Gifts For The New Parents

The baby boom of 2022 is here! I can not tell you how many new mamas I am seeing pop up this year, some say as an aftereffect of the pandemic. Either way, I feel lucky to be in the company of many other pregnant women or new mamas around me as I go through my first pregnancy as well. Getting to meet a friend or family member’s baby for the first time can be so sweet and special. For me, the idea of bringing a small gift for the family or the baby says that you are thinking of them. After a baby shower and months of baby prep, what does someone actually need? Today I am sharing a few ideas, at a variety of price points, of gifs for a new mom or family.

Meal Train: Setting up a meal train through MealTrain.com is one of the simplest ways to help out. It won’t cost you anything other than the meal you choose to bring.

Coffee for the parents: Arriving to meet the baby, the parents are often a few days into parenthood and are likely exhausted already. Seeing their favorite large Starbucks drink come through the door might be just the pick-me-up they need. I know if someone brings me a venti wet cappuccino and a piece of lemon cake, I will be one happy camper.

A gift basket for the family: Putting together a few things in a basket always looks so nice and does not have to cost a fortune. A basket from the dollar tree or dollar spot at Target can quickly be filled with some pick-me-ups. Fresh flowers, a door dash gift card, a 4 pack of coffee, a set of socks, or a pacifier for the baby. All these little things on a bed of tissue paper or shredded paper looks so thoughtful coming through the door. If you are looking to ship something, this basket from Etsy is a great alternative.

Something for the baby: Some people love to bring a gift for just the baby, it is their party after all. I love the idea of something different than what you gave him or her at the shower. Maybe a small book, rubber blocks, cute little PJs, or if you have time, a sweet framed photo for their nursery.

Something just for Mom and Dad: When my friends started having babies I did not know what they needed but my focus was on “How can I help my friends when everyone else is focused on the baby?”

Gifts for just Mom:

Honest Company Kit – Honest.com $74.99

Mama sweatshirt – Etsy.com 32.00

Encouraging Pumping water bottle – Amazon $11.99

Gifts for just Dad:

A new daddy survival crate – $79.99

Cupcake tray – Baske by Melissa – $32.00

New Dad mug – Etsy $13.95

A few other reminders for visiting a new baby for the first time

  • Always ask before holding the baby
  • Wash your hands before holding the baby
  • Do not come over if you are sick
  • Do not kiss the baby
  • Do not post about the baby on social media before the parents
  • Respect any schedule the parents may be trying to develope
  • Know when it is time to leave

I hope these tips and ideas help you spoil the new family in your life.

-MB

Pregnant Mama Ready Viewing

In my last few days of pregnancy, I am sitting around looking at all the baby gear set up around my house waiting for our little boy. Since everything is as ready as it could be for our baby to come home, I am looking for different ways to distract myself. Watching simple or even trashy TV is such an easy way to relax and kill time. I have compiled a list of movies and episodes of some of my favorite shows all on theme, baby theme.

Baby Mama

What To Expect When You’re Expecting

Father of the Bride II

Keeping Up With The Kardashians – Season 4 Episode 11- Baby Mason

Neighbors

Reba – Season 1, Episode 22 – It Ain’t Over Until the Redhead Sings

Juno

Life As We Know It

The Office – Season 6, Delivery Part 1 and 2

Friends – Season 8, Part one, Where Rachel Has Her Baby

I hope these selections help another pregnant mama pass the time until your due date. Or at least supply a few laughs along the way.

-MB

Oh Baby Shower

I will be honest, I never gave too much thought to my baby shower. When it came time to plan the big day, I was not a lot of help from the get-go. My mom and sister did a fabulous job picking up the slack for my creatively exhausted mind. Today I am sharing the details from my Vintage Winnie the Pooh shower.

Venue: Willow Oaks Country Club

Food: Catering from Willow Oaks brunch buffet menu with a few tweaks. It was so great being able to customize the brunch menu to fit our budget and taste.

