Archive for Inspiration Boards

Elegant, Gold and Red Wedding


I’m so excited I get to design an inspiration board and buying guide with an elegant, sophisticated feel to it for my friend and his beautiful bride-to-be! The wedding will be held on the San Gabriel Hilton rooftop underneath a GORGEOUS white gazebo with city skyline views.

The color palette is primarily traditional Chinese wedding colors of gold and red. The bride also loves cherry blossoms, so I’ve carried the delicate pink of cherry blossoms throughout the design.

Here is an inspiration board and buying guide I created for the happy couple!

Here’s how to pull off this look while still sticking to your budget:

Manzanita Trees

1. Make the Manzanita tree centerpieces yourself. California — and indeed many Western states — have abundant Manzanita. Drive out into the country a bit and you’ll see some! Trim the trees of any leaves, wipe down the branches, and finish with some matte or metallic gold spray paint.


While you have the spray paint handy, another inspiring centerpiece idea would be to spray paint regular wine bottles and use them throughout the venue as vases:


Reception Decor

2. Vintage keys hanging from Manzanita branches are another look the bride loves. Find keys to decorate escort cards from Etsy or eBay.


You could also create an amazing wedding favor by tying a vintage key to just about any keepsake or leaving it by itself for guests to use as an ornament.

Try working the vintage key theme into other aspects of your wedding:


Wedding Favor Ideas

3. Since the couple are in need of some other wedding favor inspiration, I came up with these very usable options guests would enjoy:

Soaps in a cherry blossom scent, from the always-elegant L’Occitane

Another cherry blossom soap favor idea:

A bottle of wine with a personalized label:

Remember, this doesn’t have to be an uber-expensive gift. It could be a special favor to give to family members only. Also, many guests will neglect to take favors, so you may not even need a bottle for each guest. Another idea to cut costs is to leave a bottle of wine for each couple attending your wedding (and of course each single, above-21-years-old guest!) Get thee to BevMo quick! They’re having their 5 cent sale. 🙂

A cherry blossom candle:

Or how about something tasty as a favor? Edible favors are always a big hit! You won’t have to worry about left-behind favors with these ideas.

Try cupcakes or cookies decorated with the same cherry blossom motif:


Petal shaped cookies. Yum! And SO totally unique.


For an even more low-cost favor, try slipping a home-baked cookie into a simple favor box or cellophane wrapper and decorating it with a personalized label

or personalized tags!

Ceremony Site Decor

4. The ceremony gazebo would look amazing either draped in florals, or with hundreds of origami cranes:



Pick up some lovely red and gold origami paper and do the folding yourself. Hey, if even I could figure it out after a few shots, I bet anybody could!

Another lovely look would be ribbons and origami cranes, together:


I envision the gazebo’s white columns flanked in rich, red organza fabric, with a border arrangement of flowers along the top, and streams of ribbons and origami cranes making up a backdrop behind the bride and groom. I sort of picture it like this, but imagine the appropriate colors instead of green, and cranes and ribbons instead of crystals:

Source: Designs by Hemingway, LLC

Underneath the gazebo, the table holding unity candles or other ceremony items could be decorated like this:


And finally, for that total “wow” factor that only costs a couple hundred bucks, order rose petals from your florist and have a creative, artistic friend scatter them down the aisle in a beautiful design:


And there you have it! An elegant, red and gold wedding for the lovely bride and groom! Good luck planning, my friends, I know it’s going to be simply gorgeous!

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A Modern Purple Wedding Inspiration + Buying Guide

purple modern wedding buying guide

I would just die if I saw a wedding using the details and colors in the modern purple wedding inspiration board and buying guide I created above! Just die and swoon and instantly demand of my husband that we get married all over again just to use this design.

Paper Goods

For this gorgeous, modern wedding with deep purple colors accented with bright chartreuse, I would recommend this Paper Source invitation that you assemble yourself choosing this backing card in the 5×7″ size in the fig color.

For a truer purple, try this backing card in eggplant. Use glue dots or double-sided tape to do the assemblage. Doing it yourself will save a ton of money to create a layered and high-end look! Use the matching fig envelope in A7 from Paper Source, or a matching eggplant envelope.

