The Big One: Elijah’s Red Balloon Birthday Invitation

Somebody’s favorite nephew is turning one! For Elijah’s first birthday, my sister thought it would be fun to have a Red Balloon-themed birthday party in honor of the popular children’s movie/book and to pay tribute to Elijah’s recent trip to Paris. He’s quite the little globetrotter, that little Smush (my favorite nickname for him!).

For the invitations, I decided to use the string of the balloon as loose inspiration for the overall look of the card. The string “floats” around Paris, outlining several major monuments (a la Harold and the Purple Crayon) and finally floating to their new home in Beijing.

Edit: Here’s how the party turned out!



Edit: Click here to see pictures and details from the party!

This is Beijing – Panjiayuan Market

Panjiayuan is an antique-lover’s paradise. It’s one of the largest and most popular antique markets in China, and you’ll find all sorts of Chinese antiques/vintage wares, furniture, and arts & crafts. It boasts over three thousand individual stalls with a wide variety of items ranging from vintage toys to telescopes to terra cotta statues. There’s some pretty kitschy stuff, like the Mao action figures and also a lot of really lovely pieces too. I loved walking around getting a glimpse of what each stall owner had collected over lifetime. Some of them were so well-curated, I wanted to buy the whole stall! I didn’t pick up any souvenirs this time, but will be sure to go back before I leave Beijing.

It can get quite hot in Beijing during the summer months, so you’ll often find Chinese men walking around with their shirts rolled up halfway. I was rather disturbed and annoyed how often they showed up in my photos. :P

These are walnuts. The Chinese extract the seeds, wash and polish them, then carve them into beautiful works of art.

Ancient Chinese money. I think they’d make fabulous necklace pendants.

Beautiful vintage suitcases.


Little E came along for the ride. He’s got four teeth sprouting already. :)

If you’re ever in Beijing, be sure to check out Panjiayuan Market!

Panjiayuan Market
No.18 Huaweili, Panjiayuan Road, Chaoyang District, Beijing, China

Snapshots of Beijing

1. A walk through Ritan Park, close by my sister’s home.
2. Jetlag is a blessing in disguise because I get to spend quiet mornings alone with this little guy.
3. Celebrating my sister’s birthday at Na Jia Xiaoguan with salt-baked chicken wings.
4. Perfect lamb slices for hotpot at HaiDiLao.
5. Need to get me one of these for blocking out the Grenada sun!
6. Wish they would sell Taro pies and fried chicken wings at American McDonald’s too.
7. Morning milk bottle
8. Striking architecture in Beijing downtown
9. Love my new coral walking shoes from Muji. I want to buy everything there!
10. Rickshaws all lined up at the hutongs.

This is Beijing

I’m visiting my sister for a month in her new home in Beijing. This is my first time to Beijing, so I’ve been soaking in all the sights and sounds (and unfortunately, pollution) around me. Here are some photos from my first few days here! If you’d like to follow along as I journey through this city, stay up to date with me on Instagram @rhuynh.


Jia + Andrew’s Wedding Invitations

You may remember Jia and Andrew from the Shang Chen Photo Giveaway a year or so ago. They won a design credit from Lavender’s Blue, which they used toward a custom wedding invitation design. Jia loves green and all things green – plants, flowers, tree, and grass – and so she wanted to incorporate those elements into the design, while keeping it simple and charming. Jia mentioned that she really loved the invitation suite that I did for Esther + Ben, so I channeled a bit of that aesthetic into these invitations as well. It resulted in this fun, folksy wedding suite, complete with little mushrooms, acorns, and plenty of grass and flowers!

the complete invitation suite

close-up of tree + monogram


rsvp card

Chinese version of invitation

Hoi + Nick Wedding Stationery

I just wanted to share with you the coordinating stationery components to Hoi + Nick’s wedding invitations that I worked on a while back! We kept it really simple and used mainly the same floral image from their invitations, with a few variations here and there.

Table numbers

Program + Menu

Ceremony fan with agenda on the back

And here’s a quick photo by John Yao of SimplyTwo Photography from their wedding day. Hoi was such a beautiful bride, and I was so blessed to have been part of their special day. :) (That’s me on Hoi’s right!)

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