Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Super Cute Tea Cups

How cute are these little tea mugs by Mud Pie? They were a perfectly tea-riffic holiday gift from my friend Jewel. Knowing my love for tea and sharing in my affinity for it, she found me one of those wonderfully thoughtful gifts that are given not just for the sake of giving something but because she knew I'd truly love them. I've used the tranquili• tea mug every day since Christmas day.

The periwinkle one says tranquili•tea on the outside and "n. a state of peace and quiet while drinking tea" on the inside.

The aqua green one that says serni•tea on the outside says "n. the absence of stress while drinking tea" on the inside.

Which reminds me, I'm almost out of my favorite Ryokucha tea. Guess I'll have to make a stop at Samovar Tea Lounge sometime soon. Maybe I'll have to have lunch while I'm there. In fact I don't think I ever shared this photo of my last lunch at Samovar... The poached eggs with smoked wild salmon and brown rice bowl. It was so good. And healthy too! In fact I just read on the Samovar Tea Twitter page that their third SF location just opened at 297 Page st @ Laguna. I've been meaning to meet up with my friend Karen Hsu from Grandiflora for lunch. That would be the perfect place!

It was also the first time I'd tried their Kukicha tea. To be honest I almost didn't buy it. At $25 for a small tin I was hard pressed to spend that kind of money on tea. But in the end I went for it. I realized that in lieu of drinking other expensive drinks like alcohol and coffee, to splurge on a nice tin of tea every now and then was just fine.

And it was so worth it. I'll always keep a tin in my cupboard from now on. A nice feature of tea is that you can use one tablespoon to make several cups. The first pour is the one that will contain the highest level of polyphenols. The subsequent pours will still taste wonderful, they just won't be as potent as the first.

I think the Mud Pie tea mugs with one of the elegant cans of tea from Samovar Tea Lounge would make a wonderful gift for your bridal party or just because. In the past few months I've given away 4 tins of the Ryokucha tea. It's a wonderful treat and really makes me feel great when someone tells me they've never had a tea like it before. My hubby says I've become a tea snob. I'm perfectly comfortable with that title. Though snobbishness has nothing to do with good taste imo. I just know when I love something and hate to settle for anything less.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

A Flirty Christmas Day

Hoping everyone is having a happy holiday season. Christmas at our house will be interesting this year. My hubby decided that in order to be more eco-friendly, we shouldn't wrap our gifts to each other in wrapping paper. While I'm all for being eco-friendly? I suspect this grand gesture has more to do with him not wanting to have to wrap his gift to me. LOL

Though this year he did convert to the cloth, reusable grocery shopping bags. I do appreciate that so I'm willing to play along with this new idea of his.

So we decided we would put our gifts to each other in pillow cases. Perhaps it will be the start of a new tradition at our house. I'm going to have to get some fancier pillow cases for next year :D

Whether it's a work day, a holiday, a church day or a day to simply enjoy spending with family and friends... Have a great day everyone!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Holiday Greetings San Francisco Style!

It's Santacon 2008!

Our friends Chuck and Jewel Savadelis just sent me the link to a brand new mini-video they've posted online. Just in time for the holidays...


It's a super fun holiday video they shot up in San Francisco just a week ago.

One day each year the city is full of Santas! And not just in one location. They fan out citywide and aside from seeing throngs of them roaming the streets they can also be spotted on the ferries, bart and in malls.

This is one of the secret service security elves.

And sexy Ms. Santa footwear. Some are naughty, some are nice.

If you celebrate Christmas I hope you have a merry one and that you enjoy this video.

And while I'm here I'd love to congratulate Savadelis Films for their recent fantastic news!

Chuck and Jewel have been invited to join the Silver Telly Council. As winners themselves of multiple Telly Awards for excellence in filming and editing creativity, who better to recognize great quality when they see it? So in 2009 they'll be judging video entries submitted by ad agencies, corporations, TV stations and production companies to see if their work meets the exacting criteria of the Telly Awards. Last year there were 14,000 submissions. Past winners include the Oprah Winfrey Show, Universal Studios, and the Discovery Channel.

