Revival's flowers July 20th 2011

This week at Revival bar and kitchen, the flower arrangements Gorgeous and Green created included some bright protea and local berries.  Here are a few pictures of the week's arrangements.

 

The host table has one yellow pincusion in a vintage candlewick drinking glass.

 

The Large French bucket in the back is stacked with bushy branches and some bright organic and local sunflowers.

 

The vintage vase (my favorite vase) has some pink protea and lovely local amaranth, organic bells of ireland and local branches and berries.  

  In green and health, G&G

An Earth Friendly and Vegan Earth Day, and Everyday

As you know, every day is Earth Day.  Especially here at Gorgeous and Green! A local and green certified Event Planner, Karine Brighten, also treats each day as earth day.  Apart from being green certified and having connections with local green vendors, she is also committed to education as we are.  This past April 22nd, the traditional Earth Day, she put on an event in Berkeley that highlighted her commitment to the environment and her belief in eating and living as a vegan.

 

gorgeous and green's earth day arrangement

I asked her to share more about her event: 1. What was your vision in creating a vegan earth day in Berkeley? My vision for the event was to start a new tradition, and that new tradition was to celebrate the link between veganism and a healthy environment in honor of Earth Day. There are many events in the San Francisco Bay Area that take place on this day, but none that focus specifically on the positive effects of veganism on the environment. My goal was to have people leave the event feeling inspired, and with tools that they can use to help the planet.

2. Please describe the event and who you chose to include in the day? The event consisted of the screening of an award-winning feature documentary, “Call of Life, Facing the Mass Extinction” by Species Alliances. The film investigates the growing threat to Earth’s life support systems as a result of dwindling biodiversity.  Following the film there was a panel discussion of 4 experts in vegan lifestyle, nutrition, and sustainability. After the panel discussion there was a catered vegan reception that everyone loved!

3. Do you feel like your vision was achieved?  What else would you like to include in up and coming vegan earth days? I couldn’t be happier with the ways things turned out! The event sold out and people walked away feeling motivated to make changes in their lifestyle. The tradition will indeed continue next year, and I hope to make it a full day event.

 

Gorgeous and Green was hired to provide the cute edible baskets for the event:

Gorgeous and Green's edible baskets for Vegan Earth Day

in Green and Health, G&G

Interview with a local Event Planner

Here's a post from my Green.Weddings.com blog that shares an interview with Vera Devera, of Va De Vie Events, here in the Bay Area.  I've worked with Vera on a few events now, and we've had a great time.  Thanks Vera for the interview!

 
The cake table is a salvaged piece from Mignonne Decor. Also featured are scraps of ribbon to connect vintage letters with a felt heart in the center, champagne glasses (from her mother-in-law's wedding 35 years prior), an antique white milk glass cake stand found at a local flea market and fresh dahlias.
 
I have had the privilege of getting to work with Vera Devera, a local event planner here in the Bay Area, on a number of weddings. I've asked her to answer some questions about event planning and specifically, green-er events. Enjoy!
1. What kind of services do you provide couples?
Va de Vie Events specializes in month-of wedding coordination, especially for brides who prefer planning the major elements but recognize the need for help with organizing the event flow, managing vendors, setting up decor and determining the final details. We also offer partial to full planning, including providing overall event design consultation and selecting and booking vendors.
Salvaged lace served as the base for an escort card display (recycled kraft paper that was hand punched) and attached to a wrought iron gate.
2. Why would someone want to hire a planner/coordinator?
A wedding coordinator is like the quarterback between the bride and groom with their vendors and key family members. We act on your behalf to ensure that your vision for the day is executed. The greatest value we offer is our ability to troubleshoot and put out fires. Murphy's Law applies to even the best laid plans and it's our job to make sure you don't even know there was a problem and enjoy your wedding -- after all you have invested a lot of time, energy and money into making it extraordinary!
Principal event planner and owner, Vera Devera
3. What kind of advice/suggestions do you give couples who are trying to stay green while planning?
1. Determine how green you want to be. What are your priorities in minimizing your carbon footprint and how does it impact your wedding's look and feel and its budget? For example, when it comes to shopping for a wedding dress -- is the greenness of the material and getting a new dress made of bamboo fiber more important than finding a dress on Craigslist and getting it customized with vintage embellishments? Where are you going on honeymoon and how are you getting there? Are you volunteering together, engaging in an eco-tour or just having a relaxing getaway within 200 miles of where you live?
2. Go local! Where is your venue? Is it near public transit? Does it already have the tables and chairs that you need (or do you need any at all, especially if you're getting married on the beach)?
 
Unbleached cotton market bags printed locally with vegetable dye.
 
