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 c/o Tobi || 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 larger scale, budget friendly, but still totally cute, 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. You've seen it's bright colors all over instagram and pinterest, which this hotel is famous for. I tend to like the simple or bohemian vibes in other places, but if you're looking for a place with a really fun pool/bar and something that is perfect for your colorful photoshoots and instagrams, this is it. 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, a Joie de Vivre 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

How to Properly Line An Envelope


Lined stationery and wedding envelopes | A Fabulous Fete

There are about 5,642 things I wish I new when I started working for myself. One of them being how to line an envelope. I've struggled with several different methods trying to find what worked best. I always MADE it work but felt like I was putting way too much effort into something that should've been simple. Months (ahem... years) later, I stumbled across a tool that is probably for lots of other things, but in my eyes, is the key to lining an envelope properly.

In the past, we hadn't lined our clients envelopes so to be honest, this wasn't a huge priority in my business. But as we've evolved and started to offer different packages and higher end print processes, these little details were something that were suddenly necessary in our client experience.

So, since we've been lining away here at AFF recently, I thought I'd save you the pain if you didn't know how to do this yet... AND give you links to the tools. Plus you can get it all on Amazon, and if you have prime, you're jumping up and down like I was;)

Custom hand lettered vellum wedding invitation + hand painted liners | A Fabulous Fete
Hand painted envelope liners | A Fabulous Fete

Supplies:

How do you find a liner that fits and how the heck do you get custom liners made?

All of the liners we use for AFF wedding stationery are custom. We have different levels of complexity... some are simple watercolor washes, others are a completely illustrated pattern. If you are designing a custom liner, you will either need to find a printer who has dies to fit their envelopes, OR make you own custom dies. To fit the pointed flap envelopes we use with clients majority of the time, we've had a few common sizes created with one of our printers. You would provide them with a line drawing from which they build the die (the piece that cuts the paper into it's shape). Typically you own these if they are custom, and your printer will keep it "on file" for you to use with each of your designs. There are also a ton of pre-made options out there if you are looking for a one time use, budget friendly option. Just check out any retail store like Paper Source to find your envelopes + matching liners.

How to attach envelope liners | A Fabulous Fete
The best tool for applying envelope liners | A Fabulous Fete
How we assemble liners for our wedding clients | A Fabulous Fete

1. Insert your liner until it hits the bottom of the inside of your envelope. 

The one tool you should invest in if you work in stationery! | A Fabulous Fete
Tips for lining your envelopes perfectly every time | A Fabulous Fete
How to attach an enveloper liner to your outer envelopes | A Fabulous Fete

2. Hold the liner down on the inside where the flap folds over (so that it doesn't shift) and then fold the flap down. Press along the entire top edge of the envelope to crease the liner.

Tips for assembling your wedding invitations | A Fabulous Fete

3. Open the envelope flap only, leaving the liner folded down.

How to use an adhesive applicator for lining envelopes | A Fabulous Fete

4. Apply the adhesive with the applicator (applicator comes with use instructions, practice a few times on scrap paper to get a feel for how to start, pull and end the adhesive line) to only the two top edges of the liner. This is all you need to keep it secure and still allow it to move when you open and close the envelope.

The best way to line your envelopes | A Fabulous Fete
How to easily add interest to simple wedding invitations | A Fabulous Fete

5. Fold the envelope flap down to close and adhere the liner. Do not fold the liner up to meet the envelope flap, this could result in it not attaching in the right place and bunching of the lower part inside of the envelope.

Custom envelope liners for wedding stationery | A Fabulous Fete
How to attach your custom liners to your wedding invitation envelopes | A Fabulous Fete
One tool that you must have for lining envelopes | A Fabulous Fete
Envelope liner DIY | A Fabulous Fete
How to add instant interest to a simple wedding suite | A Fabulous Fete

I love using liners to jazz up an otherwise simple design... this vellum invite combo above wasn't what we originally did for the client, but I LOVE the two together!