I’d line it in this shimmeringly STUNNING purple and chartreuse paper from Paper Source. Make your own liner template and hand cut out the liners to save tons. (Ask me for advice on how to do that if you’re curious!) But if cutting out envelope liners isn’t your thing, you can always take the paper to a local printer who can do it for you!

Display escort cards in both chartreuse and fig to get an effect just like this:

purple wedding escort cardsSource

If you don’t want to go the print-em-on-your-computer route, get an Etsy seller to do the printing and assembling for you, in the colors of your choice. Etsy is also a good spot to get a custom monogram designed. You can always message the seller with an inspiration photo of a design (like the fabric print above) and get them to create a digital file incorporating that design into a monogram of your initials. That would be simply A monogram could be printed on cute circular tags and used to seal a ribbon belly band tied around your invitation suite, or used as tags/labels on your favors.

Create Ambience

With all these rich colors against a clean, white and modern backdrop, they’d really pop! I’d serve up a signature cocktail in a similar deep purple hue. Try a signature drink like Sangria. Make it yourself the day before and save tons off your bar bill. Sangria’s always a crowd pleaser. If you want the recipes for several 5-gallon signature cocktails (3 containers will be enough to satisfy a crowd of 130) just let me know. I have them!

Some accent throw-pillows tossed on a clean white rental lounge sofa and chairs made out of this fabric pattern I found would tie in the whole design perfectly. This print mimics the colors and design found in the envelope liner paper. Alternatively, try a few of these gorgeous fig-inspired pillows from Etsy.

It also comes in a more vibrant hue:

purple modern wedding throw pillow

Another small detail I would add using the fig-inspired design is using the same fabric linked to above to line a basket holding flip-flops (for high-heel-weary guests), and to line baskets in the guests’ bathrooms holding complimentary essentials like soaps, q-tips, etc. It’s funny how you can find wedding inspiration almost anywhere: fabric prints, magazine tear-outs and architecture to name a few. Find a pattern and go with it!

Try taking an extra sheet of the Paper Source invitation liner paper and use it to wrap soaps, then place those in clear glass cylinders in the bathroom. Such gorgeous little details really help take a wedding to the next level.

Bridesmaid Dresses

For bridesmaids’ dresses that would compliment this palette, try the vivid silk faille dress in wild plum from J.Crew. Or add in some nice layers of purple hues with J.Crew’s silk taffeta bow dress in spice wine, driftwood and caspian blue.

I found the dresses in sizes ranging from 4 to 12 on sale on 100 Layer Cake!

purple bridesmaid dresses

Reception Flowers

At the reception, repeat the hydrangea pattern found in the lovely Paper Source invitation above, by using large white hydrangea blooms in large, glass cylinder vases, like in this photo:

wedding reception flowers, hydrangea bloomsSource

Something like the above would be SO easy to DIY! Just head to a florists’ wholesale store (try the flower district in downtown LA) and pickup large glass cylinder vases. The day before the wedding, assign somebody to help with flowers or hire a just-starting-out florist who can pick up dozens of large white hydrangea blooms along with white gladiolus.

To arrange the flowers, place them into a circular piece of floral foam cut to fit in the vase. Cover the foam entirely with flowers, ensuring the top part overflows with flowers that will rest over the edges of the vase.  Fill the cylinder with water, place an orchid or a few gladiolus’ facing down into the water (to add interest and also obscure the view of the bottom of the floral foam from guests’ vantage point), then place the floral foam arrangement on the top.

Oh, such a wedding would be so gorgeous! If you want to hire me to pull off this design and get tips on even more amazing, totally original details/ideas you could use, don’t hesitate to ask!

Are you a bride who’s struggling with creating a color palette or styling your wedding? Or simply struggling to pull together your vision or find the items you need? I do custom design and buying guides for brides! Give me a holler!

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Black & White Den With Pops of Color

Nellie, the winner of my very first giveaway last week, came to me seeking a makeover of her and her husband Nick’s den, which needs some pops of color. She’s a girl of my own heart in terms of loving style and design, which she writes about over on her blog Wired, Witty and Well-Dressed. Here’s what she says:

We’re kind of into the sophisticated modern look with a hint of classic antique-iness. For example, we really like dark brown leather couches with the brass rivets.

