From August 2013 to July 2015 I ran the White Peacock Styled Events blog. I developed it from the ground, posting on everything from current trends, party planning and etiquette, to recipes, style, and more.  Below is a round-up of some of my favorite posts, including design layouts I created for the blog. See all posts here.

2015 Bridal Trend: The Two-Piece Dress

July 2015

Want to know what wedding dress trend we’re loving this year? The two-piece dress! Banish the mid-nineties iteration of this trend from your minds, because the 2015 version of the two-piece dress is on a completely different level of chic. It has been brought up-to-date and has found a place in this year’s best bridal trends.

We love that this style speaks to brides with large and small budgets alike, and that, depending on the separates you choose, it can be an ultra-glam look or something very simple and down-to-earth. Basically, it’s the look of the everygirl—but it gives every girl the opportunity to personalize and make it into something that completely reflects her personal style and the overall feel of her wedding.

As you can see from the photos, above and below, there are so many ways to make this trend come to life. Keep reading for some of our favorites…

There’s no reason a two-piece dress can’t be as glamorous and high-end as a traditional wedding dress. We lovelong, draping skirts in simple fabrics paired with a stunning, statement top. Whether intricate lace or all-over sequins, this type of pairing can make quite a splash. However, you could also let the skirt do the talking and keep the top simple and chic. Consider an ethereal tulle skirt that drapes down to the floor, paired with a high-end tee shirt, or a cashmere sweater à la Olivia Palermo. (And we love the idea of choosing a blue-ish hue for the skirt, like the top photo, for your Something Blue!) Pair that look with a statement necklace and you’ll be good to go! You could also go for a coordinating top and bottom. All-over lace is endlessly elegant, but going for a cropped top and an asymmetrical skirt gives it an unexpected, modern twist so it never feels stuffy.

We also love the utter simplicity that two-piece dresses can offer. They’re perfect for low-key events, for brides who want a special look but don’t feel comfortable in extravagant gowns, and for relaxed outdoor weddings. For brides who are more bohemian, consider pairing a drapey top with a simple skirt, in similar materials, so that it feels like a set. (We love the embroidered cloth detail in this set, and how the top’s detailing is matched in the waistband of the skirt!) The simple lines and details create a look that’s comfortable and casual, but still very elegant and bridal. A tea or knee-length skirt is another très chic way to pull off this trend. Pair it with something simple and refined, or go for an embellished top for something more glamorous—but either way, don’t forget a pair of statement shoes! This is also a great opportunity to go for a vintage-inspired look.

The two-piece bridal gown trend can find its place anywhere from a simple City Hall wedding, to laid back outdoor gatherings, ballroom fêtes, and everywhere in between. It’s a simple way to make a big statement while still finding a look that is entirely reflective of your style and aesthetic. We are in love with all of these looks. In the midst of trying on wedding gowns, it might be worth giving the two-piece a try, don’t you think? (And, if you’re looking for more two-piece wedding dress inspiration, check out these 36 glamorous looks!)

Would you or did you wear a two-piece dress for your wedding? Which style within this trend is your favorite? We’d love to hear what you think!




July 2015

We love all of the accouterments of the modern wedding, the way that things have evolved from stoic ceremonies to all-day celebrations, complete with unique touches that speak to and highlight the couples’ personal styles. However, we also love a good tradition. There’s something about them that grounds us amidst the modernity and adds a touch of nostalgia—and often a good deal of fun—to your big day. Below, we’ve highlighted a couple of our favorite wedding-day traditions that you can easily incorporate into your own wedding!

Something Old, Something New :: The old adage, “Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue” is probably one of the most popular wedding traditions out there. In going with the saying, the bride wears something that fits each category. Some of our favorite ways to bring this tradition to life? For your something blue, we love the idea of blue shoes—especially Tiffany blue. It’s a fun pop of color and makes for great photos! We especially love this when the bride is wearing a tea or knee-length dress, so the shoes can make a bold statement. Something borrowed or old? Your grandmother’s pearl necklace or your sister’s veil are both meaningful options. Some women even opt to wear their mother’s wedding dress, and just alter it with some modern updates! And something new? For many, it’s your wedding dress. But we also love all of the new styles of headpieces out there that step away from the traditional veil. Think: flower crown with peonies or garden roses, or something more subtle like greenery or baby’s breath. (Making flower crowns would be a fun bridal shower activity too—we personally love them!) And we can’t get enough of bejeweled headbands and hair combs from the likes ofa&be bridal shop. (As Minnesota Bride Magazine Best of 2015 finalists for Best Accessories, they know what they’re talking about when it comes to topping off your look!) With this tradition, the options and variations are endless!

For the Boys :: I think it’s safe to say that the gentlemen’s favorite wedding tradition, besides the much-anticipated kiss at the alter, is the garter. We’ve been to weddings where the DJ or reception host makes a big production of the retrieving of the garter—it’s a fun way to get some crowd interaction and get the couple back front-and-center in the middle of the reception, when everyone is mingling. However, this is one tradition that super shy couples may want to forego. ; ) Another special tradition for the groom, and one that is not seen as often anymore, is the groom’s cake. Traditionally, the bride will have a separate cake made in honor of the groom in a way that highlights his personality. It is usually intricate and highly detailed and elaborate. For brides who like to take charge and do most of the wedding planning, this is a sweet way to pause on your special day, show your groom that you’ve been thinking about him and not just the production of the wedding itself—showing how much you love him, how well you know him, and how excited you are to be his wife.

All the Single Ladies :: While the bouquet toss is the tried and true tradition to for the single ladies at your wedding, we have one that is a little less expected and adds a more interactive element to the surprise. It’s the cake pull! When your cake is being prepared, the baker will hide a ring under the bottom layer of your cake, with a ribbon attached to it. Other ribbons will then be placed around the cake as decoys. Then, all of your single friends will gather around the cake, grab a ribbon, and pull—and whoever pulls out the ring is said to be the next to get married! (If you don’t want to mess with your wedding cake, this would also be a fun game for a bridal shower—you could even add traditional charms, so each friend walks away with a “prediction” of their future. You can read more about this tradition HERE!)

Cheers to the Happy Couple :: We love a good champagne toast at a wedding. But what we love even more? A toast steeped in tradition! Enter: Bury the Bourbon. According to tradition, couples who are having an outdoor wedding or reception should bury a bottle of bourbon upside down at the site of your venue to make sure there’s no rain on your big day. Then, after the reception, dig it up, gather your wedding party together, and drink it up! Cheers, indeed!

Do you have any traditions you’re incorporating on your wedding day? Any that we didn’t list? We’d love to hear.




may 2015

Creating a wedding registry is one of the oh-so-fun parts of being engaged. Walking through aisles and aisles of your favorite store, picking out your favorite bowls, wine glasses and cutlery, knowing that someday soon those pieces will fill your new house as a married couple, help make it into a home. (Not to mention the pure thrill of knowing people are just going to give it all to you at no cost to you! ;)

But starting? That can be the hardest part. There are so many places out there that offer registries, how is one to know where to create, how many stores to divide your registry between, and how to even make sure you register for everything you need! Well, stop worrying, because we’ve got you covered. Check out some of our favorite registry destinations below. (And don’t worry, we’re not talking about the typical Target and Bed, Bath & Beyond registries…)

1. West Elm :: For the modern couple who loves a classic style that will carry them through the years, West Elm is just the place to go. It offers all of the essentials—kitchen and tableware, bed and bath, storage and organization—as well as big-ticket items like furniture. (And boy, do they have some stellar options there!) Modern offerings with a timeless air? We love it.

2. Anthropologie :: For the couple who likes something a little different, who gravitates toward whimsy, artisan, and very unique pieces, this is the place to go. While many pieces are simply classics with a twist, they have a sprinkling of products you won’t find anywhere else—pieces inspired by ocean creatures, juice glasses with whales and swimmers diving off the sides, plates with ladybugs and gold trim. And in their home section, you’ll feel like a world traveler, with colors and patterns reminiscent of India, Morocco, Mexico, and more—many of them embellished with fun tassels and bells. When you register at Anthropologie, you’ll be creating a home completely unique to you as a couple! We love their eclectic offerings. {P.S. Check out BHLDN, Anthro’s sister site, just for brides. It. Is. Beautiful.}

3. Zola :: For the couple who likes a little bit of this and a little bit of that, Zola is just the place to go. Created with modern couples in mind, Zola is a one-stop shop for everything you need, conveniently online only, so you can register from the comfort of your home. They carry classic brands like KitchenAid, Le Creuset, Nordicware, and Lenox, as well as brands you don’t typically see on inclusive registry sites, like canvas home, kate spade new york, and Jonathan Adler. From classic crystal glassware to unexpected decorative objects, Zola has something for traditionalists and eccentrics alike! This is the perfect registry for the couple whose family lives far away or those having a destination wedding, as gifts can all be directly shipped to your home, so guests need not worry about travelling with them and you don’t have to lug home a trailer of gifts after the wedding. Win-win! We love the breadth of products Zola offers. There’s something for everyone!

