Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Party Planning

Of late, I have been up to my neck in party planning! I love every bit of coming up with ideas, themes, colors and ultimately implementing it all and watching it come together, so while this has been a busy time with lots of logistics, its been fun.

Here are snippets of projects and plans that I have been working on.

My sisters bachelorette weekend is around the corner! Its going to be incredible, fun and chill. I have not yet revealed details about where it will be and where we will stay, but the invites I made might give you a hint! 

These were super easy to make and I thought turned out adorable. I took step by step pictures as I made them to post for you my process and around the house items used! Its not as hard as you think and though can be time consuming, I think totally worth it. Invites can convey more than just party details and are often used to set the tone of the event and get people excited about the event ahead! Besides, everyone loves fun snail mail.

I will be overgramming all of this over the next few weeks so find me on social media in case I am sketchy here! I still love ya, I am just busy chasing babies at the pool and enjoying festivities!

My sisters wedding will be here before we know it. We are down to one vendor selection and then finalizing details with all others. Its been a tedious process but if you are methodical, take good notes and do a bit of research, you can easily put together a fantastic event. 

I think I mentioned I was doing the bulk of the research, negotiating, contract reading and communicating. I love all things planning and between Kristin not loving it and her working, she has let me take over the reigns. Its been a great dynamic for my family and I think all parties are happy!

Last weekend, we found my bridesmaids dress as well as tried on some flower girl dresses. Do you like our choices?? ...Kidding! We are going chic, boho, vintage with a city twist and its going to be beautiful! 

I have been busy planning our upcoming Disney trip. I have never, ever ever been super excited about the whole Disney thing, but I have to say that as this has come together, I am quite pleased. 

I used to coordinate international trips for groups of 40+, so travel planning and watching it all come together is in my blood. It excites me to see the perfect vacation come together at a great price and that is how our Disney trip is lining up!! 

I am not yet "officially" bit by the Disney bug, but I am having a blast planning, and love watching Brother's eyes light up when I tell him I need to call Minnie to plan or Annie M's face when I mention Elsa and Anna! I will tell you post trip if I have become a Disney World groupie, but for now, I will say I am way more excited than I thought I would be. That's a good thing, right? 

{Lauren, I am admitting this publicly for you and all the world to see that I am liking this more than I expected I would! Thank you for texting me at 1 AM with the answers to all of my Mickey questions!}

I had an agent {that Lauren referred me to} do my initial booking, she walked me through things to think about and other details and I have handled the rest. It's been easy and great. I do feel like I could have done the initial stuff as I checked all of her prices with the rates online and it was all the same, but ultimately, it was beneficial to have her do it and for her to be a great resource and go to for me. I don't pay any extra for her service and I am happy that her booking provides for her family {as Stella & Dot does for mine}. Lisa has answered me immediately via email, phone call and chatted with me for an hour plus and I would highly recommend her to any Disney goers. I have linked to her Facebook page and you can contact her there. 

I have made notes on what helped me, things to know and things to think about, and maybe I will get my act together and eventually blog about that. We are a few months away from our trip still, but the kids have been involved in the planning {and saving our pennies} process and I want to share about our decision to include them and why we are going now with them being so little.

...I know some think we are crazy for it and you are right! We are crazy - but not just cause we are taking a 5 year old, almost 3 and an 18 month old to Disney! We are also laid back, fun-loving, chill folk and are excited to take our kids, do what we can do, leave when the kids have had enough and spend a week away with the family! Our expectations are to have fun and the trip will be great! Besides, I'm pretty sure my kids wont be the first to have a meltdown at Disney...hoping if they do, no one will notice. ;) 

I have texted lots of friends as we have planned, taken good notes, read lots of blogs and now we will look forward to the departure date here in a few months.

