Lauren & Kellen — Menifee Maternity Photos

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This little sweet baby girl is about to make her debut in the next couple weeks so I thought I’d share a few of her parent’s maternity photos with you all first! I can not wait to cuddle and love on this babe. Timehop has been reminding me daily of my little Isaiah as a newborn from last year everyday and it’s giving me baby fever!! Olivia June, I can not wait to meet you! And neither can your mama!!

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Menifee Maternity Portraits — Lauren and Kellen

Lauren’s Woodsy Shabby Chic Baby Shower

One of my long time friends, Lauren, is about to have her first baby so us girls joined creative forces to throw her one amazing baby shower earlier this month!

We based the look of the shower off the nursery which will be a shabby chic-woodsy-adventure-tribal theme. How fun is that?!

We had so much fun planning out all the details but let’s first start with the invitation…

Invitation Suite

The Adventure Begins Shabby Chic Baby Shower Invitation 2 Tribal Watercolor WreathThe Adventure Begins Shabby Chic Baby Shower Invitation 3 Tribal Watercolor Wreath

This was SO much fun to paint!! I had absolutely NO experience painting flowers before this but after doing A LOT of research, I really am so happy with how this turned out. Using a wreath allowed us to bring in all the fun aspects of the nursery, from the woodcut background to the feather and arrows.

The Adventure Begins Shabby Chic Baby Shower Invitation 4 Tribal Watercolor Wreath

Guest Tables

The weather forecast had called for rain, in May… in California!? Thankfully we had reserved this canopy back when we first started planning even though it was for shade! Turned out God had another use for it in mind. And you know what, the weather ended up being PERFECT! After some light rain while we were setting up, not a drop came down during the actual shower.

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So of course, with the impending rain storm, we totally redid the layout of the whole shower but I think we all loved how it came out!

The centerpieces were a collection of glasses, candles, bouquets and succulents. All the glassware was compiled just between the hostesses! I kept saying we need to start a rental company for all these amazing decorations! And that greenery down the center of the table? Well that was cut from this very yard on the day of the shower! So perfect!!

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Cake Table

Did you see the cake table in the background of the above photos? Well I think it may be my favorite…. Mostly because the focal point was this globe I painted for the baby’s nursery. And one of the other girls’ baked those “naked cakes.”

Shabby Chic Woodsy Baby Shower Cake Table

Shabby Chic Baby Shower Cake Table Succulent Cake Topper

Drink & Appetizer Table

This sweet little table definitely had its share of rain that day, but it pushed through admirably as I kept running out to save that watercolor painting from sudden death!

We served up pink lemonade and water in these awesome mason jar drink dispensers… the centerpiece was a homemade teepee and the print was done by yours truly (also for the baby’s nursery).

Shabby Chic Tribal Baby Shower Drink Table mason jar drink dispenser

We found these wood slices on Amazon for the watercolor dipped tent cards and then cut out little banners and washi taped them to the straws to personalize everyone’s drinks.

Shabby Chic Tribal Watercolor Wreath Painting

Our appetizer table housed this delicious chicken cheeseball shaped like some a pair of pinecones as well as our terracotta succulents that were the game prizes!

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Photo Backdrop and Gift Teepee

Shabby Chic Tribal Baby Shower Backdrop and Gift Tepee

I think this paper flower background was the star of our show though! I wish we could take credit for it but we borrowed it from a friend. It was just too perfect! Our gift teepee was from Target and draped with my grandmother’s lace tablecloths! Floral topper made from a few pre-assembled silk flowers from Hobby Lobby.

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We had the guests take Polaroids for the Mama’s scrapbook for the day. The scrapbook was truly an amazing work of art—purchased on Etsy (shop: BurkeSevenVintage)! As a scrapbooker—I can’t fathom the amount of time it took to piece together all the pages.

Shabby Chic Tribal Baby Shower Guest Book table scrapbook

Headband Station

I wish I would have taken a photo of this table later on once more headbands had been made but I was taking advantage of the break in the clouds for lighting! Not yet knowing we weould end up with sunny skies for the rest of the day! Anyway, we bought two headband kits off Etsy (shop: BowtiqueEmilee), and set out all the parts in jars with a helpful little sign to guide the guests in assembling.

