Lucas' 7th Birthday Party

I can't believe Lucas turned 7 on April 26th. Last year he wanted a Pokemon party but we ended up with a magic themed party instead. He's even more into Pokemon now so we did it up with a Pokemon themed party with my own modern spin on it. Remember his 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th and 6th birthday parties?

I designed the invitations with a simple and modern take on Pikachu's face. I initially wanted to mail each invitation with a balloon that had a hand drawing of Pikachu's face but it didn't quite work out the way I wanted. Instead, each invitation came with a yellow balloon taped to the yellow backing of the invitation. The custom envelope liner had a photo of Lucas looking at a Pokemon book written in Japanese from our date to the Kinokuniya bookstore. The invitations were mailed in sunny yellow envelopes and sealed with wraparound address labels.

For the party favors, I made Poke Surprise Balls (tutorial here) using crepe paper streamers, a Sharpie and red acrylic paint. Each Poke Ball included a few Pokemon figurines, some Japanese candy, and a colorful whistle.

As usual, we order all the donut holes and make custom paper cones. :)

I made a super easy red velvet cake and cupcakes and just added the Pokemon figurines on top.

We hired a face painter who specializes in Pokemon drawings. Some kids had their full face painted and others, like Lucas, just had a character drawn on their face or arm.

Initially I was going to get Mexican food, but then I realized that Japanese food would be perfect for the theme! The sushi platters from Kyoto actually turned out to be less expensive. I just added Japanese rice crackers, fresh fruit, and some gyoza from Costco which I heated the morning of.

Okay, so the whistles. ;) I thought the whistles in the favors were so cute! I mean, for emergencies or to hook onto backpacks, right? But when all the whistles are going off at the same time and parents are kidding but not kidding about getting me back at their next party... Haha!!!

The cutest Pikachu that ever lived!

Every year, Nick and I tag team on making the pinata. This year I made a Poke Ball using the paper mache method and filled it with Japanese candies and Annie's Bunny Fruit Snacks. Nick stayed up until 1 a.m. painting it.

Last year's pinata was a giant playing card that we made out of cardboard. It was unbreakable and hilarious because Nick had to stab it all over just to make it easier to break. This year was the opposite--it busted open just after a few strikes. We had to find ways to make it harder to open and sadly not everyone got a turn.

The look on Lucas' face when it was cake time is everything.

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In the Company of Women Book Tour: Corte Madera, CA

Hi Friends! I just wanted to share that I'll be part of a panel to celebrate Design*Sponge's new book, In the Company of Women: Inspiration and Advice from over 100 Makers, Artists, and Entrepreneurs. The event is on Friday, October 28th at 7 p.m. at Book Passage in Corte Madera. I’ve been asked by my friend, design icon and ultimate boss lady Grace Bonney of Design*Sponge to speak on a panel alongside Flora Grubb and Emi Grannis. I'm excited, honored (shocked?!) and totally nervous! 

Here's a link to the event:

Each ticket includes a copy of the book, the panel discussion, and a book signing after, and, while supplies last, an illustrated tote designed by Libby VanderPloeg.

Pre-order the book here:

Hope to see some of you there! :)

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Theo's 4th Birthday Party

A few weekends ago we celebrated Theo's 4th birthday party. Remember his music-themed 3rd birthday party last year? About four months before his party I asked Theo what kind of party he wanted. He said, "A chocolate party!" Two months later he said the same thing. Admittedly, I was a bit stumped. I mean, how awesome would a chocolate party be!? But then again, every parent would kill me if all I served was chocolate everything. So then I came up with the idea of "Theo's Chocolate Waffle Bar Party" that would incorporate his love for chocolate AND waffles--plus, give everyone different options including savory ones.

