Harlem Nights

August has become a full month of celebrations; with my birthday, my husband‘s birthday and capping with our daughter, Brooklyn Joy’s birthday too (well she’s technically Sept 2nd…but still).

These last 5 years, I have been honored to share this eventful month (and even my actual birthday) designing wedding celebrations for a few of my happy couples.  Last year, in the middle of all this celebrating, we added our handsome little Jackson Porter Gray’s birth to the calendar as well, just over a week after another beautiful August Wedding.

I had the pleasure of designing and producing the wedding celebration for the always eventful Dedra & William at the breathtaking Casa Romantica in San Clemente, CA.  We nurtured a lasting bond with a little less than 6 months of wedding planning, included in that time William throwing Dedra a surprise “all-white” birthday party at our LOFTon2nd in Pomona, CA


I was absolutely overjoyed when Dedra called to inquire on my and the Loft’s availability for another August celebration…William’s 50th.  She wanted a memorable casino-inspired evening with about 50 friends.  So I said, what do you think about giving it ‘a little soul’…’a little gangsta’…’a little pizzazz’?  Lets go for Harlem Renaissance…

The Theme: Harlem Nights. The Location: LOFTon2nd. The Task: Turn our Historic Pomona brick lined loft into a Speakeasy.  We made custom invites, brought in the casino tables, had DJ Alex bumping Cab Calloway and Duke Ellington, chose a few of their favorite drinks (including Will’s somewhat hard to find, Heineken Dark), some “stick to your belly” catering, brought in my staff and a couple “Cigarette Girls”, and custom cigar labeled Twix bars in a vintage leather piece.  The Loft was transformed and between the guests dressed-to-the-nines in their best (and I mean they went all out) 1920’s attire and the feathers, hanging crystal valances and cobalt blue, you would almost forget you may need to take an Uber home, check in on Facebook or post a few on Instagram.

Here are a few shots from the night, taken by two of our favorite photographers, Rich & Vanessa Mora of MoraCreativeStudios.

Welcome to SUGAR WILL’S…

Thank you again William and Dedra for allowing me to do life with you.  xoxox

Tuesday’s Table | Jolly Christmas

Starting the day after Thanksgiving, the holiday music begins and all the giddy childhood images of stockings, trees, candy canes, tinsel and ornaments begin calling my name. Maybe it’s a bit tacky to some, maybe even a bit childish, but I love it.

As we get things ready for our Ugly Sweater Party in the LOFT this week, I can’t help but to daydream. Enjoy!


Hostess with the Mostest Dana Padgett Designs | Decoholic |

| Purple Chocolat Home | TwoTwentyOne | Studio DIY |

Tuesday’s Table | Whiskey & Cigars

With my husband’s birthday coming up this week, I was inspired by the age old complexities of whiskey & cigars (two of his favorites). Usually thought of as merely a gentleman’s favorite, the rich color and time honored tradition of a fine cigar and sip of scotch help tell a story of dedication, loyalty, pleasure and time.


| thelovelybee.wordpress.com | theknot.com | sugarandspiceevents.com.au |

popcornphotography.com.au | inspirebyap.wordpress.com |

Erica Chan of StyleMePretty.com |

Wedding Tip | No. 1

Life.  That one word, both as a noun and verb, will sometimes send my heart and brain in a whirlwind.  As you are reading this now…know I have typed, deleted, re-typed and rearranged that first sentence several times.  There is usually so much going on in our lives and what lies ahead that it can become hard to focus on now.

If fact, take a moment, close your eyes (WAIT! not right now…finish this sentence first!), take a deep inhale through your nose and exhale deeply through your mouth, repeat at least three times.  No cheating!  They need to be deep, calming, centering breaths.

Wedding Tip 1In all the little & big list of event to dos, running a gallery AND the day-to-day of work, out-of-town visitors, household malfunctions, body aches, bill paying, AND being mommy…I have to remind myself to breathe.  Sometimes, I only have a moment between emails and phone calls and pick ups and drop offs.  In those little moments (even right now as I type this) is when I purposefully inhale and exhale.  There is just something about that small action.

I know how I get, so I’m sure you may need that reminder every now and then as well.  When your eyes are blurry from all the amazing Pinterest inspiration.  Breathe.  When you’re looking at your long or even short but significant list of to dos.  Breathe.  When responses from your various phone calls or emails have not come in during your allotted work break.  Breathe.  And yes, even, when all is well, the birds are chirping, the sun is shining, and you actually have a moment to sit and celebrate your accomplishments.  Breathe.

Be a Fabulous Wedding Planner


I’ve been designing and planning weddings for almost 13 years. Like a lot of planners and many of you, it started as a hobby just helping organize and produce something special for family, a friend or a friend’s friend. My business was run “on the side” of my full-time (60-100+ hour) media/production job. I knew event planning was what I wanted and was even meant to do.

For the last several years, I’ve spent part of my time training others in the art of wedding planning, through the Wedding Consultant Certification course offered at Cal Poly Pomona and various training workshops and showcases. Far beyond the pretty flowers and dresses found on Pinterest lies a meticulously well-oiled machine complete with vendor qualifications, timelines, deadlines, budgets and a lot of hard work. We become the client’s friend, accountant, production manager, therapist, and confidant.  I take such pride in the list of successful planners and business owners supported by these trainings and so grateful to take part in the building of their dreams as well.

July 10, 2013, the Wedding Consultant Certification (495.00) course will begin at Cal Poly Pomona. Over the ten Wednesday nights, you will learn the nitty-gritty of wedding planning that will undoubtedly give you a suitable foundation to not only excel in your business, but excel in making your client’s dreams come true. You will receive your certification, which is required in many of the more reputable wedding venues throughout Southern California. Sign up now…space is (very) limited.

July 27, 2013, the Day of Wedding Workshop (175.00) will be offered at the LOFT for those of you who are looking to get the tools needed to run the actual wedding day and the weeks leading up to it. Learning how to set things in order so that the big day goes off without a hitch. This workshop is open to Wedding Planners, DIY Brides (or Bridesmaids), Photographers/DJs (looking to expand their business) and more. A lot of DIY Brides decide not to hire a professional planner and have a friend or family member help run the big day…this is the perfect opportunity to make sure they have a bit of training. If you’re interested in attending, email me at info@openboxdesigns.com or Register/Pay here.

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