May 28, 2009

While I Was Dangling From The Chandelier I Thought The Little Looked So Big From Up Here

As mentioned earlier, late last week (actually one week ago ... time flies!), I headed up to Ottawa to meet this year's blog winner, Tarriell ... or is she last year's winner?! Through a series of circumstances her date was postponed so the planning hadn't kicked into full gear until now. And boy, did we ever accomplish a lot!

Our first stop was the Chateau Laurier. While not *really* wanting to get married in a hotel, T decided to check it out. And I could honestly see the excitement starting to creep in to her as she started to imagine the day being held there. The room for the reception is a great size (not too big or too small like many others) and an interesting shape!

A bonus with the Chateau? Apparently they distinguish the bride and groom by giving them throne-like chairs. I think T kind of enjoyed it ;)

Another great thing about the Chateau is the abundance of places to take photos. While my picture taking skills didn't turn out well (I was trying to be discreet), these will give Irina an idea or two.

Irina? Who's Irina? I'm happy to announce .: Irina Photography :. is now officially the photographer for T&T ... yayyy!

We weren't finished after the Chateau though. From there we went dress shopping. We ended up at a great little shop out of the way of everything (didn't get lost too many times on our way ;)). T will likely tell more about the dress she's looking for. All I'll say is they didn't have it. She did try on some that would be good back-ups though ... but you can't see the whole thing ;)

And from there we decided to go to a florist that T has had her eye on for months. They were actually getting ready for a wedding for the next day so it was perfect timing to see them in action. T is drawn to purple big time so you can only imagine how she loved this arrangement hanging from the wall ...

From there I was taken to a spectacular Italian restaurant where I ate far too much but it was totally worth it. T is a joy to get to know and I was thrilled to spend an entire day with her!!!

May 26, 2009

Anniversary Song

Late last week I had the fortune of going on a quick business trip to Ottawa to meet a very special client, catch up with some friends and see a bit of Ontario through VIA Rail. The only problem is I was traveling in the dark at times which means there isn't a lot to look at ... so my iPod was a very good companion.

Get ready for a mushy post.

A song came on that I hadn't heard in a while and I was able to really listen to the lyrics. As soon as I did I went into la-la land thinking about my wonderful husband ... and after it was over I went into a silent rant wondering why no one uses this song at weddings. Possibly it's because not many have heard it ... so I present to you the lyrics and a sample :)

Anniversary Song

Have you ever seen a sight as beautiful
as that of the rain-soaked purple
of the white birch in spring?

Have you ever felt more fresh or wonderful
than on a warm fall night
under a Mackerel sky,
the smell of grapes on the wind?

Well I have known all these things
and the joys that they can bring
And I'll share them all for a cup of coffee
and to wear your ring

Have you ever had the pleasure of watching
a quiet winter's snow slowly gathering
like simple moments adding up?

Have you ever satisfied a gut feeling
to follow a dry dirt road that's beckoning you
to the heart of a shimmering summer's day?

Well I have known all these things
and the joys that they can bring
And I'll share them all for a cup of coffee
and to wear your ring

And I don't know how I survived those days
before I held your hand
Well I never thought that I would be the one
to admit that the moon and the sun
shine so much more brighter when
seen through two pairs of eyes than
when seen through just one

Have you ever seen a sight as beautiful
as a face in a crowd of people
that lights up just for you?

Have you ever felt more fresh or wonderful
as when you wake
by the side of that boy or girl

And now every morning there's a cup of coffee

and I wear your ring
who has pledged their love to you?

Well I have known all these things
and the joys that they can bring
And now every morning there's a cup of coffee
and I wear your ring
- Cowboy Junkies

To listen to a sample of the album version, you can find it .: here :. or at iTunes. To hear a concert version (Junkies at their best) listen to .: THIS ONE :.

Photo by

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May 21, 2009

Bright & Early For Their Daily Races

With the birds chirping all around me today, I thought I would look for some bird-inspired finds on Etsy. Soon into my search I found I was drawn to the items with peacocks so here's a full post with some of my faves!

Description and shop are below each photo.

How about this amazing cake topper by .: krishnasadhu :.?!

If you're looking for a wedding gift for a dear one, this mug by .: retrogalusa :. is a great find.

Sweet and simple tile necklace by .: LaMiaCasa :.

More jewellery! .: VeraVinn :. is bringing us something eco-friendly AND inexpensive!

Another fantastic idea for a wedding gift! .: marywibis :. is the talent behind these beautiful pieces.

Beautiful without the accent but spectacular with it! This clutch by .: ClutchThat :. is a steal!

Need to dress up the men in the wedding party? How about these ties by .: toybreaker :.?

Still with the gentlemen, this boutonniere by .: ekaminsk :. is earthy, dapper, understated ... a treasure for any man!

.: ekaminsk :. also helps you complete a matching set with these fantastic fascinators!

