Events

First Lady's Luncheon 2019 - Washington Hilton Hotel | Washington, DC

I was honored to have the privilege for the second year in a row to photograph on behalf of American Grown Flowers as they sponsored the 107th annual First Lady’s Luncheon, a bi-partisan event hosted by the Congressional Club, honoring the First Lady of the United States, Mrs. Melania Trump.

About 30 volunteers from all over the US flew in for 5 total days to help design and create the centerpieces and arrangements to highlight and accent the grand ballroom of the hotel. Over 22,000 stems of flowers were donated from about 15 farms across our country.

Two conference rooms are turned into a flower shop for several days prior to the Luncheon, and the stems are flown in. Once they arrive, they’re unwrapped and prepped, placed in buckets of water all around the room, and made ready for centerpieces, arrangements, bud vases, and more… All by these volunteers who are running on little sleep, a few snacks, and lots and lots of coffee.

Kirsten-Smith-Photography-First-Ladys-Luncheon-2019-1555-Edit.jpg

It’s so cool to watch as these talented creatives do what they do best. There were a total of 145 floral centerpieces, several arrangements for the head table, bathrooms, high-top tables for the pre-luncheon receptions, and numerous other misc. arrangements around the hotel for the event. Over 1,000 boutonnieres were created for the guests to wear also, as well as two flower walls for photo ops, and much more… It was very impressive and quite an undertaking!

I was completely infatuated with the peonies…

^ Above are our fearless leaders, Christi (co-lead, who will lead next year), followed by Kasey and Andrea of American Grown Flowers, and Mary Kate, our lead. They kept everything organized and even took us all out to a really nice dinner the evening before the Luncheon! It was nice to have that time together to get to know everyone and bond over a meal. :)

Every year there’s a theme for the decor, and this year’s was “Indianapolis 500”, hence the black and white tablecloths. Vera Bradley company donated bags for each attendee, along with multiple other sponsors who helped put on this event. Lee Greenwood was present again to sing “Proud to be an American” of course, and Kathie Lee Gifford, Nicole Mullen, and Michael W. Smith were at the pre-luncheon VIP Reception as well.

Before the Luncheon, Melania and Karen Pence came out to greet those who were closest to the podium. I was able to shake her hand and say hello, which was a really neat experience! She’s absolutely beautiful and so graceful and eloquent. She seemed so respectful of each person she met, looking them each in the eye, greeting them, and thanking them for coming, rather than rushing down the line of women eager to say hello. I didn’t get to shake Karen’s hand, but I imagine she was just as lovely. :)

IMG_4223.PNG

That last shot was snapped from a video on my cell phone. :)

The Luncheon was so nice, with speeches given by Mrs. Trump as well as Mrs. Pence, and performances by Michael W. Smith who sang a few of his praise songs, including “The Word” which I’ve always loved, and Nicole C. Mullen, who sang her song “The God Who Sees”.

It was nice to be able to attend again this year! I always love the people watching, all of the pretty dresses and shoes, and styles of everyone who comes to attend.

Thank you to Andrea and Kasey from American Grown Flowers for this awesome opportunity! And to Mary Kate and Christi for leading the team so well. It was a wonderful time and so well done!


Sponsors:
DV Flora, Accent Decor, Oasis, and The Congressional Club

Lead Designer:
Mary Kate Kinnane - The Local Bouquet, RI

Co-lead Designer:
Christi Lopez - Bergerons Flowers, VA

Flower Farms:
Bloomia, Camflor, Dramm & Echter, Eufloria, Fern Trust, Gallup & Stribling, Green Valley, Holland American Flowers, Kitayma, Mellano, Myraid, Menagerie Flower, Ocean Breeze, Ocean View Flowers, Paja Rosa, Pyramid, Resendiz Brothers, Westland Orchids

Volunteers:
Alaskan Legacy Peonies, The Secret Garden Charleston, Joslyn Peony Farm, The Hotel Florist, CW Floral Design, Petals by the Shore, Lumme Creations, Christina Flower Co, Fancy Florals by Nancy, Bramble and Bee, and more…

Becket Hitch Home Goods & Gifts | Anniversary Party & Grand Re-Opening - Baltimore, Maryland Boutique

I fell in love with Becket Hitch several years ago while popping into Greenspring Station for lunch at the Stone Mill Bakery after working one afternoon, and I’ve kept up with them ever since. I always make time to stop in whenever I’m in the Lutherville/Timonium area because their style and taste are right up my alley! I just love getting lost in the blissful retail therapy…

They’ve just celebrated their 5 year Anniversary and moved to a brand new, and bigger suite! Still in Greenspring Station, they’ve moved to the north end, with lots more natural light, big windows, and lots of character. I absolutely love the new space! It’s such an exciting time for them!

