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.

 

I HAVE A THING WITH PAPER

I love paper. Invitations, stationery, gift tags, Christmas cards, LSU Football schedules, Halloween cards, Valentines, etc. The list goes on. I love the design and layout of cards and the feel of thick, luxurious paper. One of my favorite pastimes is designing paper products for myself, family and friends, and clients who have become friends over the years.

I’m a sucker for good design. I find I’m always inspired by the world around me. Font combinations I notice as I’m driving, color combinations seen in magazine and catalog print, beautiful designs in womenswear and children’s clothing, stunning locations which would make for the perfect photoshoot location, etc.

While it’s only June, I’m constantly brainstorming ideas for Charlotte Cate’s birthday invitation (because she’s the next birthday in our little family) … and her birthday is in December. I also find myself thinking about this year’s Christmas card … again, I know it’s only June. I know this is unusual, but it’s me. And it’s what keeps my creative juices flowing.

Below are some of my personal favorites that I’ve designed for our family throughout the years.

Charlotte Cate’s Birth Announcement // antique “CC” monogram incorporated into a hot pink letterpress flat card

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IMG_6985Charlotte Cate’s Breakfast with Santa Birthday Invitation // hand-glittered vintage Santa

Eloise’s Picnic in the Park Birthday Invitation // collaborated with Rifle Paper Co. to design a custom silhouette print gifted with each invitation // custom calligraphy // hand-tied with gold bakers twine

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Eloise’s Kindergarten Valentine’s Cards // ring erasers were attached to cards

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Eloise’s Ice Cream Social Birthday Invitation // hand-glittered watercolor ice cream sundaes

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2013 Cascio Christmas Card // tri-fold card designed around Charlotte Cate and Eloise’s portraits done with Fred Frey Photography

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2014 Cascio Christmas Card and Moving Announcement // Santa-themed folded card to share our new address and Santa’s new stop // Stefanie Cascio Photography

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2015 Cascio Christmas Card //tri-fold card designed around Charlotte Cate and Eloise’s portraits done with Jeannie Frey Rhodes Photography // hand-tied ribbon to coordinate with lettering, “Oh, What Fun!”

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2016 Cascio Christmas Card // Custom holographic foil // Eloise and Charlotte Cate’s artwork was incorporated into card design

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Eloise’s First Grade Valentine’s Cards // Heart glasses to coordinate with “All the Heart Eyes” emoji themeIMG_7044IMG_7040

Christmas Gift Tags // 3″ x 3″ custom gift tags to coordinate with girls’ portraits and personalities

THERE’S ALWAYS SOMETHING TO CELEBRATE

THERE’S ALWAYS SOMETHING TO CELEBRATE

If you know me, then you know birthdays and any celebrations for that matter don’t go unnoticed. I’ve always loved a good party, but unlike most people, it’s behind the scenes where I have the most fun. It’s in the details!

Event planning began at a young age for me when I first planned Barbie’s dream wedding – complete with a custom wedding gown, tiled dance floor, and of course, a “diamond” hot glued to Barbie’s left ring finger. The planning continued throughout high school, college, and I even dabbled in a birthday party-planning business for a short while before time took me away from my young children.

While party-planning as a business is no longer in the cards for me, I still enjoy paper-design in the form of invitations, announcements and holiday cards. It’s again, in the details, were I feel my creative energy come alive.

How to plan the party details:

  1. Choose a theme or color scheme. Themes don’t have to be a cheesy. Inspiration can come from the time of year, location of the party, or an interest of the child.
  2. Invitation design. Call me old fashioned, but I still love a paper invitation. If you prefer an Evite, choose one that coordinates with your theme or color scheme.
  3. Party goods and create homemade decorations. If creativity is not your thing, check out Etsy.com. One of my favorite Etsy-finds lately has been the shop, Shoppe3130, which sells DIY tissue paper tassel kits. The kits are easy and give you the same tissue paper tassel look for quite a bargain! I always love the party headbands from Shop Bracket; they are such an easy way to set the stage for any party.
  4. Party entertainment. This depends a lot on the age of your party-goers. For Eloise’s 6th birthday, a face-painter and coloring sheet was perfect. For her 5th birthday, we had a couple LSU Golden Girls to teach cheers and dances. For Charlotte Cate’s 4th birthday, Santa Claus himself made a special visit and read Twas the Night Before Christmas.
  5. Food and drinks. Again, this depends a lot on the age of your party-goers and the time of day of your party. Will you need to serve a meal? drinks? cake or cupcakes? etc. Eloise’s first birthday was in the morning, and we celebrated with a champagne brunch. Her fifth birthday was a “tailgate” theme complete with finger foods you may find on game day.
  6. Favors. Party favors should match the theme of the celebration. For Eloise’s first birthday, a Mardi Gras-themed celebration, we chose feathered masks as the favor. Tassel necklaces with an ice-cream charm were the favors for her sixth birthday at Dearman’s Soda Shop. Twas the Night Before Christmas books were the favor for Charlotte Cate’s Breakfast with Santa-themed party.

Charlotte Cate’s Baptismal Celebration

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Charlotte Cate’s first birthday party // The Nutcracker with touches of pink 

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Charlotte Cate’s fourth birthday party // Breakfast with Santa  IMG_3563IMG_3559IMG_3558

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Eloise’s fifth birthday party // LSU Tailgate complete with Golden Girls    IMG_3528

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Eloise’s sixth birthday party // Ice cream social at Dearman’s Soda Shop  

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Eloise’s seventh birthday party // “Flipping Out” Gymnastics IMG_0216 IMG_0205

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