Showering Alyssa With Love

You guys! It’s officially here. Not just wedding season at work, but wedding season for my family! Aside from my bridal shower earlier this spring, my sister and I have been quietly working away on our big days. And this past weekend, we were able to celebrate Alyssa with a shower to kick-off her wedding festivities.

The greatest thing about it all was that it was truly a joint effort. Alyssa’s best friend and Maid of Honor was the hostess with the mostest (yes, that’s really the best way to describe her). I helped with the decorations and prizes, my cousin put together the games, my sister created the invitations….you get the idea.

And this shower is proof that thanks to technology, you can have multiple people collaborating on a shower using email, text messages and photos to develop a theme, create decorations and execute a menu and timeline. Here are a couple pics from the day’s event.

The venue my younger sister, Katie, and Gina selected was perfect. It was a hotel that had recently been renovated and had a gorgeous venue space that was both modern yet simplistic. It really complimented the color scheme of the shower, which was purples, pinks and greens with black and silver accents. image2 (1)

Although originally we wanted the shower to take place outside to really enhance our garden tea party feel, with the number of guests we had, it really wasn’t suitable. And we lucked out big time since there was a short down pour right as the reception was starting…dodged that bullet…phew!

Instead, we decided to use a mixture of florals displayed in tin pails and lanterns for centerpieces. Gina also learned the important difference between dry and wet floral foams!

Each table also displayed a different fun fact about the couple, so any guests that had met Tony and Alyssa later on in their relationship knew some fun things about their early relationship.

image3Since the menu was pretty simple and consisted of some delicious appetizers, including melon prosciutto skewers, mini BLTs and a cheese board, and a garden salad for lunch, we opted out of a printed menu at each place. Instead, Katie created a “Get To Know the Bridal Party” card with information about Alyssa and Tony’s wedding since it is a destination wedding. They matched the invitation perfectly. Also, we included edible take home gifts that were floral cookies created by Gina’s super talented friend, Kristen, created.

image1Now can we talk about the cakes? As if we didn’t already have a slew of talented people working on the event, Alyssa and Gina’s friend Lauren came swooping in with the most adorable cakes. I didn’t event want to eat them, but I also know how delicious Lauren’s cakes. That definitely helped when we had to slice through these works of art. 13315654_10105344608523557_8656146683298319189_n

13332902_10153768927775914_6423902342586706344_nAnd of course our cousin Mandy did a fabulous job with the games. Although her school year with her kiddos had ended just days before, she was back to teacher mode giving instructions. And my favorite part was my Aunt Sue who decided to play the game using lipstick since we were down a pen…how innovative!

It was such a fun afternoon celebrating with friends and family. I can’t wait until July when the bachelorette party and California wedding take place! Until then, I will keep you posted on my Instagram: @kristi_uncorked.




Feeling Beachy

I had a close friend of mine ask my opinion on what to wear to a beach wedding. And as much as I like to think I have a good sense of style, I am no expert when it comes to this department, so I enlisted the help of Jacy Overstreet to help me with this request. Not only is her fashion advice extremely valuable, but you all know I love a good partnership!

Hi guys! I’m Jacy Overstreet, and I blog over at Love, Lenore where I share my favorite outfits, shopping finds, beauty discoveries and more! Kristi and I were Chi Omegas together at Mizzou, and I love that she’s now blogging about something she loves as well. Kristi has gotten some requests for ideas on what to wear to a beach wedding, so she enlisted my help and I’m excited to be guest posting on here today!

summer-wedding-attireI think it’s natural to want to wear white on a beach, but as we all know, that’s a major faux pas at the majority of weddings. What you can go for is something that feels effortless and moves with the breeze. My dress is a couple of years old from Zara, but I think it’s perfect for a beach wedding because of the relaxed fit, movement of the skirt, and the delicate beading that gives it a special extra touch. I also like that it’s not too short. It’s almost always windier by the ocean, so one of my main tips would be to stay away from shorter dresses with skirts that can blow up. No one wants to be that girl! I also think a longer hemline feels more natural by the beach, so I love the idea of a midi or maxi dress, and you can’t go wrong with pretty dresses like this blush dress for $28, this pretty maxi in blue or this gorgeous dress with a ruffle detail. For a dressier beach wedding, I adore this unique lace dress or this fun black jumpsuit. If the beach wedding is out of the country or in a more exotic location, I love this dress for a more casual affair and this fabulous dress for a dressier one, and if you can take a bit more of a risk at the wedding, this dress is stunning.

