Party Like It’s 1999

Happy Monday, friends!

I hope you all had an awesome weekend, and for those of you local to the DMV area, that you enjoyed the absolutely INCREDIBLE weather that we were blessed with Thursday, Friday & Saturday! Sadly, things have taken a turn for the cold, wet, and dreary today, but at least I have the memories of 80* and sunny to get me through these next few days of drudgery.

Not to mention all the fantastic memories from the past week to think back upon whenever I’m in need of a good smile! The last, what, five days? Have been SUPERJAMPACKED with so much fun, friendship, and phat funky freshness that I honestly am not even sure where to start, lol.

First off, my sister came back into town for my birthday, which is always just the BESTTTT. She brought my nephew Alex with her (my two nieces stayed home with their daddy), who you may know is only 3 weeks older than Penny so it’s always the most ridiculous amounts of fun to get these two together.

 
And since some of my sister’s best friends from high school and college also still live in Northern Virginia, we got to bring a bit of extra adorableness into the fray (since I am squarely in the midst of that season of life and everyone I know has a baby right now, hehehehehe.) First we spent some time with the inimitable Anne and baby Riese…

(Which of course means we now have to flash back to the last time we got all three of these littles together and be overcome by how fast time is moving — anyone else? No, just me?)

And we also got to have a playdate with our friends Lara & Jim and their amazing little lovebug Amira. GIMME ALL TEH BABIEEEEES!

 
Now, despite evidence to the contrary, this past week wasn’t all babies all the time though (even though I obviously would have been A-OK with that since I’m painfully obsessed with my progeny, lol.) My whole family went out to dinner for my actual birthday on Wednesday (we left the babies sleeping at home under the watchful eye of my awesome nanny). We went to Clarity in Vienna and it was a seriously delicious (if very loooooong) meal.

 
And then, of course, Saturday was my big birthday bash!

We partied like it was 1999 and it. was. radical. I tried to go all out on the nostalgia front, so I went heavy with the 90s snacks, candy, and drinks. We’re talking ring pops, Bagel Bites, homemade Lunchables and Dunkaroos, Capri Suns, Kool-Aid Bursts (which were HELLA DELISH when mixed with vodka I’m not gonna lie!) — the works!

 
 
The best part was, of course, compiling the swiggity sweet 90s playlist for the party. Eve 6, Savage Garden, the Fugees, Salt-n-Pepa, Backstreet Boys, Foo Fighters, TLC, Destiny’s Child, Spice Girls, Lit, Fastball, Ace of Bass, the Cranberries, Bell Biv Devoe… it was tight. As were everyone’s superfly 90s outfits!

  
 
  
 
Thanks to everyone who came out and partied with me! It was all that AND a bag of chips, yo.

Buuuuuuuut also probably the last party I foresee throwing for myself for a long while. This ish was exhausting! I plan enough parties for work, hehe. And most critically, I simply don’t bounce back quite as quickly as I used to these days! These beginning of the night / end of the night photos illustrate this new reality quite nicely, haha (Old Man Sean was definitely struggling too hahahahaha.)

 
At least I have another person to focus all my personal-party-planning-prowess (say that 5x fast) on now, hehehe. I mean, are we shocked that I’ve already started planning Penny’s 1st birthday party? Five days in and I will admit that this decade has been pretty great so far! So let’s just keep that going for the next nine years, 361 days, k?

Mia Turns One!

Howdy neighbors!

I’m back from Macon, GA after a wonderful few days with my sister, brother-in-law, and baby niece, Mia (short for Amelia). I even got to see my mom for like two hours on Sunday (we overlapped with her flying into town and me flying out, haha) and, most importantly, got to ring in Mia’s FIRST YEAR OF LIVING with an amazing party that my sister and I put together for her. Apologies in advance for the proud Auntie Gretchen photo overload that’s about to happen, hehe.

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I’ll let the photos primarily speak for themselves, but since you guys already know my penchant for throwing big birthday parties, it should come as no surprise that this was themed out the wazoo… owl-style!

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Owls

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The smash cake in particular I really am quite proud of, hehe.

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My sister, Jenny, did all the planning and I think Miss Amelia ended up with quite the Pinterest-worthy first birthday party! Owls, owls, everywhere, plus cake and cakepops and cookies and chocolate and, well, just lots and lots of sugar. I think that this may have been the sugar OVERbinge I needed to set me back on the right path, diet-wise, because I honestly cannot even THINK of eating another dessert item until Mia’s second birthday, hahaha.

