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real parties | Derby Bash 2nd Birthday Party - Leslie Marshall

Monday, June 27

I'm taking bets "across the board" that you will love the details of this Kentucky Derby inspired 2nd birthday party sent in by Leslie of Jar of Vintage Buttons
It's a party in a "class of its own"...
Complete with a mint julep station for the adults, this party manages to combine a casual/girly feel
with a splash of vintage whimsy for the enjoyment of both kids and adults.

Party Girl: Leslie
Celebration Type: 2nd Birthday Party
Theme: Kentucky Derby
Inspiration: Her daughter Kate's birth date
Color Palette: Soft pink and silver/gray

And we're off....
Now sit back for a "bit" and enjoy taking it all in...




And could the little "filly"/birthday girl be any more cute!!??
There are so many things to love about this party.
Leslie did a wonderful job with all of the super cute diy elements and party details.
It's a unique, adorable theme!!
I LOVE the turnout Leslie!!
Thanks for sharing with all of us!!!

My Favorite Details
• DIY cupcake stands complete with glass cover
• Derby Pie Favors
• The use of burlap-type material used for runners and diy ribbons

Here's the full scoop in Leslie's own words...

The Kentucky Derby is quoted as being the most exciting two minutes in sports. We knew 2 years ago when our sweet Kate was born that the Kentucky Derby would be landing on her birthday several times since it is always the first Saturday in May. So, for her 2nd birthday, nothing seemed more fitting than a good old Kentucky Derby celebration!

Party Inspiration
I researched a TON online, but didn't find a ton of inspiration specifically for Derby parties. I incorporated ideas found on Pinterest too. I knew I wanted soft pinks and grays for the palette and really ran with that. I used a lot of items I already owned and borrowed a lot from my mom. Our silver julep glasses were gifted to me and my husband as a wedding gift, we used my mom's antique beverage cart, our old Shabby Chic quilt from our spare bed, Kate's clothing dresser and borrowed glass jars from a friend's wedding help set the scene.

DIY details
Trying to be as DIY as I could I crafted the cupcake stands from an upside down vase, candle stick holder and candle plate from the Dollar Tree. The milk jars are repurposed from Starbucks jars

Sweets, Treats & Eats
Inspiration from Jess at Pen n' Paperflowers on her marvelous homemade lollipops
My mom helped make the most DELICIOUS mini hot browns I've ever had. (The recipe for the hot browns can be found here.) Another Kentucky favorite! We also had cut fruit served in waffle cones, beer cheese, country ham and biscuits and even mint julep cupcakes.

A mint julep station was set up for those brave enough to try them! For those who weren't we had other beverages, including Kentucky's favorite soft drink, Ale 8.

Party Favors
Individual Derby pies were given to all of the guests as thank yous.

Extra Party Details
For a $1 everybody picked a horse name from a hat and the winner took all! The weather was a little cool and cloudy but the sun came out just in time to sing happy birthday and to shine on my old Kentucky home.

Party Styling: Jar of Vintage Buttons
Photography: Sophia Blue Photography
Flowers: The Secret Garden
Tie Napkins: Modern Lola
Cupcakes on stands: Abby Girl Sweets
Birthday Girl Tutu: Dear Lillie
Horse & Horseshoe tags: Modern Scrapyard

Recipes Links:
Mint Julep Cupcakes: Hostess with the Mostess
Baby Hot Brown Recipe: Southern Living
Homemade Lollipops: Pen N' Paperflowers
Pink Lemonade Cake: Pen N' Paperflowers

DIY Links:
Cupcake Stands - Jar of Vintage Buttons
Treat Buckets - Jar of Vintage Buttons
Equestrian Ribbon Invitations - Jar of Vintage Buttons

press | Casa Chic Interior Design Magazine

Wednesday, June 22

Pinch Me!!!
It's official...
Pen N' Paperflowers is now international!!!


I'm beyond thrilled to finally share with you my latest magazine publication news.

I was contacted a couple of months ago by an interior design magazine publishing company from Rome...
Lotus Publishing.

