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LIFE | Easter 2016

Monday, March 28

Hope you all had a fantastic Easter weekend!
Thought I'd share some photos I took from Easter day...

I have to say, this was one of the most relaxing Easter Sundays to date.
Ella wore the dress she wore for the Daddy Daughter Dance and did her egg hunting in the morning, we went to church and then returned home for a relaxing day which included coloring eggs. I usually color the eggs prior to Easter Sunday but I like how we ended up doing them as part of our Easter celebration this year - I think I may be keeping this tradition.

Funny Easter Story:
Ella discovered her dad's shoes by the front door on Easter morning.
After careful investigation, Ella ran into our room and informed us the Easter bunny had worn her dad's shoes to bring the Easter baskets inside the house. The clues that led her to this conclusion:
1. Her dad never leaves his shoes at the front door, so clearly someone else wore them. *wink*
2. There was dirt left on the carpet in the foyer, from the shoe-wearing Easter Bunny of course.
3. There were remnants of white hair left behind on the carpet as well. Clearly rabbit fur although it looked strikingly similar to our dog's white hair.
4. The Easter baskets were left right inside the front door this year instead of the usual spot...the front porch. The Easter Bunny obviously did not want to leave the baskets outside since it'd been raining for a couple of days. Nothing to do with Mom forgetting to handle some last minute preparations.

So cute, right?

Stay tuned for the fun details I'll be sharing about Ema's 17th birthday cake.
AND I'm gearing up this week to finally share the photos from the Alice in ONEderland themed first birthday dessert table I created back in December! *wink*

See you back here tomorrow for "Let's Talk Tuesday"!

I didn't decorate at all this year for Easter.  *frown*
Between me finally feeling somewhat normal after being sick since the end of January, J developing the flu last weekend and the girls being on Spring Break this past week leading up to Easter...I simply had no energy or desire to do much of anything except survive the daily routine of things and try to make Spring Break as fun as possible.

Ella, Ema and I were the only ones that gathered for the egg coloring Sunday afternoon and we tried some of those q-tip egg coloring sticks this year. (a bit messy but fun to make polka dots with..and what part of coloring eggs isn't messy anyway.) *wink*

Oh! And the ham dinner I cooked for Easter dinner was a complete disaster.
It didn't cook long enough so the green beans and potatoes weren't done.
Then I decided to serve some bread we'd had earlier in the week as a filler and of was a little stale. Perfect to go with the underdone crunchy green beans and potatoes. Ha!
Oh well. We ate it anyway...

SHARE | Cute Coffee Bar by Jessica Burgess

Wednesday, March 9

How cute is this COFFEE BAR you guys?
Jessica Burgess from Fantabulosity reached out to me a few weeks back about a custom chalkboard sign for a Coffee Bar she was putting together in collaboration with Coffee Mate®.

I absolutely love the way it turned out and I knew you would too!
There are so many more adorable details to see over on her blog, including a recipe for the Vanilla Almond Pound Cake you see here as well as a darling idea for creating some "You Warm My Heart" gift baskets with your best girl friends! Be sure to head to the Fantabulosity website for the whole scoop.

The Chalkboard Coffee Bar sign is now available in the shoppe for anyone of you who now feels inspired to create your own!!


Heading out of the house for DIY adventure today. I've got an idea that won't stop talking in my I'm going to listen to it and see what I end up with. *wink*

LET'S TALK TUESDAY | No. 8 :: Party Inspiration + Ideas

Tuesday, March 8

Very excited to be meeting up with a friend today for lunch...
but equally excited to be spending a few minutes this morning with YOU for our weekly "Let's Talk Tuesday".

By the way - you all are blowing me away with your fun questions! I hope you are getting as much out of our "LTT" meet-ups as I am!!

