October 20, 2014 | no comment


preppy modern christmas photo cards from wh hostessIt’s always an exciting day around here when we officially “launch” our holiday collection.  It’s no secret that I love a good party (in fact, we celebrated my son’s 1st birthday yesterday!  more to come on that soon….), but when October rolls around, we kick into holiday gear around here.  Personalized gifts at great price points (perfect for teachers, hostess gifts, and stocking stuffers), amazing packaging ideas for gifts (gift stickers, foil gift tags, foil cello bags, and personalized cookie tins, just to name a few), and my personal favorite….our holiday photo cards.

I always consider it an honor to design my clients Christmas cards – to be trusted with their family photos and creating a design (either from our collection or custom) that perfectly suits their family – it’s a pretty fantastic job!

This year, we revamped our holiday card collection, and I’m thrilled to share it with you today.  Don’t worry, we kept some of our favorites from over the years, but we gave them a little update and added in about 30 new designs!  They are fresh, preppy, modern, updated….but yet still have that classic feel that resonates so deeply with me.  Whether you are looking for classic red & green, or super colorful & preppy, or clean & crisp – there are options for everyone!

Here’s where it gets fun…..  This year, all of our holiday cards are offered as double-sided. We were able to lower our prices, and give you way more bang for your buck!  Offering you a gorgeous, beautifully printed card, with your choice of customization on the back.  You can select from either the coordinating patterned back, or from one of our 9 different collage back options, giving you the opportunity to showcase more pictures of your family.  Oh, and PS – many, many of our designs are now offered in multiple color ways!  Want something custom? Absolutely!  Want to add gold foil accents to your card? Absolutely!

Here are just a few of my favorite designs…..

preppy modern christmas photo cards from wh hostessAnd here are the different collage photo back options…..

photo back options blog postTo celebrate the launch of our holiday collection, we are offering you a 20% discount on your order if placed before October 31, 2014.  Using the code HOLIDAY2014, it’s the perfect time to place your holiday card order, get a jump start on gift giving or order your personalized gift tags.  Happy Shopping!DISCOUNT

October 16, 2014 | no comment



Baby showers can be elegant and fun, but one thing is always missing: the baby! Why not follow a Southern tradition and celebrate after the little one’s arrival? A Sip & See is the perfect way to toast the whole family.

invitationHere are a few of my tips when hosting a Sip & See:

WHEN TO HAVE IT: Host a casual open house after the baby is a month or two old. Schedule it during a non-meal time, with a start and finish time (2-5pm) so the family’s day won’t be too interrupted.

WHO TO INVITE: Local friends and family of the parents and grandparents. If a grandparent lives out of town, they may host one to introduce the baby upon his first visit.

INVITATIONS: Most baby shower invitations can be customized for a Sip & See. Make sure to include both the baby and parents’ names on the invitation.  We love our new anchor party invitation!

DECORATIONS: Unlike a baby shower, we encourage you to keep the focus on the baby! Select a simple color palette and repeat it thru your serving dishes, simple floral arrangements and party favors.

FOOD & DRINK: Set-up a self-serve bar and buffet table with simple nibbles on it. Bite-size appetizers and desserts are perfect for an afternoon treat. In addition to champagne, make sure you have a non-alcoholic punch or drink dispenser full of fruit-infused water.

DSC_0619DSC_0321COUTURE COOKIES: Work with a cookie designer to create coordinating, personalized sugar cookies for your Sip & See. They make a lovely addition to your buffet table, and can also serve as a darling party favor.  These darling cookies are by Flourish Sweet Shop.

book 2
cardsACTIVITIES: Since toasting the family should remain the focus of a Sip & see, gift-opening typically doesn’t take place. Encourage guests to leave little notes of encouragement for the parents, or wishes for the baby. These can be placed in a small album as a keepsake for the family.


October 15, 2014 | no comment


3One of my favorite parts of my job is working with clients to create a custom party perfectly suited to their child.  These photos capture Parker’s first birthday party: full of polka dots, stripes and a cheery color palette of turquoise, green and yellow.  Held at a local kids’ play facility, Parker’s mom focused her energy on a cute tablesetting and stylized food tables.  We created the paper goods and fabric for the event and just love how it turned out!  Read on for more darling pics….

26541Darling party for such a darling little boy!  Happy 1st Birthday, Parker!

Images by Erin Reed Photography

October 14, 2014 | no comment


meringue ghosts introAs you know, this season I have partnered with Friskies and Petsmart to throw a fabulous Grumpy Cat themed Halloween party for my friends and family.  Last week, I shared a very simple party decoration that makes a big impact for very little effort.  Check out my paper fan halloween decorations here.  Today, I am back with a couple ideas for creative food and drinks for my party.

