JLD Office {Awake Photography}

The last few months I have been working for an extremely difficult client. This person is a total nightmare…she has NO idea what she wants, changes her mind constantly, and has way TOO many ideas. No, you can’t have a boho, glam, retro, MCM, girly yet not too much, chic office.

My client needed to just pick a darn direction. You see, the problem is that she likes everything and sees every type of design under the sun because she is obsessed with DIY blogs. So that means she is constantly badgering me with new ideas that she finds and changing her mind after a clear direction has already been set. I should have charged her an extra design fee, but the truth is she just couldn’t afford it. So I worked with her side-by-side, crazy idea after crazy idea, and we finally did it. It may have turned her schizophrenic because the she I am talking about is in fact me…which means I just spent an entire two paragraphs talking about myself in the third person (do those first three sentences count as a paragraph??). Are you still with me? I feel like this office is a long time coming. I’ve been talking about it for the last three years. I’ve shared my ideas for it here on this blog twice (here and here)- each time was different and now that you see what I’ve actually done it’s different than any of the ideas I had previously shared.

I ‘ve been thinking about my office for a long time. I’ve been thinking about the actual office in my apartment that I currently live in for the year that we have lived here. I finally came up with a solid design direction last December. I finished the darn thing about 2 weeks later. Sometimes making up my mind is all that stands in my way. I wish I was a better blogger because I would have loved to capture all of the progress and fun along the way. I’ll try to recount as best as possible. I feel like this paragraph contains lots of short “I” statements.

This is what my office looked like as of 6 months ago.

Screen Shot 2015-03-01 at 11.33.35 PM Before | JLD office

Then 2 months ago I met with some really awesome potential clients (who are now actual clients) who insisted on meeting with me at my office. I always offer it up as an option- “I’m located in Clear Lake”, but rarely does anyone want to venture out to meet me here. I was very excited that they did. But then reality sunk in because it was right at the tail end of wedding season so my office was a total disaster- glitter was everywhere (I now have a careful screening process that weed out any clients drawn to glitter…kidding. sortof).  Anyway, I cleaned my office and whipped it into shape a bit- finally turned my desk a proper direction- at one point I had it shoved into a corner. Don’t ask me why it took so long to figure out that my desk needed to face the door and be nice and centered in the room. The closet doors threw me off-  they are big. and white. and I didn’t know what to do with them. The idea of that being the focal point when you walk into my office and the first thing you see felt weird. I started thinking that wallpaper may be the way to go. Make that boring white wall become an awesome accent wall (ugh…did I just say accent wall?). BUT then once I started looking at wallpapers I realized that I would be completely over what I chose in a matter of months, my taste is not dependable in the least. Although these (12) were some top contenders, I’m glad I didn’t go this route.

photo 1 (1)

So twenty four hours after I got off the phone with those potential clients this is how the office looked. I turned my desk the right way, decided to embrace the white wall (for now), brought in my wooden console table which usually lives on our porch so I could create somewhat of a “vignette” under my cork wall. And this is how my office looked when I booked all of my clients this year…you see, meeting with those first clients here (and them hiring me) really pushed me to start making every potential client start meeting me here. It seems silly to drive all over town and jump through hoops for someone who hasn’t hired me yet. Once my clients hire me I meet them wherever it’s convenient for them and then I can start hoop jumping ;-) Plus I think people like to see my environment. So that current set up was working (ie. I was booking jobs) but it was driving me nuts. I mean it was a real hodge podge and just all over the place. I took some time off at Christmas so that felt like the perfect time to start making some real progress. I realized that I wanted my office to be a reflection of my website and just a clean white box with a few places of crazy/chaos where my brain could explode for a minute. Enter – a huge cork board (a real live pinterest board if you will), and some pretty white and gold shelves. The cork wall was already in place, but I knew that it needed to stay. I also thought of a few interesting things to do to help the closet doors not look so sad…we’ll get to that.

Quickly after that- this mood board happened.

JLD Office Mood Board

 

It was just thrown together for the ideas- not to really “make a pretty mood board” or anything. But I liked this direction so things started moving quickly. I went to Ikea and started purchasing things. I got really excited when I found this light fixture.

ikea arjeplog

Cut to me at home taking down an enormous ceiling fan and installing this all by myself. I’ve never changed out a light fixture before. Last year when we changed out the light in the dining room, my dad did that for me…and I wasn’t even really paying attention. I watched a couple of youtube videos. I read some instructions, but to be honest videos are way more helpful. After about an hour and a half I had this.

JLD office light fixtureTwo days after that we had this.

JLD office light fixture

A freshly painted clean white box. And can I just say I HATE painting. So many blogs I read act like it’s not a big deal to paint a room and it doesn’t take very long, but I detest it so much. Pull everything away from the walls…tape off stuff, cutting in. It’s all pretty much the worst. BUT I love the result. This made my office feel so fresh. It also made the connecting hallway and living/dining room feel so very tan and gross. #atthetopofthetodolist  After painting everything else went relatively quickly. I made a shopping list and quickly grabbed everything from a number of unique and interesting shopping places….

that’s a total lie I just went to Ikea. And a few days later (right after Christmas) we had this.

JLD office progress photo

My mom was kind enough to watch Phoenix for a few hours so I could go to town on this room. Of course I was jamming out to T.Swifty’s new album that I got for Christmas. Made the process slightly less painful. I’m the kind of person that likes to enjoy a space…I don’t necessarily enjoy the process though. Hanging those shelves- annoying and tedious. Hanging those picture frames into a perfect grid- total nightmare.

JLD office progress photo

But by the end of the day we had this- shelves and photos on a wall. At this point- I just had to wait for a few things I ordered to come in- ie. desk chairs, and closet door wall art to finish everything up. So…the room kind of sat for a month…or two. My chairs came in, and my wall art came in, but I didn’t bother hanging it. No…you see, things like that should wait until about an hour before you plan to photograph a room so you can rush around at 7am getting everything ready. Which is exactly what happened. Soooo…let’s go ahead and get into the afters shall we?

Jennifer Laura Design office | Awake Photography

Jennifer Laura Design office | Awake Photography

So here you can see what I did with those doors. I let them stay white, BUT I painted their little edges gold and added wire word art right above my desk which is actually a scripture that I love very much- 1 Corinthians 13:8. It has also kind of been my mantra for the past two years and it makes me happy every time I read it. It was just the little something that needed to be on that wall- to keep it clean, but not boring. The gold edges did a lot too.

Jennifer Laura Design office | Awake Photography

Jennifer Laura Design office | Awake Photography

Majorly want to close my computer in these shots so you can see more of my pretty desk chair. Thanks for pointing that out mom…now that’s all I see. And now probably all you see :) Does anyone remember when I found this chair on craigslist for $75?

Jennifer Laura Design office | Awake Photography

Jennifer Laura Design office | Awake Photography

Jennifer Laura Design office | Awake Photography

I only keep pretty folders and tiny notebooks on my desk at all times. Tiny notebooks for my tiny notes.

Jennifer Laura Design office | Awake Photography

Jennifer Laura Design office | Awake Photography

This cork wall makes me SO happy. And this is why my desk was in a corner for so long. I thought the cork wall needed to be the backdrop of my desk…which would have looked awesome, but again just didn’t work at all. Picture me climbing over my desk chair to get into my closet every fifteen minutes.

Jennifer Laura Design office | Awake Photography

Jennifer Laura Design office | Awake Photography

Jennifer Laura Design office | Awake Photography

Jennifer Laura Design office | Awake Photography

Jennifer Laura Design office | Awake Photography

Jennifer Laura Design office | Awake Photography

Jennifer Laura Design office | Awake Photography

Phoenix hi-jacked the shoot- which is very true to life as he is always running in my office in the mornings to see me. I welcome it very much. It used to be too much, but now it’s tapered off and I have to beg him to come visit me…he still does, just not as much. Spiderman slippers and all.

Jennifer Laura Design office | Awake Photography

Jennifer Laura Design office | Awake Photography

My shelves! I tried to style them a bit for these photos, but really and truly this is just where I keep a lot of my inventory. It doesn’t hold everything obviously- there is a TON behind the closet doors, but I try to keep all the pretty things out here that I like to look at.

Jennifer Laura Design office | Awake Photography

Jennifer Laura Design office | Awake Photography

Jennifer Laura Design office | Awake Photography

Jennifer Laura Design office | Awake Photography

Jennifer Laura Design office | Awake Photography

Look at me, working SO hard writing in my tiny notebook.

