Monthly Archives: November 2012

This weekend, Ryan and I are celebrating our second anniversary a few days early with dinner at Dixie. I love that our anniversary falls at the beginning of the holiday season – it’s such a nice, personal way to get into the celebratory spirit! And of course, a handful of these links are holiday-related, so that’s another way to get ready for the season…

Sugar plum, gingerbread…every flavor of candy cane imaginable!

What romantic head pieces.

Tabletop Christmas trees.

2 Advent calendars: one giant, one mini.

Lovely gold foil invites (and love the Florentine paper).

Wearing flowers.

Holiday finger-food combination generator.

Great gift-wrap round-up.


And finally, on a personal note… Last year, my nephew Bode was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer. He handled treatment like an absolute rockstar, and I am so grateful that he is now a strong and healthy 5-year-old. This holiday season, Bode and his big brother, Kellen, are collecting Dear Santa letters to raise money for the Make-A-Wish Foundation (who recently granted Bode his wish to see hot lava in Hawaii!). Bode and Kellen are asking everyone – kids and grown-ups alike – to send a letter before December 14th (email or postal mail). And of course if you’d like to share this video on Twitter or Facebook, I know the boys would appreciate it. Learn more in the video HERE. I love you Bode Bear!

Update! You can mail your Dear Santa letters:


postal mail:
Bode Believes
4203 Genesee Ave. Suite 103 Box 296
San Diego, CA 92117


Have a lovely weekend everyone!

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With all of our focus on how to make your wedding special, we thought it was time to highlight some ways to make your marriage awesome, too. Introducing “Snapshot of a Marriage,” a new series from contributor Emily Westbrooks, who interviews couples on some of their secrets for a strong and successful marriage. 

Though Ben and Erin have been through the unimaginable, they have come through the other side stronger. Two years into their marriage, a freak accident left Ben without the use of his arms and legs. Erin says, “I went from wife to caregiver in a matter of seconds and we have spent the past 5 years learning how to be husband and wife again.” Erin explains that at the time of the accident, she thought she and Ben were working as a team but quickly realized how much she leaned on him for everything. After the accident, she says, “I had to make sure the bills were paid, the medical decisions were made, the house was taken care of and our daughter was taken care of, too.”

“I remember sitting in the ER not knowing if my husband would live and thinking ‘would he want to stay on life support?’ I know the answer now, but I didn’t then, and it scared the hell out of me.” Ben and Erin offer this advice to married and engaged couples: “Have the difficult discussions early and often. They are important.”

In many ways, life has returned to a new normal. Erin and Ben each has the same job as before the accident and they are both studying for their Masters’ in health policy and management (they enjoy having heated discussions about health care!). And their five-year-old daughter, Isabel, has recently found a fun upside to Ben’s accident. Erin explains, “Ben’s chair can stand up so he’ll stand up – it’s amazing – and she’ll climb up it, then stand up and jump onto the couch. She also ties her bike or play car to him and he’ll pull her around outside. They do crazy things together!”

I asked Ben to tell me a story about their marriage, and he summed it up saying, “Our life is a story. After a freak injury left me a quadriplegic, the fact that my wife and I are still married shows that our love is unconditional and the partnership makes us stronger.”

SNAPSHOT SUBMISSIONS  Do you know a married couple whose relationship you admire? Or maybe you’re married and want to share your words of wisdom! We’re now accepting submissions from couples who have been married for ten years or longer. Email Emily at with your first names, how long you’ve been married, and a few sentences about why you’d like to be interviewed for our Snapshot of a Marriage series.
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It is just pouring rain here today, so I thought we could all use a little touch of sunshine in the form of this darling backyard wedding…

All of the stationery items were designed by the groom.

Badminton and bocce ball were set up for guests to enjoy. Music was kept pretty low-key to allow for talking and visiting.

Dinner included bacon-wrapped apricots, barbecue sliders and pumpkin soup shots.

Why did you choose this location for your wedding?  Though we live in Kansas City, we are both  from Illinois and our families still live there. Since family is so important to both of us, we couldn’t imagine our wedding without them and were worried some wouldn’t be able to make the trip to Kansas City. We are both architects, and appreciate the history and style of the late nineteenth-century Pettengill-Morron House Museum. We also have a hobby for collecting vintage and antique items, so the characteristics of the interior décor fit us well. As soon as we saw the venue and property we knew it was perfect for us.

What was your favorite moment or part of the day?  When we receded from the ceremony and were alone for just a moment, we both broke down with tears of delight and held each other tightly. We were overcome with joy and love, and will remember that moment forever.

Did you include any traditions in your wedding?  We didn’t get caught up in traditions. It was important for us to do whatever felt natural, and not forced. I did wear my mother-in-law’s pearl necklace that has been in her family, we exchanged gifts before seeing each other, and had our guests send us off. My mother gave me a pearl bracelet with the intent of starting a tradition, and that I would share it with my future daughter on her wedding day.

What was the best advice you received as a bride? I didn’t receive a lot of advice regarding the wedding, but instead about marriage. Our pre-marital sessions with our Pastor, and advice I received from women who had been married for many years were more beneficial to me.

What advice do you have for other brides? Go with the vendors you feel most comfortable with. Chances are that your instincts will play to your favor. This may mean not going with the most advertised or marketed vendor, and doing extra research. A few of my vendors did not have websites, or had never done a wedding before but they fit with our personalities perfectly.

Is there anything else that helps tell the story of the day? We wanted the overall feeling of the day to be relaxed, fun and comfortable. We set up badminton, croquet and bocce games for guests and wanted the music to be romantic and soft so people could talk over it. The whole day felt intimate and personal – exactly how we imagined.

Photographer: Pam Cooley Photography / Videographer: ParkLife Wedding Films / Venue: Pettengill-Morron House Museum in Peoria, Illinois / Bride’s Dress: Casablanca Bridal / Bride’s Shoes: Miz Mooz / Hair Pin: Nordstrom / Hair Stylist: The Loft Salon and Spa / Makeup: Shana Addis / Groom’s Suit: Macy’s / Groom’s Shirt: Brooks Brothers / Groom’s Tie: Calvin Klein / Bridesmaid Dresses: Ann Taylor, The LimitedVon Maur / Stationery: design by the groom, letterpress by Skylab / Bouquets, Boutonnieres: Michelle at Heaven on Earth / Floral Centerpieces: Floral Designs / Tent Rental: Armbruster Manufacturing / Chair, Table Rentals: Morton Rentals / Lighting: Extreme DJ’s and Lighting / Cake: Trefzger’s Bakery / Coffee Favor Caricature Artwork: Dan Wild / Horse-drawn Carriage: Carriage Classics, (309) 657-4363
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Before we say goodbye to autumn, Max Gill has some deliciously moody flowers for us. I love how utterly luscious they are, with the season’s final garden roses, a variety of dark foliage, and even concord grapes. Photos by the always talented Silvana di Franco.

Can’t you just imagine this beautiful compote on a table set with glowing candlesticks? 

1. Chocolate Chervil / “Mona Lavender” Plectranthus foliage / “Wine and Roses” Weigela foliage / “Purple Majesty” Chinese Fringe Flower foliage / “Plum Palace” Huechera foliage

2. “Escargot” Rex Begonia foliage / Centradenia foliage / Concord Grape / Indian Hawthorn / Viburnum Berry / Privet Berry

3. “The Prince” Garden Rose / Chocolate Cosmo /  Nigella / Scabiosa / Chocolate Dahlia


See the full gallery here.

  • Moody Autumn Flower Arrangements

    27 November 2012
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