So, I just love TRADES! Who doesn’t love to trade services? Honestly, it’s one of my favorite forms of payment! I trade for a lot of things including hair coloring services, photography sessions, baby sitting, hair accessories, etc. I just LOVE trades! Most of the time, I trade for items that I wouldn’t normally purchase for myself. It’s fun getting the little extra things for “free”!

Let me tell you a little bit about Mikael. Mikael Monson is a vivacious, beautiful Mommy of three who is the brains and talent behind Mikael Monson Photography! She is just starting her photography business and approached me to help design her logo. First of all, I am always honored when people ask for my help! I don’t know why, but it always makes me feel so happy and proud that they chose me! Secondly, I love designing logos. I have a few under my belt and I always have so much fun making someone’s vision come to life! Lastly, any time I can get photos of my adorable children I jump at the opportunity! You can never have enough photos of your kids, right?

Mikael knew just what she wanted. She described her style as “modern, fresh, bold, and edgy” just to name a few. I wanted her logo to express just that. I didn’t want anything that was too cliche for photographers. A logo should express the brand that you are selling. In this case, I wanted it to sell Mikael. Here’s what I came up with. I’ll show you the black and white version first. You know how important that is to me that a logo looks good in black and white first. Well, it’s true. There are so many times when you will need to use your logo in gray scale. Get it right and then add color.

Here it is in color!

What do you think? I know Mikael was really excited about it (that’s really all that matters, right?) and is proud to put it on all of her work!

She was spot on when she described her style. I definitely agree with her. For my “payment,” Mikael took us to the North East side of Portland in the Industrial District. Where some people saw garbage cans, grungy stairs, and discarded crates, she saw a photographers dreamland. She took one person’s trash and turned it into my treasure!!

Check out some of the photos she shot of me and the boys! (I needed a few head shots taken to include in some of my upcoming work.) Did I mention I HATE having my picture taken? I am much more comfortable behind the camera instead of in front of it! Oh well, at least my dudes look AMAZING!!! Here are some of my favorites so far. I will get the rest of them in a week or two! I can’t wait!

Can I just tell you something funny? I was in huge heels and had to stand way out of this shot. If you have boys you know they migrate towards water, puddles to me more specific. Do you see where I am going with this story? All of a sudden, Emerson turned around and started stumbling towards the puddle. Picture me running in my heels and skinny jeans that were falling off my butt. Funny sight, huh? I just barely grabbed his puffy vest before he face plated into the puddle. Thankfully, he only got his cute little black booties wet and a disaster was avoided. Man, did that get my heart beating. At least we got the shot! Anything in the name of good photography, right?

If you live in the Portland/Vancouver area, check out Mikael Monson Photography. She is an amazing portrait photographer. You will not be disappointed.

Happy Wednesday!! Someday I won’t have so much work to do and I can just blog and chat with you all day long!

Are you tired of sending out the same size birthday invitation, birth announcement, save-the-date, or {insert said event} ? Me too!! I am always trying to change things up a bit. I like to keep my friends and family on their toes, you know? I want my friends and family to open their card and “enjoy” it. Really look at it, analyze it, ponder the use of color, the texture, and sit back and marvel in my creative genius! Okay, so maybe I just want my cards to be different from the rest. I want my invites to STAND OUT!

Typically, a 5″ x 7″ (vertical or horizontal) card is the way to go! If you’re really crazy (or rich and don’t mind springing for the extra postage) you can send out a 5″ x 5″ square card. I know, wild huh? There are other options like folded, tri-folded, or accordion cards, but those can add up really quick. So, what are we left with? How can we make our “snail” mail stand out from the crowd? How can our cards look less ordinary?

Well, I’ve got the solution for you! Okay, so I didn’t actually invent these AMAZING card shapes, but I get to design them! Yay for me!!! Yay for you!! Gone are the traditional rectangle and square cards, unless they are scalloped. Say hello to these little gems.

I also have 45+ other card shapes to choose from. You have no idea how happy this makes me. When I found out I had all of these card shapes at my design disposal I was giddy! Yes, I wanted to tell everyone about how excited I was! Are you excited too? Can you think of the endless possibilities??

BTW- All of these designs are NOW available in my shop! If you want a custom design, just contact me and I’d be happy to help you!!



I am an organizing freak. Okay, so that’s not really true. My house is a mess, but I have folders and folders on my desktop to organize all of my files. Most of my files include photos for inspiration for design, parties, food, etc. Well, I was lost in cyberspace yesterday (which happens all the time, I might add) and came across Tracie’s photography blog. I was so impressed! She had a post titled: my pinterest addiction and I was sold, hook, line, and sinker.

Basically, it’s a way to bookmark photos you see on the web. I currently use Delicious for all of my bookmarking. I love it, but it doesn’t give you a visual like pinterest. It’s honestly the most amazing thing. It would be perfect for ANYONE!! Who doesn’t love eye-candy, right? I can tell you that I’ve already overdosed today and it’s only 10:30 am. I better back off for awhile so I don’t put myself in the hospital! Can you have too much for a good thing?