They wanted to include my Lemonade & Sunshine party I hosted last June
in a special issue of Casa Chic focusing on the "Arte della Tavola". (Art of the Table)
I was completely flattered and jumped at the opportunity.


It wasn't until after I submitted my photos did I know the publication would be available throughout Europe...
Paris, Rome, Italy...oh my!!!








Thank you SO much Annarita from Lotus Publishing for including me in this beautiful issue!!
I feel so fortunate and I was so excited to receive my two official copies in the mail.
They are gorgeous...
I've been completely inspired by all of the other talented designers that are part of this special issue.

If you happen to be in Europe or have relatives that can pick you up a copy...
It's available on newsstands now!! *wink*
I seriously feel so completely honored.
One of my biggest dreams is to travel to Italy...(see this post)
At least some of my photos and design work made it there! *wink*
This is definitely going down as one of the highlights of my journey!!!

Although I can't read a lick of the magazine - I can easily spot my name and website
and the other articles included are complete eye candy.
My neighbor friend is going to help me translate some of it! *wink*

life | father's day 2011

Monday, June 20

The zoo...
That's what we ended up doing for Father's Day this year...

It's something J has been wanting to do for some time now with Ella...
So it worked out good for the both of them.

Although it was a smaller zoo...
with Ella only being 2 1/2 years old...
there were plenty of things Ella had never seen before.
And J ate up the experience of being the first to share them with her.

I hope you all enjoyed celebrating Father's Day...

Things have been so incredibly busy...
I keep wondering if I'm ever going to have a minute to get back to my regular routine of consistent blogging.
It's driving me nuts not being able to share so many things I'm just dyin' to post about.
Just breathe!! *wink*

All of you fabulous party people who have submitted parties to me...
they are coming...
I promise!!

How about you?
Is your summer relaxed or crazy-busy?

coming up | an entire list of things

Tuesday, June 14

Summer is here.
School is out.
Orders are keeping me busy.
And so is the hustle and bustle of normal life.

Today I'm attending yet another funeral (this time for a long-time family friend of my grandfather's)...
Finally mailing out all of the prizes for the Father's Day giveaway...
Helping a neighbor finalize a program and slideshow for the one-year memorial service of her husband's tragic death...
Gathering the final details of the 4th of July ideas I've been working on...

Photographing the European magazine I was recently published in so I can share/post it here... *pinch me*

Crossing off "promise ME" goals (and wishing I had time to update them here on the blog). *wink*

Preparing some super-fun party posts that have been sent in by some fabulous customers/fans...

and so much more...

I'm excited about summer...
I love summer.
I love being outside.
And I love the extra time I have to spend with my older girls with them now being out of school.

Here's something else I'm extremely excited about and haven't been able to REALLY make mention of like I want to...

There's been a tremendous response to The Pastry Pedestal™!
I can't thank you enough for:
• spreading the word
• placing your orders
• sharing your creative photos with me as to how you are using them....

(photo source: Glamorous Sweet Events

(photo source: The Sweet Talk Shop

(photo source: The Party Wagon)

and most importantly...

for being genuinely excited and enthusiastic about something I've invented!
It's a feeling I can't describe and it truly means the world to me!

I've been having fun getting creative with them too using the new Bridal Collection from David Tutera...

That's all I have time to squeeze in today...
Have a terrific Tuesday everyone!!

Here's to keeping our "to-do" lists in perspective...
and focusing on what really matters!

Blogging is absolutely one of my very favorite things to do.
For me, I want each post to be heartfelt and certainly inspirational.
As of late, I've really been feeling a sense of loss, so-to-speak,
since life (and so many things out of my control)...
have seemed to be trying to take over every second of my day;
which has filtered over into my designated time for blogging.

Ella has been crawling out of her crib for a couple of months now...
waking up at 6 a.m.
The two naps a day is long gone...
and I'm lucky if she actually takes the one nap I insist she still needs.

There's definitely been a shift in the nice little schedule I had going for awhile.
Struggling to come up with something different that still feels productive.
Hmmm??? *wink*

real parties | Pig-Themed Baby Shower - Jenny Dixon

Thursday, June 9

Jenny Dixon is no stranger to being featured here on Pen N' Paperflowers.
You may recall her April Showers Birthday Party she recently hosted for her son?

