LAISSEZ LES BON TEMPS ROULER

7516774896_IMG_5343IMG_1821_polarr“Who has the baby!?” is something you often hear this time of year in South Louisiana. And by baby I mean the King Cake Baby.

King cakes are a big deal around here. From January 6th, the Epiphany, till Mardi Gras day, you’ll find these cinnamon sweet, bready, colorful cakes in just about every house, often consumed in multiple “slivers” at at time – breakfast, lunch, dinner, and dessert. Am I right? You know you keep going back for more. These cakes signify the three wise men finding baby Jesus as a tiny King Cake baby is hidden in every cake.
If you have “the baby” that means you bring the next King Cake. I’ve always been a fan of King Cake and everyone has their favorite. People around here often show their loyalty to their favorite bakery. Just last year, I began baking my own King Cakes. While the idea of it was intimidating, it’s actually a super-fun and super-easy project to do with your kids … just make sure you have time to do it!
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I’ve used the recipe found on The Kitchn. I’ve followed this recipe multiple times, and it’s proven consistently delicious! I do, however, use my own recipe for the icing. I prefer something with a bit more “substance” versus a light glaze. I also love to jazz it up with lots of sprinkles!
King Cake Icing
What you’ll need for the icing:
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
4 oz cream cheese, softened
2 to 2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon milk
food coloring
Using a stand mixer, mix together butter and cream cheese. Slowly add powdered sugar. Mix for about 10 minutes until light and fluffy. Add vanilla extract and milk and food coloring. Mix until combined. Traditionally, King Cakes are purple (signifies “justice”), green (signifies “faith”), and gold (signifies “power”); however, we’ve had fun this season using various colors for our King Cakes. Use an icing bag and snip the end to ice your King Cake. We also love a good sprinkle around here. We’ve ordered sprinkles from Sweetapolita and Fancy Sprinkles.

Behind the Scenes: Thoughts behind the Christmas Card

Y’all I live for Christmas cards. Creating them and receiving them. They are one of my “things”. I literally think about them all throughout the year. I’m inspired by everything around me: playful patterns on clothing, unique color combinations, various typography, saved Instagram posts, design layouts in magazines or on billboards … the list goes on. Each year, I try to keep my personal card fresh and different from past years. It’s a way for me to push my creativity, but also a way to make the card special for those receiving it. The ideas live in an organized disarray in my head until I start the design process. This year, I compiled my ideas, outfit choices, inspiration, etc. in a secret Pinterest board … do y’all have secret boards?

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This year, I knew there were a few elements I wanted in my card: playful family shot at home that was backlit with a bright and airy feel, pops of color, simple design. After I nailed down our outfit choices (a mix of old and new pieces), I called in my favorite go-to, my sister-in-law/amazing photographer, Stefanie Cascio. She, too, had been invited to my “secret” Pinterest board so she knew the feel I was going for, and boy did she nail it this year! Not only did she get the look and feel, but she captured us in a way that is so real.

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After seeing the photos, my crazy, design-oriented brain gets to thinking. I usually have at least five different ideas come to mind right away, and I usually always mock up various cards before coming up with one that feels just right.

One of the girls’ favorite Christmas movies is the Santa Clause (among Home Alone, Home Alone 2, Christmas Vacation, Elf, the Grinch, Eloise at Christmastime … we’re Christmas people). I used a quote from the Santa Clause movie that is so fitting for the girls this Christmas, “Seeing isn’t believing. Believing is seeing.” In other words, you don’t need to see something to believe it; according to Judy the Elf, if you believe in something in your heart, it exists. I know the idea of Santa will begin to be questioned in the next few years, and this year I wanted to hold on to and savor every bit of magic associated with the Big Guy.

This is the final product. A 5.5″ x 8.5″ flat card enclosed in a vellum envelope filled with pink confetti. Magic! I think it will always be one of my favorites.

flat cardIMG_0659Outfit Details: H&M Rib-knit sweater // Mignonne Gavigan Mini Jackie Earring // Distressed high-rise jean // Girls’ drop-waist dress in pink // pink hair ribbon

HALLOWEEN 2017

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“Are you crying? Are you crying? There’s no crying in baseball!”

Literally one of the best movies of all time! Who doesn’t love A League of Their Own? This summer we brought back the 90’s movies at our house – Free Willy, The Mighty Ducks, Father of the Bride, The Cutting Edge, and, of course, A League of Their Own (just to name a few)! It’s been fun reliving my own childhood watching my girls fall in love with these movies for the first time.

