June 8th, 2012 |

Tori’s Tips for Summer Entertaining

 

I was thrilled to catch up with celebrity, Tori Spelling, to chat about the launch of her latest book, celebraTORI and get some tips for summer entertaining.  Read on below for Tori’s tips and check back later today as we share a simple ice cream cone cupcake recipe from her book.

A big thanks to Tori for her contribution, and also for featuring The Party Dress Magazine and her article on her blog, ediTORIal yesterday!

Bring the Indoors Out

During the summer, it’s so nice to entertain outdoors. But having to rent or purchase furniture for your outdoor event can get pricey. So I love bringing my indoors outside for events! From my living room or den I’ll bring out loung-y sofas and armchairs, but even formal, traditional chairs are pleasingly ironic in an outdoor setting. Also bring out coffee tables, ottomans, lamps & books for decor, and area rugs. One day out in the sun won’t destroy your pieces and furniture al fresco is spectacular!

Set the Party Zone

When having a Summer backyard (or even indoor) bash you want guests to utilize the whole space you’ve worked so hard to create for them. Think of your party space as a triangle! When they enter the party they are at the center of the base of the triangle. To the left you should have your main food table or bar and the opposite on the right side. At the far end of your party (the triangle top point) I like to put the focal point of any gathering: the dessert table! To me that’s your star player. Whether its a 6ft table with cake plates stacked with cakes, cupcakes, and cookies or a simple DIY sundae bar guests will love it. With food, cocktails, and dessert all spread out at your party, guests will all use the space and not congregate in one area.

Do a D-I-Y Bar

Presenting a do-it-yourself bar will not only save you money, but also adds a great presentation and conversation piece to the party. I usually like to pick 1 or 2 alcohols to be the base of your DIY bar, such as champagne, vodka, or tequila. I hate the look of a bottle of liquor sitting out so it’s nice to pour it into a carafe. You’ll probably want a sparkling water option for those that don’t drink. I use pitchers, carafes, and bottles to fill with various juices, mixers, and syrups. The last key element is putting out decorative bowls of fresh fruit and herbs.

I always make personalized tags (even if hand-written) to adorn carafes, bottles, and bowls so guests know what everything is. Guests will LOVE creating their own cocktails and comparing notes with each other. I usually set out a cheat sheet to get them started by suggesting fabulous combinations or recommending signature cocktails for the party. Guest’s love awakening their inner mixologist!

Mini’s Rule

I always serve mini foods at all my parties. I believe if it’s more than 2 bites it shouldn’t be served! And, I also believe ANYTHING can be made into a mini size. It’s easier for your guests, less mess, and less wasteful leftovers. Minis also always get that “ahh ha!” reaction from guests and can create a great presentation, and definitely a conversation piece! Now, obviously I’m not opposed to dips and such put out, especially while entertaining outdoors. But when it comes to the main dishes, no one wants a big pile of food on their plate while enjoying the warm weather!

Activity Bound

I’m a DIY gal at heart so I’m always crafting. At any event, I love to give my guests the opportunity to engage in an activity, unleash their creativity, and then have a take home gift from the party. A simple crafting table with benches, bean bags, or beach chairs can be set out to create the activity space. Lay out tools, material, and embellishments and let them go to town! Summer is such a great season and theme to think of DIY crafts to do.

If crafts aren’t your thing, set up a fun, interactive DIY photo booth! Make a backdrop, chalkboard signs they can write on, even some fun accessory pieces and a Polaroid camera and let them create their own memories!

Head back this afternoon for my DIY recipe for creating ice cream cone cupcakes!

 

May 30th, 2012 |

Monogram Your Event

You all know my life-long obsession with a good monogram.  I love a clean, crisp initial or 3-letter monogram on just about anything!  Do you remember the bridal shower I styled recently where we focused on updating the classic monogram for a bright party full of graphic, preppy patterns?

Today, I am sharing a few ideas of how to incorporate this classic look into your modern lifestyle and events.  First up is this carved out wood plaque from Southern Proper Monograms (image via Holly Mathis Interiors).  I have ordered a couple of these now for events, and whether used to welcome guests from the front door, or hanging in a window like this bridal shower, it adds a lovely, personal touch.  I just ordered one for myself to hang in my family room.  The good news?  It comes natural wood, as shown above, and is incredibly easy to paint!

