Sunday, June 23, 2013

Catching Up on 2012 + Some Pretty Exciting News..

I cant quite describe how I feel right now.. Sitting here with Blogger open and actually writing again. Yeah yeah, I know I haven't made a single post in 15 months. It's a royal bummer. I've wanted to, but life has just been way too busy. In fact, quite a bit has happened since I last blogged. To get everything up to speed, here's my "long story short" (which, according to Justin, I'm incapable of ever accomplishing.). Here we go:

Winter 2012

In February, we scored tickets to see MuteMath! The drummer - Darren King is seriously unbelievable. It was definitely  entertaining and the guys put on a sweet, high-energy show. 
In March, I had a pretty awesome opportunity to design and decorate an 80's-inspired 30th birthday party!  Pretty proud of our gaudy get-ups: My bro-in-law - Jordan, sister - Lanae, me and Justin. What a bodacious night!! You can see the entire post here - Totally Radical 80's-Inspired Birthday Party!
Around my birthday, a bunch of friends, my mom and I rocked out at my first-ever Features show! What an amazing thing to get to see them at 7th Street Entry (aka the world's tiniest venue!). They were even better live than I thought they'd be! Super fun night. 
My sisters and mom surprised me with an INCREDIBLE Asian-inspired birthday dinner! I knew they were up to something, but I had no idea they went this far. Notice the sweet garlands my sister made.. even one that looked like fortune cookies (by the window)! I was so impressed with all of the hard work they put into everything. We all wore authentic conical Asian rice hats and stuffed our faces with one of my favorite foods. Yu-hum! 
I was totally blessed by some dear friends who bought me a flight so I could be a part of {one of my best friends} Jody's baby shower! It was one of the most unforgettable, special events I have ever had the honor to host for someone. I planned the party, invites, decor, everything from MN and somehow managed to pull it off. Thanks to lots of help from a few friends, everything turned out even better than I hoped. The decor was pretty impeccable and the photobooth was a total hit! See full party here - Jody's Sweet Peach Baby Shower

Spring 2012

I pulled off a pretty awesome vintage-inspired "Dude Bash" surprise party for my husband. Somehow, I succeeded in making all of the invites + decor without him figuring out it was for him. I had the guests bring their favorite lagers and ales and the best part? I secretly had 2 of Justin's brothers drive up 6 hours to be there for the big SURPRIIISE! - it was priceless! So fun to have them stay for the weekend. Menu included a bunch of J's favorites.. homemade mini bacon cheeseburgers, mini cheese-stuffed pretzels, single-serving pasta salads and cheeseballs + triple fudge cupcakes and more.. So fun to celebrate with a bunch friends and family (minus all of our dear friends in SC. BOO!). Check out the whole party here - Justin's Surprise Birthday Party: Vintage Dude Bash
I was hired to make a Spring/Summer window display for bridal shop, Che Bella on Grand Avenue in St. Paul. What a sweet honor! {Photo Credit: Tiffany Bolk Photography}
Brian's Nerd-inspired 30th Surprise Birthday Party! Loan hired me to get geeky and incorporate a bunch of his nerdy favorites. Imagine a perfect compilation of Scott Pilgrim, Star Wars, Nacho Libre and a massive amount of computer parts. I provided nerd glasses for the guests and to honor the birthday boy, I made a bunch of pins with his face + favorite quotes coming out of his mouth. Really fun night! 
A new friend, owner of Che Bella Boutique, hired me to do a bunch of decor pieces for her daughter's first birthday party. The theme: Vintage Farm! How adorable. Lots of fun elements and set up, including a farm animal puppet show activity for the kids, hay bales and wagon rides. The party was overflowing with garland and vintage embellishments. So lucky to be a part of such a cute party! {Photo Credit: Adrienne Page Photography}
Later in May, I helped my sister throw a baby shower for sister-in-law, Emily. Lots of fun colors with bold patterns and vintage inspiration. One of my favorite parts were the guest favors: a popcorn bar! Lanae did an awesome job - One of the more elaborate, detailed showers I have been lucky to help with!

