8.31.2010

that's what he said.

{clips from See Jane Work}
Just like that - August flies by and September is upon us. I don't know about you, but I can feel the Fall hustle and bustle in the air. I'm not a student, nor do I have kids, but I'm in a back-to-school state-of-mind and I'm loving it (that's probably exactly why I'm loving it).

Celeb dad Steve Carell said in a recent interview that his nine year old daughter is obsessed with back-to-school supplies, and compared a Staples shopping trip to Christmastime. Said Carrell, "...she loves binders and notebooks... all sorts; three-ring, loose-leaf... pens, pencils."

She sounds like my kind of girl. How could Michael Scott's daughter not love school supplies, anyway?

Like me, I imagine she enjoys a good list, and around this favorite time of year, I found myself searching for some very specific items, including:

+ the perfect binder: had to be durable, neutral in color (if only they had made these back in the day) and dark enough to withstand dirt and scratches, but not black. 
+ the perfect pencil pouch: something plastic, preferably with a zipper.
+ pens and pencils: I usually found myself with a new set of Mr. Sketch scented markers, a new box of no. 2's and a colorful pencil sharpener (mostly for looks, because we had an electric one in Dad's office). 
+ wire-bound calendar: something colorful and sensible (like this), because I will inevitably spend hours writing in it, which will make me very happy.  Usually on the first day of school. Seconds after we get the semester's syllabus.

Years later, I'm still list-making for my faux-back-to-school shopping trip.  These lookers from See Jane Work are professional and pretty, keeping it light and youthful:


First row (left-to-right): SJW Basics letter box; magnetic bulldog clip set; Lilly Pulitzer assorted pencils; day of the week clips.  Second row (left-to-right): SJW Basics composition books; SJW Basics magazine holder; clip-on label holder set; SJW Basics subject dividers.

I would be so productive with anything from the SJW Basics line - wouldn't you? 

PS: Three cheers for my teacher friends going back to the classroom this week. Here's to a great first day!

8.30.2010

b'parties in your 30s.

I love a girl's night.  And these days, I really love a girl's night in - one of the many reasons why our November bride and I get along so well.  Thanks to some very professional party planners, we were treated to a girl's weekend in in a fabulous Palm Desert rental.

Each of us brought Andrea a honeymoon-inspired gift to celebrate her bachelorette party weekend, and I clipped a few favorites while window shopping in cyberspace:


From left-to-right: Hanky Panky bridal undies; AE Turkish print scarf in themal olive; tank from Victoria's Secret bridal collection; Havianas top metallic flip flops in gold; J.Crew's seaside tote; Essie nail polish in Vanity Fairest from Nordstrom's.

End-of-summer sales abound at American Eagle and J.Crew.  Go while the gettin' is good.

Dana + Erin + Amanda: thank you for the perfect girl's weekend!
Days until Andrea becomes a Mrs.: 84.

8.26.2010

new weekend recipe: peach + blueberry crisp.

If you're like me, the weekends are a great chance to eat good food and maybe even, try a new recipe.  To get inspired, I usually do some serious recipe research, and in anticipation of the coming weekend, I thought I'd share the most recent experiment.

This certainly seems to be the summer of the peach, as far as our kitchen is concerned, and it was only a matter of time before I'd had too many bites of Simmzy's summertime peach-blueberry cobbler, that I would get the craving to make my own. 

After the peach upside down cake success, thanks to Lesley, I found myself prepping for another peach project: The Barefoot Contessa's Peach and Raspberry Crisp.  Almost tried Pithy and Cleaver's cobbler version, and have it clipped for next time.

Here's The BC's recipe, with my notes added.  I sub'd the raspberries with blueberries, because, well, that's how Simmzy's rolls.

Note: I halved the The BC's recipe - please correct me if you notice an incorrect measurement.

Peach and Blueberry Crisp, adapted from The Barefoot Contessa's Peach and Raspberry Crisp
Serves 6 (3-inch x 1.75-inch individual ramekins*)

5-6 large, firm (but ripe) yellow peaches
1/2 a small orange, zested
3/4 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
3/4 cups plus 1 to 2 tbs. all-purpose flour
1/4 pint blueberries
pinch of salt
1/2 cup quick-cooking oatmeal
1/2 cup (1 stick), cold unsalted butter, diced

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Butter the inside of ramekins and place on foil-lined baking sheet.  Get your butter diced and throw back into the frig to chill.

