The Flower Market

Posted on Mar 3, 2014

flower market and Katie's 007

Adventure Day at the Flower Market

It’s impossible to have a bad day when it starts at the flower market! Imagine rows and rows of gorgeous flowers, greens, and orchids in every color and kind lined up for your perusal.  That is the wholesale flower market experience and I got to go today (lucky me!).


My local wholesale flower market is in Carlsbad (at the north end of San Diego).  This is where wholesale growers and importers sell their cut flowers, greens, and plants to florists and the those in the flower business.  In a large warehouse 20 or more vendors line up buckets and buckets of cut flora for buyers to gather and purchase.  Since flowers are perishable, most florists get fresh flowers three days a week from this type of market.


flower market Katies 6


As I’m sure you can imagine, the place smells heavenly! Roses, tuberose. lilacs and mums, to name a few, perfume the air and make it an olfactory experience like no other.  Literally hundreds of thousands of blooms are all contributing their fragrance in one building.  The temperature is always cool in a wholesale flower warehouse to ensure freshness and longevity of the flowers.  The combination of fragrance and cool temperature always takes me back to my first visit to the LA flower market several years ago…


flower market


I was a freshman in college studying Ornamental Horticulture and one of my required class options was Floral Design.  We had a mandatory field trip to the Los Angeles flower market from school.  I remember I had to get up at 2:00 a.m. to get to school by 3:30 a.m. so we could be at the flower market at 5:30 a.m., half an hour before they opened for a special tour ( and so we could see it before the mad scramble at 6:00).  The first time I saw all those flowers my jaw dropped.  I recognize everyone thinks flowers are pretty, but when you’re a flower person through and through as I am, there’s something magical about a place like the flower market that touches your soul.  I can only compare it to walking into a warehouse of different kinds of money stacked and piled everywhere. I’d found nirvana and wanted to roll in it! It didn’t matter how exhausted I was, I couldn’t stop looking at all those flowers.  Every kind and variety and color imaginable.  How could I leave that place?  It was perfect!  Eventually our instructor made us leave, but I will never forget that day.


flower market and Katie's 001


I flashed back to that day when I walked into the wholesale flower market warehouse today.  Flowers and color and color and flowers were everywhere!  I wanted them all.  My purpose, however was to select options for 20 centerpieces I am making for a friend’s luncheon and to scout flower types and colors for another friend’s daughter’s wedding.  We’ll call that friend Kathy.  She came with me to check out colors and types of flowers for her daughter. Part of the fun of arranging flowers for friends is I get to play with the flowers and they have to pay for them :0) .  That is one of my favorite things EVER!


flower market and Katie's 008


Within a few visits to vendors I knew what I needed for my friend’s luncheon.  Meanwhile, Kathy was having the experience I had in college and was mesmerized by the flowers, fragrance, and color.  I saw the look in her eyes and knew we were not getting out of there empty handed!


flower market and Katie's 011


Originally, it was just a scouting mission, but when she saw all those beautiful flowers she decided to buy a bunch of each type she thought she wanted for the wedding and I agreed to make up samples for her when we got back to my house.  Before long our arms were loaded with several clusters of blossoms and greens classically wrapped in newspaper. In fact, we got so many she decided to buy a bucket from a vendor so we could keep them in water until we got home. We joked that the flowers were only worth a dollar, but the bucket was priceless!

For the wedding Kathy was looking for a cross between glam and vintage. Keeping in mind the wedding colors are blush, silver and white we chose:


flower market and Katie's 019


  • Geraldine roses
  • White and green hydrangeas
  • White kale
  • Green hanging amaranth
  • Dusty miller
  • Pink rice flower

We drove home and set up a small table in the garage.  Kathy timed me to see how long it would take me to make an arrangement.  Twenty minutes later this was the result:


tall  arrangement for Katie


Green amaranth trails down from the arrangement mimicking the tapered vase.


close up for Katie


Isn’t this a magnificent combination?! “Kathy” did a great job choosing a great variety of coordinating colors and textures.  I love the green edged creamy kale (on the right) and the touch of gray from the dusty miller ( lower left) with the blush colored “Geraldine” roses.  The doted pink rice flower finishes it off beautifully!

