{on home and a recipe}

Apparently I'm feeling very wordy (and sentimental) this week, so I hope you'll bear with me. This blog has gone through more than a few transformations and phases since I started it two years ago. I've spent a lot of time trying to figure out what it is that I want to say. 

I don't consider Something Charming to be only a wedding blog. It's a blog about my life, which happens to include weddings, I suppose. But I think my mission, my passion, extends far beyond just planning a pretty wedding. That desire to create beautiful and comfortable things has crept into every aspect of my life. Not only that, but I try to be so very intentional about the decisions I make, to ensure that I'm making them for a reason. Really, for my reason.

I'm a naturally caring person. Not that I'm always the kindest person in the world, but that I like to take care of other people. I like caring for my brides and grooms on their wedding day. I like encouraging my readers, providing them with comfort and inspiration. But more than these two things, I love caring for my home and those who spend time in it. For now, that's really just me and my husband, but I truly mean it for anyone who walks through my door. 

My home is not always the tidiest (we currently have five furniture sized boxes in our living room), and sometimes I forget to clean the toilet. But it's welcoming and intimate and personal, and I hope a place of contentment for anyone who happens to make their way here (who knows, that may be you someday!). 

I love cooking and baking and entertaining, mainly for others, which brings me back to the point of this post. My recipes haven't always been the most popular on this little blog, but cooking is something that I truly do love, since I feel like it's an extension of that passion of mine. And to me, offering my recipes is a way for me to bring you into my home, to show you what my life is like. Maybe it's me, offering a little bit of me to you.
  • 1 whole butternut squash, cut into cubes
  • 2 cups chicken or vegetable stock
  • Olive oil
  • Sage (fresh or bottled)
  • Garlic (diced or bottled)
  • Salt and Pepper
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  1. Toss the butternut squash with olive oil, garlic, sage, salt, and pepper. Roast in a 350 degree oven for 1/2 hour. 
  2. Once the butternut squash is tender, place into pot with chicken stock. Bring to a boil, and let simmer for five minutes.
  3. Take the pot off the heat, and puree with hand blender. Add cream and heat through (don't over boil). 
  4. Serve with grilled cheese sandwiches or crackers and enjoy!
Butternut squash and soup are too things that just feel like fall to me, so this recipe always makes my stomach and heart so full. Not only that, but it really is delicious. Just try it and see!


{wedding wednesday: a happy marriage}


Let's just say I'm quitting my job at the perfect time. Because honestly? 

I'm so burnt out right now. 

And I feel weird saying that on my blog, which is technically part of my business, but it's true. 

It may be part of my business, but I'm terrified that I'm going to become one of those blogs. You know, the ones where the voice of the blogger is drowned out by sponsorships and trying too hard. I always want to have me in this little blog. It's my baby, I started it before I started my business. It's my creative outlet, and I never want it to feel like work. I know it will, sometimes, but not if I can avoid it. 

That's why I'm doing things a little differently this week for Wedding Wednesday. 

I tried so. hard. to get inspired for an infographic to create or a list to help you with your own wedding planning. 

But then I was hit again with all of this means. I focus so much on weddings, which is great, since, you know, I'm a wedding planner. There's more to it though. There's more to a marriage than just the dress and the food and the reception. I can't deny that, and I shouldn't! I don't do all of this because I want to create the prettiest weddings.

I do it because I honestly, truly, with all my heart believe in love. I've experienced it, the real kind. The kind that makes your heart so full it hurts. The kind that makes you want to be a better person.

I read a lot of books; a lot of books that have that passionate, all consuming love that makes you ache for that one person to sweep you off your feet and stay in bed with all. day. long. Like this one, and this one, and this one

Once I close the book, and it's all over, I can't deny that I feel a little bit of that ache. But then I see my husband, the one I get to come home to every night, and I'm happy. I'm relieved that I've never had a broken heart, or that I've never had to wonder if someone honestly, really loves me. I don't have to wonder. 

Our lives are not romantic, not in the slightest. We eat dinner in front of the TV most nights, and I almost always wear mismatched socks to bed. We rarely show any type of affection in public, but that doesn't matter to me. I don't need to prove to the world that we're happy. I'm so very happy to have a partner in life who supports me, trusts me, and believes in me like nobody else in the world. 

