Allure: 20th and 21st Weeks in Review

Hi!  2 more weeks of wedding prep down, 12 to go!  I mean, the season significantly slows down once we get to October.  For the next three plus months, I will be in wedding overdrive. I'm ready, let's go!  (I'd type the lyrics to "I Am Woman" but let's face it, I don't have time.  This woman is busy!) 1.  La Tavola Linens.   More love for one of my very favorite rental vendors!  I visited La Tavola in SF with a bride last week and as usual, I wanted to move right in.  The studio space on Sacramento is inspiring as a workspace and visiting always makes me want to redecorate my dining room.  I mean, I'd have to get the crayons, goldfish, laptop and binders all off the table just to see my current table cloth.  And then I'd probably just realize it needs to be washed.  Clearly, my real life is not as glamorous as my fantasy La Tavola life.  But, oh...if I could pull off a sequined chevron in my kitchen everyday...I sure would.   (Also, I had a great meeting with my bride.  I'm excited about our choices!)  2.  Hidden Villa.  I met clients at this Los Altos Hills venue last week and I was really charmed by it!  I didn't know what to expect from the working farm, historical main house, kid-campers-all-about, venue...but I really liked it and I can't wait for Allure's first wedding there this fall.  Of course, I will share my experience right here on this very blog!

3.  Bowerbird Photography.  This is not my first post about this amazing photography duo.  I just love Ariel and Sam and I can't say enough good things about them.  But I'll try!  Last week, these two lovebirds took time out of their busy schedules and took family portraits for us.  It's been too long since we had a proper, professional photo shoot and I enjoyed every minute of it!  Ariel and Sam are naturals...they are inspiring to work with, they're so supportive and effortless with each other and with the subjects.  My son is not usually cooperative when cameras are around, and my husband likes to pretend he hates having his picture taken (as much as I love having mine taken!).  So our lovely photographers had their work cut out for them.  Below is a sneak peek...!


Allure: 18th and 19th Weeks in Review

Well, wedding season is officially in full swing and I am one busy working mama!  In the last two weeks, I have been primarily working on my June and July weddings.  I also took a nice family trip to the East Coast for a graduation and a reunion, so I had my work cut out for me upon my return.  Traveling with a toddler adventure.  While I felt like I needed a vacation after my vacation, I had to jump right back in to work once we got back.  I've been booking baby-sitters and locking myself in the office everyday and I'm getting really excited about the weddings coming up soon! Btw...did you see Abigail's post last week?  Great Gatsby wedding inspiration--swoon!  Here we go!

1.  Marin Art and Garden Center.  I love this venue!  When I'm there, I'm struck by the natural, yet manicured beauty and I am so impressed by the well-oiled-machine wedding operation they have going on.  It's seriously a North Bay gem tucked away in Ross.  I'm thrilled to be working there in June and I am hoping for more weddings there in 2013!  Also, Insalata's is catering--yum!

2.  Coffee Shop Workaholic.  Since I don't have a dedicated office space to meet clients, I work at a lot of Bay Area Coffee shops.  In the past two weeks, I have spent countless hours out and about.  And in the next two weeks, I have three meetings planned and probably another dozen or so hours of just computer work...all at local coffee shops.  A girl has to get out of the house sometimes!  Here's where I've been:  Philz on Van Ness in SF (great, library-like workspace).  Orchard Valley in downtown Campbell (I always get a Thai iced tea here for some reason). Peets on the Alameda in Santa Clara (lots of room and they play nice, soft music).  Bravado Cafe in SOMA, SF (I love the modern look, comfy seats and the iced coffee was STRONG).  And literally 6 different Starbucks between Los Gatos and Oakland (My home base is Curtner and Leigh in San Jose.  I can walk there.  But I usually don't...).

3.  Balance.  As you know, I am a full time mom.  And a wedding planner running the Allure show on my own out here in the Bay Area.  The owner of Allure, Michelle Martinez, is a mom too and I learned a lot about how to balance having a business and being a mom (among the hundred other roles we play) from her, especially in the early days of my wedding planning career.  I would watch Michelle literally juggle her baby, her cell phone, and her laptop, all to happily take care of her family, her clients, her business, and herself!  I find myself doing the exact same thing now.  I am proud of myself for getting this far, and as I get busier with wedding work everyday, I have to get better at balancing it all.  I get overwhelmed, sure.  There are days when I feel like I am doing a thousand things and I wonder if I am doing any of them well.  I think this is only natural.  At the end of the day, I put Joey to bed and head back to the computer for a couple more hours of work, and I feel...good.  Good about the amazing and inspiring and exhausting time I get to spend with my son, good about the strong relationship I have with my husband who works so hard for us all, and good about the job I am doing for my clients.  I truly love this life.

Ha!  Now I'm all emotional.  Ok, so since I am getting really SUPER busy, the blogging might be more sporadic.  I hope you understand and I'll do my best to keep up!

