An Autumn-Themed Baby Shower

IMG_4111

I heard that being pregnant in the summer is like wearing a wool sweater in hell. When we were finally graced with cool air, I threw my friend Carla an autumn-themed baby shower.

IMG_3989

Like many parents of second children, she didn’t want her party to be a big to-do. I kept it simple. Like any good shower, I made it short, served ample food and kept the booze flowing!

IMG_4050

I used harvest classics for decor, such as scarecrows, pumpkins and gourds. An earthy sari was used as a tablecloth, with brown and orange paisley.

IMG_E3994

As mentioned in a previous post, people love to play with their food, so we had a waffle station. The waffle flavor? Pumpkin spice, of course! I also made truffle-roasted acorn squash, to keep it seasonal. I still added classics, such as fresh fruit, French press coffee, and in a fun twist, I made cheesy Eggs Florentine cups using muffin tins. My husband Robert, an avid curer and smoker of meats, passed around samples of his homemade bacon, accented with a hint of Chinese Five Spice.

IMG_E3992

Whenever throwing a party where kids can tag along, it’s best to keep them engaged and independent from their parents. Adults deserve to kick back a bit. I laid out picnic blankets in the yard for them to dine on, along with a plethora of outdoor activities, such as a ball pit, tents and a slide. Those with pets must be sure to scoop up any droppings first!

IMG_4065

People seem to be split into two camps regarding games, but I shamelessly love them. I did a music trivia game, with all songs having the word “baby” or “girl” in the title. Ice Ice Baby and Baby Got Back were crowd-pleasers, especially with the children. Their ears perked up when they heard, “I like big butts and I cannot lie,” and we didn’t hear the end of it. Trivia winners scored limited-edition OPI nail polish and could choose their favorite colors. We also had a Hey Girl Hey photo booth.

IMG_4105

Instead of cake, I made a pyramid of Rice Krispies Balls, dipped into melted white chocolate that was dyed pink. Guests even took home wrapped packages of these as a party favor.

IMG_4045

Carla deserved to kick back and cool off, and this party did just that.
IMG_4101

IMG_4077

IMG_4058

Rustic Picnic: An Uncommon Baby Shower

When media executives Rebecca and Mitul Patel announced that they were soon to be a party of 3, my friends and I jumped at the chance to celebrate the arrival of their son, Ander. Maybe it was the swarm of boho-style weddings that took over 2016, but my friends and I wanted to host a rustic picnic. Inspired by the rugged beauty of Griffith Park, we did just that.

The party hosts with new mom Rebecca, second from left.

I opted for a public place with a private feel. Wooded spots in Griffith park are so other-worldly, they book a year in advance. So began an intensive search of L.A. parks. Using Google Maps and satellite, I eliminated rental spaces that were too open, in a playground, too modern or in a dirt patch that passes for a park. I wanted magic. In Pasadena, I found an old live oak shading a wood shelter with a dark patina. I was sold.

Naturally, burlap and twine took center stage, and was accented with polka dots and pine cones plucked from Griffith Park. Fresh sunflowers sat in wine bottles wrapped in vintage lace. We served old-fashioned picnic food: fried chicken, egg salad sandwiches, watermelon, summer salad and an irresistable tower of white powdered doughnuts.

egg salad sandwiches, an American classic
heirloom yellow raspberries and feta made the salad
sweetness

It wouldn’t be a picnic without lemonade, which we served in ceramic pitchers. And a baby shower is never complete without booze, so bottles of Prosecco were popping!

As old friends reunited, they laughed over a group of baby photos clipped to branches with wood clothes hangers. Everyone had submitted baby photos of themselves prior to the shower, and were encouraged to write down who was who, for a chance to win prizes. The hosts, competitive people themselves, could not resist the lure of a good game, and the promise of prizes.

Baby Ander even made an appearance. People fawned all over his chubby cheeks and gummy smile.

beautiful baby Ander

Friends that hadn’t seen one another were so excited to be reunited, there was an impromptu 20-minute photo session as people said their goodbyes. It was an afternoon of comfort food, sunshine and laughter. Congratulations to Rebecca and Mitul Patel!