The Living Room | Awake Photography

The saga of the living room may be the slowest moving blog series I’ve ever done. Strangely enough, I actually “finished” this room about 10 months ago, and I think we shot it about 8-9 months ago. Why I’ve been sitting on these photos is a mystery…I could blame my real job of planning weddings, but that sounds like an annoying thing to do, so I’ll just show you a before picture so we can dive right in.

beforeTechnically, this is not a before picture, because the room was about 50-75% done here, but it’s the worst picture I could find of the room. Gross before pictures are ALWAYS good…poor photography helps all the more. To go back in time a bit I first shared this room in this post here. A few months later I shared a small update when we switched out the boob light for a hanging pendant. I’m not really sure if you are allowed to switch light fixtures in an apartment, but I really could care less. I don’t think you are supposed to paint either, and we all know that’s out the window.

The living room is the one room in the house I didn’t make a mood board for, I never had a super clear direction. I will say that I was majorly inspired by Emily Henderson in this room, but no concrete plans were ever formed. This room has just evolved over time, it looks SO dark in that before photo and the truth is that other than at night, this room never feels dark. It’s a very happy and bright space, it’s where a lot of life happens.

Jennifer Laura Design | Awake PhotographyThis room is SO bright and cheerful, it may be veering on too much color, but I think that’s just my personality coming out. In my office– we did such small amounts of color, I knew it was going to explode somewhere.

Jennifer Laura Design | Awake PhotographyI painted the walls Super White by Benjamin Moore. The artwork in the collage is a combination of purchased and DIY. Anything that looks like a 5 year old could have splattered it onto a canvas is the stuff that I have done.

Jennifer Laura Design | Awake PhotographyWe ended up purchasing a new slip cover for the sofa since a white sofa on a bright white wall wasn’t gelling too well. This one hides Phoenix fingerprints great, but if our dog Petey so much looks at this sofa, it becomes covered in a million little white hairs.

Jennifer Laura Design | Awake PhotographyJennifer Laura Design | Awake PhotographyIf only I had fresh peonies to sprinkle around my house all the time.

Jennifer Laura Design | Awake PhotographyLook at those plants outside! They were leftovers from this wedding and I’ve sufficiently killed them all at this point, but I sure do miss them.

Jennifer Laura Design | Awake PhotographyHere’s the first glimpse at the accent wall. I’m certainly not an advocate for accent walls, but I do believe that they can occasionally work and this was a giant white wall that needed something. We painted it an inky blue and it’s a really pretty color (Benjamin Moore downpour blue). In the daytime it looks super bright and inky and at night it turns into navy.

Jennifer Laura Design | Awake PhotographyJennifer Laura Design | Awake PhotographyI added some hooks right by the front door so we can throw our purses and coats on them when we get home. I mean we live in Houston so let’s be honest about the use of coats here…we may use one 2-3 times per year. We have also found that we very rarely watch TV during the day, but much prefer vegging out at night in the bedroom, so the TV got moved in there. Instead, I opted for a mirror and some extra seating- extra seating is always a good thing. It’s nice to have my mom’s big family over and feel like there is actually a seat for everyone should they want one. I so badly want to turn this light off in the photo below so you can see the moody black shade…I have no idea why all the lights were on in these photos, what was I thinking?

Jennifer Laura Design | Awake PhotographyJennifer Laura Design | Awake PhotographyJennifer Laura Design | Awake Photography

On the other side of the room we have our little dining nook, since the last time I’ve shared this space we did switch out the industrial chairs for these white bentwoods.

Jennifer Laura Design | Awake PhotographyJennifer Laura Design | Awake Photography

Next to the dining table we have the big shelving units (2 Ikea Vittsjos placed side by side), to this day I think this was the best decision I made for this room. It makes what could feel like a huge empty space really have a lot of energy and personality. I still keep the bottom two shelves child proofed (nothing breakable) although Phoenix can now reach the third shelf, he is pretty good about not messing with stuff, but when I rearrange sometimes things start to look new and interesting. For example, at Christmas I had all these little white bottlebrush trees I placed all over and he thought those were just the best things ever.

Awake1034Jennifer Laura Design | Awake PhotographyJennifer Laura Design | Awake PhotographyJennifer Laura Design | Awake Photography

Little vignettes are my favorite. I believe this is the start of a shoe collection of sorts.

Jennifer Laura Design | Awake PhotographyJennifer Laura Design | Awake Photography

In the corner we have Kris’ desk. It gets really pretty light over here by the window, I take many an instagram photo in this corner.

Jennifer Laura Design | Awake PhotographyJennifer Laura Design | Awake Photography

Over here you can kind of start to see into the kitchen.I really love open kitchens, but this kitchen is so ugly (and there’s only so much you can do to a rental kitchen) that I’m kind of grateful it’s closed off and out of view. We did finally find the perfect pair of stools to place under the counter here. I love the mix of wood and metal and they tuck right in and don’t interfere with the back door. Amazingly enough I also have not painted over these DIY swirly paintings yet either. I do like the colors, so for now they can stay.

Jennifer Laura Design | Awake Photography

All the plants on these shelves are also making me majorly happy…I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but 90% of these have bit the dust. My fiddle leaf fig is barely hanging on, but I don’t think he will make it through the winter. I need some serious green thumb intervention.

Jennifer Laura Design | Awake Photography

And that’s it! My favorite parts of this room are my green rug- it hides Petey hair and stains like a dream. My plants- the living room is feeling SO lifeless without them. And my pendant light my dad got me for my birthday a few years back and then installed for me. Thanks for looking and thank you to my very selfless friend Paige for coming over and photograping whatever my heart fancies, she is pretty much the best.

Sources | White Paint- Benjamin Moore Super White, Blue Paint- , Benjamin Moore Downpour Blue, Sofa- Ikea Karlstad, Coffee Table- vintage Milo Baughman, console table- vintage painted white, fur stools- target reupholstered in sheepskins, blue chair, West Elm Book Nook, Bench- target, hooks- Ikea, Pair of glass lamps- World Market, gold shades- target, lamp on console- vintage, black shade- target, round mirror- Ikea, Green Rug- RugsUSA, Pendant light- Shades of Light, Corner Desk- vintage, corner desk chair- vintage, white bentwood- Crate and Barrel, bar stools- vintage, shelving units- Ikea vittsjo

a review of 2015

2015 was a great year for me. It was a year I made the decision to focus on quality over quantity which could not have been a better choice for me. I fully planned and produced 4 events in 2015, which doesn’t sound like much, but man- each event was so amazing and special. There wasn’t one that I wouldn’t be really proud to share here (and likely won’t be able to share here for awhile since we will be waiting on features for all of them). Although, you did already see one here. I thought I would give a rundown of some of the hi-lights of 2015, serving to hopefully keep me motivated and pushing to make 2016 just as good.

