June 22nd, 2012 |

Summer Kabobs

I think kabobs (or skewers as some like to call them) are one of the most creative and versatile options when entertaining during the summer months.  You can create new combinations virtually every time, and over the years, I have come up with a few favorites:

Shrimp, Zucchini and Cherry Tomatoes

Skewer together half moon slices of zucchini, full cherry tomatoes and raw shrimp. Sprinkle with salt & pepper and squeeze a fresh lemon over them for a little added zest.  Cook on the grill for about 7-8 minutes (rotating ever so often).

Chicken, Pineapple and Red Pepper

Skewer together cubes of un-cooked chicken, 1 inch square pieces of pineapple and red peppers. Sprinkle with salt & pepper. Cook on the gril for about 9-10 minutes (rotating ever so often).

Teriyaki Beef, Green Beans and Fingerling Potatoes

Marinate your cubes of beef in a Teriyaki sauce for at least 2 hours, up to overnight. Skewer together your beef cubes, green beans (cut in 1.5-2 inch lengths), and small fingerling potatoes (if the potatoes are too big, just cut them in half).  Cook on the grill for 8-9 minutes (rotating ever so often).

Tip: Soak your wooden skewers in water prior to assembling.  If you have any leftover, unused skewers, wrap them in tinfoil and freeze them for your next bbq!

For more summer entertaining ideas and tips, visit The Party Dress Magazine:

Read the digital issue   |   Purchase the glossy issue

June 20th, 2012 |

Citrus-Infused Water

One of my favorite elements from my summer picnic spread in The Party Dress Magazine was the citrus-infused water.  Always a fan, and inspired by Kelly’s favorite combo {see her post here}, I set out to package up individual waters for my picnic.  Using old, glass bottles that I saved from iced coffee, I filled them with different types of fruits and let them infuse in the fridge prior to packing them up in the basket.  Strawberries, lemons, pineapple and mint….delish!  And I love that my kids can still have a sweet drink without all of the sugar of fruit juice or soda pop.  Try it….you’ll like it!

For more summer entertaining ideas and tips, visit The Party Dress Magazine:

Read the digital issue   |   Purchase the glossy issue

June 19th, 2012 |

Watermelon Pops

Looking for a refreshing snack or dessert for the {HOT} 4th of July weekend?  Give my watermelon pops a try!  They are so simple to create, and you could do countless variations on this idea.  All you need is a cookie cutter, fruit and straws. Melon and pineapple would both work incredibly well.

Simply slice your fruit into 1/2″ thick slices, and then use your cookie cutter to cut out the desired shape.  Insert your straw into the bottom and voila!  {yes, it’s really THAT simple!}  Tip: if you plan to assemble these ahead of time, swap out the paper straws for plastic ones, as the paper straws will get soft after a while.

I think these watermelon pops will be the PERFECT cool treat during the 4th of July parade this year! For more creative ideas for entertaining over the 4th of July weekend, check out our latest issue of The Party Dress Magazine.

June 19th, 2012 |

Fun in the Sun: Everyday Party Ideas

Summer is the perfect time to get outside with your Littles and celebrate! Make everyday a party with items you have at home. Forget the party store when you have DIY projects that are easy as 1, 2, 3!  Here are a few ideas I put together for the latest issue of The Party Dress Magazine:

Idea #1: Spruce up your table by planting flowers in a watermelon

Idea #2: Make flower straws with candy and flattened cupcake wrappers

Idea #3: Make your own mini-candy bar with colorful candy cups

Idea #4: Serve seasonal flavored cupcakes on colorful mini pedestals, Georgetown Cupcake recommends Berry Lemon and Banana Split

Idea #5: Decorate your tables with paper lanterns

Photography by Kim Flores of Whimsy Baby Photography

Resources:

Martha Stewart Crafts, Mini Cupcake Wrappers and Regular Cupcake Wrappers | JoAnn Fabrics

Polka Dot + Stripe Candy Cups, Striped Paper Straws, Paper Lanterns | The TomKat Studio Shop

Pink Cupcake Stand | The Papered Nest

Cupcakes | Georgetown Cupcakes


 

June 15th, 2012 |

Cool Wine Display

Have you ever seen one of those gorgeous wine bottle chillers made as a crafty DIY project using either an old 2-liter bottle or tupperware?  You know the kind, gorgeous lemon slices, color coordinated to the event.  I have ALWAYS loved this idea…. however, the idea of cutting up a plastic bottle to make it “just perfect” seemed a bit daunting.  In steps Williams Sonoma to my rescue!

