Sunday, July 9, 2017

Introducing Andrew Corbin

It's been a chaotic last few weeks, but I've been so excited to update on the newest addition to the Brady family! My big bro and sis-in-love welcomed their first baby boy on a sunny and beautiful June 21st. Little Andrew Corbin Brady came into the world at 12:14 p.m. As soon as I got word, I bolted from my office to go meet the little guy.

I may be biased, but we'd all been pretty eagerly awaiting his arrival, and he's pretty perfect (although not as perfect as how his mom and dad look at him...)

Grandma Roxy was smitten right from the start..

Actually, we were all smitten right from the start- I absolutely loved this beautiful moment watching Stef holding her new baby boy. 

Grand-daddy and grand-mommy holding their first grandson. I love their expressions here. 

Uncle Josh held Andrew while Corbin introduced Anaelle to her new little brother. 

I've always loved and admired Bean, but to see him be an amazing dad makes me melt a bit inside. He and Stef are such amazing parents already. 

Anaelle did a great job at the hospital, but everyone needs a new toy every once in a while, right? :) 

Good grief- this right here is a perfect image of the new Brady bunch- Stef looks absolutely amazing and Bean looks so happy! 

Congratulations again, Bean and Stef! I'm so glad I could be there to capture these moments for you. I'm so excited to hang out with my niece and nephew and capture many more memories!

Monday, May 8, 2017

Wild Baby Shower

I am so insanely excited for my sister-in-love and big brother. They have baby #2 (affectionately titled Baby Bean for now) on the way! This is definitely because Bean is my brother's nickname and this is their first boy! 

I have really loved planning parties with my own hostess momma as of late, so we jumped at the opportunity to plan a baby shower for their second (although it took some convincing my sis that baby showers are OK for a second baby. I mean, a boy is a completely different reason to celebrate, right?

I'll admit that I had a general idea right off the bat for a wild baby shower, since my brother was obsessed with plants, tigers and jungle themes growing up, but for some reason it wasn't pulling together like I had in my head. I'm not a big fan of the cartoon jungle animals and I just hate monkeys in general, so I started to hone in on the plant aspect of the wild kingdom. I'm so happy it went that direction because it turned out pretty awesome, if I do say so myself! 

Since I originally thought the venue was taking care of the centerpieces until about 4 days before the shower and my momma was in Florida, I had to do some quick thinking! I went to the dollar store and bought out their selection of margarita, sundae and mini fish bowl glasses. With a little bit of rose gold spray paint and some succulents from the Hy-Vee garden section, they looked like they fit right in! 

To further tie in the plant life, I hacked into the Hostas in our front yard the morning of the shower and wrote the guests' names on them in a metallic gold marker to make our name cards! 
We decided to "rent out" the balcony of our Greater Des Moines Botanical Gardens (which are freaking amazing, by the way). I put quotations because they really did us a favor since they don't actually rent out the balcony normally. They were fantastic through this process! Our amazing server, Jessica (above) not only took care of us for our party, but even loaded up gifts and helped carry them out afterwards! 

What we didn't anticipate was how much the heat would be magnified on a 75 degree day! While mom and I were setting up, we were literally sweating. The staff came to the rescue and brought a huge fan, which helped immensely! 

To help even more with the heat, we had a lavender mint lemonade and water bar. There was coffee available as well, but I'm pretty sure no one even touched it! 

I also designed menus to match the invitations. 

I know I'm on succulent overload, but these are so stinkin' cute! 

And what is a baby shower without at least one game? I sheepishly forgot to take a picture, but I designed a game to match the menus and invites. Each person matched the gestational period of each jungle animal on the sheet. Oddly enough, we had to do a 4-way tiebreaker! And check out the momma's adorable nephew, Ryker, above. I couldn't get enough of his chubby cheeks! 

I almost forgot to mention the best part: dessert! We each had chocolate mousse, key lime mousse and chocolate cookie bars cut into sweet little hearts. 

We took some time to open gifts. I selfishly only included the gift my husband made for his nephew. But seriously, a little wooden truck? :) 

And I'm so excited that my sis suggested a group shot! We missed a few who had to leave early, but this is such a fun way to remember everyone who came! Plus, I'm not usually in any photos, so this was kinda nice!) Thanks to our awesome server for taking this photo! 

And to top off the event, each guest took home one (or two) of the centerpiece succulents! Lord knows I can hardly keep the house plants alive that I already have. I don't need 20 more! 

This was such a blast in spite of the heat and I'm sure my sis would agree that we can't wait until Baby Bean makes his arrival in June! 

