Venue Spotlight: Holman Ranch – with all the Bells and Whistles!

Holman Ranch in Carmel Valley? Yes, of course! A mainstay in the California wedding scene, the go-to place for elegant weddings in classic California style for many, many years already. But what you don’t know yet is what owners Nick and Hunter, who purchased the 400+ acre property eight years ago, have made out of it. It’s truly mind-boggling! They created a top vineyard and state-of-the-art winery complete with a subterranean wine cave that holds its temperature at a constant 58 to 60 degrees all on its own. They achieved the coveted  ”certified green” and “sustainable” ratings for their enterprise. They improved their event spaces and can now host weddings with sit-down dinners up to 375 guests. They have a stellar cast of preferred vendors to make even the wildest wedding dreams come true.

Today was – showtime! Nick and Hunter, together with many of their preferred vendors, invited local wedding industry professionals to a huge party to give them a taste of just how beautiful this place is. And that’s an invitation that I most certainly did not turn down!

gardens 2
lawn and buildings

The tour of Holman Ranch actually started even before that – because our gracious hosts had even invited us all to stay over, either at the Ranch, or, like in my case, at one of their affiliated hotels: Vendange and Hofsas House in Carmel and Gardener Ranch in Carmel Valley. Guests were picked up by shuttle bus (courtesy of Main Event Transportation) and taken right up to the wine cave, where host Nick gave us all a crash course in winemaking and offered his “virgin Chardonnay” to go with that. We learned that a “virgin” Chardonnay is one that’s not wood-barrel aged and therefore much purer in taste. Quite a revelation! Wild Thyme Deli and Michael’s Catering had put together a delicious cheese, fruit and nut buffet to provide some solid underpinnings for all the great wines we’d be treated to throughout the day.


Once we were sufficiently educated in enological matters, we were taken up to the top of the property where, on the ceremony lawn overlooking the verdant, rolling hills of the Santa Lucia mountain range, countless couples have tied the knot in high style. Lots of activities were awaiting the guests – from makeup and massages by Marilyn Monroe Spas to flyfishing lessons, from olive-oil and balsamico tasting to lasso cracking instructions – there was never a dull moment! Chic Party Rentals had supplied a beautiful clear tent with string lights and chandeliers, more top-notch caterers were offering their culinary delights, first and foremost the famous Michi Shin (“With Michi – Life is Always Beautiful!”),

Mr. Shin

and dessert came from a cute, nostalgic, baby-blue ice cream cart by Sweet Springs Rentals: stocked with the most wonderful gelato flavors. My alltime favorite is Blackberry-Cabernet. Heavenly! And all the while guitarist Terrence Farrell of Kelly Productions was serenading us with classics from The Beatles to Spanish Guitar to American Favorites.


Tables were set with a profusion of flowers by Christine Cater Floral Design – poppies in vibrant yellows and oranges gracefully bent and mingled all along, setting a mood of summery, playful elegance.



And that’s what Holman Ranch is all about! Oh, I forgot to mention – not only that, but it is a venue with a heart. It is a labor of love by Hunter and Nick, it is the fruit of countless hours of effort to make it better and better, and it shows. It’s welcoming, it’s warm, and you’ll love it from the moment you set foot on it.

Go, Holman Ranch!


A Girl’s Dream Come True: Jira Couture!

We all have dreams – reasonable ones (build a successful career, travel the world …) and not so reasonable ones (be discovered as a high fashion model while grocery shopping…) – and that’s good! One must have dreams and aspirations. And for some – even the wildest dreams come true.

For example: my friend Jira!


Can you imagine – to see the world, build a successful business AND have your name on your own cosmetics line?!

While working on her masters degree in Communication Arts, Jira realized that her true love was – beauty! She left everything behind and dove headfirst into studying hairstyling and make-up in Taiwan and in France, and after that theater and film make-up in the US. As an esthetician, Jira was using high-end cosmetic products on her clients day in and day out; but she wasn’t completely satisfied with any single brand of them. Like a conductor of music who performs other composers’ works all the time, and then starts writing his own music (remember, famous composers Gustav Mahler and Leonard Bernstein started as conductors!) – Jira got inspired. She wanted to take the best of all these brands and combine it into one line, her own – and Jira Couture was born, in the year 2000. Jira means “a rainbow of colors” or “colors of artistry.” And that’s what she created!

Her inspirations? The colors of NARS cosmetics:

Nars products

as well as the pretty packaging… and the elegance and quality of Chanel products (also, their beautiful packaging)…

chanel compact

… and of course the quality of these brands, but not the enormous price tag.

