Saturday, December 31, 2011

2012 Shake it up, shake it off! Bits 14!

It's been quite the year. What can I say? The greatest year of my life is an understatement. We're so blessed and so grateful. Our families and our friends continue to amaze us with their love and support. I'm looking forward to the year ahead. Today I picked up the keys to Coriander Girl's new home across the street. A larger space with a backyard and a full basement. 2012 is looking pretty exciting so far. I have many goals, resolutions aren't really my style so I'll keep it simple.

In no particular order,
1. Shake it up, shake it off.
2. Shake it up, shake it off.
3. Shake it up, shake it off.

That'll do.

Let's make waves people! Shake it up!
If you're actions come from a place of love, you can't go wrong. Surround yourself with loving, supportive people and let go of the painful relationships that stifle your joyful heart. Shake off the negative experiences that drag you down and lighten your heavy heart with a good dance break. Take bigger risks because life is too short to sit back and watch other people live their dreams.
Happy New Year my darlings! Wishing you a year filled with good things and triumphs o' plenty!
Now dance with me!
Alison xo

Florence and the Machines~ Shake it up, shake it off

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Toronto Life Wedding Guide 2012!

photos of the wedding and of the magazine by Joseph + Jaime

Our wedding is featured in the 2012 Toronto Life Wedding Guide! Harry is famous! Thank you Toronto Life Magazine! Thank you darling Joseph and Jaime, our incredible photographers and a big congratulations to you both for having a second wedding in the album. Coriander Girl did the flowers for three out of the seven weddings featured! What?! Congratulations to Gwendolyn and Joshua (July 3rd wedding) and to Kelly and Murray (August 21st wedding).
We are beside ourselves with glee. Shock!!! Amazement!!
What a year! I am so blessed and endlessly grateful for the press Coriander Girl has received and then to see our wedding included in the magazine, well it's all just so lovely! Thanks again to Bonnie of BE Catering, Edward and Amy of The Merrill Inn(Dessert Table), Janis from Elm Hill Cookies(gift bag cookies), Shira Leuchter, Maybelle, and Momento Design for their beautiful work on the invites, Brandon Corke(DJ), Rachel Smith(hair and makeup), Willow Rutherford and Kelsey McNulty (musicians), Erin Candela(art for gift bags), Thompson Tents, Jaime Dobbs (The Sassy Lamb), Aly and John Barber(MC's), Brittany Smith(my maid of honour), our families for their generosity, love and support and our amazing friends who rocked it! What a blast. I'd do it all again tomorrow.

Alison xo

Friday, December 2, 2011

Honest Gut

Marion and Dave's wedding, shot by Elizabeth In Love Photography

Honest Gut is a phrase coined lovingly by my bf's mom, Heather. She would corner us during a weak moment and say, "okay girls, honest gut, how do you really feel?" And, you'd have to face your inner truth because it's the deepest part of your being, there is no where left for the truth to hide. So here's my 'honest gut.' This blog has only ever been about my life(guts and all) with the business, so why change now? Here goes.

