max's kitchen. by emily starr alfano

 max's kitchen. established 2018. 

max's kitchen. established 2018. 

i've spent much of the past 3 months organizing/throwing out/selling/donating/repurposing/designing/styling/shopping to transform my little home office into a little playroom/office combo. our house is fairly small and with a fast growing, tornado of a toddler ruling all, we realized it was time for more space for her. we initially thought about removing the rarely used wood burning stove in the living room to give more space in there but it would be a lot of trouble and money to do so...and we'd still have all of max's toys in the living room. not ideal! bill suggested freeing up the space known as my existing office/studio and i'm so glad he pushed me because it's already a perfect space for her!


i'm still working out some final details in the room including artwork, a new desk chair for myself, updating my mood boards, and perhaps another rug underneath the lulu & georgia you see here {like a soft sisal or jute}. with where the shelves are, the kitchen is, her little table and chairs and then of course accounting for the door to open, the size of rug that makes the most sense also seems a bit too small. you can see a sneak of the shelving side of the room here

BUT in the meantime, thought i'd share some details on our favorite addition to the room...her kitchen! we knew it was something she'd start to really use around this age so when bill's parents asked for holiday gift ideas, it was perfect timing. i researched a lot of options and lusted after this gorgeous one from milton & goose but ultimately i wasn't comfortable with a play kitchen that costs $500, no matter who paid for it nor how special it is. 


we settled on this one from teamson kids in the oak color, purchased on amazon, and swapped out the handles for these matte black ones {you want 5" spacing} since we had them leftover from our kitchen island. you could also just spray paint the existing handles. i was contemplating doing gold and having the handles match the knobs and faucet but ultimately i kinda liked the mix of {faux} silver and black. 

the kitchen was suprisingly easy to put together! bill and i started it together while max was napping and he finished it up about an hour or so after that. the fridge is separate from the stove/sink piece which is nice if we want to switch up the layout. the best is the little doll highchair from pottery barn kids so max can feed all her babies. 


i've put together how you can achieve a similar look and you can shop via the links or below! 

  1  /  2  /  3  /  4  /  5  /  6  / 7  option 1 , 7  option 2

1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6 / 7 option 1, 7 option 2

i'm anxious to finish up the entire space and photograph it, so keep an eye out for that and don't miss more sneak peeks on insta. oh and next up i'm going to be sharing our favorite play foods, appliances, and accessories! 

have a great weekend!


lindsay + mat's {shoppable!} tablescape by emily starr alfano

this past november, we had the pleasure of designing the most beautiful + special wedding to date...our very own lindsay's wedding! lindsay has worked with me for several years and she's the logistical queen behind this creative operation. i can't wait to share the entire wedding {our overall vision was stormy chic and coastal minimalism}, photographed to absolute perfection by my friends henry + mac, but in the meantime...

...SO many of you have asked on instagram for resources for the items used in the tablescape design so i thought i'd link them here for you to shop! whether for a wedding, your home, or a party, you can't go wrong with this elegant, streamlined look.

C A N D L E S /

what you see are actually 3 different ended hurricane shades, taper holders, and of course the candles themselves. we used shades that are 14" high x 2.5" wide but there are other widths + heights as well. the original taper holders we used don't seem to be available anywhere right now but these are similar and for something kinda different, a square optionblack was the perfect accent color for our design but any color will work of course. we recommend dripless tapers {although truth be told, all candles drip.} and we used a mix of 10" and 12" tall. just be sure that the height of the candle is shorter than the height of the hurricane shade. 

it's very important that the candles are firmly secured in the holders {if they're uneven, the heat from the flame can cause the hurricane shade to crack}. i prefer this wax but this is also a good choice! 

G E O D E  D E C O R /

we accented our tablescapes with a variety of geodes + agate slices to add some texture and depth. they can be clustered in piles and nestled amongst other items on the table. jenny sanders calligraphed our table numbers but they can be easily recreated with these agate slices {we used black} and hand writing the numbers, tracing them, or using stickers {herehere}. you could also customize stickers or decals with the numbers written out. you can apply the same concept to smaller placecards like we used below and use smaller round agate slices. just be sure all the agate slices you get don't have holes! 