Q: I've been following your blog for what seems like forever and your party ideas are always so clever. They always seem to be "on trend" while always being a little different from the masses. I'm curious about your process for coming up with ideas. I like to plan parties for my kids and I will help on occasion with a baby shower when family or friends ask. It's coming up with the party theme that always has me a little stumped in the beginning. Of course Pinterest is always a great source of inspiration. Is that the same for you? Or do you have a specific approach for figuring it all out? Thanks Jessica. Loving your LTT posts and thankful to have you take time to answer my question. Nancy B.

A: This question really made me think. First of all, this may or may not work for some of you, but I stay away from Pinterest when I'm formulating my ideas for a party because I don't want to be influenced by what's already out there. I really try to create unique party ideas and if the concept isn't new, I at least try to make it my own. That being said, once my theme has been picked and I've got a basic concept and direction, THEN I'll head on over to Pinterest for inspiration.

Funny piece of trivia:  Pinterest didn't even exist when I first started party planning for my kiddos and it wasn't around when I started my blog seven years ago either. *laughing*

Anyway, I'd first have to say that my brain operates from a "theme" perspective - if that even makes sense. I have always felt the most "creative" when I first have a firm foundation or theme to jumpstart from. This applies to organizing a women's luncheon or dinner, decorating my children's rooms, designing a church cookbook, creating a Valentine's Day classroom exchange idea, and of and styling a party. Give me a solid theme and that's when my creative ideas kick into high gear! 

Arriving at said theme can come from a number of things:
1. favorite things of the person being celebrated.
2. Pantone's color of the year and seasonal palettes.
3. Cute new party accessories I'd like to use/try.
4. the season in which the party is being held.
5. specific requests from the person being honored.

Let me give you a few specific examples of how the process unfolded for a few of the parties I've hosted over the years...I think this will be the most helpful way to explain my process.

When I hosted the "Lemonade and Sunshine" themed double birthday for Clara and Emalyn SIX YEARS AGO, they were both celebrating milestone birthdays. Clara was crossing over into "teen hood" as she was turning thirteen and Ema was turning double digits for the first time with her tenth birthday.

Clara was smack dab in the middle of adolescence and she was getting really good at giving me attitude about anything and everything and she did NOT want a party. On the other hand, Emalyn was kind of caught in the middle.  She was being heavily influenced listening to her older sister gripe about a birthday party and yet I know she was quietly excited at the thought of getting to celebrate with her older sister...whom she idolized.  (and still does to this day, by the way). *wink*

So, needless to say, I had a little bit of "sweet and sour" going on in our house at the time.  The "Lemonade" portion of the party theme was born out of wanting to represent Clara and her mix of emotions as a brand new teenager, and "Sunshine" was the epitome of everything Ema was as she approached her tenth birthday...a girl with a sweet spirit, big heart and wonderful sense of humor. *grin* Combine the two and you've got a great mix and a darling party theme. Besides that, the theme also allowed me to create something that felt a little more "fancy and grown up" for Clara while still having a whimsical feel for Ema.

When I started planning Ella's 2nd birthday, I just went down the list of the things she was excited about at the time. At the top of that list was her infatuation with inflatable balls. Each time we'd be at a store, she immediately gravitated towards those big ball cages that held all of the play balls. She absolutely LOVED them. 

I went with the classic red ball instead of a beach ball theme because Ella has a Fall birthday. Inflatable balls...let alone beach balls...were not easy to come by. Besides that, I liked the simplicity of the color scheme and it made for an adorable invitation and even more adorable dessert table selections! *wink*

SIX YEARS AGO,  (man time flies), I was approached by a friend who was hosting a baby shower for one of her best friends. She'd already decided she wanted to do a "She's About to Pop" theme and although it was a new-to-me theme at the time, I quickly realized as I began researching, the concept wasn't really all that new. I really like to try to make my party themes original. So, my challenge became to find a way to make this party stand out and be something that hadn't been done before. 

That's when I came up with the idea of making "bubbles" the focus instead of the popular balloons, popcorn and bubble gum concepts I kept seeing everywhere. On top of that, the mom-to-be was very modern and on-trend so I immediately referenced the hot Pantone colors of the season at the time and built the party elements and details around those.

So there you go...just a few examples of the method to my madness with regards to party planning.
I hope you've been inspired and PLEASE...keep sending in your questions!! I love answering them.

By the can find more details about each party mentioned today under the "My Work" tab at the top of the blog. (along with other party ideas and themes). 

1. Super excited about this new book arriving tomorrow!
2. Newest song added to my playlist - and what Ella is considering using for her talent show music. 
3. Latest crushes on Instagram: Jessica Wasserman and Brittany York
4. My doctor recommended I look into a neti pot after my third visit to her last week. So, while looking at them at my local Health Basket, I left with THIS instead, on the recommendation of one of the employees there. I've been using it on myself as well as Ella since she caught a cold last week too. Anyone else use either? 
5. A friend of mine was telling me about how her sister has tried StitchFix and loves it! Anyone else use an online personal stylist? I'm seriously considering joining. There are a couple of other similar services: Keaton Row, Tog + Porter, Stylit, The Refinery and I'm certain there are more out there.  Here's a helpful article comparing StitchFix, Keaton Row and Tog + Porter - just in case you are interested. 

And if you've tried ANY of them - I'd love to know what you think.

xoxo my friends!!

To this day, the Lemonade and Sunshine party that Clara absolutely wanted nothing to do with ended up being one of my most popular parties - and was even featured in a magazine publication all the way in Italy. 

LIFE | Daddy Daughter Dance 2016

Monday, March 7

Well let me just tell you, Miss Ella had some very specific requests this year for the Daddy Daughter Dance...gloves, tiara and shoes with a heel. *wink*

I guess with this being her third year attending, (1st dance and 2nd dance) she had a vision of exactly how she wanted to look. I wasn't sold on any of the extras but I'm really glad I listened to her on the tiara request because the week after we purchased one, I received the "official" invitation from the school stating it was a "Tiaras and Ties" themed dance this year. Perfect.

We kept the tradition of finding her dress at a long-time favorite shoppe in our charming little town of Mt. Dora called The Secret Garden. In fact, the dress, sweater, purse, barrette and tiara were all from there. (links to every little detail of her outfit are at the end of this post).

Ella chose a beautiful white, sleeveless dress after having tried on at least 20 different dresses while also rounding up a crowd of onlookers in the store who had become mesmerized each time she stepped out of the dressing room in something different. Although she was a bit embarrassed from all of the attention, she most certainly got a lot of helpful feedback in the form of "ooooh's and ahhhhh's" to help her make her final decision.  Since the white dress looked a little "wedding-ish" and I knew there was potential for the temperatures to be a little cool on the night of the dance, I took the opportunity to mix in some creamy white accents by adding the darling sweater and a purse she fell in love with. The sweater really added some vintage charm and is something she can now wear with jeans for a more casual look too. (I want one in my size). *wink*

Ella was exceptionally excited this year...not only requesting a dress rehearsal prior to the dance but also asking for a night of "practicing twirls and dancing" and most importantly, "walking" in her new little heels.  She really looks forward to this special night with her dad every year and it was even more fun this time around when she met up with her bestie to take photos together before they were whisked away by their handsome daddies for a night of fun.

  (one of the last photos taken right after Ella brushed the inside of her foot up against "stingin' nettle
we gave her a small ice pack for the car ride over to the dance and by the time she got there it wasn't hurting anymore). 

And these cute are they?
Ella and Elise have been BEST FRIENDS since they were two years old and their friendship is just so adorable. Not only do they live in the same neighborhood, they've been lucky enough to have had the same teacher for both Kindergarten and 1st grade.
I look forward to continuing to watch them grow up together.

If you are in love with Ella's Vintage French Princess look, I've linked to the sources below.
And if you love her bestie's pink're out of's a one-of-a-kind made by her grandmother. *wink*

Dress, Tiara, Sweater, Purse - The Secret Garden
Rhinestone Barrette - used to help hold up Ella's bun in the back.
Satin Gloves - (ivory) - Amazon
Pearl Hosiery - (ivory) - Amazon
Shoes - (white) - Amazon

See THIS POST for a close-up of the accessories.

Love you guys! See you back here tomorrow for LTT!!

I actually love the way Ella's hair looked in the messy bun for her "rehearsal" one afternoon (first two pics), compared to how I fixed it on the night of the dance. On the night of the dance, Ella had a gymnastics competition earlier in the day and by the time we got back from that and I finished making the corsage and boutonnière, I really just ran out of time. *blushing*

Tutorial coming on the boutonnière and corsage...promise.

LET'S TALK TUESDAY | No. 7 :: Camera Q&A

Tuesday, March 1

As I'm settling in to type this post today I've got Pandora blasting on the birthday present J got for me back in November and the house is ROCKING!!

I'm currently listening to "The Chainsmokers" Station - in particular this new-to-me-song called Faded by Alan Walker. Currently crushing on "Don't Let Me Down" by The Chainsmokers  - it completely booms!!! (and I like boom). *wink*

So let's get to the question this week...

Q: Hello. I've been wanting to ask you about what camera you use? I think I saw Nikon mentioned somewhere but can't remember and don't know what kind. I just love your photos and hope to invest in a new camera soon to help improve on the quality of my photos. I have a Canon point and shoot and it's just not cutting it. Did you ever take photography classes or do you just have a natural ability for taking such pretty pictures? Sorry. Guess there's more than one question here. 
Thanks for answering. - Nikki C.

A: I am one lucky girl, as I was given a new camera for Christmas - the Nikon D750. Prior to that though, I'd been using the Nikon D70 for over 10 years. It was an awesome camera and my first DSLR. It took great photos and the only time it was ever in the shop for repairs was after my daughter, Clara, accidentally dropped it one Summer while we were on vacation. Yikes! 

I decided on going with a "full frame" camera this time - which is what the Nikon D750 is. 
It's a dreamy camera with beautiful resolution, video capability and wifi built in - making it so easy to send the photos I've taken with my DSLR straight to my iPhone for easy uploading to Instagram - or other social media outlets. 

And YES!! I did take a fantastic online photography class many years ago. The gal's name is Karen Russell and when I went to grab the link for you I was sad to hear the news that she has decided, after 10 years, to close up shop. *frown* But her class is where I REALLY learned some key things about photography...and when I got brave enough to switch to "manual" mode. *wink*

With that said, I do still take plenty of photos with my iPhone too! Just not as often for the blog. Over the last couple of years I'd been getting lazy and found myself just reaching for my phone instead of my DSLR - but my passion has been reignited with my new camera. 

If you are looking to upgrade or invest in a high quality camera, you do not have to spend a ton of money - and I would advise against it unless you are considering a career or serious hobby in photography. I was instructed in the beginning to pick a brand and stick with it. Nikon or Canon are the two most popular brands out there and you can't go wrong with either. Of course, I'm a very happy Nikon girl and would push you in that direction. *wink* With that said, great photography is really about learning composition, understanding lighting and PRACTICE!! If you can take a photography class, I would highly recommend it. 

I hope that helps!

Do you all have a favorite iPhone case you'd recommend?
I recently upgraded to the iPhone 6s Plus and as much as I love the really "pretty" cases out there, I need something that offers serious protection. I ended up going with this OtterBox but I just feel like there's got to be cuter options out there!! And to be honest, I also ordered this Lumee case but it's not really all that cute and I don't take enough selfies to justify the cost - so I'm sending it back.

Thanks for being here my friends!!
Ask me anything, anytime, by emailing me, leaving a comment here on the blog or by asking your question as a comment on Instagram! (email: pnpflowersinc AT gmail DOT com)


For those of you who noticed, I have to apologize for missing our LTT last week.
I've been sick since the end of January and have had zero energy. Two doctor appointments and I'm finally starting to feel the "head cold cloud" lift. #sograteful Thanks for your prayers and positive thoughts - they most certainly helped!

Confession: I've only gotten through about 2 chapters in the owner's manual on my new camera...which means I'm barely using the perks this camera actually comes with.
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