And one more thing: Jira realized that in the end we all tend to go back to just a handful of favorite cosmetic items, and that most women do not really need the myriad of products that are offered and advertised. As a super-busy professional she wanted for herself a small number of highly versatile, reliable, go-to beauty favorites of the highest quality.

And the result is… a line of multi-tasking products…

Jira bronzer…like this bronzer that comes in a matte and a shiny variety in the same box and doubles as  contour powder and eye shadow AND whose packaging is just as beautiful as its famous inspirations… AND like Jira Couture’s all-time bestseller, the multi-tasking concealer (which is an eye  brightener and hydrating eye cream at the same time!)

concealer tubes

… in just the right “rainbow” of shades:


And as Jira is a perfectionist in all she does (just look at her hair and make-up work, published in wedding magazines all over and coveted by SF Bay Area brides like mine, at A Day Like No Other) it comes as no surprise that her cosmetics products are of the highest quality: FDA-approved, mineral-based and hypoallergenic, loaded with anti aging ingredients, UV protection and antioxidants. Every year, Jira brings out a new collection. Since 2012, you can buy everything online, through the Jira Couture website. She did her job here perfectly, again!

Personal question to Jira: what are your own favorites? After some begging, she shared the secret with us: her “Daily One Minute Make-up!” Just watch – you can do that, too!

New Hot Fashion Trend: Metallic for Your Wedding!

Browsing through my Vogue and Bazaar issues, one trend for 2014 stood out to me – bold, anything from elegant to edgy, anywhere from romantic to space-age-y…  metallics! In small doses for daytime and all-out for late-night parties. So if you want to give your wedding that special kick, that “of-the-moment” feel: why not go metallic?

Noble metals are no strangers to the wedding world, of course! Gold and platinum for wedding bands and jewelry – now, that’s pretty standard. Let me show you around in the new metallic world of wedding design!

First up: metallic wedding dresses, all metallic or with metallic accents:

Carolina-Herrera and Yumi-Katsura metallic

romona keveza dress

krikor croppedGorgeous metallic heels….

metallic heel 1


… and jewelry, of course! Wedding bands…

wedding bands men

… heavy bracelets:


… a byzantine collier to accentuate a plunging neckline…


… gold watches…

chopardglashutte watch

… and even bridal bouquets that sport some metallic twinkle:

bouquet metallic accents... or go all out like this brooch bouquet:

brooch bouquet cropped

Bridesmaids need not feel left out, fashion-wise, in a sparkly number like these two:

bridesmaid metallic bridesmaid metallic 2The bride may shine in a romantic metallic headpiece…


And even the cake plays along, from sleek to romantic to futuristic:
cake 1

cake 2

cake 3To tie it all together, the reception decor goes metallic as well!
reception reception silver
Talk about “gilding the lily…” – and it’s gorgeous!


The Perfect Bridesmaids Party or Bachelorette Bash!

So you have your wedding planning on track – the only thing missing is… a party with your bridesmaids! (or, YOU are the Maid of Honor and need to come up with an idea for the Bachelorette Party).

Let’s see… a dinner at a nice restaurant? No – that’s boring.

A fun trip as the ones I suggested a while ago here on Wedding Woof? Maybe, well, a little bit beyond budget this time …

Don’t despair – I have the perfect solution for your dilemma. What I have for you is fun, memorable, AND it will make your girls happy every single day thereafter. And what’s that miracle event? A beauty workshop at Wowpretty Jira’s!

Wowpretty is a beauty salon located in Burlingame on the San Francisco Peninsula. But that simple ID doesn’t do it justice, not by a long shot! Wowpretty has eighteen stylists (!!), five of them senior stylists with more than 15 years of industry experience,  including founder Jira herself…


… and if that wasn’t yet impressive enough, Wowpretty has launched its own cosmetics line lately: Jira Couture. It’s high quality, FDA-approved, hypo-allergenic and chemical-free; the products  contain anti-aging ingredients and UV protection. AND in addition to glamorous wedding and event makeup and hair-do’s, Wowpretty offers beauty workshops for the “normal” woman, for real, everyday life.

And here is how it works:

You choose the theme – “Make-up 101″ or “Best Friend” or “Group Lesson” or “Event Make-up” – the number of guests, the duration of your instruction, and the location where you’d like to have your workshop. For example, you could simply bring your best friend along for an intense session at the salon, or your could gather all your bridesmaids at your home, and Jira’s senior instructor will come to you.

