Welcome to our exploding pastel Easter brunch with Cooking Light. When I was 8 months pregnant Cooking Light asked if they could do a feature at my house to celebrate Easter (this was in September) that would shoot when Elliot was 3 weeks old. I remember thinking “hmm . . . that is terrible timing and you should probably say no, dear God just say no.” But then I also remember thinking “ooh, free party! Free food! Free beautiful content for the blog! And an excuse to host a fancy brunch at our house, with our best friends during a time that typically is less social.” So yea, like any insane content obsessed blogger I said “YES!”
When the day rolled around I was a bit overwhelmed with that baby, but as promised I did very little work. Scott and I collaborated on the art direction, but he shopped/styled it (and once again did a beautiful job). I had to dress myself, but they payed for hair and make up which was a treat, and we cleaned the house (which I’m sure I had help with, although I don’t remember now). Otherwise I sat back and enjoyed a very fun, beautiful, and delicious early November Easter brunch with our best friends.
We wanted it to be a modern, pastel spring brunch with a glam/Scandy feel. White with lots of pastels and cobalt blue in there since we were in my house, after all. Look at this spread:
Scott did such an amazing job.
Look at this low maintenance flower arrangement that he threw together – with just a few boring peonies (I’m joking). Quick fact: peonies in October are like $10 – $12 a stem (wholesale!), so that arrangement below honestly probably cost more than all the flowers at my wedding, which had a budget of $400. But they are much cheaper now in the spring. Trader Joe’s sells them 6 stems for around $10.
The menu was delicious and extremely healthy. I didn’t know this but Cooking Light obsesses about calories – making sure that the entire meal stays under a certain amount. Our whole meal was only 828 calories per person, believe it or not. The olives and the wine were not counted, however.
We started with the flatbread which was delicious.
Next we had the most unsuspectingly delicious pea soup ever. The portion was relatively small, so I think I polished off three of these. I will ABSOLUTELY make this again and I know that both our kids will love it, too. Pick up the magazine for the recipe.
On my honor I have no obligation to give this food rave reviews. But trust me when I say that this pea/asparagus and bacon salad was insanely, shockingly good. I will make this anytime. Granted we had a talented chef/food stylist preparing this, but they executed a recipe that had been researched, tweaked, and perfected by the Cooking Light editors in their test kitchen.
The main course was this beautiful roasted thyme salmon.
When I found out it was an Easter Salmon I was a bit like “uh, you mean roast or ham or chicken, right?” Then I remembered that it was Cooking Light, and they intended to be on the healthier side. We joked a lot about “Emily’s Famous Easter Salmon.” But when I tasted it I was blown away by how good it was. While most people may not prepare salmon for their Easter brunch, you can certainly make it any other time as well.
We finished off the meal with a absolutely tasty carrot zucchini cake. Everything was so delicious and it was SUCH a treat to basically be thrown a 4 course Easter brunch by a magazine. Clearly we had fun.
Those eggs were just decor. Scott bought them at the farmers market, then hard boiled them, then dyed them to be spread around the table. I think some of them were edible but I don’t believe we ate them – but then again I was in newborn fog land so I don’t remember anything.
The living and dining room were covered in spring, and I brought back a lot of my blue/pink accessories for the occasion, and I really liked it.
Look at that tiny baby cuddled up on my shoulder. Charlie was napping during these photos which made me sad, but you don’t deprive a toddler of napping, especially when you are excited to have a few drinks and are babysitter-less.
I carefully instructed our friends to wear their simplest pastels, which they did. I myself struggled with what to wear as clothes weren’t fitting for obvious reasons – so I went with the “spray tan, tiny skirt, 9″ heels and a boxy top” method.
When I say I’m not a hand model I mean it, and I know that up until this point it wasn’t proven, but please feast your eyes on those claws. It looks like a hawk talon around a crystal ball a la “Game of Thrones” or “Labyrinth.” Don’t worry, I’m not hand-shaming myself, I think it its actually hilarious and could care less. You’ll also notice that I put my skirt on backwards for that shot because the buttons weren’t looking terribly flattering. The skirt is from Urban, pink sweatshirt is from Maje (out of stock), and button up from Isabel Marant (out of stock).
Jenny has much nicer hands, with nary a wrinkle in site, a teeny tiny slim wrist, with very un-talon like fingers. Look at her flaunting them all around my special Easter brunch. It was my day, Jenny, MY DAY.
All the styling was so beautiful. Scott did an amazing job, per usual, and I was so happy to live with all these flowers around our house for the next week.
I wish I could tell you what I was laughing about but I think I was pretty much delirious – tipsy on daytime Rose and so glad to be around my friends again. We hadn’t laughed that hard in months. It was exactly what this slightly postpartum depressed and totally exhausted mama needed.
We didn’t fully style the credenza behind me (we weren’t sure it was going to be in a shot) but Scott and his team did make that insanely beautiful wreath with a wooden hoola hoop from Ikea. He used fishing wire, peonies, garden roses, and maiden hair ferns.
We have an extremely strong group of friends in LA (a few were out of town) and the whole day was such a fun, luxurious celebration where we basically were treated like guests in our own home by the Cooking Light team.
This little bunny was the star, even though she just sat there and let herself be kissed all day.
I typically wouldn’t put so many photos of me in a post for fear of, you know, being accused of general narcissism but during this time (the first couple months after birth) I don’t really remember too much. It was all a fog and I was in and out of that crazy hormonal depression. So when I saw these photos (specifically the one below) I thought “ahhh, I look genuinely really happy and even pulled together.” I remember feeling so extremely happy at times (those brutal highs and lows) but never that pulled together or human, so it was just nice to see myself that way.
So thank you, Cooking Light, Scott, food stylist Marion Cooper Cairns, Danielle (who made my face and hair look all nice), David Bonom for all the delicious recipes and to all my friends who helped make this rather strange newborn November Easter brunch such a fun, beautiful and happy day.
1. Blush Linen Napkins | 2. Gold Flatware | 3. Mint Snack Bowl | 4. Marble & Wood Cheese Board | 5. Textured Pink Vase | 6. Gold Splatter Dessert Plate | 7. Gilded Rim Stemless | 8. Porcelain Bowl | 9. Pink Glass Vase | 10. Porcelain Plate | 11. Geometric Vase | 12. Mint Tray | 13. Pudding Bowl | 14. Pink Glass Plates | 15. Gold Rimmed Plates | 16. Gold Taper Candle Holders | 17. Marble & Brass Tray | 18. Textured Blue Vase | 19. Candle | 20. Mint Linen Napkins | 21. Silver Votive Holder
***Photography by Dylan + Jeni