July 20, 2015 | no comment



A lot has changed since I had a baby a year and a half ago. One of the biggest adjustments has been that my house went from being spotless to now things/messes/toys/shoes are EVERYWHERE all the time.  Since I A) like a tidy house and B) love to have pop-in guests to entertain, I’m always looking for ways to keep things picked up and clean. Here are a few quick cleaning tips that have helped me:



I keep a large basket in each of the main living spaces in our house that hold some toys for Daniel to play with.  This makes it simple to pull them out for last minute entertaining, but also quickly pick them up and contains the mess.


cabinet dirt devil


I keep the hutch in my sunroom fully stocked with clean glasses, festive paper straws and personalized cocktail napkins, along with beer, wine and liqueur options.  That way we are ready to roll when friends drop by for a quick cocktail and/or playdate.



I’m not going to lie, I’m not the most enthusiastic house cleaner.  I can find a million other things I would rather be doing than cleaning.  However, since I had Daniel and he started playing on my floors all of the time, that all changed.  I’m constantly trying to keep up with the dirt so he doesn’t get into it when he’s crawling around, and I don’t have to be embarrassed by the food crumbs on my kitchen floor when friends stop by. The Dirt Devil® 360° Reach™ makes basic cleaning tasks a breeze!  This handy, little tool has made my life so much easier!

It’s compact in size, making it handy to store (unlike my monster of a vacuum cleaner, which I hate hauling up and down stairs), and can tackle pretty much any mess from floor to ceiling.  My favorite part is that it picks up heavy dirt & debris while the SWIPES™ microfiber pad captures the dust. That means that I clean my wood floors in just ONE step vs my standard 2-step process (vacuum and then clean), saving me time and energy!


I also love how easy it is to get to hard-to-reach cracks and crevices with the attachments. Little fingers and little treats get EVERYWHERE! This makes it effortless to clean up all of those goldfish crumbs!

I can’t say enough nice things about the Dirt Devil 360° Reach, and Dirt Devil has a special deal going right now, while supplies last.  Enjoy!

  • The special package price of $149.99 is available at https://buydirtdevil.com and includes an additional attachment package valued at $75.

This post is part of a social shopper marketing insight campaign with Pollinate Media Group® and Dirt Devil, but all my opinions are my own. #pmedia #DirtDevil360Clean http://my-disclosur.es/OBsstV



July 13, 2015 | 2 comments


patioDSC_0987A few weeks ago, I mentioned that I had partnered with PAMA Pomegranate Liqueur to host a “Summer Patio Party” in celebration of their BIG summer Pinterest contest going on this month.  PS – Have you entered yet?!  I’m back today to share the photos from my Patio Party, along with a couple fun food ideas, and a fabulous cocktail recipe from PAMA.

I invited my guests for the Summer Patio Party using my BBQ party invitation – I love the casualness of it, and the color palette it set for the party – black, white, yellow, red and a touch of green. I set the patio table with a sunny assortment of sunflowers, woven charger plates, green melamine plates, and black and white buffalo check napkins.  To add a little twinkle to the table, I placed votive candles into mason jars filled with green lentils.


DSC_0975I served up one of PAMA’s signature cocktails – the Summer Fling!  To make serving simple, I premixed my cocktails and placed them in capped bottles, making it simple for guests to help themselves.  I add to the summer-casual-feeling, I served them up in glass mason jars as glasses.


DSC_1007DSC_1002To make your own PAMA Summer Fling Cocktail, follow this recipe:


  • 1/2 cup Tequila
  • 1/4 cup PAMA
  • 12 oz Peach nectar
  • 1/4 cup Lime juice (2 large limes)
  • 1 tbs thinly chopped fresh basil


Stir all ingredients together in a large pitcher. Pour into a re-sealable 600ML bottle. Chill until ready to serve. Can be made up to 1 week in advance.

PS – they have all kinds of fabulous recipes on their website – you can check them out here.

cornwatermelon horizontalIn addition to our burgers and brats, I served corn on the cob on popsicle sticks (I stood them up in a galvanized container, making for a charming presentation), and my favorite go-to summer appetizer: watermelon, feta and basil stacks, drizzled with balsamic vinegar. The sweetness complimented our PAMA cocktails perfectly!

