Saying Goodbye…

November 6, 2010

Siena Marie will be born in a few months, and now that the last wedding of 2010 is completed, I’ve been busy working on the nursery.  It’s pretty much ready to go, we just need a baby in there!

Photo by Trista Lerit

But as I look forward to my new life with baby, I’m sad to announce the end of my “other baby”, The Treasured Petal. When I started TPetal 4 years ago, I knew I wanted to be a stay at home mommy one day, so it’s not like I didn’t see this coming.  Here’s the honest truth:  I long to be the kind of mom who has time to make my own baby food, exercise, be my husband’s hot girlfriend, cook healthy dinners, socialize, and run my family with the same intensity and drive as I ran my business- with a real budget, real goals… a PLAN.

I do love the flower business, but those 4 am flower mart trips and late late nights drawing up proposals on the computer will not be as enjoyable to me with a baby on my hip.  Plus, I think it’s about time to trade in my cargo van for a mini van.  JK!  I’m not quite ready for that yet.

I’m curious to hear your thoughts on this topic!  I have so many friends who have been able to balance mommyhood and entrepreneurship beautifully. More power to them!  But I know myself well, and I have a pretty one track mind.  There was a time when The Treasured Petal was truly my baby, and I needed to devote all my energy, time, and creativity to making it work.  Sometimes during the really busy seasons, housework and time with hubby was compromised.  We ate lots of takeout.  I drank too much coffee and had plenty of knots in my back.  I also should have showered more 🙂 The hard work and sacrifice did pay off, and I’m so so proud of all I’ve achieved through TPetal! But a business is not a baby, not even close.

At my last wedding a few weeks ago, I did cry a little.  And I got extremely nostalgic as I cruised the flower mart for the “last time” (I’ve actually been back 2 times since then to pick up random flowers for friends/clients.)  There is so much I will miss.  So I want to say THANK YOU to the following peeps.  Without you, TPetal would never have gotten off the ground.

1.  My incredible husband Joe, whose constant cheerleading kept me going when things got tough.

2.  My best friend Angel Swanson, who helped me book my first wedding ever.  Since then, we’ve probably done at least 40 weddings together!  But our friendship is sooo much deeper than a business relationship.  She really is like a sister, and someone who I admire in so many ways.

3.  My favorite flower vendors– Felipe at Holland Flowers,  Ed from California Flowers, and Nick from Floral Supply Syndicate.  I’m notoriously picky about my flowers, and they always treated me like a princess.

4.  My sister Jennylyn, who gave me pep talks early on when I thought I was way over my head. She told me that I had to be willing to fail in order to be a business woman.  As a perfectionist, this was a hard lesson to learn.

5.  Janie from The Bride’s Cafe, who was the first ever “big blog” to publish my work.  Her post about me opened up many more opportunities for my little company.  She’s continued to reach out and support me throughout the years. I hope to meet her in person in a few months when she comes out to the West Coast.

6.  My main assistants, Montita and Shana, who pretty much rock in every way.  I’m so blessed to have found such hard-working, talented designers.

7.  The many friends I’ve met in the industry!  I’m sure I’ll get a little jealous when I see all the amazing projects you’re working on.   Maybe I can assist you on weddings once in a while, just to keep my pulse on the industry 🙂

8.  My loyal blog readers, whose sweet comments bring a smile to my face and have given me comfort during hard times.  It’s been fun!

9.  Last but not least, my amazing, stylish couples who trusted me enough to make their weddings beautiful! Not a bridezilla in the bunch 🙂  A few groomzillas though.  I kid!

So yes, I’m saying goodbye to The Treasured Petal for now, but I still have a wonderful creative outlet with my accessory boutique  Petal and Thorn. I’ve been busy creating some gorgeous new products, soon to be listed.  You can continue to keep up with my life and my crafts on my new blog, Petal and Thorn Handmades.  I hope to include lots of DIY instructions and house-wifey stuff on there, too.  Plus, oddly enough, I still have a bunch of 2010 weddings to blog!  Update your RSS feeds! Don’t let this be our last goodbye!!!

And to entice you to make the leap:

If you want to see the rest of my big belly pics, taken by my lovely friend Trista Lerit, go to the Petal and Thorn blog!!!  See you there in 5 seconds!