3. Hire vendors who share your values. As you're researching or interviewing vendors, find out if they share your philosophy around being green. For example, is your photographer going all digital and will they post a gallery online for your friends and family to view photos? Find out if your floral designer can make a bouquet that you can plant later (e.g. succulent bouquet) and ask your caterer where their ingredients come from and how it's grown or raised.
4. Consider the season, especially for your food and flowers. It doesn't make sense to eat fruits and vegetables out of season and that have to be flown in from south of the equator for your wedding.
5. Shop smart. Thrift stores, antique flea markets or retail outlets that specialize in salvaged materials are great sources for "found" objects that you can incorporate into the look and feel of your wedding. Or, you can shop online. Our go-to is Etsy.com and we suggest searching for vendors (especially local ones) that recycle or use sustainable materials in their work. Keep in mind that it's best to buy locally -- for example, if you find an amazing antique trunk in New Jersey, it's not cost effective or environmentally friendly to get it shipped out of state.
6. Leverage your existing network and consider the reusability of materials. Can you borrow mason jars as vases from a friend? Can your crafty aunt share scraps from fabric projects? Could your grandmother's treasured brooch be tied to your bouquet? 4. What is your favorite part of planning an event?
Partnering with our clients to find solutions to their needs -- whether it's finding a DJ on a particular budget, determining the best layout for the reception, or creatively communicating seating arrangements to guests -- is one of the most rewarding aspects of our work. We pride ourselves in being resourceful and leveraging our community of talented vendors. And ultimately, it's seeing all the moving parts come together that's the best part of our job. We often work with couples months in advance leading up to the day-of and to see the bride and groom, their family and friends and the beautiful details come together is truly awe-inspiring.
 
In Green and Health,
 

Thanksgiving Centerpieces and green thanks

Photos courtesy of Corduroy Media I recently shared some pics and some thoughts with the Allison Beck, an editor of a website in NYC called The Daily Meal.  They showcased some Thanksgiving themed centerpieces that my assistant Celia and I worked on for Gorgeous and Green.    I also answered some questions about sustainable arrangements and Thanksgiving.  Take a look at some thoughts I shared in the article: When creating centerpieces for Thanksgiving, what inspires you? Pilar: With any of my arrangements, I always look to what is locally in season. Follow the seasons around you to find colors and themes; in the fall to use browns and yellows and reds, because as plants and leaves die, we get to see some magnificent colors. Squash is also prevalent, so we see the use of pumpkins and gourds and squash in a lot of displays and arrangements. Pilar, what about creating stunning centerpieces, without breaking the bank? In a lot of my arrangements, I use vintage and reused containers and items that a lot of people may have around their house but never thought to combine with flowers or plants—I love unique containers. Sometimes an old gravy boat, candy dish or an old bird cage make for a stunning display. Plus, it's all about reusing and reinventing and that means it's also eco-friendly. Pilar, what are some "green" floral decorating tips that people should remember when purchasing materials? In addition to reusing and buying local/in season, it's also important that people pay attention to pesticides, organics and fair trade as well. As with food, flowers can be sprayed with a lot of toxic chemicals that affect everyone involved, from the cultivators of the flower to those who cut, sell, arrange and end up enjoying its beauty. I try to use as many growers as possible who don't use sprays, so that we can have fewer toxins that affect our people and the earth. Fair trade is also important to think about, and is directly linked to the health of communities and the environment. Hopefully, when you buy local or fair trade, you are supporting businesses who can then support and pay their employees fairly. Hopefully if you are going to celebrate Thanksgiving this year, you can remember to show your thanks in the many actions it takes to put something like a dinner or gathering together, and all the people and the planet that is touched by our actions, every day. In Green and Health, G&G

Bay Area (green) Event Venue

And a great place for a soak! I recently posted a blog on The Knot's Green.Weddings.com website about Wilbur hot springs, a wonderful hot spring location not far from the Bay Area.  They offer accomdations and even yoga and guest chef weekends, but what may interest you most is their availability as a wedding venue.  Check out the pics and story below:

(photography above by Gia Canali)

One of the first decisions (and some would argue the most important decision) most couples make when planning their wedding, is deciding where it's going to happen.  The venue...   For the green couple, finding a venue that will represent their value systems and green choices is important.  But, not all venues talk green and not all actually walk the green talk.  This brings us to Wilbur Hot Springs.  Yes, it's a local and sustainable event Venue. If you're a Bay Area local, you may already be familiar, and if not, it's definitely worth checking out, multiple times, I might add. 1. How is Wilbur a sustainable wedding/event venue?  Wilbur is 100% off the grid, powered entirely by solar panels and propane. Renovations and improvements are performed using eco-conscious building materials and practices. The solar panel array was installed in the early 1990s. Up to that time, the Wilbur hotel had been lit with kerosene lamps. The transition to solar-powered lighting was completed in 1991. The refrigerators are all electric and are specifically designed to run on solar power. They are more efficient and use approximately one-third the power of consumer refrigerators The stoves in the kitchen, and the fireplaces, which heat the hotel in winter, are powered by propane. Wilbur uses compact fluorescent light bulbs and low-flow toilets. And the cleaning products we use are all eco-friendly. Wilbur’s hot springs flumes are non-impact. In other words, the water is simply diverted from the geothermal source, held temporarily in the flumes and then returned to the creek. No chemicals are added to the flumes,and as a result no chemicals are being added to the water table. The hotel and hot springs are located on approximately 240 acres. In 1999, the surrounding 1560 acres were purchased and designated as a nature preserve. In 2006, Wilbur began working with range ecologist Craig Thomsen from UC Davis to restore native plants to the area, and combat invasive species. Thomsen’s work continues currently, with Wilbur participating in raising grant money, and providing lodging in trade to guests who work with Craig.... To read more about Wilbur please go to: Green.Weddings.com In Green and Health, G&G

