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Wedding flowers pt. 2

When Brooke’s flowers arrived on the Friday before her wedding, I learned one very important lesson. I need more buckets. I used every large container, vase, stock pot I had. I even grabbed the trusty puke bucket. TMI? Sorry. That’s just how many I needed. But don’t worry, the puke bucket was clean. Should I really be talking about puke during a post about weddings and flowers? Etiquette probably would say no, but sometimes you just need to keep it real. And I really needed more buckets. Honey, I would like 20 buckets for Christmas. Just putting it out there if you are DIYing your flowers, you need lots of big containers.

But my bathroom never looked lovelier!

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Brooke, her parents, sister, nephew and two friends came over to help with the flowers. It takes a village, my friends! Brooke and I worked together on her and her sister’s bouquet while the others arranged all the mason jar centerpieces. It was such a fun and joyful afternoon. Talking, laughing, crying and having so much fun creating together. I was so happy with how they turned out. After each bouquet I felt more confident. My friend Kelsey got stopped by a woman as she walked the bouquets to the Hopleaf (she had an empty fridge at her Airbnb and graciously offered to refrigerate them overnight) and was asked if she made them. She told her they were stunning! This experience has boosted my confidence and I now officially want to become a florist!

And now what you’ve all been waiting for (or at least what I’ve been so excited to show and share), the photos of the flowers. Big thank you to Anna Sodziak, my good friend and Brooke’s amazing wedding photographer for the use of the photos. They are seriously some of the best wedding photos I have seen. She perfectly captured all the love, joy and laughter. See more of Brooke and Brandon’s wedding on Anna’s blog. Engaged couples, actors, pregnant ladies, anyone, HIRE ANNA! She’s so lovely to work with and is just an amazing talent!

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Thank you, Brooke and Brandon for asking me to be part of your wedding and having such confidence in my skills. Love you both! Doing this has been a dream come true. It has finally helped me figure out what I want to do with my life, which I have been struggling to figure out for years. It combines my art background with my love of gardening. Stuff is going to happen. Stuff is already happening! And thank you, Anna for your lovely photos and the one of me at the end. Would you look at how damn happy I am working with those flowers! Sheer joy!

If anyone is interested in working with me, I am available and please send me a message.

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Wedding flowers pt. 1 : Inspiration

I have always loved flowers. Who doesn’t?! I love buying flowers, looking at flowers (my instagram feed is filled with florists from all over the world), arranging flowers, visiting florists and nurseries, smelling flowers, identifying flowers, etc. etc. Flowers just really excite me. Here’s a little known fact about me, two of my nicknames/terms of endearment my Mom always called me were petunia and pansy (when I was being incredibly shy and she was annoyed). 

When my good friend Brooke asked me to do the flowers for her September wedding, I was thrilled, excited and to be perfectly honest a little bit terrified! Thrilled because I would get to do something special for someone I love. Excited because I would get to work with a ton of beautiful flowers. But also terrified because I had never done anything at this scale before and I wanted Brooke to love them and never to look back at them and think, “yup, I definitely should have hired a professional!”

How Brooke and I got from point A to Wedding day was to first to set up a flower Pinterest board. The Pin board was a fantastic resource for visual inspiration and it helped narrow down our flower choices, color palette and bouquet style. We also had many FaceTime calls talking about inspiration, specific flowers she wanted to use and how we thought this would all go down.

Brookes Bouquet Inspiration

Brooke wanted her bouquet to look like a huge wildflower bouquet. Her color palette was white, yellow and purplely-blue. Snapdragons and daisies were the two must have blooms. For the tables, she wanted something very casual. I suggested we use mason jars with mixed greenery and wildflowers.

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Brooke came to Chicago a couple weeks before her wedding to wrap up the some final details, flower selection being one of them. We sat down for a couple hours and walked through all the flowers and greenery we liked and needed. Her two show stopper blooms were beautiful yellow garden roses and white ranunculus. For greenery we chose a couple types of ferns (leather leaf fern and plumosus fern), eucalyptus and pittosporum.  Filler flowers were yarrow, white and yellow wax flowers and lavender statice. Finally for a bit of architectural interest we chose thistle, Queen Anne’s Lace (one of my favorites!), billy balls, Bells of Ireland, goldenrod and astilbe. And of course we order her two must haves, snapdragons (in white, orange and burgundy) and two different types of daisy.

Having never done this before, we definitely overestimated our order. This was a step in the experience I definitely learned something from. But better to have to many than too little, right?! RIGHT! We ordered the flowers from Blooms by the Box, a site I stumbled onto during one my YouTube bouquet making searches. Although it would have been nice to order from a local Chicago vendor, they were wonderful to work with and Brooke and I were very pleased with the quality of the flowers.

On my own, I did a lot of research. In the spring I took a flower arranging workshop at Lillstreet Art Center with Caitlin Kerr of Foxglove Studio. Caitlin’s work is absolutely amazing and is a real inspiration. I looked at lot of florists’s work all over the web for inspiration and bouquet composition and structure. Some of my favorites are Field & Florist, Miss Pickering, Fleur, Amy Merrick, Asrai Garden, Marguerite Gardens and TTHBlooms. I also devouring the amazing Flower Recipe Book, which was a fantastic guide and reference. 

Instead of making this post any longer than it already it, I’m saving part 2 with all the gorgeous wedding photos for tomorrow. Stay tuned!

