friday foto: my favorite party tricks.

If you're in the market for some party tips, here's the how-to with links from Jenna's baptism, starting with the decor, like these most perfect tissue paper fans from Shop Sweet Lulu that are my new favorite party tricks, simply because they are so simple to pop up, and bunched together, well, they're just fun.

I also included the party menu, with a few recipe links. What I find I do increasingly more of, with each party, is glam up store-bought items, most of which I get from our friendly Trader Joe's. Life and time savers.

But, what made this party extremely simple was boxing up the main course - a salad - ahead of time. Just before we headed out to church, I had a furious assembly line going with twine, napkins and forks and while that might have been the least attractive I was all day (physically, in all senses), it really was the best party decision I've ever made.

It was grab and go at its cutest, in my opinion! You can see photos in the original post down below.
+ Shop Sweet Lulu: Tissue paper fans, stripey straws, twine, napkins and tassle garland (not pictured)
+ Garnish: Kraft take-out boxes (in size small) and disposable wood forks
+ Trader Joe's: for all flowers
+ Invitations: designed by yours truly

+ Drinks: sparkling water, sparkling lemonade, sparking blood orange juice (all from Trader Joe's)
+ Appetizers: deviled eggs, melon and proscuitto skewers and Trader Joe's fresh bruschetta with crostini
+ Main: The Barefoot Contessa's lobster and shells salad, with wild shrimp subbed for lobster, garnished with a pile of arugula and Trader Joe's breadsticks on the side (note: Trader Joe's frozen wild-caught shrimp is amazing and very worth it, thanks, mom, for finding them!).
+ Dessert: Trader Joe's meringue cookies, heart sugar cookies (perfect icing coloring tutorial: here) and strawberries and sweet cream cheese

And, lastly, my advice to anyone who asks questions on party planning: start with Shop Sweet Lulu, get inspired, find your color palette, make smart purchases and then get down to business. The end.


jenna's baptism.

Jenna's sweet baptism day looked and felt so similar to her big sister's a couple of years ago; just as meaningful, happy and special, in all senses.
Here are a few photos from a very small celebration we hosted at our home following the ceremony. Filled with the sound of little feet and lots of giggles, we really did repeat a few of our favorite party tricks, like lobster and shells and plenty of supplies from Shop Sweet Lulu. I did, for the first time ever, use Garnish and loved the results!
Holy cow. My photography (and editing skills, or lack thereof) needs some serious work.

I'll have a follow up post this week with source details and links to what we served up for food, if you're in the market for an easy party menu (with lots of store bought goodness!).


friday foto: coral peonies.

Peony pictures are sweeping the socials, aren't they? Well, when in Rome.
This beautiful bunch was from Jenna's baptism, which we celebrated in May. If you're a Trader Joe's shopper, this gorgeous, poufy flower is nothing new to you. 

I've been putting together a post on our little celebration for way too long now, and I'll be sharing it with you soon. It it wasn't really intentional for Jenna's baptism to look and feel just like Mari's, but I guess when you have something that works, it works. You know what I mean? 

Happy weekend, all!

For more Friday Fotos, start here


setting the table.

Oh my, is anyone still out there? The selfish reality is that I started this blog as a creative outlet for myself, and I was reminded yesterday via Instagram - and specifically - a hand calligrapher's instagram feed whom I started following just because her handwriting is mind-blowing beautiful - "remember why you started."
What Molly at Plurabelle did was simplify a lot of thoughts that have been scrolling through my head, including: why can't I just sit down and write?

Mostly, for the last month and change, I've been caught up in life - all the wonderfully mundane things that fill our days. Things like working on infant sleep patterns, making lists for the market, diving into parenting literature, cleaning up toys and purging clothes from the wardrobe that have been neglected for years. As a family, we've been doing some really wonderful things, too, like hiking in Palos Verdes, the first pool swim of summer, pizza picnics, birthday celebrations, play dates and introducing Jenna to real food, like peas, sweet potatoes, zucchini and pears at the family dinner table (all of which you may be familiar with if you tune into my Instagram feed).

Life has been so full for us, and for that I'm so grateful. But, I've had a hang up in getting back to this space. Maybe it's because I felt too busy - which for the record, makes me crazy. I really believe that you make time for the things and people you love. It's a choice. And, I've struggled with making the choice to spend my time writing.

So, letter by letter, I'm going to get back at it. Find a fun photo to share with you on Friday, and remember why I started in the first place. It was for myself, and that simple thought makes it easier to get back to the keyboard. The beautiful thing about blogging, is that while it's mostly for the writer, over time, it evolves into a shared, supportive space that has the potential to connect people together from all over the world, and that is remarkable.

A stranger that I just happen to be introduced to via Instagram impacted me so profoundly that I got the inspiration back to write, photograph and share.

Here's to more to come!