Jennifer Laura Design office | Awake Photography

Jennifer Laura Design office | Awake Photography

And there you have it, the office that FINALLY is. Thanks for looking and thank you times a million to some very good friends of mine who made this day happen and also ridiculously fun- Paige aka Awake Photography and Erica of Hey Lovely who made me look way cuter than normal. ALSO, my new friend Abby of Abby Speaks Hair for e-mailing me the weekend before the shoot and telling me she could make my hair BLONDE when no one else could. She is a rockstar.

If you need to see more or want to read an interview by yours truly head over to The Everygirl today!

Sources | paint- BM super white, gold wire word art- Turn Left Designs, curtains- ikea, blue bench- target, pink pillow- ikea, gold pillow- hobby lobby, desk- ikea, shelves- ikea, black shell chairs- zoetico, blue wingback- thrifted from craigslist, gold desk lamp- urban outfitters, baskets- ikea, shelving unit- ikea, overhead light black and brass- ikea, frame collage wall- ikea, gold stapler- target, gold scissors- target, lucite desk accessories- the container store, white trash can- ikea, gold side table- target

Walt Disney World recap

Disclaimer: I’ve been gradually working on this post for the last four days. Somewhere between then and now it turned into a novel. You’ve been warned, this is the longest post I’ve ever dared to click publish on.

This blog post is more for me than for you. Although if you enjoy it by all means that would give me warm fuzzies. I for one love/hate reading people’s vacation recaps- I love living vicariously and seeing the cool stuff people do, but I hate reading about someone else having a fabulous time while I sit on my tush very much not on vacation. So to make you feel better I too am just sitting on my tush and am no longer on vacation. And I want to share this so I can remember everything, all the details that I’m sure to start forgetting by next week, and so next time I’m planning a trip to Disney I can remember some of the things I did right and wrong.

I’ve only been to Disney World once before this, it was on a trip with my mom- she was headed to a school leaders conference (she’s the assistant principal of an elementary school) at Disney World and her boss was bringing her daughter so she asked mom if she wanted to bring me. I think I was 21 and I was really excited to go and had a great time, BUT her boss and her daughter had been there so many times that we pretty much just did everything they recommended and waited in lines for hours riding all the big name rides- aerosmith, peter pan, space mountain, expedition everest, etc. It was a very fun trip, but I left feeling like I hadn’t been able to really experience Disney completely- plus my mom was in conferences for half the day so we didn’t get to spend as much time together as I would have liked. It was a good trip, but it really just made me want to go back. Topher had never been and neither had Phoenix (obviously he’s 2). We hadn’t been planning on taking a big vacation this year, but my parents started planning a big trip to San Francisco to visit my brother and I thought it might be fun for my family to tag along. Kris loves wine- so we thought we could turn it into a chance to go and visit Napa. Once I realized how expensive the flights to California were going to be, Phoenix was unfortunately no longer free :( I started looking into other ideas. Maybe lego land or a disney cruise?? Both of which are in Florida…then I started thinking that if we’re in Florida why would we not just go to Disney World?? Then I started pricing it out and realized that we could go to Disney- purchase our hotel and tickets for cheaper than just the flight to San Francisco. It started to look very appealing (Phoenix was free at Disney), I mapped out the drive- saw that it was 14 hours. Not exactly a short trip, but completely doable. PLUS Kris only gets one week off a year and I started to realize that spending a week with my family for his only week off this year may not be his first choice of vacation destinations. Although we do still want to go to San Francisco and Napa at some point in the future. It just wasn’t in the cards for this trip. So plans for a trip to Disney started to formulate. And being a planner in nature, this was wildly fun for me.

I immediately found wdwprepschool.com and Shannon’s website was such a wealth of knowledge. It gave me step-by-step instructions for all of my early planning. Pick your time of year, pick your resort, etc. It all sounds very obvious, but she had so much information for each step- things like past crowd levels for different times of years and the pros and cons of each resort. Just so much information that I never would have had just going to disneyworld.com and booking our trip. She also had tips for adding extra magic into your trip like tinker bell presents and character wake up calls (which I’ll talk more about later). She also had information for Disney travel agents right on her site. I ended up inquiring with them to see if we could get a discount, and they were SO helpful and very straightforward. “No, there are no promotions right now, so booking with me won’t save you any money (it also won’t cost you any more money), but we will help you make all of your reservations, fastpasses, and answer any of your questions along the way”. This sounded good to me, having never planned a trip, I didn’t have the slightest clue how any of that worked. So we booked through Key to the World Travel with Jennifer Van Hill and she was SO helpful and ended up snagging us so many reservations that I don’t think we would have gotten if we hadn’t worked with her. After booking- only about 90 days or so out from our trip we started looking into dining reservations. Dining reservations open up 180 days out from your trip so I was worried that we wouldn’t be able to get anything that we wanted. After a bit of research and asking Kris 27 times his opinion on the matter we ended up deciding that Cinderella’s Royal Table (the restaurant inside the castle…yes, that castle), Be Our Guest restaurant (Belle’s castle), and 50s prime time cafe were musts. Then character meals at Tusker House and Chef Mickeys also needed to happen. Jennifer snagged us every single reservation that we wanted. And then one day when Kris was looking into things and getting excited for our trip he found the tomorrowland terrace fireworks dessert party- basically a buffet of never-ending desserts while you sit and watch fireworks at magic kingdom. He booked that pretty much the second he found it. Jennifer also handled our Fastpass+ reservations when we were 60 days out from our vacation, we just picked what we wanted and she made sure that we got them. In retrospect now that I know a little more about this- we definitely chose a few things that we didn’t need fastpasses for (ie. you pretty much don’t need a fastpass for a show), but it was just one of those things that I had to experience to learn. Around this time I also started buying little gifts for Phoenix here and there (all Disney related). It felt kind of silly, but I knew I was planning to give him some sort of present everyday, this snowballed into me purchasing him a t-shirt for everyday of the trip, themed to what we were going to be doing that day…which then snowballed into me purchasing coordinating shirts for me and Kris. Kris seriously thought I lost my mind when I told him, but once we were there and he saw everyone else in Mickey Mouse shirts and ears he really ended up enjoying it. A lot of the shopping I did pre-trip felt so ridiculous because I felt like we would surely buy a bunch of stuff while we were there, but aside from buying Phoenix one of those bubble guns that light up ($12), buying our 2015 Christmas ornament, and our Mickey ears, we really didn’t buy anything in the gift shops. I actually looked around and piddled in several different gift shops while Phoenix was napping on a couple of different days and every one felt like it had the same stuff- overpriced toys and ugly tourist t-shirts. Dear Disney, you need a new buyer. Looking back, all that shopping upfront was worth it and saved me from purchasing expensive garbage in the gift shops.

We started our drive at 2am Sunday morning. We were planning to leave early Monday morning, but Kris got off so late Sunday night it seemed silly to go to sleep for 3 hours. So we got on the rode and just took turns driving while the other person slept. I had purchased little dollar store Disney toys (the Dollar store has a ton of Disney stuff, FYI) for Phoenix to unwrap every hour of the trip. We had a little stuffed Mickey Mouse that would pop up every hour and talk to Phoenix (ahem, I played the role of Mickey Mouse) telling him he was so excited that he was coming to visit his house and here was a little surprise for him while he waited. This really did make the drive go well for Phoenix. This is a kid who used to scream bloody murder when we strapped him into his carseat as an infant and we could barely get to the grocery store some days. So this trip was like…yah, we’ve come a long way. This also made it fun for me, watching him get excited to unwrap a new present every hour was neat. Most of the presents were things that would keep him occupied for a bit of time as well- a coloring book, a new book, some stickers, little toy figurines. By the way do all kids love little toy figures as much as ours? Seriously that and legos is all this boy wants and he wants to pretend to be one character while we pretend to be the other. A little lightning mcqueen and tow mater got us a looong way. Although it does get old for us adults after awhile.

