I'm late to the game in posting these images of my daughter Lillian's sweetly Southern nursery, but better late than never!

One of the very first discussions my husband and I had upon finding out we were expecting was how to outfit the baby's nursery (#priorities). We tend to have very complementary interior design tastes -- we're typically drawn to a more neutral palette, natural-finished wood, lighter colors, and anything subtly evocative of the sea. (Although sometimes we do go overboard -- there are actual seashells lining the surface of our garden tub at the present moment, but I'll forgive that.) As much as we both love the whitewashed ultra-neutral nurseries of Restoration Hardware lore, we knew we could take some liberties to go bright and whimsical for our little one's room. (It is a child's space, after all!)

Initial ideas of the "theme" were Adventure (too "Pinteresty", IMO), Maps (also overdone), Sea Creatures (love them but don't love the premade cutest "sets" they sell at baby gear outfitters), Lilly Pulitzer (obviously a big influence but didn't want it to be identical to my office and I can never pick just ONE favorite print), and Flamingos (also love but there is such a thing as too much pink).

Drew was really pulling for the Maps/Adventure thing (esp when we were both convinced Baby Dellinger would be a boy) and I could get into it a little -- I've seen gorgeous antique watercolor maps in Savannah bookstores of the SC/GA coastline that are to die for. However, a $400 framed vintage map wasn't really in the budget and I didn't want to get too too themey. (Too many maps and you look like a Subway station, amirite?) 

Then we moved into our new house and found out we were having a Lilly. Drew was even more insistent upon painting the nursery a girly hue (which was a bit of a sallow pale green upon move-in) than I was. We found the perfect color, Beach Trail by Behr, and decided to subtly decorate the room with things influenced by our favorite city, Charleston. The color palette is reminiscent of Rainbow Row (and a project is in the works for a legitimate Rainbow Row-shaped bookshelf Drew's going to make!) -- bright pastels and beachy shades. We framed a couple of watercolor maps of the city and Isle of Palms, my maternity shoot was taken downtown so there are images of baby & me in her nursery city, and the room is replete with all the fixings of a sweet little Southern belle -- monogrammed wares, seersucker, Lilly Pulitzer baby shifts, bonnets and bows for days. 

It's certainly been a work in progress, one we're not completely through with. Things have evolved even since this photoshoot, taken when Lilly was a mere 2 weeks old. There's now a capiz shell chandelier mobile hanging above her crib, the seahorse painting has been hung above the glider, and one day we'll actually decide what to adorn the largest wall space which is currently still empty. But for now, a glimpse at a lovely little girl's room. :)

All images by the incomparable Amy Cherry.

Some of my favorite elements in her room are all of the handmade pieces gifted to us by our ultra-creative families. The below seahorse watercolor was painted by my sister-in-law, Jennifer, the day after Lilly was born (in between visiting us that morning and evening - can you believe it?!). My own sister, Dani, painted the narwhal and jellyfish canvas. My father made the gorgeous wooden stands that display my mother's handiwork: the going-home dress and bonnet Lilly wore out of the hospital.


Crib, Nightstand, & Dresser | Dolce Babi via USA Baby
Glider & Ottoman | Best Home Furnishings via USA Baby
Paint | Beach Trail by Behr
Flamingo Wall Organizer | Three Sprouts
Crib Sheet | Pottery Barn Kids
Whale Organizer | PBK
Narwhal Canvas | Dani Boudreau
Seahorse Watercolor |  Jennifer Dellinger
Sailboat | World Market
Swiss Dot Balloon Shade | Target
Hairbows | Julia's Boutique
Monogrammed Receiving Blanket | Vera Bradley

october life updates

For whatever reason, I skipped over my August & September life updates. (Life is crazy, y'all.) I promise they were all over the place, I was definitely lamenting the end of summer and how fast time flies (as per usual), and they were great but I'm glad it's now and not then anymore. 25 has proven to be one of my favorite years thus far. Lots of learning hard lessons (yes, already - just two to three months in), but finding lots of joy and surprise and dealing as best as possible with transition. Isn't change hard for everyone? Even those of us who love it. Who crave it. Drew and I were having Coronas on an outdoor patio overlooking the Atlantic and the ridiculously gorgeous dolphin-filled Shem Creek area the afternoon before my birthday, discussing how we felt like life was about to take some crazy turn. Like God had been preparing us for whatever was coming next - the process of ascending a roller coaster's incline... steady, slow, anticipatory, even terrifying, but definitely exciting. And then, sure enough, fall hit us like a ton of bricks.

