La Jolla Real Wedding: Lauren & Keaton | Exquisite Weddings

Henley Co. clients Lauren & Keaton were featured today on Exquisite Weddings Magazine! We adored working with this beautiful, Canadian couple on their destination wedding in La Jolla!

La Jolla Real Wedding: Lauren & Keaton

Lauren & Keaton’s love story began in 2011, while Keaton, a professional hockey player in the NHL, returned home to Kelowna, British Columbia during the off-season. Shortly thereafter, he met a quiet, dark-haired beauty named Lauren; an equestrian show jumper. It wasn’t long before Keaton was “conveniently” showing up at Lauren’s work. Later that Summer, Keaton returned to Florida for his season with the Florida Panthers. Lauren soon followed.

In 2012, Keaton was traded to the Los Angeles Kings, and their love affair with Southern California soon began. Although hockey eventually took Keaton to Winnipeg to play with the Jets, he and Lauren visited California often to reconnect with the landscape and friends they had come to love.

With the help of her wedding planner, Nicole Matthews of The Henley Co., Lauren soon selected The Lodge at Torrey Pines in La Jolla, California as the venue for the wedding weekend. Overlooking the world-famous Torrey Pines Golf Course and the Pacific Ocean, the Lodge at Torrey Pines is the ultimate location for an outdoor wedding that could combine the rustic features of Canada with the breathtaking landscape of San Diego County.

Lauren and Keaton wanted a wedding that was rustic yet elegant, with touches of gold, white and light pink as highlights throughout the design elements. Being lovers of the outdoors, they opted to let the beauty of the view on the Arroyo Terrace (location of the ceremony) to be the focus, with beautiful accents provided by Camellia Wedding Flowers. When you host a reception for Canadian guests, the evening would not be complete without serving poutine, a Canadian delicacy that consists of french fries, gravy and cheese curd. The guests enjoyed a late night snack of poutine and sliders, which were welcomed after the dinner and dancing.

Source: La Jolla Real Wedding: Lauren & Keaton | Exquisite Weddings

A Beginner’s Guide to Throwing A Thanksgiving Feast – Part 2

Thanksgiving is just around the corner; I can almost smell the turkey crisping up on the BBQ! That’s what we do in California – we BBQ our turkeys!

In our last blog post, I talked about planning your guest list and your invitation. It’s time for us to discuss menu planning and recipes! This will be a busy weekend at the grocery store as everyone begins to stock up for the impending feast so it’s time to get organized!

Here are a few of my favorite Thanksgiving recipes, as well as my suggestions for menu planning!

Let’s Eat…

When deciding on the menu, you should first decide if you are the hostess that wants to cook the entire meal, or you are willing to share the glory. In our house, we have always welcomed a ton of people for our Thanksgiving dinners so it would be a huge burden for my parents to prepare all of the food. Plus, our guests have always enjoyed contributing to the feast.

As the hostess, think about providing the main staples of Thanksgiving such as the turkey, mashed potatoes and stuffing. The rest of the menu can be rounded out by the guests. We’ve always found that dishes like mashed potatoes don’t travel very well so it’s better if we cook them versus having a guest bring them later. We divide up the rest of the menu between salad, side dishes, veggie dishes, and desserts. Don’t be shy about asking your guests to contribute! It makes them feel engaged with the party before they even arrive! Be sure to remind guests of the expected time for you to enjoy the meal so you can plan accordingly with cooking times and reheating dishes if needed!

 

Menu Planning

Easy Recipes…

I’m the queen of appetizers! I believe you can make a whole meal out of appetizers, so therefore, my contribution to the feast is usually always the nibbles we can enjoy while the food preparation is being finished! Here are a few of my favorite dishes I’ve crafted over the years. Both have received rave reviews!

Mexi Dip

1 Can of Chili with No Beans
1 Cream Cheese  (8 oz)
3 Green Onions
1 Can of Chopped Olives
1 Can of Green Chile – chopped (you decide on the heat!)1 Cup of Sharp Cheddar Cheese

Soften the cream cheese in the microwave for 45-60 seconds. Mix remaining ingredients into bowl. Transfer to microwaveable dish. Cook for 5 minutes, stir and rotate. Cook for another 2-3 minutes. Serve with tortilla chips.

Chutney Dip

1 Jar of Chutney (found in the Indian food sections)
2  Cream Cheese (8 oz)
1 Cup of Sharp White Cheddar
1 Tablespoon of Curry Powder (add more as preferred)

Soften the cream cheese in the microwave for 45-60 seconds. Mix remaining ingredients into bowl. Transfer to microwavable dish. Cook for 5 minutes, stir and rotate. Cook for another 2-3 minutes. Add additional Curry Powder to taste. I have also added red chili flakes for additional heat. Serve with crackers. Can be served at room temperature.

