Thursday, July 31, 2008

Following my Passion

Believe it or not I don't like going to the mall. I think my aversion comes from the 10 years I spent working in retail sales first for three years at the Limited and almost 7 years at Nordstrom. That's a lot of Panda Express for lunch, aching feet and dings in my car doors out in the parking lot. Whatever the reason, I rarely go to shopping malls preferring instead to frequent small, owner operated boutiques when I need to buy almost anything. This is my favorite: Simply Smashing in Downtown Campbell.

Last week I stopped in just to say hello to the owner as I was walking though downtown. But then I spotted these bracelets.

Of course I had to have one. The hardest part was choosing which one to get. I seriously wanted one of each. I had narrowed it down to "Follow Your Passion" and "Be True to Yourself." In the end FYP won... But I may just have to go back to get the other one too.

Check out the super cute colors... I think these would be cute bridesmaid gifts. Not for the wedding but just for fun.

If you've never been to Downtown Campbell you should go. Sundays are great because they have their weekly farmer's market on Sunday mornings. Monday is a bad day to go as most of the shops are closed. My fav places to eat downtown are Aqui and Twist Cafe. There's a new Gelato shop that looks fantabulous right next to where Satura Cakes will be opening soon. Mmmmmm I can't wait for Satura Cakes! You can keep up with the latest events there on the SocialWave.net website.

If you're interested in some fun girly shopping Simply Smashing Boutique is located at:

241-B E. Campbell Ave. Campbell, CA 95008


11:00am - 7:00pm

11:00am - 6:00pm

Most Sundays
10ish - 5ish

Mondays & After Hours by appointment or chance

Sunday, July 27, 2008

A Video Reflection • My Day as a Videographer's Assistant

Recently TFG videographer David Ethridge asked me if I would write a recommendation for his company A Video Reflection. I said "sure" I would but had to make a special request. Here's the thing: Even though I've known David for years and years and years? I've seen his work, have been to his office to see where and how he meets his clients and had always heard great things about him from his colleagues. But even knowing all of that? I had never actually seen him shoot. Had never seen him "at" work. So I suggested why don't I come on a shoot so that I could write a first hand recommendation for him that would be more meaningful. So a few weeks later I found myself up in San Francisco with him being his assistant for the day.

Here's David taking his first shot of the day.

I honestly don't know if I've ever seen such a beautiful day in San Francisco. The sky was blue, and the temperature was perfect with a gentle summer breeze that wasn't too cold or too warm.

With father and son team Brian and David Ethridge. And me, in the middle, as demurely dressed as you'll ever see me so as not to call any attention to myself. LOL very un-flirty but today was not about me and I didn't want to stand out at all. I ended up helping to move gowns and accessories around the bridal suite for the vignette photos and crawled behind a huge decorative screen to unplug a lamp cord that was in the way of one of the shots. But most importantly I carried the brides train, to keep it from getting dirty, when we stepped outside of the hotel for some out-and-about shooting down the street on the steps of Grace Cathedral.

WOW what a view! Here was the stunning cityscape from the bridal suite on the 23rd floor of the Fairmont Hotel. That's Coit Tower off in the distance.

In the bridal suite I was very impressed by the easy way David was able to interact with the bride, all of the bridesmaids, the 3 flower girls, relatives, friends of the family and the wedding photographer all at the same time. His presence was calming both in the way he moved and spoke which kept everybody in the room comfortable with his presence.

Though the lighting is not so great this is my favorite street shot I took of David "at work." Just beyond the tunnel, behind the bride and groom, was a fountain that I'm certain will show up beautifully on David's video even though it blew out in my snapshot.

David also took a turn holding the bride's train up so it wouldn't get dirty.

This is my second favorite shot of the day. If you look reeeeeeeeeally closely you will see David in the nearest, top right balcony, and directly beneath him? His son, also a professional videographer, Brian shooting the table below. Father and son working together. I love that.

Here is Brian getting some close up shots of the wedding cake before the guests arrived for the reception.

