The Antiques Diva Birthday Bash – Ready, Set, Fete!

to 10px; WIDTH: 240px; CURSOR: hand; HEIGHT: 320px; TEXT-ALIGN: center” alt=”” src=”http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_kcTb8DnPVW4/STwMr8CWtGI/AAAAAAAACTI/4SezQ0r5r6o/s320/toma%27s+b-day+21.jpg” border=”0″ />top:2px;padding-right:5px;font-family:times;”>No one loves glamour and decadence more than me – The Antiques Diva™ – so for my Birthday Bash this October I decided to “Do it Diva Style” in a celebration worthy of the last 3 ½ decades! We dressed in formal duds and drank champagne until the wee hours of the night while nibbling on an endless array of fine foods.

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I painted regular boxes (purchased from the post office) to look like Tuxedos and couried them to each guest. A red note card with a black and white image of Audrey Hepburn, à la Breakfast at Tiffany’s, on the cover read:

Enjoy the Finer Things in Life

Diamonds, Chocolates and Champagne are this Diva’s Best Friend!

Join me as I celebrate my 35th birthday for
“Een Luxe Avond” – A Champagne Celebration!

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Inside the Tuxedo boxes, each guest received a box of chocolates filled with champagne, champagne corks (indicating that there was more to come!), faux diamonds (giant crystals) inside a swatch of black tuile along with a detailed description of what to wear:

Drape yourself in Diamonds Darling, This is Your Chance to Shine! For Gents, Think James Bond. While a “Smoking” jacket isn’t necessary, it’s certainly welcome.

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The Guests:
As Chairman of an international women’s club, I decided this fete was the perfect time to spoil my Executive Board Members with a divalicious night-out as a way to thank them for their hard work throughout the year! So while my birthday was the excuse for the fete, the real reason behind the party wasn’t about me at all – it was a celebration of all the wonderful women with whom I volunteer! Sadly not all the guests were photographed!

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Setting The Scene:
The invitation set the scene in advance that this wasn’t your average birthday cake and candles type of celebration! But the real glamour came when the guests showed up in festive attire. In low key Holland where everyone lives in casual wear, putting on party dresses and pearls put everyone in a festive mood! When each guest walked in the door, a person hired to answer the door (and serve later in the evening) took their coats and ceremoniously popped their first glass of champagne in their hand!
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The setting for the fete was Chez Moi! I merely pulled a few unnecessary pieces of furniture from the room to allow more room for the guests to mingle and added some simple-yet-elegant décor. The key here was clearing surface areas so guests would have room to set down their glasses and finger-food plates while having staff on hand to clear the room of discarded dishes was the key to the organization!
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The Décor:
Everyone who knows me knows my favorite colors are red & yellow! For my fete (and to off-set my pale yellow walls and neutral décor) I made an enormous floral arrangement in a vase shaped like a wine glass. The base of the globe was filled with lemons and an enormous arrangement of red roses and sunflowers topped off the décor. But the real centerpiece was the giant champagne bucket filled with crushed ice and Piper champagne. This bucket, a vintage piece from the Hotel de Paris in Monte Carlo, is silver plate and was one of my birthday presents from my husband. He purchased it, plus a dozen champagne glasses, for me this year at tou” target=”_blank”>Chatou’s Foire National de la Brocante et aux Jambon.

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The Music:
We started the night wit
h none other than the Diva News Network’s theme song La Vie en Rose and after listening to some Louis Armstrong and Edith Piaf moved onto a mixture of Frank Sinatra, Jamie Cullum, Katie Melua, Diana Krall and the newest CD from the First Lady of France (Carla Bruni). The latter was a birthday cadeaux from Roving Reporter La Reine.

The Gift:
The Ladies of my IWC Executive Board thrilled me with perhaps the most perfect present imaginable – they bought me a burl-walnut framed antique lithograph from the 1800’s – the image is of my favorite castle nearby my home here in Holland! I love this castle so much that I actually spent 6 months painting it in my art class at Impressions Amsterdam!

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Rather than serving a buffet of foods, I hired 2 helpers to serve finger foods all night! As much as I wanted help on party night so that I could relax and enjoy the festivities, there was no way I was relinquishing control of my kitchen for the preparation of the goods. As a Cordon Bleu trained gourmet cook, I couldn’t let someone else do the cooking for me! For two days before the fete, I celebrated in a frenzy of cooking in the kitchen preparing a divalicious menu for my guests.

Signature Drink:
Piper Champagne

Hor d’oeuvres:
Stuffed Olives

Nuts

Dates stuffed with Goats Cheese and Candied Ginger

Herbed Gougeres

Figs with Calvados
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First Course:
Foie Gras with Toast, Fig Confiture and Quail Eggs

A Traditional Caviar Service, served with Cream Fraiche, freshly snipped chives and lightly toasted challah with Quail Eggs
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Salad:
Endive topped with Raisins and Nuts and Honey Balsamic Dressing

A Vegetable Platter with Cherry Tomatoes, Baby Carrots, Miniature Asparagus, Cucumbers, Red Peppers and Snow Peas

Soup:
Zucchini Vichyssoise (served in coffee cups)

Fish:
Shrimp Ceviche Cucumber Cups

Smoked Salmon & Avocado

Smoked Salmon Pinwheels topped with Salmon Roe

Lemongrass Shrimp Skewers
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Pink Peppercorn Lamb and Roasted Carrot Kabobs

Magret de Canard kabob with sliced caramelized apples and roasted potatoes

Cheese:
Selection of Artisanal Cheese
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Dessert:
Fig Tartlettes

Lemon Curd & Raspberry Tartlettes

Crème Brulee

Fresh Strawberries
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Coffee:
Chocolates served alongside Espresso, Cappuccino and Tea

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Thanks to all my fantastic Board members for your hard work throughout the year and for helping me celebrate my birthday, Diva-style!!

~ The Antiques Diva