In January I helped design this boho shoot with my friend Paige and styled the heck out of it. It was a trendy shoot, which would be the last time I veered into trendy last year. While I spent a lot of time trying to veer myself and my clients away from trendy decisions last year I do still love trends and sometimes just can’t help myself.

Mid Century Boho Glam | Jennifer Laura Design | Awake Photography

January was also the  month I was busy finishing my home office and booking all of my 2015 brides.

In February Paige and I shot my office– well she shot and I styled. My very talented friend Erica came over and did my hair and makeup. This may have been one of the better days I’ve had- getting all fixed up and then taking pretty photos of a pretty space. I could do that ALL the time.

Jennifer Laura Design office | Awake Photography

I also worked a lot with my new clients that month, we wouldn’t have any actual events until May, but there is SO much that goes on behind the scenes getting ready for a wedding and I had four brand new clients- so it was on. Venue tours in Austin, catering tastings, shipping out save the dates, ordering invitations…were just a few of the things going on that month….and pretty much every single other month of this year too.

In March my family and I took our very first family vacation to Disney World. Little did I know that this would spark a Disney obsession. The only cure seems to be planning more Disney World trips, but I am certainly open to other remedies for this problem if anyone has any suggestions :)

Screen Shot 2016-01-11 at 12.25.29 PM

In April, things were pretty quiet over on the blog, but we actually designed and shot three styled shoots this month. I don’t think I meant for them to all pile together like that. Those were the only shoots we did this year- each one of them is really special to me and I can’t wait to show you the third one which hasn’t even been featured yet. Being in the wedding industry has taught me PATIENCE…that’s for sure.

Rose Gold Modern | Jennifer Laura Design | Kristen Curette Photography

7418_06

Jennifer Laura Design | Korie Lynn Photography

We also shot my apartment this month, which I have yet to share over here. What am I waiting for?? These are coming soon I promise!

Jennifer Laura Design | Awake Photography

In May Alison and Scott’s wedding kicked off the month. This was also our first wedding of the year, this was also the month that Kris came home to work for JLD full time which is still in full swing. Some month it feels like we are right on track and others Kris is itching to further his own career- he has a serious passion for wine and has been taking certification classes to become a sommelier. As much as I love him working with me at home, I have a feeling God may have other plans for us in 2016.

Alison + Scott | Jennifer Laura Design | Kendall Hanna Photography

In June, things were pretty quiet on the blog (other than sharing a handful of client engagements). We did have our very first floral only wedding this month with Taylor and Tim. We do offer this, although I don’t think it’s widely known.

Jennifer Laura Design Florals

Jennifer Laura Design Florals

In July We were gearing up for a big wedding at the carriage house in August. We also managed to plan and design the Heirloom Family gathering towards the end of July which was so special and a reminder to get out of the house more often.

Heirloom Mag Houston Family Gathering | Awake Photography

The weekend after that was Phoenix’s third birthday…I’m not quite sure where the time went, but somehow this happened.

Phoenix Third Birthday | Jennifer Laura Design | Kristen Curette Photography

Phoenix Third Birthday | Jennifer Laura Design | Kristen Curette Photography

Kris and I also purchased Schlitterbahn season passes and we took every chance we could to head down to Galveston with Phoenix in tow last summer.

In August, Catye and Trey got married at what I dare say IS one of the prettiest weddings we’ve ever done.

Jennifer Laura Design | Mustard Seed Photography

Man, I can’t wait to share all of that one. We also did another floral only wedding at Butler’s Courtyard (which was a serious contender for our wedding venue) for Kelsea and Rob and man…it was a pretty one.

Jennifer Laura Design | Kendall Hanna Photography

September, which brought us Nubia and Ryan’s wedding.

Jennifer Laura Design | Korie Lynn Photography

Another wedding that had more than a few stunning details. September was also the month my relationship with God took a large turn and I learned a lot about surrendering and furthering my personal relationship with him. Sometimes I still feel that closeness and other days I feel SO far away…here’s to getting back to that place. September was also the month that my dad decided to whisk me off to Disney World. Kris and Phoenix were going out of town for a week to spend time with his mom, and I was going to be getting some major work done while they were gone. Instead, I hopped on a plane and showed my dad around the magic kingdom.

Screen Shot 2016-01-11 at 1.12.21 PM

In October, we strangely had no weddings. After having four back-to-back fall weddings in 2014 this was a strange but welcome fall for us. Kris’ uncle also got married this month and we were able to do their flowers- which was really just a fun no stress project…plus we got to kick up our heels at the wedding afterwards which was a nice change.

Jill Hubbert Photography

Kris and I also spent a weekend at Red Corral Ranch for our fourth anniversary.

Jennifer Laura Design

In November, Kris and I took Phoenix back to Disney World for a very early Christmas. We just had this idea in our heads of getting to do all of the Christmas things before the big crowds set in.

Screen Shot 2016-01-11 at 1.14.28 PM

This was a pretty magical trip, despite my husband forgetting ALL of his shirts- he literally only had the shirt that he wore for the car trip and one button up for a nice dinner out for the entire week we were gone. A quick trip to the outlet stores remedied the problem, but I will forever make fun of him for this and he will forever blame me for not packing his shirts. We also helped my mom out with Thanksgiving which she hosted at her house this year.

Thanksgiving | Jennifer Laura Design

In December, I finished all of my Christmas shopping as early as I could because we had a NYE wedding going down one week post Christmas. We arrived in Wimberley on December 29th and stayed in a really great Airbnb (I would love to go back there on vacation) and for the next three days we installed, installed installed- this wedding was ALL about the floral installations- we also spent an inordinate amount of time in the freezing cold, from which I am still recovering. Pass the vitamin C please.

