhibiting excellent service and expertise in the wedding industry.”

Percy Sales Events would like to thank our past clients for speaking on our behalf and helping us with the 2009 Bride's Choice Award!

-Percy

Guest Blogger Fridays: Cupid

Cupid is one of my favorite people, because he spreads love, gives love, and makes couples fall in love, which is great for the wedding industry. Most of all, I love Cupid is because he teaches us to love. Since Valentine's Day is tomorrow, Cupid wanted to share some of his favorite poems for you to pass on to your love ones. Hope this inspires you to show the love tomorrow! I am so happy he agreed to guest blog for me today! -Percy

Hello Lovers and Happy Valentines Day! May the following inspire you on this day of L'Amour!

Ah My Beloved - Omar Khayyam
Ah, my beloved, fill the cup that clears
Today of past regrets and future fears;
Tomorrow? Why, tomorrow I may be,
Myself, with yesterday's sev'n thousand years.


Love is Enough - William Morris
Love is enough: though the World be a-waning,
And the woods have no voice but the voice of complaining,
Though the sky be too dark for dim eyes to discover
The gold-cups and daisies fair blooming thereunder,
Though the hills be held shadows, and the sea a dark wonder,
And this day draw a veil over all deeds pass'd over,
Yet their hands shall not tremble, their feet shall not falter;
The void shall not weary, the fear shall not alter
These lips and these eyes of the loved and the lover.

Sonnet 18 - William Shakespeare
Shall I compare thee to a summer's day?
Thou art more lovely and more temperate:
Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,
And summer's lease hath all too short a date:
Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines,
And often is his gold complexion dimmed;
And every fair from fair sometime declines,
By chance or nature's changing course untrimmed;
But thy eternal summer shall not fade,
Nor lose possession of that fair thou ow'st;
Nor shall death brag thou wander'st in his shade,
When in eternal lines to time thou grow'st:
So long as men can breathe, or eyes can see,
So long lives this, and this gives life to thee.

Happy Valentine's Day

-Cupid

Painting of Cupid by Franklin Richard from Poster.net

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Trend Thursday: Off Celebrating My 17th Anniversary

Hi All,

I am taking the day off from blogging to celebrate my 17th anniversary to my partner (day we started dating 2/12/92), 4th anniversary of our commitment ceremony (not legal 2/12/05), and 8 month anniversary of our legal same sex marriage (6/17/08).

Keep our marriage legal go to www.couragecampaign.org/divorce and sign the petition to invalidate Prop 8 in California.

-Percy

Photo taken at our commitment ceremony on 2/12/05 by our friend Don Earl

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Wacky Wednesdays: Fidelity: Don't Divorce (Courage Campaign)


"Fidelity": Don't Divorce... from Courage Campaign on Vimeo.

Today I am doing a little political blog...because I believe that Love is Love and in Equal Rights.

Tomorrow, my partner/husband and I will be celebrating our 17th anniversary, longer than most of our heterosexual friends. Yet, we have only been legally married since June 17, 2008 (8 months)...the first day that it was legal and recognized that ALL Californians had the right to marry the ONE PERSON THEY LOVE. As of today, our marriage is still intact, but Ken Starr is wanting to have our marriage taken away...basically force us to divorce, even though we were married before the November 4, 2008 passing of Prop 8. I urge all of you who stand on the side of love, support marriage equality, and believe that my marriage should remain valid, to visit www.couragecampaign.org/divorce and sign the petition that will be sent to the Supreme Court of California.

From the Courage Campaign. "On December 19, 2008, Ken Starr and the Prop 8 Legal Defense Fund filed legal briefs defending the constitutionality of Prop 8 and seeking to nullify the marriages of 18,000 devoted same-sex couples solemnized before Prop 8 passed.

The Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in this case on March 5 2009, with a decision expected within 90 days." People signing the petition are asking, "That the Court enforce the equality promised to each of us by our constitution and invalidate Prop 8. By doing so, it will protect all loving, committed couples in California -– including the 18,000 who said "I do" last year –- and prevent the initiative process from being a tool for stripping vulnerable minorities of precious constitutional rights.

As Americans who believe in the rule of law and fundamental civil rights, we know that Ken Starr and the Prop 8 Legal Defense Fund's shameful attempt to nullify equal protection and all these bonded unions will be condemned in the eyes of history. We know that, ultimately, love will prevail, no matter how hard they try to fight it."

Support Love, Support Equality.

-Percy

P.S. This video was very emotional. We submitted our family photo to this, but unfortunately, we did not make the cut. However, it's still a great video and a wonderful song.

