June 25th, 2015 |


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 19th, 2015 |


watermelon introRemember that iconic phrase from the classic movie, Dirty Dancing, “I carried a watermelon”?! Make this your go-to motto for summer hostess gifts, buy gifting my oh, so simple monogrammed watermelon to your host!  Everyone loves a watermelon; it’s inexpensive, delicious and can typically serve a small army.  So it’s the perfect thing to bring when someone invites you over for a summer BBQ or pool party.

To jazz it up, I used a small pumpkin-carving knife to carve out the initial of our hosts’ last name.  It’s cute, personalized – and literally took me under 2 minutes to do! Simply draw out the letter(s) you want to carve out, use a small carving knife to edge out the letter, and rock the pieces back and forth until they come loose.

watermelon stepsEveryone loves something personalized. Trust me, you are going to wow your friends with this one!

watermelon detail

June 17th, 2015 |


patriotic packaging4th of July is one of my favorite holidays, and I always use it as an excuse to host some summer parties, and put together gifts for friends and neighbors. These cellophane bags with white stars on them from Party City are perfect for packaging food gifts or party favors, and look especially patriotic accessorized with our navy blue gingham gift stickers!

June 16th, 2015 |


DSC_0623One of life’s greatest joys is welcoming a new baby into a family.  So when my sister announced that she was expecting a baby, we were thrilled.  She and I are both blessed with charming (and active, rambunctious, and sassy) little boys, so when they found out they were having a little girl….well, let’s just say we were all tickled pink!  We come from a family of strong ladies – hard-working, entrepreneurs, caring, fashionable, and feisty – and it’s been 25 years since we welcomed a little girl into the family.  So, a party was an absolute must!

The ladies of the family threw a “Flamingo Sips & Dips” this past weekend to celebrate the upcoming arrival of my new niece, and we had a blast with this theme.  Since this is her second baby, we didn’t want to throw a full-blown baby shower, but more of a celebration and a reason to drink pink punch with the ladies!  I hope you enjoy the peek below of the party – it was such a blast!  We have a few more weeks before we meet the baby….we can’t wait!

Here are a few details to look for in terms of decor ideas:

  • We used our brand new Pink Flamingo party invitation to invite guests. This is one of my favorite designs, and it comes in 8 different color ways.  Perfect for a summer pool party, bridal or baby shower, birthday party or summer dinner party!
  • We welcomed guests to the party with a festive entrance, complete with pink flamingos accessorized with green striped bows, balloons and a boxwood wreath on the front door that held a onesie that I decorated with our pink flamingo image.
  • We set up one food buffet table to hold our appetizers and desserts.  The table was dressed with a palm print tablecloth, and held two centerpieces that may be my absolute favorite ones that I have EVER done.  We used basketweave vases from Target, and combined an assortment of hydrangeas, peonies, gladiolas and tulips in varying shades of pink and orange to create them, and topped them off with pink flamingos.
  • The food was all served on baskets full of greenery, and instead of using standard food tent cards, we used Kate Aspen brushed gold, mini picture frames in a fretwork design from Party City to hold the food names.  I loved the chic pop they gave the table.
  • Frog Prince Cake & Cookie Design created the most darling pink flamingo cookies for us as a little sweet option.
  • We set up a self-serve bar, making it simple for guests to help themselves, and to keep us hosts from running around filling up drinks!  Two drink dispensers held pink lemonade and citrus-infused water.  We embellished them with signage, gingham ribbon and pink tassels.  Lilly Pulitzer flamingo cups were the perfect addition, and looked darling accessorized with our green striped straws with foil-stamped straw flags.
  • We wanted a little nod to the ladies of our “flock”, so we displayed a baby photo of each of us girls on a lattice screen.  Guests had a blast looking at them!
  • To add a fun little “game” to the party, we asked guests to guess what the baby’s name will be.


June 8th, 2015 |


DSC_0443One of the best things about our newly launched collection of party invitations, is the amazing amount of new parties I can throw! 😉  My goal is always to design invitations that inspire a whole theme, and I love giving you ideas to go along with the invitation!