Jennifer Laura Design

We kind of transformed that barn into a forest-y garden. I can’t wait to see the real photos from Feather and Twine.

It was a really good year…God blessed my little family unmeasurably this year. Looking forward to 2016- I just want to focus on my family and my business. I have this internal struggle, sometimes daily, of wanting to grow the business, but still wanting to have plenty of time to spend with my family. It feels like a balancing act that I can never get quite right. So my prayer for this year is for the guilt to lessen on both sides. I think having kids does this to you…I guess that guilt will probably never disappear, but I can pray right? I would also still like to continue to focus my energy onto others and less towards myself, I would give myself a C- on that goal for this year. I certainly didn’t fail, but I see A LOT of room for improvement! Here’s looking forward to a great year!

Alison + Scott | Kendall Hanna Photography

Alison + Scott | Jennifer Laura Design | Kendall Hanna Photography

Alison and Scott’s wedding was awesome. This wedding made me happy on so many levels…the red white and blue color palette, the simple industrial vibes, I could go on and on. I only worked with Alison and Scott for about four months leading up to their wedding, they hired me in January and got married May 2. We crammed a lot into those four months and believe it or not I’ve planned a wedding in a shorter amount of time (try 2 weeks). They were so easy to work with- they had a design direction, but were open to ideas, and were extremely decisive. Nothing makes my job easier than a client who can make a decision and stick to it. I think in the first two weeks of working together we had nailed down their caterer, the late night snack truck, and their photographer. All pretty huge decisions which can sometimes take MONTHS. So let’s get into their photos- I am sort of weirdly proud of this wedding for one singular reason, which I’ll get into down below.

Alison + Scott | Jennifer Laura Design | Kendall Hanna Photography

Alison’s flowers were done by yours truly. This wedding was a learning experience, I knew what I was doing and it was a generally small wedding so I knew I could handle the flowers, but there is certainly a difference in being a florist only and being a florist and a planner. Having to stay up until 2am crafting centerpieces is one thing, but when I have to coordinate an entire wedding the next day…it was after this wedding that I started freelancing for a few bigger name florists in Texas to see how they handled everything. That has been a wonderfully eye opening experience and I have learned SO much in how these larger events get produced. Hiring floral freelancers is so important and learning that I can’t do everything is very good. This wedding was a good one to learn on because I certainly was not in over my head, a little tired sure, but I also have a three year old so I’m no stranger to that ;-)

Alison + Scott | Jennifer Laura Design | Kendall Hanna PhotographyAlison + Scott | Jennifer Laura Design | Kendall Hanna PhotographyAlison + Scott | Jennifer Laura Design | Kendall Hanna PhotographyAlison + Scott | Jennifer Laura Design | Kendall Hanna Photography

Alison and Scott have this adorable house in the heights, I am turning green with envy just typing that. This house is SO my speed and I would love a little bungalow like this.

Alison + Scott | Jennifer Laura Design | Kendall Hanna PhotographyAlison + Scott | Jennifer Laura Design | Kendall Hanna PhotographyAlison + Scott | Jennifer Laura Design | Kendall Hanna PhotographyAlison + Scott | Jennifer Laura Design | Kendall Hanna PhotographyAlison + Scott | Jennifer Laura Design | Kendall Hanna Photography

Their ceremony was at All Saints Catholic Church in the heights, it’s certainly unusual looking, but I am just really obsessed with it. The stars on the ceiling just make me so happy, how cool is that?

Alison + Scott | Jennifer Laura Design | Kendall Hanna PhotographyAlison + Scott | Jennifer Laura Design | Kendall Hanna PhotographyAlison + Scott | Jennifer Laura Design | Kendall Hanna PhotographyAlison + Scott | Jennifer Laura Design | Kendall Hanna Photography

The reception was at the Houston heights fire station, this venue is GORGEOUS, but unfortunately I wouldn’t really recommend it to my future clients… or anyone else for that matter. This place is so stinking pretty, but they don’t let you bring in your own rentals. This wouldn’t be a huge problem if they provided nice chairs, but the ones that they offer are folding metal. Most people use these floppy satin chair covers, but I actually hate those more than the metal. I have never used chair covers in my career and I wasn’t about to start now. We tried all sorts of things to try and get better looking chairs into this place, but it just wasn’t happening. Thus brings me to why I am strangely proud of this wedding- after installation was all said and done, I didn’t hate the metal chairs at all. Sure, things could have looked better, but it certainly wasn’t a deal breaker for me. They kind of (KIND OF) went with the cool industrial vibe we had going on.

Alison + Scott | Jennifer Laura Design | Kendall Hanna PhotographyAlison + Scott | Jennifer Laura Design | Kendall Hanna Photography

The seating chart was a huge roll of craft paper and attached to wood, it was one of those things that looked perfectly cool in the space, but since the most natural place to put it happened to be at the top of the staircase it was understandably really difficult to photograph.

Alison + Scott | Jennifer Laura Design | Kendall Hanna PhotographyAlison + Scott | Jennifer Laura Design | Kendall Hanna PhotographyAlison + Scott | Jennifer Laura Design | Kendall Hanna PhotographyAlison + Scott | Jennifer Laura Design | Kendall Hanna PhotographyAlison + Scott | Jennifer Laura Design | Kendall Hanna PhotographyAlison + Scott | Jennifer Laura Design | Kendall Hanna PhotographyAlison + Scott | Jennifer Laura Design | Kendall Hanna Photography

The centerpieces were wild and we alternated herbs in copper pots. We were originally going to use concrete, but Alison suggested copper, this was a great little change I was super happy with. I ended up buying small glass cylinder vases, but I didn’t want them to look like painted glass, so I painted them with plaster first to give them a cool texture, and then mixed a couple of copper and rose gold paints to get a shade I was happy with to paint over the plaster.

Alison + Scott | Jennifer Laura Design | Kendall Hanna PhotographyAlison + Scott | Jennifer Laura Design | Kendall Hanna PhotographyAlison + Scott | Jennifer Laura Design | Kendall Hanna PhotographyAlison + Scott | Jennifer Laura Design | Kendall Hanna Photography

We did pies, pies, and more pies. The guests were all geeking out over the fact that they got pie at a wedding. Several guests came through (some more than once) and got a slice of each flavor. It was a huge hit and just goes to show that if you want pie at your wedding- have pie. If you want a pretzel bar…have a pretzel bar. Nobody said you have to have cake at a wedding! p.s. ice cream was on hand nearby to pile on top of the pie as well. Perfect, now I’m drooling.