For jewelry, I think one piece that makes a statement is perfect by the ocean, so go for a bold cuff bracelet or beautiful statement earrings in colors like gold, coral and turquoise. Shoes-wise, you will want to be as fuss-free as possible, so don’t wear stilettos like I am in these photos! I would go with a wedge or even a chic pair of lace-up gladiator sandals.

I hope that these ideas were helpful in planning for any beach weddings you have coming up! If you ever need help finding a dress or accessories for an event, feel free to email me anytime at! Thank you so much for reading, and thank you Kristi for hosting me today!   

Royal Flush

My sisters definitely aced my bridal shower. And I don’t just mean a cute, memorable afternoon that was enjoyed with close friends and family. I mean a royal flush of spades….Kate Spade that is.

hostsTogether with my aunts and Mom, they perfectly crafted a bridal shower that matched all my wishes and pins on Pinterest. They chose a spot in Wauwatosa that I would have never chosen for a bridal shower, but everything worked so perfectly. The shower took place at a cozy wine bar called The Ruby Tap, and the space and staff were wonderful. From the décor to the games to the guests, everything was exactly how I imagined it. Check out some of the details below:

Just as Kate Spade is inspired by clean lines and neutrals with a pop of something fun, so was the decorations for the day. Tables were adorned with black linens and long black and white striped runners that spanned the tables. Everywhere you turned, there were quotes on decorative cardstock quoting Kate Spade herself, Coco Chancel and various other girly and funny quotes.

But I would have to say my favorite part about the décor was the adorable dessert bar they created. I always encourage people to double food and decorations because it’s so easy to create a statement with a beautiful, yet edible, spread. And this one they nailed. They turned a high-stop bar table into the dessert buffet by adorning it with a white and gold polka-dot linen. In front, they draped a fringed banner (found here at Target), added a few quotes and let the real statement pieces shine: the cake pops (but we’ll get tot those later).

dessert bar

I know not everyone enjoys playing bridal shower games because let’s be real, they can be a bit cheesy. But if you happen to know me personally, you know I am a fan of a little cheese. My cousin Mandy had planned out the “He said, she said game” by emailing Ryan and I questions prior to the bridal shower. She made adorable lips and mustache props. Since Ryan and I live so far away, it was a nice way for some of my family and friends to get to know him who have not had ample time to be able to spend with him.

They also played the “Guess How Many Kisses” game, and I have to admit my favorite guess was from my cousin’s adorable daughter, Brynley (she also happens to be one of our flower girls). Her guess was “fifty ninty-nine.” If only I could rock that cuteness onw.

flower girls

And finally, we wrapped up the games with a little prize for the person who drove the longest. My bridesmaid and friend since fifth grade wasn’t able to make it in town from Minneapolis, but her mom made the two and a half hour trek from her house to be there with me. It was not only touching, but the small gesture allowed her to know how much I appreciated her being there.

Food & Beverage:
Ahh, the best part of almost every party: the fare. The shower began at 11:00 in the morning, so it was only customary to serve mimosas. Since the venue is a wine bar at night, they had a complete spread of individually sized champagne bottles, so guests could make their choices based on preference of sweet or brut and which brand they wanted to drink. In addition to that, wine and espresso was offered, along with lemonades for the kiddos and soon-to-be mommy, all complete with black and white and gold and white striped paper straws. I’m tell you, they thought of everything.

As guests were arriving, we munched on cheese boards (it is Wisconsin after all…) and truffle flavored popcorn. And after games, the guests and I enjoyed a light lunch of chicken salad croissant sandwiches and a delicious chopped salad.

cake popsBut as I mentioned before, my absolute favorite thing about the shower was the “Kate Pops,” which were crated by my sister’s co-worker, Jen. I mean, can a a cake pop get any cuter? They were decorated with blacks, golds, pinks and whites, stripes, sprinkles and edible bows. They varied between white cake, chocolate cake and my favorite, red velvet. And I definitely learned not to eat a cake pop covered in black icing prior to gift opening and pictures….whoops!

