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Friday, March 29, 2013

Pink & Gold Glitter 30th Birthday Ideas

Well, my friends...The gray hairs, dark under eyes, less than perfect skin, and jiggle in the middle are starting to show. Which means, yep! Today's the big day and I am officially thirty! And please. Let's not call it the dirrrrrty thirties!!

Unlike most people, this milestone doesn't really phase me.  I'm definitely ok with not going out like I did in my twenties. Most importantly, I'm happy with everything I've accomplished, who I'm with, all we have, where we are, where I've been, where we're going, the lives we created for ourselves, and the goals we're working towards. While there were plenty of things to love during my youth, there will be plenty more to love going forward. However, I think turning 40 will be a bigger shocker to me. We shall see!

While I'm off enjoying the day with my two loves, I have a pink & gold glitter 30th birthday/favorite things party to look forward to tomorrow! Here's my inspiration board:
Sources of Inspiration
Invitation - Tiny Prints
Oscars ballot  - One Charming Party
Wine printable - Hostess with the Mostess
Pink & Gold Favorite Things Party - Daydreaming & Sightseeing via Kara's Party Ideas
Confetti Champagne Glasses - Pizzazzerie
Glitter Bow - Brunch at Saks

Have a wonderful holiday weekend! Check back next week for my birthday and party recaps!

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Sweet Surprises

Happy {almost} Friday! If you're stopping by from Mia's Princess Ballerina Party featured on Kara's Party Ideas today, hiiii!  Feel free to check out other parties I've styled here.

My baby girl's birthday party knocked two things off my {unwritten} blogging bucket list - getting featured on Tatertots and Jello and Kara's Party Ideas! Yippee, thank you ladies!

Another recent sweet surprise was a package I received from Pick Your Plum. I knew I hadn't placed an order with the daily craft deal site recently, so I wasn't sure what was inside.
After sharing how I used their french fry cups, PYP sent me more goodies to DIY my little heart out! The hand-written note topped off this sweet little Thank You package. Now that is customer service that keeps people around. 

Speaking of DIYing my little heart out, I better get started on the party I'm hosting next weekend!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

BBQ Chicken Wings & Oven Baked French Fries Recipes

I haven't shared a recipe in awhile, so here's what we had for dinner last week... 

I love when recipes (1) call for ingredients I normally have on hand, (2) use minimal pots/pans and (3) both entree and side dish have the same oven temperature and cook time. I had yet to find an oven baked french fry recipe that yielded crispy fries, but finally this is it!

I slightly adapted each recipe, so here's my version of Oven Baked BBQ Chicken Wings and Oven Baked French Fries:
Oven Baked BBQ Chicken Wings
(Serves 2-3 people)
1 cup ketchup
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 TB Worcestershire sauce
1 TB vinegar
2 packages chicken drumettes/wings
Salt, pepper, and cayenne pepper

1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees, line baking sheet with aluminum foil.
2. In a small bowl, whisk together ketchup, sugar, Worcestershire sauce, vinegar and season with salt and pepper.
3. Season chicken drumettes with salt, pepper and cayenne.
4. In a medium bowl, add 1/4 of chicken wings and a few spoons of sauce. Toss to coat, place wings on baking sheet. Repeat with remaining wings, reserving a few spoons to toss chicken after it is baked.
5. Bake chicken 20 minutes. Flip wings and bake another 20 minutes.
6. Toss baked chicken wings in reserved sauce.

Oven Baked French Fries
(Serves 2 people)
2 Russet potatoes
1 TB extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
1/8 tsp each: dried thyme, oregano, rosemary, garlic powder
2 TB grated Parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper

1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees, line 2 baking sheets with aluminum foil and lightly coat with EVOO.
2. Wash and cut potatoes into same size (for even cooking) french fry pieces.
3. In a small bowl, mix EVOO, herbs and cheese. Place into large (gallon size) Ziplock bag.
4. Add potatoes and toss/rub to coat.
5. Place potatoes on cookie sheets, leaving space in between each fry. Don't over crowd them, they need room to crisp up!
6. Bake potatoes for 20 minutes. Flip and bake another ~20 minutes until lightly golden brown. Keep an eye on them so they don't get burnt too crispy!
7. Season with salt, pepper and enjoy!