I hope this helps you out if you didn't know how to line envelopes already! Are there any other tips or tricks you guys are interested in when it comes to stationery projects like this?

Shop the materials and tools we use...

3 Part Free Video Series for the Modern Calligraphy Summit 2.0


Free Modern Calligraphy Summit Videos | A Fabulous Fete

Freeeeeee! Yes, I said free. Did you know that enrollment for Modern Calligraphy Summit 2.0 opens in just 1 short week?! And to give everyone a little taste, the team at MCS put together a free 3 part video series that shares a look at the answers to questions that the instructors get asked pretty frequently.  The first was just released yesterday, and was #1 on my list... 'WHAT ARE YOUR FAVORITE TOOLS?' We each share a quick peek into what we love using everyday. So head over, sign up and watch!

Hand Lettered Printable Valentines for Your Faves


Free Printable Valentines | A Fabulous Fete

I think one of my favorite times to create printables for you guys is in February. Why? Because I get to use pink EVERYWHERE. I love pink, obviously. The shade I love changes from time to time but it is consistently one of my go to colors.

I kept the tones a little more muted for this years valentines. I wanted them to be a bit more sophisticated.

These are totally doable at home, but if you want some super saturated and even color, I'd suggest you hit your local print shop. My printer wasn't lovin that mauve... but hey, I think for homemade valentines they're pretty good looking. So stock up your printer with some smooth card stock and print away! The valentines are 4-bar size, so you can pick up envelopes to match at any craft or paper store.

Free hand lettered valetines | A Fabulous Fete
Print and send these free valentines for your friends, fam or love! | A Fabulous Fete
Lover Valentine | A Fabulous Fete
Pink + Mauve free valentine downloads | A Fabulous Fete

If you guys use these this month, I'd love to see! Tag your instagram pictures with @afabulousfete and/or #afabulousfete.

A Valentine's Day Advent Calendar || DIY


A simple and inexpensive DIY Valentine's Day gift for you and your significant other! | A Fabulous Fete

We don't usually make too much of Valentine's Day around here. Usually we'll make a nice dinner at home + exchange cards. If there are any gifts involved, typically the rule is it has to be (mostly) handmade. We used to make a bigger deal out of it all... we had the dinner reservations, gifts, dressed up etc. But after a few years it honestly got a little exhausting (not to mention expensive, HAVE YOU BEEN OUT on valentines day recently?!). Ryan's bday is just 3 days after vday, and trying to plan and purchase ALL THE THINGS for both, became a lot. Plus, neither of us would ever win an award for being romantic, sentimental or mushy... so it's just never been something we've wanted to invest a ton of time or effort into.

I think that it is still a fun time to give each other a sweet card and make a special dinner together, though. So I do like our low-key celebrations and still like to come up with fun ways to show the love. I thought a fun Valentine's Day themed version of an advent calendar would be the perfect way to do that. All you have to do is come up with 14 things you love, like, or admire about your significant other and write it down. Then each day leading up to vday (starting on the 1st), you each get to open one. 

What do you guys do one Valentine's Day? Do you keep it mellow, go all out, or do you boycott it completely? Would love to hear your traditions (or NON traditions!) in the comments!

Valentines Day Advent Calendar DIY | A Fabulous Fete
Gift ideas for Valentine's Day | A Fabulous Fete

Supplies:

Instructions:

  1. Letter 2 sets of envelopes one through fourteen.
  2. Each person will get a set + 14 blank flat cards to pen their fave things about the other person.
  3. Tuck each one in an envelope and seal.
  4. Put each stack in order and keep in a box, or you can pin them up on a cork board, or garland style with clothespins!
Instead of gifts for vday, make this simple advent calendar by coming up with 14 things you love about your partner and opening one each day | A Fabulous Fete
Mini Envelopes for a 14 day Valentines Advent Calendar | A Fabulous Fete
DIY Valentine's Day ideas | A Fabulous Fete
Advent calendar you can easily create at home for Valentine's Day! | A Fabulous Fete

Shop the supplies I used for this project...