So, what does that mean for you? Let's just say you're back from your honeymoon, your dress is stashed away and you're waiting impatiently to eat the top tier of you wedding cake hidden in the freezer. Maybe you've never lived together before, and have no idea how to actually live with a boy

I like to think I know a few things about love. And here's what I know. Well, two things I know. They are the most important two things. 

1. Love is about communication. It's about trust. It's about being open with each other. Start that early, long before you say "I do." Once you're engaged, if you find it difficult to be open with one another, you have a problem. You should feel as if you're allowed to tell them anything. They are supposed to love you for who you are, for what you want in life. Don't be afraid of them. 

Robert and I have made it work because we talk everything out. Seriously, I have a feeling that we talk a lot more than most of the other couples we know in real life. It seems like it, at least. We will stay up late, late at night, talking about everything from what's worrying us that day to our biggest fears in life. We spend long car rides talking about our families, and how we want to raise our own children. We go on dates, where we share our dreams for ourselves and each other. We listen to one another as we talk about our hobbies, our passions (I swear, Robert knows more about weddings than even the most dedicated bride), and our complaints in life. I'm never happier than when I'm talking to him, and getting to know him better. 

2. Pick and choose your battles. 

If I've learned anything in the nearly nine years we've been together, it's that I need to pick and choose my battles. I kind of have to smile sometimes when I see couples fight about little things, because I used to nag him so much about almost everything. And he used to basically give into whatever I wanted. I always won (though I doubt he'd want me to admit that). 

It's not so much that I don't win anymore. I just don't consider there to be a winner in our arguments most of the time. We talk things through (though sometimes there is yelling, especially if it's that-time-of-the-month). And sometimes, I do choose to argue about the little things, like when he hasn't cleaned up the kitchen at night or if he forgot to pay a bill (I do it too). But I let a lot go, and so does he. We let a lot go, seeing the situation for what it is, rather than what it isn't. Is it really going to be that big of a deal in the morning? If it is, then talk (or yell) it out. But if it isn't going to be a huge issue the next day, then let it go. 

If you do fight once in a while, that's okay. Really. Yell it out if you need to, just don't call each other names. At least you know the make up sex will be good.

*     *     *     *     *

Robert likes to tell me that there are a lot of things he feels unsure or nervous about in life, but the one thing he never doubted, and has always been sure of, was marrying me. When he says that, I feel like the luckiest girl in the world. I know not everyone has love as solid as that. 

It's not without work. Those romance novels end at some point, and it's not all fairy tales and white dresses. Marriage is hard. But if you know that when you walk down the aisle, if you know that you're walking toward that person who is willing to put in the work too, then it will be okay. 

There are no real rules for Wedding Wednesday, I just ask that your post be wedding related it doesn’t need to be the same topic that I’m posting about. I also ask that you try to visit a few other blogs to say hi, and I would love it if you would use my button (found here). 


{christmas at home: a sneak peek}

I almost always have all of my Christmas decor up the weekend after Thanksgiving. Any other year, you would already see my Christmas tree and lots and lots of garland hanging around our little space. This year, however, I was stuck in bed with something gross all weekend and I just couldn't bring myself to bring everything up from storage. Robert is also taking his comprehensive exams this week, so our apartment is just a little bit stressed right now. 

Regardless, I was so excited when I was asked to do a little shopping at Pier 1 for my Christmas must haves this year! I did find it in me to take a quick (read: hour long trip) to the store to buy a few things to put up. I also convinced Robert to bring up one small box (of many) so I could at least hang our stockings. It's a work in progress, but I'm already loving the little touch of something new from Pier 1
Guys, I'm just not so sure about what to do about my mantle that's hung a little too high...I love the empty picture frame, but it's almost a little too empty. I saw the star at Pier 1, however, and I knew it would be perfect to hang there, at least for the holidays. Also, apparently gold is my color this season, if you haven't noticed. I saw those cute little Christmas trees, and thought they brought the perfect touch. Add a few candles, and maybe it isn't so bad after all!

Speaking of gold, I kind of had to have that pretty gold tray as soon as I saw it. I usually have a dark wood tray on my coffee table, but this adds a little something fun to the table, especially when it's wine time. For an easy and delicious appetizer to go with it, try baking some brie and adding a little cranberry sauce on top. Not only does taste delicious, but it obviously looks the part.

Also, I really didn't have any candle sticks or napkins for my holiday dining table, but I'm loving my new gold napkins (I may or may not have used them on Thanksgiving already...). They're simple, but can be used for a few different settings!

