Rustic Chic Baby Shower

Elizabeths Baby Shower (3)This past weekend our family celebrated something wonderful {well, we've actually been celebrating for months but on Sunday we went all out}! My daughter Elizabeth and her husband Jon are expecting their first baby in January. Her sisters and I couldn't wait to plan the shower. In fact, the minute we found out they were expecting we were on it. It's who we are. Planning parties is my favorite thing to do and my daughters are right there with me. It was a beautiful shower and a fabulous day so we wanted to share it with you.

Elizabeths Baby Shower (13)We chose a unique location at Historic Acres of Hershey. The venue was once a working farmland and is home to an Antique Mall that has been in existence for over 20 years. The Coop was the perfect setting for our Rustic Chic themed baby shower.

Elizabeths Baby Shower (4)The bright yellow doors were a wonderful welcome into this adorable building. The antique wood floors, exposed wood beams and scattered chandeliers had me at hello.

Elizabeths Baby Shower (6)Elizabeth and Jon live in Alaska (I know, let's not go there) so we wanted to keep the theme clean, fresh and earthy to mirror the life they are living. The gender of the baby had not been revealed so we decided to keep the decor all white with touches of green. The tables were covered with Staccato linens  and topped with beautiful fresh flower arrangements that included succulents, a personal favorite.

Elizabeths Baby Shower (7)We added a non-traditional touch by placing gilded woodland animals (reminiscent of Alaska) around the tables along with potted succulent favors for the guests.

Elizabeths Baby Shower (10)A sweets table was a must and all white was the theme here as well. Pretty little paper bags were placed on the table so guests could take home their treats.

Elizabeths Baby Shower (9)This simple white cake was the highlight of the dessert table. I think we all fell in love with the adorable handmade bear topper that Kyrsten of Kyrsten's Sweet Designs created especially for Elizabeth.

Elizabeths Baby Shower (5)A clothesline full of onesies added the baby element to the shower and was the focal point over the buffet.

Elizabeths Baby Shower (11)In order to stick with a simple, clean look we opted for neutral colored baby clothes and added handmade fabric tassels to the onesie garland. I'm in love with this look!

Elizabeths Baby Shower (12)Pink or blue drink stirrers were a fun way for guests to share their opinion on whether the baby was a boy or girl.... most people chose blue!

Elizabeths Baby Shower (1)Shower games seem silly at times but offering them as an option creates an element of fun and sparks conversation. This game gave the guests a chance to guess how big Elizabeth's baby bump was. It was a huge hit!

Elizabeths Baby Shower (2)The Price is Right guessing game was a hit as well, mostly with moms who know all too well what it costs to shop for a baby!

Elizabeths Baby Shower (14)The absolute most favorite moment and highlight of the day was when Elizabeth surprised her guests as she opened a huge package (supposedly from Jon) that released pink helium balloons revealing that their little bundle was indeed a girl. Words just cannot express the joy that filled that room. It was truly one of the most exciting things I have ever witnessed. I had the privilege of helping with the surprise so to have the opportunity to sit back and watch the reaction was awesome!

Elizabeths Baby Shower (16)Elizabeth loves s'mores so we decided to set up a s'more bar for the guests outside on the patio.

Elizabeths Baby Shower (15)We got the men in the family involved and asked Elizabeth's dad and brother Michael to create a table top version of a fire pit to keep things simple. It was a huge hit with no mess and easy clean up!

Elizabeths Baby Shower (8)It was a fabulous day and these girls made it happen. I am truly blessed to not only have 3 amazing daughters (and a very talented son) but to have the most wonderful family and friends to share these special moments. Life is so much better when you are giving so find what makes you happy and share it with someone.

Celebrate the little things and find the joy in everything. It's what makes life so worthwhile!

Enjoy the day,

Leslie xo

 Photo Credit- Doug Reese, Leslie Reese

*A special thanks to Doug Reese Photo for the use of his photos.

