What Makes You Different, Is What Makes You Special! What Makes You Weird, Is What Makes You Cool!

The crisp chill of Fall is in there air here and winter will soon be upon us. But the winter gloom isn’t sneaking in at all. There has just been too much to celebrate and to be grateful for!

We’ve recently shared in the celebrations of some big life moments of those we care so much about!  Several friends of ours have welcomed new arrivals into their families, which is always such an exciting time. The addition of one sweet baby girl in particular brought tears of joy to so many who know and love our dear friends Andy & Alicia. We are just beyond thrilled for them!

After our Monkey recently turned one, we can truly appreciate how big a deal that first birthday can be and so I wanted to share our experience attending Hattie Ham’s birthday party a few weeks ago! This whole spread was put together by event planner, Hanna Kane from Everybody’s Invitedwhom I’d gotten to know after she helped me with the  “On the Hunt with Charlie” Scavenger Hunt this year.

Celeste, Craig, and Hattie on Hattie’s First B-day {Photo courtesy of Everybody’s Invited}

As a fellow event planner, I so appreciated the many details that Hanna and her team put together! Seriously! They even had a ham cake. It was fantastic!

A “Ham” cake for Hattie Ham’s 1st B-day {Photo courtesy of Everybody’s Invited website}

Hattie’s daddy, Craig Dennis, who is a long-time friend and has also been a long-time musician with a theatrical background wrote this sweet song for Hattie (in the video below), and performed it at the party.  As a side note, I’ve always thought he’d make a great cast member on SNL.  His wife, Celeste, and I have been scheming a way to get him into the Kindie Rock scene! Here is his bid debut!

Pretty sweet, isn’t it? And, I love the message!

Happy Thanksgiving week everyone! I am so grateful for having fantastic friends and a wonderful family!

Spring is Here Again!

There is so much to catch up with on here! It has been a busy few weeks. I used to feel guilty when I’d go even a week without posting, but between my days with the little monkey and work, my spare time is usually spent trying to catch up on sleep or chores.

Every year, we have a little Easter gathering, which used to be so much more adult focused (with a beer hunt in the mix), but I have to say that there was a very clear shift this year with only a few people decorating beers and a whole lot more eggs and items for the kid hunt and more people focusing on baking and preparing really beautiful foods for the brunch spread.

My brother and Nancy did a really fine job at decorating though and I have to give them props on here so their beer decor can live on!

Yes, this is indeed a Mr. T beer!

One of several garden gnome beers they made!

And, the adult hunt was still a hit, but, you can’t beat this kind of cuteness:

This was the Little Monkey’s first Easter, so we dressed him in dapper spring colors!

The Little Monkey loves his uncle Ster!

It was such a great day and the weather cooperated too! I don’t recall the last Easter when we were able to do this:

Showing off my dirty feet...

Spring is here and all we can think about is gardening, hiking, bike riding, fishing, strolling, lounging…on that note, I am off to enjoy more of this sunny day we are having!

Dinner Party

This weekend was filled with so many fun activities, starting off with our stay at Timberline Lodge, then dinner with some friends here at our place on Saturday. I am not much for large crowds and busy bars so we tend to host or attend dinners with friends to catch up.

Josh is already in his three-week long vacation mode and was so helpful getting everything together. I kept telling him that I like vacation Josh a lot because he’s so helpful. Last night, he was in charge of mixing drinks for our guests, and setting the lighting and starting a fire.

His special cocktail for the evening was a mix of Cointreau, cranberry juice and champagne. It was so delicious that I ended up imbibing more than usual and its effects snuck up on me.

It’s rare that I am not the one behind the camera (Josh wanted me to be sure to tell you that he is the talented photographer behind all of these high quality photos – LOL).

Usually when we throw a dinner party, I feel overly busy trying to cook and host at the same time, but with Josh taking care of our guests as they arrived, mixing cocktails, I was able to focus on wrapping up the food (the menu: potato leek soup, slow roast, and Vichy carrots).

After dinner, we all sat down by the fire and played Apples to Apples (one of my favorite party board game). With the right group, it can be quite funny and entertaining. That was certainly the case last night! Our friends are the best!

gift basket

When I have the time, I like to put together little guest baskets for friends and family that come to stay. We were lucky to have my mom here for a visit over the Thanksgiving holiday and now an old friend of mine from Semester at Sea, Carolyn, is here with her son, Ocean (such a perfect name). I am currently playing a game where Ocean runs into the office and screams laughing them runs to the other room where the other people are and then back again. It’s a gas!