I had never really ridden a roller coaster before our vacation in August, but now that I can say I've been to Six Flags and gone on several of them (including the massive one called Goliath - the biggest in the park in ATL), I definitely see the parallels in real life. Even my reactions. The first one we rode (the Batman), I was so nervous I could throw up, waiting in line. And then throughout the whole thing I clenched my eyes shut and prayed that it would be over as soon as possible (thirty more seconds, thirty more seconds and it's over...), practicing my Pranayama breathing as my body got tossed about and slammed against the sides of my seat. I was just about sure I'd pass out once it finally stopped - felt pale as a ghost and all kinds of lightheaded. But then Drew really wanted to ride the Superman, so I decided to be a good sport and deal with it. And it turned out to be really fun, I kept my eyes open, and trusted that if God's plan was for me to die on a dumb rollercoaster in Georgia (and it probably wasn't), then so be it.

My much-improved roller coaster attitude after riding Goliath!

My much-improved roller coaster attitude after riding Goliath!

There's not much control you can personally have when you're physically riding on a roller coaster. You have to rely on the engineers that created the machine, the sturdiness of the vessels holding you in, the people operating the ride and how well they strap you in, and that's pretty much it. When you're being flown across acres of theme park, dangling from a padded chair, you can't do anything to save yourself. You can close your eyes, you can hold your breath, you can grip as tightly as humanly possible onto the handles, and pray, but considering the POWER of the machines you're dealing with, you're really out of your own control. Why people thrive on that kind of thing? I still don't get it. But maybe it's a little freeing. I even threw my hands up and laughed out loud for my husband's sake - he wanted me to enjoy roller coasters so much. He'd dreamt about that experience and wanted to share something he loved so much with me. So I gave it a go. And it was fine. I obviously didn't die. I walked out in one piece, richer with life experience. And then I got to enjoy the rest of our vacation in my favorite coastal spots, relaxing in MY own particular way.

All this is to say, this fall has been a lot like riding a roller coaster. Scary, exciting, eventful, new, adventurous, and a lot out of my control. Sometimes I react well to the changes, throwing up my hands and getting over myself, giving in to the experience at hand. And sometimes I react horribly. Stressed, anxious, feeling powerless and helpless, quick to anger or blame or a host of other negative emotions. I am continuing to learn how to be a good wife, good business owner, good adult, productive citizen of the world I live in. And it is a PROCESS. But that makes me feel like I'm on track. We knew something was coming that fateful afternoon, toasting to a new year of life, up for the challenges ahead. And indeed, so much has come. Is coming. Will come.

The fab KDE team at our biggest wedding of the year, this September!

The fab KDE team at our biggest wedding of the year, this September!

I am begrudgingly still throwing up my hands, giving up control to the Lord. Even when things aren't how I expect. (When are they ever???) Even when I want to just grip as tightly as possible to my handlebars and wish away the difficulty of the present moment. We are living in Tennessee for a while longer. There are changes coming to my business structure and the KDE team. Life is increasingly DIFFERENT. All growth. All transition. All for a better good in the future. All in God's plan, and not Kelly's. And praise Him for that - He's much better of a planner than I am.

But maybe the question is - ummm, how long is this roller coaster going to last? At least I knew on Batman that it was only a 45-second ride. I'm going to usurp my inner control freak and deal with the fact that I don't know. And just trust. And breathe. October. Ohhhh, October.

One of my favorite moments this past month: going to the fall festival with family, as per tradition. Poppy (our niece) was cracking us up with her bluegrass music dancing!

One of my favorite moments this past month: going to the fall festival with family, as per tradition. Poppy (our niece) was cracking us up with her bluegrass music dancing!

So, anyhoo -- since October has finally reached its decline, let's talk about vision for November.

November, my favorite month. Perhaps a period of at least pumping the brakes on this crazy roller coaster of a fall. My final fall wedding. My final voyage of the year (YAY for a travel-filled year! It makes my heart so happy). A full week of family and feasting and decompressing as we breathe in salty ocean air. (I can smell it now!) I'm seeking more life-giving consumption and practices. More church. More breathing deeply. Courage to let go. Beginnings and continuing of planning for the future, as the future is rapidly upon us. Less survival mode, more thriving. More organized schedule. More physical activity. More celebrating the little things. More bubble baths in my new garden tub. More walks around the neighborhood. More making this house our home. Hanging things on the walls. Decorating for Christmas early. More intentional relationships. More self-care. More patience, more Bible. More Jesus.

life updates | april 2014

Welp, April? You've come and gone. Yet again. And what a bizarre month you've been! Doctors appointments, friends and family visiting from out of town, one wedding, the conclusion of my spring internship, getting a terribly annoying lingering cold... April has thrown me off my normal routine. Time to recalibrate.