But that's not all! They were also asked to judge the new EMPixx awards, newly established by David Carter, a multiple Emmy and Clio winner who has a long history of innovation in the creative world. CLICK HERE to read the full post on their blog.

Or visit their website www.SavadelisFilms.com to view their wedding video trailers.

Hey writing this post has given me a boost of holiday spirit! I Just invented a Santa emoticon!


Monday, December 22, 2008

Citizen Cake Patisserie • San Francisco, CA

So last night my hubby and I had been invited to dinner up in San Francisco. It was cold, dark, foggy and raining. But onward we went... I have to admit I was more then a little excited because I was FINALLY going to go to Citizen Cake! (ETA: Citizen Cake closed in Dec. 2011)

And talk about willpower. I didn't eat any of these treats until today so that I could photograph them for all of you this morning. Night lighting sucks so it was torture knowing they were in the kitchen all night but I couldn't eat them.

Oh seriously these are *DROOL x 10!* The fruit gelees are to die for!

And how scrumptious does this look? The Alfajore cookies are shortbread filled with gooey caramel....

Simple and in the holiday spirit the Ginger Spice Sandwich is something I'm going to try today, maybe for my lunch dessert.

And what about this S'more Brownie??? It looks verrrrrry chocolatey.

I think that's toasted marshmallow...

I think I have to share this one with someone. It looks way too rich to eat the whole thing myself. Though I'm sure I could if nobody wants any :P

This was breakfast this morning. The meringue is different then most places. It's almost marshmallowy... and has a light flavor to it. It was so GOOD!

Note to self: Do not wear angora beret in pouring rain :(

And that's me leaving with our purchases. The smaller bag in my left hand was all of the goodies you see here. The other was desserts we picked up to take to the dinner we had been invited to. We had a couple of little chocolate cake dessert thingies, a mini pineapple cake and some cookies that were absolutely scrumptious!

For years I have driven past Citizen Cake as I take Gough as a shortcut to the freeway (ETA: This location has now closed). Every time I'd drive by the intersection of Gough & Grove I'd wonder if the cake was good and always thought to myself the "next time" I'm up in the city I'd make time and stop. But I never did. Until the day Duncan Reyes and David Ethridge posted a picture of themselves at Citizen Cake. A quick inquiry and they confirmed that this was a "must go to" kind of patisserie. I've gone, and I'll be back again! And again! And again :P

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Can You Help?

A good friend of mine who lives in Ohio and is a VERY active member of a local dog rescue needs some support. The rescue, Measle's Animal Haven, is trying to win an online contest. The top voted rescue or shelter will receive $10,000! Those of you who have pets know that things like food, toys and vet bills add up quickly for your own pet. So imagine feeding and vetting literally dozens of dogs each month and hundreds by the end of the year and you can see where $10,000 would come in handy. So far in 2008 Measle's Animal Haven has saved over 200 dogs and puppies!

In the spirit of the season... Check out this cute little reindog.

If you have a second and don't mind voting all you have to do is CLICK HERE to vote anonymously or with your own name. The voting box is on the right side of the page and there are only 4 things to enter: your name, a valid email address, your zip code and whether you want your vote to be posted anonymously or with your own name.

A huge THANK YOU to anyone who has a moment and wouldn't mind helping out my friend. She and the pups thank you too!

Be sure to click on the little opt out box that says you don't want to receive any other messages about other causes if you don't want to receive alerts about other causes. Though I will say that I've been subscribed to this site for a year or two now and have signed many petitions against the slaughter of horses, the aerial hunting of wolves in Alaska, many dog related causes and any other petitions regarding animal cruelty.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Learn to Dance at Valleyfair Mall Dec. 19th, 20th and 21st

Don't miss out on the fun!

Arthur Murray Dance Studio of San Jose is taking over Valley Fair Mall....

That's right, they will be teaching private lessons and group classes Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Their dance floor will be in front of Movado and next to Banana Republic & Nordstrom. Stop on by to take a break from your shopping to relax and brush up on some hot moves for all those up coming Holiday parties.

