I don’t know if it is my age or something in the water, but I think I’ve attended at least one baby shower a month since September, which provides the perfect excuse to start a baby shower post series! The first in this fun saga of celebrations is a rustic take on an early-fall shower for my dear friend Laura that two friends and I teamed up to throw to celebrate her upcoming baby boy.
The most important decision in this endeavor was choosing a venue. While I always love hosting in my home, this particular foursome had decided a while back that once we all started having babies, we were going to host each other’s showers on location somewhere to both add an extra element to the party but also to cut down on the work for the hostesses! True to our word, we went with a locally owned Arcadian café in Westfield, Indiana called Rail Epicurean Market for this first one and we were not disappointed!
Once we chose this charming eatery, everything else quickly fell into place. I ordered some simple yet playful invitations from Paperlesspost.com that pulled in a part of the baby's nursery theme and picked up some matching paper from one of my favorite places, Paper Source, to make envelope liners and a banner. IMHO, envelope liners step it up a notch on class but also on cost, so I invested in a DIY liner kit a while ago so I can stay classy without breaking the bank by making them myself.
When the big day arrived, the accommodating staff created a personalized menu from which each guest ordered a specialty hot beverage. One of the 3 hostesses created heavenly smelling lavender body scrubs for favors, and the remaining hostess and I threw together the table décor on a whim and a prayer! We still aren’t quite sure how it happened, but somehow it all came together in the 15 minutes before guests started arriving with the finishing touch of a blue pashmina I grabbed from my closet as I was running out the door.
The guest count was about 15 and we all gathered around a large wooden table, passed around charcuterie boards and pumpkin bars, and showered this special mama with love, gifts, and advice. I can’t praise the staff and venue enough: the food was delicious, the service timely, and the atmosphere warm and picturesque.
Stay tuned for Baby Shower Series Part 2: Vintage Travel.
Invitations are one of my favorite parts of planning an event. As Oscar Wilde put it, “You never have a second chance to make a first impression.” The invitation is the first contact you make with your guests before a party, and it sets the tone for the whole occasion. Invitations also provide all kinds of important information for attendees. In addition to the essentials, guests may look to the invitation for attire hints, such as formality and color schemes for weddings, or gift ideas for showers, and may even partially base their attendance decision on how appealing they find the invite. That is a lot of pressure for one piece of paper! Here are 2 examples of Pinterest-worthy invites that no one would dream of turning down!
Will you be my bridesmaid?
Did I say one piece of paper? Scratch that, because this bride said, “I’ll take your paper invitations and raise you a bottle of champagne!” One of my dearest friends just chose Trump winery in Charlottesville, Virginia, as her wedding venue and presented me with a truly jaw-dropping invitation to join her bridal party. Her fiancé is a whiz with design and printing, and he put those skills to work in a big way. He created personalized champagne bottle labels for each bridesmaid, wrapped them around a bottle of champagne from Trump Winery, and his wife-to-be presented me with this fabulous invitation. The front looks like a normal bottle of champagne, but the back includes not only my name, but also a short poem ending with a very special question. Not only was this classy and creative, it cleverly played on the theme of the venue and gave a personal salute to her favorite adult beverage, champagne. Needless to say, I accepted with pleasure and I can’t wait until next year when I can drink this fabulous invite!
Do I get a plus one?
One major problem a bride can run into is adequately communicating whether or not guests can bring a date or children. When a date or kids are invited, this can sometimes be indicated by including “and guest” or “and family” on the front of the interior envelope. However, this can get tricky because an invitation may not have an interior envelope, or some may feel it is rude to not know the name of everyone in the party. Furthermore, when a bride doesn’t want her guest to bring a date or children, it is even harder to communicate. Most of the time, there is simply a lack of indication that anyone but you is invited, which can often cause confusion. I recently received an invitation from my cousin with a brilliant solution to this conundrum. His wife included a line on the RSVP card for us to fill in stating that ___ of 2 will be attending. In my opinion, this was a perfectly classy yet completely clear way to communicate the number of guests invited. Granted, I ended up bringing 2.5, but I believe they forgave me on account of Baby O&O still being in the womb! However, if Baby O&O were already born, I would have known from the filled-in 2 that we would have needed to get a sitter. Way to go, Amy!
Make Checklists Work for You
Check ya later!
Every grammar and usage session I attended affirmed that the singular “they” is becoming more and more acceptable. In fact, the only people who are holding back the movement are the stickler copy editors who attended the conference! A panel of lexicographers from Merriam Webster, American Heritage, and Oxford English Dictionary admitted that using “they” as a gender-neutral pronoun to replace “him or her” is perfectly fine. Merriam Webster already recognizes the singular they (see entry b). The American Heritage Dictionary isn’t far behind; their usage panel moved from an 80% rejection rate in 1996 to 55% in 2011, and they predict the trend continuing. "Writers who choose to use they with a singular antecedent should rest assured that they are in good company—even if a fair number of traditionalists still wince at the usage." For those concerned with agreement, Merriam-Webster’s Kory Stamper advises to still use a plural verb with the singular “they,” knowing that it will be understood as singular. (Ex: Remind the caller to sign their name when they fill out their application.)
In addition to word usage, there were several sessions that, as is every good copy editor’s dream, dug into the deep, shadowy depths of grammar. I compiled a list of my 6 favorite grammar reminders that Washington Post Editor Bill Walsh clarified in his session.
- One of those are plural.
- Bob is one of those people who hates cats. Incorrect
- Bob is one of those people who hate cats. Correct
2. Don’t treat collective nouns as singular.
- A host of problems are blamed on the decline of industrial cities.
- Last January (Needs a year, especially if the current month is February.)
- Illinois senator (Is he an Illinois state senator, or a US senator from Illinois?)
- Replace it with the correct laminated document.
- Laminated weighs more than correct because you would never say “a correct and laminated document.”
- Shown below is approved, standard signage for cubicles.
- Approved and standard have equal weight because you could say "an approved and standard sign."
- The investigator said they believed Bazzano….was lying.
- The investigator said they believed that Bazzano was lying.
- (President Barack) Obama (Unnecessary!)
More ACES gems to come,
To document our journey, I created a Facebook group for all the participating wives. Here we posted pictures and anecdotes of our successes and goof-ups, as well as encouraging words to one another along the way. The ways these women loved their husbands were so inspiring!
Admittedly, there were a few failures, but we spurred each other on as a group by sharing new ideas, giving thanks for inspiring posts, and encouraging one another when negative thoughts crept in. Plus, there were some unexpected results: Husbands left sweet notes, completed projects without being nagged, and apologized. And wives created new weekly habits!
So, does Love31 sound like a fun experiment? Get together with a few girlfriends and try it out yourself, or just try it on your own if you aren’t the gregarious type. If you have any questions about it or need any encouragement, leave me a note and I’d be happy to chat more about it with you!
Lots of love,
The idea is similar to typical New Year’s resolutions in that you are resolving to improve yourself, but super simplified. Instead of coming up with a list of all the things you want to change about yourself (e.g. quit smoking; read the Bible; take up yoga; volunteer; get out of debt), pick one word that embodies the kind of person you want to be and apply that word to all areas of your life all year (e.g.. discipline; contentment; compassion; responsible; learn). If you want to learn more about this, there is a whole movement dedicated to helping you choose your word: My One Word. According to their website, the top 10 most popular words are:
- What dream did you let die in 2014?
- What word do you want to live out in 2015? What initial actions can you take to start living this word out now?
I'm a Virginia-native uprooted to Indianapolis to marry my husband and start our sweet family of 4. As an overdressed editor, I love planning parties and good reads.