I shot my husband.

Not too long ago Bill and I were either driving in the car or sitting in bed, or one of those places where toddlers are either in bed asleep or tied down and thus somewhat distracted. He looked at me and said, “you know, you’ve never photographed me”.

And other than just shooting our lives and whatever we happen to be doing at the moment, he’s absolutely right.

I’ve been shooting some commercial photography work here and there. A friend got me into it. It’s something I’ve always been interested in and have studied on my own. I must say it is really nice to get a specific request and get to sit and think creatively a bit and then go shoot that one thing. It’s a different brain space, commercial photography, and it has been an energizing and inspiring change of pace.

So when I received a request for a bearded hipster male in sunglasses I racked my brain thinking of all of our hipster friends, non of which currently have beards. Then I looked at my husband, smiled and said “I want to take pictures of you”.

We’re closet hipsters so I’m told. So he grabbed a v-neck and his ray bans and I posed him in front of a tree in our front yard. Here are two of my favorite shots.

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He did a fantastic job. He’s a good man like that, always willing to participate in one of my hair brained ideas, but not without giving me one of those “you know you’re just a little bit crazy right” looks. And if I do say so myself, he looks quite good.

The mini photo session was short lived though because just after the shot above the sprinklers turned on, not two feet away from us. I leapt out of the spray of the sprinkler onto the sidewalk, shielding my camera with my body while Bill ran and scooped up Issa who was playing at our feet while I shot these.

And there you have it, I shot him, with my camera.

So, do I just get a CD of images?

This post is long over due. I get this question a lot, “So, do I just get a CD of images?”, and when I hear it, my heart hurts. This is a loaded question, way more loaded than any client or potential client probably intends it to be. It’s loaded because it’s personal and because I’ve had potential clients argue about it and say hurtful things. It always makes me sad.

In short, the answer is kinda, but not really, and there are a lot of reasons why, which I will explain below. There are ways to get a CD, but there’s a lot of reasons why we don’t just give one over, and never full sized images, and here’s why…

The Why
One of my favorite parts about what I do, other than the photography portion, is getting to know my clients. Often times my clients become good friends, and when they call to have me design a card, we end up chatting for a good 30 minutes about life and the funny things our kids are doing these days. It’s because we spend time together, planning sessions, during the session, and during ordering and later when they call for the next big life event. I get to know their children over the years. I get to watch them grow. My clients become family to me. I truly feel if I just handed over a CD after a session this would never happen, it would be a disservice to my clients. We’d never get to collaborate on how to print the images, or on Christmas card layout ideas or senior photo books. I never want to be a portrait studio that is based on volume. My desire is to be your friend, to get to know your family and to be here to create art and celebrate chapters in life with you.

That said, we are not creating this art together so it can sit on a disc for all eternity. We are creating this beautiful artwork, capturing your family in this time, so it can be seen and shared. This is why we do ordering sessions in your home. I want to see your walls, your decor and help come up with creative ways to print, display and cherish your photos.

You may say “no, that’s not me, I’ll definitely have them printed”. We all go into it with good intentions. Photographer friends have shot my daughter and my family, beautiful images, and as a photographer they have trusted me with the digital images. Are they printed and hanging in my home? No. Because we forget and the disc gets set aside and we get busy and this does not do their art justice. To those photographer friends, I apologize.

There’s also a technical aspect to our policy on not giving away or selling digital images. My computers are calibrated to the printers we use, meaning the color I see on my screen is as close as it can possibly be to the color it will be when it’s printed. Different printers are calibrated different ways so the image won’t print as I intended at any other printer except the one my computer is calibrated to. It’s why sculptors use the same foundries over and over, it’s why painters use the same brand of paint and brushes. It’s creative and quality control and as an artist I’m not willing to let this go just yet.

