2014 year in review : hello 2015

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why hello!  happy new year!  i know y’all think i have all but abandoned this blog.  and that is partly true.  life was in a perpetual rush hour for a bit there, what with feeling ENORMOUS and exhausted, having a newborn and working on holiday cards.  i have been taking it majorly easy since the holiday card craziness died down and it’s been fab!  i’ve been thinking about this blog and missing it.  i’m hoping to pop in more in 2015, and definitely make good on some blog promises (um hello, the finished kitchen is a year old and i have yet to photograph it still!  ridiculous!).  but to get caught up…  here’s what went down in 2014.


bask in the glory of what is a newly renovated kitchen – and the departure of the workmen!  not that i didn’t love them.  because we were homies.  lots of meals cooked in, and moving back into our new spaces oh so carefully…  you know, like when you really contemplate how your baking pans should be organized (loaf pan up front?  how about bundt?  nah, that goes at the back since i’ve never used it and all.  but would i use it more if it were up front…?).


positive pregnancy test.  proceed to immediately, if not sooner, feel like death warmed over and “show.”  am instantly wearing maternity pants…and kind of loving it.  oh and here’s how i broke the news to rbb…  on one of our friday night pizzas.  in my head, he comes home hungry and i say “oh!  pizza is reheating in the oven, why don’t you serve it up for everyone.”  in real life, his plane was delayed and i had to feed the kids so there was no resemblance of a 3 by the time he saw it.  #fail


turn 34.  wait a minute, i’m merely one year younger than carrie in that sex and the city episode where she turns 35 and no one shows up for her birthday and she has to pay for her own cake.  how can that be?  the mid-30s sure came up quick.  am working on a lot of small business logos and love it.  i absolutely adore helping other entrepreneur mamas.


amazingly, our first trip to the ER for stitches.  of course, it occurs the night before we leave for a spring break beach trip… isn’t that just the way? (see chin below)


muffins for moms…my favorite day of preschool. i always cry.

IMG_5938dear friend dorothy gets married on daufuskie island (which is gorgeous and completely unspoiled).  will have to feature that soon; we did the save the dates and programs together.


rush turns 5.  what?!  aside from this, we basically live at the pool.


we begin transforming the nursery into a big girl room/nursery for rinne and the new baby… goodbye yellow and chalkboard wall!  nice knowing ya.

IMG_6225and my college girls and i took to lake oconee for a reunion trip.  why have i never been there?  it’s just an hour and some down the road and so pretty!


beach trip to fripp island.  i guess this is our last year going in august since rush starts kindergarten next year!

rush and rinne at beach - august 2014SEPT:

rinne turns 3.  she wants a party, and she wants nemo cupcakes.  buy nemo cupcake toppers from etsy and serve them on cupcakes at a small neighborhood bbq we hosted two weeks before her birthday…call it a day.  4 will have to be legit though.


countdown to baby is on.  i am SO BIG that people everywhere are amazed.  no one thinks i will make it to my scheduled c-section at 39 weeks – which i did, thankyouverymuch.  as i walk out of shake shack (omg the custards) 4 days before my scheduled c, a lady says to me: “you havin’ a BIG OL’ BOY.”  i say you know what?  i think so too.

photo-202 copy 6well well well, we had a big ol’ GIRL!

photo-202 copy 2NOV:

baby snuggles and holiday cards.  that is literally all that happened. (and my mom came to help me, a lot – thanks mom!)


still cranking on holiday cards.  squeal with excitement on the day that i ship off boxes of “cheers” and “merry christmas” tags to all three kayce hughes stores!!!!!  i never could have even dreamed that up.

photo-202 copy 5manage to step away from holiday cards and feeding round the clock to take rinne to the nutcracker at the fox theatre for the first time – which i’ve only been looking forward to since the day she was born.  we had a ball. photo-202 copy 32014 – you were good to us!  i can’t wait to see what 2015 brings.  i hope to keep the blog more updated, but have been a lot more active on instagram (@calliespondence) lately.  i do have some fun parties, weddings and house before/afters to show you…so i’ll be back soon i hope!

best of everything to you and yours in 2015, and thanks for your support in 2014!!


