2u Creative — Amy Morelli — Illustration — Branding — Graphic Design

Documentary Pick — It's Me, Hilary: The Man Who Drew Eloise

Documentary Pick, #memyselfandi, Lena Dunham, Illustration, Hilary KnightAmy MorelliComment
image courtesy of HBO

image courtesy of HBO

image courtesy of HBO

image courtesy of HBO

image courtesy of  http://www.hilaryknight.com

image courtesy of http://www.hilaryknight.com

If you know me, you know I'm documentary obsessed. I even dream of traveling the U.S. in an RV and making a documentary in my retirement. (Stay tuned in 20+ years to see if that one materializes.)

As both a graphic digital and traditional artist myself, you can imagine, this documentary was heaven to me! Not only did I learn how Eloise came to life, in both text and imagery — I learned so much about the artist, Hilary Knight.

The Eloise book series was written by Kay Thompson and illustrated by Hilary Knight. One thing that struck me, was their creative process itself. It reminded me that all artists have a process, and sometimes it can be painful. Between the politics and the clashing egos of the creative team and the politics involved in publishing a book, this documentary had me intrigued from the first moments. This documentary was the brainchild of Lena Dunham, whose lifetime obsession with Eloise drove her to make this film. (You may also know Lena Dunham, from HBO series Girls, which is also one of my faves!)

I don't want to give to much away... do yourself a favor, watch this documentary for yourself.

HBO movie synopsis. 
Meet Hilary Knight in this portrait of the illustrator and artist whose whimsical life is rivaled only by Eloise--the iconic book character he brought to life. Executive produced by 'Girls' creators Lena Dunham and Jenni Konner, this documentary short finds Knight looking back on his life as an artist and his indelible connection to the immensely popular Eloise books. Visit HBO to watch this great film!

Watch below to see, Lena Dunham discuss what led her to make this documentary.


Music — It’s so much more than just the soundtrack to our lives…

#memyselfandi, Blogging, Inspiration, Knowledge, Lifestyle, MusicAmy MorelliComment
image courtesy of http://all-free-download.com

image courtesy of http://all-free-download.com

I know, I know the title of this blog is nothing new to anyone. But recently I've been engrossed in a few songs that I feel speak to my soul and the changes happening in my life. Which made me realize that music really is the consistent background to all of our lives. 

Whether we know it or not, music guides us through life, it connects cultures, it motivates us, it's the universal language that all understand. Powerful melodies, harmonies and lyrics can flood you with memories of the special moments of your past, while narrating your present. It has even been know to shake creative block loose! (at least in my case)

One good thing about music, is when it hits you, you feel no pain.
— Bob Marley

We listen in joy & celebration, in sadness & remembrance...I'm even listening to my favorite tunes as I write now. Research suggests that music not only helps us cope with pain — it can also benefit our physical and mental health in numerous other ways. Various scientific studies have shown that music can relieve stress, alter brain wave speed, motivate you during workouts, treat depression, help in surgical recovery and so much more.  and so much more.  (source: http://greatist.com/happiness/unexpected-health-benefits-music) Be sure to read the source article for all the amazing benefits music provides both medically and motivationally. 

Here's to all the wonderful musicians out there connecting us through their amazing talent.

A Creative Life — Finding the Passion Again.

#memyselfandi, Blogging, Books, BrandingAmy Morelli1 Comment

This post is LOOOOONNNNNGGGG overdue! I know I've been not as active on social media lately as in the past. Well today it all gets explained! I've been going through some changes and transitions both personally and professionally. So here we are, the day I spill the beans. (it's really not that dramatic...but I am a Leo after all!)

Last year was a challenging year for me, not because it was the last year of my 30s, but because as I've grown and matured in my life, I was beginning to realize my life didn't fit anymore. What does that mean you ask? Yea- good question. It took me months to figure it out myself.

As I slowly approach 40, I found myself questioning...everything. How did I get here, what was the path, where did the time go...you know all those midlife questions. Now don't get me wrong, by no means do I feel that 40 is OLD, or my life if over. But I do find myself remembering things in my life, that I feel like were yesterday — then I realize — those memories from yesterday, were really 10, 15 even 20 years ago.  Where did all that time go? I don't feel old enough to have 20 year old friendships and stories. And I know this is laughable to all of you 20 years older than me..

I've had some friends turn 40- and loose it. I mean. . . LOOSE IT, implode their lives. Like, leave their families, cheat on their wives/husbands, leave their own birthday celebrations in "40 year old panic". And all this last year of being 39- I kept thinking, what is the big deal- who cares you are only as young as you feel, and blah blah blah.

And then, as I sit here enjoying the last few months of my 30s- I realize I did have my own way of "loosing it." And it began 6 months ago.  I began to feel uncomfortable in my own skin,  In my drive for success, I forgot who I was and what was really important in life.  I had abandoned and forgotten some of the things I loved about life, and about myself. It wasn't conscious, it wasn't deliberate, but it happened. Slowly, day by day, without me even realizing it, it became about acquiring stuff instead of living. Until suddenly, one day I suffocating. 

Then as I really started to evaluate myself and my life, and all the experiences that brought me here, then suddenly- just like that... CLARITY. (and let me just say this didn't happen on it's own - some wonderful friends, colleagues and mentors of my life dropped little seeds of wisdom and knowledge to me along the way.. which Is what led to the clarity...it takes a village people...we don't grown on our own, we pick up knowledge and experiences from those around us that push us closer to the sun.) Usually the signs are always there leading us in the right direction if we choose to see them. 

From this point on, I will longer waste energy and time on those who don't do the same for me. I will no longer let my life energy be sucked out by the "Takers" in life, I will no longer put "living" aside for work. I will live in balance and will enjoy life for what it is...a series of moments that are best experienced without expectation.

You may have seen my announcement earlier this year, that I would no longer be designing and producing stationery. Well, now I can tell you what I've been doing. And this will probably come as NO surprise to those who know me well. I have gone back to my roots of illustration and book layout and design.  Early in my career, I worked in publishing and loved it.  I never really made a decision to stop doing this, but slowly overtime my career and life choices led me away from it. 

As I started to feel restless in my life/business, opportunities arose for me to dip my foot back into the publishing world. And yes, I heard Angels singing.. HA! No seriously, the more I illustrate and design book covers and interiors, the more excited and passionate I become. One thing I've learned about having a business is it's a marathon, not a sprint. And all good runners know, sometimes you have to change course to win the race. And whatever you do, as long as you do it with joy, I considerate it winning!

