Friday
Mar292013

Happy Easter, Friends!

Thursday
Mar282013

Top 10 Reasons to Get Married in Wine Country

1. The Backdrop- The beauty of Wine Country is truly timeless. The lush vines and golden hills create a soft, intimate setting for any style wedding. Be it hip and Yeah! Rentals abundant or filled with classic farm tables, the canvas of these valleys is a true chameleon.

2. The Food- The Bay Area has become synonymous with incredible food. Here in Wine Country, the local, artesian food community focuses on farm-to-table quality that could rival any number of San Francisco restaurants. Family style meals have become popular for their sense of ease and intimacy. Sharing a meal this way with loved ones touches the heart of what food is truly about, the experience and the memories.

{Collection Member Sage Catering, Collection Member Grapevine Catering}

3. The Flowers- Wine Country florists flock to the San Francisco Flower Market to perfect their trade. As one of the only 5 grower-owned wholesale flower markets in the country, the Brannan Street flower vendors ship their goods all over the country. The unparalleled quality and access to locally grown blooms guarantee that you will have gorgeous flowers at your wedding.

{Collection Member La Fleuriste, Collection Member PoppyStone}

4. The Photographers- Generally speaking, one of the most flooded markets in the wedding industry is photography. Here in the Bay Area, there are tons of talented photographers to pick from. All with their own style and approach, regardless of whole you pick, you will be thrilled with the photos of your special day.

{Collection Members Megan Clouse, Meg Perotti, Delbarr Moradi, and Allyson Wiley}

5. The Wine- Worldclass wineries sprinkle Sonoma and Napa Valley, producing a selection of wine that has challenged French and Italian imports for decades and shows no sign of slowing down.

6. The Downtime- Wine tasting, bike tours, cooking classes, art festivals, music festivals, farmer's markets. Your guests have a laundry list of things to do while visiting Wine Country for your wedding. We encourage them to stay an extra day or two in order to get it all in!

7. The Look- Vintage rentals looks incredible in the rustic, outdoor setting of Wine Country. Whether you are embracing the entire style with an outdoor lounge area or adding simple details, our gal Amanda from One True Love Vintage Rentals has got all your needs covered!

8. The Honeymoon- Since you're already here, why not stay?! Travelers flock to Wine Country year round, but since you are making the trek for your wedding, settle in and enjoy your time here. It cuts down on budget costs overall and with so many places to visit in Northern California, use Wine Country as your home base to explore San Francisco, the coast and the mountains.

{Collection Member Auberge du Soleil}

9. The Rehearsal- We already mentioned food, but now we're talking rehearsal dinners! Both Sonoma and Napa have a versatile selection of great restaurants to choose from for your rehearsal dinner. Most of them have great patios, a wonderful backdrop and a great wine list so your guests can settle into to the slower, Wine Country lifestyle in a matter of minutes. Although not a restaurant, our favorite is Ramekins in Sonoma.

10. The Return- With so much to do in such a beautiful setting, it's easy to come back and relive your special weekend time and time again. Come back to see us!

{Photography by Collection Member Scott Andrew Studio, Floral Design by Collection Member Daisy Rose}

Wednesday
Mar272013

Talking Shop with Madeline of The Shoppe

 What inspired you to open The Shoppe? I have always wanted to have some kind of shop and it started with the idea of a flower shop. That quickly transformed once I had the idea to create cake toppers into something more. The Shoppe continues to evolve and I hope to make it a full fledge party store where you can not only find my cake toppers but handmade, unique and beautiful decor items for weddings and parties alike.

How would you describe your wares? I use the term celebration accessories. To dive deeper, I would say my wares are unique and modern accessories for your wedding and all of life's celebrations.

What is The Shoppe aesthetic? Clean and modern with a touch of whimsy. Though I like modern aesthetics, I also love color and interesting patterns. Some of my favorite textiles designers that I am inspired by are Josef Frank and Marimekko.

A lot of your work is made from plywood. Do you plan on starting to work with other materials? Yes! I would love to start making personal and home accessories using materials such as leather and felt. It's in my head right now, so it is to be determined when I will get it out of my head and into reality...but it will happen!

What type of couple/bride is drawn to your work? Couples who want something different for their wedding and they strive to be unique and appreciate design and art.

Are you currently working on developing any other items/designs for your shop? Yes, I always have ideas for other cake toppers and am working on developing decorative items that you can use at home such as frames, welcome signs, etc.

What is your design weakness? My design weakness is jewelry. I just love it! I love well designed pieces that are unique. They can be huge and bright baubles to dainty pendents. I am continually growing my collection and love to change out what I wear daily. My uniform is jeans, a t-shirt and a statement necklace as it's all about the accessories!

What is your take on the DIY philosophy that has made Etsy? I think the DIY philosophy of Etsy is a great one for people to get out there and try new things without a huge financial impact. It can be a double edged sword since Etsy is viewed as a major DIY or handmade source. Sometimes your designs may be perceived as homegrown that rather than a well designed piece. Overall, I think Etsy is a breeding ground for creativity and unique products. Those companies that grow using Etsy is a testament that it is a good platform for design.