4. Something Non-Traditional :: Some couples get married later in life, and some simply already have everything they need or want to set up their new home. As such, the traditional registry becomes obsolete. But that doesn’t mean you have to forego gifts! Consider something non-traditional. We love the idea of a Honeymoon Registry, which allows couples to have their guests sponsor parts of their honeymoon, weather it’s a nice bottle of champagne at your hotel, a romantic candlelit dinner at a restaurant while you’re away, or even something really fun, like a moped ride for two through the city you’re staying at! This let’s you plan a bit more extravagantly than perhaps you would if the whole trip was on your own dime and lets your guests give you something more personal that cash. Foodies might want to set up a restaurant registry. And for those who love outdoor adventures, REI let’s you register for everything you need for a simple afternoon hike or a week-long backpacking trip. And for those who really just want cash? Zola has fixed the “Is it tacky to just ask for money?” conundrum by setting up different cash funds that you can register for on their site to help you show your guests what their monetary gifts will go toward, which makes writing a check much more personal. Perfect! Tendr is also a sweet option.

What do you think? If you’re already married, where did you register? If you’re newly engaged, what are your thoughts? Will you go the traditional route, split your registry between several shops, or go for something out of the box? And if you don’t know what to register for, check out this awesome, comprehensive checklist!




may 2015

As the weather warms up, we love trying out new hairstyles. During the long winter months, it’s easy to get stuck in a hair rut, especially when you’re always cramming on a hat to keep warm. So, with longer days and sunshine, we think it’s time to experiment with some new hairstyles and perfect some tried and true options! The best part of this round-up? These are all styles that can be either super casual or unexpectedly sexy, depending on what outfit you pair it with. So, whether you’re headed to the beach, a barbeque, a cocktail party or a wedding, give these styles a try!

Braids :: We love a good braid. They make you look casual, approachable and pulled together, all at once. We’re obsessed with braided crowns. It gets your hair off of your neck on hot summer days, can tuck under a straw hat at the farmer’s market, and would even make a stunning bridal hairstyle with a flower or two woven into the braid. Check out the tutorial HERE. We also love the laid-back vibes of a fishtail pony. Since you start by pulling your hair up into a high ponytail, you won’t have to worry about pieces falling out as the day goes on. And by doing a fishtail braid rather than the traditional, it looks a little more elegant. This is the perfect hairstyle for running errands!

Buns :: Obsessed with the top knot? It’s a simple way to get your hair up and out of your way while still giving off a pulled together vibe. We love THIS tutorial on how to make the perfect messy French bun—because those French ladies always look chic, even with their hair piled on top of their heads. This look pairs perfectly with a sailor stripe tee, shorts and gladiator sandals, with a sundress and shades, or with a jumpsuit and a pop of bright pink lipstick!

High-Low :: We love the high-low look—tailored sweatpants and heels, a denim shirt with a full party skirt, a statement necklace with a plain white tee. So, naturally, we love hairstyles that let us play with that high-low balance. J.Crew always seems to nail the simple, low messy ponytail. It looks so casual, but when paired with, say, a cocktail dress (or, dare we say, a bridesmaid dress) it exudes sexy elegance! Imagine the simplicity in getting ready for your big summer events with this hairstyle! Pair the look with some heels and a poppy lip, and you can’t go wrong. And what about combining a classic French Twist with a romper, or a boxy tee and skinny jeans? They key with this one is to make it a little loose and messy, pair it with simple dewy make-up, so it’s more laid-back. Check out THIS oh-so-simple tutorial for a fool-proof twist. Your hair will be out of your face, and it’s so much more unexpected than a bun.

So, what do you think? Are you a top knot everyday kind of girl? Or do you like to step outside of the box and try something a little out of the ordinary? Will you give any of these summery hairstyles a try? Post a pic and share with us @whitepeacockstyle!




may 2015

It’s the first of May! Can you believe it? We’re hoping that Minnesota and Mother Nature are kind to us in the coming weeks and that Spring is here to stay. Because we’re ready for backyard barbeque season, to spend weekends on the porch with friends, soaking up the sun! Cinco de Mayo is happening on Tuesday, and we think that’s the perfect way to kick off the season! It’s a fun, festive occasion, and it’s the type of party that requires very little planning but is oh-so-fun! And you know what that means? Time to dust off that tequila bottle and mix up some margaritas!

And what goes better with Margaritas than some delicious Mexican food? For your Cinco de Mayo celebrations, we recommend serving Carnitas! It’s a crowd-pleaser for kids and adults alike, can be served up buffet-style, and is full of so many yummy {and actually kind of good for you!} food! Start with crispy tostadas, add a layer of refried beans, a mound of shredded pork, and top it with all of your favorites—pico de gayo lettuce, salsa, guacamole, queso fresco, a squeeze of lime, and whatever else you can dream up!

With this style of meal, each guest can add whatever toppings they’d like and skip whichever ones they don’t prefer, so everyone is happy! And don’t forget to have a bowl of chips for those who want to go back for extra guacamole. And when it comes to guacamole, we believe homemade is always best. So mash up some avocados, dice some red onions, squeeze in a generous amount of lime juice, a bunch of chopped cilantro, and salt it to taste! It’s simple to make, and a significant cut above store-bought options. Throw up a string of lights and lay down a festive tablecloth, and you’ll be good to go! Now, for the drinks . . .

We love a good ol’ fashioned classic margarita, on the rocks. But if you’re looking to serve something a little out of the ordinary, this Blood Orange Margarita looks divine, this Pineapple Margarita looks super refreshing, and a peach variety? Yes, please. But, for you purists out there, we’ve included a simple, classic variety, just for you. But be careful—these bad boys pack a punch. {Which is why we always include a splash of water . . . that way you can enjoy two or three without things getting crazy!} And if you’re making them for a crowd, consider making the blended variety {rather than on the rocks} for quick, easy mixing!

The Classic Margarita

3 Tablespoons Silver Tequila
1 1/2 Tablespoons Triple Sec
1 1/2 Tablespoons Fresh-Squeezed Lime Juice
Splash of Water
Lime Wedge or Cucumber Slice
Sea Salt

To rim the glass, fill a saucer with salt, rub a lime wedge around the rim until moistened, then dip the rim into the salt. Add the tequila, Triple Sec, lime juice, water, and a handful of ice into a cocktail shaker, and shake until well-mixed. Strain into a double old-fashioned glass {or whatever style you prefer} filled with ice. Garnish with a lime or cucumber, and enjoy!

So, will you be hosting or attending a Cinco de Mayo fiesta celebration this year?




april 2015

We’re all about weddings around here. And with wedding season underway, we’re dedicating every Wednesday to adding a little extra wedding inspiration to your lives! And to kick things off, we’ve rounded up some of our favorite bridesmaid gifts!

When it comes to the days leading up to your big day, it’s your besties that get you through all of the craziness—the planning, the details, the stress, but also the joys, the celebrations, the million tiny life-changing moments. And the day of your wedding? Well, they’re there to help you get ready and look your best, to stand up with you as you say I do, and to dance the night away! For all they do, it’s important to give them something sweet to thank them for how much they mean to you! We know that planning a wedding can get pretty close to breaking the bank, so we’ve rounded up 10 gifts at a variety of price-points under $100, so you can find something special no matter your budget!

Think: a scarf or flower pin for the fashionista, a cosmetic case or a back-up tech battery for the girl who’s always on the go, a journal for the friend who loves to write it all down, a piece of jewelry for the minimalist or a monogrammed ring dish for something personalized, a cheeky tube of lipstick in her favorite color for the friend who believes a fresh pop of lip color can cure just about anything, or a cute mug {and a matching one for you} for all of your BFF meet-ups over morning coffee or afternoon tea! Check out all of the sources and prices below.

Peacock Diamond Scarf, $59.50 | Monogrammed Garland Ring Dish, $10 | Triple C Classic Power Card, $39.50 |Classic Nylon Ezra Cosmetic Bag, $60 | Dart Bangle, $80 | Knottedrush Ring, $60 | Tinted Lip Treatment, $12 |Charlotte Street Mug, $19 | Peach Petal, $21.50 | Rose Botanicals Journal, $15

And to all of you who are engaged, do tell us, what gifts are you giving your bridesmaids?

P.S. Looking for a fun, totally unique way to ask your besties to be bridesmaids? Order a Frilloon and have it delivered to their door, along with a note asking them to stand up with you on your big day! You can order it by emailing, and we can coordinate either a surprise delivery to your gals or bring the Frilloons to you so you can deliver them yourself!




march 2015

You can’t find someone much sweeter than Calir Daley. She runs Hooked Calligraphy, a hand-lettering and modern calligraphy studio, and we have had the supreme pleasure of working with her on several different projects in the last year. Most recently, she was one of our makers at the Makers Unite event we co-hosted with Spark Letterpress {keep your eyes peeled for photos and a film from that event, coming soon!}, where she had a table set up showing off her gorgeous work and showing our guests some modern calligraphy technique. Because not only does she hand-letter placecards and envelopes for special events, as well as custom work {remember this window display??} but she also teaches modern calligraphy workshops to share her love of this unique art!

Clair is kind and incredibly talented, and we’re so excited to share an interview with her today, where she talks about how she got started with calligraphy, her life-long love for hand-lettering, and her inspiring belief that she was not made to do one single thing. Keep scrolling and check it out!

White Peacock: When did you first start practicing calligraphy?

Clair: Growing up, I was always a “doodler” and lover of writing by hand (passing 5-page notes in class, anyone!?), but I seriously started diving into calligraphy in 2013 when I needed a creative break from my day job. And my addiction to hand-lettering has only grown since then!

WP: When did you launch Hooked, and what was your inspiration for pursuing hand-lettering as a career?

C: After graduating from art school, I was working in event planning for and handful of years and enjoyed it—but found myself not being satisfied by working just one 8-5 job. I started thinking about what it might be like to instead cobble together a few different sources of income, including something more creative like hand-lettering. But I admit, I was nervous. After a few months of flying under the radar with a “soft launch” on family and friends, I finally went all-in and made Hooked a reality in the spring of 2014!