So if you haven't gotten bored yet with the rhetoric, here's the meat and potatoes of it.  After a decline in my stationery business due to sites such as etsy, and the like. And the fact that I just didn't feel the love and passion that once I felt for events- so I decided to turn things upside down! To transition from stationery to focus more on my branding division 2u Creative and move into illustration and publishing work.

Let this be a lesson to us all, you can have a mid--life freak out, without being destructive to your life. LOL :)

Check out below some of the work I've been doing lately below, and stay tuned I will soon be offering templates and custom book cover and interior design for authors, as well as packages of everything they need to promote and sell their book. I've been working on illustrations for children's k-5 English and Science Books, as well as interior design an layout of the books, you can see some of both of that work below!

In addition to the change in direction my design career will take, I will also be blogging on a regular basis and it will no longer be about events and stationery. It will be about life in general, my experiences, my struggles and yes...sometimes my polarizing opinions! Everything I'm interested in (reading, cooking, gardening), as well the uncomfortable things in life that push us forward (politics, philosophy, etc).

Follow me, Read me, and join me on all the moments that make up life.

New Ready Made Stationery in the Store!

Amy MorelliComment

As you know, we launched our new brand and website in December, and since then we have been working hard to add new designs to our Ready Made Line, Paper Couture Stationery. And soon we will be adding Digital Downloads to this line, pretty soon you will be able to choose from specific designs and purchase a Printable PDF, to take to the printer of your choice. These will be ready April 1st, and we will post a blog announcing those designs.

In the meantime, here are some of the new stationery designs in the store. Don't forget we can change the colors and you can choose your favorite paper. Visit the Store to see all our great designs.

046a. Delicate Romance Wedding Invitation Suite - Set of 25
Add To Cart
002a. Traditional Monogram Wedding Invitation Suite - Set of 25
Add To Cart

Are you looking for cute stationery gifts for your friends or wedding party? Try these great gift sets. Visit the Store to see all our great designs.

07a. Monogram Stationery Blue Frill Design - set of 20
Add To Cart

Obsessions - February — #memyselfandi

#memyselfandi, ObsessionsAmy MorelliComment

1: Monogram Necklace mynamenecklace.com  |  2: Monogram Decanter shop.nordstrom.com   |   3: Monogram Cuff Bracelets marleylilly.com   |   4: Monogram Shoulder Bag  personalizedfrommetoyou.com  |  5: Monogram China graciousstyle.com  |   6: Monogram Watch amazon.com

For some reason this month I am OBESSESED with Monograms! In the Stationery and Event side of my business I am always creating custom Monograms for couples to uniquely show their personalities. I recently ordered a full set of Bar Glasses (Wine, Rocks and Water) for a couple with the Monogram I created on them. I was so pleased with the end result, that the Monogram Obsession began! I hope you enjoy my February Obsessions!

When Design and Function Meet — Living Small!

#memyselfandi, Good Design, When Design&Function MeetAmy MorelliComment

Image Courtesy of Macy Miller

If you are a loyal reader of my blog, then you know I love it when GOOD design and Function meet! I used to teach at an art school and one thing I used to tell my students, there is nothing worse, then design for design sake. In my book, Design should have a purpose, a reason and a function. 

Lately there has a been a trend of what I call "living small".  Do you ever wonder, have we as a society become captives to STUFF? I think the short answer is (emphatically) YES! The more "modern and advanced" society becomes — the bigger the consumerism motto is drilled into us by influencing societal ideals. We now live in a society where the majority of people work like dogs to obtain things. 

This fact first hit me this past holiday season, when talking with friends I mentioned that I spent all day replacing and testing fuses and bulbs in my christmas tree lights. A friend then said, they are so cheap these days that I don't even bother with it anymore, I throw them out and just buy new ones.  This surprised me, as this friend I've know for over 15 years, and they have always been pretty serious about recycling and living green. I thought, WOW what a statement on the state of society, that the norm has become "Just throw it away and buy a new one." Especially when I hear it come from someone who has always been pretty socially responsible.

Apparently I'm not the only one who is feeling like a slave to my stuff. There is a recent growing trend of Living Small. And not only do I think this is amazing, I really love those who are executing this trend with Style. Here are just a few tiny spaces that have made me swoon! This first one below has to be my favorite!!

This ordinary garage transformed into a TINY DREAM!!!!! But I won't lie... I would love the treehouse below as well!

Above Images Courtesy of worldinsidepictures.com  He Didn’t Have Money To Buy An Apartment and He Bought A Garage, to read this full story click here.

Image Courtesy of Nicole Wolf

Image Courtesy of www.ecolifemagazine.com

Above Images Courtesy of bohtlingk.  “De Markies” (The Awning) was an entry in the “Temporary Living” competition 1985 and was conceived as a mobile home. On the road, it measures 2.00 m by 4.50 m, and once it has arrived at its destination its floorspace can be increased threefold in a matter of seconds. “De Markies” was awarded the Public Prize at the Rotterdam Design Prize 1996.

Custom Stationery — Explained!

Custom — Explained, KnowledgeAmy MorelliComment


I am asked all of the time, Why are Custom Invitations More Expensive?  I have been asked this question so much lately by inquiring brides, and fellow industry vendors, I decided to update a blog I wrote in 2010 on the topic!  My hope is to answer any questions out there, as well share with you why we should value hard work and talent!


Ready Made invitations are printed in the thousands as Templates. The Main design is printed in BULK in the thousands, stored and then distributed around the country to different invitation vendors, who put them in a book. And then brides go in, search through the books and choose the invitation they like. When that order is placed, a smaller less expensive printer, usually digital or laser, is used to print your name and personal information on the DESIGN TEMPLATE. So that the cost is less, they aren't having to set up and order supplies everytime an order comes in. They did this initially in the beginning and printed in BULK. 

Custom Designed Invitations are more expensive because you are printing something unique and different in smaller numbers. They usually also include embellishments such as ribbon, crystals, brooches, etc. Which adds hand labor to the process. The above invitations have Lace Accents, ribbon, crystals, etc and no machine can do accents such as these. I always try and educate my brides that it makes more sense to purchase a package if you want something custom. Then we can make use of all the supply minimums we've had to order. (Keep reading for further explanation of minimums and labor)

Why should I choose custom instead of trying to DIY them?  I get asked this question all time, not just by brides but by many industry vendors as well. My answer is simple, and I say this in the nicest way possible: YOU HAVE NO EXPERIENCE AND WON'T KNOW WHAT YOU ARE DOING :) Because you don't do this on a daily basis, or have multiple projects like this under your belt, the quality of your final product will suffer. Our team has over 8 years of event industry experience, and over 20 years of design and printing experience. We have developed systems and methods over the years to produce our designs and creations — giving you an amazing quality. 