My aunt Carol also recommended a book- the unofficial guide to Walt Disney World. She told me to get it months ago, but I procrastinated and didn’t buy it until the day before we left. I read it on our drive. It was the perfect last piece to planning our trip. It really helped us come up with a good daily plan- what to ride and when, as well as a schlew of other interesting facts and data. I’ve become a total nerd for Disney stats, info, etc. I also downloaded the app that goes with the book that allows you to put in everything that you want to do that day, your fastpass reservations, and your dining reservations and it spits you out with a plan of exactly what to do and when. Kris and I were both worried that it would feel like some huge to-do list and we would feel like we couldn’t be spontaneous in the parks, but that wasn’t really the case. We always had more than enough time for everything, and did WAY more than we thought we would be able to. When you aren’t waiting in ride lines all day it’s pretty amazing how much you can do. We waited in line to ride rockn’ roller coaster for 30 minutes and that was the longest line we waited in, and that was only because we were too wiped on our Hollywood Studios day to show up at park opening. Other than that we didn’t wait for anything more than 10 minutes. It was really awesome to be at a theme park and not be stuck in line all day. That was a very new experience. Especially being with a two year old who would have had no patience for that nonsense. So if you are going to Disney World get yourself that book. It’s worth its weight in gold.

We checking into our hotel Monday night and from here I’m not going to give a full rundown of each day. Namely because I started writing that out and it sounded incredibly boring. So I’m going to share pictures and just caption them with things of interest, so if I haven’t lost you by now hopefully I’ll keep you until the end. And I didn’t really edit these photos except for a few that ended up on instagram, so sorry in advance for the ugly/blurry photos!

#harrupsdodisney

This was our resort room. We stayed at the Art of Animation resort which is on property at Walt Disney World. Most of the rooms at this resort are suites and the only rooms that aren’t are Little Mermaid themed. We obviously didn’t need a suite with just three of us, but we would have loved to stay in one of the other sections- lion king, cars, or finding nemo. Our room was still adorable, but next time I think I would splurge on a suite just to experience it. Our section was also horribly far from the central check-in and food court. By the end of our trip we were so tired of walking if we had to go to the food court we would just hop in the car and drive.

#harrupsdodisney

#harrupsdodisney

#harrupsdodisney

Our room was adorable though, especially the tile in the shower that looked like Ariel’s gadgets and gizmos.

#harrupsdodisney

Our first day was at animal kingdom. I tried to get a photo of us in our shirts everyday. So sometimes  I cut our heads off to make this happen. And see what I did- I didn’t buy us matching shirts…I did coordinating shirts. Because you know…matching shirts would have been weird.

#harrupsdodisney

Terrible photo I know, but this was the first show that we saw on our first day. And it continued to be my favorite show we saw the entire time we were there. It was just awesome. We also saw Festival of the Lion King this day and to my dismay the shows were all downhill from there. Animal Kingdom just set the show bar really high so after that watching 4D videos and getting sprayed with water just didn’t cut it.

#harrupsdodisney

Lunch on our first day was at Tusker House. We wanted to squeeze in as many character meals as we could because I wasn’t sure how Phoenix would react to them. In retrospect I’m so glad I did because he finally warmed up to them on our last day there and it was probably only because we saw so many characters everyday.

#harrupsdodisney

#harrupsdodisney

Phoenix’s main comment on the characters that first day was that they didn’t talk. Why don’t they talk Mommy? It was kind of sad! I totally wish they did talk even if their voices weren’t perfect, it would be a lot more fun.

#harrupsdodisney

#harrupsdodisney

After lunch the kid was pooped and took a nap. We opted to leave our stroller at home because the thought of having to lug a stroller around everywhere didn’t appeal to us- we brought our ergo and while Phoenix doesn’t like riding in it while he is awake he loves it for naps and it was a lifesaver. And after that we called it a day at animal kingdom- this was our shortest day.

#harrupsdodisney

After getting back to the resort we decided to explore it a bit more. All of the outdoor areas, playgrounds, and pools made choosing our resort just so worth it. The theming was just SO cool and it felt like we were still immersed in Disney magic even when we weren’t in the parks. It was a totally different experience than the last time I was here and we stayed and the swan hotel…which was not Disney themed at all.

#harrupsdodisney

#harrupsdodisney

#harrupsdodisney

#harrupsdodisney

#harrupsdodisney

The section next to ours was the Lion King. This was Kris’ favorite- it’s his favorite Disney movie of all time.

#harrupsdodisney

#harrupsdodisney

I somehow missed getting photos of the Finding Nemo section, but that was one of the coolest sections since it had a full blown Finding Nemo pool and this is the area that is right next to the central hub of check-in and the food court. This area was also so busy with all the people from the food court so if we go back I would probably opt to stay in the Lion King or Cars section.

#harrupsdodisney

Both of which were not too far from the center. Cars isn’t my favorite Disney movie, but this section was SO adorable with a really awesome pool- that we spent a good bit of time at on our off park day. I think this would be my first pick if we came back.

#harrupsdodisney

We ate dinner that night at the food court. If we were to come back I would avoid that place as much as possible- just really terrible overpriced food. A lot of the food we ate at Disney wasn’t very good, but typically if we ate in the parks at a reservation the experience made up for the bad food. There was no experience to be had in the food court.

#harrupsdodisney

Second day was magic kingdom. Again, taking a photo to get the shirts while totally sacrificing our faces.

#harrupsdodisney

And then of course another photo after we got our Mickey Ears.

#harrupsdodisney

We woke up so early (6am) on our Magic Kingdom day that Phoenix was napping by 11. We tried to do boring shows while he napped which was how we ended up in the horrors that were the country bear jamboree and the enchanted tiki room. Never again.

#harrupsdodisney

We ate lunch at Be Our Guest Restaurant. The food wasn’t amazing, but the experience made up for it. The food came out in these gorgeous little carts, and our dessert was a little cupcake with “the grey stuff”. After eating our lunch I didn’t have high hopes for the cupcake, but it was actually fantastic and we wish we had ordered two instead of sharing one.

#harrupsdodisney

This was the main dining room that we ate in. And then it branched off into two other rooms.

#harrupsdodisney

The west wing- that was ripped to shreds and even had a spinning rose hologram.

#harrupsdodisney

And then the east wing which I don’t really remember from the movie, but had this cute dancing beauty and beast in the center.

#harrupsdodisney

Tip of the day: when wanting to get your photo at the castle look around for another family who is trying to take a selfie in front of the castle and offer to take their photo, and in return they will snap yours. Bada bing! After this we headed out of the park and took a much needed nap.

#harrupsdodisney

We rode the boat back in that evening. And we were still wiped, but we had dinner reservations at the castle as well as wanting to watch the parade.

#harrupsdodisney

We caught the incredibles dance party on our way back in which was weird and hilarious. Phoenix was still suuuper shy, but did some dancing of his own off to the side.

#harrupsdodisney

Then we headed to the castle for dinner. I think the main appeal for eating here was just to see the inside of the castle. We didn’t know just how special the whole experience would be, so that was a really cool surprise.

#harrupsdodisney

Upon arriving we waited in line to meet Cinderella who welcomed us into her home and invited us to join her for dinner.

#harrupsdodisney

Then we sat downstairs and waited in this room. Whenever a table was ready the host would ring a series of bells and announce that a royal invitation had been extended to the _____ family. Then they were led upstairs. We waited quite awhile after meeting Cinderella, but they finally invited us upstairs and then we were led up a long blue spiral staircase.

#harrupsdodisney

Once upstairs we were inundated with princesses. It was really magical. Ariel was my favorite. She came over and really took some time to chat and talk to Phoenix. Can you see her holding his little Woody figure? She even played with him for a moment. When she left Phoenix asked where her tail was. I very much wish he had asked that while she was there. She was really gorgeous too, I wish we had snapped a better photo with her.

#harrupsdodisney

#harrupsdodisney

We also met Snow White, Jasmine, and Sleeping Beauty. They were all so beautiful and sweet. They made our dinner at the castle so special. The food here was ok- you have to pre-pay because reservations are in such high demand and it was a pre-fixe menu. Kris had some amazing crawfish and grits appetizer that I wish I had ordered and I had an amazing dessert that was some type of mousse or ganache. Everything else was fine, but not amazing. Those were two major highlights though!

We woke up so early (6am) on our Magic Kingdom day that Phoenix

Our next day was Hollywood Studios. We didn’t get there at opening because we just couldn’t stand the thought of getting up at 6am again, so we woke up around 9 and got there around 10:30. Unfortunately (or maybe fortunately), we didn’t have a coordinating outfit that day. But Phoenix did have a Buzz Lightyear shirt since this was the day we were planning to meet Buzz and Woody.

#harrupsdodisney

#harrupsdodisney

We had a full Toy Story afternoon. Toy Story came out when I was 8 and that is by far one of my favorite movies of all time and now it’s one of Phoenix’s favorites too so eating lunch at Pizza Planet felt like a must. Then we rode Toy Story Mania with a fast pass. Kris and Phoenix loved this ride, but I was kind of disappointed. I wanted it to be more like Winnie the Pooh or Peter Pan in which we got to fly through the story, instead the review I had read of “it felt like playing bad video games from the 90s while being pushed around on my couch” was incredibly accurate.

