Party Preview/Oscar Review!

Sorry, ya'll...I've been missing in action for a whole week, but for good reason...there was some major party prep goin' on up in here! Sunday night was my daughter's big par-tay. And, *whew*, am I kinda glad it's over! Monday was her actual birthday, and I was more than happy just to leave her in her pajamas all day and just play and cuddle. (And clean a bit...it was pretty necessary. Yikes.)

I have had so much fun planning this party! Not everything turned out exactly how I wanted, but I've come to expect` that. I'm actually quite the scatterbrain when I get in the midst of party madness! On the day of Kara's party I overlooked some things, didn't have time for some things, and plain forgot a few others! But hey, we can't all be Martha Stewart, right?

I'm going to spend the week blogging about all the fun ideas and a few crafty things I used throughout the party. Many of them are things you might already have, or things you can make and use for regular home decor, not just for parties! And they were definitely not all made by me...I had lots of help!

I'll also be featuring a bunch of awesome companies and products I used (and some awesome deals!) and maybe even choose one for a giveaway in March! =)

I have a kadrillion photos to sift through, but here's a little preview of Kara's Shabby Chic/Vintage Rose - themed party:

There were lots of roses, of course...

Lots of sweet baby photos...

Cute banners...(none of which were made by me...)

Lots of goodies...

And probably the most fun...
a darling (DIY!) canopy for the dessert table! 

I love having a daughter. =)

More photos and info to come! Keep checking back this week!


And did you hear?

Hollywood went out and got all gussied up for my girlie's birthday too!

Ah, how nice of them. =) Lookin' dapper Kermit!

I get teased for it, but I do love awards shows, especially the Academy Awards! If I had my way, I'd sit and watch all the pre-show shows, red-carpet interviews and every single minute of the Awards.

Emma Stone really impressed me! I don't like
the bow at the neck, but otherwise she looked really lovely.

And her presenting bit with Ben Stiller was hilarious, she has some serious comedic talent!
(I can't find the video on YouTube, they must be crackin' down with 
copyright claims or something...)

Am I the only one who finds Brad Pitt and
Angelina Jolie annoying?

In recent years, it's become practically a tradition that I always want to watch the Oscars, but never get to, until after the fact.

Which is just not as fun!

For a football fan, watching the Superbowl on DVR is not nearly as awesome, right? 


This year in the midst of party madness I totally forgot to even DVR the Oscars...grrr. So I've been watching bits and pieces online.

I was happy to see these two win!

I admit I haven't seen the films they were nominated for, but they're both just undeniably classy and talented actors. And how on Earth did Christopher Plummer get to 82 before he got an Oscar?!?! Loved both of their acceptance speeches...funny, classy, sincere.

I have to confess, I was a little bit gleeful when my daughter was born on the day of the 2011 Academy Awards. I LOVE movies, and I hope that someday Kara will too...I have visions of us staying up late to watch our favorite girly movies together. For the twentieth time.

(Such as BBC's Pride and Prejudice? BEST. MOVIE. EVER.)

(And possibly the best scene ever?)

Another random tangent: I love that Mr. Darcy...er, I mean Colin Firth...won his first Academy Award the day my daughter was born last year. She's just good luck all around. Glad to help you out, Colin! =)

(Can I just call you Fitzwilliam?)

So, you might ask...

...When I was in the hospital with a new baby on the day of the Oscars last year, did I finally get to watch?


Didn't even bother to turn on the TV.

Because I had the most beautiful little starlet of my very own to admire. =)


One Week Away Is Too Soon...

....For a year to have passed.

Is it wrong that I am sad?

I am not ready to say, "She is one," when strangers ask how old she is.

I am not ready to call her a toddler.

I am not ready to see her walk, and soon, to see her run.

I am not ready to say goodbye to her littleness.


One week away is also too soon for her party!

I have a really bad habit when I start forming plans for my children's birthdays:

They start relatively simple, with a fun, cute idea.
And then that idea grows progressively bigger...and bigger...and BIGGER.

I get so excited about the vision in my head, and my little heart becomes so set on carrying it out perfectly, that when the time to actually put my plan into action comes, I am almost always disappointed.

Because I learn, again and again, and yet again, that in the life of a mother of young children,

there is never...enough...time!