WP: What did the process of starting your own business look like?

C: think the first step is always to simply take that chance . . . to jump off the dock into the lake, even though it looks freezing cold. You have to take the first step and worry about the details later! After taking my plunge, I was just constantly practicing my craft, doing a lot of cold-calling by sending out sample packets, and putting a good effort into building a social media presence. With hand-lettering being such a visual art, it has been super important to have those in-hand (or on-screen!) samples of my work available to get it off the ground. And I also had quite a bit of luck by landing right away with some really talented Twin Cities vendors, like White Peacock! 

WP: What are the different types of projects that you work on?

C: I do of course create the more standard calligraphy items, like envelope addressing, placecards, and event signage—but I also like to say that I will literally write on ANYTHING! One of the things that I love bout modern calligraphy is ow creative he movement is right now; calligraphers today are always pushing the boundaries by testing new materials and using the basics in new ways. Lately, I’ve been riting placecards on geodes, greetings on balloons, r even inner menus on sheet metal! I especially love taking on custom project, ike arge-scale installations an store-ron window—and it’s been so special to have clients trust me to create some very personal work, like tattoo designs. (It still blows my mind that there are people walking around with my handwriting on their bodies!)

WP: What have been the biggest challenges and rewards of running your own business?

C: It’s an exciting time to se hand-lettering wor grow in the technology-driven times we live i, so it’s been especially rewarding for me to see how happily people respond to my work simply because it is hand-written. But, it’s not without the occasional lient demands nd business challenges that come with any design work . . . figuring ou busines taxes is currently my least favorite part!

WP: How do you maintain a healthy work/life balance?

C: Personally, diversification of my work is important, as I’ve realized I’m not meant to do just one thing—so I do have another job working in digital media, along with my client work for Hooked, teaching modern calligraphy workshops locally with the lovely ladies over at LAB MPLS, plus the occasional event planning contract work as well—and I love it all! The flexibility between my different jobs allows me to build my own schedule and that has been so great, to pick up work when I need it and turn down projects when I need a little more personal time . . . being your own boss is so empowering!

WP: Where does the name “Hooked” come from?

C: fter avering on choosing a name for my hand-lettering business for weeks, I caught myself describing my hand-lettering efforts to family and friends as “being so hooked on calligraphy.” And I knew it was perfect!

WP: Do you have a dream client you’d like to work with? If so, who?

C: don’t have a particular client in mind, but some of my 2015 goals are to get more national wedding clients and to e published on a national wedding/event blog, like Style Me Pretty! So dreamy!




march 2015

After months of grey days, bitter cold, or a dreadful mix of both, spring is here! We were hoping it would come early this year :) And with March in full swing, you know what that means? Spring Break! Do any of you have trips planned in the next couple of weeks? Where are you headed? As you prepare for your tropical vacations, we have a couple of packing essentials, along with tricks, tips, and recommendations.

1. Cover-Ups: Every beach-goer needs a good cover-up. Whether it’s a romper, rash guard or kaftan, it’s always handy to have something to throw on over your suit for sun protection or an added layer. Abbie Sitkoff, buyer atBig Island Swim & Surf, a swimwear shop in Wayzata, says that cover-up trends are quite varied this year. Some of her favorite styles?

  • Crochet cover-ups—They make you feel covered up while still showing some skin.
  • Rompers are a huge trend right now—Pants-style rompers are a great piece to throw over your suit to wear to lunch/dinner after a day at the beach.
  • Maxi dresses with cut-outs on the side
  • Rashguards are very on-trend! We have a style that has a drawstring at the side, which ruches to allow the customer to make it longer and wear it as a cover-up. {The rashguard above features UPF 50 sun protection, a great alternative to slathering sunscreen if you have sensitive skin!}

{Some of Abbie’s favorite brands for good cover-ups include Melissa OdabashBeccaCoolchange, and Mikoh.}

2. Accessories: You can’t hit the beach without the proper accessories—a good floppy hat, sunglasses, and sandals are all must-haves. Abbie says that straw hats in naturals and golds are selling especially well this year, both in wide-brimmed hats and fedoras. Ray Bans are classic sunnies, and she says that mirrored aviators are also very popular this year. And for comfortable, stylish footwear, she recommends Vix, Havaianas, and Tkees. “Customers like styles with a printed/patterned foot bed. Also, the “glamour” collection from Havaianas sells well, as the sandals have a gem on the thong strap.”

3. Swimsuits: What’s a warm-weather vacations without a new swimsuit?? We love bright colors and patterns, and as for cuts, there are a ton of great trends this year. Here’s what Abbie has been noticing:

  • Cropped swimsuits and rashguards are doing very well. Pairing a cropped rashguard with a swim bottom is a cute and sporty look that has become especially popular with paddle boarders.
  • Hi-Neck styles are blowing out! Customers love this style because it provides you with sun coverage on the chest area {which burns easily} and still looks super cute.
  • Crochet and macramé styles continue to be popular. Crochet backs are a big trend right now, as well as detailing on the straps of halter tops and in the middle of bandeau tops.
  • Athletic inspired swimwear is very trendy right now as well, we just picked up a new brand called Next. They started out as a stand-up paddle board brand and have branched out into swim. The tops are almost sports bra like and are very secure, they also come in fun prints and many tops are reversible.

{A few of Abbie’s favorite brands for on-trend swimwear include VitaminAL SpaceSeafolly, and Vix.}

4. Beach Reads: Vacations are a perfect time to finally relax after months of activities and running around. It’s also a perfect time to catch up on some good books! Sue Zumberge, owner of SubText bookstore in St. Paul, suggested a few of the books on her spring reading list:

  • Still Life with Bread Crumbs by Anna Quindlen {A romantic comedy that isn’t just about its light humor, but about second chances and chasing after what is most important in life.}
  • Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie {A story of race, identity and discovering oneself.}
  • The Martian by Andy Weir {“Even if you don’t like Sci Fi, you love this one.” Mark is the first man to land on Mars. And he may just be the first man to die there too.}
  • Shotgun Lovesongs by Nickolas Butler {“This is written by a Midwest guy from Eau Clair!” And, set in a small Wisconsin town where old friends return for a wedding, it’s a look at the despair and triumphs of the human condition through the lens of friendship and love.}

5. Pack it up and jet away: So, you have the essentials, but now you have to pack it all up! And that’s the hard part. With airline fees, we like to try and fit everything in a carry-on, but that can be quite a problem when you’re an over-packer! Luckily, we got some tips from Natalie Johnson, local photo stylist, jet-setter and packer extraordinaire, to help us slim down our bags and hit the road! Here’s what she said:

  • The Essentials: “For warm-weather trips, I always have a maxi dress of some sort, which makes a great, versatile day-to-evening look. Lately a jumpsuit is always a must-have—it can be worn with gladiator sandals during the day and an awesome wedge/heel at night! Don’t forget a killer cover up that you can rock at the beach but will be perfect for happy hour cocktails as well. Other warm weather must have? A great sunscreen for your skin!”
  • Avoid Over-Packing: “I suggest planning outfits for day/evening, and pack in layers so you can partner different things together so the outfit changes, but you are not adding extra pieces. Laying the “looks” out before you travel and taking a picture really helps. I always take out the last few items I tend to throw in at the last minute thinking I’ll need them. Unless you’re are going to some remote place that won’t offer you a convenience store or shopping of some sort, remember the best part of travel is to marvel at something new, and embrace the new surroundings. So if you do by chance forget something, treat yourself! It will help you remember the vacation!”
  •  Space-Saving Tips: “I swear by rolling clothes! {Helps eliminate wrinkles and saves on space.} For toiletries, I fill travel bottles {from my full-sized bottles at home}—it’s an easy way to save room in the zip lock baggy. You can also save room if you layer your airport look—wear your jacket or pashmina and throw jewelry in your carry on.

Thanks for your tips, Abbie and Natalie! We’re so excited for spring break travels, and we hope all of you have fun, relaxing vacations in the next couple of weeks! And don’t forget to share some of your favorite photos with us!

And for more inspiration on your travels, follow Big Island on Facebook and Natalie on Instagram and Facebook!




february 2015

A couple weeks ago we had the pleasure of sitting down with Thao Nguyen, owner and creative genius behind Parc Boutique. One of the loveliest local women’s shops in the Twin Cities, Parc has two locations, one in Northeast Minneapolis and one in Edina. Both shops are impeccably curated, not only offering chic, timeless {but still on-trend} apparel, but also shoes, handmade jewelry, alternative magazines and apothecary. Thao opened the NE location seven years ago. After living in San Francisco for several years and growing to love the local boutique scene out there, she realized a boutique shopping experience was something she hadn’t encountered in her native Minnesota. So, when she decided to move back home from California, she began dreaming of starting a shop of her own. After about a year of planning, figuring out her target market, scouting products and finding a location, Parc opened and has been a Minneapolis staple ever since. In September Thao opened her second location in Edina to offer even more to her growing customer base. Below, she answers a couple of questions about being a business woman, a mother, and some of her favorite items in the shop.

White Peacock: What style does Parc Boutique embody?

Thao: We’re casual chic. You know, emphasizing T-shirts and jeans, sticking to a mid-price point, [with products of] great quality and obviously [giving customers] the boutique experience.

