Lobster.

Lobster bake. What more is there to say? An end-of-summer work team dinner got kicked up a notch when we decided to make it a lobster bake. It’s pretty fun to get to take over your backyard with 40′ of lobster-primed tables, and it’s super simple. Bibs, mallots, wipes, and crackers are about all you need, so I kept to the basics and just added in some burlap votives and mason jars with garden-plucked white roses (it’s pretty awesome having endless blooms pop up on a weekly basis). And then there was the food. It. was. amazing. All thanks to the most classic of lobster stops, Sam’s Chowder House in Half Moon Bay.

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Moving around

Well, it’s been awhile. I’ll blame it on a move. We may have only gone a few miles down the road, but that was enough to make the summer all about packing, unpacking, and setting up. Designing and decorating a whole new house couldn’t be more fun, but it just can’t happen all at once. I’ve been relying on simple tricks – mainly lots of repeats and lots of patterns – to bring things to life. After the first pass of getting everything out of boxes and into spaces, I’m now doing the better part of organizing, labeling, and matching.

I packed the playroom with a pile of porthole Target Threshold mirrors (sort of like these but no longer made) to keep the girls looking around…lined my office with client logos on some Ikea string frames…perfected the laundry room with some labeling and self-adhesive laminating pouches (who knew you could laminate without the whole machine!)…and that’s about it. But there will be more! Lots more! I’m just enjoying the house too much to actually do anything to it.

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At least I’ve had a chance to get the word out. The days of having time to design, print, and produce every paper good are gone – long gone – and have been replaced by the need for cute designs with (virtually) no time required. While I miss the days of hand-lining my envelopes and creating new stationery for each thank you note, Tiny Prints has turned into my new reality. Thank goodness for their awesome designs. I picked up some moving postcards (why both with a card in an envelope), address labels, stamps, and – my personal favorite – new notepads. They make that to-do list of house stuff way more fun. Now if someone could just get rid of the massive trash heap we’ve got going on from part 1 of renovations.

 

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Be Mine

Who doesn’t love sweet smiles for Valentine’s Day? I love making cards each year for all the girls’ friends, and the best part, of course, is finding the right picture. Our photo shoot this year was a mix of disaster and fun – the wrapped in red ribbon idea didn’t go over too well. Similarly, plans to design the cards and envelopes myself like in the past didn’t happen. Vacation and work got in the way, so I turned back to my favorite new spot for their adorable collection – Tinyprints (both the cards and the address stamps).

For the girls’ contribution, I thought I’d learned my lesson from past ink-on-everything experiences after stamping. So this year I brought the stamps to the bathroom. Stamp then straight to the bath,  good idea, right? Nope. Don’t recommend water near ink. Alas, most cards ended up with a thumb print (or nothing) instead of the full handprint hearts I’d been aiming for. Oh well. At least the girls had fun.

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The final result…

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Dinner and a movie

What to do when you’re out of ideas for a dinner party and hosting one 24 hours after returning from vacation? Call for backup. So, when it was our turn for supper club, I turned to Tinyprints for inspiration and found this adorable Movie Nite invite. It got me all fired up for awesome soundtracks and good cooking. Then, when it was time to start menu planning – while sitting with toes in the Mexican sand, kid-free – I again decided to keep it simple and go with the ultimate movie dinner scene: the lovebirds Lady and Tramp slurping up their spaghetti. And, of course, I made it even easier by letting someone else do the cooking.

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A little Goonies love via Baby Ruth, some save-the-day oatmeal cream pies a la Honey I Shrunk the Kids. And of course, what could be better to sip on than Willy Wonka’s fizzy lifting drink? IMG_8353IMG_8352IMG_8349

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Mexicana para seis

To get inspired for an upcoming south of the border vacation, we turned dinner night into Mexican eating – pork stewing all day for some delicious tacos, piles of gauc and chips, and tons of bright colors, bright candles and bright ingredients. Taco bars seriously make for easy eating and serving. Try a slow cooker pork carnitas recipe, this super tasty sauteed corn and pepper salad, and this spicy red rice. Even if you overcook it severely (like, forget all about it on the stove for a solid hour while doing bedtime routine with cranky kids), it’s still delicious.

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White, warm wonderland

While you East Coasters are battling the blizzards, this may be the closest thing we Northern Californians can get to winter white. We’re fully back at it in 2014, and since it’ll be an awesome, colorful, fun year, a clean, monotone table was the right fresh start to the year. I’m a bit obsessed with C. Wonder in general, and particularly with these silvery, mercury glass candles that perked up the table along with clusters of votives and off-angle white spray roses.

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Holiday clean up

 

Someone passed along this great idea to take advantage of those best-of-the-year pictures and not have the guilt of throwing out holiday cards – snap them into your phone contacts and you’ll get to see those shining smiles all year round.

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