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.
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.
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?
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
I love these three! We met Glory & Bridget when we were living in Portland, OR. Truly amazing people.
Bridge proposed to me at an Italian restaurant in 2003. Nothing elaborate, I was surprised with a beautiful ring sitting in my cheesecake after our meal. We finally got married on 11/1/14 at the county court house. We went to a yummy Mexican dinner and drinks with our closest friends after.
1. Brown Sugar-Glazed Turkey Meatballs
Because – meatballs and brown sugar. Perfect little mouthfuls of Brown Sugar-Glazed Turkey Meatballs! If you decide not to have these at your reception, save the recipe and serve them up at the next game event because Football season is coming – I think.
2. Mini Quiche Florentine
Everyone [almost] will fall for these Mini Quiche Florentines. Filled with spinach and cheese – Instant hit! Who says real men don’t eat quiche!
3. Grilled Corn Salsa
This dish would be a perfect side dish to the mini tacos below. Serve with tortilla chips and you’ve got a southwest theme in the making. Screen ‘Blazing Saddles’ in the background of the dance floor and you’ll have the most talked about wedding in town – along with the Grilled Corn Salsa.
“Hello, handsome. Is that a 10-gallon hat, or are you just enjoying the show?” – Madeline Kahn
4. Maple Chili Popcorn
Feeling a little chili? – Warm things up with this perfect fall appetizer, or favor, at your reception. Food Network’s Jeff Mauro’s Maple Chili Popcorn is perfect for filling cellophane favor bags that guests can enjoy later or have on the tables for guests to grab and munch between spicy dance moves.
5. Ropa Vieja Mini Tacos
First of all, these Ropa Vieja Mini Tacos are the cutest little appetizer out there – I mean, COME ON! With two types of chiles, these junior spicy mouthfuls are sure to keep the guests warmed up for the dance floor.
6. Bruschetta With Caramelized Dates, Walnuts and Goat Cheese
Whipping yourself up a Bruschetta With Caramelized Dates, Walnuts and Goat Cheese appetizers is a snap. Just toast a fresh baguette, then top the slices with a soft cheese — like chèvre — plus any combination of savory ingredients — like caramelized dates — and finely chopped pistachios or delicious crumbled bacon. See, it’s a snap. SNAP!
7. Taleggio Crostini With Apple, Thyme and Honey
These Taleggio Crostini With Apple, Thyme and Honey can be prepared with only a few simple ingredients and thyme – see what I did there? Spread cheese on toasted baguette slices, top with 1 or 2 apple slices, drizzle with a little honey and done!
8. Sausage and Stuffing Balls with Cranberry Dipping Sauce
I found this one on I should be mopping the floor. These Sausage and Stuffing Balls with Cranberry Dipping Sauce are an awesome autumn appetizer – say that 10 times fast – and a perfect departure form the norm! Perfect for Thanksgiving too!
9. Autumn Leaf Wreath Cheese Platter
I love this one! How easy right? Cookie cutters and cheese and viola you look like a wedding catering DIY genius – I mean really, cookie cutters and cheese, WHO KNEW!
This Autumn Leaf Wreath Cheese Platter would be a fun one for the kids to be involved too. Layer in some pretzel crackers and your favorite sweet-tart relish and fall has arrived.
10. Creamy Tomato Soup Shooters with Grilled Cheese Sticks
I love tomato soup! And, I love grilled cheese. Well, you might as well mix the two, right?
Our caterer, The Hitching Post, served Tomato Soup Shooters and they were a huge hit. Especially with the kids.
Alexis and Lisa were married on February 20, 2016 at Santa Margarita Ranch in Santa Margarita, California.
Who proposed to whom? I, Alexis, proposed to Lisa.
How did you get engaged? I had a hotel room, lined the entrance with candles and in the room had 25 balloons with reasons why I love her attached to the bottom of each one. The ring was in a big gift box and when she opened it I took it and proposed.
Wedding date? February 20, 2016
Venue? Santa Margarita Ranch
Coordinator? We coordinated and planned our wedding.
Catering? Dickies BBQ
Cake? Sea breeze cupcakes
Photographer? Nadine Solwick of Cheetah Photography
DJ? DJ Brian Solwick – DJ Cheetah
Florist? Bought and put together our own flowers and centerpieces.
Hair/Makeup? Hair and make up was done by Lisa’s sister Amy Friesen and our friend Ruby Rodriguez.
This was a totally DIY wedding. We loved planning, building, and decorating everything. We would do it all over again if we could! – Alexis
Samantha and Austin were married on March 26, 2016 at the Strawberry Farms Golf Club in Irvine, California.
Who proposed to whom? Austin proposed to me!
How did you get engaged? Austin proposed on May 2, 2015 at The Montage resort in Laguna Beach. Earlier in the week, Austin’s mom texted me along with Austin and his siblings, inviting us to a surprise cocktail party for Austin’s aunt. This event turned out to be completely fake! Austin and I showed up “early” and decided to walk around the resort. Austin had been to the resort before so he wanted to show me a beautiful spot on the property. When we sat down at a bench with an amazing ocean view at the end of the resort grounds, we chatted for a while about nothing in particular. Austin then told me that he loved me and that I was his best friend. It was sweet but not unusual so our conversation continued. After he said it TWO MORE TIMES, he finally stood up and got on one knee and asked me to marry him. I cried hysterically and said “what?!” over and over before finally saying yes. He surprised me again by revealing that both of our families and closest friends were there to celebrate with us. Shortly after, Austin was then surprised by his twin brother who had planned a much larger surprise engagement party back at their house!!
Wedding date? March 26, 2016
Venue? Strawberry Farms Golf Club
Coordinator? In Focus Events
Catering? Strawberry Farms Golf Club
Cake? Simply Sweet Cakery
Cake Topper? Taylor Street Favors
Photographer? Analisa Joy Photography
Florist? The Bloom of Time
Hair/Makeup? Unique and Flawless
Macarons? Piipa Cakes
Jeremy Constantine Lucido + John Constantine Lucido were married on May 2nd, 2015 at Sacred Sands in Joshua Tree, California.
Who proposed to whom? I proposed to John.
How did you get engaged? After 9 months of falling in love, new experiences, meeting friends and family, and planning the names of our future children, I asked John to marry me. I took John to Joshua Tree, CA to “take photos” for my magazine. After the photo shoot, I handed John my camera to take a look at the photos and as John scrolled through, he found a photo with the question and ring:
“John, Will you marry me?” -Jeremy
John said yes.
Wedding date? May 2nd, 2015
Venue? – Sacred Sands
Catering? – Soho Taco
Cake? – Bring Me Sugar
Grooms Suits? – Topshop
Grooms Shoes? – Stacy Adams
Boutonnieres? – EUCCA Floral Studio
Photography? – Gabe Ayala
Stationary? – John Constantine Design
Succulents? – Haus of Cactus