eloise {first birthday party!}

eloise turned ONE & we had such a fun time at her party! we were surrounded by family & friends to celebrate the first year of our daughter, & it meant so much to us that everyone came over. surprisingly, I wasn’t as emotional at all about eloise turning one (even on her actual birthday!) & I really thought I would be a mess. lots & lots of people have been asking for party pictures, so here you go. {warning: there are a lot of photos!}

{we had lawn flamingoes & a dot garland to welcome guests (to our very dry lawn!). I meant to get the big flamingoes, but ended up ordering miniature ones instead (no longer available)!}

{this was a time capsule that I am doing for eloise’s first birthday. I asked each guest to fill out a card to include in the box. more details to come!}

{eloise’s smash cake & other birthday cake.}

{just brushing her teeth & playing with mama’s phone at her party.}

I didn’t take the words of advice to really limit the guest list because we wanted this to be a celebration that included all of the family & friends that are important in eloise’s life. however, I did want to keep things casual & not have a strict schedule of events, so we just did two things: a fortune telling & the cake smash.

in the Korean culture, first birthday parties are a very big deal – traditionally & in the modern day. one of the birthday traditions – the Dol – is that a child is set in front of objects & picks one. the object that is chosen is supposed to be representative of that child’s future. since eloise is half-korean, we thought it would be fun to do at her party. we also incorporated a voting portion & each guest put his or her name in a cup to vote on which object eloise would pick. once she had picked an object, I drew a name from that cup & had a little prize. I tried to stick to the traditional objects & keep the number minimal so she didn’t get overwhelmed. needless to say, she was overwhelmed & got upset at the beginning! (funny thing is that another kiddo who had a Dol at her party also cried when she had to pick!) at first eloise went for the thread/yarn, but after getting some reassurance from her papa, she ended up choosing the book. big surprise! so, eloise is going to be a scholar in her future!

{we had the objects set out so guests could see them & vote for which one eloise would pick! you can also see a shot of the slideshow we had going on the TV – all of eloise’s weekly & monthly pictures.}

{she set out for the thread first, but before she grabbed it she stopped, looked up at everyone, & started to cry. aaron gave her some snuggles & then sent her back on her way. she picked the book & was pretty happy with her choice in the end!}

after the Dol we decided it was time for some cake. I got a simple vanilla cake from Whole Foods for the guests to enjoy, but aaron & I didn’t want to introduce eloise to sugar, especially in that quantity, on this occasion. {sidenote: I realize that I won’t be able to keep eloise away from sugar forever, but I might as well while she has no idea what it is!} so I made a sugar-free banana & blueberry cake (it was similar to a banana bread) with a whipped coconut milk frosting. the recipe made two 9 inch cakes which was way too much & I ended up cutting two small circle cakes out of one of them & stacking them on top of each other (& I froze the other cake). in hindsight, I should have made a whipped cream cheese frosting instead since this was the first time eloise had coconut & she didn’t seem to be a fan. she wasn’t super interested in the cake (which was a huge surprise to us all) & I think it was because of the coconut. I gave her just the plain cake later & she gobbled it up!

{these smash cake pictures are like the many faces of eloise!}

{I am not sure which one of these family photos I like the best. & I love that eloise’s feet are blurry because she was wiggling!}

& a huge THANK YOU to our friend jess & my brother-in-law ben for taking pictures at the party! I made sure to leave our camera out (thanks for getting some snaps jess!) & asking ben to bring his camera to take photos so that I didn’t have to worry about taking the photos during the party. plus, it means that aaron & I are in them which is really special!

happy happy first birthday eloise!


my weekend in pictures.


{we attended a fun celebration for both a birthday & an MBA completion for our friend sara – congratulations!}


{hit pike place market early saturday morning to pick up last minute party goodies – fresh flowers & french macarons! the tulips are so gorgeous & I have filled my house with them.}


{the dessert table set-up for my birthday bash.}


{kicking my feet up after a long & fun night of entertaining. loving this fantastic anthro skirt {no longer available}!}


{leftover cupcakes & donuts for breakfast? sure! don’t worry, we also had some blueberry muffins…}