Autumn Splendor

October 26, 2010

Leslie and Andrew are just the sweetest, most thoughtful couple!  It was a pleasure working with them to capture their style and personalities through their wedding florals- distinctively elegant but comfortable,  rustic but modern, simple but with little ornate touches.

My B.F.F. Angel Swanson of Events of Love and Splendor referred me to this sweet couple- she knew I would LOVE them and fit their style perfectly.  Thanks, Angel!

Photographer Jennifer Rau captured the day so perfectly!

Leslie is delicate and beautiful.

A luscious bouquet of autumnal treasures- deep red “hearts” roses, vivid purple anenomes, orange ranuncula, circus roses, and rose hips, and tangerine dahlias, arranged in a tight, modern fashion.

So many whimsical picture spots at Saddlerock Ranch!  It must be a photographer’s dream venue.

These look really really appealing to me right now!

We decked out the pre-existing arch structure with lush clusters of flowers and tangled vines and branches.  Don’t you love how the chinese lantern flowers just pop? 

Andrew and Leslie gave Angel free reign on the escort table, and she did such an amazing job setting up this little vignette.  I added arrangements in mossy pots to the table.

Here’s a little peak at the centerpieces.  Leslie and Andrew love texture and color, and wanted to bring a rustic quality to the tables without going too wild or loose with the florals.  They prefer a clean, modern look.  I love how perfectly the badam pods mimic the dark stained wooden boxes.

More yummmm!

A dream wedding…

Thank you Leslie and Andrew for choosing me to florify your gorgeous wedding!  I hope your wedding day was nothing short of spectacular, and that you’re enjoying every moment of married life.  Thank you so much for your kindness and generosity.

Sweet and Sour and Seersucker

October 14, 2010

Hostess With the Mostess just featured this deliciously sweet shoot I took part in a few months ago!

My beloved friend Angel Swanson called me up one day and said something along the lines of, “I have 1 week to put together an adorable shoot.  Colors are soft teal and saturated berry pinks.  It will involve kiddos, an ice cream cart, and fruit. Are you in?”  Or course I was in!  Having worked with Angel a million times, I know how her genius mind works on shoots.  For her, they are more than throwing matching flowers and linens on a table.  Her shoots have heart, personality, and a story, and she always tries to create something a little different than anyone has seen before.  I also had the chance to collaborate with vendors I’ve never worked with before, such as Leila from Be Inspired P.R., the talented Becky Hill Photography, Sweet Lucie’s Ice Cream, and many more who came together to make the shoot special (full vendor list below).

Not only did I create the happy, textural florals for the shoot, but I had the chance to dream up some stinkin’ cute hair adornments for the kids!

Angel picked out the perfect preppy pink seersucker linen,  delicate filagree runner, and modern white panton chairs for the table.  I accented it with white glass containers chocked full of the most playful berry pink flowers I could find.

I went to the market the morning of the shoot with a totally open mind.  I grabbed whatever flowers stood out to me as sweet, fun and funky- flowers that kids and adults alike would be fascinated by… cockscomb, sweet peas, dahlias, asters, bouvardia, and more.

Being a bit “granola”, I was soooo happy Angel decided to use mostly healthy, organic fruits in the shoot instead of the typical candies and cupcakes.  The kids seemed happy with them!

The hand-painted invites by Momental Designs were truly special and fit the vibe of the shoot so perfectly!

Coming soon to the Petal and Thorn etsy site, adorable flower girl headbands and belts!  Here is one of them, made with pleated fabric petals, hot pink stamens, and HUGE hot pink rick rack.  Can’t wait for my little girl to rock this!

Sweet Lucie’s ice cream is made from organic ingredients.  The company is run by the sweetest couple who named the business after their daughter Lucie.

Have you ever seen such perfect dahlias or vibrant cockscomb?  Me neither!  I jumped for joy at the mart and grabbed as many bunches as I could.

Thank you Leila from Be Inspired P.R. for gathering such a great group of vendors!  Thank you Angel for styling this shoot and bringing me along for the ride!

Photography: Becky Hill Photography
Designer: Angel of Love and Splendor
Floral: Kristin of The Treasured Petal
Stationery – Kristy of Momental Designs
Ice Cream Cart – Sweet Lucie’s Organic Ice cream
Bundt Cakes – Nothing Bundt Cakes
Panton Chairs – CORT
Linens & Pillows – La Tavola
Hair Flowers and Accessories: Petal and Thorn

Quick Bump Shot

October 13, 2010

I’m finally at the point where strangers are comfortable asking about my pregnancy without fear of being slapped (aka, I don’t just look bloated anymore!)

