Highlights From My Trip to Aspen: The Little Nell, Ajax Tavern and Blazing Adventures!

photo 3Hey Y’all,

I recently had the privilege to spend a few incredible days in Aspen at The Little Nell, which I might add is an incredible resort that pays attention to detail in every sense of the word.

Settled at the base of the mountain, you really could not ask for a better location to stay in Aspen.  Not only is it easy to walk around Aspen because it is so quaint and charming of a town, but from The Little Nell you can hop right on the ski slopes if it is in fact ski season or take the gondola up to the top of the mountain for lunch and take in the stunning views.

We were fortunate enough on our first night there to have dinner at the top of the mountain while enjoying a few different bands from Elan Artists and a delicious meal from the The Nell‘s chef who created culinary magic.

On our second night, we ventured down the mountain to the Ajax Tavern for amazing food, an impromptu bocce ball tournament and lots of wine.  Beyond the fine dining, for anyone planning to get married in Aspen, or thinking of a mountain wedding, I highly suggest checking out the breathtaking views (click here for Little Nell wedding testimonials).

The view alone is worth millions and the Nell has a few special places for the ceremony, as well as the reception, all right there for the perfect wedding.

Also, the rooms at the Nell are incredibly comfortable and spacious, I slept like a log. I don’t think that there is much more you can ask for in a room when traveling.

photo 2In addition to awesome accommodations, our days were packed full of fun, and there are plenty of things to do while in Aspen. I have to admit that the highlight of the trip would have to be the white water rafting trip we took with Blazing Paddles.

The two hours floating down the rapids were a complete blast and I would be open to doing that everyday if possible.  Unfortunately, we barely get rain in Los Angeles, so I am not sure a daily rafting trip would even be possible.

photo 4Our last day in Aspen we went fly fishing, something I had never done before, but I caught seven fish, so I must have some sort of beginners luck. As you can see from the pictures we were prepared for the elements, but at the stocked ponds where we went fishing, the waders were not necessary other than for an awesome photo op. The only time we got in the water was for the picture.  Also, all seven of the fish I caught were released back into the ponds.

Image of Sundeck Wedding at The Little Nell via http://www.thelittlenell.com/Information/Photo-Gallery

Image of Sundeck Wedding at The Little Nell via http://www.thelittlenell.com/Information/Photo-Gallery

Winter or summer, Aspen is stunning and has something for everyone to do.  I can’t understand why anyone would not want to go there all the time.  I am addicted and will be back!
-Brian

 

 

 

 

 

 

About Face: My Zink Magazine Feature

2014_updated_health_reform_timelineHey Ya’ll,

I hope you’re all enjoying 2014 thus far. Did you make any New Year Resolutions? (Click HERE to read about the Top 10 most commonly broken resolutions!) Feel free to share yours in the comment section below.

What do you think of this month's Zink Magazine cover girl, Kat Dennings?

What do you think of this month’s Zink Magazine cover girl, Kat Dennings?

To kick off 2014, I thought I’d share my latest article from Zink Magazine. See below for all of my answers to fun questions like “If you could invite 5 people, dead or alive, to your dinner party, who would it be?”. Let me know your answer to that one below!

ZinkWinter_174 copyClick here for a downloadable Zink Magazine PDF.

Bettie’s Beautiful Baby Shower

Screen Shot 2013-09-17 at 4.27.16 PMHey Ya’ll,

I’ve designed baby showers in the past and been involved in the planning of them for clients, but when you are one of the chosen hosts for a baby shower for a dear friend, it is a completely different story!

Bettie and I at my Birthday party a couple weeks ago.

Bettie and I at my Birthday party a couple weeks ago.

My friend Elisabeth Stassen or Bettie, as I affectionately call her, is due any day now, so myself along with five of her good friends combined forces to create the perfect baby shower for her.

