Tuesday with the Pros: Clover Chadwick

"Tuesday with the Pros" is an ongoing blog series featuring experts in the wedding and event industry. Today's authority is Clover Chadwick, owner and lead designer of the floral company Dandelion Ranch.clover floristLI: How would you describe your job?Clover: I design specialized flower arrangements for events and restaurants.LI: What would you say makes Dandelion Ranch unique from other floral design companies?Clover: We approach flowers differently in general, I think.  Each arrangement is a little homage to nature, like little masterpieces, little gardens in their own right.  We focus on a lot of greens, and instead of using greens as filler like many other companies do, we use them to create lines and texture, and allow the flowers to design themselves.  Everything we create is really inspired and selected by how they grow in the wild.LI: What inspired you to become a floral designer?Clover: I used to live in Napa, and the restaurants there value their floral designs very highly and encourage a lot of creativity, so I would often get really inspired looking at their arrangements.  When I myself became a restaurant manager, I began doing arrangements as part of my managerial duties and was able to style my designs using inspirations from Napa restaurants.  By the time I started Dandelion Ranch I already had quite a few contacts in the restaurant business and was able to start somewhere instead of entirely from scratch.LI: What are some of your favorite things about your line of work?Clover: I love working with my talented associates, and the atmosphere that we have here in our studio. I also love going to the LA Flower Market in the morning...I go every day!  It's fun to be around all the growers and learn new things from them.LI: What would be a dream event for Dandelion Ranch to design?Clover: Something with an "Alice in Wonderland" theme, or "Midsummer Night's Dream."  It would be SO much fun, because it would just be endless ideas and designs!arrangementLI: What would you recommend to clientele looking to save money on their florals?Clover: Trust your floral designer for a beautiful and professional look, and buy local and seasonal.  If you're shopping in the height of any flower's season, it'll be be less expensive and gorgeous.LI: Do you have anything exciting coming up?Clover: We have the NBC/Universal television award luncheon coming up at the end of this month. Those are always fun because they're themed and dramatic---they host them at a Phantom of the Opera theater and we create an absolutely enormous urn arrangement!  We also have this great wedding that I'm looking forward to, with a Country Fair theme.  I am going to arrange baskets of vegetables and flowers for the tables, it'll be so fun!LI: What is your favorite flower?Clover: I really love ranunculus, and matricarias.LI: What would be your pro advice to clients for a fun, stress-free event?Clover: Don't plan too far ahead. There's never any less stress three months out from an event whether you had two years to plan it or six months.  You should probably only plan really far ahead if you need to save up for it, then it's understandable.For more on Clover and Dandelion Ranch, visit:Dandelion Ranch's official websiteThe Dandelion Ranch Facebook Page

Happy Mother's Day!

vegetable and herb gardenMy mom has a green thumb--she loves nurturing things and encouraging them to grow. Last weekend she opened her backyard to the public as part of the fundraiser Mary Lou Heard Memorial Garden Tour and drew an enormous crowd of well over 500 visitors within eight hours.  FIVE HUNDRED PEOPLE (or more).  Five hundred people wanted to see her "floating vegetable garden" and array of drought-friendly California native greenery. She organized demonstrations of her mulching bin, gave away poppyseed pods, collected donation money on behalf of participating charities, and patiently answered endless questions about her warm and welcoming backyard.bird nest sculpture

Upon meeting my mom and seeing her garden, many of my friends say "Well, know we know where you get your creativity."  And it's true. I don't think my mom is what you'd call a traditional artist, but she is an enormous advocate of shaping your own world.  Don't like the state your garden is in?  Make it your own!  Don't like the looks of your career/attitude/lifestyle?  Take action, educate yourself, try to envision where certain seeds will grow best in the garden of your life, and then plant them there.  Tend to them and then try another place or different seeds if nothing happens.  Stay restless---because gardens need to be maintained and eventually replanted, as many things and people will require your attention in life, and someday much of what you are familiar with will come to an end, as well.

brilliant sunshine

Right  now my mom's backyard is classified by the National Wildlife Federation as an Certified Wildlife Habitat due to the environmental sustainability of the foliage she rears and the insects, birds, and small animals it attracts.  If you know me, you know I love animals and pets. I wonder where I get it from?

orange cat

I think some people feel a little useless when they get older and their children have found new interests and don't rely on them as much for anything.  But really, I still learn things from my parents and use skills and values that they taught me (both on purpose and accidentally!) every single day.  It's like now as an adult I see more of my mother in me than I ever have before, and I don't just mean when I look in the mirror!  I'm so thankful that she is who she is and was able to help me become who I am.