Alison + Scott | Jennifer Laura Design | Kendall Hanna PhotographyAlison + Scott | Jennifer Laura Design | Kendall Hanna PhotographyAlison + Scott | Jennifer Laura Design | Kendall Hanna PhotographyAlison + Scott | Jennifer Laura Design | Kendall Hanna PhotographyAlison + Scott | Jennifer Laura Design | Kendall Hanna PhotographyAlison + Scott | Jennifer Laura Design | Kendall Hanna Photography

These craft paper placemats doubled as our menu. They were hiding underneath the napkin at each place setting.

Alison + Scott | Jennifer Laura Design | Kendall Hanna Photography

Alison and Scott chose several different types of beer to honor the different places they have lived in their lives. I think they had six different kinds, it was a great touch that all the dudes really appreciated.

Alison + Scott | Jennifer Laura Design | Kendall Hanna Photography

Such a pretty space right? The reception was on the second floor of the fire station and it has these gorgeous windows that gets this super pretty light. BUT downstairs was where it was at. That’s where one of the best bands I’ve ever heard were housed. They were a 90’s cover band, which didn’t really register with me when Alison and Scott talked about them while we were planning. I was like, hmm..I’m not a huge fan of 90’s music. Well, that’s what I thought, until they played my entire childhood all night- cut to me and Topher singing along to. every. single. song.

Alison + Scott | Jennifer Laura Design | Kendall Hanna PhotographyAlison + Scott | Jennifer Laura Design | Kendall Hanna PhotographyAlison + Scott | Jennifer Laura Design | Kendall Hanna Photography

At the end of the night The Golden Grill rolled up and served everyone some very delicious grilled cheese sandwiches.

Alison + Scott | Jennifer Laura Design | Kendall Hanna PhotographyAlison + Scott | Jennifer Laura Design | Kendall Hanna Photography

This was one of those weddings we wanted to be a guest at. It was laid back, fun, and with a ton of awesomeness going on- pie, 90’s music, grilled cheeses. It was a perfect example of a couple chucking tradition and making their wedding suit them. I always want my brides to do this and as much as hiring a planner to help you (and as much as I try), sometimes they can’t climb into your brain to figure out what would be those cool personal touches to your wedding as much as you can. The couples that take the time to add those extra special ideas and touches…it always shows. And that’s when I think it’s cool to have a planner- you can just dump those ideas in their lap so we can sort them out and do the hard work of pricing and logistics. Can we afford a food truck? Do we need a special permit to bring one to our venue? None of those things are fun to think about when planning your wedding.

Alison + Scott | Jennifer Laura Design | Kendall Hanna Photography

Thanks to Alison and Scott for letting me plan their wedding, it was truly a pleasure.

Head over to 100 Layer Cake today to see more!

Vendors | photography: Kendall Hanna Photography | Planning, Design, and Floral: Jennifer Laura Design | Linens: Any Occasion Party Rentals | dessert table rental: Swift and Co | Catering:
Goode Company | Bartending: Bartending 2 U | Cake: Decapo’s Pastry Cafe | Ceremony Venue: All Saints Catholic Church | Reception Venue: Houston Heights Fire Station | Trolley: The Original Trolley Company | DJ:  The Wedding Show | Band: My So Called Band | Food Truck: The Golden Grill

Thanksgiving 2015 + some table setting tips

Every year my mom and her sisters switch off who has the holidays at their houses. This year happened to be the year my mom had thanksgiving. You can see two years ago when she had Christmas here. I always look forward to when my mom has a holiday- we pretty much have this deal that I can do whatever I want with little to no input from her. My mom has good taste, but we’re usually both so busy leading up to the holidays that it’s easier for me to come up with something that I know she will like. She is a very good sport about it and really does trust me to pull it all together. I do the decor and Kris cooks, which he loves to do, so it’s a win-win. Factor in the fact that there’s not a client involved which means no stress, we have a lot of fun with it.

Thanksgiving | Jennifer Laura Design

Thanksgiving | Jennifer Laura Design

We did a hot cider bar with lemon, rosemary, caramel, peppermints, and cinnamon. I don’t actually like cider, but from what I heard it all tasted great.

Thanksgiving | Jennifer Laura Design

I took the photos this year on our new camera…they aren’t great, but they’re also not disgusting so I’ll take it.

Thanksgiving | Jennifer Laura Design

Thanksgiving | Jennifer Laura Design

Thanksgiving | Jennifer Laura Design

Thanksgiving | Jennifer Laura Design

Thanksgiving | Jennifer Laura Design

 

The fireplace was a fun place for me to go a little wild. I did a lot of foraging to create this, which means I basically walked around in the woods and cut down branches. My mom asked me if I was going to finish the other side, to which I just laughed. I think this asymmetrical installation business had her twitching from lack of symmetry. To me it feels perfectly balanced :)

Thanksgiving | Jennifer Laura Design

Thanksgiving | Jennifer Laura Design

Now for a few table setting tips that I think could easily carry into a Christmas tablescape:

– create your table in layers- the linen, the plates (or chargers), the napkin and flatware, and the centerpiece. Think about which items you want to be the focus and choose those things first, then choose items that support that main focus- let those items be a bit calmer and not as busy.

– let your tablecloth be a neutral backdrop- If you have a busy pattern going on underneath everything, anything you set on top of that is going to get lost.

– candles are an easy and cheap way to take things up a notch- I buy all of my votive candles from quickcandles.com and taper candles also pack a lot of punch- I have slowly collected my brass candlesticks from thrift stores over the course of a year or so, they weren’t expensive at all.

– the dollar tree is your friend. I’m not a fan of plastic and when you have 15-20 people over for a meal sometimes it seems like it’s the only option, but we bought all of our glasses at the dollar tree for less than $20.

– you can rent. We rented all of our plates and flatware from an event rental company, typically plates are a dollar or so and the flatware is around 50 cents a piece. So not only can  you get some great things that would have cost you a fortune to purchase- you aren’t locked into the same plates and flatware each year, AND you don’t have to wash the dishes. You just throw them back in the crates to take back to the rental company. That’s a win in my book when you can spend more time with your family and less time in your kitchen doing clean up.

