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Posts from the party plans Category

PicMonkey Collage

things are getting super busy round these parts again. (Currently sitting in the atlanta airport, traveling for work.) two weddings coming up in july. one, i will travel to finger lakes in new york state and the other, right here in colorado. just a good old 25 minutes from my house. natalie has been a very special part of my life for a long time now. since, the days in highschool when we would get taquitos covered in cheese and sour cream at the cafeteria and convince each other there was no guilt to be had. we became as close as ever in college, and that friendship has stayed strong since. we even share the same birthday! nat is so supportive. she listens, gives advice, and laughs. her family is throwing a beautiful shower next weekend in indiana, and i can’t make it due to travels for work. i wanted to still do something special for her, to show her how much i love her, and decided to throw her a little bridal lunch-in here in colorado. wait, did i mention natalie is one of two friends i actually do have here. and thank god for that!!!!

i told nat to pick a place for lunch and we invited just a handful of people. the theme became about flowers. there were these beautiful poppies growing all over the property out here and i wanted to do something with them. natalie is always taking pictures of flowers and she LOVES beautiful things. her excitement for simplicity in beauty is intoxicating. slowly, i came up with more and more flower themed knick knacks to create little prizes for everyone. i got tiny terra cotta flower pots (painting them would be cute too!) and filled them with flower seed packets, chocolate covered sunflower seeds, a homemade rosewater and thyme lollipop (recipe link below), a hand drawn rock and watercolor print, and of course, a small bouquet of flowers wrapped in brown paper and twine. simple, but sweet, and something everyone can appreciate.

since, we were having lunch at a restaurant, i didn’t want to play games, but i borrowed an idea from my friend stacy over at revisinglonliness. for her wedding she set up this big display with mason jars and people could write in suggestions for things like travel tips, ways to say i love you, rainy day, monday night. stacy’s were a little different, but the idea is the same and so unique. so, say on a rainy day they can pull out a piece of paper and take the suggestion into consideration. i love this idea!

for the lollipops, i followed a few different recipes. i did not have a mold, so i used this brilliant idea of using powdered sugar as a mold. if you don’t want to buy a mold, this is a great alternative! there are tons of recipes out there, here is a martha one! i just added rosewater and fresh thyme for my flavor.

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IMG_8463we all know i love a good party. any excuse to get crafty and make my friends feel loved. when larissa asked me to be in her wedding, i was more than flattered and honored. i love this girl so much. we were invited to park city, utah for a weekend of hiking, yoga, and indulging!

larissa’s maid/matron of honor, ally,  planned a weekend to the T full of larissa’s favorite activities. ally also openly welcomed me doing a little sun and glory craftiness. together we collaborated on a bachelorette kit, dinner, and decor. ally made up an itinerary for the weekend and was so good at organizing all of us ladies  getting us from one place to the next. that is a tough job. we even illegally smuggled wylie into the house. even if we did have to hide out in the car while the manager came to the property. we just couldn’t get off that easily, but wylie was the perfect little addition for the weekend.

i missed thursday night, but friday morning we did some yoga lead by leslie (larissa and leslie are both instructors). i have not done pigeon pose in so long that my hips were screaming. ( i have since started up yoga again, what a great way to be inspired!). after yoga we hit up a hike that we aren’t exactly sure was a hike, but more of walking around in the wilderness and campgrounds of this beautiful area. we still walked for a few hours and had a lovely gloomy afternoon. followed up by taking the tram up to the st regis in deer valley for drinks. park city was empty while we were there, it is shoulder season, the place felt like it was just ours.  the manager at st regis kindly let us bring wylie into the restaurant even though they don’t really allow dogs, apparently it is called “bark city” not just park city. the food and wine director also gave us some great hikes to hit up for the following day. he kind of became our new best friend.

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the next hike was gloomy at times, sunny at times, rainy at times. i was exhausted after the previous day of drinking prosecco in the hot tub to only be hungover by the time we made it to dinner. i have never been a good day drinker.

i wouldn’t say we got lost exactly on this hike, we just weren’t sure where we were headed. we did a huge loop in the mountains, probably 7 or so miles. even though i thought i was going to die, it was so incredibly worth it.

