Tuesday, May 27, 2014

LA LA Land

Warning: This post does not involve baking. At least, not my baking. It's much more personal. About a lovely journey I took with two friends who happen to be incredibly inspiring creative women I have grown to admire, count on for good laughs, and truly love. Lauren, my great buddy and calligrapher extraordinaire was traveling to Los Angeles to teach calligraphy classes in collaboration with DesignLoveFest and asked myself and Amanda (a super talented photographer and fashion stylist) to tag along. I just so happened to not have any weddings or events booked that week, so I said a big fat HELL YEAH. And next to traveling with your buddies to a tropical island where the drinks are served in coconuts with bright twisty straws, I'm pretty sure LA is the perfect place for a lady trip. As much as it is hard for me to ever feel like I leave my business behind even for a day, I have to say I truly felt an escape here but also felt so refreshed and inspired by the gorgeous sun-drenched COLOR that is LA. People are nice here. Really. (And we come from Texas, where the folks talk slow and smile from ear to ear, so that's saying something.) Everywhere we stopped people were warm, welcoming, and ready to mingle. Succulents and cacti crawled out of cracks in the sidewalk as if they were planted that way, on purpose by the dudes pouring concrete. Perhaps what I loved most was just navigating the Echo Park and Silverlake streets with Amanda, sharing all sorts of stories, gushing over wild bungalow yards, and stopping to check out lovely little creative shops.

The following are a collection of photos I took because it was just all so wonderful.

View from the rooftop of our hotel, the Ace. It's so Wes Anderson, right?

These little pencil drawings were all over the walls of the Ace. I'm inspired to take some pencil to my own walls now. I just love them!

I don't know how "LA" the Ace is, but the lobby and cafe sure were dreamy in a time lost sort of way. Also won points for serving one of the most delicious iced coffees ever in a little Stumptown glass jug. 

I feel like I had an instant connection with Lauren. When we met it all seemed so easy and natural and I knew that we would be friends. I don't really remember how our friendship developed after that initial meeting, because it seemed to happen that fast and easily. What I love most about her is that I can speak with her openly and honestly, and know that every other minute we will laugh. She is also a very wise, kind, and respectful business BOSS who I admire greatly and learn so much from. So happy to call her a true blue friend. In LA. (ha!)

Did I mention Lauren is an extremely talented calligrapher and paper designer? Oh yes, I think I did. And here's proof. And the whole reason we went to LA. She is an amazing teacher and if you haven't taken her class, seriously stop reading this and sign up right now because you will have a blast and leave with a pretty cool new skill.

Amanda and I were pretty obsessed with the idea of getting a COOL manicure.  One we sadly can't achieve in Fort Worth. I rarely get the treat of painted nails in the food service industry and always relish the opportunity to indulge my dry and flaky old lady dishwasher hands in this feminine treat. (Truth: we started planning our manicures before we even got off the plane.) Gloss Nail Spa did not disappoint!!! My Sprinkles and Pineapple nails were as crazy as I imagined and I couldn't resist taking tons of photos with them as if they were weirdly beautiful little props. I'm not sure I succeeded but I had fun and that's all that matters, right? 

The plants in LA. They are a perfect sub-species that should have whole books and sonnets written about them. If there were an address for such love letters, I would definitely write a few. Oh wait. 90210!

Someone told us to check out this shop, called Cook Book. Major kudos on the name alone - so good. It was a gorgeous little locavore haven. Lots of beautiful veggies etc heaping around waiting for you to buy them and cook up a delicious dinner. We ordered room service from the hotel and so I don't feel qualified to even post a secret photo I took of the place, but still, it's beautiful and if I wanted to get all romantic on my life and stroll down from my mushroom cacti echo park bungalow to cook a meal for my beautiful actor man, I totally would stop here. 

I loved driving through the hills of Echo Park and dreaming about which gorgeous little bungalow I would most like to inhabit. This one was definitely not the most lovely, but I fell hard for it. The landscaping, the color, the weird little mushroom men. 

Amanda and I drove out to Venice one day and had such a lovely lunch with wine and grilled cheeses at a place called Salt. 

Surf Timez will never be My Timez but I enjoy the way they paint their garages.

Everything grows everywhere here. If you live anywhere else and like to grow things it will make you feel incompetent and exhilarated all at once.

I'm pretty much obsessed with Will Bryant's work. Take one look and if you don't love it and get the most happy vibes ever then well oops sorry for wasting your time and I think you should probably give it another look anyway because it is in my mind just Perfect. So I was so very happy to get to see his show at Poketo, and to see Poketo in its own right which is an amazing little shop full of happy things. Thank you, WB and P and LA.

Brunch at Bottega Louie deserves an entire subchapter. If you like to look at beautiful desserts and eat extraordinarily yummy things, then this place is like the Heaven Mecca you never thought quite possible. Which explains the crazy amount of photos I indulged in taking through glass display windows as a million people in white uniforms buzzed all around me filling orders. I want to see behind these scenes. Who do they have back there making all these beautiful things? What is the story? I want to make them all. And package them all as beautifully as BL did. And have a fleet of men in white gloves and paper hats buzzing around my clients. 


Big Daddy Macaron Princess Cakes!

The beginnings of our brunch with PERFECT beignets!

Do they get any more lovely? Take THAT every other random ass cupcake shop in America. It doesn't get better than this.

We thought it would be a really beautiful moment to order something decadent, haul ass back to the Ace, march up to the rooftop and devour the dessert. It was!

This thing was awesome.

My real life is nothing like this. This kind of giddy decadence happens once, maybe a twice a year. Which is why I have no shame in sharing it now. It's important to indulge every once and awhile and to do it with beautiful souls and to share gorgeous meals and to soak it all in.

Here's a video the lovely Amanda Marie Lackey made of our trip. She is one of the most energetic, entertaining and just lovely humans I have met. You will want to pinch her cheeks and tell her your darkest secrets and sing songs at the top of your lungs with her all in the same day. Or maybe you just want to hire her for styling and photography because she's incredibly talented at those things too? Ok.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Tour de Coop!

In April we celebrate chickens. Don't you?? We had the most fun putting together an elaborate sweets table in collaboration with Silver Lining Events for this funky little party to celebrate one of the coolest chicken coops you will ever see. Deena is the proud mama of Lucy and Ethel (adorable, right?) and decided to throw a bash so that her friends could properly meet her beloved little fowl and tour her beautiful home garden. The party was aptly and affectionately called "Tour de Coop".

Deena's home boasts a beautiful and cozy French Country style, from the architecture down to the most amazingly warm kitchen I've ever seen, so we used that as inspiration for the party overall and especially her sweets table, which was literally a gorgeous farm table. We used a mix of milk glass, galvanized stands and rustic wood pieces to display all the goodies: French madeleines and macarons, raspberry pavlovas, blackberry lime creme tartlets, doughnut holes, and a collection of garden-inspired mini loaf cakes (lemon thyme, pistachio with edible flowers, orange rosemary, and banana walnut).

Hope you enjoy this little Tour de Coop! All beautiful photos by Apryl Ann Photography

The coop has a chandelier inside!

What's a chicken party without a mini cow?

Vendor List
Planning + Design: Silver Lining Events and Co.
Photography: Apryl Ann 
Dessert Table: Cakewalk Bake Shop