Next month is going to be a wedding whirlwind of sorts. I have THREE couples getting married. One of which is my darling brother-in-law and his fiancé of a billion years, Jenn! (Drew and I will both be IN their wedding, in addition to me directing it from my vantage point.) On top of that? Drew & I get to be wedding plain ol' ATTENDEES this upcoming weekend for one of his dear fraternity brothers' big day. I am so immensely excited to get to dress up, watch a sweet couple get married (rather than hustling around behind the scenes during the actual ceremony), and get to dance and play during the reception! Can't wait!

Besides all of the nuptial madness, my best friend is having a BABY (fingers crossed - she could hold off until June) this month. Drew will take another portion of the CPA exam after Memorial Day, and we may just take a mini jaunt to celebrate the wrap-up of May weddings and exam insanity that last week.

Taken from the photo booth at Lauren & David's affair Apr. 12!

Taken from the photo booth at Lauren & David's affair Apr. 12!

self care  |  I've successfully been drinking less coffee. However, I still need to cut back even more. I need more water, more yoga, and more vegetables, but besides that, I'm good on sleep and taking adequate breaks. I'm ready to get over this stupid spring cold! Coughing is my least favorite thing to do.

home environment  |  I've been going crazy on clutter here. I've taken so many bags of things to Goodwill -- paring down clothes, kitchen goods, everything. Time to keep on trimming down the excess. How did we accumulate so much clutter?!!?

relationship  |   Drew is working out of town a lot lately, so I'm trying to use my time while he's gone for seeing people who are in town, tidying/organizing the house/recuperating from being sick (BOO), and going to yoga.

friends & fam  |   We've seen a good deal of family this past month, with out-of-towners visiting middle Tennessee, and a couple of friendly gatherings. 

career  |  BUSY.

fun & rec  |  I feel fine in this department. I've taken off a good amount of time to see people the past couple of weeks and feel off my game and out of my routine. Wanting a bit of stability to get me going now.

cause or purpose  |   My intention the past couple of days has been "Recover." In the past it has been things like "Survive" -- sometimes you just have to keep on going, keep on moving, make it through this little life drizzle. My never-ending coughing bouts have been an annoying drizzle over the past week, so I'm ready to recover fully and be back ready to swing at May.

Got the sweetest thank-you note + homemade cookies from past October bride, Ginger!

Got the sweetest thank-you note + homemade cookies from past October bride, Ginger!

Oh, May. I hope you don't fly by too fast. I want to be friends. Let's be cordial, eh? No major storms ahead? Just some smooth sailing, ease of foot. A tidy and inspiring home with little to knock me off my path? Some organized time to be in the office at maximum productivity? Dedicated times to practice yoga, live in peace, learn to meditate fully. Five minutes a day for now, ten minutes later. Maybe a couple of daily session of Tracey Anderson's arm sculpting workout so I feel extra-confident in Jenn's wedding (and my strapless bridesmaid dress) at the end of the month? Lots of water drinking, healthy food eating. Less ice cream and cookies, more salad and smoothies. (I know it doesn't sound fun, but it's so important about increasing quality of life.) I really do want to live in a way that is high-quality. High standard of living. Finding peace and joy in the everyday, the simple, the lovely. Low stress, just taking charge of my responsibilities and doing them with grace and poise. That's what I want for May. And then perhaps a well-deserved tiny break, perhaps to see some body of water. Or even a couple of pool afternoons. This is my vision. Now, onto crafting a reality that makes it so...

kelly dellinger lifestyle :: making the most of the holidays

2013 has been my year to slow down {somewhat} and try reeeeeally hard to get a grip on what's going on, day to day. The past two years in my life were so chaotic and crazy, between desperately wanting to get engaged (and looking for my Drew on bended knee at any possible opportunity) to GETTING engaged and planning the wedding of MY dreams, and then settling into married life and figuring out how to "do life" as a fully-fledged married adult with a home and two cats, and then planning the launch of this fabulous enterprise.

The past two Christmases flew by insanely fast. The last one, particularly, just went in a blur and was over like the blink of an eye. It snuck up on us. We didn't get our tree until mid-December, then almost as soon as we had hung up our ornaments and the stockings we recently ordered from etsy, we headed off to east Tennessee to spend the week of Christmas. Because married Christmases are crazy and now involve a whole lot of travel (since I have family in Savannah, Georgia, Drew has family in East Tennessee, and we're obviously in Nashville).

We decided this year that we were not going to let "busy" derail our enjoyment of the holiday season. Drew has to travel several weeks in November and December, so he'll be gone for a good chunk of the season. But we refused to let that put a damper on our holidays!!!! Instead, we decided to... Start early. Get organized. and Be Intentional.

