Happy New Year!

Wishing you all a very Happy New Year from Laura Hooper Calligraphy! We've enjoyed much fun and excitement in 2010 and can't wait for all that 2011 has in store!

Visit Martha Stewart online for last minute NYE party decorating tips the the adorable mantle above!


White House Pilates Bride-to-Be Tips

Tired of the gym? New year, New workout! This year you should...

Try a Pilates Reformer Class! and here is why:

Are you tired of your old ‘going to the gym’ routine? The same old weights, treadmill, and elliptical can get boring quickly because of the repetitive and mindless movement. Pilates will get you out of that monotonous cycle and jump start your mind to work with your body.

A Pilates Reformer class can offer many customized exercises to get you out of your rut and on to a better, more balanced body. Certified Pilates instructors are rigorously trained in over 500 different exercises so you will never get bored. Not only that, but just when you think you’ve got it mastered, we make it harder! In Pilates, you can change the smallest detail, such as inhaling instead of exhaling at the point of exertion, to make the exercise more effective, challenging, productive and fun.

A typical Pilates Reformer class is a full body workout that addresses more than just muscular toning. Each one hour session will include strength training, flexibility, abdominal conditioning, balance work, and spinal movement in all planes of direction. You can add a great cardiovascular workout by using the Jump Board at the foot of the Reformer.

Say goodbye to the uncomfortable short, tight and bulked up feeling you get from kettle bells, bar bells and dumb bells. Pilates incorporates springs for resistance rather than weights. The springs are more effective than weights because they mimic the natural contraction of your muscles. The result is improved balance, better postural alignment and a wonderful lengthening sensation.

Pilates can supplement your weight training more effectively, offer variety to help you cross train your activities, prevent injuries, and promote a healthier, more mindful approach to your workout. You can also supplement time on the elliptical or treadmill with a Jump Board session. Next time you grow tired of your same old trip to the gym, switch it up and seek out a Pilates Reformer class.
~Caroline Londergan
White House Pilates


Shipwrecked | Green Wedding Shoes

This gorgeous photo shoot dreamt up by Green Wedding Shoes and executed by Canvas & Canopy Events is so romantic we can hardly take it! Captured beautifully by Elizabeth Messina, we are please to share some of the amazing photos with you you.

For more information on this sweet photo shoot, visit the Green Wedding Shoes blog, Elizabeth Messina's Kiss the Groom, or the Nonpareil Magazine which covered it as well.


Adventures of a Bride-to-Be

Tis the season, but it's almost over and time to get back in the full swing of wedding planning...that is after the 1st of the year.

(Will You Marry Me sign at Zoo Lights in Phoenix)

(I made him wear it)

Wes & I hosted our first Christmas Eve at our house this year. His mom let us know that it was the first time in thirty eight years that she had not hosted Christmas Eve. Its always so interesting to hear everyone's family traditions for the holidays. For my family when we lived in South Florida it was church in Palm Beach and then Bice's for dinner. My sister and I always opened each other's gifts on Christmas Eve (we still do via telephone sometimes), woke up early to find mom making breakfast and dad drinking his coffee, we would then open gifts and have a large breakfast followed hours later by a turkey dinner. The Colgan's traditions are completely different and I have had to get use to. They have appetizers and drinks on Christmas Eve and open all of their gifts followed by a trip in the car to look at Holiday lights in the neighborhood.

Wes and I talked this year about making our own traditions and combining the two families' traditions together when we have our own family. This year, though, we got spoiled by both families and got lots of wedding and honeymoon items. We received new honeymoon outfits, Italian lessons, books on Italy, and wedding perfume, just to name a few.

But, the biggest surprise of all was my gift from Wes - I actually still think I am in shock from it. This was something I wanted but did not think he would actually come through and get: dancing lessons - we now have 6 private lessons at Ambiant Dance studio!!! Now we just need to finalize our first dance song....

(Opening the dance lessons... see the shock on my face!)

Till next year. Have a great New Year's.

Always with love,


The Knot Best of Weddings 2011

Just a couple weeks ago we found out that we won The Knot Best of Weddings 2011! It is such an honor to be included amongst the top vendors and we can not thank the brides and editors enough for voting for us. We love being part of this amazing industry and thank you for the opportunity to continue doing what we love to do!


Happy Holidays!

Wishing you and yours a very happy holiday season from all of us at Laura Hooper Calligraphy!


White House Pilates Bride-to-Be Tips

Tips to get through the Holiday Season!

