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A Woodland Baby Brunch

September 30, 2013

A few months ago in April, my sisters- and mother-in-law and I hosted a baby shower for my sister-in-law Cheryl at Barton Hills Country Club in Ann Arbor, Michigan. After many months of planning, we were very pleased with how well the decorations came together. As I mentioned before, Cheryl decorated the nursery with woodland animals, oranges and blues, so we planned the party around her theme. Ashley and Laura put together centerpieces, shower games and prizes, and I made designs for the invitations, cupcake toppers, and bookmark favors. My mother-in-law, Kathy did a wonderful job planning the brunch (location, food, sending out invites), baking cupcakes, making twig vases, and buying lots of stuffed animals for decorations and toys for baby Wyatt. Everything turned out so perfect!

An invitation and bookmark are shown in the first photo – Cheryl picked a bible verse to include on the bookmark to make it extra special. Keep scrolling for more details from the brunch and to see my favorite photos that Laura took of the event!

Baby Shower Invitation
Baby Shower Cupcakes

My cupcake toppers look so cute with the polka dot cupcake liners and blue, white, and orange icing. The cupcakes were really yummy too!


The stuffed animals on the mantle were great for decoration and also look great in baby’s nursery after the party. Laura made the cutest signs for the Baby Animal Name Game and felt diapers for the Poopy Diaper Game at each place setting.


Aren’t these centerpieces amazing!? The tree slabs for each table were hand-cut by Ashley and her dad! On top of the tree slabs are the twig vases my mother-in-law made (inspired by this DIY) with an arrangement of orange tulips and two cute owl candles from West Elm.

Baby Shower - Happy Parents

Here are the happy parents, Cheryl and Brandon, enjoying time with family and opening fun gifts for their little one! We are thrilled for them and excited about the first nephew/grandchild in our immediate family!

All event photography by Laura D’Alesio. Woodland clipart by Design Scraps on Etsy.


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!


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 }


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!


Top 5 Bridal Shower Favors

March 28, 2011

We had a wonderful shower a few weeks ago celebrating my future sister-in-law’s wedding! It was at the Barton Hills Country Club in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Though it was snowy and rainy out, the purple, blue, and white flowers gave us some spring cheer! We had fun games like the “Guess the Spices” and the person at each table whose birthday is closest to wedding date, April 9, won a prize! I was in charge of finding party favors for the event. We wanted to have something that girls of all ages could use, so I didn’t want to choose wine stoppers or anything like that. I found these cute little heart soaps in a black and white damask box, which were perfect to put at each place setting!

Damask Heart Soaps{Damask Heart Soaps : Beau-coup}

We had a short amount of time and didn’t really have the budget to buy handmade, but I started thinking about what handmade items would be great for bridal shower favors! Here are my picks for the top five bridal shower favors:

Soaps were the perfect pick for the party that I hosted because of the different age groups that were invited. You can find a variety of cute soaps for your occasion – heart-shaped in a classy gift box like the one I chose, or pretty bars like this one with personalized labels or whimsical little cupcake soaps.

Candy is also another great option, because who doesn’t love sweet goodies?! There are so many to choose from on Etsy, whether you are looking for chocolate bars with custom labels or small candies in a little decorative gift bags.

Bath and Candy Favors{Vegan Soap Favors: JoyFilledWeddings | Custom Wrapped Candy : PinwheelPretties}

If your party guests are older and more sophisticated, you can always choose to give them wine accessories that they will use again and again! There are some fabulous wine stopper designs on Etsy. Wine charms like the beaded heart charm featured below are also fun.

Favors like candles and potpourri are great, since your party guests can use these in their home and always be reminded of the fun time they had at your shower! Try to find something personalized for the event like this candle in a travel tin.

What woman doesn’t love some new lip gloss or a pocket mirror to keep in her purse? Or what about this chic mini Paris dish? I use mine to hold earrings when I take them off at the end of the day. Have something that makes them feel girly and you can’t go wrong. After all, this is a Bridal shower you are hosting!

Shower favors{Wine : Similar | Travel Candles : metalissa | Soap dish : Paris Chic Boutique}

I hope this post provided some inspiration as you plan a shower for your friend or as you gather ideas for the distant future! Check out my Treasury below for favor ideas that coordinate with the featured items.


Ashley and Joe are getting married next Saturday, April 9!! Stay tuned for some awesome Wedding DIY projects that Ashley has been working on all year! She is so talented! Hint: Quilts and Mason Jars!

Was your favor idea a hit at your last party?? If so, please share, I love to hear new ideas!