Video from Courage Campaign

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

TIPsy Tuesday: Knowing your Diamonds

Since Valentine's Day is one of the biggest days for proposals, I thought I would write a blog for the proposer, so they understand what to look for in a diamond. Sure the proposal is more than just the diamond, but we all know that once the question is asked and the answer is given, the first thing the proposed one does is show off the bling.

So here's your tip in understanding what to look for when buying a diamond.

Diamond 101: The Four C's from Buying Diamonds

The 4Cs about buying diamonds are used throughout the world to classify the rarity of diamonds. Diamonds with the combination of the highest 4C ratings are more rare and, consequently, more expensive. The four c's of diamond covers numerous aspects of each individual diamond's qualities, but there are four grades which are critical to understand i.e cut, clarity, color, and carat weight.

The four c's about buying diamonds are:

Diamond Cut

The cut of a diamond has a tremendous affect on its brilliance. Even if the diamond has perfect color and clarity, a poor cut can make a diamond look dull. Cut is probably the most important quality factor, and most challenging, of the four Cs to understand. The brilliance of a diamond depends heavily on its cut. More info on diamond cut.

Diamond Clarity

Diamond clarity

Most diamonds have inclusions (minute traces of non-crystallized carbon). Usually, the inclusions are not visible to the naked eye (excluding Imperfects). I think that the minute inclusions that there may be, make every diamond unique like a finger print.

Most diamonds contain some inner flaws, or inclusions, that occur during the formation process. The visibility, number and size of these inclusions determine what is called the clarity of a diamond. Diamonds that are clear create more brilliance, and thus are more highly prized, and priced. More info on diamond clarity.

Diamond Color

Diamond color

Most diamonds have a slightly yellow or brown color. With the exception of some natural fancy colors (blue, pink, violet, green, or red (expensive one), the colorless grade is the most valuable.

GIA developed color scale for colorless diamond. Diamond color is graded on the scale from D (colorless) to Z+ (fancy yellow). Your price range will determine what color, cut and shape that your diamond will have which color range.

Colorless diamonds are the most desirable since they allow the most refraction of light (sparkle). Off white diamonds absorb light, inhibiting brilliance. More info on diamond color.

Carat Weight

Carat weight is the obvious factor in determining the price of a diamond. However, bigger is not always better in the diamond business. If there are two diamonds of equal weight can have very unequal value, depending on their cut, color and clarity.

The weight of the diamond is measured in carats. The metric carat equals 0.200 gram. A carat is the unit of weight by which a diamond is measured. Because large diamonds are found less commonly than small diamonds, the price of a diamond rises exponentially to its size. Read this guide to get a better understanding of what a carat is and how it affects the appearance of a diamond. More info on diamond carat weight.

Hope this helps is picking the right ring for your loved one. Good Luck and Congratulations!

-Percy

Photo from Buying Diamonds

Friday, February 6, 2009

Guest Blogger Fridays: Elizabeth Anne Designs and The EAD Library

I am a fan of Elizabeth Anne Designs. Ami and Rebekah have great ideas on their website/blog. Their site is so fun to explore...both vendors and clients alike will get inspired in creating some lovely events. One of their best features on their site is The EAD Library, a comprehensive one stop shop of vendors nationwide. Check it Out! I hope you enjoy their guest blog. - Percy

Hi, this is Ami Elizabeth and Rebekah Anne from Elizabeth Anne Designs. We are so excited to have been asked to guest blog today about one of our babies, The EAD Library.

The EAD Library is filled with thousands of useful links, from photographers to shops to stationers and our goal is to help every bride and groom, no matter their location, find the vendors and inspiration they need for a beautiful event. The Library is organized into several categories: Photography, Stationery, Planning & Design, Venues, Floral Design, Shops, Beauty, Edibles, Videography, and Miscellaneous. Where applicable, these links are organized by state to help everyone find links quickly and easily!

Links you will find in the Library are not paid listings. Having a link in the Library is completely free - this allows us to present the most comprehensive wedding vendor resource guide possible. We offer vendors the opportunity to expand their listing, giving our readers full contact information as well as images of their work.

Another great feature of the Library is the ability for clients to write reviews of their vendors. It’s a great way for brides and grooms to read real opinions about the vendors they are considering and really helps to build a sense of community on the Library.

We have recently done a full redesign of the Elizabeth Anne Designs website and we are so excited to have a more fully integrated site. It’s easier than ever for brides and grooms to find vendors in the Library!

