Dum, dum, dum…the dreaded debate! I will admit. I was adamant about making sure Parker got hooked on a paci (our term for pacifier) over her thumb. I’ve heard horror stories about thumb sucking children… More
On Sunday, I had a total win at our Super Bowl get together. It was a casual family watch party, but when everyone started chiming in on what they were bringing, I was at a complete loss. Wings, meatballs, buffalo chicken dip….all the classics were there, and I was stumped on my contribution.
Let me mention that as much as I love making parties look pretty and can nail everything coming together, I am no Julia Child in the kitchen. In fact, I tend to stick to basics or hire someone else to do the cooking (but man, can I make a spread of food look good :)).
So after hearing all of the savory deliciousness, I decided I needed to take the sweeter route and bring some sort of dessert. But I wanted it to be a snacky dessert if you will–something that could set out with everything else and still have a laid back feel to it.
Alas, funfetti dip…it was perfect! I had made a variation of this in the past, but it was more of a funfetti cheese ball. This was a yogurt-based dip, which made it slightly (ever so slightly) healthier than the cream cheese version I had made before. By bringing this, I balanced the savory treats, and it was easy to eat, especially with the little ones we had there. And the best part is it’s super easy to make!
-1 box funfetti cake mix
-1.5 cups vanilla yogurt
-2 cups Cool Whip
-1 tsp. vanilla extract
Mix together the funfetti cake mix, vanilla yogurt and Cool Whip. Add in the vanilla extract and stir until it has a nice whipped consistency. Garnish with colorful sprinkles and serve chilled with animal crackers and Nilla Wafers.
The cream cheese version of funfetti dip I had made for Easter was also a huge hit, so I’ve included the recipe below for you all to decide which one you like better!
-1.5 cups of funfetti cake mix
-1/2 cup powdered sugar
-3 Tbsp. sugar
-1/2 cup butter
-1 8 oz. package of cream cheese, softened
In a large bowl, beat together softened cream and butter. Add in the funfetti cake mix, sugar and powdered sugar and beat until well combined. Place mixture in plastic wrap, bring in the corners and form the mixture into a ball surrounded by the plastic wrap. Freeze for 1.5 hours or until the ball keeps its shape. Once firm, roll the ball in sprinkles until it’s completely covered. Serve with Nilla wafers.
If you know me well, you know I love a good bargain! Marshall’s is my jam, and so is the Dollar Stop at Target. I also love “redecorating” my house by taking all my knick knacks and decor off the shelves in my house, bringing them to a central location and then redistributing everything among the house to make it feel like I purchased new decorations.
So, it should come at no surprise that I love dual purposing party decor. Everyone always complains that parties become so expensive. Instead of purchasing disposable decor or things you will never again use, why not purchase things you can reuse not just at future parties but in your everyday.
My first example has to be one of my favorites (maybe because it is yet again baby related and I am in total baby mode), but it came from a shower I attended for my friend Mariette. The hostesses created a clothesline of onesies that adorably matched the shower’s color scheme, but they also were coordinated and numbered up to 12. The mama-to-be could use them in her baby’s month photos. Instead of the generic stickers, she is now equipped with 12 onesies to dress Conrad in (happy one month, little man)!
Eclectic dishware has been a trend at weddings and parties that have a romantic, antique feel. And styling a table full of mismatched dishes is not only easy to do, but it requires very little purchasing. If this is the vibe you’re going for, raid the cabinets of your mom, grandma and even an antique shop or two, and you can collect all sorts of ornate China, colorful glassware and pieces with character for a very small price.
And when you do have to purchase party-specific items, try and purchase things that can be reused from celebration to celebration. I am someone who LOVES color, but most of my serving dishes are plain white with maybe a small monochromatic detail. This way, you can work them into any color scheme or decor theme. Below are a few links to items that I find myself consistently using every time I host friends and family:
Bash Beverage Tub from Crate & Barrel ($89.95)
I have this one, which is the larger version and works well if you host a lot of parties or bigger gatherings. If you tend to have more intimate events, they also have a small version ($69.95). I chose the silver one, but now that I have collected more servingware, I almost wish I would have purchased the gold one. There’s lots of fun, neutral colors available, including graphite, silver, gold and copper.
Place Card Holder Set from Pier 1 ($28.95)
Technically, these are called place cards, but I prefer to use them as buffet labels. They’re dry erase, which makes them easy to reuse and a nice, neutral color to match my servingware.
Double Sided Chalkboard from Target ($59.99)
The one I own is actually from Hobby Lobby, but here’s another great option from Target. These work great for welcome signs on your front porch, menu boards, photo opps, etc.
