It’s June! The sixth month of 2023 is here and summer officially begins. With the unofficial summer kick off over Memorial Day weekend it’s likely you may be in full-fledged summer mode. I’m here to share a few things to celebrate this month that you might not know exist!

Of course, Father’s Day (June 18) and the First Day of Summer (June 21) adorn the calendar this month, but perhaps you’re in the mood to celebrate food?

June 2
Rocky Road Day

June 3
National Donut Day
National Egg Day

June 4
National Cheese Day

June 7
National Chocolate Ice Cream Day

June 10
Egg Roll Day

June 11
Corn on the Cob Day

June 12
Peanut Butter Cookie Day

June 16
National Fudge Day

June 17
National Eat your Veggies Day
Apple Strudel Day

June 18
International Picnic Day

June 22
National Onion Ring Day
National Chocolate Eclair Day

June 24
National Pralines Day

June 26
National Chocolate Pudding Day

June 27
National Ice Cream Day

June 29
Almond Buttercrunch Day

Will you be adding any of the above to your celebrating calendar? Tell us below! We’ll be sharing fun resources this month on The Helpful Host instagram page, don’t forget to follow there!

Cheers to lots of sweets, a day to get in some veggies and wonderful memories to be found!

The truth is people have the ability to change you. It can be a simple smile to change your outlook on the morning, a kind gesture to carry you through the day or it can be a big enough change to make an imprint on your heart.

You see, I am in the business of love. Over the past 15 years I have seen countless love stories, beautiful events and people have crossed my path that have changed me for the better.

When I revamped the website we lost the existing blog and galleries. It has been a goal of mine to revisit events of the past – to re-share marriage days in all their glory. The intricate details; the way a groom looked at his bride, the way a mother so delicately helped her daughter into her dress, the way a couple floated back up the aisle after reciting their vows. Most of all, I want to repost those weddings for you to see the pure joy that my couples get to feel on their wedding days. Joy because I get the honor of taking away all of the legwork and small details – which allows my couples the ability to enjoy their day, to focus on each other and their marriage.

It was August 2013 and I had the pleasure of hearing from Sarah. She was excited to be getting married October 11, 2014 at the Mayo Hotel. I know Sarah from college, but had only heard of Kyle as we had never met. Sarah is the girl you want to know, to know her is to love her. When her wedding was over I told my mom that I wanted to bottle her up and put her in my pocket. She was a constant ray of sunshine, she gave compliments straight from the heart and valued having people around her that were great at their craft, and that she could learn from.

I will never forget the trust she put in me as her wedding planner and designer. I remember proposing a welcome tree to her. An actual tree, in the lobby of the hotel but would need her complete trust to pull it off. She agreed at our design meeting and I was able to give her the best surprise on her marriage day. We laughed so hard that the hotel still gave me a table for the “welcome tree” because they didn’t believe that my team would wheel in a 200lb base and almost 30′ tall tree we adorned with 5″x7″ escort cards. A “tree” that most definitely would have crushed a table.

We saved a tree from the wood chipper. She may have been most proud that we created a beautiful conversation piece that not only served a purpose, but that was created sustainably.

Sarah wanted an elegant dinner party. An evening to celebrate those around her and Kyle as much as they were set to celebrate their marriage. When I tell you that wonderful people surround themselves with like people, this wedding was the definition of that. Each person in the room was a ray of sunshine. From Thomas who spoke at the ceremony about the kind of man Kyle is, to Laura Beth who gave the most beautiful toast at the reception. She spoke about a lady she and Sarah heard at a sorority convention. The speaker (speaking about her husband) said:

“People say I love you from the bottom of my heart, but hunny, for you, my heart has no bottom.”

I will never forget the toast she gave about the kind of love Sarah had found, “the kind of love that sweet lady had found in her husband, she knew that Sarah had found in Kyle.” Those two lines could define the entire wedding alone – just watch their first look.

It was the biggest honor to bring Sarah’s elegant dinner party to life. To work with incredible creative teams like Wade Tower, to serve her family, to assist her brothers with a a family prank (all in appropriate fashion because I am most certainly one to protect any of my events like a mama bear 🙂 ) and to allow her time to change into her mothers wedding gown for their exit. What a joy it was to have a front row to the once-in-a-lifetime magic that was that day, with those people. If you don’t believe me here is a 5 minute peek from the talented duo PenWeddings.