Inspired by my trip to Dinette in L.A., I decided to use metal trays lined with a custom kraft liner. The whole look was made even cuter with these bear face party napkins from my friends at Harlow & Grey. I vowed to never cook all the food for a birthday party again (Lucas' round-themed 2nd birthday party nearly killed me) but this waffle bar was pretty easy. I ordered scrambled eggs and popcorn chicken from the Whole Foods catering department in Berkeley, made a few batches of chocolate waffles in advance and froze them, made some syrups in advance, and just cut some fruit and baked tater tots the morning of. Oh, and you know what saved me was this little guy from Amazon.

Ready for a heart melt? Lucas made Theo this birthday hat out of paper, tape and string--one for Theo and another tiny one for Theo's "baby" stuffie.

Organic fruit and syrups with custom labels ;)

Homemade chocolate cake with chocolate buttercream frosting. I really need/want to take a cake decorating class.

A family tradition!!!

Somewhere along the way Theo transformed into a ninja. Haha!

We hired the best kids band ever Your Song My Song. They were taking requests and Theo wanted "Bad Romance" by Lady Gaga. So they figured out how to play it! High five!

This is the face of a happy birthday boy!

The party favors were delicious butter waffle cookies from Trader Joe's hand dipped in semi-sweet chocolate and sprinkled with rainbow nonpareils. I packaged them in glassine bags and sealed each one with a custom label.

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Father's Day Camp Grilling and Beer Tasting with Whole Foods Market

Father’s Day is just around the corner on June 19th. I've partnered with Whole Foods Market to bring you a little Father's Day camp grilling and beer tasting inspiration for all you dads out there--new dads, single dads, grandads, animal dads and every other rad dad out there.

We invited our good friends Brad and Nancy and their son Ben, along with Eric and Susana and their boys Nico and Mateo, over for some urban camp grilling (think foil-wrapped camp food cooked on a backyard grill).  We also roasted s'mores over a portable fire pit, set up an outdoor movie screen for the kids, and had a blind beer tasting for the dads. Oh, and we can't forget the Warriors playoff game that happened to be playing that night. Go Dubs!

Take a look at our drool-worthy dinner menu:

For the beer tasting, I wanted two IPAs and two Stouts, I wanted them to be from local or California breweries, and of course, the label had to be cute--Rachel from Whole Foods Gilman was amazing at helping me select a few craft brews for me to choose from. Here were my final selections:

Almanac IPA (San Francisco, CA)
With intense aromas of grapefruit and tangerine peel, melon, pineapple and pine trees. The finish has a clean bitterness and light saltine cracker note.

Iron Springs Casey Jones Imperial IPA (Fairfax, CA)
This double IPA has twice the hops and grains as its counterpart. Significant floral, citrus, and peppery notes on the nose, yet even with the enormous hop profile, the huge grain bill results in a very well balanced brew.

Modern Times Beer Mega Black House Imperial Stout - Special Release (San Diego, CA)
An imperialized version of Black House loaded with their house-roasted coffee.  Thick, chewy, and bursting with coffee aroma & flavor.

Bike Dog Brewing Company Milk Stout (West Sacramento, CA)
A sweet stout with chocolate notes and a hint of coffee and milk.

I hand painted a rough buffalo plaid pattern onto kraft butcher paper to line the tables. I designed some cute beer tasting cards for the dads to rate each beer.

Um, luckily I printed out four cards! And please note that Theo did not actually taste test any of those beers. ;)

Three rad beer-loving dads with their winning selections from the beer tasting--so fun that they each had a different favorite! They had a lot of fun discovering these new beers and were pleasantly surprised that Whole Foods had such a great selection of craft brews.

Delicious olives and cheeses including ones from Kite Hill (made with almond milk and so good!), Mitica Cana de Oveja Mitica and Fromi Brebirousse D'Argental.

These Candied Hazelnuts from the new Camp Sunset cookbook were so easy to make and highly addictive. You could also find the recipe here.

These Cool Kebabs from the Camp Sunset cookbook were super easy and quick to make. Even Theo helped out--he made the one with all grapes and one cheese cube ;)

And can we talk about these delicious little goodies? A Whole Foods Market exclusive, they're from Fork in the Road, a company that acts responsibly, humanely and compassionately and are made with sustainable, pasture-raised uncured beef without any antibiotics or added hormones.