 

What’s your favorite recipe for Thanksgiving? Share in the comments below!

 

Be the Super Bowl Appetizer Queen!

Are you headed to a Super Bowl party this weekend? Why not be the Queen of the appetizers? I could easily make a meal out of dips and spreads; in fact, I think there should just be a restaurant that serves only appetizers.

Over the holidays, I made this Hot Caramelized Onion, Bacon & Gruyere cheese dip, and it was smack your face delicious!

This recipe from Spicy Southern Kitchen will be a total touchdown at your Super Bowl party:

Hot Caramelized Onion Dip with Bacon and Gruyere
Recipe type: Appetizer
Ingredients
  • 4 bacon strips
  • 2 sweet onions, halved and thinly sliced
  • ¼ teaspoon sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon dry sherry
  • ¼ teaspoon tabasco
  • ½ teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
  • 1 cup shredded Gruyere Cheese
  • ½ cup sour cream
  • ½ cup mayo
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly, ground black pepper
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Cook bacon in a large nonstick skillet. Remove to a paper towel lined plate to cool. Crumble.
  3. Add onions, sugar, and salt to bacon fat in the skillet and cook over medium-high heat for about 5 minutes. Reduce heat to medium and cook, stirring often, until onions turn a deep golden brown color. This can take as long as 20 minutes. If onions start to burn, turn heat down to medium-low.
  4. Add sherry and cook 1 minute. Stir in thyme and tabasco. Remove from heat.
  5. Mix together sour cream and mayo in a medium bowl. Add crumbled bacon, cheese, onion mixture, and black pepper. Mix together well and transfer to a 2-cup baking dish.
  6. Bake 20 minutes, or until bubbly and golden brown on top.
Notes
Yield: 2 cups

Check Your Passport! Is It Ready for Your Next Trip?

Passport-Renewal

There is nothing worse than getting ready to take an international trip only to realize your passport has expired! Since we are still fresh into 2015, it provides a great opportunity for you to pull out your passport and make sure your ticket to the world is ready for your next adventure! You must renew your passport a minimum of 6-months before the expiration date.

According to the US Department of State, you can renew your passport if:

Your Most Recent U.S. Passport:

  • Is undamaged and can be submitted with your application;
  • Was issued when you were age 16 or older;
  • Was issued within the last 15 years; and
  • Was issued in your current name or you can legally document your name change with original or certified copy of your marriage certificate or the government-issued document evidencing your legal name change

If you need to apply for your first passport, you can do so by mail by filling out Form DS-82.

I’ve been lucky enough to have a passport since I was a toddler. It is the vehicle that allows me to become a global citizen, and a gift that keeps on giving!

It’s a big world out there – go experience it!

 

Top 15 Places to Go in 2015: Cuba, Helsinki, Cape Town – Condé Nast Traveler

I’ve been spinning my globe trying to figure out where my travels will take me this year. So far Puerto Rico, Cuba, and Italy seem to be topping the list. We are Condé Nast Traveler evangelists, so when they give us their top 15 places to go in 2015, we pay attention!

Top 15 Places to Go in 2015: Cuba, Helsinki, Cape Town – Condé Nast Traveler.

What do you think of their list? Any places you would add? Our travel concierge are currently helping clients to get to far reaching places around the world. Where’s your next great adventure going to take you?

See you at an airport near you!

 

Warner Brothers and ‘In Style’ Golden Globes Party

For event planners, award’s season is as much about the after party production as it is the stunning gowns the women are wearing! Our friends at Biz Bash have done a fabulous job of capturing all of the highlights from this year’s 2015 Golden Globes Party for Warner Bros, NBC Universal and In Style Magazine.

Warner Brothers and ‘In Style’ Golden Globes Party.

I’m loving the diverse looks within each of these parties. The video projection and use of technology as decor is fierce. Check out the forest technology wall by Thomas Ford- it’s stunning! Be sure to also find the Plinko Game by Pandora – a fun way to create interaction for the guests.

What have you seen at an event recently that you loved?

Photo by Line 8 Photography

 

 

 

TSE 2015 – Where All The Event Planners Go!

If you were looking for anyone in the event industry last week, more than likely they were in Anaheim, California at TSE 2015 – The Special Event Conference and Trade Show; the largest industry conference for event planners, vendors and suppliers. I was very fortunate to have been selected to speak all three days. TSE is an annual tradition for the event industry. We attend for education, networking and inspiration. The trade show floor is a visual cornucopia of the latest and greatest decor, furniture and must-have products we can implement in our events. It’s also a great chance for us to network with friends old and new.

This year was particularly special because in addition to speaking all 3 days, I was also able to offer my new book, Permission: Stop Competing & Start Creating the Life You Want to Live at the Conference Bookstore. What a thrill to be asked to do a book signing during the conference, along side my dear friend, Marley Majcher – The Party Goddess!

