Saturday, February 28, 2009

When Love Is Not Enough


I have a new plaything- Alltop! I go to the weddings page and randomly scroll over blog post titles. If the first paragraph is interesting, I'll read a little more. That is the way I found this incredibly brave and inspiring post from a woman in NYC who had love and a loving relationship, but not heat and passion. Just like Meg Ryan's character in Sleepless in Seattle. Is love enough? Click HERE to find out. Beautifully written and heart-wrenching.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Thursday, February 26, 2009

All The Best: Alltop

Remember in the movie "The Graduate" when Benjamin (Dustin Hoffman) graduated from college and was uncertain of his future. At a backyard barbeque the neighborhood know-it-all friend of the family came over, put an arm around Ben's shoulder and said "I have just one word for you. Plastics." 

Well, in the same vein, Pssst. Come over here. I have just one word for you. Alltop.  If you haven't heard of it before now, let me tell you about it. Alltop is an outstanding website that stands for All The Top Stories = Alltop. The best blogs are neatly sorted by topic - any topic you can name. And that's what's so amazing and helpful! In a world glutted with data but no analysis, with information but no way to find or organize it, Alltop is your blog valet, butler and maid. As a professional researcher in a past life, I only wish Guy Kawasaki's amazing website had been born a long time ago. A little background info - Guy has the Midas Touch as a former Apple Fellow at Apple Computer, and now Managing Director of Garage Technology Ventures, a seed stage venture capital firm.

Think of Alltop like an e-magazine rack. But bigger than any Barnes & Noble or Borders you've ever been in. Take our category WEDDINGS, for example. At most, there are 25 wedding magazines at the local Borders. But Alltop sports 168 hand-selected wedding blogs for your reading pleasure, and more than 10,000 blogs on all topics combined. The titles of the latest 5 posts for each blog are listed on Alltop so you can go for what interests you. [Note to self: dream up better titles for blog posts.]

So these days, I've given up reading the morning newspaper and instead get my news from Alltop as I sip my first cup of coffee. Thank you Guy Kawasaki!

A Savvy Event

Savvy: [sav-ee] 1. to know; understand, 2. shrewdly informed; experienced, 3. common sense; practical understanding, 4. discerning.

Our friends at A Savvy Event have launched their fabulous new website. 

If you are looking for a casually chic and elegant wedding in wine country, call A Savvy Event. These ladies have style, taste, pizzazz and an eye for just the right detail. 

Although they serve many clients, each wedding LOOKS unique. Because, as they explain, every bride IS unique. They take the time to understand each couple's requirements and then, based on their experience, they combine  practical choices with a discerning taste for a marvelous look and a smooth-running day. Call to visit their adorable studio in Sonoma. Then spend the day enjoying the beautiful countryside.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Blog in Paradise

Do these pictures tempt you to run away to paradise? Well if you can't, the next best thing is to become a fan of our good friend Evonne Wong's new blog Away Soiree.

Evonne is an incredible wedding and event planner, based in Hawaii and San Francisco. She is the real deal. She is so energetic, enthusiastic, knowledgeable, fun, sassy, organized, dedicated, creative, generous, gracious...oh, I could go on. 

She has had an interesting blog for quite awhile but just launched a new and improved (if that's possible) blog about destination weddings. Check it out!

Monday, February 23, 2009

2009 Oscars

Is it my imagination or did some of the actresses on the red carpet look like they were going to their own weddings? Lots of white ball gowns at the Oscars last night.
Let's not forget the bridesmaids' dresses - how about red?

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Ethics and Online Reviews

A friend pointed out a recent article on CNN questioning the integrity of Yelp. Here's the gist. The East Bay Express claimed advertisers were being subjected to questionable tactics in order to get them to advertise on Yelp. The promise was that negative reviews would be taken down. The threat was that positive reviews would disappear or negative ones would appear if a business owner declined to advertise with Yelp. A dozen business owners said they experienced this form of blackmail. Some compare these tactics to the mafia demanding protection money. "The local neighborhood protection racket has just moved to the web," said one anonymous source.

Yelp admits that they pay "scouts" and "ambassadors" to write reviews. In some cases, businesses that received negative reviews from paid Yelpers were then asked to advertise.
This brings into question - how authentic and how accurate are the reviews on Yelp?  

And it isn't just Yelp that can manipulate the ratings. One irate customer can post an unfair negative review and encourage friends to also post negative reviews. One restaurant owner related that a customer was angry that the business was closed for a private event and went on Yelp, accusing the employees of being unsanitary. There have also been cases of one competitor slamming another. 