{aaron showing our little friend jaz how to snap a straw.}


{car accident + rainy weather = major traffic issues.}


{meet fred, my grandmother’s new roommate!}

we had the most amazing weekend celebrating february birthdays with our friends & family. seriously, it was the best! sleeping in, eating macarons, & catching up with friends is the very best way to spend the weekend. now I am in disbelief that we are in the last week of march already – where did february go?

how was your weekend?


wedding weekend in hood river {the wedding}

this last weekend we were in hood river, oregon to celebrate my cousin jesse’s wedding to his bride elise. the venue was at Bella Vista Orchards, a few miles inland of the columbia river. the ceremony took place amongst the pear trees {with views of mount hood} & the reception in a tent on the property. it was a fun venue & a perfect setting for the bride & groom to celebrate their new union!

there were two suggestions made by the bride & groom via their invitation: one – no stilettos and two – head adornments were greatly encouraged. well, i decided to take my chances with heels {they were thick heels that are easy for me to walk in, plus with the length of my dress heels were a must!} & did pretty well, though the i understand the warning against heels given the uneven dirt paths & roads all around the venue. when it came to head adornments, aaron & i were totally in. aaron decided on his fez {that his brother brought back from egypt a few years back}. i originally thought i would make or buy a fascinator {a la duchess kate} but then came across this diy floral crown on my pinterest board & decided that would be perfect. i even talked my mom & sister into wearing them as well. my dad was a little more conventional in a classic polo baseball hat.

needless to say, we had a wonderful time celebrating!






congratulations jesse & elise!


aaron’s thirtieth birthday party.

as i mentioned here we celebrated aaron’s big 3-0 this weekend with family & friends. his birthday isn’t really until this friday, but since that kicks off memorial day weekend, we figured it would be a better turn-out if we threw the party the weekend before.

i have spent the last few months planning & making party decorations, so it was really awesome to see it all come to life on saturday. originally i was going to do a james bond theme as it seemed like a good use of aaron’s white dinner jacket from andy & hailey’s wedding. but then i decided that as much as it would be fun to have the guys dress up in suits & the gals dress up in formals, it would be better as a theme for a big sit-down dinner (which we don’t have the space for). so i decided a beer theme would be fun for aaron (since i knew there would be beer at his party anyways) & went with that. i was able to find paper goods in the theme of a beer tasting & recruited a good friend who brews home brew regularly as our beer master.

i borrowed a few ideas from pinterest {if you are curious, my pinterest board for this party is here} & will share those & my sources below. for now, enjoy the pictures! {there were a few more pictures taken at the party, but for the sake of our guest’s privacy, i decided not to put all of them up here.}




there were {and still are} thirty gold balloons hanging in our front window & each one {well, almost} has a happy birthday wish or favorite memory of aaron from our close family & friends. it means a lot to aaron & me to have received these beautiful notes & thank you to those of you who i harassed to get them to me in time for the party!

source & inspiration list:

thank you to everyone who came out to celebrate with us – we had such an amazing time! &, last but not least, happy {early} birthday to my wonderful husband!


highlights of 2012.

2013 lets do this{via}

happy 2013!

i love reading yearly highlights on other blogs & even though i try to keep up on the updates via this blog, there are hopefully a few fun things to share that you haven’t heard before. here’s the rundown of 2012:

january: i donated blood for the first {& last} time. we dined at emmer & rye in queen anne with my friend beth ann who was in town visiting. we survived snopocolypse 2012. the repairs on the jetta were finally completed from my rear-ending in november. sadie had surgery to get a small lump removed & have her teeth cleaned.



photo 5

february: we took a trip to new england & managed to visit all six new england states. we spent a long weekend in boston. i celebrated my 27 {yikes!} birthday & valentine’s day with my love in manchester, new hampshire. we celebrated thanksgiving in february with my law school friends {this is a reoccurring event in which my friend miriam cooks up a big thanksgiving dinner at various times of the year}. we celebrated leap year!


march: my mom visited for a long weekend. i oversaw work to the townhouse {new venting for the dryer}. we house-hunted on the weekends with our realtor padraic. i started & completed all three books in the hunger games series. we saw the hunger games at the IMAX. we saw {& were disappointed by} king tut at the pacific science center {no tut, just his stuff}. aaron took a work trip to vegas. we made our first {& only} offer on a house. our offer was accepted!