Not only was the theme absolutely perfect, but being able to spend so much time with friends and family that live far away made my heart full. For someone who is usually behind the scenes on all of this, it was refreshing to be the guest of honor for a change. And to top it off, I can now make my own cake pops using my very own gold Kitchen Aid mixer (thanks, Mom, Alyssa and Katie)!

Picture-Perfect Posing

You guys! I have been unbelievably excited to share this post with you all! For its creation, I partnered with Catherine Rhodes from Catherine Rhodes Photography. Not only is she lovely to work with, but she is also crazy talented and knows a thing or two about how to make you look good.

So, whether you’re taking photos at a family get-together, posing for an event photographer at the next fundraiser you attend or the center of attention in bridal photos, make sure you listen to Catherine’s advice. (I did and boy, you can tell a difference!)

widget_custom_image_1_1452637128(pp_w220_h303)Hi everyone! I’m Catherine with Catherine Rhodes Photography, a wedding and portrait photographer based here in Columbia, Missouri! We’ve been photographing beautiful weddings and portraits for the past nine years and absolutely love what we do. Not only do we get the chance to be a part of so many amazing families lives, but we also know how to rock posing!  Today, we are going to share a few fantastic tips for posing in your own photos! 

First we’ll chat about face shape and tricks to help you look your absolute best when posing for the camera. To begin with,  you’ll want to avoid standing straight on to the camera. Most people’s face shapes look best when at an angle. Along with a slight angle, you can create a longer chin by simply pulling your chin forward and down. If that is confusing, think of a turtle and how their head moves. Pulling your chin out and then slightly down will also help create a longer neck line. And don’t forget to smile, everyone loves a smile!

ColumbiaMissouriPortraitSession_CatherineRhodesPhotography_0070Next, we’ll chat about posing your body in photos. In the first photo, Kristi is standing straight on to us creating a straight line with her body and losing her beautiful shape. If you angle your body to the left or the right and pop your front knee, you’ll help accentuate you natural shape and bring your face closer to the camera, as that should be the main focus. After you have those two things down, you’ll want to bring your face toward your shoulder, again creating that nice long line by pulling your chin forward and down. Finally, you can create even more shape by moving your arm away from your body and creating a space by your side. That way, your arm and your side don’t mold into one losing your shape entirely.ColumbiaMissouriPortraitSession_CatherineRhodesPhotography_0068After you have these few posing tips down, you’ll want to focus on the angle of the camera. Even if you’re not taking the image, the angle of the camera can drastically effect the outcome of your image and how you’re represented. The best angle for most people is from above, or a higher camera angle looking down at your subject. This pulls your face closer to the camera and creates a cone affect with your body looking slimmer the farther away it is from the camera. 

The bottom two images are photographed at angles that are not best for most individuals but can be used in certain situations. The bottom left image is from straight on, which works really well for tighter cropped or closer images and creating that strong connection between the viewer and the subject. This is also a great camera angle for kids as it makes them feel much more comfortable when you are at their level!

The bottom right image is taken from below, which we use as little as possible as that is an angle that tends to emphasize the lower half of your body and your face is the farthest away. The only time we tend to use this angle is for men and larger scenes where the person or couple is just a small part of the entire image. But for portraits, we’ll stick to straight on or above angles that really flatter our subjects! 


Finally, we love incorporating layers when creating portraits. Adding layers creates texture and adds a little something extra to the image. In the first image, Kristi is surrounded by beautiful white blooms, which really brings your eye straight to her face! And in the second image, Kristi is wearing a cute jacket to add another physical layer to her outfit and change the overall look. Adding physical layers such as jackets, scarves and sleeves can also help with covering up arms if that is not your most favorite part to show off in an image. Her jacket and the white blooms also create a frames around her face, which draws your eye directly into the image!


Well, we hope you learned a little bit about how to position your body in the most flattering ways.  I would like to thank Catherine for all of her words of wisdom and being willing to put up with her model 🙂


One afternoon I was out to lunch with a few lovely ladies from COMO Living, the magazine that I copy edit for. Before diving into that issue’s content, we were catching each other up on life happenings and the status of wedding plans. Michele Towns, whose daughter is getting married this May, and I were casually chatting about decor when we threw out the word “tablescape.” To me, tablescape is as common in my vocabulary as landscape, escape and even manscape, but it was obvious to me that others we weren’t following me.

