Random Round Up: All Kinds of Good Stuff

So many fun things for my birthday weekend! It was a tough bill to only choose a few photos to share today - I'm even leaving out an entire morning spent at an outdoor, once-yearly antique fair... But we'll go through that later in the week. One picture just wouldn't do it justice.
A potentially once-in-a-lifetime experience for the hubs. So exciting!!
What's better than a random 'I love you friend' note in the mail?
A 1926 Vogue cover captures the thrill of entering a new era of equal rights all over again in 2015.
Pedicures have a whole other level of amazingness pregnant. Won't be my last, that's for sure.
Nate's parents got a puppy! Cooper can't get enough of Tucker...
As evidenced by this crash landing trying to get close to the big kid.
Happy Monday!


Random Round Up: Blooms and Tunes

I swear I'm not holding out on showing you project progress photos for house stuff. It's just that so many things are in so much chaos right now there's not much to show. Maybe I'm speaking for myself here, but who wants to look at a mess on their blog reading break!? We all get to see enough of that at home, amiright? #RealTalk
So we'll focus on the pleasant aspects of the past weekend - One full of blooms and sun and puggle snuggles... and a LOT of sweat and heavy lifting, but that's a tale for another day.
Tucker 'helping' me re-work the new guest room.
I am utterly obsessed with this super fun new album. Perfect summer music.
Courtesy of the very green thumb of my friend Rachel. Stunning!
A beautiful Saturday evening family cruise.
I don't know what this is, but the blooms are incredibly tiny and cascade in
clusters from bushes in a nearby park. I love them!
Have a great last full week of June (what?!)!


Five Fast Tips for a Destination Bachelorette Party

Planning a party can get hairy: Picking a date, planning a menu, decorating, and inviting the right people all gets to be a lot going on. Toss in a destination where you've never been, invitees you don't know, and money exchanging hands, and welp, you've got planning a destination bachelorette party.

I lived to tell the tale, and you can too. Here's what kept me sane, as well as a lil' synopsis of our time in the infamous New Orleans, Louisiana.

Tip 1: Work With The Bride
Yep, you want it to be a fun surprise, but there's a fine line between keeping things on the DL and adding an extra pile of stress to your planning plate. Talk out the big stuff: Invite list, to-do desires, and what kind of lodging she'd like. Bride Katy was amazing and actually chose our lodging - an incredible city-block-wide house with it's own pool - on her own. She also let me know that she wanted a few structured activities, but a lot of down time to wander around (and enjoy some pool-side lounging) too.
Tip 2: Read Reviews & Consider Various Budgets
Not everyone on the invite list can break the bank on one trip. And keep in mind too that 'breaking the bank' looks different for everyone. Katy landed our great house through VRBO - a website that offers homes that can be rented like hotel rooms - and each of us paid her what was due. I, on the other hand, used a lot of tourism websites as a jumping off place for my research. Because I'm the Maid of Honor, I decided to treat everyone to tickets for a French Quarter walking ghost tour. It wasn't an extravagant cost, and I felt like it was a nice gesture to make friends as I didn't know anyone going other than the bride. I chose the tour we took based on awesome reviews from New Orleans tourism sites, as well as awards the tour had received over the years.
Our swamp tour I chose based on similar criteria, as well as the fact that our group was not renting a car of any kind. The tour we took offered a pickup option which sent a small tour bus to and from the swamp. As this rang in at $42 per person, I let people choose if they wanted to attend or not. A yes/no deadline was emailed to the group, followed by a payment due date to those attending. PayPal proved a simple, secure, and easy-for-everyone form of exchanging money.
Tip 3: Transportation Apps Are Awesome
We used both public transportation options as well as taxi services on our trip, and never had a problem getting where we needed to go. These days, many city transportation authorities offer downloadable schedules or apps that update when there are changes in the system. We used it often for streetcar and bus schedules. Check to see if a multi-day public transportation pass is available too: We were able to pick up discounted three day streetcar/bus passes from a Walgreens drug store near our house.
Uber is a fantastic private car taxi service that functions easily from the Uber app, and we couldn't have gotten by without it. Download it and get to know it if you're headed for a populous city (it's not quite everywhere yet, but spreading fast). Cash-free and literally in the palm of your hand, it was a life-saver on several occasions.
Happy Uber Campers!
Tip 4: Pack Flat Favors
What's a party without a party favor? Air travel and packing goodies can be tough - especially if you're like me and are a carry-on only kind of gal. I decided to go for some useful fun: Each girl got a wedding-color-themed hair tie, a temporary bachelorette party themed tattoo, and a ring pop. I also packed goodies like fun drinking straws, funny napkins, and drink markers shaped like little men in speedos. A little planning ahead can get you everything you need - I utilized Etsy, a trip to Target's dollar section, and Francesca's Closet to round things out.
Tattoos from here and hairties from here. Both awesome sellers!
These guys became our mascots and had all kinds of adventures.
Tip 5: Be Organized AND Flexible
It's a tough balance between the two, but you gotta create a plan and then roll with the punches as it all unfolds. I was a spreadsheet maniac prior to our outbound flight, keeping track of who had paid for what, when I needed to send reminders, and lists of locations and restaurants we may want to hit. A lot of the things on our list happened, but keeping the schedule open with lots of options to choose from was a winner with a large group of personalities. All of us managed to do pretty much everything we wanted to, due in large part to knowing our options. Having a list of restaurants around where we were staying was so handy, and knowing about various activities (shopping districts, historic locations, etc.) allowed us to never have to spend a lot of time wondering what to do next.
Local cuisine is a must-try.
Some Bourbon Street-area architecture.
Lafayette Cemetery - All New Orleans cemeteries are above ground crypts.
It's a fascinating and beautiful walk through.
Hope this helps, and that you enjoyed a little taste of NOLA along the way! Good luck planning - You'll survive, I promise!