Paper Flower Wall DIY

Paper Flower Wall via Leslie ReeseI am one of those people who is always looking forward to the next party or celebration. I just love making the most out of any holiday or event.  I absolutely loved helping two of my daughters plan their weddings and I honestly can't wait to do it again someday for the next one! I live for this stuff! What's fun is that each wedding is as unique as the people getting married. This past July Elizabeth and Jon got married at the Cork Factory Hotel in Lancaster, PA. Elizabeth had a vision and knew exactly what she wanted. In case you missed the last post, you can find a little recap here. It was truly a beautiful day. One of our favorite things from that day was the paper flower wall that stood as a back drop during the ceremony and reception. We made it ourselves. It was a labor of love and we were thrilled with the result. We thought it would be fun to share the progress of such a big project with you.

Flower Wall DIY via Leslie Reese (15) (640x489)It all started when we had the wonderful opportunity to attend the Martha Stewart Bridal Market Party in New York City last October. It was a real Who's Who in the event planning world. It was a fantastic night and as you can imagine there were amazing things to see and do. One of the things that caught our eye was the photo booth. The wall behind it was covered with white flowers. It was beautiful.

Flower Wall DIY via Leslie Reese (14) (640x426)At the time, Elizabeth was engaged and the minute she saw the wall she said " I want this at my wedding!" So naturally, since I'm her mom and a person who loves a creative challenge, my answer to her was " Then you shall have it!" We stood in awe of the wall taking pictures and examining the flowers. The whole thing was made from paper. It was so cool. No big deal...right? Well, sort of...

Flower Wall DIY via Leslie Reese (11) (640x426)Soon after we returned from New York City we began the process of making this wall happen. We had 9 months, which was plenty of time, but we couldn't find a how-to anywhere. Not on Martha Stewart's website and not even on Pinterest! So we decided to just figure it out. We started by making tons of paper flowers. We made patterns and cut them out of everything from single sheets of copy paper to rolls of craft paper. The varied weights in paper gave the flowers a few different looks.

Flower Wall DIY via Leslie Reese (12) (640x507)Elizabeth made a job out of designing and cutting paper flowers.

Flower Wall DIY via Leslie Reese (13) (640x426)We had flowers everywhere so we carefully attached them to a bare wall in our basement to keep them from getting wrinkled or torn.

Flower Wall DIY via Leslie Reese (4) (640x480)While we were creating the flowers, Jon and his dad constructed a 12' high by 8' wide wall that would wrap around the fireplace in the ballroom at the Cork Factory. We tested the fit before the big day to make sure it worked. The Cork Factory staff was fantastic to work with and were happy to accommodate us with this project. We just love them!

Flower Wall DIY via Leslie Reese (6) (480x640)Once the wall was constructed we attached the flowers to it. We used a combination of glue and staples.

Flower Wall DIY via Leslie Reese (5) (529x640)In order to make it portable Jon and his dad used five separate boards to create the wall. Three across the front and one on each side. They would all be attached together at the venue.

Flower Wall DIY via Leslie Reese (7) (480x640)Once most of the flowers were attached we stood each section of the wall up to see how it looked (it helped that Jon's dad's basement had high ceilings!). We added more flowers to completely fill the wall.

Flower Wall DIY via Leslie Reese (8) (501x640)The wall was transported to the venue the day of the wedding in a covered truck. A HUGE thank you to Jon's dad Glenn for making that happen!

Flower Wall DIY via Leslie Reese (640x426)When the wall was set up in the ballroom we touched it up with a few more flowers and a little bit of glue. We lined the base of the wall with glass vessels filled with water and floating candles. It softened the look and gave the wall a romantic glow.

Flower Wall DIY via Leslie Reese (1) (640x426)Mission accomplished!

Flower Wall DIY via Leslie Reese (3)This paper flower wall was truly a labor of love. Elizabeth had a vision and with some hard work and  the collaboration of some amazing people it became a reality. And it was perfect!