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 that evening we all pitched in on a sun and glory feast. grilled steaks, kale salad, and sweet potato fries with blue cheese. not to mention the prosicutto/mozzarella/melon skewers and fondue and smores for dessert. the night was complete with a whiskey bar and a dance party.

i wanted to make the table special. i bought some succulents while i was in LA and  wrapped them in brown paper. the table runner was the same brown paper adorned with air plants, plastic horses, and seed starters on the plates.

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i made a pinterest board a while back and ally and i both loved the idea of a bachelorette box. i tend to go overboard with ideas and have hard time narrowing down the things i should and shouldn’t put in these things. i bought some canteens and painted my beloved triangle on them. i also painted sticks, and made sun and glory keychains. i  threw in granola bars, mini whiskey’s, coconut water, sunscreen, rock candy, blistex, a bandana, and a little mini white cowboy hat that looks like a white blob in the photo. everyone had  blast with it.

we also did a photo shoot. american flag and all…see the next post!IMG_7851IMG_7878PicMonkey CollagehdhfIMG_8413PicMonkey Collagegsr

IMG_1283this post is so long overdue…like so long. i finally got my hands on the photos from my going away party in LA. although, for some reason, it still doesn’t feel like goodbye. it could be because i am about to visit twice in the next few months. needless, to say i am so excited to go back and see my old friends, to be in the big cities, to eat at yummy restaurants,to go for a hike, to feel the california sunshine, to just see how it feels to be back in LA. i feel like i have grown a lot already in these few months i have been gone. that was the whole point. it will be nice to see how it feels to be back.

i miss my weird, crazy, creative LA friends. i am so in love with them. when i looked at these photos my heart was filled with so much love and so many memories. i saw my friends in a new light and appreciate their friendships more than ever, because i don’t have them at a moments notice anymore. the reality is, i spend the majority of my time alone here in CO. i took moments like this for granted while i was there. that might be one of the biggest lessons i have learned so far.

kate and stacy, two of the bestest, put this party together. they did the decorations and photo booth and coordinated others to bring fun stuff too! i love the map theme they used. perfect, for my adventure, and my love for maps. the signs are hilarious.  i actually do have a sense of humor, regardless of my sincerity on the blog… and man, so do my friends. we are silly and weird and well, i wouldn’t have it any other way. these photos were just a reminder to be more of that.

 the book everyone signed is one of the best gifts i have ever gotten (besides the purple chest my friends signed for me when i moved from indiana in high school).i didn’t read it until i was out of LA in the middle of Utah somewhere, and  i cried my eyes out. sometimes, i cant read it, because it makes me miss everyone so much. all their words made me feel more than loved. all their words mean more to me than i can describe.

i miss you my friends. i will see you soon!

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i am so excited to share this post with you!!!! before i left LA, i helped host a backyard supper, hunt + gather,  with two other lovely ladies- amanda farrand and lauren block. lauren contacted me a few months ago asking if i would be interested in cooking for an underground dinner club. although, the timing was bad because i knew i was going to move, i couldn’t pass up this opportunity, if only to challenge myself. the moment i acquired that backyard i dreamed of doing such things! i quickly offered up my space, and made the girls promise i could cook for the club again when i come to visit LA! the deal was done!

with a few meetings and lots of emails we pulled this beautiful evening together. lauren, conjured up the amazing furniture from Found in Orange County. she also sourced out the vintage dishes and glassware from a place here in LA. i don’t think it could have turned out any better! i am still speechless. amanda, is the space finder, but also acted as the sommelier and overall brilliant source of marketing and information. annie, me, did the menu (with input of course) and the cooking. we did a taste test a few days before the actual dinner just to make sure it would all be perfect. although, a few things could have gone a little bit better for me (namely cooking a million brussels sprouts) the whole evening was a huge success! we each invited people whom we thought would appreciate, enjoy, and give good feed back on such an event. the point is to continue to have these dinners-finding different venues, customers, and menus. an underground dinner club.

brandi welles did a stunning job taking all of these photographs. she even helped us serve, taste test, and was an all around team player! thank you brandi! we also had some films students film a video which will be up on the blog for hunt +gather soon! the smallest of moments, like figuring out how to fit the table into the backyard as it wouldn’t fit through the doorways, were just minor details. it was such a fun and worthwhile evening. in fact, when i saw the photos, i got super nostalgic for my backyard, my new friends, and the opportunities i may or may not have left behind. don’t forget about me guys! i will be back for more dinners!!!!!

