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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Falling back into Autumn

Originally, this post read “How is it already October!?” Then I got delayed further, so now it’ll have to “How is it already almost 2014!?” It’s been an all out crazy couple of months around here. Hopefully I’ll get back into the swing of the side stuff soon…

I still miss a gorgeous East Coast leaves-changing-brisk-air-sweater-wearing kind of Autumn, it isn’t so bad to still have 80s and sunny and not be drenched come Halloween. (Again, pretend you were reading this around October 15th). At least a little decorating can help make it feel like the season has changed. There’s nothing like Autumn colors, a cornucopia, and some fall fruits. From a dinner party to a wine tasting party, we’re ready to welcome in the new season!

First up, an awesome evening of vino, hosted by the20. We’ve been drinking the20’s awesome boxed – yes, boxed – wine for years now. Scrub out the images of Franzia in your mind, and picture a beautiful wooden cask and truly award winning wines that stay fresh for weeks and weeks, and are cheaper since you don’t deal with the bottling costs. As good, loyal customers (gulp, gulp, chug) the20 offered to do a full wine tasting at our house. I just had to set up the stemware and some nibbles, and the night was a huge, hangover-inducing success. With so many people and so many glasses, I tied little nametags to each glass (a couple per person so they could sample more freely).

 

 

 

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Next up, a simple fall dinner. There’s nothing too extraordinary about this one, but I do love my bag white cornucopia thanks to West Elm last year. Mix in some fresh pine cones and a few gourds, and it’s a nice, simple fall feast.

 

 

 

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Summer suppers

With summer slip, slip, slipping away, it’s about time to wrap up the very simple styling that was done for friendly get togethers. From shovels as centerpieces, to contact paper as tablecloth, to napkins as bow ties, to just plain black and white, it was a season of big smiles, lots of friends and some yummy grilling. Now on to fall!IMG_7274IMG_7275IMG_7273IMG_7269IMG_6993IMG_6994IMG_7074IMG_7075IMG_7076IMG_7077IMG_7079IMG_7080IMG_7085IMG_7087IMG_7090IMG_7214IMG_7217IMG_7219IMG_7221IMG_7223

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