Why We Love June (and you should, too!)

It’s our wedding anniversary month (!),

It’s Father’s Day & I have two amazing sons (!!),  and…


…it’s Pride month!   Happy Pride!


 

Plenty to celebrate, and since Taylor Street is all about celebrating, we love June!

There is a common thread to these celebrations, and to all celebrations — and that is the sense of community each promotes.   There is a sense of belonging and acceptance — and love — that is created when you and I take time to honor tradition, our families, our respect for one-another.  And while modern families are increasingly diverse, at their core they remain much the same…

 

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So we are going to share stories of people and their celebrations — of all types — this next year.  Why?  We will support the sense of community, celebrate its members, and strengthen our collective bond.  Because, as Lin -Manuel Miranda said in his amazing acceptance speech, “Love is love”, nothing here is promised – not one day.

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#loveislove #NoH8 #lovewins #LGBTPride #Pride

 

 

“A heart is not judged by how much you love, but by how much you are loved by others.” -The Wizard of Oz –

Awwwh – always have loved that quote!  To celebrate Father’s Day, we have pulled together a few gift ideas for you.  Some are DIY, some are more affordable than others, and a few are available personalized.  We carry a number of these, and I’ve provided links to those we don’t.  Gift, card, or hug (or all three!) – go spread some love this Father’s Day.

FATHER’S DAY PICNIC

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$ – up to you  Pack a picnic lunch using whatever you have at home, include a frisbee or a football, and head out to one of Dad’s favorite locations — or maybe it’s just into the back yard!

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$21.60   Do you know Dad’s favorite super hero?  We’ve got an awesome selection so dad can be even more super than he already is…

DARTH VADER & SON 

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$9-hardcover, $2 – Kindle   My favorite part of this re-imagining of the Dark Lord as involved parent – Take your child to work day…on the Death Star.  Available on Amazon here.  Books that are fun for both kids and adults are hard to find…Jeffrey Brown did it with this.

PERSONALIZED PHOTO KEEPSAKE BOX

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$27.00   This keepsake box lid holds a 3 X 5 photo and purchase includes engraving. Keeps treasures safe & sound.

WALL MOUNT BOTTLE OPENER 

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$29.95   Useful, well-made, and a great addition to basement pub.

FAMILY PORTRAIT

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$ – varies  I found this project by Alexandra Hedin on Design Sponge.  It is amazing.  We are going to try this at our home, following the directions she has provided here.  I will take some pictures as we go and show you the end product.

Wishing all the dads a Happy Father’s Day!

 

The “I Do Crew” …for those couples doing things a bit differently… .

Many newly engaged couples, gay and straight, are involving friends and family members in their weddings in more creative and personal ways, redefining traditional gender-based bridesmaids & groomsmen roles.


[And really, why can’t brides and grooms have their BFF’s stand with them at the alter regardless of gender?]


Increasingly, today’s modern couples — whether two brides, two grooms or a bride and groom — are choosing to co-create their wedding ceremony from the ground up, mixing cultural and religious traditions with unique elements, and creating new terminology to fit.

Whatever your reason – here are a few examples of interesting and modern takes on wedding rituals, and some fun alternative names for your wedding party too.

Wedding colors:  Couples are managing the all-to-familiar bridesmaid matching outfit and coordinating groomsmen tradition with a much lighter touch.  Couples are selecting a color (or two) and inviting a close circle of friends and family to wear the color(s). Sometimes instructions include a particular article of clothing (bow tie / socks / shirt or blouse color) and sometimes the request is simply to include that color in whatever outfit is chosen. Not only are couples able to involve more people than they might if the wedding color was limited to the more traditional gang up front, it looks awesome when it comes time for pictures.  David and I went this route, but in hindsight didn’t take the idea far enough.  We now wish we would have had his mom and my dad wear some “poppy orange” too [really – see picture!].

Non-traditional processional – rather than the 2X2, invite your closest friends, and wedding party participants to walk down the aisle at the start of your ceremony with their respective significant others and then sit in reserved rows at the front. This eliminates the need to have everyone pair up nicely…and means you can forget about requiring an equal number of attendants for each “side of the aisle”. Isn’t it more natural and enjoyable if a family with children move as a clump, or if you have a friend who is happily single, stride down your aisle individually?

Combined bridesmaid-groomsmen party – Why not!  Especially if you each already have both men and women as attendants, why not have a co-ed party involving both groups.  Not only do these people then have more of a chance to get to know each other, you can have some fun with your best friends while getting to know your future spouse’s best friends – win/win.

