Bonnie Matassa Photography & Design

I’m going to gush about one of my favorite photographers in the area – Bonnie Matassa.

Bonnie is an award winning newborn and child photographer, located about 35 miles south of New Orleans. She specialized in Fine Arts Portraits.

We first visited Bonnie’s studio for Jules’ 6 month photos and Kennedy’s 2 year photos. She had so much patience with each of the girls – making them laugh, sing, and giving snacks :) You can tell she is a mother herself!


If you are stressed about what to dress your child in for portraits – don’t be. Bonnie has masses of outfits, headbands, props, etc. I could go crazy in her dressing room. I wish I could dress my kids in every outfit she has – so much fun! These are no extra cost with your session booking!



Her studio is has SO MANY backdrops – anything to meet your needs. She has over 3800 square feet of indoor and outdoor studio space, and offers the highest quality of professional portraits.





She can even make frowns look adorable :) Jules was not a fan of the sequins, but the picture is still priceless!


She knew my girls loved Frozen, so she played “Let It Go” on her speaker system to help Jules cheer up – so sweet!




Call her today at 985.532.0133
or visit her webiste at
She also has a Facebook page.

Colorful Evening

At the Blacklight Run last weekend, all runners were given color packets filled with the color powder that is thrown on everyone. They were also throwing packets to the crowd. I collected four packets and decided to bring them home to my girls – so they could have as much fun as I was having.

I wasn’t going purchase a blacklight or anything, but I knew they would have fun regardless. I dressed them in the same t-shirts we wore for the race, and gave them our super cool blinking glasses.


We put them in the grass, then Daddy opened the packets and colored the girls! They kept giggling and asking, “What is that!?” They were so confused!









They finally got the hang of it and wanted to pour the color on by themselves. Then they started jumping in the colorful grass.












Now they want to know when momma is bringing home some more color powder!


Blacklight Run – NOLA

Let’s get one thing straight – I DO NOT RUN. Never could. I can dance for hours doing turns and leaps, but if I run to my mailbox and back, I would probably hyperventilate. If I’m running, something or someone is probably chasing me.

So when my husband wanted to sign us up for the Blacklight Run in New Orleans, I thought he was making a joke. Our friends created a team, “We got da runz”, and he wanted to join for this fun run. After finally convincing me, I was sure I would be the last one crossing the finish line…holding everyone up.


To make matters worse, I had to borrow tennis shoes to even participate. That’s right, I don’t own tennis shoes. I don’t know why this is hard for people to believe. The last pair of tennis shoes I owned was when I was a senior in high school PE. I just don’t wear them – I have no need to wear them. I have some boat shoes with laces if that counts.

Anyways, my mom gave me some old tennis shoes she didn’t use anymore, so now I am the proud owner of some Nike-somethings.

So we show up at this race and there are over 10,000 people there – all wearing white shirts ready to be splattered with color. I had no idea what to expect since it was my first run ever.


We took a couple of team pictures before the race started.




A stage was set up with a DJ for the “pre-race” party. We headed that way to have some fun before the race. The DJs started throwing color on everyone to get the crowd pumped up for the race.



Soon it was time for the race to get started. It took a while to begin since so many runners were registered.




Most of our group walked the 5K. Since it was a “fun run”, there were no times or winners. To be honest, this was the most boring part of the experience. Even though we were walking with a group, it was pretty uneventful. There were a couple of color stations, but nothing compared to the before and after parties. I was expecting a lot of blacklights and colors and music…we were literally just walking in the dark with a couple of glow sticks. It was like Halloween without the candy. I’m glad I went though. Next year we agreed that we would be happy with just the pre and post events.




There were a couple of opportunities for us to cheat and cut through the track to get closer to the finish line. I told myself I was finishing! I might not have been the fastest person, but at least I finished!


After the race we went back to the stage for the post-run party. This was the most fun part of the night! They threw so much color! It was awesome!



With so many blacklights around, we all looked like a bunch of hot messes. It made our eyes, tongues, etc. all purple. We looked wicked!


My husband even looks good under a blacklight with neon colors all over him – I’m a lucky lady :)



Bradley Cooper even made an appearance!



It was such a fun night, and we would definitely do it again. I’m so proud of myself for completing my first 5K (even though I walked)…and for the record, tennis shoes are overrated.