You will learn all the tricks of the trade – applying basic makeup, even a “2 minute and out the door” superfast make-up; various eye make-up styles, technique and usage of tools (e.g. brushes), choice of exactly the right color for your skin shade, even dramatic evening make-up if you want … and so much more!

And that’s why this is such a memorable gift to your friends or bridal party: it’s going on and on, and it’ll make the girls happy every single day as they are applying their makeup expertly and as they see and feel their natural beauty. It’ll make them happy and confident! What better gift could you possibly give them? Here are  real-life examples from Wowpretty beauty workshops:

Makeup before and after 1




Oh – I nearly forgot: each workshop attendee receives a $25 credit towards Jira Couture cosmetic products! Just see the girls beam when they can take home some of the products they have  just learned to use to such gorgeous effect!

Book your event via email or at (415) 871-5512!


The Hot Trend: Black and White!

What’s the new hot trend for 2014? Leaf through your favorite fashion magazine – Vogue, Bazaar, Elle, you name it – and a few candidates will emerge. Bold color. Metallics. Ethnic. Floral patterns. And black-and-white, again and again.

Now why on Earth would we consider black-and-white for a wedding now? Didn’t it take us years, no, decades, to get away from the stuffy “all black and white” wedding look? Like, “tennis is the white sport” and no other colors permitted, and weddings have to be just black and white?

Rest assured, we’ve left that behind, for good. What I’ll be showing you here, is a far cry from stuffy. Buckle up, you’re in for quite a wild ride!

For starters: black bridesmaids dresses, artfully mismatched, don’t look stuffy at all! Just don’t put your girls all in the same floor-length uniform:

blk bridesmaids dresses
Or choose one of the new black-and-white wedding dresses: black lace is the pinnacle of sexiness!dressBut we are not yet done with pure black-and-white and its bold possibilities:

tentOkay, with that we’ve done away with the “stuffiness” myth for good, agreed? This is simply striking!

And now: add a color to the mix. Not a timid one, please, but one pop of really bold, saturated color.

First up: classic red for sheer elegance:

red Or add yellow – as a wedding color it has “paled” a bit over the years, but look how fresh it is again in conjunction with black and white:


Or try the dramatic approach with purple:

purpleQuite a “WOW” – right? Or give it a truly fashionable and feminine twist with hot pink:

pinkOr try turquoise. Grounded in black-and-white it doesn’t evoke “Fifties at Tiffany” at all:

blue 2blueIsn’t that pretty? And here comes my personal favorite: lime green! Chic, unexpected and young!

green 2Now nobody tell me again that black and white for weddings is synonymous with stuffiness!!



Movie Star Glamour for Brides – Courtesy of Jira Couture!

As promised, dear brides – here comes your weekly beauty update!

All my brides at A Day Like No Other – Wedding Coordination and Design so far had one overriding goal in mind for their looks on Wedding Day: BEYOND BEAUTIFUL. Beyond their best looks ever. Most of my brides even said: movie star glamour. On this one day, they’d go all out. I am pretty sure most – if not all – of you share that sentiment. Once in a lifetime!

And let me tell you: nothing says “movie star glamour” like false eyelashes! Need proof? Here you go…

kim k false lashes

aniston cropped

beyonce false lashes

Convinced? Of course. But you might not really be familiar or even comfortable with this beauty item… How to get started? With a superior product, that’s for sure. And here is one that is actually used by top estheticians and make-up artists not only for their clients, but – on themselves… and that should tell you something! I am talking about Jira Couture‘s new lashes:

Jira couture lashesThese lashes are natural AND handmade, and that’s not all. They come in a huge variety of shapes and styles. Look at the photos above and you’ll see right away how different the lashes are that each of the stars is wearing. Jennifer’s are the most natural looking, opening the eyes; Kim’s are extreme and spiky, with no attempt at pretending to be natural; and Beyonce’s are long and “artfully irregular,” somewhere in between. So that’s the one criterion: how natural do you want your eyelashes to look?

Jira Couture offers 14 (fourteen!!) different styles, so it’s easy to find exactly what you prefer. They come in ‘lighter’ and ‘denser’ varieties – so have a look:


These here are “Natural” – the subtlest look of all. They’ll simply enhance your natural lashes and your natural beauty.

Next step up:

Movie Star“Movie Star!” As you see, these are a lot denser. Their crisscross pattern, however, is close to the look of natural lashes. That way you’ll look glamorous but not “alien.”

