8.29.2013

Ask Me Anything

Trees in bloom in New York City

This is it.  Your big chance.  Your moment.  The time to finally ask that questions that's been lurking in the back of your mind.  Maybe it’s, “I thought only kids had pet guinea pigs. What’s up with that?”  or maybe, “What’s your least favorite food?” or “Why do you look pissed off all the time?” (Answer: I suffer from a very serious condition known as Bitchy Resting Face.)

Or maybe there’s not some burning question you’ve been dying to ask.  Maybe you just thought of something rightthisverysecond.  Whatever it may be, I thought it'd be nice to celebrate the new changes by hearing from you.  I’m curious to know what you’re curious about.

So . . . ask me anything!  I mean it.  Anything.  Silly, serious, funny, - whatever is on your mind, just ask it in the comments below (or email me if you don’t want your question public) and I’ll answer them all in a post next week!

And, let’s be honest, that post will probably become the new FAQ page because I’m too busy lazy to make a whole new page with exactly the same info.  (I mean, would you?  Didn’t think so.)  So tell me, what would you like to know?  I’m all ears. :)


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8.28.2013

If we don't change, we don't grow.

it we don't change we don't grow if we don't grow we aren't really living

 You may have noticed things look a little different around here.  Probably the most obvious (and most confusing) change is the new title.  Big Mario Life is now known as Twentieth Street.

It was time.  It's a change I've been contemplating for a while now.  My life has changed and evolved and the blog has evolved as well.  It was time to acknowledge that with a proper change in title.  And with Fall just around the corner -with its colorful leaves and kids back-to-schooling and hope for what lies ahead feeling just as fresh as that chill in the air- what better time of year to welcome such a change?

When I first started this blog, I was still a law student.  Studying at that level, competing at that level, pushing and striving at that level takes its toll after a while.  I was fully immersed in academia.  I felt like I was losing part of who I was only to replace it with who I thought I should be.  Like I mentioned in my old About section, my case books had become horcruxes for my splintered soul.  I needed a place where I could indulge in all the other things that kept me balanced.  The things that kept me feeling like, well, me.  That’s how Big Mario Life began and that’s what Big Mario Life continued to be while working in the big firm world.

But things are different now.  I'm not a law student anymore and I don't work in the legal field.  I work for myself, for my clients.  I no longer feel I’m chasing balance.  I’m not looking for a distraction from unsatisfying work.  I don’t need an escape.  I love what I do and the satisfaction of feeling like I’m contributing positively to the world, even if it’s only by documenting the little moments and things we might otherwise miss, is something worth celebrating.  The blog is no longer just an outlet or something on the side.  It’s grown into so much more than that for me and changing the name is an outward reflection of that growth.

Don’t worry, the Big Mario Life philosophy is still alive and well.  In fact, without it I probably wouldn’t have come to this conclusion.  But my life -and this blog- is about much more than that and the new name, Twentieth Street, represents all of it so sweetly for me.  Twentieth Street is where we have our first little apartment together.  We've celebrated our engagement, planned our wedding, added to our fur family, started our businesses, and just overall enjoy the life we've made for ourselves, all here on Twentieth Street.

And just as life changes, the blog changes with it.  Just a little, here and there.  I’ll still share lots of photos and recipes, Molly and Gia will no doubt demand screen time, and the San Francisco craziness and small business stresses will always be around.  But there are a few new things in store as well -wedding planning tips, photography tutorials, and some other ramblings and thoughts that will finally find their home here on Twentieth Street.

I hope you stick around and enjoy the changes!  You, my dear readers, have been a big part of the growth and I want to make sure Twentieth Street is an awesome place for all of us. :)

xo

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8.26.2013

Sneak Peek | Melissa & Ryan

Because of the fire burning out of control in Yosemite, Melissa & Ryan had to re-plan their entire wedding in 24 hours after their original venue, Evergreen Lodge, was evacuated.  They came together as a team and tackled the challenge with smiles on their faces.  Not even a raging wildfire would keep these two from saying I do.

rustic chic farm wedding in modesto
rustic chic farm wedding in modesto bride and groom photos in corn field

xo
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8.22.2013

Anya & Jeremy | Engaged

sunset engagement photos at Sutro Baths in San Francisco

Anya & Jeremy are two self-described "nerds from MIT" but what I see are two of the sweetest people I've ever met, crazy in love with each other and excited to start their next big adventure together - marriage.  And it truly will be an adventure, too, knowing these two . . .

