October 16th, 2014 | Comments

AHOY! IT’S A BOY | SIP & SEE

table

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.

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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 15th, 2014 | Comments

POLKA DOTS & STRIPES | PARKER turns 1

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 7th, 2014 | Comments

PARTY-PLANNING | GRUMPY CAT PARTY DECOR

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!

THIS IS A SPONSORED POST. THE PARTY DRESS HAS RECEIVED PAYMENT, TRADE AND/OR PRODUCTS FROM FRISKIES IN EXCHANGE FOR PROMOTION, HOWEVER ALL IDEAS AND OPINIONS STATED ARE MY OWN.

September 29th, 2014 | Comments

PARTY PLANNING | APPLE 1st BIRTHDAY

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 26th, 2014 | Comments

BABY STATIONERY + ETIQUETTE TIPS for THANK YOU NOTES

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.

BABY STATIONERY SELECTION

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.

CREATE AN ADDRESS LIST

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 NOTE TIMELINE

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.

PERFECT YOUR PENMANSHIP

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.

PERSONALIZE IT

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.

THINGS TO KEEP IN MIND

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.

SEND THANKS FOR ACTS OF KINDNESS

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

September 25th, 2014 | Comments

BABY SHOWER GIFT IDEAS + PROJECT NURSERY: THE SHOP

When it came time to put together the BABY by WH HOSTESS issue, I knew I wanted to invite a few friends to share their tips and ideas.  Of course, I went straight to the ladies at Project Nursery + Project Junior!  Melisa and Pam run projectnursery.com, a trusted source for its millions of readers who are in search of children’s design inspiration.  They were the perfect people to ask “what’s your favorite baby shower gift?”

baby by wh hostess digital magazineMelisa and Pam came up with great gift ideas that are perfect for both mama and baby.  You can read all about them in the issue (click on the images or HERE), and the truly exciting news….they just launched an e-commerce shop where you can now search for baby nursery décor and gifts.  To say we’re excited is an understatement!

PN spread

The shop’s mission is to offer carefully curated products and exclusive collaborations with brands that meet Project Nursery’s discerning taste in an effort to elevate nursery design. Simply put, The Project Nursery Shop offers parents access to incredible products that guarantee a well-designed nursery.

Mindful of the fact that new parents are often overwhelmed by the children’s market, Project Nursery purposefully selects the best items in each category to reflect what is trending in nursery design. Project Nursery plans to strategically update its products, all while continuing to offer a small assortment of timeless products that are handcrafted and of high quality.

Shop_Birth_Announcement_v1

Project Nursery Co-Founders, Melisa Fluhr and Pam Ginocchio have been fielding the same questions year after year: Who makes that bedding? What color is that? Where can I find that rug? “The answer is easy,” said Fluhr. “Our active community has been our main source of inspiration over the last 6+ years. As our audience and traffic continues to flourish, it’s important that we listen to our readers. This means providing access to the most coveted décor items found in our Project Gallery pages via The Project Nursery Shop.” The new shop offers a wide selection of products such as paint, furniture, bedding, room decor, party decor and gifts for both mom and baby.

Congratulations!  We can’t wait to shop!

September 24th, 2014 | Comments

TIPS for PHOTOGRAPHING A NEWBORN

tips for photographing a newborn

WE ASKED CHICAGO-PHOTOGRAPHER, KATIE GIERKE, OF KATHRYN HASTINGS PHOTOGRAPHY TO GIVE US HER BEST TIPS FOR STYLING AND CAPTURING YOUR LITTLE ONE. READ ON FROM THIS EXCERPT OF OUR BABY by WH HOSTESS DIGITAL MAGAZINE, TO LEARN HOW TO CAPTURE YOUR FAMILY’S PERFECT LITTLE MOMENTS.  THIS LIST WILL HELP YOU TAKE THE PERFECT PHOTO FOR YOUR BIRTH ANNOUNCEMENT.

TIP 1

photographing newborns

Light, light, light! It is so important to have really great natural light. Babies are so naturally beautiful you want to make sure that the lighting in your pictures is as natural as possible. I love shooting early in the morning in a room with lots of windows and if possible on a bright overcast day. The soft natural lighting will eliminate your little one.

Tip 2

tips for photographing newborns

Simplicity. I love simple, beautiful and natural pictures. The baby should be the main subject in your picture. While backdrops are cute, real life backdrops are more natural and classic. Your pictures will never be dated and will never go out of style. Get rid of all the extra stuff (stuffed animals, signs and props). You want your back ground to be clean. I think a great location for a newborn shoot is a bed. Clear the extra clutter off your nightstands, dressers ect. You can’t go wrong with simple!

Tip 3

ideas for newborn photography

Dressing your baby. Wraps are timeless. Babies seem to sleep deeper if they are swaddled and you will be able to play with them more for pictures while they are in a deep sleep. I love the beautiful Aden & Anais wraps and they are easy to find on Amazon, target or a baby store. Make sure you get the blankets that are plain colors. Once your swaddle them tightly you can add a cute hat, bow or just leave them as they are.

Tip 4

photographing a baby

Preparing your Baby for the Shoot. When you shoot a newborn you want to make sure the heat in the house is turned up. Make sure it is warmer then normal. This will help them sleep and stay asleep. Make sure the baby is fully fed and their diaper is clean. It takes patients and time to photograph a newborn.

Tip 5

tips for photographing babies

P.S. That is Kelly’s son Daniel!

Your Camera. This amazing instrument can feel like a very daunting task to figure out. I would recommend you read the manual. I know that sounds like a silly tip to give, but honestly so many people have these great cameras and never pick up the manual. Auto is a great tool that all these cameras have, but there is so so so much more to them then just the auto click and capture. If you are getting adventurous Throw your camera in M (manual) and keep the lens in AF(auto focus) play with your ISO settings. If you want to keep it simple for now then keep it in auto and play with your angels. Don’t be scared to off center your picture or to take your picture from farther away. An inch one direction or another can change a picture.

