Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Curious Pearce Party!

One of the upcoming events I am planning is for my best friend Kalle's son's first birthday in May. His name is Pearce and he is the sweetest little guy! Wouldn't you want to plan a birthday party for someone this cute?

(Me with P. I like to pretend he wants to cuddle with me, but really he just wants to rip the dangly earring out of my ear. It makes for a good picture until that point though.)

I mean O.M.G. I just love him, he is too cute for words.

A little word about Kalle and I. We have been best friends since the age of 13. she was one of the first people to befriend a Jersey girl in my new southern school! Through big differences, tons of laughter, hundreds of soccer trips and some really difficult and poignant times in our lives we have always stayed best friends. Bottom line: Even if her son wasn't one of the top 2 cutest babies in my life (the other being my adorable niece) I would want to throw him one hell of a birthday party. Here are some pics of K and I through the years:

(I apologize for the shoddy quality. This is pre digital cameras, so I took this picture of a picture with my camera phone. This shot was from our infamous chocolate chip cookie trip in the Bahamas... we were 14 or so? During this trip we a) ate an entire batch of chocolate chip cookies in literally 1 hour, and b) apparently didn't use sunscreen. Ah... the days of not worrying about skin cancer. They were the best.)

A more recent pic... guess we really don't look that different, but Kalle's hair is a lot better nowadays. Like, a lot better. Hee Hee.

Back to the party at hand.

When brainstorming with K about party themes, she said she couldn't think of any type of "typical" boy themes for a 1st birthday party. Pearce doesn't particularly love lions, or cars or cartoons or anything typical for a little boy. What does he like? Well, he likes to play with electrical cords. Not joking. You should have seen him with the Christmas tree lights. Unfortunately, while unique, I don't think that a) we could plan something cute with an "electrical cord theme" and b) I also don't think we should continue to advance his love of electrical cords, don't you agree? (See picture below for his obsession in action.)

P playing with the vacuum cord. Pretty standard.

K mentioned a Curious George theme, and not because he loves monkeys, but because he is so curious! (Hence the fascination with electrical cords.) Seriously though, I am surprised the kid doesn't have permanent whiplash since he is constantly turning his head around to see what is going on in all corners of the room.

Finally, a theme was born: "Curious Pearce!"

I am sure many of you saw the recent Hostess with the Mostess feature called "Curious Grant," which had the same concept. I want to assure you that I did not straight up copy this idea. I promise that K and I have been talking about this idea for months! (K - back me up stat.) Now that the idea is out there, and that Esther at My Bride Story did such a fantastic job, I may have to use it for inspiration. Take a look at how fabulous her party was:

Curious George birthday party ideas

Taking my cue from the various book covers (see an example below) the color scheme will be yellow, red and brown.

(image credit)

Curious George birthday party ideas

Take a look at this hanging garland over the treats table at Curious Grant's party! I love it. It is so simple but made such an impact. I will be replicating in some fashion (with inspiration credit back to Esther, of course)... I have some ideas brewing :)

We will also be doing a treat table in the color scheme of red, yellow and brown. I am planning on using color-coded candy in glass containers, but will also include some bananas and red apples. This will really incorporate a punch of color and give the kiddies and adults some healthy options.

For a monkey party, banana-themed food is a must. Mr. Fo's grandmother makes a banana bread that is like crack, so we will have to use that. Kalle's mom Pamela (the proud Grandma) suggested Banana Daiquiris for the adults. Ummmm, yes please?!

For an extra dose of cuteness, I will have to make some monkey cupcakes. These are almost too cute to eat! (I said ALMOST)

(image credit)

We may even get Pearce some special garb for his big day. I suggested the below costume but K was not a fan. Hmm. Maybe his favorite Aunt Jackie will get that for him and he will do a costume change mid-party. He will probably poop on his first outfit anyways. Isn't that what babies do?

(image credit)

I am constantly brainstorming new ideas and looking for Curious George inspiration! I can't wait to show you the finished product in May!

To end this post, here's a gratuitous Pearce picture - with his gorgeous mama!

Seriously - I hope I look that good when I have a baby one day!

Can't wait for Curious Pearce's 1st birthday celebration. :)

Monday, March 29, 2010

Lunching with Class

Hope you all had a great weekend and didn't do anything stupid, like I don't know, start a fire in your oven like I did. Whoops! Don't worry, being the junior firefighter I am, I put that sucker out in no time. Mr. Fo wasn't even there to help. See, girls can do things without a man around - GIRL POWER UNITE. There may have been a little girlish screaming at first, but as I said, I put that fire out like it was my job. If you are a pyro and want to know specifics, let me know. I am happy to share.

