spontaneous decorating project

we went to laguna beach over the long weekend to surprise the father-to-be (pictured below) for his 30th birthday. on our drive back, i suggested that we make a spontaneous trip to ikea to see what we could pick up for their nursery. i basically had a $100 budget to spruce up an otherwise barebones baby room. here are some picture (stolen pics from their blog)

they removed the sliding doors from their closet b/c it kept getting stuck. i made curtains using regular ikea fabric.

used the leftover fabric to cover the lazy-boy. also bought kid-friendly curtains and had a hell of a time connecting them to the now-defunct nasty vertical blinds.

bought greeting cards from target and put them in ikea frames. this is a super cheap way to display art.

these greeting cards are fuzzy and just a few bucks each.

we also made a few other things but i don't have pictures yet. until then...


super tuesday party!

we've decided to throw a last-minute super tuesday party tonight and i find myself stressing about the menu again. my plan is to prepare a spread of home-style japanese food (stuffed cabbage rolls, yaikitori, agedashi tofu, kabocha, yakisoba, & make your own rolls). i'm also sick (skipped work) so i may just do indian take out as a back-up plan. :)

here's the spread from our holiday party:

it's not particularly pretty (it was for 50+ people after all) but since i know how stressful planning food for big parties can be, i thought i'd post some tips for an easy, affordable, yet delicious spread.

1) you should get everything from trader joe's and costco

2) don't make anything that is already good in a store brought/frozen version.
- hummus and pita chips
- fried dumplings
- egg rolls
- spinach dip
- edamame
- chicken salad with pecans and cranberries

3) buy high quality cheeses and crackers

4) if you live in LA, buy cut up fruit from one of those mexican fruit carts. it will save you so much time and their selection is always fresh and cheap ($10 for a huge ass fruit salad)

5) veggie plates are rip offs. cut celery and place next to baby carrots and pearl tomatoes.

6) don't go crazy with desserts- guests will inevitably bring something. i only baked gingerbread cupcakes and bought costco cream puffs. people brought cookies, cakes, brownies, and truffles.

7) prepare 1 or 2 passed-tray items for when the party is at full-tilt (and people are less likely to go to the already crowded food table)
- proscuitto wrapped melon
- mini baked quiches (costco)

8) and most importantly: prepare 2 or 3 main-dish items that are finger friendly and hot throughout the night. crockpots are your friend.

cranberry meatballs
- mix frozen meatballs, cranberry sauce (preferably fresh), jar of gravy in crockpot

mini pulled pork sandwiches (recipe)
- prepare with shredded cabbage + lemon juice and dinner rolls and have people assemble themselves with the meat from the crockpot

mini crabcake burgers (recipe)
- i have a small chafing dish (you must invest in one if you like to host) and placed the crab patties in here to keep warm. place next to pulled pork crockpot so that people can assemble with the available shredded cabbage and dinner rolls.

happy partying! here are some pictures (only of the living room area):