Written by: Lauren

It seems like the past year flew by quickly, and the girls’ birthday kinda crept up on me. I knew I wanted to do something special to celebrate, and I am so glad I did. We decided on a more casual park party and invited all of those people who have really helped us through this past year. We picked a cute theme that we could have some fun with as well. 

I dressed the girls a little bit sweet and a little bit sassy because depending on who you ask, you will get different answers as to which is which. Soft frilly dresses paired well with harder jean jackets for a little edge. 

Tami and I made this sign together. I did the writing and she made each and every flower. Isn’t she incredible? No matter what the venue, we always love to incorporate our own personal touches. 

We got Ava in a photo too!

It was a cold, gloomy day here in Los Angeles, but we didn’t let that get us down. We told all of our guests to dress warm and incorporated lots of fun flowers into our decor to cheer everyone up. 

A black and white runner on each table really finished off the look. I put out a tray of stickers and blank cards to keep those busy who were taking a break from the playground.

We decorated the food table with a glittery sign to tell whose party it was and a gorgeous flower arrangement in the party’s colors.

We ordered our food from Lemonade. Delicious sandwiches and salads for the adults, and mac n cheese, fruit, and snacks were perfect for the kids. 

Of course we got a few different flavors of lemonade as well, and I found these fun hot pink plastic cups at Party City which were perfect with light pink paper straws for sipping.

A few more drinks …

… and a “Sweet Stuff” table for dessert.

This hot pink plastic tray housed all of the items needed for the cake and was easy enough to move when we did the cake cutting.

I absolutely couldn’t pass up these emoji lip pops …

… Ava and her friends loved them too!

We made these adorable “goody goody” bags so that guests could take home their favorite stickers and sweet treats. 

Fun black and white striped ribbon was added to all of our flower arrangements, and we used washi tape to add an extra detail on these adorable wooden forks. 

We ordered this adorable custom cake from Auntie Mia’s Cakes. I found a photo of one similar and knew I had to have it. She did a great job! We will definitely be ordering from this creative vendor again in the future. She even made these small smash cakes for each girl which they thoroughly enjoyed. 

We set up a spot for the girls to sit complete with matching bibs …

… and got them ready to enjoy their first sweet treat. 

We lit the candles, Scott and I made a speech telling our guests how grateful we are for all of their love and support this year (and that this party was really for them), sang “Happy Birthday”, and the girls got to smashing. 

I don’t think they enjoyed it at all. What do you think?

Big or small, a party is always remembered for the details and the time spent with family and friends. This 1st birthday party was both sweet and sassy just like my twin girls.

Thank goodness I have my own twin to help me create, coordinate, and collaborate to bring my party inspiration to life. Need help with an upcoming birthday party? She can help you too! Contact us at info@sbsdesignla.com. 


Written by: Tami

I think it is ironic that just a few weeks ago I made clam chowder for the very first time (as seen on our previous blog post, Super Bowl Party), and tomorrow is officially National Clam Chowder Day. Don’t you just love a made up holiday? I couldn’t resist posting the recipe for this delicious soup that I made in this holiday’s honor and know that you all will be excited to try it out too … if you love clams as much as I do! There are probably a million and one recipes out there for both red and white options, but I was seeking out one specifically that was fresh tasting and used whole clams. I love the way the finished product tasted and how it looked too. So classy! 

1. In a large pot, bring to a boil 5 cups water. Add 3 medium red potatoes cut into 1/2 inch cubes. Cook for 4 – 5 minutes and remove all potatoes with a slotted spoon (Do not drain off water). 

2. In a second, larger pot (while the potatoes are cooking), heat on low 2 tablespoons olive oil and 4 sprigs fresh thyme for a minute before adding 1 red onion thinly sliced, 1 stalk sliced celery, and 3 cloves minced garlic. Stir often for about 4 – 5 minutes. 

3. Add 2 large carrots cut up and 2 tablespoons chili paste. Cook until carrots soften slightly (about 2 – 3 minutes). Add the potatoes and 3 cups potato water. Stir the whole mixture together. 