With the exception of that momentary excitement, my weekend was quite calm. I had to run a few errands for my first REAL GIG, which was held today. Remember, it's small, so keep that in mind.

The event was a lunch for 3 women who are close friends in honor of one of the women who recently found out she was pregnant with a baby girl. I told you it was small!! This was not a baby shower or anything elaborate, just a celebration lunch that was supposed to have a few special elements. The goal was to keep it classy and understated. The budget wasn't huge, so I had to make every penny count! The lunch was held at Luce , a wonderful Italian restaurant in uptown Charlotte (pronounced "Lu-chay"). If you are ever in Charlotte, eat here! Their homemade fettuccine is TDF (= to die for).

I found the most beautiful tulips at The Fresh Market. They were completely closed when I bought them this weekend, and looked perfect by the time the lunch rolled around. Lots of cold water kept the flowers from opening too soon. Just call me the Tulip Whisperer.

(The above pic was taken in my office before I brought everything over to the restaurant. Note the hideous carpet situation. I mean... this is what I have to look at everyday people.)

At each place setting were these gorgeous and simple Nest Egg soaps in little bird's nests, made by Kate Aspen. It came in a pretty little box and the soap smelled delicious! It was a cute way (but not overly cutesy) to say "It's a girl!" Plus it would be a great favor at all of these nest-themed baby showers I have been seeing around the blogosphere.

The next special touch was a "pink champagne toast." Instead of champagne, I bought fancy Pink Lemonade. Jackie Fo Events does not condone champagne for pregnant women, mmmkay? But I think pregnant women still want to pretend to drink... or at least I would.

Funny story: I heard that Luce, being the classy joint they are, decanted the pink lemonade before serving. This is hilarious, because it's pink lemonade, not a '96 Bordeaux (or whatever year is good for Bordeaux). Apparently, it's not just wine that needs to breathe, the lemonade needs to breathe too so all of the ... lemon ... flavor can fully develop. Ha. Maybe I will start decanting my water, just to feel fancy.

To add a little extra for literally zero dollars, I made these little labels for the champagne flutes. One for "Mom" and two for "Aunts." I thought they turned out well... and also served as place cards. (They are a light pink, but in some pictures they look white.) Frugal but fabulous I say. I need that on a t-shirt. Although that would imply that I am cheap, which is not flattering. Scratch that idea.

And finally, adorable "pram" cookies created by Edible Art. I have used Edible Art here and here, and they have never disappointed. I had to threaten Mr. Fo with divorce so he wouldn't eat them this weekend as they looked so yummy! I had the waiter bring out 3 on a plate and I had 3 individually wrapped to go.

Table setup at Luce

So... as that famous cartoon pig used to say, "That's all folks!" I told you it was small, but I think it turned out well. My client (OMG - how cool is it that I had a client) said everything went off without a hitch and her friend was so surprised and pleased! That's probably the best compliment I could hear!

Now that I have that under my belt, I will get working on some posts for this week. Stay tuned!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Nest Egg Cupcakes

Cute cupcake alert!

So sorry for the barrage of cupcakes lately, but in all honesty, does anybody mind? These are the perfect cupcakes for Easter. Easy to decorate, even for kids. I don't have kids, so I don't know this for a fact, but I know your kiddies could do it. I give credit to the world wide web for this creation, as I have seen several variations of the nest egg cupcake out there.

Start with a stack o' cupcakes... The stacking is not necessary, I did it for fun. (Wow, I'm a loser)

I am semi ashamed to say that these were from a cake mix that I had in my pantry. In my defense, these were for a work function. These people don't care what it is, if it's left over in the break room they will eat it. I also think that since I had to decorate the cupcakes, it's okay that I used a mix. (Can you tell I actually don't think it's okay since I have spent 3 sentences justifying my actions?)

Get some coconut, throw it on a baking sheet and toast it in the oven for about 7 minutes. Watch it like a hawk or you will burn the first batch. Not that I did that.

Someone at work asked me if I used a real coconut for this. I wouldn't have the first idea how to crack open a coconut and get out coconut flakes. Would I have to use a drill to make my way into this fruit? Would I have to travel to the Bahamas to even get one of these babies? I don't know. Needless to say, this came from a bag at my grocery store. If anyone knows how to get into a coconut, please share.