WP: Where do you go to find the looks you have in the store

T: We attend trade shows 3-4 times a year. So I’m always scouting what new designers come out with in the collection. But I also work with small, indie designers that don’t go to the big trade shows and see what their collections are. And it’s always good to see what the hot thing is going to be for the season, but I always, always at the end of the day, make decisions based on who the Parc customer is, where we’re located, if it’s something we could see our customers wearing. I know a certain color was hot [last season] but we didn’t pick it up because it’s not a color we see our customers wearing. When you go to our shop it’s very black, white, and grey. Pops of color here and there, but we kind of stick to that color palette. Even with cuts and styles—we always look to see what the newest thing is but always figure out what would be best for our customers.

WP: How do the Edina and NE locations differ?

T: Well, our NE location is bigger and we have a lot more merchandise. The Edina location is a lot smaller space, and the light in there is just so great that I wanted to keep it simple. So we painted it all white and kept the racks and shelves very minimal. We just have literally one of each size [for each item]. We didn’t over-stuff the racks. And we emphasized apothecary, so candles, jewelry, with an emphasis on the smaller goods and gifty items. But it’s still very much Parc. Same price point, same brands. We introduced a few more brands that we don’t have at NE that are exclusive to Edina. But yeah, less clothes, more objects.

WP: What have been some of the biggest challenges and rewards of owning your own business

T: I would say, one of the biggest challenges is wearing many, many hats. I mean, I [have a hand] in everything. But that can be challenging yet rewarding because I know that I CAN do everything. But the biggest thing for me when I step back and look at my business, are the people. The people that have worked at the shop, who I’ve had relationships with after they’ve left—many students [who have] graduated and now they’re working and we become friends. But also my customers and those relationships that I make with them—seeing them come into the shop and I’m able to pick out outfits for them. It’s like having your best friend come into the shop. So, I would say the relationships I’ve had with my customers and my team.

WP: You said you wear many hats at the shop. What all do you do?

T: Well, Monday vs. Friday is a totally different day. But, first thing I do is come in and check emails. So I spend, honestly, a couple hours doing that. And then when the team comes in I give a run-down of how the day is going to go. It’s really dependent on weather. If it’s a sunny day, we know we’re going to have a busy day. We merchandise every week, so that’s always something we do, where the girls can get creative. I’ll have the occasional coffee date, meetings throughout the day or morning, and then I step out on the floor if I’m done with my back office work. I like to be on the floor, talk to my customers a bit. And then once a week Wing, from Canary Grey, comes in and we do photos for the website. So we have models come in and we shoot for a couple hours. And then a couple days after the photo shoot we get everything up online. So that’s literally just the big cycle that we do every week.

And then I try to take the weekends off to spend time with Josephine, my three-year-old, but I’m always working. I work from home, from the office, from everywhere. There really is no typical day, but I would say [many] consist of merchandising, receiving merchandise, or photoshoots, and we do look books every season too. So we’ll plan for that—that doesn’t happen overnight. That’s something that we plan months in advance. Everything from set location, to getting the right models to pulling all the looks, and then once that comes in going through all the photos and editing and making sure that everything looks really good. So those are kind of the fun things that we do. Occasionally we travel. I [just went] to New York, scouting for Fall 2015.

WP: How do you maintain a healthy work/life balance?

T: That was definitely harder in the beginning. I felt like it was always work, work, work. But I feel like it had to be to get my business off on the right foot. Now that we’ve been in business for seven years, I’m able to take some time off, dedicated days off where I let my shop girls know, today’s my day off, I’m spending time with Josephine. Because I want to be a good mom. But I’m also a business woman at the end of the day. It’s just balancing the two. I guess the easiest thing is just making a schedule. Before I would be like, ‘If it’s busy I’ll work, if not I’ll take some time off.’ But now, Saturdays and Sundays are devoted to my daughter. If I have to work that’s fine, but I try to give myself a set schedule. But it’s hard. I end up somehow bringing her to the shop with me. She doesn’t mind it too much!

WP: What views on beauty and style would you like to instill in your daughter?

T: Well, she’s three years old right now, and I’ve been letting her choose some of the things [she wears]. Sometimes she’ll choose her outfits, but she really looks to me to choose some of her things. But I let her pick her accessories, what shoes she wants to wear with her outfit. I’m letting her have her own opinions on either style or comfort and just letting her be her own person, whatever style she chooses. But we started to accessorize young!

WP: Speaking of accessorizing, how do you keep your look fresh in the Winter?

T: The beanies we have in the shop seem to go with everything. You can accessorize any outfit with it and it’ll keep you warm. Also, what we’re getting right now are some great distressed boyfriend jeans. I know it seems kind of cold right now, with the holes and everything, but that’s something that you could definitely transition and that we just started getting in for the season, but that you could wear all spring and summer long. And leather booties. They go with everything, from dresses to jeans to sweaters. And with Minnesota weather, they’re easy to wipe clean.



The Art of the Hostess Gift

december 2014


In the next several weeks, most of us have at least one major holiday gathering to attend. And between fun cocktail soirees, ugly Christmas sweater parties, work receptions and family gatherings, many of us have more than a few. And that’s just for Christmas…then it’s time to bring on the New Year’s Eve bashes! When it comes to planning parties, we always say that it’s the details that make the party. And, as guests, we believe the very same thing. That’s why we believe in the power of a simple but stunning hostess gift. It will make your hostess’ night, and you’ll feel great knowing you’ve properly thanked her for throwing such a fabulous fête!

Today, we’ve put together some of our favorite hostess gifts. They’re the kinds of gifts that you’d give you your best friend, your neighbor, your sister or mother, those ladies in your life who throw the most stunning parties, who whip up a mean cocktail, and who are the most gracious of hosts, no matter who walks through their door. They are the do-it-all-with-a-smile, hostess with the most-ess, Martha Stewarts of our lives, and they deserve a hostess gift that’s a bit out of the ordinary this holiday season! Here are some of our favorite picks:

Sugar Paper Print {in gold foil!}, $40, because she’s classy and fabulous, and you love her just as she is, with her heart of gold and million dollar smile. And who doesn’t love a bit of new artwork for their home?

Martha McQuade Scarf, $30, because she has the best style, and this will go with everything she has, from being a wrap with cocktail dresses to dressing up a t-shirt and jeans for a run to the grocery store. Plus, it’s designed and hand-dyed by a local artist, so it tells a beautiful story.

Sunday Suppers Olive Oil, $35 because she loves cooking and inviting people over to share in the experience, and a bottle so beautiful will look incredible sitting on her counter so it’s always close at hand.

Kinfolk Magazine Subscription, $60, because she loves small gatherings all year long, not just around the holidays, and between the thoughtful articles and stunning photography, this publication will provide inspiration for those gatherings year-round.

Air Plant + Faceted Ceramic Holder, $20, because she loves good design and because everyone needs a little more green in their lives—and this just happens to be the perfect combination of the two. And it’s super low maintenance, so it’s perfect if she–ahem–has a track record of killing plants. That, and it’s super tiny and adorable.

Illume Balsam & Cedar Candle, $18, because who doesn’t love a candle that smells like the holidays and makes winter a little more cozy? Plus, it comes in a cute tin and is made by a wonderful local company! Win, win.

Solveig Gin$30, because she loves her gin tonics, the bottle is beautiful + will look good on her bar cart, and it makes so many fun holiday cocktails. Locally distilled, tt’s a charming, thoughtful upgrade from a bottle of wine!

What are some of your favorite hostess gifts to give? Attending any holiday parties this weekend? We hope they’re fabulous!




september 2014


The other week we had the pleasure of chatting with Megan Gonzalez, owner of MaeMae & Co., and hearing about her company and beautiful design work, which focuses on wedding suites and branding projects.

Megan started MaeMae in 2008, during her senior year of college as a way to make some extra money, designing for other students on campus at Biola University in Southern California. After graduating, getting married, moving and hour and a half north of LA, and struggling to find full-time design work in her new city, she started pursuing her own design business more seriously. In 2012 she and her husband Jason moved to Minnesota—he got a job as a sports writer at the Star Tribune—and MaeMae moved with them. Since the relocation, Megan’s business has expanded to include three other employees—Katie, the studio assistant, Lori, the team designer, and Anna, the design apprentice—and the group of four recently moved out of their work space in Megan’s home into a loft-turned-office a few blocks away. Their stunning space is airy, full of light and inspiration, and very much reflects the aesthetic of the designs MaeMae creates.

We talked with Megan about her creative discovery process, how her role has changed over the years, and her favorite types of projects and clients. Check out the full interview below!

White Peacock: What is the scope of the work you do at MaeMae?

Megan: We started as a wedding stationery company, all custom, and then in 2012 moved into a ready-made wedding line, so that people could purchase designs and customize it—change the color, change their text, change the paper type and print method. And then, in 2010 I also started doing branding. It’s taken different shapes over time, and now what we do is focus on working with other businesses—mostly creative—and we help them when they feel kind of like they’re stuck. Like, they’re moving toward a different clientele or a different service, and they want to really elevate the brand, pretty much from the inside out. So we help them with their internal systems, their processes, strategy, and of course help with visuals—web design, logo and all that entails, and then stationary packaging, we help with photoshoots and do illustrations. So, the branding side has been really cool because we’re using a different side of the brain. It’s not just visuals; we do a lot, like a check-up on the inside of the business. So that’s been really fun. And then with weddings right now we’re kind of making a shift from more of the quirky style that it started out with to something that’s a bit more refined and suitable for more classic and high-end weddings, while keeping that layered and mismatched look that people really like from us. So, we’re kind of at a cool point, where there’s a lot of things that are still there from the start of the business that have just been refined and updated.