Screen Shot 2013-09-17 at 4.36.13 PMWe met, created a game plan that utilized all of our different skill sets, and then divided and conquered to make sure that each detail came together on the day of the event.
Screen Shot 2013-09-17 at 4.41.58 PMScreen Shot 2013-09-17 at 4.39.40 PMOur main objectives were to create an afternoon that was a little bit non-traditional in theme and decor, but very personalized to Bettie’s high standards and tastes.
Screen Shot 2013-09-17 at 4.46.15 PMScreen Shot 2013-09-17 at 4.48.28 PMScreen Shot 2013-09-17 at 4.47.59 PMBettie has event planning experience and knew exactly what she wanted and didn’t want, which in some ways made our job a little more difficult but in other ways it really helped us.
Screen Shot 2013-09-17 at 4.51.02 PMFor the decor, we stuck mostly to classic neutral colors. Think: ivory, khaki, pink, light green and light blue!
Screen Shot 2013-09-17 at 4.49.56 PM

The event’s color palette was inspired by the invitations that we found on Etsy. We used these colors in and outside of Bettie’s home for the flowers, table linens, party favors, cups, napkins, and even the food.
Screen Shot 2013-09-17 at 4.56.42 PM

I of course, was in charge of the cake, a therapeutic challenge that I always enjoy taking on.
Screen Shot 2013-09-18 at 10.37.05 AMI used my new cake pans to create a layered white, Funfetti cake (my signature flavor!) and topped it off with some playful white and pink frosting and sprinkles!

Screen Shot 2013-09-17 at 5.06.38 PMScreen Shot 2013-09-17 at 5.07.42 PMAll the hosts made or brought different food that was a specialty in their wheel house.

Screen Shot 2013-09-17 at 5.08.45 PMScreen Shot 2013-09-17 at 5.10.36 PMScreen Shot 2013-09-18 at 10.37.41 AMAll in all, I think we created a relaxing day of eating, drinking, gift-giving, friendship and of course, celebrating David and Bettie’s new baby girl.
Screen Shot 2013-09-17 at 5.09.37 PMHave you ever combined forces with friends to plan an event for a dear friend? Let me know what you were celebrating and how it turned out in comment section below.
-Brian

Related Posts:

How to Host a Fun and Chic Summer Baby Shower!

Operation Shower: Go, Baby Go!

Operation Shower

My Top 6 Picks for Places to See, Stay and Eat in New York City 2013

Image via Louis Vuitton City Guide 2011 http://bit.ly/1dEsVlI

Image via Louis Vuitton City Guide 2011 http://bit.ly/1dEsVlI

Hey Ya’ll,

I was recently in the Big Apple working on some planning for The Knot Gala, which takes place in October (stay tuned for more details on this awesome event!). While there, I managed to do a bit of sight-seeing and snap some pics along the way, so today I’m sharing those photos and a few of my best recommendations for places to see, eat and stay in NYC.

1. Empire State Building

image-9The Empire State Building is a great spot for taking in city views both day and night. The observation deck is open from 8AM until 2AM, with the last elevator up leaving around 1:15AM. It’s a must-see in my book! Here are a couple of my photos from the top:

image-8 image-72. Washington Square Park

imageWashington Square Park is known for the gorgeous arch (pictured above), which was dedicated in 1895 in honor of George Washington, for whom the park is named. The park also features a large grassy area with a fountain that’s a popular meeting spot in the city (pictured below).

image-13. The 9/11 Memorial

9/11 Memorial Rendering via http://www.911memorial.org/about-memorial

9/11 Memorial Rendering via http://www.911memorial.org/about-memorial

The National September 11 Memorial honors the nearly 3,000 people killed in the terror attacks that occurred on 9/11/2001 at the World Trade Center site, near Shanksville, Pa., and at the Pentagon, as well as the six people killed in the World Trade Center bombing in February 1993.

6 copy The Memorial is made up of two waterfall pools that are each nearly an acre in size and sit in the footprints where the Twin Towers once stood. The names of every person who died in the 2001 and 1993 attacks are inscribed into bronze panels edging the Memorial pools.

4. Lombardi’s Pizza

lombardis_v2_460x285(2)For a quick bite to eat, I love popping into the pizza places that are scattered around the city. I have yet to meet a slice of New York pizza that I didn’t love. Lombardi’s is one of the best and is over 100 years old and considered one of America’s first pizzerias!

pizza5. Hakkasan

Hakkasan foodOn my most recent trip to NYC,  I ate at Hakkasan located in midtown Manhattan and the food was incredible. I highly recommend checking this spot out both for the delicious menu as well as the stunning 11,000 square foot space (see photo below).

Hakkasan NY6. Eventi Hotel

eventi hotelI loved staying at New York’s Eventi on my last trip, which is a Kimpton Hotel. It’s very modern and stylish.