– forage in your backyard- large branches in vases are possibly some of the prettiest centerpieces I’ve seen, smaller clippings look good in small bud vases. Luckily, here in Texas our plants aren’t dead just yet.

So that was our thanksgiving- how was your thanksgiving?

Liberty + Stephen | Feather and Twine Photography

When I meet with a potential client and they tell me that they have already booked their photographer…it’s always a a bit stressful. Photos from my bride’s weddings are so important on many levels. First, (the selfish reasons) if the photos are bad I can’t use them in my portfolio, I can’t share them on instagram, etc. Secondly, after spending a small fortune on a wedding, I feel like my brides deserve to have some amazing photos to remember their day? After the wedding it’s all they have left! So when Liberty told me they had already booked someone I sort of held my breath….this conversation always goes one of two ways- either they booked someone fantastic and I get excited or they booked a dud and my interest in even working with this bride starts to fade. When Liberty told me that they had booked Feather and Twine…I was ecstatic! Not only are they amazingly talented, but over the years they have become good friends of mine. We have done several shoots together at this point and love to refer our clients back and forth to each other. Talk about a sigh of relief and excitement. I came onto the wedding pretty late and they had already taken their engagements so I can take absolutely NO credit for how fantastic they are, but dude…San Francisco, you are looking mighty good. My brother has lived in San Francisco for about 5 years now and I have yet to go out to visit him…looking at these photos I’m not sure what I am waiting for!

Liberty + Stephen | Feather and Twine PhotographyLiberty + Stephen | Feather and Twine Photography

Liberty + Stephen | Feather and Twine PhotographyLiberty + Stephen | Feather and Twine PhotographyLiberty + Stephen | Feather and Twine PhotographyLiberty + Stephen | Feather and Twine PhotographyLiberty + Stephen | Feather and Twine PhotographyLiberty + Stephen | Feather and Twine PhotographyLiberty + Stephen | Feather and Twine PhotographyLiberty + Stephen | Feather and Twine PhotographyLiberty + Stephen | Feather and Twine PhotographyLiberty + Stephen | Feather and Twine PhotographyLiberty + Stephen | Feather and Twine Photography

 Thanks for letting me share Liberty and Stephen, I can’t wait for March ’16!

Image Credits: Feather and Twine Photography

Phoenix’s third birthday | Kristen Curette Photography

This summer Phoenix celebrated his third birthday. This year, I was very particular about letting Phoenix choose the theme. It was the first year he had a very strong opinion about the subject and the first year I feel like he really understood what choosing a theme actually meant. About a month and a half before his party he started asking for a Petey theme (Petey is our dog pictured below). I thought he would surely change his mind and ask for an Octonauts party, spiderman, or avengers theme…but for the next few weeks he continued to ask for a “Petey feme”. I was happy to oblige. Here is my little three year old and our favorite white dog that sheds like no other.

Phoenix Third Birthday | Jennifer Laura Design | Kristen Curette PhotographyPhoenix Third Birthday | Jennifer Laura Design | Kristen Curette Photography

Once again we wanted people to have no trouble finding our apartment so we did balloons and directional signs into our complex.

Phoenix Third Birthday | Jennifer Laura Design | Kristen Curette PhotographyPhoenix Third Birthday | Jennifer Laura Design | Kristen Curette Photography

Now the paper is pretty special to me. My cousin Audrey actually drew this illustration of Petey for the invitations. How she captured his sad little look is beyond me. These invites were super simple- once Audrey drew Petey I just scanned it in and added some text. This is the first year I designed them myself and ordered them from Catprint.com. We lined and printed the envelopes ourselves as well.

Phoenix Third Birthday | Jennifer Laura Design | Kristen Curette Photography

Once people arrived inside we had Phoenix’s three year old photo blown up (by Tinyprints). We also used small porcelain dogs in several places…Kris actually suggested this and I loved the idea, but I did have a problem with the fact that this is a toddler party and I’m putting small breakable items all over the place. In the end the fact that they are cute won out and I wasn’t emotionally attached to any of them should there have been an accident (there wasn’t).

Phoenix Third Birthday | Jennifer Laura Design | Kristen Curette Photography

These stools always live here, but I call them my Petey hair stools. Just pretend I made these from the amount of hair my white Petey dog sheds in one week. #notkidding

Phoenixs 3rd Bday 7.18.15_ Kristen Curette Photography

Phoenixs 3rd Bday 7.18.15_ Kristen Curette Photography 0062

I used fun green fern-like plants everywhere. To be honest I am running out of ideas. For his first birthday we did cactuses, last year we did air plants…what other manly plant options are there? I suppose I haven’t gone crazy with succulents yet.

Phoenixs 3rd Bday 7.18.15_ Kristen Curette Photography 0062

I realize I have yet to share the final photos of our living and dining room yet. I need to, the areas are technically all finished and photographed. Silly me wants to tweak everything and re-shoot it, but I promise to share those photos soon whether I change things or not.

Phoenix Third Birthday | Jennifer Laura Design | Kristen Curette Photography

Tinyprints provided these pillows for us. The one with the photo of Phoenix and “his” dogs just makes me melt on so many levels. All three of my kiddos in one adorable little pillow. This pillow now lives in Phoenix’s room and he really gets a kick out of seeing his face on a pillow.

Phoenix Third Birthday | Jennifer Laura Design | Kristen Curette Photography

We did the hot dog bar outside and painted the interior of our fence white just so these photos would look good. Yes, I realize we are completely insane. I also realize we are insane for putting any type of food outdoors in the middle of July in Houston. We kept everything refrigerated until right before serving and it seemed to work out well. At least the hot dogs stayed nice and warm.

Phoenix Third Birthday | Jennifer Laura Design | Kristen Curette PhotographyPhoenix Third Birthday | Jennifer Laura Design | Kristen Curette Photography

I made this hot dog bar sign with my printing transfer method. I have been using this method A LOT lately on things other than chalkboard and it works awesomely well.

Phoenix Third Birthday | Jennifer Laura Design | Kristen Curette Photography

We provided every kind of topping we could think of and put them all in dog bowls. These were brand new UNUSED dog bowls mind you. I think we have about 20 different toppings in all. You could quite literally make any kind of hot dog your little heart desired.

