Gratitude for Beginners · holidays · The Street

All American Family

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Photo by Simon Maage on Unsplash

Tired of the SEO-optimized click-bait titles and bored by breathless Black Friday pre-sale announcements?

Me too. 

Add in 24/7 race-to-the-bottom political news and it’s tempting to just give-in to the sky-is-falling-so-might-as-well-get-used-to-it voice in my head and trudge silently toward December.  Tempting, but that’s an excuse to not do this Thanksgiving post I’ve committed to.  And I absolutely believe in Yoda’s “do or do not, there is no try” attitude-is-everything philosophy.  So I write.  My topic — giving thanks this Thanksgiving.

I am giving thanks to family – my family.

This year, Thanksgiving itself will be a very small gathering.  The reasons are many.  The larger local family is adjusting to a new marriage and the restructuring this brings.  With new additions to guest lists and newlywed hosts at the helm, we could sense the anxiety and ambivalence of having a really large group for dinner and graciously excused ourselves.

Our parents are also not joining us this year. My father’s worsening dementia makes it difficult for him to enjoy gatherings.  The disease makes it increasingly hard for him to have a conversation, and that plus the noise and unfamiliar surroundings causes him to withdraw. I will instead have a Thanksgiving lunch with him at his facility.  David’s mom is unable to travel by air, is unable to drive herself here, and is too far away for us to drive her to us and back.  FaceTime will have to do.

So it will be David and me, our son and one other adult, someone who consistently and passionately works (and it can be work) to remain involved in our 12 year old’s life.  He will be with us for a few days over Thanksgiving, and we are so glad that he will be here.  He is family.

He is as family as it gets in my world.  He continues to choose by his actions to be involved, to listen, to make spending time with us a priority.  He wants to.  Not many adults show that dedication and loyalty.

What defines your family?

David’s and my family is not defined by blood, it is defined by commitment.  Our family is defined by trust and support.  We care about, care for and look out for each other.

Big picture — families, however they form, are a reflection of the effort its members put into maintaining and encouraging them.  Their spirit and relevance are a direct result of a concerted effort.  Most importantly, families are worth celebrating, especially those families that do not fit neatly into a traditional definition, are seldom acknowledged, and sometimes marginalized.  These diverse & modern families are American families too.

Who will your family include this Thanksgiving? Will there be new members, whether because of relationship or circumstance changes?  Or, are you about to “be that newbie” in someone else’s family? Either way, let’s all plan to not just try, but to do — and take one definite action step that will demonstrate the importance of your family to you and how glad you are to be a part of your family this year.  Someday, they might be all the family you’ve got — and, as it turns out, all the family you’ll need.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Tablescape · The Street

Napkins – The final detail

The holidays are upon us and the family and friends events you have planned for the next two months will be a huge success! After all that planning and hard-work everyone will be talking about your party for the next year. There’s just one final detail – Napkins.

Our selection of napkins can be customized to fit your event and theme. A simple #CHEERS design or old classics like Sip Sip, Hooray or Seasons Greetings. There are foil colors for printing to add a little sparkle plus a wide rage of napkin colors. Perfect for placement on your buffet or cocktail area.

Personalized napkins are super fun, a great addition to any party, plus it kicks festive up a notch! Got for it.

Gifts · The Street

Gift Giving – 5 Simple Rules for a Sane & Successful Shopping Season

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Photo by William Stitt on Unsplash

It is human nature — the more we value the person we are shopping for, the more we strive to find THAT one-in-a-million gift that will completely & effortlessly reflect the depth of our feelings about our relationship and be EXACTLY what he or she wants.

Warning, Will Robinson.

You know and I know that thinking this way is, at best, unhelpful & at worst, a sure path to frustration and spending (way) more than you can afford.  So why do we do this?  There is a psychology to gift giving — and there is research that demonstrates the biggest effect from giving a gift may be on ourselves — our self-perception as a result of the gift we give.  Self-perception could be a pretty powerful motivator when just one person is involved, but multiplied by a long gift list full of cherished friends and family and it is not surprising that we often lose control.

