Monthly Archives: June 2014

A Garden to Table Feast

Garden to Table Feast at Farmhouse38.com, event styling by Farmhouse38, photography by AmenPhotography.comGarden to Table Feast at Farmhouse38.com, event syling by Farmhouse38, photography by AmenPhotography.comLast weekend, the summer solstice provided the perfect evening to collaborate on a wonderful summer party with a bunch of talented Southern California (and Western Nevada–holla, Reno!) bloggers. The idea was simple: let’s get together for a lovely dinner comprised of as many local ingredients as we could muster, and when possible, use ingredients straight from our own gardens. Set it all up under the mason-jar-lit grapefruit tree at Farmhouse38, shoo away the chickens, and keep the cocktails and Instagram rolling!

Garden to Table Feast at Farmhouse38.com, tablescape and floral styling by Farmhouse38, photography by AmenPhotography.com

I just love a big ol’ farm table and mismatched chairs, don’t you? Flowers and candlelight never hurt, either! Not one bit.

Garden to Table Feast at Farmhouse38.com, event styling by Farmhouse38, photography by AmenPhotography.com

Just passing through! Carry on! (BTW, please take note of Eloise, in the background, and the way she walks. I don’t think her legs bend. Makes me laugh every time.)

Garden to Table Feast at Farmhouse38.com, floral styling and tablescape by Farmhouse38, photography by AmenPhotography.com

The flowers! I have a special place in my heart for the flowers (always). Much more on them later.

Garden to Table Feast at Farmhouse38.com, tablescape and floral styling by Farmhouse38, photography by AmenPhotography.com

Southern California really delivered on the most perfect, temperate evening. The weather and light could not possibly have been better–and we could not have asked for a more talented, wonderful photographer in Ari Nordhagen of AmenPhotography.com. Find her on Facebook, and Instagram.

In addition to her mind-boggling design and illustration talents, Sarah of VerySarie.com must also be a little bit psychic because she somehow captured the exact essence of the evening in her gorgeous invites and menus.

Garden to Table Feast at Farmhouse38.com, invitations by VerySarie.com, photography by AmenPhotography.com

How perfect are these hand-lettered and gold-foiled invites from VerySarie.com?

Follow VerySarie.com on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram.

Because many of us were meeting for the first time, we kept ourselves and our blogs straight with adorable handmade name tags courtesy of Amanda at LoveCreativeBlog.com.

Garden to Table Feast at Farmhouse38.com, nametags by LoveCreativeBlog.com, photography by AmenPhotography.com

We all kept referring to each other by blogs, but it was nice to put names to blogs to faces.

Follow LoveCreativeBlog on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram.

Garden to Table Feast at Farmhouse38.com, photography by AmenPhotography.com

Oh, haaaaay, chickens.

Sustenance for the evening was in the ever capable and creative hands of Jennie and Corelyn of Garlic, My Soul. They came up with and executed the most delicious menu of comfort foods and gorgeous slow produce.

Garden to Table Feast at Farmhouse38.com, hand-lettered menus by VerySarie.com, photography by AmenPhotography.com

Darling menus designed by verysarie.com.

Garden to Table Feast at Farmhouse38.com, food by GarlicMySoul.com, photography by AmenPhotography.com

Oh, the picture perfection of heirloom tomatoes!

Garden to Table Feast at Farmhouse38.com, Prosciutto Pear Bites by Garlicmysoul.com, photography by amenphotography.com

Insanely yummy prosciutto-wrapped pear bites by Garlic, My Soul.

Garden to Table Feast at Farmhouse38.com, food by Garlicmysoul.com, photography by amenphotography.com

Zucchini Crudo: zucchini, onions, parsley, and feta in some sort of zesty dressing. Garlic, My Soul–you better be posting recipes!

Garden to Table Feast at Farmhouse38.com, food by Garlicmysoul.com, photography by amenphotography.com

So much gardeny goodness in this salad!

 

Garden to Table Feast at Farmhouse38.com, food by GarlicMySoul.com, photography by AmenPhotography.com

Our plates just had no hope of being big enough!

Find Garlic, My Soul on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram.

Garden to Table Feast at Farmhouse38.com, tablescape by Farmhouse38, photography by AmenPhotography.com

What’s up, chicken?!