I used this recipe for Grilled Salmon in Foil Packets for the main dish using fresh, wild Alaskan salmon from the fish section at Whole Foods, organic cherry tomatoes, lemons, olives, and fresh thyme, oregano and parsley.

For dessert I made these Peach Crisps in Foil Packets with Creme Fraiche Whipped Cream from the Camp Sunset cookbook.

It wouldn't be urban camping without s'mores by the firepit, right? Nick put together our Stahl Firepit in a jiffy. Should have started the fire earlier so it would be perfect for s'mores but the guys were too busy beer tasting!

Now THIS is urban camping! Go Warriors!

Setting out all the ingredients in a pan made it easy for everyone to assemble their s'mores. I used Elyon Natural Vanilla Marshmallows, and 365 Fair Trade Dark Chocolate, and Organic Honey Grahams from Whole Foods.

Let's not forget the amazing Father's Day gifts you could get at Whole Foods. These include a Kleen Kanteen, grilling tools, books, Allegro coffee and mugs, Kikkerland Bike Phone Holder, 3-in-1 Mini Screwdriver, TrueFlask Soft Touch Flask, Herban Cowboy products, and Thrive skin care products.

And my favorite photo of the night...

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Special thanks to Whole Foods Market for sponsoring this post. All content, ideas, and words are my own.

Lucas' 6th Birthday Party

A couple of weekends ago we celebrated Lucas' 6th birthday party. Time sure flies--I just can't believe he is now 6! Remember his 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 5th birthday parties? As usual, I ask Lucas what kind of party he wants each year and then I put my own modern spin on theme. This year Lucas initially asked for a Pokemon party but later decided on a magic theme after having seen a magician called Magical Nathaniel at Playland-Not-At-The-Beach.

I designed the invitations with a clean but slightly vintage feel, complete with custom photo envelope liners and a custom rubber stamp that would be used on favor bags and food packaging. The double thick invitations were mailed in kraft envelopes and sealed with wraparound address labels.

The party took place at the Padre Picnic Area in Tilden Park in Berkeley and the we couldn't have lucked out with better weather--you never know in April! Guests set out blankets and flew kites, played soccer, baseball and tag. We hired Magical Nathaniel to perform a magic show for 45 minutes. He was amazing and kids and adults alike were in awe by his tricks. Funny how every 6-year old seems to think they know how he does his tricks.

The amazing food for the party was generously provided by Whole Foods Market. In case you didn't know, Whole Foods Market cater kids parties too and can customize a menu for you. To go along with our magic theme, the catering team made Popcorn Chicken, Grilled Corn on the Cob, Mini Chicken Corn Dogs (a kid favorite), "Magic Wand" Fruit Skewers, Classic Mac 'N' Cheese, their signature Cabbage Crunch Salad (my fave!), and Potato Salad (several people told me this was the best they have had). They also provided Organic Juice Boxes, Mochi Ice Cream by Bubbies, and Annie's Homegrown Fruit Snacks for the pinata. Thank you Whole Foods Market (specifically the Berkeley and Gilman locations)!

Per Lucas' request, I made him a chocolate cake with vanilla frosting and edible gold stars and a gazillion cupcakes for his friends.

A Jackson birthday party tradition, we had donut holes with custom designed cones--always a huge hit with everyone!

Nick and I made this awesome playing card pinata and giant magic wand for busting it open. It was actually really easy and full DIY instructions can be found on Oh Happy Day blog.

I used the custom rubber stamp for the cotton favor bags that each held Pocky Sticks (they look like magic wands!), a coin trick, fortune teller fish, and mini word game books.

Lucas had the brilliant idea of having a Make-Your-Own-Wand station. Using a wooden dowel with eye hooks, kids could use Japanese washi tape and choose colorful ribbons to make a fun magic ribbon wand.

My baby is 6!! Whaaaaat?!?

Theo ate fruit skewers for lunch.