So, with her party approaching this weekend and things coming down to the wire...and the flu stealing the weekend from me...(grrrrr, die, sick season, DIE!), I'm trying to let a few things go.

It's hard!

But I continually remind myself that the celebration is truly for her, and all the embellishments surrounding it are not what's truly important.

They are just really fun for me. =)


One thing I am determined to do for Kara's party is create a beautiful display table! I first fell in love with this element of party-styling when I discovered the amazing and talented designer and party-stylist Kim Stoegbauer of The TomKat Studio. She was my first real glimpse into the fun world of fancy-pants party design! I love drawing inspiration from the parties and ideas she features on her blog, and also from the parties she puts together for her own children (like her daughter's "Glamour Girl in Paris" party last year......utterly AMAZING!).

I love this dessert table featuring some of Kim's printable designs:

Though my table will be quite a bit different, my color scheme is very similar...I absolutely adore pink and blue paired together!

I started thinking about Kara's birthday quite some time ago, and over the last several months I've begun collecting cake stands. I just love the look of goodies displayed on an assortment of gorgeous cake stands! I can't wait to arrange them in absolute adorableness for her party. =)

If you want an awesome deal on cake stands, these White Scalloped Cake Plates from Pier 1 are so pretty and some of the cheapest I've found! They come in two sizes: the 9-inch is $9.95 and the 11-inch is 14.95.
I am actually still trying to get my hands on them! They go in and out of stock very quickly. As far as I know, you cannot have them shipped directly to you, but you can purchase them online for pickup at a Pier1 store. If you check at Pier1.com it can tell you if they're currently in stock at any of the Pier 1 locations near you for pickup. I've seen them in stock several times but never seem to make it in, because, well...Pier 1 is one of those places I'm terrified to take my young children! I can just hear the crash of a giant display of glass vases or something, the moment we walk in the door...yikes!

But here is one seriously cute stand I have managed to get my hands on:
This one...the Rosanna Decor Bon Bon Footed Cake Stand (that just sounds scrumptious!)...wasn't exactly cheap. I couldn't bring myself to get it until I got some giftcards to Amazon.com for Christmas...yippee! I think my husband thought it was a silly way to spend them. =)

And now I really want the same one in white...maybe next Christmas!

I think party planning is one of the most fun "jobs" a mom can have, and I know there are a million of you out there who throw some amazing shindigs! I would love to see photos of your parties, past or present, and possibly feature you on the bliggity-blog! You can email them to me at hellodarlyn@gmail.com.

Wish me luck this week! Just call me crazy-running-errands-every-day-and-staying-up-late-every-night woman...

P.S. I know so far my blog has been very centered around my daughter...I think it's mostly because I began this little ol' project just 17 days before her first birthday. And, ya know, girly stuff is really fun to blog about. =) But I promise, I love my two little boys just as much (OH so much!)!!! A post featuring them and their crazy cute handsomeness is coming very soon!

(In fact, my little Jake-Jake will be 3 in just two months, and for his party I am thinking dinosaurs...)


My First Furniture Projects! (Insert Fear Here.)

How was your Valentine's Day?

(She didn't like wearing the shoes, but they just had to be in the pic!)

With 3 young kids, our Valentine's Days are always simple these days...this year it was Panda takeout and a movie. But my husband always gets me flowers! I hope your V-day was fun, relaxing, romantic, or a combination of all of those. =)

I wish I had taken some time and used my new-found motivation for craftiness to make some cute Valentine's decor this year. After the Christmas decorations come down (actually, there are still a few left up at my house! Gotta get on that...) I always feel like the house is empty, and I have next to nothing to put up until spring. I pinned a bunch of fabulous Valentine's Day ideas on Pinterest, but never got anything started! Guess I'll have to get on it for Easter.

Would love to incorporate this DIY wreath into Kara's birthday party, 
but I have about 20 other projects I wanna do for her party too!

(By the way, are you on Pinterest? You can follow me if ya wanna...just click on the little green "P" at the very top left of my blog to see my boards!)

I'm getting ready to work on my first ever furniture repainting projects, and it has me pretty intimidated. I keep hyping myself up and telling myself it's no impossible feat, and that everyone was a beginner at some point!

So apparently I have a thing for benches. I picked up these two cuties over the last couple of months and I get so excited when I think about my vision for them!

