Our First Home

📷: @mcharmer 

Milestones are probably what we see most often on our boards and if we're being honest, we can never get enough! We always see so many amazing, different, life-changing moments, and we love that we get to be a tiny part of them. When Megan and Mikey made the big step and moved into their first home together, we couldn't help but feel so excited for them! We talked to Megan about this big life milestone. 

To start off, tell us the story behind this photo.

Mikey & I have been together for over 4.5 years. We met while working together at Disneyland (He was Tigger & I was his photographer). We got engaged on Christmas Day and were planning on moving in together in the summer. I had just received my Letterfolk board in the mail two weeks before and kept it in the box until the night before we moved. I wanted the first thing I wrote on the board to be something extra special!

Finding a good home can sometimes be hard; how was the process for you guys? 

Our original goal was to buy a home or condo together, but with the market being so high -- especially in Southern California -- we decided that it would be best to just rent. I was bummed because I always imagined moving into a cute little house right away, but I was reminded that it’s not a race and home is wherever you make it, regardless if you’re buying or renting. We were reminded of the song “Home is Wherever I’m With You,” and it kept our experience positive, even if it was a bit different than we had originally planned.

How was transitioning from living separate to living together? 

We lived about 45 minutes apart, so we were only seeing each other maybe 2-3 times per week. We were excited to no longer drive home late at night and actually spend more than 48 hours together in a row!

Were there any previously unknown quirks either of you discovered about each other once you started living together?

Everyone kept telling me, “Oh good luck living with a messy boy!” but Mikey is far from messy; he loves to keep things organized and in their place. He loves to vacuum and does the dishes every night. I discovered how much I love cooking for somebody else; it brings me so much joy. The hardest part is sharing a bathroom. . . . He takes longer to do his hair than I do! 

At what point did the house start feeling like a home? Was it right away or did it take a while? 

I’d say it was a good week until it started to feel real for us. It just felt like a nice little vacation together. Once we put photos up on the walls and decorated, it felt more cozy and homey. 

What is the best part of your first home together? 

The best part is coming home to see your best friend every single day. It’s nice having your person around 24/7, even if you just sit in silence together. There’s always something to laugh about; life’s more fun when you have someone to share everything with!

Lastly, we always like to ask: what is currently up on your letter board?

“People who love to eat are always the best people.” – Julia Child

If you or someone you know have a story you would like to be featured, send us an email at hey@letterfolk.com

Read more →

Say Hello to our Little Friend!

📷: @shelbyork featuring @erin.s.hassett

These days, we see letter boards used to announce anything from new babies to new milestones and, in Erin and Casey's case, to announce an adorable new puppy. They had a little fun using a series of photos to lead some of their friends and family into thinking for a split-second that it might be a pregnancy announcement. We were smitten by this little puppy and her announcement, so we chatted with Erin about how it all came together. 

To start off, tell us the story behind this photo.

My husband Casey and I have been married for going on two years now. We live in a suburb of Kansas City called Overland Park, and we had just finished updating our first house when he started bringing up the idea of getting a pup since we now had a fairly large fenced-in backyard. I was hesitant, as I was raised a "fish and cats" kind of girl, but he did his research and we landed on a Corgi as our ideal breed of dog. He found a group for corgi breeders on Facebook and saw these cuties come up for sale. Her name is Heidi, she is now 12 weeks old, and she is an Aussie/Corgi mix, a true sweetheart!

Tell us about how you came up with the idea for the photo announcement.

I originally came up with the idea as we were wrapping things up on the house. Being semi-newlyweds and buying a house will really make people start eyeing your belly and saying, "So....?" with raised eyebrows. (; I'm just not there yet, so when Casey first started bringing up a puppy, it was a big condition of mine that for us to get her, we had to do a faux birth announcement so I could give people an answer next time I was asked about kids, haha. 

How did this little puppy become part of your family? 

Casey stayed in contact with the breeder, and we were sent videos the whole first few weeks of her life. We were able to pick her up at seven weeks, and I was so nervous and excited my palms were literally sweaty while we were in the car! 

What are some of the highlights and lowlights of being the mother to a new puppy? 