Tablescape, or an artistic way of placing items on a table, is something that people usually think about for large gatherings, i.e. weddings, fundraisers and other banquets. However, even if you are organizing a small dinner party, putting thought into your tablescape can take your event to the next level even if your cooking doesn’t.

Let me explain. See this photo below?


Snoozefest. This is how I learned to set a table at the age of 6 as a way I could help my mom while she prepared dinner.

Now see this photo below?


Completely different, right? Simply by using a little practicality and layering, the table goes from blah to interesting. The tricks to executing a practical tablescape are simple. First, think about the menu itself. Are you serving a multi-course meal including soup, salad and the main course? If so, use dishes and silverware to expand your setting. I used my everyday dishes but stacked the soup bowl on top of the salad plate on top of the dinner plate. Break it up with a color-coordinated napkin, and you have yourself a gorgeous place setting. In addition to the dishes and silverware, I added a pop of texture and a contrasting color under the flower arrangement. It’s really a cheese board, which i flipped upside down and re-purposed as a tray.  Using things you have right in your home make this an easy and inexpensive project.

Now those are my tips for a low key dinner party. But how do you up the anty when hosting a holiday party or formal family gathering? It’s all in the details. Let me show you.


This Thanksgiving tablescape was created using warm colors that played off of the color scheme already in the kitchen. Pumpkin colored place mats and contrasting metals created a warm and welcoming table even without the food on it. I chose to use a decorative gold charger. I love chargers like Joanna Gaines loves ship lap. Whenever you can use them, do so. They completely transform a table! However, do note they take up more space on the table, especially on long banquet tables or farm tables, so they can take away from centerpieces.

image6For the centerpiece, I added in texture once again with the mercury-glass candlesticks and leather books. Books might seem a little strange to use as a centerpiece, but it broke up the metals and added a touch of comfort to the spread.

And the best part about this tablescape is we were able to use Ryan’s grandfather’s dishes, so not only do they match the holiday colors, it’s also a way for someone who is no longer here to be with us to celebrate with family.

Now it’s your turn. Show me your most beautiful tablescapes.

Happy designing!

The Sinker: An Essential Person for Pulling Off a Surprise Party

We’ve all heard the expression “hook, line and sinker.” Well, for a surprise party to successfully executed, the sinker is the most important part of the equation. This past weekend my group of friends and I pulled off a pretty awesome surprise party for our friend Emily, who had just finished up her last year of medical school at Mizzou. And thanks to her sister, Hannah, also known as the sinker in this situation, all of the planning and prep happened without even the slightest suspicion.

The Hook
Thanks to some group planning and a fabulous hostess, everything leading up to the party was flawless. The party fell on Easter weekend when Emily would be in town to celebrate the holiday with her family. Alexis, the party hostess, and her made casual plans to meet up after dinner on Saturday evening knowing that people usually don’t have to concrete of plans the day before holidays.

The Line
We ultimately knew Hannah had to play the role of the sinker since everyone else would already be at the party waiting for the grand surprise. Conveniently, Alexis and her boyfriend had recently bought a puppy (and by puppy, I mean rapidly growing, potentially very large Newfoundland). Being the animal lover Hannah is, it seemed natural to invite her along as well the new puppy named Dough.

The Sinker
Hannah knew she would getting off work at 7:00 p.m. That gave us the perfect timeline for the party knowing that she had to go home, change and bring Emily to Alexis’ house. We planned on everyone being at the house between 8:00 and 8:30 with the surprise happening shortly afterward. Being a calm and collected person, Hannah was able to urge Emily when she wanted to have one more glass of wine at home with her mom and dodged questions about there being so many cars on the street with ease. A huge shout out to Hannah, who effortlessly delivered Emily as promised to the front steps of Alexis’ house for their “Doug meeting.”

partyThe Theme
12592630_10206412641817289_5993451079089613168_nA few posts ago, I touched emphasized going big when you have a theme. And let me tell you, we went all out for this one. To organize the party we had a group text messaging going, and once Alexis threw out the hilarious idea to Photo Shop the “Grey’s Anatomy” opener to include all of our faces, the ideas just went crazy from there. Note: The nickname “Milf” comes from Emily’s last name, so hens “Milf’s Anatomy.”

