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Archive for the ‘Destination Weddings’ Category

The Westport Hotel, Westport, California
All photos by Pablo Abuliak

A few years ago, Dorine Real and Lee Tupper bought the old Cobweb Palace, a hard-used, decrepit hotel and bar that had presided over the pristine seaside village of Westport, California, about twenty miles north of Fort Bragg, since the 1800s. They undertook the intimidating mission of transforming it into its twenty-first century incarnation as The Westport Hotel and Old Abalone Pub. Only people who knew it “back in the day” (I am one who visited the Cobweb Palace in the 1970s), and inhabitants of the population-200 town who watched the remodel as it happened, have a grasp of what Dorine and Lee had to do to get it to its newly splendid state. It’s almost beyond comprehension to find the place whole again, serenely overlooking sunset over a rumpled Pacific, as it has since Westport’s glory days as a major logging town. The Hotel has re-birthed to a level of comfort and loveliness that, I am sure, it never possessed, even when brand new. Because of the vision, dedication and, I can only surmise, stamina of its new owners, Westport has become a destination for people seeking a retreat from modern culture and busy-ness, an imaginative and delicious meal, a place to gather in a community that is exactly what it is: homey, substantial, unaffected and really fun.

You enter from The Hotel’s beautifully finished, west-facing front porch to find the Old Abalone Pub gleaming in light that streams from every window: the deep blue room with endless views westward, pressed copper ceiling, red chandeliers, warm woods and even warmer greetings from its staff.

The Old Abalone Pub

The best part of all this is that The Westport Hotel has somehow retained its warm, welcoming, unpretentious soul through its rebirth. It’s a place I want to visit again and again, to drive that gorgeous road to a gathering place for friends and family, locals and visitors, where we all can get something fabulous to eat, something wonderful to listen to, unparalleled natural beauty, something soulful to inspire our lives. There is no place like it. Their tag line is “cozy, casual and a little bit elegant.” Yes, I’m a fan. It succeeds on all counts, exceeds every expectation.

Chef  Shana’s inspired, imaginative, locavoracious potstickers

Get sconed at the Westport Hotel — Dorine’s famous scones
The Arches Room with a View — yummy lodging by the sea

Imagine how exciting it was for me to get to design The Westport Hotel‘s new business cards, ads, rack cards, and just-launched web site. Maybe you can’t imagine it, but I was excited, may I just say. Working closely with Dorine and Lee throughout these various projects is one of many creative delights of this work because their vision didn’t stop at the building, but informs all of it. Yet they are open and welcoming to my ideas, which, if you have worked with me, are kind of never-ending and don’t want to be squished. They never squish. Everything is part of this big, amazing idea that almost takes on a life of its own. Here are the business cards:

The Hotel’s wide front porch is decorated with a huge metal sculpture, forged by a local artist, of seaweed spiraling over a giant replica of an abalone shell. This I took as the motif for the front of the letterpress business cards. To reiterate the pressed copper ceiling, we chose a gleaming copper foil. The the finishing surprise was finding a holographic foil that looks a lot like the inside of an abalone shell. I used Lee’s sumi-e brush drawing of an abalone and filled it with the blue-green-silvery patterned foil, making every card one-of-a-kind. The paper is deep blue on one side & white on the other (this is called “duplex” paper); on the white back side,  contact and schedule information is printed in deep blue ink.

Eco-artist, Erica Fielder, helped me figure out how to redraw the seaweed one night while enjoying a little impromptu dinner party and Photoshop session at my house. A big, collaborative beauty, don’t you think? It continues to be a pleasure to work on the printed materials and web site for this place; to be able to use Pablo Abuliak’s unerringly spectacular photographs, with brilliant styling by my daughter Alicia Borcich Abuliak; and to work with my brother, Joe Neves, on the web coding (see our handiwork at www.WestportHotel.us). Yep, I am so lucky to have such a talented family.

We did not stop at business cards. Below is an ad I made for the Hotel, for the magazine 101 Things to Do in Mendocino County.