From every angle.

As I was leaving I saw the sun glistening off of the Transamerica building and stopped for one last photo. It, and my day being a videographer's assistant, was fantastic!

A huge special Thank You to Crystal Lequang from Amazae Special Events. She created a beautiful wedding for her clients that was flawlessly executed. From the big details like keeping everyone in the loop and happy, to the safety pins needed in the bridal suite and the sound check in the ballroom before the reception I could see she had EVERYTHING under control.

The bride and groom were sweet as can be, the bride's mom was particularly nice to me while I was up in the suite during the shoot. I'm so glad they had such a beautiful day for their wedding. Oh and one little city street wise tip? Parking up on California street runs $30 to $40 for less then three hours of parking! *Gasp, gasp, thud* But if you drive down about 5 blocks to park in the Sutter Street Garage you'll pay $14 for 6.5 hours instead. Of course you'll have to walk up two freakingly gargantuan hills that will knock the wind out of you and kill your legs but hey, saving $16 to $24 and getting a work out sounded like a great deal to me. Just make sure you wear comfortable walking shoes.

Visit A Video Reflection on The Flirty Guide
Visit their Website

Friday, July 25, 2008

How "In the Works," works.

What's a bride in New Jersey to do when she wants yellow beaded dragonflies for her cake decor and her wedding is less then a month away? She emails The Flirty Bride in California and commissions a pair of festive handmade dragonflies.

In case you've ever considered ordering any custom bridal accessories from The Flirty Bride by mail, here's how it usually works.

1. You email or call me on the phone to let me know what you'd like me to make for you.

2. If it's something I can make I let you know, give you an estimate and create a sample(s) for you to view online on my "In the Works" page on The Flirty Bride.

3. Once you view and approve the sample I'll make the finished piece.

4. If a final view of the finished piece is needed I'll photograph it, post it and after you have viewed and approved the most recent image(s) I will ship the order to you, insured, usually by USPS priority mail.

This has worked like a charm for the past several years with every client saying the pieces were exactly what they expected them to be upon receipt.

I love it because it's allowed me to create custom orders for national and local brides who can't make it to my showroom for a private consultation.

Who knew when I built my first website years ago that doing so would allow me to offer custom services this week to a bride in New Jersey? I didn't see that coming but I probably should have :D

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

I'll admit it: I'm jealous of Critsey Rowe

OK, as much as I love my own first date love story... You know, the one where because I had taken off a few years from dating I kept rejecting my future hubby every month (for 4 consecutive months) when he would ask me out to coffee? Refusing to go to coffee or tea with him, telling him he was too young, trying to set him up with one of my girlfriends so that he would leave me alone, then telling him outright I wasn't interested in dating him. So romantic right? I know. I swoon every time I think about it.

So even though our first date love story is one that makes people laugh? I have to admit that I have a bad case of first date envy.

Photo courtesy of: Destination Wedding Photographer Critsey Rowe

A while back I was chatting on the phone with the ever fabulous Critsey Rowe when I learned that she and her husband had their first date... Where? In Paris! And no I don't mean Paris, Texas or any of the other 9 or more cities named Paris in the U.S. And I reeeeeeeeally don't mean the fake Paris in Las Vegas. I don't care how much "like" Paris people tell me the Bellagio is, I'm sure it's a gorgeous and wonderful hotel but it will NEVER be the real deal. So back to the Paris I love: Paris, France.

This is my favorite photo I took at the Louvre

I can't even imagine how magical a first date would be in Paris. That's why I'm jealous of Critsey. I think it would be the most romantic thing ever to go on your first date with your future husband, in Paris. On the upside instead of coffee our first date was dinner at The Left Bank at Santana Row. LOL Close enough I guess...

But back to the real Paris, I was there for a week in 2000 and even though I was basically alone it was the most romantic place I'd ever been. In truth I felt a bit like Carrie Bradshaw from that episode of SATC where she decides she's in love, and NYC is her date. Well I felt the same way about Paris. My love affair was with the city, the art, the architecture, the people and the food. I didn't need a man to fall in love with while I was there. The city was more then enough to bliss me out.