err in the direction of kindness

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greetings, folks!  i’ve been taking an obvious blog sabbatical.  because of THIS:


can you even believe that bump is only fourteen weeks old in this picture??? y’all – the 3rd baby is not messing around. i have been showing since i peed on the stick and basically in maternity clothes since then too.  i tried to do the whole rubber-band-around-the-button-thing and then decided not to be a hero, and promptly started wearing full-fledged maternity pants.  much better.  anyway, we are all elated / scared / excited / scared.  and i apologize for going MIA, but i have been feeling just awful.  anytime that 2nd trimester golden age wants to kick in, i am ready!!!!

this past weekend, a gaggle of girlfriends and i celebrated the wedding of our very good friend, dorothy, on daufuskie island, SC!  it was a blast and SO beautiful.  full blog post to come, as i did many of the paper items.  here is a quick picture of us on the way to the rehearsal dinner. (l-r: amy, dorothy aka THE BRIDE, betsey, me and jen)

photo-197p.s. i love that green dress – i bought it from a v. stylish neighbor & friend who had used it as a maternity dress of sorts too.  it’s a generously cut DVF!  love that diane.

we all arrived on daufuskie on thursday; betsey and i driving together from atlanta and catching the 6:30 ferry from hilton head.  i pictured us completely wind-blown and maybe a little damp from the surf during the ferry ride, but turns out ferries have come a long way – we sat in an air-conditioned room with cushioned seats!  who knew.  we were shown to our golf cart and started on our trek to our house, a simple 20 minute golf cart ride away…  except for a plethora of roundabouts, forks, windy roads, is that a median or do we veer left?  that kind of thing.  this sweet, sweet old man saw that we were lost and asked where we were headed – we told him our address and he said, “ah – i’m going that direction.  follow me – where i turn right, you turn left!”  so we did.  and we got to the point where he was supposed to turn right, and he said “you know – it’s kind of tricky back there.  i’ll just take you all the way.”  how kind of him to take time out of his night to show two gals on their way.  i think he is a perfect example of george saunders’ commencement address — have you read this??  you must.  it is so good.  i want to “err in the direction of kindness.”  and watch out for monkey poop.  rush has recently made the proclamation that when we reach the age of 100, we will all shrink back into babies.  maybe he’s not all wrong; babies are generally pretty loving and kind.  here it is:


George Saunders convocation speech, Syracuse University, 2013.

Down through the ages, a traditional form has evolved for this type of speech, which is: Some old fart, his best years behind him, who, over the course of his life, has made a series of dreadful mistakes (that would be me), gives heartfelt advice to a group of shining, energetic young people, with all of their best years ahead of them (that would be you).

And I intend to respect that tradition.

Now, one useful thing you can do with an old person, in addition to borrowing money from them, or asking them to do one of their old-time “dances,” so you can watch, while laughing, is ask: “Looking back, what do you regret?” And they’ll tell you. Sometimes, as you know, they’ll tell you even if you haven’t asked. Sometimes, even when you’ve specifically requested they not tell you, they’ll tell you.

So: What do I regret? Being poor from time to time? Not really. Working terrible jobs, like “knuckle-puller in a slaughterhouse?” (And don’t even ASK what that entails.) No. I don’t regret that. Skinny-dipping in a river in Sumatra, a little buzzed, and looking up and seeing like 300 monkeys sitting on a pipeline, pooping down into the river, the river in which I was swimming, with my mouth open, naked? And getting deathly ill afterwards, and staying sick for the next seven months? Not so much. Do I regret the occasional humiliation? Like once, playing hockey in front of a big crowd, including this girl I really liked, I somehow managed, while falling and emitting this weird whooping noise, to score on my own goalie, while also sending my stick flying into the crowd, nearly hitting that girl? No. I don’t even regret that.

But here’s something I do regret:

In seventh grade, this new kid joined our class. In the interest of confidentiality, her Convocation Speech name will be “ELLEN.” ELLEN was small, shy. She wore these blue cat’s-eye glasses that, at the time, only old ladies wore. When nervous, which was pretty much always, she had a habit of taking a strand of hair into her mouth and chewing on it.

So she came to our school and our neighborhood, and was mostly ignored, occasionally teased (“Your hair taste good?” — that sort of thing). I could see this hurt her. I still remember the way she’d look after such an insult: eyes cast down, a little gut-kicked, as if, having just been reminded of her place in things, she was trying, as much as possible, to disappear. After awhile she’d drift away, hair-strand still in her mouth. At home, I imagined, after school, her mother would say, you know: “How was your day, sweetie?” and she’d say, “Oh, fine.” And her mother would say, “Making any friends?” and she’d go, “Sure, lots.”

