March 26th, 2015 | Comments

DECORATING with EASTER EGGS

easter wreathDo you ever see those decorative Easter eggs at the store and think “I love these, but what would I do with them?!”  Today, I’m sharing how I use them to decorate my own house for Easter.  I like to keep my holiday decorations simple, and in keeping with the tone of the rest of my house.

I used a set of decorative Easter eggs to dress up the boxwood wreath on my door, as well as on a centerpiece for my dining room table.  I love how it looks sophisticated, yet festive, and creates a cohesive look in my house.

easter tree verticalHow do you decorate for Easter?

March 23rd, 2015 | Comments

BLUE & WHITE EASTER TABLESETTING

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 15th, 2015 | Comments

CINDERELLA PLAY DATE

introWith the brand new Cinderella movie opening this weekend, I decided to host a small princess playdate with two of my favorite littles.  I partnered with Party City to give them a morning full of princess dresses, magical treats and of course, a little royal dance party.

items on couchWhen it comes to dress-up (at any age), it’s all about the dress.  When Olivia and Ava arrived, I had the new Cinderella dresses, slippers, crowns and magic wands laid out for them.  They were greeted with squeals of delight, and the girls immediately “HAD” to put them on!  The dress itself has beautiful details to it; I absolutely love the pastel butterfly detail on the top.

dress detailThe girls had a blast twirling around in the big, puffy skirts!

girlsgirls togehterTreats are a must at any party or playdate!  I had my friend, Sandy of Firefly Confections, create sugar cookies that looked like magic wands for the occasion.  They were just fabulous, and the girls LOVED the shimmer on them!

treatsA little styling tip: I filled my white containers with simple white candy flowers from Candywarehouse.com, which allowed me to stand up the cookie magic wands, and the castle ring pops, adding to the festivity of the treats.  I also used our foil-stamped cocktail napkins with a gold monogram on them.  You know, a little extra “fancy” goes along way with the 4 year old crowd. ;)

cookie wandring popI blew up a bunch of princess pink balloons that floated on the floor and offered up a lot of fun during the royal dance party.

girls overhead

One of my favorite accessories from the Party City Cinderella collection is the beautiful magic wand.  Tulle, satin and sequins….what more could a little girl ask for?! The girls loved twirly them around, and my son, Daniel, even wanted to get in on the “bippity, boppity, boo!” that was happening!

wand detailIt was a fun day for everyone, especially me!  With a 1 year old boy, we spend most of our time playing with trucks, cars and farm animals.  Throwing a princess playdate was a spectacular treat!  These beautiful dresses and treats would be perfect for a princess themed birthday party too.  Check out this recent princess party for tons of gorgeous ideas.

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

March 13th, 2015 | Comments

ST. PATRICK’S DAY BREAKFAST | FREE PRINTABLE

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 | Comments

CARROT CUPCAKES

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.

Ingredients

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

Instructions

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.

March 4th, 2015 | Comments

IKAT & CARROTS | EASTER TABLESETTING

easter introWhen I start planning a party, one of the first things I think of is “how do I want to set the table?”  To inspire your Easter celebrations, I put together a festive tablesetting that you can recreate using similar items.

tablsetting verticalI used a white herringbone tablecloth as the base for my table, and layered in a fresh centerpiece full of hydrangeas and fluffy green things (yes, that is their official name!;) ).  I lined the inside of the vase with carrots to add a pop of orange, and also give a nod to Easter.  White dinner plates and green ikat salad plates were layered with an orange napkin that I tied with ribbon to look like a bow.

I think my favorite part of the table are these darling “chocolate bunny” placecard holders.  I found them at my local wholesale florist and just adore them.  I think they would be darling on a food buffet as well.

placesettingtablesetting overhead horizontalNo Easter celebration would be complete without dessert!  Carrot cake cupcakes are one of my favorite treats!  Stay tuned for the recipe tomorrow!