Shop The Shoppe here and here. Discover more of Madeline's work here

Tuesday
Mar262013

London Calling

Today I am off the the motherland! My father {who is British- accent and all!} will be meeting me in England for my cousin's wedding this coming weekend. We'll bookend our trip to the English countryside with a few nights in London and I could not be more excited! I love this country!! After each visit, I find myself falling in love with England a little more each time.

As a first generation American, I have strong bonds with Great Britian. I was brought up drinking English Breakfast Tea, watching Mr. Bean as a family and listening to my father quote Fawlty Towers and Monty Python. "Always look on the bright side of life" is still a family mantra to this day. England has exported some of my most favorite things: The Rolling Stones, The Beatles, children's literature, gorgeous gardens, amazing television and movies and of couse the kickass world of punk rock. I'm not a fan of punk rock myself, but you can't help but appreciate how badass The Clash is.

I can't wait to bundle up and brave the wet, vibrantly green English countryside. I'll throw back some beers with family, eat bangers and mash and of course drink lots of tea.

Cheerio mate!!

MacK

Monday
Mar252013

Local Field Trip: SHED, Healdsburg

Their mission is simple: celebrate and nurture the connection between good farming, good cooking and good eating. Healdsburg's SHED is an intimate farm-to-table take on the San Francisco Ferry building and we are so looking forward to a field trip when it finally opens in the coming weeks. The modern structure will function as an agrarian meeting place where people can gather to share a meal, learn a trade, stock up on artesian gardening tools, gourmet treats and learn what it means to be part of a community of farmers. 

Shopping at SHED will easily become our new favorite thing. The selective collection of tools and wares for your garden, kitchen and home are designed with thought and attention to quality. Larder and Pantry is stocked with housemade gourmet eats and treats, making it easy to bring SHED into your own kitchen. Selected with the same cultivated eye as the homegoods, foodSHED will offer take-away food options, hard-to-find ingredients, local seasonal products and flowers, and flavors from both near and far.

The heart and soul of SHED is their modern interpretation of an old grange hall. Their goal is to bring people together for events focused on farming, food and their community; Sunday suppers, music, readings and social events - an intimate community center. In addition to being a place to eat, shop and stroll, SHED prides itself in being a community of learners. Their Calendar of Events will feature guest speakers, artists, and authors to lead workshops on food crafts, gardening, farming and sustainable life.  Not only will the Grange function as a learning center, but the SHED team is also planning on hosting private events here. The idea of a rehearsal dinner here already has us swooning. 

Learn more about SHED here.

Friday
Mar222013

Happy Friday!

Thursday
Mar212013

Spring Has Spring: Welcome to Outdoor Living

Last week I attended my first barbecue of the year. We embraced the time change in all its glory and stoked the coals on the classic Weber until it was time to light up the fire pit. My friend just recently bought a house that was built in 1910 and with it came the original, perfectly rusted cast iron fireplace. Situated in its new outdoor home, we huddled around the burning logs for warmth. It was a reminder of one of my favorite warm weather pastimes: laughing, eating and sharing stories with loved ones in the backyard.

When the sun finally does set on your barbecue, there are a few goods you'll find yourself needing here in Wine Country. Number one would be a blanket. Nights get chilly here, so be sure to have a collection of yummy throws for your guests to choose from. We love the loom work from Nordt Family Farm and Schoolhouse Electric & Supply Co.'s Camp Wool Blankets. Blinding porch bulbs make it difficult to set an intimate mood, so string some simple lights from your roof to trees and branches. Terrain, Pottery Barn, Pier 1 and Smith and Hawken all have great options. We also love this simple reminder to have your guests close the gate behind them. This rustic, Beer Garden Table would make a lovely addition to any backyard gathering.

Most people aren't lucky enough to inherit a 100 year old cast iron fireplace, so a great alternative is the sharp looking Cooper Fire Pit from Terrain. Keep the kids {both young and old} entertained with classic lawn games like Horseshoe and Croquet. Your garden, whatever the size, may need a little fluffing up. We love a classic woven basket as well as something with a little more punch to it. Crate and Barrel and Pottery Barn both have a great selection of outdoor planters right now.

One thing I loved about the gathering at my friend's house last week was the open door policy. Friends would trickle in. Friends of friends would tagalong. It felt so natural and welcoming. Be sure to have some extra chairs at hand for those friends-once-removed. They are bound to want a spot next to the fire pit.

Wednesday
Mar202013

Happy First Day of Spring, Friends!

It's official wonderful readers - spring has arrived! Here in the heart of Wine Country {in all of Northern California, really} we've had a very mild winter. Lots of clear, dry skies and high temperatures comforted us all the way through what are normally rainy months. In true Wine Country fashion however, we will most likely have a few wet weeks come April. But the time being, we are embracing the new season! The time has changed, the sun lingers in the sky a little longer each day and we are that much closer to Sonoma Farmer's Markets. We welcome you with open arms, spring! Bring on the sun hats!