I think pinterest would be essential if you are a mom, photographer, blogger, party planner, dad, creative type, lover of all things beautiful, etc. Did I miss anyone? Can you tell I am super jazzed about this?

Guess what? People have already pinded my photos too. That just makes me so happy! You have no idea. Check it out:

Keep pinning my stuff people! I would really appreciate it!!!

This is an exclusive little club of people. Do you want to join? It’s by invite only so contact me and I will shoot you an invite. You can also FOLLOW my pins too! So cool, right? What are you waiting for? Get pinning!

***Special thanks to Tracie for getting me hooked***

Lover of beautiful photos,


Are you ready for Part 2 of Jackson’s awesome Rock Star Birthday Party?? I know, you’ve been dying to see the rest of the photos and to get every last detail, right? I won’t keep you waiting any longer.

{DIY FAUX DRUM SET} I wanted to include some other “rock” elements in the party! I first saw this DIY Drum Set on Oh Dee Doh. I thought it was such cool way to add a bit of height and functionality to the Dessert Table. For the “Faux” Drum Set, I sent my hubby to Ace Hardware to pick up some empty paint cans. I had originally thought about painting them, but I love the look of the shinny metallic metal. The large bucket in the middle was white and we (my husband does all the spray painting because I tend to be a little wild and untrustworthy with spray paint) painted that to match. Then I cut out some nautical rock stars with my vinyl cutter and used them to embellish the buckets.

{DIY CUSTOM GUITAR PICKS} These have to be one of my favorite elements from the party! I looked into having custom guitar picks made, but it was way out of my budget. My husband mentioned he had heard about a “guitar pick punch” and I knew I had to track it down. To my surprise and delight, I found a Pick Punch and all the supplies at a really reasonable price. I printed out photos and other designs that matched the theme on full sheet label stock. I trimmed the sheet into strips (I could fit two rows across) and applied the full sheet label stock to the pick plastic. Then I used the pick punch, just like you would a paper punch, and punched out each pick! I loved each and every one. Now if you were really going to strum with them, the label stock may not hold up, but because I was just decorating with them they were perfect! These were scattered throughout the party! We used them almost like confetti! We also taped them to the front of the acrylic serving trays to add a touch of color and detail.

{DETAILED DESSERT TABLE} The Dessert Table is always the focal point and “wow” factor at my parties. I love creating dessert tables that are a bit out of the ordinary! First, I always start off with my Table Vogue table cloth. It’s my “staple” for any party! It provides a nice clean slate to build from. I love it so much and I am considering buying the red one. Next, I used shiny stars in pink, teal, and black that I purchased at The Lippman Co. and scattered them across the table to add some color and visual elements.

I placed two of my acrylic serving trays that were featured in my wine club party and Lincoln’s Circa 1980’s Surprise Birthday party in the center of the table. I simply flipped them over and they became the perfect riser. Next, I staggered my “Faux” Drum Set on top. Inside the drum buckets, I placed Rockin’ Rubber Ducks, Good N’ Plenties, Pop Rocks, Grapefruit Slices, and bags of Cotton Candy. I also scattered cupcakes across the acrylic trays. In a glass vase filled with Good N’ Plenties, I added the black and white stripe candy bags with a metal candy scoop. On the bags which I purchase from Shop Sweet Lu Lu, I created a label that read “Swag Bag, candy for the soul.” Can I just say I wanted to purchase everything in Shop Sweet Lu Lu’s shop? Jessie, from Shop Sweet Lu Lu was incredible to work with. She was so helpful and had a ton of ideas that really made this party special! Thanks Jessie.

{SUGAR ROCKS} The only thing Jackson asked for was a guitar cake. I had already ordered the super cute guitar cupcake toppers from Two Sugar Babies. Charynn is amazing to work with too! She is always willing to work with me on custom designs that match my parties. It totally takes the stress out of decorating cupcakes the morning of the big event! Just bake, frost, and apply! It’s as easy as that! Now back to Jackson’s Guitar Cake request. . . I called my Aunt Honey with Cakes by Taste of Honey and she came through for me. She made this epic guitar cake complete with guitar strings. It was awesome! Jackson loved it and that’s what really matters, right?

I’ve been blog stalking Bakerella for a long while now. I even got her amazing Cake Pop Cookbook for Christmas from my darling Mother-in-law. Believe it or not, I haven’t included cake pops in any of my parties until now. I experimented with making guitars, but they looked too phallic for a kids party. I decided to make stars instead. My Mom and Sister were nice enough to draw stripes on them with an edible food marker. My Dad made me two wooden Cake Pop Stands too. My parties are family affairs. All hands on deck. I take/steal/borrow all the help I can get.