Lastly, I've never actually had anything to put on my front door. I have something for fall, but our door is usually bare the rest of the year (including Christmas time). I didn't really want anything too fancy or big, but I thought this star was really cute. I love it against our green door!
If it's interesting, if it's impressive, if it's colorful and cute and one-of-a-kind—then odds are it's probably from Pier 1 Imports®. After all, Pier 1 has been the place for unique finds for over 40 years. Our buyers travel the world's major capitals and small villages hunting for the kinds of treasures you can't find just anywhere—fresh and fragrant candles, exotic wicker, hand-painted dinnerware, gorgeous textiles and thoughtful hand crafted gifts. Find what speaks to you at Pier 1 Imports®.

Compensation was provided by Pier 1 Imports® via Glam Media. The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and are not indicative of the opinions or positions of Pier 1 Imports®.


{monday's mantra}

Are you all recovered from Thanksgiving yet? It took me three days of sleeping and doing almost nothing to finally get back to feeling normal, and I'm still exhausted. I guess waking up at 5:30 in the morning on Thanksgiving to start making the turkey, and then spending the rest of the day eating and drinking wine will do that to you. Not only that, but I'm pretty sure I actually came down with something on Thursday night. I was absolutely miserable, but at least I didn't get sick until after Thanksgiving! 

Anyway, I hope you all had a great holiday with friends and family, and that you're ready to get back to, you know, life
I have a big problem with this sometimes. I'm always trying to figure out solutions for things that aren't really problems. In the process, I usually end up making things much more complicated than they have to be, something I'm really trying to fight. This post is a great example! I spent so much time trying to figure out the perfect design for this quote, rather than thinking of how it actually applies to my life. It was kind of sad when I actually figured it out. 

The same goes for a lot of my "problems" that need solving: my organization system, scheduling my time, answering all my emails, cleaning my home, etc. I see everything as something that needs to be solved, rather as just a task that just needs to get done. I know that I'm really going to need to get over this soon, so that I can actually get work finished when I need to get work finished. I can spend all day on a project, without getting anywhere, really. It's such a terrible, horrible habit to break. 

I spent an hour on the phone last week with Jess, and she and I pretty much came to the same conclusion. I need to get a process in place that's good enough (it doesn't have to be perfect), and just use it. This week, I plan on putting those basic processes into place, and not changing them. I need to just get it done, without making it complicated. 

What's your mantra this week?


{wedding wednesday: wedding consultation packages}

I fully intended on writing a Wedding Wednesday post. I really did. But then, I got distracted by Taylor Swift videos on YouTube and figured that I still have two weeks until blogging is actually part of my job...so, you get a half ass attempt at a wedding post. 