When planning my Cocktails & Croquet party, I decided I wanted to attempt making one of these to dress up my casual bar.  The new wine bottle chiller from Williams Sonoma is simple to use and creates a perfect mold each and every time.  And it comes with the silver coaster, so as your mold starts to drip on that hot summer day….it won’t make a mess or ruin your tablecloth!

I used lemon and lime slices, and raspberries to fill mine.  {Tip: the raspberries very quickly turned the ice pink, so next time I may opt for strawberry slices or blueberries!)  It’s a great conversation piece and is a very cost effective decoration: just add water!

June 14th, 2012 |

2 Parties | 2 Tables | 2 Nights in a Row!

It’s been a very busy start to June around here.  The launch of the summer magazine, a frenzy of party orders, custom party plans, lots of work on a new {top-secret} product for WH Hostess, even more work on a {very exciting, also top-secret} project for The Party Dress and photo shoots this week to bring you even more exclusive, original content this summer.

Now that the weather is nice, I’m in the mood to entertain…..always!  So leave it to me to book two dinner parties….two nights in a row this week. Yikes!  {Am I crazy?!  We’ve pretty much already established that….}

We hosted friends {who also happen to be family} Sunday night for a very casual bbq and then my family Monday night for a very early Father’s Day Dinner.  Since I knew I was up to my eyeballs in work, I had to be crafty about my tablesettings.  Use basic items that could be a canvas for both tables, but switch out some accessories to give each night a unique look.  Hopefully these pictures inspire you to do the same for your summer gatherings.

I wanted our casual, Sunday night bbq to be colorful and scream summer.  The kids practically out-numbered the adults, so I knew I wanted to use melamine plates and glasses {just in case!}.  I set the table out in our sunroom, which is why the lighting is so much better on these pictures.  I layered the table with a yellow and white large-scale plaid tablecloth, my woven charger plates, basic white plates and patterned melamine salad plates.  The centerpiece was a gorgeous bunch of peonies that I picked up from Whole Foods, but instead of using a typical, glass vase, I arranged them in a wood crate for that more casual, homespun look.

For Monday night’s Father’s Day Dinner, I moved the party into our dining room {we needed the bigger table!} and used many of the same components.

To create this look, I simply switched out the napkins, the salad plates and the glasses.  I was SO excited to use the new green ikat salad plates that I picked up at C. Wonder during my NYC trip a couple of weeks ago.  They are so fun, and I loved the juxtaposition between the ikat and the bold check pattern on the table.  I added some wood block hurricane candles and that was it!  Very simple swaps, for two different looks!

Which table is your favorite?  What are your tips for switching up your table designs between parties?

 

 

June 13th, 2012 |

Father’s Day BBQ

Father’s Day is coming up this Sunday, so I am here today to inspire you with this fabulous {yet masculine} bbq from Honeycomb Events, as seen in the summer 2012 issue of The Party Dress Magazine.  Read on for all of the details from Jeff and Jennifer:

We’re so used to designing baby showers, bridal showers, and young children’s birthday parties, that when the opportunity arose to create a barbecue table centered around Father’s Day, we were happy to depart from our usual pink, glitter, and lace. We started with the color palette, navy blue and orange. They pop against each other so well and still read very masculine, youthful and energetic. We love to mix the modern and the natural, so our neutrals were stainless steel and blonde wood grain.