The summer and fall is one of the most fun times to be a stylist!! Between summer vacations and fun wardrobe styling and holiday parties and shopping, I stay busy and I love it. I am booking online, home and office shows now, and penciling in all the way through the holidays! If you want to share the style, have a personalized shopping experience, receive hostess rewards or just shop for yourself , please let me know! 

As always, I appreciate everyone who shops, hosts and lets me be your stylist! My Stella & Dot money pays for everything from diapers to preschool to oil changes to medical bills to grocery trips and even helps fund our family vacations. I use it to help off set expenses just like a normal job and I appreciate each of you! 

Speaking of Stella & Dot and fall, here is a peek of whats ahead! 

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Friday, May 22, 2015

The Dry Bar

Last night, I joined a few fab Mommy's from the Atlanta Area Mom's Blog {AAMB} for a night out!

I have chatted with friends a gazillion times about trying out The Dry Bar and it just hasn't happened....Due to thinks like life, kids, husbands, pets heads falling off, etc., whatever, the stars haven't aligned until now.

You can imagine my excitement when AAMB announced that this is where our Mom's Night Out would be and I immediately penciled it in on my calendar.

As one would say in hashtag world ---------> #winning

The Dry Bar was totally a fun experience. It was not a bar, like drink bar, like my hubby thought!

It basically is a fancy salon where they do a wash and style. No cuts, just styles. Think a free drink while someone plays with your hair, puts all sorts of yummy, smelly goodness in it and then spins you around and you come out looking like a movie star.

Whats not to love??

Along with getting our hur did, we had an entire spread from Christophe's To Go, swag from Pick Your Plum, goodies from Kendra Scott and I set up a few Stella & Dot pretties!

There were a bunch of friends I knew there and then a bunch of new Mama's I got to meet. To the left of me below, is my friend Kelly. Kelly and I "met" through blog land years ago. We both followed each other's blogs, became friends on Facebook, emailed regularly and at some point, we exchanged phone numbers and began to text. 

About three weeks ago, I texted her something to the effect of, "Hey! Can you send me a pic of your kitchen and window treatments??! I need ideas for ours and I think you posted something on Facebook?"

Random much, especially for someone you've never met!?? Kelly was the sweetest though and promptly sent me images of her kitchen and in depth window treatment descriptions and ideas. She knows I am a nut and she loves me despite! 

As I giggled thinking of my odd texts to her, I was trying to think of how long it had been since our our social media relationship began. I know we texted regularly over 2.5 years ago because we were pregnant together {me with Brother and her with her second little boy}. I remember texting her all things babies and then we delivered 4 days apart - so it had to be before that, or at least that long. 

I also remember that she delivered something like a 10.6 lb baby in like two hours with NO epidural. 

No thank you. 

Anyway, we have "known" each other for at least three years and this was our first time ever meeting in real life! So fun to hug her neck and I am already ready to hang out with her again! 

After the event, I scooted across to the Mexican restaurant to catch up with Kelly and her friends. I hung out for a few before I scooted back to my side of town.

It was such a fun night - and a total girly thing to do. The crew at The Dry Bar {Alpharetta location} was fab and there is also a Buckhead one for those interested. 

Should you want outfit details, my lacey shirt was from the Loft, Cady Wrap Bracelet, Havanna Pendant and Engravable Cuff all Stella & Dot, white pants are cheap Target brand and Leopard Wedges are Toms! 

Also, my leopard wedges make me feel super cool and a tad sassy. We should all be a tad sassy and we should all have leopard wedges. Can I get an amen?

Thanks to The Dry Bar, the sponsors and Atlanta Area Moms Blog for a fun night!! If you don't already follow everyone on social media, go add and share!! 

Atlanta Area Mom's Blog

The Dry Bar

Talk of the Train's Blog
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Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Birthday Number 33

I am a lucky lady since Mother's Day and my Birthday are in the same week and every seven years, they share a day! I get spoiled rotten by my kids and hubby that week and on top of that, my family does it up since my sister and I have the same birthday {three years apart} and since we get to celebrate our Mom too!