“Photography is so much fun and can be so rewarding. It take a lot of patients and practice. Keep playing with that camera and you will be so happy with the images you create all on your own. If you have any questions or would like me to photograph your newborn, please reach out to me, katie@kathrynhastings.com. Now grab that camera and get to work!”

~ Katie Gierke of Kathryn Hastings Photography

For more tips, follow Katie on Facebook.  If you are interested in a shoot in the Chicagoland area, please contact her thru her website, kathrynhastings.com.

 

September 23rd, 2014 | Comments

BIRTH ANNOUNCEMENTS by WH HOSTESS | KELLY’S TIPS

After waiting nine long months for your little bundle of joy to arrive, you are naturally eager to share the news with your friends and family. Birth announcements are a wonderful way to introduce your precious baby to the world, yet proper birth announcement etiquette can leave new parents with questions. We’re hoping to answer those today and also introduce you to the new birth announcement collection from WH Hostess (featured in the new digital magazine BABY by WH HOSTESS).

birth announcements intro

BIRTH ANNOUNCEMENT SELECTION

While it’s wise to have a short list of announcements selected prior to your baby’s birth, we encourage you to select a design that compliments the photo of your newborn.  (see tips from Kathryn Hastings Photography tomorrow on the blog!)

BIRTH ANNOUNCEMENT TIMELINE

With social media so available these days, chances are the arrival of your baby was news minutes after it happened. A classic birth announcement should be sent out within the first 6 months of life. We like to encourage clients to aim for sometime within the first 3 months!

CREATING A RECIPIENT LIST

Clients often ask us how many cards they should order, and that is a very personal question. The simple answer is: send them to whoever you think would want to celebrate your big news. This may include you family, best friends, neighbors, coworkers, workout buddies, old college friends. Bottom line, who wouldn’t want to celebrate the arrival of your brand new baby?

WHAT YOU SHOULD & SHOULDN’T INCLUDE

You should absolutely include your baby’s full name, birth date, and height and weight. Make sure to include “welcomed with love” followed by the parents’ names or “Daniel has a little sister” to include the whole family in the joy. Don’t include any registry information on your birth announcement. If recipients wish to send your little one a gift, they will seek out the information. If you do receive gifts for your baby, don’t forget to send a thank you note as soon as possible, though it is acceptable to take up to three months.

UNUSUAL CIRCUMSTANCES

Can you send a birth announcement for an adoption? Absolutely! What if your baby was a premie in the NICU for 2 months? We suggest sending announcements once the baby comes home. Bottom line, there are no rules and you can make up your own guidelines for your specific situation.

Printed on a luxe, smooth cardstock with classic, yet updated designs that ooze that fresh baby look, here are a few of our favorite new birth announcements from WH Hostess:

birth announcements by wh hostess

And if you can’t find the perfect card to suit your image, or are looking for a more unique design, please contact Kelly to inquire about a custom design.

custom birth announcements by wh hostess

September 18th, 2014 |

BABY SHOWER | YELLOW MONOGRAM PRAM

classic yellow monogram pram baby showerThe launch of our special issue BABY by WH HOSTESS brings a ton of new ideas to share with you!  One of them is this new party collection, our Monogram Pram collection is perfect for the classic Mama-to-be and comes in four different color ways: pink, blue, yellow and blue & pink!

With this collection, we share ideas for a sophisticated yellow dessert table full of candy from Candywarehouse.com, a darling craft activity for guests and one of our favorite baby shower traditions: a gorgeous wishes for baby card!

dessert tableDSC_0274DSC_0285DSC_0273candywishes for baby cardblocks

September 17th, 2014 |

TPD MAGAZINE | BABY by WH HOSTESS

digital magazine about baby showersThe birth of a new baby (or a brand new stationery collection!) is an exciting time that deserves to be celebrated in style.  The Party Dress Magazine is pleased to launch a special issue full of gorgeous inspiration for all things baby.  From planning baby showers, sip & see’s, and baptisms, to gift ideas, recipes, advice for photographing your newborn, etiquette for selecting birth announcements and writing thank you notes, to ideas from your favorite bloggers on how to create traditions and modern heirlooms with your family, this issue is gorgeous and full of very happy occasions.

It also showcases the products from the new BABY by WH HOSTESS collection of birth announcements, stationery and baby shower party goods.

Join us in celebrating our new “baby!”

collection magazine

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This issue features contributions from some special ladies.  Katie Gierke of Kathryn Hastings Photography shares her tips for photographing your newborn, Melisa Fluhr and Pam Ginnochio of Project Nursery share ideas for the perfect baby shower gift, Vana Chupp of Le Papier Studio shares a unique idea for creating a modern heirloom, and some of your favorite bloggers share their family traditions in hopes to inspire new ones for your family! (thank you to The TomKat Studio, Project Nursery, Pizzazzerie, Kate Landers Events and Swanky Chic Fete)

This issue and collection of paper goods was inspired by the birth of my first child in late 2013. This little love has brought so many happy occasions into my life this last year, many of them documented in the issue.  Each event, milestone or happy occasion brought about a need for stylish paper goods….thus the BABY by WH HOSTESS collection was born.  It will continue to grow, but for now – I hope you enjoy this new collection that oozes that fresh baby look and feel. Classic gingham checks, soft stripes, sweet baby monograms – all done in my signature style offered on birth announcements, stationery, baptism invitations and the most gorgeous collection of baby shower invitations and party decor around.

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