Thirdly, technology changes, remember floppy discs? Remember VHS? Who has home movies on VHS or High8 with no way to play them? I do. The idea that 15 years down the road we will all still have CD and DVD readers in our computers is kind of silly. We just purchased a new laptop and there’s no CD or DVD drive. So if you’re like me and you get busy and you don’t print the photos, there may be a time where you just can’t because the technology is extinct. But prints, high quality prints like the ones we offer (when kept properly) stand the test of time. Lots of us have old black and white images of our families that were handed down to us by grandparents. These images are family heirlooms and a part of me really hopes the images I capture of your family will be as well.

The Compromise
I’m also not willing to stubbornly sit here and say no. I am well aware that we live in a digital age where photos are shared online. This is why we always share a few images from your session on our Facebook page with our logo on them (this is for both for your protection and our own). We’re always willing to share additional photos you’ve purchased (in prints, a book, cards, jewelry, whatever) on our Facebook page after your ordering session. We even offer to create a free custom Facebook cover photo for you. We LOVE when you share our work. It gives me warm fuzzies all over. It’s also how we get new clients since our business is 99% referral based. We even have a referral rewards program to thank clients who send friends and family our way.

I also know some people just want a disc, even though we keep your photos forever and you can always order more years later. As a photographer I get this. This is why, once a $250 print order has been made, we offer a keepsake disc for purchase which allows you to archive your images. These discs are not full size images (remember that bit about creative and quality control as well as correct color printing above). They are images suitable for printing as a 4×6 or 5×7 for scrapbooking or just to remember or to use as the background on your home computer without our watermark on them. The prices are below:

4×6 size – (ten images) $250    (fifteen images) $375    (twenty images) $500

5×7 size - (ten images) $300    (fifteen images) $450   (twenty images) $600

Years ago, before digital, it was rare that a photographer ever sold his film negatives. If he did they were pricy. Giving away or selling digital images is like a chef giving away his recipes. There’s value there, and trust.

The End
I hope this very long and photoless post helps to clear up my reasoning behind our policies. If you have any questions about anything please do not hesitate to contact me. I’m always willing to work with my clients’ needs and vision.

We’ve entertained the idea of just swallowing that whole bit about creative and quality control, raising the session fee and giving a disc with the session. However when I asked my current clients what they thought they said don’t do it. And when they said that I breathed a breath of relief, not because of the quality control or the creative control but because seeing my work printed is seeing it completed. Seeing my clients’ faces when they receive their prints, or cards, or jewelry, or books or whatever product we come up with is the most gratifying thing an artist could ask for. Developing relationships is equally as important to me as capturing that perfect photo. It makes me smile and it makes me know that what I’m doing, this art, is good and right.

As always, thanks for reading.

Baby Judah and His Family, a Spring, TX Newborn Photo Session

This is a family who is near and dear to my heart. They were some of the first people to reach out to us when we moved (back) to Houston. They took us out to lunch after church one Sunday, neither of us had kids yet and Bill and I had only been married for a few very hard months. They reached out to us and showed us love and have continued showing us love for the past five years. I like to think we do life together.

I was honored to shoot their oldest’s newborn photos three years ago, back when shooting newborns was new to me. I’ve since raised my own newborn, now toddler and have countless newborn sessions under my belt, along with some very excellent mentoring and training from some incredible newborn photographers. Bill is an excellent assistant and baby whisperer so newborn sessions are fun for us, an opportunity to cuddle brand new life and give tired parents a break.

This is probably one of my favorite newborn photography sessions to date and I’m thrilled to share the images with you.

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The above image of baby Judah “rock climbing” is a nod to the work artists Adele Enersen in Finland and Queenie Liao in California are creating. While planning their session, Brittany (mom of Judah) mentioned how her husband loves rock climbing. Considering Houston may be the flattest city in the country we were short on mountains. So I asked her if she’d seen Adele’s work and she had so I brought most of the props and they provided the little man and the climbing rope and this is what we came up with.

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The three images above, are some of my personal favorites, along with the mother daughter smooch below. Issa kissed me like this today and I immediately thought of this photo.Judah-newborn-04.jpg Judah-newborn-05.jpg Judah-newborn-06.jpg

Thank you for taking a look. And to my dear friends, thank you for allowing me to capture this very short time when Judah is so new, and so small. I’m honored and I hope you love these images as much as I do.

Five Things : Smell, Travel, July is For Babies, Dole Whip Envy, Espresso

1. SMELL - Remember how we were sick? We’re all pretty much back to normal over here. All except I can’t smell anything.

Yes. You read that right.

It sounds like an excellent thing to be without when changing a poopy diaper or when the dog lets out a nasty fart, but other than those things it’s pretty terrible. Foods don’t taste right, I can’t tell if things I’m cooking are seasoned properly and much of my baking is based on smell (ie. when I start to smell it it’s done), and I burn bacon, the delicious black forest kind from Whole Foods that’s way more money than any normal person should spend on bacon but I do because if I’m going to eat bacon, I’m going to eat bacon.

I’ve done some WebMD reading and apparently its common after a sinus infection, which is a relief because I was really starting to freak out. I like to smell things.


2. TRAVEL -
In other news we’ve started our four months of crazy travel. Issa and I were in Dallas this week for some really fun things I’ll be sharing later. There’s a lot more travel planned with a good amount of photo sessions mixed in. I’m excited.

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I shot the above photo of Issa while she was running out some energy at a rest stop on our way to Dallas.


3. IT’S JULY, HAVE A BABY -
We’ve also done quite a few newborn photo sessions recently because apparently July is the month to have a baby. In all seriousness three friends/family members had babies within a week of each other, and not all of their due dates where in that time frame.

This also means I’ve been getting a baby fix and have been seriously appreciating the stage Issa is in right now, tantrums and cutting molars and all. She’s learning every day and saying all kinds of words and without fail she makes me laugh out loud at least every few hours because she is a complete goof. If you’re at all curious you can check out my instagram, there’s a lot of her over there.

Diliberto Photo & Design Newborn Photographer Spring, TX

Meet Judah, he was sleepy. More of him later…


4. DOLE WHIP ENVY -
 I’ve seen tons of folks (friends and people I follow in instagram) going to Disney lately. I’ve never been a huge Disney person and haven’t really ever considered it a family vacation option until people started posting about dole whip. Now I’m thinking I might need to spend all the money to go there just to go to some random Tiki Bar in the land of Mickey Mouse, lines and heat just to eat the stuff. I don’t even really know what it is, but I’ve ready basically the entire wikipedia page. I can only hope that the wiki page is correct in the list of other places that serve Dole Whip. There are a few not too far from our coming travel plans and we may have to detour just so I can partake.

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 5. ESPRESSO - This post is brought to you by the following conversation:

Bill: Let’s eat this chocolate cake, I have milk! (Celebrating my brother’s birthday at Sunday family dinner, Bill has a GIANT glass of milk filled to the tippy top, because when he pours stuff that’s how he does it. He likes to live on the edge, right there on the edge of the glass with liquids almost spilling out. He’s wild.)

Me: (Looking at my dad) Would you like a GIANT glass of milk (he hates milk) or a cup of decaf coffee?

My Dad: Just regular coffee would be great.

Me: Are you sure? I have decaf.

My Dad: No regular coffee is perfect.

Fast forward in that Shaun of the Dead, Edgar Wright close up quick cut shot style: boil water, put espresso roast in french press, pour water in coffee, press coffee, put in favorite mug, add organic half and half, enjoy it with my father and cake. It is now 2:42. My toddler child will wake up in roughly 4 hours. Never again. But you get to enjoy this post, so at least there’s that.

We’re Real Sick Over Here

sicktissuesI’m 8 tissue boxes deep in some real gross crud. Issa was sick first and as any mom knows that’s basically the worst. Seeing your baby sick evokes the most helpless feeling imaginable. Right as she was starting to get better she was kind enough to share it with me. I mean, when your very sick daughter wants to feed you cheerios from her slimy wet hands because its the only thing that will make her smile, you kind of have to let her. I think she had the light version though (thank God) because I’ve been pretty much knocked out the last five days.

That said please know I am not ignoring your calls, e-mails, etc. This is the longest I’ve felt well enough just to type out this mini blog post. I’m hoping to be back on my feet by Monday and will start replying to calls and e-mails then.

In the mean time take your vitamins (I hear this is going around) and enjoy the holiday weekend for us as we’ve canceled our out of town plans and will be recovering on the couch for the Fourth of July. Sick days are really hard to take when your a small family owned operation like ourselves. Thank you so much for understanding.

Blueberry Picking and Making Memories

Issa’s favorite food right now are blueberries, which she excitedly calls “boo-bees”. So when Bill and I woke up Saturday morning I looked at him and said “lets go picking, blueberries or blackberries?” There wasn’t much to discuss, blueberries it was.

So we got ready and headed out to Moorhead’s Blueberry Farm in Conroe, TX. Moorhead’s has been around since the  70′s and it’s over 20 acres of over 20 different varieties of blueberries. All this variety means they ripen at different times so there’s a steady supply of pick your own blueberries in north Houston throughout the summer.

Blueberry picking in Conroe, TX Photographer

The opportunity to teach Issa, hands on, about her favorite fruit had me smiling ear to ear. She’s such a little sponge these days, soaking up so much information and learning how to do all sorts of things. I dream of having our own land one day with chickens and huge gardens. But for now I am so thankful for my two 5′x5′ raised beds that are loaded with herbs, tomatoes and cucumbers right now, ready to pick in just a few weeks. I want her to understand where her food comes from, and make good food choices and eat clean. So until we can grow our own blueberries or clementines or whatever else I’ll teach her by going to other local farms like Moorhead’s or Matt’s Family Orchard or Gramen Farms or Atkinson Farms, which I’ve written about before here and here.

Moorhead's Blueberry Farm Photographer Conroe, TX

Once Issa learned that the bushes around us were covered with blueberries she was thrilled. Bill taught her the difference between the blue, red and white ones and that the blue ones were the only ones that were good for eating. We told her how the sun and water help feed the pants and without it they would die. She was soaking up every moment and eating quite a few blueberries in the process. Moorhead’s is free of pesticides so I felt really good letting her eat them right from the bushes.

Blueberry picking in Conroe, TX Photography

The map above shows all the places people have come from to pick blueberries there. They also sell honey from their beehives on the farm. I’m a sucker for local honey. We only picked for a little over an hour and even with lots of “Issa don’t eat the berries on the ground” and “You have to leave the white and red ones on the bush for them to get ripe” (since she couldn’t eat them she would pick them and toss them on the ground) we still picked 4.5 lbs. At $2.50 a pound you just can’t beat it, even in the heat. And the bushes are tall enough in some areas to provide a decent amount of shade. After purusing the local canned goods and grabbing a ice only snow cone we headed home. It was a fun day and a really great summer memory. If you live in the area I highly suggest checking out Moorhead’s Blueberry Farm.

A Preview of the New Whole Foods Market Champions in Spring, TX

You may remember a post from years ago where I talked about Trader Joe’s coming to The Woodlands and pleading with Whole Foods to open a market on the north side, Whole Foods Market Champions Forrest. Then in June of 2012 I went to the Trader Joe’s opening day and shared about it here, again with a plea to Whole Foods to steal some of the market share from Trader Joe’s and build closer to our side of Spring. Then on October of 2012 I posted about a little sign less than a mile from my house on the corner of a wooded area “Whole Foods Market Coming Soon”. I like to think they heard my pleas, at least, we’ll pretend they did.

If you follow me on instagram you’ve seen pictures over the last two years of the progress going on in that little corner. It’s been a long time coming. Issa was about the size of an avocado in my belly when I first spotted that little sign. But today, today something magical happened. Bill, Issa (who is now quite a bit larger than an avocado), a few of our neighbor friends and I all went to a preview of the new store, and let me say, it was worth the wait. It’s beautiful, you know, if you’re like me and well designed grocery stores with an excellent selection of local, organic and healthy products really excites you.

The Whole Foods Market Champions officially opens this Wednesday, June 25, 2014. You should check it out. But if you can’t make it or are just way too excited here’s a whole lot of pictures and some details on what the new store has to offer.

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I love everything about the design of this store, the colors are fantastic, everything is very spread out and there’s tons of space. It’s HUGE in comparison to some of the other stores (especially the Kirby store, which is the one we normally frequent). Throughout the preview they had samples of Whole Foods items like the in-store smoked brisket above as well as lots of really cool products from local vendors.

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The bulk candy wall is really fun, and dangerous because it’s right across from the produce. Calories and sugar aside, it’s really pretty to look at. The rest of the bulk goods area is very open and it’s huge, which means no fighting people to get what you need when they stand there staring blankly at the options.

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Supporting organic farmers…I’m really for this but I also love the typography throughout the design of the store. Very pretty.

Above is Green Plate Foods, a local Houston, TX company sampling their Nubblers, a simple five ingredient raw, vegan, dried fruit snack. This was our first time trying these and we are really big fans, they’re going to be a new household staple.

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Like most other Whole Foods locations there’s a great beer and wine selection, but there is also a good sized bar. We had a great chat with the general manager of the new store and she said there will be wine and beer tastings and cheese pairings. I’m excited.

Also above are three more local vendors. (From left to right…) Enfusia which is based out of The Woodlands, TX, they make really lovely (and vegan) bath products. Then there is Wrights of Texas from Katy, TX who make really good salsa. I’ve been a huge fan of their green salsa for years, it has cucumber in it, it sounds weird. Trust me, it’s delicious. Last is Kickin’ Kombucha, made here in Houston. It’s the only kombucha I drink. The Everyberry Hibiscus is my favorite but I tried The Goodness today and it was also really good.

WholeFoodsChampionsPreview-8 Spring, TX

Above is NadaMoo! out of Austin, TX. They make really yummy ice cream without eggs, sugar or dairy. There was also Chameleon Cold Brew, which is also really good.

Inside the new Champions Whole Foods is an awesome coffee bar. I need to talk about the design above. I’m 99% sure that’s a shipping container. They had tons of these sitting in the parking lot during the building process. I’d like to think they used one of those. Even if they didn’t, I love the design.

WholeFoodsChampionsPreview-8 Spring, TX

In the wide shot above, near the top right corner you can see the very cool seating area. There’s also an outdoor patio up there. I’m looking forward to enjoying coffee and sushi up there. Speaking of sushi, it was really really good as well.

WholeFoodsChampionsPreview-8 Spring, TX

Can you spot Bill and Issa in the photo above?

WholeFoodsChampionsPreview-8 Spring, TX

I was watching a Bobby Flay something or another, or maybe it was Alton Brown on Food Network. They were talking about cheese and after listing all these things about buying the right cheese, they said, “or you can just ask your cheesemonger”. And I thought to myself, “I don’t think I have a cheesemonger, but I now feel like I should”. The cheese section at this new Whole Foods is beautiful, and while I’m not sure if they have an official cheesemonger, I’m pretty sure those folks behind the counter know a whole heck of a lot about cheese. And for cheese lovers like myself, that’s exciting news.

Above are two other vendors eppa sangria, which happens to be the only American made all organic sangria. We also chatted with the very sweet folks from Smart Flour Foods who make gluten free foods like pizza from ancient grains (not rice flour) and they actually taste quite good. If you’ve ever gotten the gluten free pizza from Mellow Mushroom you’ve had smart flour foods. Very tasty.

WholeFoodsChampionsPreview-8 Spring, TX

And to finish up this very long post here’s a shot of my sweet girl with her Kickin’ Kombucha sticker and the sudden torrential rains that came along right as we were about to leave. I guess we were in the 20% chance of rain area cause it poured something fierce.

When we were talking to the manager she mentioned how it was stressed to her that this was going to be a family store. We’re looking forward to checking out kids workshops, the kids play area and even some of the adult workshops and tastings. Thank you Whole Foods Market for coming to the neighborhood, we’re really excited you’re here.

Glen & Melissa, A Wooded Engagement Session, The Woodlands, TX

Melissa is a person who is near and dear to my heart. I met her when she was in our youth group years ago. She reminded me of myself at that age and we had a lot in common. I’ve watched her grow, battle, succeed, and excel in life. A few years ago I had the privilege to shoot her senior photos and last week I had the honor of shooting her engagement photos, and next may I’ll be shooting her wedding and I couldn’t be more thrilled. She also was Issa’s nanny for the last 6 months and the fact that she loves my daughter and my daughter loves her makes me love Melissa even more. Glen is marrying a wonderful woman, but he knows that.

Engagement Photography The Woodlands, Texas

Melissa and I worked together to build the woodland magical theme of the session. In the beginning we tossed around a bunch of different ideas but this really fit them. Bill and I made the tent in the photos. He fashioned all the wood for the a-frame tent from this tutorial. During a slow weekday Issa and I ventured to every thrift shop I could think of for crocheted doilies. We scored the mother load for a great price too, as well as a few other treasures. I still needed a few more to finish up the tent so my mom found several that belonged to my grandmother which made this shoot even more special for me. Several late nights and a lot of piecing and whip stitching later, we had a finished tent.

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The wardrobe was 100% Melissa. If I could, I’d have her style all of my clients’ wardrobes because she really does a fantastic job. Don’t believe me, check out her senior session, that was all her too.

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The location was a special place they found and spend a lot of time at so it made the whole engagement photo session all the more personal. I am pretty sure I am in love with this location and will most definitely be shooting there again. For the time being, it will be our little secret.

DIY Tent Photography Spring, TX Engagement Photographer Spring TX

And that’s Melissa & Glen’s engagement photo session! Thank you guys for being adventurers and for letting me capture this time and create art with you. I can’t wait to see these images printed and to shoot your wedding next year.

Lane : A Spring Texas Rural Senior Photo Session

We’ve actually known Lane for a while, back when he was a Freshman he attended a small youth group that Bill and I led. He’s a fantastic person, with a killer smile that can light up a room. The fact that he’s a senior is kind of blowing my mind, time couldn’t have passed that quickly. But apparently it did because he graduates in a few weeks and is headed off to University of North Texas to start a new chapter in his life. Crazy. So Lane, it was a privilege to know you during the beginning of your high school career, and a honor to capture this time in your life through my art. Thank you and I wish you the best of luck.

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What Does the Fox Say Party – Issa’s First Birthday

I tend to go overboard for parties, it’s true, and Issa’s first birthday was no exception. In January (her birthday is in March) I started brain storming theme ideas. I’ll never be one to do a character themed party, at least I say that now, there may be tiny child demands for it later. Let me rephrase, as long as I have control I will never do a character themed party, so that was out of the question.

I really tried to think about Issa, and who she was at the time as a 9 month old human. She was crawling, she really thought we were hilarious, but one thing really stuck out in my head, she loved the What Does the Fox Say song by the Norweegian band Ylvis. If she was screaming, and we played it, she would stop immediately. She would dance to it. And the video was one of the few things she’d stare at, completely captivated. Don’t believe me? Check my instagram feed, there’s videos and pictures to back up my claims. So there it was, my ah-ha moment, she was going to have a What Does the Fox Say Birthday Party.

I got to checking out pinterest, there wasn’t a lot there, a few fox themed baby showers and birthday parties but mostly it was either a really new idea or 4o0 million or so views of the YouTube video must have been a mistake (honestly a good thousand or so of those views are from us, remember how I said the song calms her instantly, yeah). So I started with a color scheme and went from there and here are the results (the awesome vendors I found are listed throughout the post in case you’re curious).

Fox cake, bacon on a stick

The Food

I decided to go with a brunch menu because really, who doesn’t love brunch? We had bacon on a stick, mini quiches, pigs in a blanket, doughnut towers, mini powdered doughnuts, an assortment of dips, strawberries, grapes and blackberries, mini bagels, mini cinnamon rolls and spinach dip. There were also puff snacks for the littles. The bacon on a stick was incredibly easy and by far the biggest hit of the party, we used this tutorial. My mother-in-law was an absolute trooper because she took the reigns on food prep and went with it full force.

The cupcakes were made by the fabulous Stacy at Stacy’s for the Love of Cake. I’m so blessed to have such great people in my life because Stacy not only makes beautiful and delicious cakes, but she is also my good friend. She made the very cool What Does the Fox Say cupcakes and cake topper for Issa’s cake.

I ended up making Issa’s cake because the one time we gave her sugar she ended up vomiting all over me and a friends house. It was a lot and I didn’t want a reenactment on her first birthday so I found this sugarless cake recipe and it ended up being quite tasty, like a wheaty banana bread. The frosting was whipped cream cheese which Stacy so gracefully took over for me in the last few minutes before the party started when I’m always running around like a crazy person.

Bill made the doughnut towers, which was inspired by this DIY tutorial. It’s pretty simple, get a 2×4 and dowel rods, drill a few holes and stick the dowels in. Then load it up with doughnuts.

What does the fox say lyric wallwhat does the fox say themed party

The Drinks

We had orange juice, lemonade, coffee, tea, and water, but we also had a Mimosa Bar. We did it very simply, fill a bucket with ice, stick in some carafes of OJ and a few bottles of champaign. Done. The polka dot straws above are from Target clearance, but I’ve seen them all over etsy. The printable straw flags are a printable I created that you can now buy in my Etsy Shop!

what does the fox say cupcakes brunch fox partyFirst Birthday Chalkboard art

The Decor

Because there wasn’t a lot on pinterest I really had to dig inside my creative mind to come up with some original decor ideas. First off, I knew I wanted a wall of the lyrics. It was huge, inexpensive (butcher paper here) and it made a statement, plus it was really easy and it took less than an hour. I just measured the wall, scaled that size down and laid out the text in a design program. Then I  hung the paper – do not do this alone and do not drop the very heavy roll on your pinky toe, it will turn black…your toe, not the paper. I used a projector hooked up to my computer to project the words and traced them with a very thick sharpie. We timed it, 58 minutes total and totally worth it.

The beautiful tissue poms were from Tamy over at TamsCorner on Etsy. She is an absolute gem. There are a lot of folks selling tissue poms on Etsy but I will forever order them from Tamy. She has the largest assortment of colors and her prices are great and the quality of the poms is excellent. Plus I feel like we’re kinda friends now after we bonded through Etsy conversations about our kids and our work. She’s awesome.

The fireplace mantel was adorned with a banner of prints of Issa’s month to month pictures as well as some additional prints and giant 8″ chipboard letters we painted. We also made fox garlands which was a combo of 2″ circles Bill cut out for me with my 2″ circle punch and really cool die cut craft paper foxes we got here.

The Issabella on her first birthday chalkboard poster is something I created for her and now hangs on her bedroom door. It’s a completely customized piece that captures everything about her at that moment. To be honest I wish I would have done one of these for every month, just so I could remember. This is actually a brand new item in my etsy shop, so you can get your own and it’s good for all birthdays.

My mom and I made doily garland as well. I’d read a few tutorials about how to dye doilies. I tried them out but failed miserably so mom suggested we paint them. It worked and one day while Issa napped and I worked she attached them to string, decided they were too wrinkly from the wet paint, and ironed them all out. Two months later they’re still hanging, I love them.

So apparently they took the song and made a children’s book, because why not? The illustrations are way trippy, but they are excellent. Guests were asked to sign the book with a message for the birthday girl.

fox first birthday party, doughnut towerswhat does the fox say party printables

The Birthday Girl’s Outfit

I am a firm believer that every girl, no matter the age, should be allowed to wear a tutu on their birthday. I hunted  for a good while for a really full white tutu that would fit her tiny frame. The night before the party I was ready to give up on that dream. I’ve learned with big shin-digs like this, come the night before the party you just have to let go of some things. I am not Martha Stewart. But Esther (my mother-in-law, seen above kissing the birthday girl) came to my rescue and offered to make one. Two rolls of tulle ribbon, a headband and a movie later she’d made our little lady the fullest, most adorable tutu ever and for under $6.

The fox hat was made by my friend Shavante who lives in NY and does very cool graphic design things there and who also is amazing at crocheting things and sells said things on her etsy shop Potbelly Baby. I showed her a picture of what I liked about a week before the party and she whipped this adorable hat up and had it brought to me by Superman (read: had it overnighted) so it would be here in time for the party. Thank you Shavante, you’re seriously the best.

The cupcake bloomers were a gift at our baby shower from Stacy (the aforementioned cake lady) and it just so happened to fit Issa on her first birthday.

first birthday party printables

Party Favors

At the beginning of the song they say things like, “Cow goes Moo, Frog goes Croak” and an assortment of other animal onomonopias and people are running around in animal masks. So I figured why not recreate that. So we did. There was a stack of assorted animal masks (see the group shot above) with a What Does the Fox Say party printable explaining that they were for both kids and adults.

We also had bubbles and silly straws with What Does the Fox Say Thank You Circles attached, also for sale in my shop.

doily bunting, fox bunting, what does the fox say party

The Entertainment

I am incredibly blessed to have gotten to know so many moms with kids Issa’s age through our neighborhood and our library group. If you want to get connected with moms in your area check out your local library and see what free programs they have for your kids. Seriously I don’t think I could have gotten through the first year without these women and I am so very glad they were all able to celebrate Issa with us and just live life with us.

That said, we put out quilts in the back yard for all the smallest littles to play. We brought out tons of toys and most of the adults were entertained just by watching the kids. For the older kids I had just gotten a hugh subscribe and save shipment in from Amazon.com and mom had just bought a new chair which came with it’s own very large box. Together there was a box playground for all the kids to play in and create in. A friend just told me this week that ever since Issa’s party her kindergardener has been saving boxes to create with.

I also did an Issa’s first year video. I compiled all of the short video clips we’d taken over the past year into one 10 minute video. It played on a loop inside on our TV and it was awesome to watch her grow before your eyes.

what does the fox say party

Also a very special thank you to Maricruz of Maricruz Photography for coming out and taking so many of these beautiful images, you are fantastic my dear. Also thank you to my dear friend Andrea of Ethan Avery Photography for grabbing my camera when I was preoccupied and getting shots from a whole other perspective. I am so thankful for all of my talented friends.

To all who came to Issa’s first birthday thank you. I will never be able to fully express my gratitude for each of you and what you mean to me and my family. We are incredibly blessed by the number of friends, and family who love and support us.

Happy birthday baby girl, you have challenged us and pushed us and shown us a love we could have never imagined. I am so humbled and grateful that God chose us to be your parents. You are so incredibly loved and we are overwhelmed by the number of people who came to celebrate you. I’m excited to rejoice in each stage of your life as it happens and to see who you become. I love you.