M E N U  C A R D S /

minted to the rescue for our menu cards! side note, did you know that you can customize minted products with your own calligraphy files or artwork? we used their agate design in smokey grey and incorporated jenny's calligraphy. if you don't need or want menu cards however, you could do placecards or tags. 

T A B L E T O P /

our napkins, plates, glassware + flatware were all rentals from borrowed blu, but just for are some similar resources! flatware options 1 + 2 + 3. napkin options 1 + 2 + 3. plate options 1 + 2 + 3. goblet options 1 + 2 + 3.

so there you have it! this really is a look that can be recreated for large gatherings or for intimate dinner parties. 

follow on instagram for more inspiration!


PS those whimsical arrangements and lunaria garlands were crafted by my girl caroline at Wild Folk Studio.

#farmhousedialfano on glitter guide {and shop it!} part 3 by emily starr alfano

the last stop in the #farmhousedialfano glitter guide tour...max's room and our bedroom! the former is probably my favorite in the house, the latter is my least favorite.

i'm constantly making little changes to max's room! both for functional purposes as she gets older and design-wise {cuz i can't help myself}. it's a small space but a happy and bright one that's filled with a mix of sentimental keepsakes and new items. because it's so small, i wanted to make a statement but due to its size, felt the room couldn't handle too much on the walls. we painted it benjamin moore patriotic white which is actually a very soft pistachio color and went bold on one wall with anewall decor's oh deer mural. max loves animals and some of her favorites are all in the incredibly beautiful artwork.

above you can see a couple very meaningful additions to the room...a romper that i wore as a baby and max wore in her newborn shoot {framed by framebridge} and a framed bunny print that hung in my room as a child.

more sentimental additions above include a pair of my toe shoes that we used for max's 1st birthday party, the first piece of clothing i bought while pregnant, a vintage dress gifted to max, her very first briar bonnets, and an old edition of house at pooh corner. 

and now onto our bedroom! we have a few things working against us.

1/ it's a rectangle shape which wouldn't necessarily be a bad thing BUT the bed can only go in one place {across from some built-in shelving} which means you walk directly into a bed corner every day. and the rectangle shape is awkwardly split by the bed and the door to the bathroom.

2/ besides a bed, we haven't bought any furniture for the room {we moved in july of 2014} . which means we're using a mishmash of old dressers + armoires and they're not super functional in the space. 

3/ there's a very small, very narrow "walk in" closet. when i say narrow it means that when clothes are hung, you have to slide in sideways and try to view the clothes that are essentially in your face. 

4/ slanted ceiling above the bed.

anyways, we did paint the room when we moved in and i try to make it feel as cozy + comfortable as possible with bedding, pillows etc. but ultimately? it's not even close to where i want it to be. 

 nightstand { similar } /  linen sheets  /  linen comforter  /  blanket  /  picture ledge  / hanging shelf { similar }

nightstand {similar} / linen sheets / linen comforter / blanket / picture ledge / hanging shelf {similar}

 hanging  shelf  { similar } /  candle

hanging  shelf  {similar} / candle

and that’s a wrap on the glitter guide feature! naturally, things already look different around here, and i have {really desperate} hope for some additional projects this year (quartz countertops, new couch, new fan/light in the living room, additional storage options, bedroom wallpaper accent wall yada yada yada) but i'm glad you all got to see how the house looked in november when it was photographed.  AND i’m just about done with my former office which is now a playroom/office combo so stay tuned for that reveal. 

shop max's room + our bedroom below....all links are listed above as well. 

thanks for following along and be sure to check out parts 1 and 2

the entire glitter guide feature is here.  all photos by joyelle west

and as always you can follow what's currently going on in my world over on instagram.


