avery’s first birthday

I recently traveled to New York for my niece’s first birthday. I left Harper at home with daddy and flew by myself! What a treat! Everyone, including me, missed having Harper there, but I was happy to have time to devote to my little niece! (The girls get to see each other in September, so we’re looking forward to that!)

Her party was in Prospect Park in Brooklyn on a beautiful day. Avery had so much fun!

Avery's 1st Birthday

Avery's 1st Birthday

Avery's 1st Birthday

Avery's 1st Birthday

Avery's 1st Birthday

Avery's 1st Birthday

Avery's 1st Birthday

Avery didn’t know what to make of her cupcake at first, but after a little taste she was not shy about helping herself!

Avery's 1st Birthday

Avery's 1st Birthday

Avery's 1st Birthday

Avery's 1st Birthday

Avery's 1st Birthday

Avery's 1st Birthday

The next day we had fun in the park before I had to head back home.

Playing in the park

Playing in the park

Playing in the park

Avery is 1!

Avery is 1!

Playing at the park

Playing at the park

Playing at the park

Playing at the park

for you, the sun will be shining

Yay! Finally, the wedding day has arrived! After a year of planning, Lisa and Branden were ready to tie the knot!

After a fitful night’s sleep (what bride doesn’t experience that?), the bride and her entourage arrived at the hotel. We had a stylist come to my hotel room to do our hair, and she did a great job.

Kelly Wedding

Wedding Details

After we finished our hair and makeup, we hung out and had a little lunch. Meanwhile, the boys were at Lisa and Branden’s apartment playing video games and eating pizza.

The robes that Lisa gave us were perfect to wear that morning as we were getting ready.

Kelly Wedding

And then the flowers arrived! They were beyond gorgeous. Straight out of a magazine.

Kelly Wedding

Lisa booked a big yellow school bus to transport us to and from the wedding and she called one last time to confirm.

Kelly Wedding

Kelly Wedding

Time to get in the dress! All ready to go! Quite beautiful if I do say so myself!

Kelly Wedding

The flower in her hair and her necklace were great Etsy finds.

Kelly Wedding

As planned, the school bus was waiting for us in front of the hotel to take us to Lisa and Branden’s apartment where they would see each other for the first time on their rooftop deck overlooking the Manhattan skyline. What better place for a first look?

Kelly Wedding

Luckily, the rain held off! The cloudy overcast was better for pictures and it was still clear enough to see across to Manhattan.

Kelly Wedding

Kelly Wedding

The boys were positioned on the rooftop deck. Branden was standing on the far end, awaiting his bride. The photographers were poised and ready. Family was anxiously standing to the side. Time for the girls to bring in the bride! We walked ahead of Lisa as she prepared for her big moment.

Kelly Wedding

Kelly Wedding

And the moment was wonderfully special. Lisa was much calmer after seeing Branden. She finally started to relax.

Kelly Wedding

Time for pictures!

Kelly Wedding

Kelly Wedding

And a toast!

Kelly Wedding

Kelly Wedding

Then we all loaded onto the bus and headed to the Brooklyn Historical Society. Unfortunately I was too busy being a Matron of Honor to get any pictures of the ceremony. But Lisa’s friend took some good ones. The ceremony was personal and lovely. The venue was the perfect setting – the dark wood bookshelves added drama, but made it cozy. I can’t wait to see the pictures from the photographers.

After the ceremony, I had the honor of signing their marriage license as a witness. We spent some time at the library taking pictures and then headed to the cocktail hour to eat some yummy hors d’oeuvres and mingle with guests.

Once guests took their seats, the wedding party was introduced to Phoenix’s “1901” – which made my husband very happy.

Kelly Wedding

The couple went right into their first dance to “Songbird” sung by Rosie Thomas

Kelly Wedding

Kelly Wedding

Kelly Wedding

Time for the Best Man and Matron of Honor speeches.

Kelly Wedding

I hope mine went over ok. I don’t really remember much, except that I was nervous.

Kelly Wedding

Kelly Wedding

The tables at Bubby’s turned out great – with flowers from the florist and table # flags made by yours truly.