Kohli Flick, merchandiser and owner, began to recognize me as I’d pop into the shop from time to time, so we’ve connected over the years! She asked me to come photograph their Grand Opening and I, of course, couldn’t have been more excited to come spend part of my day with her and her team!

Local event stylist Jess of Sentimental Fools Events created this super fun balloon garland to welcome everyone…

It’s fun to see how Kohli and her team have staged and designed all of their inventory! The store always looks so cute and inspired with everything in it’s perfect place. I usually come home with a little gift for someone, but always leave having gotten a little something for myself… :)

Everything they have on display has been “chosen to enhance a room, inspire a moment, and provide quality goods for everyday living'“ (beckethitch.com). From cook books to jewelry, pillows, chairs, beach cover-ups, to even children’s toys, it’s all wonderful and visually simply adorable.

The store looked absolutely gorgeous… I was taking mental notes of everything I wanted to go home with after I was finished photographing… :)

It was so fun to watch all of the customers come in and browse. I enjoy people-watching, seeing the different items they go for, and seeing as they waffle between this and that (like I always do while shopping)… It was also nice to get to know the catering staff a bit, and chat with Kohli’s team.

Personal Chef Bee J (www.chefbeej.com/@chefbeej) and staff were there passing small bites and rosé to customers as they popped in to browse and celebrate…

KSP_2442.jpg

If you follow @beckethitch on Instagram, you’ll chuckle at the cards they post. There’s quite an array of greetings to gift your special someone that will bring them a warm wish, a smile, or a laugh.

2019-04-09_0003.jpg

It’s just so hard not to want to spend hundreds (or more…) of dollars in here!

Even ran into KSP Bride (and friend :)) Sarah and a few girlfriends of hers, who also love BH!

2019-04-09_0041.jpg

Kohli lives in Baltimore with her husband and cutie pie son (who came into the store with flowers for his mommy with a big hug and kiss!), and is living out her life-long dream of owning the shop. She’s talented, fun, hardworking, and an inspiration as a fellow entrepreneur! I am proud to call her a friend. :)

So if you’re in need of a special something for someone or have the afternoon off and want to treat yourself, head down to Greenspring Station and pop into BH! Grab a coffee before you do because you may be in there a while… :)

Family Gathering | Bridal Shower Style!

We are experiencing an exciting time in our family - my brother is getting married this fall! As a bridesmaid and of course a sister, I was excited to host a shower for my soon-to-be SIL Karlie for our side of the family and close friends. It was such a special afternoon spent together! I wanted the time to feel close, intimate, and sweet. We thought a botanical "Garden Party" theme would be sweet so we went for it, decorating with our potted plants, cacti, and herbs, succulents planted in my Nana's vintage teacups, and added potted herbs and sweet little chamomile and lavender flowers from Blair of Sweet Blossoms Florals! Our sunroom was the perfect space for it because we could all fit comfortably around a big table while visiting, eating, and celebrating...

Tyler and I had been preparing the past couple of weeks in planning but executing over the last couple of days, making sandwiches, desserts, and setting it all up. My mom and Tyler's aunt Tracy contributed much of the food too - mom with a salad and famous lemon bars and Tracy with a humus platter and orzo salad! It was so fun to watch the food table come to life in all of it's vibrant colors and flavors - we all know we love to eat! :) 

Old friends started to arrive... people we've known for 30 years... It was so special to have them all under one roof. Women who have been very influential and impacting in Jesse's life, and in the lives of all of us poured in all at once with open arms to hug, greet, smile, and toast to the welcoming of the soon-to-be newest Cook addition! It was wonderful to have Karlie, her mom Lauren, and grandmother Joyce get to meet our family and friends who are family - all of whom are so important to us, people we cherish so greatly, and for them to meet Karlie and her mama and grandmother too was such a fun way to spend the day! It was such a sweet fun time! 

Everyone contributed a recipe card into a special recipe box we had gotten for Karlie to keep as a special token, and to add to for years to come. After we ate, she opened her gifts and we played a couple of games: a mad-lib all about their wedding day and a "how well do we know Jesse" game. 

I'm so thankful to each lovely lady who took the time to come spend part of their Sunday with us... it meant so much and I loved how we were all together! 

Cheers to Jesse and Karlie!

Note: Huge thanks to Barnes Farm Tables (tables and chairs), Blair Roberts of Sweet Blossoms (potted and vases of herbs and flowers), Marcie Lenick of Celebrating Love by Marcie (easel), and Splintered Luv Soaps, Etsy (soaps)!

2018 First Lady's Luncheon | Washington Hilton, Washington DC - American Grown Flowers

The First Lady's Luncheon is a bipartisan event to honor the First Lady of the United States. Proceeds go to a charity of her choice.