Classic Mac 'N' Cheese and awesome Popcorn Chicken with two kinds of housemade dipping sauces--BBQ and ranch.

Grilled Corn on the Cob was a crowd favorite.

Okay, how cute is my friend Jeanne's daughter Hayden sipping her organic lemonade? And my niece Tallia waving her wand and my friends Aaron and Corrine's daughter Josephine who LOVED the corn on the cob.

Mini Chicken Corn Dogs were a kid favorite.

Whole Foods Market Gilman provided delicious Mochi Ice Cream from Bubbies. I packaged and labeled them individually in glassine bags and stamped them with Lucas' birthday logo. I chose four flavors--Mango, Green Tea, Strawberry and Vanilla.

If you don't know about this Cabbage Crunch Salad at Whole Foods, you're missing out. Not sure if every location has it, but damn, it's good.

I usually prefer the vinegar-based kind of potato salad, but this was the Best Classic Potato Salad ever!

Magical Nathaniel was awesome! He's a Cal student and does magic on the side but plans to make it his full time gig. If you need a magician for your party, you need to hire him. Nearly every kid sat still for the 45-minute performance. He was entertaining and engaging with the kids, often asking for volunteers to help him with his tricks. The kids loved it!

OMG, Magical Nathaniel solved this Rubik's Cube in a minute and 30 seconds--blindfolded!

This is the look of a 3.5-year old who missed his nap and ate nothing but fruit and donut holes for lunch. Poor Theo.

This pinata was awesome because no one could bust it open which meant every kid got a chance to hit it. Ha!

Eventually, Nick had to discreetly stab a few holes into it.

*This post is in partnership with Whole Foods Market. All words and ideas are my own.

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The New Sunset Magazine Test Garden and Kitchen at Cornerstone

Earlier this week I got to tour the new Sunset Magazine Test Garden and Kitchen at Cornerstone in Sonoma as they prepare for their annual Sunset Celebration Weekend on May 14-15. For the first time, Celebration Weekend will be held at Cornerstone, a marketplace
with food and wine, shops, gardens and event spaces that will serve as Sunset's
beautiful new wine country location. Remember their rad new headquarters in Oakland?

The new Outdoor Kitchen was still under construction but promises to showcase the best in Western living. Complete with a standalone wine bar island and a double island cooking peninsula with two grills, refrigerator, sink, and four gas burners, the Outdoor Kitchen has been designed to showcase food and wine pairing demos and educational sessions.

On May 14th and 15th, 2016, Sunset fans will join editors, celebrity chefs, vintners, craft beer brewers and renowned lifestyle experts at Cornerstone in Sonoma, CA, for this two-day series of culinary, wine, garden and lifestyle events including the debut of the new Sunset Test Gardens, Outdoor Kitchen, and "Airstream Village". Featured presenters include celebrity chefs Ludo Lefebvre, Tanya Holland, Andy Ricker, Russell Moore, Ayesha Curry, Amanda Haas, Cindy Pawlcyn, Ellie Krieger and more.

To purchase tickets and find more information, go to

Sunset Wine Editor Sara Schneider about to take us on a wine tasting tour at the three tasting rooms on the premises--Meadowcroft, Keating and Poseidon Vineyard & Obsidian Ridge. Too bad I'm allergic to alcohol! I sat back, took photos and chatted it up with Irene Edwards, the down-to-earth, no nonsense, very cool Editor-in-Chief of Sunset.

Designed by Homestead Design Collective, (co-owned by Alethea Harampolis of Studio Choo), the new Sunset Test Garden is divided into distinct garden “rooms,” including the Cocktail Garden, the Farm, the Backyard Orchard, and the Flower Room, bursting with blooms like classic David Austin Roses and specialty chrysanthemums. The Gathering Space is the outdoor living room of Sunset’s dreams: Olive trees offer shade, and borders of low maintenance and drought tolerant Sunset Western Garden Collection plants mingle nicely with graphic succulents.

Custom walk through trellises were fabricated in LA by TerraSculpture.

The Frank Lloyd Wright inspired greenhouse is courtesy of Portland-based NW Green Panels.

