March 29, 2013

A Special Brew: Inspiration for My Beer Hops Wedding Invitations

For some, creativity comes from within. Not for me, though. I wish I could claim some form of natural genius, but I really cannot. The inspiration for all of my creative endeavours is almost always inspired by dear friends, beautiful things I happen to come upon, and the amazing places where I have been so fortunate to live.

The inspiration for my Beer Hops Wedding Invitations came from two important sources: first, my hometown, Portland, Oregon; and second, my dear friends, Courtney and Dan. Both sources were in equal measure when I was dreaming up these little beauties.

Portland is a wonderfully weird city, the best place on earth in my humble opinion. To me, it is the perfect balance of new and old, of natural and industrial, and of rush and rest. My favorite things about Portland have always been the wonderful camaraderie of its inhabitants, its commitment to keeping it green, its affinity for the patina of time, its excellent locally sourced food, and of course, its world-famous craft breweries!

When they got married in September of 2010, I think Courtney and Dan styled their wedding in a perfectly Portland way. This wedding touched on everything I love most about Portland, and even more importantly, everything I know and love about them as a couple. I've known Courtney and Dan since our days back at the University of Oregon. Though my intercontinental movements have prevented me from staying in touch with them as much as I'd otherwise like to, I have kept tabs on them through Facebook. Thank goodness for Facebook. When I saw their wedding snaps, I was so truly overjoyed for them, and was further inspired by their use of beer hops as decoration at their wedding. So beautiful.

Here are a few snaps from their fantastically beautiful wedding. Thanks Courtney and Dan for your permission to share a few of these with my clients and readers. I hope they're as inspired by your gorgeous wedding as I was!

The success in Courtney's styling was the details

I love this photo because this is how she has always looked at Dan.

The beer hops garland was a brilliant idea!
The setting was incredible!

Beautiful details, a splash of colour,
and a gorgeous Portland late summer day.

Simply stunning. The whole day was just so perfectly done.

Portland at night, sigh, what a great place,
what a great wedding!

Whisked away by pedi-cab.
I love the touches they put on this day.

March 28, 2013

Wedding #1, Our Civil Ceremony [About Me]

When I was last posting to this blog, I was planning my weddings (yep, two of them). Our first was a civil ceremony in January of 2011, an intimate gathering of our families. I'll post photos from our big Italian wedding soon.

Now that both events have come and gone, I thought I'd share some of the photos . I always meant to share links to the great shops and suppliers I found when planning our weddings. Now's my chance to express some thanks, too! Links to dress shops, hair dressers, our venue and more below.

January 29, 2011


For those who are wondering, here are a few notes about the lovely shops that helped us make this day so  beautiful and special.

 Our civil ceremony took place at the truly beautiful Weybridge, Surrey (UK)  registry office. Simon wore a beautiful brown suit and matching shoes from House of Fraser. I wore the most amazing 1950s party dress from Xtabay Vintage in Portland, Oregon ($250). My mom's dress is also from Xtabay. For hair and makeup, I took an opportunity to save a bit of money and had my hair done at Headmasters in Shepherds Bush, London (50 GBP) and makeup at MAC cosmetics in Westfield (25 GBP). I found the white coat at Brass Plum in Nordstrom ($60). My vintage handbag was a real find, from The Rag and Bone in State College, Pennsylvania ($15). My adorable vintage heels came from Aureolin Lake Fine Antiques on Etsy ($32).

Special thanks to Grandma Dean for the lovely faceted glass drop earrings, and to the Antiques Fair in Shere, Surrey (UK) for my engagement ring and our wedding rings.

And even more special thanks to Ewan for taking these amazing photos! He doesn't typically take wedding snaps, but shot a few at both our civil ceremony and our big Italian wedding, too. Right now his work is on display at Box Brownie in Stratford, Warwickshire (UK). Anyone looking for striking and colourful photo prints for their office or home walls, do check out his pics (especially the ones from Italy, they're fabulous)!

March 25, 2013

Back in Action

Today, I reopened my Etsy shop. This may not seem like a big deal to the random blogger who stumbles across my small little blog, but to me, this is HUGE.

 For me, today is the day that I return to things that I am most passionate about, the small things in life that mean the most. I've been away from my shop for nearly two and a half years of Etsy vacation. Those two and a half years have been filled with not one, but two weddings between my husband and I, and my appearance within the world of 9-5.

Don't get me wrong. I like my job, and I know that what I do helps students to experience and learn things here in London that they otherwise never would...but my job is not all of me. But is my job so far from me personally? Perhaps not as much as I have been treating it. That is, until recently, and until I found a little help in the expertise of a friend.

Over the course of the days, weeks, months and hopefully years to come, I'll be recognizing many of my friends for their amazing accomplishments, but I want to be certain to give credit for today to one very special friend: Fritha. Fritha is a performance coach, and the owner and founder of Believe YOU
Can Make a Difference. Fritha is exceptional at what she does, so I want to spend a few moments right now to thank her.


So, how did Fritha help me? Here's the story: from 9am to 5:30pm, every weekday, I am the Assistant Director of Academic Affairs at a wonderful study abroad program here in London. As part of my job, I am currently teaching a class that helps our students intellectually and academically contextualize the experiences working as interns in a wide variety of businesses while studying abroad.

Just last week, Fritha appeared as a guest speaker in my class. She told my students about her journey, and then conducted a short speed coaching session with all of us. I was probably the most eager participant of all. Through this speed coaching session, I realized just how out-of-touch I had become with my own loves and passions over the course of the past two years. I learned that I DO have the time and creative space to pursue BOTH my ambitions on the job, as well as my personal interests. I actually have a fantastic opportunity to do both simultaneously. I can integrate my own interests into what I can teach to students on my program, a great opportunity to find personal satisfaction through my job. Conversely, I can use the students' impressions of and experiences studying in London to inform and inspire my designs. Win! Win!

My professional goals and my personal do not have to be as discrete. I realized that it is up to me to make BOTH happen. Nobody else can do that for me. So thank you Fritha. I hope that the goodies I design and post to my shop will please my new clients as much as they make me feel satisfaction and fulfilment.

Hats off to you Fritha! You are an inspiration, and a motivator. I'm so lucky to know you.