Shabby Chic Baby Shower Headband Station TableShabby Chic Baby Shower Headband Station Sign

Thank You Card Table

The Mama-to-Be requested for us to have the guests address their envelopes

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I had too much fun painting all the table signs throughout the shower. This and the Trail Mix table sign were my favorite though. Maybe. Plus the Headband table sign… Okay, I loved them all actually.

Shabby Chic Tribal Baby Shower Thank You Cards table 2

Shabby Chic Baby Shower Handpainted Wood Name Sign

Trail Mix Favors

At the front door, as guests were leaving they could grab a bag of trail mix “to fuel their future adventures.” The decor on the wall is also from the baby’s nursery, canvas banner lettering design by me—another decoration I want to make for myself!

Shabby Chic Tribal Baby Shower Trail Mix Favors Table

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Each favor bag was stamped with the Adventure Awaits stamp from my shop.

Shabby Chic Tribal Baby Shower Trail Mix Adventure Awaits Favors

Shabby Chic Tribal Baby Shower Antlers and Handwritten canvas banner

Custom Snapchat Geofilter

Okay this may have been the best surprise that day for the Mama-to-Be! We created a Snapchat geofilter with the artwork from the invitation! I had never done one before but I couldn’t believe how easy it was to submit and get approved!

Shabby Chic Baby Shower Tribal Watercolor Wreath Snapchat GeofilterSnapchat Sign for Custom Geofilter

And last but not least, a girly group photo (photo bombed by my chubby cheeks son haha)… we love you, Lauren… and can not wait to snuggle that sweet baby girl!!

Shabby Chic Baby Shower Paper Flowers Backdrop GirlsShabby Chic Baby Shower Paper Flowers Backdrop with Lauren


13 Ways to Make Each Trip to Disneyland Memorable

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In Southern California, it seems like everyone—at one time or another—has had a Disneyland annual pass. And I have had a Disneyland pass for a solid 9 years now. But the plan right now, is when my pass expires in May, to not renew it. We just aren’t able to go nearly as often as we used to… And as my time at the Happiest on Earth comes to a halt pause, I’ve been reminiscing like crazy of this place that I love so much. And as I’ve been looking through 10 years worth of Disneyland trips I’m reminded of a question I get asked all the time is…

How do I keep going without getting bored?

And to answer this age old question, I’ve written up a list of ideas for you that can truly enrich your Disneyland experience. And please pardon me as I get sappy and sentimental with a post full of photos from the past. 🙂

1. Rainy Days

Go on a rainy day. This is one of my favorite “secret” tips. It’s a widely known fact that the residents of southern California are ever fearful of water falling from the sky and scatter at the first raindrop—making these days the best Disneyland days. No lines, no crowds, no heat… just a few raindrops and breaking records on quantity of rides! Better yet, go on all the water rides, especially Splash Mountain and River Rapids, more than likely you won’t have to wait in any lines. And if you really don’t want to get totally soaked, stop by the store on the way for some $1 ponchos!

Rachel and Me before Grizzly Rapids, 2010

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2. Monorail Ride

Start your day off right with a ride into the park in style, up front with the Monorail conductor.

Riding up front with Joyce, 2006

monorail april 2006

3. Dress Up!

Disneyland has a few unofficial dress up days like last weekend’s Dapper Day, but one of my favorites was when my girlfriends and I dressed in matching shirts with our favorite Disney characters for my bachelorette party.

Bachelorette party, 2007

disneyland bachelorette party shirts

4. Iconic but Unique Photos

Speaking of photos in front of the castle… Whenever you go to Disneyland, you pretty much have to take a picture right smack in front of the castle. But now that that spot’s practically a mob scene, I would totally recommend branching off to the sides of the castle to get your favorite family photo. Plus, your family moment will be much more intimate than fighting for space in front of the castle.

Rachel’s Disneyland maternity photos, 2013 (link)


5. Holi-Days

Enjoy the different seasons. From Halloween to Christmas. Not only is the parked decked out in its finest, but there’s extra shows to see and ride overlays to experience. My favorite Christmas time show is the Candlelight Processional—my favorite—usually held the first weekend of December. And of course starting in the fall, Haunted Mansion turns into Jack Skellington’s stomping grounds until the new year. As well as Small World decking the halls with bells of holly.

