Monthly Archives: September 2011

I think it’s taken me two weeks to post about Mighty Summit because, really, I don’t even know where to start. Also, heads up, this longest-post-ever is entirely unrelated to weddings, so please don’t feel obliged to read on, or skip to the end where I share some goodies that might apply to a wedding. If I could add a page break here I would, but for some reason my blog won’t let me.

photo from Design Mom



Blogging is one of those jobs that is largely a solo endeavor, and when you tell people what you do, they ask things like, “Now what’s a blog?” and “But how do you make money?” and sometimes “So you do that for your job?” with “job” in air quotes. So to spend a weekend with a) other people who b) also have blogs, was a huge treat.

Unlike other social media events, Mighty Summit felt like a weekend I would plan for myself and some of my best girlfriends if I had a generous budget. Except that I didn’t have to plan it, or pay for it, and instead of my girlfriends it was a bunch of the most inspiring women I’d never met. We stayed at the delightful Boon Hotel in the Russian River wine country, ate delicious food, went wine tasting, got massages, told inappropriate stories around a campfire, and discussed ways to love our butts. I mean really, if you were going to plan an awesome girl weekend, wouldn’t it include at least most of those things?

And in the midst of all this relaxing and laughing, we shared and talked about our life lists, or Mighty Lists. As the Mighty Summit website says, “Each attendee is invited to bring her own Mighty List — a list of all the things she’d like to do with her life. We get together to relax, share our lists, and figure out how we can help each other cross a few things off.” Yep.



Not sure if any of you have created life lists, or bucket lists, or 30 before 30 lists, or anything like that, but I know that for me, though I love the idea of it, I didn’t really know where to start. Of course, there are the things that immediately come to mind, like places I’d like to go (Versailles) and experiences I’d like to have (swim with dolphins), but beyond that I felt a little overwhelmed by the task of making a list of things I wanted to do in my life. So I started where anyone would start: by spying on what other people had done. There are some awfully clever and thoughtful women out there making life lists, and I came across some brilliant ideas for thinking about my own, and how to get started.


Tidbits and questions I found helpful for life listing:

Make a list of things that make you happy and spend your life ticking things off the list.

– Get your goals out of your head and put them on paper.

– What have you already done that would have been on your life list if you’d started it years ago? Put those down and cross them off.
I always wanted to take a flower arranging class and calligraphy class, and did both of them before I started my life list. I put them down anyway, then crossed them off, as a reminder that my life list was real and doable.

– Don’t worry about what other people might think of your life list. It’s just for you.
Maybe you want to share your life list with the world, or maybe you don’t want to tell anyone you’ve even created one. I posted two of my life list items a few weeks back, thinking maybe I’d share the whole thing at some point. But when I received a nasty comment about them, I decided to keep it out of the interwebs. I might change my mind, but for now I want to make sure that others’ opinions don’t prevent me from creating an authentic life list.

– Ask yourself the right questions. Martha Beck’s 20 Questions are a great place to start (thank you Maggie).

– What do I want my life to look like, and how can I make it look that way?

– What do I love, but don’t make time for?
For me this included things like reading and flowers, so on my life list I put “Read 500 books” and “Grow roses.”

– What are the big words you want to define your life?
One of my big words is Joy, so I thought about how I could cultivate more of that in my life. It inspired a number of life list items for me, including “Wear more color,” “Let people know when I’m thinking of them,” and “Sloppy kiss my husband every day.”

– Steal ideas from other people’s life lists.

– Think both silly and serious, big and small.
As much as I want to visit faraway places and do good works and grand things, I also wanted to make room on my life list for silly and small things. Things like “Blow more bubbles” and “Frame our wedding photos.”

What would you like to do many, many times?
I love baking, but tend not to do it often, and generally stick with chocolate chip cookies or fruit crisps, so I put “Bake 1000 delicious things” on the list. Who knows if I’ll ever actually bake that many different things, but why not give it a go?

– Your life list isn’t set in stone; add and remove items as your priorities and goals change.

– Let your imagination be your guide; if you can dream it, it can go on your life list, even if it seems impossible.

I promise, once you get going, it will get easier. I’ll find myself in the car or making dinner and think of something out of the blue that I want to add to my list – maybe it’s crossed my mind before, but now that I have a place to put it, it makes me notice those kinds of thoughts more. So I’d love to know – do you have a life list, or something akin to one? Are you thinking of creating a life list, or not interested in the slightest (I’m thinking that if you’ve read this far, maybe you’re a little interested)?