To be honest, I didn’t think loosing Sarah would lead me to this post, but here we are. Sarah went home to be with the Lord a few weeks ago, and while we had only spoke a few times over the past 9 years, each time we did she was that same ray of sunshine. She was far too young to go, and I know she will be greatly missed by many.

For those of you who knew Sarah, I hope this post brought a smile to your face. For those of you who just met Sarah and Kyle through this post, I hope it brought a smile to your face as well.

When I say that all of my couples are forever part of the CLE Family, I truly mean it. Whether a wedding from 15 years ago, or a few weeks ago, the moments and memories I hold close are many. They are moments I look forward to sharing more of right here on the blog. So buckle up, because I have so many wonderful memories to share!

xo Christina

Planning, Design and Production: Christina Leigh Events
Images: Chris Humphrey
Video: PenWeddings
Entertainment: Wade Tower
Venue: The Mayo Hotel
Lighting: OMNI Lighting
Linens: Nuage Designs
Floral: The French Bouquet

To read more about Sarah Hummel Brown please click here.

If you have been to the blog at least once you may know that gifting is a part of who we the at The Helpful Host. With a brand centered around celebrating everyday it is a joy to celebrate others, especially those that pour into our kiddos daily.

Whether you are looking to give one gift to your teacher, or shower them with daily surcee’s we have put together a list of ideas for you below. The biggest takeaway, however, is that most teachers love a handwritten note as the sweetest sentiment when it comes to being thanked.

Ideas we love at The Helpful Host to celebrate our educators:

  • Breakfast – Pair their favorite donut with a note that reads, “Donut you know you’re the best!
  • Flowers – Pair their favorite flower, a few flowers from your garden/the store or a spring potted plant, with a note that reads, “I/We couldn’t have picked a better teacher!
  • Sweets – Pair their favorite candy with a note that reads, “Thank you for being so sweet!
  • Coffee – Pair their favorite coffee, or gift card for coffee with a note that reads, “Thanks a latte!
  • Snack – Pair their favorite snack with a note that reads, “You’re all that and a bag of chips!
  • Drink – Pair their favorite drink with a note that reads, “Thank you for quenching my thirst for knowledge!

If you are looking for a larger gift for the teachers lunch, or front office we love THIS IDEA we shared last year!

What do you think about the ideas above? Do you have a favorite that isn’t listed? We would love to hear below!

Can you feel the joy?

This photo from Krista and Mike’s wedding was the perfect image to headline this sneak peek blog post. Krista wanted to get married in an English Garden, Mike didn’t want a pink wedding – I am fairly certain that our 8 month journey of planning and designing delivered the perfect “marriage” of design details for the couples marriage day!

We’re so excited to share the video sneak peek and a few images from their marriage day by Nate Messarra Photography. Thank you to our amazing team of creatives who helped us bring their vision to life and celebrate our couple!

Planning, Design and Production: Christina Leigh Events
Photography: Nate Messarra Photography
Videography: Nate Messarra Photography
Floral: Bramble & Bee
Wedding Crest: Simply Jessica Marie Crest Bar
Stationery: Nellie Sparkman Stationery
Hair and Makeup: Jentry Kelley
Cake: Becca Cakes
Ceremony Entertainment: Divisi Strings
Reception Entertainment: Jordan Kahn Orchestra
Venue: The Astorian
Catering: Jackson and Company Catering
Chargers: Aztec
Draping and Escort Card Wall: LG Events and Production
Linens: BBJ La Tavola
Valet: The Astorian
Brides Dress: Brickhouse Bridal
Brides Shoes: Loeffler Randall
Grooms Tuxedo: J. Hilburn, stylist Cari Kerns

What do you think of this fun post? What would you like to see more of? If you have a happy wish for our couple we would love for you to leave it below!

It’s time for my yearly planner! Yes, you heard me correct. Today is the launch of the 2023-2024 Academic Yearly layout (August 2023 – July 2024) planners from Simplified, a brand by Emily Ley.

I have been a Simplified planner girl for years, I’m certain it’s more than a decade. I found Emily the year after she sold laminated planners and the simplicity of that first planner sold me. It is the commitment from the Simplified Team to that same simplicity, with a whole new flair, that keeps me coming back!

