decorated cookies with golden retriever puppies and blue balloons on them
Hey, Kat Bakes! A Cookie Designer Makes Everything Sweet!

You may have noticed that decorated cookies are one of my favorite details to add to a party. I share them so often that I am often mistaken for a cookie artist. I recently took a class in Birmingham, AL offered by Kat of Hey Kat Bakes~ and I can affirm that I am definitely not a cookie artist! Lol! But, Kat is most definitely an artist…

decorated cookies in aqua blue and white with monograms and storks

Kat’s steady hand and a huge amount of patience are keys to her gorgeous cookies, along with an eye and talent for color and design. Her ability to precisely outline her cookies with the finest piping tip lost me right off the bat. Ha! She’s really good, and I need lots of practice! Take a look at some of Kat’s cookies…

decorated cookies in pale blue with golf bags trophies shirts and carts

The golf cookies above are so perfect. I love the golf cart design and the clubs. The trophy and golf shirt are simple elegance and so pretty on a cookie! And, Kat shows us her playful side below in these super cute and creative pizza slice cookies. The clean lines of Kat’s designs always draw me to her work.

scalloped cookies with a slice of pepperoni pizza illustrated on it with name

With graduation not too far away, how perfect would these cookies be to celebrate a graduate? I especially love the green graduation gown as that is the color of my kids’ school. These work for everyone because Kat will work with you on your color requests and make each one customized to you.

graduation gown cookies and graduates monogram

The golden doodle or retriever cookies shown below definitely warm my heart. These are the sweetest puppy cookies. What a cute and fun set for a third birthday party. The perfect lettering on the name and the number wows me. How about you?

decorated cookies with golden retriever puppies and blue balloons on them

And, if you would like a more adult theme, look at the cocktail cookies below. The illustrations are simply beautiful and the texture on the herbs is so perfect to me. I would be so proud of myself if I could decorate cookies like this! Kat amazes me.

cookies with cocktail illustrations on each

Now you can see why taking a cookie decorating class from Kat would be so fun. I always have high hopes for myself when I am trying to decorate cookies. Sometimes I am proud of what I end up, with and other times I know I need more practice! One thing for sure is that I always have more respect for the art of cookie decorating each time I give it a try. I met up with Kat in Birmingham to take her class and was so impressed with her skill and organization. She was ready for each of us!

piping bags full of frosting to decorate cookies

Cantley and Company hosted the class in their gorgeous custom kitchen showroom (if you need a kitchen designer along with amazing cabinetry, call Cantley and Co.!). This was a perfect match as it gave everyone room to work around the kitchen showroom islands.

two stacks of business cards with cantley and company and hey kat bakes

Kat had us get right to work and she had a decorating kit ready for each of us. She gave us lessons on how to outline and then flood the cookies- and then she let us get creative.

hey kat bakes cookie decorating class

There were so many varying levels of skill- some were trying cookies for the first time and some were there to perfect their already-impressive cookie skills. It was fun to watch and to learn from each other while Kat worked with each of us!

cookie artist using piping bag to decorate valentine cookies

It was also fun to see the different personalities emerge around the table as we decorated. I use “we” loosely as I was having more fun seeing what everyone was doing rather than decorating my own cookies. Fortunately for me, Kat used a couple of my cookies as the sample cookies and she decorated them for me while I chatted.

students in cookie decorating class around kitchen island

We also had sprinkles ready for us to use in any way we wanted. Kat thought of all of the details- from the consistency of each type of frosting to the tiny container of sprinkles for each person.

champagne glass cookie and heart cookie on white paper with clear fork

As you can see, it was a really productive class. As we finished, Kat had a bakery box ready for us to safely transport our little creations home. I loved taking mine back with me and enjoying every bite!

