Snowbration

Snow is such an impressive phenomenon. It’s cold, solid, beautiful, heavy and sometime debilitating. I was lucky enough to grow up in an area that had enough snow to enjoy on a pretty regular basis. I remember long days of sledding, snowmen, snow angels, and igloos. Not to mention shoveling, freezing, accidents, and a host of other issues that can arise from snow. If you live in snow or in a place that would never have snow, I think it’s safe to say that it is a beautiful event that can bring so much joy. So in the spirit of our final month of official winter, I thought it fitting that we have a snowbration! Let’s celebrate this magnificent wonder with a party because who doesn’t love a party!!

Decorations – Of course we have to establish the setting. For some locations this may be easier said than done. Living in the south over the last 12 years has showed me how sometimes winter related things can really look out of place. However, that doesn’t mean that you can’t have a little bit of fun with some snowflakes, snowmen, and snowballs! Here are some great examples of decoration you could you for your snowbration.

So cute and cheap: snowball garland!

Cute centerpieces that would be so easy to create with minimal effort.

Spruce up your snowflake-making skills with this new pattern.

DIY Snow Globes! How fun! I need to remember to do this with my children next year!

There can’t be a party without some “shine shine” (as my daughter calls it). These are just too fun to pass up – although this does look time consuming to make.

Foods – There of course must be food at the snowbration.  Now I know that lots of people pass on desserts, but I seriously LOVE desserts. Plus, the winter time is the perfect time to bulk up a little bit to prepare for those colder months. So why not throw a snowy themed dessert and cocktail party. Listed below are some favorites of mine.

Snowcream! One of my husband’s favorites!

These adorable lemon drops are sure to be the rage of the party!

These mooncakes are just stunning and so festive.

These marshmallows would be so fun to create really anytime of the year!

These cupcakes are almost too fun to eat… almost!

Drinks – Second only to food in my opinion are drinks. There are so many fun drinks out there that are both alcoholic and non-alcoholic. There are great flavors and looks to choose from when bringing drinks to the party. Also I know many people want to drink only water now a days, however I think everyone likes a fun drink once in a while so why not have a fun wintery drink!

Mmmm Chocolate!! Snow white-chocolate martini anyone?

Sex On a Snowbank is not for the faint of heart!

Moscato Slush for your sweet tooth friends:

Adult snow cones will bring out the inner child for all to enjoy!

Snow covered white Russian… almost sounds like the punch line to a joke! But oh so delicious!

Blizzard coco will warm up any frozen heart that shows at the party:

Non- Alcoholic versions of some great snowy cocktails…

Snowball punch – both yummy and a great decorative piece:

Adorable snow topped drinks:

Peppermint white hot chocolate – perfect flavor pairing for the season:

Snow Games – I find the best parties have some kind of activity or game for people to stay entertained. This could be kid based or not kid based games but often it can lead to lots of fun interaction among new friends, and a great talking point for the rest of the family. Plus, with so many days spent indoors, it is important to get out and get active. Here are some great games for your snowbration that even adults could participate in.

If you’re lucky enough to have snow, there are tons of great activities for you!

If you don’t have snow, then create your own! I have also seen snow made with shaving cream instead of conditioner as well:

Here are some great snowball games that are completed in a minute-to-win-it kind of style:

This cross country skiing game is sure to bring out some giggles:

Snow really is the best and brings out the inner child in the grumpiest of adults – which means it should be celebrated. Share in food, fun, and fellowship during this season. Before you know it, we will be experiencing the rainy days of spring wishing for something different – even if that sometimes means heaps and mounds of snow! This doesn’t mean you need to create a big ol’ party – but grab your neighbor, co-worker, or family member and celebrate this wonderful precipitous event.

ciao_laurencop_sig-01Lauren Cop is a SAHM (Stay At Home Mom) of Irish Twins and Senior writer/editor of the Olive Shoe Blog. Currently Lauren and her family live in Tallahassee, FL where she helps teach at a local pre-school. A Clemson fanatic, alumni and general sports enthusiast. She loves reading, gardening, food, and traveling. Follow her Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest.

The Olive Shoe | Paperie & Design | Celebrating Creativity and Creatively Celebrating is designed and run by Lauren {LAC} James © 2015 LAC James All Rights Reserved.

Lauren {LAC} James is a Sr. Designer of Product Graphics for an international manufacturing company by day and a creativity crusader, designer, planner extraordinaire, artist and blogger in her “free” time. Follow her and The Olive Shoe on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest or Instagram! Pleasesubscribe to receive emails, of course, come back and visit again soon!

Please visit the online art gallery {Art by LAC} and Etsy Shop too!

Other Posts by Lauren Cop:

Celebrating the Color Red with FOOD

As I realize Valentine’s Day isn’t for everyone, therefore I decided to write on a color instead. From November thru February I feel like red is such an important color. There is red in nature, holidays, AIDS Awareness, the Election, and so on. Red has so many interesting meanings and brings different feelings to light when observing the color. So in the celebration of the color of red, I thought it would be fun to discuss some of my favorite “red” foods. Food is something that is so incredibly important to me as discussed in other posts like What’s In A Kitchen? and Creating Your Secret Garden Part 4: Keeping Your Harvest. Red food stuffs are some of my favorites: tomatoes, peppers, beets, strawberries, wine, and meat – the list is endless! So in the spirit of the month of love, I wanted to pay tribute to my red food loves.

Drinks – Let’s start with my favorite drink… wine! Wine brings lots of familial memories for me. Growing up with family who is Italian, wine is always not only an essential spirit, but also a pivotal ingredient at family celebrations. I love how this beverage has such a history and nuance of being produced (at least the good ones do) and can literally be paired with anything. My favorite red grape is Tempranillo. This grape typically is grown in Spain but is also produced in Portugal, USA, and Australia. I love this wine because it is a medium to full body red that pairs with many foods. If you have never had it before, it is very similar to a Sangiovese or Cabernet Sauvignon. If you need more information check out this great article by Wine Folly on Tempranillo. Honestly though, any red wine is going to probably be high on the list for me.

