Personal adoption stuff has been heartbreaking as of late. I think I need a week here..... Troy and I have a greater understanding of the powerlessness that so much of the world's poor feels. We are thankful for your prayers, the next two weeks are becoming very critical in our adoption journey. Hugs... b

Dress above by Karen Willis Holmes

Some days in wedding planning, {and in life in general}, we wish everything was ethereal, light, pretty and flowing. Life isn't like that.. but there are days I sure wish it would be!!!

MS 07

Stephanie Williams photography above
If you can't make it to Paris, then make sure to stop by Bistro Jeanty in Yountville. It's French dinning, without being snooty. Just about any local will tell you, you have to order the tomato soup. How good can tomato soup be??? Oh, it can be awesome! Creme de Tomate en Croute as it's called, comes with a flaky puff pastry on the top, so beautiful you almost didn't want to break through it to get to the soup. It really lives up to all the hyperbole! I had the Coq au Vin which was perfect. I've heard great things about Cassoulet and the Beef Stew!

Creme de Tomate en Croute above

OK, yes
Rutherford Grill is part of a chain of restaurants, but this isn't Applebee's! Just off the 29, Rutherford Grill is very much a local restaurant with an eclectic menu and lots of fans. You may have to wait a while for a an outdoor table or family booth, but it's worth it. You can smell the wood burning grill, while enjoying the causal atmosphere. Our favorites from the menu is their amazing cornbread, and super tender baby back ribs. You'll love their grilled, smoky artichokes with the perfectly tangy dipping sauce. Great food in Napa, can be reasonable and very causal!

It's hard to believe it's been over a decade since I was a college freshman dreaming of Giugni's deli sandwiches (image above). I spent two years at PUC in St. Helena/ Angwin. Last week Troy and I had a chance to spend a day in Napa Valley without a kiddio! If you're going to be in the "Valley", here are a handful of my favorite local foodie spots.

Giugni's is a deli in St. Helena downtown. I love the dutch crunch rolls, fresh veggies and the Giugni Juice is a must!

As a west coaster.. Dean & Deluca is treat and the St. Helena store is the only location on the West Coast. Amazing cheeses, bakery, deli and speciality foods!! You can pick up great quality foods for picnics, hikes. It's all about quality not quantity!!

As a college student, we were always looking for awesome food, for a great price. A super popular restaurant was Tomatina now Pizzeria Tra Vigne. It's a casual, family friendly place, right off the 29, with a pretty, wisteria covered outdoor eating area. When in California, you must eat outside!

You have to try their piadine.... a warm flat bread, with a salad on top. Amazing choices. My favorite is chicken, roasted peppers, mozzarella, spinach and garlic!!

My all time favorite menu item at Tomatina/ Pizzeria Tra Vigne is... the garlic rolls. Hot, puffy, artisan pieces of dough, swimming in olive oil, fresh garlic, & Parmesan cheese.. to die for.

garlic rolls above

Of course being a college student, coffee shop studying is a staple. Napa Valley Roasting Company is just off 29 in St. Helena and they roast all their own coffee. Forget chain coffee shops, Napa Valley Roasting has a home like feel. My roommate Pam introduced me to their semi-freddo or espresso "affogato". (Affogato means "drowned" in Italian) It's hot espresso poured over creamy, gelato just before it is eaten, topped with whipped cream and grated chocolate. Yeah, the Italians are brilliant!! More to come...

Troy and I are spending this afternoon wandering around St. Helena and Yountville. It's fun to visit great cafes and restaurants from my college days. Dean & Deluca's is a must for cheese and dessert. Of course being in Napa, I have to review some great tips on saving money with your reception. With all traditional receptions, you'll want to have a Champagne or sparkling wine for toasting! (Many of you may not know that sparkling wine is the same thing as champagne, except that its not from grapes grown in the Champagne region of France). This will be the most expensive part of your wine budget, thus only serve it for the toasting. You should plan for 2 glasses of Champagne per guest, unless your wedding will be very long, or you know that there will be many formal toasts.

Prosecco also found favor among American brides, as more and more weddings began to serve Prosecco instead of champagne. Prosecco's growing popularity at weddings isn't hard to understand: Prosecco is lighter in body and easier to drink than the French bubbly, not to mention more affordable.

You can save money by having a signature drink, or having an open bar for only an hour or two. Of course, if you're able, by purchasing your alcohol directly at Costco or through a winery, you'll save a significant amount of cash.

(all images from Williams Sonoma)
via Perfect Bound

photography above by Cameron Ingalls
Photography above by Linda Wallace
Vallentyne photography above

I love this great color combination of teal and orange at the beach. This is for a friend who is getting married in Hawaii.. what fun:-) It's perfect for that island destination wedding, or a ceremony at the beach. Love it!
Also check out: {Trends} Orange

Gene Higa above

Cap Juluca above

photography by Keith Nelson

image above by Marlin Munoz

{click on image to enlarge}
top: dresses by Simple Silhouettes, ring at W Hotel Perimeter by 35 Atlanta
bottom: cake by Sweet Paul, flowers by Fleurs via Design Sponge

Rich purple is very popular this year, along will most jewel tones. I love on the contrast between rich deep colors and white! It's so striking!


photo by Marlin Munoz

cream puff by nordljus


image via hawaiibride2be

I love neutral hues, oatmeal, ivory, touches of gold, with a little carmel undertones.. I love them all. Here are a few of my favorites...

Beautiful bling above by Jose Villa

Mrs. French image above

image above by Marlin Munoz, Jimmy Choo shoes

Coren Moore bridesmaid dresses in Almond

photo above by Beth Beljon

Another hot look right now is the oh-so romantic French look. It's a little traditional, with a twist of vintage. It's elegant and rich in texture. Happy Monday.. wish I was in Paris.....

photography above by Corbin Gurkin

photo by gene higa above