After watching A League of Their Own, Eloise and Charlotte Cate were quickly role-playing as Dottie and Kit. We ordered the Rockford Peaches costumes from Amazon. And they soon decided that was going to be their Halloween costume – in July! We’re planners when it comes to Halloween costumes.

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Halloween Costume Details: Rockford Peaches costume // Red knee-high socks // Cienta pink shoes (similar) (girls’ Cientas from Oh Pair in Baton Rouge, LA)

A ROUND-UP OF OUR FAVORITE COSTUMES

I can’t believe Halloween is in just a couple of days! It’s one of my favorite holidays (second to Christmas and Thanksgiving is a close third). See below for some of my most favorite Halloween costumes for my girls over the past few years.

Eloise as a Peacock

One of my dear friends and co-teachers at the time, owned peacocks and was so kind to share some of his feathers with me. I used them to create Eloise’s costume. The ruffled leotard came from Etsy. This is still one of my most favorite costumes to date!

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Eloise as Eloise at the Plaza

From the time she was born, I knew Eloise would one day be “Eloise” for Halloween. Thanks to Etsy, I was able to find this precious costume. This, too, is one of my favorite Halloween costumes!

Eloise and Charlotte Cate as Vintage Clowns 

Ok, so these may be my favorite costumes to date … really! I found vintage patterns on Etsy and had my seamstress create these precious costumes! I knew I wanted a fun pink and orange fabric with a pop of turquoise. I couldn’t be happier with how these turned out! It was also the perfect sibling set! These costumes have already been “saved” for future generations!

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Eloise as a Catholic High Bruinette and Charlotte Cate as Madeline

This was the girls’ first year to dress up differently. As you already know, we live for Catholic High basketball games and love to see our Bruinettes dance. Eloise was excited to have a “real” Bruinette uniform and couldn’t wait to wear it for Halloween (she also wore it all Basketball season to the games). Charlotte Cate’s favorite book at that time was Madeline. Her favorite line was, “To the tigers in the zoo, Madeline just said, “pooh, pooh.” These costumes were so fitting for the girls!

Eloise as a Rainbow Unicorn and Charlotte Cate as Batman

Again, the girls dressed up differently this year. However, I found a way to make them coordinate. We used simple long-sleeved leotards and tights for the start to their costumes. Eloise’s mask and tail was by Opposite of Far. Charlotte Cate’s Batman accessories were from Etsy. The girls both wore Converse sneakers. Their treat bags were from Pottery Barn Kids. Their bows were, of course, by Two Sisters Bows (our favorites)!

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This year, the girls are matching. I’ll give you a clue, we’re bringing back the nineties movies. Post to come soon!

SPOTLIGHT: THE QUEEN BEE

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7585925472_IMG_0961I love a good birthday party! And with any good party comes exquisite details – the cake, the balloons, the invitation. Details that shouldn’t be forgotten include the wrapping paper and the stationery to be used for proper thank you notes! I’m a lover of paper and paper design, and Baton Rouge’s The Queen Bee should be your go-to stop for unforgettable paper details and top-notch customer service.

Owner Michelle Beauboeuf, was a dream to work with when creating custom stationery, enclosure cards, and one-of-a-kind gift wrap for my girls. She simply asked for their interests and favorite colors. My seven-year-old girly-girl Eloise chose “rainbows and unicorns” and the color turquoise; my four-year-old candy-junky and frequenter-to-the-dentist, Charlotte Cate chose “lollipops” and the color pink. From there, Michelle and her staff worked their magic to create the most amazing pieces for my girls! Y’all it was all designed in-house … the note cards and enclosure cards were printed in-house, too.

7585925472_IMG_09487585925472_IMG_09507585925472_IMG_09407585925472_IMG_0947For those interested in the process, Michelle says, “Typically, the customer will come in, and we will get some information from them. We will ask who the recipient is, what they are into, what colors they like, and any other information that will help us with the design.” Michelle and her staff will walk you through all of the options including paper, fonts, colors, envelope color, envelope liners, return address and addressing options. Once all info is gathered, the design begins and a proof is sent to the customer. Upon approval, the customer should have their stationery within days of ordering.

One of The Queen Bee’s newest ventures is custom gift wrapping. I was so excited to have custom gift wrap designed for the girls. How exciting to show up to a friend’s birthday party with a gift wrapped in your own custom paper? Just like an invitation or note card, Michelle and her staff can create something personal and custom, each design different from the last. From monograms to specific party-themed paper, this service of custom-designed gift wrap is going to be popular! I can already imagine Santa’s custom gift wrap this holiday season …

The Queen Bee is located in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Follow The Queen Bee on Instagram @thequeenbeebatonrouge.

