{five things}

I cannot believe how quickly this week has gone by. Maybe it's because we only had four days, and I've been busy driving all over Southern California for the past three days, but it's hard for me to believe that it's already the weekend. Not that I mind, of course, I just thought I'd have a little more time to get work done. To be honest, I could use the break though. I'm not the biggest fan of driving through Los Angeles, and having to do it twice in one week (plus all the way down to Orange County and back) is draining. I don't know how all of you that commute to the city every day do it. Seriously.
I did go to Santa Monica on Tuesday though, it was a pretty perfect day.

Anyway, since it is Friday now, I thought I would share some of my favorites from the week:

1 // Are you going to Blog Brunch? Hopefully I'll see you there!

2 // Did you happen to see my guest post on Minted's Julep blog? If you're addressing your own wedding invitations, you have to check it out!

3 // Robert and I were on the Huffington Posts's slideshow of high school sweethearts! That was a fun surprise. 

4 // An ice cream crawl? Sounds like my kind of thing. 

5 // I used to have a sweet pink beach cruiser that Robert got me for Christmas one year, but I never used it. This fun tutorial on Design Sponge makes me want to get another though!


{the reality of the situation}

In case you don't want to count, that's 33 hair bows. 

I think I have a problem. 


{the summer garden}

I've done quite a few apartment tours by now, so you all know how little space we have here. We don't like our little apartment all that much, but we feel safe here and we don't know where we'll be next year, so it seems silly to move now. Regardless, there are still a few things I would quickly change about our space, mainly the lack of a washing machine inside our apartment, and the fact that we have no outside space that is completely our own. We have a little porch outside our front door, but there isn't room for much there. 

We aren't ones to wallow in these first world problems though, and I always like to see the positives of a situation. Our apartment is still home to us, and I will do whatever it takes to make it feel like a home. For us, that means planting our summer garden, however small it may be.
I love using fresh herbs in my cooking, which is why we've planted some of our favorites for the summer. We've planted basil and rosemary for the past three summers, but this year we added sage, thyme, mint, and lavender to the mix. I am already starting to think of all the recipes (and cocktails) we can use them in!


{blood orange margarita}

Last year, Robert and I implemented a weekly happy hour on Friday nights. He would come home from school and make us a cocktail, while I made some type of delicious (and ridiculously unhealthy) bar food. There would be sliders and moijtos one week, wine and cheese another, and I think I even attempted chicken wings once.

I was more than ready for the weekend when Friday rolled around, and I made the executive decision to start Friday night happy hour back up again. I had picked up some blood oranges at the farmer's market on Wednesday, and I knew that they would taste great in a margarita. Robert mixed them while I made some homemade nachos, and it was a match made in heaven.
Just shake it all together with ice, and it's ready to go! Seriously though, this may have just been the best cocktail that I've ever had. 

Have you ever tried a blood orange margarita? If you try this one, you'll have to let me know!


{monday's mantra}

The weekend is far from over, but I wanted to pop in for this week's mantra. A few things have happened in the past few days that made me realize how much I appreciate the life I'm living. I always thought it would be impossible to be this happy. I've never even been close to this happy in my life, and I have no intentions on giving it all up any time soon. I may sound crazy, but sounding crazy is exactly what's gotten me to this point. 
Bonus points if you can tell me what that's from.

I heart you all, I truly do. What's your mantra this week?


{five things}

Who else is ready for a three day weekend? After three weeks in a row of meetings on my weekends, I am more than ready to take a break. I may have a few work things here and there, but I get to stay home and enjoy time with my husband. I even get to have breakfast with my best friend tomorrow, whom I haven't seen in far too long. Life is just too busy these days, and I'm excited for some lazy summer days, starting this weekend. It may be wedding season, but that doesn't mean I don't get to take some time for myself every once in a while. 
Have you seen my feature up on Wedding Chicks this week yet? I was both bridesmaid and planner for this one!

As always, here are a few links for your weekend.

1 // Would you ever quit the internet for a year? This guy did, and he has some interesting things to say about his experience. 

2 // I'm sure you've gotten a wedding invitation for the summer, so be sure to RSVP. It's more important than you think. 

3 // The ladies at Bash, Please continue to amaze me with their creativity and incredible events that they put on. Could you imagine throwing a surprise carnival for your wedding guests?

4 // If you feel like crying today, have you seen the live TV interview of a tornado victim being reunited with her dog? Absolutely precious. 

5 // And if you feel like crying some more, you should probably watch this video about Zach Sobiech, who died recently from cancer. I know it's been going around, but it's an incredibly inspiring story. 