This is the part I promised, with the possibly-wedding-related things. The best part of the weekend, certainly, was the people. But the place and the food didn’t hurt, and then there were the goodies. Here are some of my favorites, starting with the goodie bag. I mean, the bag itself was rad. I think it’s my new go-to personal carry on item: it holds a laptop, a camera, keys/wallet/etc., and it actually looks good (all of their bags come in super fun colors, too; mine is hot pink). Honeymoon accessory maybe?

Each bag was hiding a pretty turquoise box with a pair of Tieks in it. When I tell you about these, you’re going to wonder why you never heard of them – they’re adorable fold-up shoes. Yes, we’ve seen fold-up ballet flats before, but these come in the best colors, they’re comfy, and they have enough of a sole to feel like real shoes. Mine are Paradise Blue, and now I want a pair in Tangerine (I also wish I’d had a pair at my wedding, since the flats I changed into were less comfortable than my heels). I’ll tell you what, if I got a pair of these as a bridesmaid gift, I would not be sad.

Breakfast on the first morning included white chocolate lavender scones from Big Bottom Market (owned by the folks who own Boon). These are something you need to try, and reason enough to host a brunch wedding reception.

This isn’t really a tangible goodie, but it’s wedding related. On our wine tasting excursion, we visited Arista Winery, and someone needs to get married there because it’s beautiful. And the drive is beautiful, so your wedding guests will be happy to make the trip. And then someone else needs to get married at the Boon Hotel, because it’s understatedly lovely and the food is incredible.

One night, we found copies of The Happiness Project on our pillows. If that’s not perfect for a life list weekend, I don’t know what is. Plus, author Gretchen Rubin was one of the attendees, so it was extra perfect. Not really anything to do with weddings, but read it anyway because it’s good. (And might be helpful for thinking about your life list.)

On the last night, at a yummy dinner at Applewood Inn, everyone received a charming little necklace, with five tiny gold rings on it, which represent the five things on our life list that we commit to doing in the next year. Such a lovely reminder! The necklaces are by Lemonade Handmade, who makes all kinds of reasonably priced pretties for brides, bridesmaids, birthdays, holidays…

And then there were a slew of other fun things that I haven’t had a chance to use or try out yet, but when I do, if they’re awesome, I’ll be sure to share.


Throughout the weekend, I found myself feeling so grateful to be there. Thank you to Maggie and Laura for inviting me. Thank you to Intel and Lands End and the other sponsors who made the weekend possible. Thank you to all the wonderful ladies who attended, for making it what it was. And if you’ve gotten this far, thank you readers for reading, and have a happy, happy weekend! Oh, and if you’re interested in other Mighty Events, check out Camp Mighty, which launches this November in Palm Springs.

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It’s possible I get more excited about the Martha Stewart Weddings special issues than I do about the regular quarterly ones, because I forget about them so they feel like a special surprise when they come out. (Although let’s be honest – I get pretty excited about all of them.) Today I get to share with you a sneak peek of the second annual Destination Weddings and Dream Honeymoons issue…

Truth is, you don’t need to be planning a destination wedding to find inspiration in this issue. I mean, just look at this beautiful orchid story. Who would have thought orchids could go rustic? The magazine also showcases orchids in romantic, eclectic, and modern styles, plus stories on destinations near and far – pick up a copy to check them out. You should be able to find it on stands next week – I know I can’t wait!

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Happy Friday, lovelies! What are you doing this weekend? This is the first weekend that I’ll be spending at home since August, so I’m looking forward to doing a whole lotta nothing. Maybe cleaning out our closets or something exciting like that. I’m hoping it will start to feel a little more like fall, and am trying to usher in the new season with dishes like roasted acorn squash and apple crisp. Do you have any favorite fall recipes?

by Irene Suchocki (available for purchase here)


I’ll have a little write-up about Mighty Summit for you in a couple hours, but I thought I’d post some of my favorite links from around the web first…


Groom style inspiration.

Mirit Weinstock’s wedding dresses are amazing, via Little Winter Bride.

LOVE this suite that Betsy Dunlap created for her sister.

If I was rich I’d have a serious sunglasses problem.

I already tweeted about this, but in case you missed it… s’mores in a jar!

These deco-inspired earrings from Honeybee would look beautiful on a bride, via coco + kelley.

How lovely are these bathing hydrangea?

So much inspiration in these vintage menus.

Fun notebooks from Inky Co., via Eat Drink Chic.

