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.
August 27th, 2012 |

Minted. Back-to-School Giveaway!

It’s about that time.  You know, the end of summer.  The start of a new season….the start of a new school year.  We’ve had a fantastic summer around here – busy with parties, and projects, and lots of fun things in the works for the future.  We managed to squeeze in some serious beach time, some bbq’s and practically a whole house renovation (thanks to a little hole in the hose on the back of our refrigerator!).  I’ll fill you all in on that later.  For now, we are celebrating “back-to-school” with a fabulous giveaway from one of our sponsors, Minted. Minted has curated a fabulous assortment of back to school products including our fun customizable journals, kids personal stationery and inspirational art prints. There will be one (1) grand prize winner. The prize is worth $200 of Minted credit good towards the following:

(3) customizable journals

(1) set of personalized kid’s stationery

and (1) 11×14 children’s art print

And….. 10 runner up prize winners will receive (1) journal. Pretty fabulous, right?!

To enter, click HERE and follow the instructions!  Contest begins today (Monday, August 27, 2012) and will end at 11:59pm CST on Friday, August 31, 2012.  Good Luck!!

August 22nd, 2012 |

Cookbook Line-Up

In my typical morning browse of blogs and pinterest, I came across a fabulous post from one of my favorite bloggers, Bakerella.  (remember when I got to meet her?) Posted back in May (clearly I am behind on my blog reading), she listed out a fabulous line-up of baking/dessert-related cookbooks.  MANY of these sit on my bookshelves, and I thought it was such a great list that I just had to share it with you!

Click here for the full post.

August 20th, 2012 |

Emma’s Art Party

Friday was one of those days where I remember how lucky I am that I own my own business, set my own schedule (even if that means that I work probably twice as hard as I ever did at past jobs).  Why was Friday so special?!  My day consisted of: {still} responding to a mass amount of e-mails from while we were on vacation, took a conference call about an upcoming BIG project on my cell phone from my car, did prop shopping for some photo shoots this weekend, picked up our print run and got orders shipped out.  The best part was that I got to play hooky for part of the day to help my best friend with her daughter, Emma’s 8th birthday party.   I’m lucky enough to be “Auntie Kelly” to this cute, little girl and LOVE that I have been a part of each of her 8 birthday celebrations.  (you may remember her charming purse-themed birthday party a few years ago)

Emma LOVES all things arts & crafts, so once she decided upon that theme, her mom came up with 5 different crafting stations for the kids to partake in.  The 20 girls attending made candy necklaces, decorated picture frames, did splatter painting, beaded key chains, and decorated cupcakes.

The colorful crafts made for colorful party decorations, and we embellished a bit with a festive banner, signage and cute centerpieces made from crayons and daisies.  ”Sprite Floats” made from vanilla ice cream and sprite were a welcomed surprise for the girls, and the delicious cupcakes (placed in our new cupcake wrappers) were decorated with simple fondant shapes.

Hope you had a great party, Emma Jane!

August 13th, 2012 |

Back-to-School {Free Download}

With kids heading back to school all over the country this month, we thought it was time to share a free printable!  Every kid needs a shiny new pencil box to start the year off right.  We love the size of this green box we found at Target – it’s the perfect size for little hands, to fit in backpacks and desks, and it’s shape made it an ideal …

You can turn this sweet back-to-school treat into a little gift for your student by tying it to a composition notepad with a big red bow.  Or, better yet, have your child gift this to their teacher as a little surprise the first week of school.

Click on the link below to download your free printable pencil box label.  Simply add your child (or teacher’s) name and print it on full-page label paper.  Enjoy!

August 6th, 2012 |

Statement Centerpiece

Do you have a large dining room table and have difficulty finding a centerpiece that takes up enough space to make a statement?  This farmhouse trough is a perfect fix!  Lovely for a party, the flowers can be easily swapped out to coordinate with any color palette.  Happy Monday, Everyone!

Image via Laurie Anna’s Vintage Home

August 3rd, 2012 |

Personalized Candy Jars

Personalizing party favors or unique placecards just got a whole lot simpler with this creative idea from bhg.com: using lettered stickers to spell out the name (available at Michael’s or your local craft store) on glass or plastic containers, you can paint a band around jars and then peel the stickers off to reveal a cute peek of the candy inside.

SO easy….SO cute!  I am definitely going to try this soon!

August 2nd, 2012 |

the modern SALAD BAR

It’s no secret that Pinterest can be addicting – it’s a fabulous source of inspiration, and makes for a very simple method of storing your ideas for the home, parties, and gifts.  If you aren’t following us – come on over! (click here to follow) We’re thrilled to have another place to share inspiration with you!

One of my favorite inspirations this summer is this modern take on a salad bar.  When it comes to planning “ladies lunches” and bridal showers, food is always a tricky subject.  Ladies just don’t eat that much….especially during the day.  So presenting a fabulous, do-it-yourself salad bar is just the ticket.  Fresh, colorful ingredients arranged beautifully in wood boxes (or you could use low, glass vases for a similar look) makes for a lovely presentation that is sure to wow your guests.

Image via thinksplendid.tumblr.com

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