Joy & Peace for 2013

ah. the inevitable new year’s goal list. last year my list turned out pretty successful with the highlight being that i gave up all pop, artificial sweeteners, the microwave, and I paid off my car, and fostered a healthier relationship with my husband chris. oh yeah, and chris took a 2 promotions with yahoo that led us to being moved to silicone valley in CA. whew! is that enough? it takes so much emotional and physical energy to move to the other side of the usa. i had no idea. also a lot of money. a lot. waaaay more than we would ever have imagined. but we’re here now, and we’re glad. this past year i was nervous to give chris my go ahead to start applying for better jobs within yahoo that would mean moving. i was just so comfy in atlanta and so proud of my growing business. i didn’t want to start all over and have to give up the fruits of my labor i was just beginning to see with adorned. even though i knew in the end we would be glad for the move and that God would somehow work out my career, it was still hard and scary.

although there was some things i did right in 2012, there were some things i did wrong. i worked too much. i slept too little. actually i saw my friends too little, exercised too little, and spent too little quality time with chris. almost to a fault, i am so proud of all i accomplished in 2012, but i am focusing on balance for 2013. balance, peace, and love are my words for 2013.

here’s our christmas card for this year:

there were definitely a lot of new things that happened in 2012, and although I am ready for some calm, i have a feeling the adventures will keep coming. which is actually how i like it. i think if on some level chris and i didn’t love the crazy adventures, they wouldn’t keep happening and manifesting itself. this year we found ourselves traveling, as always, to these amazing places:

charleston, sc x2
savannah, ga
hilton head, sc
harry potter world in orlando
nassau, bahamas
yosemite park
john muir park
sonoma valley
san fransicso (several times)
santa cruz
half moon bay
perto rico
oakland, ca for a saints game
cocoa beach, fl

went wine tasting
hiking in redwood forests in and in rain forests
night kayaking
zip lining through rain forests
toured historical landmarks
ate too much
shopped too much
were kids again for a day in Harry Potter World
cheered for our fav teams
froze while surfing
drove from once coast to the other
said goodbye to old friends
made new ones
went paleo
went off paleo
bought our first real adult couch
learned not to fight about finances
ate more organically
gave up pop
gave up the microwave

and i took up yoga and pilates for the first time in my life about 10 weeks ago. and i love it! i am planning on staying dedicated to this practice for many weeks & years yet to come.

and here’s the back of our christmas card:

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Going with the Flow

Lately I’ve been on a physical and emotional and spiritual….journey… to make some needed changes in my life. I just needed to re-prioritize and decide where to be focusing my company, my career, and my life in general. Moving to a new coast seemed a great time to do that; actually to be honest I dont think I would ever choose to take time to for something like this, I’m more of a work-a-holic/planner/busybusybusy/Doer that likes to take on more than I can handle, but life left me no choice. So I’ve been doing some soul searching to find questions like what brings me joy? peace? what makes me feel good & fullfilled? how do i find stillness and be present in the moment? how do i feel gratitude instead of consumed with all the things i want? how do accept the things in my life that i perceive as bad but cannot change and have no control over? How do just go with the flow instead of feeling stressed all the time?

These quotes from writers express more eloquently than I could what I have been trying to embrace through diving deep into yoga, hiking, pilates, mediation, and prayer. And you know what the best part of? After 8 weeks of learning to LET GO of my expectations and urge to control what I think my life should look like, the most AMAZING things/opportunities have surfaced and are starting to come together. Thank you God. Thank you Universe.

“Life is a series of natural and spontaneous changes. Don’t resist them; that only creates sorrow. Let reality be reality. Let things flow naturally forward in whatever way they like.” ~ Lao Tzu

From The Daily Groove by Scott Noelle:

The Path of Least Resistance ::
Take a moment today to observe the motion of water drops descending on a window, windshield, shower wall, or sink.

