Weddings and Parties: The Celebrate Party

Birthdays are so fun! I have spent many years planning birthday parties for friends, family and clients. Most are usually very “theme-y” (yes, that’s a word 😉 ) which is fun, but sometimes you don’t want or need a theme. That’s why I decded to create this generic “celebrate” party. It is SO versatile! You can use it for boys or girls, kids or adults…and, if you don’t use the “happy birthday” cupcake topper…you can use it just as an everyday celebration…retirement party, graduation etc. I love the bright happy colors.

My favorite thing about this party? Almost EVERYTHING you see was $1-3 or per item. LOVE that!

SO, do you want to GET THE LOOK? Here you go!

The cupcake toppers, food labels and pennant banner are available in the shop along with a few other coordinating items.

DIY Projects:

Giant Glittered Clothespins (tutorial coming soon)

Chocolate and Sprinkle Covered Marshmallow pops (tutorial coming soon)

Sprinkle Rimmed Glasses (tutorial coming soon)

Splurge Items:

Gumball Machine (tutorial coming for making your own)

Mini Red Suitcase (you get three sizes for $25)

I bought the cupcakes at Albertsons for convenience, but making your own is always cheaper.

The yellow crinkle paper is from Walmart in the clearance Easter section. For 25cents a bag you can go stock up on lots of colors for your upcoming parties.

And I think that’s it! You can re-create every bit of this party with those supplies or something similar. AND you will have supplies left over that you can use on another project! Even better!:)

Watch for tutorials coming soon on how to create those DIY projects from this party.

Have a great day!



interior design: the white kitchen

Clean and airy, white kitchens work for all styles of decor.  Whether you prefer classic or contemporary, urban or rustic, white will make your kitchen look bigger and airier.   Another benefit?  Think of your white kitchen as a gallery wall to show off all the other gorgeous elements in your kitchen. Wood looks even more rich and inviting,  colors and printed fabrics pop, and fixtures such as chandeliers and faucets stand out against the neutral backdrop.  Take a look at these amazing examples of gorgeous white kitchens:

Have a great day!


Hotels: Scottsdale: The Fairmont Scottsdale Princess

This year we headed to one of our favorite places to celebrate the 4th of July.  The Fairmont Scottsdale Princess.  John loves the desert during the summer.  He loves sitting by the pool, drinking cold sodas and eating chips and salsa.  And let’s face it, the heat’s not bad when you have 4 amazing pools on the property to choose from!  The first year the @Fairmont offered their 4th of July Spectacular we stumbled upon it.  We were headed to the area to visit family, and being the Fairmont fans that we are, chose to stay there without knowing about the festivities.  Well, let me tell you it has now become a tradition!:)  This beautiful property sure knows how to throw a party!

When we drove up to the sprawling entrance it was covered in bunting!  It looked so festive!  The lobby had an amazing display of old flags that were representative of important times and events in US history.  You know this patriotic girl LOVED that!

(iphone picture…sorry about that!:)  )

We arrived on Wednesday night so that we could make sure to take full advantage of the festivities beginning the next morning on the 4th.  Typically we find great rates on the large Casitas they have on the property, and stay in one of those.  This year, since the kids are a bit older we decided to get two guestrooms instead.  The benefit being that instead of all being in one large room with a pull out sofa, the kids each had their own beds and their own room.  They were connecting rooms, so we just left the door between open making it a big two bedroom, two bathroom space.  It was perfect!  When the kids went to bed, we were able to still stay up and chat with visiting family and watch TV without disturbing them.


There are so many events going on that it definitely keeps you busy all weekend.  Techno glow pool parties, Zip lines, contests for the kids, dive-in movies, concerts, nightly fireworks, waterslides, fishing…the list goes on. :)  The kids obviously were most interested in spending the majority of the days in the pool.  From 1-3pm everyday they had great contests running for the kids…hula hooping, watermelon eating, underwater bing0.  My kids LOVE these!  They have souvenir cups that they have won in past years here at home that are their prized possessions. :)   When the sun sets, the fun only intensifies.  On the 4th we spent the night in the South pool which was right in the middle of all the action.  The best view of the fireworks was from IN the pool…just ask the kids. 😉  With limited time to spend, we still didn’t make it to a movie in the pool OR the Techno glow pool party…something to look forward to for our next stay!:)

The concerts on the lawn are also close enough to the South pool that you can rock out to the music while cooling off in the pool.  They played patriotic music during the 4th fireworks show which always brings me to tears and makes me feel so proud to be an American!:)  I know, I’m such a sap, but I can’t help it!:)They also projected this giant waving American Flag on the wall of the hotel facing the South Pool.  Such an awesome touch!