And now, a few alternative terms that are gender neutral and more encompassing too. 

The safe, tried-and-true choice:  “attendants” or “entourage”

Lighthearted:   team [fill in the name of groom(s) or bride(s)];

And these too:  party people, wedding squad, bridal brigade paired with groom squad.

idocrewMy personal favorite is the “I Do Crew” .  It’s catchy, gender neutral, and – for me – a little bit sentimental.

…and it makes a great hashtag.   #idocrew

Assembling a Mini-cube Favor Box

You’ve got this!  A few simple steps and your mini-cube favor boxes will be ready for you to fill.  If you ordered lots of these, stop reading and go find a friend or two to do this with you before continuing.  You do not need glue, tape or scissors.  You do need to take your time and follow these instructions carefully for the first few boxes.  Once you’ve got a few done you will be able to adjust these instructions to your abilities – including any perfectionistic tendencies you may have…like me.  Send us a picture when you’re done!  And thank you Event Blossom for these images.  David and I work with many wedding favor wholesalers and Event Blossom’s attitude is reliably helpful and reasonable.  We believe strongly that attitude is important.  It’s a feeling — an approach — and we know our attitude influences everything from your satisfaction with Taylor Street to your box building success.  So are clear instructions…

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Begin with the end in mind – so now that you know you have a two piece box to create…let’s build the top first.  And no – do not skip over the pre-folding step.  It helps make the finished box much more square if you take the time to pre-fold creases.  That said — you also don’t want to go over the creases too heavily as it will damage the glossy finish on the paper. 1025HowTo1

Last steps for the top…

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Now for the box itself…

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Do these next steps in order – the big tab must be last to be folded down…

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Done!1025HT20-764x1024

Don’t forget to send us that image – info@tsfavors.com.

Inspiration is not a four letter word

This word inspiration just keeps beating at my brain. There are days when those eleven letters feel like they add up to nothing but a four letter word. I’ve been spending the week looking for it everywhere. Yesterday, I was hoping a drive through the rolling blooming hills of California Highway 58 would propel me to that moment of inspirational clarity. It did not. It was a beautiful drive though, but I am biased towards the California landscape. There’s nothing like it and this year the “Cal-scape” is green and full of color. I wanted something to just pop out at me, make me stop and feel inspired. Something to bring on moment of WOW.

The thing is, inspiration comes when it comes. It can’t be pushed to just shout out “Hey dude, I’m over here!”. Actually, since I am fantasizing about it, I’d like to have seen Julie Andrews running through the mustard yellow hills in her light blue dress singing out “The hills are alive with the sound of music…”. Now that would be inspirational! Nice color combination too. Hmmmm…

Though at this moment I’d even take Ewan Mcgregor’s version from Moulin Rouge. That would have set all my Gay inspirational bells ringing. Inspiration check box: Checked.

Anyway, here it is Friday and I’m still working out my inspirational dilemma for the week. I’m searching and searching for that idea, that color, that texture that says create me, shape me, mold me into something grand. My mind explodes “Oh wow that is the coolest thing ever…”.

So far, I’ve got nothing. It didn’t come this week so I’m telling you about the idea of wanting it to come instead. I suppose the hunt in itself is based on inspiration so…

What am I hoping will happen here? Here’s the thing. I don’t want to write another 10 best list, or the top 5 something, or the cutest moments of this or that event. I’m kinda over those lists. It’s all regurgitation of something or someone and frankly we’ve all heard it before. So let’s be real here. Inspiration is going to have to come when it comes and I’ll make it as original as I can. It just won’t be in some repurposed top 100 something or another. It may just be me writing to tell you “Today, I’ve got nothing.”.

Inspiration is not a four letter word. It’s more like an eleven letter nuisance that I drive myself crazy with, and similar to other self imposed afflictions that cause a moment of insecurity now and then. Inspiration is my eleven letters of hell this week. It will pass. There is always another Monday that points toward Friday.

A Little Inspiration Goes A Long Way

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I haven’t written a post in awhile  — since November 8 I haven’t felt inspired, honestly — not an okay space to set up shop and wallow in for long.  So, just in case you too find yourself motivation-challenged, I’ve linked to three recent posts from a few of my favorite sources that are helping me to get up and go — to work.