Sunset Garden Editor Johanna Silver will be joined by some of the West’s leading experts in drought tolerant landscaping, edible gardening, and garden design at this perennially popular area of Celebration Weekend.

I was really excited to see the camp cooking demo from Associate Food Editor, Elaine Johnson. We each received a prepub copy of Camp Sunset: A Modern Camper's Guide to the Great Outdoors. Elaine showed us how to make a simple mezze platter, a cocktail, a mocktail, and how to build the perfect campfire. I can't wait to delve into Camp Sunset and go camping with the boys this summer.

Elaine shows us the best way to make a fire.

A complete schedule of Celebration Weekend 2016 presenters and events, event information and online tickets is available at

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Ready Made Party Invitations are Here

Hey friends! I finally made these popular birthday party invitations readily available and customizable in my online Shop. Choose from 5 designs for now--Go Wild, Modern Superhero, Modern Circus, Colorblock and Summer Watermelon. Each one will be printed onto double thick recycled paper and comes with printed envelopes. Let me know what you think! 

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Sunset Magazine's New Oakland Home First Look

I have been a huge Sunset magazine fan for years now and am SO excited they moved their headquarters to Oakland--yay for the east bay! I was even more excited that I got to get a first look at their new digs at 55 Harrison Street in Jack London Square. I don't think these photos do it justice--I was completely floored by the new office space. From the beautifully designed test kitchen (think Heath Ceramics tiles, open space, cork flooring and clean lines) to the all-glass, floor-to-ceiling wine "cellar", there was no detail left untouched. I also loved that they kept some of the artwork and iconic pieces of furniture from the old headquarters.

After more than 50 years in the iconic Cliff May-designed headquarters in Menlo Park, Sunset moved to Jack London Square in Oakland, a vibrant neighborhood full of small businesses and awesome restaurants, coffee spots, and of course, Miette (my fave!). The new offices were designed by San Francisco architects RMW.

Side note: Our Cliff May-designed home is the only one in Berkeley. We were featured in the January 2011 issue of Sunset Magazine--Lucas was so tiny then!

One of my favorite parts of the office is this floor to ceiling library housing stacks of Sunset magazine archives, cookbooks, pieces from the old headquarters, and even a little reading nook seamlessly built right in.

I could look at this space all day. And that painting!

Below is Margo True (right), Sunset's Food Editor (love her recipes!) with Carol Shih (left), Digital Associate Editor.

And check out Sunset's original test kitchen on the cover the November 1966 issue!

Here's Oakland's Mayor, Libby Schaaf, on one of the office tours.

Below to the right is Sunset's Editor-in-Chief, Irene Edwards. I really loved meeting her--she was so down-to-earth, vibrant and full of positive energy.


I'm allergic to alcohol but this floor-to-ceiling glass wall wine cellar was so dreamy.

More books! And that wooden slat wall--LOVE! Reminds me of a George Nelson platform bench.

I'm also excited to visit Sunset's main test garden beds and outdoor kitchen at Cornerstone, a public garden, event and retail space in Sonoma. Below is Johanna Silver, Sunset's test garden guru. What a rad job!

One of the highlights of the night was guest chef Tanya Holland, Executive Chef and Owner of Brown Sugar Kitchen and B-Side BBQ in Oakland, CA. She demonstrated a quick version of her technique for flavorful fried chicken and served it up with a bright and zingy black eyed pea salad and buttermilk biscuits. Yum!

For dessert were these delicious little Mini S'mores made by one of my favorite bakeries Miette.
Nine of them count as one normal sized one, right?

This is the other kitchen where some photo shoots and guest chef demonstrations take place. The all white dishes and accessories along with the copper Kitchen-Aid mixer (LOVE) were generously provided by Williams-Sonoma.

Sprinkled throughout the office were these gorgeous arrangements by Berkeley's Flowerland (signs were printed by my friend Rori at Paper Monkey Press).

