The past year has been quite a whirlwind. Auggie was born late in 2015 and the first six months of his life were wrought with challenges I never expected which left us at home non-stop for the majority of the first half of the year. The idea of a legitimate family vacation felt like a far off dream back then. But as we have settled into parenthood and I finally got back to work, traveling with a baby seemed manageable, even exciting, do-able. So when Hilton Garden Inn reached out asking if I wanted to partner with them and head to Kauai, Hawaii for a week this winter it didn’t take long for me to say yes.
I have dreamed of going to Kauai for as far back as I can remember – a friend of mine from college whose dad lived there, and whom spent every college break getting an amazing tan, always talked about Kauai like it was this magical exotic far off wonderland. We’ve also lived in the PNW for nearly a decade and it seemed absolutely absurd that we still hadn’t taken a Hawaiian vacation since there are direct flights to Lihue right from our backyard. There wasn’t a doubt in my mind that Kauai had to happen and with a baby in tow no-less!
We arrived in Hawaii and were immediately giddy. The palm trees, the vastness of the ocean and the sunset…oh the sunsets. I forgot just how beautiful the setting sun could be and how it could do things to the sky not even the most skilled painter could recreate. We got settled into our cute cottage accommodations pretty quickly, covering the windows with trash bags and painters tape (if you’re a parent and haven’t used this trick yet to blackout a room while traveling it’s the easiest and breeziest! and if you’re not a parent, TRUST ME…100% worth the effort) and laying out Auggie’s adorable swimsuits that by some miracle still fit from early July when we bought them (thank you lycra!).
We went down to the beach as quickly as we could (which was just a short two minute walk from our room across the lawn and right on Wailua Bay!) and soaked in the first of many gorgeous cotton candy sunsets and sunrises. It felt so overwhelmingly beautiful and comforting to watch the warmth of the sun fall on my boys’ sweet faces as it escaped under the horizon, and to hear the bellowing sounds of the waves hitting the shore. Auggie had never been to a real oceanside beach before, so seeing his little toes bury themselves in the sand was pure joy for this mama.
After an AH-MAZING nights sleep in the comfy king sized bed we headed up to The Garden Grille on site for our first breakfast as a family. We immediately ordered pancakes smothered in the most amazing fresh coconut syrup, an omelette filled with every vegetable imaginable and consumed as much fresh papaya and pineapple as we could stomach. Auggie’s sleep schedule means his actual meals happen when we usually don’t have time to eat with him or are at hours we aren’t as hungry, so it was the most fun to sit at the restaurant as a family and actually eat a meal together. The simplest of pleasures, but such a treat! He was so proud of himself to be sitting at the table right alongside mama and papa. When we were done with breakfast we decided to take a walk around the property, swooning over the pretty pool and the ocean views as we went.
After breakfast and our wander, Adam stayed back and put Auggie down for a nap and I hopped in the car to explore the island. We had brought our favorite babysitter Susanna along on the trip to help with Auggie so Adam and I could actually enjoy some of the excursions we had planned and we could both work as needed. Susuanna wasn’t occupied that morning so I brought her along on my day trip adventure which was SO fun.
Just a thirty minute gorgeously scenic drive from the Hilton Garden Inn was the Kilauea Lighthouse. The views were absolutely impeccable and I was in total shock just how turquoise the water was against the rocks. Oh my gosh and the humidity…the closer we were to the beach and the more it sprinkled drops of rain, the more untamed my hair always got! By the end of our trip I finally just gave in and let it go as wild as it wanted.
Before leaving the Kilauea area, we stopped to shop at Hunter Gatherer (an absolute must if you are ever on Kauai!) and nabbed a fresh juice from Kauai Juice Co. They have a location in downtown Kapaa as well and it was definitely a consistent staple of our trip.
I continued our afternoon drive north settling into the beach town of Hanalei. Wanting to get to a secluded place on the water, I pulled off the road at Waikoko Beach and had not a clue how to actually get down from the road to the water as there was a steep drop and appeared no walking route. Luckily a surfer with a cute little scraggly dog wearing a puka shell necklace (seriously, only in Hawaii!) was kind enough to give me and Susanna advice on how to make the trek down : “oh just take off your shoes and climb down the tree roots, they are super strong!” I looked at him in complete bewilderment and laughed a bit thinking he must be kidding? He wasn’t. So in an effort not to look like a seriously old lady in front of Susanna who is 10 years my junior, and with a determination to have an authentic Hawaiian experience, I clung to the tree roots and climbed my way down, feeling like a kid for the first time in years. Once we were down to the sand it was absolutely breathtaking. It was one of those postcard moments you wished you could live in forever.
