Friday, September 4, 2015

The Big 3-0

Well folks, its happened. I've crossed over into the land of the mature, responsible adults. Or at least, that's the rumor. What's with that, anyway? When you're "in your twenties"  you're supposed to be this wild, carefree bundle of energy and no one thinks you know anything, but "in your thirties" you're suddenly expected to be responsible and have a handle on your life and make responsible decisions about kids and career and mortgages. Because I'm so much different today than I was yesterday. I got whacked with the magic "Thirty Wand" so now I am Thirty and Thriving. Sure, ok.

Anyway, a birthday calls for a celebration. I decided to forego my usual big birthday bash because this summer has been crazy and I reached my limit around the end of July. Sometimes I just get to a point where I begin dreading another party/meeting/social event and just want to shut myself in a closet with a chocolate bar and a good book and recoup my sanity.  That's when I know it's time to dial it back and downsize my social calendar and spend some time with just home and family (although a little chocolate and a book can't hurt). Later, when I feel more refreshed and energized, I'll put myself out there again and SOCIALIZE.

In the meantime, I still wanted a party, so I just downsized it to an intimate dinner party for family only. Not everyone was able to make it, so we ended up with dinner for four and it was a lovely way to celebrate.

Here's my best Julia impression. I even made my own Ecole Des Gourmandes

Small party still means party and for me, that mean a theme. In this case, a Julia Child inspired French theme. Yep, I did a theme party for 4. In honor of myself.  [Freeze. It's usually around this point that I hear people gasp and say, "You planned your own party? You poor thing, that's terrible, why didn't someone step up and do the party for you?" Because I didn't let them, to be honest. I love planning parties and making my own special menu/dessert and I do it every year. Because I love it! Ok, back to your regularly scheduled programming.]

I chose a shabby chic feel - burlap, lace, twine, brown Kraft paper, mason jars, wild flowers, pink, mint green, robin's egg blue, tan and white ticking stripe tablecloth, distressed wood, etc. It's so calming and pretty and really went with my mood.

 Check out my Pinterest inspiration board here!

I had wanted to use baby's breath, but the store was all out, so I went with daisies instead. And M bought me flowers! Pretty, huh?

My favorite part of the decorations was my "banner". I strung a length of jute twine on the wall and clothespinned pictures of myself as a kid along with small paper doilies, and small cards that I printed with Julia and Paul Child quotes, and clip art of grapes, flowers, cutlery, and a miniature postcard.

(from farther back)
(close up)

Mood Music
I found some perfect French background music! Here's the link to Amazon. We signed up for a free trial of Amazon Prime just so we could play this album for free during the party. Sweet!

I downloaded some free clip art online and designed my own invitation. I think it came out pretty cute! My inspiration was an antique French postcard. I printed the sheet music for La Vie En Rose on some parchment cardstock, then cut a 4.25x5.5 piece at a 45 degree angle out of the center of it... Then, I fed that notecard size piece back through the printer and superimposed an additional image of a peony on top. Last, I flipped the card over one more time to print the back.

Thanks to Google translate, I was able to translate some of the invitation into French for a more authentic feel.

Ah, yes... food. What would a French dinner party be without Julia Child? I checked out Mastering the Art of French Cooking volume 1 from the library and flipped through it to get some ideas. Most of the recipes involve dairy (hello, butter!), flour, or eggs, so it was a little challenging to find authentic recipes that met my dietary restrictions, but I did find a few.

Bruschetta Tomate
 (The recipe they used in Julie & Julia! Amazinggggg....!)
Main Course:
Poulet Roti au jus
Roast Chicken with reduction sauce
Haricots Verts a l'Anglaise
Buttered Green Beans
Riz Savage
Braised Wild Rice
(The wild rice ended up crunchy...urg...I did something wrong... but it had great flavor.)
Cheese Course:  
Greens tossed in vinaigrette, baguette, and brie, quark and cheddar cheeses
(I wanted to get bleu cheese, but it wasn't available when I went shopping, so I made do with cheddar. Oh well!)
Peches Cardinal de Crème GlacePoached Peaches with Raspberry Sauce topped with vanilla ice cream and garnished with almond praline.
(Completely amazing. The vanilla bean made all the difference. And I used the poaching liquid to sweeten the raspberry sauce, so all that amazing vanilla flavor translated over to the raspberry sauce. I seriously could have licked the bowl, it was that good.)
It turned out to be a fun night and I'm glad I was able to celebrate my 'milestone' birthday a la francaise.


  1. your 30th dinner WAS Amazing! Thanks for inviting us and for all the hard work you put into it. Loved every bit...and we love you more!
    Hugs, M&D

  2. Yay! It all turned out super cute. Wish I could have been there. Just remember, "We're vache enragee!" :D


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