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, like this fabulous one I’m wearing here:

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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 bunnies 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

Pinterest Made Me Do It (Or I Covered Everything in Sprinkles and Glitter)

I threw a baby shower today and I feel like I should probably tell you about it. Well, actually I didn’t throw it so much as I showed up with bags of baked goods and a whole lotta glitter… but that kinda counts, right?

I think it does, so just go with me here.

I may be a total tomboy obsessed with sports, insects, and stirring my compost, but I can’t ignore my inner sorority girl. She secretly rejoices every time someone asks her to tie a ribbon on something.

And baby showers?

Are like the perfect excuse to go all girly. And that makes me happy… because I spend most of my waking hours working with a preponderance of men.

See, I sort of miss the days of staying up until 3 am decorating staircases for rush parties. Steve Jobs once said you can only connect the dots looking back and when I do… I realize I was always tying a ribbon on something. From hours spent locked in my room elaborately wrapping Christmas presents as a kid to serving on the Homecoming float committee like every year in high school, I have always been obsessed with making things pretty. I just didn’t really realize it.

So if I’m being honest with myself, I can’t even blame Pinterest for my recent gold-painted escapades, but I’m gonna try. 

Here’s how it all went down.

Black White and Gold Baby Shower on Dogs Dishes and Decor #baby #blackandgold #star

Pinterest made me do this.

Baby Shower Cake on Dogs Dishes and Decor #babyshower #sprinkles #cake

And this.

Baby Shower Treat on Dogs Dishes and Decor #star #chocolatedipped #ricekrispietreat #baby

I can’t blame Pinterest for this, though. I came up with this idea when my mind was wondering at work. #yesiwasdrinkingandbaking

Baby Shower Favors on Dogs Dishes and Decor #startheme #babyshower

We had 40 guests at the shower, so this was just the tip of the titanic treat iceberg.

Oh, and remember how I had a meltdown before my Peter Pan Party because I didn’t have anyone to do my floral arrangements? Well, I’m getting over my fear of arranging flowers….

I’m not saying it’s my life’s calling or anything, but I’m getting more comfortable.

Black and White Baby Shower Flowers on Dogs Dishes and Decor #babyshower #blackandwhite

I’m making up with flowers one party at a time.

And because that wasn’t enough bows, I went and put one on the baby gift too.

Baby Shower Gift on Dogs Dishes and Decor

I’m broken for bows.

So, anyway, all of that happened. And then I went to GJelina in Venice for dinner with my long lost Melissa who was visiting from New York and absolutely stuffed my face with burrata, Brussels sprouts, and butterscotch pots de creme.

And later this week? I’m gearing up for a Valentine’s day project that just might involve a dinosaur.

More on that later.

Now it’s time for me to lie on the floor listening to the Kaskade remix of Lana Del Rey’s “Young and Beautiful” and pretend I’m tired.

Here it is, just in case you’re like me and your idea of a lullaby involves a techno remix.

Just Sprinkle Some Truffle Salt On It (Or My Midnight Snack Supper Situation)

So remember when I used to write posts about meals that looked like this?

Easter Dinner on Dogs Dishes and Decor

Color coordinated ombre Easter fanciness for days.

Well, lately my dinners are looking more like this:

Overcooked burger with Brussels sprouts

#sosad

I did sprinkle the burger and Brussels sprouts with truffle salt in an attempt to salvage the situation, but it was ultimately about as grim as it looks. (Even truffle salt can’t fix ugly.)

Also?

That wasn’t nearly enough food to satisfy me, so I hit the bag of sea salt potato chips like a boss mere seconds after snapping that horrendous photo.

If you’re wondering why a former food blogger is making meals that aren’t even fit for a savage, it’s because this food blogger ate dinner at 11freakingpm tonight. That’s my life at the moment, guys. Gourmet goes out the window when you’re working so much that supper is more like a midnight snack.

It’s not all sad veggies and overcooked grass fed ground beef around here, though. I did try out a new cake recipe last weekend for a Super Bowl party.

See?

Triple berry vanilla bean cake with rose water buttercream frosting on Dogs Dishes and Decor #tripleberry #buttercream #babyshower

SO many layers.

Does that count for something?

I’m making some tweaks for the upcoming baby shower, so I’m not quite ready to post the recipe. I’ll hook you up when it’s more… me. This cake involved rose water buttercream frosting, and I found it cloyingly sweet, so I’m going in the whipped cream/cream cheese frosting direction for the shower….

More on that later.

Now, I leave you with my latest musical OBSESSION. It’s an epic mashup of Bon Iver’s “Wolves” with Ini Kamoze’s “Here Comes the Hotstepper.” WHOCOMESUPWITHTHIS?!? #idie

I know what Bo don’t know…

2014 and I Are Going to be Friends (Or Will You Still be My Blog Friend?)

I was reading through old posts this week and realized my credibility is pretty shaky here in the blogosphere. I promised not to be all philosophical and sad, I said I’d write a post about meyer lemon budino fluffiness, and I failed on both fronts. If I’m being really honest, I probably still owe you a proper wrap up from Finn’s baby shower… and the child is practically walking, faux hawk and all.

Dogs and Babies on Dogs Dishes and Decor

I mean look at him! He’s going to be hiking with Woodley soon.

It seems a little inauthentic to resurrect all that now.

SO… here’s what I’m gonna do instead:

I’m going to stop making promises I can’t keep. Seriously. I’m not going to promise posts I don’t really feel like writing, I’m going to say sorry for not publishing those half written drafts, and I’m going to keep moving forward. I’m going to trust that those of you who have stuck by me through the highs and lows of the last year will do continue to do so, and those who really just want sprinkles, sparkles, and puff pastries have found all that glitters and oozes with butter somewhere else.

So this is Dogs Dishes and Decor these days. It’s the good with the bad. The highs with the lows. Life with a side of glitter.

Cool?

Cool. Now let’s talk about 2014. It started off pretty solid.

I mean, I found this on a rock while hiking with Albus on New Year’s Day.

New Year's Day Hike on Dogs Dishes and Decor

I’d love to know how this actually ended up on a rock in the Hollywood Hills, but I’m not asking questions. I’m just wearing my crown like a boss.

And now that the year is well underway, I’m helping Finnie’s mommy plan a baby shower for someone in our (now defunct) supper club, I’m prepping for a massive shoot at work, and I’m doing my best to navigate the new rules of nutrition outlined by my Ayurvedic doctor without stabbing someone on set because I haven’t had any pickled ginger or dark chocolate in days.

Here’s a preview of the baby shower brain child I’m creating.

100 Layer Cake Baby Shower Ideas on Dogs Dishes and Decor

Photo courtesy of 100 Layer Cake.

Baby Shower Cake from 100 Layer Cake on Dogs Dishes and Decor

Photo courtesy of 100 Layer Cake.

You can check out my Pinterest Board for the shower here.

And just for good measure, here’s the meyer lemon budino I made last spring when my long lost Gillian returned from producing DIVERGENT in Chicago.

Meyer Lemon Budino from Bon Appetit on Dogs Dishes and Decor

Bon Appetit knows what’s up with budino.

You can find the recipe here.

Happy 2014!

Let’s still be blog friends. K?