Monday, November 30, 2009

'The Road Not Taken'

"Two roads diverged in a wood, and I - I took the one less traveled by. And that has made all the difference." - Robert Frost

I awoke Thanksgiving morning to a brisk and invigorating invitation. A fine day for fresh air before the traditional pig out...and Bothe Napa Valley State Park was calling us. With my husband, my best pal and 3 other friends hoofing it upward on a spongy path - we found ourselves in the shadow of a north-east facing ridge; tree covered with redwoods, maples, sycamore, manzanita and a myriad of mysterious oaks - not my usual acorny suspects from Southern California. It had rained earlier that week, and a dampness hung to the golden leaves littering the trail and creek bed. Moss clung to every thing dead, decaying or free from direct sunlight. Textures so fern-ladden and fuzzy I swore I was on some kind of Trekkie know the one with the "tribbles"? Or, in that weird fantasy film "Legend" with once naive Tom Cruise (pre sofa stunt on Oprah and the Scientology) and scary Tim Curry (from Rocky Horror Picture Show) as the evil beast, cue in the unicorn! AND, then along came the fungus! Seriously, we may have seen 30 different varieties of was quite magical and mysterious. Was I really there or was it just a beautiful dream?



Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Gad zukes, Scooby...these are real mums!

Ok - I am so fired up... Exquisite Weddings Magazine table top decor photo shoot countdown, less than 20 hours!

I had such a freak out when I saw these 6" diameter China mums (a.k.a. - "chrysanthemums grandes") last week. When I picked them up from my wholesale floral peeps today I may have popped a vein in my eyeball and said, "Zoinks!" They are so frickin' fat and gorgeous. Mustard colored, and I don't mean "French's Mustard"...FYI, that's not real mustard. "French's Mustard" is only legal to those US citizens under the age of 12 who, sadly, via the disgraceful permission of their weak parents are allowed to slather this stuff onto their hotdogs! Thankfully, this sad and forbidden condiment does not exist if you were blessed enough to be born and raised in Europe, right? Heck, they even let their fine Euro youth sip wine at the ripe age of 12! So, the mustard yellow I am refering to is "dijon-esque", a sophisticated muted Euro-yellow w/a hint of grey meets apricot at a swinging, yet spicy party - do you know that of which I write? Hope so. More photos to follow...tomorrow is going to be so groovy delicious, I can taste it!

Tonight, I shall dream of REAL mustard colored mums - aaaaahhh. And, maybe, of cyclist George Hincapie too...hee hee. Look him up google style :-)
HINT: Someone needs Scooby snack!


gad zukes, Scooby! These are real mums!

Monday, November 9, 2009


I love this four letter word, muse. When a muse speaks to me, it is in a very LOUD and clear voice! So much so that I will suddenly spasm violently, bug my eyes out and say silly things like "oooh, oooh, oooh!" or "OMG, word!" or "bloody brilliant!" Yes, when inspiration strikes not only do I lose most motor skills, but I become possessed by a zombie state madly sketching and taking notes on a cardboard box top or the like; totally fixated and mesmerized by an invisible force. If someone enters the studio zone whilst I am lost in my state of muse, and speaks to me - I usually scream and collapse under buckling knees; BTW I do startle VERY easily. Ask my husband or any ASFD team peep, it's really kind of spooky.

My amusing muse of the week is birch branches; mossy ones, leafless ones, "Blair Witch Project" ones - you get it. An upcoming photo shoot for Exquisite Weddings Magazine has me giddy with anticipation. I am teamed up with master event planner Mary Noble of ... going to be beautiful, birch branchy and amusing, just a gut feeling!



Thursday, November 5, 2009

Got pesto?

Having a real farmer for a father growing up certainly had it's perks. We always had great home grown veggies - squash, artichokes, tomatoes, chard, beets, snow peas...rolling with the seasons, it was ever changing and exciting to see what came up next. Note: I was the harvester while Dad did all the real grunt work. I think he liked it that way being the veteran green thumb that he was.

