Hey Gorgeous, The Blog


Feb 14

Valentine’s Day Soiree {HGE Shoot with Kelly Braman Photography}

Happy Valentines, Day blogettes!


Back in January I got together with my sweet friend, Kelly Braman to make this little project come to life. And I’m so thrilled to share it with you today finally! I was thinking late last year how much my friends mean to me and just how rare it is to find truly meaningful relationships in life that fill your heart with joy. My close friends are very special to me and the relationships we have together are definitely worth holding on to. So the concept behind this shoot was born! Why not have a yearly Friendship Fete with your girlfriends around Valentines Day, single or not, to celebrate how much you love having them in your life? Because, you know us girls love a little confetti more than the typical dude out there. Enjoy the images and the cuteness overload thanks to our real life friends who served as models for the day!


The amount of drink options that come in pink and red hues is impressive. We used regular old pink lemonade here!


I love this shot. It reminds me of the remains of a successful girlfriend’s night in. The party invitation, the ‘I’m so glad we’re friends’ Valentine Day cards and the favor tags were lovingly created by Val Marie Paper. Molly Jacques did the calligraphy on the invitation envelopes. The macarons we used as favors and the delicious and super sweet cake were made by Kelly at A Piece o Cake. And all of that pretty confetti and the tassel garland were via The Flair Exchange.


And how adorable are these girls? Kelly actually shot the beauty in the red dress at her wedding last summer (her name is Kelly too) and knew her and her friends would be the perfect models for this project. I loved that the girls were able to use things from their own closet, do their own hair and make up and look like a million bucks. Aren’t they so sweet?


Cheers my lovelies!


And just to hopefully give you a little chuckle for the day, here’s a photo of me utilizing a little of my gymnastics background to get that perfect Instagram shot. Most of my close friends and colleagues like to make fun of me for my OCD tendencies with my IG feed and how I’m known to drag out bizarre items onto my front porch or make Zoe sit patiently for minutes while I get the shot I want. Hey, a girl’s gotta get that perfect angle sometimes doesn’t she?


Enjoy your day full of love, friends! And check out our feature over here! xoxo

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Photography: Kelly Braman Photography / Concept, design and florals: Hey Gorgeous Events / Paper products: Val Marie Paper / Envelope calligraphy: Molly Jacques / Cake and macarons: A Piece o’ Cake / Garland and confetti: The Flair Exchange / Linens, chairs and ties: Cascade Rentals / Ruffled plates: Anthropologie / Red heart straws: Etsy

Feb 12

Pep Talk Tuesday {Do It}

When’s the last time you did something or rather didn’t do something because you were fearful of what others thought? I up until very recently used to live most of my life this way, trying to cater to a reality that I assumed others would be appreciative and accepting of. I had little to no boundaries with my work and even with new relationships with others, and slowly but surely I started to let other’s opinions and thoughts of me, affect the things I wanted and dreamed of doing. Looking back to just a few months ago leading up to my rebrand, I’m so grateful, I learned just in the nick of time how to just do it and forget what anyone has to say about any of the decisions I ultimately choose to make.

I’ve said it a few times here on the blog already, but 2013 has been such a wonderful year so far. I’ve been working so hard to implement positive changes in my life after a super rocky 2012 and I owe so much of it to the incredible people who have supported, loved and cheered me on. But it’s sometimes still so hard for me to just do things even when I know they are best for me but maybe not what everyone else wants to hear. Maybe you feel your parents aren’t supportive of your ideas and dreams, maybe you think your significant other will deem your business venture a waste of time or maybe you’re holding back on expanding your business or adding a new skill set to it because you’re sure your colleagues will have less than stellar reactions. Think of all the times you’ve felt this way. Eye opening, right?

When I attended Making Things Happen last fall we had to go around the room and let everyone know what fires us up. I think I may have gone first here but the first thing that came out of my mouth before I could even stop myself was ‘Flowers!’ Flowers fire me up! I remember a few people laughed a little and sweet Lara you made me repeat what I said because I too was giggling a little. But how simple is that? That flowers can bring someone like me so much joy. And with that love for blooms, I knew then pretty well and absolutely know very well now, I have an ability and a passion to make my business more inclusive, to incorporate something I love into my work and to make my clients so truly happy. Here I was up until then, for about a year, feeling shy and scared of what others would think if I did just that.

Today I urge you to do something that you know is right for you even if you’re fearful of what others think. Cool?


Cool. Happy Tuesday, bloggies! Get out there and live your life xoxo Photo via the incredible Leah Mullett.

Feb 7

Featured {The Everygirl}


Happy Thursday, blogettes! I’m so excited that my most recent editorial is featured on an incredible (non-wedding based) blog today! I’m such a fan of The Everygirl and shrieked a little when they told me the shoot would be up on their site today. A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of working with a few talented chicks to bring the idea of a Valentine’s Day Friendship Fete to life, and after it was all said and done really think so many of us would love hosting or even attending this kind of night in. You know, one where you and your girlfriends could celebrate your friendships with one another! I’ll have more photos and details in a post next week here on the 14th but in the meantime I hope you too find the ideas used throughout the shoot as inspiration for your own celebration. Check out the feature here with more eye candy and tons of party planning tips from yours truly! All photos were taken by the talented Kelly Braman.

