My friend Heather had a baby boy 14 days ago. I contemplated getting her some cute designer duds for her little man, but then I realized what a new Mom really needs (besides sleep) is time. Especially, time away from the kitchen by having a couple of meals ready and waiting for her and her family. I knew that would be a much better gift than an overpriced onesie from Fred Segal. I remember my friend Keary brought me a lovely pork roast and full on dinner spread right after Caroline was born and I appreciated that gift above most others.
I think when choosing a meal for a family with a newborn it is best to do a one pot meal. Easy to prep and serve. Avoid any veggies or foods that are…well no delicate way to put it…gas makers. It helps the wee ones at feeding time.
I decided to make some Italian Wedding Soup for the family. It’s a great thing to make because it’s a meal in itself and easy to heat up. All you need is a crunchy loaf of bread and some creamy irish butter, simple salad and you’re set. I used Ina Garten’s recipe from her “Back to Basics” Cookbook. I have made it several times and it never fails to please.
This is my Italian Wedding Soup in it’s final stages.
Photo: Vegas and Food Blog
Because I didn’t have oodles of time to cook, I hit LA’s go to Gourmet Take Out Mecca, Joan’s on Third to finish out the gift bag. They have an amazing array of cheeses, salads, sandwiches, pre-made salads, frozen homemade soups and baked goods. I filled my care package with Home Made Potato Chips, Ficele with fromage d’affinois & apricot glazed ham sandwiches, two yummy side salads, chocolate dipped pretzels for Big Brother G, Cookies and frozen scones that could be popped into the oven and heated for breakfast the next morning.
The phone call and appreciation in my friend’s voice made me realize that the gift of food was the way to go.
So next time you’re thinking buying of those really cute onesie’s for your friend with a newborn, put it down and start cooking!
My daughter recently turned 5 and she decided she would like a carnival party for her classmates and neighbors. I like a girl who knows what she wants. So I went to work.
I ordered a ton of stuff from Shindigz, an on line party supply store. We got a Pin The Tail on The Donkey, Bean Bag Toss Game, Egg and Spoon Race, Duck Fishing Game, Potato Sack Races and all the outdoor decor…a 5 Foot Carnival Barker, Banners, Welcome signs and my personal favorite, a Personalized Clown Photo Stand. I had a big basket of red clown noses (also ordered from Shindigz) and all the kids took funny photos.
And a few adults….
I enlisted two of my favorite 7 years olds Stella who did the Fortune Telling and Hazel who ran the face painting (along with my ever patient and devoted friend Olivia). I also hired four 6th graders to help out with the games, to hand out prizes and to monitor the pinata whacking. They were awesome!
The 6th Grade Posse from St. Marks
Now I had to figure out how to feed everyone. I decided to make it easy on myself and rented a Hot Dog and Cotton Candy Cart from Bart’s Carts. Cotton Candy+5 year olds=heaven. We also had a vintage popcorn popper, animal crackers, and believe it or not some fruit and veggies made an appearance.
The first of Caroline’s three cotton candy servings.
Abel from Bart’s Carts Serving Up the Hotdogs.
I hit the 99 Cent store for prizes. That is my go to place for kid parties and functions. I loaded up on the prize buckets, plates, napkins, and pinata candy. To avoid tears over lost loot bags I had each child decorate a paper bag with their name on it so they could keep track of them and made it easy for my helpers to find them.
The Prize Buckets
Potato Sack Races
The party ended with a clown Pinata and Carnival Cake. It was a great day and Caroline had the time of her life.
Caroline has already informed me she would like a unicorn party next year.
So, does anyone know where to get a live unicorn?
Once a prep always a prep. No matter how hard I have tried to shake it, my preppy tendencies start coming back and I want to monogram something or get a pair of Jack Rogers Sandals. I’ve been wearing these sandals since the beginning of time, so imagine my happiness when I discovered a new take on them at Anthropologie. The sandals are jellies, so I can wear my Jack’s to the pool and beach!
The color combinations are amazing and the tote bags are fun too.
My favorite tote is the one with the doughnut on the front…now that’s the kind of carb I want to indulge in. It won’t make me fat, just fashionable.
I love this monogrammed version, especially the orange.
The Santa Fe Style is a great alternative to the Navajo.
