I thought I would take a moment each week to highlight some of the wonderful photographers whose work we drool over in our favorite magazines month after month. As my 'day job' is 'in the biz' I actually happen to know some of these talented shooters and their photography quite well. Sadly, I don't get to work with them as often as I used to just due to the nature of the client I work with right now. However, I still take every opportunity I can to review (ie: drool over) their portfolios. First up, Miki Duisterhof. Miki travels frequently shooting beautiful stories often for Brides & Travel and Leisure among many other publications. Recently, I even had the opportunity to work with her on the design of her new promotional piece. Here's a sampling of a few of my favorite shots.



Inspired by the oh so talented ladies of Style Me Pretty and Snippet and Ink, I thought I would take a stab at a wedding inspiration board. #1 in a weekly series is "Red Vintage Garden Chic." A little white chapel for the ceremony and a nearby botanical garden for the reception. Hang crystal chandeliers and votive candles in old mason jars from the trees and create a charming cocktail area with rented antique furniture. Take full advantage of the beautiful outdoor location and create an outdoor lounge area, perhaps with a firepit to encourage guests to hang outside after dinner.

From top left: Chandelier via Brides; Outdoor chaise lounge area from Oren Events; Red peonies bouquet photo by Augustus Butera; Hanging votives photo by Augustus Butera; Gown by Monique Lhuillier; Floral Toile tablcloth from Party Mosaic; Rose petal cones photo by Augustus Butera, White chapel photo from Getty Images; Cake by April Reed; Francis Coppola's Sofia Rosé ; Cocktail area photo from Oren Events; Monogrammed invitation with red belly band by East Six

Hey, this is fun! ; )



Is it just me or does Christmas start earlier and earlier every year. Walking to my office today, I saw workers hanging Christmas lights on the trees near 5th Avenue. I'm not complaining, I LOVE the holidays. In fact, if all goes well with the renovation, I'll be hosting Christmas at my house this year. (Many planning posts to follow ; ) In the meantime, I've decided not to design my own Christmas cards this year. There are so many lovely options out there, I decided to support my fellow designers (ie: take the easy way out) ...

Top Left: Ceci New York
Top Right: Wiley Valentine
Middle Left: EnFinLaVoila
Middle Right: Lucky Paperie
Bottom Left & Middle: Jamie Ho Designs
Bottom right: Peculiar Pair Press



If I had to do all over again, I would have went with a charming little short wedding dress. Full length ballgowns aren’t for everyone and a shorter style is a great option for less formal weddings.

Top left: Romona Keveza
Top middle: Candy Anthony
Top right: Via Flickr
Middle left: Bonbonoiseau Design
Middle middle: Michelle Roth
Middle right: Brides
Bottom left: Candy Anthony
Bottom middle: Lena Corwin via MSW
Bottom right: Via Jenny Ebert Studio



Being that it was 80 degrees in New York last week, it sounds a little strange to say, "the holidays are just around the corner", but ...
I'm a gift wrapping nut. I can easily spend more money on the presentation than I do on the gift itself. For those who are similarly inclined, check out a recent Etsy find Erin Ruth. Couture wrapping paper printed on acid free, 50% recycled paper using soy based ink.



I've recently discovered a relatively new blog Snippet and Ink and I'm enamoured with her creative visions for designing weddings and her elegant and lovely sense of style. Below are a few examples of her inspiration boards, some created for various brides that have asked for ideas for their weddings. She follows each board with her vision for the event as well as provides the sources for where to find each of the items pictured. IMHO, she's a future little "Style Me Pretty". ; )


I'm loving Lisa Levine's jewelry collection. Clean, simple, elegant and modern are the best words to describe her designs. If you're in Brooklyn, check out her store at 536 Metropolitan Avenue bet. Lorimer and Union. Or you can purchase online at Shop Bop.


The Macbeth Collection features the loveliest custom designed patterns decoupaged onto all kinds of useful items such as storage bins, picture frames, vases, umbrella holders and clip boards. She even has a collection of notepads, and my personal favorite, decorative file folders.


