Nori turns one!

baby girl first birthday party chinese 100 days decor

It feels like I blinked and my sweet newborn transformed into a sassy 1 year old toddling around! I wanted to share some belated photos from Nori’s first birthday last month. It actually fell on the same day as my grandparents’ wedding, so it was a truly special weekend celebrating both the youngest and eldest members of our family! Since the little lady loves to eat, we went with a sweets and treats food cart theme, and had this decorative corner set up at the same venue as the wedding festivities.

chinese baby girl birthday party

chinese baby girl 100 days dress outfit
baby girl topknots birthday cookies
Nori is in a custom Chinese dress + moccasins (JEAN15OFF for 15% off). I’m in a Bardot dress.

I just adored the soup dumpling (xiao long bao) and rainbow dumpling cookies, tangerine rice cakes, and little peach cake pops and cake toppings to symbolize youth and longevity. Also, I couldn’t help but smile each time I saw these cookie versions of Nori in topknot hats!

baby girl birthday party shower flower arrangements DIY
chinese baby 100 days party decor theme ideas

Nori indulged in her very first taste of cake and it’s safe to say she was a fan (we swapped in a simple vegan one for the smash). Our talented event stylist Davina went above and beyond with details, including flower arrangements that she did herself, and these gold foil appliques on the Chinese takeout boxes and steamer baskets!

baby girl one year old birthday party flowers
chinese baby girl 100 days party decor

baby first birthday 100 days party chinese traditions

Our Vendors

Event design & styling: Davina of Made and Co. assisted by Sera.
Floral design & venue: The Flower by Yoori in LA’s Koreatown
Photography: James of Perpixel Photography
Cookies and cake pops: Sweets by Keeks
Decorative peach cake + 2-tier cake: Candy Apple Cakes
Vegan smash cake: Sweetlee Made
Custom cart, wall + shelving: Iron Grace Rentals
Laser cut decals & characters: Letters to You
Menu board: Paper Haven Ink

baby girl first birthday chinese games

We played the traditional Asian “grab game” where you lay out symbolic items in front of the baby, and whichever one they choose supposedly predicts their future career. It was a fun bit of irony to include the game as I don’t believe careers like a doctor or lawyer are the only paths to success, but I couldn’t help but be amused when the elders erupted into fervent thumbs ups when Nori reached for both the stethoscope and red envelope ; )

chinese baby first birthday 100 days party career grab game
chinese baby birthday cake smash

Nori’s lola (“grandmother” in Filipino) sewed her this little apron for the cake smash using vintage fabric from her great-grandmother!

chinese baby birthday 100 days party decor

soup dumplings cookies chinese party favors
chinese baby girl birthday party flower grown


60 thoughts on “Nori turns one!

  • Reply Wendy September 22, 2019 at 10:47 pm

    Beautiful party and details, but please correct your comment about the doljabi being an “Asian” tradition. It is 100% Korean and should be regarded as such.

    • Reply Jean | Extra Petite September 25, 2019 at 7:44 am

      I grew up knowing it as a Chinese tradition called “Zhua zhou” and my Vietnamese friends play their own version at birthday parties.

      • Reply Sara September 25, 2019 at 11:09 am

        You need to check your facts before spreading incorrect information. Whether or not your Chinese or Vietnamese friends have adopted this tradition, the origin is Korean and to generalize it as one for all Asians is disrespectful.

        • Reply Phuong September 25, 2019 at 11:54 am

          Ladies, there’s really no need to be so condescending and mean in your comments. It reflects badly on you. Jean is sharing a beautiful tradition and she’s correct in stating that it’s a traditional Asian game because many Asian countries share this same tradition. Coming from a Vietnamese/Chinese background, I know that this game dates back a very long time in our cultures too. Can you say with 100% certainty that Koreans started it? They might have adopted it from the Chinese culture. Who knows? One thing we know for sure is that we share this beautiful tradition and it should be celebrated as such.

        • Reply B September 25, 2019 at 12:09 pm

          How is that disrespectful? Last I checked, Korea is an Asian country. This is a simple post about a beautiful baby’s birthday party. There is nothing correct or incorrect here- She is talking about her experience as a child with this game, and now making that an experience for her baby.

        • Reply Nami September 25, 2019 at 12:47 pm

          The only disrespect here is trying to take away a beloved tradition from Chinese and Vietnamese (and possibly other) cultures under some misguided and factually incorrect elitism. This birthday practice is no more exclusive to one country as are chopsticks, rice or Lunar New Year. Country of origin is one thing, but over time, shared cultural spheres have similar practices that should be celebrated in their commonality.

