Tag Archives: dia de los muertos

Monday’s Finding: My Real Engagement Party

Well, they say good things come to those who wait. Last night my keyboard port decided to die and I’ve been waiting for the new one to come home with Mr. Wondermous. So, as dinner comes  to those of us on Mountain Time and I have a hungry boy to feed, my narrative is going to be a bit short.

Mr. Wondermous and me decided to keep the Dia de los Muertos theme going for our engagement party. We had a blast at our local Latino market finding new and (for me) beloved foods and treats to share with our guests. It was a great night full of family and friends.


Photos by Eric Murphy, Piscean Dreams Photography.
Catching a moment before guests arrive.


Photos by Eric Murphy, Piscean Dreams Photography (paper flowers and skull mask photos by me).
Our mantel ofrenda, papel picado (strung across the ceiling), and skull butterflies (the wings are from a butterfly garland I made for my mom’s memorial service.


Photos by Eric Murphy, Piscean Dreams Photography.
Feeling the love and laughter of the evening.


Photos by Eric Murphy, Piscean Dreams Photography (candy pic, sign pic by me).
Sweet table full of some of our favorite Latino candies and Tres Leches cupcakes I made for guests (along with Mexican Chocolate). We thought we’d include a small pic or two from our engagement session. I was really excited about the roll of skull ductape and Mr. Wondermous apparently loved him some wafer cookies.


Photos by Eric Murphy, Piscean Dreams Photography.
My kiddo doing air guitar, his “girlfriend,” Erin, Baby Daddy hamming it up with our friend Kyle and goofing my kiddo’s best buddy, me and my beautiful kitty, and my good friend Tana Marie and me…”We’re getting married bitches!”


Photos by me and pic of my mom’s ofrenda by Eric Murphy, Piscean Dreams Photography.
My mom’s special ofrenda with one of Papery Nook’s beautiful luminaries Sara created for my mom’s memorial.


Photos by Eric Murphy, Piscean Dreams Photography.
With friends and family.


Photos by Eric Murphy, Piscean Dreams Photography (photo of zombie sugar skull, and novios by me).
Remaining decor. I love my Day of the Dead Tree (ornaments and garland made by me) and my vintage velvet sombreros.

Well, I’m off to feed my kiddo. I hope you all have a great night!

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Monday’s Finding: My Real Dia de Los Muertos Engagement Session

So, I’ve spent some time over the last few months trying to decide whether to share mine and Mr. Wondermous’ engagement session here or to submit it to another blog. Well, Mr. Wondermous helped clinch the decision to share it here when he said that it would be great for my readers to see a bit more of the woman behind the keyboard. Well, here it goes!

As a Navy Brat growing up in San Diego, I was fortunate to have parents who immersed me in the traditions and cultures we encountered among our community. My favorite was and still is Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead). The colors, the sounds, the celebration of one’s deceased loved one spoke to me and is something I have carried on throughout my life and have passed on to my son.

We get together with friends, make sugar skulls, gather up pictures and momentos of our honored dead and instead of mourning them all over again, we feast and celebrate the return of their spirits. We set up an ofrenda (altar) with marigolds and papel picado (ornate hand cut tissue paper) banners, food and especially favorite foods of the loved ones we are celebrating. It’s always so much fun to head to our favorite local Latino market for special treats. I think the most fun is when we can introduce this day to those who have never been exposed to it.

When Mr. Wondermous and I were considering an engagement session, we decided to skip the old fashioned portrait session and do something we both love. I must admit that the idea to do a Dia de los Muertos them stemmed from my purchase of these shoes:

Thanks for the inspiration Iron Fist!


Armed with our Day of the Dead theme, we headed with my friend and photographer, Eric Murphy, of Piscean Dreams Photograpy to Fairmount Cemetery not too far from our place in Denver. Here, Eric captured the gorgeous fall colors we in Colorado are fortunate to have.


Mr. Wondermous and me wanted to by sure my kiddo was included in the session and her is the little love of my life doing his version of a photo bomb with us at one of the mausoleums.


What I find amazing about Mr. Wondermous and me is how our lives have so many near misses in our meeting one another and commonalities. Mr. Wondermous was in the Navy and I’m a Navy Brat. Mr. Wondermous was stationed at the same base in San Diego as my father prior just in different years. I went to university in Riverside, CA and Mr. Wondermous lived in Riverside for a good portion of his life prior to his moving to Colorado. Not only did he live in Riverside, but he worked at the same Del Taco my friends and I frequented after going to our favorite club. There are a few more, but these are some of the stronger examples.


How did we meet? It’s a funny yet complicated story, but I’ll give you the short version. We met at his ex-girlfriend’s housewarming party. Now before you think I’m a home wrecker, they had been broken up for a while yet remained friend and she was a friendly acquaintance. It wasn’t and instant connection though.


