48 Hours in Palm Springs


pool necessities | A Fabulous Fete

FINALLY, it's here. Every. Single. Time... I go to Palm Springs, I always say (to myself) I need to do a recap. There are a lot of little gems, and more well known ones, and every time we go it seems like there is something new to see. I get a lot of questions on where to stay, where to eat, and while I won't cover it ALL in this one post.. we will get there;) 

Last week we drove out to the desert to celebrate my husband's bday. We ended up hitting all of the usual (ie. popular, the ones you will most likely find all over the internet), but whatevs. It's hard to take a chance on a new place when you know the ones you visit regularly are REALLY good. I'm not a big risk taker, obviously... especially when it comes to food.

We stayed at the Alcazar. It was our first time here. We had driven by, it looked cute from the outside, and honestly... it was easy on the wallet so, BOOKED. It was totally cute and a very instagram friendly place (white walls covered in vines, palm trees and a sleek little pool). It was located right downtown which was really nice. It was also located directly behind one of our favorite restaurants, Birba, and Cheeky's. Very convenient. We didn't get in our car once since it was close to everything, but they also had bikes that you could take out for the day. We most definitely did, we needed a ride to brunch after all. There are places that top this hotel on my list, but I would consider going back one day. I'll list more of my favorite places to stay at the end!

Palm Springs Mountain View | A Fabulous Fete
vine covered walls | A Fabulous Fete
Oversized succulents | A Fabulous Fete
Lunching at the colony palms | A Fabulous Fete

We walked to the Colony Palms Hotel for lunch. I've been here once for breakfast as well and it's always been delicious, easy to get into (NO waiting like a lot of places!) and has the cutest scenery. Come here for a meal, and don't wear a jacket like I did, sitting outside is the best party but you'll most likely melt if it isn't December;) The Colony Palms is also on our list of places to stay and I WILL find a reason, soon.

The Alcazar, Palm Springs | A Fabulous Fete

The courtyard at the hotel, super cute twinkle lights came on at night along with their waterfall/fire pit which was the perfect place to have a glass of wine.

people watching in palm springs | A Fabulous Fete

This place... I had never been but immediately spotted a sign that said ROSÉ and noticed their adorable marble bistro tables. Sold. They also served coffee, but this is now on my list of stops when you're cruising downtown and need to stop for a drink that isn't in a crowded bar. Plus who doesn't like to people watch? (i will update with a link once i remember what it was called;)

a few of our favorite spots in palm springs | A Fabulous Fete

Cocktails at Birba. Post pool, pre dinner, one of the perks of staying right behind it. If anyone asks where to eat, this is 100% the first place I recommend. Their menu is always fresh and delicious, the atmosphere is fun (if you can get it, def make a reservation here) and they serve wine in cups like they do in Italy. I have no idea why but I love this. #weird

Palm Springs, what to do | A Fabulous Fete
The best way to get around in palm springs | A Fabulous Fete
Favorite part of vacay, coffee in bed | A Fabulous Fete

I love sitting in bed with coffee on vacay. Ryan's an early bird, so there's usually some waiting by the time I wake up. But when we're in PS, we usually head over to Koffi. Of course, their coffee is really good, but they have the cutest courtyard outside behind the shop. Lots of locals bring their dogs there and let them run around in the grass. I love relaxing their before we head back to our hotel.

DRESS || SWEATER

Where to lounge in Palm Springs | A Fabulous Fete
flowy dresses in ps | A Fabulous Fete

These flowy dresses are perfect for by the pool, wearing to brunch, or dressing up with some heels;)

DRESS || SHOES

koffi, palm springs | A Fabulous Fete
pool views at the alcazar in palm springs | A Fabulous Fete
mini cactus garden | A Fabulous Fete
Weekending necessities | A Fabulous Fete

So, you have 48 hours in PS? Here's what we did if you need some suggestions (in order!):

  • Checked in at the Alcazar
  • Lunch at the Colony Palms when you arrive
  • Drinks + dinner at Birba
  • The next morning, we always brunch at Pinocchio (disclaimer: this is not your typical, hip brunch scene. expect cheap bottomless mimosas, a big plate of diner style food, and good entertainment)
  • Make your own cocktails and take them to the pool! (A lot of hotels make you buy them from the bar, another reason to love the alcazar, byob!)
  • Dinner at Mr. Lyons (sit in the lounge for small plates, a more casual vibe, and lower $$$)
  • The next morning, stop by Cheeky's for an amaze breakfast and head home.