        • Reply Anonymous September 25, 2019 at 1:03 pm

          You should probably check your facts too.

        • Reply Alisa September 25, 2019 at 1:46 pm

          Other cultures can have the similar traditions. This game goes back several generations among different ethnicities so who’s to say that it can’t be called an Asian tradition. By saying people need to recognize it as a Korean game disregards it as a Chinese tradition which is disrespectful. I seriously can’t believe some of these comments. Shared traditions should be mutually embraced.

        • Reply Someone who is pro cultural exchange and anti cultural approproation enforcers September 25, 2019 at 3:40 pm

          It is Chinese – dates back to Song dynasty which is Chinese.

          Please take your hate somewhere else. Jean you’re awesome and we know you never have bad intentions.

        • Reply Jenny September 26, 2019 at 1:56 am

          The first time I saw the grab game was at an Italian birthday party. The tray included a rosary, cash, and a few other items. I think lots of cultures have a version of this game. All the hate in this comment section is just silly. Jean, I hope the too-cute-for-words Nori had a wonderful birthday!

        • Reply Dina September 26, 2019 at 12:52 pm

          We play this baby games in Taiwan, too….it is a tradition for us (well, the majority of population on this earth think Taiwan is part of China, which I find way more disrespectful than anything else). I don’t think Jean did anything wrong here. What a beautiful and thoughtful party for both Nori and grandparents!

      • Reply Anonymous September 25, 2019 at 3:46 pm

        Great. Then you should have proudly called it that instead of generalizing. Many cultures may have similar traditions, but not all Asian cultures do. Also by not generalizing, it would have been a great learning opportunity for your readers that there are other cultures that share traditions.

        It may be that some people took issue with your generalizing and also the fact that it may have been a widespread tradition in some cultures in the long long past, but no longer, and thus it seems like you were just trying to “revive” a tradition that had no cultural or personal importance to you just so that you can have blog-worthy photos that other (mainly) Korean bloggers were having. So people may have felt like you were disrespecting traditions that are really important in their culture, and that would not have occurred to you because frankly the tradition probably doesn’t carry the same importance to you if you were just referring to it as some generalized activity that all Asians play but you aren’t too serious about the outcomes.

        • Reply Nami September 25, 2019 at 8:44 pm

          Are you seriously trying to argue that Jean wanted so badly to be trendy like Korean bloggers she had no idea what she was doing? Your lack of knowledge of the shared–amongst China (Jean’s heritage!), Korea, Vietnam, and others–nature of this ceremony is not an excuse to make your own generalization about the intention of this post. Perhaps a quick Google to see if this is also practiced in Jean’s culture before accusing her of ignorant vanity for the sake of “blog-worthy photos” would’ve been a good idea.

        • Reply Lisa Wong September 26, 2019 at 1:10 pm

          If you’re so passionate about this subject, why hide behind being Anonymous? If you feel so strongly about this, put your name and face to your statements and really defend it. Like TSwift says, “say it in a tweet, it’s a cop out”.

          If Jean had said, “Chinese traditional birthday game” you would have attacked her by saying it was a Korean only game. And what about YOUR comments demeaning this tradition for Chinese/Vietnamese families that still practice this? My family did it with all my siblings/cousins and I did it with my children. Or are you calling out Korean bloggers doing it only for the Gram? I love how with YOUR comments, you basically insulted three different cultures all at the same time – nice talent you have there.

    • Reply Squirrel September 25, 2019 at 11:53 am

      I first learned about this game from my Indian friends and their babies’ birthdays before I ever attended a Korean dol. So the game is played by non-Koreans as a tradition, too, and currently more Asians than Australians or Africans. In the future, it will spread worldwide as another birthday game, and we can then drop the origins. Unless someone wants to lay claim that Spaghetti originated in China, and how dare anyone suggest that it’s a common Italian or American dish!!!!

      • Reply Archana September 26, 2019 at 10:29 am

        Beautiful pictures, Jean. Nori is so adorable. I love how detail oriented all the decor is.

        It is funny how people are fighting with rude comments on a baby’s birthday post. I’m a South Indian and we too have this game in our families since generations for babies who are usually under a year old. Everyone’s cultural history is important to them, not denying that but to be so condescending and trying to force others to accept their view is just laughable.