So far, my personal highlights have been coming home and seeing the entire back half of her little body start wiggling furiously. I've never had a dog at all, so having a pet be so! very! happy! to see me after work is the best. I also LOVE when she comes up to me and just puts a tiny little paw on my arm or rests her little bitty head on my leg and falls asleep. I love how snuggly and sweet she can be. You'll note the use of "can" in that last sentence as I go to the next...she's also so, so, so smart, and sometimes she uses that for mischief rather than good! For instance, one night while we were out for an hour running errands, she learned she could "rock climb" right over her doggy gate that keeps her in the kitchen. An Apple charger was sacrificed to her puppy needle teeth that night, haha. But overall, she really is such a good, friendly little gal, and she just wants so badly to make us happy that even when she doesn't get things quite right, you can never stay mad at those blue eyes for long!   

If you only look at the first photo, we can't see little Heidi and don't know if it's a human addition to the family or a new puppy. . . . Did you fake anyone out thinking it was a baby human? 

Ha, yes! We got quite a few people, as was my original intention. My mom is not on Instagram or even Facebook really, so I texted her the first photo with "We have some news..." and she left me on "Read" until I sent the second photo! Everyone got a good laugh out of it, and I had a lot of people tell me they were even more excited that it was a puppy instead of a baby (to which I currently say, "Same"). 

Do you have any advice for those who may be considering adopting a new puppy? 

Make sure that if you are entering into this with a partner, you are on the same page with training (crate, clicker, house training, bedtimes, etc.) what the pup is allowed to do and not do, how you'll handle this or that situation. . . . If you have a solid game plan going in, it makes the tricky moments that much smoother! It's just so much trial and error, and you're going to get it wrong a lot of times and it might be frustrating at times. You're not a bad person -- it's okay to put the pup somewhere safe and walk away if you need a second. They will still love you, I promise. It really is worth it in the end when they come up to you at the end of a long day, good or otherwise, and fall asleep next to you. You'll feel so protective and thankful. 

Lastly, we always like to ask: what is currently up on your letter board?
It's actually a quote that came out of the last little puppy mishap on the kitchen floor. Casey looked at me, rolled his eyes and said, "You just gotta remember, there's always going to be a next time." It was so simple and thoughtful that the exact quote went right up on the board that same night. I like to think of it as Casey's ever-optimistic outlook on life. Even though things might be irritating right now, you have to give the people (or puppies!) in your life a chance to get to "next time." They can really surprise you. :) 

If you or someone you know have a story you would like to be featured, send us an email at hey@letterfolk.com

Read more →

Millennial Matchmaking

📷: @hisuzanne (featuring @thelaceyminimalist)

These days, several different apps or services claim to solve all your dating problems. What they don't mention is that this kind of dating may not be for everyone. We saw this photo on Instagram with "Seeking (Boy)friend of A Friend..." written on one of our boards and were curious about what it was. When we saw that it was Lacey taking the initiative and offering up a big reward to any of her friends who could find her the one, we wanted to know more.   

To start off, tell us the story behind this photo.

I’ve been on dating apps, up to 6 at a time, with little success, and I thought there had to be a better way, I just had to take a creative approach. The people I’ve had success in dating, always turn out to know at least one friend of mine. That’s when I had the idea to reach out to my friends for help. 

The idea is simple: set me up with a guy that I go on 10 dates with and I’ll give you a thousand dollars. It’s not a game; it’s a new idea in millennial matchmaking. Hey, you don’t get what you don’t ask for, right?

How did you come up with this idea? 

At first I was thinking of the most clever ways to visualize the idea. I thought telling the story through traditional dating profile pic faux pas would be funny, but then I realized I was just talking to myself. I thought on it for awhile, but the answer had been staring me in the face. My friend had given me a Letterfolk board as a housewarming gift last year, and it just hit me. The letter board was visually arresting and fit with my minimalist aesthetic. I pitched the idea to my good friend, photographer Suzanne Saroff, and we shot it a few days later in my apartment in Brooklyn.

There are so many technologies that claim to help with dating. In your opinion, what are they missing? 

I think because dating apps are so random and many don’t let you use filters, you have to sift through so many people in order to find what you’re actually looking for. And when you put yourself in the other person’s shoes, the same goes for them. You might not be what they are looking for either. It’s really rare to align and be on the same page at the same time.

Once I went on a date unknowingly with my best friend’s brother’s best friend. We went out in New York, but he lives in LA — the perfect example of both a small world and not being aligned. 

How is dating harder now compared to previous generations? 

