A little update here and there

So many ideas, so little time!  Jeff and I have been talking constantly about all the stuff we want to do with this humble little website, and all these random & combined talents we have, but between our regular 9-5s, and a toddler that’s on the verge of running, it’s hard to do anything after bath and bed time, haha.

But here’s a sneak peak of what we hope to achieve.  We’re still working hard on our photography and event planning: Jeff and I had a wedding photo shoot last month that we’ll be sharing on the blog soon, and I’ve been assisting with wedding coordination through Events by Katherine.  Working with Katherine I have been able to work weddings at El Adobe in San Juan Capistrano, Center Club in Costa Mesa (with a full Irish band!), the Fairmont in Newport Beach, and Casa Romantica in San Clemente.  Each of these venues had something special to offer!

Aside from these services, we want to offer event rental services for props and decor items (who wants to buy stuff they’re only going to use once?!).  We are currently working on adding to our inventory, and I hope to have some unique and desirable items up on our website for your use in the next couple of months.  Stay tuned!


Nature Setting DIY Wedding

Back in April I was asked by one of my best high school friends if I would assist her in coordinating a wedding (she’s a wedding coordinator over at Christine Lustig Events).  It was wonderful to work along side and catch up with someone who was such a dear friend in high school, and I’m hoping to work with her again in the future!

This wedding had all sorts of DIY elements, which came together beautifully.  Although I helped set up for the ceremony, I was happiest when I got to set up the tables in the reception area–including mason jars filled with a variety of small and colorful flowers, and hand made wooden table numbers.

The ceremony took place outdoors at a the stunning Oak Canyon Nature Center, in Anaheim, CA, and the reception was at Orange Hill Restaurant in Orange, CA.

jason_&_nancy_wedding_7026 jason_&_nancy_wedding_7541 jason_&_nancy_wedding_8233 jason_&_nancy_wedding_8255 jason_&_nancy_wedding_9607 jason_&_nancy_wedding_9616 jason_&_nancy_wedding_9700Photos by Hugh Forte


Although we started out this website to promote our little shop that we had in an awesome vintage camper at The Camp, it’s now taking on a whole new life!

Due to various reasons, we had to close up shop early last year (2013), but we’ve recently decided to pick up our entrepreneurial spirit again.  We’ve also decided to keep the name “Nuestras Manos,” since the whole reason we liked that name was because it reflected that we were doing this together (with our hands), and even though we’re transitioning to something completely different, the concept of what we want to do is still the same: use our talents and skills, combine them, and work together doing something we love!

So, the idea is to combine our talents (photography, design, planning, organizing, wood work/crafting), and offer them to people for special events.  Jeff and I had a great business meeting last night, and we’re excited about the potential this has and where it can lead us.  I hope you’ll follow along!

The Times Have Changed: High School Photos

I’m pretty sure that when I was a senior in high school you got your cap and gown photos and that was about it.  One of my cousins is graduating from high school this year and she asked my hubby if he could take some pictures of her for her graduation announcements.  Whaaaaaat?  Seems like things have changed a bit, haha.  Regardless, my aunt and cousin drove over from Murrieta this passed weekend and we all went down the street to a friend’s property in Trabuco Canyon.  Yep, property.  In Orange County.  This is about the third photo shoot we’ve done there…the backgrounds are just perfect!

Here are some of my favorite shots:

sam 1 sam 2 sam 3

Isn’t she pretty?!  Ain’t my hubby talented?!  And don’t get me started on that property again…

Bachelorette Weekend in San Diego

What better way to re-start this blog than by sharing a wonderful bachelorette weekend in San Diego for one of my dearest friends?

It’s always funny to hear how boys plan the bachelor party the week of…not so for girls!  We spend months sending a flurry of emails back and forth trying to nail down every single detail.  In the end, everyone has fun, but I definitely like knowing way ahead of time that everything is taken care of 🙂

My good friend Sarah and I drove down to San Diego from Orange County, while the rest of the 10 ladies took the train, so that we could check in and get the room set up and decorated. We stayed at the Omni and I have to say: it was amazing!  The rooms were clean, but what really impressed me was the service–they were amazing and provided all the little (and big) extras that we requested.