Each drop follows its own “path of least resistance” toward Ground, which is rarely a straight line. It flows around obstacles in the easiest possible way. When the obstacle is another drop, the easiest way might be to merge with it.

Sometimes the easiest path is that which has been established by previous drops. Sometimes it’s easier to stay put until another drop comes along.

In every case, there is no *trying*, no *effort*. There is only ease and surrender. That’s Nature’s Way. Evidence of this is everywhere — in the growth patterns of wild plants, the movement of animals, and the behavior of children.

Today, set the intention to flow like water through your day and with your children. Notice that when you feel stressed, you’re resisting in some way.

And when you feel good, you’re going with the Flow.

And this idea/quote from mary beth larue:

“what is your vision of the future if there were no limitations, no judgments, no setbacks.
…what am i doing daily that informs that and pushes me forward?

go out there and tell someone what you want. what you see for yourself in the future. and take a good look at how you are spending your time today, and see if it has any resemblance to that dream. and if not, change it.”

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Style Me Pretty Feature!

Style Me Pretty has featured us on their main homepage – wow! Truly honored! I almost fainted when I saw this, true story. Check out what they had to say about the beautiful Jennifer’s “Georgia Garden Wedding”:

“Simple yet breathtaking, understated yet infused with elegance – this wedding from Odalys Mendez Photography is just everything. Or at least my everything. It’s garden party glam with a big ol’ side of southern charm, and I honestly can’t think of a better combo. With bridesmaids in blush and boots, a tablescape worthy of some serious swooning and a couple so happy you just want to reach through the screen and squeeze them – this gallery just might be your everything today too.”

From Odalys Mendez Photography… Jennifer and Ryan wanted to create a feeling of tradition and comfort for their guests. The wedding took place at an old estate nestled among lush gardens South of Atlanta, Georgia. The Bride and her mother brought several antiques to this dreamy site that have been in their family for many generations, including the Bride’s late grandmother’s rocking chairs and quilts. When entering the ceremony site, guests were greeted by benches adorned with vintage pieces and candlelight scattered throughout the venue. The bride and groom’s sweetheart table was decorated with family antiques as well, set with heirloom china and embellished with whimsical florals and hand-crocheted garlands.

The brides gown, by Pronovias, was a romantic column of lace that tied into the feel of the day. She kept her hair and jewelry simple and carried a brooch bouquet she made herself, and featured her grandmother’s brooches. All the flowers arrangements we unique, and resembled hand-picked blooms set in a collection of antique vases and serving pieces. The menu was a selection of the Bride and Groom’s favorite comfort foods, such as pork tenderloin and macaroni and cheese. Guests danced the night away under the stars.

Wedding Photography: Odalys Mendez Photography / Venue: Meadowlark Gardens in Griffin, Georgia / Floral Design: Adorned Event Design / Catering: The Party Girl Events / Wedding Cake: Blanchard’s Bakery / Wedding Dress: Pronovias / Hair + Makeup: Katy Hooper

View the original feature here:

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Native American Prairie Style Shoot

Below is the feature of a shoot I styled as seen on Wedding Nouveau & written by Fri F. :

Inspired by Native American roots and the history of the Old West history, today’s styled shoot is nothing short of gorgeous, stunning and painfully romantic on so many levels. We have been on the edge of our seats to share this with you and were so honored to debut the collaborative genius of photographer Chelsea Mitchell and Stylist/designer Lauren Weems of Adorned Event design, who both hail from the great prairie state.

For our holiday issue (in which this shoot is featured), the theme for the issue was a Nouveau spin on “OZ”, touching all things Dorothy, holidays and what it means to be at home. How wonderful then, to have a homebound shoot set in Kansas to tie in both the Oz theme and what we love to brag about most here on Nouveau: culture.

“It started out because we wanted to do something with beautiful Claire Pettibone Gowns and Free People accesories,” Lauren said. ”but it ended up being a love song to our home state of Kansas. We found ourselves shooting on nature preserves with real buffalo, elk antlers, arrowheads, golden wheat fields, and at histoical museums with real pioneer homes and props like boots & buffalo hides from the 1800′s.

