Zombie Ice Cream Parlor Costumes

Every few years, the Mr. agrees to a Halloween costume that requires me to paint him.  He complains every time, during the process, but seems to beam with pride when we walk into the party and folks dig all of the effort ‘we’ put into our outfits.  Funny how that works, right…

Now, we’ve fallen off of the outlandish adult costume wagon the last two years, and let our little guy be our focus on All Hallows Eve, but we are still ‘those’ parents that coordinate with our kid during Trick-Or-Treat.  And I think he really enjoys us participating with him!

2015  Top Gun


2014  Chef’s Special

Anyways, by the time Fall came around this year, my itch to get back into the spirit was driving me bananas!  I’ve binge watched countless episodes of Face Off (on SyFy) and one character has always stuck out amongst all 10 seasons.  On Episode 8 of Season 2, Matt Valentine created a Burton-esque Ice Cream Man and it was AMAZING!

I’ve been carrying this costume idea in my back pocket for years now!


The clothing was easy to come by and simple to alter to mimic Matt’s creation.  I just ordered white painter’s pants, a white button down from Amazon.  With some brown puffy paint (ahhh brings me back to my childhood!), brown fabric spray paint, real rainbow jimmies, and round sprinkles, I covered both outfits and did some additional distressing by burning the edges of his sleeves and ripped knee area.  For the red and white striped shirt, I simply purchased an additional pair of tights from Party City and cut the legs off at the top so he could slide one up each arm.  I used a bit of left over for the knee patch.

For all 4 of the ice cream cones, I used tan foam sheets from Hobby Lobby and squeezed on acrylic (paintable) caulking, from the hardware store, into a grid pattern.  Once dry, I spray painted the whole thing in a tan color, then went back and stippled on a darker brown craft paint and wiped off to create the shadowing on the cone ridges.  Rolling them into the cone shapes was the most daunting portion of this costume, I swear LOL.

All of the ‘chocolate’ is the dark brown puffy paint, which worked well to ‘glue’ the shoulder cones in place, too.

I purchased some No-Smudge white face paint from Halloween Express (thinking that it would be better than the white paint I’ve used in the past that smeared if you just looked at it).  Man, this stuff was terrible!  I applied it with a makeup brush and I struggled to blend it from the very beginning.  Then, as soon as it dried- like 2 seconds later- it began to crack with every facial expression he made.  Grrrr.  My hopes for his makeup were WAY higher than what I ended up achieving, thanks to the crap white paint.  The only product that would adhere to it was my Ulta brand bronze gel eyeliner pot, so all of the shading I had in mind went up in smoke.

Moving on… lol

Since there isn’t a ‘female’ version of this costume, I just created a similar look for myself.

I struggled to find a vintage Ice Cream Parlor/Waitress/Soda Jerk dress online like I had in my mind, so I ended up improvising with this modest nurse’s costume, also from Amazon.  I ditched the hat, pulled off the red felt hospital patches from the sleeves, and swapped out the cheap apron that came with it for a real waitress style with ruffled edges.

I attached my cone to a basic headband with hot glue and secured it with a few hairpins since it wobbled a bit.  And yes, those are real sprinkles on our faces.  I attached them with eyelash glue and they held all night through lots of laughing, eating and drinking!

  • Tights and gloves from Party City
  • Mint lace front wig from Bobbi Boss (MLF100 VENICE in TT1B/MINT)

I’d say it’ll be a few years until I can convince him to go this made up again, so I’ll enjoy this one for awhile (and the random sprinkles that I’m still finding around the house will help with that)!


PS- We won the Costume Contest at the party we attended!  Yay Team!

Seasonal Scapes 2016 | Summer

Well hello there, Summer, I thought you’d never arrive!

I hope you’re all able to soak up some extra time with family and friends over this Memorial Weekend like I am!  And, if you’re like me, that means hosting backyard get-togethers.

Wait, you’re backyard isn’t ready for guests, you say?

Don’t panic!  Keep reading for 3 seriously easy, and affordable!, ways to jazz up your outdoor space in time for hosting those summer BBQ’s and bonfires!