As I had mentioned, Julie is home from the little island where she lives and we held a Bebe Shower here at our home for both she and Yann…

This past week has been Yann’s first visit to Oregon, but more significantly, to this country! The shower was co-ed so we could make sure to have him experience this strange American tradition, but we tried to incorporate a little bit of France into the day with the menu and decor…

When I had heard that the idea of a baby shower would be a new tradition for Yann to experience (it is not a common tradition in France or anywhere in Europe for that matter), it got me thinking about how the tradition started and how it has changed over time. Originally, they began as a place for wisdom into the art of motherhood to be passed from other women to the mother-to-be. However, as times have changed and both the mother and father are more actively involved in raising a child, it has become more common for showers to combine both men and women. In my mind, the tradition is there simply to show support and love for the parents-to-be. We do hope this was conveyed in the day’s events.

So many people (family and friends alike) helped us set up for the big day! Thank you to each and every one of you!

We set both tables and chairs and picnic areas at the party for the warm summers day. I was so glad to see the areas being used.

Even the babies could tell it was time for celebration!

You can never go wrong by having a little St. Cupcake at a party…it’s not just the kids that love them!

In lieu of gifts, the parents-to-be asked for a favorite baby or children’s book to start a collection for their baby. Many guests were able to secure the books in both English and French.

Now is the exciting part….waiting to meet the little one that is going to be joining us all very soon!

But before then, next weekend, happens to be another shower for a different friend! So much life coming into this world! I’ll be back later to share some photos of an Alphabet Book we are putting together for that one! But, not until after the shower so as not to ruin the surprise!

Pretty Little Details

This weekend, we are hosting the baby shower for our dear friends and I’ve been spending any free time lately prepping little party details. One of the projects was inspired by these adorable beverage signs below (I usually make every effort to be sure and credit people for their photography and projects, but I cannot seem to find my way back to where these came from. So if you happen to know, please send me a note):

I adore how simple and sweet these little beverage labels are! I am a big fan of pulling the design of the invitations into the party itself, so I decided to create some adorable little tags to label the food and beverages at the party as well!

First I took the beautiful image from the shower invitations (designed by Alexandra Ladizinsky of Ladd Design), minimized the size of the files to include several on a page, printed them onto card stock, then took a trip to FedEx Office to laminate the cards.

The result were these sweet little food and beverage tags which can be written on with a wet-erase fine point marker and reused again in the future. I’ll be sure to photograph the finished result on the morning of the party.

I’ve also been busy cutting a whole bunch of little butterfly patterns in different shades of green so that the straws will be more appealing and fun! This was a pattern I had from an old Martha Stewart Living magazine and had saved in my “Entertaining Ideas” folder just waiting for such an occasion as this one! More to come soon…..

How to Plan a Wedding in One Week

The answer to the title of this blog post is: WITH GREAT FRIENDS!

First, you send out an email invite telling people that you are going to be legally marrying your husband the following Sunday and despite the fact that it is the busy holiday season, you hope some people might show up. Then on Monday you pick up Prosecco, pomagranite juice, pom seeds, sparkling water. and tea so you have the drinks covered. (Drinks which Lucinda ended up pouring for the guests — a big thank you).

(photo by Jessica Collins)

Then, you start thinking about what you might wear on Tuesday (out loud to your super fancy fashionista friend Johnna Wells). In turn, your super fancy fashionista friend then happens to find the most perfect vintage 60’s shift dress that you always wanted to wear at your wedding but never knew it. (thank you for having such great style and for being so thoughtful). You then try on said dress right before getting ready for a Thursday night holiday party and realize that it might need some last minute adjustments to actually work out to wear on Sunday.

at the Wema studio...

Then, while attending the Thursday evening holiday party, you run into your dear fashion designer friend Wendi Martin of Wema Designs who asks what you are going to wear and when you explain she tells you to stop on by her lovely studio in the morning and she will see what she can do. On that same night, your friend Julie arrives from Tortola, BVI to stay with you for the week and you are so happy to have her that you stay out together laughing with friends until 2:30AM.

the dress fairies - Wendi on left, Johnna on right

The next morning, you stop by the studio after having slept for maybe four hours and Wendi takes in the extra 8″ on the dress so it fits like a glove, surges the straight stitch, cleans up the seams, then tells you there is no charge.  (thank you immensely!)