A party isn’t complete without cookies. Well this party was definitely complete because we had two different kinds of cookies. Renee from Bee’s Knees Creative made the PERFECT cookies. They seriously matched everything perfectly! They were almost too pretty to eat, so I just closed my eyes and took a huge bite. Hahaha! The other cookies I made. My dear friend Jennifer just started Frost Edible Designs. She printed these edible frosting sheets for me. I was her first customer! I made shortbread cookies and used Marian from Sweetopia’s Royal Icing Recipe. I added some disco dust, maybe a tab too much. Is that possible? Whatever! They were sparkly and I liked them!

Candy is a key element to any great dessert table. I love candy! I tried to use pink, black, and white candy throughout. I created custom candy wrappers for nerds, chocolate bars, and push up pops. This was the first time I’ve covered candy with custom wrappers. It was so simple and easy to do, but made a huge impact. Definitely worth the time and effort. I created labels for the cotton candy too. They came in these ugly pastic bear containers, so we repackaged them and added a label.

The black bread boxes housed the majority of the candy! These were so cool and really fit with the party theme. They also made the perfect storage and made transporting all of these items to the party really convenient. Can you believe I got them on clearance at Target for $10 each? A total steal if you ask me! Inside one of the boxes I had the nerds, pushup pops, and chocolate bars. Inside the other one, we took gum balls in pink, black, white, and teal and layered them in clear plastic tubes (also purchased from Shop Sweet Lu Lu). I used Washi Tape (also from Shop Sweet Lu Lu, do you see pattern here?) to tape of the ends for two reasons. 1. I thought it looked really cool 2. I didn’t want gum balls to go flying all over the place if the kids started shaking them. Can I just add that one of my clients was kind enough to send those gum balls to me? She knew I was throwing a party for Jackson and I couldn’t find them locally so she sent them to me! Thank you so much Jennifer!

{ROCKSTARS NEED DRINKS TOO} One of our local grocery stores was going out of business and had discounted the entire store. I happened to see Jones Soda bottles and knew I had to include them in the party. I designed three different custom labels for the party using Jackson’s awesome photos. It wasn’t until I was done designing the labels that I realized you can get Personalized Labels direct from Jones Soda. I printed all of my labels for a lot cheaper. We attached black & white or pink & white stripy straws to the sides of all the bottles again with the Washi Tape . I also bring water for the adults too. This time I designed a label that read “This Water is Mine” and left a place for people to write in their names. That way people could keep track of them easier!

{PARTY FAVORS} The black and white polka dot gable boxes were full of fun party favors! We had blow up microphones, blow up guitars, tattoos, rockin’ silly bands, and guitar stickers. Additional favors were scattered throughout the party like the shutter shade glasses, rockin’ rubber ducks, and of course all the candy!

{SPECIAL THANK YOUS} I’d like to give a special thank you to my hubby for putting up with all of my shenanigans! He always pitches in to help out each and every time. Thank you to my partner in crime, Laura. She doesn’t even have any kids of her own, but she always helps me get ready for each party and provides me with amazing ideas! Thank you to my sisters for dealing with my craziness while we are setting up! I am type A and a total bossy older sister. Thank you so much! Elise, thank you for coming and helping out. We couldn’t have done it without you! Court– thanks again for the amazing photos that you took! They really were the catalyst for all of my party ideas! Ry– Thanks for slumin’ it and taking a few photos with my camera! Can’t wait to see how the photos turned out from your “real” camera. Thanks to Jenn too for providing us with Hostess Blog. It’s a constant source of inspiration and a platform to showcase amazing parties!



-Birthday Invitations, Return Address Label Wraps, Water Bottle Labels, Place Cards, Candy Labels, “Backstage Passes,” Posters, Soda Bottle Labels, Candy Bar Wrapper, Sucker Wrapper, Nerds Wrapper, T-shirts, Shortbread Cookies & Design, Cake Pops : Modern Moments Designs -Stripy Straws, Clear Tubes (gum balls were featured inside), Japanese Tape, 36″ balloons, polka dot balloons, polka dot gable boxes, Divine Twine, Striped bags: Shop Sweet Lu Lu -Black Bread Boxes: Target -Guitar, Music Notes, & Nautical Star Cookies: Bee’s Knees Creative -Edible Cookie Designs: Frost – Guitar Cake: Cakes by Taste of Honey ( in the Portland & Vancouver Area) -Guitar Fondant Cupcake Toppers: Two Sugar Babies -Rubber Ducks, Blow up Guitars, Paper Plates, Napkins, Stickers, Tattoos, Glasses: Oriental Trading Company -Stars, Blow Up Microphones, Birthday Candle, Nerds: The Lippman Co. -Venue: Sound Roots -Pick Punch (I used this to create the custom pics): Pick Punch -Photographs of Jackson (used on invite and all printables & photos of invitation): Courtney Jade Photography *Party Photographs were taken by Me, my hubby Lincoln, and the best photos were taken by my talented brother-in-law, Ryan Wilcox with You Look Nice Today Photography