Over 15,000 stems were donated from flower farmers across the country. 170 centerpieces, 800 boutonnieres, 50 bud vases, numerous other arrangements, and an 8x8 flower wall were designed and executed by about 30 florists, farmers, and volunteers from different parts of the country from Alaska to Rhode Island. It was such a cool experience to meet and connect with such talented and wonderful people, documenting as they worked so hard to bring the 106th First Lady's Luncheon together!

Thank you Kelly of Petals by the Shore for asking me to photograph on behalf of you and American Grown Flowers as you lead this team of hardworking individuals to execute the vision you've been working on for so long - what an honor it was!

It was fun to photograph a head shot of each of the volunteers and flower designers who were there to execute. They were all so sweet and enjoyable to spend time with! Luckily the sun was shining in the hotel courtyard for us to use as a nice green backdrop.

After a delicious lunch together at the hotel restaurant, it was time to set up the ballroom! During this time, we were given word that Melania was still in the hospital after undergoing kidney surgery which was obviously disappointing since she was the guest of honor.

After a stormy night spent in the hotel (with tornado warnings!) we woke bright and early to get ready by 5:00 am and head down to finish the morning-of setup! The flower wall had to be put into place, ballroom arrangements, the boutonniere/corsage bars, and so much more! Once we were all ready to go, we showered and changed and got ready for the guests to arrive! I believe I heard that there were over 2,000 guests! It was so fun to watch the ladies pick out their corsages and take pictures in front of the flower wall, enjoy a few mimosas, and mingle together! I loved to see the styles these women had - and let me tell you, they brought it! Hats, shoes, gorgeous dresses...

Once the luncheon began, introductions of the spouses of congress, followed by Mrs. Karen Pence, wife to our vice president. She gave a beautiful speech and we all carried on with a lovely lunch and celebration in honor of Melania. 

I was so blessed to be part of such a beautiful event! It was such an impressive sight to see so much hard work be put in my Kelly and her team, and be able to photograph such influential people of our country. Would love to be back next year! 


Lead designer: Kelly Shore, Petals by the Shore

Co-lead designer: Mary Kate Kinnane, The Local Bouquet

Design team: Fancy Florals by Nancy, Harmony Harvest, J Starrs Flower Barn, Goodness Gracious Florals, Blair Sweet Blossoms, Green Sinner, Sophisticated Floral, Westcott Diana, Christina Flower Co., Bergerons Flowers, CW Floral Design, Pamela Primrose, Susan Marie, Atelier Ashley Flowers, Crimson and Clover Floral, Whats up Buttercup LLC, Pollen and Pastry

Support Team Members: Wayne Zimmerman, Alaskan Legacy Peonies, Betty Joslyn, Sunny Side Flowers PA, Fresh Blooms, DV Flora, Dream Floral Art, Rose Gold Event, Anna MK, Arnosky Family Farms, Hagerstown Garden Club

Farms: Mellano and Company, Gallup and Stribling, Westland Orchids, Resendiz Brothers, Kendall Farms, Ocean View Floweres, Callaco, Holland America Flowers, Sun Valley Floral Farms, Len Busch Roses, Eufloria Flowers, Dramm and Echter, Green Valley Floral Co, Fern Coolie, Arnosky Family Farms, Oregon Flowers, Bloomia Flowers, Harmony Harvest, Protea USA

Sponsors: Accent Décor Inc., DV Flora, Oasis Floral Products, Shop Nature Supply

Host: The Congressional Club

"Yappy Hour" with Canine to Five @ Diamondback Brewery in Locust Point - Baltimore, Maryland

It's Friday night. You want to go out and cheers to the weekend with a few friends and grab a beer so you gather your things and grab your coat. As you put it on and pick up your keys, you look down to say goodbye to your pup... They look up at you with their big loving eyes, so sad you're leaving - again! - and basically beg you to bring them along while wagging their tail and cocking their head at you just longing to be with you after a long week at home alone. 

Dang it! Is there anywhere I can do both - enjoy a couple drinks and bring my pup along?? Well yes, actually, there is...

Diamondback Brewery! You can bring your dog along, chill in the tap room or hang out under the cafe lights on the patio after you've ordered a beer. 

Chrissy Wohltmann, owner of Canine to Five, a premium dog care company in the Baltimore area, sponsored their "Yappy Hour" and came with a dog bar for the pups with treats and delicious morsels for them to enjoy. Everyone who came was able to make a little baggie for their dogs! It was so cute. The girls of Canine to Five offer dog walking, pet-sitting, training, and more!

I really enjoyed spending time with Chrissy and her team and capturing the night. The atmosphere was laid back and the beer was delicious - I tried the Baltic Porter. :) Hope you enjoy a little recap of the event!