Worth the Drive, indeed

If you want to make reservations for rooms or meals, call them up: 877.964.3688 (locally 964.3688). You can discover more, plus see our web design work, on the web site we just designed for them: www.WestportHotel.us

If you want to have a consistent branding context, it makes sense to have a designer who can provide creative design, letterpress printing, a sensitive ear and eye, a million ideas, extensive experience, and one-stop shopping for all print collateral, as well as advertisements and web design capabilities. That would be Studio Z Mendocino. Did you know we did more than letterpress printing? Yes, even digital rack cards like these:

The Westport Hotel offers breakfast when you rent a room, gorgeous Sunday Brunches, afternoon tea on weekends, and absolutely worth-the-drive dinners by Chef Shana Everhart, four nights a week, plus beer-wine-espresso and a brilliant pub menu in the bar. Let’s meet there sometime and talk about YOUR branding over a beautiful glass of wine and something delicious at sundown.

We welcome your inquiries: 707.964.2522

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love this Pizzuti Studios image from the SnapKnot site

I wanted to let my photography clients, and potential clients, know about a new website that I think is fantastic. I’ve never recommended a site in my blog before, but I found the idea and its execution so exciting and full of promise, that I have actually arranged with the SnapKnot team to give you a coupon for 1/2 off on your first month. So, you can try it out for the first month for only $24.95, and if you love what it does for your business, you can continue to be enrolled at the regular rate. All you have to do is put in the coupon code ZIDA1 when you sign up.  (Say” Thank you, Zida”!)

I met Mike and Reid of SnapKnot at WPPI, in Las Vegas, in March. They had just launched the site and were meeting scads of photographers who saw the potential and wanted to be included. As we all know, building business is a numbers game: the more people who know your name, the more likely it will be that you will be contacted and have the chance to convert them into clients. SnapKnot shows your work to the world in a sophisticated showcase. Sorted by region, by price, the website tells prospective brides about you and your vision, and lets you be seen by so many more people than your blog or website, all by itself, will be able to gather. I hope you will go see what they are doing for photographers, and see what happens when your business is highlighted there. Please let me know your findings too.

love this Studio EMP image from the site

Here are the main points about what SnapKnot can do to amplify your business visibility and profitability:

SnapKnot allows engaged couples to find the best wedding photographer to suit their needs by answering three basic questions about potential photographers:

What does your work look like?

SnapKnot is a photocentric site, and effectively showcases wedding photographers’ work. Brides can compare and contrast photographers side-by-side.

Where are you located?

There is an easy search and filter function based on a bride’s city or destination, so a bride can choose to look at wedding photographers only in her desired area.

What is your typical budget range?

Brides are able to filter wedding photographers based on their budget/price range. SnapKnot will only display wedding photographers who fall within the selected budget.

Wedding photographers can choose either a Free or Premium listing.A Premium listing is $49.95/mo. (only $24.95 for the 1st month if you use the coupon code “ZIDA1” when signing up).Premium members receive all Free features, PLUS:

  • Front four exposure

  • Priority placement

  • Larger display

  • 5x exposure in multiple cities

  • A dozen images

  • Connect with your leads in real-time

  • User dashboard stats

  • Logo upload

  • Paid advertising

  • Upgraded social media marketing

  • If you are curious to see what will happen should you join them, you can find out right now. Be sure to let them know the coupon code, which is ZIDA1 (zida and the numeral one), when you sign up, to receive your 1/2 off offer for the first month. I’m so happy to share this with you today.
  • love this Lucero Photography Inc. image from the site

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    The beautiful table setting by Dee Merz,  with menus by Studio Z Mendocino. Photos by Greg Gibson.

    Some time ago I posted a story about the wedding invitations we did for Vanessa Gomez and Mike LaGatta’s destination Napa wedding. Vanessa just sent me these photos from the Big Day and i just had to share them with you. They and the following words, are from the blog of floral designer, Jessica Switala’s Fleurs de France, who created the incredible bouquets you see below. We were very pleased to have made Vanessa’s invitations and all the wedding pieces, table numbers, menus, programs, seating cards, thank you notes.

