last-minute Mother's Day gifting

Oh haiiiii -- totally been MIA over here in 2016. We've been buried deep in planning beautiful weddings, putting together the cutest welcome boxes, setting up elaborate installations for parties, fulfilling a couple bridesmaid/MOH duties (#2016yearofthewedding), attending many a cake tasting, and making some dreams come to life. No big deal, right? ;) Oh, and also spending ample time with my ONE YEAR OLD (!!!). Yep, just like that, it happened. One year. One year down in the parenting track. Can't handle. Won't handle.

Anyways, now that I'm a mom, I understand the importance of celebrating the mothers in your life even more than ever before. These women birthed you, reared you, cheered you on, prayed for you, stayed up with you when you wouldn't sleep, took care of you when you were sick, probably got bitten by you, gave up their previous lives for you... you get the picture. Even if she's not your biological mother, I pray we all have someone (s) who serve in this capacity.

So even if you're a procrastinator (Mother's Day is Sunday, May 8, y'all!), here are a few suggestions for something lovely to express a token of your gratitude for that person who answers to "Mommmmmmmmm!!!!" (Or you know, just answers your late-night sobbing phone call when you can't take college anymore / feel homesick / have a sick newborn baby of your own / fill-in-the-blank.)

FLOWERS.

smells divine, will always make her smile! peony bouquet by  Amanda Jerkins ,  captured by  Spindle Photography

smells divine, will always make her smile! peony bouquet by Amanda Jerkins,  captured by Spindle Photography

Okay, yes, this is maybe the most generic of all mother's day gifts, but even as someone who sees a lot of flowers in my day, I still appreciate their beauty and love getting a bouquet that was specifically picked out for me. (As opposed to taking home a centerpiece or two after an event.) Tulips, dahlias, peonies, garden roses, big pink lilies... can't go wrong unless she's allergic.

SPA/SALON GIFT CARD.

This is another one-size-fits-most gift. Pedicures were a way I took time for myself a couple weeks before I had Lilly, and the first thing I did when I got a couple hours alone the month after she was born. Massages are also an A+! Pampering = good idea.

EVERYDAY JEWELRY.

Kendra Scott Elisa  -- classic, dainty, sparkly, not gaudy. perfect for everyday!

Kendra Scott Elisa -- classic, dainty, sparkly, not gaudy. perfect for everyday!

You obviously have to know your audience, but I feel like a beautiful piece of everyday jewelry is a great idea. Doesn't have to be anything insane (I'm not saying you should go out and buy that wedding band topper ring unless you really want to), but a pretty pair of freshwater pearl stud earrings (make sure you get the right size -- some of us are PICKY), a gorgeous druzy pendant necklace (I haven't met a woman yet that didn't like SOMETHING at Kendra Scott. Am I crazy? Or is her stuff that crowd-pleasing?), something sterling silver or gold engraved with her baby's birthday or initials, a nice twisted cuff bracelet, or even just a pretty monogrammed right-hand ring would be so lovely. Bonus points for engraving / personalizing / tying in her children or grandchildren into the design. But maybe not the little square picture bracelets that were popular in the early 2000s. Think legitimately wearable. Less is more!

FUN JEWELRY

pinch pinch

On the other hand, maybe she'd appreciate something fun that she wouldn't otherwise buy herself (but still fits her style / is legitimately wearable). A statement necklace, a pretty set of stackable beaded bracelets, a lovely pair of earrings, maybe a fun watch. J Crew Factory is a goldmine for gorgeous statement jewelry that doesn't break the bank and even Charming Charlie's has some fun pieces (that are also excellent and inexpensive for buying in bulk for your matching bridesmaids -- brides take note!).

CHAMPAGNE

An excellent addition to anything else (champagne & peonies go GREAT together, don't they?!), you could also opt for a stand-alone bubbly like Veuve Cliquot orange label. YUM!

THE GIFT OF SHOES

melissa wedges

Maybe she resigned herself to wearing sensible shoes after the birth of her baby. A gift card to DSW would help her find her shoe mojo again, right? Or at least replace that nasty pair of wedges she's worn and loved since the pre-baby years?