The Menu:

  • Bacon
  • Chicken and waffles
  • Biscuits
  • Scrambled eggs
  • Assorted pastries
  • Breakfast potatoes
  • Tea, lemonade and coffee

Dessert: Publix and Copy Cat Cakes

Like most people, I found a beautiful cake on Pinterest during my planning search. Copy Cat Cakes did such a fabulous job recreating this Winnie the Pooh cake design, it was one of the most noticed details. From Publix we had chocolate-covered strawberries, petit fours, and macaroons. I love styling a dessert table and this one was no exception. We used a combination of cake stands and wood slab trays to display the different desserts.

Decor: Amazon, Etsy and Party City

There were so many great touches that brought the theme to life. including Winnie the Pooh backdrops, diaper raffle cards, game boards, oversized balloons, hanging charters, greenery, and “Honey pots” to hold the flower arrangements. We painted terracotta pots with “honey” coming over the side and added Pooh’s signature handwriting to the side for each table. I used mason jars inside each pot to hold the water for the flowers. As the florist in the family, I was all too happy to create the centerpieces. White hydrangeas, white roses, and yellow billy balls made these sweet arrangements come to life.

Games: Diaper raffle, A-Z baby addition, baby BINGO, scratch-off lottery tickets, how well do you know the mom?

I am all about the cheesy games! Etsy has made it easy to customize and select different games for your shower. We were able to find on theme boards on Etsy and printed them off on cardstock. I think for timeline purposes, games are a great way to break things up. Filling in your BINGO board can be done while people eat and get settled, the scratcher we did last so people did not get up and leave the second the gifts were done. Placing games throughout the event gives people something to do and can give guests something to talk about if they do not know a bunch of other people there.

My classy and classic shower was so beautiful. I was am so thankful to everyone who came and helped me celebrate our little boy. I am so thankful for the love that my mom and sister clearly have for me. Planning an event for someone is nothing short of an act of love. I am always so appreciative when an event is then for me. I know first hand all of the time and money that goes into something so fabulous.

-MB

Staples For Maternity Style

Being pregnant is different for every woman. Everyone’s body changes in different ways. My best advice is to own those changes and embrace your new curves. One thing I have noticed while being pregnant myself is that there are so many brands, companies, and ads coming at you claiming you must have this that, and the other. Just like being a bride, being pregnant is temporary. I am very passionate about saving my clients money and time when it comes to temporary moments in their lives. Today I have compiled a few chic staples maternity pieces that will help you use your existing wardrobe at its maximum capacity.

Maternity leggings

Around month 3 regular leggings don’t cut it anymore. That band around your waist is cutting into you and a pair of standard black maternity leggings will change your life. I personally love these basic black leggings from Motherhood Maternity. I personally got 2 pairs! Bottoms and pants will become your most needed items quickly.

Versatile maternity jeans

I love a jean and T-shirt look even while pregnant. Finding a great mid to dark wash jean will be great addition to your wardrobe. Jeans can be dressed up or down making them perfect for some business days or casual weekends.

A midi-length skirt

The majority of my pregnancy was spent in the winter and I loved having this option. I could wear a T shirt knotted in the front or a sweater with a french tuck in the front. Not to mention a great option with boots! I found this one on Shein, very thin, it is from Shein but it still gives me the look I want without spending a lot.

A basic dress

This is one item that does not have to be maternity. Having a go-to dress, tight or loose that you can dress u or down with your new belly is very important. For me, I have loved a T-shirt dress or a body con style dress in black. I love this one from H&M or a simple A-line dress like this from Target

Comfy jammies for your growing belly

I completely underestimated how quickly I would grow out of my PJs. Even just having a pair of maternity pj pants will do wonders paired with a big T-shirt. Old navy has a lot of fun prints for two-piece pants and tops. If nightgowns are more your speed, I got the next size up of this Stars Above gown from Target. I love the fabric so much, so soft and comfortable.

I hope these pieces help expand your existing wardrobe so you can save your money for the more important parts of maternity like preparing for motherhood. If you are looking for a wardrobe refresh before or after baby, I would love to help curate your new wardrobe. Send me an email at thedirtyblondestylist@gmail.com.

-MB

Jordan and Lexi

A fairy tale fit for a southern Disney princess. Lexi and Jordan were married on October 9, 2021, at Bowood Barn. There are so many elements of this wedding that made me smile and feel like I knew them as a couple. Just from their wedding day, I found out that they loved Disney, enjoyed nature and adventures together, and also had a great time on the dance floor.