You’re feeling pretty sure of yourelf at this point now that it is Friday and you have a dress for Sunday AND have a pretty good idea of which heels you are going to wear with the dress. But then you start thinking more about the food menu on the way home from work that day and you know that is still the big task left over but you are too tired from lack of sleep the night before that you can’t bring yourself to stop by the store on the way home to pick up the fixings. Plus you need to save energy for the other holiday party at Kris’ house that evening. Another big breakthrough occurs when you get home and Brad and Tiffany show up to the house with a few dozen extra champagne glasses they loan you for the party! (Thank you – they were definitely used).

With a cat nap to recharge you, you head out again in cocktail attire and high heels to another fun-filled party. That night, Kris offers to come over early on Sunday and prep food. (How would I do all of these things without wonderful friends? Need I remind you that I never truly stressed out longer than a minute about anything!)

This time, you get home at a reasonable hour because you know that Saturday is going to be a very busy day…meanwhile you are still trying to wrap up a project in Santa’s sweatshop you are running in your basement so you can have Christmas gifts to hand out!

Tthe little elf in Santa's sweatshop!

As if Andy Paulson was not doing enough by marrying you and your husband on Sunday, he stops by the house to help us troubleshoot some screen printing questions  — (this is Josh’s frist project with his new printing equipment)!

Josh prepping the screen

Once you finish up the Christmas project, (which hopefully people don’t think is the lamest gift ever) Josh and Andy do a little Blazer’s secret handshaking.

andy and josh doing the blazer's handshake

When you wake up on Saturday morning, your lovely friend Julie proposes a plan: we will go to breakfast together, plan the menu, then head to the store and pick up everything we need. So we go for bagels and lox at Kenny and Zukes in NW where we happen to run into Henry Kibit, chef at DOC restaurant in Portland as we are planning the menu. He gives some really great suggestions on how to make your tea sandwiches pop! (Thank you for the tips!).

(photo by Jessica Collins)

So you leave from there and stop by Pearl Bakery, and New Seasons for the final items. At this point your friend Julie makes you smile when she spends time testing out the different salami and pate in the deli and says that now it really feels like a wedding because she is sampling the food for the menu.

On Saturday night, after bringing home the groceries and just before the next evening of parties, you are able to complete your white elephant gift just in time to be at your friend Anthony’s by 6pm. At which point, you feel as though you had accomplished enough and should celebrate by having a few glasses of wine (keep in mind that I am not really a drinker). As you are leaving that party to head over to Matt and Jessica’s annual holiday party, you decide it would be a great idea to talk to your husband while walking backwards out of the house and turn just in time to find yourself falling down 4-5 concrete stairs. During the frenzy of making sure the injured person is going to live, the world slows down and you watch how incredibly thoughtful and carefully your husband is in taking care of you and suddenly you remember once again (for your second wedding) that this is what this is all about. You and him. This is the man who is your rock in life. The person who lifts you up when you are down, or literally picks you up when you fall and dresses your leg with gauze:

pre-wedding mishap

The morning of the legal wedding ceremony arrives and you are so glad that you happened to buy those cute grey boots recently so you can wear them instead of heels to cover up the bandages. Julie starts cooking up the super amazing latkes she is so good at making. Kris Dyer and Ali Rahimi arrive to make the tea sandwhiches and salad (Alicia Paulson helps too once she arrives). Josh runs to Sweetness Bakery to pick up an order of pastries and then to Stumptown to get more coffee. Before you know it, your house is packed with about 30 wonderful friends and some family that are able to make it to your second wedding.

When the time comes, Andy reads a sincere speech with some good humor thrown into the mix. You and your now legal husband say “I will,” and you finally, after three years of already being married (without the paperwork), you become a Montgomery. And, you were able to look deeply into eachother’s eyes during the process (something you were both too nervous to do in the original ceremony) and know that you mean it and that your love truly has grown greatly over the years.

our neighbor told us we looked very "mad men"

THAT is how to plan a wedding in one week! With a group of wonderful and supportive friends to stand by your side without even needing to ask for their help! They just do it because they care.

dinner for honey

dinner with honey

Yesterday, I got into serious domestic mode and decided to make dinner for Josh when he arrived home late from work…most people don’t eat at 9pm, but we do on occasion.