Jules’ 2nd Birthday Party – Shabby Chic Cowgirl

For those who know me, I start thinking of birthday parties well in advance – my husband thinks I’m nuts. Since Jules’ birthday is right in the middle of July, it’s always a challenge to find something super cute besides pool parties.

It all started months back when I took some photos of the girls. I dressed them in adorable dresses and put them each a pair of boots. I fell in love with this picture

So I started snooping on Etsy and Pinterest for the perfect little cowgirl party – not too western, not too cowgirl-ish. I found the perfect little invitation and decided to go with the vintage shabby chic theme.

We got our girl some little squeaker boots, and paired them with her tutu and birthday shirt. She looked adorable.

So I’m a bit of a “theme freak.” I have so much fun planning parties for any occasion. I wish I could make a living just doing parties. The food is one of my favorites:





Decorations were a lot easier for this party than in the past. Burlap is cheap! I used a lot of burlap and some lace – added some picture frames and cute signs – and voila!






For the backdrop, I used burlap and a quilt from Jules’ bed. The paper fans were from Oriental Trading. I used a bunting that I had hanging in the girls playroom, and the wooden “J” I stole from the wall in Jules’ room.


With all of the burlap I had leftover (I bought an entire roll), I made a “J” to hang on the door. I think I will make a “K” in pink and hang them in the playroom.


Some of my favorite crafts for the party were the favors. I found this tutorial on Pinterest for “horses” made from pool noodles. They were super simple to make – and cheap. All the noodles were from the Dollar Store for .99. I displayed them in one of my laundry hampers :)




I also had some pink, blue, or white bandanas for the gang.




Any cowgirl needs a horse, right? My dad is my hero to brought us a pony and rode every kid more than once. He walked the entire party – we are so thankful for Grampi who spoils his grandchildren rotten! Also thanks to the family friend who let us borrow the sweet pony. The kids loved it – their little faces lit up every time they rode.











For anyone who didn’t want to ride the pony (or for anyone who wanted another ride), my mom and dad brought this vintage horse riding toy they keep in their garage. It was a hit!





Let’s talk about the cake. My friend, Toni, has made all of my kids birthday cakes. She is amazing. Not only do they look phenomenal, but they taste SO good. I am so spoiled by her cakes – no one compares! Each year when she brings one over, I think “this is my favorite one so far.” This year, she didn’t disappoint!



Before the pony had to go back home, Jules gave him a hug goodbye. Doesn’t it look like the pony is hugging her back? So sweet!


My girl blew out her candles all by herself this year. Here she is showing me “two” (almost got it)!




Before the rain came, it was HOT – really hot. The birthday girl was getting cranky in her shirt and boots, so I let her be free LOL.



After all that partying and pony-riding, our girl was worn out. Thanks to everyone for coming and celebrating with us!


Where did it all come from?
Jules’ shirt – Lacie’s Loft
Invitation – Pretty Party Creations
Toppers – made by me
Party Wall Art – made my me
Howdy/Yee Haw Garland – The Color Loft

Dear Jules on your 2nd Birthday

My sweet Julesy Wulsey,
You have no idea how much pleasure you bring to so many lives. You are so lovable and squeezable, and I have a hard time stopping myself from pinching you every chance I get. I could squeeze those adorable dimple-filled cheeks all day long. It’s hard to believe my big browned-eyed baby butterball is now two years old.

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There are so many things I love about you! I love to watch you with your sister – you look up to her so much. You copy everything she does, and I admire how much you both care for each other.


I love how lovable you are. Random times throughout the day, you will just hug or say “I love you”. You are so sweet. You have the best manners…always saying “please” and “thank you”.



I love how laid back you are. Even though you made quite the dramatic entrance into the world, you are very mellow. If someone steals your toy, you just find another. If you do have a tantrum, it lasts seconds. You could play in a room full of people, or you could play quietly by yourself. You are very easy-going. (Except for that time we made you wear that sequin dress that you hated).


I love to watch you eat. You will stop whatever you are doing or playing with when it is breakfast/lunch/dinner time. You eat anything. Whatever we put in front of you, you finish it (and your sister’s).



I love those curls. You have the most adorable, hard to manage head of curls. You will be breaking many hearts one day with your curls, long eyelashes, big brown eyes, & dimples.



And that laugh. That precious belly laugh. It’s so contagious! When you laugh around other people, they can’t help but laugh themselves! It is a chuckle that I will never get tired of hearing.