Have a beautiful day!

Leslie xo

Hello September

Elizabeth and Jon  Wedding July 6 2013Welcome to September! I can't believe July and August are over. How did that happen? It seems like just yesterday I was saying "I'll be back soon" and all of a sudden we fast forward to September and the last few months are memories. I hope you had a wonderful summer! Mine was filled with celebrations, new beginnings, adventures and time spent with family and friends. It flew by quickly! When that happens we sometimes find ourselves hanging onto the season, not wanting to let go of the here and now. Other times we feel ready for a change. It's why those back to school commercials resonate with mothers everywhere! Either way, it's time for transition and ready or not, here it comes. I love this time of year so I will be embracing the new season and all that it brings but before I jump into fall recipes and cool weather projects, I want to share one of my favorite summer memories with you.

My daughter Elizabeth was married to the love of her life, Jon, in July. It was a magical day and I can honestly say I have never seen her happier. The entire process leading up to that day was wonderful. It was a fantastic collaboration of amazing people and it was one of the most enjoyable experiences I have ever had. I loved every minute of planning this special day with Elizabeth. We worked hard, laughed a lot and even shed a few tears. It was truly the highlight of our summer.

Cork Factory Hotel Wedding ~ Elizabeth and Jon The wedding was held at the Cork Factory Hotel in Lancaster, PA. The wood ceilings and brick walls of this 19th Century building once housed the historic Armstrong Cork and Kerr Glass companies. This well preserved structure was a perfect setting for Elizabeth and Jon's special day. The awesome photos in this post are the work of New Chapters Photography, in Harrisburg, PA.

Handmade Paper Flower Wall via Leslie ReeseElizabeth had a vision for a white flower wall that would be the backdrop for her wedding ceremony. After weeks of cutting and gluing, we covered the entire 8' X 12' structure with handmade paper flowers that we designed ourselves. We were thrilled with the end result. I will be sharing the experience from start to finish in an upcoming post.

Candles and Paper Flowers via Leslie ReeseFloating candles in a variety of glass vessels lined the bottom of the flower wall giving it a soft romantic glow.

Wedding Programs via Leslie ReeseHandmade programs tied with coral ribbon were hanging from chiavari chairs for each guest.

Simple Garden Flowers via Leslie Reese #weddingsElizabeth wanted simple but elegant hand tied bouquets of garden flowers. Blooms by Vickrey in Camp Hill, PA did a fantastic job with the entire wedding. Owner Mark Vickrey was on site all day making sure everything went as planned. Not only did that give us peace of mind, Mark was a blast to work with. He is one of our favorite vendors.

Handmade Wedding Headpiece via Leslie ReeseElizabeth's headpiece was beautifully unique and a perfect compliment to her dress. When she decided to wear a headband I thought I would try to make one for her. I designed it to include a removable veil so she could wear the headband during the reception. It was so simple to make and was special for both of us.

Babies Breath Balls #weddings #flowersSimple elegance was the goal for this wedding. Elizabeth chose balls of babies breath, some of which were suspended over the tables, instead of traditional arrangements. Another job well done by Blooms by Vickrey.

Individual Miniature Wedding Cakes via Leslie ReeseIndividual miniature wedding cakes made by Kyrsten's Sweet Designs were placed on the tables for each guest. Kyrsten is an extremely talented local baker and cake designer from Harrisburg, PA. I will be sharing more about her and her amazing work in an upcoming post.

Chocolate Covered Sugar Cookie Spoons #events #coffee #tea via Leslie ReeseA few of our favorite things from this special day were the ice cream bar, the homemade chocolate covered sugar cookie spoons on the coffee bar and the fact that the guests loved taking their cakes home in individual boxes. We even included a fork just in case they wanted to dig in before they got home!