You see, Anya & Jeremy are big fans of the movie Up.  (Can you blame them?  It's only one of the most heartwarming movies Disney has ever made!)  They took a cue from the movie and decided to start their own Adventure Book.  The Anya & Jeremy Adventure Book has various pages and slots for note cards and on each little note card Anya & Jeremy write the "adventures" they'd like to have together -anything from taking a yoga class together to traveling to foreign countries- then the date on which that adventure was accomplished.  Typically, they come up with the adventures together and then do them together, but one day, Jeremy went rogue and added a new adventure at the end of their book without Anya knowing.  As they were flipping through, reminiscing about past adventures and drumming up excitement for the next, Jeremy drew her attention to the most recent addition to the book - a simple white note card that simple said "get engaged" and "get married."  Next to the engagement entry, he had written that day's date.

Of course, when Anya saw it she was a little thrown off.  When was this card added?  And how can there be a completion date next to the engagement card when they weren't actually engaged yet?  Until she realized the date written was that very day, and Jeremy had the sweetest, most elegant ruby ring ready and waiting for her answer!  Naturally, she said yes, and with that one simple word their next big adventure had begun!

When Anya, Jeremy, and I first met up for our initial consultation -before contracts were signed or deposits paid, or a decision even made on whether to hire me- one of the first questions Anya asked was, "Who's your favorite Harry Potter character?"  Immediately, I knew we were meant to work together!  We scheduled the engagement session for right after Anya had her PhD thesis defense so she had multiple reasons to celebrate (did I mention they're not only a lovely and sweet couple but also brilliant!?).  We started off at the Palace of Fine Arts and, despite the threat of rain earlier in the day, it turned out to be a beautiful afternoon.  Afterwards, we headed over to Sutro Baths, a place I'd been dying to use in a photo session, and Anya & Jeremy were more than willing to indulge in my own little adventure.  These two basically giggled and smiled their way through the entire session, which naturally made my job that much more delightful.

I'm so honored Anya & Jeremy chose me to document the next great adventure in their lives.  I can't wait to share their wedding photos with you soon but, until then, here's their sun- and love-filled engagement session to brighten up your Thursday. :)

palace of fine arts engagement photos san francisco
"palace of fine arts engagement photos san francisco"
"sunset engagement session at the Palace of Fine Arts in San Francisco"
sunset engagement session at the Palace of Fine Arts in San Francisco
sunset engagement session at the Palace of Fine Arts in San Francisco
sunset engagement session at the Palace of Fine Arts in San Francisco
ruby engagement ring at Sutro Baths in San Francisco
sunset engagement photos at Sutro Baths in San Francisco
sunset engagement photos at Sutro Baths in San Francisco
sunset engagement photos at Sutro Baths in San Francisco
sunset engagement photos at Sutro Baths in San Francisco
sunset engagement photos at Sutro Baths in San Francisco
sunset engagement photos at Sutro Baths in San Franciscosunset engagement photos at Sutro Baths in San Francisco

xo


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8.19.2013

These Little Piggies

Molly has been recovering wonderfully since her surgery.  It's like she has a whole new lease on life.  Her youthful guinea pig behaviors are starting to show again --popcorning, running around like a fool-- and she seems to just be enjoying life in general.

Watching her and Gia interact is even cuter than before, too.  Now that Molly has her energy back, she can actually keep up!  We're starting to notice the personality differences between the two, too.  A few of those differences came out when I had them pose for a little photo sesh over the weekend.  

1 // Gia practically idolizes Molly, while Molly will headbutt Gia out of her way just to get to a blueberry.


