Derby Hats, Dark Books, and Easter Desserts (Or Things that Make Me Smile)

Here are some things that make me smile:

#1 I got my dog’s biopsy results back, and his cancer didn’t spread to his lymph nodes. Sure, the tumors were level 2, which means they COULD return, but they didn’t spread, so there’s that. We are consulting with a veterinary oncologist, but it’s mostly good news for now.

#2 I’m going to Vegas for the Kentucky Derby with two of my besties from college. We’ve been scheming about hats in a group text all morning.

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This little nugget from Nordstrom is my front runner.

Part of me is tempted to have a flower crown made for the Derby, but I’m afraid it won’t survive the trip.

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I don’t actually know who this guy is.

He just liked my cakeandpunch crown, so we posed for a pic at Malibu Wines. (I think ranunculus are everything. Apparently he agreed.)

#3 In addition to conspiring about hats, we’ve been discussing poolside reading. Kelley and I shared book suggestions all morning and have basically started our own long distance, two-person book club. Most of my friends would recommend me for a padded room if I told them to read these books, so I’m grateful for a kindred spirit in the land of the macabre. (Pretty Girls, The Missing, The Murder Room, and I’m Thinking of Ending Things are our first orders of business for discussion.)

#4 It’s almost time for Easter at 816, an annual tradition that brings the best people on the planet together for food, wine, and fun at our favorite Santa Monica beach house.

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Here are a few of my beautiful bunny besties from last year’s festivities.

I’m trying to decide if I want to make the same fennel scalloped potatoes I made last year or if I want to branch out.

This gorgeous geode cake from Buttercream Bakeshop in DC gives me ideas.

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Couldn’t you just DIE from the pretty?

I think I’d put ice cream in the inside instead of cake if I made it. I’ve been scouring this link for ice cream inspiration.

Cake bores me as much as a bad book.

True story.

Party Prep (Or Creepy Halloween Finds)

My Halloween Party is only a few days away, and I’m in full prep mode.

I’m painting pumpkins.

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They obviously aren’t done. #duh

While I’m waiting for the first coat of paint to dry, I’m skewering the gummies I bought on my shopping excursion today.

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It’s actually harder than it looks.

The brains and fingers are kind of fragile, so it takes patience.

In other party prep news, Albus tried on his new costume today.

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He wasn’t impressed.

Apparently, he doesn’t understand how cool we’ll look when I put on a speedo and cover myself in fake blood.

I found SO many other festive party goodies today that I needed to celebrate my success with a frozen beer slushy at Katsuya.

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You haven’t lived until you’ve had one.

I’d show you my other finds, but I have to save some surprises for the party.

I’m off to write my feature now.

It’s time.

 

 

 

Drunk in Love (Or Nicole’s Wedding Shower)

Last weekend the greatest thing happened.

My favorite girls got together for a wedding shower to celebrate Charcole*, and it was a festival of amazing.

See?

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Best bridey ever. (Duh)

We had everything.

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Glitter… and bubbles….

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Kisses…

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And sassy gifts for Sauce**.

We even a charcoal pencil drawing for Fifi***.

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From me, obviously.

The shower could not have been more Nicole if she had planned it herself.

The girls thought of everything right down to the favors.

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Every day is a Bacardi Party with our Pirate****.

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And it was perfect we got to take it on the road with us.

Even the games were fun.

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I won. (Obviously)

I’m not sure I can (or need to) caption the rest of the photos, but here they are anyway.

#drunkinlove

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#surfboard #surfboard

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#thanksbeyonce

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The most gorgeous bridey with the best legs who ever lived. 

Okay, Im off to pack for Ann Arbor where I’ll get to see my panda and my Brazilian Goddess, Ang, again.

#ilovemylife

*Charcole = Charlie + Nicole

**Sauce is short for Sister Boss — Nicole’s sisters’ nickname for her.

***Nicole’s mumma calls her Fifi because she says she’s as particular as a poodle.

****I call Nicole my pirate because of an infamous boat party we had for her birthday many years ago. (Don’t ask.)

It should be noted: the best people have the most nicknames.

 

Get Your Glue Gun (Or Everything is Better with Plastic Sharks)

I’ve been reading through old screenplay drafts this week, and it’s almost like reading old diaries. There’s something really satisfying about tracking your progress as a storyteller this way.

It’s kinda cool.

But let’s not talk about that. Let’s talk about glue guns instead.

I had a small picnic recently and because I’m into being budget conscious at the moment I decided to recycle elements from my nautical birthday party two years ago.

My stenciled buckets made a comeback, among other things.

I bought these at Target and used my Martha stencils like a DIY goddess.

This is a pretty terrible picture of them, but you get the idea. 

It would not have been a challenge to just pull old party props out of a closet so I decided to throw some sharks into the mix. (That’s where the glue gun came in.)

See?

I glued a shark on a jar. Get excited for me.

I glued a shark on a lid. Get excited for me.

Actually, I glued a lot of sharks on lids.

More sharks on lids. Amazing.

So many pretty ocean predators. 

Riveting, right?