Using Fruit

So, there are a lot of ways to go green and to get gorgeous results, but one method that I recently used for a Gorgeous and Green Wedding was using actual fruit in the designs.  Not only did it make for a tight color scheme and fun atmosphere, it allowed the couple to creat a lot of splash with a smaller budget.  The fruit was also all local and pesticide free! Take a look at some of these gorgeous pics from Karen and Scott's wedding that took place at the Brazil Room in Berkeley.  Thanks to Greg of gregraphael.com photography for the pics! And here are some lovely pics of the bridal party and ceremony, all with the citrus themed colors:

Going Vintage

I just did a quick blog on the Green.Weddings.com website for the Knot, and mentioned that it's super green to go vintage.  Not only are you keeping lovely items from going into the landfill, you're reducing the carbon impact that making and selling new items has on the world. In the G&G boutique, I keep on stock a lot of vintage glass.  I love the idea of using vintage items for weddings and events. I've also had many brides use not only used dresses, but vintage dresses for their weddings.  Vintage lace and silk, it's often so beautiful.

Photo Courtesy of HeartStudios

Check out the cool designs from a local shop here in the Bay Area at Recapture: In Green and Health, G&G

Green Wedding Photography

An interview with a green photographer

A few weeks ago I posted an interview I did with a local sustainable  photographer here in the Bay Area.  Her name is Kira Stackhouse and her website is nuena.com. Here is an image from one of her weddings featured on her blog: You can check out what she had to say about green wedding photography at The Knot's Green Wedding Website.  I also gave some helpful ways to be sustainable when it comes to your photographer, no matter who they are. In green and health, G&G

The Green details of a Green Wedding

More green in a Summer Wedding

Over the summer I worked with Meredith and Ben on their outside wedding at a local community center.  I just recently posted some great details of how they infused green and sustainable into their event on The Knot's Green Wedding Website.  Take a look:

green.weddings.com

Event and Floral design by Gorgeous and Green Events

Photography by Sean Donnelly Photography

 

In Green and Health, G&G

The Story behind Invite Site

Invite Site offers DIY packages and printed invitations, cards, programs and thank you's made from recycled paper and tree-free paper.  I recently asked Helen Driscoll of Invitesite to share some background on the paper and printing company.    Here's what she had to say:

Why did you decide to offer eco-friendly invitations?

We opened Fine Paper Company in 1995 -- a large handmade and fine paper store, in Old Town Pasadena. We stocked 2000 different treefree papers. We also stocked some really groovy 100% post consumer recycled papers -- but most of those companies went out of business by 1999.  I opened the store, because we wanted to introduce alternative fiber papers to the market. We were the first intense, specifically eco paper store in LA area. We were among the first letterpress printers and the first DIY go-to-place.
Fine Paper Company was fixtured entirely with vintage fixtures. I did not buy one new thing. We even repurposed the bars that were on the storefront windows into a paper rack. It was beautiful -- looked like a French paper shop. We had 3,000 sq feet in an 1900 building.
I got into non wood papers because I sold rare and antiquarian books to Hollywood elite  -- and I wanted books and paper to be beautiful like it was up until 1880's - when paper started to be made out of trees. (Plus -- Hollywood gets old...)
I got into letterpress printing in 1996.  Met Scott, my partner, in 1997. He is a graphic designer and really really good letterpress printer. Also, an avid environmentalist. Soon, we were "together".  We spent many years letterpress printing at night, and creating diy designs in the shop, in the day. So we burned out.  We had to choose between making stuff and running a store. We decided to move everything to the web, and close the store, and open a factory. Hence, Invitesite.com We launched Invitesite when eco was not trendy. We focused on beauty and used all eco materials. For years, about half our customers bought our stuff because they liked the designs (and were not greenies) -- and half because they wanted to do a green wedding.

Poetica: vintage inspired invitation

How is your business Green/Sustainable?

Our green business policies:

Fair trade:

Seedling: a plantable invitation with cosmo or marigold seeds

How are you green in your own life?

I have been shopping at farmers markets for 19 years now. Organic and mostly raw for most of my adult life. Vintage, most of my adult life.

Scott, my partner, helped his uncle build one of the largest recycled buildings on the west coast. It's a castle in Glendora, CA, built out of found stuff and river rock:
He built his first letterpress shop there.
Quiet Night: Eco Holiday Card
Thanks Helen for the interesting background on your printing company.  I also appreciate all the steps your business takes to be a green and socially responsible business.
In Green and Health,
G&G