Living Room Update || Making the "In Progress" Work


Living room coffee table picnic | A Fabulous Fete

Have you guys ever set a word for the year? I talked about my first one in 2015 here, and have set one every year since. That first one though, I can honestly say made an impact. I'm a procrastinator, I'm not sure if it will ever change, but I'm improving a tiny tiny bit every day. So when I said "NOW" would be my word (like do it now, not later because you won't), it has lingered ever since.

With that being said, things have started to shift around the house since then. We've cleaned and cleared and kept junk piles (mostly) out of the corners and off tables. The laundry + dishes (usually) get done pretty quickly, and most importantly, we've started to tackle projects around the house. One giant, blinding mess that we ignored for years was a massive pool table in our living room. We used it a few times when we first set it up (it was handed down) and then it quickly became the place to throw crap when you came home. I kid you not, there were things on and under it that sat for years (gross and pointless). Like, clearly you don't need it if it's been sitting under a table for 3 years! So in 2016 I took some pictures, put it on craigslist and it was out of there within a week. Now we have this amazing open and airy space to do ANYTHING in... but collect junk.

Soooo... now, that means we have to fill it with something. You know, like furniture. And that is always a long process (find it, think about it, wait and think some more about it because you don't want to spend all that money on it, then when you do make the leap wait another 15 years for them to make and ship it). We finally landed on a snazzy little velvet couch, but are in that waiting period as they weave the fabric and whittle the legs from trees (kidding, but it feels like an eternity once you make that jump and buy a piece of furniture). And we are living in the "in between". 

With the holidays, I wanted to make this work. I wanted a space for our tree, for us to sit and for my girls and I to have wine night. So a while back when I partnered with Zola (you can see the posts here and here), I knew exactly what I needed to create the content for our partnership AND create something cozy for our space. While our partnership was to share their amazing registry selection, I also wanted to share all of the images as inspiration for a simple indoor space as it's been working for us for the past few months now.

Living room update | A Fabulous Fete
Simple pieces for easy entertaining | A Fabulous Fete
A simple living room picnic with friends | A Fabulous Fete

They had this fantastic wood table that I had actually been drooling over from another store. That was an easy decision. Then I picked up a few rugs, lots of fluffy blankets and pillows, topped the table with simple but eye catching serveware and that was it! I hosted a girls night here, we opened presents here, and I watched a few movies here. Even without being finished I love how it's turning out being my indoor picnic space;)

We (I) still have some work to do besides positioning the couch when it arrives. I'll be updating our art wall, hopefully some new shelves to showcase things we've brought back from travels, moving the bar cart and re-styling to make it a place to relax with a cocktail and finally find some plants I can keep alive for a while.

I will share more of the process, and these pictures were definitely done up for the occasion. It isn't this glamorous everyday! I will also share what it looked like before so you can get an idea of how far it came by the time we're done.

Gold plated ceramic appetizer dishes | A Fabulous Fete
Kate Spade pitcher | A Fabulous Fete
Cozy winter get togethers at home | A Fabulous Fete
Get togethers at home with an easy spread and flowers you can grab at the grocery store | A Fabulous Fete
Wood table with cozy blankets for winter get togethers | A Fabulous Fete
Piles of pillows and blankets for getting together around the coffee table | A Fabulous Fete
Gold cheese knives and matching appetizer plates | A Fabulous Fete
Recent progress on our living room update | A Fabulous Fete

I envision at least a few more days/nights of me relaxing here in my pillow fort while I can still make not having anywhere else to sit an excuse. 

Here are a few of the pieces we sourced so far for the room and used for our shoot with Zola!

New Year, Same Me (but in case we haven't met...)


