Archive for the ‘Joy Through Living’ Category

Planning a celebration for someone special to you is a beautiful part of Creating a Life You Love. However, ensuring that the event feels truly personal and intimate is no small feat. For pointers, we reached out to expert Sarah Reese, a Pennsylvania-based event designer who understands that a successful celebration is all about the details.

Follow along as we apply her insights just in time for a Cinco De Mayo themed birthday bash!

A brightly colored tablescape and banner reflects this fiesta’s guest of honor
and her upbeat personality!

Designing an event is so much more than choosing the best colors, creating the biggest backdrop, or finding the perfect party favor. All of these things are important and a fun part of the process, but an event that leaves guests in awe is one that inspires a deeper understanding of who they are there to celebrate. The event should tell a story through every aspect of décor, from the grand entrances and seating charts to centerpieces and personalized favors.

 From the invite to a non-traditional cake, the vibe for this gathering
is cheery and fun, like our GOH.

Ironically, the guest of honor (GOH) is often the one person who gets left out of the planning process. Yes, the GOH may have a say in what they like and don’t like, but it’s important for the host to consider who they are. What do they like? What makes them unique in this world? Why are we celebrating them? What qualities about them make the rest of the world smile? All of these answers collectively can encourage and inspire the design of the day. So many of us get caught up in making the design look just right in all of the matching details that we forget to highlight our guest of honor in every way possible. Sharing the story of the one we are celebrating can turn any event from a nice party to one that becomes a wonderful treasured memory. 

A hand-stamped fiesta hat is sure to leave a impression with guests.

Here are some quick ideas on how to incorporate personalized details throughout your party and craft an event that doesn’t just make a statement but shares a story:

Create a welcome sign that highlights some of the GOH’s favorite things or best qualities. This could be in the shade of a favorite color or in a font that reflects their personality. Instead of the normal chalkboard sign, try creating an oversized opened book for the book lover.
Create a guest book that can become a keepsake for the GOH. If the GOH likes music, why not have guests sign old records with metallic sharpies that can be stored creatively? Or, if the GOH loves balloons, have guests fill out a slip of paper with a note and insert it into a balloon to be inflated…and then popped at the end of the party!
Create a centerpiece that reflects who the GOH is. For the balloon lover, create a beautiful hot-air balloon display with a basket at the bottom. It’s sure to blow guests away!

A successful and unforgettable celebration is all about the details. It’s about creating an atmosphere with components which, when viewed individually, may go unnoticed but when viewed collectively create a memorable experience that sends the guests off feeling like they know their GOH just a little better—and delighted to have been part of something truly unforgettable.

A quirky and memorable goodie bag filled with our GOH’s fave – donuts!.

Sarah Reese is an Event Designer and owner of Story By Design Events. Born and raised in the Lehigh Valley, Sarah graduated from Penn State University with a degree in Public Relations. She admits that when she sees something colorful and “out of the norm,” her heart skips a beat. While her personal style influences her work, it is always secondary to the unique, personal stories of each of her clients.

Bedrooms are one of the most important rooms in the home, as they nurture and provide relaxation. When we turn in for the night, here is where we are held and embraced.  We are restored mentally, emotionally and physically as we sleep.

Here are 6 things you can do to create a place of refuge in your bedroom from our friend and staging consultant, Jill Angelo.

Keep clutter to a minimum; less is truly more when it comes to décor.

Treat yourself to the best thread count sheets, pillows, blankets and bath linens you can afford.  Feel the luxury against your skin.

Declare the room “electronics free” — no computers, smart phones or televisions. Electronics emit static electricity, causing restlessness.

Set the stage for peaceful sleep in the evening by making sure your bed is made in the morning. Don’t snooze till the last moment. When you bound out of bed in a hurry, that energy remains for your return in evening.

Keep a fresh plant or flowers in the room, especially in winter months when it’s too cold to open windows for fresh air. They are life force and elevate oxygen levels.

Introduce soft lighting or candles to prepare the room for relaxation.

Jill Angelo is the author of Sacred Space: Turning Your Home Into A Sanctuary. She has more than 25 years of experience in business and operations management, an education in marketing and design, and a background in psychology and the mystical arts. Her fine-tuned abilities and out-of-the-box approach to life have uniquely prepared her for creating sacred spaces for people with wide-ranging interests and budgets.