Monday, April 17, 2017

A&A's Vintage Literary Shower

It doesn't take long to get to know Aaron. Once you're around him for five minutes, you realize he is earnest and intelligent. Having known him as my honorary big brother for my entire life, I feel like I have a wonderful history of perspective. More than brilliant in his classroom or in a simple discussion, he is passionate. He is passionate about Christ, about literature, and now about his bride-to-be, Addie. 

As soon as they announced their engagement, my amazing mom and I knew we wanted to host a shower for them. Knowing that Aaron is a hopeless romantic and a complete book worm, I envisioned vintage books, card catalogs and draping greenery. After seeing it all come together this past weekend, I'm happy to say it was everything I imagined! 

One of the first things I knew would be created was a table runner made from vintage pages. It was astonishingly easy to create and ended up looking pretty amazing, if I do say so myself! And the centerpieces were even better than I imagined. I owe a big thank you to the East Des Moines Hy-Vee for working with mom and me to make our description come to life! If you can't see it too well in the above image, we had a quote displayed with each centerpiece as well. 

Once the elements started coming together, it only seemed appropriate that we serve an almost-proper tea with mini tarts, chocolates and mini cheesecakes with loose florals about the room. But given that the groom is a coffee connoisseur and half of those in attendance are Swedish, we had coffee as well! 

But seriously, these flowers were amazing! And placing them in card catalogs? I wish these had been at my wedding! 

As guests entered, they came upon a typewriter sign guiding them to write a letter to the bride and groom that would be mailed during the first few months of their marriage. Leaning up against the wooden box is one of their invitations for the shower. When you flip back the vintage book page, the invitation details were on a second sheet underneath!

Aaron's dad took his letter-writing seriously!

Also draped around the room were heart garlands made from old books that mom and I worked on for quite a bit of time! They ended up adding a perfect touch to the ambiance. Definitely worth it! We also offered party favors of tiny leather-bound journals for guests to take home. 

As much as I loved how the decor pulled together, my favorite part was seeing everyone get to know each other before the wedding and just have a wonderful time hanging out. 

I know I'm biased, but my niece is the cutest! 

We wanted to keep with the ambiance of the afternoon, but what fun is a shower without at least one game? I found some British Tea rules and decided to make it into a True/False game. It ended up being quite a bit of fun (competitive, even!) and I was happy that I actually was able to fool a few! Can  you guess which ones are false? 

My dad then gave a brief devotional about how building your spouse's self-esteem is so vitally important and one of the biggest things couples want to learn how to do. After praying for the couple as they start out their marriage, it was time to open some gifts!

It ended up being such a fun afternoon and I think truly captured the essence of Aaron and Addie. I also wanted to give some accolades to Endor Woodworks for creating these amazing card catalogs for the centerpieces. I'm married to the owner, but I can still be impressed and brag a bit! They turned out perfectly! 

Aaron & Addie, thank you for allowing us to host your wedding shower. it was truly an honor and I hope you had as much fun as we did! I love you both and can't wait for your wedding next month!  

Monday, January 23, 2017

In the Morning when I rise...

Since my husband and I moved in to our home about a year ago, we've been consistently making it our own. It is a beautiful home already, but it's so fun to add personal touches and more character. So when the hubs was on a work trip in December, I became determined to put up curtains in the kitchen before his return. (It's amazing how quickly you can get something done when you realize that the entire neighborhood can see you baking by yourself at night!)

So in typical fashion, when I got that project done, I realize there is something else to tackle. As soon as I had the curtains up (I used wall anchors and everything!), I noticed that they looked a little low. They were straight and all, but now there was this huge empty space above the windows. I knew I wanted to fill the space with something meaningful, since it is a main focus point in the house, and I knew I already loved the phrase, "In the morning when I rise, give me Jesus." It was just a matter of finding the right way to display it. 

Add in the fact that my husband is a pretty amazing woodworker and owns his own business, and the outcome is pretty much unavoidable! (For real, though, he creates some beautiful pieces! Go check out ) He helped me pick out a beautiful piece with some sweet looking gnarls and grain, then prepped it for me. All I had to do was paint! 

Don't get me wrong, it took a while to paint, but it is pretty relaxing and I'm SO jazzed about the outcome! Now every time I walk into my kitchen, I get this amazing reminder that all I need to start my day is Jesus. Plus, I think it really completes the aesthetics of the room. 

Wookiee doesn't seem to care or notice. I suppose as long as he can still look out the window at the neighbor dog and cat, he's happy. 

Since my hubs and I make such a great team, we've added painted signs like these to his repertoire, so   check out his website if you're interested in a sign like this for your home! That is about as salesy as I get, but I'm pretty proud of it and it has transformed our kitchen to a home with a purpose!  

Now if you'll excuse me, I could use a little bit of Jesus and coffee this morning. Have a beautiful week!