For when you need a break from all the holiday music...enjoy this chill mix that is currently on repeat in my life...My friend tells me my music taste is rather cheesy yet I take it as a compliment!
First, can I just take a moment to point out the adorable little toes in the picture above? There is NOTHING quite like baby toes. I have a very clear memory of that morning, close to Christmas, Laina wasn't even 1 yet...sigh....
It's the most wonderful time of the year! For us, holiday traditions are those things that "spark joy", we look forward to them all year long. Ours include all the fun festivities leading up to Thanksgiving and through New Year's. Although I have to say that New Year's Eve looks different for me these days. The last 6 years I think I was asleep before midnight more than not! But back in the day I used to throw a cocktail party every year that included a bonfire and countdown to midnight outside, followed by a ritual with friends where we talked about what we achieved, learned and enjoyed about the year that was ending, and what we hoped to see for our lives in the new year. Then a cleansing/burning of said thoughts...Always LOVED that tradition. Maybe it's time to resurrect that one?
Since becoming a mother, the holidays have taken on a new level of excitement and a revisitation of innocence and wonderment, long since forgotten. It's actually quite special, to be able to relive some of that and appreciate it in a different way. Watching wonderment through the lens of your child is a perception truly unique and one I hope to never forget. We aren't religious in our home, but the sights, sounds, smells and energy of the holidays is infectious, throughout our home, and we love to make the most of it!
Wreath - Making
This is a tradition that seemed to happen by chance. And I hope to make it happen every year and as Laina gets older...she can eventually join in on this fun! How fun to create something new, meet new people and enjoy the festivities at various locations around Kennett? A shout out to The Farm at Oxford at Burlap Blooms for hosting these fun events around town! The coolest part about wreath-making is that the wreaths usually last well into February or March...so you have it through most of winter. Amen.
Trimming the Tree - Fresh Cut Tree + Decorating
One of my favorites and I hope it's one of Laina's as well...I think the best part for me is the fun time I try to have around decorating the tree. Laina is fully involved in the placement of the ornaments she wants to hang and I let her have at it! I pour myself some champagne or red wine, and dinner is a big spread of SNACKS! Cheese/crackers/dips, warmed pigs in the blanket, cookies, the wine... This year I took the liberty to personally pick out and cut our tree down myself. It was hard, but not as hard as I expected. Laina attempted to take a video of me, but her little finger was covering the whole thing! But you can hear me telling her to back up, back up again, laugh and tell her to back up again! I can tell you that this Saturday she told me the best part of her day was cutting down the tree...could have something to do with me pulling her up a giant hill in a sled....!
Every year, never fails...this annual tradition trip to Longwood Gardens always pleases and is a perfect Friday night out. I love bundling up, getting some hot chocolate and enjoying the sights with my favorite partner in crime. Some years it's a bigger social event with a group of friends, and some years, it's just us which allows us the freedom to do and go wherever we want!
Laina's Advent Calendar
Of course Laina's advent calendar has calligraphy...I wouldn't have it any other way. Still yet, she asks me what the little papers say, but I also am sure include something fun like a sparkly pencil, nail polish or candy....But it keeps her excited for what the "activity of the day" is. Again...the good news is that I, too, get to participate in all these fun activities!
We get in Pjs early and hop in the car at dark and quite simply, get lost. I like to start at Herr's Factory and work our way back home, finding new developments and seeing their light displays. One of the best is our very own neighborhood...and it rivals Clark Griswold's! Fun and carefree thing to do on an evening if you have some extra time...
Something New for This Year - Rockafeller Center
I wanted to start this last year, but it just didn't make the cut, but THIS YEAR...we are leveling up and making the trip to NYC to visit the Tree @ Rockafeller Center. I'm especially excited to start this as I have never been to see the tree myself for Christmas time, so it's like a new thing I'm starting with Laina. And now that she's a little older, I think this will be something she will remember as an adventure and special time. Who wants to join us?! Any tips on visiting Rockafeller Center??
And I want to know - what do holiday traditions look like for you?
