A BEAUTIFUL NIGHT

Jill-Smith-Tiffani-Thiessen-01You may have heard of my sister-in-law before. Her name is Tiffani Thiessen and she has been on TV shows with a cult following for most of her life. Most people call her Kelly Kapowski and have incredibly fond memories of her from their childhood. She graciously says ‘yes’ when people want to take a photo with her or get her autograph. She is a celebrity. However, to me, she is my very down-to-earth and wonderfully supportive family member. She is my friend. She is the most fun aunt to my children. She is the perfect wife for my brother. She is truly the sister I never had and someone with whom I chat with about all things, big and little. I feel grateful every day that she is in my family.

One afternoon we were chatting about what we’d both been working on professionally and decided that a little celebration was in order. So we co-hosted a party to celebrate the upcoming launch of her new TV show, Dinner at Tiffani’s, and the launch of my holiday card collection and home décor. We thought that food and décor would be a great excuse to get a small group of our friends and co-workers together for a good time.
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The party was held one evening in Los Angeles around the holidays, and it brought together some of our favorite designers and artisans. It was such a treat for Tiffani and I to work together to design and plan the event. We created a black, white and metallic gold setting with a mixture of modern and vintage accents. We both wanted it to be elegant, yet cozy and certainly not stuffy, so we tailored our plans around this thought. Small hors d’oeuvres were passed as the party started, but we kept it simple with open seating. Strands of white lights hung everywhere.
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We chose table settings from Casa de Perrin with gold flatware and a variety of opaque ceramics and vintage goblets to top the table runners I designed.
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Moon Canyon designed the most beautiful greenery arrangements that spilled out every so perfectly from every surface. We chose eclectic, vintage furniture and serving platters for all of the tables complete with a variety of perfectly mismatched chairs from Found Rentals. Throughout the evening, guests lounged and dined by the outdoor brick fireplace.
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I incorporated my handwriting when designing all of the printed pieces, including the menu, to give it just that little edge. We ordered custom tape for wrapping the baguettes because we’re always up for a laugh.
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Tiffani crafted and created a menu with everything from a little gem salad with pomegranate seeds, blue cheese and roasted pears to platters of roasted chicken with lemon and Picholine olives. She is an exceptional chef and such a warm and inviting host.
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Jenny Keller of Jenny Cookies worked her magic on a whole dessert table with mini pies, glittery gingerbread and iced sugar cookies all looking way too adorable on their scalloped cake stands. Thankfully Elizabeth Messina agreed to photograph the evening for us. The shots she got make me drool on my computer screen a little each time I see them.
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When the party ended, each guest left with homemade granola and other presents wrapped in paper I designed.
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As is always the case, the people make the party. We were happy to not only work with talented and kind people for this event, but to have even more wonderful people join us for the evening. With the start of this new year, I cannot help but look back and feel such gratitude for the friends and family that I’ve had for years and for the friends I get to meet through working on events like this. May our 2015 calendars (and beyond!) be filled with good times.
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Menu crafted by Tiffani Thiessen. Be sure to look for her new show, Dinner at Tiffani’s, on the Cooking Channel.
Party décor and gifts designed by me, produced by Tiny Prints and Shutterfly. Find their table runners here. Pillows here. The invitation we used for the party here. And a journal we gifted each guest here. Wrapping paper designed by me and printed by Spoonflower.
Photography by Elizabeth Messina.
Children’s toys collected to donate to Baby Buggy.
Also a huge thank you to our sweet husbands, Wooch Graff and Brady Smith, for all the heavy lifting, getting all decked out and putting up with all of our ideas. And to Vicki. Um wow, you could not be more amazing.
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PLAY PLAY PLAY

“I really regret playing,” said no one ever. Here is where I will share a photo that could make me happy forever. If you’d like to see all of the photos in my PLAY, PLAY, PLAY series, click here.

{ Rain, rain went away. Left him puddles to play play play. }
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Happy Monday everyone!
Photograph by Brooke Schwab.

FA LA LA LA LA LA LATE LATE LATE

fa-la-jill-smith-01Did you spend last month decorating your house and drinking eggnog instead of ordering holiday cards? Sounds fun! But just so you know, you can still send some holiday cheer to friends and family with New Years cards.

Here are a handful to choose from. The OH SO FUN design comes in three color combinations. Here is the perfect greeting for newlyweds. And here is one for those of us who have a ton of photos to share!

It’s not sending your cards out late. It’s keeping the happy mail trail going into 2015.
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Photography by Elizabeth Messina.

THE GIFT OF TIME

Jill-Smith-baby2baby-01Jill-Smith-baby2baby-02It feels good giving joy to others any time of year, but especially during the holidays. This year I chose to give the gift of my time to some very wonderful children in need. I love to be around kiddos, to hear the great—and more times than not, hilarious—things they say and to see such pure, raw innocence and happiness. In April, I helped a group of less fortunate children paint a portrait of their mom for Mother’s Day. As cliché as it sounds, it felt so good. I left with a smile on my face and felt like my heart grew three sizes (thanks, Dr. Seuss, for the perfect analogy). I knew I wanted to do more.
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Well, a few weeks ago I got to do it again! This time I spent the afternoon teaching a room full of 4-6 year-old kiddos how to decorate a cardboard gingerbread house. We markered and glued and stickered and glittered our way to creating the happiest little gingerbread houses you’ve ever laid eyes on. And when they finished their art project, there was a whole winter wonderland waiting for them as a surprise. It was a Nutcracker-themed party complete with ballet dancers, sugary treats and Santa himself.
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At the end of the party, each child left with a personalized bag of basic necessities and thoughtful holiday gifts to open on Christmas day. Gifts for their siblings were also included. My hope is that these gifts and toys will continue to add happiness to their every day lives. Being a mom myself, I get a little teary-eyed when I think about what I’d wish for their parents, not just at this time of year, but year-round. I hope that when their little ones rip holes in their pants or grow out of their shoes, that these gifts will replenish just what they need when they need it. And that they know that there are other people out there who care and hear and see and help.

If you want to offer support to these children and the kind people who run Baby2Baby, please visit their website. I have also designed a collection of holiday cards for them with the help of Tiny Prints. When purchased, 5% of the card sales go directly to Baby2Baby. To spread the word of giving back, the back of each card shows Baby2Baby’s mission. Use the PROMO CODE: BABY2BABYHOL for 30% off plus free standard shipping.
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If you’ve already sealed and mailed your holiday cards, there is also a set of everyday, personalized stationery available. Same wonderful deal applies: if you purchase any of these designs, 5% of the card sales go directly to Baby2Baby. Maybe the next time you are looking for the perfect gift for a good friend, you can give them a set of notecards and know that at the same time you are also giving funds to support some of these wonderful kids who I’ve had the pleasure of playing with.

Thank you Baby2Baby and Tiny Prints. I feel so fortunate to have had the opportunity to help these sweet families. Here’s a video the talented folks at Tiny Prints put together…enjoy!

TinyPrints+Baby2Baby HolidayParty 720p from Jill Smith on Vimeo.

Photography by Getty Images for Baby2Baby
Event décor by Peggy of Fire and Crème Kids