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


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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)


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!


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!



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)!


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


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


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




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 through Friday, September 8. 




One of my favorite things to do with my girls is cook. As a child, cooking was one of my favorite things to do with my mom. I can remember spending hours in the kitchen with her, and it’s so enjoyable to do the same with my girls. Whether we are baking a cake or preparing breakfast on the weekends, we always love the time spent together. It’s a time to explore, learn, and make a mess.

These precious aprons make making a mess so much more fun for my girls … and me! Thanks to the world of Instagram, I found Bambinos who was able to customize these aprons! Y’all, Bambinos is such a sweet baby and children’s boutique. They carry everything for your littlest ones. And while they are located more than 450 miles away from me, they will ship anything! You may order by email or phone from their Instagram posts or from their website,

Bambinos has earned its reputation as being one of the finest baby and children’s boutique by doing one thing very well: providing customers with the very best products and services. Whether Bambinos is delivering pre-washed preemie clothing to mothers at the medical center, designing your perfect nursery or offering exclusive brands you can’t find anywhere else, it strives to make each and every experience a memorable one.

Located in the heart of San Antonio, Bambinos has served the community for over 22 years and is known for offering the finest infant and toddler clothing, keepsake gifts, special occasion wear, baby gear and much, much more. With the owners attending to every detail on a daily basis, you will always receive the VIP treatment the moment you walk in the door. Bambinos also offers an online shopping experience with in-store pickup for local customers and ships to customers nationwide, providing you with unlimited opportunities to shop.

Bambinos has created a special code for all Mama etc. readers! Use code MAMAETC for 20% off your purchase at in the months of August and September. 

Outfit Details: Seersucker Smock/Apron // Embroidery and Applique Options




It’s officially August which means two things: The end of summer and back to school. While we hate to see summer come to an end, this mama is ready for some structure and routine. This is an exciting school year for us too because both girls will be at the same school. Gone are the days of two morning drop-offs and two afternoon pick-ups. Charlotte Cate will be in Pre-K4 and Eloise will be in second grade. I absolutely cannot believe it!

We visited Oh Pair in Baton Rouge, Louisiana for our new school shoes and socks. Oh Pair offers affordable, durable, high quality shoes and accessories in an assortment of sizes, widths, and styles to accommodate every parent’s needs. They are our go-to shoe store, and the customer service is amazing!

Oh Pair works with Tori Gill, owner of Pins & Needles, an embroidery business specializing in personalizing children’s clothing, to create custom looks for all of your back-to-school needs. Tori, mom to three children, created her business with the hope of blessing others. “Children light up when they see their name, initials, or favorite character stitched just for them,” says Tori. She views her business not just as a service but as a ministry. After an item is designed and about to be embroidered, she says a prayer for that child; when you receive your item it has been personalized and prayed over!

Somehow, I was able to easily convince Charlotte Cate to go with the traditional Footmates Mary Janes. These shoes are timeless and oh, so perfect with her sweet little uniform! I love their velcro closure as buckles and shoelaces are tricky for the littlest students (and as a preschool teacher myself, I appreciate the independence of velcro). We paired the Footmates Mary Janes with classic knee-highs with a simple three-letter monogram.

For a more casual look, Charlotte Cate chose the Cienta glitter Mary Janes. I love the classic design with a modern twist. Again, these have a simple velcro closure for preschoolers. We paired these with a classic folded sock with a simple three-letter monogram.

As a big second-grader Eloise has outgrown the Mary Jane look for school. She was excited to choose a New Balance shoe in lavender and orange. We paired these with a no-show ankle sock.

Oh Pair also carries Hide-ees, the perfect panty cover for under those uniforms. Hide-ees are comfy, adorable, and have two-panel design (think, no riding up). We monogramed these with the girls’ initials. I chose the Hide-ees Original Ruffles design for Charlotte Cate and the Hide-ees Don’t Ruffle Me design for Eloise. How precious are these?


For those needing backpacks, lunch boxes, and nap mats, Oh Pair and Pins & Needles can help! They offer monogram and applique options on these products, as well. For Charlotte Cate’s nap mat, we chose a pink gingham design and coordinated the sweetest Liberty of London floral for the applique. I couldn’t be more pleased with how it turned out!

Oh Pair and Pins & Needles are super-helpful for all of your back-to-school needs! Follow Oh Pair on Instagram @ohpairbr. Follow Pins & Needles on Facebook or  Happy August, y’all!