Allure: 16th and 17th Week in Review

Something is in the wedding water around here!  This past week, I received more inquiries, and had more meetings with vendors and couples than I have in the past two months!  I'm excited to share some developments and I can't wait to start working on these new weddings and keep you updated along the way! 1.  Jonathan Moore Photography.  Jonathan is an LA based photographer that works in the Bay Area often and shoots destination weddings anywhere.  In a six-degrees-of-separation kind of way that I love, he got in touch with me after finding out what I do from his old college buddy, my brother.  Jonathan and I met for coffee (with Joey in tow) and chatted about the industry, our styles, and our shared commitment to marriage equality.  I like Jonathan, and I hope to work with him this year.  Check him out!  Below is one of my favorite photos from one of Jonathan's 'Beloved' sessions.  2.  BoLee Bridal in Sunnyvale.  I visited BoLee with my friend Elizabeth Chang, of Skyla Arts.  I often get asked by brides for suggestions of bridal boutiques, and I have a couple go-to answers, but I definitely need more in my rolodex (head).  BoLee is located in the heart of Sunnyvale, about ten minutes away from downtown Mountain View.  It's in an unassuming strip mall, and the building masks the store's glamorous interior and gorgeous inventory of sample dresses.  I am happy to have a new store on my short list, and I look forward to working with Bo, the owner, on future events and promotions.  3.  Allure's new blogger!  Did you read my post Wednesday?  I'm thrilled to announce that starting Friday, June 1, Abigail Rutkowski of Wedding Row California will be guest posting on the Allure blog.  Abigail will be bringing the pretty now that Kaella's inspiring stint has ended.  I can't wait to see what kind of creative and unique inspiration boards Abigail has in store for us!

4.  Cupcake Tasting.  This week, I had a pleasant task on my to-do list:  Meet with Ashley at Frost Cupcake Factory for a client cupcake tasting.  I tried 4 different versions of a lemon cupcake, took copious notes and made executive decisions.  It's a tough job, y'all.  Frost is my very favorite local bakery, I'm always happy when business or pleasure brings me into the store, and of course I'm thrilled when my clients choose Frost for their wedding.  I like to do quality control during that time between hiring Frost and the wedding day.  I take my job very seriously. 5.  Client meeting at Tartine in SF.  Speaking of baked-goods-as-job-hazard...I met with one of my brides last week while her mom was in town.  The three of us met at the delectable, world famous, stupidly crowded Tartine Bakery in the mission district of SF.  I enjoyed an AMAZING gruyere croissant and mocha while we discussed wedding details.  One item on the agenda was favors.  I don't love wedding favors, I love trying to come up with creative, fun ones for weddings I plan, but I don't love them as an overall wedding tradition.  I think there are far more 'important' things to spend money on when planning a wedding, and I like to find other cool ways to make the event personal for the couple and memorable for the guests.  I do, however, like the idea of a charitable donation in place of a favor for each guest.  This is what we were discussing at Tartine.  My clients are making a small donation in the name of each of their guests (which amounts to a nice donation!) in place of buying a favor for everyone.  We are going to place a small placard at each place setting describing the gift and it's significance will be inherent.  Just discussing this element of the wedding was emotional for my bride and her mom.  I'm so glad they were able to find a nice way to honor loved ones at the wedding reception, I know it will have an impact.

That's it for now!  I have proposals to draft!

Allure: 14th and 15th Week in Review

Happy Mother's Day!  I am celebrating today with my two-year-old son Joey and I'm writing this as we sit on the couch sharing coffee (chocolate milk) out of my brand spanking new World's Best Mommy mug.  It's the little things, people! On to the week's review!  2 weeks, actually.  Last week I didn't post a Review because I was enjoying a mini vacation in Santa Cruz to ring in my 30th and my husband's 40th.  But a lot of wedding work has happened in the last two hasn't all been fun and games!  Here's a peek into the Allure world, what I've been up to and what has been making an impact in this awesome industry:

1.  Obama supports same sex marriage!  Here is my post from Wednesday, with links to the articles I read, and the historic interview video.  This monumental announcement gets double time on the Allure blog.  I know President Obama's official support will mean more weddings, equality and acceptance.  I'm looking forward to a greater shift in this direction and I'm feeling proud and optimistic!

2.  The Power of Pinterest.  I posted about the Sprinkle Wedding Cake that has been making the rounds on Pinterest and to my surprise, that post is my most popular blog post yet!  Pinterest is changing the social media scene at a crazy rate.  More and more brides are pinning away and the site is connecting vendors from all over the world.  The Sprinkle Cake, for example, was made by Birchgrove Bakery in Vermont and it is inspiring brides, moms and bakers EVERYWHERE...the picture is spreading like wild fire!  So, while I have been on the Pinterest train for a while now, I am realizing that I need to focus even more of my social marketing energy on the site.  If you aren't already following me on Pinterest, please do!