* If you plan to eat your soup right away, keep it warm over low while you cook your clams. You can also refrigerate for up to one day and warm up before eating. 

4. Rinse 4 pounds small manila clams (still in the shell) in a colander under cold water. Throw away any clams with broken or open shells. 

5. When ready to serve, cook the clams in batches in a large sauce pan. Place enough clams in the bottom of the pan to fill but not crowd. Add 1 cup of your pre-made soup base, cover, and heat on medium. Simmer for about 4 minutes or until the majority of the clams open. Pick out any clams that have not opened. Transfer all cooked clams to the soup pot, and continue cooking uncooked clams in batches until all are open and added to the soup base. 

6. Add 1  1/2 cups whole milk and 1 cup heavy cream to the pot and continue to simmer. Top with freshly ground black pepper and chopped Italian flat leaf parsley 

We hope you have enjoyed this edition of our Food Fridays post. Sharing these recipes helps us to constantly be looking for new things to make at home with all new ingredients … like clams! Do you have a brand new recipe to share? Something you just tried out for the first time? We would love to hear from you. Leave a comment below, and by all means go get yourself a piping hot bowl of clam chowder! Happy National Clam Chowder Day to all of our readers!


Written by: Lauren

I have been known on this blog as the more technical author, but today I have a very personal story to tell. It makes sense for me to be a bit nostalgic this week as my twin babies turn one tomorrow … Where has the time gone!? We will be showing you details from their birthday party and all of that, but today I wanted to talk about something truly special. When I found out I was having twins, I was shocked! My whole life I had been told that twins don’t have twins …. So how was this possible? I never even considered this to be a possibility. Once I came to terms with this news (it took a while), I sort of wished for one boy and one girl. At the next appointment, I was quick to find out that my twins were in fact identical and later learned they were girls. Although my husband spent the majority of our doctors appointments asking the doctors to check one more time that they were not boys. I secretly (and not so secretly) was pleased. The idea of having twin girls, who I could watch grow up with the bond my own twin sister and I share was incredible. Ok let’s not get out of hand here. That’s not to say that sleepless nights with these girls waking each other up has not occurred, but the positives outweigh the negatives and the fact that I get to not only be a twin myself but a mom of twins is pretty incredible.

This year, Cara and Sienna, have been amazing to watch. They are identical biologically (although they don’t look exactly the same to me), but their individual personalities have really begun to show. Cara, born first by four minutes, is sweet, loving, and super talkative. Her favorite word right now is “baby” which she calls just about everything. Sienna, the second born (just like me), was out of the NICU first (which actually is Tami’s claim to fame) and is beyond active. She is always looking for a ball to kick or something to climb on but will stop just long enough for a sweet kiss or cuddle. Both girls are happy babies and will eat just about anything. 

I can’t imagine my life without my sister Tami. She is and always has been my best friend. We work extremely well together and talk more times a day than we care to admit. More than anything, I look forward to seeing my girls grow up with their best friend by their side and hope that they enjoy their special bond as much as we do. They have already started working together. As some of you know, the girls have done some filming this year. They have been shown on several TV shows in which they generally play one baby (Olsen twins style). However, we were lucky enough to work on one particular show in which the girls actually play twins. Our first day on Jane the Virgin, I walked in holding either Cara or Sienna (I don’t remember which). The actress who plays their mother introduced herself “Hi, I’m Yael”. I looked at her and said “Wow, you’re Israeli?” and she promptly said, “How did you know?”. I told her that my dad is too, but I guess I should have done my homework. I had no idea that she also had a twin on the show as well as twin babies. Each show we have worked on this year has been a fun experience, but that day I will always remember and watching the girls interact with each other on my television at home … priceless! 

I don’t know what their futures will bring, but I do know that with each other’s support and friendship they can do anything. I hope that the insight I have from being a twin will help me to understand when they get annoyed with each other or frustrated with having to share everything. I hope it makes me open minded to the fact that they are two separate people with different views and needs. I understand better now what my mom went through … Sorry Mom! … but I also know how much joy we’ve brought her. Happy Birthday Cara and Sienna. I love you both with all of my heart!