 

If wine isn’t your thing here are some other great red drinks to add to your beverage list…

Non-Alcoholic Red Drinks are also great for those who want to skip the booze.

Apps – I LOVE appetizers. I think I could seriously live on small plated food. That being said my favorite red appetizer is sausage stuffed peppadews. What I love about this appetizer is that it is so easy to make and can totally be adapted as well. Basically you take your favorite spicy sausage and stuff them into prepared peppadews (usually found in the olive bar at a grocery store). Then you place them in the oven at 350° for about 30 minutes (or until the tops are crispy) and then enjoy. You can also mix the sausage with mushrooms, spinach, and cheese to give them a more robust flavor. But the classic sausage is just as good. It has become a staple at our gatherings and will definitely be a crowd pleaser for you as well.

Here are some other great red appetizers to try out as well…

Entrée – When I think of a red entrée I automatically think of a red meat with a traditional red-wine demi-glace. I love to make this for my family. Its relatively quick and takes less talent than you would think to make it. Also, since it is a more old-world traditional dish it has lots of rich complex flavors. I tend to pair this dish with some sautéed mushrooms, onions, and asparagus. If I do choose to add a grain it is usually with couscous only because I despise making mashed potatoes. But honestly the dish goes best with mashed potatoes so you can enjoy all that fantastic red wine demi!

Here are some other great red entrees for you to enjoy!

Dessert – I don’t typically make dessert… but when I do make dessert it is usually chocolate of some kind or mini pies. I love to make mini pies because they are great for sharing, cook in a fraction of the time, and are great to freeze. My favorite is the mixed berry pie. I use strawberries, blackberries, and blueberries. Then I mix in some sugar, orange juice, and lemon zest. It is so incredibly delicious and fresh tasting. I prefer to enjoy my pies with Cool Whip but I know my husband and many others enjoy these pies with vanilla ice cream. This type of pie is not only great for the red months, but would also be great for the 4th of July.

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Here are some other great red desserts for you to check out.

Red is such a vibrant and rich color in food that you can find it in every cuisine. It can be savory, spicy, or even sweet, lending itself to please even the pickiest of eaters. I hope showing you the variety of red foods will help you not only celebrate with the color red, but also open up some new and exciting tastes for you and your family. So if you are celebrating Valentine’s Day or just need a pick me up of color in the kitchen, I think these great recipes will go a long way to creating happy taste buds and guests at your table. Bon appetit!

ciao_laurencop_sig-01Lauren Cop is a SAHM (Stay At Home Mom) of Irish Twins and Senior writer/editor of the Olive Shoe Blog. Currently Lauren and her family live in Tallahassee, FL where she helps teach at a local pre-school. A Clemson fanatic, alumni and general sports enthusiast. She loves reading, gardening, food, and traveling. Follow her Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest.

The Olive Shoe | Paperie & Design | Celebrating Creativity and Creatively Celebrating is designed and run by Lauren {LAC} James © 2015 LAC James All Rights Reserved.

Lauren {LAC} James is a Sr. Designer of Product Graphics for an international manufacturing company by day and a creativity crusader, designer, planner extraordinaire, artist and blogger in her “free” time. Follow her and The Olive Shoe on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest or Instagram! Pleasesubscribe to receive emails, of course, come back and visit again soon!

Please visit the online art gallery {Art by LAC} and Etsy Shop too!

Other Posts by Lauren Cop:

A Special Day of Love with the Kiddos| Quick DIY Activities for Valentine’s Day | By Lauren Cop

Valentine’s Day is all about the celebration of love. Temper tantrums, mealtime and bedtime battles, sibling rivalry, social life, errands, work, bills – it all contributes to a chaotic life. It is easy to let our appreciation of our children and the importance of expressing love and appreciation go to the wayside. Love is a powerful emotion that can solve many problems. With love, we can include, appreciate, and solve problems in a peaceful manner. I talk about love with my children all the time – the more it is talked about, the more my children can be made aware of the powerful effects of love. This Valentine’s Day, I plan to start my first celebration of love with my children. Listed below are just a few fun projects you can do with your children in helping your children to celebrate love.

Love your body – You get one body. Period. It is important that you teach your children how to appreciate their bodies from the get-go to prevent unnecessary health issues later in life. Discuss nutrition, fitness, mental health and especially how to appreciate their unique features. The Valentine Heart Hop was so fun to play with my little one. Through this game they are working on fitness and education so they are, in a sense, loving their bodies. This game is soo easy to put together and you probably already have all the materials in your home! You can work on numbers, counting, and of course hopping! Give it a try and see what fun you can create with your little one.

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{ Valentine Heart Hop, Photo by Lauren Cop }

Love is messy – both figuratively and literally – it can be gritty, dirty, dangerous, and even obsessive. Love is also not tangible. What better way to express something that isn’t tangible than playing with slime! Discuss with your kids how often times, big concepts cannot be confined to one form or put in a box. Love can be muddled, change shape, and grow during your relationships with people. This is another of those easy recipes that has many materials that you may already have in your house! Have the kids help in making this slime and really get down and dirty in the discussion of love.

**Note: When using this recipe, make sure you are using borax-based liquid starch. Anything else will not work – I learned this the hard way and totally devastated my children.

