Entertaining

A Nautical Party for Leo

No no. I don’t have a mystery son that I’ve never told you about. This post is about an adorable party that our friends threw for their son Leo’s first birthday. Leo’s mom, Carrie, did such a great job curating lots of fun nautical themed details (mostly from Etsy sellers!) that I just had to snap a few pics on my phone and create a post for you. You’ll find all of Carrie’s resources throughout.

The party was held in the cutest (and yummiest) pizzeria in Hoboken, Dozzino.

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Carrie got the pennant from Etsy seller Subway Party. It’s an instant download so she had to print, cut and string it.

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Dozzino has long farmhouse tables where guests sit family style (ie: When you go there, you’re sitting with strangers. Embrace it.) but since Mike and Carrie rented the whole restaurant, Carrie used one of the tables as a dessert display.

Happy Birthday Banner: Etsy seller Cutie Putti Paperie

Chevron runner: Etsy seller Fantasy Vintage Bridal

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My kids may or may not have OD’d on those swedish fish in the candy jar!

Candy jars: Michael’s

Picture frame: Oriental Trading

Smash cake: Lovingly made by grandma!

Pennant on the smash cake: Same download as the big one above! Etsy seller Subway Party

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Aren’t these simple plates and napkins just perfect?

Plates and napkins: Oriental Trading

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Little picks from Etsy seller Chelsea Lee Designs decorated the cupcakes from Hudson Cakery.

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Of course, Leo had his own personal birthday hat from Etsy seller Prop Shop Boutique.

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The cake (also from Hudson Cakery) was so cute…

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and totally delish! (Hello, fresh strawberries!)

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Carrie’s been taking monthly (or probably more like hourly!) pics of Leo since he was born so of course, they had to display the whole year. She found the banner, which came assembled, from Etsy seller Stampin Fanatic.

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The party favors didn’t disappoint. Can you believe she got the great bags from Oriental Trading?

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The bag tags were another printable from yet another Etsy seller: Jen Leonardini.

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 Lily did not like me swiping her party favor just to take a still life shot but I did it for you, people. Don’t worry, she got to eat her gummies and Goldfish.

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I would be missing part of the story if I didn’t mention the delicious food we ate for lunch. Dozzino served simple green salads, bruschetta and “spesto” (spinach pesto) crostini.

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And the pizza. Ohhhhhhh the pizza. Of course, there was the classic margarita pie but this white spinach version was quite possibly the most delicious pizza I’ve ever eaten. (Disclaimer: I should note that I am currently on Weight Watchers so maybe I was just so crazy about it by comparison. But don’t knock my beloved Weight Watchers. I get to eat just about anything I want as long as it’s in moderation. And believe me, watching my intact of this pizza was hard!)

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Carrie and Mike did such an amazing job with the party but the cutest, most adorable, and totally delicious thing there was Leo himself! Is it any surprise my girls are obsessed with him?

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Carrie made the highchair sign herself using Powerpoint! But you don’t need to be a DIY expert to pull off a party like this. As long as you don’t mind printing, cutting, punching holes, and stringing, then Etsy sellers can help you create a totally unique party.

Happy Birthday Leo!

XO

Sue at Home

Decor, Home, Shopping

Haven’s Kitchen

I first visited Haven’s Kitchen about a year ago for a Keri Levitt Communications event but, for whatever reason, I never wrote a post about it. Well…wait no more, dear readers. Here it is!

Haven’s Kitchen is (according to their website) a “recreational cooking school, specialty food shop, and event space” in Manhattan on West 17th Street. I love the place because their homemade granola is crack in a bag but the reason I wanted to share it with you is the fun decor. Let’s take a look. (Apologies in advance for the iphone pics.)

One step in the door and you’re greeted by lights in little jam jars.

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Next you’ll see industrial shelves with all of Haven’s yummy food products.  (I’ll take this opportunity to mention that granola again. I promise, it’s worth the $11 you’ll pay for a 1 lb bag.)

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In the back is the kitchen where they host cooking classes. One of the most popular classes: Boozy Brunch.

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There are so many cute things on the walls.

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Now, let’s go upstairs to the event space. I love the art on the way up.

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And the marble steps aren’t too bad either.

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Isn’t the striped sofa in this little seating area just amazing?

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And right next to that is this beautiful bar.

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Oh, hello little pops of yellow.

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The best has got to be this sweet this sentiment by the bathroom mirror.

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Oh…and did I mention the granola? I know, I know. But believe me, if you try it, you’ll undrestand why I had to tell you about it three times.  You’ll thank me. (Photo via havenskitchen.com)

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Thanks to Keri and Jillian for introducing to this amazing place!