Lot's of Brides, vendors and even friends have told me, they thought they would "Save Money" by doing their own stationery projects for their wedding. In the end, they ended up spending MORE MONEY AND TIME because they have never done this before, and end up with a lot of waste, mistakes and overspending on supplies. What does this mean? Here's an example, you and your bridesmaids gather around a table, for gossip and DIY. Well unfortunately, this means you will end up with 100 pieces, that all look different. Some of them may even have glue mistakes, crooked embellishments, and lopsided bows. 

When you seek out a professional you are ensuring your stationery will be beautiful and of high production value. Because we have so much experience we have developed systems and procedures over the years to ensure that when we have to glue a total of 4,000 crystals — the very first crystal glued has the same look and placement as the very last crystal we glue. We also have quality control procedures in place to ensure that every guest receives the very best of our creations! As professionals completing multiple weddings a year, my staff and I have tested and used many different products over the years (i.e. glue, paper, ink, etc). Taking Glue as an example: Not all glue is created equally! :)  We know what glue is best and won't bleed through to the other side of the paper, or what glue is the strongest or is easiest to clean up if a mistake as made.

Another reason to choose a trusted professional is relationships. Over the years relationships are built with the various vendors we work with. Because of this, you will probably get better pricing on supplies going through a professional than purchasing them yourself. For example, If there is more than one wedding on the books using Linen Paper, then paper for both wedding projects can be ordered at the same time - this sometimes can help save cost. Or if you have more than one wedding using the same paper, you might be able to print them together on a larger sheet- therefore saving money on set up fees. Your stationer can negotiate with the paper and printing vendor and get a better pricing than you could as an a la carte customer. 

Don't get me wrong, I have nothing against DIY, but if you are looking for high quality stationery and reception creations that will WOW your guests, chances are you won't get that when you try to do it yourself. I know Pinterest and Etsy make it seem so easy, but take it from a professional you get what you pay for — creating custom designs that WOW takes talent, experience and a practiced steady hand.


(images in the above gallery courtesy of Root Photorgraphy and Amy Morelli)



Why choose a Custom Invitation over a Ready Made Invitation?  I have found that the brides who seek me out for Custom Stationery do it because they want to add a personal and unique, one of a kind flare to their wedding. I love getting to know my clients and developing stationery for their event. There is nothing more rewarding than creating something that reflects who they are as a couple, as well as setting the tone and design for the overall feeling of their event. 

Is a Custom Invitation for You? Do you want to set the tone for your wedding from the moment your guest receive their first communication from you? Do you want something unique and one of a kind that your guests have never seen before? Do you want your guests to feel your personal touch and love for them throughout the process of your event, from Save the Date, to Thank You Cards?  If you answered yes to any of these questions, then a Custom Designed Invitation is for you.

What will a Custom Invitation Cost?  Is a custom designed stationery package right for my budget?  The standard rule is to spend 4% of your wedding budget on stationery. With custom, the percentage is anywhere from 7 to 10% of your entire wedding budget. This formula will help you figure out if Custom Designed Invitation is right for you. Custom Designed Invitations usually start around $2,500 for approximately 100 invitations, and can go all the way to $15,000 for a full wedding package. Pricing is really dependent on embellishments and types of materials used.  An invitation with no hand work will be more modestly priced than an invitation that has silk fabric, a crystal brooch, etc.

Why is it more expensive?  You ask.  This question really has no short answer.  Printing in general is an expensive process unless you are printing in bulk, which is in quantities of 1,000 or more. The more you print the smaller the cost PER PIECE is. When you are only printing 100 of something- you have to pay the same cost to set up that printing press- whether you print 1 or 10,000.  Not to mention there are order minimums on supplies such as paper, crystals, ribbon, envelopes, etc.  Even if you need only 50 invitations you still have to buy supplies in the MINIMUMS they come in, and you still have to pay for the printing press set up.  For example you may only need 50 sheets of paper, but the fancy paper you like only sells it in reams of 250 sheets. This is the same for ribbon, fabric, crystals, wood and most other custom supplies and materials. 

As I mentioned earlier, The cost per goes down when you are printing in large numbers like 1,000 or more. But most weddings don't have a guest list that large. So you are having to divide the cost of set up, supplies and labor over your small number, making the price point per MUCH higher. And each design is set up on it's own. So if you have a menu and an invitation you are paying for set up of both of those because the artwork and printing plates are different.

Another thing that contributes to cost is labor, if you want ribbon, silk fabric, crystals, etc that can really raise the price, as all of these things are hand work. Depending on the complexity of hand work hours can really increase when you are adding embellishment to hundreds of stationery pieces. And if you are wanting some real WOW factor, like the above or below escort card display or the 3 Dimensional table numbers and place cards in the header image — this required us to be onsite the day of your wedding to stage and set up your stationery package, which again can increase labor cost.

We always recommend to our couples that we do a full stationery package instead of just invitations. This way we can utilize all the supplies we need to order (remember the paper minimums we discussed earlier). And if after reading this you've determined you don't have the budget for Custom, then please visit our Ready-Made, Limited Edition Line Paper Couture Stationery.



(images in the above gallery courtesy of Liga Photography)




As you can see by the case study above, the stationery visual is pretty impactful. It took about 6 months of work prior to the wedding to prepare and create all pieces. This was a wedding for 300, remember number of guests will help determine the time needed and pricing of your project. 100 invitations with no embellishment will take less time and supplies than 300 invitations with embellishment on each piece.

I hope you have enjoyed this post, and increased your understanding of custom stationery. I you have any other questions you want answered- Comment and I will answer the best I can.