Honest gut, I can't believe we reached the end of another wedding season... and we're still alive. It was an emotional roller coaster to say the least. I laughed, I cried, I suffered minor melt downs. Coriander dad gave many pep talks, picture me (Rocky) Dad (Mickey). Kerriander was also a major rock, picture me (Danielson) her (Mr. Miyagi). There was a few days where I questioned if this business was even what I wanted. I opened a tiny little boutique with the idea to make the occasional bouquet, sell a hand crafted trinket here and there and pursue my real passion for antique collecting. I had no idea the flowers would become the thing to put Coriander Girl on the map. Honest Gut, I wasn't going to do wedding flowers. I thought it might be too stressful. It is the most stressful work I've ever done, trying to design flowers for a couples wedding day, the expectations are grand. It's also been the most rewarding work I've ever done. I know it's not brain surgery and I'm not saving lives or anything but when a bride sees her flowers for the first time and tears spill down her freshly powdered face and she mouths "oh my gosh Alison", drawing out 'Alisssooonnnn' you can't help but feel real satisfaction. It's the same scene again and again, a montage of summer wedding moments, me hugging brides and mothers, exiting hotel rooms, family homes and reception halls. I take a moment for myself in the elevator mirror, 'way to go kid, you got through this one' I nod, and it's on to the next nail biter. It was the school of hard knocks and anything I didn't know, I learned it fast. I came out the other side of this wedding cycle with a genuine respect for the floral business and florists everywhere who are busy making arrangements for other peoples triumphs and rarely having the opportunity to celebrate their own. I can't believe we found a little time for ourselves to get married. With that, I missed many birthdays, many new babies have come that I've yet to meet and endless brunch dates are long over due. I miss my friends. I miss getting a latte and walking down the street with absolutely nothing on my agenda for the day but to browse window displays. I miss being bored(Jaime:>) I miss falling asleep without a thought in my head. I miss an empty inbox, I miss sewing. I miss Nia, I miss having the time to dress up and look pretty. I miss sun on my face and I miss riding bikes with Tyler down to the lake and feeding the ducks. For all that I've missed there have been great rewards and being so busy has taught me how important balance is and that it's okay to take on a little less. I'm learning to close my computer. And, I did have fun this summer despite being so busy, I made a ton of new friends and I'm certain that I'll be staying in touch with many of my lovely wedding couples. You know who you are! We had something special. It has been a pleasure working with people who have allowed me the freedom to create for them in my wacky, non traditional organic way. I feel the flowers, it has to flow and if it's not... flowing, I've got to walk away~dance or something and then come back to it. At the end of the day, I've reconciled that my business, like a baby, is growing up, taking off the training wheels and now the braces and has started dating. She's winning awards and scoring magazine features! Like a proud mom, I tell my friends about her, I blog about her and maybe I brag too much about her but I just can't believe she's mine. I can't believe this wee little seed has grown into such a beautiful thing. A thing that I would never abandon for anything in the world no matter how much sleep I'm losing. She has bewitched me and filled my life with beauty. 'They' say the true test of whether or not you're happy in your life is to imagine winning the lottery, would you still be doing what you're doing? I can honestly say, I love what I do and would want to keep doing it. That doesn't mean I can't hire 15 people to help me!! An army! The Coriander Cadets! Coriander's Comrads, The Coriander Crew!! And maybe I'd be booking spring wedding consults from our Italian villa; >
So, there it is, my honest gut(Thanks Heather). I pinch my self every day for my good fortune. I know how lucky I am to be so busy and I also know that in a blink it can all be taken away. I'm realizing it's important for me to celebrate the good stuff out loud because it makes the reality of how hard I'm working so much more bearable. I'm thankful beyond words and very much looking forward to the next wedding season. And with a rock like Tyler, he helps me reach greater heights, take bigger risks, and the restful moments are absolute bliss. Picture me (Batman) Tyler (Batman) ;>

Karen and Peter's wedding shot by Garrison MacArthur Photographers.

Juli and Jon's wedding kicked off wedding season shot by Danijela Pruginic

one of the last and most favourite weddings this year, Marni and Jason shot by Joseph + Jaime

Alison xo

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Congratulations Aly and John!

Charlie William Barber was born today at 7:33am to proud parents, my dear friends, Alison and John Barber. Aly is my very best friends(Britty) sister, I got to watch this shy teenager grow up to be an amazing, extremely accomplished young woman. Now to see Aly with her first baby moves me to tears of absolute joy. Alison and John lovingly mc'd our wedding this summer and helped make our day truly magnificent. Alison is an actress and published author here in Toronto and John a valiant firefighter, together they make an incredible team. Congratulations my dears. Much love and I can't wait to meet your baby boy!

Congratulations to Auntie Bitty and Auntie Rachel too! And to all the proud grandparents!

all photos by Joseph+Jaime

I'll never forget our summers spent in Wasaga Beach, lying about our ages, singing TLC's Waterfalls at the top of our lungs while driving the strip. "Babes on floats!" Love you gorgeous girls.
Alison xo

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Our wedding flowers!

I'm a wedding florist for gosh sakes and I kind of forgot to blog about our wedding flowers! Ha!

Leucadendron~ Blushing Bride (I think I may have chosen our date knowing this flower was going to be in season) The spiky texture of this flower juxtaposes the softness of the baby pink so beautifully. If I have a top five it's in my top five.

Queen Anne's lace another favourite flower(top three) of mine and my maid of honour and an obvious choice as the fields were exploding with them in a sea of lacy white magnificence.

A simple cluster of wildflowers plunked in a mason jar.

My bouquet, tied lovingly with gardeners twine not two hours before walking down the aisle. Queen Anne's lace with a rich purple scabiosa

Brittany's bouquet a simple cluster of greens with Queen Anne's lace

Small groupings of bullet allium, phlox, and astrantia fill old apothecary jars and vintage milk bottles.

