February 19th, 2010 |

Elegant Bold Stripes

 

When I started putting together this inspiration board, it was with a formal wedding in mind.  However, after pulling these ideas together, I really think you could use this for any type of formal entertaining!  I absolutely adore the use of bold, black and white stripes – from the tablecloth, to the ribbon used to hang placecards from, to the crisp white edge of the party favor box.  It’s crisp.  It’s modern (although black and white stripes are very traditional!).  And it’s the perfect accent to almost any color combination!

I would love to see this concept re-created for a formal birthday party, a charity event, or even a bridal shower!

Images: table setting, couple, party favors (brides.com), placecards (partyspot.com), bouquet (goodhousekeeping.com), champagne bar (toddevents.com), yellow wedding cake (thecakegirls.com), invitation (weddingpaperdivas.com)

 

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February 17th, 2010 |

Trend Alert: Purple Passion

purple party ideas

Although blue may be the big “fashion” color this Spring, people still have a huge passion for purple when it comes to planning parties!  Ranging in shades from lilac to burgundy, purple is the perfect compliment to a range of colors.  (My personal favorite is a combination of different shades of purple mixed together!)

Images: ice cubes, iris centerpiece, cake (brides.com), vases (matthewmeadstyle.com), purple arrangements (floralartla.com)

February 9th, 2010 |

Bridal Shower with a LOVE Theme

What better party to start out with than this bridal shower that I planned with a LOVE theme. It’s perfect for the week of Valentine’s Day in case you need any last minute ideas: mini cupcakes and mini desserts, roses, and heart shaped chocolate suckers.  I look forward to bringing you more inspiring posts in the upcoming weeks!

-Brittany

Images property of One Charming Party

February 3rd, 2010 |

Lemonade Lunch

lemonade spring lunch party ideas

The snow here in Chicago has me dreaming of the parties I will throw this summer in my new backyard.  Top of my list?!  A lemonade lunch.  Totally inspired by this table setting created by Sharnel in Australia (it is summer there….), here are a few things that I would include:

A table setting with over-sized vases, and single blooms as the centerpiece.  A small-printed napkin tied with a fresh leaf from the garden.  Drink dispensers full of flavored waters, and lemonades.  A lemonade packet with a customized label as a party favor for all of my friends.

I can’t wait for SPRING!  What type of parties are you dreaming about throwing?!

P.S. This would be a darling theme for a baby or bridal shower, too!

Images: kids, napkin (countryliving.com), hanging candle (bhg.com), lemonade packets (beau-coup.com), table setting (mylife-mylove.blogspot.com), drink dispensers (swsmag.com), centerpiece (brides.com)

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February 2nd, 2010 |

Super Bowl Sunday: Brunch with the Girls

super bowl brunch party ideas

Super Bowl Sunday is a great opportunity to entertain.  Some may want to gather friends for a traditional party, serving beer and appetizers, and others…..well, they may want to run for the hills at the first sound of a Super Bowl party.  Hey…it’s okay if football isn’t your thing…I totally get it!  If you are one of these girls, and your husband is going to be occupied with the game and some male-bonding on Sunday, take this opportunity to entertain a bunch of girls!  (football-free, of course!)

Brunch is a great activity for Sunday morning.  It’s an easy meal to prepare, very little prep-work involved, and your guests are in-and-out, and you go about your day!  So, let’s talk brunch….

Set a simple table.  White dishes, a patterned napkin, and maybe a little vase of spring flowers on the table.  Serve up a picture of bloody mary’s, and have a bowl of fresh berries for people to pick at while sitting around chatting.  Brunch wouldn’t be complete in my mind without eggs benedict.  Switch things up by serving a killer tomato benedict (tomato, pesto, roasted peppers and hollandaise sauce…..YUM!), and an apple-citrus salad with avocado and bacon.  It’s light, fresh and delicious!

If you are looking for another finger-food option, consider putting a new twist on deviled eggs:

I love the idea of putting a fresh spin on this old favorite!  Serve up a couple different variations, and serve them on small appetizer plates, or 3 in a row on a rectangular-shaped plate.  Try an asian-inspired version,  or a three-herb recipe…..just remember, it’s all in the presentation!

Images: invitation (tinyprints.com), dishes (williams-sonoma.com), place setting (projectwedding.com)

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January 28th, 2010 |

Napkin of the Week: Spring Buffet Style

LOVE this idea from Country Living!  What a darling way to display your napkins on a Spring buffet table!

January 25th, 2010 |

Chocolate-Tasting Party

chocolate tasting party valentines day party

This very well may be my “dream” party!  With Valentine’s Day quickly approaching, I decided it was time to start throwing some ideas out at you!  A couple of things come to mind when I think of this fuzzy, feel-good holiday….flowers, hearts and CHOCOLATE!  As you all know by now, my name is Kelly Lyden and I AM a chocoholic!  So in trying to come up with a unique party idea for Valentine’s Day, I decided instead of a traditional cocktail party or sit-down dinner, wouldn’t it be more fun to host a chocolate-tasting party?!  Um, that’s a big, fat Y-E-S in my book!

