Every year my Aunt Debi throws together a little brunch to celebrate being a mom, her mom and all mom’s related to her. This year she put on this brunch…but this was not “thrown” together. Not even close. Aunt Debi went all out LMP style so we just had to share!
The theme was family, elegance and class. Deb made a dessert table that displayed photos of all of the mother’s invited to her brunch…from their hay day and each black and white vintage original picture was more beautiful then the next.
To toast the Mom’s at this brunch Debi set out Pink Grapefruit and sparkling white wine Margaritas with Lime which looked so beautiful over the lace runner (which is vintage Boobie – AKA Debi’s mom & my grandmother) that she used for her dessert table.
I have written about it before…and still believe that one of the most important things to remember after having kids is – your relationship. It’s so easy to get caught up in the hectic-ness of mommyhood, your career, your social life…etc. The best advice I can give to new and even old parents is make time and room in your life for your partner. Whether it be date night or a short vacation…make it a priority to factor in alone time.
That’s exactly what my hubby and I did this weekend. We whisked away on a 3 night/4 day vacation to the Gansevoort in Turks & Caicos..without our little ones. Dare I admit to you…I actually relaxed? I can’t deny it. Not even for one second. I got so much R&R on this trip I actually read a book…which I haven’t done since the year 2008. I’m not kidding you. I don’t read. Unless it’s Good night Good night Construction site to my 3 year old. I have never been a big reader…but more of a magazine flipper…and it’s gotta be a good damn book to grab my attention long enough to get through it. So what did I read on this trip (in less then 24 hours for that matter)….?? Rachel Dratch’s Girl Walks into a Bar. What a great story! As you may know we’re doing a book giveaway for Rachel’s memoir and the winner is going to be announced ..um wait a minute…RIGHT NOW! Fabianne Espinola CONGRATULATIONS! You have won yourself a copy of this fascinating tale about a girl who struggled through her life to become famous…and thereafter to be happy post her 7 year career on SNL. Please email me here to claim your prize!
As I predicted Rachel’s book made me laugh out loud and shed a few tears (thanks a lot prophet Doug – inside joke, you’ll have to read her book to understand this one) and I could not put it down till I finished hearing how she settled into the life she has now…with her son, Eli.
As for our trips over the past year… with and without the kids…here’s what I can tell you…Travel + Leisure through the eyes of LMP:
Best Beach: Turks & Caicos Grace Bay – hands down.
We have traveled to almost every Caribbean island out there…except until this weekend…Turks & Caicos. What were we waiting for? Turks & Caicos Grace Bay was hands down the best beach we’ve seen to date…and I’m talking from ALL OF THEM: St. Maarten, St. Lucia, Dominican, Bahamas, Mexico, Aruba…even off the grid to Hawaii. The beaches were pure white sand and oh so soft on our feet with no rocks, limited seaweed and as hard as my hubby tried to find them…no crabs. The water was bright turquoise blue and absolutely breathtaking.
We stayed in the ultra modern and super swank Gansevoort hotel. A very small and intimate boutique hotel that we would highly recommend (if you’re traveling without kids). The rooms were fresh and clean, they had a small spa and gym and the hotel was right on the beach. The service was typical Caribbean style where they move at a glacial pace but once you get over your initial hump of impatience it’s smooth sailing and they force you to relax there. Tons of great restaurants and a party at the Gansevoort on Friday nights with a bumpin’ dj and crowd that’s ready to dance makes you forget about home so you can let loose, have fun and relax.
If you do go – here are the restaurants we loved…and suggest you try…
Coyaba – a delicious menu that will leave you wanting to come back for more. I highly recommend the tempura coconut shrimp and grilled Caribbean lobster.
Coco Bistro - outdoor oasis with delicious Caicos fare and fun rum drinks! We LOVED the lobster spring rolls!
Parallel 23 – in the Regent Palms Hotel this restaurant is also outdoors and has a relaxed vibe where they serve a nice variety of seafood, meat and chicken dishes. Nice drinks and sometimes have live music.
Worst Pool but Best Kids Club: The Atlantis in the Bahamas
I’m not really sure how I can describe this resort without being too offensive but I deeply disliked the Atlantis in the Bahamas. When we arrived at the oversized resort this past winter when we took the kids for a vacation, not only were we not greeted with a friendly and inviting welcome but I had to fetch someone down to help us with our bags and then had to wait in a 10 person deep line to check in. Um, something is wrong here. For the amount of money this hotel cost us – nah uh. I want service. Gold service. The royal treatment…when you’re on vacation…don’t you?