Immerse the peaches in boiling water for 30 to 40 seconds, and place them into a bowl of cold, icewater to stop the cooking and cool.  Peel the skin with your fingers (it should slip right off) and slice the peaches into thick wedges and place them into a large bowl.  Add the orange zest, 1/8 cup granulated sugar, 1/4 cup brown sugar and 1 to 2 tablespoons of flour (depending on how juicy your peaches are) to your bowl of peaches.  Toss well. Gently mix in the blueberries and allow the mixture to sit for 5 minutes.  If there's a lot of liquid in the bowl, add a little more flour to soak it up.


Meanwhile, get your crumble mixture mixed - combine 3/4 cups flour, 1/2 cup granulated sugar, 1/4 cup brown sugar, salt, oatmeal and the cold, diced butter in the bowl of an electric mixer with the paddle attachment.  Mix on low speed until the butter is pea-sized and the mixture is crumbly.

Scoop the peach mixture into the ramekins and gently smooth the top of each before topping with the crumble mixture.  Pile it high - higher than the pics below - because like pie, it will shrink once it cools out of the oven.


Note: if you're prepping early and baking later, you can slide them into the frig at this point until you're ready to bake.  The BC said you can also bake early, frig and re-heat in the oven for 20-30 minutes before serving.

Bake for 35 to 45 minutes (depending on your oven - I must invest in one of these - you'd think I'd learn after 10 years of renting) until the fruit is bubbling over and the crumble is crisped and browned.  Goop is good.

If you try it yourself, remember to take a photo before devouring and send it to me.  We couldn't stop ourselves.

I'm off to the desert to celebrate our November bride, and I'll be back on Monday with some fun bachelorette gift ideas.  Until then, have a great weekend! (BTW: if you're expecting guests this weekend, check out some breezy food suggestions from last month's shower menu.)

*If you don't own ramekins, bake it in one oven-safe dish, like The BC did (in which case, you'll prob need to tack on about 10-ish more minutes of baking)... but if you're in the market: the Crate has a set of six on sale for $6.95 right this minute.

8.25.2010

pink-ing of you.

For the last year or so, I've been trying my best-est to keep up with a more efficient [read: time-saving] and cost-effective [read: inexpensive] beauty routine, which has included ... doing my own nails.  I know, I know.  No one seems to do that anymore, do they?  Or do they.

Last month, amazing sis-in-law no. 2 and I did our nails together on a lazy Friday night, and it was so relaxing.  And, in the last year, doing my nails has become one of my favorite things to do with a slow weekend, and in the best-est case, with a girlfriend. 

It's also become a relieving time-saver when I can't carve out time for the salon, like this busy week - when I'm inviting myself (via Outlook) to schedule my free time - on my own calendar.  And, living with my nails in their current state is just not an option. 

Amazing sis-n-law no. 1 (no. 1 because she's first, as far as the marriages go) gifted me this kit that's lasted years, and I figure that as long as I can pretzel-myself into a pedicure-performing posture and sneak it in during TBS's Tuesday night Office marathon, I can do my own toes.

So, while my beauty routine has adjusted slightly, my color preference has not.  OPI's Pink-ing of You is my perfect pink.  One coat on the hands, two on the toes and I'm good to go. I have always been drawn to barely-there pinks and neutrals (another go-to: Ballet Slippers from Essie) and have been stuck on this particular pink that gives my pale skin a boost and makes me smile (esp. when it's a DIY job).

Any time-saving tips or preferred pinks in your world?  Suggestions welcome.

PS: When I do spring for the salon, I go to Rebecca right here in Hermosa Beach - two thumbs. Way up. And, by the way, before you go, pick up a pita right next door and snack while you get pampered. 

Yes - I'm glad you asked - they do have fountain sodas.

8.23.2010

weekend wrap: eat + drink = pub.

Or, good people + good food = Simmzy's.  On the corner of MB Blvd. and Highland Ave. is our favorite stop ... just about ... any day of the week.  And, on summer weekends at the beach, it's the place to be.


