Labor Day Weekend: S’mores Bar

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We spent Labor Day weekend visiting my in-laws in Chattanooga, Tennessee. It was our first time in their new hometown and we had a blast exploring the area! Our weekend was full of fun and adventure- rafting, hiking, and swimming! We also wanted to celebrate my mother-in-law, Suzi’s, birthday while we were there. They had just finished building a new patio and fire pit, so a s’mores bar seemed like the perfect party option! We picked up regular and toasted coconut marshmallows, graham crackers, and lots of chocolate topping options- Reese’s, Ghirardelli squares, and classic Hershey’s. I had to try them all- research, of course.

*All photos are mine, unless stated otherwise

Celebrate Everyday! Laura

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We All Scream For Ice Cream

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With summer coming to a close (nooooooo), I wanted to have one last summer-themed get together. What’s more appropriate than an ice cream party?! And lately, I’ve been craving ice cream sandwiches, so I decided to do an ice cream sandwich bar.  I had every intention of providing my friends with freshly baked cookies, but of course that didn’t happen. Instead, I grabbed my favorite cookies from the Jewel bakery in sugar, chocolate chip, and chocolate brownie flavors. Put those guys on a white plate and you can totally get away with it! I chose classic vanilla and chocolate ice creams and my favorite toppings, sprinkles and chocolate chips, and the party was complete!

I love doing food and dessert bars for parties. They are super easy and always a crowd-pleaser. And Pinterest has so many creative and fun ideas. I see in my future a waffle bar, s’mores bar, hot chocolate bar, and caramel apple bar. Always willing to throw a party as an excuse to stuff my face!

White Bowl: Pottery Barn // Scooper: KitchenAid // Small Bowls: Target // White Plate: Bed Bath & Beyond // Wooden Spoons: Michael’s

*All photos are mine, unless stated otherwise

Celebrate Everyday! Laura

Fresh From The Farmers Market

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This past weekend I stopped by the neighborhood farmers market with a couple of friends. However, it wasn’t until this weekend that I realized there was a farmers market steps away from our apartment! I always assumed it was one of the many weekend festivals in Chicago (beerfest, Germanfest, Old Town-fest, art fest…so many fests) amd tried to steer clear. But no, it was just a cute little farmers market that’s been going on all summer!

The flower selection was on point at this particular market! I always seem to get either flowers or cheese at farmers markets- 2 of my favorite household staples. The dahlias and snapdragons specifically caught my eye. I wanted to make an end-of-summer/beginning-of-fall flower arrangement. I’m finally, but sadly, moving on from the peonies and hydrangeas of spring and summer. One of my favorite shades for fall is purple. The snapdragons were a bright fuschia, which seemed like the perfect shade for a “transition” flower. And, when paired with cream dahlias and recycled milk jars, they made adorable vintage-looking arrangements!

These would look great at any late August or early fall event. I’m imagining them at a rustic wedding reception,  lined up on a giant farm table with lots of candles!

*All photos are mine, unless stated otherwise

Celebrate Everyday! Laura

I Heart Austin!

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My best friends and I went on a trip to Austin this past weekend and we had the best time. We all fell in love with the city! The weekend definitely didn’t feel long enough, but we tried to get as much done as we could. Here are a few of my recommendations!

1. Rent a house! Renting a house is such a fun alternative to renting a hotel. Homes have common spaces and room for dining in. Great for big groups of friends! We used VRBO and were so happy with our affordable and adorable house!

2. Eat and drink here! – definitely do brunch at the South Congress Cafe. Lots of fun cocktails to choose from and a famous carrot cake french toast. Order pizza from Home Slice– huge pieces of thin crust pizza that taste heavenly! Sip drinks on the patio at Hotel San Jose. Great for groups looking to unwind in the shade! Stop by Amy’s Ice Cream for a snack. Lots of fun flavors to try, like sweet cream, strawberry, or Mexican vanilla. There are also a few flavors with alcohol for you party animals out there!

3. Go on a wine tour! We did the Texas Winos wine tour and it was awesome! The trip included transportation, lunch, and wine tastings at 3 vineyards. Great way to spend the majority of your day!

4. Do this too! Make sure to check out these spots: famous wall murals, Barton Springs, and live music on South Congress Avenue.

5. Decorate, of course! I found these “I heart Austin” stickers and Austin postcards on Zazzle at such a affordable price. No girls trip is complete without some sort of party decor!

All photos are my own, unless stated otherwise

Celebrate Everyday! Laura

Rustic Outdoor Wedding

imageimageimageimageimageimageimageimageimageimageMy brother and sister-in-law just got their wedding photos back and I couldn’t wait to share a few! Their ceremony took place outdoors under a giant gorgeous tree. Luckily, the rain held off that day and the clouds created the most amazing light for the ceremony and for these photos! The bride’s dad is incredibly handy and created the ceremony of her dreams. He constructed the wooden double door entrance, while the groomsmen decorated the tree with market lights, light bulbs, and mason jars. Finishing touches included: flower petals scattered on the aisle and flower jars hanging from chairs. It was truly a dreamy and pinterestworthy scene!

*all photos by West Michigan Photography

Celebrate Everyday! Laura

Preppy Pony Party

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These are pics from the cuteness that was my weekend! The little girl I nanny for celebrated her second birthday on Sunday with a preppy pony party! I helped out with the decor for the party, which was all navy and pink and just adorable. The party was at the Arlington Race Track, hence the derby hats and overall preppiness! The best part of it all? Asking the birthday girl to say preppy pony party- “peppy pony pawty”. Ahh the cuteness kills me!

* all photos are mine, unless stated otherwise

Celebrate Everyday! Laura

Semi Homemade Shortcake

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Remember “Semi Homemade Cooking With Sandra Lee” on the Food Network? I was OBSESSED with this show. I think it had to do with the fact that every meal had a theme and tablescape. Or maybe, because Sandra Lee always made a coordinating cocktail. My dad eloquently referred to her as the booze lady (see here). Ahhh how Sandra loved a good party. Her method was to save time by making “semi homemade meals”. She mixed store-bought items with fresh-out-of-the-oven things. I liked her style. For me, I just like to “assemble” food. So when I say “semi homemade shortcake” I actually mean “I assembled this shortcake all by myself”. Same thing, right?

This strawberry shortcake was super easy and so tasty. Just thaw a Sara Lee frozen angel food cake or pound cake (I know, I know. It’s not actual shortcake). Then, chop it up into cubes and layer it into a jar with cool whip and fresh strawberries. I paired the dessert with gingham napkins and the cutest wooden spoons (I couldn’t help myself, they were in the dollar bin. Which means they were free…). This is a great little dessert for any summer get together!

Cake Stand: Target (mint in stores, white online) / Wooden Spoons: Michael’s / Napkins: old (similar here)

* all photos are mine, unless stated otherwise

Celebrate Everyday! Laura