I have become a huge critic when it comes to traveling and I apologize – but I’m just being honest with you. The Atlantis, while fantastic and a dream come true for kids, is an adults worst nightmare. Mine at least. Without getting into too much detail and risking your never reading this blog again – let’s just say…after day 2 of a week long trip to this factory of a hotel – we nick named it Poo-lantis. Why? Because on a daily basis someone would do their business in the pool and not just the kids pool. We actually stayed at the Reef for the week, the nicer of the towers where you can get ocean views, a full kitchen and two rooms…oh and a washing machine/dryer that didn’t work. On the flip side…the kids club was the best I’ve seen to date. My oldest had the best time there…so much so he never wanted to leave. He also just loved the aquarium, watching his Papa go down the huge water slides and swimming with the sting rays and sharks. Just know what you’re getting into if you come to this place…and from my experience…I could recommend much better ways to spend your hard earned dollars.
Most outstanding service: The NEW Four Seasons Toronto
When my husband proposed back in 2006 he did so in my hometown of Toronto. Our engagement was so perfect and special to me I wouldn’t have changed a thing. Well….except for the suite that he booked us in for the weekend at the Four Seasons. At the time the Four Seasons Toronto was run down and beat up and felt a bit dumpy…though you wouldn’t have expected it from the prices you were paying. Since then…they shut down the old location and opened a new tower that is so fantastic I actually wish I could move in. Aside from the beautifully designed rooms the service is absolutely spectacular. With a gorgeous spa, dynamite views of the city and a location that just can’t be beat – the new Four Seasons is hands down my favorite hotel in the city. They are so kind, friendly and helpful there. Now isn’t this what you want from a hotel? I think so! The service at the FST keeps us coming back time and time again…and we thank them you for it!
So happy traveling…and if you go to any resorts that you love so much you want to share… please do so! We’d love to hear in our comments section below.
With Valentine’s day coming up next week I was finally inspired to write the very long awaited blog about my sister’s big day…when she married Jason.
But we’ve got a few points of discussion before we begin here…
When my sister got engaged last year, the first thing she booked…was her photographer. Before she had a venue. Um…I was concerned. But I’ll tell you this – I was quick to understand why she did it.
Scarlott O’Neill took some of the most fabulous wedding shots I’ve ever seen…aside from ahem, you know who. Our Michelle…who was just featured in the SMP MAGAZINE (starting on page 81!!) for her to die for gorgeous wedding that occurred in August 2011. Oh my!!
What I love most about amazing photography is that if done right – it tells a story. And my sister’s wedding…is a story worth seeing.
This past weekend we traveled to Toronto to spend a few days with my family. Let’s be honest, they had no interest in seeing me or my hubby…they just wanted to see my two precious boys. And who can blame them? They miss each other like crazy!
Back when I was pregnant with lil Luke (aka Lukie or “Yuke” as my older son calls him), my sister had been dying to throw me a baby shower and since showers are really not my thing we comprimised and she made a “sip n see” party for my new lil man instead. And what a great concept a sip n see is! Invite your friends and family over, serve some food, sip some drinks and see the baby!
I had no doubt this LMP Toronto party was going to be fabulous and that’s just what is was. FAB! Mandy collaborated with two of her good pals to put on this Moroccan themed soiree and their contributions were pretty spectacular.
Ashley, who has just launched a party planning biz of her own - Ashley Lindzon Events - put a great deal of creativity and effort into the decor for this party. I was so impressed! The color scheme was so fitting and gorgeous: cobalt blue, fuschia pink, sparkling gold and bright white. The details included several DIY projects that Mandy and Ashley worked on such as gold doilies strung along the window, bunting for the bundt cake – no pun intended, gold dipped forks for the dessert table (love love love) and gold sparyed soup cans used as vases.
I have a son and I happen to be pregnant again and will be surprised with the sex for the 2nd time round. You wonder why I’m telling you this? Well it’s because if I have another boy, which I’d be over joyed with (yes my biggest fear in life is having a teenage daughter – we can talk about this in another blog post…), I realize I will never get the pleasure of throwing a shower like this again. This Saturday I had the honor of working with some of the sweetest, most fabulous bridesmaids to put on the shower of my sister’s dreams. It was the first time, sadly, I know, that I realized just how lucky I am to have a sister. I’ve always taken her for granted and unfortunately we were not super close growing up. But that’s all changed and in the past few years as we have become incredibly tight and speak every day even when we have nothing to say to each other.
So when first sitting down to plan this special event for my sister I just had to consult with her on the theme, color palette and some of the main concepts because I wanted it to be as perfect as can be. Her love of tea, vintage and shabby chic details pulled together into a “tea for two” theme for the party and with this we designed a soft, feminine and really pretty inspiration board to work with…
This was the end of my sister Mandy’s involvement in her shower as from this point on LMP and the bridesmaids took the vision for her fantasy shower and ran with it.
Now before I go any further here I need to give a shout out to Robyn Harrison who took the photos that you will see below (aside for the odd one that was taken by my Aunt Debi). Her photography is simply amazing – thank you for all of your hard work and sending these shots to me so quickly!
