yellow + gray party details.

My house is still sprinkled with yellow gerberas from Krisa's shower, and they just make every day so much happier.
Party prepping inspiration stemmed from these fun invitations, and using an arsenal of tried and true resources, like Paper Source, Shop Sweet Lulu, Jo-Ann and Ikea, it was a very breezy coordination and setup. Which are just the kind of affairs I like. I snapped lots of pre-party photos, and here are the details, in detail.

Double duty seating cards: Personalized stripey straws. DIY name flags made from Paper Source circle labels in curry; dark gray stripey straws from Shop Sweet Lulu.
Table setting: Ikea-potted gerbera daisies, finished off with some decorative dried moss.
Sunflowers also made an appearance.
Shower staple: keepsake notes for the guest of honor. Oversized kraft hang tag and yellow circle label from Paper Source.
My gal pal brought matching circle cards in curry and paper bag envelopes for the love notes.

Favors: Sugar cookies wrapped in striped treat paper bags, sealed with those handy labels.
Last but not least: The cake bunting. I'll have the DIY on it tomorrow!


wknd snaps: top ten.

Hope you had a wonderful, long weekend. You may recall that Memorial Day is big in our house for lots of reasons, and we celebrated all weekend long. I ate my way through the weekend, actually, and today, I'm still feeling it. Detox is sounding good about now.
Though gluttonous, it was a glorious weekend, full of all the things that summer brings; family and friends, good food, and lots of time outside. All that, and dad's first birthday. As in: Eddie's first birthday being Mari's dad. Here's a hodgepodge of weekend goodness. From over 1,000 photos shot since Friday. I need to be stopped.

One: Still on a yellow kick from Krisa's shower (more on that this week!), we decorated with daisies.
Two: On the birthday brunch menu - waffles, of course. PS: I got bit by The Shops at Target bug. Loving Privet House
Three: We're seeing signs of life on the lemon tree.
Four: On a related note, basil is growing beautifully on our deck. More than enough for a fresh, delicious salad that I'll be sharing with you.
Five: And I'm crushing, like most of the web, on coral and turquoise.
Six: Why, yes, those are caramels. Awaiting to be melted into thick, creamy goodness for some of the best [birthday] brownies I've ever tasted. More on those later, promise.
Seven: Celebrating at The MB Post with some of our favorite people, and our favorite wine (and the fabulous honey trio that's a must-try).
Eight: Lime juicing. For [birthday] margaritas.
Nine: My new favorite knife. Ever. If you love watermelon like I do, you need one of these. And yes, the knife really is pink. Awesome, right?
Ten: Staying up past bedtime to spoil the birthday boy.

Lots more to come this week!


party time: lunching with the girls.

Krisa's shower was just a happy, sunshine-y kind of a day. Which, is appropriate when you're celebrating one of the most sunshine-y people on the planet. On a beautiful outdoor patio, with perfect So. Cal. weather and yellow gerbera daises dancing on the table, we showered a pretty mama-to-be and her little bump. 
I found out that (a) I don't know my camera as well as I thought; (b) really have no idea about lighting; and (c) when I don't have unlimited time to photograph, I kind of blow it. Thank goodness I spent some quiet time photographing a few details the day before, so I've got lots more coming, plus a little DIY on that fun cake topper. Cute and easy.

For now, a few party details:
+ Venue: Tin Roof Bistro
+ Cake: Susie Cakes
+ Runner: burlap fabric from Jo-Ann Fabric and Crafts


non-baby shower baby shower invites.

I'm a lot like my bestie Krisa, who, you know, I think is pretty fabulous. We're very much alike, the two of us. So, when we started talking baby shower, her suggestion of a simple girls lunch was music to my ears. It's secretly what I had in mind, anyway. She seems to know just what I'm thinking, and is always about a half step ahead of me. I love that about her.
Like most of our showers, this was a group effort. I got to handle the paper and pretties, and feeling inspired from a yellow-and-gray-themed wedding Eddie and I recently attended (shot by the amazing Amy & Stuart), Lynette helped me design the invitation. Printed, of course, at Christie, and paired with yellow circle labels, they nestled into my favorite paper bag envelopes, with a little surprise.
Tissue paper confetti. Thank you, Kristina.

More to come on the shower fun!


p is for polka dots.

Is it Friday? Really? Thank goodness. I'm ready for the weekend and Sunday's baby shower that's finally here! So excited. Am tying up odds and ends, and will have lots to share with you next week. For now, I leave you with a little taste of what's to come.
We're having a love affair with polka dots. And yellow.

And little Baby P.


on being a mom.