Sometimes I’d see her hanging around alone in her front yard, as if afraid to leave it.

And then — they moved. That was it. No tragedy, no big final hazing.

One day she was there, next day she wasn’t.

End of story.

Now, why do I regret that? Why, forty-two years later, am I still thinking about it? Relative to most of the other kids, I was actually pretty nice to her. I never said an unkind word to her. In fact, I sometimes even (mildly) defended her.

But still. It bothers me.

So here’s something I know to be true, although it’s a little corny, and I don’t quite know what to do with it:

What I regret most in my life are failures of kindness.

Those moments when another human being was there, in front of me, suffering, and I responded . . . sensibly. Reservedly. Mildly.

Or, to look at it from the other end of the telescope: Who, in your life, do you remember most fondly, with the most undeniable feelings of warmth?

Those who were kindest to you, I bet.

It’s a little facile, maybe, and certainly hard to implement, but I’d say, as a goal in life, you could do worse than: Try to be kinder.

Now, the million-dollar question: What’s our problem? Why aren’t we kinder?

Here’s what I think:

Each of us is born with a series of built-in confusions that are probably somehow Darwinian. These are: (1) we’re central to the universe (that is, our personal story is the main and most interesting story, the only story, really); (2) we’re separate from the universe (there’s US and then, out there, all that other junk – dogs and swing-sets, and the State of Nebraska and low-hanging clouds and, you know, other people), and (3) we’re permanent (death is real, o.k., sure – for you, but not for me).

Now, we don’t really believe these things – intellectually we know better – but we believe them viscerally, and live by them, and they cause us to prioritize our own needs over the needs of others, even though what we really want, in our hearts, is to be less selfish, more aware of what’s actually happening in the present moment, more open, and more loving.

So, the second million-dollar question: How might we DO this? How might we become more loving, more open, less selfish, more present, less delusional, etc., etc?

Well, yes, good question.

Unfortunately, I only have three minutes left.

So let me just say this. There are ways. You already know that because, in your life, there have been High Kindness periods and Low Kindness periods, and you know what inclined you toward the former and away from the latter. Education is good; immersing ourselves in a work of art: good; prayer is good; meditation’s good; a frank talk with a dear friend; establishing ourselves in some kind of spiritual tradition — recognizing that there have been countless really smart people before us who have asked these same questions and left behind answers for us.

Because kindness, it turns out, is hard — it starts out all rainbows and puppy dogs, and expands to include . . . well, everything.

One thing in our favor: some of this “becoming kinder” happens naturally, with age. It might be a simple matter of attrition: as we get older, we come to see how useless it is to be selfish — how illogical, really. We come to love other people and are thereby counter-instructed in our own centrality. We get our butts kicked by real life, and people come to our defense, and help us, and we learn that we’re not separate, and don’t want to be. We see people near and dear to us dropping away, and are gradually convinced that maybe we too will drop away (someday, a long time from now). Most people, as they age, become less selfish and more loving. I think this is true. The great Syracuse poet, Hayden Carruth, said, in a poem written near the end of his life, that he was “mostly Love, now.”

And so, a prediction, and my heartfelt wish for you: as you get older, your self will diminish and you will grow in love. YOU will gradually be replaced by LOVE. If you have kids, that will be a huge moment in your process of self-diminishment. You really won’t care what happens to YOU, as long as they benefit. That’s one reason your parents are so proud and happy today. One of their fondest dreams has come true: you have accomplished something difficult and tangible that has enlarged you as a person and will make your life better, from here on in, forever.

Congratulations, by the way.

When young, we’re anxious — understandably — to find out if we’ve got what it takes. Can we succeed? Can we build a viable life for ourselves? But you — in particular you, of this generation — may have noticed a certain cyclical quality to ambition. You do well in high-school, in hopes of getting into a good college, so you can do well in the good college, in the hopes of getting a good job, so you can do well in the good job so you can . . .

And this is actually O.K. If we’re going to become kinder, that process has to include taking ourselves seriously — as doers, as accomplishers, as dreamers. We have to do that, to be our best selves.