We tended to do black stuff in our den since our computers and electronics dominate the room and they’re black. We both like shades of blue. Nick loves orange (he’s a University of Illinois-Urbana Champaign fan).

I’m a huge fan of DIY artwork. We actually have a pile of framed photos that we haven’t gotten up on the walls yet. I also have a newspaper from the morning after the last election when Barack Obama won that I’m dying to get framed and put over my desk in the office. We also don’t have any wedding photos up yet.  We really need to figure out a way to get them up.

Here are a couple photos of the den as-is. It currently has two matching desks and desk chairs and lamp, which will stay, and two matching black bookcases, which will go.

Looking in:

The right wall:

Here is a layout of the den, which has five walls and is 9×12′:

Now here’s what I have planned for the makeover, using Nellie’s $250 gift card at Bed, Bath & Beyond she has from her wedding, and about $200-ish extra for additional items:

1. This leaning bookshelf will replace the two black ones and create a much more open, airy feeling in the room, while still storing the couples’ needed work-books. The height of the shelf will go well with the height of the room. The more attractive books can be left out to display on the shelves, while clutter and little-used texts can be stored in the woven baskets (#8). The printer can either be placed on the bottom shelf here, or kept on its current small black table but moved to the wall directly to the left of the double doors.

2. This gorgeous chair is on sale and includes the couples’ favorite colors: orange and blue, along with beige and brown. Positioned against the wall directly opposite the double doors (to the left of the closet), it will help brighten up the room from the vantage point of the living room, looking through the doors into the den.

3. We’ll push the two desks together onto the 9′ wall to the left of the double doors to create one long workspace. High up above it will go two floating shelves, to create one long shelf where more books can be stored along with propped up pieces of large artwork, and even that framed newspaper from when Obama won the presidency, like Nellie wants to do. The artwork on top of this floating shelf will add color as well as make great use of the room’s high walls.

In between the highly-placed floating wall shelf and the tops of the desks, we’ll place a long sheet of cork board covered with fabric (see #4 for fabric color and pattern), much like in this inspiration photo Nellie provided me, courtesy of (which looks like it got it from Martha Stewart):

Rolls of cork board can be purchased at places like Michaels or online. Here it is on Amazon pretty durn cheap! And since Nellie mentioned she and her husband adore that brass-rivet-studded leather look, I thought it’d be fun to frame the new cork board with brass-colored upholstery nails. You can buy those here. To apply the fabric to the board, I’d use a spray fabric adhesive, smoothing out as you go along. The upholstery nails around the edges will help secure it, too.

There is space on that wall in between the two desks (which I should mention are the same model), for a small storage cabinet the same height as the desks (like in the inspiration photo above) as a place to store and hide the computers and cords. In the meantime, cords can be easily corralled up to the underneath of the desks and secured with Velcro tape.

4. This artwork would look fabulous arranged leaning on top of the floating shelf above the desks. Try a trio of different-yet-similar framed $4.99 coral prints, a large 19×19″ framed tropical dock print to bring in more blue hues, and a huge, gorgeous $39 floral framed print that does a great job of containing all of the colors of our palette!

5. This collection of frames can hold artwork, such as DIY pieces like pressed fern leaves, silhouette cut-outs that are all the rage right now and a couple of wedding photos. Placed art-gallery-like above the chair midway on the wall will create a striking feature.

6. I couldn’t pass up this great leather charging station to hold ipods, cell phones AND hide those unsightly cords. This station could be placed on the desks or leaning bookshelf. What a steal — it’s under $10 on sale!

7. Here’s the fabric I talked about above, that will cover the cork board above the desks. The oversized dandelion pattern echoes the chair’s pattern. Bonus — it won’t be too distracting as the new-cork-board-wall above the desks since it’s a muted natural linen color. In fact, it will help define the space and make the combined-desks-arrangement appear more unified. $12.95/yard.

8. Finally, snag this set of durable woven baskets to bring in texture and tame unsightly stuff, placed on the new leaning bookshelf on the wall to the right of the desks. Lastly, I’d suggest clearing away unneeded papers, clutter and even picture frames (that are currently on the black bookcases that will be tossed). Try putting those smaller frames up on the wall instead, grouped in the nicely-arranged art gallery (above the new Target chair).

