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

DIY ombre stamped napkins

I am really excited to share the process of how we ended up with these napkin menus at one of my weddings a couple of weeks ago.

DIY napkin menus | Jennifer Laura Design

These have been such a labor of love that the bride Catye, her mother Tracye, and I have been working on/brainstorming/dreaming of for several months. I know what you are thinking…they are just napkins- get over it. But I can’t. So I’m dragging you along with us for the ride- I even made a point to photograph (with my real camera, yes- I have a real DSLR camera now!) some process shots so you too can be insane and make some ridiculously gorgeous napkins too.

But first, let’s go back in time to where this idea started. Catye pinned an image of a menu printed on a napkin and knew this was something she wanted to have at her wedding. While working on her design presentation I knew that I wanted the napkin to be a blush pink to play off the white chargers and the natural wood tables. I started hunting down the perfect blush napkins to purchase. That was the tricky part- I have a million and one sources for renting napkins, but buying…notsomuch. And we obviously were going to need to buy them since we were going to be stamping the menu onto them. After a lot of searching I found these on Etsy.

Etsy | House of KA

They looked like a really pretty and light blush pink. However, when they arrived they were a bit on the fleshy side, which  was majorly dissappointing. I brought the sample to show them, hoping I was maybe being too picky, but Catye and her mom thought the exact same thing. We were back to the drawing board. I was bummed we had to keep looking…but the thing is, when me and my clients put our heads together to make a good idea even better, that’s usually when things get real good. A few weeks later, after I had ordered every swatch imaginable from every linen wholesaler and their “blush pink” swatches all looked like bubblegum pink (I kid you not), Tracye texted me an image of some linen hemstitch napkins she had ordered through amazon. She said she loved the texture of them and thought that we could find someone to dye them the exact right shade of pink. Ding ding. A lightbulb went off in my mind and I immediately thought of Shelly, a gal I had just found on Etsy who was making some dip dyed napkins for an editorial shoot I had coming up. I immediately had her start whipping up a sample for me to show Catye at our next meeting. They arrived just in the knick of time and were SO pretty.

photo (2)

They were a bit too “pink” for us though, especially when we compared them to everything else we had going on.

Catye and Trey | Jennifer Laura DesignAnd Tracye still loved the texture of the linen hemstitch napkins she had ordered. I think we all agreed that something about the linen hemstitch felt so elegant. So we ended up ordering the linen hemstitch napkins and had them shipped to Shelly for her to dip dye. We also requested the napkins be lighter in color than the sample she originally sent us. So that was where we started 3 weeks ago when a box of 300 of the prettiest  dip dyed napkins I have ever seen arrived on my porch. They look almost white in this photo below, but you can see more of the true color in that first image of the final place setting. They were just all kinds of perfect. Now to the part where we DIY’d our little hearts out. Here are all the other supplies we needed.

DIY Ombre Stamped Napkins | Jennifer Laura Design

a large ink pad, you could use a smaller one, but the stamp for the menu needs to be large so this made our lives easier since we were going to be stamping so many

– the menu stamp- we had our graphic designer (who designed the invitations, signage, etc.), Allie Ruth,  create this menu for us, but you could easily work up the graphics yourself with some pretty fonts and then order a custom stamp from rubberstamps.net, I would recommend ordering a stamp approximately 7″x 5″ or something similar to fill up the folded napkin nicely

– an exacto knife- we found that our stamp needed some major trimming, I’ll show you what I mean in a second

– napkin- we won all the prizes (saved us hours and hours) by having Shelly fold the napkins for us in advance, but if yours aren’t go ahead and fold them before you start stamping

– also not pictured here are wet wipes- but we kept some handy to keep our fingers clean while we handled both the stamp and the napkins, inky fingerprints on clean napkins is NOT cute.

DIY Ombre Stamped Napkins | Jennifer Laura Design

This photo was taken after Kris had already trimmed up the stamp, but you can see that black outline of where the rubber ended, on our first few trial runs that line showed up very clearly and looked terrible.

DIY Ombre Stamped Napkins | Jennifer Laura Design

Kris went in with an exacto and  trimmed out most of the rubber that didn’t have text on it. This made for no random ink lines, we tested and trimmed, tested and trimmed. Order an extra napkin or two for this testing process. We kept trimming until we had a clean print.

DIY Ombre Stamped Napkins | Jennifer Laura Design

Then came the inking. You can see that random streak of white in the above photo and that was where we ripped the ink pad out of it’s holder and then set it inside it’s lid. Since our stamp was larger than the ink pad this was necessary so we could get a good amount of ink on the stamp without having to worry about the ledge of the ink pad getting in the way.

DIY Ombre Stamped Napkins | Jennifer Laura Design

Once our stamp was completely coated in ink, we pressed it into the napkin. We tried a variety ways of pressing, holding it down for 10 seconds, rocking back and forth, etc. But after awhile I realized that one hard press down and coming right back up yielded the best results and was obviously faster too.

DIY Ombre Stamped Napkins | Jennifer Laura Design

And here is the finished product! They turned out so great and we were all so excited about these guys! This was also one of those projects that I built up in my mind- thinking it would take me DAYS to finish stamping them, but Kris and I knocked them out in one three hour session (we did 300, so about 100 per hour would be a good rule of thumb). It wasn’t so bad at all and really a pretty fantastic DIY project that I would recommend if you are looking to do something creative with your place settings.

DIY Ombre Stamped Napkins | Jennifer Laura Design

Thanks for looking and let me know if you end up trying this or something similar, would love to know how it turns out!

DIY napkin menus | Jennifer Laura Design

Nubia and Ryan | Korie Lynn Photography

I have been so insanely blessed this year to have some really amazing clients. Nubia and Ryan are no exception and have been so fun to work with. Their wedding is coming up this fall and I can’t wait- we have some really amazing vendors on board, my friend Korie Lynn being one of them, who happened to snap these gorgeous engagements.

Nubia + Ryan | Korie Lynn PhotographyNubia + Ryan | Korie Lynn PhotographyNubia + Ryan | Korie Lynn PhotographyNubia + Ryan | Korie Lynn PhotographyNubia + Ryan | Korie Lynn PhotographyNubia + Ryan | Korie Lynn PhotographyNubia + Ryan | Korie Lynn Photography

I Love the effortlessness of these. Just so pretty and timeless! Hope you all are having a great week, happy Wednesday!

Photos by | Korie Lynn Photography

Equality

As a christian I believe in the bible wholeheartedly. As a christian I know what the bible says about sin. So I know that most christians feel a certain way about what happened last week in the supreme court. I have been struggling with how I feel because I know that I am “supposed” to feel a certain way. After struggling with my emotions over the past week, crying tears of frustration, and even wondering whether or not to share my opinion because I’m not sure it really matters, I decided that I want to share my opinion and I need to get this off my heart.

I can’t help but feel happiness, happy that so many of my friends now get the same rights and privileges that I do, happy to see all of the joy on people’s faces whose lives have truly been changed for the better by this decision. I know that living a gay lifestyle is a sin, but I also know that as a christian I sin everyday and I have peace in knowing that it will never be my job to place judgement. My job is to love. I hope that other christians can follow suit and just love. This place is not our home and I have faith in a GOD that is a much higher power than the supreme court. Have faith in him with me. Let’s love our brothers and sisters fiercely because that’s what we were put here to do.

Kia and Penny | Awake Photography | Jennifer Laura Design

And to the beautiful couple who can now be seen as a real marriage, congratulations Kia and Penny!!

photo credit: Awake Photography