    Vanessa & Mike, their family and friends all traveled to the Napa Valley for this Destination Wedding. The couple hosted their out of town guests to a full weekend of delicious food and wine. It began with an intimate luncheon at Brix in Yountville, proceeding to Groezinger’s for a lively, fun filled evening Welcome Party for all of their guests. The main event was held at Auberge du Soleil after their church ceremony the following day.
    Feathers and fiddlehead accented the brides bouquet and the rich textural florals in deep purples, eggplant, apricots and oranges. The shades and textures of their arrangements created a luxurious atmosphere fused with deep purple Peau de Soie linens and Topaz Terracotta napkins and chair cushions from La Tavola. I absolutely loved working with Dee Merz, their Napa wedding planner. We worked easily together, planning, discussing colors, linens, and other endless details. Vanessa provided style and color inspirations and then gave me complete latitude to create from my heart. The tears of joy I saw when she first saw her bouquet were a true indication that everything was perfection and just as she had envisioned. Greg Gibson just sent me these wonderful images! Enjoy!


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    The annual Wedding & Portrait Photographers International convention has already been swinging away for several days. I am getting ready to hop on a JetBlue blue jet, headed to the MFM Grand, Las Vegas, in a few hours, and I can’t even describe how elated I am finally, finally to get to meet so many of my fabulous clients.  For the last couple of years, photographers have made up a big percentage of my business. They call me up, we work together intensely, they are so talented and enthusiastic and beautiful, I send them their awesome business cards and stationery, WE LOVE EACH OTHER, and then we never actually get to look at each other in person or go have margaritas or go for a walk on the beach or anything. Today will change all that, no?

    Oh, boy, People!! I can’t wait to say hi and see your real-live selves. So happyyyyyy!!!!

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    Zoe is my first born child, a beautiful and amazing woman and to top it off, a gifted graphic designer. When she and Noah set the date for their Albion wedding and Mendocino destination reception (lucky them, the destination wedding happened where they actually live), everybody at the print shop knew we were in for something BIG, because when Zoe gets going, it is always trumpets and djembes and madcap unusualness, and we climb on board and RIDE. Zoe and Noah named their property in the country Chicken Pants Ranch — a fabulous organic garden, exuberant landscaping, ornamental yet quite productive chickens … and they somehow manage to make it all look totally chic at the same time.

    Chantacleer — All photos in this post by Withers Wanberg Pictures

    So, “Chicken Pants Ranch” became the leitmotif for the invitations Zoe designed last summer for their fabulous shindig, and we got busy in the shop producing an endless supply of gorgeous letterpress pieces. She used Kraft covered boxes, for a country-esque connotation and organic-looking paper-bag finish, and paired them with whimsical botanical (and livestock) motifs and typographical elan. As you can see, the mailing label and boxed presentation incorporates the winking, the fun, the stylishness, along with over-the-top calligraphy from Mary Meermans that appealingly predicted how the wedding itself would feel.

    Everything – paper, ink, food, flower arrangements, etc. was all recycled and organic and reusable/replantable. I think that’s a very important element! My concept for the invitation was that there was this kind of rustic feeling – the kraft paper – and then a traditional wedding element feeling, with the wedding-y fonts and traditional wording. (Zoe’s note)

    Mary’s calligraphy and a custom stamp designed by Zoe and printed up by Uncle Sam’s Post Office, delivered maximum punch in the mailbox… everything went together like a horse and carriage, a chicken and an egg or, to complete the simile-a-thon … no, I have to stop!

    The box held invitations we die cut and mounted on thick chipboard. Who wouldn’t want to come to THIS?

    There were a lot of pieces included in the box: Rsvp, directions card, menu choices card, envelope for the Rsvp, a separate invitation to the ceremony as well as the reception, etc., etc. etc. It was really too much for an envelope, and it all looked snappy and joyous, chic and fun-loving in the orange, soft yellow and green color palette Zoe devised. Everything was hand finished in the shop by Joe, Zoe and Rhea (we call it “Loving Hands at Home Press” when we do this kind of painstaking hand work), and Rhea was a genius behind the press, printing and die cutting and doing the impossible for days, as usual. Here is my beautiful Zoe; you would never think she is such a great farmer to look at her, but she is as much a genius in the garden as she is as a designer. And I’m not just saying that because I am her mom.