Kelly Wedding

The menu was delicious (designed by me) – and the food was pretty good too! Actually the food was spectacular! I had the fried chicken.

Kelly Wedding

Instead of wedding cake, Lisa and Branden had wedding pies – Apple pie and Peanut Butter pie (Bubby’s is known for its pies after all.) They had cupcakes too!

Kelly Wedding

The bride definitely enjoyed her fried chicken. I love that she stuck her napkin in her dress! Ha!

Kelly Wedding

The beers were served in wide mouth Ball jars. And I think my brother quite enjoyed them.

Kelly Wedding

Because this is what happened. He broke out his “Tom Haverford” face.

Kelly Wedding

After dinner, Lisa danced with our Dad to “She’s Got a Way” by Billy Joel.

Kelly Wedding

And Branden danced with his mom to “In My Life” by The Beatles.

Kelly Wedding

Then the dance party could really begin. Branden’s nephew Joe really brought the moves. He was hilarious.

Kelly Wedding

The girls tore it up to Katy Perry’s “Firework”!

Kelly Wedding

Kelly Wedding

Kelly Wedding

The end of the party came way too quickly, so we headed to an afterparty at a nearby bar.

Kelly Wedding

Brothers-in-law… Weird.

Kelly Wedding

Of course the boys couldn’t end the night without taking a shot of something.

Kelly Wedding

The night was absolutely fabulous and quite memorable. It flew by for me, so I can imagine it was quite a whirlwind for Lisa and Branden. At least they got to relive the memories on their honeymoon in Turks and Caicos. And Drew and I had plenty of time to relive it as well, while we dealt with flight issues the following day. But we made it home!

See the rest of my pictures from the wedding on Flickr.

*Blog post title is a lyric from the song “Songbird” by Fleetwood Mac

going to the chapel and we’re gonna get married

On the way to New York for the 4th time since August, it occurred to me that my entire immediate family was going to be in the same city for the first time since my wedding 4 years ago – and that’s pretty special to me. Not only was my sister getting married, but I got to see my mom, dad and brother all in the same weekend. AND a few of my aunts, uncles and a cousin whom I rarely see!!

I had looked forward to this weekend for so long, and after some delays at the airport in Austin we arrived in NY late, missing dinner with the bride and groom. 😦

We kicked off the festivities with a little girl time at the nail salon and then the rehearsal at the Brooklyn Historical Society.

Lisa gathered and instructed the troops.

Kelly Wedding Rehearsal

The men were very attentive to the bride.

Kelly Wedding Rehearsal

The girls needed little direction.

Kelly Wedding Rehearsal

All lined up!

Kelly Wedding Rehearsal

Practicing the official hand-off

Kelly Wedding Rehearsal

Kelly Wedding Rehearsal

Kelly Wedding Rehearsal

Kelly Wedding Rehearsal

The bride is all business

Kelly Wedding Rehearsal

Done! Easy! We walked through everything twice – that’s all it took. Off to dinner at Bacchus Bistro!

Rehearsal Dinner at Bacchus

Rehearsal Dinner at Bacchus

Gifts

Here’s a close-up of the rehearsal bouquet Lisa’s friend Carey made out of the ribbons from her shower gifts. Carey made the ribbons INTO flowers! AND she made the base in papier-mâché out of the leftover wrapping paper! I’ve never seen such a perfectly arranged ribbon bouquet!

Rehearsal Bouquet

Rehearsal Dinner at Bacchus

My dad and brother

Rehearsal Dinner at Bacchus

Rehearsal Dinner at Bacchus

Me and the bride

Rehearsal Dinner at Bacchus

My dad and his fiancée, Julie

Rehearsal Dinner at Bacchus

The bride and her mother (and my mother!)

Rehearsal Dinner at Bacchus

Me and the hubs

Kelly Wedding Rehearsal

Branden and his family visiting

Rehearsal Dinner at Bacchus

Everyone is mesmerized by the bride

Rehearsal Dinner at Bacchus

The happy couple, in anticipation…

Rehearsal Dinner at Bacchus

The bride and her bridesmaid, Jessica

Rehearsal Dinner at Bacchus

The best man and his fiancée Leslie

Rehearsal Dinner at Bacchus

The bride with her bridesmaid, Katie

Rehearsal Dinner at Bacchus

My dad giving a very heartfelt and touching speech

Rehearsal Dinner at Bacchus

After dinner, the bride and groom presented their wedding party with presents. The girls got lovely robes and the boys got jerseys for their favorite teams.