I hope you have a wonderful weekend, and that you get to enjoy your time with family and friends. It's about time we all appreciate life a little more, I think.


{summer living: strawberry ice cream}

Okay, so I'm well aware that summer doesn't unofficially start until Monday, or officially start for another month, but I'm so ready. I'm daydreaming of days spent at the beach, let me tell you. A big part of my seasonal excitement always comes when I envision what I can do in my home. Though we won't be having babies any time soon (intentionally, at least), every time I make something or we go somewhere, I love to imagine that it'll become a family tradition someday; that my kids will someday go off to college, and come home, home sick for their mom's cooking or going to the farmer's market on the weekends. It's a crazy dream, I know, but I have it nonetheless. 

I've always loved being home. We may live in a little apartment, but I've done what I can to make it into our oasis, our home. I want anyone who walks in through the door to feel that way. It's not stuffy here, and babies are welcome any time. We're meant to love here, to live here, and for me, that includes everything from cooking to decorating to cleaning. I want to spend my summer creating a fun space, one where we want to be, where we barbecue and sip margaritas with friends, playing board games late into the night. 

I got my first itch to start these summer traditions this past weekend, when all I could think about was making some ice cream. Now, I've never actually made ice cream before, and I don't actually have an ice cream maker. I was going through Pinterest and Foodgawker on Monday, attempting to put together a collage of ice cream recipes so that I could actually justify purchasing an ice cream attachment for my Kitchenaid when I saw this recipe. And I knew it needed to happen. ASAP. 
As you can see, my first attempt at strawberry cheesecake ice cream was a success, and I didn't even need to get an ice cream maker. You should try it yourself (you can find the recipe here), and let me know what you think!

Have you ever made ice cream before? What's your favorite recipe?

{featured on wedding chicks}

I'm really excited for my fifth feature of the year, not only because it was one of my favorite weddings from last year, but because it just happens to be my dearest friend's wedding as well! I got to play both planner and bridesmaid for this one, which was both exciting and nervewracking, to say the least. But it turned out to be such a beautiful night, and I can't believe they've been married almost a year already! Time does go by quickly, that's for sure. 
I also got to work with one of my very favorite photographers as well, Lavender and Twine. You can see the whole feature here, and you'll have to let me know what you think!


{happy hour: lure fish house}

I'm finally starting to feel somewhat normal, so of course the first thing I had to do was go grab myself a drink. I attempted to wine taste on Saturday, but I couldn't smell anything, let alone taste the wine. The one tasting I did purchased seem like a waste then, which really just means I'm due for another trip up to wine country soon. 

I've been feeling relatively uninspired on this blog lately, but I think that'll soon pass. It's just the season, and now that summer is quickly making an appearance, I have a plethora of post ideas waiting. I realized today that I want to start posting more about my town. I know I've said it in the past, but this summer, it's happening. 

First things first, happy hour. I know I'm not in the minority here when I say that I love going to happy hour. What makes me different, however, is that I love going to happy hour by myself. Give me an afternoon alone, and you're more than likely going to find me sitting at a bar, drinking a glass of wine and eating calamari. Is that weird?

One of my favorite things about working for myself is creating my own schedule, and that means taking afternoons off. I love getting there early, when the restaurant is empty and I don't have to compete for the waiter's attention. Sometimes I bring my iPad to read a book, sometimes I bring a notebook to write, and sometimes I just sit there quietly, enjoying my cab (though if it's hot, I'll stick to a chardonnay). 

I was going stir crazy today, after my third day inside, and made the executive decision that a solo trip was in order. I grabbed my camera, and headed downtown, to my favorite happy hour spot in all of Ventura county. If you like fish and just happen to be in the area, you have to try Lure. Their menu is spot on, the drinks are amazing, the decor is beautiful, and they have the best looking staff. Not even joking. 
I also may or may not have flirted sweet talked the bartender into printing out their recipe for key lime pie for me. I'll most definitely be making that soon, and reporting back to all of you. 

Do you ever go to happy hour or dinner on your own? If you don't, why not? You should try it!


{when living simply becomes complicated}

I hate to call simple living a trend, but well, it's most definitely a trend. I'm seeing signs of people attempting to live a more simple life all over the internets these days (which I have to think is somewhat...paradoxical?). It's evident in even just the photos we're seeing all over Pinterest: clean lines, neutral colors, overexposed lighting. I can't help but feel that I'm somehow missing out on this amazing life that embraces simplicity and quietness. 