Phoenix Third Birthday | Jennifer Laura Design | Kristen Curette PhotographyPhoenix Third Birthday | Jennifer Laura Design | Kristen Curette PhotographyPhoenix Third Birthday | Jennifer Laura Design | Kristen Curette PhotographyPhoenix Third Birthday | Jennifer Laura Design | Kristen Curette PhotographyPhoenix Third Birthday | Jennifer Laura Design | Kristen Curette PhotographyPhoenix Third Birthday | Jennifer Laura Design | Kristen Curette PhotographyPhoenix Third Birthday | Jennifer Laura Design | Kristen Curette PhotographyPhoenix Third Birthday | Jennifer Laura Design | Kristen Curette PhotographyPhoenix Third Birthday | Jennifer Laura Design | Kristen Curette PhotographyPhoenix Third Birthday | Jennifer Laura Design | Kristen Curette PhotographyPhoenix Third Birthday | Jennifer Laura Design | Kristen Curette PhotographyPhoenix Third Birthday | Jennifer Laura Design | Kristen Curette PhotographyPhoenix Third Birthday | Jennifer Laura Design | Kristen Curette Photography

I kept the dessert table simple this year. No crazy backdrop. Rise Cupcakes made the cake and pupcakes for me and Brittany did an amazing job, I searched the heck out of Ebay to find porcelain likenesses of our dogs.

Phoenix Third Birthday | Jennifer Laura Design | Kristen Curette PhotographyPhoenix Third Birthday | Jennifer Laura Design | Kristen Curette PhotographyPhoenix Third Birthday | Jennifer Laura Design | Kristen Curette PhotographyPhoenix Third Birthday | Jennifer Laura Design | Kristen Curette PhotographyPhoenix Third Birthday | Jennifer Laura Design | Kristen Curette PhotographyPhoenix Third Birthday | Jennifer Laura Design | Kristen Curette PhotographyPhoenix Third Birthday | Jennifer Laura Design | Kristen Curette Photography

For the favors Kris made this little grass area with a doghouse on our back porch. Little ones could choose whichever dog their heart so desired, name them, and take them home.

Phoenix Third Birthday | Jennifer Laura Design | Kristen Curette Photography

Look at those sad puppy faces- they need a home! Oh and don’t think I wouldn’t have loved to have real puppies out here. If parents wouldn’t have murdered me for sending their children home with real puppies I would have been happy to take that route ;) (rescue pups of course!)

Phoenix Third Birthday | Jennifer Laura Design | Kristen Curette PhotographyPhoenix Third Birthday | Jennifer Laura Design | Kristen Curette PhotographyPhoenix Third Birthday | Jennifer Laura Design | Kristen Curette PhotographyPhoenix Third Birthday | Jennifer Laura Design | Kristen Curette PhotographyPhoenix Third Birthday | Jennifer Laura Design | Kristen Curette Photography

And I’ll end this post with a photo of Phoenix with my dad- only his bestest friend in the whole wide world. These guys are two peas in a pod.

And if you need more cute kid parties in your life or you are new here, you can see Phoenix’s first birthday party right here, his second birthday party here, or you can see more of this shindig over on 100 Layer Cakelet. ALSO, I’m super curious which party is your favorite. I believe his first birthday will always be mine.

Design: Jennifer Laura Design / Photography: Kristen Curette Photography / Invitation Illustration:Seriously Sketch / Custom pillows, canvas print, napkins, and custom wrapping paper: Tinyprints / Cake and pupcakes: Rise Cupcakes / Signage + graphics: Jennifer Laura Design / Bamboo flatware, hot dog sleeves, and cardboard containers: Shop Sweet Lulu / Balloons: Party City

Heirloom Family Gathering | Awake Photography

I sat down to write this post a few weeks ago, this post was the outcome which had absolutely nothing to do about the Heirloom family gathering. Somehow I forgot that I was supposed to write about Heirloom…and just remembered a few days ago that I never shared this event properly. So here we go! Hannah and her husband reached out to me to help them plan and design this event, I had a lot on my plate the month of July, but this was something I couldn’t pass up. I love Heirloom mag– I love their message, I love their style so it was something I was going to find the time for. It was possibly my favorite thing to plan ever too…I basically just asked all of my favorite Houston wedding vendors to make this thing happen. I even weaseled my way out of doing the flowers because I have been wanting to work with Blush and Vine forever and this seemed like the perfect opportunity. I got Rent the Foundry on board to do the furniture- I wanted like 3 vignettes so this was no small task, but they were game. So the deal with Rent the Foundry is that they are a brand new business here in Houston and they are KILLING it. They are basically starting the business that I have needed in my life for the past four years. Paige with Awake Photography has a love for all things vintage and after hearing me complain that there are no good mid century rental places in Houston at a number of shoots, she decided to jump on it. So I know they are still working on photographing all of their inventory and getting it up on their website, but seriously if you are in need of some beautiful and unique things for your wedding they either have it or will source it for you.

Heirloom Mag Houston Family Gathering | Awake Photography

I asked The Weekend Type to create a welcome sign for us and Korie of course made it more special than I would have imagined.

Heirloom Mag Houston Family Gathering | Awake PhotographyHeirloom Mag Houston Family Gathering | Awake PhotographyHeirloom Mag Houston Family Gathering | Awake Photography

We held this shin dig at The Studio above Tout Suite. I love everything about this place- the look, the feel, the food is fantastic, and PRETTY to boot! BUT be forewarned that they are hard to get a hold of and deal with. That was just my personal experience, but I have heard this to be true from others as well. I think it was literally the day before the event and I was still waiting to hear back from the right manager to confirm all the details. Yeah…I was a little sweaty that day.

Heirloom Mag Houston Family Gathering | Awake PhotographyHeirloom Mag Houston Family Gathering | Awake PhotographyHeirloom Mag Houston Family Gathering | Awake Photography

Heirloom Mag Houston Family Gathering | Awake PhotographyHeirloom Mag Houston Family Gathering | Awake Photography

Heirloom Mag Houston Family Gathering | Awake PhotographyHeirloom Mag Houston Family Gathering | Awake PhotographyHeirloom Mag Houston Family Gathering | Awake Photography

I am completely terrible at attending events like this, so the fact that I planned it was a great avenue in actually getting me to attend. It made me want to go to things like this much much more. It’s always strange being in my little work at home bubble…it’s really fantastic to be around other people that are in that same bubble. They get that working from home is fantastic, difficult, overwhelming, lonely, and wonderful all at the same time. It’s also not every day that I get to chat with a room full of gals who work in the wedding industry, so that was also a complete treat. GET OUT MORE JENNIFER.