Part of Creating a Life You Love means not only surrounding yourself with beautiful things but maintaining a home environment that inspires peace, tranquility and mindfulness. This month, as we celebrate the theme Be Present, we’ve invited author and staging consultant Jill Angelo to share how our decorating choices can inspire us to be more present in our everyday:

Solitude is essential for creating, decorating, and appreciating your home. Without solitude, the crazy business of modern life is all too likely to take over and rob you of peace. Many of us spend most of every day in front of one screen or another: our smart phone, computer, the TV (sometimes all three at once). It can be exhausting to the mind and spirit. It isn’t until we disconnect—literally “unplug” ourselves from technology, close our eyes, take a deep, cleansing breath and come back to center —that we fulfill our essential need for peace.    

Solitude has nothing to do with loneliness. Instead, it’s about embracing quiet, celebrating its healing qualities, and allowing it to teach you how to listen more deeply to your inner world. Silence allows for contemplation and reflection. Through silence, we build deeper relationships. And, more importantly, silence allows us to become more present in our everyday lives.

When you consider solitude in connection with creating and decorating your home, welcome these clarifying words — calm, stillness, quiet, peace, tranquility — and infuse them into your decorating palette with textiles and color.    

Textiles: Become fully acquainted with what ignites your sense of touch. Is it deep, thick, velvet draperies? Crisp cotton or delicate lace curtains? Maybe it is a puffy, white down or thick, polar-fleeced blanket. A deep, worn leather sofa or a soft suede over-sized chair. When you are inspired by your textile choices, your rooms will radiate the clarifying qualities you’ve used to create them. Be mindful of the textiles in each room and decide whether they fill a functional need or simply appeal to your senses (or both). 

Color: The vibration of color is the essential foundation for our created environment. The amazing gift of color can instantaneously transform your home. Colors directly affect our moods and have tremendous influence in shifting the way we feel at home. When choosing colors for peace and tranquility in your home, consider these hues and their significance:

Browns are grounding and stable

Blues prompt patience and calmness

Whites suggest purity, peace and simplicity

Greens inspire balance and harmony

Here are 5 easy suggestions to bring peace and tranquility into your everyday life and your home:

Declare “electronic-free” moments, hours, or — better yet —days. No phones, computers, TV, or electronic games.

Use your favorite chair as a “time-out” chair — a place of sanctuary and self-renewal. Sit by a window. Read a book. Take a catnap. Make sure to have your favorite blanket with you.

Have green plants and fresh flowers in your home. They are an absolute life force and elevate oxygen levels.

Bring your favorite natural smells into the home with herbs, essential oils, or candles.

Above all, keep things simple and as clutter-free as possible. 

Remember, your home is a reflection of your inner world. Make it sacred. And beautiful.  

Jill Angelo is the author of Sacred Space: Turning Your Home Into A Sanctuary. She has more than 25 years of experience in business and operations management, an education in marketing and design, and a background in psychology and the mystical arts. Her fine-tuned abilities and out-of-the-box approach to life have uniquely prepared her for creating sacred spaces for people with wide-ranging interests and budgets.

May the sun shine upon you. May your day be full of Luck, Laughter and Love! Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Worry…we all do it at one time or another, and some of us are even chronic worriers. What makes us worry? Usually, we’re thinking about something that “might” happen. Yet understanding that there’s nothing in life we can actually control, it may be helpful to remember that worrying has absolutely no value…other than to deplete our energy, our health and our joy! So it’s really in our best interest to try to minimize the worry in our lives. How? Here are a few ways to help tame the worry beast:

Try a breathing exercise. Even if you only have a few moments, try and step aside and spend some time focusing on relaxed, deep breathing.

Keep a list of positive affirmations/reminders that keep you focused when your thoughts to turn into an anxiety whirlwind. Thinking positive thoughts and using positive words when times get tough can encourage you to see the brighter side of things and not let the stress of the situation take over!

Just get outside and move! Walk, jog, take a bike ride or even swim outdoors if the weather’s just right. Just being active outdoors can help you clear your mind and work through your worries. Even if you aren’t up to being active, simply taking in fresh air and sunshine is restorative, both physically and mentally. And when you think you don’t have time to take an outdoor break, recognize that that’s when you need it most!