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we added little elements to the dinner to make it memorable. we picked herbs from my herb garden, wrapped them in twine with a note, and placed them at each setting. lauren printed the menus and cards and created the logo. we lined the stairs with  candles and vases. the glow of downtown is never disappointing and wylie boy, the perfect greeter. a fire was started and we served up  cocktails in vintage jars and glasses as guests arrived.

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to me, the small details were the best part. like the little cards we served with the cocktail, explaining grandma honey’s (amanda’s grandma) bourbon sipping tips. keep your mouth closed while swallowing. it eliminates that burn of the alcohol and allows you to enjoy the flavors vs. the bite. i made a saffron infused simple syrup and we served that straight up with bourbon and a large square ice cube infused with orange peel and juice. as the cube melts, the orange seeps into the drink.

THE MENU

tiny morsels

fried sage leaves stuffed homemade ricotta and a honey lemon drizzle

tasty trio

parsnip and apple soup

green salad with radish/ pickled onion/ stilton/dried cherries

flatbread with yams/ricotta-creme fraicher/ green onion/bacon

tender and hearty

pork cooked in milk

brussels sprouts with pecorino and hazelnuts

mustard roasted carrots

sweet tooth

orange infused coffee

pumpkin and chocolate shortcake

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we also decided to do a little take away for each guest. i whipped up some white chocolate/raspberry scones that everyone got to take home . the next morning the guests had something to remember the indulgence wasn’t over yet!

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 the three of us worked together so smoothly. lauren added in the humor and creativity, amanda the calming and intellectual qualities, and me, well i just cooked! the guests were so gracious and lovely. everyone made new friends that night and had a nice little backyard LA dinner. ( wow, this makes me miss my LA life a whole lot!)

the evening was truly memorable! we hope that everyone enjoyed themselves and would do it again! stay tuned for more dinners and if you live in LA follow hunt + gather’s blog to stay updated on events.

I have never really been one to get into dressing up for Halloween, but I have always loved this time of year. It really does seem like life changes, not just the leaves or the mood, but some sort of major event that I must overcome.  Since, I am moving out of LA in a week, I wanted to host a small dinner party one last time in the backyard with some of my favorite people. I have been reading a lot lately about pagan and witchcraft and can’t seem to stop buying books on the subject. The prevalence and worship of nature in these traditions are the real motive behind my curiosity, as it is inspiring and a reminder of the beauty of our earth and the gifts she gives us.  I was inspired to decorate a pagan table display using things from around my house and perhaps to teach some friends about this old  holiday. Too often, we forget where our traditions come from.

Samhain, begins on the night of October 31 moving into celebration on November 1, marking the transition from the autumn equinox to winter solstice. To the Celtics, this represented the end of harvest and the transition from light to dark. The quite and silence of the dark became a time to reflect on new beginnings. Huge bonfires were burned to wipe away the past year, and new hopes were created for the next. It was also a time of fear, for no one could predict what kind of harsh winter awaited them. Families came together to use the rest of the harvest  to bake, cure meats, and preserve for the upcoming cold and dark winter months.

