A guide: The right floral designer

Things to have in mind when hiring a florist for your wedding:
Congratulation! You are getting married. I can say by a personal experience that this can be the most exciting event you plan in your life! At least for me it was, and I am lucky to see it every time I design a wedding, however, it can be a little overwhelming and confusing, especially looking for a florist and deciding your look.
To make it a bit easier for you, I created a list of things you should know before booking a florist, to make the process smoother.

  1. Do some research and explore to look for ideas and inspirations: This is great and fun idea. Collect pictures of bouquets, centerpieces, colors and styles, this way you have a precise concept of what you want and is easier to communicate with your future florist. Have in mind things you like, and things that define you and your partner.
  2. Make sure you have all the answers: It can be a lot, but is better to look for a florist and ask for a proposal when you know exactly what you need, how many tables, round or rectangular, how many guest, the color of your linen if you are using them. It is best to know every single detail this way your florist can give a precise price and lots of ideas.
  3. Have a budget and be realistic about it: This can sound a little harsh but it is very important to be realistic of what you can spend and do some research to have a better understanding of how much flowers cost, just because you want something simple it doesn’t mean it will be less expensive. It all depends in the amount of things you need, and the flowers that will be used. Have in mind that a florist cannot work alone, they need a team to create all the arrangements, a space to work and lots of materials! You are not only paying for the flowers.
  4. Do it for you and your partner: it is very important to enjoy the process and have in mind that this moment is for you and your partner, so do not stress out trying to please your family members and friends, you will get a lot of opinions about everything, not only the flowers for your wedding, so be true to yourself and do what you really want and what really makes you and your partner happy.
  5. Book your florist on time: after you decided what you are looking for and found your dream florist, do not wait until the last minute to book them, make sure you do it ahead of time, this way is less stressful in both ends, and their is plenty of time to work on all the details
  6. Trust your florist: If you explained everything and really described what you are looking for, is time to trust your florist with the final result, do not stress out on how everything is going to look, trust their talent and let them design your beautiful wedding.
    Have a happy and beautiful wedding!
    With love
    Ana Bedoya

Six Hours One Way

My favorite stretch of the trip, in spring you will see a lot of flowers in the middle of the highway.

As you all know by now Eddie and I have slowly been chipping away at the renovations in Georgia, by slow I mean at a snails pace. Not only has gas been ridiculously expensive, Eddie’s truck takes $60 per fill and need to be filled twice each way. Soooo, it’s cheaper for him to fly to New York than to drive to our house!! He has been taking my trusty Prius to cut on gas, my car needs about $35 from house to house each way. I’m telling you my Prius is the SHIT!

Anyway, my post is not about our cars…..I want to talk about my 6 hour drive each way. I drive this at least once or twice a month. I drive up Wednesday and drive back on Thursday, yes, I’m literally there in the house less than 24 hours and I’m driving 12 hours.

My 12 hours driving is as therapeutic and golden as my time alone doing crochet at home. I love that drive, especially when I get off I95 and hit the 295 highway and drive through a State Forest. Once I hit that stretch of road I only have an hour and half to go and phone signal is ok at best.

I don’t know if you know this about me but A) I’m obsessed with true crime and B) I have been a die hard groupie of Counting Crows since the minute they released August and Everything After in the 1800’s (yeah, it feels that long). This is my driving recipe: 5:1. Five hours of horrifying murders and stories of solving or the unsolved to singing as loud I can; to every word I have memorized in the 200 + years I’ve been listening to Counting Crows. The latter gives me the second wind I need in the long drive, it’s like I just drank the Yellow can of Redbull. I am re-energized – Have you seen me lately from the Across the Wire – literally does something to my soul. Every-damn-time!

Here are my top picks for FREE podcast library that will give you so many enjoyable hours – you may fund them through their Patreon accounts should you wish to, some offer additional episodes by funding their account:

Casefile: If you can get past the haunting voice of the narrator, I think his stories are the most chilling.

Killafornia Dreaming: This one was one of my first ones I listened to. I like her very much. She seems like a regular girl, who has a regular life that she sprinkles in, sharing her not so great relationship with her mom, her rocky marriage to her husby, her love for her daughter and dogs. Through her stories, she will pipe up her opinions – whether she agrees or not. I like her because she could easily be a friend.

Loose Units: This is a father and son duo. I love them so much. They banter back and forth, the dad is a cop from Sydney in the ’80’s and the son has written a couple of books based on his dad’s experiences as a cop; and then the next series is they dissect every chapter together and get the real true story. It really is fun and light. John the dad is great on Instagram and he actually responds and has communicated with me : ) It kind of has pushed me to write my book! Did I mention that I love them???