Incorporating initials or a monogram into your table linens and sweets for a classic look.  These images above (via) are a great example of a clean look that looks updated for a wedding, bridal shower, etc. Another way to update your table or home is to stencil a monogram onto a vase.  Using craft paint, you can apply it to glass, melamine or a birch vase (as shown below from etsy.com).

May 18th, 2012 |

Peonies + Chevron Dinner Party

Last weekend, I hosted a peonies + chevron dinner party to celebrate Mother’s Day.  Do you remember seeing my inspiration board?  I am happy to share a few pictures with you today.  The table was covered with a crisp, white tablecloth and my bold, grey and white chevron table runner.

To create an interesting centerpiece, I clustered together different vessels each holding pink peonies.  My large, white happiness jar stood center stage full of pink cherry blossom branches from Pottery Barn (this arrangement sits on the table in my sunroom during the spring season).  I used bud vases of all different heights and shapes, and wrapped a few of them with white rope to add some texture to the arrangement.

Pink napkins and my pink and white floral salad plates from Kate Spade polished off the look.  It was pretty, sweet and modern all rolled up in one tablesetting.  Although I created this for Mother’s Day, I think it would be beautiful for a bridal shower or special birthday luncheon.

May 15th, 2012 |

Baby Shower BRIGHTS!

With Spring comes baby shower season and well, I am all about color. These are my favorite months because you can get outside and bring out some serious color. When it comes to baby showers, I love seeing the pink + orange combo or the coral + teal trend. They make for great color palettes for any party – especially baby showers.
I am absolutely in love with the oh-so-chic bridal shower full of brights that Kelly styled. Just perfection! It could easily transform into a baby shower. The coral + teal baby shower featured on The Party Dress blog was one of my favorites too!
Currently though, I am really in love with yellow. Yellow with pink, yellow with aqua, yellow with white…..I just love a bright ray of sunshine. And, it works for girls, boys or even gender neutral.
Not into going bright + bold? Pick a stand out color and match it with something subdued.

Oh, and if you haven’t heard the news, I am now a daily writer for Babble.com.  I recently rounded up 15 Pinterest Inspired Baby Showers, WH Hostess included! Make sure you head over and browse the slideshow.


Stay tuned for my favorite Neutral Baby Showers next week!
May 14th, 2012 |

Bocce Birthday Dinner

Phew.  What a BUSY weekend!  A 40th birthday dinner Saturday, and Mother’s Day dinner Sunday….I’m pooped!  I hope you all had a lovely Mother’s Day weekend. Today, I am sharing a quick picture of the 40th birthday party we styled on Saturday.  A surprise party (and it was TRULY a surprise!) held at Pinstripes (great place for bowling and bocce ball!), we took the “pinstripes” and “bocce balls” theme and ran with it!

One long table, three striped centerpieces of big white blooms mixed with yellow billy balls, and a singular BIG, red balloon. Bocce ball placecards, striped menu cards and paper straws finished off the look.  Perfectly festive, while still being masculine…..the table set the tone for a VERY fun evening.

Stay tuned for a few pics from my Mother’s Day dinner party…..

 

May 9th, 2012 |

Chevron Mother’s Day Dinner

We’re hosting a little Mother’s Day gathering here this weekend, and I thought I would share a little peek of my inspiration today.  Playing off a Dwell Studio grey chevron table runner that I am currently obsessed with on my dining room table, I decided to create a custom invitation to coordinate!  I am picturing pretty pink and coral-y orange peonies, citrus infused water, fresh spring-y food, and sorbet sundaes for dessert!

What are your plans for Mother’s Day?

Images: peonies (stylemepretty.com), invitation (whhostess.com), ice molds (via pinterest), ice cream sundae (weheartit.com)

April 30th, 2012 |

Cinco De Mayo

With Cinco de Mayo coming up this weekend, we’re here to inspire you with party ideas from our WH Hostess intern + blog contributor, Jane.  Cute and colorful, there are details that could be re-created whether you are hosting a party of 2 or 20!  Read on for details from Janie:

“The spring gives us many excuses to get together with our friends and celebrate. We have designed a modern “desserts and cocktails” Cinco De Mayo (The Fifth of May) party theme to highlight this colorful and vibrant holiday celebrated in the United States as a way to honor Mexican-American heritage and history.

We have taken some of the traditional treats of Cinco De Mayo, and placed a preppy twist with these fabulous party décor ideas. The brilliant colors of hot pink, bright orange, yellow and lime green bring a burst of color and festive zest to the dessert table. This design would also be perfect for a luau party, beach bash or a summer bridal shower.