As far as decorating the room, I was quite proud with the end result!

bachelorette display

I made a cute little banner that said “bride to be” using fabric and a nice, glittery burlap from Joanne’s.  The colors for the wedding are a rainbow of pastels, so I tried to go with that.  I also handmade some decorative garlands that we threw around the whole room.  I found these great little personalized hangover kit bags on Etsy, which I then filled with:

  • a couple pony tails,
  • mini pack of gum,
  • couple tablets of peptobismal,
  • chapstick,
  • an Emergen-C packet, and
  • a single dose pack of either Advil or Tylenol.

I wanted to put more in there, but space was limited, haha.  I placed these bags in each wine glass with each girls name, and I think the over all effect was pretty nice!

After the girls arrived, we went to The Blind Burro for lunch.  Delicious, happy hour specials, and no wait to be seated!

After the girls arrived, we went to The Blind Burro for lunch. Delicious, happy hour specials, and no wait to be seated!

Back at the hotel, one of the games I decided to go with was to have each girl buy the bachelorette a pair of underwear, and bring that (unwrapped) along with a “wish” for the bride and groom.  The point of the game is for the bride to try and guess who provided which pair of underwear.  I provided a form that could be typed in so the bride wouldn’t recognize everyone’s writing, since that would make the game way too easy! (You can see it here: Annie’s Bachelorette Wishes.)

bachelorette panties

It ended up being even more fun than I thought, mostly because of someone’s recommendation that the bride put on each pair of underwear that she guessed correctly.  Definitely my favorite part of this game.  Well…hearing everyone’s wishes was also pretty great! I had decided that the “winner” for prize purposes would be the girl who’s wish and underwear were guessed correctly by the bride; however, this bride had really good deductive and detective skills, so all the girls that she guessed correctly ended up picking a number to break the tie!

Along with the underwear and wishes I also hung up a gift for the bride: a personalized hangar that she could use on her wedding day for her wedding gown photos.  Another Etsy purchase.

We ended the games with a simple “kiss the guy in his boxers,” then headed out!

bachelorette kissesWe stopped by a random sports bar for a drink to kill some time (we had planned on hanging out by the pool, but the weather was not agreeable with these plans), then decided to head early to BarBasic where we had a reservation made.  This place was good (great vibe) and interesting, but don’t believe them when they say a medium serves only two!  We ended up with soooo manny pizzas!  We were all obsessed with our waitress who was stunning.

After this we tried to get into a speakeasy (I think it was Noble Experiment), but our party was too big for the area, and they were booked with reservations.  BUT, it was cool to try to get in through their secret keg wall!

Instead we headed to the Tipsy Crow, where we had to wait for the dance floor to open (we all quickly realized how old we are really getting!).  The website says there is a cover charge, but we never paid anything to get in–probably because we got there so early, haha.  This place had perfect music to dance away!  I think everyone had a great time showing off their dance moves.

We had plans for the hotel spa after this, but it was closed, and I think everyone was pretty happy to just head to bed!

Our last planned event was brunch at Bailiwick.  The food was ok, but I think the style of the place was the best part.  I couldn’t stop obsessing over everything!

bachelorette brunch

This was also where we gave the bachelorette her last gift of the weekend: a photo frame kissed by all the girls that attended!

bachelorette frame

My one suggestion: practice your kisses before you do it on the frame…mine ended up looking super sad, haha.

And who doesn’t want to end their time in San Diego by enjoying a free hopscotch across the intersection?

bachelorette hopscotch

It may have been months in the planning and at least a hundred emails back and forth to coordinate, but damn, I love when things go perfectly as planned!


Featured Item: Wembley Flat Tie

On a recent hunt for Nuestras Manos, I came across an interesting looking tie.  I remember hearing from someone that the new thing in New York these days were “flat” bottom ties, which I thought were kind of peculiar.