Happy decorating Nellie!!! When you’re finished, shoot me the after pictures! I’m so digging these colors myself I’m thinking about purchasing the same artwork for my living room. If I do, I’ll be sure to post pictures here on the blog.

Readers, how do you bring color into apartments where you’re not allowed to paint (or only allowed to paint just one wall per room, as in Nellie’s case)? Do you go ahead and paint just one wall? Do you break the rules and paint all of them anyway, knowing you’ll have to go over them with the original white paint before you leave? If you painted, are you afraid of getting caught or even getting a fine? (Can you tell yours truly might have broken aforementioned rules in her own apartment recently? 😉

Somebody please comment, I’m getting lonely on this here blog o’ mine and wondering if anybody’s out there reading other than Alexa and my Mom?

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Giveaway Winners!!!

Yep, you read that correctly, we have not one, but TWO winners of this week’s custom mood board giveaway!

How did that happen?! Let me explain with this picture sequence of my random-drawing method:

1. Write giveaway entry names on pieces of sticky note paper I had lying around and place in a hat:

2. Shake hat around, close eyes, and dip in for the winning folded-up-sticky-note-name:

3. Open eyes to discover this:

Sammie is the winner! Wahoo! But oh wait, what’s this? A tag-along sticky-note-paper:

Nellie won, too! Time for a happy dance! Not too surprising Nellie was a winner as well, since she had a total of four entries in the drawing for tweeting, blogging, subscribing and following–a great way to maximize yo’ chances, girlfriend, and it gave me a boost in readership this week. Thanks to you and to all who entered!

Side note: I clearly hadn’t thought through the whole using-sticky-note-paper thing in my drawing. Those suckers all stuck together after I shook the hat up. Obviously I’m still in the primitive stages on this here ol’ blog of mine. I could have used, but I just thought seeing as how I had a manageable number of entrants this time around, I might as well have a little fun and use the old folded-up-papers-in-a-hat method.

BUT, I definitely don’t regret that the two stuck together. I’m very excited to have two winners, especially in two categories: Flowers and Decorating! This means I’ll be whipping up a DIY-flower-arranging and buying guide for Sammie, a bride-to-be, AND an interior design mood board for Nellie. It’ll be a fun weekend of shopping, planning and mood-boarding to be sure. I just eat this stuff up.

Winners, I’ll be in touch but if you see this post first, give me a holler at and we’ll get started.

If you didn’t win this time, no fear, this will be a weekly feature so be sure to pop back in Tuesday for a chance to win again. Between now and then, keep your eyes peeled for my first-ever fashion mood board. I was just flipping through a four-year-old photo album of ours, and realized I haven’t shopped much since then. I still have all the same clothes in those photos. Realizing that was the jolt I needed to whip up a colorful, late-winter wardrobe shopping guide. If you like shopping at places like Anthropologie, Modcloth and JCrew, I think you’ll like the mood board I’m currently working on.

Stay tuned, lovely readers, and have a wonderful weekend. Colby and I plan to spend some quality time together outdoors. It’s my turn for a piggyback ride.



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A “Wow Factor” Wedding in Pink, Yellow & Orange

One of my brides whom I met with today has not only a killer sense of style–she also has a great sense of color! She’s eager to create a “wow factor” ballroom wedding that screams personality, all in her three favorite bright colors: pink, yellow and orange!

I’ve put her to work coming up with a list of her and her future hubby’s favorite things, so that we might find unique ways to work them into the wedding design and make the whole day even more personal and meaningful. I’m also excited to see her inspiration photos, but I just couldn’t wait for them when I heard what colors she wanted, so I took the opportunity to whip up a board today!

You see, I have been dying to design a wedding in these colors. Together, they are modern, fun and just so cute!!! No to mention, there are just so many wonderful products available in these hues! Scroll down a bit to see a buying guide I’ve created for my bride.

Oh, and it’s also worth mentioning she adores polka dots, so I’ve worked those into the design as well!