Random Round Up: Baby Zone

It was a crazy-productive weekend, and I couldn't be happier about it. We registered (um, so fun.)! We built a crib and stroller! I tried a new frappucino at Starbucks!

Yes, all equally important in my world right now.
First backyard rose bush bouquet. It's perfuming the whole living room!
"Cotton Candy" frap from The Bux in title, raspberry cream in reality.
Either way: YUM.
"What is this new kennel you're building...?" (and nursery wall color sneaky peek!)
Completed crib structure (still needs a mattress), with the quilt my mother-in-law
made for baby. Her first quilt ever, can you believe it? Gorgeous.
And for those of you asking for bump pics, yes, I am taking weeklies but not really posting them anywhere to avoid being 'that girl' on Facebook. No one likes her. But here's one from a week+ ago, when we found out lil' one is a he:
Have a great week! We're gonna talk New Orleans and planning parties from afar later this week, mostly to make sure you non-baby folks don't fall asleep on your keyboards. Happy Monday, y'all.


The Verdict Is In...

It's a boy!

We'd honestly have been thrilled for either, but we're so excited to know he's a he.
Let the decorating begin!


Random Round Up: Sprummer

It's normally hitting mid-60's in temp around here this time of year, but with a weekend of 80+ degrees and a week ahead of high 70's, people are feeling summery even before the solstice. I joined 'em this weekend too; glorious!
Trim time in Baby J's room. So tedious... So worth it.
Savoring my last taste of New Orleans (macarons from Sucré on Magazine Street)
My one home-grown peony per year. Glorious.
Blackberry season is coming!
A baby shower in a stunning setting - Hello Mt. Rainer!
Enjoy the weather if you've got it, friends!


Random Round Up: NOLA

Fresh off the plane from Louisiana!

New Orleans, if we're getting specific. My dearest bride-to-be Katy and I worked together to plan her bachelorette bonanza, complete with French Quarter ghost tour, time with gators on a swamp boat, and lots and lots of sight seeing and good eats.

I'll post a more thorough recap another time, but thought a little peek into the trip might be fun:
Morning coffee, best had IN the pool.
French Quarter ghost tour, complete with creepy statue shadows.
Swamp tour with a Cayman named Al.
Chicory coffee and beignets: An absolute must from world famous Café du Monde.
Laissez les bon temps rouler!