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It has been an exhausting week of cleaning and getting everything ready~ but the party came and went
and we had a blast!

We did a buffet style set up-
Here's what was served:

Tortilla chips with green corn salsa

Variety of cheese from Oregon - courtesy of Dayna and Aunt Janet

a delicious pasta dish with bleu cheese and pears- yum!

3 different french breads-
cream cheese artichoke,
tomato, basil with parmesan & balsamic vinegar
Fruit salad
Three tiered vanilla cake with chocolate frosting
Strawberry cheesecake
Red and white wine

This is all that was left of the once three tiered cake after the kids got to it!
I guess it was good!

We sat outside in the backyard for most the party
Eating and chatting and laughing.

The rock steps lead up to the upper patio area where it was more shaded and a little cooler.

The pea gravel patio serves as a refuge from the warm bricks of the lower patio area and gives you an area to sit for quiet conversation and a bonfire in the pit when it's cold.

Above the pea gravel patio, we put in a sandy area we call 'The Beach'

It's a great spot to sit and relax, with your feet in the warm sand...
a little wave music on the ipod and you are good to go with your Pina Colada!

Basically, it gets so darn hot in this part of the backyard in California summers, that our grass would not grow decently.
So we decided why not expand the entertaining part of the yard and put these areas in.

The view of the patio's from ' The Beach'

Back on the patio -
I have two vintage inspired iron tables set up with white umbrellas.
Since there were more than 20 of us at the party, we used all the tables in the backyard.
Everybody split up for eating-
The younger crowd in the pea gravel & beach area,
my kids and brother Evan and sister Taylor and the little cousins in the house
and Aunt Janet, Uncle Don, my mom & Grammy's cousin Theda (and fam) under the pergola.

The lion fountain sits with jasmine on either side of it and for now, a geranium in the front.

The strand of seashell lights drape above it and look amazing at night.

I have also placed banners draping
along the same lines to celebrate birthdays or graduation.

This is looking back towards the pergola area which is off the living room.

The table was surrounded by family and laughter and smiles.

The food was there, but the focus wasn't on the table presentation or layout as much as visiting and catching up.
My Aunt Janet and Uncle Don are my grandmothers siblings and they came over to visit Grammy and see each other- kind of a little reunion.
We usually see them every couple of years or so.
Unfortunately, Grammy wasn't able to attend the party at the last minute but we thought of her and laughed about the funny stories from 'back in the day'.

All in all a great day spending some time with family we don't get to see often enough.

After all the work, fun and laughter...

I poured a glass of delicious Oregon Pinot Noir
(thanks Dayna!)
and soaked in a hot bath!


  1. Courtney - your yard is absolutely stunning! I can't even decide which part is my favourite because it's all so lovely. And it looks so big! You have to understand that I have the teeniest yard you could ever possibly have for a detached home. It's a real challenge as I love to garden. Your food looked very yummy too and you provided a nice selection for your vegetarian guests. Now you can breath a sigh of relief and move on to the 'next' project!

  2. Hi Courtney,
    Holy cow!! Your garden should be in a magazine!! It is just amazing! Love every little detail. What a dreamy setting :)


  3. The setting for your party was just perfect as well as your menu! I love all the lighting you had and all the different seating area. People tend to move around and socialize more this way. Your sheers arounf your pergola look fabulous!


  4. Oh my, everything is just gorgeous. Hugs, Marty

  5. Wow, I should have guessed the outside would be as fabulous as the inside! Beautiful party, and sounds like a wonderful time. Gorgeous!!

  6. Looks like an absolutely fabulous party! And you know that I love that you served Oregon specialties! We know how to do our Pinot's here! I would love the recipe for that pear and blue cheese pasta. It looked delicious!

  7. Gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous!! xo

  8. What an absolutely GORGEOUS party!!! Love all these wonderful pictures! Thanks for sharing :)
    ps I want the green corn salsa recipe!! :)