Candlelight Processional, 2009

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6. Take the Train

Take the train all around the park. Ask to sit up by the engineer (2 people max) or better yet, get there early enough to reserve a trip in the Lilly Belle—the parlor car decorate by Lillian Disney herself—and the caboose to the C.K. Holiday train.

Lilly Belle ride, 2008

lily belle caboose

7. Scavenger Hunt

Go on a scavenger hunt. Find Hidden Mickeys (great Hidden Mickey book here) or use the Wishing Stars app.

Joey finds a Hidden Mickey on Mulholland Madness, 2006

hidden mickey joey 2006

8. Show Time

Don’t go on any rides, just enjoy the shows. From the 3D shows to the parades to stage productions like Aladdin, just spending the day at shows can really take up the whole day. And a great way to enjoy the parks in the summer, away from the crowds and in the air conditioning! My favorite 3D show is Muppet Vision in California Adventure. But of course my all time favorite show would be the Fantasmic production on the Rivers of America. Favorite by far!

The Ryan family before It’s Tough to Be A Bug, 2014

tough to be a bug 2014

9. Ride Photo Poses

Diversify your “ride photos” with different poses and reactions. The sleepers always crack me up.

Korey, Kory, Lauren, Ashley, Gaby, and me on Space Mountain, 2008

space mountain 2008

10. Birthday Celebrations!

I love celebrating birthdays at Disneyland. Wearing your birthday pin always gains the affections of all the cast members and ensures that your day will be a happy one.

Rachel’s first trip to Disneyland, 2009

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11. Free Snack Food

Take advantage of the only free stuff Disney offers: Ghiradelli chocolates and sourdough bread in California Adventure’s Pacific Wharf. Actually, this isn’t really a way to mix up your trips, but something to enjoy every trip. (RIP Tortilla Factory 🙁 )

First trip to Ghiradelli’s Chocolate Shop, 2012

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Fine Dining

Speaking of food, another fun way to make a few trips feel extra special is to dine in at the nicer restaurants the park offers. Whether its Blue Bayou, the restaurant within the Pirates of the Caribbean… or its neighbor: Club 33.

Andy and I have dined at Blue Bayou quite a few times, usually celebrating our anniversaries or during our honeymoon. Here’s a photo from our one year “dating anniversary,” 2006.

blue bayou dinner jan 2006

And I can’t believe it’s almost been a year since our first ever experience at Club 33. Read more on that trip here, and a full photo tour here.


Friends & Family

By far, the best way to diversify your trips to Disneyland is to go with different groups—from friends to family. I can’t tell you how many friendships were formed within these park gates… But specifically, go with different ages. From usually going with adults the first half of having a pass… it’s such a different experience (obviously haha) going with kids. You see the park in a whole new eye opening, jaw dropped-in-awe experience. This may seem oh-so-very obvious to most… but it’s only been in the last 5 years that I started going with kids (thanks Eli!). And for this Disney-fanatic, I love sharing the joy and wonder in the parks with these little kiddos. I think my heart grows in size every single trip.

Eli watching the Pixar Play Parade, 2010


Okay, I need to stop this post now even though I can go on and on… plus I’ve made myself cry like 6 times just writing it and going through all these old photos.

For a few more ideas check out these posts on Mice Chat

Do you have any special Disneyland adventures to share? Comment below! I only have a few trips left and I want to get it all in!

Unique Gift Idea for the Bride: Bridal Beauty Scrapbook of all the Wedding Events, Bridal Showers and Parties

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Creating a scrapbook of all the bridal events for the year is a great keepsake and gift for a bride!

A couple years ago, I started up a scrapbook whirlwind by making 2 books for my girlfriends that were getting married in 2012. I started way too late into the year though and didn’t have nearly the arsenal of scrapbook tools that I do now! So for Amie’s book, from this past year’s wedding celebrations, ended up being triple layered in stickers and all sorts of embellishments! Plus I started it right away and did one page/event at a time—which allowed for my creative juices to really flow through each page.

So I just wanted to share a few of my favorite pages from these books and at the end of the post there are some tips if you find yourself making one for yourself or for a friend!

