PHOTO PRINT PARTY TABLE DECOR


The easiest way to decorate a table... is with these little retro prints I found online! They are both memorable and super economical. My very good friend Emma just left Los Angeles to our hometown of Chicago to start her next chapter and so of course we couldn’t let her leave without a proper send off. If you’re not familiar, Emma and I moved to Los Angeles together, right after finishing college to start our adult lives. It was a big undertaking but also an exciting one, which included many new friends, jobs, bad dates and tons of random adventures in between. But like many periods of time in life, they often come to a close so that a new one can begin. Saying goodbye is quite the task but that is perhaps why I don’t say goodbye, because for me it’s always see you later. So instead of loading the table with plastic palm trees and Botox vials (KIDDING- but also what a great idea for my upcoming 30th omg), I printed all these little memories out in tangible form. I know Emma already has access to all these pics but there’s something special these days about a picutre you can hold in your hand. They had the option to write a little message on the bottom and so I used some as place cards with our friends names on the one on their plate and the rest just said “LA memories.” We had a fun time choosing ones to take home, it would make such an easy and fun gift. Obviously the cake was mine and Emma’s favorite marble cake from Susie’s. I actually have to give her credit for finding it. This is the fifth one I’ve ordered this summer! 





-MGN

DIY BIRTHDAY MACARON TOWER

Why just have cake? For my birthday this year I knew I'd be having a few smaller celebrations rather than one big party, so of course I needed a few options for dessert. And since I have been gathering ideas lately for my wedding Pinterest board, I've been reminded how much I love macaron towers. They are just so beautiful and I actually found a DIY post to make one at home. So I decided I'd try my hand at it and it's fairly simple to do. The only issue I ran into was keeping the macarons in line. They are quite delicate to work with so you need to be really careful using them and making sure they aren't too soft. The only thing I did differently from this recipe, was I started from the top instead of the bottom of the tower, so my bottom edge didn't look as smooth as it could have. If you're planning to recreate this, I highly recommend following the instructions and starting from the bottom. To account for some of the macarons being unevenly placed, I added little flowers in the open spaces to cover them and also because it looked so pretty. I used small pink carnations by pinning them in with a toothpick, just like this recipe instructs for the macarons. I'd have some backup macarons, flowers or strawberries to fill in any gaps at the end, like I did with the mini carnations. I've also seen some really pretty chocolate covered strawberry towers that would be fun to make too. It's a perfect little dessert to have at a party because it's just so pretty. Since it was my birthday I added some fun number sparklers and regular sparklers. I've always had difficulty lighting them but it's a piece cake when Arthur uses his chef's torch, which he originally bought to make me crème brûlée on one of our first dates. Otherwise, I'd recommend using a long multi-purpose lighter and avoid windy areas as much as possible. The only other thing to note is that macarons can melt so make sure to keep the tower somewhere cool so they don't slide off! Otherwise, have a fabulous time. 














-MGN

CHAMPAGNE, COOKIES AND CAKE


Having my cake, eating and drinking it too? This year I had a small lunch with some friends before another party to celebrate turning 29 years old. As you may already know I have been drinking brut rosé a lot more in place of wine or a cocktail because it's delicious and basically has no sugar in comparison to other wines and most champagne or other sparkling wine varieties. It's also doesn't hurt that it's a perfect shade of pink. So when I found out the restaurant that I was having my birthday lunch at didn't have my favorite Veuve Clicquot Brut Rosé on the wine list, I decided to just bring my own and pay the corkage fee. I haven't really done that before but most restaurants are totally fine with it as long as you bring something substantial and that is not on their menu. I'd always recommend calling ahead and letting them know what you are looking for and what the corkage fee is before bringing something. Since I was bringing the champs, I figured I would make it into a bit of a theme. I love having little place cards at the table people can take home so I figured I'd make them into a cookie. I found an amazing baker, Lauren Lowstan of A Sweet Savory, who had recently done some adorable cookies for my friend Brooke, and she brought my idea to life. She replicated the brut rosé bottles into these super cute and delicious sugar cookies and wrote all my friends' names on each one. It was a great little compliment to our sushi lunch and an easy take home goodie too. And as for the cake, I once again needed my usual marble cake from SusieCakes, with the Susie pink frosting and a Drake lyric. Obviously I had to choose the 24 hour champagne diet quote. Can you blame me? I added the roses and carnations myself by using a toothpick to hold up the flowers and stick upward into the top of cake. Enjoy!





-MGN

BIRTHDAY POST: TURNING 29!

Birthdays have always been pretty special to me, ever since I was a little girl who religiously had several back to back celebrations at a place rightfully called "Let's Dress Up" -I think you get the gist- and realized being born in August meant cookie dough ice cream cakes were more than appropriate when you live in the midwest. Every year so far has continued in the same vein. I've never really put too much pressure on how I celebrate and usually have a pretty easy time figuring out what I want to do, surprise, surprise, because I am constantly finding ways to celebrate year round let's face it. Celebrating to me doesn't always include a party, in fact the majority of my celebrations are by myself or with one or two other people; like going to the movies by myself on Friday afternoons, drinking brut rosé at the beach with Arthur just because or deciding to spend a whole weekend at home to reset and unwind. Don't get me wrong, lots of celebrations include dinner with a friend, a girls night out a cool restaurant or an elaborate cheese plate, but I guess my point is it doesn't have to. And this year is the quite the same; a nice lunch with friends, a nice lunch with Arthur, maybe a massage at some point and definitely seeing one of my favorite summer reads on the big screen, Crazy Rich Asians, which is coming out right around my birthday and I will most likely go see by myself! I do think a birthday is a good time to reflect, not in the New Year's resolution type of way, but more like just an acknowledgment of how life has evolved over the last year. Keep in mind that reflections don't have to be goal oriented or have some kind of measure to them. I think we get so wrapped up in the number of years we are turning and what it's supposed to mean in terms of where we are in our life. I think one of the things I have done successfully  over the years is my choice to focus being grateful and celebrating myself just because! I don't think birthdays need to be earned, we are entitled to them! So in terms of reflecting this year a lot of the themes are similar to the last time I wrote a post like this. Like looking for fulfillment from myself and being able to let go of the things that don't seem to serve me. I still feel the same way; my life has changed a bit considering I met Arthur and am starting a new life with him, and my new little pig son (Pierre a French bulldog, not a real pig, but super close). I have always viewed my relationship as a major addition, a beautiful, wonderful, amazing change in my life, but never the new foundation. Fulfillment for me comes from the choices I make, the opportunities I open myself up to and as a result, the rest has come. The great relationships I have with so many friends, family members and colleagues. The healthy relationship I choose to be in with Arthur. The way I get to feel most of the time because I am doing what I truly want. So looking back on this year I have certainly had some great highs and of course, some lows. Most notably getting engaged to Arthur and starting our next chapter will be a forever top life moment. Second to that, passing my LCSW exam and getting licensed was a major accomplishment that I am SO GLAD is done and last but not least, getting to spend another year with incredible friends who are supportive, kind, loyal and fun. I honestly don't know what I would do without my little LA family (aka friends) who make all the difference. I don't necessarily have set goals for being 29 since I feel like life is always a process, like the ocean, with ebbs and flows of successes and setbacks, but I do look forward to continuing to mentor graduate interns, marrying the love of my life next summer and putting all the extra creative energy I have into my wonderful slice of respite, Gisele Chic! Thank you for following my journey and talking time to read this, always looking forward to what's next. 

-MGN