Category Archives: less is more

psychokitty throws a california dinner party

Dinner in my backyard.

Dinner in my backyard.

I didn’t even realize I was being a psycho until most of my so-called friends called me that when I told them my plans for not one, but two, dinner parties in three days. I was thinking it was super efficient to entertain a couple of days apart since I was renting tables, dishes, etc. Am I right? The first group were U.S. members of my husband’s cult board and the second group was the international cult board. I like to be compared to Martha Stewart (but with a pinch of Jennifer Aniston) as often as possible AND I just traveled to Italy where every meal is described by region, so I decided everything had to be local.

I dragged my husband’s sober ass to a winery about 15 miles south of my backyard to pick out wine. Did I mention that he doesn’t drink and my favorite wine is Coors Light? Luckily we have lots of alcoholic friends who are willing to educate us. We picked out a Pinot Noir (which is apparently what the Kool Kids are drinking) and a Chardonnay for those who prefer beer and juice boxes. Of course we had to have wine from Napa Valley, since it’s a stone’s throw away and known around the world.

Custom maps so my not-local guests could see where the wine comes from...

Custom maps so my not-local guests could see where the wine comes from…

I thought beer tasting would be a nice start (not because I was trying to get everybody wasted in case they were no fun) so I got local beers too, from hubby’s college town and San Francisco (also in the hood) and one from San Diego just because it’s called Arrogant Bastard. How could I NOT serve that? I included salty crunchies on the bar because I know how people love to feel like a blowfish and because you need something to taste between beers so they don’t all taste the same. Turns out the guests were fun and they REALLY like beer so my next event will definitely include beer tasting. It also kept them happy while I got dinner on the table.

Itty bitty beer glasses so we don't get too hammered.

Itty bitty beer glasses so we don’t get too hammered.

The food was totally California, basically healthy with lots of fresh veggies. From my garden. (fist bump with explosion here) I’m way more into setting a sassy table than cooking so I won’t bore myself with descriptions of food that was already made and consumed. In summary, it was good. I did different dishes for each dinner so that I wouldn’t have to eat the same thing twice in 72 hours cuz it’s all about me. I made some of it and ordered some from a friend’s super awesome gourmet food delivery company, Culinary Courier. I highly recommend this option if you are a dumbass with tendencies to over commit.

Custom coasters in case anyone forgot I like to design stuff.

Custom coasters in case anyone forgot I like to design stuff.

I think it’s the little details that make some parties way more awesome than others. It’s the small flower arrangements (so you can see the person across the table from you), fun coasters (design your own and order them from StationeryHQ.com), mixing elegance with down home goodness… we had s’mores around a fire pit for dessert and since I won’t eat manufactured marshmallows (read the ingredients sometime) I ordered all natural buttercream marshmallows from Kerfluffles. Hence my reputation as a psycho party hostess. For the record, I’m not quite crazy enough to make marshmallows myself.

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Casual and simple, feet in the grass. That’s how we do it in California.

I think the whole “California” thing was a hit with our guests, I can’t tell you how many times I heard, “we could never have a nice dinner outside like this, it would be too cold or too hot/humid/mosquito-filled.” There was a lot of prep involved but most of it took place before everyone arrived so I actually got to relax and enjoy the evening too. Which is nice, since we’ve already established that it’s all about me.

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decorating with white

All white living room by simple thoughts on houzz.com

I love the look of an all white room. Especially shabby chic and comfy with just a couple of pops of color, if any. This probably won’t happen at my house during my life time. With 3 kids, a husband, 2 dogs and a cat, I’m lucky if I can get the chocolate milk stain out of the carpet. I am not a huge fan of the modern look but cement flooring does have its appeal. This year I replaced both my family room and living room couches. During my younger (more stupid) days, I decided to get light (mostly white) slip covered couches. I thought wow how great I can pop them into the wash whenever they get dirty. Which I didn’t realize would be daily! I finally broke down and got a brown leather couch for the family room and a taupe chenille couch for the living room. I’ve always avoided leather because I don’t think it is quite as comfortable, but I do have to say it was a great choice. It never gets dirty, ever! My only issue is that pillows and throw blankets always slip off. My chenille couch in the living room hides the dirt and dog hair well. As most of my friends and family know, as soon as I win the lottery, I am going all white. I may have to buy the house next door for the rest of my family but my space will be awesome! And there will be a cute victorian playhouse/office in the backyard, no kids allowed! And maybe a fairy garden since the dogs will be at the other house. A girl can dream can’t she?

This bed looks so comfy. Linens by Pom Pom at home.

 

Love the cute detailing and pop of color.

 

A mere $24,000 at PoshTots, but I could live here, so cute!

Some of my favorite sites for getting ideas, making purchases or just daydreaming:

houzz.com

Dreamy Whites

Ballard Designs

Layla Grayce

Pottery Barn

Anthropologie – best window displays, so amazing

Am I missing one of your favorites?

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Friday Finds: Cool bike racks

I’m keepin’ it real right now by saying I don’t ride a bike around town. I love my car and am not comfortable enough on a bike to coexist with Silicon Valley car traffic. I wish I was, as the whole “spare the air” thing is a lovely idea. Not to mention the exercise! I’m sure I’d instantly drop pounds if I biked everywhere. And what about the cool bike racks popping up? Here are a few that are making me reconsider the whole car thing.

giant comb

I remember carrying a smaller version of this comb in my painter pants all through the 7th grade so I could brush out my Charlie’s Angels feathers at any given time. Artists Joshua Howell and Kagan Taylor of Popup Design turned this iconic comb into a fun and functional bike rack. I dig it!

colorful fish

Wouldn’t it be fun to park your bike on a colorful fish every morning? The kids at a the Piedmont Avenue Elementary School get to do just that every day. I love the bright colors and fun shape.

your bike is safe with fido

We all know dogs are our loyal buddies, so your bike will be in good hands (paws?) on this dog bike rack. Musician David Byrne is a long-time bicyclist who has designed bike racks for various New York neighborhoods. This one was my favorite!

I also did a little research on the Silicon Valley Bicycle Coalition website, where I found lots of good info for biking around the area. I’m going to pump up the tires on my bike and give it a try this weekend. I’ll let you know if I’ll be ditching my car in the near future.

 

Photos:
Comb- http://knowhowshopla.tumblr.com
Fish- http://oaklanddailyphoto.blogspot.com
Dog- http://www.davidbyrne.com

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huesday: ombre wedding cakes

A new trend in wedding cakes is ombre, which is a French term meaning “shaded”. Fashion designers have been producing ombre fabric for years and the trend has now crossed over into cake design. I’m currently in love with this idea and am considering making a mini version just to see how it comes out. I’m also considering a vow renewal (can you do that at 16 years of marriage?) just to have one of these while they’re still popular! The ombre look is simple yet so stunning. Imagine one of these beauties gracing your wedding.

Shades of yellow

 

 

Pretty in pink

 

 

You can even bake ombre inside of your cake!

 

 

I love the floral layer over the gradation of purple

 

 

Lovely ombre ribbon pattern

 

Cake credits:

Yellow cake found at Style Me Pretty
Pink cake found at Inspiration Wed
Pink interior cake found at Call Me Cupcake
Purple cake found at Maggie Austin Cake
Turquoise cake found at Bobbette & Belle

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