x shaped cookie frosted in lavender icing with a bite out of left side top

Look at all of the great designs…

valentine cookies on a tray being decorated in a cookie class

Hopefully, Kat will continue to offer cookie decorating classes in Birmingham- and maybe beyond? It was so fun to be able to join in the fun and get to meet Kat in person. I typically only get to see her on Instagram, and so it was fun to be together in real life.

two ladies in black pants with sweaters

I also want to show you some of the cookie collections that Kat has been commissioned to create. These are designs for parties in Birmingham, and they are beautiful! You can see how Kat can coordinate cookies to match your party colors and/or theme.

ballet party invitation cookie flower and shoes
Ballet Party by Party Pick Up/ Cookie by Hey Kat Bakes / Invitation Gina Langford / Photos by Mary Margaret Smith
silver tray with ballerina cookies and teacup cookies with names

The cookies below were made for a desert-themed occasion and Kat was asked to do longhorn cattle and cactus plants…

cookies with longhorn cattle skull and cactus plants
Photography Catherine Taylor/ Cookies by Hey Kat Bakes

You can find more of Kat’s cookies on Instagram at Hey Kat Bakes. She’s fun to watch! Thanks for letting me come decorate cookies with you, Kat! It was a treat for me!!

To see more of my visit to Birmingham, go here and meet another talented young creative lady~ Ivy Odom!

Cheers,

Lydia xo

pillow with blue leopard skin rug with confetti on floor
June St. George~ Create Your Own Custom Pillows and Rugs

Being able to design your own pillows and rugs to fit your home feels almost too good to be true- but June St. George has made it possible for all of us. In 5 easy steps, we can be on our way to having customized pillows and rugs delivered to our doors! And, in one easy step, you can WIN a pillow of your own! See below how to enter…

pillow with blue leopard skin rug with confetti on floor

I am extremely excited to tell you that in honor of celebrating the 2nd birthday of June St. George, we all have a chance to WIN a free, custom pillow of our choice. June St. George has decided to share the love, and one lucky winner will be able to choose a design to order for her/his home! I actually wish I could enter, because I know I would choose a pillow for my daughter’s room! There are bright, colorful options and muted, pastel options. I love them all!

white pillow with pagoda design and monogram
pillows on rugs with blue shoes and confetti scattered everywhere
coral colored pillow with quatrafoil pattern in white with monogram in middle
five pillows lined up in a row
custom designed pillows in different patterns lined up on white floor and wall

Classic designs that look fresh are all trademarks of June St. George’s pillows and rugs. Owner Ally-Catherine designs each one herself. I am thrilled to be connected to Ally-Catherine through The Southern C. I also love being able to connect you to the creative ladies and businesses I meet- and to be able to offer you a chance to win a gift! YOU CAN ENTER TO WIN YOUR OWN CUSTOM PILLOW ON INSTAGRAM BY CLICKING HERE.

white pillow with black and white staffordshire pups with green palm leaves
light blue square pillow with a white square pillow on top of it

This birthday celebration focuses on the pillows that you can design to fit your home, but I also want to share the rugs that Ally-Catherine designs. You can have your monogram on your rug in a variety of ways- or you can choose to have no monogram at all. Each one is suited to your specific wants! They make a beautiful statement in your home.

pillows on white floor and white wall with confetti everywhere and a dog in the middle
round white rug with large monogram letters in coral

The rugs can be made to fit a small area, such as a welcome mat or bath rug- or they can be made to fit an entire room. I love how each one is its own unique design!

ivory rug with navy blue and light blue designs and monogram in middle
round rug with greek key design in coral and blue with monogram in middle

When you are ready to design a pillow or rug at June St. George, you simply follow the lead on the website as they walk you through the entire process in 5 steps. You don’t have to have design experience- just a desire to create something unique to you and your home. I love the idea of creating a special piece that adds your own flair (and monogram!).

pillows on stacks or rugs with blue shoes and colorful confetti

Remember to enter to win your own customized pillow over on Instagram. Simply follow June St. George and The Party Wagon and tell us your favorite party memory in the comments. I also hope you find something that you love for your home. Supporting small businesses and young entrepreneurs is one of my favorite things! Cheers to Ally-Catherine and her team at June St. George! Happy 2nd Birthday, JSG!