I’ve been told quite a few times that I have a gift. A gift for…gifting if that’s even the way to say it? For lack of better words, I’m a good gift giver. I pride myself on recipients truly enjoying what they receive, and I’m always one to be able to recall someone’s birthday (currently working on getting better at anniversaries)!
I attribute this quality 100 percent to my mother. She always seems to know exactly what to get people for a special occasion, and she spends hours at Hallmark finding the perfect card that accurately describes the person she’s sending it to. I’ve definitely learned from the best 😉
So if you struggle with what to buy people for holidays or find yourself being that forgetful friend, I have a few tricks for you. First and most importantly, I always use the mindset that gifts do not have to be tangible items. For example, a simple handwritten note when someone conquers a challenge or has a rough week means far more than anything money can buy.
But if a tangible gift is much more suitable, here are a few ideas for you:
For the person who has everything….
Ahh these people are the worst! If they want something, they buy it themselves. They leave no options for us to surprise or wow them with the latest and greatest because they already have it. In these instances, I say experiences are best. Think concert tickets, a night out planned totally by you, a sporting event, sign them of for a class, etc. You’re gifting them a memory versus an item.
For the humble at heart….
Make a donation in their honor. If they are a pet lover, make a donation to your local humane society or start a scholarship in their name with a group of individuals. This is also a great route to go with older recipients because, let’s be honest, a lot of older people don’t want to collect anymore stuff.
For almost anyone…
Don’t get them the item they mentioned to you they would like while they were at the mall the other day. Chances, are they will buy it themselves once they have the money for it. Get them something they wouldn’t personally buy. Make them a massage appointment and cover the fee, including tip! Restore a piece of furniture in their home that they’ve been “meaning to do for years.” Or have all of your parents’ home videos transferred from tapes to digital files.
For the practical person….
Think useful luxuries. Pay for a year of Amazon Prime or Netflix subscription for them. Find out what their favorite magazine is and purchase an annual subscription.
For someone sentimental…
Take all their high school or college T-shirts they have saved in a box and have (or make if you’re that talented!) a T-shirt quilt made out of them. Purchase a cute recipe book or card box and fill it with recipes from friends and family. Find the wine that was served at their wedding, and purchase a bottle from the year they were married. The more personalized the idea, the more it will mean to him/her.
Hopefully this post has drummed up a few ideas for the next time you have a gift to give. And who knows. Maybe yours will be their favorite yet!
I officially finished my second week back to work after maternity leave, and we are getting the hang of things. I say we, but really I mean me. Parker loves daycare and is great with all sorts of new people. It’s Mom who has taken some time to getting used to everything.
Obviously, the hardest part about returning to work is going from being with my little peanut all day every day to spending 8 hours a day away from her. Luckily, we found daycare that I feel very comfortable leaving her at and feel she is truly getting one-on-one attention. Originally, I swayed toward an in-home daycare, but we ended up enrolling her in a daycare facility, and I could not be more pleased. Finding daycare was a nightmare, but that’s whole other post…
What I’ve learned, however, is the separation anxiety from being away from her is just the beginning of the at-home to work transition. It’s definitely not easy, but there have been a few products that have made it a little bit smoother.
1. Clothing: The healing process after childbirth is extensive. Whether you have a vaginal birth or a C-section, there are tons of changes happening with your body. Upon returning to work, I was still dealing with these changes. Not only was I trying to dress a body that I still wasn’t completely confident in, but my incision from my C-section was still very sensitive. Wearing regular pants was hard because the buttons and zippers would rub and make it uncomfortable. But I stumbled upon a pair of awesome pants at Old Navy that were professional looking for the office and comfortable enough to wear with a healing belly. Thank goodness elastic waist bands are in! The style is called The Stevie, which is stretch knit. I purchased a pair of burgundy pants and a pair of black and white polka dot pants, and I love them both
2. The Little Things: As if breastfeeding wasn’t enough of a challenge, keeping up with your milk supply at work is a whole other issue. Now if you’re fortunate enough to work at an office that has those fancy lactation rooms, this point might not apply to you. But coming from someone who pumps in a storage closet for a little privacy, I found just a little something that made me feel more comfortable about pumping at work. They are called Bella B Nipple Nurture Breast Wipes and make cleaning up after pumping a breeze. Plus, they make me feel refreshed before returning to my desk.
3. A Little Cuteness: I invested in a few extra cute and girly office supplies to get me excited to go to the office each day. I hung a new calendar that had monthly inspirations, and I started with a fresh legal pad that was decorated with flowers along the top. And each morning (that I don’t go to Starbucks), I bring my coffee in a color block Kate Spade mug.
The second challenge is our new morning routine. Let me preface this by saying I have never been a morning person in my entire life, and now I am learning to be one. Actually, I am learning to live on 5-6 hours of sleep a night instead of 9. I should be incredibly grateful that I am, yes, getting a full 5-6 hours of sleep a night with a newborn.
