if you’ve got it, haunt it: how we decorated the building for halloween this year

We’re just here for the boos! My pre-fiance, Brian, loves Halloween. No, like loves Halloween. So when he asked a few years ago if he could decorate the building, it started off innocent enough with a few tombstones. Then came the handmade coffin, then a smoke machine, then a spider the size of a small car. Each year he’s expanded on his, ahem, inventory – I mean display.

Well this year I was in for a surprise when a box the size of our mattress showed up in August. August! What crawled out of that box was none other than a 12 foot tall skeleton with light up eyes. Brian looked like a dwarf standing next to it! He tried to hide his mischievous smirk when he looked at his new toy and then to me to see if I would scold him for his frivolous (and secret) purchase.

I looked him straight in the eye and said, “I am really disappointed in you.” He kind of chuckled under his breath and then I deadpanned, “I am really disappointed that you didn’t buy two.” I mean, come on, I have to admit that a skeleton that can easily peep right into my second floor bathroom window while I’m showering is kind of a cool addition.

Then we added those good ol’ headstones, the car-sized spider, last year’s purchase: a skeleton horse with a new, black, glittery skeleton rider, and pretty much everything else Brian had squirreled away.

We normally confine the Halloween decorations to only the front yard of the building, but since we remodeled and relandscaped it last year and the trees have grown in, our usual set-up had to be reimagined since it would’ve been hidden behind the tall hedge. So we decided to try something new and instead stage it at the entrance and along the driveway of our building this year.

When we decorate for Christmas, I love to hang oversized white and gold ornaments over the driveway and last year we created a more permanent cable system that is reusable and easier to put up than fishing line. So I had this idea that we could repurpose the cables for Halloween and hang bats and skeleton spiders from up above. Brian had the idea to swag beef net “webbing” over the cables so that the spiders looked like they had created a home for themselves. As a final touch, our ghost girl hovers in the center and watches over the building and I like to joke that she’s a potential new tenant that prefers an upper floor.

We still had a lot of open cables so Brian suggested we hang the faux flame candles that we purchased for another project and didn’t end up using. They had just been sitting in the attic so he drilled some holes and looped fishing line through them so they hung upside down a la Harry Potter. This has been my favorite new element by far this year. To see the soft, warm glow of candles that appear to be floating above the driveway is really quite magical at night.

We tried to create vignettes all along the driveway and for a little property management humor, we set up a spot with a “manager” sitting in a chair holding a “Vacancy Available” sign next to an open coffin with two occupants scrambling for the chance to be interred. A metal arbor with dead tree limbs still attached frames the scene and we added black flowers to the arch of the arbor. We had been storing the arbor that was being thrown away by a restaurant for years when I said, “When else are we gonna use this thing?”

And then, this year, we have a vacant first floor apartment that we’re remodeling so I came up with the idea to create a scene in the windows and use the glow-in-the-dark skeletons that don’t really go with the rest of the outdoor decor. And Brian finally got to put one of those floor fans that tenants always throw out when they move to good use and wired a skeleton to it and turned it on to add some movement.

follow us on Instagram @TheSuiteLifeLA

We have a few more elements to add to finish it all up (a cemetery sign spanning the driveway), but we’re super happy with the skele-fun we’ve been able to conjure up during such a bummer year. To see the kid’s faces when they run down the driveway with their parents is just pure Halloween excitement. #TrickOrSuite, witches!

What’s your favorite part of this year’s Halloween decor? Let us know in the comments below.

All images courtesy of Brett Erickson I Video courtesy of Dan Magro

suite eats: a green snack board for st. patrick’s day

I love a good cheeseboard.  Any time that I have friends over or entertain, I always like to offer a pretty cheese board or charcuterie plate since it’s easy (and delicious) snacking.  I also love any excuse to get creative and color coordinate.  So with St. Patrick’s Day coming up, I wanted to do a twist on my regular spread and do more of a “green day” inspired snack board full of gorgeous green veggies, fruits, guac, candy, and cheese (obvi).

I headed to one of my favorite stores, World Market, to stock up on all the green treats they had from all over the globe.   (Links to products below.)

I started with my go-to cheese board plate (similar here) that my spread quickly outgrew, so I decided to embrace the idea of making my kitchen island the center of attention and laid everything out there.

First, I placed small bowls that would hold the dips around so that they would anchor the snacks and then started layering in the good stuff.  I made sure to use an odd number of bowls to keep things visually appealing.

Then I grouped the veggies together like green peppers, celery, sugar snap peas, cucumber, and green cauliflower.  To the bowls I added green castelvetrano olives and pesto to dip.

Above the veggies, I added in fruits like green apple, pear, grapes, and kiwi.  I added hummus and a garlic & herb spreadable cheese in the middle so you could dip the veggies or fruit in either one.

Then I found these fun, green guacamole flavored tortilla chips and mounded those by the bowl of guac.  Together they were so good!

I layered in a few other crunchy snacks for texture like “Margarita Crunch” popcorn, wasabi peas, and wasabi almonds before finishing off the snack board with some suite treats.