In certain situations, I can be quite shy. In this one, I was petrified. I didn’t know that many people who were there and when I found some friends I immediately latched myself on to them. I was just getting comfortable with my surroundings and this guy comes up and joins the conversation and introduced himself to me. Mr. Wondermous says that I was “seriously stand-offish” and wasn’t entirely friendly upon introduction.


As the night went on we ended up talking to one another and their was an immediate connection. As the party winded down, some of us were looking for crash space and we talked at length until both of us were fighting sleep. In the morning it was an awkward goodbye with a plan to perhaps continue the conversation at another time. It took us a week or so to get in contact with one another and set up a date. We’ve been together ever since.


A few weeks ago, I gave the story behind the proposal. When it came to the ring, we just couldn’t find anything either of us liked. In the back of my mind, I knew in my heart what I really wanted, but was afraid to ask. You see, I wanted to wear my mom’s engagement ring. It had been six months or so since my mom’s death and I had no idea if I should or even dare to ask my dad about it. Dad and mom were together for 49 years and married for 48 of them. I figured that in addition to being a beautiful ring, I felt that their luck in love and steadfast marriage would be a bit of luck for us.

My esesh

So, when I finally got the nerve to ask my dad about the ring, he said yes! Not only did he give us my mom’s engagement ring, but also her wedding ring and his wedding band. I was floored. He told me how he got all three of them as a set from the PX (a military on-base department store for those who don’t know) and how he would love nothing more than to give us the love and steadfastness that brought he and my mom so much happiness and many years together.

My Esesh 2

When it comes to engagement photos, I can be a bit of a portraiture purist. However, I did allow for a bit of silliness for this session as Mr. Wondermous and myself are both fairly serious and our fabulous photographer just knows how to get us to let loose a bit.


I leave you with kiddo photo bomb number two. I enjoyed sharing this with you today and hope you will tune in again next Monday when I share our engagement party pics with you. Take care all!

Photography by: Eric Murphy, Piscean Dreams Photography
Location: Fairmount Cemetery, Denver, CO
Dress: Shabby Apple
Shoes: Iron Fist
Skelemingos: Dottie Grim Designs
Ofrenda (altar), sugar skulls, paper flower bouquet: Belle Memorie

Saturday Surprise: A gorgeous Dia de los Muertos shoot

Local (CO) photographer, Mark Hayes, completed this shoot in 2009. I came across it when searching for inspiration for our (can’t forget Mr. Wondermous) engagement party. I just had to share it with you:
http://markhayesphotography.com/2009/10/26/dia-de-los-muertos/

Theme Thursday- My Dia de los Muertos Engagement/Birthday Party pt. 2

Here is my inspiration board for the party. I want bright colors, a community ofrenda (each person brings something for it), and if people want they can wear calavera makeup (I might have someone there to do it). After the board for the party are other boards I have done in the past with a similar theme.

Copper Charger | Decorative Accessories
$129 – bassettfurniture.com

Calla leaf jewelry
torontolife.com

Red Devil Sugar Skull
autumnpress.com

Rodrigvitz Style:
rodrigvitzstyle.typepad.com

Big Fat Indian Wedding: Flower Decoration
thebigfatindianwedding.blogspot.com

Parties by Kristen
partiesbykristen.blogspot.com

Holiday Bread
mexibread.com

Wedding Inspirations: Aqua, Gray, Yellow
weddinginspirationblog.blogspot.com

Tarantula Azul
chilledmagazine.com

Theme Thursday- My Dia de los Muertos Engagement/Birthday Party pt. 1

For today’s Theme Thursday, I thought I would share with you what the theme for my engagement party (also my birthday) will be. Growing up in San Diego was such a blast and one of my favorite things other than the ocean is Dia de los Muertos. Dia de los Muertos (in English: Day of the Dead) is a holiday that if you aren’t familiar with it can seem a little odd. You see, in the Mexican culture, death is not something to be feared, but considered to be a part of life. Every year from October 31st – November 3rd we are reminded to celebrate our ancestors and deceased loved ones. For those who celebrate it, an ofrenda (altar) is typically set up in a family’s home that honors their beloved dead. Bright colors are used to express the joy of knowing that our deceased loved ones come to visit us during this time of year. It is not a somber celebration of death, but a celebration of joy, knowing that we will see our dead ones again.

Many of you know that my mother passed away on March 30th. I was very close to her and she was much more than my mother, she was my best friend, my confidante, and my heart. Losing her has really thrown my whole engagement and thoughts surrounding it in to a tail spin. There are many times where I just sit and cry, get angry (especially with the Mother’s Day commercials), and have struggled when I think about the best way to honor her. My fiance and I have held off for an engagement party so that we can have time to grieve and move on from a place of such sadness. My mother loved Dia de los Muertos and my birthday is in October (my mom always went all out with birthdays), so we thought a fitting tribute would be to celebrate our engagement with a colorful Dia de los Muertos theme.