If you happen to be looking for a wedding dress in NYC or the tri-state area and have champagne taste on a beer budget (like me ; ) definitely check out Bridal Garden . Bridal Garden is a not for profit resale boutique benefiting disadvantaged children in New York City. They sell donated couture and high end designer dresses (Amsale, Amy Kuschel, Anne Barge,Vera Wang, Reem Acra, Monique Lhuillier, and Carolina Herrera to name a few). I got my Eugenia dress here for a steel (a $3500 dress for $1200, not bad). I was in a hurry as my original dress had been ruined a month before my wedding (that's a story for another post) and the saleswoman, Gina, was very understanding and helpful and even made my cathedral legnth veil in a matter of days. She, and the other talented ladies who work there, also do alterations. They're by appointment only as their space is tiny and they like to provide individual attention to each bride. (212-252-0661; 54 W. 21st St., nr. Fifth Ave., Ste. 907.) If we're going to spend so much money on a dress we'll only wear for one day, it's nice to know that by buying it at Bridal Garden, the money is going to good use. Here's a couple of shots of me in my Bridal Garden scores...



Well, this will be a short and sweet post as I'm a little under the weather today. Here's a beautiful shot from one of my favorite photographers, Victoria Pearson.



This home renovation thing is really frustrating. I've torn apart what is left of my house in search of the cable to hook my camera up to my computer so that I can post some 'before pictures' alongside my inspiration photos. I can't find it anywhere. To add insult to serious injury, my office is a part of the renovation, and has been completely dismantled. My husband just set up the computer in another room and my entire "Blog File" has miscellaneously diappeared. ARGH!!! I was looking forward to posting an inspiration board for my livingroom and unfortunately I've lost all my inspiration, not to mention all of my bookmarks. : ( I did, however, find this one photo that is the basis for what I'm planning.

I already have the Rachel Ashwell Couches, well one couch and one really big loveseat. I scored my chandelier from the Elephant's Trunk Flea Market in New Milford Ct, which I highly recommend. It was the bargain of the century at $90 and is stunning. I'm having the tables made through Gypsy Farmhouse Antiques in Cedar Grove, NJ. Unfortunately, they don't have a website. It's a great antique store that is set up in a brightly painted old house right on route 23. In addition to 3 floors of fabulous antique finds, they custom make gorgeous furniture out of among other materails, old barnwood. More to come ; )



I recently stumbled across the beautiful designs of East Six and had to share. Best friends, Stacey and Marina have between them degrees in photography, fine arts, advertising and graphic design and it’s evident in their well thought out, detailed and beautiful work.

Take a peek...



I typically like to have a pretty calendar in my office. The one that is currently up on my memo board features a wedding photo printed on text paper for Feb '07. Hmmm, I thought it might be time to do a little calendar shopping, being that, well, it's October not February and it's almost the end of the year. (Can you believe it?) I suppose I should make my own being that I am a designer, but here are so many pretty ones readily available...

Top left: Ilee
Top right: Mulberry Muse
Bottom left: Annecote
Bottom right: Paper Source



Again, I'm going a little off my usual wedding / lovely topics- (and if the Delightful Blog people are perusing, as I’ve just signed up, please scroll down. I promise there is some beautiful eye candy and delightful reading below; ). I was recently made aware of a brilliant new documentary from Open Eye Pictures about Lyme Disease and felt compelled to share. Lyme Disease has had a significant effect on my family and I’d like take this opportunity to write about our experience and what I’ve learned in the hopes that someone reading this might gain some insight and have the opportunity to obtain proper treatment.

