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It’s all in the details

As many brides know, the task of choosing an overall theme for your wedding can be quite daunting.  Magazine after website after pinterest article will tell you that your save-to-date to your venue choice to your party favors should form a cohesive theme throughout the evening.  No pressure, eh?

With so many choices these days, it’s a wonder brides don’t need to go on anxiety medication to get through the grueling process.  Or do they?  “H” and I were fairly lucky in that we stumbled upon a venue that told our story perfectly.  Our venue’s Tuscan theme combined with it’s mulitmedia capabilities tied our love for wine and travel with our love for capturing cheesy videos along the way.  Even though we had a pretty clear vision of our overall theme, we still needed to finalize the details that would provide that cohesive flow.  Enter endless options.

So early on in the planning process, “H” (as I’ve been told most fiances do) told me he wasn’t interested in the details — that could be my department.  Oh how sweet (insert sarcasm).  The problem was I didn’t care too much about the details either.  But someone had to care and given that I was the bride, by default, I was the chosen one.

After hours of scouring bridals magazines, wedding websites and pinterest boards, I came across these images that struck a cord:

wedding inspiration board

1) We liked the idea of movie themed invitations and RSVP cards as “H” was creating some sort of video to premiere during the reception and this invitation theme set the tone for the evening.

2) I love burlap and mason jars so these centerpieces were a perfect combo.  Instead of flowers and twigs, we used dried pasta and wine corks.  Have to be honest, I had three breakdowns during the planning process — two were about the bridesmaids’ dresses and the third was about the centerpieces.  My MOH (aka my aMAZing sister) whipped these up one night and it was love at first sight!


3) I am a sucker for succulents and billy balls so this was my dream bouquet.  My actual bouquet (shown below) had more white than yellow, but it still looked gorgeous!  In memory of my dad whom passed a few years ago, I included a photo of he and I in my younger years on a charm purchased from etsy.  Even though my dad wasn’t physically present to walk me down the aisle, his spirit radiated throughout the night for sure!

bouquet charm4) My best find and most repinned image on pinterest to date!  These wine cork table names were extremely easy & inexpensive to make, plus “H” and I had an excuse to drink a bottle (or two) of vino in the evenings to supply this DIY project.  Look how great they turned out!

wine corkswine cork_aevin5) Love, love, love everything about this thank you because it’s so freaking true!  The words, the various fonts, the paper color choice = L-O-V-E.  “H” and I created our own version and included it in the programs.  We placed it on the back, but if we did it over again I’d place it on the front to ensure everyone sees it.  See we even missed capturing a pic, but at least the front looks fabulous, too.

programs6) The name of our venue was “Oliva on the Hill” so we thought these infused olive oil party favors fit the theme quite nicely.  While I’m a novice D-I-Yer at best, it was quite fun creating these little favors with my mom and sis.  My talented sister created labels for each of the bottles, which included our names on the front as well as suggestions on how to use the oil and a quote about love inside.  Such a nice touch.

party favors7) I wanted a simple design for the cake and this image fit the bill.  The simplicity of the succulents on a 3 tiered ivory cake tied into the bouquets beautifully and the bakery did a fabulous job recreating it.

cakeThe last two details are probably my favorite.  “H” proposed at Barnett Vineyard, a winery in gorgeous Napa Valley.  We thought it was all too fitting to have the winery represented at our wedding so we decided to use a wine box, branded with Barnett Vineyard, as our guest book.  We asked the guests to sign the box as they arrived then incorporated a “wine box ritual” during the ceremony.  “H” and I wrote letters to each other and placed them, as well as 3 of our favorite bottles of wine and 2 wine glasses into the wine box, which we nailed shut during the ceremony.  “H” and I are to open the box and share a bottle of wine on our 1st, 10th and 25th wedding anniversary.  We can choose which anniversary we open the letters on, but the goal is to save them for as long as we can 🙂  If we reach a point where we feel we can’t continue in the relationship, we are to open the box, drink the bottle/s and read each other’s letters so we are reminded of how we felt on our wedding day.

