Thankful.

Today, I am thankful for…

Amazing friends. The real ones… the ones who forgive me for my shortcomings. The ones who I don't connect with for months- years, even- and our friendship doesn't skip a beat. The ones who love me enough to let me be me and who cherish me because of who I am. The ones who encourage. The ones who have been around forever. The ones who just walked into my life. The ones who will never walk away. The ones who show me who they truly are and let me love them. Those who are near and those who are far. I am SO THANKFUL for you.

My family. The time I had with Mum Mum before she died. The new time I get with Amma. The fact that my dad is still here and better than ever. My brother and sister and their endless love and generosity. My mom and her support and her unconditional love. My husband's family. The way that they all love my daughter to the moon and back.

My husband. His patience. His love for the Lord. His encouragement and support to help me follow my dreams. His new role as the most amazing dad I've ever seen. The way he looks at me. The way he looks at our tiny little girl. The joy that's written all over his face when he's with her. That he loves me sacrificially and stands by me through thick and thin. That I love him just as much.

My daughter. The light that dances in her eyes. The way she grasps my index fingers like mini vice-grips signaling that she wants to go walking. Her opinions. That she knows how to sign for "more" and it's so dang cute. The way she dances to music or when I sing… when I sing anything to her. Snuggling her in the mornings. Her excitement over our pups. Putting bows in her long, blonde hair. Making her giggle uncontrollably. The sheer joy and privilege of being her mama. Wondering every day why God decided to bless me with this amazing little creation. Watching her grow… and learning what it is to experience a love so big and vast and wide that I would give up my life and my world to keep her safe.

Photography. Seeing the world in snapshots. Capturing moments in my own life and those that I love that can be cherished long past our expiration dates.

My fur-kids. Those sweet little white fluffs that demonstrate forgiveness and unconditional love in a way that only dogs can. Their wet kisses and black noses. When they cuddle up next to me when I cry because they know that sometimes I just need a hug and a quiet reminder that I am loved.

My job. I work with two amazing women who have become like big sisters to me. They understand, support and give me advice on how to balance my life as a mom and a professional because they've been there. I get to travel and connect and be creative and just be me. A year ago I didn't know what we were going to do to support our soon-to-be family of three… and here I sit, in a better place than I could have ever dreamed up at the time.

The beauty that is there if we just take the time to look for it.

The contentment that can be found in nothing but Jesus and given to us by the Spirit.

This life that I have been given… the moments that have been entrusted to me… the responsibilities that are mine alone and the joy it is to have them. My health, my home, my love, my life. That I am not without knowing Who these things came from.

I am thankful for so much today, and I pray that you are too. May you be given the eyes to see that your blessings do indeed outweigh the hardships in your life. Our God has made it so, for He is good, all the time.

"I thank my God every time I remember you."
-Phillipians 1:3

Happy Thanksgiving, dear ones. You are loved.

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Kelly and Mondo.

The weekend of October 16th was a wonderful time of celebrating the wedding of our dear friends Kelly and Mondo! I have known Kelly and her family and friends for several years now, and although they all grew up together in a small town and have been friends since childhood, they have never made me feel like an outsider- they have always treated me as if I had been there all along, and I simply adore these ladies!

I hosted the bachelorette party that Thursday night with the sweetest MOH ever, Katie, at our house and it was a super fun, laid back time with some really great women. Katie and I set up a taco bar and a dessert table and asked the ladies to bring their beverages of choice.

My BFF Amber came into town that weekend to partake in the festivities, although we missed her at the bachelorette party. She came into town on Friday night after the rehearsal and joined us at Boulders on Broadway for the rehearsal dinner. Our friends Erick and Rochelle are the owners there and let me just say, the pizza was dee-lish!

Saturday was The Big Day, and all of the bridesmaids (all 8 of them!), along with Kelly's mom and cousin, came over to our house to get prettified for our big walk down the aisle.

I didn't have a chance to take many pictures over the weekend, but here are a few of my favorites (party printables made by moi via the TomKat StudioSwanky Chandelier collection):

Kelly welcome sign

Kelly bachelorette

Kelly cupcakes

Kelly dinner

Kelly driveway

Kelly dress

Kelly mondo

Kelly wedding cupcakes

These delicious cupcakes were made by Kelly's sister, Lindy, who also happened to make the gorgeous, bird-nest cupcakes for my baby shower! SHE'S GOOD. If you need baked items, let me know so I can get you in touch with her.