#harrupsdodisney

Meeting Buzz and Woody was probably the biggest highlight of the trip for me. I’m sure they make everyone feel special, but they genuinely seemed so excited that we had their action figures with us.

#harrupsdodisney

Phoenix was so fascinated by them and loved looking at their costumes. He got hugs and kisses from both of them. I just had no idea that the characters would be so sweet and just really go above and beyond (err to infinity and beyond) to make us have a great experience. We ended up saying that standing in line to meet characters, while more tedious, was always a better experience than character dining which always felt a bit more rushed.

#harrupsdodisney

#harrupsdodisney

#harrupsdodisney

#harrupsdodisney

#harrupsdodisney

They both signed the toys for us so that was really cool as well.

#harrupsdodisney

I hate this picture because Phoenix looks so bored, but it’s just a weird moment. He really was excited and had a great time meeting them.

#harrupsdodisney

#harrupsdodisney

#harrupsdodisney

#harrupsdodisney

The Honey, I Shrunk the Kids Playground was awesome. Phoenix has never seen that movie, but he appreciates a cool playground as much as the next kid.

#harrupsdodisney

Dinner at Hollywood Studios was at the 50s prime time cafe. Which sounds like it’s going to be a replica 50s diner, but it’s really not. It seriously looks like my grandmother’s house. If my grandmother had more mid century modern style as opposed to mid century traditional. It was so so cool and I loved it. I seriously would have loved to steal a few of the pieces of furniture that I saw there.

#harrupsdodisney

#harrupsdodisney

#harrupsdodisney

The waitresses were supposed to be mean and tell  you not to put your elbows on the table, no cell phones, etc. In fact, we heard many of the waitresses around us doing just that. But fortunately our waitress was really nice and didn’t give us a hard time for not cleaning our plate. Meanwhile behind us one of the waitresses flew an airplane spoon into someone’s mouth while having their table make airplane noises.

#harrupsdodisney

Friday was our off day. It was wonderful, we slept in (as much as you can with a 2 year old), watched TV in the hotel, and then spent the rest of the afternoon at the cars pool.

#harrupsdodisney

This was our little version of heaven for about 4 hours that day. Phoenix even took a super long nap.

#harrupsdodisney

#harrupsdodisney

#harrupsdodisney

That night we went to Downtown Disney. We had thought about making a dining reservation, but we didn’t, we thought it might be fun to explore. I have to say I didn’t enjoy Downtown Disney much, it was SO crowded, it felt way more crowded than any of the parks did- and there were several places that just felt like we couldn’t even walk. They were doing a ton of construction so I think that may have had something to do with it.

#harrupsdodisney

There were two good things in downtown. The first was the lego store. It was way larger than the one we have at our mall at home and had all these huge characters made out of legos.

#harrupsdodisney

#harrupsdodisney

The second being Earl of Sandwich. Funnily enough it was just a quick service chain restaurant, but Disney food had been so bad that we both agreed that this was the best (not to mention cheapest) meal we had all week. The sandwiches were actually extremely good and I would definitely eat there again.

#harrupsdodisney

Our last day was bittersweet because I just didn’t really want to leave. But we did our last day in our Frozen ensemble.

#harrupsdodisney

We woke up early and were at the park at 7:30. We rode all of the remaining big rides that we wanted like winnie the pooh, barnstormer (Phoenix’s first roller coaster!), little mermaid, it’s a small world, etc. At 10:30 it was time for our breakfast dining reservation at Chef Mickey’s and we had probably already ridden about 10 rides. I can’t say how much being there in the morning saved us from standing in line all day. We walked onto rides until about 9:30.

#harrupsdodisney

We had the classic Mickey waffles. And got to meet all the character again. It was perfect, because this time Phoenix wasn’t so scared of them. Many of them even got hugs. And Disney bad food and all could be hard pressed to screw up a breakfast buffet so we pigged out.

#harrupsdodisney

#harrupsdodisney

#harrupsdodisney

#harrupsdodisney

We hadn’t planned on meeting Woody again, but we had some extra time in between shows this day so we made a point to go over there so Phoenix could meet Jessie. This experience was very much like the Buzz and Woody one where they were just SO good with him.

#harrupsdodisney

#harrupsdodisney

#harrupsdodisney

Now this is a terrible photo, so very sorry for that. But this is while we were at the Dessert Fireworks party, we basically showed up an hour before fireworks at the tomorrowland terrace and got a great view of the fireworks while eating all the desserts we could shove into our face hole. It was delightful. Phoenix asked me if he could take photos of the fireworks so this photo above is some of his handy work…and I actually think it’s not bad for a two year old :) After this I really wanted to go ride more rides (because it was our LAAAST DAY), but Kris insisted that this be the last thing we do before leaving…he said this needed to be our last memory. So it was. Which is actually kind of special. Kris doesn’t care about much (he’s the most flexible person I know), so when he actually does have a strong opinion I want to appease him :) Overall, we just had the most amazing vacation ever and I want to go back immediately!

Katherine and Chris {Feather and Twine Photography}

This wedding was so lovely…and I haven’t really shared much about it. My friend Kelsey from Feather and Twine is just the best. After working on our  mid century metal shoot last year she started recommending me to all of her clients. Recommendations like this don’t always ever work out because a lot of people hiring a photographer already have a planner…so the fact that Katherine didn’t was awesome. There was a catch though, Katherine didn’t need a planner- she only wanted a day of coordinator. Which I don’t really do anymore…BUT I just couldn’t say no to a chance to work with Kelsey. It didn’t hurt that Katherine and Chris were really awesome and sweet, all those things that I want in my potential clients. They kind of won me over, so I took the job. In Dallas no less. Topher and I had a lot of fun making those Dallas trips last year. We don’t get to spend a lot of one on one time alone together so these trips were little mini bonding experiences. Kind of like- Oh hey, remember me? I’m your husband. I can still tell a mean joke that isn’t mickey mouse or lego related.

So Katherine confided me a few months after she hired me that she really wanted to open her own planning and design company after her wedding. This is why she wanted to have complete control over the planning and the design- she needed to gain all of that experience and know how for her future business. And Katherine really is talented, plus the fact that she planned her wedding in her father’s backyard- made for an even better experience since she had the added bonus of learning all the tricky logistics of planning a wedding at home.

I have to say that Katherine and Chris’ wedding is up there as one of my favorites…I’m really a sucker for back-yard affairs. They are so personal and special and despite all their logistical challenges are just so so worth it. My Kris actually said this was probably his favorite wedding that we have done do far and one he would have liked to have been a guest at. There were a lot of really sweet and personal details. A lot of handmade projects that Katherine’s father put blood, sweat, and tears (I’m sure) into. I’ll try to point out all the Ric (Katherine’s dad) projects along the way. This guy was so talented, so nice, and just such a treat to work with on the day of the wedding. He told me and my Kris so many times to “make ourselves to home”.

Katherine and Chris | Feather and Twine Photography

Have I mentioned that Katherine and Chris live in London? They actually had two different weddings- one in Dallas and one in London- color me jealous that Kelsey got to travel to London to photograph the other one.

Katherine and Chris | Feather and Twine Photography

Katherine and Chris | Feather and Twine Photography

Katherine and Chris | Feather and Twine Photography

Katherine and Chris | Feather and Twine Photography

Katherine and Chris | Feather and Twine Photography

Katherine and Chris | Feather and Twine Photography

Katherine and Chris | Feather and Twine Photography

Katherine and Chris | Feather and Twine Photography

Katherine’s dad built this entire ceremony set up- the platform, the backdrop, the covering- which Kate Foley made completely gorgeous by weaving florals throughout.

Katherine and Chris | Feather and Twine Photography

Katherine and Chris | Feather and Twine Photography

Katherine and Chris | Feather and Twine Photography

The wheel of love- something else Katherine’s dad built and was just super cool. Guests were able to spin it throughout the night and then were challenged to do the tasks appointed. It made for some fun impromptu moments sprinkled throughout the night.