First up, my meringue ghosts!  I think these are going to be a hit and look so sharp on my dessert table at the party.  They were fairly simple to make, you just need to get your meringue to the correct consistency.

ghost stepsIngredients

3 egg whites, room temperature

3/4 cup of sugar

1/8 tsp cream of tartar

candy “eyeballs”

Step 1

Preheat your oven to 200 degrees, line a baking sheet with parchment paper.  Combine the egg whites and cream of tarter into the bowl of an electric mixer, and beat until frothy.  Slowly add in the sugar a little bit at a time.  Once it’s combined, increase the speed on your mixer to high and beat until stiff peaks form (about 5 minutes).

Fill a pastry bag fitted with a large tip.

Step 2

Pipe your ghosts onto the baking sheet, squeezing out a thick dob at the bottom and then pulling the meringue up to a point at the top.  Note: be careful not to make your ghosts too tall or they will have difficulty standing up.

Step 3

Add your candy eyes to the meringue ghost and then place in the oven to bake until dry (about 1 hour).  Turn the oven off, crack open the door and let sit for 1-2 hours, or even over night.

They were really so simple to make and I believe will make a fabulous addition to any Halloween celebration! More to come on my dessert table in the next week or so.  But, to go along with my festive ghosts, I figured we needed a cute drink too!

pumpkin drink bottlesI always love serving individual bottles of drinks at parties.  It’s festive and somewhat hands-off for the hostess.  For my littlest guests, I wanted to spice up my basic plastic drink bottles to coordinate them with the Halloween theme.  What’s more “halloween” than a pumpkin?!  Because I use these bottles frequently, I didn’t want to do any type of permanent decoration (ie. paint, permanent marker, etc).  Instead, I opted to cut out shapes from black electrical tape, and arranged them on the bottle to look like a pumpkin face.

pumpkin drink detailSo simple!  They make a big impact when filled with orange soda, and you could also cut out ghost eyes and fill them with milk!

Now, I have filled you in on my party decor, my meringue ghosts and my festive pumpkin soda bottles. Next up in my party planning is carving the perfect Grumpy Cat Pumpkin (or “Grumpkin”).  Friskies and Petsmart were kind enough to provide me with a downloadable template to make that part a snap. You can join the fun by downloading the Grump-O-Lantern stencil available at PetSmart.com/friskies and uploading images of your personal Grump-O-Lantern, including the #Grumpkin hashtag and #ThePartyDress hashtag.

cat food

Friskies will donate $500 to PetSmart Charities on behalf of the blogger whose audience uploads the most #Grumpkin images.  Don’t forget to tag #ThePartyDress, too!


October 7, 2014 | no comment


grumpy cat halloween party decorationsToday, I am so excited to announce my partnership with Friskies and Petsmart to throw a Grumpy Cat themed Halloween party for my friends and family.  Have you ever seen The Grumpy Cat?  He’s HILARIOUS and my little friends LOVE him.  So I was thrilled with the opportunity to design a party that I know they will get a kick out of.  Over the next three weeks, I am going to share my tips and ideas for throwing this theme party.  I hope it inspires you to throw your own party!

suppliesI want to create a simple DIY party decoration that fills up some blank walls and is theme appropriate.  I came up with these simple paper fan decorations.  Using basic supplies and a little creativity, you can take a plain paper fan and turn it into a black cat, a pumpkin, a red devil…the options are endless!  For this Halloween party, I think the black cat and pumpkin are just perfect.

Here’s how to do it:

Gather up your supplies: paper fans, solid color scrapbook paper for accents (eyes, nose, mouth, ears, etc), scissors and double-stick tape.

Open up your paper fans, and cut out your accents from the scrapbook paper.  I chose to do ears, eyes and a nose on my cat, and a stem, eyes and mouth on my pumpkin.

diy stepYou can secure your accents with double-stick tape, or glue if you wish for them to be more permanent.  And voila – they are complete and ready to be hung as party decor.  Simple, inexpensive and quick to make!  My kind of party decoration! ;)

tableNow, if you are interested in planning your own Grumpy Cat party, the first step is to visit PetSmart.com/friskies to download the exclusive Friskies Grump-O-Lantern pumpkin stencil.  Your kids will get such a kick out of carving a Grumpy Cat pumpkin (or a “Grumpkin”!). Upload and share your Grumpy Cat pumpkin carving masterpiece to their site or any social media site using #Grumpkin and #ThePartyDress.