    • Reply Grace September 25, 2019 at 12:12 pm

      You need to chill… her calling it Asian isn’t offensive to me and I’m Korean 😑

    • Reply Wendy September 26, 2019 at 12:58 pm

      I’m curious whether any non-Korean posters (Jean included) – who are responding so angrily about seeing this tradition at family and friends’ 1st birthday parties – participated in the DOLJABI themselves when they were babies. Because 9 out of 10 Korean babies, now adults, definitely did, for hundreds of years.

      No doubt this traditional game is very popular across all Asian cultures TODAY – which is fine, no one is saying other cultures can’t participate – but 15 years ago and beyond (before social media blew up)? Pretty certain it was a Korean-only tradition. Even the Wikipedia page for “Zhua zhou” has a picture of a baby wearing a Korean hanbok. LOL.

      Just give credit where credit is due, geez.

      • Reply Lisa September 26, 2019 at 2:00 pm

        The wikipedia page for “Zhua Zhou” showing a baby wearing a hanbok is your reasoning for it being a Korean tradition – despite the earliest written records of this tradition in CHINA dating back to the Song Dynasty? Why does there need to be credit when this is a shared tradition for centuries among all of countries? I will say this though, Koreans DO deserve the credit for popularizing it Western culture. And for good reason, even as of 50 years ago, the infant mortality rate was extremely high in Korea so there was extra reason to celebrate surviving the first year of life. So this tradition became extra special in Korean culture within recent generations because of this and that’s why it seems extra prevalent in Korean culture.

        And for the record, I am Chinese and my family has done this tradition for generations, with the exception of my parents who were born into the Cultural Revolution. I did it with my children. And before you accuse me of appropriating my own cultural traditions, my husband is Korean so it’s DOUBLY ok for my kids to partake. Can I call it an Asian tradition then because my kids are Chinese/Korean – do I have your permission?

      • Reply Anonymous September 26, 2019 at 2:20 pm

        Right? That’s the thing… So many of them are talking about how they’ve seen their cousin’s cousin’s baby who is [insert nationality here] did this at the birthday, but I haven’t seen anyone assert that they themselves did this and accordingly it holds special meaning for them. Even if various cultures play this game, if you never did it yourself and your family didn’t do this, then this is not a meaningful tradition for you and your family…

        Various cultures playing this is one thing, the tradition being important to you and the cultures you identify with is another thing.

        But we can all argue and get upset all we want, but only Jean knows what she intended. *shrug* Only she knows if she did the game for social media points or because it actually held a lot of meaning and traditions for her culture.

      • Reply Daisy September 29, 2019 at 7:17 pm

        Hi Wendy, I am a 34 year old Vietnamese woman and I have done this game at my Thôi Nôi (1st birthday) in Vietnam 33 years ago. This game is a traditional Vietnamese birthday game that has been prevalent in Vietnam for generations and generations. My parents have done this and my grandparents have done this at their first birthdays (and my grandmother is 99 years old this year). Maybe the tradition was brought over from China from many years ago – possibly from the Song Dynasty? What I do know is that many Asian cultures have this same tradition so it’s not just popular TODAY simply because of social media. And it definitely isn’t because we stole it from the Korean tradition or anything. It’s simply a shared tradition from across many Asian cultures. It’s ok for Jean to say that it’s an Asian game because IT IS a part of so many different Asian cultures from many generations ago.

  • Reply Mindy September 22, 2019 at 10:54 pm

    What is the traditional Asian game called?

    • Reply Anonymous September 23, 2019 at 1:18 am

      i didn’t know all asian cultures did this! in korean, it’s called “doljabi”

      • Reply Mindy September 23, 2019 at 9:28 am

        I don’t think all “Asian” cultures do it. It’s definitely a Korean tradition, and it is bad to generalize “Asian” cultures. If one appreciates and is intrigued by some traditions, you can definitely partake, but it is similar to cultural appropriation and disregard for the diverse tapestry of traditions various Asian countries if you don’t recognize the diversity and just generalize it as “traditional Asian”…

        • Reply Elle September 23, 2019 at 12:33 pm

          I think the game that Jean referred to is called “zhuazhou” (抓周) in Chinese; it’s a ritual that’s present in at least Chinese and Korean culture, and dates back several millennia, so I don’t think she was wrong to call it “traditional.” 🙂

        • Reply Lana September 23, 2019 at 1:47 pm
        • Reply anon September 24, 2019 at 8:02 am

          …really unnecessary to jump down her throat about this. she obviously has no intent to generalize and was just excited to find out that another asian country follows the tradition. all you had to say was, “i think it’s a unique korean custom,” instead of a condescending reprimand. smh.