The holidays can be a hard time to follow your clean eating rules. There are so many temptations with all the family gatherings and company Christmas parties. But you can still end 2010 being fit and healthy without derailing all the hard work you put in throughout the year.

Here are some tips to help you through:

1. Before you pop that next sugar cookie in you mouth - stop and think, "would I eat this on a 'normal' day?" or "am I hungry or am I just eating cause I'm bored or just because it's there?"
2. Fill up on fruits and veggies first and then eat all the other stuff in small portions. Just a taste of that potato salad will satisfy the craving while allowing you to eat it and enjoy it, but not go overboard.
3. Pass on the Egg Nog! Drink LOTS of WATER! It will help fill you up and keep you hydrated throughout the day. You may not even be hungry when you think you are - being thirsty can disguise itself as hunger.
4. Get in a cardio workout. Take a brisk walk, go for a jog, dance around the living room to your favorite tunes. Getting your blood pumping will keep your body (and your mind) tuned in to your fitness routine and keep you on track to feeling great.
5. Enjoy and savor this time with family and friends. It is what the Holidays are all about!

And remember - don't beat yourself up if you happen to slip up here and there. Your body is smarter than we give it credit for. If you overdo it- your body will naturally not be as hungry the next day in order to regulate correctly (if you are in tune enough to listen!).

Happy Holidays!
~White House Pilates


Photo Documentation: Difference Between Men & Women at a Wedding

We recently received the photographs from my sister's amazingly beautiful wedding (can't wait to share the details on that in the future!), and we found the sequence documented during the bouquet/garter toss portion of the evening to be quite amusing.

My sister and her now husband originally were not going to include this tradition in their wedding as they wanted to keep everything feeling like a fun dinner party and not too "productiony". However, when my sister informed some of her friends of this they pleaded with her as they simply had to have the bouquet toss! The happy couple decided they didn't care too much one way or the other and figured it would be a fun addition if nothing else - and boy are we glad they decided to include it! The following documention showcases the difference between the men and ladies present:

The Ladies

The Guys

As you can see, the ladies were way more interested in the implications behind catching the bouquet and garter (that you will be the next to wed)! In fact, the lucky gentlemen only ended up with the garter when it coincidentally landed on his foot and he had no choice but to pick it up! Now this scenario of course does not apply to everyone, but it definitely was funny watching it unfold at this particular wedding.

It ended up working out beautifully because the two lucky "winners" actually are a happy couple and here they are with the bride and groom!

An important message to take away from this post, though, is that your wedding is your own special day and you should definitely include what's important to you and don't be afraid to not include something that isn't your style or doesn't fit the mood you are looking for at your most memorable day.

Photography by Steve Steinhardt.


Adventures of a Bride-to-Be

I think this week it finally hit me the I am soon-to-be a "Colgan". A Bowyer-Colgan, actually, since I have decided to keep my maiden name. Though some may not understand, I love my name, I love the way it sounds - "Alyson Margaret Bowyer" - and it has been with me for 27 years. When filling out our paperwork for the officiant, Wes really found out that I wanted to keep my name. I truly feel like he is completely okay with my decision and just wants me to have it the way I want it to be. He knows I am very excited to take his last name, as the Colgan's have been nothing but wonderful since the first time I have met them. They have always welcomed me and my family with open arms.

(with the Colgan family at the cabin learning a family recipe)

(me being crazy in San Ysidro)

(Family photo from Christmas last year)

This past week our officiant sent over a breakdown of the wedding. In complete detail from walking in, how we want to be announced, readings and vows. It really made me feel like this is all really happening in less than 5 months. I am super excited to be marrying Wes, be a a part of his family, him be a part of mine and us to create our own. After considering all our options for the ceremony, one we have decided on is that Wes and I are going to write our own vows as well as use traditional vows. There are may things I want to make sure I include in my vows, so I have started keeping a piece of paper with me to make sure if I have any thoughts to write them down right away!

For starters, here is the poem we are incorporating into the wedding.
"The Road Not Taken" by Robert Frost

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth.

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same.

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I--
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

Wedding planning status:
First dance: Narrowing down from 2 songs
Invitations: Working on them
Officiant: Working on wedding outline

Always with Love,


Boarding Pass Invitation Suite

Last week our destination bride-to-be shared her passport booklet wedding invitations, and this week we are showing you another great option for your destination wedding!