Combat the Gain from the Superbowl Splurge — Guest Blog by Jennifer McKinney

Fitness, Wellness, #memyselfandi, RecipeAmy MorelliComment
image courtesy of Jennifer Hughes 

image courtesy of Jennifer Hughes 


Jennifer has been training me and guiding me in my nutrition choices for years. She used to be my most amazing assistant ever! She currently runs her own personal training business.  I have some digestive issues related to stress, so Jennifer got me hooked on this smoothie about a year ago. And after the Superbowl consummation of JUNK, I know I'll be having smoothies the next few days! Low in calories, and perfectly delicious — this smoothie keeps things running smoothly (if you know what I mean!) I hope you enjoy it as much as I!   —AM


I am proud to say that I designed Jennifer's business brand! View it here in  our Brand Gallery.

I am proud to say that I designed Jennifer's business brand! View it here in our Brand Gallery.

The New Year is in full swing and for most of us, more than just our stockings were stuffed over this past holiday season! Extra helpings, decadent desserts, fancy cocktail parties, and less time to exercise is the perfect recipe for a little Gain in the New Year. How do you keep from bulking up with all of the fun treats this time of year tends to bring? 

The answer is balance. If you foresee indulgence in your future, create balance by having light, yet filling meals to help combat the extra calories. Smoothies for breakfast, salads for lunch, and fish with veggies for dinner. Below is a great smoothie recipe that will fuel you for your day, but save room for other goodies. 

image courtesy of freefoodphotos.com

image courtesy of freefoodphotos.com

Even Better:

For your convenience, smoothie packets with the above ingredients (all except the water) can be assembled ahead of time and then whipped up in a matter of minutes for a fast and filling meal!

Greek Yogurt “Ice Cubes” are made by simply spooning about a tablespoon of greek yogurt into ice cube trays (sprinkle with chia seeds for an extra boost) and then allowing to freeze for about an hour. 

Keep this Berry Banana Smoothie recipe around for more than just the New Year. Its also a great way to say healthy and regular!

SOURCE: for recipe nutrients http://fnic.nal.usda.gov

Berry Banana Smoothie:

    ▪    1 cup frozen strawberries

    ▪    1/4 cup frozen blueberries

    ▪    1/2 frozen banana

    ▪    Handful of spinach

    ▪    3 frozen vanilla greek yogurt "ice cubes"  
         sprinkled with chia seeds **see below

    ▪    1/2 - 1 cup of water or coconut water

This satisfying low calorie smoothie provide protein, antioxidants, dietary fiber, iron, and probiotics resulting in a filling breakfast that helps to fight disease and aids in digestion. 


image courtesy of Jennifer McKinney

image courtesy of Jennifer McKinney

Obsessions - January — #memyselfandi

#memyselfandi, ObsessionsAmy MorelliComment

1: Burts Bees Eye Cream [Retails for $11.99]   |   2: EOS Organic Smooth Sphere - Pomegranate [Retails for $14.99]   |   3: Citrus for the Skin  |   4: Freeman Anti-Stress Dead Seas Mineral Mask  [Retails for $6.69]    |  5: Cucumber Water for Hydration  |   6:  Weleda Skin Food [Retails $13.59  |   7:  Yogi Bedtime Tea [Retails $5.61]

MY OBSESSIONS . . . all under $15

1.  Burts Bees Eye Cream [Retails for $11.99]
As I get older, not getting a full 8 hours of sleep, really shows. And mostly is shows all over my face.. Hello Dark Circles! This great eye cream, helps make those dark circle no more. Bring on the late nights!

2EOS Organic Smooth Sphere - Pomegranate [Retails for $14.99]
There is nothing I love more than smooth lips.. both my own and other (LOL) . . . This lip treatment is not only amazing, it comes in many flavors! I keep one in my desk, nightstand and purse — ready for kissing anywhere I am. (Wink!)

3Citrus, Citrus, Citrus. 
I am lucky enough to have a client who is a dermatologist, and yes. She has the most amazing skin. This tip is from her. Every other night before bed rub fresh citrus on your skin. It's a natural brightener, will help fade dark spots and even can keep acne at bay. Bring on the Lemon!

4Freeman Anti-Stress Dead Seas Mineral Mask  [Retails for $6.69]
I wear my emotions on my face! Everyone says so — you can tell how I feel by the look on my face. Well, I'd rather those wrinkles not set in! So this anti-stress mask is my GO TO! It's also great to keep my skin free and clear of blackheads! 

5Stay Hydrated with Cucumber Water. 
Who doesn't love the amazing cucumber water served on those rare spa days? This is one, you don't have to leave at the spa! Slice some cucumbers put them in a glass pitcher of water, give it time to infuse and Voila! Nothing more refreshing. (And I'm convinced that Hydration keeps you young!) A great shortcut is  dicing cucumbers into cubes and freezing them. Now you have cucumber ice cubes, to drop right in your water!

6Weleda Skin Food [Retails $13.59
I know, I know... Summer's months away. But that doesn't mean you can't start getting those tootsies in shape! I have cracked heels :( and have looked for years for a way in between pedicures to combat this problem. Well, Weleda Skin Food is it! Each night before bed I use this robust cream on my heels! It works like a dream, and I even give my elbows a little love to!

7 Yogi Bedtime Tea [Retails $5.61]
Not to get too personal, but I have suffered since I was 35 with pre-menopause issues. This runs in my family and there are more "female issues" to count. I must say — you can throw all of this at me! I'll take it and cope fine.. But the one thing I JUST CAN'T deal with is interrupted sleep! I spent about 6 years suffering from awful night sweats, to the point that I sometimes would have to move to my guest room, as the sheets were soaked! This last obsession has SAVED ME! All natural and full of medicinal herbs- 2 cups of this tea before bed... and that's right NO MORE NIGHT SWEATS! I'm sure everyone has different results, but for me this tea has worked like a dream.

Want to try one of the above products? Journal your results and please share with us! I would love to hear about what you are currently obsessed with!

Feed Your Mind — A Creative Life Book Club — #memyselfandi

#memyselfandi, Books, Television ShowsAmy MorelliComment

image by Amy Morelli

There are things in life that bring absolute joy! For some of us it’s cooking, for others it’s running, for me… it’s reading. Reading has brought me countless hours of escape from the world, changing my perspective and even making me smarter. Those that read have higher GPA’s, higher intelligence, and more general knowledge than those that don’t. In Anne E. Cunningham’s paper What Reading Does for the Mind (pdf version), she found that reading, in general, makes you smarter, and it keeps you sharp as you age.  Other benefits are: reading reduces stress, improves analytical thinking, improves memory, and increases vocabulary knowledge just to name a few.