Noms

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Jenny made Mia a SUPER adorable tutu to wear around on her special day and we got an iron-on patch to put a big ol’ “1” on her butt. She was most certainly the belle of the ball in my toooootally unbiased opinion.

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Pretty Mia

And girl can EAT (she *is* part-Powell, after all), so the smash cake part was really fun. She had noooo trouble digging into that thing!

CAKE!

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Clearly, ’twas a most excellent party. I just love this little nugget!

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Her actual birthday isn’t until Thursday, so hopefully this is the start of her carrying on my longstanding tradition of celebrating my birthday AAAAALL week long.

Mia Hug & Run

Speaking of which, my birthday’s coming up! What the heck am I gonna do for it?! I usually have it all planned out by now, but since my job is pretty much planning epic parties all year round, I haven’t had time to give it much thought. Hmmm…

In other news, my CM Week plague has ALMOST left my sister, just a few sniffles and coughs left over. But daaaang, I haven’t been sick like that in a looooong time. I tend to get stomach/digestive sick over head/sinus/chest sick, so I actually was pretty miserable. Who’d have ever thought there’d be a day where I’d rather be throwing up if it meant I didn’t have to sneeze another 80,000 times in a row?

Anyway, being (almost) back to full health, and FINALLY back in one place (no more traveling pleeeeeease) means that hopefully things will be a lot smoother with my diet and exercise routine now. See you on the flip!

The 25th Annual Hunger Games

This past Saturday, the citizens of Panem gathered for a celebration.

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The 25th Annual Hungers Games–my very own Quarter Quell–took place. Needless to say, it was glorious.

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But I figure, why tell you when I can show you?

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May the odds be ever in your favor… to get through the smorgasbord of photos you are about to be subjected to.

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Let the Games begin!

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First up: SUSTENANCE!

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Choose your weapon.

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Georgetown Cupcake!

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Cherry blossom district cupcakes and red velvet mockingjays.

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Lamb stew with dried plums (my own recipe!) and Caesar (Flickerman) salad. Get it? GET IT?!

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Fruit cornucopias and crostini with goat cheese & apples.

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Peeta Pita chips & hummus.

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Next up: LIBATIONS! (Sidebar: My cousin Nicky–Reaping Katniss–hand-drew the mockingjay pins on those shot glasses. Amazing, right?)

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Nightlock punch. Drink at your own risk.

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So. Many. Jello shots. From left to right, those are mosaic jello shots, strawberry champagne, and cupcake jello shots. Yep, you read that correctly. CUPCAKE jello shots. Let’s take a closer look:

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Aaaand one more time:

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So. Effie-ing. Good.

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And finally, the most important part: THE GUESTS! (Or, at least as many photos of the guests as I could take before I got too, ehm, libation…ed. Heh.)

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Katniss Everdeen, the Girl on Fire. 😉

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Reaping Katniss and Seneca Crane(‘s beard).

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TRACKER JACKERS!!

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District 2’s Tribute vs. The Capitol.

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Citizens of the Capitol came out to PLAY.

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(Another sidebar: I would absolutely sacrifice my dignity and become a citizen of the Capitol if it meant I got to wear lashes like Megan’s everyday.)

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Katnisses of the world unite!

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Even the pets of Panem came out to say hi.

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And I could not have done a thing without these two beautiful ladies by my side: Aileen & Ai Rei.

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The Ai’s have it! (That’s never gonna get old, by the way. Nope. Not a chance.)

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Thanks for all the birthday love, super fun times, and, of course, birthday wine, friends! Happy Hunger Games INDEED. <3 <3 <3

Weekend Update: Vanity Edition

Happy (?) Monday, friends! I hope you all had excellent weekends. Mine was pretty rockin’, if I do say so myself. It started out Friday with an amazing ladydate that combined these two wonderful, wonderful things:

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Sushi at my beloved Koi Koi

Aaaaaand…

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Claire!

Even though Claire and I live less than a mile from each other, we actually don’t see each other very often! We read each other’s blogs, obviously, but it’s always much nicer to be able to catch up in person. Especially when doing so involves sushi, too.