I wouldn’t say it’s harder; it’s just different. I grew up with a single mom and watched her use services like Great Expectations where you did a photoshoot in their studio as well as make a VHS tape answering questions about yourself. To look for a compatible match, you had to go in person and browse 3-ring binders full of printed profiles. Crazy, right!? Even though the technology has evolved, there’s still a yearning for a little humanity.

What kind of feedback have you gotten from people about this idea? Have people related with your struggles? 

The feedback has been extremely positive. I got an outpouring of high fives and a set ups within a few hours. I’ve reconnected with old friends, mentors and even been introduced to a real life yenta! A lot of women have reached out in support of the idea and one woman even reposted my photo in an effort to try the experiment herself. It’s comforting to know others feel the same way and are looking out for me.  

You mention that the prospective boyfriend must love XS dogs...What kind of small dog would the perfect man have?

I mentioned that because I have a 5lb deer chihuahua named Valley. Extra small dogs are kind of like cats: either you love them or you hate them, and a potential match should know that we’re a package deal! 

How has it been going so far? Have any of your friends cashed in on the $1000 dollar reward? 

No one has cashed in yet! I’ve gone on a few set ups, but I’ve also gone out with a few guys that have written me directly. That has been the nicest surprise, because it’s attracting the type of guy I’m looking for, a confident and open-minded person not afraid to take a chance. It’s been really fun so far, but I am still looking if someone reading this wants to add matchmaking to their resume! 

Lastly, we always like to ask: what is currently up on your letter board?

I still have up “Happy Birthday Valley” from the birthday brunch I hosted at my apartment in Brooklyn. I’ll take any excuse to host and bake zucchini bread for my friends. 

If you or someone you know have a story you would like to be featured, send us an email at hey@letterfolk.com

Read more →

We Eloped!

📷: @ashleighlay

We love seeing all the creative ways people use letter boards for weddings and marriage announcements. One of our recent favorites was Ashleigh using her board to announce that she and Paul had eloped! We loved this announcement and were so happy for Ashleigh and Paul. We reached out to Ashleigh to get their full story. 

To start off, tell us the story behind this photo.

We had been passively thinking about eloping for a few months. When we finally pulled the trigger, we had a month to plan. We decided to keep it a secret from everyone (besides our closest family and friends, of course; they would have hated us!). Since social media is life these days, we wanted to make the announcement on our social channels. We knew immediately that we wanted a Letterfolk board in our photos to make the announcement. The photo of Paul holding up the board was him being excited and acting silly, with me just trying look as cool as he did, hah.  Everyone loved the board and the photos!

Tell us how you met and ended up getting married! 

We awkwardly met at a wedding. Paul was an usher, and I was a bridesmaid. The bride and groom tried to set us up because we had similar interests, but we were against it, lol. We both were in all the wedding festivities (rehearsal, rehearsal dinner, wedding, reception) making eye contact, but never spoke a word to each other until we were leaving the reception. I introduced myself to him briefly/awkwardly, and we parted ways. I thought he was cute, but I never thought I would see him again. And a few days later he messaged me on Facebook. That was 6 years ago!  

Who first brought up the idea of eloping? Did it take one of you convincing the other, or were you both immediately in? 

We've known for a few years that we were going to marry each other, but we weren't in a hurry. In the past year, we really started thinking about getting engaged. I started getting nervous about when he was going to propose, if he'd pick out the right ring, how he was going to do it. So one day early this year, I asked him if we should just go to the courthouse (that way we could bypass the whole proposal). He didn't say yes or no. A few days later, I brought up the proposal and engagement ring topic, and he was like, "Wait, I thought you wanted to elope?" Then I was like, "Is that what you want to do?" And he was like, "Is that what you want to do?" ... and apparently it was what we both wanted to do. 

What was your favorite part of the day you got married? 

The photographs! Our photographer, Stacy Able, was fantastic and she seemed to grab every bit of goodness from the entire day, and now we have those moments digitized forever (cheeseball) -- all the color, the fun, the happiness, our friends, and our city. She instantly became a friend as we began sharing stories of travels. I couldn't be happier with our photos.

Another favorite part of it was that the whole event was small and chill. Afterwards, we got together with some of our close friends and had a quiet celebration filled with drink and food. What better way to finish it off?

What was the reaction of your friends and family?

Our families were both overjoyed about the entire thing, but also poking fun with some "About time!" comments. Paul's twin sister has been married for almost ten years, so that tended to bring on the question from his siblings: "No ring yet? what the heck?!" 