Summer 2012

And for the biggest news on this post.. Just before Father's Day weekend, we found out.. WE'RE PREGNANT!! What an exciting surprise! We told our families first.. then friends. After spilling the news to my parents, we drove down to Wisconsin (Father's Day weekend) and surprised Justin's family. We dropped the big news at lunch - they were pretty surprised! Somehow, we kept everything hush-hush until our road trip to Greenville later that summer. I can't believe the news didn't get out. We had such a memorable time recording most of our friends and family's reactions to the news - absolutely priceless (see vid below!). I first had an idea that I might be expecting when Justin and I were getting a few things at Target and could barely stay awake. I remember J saying, "Babe. You're falling asleep.. and we're shopping.." I thought it was funny! I feel SO fortunate, but I never really had much morning sickness. A few different things would trigger nausea (especially at my job), but the pregnancy was definitely easier than I thought or expected. In fact, I LOVED being pregnant. All of the ultrasounds.. the preparations.. the anticipation.. What a beautiful gift. Justin was so supportive and accommodating the entire time as well. I just love him so much. We had already been searching frantically for a new home - Justin especially. There was so much to do to prepare before the baby came.. We began researching everything and anything.

Telling our families and friends the big news (please forgive my laughing/screaming/crying!):

My dear friend Loan's wedding was just around the corner. Not only was I hired to do her Bridal Shower, but Loan and Brian hired me to design and execute their circus-inspired wedding in July. My first wedding (not including my sisters or my own!). For her bridal shower, I had freedom to come up with decor and details. For her shower, I decided to go with a sweet/summer-influenced party inspired by hot air balloons. Still not sharing my big pregnant news with many other people yet, I was proud of this party, but there's a few things I may change by looking back now. I ended up taking my "vision" in a little different direction: clouds + pinwheels. I love how the clouds turned out.. they almost looked real! The day was a total blast. After the shower, we all went to a "Cocktails & Canvas" painting class. Of course, I passed on the "cocktail" part, hoping no one would notice. Check out the full party here! Loan's Bridal Shower - Inspired by Clouds and Pinwheels
July! I can't quite explain just how exciting it was to be a part of Loan & Brian's special day. I think I began planning and researching for their wedding for almost a year. About 1,400 pinwheels later + still keeping my pregnancy a secret (from most people), I had managed to pull off one of my favorite events to date. Don't get me wrong, I had TONS of help. I mean tons. Hours of help gluing all of those pinwheels and getting all of the other decor organized. I especially give a lot of credit to my mom and my sister Vanessa for all of their help.. Setting up was a whole different story. People I didn't even know were helping me. I was so grateful! Since the ceremony and reception were at a functioning museum in downtown Minneapolis - Mill City Museum - I literally had 3 hours to set up from the time the museum closed to the public. It seemed virtually impossible {Photo Credit: Canary Grey Photography}. You can see the whole post here - Loan + Brian's Circus-Inspired Wedding
Finally! Roadtrip back to South Carolina. It was such an anticipated 20-hour drive down, since we had our big pregnancy secret and we were dying to tell all of our friends PLUS 3 of Justin's brothers who still didn't know the news. We spent 2 nights at our favorite - Folly Beach & Charleston. Definitely needed a little vacation! It was so special to tell our friends and brothers our news in person. I think had only been back to Greenville once since we had moved (for Jody's baby shower).. it was emotional! 
In August, I was contacted by Shauna Younge & Maddy Hague about joining their team for a new party-focused business they were starting - eventually named Confetti Pop. Uhh.. I didn't even hesitate. They asked if I would be interested in joining as an intern and eventually a paid position once the business was going strong. Shauna and I had met almost a year ago at my sister's wedding - she designed the desert table. After a prop-shop meeting, I was on board. Working with photoshoots and more editorial projects is a whole different world than budget-friendly/DIY baby and bridal showers, weddings and personal parties.. I was so excited to get to know the entertaining industry in a whole new way. Confetti has sure taken off.. We've already been growing and had some sweet features, including: Marta Stewart Weddings, 100 Layer Cake, TomKat Studio,, Lauren Conrad and seriously a ton more.
{Pictured: Geometric Valentine Photoshoot last winter}
Can't believe it's been 10 years since I graduated from High School. Woah. Since I was a part of Student Council my senior year, I did a little help with with some simple decor for our miniature 10-year reunion. I graduated from a private school, class of 40 (seriously, 40). Even with the dozen of spouses that came, it was a pretty good turnout. I was still pretty disappointed some people weren't there - especially people that live in the cities! I was so excited to see everyone and catch up. Being in a 40-person class, we were all pretty close for the most part. Hope I get to see the people who couldn't make it sometime soon! It was a fun night. Highlights: Seeing people I haven't seen since graduation, more sharing our big "we're pregnant!" news and toward the end of the night - I clumsily knocked my Sprite over and it spilled all over the table. Ugh. Thank goodness I could blame everything on "Baby Brain"!
Justin found us a place to house!! We moved in August. Augh, what a relief. It was definitely hard to do the move while pregnant, especially since I couldn't lift anything. I felt pretty guilty. We were so lucky to have quite a few friends and my family help us. Man, moving is a process. Before we even moved in, J would spend night after night alone in the house - sanding, prepping, painting.. He is amazing. It was a total blessing that he found a house available with a 2-car garage, one that was pet-friendly (especially 2 dogs!) and had a washer/dryer. Our landlord was so gracious to pay for quite a few updates: paint, new fixtures, small things around the house.. even our patio updated (which Justin did..). Pretty awesome deal. Our neighbors are all pretty nice, which is good. I enjoy living here a lot. We have put so much time into making it a "home" and it actually feels like one. It's been a blessing to be in such a central location as well. I can't wait to see our little one grow and take his first steps here. 
Oh man. You don't even KNOW how long I waited for the MN State Fair. And double the excitement because I was craving like a madwoman. We were lucky to get to go twice, once with my mom and the second time with a bunch of Justin's family who came up for the weekend. I don't think they realized what they were getting into, or just how psycho-obsessed we get with The Fair. There's nothing like it! We had a great time, aside from the blistering heat!