Eventi loungeI have also stayed at the Gotham Hotel and all of their rooms have a little balcony. That’s another great option for the price (see photo below).

hotel09I’ll be sure to update this list each time I visit the city in the coming months but for now, those are some of my favorite spots in the city! What are your favorite places in New York City? Let me know in the comment section below.
-Brian

My Best Tip for Selecting Your Signature Wedding Colors (Hint: Think flowers!)

A great way to determine your wedding colors is by deciding what kinds of flowers you want in your wedding bouquet and centerpieces...

A great way to determine your wedding colors is by deciding what kinds of flowers you want in your wedding bouquet and centerpieces…

Hey Ya’ll,

When planning a wedding, one of the very first things that most couples do is determine what their “colors” are.  For any newbies out there, “colors” refer to the accent colors incorporated into the design of your wedding ceremony and reception.

Image via beau-coup.com

Image via beau-coup.com

Once selected, these colors are used to determine things like the bridesmaids’ dresses, the groomsmens’ ties and boutonnieres, the flower girl and ring bearer’s outfits, the cake, every detail of the tablescapes (i.e. table linens, runners, chair covers, napkins, centerpieces, etc), the food, and of course, the flowers.

Image via ellegolden.com

Image via ellegolden.com

Selecting these colors can sometimes be a tough task for a couple to agree on with endless combinations to choose from.  My advice? Think about your dress (remember, it ALWAYS starts with the dress!), and then think about the bouquet of flowers you see yourself holding in front of that dress. What colors and textures do you envision working with the crown jewel of your wedding? That should get you on the right track in terms of selecting your main color choice.
Expert Tip: Given your chosen wedding date, certain flowers may not be in season, so be sure to plan accordingly. Click HERE for an article I did about what flowers are in season when and how that influences your wedding arrangements.

Image of color theme via KissMyTulle.com

Image of color theme via KissMyTulle.com

Once you’ve determined your main color, you can play around with different color pairings, hues and textures to determine what your “colors” will ultimately be. Here are a few examples of my personal favorite color schemes of all time:

Screen Shot 2013-08-21 at 4.32.37 PMWhite flowers will always be a staple when choosing your wedding colors.  The good thing about white flowers is that there will always be an abundance of choices depending on the time of year you get married and you just can’t go wrong!  This simple, pure and classic choice will forever remain timeless.

d6344c956f6bdbc7b5debb431ff27d61Many brides have grown up planning their wedding day since they were little girls and they envisioned a pink wedding.

Image via birddogwedding.com

Image via birddogwedding.com

Weather you choose a soft pale pink or brighten things up with fuchsia or shades of raspberry, pink flowers will always make a statement.

Screen Shot 2013-08-21 at 4.49.08 PMI find that when a bride is looking to create the quintessential feminine wedding bouquet, pairing coral and blush pink shades always do the trick!

4d3fa3d5a2ffa6950547283948ec2313Screen Shot 2013-08-21 at 4.56.32 PMShades of purple ranging from lavender to aubergine, or an ombre of them all allows a bride that made bold choices for her wedding day, while creating a lush and dramatic purple bouquet.

Screen Shot 2013-08-21 at 5.08.29 PMRed is the color of passion and love and can easily be used to create a richly stunning bouquet that is dramatic and demands attention, but paired with softer hued colors, textures and shapes, a bride easily create an eye-pleasing floral statement.

Image via thingsfestive.blogspot.com

Image via thingsfestive.blogspot.com

Varied shades of green bouquets offer a myriad of choices for the design of your wedding.

bbe19a82087fc2f0e8decb694a7c3909Screen Shot 2013-08-21 at 5.21.14 PMGreen can come in the form of flowers, succulents, leaves and branches providing endless opportunities and combinations.

Overall, I think a stunning white bridal bouquet wrapped with a thick navy blue ribbon is elegant, classic and stunning. A well made bouquet that is perfectly tailored and perfectly constructed also speaks volumes about the overall design and theme of a wedding.

Example of how to combine citrus colors like Orange and Yellow with opposite colors like turquoise.

Example of how to combine citrus colors like Orange and Yellow with opposite colors like turquoise.

Another thing to consider is choosing a color like orange as the signature color for a wedding and pairing it with colors from opposites sides of the color spectrum like turquoise or lime green to create a big impact.

005Windsor-Lawn-XLWhat were your signature wedding colors? Let me know in the comment section below.

