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Surprise Garden Inspired Birthday Lunch

In terms of amazing birthday celebrations, this certainly ranks at the tippy top. It’s a surprise party for a Mom who is turning 60 years young crafted by Carol-Anne Kemp. And tucked inside are elegant details pairing vintage pieces with the modern look of ghost chairs and a dessert spread like you wouldn’t believe. Which is music to this birthday girl’s ears since dessert happens to be her favorite course. Find more captured by Cheryl McEwan right here.

My Mom is generally the family member to host birthday parties for the rest of the family but seldom hosts parties for herself. For her 60th birthday I wanted to change that so I planned a surprise birthday lunch for her. It was held in the spring so I wanted a light, airy look. My Mom loves floral and vintage pieces so we rented vintage crockery and mixed the crockery with pastel colored floral arrangements. We also rented vintage furniture and mixed the pieces with modern elements, such as ghost chairs, to give the venue a modern vintage look. Dessert is my Mom’s favorite course so we ensured there was a fully stocked dessert table that looked beautiful and tasted delicious. The result was a lovely afternoon thoroughly enjoyed by all.

Photography: Cheryl McEwan | Floral Design: Leipzig | Stationery: Lara's Designs | Venue: Dear Me | Cakes & Desserts: Lulubelle's Bakes | Event Planning & Design: Carol-Anne Kemp | Vintage Rentals: A Vintage Affair

DIY Coffee & Donut Gift Crate

If there were ever a DIY I would want to make solely for myself, it would be this scrumptious coffee and donut gift crate snapped up by Rebecca Yale Photography, Inc. Guaranteed to make any morning feel extra special (and extra delicious), this sweet little DIY with the loveliest hand lettering from The Left Handed Calligrapher would be the perfect gift for just about anyone.

The next time you gift a coffee lover their favorite beans, give it an extra special touch with yummy homemade baked donuts, pretty cafe-style mugs and gold stirring spoons! Best. Morning. Ever.


Wood bin
Canvas Home Kaffe Tumbler
Coffee spoons
Coffee beans
Homemade mini baked donuts
Kraft paper bag
Kraft macaron box
Crinkle-cut paper shreds
Satin ribbon


Make it extra sweet by personalizing your tumblers! Write on the outer surface with an oil-based metallic gold Sharpie paint marker (avoid writing on the rim) and bake the tumblers in the oven at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Super easy and pretty!


For even more gift basket ideas check out:
Pancake Gift BasketFarmhouse Omelette BasketGranola + Yogurt Basket, and Get Well Basket.

Photography: Rebecca Yale Photography, Inc. | Calligraphy: The Left Handed Calligrapher | Design & Styling: SMP Living

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The Modern Day Festival Girl with PopSugar

Festival season is upon us. The Women’s Project recently kicked off at Coachella with the ultimate celebrity and fashion blog, POPSUGAR, to create fresh, modern day looks for the unique evergreen girl. These days it’s not all about the bohemian. While we got her cute gal team to model, Lisa Sugar gave us the 411 on how to get inspired for a day in the sun no matter your personality. xoxo Lauri of TWP

Lisa Sugar – Editor in Chief of POPSUGAR

The All American Look: Frank and Eileen Button Down | J.Crew Jeans | ODLR Shoes

Coachella is one of the most influential events in pop culture for a millennial audience, and POPSUGAR and ShopStyle wanted to be there to bring together designers, celebrities, influencers, etc. to help shape the dialogue.

Lauren Sofair - Senior Producer at POPSUGAR

The Laurel Canyon Look: Jumpsuit by Badgley Mischka | Jenny Bird Cuff

POPSUGAR partnered with CFDA to launch our POPSUGAR Must Have CFDA Special Edition Box, Bauble Bar to launch Alessandra Ambrosio’s jewelry line, and Mara Hoffman and Cynthia Vincent to showcase their Spring collections. Lola Wolf (Zoe Kravitz’s band) performed and Hannah Bronfman DJ’ed. Over 1,100 influencers attended our event over the weekend.

Kasia Bohos - Makeup and Hair at POPSUGAR

The Rock & Roll Bohemian Look: Veda Dress | Furla Purse | Vince Camuto shoes | Alexa Mika Ring | Maya Brenner Bangles | Jules Smith Necklace (longer) | Sarah Chloe Necklace (spike)

Coachella is sexy, flirty, and fun. It’s hot in the desert but temperatures do drop at night, so people have to layer and think about their outfits for long periods of time if they are staying on the concert site.