Still, accomplishment is unreliable. “Succeeding,” whatever that might mean to you, is hard, and the need to do so constantly renews itself (success is like a mountain that keeps growing ahead of you as you hike it), and there’s the very real danger that “succeeding” will take up your whole life, while the big questions go untended.

So, quick, end-of-speech advice: Since, according to me, your life is going to be a gradual process of becoming kinder and more loving: Hurry up. Speed it along. Start right now. There’s a confusion in each of us, a sickness, really: selfishness. But there’s also a cure. So be a good and proactive and even somewhat desperate patient on your own behalf — seek out the most efficacious anti-selfishness medicines, energetically, for the rest of your life.

Do all the other things, the ambitious things — travel, get rich, get famous, innovate, lead, fall in love, make and lose fortunes, swim naked in wild jungle rivers (after first having it tested for monkey poop) – but as you do, to the extent that you can, err in the direction of kindness. Do those things that incline you toward the big questions, and avoid the things that would reduce you and make you trivial. That luminous part of you that exists beyond personality — your soul, if you will — is as bright and shining as any that has ever been. Bright as Shakespeare’s, bright as Gandhi’s, bright as Mother Teresa’s. Clear away everything that keeps you separate from this secret luminous place. Believe it exists, come to know it better, nurture it, share its fruits tirelessly.

And someday, in 80 years, when you’re 100, and I’m 134, and we’re both so kind and loving we’re nearly unbearable, drop me a line, let me know how your life has been. I hope you will say: It has been so wonderful.

Congratulations, Class of 2013.

I wish you great happiness, all the luck in the world, and a beautiful summer.


hoping to not be as much of a stranger; i’ve missed y’all!



framing your birth announcement / wedding invitation

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oh my goodness, have i been meaning to post this for a long time.  i really wanted to show a picture of a hanging framed birth announcement, namely rinne’s in her nursery, but that’s kind of a long story.  basically i don’t know what i’m doing in that room which means i haven’t done anything since we first moved in, and why bother hanging anything if we’re just going to turn around and change it.

so here it is on the floor.

framed birth announcement

letterpress birth announcement

i chose a “champagne” colored frame (cross between gold and silver), a white mat with the liner pattern behind the announcement – and also added a linen stock that acts as a border between the announcement and the liner.  in my opinion, it needed a little solid space between those two elements so it didn’t look busy or hard to read.  you can see the layers here…

framed announcement

my peeps at artifacts framed it.

artifacts atlanta

y’all, they are THE BEST framers in town, and definitely the best that i have ever worked with.  my old architecture firm used them, and also jen (when she was a local interior designer, i miss those days!) used them too – so two picky entities with good taste gave them two thumbs up.  that’s good as gold in my book.  it’s a small business, and the level of personal attention that you get on each piece you frame is amazing.  they don’t care if you try all 800 frame samples they have up on the walls, they will go until you find the perfect fit.

artifacts wall of frameshere is this piece, in progress at the store.  framing is something that you just have to SEE before you commit.  i actually was dead set on a gold frame when i walked in the door, but when i put it up next to everything, it looked too warm and just…off.

in progress

i have a piece getting framed there right now for the worldwide HQ – i can’t wait to get it back!  here it is in the dressing room, trying on a mat.  (top left won.)

photo-185 copyjust don’t ask me to hang it for you…

photo-185 copy 2those were casualties from my attempts to hang some art in my living room last week.  solid.

and by the way – if you order your birth announcement through calliespondence, we are happy to offer you a piece of your liner paper complimentary if you’d like to frame yours in a similar way.  this method would also work perfectly for a wedding invitation!  i love framing stationery this way because as far as the liner pattern goes, a) you must love it if you picked it, right? and b) it all goes together as a little package with the announcement / invitation…so why not display it as such.

hope y’all have wonderful weekends!!  between the masters, a sprinkle and a birthday party – we’ve got a little something for everyone going on.




party for two

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billie, who you met the other day, was really supposed to be at least a month older than rinne.  but as luck would have it, billie was tardy for the party and rinne was a scheduled c-section kind of a gal, making her entrance a tad early at 39 weeks, so their birthdays are exactly two weeks apart.  how about that!  it’s not very often that your very close friend who is married to your husband’s very close friend has a same gender baby within two weeks of your own.  right?  these two are destined to be bffs, clearly.