You guys! This is my bread and butter. Wedding Day signage is my favorite kind of signage. Your wedding day stationary goes beyond the invitation suite and envelope addressing! Wedding day signage includes everything from a Welcome Sign to a Seating Chart or Place Cards, Drink Menus, Hashtag Signs, Table Numbers and the list goes on. Couples get to put their own spin on just about everything these days! So let's break down some of these wedding day sign details, what they are - and most importantly, why you need them!
Seating Chart / Place Cards
Your guests need to know where to go to be seated. The sky is the limit here. If you can imagine it, it can be created. Your guests need to know where they are sitting, right? You have several options, including creating a large seating chart that will lead them to a table. They can either pick a seat, or you can have place cards at each sitting. OR, you an have a table with a slew of escort cards that include name/s and a table number. And how you do this can uniquely tie into the theme of your wedding. One bride used her grandmothers old tile floor pieces as escort cards. I designed a large acrylic seating chart to lead each couple to their table.
Beach wedding? Try agate stones or sea glass! Are you having a spring wedding full of magnolias? Yes, I can letter on magnolia leaves. And every color paper and ink. I love the way gold shimmers on marble tiles or black acrylic!
Say hello and welcome your guests to this special day. This is a great way to let your guests know they have made it to the right party! Perhaps the ceremony and reception are at the same building, but different areas so you have to guide your guests to the respective places. Or perhaps you are having an "unplugged" ceremony and want to greet you guests and gently pass along the message? As you can see, a welcome sign can be basic or more involved but should include the bride and groom names and their wedding date. Curious how to overcome the clear acrylic situation? We can paint the back to match your color scheme!
Bar/Drink Menu's + Hashtags
How many weddings have you been to recently where the couple has their own hashtags? Perhaps the groom likes to brew beer and they have a special wedding brew? Maybe they have a signature cocktail? This is another way to get your guests connected to you and what makes you the couple you are. AND---how cool is it to see on Instagram a ton of pictures - moments you perhaps would have otherwise missed? And consider the theme and vibe of your wedding...want lettering on something rustic like an old barn window or panel? Clean, sleek glass? Chalkboard?
Framing paper table numbers is a wonderful and simple option. Especially if you have beautiful floral centerpieces. You don't want to take away from the star of the table setting. But perhaps you want something different? Here at the Paperly Studio, we can letter on paper AND can offer other options to tie into your design theme such as agates, wood blocks, glass or acrylic sheets.
More Signage to Inform Your Guests
From programs to gift table to fireside signs, we offer endless options for fulfilling your creative ideas! If you can think it....we can create it. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help bring some more detail and personality to your wedding day or special event!
After recently seeing Jeffrey Focault and anticipating seeing Iron and Wine next month, my music inspiration has been reignited and I thought this was a great way to share what I'm listening to these days with you all! Here is my Fall 2018 playlist on Spotify--and it's quite chill. It will not motivate you to clean your house, but it will be sweet background music to a bonfire with friends, a lazy day reading (wait, what? who does that?! Trust me, you'll find time), or maybe you've got a road trip planned. If anything, give this a listen and let me know what you think! Do you have any favorites?Any song suggestions are welcome...all playlists are really a work in progress, right? (Feel free to follow me on Spotify as I'm a music fanatic!)
You know you are excited about these cookies! And...pretty pictures. It's that time of year that you can enjoy a little pumpkin spice--guilt-free! These soft spongy cookies are absolutely tasty to boot! I make these every year around this time and they don't last very long in my house. One day tops! So go ahead and get your pumpkin spice on....
PUMPKIN SPICE MADELIENE'S
(adapted from here)
3/4 C granulated sugar
1/4 C melted butter
3/4 C canned pumpkin puree
1 C all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/8 tsp allspice
1/8 tsp ground cloves
Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees and grease your madeleine tray with non-stick baking spray.
Beat eggs, sugar, butter and pumpkin puree using handheld mixer.
In a separate bowl, mix all your dry ingredients including spices. With mixer on low speed, add dry ingredients to wet in two batches.