Photo credits:  Bouquets // 1 // 2 // 3 // 4 // 5 // 6 // Centerpiece Flowers // 1 // 2 // 3 // 4 // 5 // 6 //

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Ginger Beer

Ginger is such an amazing ingredient! It helps aide digestion and treats upset stomach and nausea. But today I’m talking about how damn tasty it is. I found and adapted this recipe many years ago from the book Cool Smoothies: Juices and Cocktails by Elsa Petersen-Schepelern. I’ve since lost the book or lent it to someone and forgot who, but I’ve made it so many times that I know this recipe by memory. 

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Ginger Beer, adapted from  Cool Smoothies: Juices and Cocktails by Elsa Petersen-Schepelern

  • 1 cup grated fresh ginger
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • Juice and zest of 3 limes
  • 2 cloves
  • Hot Water
  • Fizzy water (club soda, seltzer, sparkling water, etc.)
  • Equipment: French Press
  1. Peel the skin off the ginger. Grate the ginger on a box grater. The amount of ginger and sugar is where I made my biggest alterations to Elsa’s recipe. I pretty much doubled the amount of ginger and halved the sugar. Adjust it to your taste. Put grated ginger in a French press.
  2. Zest and juice 3 limes.
  3. Add zest, lime juice, brown sugar and cloves to French press.
  4. Cover ingredients with boiling water, stir (I suggest stirring with a butter knife or a chop stick, the stringy ginger gets caught on a spoon.) and let sit until it reaches room temperature.
  5. Plunge strainer and place in refrigerator to chill.
  6. Fill a glass half way with the ginger concentrate and top with fizzy water. Toby and I bought a Soda Stream at the beginning of the year and we LOVE it. Toby is a seltzer water addict and I did the math and it will eventually pay for itself over time. Plus less plastic in the landfill.
  7. Add some mint and enjoy!

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Autumn Uniforms

I love the idea of having a uniform. Something tried, tested and it makes me feel stylish and confident. But I also don’t need to give it a lot of thought when I get dressed in the mornings. Of course not all the uniforms we wear are appropriate for all situations and occasions. I’ve put together 6 Autumn uniforms for 6 of my weekly or monthly activities. They’re all pretty interchangeable, but that’s mostly due to my rather casual lifestyle.

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Heading to work uniform inspiration photo // Topshop sweater // Zara “leather skirt // Topshop booties // Exploring the city uniform Inspiration photo // Rag & Bone fedora // Topshop faux-leather jacket // Uniqlo skinny jeans // Topshop booties //

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Coffee house blogging uniform inspiration // Nordstrom scarf // ASOS beanie // Madewell sweatshirt // J. Crew peacoat // American Eagle jeggings // Weekend errands uniform inspiration // Zara faux leather jacket // Gap sweater // Madewell jeans // BP beanie // New Balance Sneakers //

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Gallery hopping uniform inspiration // Zara grey coat // Uniqlo cashmere sweater // Uniqlo skinny jeans // Rag & Bone booties // Brunch with friends uniform inspiration // ASOS cable knit sweater // Topshop Jamie jeans // Boden clutch //

Do you wear a self-imposed uniform? What is it? What are your basics for the Autumn? My top 5 pieces are: a great coat, black jeans, oversized sweater, booties and a scarf. Pretty much everything you see in this post!

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Charlotte Tilbury Make-up Launches in the U.S. September 2nd

I am so excited that Charlotte Tilbury’s make-up line is launching in the U.S. today! Charlotte is a well-known make-up artist and has been working in the business for over 20 years. You’ve see her work on tons of magazine covers and on so many celebrities walking the red carpet. What I love about Charlotte is her passion for make-up, her love of glamour and her philosophy that make-up can be empowering. Watch any of her videos on her YouTube channel and you will completely fall in love with this vivacious and passionate woman!

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The major concept behind Charlotte’s makeup line is picking one her signature looks and she has an entire make-up wardrobe created for it. All you need to do is decide who you want to be? I love the the Golden Goddess and I think the Bombshell would be so fun around the holidays. Of course I have secretly always wanted to be a cool Rock Chick. My normal everyday generally leans towards the Ingénue.

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I have been lusting after Charlotte’s line of make-up ever since it was released in the UK last year. In her work she is known for her smokey eye and luminous skin. So her eyeshadow palettes, mascara and Magic Cream are products that are really going to be amazing. Can we also just take a moment to drool over the packaging. Look at that vintage inspired palette below. It is so gorgeous and glamourous! It reminds me of the the only tube of red lipstick my Mom had. The packaging looked like a golden disco ball. It was by far the fanciest and most glamourous item we had in our average suburban Detroit home. Charlotte really brought the feeling of old Hollywood glamour with this packaging.

Here are the products I’m most excited to try from Charlotte’s line. Oh and Ahem! Family and friends, Christmas and my birthday are coming up in a few months. Wink, wink, nudge, nudge. Cheeky, I know! But I’m just putting it out there! Ha!

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1. Filmstar Bronze & Glow, 2. Powder & Sculpt Brush, 3. Lip Cheat lip liner in Pillow Talk, 4. Full Fat Lashes Mascara, 5. Wonderglow, 6. Charlotte’s Magic Cream, 7. Filmstars On The Go in Breakfast at Tiffany’s (UK only), 8. Luxury Palette in The Golden Goddess.

Charlotte Tilbury’s make-up line launches in the U.S. on Tuesday, September 2nd, 2014. It’s available on her new U.S. website, Nordstrom, Net-a-Porter and Beautylish.

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