Le Dîner en Blanc Paris 2018

Our fifth Dîner en Blanc was extra special because it was the 30th anniversary and Olivia joined us this year!

I was fortunate to have Antz craft these gorgeous crepe paper peonies for my headpiece. We found his Venetian mask for less than €7 at an art supply store near our apartment. I bought a huge, beautiful bouquet of white peonies for our table the day before but sadly they opened too soon so the day of the event, they were starting to whilt. I bought a bunch of babies breath (Les gypsophiles) and stuck them in Liv’s hair. We took an Uber to the Air France Museum. We arrived almost an hour early but I didn’t want to risk being late.

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After checking in my group and waiting forever for the departure time, we walked a few blocks to Esplanade des Invalides. I was certain it would be further at the Jardin de Tuileries but this location was large enough to accommodate 13,000+ guests from all over the world!

We couldn’t have asked for nicer weather. This year was the 30th anniversary of the DEB and as fickle as French weather can be, not once has it been canceled due to rain. We didn’t bring our roll-up table this year but we bought a patio table from Monoprix and borrowed two chairs from our friends in Nation. We used a grocery cart to wheel them around and put the tableware and food in my wicker cart. I bought our white plates, a white serving tray and our gold flatware from Ikea. You may remember from our last Dîner en Blanc Paris, our lovely desserts were smashed in my bag during the transport, so I made extra special care to have them wrapped and put in a smash-proof box. Wouldn’t you know it, the warm weather melted the white meringue! I am cursed when it comes to our desserts, only one barely survived.

I love how Liv is eyeing the only dessert that survived.

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After I passed out sparklers to my table of guests and the official napkin twirl, Antz popped our champagne and we took a few sips before heading off to find our friends.

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The coolest thing happened when we were wandering around admiring all the creative outfits and table settings. A woman ran up to me and excitedly told me she follows my blog! I was stunned by her kindness and enthusiasm. I totally love meeting new people at this event and finding out that someone is genuinely entertained by my blog made my night. Enchanté LaToya, you were a delight to meet!

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We had to say Bonsoir to the founder of Dîner en Blanc, François Pasquier and his lovely wife. The genie guy was a bonus I suppose, I was sad that I forgot to take a photo with Antz in the picture, LAME! I did have a moment to exclaim my love for the dinner and babble about our move to Paris to his wife as I was a bit tipsy from the champagne.

Technically, the event is for ages 18 and over but everyone welcomed Liv with hugs and were impressed by her level of French fluency. Everyone wanted to take a photo with her and were blown away by her maturity. I had to convince them that she just turned eight!

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We finally found my friend Aymeric and he introduced us to his stunning girlfriend!

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The Eiffel Tower was sparkling in the background.

We were exhausted and Liv had school the next day so around midnight, we packed up and called an Uber.

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I am so happy we brought Olivia to experience her first Dîner en Blanc. Paris is always a magical place but this dinner has an extra special place in my heart for the past five years. This photo was taken by the press and it shows the 13,000 attendees.

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If you may be interested in attending, you must be invited through a member. Let me know, I get a few invites per year around April/May. I just may be retiring from the event with exception to attending the DEB in Iceland!

Here’s previous Dîner en Blanc  2013, 2014, 2015

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Joyeux Anniversaire Olivia!

Every year I am aghast by how fast our kid is growing up. This is her eighth year and she is lovely, polite, smart, kind, funny, clever, creative, sometimes annoying but overall rad.

I can’t believe she is so big now. Liv wears size 10/12 in clothes and size 4 in shoes. I bought her a pair of New Balance sneakers in size 3.5 when we first arrived in Paris and she already outgrew them! She definitely takes after me and is part giant. She’s the tallest kid in her class and one of three kids who speak English. She is stoked that during English class she is the teacher’s assistant and she helps her classmates with their pronunciation. Liv has made quite a few friends here in Paris so I asked her what did she want to do for her birthday. She wanted her closest friend (our former neighbor) Alix to come for a sleepover at our apartment. Antz and I secretly ordered a rad unicorn cake from our neighbor who is an amazing wedding cake artist/baker. I didn’t find out until after we demolished the cake, it was completely sugar-free!! I honestly couldn’t tell.

We also collaborated on designing a custom Merrilee Liddard doll for her birthday gift. I was super worried it wouldn’t arrive on time from Utah but luckily we were home when le Poste rang our door buzzer. We have had terrible luck with mail coming from the US through the post office. Her Godparents sent her a birthday package and we tried to hunt it down everyday for two weeks but it’s lost. We were heartbroken we couldn’t track it down.

