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!!


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.


motherhood + small business

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as a mother, whether you work outside the home, from the home or not at all…you hear so much about this word balance.  but how does it work?  i am always wondering, am i working too much?  am i not working enough?  who really ever knows.  i love this passage that i found a link to on one my favorite blogs, fifi cheek.  it’s from a design sponge post by meg mateo ilasco, who is releasing the new book, mom, inc.  it provides tips on running a small business from your home and obviously being a mother too.  i think that book needs to make it on my bookshelves asap!

p.s. i love her note about lots of caffeine.  rush woke up at 6:30 this morning and i am working my way through a vat of coffee right now…


I had my first baby over nine years ago — before there were parenting blogs to help me make important decisions (What colors should I make my baby’s bunting flags?), before Toddlers and Tiaras existed to reassure me that I actually am a good parent.
When I was pregnant with my firstborn, I also had another “baby”: my first business, a wedding invitation company. So I understand motherhood about as much as I understand business. Over the years, I’ve taken copious notes and noticed some similarities: they’re both full-time jobs, they make you stay up late, they make you drink lots of caffeine so you can feel more engaging, and they always need to take a crap when you’re at the grocery store checkout. Okay, maybe that applies only to one of them. But I’ve also learned many lessons about being a business owner and mother, and I’d like to share some of them with you:
1. Motherhood doesn’t mean sainthood. There were no mom bloggers and barely any of my friends had children when I was having kids (no, I was not a teen mom); in other words, there was a dearth of real and virtual moms I could compare myself to. As a result, I got in the habit of hardly comparing myself to other moms — and this is a good thing. Comparisons will just lead to feelings of inadequacy. Let those other mothers grow their own vegetables and puree their baby’s food! Let them enroll their two-year-olds in violin class! As a mother and entrepreneur, you’ll have limited quantities of resources, time, and energy. Choose your projects and commitments carefully. If it’s not something you want to do or have time to do, then simply don’t do it. And don’t beat yourself up with comparisons.
2. Yes, children should come first, but . . . sometimes so should your business! The feeling that children should come first all the time will lead to only one thing: guilt, lots of it. You’ll feel guilty when you check your email on your phone in front of your kids; you’ll feel guilty when you have an important business event that makes you miss your son’s dance performance; you’ll feel guilty when the answer to “What’s for dinner?” is take out — again. You don’t need to interact with your child around the clock (it will teach them some independence); sometimes it’s just plain impossible to attend everything your child is involved in (especially if you’ve scheduled them in a ton of activities), and you shouldn’t feel bad that you didn’t cook and clean all day. Putting your business first some of the time doesn’t make you a bad mother!
3. Think less about the word “balance” and think more about “making it work.” If there’s one word you’ll never hear enough of as a mother and entrepreneur, it’s “balance.” How do you balance it all? How do you achieve a work-life balance? The problem with the wordbalance, for me, is that it implies homeostasis — a condition of absolute equilibrium where everything is working perfectly the way it should. Balance suggests that everything important in your life should be satisfied in an equal way. Life for a parent entrepreneur rarely works like this, making balance such an unattainable goal. Indeed, it is hard to reach a feeling of equilibrium when you’re being pulled in five different directions. So instead of thinking of balance, I think about “making it work.” It places importance on flexibility and adaptability, instead of satisfying all parties. And for an entrepreneurial mom, where every day brings a new set of challenges, flexibility is an asset.
4. Don’t forget your friends. When I had my first child, I might as well have been in a witness protection program. I lost touch with my friends as my life revolved around only family life and business. I was always too busy with the baby (“Oh I can’t make it to the party because Lauryn has her bath time.”) or the business (“Not today. I’ve got so many orders to fill!”). You need time away from the kids and business; you need time for yourself. The trick to this: schedule it regularly — like you would your son’s t-ball game (you always make time for that!). It’s also a good idea to meet up with friends who don’t have kids or a business so you can have conversations that don’t involve sleep training or how to make a press kit.
5. Enjoy the process and learn to adapt. Becoming a great designer, blogger, entrepreneur, or mother rarely happens overnight! Don’t be in such a hurry to get to the other side, or you’ll miss the point completely. Mom business owners with younger children, especially two-year-olds, always ask me, “When does it get better?” The answer is: Don’t worry about that, just enjoy your child now. And truthfully, it doesn’t necessarily get “better” — granted you won’t have to change a diaper later on, but you’ll gain other responsibilities and face other challenges as your child gets older, such as homework, fieldtrips, ninja classes, archery classes . . . and the list goes on.
Like I said, motherhood and business operate on similar tenets. It’s not making gobs of money that makes you a business owner; it’s the process of building a business that makes you one. And it’s not producing a kid that can speak three different languages by age four that makes you a mother; it’s the process of understanding your child’s needs and connecting with your child that makes you a mother. At the end of the day, remind yourself of how astonishing your accomplishments are in nurturing and molding multiple entities that will one day go out into the world and make some kind of impact — even if one of them is doing the potty dance in the grocery store aisle.

