castella lumen. primo compleanno.

April 8, 2016


U N O.

I can never wrap my head around the fact that I grew and made a tiny human being. Inside of my body. A small person who looks like Shawn and I. Who chats and hugs and kisses and cries and feels and loves and learns and sees. It’s truly ah-mazing. There is a lot of sentiment in these images, and the day was so incredibly special, celebrating with close family, friends and tons of kids!

I named our girl after a tiny fishing town in Sicily, where my father’s family is from- Castellammare Del Golfo. We had originally planned on going to Sicily for her first birthday, but Joonie was not doing well, so we changed our plans.

She passed away 2 days before Castella’s birthday, and I wanted to feel like she was still there celebrating with us. My extremely talented dear friend MaryKate Moon made a few signs that made it even more special. As for favors, I had little daisy and poppy seeds for guests to take home to plant this spring, in honor of Joonie. The portrait she painted on the sign was an unexpected yet very touching bonus.

All signage, GORGEOUS custom invite, and addressed envelopes by MaryKate Moon

The theme was Sicily, so I had my cousin Sergio who is a chef, cook for our guests a traditional Italian feast. Meat and cheese boards with house-made pickled veggies, Sicilian arancini, and a bowl of fried zucchini to start. With giant bowls of fresh pasta, kale salads and pizza’s made to order, the food was out of this world and exactly what I wanted. The prosecco and limoncello were flowing, naturally.

The cake was a naked pistachio cake, made by the ladies at Cardinal along with the gianduja cupcakes (they were to DIE for)!!!

My gal’s dress was handmade by my Mother In Law! The peter pan collar and the lace detail was so darling, I’m so happy to have that heirloom now for years to come.

The painting hung behind the cake was painted by my great uncle, a landscape of Castellammare.

The handmade sign hung above the fireplace (also by MaryKateMoon)- “Amore Senza Fine” (love without end) is a lyric by Pino Daniele that my father and I exchange frequently, and a saying I would like to keep going between my girl and I. I draped artificial bougainvillea across the top for that southern Italy feel.

The house is an estate in Atlantic Highlands, NJ called the Thomas Paine House. It was the absolute perfect backdrop for the party.

On her actual birthday, my dear friend Christina and I took a trip to our favorite place, Terrain, to eat in their greenhouse and explore all of the amazing greenery they have. It’s seriously magic there.

Well, she is magic. To me.

Here’s to many more years celebrating you.

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