Samhain is also a time to reflect on the deceased kinfolk. After much research, I have found many different ideas of what this actually meant. Favorite foods of the deceased were set out for their spirits so that they may revisit their past lives. Carved out turnips were the first jack-o-lanterns and were set out with a light to attract these spirits while the scary faces were carved to detour any spirits unwanted or with ill intentions. Apples were buried along roads to guide the spirits home. Boys and girls would also put on disguises and roamed around pretending to be the dead spirits or some say to scare them away. Fairies were feared as it was thought they would come and steal people away, so people wore their clothes inside and out or carried iron or salt. Another tradition is noted in Ireland where a man would wear a white sheet carrying a cow skull while youngsters followed behind blowing into cow horns while they went from door to door. At each door, they would recite versus and the owner of the home was expected to donate for the Samhain feast. Sounds familiar, doesn’t it? Once the Christians came to bay, they interpreted these traditions into what we now know as Halloween and All Saints Day.

The feast was often based on the sacrifice of animals and a whole lot of drinking from the harvesting of grain.  Obviously, we did no such sacrificing, but i did make beef bourguignon and mashed potatoes. I also made a lemon & parm pasta for the veggies, a salad with truffle oil, and pumpkin and chocolate shortcake for dessert! Friends contributed as  well and brought bread, salad, roasted squash, and a gigantic chocolate cake! We truly feasted on all of this yummy goodness. We also threw back a quite a few bottles of wine!

For the table, I used my favorite knick knacks from around the house. Skulls, bones, crystals and gems, feathers, harvested plants from my yard, candles, vintage tablecloths, tie dye napkins from this post, and let’s not forget the raccoon tail. At each place setting I set a tarot card. Now, I will admit I do not know much about how to use the tarot cards, and I hope I did not respect them in anyway. I just find them so beautiful and mystical and would love to learn more. They were the perfect topic of conversation as we all studied what each card represented together. Somehow they randomly suited each person, without any intention on my part or the patrons choosing their seats.

The moon was so bright this night and I had the perfect view of it for part of the dinner. Although, the photo is not the best, her prescence was bright and strong. As I have learned more about this  traditional Celtic and pagan holiday, I can understand why this has always been a transitional period in my own life. It has more often than not marked an end to something or a major grievance in my life, sparking the challenge of change or mourning.  Fitting, as I say goodbye to my ten years in LA and venture off to a new rural world.  One where I seek transformation and new beginnings.  The seasons speak to us in ways we forget to recognize. Our ancestors knew how to respect this. Perhaps we all still feel it, we just need to open ourselves up to the idea more often in this modern world ruled by technology vs. our beloved nature and mother earth.

you can also check out this posts over  at bohemian collective. thank you to laura for letting me guest post!

my research was done through:

the wiccan year

all saints parish

pagans path

one hot and sunny saturday in October a bunch of ladies got together here in my backyard to indulge, marie antoinette style.  i started a pinterest board ages ago when i  was inspired by the pastries of bottega louie, a restaurant here in DTLA.  these pastries transport you directly to paris or italy, with magnificent artistic quality. they are almost too pretty to eat, but i pretty much just want to shove them in my face. my friend stacy was all about it too (it is our favorite restaurant to get together at) and we decided to co-host the party bringing together an eclectic mix of LA women!

stacy and i are doing a cross post about the party, giving two perspectives. mine somewhat of a tutorial filled with images, while stacy’s post is filled with beautiful poetic words that read like a song. she talks of her  personal and intimate experience of attempting to be a girly girl. i love this lady, i love her writing. check out her post for a deeper perspective of one girl’s marie antoinette experience.

also, inspired by the sophia coppola movie, marie antoinette, which i have been a fan of since before it hit theaters, not to mention the soundtrack. i know it was booed at cannes, but i loved it. the colors, the indulgence, the over-exaggeration, the excess, the history, the innocence. i guess there was something dreamy about indulging on sweets, and champagne, and clothes with little guilt or regret. something, i think as women, we over compensate for these days.  so, we made decadence a little bit of reality for the day.

stacy and i pulled the decorations together using tangibles/fabric we already had, only spending money on the treats and flowers!  we asked everybody to bring either a dessert or champagne, as well as dressing the part. the ladies got a peek at the pinterest board for inspiration…and man did these women pull through! the outfits were amazing, the desserts to die for, and the champagne was constantly flowing!