XO

Sue at Home

Before and After, Home, My house

Sophia’s Room Update

It’s been almost a year since I’ve updated you on Sophia’s room and it’s recently had a few significant changes. Here’s a recap on what the room looked like when we first saw the house and a view of what it looked like last summer.

Sophs rooms before

SOPH room after horiz

A few months ago, it became obvious that Lily was ready to transition from a toddler bed to a twin so we moved Sophia’s mattress into Lily’s room. Instead of replacing Sophia’s with another twin, we traded up to a full mattress and box spring figuring the room could serve as a makeshift guest room when needed. Reminder: we don’t have a guest room. (I know a full is tight for two people but a queen would have been way too big for the room. Plus, we don’t want anyone to get too comfy in there, if you know what I mean.)  Since then, we’ve had lots of guests stay in there while Soph enjoys a sleepover in Lily’s room. And speaking of sleepovers, Lily has taken to sleeping in Sophia’s room every weekend since the full bed went in.

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Sidenote: The pic above was taken one weekend morning after such a night. The light was so beautiful that I went to get my camera. Of course, the girls resisted at first (calling me Momarazzi like to do) but I persisted. I told them that I would LOVE to have a picture of my childhood bedroom but we just didn’t take that many pictures back in the 70s. I mean, do these kids have any idea how lucky they are that I’m documenting every moment of their lives? (I know. LOL.)

I haven’t shared any other pictures of the room since then because it just didn’t feel finished without a headboard. It was crammed into a corner and even though the white duvet cover that she inherited from us (we used to have a queen) is super soft and cozy, it’s kinda just a big white rectangle.

A couple nights ago as I was tucking Sophia in, we laid in her bed and talked about how to fix up her room. She still needs her ceiling painted (her suggestion: chevron!) and of course that headboard still needs to be built. But one request I could handle right away–to rearrange her furniture. I wasn’t working last Friday so while she was at camp, I moved everything around and spruced it up. (It kinda reminded me of that old TLC show While You Were Out. Damn, I loved that show.) Needless to say, there was a lot of screaming when she saw it. Good screaming, that is. What do you think?

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I haven’t decided if I’ll leave the shelves like that or if I’ll create more of a gallery wall with the art. Thoughts?

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I told her that since her dresser is the thing that people will see when they walk into the room, she needs to work really hard to keep it neat. It tends to be a dumping ground but she’s promised to at least try.

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I indulged her desire for chevron with a new book bin from Home Goods. (There might be a sham or two from PB Teen coming soon, too.)

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Another little update the room got was a quicky paint touchup that I’ve needed to do for…oh, I don’t know…about 7 years. You see, when Sophia was a baby and this dresser doubled as her changing table, the belt buckle on my jeans used to hit right in the front while I was changing her diaper and it chipped the paint off. (Let that level of procratination sink in for a second. This has needed to be done since my 8 year old was in diapers.)

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It’s been one of those things that I always looked at and thought, “I really should get around to fixing that”. Well, I finally did it and it took 15 minutes. All it needed was a quick sanding with fine grit sandpaper (#220), a wipe down, and then two coats of leftover trim paint. The ease of this project makes me really mad at myself for procrastinating for so long. But at least it’s done now. Voila!

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Alas, we still need a headboard but we’ll get there soon enough.

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XO

Sue at Home

P.S. In other bedroom makeover room, Lily and I picked up this headboard for her twin bed at my favorite thrift shop and we’re planning a spray paint makeover soon.

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Of course, if you follow me on Instagram (@sue_erneta), you already know this. And if you don’t follow me on Instagram…why don’t you?

Home

47 Park Avenue

Can we talk about 47 Park Avenue? It’s one of my favorite blogs and I just had to share a few pictures from it.

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It’s written by a guy named Michael in England who shares his home with a guy named Jonathan and it’s just a simply a diary of their renovations.  I can’t really tell you much else about the guys – their site doesn’t even have pictures of them – but Michael’s Blogger profile says he’s the owner of Shootfactory, a UK based location agent. (I only know their names because they each have their own private dressing rooms in the house. Yup. You read that right. Check them out here and here.)

Michael claims he’s not a professional designer/decorator but damn, does he have a good eye. He is fearless and it ALL works. The attention to detail is simply stunning. Check out some of these shocking before and after shots.

Stairs BEFORE

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Stairs AFTER

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Living Room BEFORE

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Living Room AFTER

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As you can see, Michael loves a good black ceiling.

Check out their en suite.  (That’s known as a master bath to those of us in the US.) And yes, that’s a chandelier hanging from a metal rolling rack. You know you wish you thought of that.

