home & garden : newlywed nest (part 2)

I’m excited to share the rest of my newlywed nest with you today – just like part 1, part 2 is a work in progress!


Here is our little dining area, right off the living room. The biggest drawback of our place is the TEENY-TINY kitchen, so we’ve gotten pretty creative about storing our most beautiful things on open shelving units.




I just love that kitchen cart! Putting boards on top of our storage units has given us tons more workspace – for two passionate cooks, that was a must!

Besides the awful wood paneling, the kitchen cabinets were my second least favorite thing. We got a firm “no” about painting them white, so we decided to take the doors off to create a lighter look.




Roland wanted to be able to easily access all his beverage equipment, including his lovely collection of glassware!

Luckily, the tiny kitchen opens onto a tiny balcony – I love keeping the door open, so the space feels so much bigger!



And onto the bedroom…




Recognize these diagrams? We used them in our wedding!



We absolutely love our gravity bike stand from Public – keeping our precious bikes safe & sound indoors was really important to us.



There’s that awful paneling again! If we end up staying for a while, I have some ideas up my sleeve for dealing with it, but for now, our oceanography map must suffice!

Okay, my third least favorite thing about our place was the gnarly wrought-iron bars over the window (thank you, Oakland!). While we definitely couldn’t remove them, I used sheers to soften them up & put some pothos cuttings in glass jars on the sill.


That’s all, folks! Thanks for bearing with this work-in-progress – excited to share updates with you as we work on our newlywed nest!

xo, S.

Ps, Where I Got My Furnishings:

  • kitchen chairs – IKEA, in-laws, dumpster (seriously!)
  • kitchen table & cart – street scores
  • tall kitchen storage unit – yard sale
  • bistro chair – IKEA
  • dresser – hand-me-down from family friend
  • bookshelf – hand-me-down from parents
  • bike stand – Public
  • bed frame – hand-me-down from sister
  • lamp & nightstand – IKEA
  • sheers – JC Penney Home


eat & drink : dad’s jambalaya

Ever since Sarah & I were little we can remember my dad making his delicious jambalaya.  It seemed like the pot was endless and so many gathered around the table to partake!  This recipe is not your typical jambalaya, but you can easily add in your favorite traditional jambalaya ingredients if you like!


1/2 cup vegetable oil – 3 large onions, chopped – 1 red pepper, chopped – 1 green pepper, chopped – 4 cloves of garlic, minced – 4 carrots, sliced – 4 celery stalks, sliced – 2 cans of diced tomatoes – 3 teaspoons salt – 1 tablespoon cajun spice or 1 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper – 3 bay leaves – 3 cups rice – 1 lbs. andouille sausage, split lengthwise and cut into 1/4″ slices – 2 lbs. chicken breast – 2 cups chicken stock – 4 cups water

(Note : This recipe can easily be halved.)


In a large pot, heat the water and chicken stock to a boil.  Add the cajun spice and chicken breasts.  Cover and cook at a gentle boil for about 15 minutes.  Remove the chicken and let it cool.

Meanwhile, in a large pan heat the oil and add the garlic.  Saute for 1 minute.  Add the onions and peppers and cook for about 15 minutes until they are soft and begin to caramelize.  Remove to a bowl.  Add the sausage and cook until lightly browned.  Stir frequently to loosen the browned vegetables.  Transfer the sausage-vegetable mixture to the pot and deglaze the pan with some of the stock.  Transfer the stock back to the pot.


Cut the chicken into bite-sized cubes and add to the pot.  Add the carrots, celery, salt, bay leaves, diced tomatoes (with juice) and rice to the pot.  Stir to combine the ingredients.  Cover and cook over medium heat at a low boil for 30 to 35 minutes until the liquid is absorbed.



Yum!  I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as we have over the years!  It’s truly delicious!



make : tissue pom present topper

I’m sure we’ve all been to a party decked out in tissue poms – we’ve even thrown a few ourselves! Recently, I was wrapping a baby shower present & decided to use tissue to make a whimsical present topper.

The first few steps for a present topper are identical to the first few steps of making a tissue pom.

1. Layer the tissue

2. Fold it with a 1-1 1/2-inch accordian fold


3. Secure it in the center with wire or string

4. Make a rounded or pointed cut on each end to create shape


5. Fan out the accordian and make a cut down the center of each side to make the pom more full (& easier to open)

For the present topper, I just pulled all the tissue sections up (rather than pulling the top sections up and the bottom sections down to make a sphere), so that the pom would be flat on top of the present.


And voila! what an easy way to add some pizzazz to a present!

xo, S.

party : birthday picnic

Hosting a party is a lot of time and money, so this year I wanted to do something more laid-back for my birthday.


Roland & I are fortunate to live super-close to both Piedmont Avenue & the Morcom Rose Garden, so I decided we’d have a birthday picnic.


Photo May 03, 6 50 24 PM

We walked down to the Avenue to pick up some grub – ps, have you ever had Gregoire? It’s an adorable, fancy takeout place!


We met up in the rose garden, put on party hats & enjoyed our evening picnic!