The second detail is one I hold pretty close to my heart.  I was looking for a way to honor my dad, but didn’t want to use a traditional memorial candle.  Growing up my siblings and I felt my dad resembled a turtle so we would give him turtle themed gifts for every holiday imaginable.  To keep the tradition alive, I strung a turtle charm on a piece of twine, wrapped it around an ivory candle and placed it on a mercury glass holder.  This was my dad’s candle.  It was the perfect way to commemorate my dad on such a special day and his presence was very much felt throughout the evening.

guest book and memorial candle

And that’s a wrap on the little details at our wedding.  All I can say is good thing I married after pinterest was created — not sure what brides did in the pre-pinterest era!  Are you addicted to pinterest, too?  If so, what’s your favorite category to pin?


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Xmas Card 2012

Hi friends of the internets, hope you had a fabulous weekend.  “H” and I attended a comedy show in DTLA on Friday, a holiday dinner in Beverly Hills with some close friends on Saturday and a birthday bash on Sunday.  I’m always amazed at how hard it is to transition back to reality after a fun-filled weekend with family and friends, but reality it is.

I spent the day finishing our holiday shopping with what seemed like everyone else in LA.  I always forget just how many people live in this city and consistently wonder why they all seem to be headed in the same direction as me.  Guess I’m never alone, that’s for sure!  I came home to find a nice surprise on my doorstep.  Given that this is our wedding year, “H” and I decided to splurge on a little Shutterfly action for our annual Xmas card.  We tweaked yet another favorite wedding pic.  Before I share the photo, I wanted to share a little background.

As I’m sure you can guess, I was a-d-d-i-c-t-e-d to pinterest during the wedding planning.  During one of my many sessions on pinterest, I stumbled upon this adorable pic of 4 ring bearers and a flower girl.  wedding inspiration

I was convinced I had to replicate this for our wedding so “H” and I asked our 6 nephews (well 4 are really my cousins’ kiddos, but they feel like nephews) and 1 niece to participate.  It was extremely meaningful for the young tike’s in my family to introduce me prior to walking down the aisle so I had each one carry a sign that consisted of one word (well two in Gavin’s case).  Ultimately, the signs read: “Uncle Tommy, here comes your butterfly,” with a symbol of a butterfly on the last sign.  (“H” knew the boys would be carrying signs; however, he didn’t know the last sign would consist of his nickname for me = butterfly).  Rumor has it, “H” had a little tear in his eye after he saw the butterfly sign.  *awe*

While many, many people thought we were absolutely crazy for having 7 kids between the ages of 2 and 6 participate in our wedding, this was one of my absolute favorite memories of the day.  Here’s a priceless photo captured after the ceremony:


Needless to say, trying to get 7 little tikes to pose was quite the task and poor little Grayson DID NOT want his picture taken, so I decided to help him out by holding his sign.  Can you guess how it ended?

wedding pic

Good times!  We decided to have a little fun with these photos by turning our favorite into our Xmas card.  Thanks to “H”‘s photoshop skills, here’s our Xmas card for 2012:

Xmas Card 2012_take II
Happy holidays everyone!

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A Few of My Favorite Things

Given that the holidays are just around the corner, I thought it’d be fun to share a few of favorite “getting ready” things.  After all, who doesn’t enjoy learning about a new product or two.  Have to be honest, it took some time to nail down this regime.  And if I stray from routine, I’m left with flat hair and red, bumpy skin.  You know what I’m talking about ladies.

So here’s a little insight into the products I love.

Favorite Things_Take IV1. Bumble & Bumble “gentle” shampoo: this product has yet to fail me.  It smells super yummy and leaves my hair feeling lightweight and shiny.

2. Bumble & Bumble “thickening” spray: unless I’m going curly for the day, this is my go to product.  I’m addicted to blow drying (hence favorite “getting ready” thing #6) and this spray leaves a nice layer on my hair that protects it during the process.  It also adds some much needed volume to my thin hair.