I want to live more simply. I truly do. But am I the only one who feels like in order to do so, I need to move somewhere quiet, rent a home with lots of natural light and hardwood floors, and take up knitting? And to me, that just sounds too complicated. I don't want to read books on how live a simpler life, or get advice from anyone else. It should be what feels natural to me. 

For some people, that means eating more organically. For others, it means giving up the internet or bits of technology. And one for one family, it may even mean selling their house so they can travel around the country in a trailer for a year. 

I want to live more simply. I want to embrace the little things in life. For me, that means letting go of all that living simple clutter that seems to have formed on my Pinterest boards and bookmarks. I may want to see how others do, but I am going to do it my own way. I think that's how it should be, don't you?

I already live in a small apartment. I can't compost or raise chickens in my backyard. I can't grow a full vegetable garden, so for me, it means embracing my home the way it is. It means getting rid of the things I don't use, but not feeling guilty because my linen closet is full of fancy napkins and cake platters. It means planting and caring for my little herb garden that grows on my porch every summer. It means turning off the computer at a decent hour, and leaving my cell phone out of the bedroom.

It means refusing to fill up my life with anything, just because someone else tells me I should.

Have you attempted to live a more simple life? What does it mean to you?


{monday's mantra}

Hope you all had a great weekend! I'm still stuck in bed with a nasty cold, even after five days. I haven't been this sick in a while, and I'm more than tired of it. Hopefully it goes away within the next few days, because I have work to do! And it's actually starting to feel like summer around here now, so I'd really like to go outside and enjoy the fresh air soon. I'm thinking a beach day might be in order, what do you think?

I gave a lot of thought to this week's mantra. It's no secret that I struggle with the comparison trap in this industry, and I often find myself judging and getting annoyed and frustrated at other vendors and people that I have to work with. Believe me, it's not something that I'm proud of, which is how I came up with today's mantra.
I don't need to rely on anyone else for my own success. If I just look in a straight line, and keep my eye on my true goals and values, I'll get there eventually. Working with people and networking is always a priority, of course, but I don't need to worry about what other people are doing. And I definitely don't need to worry about whether they are farther ahead of me, or doing something to sabotage their own success. What matters is that I am doing what I love, and I will continue to do what I love as long as I can. 

What's your mantra this week?


{at the moment v.4}

I'm currently sitting on my couch with a box of tissues next to me, and a cup of hot tea in my hands. Yesterday I had a photo shoot with two of my favorite vendors, and it was go go go all day long. I woke up with a sore throat, but I had to keep going. Pretty sure I downed half a bottle of DayQuil throughout the day, so I'm taking today to relax and get over whatever this sickness is before my weekend full of meetings. 

So that's all. I hope you all have a better Thursday than I'm having!


{a southern crush}

I love California. I love the warm weather, the beach, the food. I was born and raised here. I plan on raising my own children here. But that doesn't mean I don't have a serious nostalgia (I don't even know if that's the right word) for other places.

We have a culture here, but it isn't as strong or distinct as the culture in other areas. Or maybe the grass is just greener, you know? 

I have a serious crush on the South. Like, to the point where I daydream about owning a little cottage in some Southern town, where I open a sweet little flower shop and ride my bicycle with the basket to the grocery store. I know that's a really random and somewhat stereotypical view of the South, but I just can't get it out of my head!

You know what else I can't get out of my head? Doing a Southern wedding. 

Maybe it's the Southern elegance and tradition. Maybe it's the attention to detail, and the love of family. Or maybe it's just because Southern style is such a romantic notion. Whatever it is, I am dying to do a Southern wedding someday. 

I mean, if you know of anyone looking for a coordinator, feel free to pass them along...

Do you have a crush on a place? Or are you from the South?

{things i'm loving}

It's been a while since I've done a round up of a few things on the internets that I love, so here you go! Obviously I'll include anything that involves a bow, or mint, or gold. 

I'm so ready for summer right now. I mean, it definitely doesn't feel like spring over here these days! I'm ready to take advantage of the warm weather by wearing lots of maxi skirts (I bought two over the weekend) and drinking margaritas. What do you think?

P.S. I'm over at Ashley Nicole Catherine today sharing one of my favorite quotes! You should come say hi. 


{monday's mantra}

Oh, Monday...hope you all had a great weekend and Mother's Day! I feel like I'm constantly behind on blogging, so I want to apologize first and foremost. Hopefully I will be able to get my sh** together this week enough to get back on schedule! I guess it happens to all of us sometimes, especially since wedding season is now in full swing and I've spent the last two weekends away from home. Just part of life, I suppose!