Rehearsal Dinner at Bacchus

Rehearsal Dinner at Bacchus

After dinner we went back to the hotel and visited with more family. We were hoping the rain would hold out for the big day…

See all of my pictures from the rehearsal on Flickr.

*Blog post title is a lyric from the song “Going To The Chapel” by the Crystals

you can stand under my umbrella

Just a short week after uprooting my life in Chicago and moving to Austin, I had to hop a plane to New York for Lisa’s bachelorette party. This party has been planned for a long time and it is sort of amazing to me how much my life has changed in between the last time I was there (March) and now. In just one month. What a whirlwind.

I’ve been to New York many times in the last 8+ years since my sister has lived there, but this was my shortest trip. Arrived Friday afternoon, left Sunday morning.

On Saturday, the weather was crummy. Totally not reflective of a fun party day, but we’d rather get rain now than on the wedding day! We started the day with her bestie Katie at a spa where we got pedicures and facials. Then Katie graciously hosted a few of us at her apartment for some wine tasting and hors d’oeuvres.

Lisa's Bachelorette Party

Lisa's Bachelorette Party

Katie’s apartment, on 42nd street, has a fantastic view of Manhattan – even on a cloudy, rainy day.

Lisa's Bachelorette Party

Lisa's Bachelorette Party

Lisa's Bachelorette Party

Lisa’s ready to party!

Lisa's Bachelorette Party

Lisa's Bachelorette Party

Lisa and her friends Allison, Jess, and Katie.

Lisa's Bachelorette Party

Then we headed to Koreatown for karaoke! A bunch more joined us in our private room and Lisa kicked off the night with Madonna’s “Like a Virgin”. Belt it out Lisa!

Lisa's Bachelorette Party

Good thing the receiver was labeled.

Lisa's Bachelorette Party

There was some Lady Gaga…

Lisa's Bachelorette Party

A rockin’ Bohemian Rhapsody…

Lisa's Bachelorette Party

Umbrella…ella…ella… Very appropriate for the night’s weather.

Lisa's Bachelorette Party

Of course, Girls Just Wanna Have Fun…

Lisa's Bachelorette Party

And a very “touching” solo from the Bride…

Lisa's Bachelorette Party

Most songs ended up as a group singing effort.

Lisa's Bachelorette Party

Then Lisa and Katie took a trip down memory lane and performed a rousing duet to Barbra Streisand and Celine Dion’s duet “Tell Him.”

Lisa's Bachelorette Party

I don’t know who was Barbra and who was Celine. But it was entertaining.

Karoake

Then the sisters did a Sonny and Cher number. I got you babe.

Lisa's Bachelorette Party

The night ended with a few of us jumping over to a bar in Manhattan – I have no idea where or what it was called, but it was cool. Then we dashed for a cab in the POURING rain and before I knew it, I was on a plane back to Texas! Now I’m gearing up for the BIG DANCE – the wedding is on May 14!!!

See the rest of my pictures from the bachelorette party on Flickr.

*Blog post title is a lyric from the song “The Way You Make Me Feel” by Michael Jackson

you’re just a product of loveliness

As my sister’s Matron of Honor, I had the wonderful privilege of planning her bridal shower. Luckily, I could assume I would be her Matron of Honor before she even asked because the minute I found out that BK popped the big question, I immediately started plans for the shower. I just couldn’t help myself.

The idea for a theme came to me instantly and it was perfect. When you have a perfect theme in mind, it’s hard not to get too themey, so hopefully I didn’t go overboard.

The shower was in Brooklyn, where ALL of their wedding planning has been based. Her bridesmaid Jess graciously hosted us at her home and it was the perfect setting. I think all the girls enjoyed themselves, and I know Lisa did. But I don’t know if they had as much fun attending as I had planning the whole thing!