I have a few tips and insights in this post and hope you find it helpful for today’s launch!

First thing is first, lets talk about the different planner options:
1. The DAILY planner. This layout dedicates a full page to every day of the year, although Saturday and Sunday do share a page. It offers a monthly spread for each month and you can get a DAILY planner in a coil bound format with beautiful pattern options.
2. The WEEKLY planner. This layout dedicates a double page layout to an entire week. The WEEKLY layout can be found with the beautiful book bound, patterned WEEKLY planners as well.
3. The DAPPER DESK planner. While this planner option doesn’t necessarily have the new patterns painted on it’s cover the beautiful leatherette options have held my heart for the past few years. You can find the blue and fawn leatherette options in both a daily and a new weekly format!

You will also find the TEACHER PLANNER, a hanging wall calendar, notebooks, pens, pouches, teach cases and more!

Now for what I know you all are here for, what am I choosing you ask? Let me share!

After going from the weekly planner, to the daily planner (oh hey, babies entered the chat), then to the daily Dapper Desk (hello sleek and professional) I am gunning for that beautiful blue weekly Dapper Desk this year! The vertical weekly layout is screaming for me to switch it up, yet keep with my same rhythm of starting a new calendar in August.

I also hope to grab a new amazing pen clip (genius) and since the Dapper Desk doesn’t come with a sticker sheet I’ll be grabbing the new Blush Magnolia sticker sheet.

A few notes for shopping:
1. I linked all of the items above, including the amazing Dapper Desk bundles, yesterday before the site when down for launch. My hope is that when it comes back up the links won’t be broken. If they are I will try to fix them as soon as possible, but rumor on the street says is you’re looking at the new weekly Dapper Desk like I am you need to be there right at launch.
2. Speaking of launch it is 10:00am ET / 9:00am CT / 7:00am PT
3. I have linked the main SIMPLIFIED SITE HERE for a straight link to all things new, but if you are shopping for the first time and would like $15 off of your first order – I would be honored if you used my give $15, get $15 LINK FOUND HERE.

I will also note that while this launch is for the ACADEMIC (August – July) layout, the YEARLY (January – December) layout planners – in the same beautiful patterns and designs – will launch later this year!

I would love to know if you are a Simplified fan, if you’re trying Simplified for the first time or if you are making notes for your purchase later this year! Chime in below!

To see last years picks CLICK HERE.

Adding seasonal decorations to my home is maybe my favorite part of being a parent. Don’t get me wrong it’s definitely not the only thing, but creating an atmosphere to make the most of each season is something I love! One of the easiest ways I have found to spruce up my kiddos rooms is a refresh to their bookshelves.

Today, for my Friday Faves, I am sharing our most recent list of books we have for each room! I have every single book linked in my Amazon Halloween List HERE alongside additional decor, you can find the link for the clear bookshelves HERE, the link for the dollhouse bookshelf HERE and if you prefer the LTK app you can find a roundup of books and cute skeletons HERE!

For more details on the bookshelves I would love for you to check out my Instagram Reel HERE!

I would love to know, are seasonal and holiday themed books part of your decor in your home? Do you love a themed bookshelf as much a I do? If so, I would love to hear some of your favorite Halloween books below!

A couple more notes 🙂

Our amazing wooden signs are from Against the Grain. An amazing small business that hand cuts and hand crafts each piece with love. Their Fall and Halloween collections are sold out, but their Mistletoe + Holly collections releases today! If you are looking for bookshelf or room decor, gift tags (yes acrylic and wood personalized tags) and more check out their site HERE!

As always, when I talk about any brand I won’t share it if I don’t own it, or love it. From Against the Grain I earn nothing by sharing this small business. It is one that I simply love and hope that you love it too!

However, when you shop from any of my Amazon or LTK links I am earning a small commission. The cost of the product is not more for you, but the commission exchange happens between the retailer and myself, through the affiliate link you likely clicked on! Most of these links are only tied to me for 10-15 minutes from your initial click. As an entrepreneur I am in the business of affiliate marketing and appreciate you shopping my favorites through my links!  

Thank you for reading, shopping, sharing and engaging in my posts! I hope you love them as much as I love sharing them!

It’s that time! You have all you need for your little one, but there is one person left to greet for the new year – your teacher!