#farmhousedialfano on glitter guide {and shop it!} part 2 by emily starr alfano

next up in the #farmhousedialfano tour on glitter guide is our kitchen and dining room...the most used room and an admittedly underused room. i think as max gets older and we eat more meals truly together, we'll be able to utilize the dining room more than we do now. but for now, it looks pretty!

 vintage botanical canisters { similar } 

vintage botanical canisters {similar

joyelle and i didn't spend a ton of time on the kitchen this go-around so you're only seeing a few angles + details. but they're the best of each! one of the things GG asked was about open shelving, something we have an abundance of in our kitchen. as in, we don't have any upper cabinets at all! we inherited the shelving from the previous owners and i have a mostly love, slightly hate relationship with it. some days i think closed cabinets would be better {especially now with all of max's cups, bowls, snacks etc.} but ultimately i love the versatility of the open shelving and that they are a design feature in and of themselves. 

 display cabinet { similar } /  rug  /  light fixture  / custom table { similar } / chairs { similar } / table runner { similar } / sheepskin { similar  +  faux option }

display cabinet {similar} / rug / light fixture / custom table {similar} / chairs {similar} / table runner {similar} / sheepskin {similar + faux option}

like most rooms in the house, the dining room is small. it has 3 entrances/exits {to the kitchen, the living room, and a hallway} and the new playroom/office is off of it. so it gets great light, particularly in the afternoon. 


and here's your chance to shop the kitchen + dining room...all links are listed above as well. 

the entire glitter guide feature is here.  all photos by joyelle west

you can check out part 1 of this series here. part 3 coming next...

and as always you can follow what's currently going on in my world over on instagram.


#farmhousedialfano on glitter guide {and shop it!} part 1 by emily starr alfano

  coffee table  /  tripod lamp  / pendleton blanket { similar } / couch { similar } /  rug  / driftwood stag { similar } / driftwood garland { similar } / knit pillow { similar } /  linen throw  / stool { similar }

coffee table / tripod lamp / pendleton blanket {similar} / couch {similar} / rug / driftwood stag {similar} / driftwood garland {similar} / knit pillow {similar} / linen throw / stool {similar}

well hello friends! it's been awhile. and i feel like i owe a major update on life in general but for now, i'll keep things simple. motherhood is exhilarating and exhausting, mStarr is expanding to more projects outside of weddings, while cutting back on said weddings. it's both an exciting + transitional time!

with all that said, i'm back to share a recent feature of our home {aka #farmhousedialfano} on one of my favorite lifestyle blogs, glitter guide. i was honored to receive an email from the GG team a few months back and excited to finish up some projects i had been putting off to get the house ready to shoot {like getting max's ridiculously beautiful anewall wallpaper up}! with the feature covering 5 rooms and many photos, i'm splitting it all up into 3 posts, to be shared over the next few days! 

first up in the house tour? the living room.  i turned to my photographer pal joyelle west {who has shot our house before here and here AND big news, for a book coming out SO SOON}, and as usual, she captured everything beautifully. the big difference in this shoot vs. the other three is that max was photographed! seeing her cute face in professional photos will never not make me happy. 


the feature focused on the visuals of the house but also the process behind the design of it. while i often feel like i just make decisions because i simply like something{which, side note, i firmly believe is OK to do!}, digging a little deeper and sharing why i made X or Y decisions was fun. so, for instance, one of my tips for decorating with kiddos is to invest in pieces that can be flexible in meeting both your current + future needs. our coffee table is a prime example of that. we needed a new table when max was only 5 months old and not mobile. but assuming we'd have the table for at least a couple years, we decided on a round one on wheels that has open storage underneath. she's been able to take out her own toys, we can move the table aside easily to make cozy nests on the floor, and we feel a lot better when she stumbles and bumps her head on something round vs. something with sharp corners.