here they are in their first month of life.  rinne had a great tan! (i.e. touch of jaundice)

brin said this double stroller ride was a flash forward 16 years.  billie’s in the driver’s seat, because she is a little bit older you know.

as the girls approached their 1st birthday, brin and i tossed around the idea of throwing a little party with just our mutual friends and immediate family to celebrate the twins, er, friends.  this was a good thing for me because i am a person that needs party parameters. my nature is to invite everybody – old friends, new friends, distant neighbors, people i run into at the grocery store.  so keeping it to folks who knew both billie and rinne worked well and kept it somewhat small – plus i had someone to bear the burden of the party planning with.  that’s another thing – i get real into things being a detail oriented person, and before you know it, i’m rewrapping bubble containers with coordinating colored paper and losing sleep because i can’t find the perfect cocktail napkins.  it is truly best for me to throw tiny, family-only parties for the kids…the stress level is kept way, way down and i don’t drive myself crazy.  so this may be the last birthday party you see of mine for a good long while :)

so!  we ended up hosting a pool party at brin’s clubhouse on a sunny august day, and i believe a good time was had by all.  we chose a lavender and red color palette…  i loved that it was kinda sorta girly, but not totally in your face.  plus i hadn’t seen it done all that much, which is always a selling point for me.  we really had the colors be the theme, which made it super easy when choosing all of the party accouterments…

i know this great little place to get invitations.

available in the etsy shop here.

don’t forget about the stamps!  you’ll never catch me using a liberty bell.  well, maybe if i throw an old school independence day party in shades of brown.

we fashioned simple matching thank you notes in the same palette.

now, the party!  it’s kind of a long story but… through a trade organization that her dad is a part of, brin can score free items from certain local companies who accept trades.  through her dad’s generous offer to let us use his account (bad idea tom! i think he’s trade bankrupt now), we were able to score some pretty awesome, but also pretty random gratis items…

exhibit a: an enormous 30 foot balloon arch with red and purple balloons.

the best part was the drive-by ballooning of the set-up people.  they stormed in with this ridiculous tower of balloons and set it up in less than 60 seconds, dropped a couple of balloon bouquets by the door and then peaced out.  craziest thing.  it sat over the dessert table, which featured cupcakes and ruffle smash cakes courtesy of sweet peeps.  the coke crates were leftover from brin’s wedding in 2009 – those things come in handy, i tell you!

here’s another reason why i can’t throw a party again anytime soon – i got totally spoiled by having a caterer.  the food was procured through the trade organization, and it was waaaaay too easy.  the gentlemen blew in, set up the food, lit some bunsen burners and were out.  i am a little concerned with their business model however, because they gave us enough food to feed hundreds.  omg.  i can’t even tell you how many honey bbq meatballs the burnettes polished off that next week.

we offered a range of drinks…juice boxes and water bottles located on the floor for little hands’ easy reach, and up top, spiked strawberry-basil punch, mango tea and a variety of brews.  i grabbed some books from my red shelf to prop the punch dispenser on.  if i had been really on my game, i would have grabbed from the purple shelf – alas.

there were bubbles for the kids, i know they appreciated the red polka dot wrap instead of the garish one that comes on the bottle.

and the favors.  btw, aren’t these little vases with a clip for a card so cute?  they are vintage, courtesy of brin.

i whipped up a little notepad – grey chevron for the gents, lavender chevron for the ladies – for the kids in attendance that said “from the playroom of {child’s name}.”  we tied them to “1” cookies from cookie creations with red and white baker’s twine.

i’m thinking about offering these in the etsy shop.  hmm.  stay tuned for that, they really do make great gifts and favors!

what i love is that there was a child there named will smith, whose favor happened to be on top…  my friend brooke said she thought it was all famous people names so she poked around hoping to find lady gaga :)

the cake smash event was sort of…anti-climactic. not much cake eating?!  more wary finger pokes than anything else.

it was such a great day to celebrate our girls…

can’t wait to watch these two grow up together!

p.s. speaking of lovely ladies having birthdays – happy birthday to my mom, catherine shockley, who rinne is named after!!!