I used to be able to get up, shower, get ready and be out the door to work in 45 minutes. I had my routine down, and it was easy peasy every morning. Now, I block out about two hours to get out of the house. And this morning, I was still 15 minutes late. Why? Because everything is different with a tiny human. As much as you plan and prep, there’s always a hang up like the hiccups she got this morning right before I was about to put her in her car seat or the blowout she had the other morning.
And the third challenge, which I mentally addressed prior to her arrival but emotionally feel now that she is here, is weighing the pros and cons between working at staying at home. I truly don’t think I could be a full-time, stay-at-home mom. First of all, I give them a lot of credit. As wonderful as it is to spend all that time with your children, it’s a lot of work. There’s juggling the different schedules of multiple children and making sure you’re planning and executing quality, interactive activities. Not to mention unless there’s a Target run involved, she speaks to nobody over the age of her oldest child until her husband returns home from work. That being said, I also crave a schedule, getting up in the morning and going somewhere, and I have always been motivated to have my own career. But when you start looking at how much you’re paying for daycare and how many hours you are spending away from your little one, it just doesn’t seem entirely worth it. I work over a third of the month just to pay for daycare. that means I spend roughly 7 days of the month working just to be able to afford to be away from her during the work day. Seems a little messed up when I’m missing out on valuable time when she’s growing, developing and hitting milestones. Thus, I’ve decided in a perfect world, I would be a part-time working mom.
For now, it’s back to work full-time for me! As much as I miss Parker during the day, I am getting back to something I love. I love working events, I love planning and prepping, I love being creative, I love weddings and I love love. And that makes doing something so hard just that much easier.
presence [prez-uh ns]
- the state or fact of being present, as with others or in place
- attendance or company:
Your presence is requested.
- immediate vicinity; proximity:
in the presence of witnesses.
- the ability to project a sense of ease, poise, or self-assurance, especially the quality or manner of a person’s bearing bearing before an audience:
The speaker had a good deal of stage presence.
(Definition pulled from dictionary.com)
Right around Christmas time, my friend Alexis posed a challenge to our group of friends. Instead of choosing a cliche New Year’s Resolution, she asked each of us to choose a word to live by in 2018. She listed out a few options that her family members had already chosen, and I was immediately hooked on the challenge. I will say it was difficult to come up with a word as good as some of the others because they had some really great ones: creative, courage, ambition, awareness, etc. So I hmmmed and haaaaed for days until i cam up with my own. For my 2018 word, I chose presence.
First, the obvious reason. My goal this year is to be present int he moment. Far too often social media, future obligations and work can distract us from fully embracing and enjoying the present. I pride myself on being a multi-tasking master, but last year I often found myself answering work emails mid conversation with my husband or using mealtime to make “To Do Lists” for the day. And the time suck of social media…that’s a whole other post.
This year, I have challenged myself to be present in conversation, take in the sounds and smells of my surroundings and enjoying each moment of life, even the small moments that might not be life-altering but oh, so enjoyable. This has become especially important with Parker, who I have been warned by parents, will be grown up before I can blink my eyes.
So, I turned off my work email notifications. Yes, it’s important to be accessible to be successful, but now I decide when that time is. I’ve learned to pose questions differently. For example, instead of asking my husband the typical, “How was work today?,” I ask him, “What was the best part of your day?” It sparks more in-depth conversation and allows for a story versus a one-word answer. And I’ve committed to being present at as many life events, celebrations and gatherings as my schedule allows for. Even with a little one, I know the importance of not missing out on those moments and the ability to see friends and family who live far. So yes, we trekked all the way to Wisconsin with a 6-week old baby, and next weekend I will be attending a second baby shower for a dear friend. Why? Because those moments bring me happiness.
Secondly, I challenged myself to create more of a presence on this blog. I committed myself to writing more frequently and to expand my content. Hens, why I decided to write not only about events and celebrations but to also bring in personal experiences and stories and share those with all of you.
And lastly, I decided to focus on No. 4 in the definition of presence: the ability to project a sense of ease, poise, or self-assurance, especially the quality or manner of a person’s bearing bearing before an audience. I am typically a very social person and tend to excel at my job, which is most frequently in front of large crowds. But I do have a secret fear of public speaking and having the attention fully on myself. It’s something I have slowly gotten over after years of practice. The fear began in high school when I had to take a public speaking class and stood dumb-founded in front of 30-some-odd judgey high schoolers when I forgot my memorized speech. I literally just stood there staring at the back wall. At that age, it was traumatizing. Not only do I want to continue to become a better public speaker, but I also want poised to be a characteristic people think of when they think of me.