Love as an expression – As a parent, I try to express to my children how much I love them every day. Not only by saying the words but recognizing good behavior and telling them the things that make me happy and proud to be their mother. It has gotten so prevalent that my oldest Viv often asks me “You happy Mama?” What better way of getting your children to show their love for others than by making cards. I took the typical ‘Love you to pieces’ card and added this easy step. I asked my kids what they love about each person and wrote it down. We talked about how each person is special and how they help our family as well. It doesn’t matter how silly what they say may seem to you – it means something to your child and the people who will receive your card. Expressing love isn’t easy so help your child learn to express their emotions early with this easy activity. You will not regret their answers J

**Note: Instead of contact paper, I used tissue paper and glue.

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{ Love You To Pieces, Photo by Lauren Cop }

Love through foodFood is a love language all to its own. It is necessary for survival and so easy to show your appreciation of others by creating yummy food for them. This is kind of two-fold. You can have your child create food for loved ones and share them. Or, you can create sweet little Valentine’s inspired lunches for your children. An easy way to do this is just to cut everything into heart shapes! If you click here you can also find a lot of other Valentine’s Day lunch inspirations. Also don’t forget the note! My Mom would randomly leave notes in our lunches and Valentine’s Day was one of those. Even if it just says I love you – it will make your child feel so appreciated and loved.

Love is time – I don’t think I could ever spend enough time with the people I love. Many people are far away, work, get sick, are busy, etc… So it is not necessarily about how much time, but more of what do you do with that time. Have your children been especially difficult lately – which makes you yell, get frustrated, and in a constant role of disciplinarian? Maybe take a break, regroup, and devote some real quality time with your kids. Take them on an outing, eat an indoor picnic, have them choose what’s for dinner, play a game – engage your children! Ignore the bad behavior and try to praise the good behavior. Even if only one day this month is free, take that time for your kids. This is what will mean the most to your children – the time you spend with them. It is what they remember – do you want them to remember the disciplinarian or the silly Mama who isn’t afraid to wear a bowl as a hat!

Other Fun Love Language Links – If none of the above strike your fancy, check out these other fantastic links!

So as cliché as Valentine’s Day may seem, make it a day of investigating love with your children. Bring up the big topics and importance of love. Love is a convoluted, complex concept that we all need in our lives. Help your children grasp those concepts and in-turn show them a new side of your love for them! Valentine’s Day doesn’t have to be another Hallmark holiday – make it fun and special for your children so they one day understand this intricate concept. I mean, can’t we all agree that there needs to be more love in this world?

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Creativity Crusader Spotlight | Meet Tara Cummings | NewSpring Creative Team

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What is your name? Tara Cummings

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Meet my friend Tara. For about a year and a half, we have been doing life together through a small group at NewSpring Church. When I first had the idea for this series, like Daniela from last month’s spotlight, Tara was at the top of the list!

Sidenote: I have been THRILLED with the response to last month’s spotlight and am excited to say that I have creativity crusaders books for THE YEAR! I have already started a list for next year, and if you have an idea of someone that should be on that list, please send me your “nomination” at lauren@theoliveshoe.com. I absolutely love celebrating the creative people we live, work, and do life with! Ok…back to Tara!

How old are you (if you are ok with sharing…totally optional)? 22

In what city & state do you live? Anderson, SC

Do you consider yourself to be creative? Sometimes 😉

I completely understand. Love that honest answer…pretty sure everyone has “sometimes” moments no matter what they do!

What toys or activities were you drawn to as a child? Hula hoop, Skip it, and hide-and-seek were a few faves. I liked activities I could do better than my brother.

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What inspires you? The people I work with. They are constantly coming up with new ideas and showing me cool things. Check out NewSpring Creative on Dribbble and Vimeo and I’m sure you’ll be inspired, too! 

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{Check out NewSpring Creative on Dribbble}

I love that you are inspired by the people you work with. It’s amazing what can happen when more than one creative brain work towards tackling the same project. I feel this in my own brainstorming sessions!

Continue reading

An Invitation to Inspiration | Winter Onederland

Hi friends!

I love this theme. Here in the South where we dream about snow flurries more than we actually see them, this play on Winter Wonderland is so cute and gives us an excuse to actually play with some snowflakes – even if they are made of paper or sugar.

One of the best things about this theme is that it is easy to do for both boys and girls, or even in a neutral color scheme. There are endless possibilities for simple yet creative decorations, food and beverages. Read (and see) on for a whole bunch of fun ideas for planning your own winder onederland party!

Like these adorable onesies from Tickle My Tutu on Etsy:

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…or this adorable Hot Chocolate Bar sign from So Sweet Design Studio – which would be a great addition for Mommies and Daddies to any Winter Onederland Party!

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…especially if combined with these free printables from A Crafted Passion…

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And love these beverage ideas, too, from Pretty my Party…

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This gorgeous setup featured on 100 Layer Cake-let is actually for a winter WONderland party for a six year old, but I just loved it too much not to include!

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Kara’s Party Ideas has some precious examples with an arctic focus – igloos, penguins and polar bears…

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Here is an invitation by The Olive Shoe for this theme, and colors can be changed as needed!

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And how about this AH DOHR A BLE high chair banner and cake table from Pretty My Party.. So stinkin cute…

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Love this plethora of ideas from Unoriginal Mom

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This cake is just…perfection, featured on Ardita Kola Photography. If you have a moment click through the photos from this gorgeous birthday.

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And one more precious high chair banner. I love the addition of the “O N E” to this one..

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If you’re not into DIYing, Shindigz has tons of pre-matched adorable goodies for this theme too..

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Have you thrown a winter onederland party? We’d love to see or hear your ideas! Please comment and share!

*Featured Image borrowed from Paige Simple.

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The Olive Shoe | Paperie & Design | Celebrating Creativity and Creatively Celebrating is designed and run by Laure {LAC} James © 2016 LAC James All Rights Reserved.

Lauren {LAC} James is a Sr. Designer of Product Graphics for an international manufacturing company by day and a creativity crusader, designer, planner extraordinaire, artist and blogger in her “free” time. Follow her and The Olive Shoe on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest or Instagram! Please subscribe to receive emails, and of course, come back and visit again soon!

Please visit the online art gallery {Art by LAC} and Etsy Shop too!

Other popular posts by LAC:

The Creative Home | Life Collected | The Mense Home

Today my grandparents celebrate their 69th wedding anniversary.