On to the venue. Many of the girls so generously offered up their homes to have Mandy’s shower in. I thought it would be best to have it in one of the girls’ homes to save some money and to make it more personal. So we had the shower at her friend Elyse’s house who happens to be a chef…not too shabby and we’ll talk more about this shortly. Elyse’s house is beautiful. She has a lovely dining room/living room but the creme de la creme is her backyard. A really nice size, lush grass and large patio set with plenty of room to set up all the tables we wanted to really let our creative juices flow. One key factor here…the weather. We needed sun, warmth and sun. HA! Well guess what? We got it! And actually – it was the nicest day we’ve seen to date this 2012. The sun was beaming, the air was warm with a beautiful breeze and the clouds kept their distance. I couldn’t have asked for it to be any better if I tried.
So we put up a sign on the front lawn to direct the guests to the backyard and we were ready to roll…AND…that’s when…
We set out three main tables for the party: drinks, brunch and dessert. We also set a table for gifts and favors for everyone to take home. And we had the joy of setting out tables for guests to sit at which made for a really laid back and comfortable celebration.
The color palette was made up of soft pink, mint green, gold and ivory lace. We combined all of these colors in the table where we set up drinks for the guests to help themselves: coffee & tea, pink sparkling lemonade, a pink Moscato, sparkling and still water and of course plenty of lemons & limes. I purchased a pink lacy parasol umbrella from Luna Bazaar from which I hung black and white pictures of my sister as a baby on doilies from. I give 100% credit to my mother Vici for this fabulous idea which turned out to look gorgeous at the beverage station.
In addition I found the most beautiful little pendants from M&J Trimming to hot glue onto ribbon and put around the corrugated sleeves that we set out for the coffee cups. A great DIY way to spice up a boring plain white cup. We also set out ivory roses in a silver tea set that we borrowed from my Boobie Frieda (aka my grandmother). As you may or may not know, my Boobie turned 90 this past November and couldn’t be more precious to my sister and I. We are so thankful that she is with us and as strong as she is being able to attend all of the special occasions that have been going on in our lives. Boobie played a pretty large role in this shower as she loaned us much more then just her silver tea set…
We took several of her vintage tea cups, tea pots, platters, vases and table linens to use throughout the party. This made the party not only more stunning then it already was but also very meaningful and special to our family who was in attendance. We were also very lucky to borrow some of the vintage tea cups that my Auntie Marissa has been storing from our late Bubbie Nelly (aka my other grandmother). We used the teacups to fill with flowers, make mini cake stands and as part of the centerpieces on the tables where the guests were able to enjoy their delicious bites. We even filled some of these beautiful tea cups on the tables with cookies that Elyse replicated right off of Pinterest which were delicious and adorable! Surrounding each we put up more childhood pictures of Mandy for the guests to enjoy looking at.
You will also see we had some beautiful flowers all over this shower. I had the pleasure of working with Suzanne from Wildflowers for these fabulous arrangements. She was super sweet and so helpful and I cannot wait to work with her again!
We couldn’t resist the beautiful tissue fans from Shop Sweet Lulu either. So we strung these along the exposed brick wall back drop to our food and dessert tables. Though they were blowing in the light wind and not staying straight and even (which to a person like me who has a wild case of OCD is pure torture) they added a girly and cute element to our overall decor.
Moving along to the food…here’s where Elyse really comes into play. A chef, cooking school teacher and along with the rest of the bridal party a dear friend to my sister – Elyse spent countless hours the day prior to and morning of preparing the most insanely delicious food I’ve ever eaten at a brunch. Not to mention…simply gorgeous. The menu consisted of the following:
* Green Bean Bundles with Herb Dip
* Wild Mushroom Phyllo Purses
* Goat Cheese and Caramelized Shallot Tarts topped with a Roasted Tomato
* Bacon and Aged Cheddar Scones with Chive Butter
* Crab Cakes with Dijon Aioli
* Trio of Crostini: Gorgonzola Cream with Fresh Figs & Red Wine Reduction, Goat Cheese with Truffle Honey & Toasted Walnuts and White Bean Puree with Garlic Confit
* Tea Sandwiches: Curried Chicken Salad, Smoked Salmon with Dill Creme Fraiche & Caviar and Asparagus with Lemon Cream Cheese – could these be any more stunning?
I’m not sure how to express to you how good this food was…maybe you can try to get the idea from these pictures…haha. And if you want to see more of Elyse’s work including her write up of Mandy’s shower check out her blog here.
Onto desserts…um, wow. Thanks to my long time friend and wedding planner Mona Ng, I was referred to a bakery called Bobbette & Belle. Talk about talent – these girls are amazing. Their desserts are not desserts…they are pieces of art. Using our inspiration board as pasted above we came up with the following menu for the dessert table:
* Piped royal icing flower sugar cookies
* Assortment of macarons
* Assortment of melt in your mouth meringues
* Mini cupcakes piped with soft pink roses, soft green leaves and gold centers
* Two tiered pink ruffle cake