EXCLUSIVE: Sarah Meier Shares The Details Of Her Baby Shower That Was Held In A Sunlit Flooded Studio In San Francisco
My daughter Kaya gets the spread set up
We tiptoe into the headquarters of Studio Mondine, trying to be as discreet as possible while owners Ivanka and Amanda are on a conference call with a client. They’ve been on a roll with their San Francisco based flower business, customizing arrangements for some of the most enviable weddings the world over.
But we’re here for a much smaller, more intimate event. Our dear friends Josh and Elayne have banded with my mother-in-law, Deanna Jean, to throw us a baby sprinkle and, guided by Elayne’s expert eye, we’ve zeroed in on this beautiful space to hold it in. Ivanka and Amanda’s lush English garden meets Japanese ikebana aesthetic is spot on with my maximalist-minimalist vibe, and with San Francisco’s iconic fog creating the perfect filter for the sunlit flooded studio, I’m overcome with delight.
The Vibe at Studio Mondine
See, Jon and I never were the hotel function room kind of folks. Give us an industrial space, a grassy knoll, a storied body of water, or a quirky old house though, and we’re in our element. Matter of fact, we hit all of those four venues for our New Orleans wedding in December of 2016. That wedding weekend was so lovely. Alas, our wedding photographer and videographer went rogue afterwards, turning over nothing but four snapshots from our special day, so you’ll just have to take my word for it.
But I digress.
The April following our wedding, my daughter Kaya and I were on a plane from Manila to New York City, our possessions whittled down to two suitcases each, ready to start a new chapter in life. As we settled into the rhythm of our Brooklyn neighborhood, Jon found himself frequenting his California hometown for business, where a burgeoning cannabis industry beckoned. Things were moving quickly, and just like the tarot card reader at our wedding predicted, on our first anniversary, we were with child. Bi-coastal life was no longer an option for Jon. He wanted to be there for every possible second of the pregnancy. So we packed up our Brooklyn apartment and hied on over to the Bay Area.
With Josh and Elayne
As my belly expanded, I began to manage my expectations. With my Mom, girlfriends, colleagues, and Metro family so far away, the prospects of having a baby shower were slim. I’d get a little teary-eyed thinking about the beautiful women in my figurative village back in Manila; the ones I’d grown up with, the ones who had corralled me through heartbreak and insecurities, bad decisions and big decisions. I could count the friends and family I had here on one hand.
Turns out, that's all I needed.
Mom Jean, Tita Agnes, and Tita Ana took care of the food and the games and labored over a diaper tower for two days straight. Elayne went above and beyond, busying herself with the guest list, the venue, and its many details, like working with Ivanka’s husband Kazu on a customized name sign for our baby, ordering my dream cake, getting baby message cards that matched the table napkins, and hand wrapping our sage bundle giveaways the night before.
Guests fill out message cards for Juno
Josh’s Mom flaunted her own floral arrangement skills and turned out some stunning pieces that incorporated my favorite flowers, poppies and peonies. Kaya ran back and forth, helping whoever yelled for her, as she set up her tripod by the blush pink backdrop for her photo station.
The Kids at Kaya's Photo Station
Jon flaunted his music selection prowess by setting the vibe perfectly, and played bartender for anything that wasn’t part of the self-serve mimosa station (I highly suggest you do this at your next gathering; it was a hit!)
Self-serve mom-osa bar with fresh fruit
The Tan and Lopez Clan
(Left) Jon welcomes guests as they arrive / (Right) Joanne meets Emilio
Josh and Kazu lifted boxes, ran to the store, mingled, and did all the things we were too flustered to. Nina stepped in as host when it was time for guests to chug beer out of baby bottles, and play musical chairs.
Kaya, Elayne, Josh, and Kazu
Turns out even from far away, Metro would find a way to make this day memorable for me by linking me with SweetEscape and making sure that on this special occasion I would have photos to keep. It was really rather lovely connecting with our local San Francisco photographer via the SweetEscape app, and coordinating with him seamlessly for all of our shoot details. Wherever you are in the world, even if only on vacation, give them a go.
And then there were the darling friends that flew in from Los Angeles, Las Vegas, and New York, just to spend a few hours celebrating the near-arrival of our baby girl.
Friends fly in from New York to celebrate baby Juno
The goddess of all goddesses, and defender of the sea.
Our Brooklyn-made, and Bay Area to-be born and bred baby.
So yeah, I kind of just showed up to the sprinkle. Wrangled myself into my Jerome Salaya Ang satin wraparound pants and a Sassa Jimenez bralette, threw on a vintage jacket I scored on Haight Street the weekend prior, and tried to soak it all in the best I could. Rocked the belly bare, because Juno was the star of the party, after all. Don’t think I even brushed my hair, and liked it like that. We keep things simple and organic around here, far from the reaches of painfully perfected Pinterest vignettes, but with morelove than a new girl in town could have ever hoped for.
A diaper cake and two real cakes for good measure
And now, as the bountiful gifts from the shower are still spilling in—co-sleepers, strollers, sleep sacks, cloth diapers, and the cutest, TINIEST outfits—and my contractions seem to be progressing from Braxton Hicks territory into the realm of “please make sure Doctora’s number is on speed dial” I wanted to take this opportunity to say thank you.
To everyone that expended resources, made time, jumped on planes, cut short kid’s naps, just to let this little human know she’s coming into a world full of love.
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Photographs by SweetEscape