          • Liz Lockerman September 25, 2019 at 1:59 pm

            Happy birthday to adorable Nori!! What a beautiful celebration!! Thank you Jean for continuing to share these special family moments with your followers despite the negativity that follows.

          • Mel September 25, 2019 at 3:04 pm

            Exactly. Not “all” Asians have this tradition. We already struggle with others generalizing all the diverse tapestry of traditions that each Asian country holds. We don’t need to help that by also just lumping traditions as “generally Asian.”

        • Reply Lisa September 25, 2019 at 11:15 am

          Chinese, Koreans and Vietnamese all play this game and most likely other Asian countries have their own versions too. There is no issue or need to be over sensitive with her saying it’s part of Asian culture. It’s obvious her family and many others are a mix of many different Asian culture. Look at the positive instead of trying to find a negative. Jean is sharing her daughter‘s special day and the customs that go along with it.

        • Reply C September 25, 2019 at 11:46 am

          It doesnt seem as common nowadays but it is also part of traditional chinese birthdays. So maybe not generally asian but chinese and korean traditions.

          • Anonymous September 26, 2019 at 5:08 pm

            It has always been special in Korea , not because of infant mortality! Maybe 300 years ago but infant mortality was high for all countries. Every Korean literally every koreans I know do this big celebration for their first birthday because it’s a tradition that was practiced for many many generations. Im Korean and before this post I also had no idea other countries did this. And I think it’s so cool that we all have smilar tradition. So clam down , not a big deal!( I’m taking to the rude commenters!) The party was so adorable! And it’s nice to see this baby is so loved by her parents. I have read somewhere, maybe it came from Buddhism so it make sense other Asians countries that has Buddhist background practice this. I don’t think all Chinese practice this due to their culture being taken away from Communist , but I can be wrong about that. Anyway, I have to agree on more Koreans celebrate this tradition than other countries out there . But seriously who cares where it came from and who practices this tradition , we are all same human lol.

      • Reply Lav06 September 25, 2019 at 9:38 am

        We, Tamils(from Srilanka so Asians) also play this game during a ceremony during teething. When the first tooth comes out, Tamils have a celebration with sweet dumplings and this game is part of it. And we don’t have much connection to Koreans. So why so serious?

      • Reply Anonymous September 25, 2019 at 1:01 pm

        not all Asian cultures do – this is not something we do in Japanese culture either.

        • Reply Jen September 25, 2019 at 4:14 pm

          I’m Japanese and my family and friends played this at first birthday parties!

        • Reply Anonymous September 26, 2019 at 2:22 pm


  • Reply Michelle September 22, 2019 at 11:11 pm

    Happiest Birthday to Nori! Thank you for sharing this beautiful event.

    For Vietnamese culture, we have a similar thing called Thôi Nôi and it usually ties in with Buddhist traditions (not always). And the objects are typically placed in serving trays which I’m not even sure why =)

  • Reply Revanche @ A Gai Shan Life September 22, 2019 at 11:47 pm

    This game is shared across cultures. I don’t recall the names but both my Chinese and Vietnamese sides of the family have been doing their own versions of this same game in the infant’s first year with homemade symbolic items for grabbing going back about a hundred years that I’m aware of!

    I love that Nori had the absolute cutest celebration with her family.

  • Reply Tiffany September 23, 2019 at 12:41 am

    Nori is so adorable. The cutest.

  • Reply Christina September 23, 2019 at 1:19 am

    I didn’t know other Asian cultures did this game!! In Korea, it’s called “doljabi”! So adorable

  • Reply Neeltje | Thoughts in Style September 23, 2019 at 2:02 am

    Ah so cute! Happy birthday to her! X

  • Reply Janine September 23, 2019 at 2:38 am

    Oh my God so adorable!! Absolutely loving the theme!
    Xx Janine

  • Reply Maureen September 23, 2019 at 5:54 am

    Happy Birthday to your beautiful baby girl Jean! It looked like her birthday was a success and oh my goodness, how cute is her outfits! Cheers to many, many more birthdays to come!


  • Reply Carol Pardee September 23, 2019 at 8:35 am

    I adore this party! Wishing the happiest of birthdays to Nori!

