October 11, 2014

Balloons, Pizza & Ice Cream. Happy Birthday Ahna!

All work and no play has me wound a little too tight these days.  Hosting my dear friend Ahna O'Reilly's birthday party was a great chance to let my hair down, have a few (too many) drinks and hang with close friends.  I wanted the night to feel festive so balloons and confetti fit the bill.  When Greg asked me the plan, I informed him we were doing "balloons, pizza and ice cream."  He thought it sounded like a little kids birthday and thought a face painter sounded in theme.  While I didn't go that far, a youthful spirit was the goal.  In an effort to keep things simple, we had a brick oven pizza truck at the house so guests could select their toppings and have personal pies - super fun and who doesn't love pizza?  I made a couple of easy salads and let guests help themselves to drinks.  For dessert, Sweet Rose Creamery set up an ice cream sundae bar with amazing flavors: mint chip, carrot cake, cookies and cream & creme fraiche with elderberry, all delicious.  I paid for my evening of fun the next morning, but we all need those moments to let loose!!

The Menu


fall gimlet
vodka, concorde grapes, rosemary, lime


charcuterie & crudites

To Share

brick oven pizzas

italian chopped salad
chickpeas, cherry tomatoes, cucumber, olives & basil vinaigrette 

tricolore salad


confetti birthday cake

September 29, 2014

A Botanical Baby Shower

It was a real treat to collaborate with so many talented women who make so many beautiful thing and to combine our strengths to make an extra special Baby Shower for the lovely Stephanie Schur, owner of the incredible flower shop Botany.  Tastemaker Jenni Kayne shot the party for her blog and gathered all of the details, from florals to tabletop to recipes and more, and you should def check them all out on Rip Plus Tan!  It's such a joke that I think I know so many people when really I just admire their work and charming lives via Instagram (follow me!!).  Pathetic!  This party was a great chance to put voices to the faces and see their work up close.   Stephanie has a really pretty, soft and natural sense of style, which set the tone for the day.  The florals from Botany were beyond, lush with dahlias and queen anne's lace (a personal favorite).  My menu was inspired by the end of summer and the fact that Stephanie's a vegetarian.  Plus we both shared the fantasy of an over the top dessert display. Task accomplished.  I'm always excited when I get the chance to work with the amazing team at Casa de Perrin because their array of pretty table top things really makes the table soar - they have that perfect eye.  And photographs of Simone Le Blanc's custom gift giving business are always intriguing but the thoughtful quilting activity she created for Stephanie's shower truly blew me away (details on Rip Plus Tan!!).  So luxurious.  Yet so authentic.  I love celebrations and this was the perfect occasion for a good one - an especially pretty one.

The Menu


farmers market bellini bar
peach, pluot, blackberry, strawberry & fig

pimm's cup
pimm's no. 1, cucumber, strawberry, ginger, lemon

moroccan mint iced tea

cherry lemonade


fresh corn shortcakes with creme fraiche & chives

wild mushroom, ricotta & thyme flatbread

To Start

chilled corn soup with avocado creme

pesto, artichoke & burrata tartine

curried egg salad with roast tomato tartine

To Share

stone fruit, arugula & marcona almond salad with sherry vinaigrette

nicoise sale with haricots verts, cherry tomatoes, fingerling potatoes, capers & olives

farro salad with toasted hazelnuts, kale, pecorino & lemon

grilled vegetable platter with eggplant, zucchini, summer squash & red peppers


raspberry pistachio eton mess

strawberry shortcakes with buttermilk biscuits & sweetened cream

lavender shortbread

cherry almond crumb bars

chocolate chip cookies with sea salt

meyer lemon olive oil cake

old fashioned chocolate cake

naked layer cake with almond buttercream, cherries & toasted almonds

September 13, 2014

A Floral Birthday Dinner

A great party has a high impact moment.  For this intimate birthday dinner, the amazing Maurice of Bloom and Plume created said moment with a colorful hanging garden.  A true artist, Maurice is so fun to work with because he always brings a creative, unique perspective to the visual story of the party.  Since the flowers and bistro lights created such a festive atmosphere, I aimed to match that energy with a playful dinner menu.  Guests started with Greg's delicious cocktails (the grilled peach old-fashioned is a new favorite) and yummy snacks such as b.l.t. filled cherry tomatoes.  After a summery salad, we served some crowd favorites: buttermilk fried chicken with creamed corn, wilted greens, tomatoes and french fries (the best!).  A great night, made special by a series of thoughtful toasts to the birthday girl, was one I was happy to be a part of.

The Menu


cucumber mint gimlet

ginger margarita

summer old-fashioned


b.l.t. stuffed cherry tomatoes

dungeness crab with stoneground mustard on little gems

To Start

market lettuces, speck, grilled peaches, burrata, marcona almonds & basil vinaigrette

To Share

buttermilk fried chicken 

creamed corn

wilted kale with chili & garlic

heirloom tomatoes with sea salt

french fries


dark chocolate pots de creme

confetti birthday cake