Photo May 05, 5 56 05 PM



Afterwards, we walked back to our place for yummy cupcakes made by Rachel, lavender lemonade made by me (recipe here!), and lavender French 75s (recipe here!).

Photo May 06, 9 24 19 AM


Photo May 03, 7 32 40 PM

We streamed some sweet beats by the Flashdance – I wish I had pictures of it, but an epic dance party broke out in our teeny apartment!

This was such an easy & inexpensive idea that allowed our friends with kids to come party with us for a while and allowed me to RELAX & enjoy turning 28!

xo, S.

party : r&s – the big day!

Our wedding day was a blast. Period. It was everything we wanted it to be: meaningful, relaxing and a killer party!

Here are some of the many, many photos from our big day.892391_10100457634908139_1483646158_o





906351_10100457633700559_1842760631_oWe wanted our wedding day style to reflect us: a little bit fancy, and a whole lotta fun!

We took our wedding photos around Oakland (the old Parkway Theater, Lee’s Garden and the Leviathan building) to reflect our love for our city & the vibe of our whole big day!





883016_10100457636160629_1729105502_oI am SO glad we saw each other before the ceremony & even had time to hang out with friends – it made the whole shebang way more relaxing for me.

We wrote & directed our whole ceremony. The whole thing was very special, but especially honoring some of our friends (we didn’t have a bridal party) & hearing my dad share some wisdom.






Okay, here’s a little secret: we had our guests go to a cheese & coffee hour (so nice to have friends who work at Blue Bottle!) at the church while we ESCAPED. We snuck out the back of the church & jetted over to the reception site, so we could greet the guests as they came in. Plus, it gave me a few minutes to catch my breath & adjust – this made ALL the difference throughout the rest of the evening.

Our goal for the reception? A BANGIN’ party (on a budget). I think we succeeded.






This venue was such a score – seriously! How gorgeous is it?





Our guests loved our photobooth – they got to take home their prints as a souvenir!





My big splurge for the wedding was the DJ. We knew we wanted a bonkers dance party, and boy oh boy, did he deliver!










That’s my mom & aunt teaching everyone the “Gangnam Style” dance. Definitely one of the best moments of the night.





What an unforgettable day! Not only did my life change forever as R&S became official, but that was the greatest party I’ve ever thrown.

And now, at long last, a shout-out to ALL my incredible vendors!!!

Let’s do it again for our 10-year anniversary!!!

xo, S.

make : DIY chalkboard signs!

As Sarah mentioned yesterday, I’m going to share some of the chalkboard art I made for her wedding with you!  It’s so easy – you can do it too!


The key to making chalkboard art is CHALK PENS.  They are amazing and give you so much more control than regular chalk.  You can find them online or at your locals arts & crafts store.



All you have to do is give the pens a good shake, depress the tip to get the chalk “ink” flowing and begin your design.  The materials I worked with included painted windows, painted wood pieces, painted door skins (thin, smooth pieces of wood), and black poster-board.  You can find chalkboard paint at most hardware stores and it’s very easy and forgiving to work with!



If you make a mistake (trust me, I made many of those!), don’t worry – all you need is a wet rag or towel to wipe away the pen.  Try to do it right when it happens because the longer the chalk sits, the more difficult it becomes to remove.  It can always be removed though, it just may need a few wipes as opposed to one.


This was a favorite quote of the bride and groom and a replica of one of Dana Tanamachi’s designs – she is an amazing chalk letterer!


I love seeing all of these chalk pieces together!  It was a lot of work, but so much fun and I really enjoyed tying them all together with subtle design details.  Hope you enjoy them as well and feel inspired and empowered to go make your own chalk art!



party : r&s wedding – setting the scene

I’m so thrilled to share the first of three wedding posts with you today!


Even as someone who lives for big parties, planning & designing my own wedding was DAUNTING, to say the least. One of the hardest parts of the process was editing. We knew our wedding would be in our fair city of Oakland, and we wanted to reflect our love of urban life as well as our love of all things vintage!


Early in the process, I decided to choose some colours (slate grey and purple with pops of orange) and elements (chalkboard, metal and ribbon) that would tie the whole event together.

I also worked with a talented designer, Liz Zanzinger, to create a logo for the wedding that was used on everything from the save-the-date to the signage!

Set from Side




Every single decor element you see here was either gathered or made by House of Colour – it was a labor of love indeed (and I’m happy to have my weekends back), but worth it!

My dad built the archway for Rachel’s wedding, and I spray painted that bad boy gray – my friends helped attach the ribbon on our setup day!





We kept things simple by printing out materials at home, using paper for a lot of the decor and even transporting the ceremony candles to the reception for the tables (a big shout out to my friends for that one!).

The star of the decor was definitely the hand-lettered chalkboard signs that Rachel made. Seriously. AMAZING. Here’s a preview – she’ll give you the whole lowdown on the process tomorrow.



Below is a photo display I put together of past & present family members. Since our venue is right on the train tracks in Oakland, I mixed in some diagrams from my grandafather’s old train books!

Ps, our venue TOTALLY made the wedding come together, but more on that later…



Last, but definitely not least, I’ll send you off with the fantastic florals that my mom insisted on. A word for future brides? Mom often knows best.







xo, S.