The biggest challenges faced by Yelp as well as, Google Local and Yahoo Local is how to encourage ethical user behavior, high-quality reviews and still make money. Whether true or not, there is the appearance of a conflict of interest when the businesses being reviewed are the ones being solicited to advertise. But this is unlikely to change.

So, how can you tell when a review is legitimate?  The simple answer is you can't. That's all part of web 2.0. Everyone is free to have an opinion, but you don't necessarily have to believe everything you read. Be a critical thinker.

So here's what I do:

1.  Review the reviewer. I investigate the poster's other reviews to see if they are always positive, always negative, or if there seems to be a balance. If this is the only review from this poster and it's particularly negative, I weigh that information.  If the poster has posted a good number of reviews about a variety of establishments, with well-reasoned criteria, I give their opinions more weight.

2. There's safety in numbers. It's not as easy to manipulate the results when an establishment has dozens of reviews.

3. Severity of the "infraction".  Is the complaint that the waitstaff were surly or that there were multiple health code violations?

4. Compare reviews on several different websites.

And if all this seems too much trouble, then just throw a dart to decide where you will eat tonight.

Do you have a solution? Let us know.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Genealogy - It's in the Genes

Genealogy used to be a hobby for the elderly. No more! Marriages are about two people and two families joining together. Here is a tangible symbol which reflects your personality by Melangerie in NYC.

Melangerie's modern memorabilia detail the relationships of the bride and groom to their various guests, whether immediate family or childhood friend.

Each chart is customized in style and color to match your decor. Just think of the fun when you discover that cute guy is your fourth cousin twice removed!

Sunday, February 15, 2009

U @ 50

The AARP (American Association of Retired People) showed a video at a recent meeting that was submitted by a 20-year old. It won 2nd place in their contest "U @ 50". It's been viewed over 2,700,000 times on YouTube and over 2200 comments have been left.  Have a minute? Take a look.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Happy Valentine's Day


Friday, February 13, 2009

Shhhh! Silent FIlms

What should I do with my sweetheart on Valentine's Day, you might be asking. Here's the perfect answer - go to the San Francisco Silent Film Festival tomorrow night. 

The featured films will be -

Our Hospitality (1923) a parody of Romeo and Juliet set in the Old South in 1830. Buster Keaton dodges his sweetheart's family's bullets.  His daredevil rescue attempt above a waterfall is still one of the all-time great movie stunts. With live piano accompaniment

A Kiss from Mary Pickford (1927) starring Mary Pickford and her husband in real life, Douglas Fairbanks

Sunrise (1927), a compelling tale of love, desire, guilt and redemption. It received the first Academy Award for Unique and Artistic Picture. 

The Cat and the Canary (1927) one of the first thriller comedies.  It's a tale of a dark house, it involves reading a will, and an escaped lunatic running around. Live accompaniment on the Mighty Wurlitzer.

The art form of movie-making is barely 100 years old.  In that time it has made an incredible impression on billions of people. It's been used to educate, to indoctrinate and to entertain. It reflects and maybe even defines a culture and the times we live in. A great movie portrays love and devotion, betrayal and greed, giving us a chance to observe and maybe to understand ourselves a little better. Bravo to the San Francisco Silent Film Festival for bringing us these classics.

Happy Valentine's Day!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Valentine's Day Cards

There are many legends about the origins of St Valentine's Day, all revolving around a good-hearted priest. 

One thing we associate with Valentine's Day is a small token of affection between friends and lovers, often a card or hand written note. But why exchange love notes just on one day a year? Our favorite stationers, in additon to offering fabulously wonderful wedding invitations, have wonderful collections of notecards and greeting cards. This is the perfect time to send a little 'love note' to our favorite stationers on Valentine's Day.

Viola Sutanto, 
Chewing the Cud

Sabrina and Eunice Moyel, 

Melissa Bumstead, 

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Wedding Univ - The Videography Class Part III

Wedding University has come and gone - for this year - and it went very well! The classes were quite well attended - lots of information and lots of laughs.  

We were glad to participate because we met some very nice people and because we always learn a lot when we have an honest dialogue.  From the questions we received, we realize a lot of brides and grooms want to know the difference between a photo album and a wedding movie.   

Movies differ from photographs, paintings, theater and other visual art forms in this way: a movie assembles images in a certain order to evoke feelings. Here are two examples.

Here's an intimate photo of a quiet moment shared by a beautiful bride and handsome groom.  But what's the story behind it?  Here's a 30-second movie that explains the story leading up to their meeting in Quicktime and in Windows Media.

