Friday, April 29, 2011

I'm Thinking Hats

Did you wake up in the middle of the night to watch the Royal Wedding?  Did you see the pictures of all the amazing hats?  Hats are on the brain, not just because of the wedding, but also because we have been invited to a Derby Party next Saturday!

I think it is going to be such fun!  Hats... mint juleps... jockey helmets (maybe?).  So now I need to make a hat.  I am using some of these from ArturoRios for inspiration (well, these and Eliza Doolittle):
 Doesn't this one remind you of this cake I made for Sara's baby shower?
Wouldn't it be funny if Tate wore this, with a little jocky outfit?

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Rave: Trish McEvoy Mascara

This has changed my life:
I can't really adequately describe this mascara.  All I can say is that if you get raccoon eyes halfway through the day, and your pillowcase is also riddled with mascara smudges, you need to try it.  Instead of using regular mascara ink stuff that bleeds and smears, this mascara is made out of... well... the only way I can describe it is that it is kind of like plastic (I think the lady at the make-up counter in Nordstrom used the word "polymer").  It sounds weird people, but let me tell you, it does not run.  It does not smear.  I can sleep in it all night and wake up and it is still on my eyelashes, not on my pillow. When you take it off (with just warm water- no eye makeup remover needed!), it comes off in tiny little balls of plastic-ey stuff, not in the traditional inky blackness.

I love it.  Raccoon eyes no more.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Acres of Tulips

Did you have a nice Easter weekend?  We did.  We spent Saturday at the local Wooden Shoe tulip festival.  It was so amazingly wholesome.  Who knew 40 acres of tulips could be so much fun?
After such a beautiful, sunny, spring day on Saturday, it was rather disheartening to wake up to rain on Sunday.  I felt badly for all the Portland kids egg-hunting in the rain.  Our Easter was low-key, due to Zach being sick. It mostly consisted of a big dinner, with ham and scalloped potatoes and apple crisp.  And Tate making this face, which we alternatively call "ducky" or "platypus" and which we are seeing with increasing regularity:
It makes us laugh every time.

Thursday, April 21, 2011


I love white for children.  So fresh.  As such, I am loving pi'lo.  Wouldn't these loot bags look great at a party? 
And aren't these costumes fun?  Such a clean feel compared to the sometimes garish children's costumes out there.
I find that I am utterly calmed by pi'lo's offerings, and the serene photography that markets her wares. Like this fabric counting book.  I think I am going to get one for Tate.  I do love linen.
Check out pi'lo for more lovely items.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Tina Fey: A Prayer for Her Daughter

Have you read Tina Fey's new book Bossypants yet?  I haven't, but have been interested from all the news.  I became even more interested when I read this excerpt over on Momastary (thanks Brigid, for the link!):
Image of "Tina Fey"
First, Lord: No tattoos. May neither Chinese symbol for truth nor Winnie-the-Pooh holding the FSU logo stain her tender haunches.

May she be Beautiful but not Damaged, for it’s the Damage that draws the creepy soccer coach’s eye, not the Beauty.

When the Crystal Meth is offered, May she remember the parents who cut her grapes in half And stick with Beer.

Guide her, protect her: When crossing the street, stepping onto boats, swimming in the ocean, swimming in pools, walking near pools, standing on the subway platform, crossing 86th Street, stepping off of boats, using mall restrooms, getting on and off escalators, driving on country roads while arguing, leaning on large windows, walking in parking lots, riding Ferris wheels, roller-coasters, log flumes, or anything called “Hell Drop,” “Tower of Torture,” or “The Death Spiral Rock ‘N Zero G Roll featuring Aerosmith,” and standing on any kind of balcony ever, anywhere, at any age.

Lead her away from Acting but not all the way to Finance. Something where she can make her own hours but still feel intellectually fulfilled and get outside sometimes And not have to wear high heels. What would that be, Lord? Architecture? Midwifery? Golf course design? I’m asking You, because if I knew, I’d be doing it, Youdammit.

May she play the Drums to the fiery rhythm of her Own Heart with the sinewy strength of her Own Arms, so she need Not Lie With Drummers.

Grant her a Rough Patch from twelve to seventeen. Let her draw horses and be interested in Barbies for much too long, For childhood is short - a Tiger Flower blooming Magenta for one day - And adulthood is long and dry-humping in cars will wait.

O Lord, break the Internet forever, That she may be spared the misspelled invective of her peers And the online marketing campaign for Rape Hostel V: Girls Just Wanna Get Stabbed.

And when she one day turns on me and calls me a Bitch in front of Hollister, Give me the strength, Lord, to yank her directly into a cab in front of her friends, For I will not have that Shit. I will not have it.

And should she choose to be a Mother one day, be my eyes, Lord, that I may see her, lying on a blanket on the floor at 4:50 A.M., all-at-once exhausted, bored, and in love with the little creature whose poop is leaking up its back.

“My mother did this for me once,” she will realize as she cleans feces off her baby’s neck. “My mother did this for me.” And the delayed gratitude will wash over her as it does each generation and she will make a Mental Note to call me. And she will forget. But I’ll know, because I peeped it with Your God eyes.

-An excerpt from Tina Fey's new book, Bossypants (2011)

Monday, April 18, 2011

Eggs and Things

Personalized egg and pail
Aren't these personlized eggs and pails from Etsy shop dearjes adorable for an Easter tablesetting?  I also think they would be sweet for a spring wedding.