Talking to a friend often takes a load of the mind. It helps to not feel so alone with in your fears.

Find a healthy way to get worry out of your mind by putting that nervous energy to good use. If you’ve got plenty of energy to worry and fret, might as well put that energy to work. Paint them out, write them out, exercise them out… the options are endless.

“The power for creating a better future is contained in the present moment: You create a good future by creating a good present.” Eckhart Tolle, Author

The quality time families spend together in the present has a clear impact on the quality of their lives in the future. As parents, being truly present with our children is important, not only for the sake of our relationships with them, but also for our children’s well-being. So many big and small moments with children can be lost when parents are pre-occupied with activities or even thoughts about work, to-do’s, or personal issues. Such distractions diminish the joy that comes from being both physically and mentally present in family life. Conversely, many parents also allow children to engage in activities that interfere with opportunities to live in the moment with us. Increased use of technology, by both adults and children, can clearly add to these distractions and interferences. Whether it be extended television watching, cell phone use, or hours logged on a computer, electronic devices can serve to connect you to many things…often at the expense of the valuable “in the moment time” families can spend together. There are many different kinds of activities and moments together that families can enjoy when they switch off electronics. Provided below are some great technology-free options: Be playful… as a family, take time to play cards and board games, piece together puzzles, build a little obstacle course in the backyard, or create your own scavenger hunt. Be creative… do chalk drawings on the sidewalk, make photo collages, bake something, make seasonal decorations for your house, make a shadow box, build a birdhouse, make a terrarium, make a time capsule, draw, paint, listen to or make music together. Read Together… take time to read together or side by side. Family visits to the local library will open up new horizons for things to read and conversations to share. Family Exercise… do low impact activities together…walk, toss a ball around, play outdoor activities, bike). Find New Adventures… take day trips, explore your area through public transportation, rediscover nature. Perform Community Service… schedule family days to help in the community. Learn new fun skills… as a family, learn to juggle, spin a hula hoop, or do basic magic tricks. Talk… often times, families underestimate the value of talking together. Protect time with no devices on to simply talk, share, and discuss the events of the day.  Do Chores Together… clean out closets, plan and do “DIY” projects, detail the family car, give your dog a bath, update family photo frames. Also… as a parent, if you would like some suggestions or advice on how to better understand the impact of technology on your children’s lives, the following articles may prove valuable. These articles are provided by an important area resource, the Center for Parenting Education.  TELEVISION: TEACHER, TROUBLE MAKER, OR TOOL?




Contributor: Bill Lessa’s involvement in the arts spans his lifetime, and he wears many hats in both the private and public sectors. He is Vice President of Administration at Kathy Davis Studios, Executive Director of the Scatter Joy Center for the Arts, and president of the executive board for The Center for Parenting Education.

Balance” has become a kind of holy grail for our increasingly crazy-busy times. We know instinctively when our lives are out of balance…we may have difficulty sleeping, find ourselves stress-eating, feel resentful for not having time for the things we enjoy, or simply feel afraid that life is just passing too darn fast. But the good news is that finding balance is a conscious choice, and that means we can take control and reintroduce it into our daily lives. Here are just a few ways to do that.

• Use your usual TV time to relax in a different way. Set your DVR for your favorite shows, and go for a walk, read, play a board game with your family, etc.

• Take an hour on Sundays to plan/make your lunches and dinners for the next week to help save you time and keep you eating healthier.

• Look to exercise as a restorative. It helps your body, clears your brain, and improves your mood and spirits in the most stressful of times. While finding time to exercise can be difficult at first, once you make it part of your routine, it actually becomes something to look forward to!

• Find time throughout the day to take three deep, cleansing breaths to slow the body down and help promote a sense of calm. You might establish a trigger activity that reminds you to stop and breathe, like every time you put down your phone, or after you check your email.

• Make a list of friends or family you’d like to connect with, then think about how you’d like to do that. It might be having coffee, lunch or dinner together (at a restaurant or at home), seeing a movie…or simply sending a card just to say hi and let them know you’re thinking of them. This will keep you feeling connected to the people you care about and will help you find more balance in your relationships.

Yoga?! Where do I start?