But really, I have something exciting to share with all of you! I am now offering mini consultation packages for those of you who need a little help during the wedding planning process. 
From my website...
Are you finding yourself stressed and overwhelmed at the thought of wedding planning, and just don’t know where to start? Do you need guidance with the process of planning your wedding, but either don’t need or can’t afford a full service wedding planner? Do you want the creative freedom to find vendors and design your own vision, but need assistance with your budget or putting together your wedding day timeline? 
As a former bride, I know how much work it is to plan your own wedding without the help of a professional. You may find yourself second guessing your decisions, struggling to meet your deadlines and goals, or unable to come up with an overall vision for your wedding day. All of these things can contribute to the general feeling of stress and anxiety that comes with planning your wedding. 
As a professional wedding planner, however, I firmly believe that wedding planning can be fun! You don’t need to worry about every detail or decision if you have the right guidance and strategy in place. 
If you don’t think that a full service wedding planner is right for you, for whatever reason, I may have an alternative solution. I offer mini consultation-only packages, designed specifically for those who need help with a particular area of their wedding planning. With these packages, you’ll do the work, but together we’ll come up with a plan of attack for you to follow. 
Money Stuff ($250) 
Do you need help putting a budget in place and sticking with it? With this package, we’ll work together to create a comprehensive budget plan for your wedding, as well as prioritize your list of expenses so you will be able to find and negotiate vendors in a way that makes sense for you. 
The Money Stuff package includes 2 hours of consultation (via phone or Skype), as well as a detailed budget and action plan for you to follow.
The Last Minute ($250) 
Is your wedding rapidly approaching, but you don’t have a clue as to how the day is actually going to flow? This package is for those of you who have most of the planning done, but need help with the details. During our consultation, we will come up with a rough timeline for your day, to be confirmed by you with your vendors, as well as address any last minute issues or concerns that you might have. 
The Last Minute package includes 2 hours of consultation (via phone or Skype), as well as a wedding day timeline and action plan for you to follow. 
The Design Details ($250) 
Are you on Pinterest all day long, but find yourself overwhelmed with the all of the things that you love? Are you afraid that your vision won’t come through on your wedding day, or that it won’t be cohesive? With the Design Details package, we’ll go over your design preferences and vision thoroughly and completely. Once I have a detailed overview of what you’re looking for, I will create two potential design proposals that you can take with you when you meet with your design vendors. 
The Design Details package includes 2 hours of consultation (via phone or Skype), as well as 2 design proposals. 
The Whole Package ($500) 
Whether you just got engaged, or have been planning for a while and just feel stuck, the Whole Package may be for you. With this service, we’ll go over every aspect of your wedding planning, including the budget, your wedding planning goals, your design vision, and the details of the day, and create a planning strategy that is perfect for you. Together we’ll establish clear deadlines and deliverables that you can work toward at your own pace, and I will be available throughout the process for any questions or issues that might come up. 
The Whole Package includes 5 hours of consultation (via phone or Skype), as well as a detailed budget, wedding day timeline, and action plan for you to follow. 
The Little Things ($75/hour) 
Do you have a specific issue or question that you need help with? I also offer hourly consultation for those who just can’t choose the right package for them. Topics that I can assist with include: 
  • Etiquette and traditions
  • Ceremony planning and outline
  • Finding and booking your venue
  • Finding and booking vendors
  • General brainstorming sessions
Are you getting married soon, and feel like you need that resource to go to when things get confusing or stressful? Contact me for more information about these consultation packages! 

There are no real rules for Wedding Wednesday, I just ask that your post be wedding related it doesn’t need to be the same topic that I’m posting about. I also ask that you try to visit a few other blogs to say hi, and I would love it if you would use my button (found here). 


{life, lately}

Guys, I'm so exhausted right now. These past few days have been emotionally draining, really, as I think about the future and how terrified and excited I am. I've been a little lazy, knowing that things are going to get busy and overwhelming soon. So, I'm keeping this short and sweet.
1 // First of all, I felt the need to share the amazingness that is my bun. This was definitely a good bun day. 

2 // Olive loves laundry. She will jump up onto the laundry basket before you even put it on the ground. She sleeps in the laundry basket with the warm clothes. It's hilarious!

3 // I've been feeling really frumpy these days, and I hate it. Do you ever go through phases where you feel just really unattractive? I know it'll pass, but I just can't find the energy to do my hair every day or dress cute all the time. Thus the bun. 

4 // Speaking of having no energy and being lazy, I actually had a nice lazy weekend. The first in a while, really. I read five really terrible books, though they weren't actually that terrible, since I kind of liked some of them. And oh holy hell, if you liked Fifty Shades of Grey, you need to read this book. I liked it almost more than Fifty Shades, and that's saying something. 

5 // I saw Breaking Dawn (twice) over the weekend. After the first fifteen minutes, I knew I was going to hate the movie. Throughout the rest of it, however, I found myself cursing at that twist (that twist...I swear I thought I was going to have a heart attack), and bawling like a freaking baby at the end. I don't know that they could have come up with a better ending for the series. Probably not my favorite Twilight movie, but it was definitely decent (if not filled with cheese to the extreme and moved a little too fast at the beginning). 

6 // Twelve days and counting. Twelve days of work left until I start the rest of my life. I can't wait. 

P.S. I want to thank you all for the sweet comments you left on my last post! I promise I will answer and thank all of you individually, but until then, THANK YOU! From the bottom of my heart, you have no idea how much your support means to me. Truly. 


{monday's mantra & big news}

I honestly don't know if I ever thought that this post would come. It feels like I've been wanting this forever, but at times it seems like not so long ago that I started this journey. 

If you ask me when I knew I wanted to be a wedding planner, I don't know that I could tell you. I was a blogger first, and I loved the idea of living a creative life. I loved weddings, ever since I planned my own, and it seemed just so logical. 

Though I've been planning weddings for a few years now, I officially launched my website on October 11, 2011. Less than fourteen months ago, I put myself out there. I told the world that I was good enough to try, and this past year has proven that I'm good enough to keep going. I'm good at what I do.