1- Refresh your accent pillows and toss in a summer-weight throw for added style

I typically design my backyard areas to reflect the the feel and decor I have going on inside my home, but also love the fun surprises that bright pops of color can bring to outdoor spaces!  There are no rules when it comes to decorating backyard, in my opinion, so go wild and bold if you’re feeling it!

Switching out pillows and throws is hands down the easiest way to refresh a space, both indoors and out, and make it feel new and inviting.

And, don’t feel restricted to just ‘outdoor’ labeled items made from fabrics such as Sunbrella.  Often times I choose indoor pillows and coat them with a Water Repellent spray like Rust-Oleum’s NeverWet before using.   Keep in mind though that it’s still recommended to bring them in each night.


2- Setup a designated ‘serving’ area for beverages and food items with outdoor safe serving ware in a coordinating color

AWellDressedLife by Jaime Spencer

I love shopping HomeGoods’ selection of seasonal items!  They always carry pretty collections of melamine and shatterproof serving ware in fun colors and styles.  And at the typical price point of $2.99/glass, they’re totally affordable, too!

Also, if you don’t already own an apothecary style beverage dispenser, you’re missing out.  I’ve collected several over the years and use them every time I entertain- year round.  They really jazz up your drink selection and look so much more put together over just sitting out basic pitchers of tea or lemonade.  Toss in a decorative tray and you’ve rounded out a simple, but thought out beverage station!


3- Ambient lighting

I’m a huge fan of the cafe light trend.  The kits are easily found at any retailer that carries seasonal outdoor decor like Target, Home Depot, Lowe’s and AtHome Stores, and pretty simple to install.  If you don’t have a structure overhead to attach them to- like a pergola or low hanging trees, a great alternative is using eye hooks (from the exterior of your home) to posts or tall rods positioned out in the yard.  For easy DIY tutorials, check out these posts from Bright July, Blue i Style – or for a more permanent, commercial take on this look, see Gray House Studio’s amazing project!

Or, if you’re down to the final hour before guests arrive, strategically scattered outdoor lanterns are a quick way to add lots of visual interest to your entertaining area!  I stock up on the battery operated candles made specifically for outdoors- meaning they’re made of plastic, NOT wax!, like 99% of BOC’s.  Trust me, the wax versions last about a day under the hot sun so make sure to read the packaging to confirm their material!  The plastic versions can be somewhat hard to find, but I’ve spotted them at Pier One recently.  My favorite brand, however, is the Luminara that I buy from Pottery Barn (along with the remote!) for their realistic flame.

** GIVEAWAY Alert**

My good friends over at Lauren Nicole Designs are giving away the gorgeous Mercury Glass Hurricane with LED lights ($60 value!) pictured above, far right!  This is a perfect addition to your summer entertaining setup and who doesn’t love the Mercury Glass trend! To enter, all you have to do is comment on their blog post today (Monday 5/30/2016).

And for more Summertime inspiration, head over to see what these sweet girls are doing, too!


Happy entertaining, ya’ll!

Derby Garden Party

I’m thrilled to finally be able to post about the over-the-top shoot I was invited to participate in by my dear friend, Sarah Knepp of Sarah Sofia Productions!





Who wouldn’t have a fabulous time partying in these gorgeous hats provided by Dee’s– straight from Louisville, of course!



And how about this ah-mazing new friend I made!  I was dead set on bringing this sweet girl, Sybil, home with me after hanging out with her all afternoon.

(The hubs quickly vetoed my idea)




But what I did manage to sneak into the house were a few of these too-good-to-eat decorated cookies from Edible Art Cake Shop – right here in the QC!




Head over to Sarah Sofia Productions to check out the rest of our amazing shoot with the talented Miss Andi Perullo!