april: we took a post-offer tour of our new house. we celebrated easter dinner with my grandmother. we showed the townhouse to potential new tenants. i co-hosted a baby shower for amanda. we packed up all of our belongings for the big move. we closed on our house after signing lots of paperwork & handing over a very large check. we moved.




may: we were rear-ended {this better not become an annual event}. my mom & dad visited for a long weekend & helped with some house projects. we celebrated my grandmother’s 90th birthday! we celebrated aaron’s 29th birthday! i took on my first pro bono case with VAIJ. we hosted a small dinner party with old idaho friends kami, travis, & their adorable daughter olive. we spent a night on the town in bellevue at aaron’s organization’s ship party with lots of aaron’s co-workers.


june: we saw dia frampton in concert at chop suey. we hosted a small dinner party with my law school friend marcus, his then-fiancée katy, & their beagle maggie. padraic & his partner justin threw us an awesome housewarming party! we ventured down to alabama for andy & hailey’s wedding. i had lots of phone interviews.



july: we attended herschel’s first birthday party {the son of one of my law school friends}. we celebrated the fourth of july! i started going to fitness classes with my neighbor leanne at community fitness. we hosted a small dinner party with andy & hailey, just back from their honeymoon! we attended thanksgiving in july at miriam’s. sadie & i drove down to idaho. i got my haircut & had drinks with my CBC {high school} girlfriends. we loaded up the car & took a roadtrip {sadie included} to stevenson, wa for marcus & katy’s wedding. we saw the dark knight rises at the IMAX.



august: we celebrated our second wedding anniversary with a picnic dinner at greenlake! we attended our first neighborhood potluck & met lots of our neighbors. we joined a summer bocce ball league with ben & sarah. i did yoga in the park with our neighbors – the friends – & tens of other people. i shopped & noshed with my friend ashley who was in town on a work trip. we attended the pratt’s housewarming party {a couple i met & befriend while i was in americorps}. we attended padraic’s wig birthday party. i met my pro bono client. i was offered a position doing media license management & started working. my bff carlie came into town – our first house guest! we attended a moroccan dinner feast at ben & sarah’s house. aaron’s parents visited seattle for a week.







september: we attended a final farewell summer bbq. we visited indiana to see family & surprise meg at her baby shower. we attended a colts game with our friends colt & erin. we celebrated sadie’s eighth birthday!



october: we visited peru & got to hike around one of the new seven wonders of the world machu picchu. my mom & sister anya visited for a long weekend. my friend meg was in town to visit! aaron made an unexpected trip back to indiana to attend his late grandmother’s service. we attended ghouls near greenlake, ben & sarah’s annual halloween bash, as a somecard. we celebrated halloween with our very first trick-or-treaters!




november: aaron attended a week-long conference for work & stayed downtown. i watched the election results while painting the bathroom trim & texting aaron updates. we hosted our first {vegetarian} thanksgiving. we spent the long holiday weekend working on the house.



december: we attended a housewarming party for amanda, george, & madeleine. we brunched with our neighbors – the friends – at the 5 spot in queen anne. my mom visited for a long weekend. i brought back a pinterest christmas & recruited some friends to join in on the fun. we celebrated the holiday season with six holiday parties with friends & co-workers. i won rookie of the year at work. we enjoyed a double-date night in bellevue with some newly engaged friends. we loaded up the car with presents & made the trek to idaho for the week of christmas. we celebrated christmas! we made it safely back to seattle only one day delayed. we plan to ring in the new year with friends & watch the space needle firework show.

pinterest christmas logo


reflecting back on this year, i am reminded how blessed we are & also how different this year has been than the year previous. it has been such a wonderful year & ringing in a new one is a bit bittersweet.

how was your 2012 – was it a year to remember or are you itching to start 2013 already?


see highlights of 2011 here.

a shower for baby garner-ballard.

one of the reasons we picked the weekend before last to take a trip to the midwest was so that i could attend meg’s baby shower. {sidenote: meg is a cousin of one of aaron’s cousins, but that is just semantics & i consider meg family!}

one of the really fun parts about the shower is that kendra & i kept our trip on the DL, & showed up as surprise guests for meg. so fun!

aaron’s aunt & cousins – sharon, abbi, & maggi – threw the shower & they did such a wonderful job. the décor was so adorable & i was loving the color scheme. meg knows that she is having a boy, but i love that the shower didn’t scream “BOY!”