Happily, both mother and daughter were quite smitten (honestly, I was too!).  All in all, a trip to the flower market, an impromptu flower design opportunity and a day with a dear friend equals a very good day! I hope your day was great too:0).






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Ellie’s Table

Posted on Feb 6, 2014

Ellies Table sign


Isn’t it great to find a new place to eat in town that is not only good, but excellent?  By excellent I’m referring to delicious food, gorgeous atmosphere, and an incredible location. Recently some friends told us about a new place in our town with all three qualities.  They begged us and all their friends to give it a try so the new business would survive because they loved that much. Ellie’s Table at North Beach in San Clemente has some of the best, freshest food in town, has a beautiful french-meets-beach interior, and the location, within sight of the beach, can’t be topped!


Ellies Table interior


Ellie’s Table is run by the talented folks at Jay’s Catering and is a cute little bistro type restaurant with a little outdoor patio attached to the newly reopened historic Casino. Formerly a dance and music club which hosted many of the Rat Pack entertainers during the 1960’s, (Casino means dance-hall in Spanish), the Casino has been renovated for hosting gatherings such as weddings. The folks who run Ellie’s Table cater the the Casino’s events and make wedding cakes, in addition to running the restaurant.


Ellies Table counter shot


As soon as we walked up to the front doors we knew we had found something very special.  The place was buzzing with people and the aroma coming out of the restaurant was heavenly- something akin to butter, fresh bread, and home.  Everything looked good.  One of each, please!  Ok, I behaved, but I realllly didn’t want to. The whole front counter was covered in mouthwatering sweet pastries begging to be tasted. All those scrumptious sweets in front are excruciatingly difficult to pass up (life’s short-eat dessert first!).  Every single thing, cookies, cupcakes, tarts, macaroons, pastries of many kinds, all look worthy of whatever calories they cost!  I vowed to try them all! (Eventually, not at once, even though I wanted to).


Ellies Table veggetable  palm sandwiches


Around the corner of the front counter are their famous palm sandwiches, (just the right size to fit in the palm of your hand) and the side salads that go with them.  So far my favorite palm sandwich is the veggie, with a flavorful variety of veggies nested in that soft, fluffy, fresh cheddar roll.  YUM! Unfortunately the veggie sandwiches always sell out first so you have to get them early.  If I have one complaint about Ellie’s Table, it is that they need to make MORE veggie sandwiches! I’ve only tried three of the side salads so far, but I really like the beet and the broccoli salads.  The rest are on my list to try…I know, I’m going to be busy!


Ellies Table almond croissant


But wait!  There’s more!  Carry on past the palm sandwiches and you’re to the reason our friends were so adamant about keeping Ellie’s Table open. One word: Croissants.  The mere mention of the word sends thoughts of the flaky buttery goodness that is an Ellie’s Table croissant to mind, obliterating my ability to concentrate.  Never much of a croissant person, The Mister had to convince me to pass up that heavenly swirl of a pecan roll and drag me, fingers sliding across the glass case, away from my idea of breakfast perfection down to the savory croissants.  Fine. If I didn’t like it I could go back the the pecan roll…


Ellies Table croissant sign



My first was the brie, mushroom and caramelized onion croissant. Heated so the cheese was melty and the pastry was at it peak of flaky greatness, the buttery layers literally melted in my mouth as the sweet onions, velvety brie and sauteed mushrooms played their part in what was surely the Best Croissant In The History Of Croissants! H.e.a.v.e.n.  I am a convert.


Ellies Table croissants


Since that first glorious encounter I’ve tried almost all of the savory croissants (hence the reason I have so much more tasting to do on the other items) and I can tell you every single one is absolutely delicious.  The quality of the ingredients, the freshness and outstanding quality of the house-made pastry make for a great choice, regardless of which you choose.  If you were to ask my favorite I couldn’t say, but I order the ham and cheese a lot. Oh, and the bacon, egg, and cheese a lot. Oh, and the brie, mushroom and caramelized onion a lot. The best advice is to go frequently so you can try them all!