Jan 30

My Story Part II

Like I mentioned in Part I of My Story as soon as I got hooked on blogging in February of 2009, I did everything I could to grow, learn, network and essentially make the most out of this little online endeavor I had discovered. When you start out with a first time blog, it’s literally next to impossible to comprehend and wrap your head around the whole blogosphere that exists out there, along with everything in it like advertising, featured posts, doctoring blog templates to make them your own, followers, and the list goes on. But blogging can be addicting and if you’re like me, you just want to make it work. From the very first blog post I ever wrote introducing my love of desserts to probably a total of two readers, I knew I would do anything to make my blog evolve into and be a major part of a business I’d start and build one day. My plan was to build my little empire on the side and in the meantime work a regular journalism gig. Oh, Rhi.

The problem is I still hadn’t found a job in Chicago and we were almost into April by now. I felt financially restricted on the weekends when Andrew and I would take trips into the city to get out and live life as a young engaged couple but I dreaded having to pull out my bank card. I was cautious of spending my little remaining money on things for him and I, and even for myself but had no problem forking out $13.99 for a tube of two vanilla beans to make a new frosting recipe. And the kicker is I still felt like I owed it to myself to continue pursuing the journalism field and make something of the degree I had worked so hard on for four plus years. I was seeing classmates of mine who had graduated with the same degree but had less experience than me landing dream jobs across the nation. And here I was striking up conversations with news crews on the job downtown, offering them freshly baked cookies in exchange for a business card, trying anything to make that journalism piece fit into the puzzle. But it wasn’t and I was an absolute mess.

One night Andrew and I were getting ready for bed and I started to cry. I told him that this was so far from the new start I had imagined us having, and I had to go home. Like home to my parents in Canada. I started to despise the journalism industry. I was angry at news editors. Angry at the fact that I had been a student athlete and maybe hadn’t of had enough time to invest in the right scholastic and career-driven opportunities at school. I told Andrew that I couldn’t live like this feeling so useless and uninspired and unable to land my dream job or even a part time job at the Walgreens across from our apartment to make a few bucks. You know what I felt the most though? I felt embarrassed. I felt like I let myself down. I felt like my parents were disappointed, like my friends were ashamed, like Andrew, the guy who had proposed to me almost a year earlier was sure he’d made a mistake asking me to spend the rest of my life with him. For a people pleaser like me this was devastating. I packed up my Jetta and drove 14 hours straight home to Toronto, the tears coming in waves throughout my drive. I remember surrendering my Visa at the border and could have sworn the officer shook his head my way as I drove off. I felt like I should have surrendered my engagement ring too.

Moving back in with your parents as a jobless new graduate, pretty confident you picked the wrong major to study for almost five years, and your fiance is living in his own apartment 14 hours away in a different country, leaves little to feel good about internally. You know those stories you read when so and so seems to have it made, they have their you know what together, they have a great job, they have flat stomachs and perfect highlights, the newest it item, the hot husband, the perfect kid, the whatever it is that looks impressive from the outside but you come to learn that so and so just lost her parents within a few months of one another. Or so and so is really sick. Or so and so just makes life seem really awesome when really she’s all alone, confused and empty. Or she’s hurting and scared. That’s how I felt. My life looked good on the outside and I thought that was important because it was what everyone expected. I told everyone that my move back home was simply to reassess my next move and make some big decisions. Which is theory was the truth. But I had nothing together and I needed a serious wake up call. I needed to be honest with me.

Making decisions when you have to use common sense, and instead your heart’s competing for your vote, is the worst. To pass time, and start making some money my sweet Dad offered me a job as a secretarial assistant at his construction business. The work was uninspiring (I love you, Dad!) but it was something to do and it gave me a purpose. And a pay check. The blog on the other hand, was a constant sort of comfort for me at this point and served as an outlet to not only stay creative but real with myself. Getting home after work to bake and blog something new was the highlight of my day. I’d also write about what I was feeling, the next time I’d get to see Andrew, the cupcake orders I was taking, and the plans I had to open my own bakery. I was learning new things with every post, comment, picture, recipe and interaction I took on. I started to make friends and feel connected to people, who I didn’t even know in the flesh but I felt close enough to to call friends. My blog became my rock during those first few months home.

That summer though I had to make another tough decision. So I took another huge risk.

You can read Part I here.
You can read Part III here.
You can read Part IV here.

This was written in January of 2013.

Jan 29

Pep Talk Tuesday {Moments}

We’ve adapted this new routine around here in the Banda-Bosse household. Since I typically go to bed earlier than Andrew, I’m the first to brush my teeth and snuggle into to bed every night. But lately I’ve been asking him to bring Zoe upstairs so we can all hang out together before I drift off to sleep. Zoe isn’t typically allowed upstairs because she’s a downstairs dog and we want to allow Chenks to have his own safe zone and space, but at night we make exceptions. Andrew and I talk about our days together, about our goals, about one day when we might have kids, about what kind of food we’re craving at that very moment because it’s a given we’re craving something and Chenks sleeps at our feet while Zoe sleeps up by our pillows. Last night we all feel asleep together and Andrew ended up waking at midnight to bring Zoe back down to her crate. And for the first time in a while I felt like our little family was just perfect.


I’m feeling a lot of changes from the beginning of the new year starting to become habit. Do you guys feel it too? One of the things I wanted to change this year was spending more time with my family and I’m so grateful for that. I encourage you to find something to turn into a tradition in your home too. It can be simple, free, easy or whatever but I promise those little moments will mean so much to you and leave you feeling refreshed and best of all, grateful for what you have right in front of you. And this is coming from a girl who vowed to never be that couple who lets the dog snuggle in bed. You win, Zoe. You win. Photo above by the sweet Kelly Braman. She’s the best xoxo