If you’re wondering what I did with the jars, I’ll show you.

Pea soup. Pea soup and sharks.

I put pea soup in them. 

This is the recipe for the pea soup, in case you want it.

And now I’m going to relax because someone told me today is the start of a holiday weekend.

Or whatever.

I’m Into Pretty Again (Or I Pretend to Be a Florist)

I don’t want to start all of my posts with an apology, so let’s just skip that part. Let’s pretend it’s acceptable that I’ve been ostensibly absent from the internet for months and get on with happy, pretty stuff like flowers and cupcake towers, K?

K, good.

If you’ve been following me forever, you might remember my unattractive meltdown about doing my own flowers for my Peter Pan Party back in 2012. If you haven’t been reading that long, consider yourself lucky. (Self pity is not attractive.)

I’m like a new person now or something.

ANYWAY…

I recently went to the flower district downtown and almost died from a peony OD.

See?

They even accidentally matched my shirt.

Legit peony mainlining.

If you’re wondering how someone who hates one-way streets and $5-an-hour parking meters ended up downtown, I will tell you.

My friend Susan needed help with the flowers for her mother-in-law’s birthday dinner, and for some reason she thought I could help her. I love Susan so super much that I got over my issues with downtown and went with her to the flower district.

It’s pretty amazing to go from nearly curling up in the fetal position at the thought of putting poppies in a vase to having someone ask you to do floral arrangements for their MIL’s 70th.

Here’s my handiwork:

This was one of three identical arrangements.

I’m almost a florist now.

Or something….

And just for fun, I also did an arrangement for my friend Sarah’s upcoming 80’s party.

See?

#rad, #dude

I made the cupcakes too ‘cuz I just can’t stop.

So, that’s me and my flower update.

I’ve come a long way, right?

XOXO

More Peter Rabbit for My Purse! (Or Easter Cupcake Inspiration)

It’s another sunny Friday in SoCal, which is a reason to smile even if Buzz Feed says we’re three years into a vile drought.

This drought's for real. Source.

This shit’s for real. Source.

So, that is all terribly sad.

Wanna talk about bunnies instead?

Good, so do I.

I happened upon this darling Peter Rabbit cupcake kit when I was wandering around Pasadena yesterday, and it cried out for me to buy it.

I mean, who could blame me?

Williams Sonoma KNEW I needed a little more Peter Rabbit in my life.

More Peter Rabbit for my purse! Thank you, Williams Sonoma!

I’m going use them for the Easter beach picnic I’m planning with my friend Nicole. It’s her sister Elle’s birthday that day so we’re having an intimate gathering of close friends that will serve dual functions.

When I asked Nicole what flavors should fill my darling find, she requested lemon curd and chocolate peanut butter. (Not together. OBVIOUSLY.)

She loves the lemon curd cupcakes I made for my grandma’s birthday (you can find the recipe here), but I don’t have a go-to recipe for chocolate peanut butter, so I’m doing some research.

See, I’m trying to decide if I want to do peanut butter cupcakes with chocolate filling or chocolate cupcakes with peanut butter filling.

What do you think?

Talk amongst yourselves.

Albus and I are heading out for a walk while our spicy maple ribs slowly get amazing in our oven.

XOXO

P.S. If you want to buy the cupcake kit but don’t want to leave your house, you can find it here.

P.P.S. I do actually care about the planet and if you do too, you should check out Chef Nathan Lyon’s article on the impact of California’s drought on the rest of the country here.

SUPER Simple Truffle Popcorn (Or A Party-Planning Life Hack)

OK, this has to be a quick post because I’m in the middle of a three-day meditative fast during which I am attacking my screenplay revisions without any comforting distractions. It’s a meditative/writing/prayer thingy-do that I may end up blogging about here if I have enough time or emotional bandwidth available after diving into the dark places of my script I’ve been too scared to examine truthfully, and without distraction.

So here it goes…

A long time ago I wrote a post about truffle popcorn that involved measuring oil and popping your own popcorn on the stove. (You can find it here.) This pilgrim-era method is fine I guess, but I would often find myself annoyed with unevenly popped kernels, burnt pots, and the other irritations that come along with doing everything the hard way.

I recently came up with a solution to the problem… and it happened by accident.

I was running late to my friend’s low-key Oscar gathering and didn’t have anything to bring. I had some Trader Joe’s Reduced Guilt Popcorn sitting around, which I adored for its evenly popped, perfect fluffiness… but not so much for its taste.

Chewy and the dinos may  have been into it… but I wasn't.

Chewy and the dinos may have been clamoring for it… but I wasn’t.

Then it hit me!

Melt butter, dump it all over the dry-ish popcorn, sprinkle it with black truffle salt, and Ta Da!  Now you have perfectly-popped popcorn covered in the greatest things on earth: black truffle bits and butter!

Everyone loved it.

This bowl was full five minutes before the photo was taken.

This bowl was full two minutes before the photo was taken.

So there you have it: a simple party planning life hack. And my new favorite thing.

Now I’m off to do the thing that scares me….

Somebody say a prayer for me.

XOXO