Meg Cuna – Style Director at POPSUGAR

The Modernist Look: Cedric Charlier jumper | Fallon cuff | Vanessa Mooney necklace | Baublebar ring

And while the bohemian look will never go away since it’s the origin of festival fashion, people have been adding their own spin on looks over the years. Some are sportier, more all-American with their cutoff jean shorts and vintage t-shirts while others are layering more — bathing suits and cover-ups — we’ve seen it all. 

Allison McNamara - Host at POPSUGAR

The Trendsetter Look: Rebecca Taylor Shirt | Cameo Wrap Shorts | Kate Spade New York Clutch | J.Crew Shoes

More practical looks like large hats are happening more, and modern temporary tattoos are a great way to personalize for just those few days — nothing permanent, but something else to add some flare and unique personalization. Also maxi dresses are a dime a dozen, so you can always find your style in a fun, practical dress that can cover you up safely from the sun, and yes modern shapes and cutouts to keep you cool.

To learn more about Lisa and the story of Pop Sugar, pop over to TWP .

Photography: Lauri Levenfeld | Makeup/ Hair: Kasia Bohos | Site: Avalon Hotel | Stylist: Meg Cuna

Lauri Levenfeld

Contributing Editor, Life
Behind the Scenes with Southern Weddings

The ladies at Southern Weddings not only have one of the cutest offices around, but they have business savvy by the boatload and an eye for that sweet, southern style. Think monograms and pops of color. We caught up with Emily Thomas, the uber talented Creative Director of Southern Weddings whose offering up great advice plus a stockpile of fabulous tested and approved recipes to try. It’s a win – win.

SMP: Tell us a little about your business.

Southern Weddings Magazine is the South’s premier publication for the modern bride. Our mission is to inspire brides to cultivate a life full of love — celebrating their families, the culture of the South, and what matters most to them — and then to draw from that rich well to create a meaningful beginning to married life. There are seven gals on our team. In addition to our daily blog and annual print magazine, we have a bustling shop and a marquee product, our wedding planner. It was a labor of love and I’m so proud of it!!

 SMP: Some words you live by?

Every day, learn something new, do something kind, and see something beautiful – advice from my great aunt.

SMP: Any guilty pleasures?

I don’t feel too guilty about either of them, but I’d say The Bachelor/Bachelorette (NOT Bachelor Pad) and donuts.

SMP: If you had the opportunity to get a message across to a large group of people, what would it be?

It’s not about you. Make your life about something larger than yourself, something that lasts longer than you, and you’ll find satisfaction and joy will come much more easily.

 SMP: What is your favorite item in your office?

Our bulletin boards! It’s hard to feel stuck or frustrated when I can glance up and see so many of my favorite colors, ideas, and quotes.

SMP: What’s your best tip for balancing work and personal life?

This might not work for everyone, but I have two Instagram accounts – my public one with a larger following, and my personal, private one with about 20 followers (my family and closest friends). When I leave for the day, I sign out of my public account, which allows me to lay my phone aside and feel no compulsion to pick it up and scroll, because I know it will all be there in the morning. I use my personal account to share things with loved ones in real time, but since there’s no need to be chained to it to interact or answer questions, it doesn’t interrupt or take away from my “real life.”

SMP: What was the tipping point in your business that made you feel like it was going to thrive?

Our fifth issue was the first one where we were able to put into practice our crystallized mission of inspiring not just beautiful Southern weddings, but beautiful, strong, and growing marriages. The feedback from readers was enormous, and we knew we had struck a chord.

SMP: Your most memorable moment?

Walking down the aisle to marry my husband. We did a first look, which was joyful but not particularly emotional, so I didn’t expect the waterworks and the enormous swell of emotion that hit as soon as the chapel doors opened. We didn’t take our eyes off each other the whole time. I will never forget those moments.

SMP: What’s one thing you really want to do, but have never done?

Travel to Europe! Happily, I have a trip to France planned for June, and couldn’t be more excited!!

SMP: The best advice you’ve ever received?

From my 11th grade English teacher: Most people have one of two types of jobs. The first is one that they absolutely love, but may not pay that much. The second is one that they might like or dislike, but pays really well and/or allows them the flexibility to do what they’re passionate about outside of work. You can be very happy with either.