For more wedding color combos via flower inspiration, click HERE.
-Brian

Learn to Speak Wedding: Enter to WIN Flashcards for Beginners from Daughter of Design!

n_4qscYpFgL_FywJYGNQ-YG3d8-IAdoPAjne3AMqXqo,7QZACOMt7I5dusdOix2ekT8lH7-0d-8Euv75V82bs7YHey Ya’ll,

If you’re newly engaged (or know someone who is), then you know how overwhelming the wedding planning process can be. Right from the get go, you’re dealing with everyone from jewelers, bridal consultants and wedding planners to photographers, lighting specialists, florists, bakers, tailors, dry cleaners, and the list goes on and on!

kristin***UPDATE: We have our winner – Kristin Wong! Kristin will be gifting this boxed set to her good friend who was recently engaged. We know she is going to thank you for these educational and entertaining cards–Congratulations, Kristin! ***

These are people and places many people have never worked with before, so when you factor in how much money many of these people are asking you to fork over for their services, (and the added pressure of wanting your wedding day to be perfect!) trying to understand what you’re signing up for can be confusing and downright terrifying.

Annie and I at Engage13 in our Gatsby gear!

Annie and I at Engage13 in our Gatsby gear!

This is why my good friend and wedding planner extraordinaire Annie Lee of Daughter of Design®created a concise and easy introduction to the wedding world with a beautiful box set of 50 flashcards. Annie’s Learn to Speak Wedding™: Flashcards for Beginners, explain the most common terms, abbreviations, and other wedding vernacular that will help familiarize newbies with wedding culture and have them sounding like a pro in no time!

okk8yrHFcHG9QBmqbIpxjD5B5-2Ddyq8x_0yO8pqaR4,gbL1bWBvsil91mTn4JfGjhA2z_14plcoJK9uvVaaB5kI also love that Annie had our mutual friend Ceci Johnson of Ceci New York design her beautiful flashcards! You can check out some of the posts I’ve done about Ceci and her line of couture stationary, here:

Letterpressed Notecards By Ceci Johnson of Ceci New York!

Unique Invitations By Ceci Johnson of Ceci New York!

Engage! 13 Re-Cap

How to Plan A Halloween Party and Create A Costume Using Face Paint

gpzYELLNWjpQ8Xmw31VBLrUTrSspmJwKrl8AWuGDvDw,MfRXJvo3TQBvdbPZrkYJMuognuUHsqbthODXa5VfkesEach one of Annie’s cards features a wedding term on the front and a full explanation, correct usage, pronunciation, and other helpful tips are explained on the back. And today, Annie is offering up a box of these fancy flashcards to one of you!

To enter the GIVEAWAY, simply do the following:

1. FOLLOW @daughterodesign and @yourBASHbworley on Twitter and TWEET the following: “I can’t wait to learn how to #SpeakWedding with @daughterodesign! http://wp.me/p1SYl0-Zv

2. COMMENT below this blog post (so we can contact you if you win!) and be sure to tell us know WHO the flashcards are for!

Good luck everybody! I can’t wait to find out who will win these fabulous cards!
-Brian

***Giveaway limited to U.S. residents only.***

Connect with Annie online:
Website: www.daughterofdesign.com
Instagram: instagram.com/daughterodesign

Twitter: twitter.com/daughterodesign
Facebook Fan Page: www.facebook.com/daughterodesign

What’s in My Bag: 10+ Items Every Event Planner Needs!

Hey Ya’ll,

With years of event planning under my belt, I’ve learned that things can go wrong at the drop of a hat and so you just have to be prepared so that you’re ready to deal with the chaos at every turn. To help myself and my staff be more prepared, I’ve developed an “event planner survival kit” AKA my little bag of tricks, which I like to keep handy just in case things go awry.

In case you’re curious, here are some of the items you’ll find in my bag:

iphone (cell phone) and charger
sewing kit
zip ties (cable ties)
safety pins
lighter
aspirin
breath-mints
first-aid kit
Swiss army knife
notebook + pens
tape measurer
sunscreen
super glue
clear nail polish
bobby pins/ hair rubber band
duct tape

As you can see, a lot of these items are things you can find around the house. So if you or a friend are planning your own wedding, you might want to put together one of these survival kits yourself! You can never be too prepared, that’s my motto!
-Brian