Friday, September 30, 2011

Halloween Shopping at Where's the Party - with Nili Stevens

Tomorrow is the begining of October, which means decorating for Halloween for many households. Some have even started as early as a few weeks ago. I have a special love for Halloween, as you may have noticed from last year's Hocus Focus Halloween Launch party for Jackie Culmer Photography and Design. (Check out the "best Halloween party" as Hostess with the Mostess called it, HERE.) I was excited and honored this year when Nili Stevens, a friend and creative consultant, asked me to photograph the latest Halloween goodies at one of my favorite stores, Where's the Party, for her blog
Where's the Party is located at 270 East 17th Street in Costa Mesa, CA. This is not your regular Party City. At Where's the Party you'll find high end party decor, printable invitations, and unique gifts that you won't find anywhere else. I love to go there for inspiration and I've never been let down on last minute gifts. This Halloween, they've got you covered from vintage-child-friendly-kitsch to pop art and gothic glam.

Answer the door or host a fabulous soiree in a custom witch's hat or fascinator...

Give treats that will rival that house that gives the full size candy bars!!! OR Stop by Where's the Party with your child in costume anytime this month and get some treats!

This was my FAVORITE find for your vampire goth dinner party...or Twilight/Breaking Dawn premier party?? (I know I know, Edward doesn't have fangs...but still.)
The best part is...this is just a sampling of what they have. Nili and I got to take ALL of my favorite finds to style the perfect easy Halloween night get together for you!!! Stay tuned for MORE amazing Halloween decor AND how to use them for your home! In the meantime, visit (pictured below at left) for more pictures and visit Candee, owner of Where's the Party (pictured below at right) to see everything for yourself.

Special thanks to Candee and Where's the Party for allowing me to photograph your store, and Nili for including me on this fun project! All images are copyright protected and belong to Jackie Culmer Photography and Design. I love all of life's special occasions. Contact me today to photograph your next social event! Email or visit

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Back to School

"Back to school, back to school, to prove to Dad that I'm not a fool. I got my lunch packed up, my shoes tied tight, I hope I don't get in a fight. Back to school, back to school, back to school...."
-Billy Madison

Monday, August 8, 2011

Mini Portrait Sessions at cc roo kids

I'm so excited to announce I've partnered up with one of my favorite baby/kids' boutiques, cc roo on 17th Street in Costa Mesa. I always stop at cc roo when I'm looking for unique gifts for that baby shower or birthday party, or just a fun accessory for a photo shoot. They carry beautiful, hard to find items, and also support local mompreneurs. Now through August 30th, when you spend $100 or more at cc roo, you are eligible to sign up for a FREE Mini Portrait Session with me and receive a complimentary 5x7 print!

The mini sessions will be held in-store and look like the sample session you see in the pictures above. Here's one more I'm in love with from that mini session. (That's Little E, by the way. His mommy runs the store.) For more of my work, visit or "Like" Jackie Culmer Photography and Design on Facebook.

I'm going in first thing tomorrow to pick up some EMU boots and maybe some little red TINY TOMS! Hope to see you there! ;)

Sunday, July 17, 2011

THREE Birds Reggae Birthday Party

I didn't throw Marisa a birthday party last year, so I was agonizing over what her birthday party theme would be this year. Toy Story? Princess? I just couldn't decide. So I asked Marisa what she wanted for her birthday and she said, "cake," "balloons," and "the thing that makes the sound when you go [makes blowing sounds]." That wasn't really much help on theme, but I took note. Then suddenly Marisa started singing "Three Birds," by Bob Marley. (Marisa has been listening to reggae since she was in the womb, so she can pick out a reggae beat on the radio and instantly yells out "It's BOB MARLEY!" ;) She makes us proud. hehe.) Anyway, I heard "three birds" and a light bulb went on since it would be Marisa's third birthday.
The great thing about this theme is that you can find the reggae colors, (red, gold, and green) just about anywhere, it's great for tropical backyards that have seen one too many Hawaiian themed luaus, and the colors and the music are great for boys and girls, men and women - it's universally pleasing. I had a TON of ideas for this I didn't get to execute and will share later, but for now here's what did go down...

First, the invitation. The invitation is always the starting point for me. In my head, I initially thought of drawing up three little birds and hanging cutesy birds and pom poms and stars everywhere...but as I started designing, I was inspired by a picture of Marisa on the beach and decided I wanted to go with more of a relaxed Island-of-Jamaica-vibe that featured the reggae colors. I decided to change up the wording to the song to create text for the invitation, and added a special die cut to the design to make the invitation a little more special. (*Note: This would also make a great ONE LOVE first birthday party invite!)