now, marie antoinette is a controversial woman. i became slightly obsessed with her after the movie, bought the book, and did a lot of wikipedia reading up on her. the movie portrayed this innocent young girl stripped of all that she knows, thrown into an already indulgent hierarchy and married at 14, to then be crowned queen at 19. she was blamed for not producing an heir, when in truth it was due to the king’s inability to perform in bed. she eventually beared children, she lost children, she then lost her head. sure, she lived extravagantly and the people not so much. they hated her for it. i wonder though, can we blame her? i don’t know. there are two sides to every story. i wonder if she knew any better. did she know what was going on outside those palace walls? did she care?  was she just naive? or selfish? regardless, i became curious about her life, her interests, her tragedies. no matter our lot in life, we all have them.

i will take credit for the cake at the top and the raspberry cream puffs (which i made a while back, you can read the post here). i think that cake might be my  favorite thing i have EVER made…and i also think i have started a new obsession/style! the girls brought blue velvet cupcakes, madelines, chambard, napoleons, eclairs, princess cake, more cupcakes, and more sugar, and then some more sugar! top it off with champagne and we all went home with belly aches!

besides stuffing desserts in our mouths, which i made everyone do for the camera, we played some games. specifically, the one they play in the movie, let’s just call it the “name game” because i have failed to ever find out the actual name. i love this game for some reason and it isn’t the first time i have made people play it at a party!stacy also brought over some paper to hang on the wall where the girls could blindly draw someone else! hilarious! we also set up stations for nail painting and craft making! most of us just ate and drank…we should have hired foot massagers!

stacy and i collaborated so smoothly together, taking on different tasks and getting excited to build off one another’s ideas, but my favorite was the WIG!  stacy’s originally idea was to paper mache a wig onto a balloon, but… we were fresh out of balloons. however, i did have a hat form. i handed it off to stacy and she created this masterpiece with bubble wrap and toilet paper rolls. she sat quietly in the corner and assembled this piece of art (her forte) and when it was finished, i thought it couldn’t have been more perfect. “I love the humor of it falling short of being anything beautiful at all,” stacy, describes in her post about the wig.  it was art on a whim with limited materials, evoking silliness.  creativity at its best: humble and true.  much like my friendship with stacy. to me there isn’t much, more beautiful than that! at the end of the day, we were proud of the food,wig, and event we had created together…imperfections and humor -resulting in beauty.

we made a little photo booth and here are some of the gems that came out of that! thanks to all the ladies for making this such a fun, indulgent, and decadent day! and to stacy for planning it all with me!

aaannnddd…yet another party. i have to admit, i am a bit partied out. and yet, i have to go do another in san diego friday night. don’t get me wrong, it is great fun! especially the end result. it has been such a busy summer and i am looking forward to doing some of my own personal projects again! but here is the story of baby rose’s baby shower.

 there were 5 of us that all pitched in. i have to admit, i was a little worried how it would all come together with 5 different “visions”, and mostly because i am a control freak,  but it totally worked and was a hit! i was proud of all of us.  my friend kristin and i came up with different ideas and delegated tasks while giving freedom to create from those perimeters. i called it ponies and pigtails, however that never quite made it anywhere else past the invitation. thought it was a good name though! wink wink!

i took on the food and some decorations. for the menu, i wanted to keep it simple and on the cheaper side. what’s more simple and better than tacos? plus, we live in LA, so, tacos are like what wheaties were in the 80’s to every american household, a staple. i wanted to make it as authentic and fun as possible. we know good mexican here and i have never found it as authentic anywhere else in the country…period. you can’t  really argue that one… we practically are in mexico. okay, maybe in texas.  i hit the mexican bakery around the corner from my house and bought some of their homemade red and green salsa, stocked up on corn tortillas, cotija, and creme mexicana. i pickled some red onions. chopped up cilantro, white onion, and radish. made guac and pico de gallo. as well as homemade chipotle chicken, rajas poblanas, and shredded pot roast beef. click on the link for recipes!