A big blog hug goes to Laura Hooper for providing all of the illustrations used throughout the EAD site. And another big blog hug goes to Percy for letting us blog here today! We are huge fans of Percy’s work, and of course he is a Library Member!

E. & A.

Photos from Elizabeth Anne Designs

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Music to Our Ears (Re-Post...well sort of)

Last September, I posted Music to Our Ears Blog, which included my top five songs in seven categories. The categories are:

Bride and Groom Grand Entrance
First Dance Songs
Father/Daughter Dance
Mother/Son Dance
Cake Cutting
Bouquet Toss
Garter Removal and Toss

To see the names of each of the songs, in the seven categories, please visit the original blog by clicking here.

Since then I have been asked where they can find the songs or if there was a simple place they can hear the songs I suggested. So I have compiled a playlist on Project Playlist and you can access it right here on this blog. Have fun listening to my song choices. I hope it helps in planning the right music for your reception!








Get Ringtones!Get a playlist!Standalone player


The only songs that I could not find was Dionne Warwicks version of 'I wish you love", Sounds of Blackness' "A Place in My Heart" and a full length version of Gloria Estefan's Everlasting Love.

-Percy

Playlist from Project Playlist

Trend Thursday: Let Them Eat Croquembouche!

This is a re-post from a blog that I did in May 2008. I have been getting a lot of questions about cake alternatives and this post is one of my favorite alternatives to the wedding cake. So please enjoy the re-post of Let Them Eat Croquembouche!

A French staple at weddings and other celebrations, the Croquembouche of Profiteroles is finally making it to the States...and you don't have to be French to enjoy it. This luscious tower of cream puffs (choux filled with pastry cream) drizzled with caramelized sugar is not only great to look at but also a sweet treat.

Croque en bouche means "crunch in the mouth" but these bite size delicacies are more than that. The crunch comes from the caramelized sugar. The cake usually made in a high cone form is usually decorated with caramel, sugar almonds, chocolate, flowers or ribbons.

So forget about the tired old chocolate fountains that become a glob of a mess and the dessert bar that becomes way too much. Throw your party back to the era of Marie Antoinette and let them eat a "ball" of heaven. The choux can be filled with any savory filling, but I personally think the vanilla cream is the best.

This cake can substitute for a grooms cake or even replace the wedding cake all together...perfect for the bride that hates cake. Croquembouche's can usually be made by your local French Pastry Bakery, if not you may want to do a Google search on bakeries in your area that specialize in these masterpieces. Locally, Christine Dahl in Santa Barbara specializes in these cakes as well as in traditional wedding cakes. This is a unique take on a US wedding cake but the croquembouche is definitely a classic worldwide.

-Percy

Photo from Nice Croissant London

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Wacky Wednesdays: 45 Life Lessons and 5 To Grow On by Regina Brett

This was sent to me today and I thought it was appropriate to share for my Wacky Wednesday post. This list of 45 life lessons and 5 to grow on was originally published in The Plain Dealer in Cleveland, OH and written by Regina Brett, to celebrate growing older.

So as I look forward to my own odometer turning 40 next month. I thought I would share Regina's list with you. When I read it, all I can think was...this list makes total sense!

So here's the list:

1. Life isn't fair, but it's still good.

2. When in doubt, just take the next small step.

3. Life is too short to waste time hating anyone.

4. Don't take yourself so seriously. No one else does.

5. Pay off your credit cards every month.

6. You don't have to win every argument. Agree to disagree.

7. Cry with someone. It's more healing than crying alone.

8. It's OK to get angry with God. He can take it.

9. Save for retirement starting with your first paycheck.

10. When it comes to chocolate, resistance is futile.

11. Make peace with your past so it won't screw up the present.

12. It's OK to let your children see you cry.

13. Don't compare your life to others'. You have no idea what their journey is all about.

14. If a relationship has to be a secret, you shouldn't be in it.

15. Everything can change in the blink of an eye. But don't worry; God never blinks.

16. Life is too short for long pity parties. Get busy living, or get busy dying.

17. You can get through anything if you stay put in today.

18. A writer writes. If you want to be a writer, write.

19. It's never too late to have a happy childhood. But the second one is up to you and no one else.

20. When it comes to going after what you love in life, don't take no for an answer.

21. Burn the candles, use the nice sheets, wear the fancy lingerie. Don't save it for a special occasion. Today is special.

