Gender Reveal Fiesta!

A couple of months ago when I started thinking about what to do our gender reveal, I knew almost immediately that I wanted to do something a little different. I knew it would be late June when we found out the gender at our mid-pregnancy anatomy scan, so I wanted it to be bright, fun, + summery!

So, I got to Pinterest-ing at some ideas I had saved of fiesta themed birthday parties and I thought “WHY can’t we do this for our gender reveal?!”  It wasn’t overly baby-fied, it was a summer theme, and it encompassed my now 21-week-craving for all things Mexican food. Give me some chips and salsa and/or a taco and I’m good to go! 😉

While my husband and I were looking at invitations, I randomly blurted out “LET’S TACO BOUT THE SEX!” and that ended up being the tagline for our gender reveal. Our guests got a good laugh out of that!

So fast-forward a few weeks of planning, DIYing, and daydreaming about our baby’s gender…. we found out last week what we were having and decided to keep it a BIG secret until our gender reveal. We told NO ONE! It was kind of nice and special to be the only ones who knew for the 4 days leading up to the party! But our families were for sure on pins & needles all week and trying to bribe us to tell them, but we didn’t cave!

We held our gender reveal fiesta this past weekend, and had about 30ish of our closest family + friends there. It meant so much to us to have everyone there to celebrate with us.

Now for the good stuff… THE PHOTOS! Amanda took these for me and I’m so glad she was able to capture these moments for us.

Gender Reveal

Gender Reveal

Our taco bar was the stuff (my) dreams are made of… We had all the toppings you’d need for a good taco… complete with chips & salsa from a local Mexican restaurant!

Gender Reveal

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My Mom was a baker in her former life and is so talented. I enlisted her to make cactus cupcakes because I knew our fiesta would be incomplete without them. How cute are they?! And the best part is the flavor of the cupcakes was CHURRO… be still my heart!

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And now for the big reveal… IT’S A GIRL!!!!!!!!! I’m still in disbelief. Seeing our baby last week and hearing that she’s growing perfectly and right on schedule was the most exciting part… the gender is just the cherry on the sundae, so to speak. We are so excited to meet our girl in November.
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We made our piñata using this tutorial from DIY Network. My mom and dad cut it out of cardboard, and with the help of my mom and mammaw, we covered it with fringed crepe paper… and THEN Matt & I stuffed it with pink confetti and tissue paper. It was quite the project, but a total necessity for our fiesta!

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I love this photo! Amanda on the left, me, and then my 3 oldest friends (like going on 20 years of friendship with those 3). I can’t wait to see my friends with my baby. It will be such a “full circle” moment for me.
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We had a great time. I’m almost positive that confetti makes everything better, don’t you agree?!

Influence Conference | You are qualified

You know that moment when someone you know as an acquaintance shifts to a friend? That moment you or her just lay all your stuff out on the table? Like… “Here I am: my life is messy and over-complicated, but I just can’t have you ask me “how are you doing today?” one more time and not tell you the truth.

Well, I’m that girl. The girl that is tired of pretense or just had a hard day, and the over-sharing spills out like a broken dam. I’m always left with self-talk, saying “Wow, Amanda, you hold nothing back! and they’ve got to be feeling like you’re too much.” Okay, let’s just go ahead and call that self-talk what it is: insecurity, fear and anxiety that this person will bolt now that I’ve shown them my true self.

But when I’m the one witnessing a woman laying her true self, her joys, fears and frustrations out there, I don’t have those thoughts. It’s everything, I love when people get real. I see myself in her struggle. I care deeply for her in that moment.  I see and love her in that moment. I want to rally her on, celebrate or cry with her.

That’s what the Influence Conference was for me. Wave after wave of seeing and knowing these women. These days, we “know” so many people from the squares of Instagram or from across the park. We interpret the bits and pieces they share with us, not knowing the whole, real story. We create a separation between ourselves and the women we see in passing or online. The separation is the lie that these women are past the struggle & livin’ the dream.

Influence Conference
Each time a woman I thought I knew would walk on stage at the conference, she would tear down the walls of separation I had created in my mind. Each speaker would share her story, revealing that her relationship with Jesus was still evolving, that following her calling felt hopeless at times, that she stumbles, doubts and continues to fight desires of the ego, just like me.

They proved that not one of the ladies in the audience needed to have it all together to be qualified to share their faith or gifts and that they could have faith in the promise of our God, while still sorting out what it means to be a daughter of God. Within their stories, we found our stories.

Jess Connolly kicked the morning off by sharing what The Influence Network stood for. She left us with questions that broke past the pleasantries and forced attendees to get boldly honest about their influence and how they felt about their influence.

Jess asked:

 How have I discounted the way He made me?

How have I discounted the place He put me?

Who has God given you favor with?

Who wants to hear from you?

Who has He given you burden for?

What way have you been hurt that you hide?

What ways do you hurt? What is your daily sin?

What are your “Joseph” dreams?

I’ve been sitting with these for days. I have quick answers to these questions, long answers and complete silence for them. They are something I will continue to ask myself as life evolves and I take on new roles of influence.

