Wednesday, July 27, 2011

{Organic Wednesday} Lake Champlain Chocolates


Ok are you ready to know my ALL TIME FAVORITE CHOCOLATE!? Ever since my husband and I stopped in to tour Lake Champlain Chocolates in Burlington, VT I have been addicted! We found some for sale at Fresh Market too. They have the highest standards of chocolate-making and use only the freshest, natural ingredients. They are perfect for wedding favors, party favors, shower favors, and table favors. Valentine's Day or a quick fix : )

Lake Champlain Chocolates (LCC), a gourmet Vermont chocolatier and maker of a gourmet line of organic chocolates was selected as “Best Milk Chocolate” in a taste test of more than a dozen varieties of organic chocolates. Martha Stewart's Magazine "Body + Soul" recently selected their Organic Milk Chocolate "Best Milk Chocolate" in their taste test of organic Chocolates.Read more about it.
Let a chocolate favor from Lake Champlain Chocolates add a unique Vermont taste to your unforgettable wedding, shower, or party. Giving chocolate favors reflects your individual expression of quality and sophistication, and customized gift boxes personalize your special day, leaving a lasting impression with guests.

Lake Champlain Chocolates offers sweet indulgences that capture the essence of Vermont, the tradition of making fine chocolate, and the pride that goes into each bite. Preservative-free and Kosher-certified, Lake Champlain Chocolates are crafted in small batches from the finest quality Belgian chocolate and select natural ingredients including local Vermont cream, sweet butter, maple syrup, and honey. Lake Champlain Chocolates are available online at www.lakechamplainchocolates.com

YUM!!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Stella & Dot's Fall Collection 2011

Stella & Dot's Fall Collection 2011 has JUST launched!! 
Here is a sneak peek: 



LOVE THIS!!  
The filigree cuff was inspired by a piece of vintage lace Blythe Harris' grandmother, Dot, left to her!!!

















Renegade Collection
This newly released collection takes a fresh twist on spikes, providing the perfect mix between edge and delicate femininity. Stella & Dot jewelry is always versatile and perfect for layering. Great for bridal party jewelry, gifts, or for THE BRIDE!!  Shop for yours today!

{Bright Idea Thursday} Craspedia a.k.a. Billy Buttons

Craspedia is a genus of daisies commonly known as billy buttons or woollyheads. They are native to Australia and New Zealand where they grow in a variety of habitats from sea level to the alps. If you saw my DIY Guest Book Idea post you would have noticed I used some billy buttons in my flower arrangements. For some reason these funny little yellow circle balls have become one of my favorite flowers and I can't get enough of them. Maybe it's their simplicity, minimalist, modern, and unique look. Lately, I have noticed them in so many wedding images, but with such interesting unique ideas that I had to share! They can be used all by themselves or combined with other flowers, feathers, or twigs. For a dramatic decorative addition they can be used to cover foam balls of different sizes, like in the first image, then placed on your table for a centerpiece element or hung with ribbon as aisle markers.Whatever you choose to do with them, they will be adorable!!!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

{Organic Wednesday} Nourish

Nourish Natural Bath Products
Are you looking for some nice organic ideas to put in your wedding guests' welcome baskets or maybe a nice baby shower give away? I was recently at my friend's baby shower and was given bath fizzies from Nourish as a favor and boy was I happy!! I love Nourish and try to stop by their store where ever I can to purchase some of my favorite all natural bath products. Here are some of their wonderful products and more info on how Nourish came to be.

Glycerin soaps by the slice: My favorite is white tea ginger 

Colorful and generously scented glycerin soap bars containing no detergents, surfactants or sulfates.

Bar soap: try mint julep
A sweet addition of Tupelo honey from our friends at Savannah Bee, with a blend of Spearmint and Peppermint essential oils. Extra shea butter for super moisturization.

try another one of my favs....lavender mint bar soap

Essential oils of Lavender and Peppermint, with jojoba oil and shea butter for extra skin nourishment. 

white tea ginger soy wax candle

Customer response has been overwhelming with our highly aromatic SoyWax candles. These clean burning candles are hand poured into convenient travel tins with clear lids so the candle can be covered when it is not in use and for when you don't want to smell it.


