hero grill with shishkabobs
Father’s Day Gift Ideas

Father’s Day gift ideas are always welcome because we know that it can be a little tricky to buy for the men we love. I wanted to pull together some ideas that may be helpful if you are short on ideas! Gift-giving is one of my favorite ways to show people that I care, and so I always love shopping and sharing!

  1. HERO Portable Grill – This grill has become perfect for our family as we venture out to the beach. The entire grill system gives you exactly what you need for a convenient way to pack up a grill and cook on the go. My husband is hard to buy for, and he loves this grill. It packs into a carry case and is great for year-round ideas such as tailgating, camping, lakeside, and beach life. It is great for serving a small group- and it is easy on clean up! It’s such a smart invention and has eco-friendly components. Can you tell I like it? 🙂
mini-portable-grill-with burgers
hero-portable-grill-carrier

2. Kentucky Bourbon Belt – A way to wear your bourbon without looking sloppy! :0

blue belt embroidered with kentucky bourbon names

3. Angel’s Envy Bourbon- This bourbon was recommended to me by a Nashville bartender several years ago and became my husband’s favorite right away. I take his word for it as he puts this on his wish list each year!

angels-envy-bourbon

4. Sweet Kaki’s Apple Pie ~ If you are local to GA (specifically Newnan and surrounding areas), you will want to go ahead and order 2 of these! Kaki sent me a pie to try several months ago, and I can’t stop thinking about how good it was. I love apple pie, and this one is a stunner. 🙂 Kaki is one to watch as she takes over apple pie lovers’ hearts one bite at a time! I ordered one for my dad, and I know he is going to be so happy about it!

blonde lady wearing a black shirt and an ecru apron with sweet kakis on it andholding apple pie

5. Caroline’s Cakes ~ Caroline’s Cakes is another idea for shipping something delicious for Father’s Day. The caramel cake is the signature cake, but they also have items ranging from pimento cheese to barbeque! This cake even made it onto Oprah’s Favorite Things!

7 layer caramel cake

6. Callie’s Hot Little Biscuit Father’s Day Box ~ Mmmm- this is such a great combo of favorites for Dads (and the whole family, really). Check out all of the delicious treats that are included and have it shipped right to your door!

3 biscuits with sausage bacon and pimento cheese

7. Tip Top Proper Cocktails ~ These little cans offer a big surprise in quality and taste! I was gifted a set of these cocktails in a can and loved each one. So portable and convenient- they are great for the beach, picnics, tailgating, by the pool, or even right at home. Chill and serve! They are a brilliant idea. Currently in the works to become available in several states and by ordering online- check to see if your state is one of the states that sells Tip Top. They are new on the scene and started in Atlanta, GA.

tip top proper cocktail can of manhattan

8. Sherwood Forest Golf Club Llama Caddies ~ If you are looking for an experience-based gift that can be used when travel feels safe to you again, check out Sherwood Forest Golf Club. Their llama caddies are all the rage! What a fun and unique experience to give and to remember!

llamas on golf course as caddies

9. Vineyard Vines Classic Plaid Button Down Shirt– The color of this shirt is called “Strawberry Blonde”. I love the soft pastels and the classic fit. If you prefer a more subdued look, VV has many different patterns and colors. I always love shopping at Vineyard Vines for my husband and my dad!

blue pink and white plaid vineyard vines shirt

10. Daddy’s Little Dress Shirts – This is one of the sweetest ideas I have seen in a while! Although it is technically not a gift “for” Dad, it is such a sentimental gift, that I wanted to include it in the Father’s Day Gift Guide. These adorable outfits are made by using men’s dress shirts that you would like to have made into an outfit for a child. So, choose a shirt that has been lovingly worn by Dad and have it transformed into a dress for a child. That is the sweetest! What a beautiful way to preserve a little bit of family history.

sleeping baby girl in dress and bloomers with headband and tulips

Well, I hope that a few of these ideas helped you choose something for the important men in your life. I hope it is a great day for the dads!!