So, here I am starting off the year on the right foot aiming to accomplish these goals and using “presence” as my motivation for 2018. I have to give a big shout out to Alexis for this beautiful challenge. And now I challenge you. What’s your 2018 word?
Photo compliments of Catherine Rhodes Photography.
I had so much fun creating Parker’s nursery! A friend came by the other day and made the joke that I took my party decorating skills and used them in my home. It’s so true! If you have an eye for creating pretty and cohesive designs, it easily transitions from creative space to creative space.
The first thing you notice in her room are these 3D flowers. They were the foundation to her nursery design. Often times, these types of creations are used as a photo booth backdrop or behind a head table. But I also noticed on Pinterest that people were using them in their house as well. Through Pinterest, I found ForeverPetalsbyVee and could not have been more pleased with the product or customer service of this seller. I sent her a digital swatch of the color scheme I was going for and within two weeks, the flowers were sitting on my doorstep shipped from San Antonio.
From there, I just had fun with all the girly elements and chose a few different prints to mix and match for depth. I incorporated stripes, some dots and a touch of scallop. Of course I had to make sure there was some personalization too. We hung a wooden monogram on the wall, had an accent blanket monogrammed to hang on her crib and ordered a personalized crib sheet. The sheet was is from Carousel Designs. They have all sorts of cute bedding that is totally worth checking out. And with all her monograms, I feel like I am single handedly keeping The Southern Rose in business.
I know I am committing a crime because all the personalized items won’t be able to be reused with our next child, but we did try to be strategic in the selection of the wall color and furniture. We decided to go with grey walls and white furniture because it could easily transition from female to male if we happened to have boy next.
I might have gone a tad over the top, but when you spend time in the middle of the night in the rocker and change countless diapers at the changing table, the extra fluff seems completely necessary.
Oh, and I know I mentioned this in a previous blog post, but the lamp was one of my greatest purchases for her room. Originally, I bought it because it was cute and matched the color scheme, but what I didn’t realize is that it’s a touch lamp. Since the outlet it’s plugged into isn’t connected to light switch, the touch lamp has been a blessing when you have full hands.
-Curtains: Twill Light Blocking Curtain in Pink, Target
-Crib: Little Seeds Rowan Valley Linden Standard Crib in White, Wayfair
-Dresser: Little Seeds Rowan Valley Laren 6 Drawer Double Dresser in White, Wayfair
-Rocker: Delta Children Middleton Nursery Glider Swivel Rocker Chair in Cream, Target
-Wall Art: 3D Flowers, ForeverPetalsbyVee
-Wall Art: Wooden Monogram Painted White, The Southern Rose
-Lamp (Not Pictured): Turned Table Lamp Touch Control in Mint, Target
-Bedding: Crib Blanket, The Southern Rose
-Bedding: Customized Crib Sheet in Blush, Carousel Designs
-Paint: Tin Lizzie, Sherwin Williams
I knew this time would come. In fact, when I was naming the blog and brainstorming ideas, I wanted a name that was fun and attributed itself to event planning but was also flexible enough to include other content (shout out to Brenda for being the creative behind the title!) As you can see, the blog has a fresh, updated look and that’s because I’ve decided to expand Kristi Uncorked.
I’ve recently returned to work after maternity leave and am still immersed in the event planning world, but there’s a number of reasons I’ve decided to expand the topics beyond celebrations. First and foremost, I started this blog as a fun outlet that allowed me to consistently keep writing (I had a void in my life for this after leaving the magazine publishing industry). Secondly, I have consistently found myself reading the blogs and following along with the lives of women I don’t even know. Years ago, that would have sounded completely creepy, but blogging and the digital world allows for people to interact, relate and share stories or ideas even though you’ve never actually met (although I’ve been following some of these people long enough to feel like I live down the street from them). Especially with a new baby, I have researched and read more blogs than ever about dos and don’ts of motherhood, easy tips and tricks for mom life, etc. As I grow, learn and transition from life season to life season, I feel I have knowledge to share from my experiences that can benefit others. It might not necessarily be professional advice, but it’s real and true.
So with all that being said, I am so excited for this new transition! I will still very much focus on events, weddings and celebrations, but you will see a lot more personal posts and updates. As I sit here writing this, Parker (our newest addition to the family) snoozes beside me, and I can’t help but be excited to show her all the possibilities in this world. You can truly have a fulfilling life as a working mom with a fabulous social life, a welcoming home, philanthropic experiences, new adventures and still find time for yourself. You just have to want it.
Who knows if readers will continue to follow me or not, but I am excited to see where this takes us. As always, if there’s ever anything you want to know, need advice on or are just curious about, don’t be afraid to ask!