August 15th, 2009 |

Cocktail Party: Mad Men Premiere

Made Men Cocktail Party (small)

With the long awaited premiere of Mad Men’s season 3  upon us this weekend, channel your inner Betty Draper and host a 1960′s inspired cocktail party.  Bon Appetit has a menu full of classic drinks, and post-modern appetizers that are perfect for the occasion:

Images: food (bonappetit.com)

August 14th, 2009 |

Dinner Party: Straight Off The Grill

dinner party grill

We love entertaining at home, so I am always looking for new recipes and creative ways to set my table.  I think this dinner party invitation from Minted sets the tone for a casual, yet polished evening.  Setting the table is easy for me during the late summer months.  Sunflowers are in bloom and they are my favorite!  They just scream festive to me!  Tie the sunflowers idea into your placecards too.  You can create this festive, colorful place setting by simply using a sunflower stamp on a basic white placecard.  I think the napkin fold is really pretty…..see below for the instructions (click on the image for a bigger view).

sunflower napkin roll

Now, in terms of food…..I love dishes that are simple, yet full of flavor and style!  These grilled mushroom kabobs look delicious to me!  I found this recipe on Cully’s Kitchen.  I’m a sucker for barbecue chicken…and this recipe for grilled chicken with white barbecue sauce has been calling my name for a while now.  Perfect for a summer dinner party!  Now for dessert….it’s summer, so fruit must be involved!  Try to mix it up a little by trying something new like a goat cheese and fruit tart.  Not only does it sound delicious, but look at it!  Any guest would be oh, so impressed!

goat cheese and fruit tart

What are some of your favorite dinner party ideas?  Have a recipe to share….have a table setting idea….leave a comment and share your ideas with us!

Images: invitation (minted.com), sunflower centerpiece (inmagine.com), napkin roll (via Napkins with a Twist), table setting (horchow.com)

August 12th, 2009 |

Housewarming Party: Home Sweet Home

housewarming party home sweet home

My husband and I are moving into our very first home next week….so I have moving, decorating, and housewarming parties on the brain lately! A housewarming party is a great way not only to show off your new home, but also a chance to gather your friends and get decorating ideas!

I have found some fabulous new home stationery out there that I just had to share with you……

Houswarming Invite 1

I love the simplicity and warmth of this invitation from Minted….it would be perfect for a Fall gathering!

Houswarming Invite 2

This lawnmower announcement from Minted would be so cute for a family moving into the suburbs, right?!

Houswarming Invite 3

“We’ve planted new roots” – a charming, yet playful announcement from Tiny Prints.

Houswarming Invite 4

This is the announement I chose for us from Tiny Prints….I love how it pictures the perfect little neighborhood.

Houswarming Invite 5

Simple and sophisticated, this announcement from Wedding Paper Divas would be perfect for a house or apartment!

Images: dining room, wine, cheese (potterybarn.com), lattice housewarming invitation (minted.com), potted hydrangeas (customeventgroup.com)

August 10th, 2009 |

A Colorful Birthday Party

colorful birthday party

I thought we needed a “colorful” inspiration for a Monday morning….how are you going to infuse color into your next party?

Images: party table (inmagine.com), centerpiece (nancyliuchin.com), place setting (socialcouture.com), plates and glasses (potterybarn.com)

August 7th, 2009 |

Napkin of the Week: Summer Bouquet

Summer Bouquet

Entertaining this weekend?!  Here is a thoughtful idea…

Gather flowers from your garden and create tiny bouquets for each of your guests.  Place them on each person’s napkin – not only will it dress up your table setting, but it will serve as a delightful party favor too!

Image via Inmagine

August 6th, 2009 |

Divine Dinner Party

Grey Dinner Party (small)

This darling invitation from Minted inspired this party idea; ideal for a rehearsal dinner or a dinner party!  Love the colors, love the design….just plain LOVE it!

If you are planning a “dressy” dinner party – consider using a palette of metallic silver and pewter mixed with plum.  I love the shimmer mixed with the deep hue of one of Fall’s hottest colors.  Rich, yet modern-looking.  And oh, so sophisticated!  Speaking of sophisticated….make sure to dress yourself in a coordinating hue.  This ruffled-trim dress from Milly fits the bill!

Since we are hosting a “dressy” dinner party, it’s time to pull out the good stuff.  You know what I’m talking about…  Dust off that china, polish the silver, and make sure your crystal is sparkling!  Add a modern touch to your classics with a few new items from Plum Party Supplies.  I found shimmered, silver napkins that are stunning, and two different types of votive candle holders.  Silver and gold metallic glass votives, or silver glitter tea light holders…..you choose which one is more your style!

divine dinner party supplies

Serve your guests passed champagne after dinner.  To dress up your drinks, add a rim of pink sugar on each glass.  Simply wet the rim of your champagne flute and dip into pink fine sugar.  To carry the shimmer of the silver throughout the party, serve cupcakes decorated with over-sized pearl or silver sprinkles.

Images: table setting (nancyluichin.com), dinner party invitation (minted.com), champagne (brides.com), pearl cupcakes (le cupcake via flickr.com), silver and gold votive candles, silver napkins, and silver glitter tea light holders (plumparty.com)

August 4th, 2009 |

Cocktail Party: Color Coordinated

COLOR cocktail party (small)

Add a fun twist to your next cocktail party by decorating with COLOR!  Choose a color palette of three hues and break up your party into color-coordinated sections.  For example, I have chosen a fuchsia, orange and yellow color palette for this party inspiration.  Set your table up in three sections and include flowers, cocktails, appetizers, barware and edible garnishes in each section.   Use neutral elements such as a tall glass vase, or votive candles in each section to unify the look.  It’s somewhat of an “organization by color” project – but the final product will be so visual appealing!

