Chinese New Year Celebration // Year of the Horse

Chinese New Year - The Girls in Mandarin Dresses

Chinese New Year Celebration // Year of the Horse

According to the Chinese zodiac, 2014 is the year of the Horse. It is a year for renewal and growth. The horse is strong and swift, and teaches us to seize the moment!

With the Chinese New Year being right around the corner, I thought the best way to teach my Baby Bear about the traditions and splendor of the occasion was with a Chinese New Year Play Date Party! Thankfully we are only a short ride away to Chinatown, so we ventured off for an afternoon of learning, shopping, eating and plain ole’ mommy and me fun. The following day we decorated the house and had a fun-filled day with all of her buddies!

See how it all came together…


  • Event Production: pop! by YAZ
  • Venue: Private Residence
  • Photography: pop! by YAZ
  • Decor +  Favors: pop! by YAZ via Pearl River Mart + Chinatown
  • Mandarin Dresses: Chinatown

Chinese New Year - Mommy and Baby BearMe and the Baby Bear! We just love having our friends over and dressing up.

Chinese New Year - Mandarin DressMandarin Dress
Baby Bear and I went shopping in Chinatown and scored by finding these beautiful Mandarin dresses for all of her friends.  Upon entry, we surprised them with the choice of a dress for them to wear during the festivities.

Chinese New Year - Baby BearMy Baby Bear!!!

Chinese New Year - Dragon Flower CenterpieceTangerines
During Chinese New Year, tangerines and oranges are displayed as decorations and are also exchanged among friends and acquaintances. Sometimes, small trees are kept for this purpose. Fruit is almost always a good Chinese New Year’s gift. Oranges and tangerines are a traditional favorite, though, and can also represent happiness and abundance, as in an abundant harvest. If there are still leaves and a stem attached to the fruit, it also means fertility.

Chinese New Year - Mouth of the Dragon
The Centerpiece

The peony is considered to be the “Flower of Richness and Good Luck” in China. Therefore it is a favorite New Year decoration. I also included a paper dragon with a pearl mouth piece.

Chinese New Year - Gold HorsesYear of the Horse
2014 is the Year of the Horse according to Chinese zodiac. The Year of the Horse starts from Jan. 31, 2014 (the Lunar New Year / Spring Festival of China) and lasts to Feb. 18, 2015. I painted the horses gold as it represents happiness and prosperity.

Chinese New Year - LanternsLanterns
The Lantern Festival is celebrated on the 15th day of the first month of traditional Chinese calendar. During the Lantern Festival, children go out at night to temples carrying paper lanterns and solve riddles. People also get together to celebrate the beginning of spring by watching fireworks and eating Yuanxiao (sweet stuffed dumplings made of glutinous rice flour served in soup).  The festival officially ends the Chinese New Year celebrations.

Chinese New Year - The Kids TableChinese New Year - Dragon Smiles

Chinese New Year - Year of the HorseLion Dance
Street celebrations often include a traditional lion dance which is believed to scare away evil and bring good luck. There are usually two dancers. One acts as the head and the other the body. They dance to a drum, cymbals and a gong. On the head of the lion is mirror so that evil spirits will be frightened away by their own reflections. As the lion runs along the streets he begins to visit different places. On his way he meets another person, the ‘Laughing Buddha’ who is dressed in monk’s robes and a mask. He teases the lion with a fan made of banana-leaves which makes the lion jump around.

Chinese New Year - Red FlowersRed Flowers
Red is a very important color as it represents happiness, purity, celebration, health and luck.

Chinese New Year - Paper Dragon

Chinese New Year - Crafting 2

Chinese New Year - Friends

Chinese New Year - Friends

Chinese New Year - Interpretive Lion DanceCrafts + Fun
Paper dragons, interpretative lion dances, spontaneous hugs and tons of laughter ensued throughout the afternoon.

Chinese New Year - Toasting

Chinese New Year - Feast table
Chinese New Year - The Feast
The Feast
Steamed Vegetables
Steamed Rice
Beef Fried Rice
Vegetable Spring Rolls
Chicken Lo Mein
Pink Fortune Cake
Sweet Biscuits

When served during Chinese New Year, noodles shouldn’t be cut or broken into pieces. Long noodles represent a nice long life, although eating them could get a little messy.

Chinese dumplings are one of the most important foods in Chinese New Year.  They symbolize wealth as their shape is similar to ancient gold or silver ingots.

Chinese New Year - Eating with ChopsticksMehar showing off her chopstick skills.

Chinese New Year - Mean Muggin'Uh oh! Looks like somebody is mean muggin’!!!! She thought she didn’t get a tangerine. No tangerine, no good fortune! YIKES!

Chinese New Year - Eat Fortune CakeAhaana nibbles on pink Fortune Cake.

Chinese New Year - Red Flowers Chinese New Year - Red EnvelopeRed Envelope
Early on New Years Day children receive lucky red packets called ‘Hong Bao’ containing sweets or money.

