Kristi & Dave’s Golden Gate Club Wedding

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I loved working with Kristi & Dave to pull together the elegant white florals with green accents for their Golden Gate Club wedding. The tables were adorned with long eucalyptus garlands and sprinkled with pillar candles that lit up the room on a cold summer evening in San Francisco.

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Asian Law Caucus Annual Dinner

Asian Americans Advancing Justice

One of the reasons I love providing flowers for special events is the amazing people I get to meet and work alongside. I was fortunate enough to be able to work with the Asian American Law Caucus to help find budget-friendly centerpieces for their annual dinner. They decided to purchase purple and white orchids, which I thought was a wise choice, and created a simple, elegant atmosphere.

This year, the Asian American Law Caucus was celebrating their 44-year legacy of advancing civil rights. The organization and its supporters have worked steadfastly to support a movement that prevents immigrants from being detained and deported, upholds the rights of low-income tenants, helps workers recover stolen wages and stands up against the government trampling the rights of Arab, Muslim, Middle Eastern and South Asian communities.

The dinner also provided an opportunity to honor amazing individuals and organizations, including Covington & Burling LLP, Stand With Nan-Hui Campaign, Eric Quezada and Kimpo Ngoi. It was such an honor to contribute to this important event.

Cystic Fibrosis Foundation – 2016 Breath of Life Gala

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Aaron at the 2016 CFF Gala. Photo by Chris Arson Photography.

Aaron Bailey — one of my high school classmates from Indiana and a close friend — transitioned from a decade-long career in hotel management to becoming a development manager at the Northern California Chapter of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation (CFF).

Aaron was at a juncture in his career where he was seeking more meaningful work, and he felt a personal connection to the foundation’s work because his nephew, Brayden Bailey, was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis at one-monty old.

Since Aaron started working for CFF, I’ve been able to learn more about cystic fibrosis (a life-threatening, genetic disease that causes persistent lung infections and progressively limits the ability to breathe) and CFF’s fundraising events that contribute to the advancement of cystic fibrosis treatment, and ultimately helps find a cure for a disease that affects 30,000 Americans.

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I was honored to be able to do the flowers for the 2016 Breath of Life Gala on Saturday, February 27 at the Park Central Hotel in San Francisco that raised more than $200,000 for this important cause. To learn more about the chapter’s events and ways to support CFF, please check out their Facebook page.

The Danish Art of Hygge

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On the way back to San Francisco after spending a lovely weekend with close friends in Guerneville (about 75 miles north of San Francisco in the Russian River area), I came across an article about “hygge” — a popular Danish concept, which has many translations, but can be basically be defined as a ritual of enjoying friends, family and graciousness.

A longer definition I found on hygge.co defines hygge as:

“The art of building sanctuary and community, of inviting closeness and paying attention to what makes us feel open hearted and alive. To create well-being, connection and warmth. A feeling of belonging to the moment and to each other. Celebrating the everyday. Hygge happens when we commit to the pleasure of the present moment in its simplicity. It”s there in the small rituals and gestures we undertake to give everyday life value and meaning, that comfort us, make us feel at home, rooted and generous.

I didn’t realize it until we were on our way home, and came across the article that I had just had a very hygge-like experience with my friends. Tallulah’s Shack, the cabin where some of us stayed was cozy, charming and spaciousness enough to have a large group in the backyard area. There was plenty of food available, from the delicious homemade biscuits from Big Bottom Market to a large pot of jambalaya. And of course, there was plenty of wine to go around.

We didn’t do much over the weekend, and in fact, I didn’t even leave the cabin from Friday night until Sunday morning. For me, everything I needed was right at my fingertips. I really couldn’t have asked for more than to be holed up in a lovely cabin with a group of my closest friends and to be surrounded by majestic redwood trees.

It was a truly a weekend of closeness, of appreciation, of warmth, and a time to getaway from the pressures of city living and the stress of work to simple enjoy the company and good cheer of close friends.

However, I don’t think a weekend escape is necessary to have more hygge-like moments in one’s life. One of my goals until the end of the year is to find ways to incorporate more hygge into my daily life. I think this could involve simple routines like taking time to have coffee in the morning, calling a friend I haven’t spoken to in a long time, and even lighting a candle at the end of the long day. I hope to write more about my hygge lessons soon.

A Season of Gratitude

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From the colorful fall foliage to the crisp morning air to the pumpkins and gourds displayed in neighborhood stores, I love everything about fall. I can’t help but reflect on the feelings of gratitude that the season evokes in me.

The practice of gratitude is often talked about as an integral component to leading a happy and joyful life. Of course, we can always strive to improve our situations and overall well-being, but sometimes we need to pause and consider all the things that are going well in our lives.

I’ve found the art of being grateful to be extremely beneficial in my own life, particularly when going through challenging transitions. During the last months at my previous job, when I was itching to leave, I set a glass jar by my desk and wrote three things that I felt grateful for on a small sheet of paper every day. In about a month, my gratitude jar was full.

Not only did this small, simple gesture enable me to feel better about my situation, I also began to appreciate many different aspects of my life — from the city where I live to the beauty of my relationships. And when it was time for me to move on, I read all the notes – each one a small token of appreciation – and I could leave with a big smile on my face, feeling grateful for what the experience taught me and for all that I had to look forward to.

Before we enter into the intense holiday season, I hope you’ll have some down time to reflect on what makes your life feel rich. I recommend taking the time to write three things you feel grateful for every morning or evening, and I’m sure within a matter of time, you will also begin feeling the gratitude spread throughout your life.