And I have to say that every moment I was there the people were positively charming to me. I'd learned a bit of French, enough to be polite like, bonjour, bonsoir, Monsieur, Madame, merci, and s'il vous plaĆ®t. I perfected them and always, always, greeted every person I spoke to with bonjour and bonsoir before saying anything else. And every person I spoke to in Paris spoke English to me. And I had the most wonderful time ever.

French Pastries, in France, from my first trip to Paris in 2000

Not to sound completely superficial, though it would have been, looking back I bet if my hubby had asked me to a Perrier and pastry in Paris instead of coffee in Cupertino? I might have said yes the first time. Might have :P

Visit Critsey on The Flirty Guide

Monday, July 21, 2008

My Very First, Wedding Industry, Podcast Interview!

Wooo Hooo! As many of you are aware, I was invited to be a guest on Meet the Wedding Bloggers on The Wedding Planning Audiocast website.

ETA: You can listen to the podcast by CLICKING HERE

Host Ralph Mucci is a blast. So fun to talk to, very knowledgeable about the blogging industry as a whole and so very cool for giving wedding bloggers a place to chat about the what, how and why we do what we do.

Ralph gave me a shout out for designing their new show logo and asked some pretty funny questions. For instance he asked if I get weekly B12 shots from my doctor or drink Red Bull to work the hours I work. LOL 

He's gotten to know me well enough over the past few weeks to even tease me on air that I would probably have an idea for a new company by the time our 30 minute interview was over :D

You can listen to the podcast here on the Meet The Wedding Bloggers website or on iTunes!

I'd like to say a big thank you to Ralph and his crew for the opportunity to introduce The Flirty Guide blog to his listeners. I'd also like to thank all of you who drop by to visit and comment on the The Flirty Guide blog. You ALL inspire me to become a better writer and photographer. It's because of you that I keep creating new posts :D

And thanks again to Natalie of Allure West Studios for taking the photo of me that is now featured on the Meet the Wedding Bloggers website. I usually HATE having my picture taken (You can read about that here) but she did a terrific job and I felt totally comfortable during our shoot :D

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Unique Wedding Flowers by DK Designs

Photo by Cassandra Dieterle Photography

Photo courtesy of Lexi Mackenzie

Favor photo by Diane

When I first heard from Diane at DK Designs she had sent me an email asking if her blog could be added to Best Wedding Blogs. I clicked over to take a peek at her blog and was amazed when I saw what she does...

Her flowers? Are made of clay. With her own two hands. She makes all of these gorgeous flowers! When I read "clay" my assumption was "heavy" so imagine how surprised I was when I went to meet her and see her gorgeous flowers up close and in person only to discover they are in fact, light as air. OK, maybe as light as a marshmallow, but seriously? They hardly weigh anything!

Lei photo by Diane

Diane, an Accredited Deco Clay Craft Academy Instructor, is the newest addition to The Flirty Guide. She is a true artisan who, using CLAYCRAFT™ by DECO© Soft Clay, to create her flowers petal by petal. Her collection includes bridal bouquets, corsages, boutonnieres, petite to cascading centerpieces and arrangements, cake flowers, favors, decorations, leis and hair accessories. Her gardenias? Are perfect for brides who are getting married outdoors on a hot summer day. No need to worry about fresh flowers pinned into an up do wilting or withering. Her gorgeous clay flower will stay fresh looking all day.

Centerpiece photo by Diane

And I know I'm just getting in line when it comes to being a fan of Diane's work. Even Martha Stewart couldn't resist inviting her to be on her show for an on camera demonstration.

Curious to learn how to make clay flowers and live in the Bay Area? Diane teaches classes. Or if DIY isn't your style but shopping is? You can visit her online store at Etsy.com.