3. Purity face wash: I stumbled upon this fabulous product at a “favorite things” themed party about 6 months ago.  For those not familiar with these parties, everyone who attends brings one of their favorite things to exchange with another guest during the evening.  We did our exchange white elephant style, but you can exchange the gifts however you choose.   The host’s favorite thing was Purity face wash and was randomly able to secure Purity sample packs, thanks to Nordstrom, for all the guests.  How excited were we?!  Needless to say, Nordstrom’s marketing efforts worked as I’m officially addicted to this product.

4. L’Occitane Immortelle Divine Cream: I stumbled upon this amazing product a few months back.  The wedding planning process was in full swing and my skin was in desperate need of some rejuvenation.  While a little on the pricey side, I justified the purchase by playing the “you only get married once” card.  The cream is lightweight and leaves my skin feeling extremely soft, soft, soft.  Plus, it smells pretty yummy.  The only downside is it doesn’t include SPF so be sure to purchase some separately.

5. Hempz: I’ve been using this product for years and it has yet to fail me, especially during the winter months.  It smells yummy and leaves my skin feeling extra smooth.

6. Round brush: ahhh….what did I do before I learned the technique of the round brush?  How many times have you left the salon convinced you could replicate your stylist’s blow out skills only to find that it NEVER LOOKS AS GOOD when you attempt to do it on your own.  Enter the round brush.  While I’m still in the process of perfecting the art of blowouts, at least I’ve learned how to manage both hands without having a birds eye view of my head.  I mean of course the stylist can create beauty when she’s working at a completely different angle!  But I digress.  Learning the art of the round brush has turned my hair from limp and flat to bouncy and voluminous.  Kind of sounds like a hair commercial.

That wraps up my favorite “getting ready” things segment for 2012.  I’m always up for recos on go to products so please feel free to share your favorites in the comments below!

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Live from STL, It’s Saturday Night

And so the wedding memories continue.  We received our photos yesterday, which is probably why the big day is so fresh in my mind lately.  In addition to the prints included in our package, our photographer kindly included an ornament of our favorite wedding day pic.  Given that all our memorable ornaments are still in STL, this one took the grandiose place as the tree topper this year.  How cute is this?!

Wedding Ornament_2012

Today I wanted to share another favorite element of the big day.  If you haven’t guessed already, “H” is a video editor by trade.  Hence, the pretty spectacular “save the date” video.  We chose our venue, Oliva on the Hill, for two reasons: one being it’s Tuscan ambience (one of our first bonding moments was over our love of wine and both Napa and Tuscany are two of our favorite places in the world) and two being it’s multimedia capabilities.  We wanted our guests to know how honored we were that they traveled great distances to share in our special day, so we created a handful of videos to share throughout the evening.  In addition to the “save the date,” “H” created a pretty specular wedding party intro.  “H” captured and edited all the footage included in this video, which makes it extra special.  Here’s a pic of us listening to our guests watching the video on the big screen.  Such a priceless moment!

TnA_wedding party intro

“H” spent a decent amount of time on this video so it was fun hearing everyone’s reactions as they watched our intro unfold.  So without further ado, here’s our fabulous wedding party:

That wraps up segment two of our favorite elements of the big day.  Stay tuned for more glimpses into what made our day so special.  Until then, happy Friday everyone!

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It’s official, I have an “H”

Hola friends!  Apologies for the delayed entry.  I’ve been busy planning a wedding, tying the knot and moving back to the west coast so lots has changed since my last post.  The most important change is that I officially have an “H.”  Husband that is.  What inspired this fabulous nickname you ask?  We thought husband and wife sounded super serious and very grown up so we decided to start slow by calling each other “H” and “W.”  So far, so good 🙂

“H” and I tied the knot in front of our most favorite family and friends on October 20, 2012.   Given that we spent 5 months planning our special day, I wanted to share a few of my favorite elements that made our day so magical.  Starting with a nontraditional “save the date” video.  We were looking for a nontraditional way to set the tone for our big day so what better way than to share our story through photos.  The very talented “H” gathered some of our finest photos and created a script that told the story of how we met.  Some fancy music combined with “H”‘s v/o (voice over) made this masterpiece complete.

