A pink cupcake first birthday party for Scarlett

Turning one is really, really hard.

You have to get all dressed up in pink, puffy cupcake clothes and open lots of polka-dot presents.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You have to help your mom by taking naps while she makes cupcake-shaped invitations and cupcakes with pink sparkles and polka dots on top.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Said naps take place here. Can you imagine how hard life in this nursery must be?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Your older brother might try to steal your new cupcake toys given by Granni. Your older cousins will want to attack your pink pinata. (Your smart mom bought it on clearance after Valentine’s Day, saved it, and added a paper “1.”)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You will have to smile for all your guests, who get to eat skewers of pink saltwater taffy that your mom made and strawberry spinach salad on pink polka dot plates.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You will have to wear a hat that looks like this.

At the end of the party, you will be given your very own giant cupcake to eat all by yourself, baked by Granni, who even made a giant cardstock cupcake cup, just for you. The icing is cream cheese, covered in glitter. The cake is chocolate.

Hmmm . . .

Isn’t that the worst?

 

By |2011-07-12T20:08:59-07:00July 12th, 2011|Parties|0 Comments

Summer in the produce department

It’s pretty great, right? Cherries and plums, peaches and corn. Finally. This year, my dad’s garden also produced mini green peppers, mini Japanese eggplant, and the usual heap of tomatoes that I love.

Marni added to the pleasure with a hostess/housewarming gift to hold my summer harvest: this ceramic “strawberry basket” from Anthro. I love it so much and  wish strawberries came to the supermarket in baskets like this still.

Also from Ms. Dreamday: grapefruit dish soap in a wine bottle  adorned with old book pages (also from Anthropologie.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I thanked her by introducing her to THE summer cocktail of doom: Greyhounds at The Vig, and also Hillstone. Think grapefruit juice squeezed while you watch + vodka + ice = people have been known to ask the bartender if they left the liquor out on accident.

By |2011-06-17T13:18:34-07:00June 17th, 2011|Style|0 Comments

My Mom’s Zucchini Bread

My dad’s garden is filled with squash the size of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s right arm, so this week I made my mother’s famous zucchini bread.

(Note: that is a regular, apple-sized tomato. NOT a mini.)

I made lots and lots of zucchini bread.

My mom baked it every summer when the zucchini took over our backyard. We whiny children required that she omit the nuts and raisins, and puree the squash into oblivion so that we “could not see any green in the bread,” my mom says.

I wonder if it makes good french toast. I wonder why my mom didn’t puree us.

After I baked the zucchini bread, I delivered some to my sister, still in the hospital with her baby. “No nuts,” said she. The baby is getting better.

I took some to my brother, who fell and broke both of his ankles this week and is in another hospital across town. “This is SO good,” said he. He has a very good doctor.

I shared with my other, sister, too, while extracting a promise that she not fall/bleed/cry/need for the foreseeable future. She agreed.

For my mother, comfort-giver extraordinaire, racing from hospital to hospital, I made a special bread. Extra nuts. Which is how I imagine she feels.

I made sure  that you could not see any green.

It was hard.

She must really love us.

Her recipe, in her words (and a treat from me down below):

Mom’s Zucchini Bread 
Mix:
3 eggs
2 C sugar
1 C oil – or substitute 1 C applesauce – or 1/2 cup of each tastes the best.
2 t vanilla
2 C blended zucchini

To blend zucchini in order to disguise any “green things” in the bread:
Pour 1/2 C of oil/applesause into the blender/food processor. As blender is running on low, slowly cut the zucchini into the blender. If blender becomes sluggish, add rest of oil/applesauce. I just kept checking the cup measurements on the side of the blender until I had 3 cups of liquid (or 2 1/2 cups if I had only added 1/2 of the oil/applesauce). Blend in the eggs and the sugar.

(Note from Jaimee: if you are using overgrown Schwarzenegger zucchini, first take out the seeds. Chop your squash into one-inch dice. And you’re going to need a food processor, not a blender, and a lot of patience.)

In a separate bowl, sift:
3 C flour
1 t. baking soda
1 t. salt
1/4 t. baking powder
4 t. cinnamon

Slowly pour the egg/zucchini batter into the sifted ingredients, and mix.

Options:
1/2 C chopped nuts (which I rarely did because you kidlets would pick them out 🙂 )
1/2 C raisins (I did this once and everyone flipped out with “ugh”)
(From Jaimee: For my mom and moi, I added 3/4 cup of chopped walnuts and 1/2 cup of chopped dried cherries. It was excellent.  I was a bratty kid.)
Bake:
2 regular loaf pans or 4 mini loaf pans
Well-greased and floured
350 degrees – 60-70 minutes (maybe less for minis, when toothpick comes out clean)
Notes from Jaimee: This is the best zucchini bread you will ever have. Big props to my mother for inventing this. She hated to cook. We nut-phobic, raisin-hating, green-fearing picky children have no idea why. Also: don’t peel the zucchini. The point is to disguise as much nutrition as humanly possible, so then you can slather it with this:

Cinnamon-vanilla honey butter: heaven, come to life.

