I turn twenty-seven today! We celebrated this past weekend with a cookout on the beach with some friends, complete with bacon-wrapped Sonoran hot dogs, snorkeling, and good ol’ Monopoly Deal. On Monday, I spent the day celebrating with Dean. We went kayaking at SGU’s University Club and then spent the afternoon cooking up a lobsterfest for dinner. We’re going to have lobster bisque for dinner tonight. Thanks for all your birthday wishes! I am the luckiest girl. :)

Find recipes for the butter-poached lobster with roe sauce and for lobster tomalley garlic bread here.

*Cookout photo by Yunah. Snorkeling photo by Yuan-Hui.

DIY Confetti System Garland

I’ve seen these confetti system garlands popping up everywhere, but at $130 each, they’re a bit out of my price range (and I’m not even sure if they ship to Grenada!). I decided to try my hand at making them for Dean and Jade’s party using what was available to me here on the island. You’ll only need two things – streamers and scissors. Oh, and maybe some hot glue that you don’t see here…

hot glue

Step 1: Grab a length of streamer twice the length of your final tassel. Continue doing this, overlapping until you have a stack about 6 layers thick.

Step 2: Cut the ends so that you end up with six separate pieces. Keep them stacked.

Step 3: Fold all six pieces in half lengthwise.

Step 4: Starting at the open end (not the folded end), cut thin strips all the way across.

Step 5: Open up the layers and roll them up in the middle. Twist the middle tightly.

Step 6: Fold the twist in half to create a loop and continue twisting. Put a dab of hot glue in the twists to hold in place.

Step 7: Pull apart the fringes and fluff up your tassels. Make a bunch, loop them onto string, and hang.

(Don’t they look like jellyfish here?)


A Very Hungry Caterpillar Birthday Party

In addition to the invitations, I also helped out with some of the decorations for Emmett’s first birthday party. Chau found a local baker who did such a fabulous job with the beautiful cake, smash cake, and the cutest cupcakes ever! Chau and her sister also worked really hard to put all the extra details together, and her mom and extended family made tons of homemade Vietnamese food that was so delicious! Let me say, this family knows how to throw a party! And I have to mention that Chau and Quoc have a gorgeous home that is just perfect for throwing parties. :)


For Emmett’s birthday present, I decided to make him a felt version of The Very Hungry Caterpillar that included felt pieces of all the fruits and junk foods that the caterpillar ate. I’ll share more details and a printable DIY in a follow-up post. :) *Edit: Find the printable here!

the birthday boy!

Pin the caterpillar on the apple! 

Photography by Julie Wan

Dean + Jade’s Birthday

Dean and his friend Jade have birthdays a few days apart, so Jade’s wife Natalie and I decided it would be fun to throw them a joint birthday party. The two of them just finished up their midterms this week too, so it was  double the reason for celebration! Here are a few pics from our birthday extravaganza.






Happy birthday, Dean and Jade! Hope you guys enjoyed your party. :)




DIY Giant Cardboard Letters

Grenada’s Save the Children Foundation (Grensave) holds an International Food and Drink Festival every year with booths from different countries around the world. I volunteered to help out with the decorations for the America table, so my awesome decorations team and I whipped up these red, white, and blue pinwheels, flags, firecrackers, and giant letters. A lot of people asked me how I made the letters, so I wanted to share this tutorial with you.

You should be able to make them with supplies that you already have in your house (and that you can find even on a tropical island):

cereal box
cutting mat
Xacto knife
printed block letters
hot glue gun

Step 1: Cut generously around your printed block letter and staple to the cereal box (cereal box brown side up, printed letter right side up. The orientation didn’t matter for my letter “U,” but it would with letters that aren’t symmetrical.

Step 2: Cut out the letter and cereal box with an Xacto knife or with scissors.

Step 3: Flip the letter over and trace it again (cereal front sides facing each other) and cut out.

Step 4: After you’ve finished cutting out your letter shapes, cut out a couple stripes of cardboard roughly the same width of your letters.You’ll need a different amount depending on the letter.

Step 5: Begin glueing the strips to your letterform. I purposely lined up the folded part of my cardboard strip with the corner of my “U” so that the crease would fall in the right place. You’ll want the strips of cardboard to sit on top of the letterform so that from the front and back, you’ll see no glue or edges.

I used two strips for the outside of the “U” here. I joined them at the bottom with some glue on the inside.

Step 6: Repeat the same steps for all sides of the letter.

Step 7: After all the sides have been glued, go ahead and place the top on. This part is a bit trickier to glue. I flipped my letter over so that the extra face that still needed to be glued on was lying on the table. I then put hot glue on small sections at a time and then lined up my sides to the bottom.

Here’s a close-up to show you how the letter is constructed and a little cross-section diagram here for you:


Step 8: And when your letter is all done, it’s time to paint! I used 2 coats of tempera paint for each of my letters. Make sure to let them dry before you put the second coat on.

Let dry overnight before you use them!

Hoi’s Bridal Shower Details

I’m back with some pictures from Hoi’s bridal shower today! The other bridesmaids and I had a lot of fun putting this shower together for Hoi. And I was dying for an excuse to use a giant balloon. :)  Did you know you can buy them at Party City? They come in a pack though, so you’ll have to purchase the pack and then ask to get them blown up. Note of warning: stay away from pointy trees. I learned this the hard way. Let’s just say there were supposed to be 2 giant balloons.

Anyway, here are some detail shots from the shower. I’ll follow-up in the next few weeks with some specific DIYS for items I made for the shower (penant banner, stripey straws, tissue paper flowers, ribbon lei!).

mimosa station with mango, cranberry, and pineapple juice
Hoi loves the cheese fondue from Olive Garden, so we found the recipe online and replicated it for her shower with lots of fun dippers.
for favors, we had Burt’s Bees mango chapstick and fun products supplied by Johnson & Johnson (where Hoi works)

And here’s a final pic of the whole group! Thanks for letting us celebrate you, Hoi!

*Edit: Find DIY tutorials here for the penant flag, placemats, crepe paper hair flowers, and ribbon lei.

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