Did I mention the flowers?

Garden to Table Feast at Farmhouse38.com, tablescape by Farmhouse38, photography by AmenPhotography.com

Slow flowers for days!!!

You all know that I take my cocktails very, very seriously. Fortunately, so do the two brains behind BourbonandGoose.com, Marissa and Sam. They were charged with creating a custom cocktail for the drink, and well, they brought us two. Huzzah!

Garden to Table Feast at Farmhouse38.com, cocktails by BourbonandGoose.com, photography by AmenPhotography.com

Fresh produce, even for the drinks!

Garden to Table Feast at Farmhouse38.com, cocktails by BourbonandGoose.com, photography by AmenPhotography.com

Master drinksmith, Sam, of BourbonandGoose.com, hard at work keeping cocktails in everyone’s hands.

Garden to Table Feast at Farmhouse38.com, cocktails by BourbonandGoose.com, photography by AmenPhotography.com

On the left, we have the Violet Beauregard: homemade rosemary infused gin, blueberry puree, and sparkling water. On the right…well, I can’t remember what it’s called but it was darned good. Jalapeño jelly-infused tequila, and fresh watermelon and lime juices. Yum and yum. For awhile there, I had one in each hand.

Follow the adventures of BourbonandGoose.com on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram.

Garden to Table Feast at Farmhouse38.com, photography by AmenPhotography.com

Shiner beer is not exactly local, but it is exactly Texas. The Texan always insists there be Shiner. Gotta represent a local brewery with a little Golden Road, though!

Dessert came to us courtesy of the incredibly sweet tooth of Julianne at BeyondFrosting.com. Her individual Mimosa Cheesecakes (adorably presented in mason jars, no less) and fresh-baked berry pies were absolutely to die for. To. Die. For.

Garden to Table Feast at Farmhouse38.com, dessert by BeyondFrosting.com, photography by AmenPhotography.com

I heart cheesecake in a jar. So much. I ate it so much, too.

Garden to Table Feast at Farmhouse38.com, fresh berry pies by BeyondFrosting.com, photography by AmenPhotography.com

Fresh berry pies are just too perfect for ringing in the summer. These were incredible.

Follow all the desserty fun at BeyondFrosting.com, and on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram.

While you’re at it, check out YummyHealthyEasy.com. Jen is freaking fantastic. So is her site. She shares so many fabulous, fun recipes of all shapes and sizes. Follow her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram.

And then there were the flowers…of course, that was my little wheelhouse. The California Cut Flower Commission generously stepped in to help source materials from local farms (thank you to Mellano & Co., The Sun Valley Group, and Resendiz Brothers Proteas for their gorgeous, gorgeous flowers!). I also went to the most local flower farm I could think of: Silver Lake Farms, in the heart of Los Angeles for several lush buckets of straight-from-the-garden yumminess. Combined with flowers and greens from my own garden, we were dripping in stunning, local blooms. Stay tuned for a separate, more in-depth post about just the flowers!

Garden to Table Feast at Farmhouse38.com, tablescape by Farmhouse38, photography by AmenPhotography.com

Flowers and candlelight. Am I right?!

Garden to Table Feast at Farmhouse38.com, photography by AmenPhotography.com

Such a fabulous time!

Garden to Table Feast at Farmhouse38.com, photography by AmenPhotography.com

White dog had to get in on the party.

Garden to Table Feast at Farmhouse38.com, photography by AmenPhotography.com

So did little brown dog.

So that everyone had a piece of the evening to bring home with them, Laura, of OliveandLove.com, sent us all away with yummy homemade brown sugar scrubs as favors. She’s kind of known for her scrubs.

Garden to Table Feast at Farmhouse38.com, Brown Sugar Scrub by OliveandLove.com, photography by AmenPhotography.com

Find the recipes for these and so much more at OliveandLove.com.

Follow OliveandLove.com on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram.

The evening was just beyond fun, and I can’t wait to do it again next year! Many thanks to all of these amazing bloggers!

