Flora Fridays: Deep in the Heart of Texas


There are many things I love about living in Texas but seeing the bluebonnets every spring is definitely one of the highlights. Every year, around March through May, the bluebonnets and other wild flowers start peeking out from the fresh grass. For a brief time, they put on a stunning display unlike any other.

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It’s the one time of year I truly love (or at least don’t mind) my commute as I get to see an ever-changing display of bluebonnets, morning glories, Indian and Texas paintbrushes and more


I also find it quite amusing to see all the people stopped on the side of the road, taking pictures of their children in the flowers.


Although these pictures were taken this spring, it seems fitting to share them now since this week’s posts featured a classic, casual country-themed shower.

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Howdy from Texas!

Gingham Invitations


Making invitations yourself is easy and fun. Once you settle on your design, it’s easy to start making the number you need for guests. I use Powerpoint to make my invitation template. It’s easy to set up the parameters and move the text. You can also use PicMonkey.com or even Photoshop.

Step 1: Find the Right Words

An invitation can be beautiful, eye-catching, or unique but if it doesn’t convey the essential information, it’s pretty useless. Make sure to include the who, what, where, when, and why. Although you can add fun embellishments and language, be sure the essential information isn’t buried in fancy fonts or a confusing layout.

  • Name of the Guest of Honor – first and last name
  • What the event is celebrating – engagement, birthday, baby on the way
  • Date and time of the event – day of the week, date, and time with a.m./p.m.
  • Location of the event – full address
  • RSVP information – RSVP details with name, contact, info and deadline for reply or write “regrets only” with the same information
  • Any additional necessary information – if it’s a surprise party (see this post for tips), registry information (check etiquette books or sites for specific types of parties), host(s) names
  • If you need ideas or inspiration on wording invitations for specific parties, check out your favorite stationery websites. Decide whether you like language “honoring,” “celebrating,” etc.

Step 2: Layout the Words & Play With the Fonts

Once you’ve decided on the basic words, it’s time to start laying them out on your invitation template. Be sure to break the items up into different lines and emphasize important or special information (such as the guest of honor’s name). This can be done by adding extra space around those elements, using different color font, using larger or different fonts, and more.

Overall, you want the words on the invite to form a cohesive whole that flows together and doesn’t overwhelm the viewer. I often opt for a more simple layout of the words with up to 3-4 fonts so I can have more fun with the embellishing.

Step 3: Print a Test Copy and Play With Embellishments

Once you have the information laid out, print a test copy on your invitation paper and make sure you like how it looks. This test copy can be used to play with different ideas for embellishment such as washi tape, stickers, or other elements. I like to take a picture of each version I create on my phone so I can look back through all of them later to determine my favorite version.

Paper quality is key, especially if you are flat printing the invitations at home (or even at an office supply store). You can find nice, thick, textured flat notes at many stationery and craft stores. Don’t scrimp on paper quality. This also goes for the envelopes and any elements you are adding to the flat note.

For the gingham shower, I started with a nice quality flat note. Once I had the text layout, I played with washi tape and printable kraft paper labels. Although this invitation is pretty simple, the envelope liner really adds a nice touch without much additional effort. Stationery and craft stores sell easy-to-use envelope and envelope liner templates.

Step 4: Finalize Your Design & Start Making the Invitations

Once you have finalized the design, put it all together. Be sure to consider the envelopes, how you will address them, and if you will line them. There are many inexpensive and easy ways to really make an invitation stand out whether it’s lining the envelope, outlining the envelope edges, throwing some confetti in, and more. Really use the invitation to delight and dazzle your guests. You want them to be excited to attend, after all!


Bridal Shower – Gingham Style

Recently, a friend picked my brain for ideas for a bridal shower; of course, my mind started racing with thoughts. The bride is very laid back and a native Texan, so we thought this shower would be a fun way to celebrate her. Ultimately, she loved the idea of a casual, country chic theme. Here’s some inspiration for your next celebration!

I pulled together some ideas based on decorations I already had, as well as others that were easy and fun to execute. From DIY invitations to chocolate chip cookie favors, the key to this party (and many), is in the details. So often, it’s easy to get lost in the big picture of the theme, or even bogged down by a lot of small items that you’ve collected along the way. Instead, emphasize the little details that make an impact. The overall goal here is not more, but better.

For me, invitations are one of the most important components of any celebration (for more on selecting the best ones for your event, check out this post.) I’ll admit, I’m totally an invitation snob. But I don’t think it takes a lot of money, or even time, to make something really wonderful.


Whether you order the invitations or create them yourself, be sure to take a step back and decide if the design is visually appealing to you. While several fonts is excellent, the more you add the busier it gets. Don’t distract from the event details and overall look by going overboard.


Like I said, details are key. Adding some washi tape, printed labels with the couple’s initials and wedding date, as well as lining the envelope really take this invitation from bland to a party I would want to attend!

As with invitations, decorations can be simple and still make an impact. I love using paper (or even fabric) bunting. For this theme, I wanted a mix of patterns and solids so it didn’t get too busy. Attaching the pennants with twine adds a nice touch, and bonus – it’s super inexpensive!


A few years ago, I was on a paper flower kick. Looking back at this post earlier this year I guess you could say I still am! I made this wreath by attaching coffee filter flowers to a cardboard wreath frame. You can buy large packs of kraft and white coffee filters for a dollar and create a fun wreath in little to no time.


I’m definitely a fan of edible favors or even no favors! Consider what you would want to take home from an event and decide what works best with your theme and budget. Homemade, classic, chocolate chip cookies seemed perfect for a casual, country shower. Let guests nosh on them at the party, and prepare a few as favors as well.