WP: How has your role shifted over the years?

M: With every client I’m involved in a different way. My goal would to be to work a lot on division of what’s next, get into product and help develop that, and work a lot with vendor relationships and making connections to bring new clients in. But I still do love concepting for projects—that’s my favorite, and I love meeting with clients. I still like everything, but it’s like, ok, I gotta do something else, otherwise we’ll just stay the same all the time.

WP: What is a favorite project or type of project that you’ve worked on?

M: I really love styling. We worked on this one project where Katie sourced a bunch of materials that we styled and shot with Wing from Canary Grey, that were the filler images on our website, and I thought that was really fun, to see an end-product that, everything on there, we did. I like projects like that in branding where we get to be like, yeah, we had a hand in everything on there. Like a full-service project. I really like it when we have clients that come to us with a vision for something that’s different than what everyone else is doing versus the clients that want to stay on-trend with things. We worked with a photographer recently who didn’t want to have a really feminine photography site—she wanted to hang with the guys and have a more polished and more masculine vibe. And I loved that. That’s my favorite site that we’ve done.

WP: What have been the biggest challenges in having your own business?

M: I think separating work and life is really hard. I think something that can be difficult is separating out what you like doing versus what your clients like you to do, and finding a happy medium there. I hit this one point where people would tell me, ‘Oh, that doesn’t look MaeMae enough.’ And that was quite a while ago now, but it always sticks with me. It just bugged me because at the time it was just me, and I was like, well, I’m MaeMae and I’m the only one making this, and can’t I change and grow? So, it’s defining your own personal taste and what you want to do versus what the clients want you to do. I think that’s difficult to figure out how do you change but still attract people, or if you’re going to go a totally different way you have to figure out how to reach new people.

WP: Greatest rewards?

M: I feel like I’ve just learned so much. In talking with other business owners or other creatives, I’ve begun to realize that, through the hard knocks, I’ve learned a lot. And there’s a lot of things outside of work that those lessons helped me as a person to improve and mature faster. So that’s been something that’s really good. And then I think, now that I have a team, the flexibility of having your own business is starting to come into play. It’s been really nice to feel like, ok, well I need to leave or something comes up, and I have other people there to support me and take over.

WP: How have you been able to strike a good work/life balance?

M: I’m definitely still working on it. I think one of the best things I did was get a separate line for my cell, and I don’t give clients my cell phone number. Not everybody who has a small business can work outside of their home, but for me that’s something that’s been really helpful. There would be times where, even if I wasn’t physically sitting at a desk at my house working, it was like I couldn’t turn my brain off because I could see things. So that’s been really helpful. And then, I think if you have it in you to have the self-discipline to say, these are my times I work, that’s fantastic. But then there’s other times where you’re just like, I’m in the middle of the project, I can’t stop. Or, if I leave, I’m going to be two weeks behind on work. You know what I mean? So, I don’t know, I’m still trying to figure it out.

But I think there’s also this element that you have to embrace as a creative, where you’re like, there’s a lot of overlap with work and life, and if you’re passionate about what you do as a creative, you’re going to hunger to want to make stuff and think about it and jot it down, and I think that’s something to embrace. You just have to be aware of when it starts influencing your happiness and other people who are important in your life, and that’s when you went too far.

WP: What is your creative process for new clients and discovering their personal style and taste?

M: The first thing we do is talk on the phone, in here, or on Skype. It’s just a time to get to know them. The next thing that we do is send the proposal, and it contains visual information and information about the timeline and the investment, and we also pair that with a written description about what we’re going to do. That way it hits on all levels—you see it, you read it, you see graphs about what we’re doing, so it kind of makes them understand what we’re wanting to do and sets our expectations at the same level. And then once we book them, we put them in the calendar and start working!

We’re trying to be really thorough in the prep, so that once we dive in to actually making stuff, we’ve already thought through so many things and know what the end product is supposed to look like. Whereas I think a lot of designers spend time in the process of “make, make, have it rejected or refine it,” our goal is to send people things that, the very first time they get it, they love it. Their expectations have been set up, so they know what they’re going to get. So, prepping is a big part of the whole process—lots of questions, several meetings even before they see any designs. That way, we can just cut to the chase. We want people to feel like we’re steering the project—you put it in our hands, so you’ll just be the yes and no person. So that’s been really helpful and exciting to see that that works when you just take a different stance with the client, instead of letting them think they’re directing the whole thing. Because they shouldn’t have to. And I think if you’re somebody who does like to direct, we’re just not the right people for you. And there are designers who don’t like to direct, so that’s why there are so many different people out there.

WP: Do you have a dream client you’d like to work with? If so, who would that be?

M: We’ve had a lot of dream clients recently. They’re people who saw something we do, so they love it, trust us, and then they come in and we glean what they’re looking for and deliver it. And because of that process, too, the first time we send them something they’re like, ‘Done. We love it.’ You know, that’s the dream client! And I think trust is the ultimate thing there. Because I think what we offer is so beyond a standard graphic design service, since we’re getting really in-depth and helping you solve problems and thinking big-picture. Like, if you have a blog, theses are the kinds of photos you should feature, these are what your subjects should be, this is what your tone should be. So, if they don’t trust us, we can’t deliver a final project that [we both love].



fall fashion notes

september 2014


It’s Fall Fashion Week in New York, so we have style on the brain. There has been the slightest change in weather this week, so we’re beginning to think of fall and winter looks that we can don in the coming months. The best part about this season’s styles is that they’ll make the transition into colder weather almost pleasant with the colors and shapes that are on-trend—and all these looks can be mixed and matched for a super cool, super chic look.

Dahlia Brue, owner of Idun, a stunning boutique that opened on Selby Ave. in St. Paul this summer, chatted with us about her take on this season’s trends. “I think the most unexpected trend that I saw was actually pastels, which was really interesting. [Designers are] using Fall fabrics—a lot of suede, thick wool, and tweed—but it will just be with pastels,” she says.

Boxy, mod cuts are very in, with dresses giving off 70s vibes and tops showing off shorter, structural crops. “I think that women like that shape on their bodies,” says Dahlia. “Because you can really be any shape and size and you can pull it off, which is really nice.” And when it comes to outerwear, it’s all about the cocoon coat. “I think that was big last year too, but that’s still a great look,” she added. “And then turtlenecks. I love turtlenecks this season. I saw a lot ofthat [from different designers].”

The best way to beautifully coast from Summer to Fall is by utilizing soft layers and neutrals, slowly adding in pieces that bridge the seasonal gap. Minnesota has some of the strangest seasonal transitions—sometimes we have a gorgeous, long Autumn, and sometimes we jump straight from summer to snow, and because of that many of us hate investing in clothing for the in-between weather. But with layers in a more neutral palette, you can add and take away pieces throughout the day so you’re always comfortable, and the neutrals make sure you always look pulled together because they won’t clash. Dahlia thinks a lightweight jacket is the best investment you can make for the Fall, allowing you to keep wearing your favorite T-shirt and jeans while giving you the option to throw on a coat as the evenings cool down. (That way we can extend patio season for a little longer!) That, and some killer socks. “I always feel like a good transitional piece is starting to insert socks again,” says Dahlia. “It’s the smallest thing, but I feel like that’s the start of the transition.”

But the most important piece with styles and staples is finding what works best for you, establishing a personal style and choosing timeless pieces that speak to your lifestyle and interests. Dahlia agrees: “I always say the thing with trends, which I think designers are going more towards, is a little bit of the anti-trend—just being really comfortable in what you’re in, and being able to pull off whatever you want.”

What Dahlia is most excited to wear this season? A Nomia oversized, long vest coat (“Nomia takes streetwear and makes it so elegant.”); Base Range‘s turtleneck sweatshirt (“Why didn’t I think of that? It’s so genius— cozy and super cool.”); and classic hiking boots. “Personally, I’m not a huge riding boot person, and the ankle boot always cut my leg off in a weird way,” she says. “I’m actually seeing a lot of hiking boots—the true, serious hiking boot. I feel like that may be the new boot. At least I hope so, because I have some!”

If you’re looking to insert some of these Fall trends into your wardrobe in the coming months, we suggest stopping by Idun, and some of our other favorite local boutiques—ParcBluebird, and Mille, to name a few. And you can see some local designers’ takes on these trends at Fashionopolis next week, Minneapolis-St. Paul’s very own runway event! Just because we aren’t in New York, doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy a little Fashion Week of our own :)

Will you be at Fashionopolis next week? Find us and say hello if you’re there! What are some pieces and styles you’re most excited about wearing this Autumn? We’d love to hear!



back to school in style

august 2014


It’s been a summer of going, going, going, between parties and events, weekends away, beach days, and all of the other adventures that going hand-in-hand with this beautiful season. So, we can hardly believe it’s already time to go out to buy notebooks, markers, and glue and send the kids to school! And while it may seem like a drag to head back to the classroom, we’re strong believers in the joy of an outing to buy school supplies! Because what’s better that new notebooks and pens and office supplies galore?!

There’s really no reason to buy boring, primary-colored notebooks and yellow number two’s these days. Whether you’re heading back to school yourself for high school or college, or if it’s your kids that you’re bringing to the bus stop, we’ve rounded up some of our favorite supplies to help you go back to school in style! There are so many ways to show off some of your personal flair when checking off your back-to-school list.