It was a wonderful day and a memory that will last a lifetime! What is your favorite summer memory? Do you have one or are there many that you will tuck away? It feels good to be blogging again! I'm looking forward to sharing lots of new things this fall so stop back soon. I hope your summer was memorable and you are heading into the new season looking forward to all of the wonderful things to come! There are so many!

Leslie xo

Photo credit and many thanks to New Chapters Photography! Another favorite vendor!

Favorite Things

Cocktails and Cake Decorating (2)Cocktails and Cake Decorating

Last night I hosted a Cocktails and Cake Decorating Class at The Baker's Table in Lancaster, PA.  This hip new bakery was the perfect place for a Girl's Night Out. I remember the first time I stopped in. I took one look at the large communal table and collection of antique baking tools that decorate the room and I knew this was a place I would visit often.  The casual but creatively arranged space makes a great backdrop for so many events. I held my daughter's bridal shower at The Baker's Table in February and once that was over, I suddenly felt the urge to throw another party (this happens often) so I decided a cake decorating class would be next on the list. It was a fantastic night full of great food, lots of laughs and a whole lot of buttercream! It was so much fun, I thought I would share some of it with you! Happy Friday!

Cocktails and Cake Decorating - CopyAttention to detail is so important and The Baker's Table excels at it. Everything from drinks to food was beautifully arranged. It's one of the things I love about this place!

Cocktails and Cake Decorating (1)A wonderful selection of hors d'oeuvres including Grilled Chicken Caesar Salad and Foccacia Pizza were on the menu.

Cocktails and Cake Decorating (3)Sparkling wine in a can?  This Sofia Blanc de Blanc Mini is the cutest thing I've ever seen on a cocktail menu!

Cocktails and Cake Decorating - Copy (2)Executive Chef Tammy Hurley led the decorating class and taught us how to frost and decorate a cake with basic buttercream. I am blown away by her talent!

Cocktails and Cake Decorating (1) - CopyShe makes it look so easy!

Cocktails and Cake Decorating (3) - CopyTammy also shared her secrets on decorating with melted chocolate.

Cocktails and Cake Decorating (5)Each guest had the chance to test their skills on their own cake.

Cocktails and Cake Decorating (4)Bags filled with frosting and decorating tips were available to try the different designs on our cakes.

Cocktails and Cake Decorating (6)Beautifully decorated cakes were placed on the table to guide and inspire us.

Cocktails and Cake Decorating (2) - CopyAfter my first swirl, I thought this was going to be easy.

Cocktails and Cake Decorating - Copy (3)After a few more swirls, I realized it was not easy and I gained even more respect for Tammy!

Cocktails and Cake Decorating (8)Getting together with good friends was so much fun. There were lots of laughs as we frosted our way through this class.

Cocktails and Cake Decorating (7)Having my mother and two of my daughters at the event was really special. I love making memories with them.

These are a few of the finished cakes. I'd say there are some talented cake decorators out there!  Cocktails and Cake Decorating (4) - CopyCocktails and Cake Decorating (5) - Copy Cocktails and Cake Decorating (6) - CopyThe Cocktails and Cake Decorating Class was a blast and I can't wait to do it again! Whenever you bring great people, cool places and fun ideas together, it's bound to be a wonderful event! Maybe we'll see you at the next one! Have a wonderful weekend!

Leslie xo

Favorite Things

Sprinkle_Baby_Shower (1)Tuesday I shared my daughter Elizabeth's bridal shower with you. I posted pictures and told you what a wonderful event it was. What I didn't tell you, was that the very next day we had another party. This one was for my daughter Lauren. She and her husband are expecting their second child in May. When we realized all of Lauren's aunts were going to be in the same place at the same time, we decided to celebrate! We threw a surprise "Sprinkle" for Lauren, which is a smaller version of a baby shower. We kept the party simple, just close family, and enjoyed a lovely brunch in a very laid back setting. I thought it would be fun to share some favorite shots from that day. Happy Friday!