Opened just over a year ago, family-owned Simmzy's is the South Bay's warmest, hippest place - where Mike, Ryan, David, Micah, Peter, Stephanie and Brian all know your name, and they're always glad you came. 

It's complete with an outdoor patio, market umbrellas, gorgeous floral arrangements that adorn the bar (provided by a neighboring shop)... and a view of the ocean. It's the kind of cozy place that's usually standing-room-only, but a friendly person makes room for you.  And, on Friday, you run into an old, familiar face who just moved back from New York, is a beautiful new mom and happens to be our neighbor.  

I love this place.

At the tip-top of the list is their rotating 24 beers on tap - listed on giant chalkboards - and their wine selection, hand-picked by the owner that's good, great and finds you asking, 'where'd you get that?'  And, on summer weekends, my personal favorite: peach sangria.  The kind that's so good that it should be served with a fork.

Eddie will drink whatever Ryan and David are pouring.  We both like Lagunitas Brewing Co.'s IPA, maybe it's because its served in mason jars ... I know what you're thinking: Simmzy's is pretty much perfection.  

We go to Simmzy's for the experience, which for us equals really good people, good conversation and good beverages. But, when we're hungry, we eat.  Really good food.

Preferably locally-sourced, responsibly-grown and deliciously seasonal ingredients:  
Our go-to app: Sundried Tomato Hummus accompanied by cucumbers, carrots, celery, kalamata olives and halved cherry tomatoes. Don't forget the grilled buckwheat bread.  Is there anything better than salty, smooth olives, chunky hummus and good, toasty bread?
In the salad dept.: this Grilled Ahi Salad is what first got me hooked.  Maybe it's the tartar sauce or the delicate vinaigrette dressing.  Or the confetti of chopped olives, onions, sundried tomatoes and creamy chickpeas.  Or the perfectly seared ahi.  

The crown jewel: so that I don't miss out on their signature dish, Eddie will forgo his red meat aversion so we can share The Simmzy's Burger with perfectly-seasoned skinny fries - that are served in buckets - with ketchup and a spicy aioli for dipping.  We think it's the best burger + fries in Manhattan Beach.  Clearly.
Woodfire-grilled beef, smoked onions, garlic aioli, lettuce, tomato and gooey cheddar on a breadbar bun.

We had wine for dessert.

PS: Simmzy's opens at 11 a.m. and serves breakfast.  Check out the entire menu here.

8.20.2010

inspiring friday.

It's Friday and sunny (!) and I have some beauty to share with you on this beautiful day.

When I was day dreaming about blog names, I went to straight to google and stumbled onto a familiar favorite: Lemons and Paperwhites, inspiration board #455 from Snippet & Ink.  Mood: sweet and simple winter wedding. Palette: sugared lemon yellow, crisp paperwhite.


Inspiration boards.  What a concept for which I am so grateful.

I was introduced to Snippet & Ink by a very helpful newlywed - who had a charming 2008 wedding of her own - when I found myself flailing over color options for our big day. The dilemma: so many beautiful colors in the rainbow, so little time.

S&I's practical boards, paired with resources, links and real wedding re-caps simplify the process and quite simply, provide some much-needed inspiration.  Before I found Snippet, I was trying to marry our wedding to one color - and I was scared to commit to any one shade (oh, the irony of commitment-phobia to a detail vs. say, a man).  After Snippet, I learned how to take the palette approach - which, for me, was refreshing and liberating. 

Here are a few other inspiration boards I clipped when I was trying to identify with color (dreamy mood and yummy palette descriptions also provided by S&I- how helpful is that?):

Board #339: Spring Picnic
Mood: sweet and simple
Palette: pale yellow, green, bits of blue

Board #219: Coral and Cattleyas
Mood: warm, modern beach style
Palette: orange, white and tan

Board #209: Peachy Keen
Mood: bright, feminine, fresh.
Palette: peach, white, yellow, pink, orange

For the bride: As you try - or even struggle - to picture your big day, I can't think of a better, practical resource to start with than S&I.  Do some inspiration board research, find what makes you smile and create one for yourself that will help keep you (and your vendor team) on track.