Katherine and Chris | Feather and Twine Photography

Katherine and Chris | Feather and Twine Photography

Katherine and Chris | Feather and Twine Photography

Katherine and Chris | Feather and Twine Photography

Katherine and Chris | Feather and Twine PhotographyKatherine and Chris | Feather and Twine Photography

Katherine and Chris | Feather and Twine Photography

Katherine and Chris | Feather and Twine Photography

Katherine and Chris | Feather and Twine Photography

Katherine and Chris | Feather and Twine Photography

Katherine and Chris | Feather and Twine Photography

Katherine and Chris | Feather and Twine Photography

Katherine and Chris | Feather and Twine Photography

Katherine and Chris | Feather and Twine Photography

They named each of their tables a song lyric and then tables were released to go to the buffet as their song played. It was a fun way to keep the buffet line under control and was cute to see each table realize their song was playing, start cheering, and head to the buffet.

Katherine and Chris | Feather and Twine Photography

Katherine and Chris | Feather and Twine Photography

Katherine and Chris | Feather and Twine Photography

Katherine and Chris | Feather and Twine Photography

This is Ric. He needs a medal for everything he did for this wedding. He is extremely talented indeed.

Katherine and Chris | Feather and Twine Photography

Katherine and Chris | Feather and Twine Photography

He hand-made all of these wooden trays that the caterers served food on- and then branded them with Katherine and Chris’ wedding logo.

Katherine and Chris | Feather and Twine Photography

Katherine and Chris | Feather and Twine Photography

He also built the cake table and cake stands…obviously.

Katherine and Chris | Feather and Twine Photography

Katherine and Chris | Feather and Twine Photography

Katherine and Chris | Feather and Twine Photography

Here he is getting it put back together after we linened the table.

Katherine and Chris | Feather and Twine Photography

Katherine and Chris | Feather and Twine Photography

Katherine and Chris- thank you to letting me play a role in your special day. You two were truly a treat!

Need more of this couple? Here are their engagements in London!

Vendor Credits: Venue: Private Residence | Event Coordination: Jennifer Laura Design | Event Planning and Design: Katherine (bride) with Ardour Events | Florals: Kate Foley Designs | Vintage Rentals: Rent My Dust | Hair/Makeup: Tracy Melton | Band: Royal Dukes | Aisle Runner: Love Burlap

Mid Century Boho Glam {Awake Photography}

Let me tell you it’s a good day when my friend Paige  calls me and wants to team up. Even more of a good day when she wants to team up on a shoot she is planning and shooting in four days. Don’t ask me why, but as long as it’s not wedding season I love throwing projects together quickly- immediate gratification is my favorite :) Paige is so fun to work with- spontaneous and oh so talented. I actually can’t believe that we haven’t done a proper styled in almost a year a half. It seems like we are always working together though- I helped her design a collage wall in her living room, she shot Phoenix’s bedroom. It seems like we are always doing something together.

Mid Century Boho Glam | Jennifer Laura Design | Awake Photography

Mid Century Boho Glam | Jennifer Laura Design | Awake Photography

I didn’t get to style the paper, since this shoot was thrown together so quickly we didn’t have the invitations on the actual day we shot everything so Paige styled it later at her house. She did a great job and I actually love how she styled it, but for a psycho like me who gets a rush off of styling paper it was a bummer I didn’t get to play too ;-)

http://jenniferlaurablog.com/sneak-peek-timeless-beauty/

Mid Century Boho Glam | Jennifer Laura Design | Awake Photography Awake1088

Mid Century Boho Glam | Jennifer Laura Design | Awake Photography

Mid Century Boho Glam | Jennifer Laura Design | Awake Photography

Mid Century Boho Glam | Jennifer Laura Design | Awake Photography

Mid Century Boho Glam | Jennifer Laura Design | Awake Photography

Mid Century Boho Glam | Jennifer Laura Design | Awake Photography

These are the new chairs I bought for my office, aren’t they super photogenic? I am very jealous of those pretty little legs of theirs.

Mid Century Boho Glam | Jennifer Laura Design | Awake Photography

Mid Century Boho Glam | Jennifer Laura Design | Awake Photography

Mid Century Boho Glam | Jennifer Laura Design | Awake Photography

Mid Century Boho Glam | Jennifer Laura Design | Awake Photography

Mid Century Boho Glam | Jennifer Laura Design | Awake PhotographyMid Century Boho Glam | Jennifer Laura Design | Awake Photography

I have to say that putting this shoot together was right up my alley. This is totally my style. Unlike some other styles I’m been trying to get better at lately, this one comes so naturally to me. I could literally put boho shoots together in my sleep. I mean… just so much me. Happy Monday!

Photography: Awake Photography | Styling and Florals: Jennifer Laura Design | Invitation design/calligraphy: Kristara | Attire: Brideside | Hair: Abby Venegas | Makeup: Rivki Shlyapobersky | Models: Megan Silianoff | Meg Cady | Miranda Jones

A JLD Wedding {April and Trevor}

This post is WAY overdue. Like I should have been writing this six months ago. But better late than never right!

April and Trevor were really cool clients. They were so adorable together…you know one of those couples that just made you want to throw up. High school sweethearts, madly in love, completely gorgeous, you know the type ;-) We started working together in the summer of 2013 (that feels like eons ago). When we first started April was dreaming of a grand gorgeous over the top wedding in Trevor’s parent’s backyard right off of lake Conroe, this backyard was pretty spectacular. But there were issues. We knew there wasn’t going to be room to seat everyone- the backyard was massive, but it was made up of all these crazy levels, a pool, and a deck (you’ll see below). April’s mom was just not sure it was going to work. We ended up meeting with my rental girl Sophie, and our caterer Michael to get their thoughts all before pulling the trigger and deciding that this was the place. We also kind of knew that rain would be a total nightmare- tenting this backyard would have been like trying to put a poncho on a golden retriever. I mean…it might work, but it’s probably still going to leak…and it’s not going to look all that cute either. Basically we knew if it rained all 300 of her guests were going to be jammed into the house and spilling out onto the front driveway, which was a flatter area and more conducive for tenting, but nowhere near as magical. The wedding dream included this backyard, so if it rained…we were all going to be heartbroken. It was such a gamble, and it’s times like these that I am so glad I have clients willing to take a risk, because the pay-off was HUGE. We had perfect weather. In fact, the day was gorgeous. But these are the kind of issues that wake me up with night sweats a month before the wedding. The things I can’t control. Those are the things that get me. Have I mentioned that planning weddings has also made me realize I am a control freak? I’ve learned to embrace it really, it makes me good at my job.

So please make me stop rambling and let’s get into the pretty photos by Kat aka Mustard Seed Photography. And can I just start by saying that I had been dying to work with Kat for years! YEARS. She is always booked up, like multiple years in advance. The stars aligned that she was available for April and Trevor.

April and Trevor | Jennifer Laura Design | Mustard Seed Photography

April and Trevor | Jennifer Laura Design | Mustard Seed Photography

How picturesque is this church?

April and Trevor | Jennifer Laura Design | Mustard Seed Photography

April and Trevor | Jennifer Laura Design | Mustard Seed Photography

April and Trevor | Jennifer Laura Design | Mustard Seed Photography

April and Trevor | Jennifer Laura Design | Mustard Seed Photography

April and Trevor | Jennifer Laura Design | Mustard Seed Photography

April and Trevor | Jennifer Laura Design | Mustard Seed Photography

April and Trevor | Jennifer Laura Design | Mustard Seed Photography

April and Trevor | Jennifer Laura Design | Mustard Seed Photography

April and Trevor | Jennifer Laura Design | Mustard Seed Photography

Fun fact about the church- we showed up on the day of the wedding and there were these yellow daisy potted plants all over the altar- I’m talking like probably 40 pots- they weren’t ugly, but so not elegant. We asked the church coordinator if we could tuck them away for the ceremony and she said absolutely not- there was a mass that was immediately following. My interns asked if they could take them down anyway and they would stay after the ceremony to put them back immediately. Yah, they were pretty much the best. It took all of us about five minutes collectively to get rid of all of the yellow plants…they were seriously everywhere.

April and Trevor | Jennifer Laura Design | Mustard Seed Photography

April and Trevor | Jennifer Laura Design | Mustard Seed Photography

April and Trevor | Jennifer Laura Design | Mustard Seed Photography

April and Trevor | Jennifer Laura Design | Mustard Seed Photography

April’s ring was out of control. Every time I saw it I thought my eyes were going to pop out of my skull….it was to die for.

April and Trevor | Jennifer Laura Design | Mustard Seed Photography

April and Trevor | Jennifer Laura Design | Mustard Seed Photography

April and Trevor | Jennifer Laura Design | Mustard Seed Photography

For the guest book, April had this awesome idea for her guests to leave her and Trevor messages in a bottle. We labeled these decanters with different anniversary years that they will get to read their messages on.