Stay tuned for more of my favorite memories of our special day as we countdown the days to 2013.  Have a fabulous night!

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What’s In a Name

Over a week has passed since I wrote my initial post.  I’m still on the Sean Ogle band wagon, but apparently I’m riding in the slow lane.  Still transitioning, I suppose.  I decided to make my second post about what inspired the title of this blog.

While I’m sure several articles, blog posts, books, etc carry the title of this particular post, “What’s in a Name”, I feel this oh so famous cliche pretty much sums up what inspired me growing up and still today.  For as long as I can remember, I strived for happiness.  It started during my childhood soccer days.  I played the position of “full-back” so the opportunities to score were few and far between.  During the handful of times I was fortunate enough to score, I was overcome with emotion as fans jumped and cheered in excitement.  An excitement that I created.  The emotions were so strong that unexplained tears streamed from my eyes, overwhelmed that this one little action could trigger such a response.  And so begins my story…

I’ve always been inspired by “cheesy quotes and sayings.”  While I couldn’t relate to the magnitude growing up, given my little life experience, I knew the powerful words of the greats would one day resonate with me.  I’ve also always been inspired by people’s stories.  After all, there isn’t anyone you couldn’t love once you’ve heard his/her story (enter cliche #2).  People make the world go round and emotions are the driving factor.  Rather it’s humor, happiness, sadness, grief, greed, love, hate, nervousness — all of these emotions trigger a feeling within.  These feelings live deep within the gut.  While I know the negative feelings exist, I’m choosing to focus on the positive feelings as these are the little butterflies of life.  Whether one is giddy about a first date, nervous before a dream job interview, excited to walk down the aisle or sad to say goodbye to coworkers of ten+ years — these feelings are little butterflies that flutter around and make one feel alive.  Without these little butterflies, one becomes complacent and complacency is not a fun place to be.  After all, we only get one go around so we might as well make the ride worthwhile (enter cliche #3).

And so the vision of little butterflies, aka Baby Monarchs, is born.  Baby Monarchs is a place for me and hopefully you to record all those little moments that make the ride worthwhile.  Right now is a moment in time.  Treasure this moment.  After all, when our story’s over it’s the experiences we had, and most importantly the people we touch, that allow us to live immortally.

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What’s my Thailand?

Good afternoon, World, (or mom, or whomever randomly stumbled upon this blog during a google search)!  Today I’m on a mission to find my purpose in life.  Not too surprising, given that I’m in my early-30’s, just relocated back to my hometown of St. Louis, MO after spending 7 years in Los Angeles AND the world is apparently ending at the end of this year.  Lots of energy is floating in the atmosphere and I want to be “awake” during this transitional time in history.

A little about me, I’m a 33 year old mid-west native whom recently moved home to be closer to my fam.  Having always been a free spirit at heart, I moved to Boston and then Los Angeles post college graduation to experience “the world.”  After my dad passed unexpectedly 3 years ago, I broke out my bucket list and started writing down things I hope to accomplish in my lifetime.  Since then, I’ve done extensive traveling in Europe, enrolled in cooking school, shared my learnings with little tikes in LA and moved home to be closer to my mom & fam.

While I’m a little nervous about returning home after spending 9 years on both coasts, I’m excited to see where this next chapter leads.  I started this blog because Sean Ogle of “Location 180” told me to — and no, I don’t do everything I’m told to do.  You see, Sean’s 9-5 job didn’t bring him happiness so he parted ways and focused his attention on creating a business that would allow him to work from anywhere in the world — smart guy!  His first stop was Thailand, hence the title of this post.  Sean believes that one of the best ways to connect with like-minded people is to start a blog, which I agree with, so here I am.

While I love the idea of working from anywhere in the world, right now my focus is starting my own thing in the ‘Lou.  Who knows what the future holds, but I know fabulous things are on the horizon.

Thanks for joining me on this journey.  I look forward to discovering what the future holds with you 🙂