A little back story… Grandma and Grandpa (Hank and Lucille) met in high school, in Eau Claire, Wisconsin. They were married in 1948, and he enlisted in the Coast Guard which took them on adventure after adventure. Three of their greatest adventures are their children, who have given them seven grandchildren…I am one of those grandchildren. I have mentioned this set of grandparents before – my Grandma Mense is the one who gave me the olive shoe serving dish that inspired the name of my blog and small business.

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{Grandma, Grandma and Me at my wedding in 2015}

I actually photographed their house in early November, but decided to save it for this month because it is such a reflection of their journey through life together.

Having served 23 years in the U.S. Coast Guard, my grandfather is a retired Commander, so they have had several houses together in all different areas of the U.S including: Milwaukee, Buffalo and Clevend, OH.

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A little ditty y’all might appreciate: during Grandpa’s tour in Cleveland, OH a two year reservist named Arnold Palmer was transferred to his command.

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{Mt. Ranier, photo from one of Grandpa’s slides}

Grandpa was later commanded to report in Port Townsend in Washington State, and in 1955, was transfered to Ketchikan, Alaska. At the time, Alaska was still a U.S. territory.

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{I have always thought my Grandma is one of the most beautiful people…inside and out}

In 1957, he was transferred to Alameda, CA near the Bay area, and they bought a house – one of my Grandma’s two favorite of their lives, out of the newspaper. In 1964, Grandpa was transferred to Washington, D.C. and in 1978, he accepted a position at Coastal Carolina University (then college) and they moved to Myrtle Beach, SC. They moved into their current home in Myrtle Beach in spring of 2009.

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What’s your favorite room?

Grandma: The guest bedroom. I can go in there and sit, and it’s so bright and cheerful. I like pink.

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{A needlepoint done by my Great Grandma Anderson, Grandma’s mom, that hangs in the guest room}

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Algernon, the rabbit perched on top of the book shelf, used to get to spend the night from time to time with us grandchildren..if of course, we were good.

Grandpa: It’s a toss up between the sun room and my office.

Grandpa’s office is full of sunshine, a manly mustard yellow, a large (large is an understatement) photograph of  nautical rope on a ship deck hangs on one wall. Grandpa, who is incredibly humble, would never brag on himself. However, a lifetime of accolades, awards, and photographs of family, friends and colleagues decorate the office.

Can you name any favorite things?

Grandma: I’ll have to think a while. I guess him {Grandpa}.

Me: He’s not a thing though.

Grandma: I love everything we have in this house…

{pauses}

Fonzi! (the dog)

Grandpa: My wife.

Grandma: Now that’s copycatting. If I’m not in the house what’s your favorite?

Grandpa: I love the way she has photographs of our family througout the house.

Grandma: {she’s thought awhile} The orchids

Do you have any favorite pieces of furniture?

Grandma: My mother’s little bedroom chair in the closet.

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{The previously mentioned chair, above}

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As you can see in the above photos, I come by my love of accessories naturally. It’s in my DNA.

The closet above is in the master suite which includes the bedroom…

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{I absolutely adore the black and white of Grandma and Grandpa in high school, above, in the right side of the photo.}

…the sunporch…

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..and the master bath, which is a snappy pink.

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{ Notice that little shoe painting above the perfume

What is your favorite piece of art?

Grandma: The series of Swedish paintings in the corner of the sunroom…where my dad lived…they are the dearest.

Grandpa: The Keane paintings

Grandma: That’s a good answer because they’re dear to me, too.

The sunroom is off of the back of the house between the master bedroom’s sun porch and the patio.

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So nice of sweet Fonzi, their Bischon Frise, to give me a little grin for the photo shoot!

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Above and below, the Swedish art that Grandma referenced.

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Left of the sunroom is their patio, a quiet little retreat.

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Back inside, the sunroom leads into the living room.

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Isn’t their art collection fabulous?? I just want to jump right into that magnolia painting above and have a fancy picnic on a white tablecloth in the garden.

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The living room opens up to the dining room, which also houses some fabulous art pieces, including a gorgeous painting of a dogwood branch, a plate painted by my Grandma, and a photograph taken in Charleston by my cousin SaraJane.

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Behind the wall with the Keane paintings is the kitchen and breakfast nook.

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One thing I failed to capture is the guest bath at the end of the hall, that also opens up to the guest room. #photographerfail on my part, it is a light, bright blue, and houses a wonderful pencil drawing that my Uncle Mike did of their home in the Dunes club.

How would you describe your style?

Grandma: Eclectic, a little bit of this and a little bit of that. One thing is from this city and what thing is from that city.

Grandpa: Which would make it geographic eclectic.

What is your favorite house that you’ve ever lived in?

Grandma: The one in San Francisco {California} or the one in the Dunes Club {Myrtle Beach, SC}.

One last little ditty I have always loved is the map of their travels. Grandpas service in the Coast Guard, involvement in Rotary, and their mutual thirst for travel has taken them around the world as evidenced by their art collection and the map below.

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Thanks for joining the first Creative Home Tour of 2017, and happy anniversary Grandma and Grandpa!

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{The Mense Family, Christmas 2015}

Next month get a sneak peek at Lauren CopCar’s new abode when we feature the “Befores” of their new home!

Previous Creative Home Tours:

If you have or know of a creative space with interesting color, textures, and style that you’d like to see featured, I’d love to come take a look and even snap a few photos – please email me at lauren@theoliveshoe.com and let’s have a chat!

In an ode to one of my previously mentioned old favorites…There’s no place like home!

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The Olive Shoe | Paperie & Design | Celebrating Creativity and Creatively Celebrating is designed and run by Laure {LAC} James © 2016 LAC James All Rights Reserved.

Lauren {LAC} James is a Sr. Designer of Product Graphics for an international manufacturing company by day and a creativity crusader, designer, planner extraordinaire, artist and blogger in her “free” time. Follow her and The Olive Shoe on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest or Instagram! Please subscribe to receive emails, and of course, come back and visit again soon!

Please visit the online art gallery {Art by LAC} and Etsy Shop too!

Other popular posts by LAC:

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Creativity Crusader Spotlight | Meet Daniela Zographos | Yumsies Cookies and Confections

Hi friends!

