IT’S TIME TO START THINKING OF HOLIDAY CARDS

Where do you purchase your holiday cards? Do you send cards out with pictures or without? I like to mail my Christmas cards with one family photo on the front and one family photo on the back. Sending Christmas cards is a great excuse to step in front of the camera with my family. Plus, it’s fun to see the little ones grow with each passing year.

Do you remember my holiday cards from last year? I ordered my cards from Minted.com for the very first time. I was so impressed! From start to finish the process was easy, fast and perfectly designed. Here’s our card to jog your memory – can you believe Colton was so itty bitty … and bald … and not tan.

MINTED CHRISTMAS CARDS
If you haven’t done so already, start planning your family photo sessions with a local photographer. Make sure you color coordinate and choose a time when your kids are apt to be on their best behavior (but, really … is there a such time?).

There are a lot of online stationary sites, but what I love most about minted.com is their amazing selection, great quality and the “Find it Fast” feature. You upload your photo and instantly see all of their designs mocked up with your photo on them – it looks like this. See Kelsey & Colton?

Minted

Let’s talk envelops for a second because this is where you’ll fall in love. Minted has matching envelop designs and recipient addressing (you ready for this?) – FREE for a limited time. Click here to see the designs and more details.

minted envelops

I partnered with Minted.com to bring you some of my favorite holiday cards from their website. I’m crushing on the foil stamped cards and the cute designs that are in store! Here are some of my favorite holiday card designs from Minted.

minted photo cardsminted christmas booksminted holiday cards minted holiday designsMinted - Foil Pressed Cardminted holiday cards2minted christmas card

Shop their whole holiday card store here. Good luck choosing … can you believe it’s almost the holiday season? I say … bring it on (I’m clearly a Christmas geek).

Dayna’s (work) Baby Shower + Baby Bump

Baby Shower | Zinc Bistro Scottsdale

My co-worker, Dayna, is due in two weeks (two weeks!) so we celebrated on Friday afternoon with brunch at Zinc Bistro. All of the girls got together to celebrate Dayna’s new bundle of joy. This is Dayna & Mike’s first baby and you can tell how excited they are just by talking to her – the nursery is decorated, the car seat is in and now everyone is on baby watch eagerly awaiting his arrival.

Zinc Bistro Scottsdale

Baby Shower | Zinc Bistro Scottsdale

zinc bistro baby shower scottsdale

Baby Shower | Zinc Bistro Scottsdale

Baby Shower | Zinc Bistro Scottsdale

Baby Shower | Zinc Bistro Scottsdale

When Andrea is around (center, red dress) there is no reason you would order dessert off the menu – she brings it! She bakes the most delicious treats and this day was no exception. She baked a Bundt Cake with cream cheese frosting topped with fresh fruit. If you live in Arizona and want custom cakes for your parties, let me know. Her cakes are really something else.

Baby Shower Bundt Cake

Dayna looks amazing (can you believe she looks this good at 38 weeks? I was a house) and couldn’t be happier that her little one will debut into the world soon. We couldn’t have asked for better Arizona weather for an afternoon spent with good friends, good food and lots of baby talk. Dayna, next time we see you, you’ll be a mom! We are so happy for you!!!

Baby Shower | Zinc Bistro Scottsdale

From Designing Websites to Designer Dresses

wedding

One day you’re building websites for Starwood hotels and the next you are trying on wedding dresses. That’s how Dani and Allison’s day went yesterday. Together with a few of my co-workers, we visited a local bridal boutique to pull some looks for an upcoming wedding film we are doing for work.

wedding

wedding

Dani and Allison were both models for the day, they took one for the team and tried on dresses for us to choose from (I guess that’s the drawback to being a perfect sample size).

Weddings

Dani was the lucky one and quickly found herself in a bridesmaid and a wedding dress. I don’t care how old you are, or how many years you have been married (or not), you always find yourself twirling around and acting like a princess while wearing a poufy dress. No seriously, Dani actually swirled around and said, “Hold on. (insert twirl) I’m having a bridal moment.”

I just love how girls will be girls, no matter what age.