3.  Kaella--my illustrious assistant, guest blogger and partner in crime.  Kaella Wilson has finished her Wedding Planning Certification course!  This 5 month program has been keeping Kaella's plate full as she continued to grow her own business, Kaella Lynn Events, and post beautiful Inspiration Boards for this blog as a guest contributor.  Since Kaella and I met last summer, we have been working side by side--I shared experience and knowledge as a wedding planner, and Kaella helped me with branding and social marketing.  She assisted me on wedding days, we partnered up on a styled shoot, and we enjoyed industry events together representing Allure.  Now, since the certification course is over, Kaella will be focused on her own business and we'll continue to collaborate and support each other.  I'm proud of Kaella for completing the course (with flying colors, no doubt) and I'm excited about what's to come!

4.  Iliana Morton, Photographer.  I met Iliana this week to welcome her to the Bay Area and get to know her a little.  She just moved here from San Diego and having moved recently myself, I know how daunting the task of networking in a new place can be.  I was happy to meet Iliana and I hope we can work together this year, or next!

5.  The Dress Right Now.  Remember that time I said I need to focus more on Pinterest and it's impact on social marketing for Allure...well, this week offered a great opportunity!  Kate Middleton wowed the world again in a stunning dress.  This time, it was a vibrant teal number by Jenny Packham.  It fit her like a dream, the delicate lace back...gorgeous.  Kate continues to secure her position as fashion icon.  I pinned this dress as soon as I saw it on Pinterest.  It's blowing up!  I think a dress like this in ivory would be a perfect wedding dress, but I LOVE it in teal for brides too! 

Well, that's it for this Review!  I have lots of work to do this upcoming week--proposals for 2013 (yikes!), and floor plans for my June and July weddings.  Time flies!



Allure: Video! Christy on Marriage Equality

Hello Summer! It is beautiful here in the Bay Area and we enjoyed the warm weather and sunshine this week. In lieu of my usual "Week in Review" Sunday post, I wanted to share my new video here on the Allure blog. Allure and Marriage Equality. Please pass it on if you like what you see!

And here is the list of the awesome vendors that worked on the styled shoot featured in the video. They ALL feel passionate about marriage equality and support LGBT weddings!

Coordination and Concept: Christy Daly, Allure Consulting Design and Styling: Kaella Lynn Events Photography: Meg Perotti Invitations and Signage: Aerialist Press Flowers: Ingela Floral Design Cakes: Glass Slipper Gourmet Rentals: One True Love Vintage Rentals Location: Swedenborgian Church, San Francisco Videography: Sean Basaman Models (and friends!): Randy Bernard and Kresimir Grgurevic

This was truly a labor of love! I am so proud of the final product and so grateful to have worked with such amazing industry professionals. If you want a dream team of wedding vendors for your San Francisco or San Jose wedding--hire everyone listed here!

PS I can't wait to share the entire styled shoot with you. Be patient! Coming soon!

Allure: 13th Week in Review

I'm 30!  My birthday was Friday and I was happy to take a little break from working to celebrate it!  Next week will be a little packed because of it, but it was worth it!  After my husband and I spent a great evening in SF on Friday night, I woke up to a very busy Allure Saturday! Here's a peek at Allure's last week: 1.  Unveiled!  The Rengstorff House in Mountain View is a fantastic little wedding venue hidden in the Shoreline Nature Preserve.  It's a historical Victorian house with beautiful manicured lawns, a wrap-around porch and a cool brick patio.  Unveiled is an event that the Rengstorff House hosts for local wedding vendors to connect with engaged couples...many of whom are getting married there.  It's a much more intimate expo than other ones I have been to (some of which are hectic and stressful), so I was thrilled to have Allure's first table as a vendor be at this event.  I invited my friend, Krista Lynch to 'man' my table with me.  Krista is a wedding photographer--check out a recent wedding of hers on Style My Pretty!  We had a great time talking to brides and grooms and parents, and getting to know other vendors.  I hope to book weddings based on yesterday's conversations, and I will definitely be back for next year's Unveiled!   The linens and tables were provided by Stuart Rental Company for the whole event--big thank you for choosing a color scheme that goes so well with Allure's brand!  And the pictures are by Krista, of course.  I'll post more about this great event as I start to get more post-event info and pics!

2.  Haute Bride Opening Party and Bridal Fashion Show.  Right after Unveiled, I drove home for a quick change, then headed to Los Gatos for the Haute Bride Party.  I put on a racer back tank top, a sequin mini skirt and heels--it was HOT yesterday, even at 7pm everyone was in shorts and tanks.  The warm weather made for a summery, chilled wine kind of a fete and everyone at Haute looked amazing!  Designer Hayley Paige was at the party and presented a runway show of her current line of gorgeous wedding dresses.  There was one with a champagne sequin skirt, I LOVED it!

3.  Marriage Equality Video.  Lastly, I am so happy to present my latest Allure video!  I will do a full post about this later, but I wanted to introduce it here and now as I got the final cut up on youtube just last week.  Huge thanks to my friend Sean Basaman of Good Joe Pictures for producing and directing the video.  I'm really proud of it and so excited to share it here and on Facebook today.