{those cake pops were delish // a fun sign for baby GB}



{stripey straws for the drinks // fun colored candy}


{maggi, meg, kendra, & kenley // mama & daughter}


{meg was spoiled with lots of love in the form of presents!}


{meg opening presents with her sister kait by her side // kenley wanted in on the present-opening action}


{meg enjoying a handmade card // i made some art of meg’s nursery}


{love you meg & happy shower!}

where is the farthest you have flown for a baby shower?


p.s. maggi, abbi, meg, & kendra all have blogs, so if you aren’t already a reader, you should definitely check them out!

sweet home alabama: andy & hailey’s wedding.

as you know, we were in alabama this last weekend celebrating the nuptials of our good friends andy & hailey. since aaron was a groomsman, we decided to head down to the south a few days early & spend some time with the bride & groom to-be & the rest of the wedding party.

{redneck night at flora-bama bar.}

we spend thursday afternoon on the beach on the florida panhandle & then changed into our finest redneck attire to dance the night away at flora-bama bar (named for its location on the border of, you guessed it, florida & alabama).


{our travel buddies: colin & carolyn.}


{the groom & bride to-be: andy & hailey.}


{colin, hailey, & chris.}


{shannon, hailey, & two of andy’s adorable nieces.}


{andy & hailey.}


{the beautiful sunset. & also colin watching the nba finals.}


{andy, hailey, & jaime. andy & hailey were donning their new trucker hats. his says “hitchin’ a bride” & hers says “randy for andy.”}


{me, andy, tyler, & alyssa.}



{rehearsal dinner.}

the rehearsal dinner was held at oak hollow farms in fairhope, AL in a beautiful, old (air-conditioned!) barn. there were twinkling lights hanging draped from the ceiling – as seen in this week’s my weekend in photos – & wood chips on the floor. we had delicious southern food, including catfish, pulled pork bbq, sweet southern tea, & peach cobbler. the toasts by the best man, & maid & matron of honor were given, followed by lots of dancing & karaoke. aaron even got on stage & sang me everything by michael buble which is what he surprised me with at our wedding; it was wonderful!


{the rustic centerpieces.}


{me & carolyn.}


{colin & carolyn.}


{the hosts & parents of the groom: barb & alan.}


{hailey & andy.}


{me & aaron. the dress for the rehearsal dinner was southern, so aaron wore a bow tie, & it wasn’t even a clip-on (i learned to tie one before we left)!}


{hailey, andy, aaron, & me.}

{wedding day!}

aaron stayed in fairhope with the rest of the wedding party on friday night while carolyn & i stayed at a little motel in town. on saturday, the wedding party got ready in fairhope, took some pictures, & headed to mobile for the ceremony. carolyn & i spent the morning at target, before heading to mobile to lunch & do some shopping before we got ready.


{apparently this guy’s rack makes a nice place for hanging dress shirts.}


{andy getting ready for the big day.}


{the first dance.}


{me & andy.}


{me & aaron. doesn’t he look so handsome in a tux?}


{cutting the cake.}


{the cake was delish. so were the sugar cookies & the french macaroons. two thumbs up to the bride for the dessert selection!}


{the traveling four-some all the way from seattle!}


{my dress was matthew williamson which i got from rent the runway. (this is a referral link.) the wedding was black tie optional & since aaron was wearing a tux, i figured i should wear something a little fancy since i was his date. it was so fun to dress up & i think we should start dressing more formally in the pacific northwest. who’s with me?}


{the ringbearer with his cool shades on.}


{the bride dancing with her father, barre.}


{the groom dancing with his mother, barbara.}


{yes, that is the garter around her head!}


{the send-off. we showered them in rose petals on their way out to the get-away car while the band played.}


{congrats to the new mr. & mrs. steiner!}

{my up do.}

a few people asked about my hair, so i thought i would just include this quick note. i knew i needed my hair to be up & off my neck. also, my hairdresser always taught me: the more the dress, the higher the hair. basically, if you are wearing a strapless dress, you can leave your hair down, but if you have straps, you should have all of it up.

my hair is thick & super long right now, so i needed an updo that had different sections. i basically followed this hair tutorial, but did regular french braids instead of french fishtail braids (my arms get too tired to do fishtail!).



it is definitely wedding season. have you been to any recently or do you have any to attend later this summer?