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All About The Bubbles

All About The Bubbles

New Years Eve is all about the champagne, celebrating life and the anticipation of things to come in the coming year…..a clean slate, changes, focus, determination….HOPE. I think it’s my favorite holiday of the year. As a kid, my parents would let us stay up to watch Dick Clark’s Rockin’ New Years Eve and as soon as the ball dropped, we’d pop our Martinelli’s Sparkling Cider, say cheers and read our goals for the coming year to everybody……you know, for accountability, lol.

Now, as an adult, I do regret not making it to Times Square for the Ball Drop when Dick Clark was still living but my goal list has changed….I want to spend NYE somewhere different every year and I’m excited to see where my travels will take me.

So let’s talk bubbles – Champagne & Sparkling Wines…..do you know the difference?


A true champagne is produced in the Champagne Region of France with grapes grown in the region and follow a strict set of rules that demand, among other things, secondary fermentation of the wine in the bottle to create carbonation, specific vineyard practices, etc.  Some countries use Champagne as a generic term for sparkling wine, but in many places it’s illegal to label a product as Champagne unless it meets the true requirements.

“All Champagne is sparkling wine, but not all sparkling wine is Champagne”

Sparkling Wines

  • Sekt:  This German version of sparkling wine can vary in sweetness and dryness and is typically less alcoholic than Champagne. During the signing of the Treaty of Versailles, France was given ownership of the classification “Champagne.” Germany’s sparkling wine has been known as Sekt ever since.
  • Prosecco:  This popular Italian sparkling wine has large bubbles and a fruity aroma—making it a common choice for mixed drinks like mimosas or bellinis. Made with Glera grapes as well as Bianchetta Trevigiana, this is most often a dry or very dry sparkling wine.
  • Cava:  A Spanish sparkling wine made from Macabeu grapes, this variety is said to have very similar flavor to Champagnes.
  • French sparkling wine:  Sparkling wines can come from France (outside of the Champagne region) and are made in a variety of sweet, dry and rosé varieties.
  • American sparkling wine: From blends using traditional Champagne grapes to vintages with a completely different recipe, there are endless flavors to discover in sparkling wines.

Here are some of our favorites in Napa & Sonoma for Bubbles:

Sigh Sonoma – www.sighsonoma.com 120 West Napa St., Sonoma

Sigh Sonoma Bubble Bar

Domaine Carneros – www.domainecarneros.com 1240 Duhig Road, Napa

Domaine Carneros

Schramsberg – www.schramsberg.com 1400 Schramsberg Road, Calistoga

Domaine Chandon – www.domainechandon.com 1 California Drive, Yountville


Mumm Napa – www.mummnapa.com 8445 Silverado Trail, Napa

JCB by Jean Charles Boissett – http://www.jcbcollection.com        6505 Washington St. Yountville

J Vineyards – www.jwine.com 11447 Old Redwood Hwy, Healdsburg

Breathless Wines – www.breathlesswines.com 499 Moore Lane, Healdsburg

Here’s to you and yours for health, prosperity and a fabulous New Year!!!!





WINE COUNTRY STRONG…..Sunday, October 8, 2017…..  The day before, we sent a beautiful couple down the aisle and had a fabulous event, the next day was brunch with their families and one last sweep through the estate where the wedding was held. it was windy…. Santa Ana kind of windy (not uncommon in the valley in October). Typically, the day after a wedding is called the Wedding Hangover…  I’d clocked 16-20,000 steps and my mind, body and feet are exhausted. I was going to take a long hot bath, soak my feet and take a nap.

The nap, which lasted way longer than I planned,  was the last piece of normalcy since. My bride for the following Saturday crying is what I woke up to and I remember thinking I was dreaming…..I could hear her words….”It’s on fire.” What’s on fire, I asked. Her answer was painful…..her Godparents had gifted her their beautiful estate on Atlas Peak to host her wedding,  was burning and I didn’t have a solution to her pain or fear…..it was still windy….Santa Ana kind of windy and with every gust of wind, the fire was growing.