I'm not going to get political on you here, but I've had that Time magazine article staring at me all week, and after having read it, I feel a little cheated. I just didn't get much out of it. I succumbed to the hype, and like most things of hype, I was a little let down.
Since becoming a parent, I've been voracious for anything on the topic. I've read more than I expected, in fact; when I was pregnant the only reading I could muster was weekly e-mails from BabyCenter.com (highly recommend for informative brevity, btw), and that was it. I just wasn't interested. Until Mari came along, and really, at 3 a.m., you'll do/read/find just about anything to help your baby fall asleep in those early months.

In our time of instant answers; I searched. And my head started spinning around other people's words.

In my small circle of beautiful, fabulous mom friends, we've all been through it: we read to gain knowledge, because knowledge is power, but once we cross the line to obsession, we question ourselves, and everything we've gathered, because every opinion is different. Why is there not one answer to the question of how much milk my baby is supposed to get in a 24-hour period? Why.

It took me months to realize that there's not one doctor, nor one book prescribed just for my baby. Thanks to my husband, I had a little conversation with myself about letting go of what everyone else is saying and doing, and finding my own way with Mari. I've let go of defining my parenting style, and instead, I have happily defined who I am, as Mari's mother.

I read three really fabulous articles on being a mom in the last week, all of which rocked my world. If you're up for some smart, thoughtful reading, may you enjoy:

+ A beautiful story about motherhood, the baby bond and how magical it really is. Especially for a Korean adoptee, raised by Midwestern parents in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, who celebrated her first Mother's Day on Sunday. Written by my dear friend and journalist, Corina Knoll, this autobiographical article will make your heart smile, probably after a tear or two.

+ If you want to get political, read this. Thanks to a Facebook friend, this article got my gears going, and got me nodding 'yes, yes, yes' in agreement. I won't get on my maternity leave soapbox, but no matter in which state you live, if you have gone through it or are about to go through it, get informed.

+ Of all the blog reading I do, I keep coming back to The Haystack Needle not only for pretty inspiration, but parenting advice. Her adventures with her sweet little girl, just a few months older than mine, have helped shape so many Mari moments, especially on the topic of baby food. She wrote a super informative piece on baby wearing, and its many, many benefits and let's just say I've tucked that in the keep-forever-file (for the record, one of my most favorite things we own: the Ergo). On the eve of Mother's Day weekend, she posted this beautiful tribute to her daughter.

PS: Jen also posted about a few books that she's reading, and addressed a couple of parenting books of which she's a fan. Benefit from her wisdom here.


this week.

We are in mid-May, friends. Mid-May! This month is chalk-full of celebrations, and there's a lot of goodness to get to in the second half of the month.
{fresh gardenias from our April Happy Hour; we recycled the waxy leaves for Mari's Baptism}
I feel like if I don't start really paying attention to my lists, I'm going to really forget things, so maybe you can help keep me on track. Here's what's going on:

+ party prepping to shower my best baby mama.
+ birthday shopping for Eddie and my brother (gift ideas welcome!).
+ mind over matter: attempting to live in a tropical state of mind this sunny time of year, thanks to Pandora.
+ growing with baby food: considering adding this book to our library, on recommendation from Jen.
+ add to that: meal planning in general; we're sort of drowning in the food department, as of late. Is there a refresh button for the kitchen? Because I could use one. Thank goodness Eddie is an amazing cook!
+ in progress: invitation design for Mari's first birthday. Really must get on that first year baby book.
+ hard drive downloading: my six-year-old Macbook is on its last legs (insert sad face emoticon), but I've got a new computer in my future (insert big smiley face emoticon; the one with a big mouth full of pearly whites), thanks to my beautiful daughter and thoughtful husband.
+ and with that, I have a cup that runneth over with so much love from my family. My first mother's day was really special. I'm so thankful.


dear mom.

{from Paper Plates Press via Etsy}
Literally, figuratively and all of the above: thank you for always picking me up. Especially now, when I need it most. The irony of being a mom is that you still really need your own sometimes. How lucky I am to have her!

Happy mother's day weekend to all you moms and moms-to-be. Especially to my fellow first-timers - we made it!


let's party. outdoors.

On Monday, I highlighted a few summer party picks and the catalogs just keep coming in and teasing me. Today, I've flagged some favorites from Crate & Barrel. Let's party.
Clockwise, from top left: Soji Solar Lantern; Marimekko Appelsiini Pillows; Jelli FlatwareLunea Melamine Tray with Arlo Acrylic Barware.
Clockwise, from top left: Kitchenette Green Dishtowels; Pizza Grilling Stone; Chatham Green Stripe Napkin Ring; Alfresco Natural Cart.