Session Nine did the photography for the Rivera wedding, so be sure to check out their site in the near future for some amazing images of the event. It took place in the huge backyard of what quickly became our dream house- the Richardson family took a quaint little house and remodeled it into something that belongs on HGTV! Again, with the lack of pictures!

Kel, thank you for asking me to stand with you as you married the love of your life! It was truly such an honor! I adore each of you separately, but even more so together… and I can't wait to see what God has planned for the shared life that's unfolding before you. You both chose well, and it was an amazing weekend! Just remember, if it weren't for my and Amber's phenomenal and lawyer-like pursuasive skills at the YH last year, you may not have taken that risk and jumped in with that amazing guy from Colorado who is now your husband! Haha! Kidding. And p.s., the traveling pants will be making their journey your way very, very soon.

Paper jewelry, and also another reason I love my job.

As I'm gearing up to post my first giveaway EVER (so excited!), I wanted to share the spoils of our last giveaway over at the TomKat Studio. One VERY lucky winner walked away with a $100 credit for Blush Envy, where she sells amazing jewelry made out of paper.

You heard me right. PAPER. 

I didn't believe it when I read that she made her pieces from such a fragile textile, BUT THEN. I went over to Kim's house last week and got this lovely PINK surprise that I haven't been able to take off my finger since!

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Check out that packaging- gorgeous! Many thanks to Brandy for thinking of me when she sent the lovely goodies over to Kim!

Hop on over to her shop and show her some love by purchasing one of her handmade treasures! Or feel free to pick a fave and put it on your wish list. Wouldn't these rings make lovely bridesmaid's gifts or a fun gift for a mom-to-be to make her feel pretty? No doubt my dainty and timeless piece will be handed down to LJ when she's old enough to know not to put it in her mouth or play with it in the mud. In other words, she can wear it on her wedding day 🙂

Jessica’s baby shower.

Whew… what a week! Alex and I threw Jessica's baby shower today and it was so much fun! We went with a Vintage Circus theme a la TomKat Studio, complete with frilly and feathery hairpieces for the mom-to-be and smaller ones for ourselves. Our friends Rachel and Joy were so helpful in pulling everything together- not to mention it was held at Joy's AMAZING new home!

We hosted an open house as opposed to a formal shower with games, etc. None of us are big on baby shower games, haha. We had all kinds of food and drinks that you would find at a circus- popcorn, mixed nuts, candy, peanuts in the shell, Mexican Coke, and lots more. It was incredibly relaxed and good to gather with dear friends and Jess's family.

Here are some pictures… enjoy!

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Welcome to your shower!

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Jess LOVES Coke, so of course that had to be our featured drink!
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An old-fashioned popcorn maker… so fun and SO vintage circus!
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Joy and her adorable little peanut zippin' up the stairs!
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Alex and me hostessing it up.
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Jess and Joy.
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Lots of fun presents… including a so-ugly-you-can't-help-but-adore-him, yellow, googly-eyed monster. Can you spot him? (I mean, seriously… how could you not?)
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Another one of THESE? I'm not sure I can handle it… the cuteness, that is.
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All of us girls after the festivities- Rachel, Joy, Jess, Alex and me.
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Jess with her sweet mom and sisters and Cruzer.
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Love this girl like a sister! Happy shower day, Jess!
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We can't wait to meet the newest addition to the Williams family!

Happy 4th of July and a fun giveaway.

What a day we're celebrating today- the 234th birthday of the United States of America. Let us never forget those who are risking their lives to defend our freedoms- and let us never take those freedoms for granted or allow those in power to take them from us… no matter how hard they try. Whatever you do today and however you celebrate, be safe and have fun with your loved ones celebrating this wonderful country we live in! Proud to don some RW&B today!

On another note, Project Nursery is hosting an AWESOME giveaway on their site! TKS hosted a giveaway last week for the same nifty, crafty little machine, and I am so excited that I am eligible to enter at PN and may just get my excited little paws on the Silhouette! Check out what it can do:

Silhouette box cupcake wrapper 

Sample designs

That's just the tip of the iceberg… the possibilities are literally endless! Its name isn't just a clever gimmick, either… it actually will cut silhouettes based on a photo you take! I LOVE THIS!

Machine
So hop on over to Project Nursery for your chance to win- I'm entering in every form and fashion possible! I MUST have one!

My rainbow 30th birthday bash!