I believe in the idea that we should lift each other up, celebrate the talents and capabilities of others, and share joy whenever possible. We, and by “we” I mean human beings in general, spend an awful lot of time – way, WAY, too much really – talking about people in a negative light… gossip magazines, news stories, petty girlfriend talk…

BUT…

There are so many truly incredible people who are doing phenomenal things and bringing smiles to other people’s faces. One of the goals here on the blog is to celebrate creativity and that includes, innovative, unique, amazing people, who I endearingly like to refer to as “creativity crusaders”.

Since this is the first spotlight (and y’all, we have some FANTABULOUSO people lined up for this year), let me give you a little info. This will be a monthly feature. Crusaders can be any age and in any profession. So what exactly is a creativity crusader?

  • Creativity crusaders are passionate about what they do for a living or as one or more hobbies

  • Creativity crusaders infuse creativity into daily life

  • Creativity crusaders champion the cause for creativity in some corner of the world

  • Creativity crusaders inspires others to be creative, think creatively and live a creative life.

That said, let me introduce you to our first creativity crusader. Meet Daniela Zographos of Yumsies Cookies & Confections.

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Daniela and I met at Taste of Anderson in a brief interaction where she was a vendor, and I noticed her branding in addition to her baking expertise. Branding, though essential to any business, is also in some ways a stellar example of going the extra mile. To me it says, “I care immensely about the presentation of my ____ (company, event, small business, etc.)” to the public. It’s a first impression, an investment, a process, and a practice…but I’m getting way off topic here…

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{The Yumsies table at Taste of Anderson 2015}

I met Daniela again when we were neighbors at a small vendor fair at Prodigy Hair Loft last fall. We had an opportunity to chat between meeting shoppers and instantly got along, bounced ideas off each other, and each came away from the event with several new ideas, projects, and even some collaboration. When I had the idea to start this spotlight, she was one of a handful that were immediately added to my list.

{ Insta-stalk her HERE @yumsiescookies }

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I only ask age because I want the overall range, over multiple creativity crusader interviews, to show that creativity crusaders can be any age…

How old are you (if you are ok with sharing…totally optional)? 27

In what city & state do you live? Anderson, SC

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Do you consider yourself to be creative? Absolutely!

BRAVO for owning it! Makes my heart happy!

What toys or activities were you drawn to as a child? 

Easy Bake Oven, Nite Brite, Scented Markers & Stickers (I used to have quite a collection of stickers in my sticker album.. I don’t think sticker albums still exist!)

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{How fun are these ABC cookies??}

What inspires you? 

My family inspires me to keep going forward with what I do, but I find inspiration in everything! If it has color, texture or scent… It’s inspiring me!

What do you do for a living?  

Homebaker, get it? I am a Homemaker and I also Bake from home! 🙂

BWAHAHAHAHAHAHA.

Are you formally educated or self-taught? 

A bit of both! During high school I taught myself how to bake through books. I later decided I wanted to further my education and learn how to cook properly, so I enrolled in Culinary School. After graduating 4  years later,  I realized I should have enrolled in Baking and Pastry School instead, since that was my true passion, but never had a chance. So 2 baking classes is the proper education I received.. everything else is from books, YouTube videos and good old fashioned trial and error.

Can I get an “Amen” for some YouTube videos, DIYers?

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How do you get un-stuck if you’re in a creative rut? 

There are 3 fool proof ways: 1. I step away from my project for a while, take a breather find inspiration outside my home, and come back once it’s done. 

2. I ask someone else’s opinion and input on what I should add or remove. and 

3. there is nothing like procrastinating and knowing my cake is due in a few hours to inspire me and get my tail moving.

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{ These…I just can’t get over these! Gorgeous Cinderalla Cupcakes}

How do you feel about your organization and time management skills? 

I can be AMAZING at organization and time management, but lets face it, if you are a creative person, you are more than likely going to have a cluttered desk, space, or whatever it is you work on. The only time my baker room is completely organized is when I am not baking. That is just how my cluttered , I mean, CREATIVE mind works 🙂

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Do you have a routine? 

For the most part, yes. It’s what keeps me on track with time management. On Mondays, I look over this week’s orders, go to the grocery store and buy all my materials and make a schedule . On Tuesdays I try to get all cakes and cookies in the oven. On Wednesdays I prep cakes  and cake pops. All cakes get filled and all cake pops get roll and decorated. On Thursdays, all cakes get covered whether it’s buttercream or fondant, and all cookies get iced. On Fridays, all cakes get finished and all cookies get packaged . Saturdays are delivery days and on Sundays the bake room gets cleaned up and prepped for the next week.

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{Gold and White 30th Birthday Cake}

How do you deal with stress? 

The only way I can deal with stress is to finish my project. Project delivered means the stress goes away! I also tend to listen to music while I work, it helps my mind wander a little.

If you have more to do than can fit in a typical day, do you get up earlier or stay up later?

 I stay up later. I find that the later I stay up, the more the creative juices get flowing. 

Yep, me too girl, me too.

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{Mermaid Cookies, Cake, Mini Cupcakes, and Cake Pops…SWOON}

How do you spend your time when you’re not working? 

Kicking my feet off the ground and enjoying my family!! I love what I do, but there is nothing like downtime with my husband and son.

What’s one piece of advice you would tell your younger self? 

Don’t be so hard on yourself, good things come to those who STICK WITH IT! and Believe in yourself!! we are our worst critic… it took me years to finally realize that and finally see that my work is truly worth it. 

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{Daniela and her cake pops at a vendor fair in December}

And just for fun…

Favorite color? PINK!

Describe yourself in one word. 

BLESSED! I cannot believe how far I’ve come, and it’s only possible with the love and support of my family.

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{Seriously, the talent is limitless, y’all}

The last thing you ate was… 

A piece of toast with Nutella

A favorite quote you want to share? 