For the rest of us: let Snippet give you some inspiration for your life.  For your home.  For the next get-together.  For fun.  Soak it in... and enjoy.

PS: After we returned from the honeymoon, this was the first inspiration board I clipped, and I couldn't resist sharing.  May your weekend be full of Simple Summer Whimsy.

8.19.2010

cape cod in a bag.

{image from our wedding}
Quick note for today that I can't resist passing on: 100 Layer Cake's post on guest bags - of the destination wedding variety - from Cape Cod.

My parents recently took an East Coast vacation, and made it to one of my dream destinations: Cape Cod.  (Sometimes I wonder if I was raised on the wrong coast... and then I look at our sunset over the Pacific Ocean, and I throw that theory out the window.)  When I make it there, the first ferry ride will be to Nantucket to check out the world-famous Chicken Box

Until then, Desiree Spinner Events from Osterville, Mass., makes me feel like I'm there with their guest tote gift bag celebrating the dreamy coastal destination. BTW: my favorite on the list - item no. 1.

8.18.2010

novice gardening.


Feeling inspired by Jenny (and with purple on the brain), I made a trip to Lowe's and tackled our very, very neglected window boxes over the weekend.  We live in a beach rental with very little gardening space, that a lot of times, goes untouched.  For months.  Yikes.


I do not have the greenest of thumbs, but I've picked up a few things from my mom and my brother's wife (the one who grew up on a farm), and figured anything would be better than these dead, twisty roots.

Our two, 8-foot window boxes get plenty of sun, and will only get watered once a week due to the required screen-removal situation.  With that in mind, an expert friend recommended sticking with geraniums.  I trust experts and I'm so happy with the end result.  I love seeing the little guys peek up and say hi through the windows.


I'm sorry that I don't have any progress photos share, but if you saw me at any point on Saturday afternoon, you'll understand.  Gardening from your bedroom windows two floors up was more of a workout than I anticipated.  I will say that the whole project took about four hours and involved plastic tarps, painter's tape, four trash bags and several pair of latex gloves (best gardening gloves ever, thanks, Whit) and... a lot of dirt. 

In the boxes.  On the street below.  In our kitchen.  In the bedroom.  In my eyes.  In my neighbor's eyes.

It's good thing Eddie was away for this.  It was not pretty.  I was not graceful.  But my pretty purple flowers are.


Lilac-y and wisteria-y.  Yummy.

8.17.2010

you had me at hello.

How do they expect me to walk past this without picking it up? Impossible.  I mean, come on - that rug?

I'm not a subscriber, but after September's issue of House Beautiful, I might have to be.  It's filled with inspiring photos, helpful, helpful designer q-and-a's and if I wasn't already smitten with this month's mag, there was this, a few pages in:

"Interior design is like dressing a person -- you have to see what their figure looks like.  You don't want to put everyone in a bikini." {interior designer Christina Murphy}

What a way to consider design.

My mom was a House Beautiful subscriber, and while I'm certain I was too young to appreciate what seemed like a stuffy magazine when I was younger, is now updated, alive and engaging.

Not only is the entire issue a good read, it's also a good-looking magazine read, which I really appreciate; I'm as captivated by a publication's content as I am by its layout and design, and I have to say this: September's HB got my heart racing with excitement.  I had to consciously slow myself down from flipping through it so fast, just so I could savor every little detail... kind of like eating freshly grilled corn-on-the-cob in the summer time. I forget to exhale and I usually burn my mouth.

Two quick highlights, just a few pages in:

{an Etsy find!}
{hello,  BC!}
And I know it's a big surprise, but what really sold it for me: the spread of Carolyn Espley-Miller's white-washed Carpinteria home.  I'll just say this: go buy it.  Turn to page 110.  Read page 115, and then go visit here, and if you're a compulsive google'r like me, you'll stumble onto this too, and likely, add both to your daily reads.


Wow, right?  I love this world-wide-web thing.

8.16.2010

a good morning.

I am, like most people, a creature of habit.  For the last 10 years, give or take, I have eaten Yoplait yogurt every. single. [weekday] morning.  Sure, I've strayed from time-to-time, and there's of course Molly's waffles on the weekends (a religious experience; another post, another time), but lately, I've been craving plain vanilla yogurt with some crunch.