Parisian Walkways:  Passage du Grand-Cerf, by Jeffrey T Iverson

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I love reading this online magazine.  I mean – it’s Paris!  But more than the city itself, this article’s inspiration comes from the small shop owners, who have taken a chance, focused on their trade, and believe in the value of a well-made item.  These artisans take pride in their work and the master-craft traditions they preserve. Many of them also set up shop originally when this passage was a neglected eye-sore and stuck with it.  These stories helped to reenergize my passion for Taylor Street Favors, our wedding favors and gift business, whose inclusive message may become less accepted, making it ever more important for us to stick with it and promote.  

 

 What I’ve Learned In 38 Years Of Surrounding Myself With Confident People

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This inspiring article, from Fast Company contributor, Michael Thompson, ticks off 7 qualities he’s picked up from the confident people who have been a part of his life.  I was nodding in agreement as I read.

Finding joy in others success, and celebrating it with friends and family, is so important – both to your friend [duh!], and to your well-being as well.  The act of celebrating is empowering – doing so makes you, your friends, and family happier and stronger.  

As Michael quoted in his piece from Kareem Abdul Jabbar, truly confident people just want “to play the game well and go home”.  In the wedding industry, trend spotting and trend-following are omnipresent, so Kareem’s notion of not requiring other people’s approval really resonates with me, which connects me to my third inspirational piece, on…

 The 17 Hottest Wedding Trends for 2017

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Articles pertaining to trends in this industry are  e v e r y w h e r e, and not surprisingly  often repeat the same tedious do’s and dont’s of the season. David and I believe strongly in helping you create a ceremony, a reception, or a party that feels authentic to you. We believe that just because some look, color or theme is trending does not mean it is worthy of following or repeating. However, we don’t live under a rock. We do like, and need to have, an awareness of what is going on in this industry to be able to keep our store fresh and relevant.  I think this article does a good job of providing an overview without gushing or selling you on any particular view.  Most importantly for me – these trends are not a surprise, and I am realizing David and I are getting quite adept at hand-selecting items that are well made, a good value, and will be interesting to our customers.  Woo hoo!

Here’s to confidence in all you — and we — do. 

Let’s aim high and do this.

Holidays! It will be fun and you’ll love it!

We spent the last weekend getting ourselves ready for Christmas. Putting up the tree, decorating and putting lights outside the house. We moved to the new house a little over a month ago so we are a less about the outside this year. Watch out 2017! We can already see our neighbors like a little competition. This year, for us, simple was best – a string of fun multi-colored lights. Big bulbs! Old school.

I love the holidays. I love Christmas, the decorating, the baking – all of it. I LOVE IT! It takes me back to two distinct memories. My visual merchandising days at Saks in my twenties many, many moons ago because HELLO it’s all about decorating!  The other is holidays with my parents. When I was a little kid my mother decorated for every holiday or season. That’s probably where I got the decorating bug. And, I loved decorating the tree with them. The whole ritual of getting the tree, lighting the tree and decorating the tree. Being together.

Can you hear the holiday music in the background “It’s the most wonderful time of the year…” Lights are twinkling, people are happy, everything is festive.

This year it’s all about red. I drive my husband and our son crazy because  I do a theme every year. Every year our son, whose now 11, says “Do I have to help? You’ll just redecorate the tree after!” and every year I fain shock and say “Yes!  It will be fun and you’ll love it!” Ah, the joyful memories he will have of dad repositioning all the bulbs. My husband just rolls his eyes.

Times are tough; still I treat you to a lovely evening, and I get smart-alek BACKTALK“.
Faye Dunaway as Joan Crawford | ‘Mommie Dearest’

 

It really is all about the memories. I remember as a kid going with my dad to cut our tree down in upstate New York. He’d pull me on the sled and then pull me and the tree back on the sled. I wonder how much fun that really was for him? I am sure I complained just as much as my son does. What do I remember; the tree, the sled, my dad and love. We always had huge trees decorated with colored lights, lots of tinsel and gold or silver garland that looked like feather boas. Well, to a young gay boy they looked like feather boas!

We stress ourselves out at holidays over this and that and in the end it’s about the moments in-between. The ones that stick. The ones that light up at the smell of baking cookies and fireplace crackles.

Who knows how my son will remember these moments of his dads and the holidays. I’ll bet he won’t forget the love that surrounded them.

How do you decorate for the holidays?