My presentations included:

Day #17: Living the Good Life – 30 Day Challenge (A New Hike)

As part of this 30-day challenge, I wanted to concentrate on not only trying new things, but also to stop wondering about places that I’ve always driven past but never had previously explored. Today, my Dad, Simon (the golden retriever) and I took a hike at Canyon Hills Open Space. If you are a Scripps Ranch kid, you’ve driven past it a million times. It sits on the corner of Mercy Road and the I-15. You can see the long trail carved into the side of the mountain from the freeway. I’ve always wondered what the view must look like from the top of the hill, so today we found out.

Hike is probably a more adventurous word to describe our experience than is really necessary. It’s more of a meandering walk that starts out completely up hill. The fire road is closed to traffic but offers a wide path for walkers, bike riders and the brave runner. At the top of the summit, you find a handful of picnic tables (who knew!) and a view to the ocean, the border and beyond. We commented what a perfect spot this would be to watch the air show.

Simon loved exploring new territory, with all the new smells. The walk took us about 40 minutes and according to my app was about 1.8 miles.

Now we can say, we know what the view from the top looks like! It was worth the walk straight up hill!

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Day #11: Living the Good Life – 30 Day Challenge (Learning the Trade!)

For my 11th experience, I reached out to my event colleague, Sharon Mintz, Owner of Organic Elements – an award winning and regularly published – floral and design studio, and asked if I could shadow her team for a few hours. She was very gracious to have me pop over to her new studio and let me get my hands dirty! I’ve also been in awe of floral design and after seeing what amazing floral art Sharon and her team regularly produce and design, it was easy to know who I would want to train under!

As an event planner, my involvement with a floral team is to talk about a design and place an order. I really had very little knowledge about ordering, flower production, design and execution. On the day I shadowed the Organic Elements team, I was able to help prep a few upcoming projects.

My first assignment was to clean a dozen vases. Like many parts of the event industry, these are the tasks that are not overly fun but very necessary. The behind the scenes prep is what most people forget is necessary. Instead, they walk into a ballroom all set-up for the event and have little knowledge on what it takes to get it from a blank slate to a visual cacophony. It was very evident that the Organic Elements team is well prepared and organized. They have a very efficient system that enables them to work proactively versus re-actively. Kudos to Sharon for taking the panic out of event production!

My next task was to place gorgeous purple orchids in the clean vases. Kaitlyn, OE’s manager, was overly warm and generous in educating me about the process and why flowers need to be processed before they can be used in a design. She was also very complimentary of my ability to be a quick learner! Maybe a career in floral design awaits me in my next life!

My final task was to process a huge bunch of white roses. Thanks to Kaitlyn’s education, I now know that in order to get roses to open up, you must strip them of their leaves because the leaves hog the water as it moves up the stalk. Removing the leaves allows the roses to open and in this case, would make turning these beauties into petals to be tossed at the weekend wedding, a lot easier.

Here I was a novice being tossed into a team of professionals and they couldn’t have been more wonderful and supportive of my willingness to learn. What struck me, beyond their talent and beautiful designs, was the camaraderie amongst the staff. Sharon has designed a team that clearly works hard but plays hard together too. What a joy to be amongst professionals whom truly love what they are doing and they respect the team they are working with. I loved my time at Organic Elements and hope that my future blooms with another opportunity to work behind the scenes with floral designers.

Your take away from this experience should be to think about an industry you know little about but would love to learn and ask for an opportunity to shadow. Most companies always need an extra set of hands and they are very generous with their time!

Thanks Organic Elements team – experience #11 was amazing thanks to you!

 

Day #5: Living the Good Life – 30 Day Challenge (Leo Carillo Ranch)

On the list for today’s experience, was a visit to the Leo Carillo Ranch in Carlsbad. I decided to combine my morning hike with the opportunity to explore this hidden gem in North County. Located smack dab in the middle of a neighborhood with cookie cutter homes and an elementary school across the ravine, Leo Carillo Rancho is a step back into time. Across the 27-acre historic park, visitors are invited to explore adobe buildings, antique farm equipment and blooming flora and fauna. The mascots for the Ranch are the strutting peacocks that meet you around every corner. I even had the joy of seeing a Mama peacock tend to her 4 little chicks.

It’s easy to see why so many photographers use Leo Carillo Ranch as the backdrop to their photo shoots. There is visual abundance every where you look.

I’ve always driven past Leo Carillo Ranch and mentally thought I should one day drive down the street to check out this piece of history (and beautiful event venue), but it was always on the “I should list!” Today, I made a point of making the drive and enjoying a morning hike in a unique, historic setting. Well worth the trip!

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