September 12th, 2012 |

Football Brownies

Whether you are planning a tailgating party, a kids’ football party, or just wanting to surprise your kids with a festive after-school treat, these football brownies are SO EASY!  You only need three supplies: brownies, a football-shaped cookie cutter, and white piping gel (available at your grocery store).

I suggest putting your brownies in the freezer for 10 minutes before you want to cut them – you will get a crisp cut with your cookie cutter.  After you cut out your brownies, use the white piping gel to add the laces and details to the “footballs”.  It really is THAT simple!

Looking for more football dessert ideas?  Check out this post!

For more Fall entertaining ideas, read the latest issue of The Party Dress Magazine:

order a printed copy   |   download the ipad app   |   read the digital issue

 

September 11th, 2012 |

Must-Have Book: Kara’s Party Ideas

Our friend, Kara Allen of the blog Kara’s Party Ideas, is launching her first book in October!  We couldn’t be more thrilled for her, and are so pleased to have her here today to share a few peeks into the book and answer some questions about what we can expect to find in it.

Kara’s Party Ideas (Cedar Fort Books, on sale 10/9/12) is a vibrant handbook filled with a wide variety of party themes, plus tips and tricks for a truly spectacular soiree, no matter what the occasion! Party blogger and style expert Kara Allen offers you all the inspiration you need to turn your special moments into unforgettable memories.

We asked Kara a few questions about the book, the process and her must-have party trend right now…..enjoy!

You have been showcasing fabulous parties on your blog for some time now….what inspired you to create a book?

Writing a party idea book has been a goal of mine for a really long time. Even before I started my blog I would go to the bookstore to scope out the entertaining/wedding/event section. I dreamed of having my own book some day and that is a big force that drove me to push as hard as I could for my dream. It’s been so surreal and so exciting! 

What can we expect to see in Kara’s Party Ideas: The Book?

 Kara’s Party Ideas is a vibrant book filled with a wide variety of party themes, plus tips and tricks for a truly spectacular soiree, no matter what the occasion! It includes thirteen parties, each displayed in remarkable detail through photos and descriptions.  A CD with printable invitations and party decorations is also included!

Can you give us a peek into your thought process when it comes to planning a party?

It always starts with something small. I see a cute invitation, a fun decoration, or even a balloon, and the ideas start coming from there. I love themed parties, and thrive off of finding something that goes along with the party theme I’m currently planning. I look everywhere, and literally have “party” on my brain all day long, no matter where I go!

 

What is one “must-have” project from your book?

 I don’t know if I can chose just one…too hard to decide! But the included CD is full of “must have” projects!

Do you have a favorite theme party from the book?

That’s a hard one. I love all the parties for different reasons! I always have a big heart for circus themed parties, though. I planned my very first circus party about 4 years ago, when there wasn’t a lot out there in the party world that was circus-related. Now it has become a very popular theme, with so much available and so many options! I think it will always be my “signature” party theme.

 

What new party trends do you showcase in the book that we will all want to use in upcoming parties?

 I have found that it isn’t very hard to dress up inexpensive party items and decor to make them look professional & perfect. All it takes is some ribbon, a cute tag, a small piece of fabric, or something similar to dress up an inexpensive store bought party favor or packaged party supply!

 

Kara, thanks for stopping by today as part of your blog tour!  We wish you success with your new book!

To pre-order your copy of Kara’s Party Ideas, visit amazon.com.

September 10th, 2012 |

Tailgate in Style

Tailgating is a time-honored tradition in the Fall. Whether you are attending a game at your alma mater, gathering with parents at your child’s soccer game, or entertaining at home, here are a few classic ideas that we re-vamped to make your next tailgating party a hit!

Set the stage for your food buffet by using the back of your car and using traditional Fall sports props as decoration. We used a plaid quilt in place of a tablecloth, and a classic picnic basket as a backdrop (it also came in handy to hold the bar ingredients to make our bloody marys!).

Create a crowd-pleasing buffet of appetizers, including chicken wings, bbq meatballs, deviled eggs (you could even get creative and make them look like footballs!). Update the classic stadium snack, a soft pretzel, by cutting it into 1 inch pretzel bites, and serving it with a cheese queso dip in a sturdy mason jar with a lid for easy transporting.

Tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwiches can be partnered together in small mug, and you can use wood berry baskets to hold kettle popcorn and peanuts. Pull out the sweet treats at half-time: brownies shaped like footballs!