Towering delphinium grown locally, of course :>

And finally the boutonnieres, I like to call them 'wispy clusters of love.' When I used to shoot weddings on the side of my acting career, it was not uncommon to see sad little boutonnieres, the flower slumped over and hanging on by a single thread of fiber after only minutes of saying "I Do." I vowed, never, NEVER will I make a boutonniere that will fall to bits under a good hug. Hug away my dear grooms! Did anyone happen to notice the little white bunnies on Tyler's tie?

All photos by Joseph and Jaime

It's the same ol' story of the plumber with a leaky faucet, the chef who orders take out and the cobbler with holes in her shoes.
I was making boutonnieres while Rachel was doing my make up! I hadn't realized that perhaps I should have started the wedding flowers a few days before, heck, you only need them to last one day! All that said, I loved the simplicity of it all. Big fluffy clusters of Queen Anne's lace spilling out of rusted sap buckets, hand tied bunches of lavender any and every spot we could hang it and simple bouquets of wild flowers ended up being more than I could have ever hoped for. Coriander Girl is never over fussed so why would my wedding flowers be any different? Any regrets? I should have warn a hand made floral head wreath. We've been doing a lot of these lately but I didn't have the time. Perhaps I'll wear one if we decide to renew our vows in ten years. Oh it's on!
And it's time for possibly the last wedding post next week which will include details about our amazing DJ, our lovely and talented MC's and the gorgeous musicians.
Thank you so much for sticking with me as I share these details. One day, I'm going to be so glad I documented the wedding this extensively. So much for my 3 part series!
Alison xo

Friday, November 18, 2011

Coriander Girl Bits 12!

Always a gorgeous freeze frame! Lol!

Isn't that wonderful?! Note to fellow proprietors, 1537 Queen St. West is available for February 1st. The community needs more crafters, artists, jewellers(not Russell Oliver) but inspired, impassioned people like you! Is it time to open that shop you always dreamed of? Here's to taking giant leaps of faith. I can't believe that after only 2 years we've completely outgrown our little shop. I could cry! It was the perfect place for me. I learned so much and I wish I could stay there forever but in business you've got to move forward, cautiously, carefully, you've got to take risks if you want to grow.

Alison xo

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

The last of the wedding details

What we gave our guests!

This was one of my most favourite elements of the wedding, getting to choose what to give our dear guests. Two fabulous women contributed to the gift bags. The first woman you've heard me go on and on about because she's one of my dearest and most talented friends. Her name is Erin Candela and she's an extraordinary artist. This past year she and a couple artist friends opened the doors on their very own gallery called Graven Feather Studio. She's a phenomenal woman and clearly her work speaks for itself. She drew this canadian wild flower for us and we couldn't be more excited about being able to share Erin's art with our friends and families. I tell everyone to hold it tight because it's gonna be worth a fortune some day!
Thank you Erin for this very special contribution!

If you know me at all, what's one thing you could bet the farm on? Is it that I adore cookies? ding ding ding!
Janis Smith of Elm Hill Cookies in Oakville is the incredible woman behind this incredible cookie company and for our guests she made up little gift boxes of love filled with her deliciously decadent cookies, I'm salivating!!!

Janis! Thank you so much for this unbelievably generous gift. We adore you and can't wait to come for another visit soon! I wrote a post last year about Janis's milk and cookie bar, I still imagine myself coming in after a crazy wedding weekend the scene would play out like an old western, I'm Clint Eastwood. "Gimme a shot of your finest 2%, make it a double on the rocks, it's been a rough day." End scene.

And look! It's Harry our bunny! She put him on a sandwich cookie! I'm serious, if you like cookies you need to visit this cookie shop. Not only are the cookies amazing but Janis makes you feel like you're visiting a friend you haven't seen in a while.

All images except for Erin's wildflower and this lavender sachet are by the beautiful and talented Joseph + Jaime

And finally a little fresh lavender from Coriander Girl.

Alison xo

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

A wee break from wedding details

A wee break from the wedding details to bring you some exciting news! We just bought this 100 year old converted church!!!

It's on a quarter of an acre,

It has a lovely little barn,

ceilings that soar and hard wood floors that go on for miles,

the sweetest little kitchen to inspire getting back to the table,

a wood burning stove and single pane windows mean my darling is going to split a lot of wood this winter,

and the perfect sized yard to create a magical garden for our magical bunny to frolic.

We picked up our keys on Wednesday and immediately started tackling the overgrown yard. I saw a whole new side to my love, the rugged lumberjack side, so hot! We feel so blessed to have this beautiful place to call our own. It's such an amazing feeling to own your own property. I've never been so excited to rake grass! We'll be renting out the townhouse so if anyone knows anyone who needs a beautiful victorian rental property in Belleville, let me know!