1. Kate Spade Gold Dots 2015 17-month Planner, $30: Everyone—moms and kids alike—needs a way to keep track of assignments, appointments, concerts, and conferences. And why do it with a run-of-the-mill calendar? Add some panache to your daily engagements with gold dots galore! (There’s also a chic black stripe version.)

2. Rifle Paper Co. Birds of a Feather Notebooks, $14 (set of two): No need for boring spiral-bounds here! Taking notes can be fun with a book in a slightly smaller style, with pages full of gold accents. (And the binding helps the notebook lay flat when open, perfect for jotting down notable dates in American History and all of those intricate English grammar rules! And you know us White Peacock girls—we can never pass up flocking together with our birds of a feather ;)

3. Russell + Hazel Signature Three-ring Binder, $24: The perfect way to store all of your notes, worksheets, and handouts, this binder’s book linen spine comes in an array of personalized colors, and the inside cover is a dry erase board. (Perfect for brainstorming sessions!) And the rubber band keeps all of your paper secure!

4. Poppin Aqua Retractable Ballpoint Pens, $10 (set of six): Why write with a boring ballpoint or average yellow pencil? Show off some of your good taste as you scrawl with style in a pen that not only matches your notebooks but displays your personal style. With pens like these, you’ll be looking for reasons to write things down. (This DIY zipper pouch just so happens to be the perfect way to keep track of them!)

5. Poketo Striped Fleece Backpack, $38: Looking for a snappy way to bring all of your supplies together? A backpack that brags functionality with a French flair is just the thing, no matter your age! It’s big enough to fit all of the supplies you need to tote around—even a computer—but in a simple style, it will never look bulky. And if you’re in the market for a minimalist lunch bag, this is the perfect alternative to a brown bag.

Even if you aren’t heading back to school this fall, there’s no reason you can’t indulge in a couple new office supplies to ring in the season! ;) We’re head-over-heels for our white Poppin desk accessories. And Poketo’s new brass desk organizers are to die for. No office would be complete without one of Russell + Hazel’s acrylic accessories. Talk about chic modernism! And they’re a local company, so we can’t help but love them even more! They also have the loveliest business card holders and portfolios. {In gold!}

So tell us, are you excited for a new school year to begin? What are your favorite ways to add personal touches to you or your children’s school supplies? And we’re curious—what was your favorite subject in school?



gifts for dads

june 2014


Father’s Day is just around the corner, and we’re looking for special ways to celebrate the husbands and dads in our lives. We want this Sunday to be extra-special for our guys, so we’ve rounded up some of our favorite local gifts to give you some ideas of ways you can treat them this weekend!

1. Coffee Subscription, Spyhouse Coffee Roasters, $125. If your dad starts every day with a strong cup of black coffee, then this is the gift to get. Give him locally roasted artisan coffee, delivered to his door every two weeks for the next three months. Spyhouse rotates their current offerings, so your dad will have the chance to experience a wide variety of roasts.

2. North Hat, Askov Finlayson, $35. Is your dad a North Country guy? Help him show off his pride for the Great White North with this baseball cap, designed locally and made in the USA. It’s a quality hat that will last him through years of fishing, camping, and outdoor adventuring.

3. Teroforma Whiskey Lovers Set, MartinPatrick3, $60. Calling all whiskey snobs! These whiskey stones are the perfect way to keep your dad’s drink from getting watered down–just place the stones in the freezer, and when he’s ready for his drink they’ll cool it down without diluting the flavors. This set comes with whiskey stones and two glasses.

4. Marked Satchel, Marked, $360. For a dad who is always on the go, give him a bag that will last him the rest of his life. Marked leather goods are designed and sewn right in the Twin Cities with quality leather that only gets better with age. This satchel will fit his laptop, a good book, and even some diapers and wipes if he’s helping tote the kids around.

5. Red Wing Heritage Boots, Black Blue, Prices Vary. Red Wing boots have a heritage that dates back more than a century. While boots like these are a bit of an investment, with such high-quality craftsmanship, they’ll last until your kids have kids. Boots like these are the perfect gift for a dad who works hard, relishes outdoor adventures, or who just has a keen sense of style.

6. Smith Journal, Parc Boutique, $17.99. If your special guy is the smart, creative, enterprising type, he’ll love the stories of curiosity and innovation that grace the pages of the Smith Journal. This magazine is full of substance, wit, and phenomenal design, written in such a way that inspires and will make him stop and think. Any dad would be happy to tote around a magazine like this to read in moments of down-time.

How will you be celebrating Father’s Day this year? Any great gift ideas to add to the list? Do share!



tips + tricks for glowing summer skin

may 2014


Summer is just around the corner, and though that means lots of beach and barbeque time, it can also wreak havoc on your skin. And with all those fun summer parties to attend, you just can’t afford sunburn and an oily face. So, we’ve called in some beauty experts to give us tips on how to get your skin summer-party ready so you’re fresh-faced and dewy wherever you go!

Elizabeth Dehn, local beauty expert extraordinaire, has a national following on her site, Beauty Bets, home to all things beauty and wellness, be it product reviews and killer drugstore finds, tips and tricks for hair and make-up, or Elizabeth’s adventures in oil pulling or detox cleansing. Today, she gives us her can’t-miss steps for glowing summer skin:

  • Step 1: Exfoliate! Not only does a real solid salt or sugar scrub feel like a mini spa treatment in the shower, but it busts through any dull, dead skin and preps your limbs for the all-important self-tanner. I’m currently rationing out a jar of Herban Salted Butter Moisturizing Body Scrub.
  • Step 2: Self-tanner. It’s amazing what a touch of faux glow can do for a sundress—not to mention your self-confidence. It’s hard to beat St. Tropez Self-Tan Bronzing Mousse for a natural-looking golden hue and no-mess application.
  • Step 3: Moisturize. Forget lotion—I’m all about the body oil these days. A good one that’s derived from plant oils will deeply hydrate, extend the life of your sunless tan, and leave a beautiful dewy glow on shoulders and shins. I’m naturally partial to the one I just launched with One Love Organics, the Vitamin C Body Oil.

Karoline over at The Elixery, a local artisan cosmetic house that creates made-from-scratch beauty products, gave us her favorite recipe for a homemade body scrub, the Salt Glow. “Take a cup of quality sea salt and stir it up with 1/2 cup of almond oil. Add a few drops of your favorite essential oil (French Lavender is fantastic!) and scrub down in the shower. The salt not only exfoliates, but also helps to bring moisture to the surface, giving your skin a healthy glow.”

And once your skin is exfoliated and moisturized, you can put all the focus on your face. Here are Karoline’s three tips for an easy, glowing summer countenance:

  • The skin on your face is far too delicate for a Salt Glow, but a gentle exfoliating clay scrub will take off the winter blahs and reveal fresh, glowing skin. I like to compound Green Tea and Sandalwood in a special mixture of detoxifying clay for a gentle facial scrub. Sandalwood is an ancient Ayurvedic skin beautifier, and green tea and Redmond Clay add an antioxidant and detoxifying boost. It’s guaranteed to give you some healthy color back after this long winter!
  • To combat summer oiliness, try Aburatorigami—a beauty secret from the ancient Geisha to keep your face fresh and party-perfect. These are pressed rice papers which are used for lightly blotting the face without messing up your makeup. Tatcha’s Beauty Papers are fantastic—handmade with 100% natural rice paper and cruelty-free to boot.
  • As a finishing touch, a sheer lipstick is a summer essential. My favorite shade for the season is Ingénue, a coral shade that was designed to give a natural flush to the lips. As a bonus, Elixery lipstick is gentle enough to use on the cheek as well, so you can carry that adorable (but tiny) bag with fewer products for touch-ups.

After all of this, all you’ll be left to do is apply some mascara and buy a new dress, and you’ll be ready for any summer party that comes your way! Do you have any favorite summer beauty products? Any can’t-miss tips that we didn’t mention? Do share!

And thank you, Elizabeth and Karoline, for your brilliant advice!



birds of a feather: brass tacks

may 2014


Brass Tacks is a full-service lifestyle management company out of Minneapolis, run by Perris Deppa. Her goal with Brass Tacks is to bring simplicity to the lives of others, helping people with the little things they don’t have time for, freeing their lives for what is most important to them. Brass Tacks meets at the crossroads of personal assistance, travel planning, and concierge services, with the overarching aim of fostering personal relationships. And that’s no surprise, considering the moment you meet Perris, you are struck by her warmth, having one of those personalities that draws you in and puts you at ease. She’s a joy to chat with, and we’re so excited to feature an interview with her today!

Brass Tacks launched in January 2013 and has been growing ever since, largely through word-of-mouth. At any given time, Perris has several daily or weekly personal assistant clients and around three larger projects that involve greater planning and coordination. In the past year and a half, Perris has learned a lot about running a small business, and has some great wisdom to share. Read our full interview with her below!

White Peacock: Where did the idea for Brass Tacks come from, and how did you get started?

Perris: I started Brass Tacks out of a need I saw. I was working in advertising and I realized there are a lot of people in the world who don’t have time to manage their lives. I wanted to create a company that could fill that gap when someone doesn’t have time for something but doesn’t know who to call for help. But I wanted to make a business that was based on personal relationships. There are other concierge businesses out there that, when you’re in a pinch you call them, they do something and you never talk to them again. I wanted to make a business based on personal relationships so you have a relationship with me. I know my clients and I can basically help them with anything. I do a mix of personal assistance, travel planning, errand assistance, wrapping, and kind of everything in between. My tagline is “Bringing Simplicity to Your Life,” but it’s really just about freeing up time in your life. I think everybody has their own definition of what they don’t have time for, so it definitely varies by client. All of my clients, at the end of the day, are people who are willing to pay someone else to get time back into their lives and are usually people who appreciate having an assistant of sorts.

