Archive for the ‘Dogs’ Category

A Homespun Wedding: Ceremony Details

April 29, 2010

Glorious Spring is finally upon us, which means that the flower mart is filled with sweet peas, lilac, viburnum, and some of the most ginormous tulips I’ve ever seen. 

It seems festive and appropriate to and dig up this wedding from last Spring and delve into all the lovely details, as promised so long ago.  Thank you so much to Sarah K. Chen for these gorgeous images!  And coordinator extraordinaire,  Kerrie Underhill, you are my girl!  I always love working with you!

Meet Ashlee.  Isn’t she  elegant?

She was so serene on the wedding day.

I love to see a bride admiring her bouquet 🙂

I admit, it was pretty luscious! Gorgeous viburnum, freesia, roses, double tulips,  scabiosa and scabiosa pods, with wispy feathers.

Her bridesmaids carried cheerful yellow and cream blooms, including craspedia, majolika roses, big fluffy china mums, and lisianthus, wrapped in chocolate ribbon.

I cannot resist inserting this little canine cutie who greeted me at the door when I came to deliver the personals. He markings are quite Basil-esque!

Brenton made a handsome groom in his pinstripe suit.

The feathers in Ashlee’s bouquet were carried through in all the bouts. 

Are you starting to see a theme?  Feathers, nests, twigs…

Gorgeous chickpea and coffee bean filled hurricanes were scattered about.

We lined the aisle with hanging mason jars filled with country flowers- snapdragons, lilies, roses and hydrangea. 

The courtyard at Talega Golf Club is so intimate and full of Spanish flair. 

This arch was quite special, between the tangled branches, puffs of white feathers, hanging jelly jar vases, and fluffy florals climbing along it. 

Check back soon for the delightful reception details in Part 2 of A Homespun Wedding!  Now it’s back to work for my fabulous Friday wedding 🙂


Happy Valentine’s Day!

February 13, 2010

red amaryllis bouquet, photo by Michael Norwood

How will your’s be spent?

  • Today I’m participating in a “romantic” couples class at my husband’s Jiu Jitsu studio.  This is all he wants for Valentine’s Day- to put me in chokes and holds.  Weird?
  • I stood in line at the mall for 30 minutes to buy myself a box of see’s candy.  I ate every single one while doing my taxes.  I thought it would be good to schedule my tax meeting the day before V-day, to get it over with.  Didn’t I know this equation?  Stress + easy chocolate accessibility= waaaaay over my calories for the week. So much so that Valentine’s Day dinner will probably be asparagus :/
  • The weather is fine, so we’ll probably chillax at the dog beach,  since Valentine’s Day is also Basil’s birthday!

Happy Birthday, Love Pup!

Have a wonderful Valentine’s Day!

Ugly-Pretty Flowers?

January 30, 2010

While racing around the mart choosing flowers for the Style Lab, I started to think about “ugly-pretty” flowers.  I am generally drawn to things that are ugly-pretty (or “ugly-cute” as in the case of my boston terrier 😉 My favorite models and actresses straddle the line between ugly and beautiful.  Their buck teeth/ bug eyes/huge foreheads make them even more intriguing.  The scraggly desert landscape on the way to Vegas is ugly-pretty. I’m also obsessed with vultures (ask my husband!)  which are mostly ugly and creepy, but beautiful in flight.

(photo by Joe- Basil was extra ugly-cute as a puppy)

In a time where pretty, feminine, and vintage-inspired weddings abound, most of my clients are asking for soft, fluffy, petally flowers such as roses, ranuncula, and peonies.  There is NOTHING ugly about those flowers, and I adore them for their beauty!

(photo by Jerry Yoon)

But I also adore the spiky. The waxy.  The scary but beautiful looking flowers.  It’s refreshing to be able to use them from time to time, and I do believe tropicals and other unusual specimens will be returning to wedding decor soon enough.   I also like the idea of mixing in some ugly-pretty flowers with pretty-pretty flowers to bring more texture and surprise to the arrangements.

Without further ado:


(This list is totally subjective, as beauty is in the eye of the beholder)

1.  Leucodendrons–  my favorite variety has light yellow petals and an ombre-like ball in the center.

2. King Protea– Looks like a fuzzy pink monster.  Literally the size of a honeydew melon.  Frightening!

(photo from wikimedia)

3.  Bromeliads– typically used as a house plant, but I also see cut bromeliads at the mart in bright fuchsia, red, yellow and orange.

(photo by The Image Is Found)

4.  Sunflowers– admit it, these are kind of ugly… the huge brown center looks like a giant bumble bee’s eyeball.  But I will never forget the beauty of the sunflower fields in Tuscany.  I’m still dying to do a 100% sunflower wedding.  Any takers?

(photo by docuvitae)

5.  Arabicum Ornithogalum– One of my favorite flowers because of the tiny star-like blossoms with  black centers.  When in full bloom, these are definitely more pretty than ugly.  But when the blossoms are still tight, the green center of this flower sticks out and is pretty funky looking.