MOMENTS CAPTURED

If it's been since her wedding that she's had a professional take photos of her, wouldn't it be nice to gift her a photography session of her & her little (or big) ones? It doesn't matter if her children are adults, it's always nice to have moments in time captured beautifully. OR, alternatively, if she has all the images but never takes the time to print them, it would mean so much to have beautiful prints or an album or photo book to look back rather than scrolling through years of instagram feeds. With companies like Chatbooks (that literally print your instagram) and even high-quality Apple photo books, it's so easy to make these! I love Mpix for prints, too.

A TROPICAL VACATION

this hat  would be a definite plus to commemorate the occasion!

this hat would be a definite plus to commemorate the occasion!

Perhaps the best idea of them all, what mom wouldn't like to get away with a fruity cocktail in a coconut with no responsibilities?! Call up my good friend Carlie and find yourself thousands of miles away with just the ocean breeze. But maybe avoid the Zyka virus areas if she wants more kids soon... (Yikes.)

Other Ideas:

You don't have to spend any actual money. It's the THOUGHT, the APPRECIATION, and the effort that makes a difference. Saying Happy Mother's Day, going a little out of your way to do something nice for her (change all the diapers that day? let her get away with no laundry or cooking? wash her car?), or writing a super sweet note to express your gratitude for who she is and what she's done can mean the world to a mom. Maybe she wants a day to just chill at home, no plans. Maybe she wants to go out to brunch at a cute restaurant and get some bottomless mimosas. Maybe she wants a hot shower, a nap, and a meditative yoga class. (Doesn't that sound nice?!) Know the mom you're honoring. What would she love? What would she delight in? Do that.

For me, I'm hoping for some baby snuggles (I'm in luck -- snuggliest baby ever over here), taking a lot of posed photos with nobody complaining (ahem, Drew), and a sweet card. Last Mother's Day was a hormonal blur -- we had a two-week-old and were traveling to three different family members' houses, it was the official last day of Drew's paternity leave, and anxiety was high.

Here's to a beyond-survival-mode Mother's Day, and honoring all those incredible women who made us who we are today!

september life updates

I swear I keep blinking and suddenly another month has passed, or a season has gone by. As I was driving yesterday morning to a Nashville Wedding Planners Group meeting, I rolled the windows and sunroof down and turned on some Zac Brown Band and Jimmy Buffet. Wind tousled my hair, the warm sun shone down on me, and I breathed it all in -- "This is summer bliss, right here!" Thoughts of coconut water and crystal seas came to my mind. And then I remembered... it was the last day of summer. WHAT?

who says tennessee porches can't be beachy?

who says tennessee porches can't be beachy?

I kept complaining that I wasn't doing enough summery things the past couple of months. I wanted to go to the pool more often, make a batch of homemade ice cream, get outside and catch fireflies or something. Sit on the front porch more, anything! It irritated Drew whenever I'd say that, since he felt that we had a perfectly great summer and did plenty of fun things and I wasn't giving it enough credit. And perhaps we did. We did go on a wonderful vacation, see the ocean, go to the pool (once), made lots of key lime pies, and took a few walks. But it was REALLY hot. Too hot to go on walks most days. Too hot to sit out on the back deck or front porch for longer than a few minutes. Too hot to go to the zoo. You know, Tennessee really sucks that it gets so hot and humid (WITH NO OCEAN BREEZE) in the summers. You really have to be out on a body of water (read: boating) to fully enjoy it, I feel like.

At least fall means the weather is nice! It's still a little unbearably warm today, but there were a few morning hours of blissful 72 degrees. And more is coming. The evening temps are going to be dropping, daytime hours will be more comfortable. And hopefully it won't rain too much.

I'm going to be in denial that winter will soon follow. That's literally the worst part of fall.

For whatever reason, my summer got cram-packed-full with weddings and my fall ended up light and slow and peaceful work-wise. I am 100% happy with that, too. For the first time in 5 years, I'm getting to enjoy weekends in September and October! I am loving every minute with little Lilly Beth and she gets more fun with every passing month. She is such a giggly, sweet girl. She's super talkative, blows the funniest raspberries (especially when conversing with her father), and loves songs and even sings along with me on occasion. I am so grateful for this slower work season for ample family time.

LB at four months - such a sweet girl!

LB at four months - such a sweet girl!