In theory, this is actually a very simple party to organize (especially if you are a baker!).  Compile a collection of chocolate treats to assemble an outstanding buffet.  I picture bowls of truffles, plates of chocolate-covered toffee, and a few other decadent treats.  In my search for new and delicious chocolate recipes, I came across these: triple-chocolate mousse (these look oh, so elegant in champagne flutes), chocolate-raspberry tarts, brownie-ice cream mini sandwiches, heart-shaped macaroons, and sugared chocolate beignets.  What I love about this selection of desserts is that there is a pop of color.  The raspberries on the tarts, the red macaroons…it helps to break up the brown color of chocolate!

Throw in a red, signature cocktail, some cute plates and napkins…..and you have one tasty party on your hands!

Images: centerpiece (styleathome.com), cocktail (traditionalhome.com)

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January 19th, 2010 |

Asian Dinner Party

asian dinner party ideas

These cold, winter months have me craving some heat!  Add a little spice to your next dinner party by using an Asian theme.  Better Homes and Gardens has some great, simple recipes that can help you create a family-style dinner in no-time.  The top recipes on my list are cashew chicken, shredded beef lo mein, and sesame chicken and noodles.  For starters, I would serve sweet and spicy spring rolls, and spicy tofu triangles.  YUM!

For decor, you can add a couple simple touches to your home to give it a festive vibe….

Bamboo placemats, chopsticks, fortune cookie placecard holders, and a centerpiece full of orchids.  Send you guests home with a carton full of fortune cookies as a party favor.  You can package them in white chinese food take-out containers, and adhere a personalized label.  Stick a pair of chopsticks on the top for a little added detail!

Themes have a way of adding a new level of excitement to a dinner party….especially if you entertain the same crowd frequently!  What’s your favorite theme for a dinner party?

Images: table setting (sheknows.com), invitation (weddingpaperdivas.com), party favors (theknot.com)

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January 14th, 2010 |

Super Bowl Party 2010

super bowl party ideas

Super Bowl Sunday is quickly approaching!  You know what that means…..the perfect opportunity to gather friends and family to share some tasty treats and root for their favorite team.  Tiny Prints has the cutest invitation in town, and with their quick shipping, you can still get them in time!  Keep your decorations simple!  I love this idea from Real Simple – cut coasters out of AstroTurf for a simple pop of creativity.

Super Bowl parties conjure up up images of simple food for me….chips and dips, chicken wings, etc.  I’m going to go out on a limb and say that most of you reading this blog like to kick things up a notch.  I don’t see any of you throwing a bag of chips and a bowl of ranch dip out on the table…..

My vote is to serve some favorite staples, but to put a new twist on the presentation!  Here are a few ideas:

  • Instead of a traditional veggie platter, try placing different types of veggies and a couple of dips in individual bowls, and then place all of it in a basket to serve.
  • Up the presentation level of your traditional pigs in a blanket by wrapping the hot dogs in a spiral, and inserting a stick. (almost like chicken satay!)
  • Serve a couple of different types of meatballs.  Separate the flavors into small bowls (insert toothpicks for easy handling) and arrange all together on a tray.
  • Serve an updated slider.  Instead of a bun, use a large cottage fry to hold your burger.  Stylish and yummy! (and gluten-free for those of you like me!)

Yum.  Festive.  And a great reason to throw a party!

Images: invitation (tinyprints.com), decorations (realsimple.com), dips (inmagine.com), mini hot dogs (foodnetwork.com), meatballs (williams-sonoma.com), potato sliders (bhg.com)

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January 11th, 2010 |

Chili Cook-Off!

chili cook off party

When it comes to entertaining a crowd during the winter months, potlucks are an easy fix….everyone brings something, so it helps take some of the stress off the hosts.  Put a new spin on a potluck dinner party, and host a chili cook-off!

This invitation from Tiny Prints is perfect for our theme!  First things first, find out how many couples/families wish to bring a chili.  Once you have a few chili’s scheduled, ask the rest of your guests to bring some accompaniments, such as cornbread, a salad, and some desserts.  (don’t forget to have toppings for the chili’s too….bowls of shredded cheese, sour cream, oyster crackers will be a welcome addition to the main course)

I went in search of some new chili recipes and found more than I can possibly try making this season.  But for those of you that are looking for some delicious recipes…..try a beef and butternut squash chili, black bean chili, chunky two-bean and beef chili, chili en croute, white turkey chili, and my personal favorite, Barefoot Contessa’s chicken chili.

Keep your decorations simple….set up a large buffet table with lots of small bowls and spoons (so people can sample all of the different chili’s).  Instead of a big centerpiece, float a bunch of votive candles down the table in between the pots of chili.  Carve out peppers (red, yellow, orange and green would be very festive!) and use them to hold your votive candles.  To make this cook-off a bit competitive, assign each chili a letter or number.  Create a score card for your guests to rank each chili based on their color, texture, aroma, flavor and heat.  Rachael Ray Magazine has made that part simple for you, and created a darling scorecard template for you to use.  Click here for the download-able template.

A chili cook-off is the perfect activity to do with friends on a cold, Sunday afternoon….  Now, I have told you my favorite recipe, what’s yours?!

Images: party scene, score cards, and pepper votive candles (rachaelraymag.com), invitation (tinyprints.com)

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