we rented a few tables as i had this vision of one long table with jars down the center filled with simple flowers, not bouquets.  i bought some fabric downtown and cut the pieces into squares layering them on all the tables to bring everything together. hannah, went to the flower mart and picked out an abundance of beautiful flowers and arranged them ever so lovely in the jars. she also added some roses in honor of baby rose and other bouquets for the other tables.  i ideally wanted to keep the “baby” decorations to a minimum.  after all, this was a co-ed baby shower. the boys were great and took it all on, but i figured best to not drive em too crazy.  the only real baby thing we had was the clothesline of baby clothes.  the idea was that we would all bring clothes to hang on the line for baby rose to then keep.  we were getting down to the wire and was worried we wouldn’t get it up and wasn’t sure where to place it. i hadn’t envisioned that far ahead yet. bree chimed in and found the perfect spot right above the tables from one tree to another. it was the best spot and looked so sweet.  love this kind of team work!

i had a few of the giant balloons leftover from another party. although, one popped they were a special extra to the backyard! it happened to work out that my chalkboard menu went along with the small chalkboards bree brought for the drink table!

bree took on the beer tasting and added in a rose`, again in honor of baby rose! the party was from 3-6, therefore we decided we didn’t need to get everyone wasted. so, light drinks were served. i thought it turned out really quite cute! hannah made a rose water lemonade and cucumber/mint water. there was also a bucket of tecate to go with the good old mexican food!

kristin put together a candy table and ice cream bar! she filled apothecary jars with sweet treats from our childhood and supplied bags for people to take it all home as a favor.  she was so excited when she found the giant sugar daddy’s as kmart while we were working on a job. her enthusiasm is contagious!

the ice cream was a nice treat on a super hot day! so, many good toppings too! she got all the good stuff: chocolate and carmel sauce, whip cream, cherries, crushed candy bars, sprinkles! yum!  i want an ice cream sundae right now! i love the ice cream cones in the giant glass bowl.

matt took on the story book. i love decorating onesies, but i wanted to try something different. matt found a blank book and supplied the markers and pencils.  the idea was to create a story for baby rose, each guest taking a page and continuing the story with their own creativity and humor.  i was worried people wouldn’t get into it, but by the end of the party people were gathered around reading it out loud and coming up with new ideas. beth even took the time to make a cover! baby rose might not be able to read it until she is in her 20’s, but rebecca and greg can get a big kick out of it!

the boys were such troopers and most of them even sat through the presents being opened. all in all it was a sweet little shower. baby rose slept through the whole thing, but made out like a bandit. she will be the most stylish girl out there. lots of her mommie’s friends are wardrobe stylists!

a special special thanks to kristin, bree, hannah, matt, and of course alex for doing those odds and ends!

MENU

frittata with kale/shallot/creme fraiche

avocado/tomato/egg on gluten free toast drizzled with olive oil/s+p

lox/cream cheese/fresh dill on whole wheat sourdough

mini gluten free pancakes

fruit salad with lime/honey/mint dressing

gluten free cherry almond muffins

homemade cheese danish

blackberry and sage cooler

pear mimosa’s

 i did another small catering gig this past weekend… a brunch for a group of gal’s learning some new beauty tricks from annie of skin owl. this time, i was welcomed into a lovely kitchen and given the reigns to start cooking! somehow, i managed to get it all done by myself. everyone loved it and kate, the hostess, has already been contacting me about more gigs through her and friends. wowza! never, ever did i see this coming? i mean, i really only started seriously cooking, meaning a lot, a few years ago when i moved into the house i am in now. mostly, because i have the counter space and a dishwasher.  i am pretty sure i have gained like 10 pounds since living here.

 i started recording cooking shows on the dvr( my le cordon blue) around the same time that i worked on last year’s season of  Food Network Star.   i was in charge of helping the contestants with their personal wardrobe, maintaining and choosing outfits. i also was in charge of rounding up all the aprons…and if you have ever worked in a kitchen you know how bad those aprons can smell.

