November 30, 2012

The Glam Woodsy Table

by Shelly

One of my very favorite things to do is entertain!  Having grown up in a single parent household, holidays were often pretty subdued and quiet.  My side of the family is fairly small and it was just mom and I in my home. So, now that I have a family of my own and a pretty large inlaw family….I love to have everyone over for large meals where I get to overfeed everyone and do my best Martha Stewart impression!  Christmas is my Superbowl…I never do the same meal twice and often try out a whole new menu on the family. My husband says we should have a traditional meal that is the same every year. But what fun is that!?

Well with the new holiday menu each year, I also feel compelled to have a new tablescape.  Cause why would I do the same table each year right? Haha!  I’m just beginning to sort out the menu for this years’ extravaganza.  I’m feeling a little rustic and simple this year. This table would fit the bill quite nicely.  But this is just one of a few ideas I have going round in my head. Stay tuned the rest of the month for more ideas!



owl highballs






fig vases


blanket (tablecloth)



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This past weekend we threw our kiddo a big 5th pirate themed birthday party.  Since we are not one to do a big party every year for our kid, I went all out on this one.  Probably a bit TOO much actually! But oh well. She loved it!  Since I knew Ellie wouldn’t be totally into scary, black and red pirate decorations, I went with more of a nautical…preppy meets pirate look.

After seeing the cute birthday party Erika threw for her daughter using the striped fabric from Ikea, I knew that was a must have for Ellie’s party.  My ever so crafty MIL whipped this one up for the buffet table. Thank you Barbara!  Most of the other decorations we had already…. the large skull and candle sticks are from our HUGE assortment of Halloween decorations, the oars I picked up at a flea market a few weeks ago in Fresno and the wine jugs and crates are from the Rose Bowl flea market. The Happy Birthday Ellie banner is actually a quilt that my MIL made Ellie for her first birthday.  We bring it out every year for her birthday now.  It’s too cute!

A closer look at the buffet table.  I have NO idea why I took these pics before I put the food on the table.  I was sort of running around like a chicken with my head cut off that day.  I didn’t exactly do easy food for this event.  I went all out…like I said earlier. The netting, gold coins and assorted “jewels” were bought at my favorite to the trade craft store downtown.

Our little pirate captain and one of her besties. I sort of lucked out a few weeks ago when we went to Scottsdale and found this cute red and white polka dot dress at H & M.  It perfectly matched the party theme!

Red dahlias and white hydrangea in glass Ball jars that we already had, adorned the dining tables.

Our little joker daughter requested that the guests where mustaches. Beards would have been more appropriate, but these were easier to find and still very funny!

The kids were each given a felt pirate hat, a sword, an eye patch, a mustache, pirate tattoos, chocolate gold coins and other goodies, and glow necklaces and bracelets for when the sun went down. The little red, white and blue pails were in the dollar bin at Target!

Since we have yet to redo our backyard and the outside of our house, I did my best to try and draw your eye away from the flaws. See the marks and holes in the side of the house?  We need to restucco badly, but that will have to wait. Money tree please? So in an effort to infuse more “party” onto the other side of the yard where our bar area was set up, I made a fabric bunting in the party theme colors.  I am NOT a crafter by any stretch of the imagination.  I would much rather buy something already put together for me most of the time.  But I decided this project looked pretty easy.  And it was!  No sewing…just cutting, and gluing. And the best part is we can use this again and again for our 4th of July celebrations! The red striped Ikea table cloth will also be making a reappearance during Christmas, Valentine’s Day and 4th of July also.

My one over achieving, party planner panic moment…. (that’s a mouthful) was over the stupid cake.  I wanted something perfectly themed for the party.  BUT I waited too long to order something for the party because it had been a crazy week leading up and I hadn’t found the time.  So of course two days before the party I started running all over going to different bakeries.  One wasn’t taking any more orders, the other gave me a $360 quote for a cake for 35 people (NOT JOKING!!!!), and the last had cakes that looked like they were from 1985.  No thanks.  So in the end, I went to Ralph’s and bought a cake for 20 people and a dozen cupcakes for the kiddos. It was actually really good and CHEAP! In the end, it didn’t matter. She loved it!

Here I am in a rare moment of sitting down and relaxing that night.  Most of the time I was running around with plates of food in my hand!  It was a great party and Ellie will have memories of this fun event for sure.

I’m not planning another one until she’s 10.

Not. Kidding.

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November 23, 2010

french themed christmas party

by Shelly

We’re throwing a party!

