Double Baby Crack (Or Books for Beau and Bay!)

If you read my post about my westside weekend, you probably remember that I promised you pics of Tony’s scrumptious twins, Beau and Bay.

They got baptized at All Saints Episcopal in Beverly Hills last weekend, so I finally have pics galore.

This one might be my favorite.

I probably don’t have to tell you why…

This might be my favorite.

It’s two hot guys holding babies.

Duh.

Absolutely everyone had to get in on the baby action because… BABIES ARE CRACK.

Here’s Nicole freebasing on Bay.

Nicole's a natural.

Who could blame her? Bay is amazing.

Do you know what else is amazing?

Nicole and I accidentally almost matched.

See?

Here we are getting photo bombed by the babies' godparents.

Here we are getting photo bombed by the babies’ godparents.

Humor is a prerequisite for shepherding someone’s soul in my book, which is why my friends are fun.

I mean, they are responsible for the kids' souls and stuff.

Here are the godparents looking more serious about their duties for a minute.

After the ceremony, we all went back to Tony’s beach house for fried chicken and red velvet cake because Tony’s from Tennessee, and you can always count on the south to rise again at his place. (I would have taken a photo of my chicken, but I ate it too fast.)

After cleaning Tony out of deep fried food, I stole his baby.

But I wasn't the worst.

I may have mainlined.

But because my mom taught me to share, I let my cousin Maddie get her baby fix too.

Maddie gets babies.

I hope I didn’t get her hooked.

I didn’t think it would be right to eat all of Tony’s fried food AND takes his kids without leaving something behind, so I bought books for the babies that had special meaning for me and my family.

(You can find the posts about the books on my other blog here.)

BookS!

Peter Rabbit + Peter Spier = ❤

And because I LOVE making gifts look fancy-ish, I wrapped them in brown paper, tied them with brightly colored ribbons, and made my own gift tag.

See?

I love brown paper.

I don’t care what anyone says. Appearances matter. That’s why I get so excited about gift wrap.

OK, I’m off to check on my Spicy Calabrian Pork Ribs now.

I’m STARVING!!!

Peter Pan Party Wrap Up (Or Here’s Everything in One Place)

OK, this is it. The final Peter Pan Party post. The everything-in-one-place post. The you-never-have-to-hear-about-it-again post.

These Peter Pan Partygoers are eager to wrap this ish up.

See, I’m saving you from digging around my blog to piece together a Peter Pan Party the way I used to rummage through piles of black capris and halter tops on my floor in college just to find two matching Steve Madden platforms. (Note: I do NOT wear Maddens anymore. This is because I no longer think it’s acceptable to be hobbled by cheap footwear.)

Invitations
I used Paperless Post because I’m into saving the planet by saving some trees. And also because their designs are like the perfect storm of affordable and attractive.

Photo Courtesy of Paperless Post.

If you’re not into this design, here are a few more pirate-y options.

By the way, PP now offers a charity stamp option. They donate $0.05 to Amensty International, Red, or the ASPCA if you choose the charity stamp instead of the default option. Naturally, I went with the ASPCA puppy stamp. Since we had 142 people on our guest list, we bought a little bit of kibble for homeless pets just by inviting people to drink with us at our party.

Flowers
Here’s the work in progress post, complete with ordering info on the vases and sprinkles.
And this is the reveal.

Neverland Map
I explain how to age paper for a treasure map or Neverland map here.

Other Assorted Decorations
This is the decoration wrap up, complete with product ordering information.

Appetizers
Spicy Eggplant Dip
Truffle Popcorn

Taco Bar Main Course
Cola Carnitas
Slow Cooker Chicken (Note: I didn’t handle this part of the party, but if I had, I probably would have tried this recipe.)
Salsa
Salsa Verde

Dessert Bar
Sprinkles Strawberry Cupcakes with Strawberry Mascarpone Frosting
Banana Cupcakes with Mascarpone Frosting
Glazed Lime Cake
Chocolate Stout Cake
Skull and Crossbones Sugar Cookies

And now… bacon wrapped meatloaf, because everything is better when it’s wrapped in bacon. Truth.

Peter Pan Party Aftermath Post 9 (Or Here’s the Peter Pan Party Decoration Download)

It’s probably time to talk about the rest of the decorations at my party. Then I really will wrap this up. I promise.

