Archive | Celebrations RSS feed for this section

30 During My 30th Year

A simple Google search of “30 [Goals] Before [Turning] 30” generates an impressive array of hits.  With my venture into a new decade mere weeks away, I couldn’t resist creating a set of action steps that will hopefully help guide my year of feeling LIGHT.

Inspiring-Quote1.  Dress the Part.  I’ve definitely succumbed to “mommy-mode” attire this year and frequently wear black yoga pants and a comfortable top.  Kelly Rae’s post on her decision to switch up her wardrobe really resonated with me.  Check out her thoughtful Wear Your Joy project HERE.

2.  Schedule Date Night.  James and I have miserably at carving out time for our relationship during the prior year.  I think we went on maybe 3 date nights and 2 additional group events?!  This pitiful number needs to change asap…(this Dating Diva needs to take her own advice…)

3.  See the Ocean.  I love the feeling of infinite possibilities that arises when I stare out at an endless ocean horizon line.  I am craving the sounds, light, and vastness of the sea.

4.  Go on a Trip as a Couple.  We have at least one trip scheduled in June sans baby.  I’m sure it will be incredibly difficult to leave Olivia for a couple of days, but I am looking forward to having time to be just Candice and James– for a few days, we are ditching the titles of Mom, Dad, Financial Provider, and Blogger.

5.  Organize the Craft Room.  My Mom and I typically work on a postage stamp of space- it’s time to find practical solutions for storing a wide range of mixed media.

6.  Submit a Piece to a Major Blog.  Time to step out of my comfort zone.

7.  Finish Olivia’s Baby Book.

8.  See a Concert Live.

9.  Cultivate a Morning Ritual.  Eliminate the chaos and carve out some time for me before Olivia wakes up.

10.  Exercise.  Vague and simple: find a routine that works for me.

11.  Start Meatless Mondays.  I’m a big fan of Kris Carr and haven’t looked at dairy or meat in quite the same way since reading her book Crazy Sexy Diet.  James and I are committed to exploring more plant based meals this year.

12.  Make and Send 30 Cards. 

13.  Pay It Forward.  Try buying someone’s coffee behind me, etc…

14.  Complete a Photo a Day Challenge.  I participated in Heidi Swapp’s Holiday Foto Find in December on Instagram and loved how the prompts helped me observe and document more.

15.  Write Letters to My Daughter.  My brother-in-law and his wife gave me a lovely book for Christmas: My Prudent Advice: Lessons for My Daughter.  So far, I’ve glanced through the pages and started thinking about some of the prompts.  I can already see this collection becoming a treasured reference for both myself and Olivia.

16.  Complete a Healthy Juice Cleanse.

17.  Start a Dinner Club with Friends.  We’ve talked about this one for a long time.  As we’ve gotten older, I’ve noticed that our circle of friends meets less regularly- everyone is simply trying to stay afloat with their own responsibilities!

18.  Invest in My Blog.  Craft regular content with a predictable schedule of postings.  I’m going to aim for a post each Monday and Thursday.

19.  Juice, Blend, Repeat.  I truly hope to incorporate more delicious green juices and smoothies into our daily diet.

20.  Cultivate a Sunday Ritual.  Establish a routine to take care of practical household matters and set clear intentions for the following week.

21.  Reorganize My Cookbooks.  Many of the recipes in my collection just don’t make sense given what I’m learning about eating a whole foods diets that is abundant with veggies and lean protein.  It’s time to clear the deck so the most flavorful and healthy ones are easy to find.

22.  Plant an Herb Garden.

23.  Restaurant Tour.

24.  Experiment with Vegan Recipes.  Buy, cook, and eat tofu and tempeh!  Learn how to use my food processor.

25.  Establish Boundaries with Social Media/Technology.  Facebook has evolved into a tool to keep connected to many blogging ventures though the use of private and educational groups.  It’s been increasing difficult to put my phone down and not “check-in” several times a day.

26.  Less Pinning, More Doing.  Simple attitude adjustment: choose action over perfection.

27.  Read a Book for Fun.  I don’t remember the last time I’ve carved out time to read something that wasn’t related to child care, parenting, blogging, etc… I’ve got my eye on Elizabeth Gilbert’s The Signature of All Things.

28.  Investigate Volunteer Opportunities.  I’ve been on the board of several organizations that have fizzled out over the course of several months due to a lack of staff support and organizational readiness.  I’d love to utilize my skill set to help a local nonprofit– I’m on the search for a match.

29.  Be Present with Olivia.  Sing, laugh, dance, practice sign language… So many adventures on the horizon to savor.

30.  Spend Time with My Grandparents.  Distance has always been a barrier to seeing them in the past.  With their recent move to an assisted living facility in our area, I’m hopeful that we can make Sunday night dinners a weekly tradition.  Love watching them light up around Olivia.

I really tried to compile a list that didn’t contain any fillers and wouldn’t add to my stress load.  I will admit- it’s a bit scary putting all of this “out there.”  Actually writing it out means that I’m more accountable and [hopefully] on the path to manifesting these goals.