And the perfect compromise between natural beauty and glamorous elegance for brides?

Bride's Love

“Bride’s Love” by Jira Couture! Long and feathery but not too heavy, they’ll give every bride’s eyes an instant boost.

Now that you’ve seen the difference in visual impact, we’ll progress to the “advanced” lessons! And that is – how best to accentuate the natural beauty of your eyes, based on their unique shape. Everyone’s eye shape is different, which means certain false eyelashes are more flattering on some than others.  Here’s how to find your perfect pair:


Round Eyes: To accentuate your eye’s circular shape, try long, dramatic false eyelashes that fan upwards.  You may want to avoid lashes that are too thick – they can actually make your large eyes look smaller.fIUMccZlxFqTYtmUdDRLAGBX.jpeg:Amazon:photoAlmond Eyes: Most false lashes look beautiful on this eye shape – lucky ladies!  Try placing individual lashes on just the outer corners of your eyes to play up their cat-like shape, or opt for a pair of feathery, voluminous lashes that fan outwards, like Jira Couture’s “Shanghai.”



Hooded eyes: Frame your eyes by selecting a pair of lashes that feature long and short strands, with the longest lashes right above your pupil.  vWPCrLV2m4dGQe285rCc4yyU.jpeg:Amazon:photo

Mono lid: False eyelashes are a great option for girls who have mono lids (aka no crease) because they create one for you.  Monolids are very versatile, so feel free to experiment with different styles depending on the look you’re going for.  I love the fanned out look on model Liu Wen above.

Deep-set eyes: Women who have deep set eyes might be constantly trying to overcome what they view as a beauty handicap. So to draw more attention to the eyes, it’s important to get long, full lashes that will make sure everyone notices.

Now that was a lot of information in one sitting! Don’t despair – you can do it. And if you are still undecided, I have the perfect solution for you: Jira Couture’s “Fun Pack” with fourteen different pairs of lashes. You’ll find your perfect fit there, guaranteed!

Fun PackAnd now have fun – experimenting! Shoot us an email which ones are your favorites, with “before” and “after” photos – and Can’t wait to hear from you!!

Who Else Got Married this Weekend – 218 Years ago? Napoleon Bonaparte and Josephine de Beauharnais!

Well, I hear you say… two hundred and eighteen years?! Is that really still relevant? Why?
I’ll tell you why.
Not because Napoleon is, well, Napoleon, and a historic figure and a celebrity. But because this is one of the great love stories in history, like Caesar and Cleopatra. Napoleon’s and Josephine’s marriage was difficult, and it ended in divorce – yet, the two never ever ceased to love one another, to their last breath. And that is – why…
Everyone knows who Napoleon is, right? But Josephine – let’s recap. When he met her, she was a young widow with two children and six years his senior. Josephine, nee Tascher de Pagerie, was the daughter of a landowner in the French overseas colony of Martinique. When she was 15, their parents arranged her first marriage to Alexandre de Beauharnais whom she had never met (but whose family fortune would save her parents’ strained financial circumstances). The marriage was unhappy, but Josephine dutifully bore her husband two children (through whom she would become the founder of the royal houses of Scandinavia, among others). The times were politically difficult. After the French Revolution, the Reign of Terror clamped down on the wealthy upper class – and Josephine’s husband ended under the guillotine. Josephine herself was imprisoned, too, and only survived by luck. The year was 1795, and Josephine was 32.
She was young, ambitious, and pretty; of average height, svelte, shapely, with silky, chestnut-brown hair, hazel eyes, and a rather sallow complexion. Her nose was small and straight, and her mouth was well-formed (however she kept it closed most of the time so as not to reveal her bad teeth). She was praised for her elegance, style, and low, “silvery”, beautifully modulated voice. She was definitely not going to spend the rest of her life mourning her first husband.
josephine portrait
Following his death, she had a couple of affairs with political figures of the day – and was introduced to the rising star among them all: Napoleon Bonaparte, a dashing young military leader, who fell for her head over heels.
Napoleon on horseback
She became his mistress very soon. In a letter to her in December, he wrote, “I awake full of you. Your image and the memory of last night’s intoxicating pleasures has left no rest to my senses.”  Until meeting Bonaparte, she was known as Rose, but Bonaparte preferred to call her Joséphine, the name she adopted from then on.
In January 1796, Napoléon Bonaparte proposed to her with a very unusual ring:

engagement ring cropped

… and they married on March 9, 1796.