I found one of these flat bottom ties, but it definitely was not new!  I got it because I thought it would be a neat addition to the ties that we already have, and figured I’d do some research on it later.

Blog Wembley Tie

Turns out someone’s already done the work for me!  Here’s what I found on a very helpful blog:

New Orleans-based Wembley is also a necktie maker of long standing, one of a select few brand names that carry some cachet in the vintage market. Many Wembley ties, including this one, were made of “Wemlon” polyester (launched in 1962, discontinued in 1979). If they’re all like this tie, they are virtually indestructible, and it’s no wonder so many are still in circulation. Then again, it may simply be the sheer number of ties they’ve made over the years. Founded in 1925 by brothers Sam and Emanuel Pulitzer, the Pulitzer Brothers Neckwear Company company rose to prominence in 1935 when they started making ties out of worsted mohair, which had the appearance of silk but didn’t wrinkle. At that point they changed the company name to Wembley, after the mill town that supplied much of the fabric they used (now home of the stadium). In 1968 Sam Pulitzer’s heirs took full control of the company and changed the name to WEMCO. WEMCO was bought by the Randa Corporation in 1997, but continues as a business unit.

I found the obituary for one of the founders, Sam Pulitzer, in the New York Times, which I thought was pretty interesting.

Here’s another interesting article from the Tuscaloosa News, dated June 15 1986, talking about the family business. You can read the same article but in an easier to read format here.

1947 Wembley Tie Ad

1947 Wembley Tie Ad

Here’s an article that ends with the announcement of the renaming of Wembley to Wemco.

For those interested in a pretty entertaining legal opinion, check this out.  It’s a lawsuit filed by Wembley based on trademark infringement and unfair competition.  The trademark that Wembley was arguing about was the adoption of the “color guide,” a tool provided with their ties that recommended what color suits that particular tie would go well with.   Surprisingly, you can still find some of these ties along with their respective “color guide” online!

1947 Wembley Tie Ad

1943 Wembley Tie Ad

Featured Item: 1879 Singer Sewing Machine

Isn’t she a beauty?!  She’s not in working condition, but she’s just beautiful to look at!

Singer Corporation was first established I.M. Singer & Co. in 1851 by Isaac Merritt Singer. (although the first patent to design a sewing machine was obtained by English inventor Thomas Saint in 1790, and the first sewing machine was developed in 1807 by an Australian tailor, Josef Madersperger) .  It was renamed Singer Manufacturing Company in 1865, then The Singer Company in 1963.  Singer has an interesting organized labor episode from 1911, which you can read about here.   Like the United States Shoe Corporation, Singer began diversifying in the 1960s, acquiring companies involved in electronics as well as ….nuclear power plant control center simulators.  Huh!

But let’s get back to business.  This Singer sewing machine was manufactured on August 21, 1879, in Clydebank, Scotland.   How do I know this, you may ask?  Well, it appears that Singer was/is very meticulous about keeping records, even back in the late 1800s, so they still have logs with all of this information as long as you can provide a serial number.  Singer sewing machines manufactured prior to 1900 were given serial numbers with numbers only; after 1900, serial numbers incorporated a single or two-letter prefix (which indicated the manufacturing location).

This specific sewing machine is an “Improved Family” machine.  It was considered a breakthrough “because of its oscillating shuttle” and a high arm, although it was overshadowed the following year by a model that included an Edison electric motor.

AND, you can still buy the manual!


Featured Item: Red Cross Shoes

I’ve come across pretty interesting items in our little shop, and decided I wanted to know a little more about some of these.  So I’m dedicating a section of this blog to “Featured Items.”  Featured Items will be those that I can find some information about online, information I deem to be awesome and interesting 🙂

My first pick is a pair of Red Cross Shoes.

They are quite beautiful, aren’t they?