By taking one of the looks from our Get Inspired: February boards, we are providing our readers with further information for where to purchase similar items with a range of price points (from super affordable to fancy and one of a kind). 

Now that Valentine’s Day is over, our focus has shifted to putting the finishing touches on the plans for Lauren’s twins 1st birthday party. We have prepared a list of 5 interior items and 5 coordinating event items that are a little bit sweet and a little bit sassy to match Cara and Sienna’s personalities. We have also included a link for each item for your convenience in obtaining them. Enjoy! 

Interior Items

1. Mouassine Metallic Pouf Ottoman – Wayfair – on sale for $160.99 


2. Sew Heart Felt Odette Swan Animal Head – Trouva – $85

3. Stokke Home Crib / White – Albee Baby – $699

4. Merchant Floor Basket – The Land of Nod – $49 each

5. Children Daphney Chair – In Mode Home – on sale for $155.40 

Event Items

1. Bow Garland – Etsy (YuYusMom) – $25

2. Cake Batter French Macaroons – Recipe found on Style Me Pretty – DIY

3. Baby Gap Girl Intarsia Swan Tutu Dress – ebay – $27.99

4. Ruthy Pixie Doll by Jess Brown – The land of Nod – on sale for $129.97


5. Turquoise Color Wheelies – The Land of Nod – on sale for $9.97

We look forward to sharing the details with all of you soon from Cara and Sienna’s Sweet and Sassy 1st Birthday Party. Which means … we better get back to work on the planning / crafting! Have a great weekend from Side by Side Design!


Written by: Lauren

Do you remember this couple from our Tuscan Elegance series (as seen in our posts; Powder BathroomEntryBoy’s Bunk RoomGirl’s Bunk RoomKitchenWall Mural, and Wall Finishes)? I have raved about them many times before, as I had many opportunities to bring really amazing design to life in their previous home. As I have mentioned, this couple plans to retire soon, and thus has decided to downsize a bit. If you even call this downsizing … The first time I walked into their new place I knew it was perfect for them. It’s smaller in square footage but still has over the top details and the finishing touches we are planning are glamorous to say the least. I guess it goes without saying that I could not be more excited about what we have in the works. As I have been involved in every decision in this project from the very start, I am excited to share it with all of you and plan to take you all on a journey throughout this design process (from the photos of what it was before, to the construction we are doing along the way, the inspiration for what is to come, and finally the finished product). Please enjoy as we start this journey with the entry into this Modern With Antiques home. 


Could this room be any more red? This space is just off of the elevator and welcomes each guest when they arrive. It is shared with the other penthouse in this building and could not reflect my client’s taste less. Needless to say, all of the red must go. We will be starting from scratch with all of the details we are able to change. However, this larger than life beveled mirror will stay but be reframed, and the entry doors into each unit will stay but get a makeover as well. 

In Process

Speaking of the entry doors … Here is a little sneak peek at the first samples our faux painter made in changing these up. The finish will still be tweaked a bit but inset mirrors and black with silver detailing will definitely be involved. 

As for the wallpaper, we couldn’t have removed that fast enough! We plan to freshen up this space and brighten it up with a light wall finish. All of the other doors and moldings will of course be painted out as well. 

The track lighting will be the next to go. Some simple recessed cans that spotlight the art on the walls will go in its place. We also plan to put some sort of beautiful fixture between the two doors. 

Carpet … gone! Marble tile to look more like an upscale New York lobby is much more my style! 

Entry Inspiration

Here is the inspiration board I created for the overall look for this space as well as the details to show what I discussed above. We also plan to incorporate some of the art this couple had from their previous home (which you can see on this board) as well as a small console table with a few accessories to give the space a more welcoming feel. 

Although we still have some elements of this entry left to select, the construction has begun and is moving right along. I know that this unique space will have many interesting design elements and will serve as an introduction for the detailed design of the home itself. The entry is now a work in progress. I can’t wait to see how it turns out and to share the finished photos with all of you. 

For more information on our design services email us at info@sbsdesignla.com or leave a comment below.