A lot of my girlfriends are also avid readers, and we all have been in an unofficial book club for years. Over the years we share books and insights on our favorite “must reads”, and some of us are such book nerds that we’ve even found ourselves at the same bookstore at the same time, completely unplanned! (Robyn Dixon, this is you!)  I bet you know where I’m headed with this. It only makes sense that I share my thoughts and views not he current books I am reading. Starting in 2015, I will share with you, my favorite books— as well as my girlfriends recommendations, reviews and even discussion on the books I'm reading!  

The first set of books I’m going to write about is the Outlander series, by Diana Gabaldon. I have read the entire 8 book series and I must tell you, everyone is a page turner! Mainly set in Scotland, these books offer a joyous escape of time traveling excitement that span hundreds of years in various global locations! From the moment I found these books, I always hoped a TV show could be made from them. Last year, those hopes became a reality. The Starz Network created an original tv series centered around these books. (Watch the trailer above.) The first season aired in August 2014, and new episodes will air in early 2015. Recently, it also won a People's Choice Award!

Join me this year, as I re-read the books and write on both the books and television series. So far, Starz has done an amazing job, and the first eight episodes followed book one pretty accurately! I can’t wait to see what they have in store for us next, and am hopeful the show honors the integrity and life of the story that Diana Gabaldon intended. 

image courtesy of  JB HI FI

image courtesy of JB HI FI

The Outlander Book Series Can be Found here at Amazon. and great news, they just announced Outlander Season One, Part One goes on sale March 3rd. You can preorder it here.

If you have a book you’d like to share, or are reading the Outlander books and want to share your thoughts email me, or comment!

Time Blocking — Success & Balance 90 minutes at a time

Business Tips, Time BlockingAmy MorelliComment

image purchased at istockphoto.com

People are always asking me, how do you find the time to do as much as you do. And my answer is simple. TIME-BLOCKING. As a busy entrepreneur with 3 divisions to my business (2ucreativejuices.com) — and now this great blog, I have to use strategy to get the most out of each and everyday, otherwise I would be chained to my desk, without much outside interaction, and would probably be on the verge of mental breakdown!

This past summer I read an article by Leonhard Widrich, The Origin of the 8 Hour Work Day and Why We Should Rethink It. This article changed the way I do business, and thank goodness for that! I found with my busy schedule I was always just “managing” to get everything done, and I found myself at the end of most days both mentally and physically exhausted - to the point that my own things (housecleaning, laundry, grocery shopping, etc) would just fall by the way side. Then I would spend my weekends  like Cinderella. Getting caught up on housework, well I’m happy to say after implementing Time Blocking - no longer are my weekends spent scrubbing and cleaning! I’ve found I can get a 60-hour a week workload done in about 45 hours, using time blocking. Not to mention, my life in general feels more balanced and under my control. No more feeling overwhelmed due to my crazy schedule!

Below are some excerpts from this article as well as my own thoughts on the subject. Be sure to go read Leonhard’s article, it’s got a lot of great scientific information as well other great article references to help your work day. Such as: The science of how temperature and lighting impacts our productivity" as well as "The 4 elements of physical energy and how to master them

Something interesting he tackles in this article is why do we have an 8 hour workday, and where did that idea come from. The answer is quite interesting. 

The typical work day is around 8 hours. But how did we come up with that? The answer is hidden in the tidings of the Industrial revolution. In the late 18th century, when companies started to maximize the output of their factories, getting to running them 24/7 was key. Now of course, to make things more efficient, people had to work more. In fact, 10-16 hour days were the norm. These incredibly long work days weren't sustainable and soon a brave man called Robert Owen started a campaign to have people work no more than 8 hours per day.  His slogan was "Eight hours labour, eight hours recreation, eight hours rest." 

One of the first businesses to implement this was the Ford Motor Company, in 1914, which not only cut the standard work day to eight hours, but also doubled their worker's pay in the process.  To the shock of many industries, this resulted in  productivity of these same workers, but with fewer hours, actually increasing significantly and Ford's profit margins doubled within two years.  This encouraged other companies to adopt the shorter, eight hour work day as a standard for their employees.

So there we have it. The reason we work 8 hours a day, isn't scientific or much thought out. It's purely a century old norm for running factories most efficiently.

Luckily we’ve come a long way in scientific research since the early 1900s and we’ve learned that our brain doesn’t function at it’s peak using this 8 hour day philosophy. Instead it uses an ultradian rhythm.

Widrich explains our brain has an ultradian rhythm, a cycle that's present in both our sleeping and waking lives. The basic understanding is that our human minds can focus on any given task for 90-120 minutes. Afterwards, a 20-30 minute break is required for us to get the renewal to achieve high performance for our next task again.

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above image source The Origin of the 8 Hour Work Day and Why We Should Rethink It


And although most companies still want their employees working the “8 hour day” more and more of them are realizing you get better quality of work out of your employees when you allow them to find a system that works best for them. Companies such as Google and 3M allow employees to make their own schedules and Google even allows napping during the day to get more productivity from their employees.  

What does time blocking look like? 

It’s really not that difficult once you get in the routine. For me, what works best is the night before I tentatively schedule out my day in 90 minuted increments. Now my business is very deadline driven so I usually know what I have coming up. But not always, sometimes there are emergencies, fires, etc. So I always make sure I have a block in my day to deal with anything unexpected. The idea is to consult my task lists and calendars, as well as my weekly and quarterly planning notes. My goal is to make sure progress is being made on the right things at the right  pace for the relevant deadlines.

I usually work from 8:30am to 7pm everyday (that’s the life of a business owner for the most part). My office is also next to my home, so I have the added advantage of being able to add housework to my 20 minute downswings. Using your inbox to drive your daily schedule might be fine for the entry-level, but the best knowledge workers view their time like the best investors view their capital, as a resource to wield for maximum returns. If you’re serious about working deeply and producing high-end value, then Time-blocking is the answer to your prayers. Especially in a creative job, all we have is our time – and we need to make sure we manage it properly. Time is money, even more so when you are an entrepreneur.

I’ll leave you with some tips from Widrich so you can make the most out of time blocking.

Split your day into 90 min windows: Here is something I've started to do. Instead of looking at a 8, 6 or 10 hour work day, split it down and say you've got 4, 5 or however many 90 minute windows. That way you will be able to have 4 tasks that you can get done every day much more easily.