Thanks again to our beautiful families for their endless love and support!
Alison xo

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Country Wedding Extravaganza~Part 3.5

What we wore.

Brittany needed a christmas party dress I think, and we found ourselves at the Sherway Gardens... Sherway Gardens! I never dreamed I'd find my wedding dress there but alas, I came out of the dressing room at BCBG to gasps and a few tears, looked my best friend in the eye and said, "Bitty, did I just find my wedding dress at the Sherway Gardens?"
Easy peasy, lemon squeezy and it was under $300. I know right!

My shoes were the most darling little ballet flats from JCREW and my undergarments were from American Apparel.

My hair was loving twisted with the help of my make up artist and dear friend(Britt's sister) Rachel Smith. Who is practically famous for her make up artistry, she travels the world for goodness sake! And in the 11th hour when my veil did not arrive in the post on time, Rachel went out and found me a little feather fascinator to wear from Runway Bridal. She sent over iphone pics to the salon where we were getting our nails done. I chose the smallest, least showy of the bunch and it worked well until midway through the dinner the girls alerted me that the feather had practically taken flight and was doing it's own thing on my head, time to let it go.

Britt's darling little number was found at TNT. I wanted her to look like a goddess of the fields, natural and nymph like. I thought she looked absolutely beautiful.

The boys wore outfits from... wait for it... Le Chateau. Le Chateau!! I'm sorry but that linen suit we found for Tyler was so darling. Who knew Le Chateau had such great pieces and for such good prices. He looked like a cross between Gilbert Blythe(Anne of Green Gables), Sting(when he was with the Police) and a blonde John Stamos. Tyler's tie was from Holt Renfrew and his shoes were from Aldo.

Our bro's also wore shirts and slacks from LC. The Coriander dad's suit was from LC too.

Everyone looked spectacular. Our guests even seemed to match the overall colour scheme!
What a freakin' blast!
Alison xo

Tuesday, October 25, 2011


Congratulations to our darling Kerri, her husband Andy and their son Lawson, as they welcomed a new born baby boy to their family this morning!! Oct. 25th, 2011. We're so excited and waiting patiently to know the little doodles name. So exciting!!!

Alison xo

Saturday, October 22, 2011

A Country Wedding Extravaganza Part 3~More details

The first and most important element of a wedding is, "where are we gonna have this thing?!", and then for us the food.
My mom and pop's farm was really the only place we considered as it was the most perfect back drop for a wedding. The rolling hills and lush fields were an ideal place for photos. I grew up in those fields, cursing at the sky for being held hostage in the country by my parents. Cursing at the sky, clutching many a broken heart. Cursing at the sky most recently for having to leave and come back to the city... go figure. It seemed fitting to bring this gleeful heart home for the celebration. Tyler was completely on board to have it there, if we couldn't run away with our nearest and dearest to the Italian country side that is.
We used Thompson Tents from Belleville and I have to say that I was absolutely blown away by the customer service Paul and his team provided, thanks BJ! They made us feel like they cared about us and wanted nothing more than to help make our day amazing. Truly, you guys went above and beyond, bringing the extra tent in case of the rain, unbelievable! Tyler and I cannot thank you enough.

Here's my love the day before the wedding, helping decorate the tent, and looking positively edible I might add. "Waiter, I'd like to have the salmon please and for dessert I'll have the Tyler."

What can I say about Bonnie Kubica of BE Catering. This woman is fabulous. The food was fresh and local, just what we had hoped for and more. No chafing dishes here! Bonnie worked with us to create a menu of things we loved, mini local bison burgers, organic beet salad with fresh chevre, and fresh baked rosemary and olive bread just to name a few. And, and, and she kept us laughing along the way, what could be better than that?!

All pictures except the one with Tyler by Joseph and Jaime Photography

And finally dessert, ahhhh dessert. Possibly my second favourite thing on the planet. Not long after we shared the news of our engagement with friends and fellow business owners Edward and Amy, did they come to us with a gift like no other. They offered to do our entire dessert table! These proud owners of the historic Merrill Inn in Picton Ontario(where we got engaged, well sort of, we got engaged in front of Arnie's muffler and general repair and stayed at the Inn), know how to put on a spread. The dessert table was a perfect blend of country bake sale meets fine dining. Home made pies, tarts, crumbles and cupcakes finished off our meal so beautifully. Thank you dear Edward and Amy for making our wedding day so special.

Final details to come, FLOWERS!?, what we wore and what we gave to our guests. Who sang and played instruments, who DJ'd and who drove that tractor?

Here's to walking in fields with your lobster.

Alison xo