We had the opportunity to paint a seven foot long picnic table and benches navy blue, so we took it. This amazing modern plus sign fabric was too good to pass up as a table runner, and the plus sign quickly became the symbol of the bbq. The slimness of the table presented an interesting challenge. In order to prevent crowding, we had to think up. We placed our condiments on stilts with custom made labels. The menu and our touch of grass were lofted up to eye level as well. Wood and metal met at the base of our pedestals with our pine crates wrapped in stainless steel and filled with hickory wood chips. Place cards doubled as utensil holders which were customized with our irregular line pattern that matched the napkins. We finished off the meal with a bottle of Orangina. Besides the color, we love the shape of the bottle. We couldn’t resist making our own label for it, and you’ve got to love a navy striped straw.

The food table featured that wonderful navy blue irregular stripe again as well as orange and stainless steel crates. For lunch, guests chose from grilled chicken sausages or pork and pepper kabobs with barbecue dipping sauce at the bottom of the glass, straight off the grill. The peanut slaw featured a few more of our great printables with wood grain or steel backing. Everyone’s favorite was the homemade orange creamsicles. After a great day of bbq and celebrating dad, we made the most of the expansive yard with a fun game of croquet.

Photography by Sarah Anderson

 

June 12th, 2012 |

Father’s Day Gift Ideas

When it comes to selecting a gift for the Dads in your life, where do you start?  The typical necktie?  Bacon and eggs in bed?  Most of the men I know are looking for a simple, thoughtful gift when it comes to Father’s Day….so I put together 4 ideas that you can re-create this week to gift all of your important guys.

For the golfer…..

Put together a “golf-game-in-a-box” with a gift certificate to his favorite course, some fresh balls and tees, a scorecard, bottle of water and a candy bar (in case he needs a little pick-me-up around the 9th hole)….extra brownie points if you dress up the items with coordinating labels!

For the griller…..

For the dad that LOVES to man the grill, whip up a batch of fresh bbq sauce. Bottle it up in a mason jar and put a cute tag on it.

For the cookie monster…..

Does your dad/husband LOVE cookies?  Jazz up his favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe by adding in chopped bacon.  Trust me, they are DELICIOUS and he will love them!

For the “best dad in town”……

Assist your kids in making a hand-painted “DAD” card….perfect for bragging rights at the office!

June 12th, 2012 |

Corn & Tomato Summer Salad

Do you have a favorite recipe?!  You know, the kind that probably started out from a recipe either from a cookbook or handed down from a friend, and over the years has morphed into one of your stand-by, go-to recipes for any occasion?!  This corn and tomato salad is definitely one of mine!  It’s appeared at BBQs, at bridal showers, at birthday dinners and even picnics under the stars (served in darling, individual-sized mason jars, of course!).  It’s simple, tasty and everyone always LOVES it.

Over the years, I have simplified it and it’s as basic as this:

Brush your corn on the cob with some olive oil mixed with cayenne pepper (just a bit) and cook it on the grill until it gets some nice grill marks on it.  Cut it off the cob, and mix it with equal parts halved cherry tomatoes.  Add in feta cheese, chopped basil and a healthy sprinkling of salt.

In a separate bowl, mix together 1 cup of olive oil, and squeeze in the juice of one lime. Whisk together to combine and then pour over the salad.  Let it marinate in the refrigerator for 30-60 minutes, and then you are table-ready!

 

June 11th, 2012 |

Watermelon & Feta Appetizer

Most people consider fruit a “dessert”…..I like to serve it as an appetizer!  One of my go-to appetizer ideas for summer is this simple watermelon and feta cheese recipe that I shared in the summer issue of The Party Dress Magazine.  It’s quick and easy to put together, and you can really adapt the look (or shape of it) to any celebration with the simple exchange of a cookie cutter.

Here are my tips: slice watermelon and feta cheese into large slices of even thickness, use a cookie cutter to cut out the desired shape (I used a 2″ round cutter for these), use a wood skewer or toothpick to attach a piece of basil to the top, and then drizzle with your favorite balsamic vineager on top.  Yes!  It’s as simple as that!

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