Starting Brass Tacks was a little unique in that I didn’t start it while doing something else. I left my job, took the risk, and spent probably three months setting it all up. The first stage of that was developing a business plan. I created about a 20-page business plan and that included doing competitive analysis, research about other concierge companies, research about rates, and really narrowing in on my target demographic. I figured out liability coverage–I go into people’s houses and deal with confidential information, so I wanted to have liability coverage. I worked with an attorney to set up my LLC. I spent a good two weeks just on my name alone. And then I spent probably a month developing my logo. I worked in partnership with a great designer out of Charleston, Hanna Seabrook. And that was really fun. I had a very specific vision for what I wanted it to look like. So I basically did everything up front before launching after the first of the year.

WP: Where does the name Brass Tacks come from?

P: I spent a very long time thinking about names. I wanted it to symbolize simplifying your life, reducing time, those sorts of things. And there’s a saying, “Let’s get down to brass tacks,” which basically means getting back to the basics. And I really liked the history of the saying and also what it meant. And it seemed like a perfect fit, because at the end of the day, what I’m doing is handling people’s things that they have to do, the basics of their life that they just don’t have time for or giving them time for those things they care most about, that they choose to focus on. So it kind of came to me and I liked that it had a double meaning. {Read more about the history of the saying on the Brass Tacks blog!}

WP: What are the biggest challenges and rewards of running your own business?

P: The biggest rewards are just hearing happy clients after a project. I think often when you’re self-employed and running your own business, you get kind of caught up in not knowing if you’re doing a good job. So it’s really rewarding when people come to me and love my business and love the work I do. That’s also the challenge though. I am my own business, so I don’t get paid if I’m not billing hours. And I think the hardest thing for me to balance is, I put a lot of time into the behind-the-scenes stuff, but even if I feel like I’m working all day, if I’m not billing someone, I’m not getting paid. So I think it’s just the balance of billable hours versus time in the business. And then it’s the feeling that you could always be doing more. And it goes back to, you’re not on a salary, so there’s always something you can be doing to gain momentum, to get more clients, to spread the word. So those are the biggest challenges. My other challenge is also learning to say no to people. I’m getting better about it, but my best advice I can offer to anybody is that if something doesn’t fit your business plan and your vision, don’t do it. I think in the end, that kills you. But it’s hard to learn to say no to people, because naturally, I’m in a business where I want to help people.

WP: What is your favorite aspect of the work you do?

P: I love travel planning. I also really love the miscellaneous, random requests. I have a specific client who I do everything for, and I really enjoy knowing the whole picture of someone’s life and having the relationships with the vendors, with the people in their lives. But I do enjoy the glamorous aspects, like booking private jets and luxury rental homes in Nantucket. I enjoy the luxurious things. Also, living in Minnesota in the winter, it’s really awesome to plan trips for people. Because I spend all this time looking at all these sunny places while it’s 50 below zero, and that’s kind of enjoyable that I can live vicariously through them.

WP: What does a typical day look like for you?

P: I get up, I try and post on my blog a couple times a week, so I usually get the post ready in the evening and first thing in the morning will post it to my blog. I check my email. Many of my clients are on the West Coast, so I like to get an early start, contacting them before they’re up. But I usually have to wait until the afternoon to take care of a lot of their business because of the time difference. So I usually spend the middle of the day running errands for people, running errands for myself and Brass Tacks, and then from the afternoon into the evening is usually when I take care of business on the West Coast. But every day is so different, depending on my projects. I often have to call Europe if I’m planning trips, and then I need to do that in the morning. So, it depends on time zones.

WP: How do you maintain a healthy work/life balance when running your own business?

P: It’s hard. That’s another challenge. I try to just be present in whatever I’m doing, and sometimes that means not worrying about my phone. I mean, with running your own business you’re kind of always working, so I do respond to client emails at any time of the day, night, or weekends. But, I think the biggest thing I do to keep balance for myself, is I just set really clear expectations with my clients. So, when I have requests come in, I under-promise from a timing perspective and then try to over-deliver and get things done earlier. So I say, you know, “I’ll have this to you by the end of next week,” and then usually have it in a couple of days, but I give myself that room so that I’m not killing myself. But it is hard when you don’t have hours.



project frilloon: surprise delivery

february 2014


“Lila’s greatest gift is her ability to see all of the awe and wonder in this world despite her inability to explore it on two feet. She is such a happy kid and exudes such optimism and strength – it’s inspiring even to me, her own mother. I draw much of my courage from the joy I see in her despite such challenges.” – Aimee

The January Project Frilloon™ surprise delivery went to two special ladies: Lila Tjader, and her mom, Aimee Blanchette. Aimee and Lila were nominated by local entrepreneur, Sarah Edwards, of I AM KINDNESS and I AM MPLS! “I first met Aimee when she reached out to me about a Star Tribune ‘day in the life,’ feature” Sarah says. “It’s funny, because after meeting Aimee and hearing her story, I thought she should be the one on the front page! I think Aimee and Lila are both such incredibly brave, strong women. Aimee is so full of positivity and inspires me through her determination, work ethic, and love for Lila.”

As we heard more of Aimee and Lila’s story, we couldn’t help but agree with Sarah! Lila was born with cerebral palsy, and Aimee is raising her as a single mother. (Though she is quick to point out that she gets lots of help from her incredible boyfriend, Nate, who loves Lila as if she were his own.) “Lila has moderate spastic CP that affects her legs and her right arm. She’s unable to crawl or walk, but she can talk very well,” says Aimee. “We are in the process of getting Lila’s wheelchair and we are all very excited for the independence that the chair will give her. Instead of being wheeled into school in a stroller, she can help push herself in her chair. She feels very much like an independent and big girl in her chair, and that’s a beautiful thing.”

Despite the limitations she faces, Lila is a happy girl and brightens any room she enters, as we experienced when we surprised her with a Frilloon at Children’s Hospital in Minneapolis. What a joy she is! Lila loves to sing and, according to her mom, “She can hear a song a time or two and then sing it herself–it’s kind of crazy how good her memory is. One day the song ‘Wrecking Ball’ came on the radio while we were driving and Lila belted the whole thing. I had no idea that she knew the song!” She also loves to ride her horse, Lily. She rides as a form of hippotherapy at the Twin Cities nonprofit Hold Your Horses, and has been doing so since she was 18 months old. Aimee says this has significantly improved her core strength, and that just last week she was able to ride her horse around the arena twice with no extra support. Lila also loves books, and Aimee says she is “an avid tea party host and a very good mommy to her dollies. Even though she can’t physically explore on her own, I refuse to let that stop her from experiencing life as a ‘typical’ child. She’s been skating, bowling, swimming, sledding and can ride a bike.”

Aimee has been a writer at the Star Tribune for nearly ten years, and a lifestyle reporter for four. She covers style, fashion, relationships, and general assignment reporting on community members doing interesting things. “My favorite part is learning something new each time I write a story and getting to the know cool people who make up our community,” she says. “I spend most of my free time learning the various aspects of living a life with a special needs child, brainstorming ideas that will better help Lila to be her best, writing about my experience as a special needs mommy, and showing Lila the amazing world around her. I also enjoy snowboarding, cooking, reading, spending time with family, and daydreaming about how I’m going to decorate our new home on a budget.”

“More than anything, I want Lila to be happy and confident, and I believe she is, so I feel truly blessed,” says Aimee. “Cognitively, Lila is exceptionally smart and I am so grateful for that. With CP, you just never know. I spent her first two-and-a-half years holding my breath, wondering if she’d be able to talk or be in a mainstream classroom learning at the same level as her classmates. She’s blown me away. She went from speaking roughly 30 singular words at two-and-a-half, then suddenly one day she started putting two and three and four words together. She speaks (and sings) very well now and no longer requires speech therapy. She even has a bit of sass. I don’t know if Lila will ever be able to walk on her own and I don’t spend a lot of time dwelling on it. If she does, great. But she will have a rewarding and fulfilling life regardless. It has been a very difficult past four years, but we are stronger and happier for overcoming such challenges. We have an amazing life and I wouldn’t change a thing about her or the path we have taken.”

We were blown away by Aimee and Lila’s story, and were so honored to be able to meet these two lovely ladies and surprise them with something extra special. Thanks for letting us be a part of your day, ladies!

And, as a reminder, we’re currently collecting nominations for our next round of Project Frilloon, so send in your submissions by emailing us at! We want to hear more of your stories and be able to bless more deserving people in our community the way we were able to bless Aimee and Lila! So, send in stories of friends, neighbors, or co-workers who are impacting the community around them through their generosity and strength. We loved reading through your submissions last month and can’t wait to hear more stories of the incredible people in our area!



embracing the season

january 2014


Attitude is everything and, beginning now, we’ve decided to take on a different outlook toward this snowy season of ours. Last winter was long and somewhat demoralizing. It dragged on for months, with a new snowstorm each week to remind us that spring was nowhere to be found. We must say, the remembrance of last winter made us rather dread the season this year. You never do know how long or severe a winter might be. However, this year, we decided that it was about time to embrace the season. We’ve been living in Minnesota long enough to stop fighting the constant bouts of snow and cold, and simply learn to live with it, maybe even to enjoy it. So, this year we are layering up, buying some good boots, staying warm, and appreciating the beauty of a season that will be here for a while, whether we like it or not. And we’re determined to look cute while we do it! So, here are three tips for how to stay warm and look cute during a long Minnesota winter!