Fall 2012
In September, I chose to leave my full-time job as a therapist (at the autism school) and I accepted a part-time position at a family friend's company downtown St. Paul. As much as I've missed therapy, it was really good for me to be in a less aggressive environment. It was hard for me to give the energy I needed to give for a job like that. I sure miss it though. Those kids. It was a bittersweet step that I had to take. Going part-time has allowed me to focus more on my business and Confetti Pop + a desk job during pregnancy is bliss. I have never had a desk job before, let alone a cubicle! What a whole new world.  Now working in office products, I can't help but compare the job to The Office. Obviously, my bosses are actually normal and are nothing like Michael Scott! Ha. I love working downtown. Even the view from our parking lot shows beauty - aside from the entire St. Paul skyline as a whole. I've been lucky to use my ability to "party plan", even for a Christmas event at the St. Paul Chamber of Commerce. I dressed up our company's table Christmas-style with office products.. rubber band and paper clip garlands and manila folder Christmas trees. Turned out pretty cute!
Of course, we made lots of IKEA trips while trying to complete our home/organization + begin scoping things out for the baby's nursery. One of my biggest Baby Brain (or as Justin called it, "Baby Head") moments was somehow losing my cellphone. Gahhhh!! *clutching my head in shame* I realized it as we were leaving. I got that stomach-drop feeling.. Where the heck is my phone? Oh no. I looked at him and told him I didn't have it, knowing his reaction. Not only was IKEA closing for the night, but I somehow lost it and had no idea where in all of IKEA I just happened to set it down. I frantically asked some of the staff, tried calling it.. everything. No luck. Of all places to lose it. Best example of needle in a haystack, eh?? Once we got home, I changed all of my passwords and pretty much kissed my chances 'goodbye'. I tried calling IKEA the next morning to see if it had turned up. Uhhhh.. they found it! I told the guy I was so excited, I could hug him and bring him some desserts! I don't know where they ended up finding it, but I don't care. What a relief!
Saw The Features again (Justin's first time, my second!) and it was a great show! I was 5 months pregnant at the time, starting to feel kicks and movements. I wasn't totally sure how it would be going to a show - especially in a smaller venue (Turf Club), I knew we would be up at the front and it would be loud loud loud. It was definitely loud! It was a fun night, but I was so exhausted by the time it was over. I kept picturing the baby doing jumping jacks and bouncing around in me.. Poor little thing! This was the only show I went to while I was expecting. 
Later in October, I had an awesome opportunity to do some decor for a casual, backyard, post-elopement wedding reception! The theme was up in the air for a little while, until the bride/groom chose to go peacock-inspired. Within their budget, I put together some simple decor elements to fulfill their vision for their celebration! Peacock hues + feathers + some sparkling gold and bronze garlands.. Everything turned out really clean and sweet. My sister, Vanessa helped me with all of the set up, plus she made the cutest floral & peacock feather embellishment for the bride's pup's collar. So cute! 
In October, I helped my sister throw a launch party soiree for her new business, Rags to Stitches! She makes the sweetest fabric accessories and they have been in high demand! She worked her buns off to pump out more pieces than ever before and she had a really successful day! I helped with decor and the food table. Decor included some fun button garlands, garlands made with vintage scissors and using old antique window frames as selling props. Since the soiree, she has had craft shows and has even been offered a vendor slot at a boutique! I'm so proud of her! {Photo Credit: Angela Bartus Photography} See the whole event here: Rags to Stitches Launch Party Soiree!