What would be on your list, friends?

Comments { 0 }

Gratitude for 2013

As I welcome all the LIGHT of 2014, I decided to pause for just a moment and reflect on the prior year.  Last night, I went through my planner and intentionally looked for milestones, celebrations, and other memories filled with gratitude.

For all the fearful, uncertain, and darn right unpleasant days, 2013 brought us great joy.

Top 10 of 20131.  Watching Olivia grow.

Olivia Growing Collage webOlivia Year 1-2 webOlivia Year 1-web2.  Celebrating our baby girl!

Little Miss Sunshine Party

Winter ONEderland First Birthday

3.  Toasting Newlyweds throughout the Year.

Weddings-in-2013We attended five wonderful wedding celebrations this year and I planned one LUCKY in LOVE themed party.

4. Enjoying many trips to the lake with family and friends.

5. Discovering the world of essential oils.Essential-Oils-and-Burns

6. Increasing my own skills as a photographer and finding an awesome professional photographer to document Olivia’s milestones.

7. Traveling— DC x2: Washington DC and Door County with Olivia.

Travel-in-20138.  Attending music class and watching Olivia’s love of rhythm and song blossom.

Gratitude-189.  Finding outlets to share my creative talents.

In case you missed them, my favorite posts from last year at The Dating Divas included: The Grinch Date, Love You SNOW Much Date, Bewitching Cupcakes, All Star Love Date Extravaganza, and It’s a Love Match.  In the Fall, I also had the opportunity to join Jessica Sprague’s Create Inspiration Design Team.  So far, I’ve enjoyed making a “Keep Calm” Art Print, a DIY Gratitude List, and a collection of Santa Cheer Decor and Gifts.

10. Exploring new adventures: flying lessons and remodeling the kitchen.

Loved the process of reflecting back on these happy memories and adventures.  I can’t wait to see what the rest of 2014 has in store for our family!

Comments { 0 }

…and she is ONE.

A sneak peak of a precious milestone for our family.

Winter ONEderland First Birthday

Winter ONEderland First Birthday 2

Olivia’s beautiful spirit, feisty independence, and incredible strength continues to amaze us on a daily basis.

Comments { 0 }

Happy Birthday J!

Happy Birthday, dear James!

James 31 Family

What an incredible year- we’ve definitely done our fair share of growing (literally by two feet), laughing, traveling, compromising, and generally trying to figure it all out.

James 31

To my partner in crime, cheers to 31!

Comments { 0 }

Gender Reveal Party: Activities

*This post is part 2 of my Gender Reveal Party Series.  To read about our decorations and theme, click here!

Gender-Reveal-Party-12

To keep our guests entertained and mingling, our reveal party featured 5 different activities.  Here are 4 tips for creating a memorable gender reveal party:

1. Encourage guests to cast their vote by wearing PINK or BLUE!

It was so fun to see teams of pink and blue emerge among close family and friends.  It was also an instant conversation starter for groups of people that had never met before.

2. Explore the world of Old Wives Tales.

I saw this fun idea on Pinterest from the site SnugasaBugBaby. In this post, Amber explains how she encouraged guests to chart their predictions for a boy or girl based on the answers to Old Wives Tales.  For a creative spin on this fabulous idea, I decided to make Old Wives Tales cards using a package of invitations in the shape of diapers.  I covered up the standard invitation wording with layers of green and yellow paper along with a specific question related to pregnancy folklore.  Next to our manzanita tree, I arranged two bowls overflowing with hot pink bows and sparkly blue bow-ties.  I placed foam pop-dot on each embellishment so guests could easily record the right answer on our handmade score-sheet hanging on the wall.  James handed out each of these cards to certain guests during the party.  It was hilarious announcing all the answers to theses crazy questions and watching the tally of ribbons and bow-ties grow!

Gender-Reveal-Party8

Gender-Reveal-Party

Gender-Reveal-Party4

Gender-Reveal-Party-10

3. Leave a note for baby!

I can’t wait for Olivia to read all these precious notes.  I know that I already treasure the loving thoughts and sometimes outright hilarious insights from our family and friends.

Gender-Reveal-Party2

Gender-Reveal-Party3

4. Savor the reveal moment with an interactive story!

I knew I wanted to do something special and memorable for our big reveal moment.  When I came across this post from the blog, Mackey Madness, I knew I wanted to replicate her story surprise.  It was amazing!  Just like Megan described, I asked our guests to form a circle on our patio and listen to a story about our relationship.  Each time guests heard the words “left” or “right” in the story, they had to pass a handmade confetti popper in the corresponding direction.  Only one of the confetti poppers contained the correct color (either pink or blue)- all the others were filled with tiny squares of white paper.  We had no idea who was going to end up with the right popper!

Gender-Reveal-Party6

… And, we couldn’t have planned it better if we tried!  My sweet Grandma ended up making the big announcement with the words, “I’ve got pink!”  It was just perfect…  and definitely a moment I will always cherish.