The marriage was not well received by Napoléon’s family, who were shocked that he had married an older widow with two children. His mother and sisters were especially resentful of Joséphine as they felt clumsy and unsophisticated in her presence.

No painting exists of their wedding, but following the fashion of the day, Josephine will have worn a dress like this:

wedding dress cropped… and since she loved violets, that’s the bouquet she will have carried:

violetsAnd here is their marriage certificate:
marriage certificate
Honeymoon? Oh no. Two days after their wedding, the young General Bonaparte left for the French campaign in Italy. During their separation, he sent her many love letters. In February 1797, he wrote: “You to whom nature has given spirit, sweetness, and beauty, you who alone can move and rule my heart, you who know all too well the absolute empire you exercise over it!”
love letter
Joséphine, left behind in Paris, began an affair in 1796 with a handsome Hussar lieutenant, Hippolyte Charles. Rumors of the affair reached Napoléon; he was infuriated, and his love for her changed entirely.

In 1798, Napoléon led a French army to Egypt. During this campaign, Napoléon started an affair of his own with Pauline Fourès, the wife of a junior officer, who became known as “Napoléon’s Cleopatra.” The relationship between Joséphine and Napoléon was never the same after this. His letters became less loving. No subsequent lovers of Joséphine are recorded, but Napoléon had affairs with several other women. In 1804, he said, “Power is my mistress.” That would have been the end to the relationship, one would think… but there was a bond between husband and wife that proved indestructible. 

Napoleon kept giving Josephine exquisite presents, among others a tiara that would be handed down to present-day royalty:


And here is Queen Sylvia of Sweden, wearing it:

Drottning Silvia, middag i Rikssalen (c) Charles Hammarsten / IBL

In 1804, Napoleon crowned himself Emperor of France, an act that cost him a lot of sympathies. So far he had kept the image of the youthful, invincible liberator of peoples from oppressive regimes, and now he moved over to the side of the oppressors himself (Ludwig van Beethoven, one of his most ardent admirers, had dedicated his third symphony to Napoleon. When he heard of the coronation, he felt personally betrayed, flew into a rage – something he was infamous for – and erased the dedication so violently that it left a hole in the first page of his symphony score. The symphony became subsequently known as the “Eroica” or heroic symphony).

Coronation by Louis David

Coronation by Louis David

The coronation ceremony, officiated by Pope Pius VII, took place at Notre Dame de Paris, on December 2, 1804. Following a pre-arranged protocol, Napoléon first crowned himself, then put the crown on Joséphine’s head, proclaiming her empress. In David’s painting, she is kneeling in front of Napoleon.

By then it had become clear that Josephine could not have a child. Napoléon while he still loved Joséphine, began to think very seriously about the possibility of divorce. The final die was cast when Joséphine’s grandson Napoleon Charles Bonaparte who had been declared Napoléon’s heir, died of croup in 1807. Napoleon began to create lists of eligible princesses. At dinner on November 30, 1809, he let Joséphine know that — in the interest of France — he must find a wife who could produce an heir. From the next room, Napoléon’s secretary heard her screams.

In the end, Joséphine agreed to the divorce so the Emperor could remarry in the hope of having an heir. The divorce ceremony took place on January 10, 1810, and was a grand but solemn social occasion, and each read a statement of devotion to the other.

divorce statementOn March 11, Napoléon married Marie-Louise of Austria by proxy; the formal ceremony took place at the Louvre in April. Napoléon once condescendingly remarked after marrying Marie-Louise that “he had married a womb.” Even after their separation, Napoleon insisted Josephine retain the title of empress. “It is my will that she retain the rank and title of empress, and especially that she never doubt my sentiments, and that she ever hold me as her best and dearest friend.”

After the divorce, she remained on good terms with Napoléon, who once said that the only thing to come between them was her debts. She lived at the Château de Malmaison, near Paris, which she had bought while Napoleon campaigned in Egypt in 1799.

malmaison garden facade

reception at malmaison

She had had  it landscaped in an “English” style, hiring landscapers and horticulturalists from the United Kingdom. Inspired by her horticulturist’s love of roses, a rose garden was begun soon after purchase. Josephine took a personal interest in the gardens and the roses and learned a great deal about botany and horticulture from her staff. Josephine wanted to collect all known roses, so Napoleon ordered his warship commanders to search all seized vessels for plants to be forwarded to Malmaison. Pierre-Joseph Redouté was commissioned by her to paint the flowers from her gardens. Les Roses was published 1817-20 with 168 plates of roses; 75-80 of the roses grew at Malmaison. 

jos and ladies in garden

Greenhouse Malmaison

Josephine’s beloved rose garden has survived – here is what it looks like today:
rose garden today

Joséphine died of pneumonia in Rueil-Malmaison on May 29, 1814, four days after catching a cold during a walk with Tsar Alexander in the gardens of Malmaison. She was buried in the nearby church of Saint Pierre-Saint Paul in Rueil.