Daddy and I thank God everyday that you came into our lives. He picked a special day for your arrival – Mommy & Daddy’s anniversary!

I hope you have fun at your birthday party this weekend, my love! Mommy & Daddy love you BIG BIG.


Punta Cana – Last Day

With our romance package came a couples massage. We chose to use it on the last day, since it would be the perfect ending to our relaxing trip. We walked to the spa and were escorted to a little tiki hut with two massage tables inside. IMG_2472 We spent our last day on the beach just as we did the days before – just relaxing and enjoying the scenery. Before we left home, we agreed that we would not go on any excursions on this trip. On our honeymoon we did a couple of excursions, and we felt that this trip would be dedicated to relaxing. I didn’t want to be constrained by time, and I didn’t want to spend half of our days traveling to and from the excursion points. Perhaps one day when we go back, we can try a couple of the excursions that were offered. IMG_2487 Our last dinner reservation was at the Oriental restaurant on the resort. IMG_2489 Again, the food was delicious. Seth had sushi for an appetizer (I’m not a fan). IMG_2494 We had chicken, stir fry vegetables, and rice. Fried ice cream was our choice for desert. Our last meal didn’t disappoint! IMG_2496 IMG_2490 It was a bittersweet day. I was excited to get home to my little girls, but I didn’t want to leave the best vacation we’ve ever had. We have plans to return in the future, but until then, ¡adiós! Punta Cana! 10489729_10101015020797460_5248893215223175306_n

Punta Cana – Day 4

This was the most perfect day ever. It was our most romantic day on the trip. We started the morning off with a walk on the beach. The morning was so beautiful – I could have stared at our view forever.






We laid under a tiki hut all day and just relaxed. It was perfect.


After a lazy day on the beach, we went to our room to drink our champagne from the night before. It was SO good.


The dinner on this night was the “romantic” dinner that came with our package.


While walking to dinner, Seth picked a flower from the plants nearby and placed it in my hair. He’s such a sweetie. AWWWWWW


I was expecting a nice romantic setup, but was not expecting THIS setup. Our own private beach dinner…right by the waves.





I told Seth that I felt like The Bachelorette. I felt like we were on some sort of TV show or movie. It was THAT perfect. As the night came, the sky turned beautiful shades of pink and purple.


Being the sweet comic that he is, my husband took the flower from our candlelit table and so seriously asked me, “Dani, will you accept this rose?”


I told him that even though it was an extremely hard decision, I accepted his final rose :)



Moments before our entrees arrived, we felt little drops of rain. By the time we moved everything into the private courtyard, the rain had completely stopped. Instead of moving everything back onto the beach, we just stayed in the courtyard. We were the only table there.


After soup, appetizers, & entrees, we were brought out the most delicious chocolate cake for dessert. They also sent us home with another bottle of that yummy champagne.


It was the best date I have ever been on – SO romantic. Everyone should feel like The Bachelorette on a date once in their life.

Punta Cana – Day 3

We spent day 3 on the beach of course. Every morning we were greeted by a little band that walked the beach playing their drums. Seth said he will hear those drums in his head for the next month.



After lunch we spent the afternoon in the pool area. This area was a lot more crowded than the beach. It was a very large pool, but it was always full. We enjoyed the beach more than the pool area – it was more secluded and relaxing.


We then went to the little gift shop area which was like a tiny shopping mall. It held about five or six different souvenir shops. We bought the girls a drum (I just had to), a statue for Seth’s man cave, and a dream catcher. I’m hoping this foreign dream catcher will help Kennedy sleep a little better at night.


We made reservations for the steak house on this night. We had high hopes for the food to be delicious since the buffets were really good.


The restaurant was really nice, and we were greeted with wine upon our arrival. The food was decent. Seth had a steak and I ordered a hamburger (which was extremely under-cooked). The steakhouse was nice, but we found tastier dishes on our trip other than in this restaurant.


When we arrived back to our room we had another surprise that came along with our romance package. Chocolate covered strawberries and champagne were the perfect ending to our night.


Punta Cana – Day 2

The next morning we woke up to breakfast in bed. With our package came breakfast in bed on the first morning, so we enjoyed it on the balcony. We couldn’t even finish it all – so yummy.