Plan your rest so you actually rest: "The fittest person is not the one who runs the fastest, but the one who has optimized their rest time." Says Tony Schwartz. A lot of the time, we are so busy planning our work day, that we forget about "how" to rest. Plan beforehand what you will do your rest. Here are some ideas: Nap, read, meditate, get a snack.

Zero notifications: One of the best ideas I've ever had was to follow Joel's advice on Zero Notifications. Having absolutely no counter on my phone or computer changing from 0 to 1 and always breaking my focus has been a huge help. If you haven't tried this yet, try to turn off every digital element that could become an alert.


This is what happens when a sense of humor and creative thinking meet.

InspirationAmy MorelliComment

As a creative professional in both the corporate and event markets, I am always looking out for other creatives to inspire me. The majority of people think that I can turn my creativity on and off like a switch. It's not quite like that. It's more like, my subconscious mind is always filing things away in mind to be called upon when I need them. Recording things I see, hear and touch in the world, then creating this mash up in my mind that I call I upon to aid in the development of my own ideas. This is what makes me better, makes me push the envelope and move out of my comfort zone. Seeing other creations, and how other creative thinkers view the world. This is what inspires my own work.

Well, this week something else got filed away in the mashup of my brain. This amazing commercial by Ikea, blends humor and creativity to create an engaging commercial! So well done I had to share! And of course the mockery of Apple commercials shows Ikea doesn't take themselves too seriously!

Social Media: Are you Sharing too much?

2u Creative, Blogging, Social MediaAmy MorelliComment
image purchased at  istockphoto.com

image purchased at istockphoto.com

In today's world, we are more increasingly living in a space where everything about our lives is made public. There was once a time in our history when paper and printing were such rare commodities, that in society we were more discriminate in what words were actually put out there for public consumption. Writings, statements, etc were scrutinized-- is this information important enough to share with the masses-- do we use our rare resources to convey "this message" (whatever it may be), or should we further think it through to make sure "this message" is worthy of the use of rare resources, and the time involved to produce it for the masses. As our society changes and grows and as our technology evolves, this idea is becoming lost.

These days, with social media, internet news sources, mobile devices, etc. it seems this idea has become lost all together, which is what prompted me to write this post. Are we sharing too much information these days- and are we sometimes spreading misinformation, because we don't spend the proper time verifying and vetting the information we do put out there.  Has social media and the internet made it so we don't take responsibility for our words? Should we use "free speech" as a crutch to post any message we want for the world to see? Shouldn't we have a social responsibility to make sure the words we put out in the world are accurate and true? Journalist are held to this standard, why aren't the rest of us. A Journalist can't write whatever they want about any topic or person without consequences. They have to work within ethical guidelines, because they can be held responsible for their words - due to libel and slander laws. 

As a marketing professional and designer I am often asked to manage my clients social media forums. And as a business owner myself with my own social life I've come to the conclusion that although we shouldn't be judged based on what we choose to do with our social lives and social media there's no controlling that we still are. Business professionals especially should be even more careful when it comes to what they post on their social media outlets. Although we do live in a society where we are free to speak our minds that doesn't necessarily mean we always should. Sometimes posting your opinion on something will cause people to judge you unfairly or jump to conclusions about the "underlying message" you are conveying.

Yes, we live in a wonderful time where we do have free speech and we can speak our minds, but should we always? This is something each of us has to decide for ourselves. But here are some things to keep in mind. You don't want to alienate a future employer, college admissions, client, friend, in-law etc. because they have inferred "what you mean" by a statement, photo, video, etc that you have shared with the world. Should we be able to post whatever we want with no judgement? Yes. But unfortunately in the world we live in today, it's just not that simple. The FACT IS, YOU ARE JUDGED ON WHAT YOU POST.

It is endless what you can share on social media for the world to see, but before you do you should think about the possible consequences. Posts and photos regarding....

1. Posting Digs, Jokes, or Statements "meant to be funny"

When you post something vague on your blog, twitter, Facebook, myspace, etc there is no TONE.  Sometimes you may write something that you think is funny- but could offend others. And since there is no voice inflection, or mischievous glint in your eye, the audience may have no idea that you were trying to be funny or make a joke. This recently has become an issue in the Tyler Clementi trial as well as in schools where students are being bullied via electronic means.  REMEMBER: the people reading your posts are not in your head. You may think you are being harmless with your posts, but they may be harmful and hurtful to others. 

2. Partying too hard. Posting the innappropriate.

It is great to have fun with your friends, and post pics of these escapades. But think about what is appopriate not for the NOW, but for your future. Do you want to become very successful in your career to only have your past come back and haunt you? This happens all the time, especially in politics. For Example: Bill Clinton.. "I didn't inhale." Would he have been elected if there was video of him on Facebook actually inhaling? Who knows, but do you want to go to a job interview and NOT get the job because 5 years ago a friend of your posted a pic of you on the internet "praying to the porcelain god?"  It was funny at the time, right?

3. Getting too emotional...do you post TMI?

Do you post your life's ups and downs? When you are fighting with a friend, boyfriend, co-worker etc. Do you intentionally post things to "get a rise from them"? Do you share your intimate moments on a public forum. If you do, that is your choice, but remember YOU ARE BEING JUDGED. Have you lost out on potential clients, job opportunities, etc because you are viewed as Volatile or Emotionally unstable? You probably don't think you are viewed this way. But if you post all of your Personal Ups and Downs- then someone out there probably views you as an "emotional mess". Believe it or not this translates, and if a potential employer thinks this of you, they start to think, do I want to hire this person— will their dramatic emotional moments affect their ability to do their job. Should they make a decision about you based only on your merits, and not what you put out there? YES-- but is this how it works? NO! What you post is a reflection of your character, and colleges and business owners have started checking Facebook and social media to see what kind of character you have. So be careful what and how you post. 

4. Venting about co-workers and clients....

This is a huge NO NO.. People have been fired for venting about their boss or place of employment on Facebook. It is never smart to post negative things relating to your job, employer, vendors, co-workers, friends, acquaintances etc. This is a bell you can't un-ring! Public forums ARE NOT the place for venting about people in your life.  Call a friend, get a cocktail and vent.  Or better yet, sit face to face with the person you have a problem with and work it out! We all need to vent sometimes, but posting things in the heat of frustration and anger, only leads to REGRET. And once it's out there you can't take it back! Yes, you can delete it, but you can never delete it from the mind of those who read it before you do.