The common misconception about Lyme disease is that it’s a somewhat trivial joint-related problem that is easily diagnosed and cured with a few weeks of antibiotics. My husband, and thousands upon thousands of other Americans are proof that there is a serious problem in our country due to under or misdiagnosis as the standard test for Lyme Diasease is completely unreliable. Lyme disease has been called a great imitator because of its ability to mimic other diseases such as Multiple Sclerosis, ALS, Fibromyalgia, Systemic Lupus, Alzheimer's, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome or Rheumatoid Arthritis. Many patients do not get the classic bullseye rash which is the only external and distinctive sign of Lyme Disease. There are over 300 strains of the bacteria that causes Lyme disease, and the test kits used by most labs (the ones that are covered by most insurance) don't detect all of these varieties. In many cases, the standard test shows up negative when in fact what you have is Lyme Disease and the doctors (again, usually the ones that are covered by your insurance) simply rule it out as a possibility.
My husband has been forced to live with debilitating symptoms for over 5 years, such as severe joint and musle pain, high fevers, fatigue, central nervous system issues, confusion, mood changes, temporary paralysis and cognitive dysfunction. He was hospitalized several times, once for as long as a month with doctor after doctor scratching their heads. The last doctor who saw him just before he was hospitalized for near kidney failure told him that it was all in his head and that he should see a phychiatrist. The upcoming documentary by Open Eye Pictures, “Under Our Skin”, explores why our primary care physicians and the so called specialists such as rhuemetologists are so ignorant and/or are ignoring the classic Lyme symptoms and are not following up with the more comprehensive testing in order to rule out or to confirm Lyme. Most people, myself included, are not aware of the fact that “The Standard Lyme Test” is unreliable and believe what the doctors have told them. To add insult to injury, once diagnosed, the fact is that many physicians are refusing or are encouraged not to provide sufferers with lifesaving treatment and these seriously ill patients are quite literally on their own. If you are lucky enough to find a Lyme specialist, they typically do not take health insurance as they’re under constant scrutiny as there is serious controversy amongst the medical community, the insurance companies and, of course, our politicians. Thankfully, we stumbled upon a segment on the show Mystery Diagnosis which mimicked my husbands situation and low and behold the featured patient was diagnosed with Lyme. He was unbelievably treated by a specialist who was local to us. (Just 10 minutes away!!!!) My husband is now thankfully on the road to recovery and getting a little better every day. However, he will likely always have medical issues, and no one can predict the long term effects on him. Please take a moment to check out Open Eye’s website and be sure to check out the trailor for "Under Our Skin". It's truly eye opening.



I recently had the pleasure of creating a promotional piece for the lovely editorial photographer Miki Duisterhof. I refused to accept a fee as her agent is a dear friend of mine. To my delight, I came home last week to a package containing a gift of thanks from Miki. A beautifull paw charm necklace from designer Helen Ficalora. Miki knows I adore my two dogs Mabel and Max more than life itself and so what a perfect and thoughtful gift! Helen's SoHo boutique opened recently and you can also order by phone on her website. She features a wide variety of embossed initials, punched-out motifs, and even pavé diamonds. The initials would make an ideal bridesmaid's gift. Prices start at $75.


So this is a little outta left field, since I've been rambling on about weddings, but you simply must check out singer/songwriter Carla Bruni. Carla is the daughter of a composer and a pianist and (gulp) a former supermodel. As my ‘day job’ in ‘in the business’ I’d heard she left ages ago to start a singing career, but shamefully blew it off and never bothered to give her a listen until today when my co-worker was playing her at the office. Bruni, who writes all of her own beautiful songs in English, French and Italian, performs with an element of breathy, ‘understated loveliness”. I can actually imagine some of her songs being played during a cocktail hour at a beautiful garden wedding. You can also check her out on itunes. Enjoy!



I've been a huge fan of the amazingly talented event and wedding planner and author of Southern Weddings, Tara Guerard of Soiree Events for some time. I was so excited to read her guest feature at my favorite blog Style me Pretty where she has some great tips and beautiful ideas for brides. It's a must read. Tara's events are so well thought out and filled with thoughtful touches and creative details that are just right.