Venue & Horses: Breezy Meadows Farm

Photography: Andi Perullo de Ledesma Photography

Planning, Coordination, Design, Peach Mint Julep, Décor DIY, FoodSarah Sofia Productions

Hand Painted Invitation & Betting Cards: Paperie Off Park

Tables, Linens, Chairs, & Silver Platters: Classic Party Rentals 

Dresses:  LaRoque

Mini Desserts: Edible Art Cake Shop

Macarons: Treehouse Macarons

Flowers: The Flower Diva

Hats: Dee’s Designer Hat’s & Fascinators

Curated Art: Christenberry Collection (Meredith Christenberry)

Personalized Cheers Y’all Mason Jars: Shutterfly

Personalized cocktail napkins: Tiny Prints

Petite Blossom Cups – Springtime & Gold Mini Square Trays: Via Blossom

Printables: Hostess With The Mostess

Models: Jaime Spencer – A Well Dressed Life , Kristen Shaeffer –Every Chic Way, Elise Houston – Her Heart and Home and Dominique DeLaney – Comfy Cozy Couture

Pink and gold plates & pastel vintage glasses: Anthropologie

White dinner plates & white horse head statue: HomeGoods

Wooden crates, Picture Frames & Pink Glass Cake Stand: Michaels

Limited Edition Derby Bow Tie: Vineyard Vines

Gold Horse & Jockey Figure, Plastic Horse Figures, & Mini Plastic Horse and Jockey Figures: Amazon

Mini Cake Stands, Straws & Oh Joy Spring Collection Plate: Target



Print Fancy Envelopes in a Snap!

When you mail as many announcements, invitations and mass holiday greeting cards as I do, you start to dread the inevitable black hole that is envelope addressing (my hands hurt just thinking about it!).


Since I’m a die hard lover of calligraphy and lettering art, I just swoon over the amazing work I see all over IG and Esty and vow to have my next set of mailings look just as fab.  Except… ADD.  I just can’t ever bring myself to finish the damn task.  I’ll get 4 or 5 envelopes in and then BAM!, either my hand cramps up, I spill my ink or I just plain lose interest- often all of the above.  So, over the last few envelope addressing prison sentences projects I’ve had pop up, I’ve developed my own easy way of creating hand-lettered-inspired envelopes without ever picking up a quill!

NOTE- This was created in Microsoft Publisher!  
Unfortunately, I do not have it in any other format to share at this time.

Now, I’m sure there are 1,000 ways of creating an envelope template, but this is how I find it to be the simplest so I thought I’d share with ya’ll.

First, start off by creating your address list in an Excel spreadsheet, making sure to separate the info (name, address 1, city, etc) into individual columns for merging later.


Then, open my Microsoft Publisher file Fancy Printed Envelopes Template.  All of the formatting has been done for you, but feel free to change the font, etc to your liking.  Follow the basic Mail Merge process to add your recipients information (in place of mine) and you’re ready to print!


And last, but not least- Make sure to check out my ‘scotch tape envelope trick’ on Instagram to ensure your envelopes print out straight (and avoid the flap getting caught in the feeder)!  There’s nothing worse than blowing through several envelopes before getting the formatting right- just because your printer is PMS’ing!

You’re welcome 🙂







Weekend Wrapup (& the perfect pony!)

What a fun weekend we had! We celebrated decade birthdays for both my mom & my dad- (they’re 2 days apart!) with shopping, eats & lots of spirited cocktails. 

 So of course, there was no shortage of selfies per the birthday girl’s request. 

(Outfit details below)


This messy ponytail was perfect for Saturday’s wind!

And our favorite little gentleman got to tag along in his fancy pants.  

What a lucky guy to have this hottie for a Nana!  

  We dined at Mom’s favorite uptown eatery, Fahrenheit. Great food & unbeatable views! 
And this pretty much sums up our entire weekend. Endless belly laughs!

My outfit deets –

  Dress | BB Dakota via LSquared

  Heels | Louboutins via NeimanMarcus

Mom’s – 

  Dress | Adrianna Papell

  Handbag | Kensington by LV

  Fur | Vintage


1st Birthday, Recapped

It’s hard to believe that another year has come around and it’s time for another themed celebration!