Cheers,

Lydia xo

Valentine Barbie Heart Shaped Wreath by Parker Kennedy Living
Lydia Loves ~ A Special Edition for Valentine’s Day

Here are my “Six Picks” for the week- I have loved finding several unique and beautiful ideas to share with you in time for Valentine’s Day!

  1. Cuddle + Kind Dolls~ for years, I have loved gifting Cuddle and Kind to children and newborns. I love the personalities of each doll, and I love the mission of the company. They are heirloom-quality dolls, hand-crafted, and full of cuteness! Visit their site to see all of the different animals.
cuddle and kind fawn stuffed animal dolls

2. Sweet Bella’s Cookies Holiday Shop ~ Martha, of Sweet Bella’s, offers holiday cookies that are so fun and beautiful. They can be shipped or picked-up locally (Atlanta, GA or Columbus, GA). Martha is so talented! I love her selection of Valentine cookies!

valentine cookies by sweet bella

3. Condor Chocolate– Condor is an authentic chocolate destination in Athens, GA. I love their hot chocolate gift sets, their chocolate sauce, their baked goods, and their candy! Their drinking chocolate is something to sip, too! You can order from their online shop.

condor chocolate bar with georgia pecans

4. Valentine Barbie Wreath by Parker Kennedy Living ~ I’ve never seen a Valentine quite like this! Lance of Parker Kennedy Living outdid himself on this gorgeous heart-shaped Barbie Valentine’s Day wreath. His signature wreath style adorned with vintage jewelry ready for gifting. I would love it if the wreath would, “Be Mine”! What a fun and whimsical way to celebrate February and all through the year. Love and Barbie are never out of season, right?

Valentine Barbie Heart Shaped Wreath by Parker Kennedy Living

5. Dixie Designs Valentine Cards and Invitations ~ Dixie Designs has you covered for Valentine cards, invitations, multi-card sets, and more! There are so many beautiful and/or cute designs, you may have a hard time choosing! I love them all! Here is an example- stop by their shop linked above to see the full collection of designs.

dixie designs dalmatian valentines day card

6. Pretentious Glass Handblown Bourbon or Beer Glasses– These glasses make great gifts for the hard-to-buy-for-guy! I love the unique shapes and I also like the glasses that look like they are leaning or wobbling. Don’t let the name of the company fool you- that is tongue-in-cheek! I have bought these for my husband and love their quality and style.

pretentious glass bourbon leaning glass

I hope you find some fun gift ideas in this list! The last Lydia Loves edition had several ideas for Valentine’s Day, too! Be sure to check the always-growing list of gift ideas and fun finds in Lydia Loves. Thanks, Friends!

Cheers xo,

Lydia

cara-brown-designs-horse-brass-necklaces
Cara Brown Designs ~ Necklaces ~ Special Sale

Horse Brass and “Found Objects” made into hand-beaded necklaces are Cara Brown’s signature style- and we have a special sale on both for friends of The Party Wagon!

cara-brown-designs-horse-brass-necklaces

Cara’s necklaces are hand-crafted after she selects the perfect brass pieces from England. Cara is very choosy when it comes to the brass that she considers for her jewelry. Her selections are based on age, condition, and the story behind each piece.

cara brown horse brass necklaces with colored beads in green red gray

To complement the brass, Cara sources beads and stones that show-off the beautiful horse brass pieces and hand-knots the pieces together. Each one is owning and wearing a mini work of art with historical significance. If you love mixing antique with a modern twist like I do, you will love the look of these necklaces…

cara brown horse brass necklaces with hearts

I have a horse brass necklace that has a sun-shape in the middle- I love all of the different designs that Cara Brown finds. I am literally stopped everywhere I go and asked about my necklace. They are unique and fascinating- in addition to elevating every outfit you wear. My horse brass necklace is the best and easiest necklace I have owned.