In her opening talk, she also asked us why we were there.  I didn’t know or think about it until she asked the question. My ticket was a gift; an event like this is not something I feel super comfortable attending alone. Marrissa wasn’t able to come with me on this trip so I was completely solo.

When she asked, I immediately thought… “I was there to hear that God did not put the desire in my heart to create a business that supports women to torture me…”

Jess closed her opening talk with Luke 10: In my real sin, He is made strong.” Looking back, I feel that was the theme of the day. These amazing ladies shared their struggle with all different kinds of sin, and displayed God’s strength in every inch of their stories.

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A big bonus from attending was meeting some amazing ladies. I got to go to lunch with a few women and had the chance to get to know them better. You can check out Kimberly Keith’s recap here and Alicia Cardwell’s here. It was so neat to be sitting at a table with women who were sure of their faith and could speak openly about seeking wisdom from Him.

It’s not something I’m entrenched in in my day-to-day life, and have just recently become more open (on-line) about how I seek out + struggle with finding a relationship with The Lord. So, to be with so many women in the thick of their own walk was refreshing.

I had to leave a bit early to help a very pregnant friend, prepare for a sweet baby boy.  As I was walking out, I had a twinge of disappointment that I didn’t get to meet Jess and Hayley while at the event.

As you know, Marrissa and I are on the Wild and Free launch team. I was hoping for the opportunity to talk them into coming to visit us in WV, even though we are far from the 100 attendee requirement…

So with disappointment in hand, I jumped in the car and paused for a quick IG post before hitting the road.  As I was pulling out Jess commented on the photo I had just posted that she wanted to meet with us! (wait, WHAT?!)

Influence Conference

Well, that wall of separation came right up when I saw her message. I was pulling out of the parking lot, having an internal struggle and telling myself, “Oh they don’t want to meet, just keep driving.”  And I figured I would be a crazy groupie if I turned around and went back to meet these ladies whom I admire so much.

Well, right before I hit the interstate, I said what the heck, I’ll message her back… So I pulled off and messaged her I was leaving and told her they could meet in the parking lot. I hit send and told myself I’d give her a few minutes to respond. Well, within seconds she replied to me that they were coming outside.

Influence Conference

I went back and met Hayley and Jess and told them how important  we felt it was for women in our area to see women being successful business owners, wives, moms, chasing Jesus and telling people about it. They were so kind and supportive of our hopes to have an event in West Virginia and could not have been any more normal during my complete awkwardness. 😉

So after this long-winded post, I hope you will let go of the walls you’ve built, find God’s Glory in your sin and lay it all out there– because life is to short to wait till you feel qualified to stand in your influence.

Building Lasting Friendships | Callie Burgard: Kómma Designs

Alright, I am going to start out brutal- but stick with me. Evaluate your current circle of friends. Do you feel genuinely loved? Supported? Do you feel like your friends are like-minded? Do you feel like they push you harder to obtain your goals? The moment I surrounded myself with like-minded friends, my world changed. For me, being a creative warrior who works a full-time career and owns a small business, finding friends who understood that Friday nights were late night blog writing, timeline creation and steaming linens for clients was difficult.  As awful as this may sound, surrounding yourself with people who are in line with your goals, your lifestyle and your career, will help you find common ground and support. Friendships are so much more than random texts and the occasional coffee date. Lasting friendships are genuine, loving, supportive and something worth celebrating.

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Meeting new friends can seem difficult, scary and just sometimes impossible. Never be afraid to reach out to other like-minded individuals, people you admire or people you want to be friends with. You would be surprised how supportive people are when you just reach out. Also, never be afraid to talk to strangers- yeah, I know. The world has told you your whole life that talking to strangers is a bad thing. Don’t hang out with me if you don’t want to talk to strangers. I am wildly known for approaching anyone for just about anything. Ok, obviously use your best judgment, I am not asking you to walk up to danger- but you should know the different between someone you admire, someone who you love their style or someone with great hair vs. someone dangerous looking.

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Listening is one of the most incredible qualities a human can have. People love to be heard, but in reality, we spend so much time wanting to just talk about ourselves. Take time to genuinely get to know people. Ask them small details about their life. Ask them how their day and week are going. Remember what they said to you, and always remember to follow up. If your friend mentions they are having a rough time, in a few days, don’t hesitate to reach out and check in.

Celebrating is so underrated. I believe in celebrating every aspect of life. Some of our favorite accomplishments are the littlest. Take the time to recognize these little victories in your friends. Did your friend recently get a new job? Finish a class they struggled with? Make an awesome root beer float? Get an award? Celebrate with them. Send them a card, take them balloons, invite them over. Celebrate things that are basically random. Celebrate the change in season, time change, their vacation- just sending them a reminder about how awesome it is going to impact their life. Little victories are still steps towards a greater goal, and deserve reward. Make it seem like a big deal, believe me, people are taken back by this, and love it. I know this all sounds crazy- and extreme, but I promise you, you will change the lives of your friends around you. When they flip through their mail, open their text, are embraced by a hug- their world will change a little bit for the better.