For another gift idea, see my post on a scrapbook of letters for the bride!

First up, Lauren’s scrapbook:

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This was my first ever scrapped page… I remember being so excited working on it with my mama at her kitchen table.

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I’m pretty sure we blew Instagram up on the day of their wedding! So we definitely needed to have a #wagonerwedding page—which also included a wood engraved sunflower from their wedding favors.

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My absolute favorite page in Lauren’s book was their wedding day page. I just love the pictures she chose—by All Aboard Studios.

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And here’s a few of my favorite pages from Brittany’s book:

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Their engagement party was Anchorman themed so we chose some of our favorite Anchorman quotes for the page.

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My mom and I had fun making the pages for our Fairy Weekend… that was such a great weekend! We included the fairy house, fabric from the sparkly purple tablecloth and a mini paper scroll to remember our moments reading our bride our favorite memories with her.

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I love the details on the shower page too… since we had a panty line and lavender sachets, the book had to have them too! More photos here.

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And just like Lauren’s, my favorite page in Britt’s book is of the wedding. It was such a beautiful day. They had moss covered table numbers so I found some green glittery numbers for the wedding date and also included a key from their favors! So much fun remembering the day through the details.

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And now a TON of photos from Amie’s… I had a really hard time narrowing down my favorites…

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Starting with page 1, I loved that I had found a bench sticker to remember where Matt had waited for his soon to be fiance!

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And we included lace from the mason jar decorations at the engagement party!

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Engagement photos below are from Harvard Photography.

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Bridal shower photos below are from J. Rose Photography.

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With the shower being as detailed as it was, I tried to incorporate as much as I could… from the cupcake topper to the paper flowers on the favor boxes.

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Photos below are by me! See more from our engagement session here.

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The bachelorette party was also filled with details! We saved a business card from our crazy scavenger hunt in Pacific Beach along with some kisses from “Pin the Kiss on the Groom” game. And of course a giant ring sticker to remember our light up rings when we went out dancing—just wish I could find a pink ring for the book!

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Hashtag: #pankratzwedding! I loved having an Instagram themed page in Lauren’s book so we had to have one here too! And I love my new banner punch I got in my stocking at Christmas! I was really excited to use it in the book!

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And then the wedding… Amie had a very hard time narrowing down photos and since I knew my scrapbooking adventure was coming to a close, we decided just to include the whole wedding! See more photos of the glorious day here.

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This is one of my favorite pages! It was such a sweet moment!

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There were just a few name card tags leftover from the wedding… it made a great touch for the reception page.

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And with one odd page left, we ended the book with a page remembering their honeymoon in Zion.

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And now a few tips on making your own Bridal Beauty Scrapbook!

  • It helped that I took the majority of the photos with my camera so I had access to all the high quality images right away.
  • During the event remember to grab an item or 2 to use in the books: business cards, tissue paper, etc.
  • Remember the details that aren’t photographed and use as details in the book. For example, during the bride’s family portraits, a butterfly landed amid the girls’ bouquets so I made sure to get some butterfly stickers. Also, the bouquets were made with purple hydrangeas so I made sure to get those stickers for the wedding pages too.
  • Have the bride pick out the photos. I loved asking the brides to pick their photos because they chose totally different pictures than I would have—it makes the book that much more special because its their favorite memories of the events.
  • To save money, try to get sticker packs that will last through several different events so you aren’t buying a set of embellishments for just one single page. I have a pretty solid aesthetic across all the pages so it was easy to mix and match sets of stickers and paper.
  • Another money saving tip… I waited until the big paper pads went on sale at Michael’s so I got Buy 1, Get 1 Free! And to make them last, I bought one in warm tones and one in cool colors that would look good together to get a good variety but also keep a cohesive look.

A few more notes about the books… all of them are 8×8, a perfect size for a coffee table book. Brittany’s was bought at Michael’s while Lauren’s and Amie’s were bought at Hobby Lobby. All photos were printed at Sam’s Club.

Are you a scrapbooker? I just love it! Please share your tips below!

P.S. Dear Mom, I can’t say I’m sorry enough that I made fun of you for years for all the money and time spent on scrapbooking as I am growing closer and closer to having quite the paper crafting hoard myself. Please accept my apology. xoxo