“The photographer [Chelsea Mitchell] and I have often asked ourselves what a wedding would have looked like in the time of Wyatt Earp, and the days of Dr. Quinn, Medicine Women.” Lauren says. ”For lack of a better term, we went back to our ‘grass roots’ and drew inspiration heavily from that era. We were very lucky to have Claire [Pettibone] ship three wonderful gowns to us, two from her Windsor Rose China Collection and the third from the Beau Monde Collection.”

We can’t wait to share with you more details including DIY tips, cakes and the tablescape eye candy that went with this shoot. In the meantime, feast your eyes on some truly authentic design details to really set the mood.

Not one to take herself too seriously, Lauren was able to balance out the nostalgia by tapping into that seductive spirit that’s often evoked when envisioning the wild west. She used affordable accessories ranging from a gold circlet head piece to hand-crochet sandals (both from Free People) to turn up the volume on Boho pride.

{CREDITS: Photo by Chelsea Mitchell Photography; Creative Direction, Styling & Floral Arrangement by Adorned Event Design; Gowns by Claire Pettibone (Wheat Field: “Fleur De Jour”, Buffalo Field: “Grace”, Limestone wall and Horn Chair: “Abbey”); Accessories by Free People, Gladiator Sandals by Jeffrey Campbell, Suede Necklace by Marisa Haskell; Wheat Crown by Adorned Event Design; Authentic Boots & 1800′s Props by Barton Country Historical Society; Location & Buffalo Props from Maxwell Wildlife Preserve in Kansas; Hair & Make Up by Evann Stueder; Model – Andriel Prewitt}

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Wedding Nouveau Magazine Double Feature!

Hi Everyone!
I am so honored to have two features in the new issue of Wedding Nouveau Magazine! I am beyond excited to finally be able to share these two projects with the world. Both the concepts are very near and dear to my heart and felt like an genuine reflection of who I am and where I want Adorned to grow. One titled “Prairie Home Companion” in the magazine was inspired by the native american and cowboy influence that first settled the photographer and I’s hometown – central Kansas. We shot it on location there at the Maxwell Wildlife Preserve with wild herds of buffalo and were able to use authentic props from the late 1800′s that the Barton Country Historical Society loaned us. All the gowns were flown in by Claire Pettibone herself! The other feature was inspired by my time in college in Paris, France studying the painting techniques of the old masters, particularly the dutch artist Vermeer of whom I did a master copy of during that time. This shoot featured lovely gowns from Claire Pettibone, Vera Wang, & Melissa Sweet with Boleros by BHLDN, and accessories by Fine & Fleurie. The photographer for both was Chelsea Mitchell. Here are a few images from the magazine –

(Our prairie feature is on the top right)

A beauty shot from our Prairie shoot on the table of contents page showcases our lovely model Andriel and the custom wheat tiara I made.

The first spread for the prairie story. This is andriel in a century old genuine Buffalo hide. We drove her out there in a four wheeler and then drove back away for this shot so she wouldn’t have to drag Claire’s gorgeous gowns through the wheat field.

The first spread for the Vermeer inspired shoot.

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Occasions Mag Fall Shoot

Hi Everyone!
We were honored to be asked to create the florals for a fall shoot for the latest issue of Occasions Mag, which was all inspired by how you could use scarves in your wedding decor. It was fun to build a centerpiece around the design and feel of a scarf. My fav part? The gorgeous wood vases! Photography by David Christiansen. Enjoy!