Lots of happies that week of the year and this year was especially awesome.

Friday of the birthday weekend, hubby made it home early and we went out to our local "Food Truck Friday." The kids were still in recovery mode but it was nice to get out and get some fresh air. We kept them in strollers and ate and headed home. They have it so the food trucks circle a huge parking lot and kind of forms a barrier. Kids play in the middle, there are picnic tables and it makes it a really family friendly thing.

My eyes were bigger than my stomach and I blamed every indulgence on the fact that it was my birthday weekend. The burger I had was topped with strawberry jam, applewood smoked bacon and goat cheese and it was heavenly. Like, potentially best burger I have ever eaten in my life. I paired it with french fries, a cupcake and a shaved ice without any flavoring.

If you have known me for more than half a second, you know that I am a pebble {soft} ice fanatic, have had multiple shaved ice makers {still own two}, crunched ice all my life and whenever I order shaved ice, I get it plain - no flavor and am willing to pay full price. Its my thing...and no, I don't have an iron deficiency, just bad ice eating habits! Anyway, we kicked off the celebratory weekend with a bang and a most delicious meal!

Saturday, Hubby was working and I took the kids to my parents for the day. Mom and I were running an errand and Dad kept all three munchkins. #godad

Sunday was Mother's Day and I shared about our day in this post. 

Monday, was my 33rd birthday. I love waking up to texts from friends and a gazillion facebook posts from those wishing you a happy day! 

Random funny...I kept thinking I was turning 34. It wasn't til I remembered that it was my sisters 30th that it clicked I was only 33!! I was so pleased to have gained a year back! :)

The plan for the day was that Hubby took off of work and was going to keep the kids and give me a day off. Good man, right there! 

After three weeks of illness, being trapped inside, laundry load after laundry load, cleaning throw up from multiple kids, up all night with them running with barf bowls and towels, a teething baby, trying to drop nursing and Hubby working multiple weekends in a row plus long hours daily, I was totally tapped out - not to mention sorely behind in life. I just needed a break, our pantry needed some restocking and I was thankful he was more than willing to step in and let me check out for the day.

He has missed the kids lately so he took it as an opportunity to spend time with them, take Annie M to school and him lay low around the house. 

I woke up to a Starbucks delivery from him and the boys and then went with him to take the boys to a well-baby check {ironic timing}. I giggled at the fact that the well baby check fell right after our three weeks of the plague. We do love our pediatrician, so I really didn't mind and I was thankful to go back, make sure we were well and get up to speed on everything else. 

We left the doctors office in two cars. While I wanted to spend the day doing luxurious things like mani/pedis, massages and shop, honestly, I had errands to run and just getting practical things marked off of my list and playing catch was a huge relief. 

Usually, I run errands with at least one or two kids in tow and often times, I take all three. The kids are great and well behaved, but it truly a luxury to run from place to place solo. I flew in and out of stores, took my time as I needed and felt accomplished, as I crossed items off of my to do list. 

I did want to try to run the mountain without pushing a stroller, so I did that and was pleased that I was able to. I even took an awkward selfie to text to the kids and then forgot to text it! So here ya go! Mid-run, red faced but happily at the top of the mountain! 

Other errands I ran included trying on bridesmaids dresses for my sisters upcoming shindig, a trip to Hobby Lobby and a long, long lunch at Panera where I followed up with emails, and got ahead on party plans and knocked out a few gifts I was working on. 

I skirted home around 5:15pm for a two second shower and quickly did my make up as Hubby loaded the kids in the car to meet my family for a birthday dinner. I don't remember where we went, but it was a fancy place and we had our own little room. The kids did awesome and it was fun. Brother wanted to hand the waiters his plate every time they came around, he used please and thank you often and Annie M was polite when she didn't care for the spice on her food. They fixed it immediately and all parties were happy! I was totally laid back, and having our own room helped as I felt like I could shut the door if the kids got rowdy. They didn't and doors remained open but it was nice to enjoy a fancy dinner and not worry about disrupting others! 