This is their schedule for FREE group classes for the weekend:

Friday December 19, 2008
Cha Cha @ 8:15pm
Party @ 9:00-10:30pm

Saturday - December 20, 2008
Waltz @ 11:30am
Samba @ 12:15pm
Salsa @ 6:00pm
Party @ 6:45-8:00pm

Sunday - December 21, 2008
Swing @ 11:30am

They will also be offering Gift Certificates for lessons to purchase for stocking stuffers!

Questions: 408-873-0369

This is the same Arthur Murray Dance Studio I did a blog post about (with video) not too long ago for their grand re-opening under new ownership.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

A Flower for DK Designs

A few days ago I was walking in the rain when I spotted this gorgeous little flower blooming in winter. It's odd to me that any plants would be blooming at this time of year but it was. Immediately I thought of two things: Making it out of beads and clay.

I don't know if the shape and coloring is conducive to clay flowers but wanted to capture the image to share with you. It was so gorgeous!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

The Magnolia Jazz Band

Just the other day Robbie Schlosser from the Magnolia Jazz Band sent me this photo of the trio at a recent holiday party.

If you're looking for somewhere to ring in the New Year some of his associates will be performing at the Toll House in Los Gatos on New Year's Eve. I actually went to the Toll House for a New Year's Eve dinner years ago. If you've never been inside this could be the perfect night to make a reservation. Dinner and live music are always a wonderful combination and even I try to make it out and not be sitting at home at the stroke of midnight on New Year's Eve. IMO a new year is always a reason to celebrate.

Wed, December 31, 7:00pm-12:30am
New Year's Eve Dinner Party
The Toll House Hotel
140 S Santa Cruz Ave, Los Gatos

Reservations required. Please call 408-884-1054.

Or visit the Magnolia Jazz Band website by CLICKING HERE for more details and other upcoming public performances.

Monday, December 15, 2008

My Amazing Friend Corinne Okada Takara

Yesterday I drove up to San Francisco to celebrate the amazing success of my friend Corinne Okada Takara. I had blogged about her upcoming show "Rhythms in Space" which is part of the Artists in Residence program at the de Young museum up in Golden Gate Park in San Francisco.

I think I met Corinne around 8 years ago when a colleague in the wedding industry who knew my love of working with beads and wire, introduced us because Corinne was creating sculptures out of wire and recycled papers. We met once and almost immediately became like sisters.

Here her friend Sue Kwon spoke about both the style and origin of Corinne's work along with listing some of her well deserved accolades and accomplishments including the news that recently one of her pieces was selected to be part of the US State Department's Art in Embassies program. It will be in the "Plurality" show in the Brussel's U.S. NATO embassy. She is also the first Asian American contemporary artist to be featured in the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, Massachusetts.

A taleted duo... Corinne and couturier Colleen Quen. The models for the evening were wearing Corinne's imaginative hats and Colleen's gorgeous gowns.

Here Armando Sarabia from Get Your DO Up! preps the models with their second set of hats they modeled that evening. In total they did 4 sets showing off 20 of Corinne's hats.

Ready and waiting.

And the show began.

LOL and because I was her hat model for the postcards my face was everywhere. On the sign at the entrance to the gallery... The post cards sent out by the museum... On the museum website...

And on the clear glass projection screens that ran various videos and slideshows during the show.

And this is me, wearing my own hat by Corinne that even lights up, being caught in the act of capturing images for this blog post by artist Lily Dong! I hadn't seen Lily for years since she closed her custom couture bridal gown studio to pursue a new career in fine art. She has now moved on to both jewelry design and canvas art. It was a really nice surprise and treat to see her there :D

Over the years I have watched the most amazing metamorphosis of my incredibly talented friend. Not only is she an accomplished and sought after artist, she is also a great mom. It would be easy for Corinne to become overwhelmed or unbalanced but she is always spending time with her kids and always nurturing their creativity. That is an amazing thing for any child to receive from a parent. My own mom was constantly at the craft shop when I was a kid finding projects to try out. I loved it and fell into each project with eager anticipation. When one was mastered, she would find another.

Corinne even created and began teaching a claymation class at her son's school. One of their projects, made by two first graders and one second grader, went on to win the Claymation Situation, Excellence in Media, International Student Media Festival 2008, Orlando, FL. Independent animation production and the Claymation Situation, Best Animation, CEEF ePIC Film Festival, 2008, Cupertino, CA. CLICK HERE to view the video.

