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I can’t believe our baby girl turns 2 today! It has been another fun year of watching her grow and learn. She continues to crack us up with her silly antics and teach us what it means to live each day to the fullest! She has a big heart and an even bigger list of daily to-dos… usually consisting of play, play and play some more.

This year we decided to forgo a big party like her first birthday and enjoyed celebrating at home with close family. We had a small BBQ one day and on another, I put together a mini party for her and her cousins to enjoy. Her birthday theme was inspired by her personality as well as her beloved stuffed Zebra, given to her by my best friend.

Her Little Miss Sunshine themed first birthday (as featured on Hostess with the Mostess) encompassed her carefree and cheerful attitude as a baby and while she’s still very much a happy girl, she has also become more and more active (or “wild", as my husband and I like to describe it). Wild in the best description possible; she isn’t afraid to run free, explore and live in the moment but it does make for one exhausted mama and dada who try to keep up. However, we wouldn’t have it any other way. So it seemed fitting to throw her an “In <> the Wild” birthday party complete with crafts and treats…also, two of her favorite things besides playing.


My husband and I started a tradition last year that we would create something heart made to gift her every birthday in addition to selecting an organization to give back to. We know she’s still a little young to fully comprehend what it means to give back but we look forward to the day she does.

This year we built a wooden playhouse frame for her to enjoy all the creative play she has been engaging in. We hope it will only give her more opportunities to explore the wonderful world of imagination. It also served as the perfect backdrop for the mini dessert table that featured a variety of treats and decorative elements.

I kept the party decor and stationery design mostly monochromatic but added a few splashes of color with a heavy focus on geometric patterns.

To create the same lettering effect as seen on the stationery pieces, I overlapped transparency film against colored card stock for the birthday banner.

Mini canvas art easels and wood letters were custom painted in black and transformed into place cards. And no party is complete without a few noisemakers and party poppers.

When coming up with a craft project, I wanted something simple that didn’t require a lot of supplies. The personalized sun catcher was a hit and made for a fun keepsake.

There were plenty of treats to nibble on…or in this case, stuff your face with.  The mini dark chocolate naked cake was definitely a crowd pleaser.

I loved seeing how much fun she had with her cousins. My hope for Carli is that she will continue to dream, explore and create as she continues to grow older.

While I love throwing parties, the act of giving is what makes my heart beat!  Giving to others on your birthday is one of the best ways to celebrate. It is on our birthday that we are reminded of the abundant blessings we have in life and to be able to share that with others is truly a gift. This is something we will continue to instill in Carli as she grows.  

In celebration of Carli's 2nd birthday, I’ve teamed up with some amazing shop owners to gift one winner the following:

1. Freshly Picked moccasins in your choice of color/size ($60 value)

2. The Minted Moose - $15 shop credit 

3. Swallow’s Return - $45 shop credit   

4. Brimila Baby - $40 shop credit 

5. Pirouette Photography - $100 off your next photo session (offer valid until July 2016 towards a photo session within 50 miles of Pasadena, CA)

Plus, we are giving away a fully customizable party printable package in your party theme of choice.  (Theme subject to approval. Please note, no printed materials will be shipped.)

In addition, I would love for you to partner with us in giving back together.  In my search to find a cause, I came across The Dreaming Zebra Foundation, a non-profit that believes all children, regardless of their financial circumstances, should have access to art education. They raise funds and receive donations in order to provide art & music supplies to underprivileged children throughout the world with a goal to encourage children to embrace their individuality, to express themselves creatively, and to follow their artistic dreams. I couldn’t have found a more fitting charity!

So how can you help support this amazing organization? Just enter the giveaway and share with your friends and family! Designs by Yu will donate 730 paintbrushes (1 paintbrush for each day of Carli's life so far) to The Dreaming Zebra Foundation when we reach 730 entires. So how about it? Not only will you have a chance at winning the sweet giveaway package, you’ll be helping to provide much needed art supplies to some well-deserved kids.