At this time last year, we were playing outside, grilling, and enjoying time outside on the balcony. But this year, with temperatures STILL in the 20s (!) in mid-March (!) all oven meal is welcome! What's the weather like where you are?

Monday, March 18, 2013

{Gabriella} - 6 months

This weekend I had the pleasure of meeting six month old Gabriella.

Isn't she gorgeous with her porcelain complexion, big baby blue eyes, long dark lashes and squishable rolls?!
 Happy 6 months munchkin!
If you're wearing 12 month old clothes now, I can't wait to see how you've changed by your one year portraits!

Friday, March 15, 2013

{Aiden} - 2 Years

There's a lot of birthdays in March - first being my Grandma's, then the following week is my nephew, Aiden.

In just one year, children can look so different, yet the same! From two teeth to nearly a full set and a big boy haircut...

Aiden has that unmatchable hair color that only half asian, half caucasian babies can have.

Happy Birthday little man!
Doug's learning a thing or two - He did a great job capturing the happy birthday boy and his cake!

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Great Gatsby 1920s Themed 30th Birthday Party

Despite coping with the fact that she's turned 30, my friend celebrated by renting a loft in the West Loop for a Great Gatsby 1920s themed party! {Un}fortunately, I knew I'd be having my fair share of wine and didn't bring my real camera to document the glam details - which explains the low quality phone pictures...

I'm all about details from the start to finish and Agatha accomplished just that as I arrived at the front of the building. After checking out a few lofts, the one she chose was perfect with a 1920s feel right from the entrance.

1920s style flair filled the rented space thanks to HomeGoods, Dollar Store and Party City decor.
Agatha even rented real glasses {we're getting classy at 30!} and set out recipes with the appropriate booze to make Gatsby style cocktails.

Since I was busy with Mia's party the weeks prior, I didn't give much thought to what I was going to wear. Luckily I was able to zip still fit in my lace and fringed bachelorette party dress from four years {pre-baby} ago. To give the look some 20s glam, I accessorized with a glitter headpiece, pearl necklaces, jeweled earrings, and pearl and black beaded bracelets. When there's a chance to dress up for a theme, I go all out and even attempted a 20s inspired hairdo {inspired by this one}.
I'm totally new at taking phone selfies! Ew and I sure could use a manicure!

Agatha's dress {a last minute find from Macy's} was perfect for her Great Gatsby themed party -  complete with sparkle, art deco design, drop waist and muted tone. Frances also found a perfect dress at Forever 21 and Andrea's crafty friend whipped up a DIY sequin headpiece fitting for the occasion.

Nobody told us we were in descending height order!

Way to pull it all together, Agatha! You can read more details from the birthday girl herself or check out her Great Gatsby pinterest board here. I'm the next one to turn 30 and just recently put the invitations in the mail. Stay tuned in the next few weeks for more details. Are we the only ones that throw ourselves parties?! Don't judge!

Monday, March 11, 2013

90th Birthday Party: Photo Themed Decorations

As I mentioned last week, recently we celebrated my Grandma's 90th birthday. {Thank you to my aunt who let us use her restaurant.} With my Grandmother's well kept photos, we highlighted milestones in her long and successful life to look back and celebrate all that she's done. Here's a look at her photo themed 90th birthday party decorations...

We Love You Photo Collage Banner
While waiting for the best spread of Thai food I've ever seen, friends and family could take in this "We love you!" photo collage banner I made with wrapping paper, red cardstock and photos in the shape of a heart - {inspired by Emily Mughannam}.