Mix: 1/2 pound unsalted butter at room temperature, 1/3 cup honey, 1/2 tsp. cinnamon, 1/2 tsp. vanilla, and a pinch of salt.

You’re welcome.

By |2011-06-15T20:56:51-07:00June 15th, 2011|Recipes|0 Comments

Forty-two pounds of peaches, Angela, and me

On a Saturday morning in May, Angela and I donned hats and trekked out to Schnepf Farms to pick Arizona peaches. We laughed the whole way. It felt like the drive took 10 minutes.

It was a glorious day – a rare cool morning – and our hats (and Angela’s British accent) were the hit of the farm.

We bit into the juiciest, sweetest peaches of our lives. I think I ate 10. Possibly 13.

We picked piles — 42 pounds between us. We played “photo shoot,” giggling at our getups.

In one of the trees, Angela found a tiny bird’s nest with elfin eggs tucked inside.

We went into the Schnepf Farms Country Store, where we loaded up on jam and syrup and peach salsa. And then, we saw this:

Pancakes, with fresh peaches and whipped cream. Bacon, too. Owner Carrie Schnepf (at right) insisted that we sit and partake. We obeyed. (And yes, sugar-free me happily caved. It was worth every bite.) We told Carrie it was the best thing we’d ever eaten.

And so she brought us into the bakery and showed us these:

Handmade cinnamon rolls the size of your face, with fresh peaches inside. When they’re finished baking, Carrie slathers them with icing she makes out of peach juice.

So we tasted one of those, too. After, we headed to the Olive Mill, the Pork Shop, and my dad’s garden to raid his tomatoes. In the end, I felt like this:

Oink.

By |2011-05-15T20:54:30-07:00May 15th, 2011|Travel|0 Comments

Is there such a thing as hair stalking?

Last night, at Postino, I fell in love. She sashayed in wearing white linen, big gold hoops, and had perfect just-blushed cheeks. But her hair, her hair! I was at a table with seven girlfriends, fashion mavens all, and we couldn’t take our eyes off it. She had one of those cool braids  framing her face, and it swept back into a loose bun. It was the perfect summer updo. Every thirty seconds, one of us was twisting about to look at her. How did she do that? How is it so fabulous? How can we be her?

“You guys, STOP staring,” Christina said. “She’s going to think we’re insane.”

We stared some more. Examined. Pondered.

My friend Jami imagined aloud how chic she would feel at work, walking in with easy, lovely summer hair. I was envisioning all the flowers I could pin next to the bun.

Finally, we sent Alissa over to explain all the staring and to demand instructions.

Today I tried them. It is HARD to french braid your own hair at that angle. I wonder if Tyson would learn and do it for me. So I tried a twist instead.

Behold:

How to do it: section off the front part of hair that you’re going to braid or twist. It’s about 2 inches back, and you want to take some from behind your ear, too, not just in the front.

Put the rest of your hair back in a pony or a clip. French braid or french twist the section, going all the way down to the end of the hair. Fasten the braid with a rubber band. Take down the rest of your hair, and then pull all of your hair, including the braid, into a bun in back.

More inspiration:

I’m going to try the braid with the hair left down next, like this:

Except I will try not to think of Lauren Conrad. I interviewed her once on a red carpet, and she was mean. If I ever get to walk down a red carpet wearing clothes I don’t pay for when all I’ve done is be on reality TV, I will not be mean. I will be very, very grateful that anyone finds me interesting whatsoever.

By |2011-05-15T20:51:18-07:00May 15th, 2011|Style|0 Comments

Pinked-out Baby Shower

When Miss Scarlett Rose Roberts was on her way to my sister, Kapri, the women in my family went soft in the head. My mom, sister Heidi and I threw a ruffled, rhinestoned shower with a rose theme to celebrate, all in pink. Take a peek:

Kapri has quite the closet waiting for Scarlett. We pulled out the greatest hits and displayed them on wire dress forms we bought at Ikea a few years ago.

In a stroke of brilliance, my mom pulled out all our white doll furniture to double as decor and serving dishes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Plastic forks + cute PB Kids vanity = no one cares that the flatware is disposable.

Pesticide-free roses look very pretty floating in ice water, and a doll armoire holds the glass flutes. (Invest in real glassware, friends — enough for large party. Yes, you have to wash it, but it’s infinitely more posh and you’ll use it forever.) Find these here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Isn’t it sweet? (Love that baby dress.) Here’s a close-up of the dessert table.

