Posts Tagged ‘Santa Monica’

Some of My Favorite Snack Foods

I have to admit... I am a snacker. I spend a lot of time either sitting in front of my computer or in my car driving my daughter to school, so it's rare when I actually sit down for lunch.

I was asked by the people at Activia Harvest Picks to write about my favorite snack foods, and I was happy to do it.  Plus, I thought this would give me a great opportunity to work on my food photography skills with my new Canon DSLR.

I live in Santa Monica, CA, and there is the most incredible farmer's market right down the street. This is what it looks like, just two blocks from the beach. My husband or I go once a week.

Yesterday, I took my camera with me (it was 75 degrees outside and a little hazy) and I photographed all the foods I love to snack on.

Berries -- Any and all kinds of berries, my favorite being blackberries and strawberries.  The only place I've had better berries is on my mother's farm in North Carolina. Otherwise, these are the best.

Raw almonds -- I can eat them by the handful. This is my snack when I want something filling and satisfying.

Satsuma Mandarins -- I like my sweet with a big dose of tangy and that's exactly what these taste like, plus they're super easy to peel and very portable. I just pop them in my bag as I'm heading out the door.

Heirloom carrots -- I like my carrots in a variety of colors (I find the purple ones to be extra sweet). I just peel them and eat them... a lot of them. I wonder if I was a rabbit in a previous life. They are just so crunchy and have such a delicious earthy taste.

Pink Lady apples -- Not only do I like the name, but again it's got that great balance of sweet and acid, plus they taste great with a spoonful of peanut butter.

Haas avocados -- I just cut them in half, sprinkle them with kosher salt, maybe a dash of lemon, grab a spoon, and go to town. This is another filling snack for me.

And finally my downfall... These are dark chocolate cakes with chocolate ganache. I could seriously live on chocolate alone and need a piece (or two or three) every day. It's my major Achilles heel. I don't know how I could ever live without it. Or why I'd ever want to.

Hope you enjoyed the photos. I'd love to hear what your favorite snacks are.

New Activia Harvest Picks is a deliciously fruity and silky smooth yogurt. You will enjoy a Harvest of real fruit in every silky spoonful.

Compensation was provided by Activia via Glam Media. The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and are not indicative of the opinions or positions of Activia.

Planning My Daughter's 4th Birthday - Balloon Celebrations

(Decorating a dessert table? Today is the last day to enter our $25 giveaway from Superior Nut Store. It’s so easy!)

A balloon shop opened up down the street from me in Santa Monica called Balloon Celebrations. Mind you, this isn't just any balloon shop. It's the balloon shop that does all the celebrity parties and movie premieres in LA. Therefore everything they do is BIG.

In fact, this is what the outside of the store looked like on Valentine's Day.

Cyndy, the owner, is an absolute doll. When I told her my budget for my daughter's birthday (which remember, is teeny tiny), she said she couldn't do anything great for that, but wanted to help me out and make the party fabulous, so she agreed to design two gorgeous balloon bouquets and have them delivered. How amazing is that?

Here are some examples of the unbelievable designs she's done. To see everything, check out the galleries on her site Balloon Celebrations. You'll be so impressed.

Here's a sample balloon bouquet.

I can't wait to see what Cyndy does for Adelaine's party. There will of course be tons of photos.

So if you live in LA or nearby and need balloons for any occasion big or small, Balloon Celebrations is where it's at!

xxxx

Vanilla Bake Shop

Friday night we were invited to a friends' house for dinner, so I stopped by Vanilla Bake Shop in Santa Monica, CA (where I live) to pick up some cupcakes.

The store is so lovely and the desserts so beautiful, I had to shoot some photos.

Vanilla Bake Shop was started by husband and wife team, Amy and Jeremy Berman.  Here's an article from the New York Times about their story.

Amy has also appeared on the Martha Stewart Show to bake her famous Meyer Lemon Raspberry Cupcakes.

Some iPhone photos of the store...

The baby cupcakes I bought for our dinner... Yum.

If you're visiting Los Angeles, I think Vanilla Bake Shop is definitely worth a visit for some of these tasty baby cupcakes.

The Party was a Success!

The party went off without a hitch!!  Lainey had a great time, we had a great time.  It was a lot of work, but well worth it.  Here are some pictures to show you what it looked like.

Setting up before the party.  Everything was in Lainey's favorite colors -- pink and purple.  The day couldn't have been more beautiful and if you look in the distance, you'll see the ocean.

The birthday girl arriving at her party...

Lainey and me before the party started.  Notice our party beads.  All the kids got pink and purple party beads as a welcome gift when they arrived.

One of the guests brought rocket balloons, which was a great addition to the party.  Here's David surrounded by the kids as he works the magic rocket balloon launcher...

Goofy Gil, the entertainment, who really got the party started...

And it wasn't called "Lainey's Dance Party" for nothing.  Serious dancing occurred.  When I asked Lainey what her favorite part of the party was, she said, "The dancing!"  I did my job.

And to any three year old (and most adults), the most important element... the cake!  This one was from Susie Cakes in LA.  It was well worth the expense.  Beautiful and delicious.

At the end of the party, I gave out these gift bags.  To seal them, I got stickers made at Kinko's of the picture on the Cocodot invitation.  Inside was a pink glow stick, some Silly Putty, and some Wikki Stix.

All in all, it was a really great day!  And to make sure Lainey remembers this when she's 20, I've got the pictures to prove it!

3 Days Until Lainey's Birthday Party... All the Deets

So Lainey's 3rd birthday party is this Sunday and I'm excited.  Even for this "nothing special" party at a local park for 25 kids and 35 adults, it's amazing the number of lists I have going, and the amount of time I've spent planning instead of blogging.

Now that it's all set, here are the details... For the kids, I've ordered pizzas from Rosti, a tasty local Italian joint up the street, and for the adults, as I mentioned earlier, I ordered the most awesome 24 inch sandwiches from Bay Cities Deli.  Delish!  To go with the sandwiches, I bought a case of Kettle Chips on Amazon.  I'm addicted to Amazon Prime.

I splurged and got the cake from Susie Cakes.  It should be pink and purple with lots of hearts.  Direct orders from a 3 year old.

For entertainment, it's still Goofy Gil and we're thinking an hour of crazy dancing.   Let's burn these kids out.  And to make it festive, mardi gras beads in hot pink and purple for everyone (including the parents if they're game).

And as for party favors, I initially wanted to put together a mix CD of Lainey's favorite dance songs, but it got a little complicated, especially with song rights and duplication, so instead I bought pink and purple glow sticks, some Wikki Stix, and some old fashioned Silly Putty.  To be honest, I bet these go over better with the discerning toddler crowd.

In this economic climate and because we are starting a business, I've been trying to keeps costs down, but all in, this casual, low-key, (but hopefully still awesome) party wasn't as cheap as I'd planned.   This is why we will soon be creating a simple-to-use party budgeting tool to put up on the site.  I promised my husband I will be the first to use it.

The Party Planning Continues...

So the invitations to my daughter's party are out.  The responses are trickling in.  While my intention was to keep it small, I don't think I'm going to be successful.  Now I'm planning on about 30 kids, 45 adults.  That's a lot of mouths to feed.  So for my menu...

45 inch sandwiches from Bay Cities Deli in Santa Monica.   They make big Italian sandwiches on fresh baked slightly sour, slightly sweet bread.   Their "godmother" and "caprese" sandwiches are their most famous.  We'll order a few of both and maybe a turkey and cheese.

I'm also ordering about 8 pizzas for the kids, not sure from where yet, and a big fruit platter.  The question is do I need a big salad too or is that overkill?  Any thoughts please comment.

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