I got this one from a funky little flea-market in Salt Lake City called the Old Flamingo. I love its lines, and the color of the paint isn't too horrible, but that upholstery??? BLEH. I think brown and blue can be lovely together in some cases, but I definitely can't say that in this case.

And the glaze they put on over the paint looks sooooo dirty. I know that's kind of the point of glaze, but I think this was a little bit overdone.

So, I'm probably going to repaint it. Probably a lighter, brighter aqua...it looks aqua in the photo, but it's really more of a teal or turquoise. And that little seat is going to be my first ever reupholstery project! I think it will be pretty easy. The bench comes right out if you pound on the bottom a little, and the fabric is just stapled underneath. I haven't purchased a replacement fabric yet, so I figure I can't decide on the paint color for *sure* until I choose a fabric.

The lady who owned my 2nd bench said it was "Early American", but I have no idea how old it really is. I love the arms and all the details on this!

I almost feel bad thinking about painting it, because it's in pretty great shape, but I think I want it in a shabby white, with a little distressing. I keep picturing an adorable photoshoot with this bench in my head...I'd cover it in cute, colorful pillows, put it in the middle of a blooming orchard in springtime, and top it off with a cute little girl in a sundress. Can't you picture it?! I am so taking that photo in a few months!

And last but most certainly not least, my most favorite project: my beloved, tufted wingback chair!

Pretty much the same photo as my previous post, but I had to show it to ya'll again! =)

 I had the legs painted a creamy white and distressed, and I loved how they turned out!



(Still in my van. With the upholstery around the legs cut off. My upholsterer suggested
trimming around the legs before painting them. Even though the fabric is going to be completely replaced, it killed me to watch my husband take a razor to this baby!)

Since I really want the chair to turn out perfect and I have no experience whatsoever painting furniture yet (plus, hiring someone to do such a small job would be cheap...), I decided to forgo doing it myself. I had them painted by my new friend Sausha at Sweet Pickins...she is a miracle worker with furniture of all ages and conditions! Discovering her blog was definitely one thing that really opened my eyes to the potential that old furniture has! And lucky for me, she just so happens to live just 40 minutes from me! She was featured on the Nate Berkus show last year and she has had clients come to her from all over since then.

Tomorrow I'll be dropping the chair off to be reupholstered, and I am crazy with anticipation to see how it turns out! Though I'm very interested in learning how to reupholster myself, my upholsterer...who is a neighbor and friend...pretty much said that a chair like this, with the complicated diamond-tufts, is not a good project for a novice. Which I pretty much already suspected. And I really want this chair to be perfect, and an heirloom....so, this baby is getting the full-on professional treatment! It's going to be gorgeous! I'm tempted to make it a surprise, but here's what the new color is going to be:

Eeeeek! It's gonna be the prettiest chair ever! I love that the color is called "Petal."

Would any of you like a photoshoot with my chair? I am thinking about doing some free (or super-DUPER cheap) photoshoots this spring/summer to get some practice with my photography skills! I have a dream of beautifying old furniture and using it to create some beautiful photography! (And eventually, someday, sewing beautiful dresses, clothing and blankets to use as well!!!)

I have a plan to take my daughter's picture with this chair for her birthday, and again every year...including when she gets married. A bridal shoot with this chair would be to die for! But, I'll have to wait for her time as a bride for a couple more decades or so, and I just dunno if I can wait that long! Can't you see this sitting in the middle of a beautiful garden with a lovely bride?!

(...and some really cute shoes???)

I can.  =)


Giveaway Winner!!!

Happy Valentine's Day All!!!

Well it's finally time to announce the winner of my first giveaway...yay!

It's been a lot fun, and thank you so much to all who entered!

(And if you didn't win, have no fear! I want to do at least one giveaway a month, so make sure to watch for the next giveaway in March!)

The winning comment #, chosen by the "True Random Number Generator" at Random.org is...


I am so excited for you! Please email me at hellodarlyn@gmail.com so I can get you your gift certificate to the Vintage Pearl!

I cross my heart that this drawing was completely random, and the first number drawn by Random.org was what I used, but Afton is so deserving as the winner. Her husband was very recently deployed to Afghanistan and they have 5 young children, including a 2-month old baby. So she's a very busy mama!

Happy Valentine's Day Afton! =)


Natalie Makes Beauty For a Living.