Every time I shop for groceries at New Seasons, it inspires me to cook. They have the freshest fish and meat selection in town, and their produce section is incredibly sexy! You don’t even have to search for organic because most everything there is either organic and/or local.

I shopped without a list in hand but ended up with Salmon filets, and tzatziki sauce in my bag, so I made a little Mediterranean style meal – salmon rubbed with olive oil, sea salt, lemon, and dill, then on the side more of our cucumbers and tomatoes covered with tzatziki sauce, wild rice, and mixed green salad with balsamic vinaigrette.

I think Josh was happy to walk into the door to this. He gave me that incredibly sweet look that tells me he is touched and ate it right up with a smile. I was happy to make something to be enjoyed together.

FYI – in the fall of next year, there will be a New Seasons opening on Hawthorne and 41st. I am looking forward to about this time next fall being able to ride my bike to pick up groceries!

new seasons_hawthorne

new seasons on hawthorne

memory making

wine tasting collage

I got a voice message this afternoon from Julie saying “thank you for being a great memory maker.” The compliment touched my heart. I realize that sometimes I get carried away planning little parties and events, but I do it for that exact reason – to create the potential for wonderful little moments to be remembered and cherished.

We hosted a “blind wine tasting” on Sunday for her birthday. Well, I supposed I should say “I” hosted it instead of “we” since Josh was down for the count with a cold. He crawled out of bed to say happy birthday for a bit though. If you have never been to a blind tasting before, you should try it! It may perhaps be more easily orchestrated in smaller groups than our 15-20 people group yesterday, but either way, it is fun.

We asked each of our guests to bring a bottle of wine. The label of each bottle is covered with construction paper, and written on the paper of each bottle is the person’s name and a code of the category the wine falls under so you can make sure to taste in the right order. We used:

LW = off-dry/light whites

DW = dry whites

LR = light, younger reds

HR = heavy, older reds

DR = Dessert reds

This helped us to choose the wines from the mix and taste them in as close to the correct order as possible. When a guest’s wine was ready to be tasted, they would pour for everyone, we would write down our thoughts on 1) appearance, 2) aroma, 3) flavor, 4) after-taste, and 5) overall impression. Then, when finished noting and discussing, the guest would unveil the bottle and read the vintner’s notes.  I was surprised by how close we often were on depicting the bouquets and tastes.

As someone who enjoys a nice glass of wine now and then, I have to say that this is a fun way to learn about a wine first on your own, then with a little extra knowledge to enhance your experience! I can’t help it, I was always that kid who when anyone tried to explain something to me, the direction meant nothing until I experienced it for myself first. Then, it was only then that things would sink in completely. It’s kind of the same with tasting wines.

So, try it out and create some memories with friends!

{tiff + brad}

laurenBphotography_bt reception

The above photos are some snippets taken from Lauren B Photography‘s collection of {Tiff + Brad}’s wedding. Other creds —

1|Photobooth by Jeff T. Smith; 2| Mustaches made by the groom; 3| graphic design (save-the-date towels, invitations, pillows, event signage) by: James Newell; 4| screenprinted pillows and save-the-date towels by: Heather Bragg & Jamie Newell; 5| Live music: Tim Acott (on upright bass) & Reggie Houston (on saxaphone), 6| DJ: Huy Pham; 7| Custom Wedding Gown: by Wendi Martin of Wema Design; 8| Catering by Henry Kibit; 9| Event Planner: your’s truly with the talented bride!

This is what you get when a fashion stylist & stop motion animator elope in Italy and come home to Portland to celebrate with their friends and family. Such style and zest the two of them have!

I recall at one point of the evening, my cousin, Alisha, leaned over to me and whispered, “only at Tiffany’s wedding would there be so many great pairs of shoes.” I laughed. It’s true though.

The picture of the wedding cake topper was cut off above in the mosaic so I am reposting below for you to see (made by a collegue of the groom — great look-alikes!:


To get a closer look at the party photos, click HERE.

The following are photos taken by me, so they are going to stand out like sore thumbs next to Lauren’s beautiful work above:

save the date towel_1

b+t love to cook, so it was fitting to send the save-the-date out on a towel.

The invitations…


carrying on the {b + t} branding...

The out-of-towner guest arrival bags:

out of town guest bags

it's always lovely to shower your out-of-towners with a cute little gift package.


one of the items tiffany made for the guest bags.