Sprinkle_Baby_Shower (3)A simple invitation was tucked inside a velum envelope filled with tissue paper confetti. Sprinkle_Baby_ShowerWe filled the drawers of a baby dresser with colored tissue paper and small gifts. It was a nice way to display a large item that could not be wrapped.

Sprinkle_Baby_Shower (11)We used colored sprinkles to decorate everything from food to flower vases.

Sprinkle_Baby_Shower (2)A thin glass vase filled with water and flowers was placed inside a larger vase. Colored sprinkles were placed in between the glass to create the illusion of one sprinkle filled vase.

Sprinkle_Baby_Shower (6)To keep it simple, we placed tissue paper flowers in the chandelier that hung over the table.

Sprinkle_Baby_Shower (4)Colorful polka dots complimented the sprinkles on the table.

Sprinkle_Baby_Shower (5)Fresh fruit was served in waffle cones.

Sprinkle_Baby_Shower (9)French toast souffle with maple syrup.

Sprinkle_Baby_Shower (10)Sun-dried tomato, asparagus and cheese Frittata.

Sprinkle_Baby_Shower (8)The Ducky Baby Shower Punch was a huge hit, and looked so adorable on the table.

Sprinkle_Baby_Shower (12)Festive punch cups! We brushed the rims lightly with Karo Syrup before dipping them in sprinkles.

Sprinkle_Baby_Shower (7)Strawberry Cheesecake Bites.

Sprinkle_Baby_Shower (13)Funfetti cupcakes with sprinkled frosting.

From weddings to babies our week was full of celebrating! It was challenging to keep details straight and secrets safe, but in the end, both parties were a huge success! Next up, a little rest and relaxation!

Have a great weekend!

Leslie xo

Bridal Shower Love

Elizabeth-Bridal-Shower (12)This past weekend was a very special weekend for our family. My daughter, Elizabeth, is getting married this summer and on Saturday, we honored her at a beautiful bridal shower, styled especially for her. It was an incredible afternoon spent with family and friends at a fabulous little bakery called The Baker's Table, in Lancaster, PA. The focus was on color, and a simple but hip, non-traditional theme. The result was a fresh, clean look in a comfortable setting and a very happy bride-to-be. I thought it would be fun to share photos from the day along with a few links on how and where to find some of the things we used. The shower was a collaboration between myself and Elizabeth's sisters, Lauren and Lynsie. Our ideas were simple but came together beautifully, creating a memorable event.

Elizabeth-Bridal-ShowerA beautiful 14' X 5' table, crafted out of wood beams that were a part of the original building structure, is the focal point in this space. We placed a gold Chevron Paper Runner down the middle of the table. Five large bowls of flowers were placed along the runner. We decided to go with lots of color instead of just the colors that were chosen for the wedding to make the table pop. Bear-grass, stretched between two vases, was used to create an archway between each flower arrangement.Elizabeth-Bridal-Shower (1)Placemats with sketches of girls in pretty dresses were perfect for a bridal shower table setting. A bright yellow tissue paper flower filled with petite chocolate candies, was placed in the center of each one.

Elizabeth-Bridal-Shower (2)A mason jar was used to hold the utensils and keep the placemats from looking cluttered. The idea came from The Baker's Table website. We used bright beaded bracelets for napkin rings and added a pretty paper straw to dress it up for a shower. The jars added something fun to the table and the bracelets doubled as a small favor for the guests.

Elizabeth-Bridal-Shower (3)A sign made with satin ribbons and a wooden frame was used to direct guests to the gift table.

Elizabeth-Bridal-Shower (8)A Blushing Bride Cocktail was chosen to toast Elizabeth on her special day. The bride-to-be, dressed in a coral sweater, is surrounded by her beautiful bridesmaids.