If you were ever looking for a subtle yet effective way to incorporate Disney into your wedding, this is a great wedding to look to. They used the seating chart to name each table after a Disney world ride and a beautiful watercolor print of the Dinsey castle to display everyone’s place. They hid secret Mickeys around the reception space for guests to find. One of my favorite Disney touche came from the music they chose in the ceremony and reception. Accustic and classic versions of iconic Disney songs like Kiss the Girl and Be our Guest.

The charm of this tucked-away venue added to the overall feel of their fall wedding day. Bowood Barn was such a pleasure to work with along with each of the vendors. As a coordinator and wedding planner, I love seeing the unique ways the couples incorporate their style into such a special day. After each wedding, I remember how lucky I am to have a job that allows me to surround myself with love.

Vendors:

Coordinator – The Dirty Blonde Stylist
Venue – Bowood Barn
Rehearsal Dinner Caterer – Carytown Burgers & Fries
Reception Caterer – Q Barbeque
Transportation for Guests – Winn Transportation
Photographer – CSC Photography
Videographer – Askem Studios
DJ – DJ Ynot Enterprises
Hair/Makeup – Makeup By Hannah

Let’s get started planning your dream day! Drop your information below to get started.

10 Gifts Under $20

As I get closer to Christmas and start putting people’s gifts together in person, I start to see where gifts may be lacking. Do you ever look at a gift and think “Hmm it would be great if there was one more small thing to go with that”. For just such an occasion, I love having a few gifts on standby that could fit into anyone’s present as that little something extra. Today I am sharing a few of my favorite go-to gifts this year, all under $20.00!

Cabin Socks – $12.99 from Dicks

Field & Stream Men's Cozy Cabin Moose Block Socks product image

Scrubee – $10.25 from Lush

Scrubee | Body Butter | Lush Cosmetics

Yeti Rambler Lowball – $19.99 from Yeti

Rambler 10 oz Lowball with Magslider Lid, White

I should have known that card game – $20.00 from Amazon

I Should Have Known That! Party Game | Trivia Game | Uncommon Goods

Richmond Map glasses – $18.95 from Sassy Bee

Richmond Map Rocks Glass | City Map Whiskey Glass - Well Told

Plush throw – 10.00 from Target

Plush Throw Blanket With Faux Fur Pom-poms Blush - Opalhouse™ : Target

Agate Coaster – $16.00 Anthropology

Anthropologie Agate Coaster By In Pink Size Coasters | ModeSens

The Office Desk Calendar – $15.99 Calendar.com

The Office 2022 Desk Calendar - Calendars.com

Capri Blue Candles – $18.00 Capri Blue

C.C. Beanie– $13.99 Amazon

C.C Hat-43 Thick Warm Cap Hat Skully Faux Fur Pom Pom Cable Knit Beanie 2  Pack Lt Melange/Navy - Walmart.com

I hope these gifts ideas help you through the holiday season. From stocking stuffers, white elephant, and add-on gifts, show you care with a little something this Christmas. I wish you all a very Merry Christmas!

-MB

Baby Shower Host 101

Baby’s have certainly been on the brain this year. I am so lucky to have a bestie who is also pregnant this year! We have been comparing notes and getting excited for our kids to be fast friends being only 4 months apart in age. As someone who loves to celebrate, I was all too excited to help plan a beautiful shower for her with the help of her mother-in-law. Today I am sharing a few of my favorite touches from her shower and how you create your own beautiful shower.

More than finger food

We started the event with lunch. An Italian catered lunch served buffet style. Ashley loves breadsticks, mozzarella sticks and pasta, and who doesn’t? By hosting the event in a space that had seating for all, we were able to serve a full lunch that took the first hour of the shower. No standing around awkwardly wondering when the games would begin or making another trip to the snack bar waiting for something to happen.

Games Games Games

Some people hate baby shower games, we are not those people. Games keep guests engaged, give them something to do and give them something to compete for. For Ashley’s Shower, we selected the following games. Some are more like stations and don’t require prizes or a lot of effort, like late-night diapers.