I sent guests home with a little popcorn bag, dressed up with a gingham check sticker.


This post was sponsored by Heaven Hill Distilleries, Heaven Hill Family of Brands, Bardstown, KY © 2015

There is still time to enter the Celebrate Summer Pinterest contest at PAMALiqueur.com/CelebrateSummerContest. NO PURCHASE OR PAYMENT NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN. A PURCHASE WILL NOT INCREASE YOUR CHANCES OF WINNING. Starts on 6/22/15 at 12:00:00 p.m. ET and ends on 7/20/15 at 11:59:59 a.m. ET. Open to legal residents of 50 UnitedStates and D.C., who are at least 21 years of age and older. Void where prohibited. For complete Official Rules, visit PAMALiqueur.com/CelebrateSummer.

July 2, 2015 | no comment


ice cream introOkay, Friends – this is going to be your SIMPLE go-to dessert recipe for the weekend.  Neighbors stop by after the parade – perfect!  Kids want a little treat after the 4th of July BBQ – perfect!

Everyone loves ice cream, and it’s the perfect treat for when you have been outside all day.  Dress up your store-bought ice cream sandwiches with red, white and blue sprinkles for a very festive, and dare I say, “fancy” 4th of July dessert!  To create these, I simply filled a bowl with patriotic sprinkles, unwrapped my ice cream sandwiches and rolled the edges in the sprinkles. Simple, fast, and it’s even a job you can pass off to your kids to help!


June 30, 2015 | one comment


Are you hosting a 4th of July party this weekend?  I have a fun little “freebie” for you today!  Send your guests home with a paper cracker full of candy or small gifts. These are super simple to make, and I’m even including a free printable label for you below.

Here’s the how-to: save your empty toilet paper rolls, fill them up with candy/small gifts, and then wrap in a sheet of tissue paper.  Tie each end with ribbon and wrap with our free printable label.  Super simple, yet oh, so stylish!  Have fun! (click on the image of labels below for the free download)


June 29, 2015 | no comment


PAMA_Celebrate Summer

This post was sponsored by Heaven Hill Distilleries, Heaven Hill Family of Brands. Bardstown, KY © 2015

Happy Monday, Friends!  I’m so excited to share some great news with you today.  I am partnering with PAMA Pomegranate Liqueur to share some great ideas for summer entertaining.  There are so many opportunities to throw a stellar event during the summer, and I love supplying you with as much inspiration as possible.  This weekend, I am hosting a Patio Party/BBQ and have created a Pinterest Board for you to follow along as I start planning.

PAMA Liqueur captures the complex, sweet yet tart taste and seductive ruby color of all-
natural pomegranates. PAMA is made with all-natural pomegranate juice, premium vodka and a touch of imported tequila. PAMA is known for its ruby red color and its delicious flavor, making it the perfect compliment to summer parties!

pama pinterest boardHere’s the fun part: PAMA wants you to get in on the entertaining fun too!  They are hosting a contest on their website (click here), where you can create a summer entertaining pinterest board, and the winners will receive the chance to make their summer party come to life, with some help from PAMA. There will be one grand prize winner and four runners up. The prizes include:

  • Grand Prize Winner: $500 gift card and PAMA party kit to throw a summer party
  • Runners Up: $250 gift card and PAMA party kit to throw a summer party

So set up your Pinterest board, and head over to PAMA’s website to enter!  Fun, right?!

Stay tuned for details from my PAMA Patio Party soon on the blog!

PAMA Celebrate Summer Contest. NO PURCHASE OR PAYMENT NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN. A PURCHASE WILL NOT INCREASE YOUR CHANCES OF WINNING. Starts on 6/22/15 at 12:00:00 p.m. ET and ends on 7/20/15 at 11:59:59 a.m. ET. Open to legal residents of 50 UnitedStates and D.C., who are at least 21 years of age and older. Void where prohibited. For complete Official Rules, visit PAMALiqueur.com/CelebrateSummer. Sponsor:Heaven Hill Brands, 1064 Loretto Rd., Bardstown, KY40004.