Her TFG profile will be online next week. Until then you can see more of her work on her website at www.dkdesignshawaii.com

Photo Courtesy of Stewart Pinsky Photography

And a footnote to this post. While visiting Diane at her home, her very fun and personable husband, Michael, offered to make me lunch. Nice huh? I declined but the next thing I knew he again not only offered, but had already made a sandwich and was now tempting me by waving the plate back and forth in front of me while telling me what a great sandwich maker he is. LOL. Diane vouched for him so how could I say no? Diane and I split the sandwich, and it was really good. The best sandwich ever. He had toasted the bread and baited me by saying he also used Havarti cheese... Yummmmmm. Here is the sandwich. Geez just looking at it is making me hungry as I reminisce on it's sandwichie goodness :P

Friday, July 18, 2008

Another Blog Directory: For Brides!

Due to the success of the Best Wedding Blogs website I decided what the world needed was another blog directory. I have received a few requests from brides with real life wedding blogs asking to be added to BWBs. The thing is? BWB is for industry professionals... What to do... What to do.... Of course there was only one solution: Build another directory for brides!

I'm happy to let you know that now if you're a bride, and you have a blog? The Submissions page on Best Bridal Blogs is now open and listings are free!

I do want to give our BBB logo girl a fun and flirty name... So if any of you have suggestions I'd love to hear them. Especially if you, or someone you know, looks like her. Feel free to post a comment or drop me an email :D

Thursday, July 17, 2008

No Good Deed...

Years ago when I first started my blog I posted about the time I tried to do a good deed saving a wayward lizard from (almost certain) death and just as I was about to release him? He bit me. 

So the other night I was again trying to do a good deed by attending another food sort at the Food Bank to help do something good for my local community. My friend Patricia is the organizer of a small team that participates every few months. 

It works like this: You show up for 2 hours in the evening and walk, carry, bend, and lift pounds upon pounds of mostly canned foods and help separate and organize them into categories. I'll admit that part of the reason I like doing these food sorts is it's a great work out. It's like cardio, stretching and weight training all rolled into one. 

So there I was minding my own business, putting cans of fruit on the sorting table when all of  a sudden I felt a terrible pain in my right elbow. Not just a little tap... Nope this was more like the edge of a metal can being being slammed into me by a man not paying attention and nailing me just above the back of my elbow. Yeah, that's what it felt like. I could literally feel the can hit the bone. I think I even heard it go "thunk." I tried pushing through the pain and tried moving smaller loads of food but my poor elbow was really sore. I ended up leaving 15 minutes early. When I got home I used an old bag of frozen green peas as an ice pack. I mention they were old because then my elbow smelled like freezer burned green peas. LOL 

Anyways, I will be going back to volunteer at some point. Next time I think I might have to wear some of these. 

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Instead of smelling roses...

Recently I was in San Francisco on a particularly overcast day when, after parking my car, I began walking down the sidewalk and spotted these gorgeous cactus flowers growing in a pot on the sidewalk!

I'd never seen anything like them before. I've seen a lot of blooming cacti around here but this one was special. The petals truly look like bird feathers. So instead of stopping to smell the roses. I stopped to photograph a cactus. It may not have been as fragrant but it was just as rewarding.

It also made me wonder if brides ever use cactus flowers in their bouquets and arrangements. I have no idea if the flowers are long lasting or wither quickly. If they do last they would be pretty show stopping to use in a  wedding.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Meet the "Wedding Blogger Girl!"

Recently I was on the phone with Ralph Mucci to prepare for his podcast show "Meet the Wedding Bloggers" on his The Wedding Planning Audiocast.com website.

In the course of chatting about my upcoming interview on his program he asked "Who did the graphics?" on my blog and TFG website. I said "I did." He said "Who did?" I said "I did." He said "You did?" and I said "Yes, I did!" LOL

So then he asked if it would be possible to create a flirty bride, with a veil on, sitting at a desk on a computer...

So, now you'll find the new Wedding Blogger Girl hanging out not only on The Wedding Planning Audiocast website but you'll also spot her on iTunes where the podcasts are available (for free) to listeners. Even if I wasn't going to be on the show? I'm a fan for sure.