This is Lulu (named after my Grandma Louise which is my middle name). She only speaks French and she is an avid traveler. She will join us on our travels and can be followed on Instagram using the hashtag #voyagesdepoupéeLulu

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When we left LA, I couldn’t fit Liv’s dress-up clothes in our luggage so I promised I’d find her a Marie Antoinette style dress. She asked me when I would get her a gown almost everyday since we landed. Luckily, the Versailles gift shop had the perfect one in her size.

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I invited her other good friend (she is also named Alix) from school to come over for cake and we went for tea and snacks at the Cat Cafe. We began her birthday weekend celebration by taking Friday off school since Antz is getting every other Friday off work for summer Fridays (his job is awesome beyond words!) so we spent the day at the Science Center. Liv is obsessed with VR games and back in LA she was too young to try the VR demos but here she could play them. She watched a VR film about the South Pole and space exploration and she played VR games. It was an €18 fee for about an hour of playing. She had a weekend full of awesome!

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This globe would connect to different voices around the world speaking in their native language.

How creepy/hilarious are these mirror illusions?

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The kid wants to be a scientist when she grows up…or a spy.

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Liv and the two Alixes! This kid wants to live in a cat cafe.

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Sadly, I couldn’t fit her large Totoro plush in our luggage but I did squeeze in our mini Totoro so she could take her yearly birthday photo. I’m sad because after taking her photo with Totoro in her brown chair, we decided we needed the space for a desk so I dropped off the chair to my Mom’s house. So this year she took her annual photo in her bedroom in Paris.

 

Liv Year 8

Here are her previous photos.

Joyeux Anniversaire ma fille!

La Cité des Sciences et de L’industrie
30 Avenue Corentin Cariou
75019 Paris France

Open 10:00 am – 6 pm Closed Mondays

Le Cafe des Chats
9 Rue Sedaine
75011 Paris, France

Open 12:00 pm – 10:30 pm Closed Mondays

 

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Dîner en Blanc Los Angeles 2015

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Last year we waited and waited to hear the announcement for Los Angeles Dîner en Blanc but never heard anything. Lucky for us, we were able to attend the DEB in Paris. This year I figured they would email us some time during the summer but we didn’t hear anything by August. So, I planned on not going this year *which would have been a nice break for us since we have been so busy* and we planned out trip to visit Story & Chris in Portland. Of course two weeks before our trip, the email came in. Dîner en Blanc was coming back to Los Angeles just a few days after our trip.

It turns out that last year they weren’t able to secure an alcohol permit and there’s no dinner with booze. So when I was asked to be a group leader again for the second dinner in LA, I couldn’t say no. Since this was our third year, we pretty much had everything we needed. For some weird reason, I can never do things the easy way. Honestly I find easy to be boring, I’m a risk-taker. So, even though I have several white dresses in my closet, I asked my Mom-in-law to help me sew a handmade tulle skirt to wear to the dinner. I had two days to pull it off and it was miserably hot. Liv had just started kindergarten so I only had time to work while she was in school and after I picked her up. Thank goodness for my amazing Mom, who helped me pull it off. I bought 80 yards of fabric *which I had to cut about 200 rectangles* and no matter how much we layered the skirt I could still see right through it. I ended buying a white petticoat to wear underneath.

The morning of the dinner I went to the Flowermart but nothing was in season that I planned to buy. I finally decided to try something different and bought a white piece of driftwood and LED lights. I also couldn’t resist a bunch of lovely orchids. They were pricey but they held up well in the heat. They looked great in my swan vase from Anthropologie.

Antz and I made our guesses to where the Dîner en Blanc would be held this year. I said Grand Park in Downtown since it’s large enough and a perfect nighttime venue. Antz thought it would be at Santa Monica Pier or the 3rd Street Promenade. As we were driving on our bus, I was pretty sure I was right since we headed towards downtown.

Turns out I was close! We arrived at Pershing Square right in the heart of downtown LA.

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The end.

Olivia’s Wonderland UnBirthday Tea Party

Our kid turned five this week. Every year feels bittersweet. Liv is growing up so fast and I miss my four year old already!