One of the questions I get asked most is where to stay. Here are a few of the places we've stayed and why we love them:

  • The Wesley: This is probably my favorite. It's basically a renovated complex that used to be studios. There are only 8 or 9 units in the entire space that surround the pool, lounge, and bbq areas. Each one comes with a mini kitchen/fridge where you can fully whip up a meal, a private patio and your own bbq. PLUS, you can bring your dogs! We always stay here and love it.
  • The Ace: You will be so very hipster if you stay here. Complete with concrete floors, beds on the ground, and fresh cocktails. I kid, but it's def where you will find the younger crowd and a happening pool. Don't stay here if you want your quiet time;) We love the private patios a lot of the rooms offer, the communal areas with outdoor couches, and the tasty cocktails they offer as well as a yum breakfast. You don't really ever have to leave here! And, again, it's dog friendly!
  • The Riviera: your chain-esque, budget friendly hotel. I stayed here for a bach party and we had so much fun. The pool is FULL in the summer, soooo.. cool if you like a party, not cool if you want your space. Their restaurant has a good brunch and the rooms are pretty cute. Not to mention they are typically one of the cheaper resorts on the list!
  • The Saguaro: We have stayed here a few times as well. As you might have noticed, I'm not a giant fan of bright colors, which this hotel is famous for. But it does have a really fun pool/bar and is perfect for your colorful photoshoots and instagrams. And similar to the riviera, it's easy on the wallet.
  • Airbnb: We've gotten a couple of houses, and I will say... if you have a group of 6 or more, this is 100% the way to go. There are killer houses for under $300 everywhere when you pick the right dates. So, you have your friends, your bar, and a private pool, all in one place! The obviously vary per the date, but this has been my favorite!

Happy Palm Springs planning!

Taupe Letterpress Save the Dates for an Earthy Montana Wedding


Taupe letterpress wedding suite | A Fabulous Fete

Last month we had the pleasure of designing with C + P to create a simple yet impactful Save the Date that perfectly represented their upcoming wedding in the mountains of Montana. I'm always a sucker for a dose of contrast when it comes to design, so when we started chatting about the mix of earthy illustrations and luxe letterpress I knew it was going to be a stunning project. 

I shot a few photos as we were assembling and packing them up and wanted to share them here! Details are below on the individual pieces of this project.

Watercolor and letterpress wedding suite | A Fabulous Fete
Hand lettered semi-custom save the dates | A Fabulous Fete
Letterpress wedding suite + hand painted envelope liners | A Fabulous Fete
Simple taupe letterpress save the date | A Fabulous Fete
Semi-custom suites by A Fabulous Fete
Taupe letterpress wedding save the dates with kraft and white envelopes | A Fabulous Fete
Save the dates with brush lettering and letterpress | A Fabulous Fete
Letterpress details | A Fabulous Fete

So what was included in the package for these Save the Dates?

  • Semi-custom Save the Date design where we mixed brush hand lettered elements with our signature sans-serif font. The bride knew she wanted to go with letterpress, so we decided on the bright white double thick cotton paper to really make the simple design shine. A taupe shade was chosen to tie back to the woodsy liner design.
  • We illustrated custom liners with several fun watercolor trees.
  • The envelopes were pressed with the return address we created (with a combo of hand lettered names + their address in the same font from the suite) in white foil.
  • Each envelope was hand addressed in white brush lettering using one of our standard layouts emphasizing the names and block printing each address in all caps.

Looking for something similar? You can contact us via the button below for more info on pricing and details on working together!