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One of my favorite spaces is the home office that he carved out of the upstairs hallway:

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I love the Boardwalk vintage sign – and the dog, of course.  Note to self: black floors look as awesome as black ceilings.

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And if the bulldog wasn’t enough for you, there’s always this looker sitting next to a pink couch.

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All images via 47 Park Avenue. Get on over there to see the rest of this room. And make sure you subscribe to be the first to hear about the forthcoming  47 Park Avenue online shop.

Good work Michael, you mysterious genius! Can’t wait to see what you do with the kitchen!

XO

Sue at Home

Entertaining

Fill-in Thank You Notes

I showed you Lily’s adorable luau party earlier this month but now it’s time for the part of the celebration that really sucks; the thank you notes.

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Lily is only 5 so she’s at that in-between age where she’s old enough to write a few words but not old enough to handle an entire thank you note on her own. Sure, I could write them all myself but I figured it would be good practice for her if we did it together. So, in keeping with the “beachy” theme of her party, I made her a custom fill-in thank you note with the help of PicMonkey, a free website that’s super easy and fun. If you don’t have Photoshop, this is the site for you.

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I just uploaded a silly picture of Lily, then added some text, a “comic bubble” which I faded so you could still see the landscape through it and some opaque white rectangles so Lily would know where to write. I left spaces for the gift givers’ name, the gift, and a nice sentiment. The last sentence simply says “You are (blank)!” so she could write “so cool”, “super awesome”, “my BFF”, or whatever else she wanted to say.

Then I printed a bunch on 8 1/2 x 11 printer paper  and let her get to work.

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Obviously, they are all her BFFs!

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She’s doing such a great job with them (notice that’s in the present tense, as in “we’re not done with them yet”).

Combined with the invitation (seen here in the frame)….

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…and the goody bag tags…

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…it’s almost like a legit “stationary suite”! All for the cost of printing!

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XO 

Sue at Home

Before and After, Home, My house

Landscape Before and After Update

It’s been a year since we had our brand new shrubs installed so I figured it was a good time for an update, especially since it’s all looking so damn good. Before we look at the leafy prettyness, let’s see how far we’ve come. Here’s the half overgrown, half dead landscaping that we inherited on closing day.

December 2010

Closing day

Then we ripped everything out.

May 2012

removed shrubs

And then in June of last year, we had lots of beauties installed. (Read all about it here.) And as you can see, it was a huge improvement from the overgrown stuff we had before. To think, I was so thrilled with that one blue hydrangea blossom!

June 2012

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This spring, I took a few pictures as the shrubs began to wake up from the winter freeze.

April 2013

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And finally, let’s take a look at how the whole thing is filling in. (Note: there are pink rose bushes in the middle of each side but some recent storms knocked most of the petals off. I hope we get more soon!)

June 2013

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This was the first year (of many, I hope!) that I got to enjoy all the splendor of my weeping cherry in it’s pinktastic glory. (This pic was taken a couple months ago. )

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During the spring months, I had a couple pots of ranunculus on the front steps and I was thrilled with them! They just kept blooming and blooming…until one day they just didn’t bloom anymore. It was a quick and sudden death but they were so beautiful up to that point, I would certainly get them again next spring.

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You got a sneak peak at the current landscape when I shared Lily’s party with you. It all began with a couple potted hibiscus plants.

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I didn’t think they’d last very long but they’re still blooming and it’s like a rainbow of colors around here.

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The best part of the rainbow is the amazing blue hydrangeas. I’m so thrilled with how they’re blooming. They just keep getting bigger and brighter every day.

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And it would be wrong if I didn’t mention that beautiful lawn. It’s like Pablo’s third child. He takes of care of it obsessively.

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I’ll give you an update on the backyard soon but just so you can get an idea of how well his efforts have paid off, check out this comparison on the backyard during our first spring here and the backyard this month.

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More on that green carpet goodness soon!

XO

Sue at Home

Home, Travel

Travel: Iberostar Grand, Montego Bay

For Memorial Day weekend, Pablo and I got away with some friends (that’s right! no kids!) to the Iberostar Grand all-inclusive adults-only resort in Montego Bay, Jamaica.

It being an all-inclusive, my expectations were low but the resort was exactly what we needed: sun, sand, lots of frosty beverages, and good times with friends.

Since I was busy enjoying my vacay, I didn’t photograph everything but I did get some nice shots of our trip.

Our ride from the airport featured the first of many Red Stripes.

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The view from a balcony off of the lobby.

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The pool was huge: it was like several cascading infinity pools pouring into each other.