For more Fall entertaining ideas, read the latest issue of The Party Dress Magazine:

order a printed copy   |   download the ipad app   |   read the digital issue

September 7th, 2012 |

Mini Apple Dumplings

Charynn here, from Two Sugar Babies, ready to share one of my favorite recipes with you….the perfect treat to make this weekend! A popular dish in the South, this mini Apple Dumpling recipe has found it’s way into the hearts of my family. It’s so easy and fast to pull together, you’ll be happy to make it whenever they ask!

Ingredients

2 green apples, sliced and peeled into 8 segments
2 cans of refrigerated crescent roll dough
2 sticks unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 tsp vanilla
12 oz can of Sprite
1/3 cup of pecans, chopped
cinnamon
9×13″ baking dish

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter the bottom and sides of the baking
dish. Unroll the crescent roll dough and use the perforated marks to
separate into 8 sections. Wrap each section around a slice of apple
and place in buttered baking dish, until all 16 slices are complete.

Melt the butter in a small saucepan, and then add the sugar and
vanilla. Mix until just combined. Pour evenly over the dumplings.

Open the can of Sprite and pour the entire can into the pan, in
between the dumplings.

Sprinkle with a touch of cinnamon and all of the chopped pecans and
bake, uncovered, until the mixture is bubbling and the top of the
dumplings are browned, about 35 minutes.

For more Fall entertaining ideas, read the latest issue of The Party Dress Magazine:

order a printed copy   |   download the ipad app   |   read the digital issue 

September 6th, 2012 |

Inspiration: Apple Picking Party

Apple picking has been one of my favorite activities from the time I was a young child.  Now is the PERFECT time to gather up friends and family to meet at an apple orchard and surprise them with a few {sweet} treats.

Images: apple barrels (poshphotographyonline.com)  |   apple m&m cups (bloomdesignsonline.blogspot.com)  |  apple dessert table (party-wagon.com)  |  apple drink station (frostmeblog.blogspot.com)  |  apple cupcakes (familyfun.go.com)  |  mini apple pies (williams-sonoma.com)

September 6th, 2012 |

Hostess Gifts for Apple Season

Apple Season is upon us and it’s time to celebrate in a BIG way!  The latest issue of The Party Dress Magazine has countless ideas for incorporating nature’s bounty into your seasonal celebrations, decor and recipes.  Today, we’re sharing two ideas for incorporating apples into hostess gifts.  Attending a party this weekend?!  This post is for you!  (these would also make charming party favors or teacher gifts, too)

Love the idea of gifting a homemade apple pie? Of course you do! But sometimes, it’s not convenient to deliver a just-out-of-the-oven apple pie. So gift your friends with the next best thing….apple pie filling {in a jar, with a darling sticker}. That way they can use it anytime they want!

Everyone loves a good caramel apple! Do you love making homemade caramel sauce? Package it up in a small container and place it in a cellophane bag along with a crisp apple. Tie it up with ribbon and our free printable apple gift tags.  (PS – no time to make the homemade caramel sauce?  Repackage store-bought….no one will know!)

Click on the link below to download your FREE apple labels.

For more Fall entertaining ideas, read the latest issue of The Party Dress Magazine:

order a printed copy   |   download the ipad app   |   read the digital issue 

 

September 5th, 2012 |

DIY Pencil Centerpiece

There is something so charming about a fresh pack of #2 pencils.  Even as an adult, I get excited when the aisles at Target get stocked up with fresh school supplies.  (Don’t think for a second some of them don’t make their way into my cart.  Office supplies, right?!)  We put together this darling centerpiece using a pack of pencils, a piece of ribbon, a rubberband and a basic vase.  It took under 5 minutes to create and really is SO simple to do.  Here’s how:

Incredibly simple, right?  And perfect for a back-to-school party, family dinner or as a gift for a new teacher!

For more Fall entertaining ideas, read the latest issue of The Party Dress Magazine:

order a printed copy   |   download the ipad app   |   read the digital issue 

September 5th, 2012 |

Set the Table with Chalkboard

Back-to-School is an exciting time of the year for families, but let’s face it….the enthusiasm of the first day can fade quickly and everyone falls back into the repedition of a daily routine: early mornings, carpools, homework, after-school activities, packing the same lunch day in and day out.  Take this opportunity to celebrate family and celebrate school with a festive dinner table (at least once a week!).