I’m ready to move on from the boy who refused to grow up to Jaws anyway.

Tonight Discovery Channel’s Shark Week is airing a special called, “How Jaws Changed the World” and OBVIOUSLY I set my DVR for that. Plus I have the champagne to pop ready because I looooove Jaws.

And sharks.

They’re sort of my thing.

On Thursday I promise to write a post entitled, “How Jaws 3 in 3-D Changed My Life” complete with a shark cupcake tutorial, but until then…

Peter Pan and the decorations.

This is my quick watermelon carving of Hook’s Jolly Roger, complete with the menacing croc. I wish the windows were level, but alas… I was rushing.

I did a freehand sketch for the sign, and it’s a quote from J.M. Barrie’s novel. I wanted to include it just in case people didn’t understand why there was this weird crocodile lurking around Hook’s ship.

If you want to get yourself a cool croc, I found that guy on Amazon here. It’s not the cheapest croc online, but it’s the best looking, and let’s be honest: that matters. A lot.

This is my (bad) attempt at a papier mache version of Hangman’s Tree. Hangman’s Tree is a departure from J.M. Barrie’s original story (there were multiple entrances into the Lost Boys’ home under the ground).

It was easier to do one tree and explain it on my Neverland map than to get into the whole passage about how Peter fits boys for their own trees, so that’s why I went this route.

Here we have lipstick on the proverbial pig with pearls hanging from Hangman’s Tree.

The entire skeleton of the tree was made with painters’ tape and twisted newspaper. If I had it to do all over again, I’d probably use a few real twigs and maybe even a little chicken wire. For the final layer of the papier mache, I used paper towels. I found posts online saying that makes it easier to cover the piece with paint.

I was in a hurry so I turned on the oven to dry out the tree. It’s probably a fire hazard or whatever but I kept an eye on it and didn’t let the dogs investigate it with their faces.

In retrospect, I think white tissue paper would have been better because I could have achieved a look more like this:

Photo Courtesy of Ultimate Paper Mache

And what would be a Peter Pan party without a little Tink?

I hate Tinkerbell, but you can’t really leave her out of your Peter Pan Party.

She is a scheming bitch, but she’s essential to the story.

The lantern is this little ditty from Ikea. I made Tink out of pins and tissue paper from Target.

At one point I considered hanging the lantern from a ribbon in the yard and surrounding it with green and white suckers, but I decided to reign myself in a bit.

My menu was another freehand sketch, but you could easily trace the silhouette and keep it simple. (Simple is something I SO need to learn.)

Here’s the Peter Pan Party menu situation.

I promise I’ll write my full wrap up post, so we can really fly away from Neverland. Forever.

Not that I’m going to grow up or anything….

Peter Pan Party Aftermath Post 2 (Or How to Age Paper)

I used to draw. Then I started high school and thought it would be appropriate to fill my schedule with heinous things like extra AP Chemistry and AP Calculus classes — all while swimming, skiing, serving on student council, working on the Homecoming float committee, blah blah blah, etc. College was a similar story. Come to think of it, so was grad school. And don’t get me started on my life in the entertainment industry….

So, you get it. I’m a masochist. And a maniac.

I didn’t draw for YEARS and when I tried to take it up again recently, I was frustrated that I wasn’t very good at it. (Big shock.) I have decided it doesn’t matter if I suck. I need to be patient with myself because I’m never going to get better at drawing if I don’t actually draw. I’m sure this mentality could be applied to other areas of my life, but I’m not that evolved yet.

So, anyway, since I’m trying not to be all dead inside anymore, I thought it would be a good idea to make the decorations for my Peter Pan Birthday Party. I should point out, however, that it’s hard for me to go halfway, so I went totally overboard on the decorations and the baking, but you can’t give up overachieving overnight. (Or maybe ever, actually.)

Albus is concerned about my to-do list — mostly because he doesn’t see “Spoil Big Dog with Hikes and Kisses” anywhere on it.

I came up with the idea of making a map of Neverland and aging the paper.

Here’s How I Did It:

You can use black tea or coffee to age the paper. Since I’m not much of a tea drinker, I didn’t have any in the house. I opted to go the espresso route for aging instead. (I do so love my espresso – and my DeLonghi espresso machine. It’s magic.)