That night after a relaxing drive back to our hotel along the coast, including a stop at Duane’s Ono-Char Burger for some grub (the teriyaki and pinapple burger was HEAVEN!), Adam and I left Augs with Susanna and set off for a luau and hula dancing performance at Smith’s. We were so entranced by their beautiful property and the botanic gardens. I also couldn’t get over how effortlessly those hula dancers make their hips shake! I don’t think I could shake my body like that even with years of practice!
Two of the things I enjoyed most during our time on Kauai was a helicopter ride we took with Safari Helicopters and our Na Pali sunset dinner cruise with Capt Andy’s. Neither Adam nor I had ever been in a helicopter before so it was such a thrilling adventure for us both (in all honesty, I was terrified before the flight especially now that we have a child who depends on us but it was something I will never regret doing). The views were SO beautiful and it was fun to see the coastline from so high up. And after living in Seattle for almost 10 years with not a single whale sighting, catching multiple views of humpbacks during our boat ride was an absolute thrill that made me cry. There is just something so stunningly beautiful about seeing animals in their wild habitat unrestricted right?
Every morning we made an effort to get to the beach before sunrise allowing us lots of time to adventure around town with Auggie. I’ve traveled many times before, but experiencing a new place through the eyes of your child takes the cake. Everything is new to them (the fresh pineapple and mango at the farmer’s market, the rusty stairs of the lifeguards post, people watching during brunch at Java Kai in Old Town) and everything is so much more fun because of it. I get so much satisfaction from solo travel, but having my little buddy along on this Hawaii trip was the cherry on top of such a great experience.
The morning before we flew back to Seattle, we took one last drive to see Wailua Falls, Opaekaa Falls and the Wailua River. I’m obsessed with waterfalls and my one regret of the trip was not having more time to go on a hike and wade in the calm waters under the falls (oh and not taking home any of the coconut syrup…dang it!). We got to Wailua Falls right after the sunrise and were the only ones taking in its misty glow…it was absolutely breathtaking. I also got to capture a few photos of my boys being extra cute which was an added bonus. This trip to Kauai will be one I will never forget and I’m so glad we got the opportunity to travel as a family to such an awe-inspiring place.
A few other worthwhile stops if you are ever on the island of Kauai:
1. Shipwrecked Kauai (really cute boutique with adorable baby clothes, cards, swimwear etc.)
2. Tiki Tacos (had some of the best tacos I’ve ever had here! HUGE quantity and perfect spiciness)
3. The Fresh Shave (we unfortunately ran out of time to stop here, but it was recommended to me more times than I can count)
4. Bike riding along the Kapaa Bike Path (the Hilton Garden Inn where we stayed let you check out bikes for 2 hours at a time free of charge!)
5. Snorkling on the north coast (we didn’t get a chance to do this this time around, but our babysitter said she saw the most amazing fish)
6. Koloa Rum Company (go to this spot for a rum tasting, OH and one of their rum bundt cakes…holy yum!).
This post is sponsored content created in partnership with Hilton Garden Inn. All thoughts, opinions and photography in this post are my own.
As a stylist it wasn’t hard to get excited about the process of making a designated room for our soon to be little cherub. I was immediately flooded with an array of ideas (too many really!) and spent a couple of months in early pregnancy slowly piecing together an initial design board (you can see it here) and seeking out details for the space that didn’t necessarily scream ‘baby!’ As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, we knew we were gonna to be up against a space issue – our home only has one 10×10 bedroom on the main floor with our other two bedrooms on the lower level, so making a nursery posed some logistical challenges.
A couple folks suggested we just forgo having a nursery all together, but I was determined to prove that even in the most constricted spaces you can have a beautiful area for your baby to dwell in, which can not only be a direct reflection of your personal style, but also offer a fluid extension of your traditional space. We went back and forth over and over again about the possibilities of where we would put baby (all of us downstairs? all of us in our bedroom? him in our bedroom, us downstairs?) and finally settled on us all staying on the main level of our house. I loved the idea of converting our kitchen/breakfast nook to our “baby nursery” and although I knew it would be a tight fit, on the flip side the idea of being secluded in a room away from our main living space while breastfeeding him 40+ hours a week was a horribly unattractive idea.
Being that the space is super teeny (8×8) I started the design process knowing I wouldn’t be able to fit much. I therefore wanted to be really intentional about making a few investments that would offer a lasting and beautiful bang for our buck. The design of the space initially centered around this gorgeous cloud print by Megumi Shauna Arai (a local artist here in Seattle) and I could see myself happily gazing at it in the wee morning hours of exhaustion in the those early months of motherhood.
We had the artwork professionally framed and placed it above this vintage Drexel Kipp Stewart credenza which was a piece we had coveted in our home for a while but had been in storage for the past year and half during our remodel. It has offered such a great way to store all our baby clothes/supplies and paired really well with this Dwell Studio changing station which we secured to the back of the credenza. It took about six months for everything to come together and each day that a new box of goodies arrived on our porch or I spotted something that would be perfect for the space while out and about I got so immensely giddy. The entire process has been so much fun!