5. Professing your political and religious views.....

We are lucky to live in a society where we have freedom in these areas. But always be aware, these types of posts can be hot-button issues for lots of people, so be careful what you post. You may have potential clients and/or opportunities with people that have very different views. This is what makes America great, everyone has the right to their own opinion. Remember though, just as you have the "freedom to post these things"- others have the "freedom to judge you or not do business with you because of your views". As a business professional you have to check your personal thoughts on these topics at the door. You don't want to alienate anyone in the business arena because you passionately post your thoughts and views. Although you are completely entitled to your own political and religious views just be prepared that sharing them could turn around and hurt your image or brand. And the same goes for all the topics I mentioned above. 

All of the above are topics that can possibly give your clients, vendors, friends, etc an unfavorable perception of you. All of us are individuals and that is nothing to be ashamed of or hide, however if you use your social media outlets for your company or the professional side of your life, you need to watch your personal posts. You can't be promoting your business or professional skills at 9am and then bashing your boyfriend or coworker at 2pm, without it effecting how your followers and/or clients view you.  When it comes to business, especially with our economy the way it is people want to spend money with trust-worthy, capable and consistent individuals. If you portray yourself to be anything but that, rest assured eventually your business/professional life will suffer. 

There are several Facebook privacy settings you can change to prevent people from seeing anything on your page you don't want them to see. Photo tagging privacy policies, sharing with only certain groups of people your posts and so on. Check all of your other social media sites for these same settings. It could help you limit what potential employers, clients, etc see.

It's true, your personal life should not dictate the way you are in business, but unfortunately it absolutely does. So be sure you are monitoring what your social media sites are saying about you. Think about what you are posting, be responsible with your words. And if you are trying to be informational in your posts, make sure that you research, and that you are putting accurate information out there.


Big Eyes — A MUST SEE #memyselfandi

#memyselfandi, Movie ReviewsAmy MorelliComment

image and synopsis courtesy of bigeyesfilm.com


Official Movie Synopsis:

Big Eyes tells the outrageous true story of one of the most epic art frauds in history. In the 1960s, painter Walter Keane (played by Christoph Waltz) had reached success beyond belief, revolutionizing the commercialization of popular art with enigmatic paintings of waifs with big eyes. The bizarre and shocking truth would eventually be discovered: Walter’s works were actually created by his wife Margaret (played by Amy Adams). The Keanes, it seemed, had been living a colossal lie that had fooled the entire world

I had the great pleasure of experiencing the movie BIG EYES this past week. As an artist myself, the story fascinated me. As a woman, it saddened me. Margaret Keane’s life is a story of struggle, oppression and domestic abuse.  She had to endure years of silence and anguish as her narcissistic husband rose to fame and fortune on her talents. A con man, with charm to spare, Walter Keane was able to convince her to go along with the largest Art Fraud in history. Together they convinced the world that he was the creator of hundreds of her Big Eyed painting of children. 

There was a time in our country not long ago, that a divorced woman couldn’t support herself, even more so for a divorced woman with children. “Women are meant for the home” I think the phrase was. Thank goodness we don’t live in those times anymore. You can see in this movie, how women sometimes had to compromise themselves, their talent and even their morals just to survive in the male dominated society of the time. Walter started telling people he was the creator of these painting, and with intimidation from him and no strong sense of herself Margaret went along. 

image courtesy of the Keane Gallery

“Back then, women kind of went along with their husbands, didn’t rock the boat. He finally wore me down,” Margaret says. “While we were fighting this out at home, the paintings were just flying off the walls. Posters were selling. It was unbelievable. It snowballed overnight. I kept getting in deeper and deeper. I didn’t know how I could get out of it. I lost all respect for him and myself, and lived in a nightmare.”  

She had lived this way for more than 15 years, when in 1986 she convinced a Honolulu jury that she was actually the painter of the Big Eyes. She was awarded $4 million, when the federal judge hearing her suit against her ex-husband ordered them both to produce a painting in the courtroom. Margaret whipped up a classic big-eyed “Keane” in 54 minutes; Walter refused, citing a sore shoulder. “I never saw a cent of it,” Margaret Keane says with a laugh. “But I won.” (quotes source: sfgate.com)

Creative spirit in abundance at 87, Keane lives with her daughter Jane in Napa and continues to express her view of the world through art. You can see her work at the Keane Eyes Gallery in San Francisco. or visit her website www.keane-eyes.com. Where you can purchase prints and view her latest work. Thank you Margaret Keane for standing up for what is right, in turn showing the world WOMEN artists can make a living with their talent. (She also showed us that WOMEN ARE WARRIORS, and can dig deep and always find the strength to tackle anything!) This movie about one of the largest art frauds in history is a MUST SEE!

To learn more about the movie visit: bigeyesfilm.com

For a little fun, they even have a selfie generator! Upload your selfie and get your own Big Eye Portrait! Here's mine!

ONE LOVE: A Wedding for Everyone!

#memyselfandi, Branding, ONE LOVE: Workshop, Media CoverageAmy MorelliComment


If you live in Florida or have been watching the news, you know that Florida made Same Sex Marriage legal on January 6th, 2015! YAY FLORIDA!  I am proud to say I have always been a supporter of #Equality!  Working in the Event Industry I am connected with vendors and couples from all walks of life, and I'm here to tell you PEOPLE ARE PEOPLE. In my opinion, the thing that separates us in society is how we treat each other — not who we are or who we love. It's whether or not we are there for each other as humans. This is what builds character. This is what makes us open to love and new life experiences. 

This past November I was asked to participate and sponsor ONE LOVE: a wedding for everyone, presented by Kathy Thomas of Kathy Thomas Photography.  Of course, I jumped at the chance! It was a great opportunity to work with some amazing vendors and to connect with vendors I had yet had the pleasure of working with — all while showing my support for the LGBTQ community.

A two-day experience at the Ritz Carlton Orlando, Grande Lakes, the workshop featured Bernadette Smith of the Gay Wedding Institute, as well as a styled shoot and education on same sex weddings, SEO and marketing language. The brain child of  Kathy Thomas, ONE LOVE: a wedding for everyone was a huge success, photography from the workshop will be used in the marketing materials of the Ritz Carlton Orlando, Grande Lakes, and the workshop itself got a mention on the Channel 6 News! (watch here)

I loved working on this project! It was great working with Kathy creating the Branding and Stationery for take away's and the styled location shoots! She is a formidable force in the event industry and her vision oozed sophistication! 