These addictive Candied Rosemary Hazelnuts were a sneak peak from Camp Sunset, A Modern Camper's Guide to the Great Outdoors (Oxmoor House, May, 2016). The recipe is from chef-owner Jason French of the Portland restaurant Ned Ludd. I'm totally going to make these!

I mean, look at their view!

Thanks for the awesome housewarming invitation. Welcome to the east bay, Sunset! Check out more photos on Instagram #TheNewSunset.

The Sunset Celebration Weekend is coming up on May 14th and 15th at Cornerstone in Sonoma Wine Country which will include the debut of the new Sunset Test Gardens and Outdoor Kitchen and will reflect the sophisticated lifestyle and taste of Sunset’s gorgeous new Sonoma Wine Country location.

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DIY Kids Project: Accordion Envelope Card

DIY Kids Project: Accordion Envelope Card  /  /  @good_on_paper #goodonpaperdesignblog #sallyjshimbemine #chroniclebooks

My good friend Sally Shim has done it again. With her latest book Be Mine (published by Chronicle Books), Sally shares 25 simple and very doable paper projects for Valentine's Day or any occasion. I love simple, practical and kid-friendly DIY projects and Sally is just so good at that. Remember the Hand Carved Stamps Lucas and I made? We still make gift wrap with that stamp all the time. See, I love practical!

Today I'm sharing one of the projects Lucas and I worked on together as a little Valentine's Day gift for Nick. We chose to make the Accordion Envelope Card so that Lucas could choose little keepsakes to share with Daddy.

DIY Kids Project: Accordion Envelope Card  /  /  @good_on_paper #goodonpaperdesignblog #sallyjshimbemine #chroniclebooks
DIY Kids Project: Accordion Envelope Card  /  /  @good_on_paper #goodonpaperdesignblog #sallyjshimbemine #chroniclebooks

Look at Lucas' kindergarten picture!!!

DIY Kids Project: Accordion Envelope Card  /  /  @good_on_paper #goodonpaperdesignblog #sallyjshimbemine #chroniclebooks
DIY Kids Project: Accordion Envelope Card  /  /  @good_on_paper #goodonpaperdesignblog #sallyjshimbemine #chroniclebooks
DIY Kids Project: Accordion Envelope Card  /  /  @good_on_paper #goodonpaperdesignblog #sallyjshimbemine #chroniclebooks

Also, how cute is Lucas' new t-shirt from Ink + Wit? More to come about these amazing shirts!

DIY Kids Project: Accordion Envelope Card  /  /  @good_on_paper #goodonpaperdesignblog #sallyjshimbemine #chroniclebooks

5 paper envelopes (I used size 4-bar)
1 colored metal brad
1 piece of cotton ribbon, 16 inches long (I used bakers twine)

X-ACTO knife
Self-healing cutting mat
4 piece of tape adhesive
Paper hole punch

How To

  1. Set aside one of the five paper envelopes. With the remaining four envelopes, cut straight across the flap, leaving a 1/4" flap. Make the cuts using the X-ACTO knife, ruler, pencil, and self-healing cutting mat.
  2. Build the Accordion Envelope Card from the bottom up: Arrange the four envelopes on the work surface, one atop the other in a row, opening-side up, with the openings at the top. Join the envelopes together by taping the shortened flap of one envelope to the bottom back side of another envelope, in this way: First cut a piece of tape that is roughly the length of the envelope flap. Then apply the piece of tape to the flap and the back sides of the envelopes. Repeat until all four envelopes are taped together. Add the fifth envelope to the top of the accordion using the same technique.
  3. Using the hole punch, punch a hole in the point of the triangular flap of the envelope, 1/4" from the tip of the flap. Insert the brad through the hole so the round piece is on the outside of the flap, then separate the legs of the brad and flatten them against the underside of the flap to the secure the brad to the envelope.
  4. Fill the envelopes with special messages, mementos, and trinkets.
DIY Kids Project: Accordion Envelope Card  /  /  @good_on_paper #goodonpaperdesignblog #sallyjshimbemine #chroniclebooks

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