And my favourite this week ...

I'm a sucker for lockets. And this one by .: KiwiTreeBoutique :. does not disappoint. Everything is custom designed and simply stunning. My proverbial hat is off to you for creating such a beautiful piece!

May 20, 2009

And I Want All The World To Know

Yesterday I stopped to grab mail and was instantly blown away. I received possibly the sweetest and most heartfelt thank you card from a client. I loved it so much that I wanted to share it with all of you.


Where do I start? "Thank-you" is simply not enough to express my gratitude for everything you did to ensure that our wedding was everything I dreamed of. I hired you for 'day-of' coordination but feel like you helped me plan & execute the entire event. From your vendor suggestions to calming words, to your quick email responses and amazing organization - everything you did made you such an important & absolutely integral part of our wedding. Every time I had an anxious feeling or a "what if ..." thought, I was able to calm myself down with the knowledge that you would know what to do and how to handle it.

You went above and beyond your promised services and for that I am so appreciative. Your services were by far the best money we spent towards the wedding. My bridesmaid is expecting a proposal any day now and I already told her that as soon as she sets the date she absolutely must retain you!

Thank-you for the candles - such a perfect example of how you set the bar high & jump even higher!

Thank-you x a million!

Autumn & Mat"

Believe me, it was an absolute honour, Autumn. I'm truly humbled by your kind words ... especially since you were such a dream to work with!

Stay tuned for more pictures of Autumn & Mat's beautiful occasion as they are edited :)

May 19, 2009

What A Lovely Place

I received some of the best eco-tips ever from some of the best readers ever!

Jessica was lucky enough to win the recent contest but she also gave back with this awesome piece of advice:

“My eco tip: pour a handful of brown sugar into your palm, add just enough honey to mix well and use as a face scrub- way less chemical involvement than store bought and no extra packaging!”

She wasn’t the only one dishing though. In no particular order, here were some of my faves …

“My best eco-tip is to use reusable menstrual products. I love, love, love my diva cup and pretty soft cloth pads. Not only am I helping the earth by not tossing several blood-soaked piles of bleached cotton and plastic in the trash, but I am so much more in touch with myself as a woman. I am not gross or disgusting and my menstrual cycle is not gross or disgusting. It is part of who I am as a woman!

Cloth diapers are also a great idea for those with babies. Disposables are absolutely awful for the environment, and cloth (which has really been updated - there are dipes that look and function like disposables these days, you just don't throw them away!) is a great and frugal alternative!!”

“I have banned harsh chemicals from my house. I only use biodegradable safe products. The harshest thing in my house is melaleuca oil, which I use with vinegar to clean my floors. I use either Melaleuca brand products or orange cleaner. My motto is if it has a warning label on it I don't buy it. I also go through a lot of baking soda and vinegar. It works great for cleaning as well as orange extract cleaner which I buy in bulk and refill my bottles.”

And the following reader went above and beyond with her amazing list. I’m only going to post snippets at the moment but another day will definitely share all FIFTY-ONE tips with you!

• Lower your thermostat. Buy a programmable thermostat.

• Reuse your water bottle. Avoid buying bottled water. In fact, reuse everything at least once, especially plastics.

• Check out your bathroom. Use low-flow faucets, showerheads, and toilets.

• Start a compost in your back yard or on your rooftop.

• Buy foods locally. Check out Eat Local Challenge and FoodRoutes to get started. Buy locally made products and locally produced services.

• Buy in season.

• Recycle your newspapers.

• Consider a car sharing service like Zipcar.

• Go to your local library instead of buying new books.

• Get off junk mail lists.

• Buy products that use recyclable materials whenever possible.

• Landscape with native plants.

• Take your batteries to a recycling center.

• Do full loads of laundry and set the rinse cycle to “cold.”

• Recycle. If you’re not at home, take the extra steps, (literally), to find that recycling can.

• Reuse. Plastic food containers make good crayon and marker holders. Use padded envelops more than once. Buy your toddler or preschooler’s clothes from a thrift shop and give away those that don’t fit to friends. Goodwill or the Salvation Army can help.

• Limit the length of your showers. Even better, take a “navy shower,” shutting off the water while soaping up and shampooing.

• Recycle your technology. Dell, Hewlett Packard, Apple, and IBM, among others, offer recycling programs.

• Good to the last drop. Switch to fair trade coffee.

Thank you so much for contributing to this everyone ... I really am quite humbled at how everyone came together!

May 18, 2009

You Must Be The One

The contest for a copy of Ecoholic by Adria Vasil is officially over!

Congratulations to ...

*drum roll* ..................


Make sure you send me an address and I'll have it sent off to you asap :)

I'll be posting the wonderful tips given by you as soon as possible. My readers really are incredible!

May 6, 2009

Near, Far, Wherever You Are

Back from vacation. Boo.