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In case this picture doesn't say it all…

I had a totally fabulous 30th birthday party! It was so wonderful having my family and many of my friends there to celebrate with me. It meant so much to have everyone there, and I missed everyone who couldn't make it.

It was a lot of fun putting together all the details! Because I have always loved rainbows, and my favorite collection at the TomKat Studio is the Rainbow Party theme, I researched colorful inspiration and decor, and here's what I came up with. I only had my point-and-shoot, so please pardon the less-than-worthy quality of these photos! 

The dessert table:

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Rainbow Twizzlers and the Cake Pops I made a la Bakerella. I switched up the red velvet for a rich devil's food instead.
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This is my Amma's wine cake: AMAZINGNESS ON A PLATE and my special request for my birthday. It's my favorite cake by far and it was a huge hit at the party! I dressed it up with a rainbow of handmade tissue paper flowers, a craft I found in the Martha Stewart's Encyclopedia of Crafts:
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Inspired by Amy Atlas's InStyle feature– which was a super exciting time for us at TKS as it included some labels designed by Kim– as well as the 107-degree weather, I included a sundae bar on the dessert table. My favorite combo? Chocolate ice cream with caramel sauce and sea salt.
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I fell in love with this rainbow of glass bottles my mom and I found at HomeGoods:
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Made a whole rainbow of poms- these will come in handy for future parties as well! Have a color theme? There's a pom for that.
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Made a rainbow tutu for Linnea. Somehow it ended up on Hanalei halfway through the evening:
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I couldn't resist these silly moustaches… and neither could Ryan and Alex. How much do you love her skirt? We went on a little thrift shopping excursion a few weeks ago and she found it at Goodwill. It was originally a dress and she turned it into a skirt- fabulous!
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My goofy husband: who needs a moustache when you can have ridiculous eyebrows instead?
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My dad made it to my party. That made my whole night.
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We asked people to bring either their favorite beer or their favorite pot luck item, so we provided our family's all-time favorite sandwiches: Mum Mum's ham buns. It's a secret family recipe, so no, you can't have it! 😉
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The vuvuzelas… ha!
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And, of course, who can forget my favorite part of the entire party? Linnea dressed up in her rainbow tutu and bow! She couldn't possibly be any cuter, just FYI.
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Thanks to my hubby, my mom and my Amma for helping put everything together. And thanks to everyone who came from near and far. It was such a blessing getting to celebrate with you!

Now that the house is back to normal, I'll begin planning Cody and Linnea's birthday party… 99% sure I have the theme for that one picked out! But I have nearly six months to plan this one, so I think I'll relax for a little while 🙂

Rainbow party inspiration.

So… my twenties are almost over. (Single tear.) Kind of crazy to think that such an eventful decade is finally coming to a close. Looking back, it was quite a whirlwind. I know that my 30s will bring even more change and blessings, and with life flying by faster than ever before, I'll be raising a glass to making the most of it with my family and friends… in ten days!

Ever since I was a kid, I have LOVED rainbows. I used to have rainbow necklace charms, rainbow sheets, rainbow unicorns (yes, life was all rainbows and unicorns when I was a kid). As an adult, I still love rainbows… and now I love beer. So why not combine the two? And throw in some awesome cake while we're at it? The first time I saw the Rainbow Party Collection at TKS I knew that I HAD to have those at my party! Here are some other fun inspiration photos:

Rainbow cake By the Whisk Kid via Martha Stewart

Rainbow cake 2Via Omnomicon.com

Rainbow cake 3 And THAT would be the cake of my dreams… via I Am Mommy.

Rainbow oreos Photo from one of our sweet customers at TKS!

Rainbow dessert table A lovely display via TKS.

Rainbow plates Ikea plates found on HowDoesShe.com!

Rainbow tutu Rainbow tutu via Joy and Me. I already made Linnea's!

So needless to say, I am super stoked to plan this party! Is it sad that I'm planning my own? Haha! Normally I would say yes, but instead I say two things: While my hubby is hosting, I don't expect him to know anything about decorating for a rainbow-themed party- or ANY party, for that matter. BUT. The man can bake amazing cupcakes. Secondly, I work for one of the best party planners in the country- it's not like I don't have a wealth of inspiration right at my fingertips!

So, tomorrow I will be sewing, searching, brainstorming, and planning the dessert table. I've never done this before, but I have so many fun ideas and have fallen in LOVE with the whole party planning process, so I can't wait to see how everything comes together! Wish me luck…