happy birthday, baby girl

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wow.  a year ago today, i was in an operating room having a baby.  i say “baby” because we did not know what we were having, but i was 100% convinced it was a boy.  i mean, even the nail salon ladies told me that so i could basically have bet the farm on it.  i carried the same way i did with rush, had about the same sickness level (although a bit more nausea the 2nd time around, not much) and really – i just felt it in my bones.  i have two brothers and rbb only has boys in his family – not even any aunts!  i really didn’t even let myself think that it could be a girl…why bother?  boys are grand! and wouldn’t mini burnette brother reduxs (rbb has one older brother) be cute!  i thought about all of the seersucker pants and navy birth announcement and soccer cleats and trains and twin beds and all of rush’s sweet outfits and legos and references to “my boys” and on and on.  it was decided – we would be a family of boys, and i would be the queen bee.  i was already thinking about whose chi omega mother-daughter tea i would crash (we would invite my mom’s friend jackie to mine – she only had boys).  for the record, my money was on brin and billie – i mean, she’ll be a legacy after all.  i was sure even if we went for number three, it would be a boy then too.  we were boy people.  yes!  bring it on!  i have the energy for this!  i am prepared with john-johns and polo shirts galore!!!

but then the craziest thing happened…  the baby emerged and no one said anything gender-identifying-pronoun-related, and i looked at rbb for a read…he offered nothing.  he was just staring at the baby.  so i asked what it was…he said, completely surprised and not totally convinced, “it’s a girl?!”  i sort of wanted to strangle him because that had to be THE MEANEST joke anyone had ever played on me.  can you believe him?!  cruel!  but then…the doctor said her.  her?!  you mean…it really IS a girl? of course, i just cried.  it’s kind of inconvenient to cry when your arms are strapped down and you’re wearing a hairnet.  not that the hairnet has anything to do with it, but a little bit of dignity goes out the window in the first place when you’re wearing one.  it’s a girl…i can name her after my mom…i can buy monogrammed bloomers and ballet slippers…we can go see the nutcracker every christmas at the fox…where do you buy hair bows…what previously off-limits envelope liner should i use in her announcement…i’m the mother of a little girl!!!!!

i have tried to let that soak in every last one of these 365 days we’ve had with rinne.  they’ve gone by so quickly, but at the same time, in slow-motion, since i am here to observe every growth and change (which i love, and did not get to do when rush was a baby).  and i am convinced that whoever coined the phrase “thank heaven for little girls” was a new mom that had a wily, out of control 3 year old son at home too…  rinne has been for the most part a heavenly baby, but with episodes of extreme sass and she can be quite a diva if i don’t serve her dinner quickly enough.  girl likes her food, she gets it honestly.

it’s so trite, but this year went by in a blink.  i took to taking detail shots of her sweet clothes so i could remember how fun it was to dress her…i may never get to do this again in my whole life.  (y’all, no offense to boy clothes – but they ain’t got nuthin’ on girl clothes.  i always suspected that, but was unproven.  now proven.)


my friend betsey told me after rinne was born, “i just think everybody needs a girl.”  i couldn’t agree more and still can’t believe i’m lucky enough to have gotten one.  happy 1st birthday, sweet girl.


celebrating who was to become known as rinne

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remember when i was pregnant…like a year ago?  i do.  pretty sure my back recalls too, and the skin on my stomach definitely does.  well, a few of my sweet friends insisted on throwing me a little sprinkle to celebrate the upcoming bambino, by way of a perfectly perfect “toes and tea” party!  anyone who knows me knows i L-O-V-E my tea.  all kinds!  i do not discriminate on type, oh no.  chai, earl grey, english breakfast, roobios, mate, green, peppermint…i could go on all day.  the saddest thing about being a stay-at-home-working-mama is that i have had to move on to the hard stuff (coffee) after years of a love affair with tea and only tea, but oh man, we had some good times.  hot tea and i reunite when i’m sick or want something hot before bed (aveda tea…try it…fan-freaking-tastic).

the uber stylish hostesses (jen, brin, shannon and betsey) hit it out of the park with the invitation…

i loved the wrap around patterned band!

here i am as i walked out the door to the par-tay.  i was HUGE.  for the record, i fielded comments such as “wow – you must be ready to go ANY DAY!!!!” from approximately 6 months on. was awesome.

the party was nothing short of wonderful!  i have the sweetest, most thoughtful friends…they included all of my favorite things, and who doesn’t love a pedicure amongst pals.

they served ina’s rosemary cashews…

jalapeno-spring onion dip (not for the faint of heart!)…

beautiful macarons and flowers…

shannon’s famous cupcakes.  boy, are they good.