Gender-Reveal-Party5

Gender-Reveal-Party-11

Our amazing photographer for the evening, Kurtis Hall, captured the beautiful images above.  He also created this video, which captures all the photos of the evening AND my audio of the story.  Password: RevealParty

 

Comments { 1 }

Gender Reveal Party: Decorations

Almost exactly at this time last year, our sweet family was celebrating a healthy report from my Week 19 ultrasound. James and I found out the gender of our growing babe on September 20th and shared the big news with close friends and family the following day at a big gender reveal party. I promised a full report on our celebration in this Pregnancy Update post…. here’s the full scoop!

Decorations:

A classic green and yellow color scheme adorned our dessert table, as well as gorgeous fresh flowers. I couldn’t have asked for more beautiful lilies or roses in honor of my sweet Olivia.

Flowers-for-Gender-Reveal

On our dessert table featured mini cheesecakes, green and yellow candies, green grape caramel treats, and a beautiful layered cake from a local bakery.  A cluster of pom-poms in varying shades of green and white hung from the ceiling framing this focal area.

Dessert-Table

Cupcakes-for-Gender-Reveal

Flowers2-for-Gender-Reveal

Food-for-Gender-Reveal

Cake-for-Gender-Reveal

My mom and I teamed up together to embellish festive lollipops, which also served as favors for our guests.  We used scalloped and circle punches, patterned paper, and cute rubber stamps to finish the look.

Decorations3-for-Gender-Rev

To go along with our amazing layered cake, I served milk-tinis for dessert!

Milk-tinis

Our bar area featured my manzanita branch tree, which was decorated with star mirrors, chandelier ornaments, and clusters of small white flowers.

Decorations-for-Gender-Reve

And, finally, I found these incredible lanterns from Pier1 to display on our patio.  Our friends and family gathered outside amid candlelight for the actual moment of the reveal- these beauties created just the perfect ambiance!

Lanterns-for-Gender-Reveal

***A big thank you to Kurtis Hall for capturing these gorgeous images.***

Click Here to Read Part 2: Activities and Reveal Moment

Comments { 0 }

You Are My Sunshine Party Theme

When Olivia was discharged from the hospital, we followed the nurses orders to stay away from public places for fear of RSV.    When the flu season ended in late April, we decided to celebrate!  I knew that I wanted to do something based on song, You Are My Sunshine, since I sang this tune to Olivia while pregnant and during her time at the hospital.

Sunshine-Party-Pin

When I searched Pinterest for inspiration, I came across the tag line, “We’ve weathered the storm and landed on Cloud 9” from this gorgeous party on Bump Smitten.  I couldn’t believe how perfect this little saying was for capturing both the turmoil and joy of the past few months.  Here is my spin on Olivia’s sunshine party.

The Invites

I’ve always loved the idea of sending candy as part of a beautiful invitation.  I spied this elegant invite and knew that I wanted to design my own whimsical version for Olivia’s big day.

Sunshine-Invite

I used digital patterned paper, a collection of fun fonts, and a butterfly punch adorned with tiny pearls to complete the look.

The Decor

Sunshine-Table

Tablescape elements: handmade tissue clouds sprinkling raindrops and hearts; a handmade “Olivia” banner constructed from patterned paper, punches, and spellbinder dies; chocolate dipped oreos and assorted lemon treats; fresh flowers; and a fixings for sunshine sundaes!

Sunshine-Table2

Sunshine-Spoons

I fell in love with this gorgeous set of spoons by BellaJacksonStudios that are stamped with the lyrics to the party’s theme song.  They ended up being the perfect serving pieces for all the sundae toppings.

Sunshine-Mints

I also made mints for guests to take as favors!  One side featured a flower sunshine burst while the other sported a delicate tulip.

Sunshine-Bar

Our bar area was stocked with various lemon flavored drinks and a fun sign announcing our signature concoctions.

Sunshine-Drinks

Sunshine-Tree

This manzanita branch tree functions as a perfect backdrop for displaying special photos and vignettes related to important celebrations.  For this occasion, I hung handmade little frames, gold glittered stars, and a mini bunting banner spelling out Olivia’s name.

Activities

Sunshine-Sundae

The main event of the party: making sunshine sundaes!  We had a selection of toppings including: chopped lemon cookies, candy pecans, mini chocolate chips, Andes Mint chips, butterscotch/white chocolate chips, and sprinkles!

Sunshine-Dart-Board

Since the guest list included mostly adults, I wanted to come up with an activity that would be fun AND still allow everyone to chat at their leisure…  our homemade sunshine dart board turned out to fit the bill perfectly!

Sunshine-Cards

Finally, I also set up a station filled with cards to give to Olivia in the future on her 16th, 18th, and 21st birthdays.  I asked our guests to leave our sweet girl a fun message or memory.  These simple cards were made in Photoshop using various digital elements and adorned with rhinestone/pearl embellishments.  I can’t wait to see Olivia’s face as she reads priceless messages from family and friends.  Completing this activity with my grandparents and seeing their handwritten well wishes has become a treasured memory for me, as well.

It was a wonderful day filled with laughter and sunshine for our sweet Olivia.

Comments { 2 }