20 year wedding anniversary_reviving charm


Life is interesting. You can cross paths with someone and in that unsuspecting moment, not realize that they are the person who is going to turn your whole life around. For me, that person was Mr. B. He’s the person I think of morning, noon and night. He’s the person that makes life interesting and exciting (no exaggeration) and he is the one I can’t imagine life without. We’re 2 peas in a pod.

Today marks our 20th wedding anniversary and although we are celebrating on a tiny island in the middle of Lake Maggiore, Italy, I can’t help but reminisce about the wedding we planned 20 years ago. From the start, we liked doing things differently and planned a destination wedding long before they were ever popular. The internet wasn’t around in 1998 and I made all plans and reservations over my Pacific Bell “princess” landline phone. We chose to book one of two presidential suites at the Four Seasons Olympic Hotel (now known as the Fairmont Olympic Hotel) in Seattle to serve as the backdrop for our small, intimate affair. It was booked sight unseen and we didn’t see the room until a few hours before the wedding took place. We figured, “It’s the Four Seasons…c’mon how bad could it really be?” I eventually asked the hotel to send me pictures of the room and they happily obliged (The Four Seasons was very accommodating before, during, and after the event). However, I had to wait for the pictures to be developed and sent overnight via Fed-X. Interesting how times have changed!

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This was our wedding cake. Again, wanting to stray from tradition and opting for something more unique, we decided to design our own version of the wedding cake. I asked the hotel to create individual cakes for each of the 20 guests. When I made the request, I was told it was something the hotel had never done before and my wedding coordinator would have to first consult with the pastry chef. Naturally, they accommodated my request and each guest was served their very own miniature wedding cake adorned with fruit and fresh flowers (the miniature roses were my favorite). Printed menus were placed at each table setting and the dessert course was described as a “wedding cake surprise”. The cakes certainly were a surprise because we had no idea how they would exactly turn out until they were served at the wedding. Thankfully, they came out just as I had imagined and people enjoyed them so much that they continued to talk about them for many years to follow. It was a wonderful day and if I had to do it all over again, I’d do it in a heartbeat.

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Easy Entertaining for Cinco de Mayo

Cinco de Mayo is always a great excuse to gather a few friends over. Whether you’ve been planning a fiesta for a while or are more a spur-of-the-moment kind of person, here are a few easy, last minute ideas to help you plan your party. Happy weekend! CINCO DE MAYO 2018_reviving charm

  1. I love the idea of using pink and orange roses arranged in a terracotta pot for a festive, stylish centerpiece. (image via host_to_perfection)
  2. If you are hosting a sit-down event, use fresh limes as a place cards. They are inexpensive and readily available.  A white craft pen (available at most craft stores) can be used to write the name of your guests.
  3. I’ve always liked the idea of using food containers as planters (see this post). This is an easy way to highlight the theme of your event.
  4. The guacamole at one of my favorite Mexican restaurants also includes the following ingredients:  orange juice, finely shredded orange rind and pomegranate as garnish. It’s delicious and colorful.

It’s been a while since I’ve been in my studio painting, but I’ve picked up my paint brushes again and have been working away on some new paintings. The background image seen above is actually something I painted yesterday. I will venture to guess that you’ll be seeing more of my work here on the blog.

Derby Day Festivities

Today marks the annual running of the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs. For a majority of people in California, celebrating the Kentucky Derby is not at the forefront of their mind. I might be the one exception. There is something to be said about such a long-standing tradition and the stylish outfits people wear to the event. Plus, it’ a great excuse to celebrate and throw a great party. Each year Kentucky landscaper Jon Carloftis and his partner Dale Fisher throw a Derby-inspired party. I have to agree with Jon who recently shared with One King’s Lane that Derby day is less about horses and more about people. “There’s something about it that makes you feel like you’re celebrating with the rest of the world,” says Jon. I sure hope that when I get the chance to attend the Derby in person that I get an invitation to one of Jon and Dale’s fabulous events. It will give me a great excuse to have another custom hat made for me. But for now, I will have to celebrate across the miles…

