riveting redwoods


Maybe it’s because I grew up in the Great Plains, but I have always been captivated by tall trees. Despite my lifelong fascination, nothing could have prepared me for the magnificence of the California Redwoods. They are definitely something that need to be experienced in person because no description or photo will ever do them justice. Nevertheless, I am posting one of my favorite photos from my recent trip to Northern California because I can’t help but share how mesmerized I was with the Redwoods.

I hate to admit it, but I am now ruined for all other forests. As much as I will always adore Washington’s Olympic Peninsula, those lush forests (as seen here) still can’t compare. There is just something about standing among the Giants (some over 2,000 years old) that makes me feel insignificant yet honored all at the same time.




revolutionary red

When I think about the color red, one of the first things that comes to mind is my favorite scene from Les Miserables. In The ABC Café scene, a group of young men convene to discuss plans of the upcoming revolution. Marius enters the café and cannot stop talking about how in love he is after just meeting Cosette the day before. Enjolras (the leader of the group) disgustedly reminds Marius that there are more important things at stake than his “lonely soul.” I love how many facets of the color red are depicted in just these lyrics – blood, anger, renewal, fire and desire.

Enjolras sings:

Red: the blood of angry men!
Black: the dark of ages past!
Red: a world about to dawn!
Black: the night that ends at last!

Marius sings:

Red: I feel my soul on fire!
Black: My world if she’s not there!
Red: The color of desire!
Black: The color of despair!

Without going into my overall opinion of last year’s film version of the musical, I admit that I truly love this particular scene in the movie. The actors who play Marius (Eddie Redmayne) and Enjolras (Aaron Tveit) are fantastic and everything just comes together beautifully. Although I think watching the movie adaptation is a good option, I definitely recommend catching a professional live production if you can. On Saturday, I went to the Dallas Theater Center’s production of the show, which is running through August 17th. The show was a little unusual because they modernized the set and costumes (imagine machine guns and swat team uniforms rather than 19th Century period costumes), but that honestly didn’t bother me as much as I expected because the music and performances were all exceptional. In fact, The ABC Café scene was so spectacular, I wished I could rewind it and watch it over and over.

seeing red

For my first ever guest post, the very creative and talented Jenna of Inspired Healthy Organized shares her thoughts on the color red.

Image sources below.

What does the color red mean to you? Like all colors, red can symbolize many things. From passion and love to death or drama, red can have positive or negative connotations. Red evokes many thoughts from the red and ermine robes of royalty and Popes to the red suit worn by Santa Claus. There are candy apple reds, ruby red slippers, and cherry red. Within the broad color of red, there are many shades and subtle meanings.

Red is associated with confidence. Red is a bold color and it takes confidence to wear it. Whether it’s Spanish matadors swinging their red cape brazenly at bulls or a woman with red lipstick, red attracts attention. So it’s no surprise that stop signs are red, stars walk the Red Carpet, and the soles of Christian Louboutin heels are distinctively red. In fact, one of the first colors infants can see is red.

When I think of red, I think of the opera. Classic drama at its best; full of love, passion, and often blood. Whether it’s Carmen or The Marriage of Figaro, the opera is loud, confident and makes a statement. In a more tangible way, red and opera are linked here in Dallas with the very red, very dramatic, Winspear Opera House. A beautiful structure with a red core, the Winspear was intended to be the “heart” of the Dallas Arts District.

With marble floors quarried from the same site as the Vatican’s, an international superstar of an architect, and photo-lens quality glass walls, the Winspear is a marvel. I highly recommend attending an opera (wherever you are) and touring the Winspear Opera House.

What do you associate with red?

Images via Source:



a punch of red

I recently purchased the Martha Stewart Crafts All Over the Page star punch and knew I had to find a reason to use it for the 4th of July. This particular craft is so simple that I don’t know if I can even call it a craft. All you need is a mason jar or glass candle holder, a flameless tea light or votive, red cardstock and a star punch that you can use anywhere on the paper (not just the edges). Cut the cardstock to fit the candle holder and then punch the stars in a random pattern. Tape or glue the ends of the paper together, place in the candle holder and turn on your flameless candle. You can add a ribbon for a little extra adornment and the punched out stars work well as confetti.

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bow tie paper napkin tutorial


Folding paper or cloth napkins into bow ties is a simple way to dress up any place setting. The paper bow tie napkins shown here were perfect for the golden anniversary party that Jenna of Inspired Healthy Organized and I planned. But, they could easily be used for a less formal occasion as well.

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I used these black dinner napkins from Party City. The photos are pretty self-explanatory, but keep in mind that you can change the width of the bow by adjusting the size of the folds in step 3.

bow tie invitation tutorial


For the bow tie party that I helped Jenna of Inspired Healthy Organized plan, I designed an invitation that acts as an invitation and envelope in one. For this project, you need black and white cardstock, a bone folder (or other scoring tool), 1 1/2 inch circle punch, gold metallic pen or paint pen, gold paper or large gold circle confetti and reliable paper crafting tape.

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Here are the instructions for each invitation:

1. Cut a 7 3/4″ square piece of black cardstock. Mark the center of the square (at 3 7/8″ from each side) for reference. Starting at one corner of the square, fold the corner over until it touches the center point. Go over the folded edge with the bone folder to create a crisp straight edge.

2. Repeat previous step for each corner to make a square base with four equal flaps.

3. Cut a 3 7/8″ square piece of white cardstock. Cut the square in half along the diagonal to make two triangles. Adhere triangles to opposite flaps as shown in third photo above.

4. Print invitation content on 5 1/4″ white stationary or cardstock. Open flaps and adhere to center.

5. Punch 1 1/2″ gold circle (or use large gold circle confetti). Close flaps and secure gold circle to center with reliable crafting adhesive.

6. Turn invitation over and address  with gold metallic pen or paint pen.

black and white is golden

What do you get when you combine black, white, gold, bow ties, confetti, bubbly and chocolate? A bow tie themed golden anniversary party, of course. My friend Jenna (of Inspired Healthy Organized) convinced me to collaborate with her to plan said party since I am featuring black and white this month. I hesitate to take much credit for the result, because Jenna was definitely the creative genius behind it all. So, just think of me as her assistant.

Although we planned the event as a 50th Anniversary party, the same elements could be used for a variety of occasions from a birthday or New Year’s Eve party to an engagement party or wedding reception. And, the accent color could easily be changed from gold to silver for a 25th anniversary party.

Here are the elements of the party broken down:

– DIY Bow Tie Invitation/Envelope (tutorial here)

– Table: DIY bow tie runner, DIY chargers cut from metallic poster board, DIY bow tie napkins (tutorial here), white and gold flower arrangement

– Dessert Table: DIY runner (black wrapping or butcher paper with gold confetti sprinkled on), dark and white chocolate mini cheesecakes (Jenna’s tutorial here), strawberries, DIY paper bow ties for champagne flutes, sparkling wine

– Photo Backdrop (Jenna’s tutorial here)

– S’mores Favors: for each favor – 4 graham crackers, 4 marshmallows, one square of dark or white chocolate and one square of DIY marble chocolate bark, bag/ribbon/tag