Modern Animal Nursery

I know I promised this blog wouldn’t become a kids blog– but this is my life currently (along with spit up and sleepless nights). I am working on my daughter’s second birthday coming up in March, so hopefully there will be some party updates coming soon.

Anyhoo, if you follow my on instagram you know that our baby boy was born in November. He’s a sweet little boy, our Rush Elias.

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As they say, we weren’t quite as organized with the second baby. For our daughter, her nursery was ready a month early. Rush’s nursery has just come together, 2.5 months after he was born.

When we found out we were having a boy, I figured the new baby would take over East’s room, so I brainstormed on how to use her arrow linens. In the middle of the night (when all the best ideas come) I decided on Woodland Animals. Turns out woodlands animals are out and safari animals are what’s trendy right now, so I had to be a bit flexible with my animal choices. It still turned out cute, I think!

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Don’t these animals look like these popular (and expensive) heads?  I looked all over for something that wouldn’t cost tons for shipping to HK and was able to find these on TaoBao (the Mainland China Amazon/Ebay). The site is only in Chinese, so my husband’s work colleague had to assist us– in return she saw them before I did! But we were able to save hundreds of dollars (and who knows– they could be the Chinese supplier of the fancy brand!).

Hong Kong isn’t always the most stroller friendly place, so we have tried nearly every baby carrier. We have quite the collection and I need somewhere to keep them organized and accessible. I loved this arrow hook panel from Target.

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Aren’t those little animals cute? I did get some woodland creatures in, with this cute bowling set from Etsy. That sweet picture of my hubby as a chubby little babe, with his favorite bunny kills me every time. And who can resist an inspirational sign (also from Target)?

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Even though the room has built in closets, I needed additional storage, particularly drawers. So we got IKEA dresssers (not our first choice– ah, the joys of living in a big city!) so I thought I’d customize them a bit with some washi tape. The blocks on top are from my baby shower with sweet messages from friends.

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When we moved, my first purchase was a rocking chair for nursing. I used it a lot when I was pregnant due to being so uncomfortable, so we moved it to the living room. So now we have 2, one in each room. And who’s that sitting in the chair?! Right under a picture of himself, the cutie pie! (By the stuffed animal basket is a mat I use to lay him on for stretching and tummy time).

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And finally, here’s a pulled back picture of the room. I’m pretty happy with how it came together. What do you think?

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(It was a rainy dark day, so please forgive the dark pictures!)

T-Party Baby Shower for Baby #2

I wasn’t sure I was going to have a baby shower for my second baby, coming this November. But then I saw an adorable T-Rex tea party that just stole my heart. I had to do it, even if it were much more simple and streamlined than the baby shower for East. Between a toddler, being pregnant, moving apartments, our nanny being out of town, and a busy time at work, I needed it to be easy.

I found out one of my favorite lunch spots had a rooftop terrace, so it worked out pretty well. We had 2 typhoons that week, so I was sweating over the weather that week (the inside option was definitely not as good). We lucked out that the typhoons had passed, so we just sweated outside. It did cool down a bit at the end of the party, but I drank a lot of water that evening!

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We sent out the invites via What’s App and Facebook, to make life easier. Although that did create an interesting challenge, as it was hard to make clear who was invited (I was looking for a ladies only tea party). It was tough for mamas with babies but most made it work, which meant the world to me.

I didn’t get a ton of pictures– and hardly of any guests– but hopefully you can get an idea of the fun we had.

Since most of the seating was bench seating, I asked the staff to bring up a couple of chairs for myself and the other pregnant ladies that we attending.

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I found two large T-Rexs (it was surprisingly hard to find specifically Tyrannosaurus Rex), and gave them one of my daughter’s tea cups, and added flowers, to make them less scary.

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Food menu, of yummy Lebanese food (and interestingly some of the best chocolate chip cookies in town!). No pictures of the food- what’s wrong with me?!

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Drink menu– cold drinks only for this overheated mama!

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If you remember, last time we had iron-on onesies. This time we had draw on blocks, which turned out really cute!

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And these were the guest take- aways from the party. The bags were from etsy (always sweating if they will make it to Hong Kong in time!), filled with a tea sampler and a cookie.

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These pretty ladies were amazing guests and even helped us get into a taxi. img_3895

Overall, it was a great event, and I’m so glad I decided to do it. The company was amazing, and I felt so loved. I’m getting excited for this baby!