 

Seaside Wedding: Michael & Barry

Michael & Barry were married on August 6, 2016 at Gearhart Beach, Oregon.

Who proposed to whom? I Proposed to Barry

How did you get engaged? We went on a 4 day cruise through the San Juan Islands with friends for Barry’s birthday and in the sculpture garden in Roche Harbor, on San Juan Island, the question was popped.

Wedding date? August 6, 2016

Venue? Reception: McMenamins Gearhart Hotel, Wedding: Gearhart Beach, Oregon

Coordinator? Amanda Wolf

Catering? Gearhart Hotel

Cake? Laurie Clarke Cakes

Cake Topper? Sammy’s Flowers

Photographer? Donny Mays Photography

DJ? Spencer Crum

Florist? Sammy’s Flowers (sammysflowers.com)

Hair/Makeup? We are naturally that beautiful (none needed) LOL

Macaroons? Didn’t have any

Wedding Photos and Our Wedding Album – Advice from a Groom

 

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Wedding photos have [finally] arrived!  Now that bills are paid (ugh) and thank-you’s are mostly written (I know, I’m sorry) we must decide on whether and how to create a wedding photo album.

The “whether to” decision is an easy one for us – Yes.

Digitals are great, but digital images are never going to be discovered by your children or grandchildren in the attic.  You will never just happen upon your digital images while sorting through a stack of books left untouched for too long. There is nothing special and almost no intimacy involved in gathering around a device to stare at images that are too small to appreciate.  Wedding photos are best experienced as part of a narrative — a story that unfolds in a deliberate sequence with one image building upon and informing those before, after and around it.

So as David and I review our images, reflect on the day, and decide how we may want to remember the moments, the wedding album creation & production decision looms — influenced by budget, creative energy, available time, and technological know-how.

I’ve summarized our wedding album website alternatives into 3 price brackets.  All of these websites have beautiful wedding album examples to get your creative juices going.  Disappointingly, however, none have a same-sex couple prominently displayed in their gallery. Time for some new images everyone.

$$$$ – Custom design/print/bind service.  We select the basic layout and the cover, upload the images, provide suggestions for any copy we may want to include with particular images or on certain pages and then let someone else create and print.  Cost:  Wide range based on number of pages and cover type, but $600 to $1700 covers most of the options available.  Yikes.

Two companies we are considering: blendedmotion.net & storybookpages.com

Blended Motion is a turnkey provider, whereas Storybook Pages focuses on the design component and then allows you to select the print/bind vendor from a list of companies they work with.  Both of these companies work primarily with wedding photographers, but they have expanded their service to “retail” as well.

$$1/2 – DIY design using templates/print/bind service.  We select from a wide range of pre-formatted designs, most with some customization available, upload the images in the size and position and order we want, then let them produce based on the paper and cover we select. Cost:  $200’ish to $750 covers most options available.

This is a more competitive market space, and there are a number of companies.  Each of these 3 are worth considering – each with “a look” and particular software & production strengths.

  • Milk wedding focused, minimalist look, basic options, not a budget buster, quality product
  • Blurb oriented to commercial / professional productions, wedding albums as a side business, flexible design system with default templates for the novice
  • AdoramapixTemplate based with plenty of design flexibility, widest price range based on paper type, page count and cover material

Note:  We are not considering BrideBox. Why? There was no “bride” in our wedding.  Might be a clever sounding name, but it’s not very welcoming to my husband and me.

$ – DIY design using templates/print/bind service.  The primary difference between this price point and the category preceding is that these two providers are not providing a wedding specific product.  Their design flexibility is more limited and their production options far more limited. Their product, however, is considered high quality with very fast turnaround. Cost:  $100 and under

  • Apple Photo book we are an Apple family.  I was a reluctant convert, but have come to fully embrace (accept) the Apple way of life.  We have used this service before to make albums of family events and the results have been beautiful.
  • Snapfish & Shutterfly excellent for the novice/non-tech user, low cost, high quality, very limited design flexibility, quick turnaround.  You don’t have to own an Apple.

We are going to go-down-the-middle and use Adoramapix.  We will share the end result when we’ve got it to show.  For us, it’s a good balance of cost, time spent and design flexibility.

Whatever you decide:

Don’t overspend/overthink. Better to get your favorite photos printed in a scaled down book than have no book at all.

Do not let too much time pass.  Your wedding album project will get lost in the “to-do’s” forever…and the story you wanted your wedding photos to tell won’t be telling any stories at all.