Photo Family Tree
My Grandma is the tie that binds this family together. I am so so glad that {almost} everyone came to the house my Grandma purchased in 1975, where we could bond over good food, shots of Rumchata and late night card games {where I may have lost $180}. With this life size family tree, we were able to showcase our growing family...

Yarn Wreath and Yarn Pom Flowers
My Grandma knit/crocheted a baby blanket for all seven of her great-grand children. She's made countless hats and scarves for anyone who will take them. Although I ran to Michael's many times to buy her yarn, I regret never taking the time to learn how to knit/crochet from her. This DIY yarn wreath and yarn pom flowers were a nod to one of Grandma's many talents.

Small Floral Centerpieces
My Grandma loves all things beautiful in nature and according to my dad, would grow roses wherever she went. I re-arranged small flower arrangements for each table from grocery store bundles. Rather than tablecloths, each vase {really stem-less wine glasses} was wrapped with gold glitter tape and laid atop a cloth napkin {shop your house!!}.
 Each centerpiece held two photos - one self portrait and one birthday celebration of years past.

Photo Timeline
Since my Grandma maintained her photo albums with notes of who, where and when each photo was taken, it was easy to put together this timeline starting with her and her 11 siblings, my aunts and uncles as young children, my aunts and uncles in their first house in the US, and my grandmother with each grandchild and each great-grandchild.

Truly amazing how one woman who immigrated to Chicago by herself in 1968, laid the foundation for the lives of over twenty of our family members and friends and generations to come. We love you, Grandma B.

linked up here and:
Home Stories A2Z

Friday, March 8, 2013

The Big 9-0

Last Friday was a big day folks. My dear Grandmother turned ninety. Can you imagine!? Nine decades, people!

All five of her kids, eight grand-kids, seven great-grand-kids and countless other friends and family could not be happier to celebrate this milestone with her. If it weren't for my Grandma's lone migration from Thailand to Chicago back in 1968, none of us would be where we are today.

I attribute a lot of my traits to my Grandma. Most notably her pride in creating, through any means (painting, drawing, knitting, crocheting, cooking, gifting), journaling and the love of her photo albums. To this day, she proudly displays her albums for all to see - and will most definitely notice when they go missing! On almost all photos, she noted who, where and when each photo took place. She used to tell stories in amazing detail to anyone who would listen.

As a photographer and mother, this serves as an important reminder to PRINT YOUR IMAGES. With these organized albums, my family's stories live on for future generations to see. Puhhhleeaaase parents....GET IN THOSE PICTURES! You may not see beauty in yourself but decades from now, your kids and grand-kids and great grand-kids will revel in the stories you tell with your photos. I get to see... beautiful my Grandmother was in her 20s {circa 1940} as a recent nursing school graduate... dad and his siblings as toddlers and young children. It's amazing to see how us grand-kids resemble our parents when they were kids. And how today, my aunts and uncles still look like they did 50+ years ago. different you may look after working and raising five children by the time you are in your 40s {circa 1965}

...the first car that was purchased in the United States in 1971...where they would fit six adults + fishing gear! aunts and uncles in their first house that was purchased in 1975 for $60,000...the very house I grew up in...the very house that the great-grand-children play in today. radiant her smile was when caught on camera...

We celebrate you, Grandma. For how strong you've been through 90 years and for all you've done for every single one of us.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

{Jenelle} - 19 months

The past few times I've seen Jenelle, she's been so so happy and social. She's one of the babies that I've watched get SO big from 1 week to 1.5 years old!
{click on the pictures above to go to each post}

I recently spent the morning with Jenelle for her 19 month portraits. My, what a difference six months makes!

 Jenelle's momma is so proud of these big brown eyes and long curly lashes. Who wouldn't be!?

I also hung out with big sister Maya, who is almost 3 years old. She's definitely grown up so much from her 2 year old session!

Always a pleasure girls!