  coffee table  /  children's chair  /  windowpane pillow  /  rug  / driftwood stag { similar } / driftwood garland { similar } 

coffee table / children's chair / windowpane pillow / rug / driftwood stag {similar} / driftwood garland {similar

 driftwood stag { similar } / driftwood garland { similar } 

driftwood stag {similar} / driftwood garland {similar

  chair  /  shelves  / rug { similar } /  basket  / children's chair { similar } / vintage ladder { similar } /  sconce  /  bunny  / mini french market bag { similar } /  dog bed

chair / shelves / rug {similar} / basket / children's chair {similar} / vintage ladder {similar} / sconce / bunny / mini french market bag {similar} / dog bed


and something new for you all! shop our living room below...all links are listed above as well. 

full glitter guide feature here. stay tuned for parts 2 and 3! and as always you can follow what's currently going on in my world over on instagram.


rifle + paperless post by emily starr alfano

been awhile, eh? well i'm back {hopefully on a more regular basis?} and just so excited about the new rifle paper goodies that i had to share! think save the dates, invitations, thank you notes and more. so much more!

i'm obsessed with pretty much anything anna bond touches {i own multiple notepads, phone cases, even a solly wrap to carry my babe in} and this is a pretty extensive collection being offered in collaboration with paperless post {which means they're available digitally and printed}. in no particular order, some that really struck me are...

herb garden. hands down my favorite. between the colors {that bright pop of chartreuse is just perfection} + that perfectly complementary font, i'm sold.

/ pastel petals. quintessential rifle. 

/ heather and lace. the foil offers a really elegant way to incorporate a photo. 

/ mandarin grove. moody + dramatic. love it for a fall or winter wedding.

/ egret garden. perfectly boho.

/ november herbarium. would be lovely for a southern {or southern-inspired} wedding.

/ september herbarium. the colors!


check out the full collection + order here!

until next time...


it's about (wooden} time! by emily starr alfano

happy monday! hope you all had a wonderful thanksgiving filled with football, cocktails, food, laughter + lots of love! it has been a looooooonnnnnnggggg time since i officially blogged {blame the almost 6-month old currently snoozing upstairs} but what better time to start again than on cyber monday to encourage you all to skip the big name brand shopping and invest in one of my new favorites...a JORD wood watch.

let's be honest, it was only a matter of time before i found a time to wear wood...and in such a unique way! as someone who is especially aware of time these days {hello working mama}, i need a watch that not only looks great but is easy-to-read. so when JORD asked me to partner up, i took one look at the current style selections and immediately honed in on the frankie style in zebrawood + champagne. i think it's actually a men's style but i tend to prefer men's watches as they have larger faces and just look better on my wrist. 

the frankie has a minimalist, streamlined look that looks equally great with a cute, dressy outfit {rare} or with jeans + a sweater {the usual}. and the zebrawood is both light and dark enough to really go with any outfit! more than anything, i need something that's durable and will hold up to everyday wear and tear. 

in the 5 days since i started wearing my new watch, i've received a compliment every single day. a watch is a classic gift for a reason BUT now you can wow your family + friends with a wood one {you can even personalize it!}. or you know, treat yourself :-) go on, you deserve it. the best part is that you can shop today through december 11th, 2016 and receive $25 off any purchase! just visit this link, fill out the info, and you'll get an e-code to use when placing your order. you'll have until march 31, 2017 to redeem the code.

 setting the table on thanksgiving with my frankie! pic by  jesse starr photography .

setting the table on thanksgiving with my frankie! pic by jesse starr photography.

what are you waiting for? happy shopping!