I sort of have this love/hate relationship with the new year. I LOVE that I feel inspired all over again to reinvent and improve things, but I HATE that it takes the new year to make a lot of us feel like that! After taking a short break over the holidays, I thought a lot about what I want to share here this year, and what things made me procrastinate when it came to creating content for the blog (ie. why was I making it so hard on myself?). I think there was a lot of pressure to create amazing content, which I still love to do, but I do think there is a lot of room for me to share other stuff here that isn't as curated, styled or planned. Like, more behind the scenes, more business advice, a bigger look into calligraphy as well as more tutorials and tips/tricks... just overall, a deeper look into what goes on here, and in real life, every day.

I'd noticed that as all sides of my business have grown (including both A Fabulous Fete and Wilde House), people are interested in hearing about that journey, what differentiates the 2 companies and my role in all of it. SO. I thought, what better time that January 2017 to re-introduce myself, my businesses and hear a bit more about what you guys want to read. This has also most definitely prompted an about page update... but I'm waiting on a fun logo/site facelift to make that happen;)

Let's start with a bit about AFF and our "HQ"! I thought it was funny, when I was interviewing for an assistant, a lot of people thought that we would be working from an office... Instagram and pretty blog photos (I guess) can make it look that way. But, we have actually just taken over most of the spare bedrooms in our home to run both AFF and WH. We ALL (sometimes 4 or 5 of us, depending on the tasks that day) work from here, usually on alternating times and days (thank god, it would get pretty cozy otherwise). We do have a legit office space with our desks, computers, etc. it's not just girls on their laptops on the couch;) Although it did start that way back in the day! AFF has grown from me writing for the blog (first few years of that embarrassing blog had to be deleted, such a shame) at night after I came home from my day job. I worked at a corporate eyewear/apparel company as a developer (aka, I worked with factories all over the world to get stuff made, negotiate pricing, etc.). There were so many spreadsheets and emails and grey cubicle walls that I needed an outlet. After I wrote for the blog for a few months, I started an etsy shop where I handmade party supplies. That was back at the time when we were all obsessed with washi tape drink stirrers, tissue paper pom poms and thinks like that. My little drink stirrers even made it into Martha Stewart Weddings, cray... Anyways, my journey from there went something like this: I wanted to make parties in a box --> these were a bitch to pack and ship --> left that idea and tried styling parties instead --> good, but I didn't like working on the weekend --> tried calligraphy --> sucked at it for a year or two but got better at it and did a friends wedding invites and reception items --> started to build my etsy shop out with a little calligraphy --> thought I wanted to be a wedding planner --> assisted at a wedding, hated it, dropped that idea --> started to actually get calligraphy orders and thought more about pursuing it --> got really stressed out that I couldn't work full time AND grow my callig biz --> quit my job in 2012, had NO money for a long time but worked hard --> here I am today. And ya, that all took around 6 years. I talked a little more about having real expectations here if you want to dive deeper into that! 

Even though I feel like my business has found it's sweet spot, we are always evolving, every day. I don't think I'll ever settle down and JUST do wedding invitations. I have a love for so many other things that I know we'll keep expanding and finding new things we can offer! Which brings me to company number 2, which I started with a friend (who actually started out working with me for AFF!) Megan. Wilde House Paper...

What is Wilde House Paper? I don't think I've ever really explained it enough here... we kind of just jumped into it and never looked back. Megan and I are both stationery obsessed. And while working on wedding stationery is amazing and beautiful and fun, it's always very unique to your client and not something you can use in your everyday life. So forming a company that we could use our lifestyle ideas on was super exciting to both of us. We bounced around a lot of ideas and landed on starting Wilde House as a subscription box company with intention to grow into more products down the road. We launched our first box in November of 2015 and have been designing a collaborative stationery box every month since. Basically, we both gather inspiration for each months box and come up with a color palette and theme. From there we hand letter, illustrate and design 4 to 5 products that are printed and shipped out to our subscribers at the beginning of each month. We've also started to include small "styling extras" to encourage our followers to get inspired with their spaces and style up their desks, homes, or wherever they use their new stationery (and then share on instagram, duh;). It is extremely fast paced and sometimes a struggle with thousands of miles in between us (CA to PA!), but we love it and our growth over the past year is hard to argue with... I think everyone loves getting a surprise in the mail monthly, that is NOT a bill!