Mini Robin Eggs... made by the makers of Whoppers. Whoppers = Delicious. One caveat though: Don't overeat said delicious candy. One time when I was younger I was at my aunt's house (that's you Aunt Rosie!) and I ate 1 whole milk carton of Whoppers by myself. I then threw up in her downstairs bathroom. (I don't know where the supervision was at this time, but this was also the same aunt that used to let us ride in the backseat without our seatbelt on. Only the backseat though, so it was safe.) My aunt is laughing right now because I bet she doesn't know the Whoppers story. But everytime I see Whoppers I think a) those are delicious and b) remember when you ate a million and threw up? Pardon my walk down memory lane.

I am going to pat myself on the back for the above picture... for the inside of a candy bag, I think it's quite the fabulous shot. Watch out Annie Leibovitz.

So here is a cupcake without the coconut. And yes, the frosting is store bought. Please don't judge. If you have any people who don't like coconut, you could leave a few with just the frosting and the eggs. It works. But it's way cuter with the coconut, so they should just eat it anyways, you know, for cuteness' sake.

You then put on the toasted coconut around the eggs. I put the eggs on first and then did the coconut, but whatever you like. There's no right way to make these. Here are some pics of the finished nests:

Here are the cupcakes lined up like little soldiers in my life changing Martha Stewart cupcake carrying case. Aren't they cute!

All packed up and ready to go. When I said this contraption was life saving, I am not joking. It makes it easy to take cupcakes anywhere, and it keeps all baked goods fresh for days. Martha does it again, that sneaky vixen.

I am so ready for the weekend - TGIF is an overused phrase but it's appropriate here. So TGIF. On second thought, it's actually Thursday right now, so I will say TGTIF (Thank God Tommorow Is Friday)!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

My first DIY project!

No no no... this isn't turning into a DIY blog... (and DIY for those of you who don't know (like maybe my mom or aunt) means "Do It Yourself").

As I said, this won't be turning into a DIY blog because that's not where my passion lies. But I have gotten inspired to do a little home improvement by some of the amazing decorating and DIY blogs that I read. So with some advice from my good friend and favorite decorator, Amanda at CasaBrasi, I took on my very first (and very small) DIY project. (Note: The fact that I could use spray paint, which I adore, was another key factor.)

This table belonged to my mom. She generously handed it down to me when I moved in with Mr. Fo. It's a quality Ethan Allen table, but it's a little boring to look at. I have stared at it with boredom for quite sometime and finally decided to get my arse in gear and give it some pizazz.

First step: Sanding

Sanding a table doesn't sound fun to me... so thank goodness for this magical Sander DeGlosser. It basically acts as a glaze that you can just slop on your table and it will help take off the finish.... or something like that, I don't know the specifics - sorry peeps. All I know is that it said to wear safety goggles on the back of the bottle so you don't get any "poison" in your eyes. Side note - common tips from bottles of cleaning and painting products really make me laugh: "Don't ingest"... really Sander DeGlosser company? As if I ran out of milk and I would use this in my cereal. Snide comment aside, I don't mess around with safety. Seriously, I have the most irrational fears ever, and that includes getting Sander DeGlosser poison in my eye and going blind. As I am not a welder, carpenter or swimmer, I don't have any goggles lying around. So I made do with my trusty onion goggles, as you see in the picture. My onion goggles really deserve another post, as they are the most ridiculous yet necessary kitchen tool I have come across (if you cry whilst chopping onions, and I bawl like a baby). Well, you can add another amazing quality to these goggles - protection from blindness.

Next step: Primer

I actually really liked the gray color of this primer! I should have stopped here and saved myself an extra step, but alas, I trudged on. DIY is not for quitters.

Final step: The real paint color...

I went with a black semi-gloss paint so it wouldn't look too flat (again, please note that all tips come from CasaBrasi as I know nothing about any of this stuff). That wording says 1.5 cans of spray paint. Not 15. That would be ridiculous. But I did learn a good spray paint lesson, always buy more than you think you need. At first I thought the cute old Home Depot guy was trying to swindle me out of another $5 by recommending that I buy 2 bottles for this teeny tiny project, but he was right. Imagine how mad I would have been if I was halfway through and had to go back to Home Depot mid-project. That would royally suck and most likely would have led to an unfinished table until my next trip to Home Depot.

