Wednesday, December 31, 2014

oh, my heart!{my fab five}

My oldest daughter is serving in the U.S. Navy and currently stationed on an aircraft carrier in Virginia. She left right after Thanksgiving last year and has only been home for two very short visits since then. Having her home for Christmas this year has been the absolute best!

There's a photo hanging in our living room of the kids. I took it the day after I got my very first point and shoot digital camera. It's one of my favorites of the four of them. They hate it of course. I love that they are all so young, happy and laughing in the way that kids do. The only thing I wanted this year was for them to all get together so that I could take another photo of them. This time with their baby brother. I don't know if it's age or new motherhood that has turned me into such a softie but when I looked through the pictures I teared up a bit, okay, I cried, a lot. There have been so many moments in the last week sitting around with all five of the kids laughing, sharing bits of the day or reminiscing about their childhood where I closed my eyes savoring the moment. Thinking to myself that this was indeed "living the dream". The holidays will soon be over. Rian will leave for Virginia in a few days and ship out for nine months come March. Zachary will resume his senior year and all of the activities that come with that will take priority over hanging out with his mom and baby brother on a Friday night. The other two girls, Logan and Skylar, will dash in and out of the house to shower, change and perhaps catch up on sleep between commitments to work, school and friends. The energy in the house will be different-not better. not worse. just different. 

I don't know if we'll all be together next year for Christmas. But,I'm so, so happy I got the chance to snap a few photos this year. 

They asked me to take some pics of just them-the originals! This is the one that should be framed. Skylar taking a selfie(of course), Logan in mid speak, Rian laughing and Zachary happily tolerating the ridiculousness of it all. This is so perfectly them!  

I love this crew to pieces! 

Monday, December 29, 2014

post holiday{it's a wrap!}

We're only a few days out of the holiday haze but it almost seems like it happened weeks ago!  Last week we wanted to take Rowan downtown to see the big holiday train display but I wasn't feeling well and the baby was a little fussy because he's teething. Dealing with the crowds and traffic into the city seemed more than we could handle so we opted to stay close to home. EnterTrainment Junction is not too far from our house. It's expensive, but they have a holiday display set up that's free. Free is good, especially when you're not sure if it's something your nine month will enjoy.

Much to my surprise this was perfect for us. The display was just enough to keep him entertained without being too overwhelming! I think there were only three or four other families there. It was like we had the entire thing to ourselves!

An unexpected benefit of the 17 year age gap between the kids is that I get to remember how great Christmas can be when you have young kids. Sadly most of our holiday traditions fell away as the kids got older. Teens make their own plans and dragging them to "family" activities is sometimes not worth battle of getting them there. Nothing harshes holiday cheer like sullen teenagers bitching about something they don't want to do! Picking out the perfect gifts becomes stressful and most of the time they just want cash so they can hit up post Christmas sales. The entire season can feel anti-climatic in so many ways...womp womp.

This year, I think we were all excited because it was Rowan's first Christmas! It was so good! Aside from the gifts there was so much laughter! Nothing felt perfunctory. We were all happy to be together-still sleepy and clutching mugs of coffee-listening to our favorite Christmas songs and helping the little one get the hang of ripping wrapping paper off of his gifts. Later our oldest daughter,on leave from the Navy, helped Doug make breakfast, the kids cleaned up the kitchen(a Christmas miracle!) and I prepped for dinner. It was just our little family for dinner. There were jokes and stories. Lots of eating! A few glasses of wine. And, a post dinner puzzle  that has become our white whale(although I think we're only a few hundred pieces away from finishing it)!

Things were so relaxed and we had such a good time I only managed to get a few shots of Christmas morning:)

This week I'll pack up the decorations and we'll say goodbye to another holiday season but one that I think will be memorable for all for a very long time!