Playing catch-up today so I won't go into too much detail of where I went and what I did but a great time was had by all! My mom and brother were visiting from B.C. so we did many tourist-y things including Niagara Falls ...

I have a few other pictures I would like to share once I have more time. Until then, keep the entries for the Ecoholic book coming! I've actually extended the contest until next Wednesday, May 13th at midnight, EST. Keep the tweeting coming! ;)

May 4, 2009

You're the one that I want

In early March, before flying off for his tour, MM and I went to check out a little country inn near our city. It turned out to be beautiful, and while not perfect (what venue is?) we had high hopes for it, based on what the proprietor told us. It seemed like all that was left was for us to get the contract, confirm that the pricing and terms matched what we'd been told, and voila! the search would be over.

It was the one we wanted. Or so we thought. MM flew away thinking it was all over but for the ink.

It was not to be.

After a long and frustrating wait, in which Susan followed up several times, the prices and contract landed on her desk and whoa! it turns out that the prices quoted on that visit didn't begin to truly approach the reality. Despite some forthright and honest attempts to negotiate, the gap between what we are willing to pay and what they expected to get paid could not be bridged. Thus, no matter how beautiful, that venue was not the one for us.

So now we are back to the drawing board. Same three issues as before exist. There are three bigs ones:
... our wedding size
... the kind of sophistication and intimacy we want
... cost

Our seemingly healthy budget is not really up for negotiation. We want something that feels beautiful, sophisticated and polished, yet not cavernous or impersonal. And we are still facing the issue that the Ontario venue market doesn't think that people invite 30-45 people to weddings.

I'm trying to keep an open mind and realistic expectations though, along with a much shortened list relative to last fall. The biggest problem right now is my time. Between my thesis crunch time and my upcoming vacation (going to spend three weeks with MM in Europe in June whoohoo!), I don't know how or where I'll find the time to be jetting all over Eastern Ontario looking at places.

Wedding flowers 101- First lesson: The bridal bouquet

Jessica from Periwinkle here- Yet another bridal appointment began with the bride to be uttering the words “I don’t have any idea about flowers for my wedding…” This happens often, and has spurred me to this- the Periwinkle guide to what you as a bride need to think about when thinking about your wedding flowers in order to get the perfect mix for you.

First up, let’s do as we at Periwinkle do in our wedding consultations and start from the top with the bride herself. The very first thing we as a florist want to know is what the dress looks like. This always gets the bride talking, which is great and we usually get way more detail than we need. Essentially, what matters is the colour, the style and if there is any ornamentation. So let’s tackle these one by one.

The colour:

Very seldom do we get brides going with an actual colour over a shade of white, but when they do it opens up a world of possibilities for the bouquet. But neutral still reigns for the bridal gown, and so what we need to know is are we talking true white, natural white, off white, ivory, cream….you get my drift here. Because the dress is the background for the bouquet, the flowers need to compliment it while actually showing up in front of it, so if it is a true white and you have your heart set on only the purest white flowers, we will recommend having a greenery collar at least, probably mixing some greenery into the posy itself. This is because if you don’t, all your photos will show you holding basically nothing in your hands as the white flowers will be indistinguishable from the white of your dress. Choosing an off white heading into the creamy tones means we will try to avoid using too much pure white in your bouquet, as this can often make the colour of the dress seem “dirty” or “muddy” against the pureness of the flower colour.

The cut:

Again, we get a lot of detail about this, but what we want to find out is how full the gown is and if it is following a particular era in styling. For example a gown with a full skirt and sleeves will need a fuller fancier bouquet, perhaps getting into a teardrop or cascade even, to balance out the visual weight of the skirt- a delicate posy of lily of the valley would be totally lost. A slender, body skimming fit lends itself more to elegant architectural bouquets, such as three stems of calla lilies left long and simply bound. If the gown has a princess feel we will know you are heading for a different look overall in the wedding than the bride that has chosen the 1930’s art deco gown.

The ornamentation:

Is there some delicate beading around the waist band? Embroidered vines all over the skirting? Your florist needs to know if the dress is calling attention to a particular area so the bouquet doesn’t take away from that- A too full posy will block that beading from view entirely, and we’d want the posy for the embroidered dress to have some echoing of the vines within it, without making it feel like the whole look is overgrown!
Ornamentation can also give some great little details that we can then pull through the rest of the wedding- One Periwinkle bride had a beautiful coloured sash around her waist- this was repeated with similar satin ribbon at the necks of the centerpiece vases and was a wonderful personalization of the event.

You chose your gown because it makes you look how you want people to see you, even if this wasn’t a conscious part of your decision process, so a good florist can glean a lot of information about what your want in flowers from hearing about your dress. Breaking down the elements of colour, cut and ornamentation is a great way to help guide you in your bridal bouquet choice, even if at first you really do feel you have “no idea ” about the flowers.

In my next installment we will tackle the bridesmaids and flower girls so stay tuned!