So here it is inside mi casa. Looks good right?! Mr. Fo was supremely impressed.. just one more talent to use against him as I cast him under my spell. Muah-ha-ha (Evil laugh). Note that while being a cute table, this also serves as the final resting place for several bugs who stupidly flew right into the wet paint. I had no choice but to spray paint over them. I mean what was I supposed to do? Leave dead bugs in plain site on the top of my table? I think not. I didn't mean to create a Venus fly trap, it's just that I don't have a garage, so I had to do this outside on my patio. If you have a soft spot for bugs: a) that's a little weird and b) I'm sorry if this upset you.

See the amazingly adorably ridiculously fabulously cute knob from Anthropologie. HOW MUCH DO YOU LOVE THIS? If I could marry it, I would.

Here it is decorated! A lot of the items on the table I already had, but the mirror with the birdie on top was new from Marshall's (a total knock off of a more expensive version). I also love the antique silver tray that was a wedding gift. My absolutely favorite item on this table is the picture of me, Mr. Fo and my double cousin Lauren from our wedding. (Double cousin = our mothers are sisters and our fathers are brothers... do you get it? It confuses people. And it's not incest, okay? Weirdos.)

So I loved doing this project because it was easy, cheap ($25 for spray paint, sander stuff and knob) and made me feel artistic, which is not a common feeling that I have. I love the black so much that I am going to paint our kitchen table black as well. Mr. Fo thinks that will make our house look "goth" which is obviously not true. 2 black tables does not a goth house make.

Here's a lesson - if I can do a little home improvement DIY, so can you. Do it and you will impress yourself... and maybe even some others :)

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Up on Cloud Nine

So I don't mean to brag, but today was a great day in my world... hope you don't mind if I share!

Reason #1: The lovely Susan from Entertain Exchange featured my Pearl Party on her blog! She is doing a whole week of real party features and she picked mine today!... Ummm dear Susan, I love you. (Not in a creepy way). Check out her site for great party ideas, and check out her other site Crash this Party where you can post your own parties to give inspiration to others.

So this already made my day... I was more then content... but then another awesome thing happened!

Reason #2: I was asked to plan my first "professional" event... (i.e. I am planning something for someone who is not my close friend or family member - not that I don't love doing parties for my friends or families, I obviously do! (just saying, this person is not required to ask for my help due to family or friend "laws"))... WARNING: It's a VERY small event... so when I post pictures next week, don't be like, oh wow jackie, I could have done that with my eyes closed. Okay?

So this was me all day...


(Except that I am not a boy and I didn't just sit in a chair all day resting my feet on a cloud...
as if that's possible.)

Hope you all had a day as fabulous as mine!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Spring Has Sprung!

In honor of the first day of spring, I went all out... in the form of flowers and cupcakes... pretty typical ;)

No blog from me would be complete without a bathroom flower post. Forget a newspaper, I like to look at flowers in the bathroom. ;)

Springy table setting... check out the green glass bottle - $5.99 from Marshalls - perfect for a water pitcher! (Note: I am fully aware the table may not be set perfectly... sometimes these things take me awhile ;))

Carrot cake is an awesome dessert for many reasons (besides how delicious it is):

1) It's healthy. CARROTS = excellent for eyesight. After 1 cupcake I can see through walls.
2) It works for the holiday season and for the Easter season. Bunnies eat carrots. Easter bunny. Get it?
3) You get to brag about how you hand grated the carrots. (Also, this hand grating situation practically counts as a workout.... between the improved eyesight and the grating workout, making carrot cake should be a sport.)

The recipe I used was from Smitten Kitchen... Mr. Fo said it was the best cupcake he has EVER had...If that tells you anything. The cream cheese frosting was a Barefoot Contessa creation.

I went the extra mile on the cupcakes since my mother in law is in town...

The cupcake toppers spell out Spring Has Sprung...I used scrapbook paper, stickers and my new craft punch. I was stupidly excited to purchase a scallop craft punch this weekend for all of my cupcake topper making. If you think I am a huge loser for this level of excitement, keep it to yourself. If you think I am awesome, let me know.

Finished product on the table with beautiful grocery store purchased gladiolas as the backdrop. My mother in law was impressed... mission accomplished!

Stay tuned this week for lots of fun posts including my first ever DIY project and a preview of the birthday party I am planning for my favorite almost 1-year-old....

Have a great week everyone!