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

homegrown{holiday in the city}

Many of the things on my holiday checklist have remained unchecked. There is a box of Christmas cards sitting on my desk untouched. I pulled out all of baking supplies but nary a cookie has been made. And, there were many holiday events around town that I wanted us to attend but those plans never gelled into anything more than penciled in dates in my planner. But, for every missed event or activity, I've logged hours sitting in front of our pretty little tree sipping tea with my husband and playing or reading to Rowan. All of those other things will be there next year and maybe I'll get ambitious and add few things to the list! Rowan will never have another first Christmas and these quiet moments with him and enjoying our family have been priceless!  

This weekend we finally managed to dive head first into the holidays! Saturday night was Christmas at my in laws. We celebrate with Doug's mom, step dad, his siblings+spouses and nieces and nephews. Rowan broke out his snowflake sweater and bow-tie for the occasion!

These two... peas in a pod! I'm such a lucky girl.

The one MUST do was visit Santa. I'm pretty sure that denying him a trip to see the jolly one is one of the things that will firmly place you on the naughty list!  We bundled ourselves up and headed downtown. Macy's at Fountain Square has the most adorable Santa ever! Rowan and I waited in line and Doug went to scout out the set-up. Back in line with us he told me they had a cute Santa to which I rolled my eyes. But, he was one hundred percent correct. Santa was cute and so sweet with Rowan.

 No crying Santa pic here! Rowan was firmly meh about the entire experience. He was much more interested in the caramelized cauliflower and bruschetta we snacked on before heading to the skating rink on Fountain Square.

We had such a great afternoon. I know Rowan won't remember it but I'll never forget it.

Monday, December 22, 2014

mood board monday{winter white}

This mood board is inspired by all of the Scandi/Danish pins I've fallen for on Pinterest. It's minimal but inviting. I love the neutral color palette of grays and winter whites with the muted metallic accents. The natural woods, lush greens, elegant taper candles and faux fur add warmth to the subdued colors. This inspiration proves that winter weddings can feel warm and cozy while maintaining a minimalist sensibility.  

Happy Monday!

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

paperwhites+whimsy styled{happy holidays}

I'm wearing my stylist hat again. Jen from Addie Ink Design gave me some of her fabulous holiday designs to style and shoot.

They all have a completely different feel to them but I can tell instantly that they were created by Jen. In fact, I received the first one in the mail and I knew before I flipped it over that it was one of her designs. It takes talent to meet the expectations of the client while maintaining a strong brand!

I absolutely loved this last card. She had me at polka dots! And even though it's a holiday card, I think it's the perfect inspiration for a modern Christmas wedding.


Monday, December 8, 2014

color me metallic{mood board monday}

 The Panatone color of the year is Marsala. I'm usually fairly ambivalent about color predictions. I know that they influence everything from interiors, to weddings, to clothing design but ultimately people like what they like. But this! This coppery goodness...Love it!!

Here's a little mood board for your Monday inspired by Marsala but features a couple of glorious metallic tones-copper and rose gold! I would love the chance to design an event with this color palette as a starting point.

How are you feeling about the return to warmer metallics?

Thursday, October 30, 2014

paperwhites+whimsy styled{bridal brunch}

I met Jen,of addieink design, a year ago when we worked on a wedding together. Sometimes you meet people and you just click!

People that work in our industry have met and collaborated with some of the best this business has to offer so it's always flattering when someone chooses you to work on something for them. Jen was hosted a bridal brunch for her soon to be sister-in-law at The Art of Entertaining a few weeks ago. It was an interactive event where the guests were to mingle and enjoy cocktails while cooking up a fabulous brunch with a private chef(what a fun idea!)

Jen created all of the paper products which included these whimsical invitations, recipe cards which sent the bride back to New Jersey with some of her guy's hometown favorites, and all of the signage for the event.

I styled the invitation suite for her. How cute is that envelope liner?!! For the shower itself I set up a vignette that played off of the slightly retro/industrial feel of the invites. We decided on petite arrangements in vintage milk bottles, silver sugar bowls and copper cups to facilitate conversation and work the flow of the room.

I love the mix of all the elements and the color palette.  