(photo by Trista Lerit)

(photo from flickr)

6.  Nigella- The most mesmerizing shade of blue, but the pods look like hairy tumors of some sort.

(photo by Joe)

7.  Gloriosa Lilies– I carried these on my wedding day.  They are a climbing vine with the most graceful stems and gorgeous fuchsia petals.  They look like daddy long leg spiders!

(photo by Trista Lerit)

8.  Pincushions– such a perfect name!  See picture at the bottom of the collage.

(photo by Boutwell Studio)

9. Sexy Pink Heliconia– That’s really what this is called! Heliconias scare me a little, but this pink variety is amazing to look at.

(photo from here)

10.  Lady Slippers- God is such an artist.

(photo from here)

Do you have any favorite ugly-pretty flowers that didn’t make my list?

Christmas Highlights

December 26, 2009

*Chung Family Christmas Eve* We crammed 18 people into our 1200 square foot house for a Korean BBQ feast.  I purchased 35 pounds of beef short ribs, and we only ate half of it.  Anyone want to come over and help us eat it all?

Here I am making Pajeon, a traditional seafood and vegetable pancake.  Flipping these over was a challange!

I got to use my new favorite tool:  The Candle Carver.  I won this at a gift exchange and can’t wait to put this to work at a wedding!

We decorated simply (and cheaply), using green water goblets filled with daisies, mums and evergreen boughs scattered all over the house.

I even put my old sake bottles to use!

Pesto’s present confused him:

It took Basil 5 minutes to destroy hers!
By the end of the night, they were totally pooped…
I have to admit, the presents and Christmas lights don’t hold quite as much wonder for me as they did when I was a child.  But the wonder of my Savior’s birth, who humbly came down to earth and died to take away the sins of the world grows dearer to me each year.
Merry Christmas, and warm wishes for the new year!

A little break!

October 30, 2009

This was a crazy but wonderful month!  I had 5 beautiful weddings in 3 short weeks.  Lots of running around and early morning trips to  L.A.  As wedding season calms down and I have a chance to breathe, I am making it a priority to fit in some extracurriculars.

  • I am now enrolled in a dance school, taking adult hip hop and ballet classes 🙂
  • In an attempt to declutter and spiff up my home, I’ll be signing up for emails from Fly Lady (thanks Angel for the tip!).
  • Oh yeah, after much resistance, I finally joined facebook!  Guess what, it’s fun!  Don’t know why I held out so long!
  • I’m also making more lunch and dinner dates with my best buddies.

This afternoon I spent some quality time with  my girls Angel Swanson and Trista Lerit at the incredible Vietnamese restaurant Brodard Chateau.  You MUST try their Vietnamese Crepe (crispity, crunchity, savory and sweet) and their famous spring rolls.  Angel nailed it when she said, “Why does any other restaurant even attempt to make spring rolls?”

Thanks girls for being such sweet friends!  I always look forward to our chats where I know I’ll get a good dose of belly laughs, encouragement and total craziness.

cavalier day 025


cavalier day 024

We're all rocking the boots- must be Fall!

Me, In My Oasis

April 20, 2009

One day I wrote a comment on Jasmine Star’s blog in response to a beautiful Anytime session she shot. I told her that I was so gaga over those cheerful, sassy shots that maybe sometime I would be brave enough to do an Anytime shoot of my own! Well, seriously 3 seconds later, I received an excited email from Jasmine saying something like “Just got your blog comment. Let’s do it! It’ll be ultra fab!” Despite the fact that I usually feel awkward and stiff in front of the camera, I trusted Jasmine to make me look ultra fab.

I ran into JD and Polo (Jasmine’s hubby and puppy) at the dog park one night, and I was asked him where I should do the shoot. JD said I should choose somewhere that is meaningful to me. Right away I remembered my favorite place to hang out as a kid- my childhood friend Julie’s backyard in Modjeska Canyon. Modjeska Canyon is a charming oasis in the middle of O.C. It is a small town and everyone knows each other. There are foothills, horses, creeks, trees and tire swings. There are hiking trails and old silver mines. This was my only taste of the great outdoors as a kid growing up in a manicured gated community in Orange. We used to play in the treehouse and send messages in a bottle down the creek. All that idyllic kid stuff.

Julie’s parents’ eco-friendly garden was named best garden of 2008 by Roger’s Garden and featured in the LA Times. When the wildfires hit the canyons last year, Julie’s parents had to evacuate and weren’t sure if their house would still be standing when they returned. They were more crushed by the idea of losing their garden than losing their house.

Here are some favorites from Jasmine’s teaser. Check out the full blog post here!

Delphinium, garden roses, and ranunculus.  Shoes from target.  Haha!

Delphinium, garden roses, and ranunculus. Shoes from target. Woot!

Lilacs, viburnum, anenomes.

Lilacs, viburnum, anenomes.

Mums, leptospermum, parrot tulips, viburnum.

Mums, leptospermum, parrot tulips, viburnum, and lemons from the garden. I felt very Martha Stewart in this pic.




Sibling rivalry caught on film.