True Crime Garage: 2 guys discussing unsolved crimes, they open the show with a shout out to a craft / local beer brew. They accept funding for beer-and they will mention you to say thanks!

How I Survived: There are a couple of versions; one a real life situation with men and women in incidents – like hiking, hang gliding or even a guy who accidentally face planted his chainsaw- honestly he lived to tell the tale; and the other series with the same name is about women who were able to get away from an attacker, or kidnapper. Crazyyyyy

Strictly Stalking: Just as the name says; they (they sound like they are male and female best friends) solely interview men and women who have been stalked by crazy people. I have to say, this has open my eyes and has given me a new perspective on how idiotically crazy people can be, it is truly frightening. The common thread in this is that if you are stalked; you really have not rights in being able to protect yourself with the Police and not much time is given by anyone else. The major note is that you have to gather you notes, keep pushing and don’t give up!

Australian True Crime: These gals have all sorts of guests, holy cow, so interesting! From coroners, to cops, detectives, crime authors, crims/ex crims, the list is so long but my ultimate favorite guest is Narelle Fraser. I would love to have a beer with Narelle.

Dateline (NBC): Man oh man, you know the show. Get on this podcast now!

How I Built This: Ok. No one dies in this podcast BUT it is very interesting. Especially, if you are interested in a start up business. Founders of Crate and Barrel, Larabar and dozens more. Most of them, not all mind you (there are just some crazy savvy business people from birth), but majority are just regular folks who had an idea and freaking ran with it. Ran like Forest Gump ran.

I think I just listed over 2000 hours of free listening. You are freakin’ welcome my friends. I am happy to discuss any stories you have listened to!!

Alessa xx

One Year!

What a year! It’s been one year since Baby V made me a mommy! Oh the emotions. While it will mark one year since his birth, it also is one year since I began exclusively breastfeeding. One year since I learned how to be selfless in every possible way. One year since I learned that to be a  mother is to forever have your heart walk around outside of your body.

The most important is thing I’ve learned has been to never neglect the woman I was before becoming a mother. Balancing motherhood and the world we live in cans sometimes be very difficult, we tend to forget who we were before and lose focus. This little tiny human we have brought into this world quickly takes over our whole days. From the minute we wake up until we fall asleep, we are constantly racing against the clock to be a mother and fulfill our duties as employees, wives, daughters, friends and so much more. 

Towards the end of what they call the “fourth trimester” I developed separation anxiety and experienced what is known as “mom guilt”. My body would physically shut down and my mental health balanced on by a thread. Am I a good enough mother for leaving my baby while I work? Would I experience every milestone with him? Would I be the first one to hear him say mama? Watch him take his first steps? Tuck him in at night? After all it is in my nature to be a perfectionist. 

I’m here to remind any mom that is going through the first year after birth that YOU ARE ENOUGH even when our minds play tricks on us to make us doubt ourselves. I also learned the following and hope that with this post I am able to help someone else- 

  1. Ask for help. Don’t drown while every day tasks.
  2. Do not feel bad to ask for a night off. We all need it for our mental sanity. 
  3. Reach out to your friends. They haven’t forgotten about you. Sometimes voicing any frustrations helps build connections you didn’t know could exist. 
  4. Find something that makes you feel like the old you. Whether it’s getting your nails/hair done or going out for a run. Make 15-20 mins a day for you to prevent burn outs. 
  5. Consult a specialist if you need help. It’s okay to ask for help. It’s okay to talk to someone about emotions you cannot always explain. It is all part of the process. 
  6. Breathe. No matter how bad the day may have been. This little human things you are the biggest ray of sunshine to walk on this planet. You are there person. Tomorrow will be a better day. 
  7. Cry it out. Allow yourself to feel emotions, it allows you to release and grow. 

To all the mommas out there… it truly takes a village. Celebrate motherhood, because you too were born the day your little one came into your life.

Sasha – love and light

This month is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, also known as Pink October. This international health campaign’s main goal is to increase awareness of the disease and raise funds for research, prevention, diagnosis, treatment, and cure. In the US, the campaign started in 1985 with the objective of promoting mammography. Through the month people around the world wear pink ribbons to honor survivors, to remember those to the disease, and to support the progress being made to defeat breast cancer.

I met Sasha a little over a year ago. Since day one we just clicked! As the months passed by, I got to know more and more of this beautiful soul, and I’m so grateful to call her my friend.