Napoleon’s fates, by then, had long taken a turn for the worse – he had been exiled to Elba where he  learned of her death via a French journal. He stayed locked in his room for two days, refusing to see anyone. He claimed to a friend that “I truly loved my Joséphine, but I did not respect her.” Despite his numerous affairs, eventual divorce, and remarriage, the Emperor’s last words on his death bed in St. Helena were: “France, the Army, the Head of the Army, Joséphine.”(“France, l’armée, tête d’armée, Joséphine”).

What a love…



Imperial monogram


Later life and death[edit]

Divorce letter from Joséphine to Napoléon, 1809

Portrait of Joséphine by Andrea Appiani

Joséphine’s eldest granddaughter,Joséphine, Queen consort of Sweden and Norway

Statue of Joséphine in the park ofChâteau de Bois-Préau, part of the Malmaison estate.


In March 1811 Marie Louise delivered a long-awaited heir, to whom Napoleon gave the title “King of Rome”. Two years later Napoleon arranged for Joséphine to meet the young prince “who had cost her so many tears”.


Hortense‘s son became Napoléon III, Emperor of the FrenchEugène‘s son Maximilian de Beauharnais, 3rd Duke of Leuchtenberg married into the Russian Imperial family, was granted the style of Imperial Highness and founded the Russian line of the Beauharnais family, while Eugene’s daughter Joséphine, married King Oscar I of Sweden, the son of Napoléon‘s one-time fiancée, Désirée Clary. Through her, Joséphine is a direct ancestor of the present heads of the royal houses of BelgiumDenmarkGreeceLuxembourgNorway and Sweden and of the grandducal house of Baden.

Through the Leuchtenberg inheritance, the Norwegian royal family holds Josephine’s emerald and diamond tiara[12] while the Swedish royal family holds her sapphire parure,[13] amethyst tiara[14] and the Cameo tiara, worn by Sweden’s royal brides.[15]

Another of Eugène‘s daughters, Amélie de Beauharnais von Leuchtenberg, married EmperorPedro I of Brazil (also former king Pedro IV of Portugal) in Rio de Janeiro, and became Empress of Brazil, and they had one surviving daughter

Time journalist Nathalie Alexandria Kotchoubey de Beauharnais, was a direct descendant of Joséphine through her son Eugène and the Russian line founded by Josephine’s grandson Maximilian de Beauharnais, 3rd Duke of Leuchtenberg. She married André Laguerre, longtime managing editor of Sports Illustrated in 1955 and had two daughters, Michèle and Claudine.[16]

Nature and appearance[edit]

Biographer Carolly Erickson wrote, “In choosing her lovers Rose [Josephine] followed her head first, then her heart”,[17] meaning that she was adept in terms of identifying the men who were most capable of fulfilling her financial and social needs. She was not unaware of Napoleon’s potential. Joséphine was a renowned spendthrift and Barras may have encouraged the relationship with Général Bonaparte in order to get her off his hands. Josephine was naturally full of kindness, generosity and charm, and was praised as an engaging hostess.

Joséphine was described as being of average height, svelte, shapely, with silky, chestnut-brown hair, hazel eyes, and a rather sallow complexion. Her nose was small and straight, and her mouth was well-formed; however she kept it closed most of the time so as not to reveal her bad teeth.[18] She was praised for her elegance, style, and low, “silvery”, beautifully modulated voice.[19]

Patroness of roses[edit]

Wow … Pretty! On A Day Like No Other

Brides-to-be: we have great news for you!

Jira of Wow Pretty Couture, the elegant New York City Make-up line and Beauty Services Company …

Jira cropped… and myself, Jutta of A Day Like No Other – Wedding Coordination and Design

SONY DSC…have teamed up to bring you the most up-to-date beauty news! From now on every week, right off the press – with practical advice and easy-to-follow tips.

Our brides will now get the best of all worlds: Jira and her team of 18 stylists and her top-notch cosmetics line will make you (and your bridesmaids and Moms) more beautiful than you ever thought you could be, and I will make your celebration totally organized, worry-free and effortless. How does that sound?