My planning all started with the theme: Pride and Prejudice

This theme was perfect in multiple ways. The book is Lisa’s favorite and is published by Penguin – her employer since she’s lived in New York. Lisa’s always loved books and works with them everyday, so why not have a book theme? PLUS Jane Austen is classic feminine, romantic literature, and you gotta have LOVE center stage when it comes to weddings. Pride and Prejudice is beautiful, yet smart—just like my sister.

First, I started with designing and mailing the invitations.

Lisa's Bridal Shower

I also had a little fun in Photoshop turning a picture of Lisa into a Jane Austen book cover. It provided for a few good laughs at the shower.

Lisa's Bridal Shower

Here are some of the details of the decor and gifts. (Etsy was very helpful in this department.)

The letterpress card I gave Lisa (from Pearl & Marmalade):

Lisa's Bridal Shower

A Christmas ornament to adorn her gift (from Brookish Handmade Goods):

Lisa's Bridal Shower

Another card that all the girls signed as a guestbook (A Jane Austen quote AND bunting!) from A Darling Day:

Lisa's Bridal Shower

And as part of the centerpiece, a framed print of a Pride and Prejudice quote (also from Brookish):

Lisa's Bridal Shower

I printed a bunch of pictures of Lisa and BK, mixed in some pictures from the movie and some quotes from the book, and strung them on a clothesline across Jess’s fireplace and above her sofa.

Lisa's Bridal Shower

Lisa's Bridal Shower

My mom took care of the food and put together a lovely spread of roasted shrimp, bruschetta, arugula salad, fruit salad, and two types of quiches.

Lisa's Bridal Shower

The gorgeous coconut cake was courtesy of Katie, one of Lisa’s bridesmaids and long-time friend.

Lisa's Bridal Shower

Lisa's Bridal Shower

After mingling and eating, it was time for a game! I put together a little quiz about Lisa with some movie quotes mixed in for fun. The movie quotes ended up being a bit harder than I thought!

Lisa's Bridal Shower

Lisa's Bridal Shower

Lisa's Bridal Shower

Lisa's Bridal Shower

Katie was the winner of the prize – a copy of Pride and Prejudice, a mug bearing a P&P quote (from Caffe Tempo), and some English tea.

Lisa's Bridal Shower

Then it was time for some gifts!

Lisa's Bridal Shower

Lisa's Bridal Shower

As Lisa opened each gift, her friend would ask her a question that BK had to answer and she had to guess what BK’s answer was. Some were quite funny.

Lisa's Bridal Shower

Lisa's Bridal Shower

Lisa's Bridal Shower

Lisa's Bridal Shower

Lisa's Bridal Shower

Lisa's Bridal Shower

Lisa's Bridal Shower

Lisa's Bridal Shower

Lisa's Bridal Shower

Lisa's Bridal Shower

Lisa's Bridal Shower

Lisa's Bridal Shower

Part of my gift to Lisa was a personalized copy of Pride and Prejudice. Penguin.com lets you upload a picture and customize a note to be added inside the front cover of some of their classic books.

Lisa's Bridal Shower

We ended the day with Katie’s coconut cake and a group shot.

Lisa's Bridal Shower

Lisa's Bridal Shower

I had so much fun putting everything together and spending the day with Lisa and her friends. It was a quick trip to New York, but I’ll be back again in a few weeks for Lisa’s bachelorette party, and then a few weeks after that for the wedding! It’s coming fast!

See the rest of my pictures from the shower on Flickr.

*Blog post title is a lyric from the song “The Way You Make Me Feel” by Michael Jackson

start spreading the news

At the end of August my husband and I, along with my mom, went to New York to visit with Lisa and Branden. We planned an engagement party for them and it was also my sister’s 30th birthday. I know – 30? Geez! I can’t believe my sister is 30.

First we spent a little time walking around Brooklyn and looking at the venues they’ve chosen for their wedding. We stopped by the Brooklyn Historical Society where they’ll have their ceremony in the library. Very fitting for my sister who works in publishing and loves books. The library has beautiful wooden shelves and an open balcony surrounding the study tables (which is where the ceremony will be set up.)