With some fresh blueberries on-hand this weekend - and finding an excuse to throw them into just about anything - I made a banana-berry parfait all for moi.

{all store-bought: vanilla yogurt with granola, diced banana - cut the way dad does - and blueberries}
Don't you just want to dive right in?  On this week's VONS list: the biggest tub they got.

8.13.2010

friday wildflowers.

Flowers make me so happy (as do Fridays).  It's a rare trip to the market when I don't get sidetracked by the fresh flowers for sale, and end up bringing home a bunch of my go-to blooms: alstroemeria, usually in diamond white.  But, in the spring time, I spring for ranunculus (already counting down to March 2011), and for those, I go to Jenny Barker of Magical Blooms in Redondo Beach, Calif.

I first met Jenny in 2008 when I was wedding planning, and and before I met her, I had no idea how I really pictured our big day until I saw it through her eyes.  Her passion for flowers is palpable - you literally feel a little bit of Jenny's magic when you walk into her shop, and I had no doubt that she would bring beauty and harmony to our wedding with her floral design... and she did, above and beyond anything I could imagine.

Since our wedding, I've kept in touch with Jenny and followed her amazing designs (you should too, btw) and was tickled purple to share one hour with her and my two new friends, Meg and Colleen, at her charming studio... in a floral design class!  We played with and learned all about spearmint (yes, the herb), lavender, purple hydrangea, blue curiosa roses, deep purple lisianthus, scabiosa annual (aka pinchusion flower) and my favorite of the day: lavender sweet pea.

{left-to-right: lisianthus, spearmint, sweet pea, pincushion, hydrangea, lavender and rose}
...plus, several other blooms pictured below, including shiny gardenia foliage, prickly and wispy blue alpine thistle, yummy merlot dahlia and rustic celosia to make a very natural, loose, wildflower hand-tied bouquet that was playful and romantic.

Jenny was feeling purple, and we started these beauties:


With Jenny's step-by-step instruction, we first gathered the big blooms: the hydrangea, roses and dahlia.


We gradually added the smaller blooms, like lisianthus buds, sweet pea, mint, pinchusions and lavender, and every time we added a few stems, we tied it off with raffia, and by the end, we had about four or five layers of knotted raffia. 


We clipped our hand-tied bouquets down to fit a 4.5-inch cube vase, which we filled with a very thin strip of pine to complete the wildflower look, and I am smiling just looking at the photos.  Here's to enjoying them all weekend long.

Thank you, Jenny, for a magical day.  I can't wait to do it again.

PS: You too can take a class with Jenny, and I highly recommend (is it not obvious?).  Visit her online to learn more, or even better: take a trip to the beach this weekend and walk-in.  She's at PCH between Avenues F and G, just a few blocks from the Riviera Village in Redondo Beach, Calif.  Happy Friday!

8.12.2010

some housekeeping and some sweet peas.

Two quick things to share this morning.  First, some business.

After a lot of clicks and misses, I finally figured out how to offer readers an RSS or e-mail subscription to paper{whites}.  If you're interested in following paper{whites}, you now can by clicking over to the right.  I'm learning as I go, and if you have any pointers or thoughts on the subscription topic, please send them my way. (Note to self: adding this to my Christmas wish list now.)

Second, and most importantly, thank you for your kind e-mails and comments as I get this blogging experience underway. If the last few weeks are any indication of how much fun and fulfilling it is to write away into cyberspace, share some thoughts with some thoughtful people, exchange ideas and find bits of inspiration literally everywhere I click... all I can say is: I wish I had started writing sooner. 

{photo from my Magical Blooms floral design class... details + photos coming tomorrow}
Happy Thursday, sweet peas.

8.10.2010

engagement photo session from SMP.

Style Me Pretty is one of my happy places that I visit as often as I can (the rest of them are listed to the far right).  I was introduced to it when I started planning our wedding in 2008, and still can't get enough.  I love the access readers are given into real, inspirational and beautiful weddings.  SMP's coverage of other wedding-related topics, like bridal showers, rehearsal dinners and in last week's case, engagement photography sessions, also makes me smile.  Big.