Ellies Table ham and cheese  croissant


Which is exactly what we do.  Every Saturday, The Mister and I get up early and walk to Ellie’s table to try something new or, something we’ve already tasted and just need. And it doesn’t hurt that Ellie’s Table is located in a beautiful spot.  You can’t miss the beautiful setting.  Just up from the beach , Ellie’s table sits among some of San Clemente’s most famous buildings including the Casino and the Beach Club.  Both were built during the founding of the city in the 1920’s in the classic Spanish Village style(white stucco and red tile roofs) .  Mature palm tress grace the sky over head and, across the large park-like lawn at the Beach Club, the Pacific Ocean is in full view from any table on the patio as well as through the windows from inside. There’s something about all that white stucco with sunlight bouncing off of it that gives the whole area a soft beautiful light….a perfect setting to start one’s day.


Ellies Table shirt


We don’t worry about Ellie’s Table going out of buiness any more.  Word is spreading and it’s one of the hottest restaurants in town.  So if you live near by, or if you’re ever in San Clemente, stop by Ellie’s Table for some incredible food with charming atmosphere in a gorgeous location.  You don’t have top worry about keeping it going, though.  Open from 6:00 a.m. -3:00 p.m., the only time they’re slow is while it’s still dark out:0).

Disclaimer:  I have no affiliation with Ellie’s Table or Jay’s catering, but luckily they’re close enough that I can walk.  I’ll take it!



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A Year In The Life Part 3: The Engagement Party

Posted on Jan 16, 2014

A year in The life of the Mother Of the Bride engagement table1


Engagement Party Eve was upon me!  Paper lanterns were hung with great care high up in the trees.  My check list was looking pretty good.  Food, check; drinks, check; music, check; table settings, check.  Flowers……. My sister offered, and did indeed, pick up several buckets of beautiful flowers and greenery, going on my mere instruction of “whatever looks good,”  delivered them to me, and said “Hope you can figure out what to do with them.  They sure are pretty.”  Once again I called upon my very talented and inspiring garden friend, and not only did she save the lives of all the newly acquired greenery and flowers by suggesting that perhaps sitting outside in 100 degree hotness would not serve them well, she knew exactly what to do with them!   I’m not sure what I would have done without her!  We brought them all in to a cool little corner in my home and spritzed them back to life!  Within minutes she formulated a flower plan.  She truly has an incredible “vision” when it comes to all things flowers.  I finally let her go home as the evening drew to a close.




I had one last thing on my check list.  What to wear?  Next moment my daughter swoops in and off we go to the mall at 7 p.m. for some serious power dress shopping.  I do much better last-minute shopping.  That way I have no room for indecision :)  Works like a charm every time.  Although, I did cut it a bit close this time, and I plan to be a little more efficient with the mother-of-the-bride dress!


A Year In The life of The Mother Of the bride EngAGEMENT Party TaBLE


The big day arrived, and with the help of my friend, said friend’s ever-patient hubby, and my family, we scurried into action placing tables, table settings, flowers and more flowers!  I have to say, it looked magnificent!   Most importantly, the evening was a wonderful success.  A great time was had by all.  My daughter and fiancé were sent off to “engaged life” on a beautiful evening with all their friends and family and a good time was had by all.  I honestly don’t think a full service party-planning company could have done  better job than my “team”!


A Year In The life of The Mother Of the bride EngAGEMENT Party TaBLE NIGHT


Now with confidence in my back pocket I am ready to embark on the wedding planning adventure.    There will be no hotel ballroom or country club venue to do it all for us.  We’ve proven our worth!!  It will be a do-it-yourself from A to Z at a family home.  That’s confidence.   But most importantly, I have already booked a hotel room for my good friend to make sure she is VERY close by……………….



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