This invitation suite emulates the look of a airplane boarding pass - but this pass is tucket neatly inside an elegant envelope!

This suite features adorable travel motifs and kissing tropical fish with custom calligraphy. Full color in flat printing on white and navy cardstock.

This suite includes:
-Invitation boarding pass card with custom calligraphy, 3.5x8.5 in size.
-RSVP boarding pass card with list of wedding events and RSVP on one side. Return address and palm tree is printed on the other. RSVP section is perforated and can be torn and sent post card style, 3.5x8.5 in size
-Boarding Pass holder with custom calligraphy
-Envelope for invitation suite with printed return address and envelope liner

For more information please visit our Etsy site or email us today!


Destination Bride-to-Be

Planning a Wedding – Destination Style!

Wow! What a holiday season this is turning out to be. We had a wonderful Thanksgiving with our families here in Los Angeles. Our parents actually met for the first time! Yes, that’s right it took us over 6 years to finally get our families together. Everyone got along amazingly well and I do believe that our mothers were best friends in another life. Ha! We spent five days together running around town, from celebrating Sheryal’s (Nate’s Mom) birthday to watching the Ducks make it one step closer to the National Football Championship (yep, I was born and raised in Oregon). Families meeting: Check!

Me with my dad and sister before our big family Thanksgiving dinner!

During the holiday chaos we actually found time to do some wedding coordination. I took my mom, Sally, and sister, Sabryna, along with my future mother-in-law wedding dress shopping! I found two dresses that I absolutely adore. Now the tough part is picking which one! I found myself really drawn to two designers, Rosa Clara and Pronovias. With March as my deadline to select and order a dress, I have a ton of thinking and more trying on to do.

All of us at the Mummies Exhibit at the California Science Center

Nate and I chose our invitation design and surprisingly enough most of the invitations have been sent out! We decided on Passport style invitations because you can use multiple pages so that guests have all the information possible. A fantastic designer, Sarah Sproullie, who specializes in Passport and Boarding Pass invitations, created the Passport of our dreams!

We didn’t want to do classic wedding invitations, and with the Passport design we were able to let loose and have fun, hopefully giving our guests the impression that this is going to be a relaxing yet eventful trip. With the wedding being in Mexico, we wanted to incorporate the culture and spirit of the country by using sugar skulls, bright and colorful pictures, and non-traditional fonts. Coral/orange and turquoise are our wedding colors, and Sarah was able to utilize them in the invitations perfectly. We provided our guests with as much information regarding the wedding as possible. The page layout breaks down like this:

Page 1 – Announcement of the Wedding
Page 2 – All pertinent wedding information laid out like an actual passport
Page 3 – Information about Cabo San Lucas
Page 4 – Information about the RIU Santa Fe Resort
Page 5 – Travel Agent and Booking Information
Page 6 – Letter to Guests and Tips to Remember when traveling abroad
I am thrilled with the final product and have received so many fantastic comments from friends and family. My bridesmaid, Amber, said she had to carry it around in her purse because so many people wanted to see it! Yep, that put a smile on my face.
Nate and I will now be able to relax for awhile as we await our RSVP list!
Lots of Love,


2011 Summer/Spring Issue of The Knot

Last month we shared images with you of a gorgeous Malibu, CA wedding captured by Embrace Life Photography, and we are excited that the wedding is being featured in the current 2011 Spring/Summer issue of The Knot Southern California!

These are the beautiful invitations that we created for this happy couple.

See the Embrace Life Photography blog for more information on the feature and other vendors!


Adventures of a Bride-to-Be

Tis the season & it has started in our household....

We managed to put up our first Christmas tree of being an engaged couple and put our 2009 engagement ornament my parents gave us on our tree. Not sure if I have introduced Duke, but he is our "part" ring bearer and here is a picture of him (hating every minute of me making him sit there!). Duke is the ring bearer with my nephew Keaton. Keaton's Christmas picture is on its way but for now here is Duke. We did a little bit of our Christmas shopping this weekend, too. Wes, the procrastinator that he is, only got one gift, while I myself have all my gifts shipped and on their way to everyone. So to everyone on Wes's side, I apologize if gifts come late..... (ps. Dad, still dreaming of my wedding Louboutin's, I will be in Vegas this week for work and I think I need to go just have a glance of them in person!)