We all ordered apps or salads, main meals {steak and potatoes for me!} and of course Mom had a cake waiting on us for dessert. When they brought out the cake, I got tickled because Mom had packed candles and matches for our server. He complimented her on her preparedness - and Mom was quite pleased! She and Dad always think of everything and always have every I dotted and t crossed!! 

Speaking of the cake and dinner, I felt a bit bad about Moose's seat. He had made a tremendous mess and everything from banana to macaroni was smeared on the carpet. I was prepared to scrub floors, but the waiter walked in with a few slices of cake and dumped them. After the icing splattered all over the carped, I felt way less bad about Moose's spot! Hehehe! 

Mom and Dad {or was it Kristin??} brought the party with glasses, balloons, those birthday blow toys, leis and more! 

....come to think of it, maybe this was why we needed our own separate room?? Not for the kids but for the half civilized adults?? ;) 

At the end of the night, Kristin got out presents...or my present, should I say. I had been running so frantic all week, I never even got her anything....Sorry, Sis. I'll surprise ya or double up at Christmas or something, I promise!! 

I mentioned running an errand on Saturday with my Mom...well, that errand was to go look at embroidery machines. I have wanted one for awhile, but dollars wise, just wasn't sure. They can be pricey and so on Saturday, I combined my money I saved from Christmas, the money my in-laws gave me, and money from my parents and bought a less expensive machine. I was so excited at the store but once I left, I had major post purchase dissonace {buyers remorse}, knew I was "settling" and regretted the decision. 

I was SO excited at first, just to have anything. Then I had a pit in my stomach, knowing that the machine I was getting would not be one that I could use for long and would outgrow quickly. The hoop size was too small and since I already sew, have done applique by hand and am relatively tech saavy when it comes to some of this, I already knew how it operated and was thinking through projects that I would not be able to accomplish with the smaller machine. 

To drop that kind of money on something you can only do a few things on, just wasn't worth it and I was upset about it. I was also frusterated that I just couldnt say, "oh, its just a bit more, get the fancier one." To be so close, and yet seemingly so far, was maddening. 

In the store I was going through a million conversations in my head - "this is what I really want...sorry, Lauren, can't afford it...just charge can sell stuff and pay it, bad idea - what if I don't have time or don't love it?? .....oh well, you cant have everything, and you don't really NEED it, so deal....there are people all over the world who would be happy to have 1/10 of what you have so this is totally a trivial thing...get over your selfish self....wait, why cant I have more money and just buy stuff I want...ugh, I don't work so I have no income to try to work and save for this..." and on and on and on. 

I slept on it over the weekend and called first thing Monday morning to cancel my order. I couldnt get the person I needed on the phone, so Mom was going to scoot by and cancel my order for me. To my surprise, my sister showed up with Mom and her and her fiance paid the difference and upgraded the machine to the fancy one - the one I really wanted. 

I could not believe it and was thrilled, emotional, teary, shocked and excited all in one. 

Kristin would do anything and everything for me and the babies if she could. Her and B are always more than generous, but I was not expecting this. Later on, she explained that she and B were going to gift me with something nice or of value for coordinating their wedding. She had been thinking and shopping already and so when she saw that this was a tad more and the guy at the store was willing to meet the lowest price we could find, she called Mom and made it happen.  

Within an hour of getting home that night, I had it unpacked, plugged in and running!!! Its been a blast so far and I will do a separate post of my practice runs and how it works!!

Anyway, it was a happy birthday for sure! Thanks to my fam for celebrating us and making me feel special! Love yall! :) 
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Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Summertime, Summertime!

Yeeeeessh! Did the end of the school year sneak up on anyone else??