During this time, however, I've had to work for someone else, toward someone else's goals and vision. It's part of life, I suppose, and part of being married to someone. I've worked full time so that I could advance my career, before I knew what I wanted my career to be, and I worked so that I could support my family. 

From December 7, 2012 on, I will be working for other reasons. Sure, I'll be working to make money and provide for my family, but I'll also be working for me, to make myself a better person and to prove to others that you can live your dreams. All you have to do is work for it. 
I want to thank you all for putting up with me for these past two years. I want to thank you for supporting me, for believing in me, and for inspiring me to keep going. Without you, and without all of the creative women I've met in this blogging community, I don't know that I ever would have thought that I could do it on my own. I don't know that I would have even known what it is I wanted to do, let alone how to do it. 

But I'm doing it. 

I quit my job. 

I'm living my life for me. 


{five things}

Seriously, how is time moving so fast? I can't believe that Thanksgiving is already next week! The new year (and the best year) is going to be here before we know it. I don't know if I can handle that...

Anyway, sorry for the tangent. Back to Thanksgiving...since next week is the week of thanks (and since I won't be blogging on Thanksgiving itself), I thought I would share five things I'm thankful for this year. 
1 // I'm so very thankful for the sweetest, most adorable little dog on the face of the planet. No, I'm not biased or anything, but Olive Duff really is kind of the best dog ever. photo by Anna Delores Photography

2 // You've heard me talk about my home quite a bit lately, but I have to say it one more time: I love my home. It may be small, and it definitely isn't perfect, but it's home. And I love it. 

3 // Taylor Swift. She's my favorite. 

4 // I'm SO thankful for all of you! I try not to concentrate too much on that little number in my sidebar, but I did hit 1,000 followers recently, and I couldn't believe it! I feel so very blessed to have all of you in my life, and I couldn't ask for better, sweeter friends than all of you. Thank you so much for following along!

 5 // I love my handsome husband, and I know that I wouldn't be where I am without him. I am grateful every day that I have him to help me through this crazy thing called life. photo by Leo Evidente Photographers

What are you thankful for this year?


{thanksgiving menus and stuffed mushrooms}

I got an email a few weeks ago from caterer in Los Angeles, and as soon as I read what she was about, I knew I wanted to meet her. You see, Marlene from Savour this Moment is a farm-to-table type caterer, which means that she prefers to use local and seasonal produce for her menus. How incredible is that?

We met at the cutest little cafe in Sherman Oaks a few weeks ago, and we immediately hit it off. I always love finding those vendors that are younger and just starting out. We often have a lot of the same lofty goals and vision, which is really empowering and motivating. 

I asked her if she would be interested in putting together a Thanksgiving menu for all of you, and just looking at what she's included makes me hungry. Not only that, but over the weekend, I went down to her kitchen in Grenada Hills so that she could make me something delicious. It did not disappoint. 
Sage + rosemary butternut squash risotto stuffed mushrooms
Carmelized fig with blue cheese + balsamic drizzle
Potato fritters with tzatziki sauce and homemade apple sauce
Individual mason jar turkey + root vegetable pot pies 
Turkey sliders with cranbery compote goat cheese, red onion, poached pear + arugula
Festive Fireball (cinammon whisky) sangria with a cinnamon clove simple syrup and fresh 
oranges, apples and pears
Spiced cardamom and ginger butternut squash + pumpkin soup with 
lemon creme fraiche and roasted pumpkin seeds
Arugula, fennel, pear and candied walnut salad with white balsamic - honey dressing
Free range roasted turkey with rosemary gravy, oven roasted caulifower and a kabocha squash 
Mushroom ciabatta stuffing finished with a cranberry reduction  
Cabarnet sauvignon braised shortribs with thyme pan sauce over a celery root - leek puree with lemon olive oil pan fried haricot verts with roasted slivered almonds
Crepe cake with pumpkin ice cream and chards of cashew brittle
Brioche French toast with powdered sugar
Cinnamon yam muns with toasted walnuts
Savory roasted zucchini and squash bread
Orange zest cranberry sauce crepes with fresh whipped cream
Turkey and asparagus cheddar quiche
Creamy garlic mashed potato “hashbrowns” with chives
Sunnyside up sautéed vegetable hash of brussels sprouts, mushrooms, carrots, cauliflower, onions, tomatoes
California turkey eggs benedict with English muffins, sliced turkey, avocado, poached egg and homemade hollandaise
Mimosas (it’s not brunch unless there are mimosas, its just a really late breakfast)

*     *     *     *     *

When I went down to see Marlene on Saturday, she made me the most delicious sage and rosemary butternut squash risotto stuffed mushrooms (from the first menu) and had a little butternut squash soup for me to try. Seriously, it. was. amazing. And I'm so excited that she is sharing the recipe with all of you!
Click here to see and print the recipe!