We are pretty much in full swing and up to date with everything for the wedding. I sent off the wording today for the invitations and response cards today to Laura and am very excited to see what they are going to turn out like. She is so creative; it blows my mind the ideas that she comes up with. Though to be honest I will be even more excited when they are off in the mail and we play the waiting game on getting responses back from everyone.
We also realized last week we are going to be on a wedding tour next year and will be earning tons of frequent flyer miles as well. Here is a brief synopsis of our wedding tour: we have one of my oldest and closet friends Andy & his fiancée Lindsay's wedding in September in San Fransisco, Wes's brother Jeff and his fiancée Ryan's wedding in October in Charlotte and our honeymoon in May. If we thought this year was busy with planning its got nothing on next year. Guess 2011 is the year of the weddings!

Wedding Status Update:
Photographer: Kirsten Ellis of Beaux Arts Photographie
Flowers: SR Hogue
Wedding Night Accommodations: San Ysidro Ranch
Honeymoon: Italy Tour
Rentals: Classic Party Rentals
Musician: Anthony Ybarra
Officiant: Richard Tobin
Wedding Venue: San Ysidro Ranch
Invitations and Signage: Laura Hooper Calligraphy of course!
Bride's Hair & Makeup: Dedra Whitt

Always with love,


It's Not Too Late for Holiday Greeting Cards!

Still haven't started on your 2010 holiday cards? It's not too late to order a custom set from Laura Hooper Calligraphy!

The holidays are a time of fun and cheer with family and friends, and what better way to wish your loved ones a happy holiday season than with a personalized greeting card showing your favorite moments from 2010!

The process is easy and we can have your cards to you in days. Just send in your favorite photo and we'll do the rest. Coordinate with your wedding suite, or we can create any holiday design.

Email us for more details or to place your order today.


White House Pilates Bride-to-Be Tips

Recently, my fiance' was told by his doctor to cut out all carbs in his diet. He needed to lower his cholesterol. WHAT!? No whole wheat bread, no brown rice, no pasta, OMG... you've got to be kidding me. I love bread! We also eat a lot of brown rice as a side to our fish, chicken, and veggies for dinner.

So I decided to buckle down and try to do this as well. EEeek! All through November, I put myself on this challenge of cutting out all carbs and dairy. I cut out dairy because I wanted to see if it had any effect on my allergies. I get constant ear aches at least once a month, and I've been told that it could be related to dairy foods.

The result for me: I lost 10 lbs! and not only that, but I feel so much better.
The result for him: He also dropped weight and lowered his cholesterol dramatically!

How did we do this, you ask? We adopted a diet high in fiber and protein, low in sodium and fat, increased our cardio workouts to 6 days/week rather than 2-4x/week. And limited that lovely glass of wine to only 2 nights per week.

Our meals would be something like this:
Breakfast: 1 cup of Kashi Cereal with 1/2 cup of Almond Milk
Morning Snack: an apple with 1-2 tablespoon almond butter (so good!), or celery sticks with peanut butter
Lunch: Grilled Chicken Breast (without any marinade) Broccoli, Cauliflower, Carrots (steamed or raw)
Afternoon Snack: Kiwi or 1/2 of an Avocado or a small handful of raw organic almonds (unsalted)
Dinner: Grilled Wild Caught Salmon, Steamed Asparagus, Roasted Beets

I had always thought that we ate fairly clean and healthy, but now having really cleaned up our diets, I'm no longer craving any more of the bad foods. Don't get me wrong, I love foods like Panini Sandwiches, Pizza, Calamari, Chips, Cookies, and Ice Cream... but now I eat those in much more moderation than ever before. Seeing the results is inspiring and it will also introduce you to foods you have never tried before or even knew that you liked. Example: I had no idea that I liked Beets or Halibut.

In addition to discovering new foods, I realized that the taste of food just the way it is- without drenching it in sauces or dowsing it in salt, actually tastes pretty darn good!

Try it for yourself, even if you just commit to doing it for 5 days, or a full week, taking small baby steps into it will make the task ahead seem less daunting. Here is a great article from Livestrong to show you more ways to cut out carbs in your diet.


French Inspiration with a Fleur de Lis Set

This simple Fleur de Lis invitation suite is classy and elegant and perfect for any french-inspired design!

The invitation features dark grey Fleur de Lis designs and custom calligraphy. The suite includes:
-Invitation card with custom calligraphy
-Please Join Us card
-Envelope for invitation suite with printed return address
-Rsvp card/envelope (not shown)

Want to get even more French? Use this suite complete with French phrases and an elaborate flourish!

For more details, please visit our Etsy site!

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