Jasmine is truly an artist. When she arrived, she did a quick sprint around the garden and I could just see her wheels turning. She was imagining shots and planning how to best use our 1.5 hours of sunlight. She made me feel so comfortable in front of her lens, and she was always paying attention to the little details like my hair, the angle of my feet or showing off my earrings. She didn’t just tell me how to pose, she actually showed me! At one point she even built a little dam in the creek so she could shoot me on a bridge from the water. I thought she might fall in (she was wearing those red cowboy boots of hers!) but she stood tall! Basically, Jasmine rules. The end!

BTW, I had the hardest time finding cute springy outfits that weren’t mini skirts (I don’t do mini skirts. Actually I prefer not to do skirts above my knee!) The first outfit came from The Gap. (Thanks to Rachel for posting the skirt! You had the self-control not to buy it, but I didn’t!) The white bedazzled dress is by Beth Bowley, and the maxidress is from the Modern Romance boutique at Fashion Island.

Thanks a million to my spunky friend Loann of Let’s Get Beautified for doing my makeup. She was my wedding makeup artist, and I don’t trust my face to anyone else!

If you had to do an Anytime shoot, what location would you pick?

Flower Market Flurry

February 11, 2009

I get a ton of emails from aspiring florists and DIY brides asking where I get my flowers.  I have a great local wholesaler who can get me almost anything I desire at fabulous prices, plus I’ve been working with him so long that we’re buddies now. He knows what I like, and understands that I’m a bit anal, especially when it comes to the quality of flowers for my brides.

But when I really need something exotic or want to see everything laid out before me, I head straight to the LA Flower District, a flower lover’s paradise and the biggest flower district in the US . The LA Flower District is one of the many reasons I’m so grateful to be a Socal girl.

I thought it might be fun to share my typical flower mart experience. It’s not terribly exciting, but it’s an important part of my job!

-I like to go super early on Wednesday mornings, while it’s still dark, before there is any traffic. I love that I can park in the metered spots for free. I like to be in and out while the crowds are still really thin, before the nearby fashion district action gets started.  I get to snatch up the freshest flowers and have time to chit chat with the vendors before they get swamped with customers. I’m not a morning person, but it’s a sacrifice I’m willing to make.

-This morning, I kiss my hubby and dogs goodbye at 3:05 am. I’ve got my thermos of English Breakfast Tea in one hand, and my flower checklist in the other hand. I’m proudly wearing my membership badge, knee high uggs, cargo pants, and thick scarf. For California, it is so cold lately!


-Today, I have 3 projects in mind. No weddings this week, but Valentines Day is coming up and I’ll be making some sweet arrangements for family and friends. I also need pink-toned flowers and succulents for my Thailand-inspired arrangement which I’ll be making this afternoon. Lastly, I need lots of teeny tiny mini-baby flowers for a super secret “miniature” project I’m collaborating on with a fabulous calligrapher. You’ll see what I mean soon.

-I get there and do a once over of the entire market, asking for prices and making mental notes of who seems to have the freshest pink dahlias, yellow ranunculus, fuchsia freesia, etc etc etc.  I have my favorite vendors, but I’ve been known to make several rounds before buying anything. I’m like a shark doing donuts around its prey before the big kill.

-The flower mart can be kind of intimidating (it was to me at first!) but the people working there are actually so sweet, helping me carry things and offering me freshly brewed coffee. Today I noticed how cute it looks when they wrap up my flower bunches with crisp newspaper and string. Simple pleasures! This inspired yet another project which you’ll see shortly! The wheels are always turning.

-Then I go on a buying spree, filling my cart to the brim with gorgeous florals. This can take hours, but I finished today in an hour and a half. I then carefully load everything into my cargo van. I never in my wildest dreams pictured myself driving a big ol’ cargo van by the way.

-As a reward for my hard work, I end my trip by ordering breakfast at Flower Market Operetta. They serve up delicious egg white and veggie omelettes and homefries. The owner tells me I look like her daughter. “You have the same face, big eyes, and the same big booty!” She really said that to me. I’ll take that as a compliment 🙂

-I return home at 6:30 am, just as the sun is rising and turning the sky crazy colors.


-Hubby and puppies are still softly snoring in bed. Their day is just beginning, and I’ve already accomplished so much! It’s a wonderful feeling. Then I remember I’m so not a morning person, kick off my uggs, and hop into bed for a quick nap before tackling the rest of my day.



Happy Halloween!

November 1, 2008

This year, I won’t be passing out candy to kids in our neighborhood. I bought two tons of candy last year and only 5 kids stopped by, 2 of whom were not in costume. Whatever happened to all the trick or treaters? I ended up eating the rest of the candy all by myself, of course!

I also didn’t find time to dress up my doggies this year. But I did come upon these cute pictures of my Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, Pesto, from last year’s costume party with the dogs in his training class.

He was Pocahontas!

And he even had a “peace pipe”:

He didn’t win the costume contest. Actually, he was cut with the first group of losers.

Basil is so goofy looking she doesn’t need a costume! She always looks like one of those sad black and white clowns…