TomKat Studio // The First in Phoenix

TomKat Studio

TomKat Studio

“This had your name written all over it.” Thank you, cute little Kate Spade cards. This is exactly how I felt when I visited TomKat Studio in Chandler. You’re probably familiar with TheTomKatStudio.com and now (if you live in Arizona) you can shop locally. Her shop opened a few weeks ago and it’s a must-visit. If “presentation is everything” then TomKat Studio has you covered with the cutest & craftiest selection of party and gift supplies.

TomKat Studio | Party Supplies Arizona

TomKat Studio

TomKat Studio | Party Supplies Arizona
Party straws, cupcake liners, fringed garland, favor bags and plates in every color you can imagine! For those who love to entertain and throw parties, TomKat Studio is like being a kid in a candy store. I love how the shop is set up – crisp white walls and shelving really make the merchandise pop!

TomKat Studio Party

TomKat Studio | Party Supplies Arizona

tomkat studio

Kim Stoebauer is the owner and founder of (named after her kids Tommy + Kate) and that’s her studio on the right: She has a little nook inside this store that she uses as a workspace. Don’t you just love the black & white walls? TomKat Studio is located inside Found Design Co on Chandler & Ray Rd. Make sure you stop in and check them out!

TomKat Studio

kim at tom kat

Kim, it was great meeting you and your team today. I loved hearing the story of how long you’ve been in business and all of the great ventures you’ve been a part of. I hope our paths meet again soon. Who am I kidding … I’ll probably be back in your store next weekend. Congratulations on the new store!

FOUND DESIGN // WHERE ANTHROPOLOGIE MEETS POTTERY BARN

Found

Found Interior Design

There’s a new store in town called Found. Appropriately named, because the minute I walked into this store I thought to myself. “I found it!” I found the most inspiring home & decor store that I’ve stepped into in a long time. Found Design is like Pottery Barn meets Anthropologie. It’s rustic. It’s cool. It’s modern. Best of all, it’s filled with items that I want in my home. Just take a look!

Found Interior Design

Found Interior Design

Found Interior Design

Just look at this wallpaper! I want it so badly. It would be perfect for a home office or even a dining room. Am I right? I literally walked around this store and said, “I want that. I want that. I really want that. Ooooh, that would look so good in my house.” The store just opened in Chandler (Ray & Chandler Rd.) about 2 weeks ago so if you live in the area, you’ll have to check it out.

Found Interior Design Co Arizona

Found Design Co

Found Interior Design Co Arizona

Found Interior Design

Found Interior Design

Now do you see what I mean? The store is beautiful. There is an area to the left, right when you walk in, that displays merchandise that’s a bit more modern. But as you can see from my lens, I was drawn to their rustic home decor. Kind of makes you want to host a dinner party, doesn’t it?

Found Interior Design Co Arizona

Found Interior Design Co Arizona

Found Interior Design

Found Interior Design Co Arizona

“A perfectly kept house is the sign of a misspent life.” Why, thank you little book for giving me the reassurance I need that my house (which looks more like a kids toy store these days) is indeed proof that we are having fun around here.

Found Interior Design Co Arizona

Found Interior Design

Found Design Co

Found Interior Design

I hope you enjoyed this little photo tour. If you’re an interior designer, decorator, home entertainer or just someone who loves pretty things, I’m sure you can appreciate why I got so inspired today. Make sure you stop in and check out Found Design Co. If you can’t make it in, you can find them online (here). We’ve got to support our local shops.

Farmer’s Market Finds

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farmersmarket

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farmers_market

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farmersarket

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Phoenix Farmers Market

After church this morning we went to the Farmer’s Market – Ryan and I are on the Fed Up Challenge which means no added sugar for 10 days – and definitely no sampling at the market. We let the kids cheat (because they are kids, after all) and let them snack on some really great baked goods. My mouth is watering just talking about it.

The market had a guitarist that Kelsey loved and lots of people and their pets (which made Colton really happy). He’ll walk up to any dog and just give him a pat on the head.

It’s still hot as can be out here – we are hoping for a little break into low 90s sometime soon. It sure feels like fall everywhere we go so we are hoping Arizona weather can get it together soon.

Work Hard. Play Hard.

