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The past three years with Costa, and now 3 weeks with Paolo, has been a time filled with learning about myself through my children. Not every lesson is easy, as we face our own shortcomings and insecurities head on, but there are also many beautiful lessons—in joy, love, patience, and understanding.
Often times our parents say, “we did the best we could,” and after having a child this phrase has taken on much greater meaning. So far, my greatest lesson is patience.
I have a little sous chef. He is 3-years-old, his name is Costa, and man does he make a mean smoothie. In our house, all things happen in the kitchen. It’s the place where we start our day, where we connect, and where we get to teach Costa about our greatest passion—food. It’s how Andre and I fell in love, and something we both have always wanted to pass onto our children.
Do you want to know the definition of a heart explosion? When your child tells you that they love you for the very first time. When Costa said “Mama, I love you” for the first time it was so beautifully matter of fact. He was just going about his business and suddenly turned to me and said it. And, in the same breath he went back to playing. I sat there for a second, letting it sink in (my heart mid-explosion) and looked back at him and said, “I love you too.
After making it to the toddler stage with Costa, I initially felt like baby number two would be a breeze. After all, I knew what to do with a baby now. What I didn’t know was how to bring another human into our party of three—and make everything okay.
After only a few weeks with baby Paolo, it’s been a whirlwind of emotions in our house, and especially for me as a mother. The highs, the lows, the love, the fear, the sadness—it’s all happening.
As Costa grew from a baby into a toddler, he started to explore the world and express himself every chance he had. Being by his side, I too, began to see the world from an entirely new perspective—the eyes of my child. As adults, we’re often juggling so many commitments through the week that we forget to admire the small, beautiful details that surround us in our daily lives. Toddlers, on the other hand, find the beauty in every detail—and make sure to tell you about it.
The first time I saw Costa in the delivery room, it was equal parts the most incredible moment of my life and the most terrifying. All of a sudden, I was fully responsible for the survival and development of this tiny human—so fragile and unknowing of the world he now lived in. Being our first born, everything was new and scary. I was often convinced something terrible was going to happen at any moment.
This past Friday, we held Valleybrink Road's first flower workshop at our studio in Los Angeles. Such a special day, the students spent the afternoon learning about all things floral design...where to buy, how to shop, how to care for flowers, and how to make a beautiful large centerpiece for the home. We used blooms including poppies, ranunculus, roses, lisianthus, spray roses, and delphinium to construct centerpieces that would be perfect for a special occassion such as Passover or Easter.
I am a strong believer in self care and, I believe, that this care and attention should continue during your pregnancy. It is a time of your body changing, hormones raging, and anxiety setting in about the new phase that is quickly approaching. Especially, with the 2nd or 3rd pregnancy, it is so easy to put our own beauty and relaxation routines on the back burner.
Finally getting around to posting some pictures from events last year. Here are some shots from our install for a DELTA x AMEX event at Animal Restaurant. We created a faux greenery wall with their hashtag, along with lots of blue and green florals throughout the restaurant.
Not all Thanksgiving arrangements have to just be muted red or orange. This year we added lots of pink and peach colors in the form of roses and peonies. I also love the touch of color fruit like pomegranates and persimmons add to a centerpiece. Bright, feminine, and inviting.
Last week, we created a peach and white tablescape for a luncheon at Parachute Hotel celebrating the launch of Molly Sims new book, Everyday Chic. We created a few larger arrangements filled with things like ranunculus, lilies, anthurium, mint, and eucalyptus, and then scattered glass bud vases across the center of the table to add subtle hints of color and greenery.
To help celebrate the launch of the Jenni Kayne x Parachute collaboration, we adorned the table top with lots of herbs, greenery, and white blooms. We used assorted white Heath Ceramics bowls and filled them with bundles of greens and flowers like lisianthus, rosemary, and eucalyptus. Each table setting got its own little bundle of herbs. Not only did it look beautiful...it also smelled delicious!
photos by morgan pansing
This week we created beautiful blooms for an intimate dinner celebrating the ALC On Duty collection with Intermix and Chrissy Teigen. The event took place at Jon & Vinny's and the color palette was white and black. We kept the arrangements simple and chic incorporating white fringed tulips, anemones, and ranunculus all in white matte ceramic vases.
We made it! Thirty days of clean eating under our belts. No gluten, no alcohol, no dairy, no refined sugar, limited fruit, and limited caffeine. And, after all that, the bad days and the good days, I can honestly say that I feel REALLY REALLY good. Not only does my physical body feel good but my mind is more focused and settling into a happier, calmer place.
- I lost 9lbs, my face and upper body is where I see it the most.
- Energy is up. I have so much more energy.
Traveling with a toddler can be absolutely terrifying...especially if you have to get on a plane. Do you have enough snacks? Did you bring enough toys? Will they have an inconsolable meltdown causing you to have a full blown anxiety attack? These are all questions we ask ourselves, especially once we have entered the toddler phase of parenting. So, in order to prepare Andre for his trip to NYC with Costa (just the boys...
I absolutely loved making the flowers for this party. It was a multi-generational party for a beautiful family in Pasadena. The husband and wife were celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary, one of the daughter's was turning 40, and the youngest daughter was turning 30. We called it the 30/40/50 party. We stuck with a peachy pink color palette and used blooms like dahlias, ranunculus, and lisanthus to make organic, overflowing arrangements.
So, as many of you already know, André and I are doing our old annual cleanse (we haven't done it since Costa was born, eek!) and we wanted to share our program and some helpful tips if you want to join along too. We do it for 30 days and it is really after the second week you start to feel the benefits...so hang in there if you are feeling lousy in the beginning. It is just your body getting out all those toxins.