We had a small holiday shop in 2016 which was a new experience as we never had an "a la carte" shop. And while that is still on the agenda for the future, we have something even more exciting launching at the end of the month. But more on that coming soon!

So ya, it's been a long winding journey... I graduated high school with the intention of being a fashion designer. I attended FIDM, worked for a small clothing company for about 6 months and from there went straight to the corporate world which is how AFF was born shortly after. It's crazy how things work out, and even crazier to think about what is in store for the future!

I hope that this gives you a better look into what it is that goes on here. I know there's plenty of other little things we can talk about too which I'm excited to write about (how do you organize this into one day? how do you stay inspired? how do you work in a partnership? how do you hire your first employees? right?) 

But I'd also love know what you are dying get more info on too! I'm hoping that in addition to the diys, flowers, parties, and inspiration I share here, that I can also start sharing more advice or tips that is requested by you guys. So share in the comments if you have a question!

Images by Sunny Kim Photography

Kicking off 2017 with a Road Trip || Santa Barbara


Overnighter Billabong bag | A Fabulous Fete

Welcome back everyone! I hope you all got to take a little time to yourselves over the holidays. I had lots of plans (as usual)... works goals, home goals, alllll the goals. And then I was just like wait, you worked so hard to take some time off, TAKE IT OFF. And so I did. But, I did work towards one of the things I want to do more in 2017, and that is get out of town. We have so much to do in Southern California, lots of it literally within 20 to 30 minutes of us, and we don't take advantage of it. So while we had our little bit of time off, we decided to head up the coast and spend a night in Santa Barbara.

We didn't have any expectations for the trip. We were taking our dogs, going on New Years day, and it's the middle of winter. So it was cold, lots of places closed early, but we had fun, found places we could hang out at and made the most of it! I found the cutest hotel on Expedia (my go-to, i'm pretty lazy about hotel research) that allowed our extra large + extra small dogs called Hotel Milo. Our room was super spacious and located on the adorable courtyard pictured below. There were complimentary bikes you could cruise around town on, a nightly happy hour (which we took full advantage of, obviously) with a few local wines, and about 1462 photo opps with all of their lush succulent and palm gardens. We're most definitely going back.

We took a walk down the pier, headed to one of the dog friendly tasting rooms, DV8, and then had dinner at a restaurant called Cadiz (trust me and order the mushroom risotto + ahi bruschetta if it's still available). Somehow all of this filled the entire day. We were hoping to visit a few more of the tasting rooms but since many of them were closed for the holiday, all that were open were completely packed. Much of our wine tasting was done at the happy hour that our hotel hosted (well, i guess more drinking than tasting)... they had cozy little fire pits that kept us warm for a few hours until it was time for dinner. The next morning we tried out Sambo's, a retro diner we pass every time we have been to SB but had never had the chance to stop at. They have giant mimosas and crab + avocado omelettes, enough said.

Basically everything we did was on a whim or something we quickly googled, and it all ended up being perfectly cute, comfortable, delicious and entertaining... sometimes not planning is the way to go! But, if you're going to spend 24 hours (or less) try out everything above and I don't think you will be disappointed. Now for the most important part, the pictures!

Santa-Barbara-Overnight-Road-Trip-9.jpg
What to do in the winter in Santa Barbara | A Fabulous Fete
My picks for 24 hours in Santa Barbara | A Fabulous Fete
Dog friendly picks for visiting Santa Barbara | A Fabulous Fete
Wine tasting in Santa Barbara | A Fabulous Fete
Hotel Milo in Santa Barbara | A Fabulous Fete
Giant succulents | A Fabulous Fete
Dog friendly wine tasting in Santa Barbara | A Fabulous Fete
24 hours in Santa Barbara | A Fabulous Fete
Winter nights wine tasting | A Fabulous Fete
How we spent 24 hours in Santa Barbara | A Fabulous Fete
2017 Resolutions and goals | A Fabulous Fete
California palms | A Fabulous Fete

And a quick recap of our recs from this trip...

