Monday, 8 September 2014

Parisian Bridal Shower

With my sister's wedding less than two weeks away, I thought it was the perfect time to share the details from her Parisian-themed bridal shower. The planning was months in the making and involved lots of conversations with the bride-to-be, scouring Pinterest and ordering lots of decorations from Etsy and various craft stores. It was all worth it! The vision came together beautifully and my Mom and I couldn't have been happier with the way it turned out. Read on for the details...
We chose Cafe Sparrow in Aptos as the shower location since it's French and we wanted a Parisian theme. Paris holds a special spot in Myriah and Corey's hearts as they lived there for three months earlier this year while Corey was finishing up his MBA. The idea was to keep it Parisian chic but still casual and luckily, Cafe Sparrow already had so much charm and rustic French decor that we didn't have to do much to make it look fabulous. We used mason jars as vases for the small pink & white rose bouquets (from Trader Joe's) and the name cards were from Paper Source. The shower invitations were from Minted and we used their design to create the menu which we printed and mounted on pale pink card stock.
Since we were in a restaurant, the area for decorations & presents was small but just right. We used an over-sized mason jar from Target for a large bouquet of roses. The vintage Paris trunk my Mom picked up at a specialty store worked well for housing the thank you goodies for guests which were French Macarons from La Boulange. I placed them in clear cellophane bags and tied them with twine and 'Merci' merchandise tags from Etsy.
I always love using colorful straws at parties and opted for these pink & gold ones from BHLDN. I've become a little obsessed with BHLDN over the past year - they seriously have the best wedding decorations, gifts and clothing. My bridal shower gift to Myriah was actually these gorgeous Mr. & Mrs. hangers from the site that she and her fiance will use on their wedding day.
I'd spotted this Georgina white vintage chalkboard at Cost Plus almost a year ago and when we were planning the shower, I thought it would work perfectly as the welcome sign. 
It was actually kind of nice not having to prepare the food for the day. We pre-selected a menu that started with an assortment of French cheeses followed by several sandwiches & salads options and three dessert choices, including this fabulous chocolate Pot de Creme. How amazing does it look?
Here's the beautiful bride to be opening gifts. She looked absolutely glowing on the day. The shower truly is a sweet memory that we'll have forever. Congratulations, Myriah! 

Monday, 18 August 2014

Lucky Three in Santa Barbara

When we were living in London, I remember saying that one of the things we'd make sure to do when we moved back was visit Santa Barbara at least once a year. I'm happy to report that we stuck to that goal. With the beautiful Spanish architecture, sunny skies and beaches and endless shopping, t's the perfect place for a long weekend or a wedding, which is why we combined the two last month to celebrate our good friends'  wedding and our third anniversary. Hard to believe it's already been three years since we tied the knot…so much has happened and yet I know we have so much more ahead of us! It was lovely to soak it all in back where our love began. Along with visiting a few of the normal spots we go to like Tupelo Junction, Isla Vista and Montecito, we made an effort to check out some new spots this time around. The highlights were trekking to the top of the Santa Barbara Courthouse, visiting the Santa Barbara Mission, sunning ourselves at Butterfly Beach, coffee at French Press and a romantic dinner at The Lark. Can't wait for my next trip down in a few weeks!

Tuesday, 15 July 2014

Tomales Bay Picnic

It's been a while since I posted! Things have been very busy over here between weddings, birthdays and planning my sister's bachelorette (which was a huge success this weekend!). In between the festivities, Jim and I spent July 4th weekend at home and took advantage of having 'no plans' by spontaneously heading up the coast to Tomales Bay on a sunny Saturday. Since Cowgirl Creamery and the oyster farms are famous spots up there, we made sure to stop by both for some picnic fare. We got the Mt. Tam brie cheese wheel, homemade bread and a few salads at the Creamery and then headed over to Hog Island Oyster Company. The line ended up being incredibly long so instead of waiting, we drove down the road a little bit and set up a makeshift but romantic picnic on my bright Mexican blanket. It was so beautiful looking out at the bay and lush greenery. I keep learning that sometimes having no plans can be the most satisfying way to spend a summer day.

Wednesday, 11 June 2014

Wine Tasting in Carmel Valley

I'm not sure how or why, but I've never really spent much time in Carmel Valley. I've always stayed close to Carmel-by-the-Sea instead. Carmel Valley has so much offer from wineries and wedding venues to shopping and art galleries - it's such a great place to spend a weekend. As part of my getaway to Carmel for Mother's Day last month, we spent Sunday in the Valley for a bit of wine tasting & lunch. Our first stop was Cowgirl Winery - the cutest country tasting room located in a barn. It honestly made me want to put some cowboy boots on! The tasting room is nestled back from the street near a few other tasting rooms, with beautiful lush gardens. After your flights, you can pop down to Corkscrew Cafe for a thin crust pizza lunch in casual surroundings. It's got a great backyard feel with quirky touches like that cool wine bottle sculpture. Definitely worth a visit. 

Monday, 2 June 2014

Escape to Cabo

It seems like months ago we were lounging in the sun in beautiful Cabo. It was such an easy, relaxing vacation - just three hours away to absolute paradise. We stayed in our family's condo right in the heart of town, which ended up being such a convenient location, close to the beach, restaurants and the harbor. Our itinerary was very loose, but I tried to hit up all the spots Jetsetter recommended in their "Your Keys to Cabo" guide. Here are just a few of the highlights...
We kicked off our vacation with an easy dinner of fresh seafood and massive margaritas at The Office right on the beach. The Baja style shrimp were pricey but so succulent.
After dinner, we strolled back towards our condo to Bar Esquina where I spotted these amazing light fixtures. These would be amazing on a patio or in a Mexican-themed dining room. Although we only got drinks, the menu looked pretty good - California/Mediterranean style. 
We ate most breakfasts on our patio…I wish I could start every morning like this! On the menu: breakfast tacos with tomato basil corn tortillas, eggs, cheddar, avocado and turkey bacon with fresh coffee.
Jim had told me about the fresh spiced mangos you can buy on the beach, so as soon as I spotted the man with the stand I made a beeline over there. They flay the mangos right in front of you and sprinkle sweet chili right over.
Somewhere in the middle of our trip, we made our way over to Lover's Beach which is just a 5-minute boat ride (about $15). The rock formations are beautiful and sand is the perfect color tan. It's a nice escape from the sometimes-hectic Medano Beach. Next time we'll bring a picnic lunch so we can spend more than a few hours over there. 
On our last night we decided to take a sunset cruise on a sailboat and it turned out to be one of the highlights of the trip. We went with Cabo Sails and the service was great including an open bar and a cheese plate. Afterwards, we popped over to Mi Casa for a delicious Mexican meal complete with tres leeches cake for dessert (handmade by our waiter's grandmother!). Another restaurant we loved was Edith's for an upscale dining experience. I had the chicken enchiladas and they were the best I've ever had. 
We'll be back sometime soon…I can't stay away from that gorgeous sunset!

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