Garden to Table Feast at Farmhouse38.com, event styling by Farmhouse38, photography by AmenPhotography.com

 

 

 

 

 

Slow Flower Bliss

 

Slow Flower Joy at Farmhouse38.com

I’m a big nerd when it comes to my love for locally-grown, organic flowers. I get overly excited. Like a terrier. ‘Slow Flowers’, a derivative of the Slow Food Movement, is a concept coined and tirelessly advocated by the remarkable Debra Prinzing (author of The 50 Mile Bouquet: Seasonal, Local and Sustainable Flowers, as well as, you guessed it, Slow Flowers: Four Seasons of Locally Grown Bouquets from the Garden, Meadow and Farm ) to describe the on-going shift towards a more conscious floral consumerism. Just as people have become more aware of where and how their food is produced, they are starting to realize that the same principles should be applied to the cut flowers they buy (the ones sitting in a vase on the table right next to their local, organic food). We should strive to farm flowers in the same ethical manner; free of chemicals, free of excessive packaging, and free of incredibly long-distance travel that requires fuel, preservatives, refrigeration, and even more packaging. Furthermore, the slow flowers concept champions the organic flower farmers; those who dedicate their lives to responsibly producing those gorgeous blooms.

Slow Flower Joy at Farmhouse38.com

An arrangement pulled straight from the Farmhouse garden, including all sorts of roses, echinacea, hydrangea, and grapevine. Doesn’t get more local than that!

Ten plus years ago, when I was running my floral event company, the slow flower concept was completely unheard of. I used to get so angry, too–showing up in the wee hours of the morning to the Los Angeles Flowermart and paying top dollar for materials that had literally been flown in from Holland or Columbia that very morning because a bride needed *this exact shade of pink* tulips and roses. How crazy is this? It made me irate, actually. This is not to say that there weren’t locally-grown materials available there–in fact, I tried to buy those whenever I could. But the wedding industry, at the time, kind of drove this ‘anything is available any time of year’ mentality that meant materials were often shipped from the other hemisphere. It was this insipid ‘Yes-ism’ that went something like: “Oh, you want scarlet peonies? Well, they aren’t in season, but let me just call Australia”. I was guilty of this mindset… though, at the very least, it bothered the living daylights out of me.

I used to fantasize about having a huge piece of property where I could just grow the flowers myself (at the time, I lived in a teeny-tiny house on a teeny-tiny urban lot–even teeny-tinier than the one I live on now) and then create events exclusively with those materials. But that just wasn’t how it was done. You don’t get *this exact shade of pink* tulips all year round when you grow them and sell them locally (if you even ever get it at all). You get what is in season…which is always gorgeous, but might not match that Home Depot color card you brought to me and insisted I find the exact floral manifestation of (true story). Ultimately, I was so disgruntled with ‘how things were’, that I left the business all together. I wish I had had the gumption to dig my heels in then, but life was sending me in another direction.

Slow Flower Bliss from Farmhouse38.com

I heart tiny arrangements, especially in an upcycled jam jar. So simple to grab a few bits from the garden; black-eyed Susan, zinnia, oregano blooms, and rosemary.

It sent me to the Farmhouse, where we moved right after I closed down the flower company. Naturally, I was reeling a bit at that time. What was I supposed to do with my life now? I missed the flowers, and I missed the actual art of arranging. It’s rather cliché, but I also missed the ‘giving’ of flowers. So while we threw ourselves into the renovation of this old house, I also threw myself into designing an organic garden that would give me enough flowers to get my fix.

Slow Flower Bliss from Farmhouse38.com

Look for a tutorial on this simple arrangement coming soon!

For a few years, I busied myself with house projects and ‘playing’ in the garden. Oh…and I started a blog. 🙂 My foray into the world of social media brought with it a trickling awareness of change within the floral industry. I began stumbling across blogs and Instagram accounts of florist farmers such as Floret Flower Farm in Washington, and Saipua in New York. And, of course, I followed. I began to see florists dedicating themselves to using only local, responsibly-farmed flowers, such as Farmgirl Flowers in San Francisco. And places like Lila B. Flowers in San Francisco and Silverlake Farms in Los Angeles defying the odds (and, in the case of Silverlake Farms, changing the laws) to grow sustainable flowers and produce for sale and for floral design, in the heart of the city (cheers to that). Go follow all these wonderful companies (full list of links at bottom)–you won’t be sorry!

