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Weekend Visit with Best Friends

First of all…let me start by saying, I have great girlfriends.  I have friends still in my life from when I was in preschool, grammar school, middle school, and high school.  I still keep in touch with and sometimes have a chance see college friends, sorority sisters, and past work friends.  I still see on a pretty regular basis girlfriends from a playgroup I was in when my son, who is now 9 yrs old, was a baby.  One of my besties here in Carlsbad is Trish.  I met her at a quilting class on March 21, 2002.  We wish eachother Happy Friendiversary every year now.  I think it’s so neat we can pinpoint the day we became friends.  

I love any reason to get together with girlfriends and will look for an excuse to celebrate anything.  I am, truly, a perpetual party planner.  It’s kind of my thing.  When my high school girlfriends emailed me to say they were coming down I was like, “Oh yeah.  It’s party time!  Theme? Pandas of course! Food? Drinks? Manis & pedis? Authentic Mexican food? Yes, yes, yes, yes, and yes.”  This conversation was with myself.  In my head.  Well, maybe some of it was out loud.  And yes, there is always a theme.  It was only recently that I discovered some people don’t have themes for their parties.  Say what?  I’m sorry, that does not compute.  Of a few things I am incapable…hiking (that is more of a preference thing), planning “simple” (even when I think it’s simple apparently it’s not) and not having a theme.  How do you know what to serve and how to decorate?  Pandas, we’re going with pandas because that is our high school mascot.  Ok, moving on.

Last weekend some of my best girlfriends came down to visit me.  We aren’t just any set of girlfriends though.  We are high school friends. I love my high school friends.  These girls know me in a way most don’t and they have dirt sweet little anecdotes about my life as a boy crazy teen.  Relax, it’s all very PG!  We went to a very progressive all girls Catholic school in Los Angeles and there is something about being taught my a bunch of rebel nuns (no, really) who told the church, “Um, sorry folks, we aren’t wearing those habits anymore and while we’re at it we have some other ideas to float past you” that has made each and every one of us very strong independent women. I love that about my alma mater and my Panda sisters (that Panda thing comes up later).  

Anyway, I am getting off topic…sooooo, five of my high school girlies made their way down South (that’s Southern California) to stay with me and Miss Cupcake for the weekend.  My hubby and son were supposed to go camping but that didn’t happen due to the rain so they were able to stay in a family friend’s house in Lake Arrowhead instead.  Once plans were made and tickets purchased I started planning.  Ooooh a party! Yippee!  Hmmm…what to serve what to serve?  

This was the picture Emily posted Friday morning… I’d say she was ready for a fun weekend.  Yes, that is Edward.  He was the only boy allowed.

These are the NorCal girls.  Their flight was delayed almost three hours due to rain.  They were so ready to get this party started!



It was pretty late when they arrived but that didn’t slow us down one bit.  The artichoke french bread was warm, the rumaki hot, the sangria cold, and the brownies moist and fudgy.  Yep, we’re ready!

I have an entertaining rule I follow.  I call it the Four S’s of Entertaining: Sweet, Salty, Savory, & Sensible.  If you serve something from each group you will satisfy everyone and their nibbling needs.  So with that in mind I started with something chocolatey.



Sweet.  Well, a lady from church had just made some to die for brownies for coffee hour so after tasting those mouth watering little bites of chocolate heaven I knew I had to make them.   

Salty.  I considered this fantastic artichoke dip I have served many times that is always a hit but wanted to do something a little different so opted for Artichoke Bread.   

Savory.  Had to be Date Rumaki.  I knew most of the girls had never had it and it’s so easy and so yummy – had to do it.  BFF B knew immediately when she walked in the house what it was, “Is that rumaki I smell?!”  Why yes, yes it is.  She knows!  

Sensible.  I made this salted caramel sauce for a boutique I am in this weekend and wanted the girls to try it so I served fresh apple slices with the sauce.  The sweet and salty caramel sauce was perfect with the mixture of apples.  Do you know how to keep apple slices from browning?  I saw this wonderful trick on Pinterest and guess what, it totally works! 

Something to drink.  Hmmmm.Wine was too boring.  Not really the right time of year for margaritas.  Mulled wine was a contender but in the end I opted for Sangria.  It’s a little exotic, not something you make very often, if ever, and it goes down so easily.  


Now onto decorations.  Obviously since we are the Pandas I knew it had to be centered around that.  I made a welcome banner, some food tents, and water bottle labels using black and white damask with accents of green.  On our last day together we decided that this would be a traveling sign and whoever is hosting a group of Pandas will display it proudly.  Nurse Ems took it home so I guess she’s “it”!  I also ordered some adorable little panda mirrors from Paper and Press on Etsy as a thank you for coming and a reminder later of our weekend together.




For breakfast Saturday morning I wanted to make cinnamon rolls.  I searched and searched for a great cinnamon roll recipe and all of them, while getting rave reviews, were just too much work.  Yeast in warm water, rise, rise again. Ugh. I don’t have time for that.  I came up with my own recipe and judging by the look of the pan and the smile on Emily’s face, it was a keeper.  You can find that recipe here.  There was one lonely little roll that was left which BFF B felt so sorry for she just had to find it a home…”get in my belly!” Ok, she didn’t say that but was licking the frosting off her lips and fingers when she came back into the room.



After a long day of manis/pedis (with Starbucks delivered to us by Sheila – thanks chica!), shopping (at Target), and lunching, it was time for facials.  Erin is an NYR Rep and if you don’t know anything this company you might want to check it out particularly if either you or someone you love has skin allergies.  The products are all natural and organic and are held to extremely high organic UK standards unlike the US where we are very lax on this.  Erin has children with skin sensitivities which led her to this company.  She was so passionate about it she became a rep.  In keeping with our girls’ weekend she brought her products down here to pamper us.   Our skin was glowing and fresh and felt so clean.  In addition to having a really great product line you will be sold on the company alone.  Do you know what parabens are?  Did you know that the stuff that makes your shampoo and cleanser suds up isn’t a good thing?  It is completely useless but for some reason in the US we think those bubbles are doing a good job.  Anyway, you can find out more about the company here and schedule a time to talk to her about it.  They have these magic little oils you rub on your wrist too.  There is one for relaxing, focus, and energy.  I ordered focus for my son which is a perfect addition to a healthy breakfast to send him off to school.



Sunday morning we enjoyed Porto’s that Emily & Christine brought down from LA (Porto’s is a really well-known bakery).  Miss Cupcake was staring longingly at my danish so I gave her a little piece.  That was it for her!  She was hooked.  Hear that Porto’s?  Your danishes were the first real food my daughter ever had.  I think she should be your new spokesbaby.

It was now unfortunately time for the Panda Aunties to hit the road. Boo!  Until next time Panties! 

Go here to find all of the recipes I used for this fabulous Weekend with Girlfriends!

Panda Mirrors: Paper & Press on Etsy
Panda banner, food tents, water bottle labels:  me
Manis/Pedis: Nails 2000, Carlsbad, CA  760-634-1414 (ask for Tiffany and tell her Kylie sent you)
Lunch: Casa de Bandini

Photojournalist: Nurse Emily

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Saturday 19th of November 2011

Thanks for sharing the deets, it sounds like a you had a FABULOUS weekend with your high school girlfriends. They are lucky to have met a friend like you--Mrs. Perpetual Party Planner"! I'm really lucky to have met you, too:) Keep doing what you love, you are great at it! And, I'm really curious about the "Rumaki". Must do a taste-test. Love you--T--xoxo

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