    Parking Signs were part of the Studio Z printing job too, but they were NOT letterpressed

    Here is Noah’s beautiful MacCallum House Inn and Restaurant, in Mendocino Village, where the reception was held in an enormous tent in its front yard. Here is the tent. It looked like a fairy tale inside…

    Mary Meermans calligraphed names on Kraft enclosure envelopes in white ink. The cards were set up in trays of wheatgrass

    Everywhere you looked there was more beautiful printing, more iconoclastic design, more amazing calligraphy, more glorious flowers, gorgeous, happy people and details nobody but Zoe and Noah could have come up with… and the food for the sit down dinner for 200 by Mac House chef Alan Kantor, left everybody dazzled.

    Well, there are not enough superlatives, obviously. This is the menu.

    Table cards, menu choice cards and table seating cards were also part of the printed materials that completed the affair in high style. One of the benefits of having a mom with a letterpress print shop: You get to have EVERYTHING at your wedding.

    Table number cards by Studio Z, and centerpiece by Rosa from L & R Farms, in Albion, California. People dickered over which guest got to take the centerpiece from each table home.
    Menus were mounted on chipboard too
    Chicken, a motif for all seasons (in the country) but bring us your own themes and see what we can come up with

    Sometimes, in the hurricane of activity we work in every day, we forget that fabulosity resides at Studio Z Mendocino. If you are getting married, perhaps you have considered sending your invitations in a box, even if you don’t have any chickens. There is an infinity of creative possibility you can request from us, and a universe of special techniques, experience and knowledge that can make your seemingly impossible dream come true. Call us at 707.964.2522.

    All photos in this post by Withers Wanberg Pictures

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    Audrey Snow is as gorgeous in front of a camera’s lens as she is intuitive and talented behind it. Audrey wanted business cards that interpreted her singular style as a wedding and boudoir photographer.  Audrey’s blog post describes the cards we recently delivered to her thus:

    I have always been a very tactile person.  The type of person who must touch every fabric she walks by in a store.  The type of person who believes a picture is more beautiful on paper that feels nice to touch.  It is no surprise then, that I have longed for letterpress business cards for years.  Feeling the print smashed into a luxurious paper, with a pretty design and the perfect font…  it gives the beholder an experience that stimulates the sense of touch and sight simultaneously…  and it makes me giddy. Check out our new letterpress cards by Studio Z Mendocino. I love the way our logo seems to sit on a pillow, and the pearly sheen Zida added to the swirly design. Aren’t they pretty?

    The wonderful photos Audrey sent of her new letterpress business cards capture the sheen, gleam, shimmer, sexiness and arresting thickness of the 600 gram Cranes Lettra paper we printed them on.substance

    The backs are almost as fab as the highly textured, pearly fronts…

    All the type is printed in chocolate brown ink.

    What happens when you pass a card like this to a prospective client? Usually stunned silence, open mouthed wonder. They do not get stuffed into the bag nor tossed into the waste basket. They are too beautiful and too precious and too-too. Memorable, arresting, important. Aside from this papery photo shoot, you can see other of Audrey’s fabulous work at audreyshowphotography.com

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    Everybody is drawing names and worrying about what to get for so-and-so, who needs so many things (or already has everything he or she needs). Not another necktie! And slippers…nuh uh… Cozy jammies are always nice, but maybe there is something even more appealing and creative, don’t you think? A fabulous and elegant solution to the yearly dilemma could be a Gift Certificate for Graphic Design and Letterpress Printing from Studio Z Mendocino. You still have time to order one and have it delivered in time for the Holidays, all gussied up in a pretty colored envelope, letterpress printed on premium paper, in the amount your budget allows.

    Your special someone will appreciate having personalized letterpress printing and creative work done up by the designers and crafts people here at Studio Z Mendocino. To get some idea of the array of work that is available, go to our web site www.studio-z.com or look around on our blog for more recent work. A calling card, correspondence papers, stationery, a new logo, extraordinary business cards for the entrepreneurs on your list, or even something toward the bride and groom’s upcoming wedding invitation.

    Name the amount you wish to give, send us their names and addresses, and we will take care of it from there.

    707.964.2522

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