June 27, 2015 | no comment


star ice cube cocktail copyLadies, I have something FUN to share with you today!  I love adding a nod to true Americana style to just about every summer event.  Red, white and blue just screams SUMMER to me, and with the 4th of July quickly approaching – it adds a touch of patriotic prep to my celebrations.  A good mimosa is my drink of choice, and I wanted to find a way to incorporate these loves into my weekend brunch.  So, instead of serving up a classic mimosa, this weekend, I’m serving up a strawberry bellini, complete with star-shaped ice cubes.

I pureed strawberries in my food processor, and froze them into star ice cube molds.  Add them to a glass of champagne or prosecco, along with a few blueberries and you have yourself a delicious and patriotic cocktail!

June 26, 2015 | no comment


flag tablesettingSet a preppy patriotic tablesetting for your 4th of July celebrations by combining a few key patterns: navy stripes, red polka dots and a classic American flag (I found these at Party City)!


June 25, 2015 | no comment


umbrellasSometimes you just need one little accessory to make your holiday style “pop!”  These American flag drink umbrellas from Party City are PERFECT for this.  Add them to cocktails, to kids fruit punch – everyone loves a little patriotic cheer! And if you are looking for a simple tip to keep your umbrellas sitting pretty, add a blueberry onto the stick so it provides a shelf for your glass!

June 24, 2015 | one comment


DSC_0367I absolutely LOVE entertaining in July.  The weather is finally good here in Chicago, and with 4th of July quickly approaching, I can pull out all of my red, white and blue and entertain in pure Americana style.  For a dinner party this weekend, I’m setting the table with a classic red gingham tablecloth, my chinoiserie blue and white plates, cobalt wine glasses, and linen napkins from MADISON with a modern blue striped monogram.


June 22, 2015 | 3 comments


gingham check first communionWorking with my custom party planning clients is truly one of my favorite parts of my job.  My clients invite me into their families, to help them plan a memorable event – a baptism, birthday party, bridal or baby shower, and in this case a First Holy Communion.  Held in Florida, we wanted to give the event a crisp, sunny color palette, and use classic haberdashery patterns for a masculine look.  A gingham check invitation design was born, and set the tone for the rest of the party.  (PS – our gingham check invitation is available in the shop in 8 different color ways!)


The event had a very classic feel to it, and there are some steal-worthy ideas that would be perfect to incorporate into a summer party.  Some of my favorite details include:

  • Guests were welcomed to the event with a sweet placecard display. Lollipops (with the guests’ names and table no. were placed on stickers) stood at attention in pots full of green moss.
  • During the cocktail hour, guests sipped on sweet tea in cups personalized with stickers and our foil-stamped straw flags. Cocktail napkins, stamped with a custom message added a personalized touch.
  • Our custom fabric, in a coordinating blue and white gingham check, was made into table toppers for the round tables and featured a yellow pom pom trim. The tables featured two different centerpieces from Flowerama: a gorgeous white lantern from Pottery Barn, wrapped in a white hydrangea wreath and a yellow vase full of “happy” daisies and yellow billy balls.
  • The kids had their own special table, also dressed in a gingham check runner, with big yellow balloons soaring above it.  We hung a “God Bless Marco” chair sign at the head of the table, for the man of the hour.
  • The dessert table carried out the sunny blue, yellow and white color palette with a yellow striped custom fabric backdrop, yellow candy including small bags of jelly beans accessorized with gift stickers, a gorgeous cake incorporating the gingham check pattern by Cakes by Pink, cake pops from Sweet Lauren Cakes, gingham check chocolate-covered oreo cookies from Sweeties by Kim, and a pennant banner that hung across the front.
  • As a keepsake for the communicant, we created a custom guest book, including photos of the young man and his family, along with pages for guests to write him a special note.


Marco_Reception_002Marco_Reception_033Marco_Reception_038Marco_Reception_039Marco_Reception_027Marco_Reception_031Marco_Reception_029Marco_Reception_025Marco_Reception_006Marco_Reception_020Marco_Reception_010Marco_Reception_005Marco_Reception_015Marco_Reception_016Marco_Reception_047Images by Stacey Woods Photography

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