  • Stay at Hotel Milo (dog friendly!)
  • Wine at the dog friendly tasting room DV8
  • Dine at Cadiz for Italian/Spanish cuisine
  • Brunch at Sambo's

Enjoy!

 

3 Simple Ways to Wrap Your Gifts This Year


How I am wrapping my gifts this year | A Fabulous Fete

I've mentioned it several times... I'm not a huge fan of wrapping any sort of package. I like to wing it (I hate measuring) so knowing how and where to cut paper, folding things so they don't bunch, or having to go back and trim off excess wrapping is not my thing. Usually I try and make the top of things look flat (when it comes to presents) and tape the shit out of the bottom to keep it shut. SO, to make up for that, I've started to add pretty things to the tops of my packages over the years. I hope that it distracts the recipients and makes them not care about the rest of my poor wrapping skills. 

I literally had an excess of like 50 clear ornaments from a project I did, so I've been finding any way I can to use them (I even tried to GIVE them away to friends one night, no takers). We listed custom ornaments here in the shop which has steadily sent many of the ornaments out into the world, but I needed a few other reasons to use them. They turned out making fabulous little gift toppers when filled with festive accoutrements (stuff;) and I wanted to show you what I used and ended up loving on our simple little packages!

3 ways to spruce up plain wrapping paper with DIY ornaments | A Fabulous Fete
3 Ideas for sprucing up clear ornaments. Use them on your tree or to wrap presents! | A Fabulous Fete
3 simple ways to add interest to plain holiday wrapping paper | A Fabulous Fete
Dried peony petals dropped into clear ornaments make gorgeous gift toppers! | A Fabulous Fete

To open the ornaments, there's a thin wire at the top that expands. Squeeze the 2 sides together and pop off the silver top. Tuck in anything small enough, or soft, and you have yourself a festive gift topper! 

We used:

Add silk ribbon to clear ornaments and use to top plain white packages | A Fabulous Fete
Silk ribbon to wrap simple white holiday gifts | A Fabulous Fete
3 ideas for wrapping your presents this year | A Fabulous Fete
Silk ribbon + these DIY ornaments makes any simple wrapping paper look extra fancy! | A Fabulous Fete
Ideas for sprucing up the simplest packages this holiday season | A Fabulous Fete

They're quick, easy and fun and don't require much skill... just a little creativity with your filler choices! Shop items above or just check out your local craft store for the same types of items.

Images by Sunny Kim

Wood Wedding Signage | Calligraphy


Custom wood calligraphy sign for wedding reception | A Fabulous Fete

A few months ago I worked with my client, Meghan, from the beginning of designing her wedding suite through to the day of items (which you can see here). We created pieces keeping in the color scheme of deep burgundy, greens and gold. They also requested this oversized wood sign with a short quote. I love when couples create items like this that serve as decor on their wedding day as well as decor in their home long after that day is over. It's a pretty little reminder that you can keep out all year round.

We had a simple piece of wood from the hardware store cut to size. After I stained it, I lettered in their quote with a white paint pen (this brand is my fave). I joked about keeping it if it didn't have their names on it... but really, I was completely serious. I said I would make myself a smaller version with a quote/phrase of our own. But you know how personal projects go;) So I wanted to share a few pictures of the finished piece! If you are looking for something similar, you can email us here to get a quote.

White calligraphy on wood | A Fabulous Fete
Custom quote signs for your wedding | A Fabulous Fete
Wood home decor | A Fabulous Fete
Rustic calligraphy signs for your wedding or home | A Fabulous Fete
Rustic wood signage by A Fabulous Fete

A Month In Review + Goals | November '16


November was a mish-mash of travel, deadlines, launches, catch up... and wine;) We had a little bit of everything and crunched into less time than usual as our annual Hawaii trip took a nice chunk out of the month. So this month, I'm really looking forward to decorating for the holidays (which is pretty much already done since we're a week in!) and staying in.