 i was backstage during all those challenges and could smell all the cooking while the contestants are competing for their life dream.  i don’t think i even knew it at the time…but i may have been inspired.  i was also generally bitching because the hours were brutal. 14 to 16 hour days…sometimes 6 days a week.  i went to NYC for two weeks at the end of the season and got to roam around the food network studios and even had to pick up Bobby Flay and Michael Symon’s Iron Chef shirts from the office (not to mention all the food networks chefs i got to meet!!! or my photo shoot with bobby, thanks to my friends and his personal stylist).  i found this…quite exciting, more so than many of my hollywood experiences!  one day, i brought in some homemade banana bread with chocolate and butterscotch chips. while getting the contestants dressed for an elimination, they snacked on the bread and one of them commented that i should be a baker. something about that compliment encouraged me. if someone who has worked really hard to get to where they are and is on a tv show competing to have their own cooking show…well, i can’t be horrible at this?

right after the show, i flew from NYC to europe. while in italy, i did a lot of cooking in our little kitchen at the farm house. i gained more confidence after being able to make some pretty decent things using a really small amount of basic ingredients, italian ingredients.  i use to be envious of my friend amy, who could open up a fridge and make anything from nothing.  i feel like i’ve got some of that now! i came home and have been cooking ever since.

the point is, i guess,this whole thing has already manifested into something i wasn’t expecting or searching for really. i enjoy it, and still it is generally unintentional.   my dad sent me a book in the mail yesterday on how to start your own catering business.

???

photo courtesy of zach lipp

photo courtesy of zach lipp

phew…my first “professional” catering gig(& second party in a week) accomplished! after the last week i am so incredibly exhausted…i felt like i was hungover all day yesterday.  it was all totally worth the two 12+ hour days i put in, the nerves of “will the food be good?”, and the few moments i completely questioned what the hell i was doing! i couldn’t have done it without my dear friend stacy!!!! she offered her services, for free mind you, and was so gracious and fun the whole time! i am not sure i would have carried all that shit up and down stairs for someone, but she did it! seriously, she was so awesome and just did what needed to be done and i didn’t have to tell her or micromanage or anything!!!!! my friend zach even popped over the morning of the party and ran some errands for me and came back to my extremely hot house and peeled and devained a whole lot of shrimp!!! i mean, what incredibly amazing friends i have!

a few months back my friend donna asked me to do the food for her and her friend lex’s birthday party, see here.  the sheer fact that donna thought i could pull it off gave me the confidence to actually try it! that party was a success and i loved doing it.  then a few months after that, a lovely lady named annie (always love a fellow annie), emailed me and asked if i would be interested in doing her party. she wanted something creative, not a general run of the mill caterer. annie owns a skincare line called skin owl and she was planning a first birthday party for her great business! i explained i was not that professional, but she took the chance on me and i could not be more appreciative and honored!

 i came up with a few ways to theme the menu, but the one annie liked the best was incorporating ingredients that are beneficial for the skin. she picked one ingredient from each dish and gave me an excerpt of info. i made place cards for each dish with the info so people can interact and learn something about the food they are eating.  annie’s main products right now are based off argan oil, lavender, geranium, and sage. so, we added three drinks with syrups infused with these ingredients.

the party turned out amazing! i was so nervous about getting the food out on time, about it tasting good, and everything else that could go wrong. the night went incredibly smooth, everyone was so happy and full of compliments (especially annie! which means the world!) people even made a point to leave tips for us. i mean, i never even thought about asking!

photos above courtesy of zach lipp

photos above  courtesy of me

the menu:

sweet potato quesadillas with black bean, feta, and green onion on whole wheat tortillas

chipotle lime shrimp skewers

grilled cheese and tomato soup

mango, avacado, red onion, cilantro and lime lettuce boats

curry deviled eggs with turmeric

cucumber sandwiches with feta, sun dried tomatoes, and olives

white bean sage/ lemon dip with root chips

strawberry shortcake with honey lemon cream

chocolate chip mint cookies with milk

chocolate covered berries

blackberry sage cooler

rose geranium mojito

lavender spritzer

photos above courtesy of zach lipp

i can’t thank enough donna, annie, stacy, zach and all my other supportive  and encouraging friends ( you know who you are)!!!!