With 4th of July just around the corner...
I thought now would be the perfect time to share with you another adorable party Jenny hosted a few months back.
You'll LOVE this baby shower she put together filled with a patriotic color palette...
and decorative details that scream "old-fashioned country fair"!

Party Girl: Jenny Dixon
Celebration Type: Baby Shower
Theme: Pigs
Inspiration: the Children's Book - "All Pigs Are Beautiful" and the mother-to-be's love of pigs
Color Palette: Red, Navy Blue, Pale Blue and a splash of Pink

When Jenny emailed me the party photos, she had this to say about her source of inspiration:

"Your blog and beautiful designs offer inspiration to me daily. I was in the midst of planning a farmer's market inspired pig shower for my sister-in-law, (who seriously adores pigs, hence the theme), when I saw your French inspired farmer's market dessert cart. Perfection!"

I couldn't be more flattered, (and thrilled), to know I helped to inspire such an adorable, creative baby shower! 
Check out the fun details...

Pulling inspiration from the children's book "All Pigs Are Beautiful" and the mother-to-be's love of pigs, Jenny created a 
a darling baby shower filled with good old-fashioned party food, adorable diy decor and managed to create a feeling of being at a farmer's market or a country fair.  One of my very favorite party details is the fabric tied twine to pull in the colors of the shower. It's SO simple but SO darling....(I'll be stealing that idea I'm certain)! *wink*

Thank you for sharing your darling shower details with us Jenny.
You did such a wonderful job...
I know your sister-in-law had to have been SO grateful for such an adorable pig-themed baby shower!!
For more party details as told by Jenny, visit her blog!

quotes | right on time

Tuesday, June 7

Something to think about today...

quoted by asha tyson

I had a short conversation with someone yesterday who expressed frustration
and even embarrassment for a goal she has secretly embarked on...
A goal she feels she should've achieved many years ago.
I personally expressed my admiration to her for having taken on the goal...
something many of us often write off as a "too-late" or a "should-have". 
I also mentioned it's never too late to do the things you are inspired to do.

Later in the evening I came across this quote posted on Live-Inspired 
and immediately shared it with her.

I was so inspired...
I decided to create a visual of the quote and share it with all of you.
I think so many of us...
including myself...
need to be reminded that we are where we are supposed to be in our lives...
Despite the questions we may have...
Despite the trials...
And especially despite the frustration and doubt.
The "Now" for all of us is "Right on Time"...
even though we may have had or still have a different plan in mind. *wink*

Enjoy your Tuesday!

home | one of life's little pleasures

Monday, June 6

Did you know I have a peach tree in my yard?
(If you saw the peach crisp I made for Memorial Day than you already knew that).

I know nothing about fruit trees.
I never even knew peach trees grew here in Florida.
The tree was here when we bought the house a little over a year ago.
And it was a pretty small tree at the time.
But the idea of it producing fruit sounded pretty cool.

Admittedly...I'm completely ignorant as to how to properly care for them - Martha would be so disappointed. *wink*
Despite my ignorance though...
and without any special doing on my part...
Nature took things into it's own hands...
and gave me my first sample of a homegrown peach last year.
We were excited to have the tree produce a handful of delicious peaches.

Completely different story this year.
With the tree having tripled in size...
I'm guessing our "crop" consisted of 50+ delicious...
homegrown peaches.
(Even though I STiLL had not done a single thing to the tree).
They were SO very good.
And there was SUCH an abundance of them.
There were so many in fact...
we were offering them up to neighbors and giving them to anyone who would take them.

And now...
Well, now I'm sad.
I guess the peach season has ended because there's not a single peach left in sight. *sniffle*

But I've got the pictures to prove they really did exist.
And I feel SO extraordinarily lucky to have the good fortune...
of having one of life's little pleasures growing right here in my own yard.
I can only imagine what next year's crop will hold for us.
I'd better start collecting some delicious recipes now...*wink*

Don't forget the Father's Day giveaway ends today!!
I'll be picking FOUR winners...
Each winner will receive one of Compendium's fabulous inspirational Father's Day gifts to give to that special someone in your life.