We’ve all heard of the countless benefits that come from doing yoga, and everyone’s been telling you how great it is…and the truth is, you’ve been thinking about it. But where do you begin? Whether you’re a Brand New Beginner or coming back to the mat for the first time in years, starting a yoga practice can be intimidating! But it doesn’t have to be! Here are a few tips for getting onto that mat (and staying there)!

• Come as you are! Many people think they are not “strong enough” or “flexible enough” to do yoga. The thing is, Yoga doesn’t require that of you. Instead it will help to cultivate those qualities in both your body and mind. And trained teachers will always know how to modify things to make the practice accessible.

• Find the right fit. There is LOTS of yoga out there—and it’s not all the same! Try different studios, different classes, different teachers, even different styles, and see what resonates with you. And remember that just because you have a bad experience in one place doesn’t mean you will at the next!

• Tell them you’re there. Be sure to let the teacher know that you are new to Yoga at the start of the class. This alerts them to provide you with a bit of extra attention to be sure that you are safe and well taken care of. Also, if you’re new to a studio, you’ll want to arrive just a few minutes early to fill out paperwork and get the lay of the land.

• Take advantage of being the “new kid.” Many studios and gyms have classes (or even series) designed specifically for beginners. These can be a great entry point! And lots of studios offer a “new student rate,” giving you several classes at a discounted price. Take advantage of these promotions, and visit several classes with several teachers to really get a feel for the vibe of that particular yoga center.

• Give it the ‘ole college try (and then some). Once you find something that feels right, commit to a month of regular practice. Give yourself the opportunity to fall into a bit of a rhythm.  The point of yoga is not about the “one off,” it’s about developing a relationship with the practice over time. So allow yourself the time to really feel the changes in your body and attitude, and then decide how to move forward. You might just surprise yourself!


Contributor: Blue Banyan Yoga is a Vinyasa yoga studio and school in the heart of Mt. Airy, Philadelphia.

Yoga that meets you where you are…at home, at work, in all stages of life and for all levels…Because we believe that everyone can benefit from the practice of Yoga – no exceptions.

Learn more at

What does it mean to you to create a life you love? Here at Kathy Davis Studios, we’re committed to inspiring others to create a life they love. To win a “Create A Life You Love” 8×10 framed print, just comment on this post and tell us what creating a life you love means to you! Even a “like” or “share” will get you entered to win! We will post three winners next week!

Three cheers for the red, white and blue! The Fourth of July is near, and if you’re anything like our team, then you’re feeling pretty excited about it. Maybe it’s our love of a good party, or our close proximity to Philly – our very own cradle of liberty – but things are getting pretty patriotic ‘round here! Check out our top ten “Joyful Signs” of the Fourth below, let us know how you’ll be celebrating, too!

1.    Stars & Stripes: We wave them, raise them and proudly display our star        spangled flag!
2.    Time to Shine: It’s amazing how much joy one little sparkler can bring. 
3.    Outdoor Games: Horseshoes, washers and even potato sack races are        just a few of our favorite picnic contests.
4.    Patriotic Parades: You can’t get much more American then a hometown        parade on the Fourth of July.
5.    True Colors: Red, white and blue outfits (we admit this look works best on        the little ones!)
6.    Dazzling Displays: All you need is a clear view and a big blanket to enjoy        some of summer’s best entertainment. 
7.    Festive Fruit: We love a fresh slice of watermelon – a Fourth of July picnic staple.
8.    Splish Splash Bash: Because a midsummer celebration practically begs        for a pool party. 
9.    Festive Food: It’s fun to serve up a dish in patriotic shades!
10.  American Classics: So many happy memories are made relaxing around the grill,        waiting for the burgers and dogs to cook. Ahhh – summer!


Let’s hear it for dads! Whether old or young, there’s no denying the impact a great father has on our lives. On Father’s Day we remember all the times they’ve supported us, cheered us on and simply made us feel special. So let’s return that goodness with a few simple, meaningful gifts that are sure to make Dad feel appreciated. Check out these ten ideas from our KDS staffers and let us know how you’ll be honoring your own amazing Dad!

1.    Cheers to Dad: Have Dad kick back while you fix him his favorite drink just the way       he likes it.

2.    #1 Fan: Surprise him with tickets to his favorite team or sporting event.

