Firecracker Stakes : 4th of July Party

July 4, 2013

Last weekend we hosted a 4th of July and horse race betting party at our condo. We thought our friends might be out of town or busy on the 4th, so we wanted to have a get-together earlier in the week. We titled the event the “Red White and Blue Firecracker Stakes,” named for the Churchill Downs horse races going on that day. I enjoyed decorating for the party and making appetizers – we don’t have parties often enough so it was a great excuse to go all out. Will painted a sign that read “Welcome to the Firecracker Stakes,” which turned out really well considering I was supposed to make it! Everyone brought a side dish or dessert and we made hamburgers and hot dogs. I forgot to take pictures once the dining table was set buffet style, but I took some good ones beforehand.


The guys have been really into betting on horses since we all went to the Kentucky Derby in May, but they realized maybe there’s a cheaper way to watch the races and have a fun time. To limit the money being spent, we created our own game. Each person brings $10 for the pot and we have 4 teams of 2 people (couples in our case). We take turns picking horses for each race, and first to pick 3 winners get a prize, and first to 5 winners gets the jackpot. We set up 2 TVs in the living room with a laptop connected to each so we could live steam the races from whatever race track we chose. We had a great time, even though the same couple won the prize (Target gift card) and all the money!


Hope these photos inspire you to throw your own holiday bash for the 4th! Enjoy your day today and have a Happy 4th of July!


My Lyst | Mint + Mango

June 23, 2013

Hello friends, I hope you have all been enjoying the summer so far! We had a fantastic time on our cruise and I’ll share photos when I get the chance. I just discovered Lyst this week, where you can follow brands and be notified when your favorite items go on sale – really fun! While browsing (a.k.a. obsessing) I realized I’m drawn to shades of mint and mango. I love how these pieces all coordinate. The key to mixing two bright colors is to wear one print that ties them together, like this floral dress or a light scarf. What colors are on your wishlist this summer?

{ Stripe Tee | Tote | Floral Dress | Necklace | Bracelet | Sequin Tank }


Happy Third Anniversary, Will!

June 5, 2013

Will and I were married three years ago today! It’s hard to believe so much time has passed already! These are a couple of my favorite photos from our wedding day. I shared our wedding video last year if you want to see more!

I’m currently in Ft. Lauderdale enjoying a day off before we board our cruise in the morning, sailing to Key West and Cozumel. I can barely contain my excitement!

For Will: I’m so blessed to be married to my best friend and love of my life. We have made it this far and I can’t wait to see what’s in store for us next. I love you!

Photo by Megan Forehand Photography.


Catch Up + Vacation!

June 1, 2013

It’s been a crazy few weeks in April and May! I enjoyed my time off in April so much that I failed to take many photos for Instagram and Facebook. No sign of slowing down until next week, when I will be aboard the Carnival Victory cruise to Key West and Cozumel for our Anniversary! I’m flying into Ft. Lauderdale on Tuesday night, I’ll have a beach day while Will is at work on Wednesday, then we are going to see Fall Out Boy at Miami Beach that night! I’m loving their new album, give it a listen if you haven’t heard it yet. Our cruise leaves on Thursday and I’m hoping to relax and unwind free of internet and cell phones – but no worries, I will take photos this time!

Here is what has been going on with me:

  • Remember my baby shower moodboard that I shared a couple months back? We hosted our woodland themed baby shower in Ann Arbor, MI in April and everything turned out great! I’ve been aluding to this post for a while now, so I promise to share all details about the invitation, decor, and favors when I get back!
  • Since mom-to-be Cheryl lives in Jacksonville, we took a road trip down from Michigan to bring down all her baby gifts. It was a fun girls trip with many stops along the way, including a hiking day in Gatlinburg, TN and lunch and a quick visit with a friend in Greenville, SC! I added 2 new states to my visited list – the Carolinas! While in Jacksonville we relaxed at Ponte Vedra Spa and spent a lot of time at the beach and visiting family – it was wonderful.
  • We took our annual friends trip to the Kentucky Derby in May, which was great fun as always! Unfortunately, it rained the entire time while we were under a makeshift fort in the infield, but it made for a lot of great memories, and more reasons to drink mint juleps!
  • Last week I shared my first guest post about Alabama for Elembee’s Across the USA series, make sure to check it out!
  • I’m participating in It’s A Banner Day at Hygienic Art in New London, CT which opens today! This exhibition is put on by one of my favorite design bloggers Patti Murphy and her sister Kat. I created a banner titled “Just BE,” which you can see in the banner gallery on the website. It has 4 flags in fun colors, that read “BE Spontaneous. BE Adventurous. BE Humorous. BE Generous.” That’s a reminder that I need sometimes, so I thought it was a great theme for my submission. I wish I lived close enough to attend – how cool that something I designed is being displayed in a state I haven’t even visited yet?!
  • In the rest of my free time I’ve been doing a lot of spring cleaning and decluttering in our condo – it feels great not having as much junk and I have dropped off at least 1 bag to Goodwill each week – while avoiding going inside to collect more stuff!