2 // Gia hates being held and would never let me put a hat on her, much less pose like a pro for the photos.  Molly, on the other hand, is more camera-hungry than a Kardashian.

(I swear it looks like she's smiling here...)

3 // Gia freaked out at the first sign of pig-arazzi (aka me and my camera) and bolted off the pillow within 3 seconds.  What does Molly do?  She fully embraced the title of Most Spoiled Guinea Pig Ever and posed like a perfect little princess when she saw the camera.


Watching these two interact is almost better than reality tv.  Almost(I mean, have you seen RHONJ?  That stuff's hard to beat.)  They crack me up on the daily.  It's such a relief knowing they're both healthy and happy now.  I'm pretty sure we can expect quite a few more years of piggy entertainment from them!

xo


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8.16.2013

Friday Finds | Secret Lake


1  |  2  |  3  |  4  |  5  |  6

This week's Etsy find is a lovely vintage shop called Secret Lake.  The shop leans more towards 1970s/1980s vintage, which somewhat disturbs me since I am a child of the '80s and I don't really think of my childhood as vintage.  But time makes you bolder, children get older, I'm getting older, too.

And now I'm quoting Fleetwood Mac.  All that time browsing the vintage '70s threads, I guess.

I think what I really loved about this shop is that I could actually see the vintage pieces fitting into a modern wardrobe.  Like that leather and lace skirt - I'm picturing it with that white tank top, a statement necklace, and some sexy heels.  Also, I'm totally drooling over that leather jacket right now.  I think XS might be cutting it a little close for me but I'll be forever jealous of whoever snatches it up.

Happy weekend!
xo


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8.14.2013

Wise Words | Pretty, Witty, & Gracious

Source

This week's Wise Words are, once again, a much-needed reminder.  I've given up on any attempts to "be pretty" and the wittiness just comes on its own, almost as if it's evolved as a tool for survival, but being gracious is not nearly as easy as it sounds.  And it's about so much more than just graciously accepting a compliment or invitation or gift.  It's about being courteous and kind in all that you do and with everyone you come across.  It's something I strive for in all aspects of my business but so very rarely achieve in my personal life. I 'm working on changing that for the better and, like most things worth having, it's a constant work-in-progress.

xo


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8.13.2013

Holy Crap Our Wedding Is Only One Month Away

So in honor of the upcoming nuptials, I thought I'd share our engagement photos with you!  Our wedding photographer, Jeff Marsh, is based out of Seattle but also shoots around San Francisco.  The Fiance left the photography choice completely up to me and I feel so lucky to have found Jeff.  His style is one that I admire - offering new perspectives, different angles, and interesting uses of light in all of his work.  He also shoots gorgeous and intriguing portraits that provide a sense of the surrounding space and emphasize the environment in which he's shooting, which was a huge deal for me for our wedding photos.  I do not particularly like myself in photos and I wanted a photographer who could create photos so beautiful in their own right that I didn't care what I actually looked like in them.  Jeff did just that for our engagement session.

Earlier this year, Jeff was in town for the weekend for a shoot with another client so we scheduled an early morning just-short-of-sunrise photo session at Baker Beach before he flew back home.  I've done a lot of engagement sessions myself at Baker Beach so I wanted things to be different for ours.  There's this gorgeous wooded grove on the cliff above the beach but because of the sun's path, the lighting is pretty dull and crappy when shooting there near sunset.  But early in the morning, just after of sunrise, it's perfection.  I knew Jeff could make some magic with that gorgeous warm lighting.  He definitely did not let us down!  Jeff was fantastic to work with and we're super excited to spend our wedding day with him in just one month.


All photos shot by Jeff Marsh of Jeff Marsh Studios.


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8.09.2013

Friday Finds | 86 Home

1  //  2  //  3  //  4  //  5  //  6 

I've been doing a lot of Etsy browsing lately looking for little things for the wedding and unique decorative items for our apartment.  If you've ever spent even 5 minutes on Etsy, you'll know that it can sometimes be overwhelming.  In my late night haze, I got the bright idea of switching things up and starting a new Friday Finds series featuring the little treasures I find on Etsy.  The series is just meant to curate things that catch my eye and that you might find lovely, too - and maybe save a few hours of browsing time in the process.