And it gets even better. You want a bouquet exactly the color of your lipstick? Done. I know the florists who can do that for you. A cake exactly matching the style of your wedding dress? Check. Table decor to go with the elaborate, glittery hair piece Jira is going to place on your coif? But of course. There’s no limit to our creativity! Together, Jira and I will make you stunning, unique – a gorgeous star on your totally unforgettable wedding day!

Enough of these introductions… let’s get started right away.

You want to look radiant, especially on your wedding day, right? Not tired, under no circumstances. But what to do against these dark circles under your eyes that absolutely resist all your best efforts?

Turn to Wow Pretty Couture! We have a true miracle worker for you.


That’s nearly too good to be true, right? But be assured, it works. This double (or better: triple) action concealer is Jira’s best-selling product! In the long run, it improves and firms up the texture of your under-eye skin, but first and foremost it is a quick fix to make these dark shadows disappear instantaneously. And with its hydrating effects, it also makes the treated areas feel and look smoother right away. Last question here: how to find exactly the right shade to blend with your skin?

Jira, the expert, comes to the rescue:

Find your natural skin undertone by taking a plain white sheet of paper and holding it up to the face. You should be able to see which color pulls more prominent. This is a really quick, easy way that you can use if you are not sure from looking at yourself which undertone you are. Easy, right?  And here it’s all neatly summed up for you – foolproof!

Understanding Jira Couture Foundation is simple. First, determine your natural skin undertone: pink, yellow, natural, or warm. Then use the following Jira Couture skin tone categories and color description to find your shade.
Pink you are very fair, burn before you tan, or your skin has obvious pink-based undertones
Yellow your skin has a beige or obvious yellow/golden-based undertone
Neutral neither pink/red or yellow /golden dominate
Warm orange/red undertones dominate


Here is a real-world example what Jira Couture cosmetics can do for you – especially Dual Action Concealer! This client of Jira’s attended a beauty workshop and learned to expertly apply her makeup… isn’t that stunning?! You can do that, too! With just the right “miracle workers” in your cosmetics bag. But that will be our little secret…

They Did It Their Way – Beautifully! Lauren’s and Francisco’s Great Day

For Halloween of 2013, a young couple decides to take their two little boys to a different neighborhood for trick’n treating. No big deal, right? Wrong. Much bigger deal than anyone would’ve thought. Just wait.

While they are there, they come upon a storybook house, truly magical, under mature trees, right out of “Harry Potter,” with a  warm and inviting glow on that cold winter evening.

CH They did not know what it was – but they knew one thing instantaneously: that’s where they wanted to get married! They had been toying with the idea of a Spring wedding for quite some time, but had not gotten into planning anything – until that momentous Halloween evening. They could not get the memory of this mysterious house out of their heads. Was it perhaps somebody’s home? Could it at all be rented? Lauren started her detective work and found out – to her great joy – that, indeed, their dream house could be rented! It turned out to be the historic Forest Hill Clubhouse, not only the beloved gathering place for the neighborhood, but also a hidden gem of an event venue that has seen many a birthday party, anniversary celebration, and, of course, many a wedding in its 93-year old history. The two came visit and fell in love even more with the story book charm of the Clubhouse, inside and out. They rented it on the spot, and from that moment on, Lauren’s and Francisco’s wedding plans took on a life of their own. 


Soon enough the two realized what a huge task they had taken on – to be completed in less than three months! As a busy professional couple with two kids plus Lauren’s musical pursuits (she is a violinist in an amateur orchestra) there was simply not enough time to get it all done by themselves. Enter A Day Like No Other, my wedding planning company! The two entrusted the planning to me, and off we went, all three of us, on a brainstorming, designing and planning “blitz!” So much fun… First of all: nothing conventional, please! Just a short ceremony in the romantic courtyard, only with family in attendance, no bridesmaids, no groomsmen, and then a fun dance party with all their friends. Okay!

Colors? Natural, please – ivory and brown and the delicate blu-ish hues of ivory hydrangeas tinged with a little blue and green. Flowers? Oh yes. Lauren knew exactly what she wanted, and Annette Shulman of Petals Flower Studio translated the bride’s vision into charming reality, including a beautiful arch for the ceremony, ivory rose petals on the aisle… and a gorgeous bridal bouquet and matching centerpieces.

Have a look:



arch bouquet

With all the meticulous planning done and all the details in place, my assistant, Kelli DeSeelhorst (, orchestrated the Great Day from start to finish.