I’m super pumped about my cruise, I’ll have tons more to share when I return! Hope you are having a great weekend everyone : )

(Photo source)


Across the USA to Alabama

May 24, 2013

I’m talking my about my favorite places to visit in Alabama for the Across the USA series over at Elembee today! Head on over there for some travel tips from this Bama girl and photos of my favorite state. Kory from A New Journey is joining me to tell about another southern state that I love, Tennessee!

*EDIT (April 11, 2015)*

Lisa did an overhaul of her website (it looks amazing!) but the Across the USA Series didn’t make the cut. This was my piece about Alabama:

I lived in Alabama for my entire life up to about 3 years ago, when I moved to Ohio. I currently live in Dayton, OH with my husband and little dog. We still visit Alabama often to see family and friends, and we both miss living on campus at the University of Alabama!

Alabama has a lot of rural beauty with scenic farmland, beaches, lakes, rivers, and a few cities in between. It’s so wonderful in the spring when everything is green and there are blooms everywhere! It really is true what they say about Southerners being so nice, you can’t go anywhere without being greeted by friendly locals. Since there aren’t any professional sports teams, everyone has a lot of enthusiasm for their chosen college team. Whether you’re an Auburn or Alabama fan (and you have to pick one!), there’s a lot of camaraderie and it’s great to be a part of.

It’s hard to pick just a few places to visit, since everything is so spread out, so I decided to talk about each of my favorite cities in Alabama and hopefully you will have a chance to visit at least one of them!

  • Birmingham: As Alabama’s largest city there are so many options for whatever you may be interested in. For some good southern comfort food check out the Irondale Cafe, which is the original Whistle Stop Cafe from the Fried Green Tomatoes book and movie! I highly recommend visiting Homewood, where you will find many local shops and art galleries. Drive up to Red Mountain to see the statue of Vulcan standing high above the city. The view is incredible, plus Vulcan Park is a great place to picnic or go in the museum to learn about the history of the iron and steel industry in Birmingham. If you want to learn more area history, go Downtown to the Civil Rights District. There you can visit the Civil Rights Institute and see sites of historical events that sparked the Civil Rights Movement, including the 16th Street Baptist Church.
  • Mobile: This is the place to be for white sandy beaches and great seafood. It’s also about an hour from Gulf Shores, which is another top vacation spot in Alabama. Try Felix’s Fish Camp for freshly caught fish, oysters and shrimp and an excellent view of the bay. Visit during Mardi Gras if you can – despite popular belief, the original Mardi Gras took place in Mobile and they take a lot of pride in that fact. There are several weeks of parades and they are so much fun!
  • Huntsville: If you are into science, visit the US Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville. The museum has many exhibits that are great for families. You can also experience the anti-gravity and simulation of space travel in amusement park rides outside the museum. If you are really adventurous, you can enroll in Space Camp (for kids) or Space Academy (for adults) and train like an astronaut. Travel back in time with a visit to Alabama Constitution Village, a living village depicting Huntsville as it was in 1819 at the time of the state’s founding.
  • Tuscaloosa: Visit in the fall to watch University of Alabama football and experience southern tailgating on the quad. It’s not your average tailgate, many people grill out wearing dresses and polos – some people even set up their tent with furniture! We love our football and it doesn’t hurt that Bama is the National Champion for two years running! It’s also worth it to take a tour and see the few buildings that survived the Civil War, plus the campus is beautiful!

Photo by Steve Driskell.


Emerald + St. Patty’s {Weekend Treasury}

March 15, 2013

Even though I’m not Irish in any way, St. Patrick’s Day has always been one of my favorite holidays. Not only do you get to wear green, drink green beer, and listen to Celtic music, you can celebrate knowing that spring is coming and everything outside will soon be green as well!