I'm a serious homebody in December. I LOVE being around the lights and christmas trees and cozy fires. I feel like if we do anything else, I'm going to miss a day/night away from all of the festive-ness (which is kind of nuts). Anybody else like that? No, just me, ok;) I'm also looking forward to a tiny bit of time off in between Christmas and the New Year. I try to do this every year and it's been so nice to wake up late, make breakfast and spend lazy days really doing nothing! I do want to use the time to work on some new items for the shop and wedding invitation designs... but that's fun as well so it doesn't really feel like work. Anyways... here is what happened in November!

A few goals for the month...

First, get our home + offices organized and clutter free! There are clothes everywhere from trips, excessive amounts of paper on the ground in our office and just junk that I should really get rid of cluttering up corners all over the place. I'm not minimalistic AT ALL, but, i'd like to try and make more conscious decisions next year in purchases so that our house doesn't look like a garage sale with things I hate after a week. You know?

Second, like I said above, NEW SHOP ITEMS! Most importantly, some long overdue additions to the wedding stationery section. I've been collecting inspiration for probably a year now and need to get to work. Plus, it's engagement season so I would love to launch some new Save the Date's for new couples!

Third, maybe let's just stick to two goals... no? Ok. The blog is always on my mind... new ideas, series, projects, etc. I want to share it all. So I'm working to build a more structured schedule for my time that allows for more blog content creation! It's a brilliant idea, a schedule... one i've never really put into place since starting a biz. I'll give it a whirl this month;)

What are your goals for the month of December?

All images via @afabulousfete on instagram.

Customized Ornaments Are In The Shop!


Simple customized holiday decor | A Fabulous Fete

You all know I can't resist writing all over anything with a flat plain surface. So these glass ornaments were no exception. We had a handful of them in the office and decided they would have much better homes, customized with you guys. So they are up in the shop now! 

You can customize with your last name, the year or an "est." date if you were recently married and wanted a fun ornament to remember your first holiday. There is a 2-3 day lead time, so you'll have them pretty quickly! We will be hanging ours on the tree this year as our 2016 ornament (we get a new one every year), but I will probably be using them on top of presents too.

We shot a few photos of the process, check it out and then hop over to The Shop and grab one for yourself now!

Hand lettered gold on glass holiday ornaments | A Fabulous Fete
Hand lettered ornaments work on your tree, as gifts, or even gift toppers! Get yours on A Fabulous Fete
Gold hand lettered christmas ornaments in the shop | A Fabulous Fete
Glass hand lettered ornaments | A Fabulous Fete

Each ornament is packed in a muslin drawstring bag you can store it in after the holidays are over and then packed in a gift box just in case you are giving them as gifts! All you have to do is add a bow and tag.

Images by Sunny Kim

Mini Matchstick Bottle DIY


How to make a DIY matchstick bottle that decoratively displays matches for your candles | A Fabulous Fete

I don't know where the obsession came from, but for the longest time I haven't been able to just buy someone a singular gift and be done with it. I love finding (or making) a little something that accompanies the "main" gift. For example, a tiny ring dish to go with a piece of jewelry, or a pretty pen to go with a notebook. I feel like it completes the gift and shows that it wasn't just something you grabbed as quickly as you could. 

We made these tiny matchstick bottles at the HauteLook event a few weeks ago and I thought it would be the perfect item to pair with any candles that might be gifted around the holidays. I love this idea for those friends that are hard to buy for, or if you have to do something small for coworkers, this is a great idea to do with mini candles. But, for now, these little guys are ALL over the house. I promise I'll gift a few for the holidays though;)

Supplies for this DIY holiday gift | A Fabulous Fete

Supplies:

Gifts that you can make to accompany store bought gifts | A Fabulous Fete

Fill your bottle with candles until it's full. This is a time consuming process! Make sure to shake it around until they settle so you can fill the bottle.