Our friends and families have been very supportive about everything. They were involved in helping set up our backyard bash, which had our board featured on the photo table. 

Lastly, we always like to ask: what is currently up on your letter board?

We're toting the board along with us as we road trip from Portland to Los Angeles!! 

If you or someone you know has a story you would like to be featured, send us an email at hey@letterfolk.com

Read more →

Hepworth Party of Four

📷: @ebiehepworth 

We see so many amazing stories from our community every day, which makes deciding on who to feature extremely difficult! This is one of those stories we knew right away that we wanted to share. We followed Ebie and Zac's story for months as they adopted two adorable little kids from Africa. We were lucky enough to interview Ebie and get all the details about their amazing journey. 

To start off, tell us the story behind this photo.

The story behind the photo was sharing the news that Zac and I could FINALLY go to Liberia, West Africa to meet and finalize the adoption of our two babies! We started in January of 2016 and traveled to Liberia June of 2017 so it was a long time coming :) 

There seem to be a million different directions you can go with adoption. How did you end up going the direction you did?

You’re right, with adoption it can be daunting where to even begin. Do you want to go the domestic route or the international route? If you go international, where do you even begin with choosing a country? How do you stay encouraged despite the mountains of paperwork you have to fill out?! For us, it had been a dream in my (Ebie) heart since I was a little girl. A lot of people assume we started the adoption process because we were not physically able to conceive a child, but that wasn’t the case. We simply decided adoption was something we wanted to do and figured, "Why not just jump into it?"

Zac and I have both always had a huge heart for Africa, so when we decided to actually move forward, we started with researching which countries we fit the requirements for. (Since we are both young and had only been married a few years, we didn’t qualify for a lot of countries.) After starting in Uganda then having the door close, we found ourselves filling out an application with a new program in Liberia West Africa. We NEVER in a million years thought we would be adopting two children; however, God made it evident from the beginning that his plan was going to be a wild adventure. You see, Zac and I work for a nonprofit that requires us to fundraise 100% of our income. And if you know about international adoption, it is NOT cheap. To get the journey started, we sold our couch so that we could pay the application fee! So how in the world were we going to pay to adopt a child!? However, the Lord told us to sprint after his heart and the rest would unfold, so that’s what we did.

We fundraised enough to cover the agency fees for one child, and then the unthinkable happened, and we got matched with TWO children, a two-year-old baby girl and a seven-month-old baby boy. And since our children were not related, the cost was going to be double. Our hearts were encouraged and beating out of our chest at the fact that we got matched with two children but we couldn’t help but wonder how in the world we were going to afford it. One week after we accepted our matches, an organization called Adoption Story Fund called us and gifted us a grant that covered the ENTIRE expenses of our second adoption. Never in our lives have we been more encouraged by the radical miracles of Jesus and his heart for orphans. Since starting the journey, we have received dozens of messages from other young people all around the world sharing that after watching our story unfold, they started the adoption process too. Every time we read these messages, we are encouraged! We always tell people, "If you want to adopt, don’t just talk about it; take a leap of faith and do it. The funds, the logistics, the details -- it will all unfold in one way or another and the end result will always be an increased level of faith.  

Tell us about the moment you found out you would be parents.

People kept calling us “mama”and “dad" from the second we announced we were adopting. We thought it was sweet, but it didn’t really feel right until we saw the faces of our kids and realized they were actually OURS. The first time we saw their faces, we were both kind of in shock. Leading up to that day, we assumed we would break down in tears and weep for weeks, but when we saw their faces, we smiled, knew that we were going to love them forever and simply looked at each other and said “We are going to be parents. Guess we should celebrate with some Italian and wine.”  

What was it like seeing your kids for the very first time? 

The very first time we met our kids was not the way we “pictured” it would be. We had all these ideas of how we would try and record it and treasure the videos forever. However, as soon as we pulled up to the baby home, we jumped out of the car because we saw our sweet girl smiling and waving at the car! Despite there being 16 children, our sweet girl stood out like a sore thumb to us. We were instantly stormed by huge group of the kids at the home, but all we wanted to do was meet our two little ones! I (Ebie), kneeled down with a HUGE smile and said “Hi sweet girl. I’m your mama! Can I hold you?” And she nodded her head. I picked her up, and Zac came around behind me to look at her precious little face.