Vintage runners line the path at Jon and Dale’s home. This is your first clue that the event is sure to be a beautiful bash.
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A couple of stylish guests arriving. Her smile is contagious, isn’t it?
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Jon Carloftis (left) and Dale Fisher enjoy the festivities. Don’t they look dapper? Jon Carloftis Dale Fisher kentucky derby party

A delicious spread of quick bites are set up inside the pool house. kentucky derby entertaining jon carloftis dale fisher 2

The table is adorned with a bouquet of red roses paying tribute to the official flower of the Kentucky Derby since 1904. In 1925 the tradition was strengthened when New York sports columnist Bill Corum, later the president of Churchill Downs, dubbed the Kentucky Derby the “Run for the Roses.” Each year the winning horse of the Derby is draped with a prestigious garland of more than 400 Freedom roses, each inserted into its own vial of water. Given that one statistic, it’s not surprising to learn that the garland weighs in at approximately 40 pounds and measures 122 inches long and 22 inches wide.
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Jon and Dale serve beverages up in style. The Old Forester Mint Julep is the official drink of the Derby. I posted the official recipe in last year’s post.kentucky derby entertaining jon carloftis dale fisher 7kentucky derby entertaining jon carloftis dale fisher 4

Happy Derby Day!

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Entertaining with Casa de Perrin

A lot goes into planning a party or event. Case in point…when newlyweds Josh and Diana started planning their wedding, they began to accumulate mismatched sets of antique silver until they had enough for their five-course wedding dinner. Before you know it, their hunt for their wedding dinnerware would evolve into a business known as Casa de Perrin, named after a set of heirloom plates inherited by Josh. The Los Angeles-based luxury tabletop curation and design brand rents and sells flatware, dinnerware, and tabletop accessories. Their website is also a feast for the eyes (pun intended) with beautiful images to inspire your next fête. I am tempted to host a party just to create a beautiful tabletop incorporating their selection of beautiful pieces. Any event featuring Casa de Perrin is one event guests are sure to enjoy.
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Having to keep up on major retailer and restaurant trends, mergers, closings and openings can be somewhat of an occupational hazard of my day job. While there have been rumors that the online company One Kings Lane would be sold, I learned last week that Bed Bath and Beyond has indeed purchased them for an undisclosed amount. I don’t know what this will mean for the future of One Kings Lane but I can only imagine (pure speculation on my part) that changes are to come given that the company will be under the control of a big box retailer…maybe not immediately but eventually. Again, it’s speculation and I sure hope I am wrong!

“…We are thrilled for the opportunity to provide them with additional support and exposure to promote and grow their brand…At the same time, One Kings Lane will serve as a cornerstone for Bed Bath & Beyond’s growing offerings in furniture and home decor, and together we will be able to do even more for and with our collective customers wherever, whenever and however they wish to interact with us, and to further our mission to be viewed as the expert for the home.” — Steven H. Temares, CEO, Bed Bath & Beyond, Inc.


I have followed the site One Kings Lane since its inception in 2009. The site has evolved over the years from a flash sale website to a full blown design resource and style guide. I have ordered from them on a few occasions and have been happy with my products, as well as their customer service. One Kings Lane has a distinctive flair with beautiful imagery that always looks effortless chic. I particularly enjoy how they show off gorgeous spaces and vignettes coupled with stylish people from creative industries. They pair these features with suggested items from their site so you can achieve a similar look in your own home. For now let’s bask in the moment and enjoy One Kings Lane as we know it today with an intimate summertime gathering shared on their site. This lovely outdoor event was designed by Tara Guérard, a Charleston, South Carolina event planner. Doesn’t it look like a perfect place for a luncheon?

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Entertaining doesn’t have to be difficult…or expensive. After dissecting Tara’s tabletop, I realized that you don’t have to be a professional party planner to create a tabletop as stylish as the one she created for her outdoor soiree. By incorporating these five simple ideas you can create something equally as lovely:

  1. Table linens. Invest in good quality white table linens. White is classic and versatile. You can use them in a casual or formal setting and they are well suited for any theme.
  2. No sew table runner. Tara purchased fabric off the bolt to create a table runner with absolutely no sewing required. That’s my kind of project…BUT…I’m kind of OCD so I might just hem the ends and leave the selvage ends as is. Maybe…
  3. Simple centerpieces. Forgo the elaborate centerpiece and opt to scatter a few flowers of the same variety across the table. Floral containers don’t need to be identical but they should be complementary to one another. If you are using multiple arrangements, be sure to incorporate an odd number of them to ensure your table looks balanced. Tara opted to use five white hydrangea arrangements in complimentary blue and white containers. Repetition contributes to this winning floral design.
  4. Ribbon to the rescue. Using ribbon to tie around cloth napkins is a great alternative to actual napkin rings. If you don’t have napkin rings that suit your theme, this is a great way to add a creative touch. Tara took it one step further by layering her ribbon. A wide satin ribbon was used and topped off with a single strand of striped grosgrain ribbon to compliment the blue and white stripe on the tablecloth.
  5. Color tip. There is a time and place for a perfectly matched table setting. However, sometimes matchy-matchy can be boring. The place setting below is a perfect example of how you don’t have to use the exact same color to make a design work. In fact, Tara’s use of a variety of blues compliment each other and keeps this design fresh and interesting.

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The theme is further emphasized with the use of “blue” berries served in refreshing beverages.

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Above & below: I am a firm believer that children’s tables shouldn’t be overlooked. The same thought and planning you put into the adult table should be taken into consideration for a children’s table. Actually, I sometimes have more fun decorating the children’s table than the adult table. It’s a great excuse to get creative and have fun. It’s a time to let your inner child shine!

Adding a treat to the children’s table is a nice touch. In keeping with the blue theme, Tara adds a chocolate bar with a blue wrapper at each child’s setting. Add a little greenery from the garden for a no cost, stylish decoration.

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Don’t overlook the beverage table. This is a great opportunity to reinforce your design theme by using a similar style. Tara selected beverages with blue and white labels to match the decor. I have actually done this, and it’s funny how it makes for great conversation.  Plus, it makes your guests feel extra special when they realize you took the extra effort to plan out every single detail.

Do you plan on entertaining this summer? If you have any helpful hints, please feel free to share. 

Photos via One Kings Lane. This post contains affiliate links.


Over the last few days I have been searching the internet looking for inspiration for today’s Cinco De Mayo post. I was trying to come up with an authentic twist on the holiday that wasn’t too kitschy. My prayers were answered when I stumbled upon a online article in Elle Decor featuring the work of event planner Calder Clark,  who provides an original take on Cinco De Mayo festivities that can easily be translated into an upcoming summer event.calder clark cinco de mayo reviving charm

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The mix of bright hues and textures creates a beautiful, yet sophisticated table display.

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Inexpensive terracotta pots were whitewashed and embellished with placecards.

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Using fresh fruit is a clever way to add color and texture to the table. Select interesting fruit like papaya and blood orange for the most visual impact.

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I love these handpainted glasses that really punctuate the Mexican theme.

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Many people tend to think that all succulents are green but they can provide an amazing amount of color.

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Don’t forget a fresh pitcher of margaritas.

Photographs by Caitlin Colcolough for Elle Decor.

Reviving Charm_How to host a champagne party


Many years ago Mr. B and I hosted a New Year’s Eve Champagne Party. It was one of the best parties we had. French bubbly and appetizers (including caviar) were served all night long and into the wee hours of the morning…it was great! This year, however, I am looking forward to a very low key, intimate celebration. I get cheated out of buying a new outfit and shoes but I guess the trade-off is the fact that I get to ring in the New Year in the comfort of my own home with the one person that means the most to me. That’s definitely better than any party dress…

If you don’t have plans yet for New Year’s Eve but feel like having a few friends over, try hosting your own champagne party. Trust me, pulling this together is easier than you think. Purchase individual serving size champagne bottles, which are readily available at most beverage shops. What’s nice about the miniature bottles is that there is no need to worry about buying champagne glasses or washing them once the party is over. Plus your guests will love the novelty. Just don’t forget to buy some cute straws to accompany each bottle.

Artfully arrange your miniature champagne bottles on a tray and you instantly create a festive vignette without a lot of fuss. Add in a few of your favorite appetizers and you have yourself a party. Cheers!

Come quickly, I am tasting the stars.  — Dom Perignon (at the moment he discovered champagne.)

Serving up Italian Prosecco is a good alternative to French Champagne.

Images via Pinterest.