Holiday gift ideas you can make | A Fabulous Fete
Mini match bottle DIY | A Fabulous Fete

Cut the strike pad from the match book or box and glue to the bottom or the side of the bottle depending on how flat the bottle is. And that's it! Now you can tie a little ribbon on the top and pair with your candles.

A mini bottle that holds your matches, perfect for coffee table decor or holiday gifts! | A Fabulous Fete

I love having these around the house since we are always lighting candles. Not all matches are good looking... and these make great styling accessories, something I am always looking for when decorating the coffee table or shelves.

Images by Sunny Kim

Create a Holiday Arrangement in a Few Simple Steps


A simple arrangement with tulips and roses | A Fabulous Fete

If I were a huge fan of the traditional holiday color palette of red and green, flower arrangements would be a little easier to put together around this time of year. But I typically lean towards lots of white, metallics and a color that is in our home year round either way... coral/pink. 

I found this bunch of flowers at my fave, Trader Joes, and wanted to share a few tips for putting together a similar arrangement in just a few steps. I found these cute little berries and thought they added a festive touch without having to go with an obvious color palette. They usually have these in different colors there, so it's an easy way to stick with the normal flowers you would buy and make them fit with the season!

Ingredients for a fall flower arrangement | A Fabulous Fete

I used peach roses, white tulips, orange/peach berries and some greenery from the yard. The only greens I ever buy from the store are eucalyptus... otherwise cutting a branch or two from our yard (or neighbors, shhhh) does the trick! I really wanted to use the persimmons but they ended up being too heavy for the small vase. I ended up just setting the branches next to the arrangement and it looked really nice that way as well! While we are lucky enough to have a persimmon tree in our back yard, you can also find these at your local flower shops when they're in season.

Simple berries make any flower arrangement a little more festive | A Fabulous Fete
Roses and tulips | A Fabulous Fete
How to start building a full flower arrangement | A Fabulous Fete

I've read tips and taken quick classes on arranging... but to be honest what always works best for me is making it up as I go. I do have a few tips that get me started and make an arrangement looked finished though, so I'll share those with you here.

First, I always start with 2-3 large leafy branches. I use these to set the "shape" of the arrangement. I like them to be wild and asymmetrical (so i don't have to worry about making anything look perfect!). These larger more sturdy branches are also a good base for lighter flowers like the tulips.

Tips for keeping your flowers fresh this season | A Fabulous Fete
White tulips, perfect for holiday arrangements | A Fabulous Fete

Always use super sharp scissors (floral shears are best... but i've never actually searched those out) and cut your stems at an angle. Place them in the water right away after trimming them.

How to create a quick arrangement in a bubble vase | A Fabulous Fete

After I have my bigger branches in, I start to add the fullest flower I have. In this case it was the tulips that were already pretty open.

Tips for making your grocery store flowers look great in holiday arrangements | A Fabulous Fete

To prep the roses, remove the outer petals. They actually protect the rose and are supposed to be taken off for them to properly open. Wish I learned that earlier! Also make sure to remove any leaves that will be below the water line. Since the roses were much heavier, I added these closer to the end so there was already a nice structure built with the other stems.

3 flowers to buy at the grocery store for simple holiday arrangements | A Fabulous Fete
How to create this quick and easy holiday flower arrangement | A Fabulous Fete
Tips for taking a flower arrangement from basic to festive this season | A Fabulous Fete

The stems with berries were tucked in at the very end. I always have a filler like this to tuck into any open gaps and add some movement if the arrangement started to get too symmetrical. This is also when I add in a few more branches of greenery, again, to fill in any empty spaces.

White and peach holiday floral arrangement | A Fabulous Fete
IMG_5895.jpg

And that's it, with just a few bunches from the grocery store, you can make these for your next holiday get together.

Images by Sunny Kim