Allure: 12th Week in Review

Hi!  Happy Sunday!  I am actually working on this a little late this week.  I like to draft my posts on Friday or Saturday, but this week has been a whirlwind! 1.  St Francis Yacht Club.  I am working with a bride to plan her wedding this September at the St Francis Yacht Club in SF.  It's my first time to work at the venue and I am really excited!  She and I met up this week in the city to discuss everything--we started with the big picture and then got down to the details and logistics.  I'm busy pinning for this wedding now...check it out!  2.  Planning Planning Planning.  This job hinges on scheduling.  As a full time work-from-home mom, it's all in the planning...and the planning is 90% scheduling.  It's a juggling act, for sure.  Last week wasn't any busier than any other week, in fact it was fairly calm...but I was really busy setting my schedule for the next two weeks.  I have lots of weddings coming up and they all have different packages based on different proposals.  So my 'Month of Coordination' package differs from one wedding to the next.  In order to keep on top of it all, I have to plan ahead--my phone calendar is my lifeline for this job.  It automatically backs up to my google account, a feat that allows me to sleep at night!  I would be lost without my calendar.  Some days I have to put 'shower' or 'sleep' into it.  Those days are particularly hectic!  For now, I am scheduling a tasting with clients at the Presidio Social Club, several design meetings with a couple getting married at the General's Residence in Ft Mason, a trip to Napa for site visits, a rehearsal in Marin for a June wedding at the Marin Art and Garden Center, and a visit with my partner Michelle Martinez when she comes into town.  I thrive on busy...and I might need a few days with 'nap' on the calendar!

3.  Cupcakes!  My favorite cupcake shop is Frost Cupcake Factory in downtown Campbell.  I have clients getting married in September and we've already had a tasting there and put in a big order.  I like to visit from time to time (every week, sometimes twice a week) to do a little quality far so good!  But I'll still check, wink wink.  My favorite cupcake is the toasted almond (pic below).  Now Frost is serving Peets espresso drinks, so I think I might have a new coffee-shop-to-work destination!  Yum!

More to come!  I'm excited to share my styled shoot, my new video, and my pictures and experiences from next week's Rengstorff House Unveiled Event!  I'll keep you posted.  Literally!

Allure: 10th and 11th Week in Review

Hi!  I took a week off from blogging because my family and I flew to the East Coast on short notice last week, so I have lots to share now!  Getting home and trying to catch up has been hectic, but in a good way!  I'm so excited about what's coming up and everything I am looking forward to sharing with you! 1.  Another Video!  I just saw the rough cut of my new video--I am over the moon about how it turned out!  My friend (and former groom), Sean Basaman, produced it for me and it's about my support for gay marriage.  I am in the process of figuring out what to do with it'll definitely be posted on my website and blog, plus my Wedding Wire storefront.  I'll keep you posted and make an announcement when it's up!

2.  Haute Bride.  Kaella and I met up with our friend Julie Jones of Encore Bridal this week to stop by the new Haute Bride studio in Los Gatos and to meet Lindsie Jones--the owner and designer.  The store itself is beautiful and the dresses and accessories are just beyond.  I wanted to put every single cuff on.  I loved all the bling!  I'm looking forward to the opening night party to officially welcome Haute Bride to the South Bay! Kaella, Lindsie, Julie, Me!  (See?  I need a cuff!)

3.  Unveiled at the Rengstorff House.  I am happy to be a part of this year's Unveiled Event at my favorite Victorian house venue!  On April 21, I will be there with my friend Krista Lynch by my side, manning a pretty pink Allure table.  Hopefully, we'll get to talk to lots of engaged couples and book another wedding at the venue!  Krista, a super talented photographer, and I will be offering a discount to couples that book us both--hooray for collaboration!

So that's my week!  I have been busy---I have a weddings coming up soon, and fall weddings I am doing lots of research and brainstorming for now.  I'm booking meetings every week with vendors and venues and meeting new friends in the industry right and left!  I feel grateful to be doing what I love, but I think I need a little help doing it!  I will be looking for a new day-of assistant very soon...if you are interested, or know someone who is, please let me know!

Happy Easter, everyone!  If you missed Kaella's Easter inspiration board this it is.  I love the pastel macaroons--pretty and delicious!


Allure: 9th Week in Review

Hi!  I'm a little late to the party this week because I have been under the weather.  But we were busy as usual at Allure! 1.  Styled Shoot!  We produced our first styled shoot and I am so excited to share the pictures and details with you!  As soon as I can, I will post about the theme and ideas, plus the amazing team of vendors that we collaborated with.

2.  New Clients!  I sent out revised contracts to two couples this week and I was thrilled to get contracts back in the mail days later.  I love the feeling of sealing the deal, so to speak. I am a work-from-home-mom and each new client represents a new adventure for 2012--one that allows me the space to be a professional and an expert in my field.  And not 'just' a mom.*

3.  Taxes!  This is the boring, tedious, and often frustrating part of being an independent contractor.  It's not all glamorous, people!  Keeping records and accounts and copies is definitely not the most fun part of this job, but it's  a necessary evil.  Our office/guestroom doesn't always look at chic and organized as I want it to, but work is being done!  And it's not always pretty!  I will be happy on April 16.