Elizabeth-Bridal-Shower (5)The pastry chef at The Baker's Table made a delicious vanilla cake filled with chocolate mousse for Elizabeth. It was beautifully frosted with bright stripes of buttercream frosting.

Elizabeth-Bridal-Shower (4)The Baker's Table celebrates baking and for that reason alone, it is the place to go for some of the most wonderful baked goods around. We incorporated some favorite desserts, in addition to the cake, so that guests could experience what The Baker's Table is all about.

Elizabeth-Bridal-Shower (9)The desserts were served buffet style, which provided plenty of opportunity for guests to enjoy something sweet at their leisure.

Elizabeth-Bridal-Shower (10)What's a bridal shower without something fun to do during gift time? These Shower Libs provided plenty of entertainment for the guests.

Elizabeth-Bridal-Shower (6)Lauren and Lynsie came up with a game that was also quite entertaining. Wedding veils and bow-ties were glued to wooden dowels and guests were given one of each. The bridesmaids read answers to questions that Elizabeth and her fiance, Jon, had to answer before the shower. For example: We asked Elizabeth and Jon what their favorite color was. The answer was blue. Guests had to guess "who said it" and raise the appropriate stick, veil or bow-tie. It was a lot of fun.

Elizabeth-Bridal-Shower (7)One of my greatest blessings in life is having four amazing sisters. Three of them now live on the West Coast. All four of them traveled home just for the shower. Not one of them gave it a second thought. Distance is not something that gets in the way of the most special occasions in our family. I will never take for granted how lucky I am to have these women as my best friends in life. Our weekend was full of laughing until we cried, catching up and celebrating some wonderful things.

Elizabeth-Bridal-Shower (11) (640x464)This is Elizabeth with her Mimi. My mother is the woman who we look up to, admire and adore. She is another wonderful blessing in all of our lives.

The party is over and my sisters are gone but hey, who said we can't plan another party? It's what my girls and I love to do and I can't wait to bring you the next one. There are some fun things on the calendar and I hope to share them all with you. Remember to have fun with whatever it is you are doing each day. It's the little things that make the difference!

Have a great week!

Leslie xo

Favorite Things

This past Monday, I had a wonderful opportunity to travel to New York City to attend the Martha Stewart Weddings Bridal Market Party on behalf of Best Friends for Frosting, an online dessert magazine. As a contributor for BFFF, I was asked to represent our team at the event. It was an assignment I was happy to accept. The evening was spectacular and I am still pinching myself because I feel like I was dreaming. You can read about my experience at Best Friends For Frosting but for today's post, it only seems fitting that I share my favorite moments from the night. I hope you all had a great week. Happy Friday!

The Party

I was so excited that I could take two of my daughters, Lynsie and Elizabeth, with me. We had so much fun together.

We were fortunate enough to be standing front and center when Martha Stewart and Darcy Miller kicked off the evening.

I was thrilled to meet Darcy Miller, Editorial Director for Martha Stewart Weddings

We were honored to be guests at the (unofficial) wedding ceremony of Alex Pelling and Lisa Gant, the couple behind the blog 2 People 1 Life.

Watching famous cake designer Sylvia Weinstock personally deliver and serve a cake she designed for Alex and Lisa.

Chatting with American jazz musician Steve Tyrell.

I just loved the flowers on the wedding cake.

A paper dress from Paper Posy Designs.

The sugar flower I brought home from the Sugar Flower Cake Shop.

The amazing talent of Sandy Patangay, from Creme Delicious. I was amazed at the detail in her Henna Cake.

Martha Stewart Living Behind the Scenes Tour

The fascinating inspiration boards made to create the magazine pages at Martha Stewart Living.

Cake stands, cake stands, cake stands!

The prop house for magazine photo shoots.

A gingerbread house that was in the middle of construction. I wonder if we will be seeing this in the holiday edition of Martha Stewart Living.

The lesson for this week is Never Say Never! Have a wonderful weekend!

Leslie xo

Photos by Leslie Reese