After a few minutes, one of the caretakers brought our baby boy. He handed him to Zac and we both were amazed at how different he looked in person than his photos! After we had them both in our arms, the tears set in and the reality that we were a family set in. . . . Even though the day was not how we imagined it would be, it was without a doubt one of the greatest days of our lives.  

Your Husband shared in an Instagram post that one of the children you were adopting may have medical complications. How did you overcome this particular challenge?

Two months after being matched, we were informed that our baby boy tested positive for Hep B. He had spent a majority of his life in and out of the hospital with various things, but it got to the point where he was hospitalized for weeks at a time, so they finally decided to run some tests, and they didn’t look so good. Our adoption coordinator called us and informed us that he was very sick and that they didn’t know how bad the Hep B was so if we were not comfortable with adopting a child with special needs, she understood if we needed to withdraw our match. The thought never even crossed our minds. He was our son and that was all there was to it. From the moment we hung up the phone on the first initial phone call, we prayed for the Lord to bring healing into his body.

Long story short, his life is a miracle. Two months after the initial positive test, he tested negative for Hep B. We were told to take the results lightly because Liberia being the 4th poorest country on the planet, there were often false negatives. However, six weeks after that, another negative Hep B test! THEN after the Hep B, he got pneumonia, malaria a few times, and then measles. But like I said, his life is a miracle. Many people we have met since being here look at our son, remember how sick he was, and tell us they didn’t think he would make it. And yet here he is, smiling, giggling, and waking us up every day at 4:30 a.m.! As far as what got us through it, it was our faith. Whether he had Hep B chronically and served as special needs or not, we were faith-filled that we were hand-picked to be his parents. So we took that honor and ran with it!  

Tell us a little more about your kids and their personalities.

Our children are hysterical! Seeing their photos for so long, you make up a personality in your head of what you think they will be like, and let us just tell you, BOY WERE WE WRONG. Our baby girl is independent, smart, SASSY. If you can’t find her, odds are she is eating quaker oatmeal on a walk. Her laugh makes the entire world stop, and she calls us “Ma” and “Pa.”

Our little boy is a cuddle bug, an early riser, and a little clumsy. He is obsessed with trying to win the affection of his sister and has random outbursts of laughter because he thinks someone is chasing him! ;) They couldn’t be more opposite, and it’s been the most wonderful journey watching their personalities develop right before our eyes.  

To you, what aspects of the adoption process go most unoticed? 

To us, I think the biggest part of adoption that goes unnoticed is the seriousness and the challenge of the transition for both the children AND the parents. For us, we have never been parents, so when we got these two children, we basically just canon-balled into this whole parenthood thing! We read the books on adoption and knew the transition was not to be taken lightly, but it has been SIGNIFICANTLY harder than anyone ever shared. The amount of trauma and cultural differences that you have to work through each day is exhausting. You can overload your mind with knowledge before adopting your child/children, but none of that info will stick if you don’t know the personality and traits your children carry.  

Tell us about your work with @wipeeverytear & @fearlessgirlco in combating the sex trade.

Zac and I work for an organization called Wipe Every Tear. We have safe houses in the Philippines and help rescue and restore women who have been trafficked in the sex trade. Being in the field that we are in, we know the statistics of orphans that end up in the sex trade. Since adoption was something I had dreamed of my entire life and my husband was adopted by his father, it was just a matter of “when” for our family. (Side note: the thing with international adoption is that you want to make sure you have done your research on your agency because many agencies unfortunately are not always ethical.)

Something that is special about Wipe Every Tear that many nonprofits don’t do is that we ask EVERY SINGLE GIRL what her dream is, and then we do everything we can to watch that dream unfold. We have girls who want to be business owners, travel agents, and more (I could go all day). We are not intimidated by the cost or the length of time it takes for these girls to finish school; we are in it to watch their dreams come alive! Watching our girls graduate from college and seeing the cycle of poverty break for their family is truly remarkable. We also are co-owners of a business called Fearless Girl. We encourage young women to live a life full of adventure and passion. We create resources for young women to go through in hopes that they’ll kick fear in the butt and sprint after their purpose.

Lastly, we always like to ask: what is currently up on your letter board?

Hepworth tribe coming in hot. #HepworthPartyOfFour

If you or someone you know have a story you would like to be featured, send us an email at hey@letterfolk.com

Read more →