Here are 5 rules that I know, but sometimes forget to apply, when it comes to holiday shopping.   These help to keep me grounded and thoughtful as I go about checking off my Christmas gift giving list.

 

1. Money does not buy love.     You can be passionate about gift giving and still not blow your budget.  Giving gifts that are practical, but maybe a bit less desirable to give as gifts, is GOOD!  Handmade gifts are awesome, if you dedicate the time and materials needed to truly deliver.  But – if you haven’t yet done what you are planning to do for a DIY gift – do a practice run to make sure you have all the supplies you need and that the end result is what you envisioned.  As with all gifts — keep the recipient in mind — ‘useful’, ‘edible’ or ‘holiday keepsake’ are all great DIY categories.  And lastly – do not turn gift spending into a competitive sport – do not attempt to match spend.  Rarely turns out well, builds resentment, and just not a good headspace to be in.

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Capiz Shell Candle Holder | Taylor Street Favors

2.  If they asked for it, that probably means they would like it.     There are studies that demonstrate recipients actually appreciate gifts they specifically asked for more than gifts chosen by the gift giver. (!!) Moreover, when recipients then rated the giver of the requested gift, they rated them as more thoughtful and personal than the person who gave the unrequested gift.  Long story short here — don’t guess — ask for a list.  And if you are worried that asking for a gift list may seem tacky, or obligate the person you’re asking to then give you a gift, good points!  Plan B:  going with a gift that tracks an interest (yoga) or theme (cooking, gardening) or a gift certificate (massage, bookstore, coffeeshop) could be a great alternative.

3.  Men and women not only shop differently, but truly think differently about gifts.     Gender factors into gift giving & receiving.  While a generalization, men tend to skew more pragmatic/functional & women skew in a more sentimental gift direction.  I am not saying this to let anyone “off the hook” for a poor gift choice.  No way.  I say this so that you and I can compensate for any chromosomal tendency we might have – not play to it.  So while gift cards and envelopes full of cash have their place, don’t assume that because you would like to receive your gift that everyone else would appreciate receiving it as well.

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Photo by To a Heftier on Unsplash

4.  ‘Experience gifts’ are often more appreciated.  A gift of time – sharing a meal & a movie together, breakfast in bed, a day spent shopping, hiking, or museum hopping are all amazing gifts.  These gifts allow you to feel closer by spending more time together and allow you to tailor your gift to the specific interests of the person receiving it – increasing the emotional value to you both.

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Personalized Turkish Towels | Taylor Street Favors

5.  It is okay to give the same gift to different people.  Placing a premium on “uniqueness” over “appropriateness” is the trap not to fall into here.  It’s okay to buy the same gift for different people if you believe each person would enjoy receiving it.   It’s efficient too!  Might need to consider if the recipients would be opening your gifts to them at the same event, but really — if I like a gift enough for more than one person, or if two people on my list have asked for the same gift, why not!

Choosing gifts based on the recipients perspective is the best way to approach your gift shopping.  Gift giving, when done with intention and thoughtfulness, can make relationships stronger, regardless of money spent.

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Photo by Dakota Corbin on Unsplash
Real Weddings

Megan and Ryan

August 5th, 2017

Megan & Ryan | Heather Nguyen Photography
Megan & Ryan | August 5th, 2017
Megan & Ryan | Heather Nguyen Photography
Megan & Ryan | Heather Nguyen Photography
Megan & Ryan | Heather Nguyen Photography
Megan & Ryan | Heather Nguyen Photography
Megan & Ryan | Heather Nguyen Photography
Megan & Ryan | Heather Nguyen Photography
Megan & Ryan | Heather Nguyen Photography
Megan & Ryan | Heather Nguyen Photography
Megan & Ryan | Heather Nguyen Photography
Megan & Ryan | Heather Nguyen Photography
Megan & Ryan | Heather Nguyen Photography
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Megan & Ryan | Heather Nguyen Photography
Megan & Ryan | Heather Nguyen Photography
Megan & Ryan | Heather Nguyen Photography
Megan & Ryan | Heather Nguyen Photography
Megan & Ryan | Heather Nguyen Photography
Megan & Ryan | Heather Nguyen Photography
Megan & Ryan | Heather Nguyen Photography
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Megan & Ryan | Heather Nguyen Photography