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The Vagabonds

“It is true that departures sadden and exhilarate me, and whatever I pass through- new countries, skies pure or cloudy, seas under rain the color of a grey pearl- something of myself catches on it and clings so passionately that I feel a though I were leaving behind me a thousand little phantoms in my image , rocked on the waves, cradled in the leaves, scattered among the clouds.” -The Vagabond by Colette

We have only been living in California for 5 weeks and already we have had so many adventures. When not busy finding a house, decorating, unpacking, gardening, and all that other stuff involved when you move across the country – we are “vagabonding” up and down California. The weekends have an all new meaning and potential – something to really look forward to now with all there is do within an hour or two drive of us. Each weekend is a mini- dream vacation, and we come back feeling refreshed and invigorated and sore from so much exercise. Its a new way of life for us. So far we have done santa cruz beach and boardwalk, half moon bay, san fran, and muir woods. I could devote an entire blog to each adventure – but we just have too much adventuring to do to take the time to blog each one!

Chris at the beach in Half Moon Bay.

The beach is so cold here compared to the Gulf Bay in Florida! We always need jackets and coffee. This day we even saw a humpback whale come really close to the beach in Half Moon Bay. It breached several times so we were able to get a good look and actually take some photos.

My first time to San Francisco! After growing up OBSESSED with the hippie movement in the 60′s and everything to near the corner of Hate and Ashbury- it was amazing to finally go see it in person! We only went for the day and have so much to go back and see, but we have plenty of time to keep going back when its just 45 min away.

Sunset on Fisherman’s Wharf in San Fran was so romantic…..we could see it setting over the sea lions, sailboats, the bay, alcatraz, the of course the famous GG bridge.

We also went hiking in Miur Woods – which was inredible. My iphoneagraphy did not do it justice. I could have brought my real camera and photographed in there for days. These giant redwoods give you such a feeling of the passage of time, and the smell of virgin old growth california forest was intoxicating.

I think I prefer this ceiling to that of the Sistine Chapel.

Our new couch! Now to find the perfect rug and coffee table…..

I am really enjoying taking some time to “feather our nest” just right out here….I can’t wait to post more pics of the end result. I feel like when I happy with my environment – how it looks and feels – I feel more at peace and inspired to work better.

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The Time We Accidentally Drove through Yosemite National Park with a Uhaul

After days of no cell phone reception and starbucks, we crossed into the California State Line. We definitely did not drive in on a main interstate or well traveled highway, we snuck in through an agricultural section and proceeded to drive through sleepy hills of farms. We drove higher and higher and then all the sudden redwood(?) trees appeared. They became bigger and more dense as drove, adn then we found ourselves at the entrance to Yosemite National Park. We were the only ones driving through Yosemite with a Uhaul Trailer, and I would not recommend it. To say it was a “white knuckle” experience to drive through those the cliff hugging roads with no safety rails with a uhaul would be an understatement! We made it though, so now its a great story that we accidentally drove through it and can’t wait to go back when we can camp out and enjoy the scenery more.

one last gorgeous glimpse of nevada before driving through the mountain range into more california like landscapes.

Our uhaul trailer and car in this creepy town that was like a haunted old mining abandoned ghost town they show on the travel channel:

Crossing the state line:

Pulling into Yosemite! Doesn’t everyone make this part of thier road trip when moving across the country and they’re towing a uhaul trailer? no?

El Capitan – famous cliffs in Yosemite:

These trees in Yosemite are HUGE!

We finally stopped here to get out and enjoy the scenery (and so chris could unclench before getting back in the car):

Our new home looks an awful lot like Tuscany:

We pulled into our final destination, San Jose, at sunset:

Our 3rd day there was Memorial Day weekend, so we went to a pool BBQ at my mom's old highschool friends house who happens to live near us. When we got on the highway to drive back to our place, we saw the road sign that said "Santa Cruz 20 mi" . We couldn’t resist and decided we had to see the ocean right then and there. So this is Chris on the Santa Cruz boardwalk at sunset. His first time to touch this ocean :) This was the perfect way to start out our new life and new adventure on the west coast. We began our adventure as a couple like this – a first date on the beach, at night, in the fall, with crappy cold coffee from a “quick trip” as us kansans call it. So it seemed very serendipitous to start out this new chapter of our lives on this coast, with “real” grown up jobs, as a married couple, in the same way, almost exactly 7 years later.