3.    King of the Grill: Serve up some delicious burgers stacked with all of Dad’s favorite        toppings.

4.    Rest and Relaxation: Prop him up with a pillow at his favorite rest spot and        remember – don’t ask Dad for any favors on his day!

5.    The Great Outdoors: If the weather permits, spend some time together at a local         fishing spot.

6.    Sparkle and Shine: Get detail oriented with Dad’s car by cleaning the outside AND        inside. Bonus points if you fill up the tank too!

7.    Lawn Service: While Dad relaxes inside, complete a few landscaping and yard work        services – free of charge.

8.    The Remote Controller: Tie a big bow around the remote and present it to him with        his favorite beverage.

9.    Special Snacks: Whip up some of Dad’s favorite goodies or fun TV snacks.

10.   Pack a Picnic:  Today’s the perfect day to get everyone together – pack a picnic         basket and a few games, and enjoy some quality family time outdoors.




Aren’t Moms the greatest? All through the year they’re on duty, providing care, wisdom and an endless supply of love. It almost seems impossible to fit all the gratitude we feel for them into just one Mother’s Day. Fortunately, our creative team is full of thoughtful  ideas to make Mom feel truly appreciated. Below are our top ten ideas for how to treat your own Mom this Mother’s Day. How about you? How will you be celebrating this weekend?

1.    Fresh Flowers: Either from your local florist, greenhouse or even backyard, they’re a perfect representation of just how lovely you think your mom is.

2.    A Sweet, Meaningful gift: Maybe it’s a scarf she’s been eyeing, or little gift with special meaning – Moms will always appreciate the extra thought.

3.    Cleaning Service: Have Mom prop up her feet while you do your fair share of household “chores.”

4.    Sent from the Heart: Make a list of all the wonderful things that you love and appreciate about her and sign it with a great big thank you.

5.    In the Garden: When the flowers are in full bloom, she’ll remember the fun times you spent planting them together.

6.    Treasured Memories: Put together a little photo journal, complete with pictures and handwritten notes of gratitude.

7.    Spa Treatment: Treat mom to a new candle, eye mask or scented lotion – she could use a little time to unwind now and then!

8.    Keeping Connected: Is distance keeping you apart this Mother’s Day? Now is the perfect time for a nice, long phone call.

9.    Mom’s Favorite: Remember all those times Mom whipped up your favorite dish or dessert? Now’s your turn!

10.    A Cozy Breakfast: Arrange for your mom to have breakfast in bed, or take her out to her favorite brunch spot.

Links:Vana Chupp
Word MarketMartha Stewart



April is here, with its promising signs of renewal! And this year, both Easter and Earth Day happen in April, so there’s plenty to celebrate. After the bitterly cold and grey winter we’re emerging from here in Pennsylvania, it’s fun to see all the wonderful sights that accompany springtime, Easter and Earth Day. Bunnies and chicks. Pastel Easter eggs. Graceful tulips and fragrant hyacinths. In fact, just the sight of new leaves on trees and grass turning green again is enough to lift my spirits!  

Here in our Scatter Joy Gallery, we’re celebrating Earth Day with a special show called “Going Green,” which will feature our Studio designers’ own works of eco-conscious art.  The show is all about art that’s inspired by – and at the same time, respectful of – the earth, and I can’t wait to see what our people will come up with.

Easter is also a time to renew our connections – with family and friends we care about. To help you do just that, our collection of Easter cards features uplifting messages and art.  Our Easter palette is especially joyful and expressive – from the soft lavender, aqua, pink and green of decorated Easter eggs to the exuberance of sunny orange and yellow daffodils and daisies, from the delicate beauty of whisper pale butterfly wings to pristine pink and white apple blossoms. You’ll find our cards in any store that carries American Greetings cards and our local retail gallery.

Why not pick up a few greeting cards to let those special people know you’re thinking about them? Sharing the joys of the springtime season is a wonderful way to brighten someone’s day!


Easter is a holiday filled with promise. Somehow, even after a seemingly endless winter, spring arrives  – and when it does, it’s hard to feel anything less than celebratory about it!  A quick poll of our team revealed the shared joy we’re all feeling as this beautiful holiday approaches. Here are our top ten results – check them out below and feel free to share your favorite “Joyful Signs” of Easter, too!