/ this post was sponsored by JORD wood watches. all thoughts are my own. /

the wedding planner's gathering by emily starr alfano

if you follow us on instagram or facebook, you've seen us post about a super exciting project we're a part of...the first-ever wedding planners gathering. the sweetest angel of love & splendor put this whole shebang together and i thought i'd share some more info about it today...especially because early bird registration closes tonight {tomorrow?} at midnight! here are the deets:


the WPG is a two-week, online learning event for existing or aspiring planners + designers, brides + grooms or any other creative professional. can't get to or invest in an in-person workshop? this is for you. beginning on may 16th, you'll receive a new video every day that covers a key design, planning or business topic. you'll have access to the videos for a year and can be viewed on your own time in the comfort of your own home {or studio or favorite coffee shop}. 

you'll also receive three freebies...a planning timeline, a rentals checklist + a wedding mishaps video. PLUS the opportunity to join in two live Q&A webinars.

this is a really unique opportunity and if we weren't involved, i'd personally be all over this. this is continued learning at its best...the chance to stay inspired, expand your horizons and learn about things you may have thought about...or not thought about!


it's honestly a pinch-me-that-i'm-included group of instructors. these are the best of the best in the industry...a mix of floral designers, planners + event designers. the list includes: sinclair & moore {foundations of floral + event design}, jesi haack design {creative backdrops + displays}, beth helmstetter {creating a beautiful wedding, no matter the location}, lace & likes {life that inspires art - finding your authentic creative voice}, gather events {creating a cohesive stationery suite}, karson butler events {designing the culinary experience} alison events {breakind down the budget}, details details {behind the scenes, top 20 wedding day tips} + type a society {branding + marketing your planning business}.


tablescapes!! our favorite. our bread + butter. we're sharing how to conceptualize, source + style three very different tablescapes...using the same table + some of the same items. we'll have our girl kaylyn from 1956 blooms on hand to share the floral love and some incredible rentals from borrowed blu, among other things. PLUS we're offering a fourth freebie: how to best shoot a tablescape for instagram!


until tonight {march 4th} at midnight, the cost for everything listed above {10 videos for a year, 4 freebies, 2 webinars} is just $249. yes you read that correctly. it's such a no-brainer, i shouldn't have to say more. so i won't. after tonight, the price goes up to $349. still wayyyyy wallet-friendly, right? 

next steps for you?

click right here /

to enroll {whether today, tomorrow, or anytime in the next couple of months!}. and then spread the word! 

until next time folks...

baby girl alfano by emily starr alfano

two posts in one week?! i'm on a roll. but i thought it would be nice to close out the week with a little post on what most of you have seen by now on instagram + facebook {or you know, because we're friends. or family.}...bill and i are expecting a baby girl at the end of june! 

despite being 23 weeks {today actually}, having a legit bump, and feeling legit kicks {this lady is quite active}, it's all still a bit surreal. but we couldn't be more excited! i've been navigating a registry {fun!}, mapping out the nursery {way fun!}, and am already looking forward to our shower in april! 

like with everything i post on instagram in particular, i'm trying to find the right mix of what to share + when. rest assured what you will see is plenty on the nursery and cute clothes! in the meantime, i wanted to share some pics my talented brother, jesse starr photography, snapped of the bump a few weeks ago during a family weekend in vermont. i'm lucky to have a professional photog in the family to capture these moments on a whim...too bad he lives in colorado {move home uncle jesse!}.

2016 is going to be a big one. 

happy weekend!

the new mStarr by emily starr alfano

it's a new year and with it comes the new logo, new site, new name. we've ditched the "event" and are now mStarr design. why? well we do more than events. sure we still specialize in weddings but we also design parties, showers, photo shoots...and i'm super excited to officially expand our services into interior styling, something we've been doing a bit on the side until now {and personally, ever since the hubs + i moved into #farmhousedialfano}.

in the coming weeks, you'll be able to find us at both AND admittedly, blogging has fallen by the wayside in the past year {we had a realllllly busy 2015} and up until recently, i actually planned to scrap it. but i thought more about it and the goal is to get back at it, at least somewhat regularly, even if just to share news or recent press. i did, however, discover that it doesn't seem possible to import old blog posts so this may be a true fresh start! but if there's anything you'd like to read about moving forward, we're all ears! 

welcome to the new mStarr. take a look around, let us know what you think and if you find anything that may need to be fixed or updated! there always seems to be some kinks to work through in the beginning. hope you enjoy.