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The Road Less Traveled

I thought I was not a road trip person – boy was I wrong. Maybe you just have to do it with the right person? The right road? The right mindset? I dont know, but I have flown back and forth across the USA too many times to count, and even done a few cross country train trips – but driving through the USA last week from coast to coast (to move from Georgia to the San Fransisco Bay area) was so amazing. I fell in love with America all over again. One of my fav quotes of all time from Marcel Proust comes to mind,

“The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes.”

Going by car was so much different than flying; I didn’t realize how much was in the middle that I was missing. I was particularly entranced with the last half of the drive (colorado, utah, nevada, california) which was all new part of the country for both my husband and I to drive through. I have popped in and out of all these states actually for vacations, but never drove through the uninhibited, rugged, and wild parts that are not as well known. We literally took “the road less traveled” when we took highway 50 west, nicknamed “the loneliest road in america.” We would drive all day and only see one or two gas stations, and only get cell phone reception at those one or two towns, and just barely. It was incredible – but like always, i like to let the images do the talking for me:

Yahoo sent a moving company to pack up our house in Atlanta – thanks Yahoo! Chris got a new job with the Yahoo home page team in Sunnyvale, CA.

Lina and Phoebe love their new carseat they got for the road trip. Lina only mortified me a few times by peeing and throwing up on my wedding gown which was in the back seat (it ended up not going through the plastic covering but it was still awful)

We drove from atlanta through alabama, mississippi where we stayed with chris’s family for a day, then through tennessee, and stayed the next night in Arkansas. We have done this drive so many times I just didn’t even bother to take any photos of this part. The next day we drove through Oklahoma and then when we crossed into the Kansas State line we stopped at the Welcome Center. It was fun to stop there like a tourist even though it was my home state.

At the Gift Shoppe was this post card that has a photo of my great uncle Ted Nelson on a cattle drive on it. I had to buy one to hang in our new home awaiting in California.

Beautiful Keystone, Co! We headed there to see our old college friends Brad & Stacey Stoltzflus after spending 2 days in Great Bend, Ks visiting my family and finally picking up our wedding gifts, we hitched a trailer onto our car so we could stow the wedding gifts and some family antiques inside.

Wine tasting and aps with Brad & Stacey in Keystone, Co. I am always in awe of the rockies beauty and summertime there is my fav.

Me walking the pups on one of our pit stops in colorado.

This is somewhere in Colorado after leaving Keystone and contining west. The scenery made me think of old western movies, and I half expected around every corner to see a group of bandits (the Newton Brothers maybe?) pop out and yell, “stick ‘em up!” I have never driven west out of the popular ski areas in colorado, so this was all new and it was really breathtaking- really my “iphone-ography” does not do it justice.

driving through western colorado, starting to get out of the rockies now.

Still on highway 50, and it does feel like the loneliest road in America. Hardly any cars on the road and no cell phone signal. We drove all day and only went through one town.

This road trip inspired us to watch some John Wayne movies when we finally arrived in CA. Those old classic westerns will never look the same again to me. I can hear the theme song to Bonanza in head as we drive through here… grandpa used to watch the show all the time.

I finally made chris pull over for this view at one of those vista points. This is called “Black Dragon Canyon” and chris wouldn’t wait for me to read the historical info plaque here, so I just glanced at it and read the words Jurassic and Triassic, which is exactly what I thought after driving through these canyons. They looked OLD. I also saw a sign saying these are part of Capital Reef National Park. They do look an awful lot like a finger reef coral formation, which is something I am a lot more familiar with.