Until next week...



* I totally understand that being a mom is hard work, 'stay at home' or not!  Trust me!

Allure: 8th Week in Review

This was a very productive week!  I spent the rainy days inside working, or at coffee shops working, or on Pinterest 'working' when I needed a break from the work!  Let's start with Pinterest...

1. Pinterest.  I Love Pinterest.  It's an online personal organiztion tool, it's a website to collect pictures with links of things you love, it's fashion, blogs you like to visit, home decor, project ideas, recipes, how-to's...whatever you want to 'pin' onto your 'boards', you do!  For wedding planning/inspiration/DIY it's a daily go-to.  I have boards for current clients, and I show prospective clients my Weddings of My Beautiful Clients board at every first meeting.  Pinterest is time-consuming because it is addictive, not because it is hard to figure out.  And it's time saving, because I don't need to bring individual portfolios to meetings to show clients.  I can do a lot of research and collecting on Pinterest, then send my clients the link to their board.  If you are anything like me, you have had a large spiral notebook at some point in your life, filled with pages torn out of magazines---inspirational sayings and articles, pretty pictures, lists of random ideas or pinterest account is that beat up spiral notebook.  Except way more organized and less likely to get lost.

2.  New promotional video.  This week, I shot the interview part of the short video my friend Sean Basaman is producing for me.  (Sean Basaman's business website is under construction--but here's a link to his wedding that I planned!)  Sean is an excellent producer and director.  He has been the field producer for Dancing with the Stars, so he knew how to work with a diva like me.  Just kidding.  He didn't know.  Kidding!  I'm not a diva.  Really.  Anyway, we are doing this video to share my commitment to gay rights and marriage equality.  It's a commitment Sean and I share and one that is very important to Allure's mission as a small business.  Shooting the interview was really fun, and I can't wait to share the final product!  It's a project that is also tied into the styled shoot Kaella and I are doing next week with Meg Perotti.  Hint hint...!
Allure Video.1
Here's the first video I did for Allure.  On my youtube channel.

3.  2012 Weddings.  This past week, I booked a few weddings and spent time organizing as I prep to start the actual planning work.  Like I've said feels like a lot more work to get weddings than to do weddings sometimes.  I'm about to start a lot more doing!  Here are a few of the venues I'll be working at this year...Rengstorff House in Mountain View, Fort Mason in San Francisco (pic below), St Gregory's and the Presidio Social Club in San Francisco, and the Marin Art and Garden Center.  And in two weeks, I'll be at Tilden Park in Berkeley to help set up a reception for dear friends!

      Gotta go!  I have work to do!

Allure: 7th Week in Review

It's Spring!  Did you see Kaella's Green and White Inspiration Board on Friday?  I love it.  I love Kelly Green and I love Spring!  In a few weeks, I'll be helping my friends Dan and Andrea with their Tilden Park reception.  It'll be my first wedding to attend this year.  I'm helping to coordinate some of the reception details and set up for them too, so it's a twofer!  (Check out my Pinterest board for Andrea!)  I get to wear my planning hat, then fling it off and party with my dear friends!  The rest of the month, I'll be busy with projects and clients...this week followed suit.  Weddings are in the air!

1. Prep!  Lots on the horizon for Allure!  We've been busy prepping for our first styled shoot and on next week's Review, I'll be able to tell you how it went!  Kaella and I are thrilled to work with One True Love Vintage Rentals for this shoot.  Need special vintage furniture pieces and details for your wedding?  OTL is the place to go!  In another life, I had Amanda's job. 2.  New Video!  We are also working with my friend Sean Basaman, a video producer, for the styled shoot.  Sean is going to shoot the shoot, so to speak!  He will be there all day with us for some 'behind the scenes' footage of our styled, detail-filled 'wedding' and everything that goes into producing it.  Sean and I will be shooting an interview in a few days, prior to the styled shoot, so that I can talk about some of the very important reasons for doing the shoot.  So this week, I needed to scout a location for that interview and make sure I got my talking points to Sean so he could come up with interview questions.  A lot goes into a small production to make it seem effortless!  I plan to put the video on our blog, and my Wedding Wire profile.  And of course, connect it to the finished product--our styled shoot!

3.  Bowerbird Photography.  I met with Ariel and Sam, the lovebirds of Bowerbird, this week and we really connected.  Allure and Bowerbird share a commitment to LGBT weddings and I'm so glad we met to share our stories--personal and professional.  I'll be featuring Bowerbird Photography on a post later this month.  Ariel and Sam are simply lovely to be around and I would LOVE to work with them on weddings this year.  Plus, they graciously offered to take some family photos for us...yes, please!  