Using a piping bag if you have one (spoonfuls work just as well), fill the madeleine tray, being as detailed as possible to get the cute shape/grooves of the tray.
Bake for 10-12 minutes till puffy and light brown. Cook ten minutes in tray then turn over and dust with powdered sugar. EAT & ENJOY!!!!
You want to know why I love this quote so much? Well, for many reasons really. For one, it's often painfully true. I mean think about it. Think about your life and all the things you ever wanted and still want. And think of the journey you took to get where are you today. If we got all that we wanted exactly when we want it, we would miss out on so many experiences, conversations, lessons, pitfalls, I could go on and on. I think I'm one of the most impatient people out there! So, this quote speaks to me often and its in my daily practice to remember this very quote and to trust the process. Another reason to love this quote: How about when we DO get what we want exactly when we want it....ironically, often times that can be the very lesson we need. We think we know what we want. We think we have earned it and feel our path forward includes this very thing or job or person or event. And, at times, we are left feeling not ready, maybe it was a mistake, or, heck---what were we THINKING??!?!
I take this quote to my mat almost every day and trust the process and practice patience and gratitude for what I DO have in my life. I may not be on firm ground or have what I want or need, BUT, I can say with certainty, I'm on the right track. That much I know. And I won't stop working for what I want. And neither should you. Happy Monday my friends!
Hello and Welcome October! I'd like to start each week with a Lettering Challenge. This will keep me on top of my creative pursuits and hopefully you all enjoy the experimentation and quotes to come! (Above: Brause Steno nib + Walnut ink)
As we come into October, we are officially in our new routine for school/work and as the season transitions, and so are our bodies. I've been more mindful lately of self care. Feeling overwhelmed by life and eating too much mac n cheese (Laina's fave!), I was craving a full on refresh. There are many small things we can do each day to nod to our bodies and mind. It can be chamomile tea before bed, a yoga class in the morning, ten minutes of meditation before we get out of bed...and perhaps a cleanse. While there isn't a wrong time to begin, the fall is a great time to pay a little more attention to our bodies as we come out of summer and into autumn. At the end of September, I did a Fall Cleanse and Rejuvenation. I had never done one before and this particular cleanse/rejuvenation followed the Ayurvedic principles of maintaining a mono-diet along with herbal supplements, asana, pranayama and agni sara. According to Ayurveda, our bodies transition with the seasons and the following five elements: earth, water, fire, air and space. It's important to note because our bodies become imbalanced and there are a few simple things we can do to get back on track and feel great again. My cleanse was three days, followed by one week of rejuvenation. It was a completely attainable cleanse AND I didn't starve!
I did cut out coffee, wine, dairy and gluten. It wasn't that hard at all, and at this point, I feel a whole lot lighter and refreshed! BUT, I did go through a period of of dealing with some emotional and physical instability. Meaning, Day 2 was kinda brutal. I had a headache that I couldn't shake all day despite the copious amount of water I drank. I was also absolutely exhausted and spent the day almost in its entirety napping! Emotionally, what came along with that was a bit of frustration. I almost didn't think I could do the third day! But I persisted and I'm really glad I did. After a long sleep, Day 3 was much easier and now post cleanse, I continue to enjoy eating kitchari (it's quite tasty and you really will feel great after eating it!). I had a cup of coffee about a week later and absolutely enjoyed it, but I don't really want to drink a lot of coffee like prior to the cleanse. Same thing with wine and even eating in general. I'm just not craving things like pasta or pizza and since I feel better, I'd really like to keep it going!
What measures or routines or small changes do you make for self care? And do you practice daily, or only when you're feeling off balance? If you're interested in learning more about a cleanse using Ayurvedic principles, feel free to check out the information here.
If you choose to do a cleanse, I highly recommend you have some time carved out where you can be curious how you are feeling emotionally and physically. Your body detoxes and practicing asana is amazing and helps push things that we are holding onto through and out of our bodies. (I did yoga twice one day during my cleanse!) Allow yourself to really feel what's going on.