A fun fact about me is that I have a minor in education! I am a teacher at heart and have always held a special place for teachers close. Now, as a parent my appreciation for the amazing educators in our lives is even bigger.

One thing I love to do is to get a list of their favorite things. This helps me give thanks most intentionally throughout the year. I have refined this the past few years and this year am so happy with everything it covers! I simply tucked the questionnaire in the back for their first day basket so it was ready to go.

I love a good gift, and I love to give a first day gift to our teachers! This year we gave a personalized (with my Crucit) tumbler with lid (I have gifted this cups for 3 years now and love them), the most amazing hand sanitizer (spoiler, it’s also a moisturizer and FDA approved), a personalized cookie and a gift card for dinner. The tag for our gift basket gives a nod to dinner. Take a look below for our teacher gifts and for the free downloads of my printables!

TIP: Punch a hole in your DINNER ON US tag if adding it to a gift. Simply loop the hang tag or ribbon through it to attach to your gift basket, box or bag.

NOTE: Please check with your school. There are some PTO/PTA groups that keep a favorite things list for each teacher on file and the homeroom teacher has that information.

Simply click on the image to save it and print it from your printer. Don’t forget to add your teachers name and to sign the sheet from your kiddo so the teacher knows who to return it to!

If you are looking for a fun gift to add to your teacher questionnaire I crafted this little dinner on us gift card tag to tie on our baskets. I also made a stand alone card for a place to secure your gift card if that might be helpful to you!

We went with Chick-fil-A gift cards and when I polled what your first day of school traditions are a teacher added Chick-fil-A or Pizza for dinner because of how busy of a day it is. I’m fairly certain I made a good gift card choice!

Simply click on the image to save it and print it from your printer. Don’t forget to add your teachers name and to sign the gift from you!

I always love to see what you all come up with! Leave me a comment here with your first day teacher gift ideas or take me on social media @ChristinaLeighFrederick and @TheHelpfulHost so that I can celebrate with you!

I can’t believe I will officially have a Pre-K kiddo in my house this year, and little sister is starting school too! It’s bittersweet to be at our last “first, first day,” but such an exciting time to celebrate!

I’ve gathered a few quick things for the perfect first day celebration and have a few tips and tricks for the special occasion!

Shop all of these items on my LikeToKnowIt

First, start the day with a fun breakfast! If cooking is your love language this is your time to shine! Fun pancakes, cinnamon rolls or for the bigger kids even a breakfast casserole can be wonderful options! If you are all about the local bakery and apple shaped donuts make your heart smile (this is our go to) then shop small! Either way I would grab these plates, these napkins and this banner for a morning treat!

No first day, is a proper first day without a new outfit in this house. Yes, I know I am still at the age where I can pick out their clothes without their input – I am holding on to that! I can’t get enough of these cute appliqué looks, matching short sets and sibling options!
Tip: Avoid personalization for delivery in time for the first day.

A new lunchbox and water bottle are perfect for first day fun! Our beloved Planetbox lunchbox is 28% off and our Yeti’s are 15% off!

Of course crayons, new books and a few extra treats are always welcome!
Tip: Grab treats that also double as a snack for their lunchbox, or for when they get home!

Add those all to a fun, functional storage basket and you have an extra mom win! Yea, for a place to hold toys, extra back door shoe basket – the possibilities are endless!
Tip: Only grab a new basket if you need one. If you have too many bins and baskets to count grab one from your house.

I love the first day for morning surprises, a great day at school and dinner to learn all about the day! Yes, it takes a little bit to get into a new rhythm, but its one that is welcome – and just around the corner!

I would love to know if you have a fun first day tradition! Share your ideas and celebrations below!

xo Christina

Having been a luxury wedding and event planner for over a decade my love for weddings runs deep in my bones. It’s the type A personality in me that loves creating timelines, the dreamer and visionary in me that loves designing one of a kind events and the servants heart in me that loves giving all I have to each of my couples.

It only seemed fitting for me to begin celebrating my sweet little girls marriage day on her first birthday. So when I stumbled across this precious cake knife tradition I just knew that I had to have it be a part of Charlotte’s birthday celebration.

Let’s break the tradition down.