Westin Lake Las Vegas1
Westin Lake Las Vegas Resort

I just got back from another work trip. This one was a quick 45-minute plane ride so it wasn’t too hard on me to travel. I left at 3pm on Monday, which was nice, and which also meant I was able to take my kids to school – giving Ryan a head start at the office. When you travel as much as we do, you learn to make your trips as efficient as you can so you’re not away from the house too long.

For this trip, we were in and out of Vegas in 3 days. Our Phoenix marketing office met up with our Starwood Seattle marketing team and we had a great few days of meetings, mingling, gambling (on our own dime, don’t worry) and eating. Lots and lots of eating. Like, way too much eating. Here are a few pictures from our quick stint in Vegas.

Westin Lake Las Vegas Meeting1
Westin Lake Las Vegas Lunch1
Westin Lake Las Vegas Deck1

We stayed at the Westin Lake Las Vegas Resort. Their saying goes, “experience the other side of Vegas.” Which is so appropriate. The resort is about a 30 minute drive from the Strip and it transports you into another world completely. It reminds me a lot of a Palm Springs or Scottsdale resort (home, sweet home) with its fire pits, lakes, tennis courts and great landscape views.

Westin Lake Las Vegas Dock1

Westin Lake Las Vegas Decor

If I’m behind honest, the interior of the hotel is a bit funky. The décor feels very “Moroccan-inspired” which you don’t typically see at a Westin resort, but the property is truly remarkable on the outside. While we were staying, they had 3 weddings! Clearly, this is a great place for groups and locals to visit and celebrate.

Westin Lake Las Vegas Resort
Westin Lake Las Vegas Resort
Lake Las Vegas Village Restaurants

Westin Lake Las Vegas Resort

On night two, we went to a Mexican Restaurant in the Village of Lake Las Vegas. There weren’t too many people around, which was nice because we practically had the Village to ourselves. We got lost in the Village trying to find the restaurant and when we called the person on the line said, “Just follow the music and you’ll find us.” Okay. With a little hesitation, we did and we found an acoustic guitarist and our restaurant.

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My colleague’s are such great sports because they let me take their pictures every time we had downtime. Lately, my camera is glued to my hands. I am having so much fun experimenting with lighting, angles and new locations and the girls (and Brandon!) were such great sports letting me snap their photos. Sadly, I didn’t get a picture of everyone but there is always Chicago (our next meeting) and you can bet, my camera will come along for the ride.

The day we arrived, we had an intimate 20-person dinner at The Venetian and then we were off to a Cirque de Soleil show. The show started at 9:30pm and I seriously thought I was going to pass out before the curtains opened. But, in true Vegas fashion, I powered through and before I knew it, I was getting back to the hotel around midnight (which is like unheard of in parenting land).

Las Vegas Casino
Dani_Steph

Kristina - Las Vegas
Las Vegas loves Kristina! She won $70 at two hands of Roulette (do you even say hands of Roulette?) I have no clue. Kristina was so sweet to try and explain the game to me. I really thought I knew what I was doing and then suddenly I blinked and I had lost $30. So, I kindly stepped away and lived vicariously through Kristina as she cashed in her winnings.

Okay, here is the part where I’ll probably get in trouble. No joke, the people at Cirque did not want you to take flash photography. Understandable. So, I obliged and just shot some pictures with no flash. That apparently wasn’t good enough. Kristina was taking photos as the performers were taking their bows (meaning the show was literally over) when a lady came around with a flashlight and demanded she, “Delete, delete, delete” all of her photos “immediately.” She meant business.

So I’ll probably get a call from Cirque about my photos, but here goes nothing.

Cirque
Cirque
Cirque
Cirque

Mystère was a great Cirque du Soleil show with very talented acrobats. I would not recommend going to see this show after you eat an entire bowl of pasta at dinner. You will feel more lazy and uncoordinated than ever. The acrobats are seriously remarkable and almost don’t seem human. Our team visited the Cirque headquarters in Montreal last year – seen here, so it was extra special to see the show after having been behind the scenes.

All in all, this was another successful work trip and another chance to experience a great city with some amazing people. Sometimes I pinch myself that I actually get paid to market our Starwood destinations and hotels because of how rewarding this job is. I am very thankful for the opportunity to work at Starwood and for this amazing group of marketers that I call friends.