Happy Halloween from a Bernie the Shark, a Romeo the Hot Dog and Coco the School Girl!
The night before our big housewarming party, Justin and I decided to make a quick run to IKEA to grab a couple things we needed still. Coming off the Lindau exit from 77, We were heading east on Lindau. All of a sudden, as we're crossing Ikea Way to loop around at the next turn, a ridiculously stupid woman decides to make an illegal right turn into the Mall of America (by Nordstrom entrance) from the left middle lane. Whhaaat?? She turns, obviously carelessly, because with our green light, we rammed right into her. HARD. T-boned her and her stupid Hummer H3. We were so upset, especially because I was pregnant. Ohhh I was shaking as Justin got out to see the damage. She had none, we had plenty - although nothing major or in need of a tow. The woman tried to claim she had no insurance and wanted to make a deal out of pocket. Mmmm no. We called the police - who literally could have cared less - and told us to take it up with insurance. Nice. The joys of insurance calls and car repair began. almost impossible to believe.. the woman ended up having insurance PLUS another Hummer. No wonder she lied, her insurance would jump through the roof. We were shocked to find out that she actually claimed full 100% fault for the accident (which it was!), which meant we had all of our repairs covered. It was still a nightmare though. Justin spent hours on the phone dealing with the claim, not to mention being late to work while dealing with rentals and repair. So thankful the baby was fine. I did have some pretty bad bruising on my chest from the seatbelt and Justin had some rough back pain. I'm so glad that's over. 
Yay! Finally our housewarming party happened. After months and months of updating and cleaning and preparing, we had the best night with friends and family at our little boho-inspired party. I re-purposed some decor I already had and threw together a fun menu. I was just so excited to show everyone our new place and we ended up with some really sweet little gifts, including a lots of home goods and candles PLUS a TuPac action figure, a jar of "whale tears" and the shower curtain from Urban Outfitters I had been drooling over. Suh-weeet! 
As soon as Justin and I decided we wanted to find out our baby's gender, my wheels started turning for party themes. I really wanted to go with an art deco, 20's-inspired party, but my Confetti Pop girls wanted to help out and take it into a more Hollywood Regency direction. All I really knew about was that I wanted to have a cake made with pink or blue filling (without either of us knowing what's inside) and pins for our guests to take their guess at whether it's a boy or a girl. At our 20-week ultrasound, our technician was positive about the gender and she put the photos and a note in the envelope we gave to her for us to hold onto/give to the person making the cake. That envelope hung on our fridge for almost a month before I gave it to a friend-of-a-friend who agreed to make the cake for us! It was easier than I thought not to peek inside.. maybe because I really did want to be surprised. The cake definitely turned out a little different than we expected, but it was so fun to be surrounded by close friends and family as we found out such exciting news. We cut into the cake and it was full of blue - IT'S A BOY!!! I seriously didn't have a feeling either way. 80% of our friends/fam kept telling me they thought it would be a boy.. somehow their feelings were correct! Check out the whole party here! Hollywood Regency Gender-Reveal Party