cara brown horse brass necklaces and found objects letter r

If you prefer a different size and look other than the horse brass necklace, Cara Brown also has a line that she creates from antique objects that she finds. Cara’s creative eye is always drawn to the most interesting pieces. From the clean lines of the “R” necklace above to the intricate details of owls, mini aquariums, barrettes, and charms…

cara brown horse brass and found objects necklaces with owl

One of the most charming pieces in this collection that Cara created for us, is the miniature aquarium seen below on the far right…

cara brown found object necklaces and horse brass necklace

Here is a close-up view of that aquarium. What a cool piece of jewelry!

cara brown designs found objects necklace mini fish aquarium

The necklaces below have such gorgeous bead details to go along with the antique baubles.

cara brown designs found objects necklaces the party wagon

More found objects hand-beaded by Cara…all of these are included in the special sale for friends of The Party Wagon. They are available on a first come, first served basis. Each necklace is a one-of-a-kind.

cara brown designs found objects necklaces with barrette

For my friends who see me quite often, they know I wear my horse brass necklace most everywhere I go. I have enjoyed it so much, and I especially love how it pulls an outfit together. When I don’t have it on, I put it in a bowl to use it as a display accessory in our home. It doesn’t deserve to be in a drawer. 🙂 I travel with it all of the time and enjoy telling people the story of Cara Brown and her creative talents.

cara brown designs horse brass necklace charleston map

To be very transparent, I love being able to share the sale with you all because I have tried out and loved Cara’s necklaces. Cara gifted me the necklace (above) in July, and I have enjoyed wearing it constantly over the past 7 months. When I find something I love, I love sharing it with you all. I suggested to Cara this idea of offering the half-price sale to you because of my genuine love of her craftsmanship and art. This is a collaboration between Cara and me to share her work, and I am not being paid any part of the purchase price when you purchase through me. It is simply my way of thanking Cara for such a wonderful gift and of sharing an opportunity for you.

cara brown necklaces on lydia menzies of the party wagon in charleston sc

Cara’s necklaces retail for around $800. She is offering a special sale price to us for $397.50 on the necklaces shown in the photos above. Please leave me a comment or send me an email at lydiamenzies at hotmail dot com if you would like to purchase. I am happy to answer any questions you have. You can also read more about Cara Brown on my site. You can find her online shop at Cara Brown Designs.

hand painted champagne bottle for valentines day red and pink leopard print veuve cliquot
Lydia Loves ~ Ideas for Birthdays, Hostesses, & Friends

Hi, Friends! I am always excited to share the things that I find and love- and especially this week as we head toward Valentine’s Day! I wanted to send out some ideas early so that you have time to plan ahead or drop hints ahead of time!

  1. Nicola Bathie Jewelry– My sister introduced me to Nicola Bathie’s designs, and I literally can’t get enough. The daintiness of the petals, flowers, and pieces + the gorgeous layout of each design makes me want one of each. I’m drawn to her feminine aesthetic and think these would be an extra-special Valentine gift! There are so many different designs to see- this is just one of many…
nicola-bathie-designs-jewelry-earrings-birdcage

2. Sarah T. Moore Designs Champagne Bottles– these are really special to celebrate an occasion or milestone! Sarah will hand-paint a champagne bottle and customize your gift. Because these are handmade, remember to allow time for them to be painted by ordering early. Also- check into shipping laws and alcohol to know what is possible- I pick up these locally from Sarah, so please check/inquire to know what is allowed in your state.

hand painted champagne bottle for valentines day red and pink leopard print veuve cliquot

3. Sweetheart Blouse from KJP– This blouse makes an understated yet bold nod toward Valentine’s day- but still can be worn year-round. I think it would look so great paired with a Cara Brown Designs Necklace to complement it!