“Green River” utah. This was the one little town we came upon during our day of driving through Utah. It popped up out of nowhere and we had to really get of the highway to get into and get some gas. The town reminded me so much of the town “Radiator Springs” from the Movie Cars. Dont you think? It was isolated, quaint, beautiful, and in need of some industry other than the occasional tourist blowing through on his way to somewhere better. It seemed like it deserved a second look.

the main drag in Green River was just precious.

more from Green River (the name doesn’t seem fitting after driving through so much dry rocks and dessert-like landscapes, but upon closer inspection, there is a little river going through the town. exactly like the story behind the founding of Radiator Springs in the Cars movie)

Radiator Springs! See doesn’t it look like it?

Ok thats all for day. will have to finish the rest of the road trip in another post :)

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An Italian 4th of July

Happy 4th of July!

4th of July is one of my favorite holidays. I love summertime, and I love getting together for an outdoor celebration with none of the pressure and high expecations of some of the other major holidays. Every 4th of July I am reminded of some of my favorite all time 4ths in the past……I love revisiting these precious precious memories. We used to have all my cousins come over and we would practically blow up the whole neighborhood and any poor soul that dared swim/paddle boat on the lake behind our house – well lets just say we got pretty accurate with Saturn missals. It always involved swimming to get out of the heat and then ended in homemade ice cream with chocolate sheet cake.

One of my favorite memories though of the 4th of July is the one I spent while living abroad. I was 19, and for some reason my parents allowed me to live in Europe for the summer after the semester was over in Paris. I’m not sure they even knew where I was exactly (keep in mind this was 2004 so there were no international cell phones and no laptops!!!!!!), but I ended up spending the 4th of july with a group of Italian art students studying at the Art Academy of Rome.

American and Italian art students at the ruins in Roma(Rome)

These students were so sweet trying to make me feel at home on the 4th since they knew I was so sad to be missing that holiday. So they celebrated with me! They went the extra mile to ask about how Americans celebrate the day, and they patiently listened while I explained the meaning behind the food, the songs, and the American flag. We attempted to make hamburgers even though they had no grill. This was quite crazy for them as they were true dyed in the wool Italians that have pasta even for lunch, even when its 100 degrees out. When they would cook pasta, they would ask me how many kilos would I like? First of all, I don’t know what a kilo is, and I don’t eat so much pasta that I have memorized the exact amount I ingest.

Anyways, These art students I was staying with even went and found a canvas and some paints and we created an American flag which they then proudly displayed in their kitchen in honor of their new American friend. This was a bold move since during this time American was NOT popular in Europe. Did anyone else realize this was happening???? Well after 9/11, American invaded Iraq etc etc et. Well apparently the majority of Europe really felt we were interfering in someone else’s business, and so anything American fell out of favor. People in Italy especially starting hanging rainbow flags on their balconies as a symbol of peace, saying they were not in favor of what we war we were getting into.

me laying out at a park in Italia with my book of the moment – Girl with a Pearl Earring

Eventually the hamburgers were a flop, and we went to the most American place we could think of in Rome – The Hard Rock Café. These Italians had not traveled much, especially to usa and had never eaten at The Hard Rock which is always overrun with noisy drunk American college students. But we fought the crowds, and went. There was actually an American organized 4th of july “Italian Pub Crawl” going on and the Hard Rock was one of their stops. So gross. They were rude, noisy, sloppy, loud, and overall an embarrassment to the entire American society. But that did not stop us from enjoying some quintessianal American food. I ordered for my new Italian friends items they had never had before, and I’m not sure they loved it but at least they tried it for me and we got to listen to American rock music and drink pop served in HUGE American glasses with REAL ICE CUBES. Unheard of in Europe. I think they drink might have been my fav part. I remember one Italian explaining to me – why do you need such big glasses of liquid? If you fill up on liquid, then you won’t eat your meal. Then you will be hungry too soon and won’t have enough room for the pasta you need.” Good point – I adopted this “leave room for the pasta” philosophy for the remainder of my stay there!

The apartment in Roma where us 4 americans who were actually in college in Paris stayed at during our time in Italia

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