1. Buy a brightly colored coat. In a sea of black puffy coats {which are always good to have for the most extreme days}, a colored coat will not only set you apart from a sea of similarity, but it will boost your spirits. A pop of color does wonders for your outlook, brightening even the dreariest of days. Plus, a colored coat in a good cut can feel a lot more like a classy dress that a coat, with the added bonus that you can still have a fabulous outfit on underneath when you take off your coat! Voila! Winter blues extinguished.

2. Invest in a variety of hats and scarves. Chances are, you don’t have too many coats to cycle through, but it’s nice to change up your look once in a while. During the winter, hats and scarves are great ways to spice things up. When it comes to hats, you could go for a stocking cap with a big pom-pom one day, a slouchy beret another, a cute knit headband to pair with a top bun, and even a felt fedora or baseball cap on days that your ears don’t need to be quite as snug. As for scarves, they come in every color imaginable, and you can opt for super chunky knits on the coldest of days, or a lighter, gauzy print scarf on a warmer day. And there are infinite styles to choose from: the cowl, the infinity, a straight scarf with or without tassels. Basically, what we’re saying is, there’s no reason you need to wear the same accessories every day when you’re already wearing the same coat. Switch them up depending on your outfit or mood, and you’ll find you dread winter-wear a lot less. A little variety does a lot of good for your winter morale!

3. Opt for functional footwear. Though we’d all love if you could wear ballet flats or heeled booties all through the winter, you’ll find that you’ll be much happier if you opt for function over sheer fashion. A good pair of warm, waterproof winter boots are a must in Minnesota. But that doesn’t mean they have to be ugly! Minnesota Monthly did a great round-up of super cute but very functional boots here. You can always bring a different pair of shoes to the office, but trekking through the snow is always best left to a big pair of boots and a thick pair of socks.

Once you’re properly layered and wearing things that are not only warm, but cute, {and don’t forget the lipstick!} you’ll find that winter is much more bearable–even enjoyable! You may even want to spend more time outside, enjoying all of the activities available to us in the Cities. Not only are there endless ice skatingcross-country skiing, and tubing options, but the St. Paul Winter Carnival is coming up! You could even host a hot cocoa + sledding partyto really get in the winter spirit! So, we encourage you to explore all that Minnesota has to offer this winter, and learn to stop fighting the season, but fully embrace it!



add a little green, add a little joy

january 2014


We’re starting the year by trying to eat healthier, ingest more greens. But we’re also thinking that a plate full of veggies or a power smoothie aren’t the only necessary greens in our lives. Living in Minnesota, where the winter wears on and on, it’s important to fill your house with greenery as well, visually brightening and reviving the spaces we’re surrounded by.

We experience a taste of this over the holidays, when a corner of our living rooms are brought to life by Christmas trees. The fragrant scent, the ruggedness of the needles, the rustling of the branches under the weight of lights and ornaments—we love the constant sign of life Christmas trees offer, the way they lift your spirits every time you pass by. But since we can’t keep our trees all year round, we’re dreaming up ways to fill the void they left and breathe new life into the spaces around us.

While we’re always suckers for a vase of fresh flowers, this winter we’re hoping to add some greenery to our homes that lasts a bit longer. We love the idea of a potted tree for a larger space, or a smattering of small succulents for areas with less floor space. We even recently ran across this coffee table, which has a built-in space for greenery! Whatever you have room for, we encourage your to find a plant that fits into your life {and there are plenty of low-maintenance varieties out there for those of you who don’t have a green thumb}. Because, as it turns out, not only does adding a little green to your life just make you feel more joyful, but it actually affects you on a chemical level–cognitive performance is improved when plants are added to a space! So consider that next time you re-decorate your office or accessorize the area your children do their homework.

And psychology aside, plants simply make a great decorating tool. You can have a perfectly classic and clean backdrop, as in the photo above, and the simple addition of a potted plant gives a major pop of color. Depending on the type of plant you choose and what pot you put it in, it can speak to your personality and design sensibility. Plus, plants are easy to switch out if you’d like to change the look of a space!

If you aren’t sure where to begin in your quest for greenery, we highly recommend heading to Spruce, which is a goldmine of all things flowery and green. They have a huge variety of potted plants + terrariums, on top of their stunning floral collections, and their staff is simply brilliant. They will even visit your home to get a feel for your design style, and then custom-make a sustainable plan to help you live with flowers + plants in your life on an everyday basis. And you’ll even receive an in-store discount! Spruce believes in the positive impact that flowers and plants can have on your life, and so do we!

So, what are your favorite types of greenery? We love orange trees + the Ficus for larger plants, and succulents +leafy vines for smaller spaces. How do you add greens and new life to your homes on a regular basis? In the meantime, if you need some immediate green in your life, head to the Como Zoo Conservatory this weekend, an oasis in the midst of winter! Have a wonderful weekend!



living in the now

october 2013


“We are always getting ready to live and never living.”
– Ralph Waldo Emerson

It’s so easy to get caught up in planning for life, from big events to coordinating family schedules and planning holidays and vacations, that you forget to live today, taking each day as it comes. This week we’ve been thinking a lot about living in the moment, appreciating every minute we have.

With the frenzy of fall activities, it is so easy to get swept up, and sometimes we even view the sweet, blissful moments that make life so special as interruptions in our buys days, distractions from our schedules. How silly! We should learn to appreciate the moments that cause us to pause, draw a breath, savor something small.

We want to challenge ourselves, and we want to challenge you, to live in the moment. Take each step as it comes instead of looking 20 miles down the road. There is nothing wrong with planning and thinking ahead, but when that is distracting you from everyday life it’s time to reel it in.

Do you have a hard time living now, seizing each moment as it comes? Have any practical tips for slowing down? I think it’s especially hard for us planners and doers, because there’s always something “bigger and more important” than, say, sipping your coffee in silence and taking in the morning stillness, re-reading your favorite book, playing house with your kids, picking flowers. But we won’t always have those moments, especially with our children, so we should be sure to grab a hold of them when they come, and do our very best to savor those sweet moments.

So what do you say? Let’s help each other seize each day!




september 2013


As the height of wedding season winds down, we’re getting a chance to take a breath, and in this moment of repose we’d love to share with you a bit of what we’ve been working on these past couple of months. One party that we’re particularly proud of is a bridal shower we put together late this spring. Since our blog wasn’t up and running then we couldn’t write about it as it happened, so we’re giving you a little throwback to one very magical day.

We collaborated with Carly at Girl Friday Styling to create this stunning get-together. We wanted the look to be very glamorous, yet fun and relaxed. We wanted a modern take on girly frills, and, if we may say so, it was a hit!

Not only did we set up the food display with a range of fun pink and gold treats, but Nicole and Carly hand-dyed and assembled all of the feathers for the ombre back-drop. We had a formal table setting in the dining room, all pink and gold and flowery, where the bride and her friends could gather to eat in opulence while sharing some relaxed conversation. Nicole also hand-dipped each of the place card feathers in gold paint, and Carly created the artwork set up behind the couch with — get this — an empty paper towel roll dipped in gold paint and put onto a stretched canvas!

Guests put together their own favors at the Bliss Bar, where a variety of scented bath salts could be combined in empty jars, letting each girl pick her favorites. We also had a Mani Bar, which included a take-home manicure set for each guest. And to top it off, we had a bubble tea bar for some sweet sips throughout the day!

We added some extra touches of gold and glamor with edible gold sugar on the rims of the champagne glasses, edible gold glittered hearts on our raspberry macaroons, and gold leafing on the tiered cake. Clusters of tassels topped off the room’s look.

Kate at Paper Rock Scissor hand-dyed the letterpress paper before printing the invitations and created custom menus, place cards, and signage around the party. The talented Liz Banfield photographed the event, capturing all of our hard work! We couldn’t have pulled off this event without the help of Carly, Kate, and Liz, and it was so fun to work with all of them to make this a perfect, girly get-together.

You can see a full gallery of images here, from when this party was featured on Style Me Pretty earlier this summer! And while you’re perusing the gallery, check out the original post on SMP here, with a complete list of collaborators at the bottom of the post!

We’ve had such a fun summer and have worked on so many fabulous events, and we can’t wait to share more! Stay tuned over the next month for more snippets from parties we’ve been working on!




august 2013


Here at White Peacock, we believe in making the ordinary extraordinary. We believe in celebrating the little things in life, not just the big milestones like birthdays, weddings, and anniversaries. It’s too easy to coast through your day, to get too stressed out or busy to appreciate the beautiful little moments in the everyday. It’s time to toast the little things, to find something in each day to celebrate.

So often we save our best things for special occasions — our best dresses, our best dishes, our favorite foods. But what are we really saving them for? Why not make today feel like a holiday, and pull out that outfit you’ve been keeping in the back of your closet? Serve your daughters their morning milk or juice in your grandmother’s tea cups that are just collecting dust on the shelf. If you’re having a tough day, treat yourself to a cupcake or fancy coffee. If nothing else, painting your nails gold never fails to make a day feel special. Whatever it is, make time every day to take a breath, to notice the beautiful things in life, to find little ways to celebrate. And every once in a while, it doesn’t hurt to actually pop open some bubbly and give a toast to the extraordinary bits of every day!

So tell us, what do you do to make a day feel special? What’s your go-to pick-me-up? How are you going to celebrate today?