birthday love

my new camera’s first foray into the real world happened this past weekend at my 27th birthday party. my sweet friend rose decided to throw me a party just a few days before, and despite the short notice it turned out perfect. i decided at the last minute (literally, the day before the party) that i wanted to set up a photo booth. i have been loving this trend lately. a few of my favorite examples are from blair’s wedding, mr. humperdink’s (he’s a cat by the way) birthday party, and cady’s wedding. let’s face it though, i don’t plan on getting married anytime soon, so i decided to go the mr. humperdink route and get in my photo booth fix at a birthday party.

on friday night, rose and i set out to michaels to buy the supplies: scapbook paper (14 cents on clearance, yes please) and raffia for the bunting, foam sheets and dowel rods for the funny accessories, a chalkboard, and a bubble gun. on saturday we hit the nashville flea market in search of project supplies for me (coming soon!) and we found a great wooden frame that i slapped some purple paint on an hour before the party. we added a white sheet backdrop and a cool old bench and we were photo booth ready!

i wasn’t totally happy with the way the pictures turned out quality-wise, but i’ll chalk that up to lack of experience and poor lighting. i do love the festiveness and the beautiful people in them. this girl has a wonderful group of friends. here are a few of my favorites of the night.

me with my lovely friends, kim and rose

rose with double props!

tab with the c. brothers

sweet blair (the one with the fun wedding photo booth), me, and blair's hubby wade

the best music-mixer jon

cute couple cal and sheena

sammy and nick in their matching get-ups

jen, rose, me, and meg. i love these girls!



brainstorming: anthropologie design tool

who is excited about decorating tips from anthropologie?! me! they just launched a new feature on their site. order wallpaper and upholstery swatches (yep, i already did and i don’t even have any immediate plans for either of those things), get tips on decor placement, and read up on decorating terms you may not know.

exciting! i just decided that i want to wallpaper a room or wall in my house. let the brainstorming begin!

my soundtrack: mindy smith + leigh nash

i know little to nothing about music, but it’s hard not to be sucked in by the sounds of music city. last night, i attended my first show at the historic belcourt theater. it was a lovely experience- beautiful music in an intimate setting. a couple of songs really spoke to me, so i just have to share. isn’t it amazing how music can mirror some of our innermost thoughts?

leigh nash from sixpence none the richer was the opening act. i had no idea she was going to be there, so i was beyond excited. what girl didn’t sing happily along to “kiss me”?? {this girl still does} leigh was the cutest and most genuine person i’ve ever seen perform. really, just adorable. i fell in love with her personality instantly and her voice all over again. i want to be her best friend. listen below to a song she wrote to her dad. so touching.

mindy smith, a singer-songwriter who often appears on my pandora stations, was the headliner. she was quite the entertainer as well. she was definitely an odd bird, but an odd bird i’d want to hang out with. her long island accent and sarcastic sense of humor was hugely unexpected given her sweet and sad love songs, but she was charming nonetheless. one of my favorite songs of the night was “tennessee”- a song she wrote about this great place i live. give it a listen below.

Tennessee, you’ve been good to me
Yes, I’ve come to believe you’re where I wanna be
You may not be what everybody needs
but Tennessee, you’re good enough for me

I can see stars shining in your night
Your daytime seems like Cash and Patsy Cline
They may not be what everybody needs
But they touch my soul
That’s good enough for me

It’s been ten years now, and I’m rooted in your soil
I am rooted in your soil
Give me ten more years, I’ll be rooted in your soil
Right here in your soil

You may not be what I will always need
But I call you home
If I can call you home
Then you’re good enough for me

things i love: my new camera

i took the plunge into the slr world! i’ve been frustrated with my photos since i’ve started blogging a little more regularly, and i think at least part of the problem was my dropped-many-times point-and-shoot. so, between my tax refund (first one ever, by the way) and my upcoming birthday (thanks mom and dad), i’ve got a brand-spankin’-new nikon d3100. it came with a 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G vr zoom lens and i’ve got a 50mm f/1.8D lens on the way.

i’ve started reading some photography books. shutter speed, aperture, iso, oh my! here’s hoping i can learn to use this thing! any experts want to go on a shooting outing with me?

new hobby: cake decorating

i’ve been pursuing LOTS of new hobbies lately. one of the most unexpected? cake decorating. last fall, i bought a groupon for a fondant class at sweet wise in nashville. i was so nervous because fondant seems like such a daunting material to work with. plus i’m not a very good cook. and i’m not very patient. at all. i gave it a shot though and found something else that i love!

cake # 1: christmas themed cake; white cake with buttercream icing

here’s the cake i decorated during my first class. it’s a little lopsided. or whimsical. whichever you prefer.

cake #2: christmas themed cake; red velvet cake with cream cheese icing

i was so stoked to try it again that i went back to sweet wise a week later to buy decorating supplies. i made this christmas present cake for a work party. it was giant- two full sized red velvet cakes! i think it finally got thrown away after the new year.

cake #3: book cake; chocolate fudge cake with strawberry buttercream icing

in january, i hosted book club at my house. i decided to step it up a notch and attempt a book cake. it turned out cute enough considering my lack of expertise. i did learn one important lesson though- make sure the crumb coat of icing on the outside of the cake is as thick as possible (as in, make sure the icing itself is thick, but layer it on really thin). i added strawberry preserves to buttercream, but it ended up being a little runny. pink juice was running out from all sides of the cake!

cakes #4 and 5: mini birthday cakes; chocolate cake with chocolate icing

in march, i made this small cake for my sweet friend kim’s birthday. i only used half of the cake, so it was the perfect size for just one person. this might be my favorite cake yet! i love the little stitching details.

finally, i used the rest of the kim’s cake to make a cake for my friend brad’s birthday. i visited him in new orleans for mardi gras and it also happened to be his birthday that weekend. so i attempted a mini mardi gras whimsical cake. i was decorating this one at the last minute before my flight left the next morning, and it was almost a disaster. i learned the hard way that black fondant is almost impossible to make (fyi buy it; don’t try to use food color), so i ended up having to scrap my whole idea and start over with just a little fondant left.

this cake got the special treat of flying to new orleans. and of course the security guy shook the box before i could tell him what was in it. and then once we got there it was pouring, so the humidity make the poor cake melt a little (ok a lot), but it still tasted yummy (thanks to my friends brigett and luann. their chocolate cake recipe is amazing).

i’ve got some ideas for some upcoming cakes. now i just need to find some time and an event that won’t require me to take the extra cake home with me- because i will eat it!

{side-note: some of these pictures are terrible! i apologize. stay tuned though for some exciting related news}