Let’s Taco ‘Bout It!

This is the first birthday party that almost didn’t happen.

We planned really well, ordering fun items from the US in time to be hand carried by my Mother-in-Law who came to visit for East’s first birthday. She arrived the end of February. Not 2 days later, East started coughing and came down with a cold, so bad her chest was rattling. Then my Mother in Law fell ill. By the weekend, a week before the party, I succumbed. My husband held out, making me a short time believer in the flu shot. But we forged ahead planning, thinking we’d be better in a week.

We weren’t. My glands were still swollen a week later and I had no voice. East was probably the best, but she still had a cough. My Mother in Law was ill, and my husband was starting cough. But the real kicker was Friday afternoon, the day before the party, the cat got sick too. With running all over town, going to vet and the pediatrician, still not full recovered, we decided to postpone the party a week.

I’m glad we did– we ended up with more babies able to come in the end. We lost some people, gained some, and fun was had by all. My sweet MIL made 2 pinatas and supervised the food, I had a voice and could talk to guests and give instructions, my husband managed the drinks and the non-baby friends, and East was able to play and have fun. Some people may have thought it was a bit odd to have a taco and margarita party for a 1 year old– but I think it was just perfect for us.

I dreamed of having a park party– a common US kids’ party location– but the weather in Hong Kong is too variable. You don’t know when it might rain, or be cold or crazy hot. So we settled on the common rooms of our building (our apartment– and most apartments– are much too small). Thankfully this offered us flexibility in terms of the date– although not much of the decor. It’s what I call medieval Vegas– but there is a kids playroom, a kitchen, a bar, and a couple of sitting areas. We made it as festive as possible, with tons of papel picado, balloons, flowers, and pinatas.

When guests walked in: DSC_0134

You can just see the sitting area to the right, with the baby food (veggies and no salt food) to the right. And you may be able to make out the taco pillow! (These quesadillas were popular!)

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Also some fun hanging elements in this room. DSC_0142

This was outside the kids playroom, with the first pinata. DSC_0157

We put out mats for the little ones to crawl around. I also found taco and burrito felt toys to get the kids in the mood. (The birthday girl trying them out!)

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Heading the other way, towards the food, stopping at the bar is mandatory! DSC_0111

 

And chips, salsa and guacamole, of course. I love those pineapple plates!

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The obligatory letter balloon– which is still inflated! East loves playing with it!  You can also see the papel picado  and the cake in the background.

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We had an a regular full sugar cake (lemon with blueberry filling) as well as no sugar banana cupcakes for the babies. East ate a whole cupcake herself.

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The taco menu–

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Can you believe we didn’t end up with any pictures of the tacos?? What’s wrong with us?! But we do have a pic of the taco pinata!

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For activities, we had story time, read by my husband. Appropriately, Dragons Love Tacos. East loved it. easts birthday party

 

And we made maracas! Using just plastic eggs, beans, wooden spoons and tape, I think the kids (and parents!) had a good time. And it was a good take away.

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Lastly, cake time!

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And the next day we left for Perth!

Modern Gold Baby Shower

The other weekend I had the most wonderful baby shower. My good friend (who also took these pictures) and my husband worked together to throw me and our soon-to-be baby a lovely tea party. I couldn’t help but get involved with decorations and I think it all came together beautifully.

My friend found this gorgeous space in Central Hong Kong. It was open and lofty and gave plenty of room for food, mingling, and activities.

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My husband was the caterer and made all of the delicious food, including homemade cherry pop tarts and chicken and waffles.

food table

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One of the crafty activities was decorating iron-on onesies. These were such a hit– and turned out so cute. I can’t wait for her to wear these awesome designs made by friends.

onesie making

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Along with a fun best wishes mad libs, we played a pub-style quiz in teams. We had 2 teams win– but thankfully we were prepared for that!

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Guests also got a take-away of kettle corn with a “corny” message.

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It was such a great party. I felt so loved. I can’t wait for the baby to meet all of her fantastic aunties.

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Summer Lovin’

How’s your summer going? Can you believe July is nearly over? I’ve gotta get in my sunny days in while I can!

Here are some things I’m loving right now…

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1. This baby shower tablecloth is so cute.