Trista Lerit will be taking maternity pics of me in a few weeks, so I’m busy planning my wardrobe.  Something cozy and flattering that shows off the bump nicely… any ideas?  Any cute maternity clothes sources that I might not know of?

White Beach-chic Wedding

October 12, 2010

Allison and Ryan are just too cute together.  On the day of the floral mockup, Ryan arrived first.  He took one look at the centerpiece on my kitchen table,  and kept saying, “I can’t WAIT for Ali to see this! She’s going to love it!”  When Allison arrived, she squealed with delight and couldn’t stop raving.  At that moment it hit them- all the details of their big day were coming together.  Their excitement was contagious.

For their wedding at the Surf and Sand Resort in Laguna Beach, Allison wanted a soothing white palette with some drape and movement to the arrangements.  Lots of lush, petally flowers mixed in with more tropical orchids.  She wanted to incorporate some beachy motifs, such as clam shells, coral and starfish.

I finally had a chance to work with Drew B. Photography, and not only was she sweet as pie, but the images turned out gorgeous. See her blog post for the full slideshow!

Carina from Flawless Faces brought out Allison’s sunkissed California beauty.  Carina’s work is perfection.  Sidenote: my friend Trista Lerit took a private makeup lesson from Carina, and now every time I see Trista, I notice how flawless her face really looks.  I’m thinking about taking a lesson…

Such gorgeous shimmery shoes, like fish scales.

The bouquets, round but not too perfect. Full of variety and texture.  My style in a nutshell, I suppose.

I’m dying over these ballet slippers!

Definitely my favorite detail- a flower stuffed clamshell for the ring bearer to hold.

One of the first times I’ve actually ever seen this- real rings actually tied to the pillow!  They really trusted this little guy.

I love the bridesmaids’ Vera Wang dresses (Proof: my dear bridesmaids actually wore the very same ones 🙂

Men look so handsome and spiffy in uniform. 

Such a special moment!

We kept the ceremony decor simple and serene.  The plexiglass columns looked clean and allowed the natural beauty of the ocean view to shine through.  I’ve now used those columns for at least 6 or 7 weddings.  An expensive prop to purchase initially, but one that has definitely proven useful over the years!

We also hung champagne paper cones along the aisle, filled with petals.

Although from the looks of this picture I don’t think some of the guests got the memo to throw them… oh well, they are still pretty, right?

Some stunning beachside portraits…

I LOVE California!!!

We did three different centerpieces in the reception.  One short glass cube filled with white flowers and seashells, one glass tray filled with flowers and candles, and these fluffy white tall centerpieces with submerged starfish.

A million thank you’s to Allison and Ryan for letting me share in the energy and excitement of your big day!


Petal and Thorn

October 10, 2010

I’m so excited to announce the launch of my new accessory line, Petal and Thorn!  Janie from The Brides Cafe did a great little feature on the new products, and is giving away a Wispy Cymbidium Clip to a lucky reader who comments on the post.  I can’t thank Janie enough for always supporting my artistic endeavors 🙂

The amount of work that goes into creating a diverse line of products, styling a shoot, pricing and describing each item, and then creating a brand for them is SOOOO INTENSE.  Which is why I’m just now launching in October, 7 months after the sweet as pie Marlin and Marlene Munoz shot all the pics for me.  Ok, so I got preggers, it’s wedding season,  AND my dad passed away during that span of time, so life has been a bit crazy.  I’m not beating myself up for taking this long.

Here is a small sampling of products from our new line- check out the new Petal and Thorn Etsy Site to see the rest!

The Wispy Cymbidium

Marlin captured the most dreamy pics as the sun was starting to descend.  All photos were taken in random residential and business spots in Downtown Tustin.

“First Date” in black

Also available in silver and eggplant purple.

“Snowflakes Falling”

Available in black, white, and ivory.

“Flower Princess Wand, in bronze” and matching hair bloom

These flower girl wands are so happy and colorful.  I would have loved these when I was a kid!  Sidenote: Can’t wait until my baby is grown up enough to model all my flower girl accessories!

The wands and hair blooms come in all sorts of candy colors.