Today I want to share with those who are experiencing the loss of a loved one, a different way in which to handle death and the feelings of loss. It’s appropriate to mourn for a significant period and those feelings will never go away totally and completely. However, I would ask that you maybe consider taking a little bit of the Dia de los Muertos spirit with you to remind you (and me) that in death we can look to the happiness we had with those we loved and celebrate it.

First we have an Etsy treasury I created from items we are getting for our celebration. My dress will be in the style picture, but instead of a check pattern, it will be accented with sugar skull fabric. My favorite has to be the papel picado made by Amy Mujer (she was featured in Bride’s magazine a month or two ago).

‘Engagement Party Stuff’ by ravengrrl

This is just a list of things I want for my engagement/birthday party not meant to be artistic.


Frida’s Flowers…

$12.00

Day of the Dead Wed…

$48.00

Day of the Dead Sug…

$30.00

Miss Skeleton Butte…

$36.00

Vintage Skeleton Wi…

$12.00

Rockabilly checkere…

$120.00

Day of the Dead- Al…

$9.00

Black and Red Skull…

$4.00

TILL DEATH Custom C…

$23.00

Day of the Dead – M…

$20.00

Paint it Yourself S…

$4.50

Old fashioned Hallo…

$2.00

PDF (.pdf) Original…

$4.00

Your Pick… 20 pom…

$66.00

Blank Greeting Card…

$5.00

Color Me Happy Set …

$1.59

Treasury tool by Red Row Studio.

Stay tuned for part two later on today.

Friday’s Favorites: The Doll City Rocker

Today’s Friday’s Favorites is an Etsy store that sells items influenced by my favorite fall holiday: Dia de los Muertos. Growing up in San Diego, I remember trips to Old Town the day after Halloween and the sites and smells emanating from every shop and restaurant. It’s a day for celebration of our loved ones who have passed on, not a time to mourn them as some may think from the skeletal imagery. Look beyond the skeletons to the colors, the foods, the garb and you will find joy and happiness in the knowledge that our deceased loved ones should be celebrated. Suzi of The Doll City Rocker shop has beautiful designs sure to add the nature of this festive holiday to your event wardrobe or even perhaps your wedding.

“Who is The Doll City Rocker?
Originally, I’m a London Girl! But I’ve lived and moved in many parts of The City and met many interesting people along the way. A rebel at heart, a lover of the alternative and very much an individual!

The Brand:
“The Doll City Rocker” was officially created after many years of sewing for myself and friends. The brand first launched with a range of Burlesque inspired accessories and has gradually grown to include more Rockabilly and 50s inspired designs.” – Etsy profile: http://www.etsy.com/people/TheDollCityRocker

FYI: I have sought permission from this vendor to use her products and her photos. Please do not use these photos for personal gain or copy the designs presented. These products are the livelihood, passion, and intellectual property of the artist and to copy these items or to use them for person gain is both highly unethical and in some cases is a violation of copyright law.

Dia de los Muertos- Wedding

“Dia de los Muertos” aka “Day of the Dead” for a wedding? As I was watching “My Fair Wedding” starring my favorite event planner, David Tutera this past Sunday, I was slightly bothered by the approach that was taken with the bride’s vision for her wedding. Had Mr. Tutera (and the bride) taken the theme and understood it in it’s cultural context, I’m sure he would not have been so bothered by the Dia de los Muertos theme. The “Day of the Dead” is not a solemn time, it’s a time to honor the beloved dead and to celebrate life. In its cultural context, it’s a day to celebrate with parades; bright colors; decorating an ofrenda (altar) with food, candies, calaveras (skeletons often portrayed doing every day tasks) and beautiful bright marigolds; baking of pan de muerto (a slightly sweet yeast bread with anise and cinnamon); making and decoration of sugar skulls; as well as decorating graves with gifts for the dead. It is believed that the possession of Day of the Dead items bring good luck. Dia de los Muertos is not a grim holiday, but it is often misunderstood as something dark and scary due to the prevalence of skulls and skeletons. Dia de los Muertos is a holiday of honor and celebration and can be incorporated in to a wedding or event theme when the planner understands the true meaning of the holiday.

Here is my version of a wedding with a Day of the Dead theme in keeping with the true meaning of the holiday. The paper cut outs are called “papel picado” and are used as the invitation, place mats, as well as a decoration for the plate. The “chandelier” of marigolds would be a central focus of the reception decor, probably a large one over the dance floor and smaller ones over each table. The bread you see is “pan de muerto,” bread of the dead. Monarch butterflies are believed to be the souls of the dead and represent life renewing itself (the Monarch butterfly migration takes place at the same time of the year as Dia de los Muertos).

Parties by Kristen
partiesbykristen.blogspot.com
More clothing »

Big Fat Indian Wedding: Flower Decoration
thebigfatindianwedding.blogspot.com


Wedding Inspirations: Aqua, Gray, Yellow
weddinginspirationblog.blogspot.com


Tarantula Azul
chilledmagazine.com


Holiday Bread
mexibread.com