“It was shortly after my baby sister started kindergarten that my mother began making soap in our kitchen. At first it was just a hobby - with molds, mixers, and cutters all made by my dad.  But it soon took hold of my mother and, before too long, of all of us.  When her workspace expanded from the kitchen to include the garage and closets of my childhood home it was clear that my mother’s passion for making soap had become more than about the product.  It had become about the ingredients.  Just as we do today, my mother insisted on using only the highest quality blend of skin moisturizing ingredients to not only cleanse the skin but also improve its health and vitality – free of the chemicals, detergents, mineral oils, surfactants, and parabens that harm our bodies and our planet.

Soap for my family, was a craft – one that required inspiration and dedication.  In 2000, my mother and 
I acted on these feelings and expanded her home business into a small retail store, where she continued to make each bar by hand and where I learned how to run our growing business.  In a year’s time, we had outgrown our little shop and decided to move to our current location in downtown Melbourne.

We began to expand our recipes and our product line as customers confirmed our beliefs that people crave naturally derived health and beauty products that they can trust on their skin and for their families.  Our name grew as the results came in – people simply loved what our products could do for their skin.

Today, Corey and I are thrilled to be continuing what my mother started so many years ago in our kitchen.  We now have three retail stores where we sell a wonderful selection of bath products, as well as the many varieties of bar soap that Corey continues to make by hand.  We are very proud of all of our products - each of which is still created by us with health and wellbeing in mind".

Enjoy!!
Shoshanna and Corey Walker

202 West Broughton Street
Savannah, GA 31401

Phone: 912-232-3213
Email: swalker@nourishsavannah.com 
Web: NourishSavannah.com

Monday, July 18, 2011

Banners and Bunting!

Whether you want banners or bunting using triangles, squares, circles, fabric, paper, they are so simple and quick to make! Plus you can always buy pre-made strands from an Etsy artist too! 

Here are a few inspirational ideas for you and a selection of my favorite Etsy shop creations:
Sources:
 
Add mini triangle fabric bunting to your cake 

Wedding save-the-date letterpress bunting theme designed vintage and summer pattern invitation 

Birthday bunting invitation for a nautical beach party 
DIY invitations that stand out with pop up bunting.

Banners and bunting don't have to be squares or triangles...consider using circles for your Mr. & Mrs. sign.

Whether you're planning a baby shower, bridal shower or wedding, draping bunting can add a nice flair to your event plus give a different feel then hanging tissue poms, lanterns or twinkle lights.

One of my FAVORITE Etsy shops is Potter and Butler! Check out their unique cake banner that happily and effortlessly proclaims the significance of the moment - joyfully shouting for all to hear (in its own subtle way) exactly for whom or why it is that all are gathered to celebrate.  

Jennie Speakman's Etsy shop Studio1621 creates personalized banners (she is making me one for my business!!) You can buy a Mr. & Mrs. banner made of 4x4 white chipboard. Paint stamped black letters, black ink distressed edges all on black feathered ribbon. Connect ribbon for one large banner or keep separate. Lightweight and durable, but can be hung with tape. 

Just married banner 
Another great Etsy shop is Victorianstation's. This creamy vanilla burlap with chocolate brown font and blush fabric hearts creates a nice getaway car Just Married banner. 

Vintage ribbon cake bunting 
Similar to Potter and Butler's cake banner, this Etsy shop makes cute cake bunting for any special occasion! This one is made from vintage ribbon sewn together then strung onto gray thread and attached to food safe bamboo skewers.

Coloring page of bunting
Keep children occupied at your wedding reception or a birthday party with banner and bunting coloring sheets that they can also cut out.

Inspirationalbanners Etsy shop also creates handmade square banners connected with ribbon that can be made in the colors of your choice.



Thursday, July 14, 2011

{Bright Idea Thursday} Bamboo, Beaches, and Mountains!

Many people have incorporated bamboo into their wedding themes whether they are at beach or not. There are many ways to use bamboo and here are a select few creative ideas I found. Plus being so close to the ocean I have included some bamboo themed beach ideas. I apologize for the length of this post, since it is probably the longest one I have done, but I LOVE bamboo, beaches, and mountains. So make sure you read all of it! Plus this is going to incorporate my Organic Wednesday and Wedding Location all in one since it's going to be a crazy week for me!

Why bamboo? Did you know that bamboo is actually a grass that grows to a harvest-able height between 3-5 years. Some species grow up to 2 feet per day. After harvesting, bamboo does not require replanting. Bamboo has an extensive root system that continually sends up new shoots, naturally replenishing itself, making it one of the most renewable resources known. Bamboo is durable and sustainable.

Want some bamboo wedding ideas consider these beautiful letterpress beach invitations or these unique beach invitations. I also love the modern bamboo centerpieces with mini twine balls and bamboo screen lanterns. Plus if you are looking for some beach wedding favors click here.