 

March 3rd, 2015 | Comments

EASTER CELEBRATION PLANNING

easter wreathNow that March has arrived, it’s officially time to start planning our Easter celebrations!  To help get you organized, I put together a few tips:

easter planning tipsThe shop is full of darling new products for Easter, ranging from party invitations, to gift stickers, and foil-stamped gift tags, straw flags and napkins.  Not to mention THE cutest bunny plate in town.  Hop on over to check it out!

easter plate 2

November 3rd, 2014 |

NEW! PERSONALIZED FOIL-STAMPED CELLO BAGS

cello bags topiaryWhen it comes to planning out our holiday offerings for the shop, I like to think in three different categories: entertaining, gift giving and packaging. Packaging encompasses everything from hostess gifts, to food gifts to gift wrap accessories like gift stickers and foil-stamped gift tags.  One of my favorite new products are these gorgeous foil-stamped cello bags.

cello bag close-upOur brand-new foil embossed personalized cellophane bags are an exciting addition to the WH Hostess holiday collection! They are small flat, not gusseted, clear bags that look wonderful when personalized and filled with any goodie you like. Try red and green candy, homemade baked goods, small gifts, or party favors. They make the perfect addition to your dessert table, laid out for guests to fill with sweets. They are also a great way to wrap holiday gifts for teachers and friends. They can be tied with ribbon, twist ties or with the tops folded and sealed with stickers.

cello bags in hands

foil color options

 

With 12 different foil ink colors and 30 preppy modern designs to choose from, you can create a unique packaging to perfectly suit your needs!

Set of 50.
3.75″ w X 9″ h

Here’s how it works:

1. Select a design from the swatchbook
2. Select an ink color from the swatchbook
3. Tell us your personalization request
4. Wait on pins & needles for your fabulous cello bags to arrive!
designsa

October 29th, 2014 |

HALLOWEEN PARTY IDEAS from STYLISH KIDS’ PARTIES

trick or treat table

Halloween is one of those holidays that evoke such happy childhood memories for me, including colorful costumes, festive school parties and trick or treating in the neighborhood.  It’s an ideal time to host an after-school party, offering a quick snack for the kids and an opportunity to chat with the parents before trick or treating commences.

book store listingIn today’s post, I’m sharing a few simple ideas for creative desserts that could be used as a school treat or as part of a party spread.  It also includes a couple of creative décor DIY projects and a few “tricks” that will make you the most stylish mom on the block.  All of these ideas are from my book, Stylish Kids’ Parties.

My book makes it a snap to plan, design and execute festive kids’ parties that wow adults and thrill little ones! Filled with 12 creative and colorful party ideas, Stylish Kids’ Parties shows you how to confidently tackle party preparation by using color palettes and themes that carry through–from invitations and decorations to party favors and treats. Complete with DIY tips, recipes, projects, themed activities and templates, you’ll love these party ideas for boys and girls, first birthday celebrations, baby showers and holiday gatherings.

Order your signed copy HERE.  It makes a great holiday gift, too!

jumbo balloon

DIY Project:

Reinvent the traditional paper chain garland with this fresh update.  Using 5” pieces of patterned ribbons in my color palette, and double-stick tape, I created this garland in no time flat.  It’s very lightweight, so you can hang it virtually anywhere.  I love it hanging as decoration off of our jumbo balloons!

pumpkin jelloDIY Decor:

Mini spoons and forks are a fun accessory for individual sized desserts.  Embellish your utensils with glitter, ribbon or washi tape.  I dipped these mini wood spoon handles into craft glue and then into silver glitter.  I love the touch of shimmer they added to the table.

DSC_0931DIY Party Favor Tags:

As a child, seeing your name on a party favor or gift is a big delight.  Dress up your basic party favor bags with kraft paper tags dipped in glitter.

whoopie piesKelly’s Halloween Whoopie Pie Recipe:

Whoopee pies are a little chocolate cake sandwich with a creamy filling; a timeless treat that can be embellished for any holiday or theme party.  Add Halloween sprinkles to this whoopee pie recipe to make them party-ready.