Sasha was diagnosed in 2015 at age 26 with stage 3 breast cancer. She went through 6 rounds of chemo, a lumpectomy and 38 sessions of radiation. Through the support of her family and friends she overcame one of the most traumatic experiences of her life. Sasha shared her cancer journey through social media outlets and became the hope and inspiration for other women who needed guidance and a sense of positivity. Cancer has changed her perspective on life, spreads love and light through her infectious smile and charming personality. She is currently 5 years cancer free!

Sasha, thank you for sharing your story … xoxo Elisa

The Legend behind Wonder Soil

This article is dedicated to my wonderful dear friend Patti. May she rest in a wonderful and colorful afterlife.

If you’re in the plant trend since the Pandemic, you may want to listen closely. For me, this product has been my go to outdoor plant mix of all time. And do you know what the best thing is? Is that my girl developed this product and my plants love it! As she was developing product through the years and talking about it, I was able to see all the different tests and sample she was conducting – with my own eyes! She would share countless amount of product with me to test for myself.

We lived near each other for a few years, though she moved to Las Vegas permanently to push her factory and production. Again, I was lucky to see this factory in motion when I would visit her. All her time and love went into her product. She would share statistics on how golf courses in Vegas would reduce the water usage to keeping their greens in immaculate condition. To the normal person, not me anyways, I didn’t think of how the golf courses stay green in the desert? But, she’s right…..it cost a lot of damn money and time to keep them luscious with a lot of hard work in that unforgiving sun and heat. Her products make it easier in care and water usage – this in turn would save money in labor and water.

I had always used the wafers, (and of course my favorite part is adding the water – see video below) and the Sprout House but I had no idea that her products had multiplied over the years! If you’re the kind of person that forgets to water your outdoor plants; the wafer will save you (ok, save your plants). Did you know that in comparison to your better names soils from Home Depot you need to water them more than twice as much as if you would use Wonder Soil? I tested this with my own plants, with a written diary and all. Of course some plants are thirstier than others but I can guarantee you that if you go away for the week on that long deserved vacation, this fabulous mix will keep your beauties alive!

So what is this Wonder Soil? (from their website) WONDER SOIL® has forged ahead to become the front runner in COIR INNOVATION with numerous patents issued. WONDER SOIL® IS committed to reduce the international environmental carbon footprint by producing state-of-the-art expanding planting mixes that are PEAT FREE AND save up to 50% water, space, freight, power, and labor. WONDER SOIL’S® patented mixes are 100% biodegradable and promote faster germination with stronger root systems, better growth, and healthier plants.

I will always love her with all my heart and have been very lucky to have had her as my friend. Wonder Soil continues to be a family owned company. Order your wafers here!

Much love, A

Start your engines!

Since I was little I loved watching Formula 1 with my twin sister. I don’t remember how or why we started watching all the weekend races. But, I know we wouldn’t miss one. At that time my favorite was Senna, today I love Hamilton. So, when I found out that Red Bull Racing was going to bring their Pit Stop Challenge, along with a real racing car, to my job, I got super excited! 
Miami will host it’s first Formula 1 race in 2022. The Miami Grand Prix will take place in the Miami International Autodrome with a 10-year contract. It’s great to see that Miami is growing in their world-class events. We already have the Miami Open for tennis, another one of my favorite sports. Hopefully there will be many more of these cool events coming in the future. 
Did you know Red Bull Racing pit stop crew holds the world record of 1.82 seconds? Wow! 
Challenge yourself and your friends for the fastest time. Perhaps even winning from the records holders 😉

The Red Bull Pit Stop Challenge is taking place today at The Doral Yard. And it wouldn’t be a proper event without a cocktail. The special cocktail of the day is the Yard Prix, made with Simple Vodka, Red Bull Yellow Edition, San Pellegrino Aranciata. Join me in the fun!

xoxo Elisa

White Hot Fire Place

Another renovation update. This one is a quickie. In the Georgia house we have a 2 sided fire place. I can’t wait for cooler weather to start a fire in this baby! The fire place faces the dining room and part of the entry, where I have my favorite seating area.

See the bird pee?

This fire place in close inspection looked like pigeons pee’d down two sides of the brick wall. You know, the kind you see on the outside of an old building or a train station. As much as I love the brown brick, it looked clunky in the room, not to mention dirty. I took to scrubbing with a bathroom scrubbing brush with Borax and dishwashing liquid – a concoction I saw on Pinterest. I was excited because it was starting to look less like a bird urinal and looking like it had a make over. Then, the damp brick dried and my scrubbing did little to nothing. It re-exposed the unsightly drip. This sealed the deal for me to white-wash the brick. Since I scrubbed the brick clean already, I was already to get to the fun part of painting.