The concerts were SO much fun!!  They had different bands playing on different nights, and our favorite was Foreverland, an amazing 14 piece Michael Jackson tribute band.  They were SO much fun!  We had such a great time that we looked them up when we got home.  They play at the House of Blues in Anaheim on occasion, so we will definitely become groupies! 😉  We were up dancing in front of the stage all night.  (another iphone pic…I was dancing too much to carry my big camera! 😉 )

The final night of our stay we enjoyed a fabulous dinner at Bourbon Steak, the Michael Mina steakhouse on the property.  When we booked the hotel was offering a wonderful package that included resort credits for each night of your stay to use on food and drinks on the property.  We were able to use that credit at the restaurant, which was really nice.  I’ll let you know more about the restaurant in a separate post.:)

The staff at the Scottsdale Princess is super friendly and helpful, the surroundings are sprawling and beautiful, the activities are top notch, and the prices are unbeatable.  I especially love that Jack Miller, the GM at the resort is out and about welcoming people to the festivities and taking an active role in the making sure that everyone is having a great time.  You can tell that he is very invested in the hotel and the quality of the event that they are hosting for all their guests.

The great news is that if you’re looking for something fun to do over Labor Day, most of the festivities are still happening through Labor Day weekend!  And, I hear that at Christmastime they have great winter activities too.  I’m hoping to get a chance to get out there so I can let you know about that fun too!:)

happy travels!






Restaurants: Los Angeles: 800 Degrees

Remember my love of pizza? ;0  Well, here’s another place for you to try.  Tucked away in Westwood, just off campus next to UCLA is 800 degrees.  John and I had a might out so we quickly hit the road and headed up to LA for pizza and a movie.  The line was long, but don’t let that scare you away…it moves quickly.  The idea behind their pizza is “a thin crust, made with just flour, salt, water and wild yeast. Traditionally the sauce is simply crushed tomatoes, although we add a few more goodies to ours. All pies are topped with fresh mozzarella and a drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil. The completed pies are baked in a wood-burning oven and cook in about one minute. Coming hot from the ovens, the crust is characteristically soft and chewy, and with a little bit of char from the intense heat.”  Just how I like them.  😉

(I apologize in advance for the grainy, iphone pics.  I was too lazy to lug the big boy camera around on this trip. 😉 )

I fell in LOVE with the space this restaurant is in.  You know me and all things old and with character…it was GORGEOUS!!  Super high ceilings with tin tiles, walls lined with black and white subway tiles, clean black chalkboard type menu boards, gorgeous woodwork on the walls, marble topped tables and yes, a hint of glam…amazing chandeliers.  LOVE!!!

On top of the décor, the food is total eye candy. You file past a long counter full of toppings and the people working behind the counter gladly make your pie to your specifications. You start with a classic base…one of four that there are to choose from (sauce, crust, cheese) and build from there. It can be a little overwhelming, especially if you’re there when it’s busy and you feel rushed but can’t see all that there is to offer. I stuck with my baseline pepperoni and mushroom so I didn’t have a problem.:)They also have a few suggestions for you too, what they call “the classics” if you would rather have them whip something up for you without having to think about it.:)

Like I said, the line was long and we were there pretty late…around 9:30pm. But, it was a Friday night in a college town.:)And, the prices are GOOD! Starting at just $6.65 for a margherita pizza, you can’t go wrong. Additional toppings are just $1 each. We had a salad too…wasn’t my fave.  Too much lettuce not enough good stuff.:)

The vibe is young and hip. People are friendly, you’re sitting shoulder to shoulder, so you make friends. 😉 If you’re up for taking the kids out, this is definitely family friendly. It’s a loud spot so kids will just add to the mix.:)Strollers wouldn’t be too easy to navigate through the tight tables though.
Overall…great pizza, friendly fun atmosphere, and the price is right. Look for new locations popping up in Santa Monica and at LAX. For now, you can find them at:

800 Degrees Westwood Village
10889 Lindbrook Drive
Los Angeles, CA 90024

11am-2am 7 days a week.

Happy eating!
tam and fam


Restaurants: Los Angeles: Randy’s Donuts

You know you’ve seen it…the GIANT donut sign as you’re driving down the 405 through Inglewood.  You know you’ve always wanted to stop there. 😉  Well, after 10 years of driving past it, we finally did.:)  The photographer in me just can’t keep passing up a landmark like that for years and not stop.  Especially if that donut is famous and has been featured in some of our favorite TV shows (Arrested Development to name one). :)


John and I had a quick weekend getaway while the kids were with grandma and grandpa, so we stopped and loaded up on sugary sweets on our way downtown.  Were they the best donuts I’ve ever had? No, they were pretty average.  But does being famous make them taste better?  Of course.:)  Just how big is that giant donut you ask?  26 feet in diameter.

People love it when they are trying to do their jobs and I ask them to move away so I can stick my camera in the little pick up window and take a picture…NOT. 😉

We were able to sufficiently gorge ourselves for well under $10, including milk.  Not a bad deal.  There will most certainly be a line, so be prepared.  We were there at about 10am on a weekend and it only took us about 5 minutes to get through the line, so it’s not bad.  Apparently we were hungry, because we ate the donuts before I got a picture of them.:)

It’s definitely worth a stop, so next time you’re driving down the 405 and see the giant donut, pull over for a minute and eat a piece of LA history.:)

The 24-hour drive-in is located at 805 West Manchester Boulevard where it intersects with La Cienega Boulevard, and is near the Manchester Boulevard off-ramp of the San Diego Freeway (I-405).

happy eating!
tam and fam


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