Simply grab some Glassine Bags at your local craft of specialty baking store, some washi tape (which you may have also used on the invites), and some more kraft-colored labels with the couple’s details. Makes for a simply sweet favor!


Drink tags are always nice at a party, even just ones with different patterns. They add a little bit of festivity and make guests feel even more special without spending a lot of time or money. Grab some skewers and some wash tape and get to work. I know I keep hammering on about “details, details” but as you can see as this theme progresses, everything ties together nicely and you are able to overlap a lot of supplies. The goal is to achieve a seamless look without being too match-matchy.


What shower would be complete without a photo display (for more ideas, go herehere, or here). While I originally wanted a lattice wall of burlap ribbon, the execution was going to be more expensive than I anticipated. Instead, I improvised with some white butcher paper and craft paper I had on hand.


Using washi tape (I know, I think I have a problem! Confession – I had never used it before this.), I was able to personalize the couple’s name and create some fun clothes pins to attach their pictures to the board.


Even a framed bulletin board or other item with rustic charm could work great!


Last but not least, flowers! For me, flowers are almost as important as invitations or food. Oh, I don’t know…it’s all up there. Can they all be my favorite?

What casual country shower would be complete without a galvanized pail or mason jars? Take your pick. Even if you don’t use the mason jars for the flowers, you can use them for the drinks or for serving some of the food, or even for floating candles or votives. Just go on Pinterest – the possibilities are endless!

Would you, or have you, hosted a country chic shower?


Peacocks at the LA County Botanical Gardens


I have to admit, I’m not really a bird person. But after a recent trip to Pasadena, California and an up close look at some peacocks, I was fascinated by them. When we lived in Austin, there was a local restaurant that had white peacocks (according to Wikipedia they are not albinos but have a genetic mutation). I love their calls and of course, their plumage is quite spectacular.


We originally guessed that there were maybe 30-50 peafowl, including peacocks, peahens, and chicks, on the grounds. We later found out there are between 100-150! During our several visits, we were lucky enough to see several peacocks displaying, peahens, and even some young peafowl and chicks.


It was fascinating to watch them around the grounds, hear their calls, and try to figure out where they were hiding in the trees. Apparently they can fly short distances to reach roofs and trees. I loved watching the peacocks displaying their plumage. They would stand on rooftops or sidewalks, slowly rotating with their feathers open and spin slowly like a radar detector, showing their front and back to all sides.IMG_7181

Occasionally, they would subtly shake their feathers down and you would hear them shifting. We also found that they would flutter their back feathers and it would sound like a rain stick or rattlesnakes because of all the feathers and the speed at which they were moving. So incredible.


Have you seen peacocks up close and personal?

’80s Surprise Party Tips


Recently, I mentioned an ’80s-themed surprise party we threw for my dear friend’s 30th birthday. Today I’m sharing some tips for throwing a surprise party yourself!

1. Be sure to have someone who can come up with a good story and stick to it!

Even more important, try to host the party at a location you would normally go to for something else so you don’t have to make the story overly complicated or suspicious. For us, my friend’s husband is quite a good secret keeper and had a great story. They occasionally eat dinner with friends at the house the party was being hosted at, so he just acted like they were going over for a regular, Saturday night dinner.

2. Delegate!

Although the birthday girl’s husband started the whole party, he was great about including everyone that wanted to help and delegating tasks to various people based on their interests and talents. Three of us made decorations, one person provided the most incredible desserts, someone else hosted the party at their house, another brought the drinks, etc.


3. Be sure the invitation includes all the necessary information for a successful theme surprise party.

  • Include information on where to park so cars parked in front of the house don’t raise suspicion for the guest of honor.
  • What time guests should arrive and what time the birthday girl/boy will be arriving so guests know to come on time (or at least not in the middle of the surprise!).
  • Also, if costumes are involved, be sure to mention that on the invite so it’s clear to guests that they should dress up and join in the fun!

4. If it’s a surprise costume party, be sure to designate someone to select and prepare the costume for the birthday girl/boy.

How fun would it be to arrive at a costume surprise party as the birthday girl and not even get to have your own costume?! Not at all. I was lucky enough to get that task (among a few others) and my friend’s husband and I worked together on size and look to create a fun outfit for her to wear. Then, I wrapped it nicely in a white box with decorative cupcake paper taped to the lid, tied a bow on it, and wrote “Open ASAP!” Soon after she arrived, I told her she needed a costume and to open the box! My goal was to present her with something fun but not overly cumbersome to unwrap.

5. Have it catered!

Depending on the size of the party, you may want to have it catered. We had about 30 guests and it was so nice to have the food set up, served, and cleaned up by a local restaurant. It made hosting much easier on everyone.

'80s Photo Booth

Photo Booth props

6. Have a photo booth complete with backdrop and accessories!

One of the other members of the decor team set up a DSLR on a tripod with a 10 second timer. Then on the backyard fence, she set up a black sheet and added some ’80s pinwheels and we put the giant Rubik’s cubes out there. Everyone had a great time taking photos.

7. Use private Pinterest boards to share ideas for decor and desserts.

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8. Have fabulous, show-stopping desserts.

My friend’s sister-in-law is an amazingly talented baker who always creates beautiful desserts that are works of art. Hopefully, we will get some tips from her in the coming weeks!

9. Favors can be fun but not necessary.

If you have favors, such as neon Wayfarers and ’80s buttons/pins, be sure to make it clear that they are for guests to take home!

10. Make a guestbook/scrapbook for the guest of honor to take home.

Create spaces for guests to write birthday wishes and leave space for pictures from the photo booth. Be sure to add a copy of the party invitation, especially for a surprise party since the birthday girl/boy hasn’t even seen it!


Have you hosted a surprise party? What are your tips?