Here is the follow up to the beauty routine, Shani Darden help get me on.
MY NIGHTTIME BEAUTY ROUTINE:
1) Wet face with warm water and gently cleanse with iS Clinical Cleansing Complex and rinse. Dry your face.
2) Gently apply iS Clinical Youth Eye Complex around and under your eyes.
3) Apply Control Corrective Hydrant Stabilizer all over your face.
4) Apply iS Clinical Reparative Moisture Emulsion all over face.
5) Lastly, apply iS Clinical NeckPerfect Complex to your neck and décolleté.
For the most part, I have been extremely lucky to have problem free skin for most of my life. After Costa was born though, something shifted a bit. My skin became extremely dry and no matter how much I was moisturizing, it still just felt dry and dehydrated. My best friend Sarah was kind enough to send me to her facialist, Shani Darden, and it was after that visit that my skin began its journey back to being more like it used to be.
This event was a daisy dream. To celebrate Kai Gerber's new campaign with Marc Jacobs Daisy Perfume, we filled the Simon House with thousands and thousands of daisies. Daisies of all varieties, from small to big. During the event, we even handmade little daisy friendship bracelets for guests. An incredible day and night that was full of daisy magic. xo
It's not every day that you have a bride tell you she wants ferns over flowers. It was a beautiful choice and such a fun wedding to help bring to life. The ferns felt magical, vibrant, and lush. With just a touch of blooms in the hanging garland and the bride's bouquet, this is definitely one of my favorites.
Tonight's tablescape for Jenni Kayne + Loeffler Randall is all about simple, organic, beauty. A long wood table will be filled with arrangements overflowing with herbs such as oregano, sage, and rosemary with little pops of white blooms like ranunculus, anenomes, and garden roses. I loved making this tablescape. The arrangements feel elegant and feminine. And, as an added bonus, everything smells insanely amazing!
A lot of you have been asking me for my list of must have kitchen supplies. So, here you go! These are the top ten items I use the most in the kitchen. I know some of them are on the pricey side (they were wedding gifts), but there are often cheaper alternatives or you can just slowly start building your collection. Also, think about your style of cooking and the way you exist in the kitchen. Not everyone is going to need a rice cooker or a bialetti.
A few weeks ago, we paired up with Jenni Kayne to share some of our tried and true tips for creating the ultimate cheeseboard on her blog, Rip+Tan. For this particular board, we used the following cheese and charcuterie:
Saint Angel - Triple Creme Brie, Cows Milk
Humboldt Fog by Cypress Grove - goat milk
Westcombe Cheddar - raw cows milk
Parmigiano Reggiano - unpasteurized cows milk
Chop Fennel Salami
Tips for creating the perfect cheeseboard:
1) The Board.
A lot of you have been asking for a list of supplies for making smoothies, so here you go! By no means do you have to get all of these things (I know a lot of them are super expensive), but this is just a list of things that I use or have used and like. The powders and supplements, while expensive, do last a very long time, so just keep that in mind. It might be best to just start with a few basics like an oil, a nut butter, and 1 powder and build from there. Happy SMOOTHIE TIME!
Coconut Oil (Dr.
This year I wanted to create something a little different for our Thanksgiving tablescape. But, I still wanted it to have a seasonal and festive feel. I bought a white ceramic bowl from Target and filled it with a kabocha squash, mini pumpkins, lilies, protea, berries, tangerines and had a lot of the elements spilling out on to the table. All the flowers had plastic water tubes on the bottom of them to keep them from wilting and I just hid them beneath the layers of fruit and pumpkins.
Brunch is the best. This past weekend we catered and did the floral design for a beautiful Tillamook Brunch. At Light Lab in Atwater Village, it was a festive Friendsgiving with lots of delicious dishes featuring Tillamook products. For flowers, we did organic fall arrangements filled with persimmons, roses, chinese mums, eucalyptus, berries, carnations, and lots of greenery.
Today, we made some blooms for a baby shower at Au Fudge. The client wanted whites and greens with an organic feel. We filled the arrangements with lots of rosemary, sage, and lavender. It all smelled amazing! As an added touch, we created garlands of eucalyptus down the center of each table.
In addition to the catering, we also created the flower arrangements for the Rebecca Atwood x Method event at Light Lab. A perfect compliment to the indigo and white runners, the blooms were whites and greens with pops of orange and peach. The flowers included dahlias, roses, ranunculus, and seasonal greenery.
Today we were lucky enough to do some gorgeous fall flowers for two of our favorites, Who What Wear and Target. To preview their upcoming fall collection, they threw a beautiful and intimate luncheon at AOC. Inspired by the collection's color palette, we made arrangements filled with deep magenta dahlias, mustard colored roses, and lots of whites and blushy pinks. As a party favor, each guest got to take home a small flower arrangements. Such a cute idea!
Photos by Mike Windle/Getty Images for Who What Wear Collection x Target
One of our favorites, Gaby from What's Gaby Cooking, invited us to make some bright blooms and gift boxes for an easter brunch she was hosting with McCormick. Sticking with the easter theme, we decided on bright pops of color in white vases for the tablescape. As for the gift boxes, we filled them with McCormick spices for the ladies to take home as a party favor. xoxo
Costa is all about being independent right now, especially when it comes to eating. No more spooning in tasteless vegetable purées or eating one puff at a time. He wants to hold the spoon, drink from the cup, and attempt to get all the food into his mouth on his own. I mean, yesterday he wanted to hold his own breakfast burrito! With that being said, it does feel like a small victory when you discover products that will make both of your lives a little easier. Cut to Munchkin.