Fast forward to 25 years later. My husband and I finally live at a place convenient for a raised planter bed. After our first "box farm" was born, I was filled with mulchy glee! I did, however, have this inner fear...that what if after all our efforts I somehow manage to kill everything!? Afterall, I do work solely with cut floral; not living, breathing green plants. Voila, magic occurred - we grew 3 types of tomatoes, Japanese eggplants, Padron peppers de Espana, herbs and sunflowers! Damn, I was good! To protect the fruits of our labor, I battled evil caterpillars and other buggy vermin daily...and, hell, looked I won! Summer has come and gone, the box farm is a mess of dead vines and withered limbs but the one thing that keeps on thriving are 2 fat daddy sweet basil plants. I became a pesto factory this year...and here's my recipe, eat up.

3 cups loose packed basil leaves

3 cloves of crushed garlic

1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted

1/4+ cup good olive oil

juice of 1 lemon

sea salt

fresh ground pepper

1/2 cup of grated Parmasen cheese

Place all stuff in blender and puree the heck out of it. If too thick, scrape down the sides of blender and add more oil and/or lemon juice. Adjust the salt and pepper to your liking. Sometimes a dash of crushed red pepper flakes gives it edge. Serve with warm pasta or on top of grilled fish or chicken. Store in fridge for up to a week.

The team, my peeps

The kind of work my team and I do is quite physical. We are constantly moving heavy objects, being sliced and poked by spiny thorns or branches, plunging our manly hands in and out of water, cleaning and prepping mysterious equipment and accessories often with volatile chemicals and did I mention we stand on our feet for 8-12 hours at a time whilst designing? So, what's the upside of being floral designers? Creating beautiful things, duh!

ASFD teammate, Heather Rose (check the name too, no foolin'!), is a gift. Seriously intuitive and nurturing to the core...she always finds the best use of each other's talents and time, then quickly executes 20+ stunning centerpieces, sweeps up floral shrapnel like a windswept faerie and, on occasion, even makes us all lunch! A loving wife and mother of 3 kick-ass teenage kids, she knows how to keep wheels in motion. And in the 11th hour, when team ASFD starts to melt, she promptly puts "The Best of Blondie" CD in the tune box. What's not love about this woman? She is filled with great mojo and is purely precious to the core. Get to know her.



Going the Distance

The event industry is filled with many talented vendors who provide a great array of services. Some of these people are quite accomplished at their chosen trade. And, then there are others that go the extra mile....going the distance to bring us something absolutely amazing. Of these I am so TOTALLY impressed with cake & pastry wizard extraordinaire, Michele Coulon.

I met Michele nine years ago at Rancho Valencia Resort while setting up a wedding. Not sure who said it to who first, but it was along the lines of, "Hey, I love your clogs!" Sensible shoes happen for sensible people BTW. Shoes aside, what this dear woman can create with butter, flour and sugar is seriously some kind of voodoo or black magic - she creates addiction! Tip - try her dense Meyer lemon cake - it'll really send you!

In addition to wedding cakes, specialty desserts and pastries, Michele Coulon Dessertier is also a super charming cafe in La Jolla offering French bistro-style fare that focuses on incorporating local and organic ingredients into her cuisine. Go the distance and make a reservation, you won't regret it.


Wednesday, November 4, 2009

OK, here goes. I am a "floral designer"...would you like my definition?

floral designer - noun; 1. a person who specializes in the beautification of events and special occasions with the creative use of the fresh floral and/or plant material as her medium; 2. an artist whose purpose is to support various environments and venues by selecting color palettes and chosen natural textures to enhance a celebratory atmosphere; and 3. a visionary of botanical delights.

In a nutshell, I am all about the end result...a thoughtful, beautiful fete du jour (my definition again = "party of the day") that is truly unforgettable.
And...I welcome you to my blog.


photo by: