Rain or Shine Themed Birthday Party

Hey mommas,

Luna is officially TWO!!  I still can't believe it.  It's SO true what they say ... the days pass slow but the years go by sooooo fast.  And the toddler years are this crazy mix of wondrous and terrible.  One second Luna is wrapping her legs around me and giggling madly and the next she's having a meltdown over a fallen block tower.  Which is exactly why I wanted to throw a Rain or Shine themed party this year - it sums up life with a toddler so well!

When planning Lu's birthday party, I had a simple color palette in mind:  sunny yellow, sky blue, and a fluffy shade of white.  Then I tied in dark blue and a pretty shade of pink for accent colors.

Once I figured out the color scheme, I started working on the invitations.  They were actually really fun to make!  I used a free app called Adobe Spark and it was incredibly user-friendly.  It only took me an hour or two to create a design that I really loved:

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Next came the decorations:

Our party decor included a sky blue banner, a DIY ombre raindrop backdrop, and fluffy white balloon clouds.  I also found a giant gold number 2 balloon for only a few dollars at Hobby Lobby - a perfect addition to the backdrop!

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We covered the table in a white linen tablecloth and added some more fun elements from Hobby Lobby:  sunny yellow forks peeking out from cloud-blue napkins, layered blue plates, fun snack cups, and paper straws in blue and yellow.

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As for the accents - the little white clouds, the two-tone suns, the raindrops - those were all done BY HAND!  It would have been soooo much easier if I had one of those crafting machines that does the work for you ... but I don't.  Instead, I used a sharpie to draw cloud/sun/raindrop templates, traced them on card stock paper, and then cut each piece out individually.  Then I used a hot glue gun to glue the pieces onto straws, cups, and strings for the backdrop.  It was kind of nuts!  But also really fun!  Were the decorations perfect?  Not even close.  But I don't think Luna minded and I was really happy with how it turned out :)

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For refreshments, we served fluffy white popcorn, cups of diced fruit (apples, strawberries, and halo oranges on top), and fresh iced orange juice.  We also ordered catering from Subway.  As a parent, I always appreciate when there are healthy options for Luna so I wanted to do the same for her party!  Well, mostly .... we still had cake and ice cream!

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Tiered cakes are my absolute favorite - especially bare cakes.  They look really put together, plus they're easy to make at home.  This was actually my second time baking a bare tiered cake - I also made one for Luna's unicorn-themed birthday party last year!

I did consider baking a cake with rainbow layers this year ... it would have been PERFECT with the Rain or Shine theme, right?!  But that would have taken a lot of effort and extra time that I didn't have.  And since I was using pink as an accent color, it was just easier to make a boxed strawberry cake and call it a day. 

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Lastly, we topped the cake with a little handmade banner (two paper straws, decorative string, and little hand-cut triangles spelling out Luna's name).  It was just one more way to celebrate our sweet girl's big day.   Two years down and a lifetime to go ... and rain or shine, I wouldn't change a single second of our time together.

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With love,

Lace

Maternity Style Picks for Summer

Hey mommas!

Can we talk about maternity style for a minute?  Up until recently, my "style" has pretty much been a tee shirt and leggings every day.  Literally.  Not even maternity leggings and tees!  Just the plain old clothes that I wore before my pregnancy.  But around month seven, I started feeling pretty uncomfortable.  My bump just seems sooo much bigger than last time around!

At first it was hard justifying spending even $100 on a maternity wardrobe.  I mean, you only get to wear the clothes for a few months and then what?!  But it was worth a little splurge when I woke up one day and realized NONE of my clothes fit! 

All I wanted were a few pieces that were comfortable, affordable, and flattering.  I found (most) of them at Motherhood Maternity but I'm also a fan of the selections at Gap and Old Navy

The great thing about most maternity lines is that you can order your normal size (minus the shoes!).  So if you normally wear a Small, just order all your maternity clothes in size Small :)

SOFT TEES & TANKS

For everyday comfort, I love these basic tees from Motherhood Maternity.  They're ultra soft and extra flattering :)

OVERALLS

Overalls are back in style and I'm loving every minute of it!  These Side Panel Destructed Maternity Shortalls (far left) are perfect for summer.  Plus the straps are adjustable so they grow with your bump!

BATHING SUITS

Unless you're hitting the beach every day, you probably won't need more than one maternity swimsuit.  Such a bummer because these are both SO cute in person.  Just hurry if you like the Off-the-Shoulder one (left) - it's almost sold out!

PRETTY TOPS

Okay, I didn't actually order any of these because (like I mentioned) I basically live my entire life in tees.  BUT they're at the top of my list if I do decide to step up my style game in the next few weeks:

DRESSES

Want to look amazing without all the hassle of coordinating?  Try one of these pretty options:

P.S. The bodycon dress (far left) only has one rating online and it's not very positive.  But pretttty sure the person just ordered the wrong size.  I'm 5'6" and normally 115 - 120 pounds and the maternity size Small fits great!