The baby nook sits all nice and cozy directly off our kitchen and it makes me so elated to peer in there while I’m making dinner or moving about our home. That chair was seriously worth EVERY last penny and is SO SO comfortable. Being that I’m nearly 6 ft tall I needed a chair with a high back so I could rest my head in the middle of the night and catch some extra zzz’s.
After sitting in nearly 20 nursery chairs, this West Elm Graham Glider in dove grey stole my heart and made my lower back super happy. I also love that it’s not a traditional nursery rocker and can transition to other areas of our home long after baby boy grows. The shaggy pouf ottoman is a Land of Nod find and pairs perfectly with the comfort of the chair.
I spent a lot of time considering lighting for the space and gleefully settled on this hand crocheted chandelier my Grammie made nearly 20 years ago. I love it so so much and until now had not found the perfect spot for it. It adds such a soft and inviting touch, and helps make the space extra special/feel very personal.
The gold sconce above the chair is from Schoolhouse Electric and I’m OBSESSED with it. Their lightning is such amazing quality and I love that they are PNW pals with their headquarters just down the road in Portland. It will be so nice to switch on the sconce in the middle of night for diaper changes without flooding the whole room with light.
Also, that Land of Nod bassinet…uhhhhh swoon right?! I love how snuggly it fits right in the room and offers additional storage space beneath it. ***A little sidenote : being that we live in an earthquake state, I have NO intention of having our babe sleep in the bassinet while under the shelving. During his nap times I will be pulling the bassinet away from the shelves or into our living room to keep him safe.*** But when it’s not in use, it fits perfectly under the white custom shelves Adam made and those West Elm antique brass prism brackets.
In conjunction with the nook, we are also planning on having our babe in our bedroom for the first few months after bringing him home. I wanted him to be visibly accessible in the middle of the night (new mama worries!) without having to leave our bed. We borrowed this sweet Babyletto origami mini crib from our friends Andie & Christian and it instantly became our solution for overnight sleep. The cozy vintage african mud cloth crib blanket was custom-made for us by One Fine Nest and the blue quilt was made by hand by Adam’s Aunt Sandy using fabrics from my friend Keli over at Drygoods Design. The cute polka dot mini crib sheet is from Land of Nod.
These GORGEOUS baskets are from The Citizenry and have been so ideal for storing toys and all of the beautiful blankets we were gifted by friends and family at our baby showers. The colors of the baskets are so dang pretty and vibrant, and I love that each one was handmade and is one-of-a-kind. The persian rug is a vintage find from an estate sale a few years back, and the macrame wall hanging was made by me and my mama about a year ago for an Anthropologie photo shoot. The mobile consists of drift wood and shells I picked up along my beach walks at Discovery Park here in Seattle. The vintage black and white african mud cloth pillow as well as the pillows in the bassinet in the baby nook are from The Mod Boho.
It has been such a treat to set out all of the amazing items and teeny shoes we have been gifted on these simple shelves. The little wooden toy cars were actually Adam’s from when he was a little boy, the maternity photograph was shot by pal Catherine Abegg when I was about 29 weeks pregnant, and those adorable wooden name blocks are made by Little Sapling Toys and were a gift from my friend Laura. The vintage painting was a treasure found during my travels in Berlin last year; the bear piggy bank was a sweet antique find from my sister Coli; and the stuffed knit raccoon doll from my Aunt Sue is from Blabla.
Everything about this space gives me a rush of happy mama feelings. I absolutely cannot wait to bring our little guy home to this loving space as it has quickly become my favorite spot in our home. I’ve already spent many an hour sitting in this space with our pup and am counting the minutes until I’m holding our babe in my arms.
images captured by : Belathee Photography (thank you Dorothee!!)
white changing station : Dwell Studio (similar here) | mixed media hanging mobile : Attalie Dexter | ‘hey babe’ framed art : Oh My Deer | brush/comb cup and cement plant pot : Anthropologie | chair : West Elm Graham Glider | ottoman : Land of Nod shaggy pouf in white | curtains : Land of Nod Tie Die curtains in blue | sconce : Schoolhouse Electric Isaac Plug-In Sconce in brass | custom shelving wood from Home Depot | shelf brackets : West Elm Prism Bracket in antique brass | bassinet : Land of Nod Norse bassinet | white & black crib blanket and blue chair pillow : One Fine Nest | white mini crib : Babyletto | white and black polka dot crib sheet : Land of Nod | baskets : The Citizenry Bombo Basket and Sauda Basket | black african mud cloth pillows and pillows in bassinet : The Mod Boho | side table, brass shelf and green triangle rug: Urban Outfitters | soft blue nook curtains : Anthropologie
The idea of taking professional photographs of yourself when you’re not feeling your most svelte can seem a bit daunting. What to wear? Where to do them? How to cover up my expanding thighs, my dimpled arms? When? But since becoming pregnant I knew that no matter what, this time in my life was something I wanted to (I MUST) capture, regardless of any developing body insecurities. For many of the women in my life, pregnancy had been something that they had fought years, even decades for. Some were given the sullen news that pregnancy would never be an option for them, others are still trying with all their might to start or continue their families.