The Pantone Color of the Year also happens to be Emerald, so what better time to create an Emerald + St. Patty’s Treasury! I hope you enjoy my Etsy picks before you head out to your weekend plans.

Speaking of weekend festivities, we are going to Columbus on Saturday to see Slightly Stoopid and a couple other reggae bands! I know it’s not Irish music, but it works for me! I’ll be there with my new green top from Express and glitter shamrock glasses from the dollar store! It’s going to be awesome : )



Spring Green Shamrock p…


Saint Patrick’s Day…


Rough – Raw- Emerald Ri…


Colombian Emerald Bezel…


Emerald Green Nautical …


St. Patricks Day Earrin…


Teal Me…Please – Teal…


screen printed tote bag…


Lucky Leprechaun Crown …


St Patricks Day Garland…


Emerald Green Earrings …


Large Silk Scarf in Eme…


Shop Sale.. EMERALD RON…


St. Patrick’s Day S…


Lace Fabrics 3D Emerald…


Treasury tool supported by the dog house


Baby Shower Mood Board

March 8, 2013

Baby Shower Moodboard

This week I spent some time designing the invitation for Cheryl’s upcoming baby shower, and I finally finished and ordered them on Wednesday! I’m not going to share the final design just yet – so these are some of my favorites from our secret inspiration board on Pinterest.  As I mentioned in the last post, her shower is going to be a woodland animals theme, similar to her nursery decor. The little fox above is from the Little Darlings collection and I am absolutely in love with them! Now that the invite has been ordered, I’m thinking of making some matching printable cupcake toppers and bookmark favors. We have so many fun decoration and game ideas – I can’t wait to see it all come together in April!

Your turn: Do you have a favorite baby shower idea that we should use?! Please share in the comments : )

{ centerpiece | fox | invitation | woodland animals | framed illustration | cupcake table }


Family Trip to Mackinac Island

December 26, 2012
Family Photo

Grand Hotel from the Ferry

As promised, I am back with more info on traveling to Mackinac Island, Michigan. Since this trip happened in June, I wanted to make sure to post about it before the end of the year! This time we went with our sister Cheryl, Aunt Felicia, and cousins Brittany + Rex and their sweet baby, Elliana. We had so much fun! Even though it was rainy for the first couple of days, we still had plenty to do. We split our trip into two cities, so here is the breakdown of activities.

Mackinaw City

The first night we stayed at American Boutique Inn. This small motel has a lot of character, plus it is cheap and right on the lakefront. Will and I just happened to get the Somewhere In Time Suite, which was a funny surprise! Since the movie was filmed in this area, you see references to it everywhere, and to tell the truth, it’s pretty cheesy (but I love it!).

Somewhere In Time Suite

We spent the afternoon in the downtown shopping district, where there are a lot of great places to buy souvenirs and treats. We saw great prices on shirts, especially at Momentum – I paid $17 for my MACKINAW CITY moose hoodie! Of course, you can’t visit the area without stopping by one of the fudge shops or The Popcorn Factory, where Will recommends you try the dill pickle flavor!

Mackinaw City

Dinner was Mama Mia’s Pizza, where we shared pitchers of LaBatt and Supreme and Hawaiian pizzas. I’m not one to like pineapple on my pizza, but this was delicious! Don’t forget to visit the free museum upstairs while you are waiting on your food! The NBA Finals were on, so the guys headed to Dixie Saloon (they have saddle barstools!) to watch the game, while the girls took a walk on the lakefront to see Mackinac Bridge in the sunset.

Mackinaw Bridge in SunsetMackinaw Bridge Sunset

Mackinac Island

It rained a lot Monday morning, so we took the noon ferry out of St. Ignace with Arnold Transit. While waiting to check into the hotel, we went shopping on the main strip. Again, this was a great time to be a fudgie and get some treats!

We stayed at the beautiful Mission Point Resort which is also right on the lakefront. Make sure to try the $5 martinis next to the dining room – if you’re lucky, the bartender will tell you what drink you are, then make it for you. We also had fun drinking mojitos and learning logic tricks from the bartender at the hotel bar. They certainly do everything they can to keep their guests entertained!

We had our first dinner at The Gate House, if you remember from my first Mackinac post, we sang karaoke here on our honeymoon. I am happy to report that the food there is wonderful! Try the whitefish, which is fresh from Lake Michigan. It was pouring rain that night, so we took a horse-drawn taxi both ways.