By 7am, my beautiful East Coast bride had decided to postpone….not move her wedding so she wasn’t a burden to anyone that might be affected by the fire….we called all the guests, rearranged flights, cancelled hotels and figured out what to do next……


Napa Fire

Next was evacuations……people, homes, animals…..the fires were moving fast and you needed to move. Thousands evacuated from their homes, their businesses and their lives, not knowing if they’d have anything to return to.  With evacuations, came the need for shelters, donations, community, prayer and hope.

napa fire evacuation

For eight days, I worked in the shelter at Napa Valley College, managing all the supplies and donations with the most amazing team of volunteers I lovingly called The Honey Pot Crew…..The Honey Pot included college kids, displaced evacuees, the US Marines, the Napa High Football Team, the coaching staff and athletes of Napa Valley College and people that were dropping of donations that we lovingly commandeered (they say I can’t say kidnapped), to put in work. For eight days, thanks to the generosity of the local community and people all over California, we were able to provide for the basic needs of everyone in the shelter as well as several others in the county.


wedding anniversary in the napa shelter

Evacuees Celebrating 62yrs of marriage

When the evacuation orders were lifted, it was both beautiful and terrifying at the same time. What were people going to find when they got home? Would there be a home, a business, a vineyard, a job? Some of our favorite locations were severely damaged or destroyed and others untouched.

By October 14, the fires had burned more than 210,000 acres (85,000 ha), and destroyed an estimated 5,700 structures while forcing 90,000 people to evacuate from their homes. The Northern California fires have killed at least 42 people and hospitalized at least 185, making the week of October 8, 2017, the deadliest week of wildfires in California history.


What we learned through all of this and maybe always knew, was the human spirit will persevere. Bent, not broken and if broken, soon healed. The people of Napa and Sonoma Valleys are remarkable, resolved and resilient.  The same land that produces your favorite wines, harvested by strong hands and mighty hearts are still here.

A huge thank you has to go out to the barrage of First Responders, who in the early days of the fires worked 24, 36, 48 hours straight to contain these fires and support these communities. Gratitude isn’t a big enough word or feeling.

napa strong

Want to know how you can help? Plan your trips, host your wedding, enjoy the wine, food and people….we need you. If you want to help with monetary support to those most effected by these devastating fires, here are some great resources:

Napa Valley Community Foundation http://www.napavalleycf.org/fire-donation-page/

Redwood Credit Union Fire Relief Fund https://www.redwoodcu.org/

Jameson Animal Rescue https://www.jamesonanimalrescueranch.org

Here’s to seeing you soon…# WINECOUNTRYSTRONG









Veils, for the bride, a veil is a personal as her dress.  Some brides opt to wear a full length Cathedral Veil and others opt for a simple hair clip or nothing at all.  The choices are endless and whatever your style, have fun with the choices and be true to who you are.  Here are some of the most common veil lengths, whether you’re a classic or bohemian bride, there’s always something perfect for you…..let’s go behind the veil…


BIRDCAGE VEIL are the shortest length, and have enjoyed huge popularity in the last few years. There’s quite a bit of variety within birdcage veils but they’re usually worn just covering the eyes or extending down to the chin. Super stylish and low-hassle.

bridal veil

SHOULDER-LENGTH VEIL (ending anywhere from your shoulders to the middle of your back) are less commonly found these days, but are perfect for a fashion-forward bride, especially if you have detailing on your dress that you’d like to show off, but still want that dash of tradition. A fun version of the shoulder-length is the flyaway veil, which has more than one layer and just brushes the shoulders  – great for a modern or city chic wedding.

shoulder length veil

ELBOW-LENGTH VEIL  – They’re elegant and easy to handle, and when combined with a blusher, are very romantic without the hassle of carrying a full-length train around with you. These are perfect if you’re wearing a full dress or ballgown as they end just about at the point where the skirt of your gown begins, which is super-flattering. They’re also quite an informal veil, so ideal for a daytime setting.


FINGERTIP-LENGTH VEIL – If you loved Kate Middleton’s look, then this is the one for you. This is the veil that flatters most brides and their dresses, and as a result is the most popular. A safe bet, but an extremely pretty one.