In the latest issue of The Party Dress Magazine, we show you ideas on how to create a creative table setting using typical school items: chalkboard, pencils, and apples.

Stay tuned this afternoon for the simple instructions on how to create this charming pencil centerpiece.  We used it as the showpiece on our tablesetting, and it really popped on the chalkboard fabric tablecloth (you can find this at any local fabric or craft store).  Mixed with a couple of red pots with boxwood plants, classic black and white check napkins and polka dot silverware from Pottery Barn Kids, it was the perfect backdrop for our kid-friendly dinner.

Mac ‘n Cheese is a kid favorite, so we updated the classic by serving it in a small flip-lid jar.  Apple slices were a healthy accompaniment, and we housed each meal in a wood berry basket from Garnish.  This idea would be charming for a picnic birthday party too!

One of my favorite ideas from this article are the milk bottles labeled with the kids names.  Since we wanted a quick project, and one that would not be permanent, we used chalkboard stickers!  Simply peel, stick and write….it’s that easy, and every kid loves to see their name on their drink!

How do you make school-night dinners a fun ending to your family’s day?

For more Fall entertaining ideas, read the latest issue of The Party Dress Magazine:

order a printed copy   |   download the ipad app   |   read the digital issue 

September 4th, 2012 |

Fall 2012 TPD Magazine + New iPad App

It is with GREAT excitement today that I share with you not only the latest issue of The Party Dress Magazine, but also announce the addition of the iPad APP!  Now offering you, our readers, three convenient ways to enjoy this issue:

buy the printed copy    |    download the iPad app   |   read the digital issue

I know I say this each and every time we launch a magazine, but I am truly in love with the ideas in this Fall 2012 issue.  With original content from amazing bloggers and stylists, this issue is full of ideas for helping you create your best Fall yet. Simple ideas for entertaining, ways to celebrate back-to-school with your family, transitional home decor, ways to dress up Fall parties, quick ideas for Halloween that will make you look like the crafty mom, all while having more time to spend with your costume-clad kids, kids’ birthday parties, and a peek into Thanksgiving.

I would like to take this opportunity to send a big virtual hug and “thank you” to my assistant editor, Charynn Olsheski of Two Sugar Babies, and our amazing line-up of contributors: Casi Densmore-Koon of CupcakeMAG, Vana Chupp of Le Papier Studio, Lynlee Beckett of Lynlee’s Petite Treats, Maureen Anders and Adria Ruff of AndersRuff, Jenny Dixon of Crossing the Bugger Dixon Line, Glory Albin of Glorious Treats, Kori Clark of Paper & Pigtails, and Carrie Sellman of Half Baked ~ The Cake Blog.

We were fortunate to work with two BIG brands this issue for exclusive features.  A big thank you to Ad Hoc (part of the Thomas Keller Restaurant Group) and Pottery Barn for your contributions!

I hope you all enjoy this issue and hope you share it with your friends!

August 29th, 2012 |

The Strawberry Muddle

It’s been a long summer of ZERO entertaining for me, due to our unexpected kitchen and home renovation.  I’m cautiously hoping that the light at the end of the tunnel is shining a little bit brighter today…..and we might just have everything done by tomorrow.  Of course the first thing on my mind isn’t how/when I am going to get all of the boxes unpacked, it’s when am I finally going to be able to entertain again!?

In hopes that we will be able to have a little Labor Day gathering, I took a stroll around Bon Appetit looking for a fresh, new champagne cocktail to serve.  I came across this “Strawberry Muddle” recipe, originally created by Jon Hoeber, the farmers’ market-prowling mixologist at Rustic Canyon restaurant in Santa Monica.  It looks light and delicious and is perfect for your patio party this weekend!

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped hulled strawberries
  • 6 thin lemon slices
  • Ice cubes
  • 1 750-ml bottle chilled Prosecco

 Directions

  • Stir sugar and 1/2 cup water in heavy small saucepan over medium-low heat until sugar dissolves. Increase heat and bring to boil. Cool syrup.
  • Divide strawberries among six 6- to 8-ounce glasses; add 1 tablespoon syrup to each and mash with muddler or handle of wooden spoon. Add lemon slice to each and mash to release flavor. Add several ice cubes to each glass, then fill with Prosecco.
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