My sister Linda and I have birthdays that are a week apart, so we usually celebrate together, but this time I surprised her with a family dinner. She loves bright colors, simple but great food, Arpege perfume and flowers that don’t have a strong smell – but she especially loves her family.

I used items that I already had: a Balinese umbrella; vases covered with decorative sleeves; birthday cake favor boxes filled with Sucré candies; butterfly clips; placemats covered with leaves and flowers; and shoe-shaped placecard holders. I found the chicken pillows at Pier 1, which I gave her as one of her presents along with Arpege perfume, a great artsy necklace and a cute new blouse.

The menu included a salad of lump crabmeat, Creole tomatoes, Vidalia onions, fresh basil with butter lettuce; grilled fish, corn and crawfish maque choux; and for dessert we had birthday cake with Brocato’s raspberry ice.