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We threw her very first unbirthday party last Sunday at Vincent Lugo Park. Since we are used to spending her birthday out of town celebrating on a small scale, we needed to hire someone to help us plan and organize la fête. We wanted a fantastic experience for Liv and her guests but also to be able to hang out with the adults (and keep our sanity) while the kids were entertained. I found Alice’s Traveling Tea Party on Pinterest. Of all the Disney films, I’ve always loved Alice for it’s silliness and whimsical characters. Of course Liv is all about the princesses, particularly of the Frozen variety but every single birthday party we’ve been to has done that theme. Alice is rad for so many reasons, she’s able to solve her problems, remembers to be polite and lets her imagination soar. I mean, she’s not perfect but I love her sense of curiosity and adventure. So I began searching for the perfect Alice costume for Liv and was surprised to come up empty at the Disney store. I wasn’t fond of the cheap polyester costumes on Amazon so I was stoked to find a custom made dress and eyelet petticoat on eBay. I was a week from it being shipped when I got an email from the seller telling me she tripped on her ironing board and possibly broke her wrist. Just my luck, she had to cancel the order and I had one week to scramble to find something. I took a gamble buying an Alice costume I found online. I ordered a small based on the reviews of the dress sizing larger but sheesh.

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Looks too sister-wives, right?

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We took Liv to my dry cleaners and had the dress, petticoat and apron altered (which cost as much as the costume!) I was relived to see the result and the total cost ended being less than the original eBay dress. So my next task was finding a photographer. I was going to use the photographer recommended by the party planners but she was unavailable for the date of our party. Luckily I had an ace up my sleeve. I met lovely Jennifer Young back in 2013 when I was at Jihan’s studio picking up my birthday balloon. She shot Liv for Jihan’s party supply shop and she took these gorgeous shots at the Los Angeles Diner en Blanc. I have been a huge fan of her Instagram feed so I asked if she would shoot Liv’s party. I was so excited to hear she was available and able to come down to LA! Lastly, I had my heart set on having a photo booth backdrop. I liked this one I found on Pinterest and commissioned my Superhubs to build it for me.

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He bought a piece of plywood from Home Depot and the frames, topiary/roses were from Michaels

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Antz version is on the left

I love how amazing it turned out!! Antz is such a crafting genius. Next he made the Alice themed photo booth props and I ordered some party favors. Off went the invitations which are included in the party package.

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The party included food and cupcakes so I wasn’t planning on getting a cake but as I was at Porto’s ordering snacks for the adults, I couldn’t resist ordering a small last minute cake for ma fille. Antz put together this rad cosplay photo of our Alice. The morning of the party was a bit hectic for us but I managed to take some shots of the set up. Once the party got started, I was so busy passing out name tags and chatting with guests, I hardly took any pictures. Luckily my BFF Aimee and my friends took photos with their phones. I am so excited to see the photos Jennifer took next week.

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I can’t even with this little girl! She loves to get into character.

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The party looked incredible!
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All the guests signed this sheet that I will add our group photo and frame.

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The photo booth was quite popular with the big kids!

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I love this photo taken by Terry of Liv jumping for joy!
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Thanks Alice & the Mad Hatter
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Ching Ching had some cake too!

34d13-dsc_1081aba86-dsc_10809fe71-dsc_10724d1a7-dsc_1074102ac-dsc_1078 No more parties until you turn sixteen kiddo!!

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Bon anniversaire lovely Olivia!

Halloween 2014

Liv rocked her Rainbow Dash My Little Pony costume. This year was a rad one!

I bought the Rainbow Dash hoodie, socks and rainbow tutu from Amazon. The t-shirt is from Target. I am so happy she didn’t go as Elsa, there was at least 15 of them at her school!

 

I wanted to do something easy, comfy and pretty this year. I found this incredible make up tutorial and used my floral crown. Easy Peasy!

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I didn’t do my makeup as elaborate because I knew I was going to have a long day with many events so the minimal look worked best.
Oh Deer!

I went to pick up Antz Mom and her sister so they could come to Liv’s Halloween party at her school. I stopped by Starbucks for a caffeine fix and look who I happily bumped into…

Monsieur Patton Oswalt!
She was so excited to see them!
I made apple slices dipped in caramel for the party
This guy was a hit with the kids. I passed out Halloween stickers and the kids were equally terrified and thrilled by it.
Next stop with Antz company party which never disappoints.

 

Kim wins as Bob Ross “Happy Little trees guy”
Stupid Flanders

 

My favorite costume of the day!!

We dropped off Liv’s Grandma and Aunt and headed over to Carroll Avenue to trick or treat. Wouldn’t you know after months of a severe drought, it rained all night. We went to as many houses as we could before the downpour.

What a perfect and fun Halloween! Je suis tellement heureux, il a finalement plu.