Credits from top left to right: source, source, source, source, source, source, source, source

For this wedding, it would be cute and cost-effective to make these free favor boxes by printing out the design template over on Style Me Pretty:

Tie in the pops of yellow over at the drink bar, with an offering of these babies in clear quart-size mason jars (for extra cute-factor) or clear glass cylinder vases (for sleek-factor):

150 striped yellow paper straws, $21.00, from

Set up a cake or candy buffet table a la Amy Atlas’ design in my inspiration board above, using these ADORABLE cake bake cups:

Set of 40, $5.95 from Sur la Table

See the invitation in my board above? They’d look amazing in a bright, saturated yellow envelope from Paper Source like this one aptly named “Sunshine,” with some of that pink polka dotted paper like on the favor boxes above used as envelope liners.


Tie in both pink and orange with these super cute labels stuck on the outside, $3.30 for a sheet of 30, from Zazzle:

Or these pink labels would look great on deep raspberry-pink envelopes. From Zazzle, $3.10 per sheet of 18:

And, although the polka dot invitations are super fun and simple, they can quickly be dressed up by applying small rhinestones off-center in several of the dots.

This is a sweet alternative, too, from Etsy, especially if you convo’d the seller to get some hot pink ribbons in lieu of orange:

OK, now let’s switch gears away from paper goods and over to linens. See the pale taupe-y gray linens in the photos in the board above? With the pops of orange and pink raw silk ties around the napkins? That’s the genius of wedding designer Lisa Vorce. Those linens, I’m pretty sure, are from Wildflower Linen, but a less expensive kind can be found at La Tavola. (Am I biased, though, since I used this company for my own wedding linens? Yes, I am. But they ARE great linens):

In eggshell. Starting at $30 per linen.

Or a linen from La Tavola in grey. Starting at $8 per linen. This one is from their Nuovo line, and I can personally vouch that they are very high-quality feeling/looking.

And to end on a more fun note than linens (although they ARE very important to the overall look of your wedding):

My bride would love to make these do-it-yourself, SUPER cute pom poms from Martha Stewart. We will pair them with a fabric-covered, three-dimensional installation photo backdrop her brother is going to build. Thank goodness for handy brothers!

So you see, a wedding can be playful, fun, energetic AND have that complete and utter wow factor! And not just as in “wow, those are a lot of bright colors!” but as in “wow, how MUCH did they spend on this wedding?!?!” And, much more importantly “wow, this wedding is SO them!!!”

The key, my friends, is to create high-end looking florals with artfully selected hues, avoiding things like those asiatic tiger lilies (OK, yes, I am biased against them), spray roses, carnations and other cheap fillers in a loose and airy arrangement. Opt instead for either airy + architectural, or tightly-packed, arrangements of fully-opened garden roses, mums, dahlias, peonies. And for fillers try billy buttons, white scabiosa, bright pink or white veronica, and for texture add in eucalyptus, scabiosa pods or succulents.

Equally as important are edited-down linens and neutral backdrops that allow the colors to “pop.” Stick with neutrals or white. For your main three bright colors, it’s best to allow one or two of the colors to lead the way, and have the third act as an accent color appearing here and there. Above, I’ve focused on pink and orange with yellow as the accent. Yellow would look great in the envelopes, in a few billy button flowers or mums, or in some pillows thrown across a white or taupe-colored rental chaise in a lounge area.

Do you plan to use bright colors in your wedding or party? Do tell!

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Sweet Georgia Peach!

Here is a storyboard I created featuring peach and aqua. The peach along with the homey and handmade details bring warmth to the pale aqua palette. This bride loves homemade, vintage touches but a traditional design aesthetic as well. Lots of pale taupe linen with mostly-white and peach-colored florals, sparkling silver candelabras, mercury glass vases, and candles grace the tables. But eclectic, meaningful details are sprinkled throughout the tablescape: perhaps a collection of small glass bird figurines that belonged to the groom’s grandmother are perched here and there on the tablerunner, or the bride’s mother’s limoge box collection may grace the candy table, holding hand-calligraphed signage noting the various flavors of truffles, french macaroons and other delightful chocolate confections.

Peach and light aqua board

Credits: Style Me Pretty (12), Wedding Bee (8), Project Wedding (2), Jennifer Longaway (4), Beth Helmstetter (6), Jose Villa (4), Melissa Sweet (2), Luxury & Lifestyle (2), the knot (2)

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