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Easter is such a fun, family-friendly holiday that I look forward to every year. It has recently occurred to me, however, that Easter is a holiday that is all about the kids. Don’t get me wrong, I love watching kids search the yard for the eggs they worked so hard to paint the night before; I love seeing their faces light up when they crack open a plastic egg filled with candy or a five dollar bill; I love the funny photos of children sitting in a giant bunnies lap—I love it all and it all makes for a great time spent with family and friends.

I truly appreciate the fact that parents work so hard trying to make this holiday a memorable experience for their kids every year—planning egg hunts, scheduling a visit to see the Easter Bunny, and picking out or arranging the perfect Easter basket for their little ones. While some parents continue to make these baskets for their children through college, the loving tradition eventually stops. But I don’t believe it has to!

If you are anything like me, you love giving gifts on any and every occasion. I think that Easter is another great excuse to show your loved-ones a little extra love. I have come up with a few ideas for creating alternative Easter “baskets” for some grown-up gals—the homebody, the beach goer, the frequent shopper, and, of course, the gardener. These “baskets” are created with a specific person in mind and are personalized to meet their specific interests.

Homebody

Sources | Canvas basket: Anthropologie; Tazo Tea: Available at Starbucks; Tea Cup: Anthropologie; Cashmere Socks: J.Crew

Beach Goer

Sources | Beach Bag: Sole Society; Sunglasses: Bonlook; Burt’s Bees: Available at Target; Water Bottle: Target

Frequent Shopper

Sources | Canvas Tote: Alphabet Bags; Coin Purse Wallet: Target; “What Would Audrey Do?” by Pamela Keogh: Modcloth; Infinity Scarf: Forever 21; Essie Nail Polish: Available at Target

Gardener

Sources | Garden Trug: Shop Terrain; Straw Hat: Forever 21; The Flower Recipe Book: Available at The Paris Market (Online)

If you have a different grown-up gal in mind—an artist, a chef, a stay-at-home mom—you can create your own alternative Easter “basket” just for them.

Here’s the basic formula:

Bag + Beauty + Book + Bite

  1. The grown-up gal doesn’t want some cheap, pastel basket that will end up in the attic, or worse, the trash. Give her something she can use again like a stylish tote or a garden trug.
  2. Also, the grown-up gal likes to look her best no matter what the occasion, whether she’s at home on the sofa or soaking up sun at the beach. A comfy pair of socks or a new pair of shades is exactly what she needs.
  3. While not all gals are book lovers, there seems to be a book for just about everything. Find a book that will be of interest to her, like fashion or flowers.
  4. The one thing about traditional Easter baskets that everyone can appreciate—especially, the grown-up gal—is the treats. Not every girl is interested in jellybeans or chocolate bunnies, though. Give her something special, something she will really enjoy, like her favorite snack food or maybe even a bottle of wine.

Happy Easter, everyone!

If I had to jot down a list of a few of my favorite things, you can guarantee that somewhere on that list you would find planting flowers, birthday parties, and happy, smiling children. Katie’s 10th Birthday Bash had all three! Katie absolutely loves to plant so when her parents, Jamie and Melissa Keating, told me that she wanted to have a planting party I was super excited to help out. Katie’s love for planting combined with her great sense of humor led to the party’s quirky theme: “I Mustache You to Come Plant.”

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How did we pull this off, you ask? Easy!

All you need in order to have a planting party of your own:

1. Pots (We drew faces on ours—complete with mustaches, of course!)

2. Plants: Red Geraniums, White Bacopa, and Bright Green Creeping Jenny

3. Soil

4. Worms (The kids love it!)

5. Mustaches for all of the guest

6. The birthday girl’s favorite desserts: milkshakes and root beer floats!

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I had an absolute blast and I know that the birthday girl did too! How could she not with the lovely Sara Monty on her team creating all of the super fun place-mats, signs, photo-booth, and all of these fabulous photos. Also, you know the menu is going to be insanely perfect when your dad is the owner of EPIC, which for Katie, just so happens to be the case. In other words, this mustache bash meets planting party was a definite day to remember!

Happy Birthday, Katie! Thanks again for letting me be a apart of your special day!

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It won’t be long before my chickens are surrounded by an abundance of passion—the Passionflower vine (Passiflora incarnata), that is. My friend Delise Knight, the owner of Pineola Farms, introduced me to this flower first.

When I saw it surrounding her chicken coop it was love at first sight. Not only is the Passionflower easy on the eyes, it bears beautiful symbolism as well. Each part of the plant is symbolic to the death and resurrection of our Lord, Jesus Christ. I found this wonderful article describing it for y’all.

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Image Courtesy of Missouri Botanical Garden

 

In Patrick Jesse Pons-Worley book, The Passionfruit Cookbook, he writes, “Early explorers felt that the passion flower had aspecial purpose to promote the spiritual life among the people where it grew”

Then he goes on to explain the beautiful meaning of each part of the plant:

“The spiraled tendons of the plant, he notes, were taken as symbols of the lashes Christ endured, and the central flower column as the pillar of the scourging. The 72 radial filaments of the flower were seen as the crown of thorns; the three stigmas as symbols of the nails used in the crucifixion, as well as the holy Trinity; the five anthers, as the five wounds of Christ; and the style as the sponge doused in vinegar used to moisten Christ’s lips. Taken together, the five petals and five sepals were used to refer to the ten apostles who did not either betray or deny Christ. The fragrance of the flower, continued Pons-Worley, helped recall the spices used to embalm the body of Christ. Finally, its globular egg-size fruit was taken as a symbol of the world that Christ saved through his suffering.”

With Lent happening all around us, I couldn’t think of a more appropriate way to remind myself what and who this season is all about.

In order to transplant and protect my passion flower as it establishes around the chicken coop, I used bell jars from the house. These jars will act as miniature greenhouses, protecting the plants and allowing them to stand firm no matter what crazy mood-swing weather Georgia throws at us next.

passionflower vine

For those of you who choose to focus on Christ this season, whatever you decide to do, do it with passion!

Take A Chance With Romance.Still022It’s Friday, you can’t wait for 5 o’clock to get here because you have been working like a dog all week long. In fact, all of your hard work has given you a terrible headache so you head to the drug store on your lunch break to grab something to ease the pain. To your surprise, it looks as though the entire store has been hit by a pink and red tornado. Then it hits you—Crap! It’s Valentine’s Day and you have definitely missed the window for making reservations at any decent restaurant. What the heck are you going to do?

Breathe easy, my friends. While dining with your special someone at their favorite restaurant may be an easy solution to your Valentine’s Day dilemma, it is certainly not the most creative. Stop staring at the 99-cent card section, scratching your head, and wondering if, “I forgot Valentine’s Day (again) but you sure do look cute” will make up for being a total dud. Grab some candles, camellia blooms, and something yummy. You are going to save Valentine’s Day (and possibly your relationship) by transforming your living room into a romantic garden party for two!

Take A Chance With Romance.Still023Take A Chance With Romance.Still024Take A Chance With Romance.Still025Take A Chance With Romance.Still026Take A Chance With Romance.Still028Happy Valentine’s Day, you crazy lovers!

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Once again, a special thanks to:
Haley Sheffield for her fabulous photos;
Dynes Media for another outstanding video;
and Kaylee Daily for bringing some style to the blog.

 

Take A Chance With Romance.Still019Like any holiday or special occasion, what makes Valentine’s Day so exciting is all the anticipation leading up to it. It is those little moments of unexpected sweetness that make your loved-ones all ooey-gooey inside. With only a few days left before February 14th makes its grand entrance, putting all you lovers on display, it is time to start busting out the big guns.

Ladies, show your handsome fellow that all of his hard work has not gone unnoticed by packing him a special Pre-Valentine’s Day lunch with all of his favorite eats. But don’t just let the food do all the talking—put your appreciation onto paper with a handwritten love letter that is sweeter than any dessert.

Take A Chance With Romance.Still015Take A Chance With Romance.Still014Take A Chance With Romance.Still017Take A Chance With Romance.Still020Gentlemen, you’re not off the hook just yet. Show your special lady that you’ve been thinking of her too. Taking time to put together a simple bouquet says ‘I love you’ and ‘you mean the world to me’ like never before.

Take A Chance With Romance.Still013Take A Chance With Romance.Still009Take A Chance With Romance.Still010Take A Chance With Romance.Still011Take A Chance With Romance.Still012Take A Chance With Romance.Still016Now that you are both either melting into a puddle or floating on cloud nine, the groundwork for a perfectly sentimental day is complete. Valentine’s Day is almost here and there is no doubt about it now.

Let the loving begin!

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Once again, a special thanks to:
Haley Sheffield for her fabulous photos;
Dynes Media for another outstanding video;
and Kaylee Daily for bringing some style to the blog.

It is no secret that Valentine’s Day is geared towards a specific group of people—those who are happily paired off into units of two. It is also no secret that Valentine’s Day tends to have negative connotations for anyone left standing in the other group—single, party of one. Having occupied both of these groups at one point or another, I can understand the desire to celebrate your mutual attraction with someone with chocolate and flowers and heart-shaped everything else while also being able to sympathize with those who feel gipped by a holiday that is as unavoidable as it is exclusive—no way in, no way out.

My solution is simple: Make Valentine’s Day about all kinds of love, not just the romantic kind. Sure, if you’ve got it, go for it, but if not, don’t let that stop you! The whole reason I started “14 Days of Love” on Facebook was to inspire new traditions for Valentine’s Day that leave no man, or woman, behind. Why not celebrate everyone you love on a holiday specifically about love? It just makes sense! That being said, today’s post is all about the ladies—married, single, or divorced. The inspiration for this “Galentine’s Day” brunch came from the lovely ladies at Design Love Fest but Pinterest has endless ideas for hosting your own.

Step One: Select Your Sweets

waffle sandwiches

muffin

pancake kabobs

Top to Bottom: Heart Waffle Sandwiches, Nutella Banana Muffins, Mini Pancake Kabobs

Step Two: Pick Your Poison

love punch

golden girl cocktail

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Top to Bottom: Love Punch, The Golden Girl Cocktail, Classic Mimosas

Step Three: Build Your Booth

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Top to Bottom: Heart Backdrop, DIY Polaroid Frame, Pink & Gold Party Backdrop

Step Four: Find Your Favors

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Top to Bottom: Pom Pom Flower Bouquet, Single Stems for Single Ladies, DIY Flower Crowns

Step Five: Grab Your Gals

Happy Galentine’s Day!

Illustrations: Laura Kay of Diary Sketches

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You are probably familiar with the old saying that suggests the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach. While I do believe this to be of some truth, what about us women? We like to eat too! Don’t get me wrong, diamonds and pearls are much appreciated, but a girl has got to eat. Am I right, ladies? And breakfast in bed—that might just be our favorite way to get our fuel for the day. So, there you have it, gentlemen: the best way to reserve a special spot in your ladies heart—start at the stomach. But don’t forget the flowers! Flowers come in at a very close second in the race for your woman’s heart; especially, for yours truly.

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The countdown for Valentine’s Day continues! Only eight days left so make them count. For fun gift ideas, be sure to follow me on Facebook to see my daily suggestions for “14 Days of Love.”

Special Thanks:
the lovely Haley Sheffield for her impeccable photography;
the handsome duo at Dynes Media for their mad videography skills;
and the ever-so-stylish Kaylee Daily for making pajamas look good.

Inquire About Your Next Event:

Email: carmen@carmenjohnstongardens.com

Phone: 762-822-7696