“Nothing can dim the light that shines from within.” Maya Angelou
It’s with a grateful heart that I write this last blog post before tomorrow evening’s 6th Annual “Soles of Love in the Garden.” Tonight, as I reflect on what is required to host this gathering in my home, I’m keenly aware that it takes a community of people with the heart and sole for the cause. The following people have also donated all or part of their services to make our evening a beautiful night.
Meet Ron Layman, the King of Christmas. He and Roberto, his assistant, transform my backyard into a magical wonderland which is not truly apparent until the sun sets. Every year, there is a moment in the evening (close to 8 pm) when the sun is setting, my guests have settled in, and I get my first real glance around the yard. The lights twinkle in the bushes, the arbors are bedazzled with shimmer, and I get this relaxed, peaceful feeling because of their creation. (Plus the fact that Kelly Beach and her crew just finished lighting close to fifty candles!)
Ron’s King of Christmas business provides artful light displays during all times of the year but his specialty is Christmas. I hope you’ll take a minute to check out his website and consider letting him work his magic on your home. Thanks Ron!
My brother John Kuhn, has served as the official photographer for every Soles of Love in the Garden since its inception. Although photography is not his full time profession, my “little brother” has been passionate about photography for more than 40 years and sells many of his works in galleries and through his website John Kuhn Photography. He works on commercial photography projects, shoot events, enters juried photo competitions, and really enjoys doing his own work, with a focus on landscapes, nautical scenes, and fine art nature photography.
John is truly the man of the evening on Soles night, as my regular guests look forward to John capturing their moments of the evening. For me, the biggest compliment comes when I notice John’s photographs becoming my friend’s new Facebook profile picture. I look forward to seeing the evening through John’s lens tomorrow night.
John’s hope is that our childen will grow to know appreciation… to take in and appreciate the beauty that is around you and especially who is around you. Love you, John!
And that brings me to food! Cheri Thompson of The Savory Spoon became part of Team Soles in 2012 and my party’s cred went through the roof (or should I say the sky?) immediately after. Cheri’s food gets rave reviews every year and I look forward to the after-party when I get to sample the goodies I’ve been hearing about all night long.
I always look forward to the moment I tell Cheri the theme for the party. She gets a certain gleam in her eye and you just know the creative wheel is already turning, as she begins to craft a menu and decorations that are the perfect complement to the theme. I can’t wait to see what she has planned for tomorrow (although I’ve already heard a few hints) and I know it’s going to be amazing.
Our guests will be leaving with a special favor tomorrow night, thanks to the generosity of ML Carroll Poore, of Canapes Catering. ML has been busy baking in the kitchen today so each woman will have a special “Soles of Love in the Garden” cookie to take home. If you’ve never had one of Canape’s artfully designed and super-yummy cakes or cookies….well……what are you waiting for?
Their cookies make the perfect (edible) momento for any special event and I learned this, first hand, when ML’s bakers made cookie favors for my “Hons with Guns” event earlier this year. So stay tuned and a big thank you to ML who, quite frankly, had a lot of other things she could have been doing this week, but she gave back instead.
I saved Kelly Beach of Vicarious Travel for last because we spent this afternoon together and my heart is especially full. Kelly spent a hot, sweaty afternoon setting up tents, hauling tables, discussing traffic flow, and all the little nuances of what needs to happen tomorrow night. Having Kelly as my Soles party handler enables me to stop obsessing about the details during the evening and just breathe, relax, and enjoy the culmination of months of planning, planting, and promoting. In addition to the pre-party set up, we eat ice cream, catch up on each other’s news, and even stole a few minutes in the girl cave today.
As soon as tomorrow is over, Kelly and I will be turning our thoughts to our Italy retreat on September 17th. Kelly, through her business, Vicarious Travel, helps her clients reconnect with the sweet serenity of the simple life. The reason I selected Kelly as my official Must Love Shoes travel host is because her long, personal experience travelling to this beautiful country provides our ladies with a more authentic travel experience than other travel hosts. If you’ve ever wanted to experience life under the Tuscan sun, Kelly is the perfect choice to make that happen.
So, that’s a wrap for another year of Soles. All that’s left now is the party!