Style icon Jackie O made these sandals a go to staple of the Palm Beach/Resort set. The Navajo style has been kicking around since the early 60’s, just a little longer than me. Today, the Jack Rogers company is still going strong and the shoes are still hand made in Florida. I love the history and tradition of the shoe and I plan on keeping that tradition going by buying a pair for my daughter.
Once a prep always a prep.
Above Photo: decoratingwithsheets.com
All Other Photos: Jack Rogers
I’m getting ready for the Easter Holiday.
Here’s a sneak peak of what’s happening at my house.
I love my foil wrapped rabbits and chicks on the fire place mantle. Adorable right? They look exactly like the chocolate covered ones we all got as kids (I always bit the ears off and worked my way down) but this version is foil over wood so they are good to go year after year.
I added some pastel colored egg candles and baby blue painted mercury glass votives from Pottery Barn.The flower strand is a Target special from years back. The brass vase is from Little India in Artesia.
When Spring is around the corner, I race to Trader Joes’s to buy them out of all their lavender Hydrangeas. I find that Trader Joe’s has the best price in town on these beauties, $6.50 which is a steal compared to the $19.99 price at Whole Foods.
I have two huge terra cotta planters on either side of my front porch, each containing 5 plants. I also have pots lining my driveway way and in the car port. Even with 16 and counting planters I still want more, more, more.
Add some pastel roses or any spring time colored flower to a table and viola’ you are in the Springtime mood.
I love my alabaster eggs, the colors inside of my malachite bowl are amazing. It’s like I left them in the green and blue Paz egg coloring for 6 months. I also love how they look in front of my gorgeous new lamp from Nickey Kehoe.
I got this wreath at Rolling Greens, my go to store for garden and holiday decor.
They have two locations now, so it is easier to support my “must decorate for every holiday habit”.
I would love to see or hear about your Spring/Easter decorating ideas!
Top Photo: Peeps & Company
I think it may be one of my favorite paint colors EVER.
I keep waiting for it to be “over” or to find a room where the color doesn’t work and it continues to hit home runs.
This color is proving to have great staying power.
I dare you to dislike it.
The art pops off the wall when installed on top of this dreamy blue paint.
Photo: Elle Decor
Miles Redd does it again with Hague Blue. It seems everytime I see a photo of a room I like with Hague Blue walls Miles Redd has designed it. He’s consistent and I consistently love his work.
Interior Design: Miles Redd
Photo: House Beautiful
Here is a flame stitch pattern painted in Hague Blue and another Farrow & Ball paint called Clunch. This wall treatment was created by Apartment Therapy’s Resident Colorist and fine painter Mark Chamberlin. He developed this flame stitch pattern in conjunction with Haus Interiors (with a new store in my hood, that is a must stop shop).
Decorative/Fine Painter: Mark Chamberlin
Photo: Apartment Therapy
Hague Blue looks amazing on this front door. So inviting.
Photo:Eat The Earth Blog
Once this ordinary chest was painted with Hague Blue it became an interesting conversation piece and not so ho hum.
This photo has motivated me to do a little DIY Project!
Photo: You Paid More Than Me Blog
I am going to use Hague Blue on my boring, white hallway bench.
I think it will look great and will pick up the blue in the rug.
I think it will make this ho hum piece pop!
I’ll post “after” photos soon.
So what is your favorite paint color?
I was in Colorado last week skiing and visiting my Mom who has a house there. She and her husband Bill have a place on Buffalo Mountain in Summit County. This above photo is of the view driving down into town from her house.
I am a big fan of Summit County. You can ski Keystone, Copper, Breckenridge, Arapahoe Basin, Vail, Beaver Creek and Loveland. All accessible, close by and hard wired to accommodate all the visitors. I love all the ski options and every place is super kid friendly, especially Keystone (that’s where our family cut out ski teeth because my parents bought a place there in the early 80’s). As a Mother of a 5 year old, kid friendly places are paramount when planning a vacation. Days of skiing past I was in search of the best happy hour with the cutest boys. Now I am figuring out ice skating rink hours and making ski school reservations. I have to be honest, now a day of skiing wears me out and I end up collapsing on the sofa under a big blanket instead of dolling up and hitting some hipster establishment for a night out.