The Preppy Anchor party invitation is one of my favorites for summer entertaining.  It’s offered in 4 colors, and has a crisp, classic look to it.  It could be used for a birthday party, summer picnic, dinner party, rehearsal dinner, or baby shower! I put together a little Nautical-inspired party and there are some darling ideas I hope you can repurpose for your next party:

  • Instead of using only a blue and white color story, I popped some bright maritime colors in the accessories.  Custom napkins made from our anchor fabric were edged with red, yellow, green and light blue ribbon.
  • White lanterns from Pottery Barn served as the centerpiece for the tablesetting, and I tied the silverware with white rope for a nautical nod.
  • Placecards always make guests feel extra-special.  I used white rope balls from Party City to hold mine at each place.
  • Our new foil-stamped straw flags add a festive touch to any party!  They look especially fun in the colorful striped acrylic glasses from the Martha Stewart collection at Macy’s. And the cocktail – it’s my signature Sea Breeze and a must-have for summer.  Get the recipe here.
  • For a casual lunch, I served up my clam chowder pot pies, and embellished them to fit the theme by adding an anchor on top of the crust.  Baked in individual staub pots – they’re cute and delicious – and you can get my recipe here.
  • I always like to send my guests home with a little something as a party favor, and these anchor muslin bags from Party City were the perfect fit for my theme. I used a mini red clip to attach a gift tag.

tablesettingred napkinsilverwareglass and placecardplatesDSC_0420DSC_0417cocktailDSC_0451DSC_0303party favor bags

June 7th, 2015 |


cocktailMy nautical-inspired dinner party designed around the new Preppy Anchor party invitation from WH Hostess featured my modern spin on the classic Sea Breeze cocktail.  I served them up in these darling acrylic striped glasses from Martha Stewart, embellished with some fruit and one of our foil-stamped straw flags.  Get my recipe below!


1 oz Raspberry Vodka

1 oz Rum

3 oz Cranberry Juice

1 oz Pineapple Juice

Combine the ingredients into a glass and stir, garnish with a strawberry and pineapple slice.

March 23rd, 2015 |


bw tablesettingI just love pulling together festive tablescapes for holidays, don’t you?!  I shared my Ikat & Carrots Easter table last week, and today I have a sweet blue, white and yellow table to share with you.  My love for chinoiserie and all things blue and white are certainly not a secret, so I love any opportunity to pull out my blue and white china.

bw placesettingI layered my china atop a textured white tablecloth, and used cobalt blue wine glasses.  My large white urn held center stage as a centerpiece, and I added a pop of color with footed bowls of chocolate foil eggs from See’s Candies.  My little guests couldn’t wait to dive into the bowls of candy!

DSC_0699My favorite part of the tablescape are the napkins/placecards.  I rolled up crisp, yellow napkins and tied them together with a bow.  I placed a hard-boiled egg into the center of the bottom portion, and then wrote my guests’ names on them with a navy blue marker.  I love how they look like bunny ears, yet still sophisticated enough for the overall look of the table.

bunny earsEvery party needs a party favor!  I sent my guests home with a large chocolate Easter egg from See’s Candies, wrapped in cellophane and a sweet gift tag!

ava easter egg

March 13th, 2015 |


st patricks day donut towerWhether you are are Irish or not, St. Patrick’s Day is a great opportunity to breathe a little festivity into your family’s day.  I love the traditional corned beef and cabbage dinner (and will try to post some pictures of my family dinner this year), but I LOVE the idea of surprising your loved ones that morning with a little breakfast surprise from the leprechauns.

If you are extremely domestic and have the time, homemade donuts would be appreciated by all.  I knew I would need a little short-cut, so I used store-bought donuts from Entenmann’s (bought at my local grocery store) and jazzed them up!

st patricks day donut tower detailI stacked up the mini donuts on a cake stand, and then accessorized them with a few sticks.  I cut out the shamrocks (free printable below) and taped them onto lollipop sticks, and then also made a few ribbon flags for an extra “wow”.  The whole thing took me 5 minutes to do, and you can do it too!  Print out the free download below, cut and create something festive for your kiddos!

shamrock free printable WEB

March 5th, 2015 |


carrot cupcake recipeI love a good carrot cake cupcake.  Truthfully, I love the cream cheese frosting more.  But the cake makes a great vessel to eat the frosting! I turned to one of my favorite chefs, the Barefoot Contessa, to make these darling cupcakes for our Easter brunch and Ina’s recipe did not disappoint.


2 cups sugar
1 1/3 cups vegetable oil
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3 extra-large eggs
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
3 cups grated carrots (less than 1 pound)
1 cup raisins
1 cup chopped walnuts

Frosting Ingredients

3/4 pound cream cheese, at room temperature
1/2 pound unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 pound confectioners’ sugar


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Beat the sugar, oil, and vanilla together in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Add the eggs, 1 at a time. In another bowl, sift together the flour, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt. With the mixer on low speed, add 1/2 of the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients. Add the grated carrots, raisins, and walnuts to the remaining flour, mix well, and add to the batter. Mix until just combined.

Line muffin pans with paper liners. Scoop the batter into 22 muffin cups until each is 3/4 full. Bake at 400 degrees F for 10 minutes then reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees F and cook for a further 35 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool on a rack.

For the frosting, cream the cream cheese, butter, and vanilla in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Add the sugar and beat until smooth.

When the cupcakes are cool, frost them generously and serve.

October 14th, 2014 |


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!


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