{photo by Adrienne Gunde via Style Me Pretty}
SMP's beach picnic engagement session by Adrienne Gunde is so... happy.  It's full of some great ideas for couples who are considering doing an engagement photo session (for the record: it's worth it, if you're debating) - especially on the beach - where it's just two people, surf and sand: props!  It also makes me want to grab a basket, pack a picnic and walk down to the beach with Eddie right this minute (with red party cups, of course).

We were prop-less back in October 2008, but oh, did we have some fun... thanks to Stuart Bunton of Amy and Stuart and, of course, Rico at The Shellback.

{photo by Amy & Stuart}
PS: While we're on the e-session topic, here's another must-see post, just yesterday, from SMP... from a farm!  In Michigan!  Love.

8.09.2010

something old, new, borrowed & blue.


Favorite thing to do with my weekend: cook and share good food with good people.  If company's coming, it's usually something old, with a little something new, that's always borrowed.  And this time, the table was actually... blue.

We celebrated the week's end with a casual pasta Friday dinner for four with our UNO rivals who share a love for food and drink. Inspired by Garden, Home and Party's post on decorating with blue and white, I found this pretty pattern - purchased with a 40% off coupon from Joann's (!) - reminiscent of the china we grew up with, which made the table [read: me] feel extra special.

Feeling feta after Andrea's shower and the skewered Greek salad goodness, I finely chopped garlic, fresh kalamata olives, red onion, grape tomatoes, persian cucumbers and - well - feta, and topped it with Giada's vinaigrette, and made my own version of Greek bruschetta (with The BC's hummus on the side, of course).


We enjoyed another BC dinner regular: Summer Garden Pasta, which I can't find online, but you can find it in her Barefoot Contessa At Home on page 121.  I make it too often, but I can't resist deliciously simple pasta, and I'm not a fan of trying my hand at a new recipe for guests - unless it's dessert (see below*) - because we always have backup ice cream in the freezer.  Always.

*Most exciting moment of the weekend came after dinner when I flipped my first cake: Five O'Clock Food's Upside Down Peach Cake (it was also my first bake in our W-S 9" round cake pan, thanks to the Hunter's).  This recipe a keeper.  Just go, read it, print it out and make it.  Before summer's over.  Trust me.

{btw: it looked this yummy after spending the night in the frig, but we ate it warm the night before, as Lesley suggested}
PS: Dad: it's not peach pie, but it might be even better.  You'll love it!

8.06.2010

perfect for a friday: key west inspiration.

Hold please.  A kitchen like this makes me think my favorite color isn't white.  It might really be this airy, beautiful shade of aqua.  And pale, yummy yellow.
{photo by Tria Giovan from MyHomeIdeas.com via House of Turquoise}
Thanks to House of Turquoise for sharing this cheery kitchen.  Its fresh and happy Key West color palette reminds me of our Caribbean honeymoon, spent in the Bahamas, where I fell in love with pastel-hued houses.  Like right out of a bag of saltwater taffy (which happens to be my favorite in the candy dept., in case you're taking notes).


As I dream of Miami Vices, here's to the weekend.  May yours include a fruity drink with a tiny umbrella!

8.05.2010

andrea's shower {three}: the wrap-up.

For my last post on Andrea's Shower, I have some final food details and photos to share.  Our make half / buy half menu made it really simple on the day-of, and we're taking some notes with us for parties to come.

{melon-wrapped prosciutto + crisped french bread topped with bruschetta + grapes with assorted cheeses & crackers}
Party staple: Trader Joe's fresh bruschetta, found in the refrigerated dips aisle - not far from the packaged cheeses.  Approx. one aisle over from the crispy pita crackers.  And a hop-skip-and-a-jump from the prosciutto.

For next time: cut melon the night before and wrap with prosciutto day-of. Prosciutto out of its super-air-tight packaging for a long period of time becomes... flimsy and a bit rubbery. Still good. But, flimsy.


This was our first shake at Giada's salad-on-a-stick, and she recommended a good, firm feta to stand up to the skewer'ing and we agree.  We found sheep's milk goat cheese at Whole Foods and give it two thumbs up. 