I met Natalie Norton 3 years ago, in January 2009. My husband and I and our one little son at the time took a vacation to Hawaii with my husband's family. We spent the week in a big, beautiful house on Oahu, in a town called Ka'a'awa. It was a cozy little community and our house was literally a 3-minute walk to the beach. It was wonderful. It almost felt like we lived there...we did our laundry at night, ran up the road to the local supermarket pretty much every day and we cooked meals together as a family. The house even had a little playroom for the 2 grandchildren in the family at the time. It was a fabulous way to experience paradise...feeling like you weren't just staying there temporarily, but that you were residing there.

At some point before the trip I got the idea in my head to have professional photos taken of my little family of 3 while we were there. It was January and I had missed getting our pictures taken in time for Christmas, plus I was pregnant and it would be the perfect chance to get some maternity shots too. Family photos are definitely not my favorite thing in the world (can you spell stress?!) but when I thought about "family pictures in Hawaii!" I couldn't let the idea go.

So I went a-Googling, looking for a photographer on Oahu. I found Natalie pretty quickly, and as I looked through her blog, I immediately fell in love with her style. I sent her an email, praying she had an opening while we were there...I had waited a little too long to find someone, and I was half-expecting her to say she was unavailable. But she not only had an opening, she just so happened to live 10 minutes up the road from the little town where we would be staying.

For the first couple of days we were in Hawaii, before the day of our photo shoot, I almost started to regret the idea. I was spending way too much time going back and forth about what we were going to wear and worrying about how my then 2 1/2-year-old's completely messed up sleeping schedule was going to affect him. I was stressed, and my husband was annoyed because I was stressed. We were on vacation in paradise, and I was worrying about coordinating our outfits and making it to an appointment on time! It seemed backwards, even to me.

Then enter Natalie. Our photo shoot was at a beach at a resort about 20 minutes away from our rental house. We were late, and arrived flustered and embarrassed. But Natalie was so gracious. She was laid-back and kind (and undeniably pretty!), and she put us at ease right away. She was fabulous with our little boy, who was not at an age where he stuck around long or followed directions well. She clicked away while he played in the water or sand, looking at seashells. In between shots we chatted about our families and what had brought her and her husband to Hawaii. As it turned out, she grew up just 1/2 an hour from where my husband and I live, in Alpine, Utah. I knew she had 3 young sons, and in the months after our photo shoot I learned she was expecting her 4th child.

When we returned home from Hawaii I waited excitedly to see our photos. When we finally saw them, all of my stress about that day paid off a hundred fold...the photos were some of the most beautiful ever taken of my little family. Our experience with Natalie had been effortless and fun...even my husband said so. The photos were truly a treasure. My husband couldn't stop poring over them. As he looked again and again at images of him walking ankle-deep in the ocean with our son, or tossing him up high into the Hawaiian sky, he kept telling me how glad he was that we had had them taken. I felt the same way.

(Some of our favorites from Natalie's shoot.)


Over the months that followed, I continued reading Natalie's blog and always enjoyed not only her photography, but her writing. She was inspiring and witty and entertaining. She wrote about everything, from everyday things like a double stroller she was thinking about buying, to deeper and more personal things, like how desperately she missed her brother, who had died unexpectedly in 2007, in his early twenties.

Somewhere along the way I stopped checking Natalie's blog as often. I had my 2nd baby in April after our trip to Hawaii in January, and going from 1 to 2 kids absolutely threw me for a loop. It was a particularly hard adjustment for me, much harder than I expected. I don't think I surfaced for awhile. Keeping up with my favorite blogs just didn't happen for a long time.

But then, in late January or maybe early February of 2010, just about a year after our photo shoot in Hawaii, I logged onto Natalie's blog again, to do a little catching up.

At first what I read was confusing. I didn't grasp what was being addressed in the posts. It had been months since I'd read anything, and I expected to be behind, but somehow the tenor of Natalie's writing had shifted.

As I read on, I was terrified to realize what had happened:

Her baby...her 4th boy...had died.

He was born in October. She had named him after her late brother, Gavin. They had traveled from Hawaii to Utah for Christmas, and Baby Gavin got sick. They took him to the hospital with what they thought was just a cold. They came to find out he had Pertussis, or whooping cough.

