The sun was shining, the birds were chirping, spring was definitely in the air. It was the perfect day for a celebration. We were to celebrate the May arrival of our second daughter…
A couple of months ago, I had just finished having lunch with my friend Anna when she texted me and said, “I want to host your baby shower!” I was surprised and touched. I had been thinking about planning some sort of party and needed this kind of motivation. And it’s definitely more fun doing it with a friend, especially one full of wonderful ideas like Anna! So, we got started by first choosing a location. I wanted something that felt rustic and comfortable, so Anna immediately sent over options. We took a look at places in Brooklyn and even upstate in Bedford, but when I came across Freemans on the Lower East Side, I thought, OF COURSE!
Freemans’ private rooms feel like walking into someone’s home. It was casual with all of the little details that I love. Walls of bookcases are filled with books, antiques are scattered all around the room, worn farmtables and sunken sofas make it feel like the country house one’s stylish and eclectic grandmother may have. Although, when you look out the window onto the fire escape and charming little alleyway, there’s no denying that you’re in Manhattan.
After the location was chosen, I sent out Save the Dates and invitations from Paperless Post. I’m a bit old fashioned when it comes to invitations and prefer them tangible. Paperless Post was great for timely Save the Dates and keeping track of things digitally, but could still print and get the invitation to my door in three days!
I narrowed the design selections to a few and let my husband have the final say. He chose little rubber ducks as it reminds him of the baths our daughter, Aderyn, loves so much. I decided to go with a weightier card stock to make the invitation even more special.
GIFTS AND FAVORS
Being that we are having our second child not long after our first, I still have everything I need. It also helps that we will have two daughters that can share a lot of things.
We have been sponsors to a little girl in Vietnam through Save the Children and thought our friends and family may want to contribute to this charity as well. So, in lieu of presents to just our little girl, we asked everyone to give a gift to the children of the world instead. How much nicer is that?
Being that it was a shower, Anna wouldn’t let me get away with ditching the party games! For prizes, we gave out bags from the charity FEED that works with artisans all over the world whose designs fund meals for poverty stricken children. Anna is in love with all things artisanal, especially when paired with a good cause, so as a little thank you, I gave her FEED’s hand beaded bag which uses traditional techniques in Kenya and will provide 370 meals in Kenyan schools.
You rarely find my house without flowers, so that was one of the first things I thought about. I emailed Liza over at Peartree Flowers, whose designs were just the aesthetic I was wanting for the occasion. “I want it to be wild and ‘springy.'” And that’s just what she delivered. I walked into the room and the flowers looked like they were plucked from that perfect spring meadow you picture in dreams (or am I the only one that pictures spring meadows in my dreams?)! Each arrangement was soft and perfectly imperfect with a variety of textures and colors. No two were alike. It was exactly what I envisioned for such a special occasion.
To add to the table decor, I found adorable duck topiaries at Pottery Barn that gave a little nod to the invitation design. They arrived much earlier than I expected, so I tried my best to keep the ivy alive until the day of the brunch!
Anna sourced beautiful nests that were made by hand from Etsy. While I was on the Upper East Side, I stopped into La Maison du Chocolat. Their chocolates are not only beautiful to eat, they’re beautiful to look at as well. I chose praline eggs wrapped in pretty antiqued pink and gold foil to place inside the little nests.
Being 35 weeks pregnant can have its challenges in finding a dress that’s comfortable and stylish. I looked to some of my favorite sites like Shrimpton Couture and Sielian’s for some of the best vintage and Net-a-Porter and Moda Operandi for current designer pieces. In the end, I was deciding between two dresses, a romantic polka dot Zimmerman and a more architectural dress by another Australian designer, Toni Maticevski. I ended up with the Maticevski. It just felt unexpected and fresh. I paired it with things I already had in my closet, a floral hat and embroidered Yves Saint Laurent heels.
THE GUESTS (MOST IMPORTANTLY!)
As we take on adding another dimension under our roof, a lot of thoughts and emotions have come over me. There are a lot of moving parts to having children. I thought about a lot of them before we had kids (mostly with trepidation!), but never really (let myself) dwell on details too much. My husband and I kind of throw fate to the wind and try to do what feels right to us, not everyone else (as you should, right?).
I recently went to a baby shower in my hometown of Houston. It was a beautiful gathering with friends and a lot of family. Fathers made heartfelt speeches, sisters helped with the planning…it was definitely a special occasion for the entire family. I loved it.
When the RSVPs started coming in for our little celebration, I realized there would be no father speeches or sisters getting excited about planning the details. With my sister all the way in Australia and my mother’s (Texas) and husband’s family’s (England) aversion to travel, we just weren’t going to have that. Maybe it’s part of the whole “nesting” process they say pregnant women go through, but I was feeling a bit down about the whole thing. I told my mother about it and she pointed out (in a round about way) that I have all of my friends.
And she had a point, whether she meant to or not! Family isn’t only defined by blood. We’ve made our own rules on how we are going to raise our children and the type of lifestyle we would live with them. If anything, our friends have become even more important to us as we navigate through raising children thousands of miles away from our families.
If you read my blog, you know that when I was pregnant with Aderyn, I lost one of my best friends to cancer. It had been two months since she died and it was hard thinking about celebrating something, even if it was my first child. My friends, Tina and Manisha, were so wonderful and hosted a little brunch with a small group of girlfriends, a couple of which flew in for the occasion. Nothing too overwhelming, just some of my best gal pals. I remember looking around the table at these wonderful women that I had in my life and feeling very lucky to be in their company and to have their unconditional love and support. We laughed, we cried. Needless to say, it was a very emotional afternoon for me! These moments are what bring you closer together and create even stronger bonds.
My first baby shower was such a lovely experience that I thought why should Kayvaun miss out this time? A lot of people don’t have baby showers for their second child, but I don’t see why the second should be left out. They are just as important to celebrate! And fathers should get to be a part of that too. This time around, we broke the norm and invited everyone to come and celebrate this important milestone in our lives. It was wonderful. Our lives felt richer that afternoon. Occasions like these are a nice way of telling people how much impact they have in your lives and to celebrate each other. When a girlfriend asked me today how the party went, I responded, “I couldn’t have asked for more.” And it was true. To have our parents and siblings there would have just been icing on the cake. Maybe next time!
Sometimes you can get bogged down by tradition and what is supposed to be by standard definitions, but in the end we are the only ones in control of the things that mean something to us.
With that being said, here’s a little glimpse into our celebration of a new little life and friendship…
(p.s. Thank you Azadeh for taking the wonderful photos that I couldn’t…love you.)
(I lied. We did have family at the shower. The family representative was Ramin, Azadeh and Arran who we are so happy moved to New York and just live downtown!)