  • Reply Debbie September 23, 2019 at 8:54 am

    That last photo!!! My heart melted… 😍

  • Reply Christa L Sagmoe September 23, 2019 at 8:02 pm

    This is just the cutest. Happy 1st birthday, Nori!!!


  • Reply Valeri Pighini September 23, 2019 at 11:37 pm

    oh my goodness Jean! Again, you have outdone yourself. Absolutely adorable. I love the cookies. And the homemade apron… so sweet, really. Love the share. Thank you

    • Reply Jean | Extra Petite September 24, 2019 at 5:46 pm

      Always love hearing from you, Val! Thank you for the kind message. xx

  • Reply Lanna September 24, 2019 at 4:23 am

    So adorable! What allergies does Nori have? Have you tried taking her to an allergist to do a skin prick test? I am a fellow allergy-sufferer myself. 🙁

    • Reply Jean | Extra Petite September 24, 2019 at 5:45 pm

      Hi Lanna, sorry to hear! she’s allergic to dairy, eggs, and nuts but I’m hopeful that she’ll outgrow at least the dairy or eggs.

      • Reply Lanna September 24, 2019 at 9:17 pm

        I’m allergic to nuts too! Mine is pretty bad. I need to carry around 2 Epi-Pens at all times. Luckily nuts aren’t too hard to avoid at most places.

        I think a lot of kids naturally outgrow their allergies, but depending on how severe and persistent Nori’s allergies are, one thing you could eventually try looking into is Oral Immunotherapy (OIT), which is a form of exposure therapy. I’ve heard it can be really effective in desensitizing kids to allergens (but less effective for adults like me). Didn’t know about this option until recently so just wanted to pass it along!

  • Reply Elizabeth Tran September 24, 2019 at 6:16 pm

    Aww Nori is soo adorable <3 🙂 In love with all of the details from her party! Happiest of birthdays to her! I hope you all had an amazing time!

    XO, Elizabeth T.

  • Reply Bela Anzu September 24, 2019 at 10:07 pm

    Happy first birthday to Nori! Everything looks so beautiful and it’s nice to see how much she has grown over the year. I particularly love the floral apron her Lola sewed for her and how she got to celebrate with her extended family.

  • Reply Esther September 25, 2019 at 12:37 pm

    Happy Birthday, Nori! This is the cutest and everything is so beautifully done! Love all the details that has been incorporated!

    On another note..
    Y’all haters are ridiculous. This is such a sweet and sentimental post and you go and nitpick at one phrase Jean blogs about. Just because Koreans do this does not mean other cultures don’t. It is dated many, many years back for Koreans and Chinese. If you are too ignorant to acknowledge that this can be part of another culture’s tradition, aren’t you being hypocritical by saying Jean generalized it as “Asian”? Also, are Koreans not Asian? 🤔

  • Reply Kim September 25, 2019 at 3:39 pm

    Such a beautiful celebration. I love the food cart theme you chose, and that grab game looks like fun for everyone!

  • Reply Bora September 25, 2019 at 3:43 pm

    What a beautiful and fun party! I love all the details and the joy that is lighting up your sweet family’s faces. I also love how the game was incorporated into the party as well. I am Korean and have seen this game played at many children’s birthday parties of friends from different cultures and ethnicities. I’m always excited to see it being played because it shows shared traditions and how we have so much more in common than not. Thanks for the beautiful post!

  • Reply Elsie September 25, 2019 at 10:17 pm

    Wow! My nephew is Chinese and Korean and we played this “Asian game” at his first birthday party. My mom (Chinese) knew the name for this and discussed this with other Chinese family members. I will say it’s probably more prevalent in Korean 1st birthday parties as this was my sister-in-law’s idea. Why can’t we all just get along?!!!

  • Reply Archana September 26, 2019 at 10:32 am

    Beautiful pictures, Jean. Nori is so adorable. I love how detail oriented all the decor is.

    It is funny how people are fighting with rude comments on a baby’s birthday post. I’m a South Indian and we too have this game in our families since generations for babies who are usually under a year old. Everyone’s cultural history is important to them, not denying that but to be so condescending and trying to force others to accept their view is just laughable.

  • Reply mary September 30, 2019 at 6:10 pm

    beautiful and stunning! thanks for sharing 🙂

  • Reply Helena Chung February 12, 2020 at 10:47 am

    Lovely Jean! Using the party as an inspiration for my baby girl’s 1st birthday, do you have any other places I can look for inspo? Thanks!

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