I went with the white wash brand Romabio in Avario White, I ordered a gallon of this online at Home Depot for about $53, a masonry brush $14 and a sponge $4. I watched 2 Youtube videos and felt I was ready for war. (Here’s one…. here’s two)

You have to dilute the paint (it has the consistence of cream cheese – smooth but thick). I filled the manufacturer’s instruction and calculated what I needed. I started with half the gallon and added the appropriate water. Stirring for about 5-10 mins. If you’re familiar with baking you know to add a little water at a time to avoid clumps. I know this rule but I just dumped and stirred. I shoulda listened to what I know. It took me twice as long to stir it smooth. And by the way, it was deceiving, I had to make half a batch more in the end.

THINGS YOU GOTTA DO BEFORE STARING TO PAINT: Frog tape the border between the brick and your floor. Protect your floor with a tarp or sheet. Wear clothes that you don’t love.

Let’s be real here. I watched a guy on Youtube and he seemed to be doing this with no sweat and no mess. HE LIED TO ME. I walked away looking like that pigeon who pee’d on the wall – shat all over me. Like big fat droppings everywhere, on me and on my tarp. Unlike regular paint, white wash is relatively easy to clean up luckily. And the masonry brush? Toss that, I ended up using a regular wall paint brush to get in all the mortar lines.

As I began this procedure I was unsure, thinking what have I done? I’m not sure I like this? It took me about 4 hours to paint the whole thing and in this time I could see the first side I painted was turning more opaque in front of my very eyes. Ohhhh, she’s starting to look a little sexy! I let her be, I packed up and had some tequila for my efforts.

The beauty of this white wash is that you have 48 hours to decide if you like it or not. You could sponge of some of the pigment off to show more brick. You could add another layer, it’s so flexible. We decided just to do the one layer.

Then…..the cast iron fire place guard. I spray painted that baby with a high heat matte black paint from Krylon. After a few coats, I decided I’m going to paint the decorative shield in Satin for a little detail, they don’t make hammered paint in high heat apparently.

I did this project so quickly I was able to fit in wallpaper stripping in the kitchen! Ready to prime for the next trip….#winning

Introducing: Alan from The Wood Shop Miami

Hot Guy Corner

∙ First, I would like to thank you Alessa for considering me for your blog. It truly is an  honor. I am very grateful and very flattered.  

1. Tell us a little about yourself:   

Hello my name is Alan Jason Richards Jr. I am 42 years old. I was born in  Ashford, England. I come from diverse parents. My father is British and my mom is  Salvadorian. I have been living in Miami since 1986. I married my high-school  sweetheart, Jackie in 1997. We met in 1995 (a long fucking time, right?). Anyway,  we have three amazing children, Alizee (24), Savannah (19) and Vincent (13). 

 2. Three words to best describe yourself: 

I always find these tricky, because is hard to speak of myself personally. I am always  attempting to be better or be the best version of myself; however, at this particular moment in time, I find myself truthfully being, dedicated, motivated and creative.  

 3. Tell us about your business: 

 My business is called “The Woodshop Miami”. We pride ourselves in custom   woodwork. We create custom woodwork fabrication entirely from scratch. We create one of a kind pieces for our clients. The work that we perform ranges from: 

* Custom Kitchens

* Custom Closets 

* Custom Vanities

 * Furniture Fabrication

 I can truly say we do wood working at any and all levels. I also design, also finish and installation. The business as an entity strives to always go above our client’s   expectations, while providing a seamless experience. 

 4. What is your ideal project? 

 I would have to say that my ideal project, would have to be (coming from a person that has to wear many hats and is in the trenches of every aspect of this business)  having the client say “wow”. That is what I consider the ideal job.  

 5. What has been your biggest accomplishment? 

 On a personal level, my biggest accomplishment is the amazing family I have  created alongside my wife. On a business level, my biggest accomplishment/s have come when I have had to complete successfully a difficult/challenging project. That challenging feeling takes me to the next level, which keeps me focus, on task and determined. I really enjoy that. Of course, once the work is completed  successfully.

 6. What has been your favorite project so far? 

 It’s really hard to say what has been my favorite project so far. I have done so many. What I do enjoy and can be consider my “favorite” is when client’s allow me to use my creativity and give me free range to create. However, if I had  to pick one project that I have liked the most “favorite”, I would say the Ferrari kitchen (video below). It was a fun experience using different/new mediums.  

 7. What has been your biggest hurdle? 

 My biggest hurdle has been trying to balance my business life with my family life. It seems tremendously difficult at times. The woodshop takes a lot of focus and   dedication in order to remain successful. My family also falls under the same, but I try to do the best I can.  