{wedding wednesday: finding your wedding vendors}

It feels like so long since my last Wedding Wednesday post and link up! It was on hiatus during Halloween, and last week was the handwriting link up (which is still open, if you want to link up your handwriting posts).

But we're back today with our regularly scheduled programming, with lots of wedding planning tips and tricks and advice for all of you. I've talked about the questions to ask potential vendors, and how should choose them, but what about finding them? Here are a few different ways to find the best vendors out there for you. 

Don't you love that wedding above? I found it on 100 Layer Cake and posted it on Facebook the other day. Kind of obsessed with all the peach and pretty!

Personal Referral

When you first get engaged, and probably throughout your engagement, your friends and family (and coworkers and perfect strangers) are going to have advice for you. Some of it may be unsolicited, and some of may just be terrible, but it's definitely worth it to ask around about vendor recommendations. Most will be perfectly happy to share their experiences with you, and this ensures that you have an honest, first hand opinion. Even if you really disliked the cake at your friend's wedding, be sure to ask who made it so you can stay away. 

Vendor Referral

All vendors, or all vendors that have been in business for any amount of time, will have a network of people that they work with and refer clients to. Personally, I have an entire list of vendors that I refer my clients to, but these are vendors that I trust and truly love the value and quality of their work. However, it's important that you ask if they receive any commissions from vendors that they send clients to. It's up to you to decide whether or not you want to trust vendors that work with commissions, but it's always better to be transparent about it. 

Venue Referral

Venues often have a list of vendors that they prefer to work with. Some venues even have a list of vendors that they only work with. But, you should be careful with vendor lists from venues. I've seen some lists that are a form of advertising, and vendors have to pay to be included. On the other hand, vendors that are included on these lists are usually very familiar with the venue and its policies, making the wedding day run more smoothly. 

Wedding Planning Website

Sites like Wedding Wire and the Knot have an extensive network of vendors with reviews, and this is a great place to start if you can't find referrals from vendors or friends. You'll want to be a little more skeptical of vendors that are included on these sites, since anyone can join. They do offer reviews, so you'll want to take those into consideration when contacting someone or deciding whether or not to work with them, but remember that there are two sides to every story. Just because someone received one bad review doesn't mean they are a bad vendor.

Wedding Network

Wedding networks and blogs with handpicked or curated vendors are definitely a great way to go. These sites can be extremely selective with who they put on their lists, and sometimes work closely with these vendors to find clients that they will work well with. Sites like these include Every Last Vendor, Style Me Pretty's Little Black Book, and the Wedding Chicks Handpicked Vendors

*     *     *     *     *

Regardless of where you find your vendors, be sure you ask for references from former clients or other vendors. They should have no problem getting them for you, and saying no is a definite red flag. Also, don't underestimate the value of personality in your vendors, especially for your planner and photographer! You will be spending a lot of time with these people, so you want to make sure that you actually like them. 

Where did you find your wedding vendors? Do you have any general advice for those looking for vendors?
There are no real rules for Wedding Wednesday, I just ask that your post be wedding related it doesn’t need to be the same topic that I’m posting about. I also ask that you try to visit a few other blogs to say hi, and I would love it if you would use my button (found here). 

P.S. You still have until Wednesday night to enter to win a $50 gift card to Paper Source! 

P.P.S. Is there anything you'd like me to cover in a future Wedding Wednesday post? Email me or leave it in the comments! I'd love to know what you're looking for!


{shopping for a styled table}

Last week, a few of my vendor friends and I did a little fall styled table shoot. As I ran around town trying to find different things to use, I couldn't help but feel a little amazed that this. is. my. life. I get to shop and buy linens and pretty dinnerware to use in shoots and in my home! It's just so much fun, and I feel so blessed. 