Cheers,

Lydia xo

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

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

handmade jewlery by mae wearable art
Handmade Jewelry by Mae Wearable Art

Handmade jewelry is always so interesting to me. Knowing the person behind the hard work and each beautiful piece makes it even more meaningful! Margaret (Mae) Mewborn is one of those hard-working ladies that creates earrings and bracelets that have become my go-to pieces for everyday wear.

handmade jewlery by mae wearable art
Mae Wearable Art Earrings displayed on Ashley Longshore Painting

Mae Wearable Art is exactly as the name states- art that you can enjoy wearing each day. Handmade jewelry pieces that are carefully created to be stylish and unique. Perfect for a casual look or for a dressy look- just pick your pair and instantly amp up your wardrobe!

handmade jewelry by mae wearable art the lydia earrings
Mae Wearable Art “Lydia” earrings displayed on painting by Ashley Longshore

I met Margaret at The Southern C Summit and we instantly bonded over tacos. I was drawn to her charisma and enthusiasm and couldn’t wait to see what she created. Margaret kindly sent me a box full of gorgeous earrings- some for casual wear and others for a dressier look. I loved each one and started wearing them right away. Now, I literally reach for one of the pairs of earrings each day as I head out for the day. The earrings that Mae sent are highlighted in these photos that I took. I tried to photograph the jewelry as I wore it, but realized they would show up a little better in photos on a still painting! Below you can see why… 🙂

handmade jewelry by mae wearable art lydia menzies the party wagon

What is so sweet and special is that Mae saw that I enjoyed wearing these earrings so much and she named this particular design after me. I must say that has never happened before! I am really honored to say that these are the “Lydia Earrings“.

handmade jewelry by mae wearable art lydia menzies the party wagon

I love how pulled together they make an outfit feel while also being casual enough to wear everyday. The Lydia Earrings are ivory and champagne with a tiny bit of metallic. They feel like a combination of pearls and champagne.

handmade jewelry by mae wearable art lydia earring

The idea for creating Mae Wearable Art came to Mae when she wanted to have the look and feel of vintage costume jewelry without the pain of a clip-on earring. I think she nailed that as you look through all of her designs. Hollywood has taken notice, too! Mae Wearable Art has graced the actors of Dynasty with a bit of old-world glamour and on-trend style! You can find this exact pair of earrings here (and the price point is on point!).

handmade jewelry mae wearable art as seen on dynasty

One of my favorite collections of Mae Wearable Art is the Anna Collection. Anna is the name of Mae’s dear friend who passed away from kidney cancer. Mae was inspired to create this line in an array of colors to honor the memory of her friend. 100% of the proceeds from this line is donated to cancer research. Mae not only has an artistic talent, but she also has a giving heart. I am fortunate to have a pair of these earrings in green, and I love the symbol of the cross and the lives represented. With three different shapes and sizes, there is a wide range from which to choose- and they make the best gifts for friends and family.

handmade jewelry mae wearable art anna collection
handmade jewelry mae wearable art anna collection on ashley longshore
Mae Wearable Art “Anna” earrings displayed on art by Ashley Longshore
handmade jewelry by mae wearable art ashley longshore painting
Mae Wearable Handmade Jewelry Earrings displayed on artwork by Ashley Longshore

I think each pair is stunning, and Mae’s selection suits a wide variety of tastes and styles. I love the price point, the creativity, the beauty, and the generous and giving spirit behind each piece. I hope you will check out Mae Wearable Art and let me know what you think! I hope you love the jewelry as much as I do!

Cheers xo,

Lydia

P.S. And, if the earrings weren’t enough, Mae has expanded into creating bangles and bracelets, too! Be sure to see her latest endeavor!

david burtka life is a party cookbook
Lydia Loves-Gift Ideas for Birthdays, Hostesses, Pets & You
  1. Life is a Party by David Burtka – I am a sucker for a beautiful book that doubles as a party guide! With so many ideas, you are bound to find some that will add a sparkle to your soirees. A fun and usable gift idea!
david burtka life is a party cookbook

2. LifeJacket by Cara Brown Designs- Talk about a one-of-a-kind, very special piece of clothing… this LifeJacket by Cara Brown is sentimental and and classic! Cara works with you closely to choose a design that reflects your life and the milestones along the way. What an amazing gift for yourself or to mark a special occasion! You may also remember Cara from these necklaces that I adore!

cara-brown-life-jacket-tweed-with-patches

3. Stationery by Loralee Lewis– Loralee designs elegant stationery along with her fabulous party suites. You will see Loralee’s designs throughout my site. Loralee has an eye for beauty and a fabulous sense of humor to go along with it! Here is only one example- you can find many more of her designs at the link above. You can see a similar design in this Easter Supper Club.