It’s unclear where the tradition came. Although cutting a birthday cake dates back to Germany in 15th century A.D. it wasn’t until Victorian times when the Brides Cake entered a wedding celebration. As far as gifting a cake knife on a first birthday the history is unclear, but when I stumbled across it I knew it was the key to the perfect first birthday gift.

A special cake knife is gifted to a little girl on her first birthday.
Note: I did receive messages that it can also be custom to gift a little boy a cake knife as well.

The special cake knife can then be used for special occasions leading up to ones marriage day. Birthdays, communion, graduation, etc.

Julia Childs did say that any event without cake it just a meeting. We all know that cake is generally key to a proper celebration so why not have the perfect cake knife for each special occasion.

For Charlotte I will admit that I didn’t have a formal cake knife for my wedding, or I would have passed our wedding set to her. Instead we got her a set from Tiffany’s as her very first blue box.

A few of the options we looked at were:
Tiffany and Co.
Kate Spade , with blue
Kate Spade, with rose
Vera Wang for Wedgewood
Sterling Silver Set
Waterford Diamond Set

Leave it to me to be indecisive about what I want to engrave on Charlotte’s set. For her birthday it was blank, but I think I have decided to simply put her formal name on the cake knife and for her wedding we can then add the name of her groom to the cake server for her set to be complete.

I have also heard of a simple message on the back of the cake server to be a great option. Something like:
Here’s to the first of many celebrations honoring you.
Happy First Birthday! May this cake knife bring you joy each time you celebrate.

In hindsight I may have given Barrett his own birthday cake knife, but will reserve that for his someday bride. Maybe she will have been gifted her very own cake knife.

Our precious cake knife sign came from Honey Bear Pages to match all of our stationery for the party. She has an adorable Etsy shop and is the sweetest! I would highly recommend reaching out to her for a cake knife sign or any stationery needs.

What do you think of the tradition? Did you receive a birthday cake knife, or have you gifted a special cake knife to someone? I would love to hear below!

xo Christina

If you’re new around here it might not take you long to realize that I love a good celebration. When it’s a celebration for a well deserving person, or group of people, it makes the fanfare that much more exciting!

From my time in school (I actually went to college to be a secondary math teacher) to now my children’s time in school it has been reaffirmed that teachers truly are the sweetest people in the world. There is one week a year we all get to shower then with love, so why not make it sweet!

I love a big project like this to celebrate every teacher in the building from music to gym class, the counselor and assistant teachers. This fun board was dropped off in the teachers lounge for all to enjoy!

I’ve linked all of the supplies you beed ON AMAZON HERE, but these adorable cookies came from SIFT AND SWIRL in Houston, Texas. I would challenge you to find a local, small business that you could support when gifting to teachers and service people in your area. It’s a win all around!

To create this craft:
1. Grab all of your supplies and lay out your letters on your board for spacing.
2. Punch out the top of your paper cache letters so that you create a cavity to fill with all of your candy.
3. Gorilla glue your letters to your board and let dry.
4. Line your letters with parchment paper. This step is key of you plan to leave any of the candy, fruit. cheese, etc unwrapped.
5. Add your treats! I like to color block so I made sure to space out all of the colors.
6. Top with miniature cookies or embellishments.
7. Don’t forget to sign your board and include any nutrition information that would need to be added.

What do you think? Will you be giving this a try for your teachers this week, or to celebrate the end of the year? Tag @TheHelpfulHost on Instagram if you do!

xo Christina

Growing up I always loved Mother’s Day because I got to celebrate my best friend. Whether you are a mom or love and adore a mom I’ve put together a short list of a few things I love that a wonderful woman (maybe you) in your life might love as well.

Ginger Jars: How beautiful are these monogrammed jars by LO HOME X VERONIKA’S BLUSHING. I love that they come in multiple shades and even have an option without a monogram. The three sizes make the perfect set, or grab one jar as the perfect gift.

Sun Hat: I have had my eye on “wildflower” Sarah Bray Bermuda sun hat for awhile, but when she partnered up with Rosie Cotswolds I knew I had to add this beautiful hat, with amazing ribbon to my short list. I love that the ribbons on these hats are interchangeable. I’m fairly certain I love a good sun hat because the older I get the more I understand the importance of taking care of my skin. Plus, a beautiful hat + ribbon combo is the perfect accessory if you ask me.