Allure: 6th Week in Review

This week flew by!  I can't even believe it is March already!  I was busy with lots of following up, lots of flower and vintage inspiration research and LOTS of proposal drafting. I sent them out like a mama bird pushes her babies out of the nest...I hope that some of them come back to me! Here's a little of what kept this wedding planning mama busy this week:

1.  Flowers Flowers Flowers:  I feel like I am up to my eyes in flowers right now.  Working on the design concepts for two of my couples now, I am constantly adding flowers and information to my lists and pinboards.  Also, I am helping a friend out with the flowers for her wedding at the end of this month and this week the basic plan for this friend-job changed drastically.  I was juggling ideas, research, contact, and budget for these flowers and I learned so much in the process.  I also met a new vendor friend!  Yo, from Array of Flowers, was an amazing contact to make.  His tiny shop is literally across the street from my house and he creates beautiful arrangements in addiction to selling wholesale flowers to businesses like Allure.  I know I will be working with Yo on future projects (so knowledgeable, so helpful!).  And I will also be heading to Yo for my own flowers.  I'm going in today, actually!  I need some hydrangeas on my kitchen table stat.

2.  Office Hours.  I feel like I am working all the time...I have a 2 year old and I have a babysitter that comes once a week to help.  In the 4 hours that she is with Joey, I swear I do a full day's work.  The to-do list I have to catch up on by the time she gets here every week is daunting, to say the least.  Between my son, my husband, my house, my know the rant...I have very little time for anything!  I love my wedding work, I love the business that I am able to have and still be a 'stay-at-home' mom, and I am proud of what I have going on.  But I am on my computer until 2am most nights and weekends don't mean anything anymore.  So I have decided to try to maintain a better balance.  I need to set boundaries for myself and for my clients.  If they see that I am emailing them a response at 2am, I'm afraid they will think I am always available to them, which just isn't possible.  (Or fair, or right, or sane!)  Every profession has 'office' hours in some respect, mine does too!  I just don't adhere to them because I think I can't justify having set office hours since I am working on things all day long...but not 'full time'.  I'm a full time mom, doing my best to do it all.  The only person who can always get a hold of me 'after hours' is Joey.  So, New Allure Hours: 8am-10pm, Monday-Saturday.  Ha!  See, I'm trying, ok?

3.  Styled Shoot!  Allure is teaming up with Kaella Lynn Events and Meg Perotti for a styled shoot.  My first one to produce and coordinate!  My first one to be a part of at all!  I'm super excited about this...Kaella and I have been teasing you for a while about our big 'project' coming up and this is it.  Details are still top secret, but I can tell you it is going to be bright and beautiful and inspiring.  Not just in the pretty details and fun ideas, but also in it's inherent message.  It's been a lot of work to come up with it and set it up, and Kaella is working hard on the styling and design.  I'm so happy with everyone involved.  I can't wait to do it (mid March) and I super duper can't wait to see the final product of Meg's!

Allure: 5th Week in Review

This week has been so busy; I feel like I barely have time to draft this post!  When it rains, it pours...true for work and 'real' life, I guess! Here's a little of what I've been up to this week:

1.  Big Day of Meetings:  On Saturday, my clients from LA came up for a visit and we were a wedding planning A-Team!  We met with Shawna Futagaki of Flower Divas, Kalani Germono for a hair and makeup trial, Gavin Farrington for a photography consultation, and then had a cupcake tasting and planning session at Frost Cupcake Factory in Downtown Campbell.  (Black Velvet = best cupcake ever!)  We got so much accomplished in the wedding-planning-department and had a ton of fun getting it done!  After a long day...I felt really great.  Confident, energized and's a nice feeling! One of my favorite engagement shots by Gavin.  Look at that light!

2.  Pinterest!  I am always on the look out for inspiration to add to my Pinterest boards...Pinterest is now pivotal to my job as a wedding planner, and I'm addicted personally as well.  This week, I have posted a ton of pictures w notes for several clients.  My boards serve as a reference when I am talking to vendors, brainstorming design ideas, and planning styled shoots.  Kaella and I LOVE Pinterest.  I'm planning on posting specifically on Pinterest later...but for now, check out my boards and follow me if you want!  I'll see you out there, pinners!  (Tidbit: I coordinated Ben Silbermann's wedding, one of the brilliant founders of Pinterest!  Learn more about Ben and Pinterest here!)

3.  Allure on the Inspired Guide on Engaged & Inspired!  Check out our listing...we are in great company!

Now...on to the Oscars!  If the cable guy makes it out in time to fix our dish...womp womp...



Allure: 4th Week in Review

Hi!  I hope you all had a fabulous Valentine's week!  I'm a teensy bit glad it's over, actually.  Spring is on the way!  I am really excited about some goings-ons in the next few weeks...Kaella and I have been working on a fun, new project and as details fall into place (and by 'fall', I mean 'get handled by experts--us!'), I am giddy like a school girl with a secret! Here are a few highlights from this last week:

1.  Swedenborgian Church.  I visited the church on Saturday to meet the new events manager, Jenny Son.  We talked about the church's rich history, and it's renewed commitment to LGBT weddings and marriage equality.  We also discussed an upcoming collaboration...more on that later!