"My goal is to help educate my community by fostering an environment that continues education, growth and support, so we can be experts in the wedding community. I am a believer in equality — I created my company in support of love and marriage and couldn't be happier that Florida has legalized it for all couples."   — KATHY THOMAS

Job well done! I know she poured her heart and soul into this workshop, and it was evident by the amazing experience she created! Jealous? :)  Experience it yourself with this great trailer by Key Moment Films.

Let's not forget Lisa Stoner of E-Events, she designed the styled shoots at the Ritz Carlton Orlando, Grande Lakes. A beautiful modern classic ballroom set, (complete with the ladies from Our DJ Rocks!) and an elegant outdoor farm experience at Whisper Creek Farm. Thank you Lisa, for always creating amazing environments to showcase my stationery! (I kid, I kid...it's not just about the stationery!) Tipping my hat to Raining Roses  and the Chalk Shop as well for creating her amazing vision! 

Drink in the beauty of both locations below!

For a full list of participants and sponsors of the workshop, scroll down to the end of this post. You will also find galleries for both locations below! (Photography courtesy of Kathy Thomas Photography)

For more information on our event stationery or brand development visit our site!
#memyselfandi #acreativelife

The 2u Collection, our Custom Stationery line contributed stationery designs, table numbers, brand design of the workshop as well as contributing a little photo styling of the sets with Lisa!

Photo Galleries by Kathy Thomas Photography

I know that something this wonderful takes the work of many. Below are these amazing vendors! And the good news they are all supporters of #Equality!!

List of participants and sponsors of the workshop

The Ritz-Carlton Orlando, Grande Lakes (and all their partner Marriott's)

Our DJ Rocks (Kristin Hubbard)

Favors & Treats:
Florida Candy Buffets (Farida Wazir)

Planners & Designers:
E Events (Lisa Stoner)

Raining Roses Productions (Jesus Rodriguez)

Stationery & Paperie:
2u Collection (Amy Morelli)

Lifestyle Design, Graphics, Illustration, Branding & Marketing:
2u Creative (Amy Morelli)

Kathy Thomas Photography (Kathy Thomas - Orlando & NYC)
Brandi Image Photography (Brandi Morris St. Pete)
Stephanie Dishman Photography (Stephanie Dishman - Orlando)
Rudy & Marta Photography (Rudy Montilla- Orlando)
Nick Edmundson Imaging (Nick Edmundson - Ohio available for travel)
Emily Millay Photography (Emily Cunningham - Ohio available for travel)
Jordan Weiland Photography (Jordan Weildan - Lakeland)
Banter Booth (photo booth Jason Weildan - Lakeland)

Key Moment Films (Mary Angelini)

Hair and Makeup:
Kristy's Artistry Design Team (Kristy Alonzo)

A Creative Life. . .#memyselfandi

#memyselfandi, LifestyleAmy MorelliComment

If you follow me on social media, you know that design infiltrates every aspect of my life, and it's not just my love for paper and stationery that inspire me. So I've decided as of today, my blog will become a little bit more like a lifestyle blog!  If you don't follow me, be sure to start! You won't want to miss what's to come!

If you missed it over the holidays, my partners (Lisa Stoner & Robyn Dixon) and I launched a full lifestyle blog: Me Actually! I developed the Brand, logo, design of blog, etc. And will continue to contribute content from the artist perspective as well as Creative Direct all of our activity as we grow. 

Me Actually is the categorical online resource for men and women alike to reference independently or together the art of living abundantly. You'l find everything from gardening and fashion tips to movie reviews and recipes,  I invite you to learn more about all three of us, check out our first post! (And of course all the posts from December!) To find my contributions to Me Actually search for #memyselfandi.

Because of my partnership with Me Actually, I have decided to cover some of the same topics here on my own blog. After all, my artist perspective and design style is who I am, I invite you to follow me both here and at Me Actually. You'll learn all kinds of things about #memyselfandi! 

And don't forget to check out my partners Lisa Stoner & Robyn Dixon, they are two of my closest friends, as well as strong women! There is something for everyone at Me Actually! Be sure to follow me at the links below!

Announcing the New Brand & Websites!!!

Branding, Launch of 2015 Brand, Announcements, WebsitesAmy MorelliComment
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I am so happy to finally announce the launch of our new brand almost 10 years in the making!  As a creative and brand developer it's often like the plumber with leaky pipes . . . I'm always spending all my creative energy with my clients, often I don't have the time or the energy for my own brand. So for the last 9+ years, I have been working hard to develop a brand that includes all 3 of my divisions that I'm in love with!  We hope you love it as well! 

The websites can be found at their old places: 2ucollection.com, 2ucouture.com and 2ucreative.net but we also have a  new domain where it can be found as well: 2ucreativejuices.com

I am so happy with how everything turned out, bear with us we are still adding products to our Paper Couture Stationery Store- But you can go to our Facebook page to see all of our current designs while we are updating. 

Please share with us your feedback below. I hope you are as enamored as I!

We Love Paper Flowers!!

Baby Shower, Paper Flowers, Real WeddingsAmyComment

We've said it before, and its certain we will say it again, we love paper!! Even more, we love when fabulous things are created out of paper. When we stumbled upon this awesome book, our very own

Amy Morelli

scooped it up immediately. The pages are filled with 75 different flowers to be created, with plenty of how-to's and templates to assist in the paper flower making process. And, with three different skill levels for each project in the book, you can pick and choose the right designs for your crafting level.

We are still deciding on which ones we would like to create but here are some fantastic examples of the amazing flowers that can be incorporated into your next event!

Paper Flower Center Pieces

 - Photo from:


Paper Flower Banner

 - Photo by:


Local Faves

Local floral design company,

Raining Roses Productions

, has totally inspired us with their Paper Flower Designs. From outstanding centerpieces to grand paper flower backdrops, their designs are truly breathtaking and make every event they are apart of a truly unique experience.

Having worked with them on several large events- we have to say they never disappoint. The team always looks forward to working with

Raining Roses Productions

to see what creative designs they will continue to come up with next. And, these paper flower they created below, are some of their best!!

Paper Flower Center Pieces - Photo by:

Scott Watt Photography

Paper Flower Center Pieces - Photo by: 

Scott Watt Photography

Paper Flower Center Pieces - Photo by: 

Scott Watt Photography

White Paper Flower Runway Backdrop - Photo by:

Damon Tucci Photography