loralee lewis paper stationery with monogram and quatrafoil design in blue

4. Tweezers with a Light I don’t know what took me so long to get these tweezers with a light. I will do you a favor and encourage you to grab a pair, too! Ha! They really do make a difference for me because I struggle in the vision department. I hope they help you, too!

lighted-tweezers

5. The Tiny Tassel Earrings (and more)– The adorable Mimi at The Tiny Tassel makes accessorizing more fun with her selection of jewelry adorned with handmade tassels. There are many different styles of earrings and you can choose the color tassels that you would like! Here, I am sharing the scalloped tortoise shell earrings- but be sure to check out all of the varieties!

the tiny tassel tortoise shell scalloped earrings

6. Doggie Tail Dog Toy by Hyper Pet – Lots of you asked about the dog toy that I shared on my Instagram Stories. This toy has been a huge hit with our 2 dogs. I recommend going ahead and buying some extra batteries! 🙂 Tuck literally can’t get enough of it. I take it away if they start to chew on it- but mostly they run around chasing and tossing it. It has been a fun one!

doggie tail dog toy hyper pet

Please let me know what your favorites are! I love sharing ideas for gifts and always welcome feedback. I am a member of the Amazon Affiliate Program, and so I share the items that I purchase from Amazon with you. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Would you like more ideas? Go here for so many other Lydia Loves!

Thank you for being here!

Cheers xo,

Lydia

Hello Gorgeous Cup by Natalie Chang
Lydia Loves- My Favorite Ideas for Parties, Gifts, and Self-Love

Hello, Friends! Sharing ideas for ways to make life more enjoyable is one of my favorite things to do here at The Party Wagon. Some of the questions that I am asked most often pertain to where to find gifts, party items, home decor ideas, or special treats for yourself. Here is my latest list of my favorites- I hope you love them, too! As always, let me know if you try these items or if you know of something fabulous that you would like to share! Enjoy! And if you would like more, find all of the “Lydia Loves” Editions here

  1. whiskey in a teacup by reese witherspoon

    2. Old Whaling Company Body Butter – This body butter (made in Charleston, SC with roots in New England) is the perfect moisturizer- especially in the winter months! I love it year-round and I love that they sell travel sizes in addition to regular sizes. There are 10 different fragrances as well as a fragrance-free version!

    old whaling company body butter

    3. Coffee/Tea/Cocoa -to-Go Cups by Natalie Chang The handwriting on these cups gets me every time! Not to mention that I love the idea of gifting these to my friends and family. What a perfect pick-me-up for anyone in your life! Natalie hand-letters her designs- and these to-go cups also come in pink writing!

    4. Harney & Sons Tea– I was told about this tea from my friend who knew I loved tea- and my friend’s maiden name is Harney. 🙂 She told me I had to try it, and she was so right! I love the tea and I love the beautiful tin canisters! This tea is always on my birthday and/or Christmas wish list!

    harney and sons tea earl grey

    5. Art Prints sold at Parker Kennedy Living– these whimsical and beautiful prints sold at PKL The Cellar make me want to create a salon-style grouping! There is something dazzling and unique about each one. I linked you to the group of them that are available at PKL!

    janet-hill-at-parker-kennedy-living

    6. Luggage Tags Designed by Joanna Baker– Joanna designed my logo for me- based on my bar cart that I styled and photographed for her. If you are planning a winter getaway, spring break trip, or summer holiday, then check out her stylish designs for luggage tags. The tags will make your luggage easy to spot in the baggage carousel while helping the airlines keep up with it! There are so many cute designs!

    luggage tag by joanna baker nyc

    7. Disco Ball Ornaments– if you follow me on Instagram, you saw the disco ball ornaments that I shared. So many of you asked where I bought those- I actually bought them 20 years ago in a small shop in Pine Mountain, GA. But, I found similar ones for you on Amazon and I am sharing the affiliate link for you if you would like to use disco balls for party decorations. I have loved mine! In addition to New Year’s Eve, I have used the disco balls for dance-themed parties and for rockstar/popstar parties. They work for a variety of themes and occasions.

    easy disco ball decorations for new years eve chandelier decoration
lady in front of blue door with computer and boxes introducing her square online store
Welcome to My New Shop with Square
Several years ago (about 5 years, I think), my children’s school hosted its first-ever Holiday Market. I was asked if I would be interested in having a booth to make and sell something to help raise money for the school. I decided to go for it; even though I didn’t have a product to sell. I then went to work to figure out what I could make. After asking about the Market’s offerings, I realized there weren’t many options in the children’s toy category.