  • Find the pacificer
  • The Price is Right
  • Late night diapers
  • Baby Bingo
  • My water broke

A Subtle Theme

When planning this shower, from the beginning, we didn’t want an obnoxious theme. We wanted more of a feeling and anesthetic. Her little girl deserved a girly, sweet, feathering her nest-style party. Ashley loves birds, so what a great opportunity to incorporate something she loves in such a delicate way. When planning a shower for your besties, include things she loves. Personal touches make the shower beautiful in a sentimental way. We incorporated birds onto the centerpieces, the dessert table, and small decor pieces around the shower.

Speaking of decor! A few things to consider. Where are the photos going to be taken? Make sure the mom-to-be has a beautiful place to sit for opening gifts. We used a vintage wicker white chair covered in a sheer drape, battery-powered lights wrapped around the arms and fresh flowers tucked in here and there. The chair was placed in front of a balloon arch and baby blocks so every photo looked on theme. Fresh flowers always add an elegant touch in my opinion. For this shower, we had a table arrangement for each table, pieces for the mantels, small arrangements to place on random tables, and the welcome sign too. I used white hydrangeas, purple and light pink roses, light pink carnations, and light purple wildflowers sprigs to complete the arrangements. Protip, I use dollar tree vases and flowers from Trader Joes for almost all of my DIY arrangments. Flowers don’t have to cost an arm and a leg to add a beautiful touch.

Gifts and prizes

Having favors for your guests and prizes for the winners of the games gives back to those who attended. For favors, we provided to-go bags and prewrapped sugar cookies on the dessert table. We encouraged guests to bag up candy, brownie bites, petit fours and sugar cookies. We aren’t left with 100 desserts at the end of the day and guests can bring a sweet home for later or to their family at the end of the day. For the prizes, I created gifts that made me think of the mom-to-be. Fuzzy socks, pink nail polish, makeup sponges, candles, bath bombs, nail files, and mini champagnes. I used a few of these in each little goodie bag. Just enough to make the winner feel special. As an extra touch, I made custom tags for each mini champagne that read: “Ready to pop”.

In short, planning a shower is no small feat to take on. It is so worth it to celebrate such a special woman in your life. I hope that these details will help you throw a shower worthy of your special mom to be’s shower.

-MB

Chris & Meg

My journey with Chris and Meg started in February of 2020. Their original plan of getting married in Williamsburg in June of that year would be interrupted by the pandemic. Little did any of us know that their wedding would end up in Tennessee the following September. They waited so long to get married and their wedding was worth the wait. Chris and Megan got married at Waterstone in Johnson City Tennessee. Surrounded by family and friends, they married in front of a beautiful waterfall. Such a unique venue was noticed by all. The magical escape was complete with a treehouse and Hobbit Hole that was used as the bridal suite.

The reception followed in a beautiful tent next to the waterfall. Followed by dancing out on the patio under the stars. Their wedding was such a reflection of them as a couple, which is always so fun to see as a planner and guest.

I loved working with Meg and Chris, I have never met such a sweet and laid-back couple. There were so many unique touches to their big day from the airstream camper bar to the romantic escape of their venue. One of the biggest show stoppers was their first dance, a choreographed dance that was so love-filled and fun to watch. It was such a pleasure to be a part of their special day that they waited so long for. I wish them all the best in their marriage and lives moving forward.

Vendors:

The Potters Shed – Florist @twproductionsfilms – videography
@waterstone_venue – Venue
@jaredjarvisphoto – Photography
@shamailmckenzie – Bridal Hair and Makeup
@bangsandblush_ – Wedding party hair and makeup
@menuvenueevents.tn – Catering and decor rental
@ginsengmobilebar – Mobile Bar
@kc_entertainment_wedding_dj – DJ
@opiespizzawagon – Catering
@the_dirtyblonde_stylist – Three Month Coordination

If you are looking for your wedding coordinator or planner, fill out the form below so we can get started planning your dream day.

-MB

Pregnancy Style: Zero to four months

When you search “pregnancy style” online the results are so unfair. All of these women with huge baby bumps dressed in fabulous outfits. The truth is that large baby bump doesn’t come until about five or six months into your pregnancy for most women so what is a girl to do as her body continues to change during those first zero to four months?