One of our "Start Early" campaigns was buying a fake tree (sad day!) and decorating it the second weekend in November to maximize the time we get to enjoy it. Isn't it stunning?!

One of our "Start Early" campaigns was buying a fake tree (sad day!) and decorating it the second weekend in November to maximize the time we get to enjoy it. Isn't it stunning?!

Our first order of business was starting early. If we're gone for two solid weeks in November and December and Drew's traveling for work for 4 weeks additionally, that only leaves us with a couple of rushed weekends and not a whole lot of free time to sit around the house drinking hot cocoa and watching Rudolph. Instead of feeling pressured to keep the holidays segregated to not "cheat the system," we're bunking tradition and spreading out the season to span a longer period of time of enjoyment! Part of the joy of being married is getting to set your own NEW rules and traditions! We decorated our Christmas tree and set up everything in our apartment for December holidays last weekend. We watched Frosty the Snowman while Drew made homemade biscuits, listened to Duck the Halls, and started our Christmas shopping early. I've already got a handful of presents wrapped carefully underneath our tree, and it feels glorious. PLUS I got to visit Christmas Village with my wonderful mom last week and got a couple of fun things to make our home a little more festive, too:)

In order to get organized, one thing I've tried to implement this year is a Holiday Binder. It's not some fancy product I'm trying to sell (although that would be absolutely legit). It's really just a 1.5" pretty patterned binder I got from Target that I am slowing but surely procuring recipes, bucket lists, gift lists, addresses, and other goodies into in order to keep up with everything and not be all over the place.

Our last (and most important) holiday pillar was to be intentional with our time, attention, and efforts. Ain't nobody got time for "busy." We are paring down our holiday calendars to focus on what matters, planning out meals and presents in advance (to avoid last-minute unnecessary splurges or wasting hours trying to find a recipe for that party in two hours), and putting more emphasis on the MEANING of the season:  celebrating Christ's coming to earth for our incredible salvation.


Celebratorily yours,


november life updates

November's going by in quite the jiffy! It's hard to believe so many fun fall things we've looked forward to have come and gone! Despite the time flying (as it is prone to do), I'm happy to power on toward the fun things November and December bring!!!! Onto updates...

Taken at the  Southern Weddings  V6 Launch Party in Nashville last week!

Taken at the Southern Weddings V6 Launch Party in Nashville last week!

self care  |  Surprise, surprise... I have not even REMOTELY improved on this arena in my life. BOO! While I may have drunk more water and gotten dressed a few more times a week... my diet and exercise routine are lacking, I haven't had enough salad, and I definitely haven't practiced enough yoga. I went to the doctor last month to see about my body craving 10 - 12 hours of sleep nightly, expecting to hear that my iron levels were low, but when I finally got my bloodwork back, everything's totally normal.  My need for sleep is just my body's way of telling me that I could be doing a better job taking care of myself. STRUGGLE. Since this time of year tends to get so crazy and Christmas cookies abound, I need to be SPECIFICALLY intentional until the next check-in, drinking 2 canteens of water daily. Going to 3 - 4 yoga classes weekly. Eating healthy food (salad, soup, vegetables -- less dairy, bread, sugar). Sleeping 8 hours a night (going to bed EARLY), no more no less. I'm sure my clothes will fit better, I'll feel better, and my quality of life will improve exponentially when I start to do that.

home environment  |  Right now our upstairs is mass chaos with boxes and storage. Especially with the Christmas decoration upheaval, everything is in disarray. I HAVE to get super organized to stay sane this holiday season. Goal:  PARE DOWN again. Declutter. Donate. Create working systems. Clean above the fridge. Organize storage and office things. 

relationship  |   It's been so fun spending time with Drew lately! With him traveling so much in the weeks to come, we need to continue to be intentional with our time together. I need less instagram and laptop time, more face-to-face conversations and hand holding. Special goal:  Organize and deep clean with a working system so that the house is welcoming and a calm environment for Drew when he gets home! SO important during these chaotic times!

friends & fam  |   We have done better in this area! We went on a double date, saw friends a couple of times to celebrate Halloween and birthdays. I've been walking with my friend Jamie and enjoying the pretty fall weather. We're going to see family for Thanksgiving and host our own mini Tgiving this upcoming weekend, so things are looking up! Goal:  Plan a holiday party! Everything's already decorated -- why not enjoy it with friends?!

career  |   Keep trucking. Goal:  Knock out fun inspo shoot. Continue to work hard on the Design Life Project e-course. Figure out what I need to make happen and make it happen.

fun & rec  |  So many fun things to come for the holidays! I have lists upon lists.

cause or purpose  |   Volunteer! Find ways to give back for the holidays!!!! Spread God's light!