Thursday, February 26, 2009

Living Like Betsy

OH! I love this room. It is an image of the boldly stylish Betsy Johnson's living room. I have been holding on to this picture hoping to have a theme or an inspiration collage to include it in, but I love it so much that it deserves a post of it own. I have a definite affinity to things that are tone on tone monochromatic - but leave it to Betsy to take it to this extreme.  I love the classic and girly touches (like the fresh flowers and the over stuffed sofa) combined with modern elements (from the light fixture to the iconic womb chair in the background).  Even the ceiling is pale pink!  Oh man, I want a room like this.  If this is what she is surrounded by in her own home, I can see how her creative mind just keeps on going.  I would love to curl up on that couch with a steaming hot cup of tea and a good book.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Color Collage: Citron with Neutrals

Lately I have been loving the combination of vibrant citron with a whole variety of neutral tones. The color itself is something like a mustard yellow with almost a hint of lime to it - and it has this perfectly retro vibe. It pops beautifully against black, white, soft grey, warm grey, and chocolate brown as well as metallic silver and gold!

I am currently working on the design of two separate powder rooms that sit side by side, and the plan is to use the two different wall papers that you see below. The ceilings will be painted a shiny metallic silver, and the various accessories in the rooms will be chocolate brown and crisp white. I can't wait to see them finished!

The two wall paper shots are from Graham and Brown, and many of the interiors are by the amazingly talanted Kelly Wearstler.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Toast, Taste, and Tour II

Here are the last few shots to share from Sunday's Toast, Taste, and Tour bridal event. This dinner table and cocktail table shown above were set up to show off what would be a lovely match with the rest of the event. These seasonal French tulips are SO beautiful right now - and check out those huge succulent blossoms down at the base of the flared crystal vase!  The smaller wooden box is packed full of fragrant peach hyacinth blossoms - one of my favorites!

The custom canopy was covered in rich gold and dusky nile blue damask fabric which went so beautiful with the touches of gold (from the amazing chandeliers {thanks to Frost Lighting} as well as the urns and the rental dishes).  The featured flowers were all in tones of soft peach flowers. These amazing focal pieces placed at the end of the aisle featured so many beautiful flowers including open champagne roses, apricot parrot tulips, cognac anthurium, peach amaryllis, and garden stock. Love!

Photos by Erica Barraca
Decor by Botanicals, a branch of HM Designs

Toast, Taste, and Tour I

These are the first of some images that I wanted to share from an event I worked on this past weekend. I designed the following with the wonderful Kara Superfine of Botanicals, a branch of HM Designs for the Toast, Taste, and Tour bridal event put on by the adorable Kara Underwood of Magnificent Milestones.

It was a progressive event that took brides on a trolley led tour through four of Chicago's best venues. Our designs were featured in the historic Cafe Brauer in Lincoln Park Zoo. The event had a great turn out for a cold Sunday morning, and they were all happy to warm up while enjoying the delicious treats from The Entertaining Company (the white hot chocolate finished with a chocolate dipped marshmallow detailed with a bit of edible gold leaf was my personal favorite!).

These are some of the bouquets we made for the event. Each one was designed in a different style and color palette - to appeal to every taste! This first one of various tones of white, ivory, silver, and taupe was so elegant. Silver brunia berries and dusty miller foliage perfectly accented the open garden roses. The stems were gathered and bound in luxurious taupe velvet.

This one is a vivid combination of rich raspberry and bold orange tones. Cattleya orchid blossoms and ruffly spray roses were combined with gloriosa lilies, ranunculus, and fresh kumquots (!). The bouquet was detailed with glossy green coffee foliage and coordinating satin ribbons.

I loved every one of these bouquets - from the open peach amaryllis; to the fluffy white peonies; to the cascading and unusual anthurium; to the highly textural green collection of succulants, maidenhair fern, lotus pods, and cymbidium orchids!

More to come on this fun afternoon!
Photos by Erica Baracca.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Flowers: Pink Peonies

Ah! These fluffy bubblegum pink blossoms are so big and dense and beautiful that I just want to eat them! Peonies represent the epitome of summer, and this classic color looks gorgeous whether as a single stem plopped into a bud vase, or as a huge ruffly mass designed in a fancy urn. They work great in bouquets, and they grow locally - so if you catch them at the right time of year, they are surprisingly a cost effective option because of their sheer individual volume! Plus, I LOVE the scent of these seasonal blooms. I just worked with some this weekend, and I kept burying my face in them to fully take in their sweet scent.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Real Wedding: Sabine and Greg II

The reception for this exquisite wedding took place at the Armour House at the Lake Forest Academy. This incredible estate was designed and built in the beginning of the century and has beautiful architectural details throughout the building. Plus, two million dollars was put into the landscaping at that time, so needless to say - the grounds are stunning!

This couple chose the perfect combination of traditional elements mixed with modern touches. Their place card table is one of my all time favorites. Peonies are so beautiful in early summer, and we simply bunched them up here in various white ceramic containers to let their natural beauty be the focus.

