Love, Weddings, and New Orleans

I love destination weddings, mostly because I love to travel and secondly, what’s not to love about a celebration of love?? Two weeks ago, my family and I flew from Seattle to New Orleans to attend our niece’s much anticipated nuptials and it was magical to say the least. If you have never been to a New Orleans wedding, then I feel you may be missing out on something so different, and so unique, it might be worth planning one for yourself – even if you’re already married! I don’t know if it’s the Southern hospitality that is so alluring, the sunshine in late October, the old French architecture, the cuisine of the region, or the music that makes New Orleans such a special place, perhaps it’s a combination of it all, but there is a sense of freedom and most of all fun, from which you cannot escape.

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The setting was at the Maison Dupuy, www.maisondupuy.com situated at an ideal location in the French Quarter. It was originally the location of the nation’s first cotton press, but was turned into townhouses later. In the early 1970’s all four townhouses were turned into one large hotel, surrounding a beautiful courtyard, complete with a bubbling fountain, twinkling lights, and of course, a swimming pool. It reminded me of the South of France and I was transformed every time I stepped out of our room.

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Our first days of our visit were filled with exploring the streets, visiting landmarks like Jackson Square, and of course eating in several of the famous restaurants New Orleans is known for. We had hyped up the beignets from Cafe Du Monde to our kids, so that was first stop on our list..

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The trip was kind of geared around every next meal divided by every next event which meant more food and drink.. This was more like a culinary tour than a wedding at times, but that’s just how we roll in our family – food is the bond that keeps us together! Laughing and sharing stories around a table is what our life is about – exploring new tastes makes it a fun way to expose our kids to differences that we celebrate. From restaurants like Cochon and Tableau to brunch at The Ruby Slipper or Stanley’s and on to oysters at Acme, we made our way through the town using our taste buds.

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My children have an incredible bond with their cousin, the beautiful bride – she is quite a remarkable young woman – the type of person who brings out the joy in us all. She invited them to be the ring bearer and flower girl, and they both took their job very seriously. It was quite an honor for them and I’m certain they will both remember the experience forever. My daughter was included in every step of the celebration, as was I, the matron of honor, (which sounds really old, but it’s just a title)..There were lunches, pedicures, photos, more lunches, cocktails, parties, and then the big day. The bride had booked a suite at the top of the hotel overlooking the courtyard where she would be married, and we girls got to play dress up all day long before the big event. It was quite a day of luxury for all of us, and I may have opened up Pandora’s box for what my own daughter might want if and when she decides to tie the knot.. the bar has been set..

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As the matron of honor I took the opportunity give a small token of love to the other bridesmaids, a small bonding symbol of the love we all share for the bride. I chose the delicate Amber bracelet to give to everyone, including the future Mrs. Fairbank. It’s  a stunning little bangle with a plate of crystals , but not overbearing in sparkle. A perfect piece for a wedding, but cute enough for the girls to wear on even the most casual of days..

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The girls were also treated to a unique t-shirt from the be.line…Each of the bridesmaids received a different shirt with a different saying and as one might guess.. the bride got “be: happy”… After all isn’t that what we all hope for a bride to be?

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And at last the event was to commence…we waited in our room with a view for the signal to come down. Every time I look at this picture I get emotional. My kids were so curious, and so filled with excitement….

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The wedding was  spectacular , filled with immense love for the bride and groom – a true celebration of the couple, both families, and the bonds we have with one and other. My sister-in-law should be commended for the planning and work she put into making it all happen. She has a true knack for decorating – it’s her profession after all – and I think this wedding was her masterpiece. I’ve never seen so many white flower arrangements in my life – it was breathtaking.

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 And the final touch to the quintessential New Orleans wedding…the second line. Nothing could be a better way to finish the night than dancing in the streets with the bride, groom, (and the rest of the city!) It was a perfect ending to a perfect beginning….

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Seattle Girls, Creative Spirit, and Conversation Starters

Wednesday night I had the opportunity to attend an event hosted by the very talented and famous Seattle Lifestyle Blogger, Cass Lavalle of Coco+Kelly. It was the launch of her new venture, Emerald Studio, a project she aims to encompass interior design, supper clubs, party planning, and I’m sure, educating others on how to live a fabulous life.  In the last few years I have had the privilege of becoming friends with some incredible women from Seattle – all by chance, and all because of art, and as I think back upon the trail that lead me to these girls who are in my life, I am reminded of the saying that whatever we project, we tend to attract.

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The fun started out at E. Smith Mercantile, my new all-time favorite shop/ bar/restaurant/kitchen/science lab/classroom. Kim Brooks, the Seattle stylist, Erin Gainey, founder and president of the Seattle Design Foundation, and I cozied up for some serious cocktails created by E.Smith’s mixologist extraoridnaire, Brandon. It was belly up to the bar where I was introduced to Kate and Jessie – the mother/ daughter team who are half of the family running E.Smith. Needless to say, these women are the real deal – open, loving, creative, and crazy fun. If you’ve never been to E. Smith Mercantile, you need to plan to right away – the storefront is filled with beautifully edited items, hand selected by the girls. Kate has her own Apothecary skin care line which she creates right there in the science lab below. And, Jessie, well if you google Jessie you’ll find her list of talents are endless.. designer, teacher, creator, all around amazing woman…You’ll find trend-setting clothes, stunning jewelry, cards, kitchen items, all for the “in the know” crowd. After you browse through everything you need, head back to the bar – a smooth black granite countertop  in the shape of a horseshoe magnet – that truly attracts everyone who walks through their doors. The experience is unlike any other in city, not just because the drinks are so good, or the food is so delicious, but the vibe and the energy that the owners and staff project is over the top fun. This is the ultimate in doing what you love and loving what you do..
Then it was off to the event.. The launch of Cass Lavalle’s new venture, Emerald Studio was in the 95 Yesler Creative Space, and what a gem this is. If you ever get the opportunity to visit this building or decide to attend one of Cass Lavalle’s events, just stepping into the space will make it worth your while. One step into this creative space and you know these women who work here are changing the world. Cass is one of several talented women making waves in Seattle, and not surprisingly, they all share space here in Pioneer Square.
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We were treated to handcrafted cocktails and canapes created by Chef J.J. Proville, who by the way, was voted one of Seattle’s next hot chefs by the Seattle Met magazine. I wish I had taken more pictures because the rest of my evening was spent laughing and chatting with some of Seattle’s most creative women, like Brandy Brown of Maraboudesign, Moorea Seal, Olivia Knapp, the list goes on. What I felt in that room was really magical and as I reflect, what I loved so much about the evening was that everyone I met was completely filled with excitement, creative spirit, and genuine joy for others’ successes.
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As a side note, I’d like to leave this blog with a couple of thank yous. One, to my dear friend Erin Gainy who is as beautiful inside as she is on the outside.Her work with the Seattle Design Foundation is inspirational and she’s a real maverick.  I’d also like to thank my friend Angela. She stayed at my house over the weekend and sneaked off with a pair of my black ankle boots that I’d probably had opted for to complete my outfit for the night.. Since the boots were absent from my closet, and on a trip to Portland, I had to choose a pair of fun sexy pony hair pumps. This was the best thing ever in the end. I met more people because of those shoes, so I’ll leave you with my conversation starters.. It’s my “Owed”  to Pony…shoe
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Please check out the following creative works by these very talented Seattle Women (and man): www.seattledesignfoundation.com, www.maraboudesign.com, www.oliviaknapp.com, www.mooreaseal.com, www.esmithmercantile.com, www.cocokelley.com, www.chezjjp.com, kimbrooksstyle.com