Friskies will donate $500 to PetSmart Charities on behalf of the blogger whose audience uploads the most #Grumpkin images.  Don’t forget to tag #ThePartyDress, too!


October 6, 2014 | no comment


When it comes to party crafting, there are so many options for making your special day extra festive and theme appropriate.  When discussing events with clients or blog readers, the questions I get asked the most often are about dessert table backdrops and photo booth backdrops.
I partnered up with Epson to bring you two creative, and simple to execute backdrop ideas using their latest projector.
dessert table 1Planning a birthday party can be a daunting task when you want to present a stylized dessert table.  Using a projector and my free image download, you too can create a stunning piece of art to bring your dessert table up to the next level.  And, the great thing about this project, is that you can color coordinate your backdrop to your individual party.
Here’s how I did it:
I plugged my laptop into the Epson PowerLite Home Cinema 2000 and pointed it at a wall that I had cleared off and hung a large sheet of white craft paper. Using the dial on the lens, I was able to adjust the size of the projected image – ensuring that it was the right size for my specific needs.  I should tell you that it was so simple to use, and only required one cord to plug in my laptop (you could also use a smart phone or tablet).
I used paint to create my backdrop, but also use markers or colored pencils.  It’s also a great project to do with your kids.  Following the projected image on the wall, I painted on my first coat of paint.  Once I allowed that to dry, I removed the paper from the wall and laid it flat before painting on a second coat to get those really vibrant colors you see in the photo.  The projector made it so simple to create a festive backdrop – and much more cost-effective than printing a large scale poster.
painting birthday backdropDSC_0513
Here are some creative ideas for styling your dessert table:
dessert table 4
I love styling a colorful dessert table that could be used for any type of birthday celebration.  When working with a color palette that includes more than 3 colors, I suggest grounding the table with all white linens, cake stands and serving pieces to really let the colors of the candy pop.
Since Halloween is rapidly approaching, I thought it would be fun to create a festive backdrop that could be used for a modern-day photo booth.  Hosting a party this month?  This is such a fun addition, and kids and adults alike will enjoy posing for funny photos in front of it.
painting pumpkinI followed the same steps for this backdrop as I did for the birthday one above.  I scaled the size of this one to be about 4-5 feet tall, so that my little friends could pose in front of it.
painting the pumpkin backdropHere are some cute shots of the kids posing in front of the backdrop:

halloween backdrop
It turned out so fun, right?!  So, here’s where you get busy….
Download the free printables HERE and use in conjunction with your favorite projector (we LOVED working with the Epson PowerLite Home Cinema 2000) to create your masterpiece.  And….if you hurry, you can enter to win your very own Epson projector.  Click HERE to head over to explore the Epson site and enter the sweepstakes.

This post was sponsored by Epson, but the opinions expressed in it are all mine!

October 1, 2014 | no comment



Image via Fashion Jackson

Welcome, October!  I know I say this every month, but can you believe how fast this year has gone?  I think back to a year ago, and I had a round belly and was anticipating the birth of my first child in December.  As most of you know, he shocked us with his October arrival and our world changed forever.  This has truly been the fastest year of my life, and certainly filled with the most joy.  October is a happy, happy month for us.  We get glorious weather here in Chicago, and bask in those last few weeks of outdoor time before the winter hibernation begins.  We celebrate our wedding anniversary, and this year – our sweet baby boy’s first birthday!  (see the start of my plans here)

Fall entertaining is one of my favorites.  From a simple chili bar to entertain a crowd, to a cozy wine tasting to celebrate the harvest this month….October is a great time to pull out the fall decor and throw a party!

October is also a busy month, both here on the blog and in the shop, WH Hostess.  The blog has a ton of really fun Halloween posts coming up, we’ve partnered with a few great brands to bring you some great ideas that are simple to replicate for your family or classroom parties.  We have some darling real parties to share with you, and will continue to share new products from WH Hostess that are perfect for the holiday season (did you see the new foil-embossed stationery yesterday?!).