i am not sure where i am going with all of this…but i am just going!!!

my dear friends stacy and allan are getting married at the beginning of august. they are such wonderful people and generous friends and are always helping me out, especially with wylie and lola! i wanted to do something special for them to celebrate their big day and to say thank you. something where they could be surprised, feel pampered, and relax. plus, i do love throwing a party!

originally, the party i catered last night was suppose to be the day after stacy and allan’s (turns out that would have been kind of a nightmare!!!!!) knowing i would be mostly cooking for  last night’s gig, i decided to try and find a menu that would alleviate too much cooking and food in my fridge. hot dogs and hamburgers seemed the easiest. i have had this 1970’s vintage ketchup and mustard set i have been wanting to use forever… and there the circus theme was born! i started a pinterest board and didn’t have trouble finding lots of amazing images. i was hoping to create more of a carnival theme, ya know the tv show, but sometimes with a budget and time, you get what you get. i think it turned out pretty sweet and more on the kitschy side! i was only able to get a few detail shots of the food, but you get the idea!

we found some pre bagged popcorn at costco. bought donut holes and displayed them in individual red striped bags. circus peanuts, lollipops, and a cotton candy machine to complete the sugar! i loved walking around seeing people eating cotton candy off a paper cone! score!  one of their friend’s also brought cake pops, which were great for the theme and tasty!!!

for the savory side, i found these hamburger and hot dog foil wrappers on etsy. at first, i was scared it was cheesy…but people loved it and it kept everything warm so we could cook in batches! never even thought about the useful side of it! we put chips in french fry containers and corn dogs and mozzarella sticks in red check food boats. i couldn’t help but to make at least one thing, so i did pioneer woman’s chipotle pork and made my own cilantro slaw! i also did a quick little condiment bar, of course, using the ketchup and mustard bottles complete with pickles, relish, tomatoes, and onions. oddly enough i forgot to put out the cheese, but i did whip up some mayos: tarragon and garlic mayo, sriracha mayo, secret sauce (thousand island), and sriracha ketchup! drinks we kept simple, but we did find mexican coke in bottles at costco, of all places.

let me say i could not  have pulled this party off if it wasn’t for the help of kate and her husband sean, and stacy’s good friends, paige and mollie! kate did the majority of the food shopping with me and she was a maniac with the decorations. everyone was just so incredibly helpful with decorating, setting up, helping me grill and cook, preparing the bar, cleaning up, and even doing dishes! i never expected such amazing help!!!!!! all around it was such a supportive effort!

kate and i thought up the brilliant idea of creating a circus tent out of streamers on the back porch. i really thought this would be so easy, turns out, it is time consuming! kate manned that bitch and made it look perfect with only about 5 hours of her time. maybe more! throughout the week i made some pinwheels out of big scraps of paper i have had forever sitting in my craft cabinet.  kate and sean had lots of stuff leftover from their wedding, like tablecloths and chalkboards, that we were able to use around the party for signs,etc. i am completely obsessed with giant balloons…i just think they are so fun for pictures! we could only fit 3 in the car after being blown up, but  totally worth it! sean brought his sound system for a dance party,and oh did we have one!!!

i think my favorite part though, was the homemade photo booth! again, using tablecloths from kate’s wedding, we draped them from some c-stands that the two own from their green screen kit.  i wanted to make it look like a curtain so, we layered it up. kate then decided she wanted to hand paint stripes down the center and add some texture! we had lots of fun the night before, while kate painted stripes, i held the paint can, and sean made mustaches! needless to say we had a lot of stupid laughs. i bought a bunch of costumes on amazon and kate suggested using the vintage leather suitcase i bought at goodwill months ago. such a perfect use for the thing! i gathered things from my wardrobe kit and personal collection and threw em in.  we set the camera up on a tripod and a timer.  i think my favorite costumes were the lion and horse head, and the pink turban!  last but not least, paige brought a piñata. i especially love the photos of stacy and allan at the end…especially the one of stacy. it is just so her!

love all you people!!!