Now, for the main course and buffet table:


We pre-ordered the quiche trio from Bristol Farms, which required a quick re-heat in the oven prior to serving.  Each provided eight, good-sized (and yummy) servings.  Now that I'm on a quiche kick, I might get crazy and try making one.  From scratch. Someday.  (Recipes suggestions welcome!)

Blog Love: I'm so thankful for Erin Ever After's pretty post that was a late find last Friday.  I had been searching for a creative way to label quiche (such a mystery until you dig in, right?) and combined some grosgrain ribbon + Paper Source labels (bonus wedding leftovers) modeled after Erin's inspiring photos.  Thank you, Erin!


The mixed green salad with apples, red onion and sprinkles of gorgonzola cheese and candied walnuts is a shower go-to in our circle of friends, and tastes best when paired with this particular store-bought blush wine vinaigrette, which can be found at your local market.

Krisa's grilled corn salad with heirloom tomatoes is a favorite in her household.  Thanks to Lesley for her inspiration and suggestions: we went heavy on the freshly chopped herbs and it was a hit.

Staci provided the drinks, highlighted by strawberry and sparkling lemonade, plus the dessert that doubled as favors: teapot-shaped sugar cookies made, decorated and individually wrapped by an angel friend.


Andrea: I cannot wait for your big day in November!  107 days and counting.

8.04.2010

andrea's shower {two}: the details.

Oh, the details!  I love looking at party detail pics, especially on my daily stroll through the blogs. Erin and Amanda's whimsical and breezy backyard tea party was just perfect for Andrea's Shower.

Their inspiration started with these fun invites, designed by a very talented friend, Michelle, of Pad and Paper.
{my favorite detail: teapot- and teacup-filled flowers}






Erin and Amanda did nearly all of the set-up the day before, including hanging the paper lanterns with invisible fishing wire.  Amanda purchased the flowers earlier in the week, and arranged them morning-of.  She put together 10+ arrangements in one hour.  She's a floral magician.

Here's where they found the goods: paper lanterns from the Paper Lantern Store; flowers from our local Costco; teapots from HomeGoods; linens from Pier1.

The teacups were from Erin's grandmother's collection, and all other glassware and flatware was borrowed from Erin's mom, who let us take over her beautiful house for about 24 hours.  And for that, we are so grateful!

8.03.2010

andrea's shower {one}: the prep.

I've always maintained that half the joy of an event comes from the process: the process of planning, thinking, dreaming, talking and collaborating with others.  I derive such satisfaction in the process that once it all comes together - whatever 'it' is - it's really just the maraschino cherry atop a surfside sundae.

Krisa and I share very similar tastes, so coordinating the food for with her was a breeze.  To keep Andrea's Shower menu simple and do most of our prep the day before, we opted to make half, and buy half (a party trick I learned from hours spent watching The BC).  Most of all, we enjoy a good party, and didn't want anyone spending quality shower time in the kitchen.  That sounded weird, but you get the idea.

Andrea's Bridal Shower Menu:

{hors d'oeuvres: grab-and-go & tray-passed}
+ melon-wrapped prosciutto
+ grapes with pre-sliced cheese and crackers
skewered greek salad
+ crisped french bread topped with bruschetta

{main: served buffet}
+ quiche trio: broccoli quiche, quiche lorraine with ham & gruyere and quiche florentine with spinach, mushrooms & swiss
+ mixed green salad with fuji apples, thinly sliced red onion, gorgonzola crumbles, candied walnuts and blush wine vinaigrette
+ grilled corn and heirloom tomato salad

Note: The 'buy half' was largely consumed by the purchase of quiche from Bristol Farms Catering (more on that later this week).  I don't think that's what The BC had in mind when she said 'buy half,' but we were more than happy with the end result.

Here are a few food prep pics from Saturday at Krisa's house...
{heirloom tomatoes and fuji apples}
{thinly sliced french bread toasted with a brush of olive oil + sea salt}
{grilled corn on the cob}
{grape tomatoes, feta cheese, pitted kalamata olives, chopped red onion + sliced persian cucumbers}
Saturday was a close second on the fun meter to Sunday's shower.  Spending an entire day in the kitchen with your best friend is one good recipe.

More to come on the menu and final products, plus details on the décor!