“ I want a life that sizzles and pops and makes me laugh out loud. And I don’t want to get to the end, or tomorrow, even, and realize that my life is a collection of meetings and pop cans and errands and receipts and dirty dishes. I want to eat cold tangerines and sing out loud in the car with the windows open and wear pink shoes and stay up all night laughing and paint my walls the exact color of the sky right now. I want to sleep hard on clean white sheets and show parties and eat ripe tomatoes and read books so good they make me jump up and down, and I want my everyday to make God belly laugh, glad that he gave life to someone who loves the gift.”

– Shauna Niequist; Cold Tangerines.   

 If you haven’t read Cold Tangerines, run and get it. I guarantee it will be the best book you have ever read. Your soul needs it, believe me!

I love her devotional, Savor, and will definitely be adding this to my reading list!!

Do you have any party tricks? Pro champagne popper. 

So perfect to kick off the spotlight series and be our January girl! And I can totally see that.

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Daniela lives in Anderson, SC with her family and is the owner of Yumsies Cookies and Confections. She is already booked through January of 2017, so if you want to order from her, book early! You can see more on her website, or follow her on Instagram and Facebook.

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{ Tags designed by The Olive Shoe for Daniela’s “Paint-Your-Own Cookies” }

“Creative people are curious, flexible, persistent, and independent with a tremendous spirit of adventure and a love of play.” – Henri Matisse

If you know a creativity crusader you’d like to see featured, I’d love to meet them and chat for a few minutes! Please email me at lauren@theoliveshoe.com.

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The Olive Shoe | Paperie & Design | Celebrating Creativity and Creatively Celebrating is designed and run by Laure {LAC} James © 2016 LAC James All Rights Reserved.

Lauren {LAC} James is a Sr. Designer of Product Graphics for an international manufacturing company by day and a creativity crusader, designer, planner extraordinaire, artist and blogger in her “free” time. Follow her and The Olive Shoe on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest or Instagram! Please subscribe to receive emails, and of course, come back and visit again soon!

Please visit the online art gallery {Art by LAC} and Etsy Shop too!

Other popular posts by LAC:

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Happy New Year! What’s the Word?

Happy New Year Creativity Crusaders!!!

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I am so stinkin’ excited about 2017!!!

Seriously, if you could see me – I am grinning ear to ear at the computer screen as I write this post. First and foremost, THANK YOU for an amazing 2016!!

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The Olive Shoe has a great year of creative inspiration in store for you this year already, and more ideas keep popping into our brains! There are already several houses lined up for The Creative Home Tour (nominations welcome, P.S.), and I SERIOUSLY CAN’T WAIT to share the new Creativity Crusader Spotlight with y’all!! I am by nature a connector, so this falls perfectly into my realm of all-creative-things-I-love-to-share including amazing, talented, creative people I run across, meet, Instastalk, whatever.

Sidenote | If you missed any of last year’s Creative Home Tours that started last spring, you can find them all here:

In June, the Laurens will head to Orlando, FL for our second experience at the BlogHer conference. I also already have a list of new projects, products and fun DIYs I can’t wait to share. Lauren CopCar just moved into a new home, so I’m sure there will be lots of fun gardening, parenting and and other surprises up her sleeve! Stay tuned for the “Befores” of the TallyCarlily’s new abode coming in February!

‘Tis the time for list making, cleaning out, planning and goal setting, ladies and gents. This year I have decided to make my word(s) for the year “gratitude first”.

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The idea popped into my head as I was finishing my 100 Happy Days project. If you haven’t checked out their site, you should. Anyhoo…”gratitude first” just fell out of my fingers into a hashtag as I was posting one of my last pictures in the series. My main goal for the year, by choosing these two key words, is to remember to thank the Big Guy Upstairs first and foremost and recognize my blessings and the good things in my life as I face each and every:

  • Day | I want to start the day with the intent to be gracious and grateful. To begin each day  with an attitude of humility not entitlement, with hope instead of hesitancy, and with an intentionality instead of haste. Grateful for blessings. Grateful for each moment. Grateful for this gift that is my life.
  • Interaction | a.k.a. marriage – the hubs, friendships, family members, co-workers, cashiers at the grocery store who ask me about my grocery choices – don’t even get me started, awesome people who I meet and befriend, people who cut me off in traffice, you get the idea
  • Situation | I move fast. (If only I could apply that to running, le sigh). My life is busy. One goal with starting each situation with attitude of gratitude is to slow down and count my blessings in each situation, to make a mental note to enjoy the moment. I want to savor the minutes that pass so quickly. I intend to take a deep breath and begin every situation, both positive and negative ones with an outlook of rose-colored glasses. Because y’all, when it comes down to it, life is pretty dang sweet.

I still plan to PLOP DOP along…as my life goal/to-do list is long and ever-growing, but I’ll start with gratitude and just try to work on the rest one day, one goal, one to-do item at a time. What else can we do, right?

Oh, and if you’re wondering what the heck a PLOP DOP is, here’s my post from last year.

So, me, my and I aside, what’s yours? What are your goals, resolutions or words for the year?

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Much love and many blessings as we begin 2017!

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The Olive Shoe | Paperie & Design | Celebrating Creativity and Creatively Celebrating is designed and run by Laure {LAC} James © 2016 LAC James All Rights Reserved.

Lauren {LAC} James is a Sr. Designer of Product Graphics for an international manufacturing company by day and a creativity crusader, designer, planner extraordinaire, artist and blogger in her “free” time. Follow her and The Olive Shoe on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest or Instagram! Please subscribe to receive emails, and of course, come back and visit again soon!

Please visit the online art gallery {Art by LAC} and Etsy Shop too!

Other popular posts by LAC:

The Creative Home | A House For Entertaining | The Gillespies

5 Days Until Christmas!!! 5! Days!!! WHAT???

I hope everyone has had an amazing month so far!

First, let me just say a BIG Congratulations to my sister-in-love and brother on closing on their new house in Florida today!! Stay tuned for their “Befores” on the blog in February! I have a special surprise for January’s Creative Home Tour, too, but I’ll keep that a surprise for now.