So when we got pregnant relatively quickly (I went off birth control in May of 2014 and we got pregnant without consistent effort and a crazy travel schedule by February of 2015) I thanked all our lucky stars that we were able to conceive a baby naturally and without much trouble. Therefore, I’m intentionally appreciating every last-minute of this pregnancy with unwavering gratitude and even though I don’t always wake up feeling or looking my best, I couldn’t imagine not documenting this exciting event in our lives. There is something so incredibly empowering about seeing your female body transform throughout pregnancy, no matter what that pesky scale might say.
Here is where I tell you the story of how freaking fortunate I am to have the girlfriends I do. Each one is equally passionate about their life, their work, their families and each one provides something so unique and special to my life. Not only do I have a plethora of numbers to call or text when the going gets tough, but I know that each one of these women are over the moon for me and Adam and this little bebe we are about to bring into the world. So when I considered taking some traditional maternity photos not one, but FOUR friends offered their services. Seriously?? I could sob uncontrollably in a blanket in response to the generosity of these women. And honestly there is NOTHING more special than having someone you love capture your special moments…it’s priceless REALLY.
Julie and Catherine were kind enough to tag team a maternity shoot for me a few weeks back, and I cannot even begin to tell you how much fun it was, although I was pretty nervous from the get go. The dresses I had ordered for the occasion came late, our house was a total disaster the weekend before the shoot and my face/chest were in that lovely stage of pregnancy breakout (ick). But at 7 months pregnant I knew that I wanted to capture my body in all it’s expectant glory before I felt too tired, too bloated, or too stretched out to enjoy it.
With A LOT of help from Adam our house was cleaned, I picked up the dresses from UPS the morning of the shoot, I had my hair and makeup done by sweet Chelsey and Julie and Catherine came over in the afternoon sunlight and worked their magic. I felt comfortable, and beautiful and just so joyful and happy. Julie shot with her digital camera, Catherine with film. We spent about an hour going from room to room and even to our backyard to capture the light and my growing belly. I cried happy tears when Julie sent me the first images she had edited and I couldn’t resist sharing a few of my favorites here. I cannot wait for the day that my little guy is old enough to (maybe?) appreciate seeing these photos of when his mama was growing him in her belly. Regardless of his enthusiasm, I feel so thankful to have images like these ones to forever remember this fleeting time in our life.
If you are even considering getting pregnancy photos, DO IT. Even if it’s just a few photos taken by a loved one, don’t pass up the chance. I considered canceling the shoot a few days before after feeling overwhelmed by the idea of being behind the camera (and not feeling so great physically with non-stop contractions), but am SO glad I went through with it. I plan to have my belly captured one last time right before our due date (just to get it in all its fullest, roundest glory) and am counting the days until I can get some of these framed for our home.
Thank you again to Julie and Catherine for taking the time out of their busy mama/biz lady lives to make this shoot happen. You can see more from the shoot over on Julie’s blog.
photography by Julie Harmsen Fitts and Catherine Abegg (images 1, 9, 10, 13, and 14). hair and makeup by Chelsey Matley. dresses by Free People.
When we bought our house back in January 2014, we were so eager to have a home of our own that we overlooked many of the red flags and happily committed to buying a home that might not have been one of our finest choices. You can read more about our home buying experience in this post, but long story short…it has been a treacherous journey. In conjunction with the number of issues with the home, I quickly realized that even though our house was a generous 1600 square feet, the layout wasn’t so ideal. Our first floor only had one bedroom and with guests eager to visit we quickly had to get creative. Our basement was gutted (for reason’s I’m too exhausted to explain), so our only option was to either offer our guests slumber on an air mattress in our living room (complete with dog licks and smelly breath panting) or to convert our breakfast nook into a tiny guest bedroom sans doors.
Breakfast nook it was.
For over a year and a half, it worked! Friends and family came to visit and they resided in our kitchen right next to the dishwasher and sink. No one complained (if they wanted to they were too kind to say anything), but after decorating the 8×8 space with a few favorite heirloom pieces and a Jenny Vorwaller oil painting, the nook did well serving a purpose other than just an eating spot. You can spy a few images of the nook as a guest room in the last post.
