A Valentine Lunch (no boys allowed)

My friend Angela, one of the event masterminds of Angelic Grove, had the girls over for a Valentine lunch. She put on a little red dress, lit candles, made sangria, and baked heart-shaped quiche. Women really should be in charge of Valentine’s Day entirely.

The table: (mats and coasters from Target, vintage glass plates, amazing roses from Angelic Grove, of course)

Did you get a good look at those napkin rings? Candy necklaces! (Also from Target.) We all put them on, and perhaps took a bite or two. Mine tasted like perfume. (Perhaps this is why grown-ups should not eat candy necklaces.)

The Sangria was delish. I watched my friends spoon up every last bit of fruit.

Dessert? She served two  — each shipped overnight from the East coast just for our party. There was a chocolate-covered lemon torte with berries and Devonshire cream (goodness), and French macarons that matched the table. They tasted just like Paris. (You can find these  here at Essence Bakery Cafe in Tempe.)

Party favors? We got to take home the centerpieces, and I had pink roses to keep me company all week. A girl couldn’t ask for a better valentine than Angela. (With apologies to Ty.)

P.S. I don’t know about your valentine, but mine, darling as he is, often needs a little direction. Reminders. Links. Phone numbers written surreptitiously on notepads I just happen to leave out. Girls, send your men to Angela. 602.462.9700. You just might get something as romantic as these tulips that she and her designer husband Mark sent to a client the other day. Can you believe that carved vase, initials and everything? Best Valentine flowers ever.

By |2011-02-15T20:29:39-07:00February 15th, 2011|Parties|1 Comment

Thanksgiving decor from the back yard (in hot pink and brown)

I got up early this morning. Really early. I made a grocery list. I made plans. I made cranberry-orange sauce, squeezing fresh orange juice until my whole kitchen smelled lovely.

Right now there are cranberries popping on the stove. Tyson said, “Tonight we need to bake, right?”

We. I love that. He makes the pumpkin cheesecake every year — and he’s so excited about it. It’s cute.

This week I’m posting my Thanksgiving table greatest hits — everything and anything you can use to decorate your table. We begin with the most recent: Saturday’s story about using recession-friendly decor from your backyard. This surprised me — it turned out really gorgeous.

Yes, those are bouganvillea — they’re so happy outside right now. They think Thanksgiving is all about them.

I used creeping fig as napkin rings – it twisted really easily.

An urn rimmed with citrus leaves and topped with a pumpkin makes for a pretty placecard holder. You can also use the citrus leaves as an old-fashioned candle bobeche — traditionally used to catch dripping wax.















Everyone has a little lantana — or at least the community planter near your house has some. (Confession: that’s where I got mine.) Cut it and put it in tiny vases or (like these) votive candle holders.

I use citrus leaves to decorate all the platters – put them around your turkey, garnish the dessert plates — everything. (This is Tammie Coe’s pumpkin pie. Ever had one? Amazing. It’s a wonder why any of us bother to bake.)

So, what do you think? A hot pink and chocolate brown Thanksgiving table? Why not?

Photos by Michael McNamara.

By |2010-11-01T03:31:47-07:00November 1st, 2010|Parties|2 Comments

Hubba Hubba Heidi Lingerie Bridal Shower

When my little sister was about two, she’d walk around the neighborhood in these puffy pink dresses and her little two-year-old boyfriend would call her “Hubba Hubba Heidi.” The name kinda stuck, so that was our shower theme: corsets, pink and black, and H monograms wherever we could add them. My other sis, Kapri, humored me and rubbed H’s onto each plate, soup cup, and glass . . . she really loves me now. (Actually, she’s just as insane in the head as I am.) So here it all is, complete with links to my fave recipes and sources. Note: all good photos taken by Kapri (thanks for sharing). All bad photos taken by moi.














You can order the rub-on monograms from wongerfulgraffitiwedding.com. My mom created these crazy chic floating flower arrangements – cut the buds short and nestle them in glass vases until you’ve packed them tightly enough that they stand upright.  We were doing this four minutes before people walked in the door, running around, crazed and cursing our OCD selves.












My favorite new party trick, learned from my friend Nat’s fancy fab wedding: mini milkshakes. People swoon for these, girls — positively go silly with joy. Here’s my little cheater trick: the milkshake is from McDonald’s — drive-through, get three large shakes, decant them into pretty mini glasses and dress up with chocolate straws. (I charmed the AJ’s pastry chef into letting me buy these.) And here’s the pink corset cake that my mom made (she rocks). She also went to the store for more icing four different times. That’s love.







Napkins: we are nerdy overachievers and used real linens, and I cutout 800,000 paper corsets from cardstock, and tied them up with ribbons. The party favors are custom cookies from Favorz, which gave us the whole corset idea in the first place.













Mini cups of potato leek soup that Kapri made, from scratch, garnished with rosemary, from her garden. And right, our cute crudites we culled from Martha: hollow out portions of baguette, fill with your favorite veggie dip, and tiny veggies. In the end, the guests can eat their bread bowl, already slathered with dip. So smug, but in a very satisfying way.







The buffet, left, and the monogrammed plates, right. (And color-coordinated jelly bellies: a staple of our parties just because they match. Did I mention that we’re nuts?)









Even her gift from me matched. (Those are feather-covered boudoir heels on top.) Isn’t she lovely?







By |2010-01-15T20:15:16-07:00January 15th, 2010|Parties|1 Comment


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