Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Stay tuned.....The Junior American heads back to Europe

Yes, the once "little" American is now(7 years old) our "Junior" American and off to Europe again for a winter holiday.  Please join him in the coming days on his latest adventure to Vienna,Budapest and Paris.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

2014 Christmas Dinner

On Christmas Day this year, we invited Papa Dan's twin sister Dana and her husband Steve along with our close friends Kerry and Leslie for dinner. 
Although the table was dressed up, the dinner was simple, delicious and fitting for the season.
Papa Dan cooked his favorite organic, uncured honey spiral cut ham,  fresh haricot vert in Kerrygold (Little Daniel's favorite) butter with slivers of almonds and a wild rice casserole. Sister Dana made her famous baked macaroni and cheese topped with buttered breadcrumbs.  The decadent St. Honore cake from Dianda's Italian Bakery was brought by Kerry and Leslie .
The pre-dinner appetizers were a combination of selected gourmet cheeses and the above headliner, potato pancakes with sour cream and caviar. 
Unfortunately, the great company and conversations distracted me so I forgot to capture a photo of the main meal.  However, I managed to capture a photo of the second course garden salad of fresh herbs, tomatoes and avocado with olive oil and balsamic dressing.
Daniel enjoyed being the only young man at the celebration and was the center of attention.  I hope your Christmas holiday was a pleasant and memorable occasion.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Gingerbread House Decorating Party

 Happy holidays!  Our son hosted his annual gingerbread decorating party inviting his friends on the block. This is his 3rd year.  We are so happy he still enjoys this tradition.
To save a lot of time and effort, we purchased pre-built houses making it easier for the boys to focus on getting creative with decorating.  The kits were available at Target for $10.00 and included everything from the icing to a variety of colorful hard candy.
It was entertaining watching and listening to them discuss their design plans with one another.
The table used was our backyard dining table that worked perfectly since the center contained a hole for an umbrella.  I slit the cloth so that I could insert the small pre-lit Christmas tree stand and electrical cord inside.  
Our little guy with his neighborhood friends.
Cheers to a joyous and wonderful holiday season from our family to yours!!

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Wedding Reception Photos

Greetings readers!

Our big event has come and gone and fun was had by all.  Our guests described it as epic.   The festivities were held at the Hyatt Regency Sacramento.  A total of 126 people celebrated with us.  

Guests initially gathered for cocktails and appetizers on the hotel's 2nd floor mezzanine level.   Afterwards, they were escorted to the 15th floor to the Capitol View Room for more cocktails, dinner, entertainment and dancing.  

The room's name describes the fabulous view it offers of the State Capitol Building and the City's skyline.  When the sun went down the glow of the Capitol Dome and the lights of the surrounding buildings were perfect.   

Cake by Ettores European Bakery
The venue also has 4 terraces that provide unobstructed views of the city in every direction while enjoying the outdoors from15 floors above treetops. 

The westward facing terraces were perfect spots for watching the fireworks from our local baseball field that conveniently shot into sky toward the end of the party. 

All of the tableware were rented from Classic Party Rentals.  The floral arrangements were created by Bloem Decor.  I purchased all of the silver floral stands from JES Restaurant Supplies.

We mixed the Magnificence water goblets with the Operetta wine and champagne stemware.

For the china, we chose Gothic Gold Pattern for the all of the courses except for dessert which we used Coronet Gold Pattern 

The table linens and napkins were from La Tavola Fine Linens

Thursday, March 20, 2014

The Vows

Greetings!  We are less than 2 months away from our big event.  Our vows will be exchanged on the West Steps of our state Capitol.  Planning is moving along smoothly.  Dan and I have been coordinating all the arrangements on our own.  Because we've been together for 23 years, we originally decided to celebrate our legal union with a nice dinner reception for friends and family.  However, once we shared the news, everyone was excited AND expressed their wish to see a wedding.  Their earnestness convinced me that we needed to have a vows ceremony.  It took awhile, but I finally got Dan to agree.  But, he still asks "what happened to simple?"...as if.
Surprisingly, we were able to obtain an event permit for our date despite the short notice. The location works perfectly since our reception is across the street.  The West Steps are considered the most iconic section of this neoclassical structure.
Aside from the classic architecture, the West Steps have a vast open space making it a landmark for public demonstrations.  In fact, we attended Marriage Equality rallies there.  So, a wedding on the West Steps can be seen as a full circle for equality. The unobstructed view down Capitol Mall street leading to the Tower Bridge is a spectacular sight.
Construction of the building began in 1860 and was completed in 1874. The Statehouse was designed by Reuben Clark and  M. Federic Butler.
The above rendering is believed to have been created by Reuben Clark as his vision of the completed project.