I started hearing (*seeing, *reading) Debra’s name a lot. When The 50 Mile Bouquet came out, I ate it up–almost literally–the images (photographed by David E. Perry) are downright yummy. Here is a fascinating glimpse into the stories of the farmers, florists, and designers that make American slow flowers their life (but first, might I suggest reading Amy Stewart‘s Flower Confidential so that you can see exactly what these farmers are up against with mainstream floriculture). Close on the heels of The 50 Mile Bouquet came Prinzing’s aptly-titled Slow Flowersa veritable user-manual for building 52 weeks of breathtaking seasonal arrangements. For anyone dabbling in the art of DIY floral-arranging, this book is chock-full of ‘recipes’ and tricks of the trade. My favorite trick of hers? Instead of using that green goblin of the floral trade, florist foam, use chicken wire inside your container to stabilize your materials. Brilliant. I may or may not have an excessive amount of chicken wire laying around.

Slow Flower Bliss from Farmhouse38.com

A few tiny garden roses, fuzzy celosia, oregano blooms, and mint leaves make a tiny, but fragrant, arrangement in a vintage porcelain jewelry box.

But it gets better. You may be thinking this is all good in theory, but not so easy in practice. If you’re like me, trapped in the middle of a huge city, you may (ironically) be a little stranded when it comes to accessing locally-grown flowers. You may naively get really excited and buy peonies from Trader Joe’s thinking they are locally-sourced and then, after the fact, find out that they actually came from Canada. I’m not naming names. (To be fair, both Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods source local flowers when possible, but not exclusively.)

Ombre Peony Arrangement by Farmhouse38.com

They’re gorgeous…but they travelled too far to get here. Look away!!!

So what is one to do (especially if you aren’t able to have a cutting garden of your own)? There are more and more resources online for finding your local flower farmer. For starters, visit the brand new slowflowers.com. Prinzing‘s latest endeavor is an actual online directory of floral studios, flower shops, flower farms, and designers who use American-grown flowers, or as the case may be, grow the flowers themselves. This incredible list of vendors is growing every single day. FieldtoVase.com is a lovely spot on the interwebs created by the brains behind Farmgirl Flowers, Christina Stembel, as a hub for all things locally grown and floral. Here, you will not only find a list of incredible contributors and a growing list of resources, but you will find a delightful blog spotlighting industry creatives and the very latest news.

There are a number of organizations that you should check out, as well. The California Cut Flower Commission (ccfc.org) has some fabulous resources, information, and meet-your-farmer type highlight stories for California-grown flowers. The Association of Specialty Cut Flower Growers (ASCFG.org) is full of a wealth of industry links and information, but most importantly, you can search their website for local growers and flower shops by state. When you are shopping for flowers, look for the new American Grown stickers that make American flowers easily identifiable at your local market, or for the CA GROWN stickers that mark the abundance of blooms that come from the Golden State.

I simply can’t urge you enough to seek out flower vendors at your local farmers’ markets. This really is the best way to ‘know your farmer’ and support them, whether it be for flowers, produce, etc, etc. And if you’ve got the space and the will, grow yourself some pretties of your own. One of my favorite things is to purchase a local bouquet, bring it home, and add to it from my own garden. There’s my bliss. Right there.

I love that consumers are embracing slow flowers and the simple notion that seasonal is better. I adore reading stories about weddings designed with locally-sourced materials; brides and event designers actually choosing sustainability from the get-go, and in some cases, absolutely highlighting it. It warms the very cockles of my heart to see how times have changed and are changing still. Yeah. I said ‘cockles’. That’s how I roll.

Resources:

AmericanGrownFlowers.org— A brilliant initiative to ‘brand’ American grown flowers so that they are easily distinguishable to consumers. Love it. Follow them on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest,  for all the latest news.

ASCFG.org–The Association of Specialty Cut Flower Growers. Find them also on Facebook.

CCFC.org–The California Cut Flower Commission, home of the CA GROWN movement. Follow them on Facebook and Twitter.

DebraPrinzing.com–A fantastic resource for slow flower enthusiasts; Debra highlights industry innovators in her podcasts and blog posts. Follow her on FacebookTwitter, and Pinterest.

