Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Come Meet the Dream Team!

Hey brides and grooms! Looking for something fun to do on Tuesday OCTOBER 6, 2009? You are invited to join us at 1 Fort Mason in San Francisco at the Meet The Dream Team Mixer from 6-9 pm. This event is dedicated to the contestants who have entered to win The 2010 San Francisco Dream Wedding Giveaway. It's the perfect opportunity to meet many of the generous sponsors who make up The Dream Team and learn more about their services. There will be lots of fun surprises, so be sure to drop by!

The Flirty Bride will be there with many samples of cake toppers to view including the beaded pineapple cake topper from the Vendor Chic video shoot, the shrimp cocktail topper from my own wedding and various beaded butterfly and dragonfly toppers including the Autumn Acorn topper with dragonflies and fall berries. Come see!

And if you haven't entered to win the $100,000 2010 San Francisco Dream Wedding Giveaway there's still time. The contest closes on November 25, 2009 at 11:59 p.m. PST. So send us your story and tell us why you and your fiance are the most deserving couple.

Fleur de Cocoa - Los Gatos, CA.

When it comes to pastries and sweets some of my favorite patisseries are up in San Francisco. But in the South Bay, my all time favorite patisserie is called Fleur de Cocoa and is located on North Santa Cruz Ave. in Los Gatos, CA. You can see in this photo it's just two doors south of the Movie Theatre.

And this is my favorite dessert.

The Marion is: "A seasonal marion blackberry dark chocolate mousse dome with dark chocolate sponge cake."

Oh my gosh it's so delicious! A bit pricey, one cake is $5.65 but it's worth every penny. I hadn't been to Los Gatos for quite some time but think I'll have to go back a few more times to review some of my other favorite desserts at Fleur de Cocoa.

In my next life maybe I'll come back as a food photographer. I can see it now, me on a street corner holding up a sign that says: Will work for pastries, cupcakes and ice cream :)

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Your Wedding Themes

I'm wanting to create some new Flirty Ideas for weddings and would appreciate if any of you out there planning a wedding could post some suggestions about themes you are using. That way I can focus in on ideas that you may be useful to you!

The odder the better. A weird subject, a strange color combination. I may not get to all of them but I promise I'll work on some of them in upcoming ideas here on the Flirty Guide.

Favorite Flirty Wedding Ideas!

Recently I received a message from The Master Cobbler letting me know that they had been receiving steady requests for the Blue Soled Bridal Shoes and wanted to let me know their normal turnaround for the shoes is 2-3 weeks. They've even had brides shipping in their shoes by mail! And some of you have messaged me to let me know that you were thrilled with the job they did. It got me to wondering what are the favorite ideas on The Flirty Guide so I did a quick traffic check and here they are, the top Flirty Ideas so far for 2009:

#1 Flirty Idea: Origami Cherry Blossoms
Because I wanted cherry blossoms at my fall wedding I had to be clever and come up with a fresh flower alternative. These little cherry blossoms were easy to make and a girlfriend helped me with them. After I bought her a margarita. LOL you can read more about how we made them if you Click Here to View the Details. To learn how to make them yourself I've created a photo tutorial that you can use to follow along. You can view the tutorial by CLICKING HERE.

#2 Flirty Idea: Something Blue Soled Shoes
Something borrowed something blue... We all know the adage, but here's a fun new twist. After seeing a photo of a blue soled shoe and learning that Christian Louboutin is no longer producing them, I set out to find out how brides could have the soles of any shoe they buy, made into any shade of blue they want! Click Here to View the Details.

#3 Flirty Idea: Kimono Ribbon Flowers
Who says a bride can only wear white? To be honest I wanted to wear blue but my fiance wanted me to wear a white gown. So I compromised. I wore a white gown with color. The kimono silk flowers were madeby Atelier Kanawa at Etsy.com. The ribbon kimono print flowers were made by me using the book "The Artful Ribbon." Combined they made a dramatic and flirty colorful accent to the back of my white gown. Click Here to View the Details

This photo by: Keith Stattenfield

#4 Flirty Idea: Fancy Handle Bridal Bouquet Holders made of Leaves
These beautiful bouquet holders were designed by Karen Hsu of Grandiflora in Berkeley, CA. They have been a popular idea and Karen has fielded many questions about what types of flowers and leaves comprise the bouquets in this flirty idea. Be sure to check out the comments at the bottom of the page if you're wondering what components she used to create the two pictured here and more. Click Here to View the Details.

This photo by: Claudia Akers

This photo by: Claudia Akers

#5 Flirty Idea: The Flirty Seating Chart
This was such a fun idea and was an idea I used at my own wedding and was without a doubt our guests favorite flirty idea. Rather then dining then walking around the room from table to table we actually spent 7 minutes dining with each table at our reception. Click Here to View the Details.

Weddings at Ambiance Antiques, San Francisco

Last week I was invited by my friend Jewel Savadelis to attend a very special event up in the San Francisco antique district. Ambiance Antiques was hosting an open house because they are now making their space available as a unique venue to brides and grooms for hosting weddings and receptions. The showroom is two stories high with 23 foot high ceilings and graceful archways leading from room to room. Throughout are gorgeous French and Italian antiques that will create a wonderful European backdrop to any special event.