SMP: If you could buy yourself a single gift of any cost, what would it be?

A private plane and personal pilot. My family lives far away from me, and the greatest luxury would be getting to see them whenever I wanted! Also, my husband and I love to travel, but airplane tickets are often the limiting factor in how many trips we’re able to take.

SMP: Your secret to success?

You can’t control when you’ll get an opportunity, but you can control how prepared you are to seize that opportunity when it comes. Do the hard work to be ready.

SMP: One place everyone must visit in their lifetime?

My husband and I drove the California coast last year, with a short jaunt out to Yosemite, and we agree we’d repeat the exact trip every year if there weren’t so many other places to go! It was breathtakingly beautiful.

SMP: The best job you ever had?

This one! I love being part of a dynamic small business that has a mission no smaller than changing the world, one growing marriage at a time. It’s easy to love your job when you can see the difference you’re making.

SMP: Best moment of your career so far?

Probably seeing the first issue I worked on on newsstands. I made my husband (then boyfriend) take a photo of me with it, and have done the same for every issue since! It doesn’t get old.

SMP: Advice you’d give to your younger self?

I’m pretty proud of my younger self. She did just fine

SMP: Your favorite instagrammer?

I adore Ali Harper’s aesthetic and style and think she has one of the most beautiful feeds. @aliharper

SMP: Your go-to recipe?

My husband and I are always trying new things! I keep track of the recipes we’ve tried and loved on this Pinterest board – 100+ and counting!

SMP: What’s a typical work day for you like?

I get to the office around 9am, and spend some time scrolling through email that came in overnight (I never check it after work) and through Instagram (I also don’t check that overnight). I create a paper to do list from whatever didn’t get done the day before and anything that came in over email. From about 9:30-1:30 I get to work! This means lots of email (I try to work on a one-touch system); consulting with Lisa and the other ladies about upcoming shoots, magazine and blog features, shop products, and social media things we’re trying; formatting and writing blog posts; and calls with creative partners for upcoming shoots. I always try to eat lunch outside on our porch for a change of scenery, then it’s back to more of the same until about 5 or 5:30.

SMP: Do you have any secret talents?

I used to be an Irish step dancer! Yes, like Riverdance (kind of). I had the wig and everything.

SMP: Why do you think your business has done so well?

I think our audience (mostly Millenials) loves that we invite them to be a part of the Southern Weddings story and mission. They know who we are, why we do what we do, and what it means to us, which makes it easy for them to support us and become our brand evangelists. It’s a delight to do this work alongside the best readers in the world! Also, we work REALLY hard – I am constantly amazed by the efficiency, talent, creativity, and resourcefulness of the ladies I work alongside.

Photographer: Robyn Van Dyke | All Desks And Shelving: Ikea | Chair Monogram Decals: Dixieland Monogram | Dotted Storage Boxes: Emily Ley | Gold Laser Cut Logo: Southern Fried Paper | Mason Jar Water Bottles: The Mason Bar Company | Office Chairs: Amazon | Side Arm Chairs: World Market | Southern Weddings Planner: Southern Weddings Shop

These Vendors are members of our Little Black Book.
For membership information, click here
A Romantic Garden Party with Pier 1 Imports

‘Tis the season for garden parties and this inspiration from Pier 1 Imports is all about easy and elegant entertaining. In a sea of greenery, make your garden shine bright with soft accents and pops of pretty floral. It’s the perfect spot for sipping lemonade and nibbling on cake surrounded by the prettiest outdoor goodies from Pier 1 Imports. We would expect nothing less from the purveyors of summer entertaining accoutrements.

Up the ladylike elegance with peach goblets, a bistro table for sitting pretty and vintage inspired florals for dabbing away the cake crumbs. Or maybe a bird bath turned art sculpture is in order? Whatever your flavor, head to Pier 1 Imports and fill that cart with all the necessities for a garden party dripping in pretty details. Your backyard will thank you.

Pier 1 Imports Products: 1. Gaze Acrylic Drinkware | 2. Vintage Style Garden Napkin | 3. Hammered Beverage Tub | 4. Isla Cake Stand | 5. Scalloped Melamine Dinnerware | 6. Cabana Petal Lumbar Pillow  | 7. Verdigris Bird Feeder | 8. Carved Vine Tray | 9. Flower Lantern | 10. Santa Barbara Arm Chair