He was admitted to Primary Children's Hospital in Salt Lake City, one of the top children's hospitals in the United States. He was there for 3 weeks. Primary Children's is equipped with accommodations for parents, and Natalie or her husband Richie stayed there in the hospital with Baby Gavin 24/7. 

But despite all the doctor's efforts on Gavin's behalf...after all the prayers that went up for him from all around the world...

Baby Gavin passed away, at only 10 weeks old.

I was heartbroken as I read. I sobbed. I remember tears running, pouring down my face as I went through each post I'd missed, and the knowledge of what had happened soaked in.

I couldn't believe it. Natalie and I had by no means become close, but I most definitely considered her a friend. My chest hurt when I thought about her and what she was experiencing at that very moment. It had happened just a couple of weeks before I logged on to her blog that day, but I felt ashamed for not coming to know about Baby Gavin's death sooner. In the months during which I hadn't been reading, she had both given birth to a child, and witnessed his death. 

I wrote her an email trying to express my condolences, but it was hard.

What on earth do you write to someone who has lost a child? A child they had only just begun to raise, no less? A bright angel, come to Earth, placed in their arms, only to be taken back again so quickly? Knowing what to write was impossible.

From then on I was riveted with anything Natalie wrote on her blog. She wrote openly about her feelings of grief, wrote letters to Baby Gavin, letters to her husband, shared experiences she had with her young sons as they dealt with their own sorrow. She expressed again and again her deep faith in God and her unwavering belief that families will be reunited after this life. Natalie and I also share the same faith...we are both members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, or "Mormons"....and I share the belief that life goes on after death, and that families are most definitely forever. But I don't know that I could ever have managed grief in the way that Natalie did. The way she still does. I don't think that I have ever witnessed someone work through the experience of grieving in such a graceful way. Even in her ability to share it with strangers, to express it openly and honestly, there was beauty.

I still think that now.

(A video of beautiful images from the day of Baby Gavin's funeral, 
by Natalie's good friend and fellow photographer, Jonathan Canlas. 
If you watch, be forewarned, you *will* cry!)

It's been a little over 2 years now since her Baby Gavin passed away. Natalie still writes about him all the time, and about his Uncle Gavin too. She still grieves, and always will, as any parent would. But since then, she has made her life, and the lives of her family and all who meet her, even more colorful and beautiful. Instead of allowing herself to plunge deeper into the depths of sorrow and pain and depression these last two years (where I know I probably would have gone, had it been me...), she has resurfaced even stronger and more generous, not only to others, but to herself. She has become a source of inspiration to so many around the world through her writing, through her photography, and now through her work as an inspirational speaker/teacher/mentor at workshops like Making Things Happen and The Breathe Intensive. She is a dedicated and loving wife and mother to her sons. Natalie has experienced, at such a young age, trials with power to terrify and numb the soul, but she has stood steadfast through the love of her family and her faith. She never ceases to amaze me with her strength. Even when she writes about rough days or renewed periods of grief, her graciousness toward herself is an incredible example to me.

Less than 2 months ago, she wrote this on a difficult day:

"I respect myself enough to let myself ride this wave. One of the greatest gifts I can give myself through grief is the opportunity to simply be where I am, without frustration, without judgment. Because this too shall pass. It most certainly shall..."
If only we as women could be half so respectful and compassionate toward ourselves during our own difficulties, our own periods of struggle!

Natalie talent as a creative is undeniable. Her photography is not only beautiful, but poignant, and real. She strives to make real connections with those she works with. It's impossible not to end up her friend when you start out as her client! On her blog, the writing that accompanies her images is meaningful, inspiring, and funny! She can speak serenity to your spirit, or fire you up. And just like back on that beach with my small family, she creates an almost immediate sense of familiarity and comfort, and bestows it on everyone she comes in contact with...even if it's just through a computer screen.

She is one of the most truly amazing women I have ever met.


If you want to follow Natalie's blog, I highly, highly recommend it. Even if you never attend one of her workshops (I hope to go to one next year!) her writing is full of inspiration of all shapes and varieties. Recently she started a series of posts about "Practical, Actionable Steps Toward the Journey to You." Her timing could not be more perfect for me! 

Even if you never read another one of her blog posts, read this one.