When we made the decision in mid 2014 to stop ‘not trying’ for pregnancy it quickly became apparent that we needed another solution. Where would we put a baby? Would we all transition downstairs to the basement once we had it finally remodeled? Could we get it remodeled in time? How much would it cost? Would we move our bed into the guest “kitchen” room and give the baby our room as a nursery?? Would baby be in the kitchen? We went back and forth for what felt like months trying to decide how we would transition to a family of 3. Knowing full and well that many of our friends who lived in much smaller places or even studio apartments in NYC made life with a new baby work, we knew there was a solution…it was just a matter of picking one.
By May of this year, we finally settled on a plan : Guests go to the basement. We stay in our room. Baby gets the kitchen nook. Kitchen nook quickly became “baby nook” and the basement was quickly remodeled to accommodate our plan. Now with just 10 weeks to go until baby arrives, we have moved the guest bed downstairs and I’ve started setting a plan for baby boy’s space. I love that we are going to be in tight quarters as a family during his first few months and seeing my new glider already finding its spot in the nook has made me all the more excited for this new adventure. We plan to keep our babe in our room during nighttime sleeping hours for the first few months, but everything else (rocking, breastfeeding, changing, playing, napping etc.) will hopefully happen in that sweet little nook right next to the dishwasher and sink (ya know, what’s so bad about that?).
Much more to come on how we transitioned our breakfast nook into our new baby room, but for now a quick peek into some of my initial design inspiration for the teeny nook. I cannot wait to get everything set up and to rock that little guy in my arms come Thanksgiving!
It’s hard to imagine that I actually thought I was rocking a serious baby bump at 17 weeks when Talitha took these photos a couple of months ago (vs a whole lot of belly bloat!). At the time everything felt so new and exciting and I felt like my belly MUST BE showing. Now with less than 3 months to go, it feels as though these images could have been taken a lifetime ago. So much is changing in our lives (especially my waistline!) and this new teeny person we are about to bring into the world is certainly the most thrilling part of it all.
When Talitha spontaneously asked to take some photos in our home after a brunch date, I couldn’t have imagined at the time how much I would value them. Not only for documenting the beginning signs of my pregnancy, but for capturing our home before all the changes began to happen. Our breakfast nook, which served as our guest room for over a year and half while our basement was in disarray, is slowly being transformed into our baby nook.
We plan to co-sleep with our little guy in our room for the first few months (I’m so excited to use this cute mini crib), but things like my glider for feedings and his changing table will take permanent residence in the nook. I could not have imagined when we first bought this house that we would be utilizing this little space off our kitchen for a baby one day, but I’m so excited to keep us all in close quarters during the first months as a family of three (four if you count our precious Bailie-Bug). I’m sure I cannot even begin to anticipate the changes we will need to make to the arrangement as we figure out sleep/feeding schedules and the personality/temperament of our babe, but I’m eager for a fresh start in that tiny little space and it has been so fun to brainstorm colors, patterns and art for the room.
These days my bump is now loud and proud, and I’m spending nearly every waking minute “nesting” - driving Adam insane no doubt. I had always heard about the nesting urge, but it wasn’t until six months of pregnancy when I really realized how intense it can be. From scheduling every last yoga and childbirth class I can get my hands on, to frantically finishing our basement remodel, to closing out that decades old IRA account, to purging unnecessary items to make room for baby gear, to preparing two season’s ahead for the holidays just to ensure our nieces and nephews don’t go gift-less this year; I’m trying to dot my i’s and cross the t’s on anything and everything I can possibly think of. I’ve never felt more productive (or tired) in my life, but I know as each day passes I’m getting closer to focusing my time on what matters most which is this sweet bambino I’m growing in my belly.
I can’t wait to share with you my plans for our baby nook and of course some photos of our little guy once he arrives come November. The fall still seems so far off, as the PNW heat (it’s SO weird to say that!) has still refrained from letting up, but I know the leaves will begin to change color and begin their final decent in no time.
As a first time mom I would love to hear any tips or advice you have about pregnancy or those first few weeks as new parents. Everything feels so new and different and I’m trying to anticipate as much as I can as we jump into this new adventure.
photography by talitha bullock.
It has been quite some time since I checked in on this here blog of mine. I decided back in October after a very busy couple of months of work to take the early winter weeks off to travel and spend some good quality time with friends and family. This included time off from blogging, email answering and really anything that could be classified as “work”. As an entrepreneur you get in the practice of never really taking time off…EVER. Even on those days when an outsider looking into your life might say, “hey that chick ain’t working!” I would still beg to argue. And the argument would actually be a new one for me.