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This was pretty much my view for 4 days.

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The swim up pool bar. (The food was just ehh–it’s an all inclusive, what did you expect?–but the drinks were delish. I recommend the Jamaica Smile. It’s like a combination of a pina colada, a banana daquiri, and a strawberry daquiri and there is nothing wrong with that.)

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A view of the resort from the pool area.

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The water.

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Some of our friends scored ocean front rooms over there on the right. And one couple even got  a room over on the side that shared a small semi-private pool with about 5 other rooms. You walked out to your balcony and then straight into the pool.

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Pablo and I got a basic pool view room but it was very nicely appointed.

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I’ll describe the decor as “decent with touches of kinda weird” but the beds were super comfortable (they even had a menu so you could pick your pillow) and the room was huge and laid out very nicely.

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I loved these deep two-person swings on all the balconies. I kinda want my mom to put one on the porch in their new house!

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The bathrooms were all marble and glass and they were enormous. This is only half of it. The other side has the same layout but the shower is where the toilet is in this pic. Please note that means that not only are their two sinks but they’re on opposite sides of the bathroom. I mean, isn’t that the perfect master bath layout?

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Happy 40th Pablo, Diana, Andrew, Jeff and Joanne! (The rest of us already there!)

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So, here’s my 30 second hotel review:

Pros: beautiful resort, not crowded even though it was full, yummy cocktails, all-inclusive so you don’t have to worry about every bottle of water you take from the mini bar, accommodating staff, golf at a surrounding club was included, no kids allowed (including mine!), and close to the airport.

Cons: Food is just “okay” (not bad but not amazing). Restaurants are painfully quiet. (Not only could we hear every word the person at the other end of the table was saying, so could everyone else in the restaurant.)

Overall, it felt very luxurious and upscale. And you gotta love a place that has lots of cushy lounge chairs, plenty of plush towels (take as many as you like) and complimentary sunscreen so you don’t have to bring it yourself!

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XO

Sue at Home

P.S. Before you think I’m a terrible mom for wanting to get away without my kids, I’ll have you know that were enjoying a vacay of their own at Mimi and Papa’s house complete with a trip to The American Girl store for lunch and shopping!

Lily at American Girl

Sophia at American Girl 

crafts, Entertaining, Family, Home

Lily’s Luau Birthday Party

We recently celebrated Lily’s 5th Birthday with a luau at our house. Let’s take a peek at how we put it all together.

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As you saw in last week’s post, I created an umbrella wreath for the front door out of paper parasols.

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 I bought two hibiscus plants that I put in some pots that I had painted last year.

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They added the perfect tropical touch.

luau-126In the foyer, I put tons of leis in a bucket and displayed the invitation that I made on PicMonkey.

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I made it with a picture of Lily from Aruba and a great font called Luckiest Guy.

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For the favors, I got sunglasses from The Children’s Place, some Swedish Fish (Lily loves “sweetest fish”!) a hibiscus tattoo, and either a Hello Kitty necklace for the girls or a foam plane of the boys (both from the One Spot at Target).

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I just put all the goodies into white paper bags and added a little tag–that said “Thanks for coming to Lily’s Luau”– thanks to Picmonkey again. (I “borrowed” some of Sophia’s fun tape to attach them to the bags.)

luau-111Some grass skirts for the girls were laid out the back of the couch so kids could grab them as they came in.

luau-122I usually don’t like a matching set of paper plates but when I saw these at Ikea, I had to have them. I got the straws eons ago at Pottery Barn outlet and they’ve been sitting in a party bin in the attic just waiting for a luau!

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I kept the food pretty simple: pizza for dinner, tortilla chips and homemade guacamole, and lots of fruit. I had to include some pineapple, of course! (more cute napkins from Ikea)

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As for the cupcakes, I made them at home and used blue frosting to represent water, crunched up graham crackers for sand, gummy flip flops and a paper parasol.

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I pulled out all my cake stands and decorated some of them to look like they had grass skirts on.  I just cut up a piece of green craft paper and taped it all the way around. Then I cut apart one of the leis and glued flowers around the paper with fabric glue.

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I also wrapped one of the cake stands with a lei.

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The little tissue paper decorations are from Oriental Trading –where I got just about everything I needed–and they came in really handy to give some height to the cupcake displays. (I just stuck them on top of a plastic cup turned upside down.)

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As for activities, we kinda just winged it. I was nervous because we don’t have a swingset anymore (remember how I told you that Hurricane Sandy took it out?) But we just put out all of our frisbees, wiffle balls and bats, and bubbles and let the kids have fun in the yard.  They loved it and there wasn’t a dull moment. (Sidenote: Check out the nice lattice that Pablo just put up under the deck! A post about that is coming soon.)