Kids end of year picnic

I am not going to lie. I was completely not prepared for the amount of things that would hit within such a short time frame and it wore me out...and did quite a number on the ole bank account! #oops.

Honestly, I was thinking the kids had an extra week left of school. They missed an entire week being out and between missing days and then playing catch up, I some how got my calendar confused. I mean, not that it takes much to get me confused, but I was all over the place.

Speaking of calendars, it would probably help my cause if I consolidated and went from three or four to say, one?? Does anyone else out there use multiple?? Shared iPhone calendar with the hubs, my big fancy one with all sorts of customizing, notes, receipts and other mess and then the big wall one that hides in our pantry and notes big things...confusion at its best!

In my big fancy calendar {stuff that requires planning and details and hubby doesn't necessarily need to read every detail} it included scattered notes like:: bring ice cream toppers for AM's ice cream party...picnic lunch and dessert this day for Brother and another lunch at this time for Annie M...send in gift cards of these amounts and leave in this place with this name on them by this date...pick this up by this time on this day and these forms are due now....send cash for this....purchase dance tickets here...bring a bike this day and the next day another's appointment bible study...take dinner to friend...follow up with so and so...and on and on and on.

We went from illness to Mothers Day, my Birthday, more illness, ballet recitals, "practice" graduations, picnics, teacher gifts, summer camp registrations, wedding planning calls and details {for my sis!} and more. Phew!

Some how, we pulled it all together and made it to the places we were supposed to be with gifts for the appropriate people and with the correct attire on! Mom came out to help with the kids and their school picnics and Hubby was a saint and did whatever it took to make it to everything else.

He has worked a ton lately and I know he is exhausted. My brain was thinking, "Oh! I'll have extra hands to help and it will be great family time this week...he will be glad to be off, right!?"

Cue his car battery not starting as he was leaving to try to get home for Annie M's class graduation ceremony. I pulled clothes for him, he found someone to jump him and after a quick traffic back up that he got stuck in, he was on his way.

The next day and a half was filled with similar stories of him having to get jumps or leave the car running everywhere he went and then stores closing by the time he tried to get there. Poor guy couldn't take my car because if he chanced getting stuck at work and the kids missing something and then he'd come home to a fussing wife, so he just did what he had to do.

Two days of jumping it at work, jumping it on my car in the driveway {at 4:30 am to get to work}, another jump home from work, leaving it running at the house {to get to his best girls dress rehearsal}, and one start on its own and he finally made it to the auto part store and did the quick fix!!

Lots of fun things last week, but I am glad we are through it! Annie M misses the school cut off by two weeks. Most of her class graduates and since she spent days practicing, singing and the like with them, we went ahead and let her "practice" graduating this year. She was so excited about the end of the year and cake and lemonade and she will be well prepared come next year! 

Her recital was this weekend too and she was cute as a button. I have real pictures of all of the above on my big camera, but on the chance I take forever to pull them, I am at least posting these!! 

Speaking of all of Annie M's events, I was so proud of my boys. Both of them sat through her graduation, recital dress rehearsal and recital all within a 36 hour or so time period and they did well. Brother took lots of pictures of his sister on stage and he was so proud! He yelled multiple times, "There's Sissy!" and she would smile and wave back to him from the stage!

I felt bad to keep having to strap them into strollers and park them to watch, or hold them in chairs and tell them not to move. Honestly, it was not for too long and it just all happened to fall at the same time, so seemed worse than it probably really was. 

Each event was only half an hour or so with the exception of the recital. It lasted just over an hour and by then both boys were more than ready to be done and both parents were exhausted too. Mimi and GrandDad helped hold and contain and we were thankful to have extra hands!! Moose squirmed the entire time and Brother was back and forth and back and forth. We were all sweating and exhausted from holding fidgety boys, but no major outbursts or meltdowns, so I'll take it. 

I cant believe we are at the end of the school year! Its been a whirlwind but I am so excited for the summer and all that lies ahead. Pin It Now!
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