I’m Christine Castro Hughes, a designer, writer, and mother of two darling children. I also run a graphic design studio out of my charming, crooked craftsman house. Brunch is my blog. More »
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baby steps

Lately I feel like every day is a race to the finish. There are a hundred and one things I want to do, but I never check off more than a handful of them each day. Instead, I spend a lot of time chasing my two kids around.

If there's one thing that I'm learning while watching Maira gain her footing, though, it's this:

Take baby steps. Let yourself fall. And then get right back up. You'll eventually get to where you want to go.

p.s. Maira's feet are incredibly tiny and narrow, so it's a challenge to find shoes that fit. I am crossing my fingers these little Keds work out.


clean slate

I cleaned my desk last week, and all of a sudden I can think more clearly and work more efficiently. It's the most obvious thing in the world. Why didn't I do it sooner?


the rebuilding year

Every year, Rama hosts a music exchange. I love putting together each mix, because it's a chance to re-live the year through music and create some art just for fun.

I named my mix The Rebuilding Year based on the idea of a sports team beginning a season with a whole new roster and learning how to work successfully together. Introducing Maira into our family threw us all for a big loop, and we have been figuring out how to be a family of four. The cover art was inspired by the color and chaos that we've found along the way. 


she's growing up, up, up

Over a month has past since Maira's 1st birthday, but I wanted to share some glimpses from our small celebration. We threw a party at a nearby park, our venue of choice for these summer birthdays, and it was such a lovely day. To keep things simple, and to cater to our wee guests' schedules, we hosted a morning at the park. We served bagels and cream cheese and all the fixins, a fruit salad, and lots of coffee and juice. It was hot that week, but we lucked out with a shady spot beneath the trees.

As always, I relished designing all the details. I chose a summery color palette of sunshine yellow, mint green, and watermelon pink, and the image of a single balloon to mark the occasion. 

I fell in love with an adorable birthday banner that I found on Pinterest and recreated it for Maira's cake. For favors, I enlisted the help of my friend Em to make balloon cookie pops. I also made goodie bags for the kiddos by personalizing muslin pouches. (I used a potato stamp, alphabet stamps, and a silver sharpie.) 

Here's everything all set up, complete with a beautiful balloon that my friend Jihan made just for Maira.

I was too busy playing hostess to properly photograph the adorable and delicious cake from our favorite bakery Lark, but I can tell you it was lemon and it was good.

"Hey guys! I think I like cake!"

Sometimes, I still can't believe we're a family of four. Also: I wonder if I am doomed to a lifetime of family portraits where I'm the only one smiling.

Of course, I designed Thank You notes to match, and they only went out 3 weeks late. Oh well. It's the thought that counts, right?

Sources: Cake by Lark; Balloon cookie pops by Love Em Sweet; Balloon by Geronimo Balloons; Straws (similar) available at Poketo; Muslin pouches (similar) available at Etsy. 

Family photos by Lali Shaw. All other photos by yours truly.


our favorite chopped salad

Now that we're a party of four, we don't eat out as often as we used to and we are a lot more particular about the places we do frequent. One of our new favorite spots is The Luggage Room, a pizzeria in Pasadena. They serve artisinal pizzas fresh out of an olive wood burning oven in a bright, boisterious, kid-friendly atmosphere.

The pizzas, featuring fresh ingredients and some fun combinations, are so yummy, but we also enjoy the chopped salad that they serve with 'em. One night during the recent heat wave, we tried to re-create the salad we love so much.

This is our concoction. We kept the surprising combo of green olives, golden raisins, and pistachios mixed with lettuce and veggies, but we added some fresh mozzarella and a red wine vinaigrette. It fills the bill when we're craving our new fave but can't quite make it out of the house. 

(If you do make this, and I hope you do, please note that there is more dressing than you'll need for the salad. Just store the rest in a jar and enjoy throughout the week.)