I too used to think on those days when I was home and not answering emails that I was in fact “taking a day off”, but what I quickly realized as a stylist is that even on those days when I feel like I’m prioritizing self-care and downtime, I’m still seeking out inspiration in mundane places, still fussing with our house and practicing my styling, still fretting over business practices and the future, still flipping through magazines and blogs and book to hone my creative eye, still taking photos of life while being overly cautious of composition and lighting and scale etc. So I decided that (minus my treasured instagram feed) I would attempt to refrain from REALLY working. I’d turn down jobs, put on an out of office on my email and for the first time in four years, really REALLY just rest, travel and enjoy the sweet joys of life. I was going to try to have a period of winter calm. So far, I’ve done…OK. There are days when I feel horribly guilty for not responding to emails straight away, or turning down jobs that could otherwise help us with our much-needed and anticipated home renovation, but I’m a work in progress and know soon enough, I’ll be back to the hard focused grind in the early new year.
For now, I wanted to pop in and share a couple of images my dear friend Dorothee captured of me during our time together in The Netherlands. We stumbled upon this beautiful little cafe/boutique in Amsterdam (I had forgotten how many of the spots double as a cafe and clothing shop) and the light was just so so stunning that afternooon. It was bitter cold outside, so we decided to lay low and sip coffee and tea while thumbing through the magazines they had on hand. I’ve visited so many amazing cities in the last few months that I’m dying to share with you – lots of shopping and where to eat tips and of course images too! My plan is to work them into a new feature of city guides that I’ll be working on over the next few weeks (see how that “work” word seems to always creep in there?!).
Until then, I’m off to Raleigh, London and Albuquerque over the next two weeks. I hope, like me, you are finding yourself enjoying this lovely holiday season (we got snow in Seattle while I was home for a few days last week…yahooo!) as well as some time of your own to relish in the simple beauties of life.
You can follow my current travel adventures here : @jelliottblake
photography : Dorothee Brand of Belathee
location : COTTONCAKE , 1e van der Helststraat 76-hs 1072NZ Amsterdam
After a month of non-stop travel, a week of family in town and then an immediate dive right into a big holiday campaign, it’s no wonder the blog has been a bit quiet lately. Regardless of how busy the change from summer to fall has been, I’ve been so eager to share some recent work I did alongside Rina Jordan and Jean Galton earlier this year for a book that released just this week!
I’ve always had a mad love for pies, so when Kate Lebo reached out and asked if I’d style and help conceptualize the images for her upcoming pie book I couldn’t help but say “yes!” Kate had a very particular aesthetic in mind for the book, one that was very much a reflection of her own personal style. Anytime I see Kate, she’s dressed head to toe in 50′s era vintage, with her large collection of bold vintage dresses being one of my favorite things about her! It was so fun to brainstorm ways to incorporate Kate’s love of bold prints and era driven aesthetics into the styling of her book. If you peek closely I actually used a couple of her favorite dresses as napkins in the book!
If you love pies as much as I do and are looking for some fantastic pie recipes for the upcoming holiday season (including pointers on how to achieve the perfect pie crust!) be sure to pick up a copy of Pie School! Don’t forget to check out the full double page spread chapter openers as those images are some of my favorites from our shoots! The book is available on Amazon, as well as Barnes and Noble, Williams Sonoma and Sur La Table too! Just got a copy in my own hands today and was so excited to see it in its completed form! Congrats on your new book Kate!
photography by : rina jordan | prop styling : jenn elliott blake | food styling : jean galton | author : kate lebo.
On Sunday morning, with 9 bags in tow, McKenzie and I jetted off to Lucca, Italy for a wedding for some fun clients of ours. I’ve been working with this couple for nearly a year and it’s just so so exciting to finally see their wedding come to life. Although I don’t work on weddings full-time, I do love styling a couple of these types of events each year and am always all the more thrilled when they are in unique destinations. I’m so thrilled to be celebrating such a special day with Ali and Kevin, and I’m giddy with excitement to see their wedding come to life on Thursday!
With this week being my “week of wedding” I figured no better way to celebrate than with some fun wedding inspired content right here on the blog! Since summer typically marks the most intense period of wedding season, it’s crazy knowing the warm hot summer months will soon be coming to an end already. I can’t believe how fast this summer has flown by and I’m going to do the best I can to really soak up the Tuscan sunshine all week!
Since weddings have always been one of my favorite events to style and since my own wedding anniversary just happens to be THIS week (5 years Adam! can you believe it love?!) it’s so fun to share some bridal inspired images I captured along with my friend Jill Devries back in early spring in Paris, France. I had flown to Paris to do some collaborative projects with Jill and my friend Jonathan Grant and before leaving for the trip I was offered the chance to attend a French ball at the Palais Garnier by my friend Anne whom I stayed with during my time in France. It has always been a parisian DREAM of mine to attend an event at this gorgeous opera house and knowing I’d be attending with my dearest friend Grant made it all the more special!