Picnic at Barnsdall Park

Liv’s new French school had a picnic at Barnsdall Park for the Pre-Kindergarten class. It was a lovely afternoon. We met so many nice people. I feel so fortunate to send Olivia to such an esteemed and diverse school with really cool kids. Liv really hit it off with an older girl who taught her how to do a handstand. I have been saving my Oh Joy for Target party stuff for just the right occasion. I didn’t take that many photos because I was too busy running my mouth!

So excited to finally use my Oh Joy for Target picnic basket
Olivia’s new classmate, also named Olivia!
Such a perfect view
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We made a drink with pomegranate juice, lemonade and sprite
Liv is super stoked to start school next week

The first day of school is coming up soon. Si excité!

Nickelodeon Friends & Family Carnival

As if one carnival wasn’t enough, Saturday was round two of games, funnel cake, barber shop quartets, balloon hats, bouncy house, food, water gun fights and a crazy juggler. Nickelodeon really knows how to throw a party! Olivia was super excited to wear false eyelashes in rainbow, of course. I was calling her lil’ Phyllis Diller all day *as if anyone under my age would know who that is* I chose to don a mustache. This was the perfect summer party, totally has me inspired with ideas for Liv’s 5th birthday!

Water gun standoff

 Getting Moustachioed

I like a thin Salvador Dali ‘stache
FABulous Dahling!!
Glamorous! Of course she wants to wear them everyday.
Liv ran into her fellow Misha Lulu model, Lovely Ava *in the donut shirt*
Me and The Sugar Daddies
Spinning Plates *one of our favorite Radiohead songs*
Zoltar says I’ll be rich and famous…in 37 years!
Liv won $1!!
Can’t wait until the Nick Halloween party!

Le Dîner en Blanc Paris, France 2014

One of the coolest things we did last year was attend the first ever Dîner en Blanc in Beverly Hills. Going to the White Dinner in Paris has been on my Life List for some time now so earlier this year I reached out to the organizers of the DEB, casually asking if I happened to be in Paris when the dinner took place, would I be able to attend now that I was a member. Well, I didn’t expect a such quick response since the dinner is super exclusive and has over 13,000 people attend, I assumed it was a long shot. The same weekend I sent the email, I got responses from the organizers in Los Angeles, who then forwarded my email to the organizers in Paris. One day later I got an email directly from the son of the man who founded le Dîner en Blanc. He remembered me *and my heart headpiece* from last year. He responded that we could attend as his guests!

We found the most amazing sitter through a friend of mine. Caroline is American but has been living in Paris for a few years and speaks fluent French. She and Olivia hit it off fabulously! I knew we were leaving Olivia in safe hands. We borrowed a fold up table from our friends *thanks Warren & Kim* and luckily found some white chairs in the courtyard of the apartment we were staying. I brought most of our white dinner items from last year in my suitcase and borrowed tableware from our apartment. I couldn’t believe she didn’t have wine glasses or white dinner napkins so I had to buy some. We bought antique roses *since white peonies were no longer in season* and used a teapot for a vase. I found a pretty good sushi place, a fresh baguette, a bottle of Freixenet and pretty white tiramisu desserts.

I love this bag I bought from the arts district from Apolis
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I carried my Heart headpiece on the plane with me but it still ended up damaged so Antz helped me put together this lovely floral crown

 

My handsome date
Just follow the folks in white
Of course I had to sneak some Ban.do in there
I love his birdy boutonnière
Hey Aymeric!
SO FREAKING EXCITED!!
Where are we headed to?
Not here
The dinner was held on six of the thirty seven bridges that span the Seine river
Passerelle Debilly footbridge was our location
Not a bad view, right?

Darn it, our tiramisu was smashed to bits

 

If I had to guess, I would say there was about 500 people on our bridge
Poppin’ bottles under the Eiffel Tower #officiallyPIMP
Salut, my love. To many more Diners en Blanc!
The most perfect sunset ever. I am so happy!

Tourists walked through the dinner all night, someone asked me if it was a wedding
Sparklers are illegal in Los Angeles so this was super fun!!
She Sparkles!
This was my first time seeing the Eiffel Tower sparkle in person
Small world! I bumped in HGTV’s Adrain Leeds from House Hunters International
Of course I asked her to find us the perfect pied-à-terre in Paris!
It’s so fun making new friends
We met the loveliest Canadians at the tables next to us!
Hey Ladies!
There were people in white everywhere you looked
Time to boogie!
Look at that full moon
Our bridge looks so festive
J’adore Paris, I’ll never forget this night.

