Tuesday, September 29, 2009

A Blissful Congratulations!

I want to take this post to send out a most thrilled and sincere congratulations to one of my best friend's new career move. Kara Hillier Superfine was my colleague at Botanicals as one of their Senior Wedding Designers, and she is now joining forces with Renny Pederson, one of the top wedding planners in Chicago. Kara is officially the Senior Wedding & Event Design Consultant for Bliss Weddings and Events. She is an incredible planner; she is passionate about detail; she has an eye for perfection; and she is one of the most stylish, eloquent, and hard working women I know. This seems like such a perfect fit, and I am so proud of her. Felicitations!

Kara has a blog that she has wrote more about this new adventure as well as previous posts about weddings and events she has worked on. Be sure to check it out: The Art of The Occasion.

Monday, September 28, 2009

The Windy City

There is a wind advisory today in Chicago. I hope everyone says safe and warm...me - I am going to make some hot chocolate and read my Julia Child book.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Real Wedding: Joe and Tania

Congratulations to our friends Joe and Tania on their wedding! We attended their wonderful reception yesterday. It took place at the Oak Park Conservatory. The majority of the party was spent outside enjoying strawberry lemonade and cupcakes in the courtyard due to the perfect and dreamy weather. They both looked dashing, and the place was adorably decked out in Tania's carefully thought out details (and craft projects).

We are so glad to have been part of your day. Thanks for having us!

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Real Wedding: Samantha and Scott

I wanted to share some pictures that recently came in from the photographer of a wedding I helped design this past July. The couple's main concern was to keep their special day as 'green' as possible. We acheived this by adorning the various tables with loads of wooden boxes planted with colorful and seasonal plants. Following the wedding, each of these were donated (with the help of Chicago's Mayor's Office) to local senior homes. What a great way to celebrate while also giving back! The historic Field Museum housed this impressive and thoughtful event. I loved the combinations of soft lavender, deep purple, vibrant yellow, and (of course) rich greens! The selections of hand picked plants ranged from violets to ferns to lavender. Loads of flickering candlelight set the mood for this unique evening.

Event Planner: Lori Stephenson of LOLA Event Productions
Senior Designer: Jesse Deckard of Botanicals, a branch of HM Designs
Photographer: Sarah Alair Photography

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Real Wedding: Kate and Scott

Here are some lovely photos of a wedding I worked on with Jesse Deckard of Botanicals, a branch of HM Design. It took place a couple months ago at the iconic Drake Hotel here in Chicago. The whole event was pulled together by the charming Lauren Carter of LOLA Event Productions.

A unique round topiary of fresh plums designed atop a gold guilded urn served the perfect focal point for the place card table:

This is the bridal toss bouquet - a smaller version of the exquisite bridal bouquet. A textural combination of golden ranunculus, fluffy lisianthus, open roses, lavender scabiosa (one of my favorites!!!), and unexpected chocolate brown fern curls.

The Grand Ballroom was done up in a soft and romantic combination of metallic gold and silver with accents of bold purple. Lacey textured lighting on the dance floor added to the moody atmosphere.

Each table was draped in platinum pintuck linens and surrounded by gold Versailles chairs complete with deep eggplant cushions and napkins. The centerpieces were a combination of both tall elevated arrangements as well as low and lush pieces. Featured flowers included fluffy hydrangea, open roses, wisps of delicate jasmine vine, and fresh clusters of black grapes. The designs were presented atop ornate gold gilded risers, and amber votive candles completed the look.

Photos by my dear friend Erica Baracca.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Peaches and Cream

I am so so in love with the pictures that were posted on Style Me Pretty a couple days ago of a setting created by Carter & Cook Events (check out their website - they have a wonderfully creative portfolio).

Many of the elements are exactly what I would dream of on a table for a dinner party or wedding. I love these soft tones that are both romantic and timeless. The dark wood opera chairs contrast so nicely against the soft milky peach hues. The use of fruit as well as just touches of individual impressive blooms (those dahlias are to-die-for) are a great way to save some money. Plus, I have to point out the touches of vintage silver (from the flatware to the candlesticks) that elevate the event from casual to glamorous! The natural setting does not hurt either...

The credits for this beautiful setting:
Tablescape Designers: Carter & Cook Event Company / Photographer: Sean Walker Photography / Florist: Red Floral Designs / Stationary: Posh Paperie / Rentals: Table, linen, Versailles Chairs, Classic Party Rentals / Location: Mission Gorge State Park, San Diego CA

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Pasta Pesto

I made pasta with pesto for dinner tonight. Served it with slices of pan-fried pork loin, wedges of fresh tomato, and freshly grated Parmesan. Delish.

Fall Back

I suppose it is time to welcome the new season since it is officially the first day of the autumn! Here are a couple things that I am looking forward to:

Apple Cider Donuts

Hot Apple Cider

and Roasted Butternut Squash Soup

Keri Russell

I found a couple of these images on one of my absolute favorite blogs: Coco & Kelly. They were originally from the January issue of InStyle. I just love love this style of dress. It is how I see myself dressing - if only I pulled it off! It is when I see pictures like this that inspire me to shape up my wardrobe. Hmf. How can I make this be me?