Who proposed to whom?
Ryan proposed to Megan

How did you get engaged?
Ryan proposed at Chamisal Winery in Edna Valley

Wedding date?
August 5, 2017

Venue?
The Grace Maralyn Estate & Gardens

Coordinator?
Molly @ The Grace Maralyn Estate & Gardens

Catering?
The Ribline

Cake?
Cupcakes by Ribline

Cake Topper?
A replica of our dog

Photographer?
Heather Nguyen Photography
Second Shooter- Leana Myra

DJ?
Adept Events

Florist?
Costco

Hair/Makeup?
Kat Slay @ Luna Loft in Paso Robles

DIY · The Street · Wedding Planning Essentials · Weddings & Receptions

Wedding Favor Table Ideas

Barn Wedding

Welcome guests with a charming outdoor display and stack personalized jam favors beneath an amazing floral arrangement.

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Beach Wedding

Send your guests home with a personal thank you message in a bottle.

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Rustic Wedding

Find an vintage dresser and fill it with jars of candy or kettle corn.

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Garden Wedding

Stack personalized handmade craft beer soaps wrapped
with a thank you message from the couple.

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Winter Wedding

Cover the table with a light dusting of “snow” and set out nests of Jordan Almonds.     Festive and fun.

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Vintage Wedding

Stacked suitcases topped with warm throws
for the guests to grab as the evening gets cooler.

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Bend the rules!

There is nothing wrong with sticking to traditions, just as there is also nothing wrong with bending the rules — just a little bit!

When planning a wedding it’s easy to get so wrapped up in your expectations that some details slip your mind. Just remember keep it simple and easy. An elegant visual of easy to grab favors is a sure bet and your guests will love the effort. This is your day. Have fun!

Your guests will leave feeling like it really was the best day ever!

 

Wedding Planning Essentials · Weddings & Receptions

Modernist

Causally arranged, repetition and simplicity are hallmarks of modern style showcasing minimalistic whites, dotted with shimmering votives, and enhanced with simple florals combine to create a table setting with a decidedly modernist vibe.

Accented with silver, white on white is a classic recipe for modern chic. Clean lines, unfussy elements create a setting that is both trendy and polished.

 

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City Style Tag, City Style Sticker, and XOXO Tin

To add an additional layer of personality, take traditional glassware and make it modern with a fresh new silhouette and custom message. A custom wine glass is perfect for giving to your guests as favors and adding a little something extra to your table decor!

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City Style Wine Label
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Personalized Stemless Wine Glass

Greet your guests with these impressive, and unique, twisted fork handle stationery holders placed at their seat. A perfect fit for a city style modernist theme.

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Twisted Fork Vintage Inspired Stationery Holders

Add an additional personalized layer to each place setting with these city style menu cards. Uptown flair with a subtle modern twist. The simple wrap of ribbon and a lavender detail finish off the look.

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City Style Menu Card, XOXO Tin with City Style Favor Tag
and White Satin Ribbon

Sometimes all a wedding reception needs is a little flicker of candlelight to set the mood and these glass votives with a reflective silver interior add the perfect glimmer.

classic glass votive holder in silver
Classic Glass Votive Holder in Silver

Do what you love, keep it simple and remember this is your day. Each detail reflects you. A perfect balance of fresh and functional. Simple, neutral and anything but boring.

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City Style Menu Card, City Style Favor Tag
Gratitude for Beginners · LGBTQ · The Street

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

 

 

The Street

“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!

 

Wedding Planning Essentials · Weddings & Receptions

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

The Street

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.