I remember last year (in the midst of one of my most demanding Septembers ever) seeing houses near Cheekwood with haybales and pumpkins on their stately front porches. I thought to myself, "Huh! Must be fall soon, I guess." Now I am having the opportunity to buy mums and keep them alive and decorate my mantle with polka-dotted glittered gourds. To plan a zoo date with the little girl whose eyes light up when she sees new things. To bake an apple pie. To throw a baby shower for a close friend, for pleasure. To take barre classes and mama-baby yoga, and learn what it is to practice self care as a new mom. To actually go to church, and take walks and go on little day hikes enjoying the foliage.

There's a new season on its way! I can't drink a pumpkin spice latte like I'd like to (#diabeticprobs), but I'm taking advantage of this fall. Fall free of sorority recruitment, free of work-packed weekends, free of CPA studying and test dates. Free fall for me!

some fall-y inspiration for you -- via  amy nicole  &  le parfait

some fall-y inspiration for you -- via amy nicole & le parfait

If you need me, I'll be wearing ankle boots and orange scarves, cheering on Tennessee college football (from a distance -- I don't actually care about it enough to watch a game in person), lighting harvest-scented candles, dressing my baby in ridiculously cute Halloween outfits, and wrapping up 2015 wedding season in a beautiful slow-paced (but still efficient) manner. PS -- We already have several 2016 dates booked up and plans underway, so don't waste too much time if you need some assistance for your next-year wedding. :)

Happy fall, y'all!

fall, y'all!

Between the cooler evenings, pumpkin flavor popping up everywhere, and full-throttle wedding season, there can only be one explanation:  it's fall, y'all! I feel like in the recent past, it has always taken seemingly forever for the leaves to start changing color and legitimate autumn weather to arrive. This year, however, it's been relatively cool several weeks this and last month (enough to break out my sweater and boots on a couple of occasions!) and a look out our living room window shows some turning leaves. It may not be Halloween quite yet or anything, but we're getting into the true "it's not summer anymore" season!

I've gotten my share of chances to mourn my favorite season (farewell, darling hot weather and frequent beach days!), so I'm embracing this new time with open arms. Let's bring it, tall patterned socks and Frye boots! Where on earth did I hide our monogrammed white pumpkin?

I'm also feeling fall in the kitchen nowadays. On my roster of recipes to try:  pumpkin french toast bake, pumpkin bark, a homemade pumpkin frappuccino, pumpkin scones...

I should probably break out my favorite orange pashmina scarf (I used to wear it nonstop in college autumns), too. And plan out whatever the heck I'm going to potentially dress up as for Halloween. I tend to pick easy-way-out costumes, like a cat or ballerina or werewolf (headbands / hair changes / made-up noses for the win!). But maybe this year I'll be something legit?

a favorite fall illustration by  rifle paper co !

a favorite fall illustration by rifle paper co!

Here's my fall bucket list (bold is complete, italics are in progress):

Go to an outdoor concert {needtobreathe Sept. 13 - PHENOM.}
Go to a pumpkin patch with my niece & nephews
Successfully execute 5 stunning weddings
Make an apple pie
Dress up in costume for something
Make a homemade pumpkin spice coffee drink
Attend a bonfire
Make or obtain a corn hole set for our home
Bake a sweet potato pie
Wear red lipstick

Drink apple cider
Hang something fall on our front door
Host pre-Thanksgiving at our place
Celebrate Thanksgiving in Savannah

Roast a s'more (or eat one Drew's made me!)
Make buffalo chicken something
Watch "It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown" with Drew
Decorate a beautiful fall mantle

KDE holidaze:: blackberry mojito punch

The holidays may be ending rapidly, but that can't keep me from sharing a favorite specialty cocktail recipe! Drew and I hosted a small get-together with friends on Sunday and served up this delicious drink!

Wouldn't it be just divine for any wintry wedding?

blackberry mojito punch.jpg

Blackberry Mojito Punch
adapted from MyRecipes

3 c berry juice
24 oz mojito mix
1.5 L club soda
1.5 c white rum
12 oz frozen berries (blueberries, blackberries, raspberries)
Fresh mint leaves

Stir together berry juice blend, mojito mix, chilled club soda, white rum, and frozen berries. Serve over ice and muddled mint sprigs.