I thought that today I would share some of my favorite home stores to shop at when I'm creating styled shoots like the one I did last week.

Note that this photo isn't my table. I got it from 100 Layer Cake, though I will be sharing my table soon!
1 // 2 // 3 // 4

Kohl's :: I have found some really great items at Kohl's for both my home and for my styled shoots. They have a nice selection of linens, and always have good sales. You never know what cute little knick knacks you'll find in their clearance section too. 

Homegoods :: Oh, how can I ever explain how much I love Homegoods? I seriously go into that store at least twice a week, just looking to see what new and fun things they brought in that day. Last week I found some really pretty cake stands, and some Kate Spade place settings! I didn't have an extra $50 (per place setting) to spend, but it was a much better price there than anywhere else. I also found those plates above at Homegoods, sold for only $2.99 rather than the original $16 each.

Pier 1 :: Pier 1 always has a great selection of decor for shoots, and I love their glasses and dinnerware. While their original prices can get a little up there, you can usually wait for your favorite items to go on sale. I found the napkins I used last week at Pier 1. 

Target :: A few years ago, I never would have thought that I would be able to buy chic and unique items at Target, but that definitely isn't the case anymore. They have a variety of things that are comparable in quality and design to something you'd find at a higher class store. This is especially true now, with the Shops

What are your favorite stores to shop at for inexpensive home items?


{monday's mantra}

It's been a while since I've had a mantra up for you on a Monday, but I thought it was a good time to bring it back. These silly little quotes really do help motivate me for the week, and I hope that you get something out of them too!
Whenever I get scared of life and the decisions I have to make to live this life, I try to remind myself of this. I won't get anywhere unless I do take that chance, unless I try something new. If I just keep going with the motions, and wait for something special to happen, it never will. I have too much potential to risk not taking that chance. We all have too much potential. 

It's getting to be time to take a big risk, maybe one of the biggest I've ever had to take, and it's terrifying. But I'm more afraid of not taking that risk. I'm a firm believer that life will work itself out. I hope that's true this time too. 

What's your mantra this week?


{five things}

To finish off my week of handwriting, I thought I would share my five favorite handwriting fonts with all of you today. They're all free, don't worry!

Do you have a favorite handwriting font? Share it below!

Thank you all for linking up your handwriting posts! I'm still getting new posts, so I thought I would keep the link up open for another week. Definitely link up your posts if you haven't already! It's a lot of fun, I promise. 

Also, be sure to enter my giveaway for a $50 gift card to Paper Source!


{pumpkin pie martini}

Nine times out of ten, when given a choice, I will choose a glass of red wine at night. Every once in a while, however, I'll find a mixed drink or liquor that I really love. Sometimes I'll have a gin and tonic or margarita, but neither feel particularly "fall." That being said, when Robert and I were at BevMo recently, I found this Pumpkin Pie Creme Liqueur, and I just had to try it! It's pretty sweet, and definitely a dessert drink. I would be more than happy just drinking it on the rocks, but of course I had to think of a cocktail to use it in. 

What are your favorite fall mixed drinks?


{a charming giveaway to paper source}

Because I love you, and because we're celebrating handwriting this week, I have something special for all of you!

As a calligrapher, I buy nearly all of my paper products from Paper Source. They have an incredible selection of colors and sizes for envelopes and cards, as well as the cutest gifts and holiday gift wrap you can find! I can easily spend hours in that store, picking out ribbon and washi tape, pens and paper.

If you don't have a Paper Source near you, I'm so sorry! But it's okay, you can buy everything online too. And one lucky reader is going to win a $50 Paper Source gift card to spend on whatever they want! Enter below, and good luck!


{wedding wednesday: handwriting and thank you notes}

In honor of this week's Write it Down and Link it Up party, I thought I would share a few of my favorite ways to integrate calligraphy and even your own handwriting in your wedding!

1 // 2 // 3 // 4 // 5 // 6 // 

If you can't hire a calligrapher to do all of your wedding envelopes, why not have someone hand letter an element for you invitations? Or why not try your own hand at fake calligraphy, or even just regular script for your place cards or a menu board? 

I'm obviously a fan of handwriting, and I think that using your own handwriting in your wedding is a great way to add a touch of personality! It doesn't matter if your writing is perfect, it's yours and it's your wedding. 

thank you notes from rifle paper co.