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Of course, we had to do the limbo but there wasn’t much else that we tried to organize.

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Lily was totally happy just being with her friends.

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And all the kids loved their sunglasses in the goody bags. (I can’t help but picture these kids in the same kind of pose, 11 or 12 years from now, heading off to their prom!)

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It was a perfect day with lots of good friends, good food and drinks, and good times!

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Happy 5th Birthday Lily!

If you’d like to read all about Lily’s 4th Bday party last year, check out this post: Lily’s Rainbow Birthday Party.

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XO

Sue at Home

P.S. UPDATE: Check out the follow-up post that shows the matching fill-in thank you notes I made here.

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crafts, Entertaining, Family, Home

Umbrella Wreath for a Luau

We threw a Luau Birthday party for Lily’s 5th and I know I owe you all the pics and details but let’s start out with one simple mood-setting craft: an umbrella wreath.

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I was inspired by a few different umbrella wreaths I saw on Pinterest  but I didn’t follow any specific tutorials. I started out with a box of paper umbrellas from Oriental Trading, a styrofoam wreath, some glue, some craft paint and a brush.

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I painted the wreath in case you could see it through the umbrellas. (You could certainly skip this step. As long as the umbrellas are placed close enough together, you won’t see the styrofoam.)

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Before I added the umbrellas, I had to snip off about half of the toothpick so they wouldn’t stick out too much. Each tip got a touch of glue before it went in.

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Next I started placing the umbrellas around the edge with a little overlap.

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Another line on the inside and it was starting to get filled in.

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The finished wreath!

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I hung it on the front door and bought a couple hibiscus plants to create the tropical theme. And, of course, the birthday girl had to give out hula lessons!

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Stay tuned for a full party recap!

XO

Sue at Home

Home

Buy My (Mom and Dad’s) House!

Well, this was supposed to be the post where I told you to buy my parents  awesome house, but alas it’s been on the market for two days and they already got a full price offer so I guess it’s too late for you, suckers!

But I’m going to show it to you anyway because you never know if an offer will fall through. (Fingers crossed it all works out, though!)

My parents built their dream house when I was in college and it’s been “home” to me for so many years that sometimes I forget I didn’t grow up in it. It’s in Westborough, MA – the town I grew up in – and the town alone is reason enough to make the house desirable. Check it out.

Welcome to 17 Capt. Samuel Forbush Road.

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My favorite part of the house is the kitchen that flows into a casual dining area (the scene of many a late night card game between me, Pablo and my parents!) and a huge light filled family room that has plenty of room for “The Erneta Invasion”.

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I love baking at their house because the island was built especially low to accommodate my mom’s 4’11” stature. (At 5’1″, I tower over her) It’s the perfect height for stirring!

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As you can see, my mom’s decorating style is the exact opposite a little more traditional than mine, but they have done a great job of creating a timeless space that hasn’t needed too many updates in 20 years.

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A few years ago, they converted the living room into an office for my mom. (I mean, who needs a formal living room anyway?)

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The sunroom was a recent addition but it’s come to be one of our favorite places.

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From having my college friends visit back in 1992 to taking my kids to the house in recent years, we’ve given that pool a lot of mileage!

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This photo doesn’t do it justice but my parents’ master bedroom is enormous. I can’t even imagine how I would decorate a space that big.

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This used to be my room back in college but they’ve since gotten rid of the Michael Jordan posters and the black and white checkboard bedding and turned it into a sweet room that my girls share when we visit.

twin beds mom and dadHere’s a peek at my dad’s “office”, his massive full floor of car-building-paradise. (Complete with his collection of neon beer signs!) In fact, the house actually boasts a SIX (!!) car garage, 3 above and another 3 under that you can reach by driving around the side of the house.

shop mom and dadOh…and did I mention it has an elevator? (Yeah – you know your kids would have a blast with that!)

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So, please contact my mom (she’s the homeowner and the realtor) if you’re interesting in making a backup offer. Here’s the listing so you can see all the details.

It’s with bittersweet feelings that I say goodbye to this house. It’s not the house I grew up in but it is my beloved hometown and they’ll be leaving it soon so I’m very sad that I won’t be visiting there as much. But there are greener pastures for my folks. They’re working on building a new house. Oh…and it’s going to be gooooood. There are so many details I’ve been dying to share with you but for now, I’ll just show you an aerial shot of the creepy old house that used to be on the lot.

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And now you see why I’m not too upset to see the Westborough house go, right?

Lots more details on their new house soon!

XO

Sue at Home