Chinese New Year - Kids FavorsFavors
Their gold take-out boxes included a small change purse, pink chopsticks and a mini doll.

Chinese New Year - Fortune CookieFortune Cookie // Year of the Horse
Now is the time to implement meaningful changes in our lives. With its wild spirit, the horse longs to roam the land freely. It is a year for bold adventures and enlightening exploration. It’s a good time to travel afar! The Wood Horse can bring you good fortune, new journeys, and a replenished spirit.

Chinese New Year - Life of LaughterLive, love and laughter
Live like the moment pictured. Exuberant, engaged and with all of your heart.  Make everyday pop! Let go and LIVE!!!!

Golden Globes Inspiration Board // Olivia Wilde in Emerald City

pop by Yaz Olivia Wilde Emerald Golden Globe Inspiration

Golden Globes Inspiration Board // Olivia Wilde in Emerald City

Inspired by Olivia Wilde’s Golden Globes Gucci Emerald Green Gown

Emerald Green // Champagne // Blush // Taupe

Golden Globes 2014 // Red Carpet Inspiration



Golden Globes 2014 //  Red Carpet Inspiration

The Golden Globes Red Carpet was filled with glorious, bold reds, pops of bright colors, classic blacks, liquid metals and 3D details that had my imagination running!
These stars in their gorgeous dresses left me so inspired, I will be posting Wedding/Soiree Inspiration boards all this week based on their stunning gowns.

Stay tuned!

Sofia Vergara + Zac Posen
Olivia Wilde + Gucci
Maria Menounos + BCBG Max Azria
Lena Dunham + Zac Posen
Lupita Nyong’o + Ralph Lauren
Kate Blanchett + Armani

Sweet Potato Casserole with a Walnut and Almond Crust

Sweet Potato Casserole - BiteSweet Potato Casserole with a Walnut and Almond Crust

Your diet just ended!!!! Ever been to Ruth Chris and had their famous Sweet Potato Casserole? Yeah, like that! Sweet Potatoes… not just for Thanksgiving.


Sweet Potato Casserole - Chopped NutsChop the nuts.
Sweet Potato Casserole - Crust Ingredients
Add a little cinnamon to the crust mixture.Sweet Potato Casserole - crustMix all of the ingredients for the crust.Sweet Potato Casserole - MixMix all of the ingredients for the sweet potato mixture.Sweet Potato Casserole - PourPour the sweet potato mixture into a casserole dish or ramekinsfinal 2Doesn’t it look …just…delicious?!?!?!

Sweet Potato Casserole - no spoonHad to take a bite! YUM!



  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup flour
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts almonds
  • 1/3 cup butter, melted
  • 1 teaspoon Cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon salt


  • 3 cups sweet potatoes,  cooked and mashed
  • 2 eggs, well beaten
  • 1 cup sugar
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 stick butter, melted



  1. If your nuts are whole, chop them up into small pieces
  2. Combine brown sugar, flour, nuts and butter in mixing bowl. Set aside.


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Spray a medium-size casserole dish with nonstick spray or use 6 ramekins for smaller individual portions
  3. Combine sweet potatoes, sugar, salt, vanilla, eggs and butter in a large mixing bowl and beat with a mixer for about 3-4 minutes to increase the fluffiness of the sweet potato mixture.
  4. Pour mixture into the baking dish. Bake for 25 minutes.Bake for 10 minutes if in ramekins.
  5. Sprinkle the surface of the sweet potato mixture evenly with the crust mixture and return to oven for 10 minutes.
  6. Allow to set at least 30 minutes before serving.

Bird’s Nest Pasta

Birds nest Pasta - kids creative food

Bird’s Nest Pasta

On cold days like today, we yearn to hear the birds singing as it’s a sign that’s it’s warm outside. Mother Nature is not on our side today,  so you will have to make due with your pop!TOT singing your praises after making your classic Spaghetti and Meatballs into the cutest little bird’s nest.

Super easy and super cute.

* TIP: Want to avoid even less cooking? Purchase pre-made meatballs and eliminate 20 minutes from the prep! We personally enjoy the process, but it’s totally up to you!

The details are below!

Birds Nest Pasta - Chef Baby BearChef Baby Bear shows off her Bird’s Nest Pasta.

Birds Nest Spaghetti  Ground BeefSeason the meat.

Birds Nest Pasta
Boil the pasta.

Birds nest Pasta - egg
Crack the eggs.

Birds nest Pasta - egg mix
Mix the eggs into the meat.

Birds nest Pasta - flour
Flour your board.

Birds nest Pasta - hand roll ball
Roll the meat into balls.

Birds nest Pasta - hand rollChef Baby Bear uses her hands here.

Birds nest Pasta - rollLook at that meat!

Birds Nest Pasta - Cook
Cook the meat

Birds nest Pasta - sauceMake your sauce.

Birds nest Pasta - kids creative food 2The Bird’s Nest Pasta is Complete!