How to Make Black Watercolor Notecards | DIY


Make your own watercolor stationery | A Fabulous Fete

For our holiday party at the end of last year, I wanted to add a handmade element to the gifts I was giving to everyone. I new it had to be paper + had to involve watercolor. BUT, I also wanted it to be simple enough that it would mesh well with everyone's style. So I dreamed up a pink version of these guys (you can see a little peek of them here). They were so easy, but really beautiful (I think), so I wanted to share with you guys how to make them for yourselves. I think they would be great for lots of things... personal stationery, gifts, party favors, place cards, table numbers, tags if you made them on a smaller scale... EVERYTHING. Like, who hates watercolor? NO ONE.

Black watercolor notecard DIY | A Fabulous Fete
How to customize plain stationery  | A Fabulous Fete
A five minute DIY to add interest to any of your plain stationery | A Fabulous Fete

I started with some double thick paper I had cut here. Mine was 260 lb. but I also found some 200 lb. here. If you aren't going to use a super thick paper like this, definitely be sure you are using a quality watercolor stock like THIS or THIS. If you use plain cardstock, it will warp and your end result will not be a nice flat card.

I used a round brush, size 12 and black winsor & newton watercolor. Add water to your color in a dish. Test on a scrap piece of paper. You will want the result to still be pretty opaque as you'll see in the image above on the left. Make a line of the black all the way across the bottom of the card then clean your brush.

How to create an ombre watercolor wash | A Fabulous Fete

After you have cleaned any excess watercolor off of your brush, dip it back into the water and paint another line, above the black line you just painted, barely touching the two.

Create your own watercolor stationery in just a few steps | A Fabulous Fete

Continue moving up the card using ONLY WATER, about 1 to 2 inches depending on how big your card is. As you add water and touch the original black watercolor line you made at the bottom, it will bleed up into the new brush strokes, creating an ombre effect.

Once your color is moving up towards the top, lay flat to dry. You can go back in with the tip of your brush at this point and pull a bit of the black up and create the little "bursts" you see below. The key here is to only use the tip of your brush to lightly move color around. Adding any more full brush strokes will just mix all of the color together. 

Make sure you have lots of pieces to practice on first. And use a light hand! After a few you'll realize it's a pretty delicate process that gets better as it dries. So take your time;)

Minimal black watercolor stationery DIY | A Fabulous Fete
Make your own watercolor stationery as a gift or party favor | A Fabulous Fete

Wrap with a bit of ribbon or thread once they are dry! They make a really great gift to have on hand, and are also kind of relaxing to make;)

If you guys make these I'd love to see!

Tag me on insta @afabulousfete and/or #afabulousfete

Supplies:

Leaf Lettering + A Summit to Learn All Of My Tips, Tricks + Tools!


Modern Calligraphy Summit 2.0 registration is open! Learn how to letter everything BUT paper, like these leaf place cards! | A Fabulous Fete

Lettering on everything BUT paper... it really makes me super happy. While I love paper, and invitations and all of that good stuff, I feel like when I letter on things like leaves and wood, I get to have a little more fun and let loose with my lettering style. I guess it's just all one big experiment and brings you back to those days when you lettered as a hobby... right? I mean, half the time I letter on random things, it's for myself or gifts so there is far less pressure to get things perfect.

And I KNOW you guys love it too, so I'm excited that there is finally a direction I can point you in for the biggest list of resources and guides I've ever shared. Modern Calligraphy Summit registration is now open! So you can sign up to learn all about the tools I use, where I source materials, how I use different tools on each material, and lots of tips + tricks in between. PLUS, there's 6 other instructors teaching and sharing on their own areas of expertise (brush calligraphy, copperplate, breaking the rules, layout + combining lettering styles, invitation design, watercolor and digitizing). All in the comfort of your home, wherever you live... and for an insane deal compared to trying to take these classes individually.

I know you will finish with so much new knowledge and confidence to take on new projects, try new styles, or maybe even (finally) start that business you've been dreaming about. I would've killed for something like this when I started out! Okay, not killed, but you get my point. 

