Wednesday, March 14, 2012

In Appreciation

In appreciation of good husbands everywhere. Wow. After spending the last few days home sick, I have NO idea how I could possibly be a parent without Zach. He is amazing.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Weekend Recap

Zach was sick this holiday weekend.  So Tate and I spent time at the park:
And making him a get well card. Happy days.
Feel better soon, Daddy!
P.S. Something we did NOT do? Get Tate his first haircut. What do you think? Is it time?

Monday, February 20, 2012

Homemade Piñatas

A few weeks ago, we continued the celebration of Lindy and Javi's engagement (and soon-to-come wedding in Mexico!) with Lindy's bridal shower.  Lindy's sister Mandy planned the event, and it was beautiful (Mandy brought in all of Lindy's favorite foods from New York, so needless to say, I ate a week's worth of NY pizza and donuts.  Yum). 

But one of my favorite aspects of the event was the handmade homemade piñatas that doubled as party favors.  Brigid and Mandy reviewed the tutorial over on Oh Happy Day! and created the template and purchased the supplies.  The night before the shower a small group of us girls sat around drinking beer, catching up, and making the piñatas. 

I think they turned out so, so cute.  How about you?

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Celebrating Margot Part II

Just to be clear, Margot's party took place in Chicago, and I was planning from Portland.  This is one of many parties I have planned from a distance (including Lindy and Javi's engagement party), and I find that the simpler I can be in the food and drink planning, the better.  Margot's shower was no exception, so I went with easy, simple crowd-pleasers.

Starting with gougères.
Have you ever had these before?  In my opinion, they are the hostesses secret weapon.  They are so easy.  You can make them ahead of time and freeze them until 30 minutes before the party, ensuring that you pull warm, cheesy goodness out of the oven at the exact moment your guests arrive.  Basically, gougères use the same base as cream puffs.  But instead of making them sweet, you make them savory by adding lots of salty cheese, black pepper, and fresh herbs.  They are hollow and eggey inside, and are perfect for stuffing with whatever strikes your fancy. 

For the baby shower, we went with apple tarragon chicken salad:
But any filling would work.  Cold cuts, egg salad, or nothing at all- I have even made miniature ones with great success.  They are delicious with a glass of wine and a side salad for a quick dinner, and I have even had one or two with coffee for breakfast.

Can you tell I am fan?

In addition to the gougères, we had one of my all-time favorite brunch items- warm broiled grapefruit.  So easy and so pretty, you simply halve the grapefruits, segment them, and sprinkle with brown sugar.  Before serving, pour champagne over the top (it flows into all the nooks and crannies!), and broil until the sugar has melted and the grapefruits are warm.  They are so delicious and so elegant.  For the shower, we sprinkled ours with pomegranate seeds.
Fresh banana bread, a side salad, and an old standby (oatmeal chocolate chip muffins, of course) rounded out the meal, which was light and delicious. 

As we tied everything together, the extra origami paper became rather useful.  We used it to fancy up the menu, and as the background for the games we played:
And the finale of the day was another easy, beautiful and satisfying choice.  What else but strawberry shortcake?
All in all, we had a wonderful time. It was such a gift to get to celebrate Margot's arrival with Lissa and her friends, and to see all the long-distance planning come to fruition.

Monday, January 23, 2012

The Year of the Rabbit: Celebrating Margot Part I

Today is the first day in the Year of the Dragon.  Which made me think, predictably, about the Year of the Rabbit.  Last year, to be exact.  The Year of the Rabbit is particularly special because it was the year my little niece Margot was born.  And because her dad is Chinese, we went with a (loose) Year of the Rabbit theme for my sister's baby shower.  Although it was months ago now (Margot is about to start eating solid food!), I still love the details of this party enough to share them.

I think it is a fine line to walk when you are planning a baby shower (from a distance!) based around a theme like the Year of the Rabbit.  How to be focused but not cheesy?  How to reference the theme without beating the proverbial dead horse (or, as the case may be, the dead rabbit)?  I am pleased to say I think we struck the perfect note with Margot's shower.

Because red is not only lucky in Chinese culture, but also my sister's favorite color, we felt that we had to go with red for the shower.  Beginning with the invitations, I wanted the feel to be fresh and modern and clean and not stereotypical.   I was so pleased to work with edencreativestudio on the invitations:
With red and gray and rounded corners  and a sweet reference to a "little dumpling", I thought the invitations set the perfect tone.

The Rabbit theme continued, albeit subtly, at the event itself.  Beginning with Zach's amazing origami rabbits, which he lovingly folded for me in advance of the party and which I carried on the plane in order to prevent crushing.  Aren't they both so sophisticated and so sweet?
We put one at each place setting for a welcoming touch.

Speaking of place settings, we ended up going with simple, silver-rimmed white chine.  Very traditional but still very clean, we "fancied" up a white tablecloth with three wide grosgrain red ribbons.   The finishing touch for the table was a runner of centerpieces that also served as favors for all the guests.  Remember  Middle Kingdom?  My sister loves their pottery, so we bought each guest a small reddish-orange Middle Kingdom jar.  We took them to a local florist who crafted utterly beautiful and really modern centerpieces for us (and each centerpiece was only $6!  Such a steal!).  Single dahlia blooms, moss and puffballs of bright green were the perfect fresh touch.
Stay tuned for more details, including the menu and the activities!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

In Three Pictures: First New England Snow

P.S.  Dawn knit Tate that hat when she was visiting.  Isn't it adorably cute, even considering that I put it on backwards?

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Alyssa Ettinger: Lightning in a Bottle

I think that the best gifts you can receive are completely unexpected.  Such was the case with the Alyssa Ettinger pottery piece I received as a gift from Brigid for Christmas (thanks Brig!). In addition to her vases and jewelry and bowls, she has a line of milk bottles.  So perfectly matte and creamy, the milk bottle line is somehow modern and retro.

I love how the inside of the bottles are glazed (making them perfect vases!) but the outside remains unglazed.

But the thing I love most about the one Brigid chose for me was the whimsy. 

You've heard the saying "lightning in a bottle".  Well, guess what I have?

That's right.  Lightning. In a bottle.

The fact that Brigid saw this and thought of me is as lovely as the gift itself.  Isn't it wonderful to feel known?

I also love Alyssa's other, more traditional vases and cups.
A perfect housewarming gift, don't you think?

Monday, January 16, 2012

And a Happy New Year...

It's hard to believe it is already the middle of January.  And that we've been living in New England for over 2 months.  This move has been much bigger than I expected.   Scarier.  Harder.  More complicated. 
Before the move, we had given ourselves until the New Year to really feel settled.  Well, the ball has dropped and the new year has come and gone- and we still have piles of boxes and uncertainty.

I have to admit that with everything else going on, the thought of returning to the blog seemed almost overwhelming at times.  But I have realized that I've missed it.  Talking.  Being creative.  And that I enjoy trolling for beautiful things and new ideas.

So its official.  I'm back.
The last picture of Tate in our home in Oregon.  Predictably, he is eating.  See that giant bowl of oatmeal?  That is his standard breakfast...