FarmgirlFlowers.com–Follow along on Facebook ,Twitter, and Instagram. You won’t be sorry–this is one of my favorite feeds in each category–they post some gorgeous stuff!

FieldtoVase.com–Follow on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram for more local flower goodness!

FloretFlowers.com— Follow their wonderful blog, as well as Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram feeds. Their work, as well as their images, are absolutely stunning.

LilaBDesign.com— So much loveliness packed into just one website! Another wonderful blog, as well as beautiful Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram feeds.

Saipua.com–You’ll find information on their flowers, their farm, and their flower school here. Oh, and soap. They make that, too. Follow their adventures via their blog and their wonderful Instagram feed.

SilverlakeFarms.com–this one’s near and dear to me because they are, quite literally, near to me. Follow the happenings at this beautiful little urban farm on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram.

SlowFlowers.com–one stop shop for finding American-grown flowers, farms, and florists; follow along on Facebook and Twitter to get the latest slow flowers news.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

#tutuTOUGH

CarlinTshirt

Donate Directly to Carlin’s Cancer Expense Fund

OR

Buy TeamCarlin Gear to Help Support

This kid:

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I have no words!

Okay, maybe I have a few words:

Carlin is a precious three-year-old chock full of three-year-old sparkle; she loves to play outside, ride her horses, chase chickens, and dress her dogs in costumes (and you know they love it right back!). A country kid, through and through! She adores preschool, and being with her big sister.

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photo copyShe is something of a tutu connoisseur, and rocks those things like no one I know. And man, does that kid have a smile that goes for days.

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In November of 2013, with no warning at all, she suffered a seizure that sent her to the ER, where the doctors discovered what they thought to be a low-grade brain tumor. Surgery proved otherwise.

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Carlin was diagnosed with an extremely rare and very aggressive type of brain tumor called ETANTR (Embryonal tumor with abundant neuropil and true rosettes). She is currently undergoing an intensive chemotherapy protocol, which will be followed up with radiation.

And yet, still rocking those tutus with a big ol’ smile!

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tutuTOUGH.com ETANTR Awareness

Carlin getting a special visit from our good friends Tina & Roo of Read to Roo.

tutuTOUGH.com ETANTR Awareness

Carlin, her big sis, Harper, and Roo (sporting a tutu of his own).

When Carlin was first diagnosed, there was so very little information out there on this diagnosis (there is somewhere around only 300 reported cases) that her parents were at a loss. It is their hope to bring more awareness to the ETANTR tumor, and to its research. Here is a more detailed article for anyone wishing to have a little more information on ETANTR.

For more about Carlin’s story, please visit tutuTOUGH.com and follow along on Twitter. You can help support Carlin’s treatment by donating directly or by stocking up on Team Carlin Gear.

Additionally, you can cheer Carlin on by using the hashtag #tutuTOUGH on your tweets, Instagram photos, and Facebook posts. We want to see you sporting your Team Carlin gear, so be sure to take a photo and tag it with #tutuTOUGH! Here’s some examples:

tutuTOUGH.com ETANTR Awareness

My Nephew rocking his Team Carlin shirt. He thinks Carlin is not just #tututough, but also superhero-tough! (His words!)

 

tutuTOUGH.com ETANTR Awareness

Abbie, Phoebe, and Milo show off their muscles (and muffin-tops) in their #tutuTOUGH doggy t-shirts.

tutuTOUGH.com ETANTR Awareness

Go Team Carlin! Photo courtesy of Michelle Agnew.

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Team Carlin in Ohio! Photo courtesy of Tina Anderson.

tutuTOUGH.com ETANTR Awareness

Two #tutuTOUGH pixies representing after their theater production of Peter Pan. Photo courtesy of Amy Loy.

tutuTOUGH.com ETANTR Awareness

#tutuTOUGH, Dallas-style! Photo courtesy of Jennifer Smallwood.

tutuTOUGH.com ETANTR Awareness

Tutus for #tutuTOUGH–thanks, Roo and E! Photo courtesy of Tina Anderson.

tutuTOUGH.com ETANTR Awareness

And, of course, the most #tutuTOUGH of them all: Miss Carlin!

Fight’s on, Brain Cancer!

 

 

 

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