 
Maybe you want to incorporate bamboo into your wedding registry. Westelm.com has many modern options including these gorgeous bowls. Or if you want some bamboo picnic plates that are reusable go online to partycity.com or stop by the store on Abercorn and you will find a whole collection of Eco party supplies. For those of you in the Savannah area there is a wonderful kitchen store, Kitchenware outfitters that can set up a registry for you and you'll find these bamboo serving utensils there. Another Eco-friendly online store to register for bamboo is Ecofriendlygreenthings.com-love this wine rack!!
 
Now if you plan to have your wedding ceremony at a beach, Tybee Island and Hilton Head Island are right outside of Savannah, GA and provide a wonderful location to share this special moment with your friends and family. Make sure you have a permit and consider having police for crowd control, all of which I can help with if you need to hire a wedding coordinator. In the Jewish faith a chuppah is a traditional canopy under which a Jewish couple stand during their wedding ceremony that can be a cloth or sheet, sometimes a tallit, stretched or supported over four poles. So why not create a bamboo chuppah and wrap in white chiffon!! BEAUTIFUL!! Plus I love twine balls! (just hope for a day that is not windy!) 

Although this is not bamboo, I just love this ringbearer pillow from JwrobelStudio on Etsy since it goes well with an Eco-friendly wedding or bamboo rustic theme. It is made of heavy cotton linen and stuffed with an environmentally friendly cotton sliver, has jute piping and then carefully sculpted petals and leaf for the flowers. The bead in the center of each was rescued from a vintage piece of costume jewelry long past its prime. The button that anchors everything on the back is made from a blueberry branch that came from the artist's backyard. 

If your wedding is on the beach and in Georgia during the hot summer weather (like mine) then you will definitely need some fans for your guests!! I actually bought these exact fans for my wedding and was very happy with them and this company: favorsandflowers.com. 
 
Bamboo image by Glynn-Ann Contrascere and Wedding image by Gene Williams Images of Georgia
Maybe you do not prefer a beach wedding ceremony, then another great wedding location would be the Bamboo Farm & Coastal Gardens, which is a 50-acre University of Georgia Cooperative Extension education and demonstration center. They are open to the public free of charge. Visitors are encouraged to sign- in at the Office/Visitor Center and pick up a self-guided tour map and a self-guided tour brochure or one of their individual garden maps: iris - map, cottage garden - map, blackberries & vegetable gardens. There are several gardens and plant collections to visit or you can just walk around and enjoy the green space. Many of the mature trees were planted in the 1930’s by USDA plant collectors. Be sure to read more about the history of this spectacular place on their website here.

 
Off to your honeymoon......To continue on with this bamboo theme, I must digress and share some amazing photos from Brevard, NC. Since my husband and I had an intimate wedding in July and then he left for Iraq in October, we did not have a honeymoon, instead we had a 2 week R & R vacation in August. Being in a military relationship can be complicated when you are trying to plan a wedding especially since my husband had 2 training trips to go on before he left for Iraq and a lot of extra hours put in before they deployed. Looking back on those few months together I am so thankful he is out of the Army now. I understand and appreciate those who have committed themselves to serving our country and the families that sacrifice! But, back to the amazing photos I took while on our vacation!! We went from the Georgia coast to the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina for our R&R/Honeymoon and stayed at this spectacular cabin, toured the The Biltmore, hiked the Pisgah National Forest. and enjoyed everything Brevard had to offer!
Looking for a romantic getaway or extended stay in the Southern Appalachian and Blue Ridge Mountains? It does not get any better than this! Historic Deerwoode, 175 acres of green, sustainable, peaceful serenity and wildlife preserve along the banks of The French Broad River, one of the oldest rivers in the world. Once a summer camp built in 1923 and closed in 1991, Deerwoode has matured into a quiet retreat for adults only. Preserving the vintage, old hardwood structures, many unique old stone fireplaces, and all with lake, river and mountain views, makes Deerwoode truly one of the most ecological and pretty places in North Carolina, and only two miles from downtown Brevard.
Visit Biltmore in Asheville, NC, a National Historic Landmark with America's largest home, gardens, winery, and world-class luxury inn. Their wine is spectacular and the food at the Bistro was amazing!

WHEW! Did you make it to the end of this post!? Congrats and thank you for reading!!