So, to kick off registration (which is only open through MONDAY!), I wanted to share a quick peek at my process and one of the things I love playing around with... live foliage! We actually shot this so long ago, for the holidays and I never got around to sharing it. I thought this was the perfect opportunity to get you all excited about what you could learn in the summit. 

How to letter real foliage | A Fabulous Fete

Leaves are so much fun to play around with for parties and events if you can work on them close enough to the actual day. There are plenty of faux options out there, but how fun is sourcing something local and seasonal where each is unique? The key is to grab them at their peak. Find leaves that are large and as flat as possible (to make your life easier) without any bruising or spotting if you can. 

I love using gold on the rich green foliage, one of my favorite pens is the pentouch marker. The gold is a true metallic that doesn't dry dull like others i've tried. It goes on super consistent without drying out easily and/or clumping. (this actually wasn't a pentouch, but i pulled the wrapper off on accident and couldn't remember the name of this one!)

I letter each in the same style I would as if I were writing in brush calligraphy or traditional. But, like I explain in the summit, with the markers I go back in and create the thicker downstrokes you would otherwise create with your nib or brush. That's it! It's a bit trickier since you aren't working on a flat surface, but if you use a light touch you'll get the hang of working over any of the grooves.

Gold hand lettering on real leaves | A Fabulous Fete
Gold calligraphy live foliage place cards | A Fabulous Fete
Leaf place cards, a fun addition to a simple tabletop! | A Fabulous Fete

These little guys are perfect for place cards, gift tags, or if you use larger leaves, signage, seating charts, etc. So versatile;) So if you want to learn MORE, join me and sign up for the Modern Calligraphy Summit here! And if you have any questions about it, feel free to leave those in the comments.

Better Late Than Never | Holiday Party Recap


Billabong bungalow at Pacific Edge Hotel in Laguna Beach | A Fabulous Fete

Ok, so I know by now the last thing on your mind is what we all did over the holidays. BUT. I got our pictures back from our AFF holiday party and was NOT going to skip sharing them with you. Plus, it was at the beach on an unseasonably perfect day, so besides the wreaths and lights you see in some of the pictures, this really could be passed off as a summer party. We'd had a pretty awesome year here at A Fabulous Fete and it was all because of the hard working and supportive people I have around me. From people on our team, to creative girls that I partner with, to family, to friends... they've all played a part in my, and my businesses success. So (like my invitation to them said), the least I could do was provide a cool place for them to hang out at for the night, get them tipsy, and give back in one of my fave ways... food, cocktails and flowers;)

I decided to host our little get together in the bungalows at Pacific Edge Hotel. We spent most of our time in this one, the Billabong bungalow, but also had the Fox bungalow which was very dude friendly and ended housing all the beer because of that. Each bungalow had a sitting area, tv, bar that was perfect for snacks and a full bathroom. All of the bungalows were also connected by one large private deck which was tended to by your own server. You had access to the beach, but it wasn't THAT nice out, so we enjoyed with wine from our deck. It was absolutely the perfect spot to host all of my favorites. I love when I can mix casual atmosphere but make people feel special at a thoughtful event. I 100% plan on coming back here in the summer... not sure for what, but that doesn't really matter with this view + service right?

Read on for all of the other details of the day!

Beach bungalow swing chair | A Fabulous Fete
Air plant decor | A Fabulous Fete
Gold Foil Cocktail Napkins | A Fabulous Fete
Party favors included Voluspa candles, mini match bottles, brass jewelry boxes and crystals | A Fabulous Fete

I freaking love putting together gift boxes. I enjoy mini things in multiples. Don't ask me why, I just find joy in it. So I put together 20 of these fab little boxes for the girls. Basically, I included all of my favorite things that I knew everyone could work into their decor, home, or workspace as well. Each box was filled with one of my favorite Voluspa candles (mokara), a tiny brass jewelry box, a glass bottle with matches, crystals and I also hand painted a set of pink watercolor stationery for each. 