The bride was meanwhile getting ready in the romantic Bridal Preparation Room, well hidden from curious eyes…

Bridal prep room

… and getting into her etherial vintage lace dress…


… complemented by an oh-so-feminine bouquet of white “Vendela” roses and wispy, sky-blue Tweedia…


flower girl

Finally, the great moment had come… I do!



“You may now kiss the bride!”


The new husband and wife, together with their families, went off for photos (with photographer Mark Thackery of pier 23 photography) right afterward,



and at 5 pm they joined their guests at the Clubhouse for music, dancing and hors d’oeuvres by Chez Fayala.

The Great Room of the Clubhouse had been magically transformed with twinkle lights (a whole workforce of friends and family members had descended on the Clubhouse in the early morning to make it happen)

dining tables

Great room from aboveand dining tables were resplendent in linens, china and stemware by Unica Party Rentals, elegant centerpieces by Petals Flower Studio, and  glass gems glittering in the light of votive candles.



To top it off, chairs had gotten the royal treatment with copper organza sashes…


… and a garland in the style of the invitations (that the groom had designed himself!) announced the joyous occasion:


What’s still missing? Right – the cake! It came from Sunset Bakery, and look what a stunner that was…


One more dance…


At the end of the evening, husband and wife – again! – “did it their way:” not a getaway car, no… In the glow of sparklers waved by their guests, the two took off on Francisco’s vintage Vespa. That’s what I call individual style!


Congratulations on a wonderful wedding celebration, and many happy years “your way” together!

WIPA 2014 Kick-Off at the Mandarin-Oriental, San Francisco

It doesn’t get much more elegant than that, you agree, right? The Mandarin-Oriental Hotel in San Francisco’s Financial District is truly the epitome of sleek East-meets-West sophistication… plus: it offers, hands down, the best view in all of the City!


As the Events Chair Northern California for WIPA (Wedding Industry Professionals Association), I jumped of course at the opportunity to hold our first festive luncheon of the year at this prestigious venue. Together with my co-chair Melanie Leinweber and with Emily Cross,our gracious hostess at the Mandarin Oriental, I dove headfirst into planning – and finally  the Great Day arrived, and we found ourselves manning the registration desk!



The festivities began with a Cocktail Hour up on the 40th floor Sky Deck with views of the San Francisco Bay, Golden Gate Bridge, and with the Transamerica Pyramid seemingly at arm’s length.


Contrary to all forecasts, the Sun came out, and guests thoroughly enjoyed the incredible setting, enhanced by delicious hors d’oeuvres (by the Mandarin-Oriental chef),


a selection of top-notch wines (courtesy of Foley Family Winery)



and wedding-themed music by the Espiritu Ensembles.


Adding to the delightful experience was a jewelry show with stunning pieces by Gleim the Jeweler


…  artfully modeled by the gorgeous Aryan Omar:




Following Cocktail Hour, guests were treated to a welcome by new Board President Kevin Dennis…


and an inspirational lecture by “radical educator” Cindy Novotny.


Her theme was, “Building YOUR Brand -


… more important than ever in the increasingly competitive landscape of the Wedding Industry.  How do I set MY business apart from the competition? “Treat all your clients as if they were the only ones, and give them your full attention;” “Follow up and recap immediately after a client contact;” “It only takes one client encounter with a thoughtless or inconsiderate associate of yours to ruin your reputation…” many valuable insights to take away! And her engaging and entertaining style earned Cindy an instant fan club..


All of it was captured real-time by Thomas Hughes Films:


… and by Indulge Wedding Photography (whose beautiful photos you are admiring right now!)

Then it was time for a formal luncheon in the Embassy ballroom:

wipa-5… set with elegant linens by Napa Valley Linens and dramatic floral arrangements by Mandy Scott Flowers:


SONY DSCPlace settings were adorned with menu cards by Gwenn Connolly Designs (who also created the chic program books) and chocolate favors by ChocoVogue.

wipa-8And the food was simply stellar…



Cindy, our speaker, was my “Lady Luck” at the biggest raffle in WIPA history…

wipa-82with prizes by Poppyhearts, Nikki Boyle Fitness, Mandy Scott Flowers, Sweet Lauren Cakes, and two hotel stays at the Claremont Resort in Berkeley and the Mandarin-Oriental, San Francisco. That made people smile!

We wrapped up the joyous occasion in the Library, outfitted with chic lounge furniture by Hartmann Studios


… over coffee and delicious European mini pastries by Patisserie Gerhard Michler:


It was a wonderful event, thanks to all our charming guests and generous sponsors, and that made the hostess very happy!