I think I can honestly say that one of the reasons I decided to start this blog, to hold myself accountable to work harder toward living up to my own potential, was because I had the thought, "If I told Natalie I'm thinking about this, she would have said something like, 'Well then, do it! What are you waiting for?' "

And so I did.  =)

P.S. I have to say this for Natalie...please, regardless of your stance on child immunizations, get yourself the Tdap, the adult pertussis booster. I got mine. Most often infants receive pertussis from an adult, usually a parent or caregiver, who has no symptoms and isn't even aware they are carrying it. For more information go to the Sounds of Pertussis Website.


Mom's Day Off

Phew! I just returned from a day spent shopping my little heart out. I'm pooped! But I would venture to say that being exhausted from a day of good shopping is the best kind of exhausted, wouldn't you? =) It was fabulous, yet kinda weird having all that time to myself, by myself! I kept texting my husband: "Everything ok?" even though I knew the answer was always going to be "Yep."

Well I need to tell you thank you...honestly, thank you so much, for your amazingly kind and positive reaction to the blog! It's blown me away. This idea has been stewing for quite awhile, and I was honestly a little scared to follow through with it. Now I'm truly glad I did!

I'm going to postpone what I had planned to write tonight until Monday. The amazing woman I want to tell you about deserves far more than a passing mention, and I'm practically falling asleep at the moment! I will just say that she is one of the most talented and inspiring women I've ever had the privilege to meet. She is highly gifted and has a fantastically positive and insightful view on life. She is not only a creative, she mentors other creatives from all over the world. Yeah, she's pretty much just all-around awesome. =)

See you then, g'nite!

Thrifty is Awesome.

I'm getting ready to head out the door to do some shoppin'...without kids! Yippee! My hubby got to take a mini-vacation to California last week to certify in scuba-diving with his bro, so this week it's my turn! And shopping without children in tow is pretty much a vacation for this mom! I'm excited to go to Home Depot and pick up a whole bunch of painting supplies for my first foray into furniture painting. Never thought I'd be so excited to go to Home Depot! I'll confess, I'm a little scared when it comes to learning to paint anything! But hey, it's just pieces of wood, and every talented person out there had to start somewhere, right? Right!

One of my friends on Facebook recently posted about her friend Brooke Ulrich of the awesome All Things Thrifty. Brooke is an amazing do-it-yourselfer who has an awesome knack for decorating on a budget. I absolutely love her colorful style! Recently she helped a friend of hers do a complete makeover on her entryway, living room and kitchen, and the transformation blew me away! She completely infused Jill's already beautiful home with color, charm and personality. Now I find myself wishing Brooke didn't live 4 hours away so she could come help me with my house! Here's a peek at Jill's new living room:

(Ohmygoodness, the blue. I love the blue, especially that adorable tufted bench!)

Brooke has tons of tutorials on her blog, which have given me the exact motivation I needed to get going on the projects I've been thinking about. She has lots of tried and true info about painting, glazing, and reupholstering furniture, along with lots of fun interior design ideas. She showcases so many fun, different projects and always gives advice on what products she uses and likes best. Her blog was exactly what I've been looking for! 

Well I gots to go...I have far too many places I hope to get to besides Home Depot, including DI and some fun boutiques! I'll be back to write about another awesome, inspiring woman tonight. I can pretty much promise you you'll want to follow her blog for the rest of forever.

Happy Saturday! ;)

P.S. If you haven't already, don't forget to enter the awesome giveaway in the post below!


I Blame This Blog on My Daughter and a Little Blue Bookcase.

This gorgeous little redhead of mine will be 1 year old in just over 2 weeks. (Or rather, gorgeous little bedhead redhead! Love her hair when it's crazy...)

All I can think is "Wow." This has been the most ridiculously quick year of my life. It doesn't seem at all possible to me that three hundred and some odd days have actually passed since we were racing to the hospital in the wee hours of the morning for this little lady's hasty arrival! (A word of advice: when you are on baby #3, do not wait to go to the hospital. At all, for any reason! Trust me. More on that story another time!)

I've never thought of myself as much of a "creative," but since my daughter's birth I've felt a spark of creativity that's taken me completely by surprise. I'm excited to do things I never thought I'd want to even try, like painting furniture and learning to sew. I'm determined to improve in areas I've never thought I had much talent in, like interior design and fashion. And as for the things I already love to do...like writing, photography, party planning, and um...*a little shy here*...singing and performing...I want to get to the point of awesomeness that I know I can, if I could just stop being such a chicken. =)

When I think about all the things I want to teach my daughter about being a woman, and about how to be a happy woman, I feel a renewed ambition to dig up some old dreams, and chase after a few new ones.