Ashley Carter of Goldbug Studio handcrafts each topper from old millinery trims, vintage oddities, glitter and paper. I ordered this one for Laura's Wedding through Parcel. Ashley even customized the banner and the filler color for her. In addition to cake toppers, Ashley also makes a variety of other whimsical items that you can see here.



I'm a huge fan of calligraphy and hand-lettered fonts. Here are a few calligraphers whose work I love in particular for their whimsical styles.

Crystal Kluge


Gorgeous calligraphy at only .60 per line for envelopes!



Contrary to popular belief New Jersey isn't all mobsters, big hair and 'that smell' on the Turnpike when you leave Newark Airport on your way to New York City. There are some lovely and charming little towns scattered about each with an abundance of beautiful shops.

Via Oh Joy, I came across a new store in historic Red Bank, NJ called Bodega Shoppe. Owner, Mike Buess, who was formerly the PR director of my favorite antique jewelry house Doyle & Doyle, stocks furniture, wallpaper, vintage fashion and beauty books, Maribelle chocolates and teas, stationery from Lucy Jane Batchelor and Lena Wald jewelry among much more.

Parcel in Montclair, NJ is an upscale paper boutique with the charm of an old fashioned general store. Selling everything from stationary, packaging, vintage ephemera, and lovely gifts Parcel is one of my favorite local shops.


Wren Eleven was created to showcase the work of many incredibly talented independent artists and craftspeople. There’s beautiful jewelry, paper goods, affordable art and even free downloads. A great place for unique and affordable bridesmaids gifts. Also check out her visually inspiring blog.



Ever wonder who are the creative brains behind the beautiful wedding editorials that we drool over every month? As the Style Director of Martha Stewart Weddings until 2006, Rebecca Thuss set many trends in the industry. The cupcake cake, the candy bar to name just two. I even mimicked my own bouquet right down to the exact ribbon after seeing one of her covers, the red garden roses shown below.
Also a Martha Stewart Weddings Style Editor, Livia Cetti left the magazine after giving birth to her son. Now back at MSW as a Contributing Editor (ie: Freelancer) she now also has her own business The Green Vase concentrating primarily on floral design




As I rarely have time to breathe on the day of a wedding, I shamefully tend to forget to take pictures and must wait the dreaded 5-6 weeks for the professional pictures. As I wait here patiently, I thought I would post about the photographer who shot Laura’s Bonnest Island wedding, Meredith Daenport from
Christian Oth Photographers. Meredith is a freelance photojournalist focusing her work mostly on issues involving human rights and social justice. Her images have appeared in National Geographic, The New York Times Magazine and Newsweek, just to name a few. Her work while fulfilling is needless to say quite sad. She told my bride that she shoots weddings as a reminder of the happier moments in life.

Here are a few shots from her wedding portfolio:



I love these events created by Tina La Morte of Oh So Fabulous in NJ. She comes up with the most clever ideas and her weddings are full of those lovely little details that when brought together create and unforgettable impression.


It was a beautiful day in May 2005 held at the charming Snuff Mill in the New York Botanical Gardens. I spent the first year of our engagement searching for venues that fit my very particular criteria. The process was hampered significantly by my teeny tiny (by NY standards) budget. I wanted good food...not "good wedding food", in addition to a historically charming location and good service. I couldn't believe my eyes when I stumbled across The Snuff Mill. It's an old house located about 1 mile into the grounds of the New York Botanical Gardens right on the Bronx River. It was lovely...

Location: The Snuff Mill at the New York Botanical Gardens
Caterer: Abigail Kirsch
Photography by: Augustus Butera
Florist: Distinctive Floral Designs
Invitations: Merrilee Designs



I'm a late bloomer to blogging, but am now offically addicted. Design, weddings, crafts, stationary or all things paper for that matter are my passions. I am a entrepreneur in the process of launching a stationary and event planning company, Merrilee Designs. I love planning parties, creating beautiful decor & designing invitations that are...well...lovely.

Here's a sneak peek at my latest wedding at the Bonnet Island Estate. Professional pictures to follow...

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