Mel’s Birthday Dinner

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Our dear friend, Melissa, turned 24 last week. She’s always so busy planning for other’s birthdays that we wanted to do something special and thoughtful for her. Since Mel knew we were planning a small get together, she insisted we keep it casual and simple so we tried our best.  Mel loves potatoes and everything that is made of them so what better way to celebrate her than throwing her a potato party! Inviting 20 of her closest friends for her birthday dinner this past Sunday, each person was charged with making a potato dish to share. Most of our decorations were things we already owned, were easily handmade, or easily attained.

Janice made  a large card out of poster board for everyone to sign and also served as another sign. We rearranged some furniture in their house and created an open space for everyone to be able to hand out in. The banner Janice bought is also a chalkboard banner so it can be reused over and over again. We stopped by QFC and picked up some flowers because who doesn’t love flowers? And we borrowed the Mr. Potato Heads from a family with young children for our potato themed meal!

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All the food that was brought was absolutely delicious and I was quite impressed with potato dishes people came up with. The classics, of course, were there such as mashed potatoes, french fries, and potato salad. But there were also dishes like Shepherd’s Pie, Tater teens (super yummy btw), and a potato bake. What is a “tater teen” you might ask? Well,  it’s like an adolescent version of a tater tot and quite possibly even more delicious! And while the food theme was potatoes, we still needed some protein and greens so there was also some mouthwatering smoked pulled pork + coleslaw, a strawberry/mango/mandarin spinach/spring mix salad, as well as a pesto pasta salad (one of my favorite dishes of the evening). Janice and I used these chalkboard coasters she bought from Target as food signs, aren’t they adorable?  We didn’t think they were very practical as coasters since they felt like cardboard and would probably fall apart if they got wet but they worked perfectly for food labels.

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One of my favorite food presentations was the curly fries buckets. Janice has these cute metal pails, again from Target’s dollar section, which are really versatile in what they can be used for. As you can see in the earlier photo with the card and a banner, a pail was used to hold the pens needed to sign the card.  I ate at a restaurant last week where they used a fancy metal cylindrical container to hold their fries which inspired me to do the same with these curly fries! Lining the pails with parchment paper, we loaded them up with curly fries. This is a super easy way and cost effective way to present your food so next time you’re scrambling to find plates or bowls, think of any other container you can use as well! Just line it with some parchment paper and ta-da!DSCF0592

See some more close ups of the food below:

 

Janice did most of the work on the cake and even though she kept calling it a disaster, we all thought it turned out lovely especially since she hasn’t made a cake in years and feels out of practice. The cake itself is a simple vanilla cake with a chocolate pudding + krackle chocolate filling iced with simple buttercream. It was pretty warm on Sunday so we kept running into challenges of the buttercream melting or being too runny but I think the cake turned out pretty nicely!

DSC_0377wI’d say the party was success and was a low-key as we could have made it. Everyone was comfortable and relaxed, especially Melissa. We spent the rest of the evening after dinner playing group games and just enjoying spending time with each other. I realized we forgot to get a group picture with everyone but here’s one of just the girls!

DSCF0630eAnd last but definitely not least, some OOTD for you all! It seemed like the theme for the party was also maxi dresses! Mel and Jess actually unintentionally matched perfectly in their black maxis and salmon-colored cardigans. Mel’s dress from Nordstrom and Jess’ from Loft.  Janice wore a pretty printed maxi which I really wish I had gotten a good photo of  and I wore a blue and white knit striped maxi from Gap. Maxi dresses are something I could wear forever, they’re just so comfy and versatile. I didn’t have a chance to take a lot of photos but here are just two:

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(Thanks Sean for many of the photos in this post!)

 

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