My mama!

Happy Mother's Day!

Published by My Flower Guy

When I ran into Doyle Borden last night at an industry event I was so flattered to see that he'd utilized the image I'd taken of him for his Tuesday with the Pros interview on his new business card! I may be biased, but it is an awesome photograph of a pretty cute design stylist!  I would put him on my business card too, but I think it might confuse people (LOL)!

my flower guy

Tuesday with the Pros

Tuesday with the Pros is an ongoing interview series featuring experts in the wedding and event industry.  Today's authority is Doyle, event designer and owner of My Flower Guy.pink orchidLI: How would you define or describe what you do?Doyle: We at My Flower Guy are your personal event design consultants.  Whether it's an intimate dinner party at your home, or a lavish gala or wedding, My Flower Guy can make all the arrangements for you from a design aspect.  Even though I don't consider myself an event planner, I like to be able to create the design aesthetic for my clients in its entirety--ultimately, I would personally call myself a floral and event design stylist.LI: What makes My Flower Guy unique from other similar companies in the marketplace?Doyle: It starts with our name. My Flower Guy is passionate about personal service. You're not a number with us, that's why we're called MY Flower Guy.  Our designers are the people who have access to our clients, not any sales reps or account managers...because it's the designers who ARE our company. LI: How did you start a floral and event design business?  What inspired you?Doyle: It all started when I was a kid living out in the sticks of East Texas.  I had a lot of elderly neighbors with gardens who would give me cuttings of flowers that I would take home and eventually plant, and they'd sprout into beautiful bushes in my backyard.  I loved flowers, and right before I went to college I worked one summer as a delivery driver for a local flower shop, and in my down time I'd take scraps from their designs and create my own in buckets from the cooler...and my work began to sell faster than theirs did!  That's when I realized that design came naturally to me.  I came out to California after a bit of college and got a job at L.A. Premiere in Los Angeles and worked there for six years...I learned a lot there before opening my own design business.LI: What are some of your favorite things about your line of work?Doyle: I come from a very, very modest childhood.  My brother and I would have to create things to entertain ourselves because we really did not have any money for toys or games.  We'd invent little pretend parties and make something out of nothing...and that's one of the things I do love.  I love people, and socializing, and the theme or aesthetic of an event when we put it together.  I also just love seeing peoples' first reaction to what we've made.  My passion is making people happy.  I'm a people-pleaser!LI: Who are most of your clients?Doyle: Most of my clients are from referrals from other event professionals.  Word gets around in this industry!  I don't use online advertising because I've found it encourages price-shopping, which doesn't really support personalized service.  I can help my clientele create an event that fits within their budget and parameters, but people won't realize that when they're just browsing names online. LI: Describe your dream event to design.Doyle: An event that is themed after the movie Avatar.  It'd be a very interactive event, and I was just thinking about it the other day--and I already have fantastic ideas for how I could do it, but ideally I'd need about half a million dollars to pull it off! LI: Do you have any tips for couples and other clients out there looking to save a few bucks on their event or their flowers?Doyle: I would suggest prioritizing what is most important to them.  There are usually a couple things that they'll need to keep in mind regarding their event---firstly, the photos capture everything, so invest in a great photographer.  Second, consider what the photographers going to be taking pictures of! You and the flowers you got at Wal-Mart?  Or are they going to take pictures of a gorgeously designed event, and you and your family looking happy because you are surrounded by the aesthetic and beauty of an amazing wedding?  I jokingly tell people to spend more money on their wedding, but in truth if it's a once-in-a-lifetime event, why wouldn't you want to make it as incredible as possible, and ensure that you can remember it with great photographs later?  The better the design, decor, food, etc...the happier everyone is, the more memorable the occasion, and the more that shows in photos.  My best advice is that if you can't afford the event you want now, then put it off until you can do it the way you want to do it.  Save up for it and do it right the first time.  That, or....cut the guest list. LI: Do you have anything exciting lined up for this year?Doyle: I'm very excited about the glamorous Platinum Wedding I am designing that will be airing on WE T.V. later on this spring.  I'm actually doing a taped interview for them this week. I'll keep ya'll posted!LI: Do you have a favorite flower?Doyle: All of them are my favorite!  I do like orchids for how many types of blooms there are in the breed.  And they're so exquisite.LI: What are your suggestions for a fun, festive, "stress-free" event?Doyle: Relax, and ENJOY your event. Plan ahead, let your pro's absorb your stress and deal with the problems---that's what they're hired to do!  Something will always come up unexpectedly, but if you're relaxed and thinking clearly, then it's no sweat.flowersMy Flower Guy websiteFacebook fanpageE-mail Doyle

Boudoir photography

This post contains tasteful images featuring a nude female body, and may not be work-safe. Viewers under the age of 18 should obtain their parents' permission.