For decor, I just wanted to do something clean, simple, and laid back using old school party tactics. Balloons and streamers, home made food, home made cake, and good music. Red, Yellow, and Green balloons provided our pops of color and I created a backdrop of streamers alternating in the reggae colors for the dessert and drinks display. I also added some old reggae records and a few souvenirs we had picked up in Jamaica years before. We used grass table skirts to line the fence around the yard for an island feeling and went with crisp white tablecloths and wood chairs. Reggae music playing in the background set the mood. Unfortunately, as I was also the hostess, I couldn't get a good picture of backdrop for the buffet table, but it was made by purchasing and hanging red, yellow, and green plastic tablecloths from Party City and then topped with coordinating streamers in a messy way to almost mimic dreads. Instead of my usual buffet cards, I went with a simple chalkboard menu just as you might see in Jamaica.

Activities centered around water play so I provided water guns for the kids, a silly water hose with 12 nozzles that sprayed water everywhere in the yard, a water table, and of course there was the pool. I also bought party horns which the kids loved, and couldn't resist setting up a "Lively Up Yourself" photobooth. It's always fun to include props in a photobooth. I included some baby sized dreads from (you must check out their other wigs in addition to "The Bob."!!), a rasta beanie, sunglasses, and a Jamaican drum. We used two Jamaican flags for the backdrop. (Unfortunately in my rush to set up as Mommy, hostess, and photographer - I didn't place it in the greatest spot, and we had a few issues with the wind blowing up the flags. This, however, provided much entertainment for all the kids!

The food. I'll let you in on a secret...I really wanted to do this party just so I could serve "Buffalo Soldier Wings!" Here is the full menu:

-Buffalo Soldier Wings (ordered from Wing Stop, plus some plain chicken nuggets for the kids)
-One of Jamaica's staple dishes, "rice and peas" which is coconut rice with beans - very easy to make and cost effective. I experimented with my own method and will try to post that recipe later.
-Island Pork Tenderloin - everyone RAVED about this and it's also ideal for making for a crowd. Get the recipe HERE.
-Reggae Froots (a play on reggae roots) which were mini bamboo skewers of strawberry, pineapple, and kiwi chunks
-Rasta Pasta - tri colored pasta mixed with a bag of iceberg salad, cherry tomatoes, and pepperoncinis (*I left these out so the kids could eat it.) Serve with Italian or Ranch dressing.
-Rasta Pops - I used juices this time, but next time would make my own purees to add to the juice for brighter colors.
-Rasta Cake - I was inspired by a rainbow cake tutorial and made a three layer cake using white cake mix and dyed each layer to create the rasta colors.

And of course, we had to have some Red Stripe Jamaican beer on hand!

As a favor, I went old school again and made a CD for all of our guests. It was Sebastian, the crab from the Little Mermaid, singing reggae songs. It uncluded his rendition of "Three Birds" as well as "Under the Sea."

The party was a blast. Thank you to all of our guests for celebrating our special three year old. :) Stay tuned for more food/drink ideas for this theme! All stationery, photography, event design and styling by Jackie Culmer Photography and Design.

Friday, June 24, 2011

The Two Year Anniversary

Jessi contacted me for family photos and said she was coming in from out of town for her two year anniversary to revisit Pelican Hill where she had gotten married. I knew I wanted to do something special for them since the the very spot where we would be taking pictures of her new family was where it all began. Since Jessi was a referral from Jeannie Savage at Details Details Wedding and Event Planning, (Thanks Jeannie!!), I was able to check out the blog post on her wedding and find out her wedding colors. I decided I would surprise her with a fabulous bouquet that included cotton - the traditional two year anniversary gift. Larrissa Rehder, my super talented friend and owner of Inviting Occasion, whipped up a fun, bold, and whimsical bouquet that I knew would add a fun pop of color to our shoot, and put a smile on Jessi's face. It turns out Little J loved the flowers too and we got some great smiles out of him! Thank you Jessi and Chris for a great afternoon at Pelican Hill. Come back again soon so we can introduce your little man to my little lady. ;)

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Butterflies and Blooms: Spring Tabletop Inspiration

Happy Easter everyone! Here's some last minute inspiration for your Easter table. I helped a friend pull this together one afternoon last week for her Bunco group. She had already purchased the burlap at JoAnn's Fabric store to create a runner on top of her simple white table cloth, and had various white and glass vases from IKEA and Michaels. You can recreate this look with any flowers with large blooms in this color scheme, but we used mostly ranunculus, with a few mums, roses, and freesia. Butterflies can be purchased at Michaels.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Fun With Photoshop and Flowers

I love flowers. I love taking pictures of flowers even more. Here are some tulips I picked up from Ralph's and red anemones from a friend who came to dinner this weekend.