When planning your food and drinks, try to keep your color palette in mind.  Serve a signature cocktail for each color.  For example, try a raspberry champagne cocktail (for the fuchsia), a mango cocktail (for the orange), and a lemoncello cooler (for the yellow).  Get creative with your food presentation too….instead of serving one large crudites tray, separate the veggies by color.  Place radishes on a plate with a small bowl of dip, carrots for the orange section, celery for the yellow section, and so on….

Bring in your pop colors with accessories.  This festive invitation from Wedding Paper Divas is perfect for my color palette, but it comes in other color ways as well…perfect for any party!  I found these great colored-glass votive candles at Plum Party Supplies.  They come in all different colors, and I was thrilled to find them in all three of my pop colors – fuchsia, orange, yellow!  These are great for placing in the different colored sections of my table, but will still give a unified look.

cocktail party candlelight

Images: invitation (weddingpaperdivas.com), shrimp cocktail (epicurious.com), wine glasses (thenest.com), table setting (potterybarn.com)

August 3rd, 2009 |

Shabby Chic Birthday Brunch

shabby chic birthday brunchThis shabby chic birthday brunch is all about natural sand colors mixed with cornflower blue.   This lovely invitation from Minted is the perfect inspiration for the decor of the party….it has a subtle garden party feel, but with a color palette that I think is so sophisticated.

If you are hosting a larger party, consider setting up a few tables of 8-10 for brunch.  In order to assure your guests have a lovely time, use placecards to determine the seating.  Create a placecard display by filling a wood tray with sunflower seeds, beans, or rice (something in the natural color) and stand the placecards up in neat little rows.

Bring natural elements into your table centerpieces.  Potted plants, candles perched on wood coasters, glass hurricane candles filled with pussy willow branches.  Tie your napkin with a piece of raffia or a ribbon, and stick a white flower into it to finish off the presentation.  Dress up a basic birthday cake with some fresh flowers on top….flowers make everything look special!

No party is complete without a signature drink….ask the birthday girl what her favorite cocktail is ahead of time.  An Arnold Palmer (half lemonade, half iced tea) would be a perfect non-alcoholic option.  Dress up your drinks by adding a custom flag to your straws.  The pop of blue ties into our color palette, and they are darling when personalized with a cute saying, or something as simple as “Happy 30th!”

This brunch inspiration would be ideal for a bridal shower as well.  The beautiful colors, simple decorations and sophisticated feel ensures a lovely afternoon with friends.  Doesn’t it make you want to pull a floral party dress out of your closet and plan a party?!

Shabby Chic Birthday Brunch (small)

Images: invitation (minted.com), drinks (brides.com), blue cake (theknot.com), table setting (artfool.com), placecards (saltharbor.com), party dresses (jcrew.com)

Minted.com wedding invitations

July 25th, 2009 |

Stargazing Picnic

stargazing picnic

Whether you are planning a romantic night with your special someone, or an intimate gathering of close friends – bring your dinner out under the stars for a picnic!

Set the mood by creating a cozy area for people to gather.  Lounge chairs, blankets, big pillows will do – add lanterns, candles and potted plants around to add color and some mood lighting.  Serve food that is not only easy to eat, but remember to use serving dishes that aren’t breakable and they should sit well on the ground.  Baskets are perfect for this occasion!  Gather bowls of different dips, slices of bread, and crackers all into one basket.

Come up with a festive dessert, such as a summer fruit salad with sambuca.  Give this recipe from Williams Sonoma a try….

Feel free to vary it according to the fruit available, adding raspberries, peaches, oranges or melons. Adjust the sugar, lemon juice and sambuca to suit your taste. Kirsch or another fruit brandy can be used in place of the sambuca, if you prefer. The critical step is the long maceration, which allows the flavors to blend.

Ingredients:

1 pint strawberries

1 mango

1 plum

1 nectarine

1 cup blackberries

1 cup blueberries

1/4 cup sugar, plus more as needed

Grated zest of 1 lemon

Juice of 1/2 lemon, plus more as needed

2 Tbs. anise liqueur, such as sambuca or anisette,
plus more as needed

1 banana

Directions:

Hull the strawberries and halve or quarter if large. Peel and dice the mango. Dice the plum and nectarine.

In a large bowl, combine the strawberries, mango, plum, nectarine, blackberries and blueberries. Add the 1/4 cup sugar, the lemon zest, the juice of 1/2 lemon and the 2 Tbs. sambuca and stir well. Dice the banana and stir into the salad. Taste and add more sugar, lemon juice or sambuca, if needed.

Cover and refrigerate for at least 6 hours or up to overnight, stirring occasionally. Taste and adjust the flavorings before serving. Serves 4 to 6.

Images: stargazing picnic (brightideas.com), pillows (instyleweddings.com), basket of dips (inmagine.com), drinks (helennorman.com)

July 21st, 2009 |

Napkin of the Week: Sunflowers!

sunflowers

Sunflowers add instant warmth to any table.  I’ve always considered sunflowers to be “happy” flowers…they instantly put a smile on my face!  Try setting the table for your next dinner party with these great napkin rings from Pottery Barn, or cut off the top of a flower and insert a placecard.  Both easy to do and equally charming!

Images: napkin rings (potterybarn.com), sunflower placecard (theknot.com)

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