Summer BBQ

It’s summer in Los Angeles, which means it’s starting to get hot out! A heat wave hit the city this weekend and I couldn’t think of anything I wanted to do more than host a BBQ! One thing I miss a lot from home are the nights my family would grill up dinner. My dad makes a mean steak, fish, burger, basically anything on the grill. There’s just something so satisfying about grilled food on a hot day. Like most of my gatherings, this little BBQ was thrown together very last minute but it sure was fun!

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The only concept I had in my head was that I’d have a table for food and blow my kiddie pool up so the ladies could take a dip if they so desired. I had a relatively small menu and everyone brought something along which made life so much easier! The only prep I really needed to accomplish the night before was carving the watermelon, assembling the grill (whoops), and putting together the ice box cake for dessert. I only accomplished two of the three; can you tell which one I missed?

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Everyone came over at 1 pm and most people stayed till 5! It was such a nice way to spend a hot day!

Here’s my simple BBQ menu!

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Hamburgers
Grilled BBQ Chicken
Corn on the Cob
Zucchini
Mocha Chocolate Chip Ice Box Cake
Watermelon Mojitos

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For music, I’m a huge fan of Spotify’s Totally Stress Free playlist. What playlist do you like to have on during the summer?

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Birthday Cinespia!

It’s finally summer and summer means cinespia! This year for my birthday I had a bunch of my friends celebrate with me at cinespia’s screening of CLUELESS. As previously discussed, I love cinespia. It is my favorite thing to do in Los Angeles. Since it was my birthday I knew I had to make this screening extra special.

I didn’t want to spend my whole day working in the kitchen so I told everyone to bring their own dinners and I’d cover snacks and dessert. I love a good theme party so I wanted to make sure the whole party was Beverly Hills themed. I came up with the idea to have a candy bar so people could munch while they watched and what better containers to use than classy shopping bags from stores on Rodeo!

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I still wanted to have cake as it was my birthday but I wanted it to be something that worked with the theme. My friend Katie runs her own concierge company and she gave me the great idea to go to Cake and Art to get custom cupcakes done! I was able to pick pictures from the movie and make my own to put on my cupcakes. They were a HUGE hit!

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On the day of the screening, we had to get in line super early as a few of my friends forgot to buy tickets before it sold out. We popped open a bottle of wine, ate some appetizers, and listened to music for three hours (I told you it was early!). They were such troopers and since we got there at an ungodly hour we got a great spot on the lawn!

The DJ that played while we waited for the sun to go down had a wonderful selection of oldies and pop hits from the 90s. We ended up singing along to most of the songs while we drank more wine and ate our cupcakes.

As the sun set and the movie started we all got cozy and watched CLUELESS.

It was such a great night and honestly one of the best birthdays I’ve ever had. I’m so thankful for all of my friends and the wonderful time we all had together.

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Easter Brunch

I love Easter! It’s one of my favorite holidays. The pastels, the flowers, the brunch! The past three years I’ve been able to celebrate Easter with a pair of close friends in Los Angeles and it’s always a guaranteed good time.

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This year I volunteered to host and expanded the size of the group significantly! I invited 10 people over to eat. Now my table does not hold 10 people (or even 8) so it was fortunate that two friends couldn’t stay the whole time and two were coming later. 8 people was a manageable amount and an easier table to track down.

Since the weather has been absolutely perfect out in LA I was really married to the idea of having brunch outside. My lovely neighbor loaned me a table she had in storage and I started figuring out the rest!

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With the larger crowd I wanted to focus my energies on two bigger dishes and one munchy item. I decided on Ina Garten’s Bread Pudding and a larger version of the Frittata Cups I normally make (You can find a similar version in my Friendship Brunch post). A fruit salad, some Trader Joe’s croissants, jams, and mixers for mimosas completed my responsibilities as hostess!

Thankfully my friends brought champagne, scones, and an additional egg dish so there was food to spare!

After brunch, a few of us stuck around to finish the open champagne and play croquet. “It was so very.”