Interested in hiring {paperwhites+whimsy} creative events and florals for your celebration or corporate event please email me at

Are you a creative looking to collaborate on a styled shoot? I'd love to talk to you!! email

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

rowan{six months}

Six months in and this face...slays me!! I love him so much.

This kid is the physical embodiment of joy. He has this chuckle that starts in his belly and fills up the room. Rowan has made such amazing progress physically and met many of the age appropriate milestones. In other words, he has caught up physically to most kids his age and his early arrival has not caused any physical developmental delays. He's still sweet, happy go lucky and greets us most  mornings with happy chatter in his crib. He adores his big brother, sisters and Henry(although Henry remains ambivalent about him).

I love you to the moon and back, kiddo!  

carrots,sweet potatoes,mango and bananas
the justin timberlake pandora station
mo willams books


chunks, row


Monday, October 27, 2014

homegrown{iron's fruit farm}

Yesterday it was 72 degrees and sunny. In October. In Cincinnati. So we did what every other family did. Headed to the pumpkin farm! I'm trying really hard to not be sentimental about every last first, as in, this is the last first time I'll take one of my babies to the pumpkin patch, but it's so damn hard! I've become so sentimental in my old age. 

Seriously, being able to soak in all of this little one's babyhood has been the biggest blessing and I don't want to miss one single thing! 

I think we were more excited than Rowan. He was not impressed at all. Also, leaves, not his thing. And, apple butter and apple fritters make the world a better place.  We were also those parents. You know the "we're just going to try and pretend our baby is not screaming his face off" parents. Yep. Nailed it!  

Sunday, October 5, 2014

september reading list

Thanks to the start of fall television my reading slowed down a bit in September. I'm kind of a tv junkie and at night when my mind is racing it's definitely much easier to mindlessly surf the internet while having the television serve as background noise. It will be interesting to see how the tv/book ratio balances out this month.

The Little Friend by Donna Tartt- I actually read this years ago. I read this novel and The Secret History back to back. I remember loving both of them but the later must have made more of an impact on me because for the life me I couldn't recall any details about The Little Friend. I decided to reread this after failing to move beyond the first few chapters of Ms. Tartt's latest, The Goldfinch. I've only managed to read the first two hundred pages so far but it's now obvious why I loved it so much-crumbling southern gentry, curious sister trying to find the person who murdered her older brother and family secrets. Maybe this will spark my  interest in finishing The Goldfinch.

The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman- I LOVED this book! This book is nothing that I would have chosen on my own. I'm not actually sure how or why I added it to my goodreads list. It is most definitely fantasy which is not a genre that really interests me. I can't say much without giving away too much. It's an odd tale about a boy and his quirky neighbors. The language is so beautiful. It's impossible to resist this magical world the author paints for us. I read this book in two nights. A new mom giving up valuable hours of sleep to finish a book has got to be the highest compliment you can give!  

The Silkworm by Robert Galbraith aka JK Rowling-I read the first Cormoran Strike mystery last month and really enjoyed it. However, I found this to be meh at best. The mystery never really pulled me in. I stuck with it because I thought I knew who did it and I wanted to see if I was correct. I was! I'm always kind of disappointed if I can figure out the mystery. I do enjoy the character of the detective, Cormoran Strike, so I would probably continue to read the series. 

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

homegrown{walnut hills street food festival}

Saturday we packed up the baby and headed to Walnut Hills for the street food festival. I will bemoan the fact that I'm still trying to loose some baby weight all the live long day but food trucks are my jam!And, I'm not about to let any weight loss goals deter from feasting on Korean BBQ, gelato, gourmet popsicles, cupcakes and beer! 

We enjoyed strolling around listening to the live music and people watching. Rowan is such a happy baby. He loves being outsider. He spent much of the afternoon valiantly fighting off a nap and charming everyone with his gummy grin!

The organizers blocked off an entire section of one the side streets for interactive art. Kids were invited to create something with sidewalk chalk or paint a section of the street mural. There was also cornhole, a bubble blowing station and giant jenga to be played.