Birds Nest Pasta - Adult
Here’s the adult version.


MEAT (Bird)

  • 1lb cup ground turkey or beef
  • 1 cup of flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon Oil
  • 1 box Spaghetti Pasta
  • 1/2 teaspoon Cilantro
  • 1/2 teaspoon Garlic
  • 1/4 teaspoon Oregano

PASTA (Nest)

  • 1 box of spaghetti
  • 1 jar marina Sauce
  • 1 teaspoon Adobo


  • 1/4 teaspoon Cheese (feta, mozzarella, etc. for eyes)
  • Orange pepper, carrot or orange peel (for Beak)
  • Cilantro or celery stalk (for leaves)



  1. Boil water, add pasta, cook and drain. Set aside.
  2. Add a tiny amount of olive oil or butter so the pasta does not stick to each other.
  3. Swirl the pasta with a fork to create the nest shape.  Create an indent in the center so the meatball can sit in place.


  1. Heat skillet over medium heat.
  2. Combine ingredients for meat and mix.
  3. Roll meat into 1 1/2 inch balls in flour and pan fry in 1/2 inch oil.
  4. Fry for about 10 minutes then flip over to fry the other side for another 10 minutes until golden brown and cooked through.
  5. Remove from skillet and allow to cool.
  6. Use a sharp pointy knife to make the holes for the eyes. Remove the tiny piece inside so that our eyes can sit well.
  7. For the bird’s beak, cut a small section of the peel or carrot and cut 2 triangles less than a half inch wide.
  8. Create a small slice roughly the size of your beak and insert the beak.
  9. Garnish with cilantro or celery for greenery.
  10. Sauce your plate, add the pasta and top with the meatball.
  11. ENJOY!

You’re Engaged! Now What?

You're Engaged Now What

You’re Engaged! Now What?

According to my FB timeline and my IG it seems that love was in the air this holiday season. I LOVE it!!! So your honey popped the question. You said yes. Yay! You’re engaged! Now what’s next you ask?

Here’s what to do in a few steps…

  • Call your relatives. It seems obvious, but with social media many have forgotten the way of the word. Meet up. Call them. Make it personal.  Be thoughtful in sharing this joyous occasion with the most special people in your lives.
  • Get a manicure. It sounds silly, but everyone is going to want to see your ring. The glorious beauty of your ring should not be out shined by chipped nail polish or hand nail. Yuck!
  • Announce it! After the VIPs, share the news with the rest of your friends. Whether through social media or a formal engagement announcement, this is your time to spread the news.
  • Get your ring sized.  Even if your ring size is correct it’s likely your ring still isn’t fit as perfect as it should be.  You have lots of showing off to do. Let’s make sure your precious stone stays exactly where it is supposed to be.
  • Appraise and Insure. Your ring was a big investment. Protect yourselves.
  • Send a Save-the-Date. Even if you don’t know the exact date sending out a Save-the-Date with an approximate timeframe, such as Fall 2014, will alleviate the third most popular question after “Can I see the Ring” and “How did he/she propose.”   It will also help in the planning process itself.
  • Get Inspired. Finally, after years of daydreaming, now it’s your opportunity to put it all together without friends giving you the side eye for planning a wedding without a bride/groom. No, you are not the only person who has tried on a bridal dress with no wedding in site. No judgment. Pick up magazines, pop into a bridal show, check out website and blogs for inspiration.
  • Talk to your Partner. Discuss what you both have in mind for the big day. Determine your most important areas and know when to compromise.
  • Determine the planning process.  Whether you run off to your local City Court, hire a planner or do-it-yourselves you need to discuss which process is best for you.
  • Hire a professional planner. Planning a wedding is a full-time job. If you’re a super busy couple with a demanding lifestyle, hiring a planner is key to a stress free event.  Many couples forgo a planner in order to save money; however considering the amount of money being invested on your once in a lifetime event I believe it is imperative you have someone working on your behalf. Great planners will guide you through the wedding planning process by keeping you organized,  helping save you money, connecting you with top notch professionals, managing vendors, guests and orchestrate the details of your big day.
  • Levels of Support. Most planners offer varying levels of support to suit your needs. Full service includes every step of the planning process. Partial Planning is right for you, if you have planned some of your wedding but need a professional wedding planner to step in and help. The final option is a day-of-coordinator, who unlike the title states, comes in about a month prior to your wedding and executes the details you have planned. They will ensure everything goes smoothly on your wedding day. I strongly recommend at minimum you hire a day-of-coordinator to execute the plans you have been working so diligently on, so it runs exactly how you envisioned. Your peace of mind on your wedding day will be worth every cent!
  • Discuss Budget.  Discussing money is never fun, but completely necessary before you reach out to any vendors. Get an idea of how the wedding is going to be funded and how much you have to spend.
  • Start Planning. This is the fun part, or so it should be. A wedding is a day, a marriage is a lifetime. Enjoy the planning process and congrats!

Stay tuned for additional tips on Weddings and more!

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