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We had so much to talk about this time around, that neither of us ended up finishing our rolls (and for once, I only ordered one. Shock!) I also took advantage of her DSLR-familiarity to have her shoot some photos of me for this week’s fashion post. Unfortunately, I felt incredibly awkward shooting pictures out on the street, right in front of the restaurant. I’m not sure how fashion bloggers do this every single day (shamelessly, I suppose?).

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Oh, hello imaginary person sitting in this chair.

I felt so foolish that I wanted to get it over with as quickly as possible, so I didn’t manage to get all the shots I wanted (details and whatnot). So I’ll just have to come up with something new for this Friday’s post. And will definitely be shooting it in Ben‘s studio again, where strangers can’t judge me for my vanity. Buuuuut since you all are probably judging me anyway, I figured I’d just post these pictures now anyway.

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“I feel so awkward…”

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The one pretty decent shot (though I had to crop out some creeper photobombing in the background, haha.)

Still, a great way to kick off the weekend! Oh, and for those of you who might be interested:

Lace tank, jeans, and purse: Old Navy
Blazer: Forever 21
Shoes: Payless
Wrap bracelets: Stella & Dot
Stone cuff: gift from my parents

Saturday was spent being predominantly lazy during the day (I got a bunch of writing done though – huzzah!), with a nighttime birthday extravaganza for Sean’s friend Megan. So I’m not going to lie, I’m actually a terrible DC twenty-something. I rarely ever go out, and I think this was maybe the third time I’ve gone out in actual DC proper. Before Saturday night, I’d never even tasted Jumbo Slice! I know, I know. So getting to go out to Alero on U Street was a total learning experience for me!

It also left me full of questions, such as: how are all the young women of DC not incredibly overweight? Boatloads of sugary cocktails and empty calories thanks to alcohol, to be followed by a slice of pizza so huge that it could feed an entire third-world village? Seriously, I was not properly prepared for how, uh, jumbo the Jumbo Slice, uh, slices are. I’m pretty sure that if this was my regular weekend lifestyle, I would be back up to 250 pounds in no time.

But you know me. I never pass up an occasion to get dressed up. I spent like 2 hours trying to figure out how to do a nighttime-appropriate smokey eye (without looking too, y’know, whorish), and stepped into my most comfortable heeled shoes. Also, I bought that dress for $16.99 at TJ Maxx! What uppppp good deals! Anyway, since I have (aptly) titled this post “Vanity Edition”, here are just a few more pictures of me (meeeee, meeeeeeee, MEEEEEE!), pilfered from the birthday girl.


Were you/are you a weekend partier? How do you balance that with trying to lose or maintain a healthy weight?

Harry Potter and the Epic Party (Part 2)

Awwwwwww yeah. Here we go. The final chapter, as it were. I promise after today we shall return to our regularly scheduled, wizard-free (well, probably) programming. I edited the photos that Ben took at the party, and I think it can now be confirmed that a good time was had by all. I love having a professional photographer for a brother!

Naturally, I couldn’t have kicked off my epic Harry Potter birthday party without forcing said brother to take some studio shots of me. After all, it’s not every day that I’m dressed up in my finest Harr(iet) Potter attire! (If only, though. If only…)


I want YOU to love Harry Potter as much as me.

I would like to point out that this costume is marketed as a dress. A DRESS! Maybe wizards have a hefty dose of exhibitionism, but I cannot imagine a girl who would be willing to wear this “dress” without something to provide some serious opaqueness underneath. Or without something to cover up top, for that matter!

God, I’m such a dork. I love it.

Okay, enough narcissism (for now). Onto the party! BRACE YOURSELVES FOR PHOTO OVERLOAD.



Quidditch Pong!


Oh hai, Hermione!



Dobby & Kreacher


Snitches and House Elves and Muggles, oh my!


No squibs in this family!


Hey Cho. You lookin’ fine, girl.


Dumbledax with his adoring fans.


Theresa came as a talking painting – brilliant, no?


Snape, Hermione, and your average wrong-place-wrong-time Muggle.


I think the party got to be a little much for Harry the Lion and Padfoot. They ended up hiding upstairs!


Most magical photobomb ever, Rik.





And finally: Felix Felicis. You burn so good.

And there you have it. A glimpse into the secret world of wizard parties. Of course, I can’t let you Muggles actually LEAVE here with this knowledge, oh no sirree. Such information is far too valuable, after all. Sorry folks. Imagine I’m putting on my sunglasses right now, MIB-style.


Obliviate!