Friday, July 8, 2011

10 Most Common Wedding Planning Mistakes

By Kate Wood from The Knot
Before you read this I want you to know that I did abbreviate her article a little and added a few remarks, but overall this is written by Kate and she has GREAT ADVICE!!
Doing Anything…Before the Guest List
The problem: You’re engaged! You’re excited! You’re ready to send out save-the-dates, book that reception hall, and choose your flowers— now! Well hang on a second, because we’re afraid you’re forgetting something. Who’s coming to this affair, exactly?
The solution: You shouldn’t make any decisions before you have your wedding guest list somewhat firmly in place. Why, you ask? Well, do you want to have a nonrefundable deposit down on that cozy restaurant room that fits 75 when you finally get your official list together and it’s closer to 150? Think about what kind of atmosphere you’d like for your wedding. Do you want an intimate, close friends and family-only affair, or do you want to throw the event of the season for 300-plus people? Then make your official list, THEN book your reception location.
 
Reading Aloud to Your Fiance…From Bridal Magazines
The problem: Look, we know it’s not the Stone Age, and there are plenty of guys out there who want to see their wedding as an event that reflects their style too (or at least one that’s NOT dripping with pink froufrou). But there’s likely to be a limit to your fiance’s ability to cope with an infinite array of wedding choices.
The solution: Here’s how to defuse a potentially sticky situation (and a minefield of fights you don’t want to have). Take a night OFF and save his sanity (and yours) by designating one night a week as wedding-free. Talk about the weather, your friends, the dog — whatever you want. Then on the other days figure out what he wants or envisions for the wedding and what details he is interested in and keep him in the loop on those aspects, as for everything else give him the abbreviated version.
 Freaking out Because Someone Else Has Your Gown
The problem: These days, to-be-weds spend so much time personalizing their weddings and trying to find really unique big-day details that it does seem reasonable to freak if another couple chooses the same favors or flowers or food. Before you decide to arm-wrestle for it, let us suggest a different way of dealing with this problem before it even becomes a problem.
The solution: If someone else steals one of your ideas, you’ll probably hear a lot of imitation is the sincerest form of flattery but- If you don’t/didn’t divulge every last big-day detail, you won’t have to worry about your bride friends snatching them. Only tell those who you know won’t divulge all your details especially since you want some left to surprise.
 
Realizing That Grape Isn’t Your Color…With 2 Months to Go
The problem: When you started planning your wedding, you knew just what you wanted, but now that you’ve been hard at work for a few months, you have changed your mind.
The solution: A good rule of thumb is that if you’ve already signed a contract or seen a proof, you will have to pay extra for any changes or additions you make. Although if it’s still relatively early in your planning process, don’t be afraid to make the change. But if it is too late remember, you’re getting married to your husband, not your centerpieces.