And of course, we can't forget about after the wedding. Here are a few facts about your thank you notes:
  • Common belief is that you have one year from your wedding to send out thank you notes. Unfortunately, this isn't really polite, and it's actually expected that you get your notes out within three months of receiving the gift. 
  • If you get a shower gift, try your best to get your note out as soon as possible, preferably before your wedding. 
  • People will know if you just cut and paste your thank you notes. Be sincere, and mention what you will do with their gift (whether it be money or an item). I have a problem with this, but there's a great post here on how to write thank you notes. 
  • Emily Post has additional thank you note etiquette and advice here
The Wedding Wednesday link up will be back next week! In the meantime, you can link up your handwriting posts here!


{look at her: mariah danielsen}

It's been a while since the last time I featured someone for Look At Her, but I'm bringing it back today! The goal of this series is to share inspiring young bloggers who are chasing their dreams or living the life that they want to live, and this week's amazing woman is no different!

When you were little, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I was a daddy's girl and my dad was a science teacher, so I always thought I would grow up to be an astrologist or a marine biologist. I didn't realize I loved graphic design so much until I was on the yearbook committee in high school, and I knew I'd finally found my passion.
What other type of work experience do you have?
I have a 2 year degree in graphic and web design and a 4 year degree in marketing, and to be honest, I only worked one real job before I quit to start my own business. I interned at a company throughout college and got hired on as a graphic and web designer as soon as I graduated. Six months later they promoted me to lead designer which was really great. We had a small marketing department, so while I worked on design stuff I got to learn a ton about the marketing process as well. It really was a wonderful experience, but after a year as lead designer I knew it was time to quit and follow my own passions, so that's what I'm doing right now!

What do you do now? What inspired you to start your own business?
I do a few different things right now! I have a wedding decor and paper goods business called Oh, What Love where I help indie and vintage brides come up with fun and unique details for their wedding. I am also working on a vintage rentals section of Oh, What Love because my husband and I travel around the state going to auctions and sales - we find some really amazing stuff! We also have a little booth at an antique shop in our town, so I help manage the inventory for that too.
I also knew I wanted to keep working with businesses on their design and marketing, so I co-founded the Create + Connect Project with my former coworker. We help creative entrepreneurs turn their own passions into profit with e-books, video training series and longer online courses. I love helping entrepreneurs figure out how they can grow their business. 
I was inspired to start my own business because when I was working a full time job, I didn't have much time to work on the things I loved. I was working 8 hours at the office and then coming home and doing 4 hours of side projects, that just wasn't working anymore. I fell in love with weddings as I was planning my own and I finally realized that I could take everything I loved about graphic design, DIY projects, and antiques and use them all in a wedding business. I think I've always known I wanted to work for myself, I just had to get the courage to quit my job and start doing my own thing.
Do you have any advice for those who want to get into the wedding industry?
My advice is to build relationships with as many people as possible - both with clients as well as others in the wedding industry. Reach out to people who inspired you. Social media makes it SO easy to grow relationships, and you never know what type of opportunity can come out of one little tweet or comment you leave on someone's blog.

What is one piece of advice that you would give yourself when first starting out?
I think I would tell myself to focus on exactly who my ideal bride is and not worry about trying to target every single bride. I just recently figured out exactly who I want to work with and that has made all of the difference. It makes things more fun.
What is your favorite part about working for yourself? Least favorite part?
Favorite Part: Setting my own schedule! I love being able to go for a run over lunch or run a few errands in the afternoon if I need to. Least Favorite Part: I am my entire business - sales, marketing, design, accounting. There are things I don't enjoying doing, but since I am a one woman show right now, I have to do it all.
What is one thing that you want to accomplish personally and thing thing that you want to accomplish professionally before the year is over?
One thing I want to accomplish personally before the year is up is to start a network of like-minded entrepreneurs in my area - kind of like a fun accountability group where we can share our goals and help each other grow in our businesses. Professionally, I want to land a few more new clients. I have my brand launch party in early November so I'm hoping that will help. I also want to get my letterpress machine working so I can add that to my list of offerings!

All of these entrepreneurs in the wedding industry really inspire me. They make me believe in myself, that I can do it too! I absolutely love Mariah's work, and I love her goal to set up a network of entrepreneurs in her area. I'm hoping to set up my own vendor network in Southern California too.

Definitely go check out Oh, What Love Studios if you're looking for paper goods or vintage items for your wedding. I promise you won't regret it!