Winter 2012-2013

Winter hit. UGH. Winter was so short and sweet last year, that it was inevitable that this winter would be pure torture. I just prayed and prayed that the baby wouldn't come during a snowstorm. Our hospital we planned to deliver at was 25 minutes away and the last thing I wanted was to have our little boy in the car (seriously, it happened to friends of ours!). Justin grew and grew his mustache starting with the whole "Movember" thing and let it keep growing until well into January. I kept telling him how much I love him, but if I could choose, I reeeeeeally didn't want our new baby photos to be full of him with a giant handlebar mustache. Christmas was fun - especially while being pregnant. It was really fun to imagine that the same time next year, our little boy would be walking and moving around as a little person.. Unreal! 
Nursery-planning was in full swing now that we knew the gender. Wanted to do a little mix of 1960's vintage camping/boy scout/adventure - totally inspired by the film, Moonrise Kingdom. I was sold on painting one of the walls chevron (grey + white) and we really wanted to incorp as many vintage pieces as possible. In my desperate need to be prepared, I made an extensive (and I mean extensive) list of questions to send to friends who nanny or have babies. Especially when registering for the baby, we felt like lost little kids walking around in Buy Buy Baby, asking eachother, "Uhh..will we need this?? Uhh I dunno! This? I dunno!" So stressful. Hours and days of organizing all of my questions/answers later.. I had acquired the most amazing collection of advice and personal preferences of almost every baby item on the market. Unfortunately, most things depend on the baby, so it was pretty difficult to fully prepare until after baby was here. Either way, I felt a little better having too much knowledge than too little. Check out the finished nursery here! Jude's Vintage 60's Nursery Inspired by Moonrise Kingdom.  
Thanks to my sister, Vanessa - she sewed (with a tiny bit of my help!) all of my crib sheets and changing pad sheets. It was so awesome to be able to customize all of my colors and fabrics. Baby sheets in stores are so boring and limited for colors (pastel green, blue..) or they are crazy expensive on Etsy or elsewhere. I still owe Vanessa bigtime for all of the time she put into those. I just love this picture - especially that Coco is just hanging out like it's normal for her to sit inside of someone's shirt while sewing baby bedding.. Ha!
I loved being pregnant. Like.. LOVED it. I am already pretty emotional as it is and during those 9 months, I was a seriously a big bag of tears! When we weren't working or getting things done before baby came, we relaxed and watched a few series of shows. Some of my favorites: United States of Tara, Raising Hope, Freaks & Geeks, good ol' America's Next Top Model, Breaking Bad and Parenthood. Cravings kinda went in waves.. My first few months, I constantly wanted anything from Panera + pickles and french fries. Eventually, I got so sick of pickles and all I wanted was cereal. Toward the end, I craved cheesburgers, trail mix and those marshmallow rice krispie bars all the time. Turn offs? Fast food. Augh. Nothing ever sounded good ever. Garlic. Eish. Fruit gum. No thank you. I journaled often throughout the time so I wouldn't forget little things. I'm glad I did! Baby names were all over the board. Justin and I were good about suggestions and talking through them.. we were pretty sold on the name Jude, but didn't want to fully commit until he was born! 
Progress in the nursery! The wall only took 10 or so hours to finish (sheesh!).. all the taping and re-taping.. It was quite a bit of work, although I'm pretty much in love with it! Love our simple little crib from IKEA. 
Justin and I wanted to take a trip so bad before the baby came, but it was too hard to budget and time was closing in. It was really sweet of my parents to set us up with a little overnight in a B&B in this sweet, old house. We had the best time. Aside from sweating my guts out while we were trying to sleep (no control over the temp that dang place!), we stayed up late playing board games by the fire. What a fabulous, much-needed little trip.
My sisters and mom threw me a friends & family baby shower in January! It was the cutest woodland-theme.. Lots of similar colors we chose to use in the baby's room. Was such a special and memorable day. See the whole party here!
My Baby Showers: Woodland & Owls
A week later, my friends threw another shower for me for all of my friends + coworkers - owl-themed! I look like I'm about to pop in this photo. It's hard to describe how it felt to be showered and loved so much.. my face hurt from laughing and smiling all day long. 

Well. I think I will wrap this up for now. Our little man came along not even a month later - that story deserves it's own post!


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