Charm Bracelet: I have to admit growing up I very much loved my James Avery sterling silver charm bracelet, but now that I am a mom I love the idea of a gold bracelet even more. What I might love most about a gift like a charm bracelet is that it is easy. Year one you grab the bracelet + charm, and each year moving forward grab a charm for mom. It’s the perfect gift that keeps giving (plus, it’s an easy calendar reminder for dad each year to order a new charm).

Beaded Bracelet: If a charm bracelet doesn’t quite fit, I love these beaded bracelets! They come in two sizes and different color ways. They scream “cool mom” to me and I love how versatile, yet laid back this fun gift can be! The two sizes make for a great mom + mini moment, too.

Lake Pajamas: Does the mom you love have a pair of Lake pajamas? If not this is the perfect luxury, yet comfortable gift. Personally, I’m a long sleeve + short girl, but their robes + nightgowns are the perfect blend of soft and breathable and the new Mother’s Day pattern is love at first sight. Add a spa day, or at home spa kit with this amazing body polish and this gift is ready to go.

Ember Mug: If you know me you know I love my coffee. I first received my mug as a gift and feel in love fast. My coffee can stay hot for 8 hours, I can control the perfect temperature and the charging base is sleek and beautiful in my kitchen. Fast forward to this Easter when I received my travel mug and even though I didn’t think my love for these mugs could grow, it most certainly did. I love my mug for office days in the house, and my travel mug for days on the go. Any coffee or tea loving mom would certainly love this gift!

Air Fryer: Who remembers when air fryers first became the rage? They were everywhere and everyone scooped up a cheep version to give it a try. Know that you know your mom loves her air fryer why not upgrade it to a beautiful appliance for her kitchen. I love that this one is larger than the small single pan options, can cook two things at once, can air fry, roast, reheat, dehydrate and bake or broil. I love that you can time you two items to be done at the same time, or remove the partition and cook one large item – like a 10lb turkey! Any mom who loves her kitchen will love this.

Raffia Platform Sandals: This one is lower on the list because they are so popular limited sizes remain. If you, or your mom, is like me I could consider shoes my love language and these Loeffler Randall heels are my latest obsession with block heel, trendy but timeline raffia and can we talk about the braided toe. LOVE.

Monogrammed Sweater: Yes, I know it is Spring, but I also know that you can celebrate mom year round, and that is exactly what this gift says. The perfect spring blue, that precious bow and her monogram in rhinestone letters makes for the perfect spring sweater that transitions into Fall and Winter as well. Trust me, this superfine merino wool sweater will not disappoint.

A couple of additional options I love won’t make it in time for Mother’s Day, but a gift card to any of the below could be a wonderful option!

Vana Chupp Studio: This amazing site is full of beautiful pieces, but for Mother’s Day i couldn’t love the idea of these sweet silhouette charm necklaces anymore. What mom wouldn’t love these sweet babies around their neck. I also love the silhouettes on a bracelet.

Stamped in Clay: If you are local to Houston I can’t recommend Nikki enough. I got my first imprint piece this year and love that it has Barretts hand and Charlotte’s little feet preserved. She hosts popups frequently so reach out to set up a session. I promise it wont disappoint. If you are not in Houston I can’t recommend finding a Ceramic artist enough.

What are you asking for for Mother’s Day, or what are you gifting your sweet mom? I would love to hear below!

It’s safe to say we love books around here! My little sister dubbed me a “bookworm” growing up. In fifth grade I was on an independent reading program because I was reading at an eighth grade reading level. Needless to say I hope my children learn a love of books from their mama!

One way that I love to make reading fun is to change out the books they visually see often, and the most fun reason to do that is for the holidays!

With our next holiday being St. Patrick’s Day I grabbed a lot of their colorful core books and added in a few rainbows!

You can see that with Charlotte’s bookshelf I color blocked her books, and on Barrett’s shelves I mixed all of the colors around!

You can find all of the books LINKED HERE on my AMAZON STOREFRONT. You can also shop Charlotte’s house bookshelf and additional items HERE on my LTK ACCOUNT. You can also find Betty Confetti, Charlotte’s doll, and her autographed book at All She Wrote Notes, LINKED HERE.

Do you change your children’s bookshelves around for the holidays, or see one of your favorite books on these shelves? I would love for you to share in the comments below!

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