LEGGINGS

There's always room for leggings in my wardrobe - even in the summer heat :)

COMFORTABLE SHOES

A cute pair of sneakers in a neutral color pairs well with (almost) anything.  Just consider sizing up by a half or even full size - many pregnant women notice a change in shoe size somewhere around the third trimester. 

Stay comfortable mommas!

With love,

Lace

Pregnancy Essentials

Hey mommas,

Baby number 2 is almost here!

It's funny saying that because it took us FOREVER to share the news publicly.  My husband, Kris, was deployed for the first 6 months of my pregnancy ... then he finally came home and social media was the lasttt thing on my mind.  So now I'm 32 weeks along and just getting around to sharing our news, whoops!

Pregnancy can be really fun - baby kicks and ultrasounds and guessing baby's gender.  So much excitement!  But growing tiny humans can also be pretty tough.  So I wanted to share a few things that have made the process a little easier (and a lot more comfortable) during both of my pregnancies:

A CUTE PLANNER

Now that you're expecting, there's so much to keep up with!  Doctor's appointments and ultrasounds, baby showers, reminders to pack your hospital bag and put together the crib and learn how to use your brand new stroller.  Stay organized with one of Day Designer's daily planners.  My all-time favorite is the Mini Edition (Black Stripe).  Seriously .... LOVE!!!

A COMFY BRALETTE

For some reason my regular bra is soooo uncomfortable during pregnancy.  Thankfully I found this Aerie Castaway Lace Padded Longline Bralette from Aerie - it's comfy, feminine, and just the right fit (I ordered a size up because, you know, pregnancy boobs).  Plus they offer free shipping/returns on all their bras!

BELLY OIL

Worried about stretch marks?  Me too!  During my first pregnancy, I applied Dr. Palmer's Stretch Mark lotion literally every single day ... twice a day!  And it totally worked - no stretch marks!!  But the cocoa butter smell was a little overwhelming.   This time around, I switched to Earth Mama Belly Oil.  It's organic, smells AMAZING, and has hundreds of positive reviews online.  And so far so good - still no stretch marks!

MATERNITY CLOTHES

Some expecting mommas choose to wear regular clothes in a bigger size throughout pregnancy.  I've been guilty of this!  But it's worth investing in a few pieces that specifically fit your pregnant body (think soft tee shirts and stretchy leggings and maternity overalls).  You'll look and feel better, promise!

(Psssst ... Want to know our favorite maternity picks for summer?  Just click here!)

NON-WHITENING TOOTHPASTE

Okay this one is kind of out there ... but something about my regular toothpaste makes my morning sickness so. much. worse!  A friend of mine suggested switching to non-whitening toothpaste and guess what?  It actually helped!  It didn't cure my sickness entirely but at least I can brush my teeth without puking :)

EPSOM SALT

Hot baths are frowned upon during pregnancy (boo!).  But a warm bath with a scoop of Epsom salt is super relaxing and doctor-approved.  I'm kind of obsessed with Dr. Teal's Comfort & Calm Pure Epsom Salt with Chamomile - it's smells incredible!

A HEATING PAD

Speaking of heat, lying on a heating pad before bed is mayyybe my favorite thing right now.  I use it on my lower back for pain relief but it's also just really cozy!  Most experts agree that heating pads are safe for short periods of time - but check with your OB if you need reassurance :)

A PREGNANCY APP

There are tons to choose from!  I've tried a few but always come back to What to Expect's Pregnancy & Baby App.  It'll help you track your baby's growth and the forum is full of sweet mommas.  It's the perfect place to ask for advice, share your fears, and compare pregnancies all from the comfort of your own couch.

NETFLIX

Sometimes the only way to survive pregnancy is by binge-watching your favorite TV show.  Need suggestions?  Check out Baby Daddy and Young & Hungry on Netflix - the episodes are short, sweet, and always upbeat!

What are some of your prenatal must-haves?  Let me know in the comments below!

With love,

Lace

Summer Session with Sharon Ashlie Photography

Hey friends,

There's a photographer in town that I'm kinddd of obsessed with.  But before I tell you who it is (and why!), just LOOK at this photo!

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Ahhh, I love it!!  And it's just one of my favorites from a couples session we did with Sharon Ashlie Photography over the summer.  Such a fun experience!  The whole shoot took less than an hour and we spent the whole car ride home gushing about how much we loved Sharon.  Which is why I wanted to share my favorite images from that day AND a few of the reasons you should hire her, too!

1. SHE FINDS ALL THE BEST LOCATIONS

Our session took place on a sprawling horse farm out in the country at sunset.  It was GORGEOUS.  During the shoot, we actually went to two locations on the same farm - one on a remote country road and one in front of this big, beautiful oak tree.  Both places were perfect and not too far from home!