We then got dressed and headed to the beach. We stopped at a couple of places on the resort for some photo ops :)






Before the senior trip group hogged the pool bar, we stopped for a quick morning drink.



We spent the entire day on the beach enjoying paradise and just relaxing.



Let me just tell ya’ll about this beach – even though it was not an adult-only resort, some women just like to go topless with not a care in the world. We were not expecting the amount of “naturalness” all over the beach. It was definitely a different environment from the beaches where we usually go on vacation! Of course, my husband didn’t mind :)

We may or may not have posed in front of some of these women and photobombed some pictures. We had so much fun. Of course, I will not post those pictures, but they were some good times :)


After a long day at the beach, we headed to the dinner buffet. The food was surprisingly good at the buffet. We were expecting mediocre buffet food, but we kept finding better and better dishes as the days went on!


After dinner, we found a random monkey on a leash walking around for pictures. His name was Benny. The “professional” photographer was the only one supposed to be taking pictures, but I sneaked a couple with my camera until they fussed me.



Punta Cana – Day 1

It was all my husband’s idea. I wanted to go to Disney with the girls, and he wanted to go on a romantic getaway for our upcoming five-year anniversary. After looking at both of our options, Punta Cana was the more reasonable trip for us at this time. He convinced me that the girls were too young this year – plus we came out much cheaper.

We booked our entire trip through It was so easy and our agent did everything. He booked our flights, travel to the resort, and our hotel. We upgraded to the Romance Deluxe package which included a bottle of cava, chocolate covered strawberries upon arrival, one hour couples massage, first breakfast in bed, and a romantic dinner.

One of the reasons we chose Punta Cana was because of the value. There are many other all-inclusive resorts (some adult-only, etc), but we booked at the Occidental Grande Punta Cana after researching several resorts. We were extremely pleased with everything. The views were breathtaking and the service was impeccable. We were not at an adult-only resort, but there were not many kids staying there – mostly couples. There was a senior trip group from Canada who took up most of the pool bar, but Seth and I stayed on the beach everyday so they were not an issue.

Everything came together to create a perfect, unforgettable trip.

Our girls stayed with my in-laws for three nights and my parents for three nights. They did great! I left them a small surprise each day we were gone in case they missed us, but everyone kept them really busy. I was so nervous to leave them. I did great until we got on the plane to leave. A little girl sat right behind me and started watching Frozen on her iPad. She was holding a little Elsa doll. I lost it…started busting out crying. Seth thought I was nuts. I felt a little better after a drink (or three), and felt comfortable knowing they were in good hands.

Once we landed in Punta Cana, we walked off the plane (literally) and into the airport. IMG_2332

It was HOT. Their airport had no air condition, and we had to stand in a long line for security. A band kept us entertained.IMG_2333

We then took the travel van (which our agent booked) to the resort. What is it about drivers in other countries who do not see stop signs or speed limits?! We were lucky we made it there in one piece.

Once we got to the resort, we following the brick path around the entire area. Coconut trees were everywhere which made the smell around the resort very tropical.IMG_2342

Our room was nice. It had a nice size bathroom, big bedroom area, sofa area, and a balcony…and air condition!  We had a plate of fresh fruit to welcome us.IMG_2334IMG_2337

We did not have a beach view (added expense), but we did have a pool view. Big palm trees planted around the resort provided extra privacy. IMG_2339


After checking in, getting settled, making dinner reservations, etc., we spent the rest of the evening walking around the resort and becoming familiar with the area. Of course, we tried some drinks also :)IMG_2343


If I have one complaint about the trip it is this – TIMESHARE PEOPLE. We were warned to stay away from the timeshare folks, and we did our best. However, on our first day, we received a call to our room. The guy, Victor, knew us by name and asked if we were getting settled into our room. He told us that he was the concierge for our building, and that if we had any questions, he was the man to ask. He told us that he could make our dinner reservations and spa reservations also. We figured we would make everything through him to save time. After talking to him face to face for over thirty minutes, we realized he was a timeshare scam. He kept telling us about these “special offers just for us” etc.. After realizing his antics, we ignored anyone who wasn’t at the front desk for the rest of the trip. The timeshare people stay around the lobby and constantly ask tourists passing by to go talk with them. This was the downfall of the entire trip.

Once we knew how to handle the timeshare employees  (IGNORE), we enjoyed our paradise for the rest of the trip.