and a TEA station complete with vintage teacups.  i mean, are you kidding me.  tres magnifique!

spike-able punch, white wine and prosecco was also available.

the favors were perfect, of course.  a handful of individually wrapped teabags and a tea strainer.  i mean…these girls think of everything!

of course the hostess gifts (goodies from anthropologie) had to match the party.

and it KILLS me that i did not think to get a picture of all of the guests!  kills me.  i only thought about it once everyone had cleared out, post-pedi.  here are shannon, me and merrell at the very end.

such a fun day – i felt so loved!


balloon gender reveal

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i just had to share this with you; i think it’s so cool.  my friend jen who has the amazing house (and amazing talent as an interior designer), throws amazing parties and is just all-around amazing, is pregnant with her second child.  she did not find out the gender with her first pregnancy, and i have to admit i was a little peeved when she decided to do that.  i didn’t know anyone who chose to not know back then, and what the heck was i going to get her for a baby gift anyway?!  (she was one of my first friends to have a baby, if it isn’t obvious.  now i know: go off the registry for the shower gift and save the fun outfit or whatever for after it’s born.)  but i cannot tell you what anticipation i was writhing with when she finally went into labor with carson… i mean i was waiting by the phone like a 6th grade girl without a date to the spring fling.  i enjoyed the anticipation and reward so much that we didn’t find out with either of our babies.

anyhow, they decided to change things up this time and it was a great way to involve carson in all the fun!  jen had her doctor’s office write down the gender, put it into an envelope, and she took said envelope to a store that blows up balloons.  jen, help – where do you go for that?  hallmark?  are those even around anymore?  when i worked at the athens, georgia hallmark in 2000 we blew up balloons :)  she left the envelope with them and told them to blow up either pink or blue balloons and put them in a sealed box…then got gussied up with her adorable family, took a friend to photograph, and unwrapped the box.

first, could they be any cuter.  jen doesn’t even look pregnant (b&$#*).

i seriously can hear jen’s laugh right now just looking at this picture.

how fun is that – a little man joining the ranks this summer!!  i cannot WAIT to meet him.
girl, get your running shoes ready.  they are a crazy breed…but they do love their mamas :) 

the glow

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as i sit here wearing an ultra-chic fleece pullover featuring the faint odor of spit-up, probably-needing-to be-washed yoga pants (and i have not worked out…just to be clear) and barely, if any, makeup to perk up my tired eyes – i get it.  i can totally see how moms lose their fashion sense.  i now completely understand the subsequent lack of caring that lead to the whole “mom jeans” phenomenon.  it didn’t click after just one baby, but two…yes.  there is simply no time!  when you’re having to set aside a strict time to shower (either before rbb leaves for work in the morning or during one of the two mornings when rush is at preschool) and think 3-day old hair looks pretty okay, you know the situation is dire.

and then i read a little on the glow.  these working moms got style.  and they’ll tell you how they do it…score.

moms like cynthia rowley.

…and other gals you probably have not heard of but have super cool jobs, apartments and small children they dress in clothes from paris.  and stella mccartney’s children’s line…which is a totally normal thing to do and definitely not a silly thing to spend money on.

okay okay.  i’ll go and put on some real pants.  maybe even a cute pair of flats and (gasp) mascara!


being polite

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i think it’s high time we start some etiquette training around these parts for the teeny folks, so i brought home a little something yesterday.

i also brought home the tiny succulent to the left, but that was for me.

this is my favorite page.

but these pages served as a good motivator for my afternoon’s activity…
and isn’t that the truth?  
so i’m off to thank all of the sweet friends who have SO spoiled us these past few weeks with hot meals and adorable gifts for the little lady.
and speaking of etiquette, i need to have a chat with the 2 year old of the house about how rude it is to draw on people’s desks with pink permanent pens (see above picture 7 o’clock).  

rinne’s newborn photo session

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i love trying out new photographers to get a different “eye” on family portraits.  for rinne’s newborn session, i hired the ultra talented laura negri photography to capture our little lady’s early countenance and rush’s two-year-old antics, too.  and antics there were…although you can’t tell from the results in the photos!    see the blog post with some of the photographer’s favorites here.

here is a little teaser.  i just figured out how to do a screen shot on the mac – so proud!  don’t mind all of the random windows (wait, can i still call those things windows?  even though…it’s not WINDOWS?).