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2. SHE SENDS A STYLE GUIDE BEFORE EVERY SHOOT

Soooo glad she did this because I have ZERO fashion sense (I'm a jeans and t-shirt kind of girl).  Her guide includes classic recommendations for women as well as men.  For the shoot, I wore a summery dress in a soft blush color.  Love!  Pretty sure it's sold out, though, because I can't find it online anymore.  But you can find the wedges here for under $50!

My husband kept it simple with slacks and a white tee.  Oh and his old leather jacket!  He was such a trooper for wearing it - it was almost 100 degrees outside!

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3. SHE'S THE NICEST PERSON - AND SO EASY TO WORK WITH!

Speaking of the heat, I was feeling a little cranky before we arrived.  Not with Sharon!  Just with how insanely hot it was.  I started sweating just THINKING about getting out of the car.  And let me tell you, no one feels particularly attractive in that kind of heat.  No one!  But despite that, Sharon was so positive and good-spirited throughout our entire session.  And when Luna (who was hanging out in her pack-n-play) starting fussing, she was totally understanding.  She even snapped a few family photos for us!

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Even better, she knew all the best poses!  We had no idea how to stand or what to do but she was more than happy to point us in the right direction.  Then she gave US the credit for being naturals!  Which is not true at all but still made us feel pretty amazing!

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4. HER PHOTOS ARE STUNNING

Duh, right?   But I've seen them a hundred times and I still can't believe how gorgeous they are!  They're warm and clear and oh so bright.  Plus they made me look WAY prettier than in real life, ha!

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5. SHE OFFERS A VARIETY OF SESSION TYPES

Ours was a couple's session but she also offers senior portraits, maternity photos, and event coverage ... whatever you need!  And her absolute favorite is WEDDINGS!  I'm already brainstorming ideas for our next session together and I just. can't. wait :)

6. She's offering one FREE print to five lucky customers!

Sharon is offering one FREE 8 x 10 professional gallery print to the first five people to book a session.  That's a THIRTY DOLLAR VALUE and all you have to do is mention Lace & Lu when you book!

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Want to see more examples of Sharon's work?  Head over to her website for more info.  And if you book a session, don't forget to mention Lace & Lu!

With love,

Lace

Sharon Ashlie is a portrait and event photographer based in Fayetteville and Southern Pines, NC.  This post was not paid and all opinions are my own :)

A Weekend at Wrightsville Beach

Hey friends!

We got back from Wilmington a few days ago and I'm still a little tired!  Does anyone else ever feel that way?  Like you go on vacation to rest but then you come back even MORE tired than you were before?  How does that happen?!

Still - we had a pretty great trip! 

It was our first time in Wilmington and I LOVED it there.  It's kind of your quintessential east coast beach town ... salty ocean air, laid back people, and more seafood than you could possibly eat in one weekend.

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We arrived late Friday night and checked into our Air BNB room.  Have you guys stayed in an Air BNB before?  It's kind of amazing!  Our house was really big and really nice - and so was the owner!  If you're ever in Wilmington and need a place to stay, I definitely recommend his place.  He'll give you the scoop on all the best places to go and he even makes fresh-baked cookies every night, yum!

Before we left, I did a last minute packing job and completely forgot Luna's swim suit.  I should have checked my Beach Essentials for Older Babies checklist (but I didn't) ... total Mom Fail moment!  Luckily, I brought extra sunscreen and a beach tent to protect her sensitive baby skin.  Unluckily, my husband ignored my sunscreen recommendation for himself and burnt to a crisp! 

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It's not surprising since most of our weekend was spent at the beach.  As soon as we arrived, Luna ran to the water and plopped right down.  And she didn't leave that spot for hours!  It made me wish we lived a little closer so she could go to the beach more often!

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If you're planning a trip to Wrightsville Beach in Wilmington, I do have one other recommendation ... steer clear of the pier if you can.  It was BEAUTIFUL but also a litttttle annoying because the lifeguards kept blowing their whistles at people swimming too close!

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Every now and then, I reapplied Luna's sunscreen and after a while I brought her into the shade for a nap.  Now that I think of it, I probably should have taken one, too!  Maybe then I wouldn't be so tired now, ha!

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Did I mention that a group of our friends was in town?!  It was great having them around ... although I won't be sad AT ALL when they all start having kids.  My mom friends can probably relate - once you have littles, you're on a totally different schedule from the rest of the world.  But it was still fun to have girlfriends around to hang out with :)

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We had so much fun that we're actually heading back to the beach next weekend, too!  And I'm going to ATTEMPT to get a few more pictures with me in them (mom problems, right?).  For now, here are two of my favorite pictures from last weekend's trip with Kris and Luna :)

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What are your favorite beaches to visit?!  Have you ever been to Wrightsville Beach?  Tell me all about it in the comments!

With love,

Lace & Lu