Unfortunately, having any event on the property is a BYOE(bring you own equipment) event.  This means we have to make our own arrangements for accommodating for our guests.  I rented gold chiavari chairs from Celebrations Party Rental.  To protect attendants from the potential glaring sun and heat, I purchased inexpensive, but useful,  parasols and fans for their comfort. I chose Green and Yellow-Gold. They are 2 of the 4 colors for our "garden" theme colored event.  Please stay tuned as I share the reception venue.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014


Wedding Inspiration Board
My partner Dan and I met on January 25, 1991.  We have been inseparable since.  After 23 years together we decided to join in legal matrimony.  Our special date is May 17th.  We are so excited.  I am looking forward to sharing all the planning details with you leading up to our special day.  Please stay tuned.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Who Is Andres Amador?

Currently making the social media rounds are photographs showcasing beautifully created artwork on the sandy shores of Northern California near San Francisco by a local artist name Andres Amador. What tool does this artist uses to sculpt these masterpieces? A rake and a rope.

Bio from Andresamadorarts.com
Andres Amador was born in 1971 in San Francisco, growing up and surrounded by the famous building-sized murals of the Mission district.

After graduating in Environmental Sciences from UC Davis, Andres served in the Peace Corps in Ecuador, where he developed conservation education curricula for rural schools.
Upon returning from his tour he began exploring the art scene of San Francisco, eventually leading him to Burning Man. 

This sparked an already smouldering journey of self-expression, which has spanned 15 years and multiple forms including dance and movement, sculpture and painting, all of which have been featured nationally and internationally.

The latest focus, the Earthscape Art paintings on the beach, was inspired while doing calligraphy on the beach with a walking stick. The artworks can span over 100,000 feet, achievable only during low tide. 

With tight time constraints and big goals, Andres is posed with the question: ‘How does one efficiently create from within that which one is creating?’ Explorating this concept of self-creation has brought Andres to investigate natural and human-devised systems of structure and growth.

His artworks does not last long- within minutes of finishing a piece, and often while still in progress, the returning tide begins resetting the canvas. 

Andres has been featured by the BBC, CNN and numerous T.V. programs and periodicals globally. His artwork has appeared on beaches in the US and internationally, with his primary canvas being the Northern California coastline.

For more photos of Andres work, visit Andresamadorarts.com

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Vaulted Ceilings: Waste of Space or Open Attraction?

By: Linda Bailey/housekeeping.org

There are some people that look at a beautiful vaulted ceiling and see nothing more than a waste

of living space. Many rooms can be developed in these areas providing additional functionality

for larger families or creating space to set up a library or office. If there is sufficient room and it's

developed properly, you can add a full extra level to the house including bathrooms. However,

does a vaulted ceiling need to be viewed at in such a way?
(image via DLlibrary.org)

Open Space - There are a lot of people on this planet that enjoy the open area that a vaulted

ceiling provides. Instead of the feeling of being contained in a box, there is a great deal of

freedom that is felt when moving about. This extra space can help you decorate with more

elaborate designs as you're not restricted to an eight-foot vertical plane - which is the average

height of a room from floor to ceiling.
(image via hgtv.com)

Larger than it Looks - In many cases, vaulted ceilings make the home seem larger than it looks

from the outside. Although the same amount of space is being utilized, it has the "genii in a

bottle" effect where the home looks small outside while being enormous inside. It's nothing more

than a visual effect, but it could make the home buyer feel like he or she is getting more house

for their money.
(image via homedsignlovers)

Air Conditioning - Keeping the room at a regulated temperature could fluctuate greatly in a

home with vaulted ceilings. Unless the roofing material and the insulation were designed with

energy efficient components and compounds, your heating bills during the winter could be

somewhat high as heat rises. However, cooling in the summertime could be easy as cold air

sinks. The additional space does provide ample room to install energy efficient fans and systems

that can easily regulate the temperatures in the home.
A French chateau barrel vaulted ceiling (image via Elle Decor)

Noise from Above Foot Traffic - One of the drawbacks to having any room over your head is

the sound of various foot traffic by those in that particular room. Depending how the house is

built, the sound that travels can echo through the lower levels that could make kittens playing

sound like a herd of elephants trampling throughout the house. Perhaps children are playing in

the rooms above - this provides the same effect but the elephants are replaced by mastodons.

Every thump can almost be felt in multilevel homes.
photo via interest

Visual Appeal - Like most features of a home, vaulted ceilings are attractive to those who relish

in the beauty of a finely decorated system of braces and beams - even if these beams are fake.

To the right person, a vaulted ceiling could greatly increase the value of the home to a buyer or

renter. They can be designed with elegance and decorative carvings or additions adding can be

reminiscent of the outdoors such as living vines wrapping themselves around the beams. There is

so much that can be done to a vaulted ceiling to offer a wide variety of aesthetic nuance.

What it truly boils down to is taste. Although some enjoy the aspects of a vaulted ceiling, others

would rather have the extra room for functionality and expansion. Regardless of your housing

needs, there is no right or wrong way to decorate if you are happy in your surroundings.

Author Bio:

This post is contributed by Linda Bailey from housekeeping.org. She is a Texas-based writer

who loves to write on the topics of housekeeping, green living, home décor, and more. She

welcomes your comments which can be sent to b.lindahousekeeping @ gmail.com.