Whoopee Pie Cake Ingredients:

6 Cups All-Purpose Flour

2 Cups Unsweetened Cocoa Powder

3 Cups Sugar

1 Tsp Baking Powder

1 Tbl Baking Soda

1 Tsp Salt

1 ¼ Cup Butter

4 Eggs

3 Cups Milk

1/3 Cup Vegetable Oil

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In the bowl of your stand mixer, beat together sugar, butter and eggs until combined.  Add the vegetable oil and vanilla extract and mix again.

In a separate bowl, combine all of the dry ingredients and being to slowly add the mixture to the egg mixture.  Continue beating until the ingredients are well combined.  Slowly start incorporating the milk into the bowl as you continue to mix on a slow speed.

Using an ice cream scoop (for consistent size), scoop out an even number of scoops onto a baking sheet.  Bake for 10-12 minutes. Let cool completely before filling.

Whoopee Pie Filling Ingredients:

3 cups confectioners’ sugar

1 cup shortening

1/3 cup whole milk, at room temperature

1 cup marshmallow fluff

1 pinch salt

Directions:

In the bowl of your electric mixer, combine all of the dry ingredients. Add the whole milk to the bowl and beat well until you reach a creamy consistency.

Pipe the filling in between to cake cookies and the roll the sides in Halloween sprinkles.

October 28th, 2014 |

THE GRUMPY CAT HALLOWEEN PARTY

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.  In the last couple of weeks, I shared a very simple party decoration that makes a big impact for very little effort.  Check out my paper fan halloween decorations here.  My meringue ghosts and pumpkin soda bottles were a hit – and oh, so simple to create.  (A perfect idea for you to recreate for your kids this weekend!) And last week, I shared two simple DIY projects: a candy corn paper cone for party favors and a glittered initial pumpkin!  Today, I’m so excited to share the full details of my pumpkin-carving party!

DSC_0823This party was centered around The Grumpy Cat and the amazing pumpkin stencil that Friskies is providing. If you would like to carve the perfect Grumpy Cat Pumpkin (or “Grumpkin”).  Friskies and Petsmart were kind enough to provide us 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.

kidsI invited over my favorite little people and their parents for a festive pumpkin carving party, full of cute costumes and sweet treats.

DSC_0675I set my tables with bold black and white buffalo check tablecloths, and embellished them with classic Halloween colors: orange, green and a touch of purple.  The kids placesettings held a mini pumpkin with their initial glittered on it.  (see my post here for the DIY tips) These were a hit!

kids pumpkinFor a centerpiece, I piled up mini white pumpkins on a cake stand, and embellished a few with glittered polka dots and ribbon.  I also created black cat centerpiece sticks to put in pots full of wheat grass, one of my signature party decor ideas.  I loved the pop of green on the table!

centerpiece stickpumpkins

My paper fan party decorations hung on the walls behind the dessert table and made for a great photo backdrop.  (get the DIY tips here)

diy projectThe kids LOVED their orange soda pumpkin bottles (get my DIY tips here), and the rest of the drinks were dressed up with paper cups and pumpkins straws.

DSC_0636

pumpkin strawsThe sweet treats are ALWAYS the big excitement at a party.  I pulled together this festive dessert table using sweets from the grocery store and embellishing them with a few custom creations.

dessert table 2The table included cupcakes and brownie bites embellished with fondant cats and pumpkins by Edible Details, an oreo cookie “cake”, sugar cookies, tubes of candy corn from candywarehouse.com with “meow” flags on them, marshmallow “ghost” bags, and my meringue ghosts (see my recipe here).  I added a couple of 36″ orange balloons, and grass plants with my black cat centerpiece sticks for accents.

DSC_0777cupcakesDSC_0771dessertsThe kids had a blast, and it was so fun to get together and have another opportunity for them to wear their costumes!  Here is a picture of my little lion:

lionAs a party favor, I sent the kids home with “candy corn” paper cones full of candy!  You can download the template to make the cones here.  It was such a great party to throw, and the kids all LOVE the Grumpy Cat!

DSC_0658

As a reminder, 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!  So grab that pumpkin stencil off their website and show us your creative pumpkins!

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.

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