The guest tables were draped in a luxurious green damask linen. The flowers were designed as a tight and compact pavé atop a custom mirrored cube. And the sparkling crystal cut votive candles completed the look (seeing the reflection of their flicker in the mirrored container was gorgeous!).

Decor by Botanicals, a branch of HM Designs
Wedding Consultant - Renny Pedersen

Real Wedding: Sabine and Greg I

This is a gorgeous wedding that I worked on that took place at the couple's summer home in Lake Forest, IL. They live most of the year in Germany so they hired the wonderful Renny Pedersen of Bliss Weddings and Events to pull together all of the amazing details of their vision. The fresh flowers were designed by myself and Jesse Deckard of Botanicals, a branch of HM Designs.

The ceremony was framed by two enormous focal arrangements designed in rusted garden urns. These lush collections of flowers included fluffy Dutch hydreangea, bright fuchsia peonies, green jasmine vine, hanging amaranthus, garden roses, and tons of unique foliages. Additionally, each white chair down the aisle was adorned with a textural pomander of coordinating flowers tied to the chair by ivory satin ribbons.

This backyard setting is SO dreamy. I love the way the full trees create romantic shadows over the area and how the antique water fountain is the perfect focal point!

The reception is gorgeous as well, so more to come...

Friday, February 20, 2009

Color Collage: Orange

This bold splash of sunny orange is so cheerful and fresh. It looks dreamy with deep glossy green leaves as well as crisp white. I can't wait for Spring/Summer!!!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Color Collage: Orange and Black

I love this combination of rich luxurious orange tones with dark black accents. It works in clothing, intricate patterns, as well has home decor. Plus it is a great way to add a fun pop of color with out making it silly or too feminine!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Fun and Fancy

This is a wedding that I found on the Snippet and Ink blog.  They got the photos from Gertrude and Mabel.  I just absolutely love love love everything about this party.  It is a rehearsal dinner that is so much fun.  They went casual in terms of the feel of the event (from the location to the food to the dress), but this couple thought of every detail - customized napkins, customized wooden ice cream spoons, bags filled with ingredients for an individual s'more, the pop of red is so fresh and vibrant.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Shabby Apple

I Love this bold red dress by Shabby Apple. This particular style is called the Duck Beach. I can just imagine wearing it on a romantic date in the South of France. We would ride bikes and have a picnic of fresh baked bread and local cheeses. It is such a fun and elegant shape that also looks comfortable to wear!

Shabby Apple is a really cool company out of Utah that offers dresses for women of every shape.  By answering a couple simple questions about your body, they have a selection of dresses that will look great on your body!

In addition, they donate a portion of their profits to help women in India - giving them a chance to live without poverty.

Finally - they have the most adorable dresses for little girls. Look at this!!!:

Sunday, February 15, 2009


I found this image by Noah Kalina and I thought it was such a beautiful interior. It is of a restaurant called Bobo in New York.  I love the soft grey walls with the pops of crimson in the curtains and patterned seat cushions.  The ornate gold mirrored is such a nice contrast against the white painted brick, and I am crazy about the touches of black wood throughout the space (the floors, crown moulding, chairs, and bookcase).  It is such a cozy space for being a public area created by the intimate floor plan and traditional elements (from the chandeliers to the mass of picture frames on the wall).

After doing a bit of research on the restaurant, I found they do many amazing things. The organization associated with Bobo is called Coco, and it offers programs helping out locally, nationally, as well as globally. They donate 100% off the $1 per glass of water that they charge to a charity that brings fresh drinking water to Ethiopia, they support local farms, they offer free ESL classes, they donate to various charities, and so so so much more.  Just reading through their website, I am impressed and inspired.  What a great model to look at for doing business.  So cool...

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Birthday Cake

Thank you so much to my awesome mother who made me a delicious birthday cake yesterday! The cake was a rich and dense chocolate with fluffy chocolate buttercream frosting. The recipe was the from the Barefoot Contessa's book - who I am obsessed with. Seriously - every single recipe from her many books turn out perfectly and please everyone. Every time I have to make anything for a party, I choose any one of her dishes, and I know for a fact that it will taste great. Though this recipe isn't the easiest, it is certainly worth it (I can say that because I didn't have to make it...haha). The addition of instant espresso adds a wonderful depth of flavor (doesn't taste like coffee - just adds a richness). Try it for yourself:

Chocolate Frosting:

6 ounces good semisweet chocolate (recommended: Callebaut)
1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 extra-large egg yolk, at room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups sifted confectioners' sugar
1 tablespoon instant coffee powder

Chop the chocolate and place it in a heat-proof bowl set over a pan of simmering water. Stir until just melted and set aside until cooled to room temperature.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter on medium-high speed until light yellow and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the egg yolk and vanilla and continue beating for 3 minutes. Turn the mixer to low, gradually add the confectioners' sugar, then beat at medium speed, scraping down the bowl as necessary, until smooth and creamy. Dissolve the coffee powder in 2 teaspoons of the hottest tap water. On low speed, add the chocolate and coffee to the butter mixture and mix until blended. Don't whip! Spread immediately on the cooled cake.