I love pretty containers, like this perfectly pale blue box, via Lonny.

Oh letterpress, you’ll never get old to me.

Picked up some of these new Edward Hopper Forever stamps.

I want these rose gold earrings. Badly. (via Mrs. Lilien)

Pears in bottles.


Also, congratulations to Emily Barkakati, the winner of the Newlywish giveaway, who said, “Aah want it all! I really want a Saeco Burr Grinder though…”

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There’s always something so lovely and intimate about a backyard wedding (and I love this bride’s unique style!)…

Andra’s mother handmade this unusual head piece with tarnished gold lace from the bride’s grandmother’s gown.

Instead of separate seating for the ceremony, guests were invited to sit at the dinner table and enjoy antipasti during the traditional Romanian Orthodox ceremony.

Andra shared some details about the day…

Why did you choose this for your wedding?  Our primary goal was to have a welcoming and elegant event that would also end up being a great party. As a result we focused more on the elements of a great party, and less on the trappings of traditional wedding. Once we decided to have the ceremony and the party at Chris’s grandfather’s home, then the design aspects seemed to come together. We took advantage of the glorious garden at the home, and hosted a rustic dinner-party with slight influences from the 1920’s.

What kind of music did you play?  We put together a personalized soundtrack for the entire event, starting with church choral music and bells for the ceremony. After the ceremony, we combined a variety of folkloric music from Romania, Italy, Ireland, and Eastern Europe to reflect our families’ backgrounds. We also mixed in jazz from the 1920’s-1940’s, French chansonnettes and Italian canzonette. For the dancing portion, we had a mixture of modern music with classic rock ‘n’ roll. Chris and I danced our first dance to Leonard Cohen’s “Dance Me to the End of Love.”

Is there anything else that helps tell the story of the day? In keeping with our wish for a rustic dinner, all guests, family members, and members of the wedding party sat at one long dinner table. As an icebreaker, upon the guests’ arrival, we started out with large, country-style breads, cheeses, salami and other hors d’oeuvres shared at the dinner table. To maximize ease and comfort, guests were seated at this same table for ceremony, which took place under a large oak tree directly across from the dinner table. After the ceremony ended, the rest of the event focused on enjoying dinner and dancing together with our guests, so we left the afternoon to develop on its own without any set timetable.



Photography: Julie Mikos / Venue: private home in Los Altos Hills, California / Bride’s dress: custom / Gold ballet shoes: Chloé / Point-toe shoes: Manolo Blahnik / Groom’s suit: Cesare Attolini / Groom’s shirt: Ermenegildo Zegna / Neck tie: Brioni / Cake: Cake Divas / Rentals: La Tavola Linen

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Are you ready to smile? Because these photos from Julie and Dan’s wedding are so full of joy and love and happiness (and smiles and hugs!) – they show exactly what matters most about a wedding day.

How amazing is Julie’s smile?!

Says Julie, “We did the traditional first dance and father-daughter dance, but for the mother-son dance Dan danced with his sister because his mother passed away five years ago. Dan’s dance with his sister was a very emotional moment, and it allowed us all time to quietly remember his mother.”

Julie shared some of the details about the day…

What’s the story behind the tractor?  When I was in grade school, my dad would wake me or my siblings up around 5:00AM to drive the tractor and flatbed through the fields as he and other farmhands picked corn. My father had asked me how I would like to get to the ceremony site, and I joked that he should polish up the old, red International tractor, knowing the tractor was no longer operable and 100 miles away. Ten minutes before the ceremony, he surprised me with a shiny, antique, red International tractor. He had posted an ad on Craigslist and had found one within a day – only in Ohio! Needless to say, I was overcome with emotions and laughter when I saw it sitting in the driveway.

What was your favorite part of the day?  My favorite part of the wedding was the ceremony. I felt more confident in that moment than any other time in my life. For someone who doesn’t like to be the center of attention, I felt surprisingly safe and loved with all of those eyes upon us. And of course, linking hands with my new husband completed the moment.

What is the best advice you received as a bride?  The best advice I received was to stop, take a step back and really take in the day. Several times throughout the ceremony and reception I remembered this. Those moments helped me appreciate everyone around us, and I was able to take mental photographs that I will always keep with me.



Photography: Summer Drew / Venue: Old Homestead Beach Park in Huron, Ohio / Bride’s dress: WToo by Watters / Groom’s suit: Jones New York / Flowers: Corsos


Congratulations Julie and Dan! And thank you to Summer Drew for sharing these photos!

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