The adorable centerpiece consists of a DIY umbrella wreath around a darling punch bowl filled with yummy strawberry margarita. The wreath adds a festive twist to the punch bowl, and it’s super easy to make! Simply take a Styrofoam circular wreath form, and place brightly colored miniature parasols around the top and outside edges.

The backdrop brings a modern touch to the table. Simple paper fans in white are paired with brightly colored ones, and were embellished with fluffy pom-poms in the center for a darling, updated Cinco De Mayo party decoration. Cinnamon sugars Churros are a traditional dessert from Mexico as well as during Cinco De Mayo. We have taken the classic dish and drizzled them with chocolate and bright sprinkles to add even more color to the table! The pyramid of assorted sorbets in lime, raspberry and citrus inside miniature cocktail shooters make the perfect treat to pair with the strawberry margaritas!

¡Feliz Cinco De Mayo Amigos!”

April 23rd, 2012 |

The Resurgence of the Candelabra

I’m a sucker for a gorgeous tablesetting….we all know this!  But lately I have found myself totally in love with the addition of glass or crystal candelabras.  Popular years ago, featured on opulent tables, or as accessories in formal homes.  For some reason, the candelabra somewhat disappeared in recent years.

I think it’s time for a comeback.  You?!

Image via

April 16th, 2012 |

Mother’s Day Manicures & Mimosas

Mother’s Day is quickly approaching and I don’t know about you, but my family is always looking for new ways to celebrate Mom.  We’ve done the festive brunch, the preppy bbq, and the traditional family dinner.  I was thrilled when our magazine contributor, Beth Beattie, came up with this oh, so fashionable Manicures & Mimosas party for the spring issue of The Party Dress Magazine.  Having spent my former life in the fashion industry (I was a clothing buyer, for those that may not know), this luncheon appeals to me on so many different levels!  Read on for details from Beth…..

“The runway to table design concept was inspired by Diane von Furstenberg’s Spring/Summer ‘12 Collection. Known for her prints and bold use of color, we focused on interjecting the graphic and floral patterns represented in the collection throughout the overall design of the table. The “Manicures & Mimosas for Moms,” hosted by Beth Beattie of Beth Beattie Branding, PR and Events and Katherine Lande, Fashion Editor and Stylist of KL Style, Inc. was held at Muses & Visionaries. Muses & Visionaries, a modern salon for women to dream, inspire, support and create, is a unique space intended to nurture fresh ideas, foster connections and act as a catalyst for both independent and collaborative work.

The tablescape incorporated bursts of bright colors, including the vivid poppy centerpieces by VM Flowers, orange glasses from Bloomingdale’s and a personal collection of fashion books. The plates and chargers were from Diane von Furstenberg’s Home Collection at Bloomingdale’s, the modern floral twist placemats were from Didriks. The black and white graphic napkins from Target were inspired from fabric patterns shown on the runway.

The placecards were different runway looks from the collection and we put them in acrylic frames with each guest’s name signed in gold. The silverware was dipped in a custom purple from Plasti Dip’s Create Your Color Kit.

Guests enjoyed sweet treats of macarons and mini cupcakes from The Sugar Monkey and POP Champagne splits and mimosas. Guests received nail polishes from Sephora and Diane perfume from Bloomingdale’s to take home with them.”

Photography by Lena Hyde Photography

April 2nd, 2012 |

DIY Monogram Napkin Project

For our Modern Monogram bridal shower, we created a darling assortment of monogrammed napkins to dress up the tablesetting.  They were simple to do, added a great pop to the table, and also served as a gift for the bride to bring home with her.

We gathered up supplies at our local Michael’s craft store: paint, stenciling flat brushes and script letter stencils from Martha Stewart’s new craft collection.  We also found cotton, tangerine orange napkins at Home Goods ($8 for a set of 12!) to use.

{Step-by-Step Instructions}

1. Wash and iron your cloth napkins.  Gather your supplies (mentioned above).

2. Place your stencil on the napkin where you would like your letter to go.  We chose to place it diagonally in the corner of the napkin.

3. Place a small amount of your paint in a dish, and insert your brush.  Dab the paint over the stencil to fill in the letter.  Remember to dab, not brush.

4. Once the entire surface is covered with paint, let it dry and evaluate if you need a second coat.

5. Peel off the stencil.  Use a q-tip to clean up any stray lines.

6. Your napkins are party-ready!

 

 

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