sweetheart shirt in red with small white hearts

4. Cheers Swirly Straw from Parker Kennedy Living – These straws are perfect for Valentine’s Day, birthdays, and any holiday or celebration! I love how festive they are and turn an ordinary drink into a party!

cheers word straw from parker kennedy living lydia loves

5. Caramel Milk Chocolate Marshmallows from SugarWood– Homemade marshmallows topped with homemade caramel and milk chocolate…what Valentine dreams are made of! Sugarwood offers these special treats each year at Valentine’s Day but they don’t last long! This is on my list for my caramel-loving son. What a treat!

caramel chocolate marshmallow homemade by sugarwood

6. Wrapping Paper and Gift Tags from Ruby Stripe– If you love a pretty presentation for your packages, Ruby Stripe has so many beautiful design options. The shop is a mother-daughter duo, and each design is hand-drawn. I have loved the paper that I have used from Ruby Stripe and think their latest collection is beautiful!

valentine wrapping paper

I have so many more ideas I would like to share with you- and so, I may be back again soon with a continuation of Valentine ideas. I hope you love these- and I would love to hear your favorites!!

Cheers xo,

Lydia

courtney khail watercolor and ink botanical original art
Lydia Loves~ Gifts Ideas for Hostesses, Birthdays & Yourself

Having a great list of gift ideas is always helpful, and Lydia Loves is meant to be an ongoing list of ideas that are great for a variety of occasions. Some are small gifts and some are splurges, but most fall somewhere in between. I am always interested in what you find helpful, and so please let me know when you find something you love, too! Here are my 6 Picks for this week…

  1. Watercolor and Ink Original Art by Courtney Khail- Courtney is such a talented artist, and I love her incredible way with botanicals. You will often find Courtney mixing watercolor and ink- or sometimes she just creates with ink! I am a fan and would love to be a collector, too! There are so many gorgeous pieces of art to see- and the selection updates frequently.
courtney khail watercolor and ink botanical original art
original watercolor and ink painting courtney khail
courtney khail watercolor ink botanical original art

2. The ladies at Willow Park Boutique will help you have a “well-collected closet”, and I love their constantly changing selections of carefully-curated pieces. This Lavender Balloon Sleeve Top is tops in my book! What a great piece and price-point! I enjoy following along on Instagram to see what is new each day or week!

lavender balloon sleeve top from willow park boutique

3. Clearly Handbags Scrunchie in Blue Stripe– being able to pull my hair back and into a ponytail is always a good idea to me- and I especially love the scrunchie that doubles as a mini scarf or Twilly. Clearly Handbags offers these in a variety of patterns and colors and they always top off an outfit perfectly. What a great gift for a friend!

clearly handbags scrunchie stripe in blue

4. Macarons from Mac Lab in Atlanta (they ship!)- these macs are addictive! With so many flavors to choose from, you can find a selection to match your tastes. These make such a perfect gift or special treat for yourself. My daughter and I try to go any time we are remotely close to Mac Lab. I also love ordering for parties.

mac lab macarons variety

5. Sallie Holder’s Book- HITTING ROCK MIDDLE – if you follow me on Instagram, you probably saw the posts about Sallie and her new book. I listen to Sallie’s podcasts when I am driving, and I have taken classes taught by Sallie. She has such a way of developing a person and the realization of just what your capabilities are! A great read for women in business (men too, of course!).

sallie holder hitting rock middle photo with her best selling book

6. Stackable Colored Rings from Just a Little Surcee– my friend Sheila runs this adorable online shop and always has bright, colorful, happy accessories! These rings would be so pretty and fun to wear in stacks of 2 or 3. They make a perfect gift for a Galentine’s Day or girl’s birthday. I love the variety of colors and how uniquely you can wear them each time.

colored stacked rings

There you have my quick 6 picks! Click here for even more ideas from Lydia Loves. Have a great week, Friends!

Cheers xo,

Lydia

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