All in all, it was a lovely way to spend more time outside on a lovely day. Now that I have this massive table I’ll need to make an effort to have more meals out of doors.

Oscars 2017

It’s one of my favorite times of year! The Oscars are on Sunday! I absolutely adore watching the Oscars and always try to watch at least all of the Best Picture Nominees before the show. This year I’ll be attending someone else’s viewing party but I wanted to leave a few last minute ideas for people looking to throw something together on Sunday!

When I host an Oscar party I always make sure to set the scene. There’s a lot of gold and black decor. A bar area can easily be classed up with a black table cloth and some gold rimmed champagne glasses. An alternative option is to wrap your table in wrapping paper. I always love a good gold stripe. Another fun thing to do is serve a champagne punch with the label “Oscar Buzz.” It’s a cheeky nod to all the hype that surrounds the pre-nomination period.

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Make sure all of your guests fill out a ballot! I’ve included a printable download HERE! You can just use it for bragging rights or you could provide a prize! Last year I bought a chocolate gold oscar from Compartes and gave that to the 1st prize winner. 2nd and 3rd received Sugarfina cubes of Champagne Gummy Bears. Obviously the chocolate statues take a bit more planning, but any specialty candy or splint of champagne makes for a sweet prize.

Another fun game you can play is bingo! Pure Wow has these adorable bingo cards that you could print out and hand to your guests. It might be a bit more rowdy than the ballots but I’m sure it’ll be an equally great time! Use snacks or M&Ms to mark your spots.

If you’re worried about food have no fear Trader Joe’s is always a safe bet. I recently hosted a last minute soiree where I served several of their frozen appetizers. Their gruyere ham flat bread is an easy, elevated option. Slice it into several slices and you have a great appetizer for several people. You can also go more kid friendly with their delicious mac n cheese balls or parmesan pigs in a blanket. The fact of the matter is that Trader Joe’s allows you to create several different food options for a minimal cost, and no this post is not paid for by Trader Joe’s.

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If you’re looking for more themed options, individual servings of popcorn are always a favorite for a movie themed party. You can create a make your own popcorn mix station so every guest gets their perfect sweet and salty combination.

Enjoy the show!

Opera Season

I’m announcing a new series on the blog today!

One of my favorite hobbies is attending operas. I started attending operas after taking an introductory course to Opera my freshman year of college. One class and I was hooked. I’ve been going to operas ever since!

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This is my third season as an Aira member of the LA Opera. The Aria membership is a special program that allows young professionals to attend operas and get togethers after the performance.

This season I’ll be seeing six operas and before each opera I’ll be exploring the libretto, performers, and some trivia of the opera I’m about to see!

This season I’ll be seeing:

Macbeth
Akhnaten
Abduction from the Seragilo
Salome
Tales of Hoffman
Tosca

So join the fun and maybe find out that you like the opera too.

Cinespia!

One of my absolute favorite things to do in Los Angeles is going to a movie screening at Hollywood Forever Cemetery. Each summer Cinespia selects several movies and screens them against the wall of a mausoleum.

Everyone brings blankets, pillows, food, and lots of booze. It’s a must do in LA but you should come prepared. My first screening of 2016 was GOODFELLAS with my friend Allegra.

In honor of the movie our spread was all Italian (except for dessert). I made prosciutto, basil, mozzarella skewers with balsamic vinaigrette to start off our night!

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We followed that up with Bay Cities sandwiches. Now as a girl who went to school across the street from Arthur Ave, I am a snob about Italian food. Bay Cities has the best Italian sandwiches in Los Angeles, but this tangent is for another post in the near future.

For dessert I bought individual “cutie pies” from Simple Things. The little individual boxes the pies come in makes for easy transport into the cemetery.

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All in all it was a wonderful night and I can’t wait for my next trip to Hollywood Forever Cemetery!

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Here are some things that are an absolute musts for a great night at Cinespia and a few things I have my eye on for my next screening…

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