I'm just now sitting down to blog this week's mantra, but I've known about it since last Monday when I watched this video. I know I mentioned it already on the blog, but I absolutely love Sara Bareilles and her message for women everywhere. 
You can be amazing 
You can turn a phrase into a weapon or a drug 
You can be the outcast 
Or be the backlash of somebody’s lack of love 
Or you can start speaking up 
Nothing’s gonna hurt you the way that words do 
And they settle ‘neath your skin 
Kept on the inside and no sunlight 
Sometimes a shadow wins 
But I wonder what would happen if you 

Say what you wanna say 
And let the words fall out 
Honestly I wanna see you be brave 

With what you want to say 
And let the words fall out 
Honestly I wanna see you be brave 

I just wanna see you 
I just wanna see you 
I just wanna see you 
I wanna see you be brave 

I just wanna see you 
I just wanna see you 
I just wanna see you 
I wanna see you be brave 

Everybody’s been there, everybody’s been stared down 
By the enemy 
Fallen for the fear and done some disappearing 
Bow down to the mighty 
Don’t run, stop holding your tongue 
Maybe there’s a way out of the cage where you live 
Maybe one of these days you can let the light in 
Show me how big your brave is 

Say what you wanna say 
And let the words fall out 
Honestly I wanna see you be brave 

With what you want to say 
And let the words fall out 
Honestly I wanna see you be brave 

Innocence, your history of silence 
Won’t do you any good 
Did you think it would? 
Let your words be anything but empty 
Why don’t you tell them the truth? 

Say what you wanna say 
And let the words fall out 
Honestly I wanna see you be brave 

With what you want to say 
And let the words fall out 
Honestly I wanna see you be brave 

I just wanna see you 
I just wanna see you 
I just wanna see you 
I wanna see you be brave

Happy Monday friends. What's your mantra this week?


{five things}

I would say happy weekend, like I normally do on Fridays, but is anyone else just feeling...blahh these days? I just said on Twitter, maybe it's the time of the year. I am most definitely ready for hot days and BBQing and margaritas and listening to kids yell by the pool. Is it summer yet?

It's Mother's Day this weekend, which means that we'll be making the drive down to Orange County to spend the weekend with our families. I had to schedule a few meetings tomorrow though, so it'll be another long day of driving and work for me. It's fine though. That just means I get to take a day off next week!
The Nordstrom at the Brea Mall has a little flower shop right outside, and I just fell in love with the gorgeous tulips and anemones they had there. They sell by the bloom and do floral arrangements right there. What a sweet idea!

As always, here are a few links that I wanted to share with all of you on this beautiful Friday.

1 // I'm sure you've heard the controversy over Abercrombie & Fitch by now. Here's a less emotional and more analytical view of the business side of things. 

2 // You know you're getting old(er) when...

3 // My calligraphy was featured in a gorgeous wedding on Once Wed this week!

4 // One of my favorite caterers (and good friends) is hoping to get some capital so they can bring their sauces to market. Will you vote?

5 // My favorite bouquet of the week. 


{at the moment v.3}

Notice the sign in my grandpa's kitchen. Made me laugh.

At the moment I'm...

LEARNING :: how to make pancit. My grandfather is Filipino, and this has always been one of our favorite meals in our family. It's really just a Filipino version of chow mein, but it's so delicious! We went to my grandparents' house on Sunday, and he had everything prepped and ready to go so he could teach me. It was so sweet! And now I think I'm ready to attempt it for Robert soon...

LISTENING :: to Brave. This is one of those songs that I could listen to over and over and over again. I've always known there was a reason why I love Sara Bareilles so much. 

DRINKING :: whiskey sours. I don't like whiskey, so I was really surprised when Robert made one the other day and I really liked it! I'll have to share the recipe soon. 

WATCHING :: the Avengers. I seriously love this movie, so much. We went and saw Iron Man the other day, and while I loved it, all I wanted to do was go home and watch the Avengers. It's one of the best super hero movies of all time, coming in second only to the Dark Knight (not the Dark Knight Rises, Kevin Holt). 

What are you up to at the moment?


{what i'm reading v.5}

It's that time of the month where I admit that I have questionable taste in books, and yet talk about what I've been reading anyway. I have this crazy (though it doesn't seem so crazy anymore) goal to read 52 books this year, and I'm actually still ahead of schedule! I've read 22 books toward that goal, which technically puts me at 8% ahead of schedule. 
I'm pretty sure I've read more than four books in the past month, but some were sequels and other books that don't deserve to be mentioned on my list. These four were some of the best (or, at least, the most memorable) of the past few weeks. 