This week's shop is 86 Home.  I'm the worst when it comes to any sort of 'interior design' but I'm starting to realize the styles I'm most drawn to seem to fit into some sort of strange "rustic mid-century" hybrid category all their own.  During the wee hours of my Etsy browsing, I stumbled upon this cute little shop that seems to fits exactly that style.  Lucky me.  In fact, I'm pretty sure I favorited at least 98% of the store.  And out of that 98%, the items above are some of my absolute faves.  Anything catch your eye?  I'm drooling over that vintage cake carrier, b-t-dubs.  I bet it'd make a lovely wedding gift . . .  ;)

Happy weekend!
xo

The choice of items to feature & opinion of those items is totally my own.  I just really like them.  Like, a lot.



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8.07.2013

Erin & Oliver | Rustic Chic Wedding at Stern Grove

Remember Erin & Oliver's sweet St. Patrick's Day engagement story?  Well, the two tied the knot in an equally sweet and romantic day at Stern Grove here in San Francisco.  Oliver's friend, the man responsible for dragging him to that fateful St. Patrick's Day parade, officiated the sweet ceremony that brought nearly everyone to tears, including Erin.  After toasts and food, stories and fond memories, laughter replaced the tears as guests danced the night away under DJ Matteo's amber lights, celebrating the beginning of a beautiful life for Erin & Oliver.

Erin & Oli - Thank you so much for inviting me to document your awesome love party.  If the wedding is any indication of what's to come, you two are going to have a pretty amazing life together.

(PS - Isn't Erin's dad's reaction the best?)

Stern Grove wedding photos
Stern Grove wedding photos
Wedding dress backlit in window
Gold ballet flats wedding shoes
rose gold sparkle bridesmaids skirt
Stern Grove wedding prep photo
stern grove wedding prep
floral bridesmaids kimono
floral bridesmaids kimono
stern grove wedding photos
getting ready photo vintage wedding dress
getting ready vintage wedding dress
wedding prep photos vintage wedding dress
gold ballet flats wedding shoes
wedding day prep photo
father's first look at bride
father's first look at bride
wedding day prep photos vintage rustic chic wedding
tearful bride getting ready
wedding day prep photos vintage wedding dress
wedding day first look redwoods
wedding day first look redwoods
wedding day first look in the redwoods
wedding day first look in the redwoods
wedding day first look redwoods
Stern Grove Wedding San Francisco
Stern Grove Wedding San Francisco bride and groom photos
bride and groom portraits redwood forest
rustic chic ceremony signs
rustic chic ceremony details
rustic chic ceremony details
rustic chic ceremony details
rustic chic ceremony details
rustic chic wedding ceremony details
Stern Grove Wedding San FranciscoStern Grove Wedding San Francisco
Stern Grove Wedding San Francisco
Stern Grove Wedding San Francisco
Stern Grove Wedding San Francisco
Stern Grove Wedding San Francisco
Stern Grove Wedding San Francisco
Stern Grove Wedding San Francisco
Stern Grove Wedding San Francisco
rustic chic wedding guest book
rustic chic wedding centerpieces
rustic chic wedding reception decor
rustic chic wedding reception decor
rustic chic wedding reception centerpieces
rustic chic wedding reception centerpieces
rustic chic wedding reception decor custom drink menu
Stern Grove wedding party photos
rose gold bridesmaids dresses pink flowers
rose gold bridesmaids dresses
groom and groomsmen at stern grove wedding
rustic chic groom and groomsment
rustic chic rose gold bridesmaid dressesStern Grove Wedding San Francisco
Stern Grove Wedding San Francisco
Stern Grove San Francisco fun wedding party photos
romantic backlit veil wedding photo
Stern Grove Wedding San Francisco first dance
Stern Grove Wedding San Francisco first dance
Stern Grove Wedding San Francisco
Stern Grove Wedding San FranciscoDJ Matteo San Francisco wedding photography

xo


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