Brooklyn Historical Society

Brooklyn Historical Society

We also stopped by Bubby’s, a local restaurant where they’ll have their reception. Both the Brooklyn Historical Society and Bubby’s are in their neighborhood. Bubby’s is where Lisa and Branden go for brunch quite often and they love their photobooth (which will be fun for the guests during the reception.) What’s probably best about Bubby’s (besides their mimosas) is the view of the Brooklyn and Manhattan bridges through the large windows. It will be a beautiful view that night.

Bubby's Brooklyn

We walked through Brooklyn Bridge Park, which is where we’ll probably have a lot of wedding pictures taken. I’ve walked around this area everytime I’ve visited the past few years and I think I have enough pictures of the Brooklyn Bridge by now, but I can’t stop myself from taking more. The city has turned a few of the piers on the Brooklyn side into green parks and playgrounds.

New York - 8/2010

New York - 8/2010

New York - 8/2010

New York - 8/2010

New York - 8/2010

New York - 8/2010

New York - 8/2010

Brooklyn Bridge Park is actually where Branden proposed to Lisa back in May. Lisa showed us exactly where he took her – some steps overlooking the Manhattan skyline. What a backdrop huh? Who could say no? 😉

NY

Later we went to the Brooklyn Art Museum where we saw Abdi Farah’s exhibit from Work of Art/Next Great Artist and Warhol’s art from his last decade. This is perhaps my favorite Warhol – a piece from the “Yarn” collection.

New York - 8/2010

That night, Lisa opened her birthday gifts and we watched a little photo slideshow I made in honor of her birthday.

Lisa and Branden’s engagement party was a fun way to cap off our trip. We met for dinner at City Winery in Manhattan, not too far from where Lisa works. It’s a big, open restaurant and winery – sort of looks like it used to be a warehouse. She had a lot of friends come out for drinks that night. We had fun meeting everyone and watching Lisa and Branden enjoy time with their friends.

Lisa & Branden's Engagement Party

Lisa & Branden's Engagement Party

Lisa & Branden's Engagement Party

Lisa & Branden's Engagement Party

Lisa & Branden's Engagement Party

We’re really looking forward to their wedding next May. Until then, I’ll be busy designing their website (brandenandlisa.com) and doing some arts & crafts for the wedding!

See the rest of my pictures from our weekend in New York and Lisa and Branden’s engagement party.

*Blog post title is a lyric from the song “New York, New York” by Frank Sinatra

a heart in new york, a rose on the street

I’ve been waiting for months to post this one folks. Actually, I’d been waiting for months for last weekend to roll around because it meant I was enacting a plan that I’d kept secret since earlier this year. Well, it was only a secret to my sister. Pretty much everyone else knew of my “secret” plan to fly to New York to surprise my sister for her birthday.

My mom plans her trip to New York around the end of August every year to be with Lisa on her birthday. This year, I decided to tag along. After landing at La Guardia, we grabbed a cab to Brooklyn and stood outside Lisa’s building around the corner. My mom had Lisa come down to help with her luggage and as they greeted each other – guess who strolled up from around the corner? HA! Me! Lisa was shocked and thrilled!

Inevitably, Lisa’s well-laid plans for the weekend had to change a bit. We got tickets to see “9 to 5” on Broadway. We got great seats and Allison Janney was starring in it!

The weather wasn’t too cooperative the next day, so we walked through Chelsea Market (one of my mom’s favorite spots) and saw “Julie and Julia”. We met a bunch of Lisa’s knitting friends (the Spiders) at her usual knitting venue and then we all went out to eat at Alma, a Mexican restaurant. Ahem – a Mexican restaurant with an incredible view.

Margarita’s and Guacamole!

Then we went down the street to Sugar Lounge for some drinks. And some Nintendo? Look closely and you’ll see Wii Bowling at the end of the bar.

On the last night we were there we went out to eat at Lure Fishbar, then to City Winery for a wine and cheese flight, and finally back home to play a little Sing Star on PS3. So fun!

We ended the trip with brunch at their favorite place, Bubby’s, down by the Brooklyn Bridge.


I don’t know how she can stand living near such a view. I just don’t.

Happy Birthday Sister!

*Blog post title is a lyric from the song “A Heart In New York” by Art Garfunkel