Lady in red shirt and blue jeans holding pan of brownies with square store logo and balloon letters spelling square

I’ve spent a lot of time with kids through the years. Before becoming a mom, I was a babysitter, nanny, second grade teacher, private tutor, and children’s event coordinator- I knew I wanted to offer something that would be fun, creative, educational, and hands-on.

Around that time, I had ordered hand-painted, wooden peg dolls to use as decoration on a table at my daughter’s Lilly Pulitzer birthday party. I didn’t realize the girls (11 and 12 years old at the time) would actually want the dolls to take home with them. I was happily surprised that 12-year-olds still found them interesting and adorable.

That party made me realize the appeal that these little wooden peg dolls had to a range of ages. The peg dolls also reminded me of something my mom would have painted or played with as a child. I was drawn to their tiny size and their vintage feel (with fresh Lilly outfits on, though :)…

I decided to paint my own dolls, enlisting my artistic mom in this little painting adventure. She is retired and often enjoys taking painting classes and so this seemed like a perfect fit for her, too. I thought we would be a good team- I could place the orders for materials and work the booth, and she could do the painting.

When the materials first came in (wooden peg dolls and paint), I couldn’t resist trying to paint one myself. My first one was a funny failure but I kept trying to get it- so that I could contribute to the “making” part of it, too. While I was showing my mom how we could do this, I became hooked on painting these little cuties. The more I painted, the more ideas I had of what I wanted to try to paint. It unleashed a side of me I didn’t know about yet. I learned to start simple and to learn along the way, and suddenly I had painted 100 peg dolls to sell for the Holiday Market.

Those little peg dolls raised a good chunk of change for our school, and I was gifted with a new hobby. The reactions of everyone who saw them also made me realize what a draw they were and that I should consider selling them year-round. The biggest hurdle that was stopping me was being able to organize the actual “selling” part of it- keeping track of orders, costs, profits, shipping, etc. I waited and waited- only selling at the school fund raiser, a few craft markets, and handmade shops- until Square came along.

hand painted dalmatian peg dolls

Originally, I was introduced to Square by asking merchants what they were using when they ran my card through that “little white square”. I was amazed at the simplicity of being able to take credit cards with a mobile phone or tablet. I was intrigued by how it worked and signed up for a Square account so that I could start learning about it.

Then, I began noticing that the system had become a lot more than just a little white reader, – I asked a shop owner about it once, and he showed me all of the things he could do with Square in his brick and mortar shop. I realized then that Square offered a host of operating options and systems. Everywhere I went, it seemed like small businesses were using and loving Square.

Fast forward a couple more years to where we are now, and I am ready to grow and open my own online shop- with the help of Square! The exciting part is that I am also expanding my shop offerings and adding a new line of items for children! If you follow me on Instagram, you saw that my kids and I made sensory boxes in lots of different themes.

We shipped them all over and asked for feedback. You all on Instagram helped tremendously this summer by answering questions and helping us realize what works best with this new product. I am so excited to unveil to you our new additions and our new shop! Here are 2 photos for a quick peek into what’s coming…

dinosaur sensory bin large by the party wagon
medium dinosaur sensory bin by the party wagon

Building my shop with Square has been easy and quick- I have had the best care with the Square platform. I have been so thrilled with their courtesy and patience. The directions have been thorough and the responses to my questions have been timely and helpful. What I have really loved is how encouraging Square has been as they see the shop coming together. We have hopped on calls when needed and emailed as needed to bring the store to life together.

It has been a wish come true to work with Square, and I am extremely grateful that they offered to create a shop for me. Knowing that I have a system in place and the tools I need to stay organized in every aspect of running the business makes me feel at ease about this step into owning my own shop. Square has given me the confidence to go for it with the support to back me up as I run this small, one-person business.

square spelled in gold letter balloons with lady working on computer in front of it

And, so…here we go! Welcome to my new Square Online Store! I hope you love what we have created!

lady in front of blue door with computer and boxes introducing her square online store

Thank you to Square for kindly sponsoring this post. All opinions are 100% honest & completely my own.