And the baker in me loves this cake topper:
Blue Mr. and Mrs. 4 inch nest  Cake Topper

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Smart Elephant Art

Smart Elephant Vintage Framed Art Print
Remember the yellow striped ceiling and print I recently bought for Baby #2's nursery?  I saw this piece by Sugarboo Designs today and fell in love.  I was one second (literally, one second) away from buying it, before I realized that I was running late for a meeting.  So I left it behind. BUT it is still on my mind, and I may just end up with it sooner or later.

Also. Apparently, the last yellow-striped-ceiling post created speculation that Zach and I were expecting Baby #2.  Not so.  Although that will be a fun and celebratory event when it happens.

Excitingly enough, however, we are expecting  a new baby niece.  My sister is pregnant!  And its a girl!  This is ridiculously exciting because it means that I can officially begin buying adorable girl clothes.

P.S.  I could seriously buy almost everything at Sugarboo Designs.  Seriously.  Go check it out.

Mother's Day Silhouette Art

Paper silhouettes
Have you seen Dawn's tutorial on how to make silhouette art for a Mother's Day gift? The one above is one Dawn did of her and her brother.  I could imagine a whole line of these if you come from a really big family.

Check it out here.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Tate is One: The Activities

I think that the best kids' parties are short.  About an hour and half, quickly moving from one activity to the next to make sure kids' don't lose interest or get too squirreley.  So when we started thinking about activities at Tate's party, I wanted to make sure that we had a general plan. 

First, Zach took the pirate ship silhouette from the invitations, and enlarged it.  He then cut it out and attached it to our living room wall.  The ship became the perfect spot to take pictures throughout the day, and some of my favorite shots were of our pirates (and pirate-princesses) posing in front of the ship. 
Following pictures, we worked on the art project. I had bought small treasure boxes for each child, and the kids spent about 30 minutes painting the boxes, attaching gems and stickers, and generally making a huge mess. It was a lot of fun.
What pirate party would be complete without a treasure hunt?  Followig lunch, the kids went on a treasure hunt to find the key that would unlock the treasure chest.  Since the weather in Portland is notoriously iffy in April, we had to make sure the entire treasure hunt could be done inside.  So it consisted of three clues that were all inside the house:
The first clue can be found in a book,
So run to Tate’s room and have a look,
It’s a story you’ve read again and again,
Of Captain Pirate Hook and his foe Peter ___

The next clue will make quite a splash,
So off to the bathroom you ought to dash,
Pull back the curtain, its where you rub-a-dub-dub
The clue's in a bottle floating in the bath___

“X” marks the spot, so says pirate lore,
So look for the “X” above a bedroom door,
Once you find it, enter to see,
That which you need, the treasure chest ___

The kids had a great time rushing through the house, and ultimately found the key to unlock the chest.
Once they unlocked the treasure chest, they discovered their "treasure".  Personalized canvas bags filled with chocolate coins, rootbeer barrels, and a few piratey items to take home.
We finished up the party by opening presents, which I think was as much fun for the other kids as for Tate- since he is too young to unwrap presents yet, each guest got to "help" him by unwrapping what they brought.  Favorite gifts included books, a drum, and a ball. 
Also, remember the whole time capsule idea?  It was so much fun seeing how creative people were.  A few of our favorite time capsule items included a Rolling Stones Top 100 Artists magazine, a 2011 Sports Illustrated Issue (so creative, right?!), a poster that shows common text message shortcuts (lol), a favorite book and a "Heart Oregon" bumper sticker for his first car, sports gear from favorite sports teams, a keychain (suddenly, Zach and I are feeling a lot of pressure to get this kid a car when he is 16!), and more.  I also love that grandparents, cousins, and of course, Zach and I, wrote letters to include.  Already when I look in the time capsule I am reminded of the special day and all the people that love and care about our birthday boy. 
And so, just over 2 hours after it began, Tate's pirate party came to an end.  I was a tired and happy mama.
P.S.  The day after Tate's party he started saying "mama".  So it turns out the best birthday gift was for me.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Tate is One: The Menu

Having trained as a pastry chef, I think I generally tend to go slightly overboard on food.  For this party though, we kept things pretty simple.   And it was awesome!  So much less stress than rushing around cooking for two or three days before.

We used a hot glue gun to attach labels to seashells so that everyone would know what they were eating.  Zach and I also had a ridiculous amount of fun trying to think of creative ways to tie the food into the theme with some terrible puns.  We love bad puns.

First up: Catch of the Day.  We had goldfish crackers and fish sticks as an entree.

Of course, fish and chips is a natural fit.  But chips aren't quite right when your child is named "Tate", and his most common nickname is, of course, "Tater Tot". So lo and behold:
(Come on, funny right?  "Tate-arrrr tot"? For a pirate party?  We crack ourselves up.)
With all the deep-fried junk food, we needed some fruit in there, didn't we?
Ruby red punch, anyone?
And what would a party be without cake?  On Tate's actual birthday, I made a traditional layer cake, topped with a ship to tie into the coming pirate party theme, as dessert.
So for the party, we decided to go with the easier-to-eat, ultra-adorable, and super-delicious mini cupcakes.  They fit our theme perfectly.
The menu was easy.  It was fun.  It was kid-friendly.  Nothing required forks.  All-in-all, I think the menu worked. 

P.S.  For the parents, Zach put together platters of assorted cheeses, hummus, salami, crab cakes, and a little more "high brow" food.  He also made rum-based cocktails.  My favorite was his rum-and-pineapple concoction, served on ice, in a mason jar.  Yum.