“Snakes in Love Belt”

This one is a personal fav, just because I’ve never seen anything quite like it!  It’s super girly and glam, but edgy at the same time.  Any bride who can rock snakes on the wedding day deserves a high five!

“Polka Dotted Vixen”

I used spotted guinea feathers and striped grizzly maribou feathers to create this soft, feather flower.

“Hydrangea Blossom Belt” in blue

I love this for a bridesmaid or flower girl- super preppy!  My favorite detail is the intricate veining on the leaves.

“Child of Manhattan” cocktail hat

This sassy hat is perfect for boudoir portraits.  Jodi wears hats so well, and looked gorgeous in this delicate Diane Von Furstenburg dress.

“Ritzy Dragonfly”

“You Pick Two” hair blooms

Can be worn as a corsage, sash, or hair flowers.  They are super lightweight, which makes them perfect for flower girls’ fine hair.

“Champagne Toast”

Cocktail hats are by far my favorite item to make.  I use “French Room” technique, which basically means I take no shortcuts and try to create my hats from scratch, stitch by stitch.  The pregnanter I get, the more I’m enjoying just kicking my feet up and hand-stitching for hours at a time.

I could never have done this without:

  1. Marlin Munoz Photography,
  2. my sweet and GORGEOUS friend/model Jodi Newton,
  3. my neighbor Chie Hamada who did the makeup,
  4. my sis Jenny-lyn who did Jodi’s hair,
  5. my good friend Jenny Pham who let me raid her closet for all the super cute outfits,
  6. my hubby Joe for assisting me in too many ways to list,
  7. and my cousin Jason Schmidt who designed the website.  He also did my Treasured Petal website!

I’ll be back tomorrow with a  refreshing white beach wedding.  Ciao!

A Quiet Seaside Ceremony

September 18, 2010

It’s been a little while since I blogged, and I thought I’d ease back into it by posting just a few pics of a recent ceremony.  It took place in Pines Park overlooking the ocean.  The beautiful bride and groom, Dawn and Joe, had gone through so many trials during their engagement.   I got to know the character of their love as I watched them surpass each trial with grace and joy.

Our first consultation was almost 2 years ago (!) and I’ll never forget how Dawn described her style.  “I’m a T-shirt, jeans and flip flops with diamond earrings kind of gal”.  It’s totally true!  Both having grown up as beach bums, their style is casual and beachy, but with a touch of refined elegance.

Their ceremony was peaceful, organic and soothing. Contentment was in the breeze!  Best way I can describe it.

Thank you to JAC photography for these insanely beautiful pictures.  Dawn, a photographer herself, chose very, very well.

Dawn’s bouquet was a lush blend of dahlias, succulents and orchids, including my favorites, Cattleyas.

The groom, Joe, created that beautiful cross from driftwood he found at the beach.

Precious enough for a J. Crew catalog!  Such beautiful wispy haired girls.

I really love the aisle treatment for this ceremony.  Beautiful chunks of driftwood, coral and ocean rocks lined the aisle.  Bamboo bowls filled with orchids sat atop huge monstera leaves, waiting to be tossed at the bride and groom as they made their way back down the aisle.

Another look at Dawn’s bouquet…

We hung simple orchid leis accented with starfish from the trees.


Congratulations, Dawn and Joe!  May the same peace and contentment of your beautiful ceremony live on every day in your marriage.  It was an honor working with you 🙂

A Bumpy Road Ahead…

September 4, 2010

Oh, how it seems that the extremely joyful events of my life always happen in sync with sorrowful ones.  Life is truly a roller coaster ride. This has never been more true than right this moment.

First, the ups:  I’ve got a little baby girl growing inside of me.  There’s a small but  cute little baby bump to prove it (hence the title of this post 🙂  She will be our little 1/4 Korean, 1/4 Irish, 1/4 Italian, and 1/4 German princess.  She’ll be born naturally with a midwife (God-willing, but that’s the plan.)   We are already so much in love, especially after watching her yawn, stretch, and practically suck her own toes today at the ultrasound.

Just to orient you, her big head is at the bottom (you can see her profile in the first pic), her belly is on the left, and her little legs are totally stretched above her.  Joe calls it her Jiu Jitsu stretch.  I call it her ballet stretch.

Here is a little hypothetical baby Brancaleone- a morph of Joe’s face and my face.  Pretty cute, right?  At least as far as those morph pics go.  Remember the hypothetical baby in How to Lose a Guy in 10 days?  haha.