Ever since I found out I was pregnant I have been beyond excited to dress up. Pregnancy style is portrayed so cute on Pinterest and Instagram. I was so anxious to get in on the fun. What I didn’t expect is that for the first few months, there isn’t a whole lot different. Today I wanted to share a few style tips for dressing your newly pregnant body in those first few months.

In the first few months you won’t necessarily have that beautiful bump to accessorize with what you actually have is a lot of bloating, giving the look that you gained a few extra pounds as opposed to carrying new life. For me, I entered into pregnancy as a size 10. Any extra bloating our chubby feelings were not welcomed. I like to feel confident in my clothes as if they are my armor. To combat this feeling I looked in my existing wardrobe for things I could style differently and make work for my new figure.

A few go to pieces

The first few months is not the time to be buying new clothes. This is temporary, don’t think you need a whole new wardrobe. Some of my favorite looks include tent style Or T-shirt dresses. High waisted leggings with a variety of sweater tops are an easy look on any given day.

I won’t lie for me this was a hard time when it came to getting dressed. Most of my clothes gathered in around my natural waist or a high waist. As your stomach continues to grow that is not going to be an easy place for elastic or tight bands of clothing to lay. Instead I’ve chosen an empire style waste, allowing for lines to fall right below your bust or bra line.

Use belts to pull in items to whatever section of the body you want. I love belting a large long open front cardigan over leggings and a tank top. Instantly I feel more polished as opposed to frumpy.

Your entire pregnancy will be a time to play around with styles that may not have been your friend in the past. I enjoy every outfit as my body is constantly changing and that look may not work week from now. Like my jeans and T-shirt look for example…

Looking for more style tips? Follow along on Instagram at the_dirty blonde_stylist to see more of my pregnant looks!

– MB

27 things I learned before 28

My 28th birthday is coming up quickly. A true Leo from birth, I have also enjoyed dreaming, celebrating and not being shy about being the center of attention every now and then. I love my life. I know that nothing I have now came to me randomly. It is all in God’s plan. I learn more every year and everyday. In honor of this knowledge, I am sharing 27 life skills and mottos that I have learned over the last 27 years.

  1. Cleaning the house before vacation is not a waste of time
  2. Planning is caring
  3. It is easy to not compare yourself to strangers, It is hard to not compare yourself to your friends
  4. Having back stock of every day items like toilet paper, your favorite salad dressing and birthday cards will always come in handy.
  5. You will continue to learn and for years to come. You will never know it all.
  6. It is the little things in life that make you feel like you have your life together.
  7. Make time for friends who matter.
  8. Designer bags hold their value.
  9. Singing Disney songs will always improve your mood. It is difficult not to smile while singing Part of Your World.
  10. Don’t mistake kindness for weakness
  11. Keep deodorant and other essentials in your car
  12. There should be no timeline for your life achievements
  13. Knowing your weaknesses is just as import as knowing your strengths
  14. In such a fast pace world, people still enjoy getting letters and packages in the mail
  15. Never take health for granted
  16. Buying clothes out of season is one of my favorite bargain hacks for shopping
  17. I love Audio books because I hate to read but I still want the story
  18. Over the top expectations can ruin anything
  19. Wash your bed and towels regularly
  20. Don’t worry about the size, worry about how it fits. There is no shame in going up a size for better fit
  21. You can only plan so far, then comes God
  22. I highly recommend at least one solo travel trip by yourself
  23. Be bold enough and brave enough to wear whatever makes you feel your best
  24. It is important to vote
  25. Don’t let our passport expire, it is just a pain.
  26. Never stop appreciating your spouse
  27. Never stop dreaming.

A few things that I am planning to work on during my 28th year:

  1. Quality is better than quantity
  2. Not feeling the need to be in control
  3. Take better care of myself so that I can be around for a long long time.

I hope that for all you 20 somethings out there you find this list helpful. I would love for just one thing that I have learned to help someone else who may not have realized that thing yet in their lives. Happy Birthday Leos! Let’s make this next year an even better one!

-MB

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