I Give Thanks For…

For years now Thanksgiving has been my favorite holiday. It falls right in the middle of my favorite season and is celebrated with so many of my favorite foods: turkey, sweet potato pie, collard greens etc. It’s always celebrated at my house because I absolutely love to cook and I love having my mother, siblings, nieces and nephew all in one place. So far I’ve been lucky, every year brings something new to be thankful for. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve had my share of setbacks this year but when I look back the plusses definetly outweigh the minuses. Here’s my personal list of things that I’m thankful for this year. Some are perennial, some are new.

1. My husband who supports my many dreams, aspirations and endeavors. He even accompanies me to weddings to take photos and acts as my field assistant as I travel about doing my research into graffiti culture.

2. My two stepsons. Kevin the 21 year old graphics design student who designs my promotional materials and DJ the 14 year old who, in five years, has not given me one moment of “step-mama drama”.

3. Speaking of mamas, my husband lost his mother nearly two years ago and I’m thankful for the relationship he has developed with my mother. Despite conventional wisdom mothers and sons-in-law can have a close, loving and respectful relationship.

4. I’m thankful that my mom is still alive, active and healthy now that I’ve reached an age where several of my peers have lost their parents or are dealing with their illnesses and disabilities.

5. Lastly I give thanks for the weddings and committment ceremonies that I have been trusted to create and officiate. Nothing gives me greater pleasure than being part of the start of a new family.

I wish you all a Happy Thanksgiving.

Save The Economy One Wedding At A Time

We all know that the wedding industry is multimillon (perhaps billion) dollar one. With the cost of the average wedding rivaling the downpayment on a house wouldn’t it be nice if some of that money stayed in the community?

Now thanks to  The 3/50 Project you can accomplish just that.  Check out their site here. They are helping the small, independently and locally owned businesses we all love.  Here is the theory…

Find three independently owned local companies to visit and buy from…

If only half the population spent $50 a month at locally owned independent stores it would generate $42.6 billion in revenue…

Help save OUR local economy!  Check out and join The 3/50 Project!

The Korean Friendship Bell: Great location for wedding photos

Los Angeles offers many picturesque locations for outdoor weddings and photo shoots. One of the most beautiful that comes to my mind is the Korean Friendship Bell located where Gaffey St. meets the Pacific Ocean in San Pedro, CA.

The bell, situated on a bluff that overlooks the ocean and the Port of Los Angeles, was presented by the Republic of Korea to the American people to celebrate the bicentennial of the United States, to honor American veterans of the Korean War and to symbolize friendship between the two nations. The effort was coordinated by Philip Ahn, a Korean-American actor. It was dedicated on October 3, 1976 and declared Los Angeles Historic-Cultural Monument No. 187 in 1978 (Wikipedia).

Because of its beauty it is a popular wedding site in Los Angeles County, however in my personal opinion the winds are usually so high that guests might have a hard time hearing the ceremony. Therefore I would suggest it as a site for post wedding photos.

Please click here for more information if you’d like to have your wedding at this historic and cultural site.

How to handle stress & conflict during the holidays

The holiday season is upon us and though the greeting card companies proclaim this as the season of “peace on Earth and goodwill to men” this is usually one of the most stressful times of the year. This year’s holiday season promises to be more stressful than most as financial and economic uncertanties add to a heightened sense of frustration and vulnerability within families and between neighbors. Here are a few steps that one can take when dealing with neighbors, coworkers and others that seem to be behaving in irrational and purposely irritating ways.

  • Be a friendly driver. During the holiday season we become more inclined to such rude behaviors as competing for parking spaces and cutting other drivers off on the freeway. Foregoing these urges will leave you feeling less frustrated and could save your life.
  • If someone does cut in front of you on the freeway or jack you for a parking space, just let it go. Find another parking space or be content to arrive a few seconds later at your destination.
  • Be mindful of your neighbors during your celebrations and be responsible for the actions of your guests. Ask that they not block your neighbor’s parking areas or leave their trash behind on the street. Also consider not hosting loud and rowdy celebrations that last into the wee hours.
  • Shop early to avoid the holiday crush of last minute shoppers
  • Resist the temptation to fight over the last unit of that “must have toy” or other hot gift. Chances are that it will be on sale after the holidays anyway.
  • Remeber that these are tough times and don’t be offended if your coworkers can’t or don’t want to buy the holiday items being sold by your child’s school.
  • Likewise don’t feel like a Scrooge if you can’t afford the items that your coworker is selling or to participate in the office celebrations.
  • Be patient with store clerks, transportation workers and restuarant servers. Chances are they are working long hours with little sleep in order to make sure that YOU have a cheerful holiday season
  • Finally take a moment to slow down and remember what the holiday season truly represents; a time to pause and reflect on your spiritual connections to Divinity, nature and your loved ones.

Have a Blessed Yule, Merry Christmas, Joyous Kwanzaa and Happy Chanuka.

Eco-Friendly Wedding Ring Choices

This past June I had the pleasure of officiating the wedding of a couple who truly embraced the ideas of eco-conciousness and simple living. Their ceremony was small, their friends provided most of the food and they exchanged rings made of coconut wood. They explained that their choice was based on their aversion to mining which they felt was a violation of the earth.

I admit that this was the first time I’d ever heard of or seen wooden wedding rings but the thought of eco-friendly rings has stayed with me. So today I did a little web search and realized that there is an entire industry built around eco-friendly jewelry. I’ve listed a few resource sites here.

Brilliant Earth: Rings made of ethically sourced and recycled gems and metals.

Chicago Joinery: One of a kind wooden wedding rings.

Leber Jewelers: Rings made from reclaimed and other earth friendly sources.

Sumiche Jewelrey Company: The only company in the U.S. using certified Green Gold and Platinum.

Touch Wood Rings: Makers of wooden rings for those who embrace eco-consciousness and simple living

Coconut Jewelry: This environmentally conscious company offers jewelry crafted of organic materials and helps tribal cultures to achieve a presence in the global economy.