Images courtesy of Jere Visalli Photographics and Discovery Bay Studios

I coordinated a wedding at Swedenborgian last September and it was beautiful.  I love the feels warm and intimate, and you can feel the history when you walk in.  It is a pleasure to work there and I hope to many more times!

2.  Our video!  Front page news, people!  On the Allure Home Page, check me out!  I shot this a few months ago with Martin Rossetti of Fill in the Blank Media.  I wanted to put something on the site so that visitors could get to know me a little, and to find out what makes Allure different than other wedding planning companies.  There are plenty out there now and I believe that our training (Cal State Wedding Planning Certification Program), our many years of experience and our commitment to marriage equality do make us stand out.  My goal was to get that across in 45 seconds.  I'm proud of the video and I'm so happy to see it on the site.  Thank you, Martin!

3.  This week I've been doing a lot of planning for my clients K and AJ.  I was hired to do 'Full Planning' for them and they live in LA, so I have been researching, referring and booking vendors this past week...we have a busy Saturday next weekend when K and AJ come up to visit.  4 meetings:  florist, photographer, hair stylist, baker.  Candlestick maker!  Just kidding, but if I needed to find a candlestick maker, I would, no problem!

A week in the life of a wedding planner.  Lots of time on the computer, lots of coffee, lots of phone tag, more cupcakes than other professions (job hazard), sifting through pretty pictures, sending thank you notes, tweeting, blogging, linking, quickbooking, filing, researching, attending fun meet-ups, and shopping for deals on vases and least that's what this wedding planner did in a week!  The work never ends.  I wouldn't have it any other way! P.S.   Promotions! Facebook

Wedding Wire



Allure: 3rd Week in Review

Another week down!  I felt so productive this last week, and then I look at my current to-do list and everything that was crossed off was immediately replaced by another item!  Like pushing a rock up a hill, this momtrepreneurship thing, I tell ya!  But I love it.  The mom part, the business part... I feel very grateful to be living the dream!  Now if only I got paid for the laundry and dishes... I'm getting off track.  This week in review...Allure!  That's what I'm supposed to be writing about!  Allure!  We were busy bees, as usual.  Here are the highlights:

1.  Invitations.  I am on the hunt for the perfect invitations for my clients K and AJ.  We are working with a modest (normal) budget and the colors are sage green and white/cream.  The ordered the cutest save-the-dates, and now I want to find them a more elegant but still unique invitation suite that incorporates their color scheme, and trees or birds in someway.  Maybe a nest?  Too 'baby'?  I'll know it when I see it.  I've probably logged three hours already on this adventure and I won't stop til I find a couple great options for my great couple! 2.  Kalani Germono.  I needed an amazing hair and makeup stylist for a client and I found a gem.  Kalani Germono.  She has a name I'll always remember!  Anyway, talking to Kalani on the phone makes you want to be her best friend.  Her yelp reviews are incredible, her work is to-die, and her prices are ridiculous.  Don't tell her I said that last part.  Ridiculous in good way.  I mean, I'm scheduling myself an updo just for kicks because I want to look fabulous for a day and CAN!  Hair and Makeup always surprises my brides--it's more expensive than they would guess and often, it's cost-prohibitive.  I get it, I understand why, but it's also so refreshing to know that some people are doing great work and aren't charging so much for it that I can't pass them on to my brides.  My glowing referral of Kalani to my client landed her a trial run for hair and makeup!  I couldn't be more excited to have connected with Kalani and I am so confident my bride will like her too, which is a great feeling.

3.  Wedding Wire.  Allure is officially open for business on  Notice the bottom of our right-hand column on this very blog...a link to our vendor endorsements on!  What do you think?  Too much for a sidebar?  Let me know, I need opinions before I hound Kaella for one and present myself in an authoritative light!  Just kidding, she knows I need her design eye...Kaella, what do you think? Anyway...being on WeddingWire is very exciting.  Allure is now represented on all of these wedding search engines:,,,,   It's a place for reviews, endorsements, pictures and our VIDEO!  This video is a promo I shot with my friend Martin Rosetti, of Fill in the Blank Media, a few months ago.  It will be on the Allure website soon, but is up on my WeddingWire profile now!  Work your magic, WeddingWire! 


Allure: 2nd Week in Review

I'm writing this weeks 'Week in Review' as the delicious smell of chorizo queso fills the room.  It's Super Bowl Sunday and we have traditions around here, folks!  My husband considers Super Bowl Sunday an important national holiday, and I consider it a day to eat lots and lots of bacon.  The party we'll be heading off to soon has an annual appetizer contest and 90% of the food entered in will have pork as the first ingredient.  My Quesizo will have to compete against (among others) my husband's famous spicy mac and cheese, homemade sausage stuffed jalapeno poppers, and the ever popular sausage-roll-wrapped-in-bacon-basted-in-it's-own-fat.  Disgusting, I know.  Please don't judge me.