easter treats

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so.  i signed up to bring the treat for rush’s preschool class party yesterday.  what do we do first in this day and age, when faced with such a task?  why, head to pinterest and search whatever you are looking for, only to find a bevy of suitable options.  i found an adorable idea and set out to make it.  i would make these little bird nests with a cute peep and a few chocolate eggs too.  done!

i go about making this little recipe…it seems pretty simple.  melt the butter and marshmallows together, then stir in chow mein noodles and meld them into little nests, let cool, and then add the nest inhabitants.

i love how the recipe casually says, “oh yeah, coat your hands with cooking spray or shortening so they don’t stick to the mixture” – i did that and it worked for the first three seconds (generous estimate) i had my hands in that pot.  here’s what it looked like the rest of the time … on my fresh birthday manicure … !!

i don’t think that picture even begins to show the intricacies of these spiderwebs i was dealing with.  i mean, i don’t know if i did something wrong or what, but the concoction in my pot was superglue.  i could only manage to drop a few lumps of the stuff – no nest melding going on – onto parchment paper and then rbb came in behind me and quickly pressed a peep onto it.  i could barely even get my hands off of one to move onto the next!!!  what the HECK?!?!?!!?

i’m getting all hot and bothered remembering how frustrating it was.

anyway.  they turned out cute i suppose.

except the poor preschoolers could not break apart the CEMENTED together chow mein noodles…so they had to be broken up by kind teachers and parents.

sign.  it’s fashion over function for me even in the preschool treats arena.  i’ll never learn.


…like a baby

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there are two surefire ways to see me cry.  and by the way can we all agree that motherhood requires one to constantly carry a hefty supply of handkerchiefs around?  i swear it’s like an emotional spigot turned on inside of me in that delivery room and i can’t find a way to righty-tighty it.

1) ask me to read love you forever.  OMG is this book a tearjerker.  i think it really hits mothers of boys.  testament to this fact is that while at a baby shower last summer, myself and another mother of two boys explained the premise of the book to a friend who was not familiar with it.  we both started crying just recounting the story.

i know, i know – it sounds kind of hokey but just read it.  you will fall too.  and of course, rush looooves to read it.  whenever he brings it to me, he says in his little 2-year-old voice that i just want to bottle up: “dis book make mommy cu-wyyyyyyyyy.” and then we read it and by the end i go silent (except for my sniffles), hoping he’ll be content just looking at the pictures.  i just can’t handle the boy getting old and the mom getting sick.  it has a 100% success rate on producing tears for me.

2) listen to amazing grace sung by children.  oh goodness.

yesterday was what our church calls “music sunday” where they have an unbelievable production with the choir and organ, a full orchestra and various children’s choirs singing amidst readings from the preacher instead of a normal service…they do one a little before christmas and another one right before easter.  here’s more or less what it looks like:

the service’s closer was “amazing grace” preceded by a bagpiper (i knew i was in for it when i heard the first notes) and joined by one of the children’s choirs.  i was a MESS.  the sound of their little voices is just so sweet and earnest, and then you got the words and tune…i am toast.  in all seriousness – God help me in a few years when rush and rinne are up there singing.  i think rbb might have to haul me out on a stretcher.