August 2nd, 2011 |

Beat the Heat with 4 No-Cook Dishes

It has been SO HOT here lately!  In the upper 90′s every single day, and I am doing everything I can to avoid cooking!  My husband is getting pretty annoyed with the “lets go out tonight” comment he receives when he walks in the door after work – so I decided it was time to find some delicious, no-cook recipes that might help carry my dinner meal plan thru the end of the summer.  Williams Sonoma has a fabulous selection of them!  Top on my list: caprese salad, sonoma succotash salad, avocado, tomato and bacon tartines, and heirloom tomato gazpacho.

July 27th, 2011 |

Drinks in the Garden

Looking for a unique way to serve drinks in the garden this summer?  This moss-covered tray is perfect for serving up lemonade in mason jars!  Simple, pretty and oh, so charming!

Image via The Knot

July 26th, 2011 |

The DIY Drink Bar

Bon Appetit has a fabulous feature on their website right now for setting up a do-it-yourself drink bar for your next party.  Based around a mojito concept, they give you ideas for condiments to use for muddled drinks.  Let guests do their own mixing and muddling from a setup that includes fruit, syrups, and spirits.

July 18th, 2011 |

Veggie Dip: Re-Styled

Eddie Ross is one of my go-to sites for entertaining inspiration.  I love how he often thinks outside of the box when it comes to staging, serving or displaying traditional, simple items.  This time, however, it was his thinking INSIDE the box that has me excited.  Veggie dip – it’s a known favorite at any summer gathering.  But how do you make it look appealing, look more exciting than your traditional chip ‘n dip plate?!

I’m LOVING how Eddie displayed his veggie dip here – using berry baskets to house veggies, a lettuce head to house the dip, and {what looks like} a galvanized tray to house everything – it has modernized the veggie dip.  Pure genius!

July 11th, 2011 |

WooHoo! It’s Birthday Week!

It’s an exciting week around here….it’s BIRTHDAY WEEK!  My (32nd) birthday is tomorrow, so I thought we should take a cue and showcase fun, unique birthday party ideas ALL.WEEK.LONG.  Fun, right?!  There may even be a fun surprise for all of you too….but you will have to check back tomorrow for that news!

First up this week are creative birthday cakes.  Whether you are hosting a 1st, a 10th, a 21st or a 60th birthday party, the cake should be a key element.  Here are some of my favorite cakes (probably suited more for adult parties).

I love the texture on each on of these, the unique shape, the creative idea of stacking cupcakes atop a cake…fun, fun, fun!

If a theme party is on the docket for your child’s next party, take a look at some of these creative cakes.  Perfect for a beach party, under the sea party, or an ice cream social!

Images: macaroon cake (theknot.com), cupcake cake (epicurious.com), truffle cake (instyleweddings.com), pink snowball cake (theknot.com), banner cake (eatcakebemerry.com), under the sea cake (hellonaomi.com), surfboard cake (carriesellman.com), ice cream cake (bhg.com)

July 8th, 2011 |

Time to Luau!

Summer is the perfect time to host a luau-themed party!  Tropical details, bright colors and delicious food are all you need to wow your guests.  Traditional Hawaiian elements such as sand, shells, and floral prints can be used to decorate both an adults and kids table, while these four delicious bites will appeal to guests young and old!

1. caramelized Maui onion dip 2. papaya and avocado salad 3. char siu-glazed pork sliders 4. coconut lime shrimp

Images: pink tablesetting (instyleweddings.com), kids tablesetting (projectwedding.com)

July 5th, 2011 |

The Party Dress Magazine: Infused Vodkas

One of my favorite articles in the latest edition of The Party Dress Magazine is on infused vodkas.  A on-trend topic in the world of cocktails, and just pure fun for summer parties!  Maggie Hemsworth, co-owner of Delish Catering Chicago, came up with six different varieties of flavors that you simply.must.try.  My personal favorite is the pineapple vodka (absolutely delish in the mimosa recipe in the magazine!), but you can find all of the recipes in the magazine…..go check it out!

June 27th, 2011 |

Center Court Brunch

I am very excited to welcome Charynn of Two Sugar Babies as a new contributor to The Party Dress!  Since she is one of my go-to-girls for party inspiration (especially food!) and someone I bounce ideas off of on a daily basis, I knew she would be a great addition to the TPD family.Oh how I love Wimbledon…I get goosebumps every time I hear the music announcing the start of television coverage (yeah, I know…). Attending a match on center court is on my bucket list. But since that might not happen for a while, how about hosting a party to watch a match or two? To serve, I found a lovely selection of recipes online that are dedicated to food traditionally found at WimbledonPimm’s Cup (a traditional British summer drink), Eton Mess (a lovely take on Strawberries and Cream), and Scones with Jam and Clotted Cream (a personal favorite of mine). Enjoy!

June 27th, 2011 |

Game. Set. Match.

Since we are on a bit of a Wimbledon kick today, I thought I would show some creative ideas for a tennis-themed dessert table.  This darling table was designed by LouLou Events for a birthday party.  The star of the dessert table was the tennis court made of a wood frame and green m & m’s.  Footed bowls of chocolate “tennis balls” and mini tennis ball cookies from Libby from Polka Dot Cookies completed this table.  It’s such a simple, unique idea….perfect for players young or older (er)!

June 23rd, 2011 |

Parties by WH Hostess: Francesca’s Bake Shoppe II

I hoped you enjoyed the details of Francesca’s Bake Shoppe birthday party this morning!  I’m back now with all of the yummy details of her “bake shoppe” cookie dessert table.  First, let me start off by saying that when I initially helped Francesca’s mom come up with the concept/plan for this table, I never imagined it would turn out THIS CUTE!  The stand itself was made by Grand Soirées Event Design & Coordination, with a custom stripe fabric awning.  The front was decorated with a coordinating pennant banner that said “bake shoppe”.

Gallon cookie jars were accessorized with coordinating paper liners, cookie jar tags and ribbon, and each held a different type of cookie.  French macaroons, chocolate-covered {with pink polka dots} oreos, sugar cookies in the shape of “1″, jam-filled cookies and more…..  Wooden tongs were placed in front of each jar for easy serving.  To give the back row of cookie jars a boost up, and give the table a new dimension, a moss-covered riser was placed in the center and held both the jars and a DARLING tiered cake.

Guests went home with take out boxes full of cookies and the kiddos also took home a tin of bubbles {accessorized with a custom label}.  I love how she tied in the moss from the dessert table by lining her lucite trays with it!

Photography by Nicole Parker

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