A Cocktail Party to Celebrate Our Baby (and… It’s a Girl!)

I’ve been invited to dozens of baby showers since my 20s, and almost all of them have been get-togethers for the girls to celebrate their friends’ forays into motherhood. I still think it’s a sweet tradition, but since it takes two people to make a baby, there isn’t any reason the fathers shouldn’t be celebrated…

Linda Ly
A cocktail party to celebrate our baby (and... it's a girl!)

I’ve been invited to dozens of baby showers since my 20s, and almost all of them have been get-togethers for the girls to celebrate their friends’ forays into motherhood. I still think it’s a sweet tradition, but since it takes two people to make a baby, there isn’t any reason the fathers shouldn’t be celebrated too.

Besides, I have so many male friends that it wouldn’t feel right to exclude them from one of the biggest moments of my life. A boy/girl party was only natural for our group.

When Will’s mother offered to host a baby shower at her beautiful home in Mill Valley, we lit up at the idea! This is a woman who knows how to throw a good party. Her house was built for entertaining, she loved having people over to enjoy the intimate space and the expansive views, and she actually wore us out over the holidays with all her party planning and partaking.

A beautiful day on Mt. Tam

Getting ready for the baby shower

An elegant baby shower

Floral arrangement

Yellow rose

Since I’m always the organizer of all things social when it comes to Will and me, it was really nice to hand over the reigns to Grandma Taylor, who was thrilled to be celebrating her first grandchild. She thought of every little detail, including these darling decorations.

Books from childhood

At first glance you might be thinking, Oh, kids’ books, but they’re not just any kids’ books. They’re books from Will’s and his older brother’s childhood (1950s to 1970s) and even the generation before them (1920s to 1930s).

Incredibly, several children’s books from the great-great generations still linger in the family, making them over a hundred years old. Their bindings are falling apart and the covers stained and tattered, but the richness of the illustrations inside (and the number of hands they passed before getting to us) makes them truly special, if not literary treasures. I cannot wait until we can move into a larger home with room for a proper library!

Family heirloom books

Vintage children's books

A family friend and her sister catered the shower, and there were lots of local favorites: cheeses from Cowgirl Creamery (including my favorite, Mt. Tam, which I’m convinced is just butter decadently disguised as cheese — and so appropriate since the Taylor home sits on top of Mt. Tam) and wines from our friends at Sequoia Grove in Napa (because what’s a good party without good wine?).

Cheese with Restaurantware picks

Sequoia Grove wines

Crudite platter

Hors d'oeuvres

An online company called Restaurantware supplied all the dinnerware. They specialize in stylish and sustainable tableware for restaurants and events — think recyclable plastic plates, compostable bamboo bowls, cups and glasses, picks and skewers, stands and servers, even mason jars, paper straws, sugar sticks, and other things one might need to host a fashionable food event. (Their site, filled with swanky images of cocktails, desserts, and amuse-bouches on beautiful serveware, really puts me in the party mood.)

These are not the flimsy paper plates you’ve probably picked up for a barbecue, or the cutlery made of cornstarch that bend at the slightest pressure. We were worried about disposables making an otherwise elegant event look cheap, but that truly wasn’t the case. And the less dishes we had to do, the better! (But my mother-in-law, ever the eco-conscious woman, was so impressed with the sturdiness of their plastic plates that she insisted on washing every single one to reuse at a future party! Sigh.)

Food served on a Restaurantware plate

Roasted vegetable sandwiches with Restaurantware skewers

Let me tell you, being the guest of honor at your own baby shower — and a big one at that — is both wonderful and frustrating. Wonderful because you’re surrounded by so many good vibes for that little being inside your belly, but frustrating because you want to feed it so badly and at every turn, there’s another amazing person to schmooze with. And schmoozing with your mouth full just doesn’t work. The lamb sliders, the roasted veggie croissanwiches, even the butter-disguised-as-cheese — I still dream about them, even though I merely had a bite of each.

In lieu of an actual guestbook, we bought a blank skate deck for our guests to sign with their words of wisdom. (For our wedding, Will and I created a custom surfboard to use as our guestbook, so we were sort of continuing the trend.) We hope that one day Gemma Lumen, our already-much-loved baby girl, will throw some tricks on it, but until then, it’ll hang in our home alongside our surfboard.

Using a blank skate deck as a guestbook

Skate deck guestbook

We wrapped up the night with a round of cake eating, present opening, paper crumpling, and oohing and ahhing. We received a lot of baby gifts from our registry, but also a lot of personal touches that I adore: handmade cards, a knit bunny hat (for a baby who will be born close to Easter), a teether shaped like a camera (just like daddy’s — the camera, not the teether, that is).

Opening gifts at my baby shower

Opening gifts

Garden Betty at her baby shower

Our friends and family know us so well. I mean, how adorable is this Patagonia fleece? I want to turn it into a Christmas ornament when she outgrows it!

Baby Patagonia fleece

And this organic onesie was made in a wind-powered factory with non-GMO cotton grown on a family farm. So precious.

Organic onesie

I am utterly, incredibly blown away by the generosity of all our loved ones. And big, big heaps of thanks to Grandma Taylor, whose exceptional bond with her son (my husband) is truly one that melts my heart. Between our two baby showers — the second which I’ll share next week — little Gemma is set for her first year (and beyond!) in this world.

As of this writing… only five weeks to go before we get to meet her!

This post is brought to you by Restaurantware. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Garden Betty.


  1. Linda, I know it has been a long time since you posted this, but I am wondering where your maternity dress came from? Thanks!

  2. I love your blog! Can you have a post about what pregnant women should be careful about when they garden? : )

    1. Hi! I’m trying to think back on whether I had to be cautious about anything in the garden, but other than avoiding heavy lifting in my last trimester, there was really nothing to worry about. I garden organically, and just getting outside every day, into the sun and fresh air, was the best thing I did for my pregnancy! Gardening is a great stress reliever. 🙂

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