Flowers: Anemones

Designing the look of parties, I have grown to have a deep love for flowers and the different varieties. Fresh floral arrangements can put a smile on any face, and can add the perfect finishing touch to any event. Depending on the type, they have the ability to turn a tabletop or bouquet from uber modern to feminine and gardeny. Below is a collection of images of one of my absolute favorite favorite flower varieties!

Anenomes have soft delicate petals and a rich black center, giving them a perfectly beautiful vintage feel - and are typically grown in Holland. They come in these rich jewel tones as you see above as well as crisp white. You can also look for them in dusky pale pinks and lavenders!

Friday, February 13, 2009

Valentine's Day: VII

If this doesn't inspire you to have a lovely and romantic weekend, I don't know what will!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Valentine's Day: VI

Even though these classic conversation heart candies are not my favorite thing to eat, they certainly have a long and nostalgic history. I just read that they date back to the Civil War, and every year they come up with a few new sayings to put on them that make them current. This year's sayings are about the Earth (such as 'Melt My Heart' and 'In a Fog'). Older sayings that have been discontinued include 'Dig Me' and 'Cool Cat'.  Enjoy!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Valentine's Day: V

I found most of these adorable cards on the 'Oh So Beautiful Paper Blog'.

Birthday Cakes

I just got these delicious rose water cupcakes with mandarin frosting for my birthday! Mmm...

Monday, February 9, 2009

Valentine's Day: IV

I love finding positive messages in unexpected places. Hope these little lovlies add a smile to your face today in the week of Valentine's Day (...and my birthday!!!).

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Valentine's Day: III

Valentine's Day: II

I found these along with other great Valentine's day cards on the 'Oh So Beautiful Paper' blog!

Trench Coat Love

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Real Wedding: Candance and Justice III

Here are the last few images that I am going to show for this wedding. A ton of time and thought went into each one of these designs to make them just right! The tables featuring scarlett red linens were adorned with a pair of tall vases each topped with a pavé of open red roses and soaring tropical hanging heliconia. The head table was finished with additional low vases of rich red roses. Each bold Orange table was adorned with a dense burst of mokara orchids finished with individual sleek calla lilies swooping down around the vase. Finally, the fuchsia pink tables were topped with a dramatic display of fluffy hydrangea, garlands of mokara orchids, and touches of whimsical gloriosa lilies. These displays aren't for everyone, but were perfect for this dramatic and romantic couple!

Photography: Studio This Is
Wedding Planner: Lori Stephenson of Lola Event Productions
Event Designer: Jesse Deckard of Botanicals, a branch of HM Designs

Friday, February 6, 2009

Real Wedding: Candance and Justice II

Here are a few more images from this amazingly unique wedding. The place cards were each placed on individual chartreuse green anthurium blossoms that were 'growing' from a water filled acrylic table layered with natural river rocks and floating candles. The reception was completely saturated in bold hues of crimson red, vibrant orange, and striking fuchsia. Each table featured two highly textured linens luxuriously draped over them and were tied up with sparkling gold tassels for that perfect finishing touch. More to come on the guest table decor!

Photography: Studio This Is
Wedding Planner: Lori Stephenson of Lola Event Productions
Event Designer: Jesse Deckard of Botanicals, a branch of HM Designs

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Real Wedding: Candance and Justice I

This is a wedding I worked on that took place last August at the Chicago Illuminating Company. Jesse Deckard of Botanicals, a branch of HM Designs was the talented head designer, and Lori Stephenson of LOLA Event Productions was the Wedding Planner.

These amazingly artistic photographs were taken by "Studio This Is". They are my absolute favorite photographers right now. The images appear as a high end fashion shoots instead of the traditional wedding poses and settings. They truely have fun with and love what they do (which always produces better results). 

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Valentine's Day: I

My birthday is on Valentine's Day, and looking forward to it I put together this collection of charming images from different websites. Those of you who grew up with a holiday birthday, you know what I am talking about - I have always (and still to this day) been given things with hearts on it or in the shape of a heart (balloons, cake, candy, etc...). Coincidentally, I have grown to love it! Everytime I see kitchen towels or barettes or pastries, etc I swoon and want them.

Williams Sonoma is one of my absolute favorite places to check out the Valentine merchandise.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Color Collage: Bisque

The peachy, nude color is so timeless and elegant. My favorite is that rufffley Versace dress worn by Penelope Cruz on the red carpet last year at the Oscars and that setting that is the living room of my dreams.

The above wedding photo was taken by Pen Carlson. The savvy husband and wife duo shot this at Chicago's iconic Water Tower (the only structure to survive Chicago's historic Great Fire in 1871).