BALLET-LENGTH VEIL – is one of my favorites, although you don’t see it as often as some of the other styles. You get much of the prettiness of the longer veil varieties, without worrying about tripping over yourself. Also, called waltz-length (because you can still dance in it, see?), it falls anywhere between the knee and ankle.


CHAPEL-LENGTH VEIL – veils go all the way to the ground (it’s sometimes called a sweep veil), and may drape a little but do not have a train. This is one for formal weddings, and is incredibly romantic and elegant. You’ll feel like a princess! It’s often combined with a blusher and/or an elbow-length veil for two-or three-tiered loveliness (see below for details on blushers and tiers).

CATHEDRAL-LENGTH VEIL – the grand dame of them all, the Buckingham Palace, the Rolls Royce. When you want to make a grand statement, a Cathedral veil is sure to make a lasting impression.


BLUSHER is a term sometimes used for shoulder-length veils, but technically a blusher is the bit that stands in front of your face as you walk down the aisle, and that can be any length from birdcage to much longer. This is the one that your father lifts when he presents you to your husband – and probably the one that you’re going to want to avoid if the whole ‘unveiling of the bride’ tradition makes you feel claustrophobic. No doubt that they’re lovely, but make sure you practice wearing yours a bit since it’s a bit of a surreal experience at first.

A TWO-TIER VEIL (or double-tier veil) is simply one that has two lengths of veil combined (usually a blusher and a longer veil) as Princess Charlene did at her Monaco wedding. As noted above, veils can also go to three tiers, which is a lot more dramatic and beautiful than it sounds like it would be. Usually at least one of the tiers can be detached for the reception.

My favorite. I’m sorry, but there’s nothing quite like a MANTILLA when it comes to pure gorgeousness, although it won’t work with all dresses and settings. A mantilla (man-tea-ya) is usually a circular piece of lace (or tulle with heavy lace edging) that is held in place with a comb to frame the face. However, this look can also be combined with a more traditional veil to retain the traditional lengths and shapes but with the pretty lace-edged look

POUF VEILS (tulle that gathers to a hairpiece, creating height – also called ‘bubble veils’) aren’t every bride’s cup of tea, but they can look gorgeous with the right gown! They’re also often used to add a bit of ’60s flair to an ensemble. Bold and beautiful.

The JULIET CAP is a look that has taken off again, spearheaded by Kate Moss, who sported the look at her boho chic wedding. It’s very elegant – after all, wedding style goddess Grace Kelly did it, so it must be a winner!


  • Unless you’re wearing a family veil or similar, make sure you buy your dress before you start thinking about veils as not all of them will suit the look you go for.
  • Even if you don’t think you’re a ‘veil person’, try one on at your fitting. It is 100% the best way to make your mom and bridesmaids start crying. In a good way.
  • When you go to your hair trial (and in some cases your actual hair appointment on the day) make sure you bring your veil with you. If your hairdresser puts it into place for you, make sure one of your bridesmaids is on hand watching so she can take it out later without pulling the rest of your do to pieces.
  • Make sure your veil doesn’t overshadow your dress (or compete with it in the ornate department). There’s not much point in loads of back detail if nobody’s going to see it under your triple-tier cathedral-length veil. That said, if you have your heart set on a fancy-pants veil, you don’t have to wear it beyond the ceremony or in all of the photographs. I’ve even seen brides wear a birdcage for some of their pics but not for the ceremony (and sometimes not even for the rest of the night). If you’re torn for which look to go for (and you don’t mind splashing out for two looks) this is something you could consider.

Whatever you decide, it’s your day…..rock it and have fun.

Have a fabulous day,


Photo credits: Sweetness and Light Photography//TJ Salsman//Pinterest//Milou & Olin// Catalina Jean//







Glamorous is the first word that comes to mind for this gorgeous San Francisco City Hall Wedding.  Crystal and Martin flew in from Miami to tie the knot in one of the most iconic locations in the world and they definitely brought the heat to the stormy Bay Area. The rain and wind did not put a damper on this amazing wedding.  Surrounded by friends and family from near and far, the day was absolutely perfect.

Following the ceremony at San Francisco City Hall, guests explored the city by trolley and visited landmarks like the Golden Gate Bridge, The Presidio, Giant’s Stadium and Cupid’s Bow. The reception was held at Cookhouse SF and catered by the creative team of Culinary Eye Catering who presented a six course Chef’s table meal.