1. Cheery Daffodils: Some of nature’s happiest flowers!

2. Jelly Beans: We’ll try just about all the flavors…except for maybe those licorice ones…

3. Marshmallow Peeps: An Easter classic that’s good by itself or on top of a little Rice Krispie “nest!”

4. Signs of New Life: Sweet little lambs, chicks and even “Easter bunnies” are all joyful signs of new life.

5. Budding Branches: There’s nothing quite like the sight of springtime trees when they dazzle us with their blossoming “Sunday best.”

6. Cadbury Eggs: It’s probably a good thing these come out once a year – we’re addicted!

7. Egg Hunt Treasures: Sometimes finding the eggs can be just as fun as coming up with new, sneaky places to hide them.   

8. Family Brunch: We love the idea of dressing up the table with some fresh spring flowers and sweet Easter accents.

9. Egg Decorating: The perfect opportunity to unleash your inner artist. The possibilities are endless, but a simple pastel egg is pretty all on its own, too. 

10. Pretty Spring Dresses: There’s just something so refreshing about trading in those itchy sweaters for some springy Easter dresses.


Links:Two Peas and Their Pod Van Rosendaal
Laura Taylor
Melanie Blodgett Stewart Nicolay



Faster than cupid’s flying arrow, Valentine’s Day has arrived! As designers, writers and glitter aficionados, we’re naturally big fans of the holiday at KDS. Most importantly, we all agree that what makes the day special is the chance to remind our loved ones just how much they mean to us. Here are our top ten “Joyful Signs” of this happy heart day. How about you? What are your favorite “joyful signs” of Valentine’s Day?

1.    Hearts: We love to draw them, paint them, and above all, share them!

2.    Love Notes: Even as greeting card designers, we must admit, there’s nothing quite like a heartfelt, homemade Valentine!

3.    Party Attire: Whether you’re headed to a work party or a night on the town, it’s fun to get into the spirit and wear something festive.

4.    Kids’ Crafts: Their sweet, imperfect doodles are sure to become keepsakes we treasure.

5.    Conversation Hearts: The perfect Valentine’s Day icebreaker.

6.    Confection Affection: Such a nice way to say, “I think you’re sweet.”

7.    Timeless Love: There’s no age limit to Valentine’s Day. It’s nice to remember those special Grandparents, Aunts, Uncles and other important sweethearts in our lives, too!

8.    Sweet Sips: A splash of this…a twist of that… who doesn’t like a good love potion?

9.    Meals from the Heart: It’s easy to make any Valentine’s Day dinner memorable when you put a little love into it.

10.    Kisses: Either Hershey’s or the real deal, Valentine’s Day hardly    seems complete without a little kiss!

Photo Credits:Martha StewartDebenhemsKim ShirleyWilliam VannWriteOn Snippet&InkCooking Channel TVTumblr

If ever there were a holiday where the buildup is just as exciting as the day itself, it would have to be Christmas. The whole month of December is rich in happy scenes that surround us – little “visual reminders” that the holidays are almost here! We asked our team to list their favorite signs of Christmas, and here are their (much edited!) results. What can we say…Christmas is a favorite around here. Don’t you agree?

1. Fresh Greens: From holly to pine, it’s so nice to bring the fresh fragrances of the outdoors in as we decorate for Christmas.

2. Candles Gleaming in the Window: Especially on a snowy night!

3. Decorating the tree and home: It’s fun to try something new each year, but we love our favorite ornaments of sentimental value, too.

4. Hot Cocoa: The perfect warming wintry drink. Especially with a few marshmallows on top!

5. Classic Movies and Cartoons: They start right after Thanksgiving, and we watch them all month long.

6. Bell ringers, food banks and toy drives: All are important reminders that it’s good to share your blessings.

7. Christmas Music: The hymns, the hits and the carols – they all compose the sweet soundtrack to the holidays.

8. Baking Christmas Cookies: We bake them to give – but a little “sample” here and there never hurt anyone!

9. City Street Lights: They’re the stuff Christmas songs are made of.

10. Candle-Lit Churches: Even more beautiful with a backdrop of snow.



Photo Credits:

Flickr LoretoidasTwo SpoonsTV GuideBrian