The only MAJOR problem?? I had nothing to wear to the thing. NOTHING. And as a girl who rarely (if ever) wears high heels and certainly doesn’t keep ball gowns in her closet, I was in a bit of panic mode leading up to the trip. Thankfully my friend Camille Wynn and her amazing collection of bridal gowns came to the rescue! I’ve known Camille for quite sometime now and her bridal shop The Dress Theory is one of the best in the biz. Not only does she have a shop just down the street from me here in Seattle, but she has also opened a boutique in Nashville as well as San Diego too! The woman is so so inspiring! If you or someone you know are looking for the perfect bridal gown…Camille is your gal! You can find more info on how to find the perfect gown and the locations of The Dress Theory here or find loads of pretty bridal inspiration here.
On a whim and assuming nothing would quite fit me right for the occasion, I wandered into Camille’s shop less than 24 hours before leaving for Paris. She suggested I try on Jenny Packham’s Eden gown and to my surprise it fit LIKE A GLOVE. Even Adam nearly fell off his chair when I walked out of the room to show the number off and I fought back tears knowing how special it was to be able to take such a beautiful gown right off the rack and fly it to Paris with me. I mean seriously…how lucky was I?! Certainly not deserving, but definitely lucky!
I held the gown tight to my chest during the entire route to Paris (3 plane rides, 2 trains, and a not so short walk to my friend Anne’s apartment in Saint-Germain-des-Pres in the wee wee hours of early morning). I eventually stopped correcting people when they would congratulate me on my upcoming wedding (after the 10th person, I just decided it was better to bring a smile to someone’s face, rather than to tell them I wasn’t really a bride heading to her wedding).
The dress luckily made it to Paris in one piece, and it was such a treat to slip it on the night of the ball. It was like a fairytale to hop in a cab that night with Grant in his fancy suit and to drive through the streets of Paris to the opera house. I seriously felt like Cinderella at the ball the entire night, and it will be a moment in my life I will always cherish and NEVER forget! Grant and I could not stop giggling at our good fortune throughout the entire night. We spent hours and hours walking arm in arm going from room to room listening and dancing along to the amazing array of music (an old man jazz band in one ballroom, a youthful 50′s era band in another, a hip-hop DJ in another). We assumed we would stay no later than midnight, but finally headed back to Anne’s apartment around 4am with the lights of the city guiding our way.
The next morning before I packed up the gown to ship it back to the States (Camille had been kind enough to allow me to borrow it for a few days, but needed it back in her shop to allow potential customers to try it on) I decided to take it out for one last spin. With my hair completely in “bed head” mode and a quick dab of Jill’s lipstick, I tied up a sweet and simple bouquet of purple lilac that Grant had purchased from a street vendor earlier in the week, and Jill and I hit the streets to snap some casual photos of the dress. The photos you see here are the result of that time with Jill, my attempts to look like a fresh-faced Parisian bride and the amazing generosity of Camille. Cannot wait to be back in Paris again in September!
photography by Jill Devries| Jenny Packham Eden gown compliments of The Dress Theory.
Oh my gooooooodness. Is it Friday already?! The past few weeks have just flown by so so fast! I was out to dinner with a few girlfriends last night and we were talking about how winter and the change of season will be here before we know it…eeek! I have had all the meaning in the world to share so so much with you this summer (about the house, about travel, about some current inspirations), but work has pretty much taken over lately. I took on a HUGE styling/photography project over the past couple of weeks, flew home for a few days to see my new nephew (ooooh he’s SO cute!) and am gearing up to leave on Sunday to style a wedding in Italy and then spend nearly a month abroad. All the while, I’ve been dying to share images of this baby shower I styled and co-hosted with Nicole for our sweet friend Julie. The images Nicole captured of the celebration seriously bring me so much joy. Because honestly in the midst of the madness, moments like the one I’m about to share with you are why this life is really worth living.
Julie is a dear friend and one of the first people who invited me with warm and open arms to my life as a stylist. Jules is a brilliant photographer (you can see all of her amazing work over here) and she has been such a huge support in my life here in Seattle, especially creatively. So when word got out that she and her adorable husband Andy would be making the big move to Hawaii to be closer to family this spring I was selfishly devastated. Although I was happy for this couple I cared about so deeply, I couldn’t imagine life in Seattle without Julie, and it felt horrible knowing that she would be so far away, especially with her first babe on the way.
As life often does, time slipped through my fingertips while Julie was away, and although we didn’t get a chance to connect as often as I would have liked, she was on my mind daily. So when I found out that she would be moving back to Seattle in July I was over the moon with excitement! Julie was already planning to be back in town to shoot a wedding and for us to throw her a baby shower this summer, but when I found out the date would also represent her return to her friends/family here, I wanted the shower to be all the more special for her.