Does anyone have (or has had) the Weber Performer Grill? Not that we're in the market for one, but I've always had my eye on the exclusive-to-C&B green grill. If I had this cute charcoal number, I'd be tempted to have these on-hand, a la Simmzy's.


summer party picks.

Hope you had a happy cinco de mayo and fantastic fin de semana. It's beginning to look and feel a lot like summer, and this is my favorite time of year to shop home. If I had a million dollars, I'd blow it every year, right about now, when everything is cheery, bright and ready for the outdoors. I've been flagging tons of summer-inspired items, and here's what I'd pick for my outdoor dream party from Ballard Designs.
Clockwise, from top left: Southern Living Beverage Jar; Southern Living Seagrass Hurricane; Southern Living Marble Cake PlateSouthern Living Glass Iced Tea Pitcher with Set of Six Beverage Tags (possibly the cutest new item in the whole catalog).
Clockwise, from top left: SK Woven Serving Tray; Scalloped Round Planter; Southern Living Set of Three Woven TrivetsSouthern Living Tiered Wire Basket.

Looks like I'm a fan of the new Southern Living Collection...

I've got my eye on more pretty, summery things from some other favorites, and will be sharing more with you this week.


spring into summer pasta salad.

Let's rewind a bit, back to Easter weekend, to be specific. I made a pasta salad for two family get togethers, and I have to say that between 14 adults, it was quite a hit. All I did was follow The BC's directions, and I know I've said this before, but she never steers me wrong. Really. Never.
Pasta, Pesto and Peas is the best of everything - it's creamy (but not oily), salty, pretty and gets a sweet pop from the green peas. A super bonus is that you get to make The BC's homemade pinenut, walnut and basil pesto, which leaves you with leftovers to enjoy with another dish, or freeze for later.

Pinenuts, pesto, peas and parm - win, win, win, win.
I ate this twice on Easter, and once the day after. In my new-found addiction, I decided I liked the salad best when enjoyed at room temperature, and if it got a little dry in the frig, a light sprinkle of olive oil did the trick.

The Barefoot Contessa's Pasta, Pesto and Peas
from Barefoot Contessa Parties! page 101
Serves 12

3/4 pound fusilli pasta
3/4 pound bow-tie pasta
1/4 cup olive oil
1 1/2 cups homemade pesto
1 10 ounce package frozen chopped spinach, defrosted and squeezed dry
3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 1/4 cups mayonnaise
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 1/2 cups frozen peas, defrosted
1/3 cup pignolis, toasted (optional - but not if I'm making this!)
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Cook the fusilli and bow ties separately in a large pot of boiling, salted water, according to directions until each pasta is al dente. Drain and add to a large bowl.

In the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade, puree the pesto, spinach and lemon juice. Add the mayonnaise and continue to puree.

Add the pesto mixture immediately to the pasta, then add the Parmesan cheese, peas, pignolis, salt and pepper. Mix well, season to taste and serve at room temperature.

A few notes:
+ Flex your multi-tasking skills with this one - if you get all ingredients prepped, you can blend the sauce while the pasta cooks, and then you have nice, warm pasta to absorb the beautiful sauce. I think that warm pasta + sauce, versus the alternative, gives this a little flavor boost.
+ The BC offers this note on dry roasting pignolis, which works for any nut, really: place them in a dry saute pan and cook over medium heat, for about 4 minutes, until evenly browned, tossing frequently. You will smell the wonderful oils of the pine nuts as they toast. Yum.
+ The recipe above yields a very healthy portion; enough for 12+ adults (we stretched it to 14 when served as a side salad), plus leftovers. I would recommend it as a great make-ahead meal for a crowd.


cinco themed.

Happy May. Already.

My best gal pal Amanda is a pinning machine, and she's been busy pinning Cinco de Mayo-inspired images from paper{whites}. And it got me thinking that it might be a good thing to share with you. Everyone loves party pics, yes?
So, without further ado, here's some Latin-loving inspiration for your Wednesday.
Last year's surprise fiesta party pics and invitations for Eddie's birthday.
Recipe: Margarita cupcakes for said fiesta.
Handcrafted more-than-a-margarita from The Post.
Scallop ceviche from The Estancia.
Recipe: happy hour black bean dip.
Orange brunch details.
Recipe: Whitney's white bean chicken chili with all the fixings.
Recipe: Eddie's shrimp dip.
Can't get enough: guac and blood orange margaritas.

Are you doing anything to celebrate on Saturday? Happy Cinco de Mayo!