Mackinac Carriage Ride

Tuesday morning we took advantage of the clear weather and rented bikes from the resort and biked the loop around the island.

Biking around Mackinac

We headed to the Grand Hotel to check out the shops and the view from the cupola. It started pouring again, so we bought ponchos and rode to the Yankee Rebel Tavern for lunch. I will never ride a bike in a poncho again, that was dangerous!

Grand Hotel

It stopped raining after lunch so some of us went on a carriage tour. Will and I decided see some frights at The Haunted Theatre, which is scarier than you might think!

Mackinac Main Street

We wanted to live large on our last night, so we spent the entire (very late) evening at the Pink Pony. We ate an amazing dinner on the patio and enjoyed our last evening together. Felicia took the baby back to bed, while the rest of us found ourselves in the bar. We had fun with the house musician Brian, he takes requests and can play almost anything!

As luck would have it, Wednesday was a beautiful day, but we had to catch the 10:00 am ferry back to St. Ignace. Bay View Bed + Breakfast coffee shop had yummy breakfast sandwiches and coffee, however, we almost missed our ferry because they were slow with our group’s order. Don’t let that stop you from going, but I wouldn’t recommend going 20 minutes before the ferry leaves!


All in all, this was such a fun trip and I learned that Mackinac is perfect for honeymoon and family vacations! There really is something for everyone. If you have any questions or tips about Mackinaw City and Mackinac Island, please share them in the comments!

Mission Point

{Photos via Cheryl Culp // Brittany Johns}

In My Suitcase
White shorts, Neon flip flops, White lace tee : Buckle
Jean shorts : Macy’s
Teal cami, Stripe cami, Coral top: Express
Navy floral tank : American Eagle
Jacket : Nike Factory Store
On The Go Bag : Vera Bradley
Sunglasses : Costa Del Mar
Jeans (similar) : Charlotte Russe


Floral Fantasy : Event Design

December 17, 2012

Floral FantasyFloral Fantasy Invitation and Save the Date

{Decorative Font : Wendy LP | Inspiration : The Lovely Dept}

This fall I had the opportunity to work on a special fundraising event, Floral Fantasy, which took place last month. It was hosted by the Dayton Pi Beta Phi Alumnae Club, and I was asked to be on the committee because of my work as an alumnae adviser for the local Pi Phi chapter. They also needed a designer to create their invitations and other promotional materials. It was a lot more work than I expected, but so rewarding. All proceeds from Floral Fantasy go toward financial aid for deserving University of Dayton women. Children’s books donated by guests were given to City Day Elementary School to support our efforts in encouraging literacy.

I created a colorful floral illustration to use for the identity of the 2012 event. The gorgeous floral watercolors in the former header design of The Lovely Dept and the vivid colors in Rachelle‘s illustrations inspired me to get out my sketchbook to create a custom drawing. Since our sorority flower is the wine carnation, I studied photos of carnations in all colors and did many sketches to figure out their shape and form. Once I was satisfied with my final sketch, I scanned it in using the CamScanner app on my iPhone and painted the drawing in Illustrator. I am so pleased with the way it turned out! I adapted it to several formats, including the letterhead, invitation, save the date card, program cover, Facebook profile image and website header.

Some highlights of the event:

  • The main show – three floral designers Furst Florist, The Flower Shoppe, and Sherwood Florist created arrangments live on stage to be given away as door prizes
  • For the new “Art to Flowers” feature, each florist was given a painting created by a 2nd grade student and were asked to design their own interpretation in a matching arrangement. These were then sold together in the silent auction.
  • Jessie of Sherwood Florist creates so many unique and modern arrangements with many rustic accents like burlap and feathers. All of these artists create unique and beautiful arrangements, but Jessie’s always impress me the most.
  • My cousin Gracie won a basket of skin care products, one of the many raffle prizes donated by local stores and restaurants
  • I was very pleased with the “Pampered Pooch” basket that I helped build with some donations from a friend at Frontgate. It was in the silent auction along with 30 other baskets – I even had the winning bid for one of them!
  • We learned many tips from how to care for flowers to interesting ways to decorate with them in our own homes – I can’t wait to try out some of their ideas!

As you can see, there were many fun ways for guests to enjoy the event along with donating to a good cause. Being the 9th annual event, they have set a precedent and I know it will only keep getting better! If you live in the Dayton area, follow along on the website and the Facebook page so you don’t miss the date of the next event!