And for you footwear fashionistas... Even Corinne's shoes were special that night. She and the models wore shoes by Kailia Footwear an eco-friendly shoe company. Designed by Nancy Dong and produced in Italy, the stylish shoes use water-based glues and the soles are made of chrome free recycled leather.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

A New Flirty Logo for The Flirty Guide

A geeky girl web designing tip: So here's the thing, when people come to visit your website... They may not always enter through your home page, they may enter on any page that someone has sent them a link to or that they found on a search engine or social bookmarking site. If your company name isn't on every page they may not realize where they are... With this in mind...

The other day I was chatting with Lea McIntosh from Ready to Propose and was asking her for any suggestion about how to improve The Flirty Guide website. She only had one comment for me but it was a good one. Previously she had suggested moving the name of The Flirty Guide to the top of the page as I had integrated it into the center of the main copy... Like this:

It wasn't that I disagreed with her. I had thought about creating a header in the past but couldn't decide if I wanted to sacrifice the space for one. After she mentioned it a second time I thought about it harder and came up with this new look for the top of each page on the site:

In fact I love our new logo so much I'm going to use it in a new ad that will be in the Modern Bridal insert that the San Francisco Chronicle next month. I'm thinking this is the ad... If you'd like to share your opinion which do you like better? The one where our name is larger or smaller? The actual width of the ad is going to be 5.5 inches wide. You can click on each picture to view each in the approximate size of the actual ad:

Ad #1 smaller text

Ad #2 larger text

Friday, December 12, 2008

The Flirty Bride Custom Cake Toppers

Oooooh some of you are going to be sad :o( To be honest I'm a bit sad myself. Due to the limited number of hours in any given day I am in a position where I had to make some tough decisions. You see running multiple companies may be fun and interesting but it's also exhausting and at times counter productive. Because of this I've made an official decision regarding the future of The Flirty Bride.

Many of you may know that my accessory company began 11 years ago based on my ability to create custom bridal veils and headpieces. While I have enjoyed the process tremendously it's time for me to take a step back. Not to worry though, I'll still be making most of my accessories, I'll just be offering them online only. The one item I will be discontinuing though are my custom veils. Oooh I want to duck and cover after I say that.

In the past few years I've been noticing an increase in the requests for my custom wedding cake toppers. The best part? I can create truly custom pieces for brides no matter how far away they live from me.

They send me a photo or sketch and color swatch and the rest we work out by email and online with me posting photos of the components I create before assembling the piece and again after assembly for their approval before shipping. It's a system that has proven to be 100% successful in guaranteeing that each client receives a cake topper they love.

To be honest I love making the cake toppers. They have become my most favorite thing to make so it seemed only natural if I were to scale back on my production that I would keep as my specialty the part I enjoy the most.

So last night I re-launched my The Flirty Bride website. If you have a moment please take a peek and let me know what you think of the new look and navigation. Comments and constructive criticism are always welcomed!

Freezing Cold in California

LOL I had to pull an old trick out of my hat this morning. When I went out to my car it was encased in a layer of ice. Yup, my windows were frozen up. First thing I thought to myself was "I live where???" This is California, we're not supposed to freeze up at night. But there I was stranded because my windows were coated in ice...

Then I remembered. A cassette case works really well as an emergency ice scraper! But where could I find an cassette case at 7:00 am? As luck would have it I'm really behind the times and actually had this one in my car. Ha ha ha.... Yup no ipod, no cd player, no nothing as a matter of fact. Even my radio is broken. So it's pretty amazing I had this tape buried in my console under a bunch of fast food napkins and misc. odds and ends. 

But look how great it worked!

It took a few minutes and check it out... All clear. I had to scrape everything down including the side windows and my side mirrors. Unbelievable. It's not like I live at a high elevation...

Even the grass was encased in a heavy frost. Hopefully there won't be too many cold mornings like this. I'll have to get a window scraper and some gloves. So anyways there's my tip for the day. Cassette case = ice scraper.