For instance the area featured here below would be beautiful to hold an intimate ceremony in. Thursday evening manager Alex Beltramo hosted a cocktail party with guests wandering from room to room as a live band played in the front of the store and Taste Catering served the most delicious hors d'oeuvres.

Ooh, aah.... A Pair of 4 foot high, 1950's Rock Crystal Chandeliers from Maison Bagues, France hung side by side in two arches. ($140,000 for the pair)

These were my most favorite chandeliers! They were massive and beautiful and simply stunning with the veined quartz crystals. Of the 4 chandeliers I wanted that evening their prices ranged from $3,500 to $140,000. I loved that about the store. There were items at all price points so even though some of the items that struck my fancy were out of my budget, a lot of things weren't.

This piece was 4 feet high and is an 18th century Genovese Chandelier from Italy. ($18,500)

So delicate and dainty! It is the polar opposite of the rock crystal chandeliers above but oddly enough I loved them both. I think I someday need a house with a ballroom as this chandelier would look perfect over a marble floor.

Oh, and I would need some evening and ball gowns from Couturier Colleen Quen to complement my Italian chandelier and private ballroom. A girl can dream right?

Early 1900's French Crystal and Iron Chandelier from France. ($9,500)

This was another large chandelier that would look gorgeous in an entry way or over a dining table. I really love the brown of some iron pieces. There's something about the dark color contrasting with the clear crystals that I find very appealing.

And this reproduction Crystal Chandelier from France was another favorite. LOL it drives my hubby crazy when I say 4 things were all my favorite because in his world only one thing can be your favorite. Isn't it a beauty? I should have asked to turn it on for the photo. It had beautiful colored glass mixed in with the crystals. ($3,500)

I knew it was going to be a great evening as soon as I walked in and Basil rushed up to greet me. What a sweet pup! She warmly greets guests and was happy to have me give her some back scratches when I saw her again later in the evening.

Soon there will be a video with a virtual tour of the entire showroom. That's videographer Matthieu Meynier of MvideoM Productions working hard that night. Matthieu is one of my favorite new friends I made this year. He is so talented as a videographer and utterly charming. I even filmed a cameo for his video. Not sure if I'll make it into the final cut or end up on the cutting room floor but it was fun and I'm always happy to help out a friend.

Edited to Add: Here is the video, enjoy!

The space is also available for photo shoots and an adjoining kitchen is available for rent for private parties, corporate events and weddings. Contact Alex Beltramo at 415-626-0145

Monday, September 28, 2009

Women's Initiative 2009 Woman-Owned Business Winners

Wow! To say I was stunned when I found out that I am one of the Women's Initiatives' Silicon Valley award recipients would be an understatement. I knew I'd been nominated but after receiving notification of my nomination I didn't publicize it or ask anyone to vote for me. So I didn't think I had a chance.

You might be wondering exactly what is the Women's Initiative for Self Employment. It's a Bay Area non-profit that provides high-potential, lower-income women the training, resources and on-going support they need to start or improve their own companies. Their goal is: "To build the entrepreneurial capacity of women to overcome economic and social barriers and achieve self-sufficiency."

The following is their description of the criteria winners were selected from:
"Throughout the Bay Area, women business leaders are making a real difference in their communities – mentoring others, leading by example, innovating within their industries and stimulating the local economy. At Women’s Initiative, we celebrate all women in business, and have created an award to showcase those who are going above and beyond."
Other Silicon Valley wedding industry nominees included Christine Morrissey of National Gown Cleaners who was one of my first mentors when I started my bridal accessory company 12 years ago. Also nominated were event designer Nicole Lisanne, wedding consultant Liz Guthrie and Natti Pierce-Thomson owner of North American Theatre Technology, an event lighting company. All are women I have had the pleasure of working with at one time or another over the years. All are standouts and it is always an honor to be held in the same group with any and all of them for any reason or occasion.

I wish I had known about the Women's Initiative back in 1997 when I basically stumbled into my first company, making plenty of mistakes along the way. I could have been a poster girl for their "high-potential, lower-income" criteria. I'm certain they could have helped me to become a better business person. They offer business management training, technical assistance, and financial services in both English and Spanish.

If you have a dream of being self employed this may be just the right starting point for you to create your own career.

CLICK HERE to learn more about the Women's Initiative in English

CLICK HERE to learn more about the Women's Initiative in EspaƱol

Thursday, September 24, 2009

My New Facebook Profile Picture is a Hit!

LOL this is a baby picture of me. Talk about shrimpy shrimpster. My legs were so short they folded over the edge of the lawn as if it were a bench. Ha ha ha... I posted it as my Facebook profile picture a few weeks ago and now I think I'm stuck with it because so many people have commented they like it.

Though I am planning on updating to this picture as we get closer to holiday time. Since you're reading my blog you get a sneak peek. Note how pigeon toed I was. People used to throw bird seed at me when I walked by I was so pigeon toed. LMAO

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Gelato, Frozen Yogurt and Ice Cream. YUM!