Heirloom Mag Houston Family Gathering | Awake Photography

 

Heirloom Mag Houston Family Gathering | Awake PhotographyHeirloom Mag Houston Family Gathering | Awake PhotographyHeirloom Mag Houston Family Gathering | Awake PhotographyHeirloom Mag Houston Family Gathering | Awake PhotographyHeirloom Mag Houston Family Gathering | Awake PhotographyHeirloom Mag Houston Family Gathering | Awake PhotographyAwakePhotography-1135

Heirloom Mag Houston Family Gathering | Awake PhotographyHeirloom Mag Houston Family Gathering | Awake PhotographyHeirloom Mag Houston Family Gathering | Awake PhotographyHeirloom Mag Houston Family Gathering | Awake PhotographyHeirloom Mag Houston Family Gathering | Awake Photography

Thank you to everyone who was involved in putting this event together and making it SO so lovely. So much love to all of you!

Vendor Credits | Planning and Design- Jennifer Laura Design, Photography- Awake Photography, Rentals- Rent the Foundry, Flowers- Blush and Vine, Welcome Sign- The Weekend Type, Venue, The Studio @ Tout Suite, Linens- La Tavola

Maison Baie | Feather and Twine Photography

Sometimes I get to plan a shoot where I can do whatever I want. I have absolutely ZERO direction…and to be perfectly honest this is NOT how I thrive. I usually come up with my best ideas when I have a client who is pushing me to create something just for them, I know their vision, I get their style, and it comes together. Often times when I do shoots, I even treat the photographer as my client and let them lead the overall concept and then I work my design within those parameters. This shoot is the exact opposite of that. I had so much freedom I didn’t know what to do with myself. I knew I wanted it to be a few things- simple, no fussy  details, pretty and timeless, nothing trendy, with some pretty and soft colors. That is it. While I do think I design better with a client (or even a pretend client) I still love this shoot. It is certainly the direction I want my business to go- and my brides, I want them to see that we don’t need crazy installation walls or the newest and trendiest wedding item. Twenty years from now none of that will matter. We shot these images in one of my very favorite places- it’s a venue in Galveston called Maison Baie- Kris used to run the restaurant right next door. The restaurant is a busy and bustling place full of life, but this little haven next door is like a sanctuary. It is right on the water with the skinniest little pier that goes twenty feet out over the water. I used to love taking Phoenix out there and walking all the way out there with him. It was so peaceful. Maison Baie | Jennifer Laura Design | Feather and Twine PhotographyMaison Baie | Jennifer Laura Design | Feather and Twine PhotographyMaison Baie | Jennifer Laura Design | Feather and Twine PhotographyMaison Baie | Jennifer Laura Design | Feather and Twine PhotographyMaison Baie | Jennifer Laura Design | Feather and Twine PhotographyMaison Baie | Jennifer Laura Design | Feather and Twine PhotographyMaison Baie | Jennifer Laura Design | Feather and Twine PhotographyMaison Baie | Jennifer Laura Design | Feather and Twine PhotographyMaison Baie | Jennifer Laura Design | Feather and Twine PhotographyMaison Baie | Jennifer Laura Design | Feather and Twine PhotographyMaison Baie | Jennifer Laura Design | Feather and Twine PhotographyMaison Baie | Jennifer Laura Design | Feather and Twine PhotographyMaison Baie | Jennifer Laura Design | Feather and Twine PhotographyMaison Baie | Jennifer Laura Design | Feather and Twine PhotographyMaison Baie | Jennifer Laura Design | Feather and Twine PhotographyMaison Baie | Jennifer Laura Design | Feather and Twine PhotographyMaison Baie | Jennifer Laura Design | Feather and Twine PhotographyMaison Baie | Jennifer Laura Design | Feather and Twine PhotographyMaison Baie | Jennifer Laura Design | Feather and Twine PhotographyMaison Baie | Jennifer Laura Design | Feather and Twine PhotographyShooting our bride out on the pier was kind of perfect…the wind was insane and we were so worried the veil was going to whip into the water at any moment, but it never did. My friend Erica referenced this song yesterday when she posted this image on instagram and it’s kind of perfect. Maison Baie | Jennifer Laura Design | Feather and Twine PhotographyMaison Baie | Jennifer Laura Design | Feather and Twine PhotographyMaison Baie | Jennifer Laura Design | Feather and Twine PhotographyMaison Baie | Jennifer Laura Design | Feather and Twine PhotographyMaison Baie | Jennifer Laura Design | Feather and Twine PhotographyMaison Baie | Jennifer Laura Design | Feather and Twine PhotographyMaison Baie | Jennifer Laura Design | Feather and Twine Photography

To see more of this shoot you can head over to Weddings Unveiled– thank you so much to the ladies over there for the feature, and a big wet smooch to all the vendors involved on this one, it’s always a treat to be on set with friends.

Vendor Credits | Photography: Feather & Twine    |    Design and Florals: Jennifer Laura Design    |    Venue: Maison Baie at Number 13 in Galveston, TX    |    Paper Goods: Momental Designs    |    Cake: Sugary and Chic    |    Hair and Makeup: Hey Lovely Makeup    |    Dresses and Accessories: BHLDN    |    Ribbon: Froufrou Chic    |    Rentals: Swift + Company

Trying Harder vs. Surrendering More

Confession time- I had a pretty real week with God last week. I started reading Lara Casey’s “Make It Happen” book and my life literally changed overnight. That sounds insane and drastic, especially since I started reading the book the week in came out last January and then put it down and didn’t pick it up again until last week. I think my heart needed to be in the right place to hear certain things and really get the most out of it. I had sunk so low the day before I picked up that book for the second time… it was almost as if God was like- “ok, now it’s time”. I have been a christian for a couple of years now, but I still felt unworthy. Like ugh, I forgot to read my bible today or darn, it’s 9pm and I haven’t even prayed or acknowledged God in any way today….I would go to bed so often feeling like I hadn’t been a good christian that day. I need to try harder or DO BETTER. How silly is that? Last week it all became so clear to me…

It's not about trying harder. It's about surrendering more.