scrubbing inEveryone who attended the party showed up wearing scrubs and tennis shoes and were adorned with medical supplies: stethoscopes, face masks, etc. And everyone openly welcomed the theme even referring to each other as “Dr. So and So” and joking about how we were all “scrubbing in.”

image2The walls were adorned with skeleton cut outs, and the table was covered in a slew of medical and dermatology-related food items. Yes, you can actually make that happen (a cookie cake topped with body parts, thermometer chocolate covered pretzels and chocolate candies shaped into party parts. And we can’t forget about the drinks! Plastic syringes were filled with Jell-O shots, which greeted Emily upon arrival. And Amazon came in handy for ordering a catheter bag, which was filled with wine, and urine sample cups that were used as shot glasses. Yes, we did GO BIG with the theme, and I would say it was an overall success.


Répondez S’il Vous Plaît

You might be looking at the title of this blog thinking what the heck is she trying to say? But for those of you who don’t know, that is the correct terminology for RSVP, something everyone sees quite frequently. Which brings me to today’s topic: how to overcome the generation of non-RSVPers. There are some simple tricks I have learned hosting my own parties, planning a wedding and working with local vendors:

For The Planner

1. Give yourself time.

Always give the guests of the party a date that is at least two weeks prior to your event. If you are hosting something at your house, this gives you time to make grocery lists, finalized budgets and ensure you have enough seating for everyone. If you’re hosting an event elsewhere, the venue most likely will need to know a final headcount two weeks to 10 days out from the event, so they can order in food and linens and schedule their staff accordingly. If it’s for a wedding, I suggest setting your RSVP deadline a month before your big day. I know that seems a little crazy, but my next point is why.

2. It is completely socially acceptable to follow-up with your guests if you don’t hear from them.

If your RSVP date has come and gone, by all means please call your guests and confirm whether or not they are attending. I guarantee you will have to do this with at least some of your guests since we live in the era of terrible RSVPers. I wouldn’t go so far as to text your guests about it because that can be a bit tacky for an event that you sent out a formal invite for. Unless that is it’s your good friend who has been implying she’s coming but never actually confirmed with you. By allowing that two to four week time period, it allows you time to call the guests and get answers from all of them before having to know your final numbers.

3. Inevitably, there will be a guest who says they were supposed to come who doesn’t show up or visa versa. 

First and foremost, don’t panic. There is a general rule of them that for every guest that doesn’t show up, there is someone who you didn’t expect or a surprise guest who someone brings with them that they “forgot to mention.”

4. Live by the 10 percent rule.

Everyone’s worst nightmare is running out of food. I always suggest to include an additional 10 percent of guests to your food quantifies to be prepared for the unexpected. However, take into consideration how much each guests will be consuming. If you have a full-blown lunch or dinner planned, plan on appetizers for about half your guests. People are going to pick at appetizers and not gorge themselves on them. Unless that is you planned an appetizer-only menu over a meal hour. If that’s the case, either specify on your invitation the type of food you will be serving or be prepared for people to eat the appetizers like they were eating a meal.

5. Make it clear who the invited guests are. 

If you are wanting to invite both parents and kids, address the envelope to the entire family. If you are wanting to just invite just adults, it’s kosher to insert a line on the invitation, such as “As much as we adore children, this will be an adult-only celebration.” And if you want to make it incredibly clear, order two RSVP cards. For all the guests who you want to bring their kids with them, insert a card that says:

“___ Adults Attending
___ Children Attending”

For those guests who you do not want to bring their kids, simply eliminate the second line on the other RSVP card and insert the correct cards in the correct envelopes.

For the Guest

1. Please RSVP.

Yes, this is a very simple request! Pick up the phone as soon as you get an invitation if you know your schedule and reply about being able to attend. If there is a chance you might make it and might not, don’t keep the host/hostess guessing. Call him or her and explain the situation and give a maybe.


Especially when you have to mail in an RSVP, it’s easy for that small card to get lost in the shuffle, or you play the game of did I return that card, or did I not? If you know whether or not you can attend the day you receive it in the mail, place it back in the mail that same day. After all, they put the postage on it. All you have to do is walk it to the mailbox.

3. Call if there’s a change in plans.

Even if it’s the day of the party and you have to pick up a sick child or a flight back in town got delayed, call the host. Even knowing a couple hours ahead of time can help calm nerves and maybe save on some food or beverage waste.