Happy Friday everyone! For those of you who are local...it's been rainy and rainy and rainy for what feels like never ending, amiright?! Welp, this weekend is gonna look a bit different here in the Mid-Atlantic--YAY! Been feeling these muted fall colors lately (mood board above) and I'm pumped that this weekend is going to look and feel like fall.
Laina and I have a busy weekend full of birthday parties, decking out our porch with mums and pumpkins and a hayride ending with S'mores! And just generally enjoying the outdoors as much as we can. This time of year is a favorite for most, including myself. What are some of your favorite things to do this time of year? It seems like there is always so much more going on in the fall than any other time of year!
Before you head off and enjoy your weekend, here are a few links from around the web that you should check out! A little something for everyone!
This beautiful cookbook.
This bralette. (I totally have it)
Thinking I may make this apple butter over the weekend.
Definitely making this mushroom and kale risotto!
For Chester County locals, Laina and I will be hitting up this event at Mt. Cuba Center, and likely apple picking over at Highland Orchards.
A really great article on bullying - warning signs and prevention.
Some of my latest projects over on Instagram!
Hi, hello there! After a long pause online (blogging) and ultimately deciding to end my previous blog, Our Sweetened Life, I decided to start sharing life again here at this space. Welcome to a fresh start, blogging all over again, and I hope you join me and my life adventures with my sweet little Laina girl.
Through my sharing, I hope to inspire and open the space up for discussion. Most of you may know I'm a single momma of a sweet little 4 year old girl who keeps me on my toes and makes me want to be a better version of myself. I mean...I made my match, right?! She's a bright, hilarious and open child. She's pretty much down for everything and enjoys every adventure we experience. Her favorite things right now are ballet, gymnastics, baking yumminess with me, playing teacher and seeing where the wind takes her.
I'm planning to resurrect my favorite hobbies and share once again things that inspire me, my photography, my baking, my love of the outdoors and all things CALLIGRAPHY! I look forward to sharing all of that right here with you. I can't tell you how much I've MISSED blogging and sharing. And therefore, SO pumped to finally start again.
I feel compelled to offer an explanation as to why I stopped. Some of my life struggles since pausing my blog in 2016 includes a very major and long battle with Lyme Disease, followed by separation and divorce. Then in perfect timing, job loss! And it's crazy to realize all that has happened in such a short period of time (like all in less than a year). Yet took years in the making, really.
All is not lost though. And every day I had the choice to decide wether I would stay lost or rise above and believe that things will shift and it's all meant to be. And will get better. "We are exactly where we should be." I truly love and believe that quote, even though I spent many mornings in yoga crying on my mat and swearing at that very quote. Along the way, I have learned many lessons and feel as though I have constantly been put to the test. Countless sleepless nights, countless rejections, questioning my nature and abilities, confusion, sadness, doubt, all very normal shit! At the same time, I can say "it could always be worse".
Because the truth is, my health is in a great place. The truth is, I have developed and maintained a healthy relationship with my ex and we are kinda nailing the co-parenting thing. The truth is, I was really happy to be laid off. Not really. But kinda. I was ready and wanting a big change. And ironically, shortly after getting laid off, things with The Paperly Studio took off. It's been a JOURNEY for sure. I'm still not quite on firm ground, and I know sharing all this puts me in a vulnerable place, but heck, that's where I've been for a while! And maybe you are gong through something similar? Just know, YOU AREN'T ALONE.
There is so much I want to share! I want to share what it's like being friends with your ex husband. I want to share my insecurities when it comes to parenting. I want to share the pain deep in my soul about my divorce and separating our family--because it's very real and worth sharing. I want to share how difficult and doubtful its felt to completely change my career. It's hard lemme tell ya. It won't all be serious though! I've got lots of beautiful and inspiring stories and creative things in the making....so, stay tuned my friends. I hope you come here for not only beautiful calligraphy and hand lettering but also some thoughts on life and all the adventures we are having. For now, here are some cute pics!