Speaking of WH Hostess, there are A LOT of really exciting things going on behind the scenes that I will share with you soon.  Although birthday parties remain a focus in October, it also brings the launch of our holiday collection!  Our brand new holiday card designs have already been added to the shop, in case you want to take a peek.  We are SO excited about the collection this year.  It’s fresh, updated and has so many options for you to customize a card just for your family and photo.  Multiple color options, the option of a patterned back or a photo collage back to share more photos of your family, and wait for it……we were able to lower our prices, bringing you a stellar product and allowing you to save just a little bit more for those holiday gifts!  More to come soon about the holiday products and gift ideas at a great price point…

Enjoy the month, friends!  See you back here tomorrow for some more fall inspiration!

kelly signature






September 30, 2014 | no comment


personalized foil stamped stationery with preppy modern designsWe’re downright swooning over our new foil-stamped personalized stationery! New to the shop, we offer 18 fresh, modern designs that have you covered for your everyday social stationery needs. Here’s where it gets exciting….

textThese fold over cards and envelopes are made from a beautiful high end Italian paper and are available in 15 exquisite colors. The darker colors look great when a light or metallic colored pen is used! Our collection includes a variety of designs for everyday notes, and gift enclosures, with countless paper and foil options. Choose from one of our preppy, modern designs and customize your folded notecards to fit your family’s personality. A dream come true for paper lovers!

foil embossed personalized notecards with preppy modern designs
Whether you are looking for a gorgeous monogram, a modern preppy pattern, or a simple graphic such as an anchor, pineapple or bow – you can create a unique gift set of stationery perfect for your letters, thank you notes, and gift enclosures.

At $58 for a boxed set of 50 folded notecards and envelopes, they make a fabulous birthday or holiday gift!

designs textdesigns

September 29, 2014 | no comment


apple party itemsI can hardly believe that I am about to utter these words, but…..I’M. PLANNING. A. FIRST. BIRTHDAY. PARTY.  Already!  This has been the fastest year of my life and I truly can’t believe we are here already.  I’ve spent the last 6 years planning birthday parties for other people’s children, so I am SO excited to finally be able to plan one for my own.

I wanted to choose a theme that was fun, somewhat seasonal, yet would have a very classic undertone.  A theme that when we look back at pictures 10-20 years from now, it wouldn’t seem trendy or outdated.  So, an “apple of our eye” theme was chosen.  I knew right away that I wanted to incorporate a gingham check into the paper goods, but went a little un-traditional by opting for a black and white pattern.  Mixing it with my “mod apple” pattern, a lot of crisp white accents, and a little chalkboard accent, I think it’s going to be really fun and playful.

We are having the party at our local park and other than getting the invitations in the mail and the start of this little vision board…..I haven’t done much else!  3 weeks to go and so much planning to do!  Do you have any ideas that you think would be perfect for this theme?  Pass them on!!

Images: paper goods by whhostess.com, ceramic bushel baskets by crateandbarrel.com, black and white buffalo check fabric by ikea.com, apple fabric by whhostess.com, red 36″ balloons by shopsweetlulu.com

September 26, 2014 | no comment


baby stationery personalized notecards and tips for writing thank you notes

Thank you notes can be a tedious process, especially with a newborn. People tend to underestimate the power of the hand-written thank you note. Some think it is better to send an immediate e-mail or simply say thanks in person. But, a hand-written note is the ideal way to show your appreciation. Follow our tips to simplify the process and write a charming note.


We prefer classic notecards that stand the test of time. A simple stripe, a soft gingham check, or a perfect monogram to share your baby’s new “logo” are an excellent choice. If you are sending thank you notes around the same time as your birth announcements, coordinating them is a lovely option.


One of the best suggestions we can give you is to create or update your address list prior to your baby’s arrival. Creating a cohesive resource list saves you time and also can allow your husband to help you address thank you notes and birth announcements!


Thank you notes for baby shower gifts should be sent within three weeks of the shower, unless the baby has made an early arrival. Once a baby has arrived, you have a little more time to get notes sent. However, we encourage you to send them within 3 months of receiving the gift.


No matter how badly you wish to type up a letter, or even send an e-mail to express your thanks – please don’t! A handwritten note will best express your gratitude and warm the hearts of the people who put thought into a gift for your baby.


Not just in the personalized stationery, but in what you actually say in the note. Make sure to express your thanks for the specific item that was gifted to your baby, and offer how you plan to use it. Close by mentioning a time you hope to see the person in the future, or possibly introduce your child to them.


Show your personality in your note, don’t try to be too formal if you aren’t. Don’t over exaggerate your love of the item gifted, and never mention an exact amount of money.


No act of kindness is too small in my opinion! If someone took the time to bring you a meal, or take your older children on a playdate so you could spend some time with the baby – thank them properly!

Along with the launch of our digital magazine, BABY by WH HOSTESS, also came a new collection of baby stationery.  Featuring soft colors, and classic patterns such as stripes, gingham checks and polka dots, our personalized flat notecards ooze that fresh baby look.  And, as an added bonus, they coordinate perfectly with our baby shower invitations and birth announcements!

classic preppy personalized stationery for baby

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