For the dessert end, I added matcha green tea Pocky biscuit sticks, green tea Kit Kats, apple flavored candies, and green tea chocolate covered macadamia nuts.

And no get together is complete without a good wine to offer guests so I partnered with Winc who delivered four bottles straight to my door and tailored to my tastes.  I took a quick quiz online and my delivery included my favorite, a sauvignon blanc, along with a chenin blanc, sparkling chardonnay, and a red blend.  Having hand selected wine delivered definitely made this soirée easy to plan since I didn’t even have to leave the house or scour the wine aisle looking at labels.  And Winc got it right too – we loved every bottle.

If you’d like to try four bottles of wine for $39 plus complimentary shipping, just use my special code here from Winc.  Your friends may be green with envy with how easy it is.


Winc Wine
Wasabi Almonds  I  Wasabi Peas Popcorn
Pesto  Olives Hummus Spreadable Cheese
Guacamole  I  Chips
Kit Kats  I  Pocky Macadamia Nuts  I  Apple Candy

What snack would you dive into first on this snack board?  Let us know in the comments below.



that’s so suite: custom bridesmaid and groomsmen gifts for an OC wedding

When we were approached by stylish bride, Lauren Firner, to curate custom gifts for her Orange County wedding party, we obviously jumped at the chance!  We knew the gifts had to be as fun and contemporary as her personality and Lauren gave us some great direction on what she envisioned for her bridesmaids and what her fiancé, Mike, wanted for his groomsmen.

Their September 27th wedding took place at the stunning San Juan Hills Golf Club in San Juan Capistrano and had an equestrian flare since Lauren competes nationally with her AQHA World Champion quarter horse, The Fire Escape, or Jim as she affectionately refers to him for short. 

Jim was even on hand to greet guests as they arrived at the wedding – complete with a customized treat bucket!  (Umm, I totally want a horse greeting guests at my wedding now too.) I mean if that idea doesn’t completely embody Lauren and her fun loving personality, then the crystal covered cowboy boots she wore under her breathtaking and flowy BHLDN wedding dress should.

the groomsmen boxes

Lauren’s husband, Mike, had a clear vision for the gifts he’d be giving his buddies standing next to him on his wedding day.  He was steadfast that the gift boxes include a bottle of their favorite spirit: Patron Silver.  We knew that the bottle might get opened right there on the spot at the wedding, so we also made sure to include a pair of high-end crystal shot glasses and a fresh lime to go with it.

To complete the groomsmen boxes, we added a sleek matte flask that Mike’s friends could use at the wedding and also keep as a memento and reminder of the day.  Spicy beef jerky and a salted pistachio chocolate bar rounded out the masculine black and green themed gift.

We then hand painted the wooden box lids matte black on the diagonal as a modern way to dial up the masculinity.  Then each groomsmen had their initials painted on top for an additional layer of customization.  A sleek black ribbon finished off the handmade boxes and alluded to the color scheme inside.  These by far are our favorite boxes that we’ve curated to date!

the bridesmaids boxes

For the bridesmaids and wedding planner, we started with a feminine blush palette and hand painted the lids in a subtle pink hue.  The initials on the outside of the box for each of the girls mirrored the customization we did for the groomsmen.  For texture and added femininity, we tied the gifts in a rustic rose-colored lace.

As the bridesmaids helped Lauren get ready for her big day, she looked on as her besties were presented with the gifts and they tore into them with excitement.

Under the lid was pretty pink ombré tissue secured with a gold foil “thank you” sticker.   Inside we included a petite bottle of rosé to help celebrate the beautiful bride on her big day and a glittery bridesmaid “minimergency” kit filled with 21 little essentials like double-sided tape, clear nail polish, hair elastics, safety pins, and extra wedding bands just in case anything went awry during the ceremony.  (Spoiler: everything turned out ok.)

Keeping with the girly theme, each box contained a mini bottle of Drybar’s heavenly scented “Money Maker” hairspray, a grapefruit and rosemary sea mineral body polish, lip gloss in varying shades of pink, and then each bridesmaid received a different cube of Sugarfina gummies like champagne bears or pink flamingos, and a luxurious hand creme in a unique scent to fit each girl’s personality (gin and rosewater was my fave).

To thank her wedding planner for all of her help, Lauren thoughtfully had us create an additional box where we swapped out the bridesmaid minimergency kit for a tailored pinstripe notebook.

Thank you to Lauren and Mike for trusting us with curating your wedding party gifts on your big day.  We think they turned out pretty suite and hope you do too.  Wishing you a lifetime of happiness.  Love is the best gift of all.

Wedding: Laura Reaney of Reaney Photography  I   Boxes: The Suite Life

If you have an event coming up, wedding or corporate, we’d love to work with you on custom gifts too!  You can contact us here and tell us a little bit about your event and vision.

We’d love to hear your thoughts on these wedding party gifts.  Let us know what you think in the comments below.