Technically I am still on a GIRL goes GEEK.com hiatus, but if you're really interested in a custom flirty girl design I can probably sneak in one or two a month.

To commission a custom illustration just pop by my web design and graphics website and let me know what you want (as many details as possible are good) and when you need it by and I can put together an estimate for you. My graphics portfolio is HERE at this LINK.

Maybe I should have had the Cobblestone?

Have you ever been to Panera Bread? If you have, do you just love the Cobblestones? I do. But I try really hard not to have them too often. They're basically a cinnamon pull apart with raisins and bits of apples and frosting. Yeah, yummmmmmm. IMO They would make a great wedding favor. At least I'd love to get one as a wedding favor. Wrapped in one of those shiny cellophane bags and tied with a cute bow? Just sayin' it might be something to think about...

Photo by iPhone

So the other day I was at Panera and was tempted to get a Cobblestone but with fortitude I said no. I've been trying to eat healthier and I'm pretty sure they aren't all that healthy. Here are the nutrition facts on the Panera website.

Part of the other reason I resisted was because I'd been craving having an ice cream Drumstick. So I didn't have the Cobblestone. I was even resisting having the Drumstick...

I had mentioned wanting one to my hubby the night before... Actually I (jokingly) asked him to go get me one at 7-11 as he was heading for bed at midnight.

Well unbeknownst to me my sweetie pie hubby went and bought me not one, but a whole ENTIRE box at the grocery store the next day. *Gasp, gasp, thud!* I found them in the freezer that night and ate the first one at around 1:00 am while I was up late working. The next day I had another after lunch and another after dinner. If you're counting that's 3 all in one day. Oh my gosh somebody stop me! The fourth and final Drumstick did make it to day two. Barely.

I have forbidden my hubby from buying me a whole box ever again. Maybe one cone per month. Only in the summertime. That would be ok. And I could have one Cobblestone a month during the winter. I could live with that. LOL

Saturday, July 12, 2008

And the winner was...

Not my team! LOL
At the recent National Association of Catering Executives (NACE) meeting held at the Claremont Resort and Spa we not only learned about linens and chair covers, but were called upon to actually participate in the designing of a table top. Part of the reason I attended the event was because our own Karen Hsu from Grandiflora had sponsored the flowers for the evening and I wanted to see them in person.

The Challenge: each team was given a theme, a centerpiece (ours was two simple vases of roses) and a budget. We then had to select everything we needed for the table top within the budget. My table? Oh my gosh. We were given the table that was for a non-profit fund raiser so our budget to outfit the entire table was like $65.

Some items were free, like the basic items that come with the package when you rent a venue with no upgrades. Other things we did were more creative... For instance we used chair sashes to create a woven lattice element to the table top itself. That was Karen Hsu's brilliant idea.

We also stole, ummm I mean borrowed, desserts from the evenings dessert buffet and combined our flowers into one group then inverted the second empty vase and placed the other on top of it to create a taller more striking focal point. The scattered rose petals also came from the centerpiece. Karen taught me a nifty trick of how to remove them all at once instead of peeling them back one at a time. In the end we had a great time, learned a lot and were pretty darn proud of our table! Plus we even came in slightly under budget!

I wish the lighting had been a bit better. Turns out I should have used my flash :o( Still you can see how gorgeous the flowers were.

Karen created all of these striking centerpieces.

From Classic...

To Ikebana styles...

They were so beautiful...

This amazing vase was made of peanut shells of all things...

We could only wish we had been given one of the larger more dramatic pieces for the competition but no...

We were given two of these simple containers of roses...

And here is what our competitors came up with...




And this was the winning, safari themed table!

We had Robin Brockelsby, Owner of Creative Coverings a Nationwide Linen Rentals and Sales company to thank for the fab presentation and for bringing all of the sample linens and chair covers for the big competition. It really was great fun!.

Visit Grandiflora on The Flirty Guide
Visit Grandiflora's  Website