We hosted the shower at Nicole’s house in Greenlake (her backyard is so so gorgeous and was the perfect summer-y and whimsical backdrop). Nicole and I brainstormed and created all the details for the shower with plenty of lead-time so we could get creative and source pretty vintage props. Nicole sourced the most gorgeous vintage blankets and made a bunch of beautiful dream catchers to hang around the yard, and also found some great inspiration for all the food we served. I got to work on a feather/wood bead and soft golden yarn backdrop for above the food table, some graphic paper details, really wild flower arrangements and some hand painted triangle napkins to add some soft and sweet touches to the shower. We tag teamed making the food (the fig and arugula pizzas and strawberry crumble bars being a few of my favorites!) and along with Julie’s closest Seattle friends, we showered Julie and her baby boy to come with all the love we could that day.
One of my favorite details of the day was the mobile. I don’t know about you, but I have found when helping friends design nurseries that finding a baby mobile that isn’t too cheesy or too expensive can be a bit of a feat. Since Nicole and I already had our crafty/DIY hats on, there seemed no better opportunity to create a mobile for above the baby’s crib than during the shower itself. Using leather, suede, pretty feathers and more wood beads, each guest who attended the party stranded their own string of beads to the mobile throughout the evening. It was such a special way for each person to be involved in the shower and everyone was so excited to know they had a hand in making something pretty for the baby’s room.
You can find lots more pictures from Julie’s baby shower over on 100 Layer Cakelet where it was featured last week! Happiest of weekend’s to you friends! Lookout for exciting new posts all next week!
photography and outdoor styling by nicole vaughn | tabletop styling and floral arranging by jenn elliott blake.
Happy Friday ya’ll! Oh can I just tell ya just how happy I am that it’s Friday?! The weather has been so crummy all week, but woke to the sun shining and much warmer weather…hallelujah! Couldn’t be happier, no way!
I wanted to cruise into the weekend by sharing some pretty pretty photos my dear friend Dorothee captured of a fun cocktail party I had the pleasure of attending a couple of weeks back. Believe me when I tell you we have had one gorgeous summer in Seattle and this evening party at Theresa’s (the temp was in the high 80′s that day! it was hot!) was the perfect way to celebrate the joys of summer. I had the pleasure of meeting Theresa through mutual friends (Miss Katie to be exact) and boy does this lady make me laugh – and that big shrieky laugh to boot! She is such a riot and honestly has such great style – I mean look at her living room?! It was beyond. Her apartment made me wish we could sell our new house and move right on it. Every architectural detail was just so dreamy.
The party was in main part a celebration of the ever so talented Michelle Armas coming into town for a visit. Michelle is an amazing artist whose work has been an inspiration to me for a long long while. I was so excited for the opportunity to finally meet her especially in the company of such great friends.
The party itself was hosted not only by Theresa, but by Jenny and Katie too. I shared Jenny’s work earlier this week(isn’t she great?!) and Katie is such a dear and talented friend as well. Katie whipped up those beautiful floral centerpieces, combining them with Theresa’s amazing tabletop decor…I was seriously in prop stylist heaven during this party, let me tell you! Katie was also kind enough to share with me some of the recipes she used to create the treats we consumed that night so I could share them with you! Looking for a kick-ass party cocktail or the ingredients to the beautiful triangle watermelon salad? Keep on scrolling – see below!
It’s always so fun not only to spend an evening with inspiring friends, but also with my Adam as well. It’s not too often that the boys are also invited to this types of shindig, so it was extra special and so adorable to see them chatting away, even at times more than the ladies – love that!
I cannot ever get over how well Dorothee seems to capture these perfect moments and just feel so fortunate to have friends who not only make me feel so loved, but also capture feel good memories so I can remember them for a long time to come. It was also so much fun getting to spend more time with Lydia, Brian and Samantha too!
I hope you enjoy these sweet and simple summer recipes and have your own opportunity to share in the celebration of the season with friends or loved ones this weekend! Happy Weekend ya’ll!
Start with 1/2 large watermelon cut into triangles or squares (whatever your heart desires). Top watermelon with fresh mozzarella (cut into the same shape) followed by a couple tablespoons of fresh chopped mint and basil, a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, a sprinkle of Maldon Sea Salt Flakes, and a handful of walnuts. You can repeat this 2-3 times.
KATIE’S WATERMELON SPRITZER
Your favorite vodka (1-2 shots)
1/2 cup fresh watermelon juice (available at Whole Foods)
1/2 cup ice
1 tsp fresh lime juice
Sprig of Mint
KATIE’S LEMON SPRITZER
Your favorite vodka (1-2 shots)
1/2 cup fresh squeezed lemonade (Whole Foods)
1/2 cup ice
Sprig of basil
photography by : Dorothee Brand | flowers and recipes : Katie Hackworth | beautiful home belongs to Theresa Crim.