To enter, simply sign up for our mailing list below. For additional entries, be sure to do the following and mark that you have done so via the Rafflecoptor widget:

1. Like us on Facebook

2. Follow us on Instagram

3. Comment below: One thing you can do in the next few days to brighten someone's day.

Receive 5 extra entries for each when you do the following:

4. Repost our giveaway image on Instagram (@designsbyyu) with #c2giveaway #freshlypicked

5. Share our giveaway image on Facebook (Designs by Yu)

Even if you don't have kids, it would be a wonderful way to spread the love and gift it someone you know that does. Open to US and Canada residence only. The giveaway will run from Friday, June 19th through Friday, July 3rd. Winner will be chosen at random and will be announced on Monday, July 6th. All entries will be verified and the winner is responsible for contacting Designs by Yu within 48 hours of being announced or a new winner will be selected.  You must not have won a FP giveaway within the last 60 days to be eligible.


Design, Styling, Invitation, Party Printables, Paper Flower, Zebra Pillow, Cake + Goodies: Designs by Yu 

Photography: Pirouette Photography  

Weathered Brown Moccasins: Freshly Picked   

Organic Knotted Geo Feather Headband: The Minted Moose

Girl’s Cotton Dress with Geo Print Detail: Swallow’s Return

Long Sleeve B&W Abstract Stripes: Brimila Baby

Livvy Long Jumpsuit: Cotton On Kids

Perforated Scrunch Flats: Old Navy

Into the Wild Teepee Cushion Pillow: Cotton On Kids 

a Rafflecopter giveaway


When I first laid eyes on Freshly Picked Moccasins, I wanted a pair for my little girl and secretly wished they came in my size. Those around me know I have a bit of a baby shoe obsession. Really, it’s hard not to gush over how tiny and adorable baby shoes are. So naturally when Freshly Picked sent Carli a pair of moccs, I was ecstatic. They arrived in an adorable drawstring bag complete with a matching branded pin. It was clear she was just as excited as she quickly rushed off with them and eagerly tried to put them over her chubby feet.

Some of you may have seen Susan Peterson, owner of Freshly Picked, on “Shark Tank” so you know her story.  If you aren’t familiar with it, check it out hereSusan started making moccasins when she couldn’t find a well-designed baby shoe for her son. She didn’t have much money to start her business so she got resourceful. She convinced her brother who owns a window installation business to let her keep the old windows he removed from the houses. She spent an entire summer banging the glass out of the windows in order to recycle the aluminum frames and managed to make $200 to start her business. I really admire Susan for her determination to go after her dreams despite her circumstance.

While the moccasins have gone through 6 design changes, the soft-soled shoes has always been handmade in the U.S.A. Not only are they cute and stylish, they are well-constructed. Made of 100% genuine leather, these moccs are very soft and flexible yet amazingly durable! They have a variety of colors to choose from and their limited editions and signature collection moccs are simply adorable. Sizes range from 1-9.  We received the Weathered Brown from the Utah Collection and I love how the neutral color goes with pretty much anything she wears. We get a ton of compliments wherever we go.

The elastic opening is perhaps one of the best feature. They are easy to slip on and they stay on until you're ready to take them off. Carli is active…like really active. Shoes come off her feet more times than I can count but never once did we go through that with these moccs.  It’s definitely one less thing we have to worry about when we are out and about. I also love that I can easily slip them on and off while carrying her…literally seconds. It definitely saves us time when we are short on it and rushing to get out of the house. But that still doesn’t come close to the best part and that is she can put them on herself without our assistance. It takes her a little bit longer, but I love that by accomplishing this task on her own, she is building her independence and confidence, not to mention a sense of achievement. 

Let’s talk about price for a minute, shall we? A pair will cost you $60 and while that sounds a bit much to spend on kids shoes, it’s well worth the investment. You really do get what you pay for. Like I mentioned, Carli is a very active girl and they have held up very well with all the running, jumping, and climbing that she does. I see it lasting for a very long time. I do, however, suggest purchasing their Leather Cleaning and Conditioning Wipes or Suede Cleaning Kit to protect your investment. She gets them pretty dirty fairly quickly but I’m able to get them back to looking close to new with the wipes and a little bit of elbow grease. 

Aside from the amazing quality you'd get with these moccs, you'd be supporting an amazing mama who's passionate about what she's doing. One of the things I admire about Susan is how humble and grateful she continues to be despite how big her company has grown. In addition, she selflessly gives of her time to help other entrepreneurs through her weekly discussions, Enntrepreneur Empowerment Movement. 

