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A Year in the Life...

A Year In The Life Of The Mother Of the Bride

Follow the hear-felt and hilarious journey of Kathy Sullivan, newly liberated from college bills of  her three children, she and her husband dreamed of how to spend their extra income.  Spoiler alert: that responsibility got traded for the adventures of organizing (yes, and funding most of) her only daughter’s wedding.  Kathy is a world-class story teller with a marvelous family and a marvelous sense of humor.  If you’ve been there before, are are looking to be a mother of the bride someday, and particularly if you like to laugh, this is for you! {No fake birds were injured in the taking of this photograph!}

The Flower Market

Posted by on Mar 3, 2014 in Articles, Design Work, Floral Design, Weddings | 0 comments

The Flower Market

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.     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…     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.     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!     Within a few visits to vendors I knew what...

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Ellie’s Table

Posted by on Feb 6, 2014 in Articles, Expeditions & Visits, Weddings | 1 comment

Ellie’s Table

  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!     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.     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).     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!     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...

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A Year In The Life Part 3: The Engagement Party

Posted by on Jan 16, 2014 in A Year In The Life...By Kathy S., Articles, Weddings | 0 comments

A Year In The Life Part 3: The Engagement Party

  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!     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”!     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……………….     More Inspiration:Last Minute Easy Holiday Bedroom MakeoverSavory Spice Shop: Spices, Seasonings, and MoreTop Secret for Perfect...

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Part 2: It’s My Party And I’ll Buy What I Want To

Posted by on Nov 11, 2013 in A Year In The Life...By Kathy S., Articles, Featured | 0 comments

Part 2: It’s My Party And I’ll Buy What I Want To

By Kathy Sullivan My daughter is definitely a little bit of Hollywood Glam mixed with a smattering of Las Vegas sparkle when it comes to style.  I am fairly certain that she sees me as just this side of Hillbilly Traditional.  Whatever my style is, I am fairly confident I can pull an engagement party together pretty well.  I love having a party. She is the girl that has dreamed about her wedding since she was 5.  I have photos of cute little table settings she made and several years of pictures in her various wedding dress costumes during her toddler-to-seven years.  I’m bound and determined to help her make all her dreams come true. I’ve already come to terms with the 50 – 60 person guest list, but she’s made that a little easier to swallow since she is fairly confident a good amount won’t show up anyhow. So we are on to the theme.  She loves the very modern black and white chevron material. You know, the kind that makes you dizzy just looking at it!  Crazy zig-zagging stripes.  And definitely silver.  She wants sparkly silver.  Lots of sparkle.  She LOVES sparkle.  Now, I am fairly confident I don’t have the whole Hillbilly look going on around my home, but I know my house has never seen much, if any, silvery sparkles.   But she has her heart set on it.  And I am pretty certain I can pull the desired look  together.  How hard could it be?  So, I call my good friend who is very good at all things decorating and idea-creating and she kindly agrees to come with me to scout out some ideas.  She magically finds me some of the migraine-inducing “chevron” material at a jaw-droppingly affordable  $3/yard.  If that’s not a sign that I’m going in the right direction, I don’t know what is.  I figure how hard could it be to sew up 50 feet of table runner.  Off to a great start. We then trek all over South Orange County to all known Walmart locations and buy up all their silver sparkly candle holders and sparkly frames in various shapes and sizes.  I just need to get everything together quickly and efficiently and make “the plan” happen.  I don’t want to wait until the last minute, which is normally my specialty. “Save the receipts” was my friend’s mantra over and over.  Everywhere we went, “Save the receipts.”  That’s never been my strong point.  I usually make up my mind and don’t look back.  I hate taking things back.  I confidently procured all the silvery sparkly glittery items necessary to create a beautiful table.  I felt very organized.  Once I make up my mind to do something, I just need to do what I need to do and get it done, sooner rather than later.   Confident I could make it all work, I brought it all home and displayed it on my table.  For two weeks I looked at all the silver and sparkle and zigzag stripes…  and fought hard for inspiration to strike me. I really did. I wanted to make it happen. Reality hit me. I now have a week to go and I can’t do it.  I just can’t do it.  I can’t make glamorous sparkles and crazy...

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A Year in the Life…Part One

Posted by on Oct 17, 2013 in A Year In The Life...By Kathy S., Articles | 3 comments

A Year in the Life…Part One

After twelve years of check-writing to various colleges for three kids, my husband and I  just penned out the last one for our youngest! We did it! Three of them! We slap a high-five and congratulate each other!! Now it’s our time! Time to celebrate! Big night out on the town! A better-than-decent bottle of wine. We talk about maybe a new car for me; a Mercedes perhaps!!!!… Maybe a trip to Australia with friends! Definitely a new roof… OH, THE ENDLESS POSSIBILITIES! Fast forward a day or two. The phone rings. Our daughter asks us to meet her and her boyfriend in the morning for breakfast. She needs to tell us something. Okay. We will be there, of course. Sounds important. BIG NEWS!! They are engaged! Hugs and congratulations all around. So excited for them both! A perfect couple. My daughter is sporting a gorgeous rock and I’ve never seen her happier, and that makes me truly happy.  He’s a really great guy and as a parent you can’t ask for more. My husband and I lock eyes for a brief moment. In that instant we know I’ll have to wait for my new car, Australia was too long a flight anyhow, and really, who wants a new roof?! What could be more fun than planning a wedding for my ONLY daughter?! I am giddy with excitement and immediately have my iPad out and go straight to “Wedding Ideas” on Pinterest. I finally understand all the hub-bub of Pinterest. Holy Cow. Where does one even start? “With an engagement party,” Katie, the bride-to-be suggests. “That’s a great idea,” I say, “Dad will BBQ and we’ll have some salad and wine and invite a bunch of our friends over,” I say enthusiastically. “Mom,” she says in that way, “We can’t have a backyard BBQ. It has to be more formal than that.” “Like, how formal?” I question. “Well, like a sit-down dinner.” “Hmm, okay. I suppose that may be more appropriate. Well, I guess we can rent some round tables and sprinkle them about the yard. Okay. That’s doable, I think.” “Mom, we need one long table. It’s so much more intimate,” she insists. “Really? A sit-down dinner? At one table? In our backyard? Like, how many people are you thinking, Katie?” “Between 50 and 60,” she says. “Just our close friends.” “In our backyard?! Really?! Me?! I can’t do that!  Am I suppose to cook? I have a hard time making dinner for six.  Are you serious?” And so here we go….the beginning of the year in the life of the Mother-of-the-Bride. More Inspiration:Super Easy Sweet Potato Casserole With Pecan Brulee Topping7 Top Organizing Tips for Christmas DecorationsReclamation- East Coast Meets...

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