One of my good friends Laura and I have teamed up this year to throw a big Christmas party together.  I’m really excited since my buddy is an EXTREMELY, great cook and entertainer herself.  I don’t throw that compliment around lightly!   Don’t get me wrong, I love parties…any party…even the so-so ones.  But when someone really knows how to cook and entertain, well they get a serious hats off in my book!

Laura previously threw this Christmas party by herself each year at their place.  But since they don’t have a ton of room and two little boys running around, well we decided my place would fit the bill for a new venue.  I’m THRILLED to be throwing the shindig at our place!  Last year I was honestly all bummed out that we didn’t have a party or really have anyone over since I had really gone all out and decorated the house.  So YIPPIE….this year someone other than the immediate fam will see the work I put in over here!

The theme of the party is going to be French!  FUN!  Not the easiest theme at all, but definitely fit for a fabulous event. I’m thinking if we stick to more French Provincial type dishes that we’ll get more bang for our buck and the cooking won’t be too difficult.  After all, we’re inviting around 30 people to this soiree so it can’t be too time consuming or hard to do!

And of course, I want to look as chic as a French woman at my own party. Hopefully something just like the French actress Marion Cotillard. {umm yeah, i wish!}


October 26, 2010

halloween wine party

by Shelly

This past weekend the husband was away celebrating with some friends for an upcoming wedding.  Whenever he goes out of town I of course find it a perfect opportunity to have a ladies event at our place!  I decided that we were over-do to get my book wine club girls together for a little fun. We each brought a bottle of wine with either a Halloween sounding name or a wine that comes from a spooky region (ie. Eastern European or something like that).  As usual we had A LOT of fun…I didn’t go to bed till 3:30am! And my three year old even woke up for a little while to see what all the noise was down stairs.  She LOVED all the girls!

The lineup of wines…missing is Phantom by Bogle and Ghost Pines Chardonnay.  Both really nice Halloween themed wines!  By the way, my adorable friend Vicky went all out and totally decorated her bottle (that’s hers to the very left).

Vicky also made adorable Halloween themed tortilla chips in the shape of pumpkins, ghosts, etc…and LOOK at her guacamole below!!!

Yes! That is a graveyard scene in her dip. I about died when she showed up with this dish. TOO CUTE!

The girls minus one! Definitely a momma’s night out for sure!

Posing with Lexy in front of the enormous amount of food we had. And BOY did we do damage! Especially on the beautiful tray of gourmet chocolates another one of the ladies brought. SOO GOOD!

Yummmm chocolate!

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December 30, 2009

Mad Men New Years Eve

by Shelly

Oh how life has changed. We have a 2 1/2 year old running around, so of course New Years Eve hasn’t been the same sort of celebration the last few years. We did splurge on a VERY expensive babysitter last year and went to a nice dinner with friends. But the crazy holiday service we received at dinner and the $100+ bill for the sitter left a sour taste in our mouths.

So this year we figured most of our friends are in the same boat as us. We all have kids under 4 years of age who will go to bed at a reasonable hour and not want or need to stay up until midnight. Do you see pack n’ plays entering into this picture?? Well we’re going to do up serious early 60s style and do a Mad Men themed NYE party! My mom told me back in the 60s that kids were just put to bed early and the party still happened downstairs with the adults. That was just what I needed to hear! So, now I’m planning on swinging partay!

We threw this shindig a little last minute and invited our closest friends to come celebrate with us. We’ll be having a smallish party of 20 people, but some of the best 20 people we know and love for sure! On the nibble menu is shrimp cocktail, sweet and sour meatballs, tiny sausages with cheese fondue, cheeseball and crackers, spinach artichoke dip, deviled eggs, a fruit charlotte, jello salad and assorted cookies and belgian chocolates. Do you see the 60s theme I’m going for? And of course I bought lots of odd stuff to garnish with…LOTS of curly parsley, canned pimentos, and sliced olives. This is going to be fun!

Don’t those dishes looking delicious? YUCK!!! Don’t worry I’m not going that extreme. I do want people to actually eat the food I’m preparing.
And to go with the theme we also have to do the full bar thing. So I have all the makings for some old time cocktails…


As far as clothing, we’ve asked that people come dressed to impress in cocktail dresses, suits, ties, pearls…the works! I’m planning on wearing a little gold number that is actually a Tracy Reese dress I found a few years ago for a serious discount. And the hubby is planning on going more casual in a plaid pant, straw fedora look. Should be fun!
I’ll definitely post pics after I have completely healed from over partying this weekend or at least by Monday. Have a terrific New Years Eve….and stay safe while you’re having fun!!! HAPPY 2010!

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