Now let’s talk about the downs: My dad passed away unexpectedly this Tuesday.  I’m actually writing this at 5 am on a Saturday because I can’t sleep.  My own emotions are a roller coaster in themselves.  Sometimes I’m numb, sometimes I’m crying, sometimes I’m laughing, sometimes I’m reminiscing.

My dad was special in so many ways.  He was a world-class Judo champion (at one time, 2nd in the world)- you can bet Joe didn’t mess around while we were dating, for fear of the wrath of my very physically fit father 🙂  My dad was a wonderful singer, who passed on this gift to my sister who is now an opera singer.  My dad loved us and cared about our well-being.  I don’t agree with all his parenting practices, but he really did what he thought was best for us. He never allowed me to talk to boys until I was 18.  Little did he know my first boyfriend was in 5th grade!  Boys would call my house and pretend to be girls to talk to me.  He was a very protective Korean dad.

He made us laugh.  He cooked the best Korean BBQ on the grill for every special occasion.  He and my mom babysat Pesto all the time even though he had a strict “no dogs in the house” policy.  He always seemed to bend the rules for me, his second daughter (especially when I would cry or whine- bad habit!  Hope my daughter doesn’t try to pull that stuff!)  He did this thing called “Candy Magic” when we were little.  He’d come home from work with candy bars up his sleeve, and we honestly thought he was creating them out of thin air.  I think that’s where my insatiable sweet tooth started.

His passing was a tragedy.  I’m not going to say my relationship with my dad was perfect.  In fact, I have many regrets about the way I have related to him in my adult life.  But I love him deeply, and already miss him so much.  The song “Unchained Melody” is stuck on repeat in my head. It was his favorite song.  I honestly can’t believe he’s gone.

From left to right, my little brother Nick, Me, my Dad Hak Chan, my older sis Jennylyn, and my Mom Jo Anne.

This might sound like a Hallmark card, but as this  bumpy road  of life continues, I’m so grateful that Jesus, my Lord and Savior, is holding me up and carrying me when I honestly think I can’t walk anymore.  God is good, even in the midst of sorrow and pain.  This little life inside of me is a constant reminder of that.

Thanks for reading.  I will be going through pics of my dad from my childhood, and hope you don’t mind if I post some of these later on.  I don’t usually get so personal on this blog, but it’s been a great comfort to write in this diary of sorts when I can’t sleep.

Hand-Pressed Petals

August 13, 2010

One crafty afternoon, my assistant Montita came over with her flower-making supplies to teach me the art of pressed millinery flower making.  Montita was a silk flower maker in Thailand, and she is a fount of wisdom on the subject.   Let me just say it’s  a difficult and time-consuming process.  Here’s what we went through to make one fluffy flower:

1.  Boiled clear gelatin with water to make a liquid, and spread it onto sheets of fabric.  Hung them outside to dry.

2.  Tested out the irons to make sure they weren’t so hot that they would melt or burn the fabric.

3.  Hand cut petals from our stiffened fabric. We used silk dupioni and a thinner poly silk.

4.  Used over 4 different iron tips on each petal to achieve the exact curve, curl, and wrinkle we were going for.

5.  Stacked each layer of petals, and sewed them together using pearls as “stamens”.

Here is the result!  I made this super simple ivory flower with freshwater pearl center especially for my friend Kim to wear on her wedding day.  I’m so honored that she wore one of my first hand-pressed creations on her big day!

Image courtesy of Orange Turtle Photography.

Here is a more complex peony flower that I made for one of my dearest clients to wear next weekend on her wedding day.  The lace bits compliment the rustic Spanish feel of her wedding perfectly.

These flowers are so much effort, but they are infinitely more beautiful than some silk flower you’d buy from a craft store, chop off the stem, and glue to a hair clip.  I’ve been experimenting with different fabrics, fabric dyes, and iron tips to see what comes of it.

3 years ago…

August 10, 2010

I married a sweet, sweet man named Joe.   I can honestly say we’re still in that honeymoon “phase”, and I doubt it will ever go away.

This was his facebook message to me today…

“Happy 3 years of beautiful entanglements
Of 2 souls; You are a portrait of grace, inspiring
When life takes its toll; 1 pilgrim partner
I can depend upon; I am undeserving but

He has a much better way with words than I do… all I can say is ditto x 100!