Candy and flower party decor | A Fabulous Fete
Mini gift boxes for the friends, fam + the team | A Fabulous Fete
Coffee table set up for the AFF holiday party | A Fabulous Fete

I didn't want to do full on desserts as it was more of a finger food event anyways. So I bought Sugarfina candy in bulk and added to glass bowls in one of the bungalows. We had Champagne bears, peppermint malt balls and birthday cake caramels. I set out boxes and bags for guests to fill during the party as well as take home. These were a hit and SO much easier than planning any desserts.

Sugarfina champagne gummy bears | A Fabulous Fete
Beautiful Savage flowers for our holiday celebration | A Fabulous Fete

FLOWERS! No A Fabulous Fete party or... really anything, is complete without some flowers. I enlisted my friend Naomi from Beautiful Savage Flowers to do two things for me this day. Not only did she bring tons of arrangements to deck out our bungalows, I also had her whip up this flower bar for my girls. WIN. I'm pretty sure everyone was happy to make and take home a bouquet of flowers they put together themselves. Not to mention I took home all of the extras. My house smelled amazing for the following 2 weeks. Naomi will be offering this flower bar service soon for her clients too if you wanted someone to bring this into your party or event!

Team party flower bar by Beautiful Savage Flowers | A Fabulous Fete
Flower bar ingredients. Each guest built their own bouquet to take home | A Fabulous Fete
Flower bar | A Fabulous Fete
Charcuturie board from The Deck, Laguna Beach | A Fabulous Fete

All of the food for our party was provided by The Deck which is the restaurant connected to the Pacific Edge Hotel. I ordered a few things that they refilled through the night and guests were able to place orders with our server who checked in with us often. But the charcuterie was the one thing everyone raved about during and after. So get it if you are ever there.

I sort of felt like you do on your wedding day. Like you're so frazzled you don't really eat and when you do you don't remember much, you just chewed as quickly as possible so you could talk to someone else. I will have revenge on the charcuterie though... soon. I can say the wine and champagne was wonderful though, I had no problem keeping up with that;)

Beach bungalow holiday party | A Fabulous Fete
Charcuterie plate at Pacific Edge bungalows in Laguna Beach | A Fabulous Fete
Cheese + Meat platter for our AFF Holiday party | A Fabulous Fete
Winter parties in California! We celebrated with our team in the bungalows at Pacific Edge Hotel in Laguna Beach | A Fabulous Fete

I asked everyone to arrive a bit before sunset so they could all enjoy it as it is one of the biggest perks of hosting here. The bungalows are available for guests from 11am to 8pm, so obviously Ryan and I took full advantage of having our own ocean front deck the whole day. 

AFF owner, Lauren Saylor | A Fabulous Fete
Ocean view | A Fabulous Fete
Party guests at our beach bungalow in Laguna | A Fabulous Fete
AFF holiday party 2016 | A Fabulous Fete
Flower bar favors | A Fabulous Fete
Beautiful Savage Flowers provided and set up an amazing bar for party guests to assemble their own bouquets | A Fabulous Fete
Laguna Beach sunsets | A Fabulous Fete
Simple flower decor by Beautiful Savage Flowers | A Fabulous Fete
The other half of our Wilde House Paper team | A Fabulous Fete
Sunset mingling | A Fabulous Fete

So to recap, still dreaming about this day. It was so much fun and ended up going so smoothly. It's funny, since I started this blog so fully focused on parties, how much I've mellowed out about them over the years. Obviously thoughtful details are still very important to me, but now more than ever it's about being with the people around me that I enjoy. The whole point of entertaining, right?

I wish I could've invited all of you that have supported me and AFF over the years! And trust me, I have long term goals to do so;) But until then, THANK YOU TOO for reading and commenting and liking and sharing. It's really what keeps this space going. XO

Photography: Sunny Kim Photography

Venue: Bungalows at Pacific Edge Hotel

Flowers: Beautiful Savage Flowers