I love the perfect combinations of feminine and masculine accessories. They blend so beautifully. The tuxedo shoes with the dainty blouse. The dramatic scarf with the stiff blazer...Well, looks like I have some shopping to do (if only...).

Monday, September 21, 2009

All Good Things Come to an End

It is the last day of summer...that is all. :(


I was definitely skeptical when I first heard about Gap's new 1969 series of affordable designer-like jeans (created by Patrick Robinson after studying loads of high end brands and their secrests). Having not really shopped at the Gap since spending time working in a mall in college...(gag) I wasn't sure what to expect. Well - I popped in on my way to Nordstrom to buy jeans this weekend, and I was super duper pleasantly surprised. I picked up a pair of BOTH the skinny cut and the boyfriend cut. They truly do fit the way that the $200 pairs do (which are so enticing because of their great fit). I love that they are neatly organized in the store based on style - so it is easy to find the one you are looking for. I recommend checking them out! Why is it so hard to find that perfect pair of jeans!?!?

Martha's Kitchen

There is a feature on Martha Stewart's website right now featuring pictures of her kitchen. I love the soft gray tones. Here are a few of my favorite pictures showing off her glass sided cabinets, the TWO islands (one for sitting at and one for storage!), and the dreamy cappuccino corner.


Sunday, September 20, 2009

From the Garden

My aunt brought over a bag full of fresh-from-her-garden tomatoes last night! I can't wait to use them all...this morning I had them with a hard boiled egg and a piece of whole wheat toast. Tonight - I might roast them in a tinfoil packet in the oven to go with a pork chop. Tomorrow...a pan-fried chicken breast with fresh cut tomatoes and al dente pasta tossed in pesto. So good!

Happy Sunday

I hope you have the time and luxury to curl up and read a good book today.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Grilled Tapas

I went to dinner tonight with my dad, and in an effort to be healthy - we chose a Cafe Iberico (a tapas restaurant here in Chicago). It is a large restaurant in a bustling part of the city that manages to feel intimate due to its various rooms. I know, I know - tapas isn't necessarily healthy - BUT - we chose all items that were grilled including veggies, salmon, pork, and calamari. Fried calamari always gets the attention, but I love love the delicately flavored squid when it is grilled and then squirted with fresh lemon!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009


I worked on this event a few months ago here in Chicago when I was with Botanicals. It was a wonderful success, as all the top wedding planners in the city were invited as the guests. The Ivy Room and Blue Plate Catering were the gracious hosts, and we designed the transformation of the space's lovely yet blank canvas!

I worked with both the lovely Kara Superfine and Jesse Deckard on the design of this unique event. We started off using a cool jewel-toned peacock feather as our inspiration. Jesse came up with the idea to create the gigantic orbs of actual feathers to hang from the ceiling above each and every table. The tables themselves were custom made of white lacquered wood complete with a platinum inlay (and were surrounded by acrylic ghost chairs...swoon!). The centerpieces were kept low to not obstruct the guests' view across the table, and were designed of a lush mass of fresh chartreuse viburnum and deep dark purple sweet pea designed in a white lacquered box. Warm candlelight completed each tablescape.

Additionally, a series of lounge settings were placed in front of each window bay creating intimate areas to enjoy a drink and good conversation. Each setting was made up of sleek yet comfortable white furniture, a white rug and a white square coffee table finished with a layer of horizontal peacock feathers carefully placed under the top glass. Completing each lounge was a dramatic display of deep blue taffeta curtains pulled back to perfectly frame a sparkling chandelier.

We are honored that Illinois Meetings + Events Magazine actually chose one of the photos as the cover shot for the current issue!

{all photos by Jai Girard}

Monday, September 14, 2009

Bon Appetit

I knew I would like the movie Julie and Julia, but I had no idea that I would love it. The stories, the scenery, the food (!), and of course - the brilliant portrayal of the amazing Julia Child. I can't believe it has taken a big Hollywood production to push me to learn more about her. I grew up watching her show (mostly re-runs), and loved every single one. I am obsessed with cooking shows now as an adult. She has for certain paved the way for so many that followed in her footsteps. Her book, 'My Life in France' just came into my local library, and I can't wait to read it! More on the genius-that-was after I start reading, I am sure.

Fall Shoes

I hate that I am even thinking about fall...but I guess there is no choice. The colder weather is coming no matter what. Like my friend Erica told me - the fall is WAY different than the winter. So, in the spirit of embracing the ever lowering temperature - I wanted to highlight some good finds of autumn appropriate shoes! Mm Mm.

First and last picture by Pink Studio from WI based Patricia Shoppe.
Second are by Pink Studio, see them here.

Third from blog 'Because it Really is Personal, After All'
Fourth are an online vintage find.