Because I want her to always chase after hers.

(I'm just a little bit crazy about her.)


Several months back I was looking for a little something to add some variety to my daughter's nursery. It has white beadboard walls and a white crib, and already had quite a bit of pink. I found this little old bookcase in a cute little boutique that refinished and sold old furniture (They have since closed their doors...*sniff sniff*). It was painted in black when I found it, but I had them repaint it in a pretty aqua for me. In my imagination it was cute, but I honestly wondered if it was going to look silly or garish in reality.

When I got it home and stuck it in the corner of Kara's room, I ab-so-lutely loved it! I may or may not have squealed, especially when the bright pink little bins I bought from Target fit in the bottom perfectly! It brings a smile to my face every time I see it! It brought a burst of color into that little room, and into my simple little world, and I realized that maybe I'm not so terribly without taste after all! It was just a tiny little incident, but in the months since then I've fallen in love with beautiful old things, or old things with potential to be beautiful! I can't stop perusing the local online classifieds for old furniture, I long for child-free trips to consignment stores and thrift shops, and I dream of a wardrobe full of vintage dresses!

That itty-bitty little triumph with my simple attempt at creativity has snowballed into a flood of all kinds of kuh-razy ideas...this blog being one of them. I decided it's high time I stop telling myself I'm not capable of being creative, or crafty, or fashionable, and being fantastic at it! I have big plans, and I'm excited to work on them and share them with ya'll!

To kick off, I'm so excited to feature my daughter's birthday party at the end of the month! I'm going to be creating my first-ever fancy-pants tablescape, along with a bunch of other fun details. It might be a smidgeon over the top for a first birthday, but planning it all out is such a ridiculous amount of fun! This last year has been my first chance ever to indulge in all the dreamy little wonders that come with having a little girl, and I absolutely love it. =)

Here's a sneak peek at the party theme and colors:

And...I wasn't going to, but I have to share...her dress is going to be in this fabric, but a little different style:

(I die...the cuteness, it kills me!)

Her party is going to be sweetly sophisticated and uber-girly. Can't wait to share it with you!

(Banner and dress both from Etsy. I want to sew beautiful things like this someday!)


Tomorrow I'm going to post about some of the amazing women who have inspired me in my creative ambitions. I can pretty much guarantee you'll wind up inspired too...make sure to be logged onto Pinterest! =) And in the near future I'll probably end up blabbing about my recent furniture finds, including this lovely lady, who I think may be the furniture love of my life:

($20 for this diamond in the rough!)


If you read this far, you're beyond awesome! Promise it's worth your while. =)

So, I got to thinking...I want to get this blog started off right.

And Valentine's Day is just four little days away...

So I say this first entry calls for A GIVEAWAY!

Ever heard of The Vintage Pearl? They create beautiful handstamped jewelry and keepsakes, handcrafted (no machines!) with sterling silver and pretty freshwater pearls. I love that the creator of this company started out just like me...as a stay-at-home mom (to 4!) who taught herself to make jewelry as a creative outlet. Awesome. I have been eyeing the hammered star necklace forever now! I would love to get 3 charms with each of my children's initials.

To kick off my blog, I'm giving away a $50 gift certificate to the Vintage Pearl on Valentine's Day! So, whether you're a fan of huggy-huggy-kissy-lovey day or not, one lucky winner will get an awesome gift she can use to get whatever piece of pretty she wants! They even have stuff for the guys, too.

And since this blog is brand-spankin'-new with only a handful of readers (Hi, Mom!), the odds are very much in your favor!

To enter, head over to www.thevintagepearl.com and take a look through their gorgeous creations. Then come back here and leave a comment with your favorite item (or items! Trust me, it's hard to decide...). The giveaway will be open until 11 pm on Monday, Feb. 13th. That night the winning comment # will be randomly drawn by Random.org, and the winner will be announced here Valentine's Day morning! You can get entered twice if you share this on your Facebook page and leave a comment here saying that ya did. =)

So there I went....first blog post. I took the leap, there's no turning back now! Good luck on the giveaway and thanks for reading. I'm excited to share all the fun stuff I have planned!

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