Mmmmm because the hot weather is still here in California I thought I'd post some refreshing pictures of my favorite frozen treats. Specifically my favorite gelato, frozen yogurt and ice creams.

Pictured above is the Pomegranate Sorbetto (sorbet) at Gelato Classico. My favorite gelato flavor of all time is Gelato Classico's Caramello Chocolate Crunch... Although the Snickelicious flavor at Dolce Spazio in Los Gatos comes in at a very close second place.

My favorite fro-yo is also the Pomegranate flavor at Red Mango, with mochi.

And I have two favorite ice creams. At Baskin and Robbins my all time fav is the Mint Chocolate Chip.

And at Ben & Jerry's the only flavor I ever order is Chocolate Fudge Brownie. Someday I should make a double decker cone with a scoop of B&R's Mint Chocolate Chip and a scoop of B&J's Chocolate Fudge Brownie. That might just be my ice cream nirvana.

Monday, September 21, 2009

The Hide-a-Surprise Cake is in Gentry Magazine!

Last year (October, 2008) I participated in a video shoot collaborating with many of my industry colleagues to present a staged, custom, wedding proposal. This month it was featured in Gentry Magazine (pages 62-63) so I can now share more details about the project. The article is titled "Carpe Diem!" which translates to "Seize the Day" and seize the day we did.

Event designer Lea McIntosh was creating a single day video shoot with videographer Andrew Hsu of Studio MSV that spanned 4 locations and included the participation of 17 wedding and special event companies.

Andrew has a series of wedding vignette videos he produces called Vendor Chic. It's an opportunity for his industry colleagues to unleash their creativity and when I was asked to participate I gladly accepted!

Our shoot took place at Casa Real in Livermore at the Ruby Hills Winery. Lea's concept was to create a Tahitian "Proposal in Paradise" theme.

Nicole Ha outdid herself with the florals at this shoot. There were flowers, petals and candles everywhere!

The room looked lush and opulent and this image of the marble fireplace is one of my favorites I took that day.

That watery effect of lighting on the back wall was provided by North American Theatre Technology, a company that specializes in both theatrical, wedding and event lighting.

That's Andrew of Studio MSV on the left shooting our couple dancing before the surprise proposal scene took place.

This image by: Michael Soo

Corinna entered the room beneath an arial runner of lit, fresh roses. This idea was a great collaboration. Lea dreamt it up, Nicole Ha provided the flowers and each flower was suspended on invisible line and had a light tucked inside its petals.

While a team of 4 strung the roses in another room, Natti of North American Theatre Technology hung the hundreds of blossom using a lift.

The romantic day bed was a veritable color palette with cushions of blues, orange and red and dainty, fresh, green orchids and red and yellow flowers and orchids ensconcing the frame. The cushion covers were made by Lea McIntosh.

Nicole Ha created a lush canopy of orchids and flowers and swaths of florals embellishing the bed posts, with twinkling votives to complete the romantic alcove.

This image by: Michael Soo

Models Corinna and Alex are in real life husband and wife. So all of the chemistry you see between the two in the finished video, it's the real deal.

Corinna's hair was by Armando Sarabia of Get Your Do Up! and her make up was by Tiffany Chang of San Jose. The demure, teal, cocktail gown was provided by The Unique Bride in Burlingame, CA.

How gorgeous is this custom cocktail? Instead of just an ordinary ho, hum margarita or daiquiri, the colors came into play creating a bold statement.

The food the Casa Real Chef prepared was gorgeous! Lobster...

The oysters were backlit with LED lights placed directly under the ice. Natti, our lighting expert that day, just happened to have the lights on hand to create this extra-special effect.

Scallops and Caviar

Grilled Prawns

Dessert with edible gold leaf.

A stunning draped backdrop for the cake courtesy of North American Theatre Technology, table linen by Wildflower Linen, fresh flower petals by Nicole Ha and cake stand by Lea McIntosh.

The pineapple cake topper I created was to complement the theme and pineapple motif on the invitation by DK Designs. The topper was made of glass seed beads, Swarovski Austian crystal and wire.

The Tahitian sunset cake was created by Cake Coquette of San Francisco. Owner and designer Gabrielle Feuersinger consulted with me in the preliminary stages to implement my Hide-a-Surprise cake concept. She also confirmed the colors of the topper would complement the cake colors perfectly.

As Alex lifted up the cake topper a strand of Tahitian pearls appeared from within the cake itself.

Photographer Michael Soo in action.

After placing the necklace on Corinna...

Alex then quickly bent down on one knee and presented the ring to Corinna in a surprise proposal.

This image by: Michael Soo

Delicate and sweet, the engagement ring was a heart shaped diamond, flanked by more diamonds.

This image by: Michael Soo

After a walk through the vineyards, Corinna and Alex were whisked away in this gorgeous classic car by Art Deco Limousine, located in Santa Clara.

My thanks to Lea McIntosh and Andrew Hsu for inviting me to participate and to Jodi Murphy of Gentry Magazine who wrote the article for publication.

To view more images of the beautiful Casa Real venue CLICK HERE to see the blog post I did when the Una Bella Sera bridal showcase was held there in 2007.