Take a look at the gorgeous pics from Catalina Jean Photography:

Here’s to another fabulous event,

Tamara J

Ceremony Venue: San Francisco City Hall // Reception Venue: Cookhouse SF // Design & Coordination: Tamara J Events // Catering: Culinary Eye Catering & Events // Bakery: Cake Bloom // Bride Dress: Justin Alexander // Groom Attire: Musika Frere // Hair: Vanity Lounge // Make-Up: Tremiyya Bumpus // Photography:  Catalina Jean Photography//

















How To Plan A Destination Wedding?

Destination weddings are often a life-long dream come true. But like any wedding, they take lots of careful planning in order to go off smoothly! If you are asking yourself, “How do I plan a destination wedding?” then today is your lucky day. I sat down with Chloe Jackman of Chloe Jackman Photography (CJP) to discuss the ins and outs of what it takes to plan a destination wedding. I should say that not only is Chloe one of my favorite photographers, but I just planned her magical Riviera Maya Mexico wedding and can we just say it was…..amazaeballs. More about Chloe’s gorgeous Mexican fete in a future post…..playa del carmen beach wedding

Here’s our chat:

CJP: So, how do I plan a destination wedding? What are the main differences when compared to regular wedding planning?

Tamara: When planning a destination wedding, several factors need to be considered. Beginning with accessibility. How will guests arrive to the destination? What season is best for the venue/location you’re considering?  Will the ceremony and reception be in the same location? Will you need additional transportation once your guests arrive?

CJP: Do you have any advice on choosing the size of your guest list for a destination wedding or who to invite?

Tamara: Destination weddings are usually more intimate in nature, but some guests will jump at the chance to attend especially if it’s some exotic locale. So the key is to be strategic in who you invite.  Travel plans need to be arranged with a longer lead time and you really should concentrate on guests that will surround you in love, support and friendship.  That second cousin you’ve not seen since third grade probably won’t make the list.

CJP: We’ve seen a lot of day-before events this season. How should you plan the day before the wedding? Sightseeing?

Tamara: A destination wedding is an opportunity to create an experience for you and your guests so whether you plan a group outing or make recommendations for activities that are available to them they will definitely be looking to you for guidance on where to go and what to do. Make sure to balance time with your guests and time for them to explore on their own. Thinking of a welcome event: keep it to low-key with cocktails and apps.

CJP: What about legal issues – passports, marriage license, etc.?

Tamara: Definitely research marriage requirements for your destination wedding. Some countries have a residency requirement (meaning you need to live there for a certain period of time – Turks & Caicos is 24 hours, England is 7 days and France is 40 days). You may also need to get “legally married” in your home country, aka a civil service.

CJP: Now a bit about you. What makes your business and what you offer unique?

Tamara: I am fortunate enough to have a business that allows me to be creative and a part of one of the most special days in a couple’s lives.

CJP: What is your favorite thing about your business?

Tamara: I’m inspired by so many elements in the world and I love being able to bring a couple’s personality into their design. The biggest challenge is finding that key element that I can build on – sometimes it’s a custom designed print, or the transformation of space. My favorite moment of what I do is when everything is done, candles lit, flowers in place and the couple ready to walk down the aisle… that’s when all of the design and planning becomes real and what’s been swirling around in my head comes to fruition… that’s when I can breathe.

CJP: What’s one thing you’ve always wanted to do for a client? A dream job?

Tamara: Truth be told, I would love to plan and design a wedding in Paris completely from the dress to every element of the ceremony and reception – but with a twist, smack dab in the middle of Fashion Week and the ceremony would take place on the runway.

CJP: When you aren’t working, what might you be found doing?

Tamara: When I’m not working, I love to travel and explore new places or even be a tourist in my own state. Also, I’m the queen of junkin’ (estate sales, thrift stores and garage sales).


We are always passport ready, so let’s pack our bags and get to work planning your perfect destination wedding.



Thanks to Chloe Jackman Photography (photos 2 & 3) and Rachel Capil Photography (photos 1 & 4)