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Andrea & Zach at Weins Winery

Andrea is like my one-woman fanclub. I've known her since college, and if there is one person who heralds nothing but praise and admiration for what I do, it would be Andrea---she must be the hands-down the most supportive person I know. Zach is a lucky duck to have nabbed a gal like her...and he knows it!Location: Weins Family Cellars (winery) in Temecula, CaliforniaFlowers: Allison Stevens of Magnolia Flower ShoppeAdditional photography by Matt (of course), and Temecula native Amy Boring.

Weins Winery on a BEAUTIFUL April afternoon...perfect for a wedding!Amy got this lovely shot of Andrea's dressAndrea decided to put a sixpence in her shoe...because as the rhyme goes, "something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue...and a lucky sixpence in her shoe!" Did you know that?Her "something old" was her grandmother's handkerchief.She also had her lucky gator!I always get comments about how Andrea and I could be sisters, we look so much alike. All I can say, if I look half as drop-dead gorgeous as Andrea did on her wedding day, then I'd be thrilled!!Zach lookin' pretty spiffy, too! Image by Matt.Zach's father; Image by Amy.MANLYZach and Andrea opted to do a 'First Look' before the ceremony and it was brilliant! Image by Matt.Seeing each other in their wedding finery for the first time.Ye gods, what a beautiful day to get married!GOOFIES!Couples who are down to have some fun in front of the lens are THE BEST!Andrea in the Weins barrel roomHEY. (Image by Amy.)CAKE SMASSSHHHHHHH!!!Why do you need a second shooter? This is a shot Matt got of the observers of above cake-smashing! This is why it pays off to have two lenses in opposite directions at the same time :)GIT DAAAOOOOWWWNNNWhat the--?? I've seen loads of guys duck the garter, but girls ducking the bouquet? It must be a new century!Andrea's grandpa goes to funkytown with the ladiezzzzI love this shot for some reason. It makes me feel like I'm right there.Bringin' sexy back? Yeaaaaah!

The artistic trio!

Katelyn's senior headshots

Katelyn came out from New Hampshire for her brother Zach's wedding (that's another blog!) and was eager to get her senior portraits taken while she wasn't among the "pine trees and maple leaves" of the East Coast.  Katelyn is actually only 16, but wanted to take advantage of the Californian scenery; what she didn't count on---what nobody in California counted on---was the massive heat wave that blew through here the week we shot her pictures.  Can you guess how hot it was by looking at the photos?

WHAT A HAMWhen I commented to Katelyn that she could easily be a model, she replied that she was mistaken in the airport for an actress, though the person who stopped her couldn't identify exactly who she reminded them of.Have you guessed how hot it was?Gotta get an orange shot for a non-Orange Countian!

It was 103, by the way. 103 sweltering degrees during this shoot. Katelyn was (obviously) cool as a cucumber the entire time, though. In fact, I think she was enjoying the warm Cali weather!

[16] wedding images

About a month ago my friend Xuong asked if I would take a wedding of his that he was unable to cover, and so I grabbed Matt and we headed to Meadowlark Golf Club for Donna and David's big day. It was kind of nice because this venue is in Huntington Beach, so there was hardly a commute :-) I love that! I got some pretty fun reception images from this one, too.

David's mom sees Donna in her dress for the first timeAnd again as Donna heads down the aisle... ;-DImage by MattPaparazzi!Hi fives all around! Look how happy Donna is!!The maid of honor and best man specifically requested thisFunny storiesCAUGHT!! I saw that!Did this guy NOT want a shot of him mack-daddying out on the dance floor?RawkAnd lastly...one more for the Series of Flying Hair

Also, my friend Ross brought my attention to this amazing new photo technology the other day. It's genius....I bet landscape/panorama photographers are just going to go bananas over it! What do you all think?

[25] Portraits

Last week I had the supreme pleasure of shooting a smokin' hot TFCD session, thrown together by me and makeup artiste extraordinaire, Jessica.

Marianna getting prepped by Jess and stylist Jeff StumpJess really did a slick job on the makeup.We found this field of mustard-weed in full bloom (seriously, the plant is everywhere right now), and I can't believe how high it grows! A lot of it was taller than us!The flowers remind me of little suspended galaxies. They may be weeds, but big fields of them are definitely beautiful.I think Marianna has this natural gorgeousness to her that you see a lot in surfwear ads and magazines. So I was really feelin' the vintage color here.