We did however, make it out for dinner one night. We bundled up ourselves and the kids and headed to Keystone Ranch for a sleigh ride dinner.
I was sceptical, it seemed kind of touristy and a smidge cheesy, but the ride through snow covered Soda Creek Valley was so breathtaking and beautiful I didn’t mind the bad jokes our guide was telling us. It was actually all quite charming and I quickly got into the mood.
We were pulled by 2,000 pound draft horses named Bert and Ernie and given warm plaid wool blanket lined in shearling. We snuggled in close for the 20 minute ride to the historic ranch homestead where we were to have dinner.
It was a rather chilly excursion, but the promise of home made Hot Chocolate, Beef Barley Stew and piping hot biscuits with honey butter waiting for us when we arrived made me muscle through it.
The meal continued with steak, potatoes, veggies and finished with a warm slice of apple pie a la mode. They had a great musician with an awesome voice playing the guitar and singing.
The ranch was indeed beautiful.
The sky crystal clear and the air crisp and clean.
There is nothing better than spending an evening with family, singing and dancing to some knee slapping guitar music. It warmed me up for a long time. That and the shot of Peppermint Schnapps they handed out right before we got back on the sled for our ride home.
I walked by the perfume counter today and got a whiff of my former favorite perfume, Herve Leger for Women. It was the scent I wore when I met my husband. I promptly bought a bottle.
The smell brought back so many memories and feelings and it got me to thinking about what scents I love and remember. It’s such a personal thing this scent business. They evoke moods and memories, one whiff and the visions and feelings come flooding back.
I remember my Mom’s Youth Dew perfume in the blue bottle. I would try it it out and get caught because I was a little heavy on the spray. I would breath it in when she kissed me good night before going out with my Dad, it made it easier to fall asleep.
I saved my allowance in 5th grade so I could buy a bottle of Loves Baby Soft. I peddled my bike to Osco Drug Store with my best friend Gail to make the purchase. We then treated ourselves to lunch at McDonald’s with the left over money. That was living large in Central Illinois.
Junior High was all about Charlie.
To look like this model was what I strived for. That and a pair of Calvin Klein Jeans.
When the Prep in me came out, I was devoted to Lauren, by Ralph Lauren. A flipped up Polo collar, monogrammed Papagallo sweater and coordinating Bermuda Bag (monogrammed of course) and I was good to go.
In college I was in love with Calvin Klein’s Obsession. Brat Pack and Sorority Days.
The late 80’s and early 90’s brought on Coco by Chanel and Paloma Picasso. My style icon was Tina Chow. I was sporting a Linda Evangelista haircut, red Chanel lip stick, shoulder pads, and a uniform of black turtlenecks and leather jackets.
I have come into my own and am comfortable in my style and taste.
I don’t follow the perfume trends anymore. And that’s okay.
That is what is great about growing up.
Feeling comfortable in my own skin.
It’s a wonderful thing.
We all like to get and give pretty things and there is no reason not to have pretty every day things in your house as well.
It is one of the simple things you can do to help make your house a home.
These pretty little things don’t have to be fancy at all.
A cute soap pump, a great spice container, glass bottles of milk or soda in your fridge.
Here are some of my favorite packages and packaging
for items I like to give, get and buy.
The most delicious smelling soap around and it looks great on a counter!
Gorgeous Packaging and even more gorgeous looking delights are inside.
So excited there is one in NYC now and plan on hitting it up when we are there next month
If you are an Angelino you can go to Bottega Louie for a hostess gift or party favor.
Perfect for baby or bridal shower and your Easter Brunch Table.
The pastel boxes will make any occasion a happy one!
Seriously Chic Toothpaste
Awesome for a hostess gift.
Turquoise and Yellow are a snappy color combo.
Hitachino Beer is not only great looking it is great tasting.
A great beer option for your parties whether they are fancy or casual.
I always have a supply on hand, and it doesn’t hurt that they look cute in the fridge!
Most Whole Foods carries the brand.
Anything in a Hermes box is a good thing.
This is a package I like receive.
I do hope my husband is reading this.
So cute and who doesn’t like to open a blue box?
So what is your favorite packaging and why?
Top Photo: www.houzz.com