1 // If you're into that whole dystopian future genre that's going around right now, you might like the Matched series. They are definitely marketed toward girls (or those who prefer romance, at least). They're quick and easy, and not nearly as deep or good as Divergent or the Hunger Games (in my opinion), but definitely still worth a read. 

2 // If you are on Goodreads and have read any of the Fifty Shades of Grey books, there's a good chance you've heard of Gabriel's Inferno. It has a similar plot, though instead of a billionaire business man, our love interest is a Dante professor, and instead of a virgin college student, our protagonist is a virgin Master's student. You get the picture...it wouldn't be so terrible, but the writing was just painful to read at times! Totally over it. 

3 // I've been putting off Wallbanger for a while now, because really? Wallbanger? Eventually I picked it up because of the description:
Caroline Reynolds has a fantastic new apartment in San Francisco, a KitchenAid mixer, and no O (and we’re not talking Oprah here, folks). She has a flourishing design career, an office overlooking the bay, a killer zucchini bread recipe, and no O. She has Clive (the best cat ever), great friends, a great rack, and no O.
I have to admit that this one was really funny! I don't know why I'm so surprised; it does have a 4.27 rating (with almost 30,000 ratings). The characters didn't actually annoy me (rare), and the plot was great. I would definitely recommend this one to anyone who loves a silly romance. 

4 // And now, This Girl. If you haven't read the Slammed series, you need to get on that. Pronto. And if you're afraid of it being too explicit, don't be. The first two books of the series have no sex at all, and this one is tame (compared to what I've read, at least). The first two books were an emotional roller coaster, with plots very different than anything else you've read up until this point. This Girl is no different. If you want to cry and laugh and just have a happy heart at the end of a book, this is the one to go with. I promise you won't regret it. 


{monday's mantra}

Sorry this is coming a little late friends. I've had a busy weekend with a wedding on Saturday and going down to Orange County to spend Sunday with family. 

A family friend of ours passed away last week. Robert and I were fortunate enough to attend her beautiful memorial service yesterday, and it was inspiring to see so many people in our church who knew and loved her. She was young; only 37 years old, and taken too early by cancer. As our pastor's daughter, however, her memorial was not defined by sadness or tears (though there was plenty of both), but by celebration. The overwhelming theme of the day was to live life to the fullest, every day, because tomorrow is never guaranteed. Life is just too short. So don't be afraid to love or laugh.
I may be popping in and out these next few days. I've made the decision that I need to take some time for myself, and for my family. I need to live my own life before I can share it with all of you here!

What's your mantra this week?


{five things}

Here's a little preview of the shoot I did with Emily on Tuesday! Stationery by The First Snow.

It's Friday morning. I'm sitting here with my first cup of coffee of the day (probably of many), and I'm finalizing the prep for my first wedding of the year! We have the rehearsal this afternoon, and tomorrow is the big day. I'm really looking forward to this one; my first wedding of the year may be a little late, but it's just the start of a busy and exciting wedding season for me!

Anyway, I just wanted to pop in quickly to share a few links that you may be interested in for the week! 

1 // Did you know that the FTC has changed its guidelines on disclosure for advertising? If you accept advertising or sponsorship on your blog (or on social media, for that matter), you're going to want to read this.

2 // Do you have any DIY projects planned for your wedding? You should ask yourself these three questions first.

3 // This has to be my favorite link of the week, on finding what you love, and letting it kill you. 

4 // My favorite wedding of the week includes lots of bright colors and funky fascinators for the bridesmaids!

5 // I'm somewhat obsessed with this amazingly gorgeous office. Maybe someday...

Happy Friday friends! What are you all up to this weekend?


{wine chat}

A few weeks ago, I asked you all what you drank in the mornings. I was actually kind of surprised that more of you didn't say coffee, but I always find it interesting to know what people prefer. It got me thinking that I really just survive on coffee, wine, and water. Hopefully I'm not the only one? Or even if you don't move straight from coffee to wine during the day, I want to know what you drink!
I have this rule that everybody seems to laugh at me for, but I don't care. If it's before noon, I drink sparkling (hello mimosas), if it's before four, I drink white, and I get to drink red in the evenings. I much prefer red, but not during the day, and not when it's really hot outside. I'm lucky enough to live near enough to wine country that I get my fair share of California reds on a regular basis, and that's what I've come to love! It needs to be heavy and bold and comforting. So now I want to know, what do you drink?