 8. When and how did you get into this field? 

 At the age of 16 I got a summer job with a construction company. I started from the   bottom as a laborer, then worked myself to a carpenter apprentice, trim carpenter, lead carpenter, job site supervisor, then project manager. I learned how to build cabinets and I was hooked with creating something out of nothing. I decided to quit the job I had at the time and decided that with my skills, I could be my own boss and venture into starting my own company.  

 9. For someone who wants to start a business in this industry – what is your best   advice? 

 The best advise that I could give anyone, who wants to start in this kind of business is to ensure that they have a solid background in carpentry. Be versatile, focused and take pride in what you produce. In this business, I have come to learn/understand that the secret to success is in the details. 

 10. Where can people find you?

 Linkedin.com: Alan Richards (Owner of The Woodshop Miami) 

https://www.linkedin.com/in/alan-richards-1a52b2a7

 Instagram: @Thewoodshopmiami 

https://www.instagram.com/thewoodshopmiami/

Call me donor, Milk Donor

Breast milk is not called liquid gold for nothing. Did you know formula was not the only option you had for your little one if breast feeding does not work out?! Two months into my breastfeeding journey I noticed that I identified myself as being an overproducer. This means I was producing more milk per eating session than my baby needed…..Three times more! I quickly began filling my freezer and began running out of space. I had no idea what to do but knew this precious liquid. gold had so many benefits. Every ounce counted! One night I had a friend tell me about breast milk donation. I have never heard of this before, but there it was! That was my answer – becoming a breast milk donor. Milk donations can be classified into two groups: formal and informal.

There are certain rules one has to follow as a milk donor. All donors must adhere to the strict guidelines of the Human Milk Bank Association of North America, also known as HMBANA. Milk frozen cannot be older than 6 months kept in a regular freezer or greater than 12 months in a deep freezer. When pumping milk must be pumped into clean and sanitized pump parts and stored immediately. New donors were always screened and asked questions to ensure the milk being donated was in the best condition.

Breast milk donation has become much more popular over the years as social media outlets such as Facebook and Instagram have many support groups. Many mothers will either post a story looking for a donor mama, or post a story looking for a baby to donate milk to! This is known as informal donation. There are no required medical exams unless the mother chooses to offer or ask for it. Mothers usually will disclose life style, dietary restrictions etc in order to narrow down families in need. Informal donation was the route I ended up going with, I put out a post and within minutes I had THIRTY moms asking for donor milk. WOW what a feeling! I sat there and read each and every message and then decided on which family, and make consistent donations. I began my journey three months postpartum to a little 8 month old baby girly. We would meet weekly and usually provide 2-3 gallon sized ziplock bags worth of milk separated in increments of 6oz. I was able to get her to her year mark. I was almost sure that 7 months into my journey I would somehow slow down in the production I had. Boy was I wrong!

After we got the baby girl. whom for privacy reasons I will refer her to her as Baby A, to her year mark, my freezer began quickly filling up again. I wanted to find another mommy I could help, and this time I was able to actually help someone I now consider a friend! Baby J was only 3 weeks when she began relying on my milk donations and she is currently 3 months and still thriving.

Whether you are a mom in need of milk, or one who simply over produces it, I’ve come to learn that the breast feeding community is one badass group of individuals!

Out and About – Bunbury Miami

Bunbury is one of my favorite places in Miami. I’ve met Paula Costa, the owner, in 2008 when we worked together at Novecento, she was the Beverage Director. She then ventured out to open her own place. She decided to become a sommelier when she was 18 years old. Her massive experience in the wine world and her passion and commitment for her craft it’s definitely what makes Bunbury so special (and successful!).

My love for this Argentine wine bar started back in 2014, when it first opened in a sketchy neighborhood in Edgewater. I think the space was a former sort-of mechanic shop. The patio was lovely but humid and since the ‘garage door’ was always open it was hot inside as well. But no one cared, it was always packed. Full of great energy, amazing wine selection, and delicious homemade empanadas.

In 2019, Bunbury moved to a much bigger (and air conditioned) space at Square Station in the Arts & Entertainment District. At the new space the wine bar became a restaurant with a full bar and even a coffee shop called Fonda Cafe by Bunbury. The space is massive compared to what it used to be, but it still maintains it’s cozy charm. And the bigger space means a bigger wine selection, there are more than 100 hand-selected wines! Make sure to look at ‘Paula’s list’ on the wine menu. One of my favorite is the Achaval Ferrer ‘Quimera”. And let’s not forget the delicious food. My go-to’s are of course the empanadas, the brie crocante with the most amazing fig vinaigrette, burrata with prosciutto, charcuterrie board, and the tablita Malbec.

Make sure to visit this lovely place. 100% recommended! 🙂

xoxo Elisa