2. I must have this gold {temporary} tattoo.

3. Chocolate potato chips? Yes please!

4. I adore this 40th birthday. It gives me ideas for a future party for my hubby…

5. Tiny gift parade. {this has made the rounds, but I love gifts!}

6. Candy necklace napkin ring. So colorful and fun for summer.

What are you loving this summer?

Party Themes I Gotta Try

I’m always looking for an excuse to throw a party, host friends, or make someone feel special. These ideas would be so much fun.

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Living in Hong Kong, there is lots of to-and-fro. These invitation are amazing.

Do you have too many books and nothing to read? Me too.

A seriously healthy birthday cake. It’s pretty, but…oh.

And always, treat yo self.

June Crush

Some things I can’t stop thinking about this month. #happysummer

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1. A how-to for writing on a cake

2. A Farmers Market First Birthday. So adorable.

3. Everything you love about your state, in a postcard.

4. Color code your bar cart. Yes please.

DIY Wellness Day

This past Sunday I hosted some girlfriends for a healthy day of yoga, juicing and massage. It was a great to relax and spend time together, and feel good about it the next day. We had so fun that we are thinking of making it a series.

One of the girls knew someone who could teach yoga as well as our juicing class, so we arranged a private class. Sandra from Latin2Yoga was a great instructor and she got along well with the entire group. She was so laid back and helped the entire day run smoothly.

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The weather held out, so we were able to have the yoga class outside on the terrace. It was supposed to be a scorcher, so I put together water bottles for each of the girls, as well as sweat rags (nothing is worse than slipping and sliding on your yoga mat!)

diy wellness bottles

We started the day at 9 AM, with some light nibbles before yoga class. When everyone arrived, we had oatmeal chia bars and fruit out. I didn’t want it to be heavy, but some people need to fuel their work out, so I wanted to have something available.

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Our yoga class was 90 minutes of breathing, movement and relaxation at the end. It was the perfect amount of work and wellness—and I definitely felt sore the next day!

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After yoga, we were presented with cold towels, scented with peppermint. We added just a few drops to the water to give that high end hotel feeling.

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Then we really dove into the fruit, oatmeal chia bars and veggies with homemade hummus. I tried new bars this time, from my every day muffins, and they drew rave reviews. I used this recipe here.  We also served cold water and flat belly water {lemon, cucumber and mint, infused over night} as a choice of beverages.

bars

veggies

After we snack a bit, we started the juicing class. It was a 2-hour class, the first hour for understanding the benefits of juicing and smoothies and the second hour for tasting. Most of us are fairly educated on the value of organic produce, so it was a lot of fun to try out new recipes we had never imagined.

collage diy wellness day

juice

smoothie

Once we were well prepped and educated, it was time for lunch. My awesome husband put together a healthy spread of various salads and roasted vegetables. They were so good and so beautiful. With lunch we served iced tea {like the proper southern girl I am!}, my favorite T2 Quince Tea and for a light dessert, I made my favorite unprocessed mounds bites.

collage diy wellness salads

lunch

Once we were good and full, we piled in a taxi and headed to get massages. One of the girls found a modern, fun place where we could get a choice of foot or body massage. It was nice to be able to all get a massage at the same time. I got a body massage and it was wonderful.

As a take away, I gave each girl a box of organic chocolates and some tea to take home to extend her wellness.

diy wellness gift

We had so much fun spending the day together, and focusing on our wellness and ourselves. And, in truth, as I spend a lot of time eating healthy, it was great to share some of my recipes and favorites with my friends. I’m looking forward to the next installment!

 

How To: Polka Dot Party Tablecloth

Do you remember this awesome party? At Charlee’s 5th Birthday I painted this polka dot tablecloth, as well as some striped ones. Since the original post was lost, I thought I’d re-create it here.

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I won’t lie– this is a time consuming process. It took me 2-3 times more time I expected. But the results are awesome– so colorful and fun. I was sad to see them go at the end of the party!

 

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First I washed and dried the tablecloth (I got a blend, part cotton to make it a little stiffer) and laid it out on the floor, on paper.

Since I was working with so many colors, I marked bowls to lay out the color and the look, giving it that perfect, but not too perfect, randomization.

I made a circle stencil for each color, and used acrylic paint to make the dots. Pick up the stencil quickly, so it doesn’t dry to the tablecloth. Let the tablecloth dry overnight.

Drape it over a table and get ready for the compliments!