martha, can you hear me?


The breakfast table at my friend Melanie’s bridal shower

I’m really excited to finally share with you a project I’ve had in the works for a few months now.  My dear friend Melanie is getting married this coming April in Louisiana, and last year, right after she got engaged, she asked me to be her matron of honor.  (It actually pains me a little to call myself a “matron.”  I feel like I should be wearing my hair in a tight bun and shushing people.)

Anyway, last weekend I went to New York City without the Gravy Baby and the hubby to celebrate one of Melanie’s last weekends of singlehood.  I chose the theme of our weekend, “A Heartthrob Weekend” based on a long-standing interest that Melanie and I share: celebrity crushes.  No, I’m not kidding.  Ever since college, Melanie and I have crushed on everyone from Joshua Jackson to Freddie Prinze , Jr. to our latest, Ryan Gosling.  There’s a meme on the internet where people will take smoldering images of Ryan Gosling and impose them with the phrase “Hey Girl” followed by some utterly hilarious, sensitive-type slogans.

First, I worked with the excellent design team at Mac & Murphy, a local paper store here in Charleston, to help design a girly yet tongue-in-cheek invitation that would set the tone of the weekend.  They came up with the invitation, and then I took it from there, incorporating Melanie’s wedding colors of yellow, aqua and gold.

6a011570d70884970b016762df94cb970b-600wiTop left: the buffet table set up with homemade granola; top right: my jalapeno pimento cheese dip; bottom left: lace doily cupcake liners hold red velvet cupcakes from the bride’s favorite bakery, Buttercup Bakeshop; bottom right: these little tissue pom poms are trickier than they look

It’s not easy to host a shower at the bride’s apartment when I don’t live anywhere near New York, but I took all of the decorations for the event in my carry-on suitcase, and roasted some homemade granola that traveled easily and, when paired with Greek yogurt and raspberries, could become an easy brunch dish.

The hardest part of getting everything ready, as it turned out, was fluffing the tissue paper pom-poms.  Popularized by party hostess and craftmaker extraordinaire Martha Stewart , I have to admit that I took shortcuts — I ordered mine premade from Etsy.  I figured that if someone helped me with actually putting them together, I could fluff them in minutes and set them up for a beautiful big splash of color in Melanie and her fiance’s apartment.

6a011570d70884970b0168e7e195e5970c-550wiPaper straws with flags that say “Yay, Melanie!” and “Hey Girl!” on the other side

Not so.  Making tissue pom-poms look fancy and perfectly round is tougher than it looks, and I spent more minutes than I’d lik to admit quietly stressing over tissue pom poms.  Yes, I am aware of how ridiculous this sounds now, but you have to understand that in the moment it seemed so mission critical.   Thanks to the Youtube ingenuity of another Asian-American bride, we found a helpful video that guided us to better pom-poms.


Top: Melanie’s Ryan Gosling postcards; bottom: the Gocco’ed second line hankies hanging to dry

If you’ve followed my blog over the past few years, you know that no wedding I’m involved in can pass without my Gocco printing machine being involved.  This time, I found Melanie a gocco’ed Ryan Gosling postcard to write her a congratulatory wedding message.  After the shower, we spent the afternoon Gocco’ing handkerchiefs for the second line parade that will happen after Melanie and Troy’s reception.   After Melanie and I finalized the design, I made three screens to print the design in gold ink onto 22 dozen handkerchiefs.  That may sound like a daunting task, but it was actually one of the easiest Gocco projects I’ve ever tackled (bear in mind, I printed an entire wedding invitation suite while sweating and eight months pregnant in Malaysia).

We ended our night at Peel’s NYC, a restaurant where Ryan Gosling was once photographed eating alone.  Melanie wore her hearthrob lockets (yes, she owns two, and no, they were not made for this particular occasion), and the ten of us dined on some out-of-this-world Southern comfort food.


By the end of the night, I could tell that Melanie was having a great time, and I was so happy that all of the planning from the past few months had resulted in a really fun weekend.

And you know, I’ve almost recovered from the trauma that was those tissue pom-poms.  Almost.

Seriously, how does Martha do it?!

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Brooke Bourgeoissays:

You’re amazing! Can’t believe you pulled all of that off in a different city. Congrats Melanie!

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About me

I’m Ann, a mom / wife / lawyer / certified culinary enthusiast. I share recipes, travel guides and home life tips while living overseas. Currently based in São Paulo, Brazil.

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