This evening was enchanted. It was nothing compared to the Beverly Hills dinner with only 1,500 guests. I am so full of gratitude and overwhelmed with joy that I was able to participate in such an epic event. I am blown away by the coordination and cooperation it takes to bring over 13,000 people together for a lovely dinner in Paris. I am accomplishing so many things on my Life List during this trip, it just may be a good time to add more goals! For those of you who may not know what the dinner is, here is a video showing the inception and past years. I hope to attend le Dîner en Blanc in New York next!

Olivia’s Frozen Going Away Party

Yesterday was nuts in a totally fantastic way! Not only was it Olivia’s last day at school but I had tons of errands to run for our trip. I spent an hour at the bank ordering foreign currency and then I put on my party planner hat. I’m sure if you have a child under the age of six, you know Frozen is like kid crack. I may not be the biggest Frozen fan but I love my kid so of course I threw a Frozen themed Going Away party for her class. Let me say, blue colored cupcakes are scarce in LA but luckily I found a baker who would airbrush vanilla cupcakes to look Frozen-esque. I searched every party store for weeks looking for Frozen party supplies but no luck. Finally, I checked the pinata/99 cent store on the corner and all that was left was a paltry bag of favors and a mylar balloon. At first I was all ambitious to make a huge Pinterest worthy craft project but you know what? I have too much going on at the moment so, I found her an Elsa crown and called it a day. As they say, let it gooooo!

The kids got kaleidoscopes, tattoos, rings and stickers. The boys were more into Frozen stuff than the girls
Liv and her bestie Sara
Liv was delighted to wear her Princess Ana dress to school and I played Michael Jackson during her party

Liv hugged me and said “This is the best party ever Mommy, thank you so much!”

Those crazy eyes and happy face are all worth it! I am so grateful for our two years at her school. We feel like part of a happy family and I know we will stay in touch with everyone. We handed out some parting gifts for the staff.

We made a cartoon of Mrs Crissy and ironed it onto a tote bag, she loved it!

Mrs. Crissy gave Liv a scrapbook filled with photos of her teachers and classmates. I cried when I read what she wrote in Olivia’s Oh! The Places You’ll Go book.

She is such an incredible teacher. I really love her. She is so rad. I apologize for my inability to form sentences, I am writing this a midnight so I’m very tired but I have an exciting post coming soon. Goodnights!

Our Taco Fiesta

Our last party at home was our bebe shower four years ago!! I have been wanting to have friends over for a BBQ before our trip. The more I planned, the more I got overwhelmed with the idea of cooking and then I remembered how great the food was at our friend’s party. So I called their caterer and was surprised at how affordable hiring a taco caterer was. I made fresh lemonade and cucumber spa water, put up some decorations and voila, our party was ready.

For the last few days I’ve been searching locally for peonies but I guess they are late this season so this morning I headed to the downtown flowermart. Bad idea, the day before Mother’s day is the worst time to be shopping for flowers. The roads were closed, traffic was at a stand still and this was at 8am! I lucked upon a parking spot and stepped over the dude sleeping on the sidewalk to walk the three blocks to the flowermart. I have never seen that place so crowded before. You would think they were giving away flowers but everything seemed to be double the price. Horrible tacky roses were everywhere. The good news was I found peonies, the bad news was the same bunch I would normally pay $6 from Trader Joe’s was now $20. Oh well, I shopped around and found a pretty bunch for $15 *all the pros know how to find the flowers at a discount* I fell in love with a bunch of mini daisies and was in and out in under a half an hour. 

New bedding makes me so happy *I love my Alexandra Ferguson pillow I received as a gift from Leslie*

Thank you Fancy!
A giant balloon and a giant Ban.do pouf are a girls best friend

Thank goodness the weather cooperated. It was sunny enough without being too hot. Everyone relaxed and ate tons of tacos.

I enjoyed myself so much I hardly took any photos, I did manage this shot of the peppers cooking, which no one was able to handle their hot.

Liv was a party animal
I bought my lemonade dispenser two years ago, so happy to finally use it
I made this banner out of scraps of fabric and Liv’s old baby clothes
Tomorrow I’ll take a better shot of my Oh Joy for Target vases
Chris just cannot keep his clothes on! Nice Cthulhu dude.
Veda stole the show with her adorableness

I tried my best to catch a Veda smile

Merci to Letty for taking care of all the cooking. Contact me for her number, she’s wonderful! Big hugs and kisses to all my lovely guests, your presence was a pleasure and I am so happy to have such rad people in my life. What a perfect way to start Mother’s Day.

*Special thanks to Kim for making the tastiest sangria, everyone loved it!

Great photos Ana!!