While extremely interesting, Super Bowl Sunday is not actually what this post is about.  This post is my second Week in Review for Allure.  And we had another fabulous and productive week!  So here goes!

1. Baby's Breath.  This week, I was doing lots of research for my full-planning clients; getting married in September at the Rengstorff House.  I love this historic Victorian house venue...the ceremony and reception will be outside on tailored lawns and brick patios, and the land around the house is lush and wild and just beautiful.  I was thinking of some decor and floral ideas that would complement the natural setting and fit in with my client's wedding vision, and speak to their personal style.  I've always liked the way that baby's breath looks when it's bunched together tightly, so I started with that.  I loooove what I found and I sent a description of my preliminary plan (line the aisle with baby's breath on the grass, possibly use baby's breath to decorate the cake and escort card table) over to my clients and they jumped for joy and celebrated my brilliance over champagne and caviar!  (They talked about it and decided they liked the idea, and told me to proceed.)  Here's an example of what I am talking about.  I'll post pictures of my creation in September, of course!

Flowers by Heavenly BloomsI love this topic so much, I might just post more on it later!

2.  Kaella.  This week, Kaella (my assistant, mentoree, and friend!) had her second class at Cal State Hayward's Wedding Planner Certification Course.  She aced the quiz and will post about the class later this week!  This is the same certification course that Michelle Martinez and I both took, so we are so proud of Kaella and can't wait for her to be certified!

3.  Allure's first styled shoot.  I'm thrilled to announce that a special project is in the works for Allure right now.  We are planning our very first styled shoot.  Kaella and I are putting together the details right now and we'll shoot in late March.  I don't want to give too much away, but I will tell you that the reason I am so very excited about this is because we will be styling and shooting vingettes for a wedding with two grooms.  Another super exciting thing about this shoot?  Our friend Meg Perotti will be shooting it.  She is ridiculously talented--here's her site, you want to take a look, trust me!  Here's an example of a styled shoot that Kaella did last month with Edyta Szyszlo.  It was featured in Style Me Pretty! 

That's it for now!  I have to taste this queso...

Allure: Week in Review!

Hiya!  Happy Sunday!  Today I am going to post about this week.  And every Sunday, I am going to do the same thing--an Allure recap of sorts.  The 2012 ball is rolling now and as we start working, I'd like to share our adventures!  Each week is different, that's why I love this job.  A post at the end of the week will be a chance for me to reflect on the work done and recharge for the work ahead.  I envision the posts will be about where we were, who we met, what's inspiring us, and what weddings we are currently working on.  I'm looking forward to sharing!

This Week in Review: 1.  Cake Plate in downtown Napa.  Kaella and I met Paige Smith at The Lab Event on January 14th.  We totally hit it off and planned a visit to see Paige at her gorgeous clothing and accessory store in Napa.  We aren't exactly sure how we will collaborate, but all parties involved hope we do soon!  We'll start the brainstorming off with the fabulous private "shopping parties" that Cake Plate has been known to throw.  Shopping...engagement parties...brides...there's gotta be something in there, right?

2.  Calistoga Ranch.  Allure has been on Calistoga Ranch's preferred vendor list now for a few years, I'm proud to say.  I have planned weddings there before, with Michelle Martinez (the owner of Allure), and I very much look forward to working there again in 2012.  It was really fun to head back up to the resort with Kaella to meet with Mike Moran, the director of sales and marketing there.  The property is simply gorgeous.  The experience of staying at Calistoga Ranch, or having a wedding there, is one of pure luxury -- nestled in wild, beautiful nature.  When I win the lottery, I will definitely book a personal stay.  Until then, I will work for clients getting married there.  And very happily! check out this wine cave--dinner reception inside!!

3.  The Clement Monterey.  Kaella and I drove out to Cannery Row the day after our wine country trip to Napa and Calistoga.  Lots of driving in two days, but totally worth it.  We went to the Clement to visit Nicole Lisane, the new catering sales manager there and old friend of Allure's.  She isn't old, of course!  She and Michelle have been friends for many years and along with 3 other wedding planners in SF, called themselves the Fab 5.  Nicole showed us the hotel and Kaella and I briefly discussed moving in.  (It could never work, how would our husbands eat dinner?)  Right in the heart of one of my favorite little towns, Monterey, this hotel is new and pristine and it smells like a beach and there are fireplaces everywhere and they give you fresh chocolate truffles just for walking through.  I fell in love with it.  And with Nicole!  She was so gracious to take time out and show us around...and Allure is on the Clement's preferred vendors list too...very exciting!

Hope you enjoyed our first Week in Review!  I enjoyed writing it.  I can't promise every post will be this long, but this was a big week for us!  And it's fitting that I would start this new installment after a big week!

In other news--I am almost finished unpacking and I don't need my gps to find my house anymore.  Next week will be filled with lots of research, inspiration hunting and referrals for my newest clients, Kate and AJ.  I'll keep you posted! (Literally.)

photo from