How To: Make a Candy Station

♥ Every good party has party favors.  Why not let guest make their own sweet creation?  Decorate a table with different sized bowls and jars and stack them at different heights for visual interest.  Provide the guests with clear plastic bags and twist ties.  Let the festivities… and sugar shock… commence ♥

♥ Use whatever glassware you already have.  Different sizes and textures add to the charm ♥

♥ Make customized labels to make the table more fun and to let guests know where to find their favorite candy ♥

♥ You can stick with only one or two colors of candy or mix it up.  It’s up to you ♥

♥ Wicker baskets and apothecary jars are inexpensive but pack a lot of visual punch ♥

♥ hand-made details add extra charm ♥

Advice From My Dad… “YOU’RE WORTH IT”


It was a Sunday. I was visiting with my dad.  He was sitting in “his” chair and watching the game.  As I rose off the sofa to get a cup of coffee, he asked me to stop for a second.  This was unusual for two reasons:

1. He talked to me right in the middle of a football play (never happens) and

2. He said it softly with no demand in his voice, which was a bit unsettling.  He had something to tell me.

He began, “I don’t want to interfere in your life and I feel happy that I am able to observe as much of it as you currently allow me.  I feel that you know a lot about who you are and that you have a pretty good grasp on things.  [Yes, he truly does speak like this.]  However, I want to make sure you’re on track with… dealing with men.” [This is where I held my breath… A thousand things raced through my mind… I prayed that my dad was NOT going to talk to me about sex… I paused and looked up at him.]

He continued, “Remember what you are worth.”

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My Alphabet… Letters to Live By


Attitude
: the most important element of an individual; one’s greatest accessory.  Your attitude defines you.  I try to keep mine positive, creative, open, and motivated.  I attempt to rid my life of those with a constantly poor attitude. One should always attempt to be their best self… and a great attitude is the first step to do this.

Bikini: an invaluable invention combining scraps of fabric and strategic placement to achieve a sexy summer (or, for those of us who throw fashion rules and weather to the wind {or live in California}, year-round) look. I gravitate toward animal prints, metallics, and things that are crocheted or sequined. Embellishments are always encouraged. With so little fabric to work with, you can’t afford to be subtle. Large sunglasses enhance the effect.

Cocktail: a delightful concoction consisting of alcohol and mixers. I try not to favor one cocktail too heavily. However, I feel you can never go wrong with something pink. Remember, a cocktail is more than a libation, it’s an accessory.

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Lust List – October

1. Nautilus Shell Dress $67.99
Perfect for an autumn night date.
2. Crisp Lager Boots $728
They go with jeans, a coat, or a dress. So versatile.
3. Yves Saint Laurent Rouge Pur Couture $30
Red is the lip color for fall.
4. Illamasqua Nail Varnish in Scarab $14
Dark and pearlescent. Mesmerizing.
5. Juicy Couture Chiffon Bow Scarf $68
Cozy and fashionable.  The bow keeps it girly.
6. With a Smile and a Wink Dress $53.99
Perfect to wear while strolling the local farmer’s market.
7. Calandra Shoes $150
Shoe perfection.
8. Silver Key Necklace – Enchanted Steampunk Castle Key $25
Chilly Autumn days leave you with less to talk about? Wear this conversation piece.
9. Lucifer Vir Honestus Quercus Ring $6,400
Wow. Now that is a cocktail ring.
10. Jacqueline Lamont Amelia Hat $230
Stay warm. And cute.

Who Puts Books in a Bookcase?

This bookcase was old and in a scrap heap ready to go to the dump.  It was dark wood with a ton of stains.  I added a coat of primer and then two coats of Rustoleum’s Heirloom White latex in a can.  After I had a white bookcase, it still didn’t have enough character.  I took some scrapbooking paper with a pattern that appealed to me and used double stick tape to adhere it to the back of the bookcase.  After that, a few of my favorite pairs of shoes, some piggy banks (a girl has to save her money!), handpainted vintage leopard print martini glasses, and some of my favorite photos filled the case.  All my real books are on shelves by my desk.  This is where my pretty books go.

How To: Design a Tablescape

My friends are always asking for tips and tricks on how to organize a fun and festive table.  First, pick your color scheme.  It can be anything.  Don’t limit yourself to what you think should go together… Go with what you like.  For this table, I picked blue, pink, and bright yellow.  I also wanted the overall feel to be chic, yet whimsical.  To achieve a lighthearted feel, mix patterns.  I mixed florals, stripes, and polka dots.  Remember, the only rules are the rules you make for yourself.

♥ Add fun and inexpensive touches to your table that go with your color scheme.  To highlight my love of bright yellow, I used lemons, candy sticks, and store bought lemon tea cakes put on a silver platter to appear homemade (cut corners and save time!) ♥

♥ Flowers are a great way to add pops of color (and fragrance) to your table.  Hot pink roses sandwiched between lemons inside mason jars were a perfect accent piece ♥

♥ I designed all of the menus myself.  Menus and place cards are a perfect way to bring all of your colors together in one place, helping the table to appear cohesive.  Don’t be afraid to mix different fonts and different size fonts.   If you don’t have the knack for graphic design, check out pre-designed menus and invitations online ♥

♥ Make sure there is plenty of stemware on your table.  You want your guests to feel welcome… and the more they drink, the more fabulous your decor will look! ♥

Kristin and Chad… Elysium Designs the Decor for a Gorgeous Wedding

I was lucky enough to be approached by a young and very talented woman (she is an artist with hair and owns her own salon in Orange County!) to do the decor for her wedding.  She had a vision… In her words, “Shabby chic meets simple elegance.”  The opportunity to expand Elysium all the way to Orange County (the ceremony and reception were hosted in San Juan Capistrano) was one that I could not resist. Before I knew it, the decor preparation (months of painting wooden signs by hand, doing all of the graphic design for the menus, affixing tiny pearls to the place cards, hand constructing the sage voile fabric and lace table runners, and the list goes on) was done and the wedding day was upon us.

The afternoon sunshine reached its peak in San Juan Capistrano, California as Kristin and Chad said, “I do.”   Their ceremony site was lined with white hydrangeas wrapped in lace.  Ivory and lace rose petals framed the aisle.  The bride and groom had their first kiss as husband and wife under a dramatic oak tree.  At the reception, guests were enveloped by deep pinks, rich greens, and shades of ivory offsetting the grandiose fountain that graced the center of the large open air hacienda courtyard.

At the end of the day, I awaited Kristin’s reaction to the decor at her ceremony, cocktail, and reception locations.  She ran up to me with a gigantic hug and said that it was the “wedding of her dreams.”  I couldn’t have been happier.

To see the full wedding photo gallery click here.

To see the full wedding photo gallery click here.

How To: Make an Inspiration Board

Inspiration boards are vital.  Visual imagery is an important motivating tool and can also instantly improve your mood, drive, and outlook… Take a corkboard, some images, quotes, photos, anything that you love and tack it up.  The beautiful thing about this is that your inspiration board can change daily.  Fill it with whatever strikes your fancy.

I covered my board with some of my doodles, favorite photos, cards from people that I love with encouraging words, my icon (Marilyn!), and ticket stubs that remind me of some fabulous events and concerts that I’ve attended.  Cover yours with whatever gets you going.