 

THE MOST WONDERFUL TIME OF THE YEAR

mood board.pngGrowing up in Baton Rouge, you’re bred to bleed purple and gold. Tailgating, football, and Mike the Tiger are all rites of passage. As a child, LSU football, basketball, and baseball games were events I loved going to with my family and friends, and as a mama, it’s a time I still very much cherish with my family and friends. I especially love football season! It’s also the best time to wear all your favorite transitional, summer-to-fall purple and gold pieces.

You know I love an easy blouse to pair with simple cutoffs or skinnies depending on the weather. Throw in the perfect accessory (usually a good statement earring) and a comfortable shoe (because lots of walking) and you’re set! And if your stadium has gone to clear bags, you must check out STARK!

Shopping Details: Lilac Sleeveless Multi Frill Oversize Shirt // Tie-Neck Top in Oxford Cotton // Gingham Ruffle Smock Top // Yellow Gingham Blouse // Lavender Tate Top // Tie-shoulder eyelet top // Yellow Eli Top

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Outfit DetailsTie-shoulder eyelet top // Mignonne Gavigan Neon Yellow earrings // Black Release-hem skinny jean (under $40) // Cheetah Sneakers // Quay Kylie Sunglasses // Stark Annie clear bag // Girls LSU cheer uniforms // Two Sisters Bows LSU Bows

SPOTLIGHT: LE PAPIER STUDIO

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I have been a long-time fan of Le Papier Studio. Founder, Vana Chupp, takes the craft of silhouettes and constructs the most beautiful keepsake jewelry you’ve ever seen. A couple years ago Mark had a custom tiny silhouette charm necklace created for my birthday; it’s become a piece of jewelry that I wear daily and hardly take off. I am so excited to add the family tree bar bracelet to my collection – with updated silhouettes of the girls, of course!

Le Papier Studio works with your favorite photographs to create Custom Silhouettes of the people, pets, and special moments in your life. From those treasured pictures, Le Papier Studio creates one-of-a-kind heirloom pieces: silhouette portraits and exquisite jewelry, and perfectly personal accessories. All custom silhouettes created by Le Papier Studio are kept on file for any future uses you may have.

To personalize any of Le Papier Studio’s products with a custom silhouette from your photographs, start by selecting the desired product. Each custom silhouette they create is subject to a one-time-fee ($10.00). Please note that each person, pet, makes for one custom silhouette – a family of four (dad, mom, two kids) will require four silhouettes. Use this as a guideline when selecting the quantity of Custom Silhouettes for your order.

Once you have selected your desired product, and the “create custom silhouette from my photos” option, you can upload your photo/s right on the order form. You can do this by clicking the “Upload photos” button. You will see the uploaded photos when you add the product to the cart.

Here’s an example of our latest before and afters. Notice that Vana can create something pretty amazing from a simple iPhone photograph:

 

Tips for perfect silhouettes

  •  Place subject in front of a well-lit background, facing either left or right.
  • Only one side of the face must show on the photo and entire head should be in the photo.
  • A relaxed face helps to show the features (eyelashes, nose, lips) more realistically although  smiling faces are cute too. It’s up to you how you want to photograph them.
  • If photographing more than one person, take individual pictures.
  • Remember to take the picture straight at eye level, standing about 4-6 feet away.
  • If person has long hair (past the shoulder line) put it up. Ponytails, braids, messy buns really do make for cute silhouettes and add character to the piece of art.
  • For full body silhouettes, take a picture of the people standing, walking away or towards the camera.
  • When photographing babies, try taking the picture when they are asleep. Hold the camera directly above their face, with only one side of the face showing.

About Le Papier Studio

Le Papier Studio is a boutique lifestyle brand that manifests the sensibilities and personal style of its Founder and Creative Director, Vana Chupp. The brand inspires women to keep memories close and cherish the magic of special moments forever. They utilize client’s favorite photographs to illustrate the people, pets, and special moments in their life. From those treasured pictures, we create one-of-a-kind heirloom pieces: silhouette portraits and exquisite jewelry, and perfectly personal accessories.

Le Papier Studio was established in 2008 in an effort to satisfy Vana’s creative passions while fulfilling an even higher calling, being a mom. Vana continues to be the safe keeper of a family’s memory and works with clients personally on each order to help evoke the magic of that moment forever.

Le Papier Studio has created a special code for all Mama etc. readers! Use code LPS20 for 20% off your purchase on all silhouette prints and jewelry at www.lepapierstudio.com through Friday, September 8.