April and Trevor | Jennifer Laura Design | Mustard Seed Photography

April and Trevor | Jennifer Laura Design | Mustard Seed Photography

We set up about half of the seating indoors and the other half outdoors. It made for a really nice flow through the house and out into the backyard. We did a cocktail reception with a ton of passed hors d’oeuvres and some fun stations so seating for everyone wasn’t necessary.

April and Trevor | Jennifer Laura Design | Mustard Seed Photography

April and Trevor | Jennifer Laura Design | Mustard Seed Photography

April and Trevor | Jennifer Laura Design | Mustard Seed Photography

April and Trevor | Jennifer Laura Design | Mustard Seed Photography

April and Trevor | Jennifer Laura Design | Mustard Seed Photography

April and Trevor | Jennifer Laura Design | Mustard Seed Photography

April and Trevor | Jennifer Laura Design | Mustard Seed Photography

April and Trevor | Jennifer Laura Design | Mustard Seed Photography

April and Trevor | Jennifer Laura Design | Mustard Seed Photography

April and Trevor | Jennifer Laura Design | Mustard Seed Photography

April and Trevor | Jennifer Laura Design | Mustard Seed Photography

April and Trevor | Jennifer Laura Design | Mustard Seed Photography

Favorite bride and groom chairs of all time. Pin that. I had those chair signs leftover from my luxe vineyard shoot and on a whim I threw them into my packing boxes for this wedding, I wasn’t sure if they would work or not, but as soon as my intern Heather tied them on I knew they were perfect.

April and Trevor | Jennifer Laura Design | Mustard Seed Photography

April and Trevor | Jennifer Laura Design | Mustard Seed Photography

April and Trevor | Jennifer Laura Design | Mustard Seed Photography

April and Trevor | Jennifer Laura Design | Mustard Seed Photography

April and Trevor | Jennifer Laura Design | Mustard Seed Photography

April and Trevor | Jennifer Laura Design | Mustard Seed Photography

We rented those gold pillows from La Tavola and I stitched up the blush pink ones myself.

April and Trevor | Jennifer Laura Design | Mustard Seed Photography

April and Trevor | Jennifer Laura Design | Mustard Seed Photography

April and Trevor | Jennifer Laura Design | Mustard Seed Photography

I got a lot of my vintage pieces- this tray, the decanters, from Bourbon and Bloom. It never seems to fail- no matter what the theme of the event they always have a ton of pieces that I need.

April and Trevor | Jennifer Laura Design | Mustard Seed Photography

April and Trevor | Jennifer Laura Design | Mustard Seed Photography

April and Trevor | Jennifer Laura Design | Mustard Seed Photography

April and Trevor | Jennifer Laura Design | Mustard Seed Photography

April and Trevor | Jennifer Laura Design | Mustard Seed Photography

April and Trevor | Jennifer Laura Design | Mustard Seed Photography

A late night snack of these delicious crepes were the perfect last touch before everyone send April and Trevor off with a showering of confetti.

April and Trevor | Jennifer Laura Design | Mustard Seed Photography

This confetti bar can be credited to my intern Heather. This was all her. I told her we wanted a white, black, and gold confetti bar complete with bags guests could fill and deco inspired confetti poppers.

April and Trevor | Jennifer Laura Design | Mustard Seed Photography

April and Trevor | Jennifer Laura Design | Mustard Seed Photography

These confetti poppers she made were spectacular. And because you know guests get a little….disoriented towards the end of the night we ended up carrying around a ton of poppers and passing them out. Very few people actually made it to our actual confetti bar. Which was ok- we have pictures and that’s all that matters in life.

April and Trevor | Jennifer Laura Design | Mustard Seed Photography

April and Trevor | Jennifer Laura Design | Mustard Seed Photography

April and Trevor | Jennifer Laura Design | Mustard Seed Photography

And of course why have a wedding on the lake if you don’t make a grand exit on a boat? Happy marriage you two!

Planning, Design, and Coordination- Jennifer Laura Design | Photography Mustard Seed Photography | Ceremony Venue- St. Joseph Catholic Church | Reception Venue- Private Residence | Catering- Master Chef Catering | Rentals- Aztec Events and Tents | Florals- Antique Rose | Linen Rentals- La Tavola | Cake- Sweet Delights | Vintage Rentals- Bourbon and Bloom | Confetti Bar- Darrling Design | Bride and Groom chair sign- Le Petit Mariage | Bar Menu Calligraphy- 16th Avenue Lettering | Paper- Kleinfeld Paper

Sneak Peek: Timeless Beauty

Well this week is ending my official “vacation”. I kind of laugh at the term though because while I vowed back in November that I was taking two months off…it has really been anything but. On my “time off” I have booked four full service clients, 3 floral jobs, designed and installed my office (just a few more finishing touches before it’s ready to be photographed in a couple of weeks, can’t wait to share!), designed my 2015 JLD client experience complete with a JLD welcome package for new clients, and probably a schlew of other things I am forgetting about right now. It has been very much a time of peace though since I have been able to use this time to focus more on my business and less on my clients. It has really re-charged me and made me love what I do again…it was exactly what I needed.

Anyways, enough about all of that. Today I want to talk about this shoot that I am beyond excited to share a sneak peek of, seriously it might be heading up there with my mid-century metal shoot as my favorite of all time. I talked a few months ago about my aesthetics veering into new territory- a more timeless, classic side of things. And this shoot was the first time I really got to stretch those new creative muscles.

Jennifer Laura Design- Timeless Beauty Mood Board

I do have to say though that this mood board is a little underwhelming. And maybe that’s why it is hard for me to design in this style. I love it so so much, but it is very pulled back, very restrained. I have been told that if something seems off then remove 1 or 2 things from your shot.

That is very hard for me.

I just want to add more. So I really had to be mindful and try to restrain myself. Thankfully, Korie was amazing about showing me shots and then we could edit them together.

Jennifer Laura Design- Timeless Beauty

The good thing is that with the flowers I can do that (add more that is), I don’t have to hold back here. This centerpiece probably weighed close to 50 pounds. Not joking.

Jennifer Laura Design- Timeless Beauty Mood Board

This was my first shoot that we got BHLDN on board for. They sent me all the wardrobe and accessories I asked for, it was kind of a dream partnership. One I am hoping to grow in the future.

Jennifer Laura Design- Timeless Beauty | Korie Lynn Photography

Oh and did I mention that our very talented photographer Korie Lynn also does calligraphy. Oh yes, that’s her work up there. It doesn’t seem fair to give one person so many talents amirite? ;-)

Happy Tuesday!

Being happy and finding peace in 2015.

The past two years I have shared a big list of goals and hopes and dreams and unicorns with rainbows….you know, those posts. I didn’t want to do that this year. This year I am simply vowing to be happy in the small and simple- finding joy in the everyday. It’s something I’ve struggled with ever since I graduated from college. My entire life was leading up to this one moment and it was a bit anticlimactic to be honest. Get a job, start real life. Work. Make a living. Pay bills. It’s all so mundane. School was always leading up to something- a 9 week benchmark, the end of a semester, summer break! I have found that real life isn’t really like that. It’s just one long to-do list that never really ends and if you are lucky you can catch up and take a breath every few weeks. I’m not complaining. I think I speak for a lot of people when I write this…at least I hope I do. The last four years, I’ve really struggled to find happiness. It’s not easy writing that, depression is something that is extremely easy to hide and very guilt-inducing to admit. I’m blessed in so many ways that the guilt in even admitting that happiness doesn’t come naturally almost makes me want to throw this post into the trash. So for this year, that is what I am working on. Finding joy in God, finding peace in Jesus Christ. Being ok that not every moment of my life is thrilling and/or exciting. Being ok that I don’t have some large milestone to look forward to or work towards. My hopes for this year are that my life/business brings joy to others in some way. I think joy might come when I focus my energy outwardly instead of inward. Be less focused on myself, be more focused on others.

Happy New Year!