Now, for this month’s home tour and this year’s Christmas house! An extra special thank you to the Gillespies for letting me invade their home at this busy time of year! A little background: Wendy first got in touch with me to design a logo for her salon, Prodigy Hair Loft, in Anderson..which lead to another project and then another project. Over lunch one day we chatted about the creative home tour and I penciled her in, having never set foot in her house. That’s faith y’all. But I also know, having talked with Wendy and worked with her and seen her fabulous outfits and choices in style elsewhere, that her house would be great. So, off I went on a Saturday morning in early December to photograph my first Christmas house for the creative home tour, without ever having seen the place. She did not fail me. It was perfect.

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The Gillespies’ home is just gorgeous: in use of space, in color choice, in texture combinations, art choices and (bonus) in Christmas decor. These 50ish photos give you only a glimpse into this family’s gorgeous home. It embodies living in style and function which is, after all, why I loved my little olive shoe serving dish so much that I built a brand around it.

This sweet family lives here along with Skittles the rabbit, Violet the Pygmy goat and Budler, the Feist (a hunting dog).

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After Wendy graciously welcomed me into her home and showed me around, I went back through and photographed all the details I wanted to capture for the blog before I sat down to chat with Wendy, who, being a perfect hostess offered me coffee and chocolate covered cookies…see, I told y’all this was a house for entertaining.

Their 5,400 sq. ft. home was built in 2002, and they have been there ever since. A couple of notes about the front porch before I move on: the sleigh belonged to Wendy’s grandmother, and her husband Jamie painted the pineapple on the front porch.

I was greeted by not only Wendy, but a handsome buck and a few silver Christmas trees in the entry, and then turned right to meet Santa, right there in the study making his list.

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{And how much do y’all love this rug?}

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Oh, hey, Santa…don’t mind us…we’re just going to poke around and take some photos….

Wendy’s life sized Santa doll is a hand-me-down from her Mother. What a conversation piece! I just love him.

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Opening up from the entry is a gorgeous living space…

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How fun are the baskets on the wall? And the plaid juxtaposed with the little round leather pillows?  The textures and patterns make my senses happy! The antique shutters behind the Christmas tree are one of Wendy’s favorite items int he house and came  from a plantation in Charleston.

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Off of the living room is a powder room that I just couldn’t get enough of. The walls, decorated with large, hand-painted pineapples, made me just swoon and then I looked up to find the gold ceiling. This room might be my favorite…  (Aunt Susan, this one’s for you!!)

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Past the powder room we find their son, Gavin’s, domain – off limits:

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At 16, it’s fair to oblige this request I think.

To the immediate right is their daughter Addi’s room, where Skittles the rabbit also lives in her bathroom.

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Of course I had to ask questions about the paint in her room. How amazing??? Hand painted by her Daddy, they marked off the walls into an argyle pattern and then added knobs that they painted with a pearlized white paint. SO. STINKIN’ CREATIVE!!! Love, love, love….

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Back across the house is the master suite (we’ll come back to the kitchen before we go downstairs, don’t worry!)..

I just love the peaceful coloring in their bedroom…and the sitting area…and the bathroom. The tub! Swoon again.

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The beautiful painting above was a gift from Wendy’s aunt.

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This tub, y’all…. makes me want to pour a glass of wine and have a good soak!

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I just love the art choices, even in this little potty room off the bathroom, throughout the Gillespie home.

Back out to the center of the upstairs, the living room leads out to a deck that sprawls the back of the home and also into the kitchen, but before we go into those areas, let’s back up a minute. Directly across from the study is the dining room…

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I absolutely loves the wreaths on the back of each chair!! Details!!!

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…And a butler’s pantry off the dining room leads back through to the hall to the kitchen (see I told you we’d get there)…

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{I love these tea pots…just sayin’}

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Love this breakfast nook off the kitchen that also leads out to a sweet, screened-in porch.

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I named the reindeer “Target”. If you haven’t noticed, Wendy has a reindeer thing.

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And there’s even a table for Addi and her American Girl…

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We can also sneak a peek at the laundry room (love the pattern mix in here) …

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Ok, let’s head downstairs… the staircase is another one of my favorite spots, decorated with canvases of their family. Most of Wendy’s photography has been done by Nicki Caldwell of Mirror Mirror Image.

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The stairwell opens up to an warm and cozy basement complete with a second laundry area for washing pool towels, a full bath, a second kitchen and a pool table room. Don’t you want to just hang out here?

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I was slightly obsessed with the counter top over the laundry area downstairs. The treatment is so different.

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…and again, the reindeer thing. We could probably name them all…Dasher, Dancer, Prantzer, Glitzen…

I love it.

The basement opens up to a beautiful patio and pool area, and a pool house in the works that they hope to have finished in time for next summer. Here’s a little peek at the space (we might have to do an update later, huh?)

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When I chatted with Wendy for a few minutes after I finished photographing, I asked her a few additional questions:

Me: How would you describe your style?

Wendy: It’s personal. It’s a mix – I wouldn’t really call it farmhouse, but a little bit, I like some distressed and some things fancier. It’s really just us.

Me: What were the names of your decorators? (We had discussed their work combined with Wendy’s approvals and certain DIY projects, such as (Dad), Jamie, painting (daughter) Addi’s room as we went through the house)

Wendy: Bill Ducworth did the upstairs and Donna Wyatt from Aesthetics in Seneca did the downstairs.

Me: Do you have any favorite items?

Wendy: (without hesitation) The pictures of our family

As I previously mentioned, Nikki Caldwell has done most of the phtography for their family, along with Craft photography – the photo in the butler’s pantry, and Ammons photography, a large portrait of Gavin on the way to the kids’ rooms.

Thanks for joining me for the tour! I have some already booked for next year, so stay tuned!

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Merry Christmas!

