Here Comes The Guide's Blog


I occasionally get to work at actual weddings with some of our fantastic Certified By The Guide event professionals, like floral designer Nancy Liu Chin.

To get you in the wedding mood, here’s a little inspiration from her own blog, Brown Bag:

Courtesy of Nancy Liu Chin's Blog, Brown Bag

Nancy Liu ChinI’ve been saying this for a while: Carmel Valley is the new Napa! The weather is mild and lovely. The restaurants are top-notch and use fresh, local, organic ingredients. The resorts are growing and it’s a great place for those who love to play golf or tennis, or just relax and enjoy the good life.

Recently, KC and I had the pleasure of visiting Carmel Valley Ranch, which had been closed for renovation and reopened this past February. It’s a fantastic weekend getaway with a wonderful restaurant that offers many creative menu choices. The lobby’s rust-brown and burnt orange hues are warm and inviting. The golf clubhouse has shades of lime green, deep chocolate and white, giving it a crisp, modern feel. The pool area is charming without being too fussy, and the staff is so attentive. I can’t remember how many of them remembered my name, “Mrs. Chin!”. The in-room spa service was terrific, and they even honored my request to have my spa services near the pool. I believe I had Carmel Valley Ranch’s very first by-the-pool massage!

For couples, the wedding venues at CVR are awesome. There’s the spacious tennis lawn for the ceremony, and the golf club for cocktails and dinner. But my favorite spaces are the sleek Arbor ballroom and the white fabric tent—it’s surreal.

I am a believer and I can’t wait to go back to Carmel Valley.

Engagement Rings for Men

When a man decides to commit, he drops a healthy portion of his nest egg on a sparkly engagement ring. But what does he get in return, besides that meaningful “yes” from the love of his life? Nada. Call me crazy, but has anyone else noticed that men get the raw end of the deal here? Not to mention the fact that it seems a little hypocritical that a woman gets “marked” as betrothed while the man’s fingers get to stay bare until the wedding day!

Rose Gold RingWhen I got engaged, I marked my own territory, if you will, by getting my husband-to-be a ring for his left ring finger, too. Nothing fancy, because that’s not his style, but I know that small gesture made us both feel that this engagement thing was a two-way street—which, if you think about it, can only be a good thing for your relationship.

If you’re thinking of staking your claim on your future husband in a similar fashion, Etsy has some unique options. This rose gold ring with a tiny engraved heart seems like a manly way to display his love until the wedding day. He can either show the heart to the world, or turn it palm-side as a private secret between the two of you. Or if hearts aren’t his style, Shibumi Gallery’s bound to have some unconventional choices for this unconventional gift.

As for post-wedding protocol:
Since this isn’t a popular part of the engagement ritual (yet!), there are no hard-and-fast rules here. My husband moved his “engagement band” to his right hand after the wedding, but your man might opt to stack his rings on his left hand, or string the engagement piece on a chain and wear it around his neck.

Lisa Posted by Lisa on Dec 22, 2008.
Filed under FashionOff BeatStuff We LoveWedding Jewelry and Rings

Holiday Gift Ideas

In my humble opinion, some of the best holiday presents don’t require wrapping paper. Experiences—especially those that fall under the category of sinful and relaxing—make thoughtful gifts that never gather dust. Here are a few holiday gift ideas, for you or someone you love:

  • Sandalwood Spa inside the Monarch Club at TrilogyStart the season off right by making an appointmentat Central California’s Sandalwood Spa inside the The Monarch Club at Trilogy for an indulgent spa package that includes a moisturizing pumpkin enzyme facial, herbal spice pedicure, and warming therapeutic massage.
  • If you’re having a hard time working out how you’ll gather your holiday guests around your dining room table, invite them to join you for a memorable holiday get-together on Shelter Island in San Diego Bay instead. Kona Kai Resort and SpaKona Kai Resort and Spa has a fabulous deal for your holiday party or event: 20% off menu pricing. 
  • Then, if all that holiday partying has you feeling a little frazzled, why not ring in the New Year with a Chardonnay sugar scrub or cranberry-infused massage at River Oaks Hot Springs Spa in my new favorite wine region, Paso Robles. Pure bliss, without the morning hangover!

Allison Posted by Allison on Dec 19, 2008.
Filed under Honeymoons and TravelLocationsSpas and PamperingStuff We Love