In the book “Make It Happen” Lara said she prayed a simple prayer of surrender- “God, please show me the way”. This struck home for me so hard. My prayers had always been about- God, help me do this, or help me make this happen. But something about taking a step back from myself deciding what needed to happen and putting it into God’s hands. It was a powerful moment that had me on knees with tears streaming down my face. He is SO good. I have been living my christian life so differently. I find myself wanting to read the bible, searching for more quiet time to pray, and even memorizing scripture in my car instead of listening to podcasts like I typically do. Not because I am “trying” to be a good christian, but simply because I want to. If you find yourself in that middle of the road christian life, man…I feel you. You are saved and you love God, but you just feel stuck…surrender your life. Give it all to him, ask God to lead you.

photo by: Korie Lynn Photography

Rose Gold Modern | Kristen Curette Photography

Kristen and I like to collaborate on a big shoot about once a year, that’s the going rate for us. You can see our shoot last year right here, it was this glam vineyard thing. Kristen and I always have a lot of fun when we get together. I mean, she is this total BA with a camera and brings this team of talent with her. I never know who is doing what- there are a schlew of photographers, stylists, and people that just bring their A-game. So when I say this shoot was a total team effort, I really mean that. Kristen came to me last Christmas (it always boggles my mind how loooong the process is from conception to shooting- to actually GETTING TO SHARE THE IMAGES…sometimes it feels like absolute torture sitting on all this prettiness just waiting for the feature to happen) with the idea to do rose gold. She sent me some inspiration photos that were a little more along the lines of rose gold glam and sparkle. But after spending an entire year (2014) learning the ins and outs of the sequined table cloth (pretty sure I used one in every wedding that year) I was ready to move on to using rose gold in a different way. I wanted to do something that was more modern and edgy. This shoot slowly began to take shape and when I met Natalie of Damsel White Label at an open house with one of my brides in early February I knew that we had our dress. The dress kind of stole the show in this shoot. It didn’t hurt that Natalie was on hand to make sure that the draping of the train was INSANE in each shot.

Rose Gold Modern | Jennifer Laura Design | Kristen Curette Photography

We also added this chain to accent the dress and it was subtle, but kind of the perfect extra touch. Not that this dress needs an extra touch…but in a styled shoot, we went there.

Rose Gold Modern | Jennifer Laura Design | Kristen Curette PhotographyRose Gold Modern | Jennifer Laura Design | Kristen Curette Photography

We shot everything in the Studio Houston, it’s above Tout Suite in downtown and such an awesome event space.

Rose Gold Modern | Jennifer Laura Design | Kristen Curette PhotographyRose Gold Modern | Jennifer Laura Design | Kristen Curette PhotographyRose Gold Modern | Jennifer Laura Design | Kristen Curette PhotographyRose Gold Modern | Jennifer Laura Design | Kristen Curette PhotographyRose Gold Modern | Jennifer Laura Design | Kristen Curette PhotographyRose Gold Modern | Jennifer Laura Design | Kristen Curette PhotographyRose Gold Modern | Jennifer Laura Design | Kristen Curette PhotographyRose Gold Modern | Jennifer Laura Design | Kristen Curette PhotographyRose Gold Modern | Jennifer Laura Design | Kristen Curette Photography

My goal for this shoot was to do something simple and modern. I wanted everything to be extremely clean lines to contrast against the organic nature of the florals. I tried to veer away from anything too trendy, although you could make the argument that rose gold is trendy. I’m really not sure what we are going to do with metallics though. Silver has been in for so long and then gold made a HUGE comeback, but I think people are getting tired of it. So right now rose gold and copper are having a moment, but trends don’t seem to have any staying power anymore, we are over them before they have made a full comeback. Are we going to have to invent new metallics to satisfy us? Are we going to circle back to silver? HA. In one of my shoots I did last spring (closely following this one) I did actually veto any and all gold and just go completely silver, so maybe I’ve already answered my own question.

Rose Gold Modern | Jennifer Laura Design | Kristen Curette PhotographyRose Gold Modern | Jennifer Laura Design | Kristen Curette Photographyhttp://www.nastygal.com/accessories/heart-of-gold-body-chain?currency_code=US&country_code=US&gclid=Cj0KEQjwmNuuBRDTu5rDjr2kxJsBEiQAWlm6UmFX5T_Qj2opV-vSvXch64ebzrKTburGy4iHh4Xk9ncaAqhT8P8HAQ

We also did a floral wall- now this isn’t a new idea by any means, but Kristen really wanted to do it. It’s a cute way to accent a wall for sure. Such a ridiculously easy DIY- if you are looking for something simple, easy, and cheap with a high impact this is it! It probably took me about 15 minutes to tape all the flowers to the wall, I just used washi tape, be careful not to use any tape with a crazy strong adhesive, you don’t want to damage the wall. Washi tape is a pretty weak tape, but it did the trick just fine. I had budgeted about $100 of flowers for this wall, but it took FAR LESS.

Rose Gold Modern | Jennifer Laura Design | Kristen Curette Photography

The male model Zach also had his dog on set that day, so Kristen and I of course took full advantage. Poor fella, for this shot I believe I was holding cheese crackers to persuade him to stay sitting on that table. Which is my son’s nightstand BTW (don’t worry Phoenix, I cleaned it). I had made him that cute little impromptu flower collar moments before. BUUUUT don’t feel too bad for this guy- while we were breaking down, the cake- which was in fact a dummy cake but covered in real icing, was left on the floor for some reason and this guy got into it. The entire backside was licked completely  CLEAN. Thank goodness we had already photographed it.

Thank you times a million to everyone that was a part of this shoot- such an amazing group! If you want to see more you can head over to 100 Layer Cake to see the full feature.

Photographer: Kristen Curette Photography / Venue: The Studio Houston / Design & Florals: Jennifer Laura Design / Hair: Abby Speaks Hair / Makeup: Kim Clark Artistry / Paper: Nib and Pixel / Cake: Dream Slice Cakes / Rentals: Swift and Co. / Wardrobe Stylist: David Rochez / Dress: Damsel White Label / Models: Erika Rodger & Zack Flores