Of course we had to have cupcakes, baked a few days in advance and frozen by moi, then frosted and dusted with pink-dyed coconut just before the party.

The mini pink milkshakes return.

(If y’all missed this from my last bash, it’s my favorite trick of the year. The milkshake is from the McDonald’s drive-though, decanted into shot glasses, and all the women swoon.)

This is my niece, Khloe, all pretty in pink.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

These cotton candy cones were my favorite new idea for this shower. Cut 8 1/2 by 11 scrapbook paper in half width-wise, twist into a cone, seal with a homemade sticker. Stuff it with cotton candy. When my nieces saw this on the buffet, they were quite sure they’d found heaven. Kapri snuck a bag off for herself. (Her party, she’s allowed.) And even my Granna was tickled pink to be eating cotton candy. (A big thanks to Cindy, who brought this home for me from the ballpark.)

Heidi made pasta salad, which we served in tiny pink takeout containers with scallop-trimmed edges, and displayed in a doll bed. Find the takeout containers at Michaels, details for trimming them here, and the doll bed at Pottery Barn Kids.

You bet we had favors: Martha Stewart’s new pink flower boxes, dressed up with a rhinestone, filled with pink M&Ms. (Purchased in another smart move at Valentine’s Day, and saved for this occasion.)

These boxes aren’t online yet, but you can find them at Michaels, about $20 for 20 boxes, I believe.

The invitation: (Sorry for that weird piece of paper. I don’t know how to blur addresses.)

And we even rhinestoned a few of the rose petals — my mom’s idea, and just one more detail to make the shower special for my sister.

 

By |2011-01-15T20:10:50-07:00January 15th, 2011|Parties|0 Comments

Party week! First up: A toast to the World Series and Cody and Summer Ross

It’s all I can think about: pie and placesettings. The champagne season is upon us, and you’re invited to pretty parties all week on this blog.

First up: my friends Cody and Summer Ross had a wine-themed soiree in Scottsdale last weekend, and I helped Summer set the tables Napa-style. I’m so excited for them: Cody just home-runned his way into winning the World Series with the San Francisco Giants. He also nabbed a certain MVP trophy, and he even has his own song now — which we all danced to at his party (while he blushed.)

It was most appropriate, then, for us to celebrate all things San Francisco and that lovely Napa Valley nearby. Summer and I went with candles, pumpkins, and grapes for days. (I made her buy so many that we’re going to have to figure out how to make them into wine ourselves.)

 

Outside, Brendon Cottrell gave a mini concert by the fire, where guests also found strategically placed s’more fixings: a trick I learned from Chef Christopher Gross.

S’mores make people happy. Below: Jami Thompson and Vanessa Gibbs.

Shauna Kupetz and Ricki Weiner — who brought all the goodies and made awesome prosciutto-breadstick lollipops.

Happy hitters: Cody and Nick.

Below: April and Ryan, who is Cody’s best friend  — and was so excited you’d think he won the World Series himself.

The house was warm and glowing.

And at the bar, Max in charge.

Congratulations, Cody and Summer!

By |2010-11-22T12:16:50-07:00November 22nd, 2010|Parties|0 Comments

I can’t stop

I finally took the plunge. (Nautical puns to be employed copiously. Prepare yourselves, mates.) My mother came over and we gave my condo the seashore style I’ve been craving for months. (My mother: the genius decorator of all time, and I’m so lucky to have her.)

I’m not finished yet — there are pillows to make (Kapri? Can I enlist you?), prints to frame and a scuba tank to pick up in California — but here’s a sneak peek. (Oh, how we love a bell jar.)

It’s my ode to reading on the beach. And it’s about six inches tall. Closer:

Where I got it:

Starfishthe seashell store, Seal Beach, Calif. Flag: made it with Ikea fabric, Fabri-tac glue, pinking shears, and a barbecue skewer. Black and white shells: Shauna brought them to me from a beach in Australia where all the shells matched my house. Book: Antique French Prayer Book from Pages, Cave Creek, a lovely store that I’m writing about this week. Magnifying Glass: Dave Eggers’ pirate store, 826 Valencia,  in San Francisco.  Dome: Pottery Barn. Sand: Sugar in the Raw.

I’ll show you just a bit more:

Also, this is on its way to me, $15 (comes in yellow, green, red, and blue, too).

And here are a few more lovelies I’ve spied with my seaglass:

Housewares from Alice Supply Co, in the $20-$40 range.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rope Mirror, $125

Rope tray, $265

Seagrass cube, $72, which I actually might order.

And something to take to the actual beach from Tory Burch, $195. It’s actually so much cuter in the yellow.

By |2010-06-17T12:15:40-07:00June 17th, 2010|DIY + Projects|0 Comments
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