Don’t let the name fool you though, Red Cross Shoes has no affiliation to THE Red Cross.  Red Cross Shoes were first produced by Krohn-Fechheimer Shoe Company in Cincinnati, circa 1896.  Red Cross Shoe became a hot selling brand, maybe due to Mad Men savvy advertising it as the “noiseless” shoe.  The company had to adjust after World War I, when high-topped shoes started going out of style.  A six month strike in the Cincinnati shoe industry in 1921 made these adjustments difficult to make. Due to these difficult times, eight different shoe companies, including Red Cross Shoes, merged together to form the United States Shoe Corporation in 1931.  One marketing technique to revive the failing shoe market was to produce a $6 pair of Red Cross Shoes, that previously sold for $10.  Demand soared, and by 1939 Red Cross was the most popular shoe brand in the United States.

Red Cross expanded to the international market throughout the 1940s, and for a brief period of time voluntarily stopped using “Red Cross” due to complaints from the American Red Cross.  It took back it’s name in 1948 with the blessing of the Federal Trade Commission.

Red Cross continued to grow throughout the years, reaching production levels of 100,000 pairs of shoes a week in 1955.

United States Shoe Corporation began to diversity in 1955, with it’s biggest success lying in Lens Crafters.  By the 1980s, shoe sales accounted for only one-third of the company’s sales.  The company continued with ups and downs, but according the source of this information, it seems that it’s still chugging along. If anyone has recent information about the brand, this specific shoe or the shoe company, I’d love to read up on it!

Anniversary Collection Postcard

Main source of information: I read it on the internet, it must be true! 

Nuestras Manos now at The Camp!

Sooooo, some pretty big news to share with everyone.

Before we left to Germany, Jeff and I talked about how cool it would be to re-model a little Shasta trailer, and make it into a business.  It never moved beyond dreaming, at that point.
Last week, Jeff sent me this:
Which looked and sounded awesome!  We figured nothing was lost with sending an email to get a little more information, the whole time thinking it wouldn’t get beyond that.
Not even ten minutes after I sent the email, I heard back from one of the owners of the business, we chatted with him during Jeff’s lunch break, and made an appointment to stop by the shop that same night and chat with them a little bit more.
The whole time, Jeff and I kept asking ourselves how bad we wanted this: the couple that was selling it had several people that previously said they were interested, only to bail at the last minute.  They wanted to make sure that we were serious about the business, and on the whole drive there, we were asking ourselves if we were serious, and if we were willing to say yes if it was offered to us.  We decided our answer was “yes.”  We figure we always over-think things, and for once we decided that being irrational and crazy was the way to go.
We met with Kyle and Ari that night, and absolutely fell in love with the place, and with them.  I’m honestly way bummed that they’re moving to Seattle, because they would be a great couple to hang out with!
Although we loved the place and they liked us, there was one person who had met with them before, and had taken priority in line.  We had to wait on pins and needles for a little over a day before we heard from Kyle that there was a slight chance that the person ahead of us was not going to get approved by the landlord.  It was enough to make us jump for joy!  That whole week was a whirlwind…between emailing back and forth, waiting, excited, but trying not to be excited, and then absolutely excited again.  On Friday night we got a call from Kyle saying that we were definitely in: the landlord reviewed our application and approved us!
This week has been another waiting game, waiting for the lease and waiting to see our little place again!  But tonight we met up with Kyle and Ari, signed our lease, paid, shared some great stories over delicious food, and then we went to visit our new little home away from home:
So here we are, and Sunday will be our first day as owners and operators of….NUESTRAS MANOS!  We will continue carrying the current inventory, and replenishing vintage awesomeness, as well as adding Jeff’s art and wood prints, not to mention some exciting stuff that Jeff’s dad has been working on, as well as my own craftiness.  The great thing is that I can also continue to do my legal work from there or in the mornings before opening shop, and Jeff can start dedicating more time to his photography and art, once we both get all settled in 🙂
We know it’s completely random and out of the blue, but we couldn’t be more excited!  We also can’t thank Kyle and Ari enough for trusting us with their little baby, and giving us such an exciting adventure (not to mention how easy they have made this whole process for us).
In a couple weeks, we hope to have the place ready for a “grand re-opening,” and hopefully all of you can join us in celebrating our new adventure!