22. Over prepare, then go with the flow.

23. Be eccentric now. Don't wait for old age to wear purple.

24. The most important sex organ is the brain.

25. No one is in charge of your happiness except you.

26. Frame every so-called disaster with these words: "In five years, will this matter?"

27. Always choose life.

28. Forgive everyone everything.

29. What other people think of you is none of your business.

30. Time heals almost everything. Give time time.

31. However good or bad a situation is, it will change.

32. Your job won't take care of you when you are sick. Your friends will. Stay in touch.

33. Believe in miracles.

34. God loves you because of who God is, not because of anything you did or didn't do.

35. Whatever doesn't kill you really does make you stronger.

36. Growing old beats the alternative - dying young.

37. Your children get only one childhood. Make it memorable.

38. Read the Psalms. They cover every human emotion.

39. Get outside every day. Miracles are waiting everywhere.

40. If we all threw our problems in a pile and saw everyone else's, we'd grab ours back.

41. Don't audit life. Show up and make the most of it now.

42. Get rid of anything that isn't useful, beautiful or joyful.

43. All that truly matters in the end is that you loved.

44. Envy is a waste of time. You already have all you need.

45. The best is yet to come.

46. No matter how you feel, get up, dress up and show up.

47. Take a deep breath. It calms the mind.

48. If you don't ask, you don't get.

49. Yield.

50. Life isn't tied with a bow, but it's still a gift.

I hope this list made you think of your own life and that you enjoyed it. If you would like to contact Regina Brett you can reach her at rbrett@plaind.com or visit her website www.reginabrett.com

-Percy

Photo from Regina Brett Website

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

TIPsy Tuesday: The Right Music For Your Ceremony

How many times have you gone to a wedding only to hear the same boring, un-meaningful music that the couple chooses for their ceremony? Well it's time to stop the madness! Don't get me wrong, I love hearing Bach's Air on a G String...but come on folks does that really signify you as a couple?

There is so much music out there and there is nothing better than to see a couple choose music for their ceremony that really reflects them. Plus there are musicians that can turn a rock anthem to a moving piece played by a string quartet. A couple of my favorite examples of this is U2's With or Without You and Gordon Lightfoot's If You Could Read My Mind as interpreted by Scala & Kolacny Brothers, "a youth choir from Aarschot, Belgium, roughly sixty teenage girls, directed by two talented brothers." They have turned these rock masterpieces into an ethereal dream like songs that is perfect for any wedding.

Another one of my favorite songs for weddings at the moment is Jason Mraz's I'm Yours (From the Casa Nova Sessions), found on his new album We Sing We Dance We Steal Things (Bonus Track Version found on iTunes). This is one of my all time favorite songs, but the acoustic version he released is perfect for either a processional or recessional. To take the words from Mr. M-Z, "And It's our God-intended right to be loved love loved love love."

I think couples should start thinking about music that carries "them" from the the ceremony to the reception. It makes it more of a couture event rather than a cookie cutter wedding. So couples, as you plan your grand day, don't leave the music to tradition. Start your own traditions and choose songs that have meaning to you as a couple. There is nothing better than hearing music that pulls on your heartstrings as you walk down the aisle. Trust me, it will be memorable not only for you but your guests as well.

-Percy

Photo from Jason Mraz

Monday, February 2, 2009

Inspiration Mondays: Betsey Johnson's Dining Room

I love anything retro and for this week's inspiration I have taken a cue from Betsey Johnson's dining room. I am inspired by the use of blush pink and canary yellow, 60's modern mixed with traditional pieces. I especially love that it all goes so well together.

My inspiration was taken directly from the dining room. The wedding dress is based on the chairs with it's bubble effect. The bridesmaids dresses are based on the area rug in black and white as well as the seat cushions in a yellow. The necklace, chandelier, and shoes are inspired by the crystals on the sconces of the dining room and the chandelier in the dining room. The brides bouquet is inspired by the dining room centerpiece and the bridesmaids dresses inspired by the round chandelier in the dining room. The cake, charger and the invitations take colors from the room. Finally, the engagement ring ties in the entire inspiration, classic yet funky!

My Inspirations:

Wedding Dress: Monique Lhuillier
Bridesmaids Dresses: Jenni Kayne
Shoes: Benjamin Adams
Ring: Shibumi Gallery
Necklace: ESWERA jewelry by imaan
Cake: For Heaven's Cakes
Chandeliers: Town and Country Event Rentals
Charger: The Tent Merchant
Invitations: Luxurious Wedding

-Percy

P.S. This inspiration Board was originally submitted to a Coco + Kelley contest.

Photos from above mentioned sites

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