Previous Creative Home Tours:

If you have or know of a creative space you’d like to see featured, I’d love to come take a look and even snap a few photos – please email me at lauren@theoliveshoe.com and let’s have a chat!

In an ode to one of my previously mentioned old favorites…There’s no place like home!

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The Olive Shoe | Paperie & Design | Celebrating Creativity and Creatively Celebrating is designed and run by Laure {LAC} James © 2016 LAC James All Rights Reserved.

Lauren {LAC} James is a Sr. Designer of Product Graphics for an international manufacturing company by day and a creativity crusader, designer, planner extraordinaire, artist and blogger in her “free” time. Follow her and The Olive Shoe on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest or Instagram! Please subscribe to receive emails, and of course, come back and visit again soon!

Please visit the online art gallery {Art by LAC} and Etsy Shop too!

Other popular posts by LAC:

 

Merry Christmas 2016 | My True Love Gave To Me…

Merry Christmas Friends!!

You know the ol’ tune…

On the first day of Christmas, my true love gave to me…ahhhh par-tridge in a pear tree…. and it goes on to count so many (unusual) gifts. Well, when I got to thinking about our Christmas card for this year, and I couldn’t help but be overwhelmed with gratitude for our full hearts and wonderful year. Van and I are beyond blessed to have had so many blessings in our lives this year and to share our lives with so many amazing people, and we can’t thank you enough for being part of such an amazing 2017!

A quick recap of our year…

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In 2017, we celebrated…

Our first TWELVE months of marriage, on April 4th! Can. not. believe how fast it went!

Van campaigned for about ELEVEN hours after deciding to run for Soil and Water Commissioner the night before election day as a write in candidate…and won! He will officially begin his four year term in February 2017. The photo on our card shows us waiting with friends as election results came in.

We are thankful to do life as part of a group of TEN amazing couples and our favorite Aussie friend that we go to church with. We incredibly grateful for the relationships we have developed with this crew who not only support and uplift us as dear friends, but who also push us to be the best versions of ourselves!

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NINE family members were around our table this year at the first Thanksgiving Day at the #houseonhilltop. Y’all know I love to entertain, and we had some great food, even better company and wonderful laughter and love. So much to be thankful for!

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Our sweet, gangly, energetic #SullyB thinks she’s EIGHT pounds, and loves to sit in Van’s lap, but she’s really a lot closer to 80 lbs. She’ll be two in February and has really become such a part of our little family.

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We thoroughly enjoyed SEVEN Clemson home games, and are hoping for a tiger win against Ohio State on December 31! Van was able to go to the National Championship in January as well, and had an AMAZING time despite the outcome of the game.

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Absence really does make the heart grow fonder! My brother, Drew, sister-in-law, Lauren, and nieces, Viv and Noli moved to Tallahassee, FL in September after Drew earned a promotion at work. We miss them terribly – especially slumber parties with Viv and Noli, but are SO THRILLED for them in their new adventure! We are excited to have a new vacation destination in Florida to explore about SIX hours away.

We enjoyed a week of vacation and beach time at our condo FIVE – 0 – 3 in Garden City, SC this July. It was an action packed summer which, in addition to a week at the beach, included a move, throwing a happy wedding brunch at the new house three weeks after the move for my dear friend Claire, my first experience as a Gauntlet room leader in Daytona, FL – and just WOW. There really are no words to describe NewSpring’s Gauntlet, but I will try someday soon – in a separate post. For now, I’ll just say I came away with 4 new little sisters who I love to bits, a renewed conviction, and a hope for our future generations.

In early August, three amazing ladies hopped on board a plane to join me for BlogHer16 in LA, where we spent a weekend at a conference learning about blogging, social media, and getting some amazing networking opportunities.

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…and and a side day trip to sightsee a little bit in Hollywood!

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Van and I will celebrate three years since we started dating this month, and it’s so crazy to think that we will begin our FOURTH year together in December!! Holy moly how time flies!

We celebrated love and commitment at THREE weddings this year…along with several other friends who got married, had babies, or had other big blessings this year! Our friends, AJaye and Matt tied the knot in May on Van’s birthday, and then we traveled to Virginia in August and October for Carlisle Clan weddings in Winchester! We were excited to celebrate with Vanessa and Adam Schuster in August and Leslie and Will Wilson in October! Congratulations and best wishes to the Mr. and Mrs.! Wishing y’all a very married Christmas and a happy newlywed year!!!

 

I entered TWO paintings in the Anderson Arts Center’s Juried Show in April. Maggie, shown here, was chosen to be on display for the Art Crawl around downtown Anderson. The second painting, Blue Ridge Yawn, now lives happily in Greenville, SC with my friend Misty who was a classmate at Clemson University.

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And finally, we purchased ONE new home, a 3/2 ranch with a walkout basement which we absolutely love and are enjoying making our own – picking paint and making plans for what we we’ll do as we build our life together at the #houseonhilltop. I posted the “Befores” shortly after we moved in, and am hoping to post lots of projects in 2017. It has been so much fun to decorate for Christmas!

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We truly cannot thank you enough for being part of our lives, and we hope you know that each of you has a special place in our hearts. At this hustle-y bustle-y time of year when we can so easily get caught up in the pre-Christmas rush, we just want to pause and say YOU MEAN A LOT TO US.

May the Christmas season fill your home with joy, your heart with love, and your life with laughter. Many blessings this Christmas and in the coming year. We love you so much.

Glory to God in the highest and on earth, peace, good will toward men! | Luke 2: 14

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The Olive Shoe | Paperie & Design | Celebrating Creativity and Creatively Celebrating is designed and run by Laure {LAC} James © 2016 LAC James All Rights Reserved.

Lauren {LAC} James is a Sr. Designer of Product Graphics for an international manufacturing company by day and a creativity crusader, designer, planner extraordinaire, artist and blogger in her “free” time. Follow her and The Olive Shoe on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest or Instagram! Please subscribe to receive emails, and of course, come back and visit again soon!

Please visit the online art gallery {Art by LAC} and Etsy Shop too!