{A JLD Wedding} Love is a Big Deal

Where do I start with this one? This was the most logistically complicated wedding I have ever done. I get approached all the time from brides who think they are going to save a ton of money by having a wedding at home. I am here to tell you that unless you are having a very small (less than 50 people) affair, that you are very likely going to spend more than you would have if you had just chosen a venue. Wedding venues aren’t cheap and I used to think they were just price gouging because they could. But I now know that these venues usually cost millions to build, they need an entire staff of people to maintain it, and another entire staff to book events- give tours, answer brides incoming questions, etc. This bride (who shall remain un-named, see this blog post for reasoning) came to me knowing her wedding was going to take place at her father’s ranch, she also had pretty realistic expectations of what things were going to cost. She wasn’t surprised when her rental quote came in at over $10,000 or when we needed generators, lighting towers for the parking area, and a handful of other things that you have to think about when having a wedding at home. She was a total dream bride- very much involved, but still trusted me completely, her vision and taste were awesome, beautiful, timeless, and elegant, but with a very fun nod to the rustic Texas ranch. Cheeky rustic with large doses of elegance is what I would call this wedding. Most of the guests were coming in from out of town, so the bride and groom really had a fun time slapping them in the face with Texas every chance they got…in a good way of course. Almost a cliche over-the-top version of Texas too…you will see what I mean. Let’s get into it shall we?

Love is a Big Deal | Jennifer Laura Design | Rustic Elegance Ranch Wedding

Love is a Big Deal | Jennifer Laura Design | Rustic Elegance Ranch Wedding

Love is a Big Deal | Jennifer Laura Design | Rustic Elegance Ranch Wedding

Let me just start by saying that this ranch property was spectacular. The bride’s father lives here and he had taken an old church building, moved it here right on the water, renovated it, and added on to make his own home. If you look closely you can very much tell the main part of the house is a church- the beautiful bones are still there.

Love is a Big Deal | Jennifer Laura Design | Rustic Elegance Ranch Wedding

Guests arrived to the property and parked in a large area ranch hands had been clearing for months in advance. That’s another thing to consider for an at home wedding- parking space. Months before the wedding the bride and groom hired a company that would take care of a handful of things that needed to be done around the property- creating driveways into the parking area, leveling the reception floor space- which took place under a barn, cutting down weak pecan branches, clearing out a ceremony spot (waterfront) and even the week of the wedding they were doing things like drying out patches of wet land, spraying for mosquitos, and killing ant beds. Things that I’ve seen parents of the bride/groom doing before other home weddings. All things to consider if you want a wedding at home.

Love is a Big Deal | Jennifer Laura Design | Rustic Elegance Ranch Wedding

We created this little sign to direct guests around the property. It was a huge ranch so something like this felt pretty necessary.

Love is a Big Deal | Jennifer Laura Design | Rustic Elegance Ranch Wedding

Pre- ceremony drinks of different flavored aguas frescas, lemonade, and water  met guests upon their arrival. And yes, this is going down as my favorite drink station of. all. time. We rented barrels and a vintage door from The Borrowed Flea to create our table- then used some drink cannisters from my personal inventory, I’ve also slowly been collecting wine boxes. I tell Kris to bring them home from work all the time, and I am slowly building a collection of these gorgeous boxes. To simplify things we used a disposable plastic cup with a printed logo in gold ink. Sorry, can’t show since it has the couple’s names on it :)

Love is a Big Deal | Jennifer Laura Design | Rustic Elegance Ranch Wedding

These chalkboard signs led guests beyond the drinks and onto the ceremony area.

Love is a Big Deal | Jennifer Laura Design | Rustic Elegance Ranch Wedding

Love is a Big Deal | Jennifer Laura Design | Rustic Elegance Ranch Wedding

Love is a Big Deal | Jennifer Laura Design | Rustic Elegance Ranch Wedding

Love is a Big Deal | Jennifer Laura Design | Rustic Elegance Ranch Wedding

The Clarkes provided some of the best pre-ceremony music I have ever heard. They sang “hallelujah” as the bride walked down the aisle and it was completely breathtaking.

Love is a Big Deal | Jennifer Laura Design | Rustic Elegance Ranch Wedding

Post ceremony we had the cocktail hour waiting for everyone. Complete with open bar, lawn games, and a  longhorn photo booth.

Love is a Big Deal | Jennifer Laura Design | Rustic Elegance Ranch Wedding

Love is a Big Deal | Jennifer Laura Design | Rustic Elegance Ranch Wedding

I don’t seem to have any photos of it, but the bride and groom really took the time to make their bar special. This menu shows their specialty cocktails, but there was a lot beyond this- lone star beer by the bucket, a special root beer from Wisconsin (where the groom was from), and a schlew of other things specially chosen by the couple.

Love is a Big Deal | Jennifer Laura Design | Rustic Elegance Ranch Wedding

We also had lawn games sprinkled all over- corn hole, horseshoes, croquet, and bocce ball to keep everyone busy. They were a huge hit and me and my staff may have been spying Andy Samberg playing horseshoes. Don’t worry we didn’t gawk at him awkwardly or anything ;-) We provided score cards and pencils so everyone could keep tally.

Love is a Big Deal | Jennifer Laura Design | Rustic Elegance Ranch Wedding

Love is a Big Deal | Jennifer Laura Design | Rustic Elegance Ranch Wedding

We also sprinkled these furniture vignettes throughout the cocktail hour for guests to relax. This was my first go with hay furniture and I really wanted it to be done elegantly and  not scream rustic hay. I think we accomplished this by surrounding it with some real furniture pieces, beautiful custom pillows, and some rentals from Bourbon and Bloom like the lantern and barrel seats. Oh and the flowers by Without Wax Katy don’t hurt my eyes one bit either.

Love is a Big Deal | Jennifer Laura Design | Rustic Elegance Ranch Wedding

Love is a Big Deal | Jennifer Laura Design | Rustic Elegance Ranch Wedding

We also had tons of hors d’oeuvres going out during the cocktail hour. The bride had the idea for the servers to wear these shirts (that she bought for them) and jeans. It’s something that wouldn’t have crossed my mind, but now that we’ve done it here, I will want to do it all the time. Servers being on theme is my new favorite thing.

Love is a Big Deal | Jennifer Laura Design | Rustic Elegance Ranch Wedding

Love is a Big Deal | Jennifer Laura Design | Rustic Elegance Ranch Wedding

Here are the friendly longhorns for the photo booth. Another cheeky and over the top nod that we are on a ranch in Texas. We had handlers and a photographer on site and guests were able to climb on top of a longhorn and have their photo snapped and printed on site. This was one of those things that I really wanted to do- I love crashing the photo booth, but there just wasn’t time at that point in the evening.

Love is a Big Deal | Jennifer Laura Design | Rustic Elegance Ranch Wedding

We brought guests over to the reception by having servers walking around with a couple of these dinner bells. It was something that the bride had mentioned to me very eeeearly in the planning stages and then we kind of forgot about, I forgot to include it in her design proposal, she forgot to mention it again, and then I magically remembered while I was ordering for her a couple of weeks before the wedding. I decided to surprise her by ordering them anyway. So glad I remembered, it was a very charming touch.

Love is a Big Deal | Jennifer Laura Design | Rustic Elegance Ranch Wedding

This seating chart met guests on their way over to the reception area. As well as this large chalkboard menu.

Love is a Big Deal | Jennifer Laura Design | Rustic Elegance Ranch Wedding

Love is a Big Deal | Jennifer Laura Design | Rustic Elegance Ranch Wedding

Love is a Big Deal | Jennifer Laura Design | Rustic Elegance Ranch Wedding

Love is a Big Deal | Jennifer Laura Design | Rustic Elegance Ranch Wedding

Love is a Big Deal | Jennifer Laura Design | Rustic Elegance Ranch Wedding

The reception took place just beyond this barn. It was a large open structure and we had seating underneath the barn and then spilling out on both sides underneath the pecan trees.

Love is a Big Deal | Jennifer Laura Design | Rustic Elegance Ranch Wedding

Love is a Big Deal | Jennifer Laura Design | Rustic Elegance Ranch Wedding

Love is a Big Deal | Jennifer Laura Design | Rustic Elegance Ranch Wedding

The flowers by Without Wax Katy were spectacular and really put the finishing touch on everything. That girl is pure talent. We did a garland on the head table and wildly organic centerpieces filled with dahlias, ranunculus, hedera berry, and a ton of greenery on all of the other tables- we also mixed in rustic metal punched lanterns, red candles, and hexagonal beeswax taper candles.

Love is a Big Deal | Jennifer Laura Design | Rustic Elegance Ranch Wedding

Love is a Big Deal | Jennifer Laura Design | Rustic Elegance Ranch Wedding

Love is a Big Deal | Jennifer Laura Design | Rustic Elegance Ranch Wedding

Love is a Big Deal | Jennifer Laura Design | Rustic Elegance Ranch Wedding

Place settings were adorned with a fern leaf, a bit of oxblood red ribbon, and a hand lettered place card by Ladyfingers Letterpress.