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Always be available to help your friends. As humans, we struggle. Help can come in so many different forms. In my industry, sometimes help is just a cup of coffee while I am working on a wedding layout, sometimes help is setting floral at a wedding, sometimes help is just advice on which photo to post on Instagram. Take the time to serve your friends. Helping them grow can be such an empowering, incredible feeling. It is a selfless task that can change their life, show your support and remind them how proud of them you are.

The simplest things can go so far. Wishing each of your friends a happy day via text can change their entire morning. Reaching out to your friends throughout the day to let them know your thinking about them. Also, in your own busy life, schedule time for friends. Stop turning down breakfast dates, dinner and late nights under the stars. No matter how busy you are, focus time on the friendships, it is good for both your soul and theirs.

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I know I am a little crazier than the rest of the world, but I take time to celebrate friendships and build relationships with my friends because at the end of the day, they are the ones who support me, love me, celebrate with me. They make me laugh, they build memories with me, they travel with me. They create with me. They help my career, the least I can do is remind them daily how much I love them, how proud I am, how happy I am to have them in my life.

Photo Credit:

Abigail Wellinghurst

Marriage + Friendship

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In honor of February being the month of love, we wanted to do a post on relationships, particularly marriage + friendship. But this post isn’t going to be your typical marriage and friendship advice kind of post. Instead, we enlisted two women we love and admire: our grandmothers: Amanda’s Nana and my Mammaw. They’re both in their 70’s and we admire them in sooo many ways. We’ve looked up to them our whole lives, and we admire their marriages, their strength, and the way they carry themselves as women.  And now we consider them friends.

Let me tell you a little about them… First up, Amanda’s Nana and Grandad: Gloria and Mike. They started dating when they were 16. They married young, did well for themselves earlier on and were then separated for a few years during the war. Gloria had Amanda’s mother while Mike was overseas. Amanda said that her Nana is a fiercely-loyal woman, and contributes their success during their time apart because of this. When Mike returned, life resumed as normal. They both worked and attended school at night while raising Amanda’s mom. Mike moved up in a local company, becoming the head accountant and Gloria was a successful teacher.

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When Amanda asked them their secrets to this long life of love, the first one on their list was: loyalty.

“Understanding marriage is not always a love story… Life gives and takes from you. As a married couple, knowing you have loyalty from your partner gives you solid ground to stand on in uncertain times. Our trust and commitment to one another was not determined by our circumstances,” shared Gloria.

She continued, “Show your spouse a little grace during times that you’re surviving on your commitment and loyalty alone. Love comes in waves…”

Mike jumped in and said, “I would say our friendship was important to our success. We both have similar interests and enjoy experiencing life together. Get out and live life together!,” he added, “Watching you kids today, I don’t see many of you out there getting into things. I see you on your phone and computer looking at a lot of places or watching other people’s experiences. You don’t need a partner to do that. If you have a partner, live a life that engages one another. If you don’t have a partner, well… maybe you need to get off your gadgets.” ; )

Gloria countered his comment with, “Encourage one another to enjoy things outside of the relationship. We have always been supportive of one another having a life outside of each other. Good friendships come in handy when your marriage needs support, an illness strikes, or you have something to celebrate. Don’t cut off your friendships and passions just because you’re married.”

And speaking of friends, the inspiration behind this post came to me a few weeks ago after I attended a viewing with my Mammaw. Her BFF’s (Anna Marie) husband passed away and seeing how they interacted got me thinking about their 45 year long friendship. I never truly stopped to think about what they had been through together until recently. So a few days later, I asked my Mammaw about how they came to be friends + how they stayed friends all these years.

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They met in 1971 when a mutual friend suggested that my Mammaw start babysitting Anna Marie’s two girls. And so she did just that. Her girls became fast friends with my mom and her brother and shortly after, Anna Marie and her family moved a couple streets up from my Mammaw and Pappaw. They’ve lived within walking distance of one another for 45 years and they STILL log more hours per week on the phone than any two people I’ve ever met. They’ve been through a LOT together;  the one constant in both of their lives has always been each other. They’ve lost children and grandchildren, fought for their marriages and what they believed in, dealt with their own health issues, and now, they’ve both lost the great loves of their lives. Forty-five years. And they seem to have mastered the ever-elusive balancing act of loving themselves + others well, simultaneously.

Here’s how my Mammaw says they did it:

Are you ready for this?…

“I don’t know… we were just always there for each other.”  — So simple and honest and real. I also asked her if they ever fought or went through rough patches in their friendship and she quickly replied: “No. Never.”  THAT in itself is amazing! I chalk it up to both of them being so easy-going and being true to one another during all seasons of life. They had each other to lean on during the tough times; they knew they could count on the other person. That is so rare these days… to find people who can handle you at your worst and still decide to stay and walk with you through the mess.

We loved interviewing our family for this post. They keep us grounded and remind us what life is all about. We hope your relationships are full of grace, loyalty and adventure!

Happy Valentine’s Day! Go out and love on somebody!

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