Looking back on last year’s Nautical 1st Birthday (captured by my long time friend, Sarah Dunlap Photography), I am giddy to set up in a few days for the big #2!

  I custom built this three tiered cake using styrofoam bases, fondant, polymer clay and notions from the craft department! 

These custom sugar cookies are as delicious as they are beautiful. I’ve used Linda Childers of Art For The Soul on countless occasions and she never disappoints!  

 I designed these nautical inspired invites on Tiny Prints and added the anchor embellishments at home (anchors purchased via Etsy).

A  Handmade cake toppers using cardstock and glitter letters from Hobby Lobby.

 Simple floral arrangements using stems from my wholesaler that supplies to our local Target stores- saves a ton! 


 Another handmade item- punched glitter cardstock and anchor prints on striped popcorn boxes.

  Making paper straw banners are so easy when you use glittered washi tape!

Check back next week for all of the details of this year’s event!



Red, White & BOOM! 2015 Event Design

Shwooh!  What a busy, fun, creative  weekend it was for AWDL!

This year we celebrated our 2nd annual July 4th weekend blowout party on the lake with family and friends.  I truly enjoyed planning and executing this year’s events and couldn’t have been happier with the decor!

I found these adorable Robin’s Egg blue chargers at Party Reflections Charlotte (give my girl, Linsey Martin a shout, she’s amazing to work with!) and built my decor from there to form a Country Chic vibe that pairs so well with the easy going, southern family feel.

DSC_0853I added in burlap linens, roped flatware, delicate eyelet napkins and vintage crates to round it off.


I utilized several items from last years decor pile, but really chose to take the floral game up a notch this year.  I’ve had such great luck with FiftyFlowers.com for other events lately, so I ordered all of my stems through them for this event, too.  Everything arrived on Thursday, giving me ample time to unpack and process the flowers so they’d be hydrated and open for arranging come Saturday morning.

I chose the following based on color and heat resistance (since this event was outdoors):

  • Silver Dollar Eucalyptus
  • True White Garden Roses
  • Red Anemone
  • Dusty Miller Green Filler
  • Lipstick Red Mini Garden Roses
  • Dahlia Style Cremon Snowflake (because true Dahlia’s don’t hold up well in the heat)
  • Aquamarine Airbrushed Spider Mum (to tie into the Robin’s Egg blue)
  • Lamb’s Ear Green Fillerfloral stems collage

For the long farm tables, I used the vintage crates to build my centerpieces in.  I simply lined them with .2Mil plastic painting dropclothes (from Lowes), to keep my wet foam from leaking through the gaps onto the table runners.  Then, I placed 2-3 blocks of presoaked wet foam in the bottom of each crate and began to insert my stems.


DSC_0883I started with the fillers along each outside edge and worked my way inward with flowers.  Making ‘country’ style arrangements truly is easy since they’re free flowing and wispy.


DSC_0849The Dusty Miller and Silver Dollars were the perfect filler choices!  I love the cool blue tones they lend and how easy they both are to work with.

I alternated the farm tables with other crates that were slotted for bottles- the perfect means for me to reuse a ton of these colored milk bottles I scored on sale from Hobby Lobby last year!  Just tie a bit of twine around the necks and pop in a few stems- super easy centerpieces!DSC_0848


DSC_0886I found a ton of other amazing vintage pieces at Party Reflections including wine barrel bars (1 for the salad bar turned dessert bar and the other for the DJ table set up on the dock), 2 8ft tall boxed hedges that I used as a backdrop for the DJ and 2 picket fence shelving units that held the personalized Tervis Tumbler party favors.  Photos to come!DSC_0890Buffet collageParty Reflections also had these great wooden risers that I mixed in with serpentine tables for the buffet.  They added extra display space AND an awesome rustic feel!

**Things to note about my floral choices:  The Anemone and Lamb’s Ear both have very short stems, making them difficult to use in the large arrangements.  I had to add watering tubes to the Anemone which was both time consuming and a pain.  I’ll probably steer clear of both in the future, as much as I love their look.

Hope everyone enjoyed the 4th!!  Until the next party…. CHEERS!