I preheated the oven to 200 while I watched Twin Peaks and made a freehand sketch of a Neverland map. You’re supposed to print or draw on the paper before aging it and then pour the tea or coffee over the finished product. Since I had done my sketch in pen, I was afraid the pouring method would smudge the drawing too much.

If your’e wondering why this drawing is on my floor it’s because there were white chocolate-dipped marshmallows covering every surface of my home. I had to sit on my floor while drawing this.

I decided to use a pastry brush to carefully apply the espresso around the ink instead. I also had instant espresso powder leftover from this Bittersweet Whiskey Cake a while ago. I sprinkled a little instant espresso powder in a couple of spots to give the paper areas of darker aging. I brushed those areas with espresso as well.

My paper-aging tools. Riveting, right?

While the paper was still wet, I distressed the edges with my thumb and forefinger to give it more of an aged, vintage-y feel.

Then I set the paper in the oven to dry.  Since it was too big to fit in the oven with the door closed, I left the door open and dried the map one half at a time. It really didn’t take long to dry the paper, and this was probably because it was 200 degrees in my oven and about 110 degrees in LA that afternoon.

Here’s the map drying and stuff. (And, yes, I know my oven door is filthy.)

Despite the drawing itself not being Dali-quality (my fave), it came out mostly OK. Here it is in action.

Map and table runner situation.

Oh, and the table runner is actually wedding wrapping paper from Target. Since the table was too long for one sheet, I taped two pieces together in the middle and used the map to (mostly) cover up the seam.

My plan was to use a v-cut on the ends of the paper so the runner would look like this:

I adore v-cuts — and basically everything about this tablescape. (Photo Courtesy of 100 Layer Cake)

but somehow after four trips to my friend’s house to drop off desserts, napkins, and salsas, I had forgotten the yardstick I needed to make the cuts and she didn’t have one. I decided not to bring it back on my fifth trip and to accept that everything was not going to be executed according to my vision. Sometimes you just have to cut your losses. I think I’m learning that.

So there you have it. I aged paper. And I made a drawring. More on the dessert table and the floral arrangements later….

[And if you want to check out the blog post I consulted for paper aging instructions, it’s here.]

I Tell You What I Ate (Or Foodie Pen Pal Reveal Day)

So, here I am all wide awake at 6 am on a Saturday. This is what happens when you have a big Boxer puppy sleeping in a box next to your bed: he whimpers all sweet and plaintive-like until you take him outside in your bathrobe and Uggs so he can pee on your trees. Now before you judge me for venturing out in such a hideous ensemble, I must tell you that there is an old Asian lady in my neighborhood who walks around with a parrot on her shoulder looking like some sort of lost pirate. Also, I walk him before my latte, and I’m not really required to be presentable — or coherent — pre-espresso.

So anyway, it’s probably a good thing he gets me up early because I’m not naturally a morning person. At all. Plus I have a big day ahead of me prepping for tomorrow’s dinner party, but first things first…

It’s Foodie Pen Pal Reveal Day!

Katie from Talk Less-Say More sent me a thoughtful package and a nice note. There were a variety of items in the box, including her homemade banana trail mix cookies, complete with the recipe and all. (Very thoughtful!)

The highlights for me were Justin’s chocolate hazelnut butter (sort of like eating a melted Ferrero Rocher treat on your toast), and the Archer Farms Fruit Strips. Many of the items in the box were expensive, healthy bits like Sweet Potato Pop Chips, Luna Bars, and whatnot. Frankly, it was quite a revelation to discover that the moist, flavorful fruit leather was available at Target!

Here’s the chocolate hazelnut butter on my homemade bread. I’ll post the bread recipe later, K? I promise.

Now I may have to add Target to my grocery store rotation, which already includes Trader Joe’s, Ralph’s, and Costco. (See, I have this thing were I must pay the lowest possible price for say, Jarlsberg Swiss, even if it means wasting gas and driving all over the eastside of LA to do so. It’s just the principal of the matter.)

If you want to learn more about Foodie Pen Pals, check out Lindsay’s blog, The Lean Green Bean, here.

Now it’s time to crank up the Kaskade and do something about my place before 10 television writers invade tomorrow expecting to be fed.

Kisses!

The Lean Green Bean