With Ella at 2 1/2 years old now, it's nearly impossible to get ANYTHiNG work-related done these days.
One nap a day just isn't enough time to put a dent into my "to-do" list.
Mixed emotions have settled in though...
We received news that she's been accepted into the preschool we were hoping for...
starting in the Fall.
I'm completely excited for HER.
She'll make some new little friends...
and have some real educational structure.
I'm excited for ME to have some extra free-time 3 days a week to
stay on top of my design work and projects.
I know all too well how quickly children grow.
(It was just yesterday my 15 year old and 12 year old were born).
Knowing she'll be starting school means the start of an entirely new phase in our lives...
her life...
my life...
and sadly...
the ending of the sweet time I've enjoyed having her home with me everyday. *sniffle*

sweet treat | father's day giveaway

Wednesday, June 1

The four winners have officially been chosen using for this giveaway.

Read what they had to say about  the qualities and characteristics that make a man an exceptional Father/Dad...

#15 - Jenny B.  who said
"My favorite thing about my dad is he is always there for matter what!

#11 - Doubly Blessed who commented:
"My husband is an amazing father. I think his patience and sense of humor make our home a better place!"

#5 - Renee Funk
"Being an exceptional Father requires a man to lead his children by example; showing strength,
vulnerability, happiness, sadness, compassion, empathy, determination, drive, love and above all iNTEGRiTY"

#42 - Renee
"Spending time with one's family and sharing and caring is what it is all about for a Dad. 
I am so proud of my husband for being that kind of Dad."

Please email me your mailing address so I can ship your gift out right away:

The rest of you (us) are still winners since we have until June 19th to take advantage of the 20% discount code: lovedad11


"Greetings from Compendium"...

Those were the first words on the letter included in this unexpected delivery I received a couple of weeks ago...

I was SO completely beside myself as I looked through the gorgeous Father's Day products...
sent to me from my FAVORiTE inspirational gift and greeting card company EVER: Compendium!

"Dad - My Hero" - a book featuring a beautiful collection of quotations about fatherhood.

"Hero" by Kobi Yamada - a book filled with quotes to inspire...

An "interview journal" for your dad to record and share his story...

"His Life" journal with inspirational quotes sprinkled throughout...

Pop-open window greeting cards for daily inspiration...

Simple. Handsome books for the hero in your life.

Because Compendium loves sharing gifts of joy and inspiration...
I knew I had to pass along the goodness and share the love with all of you.

I've got FOUR beautiful Father's Day gifts from the Compendium website to offer up!
Instead of picking just one winner to receive all four gifts...
 I've decided to pick FOUR different winners - each to receive one of the gifts shown below...

Here's how to enter to win:
Enter up to FOUR different times to increase your chances of winning:
(leave separate comments here on the blog after you've performed each task - 
four different comments = four different entries)

1. Leave a comment on the NEW Live Inspired Facebook page to let them know you are a fan and that I sent you...
3. Leave a separate comment here to let me know what your favorite item is from the Compendium website.
4. Leave a comment about a quality/characteristic that makes a man an exceptional father/dad.

Contest starts today: Wednesday, June 1st
Contest ends: Monday, June 6th
Winners Announced: Tuesday, June 7th

This contest is open to U.S. residents only

The fun doesn't end there though...
Compendium is offering my blog readers a...
 20% discount on ANY items on the Compendium website through June 19th.
Pick up the perfect graduation gift, birthday present or even something special for yourself.

Enter the dicount code: lovedad11 during Step 2 of the checkout process.
(verify the code has been properly entered during Step 4)

And just because I adore you to pieces and I'm feeling especially inspired to inspire...
I'll leave you with one of my favorite Compendium videos...

Enjoy your day!
Be inspired.

I didn't grow up knowing my dad.
He and my mom divorced when I was only two and he wasn't part of our lives.
My mother never remarried until I was an adult.
My grandfather was the father-figure in my life...
and I am so incredibly lucky for that.
Like so many of these Father's Day Compendium books referred to...
he really was my so many different ways.
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