Overall, it’s seriously one of our favorite shoes but don’t take my word for it. Take it from the mocc wearer herself! She will ALWAYS choose to wear her FP moccs over any other shoe in her closet if given the choice. There have been several occasions where I attempt to put on another pair of shoes and she immediately cries “No, owie. No, owie.” and reaches for her FP moccs and say “That one.” The little lady has spoken. She knows a good thing when she sees it.

Now for the exciting news!! I have teamed up with Freshly Picked to give one of you a chance to win a pair of your choice.  Giveaway is open to residence in the US and Canada. To be eligible you must not have won a pair of Freshly Picked moccasins in the last 60 days.
Follow Designs by Yu on Instagram (@designsbyyu) and/or Facebook (facebook.com/designsbyyu) as we count down the days to an amazing giveaway in celebration of Carli’s 2nd Birthday. You don't want to miss this!                               


 I received a pair of Freshly Picked moccasins for the purpose of this review.  All thoughts and opinions are entirely my own.
Photography: Pirouette Photography
Headband: Miss Giggle Buns
Romper: Gap


I can’t even begin to describe how excited I was when Teresa from Pirouette Photography approached me with the idea of doing a “Little Rascals” inspired styled shoot.  While scouring the internet for decor, I came across a 1950s vintage all-steel Radio Flyer Roadster and knew it would be the perfect addition.

To emanate the light-hearted and prank-filled nature of The Little Rascals, I set out to create a “Gags & Goodies” party. The invitation highlighted a “No Girls Allowed” rule to discourage any girls who considered joining in on the fun. The set decor and stationery included wood elements to give a club house feel.

Worms in dirt, ants on a log, cracker jacks filled with a surprise toy frog sharpener, and whoopee cushions were a few of the gags enjoyed by the kids.

There was no shortage of goodies either. Fresh artisanal berry vanilla yogurt popsicles from Si Paletas, bubble gum, lollies, chocolate candies, assorted juices, peanut butter s’mores milkshakes and a homemade naked berry spice cake were all displayed on a reclaimed elm wood shelf adorned with a festive handmade fabric garland.



It wouldn’t be complete without recreating Alfalfa and Darla’s infamous lunch date. The heart-shaped PB&J sandwiches, apple sauce, and grape juice lunch along with a sweet note from Romeo himself was tucked away discreetly in a custom He-man Womun Haters Club lunchbox.


A DIY painting station featured unfinished go karts, paint, brushes and a sign instructing the kids to head over to the race track for a derby race. 

We had some of the most fun and enthusiastic kids who played their role so wonderfully. Here, Spanky and Buckwheat are shocked to discover the “boy” who finished in first place is actually a girl in disguise.

After deciding girls aren’t so bad to be around, Spanky declared a new rule for all to see by changing the club house sign to read “Girls Allowed”.

To celebrate, these little rascals enjoyed a few more laughs, gags and goodies together before we all headed our separate ways to take a much-needed nap. I had loads of fun with these kiddos and while I wish that day never ended, I’m glad I have images, captured so beautifully by Pirouette Photography, to look back on.

Big thanks to my husband for being an amazing assistant the day of the shoot and the wonderful vendors who contributed!  If you're interested in throwing your own "Little Rascals" themed party, check out the Gags & Goodies printable collection here.


Design, Styling, Invitation, Party Printables, Custom Tin Lunch Box, Cake and Goodies: Designs by Yu

Photography: Pirouette Photography

Artisanal Popsicles: Si Paletas

Red Chambray Bow Tie: Little Mr.

Vintage Style Swing Dress: Robincrafts

Wool Scally Cap and B&W Organic Bamboo Beanie: One Hip Kid

Heartbreaker Tee: Sweet Tees Shop

Red Bandana Turban Headband: Miss Giggle Buns

Blend Shorts, Linen Roll Cuff Shirt, and Wool Suit Vest: Janie and Jack

Varsity Jacket: Gap

Red Stripes Sleeveless Top, Canvas Baseball Cap, and Faux B&W Patent Leather Flats: Old Navy

Relaxed Jeans with Suspenders: H&M