Love is a Big Deal | Jennifer Laura Design | Rustic Elegance Ranch Wedding

Love is a Big Deal | Jennifer Laura Design | Rustic Elegance Ranch Wedding

This cake makes me happy on many levels. We ordered a simply frosted buttercream cake and then had Katy deck it out. I ordered a very special brass cake stand that I still can’t believe I scored, I was in a bidding war on Ebay for that thing. I just had to have it for this wedding.

Love is a Big Deal | Jennifer Laura Design | Rustic Elegance Ranch Wedding

Love is a Big Deal | Jennifer Laura Design | Rustic Elegance Ranch Wedding

The bride provided this vintage cake topper that is pretty special and somewhat classic. And now for a few headless shots for ya :)

Love is a Big Deal | Jennifer Laura Design | Rustic Elegance Ranch Wedding

Love is a Big Deal | Jennifer Laura Design | Rustic Elegance Ranch Wedding

Love is a Big Deal | Jennifer Laura Design | Rustic Elegance Ranch Wedding

Love is a Big Deal | Jennifer Laura Design | Rustic Elegance Ranch Wedding

Love is a Big Deal | Jennifer Laura Design | Rustic Elegance Ranch Wedding

Love is a Big Deal | Jennifer Laura Design | Rustic Elegance Ranch Wedding

And in case you were wondering if we had enough lights to see the ranch from space…yes. yes we did. Our lighting plan was quite an undertaking- we had someone do our lighting plan for us and then come in and hang all of the cord for the lighting- then another company (Aztec) come in and hang all of the lights on top of that. It made for really spectacular lighting. I don’t think pictures will ever do lighting justice though.

So there you have it, one of my favorite weddings ever. I really can’t write enough words to do this wedding justice. It was just really special- the couple involved, all of the details, the property. It was a really magical spot. Thanks for looking :)

{Vendor Credits: Venue- Photography- Love is a Big Deal, Pecan Acres Ranch, private residence, Event planning, design, and coordination- Jennifer Laura Design, Florist- without wax katy, Rentals- Aztec Events and Tents, Vintage Rentals- Bourbon and Bloom and The Borrowed Flea, Table Numbers- Six Pence Press, Staffing- Austin Wedding Helpers, Invitations- Ladyfingers Letterpress, Signage- Jennifer Laura Design, Bartending- Bartenders on the Go, Catering- Goode Co., Longhorn Photobooth- J&D Entertainment, Bridesmaid dresses- BHLDN, Coffee bar/favors- Greenway Coffee Co. , Photobooth- Smilebooth, Wedding Cake- Central Market and Dream Slice Cakes, DJ- Daniel with The Wedding Show, Videography- Parizeau Productions, Hair and Makeup- Adorne Artistry}

Winter Glamour Photo Shoot {Christine Gosch Photography}

I wanted to pop in today and share this shoot that has never been seen before! I shot this with Christine Gosch Photography (remember, I designed her vow renewals here) and a few other awesome vendors last January. LAST January. So yah, this shoot is kinda old. It was never picked up to be featured anywhere and by the time we found that out, it was extremely unseasonable, which may be one of the reasons it was never picked up. By the time we were sending it out for submission, it was late February, and I’m sure by then blogs are looking for content for spring. Just bad time planning on our end. But since it happens to be very seasonal right now, I thought it would be fun to share it. You may have seen a bit of it here in my DIY agate charger post.

Winter Romance | Jennifer Laura Design | Christine Gosch Photography

Winter Romance | Jennifer Laura Design | Christine Gosch Photography

Winter Romance | Jennifer Laura Design | Christine Gosch Photography

Winter Romance | Jennifer Laura Design | Christine Gosch Photography

Winter Romance | Jennifer Laura Design | Christine Gosch Photography

Winter Romance | Jennifer Laura Design | Christine Gosch Photography

Winter Romance | Jennifer Laura Design | Christine Gosch Photography

Winter Romance | Jennifer Laura Design | Christine Gosch Photography

Winter Romance | Jennifer Laura Design | Christine Gosch Photography

Winter Romance | Jennifer Laura Design | Christine Gosch Photography

Winter Romance | Jennifer Laura Design | Christine Gosch Photography

Not that it’s cold in Houston or anything. I’m pretty sure we cut down our Christmas tree last week to the tune of kids in shorts and tank tops, but hey- we can dream it might chilly up before Christmas! Happy Monday!

{Vendor Credits: Photography: Christine Gosch, Design- Jennifer Laura Design, Florals- Maxit Floral Design, Hair and Makeup- Hey Lovely Makeup, Linens- Over the Top Linen, Rentals- Bourbon and Bloom, Invitations + Calligraphy- Mariel Sawicki}

Laura Hooper Calligraphy Workshop

The Laura Hooper Calligraphy workshop was something I have wanted to be a part of for awhile. I am a pretty big fan of her work, follow her on instagram and the sort (have you seen her new laser cut place cards? Must. use them. somewhere.) So when I found out she was coming to Houston I immediately stalked around the internet for all the details I could find. I finally found out that Ashley from Sugar and Cloth blog would be hosting the workshop and therefore in charge of all design details including the flowers. By the way, if you haven’t checked out her blog do so now. It’s completely adorable and I love her style! I am hoping to work with her again in the future too. Fingers crossed on that front. So I e-mailed Ashley and  begged asked her if I could be a part. I was more than a little excited when she e-mailed me back saying yes! She sent this inspiration photo and told me she wanted the arrangements to be mainly greenery.

lhcalligraphy workshop floral inspirationVery fall, but in a fun way. I immediately knew it would be a good idea to do arrangements that lent themselves to fall elements- greenery and loads of texture, but with fun and happy colors- no burnt orange, no brown. Can those colors just die already? Next, I sourced some vases- I gave Ashley a couple of choices, but was secretly hoping she would pick these.

white birch vaseWhich she did (!). I loved them because they were wintery without being themey or annoying, yet still white and clean. These photos don’t even do them justice, when I saw them in person and saw the real birch bark and the crazy texture and peeling nature of these…they were just so so pretty/awesome. Next came the day to drop them off, which also happened to be a wedding day. I feel very fortunate because if it had been any other wedding day it probably wouldn’t have worked for a myriad of reasons- we were out of town, we had to be on location too early, our car would have been full, etc. etc. BUT this wedding day we weren’t actually allowed into the venue until 2:30, so after an 8am drop off of these bad boys- I actually headed home to wake up Kris and Phoenix and do a few chores/normal Saturday things (what are those?) before heading off to our wedding. Couldn’t have been more perfect. I was just so excited to take part, and I enjoyed watching my instagram blow up for a few days afterwards too :) A hundred likes….a hundred! Seriously though, I’m trying to care less about that stuff…really I am. #itsnotworking

Um, anyways- on to the goods. Oh man, did I luck out at the wholesalers or what? The prettiest coral charm peonies I ever did see and that waxflower, I don’t know the correct name of this color, but it was awesome with those tiny pink petals and bright orange centers. I was only wishing I had bought more of it.

LH Calligraphy Workshop | Sugar and Cloth | Jared Smith Photography | Jennifer Laura Design Florals

And let’s just talk about how cute this workshop was, I’m a sucker for a white bright space with pretty details and that pretty much sums up Ashley’s style/her studio. I want to live/work/eat/breathe in here.

LH Calligraphy Workshop | Sugar and Cloth | Jared Smith Photography | Jennifer Laura Design Florals

Also lucked out getting pomegranates on a stem. They were a really fun autumnal/textural element to work in there.

LH Calligraphy Workshop | Sugar and Cloth | Jared Smith Photography | Jennifer Laura Design Florals

LH Calligraphy Workshop | Sugar and Cloth | Jared Smith Photography | Jennifer Laura Design Florals

LH Calligraphy Workshop | Sugar and Cloth | Jared Smith Photography | Jennifer Laura Design Florals

LH Calligraphy Workshop | Sugar and Cloth | Jared Smith Photography | Jennifer Laura Design Florals

Thank you so much to Ashley and Laura for letting me be involved- such a treat to be associated with those two, if only for a moment :) And go check out Ashley’s blog to see more of this event right here!

{Vendor Credits: Laura Hooper Calligraphy Workshop, Hosted by- Sugar and Cloth, Photography- Jared Smith Photography, Florals- Jennifer Laura Design}

Facebook Instagram Pinterest Twitter