Movies capture a range of emotions, telling you WHAT happened and WHY people feel as they do.  Often a movie can share with you more depth and emotion than a single photo. Photography and cinematography are two different art forms.  So if you think you will enjoy emotional moments on your wedding day, you might want to consider getting a wedding movie. 

Here's another example of a fun photo. The bride and groom are laughing heartily and so are their guests.  That's what you hope - to delight your guests and see them enjoying themselves.  But why are they all laughing?  Sound informs you WHY.  A movie enlightens you. Listen to the Quicktime or Windows Media version. So if you think someone at sometime on your wedding day will say something you wish to preserve, a wedding movie is the only medium that will capture the sound, the expressions, the emotion and the backdrop of those moments. Which would your children rather see - the photo or the movie of this toast?

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Wedding Univ - Delicious Food Part II

The food at Wedding University was excellent - just what you would expect from the Four Seasons.  The presentation was artistic. And the level of service was superb. Every staff member was very willing to help - with a smile! Many thanks to Julie Kiendra, Kelly Nelson and Paul Kuhn.

There were four superb course served between class sessions.  Even though everyone was so full from the previous three courses, everyone forced themselves to have "just a bite" of the fabulous dessert bar. There were perfect little creme brulees, fruit tarts, parfaits and chocolate mousses. Everything was tempting!

Wedding Univ - Big Success Part I

Wedding University took place on Sunday and was filled to capacity! Every bride, groom, mother of the bride and friend of the bride seemed to come away with a new piece of information which made the time spent at University worthwhile - and fun!
Here are some great photos taken by Stacie Tamaki of The Flirty Guide who was there as a member of the press corps covering the event. 

There were spectacular "idea rooms" from the lovely gold room with flowering branches to the Asian-inspired red room symbolizing good fortune to the stylish, minimalist and sophisticated purple room (my favorite).

The design group, composed of Gloria Wong Tritasavit of Sash & Sugar, Viola Sutanto of Chewing the Cud, Nancy Liu Chin of Nancy Liu Chin Designs and John & Megan Woods of Enhanced Lighting all did a wonderful job.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Win a Free Engagement Ring

As they say at the top of the show in ABC Sports programs..."Spanning the globe to bring you..." Well, we're spanning the internet to find you the best giveaways.  And here's one worthy of your consideration.

How would you like to win a diamond ring worth $4000?  All you have to do is enter here by midnight on February 13.  If you live in the continental US, are over 18 years and know a man who is willing to propose on national TV on February 14, the ring could be yours. Second prize: diamond earrings.

Bella Bridesmaid, You're Beautiful

If you asked a friend you REALLY liked to be your bridesmaid, where would you go to find her a beautiful dress?  Bella Bridesmaid, of course! And what dress might you choose? One from Hannah Williams who just happens to have a trunk show of her Queue dress collection on February 14.  Great fabrics. Great colors. And I love the little flower appliques the designer carefully places on the bodice, around the hem or even on the whole skirt, like the full length gown in the picture to the left.  

Another adorable little detail you just have to see are the cocktail length dresses with a tiny bit of tulle peeking out. The designer created her collection so each dress worked well for weddings as well as for other events.  Finally.  It's no longer a lie - you CAN wear that beautiful dress again.

As I was looking at all the gorgeous bridesmaid's dresses at Bella Bridesmaid, it occurred to me that some of these bridesmaids dresses could be worn by a bride.  Some of the designers such as Alix & Kelly and Jenny Yoo offer just that - simple silhouettes, in white or off-white, in sensational fabrics such as silk, chiffon or taffeta for as little as $650.  For a non-traditional bride, imagine accessorizing with a metallic shoe or just a touch of feathers in the hair.  For the groom?  Maybe a '40's or '50's retro tuxedo or dark suit with tie to complement the bridal party.  

The ladies at Bella Bridesmaid are just so nice and the store is airy and inviting. So before the big Valentine's Night celebration, take your bridesmaids to 2250 Union Street and have a bella, bella beautiful day.

Monday, February 02, 2009

New and Improved Elizabeth Anne Designs

We've long been a fan of Elizabeth Anne Designs, one of the best wedding blogs we follow.  Loved all the great ideas, the great list of talented wedding professionals, and the personal insights they share.  Now...even better!  A bright and fresh look for their blog and now - vendor reviews, message board and a bulletin board of all kinds of new products and good buys.  Really, you must see for yourself. No wonder their readership has doubled in the last month!

Wedding Chic by Colin Cowie

Colin Cowie's new book Wedding Chic has hit the stores! He offers expert advice, unique ideas and 1001 gorgeous details for which he has become famous.

If you go to Brooklyn Bride and leave a comment online by Friday, this book can be yours.