 Trying to Drop Two Sizes Before Your Final Fitting
The problem: You’ve found the wedding dress of your dreams — though it’s not exactly a perfect fit on the real-life you. Your plan: Order the dress two sizes too small, and then do whatever it takes to make it fit. Or so you think.
The solution: Making a commitment to eat right and exercise is great, but crash-dieting and chaining yourself to the StairMaster is a course likely to end in disaster — and a gown that doesn’t fit.
Instead of losing more sleep than weight, find a gown you love and order it in your current size. If you want to work on your body during your engagement, that’s great — go ahead, but be sure to make your goals are manageable (toning up but not dropping 20 pounds, for instance). You’re more likely to stick with a routine that doesn’t require superhuman willpower. And if you still find that you are freaking about your figure, just remember that you’re about to get hitched to someone who can’t get enough of the way you look (really, truly) right now.
If you do drop some weight, this slow-and-steady approach will help you big time (and help you keep it off long-term). You’ll want to lose those extra pounds before your second fitting — any big changes after that, and though you might be lighter, your alterations bill will be pretty hefty. Your final fitting should be for last-minute tweaks, not a total overhaul.
 Doing It All Yourself
The problem: We love nothing better than seeing the clever projects that couples come up with to make their weddings unique. But even we have to draw the line somewhere. There’s doing it yourself, and then there’s overdoing it yourself.
The solution: Rather than taking on too many projects, pick the one (or two) that you’re really in love with and put your resources (both mental and monetary) into working on those. For the others, do a little research and try to find a ready-made version that makes you happy. With so many great prefab goodies out there especially on Etsy— this will save you a whole lot of time!
 Overloading Your Mom’s Big Day To-Do List
The problem: So you can’t do it all yourself — fine — but you’ve got to have someone you trust double-checking with the caterer and the florist, steaming your veil, or making sure the limo company’s got directions. Most brides turn to good ol’ Mom (or their sister or their maid of honor) to make sure things go as planned on the big day. These folks are usually happy to help in any way they can — but hey, didn’t they come here to party too?
The solution: No matter how worried you are, most wedding-day (and day-before) chores can be trusted to any competent adult, and aren’t there a slew of them coming into town just for your wedding? Before you hand your mom or MOH a mega-task list, consider splitting jobs among a larger group of people — friends, cousins, aunts. They’ll be glad to lend a hand (and likely flattered that you asked), and it’s a great way to include more people in your celebration. If you’re worried about losing track, simply take the to-do list you already have and note who’s who next to each task. Check in with each person at some point, and then check off the chore from the list.
Another option: Hire a wedding coordinator for the final weeks before the wedding. They’re experts at making sure those last-minute details get done, and having the extra hands around will help you (and mom) decide what you really want to be in charge of and what you can happily hand off. It’s more affordable than you might think — and really, can you put a price tag on alleviating that kind of stress?
 Crying Over Mismatched Linens
The problem: The place cards just came back from the printer, and the color of the ink is a little off from the print on your invites. Or the best man’s boutonniere has a hint of baby’s breath where you’d specified berries. Let’s face it, even the most perfectly planned wedding is sure to hit a few bumps along the way.
The solution: When you’ve worked so hard for so many months on your wedding-day details, it can be hard to deal when you find a flaw among them. The key is that when you spot one, you’ll need to take a deep breath and think: How important is this going to be to me in a year? Not in 10 years, not even in five, but in one. Chances are most mishaps that are causing you so much agitation won’t really matter to you once you’re at your wedding (let alone after it). If it’s a serious snarl, go ahead and deal with it. But if it’s a minor mess-up, just move on. You can’t give up all of your resources to every little crisis. Pick your battles wisely and they will be better fought.
 Blowing Your Budget
The problem: You came up with a number. You did some research. You revised the number. You started planning … and now that number’s not going to cut it. Budgeting for a wedding can be the stuff of nuptial nightmares — but that doesn’t mean you should elope.
The solution: If you find you’ve underestimated some expenses, don’t panic. Instead, sit down with your fiancĂ© and try to reach a constructive solution. Maybe you can give up an item or trade one for another (for example, dahlias over Black Magic roses saves about $4 per stem).

Saving Your Place Cards for the Morning-Of
The problem: Right now, it might seem weird to have a basic sketch of your seating plan or all of your favors tagged and ready to go. But other than taking up a little extra space in your closet, they’re not causing any harm — and they will actually save you a ton of stress a month or two down the line. The closer the wedding gets, the busier you’ll be, so making (and sticking to) your timeline is essential.
The solution: Worried you’re jumping ahead on the wedding planning timeline? Don’t be. You’re in the best possible situation. If you’re set on saving tasks until the appointed time (rather than going ahead and doing a little of this or that when you’ve got the time), you may wind up with way too much to accomplish in the last month (or week) before the wedding. That’s exactly the time when anything (and everything) can happen, when everyone will have demands on your time, and you’ll — well, you’ll just want to take a hot bath and dream about your honeymoon. With check marks beside all your biggest to-dos, you’ll be able to relax and enjoy your wedding — and the days leading up to it. Make no mistake about it.  

I LOVE CHECK LISTS!! Kate has given so many helpful tips in this article and I have added it to my document files. If you would like to hire me as your wedding coordinator I can help you with timeline, budgets, checklists, decor, and many more logistical details. Give me a ring or email me <3

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

{Organic Wednesday} Farm Fresh Wedding

While looking for lilac flower inspiration on Pinterest.com I came across this  beautiful image of a Great Pyrenean Mountain Dog!  We have had 4  Great Pyrenees growing up, not all at the same time, and they are wonderful creatures!! Oh how I miss Zo-Zo! Enjoy these country images:

"Joy Thigpen, Meagan, and I recently ventured up to Nashville to hang with Tec Petaja and his lovely wife, Chelsea. Tec found this amazing little B & B 45 minutes outside of Nashville,Watermelon Moon Farm, and the minute we saw the baby goats knew it would be the perfect spot to create and play for the day.
We really loved the idea of a farm to table wedding. Something very low key and organic. All the flowers for this story were simple and gathered from the farm (and the neighbors–thank you!). And we hope the dinner to follow would be a family style feast that would nourish the soul"…For more images go to Once Wed's post