June 27th, 2015 |

STRAWBERRY PUREE ICE CUBES | 4th of JULY COCKTAIL

star ice cube cocktail copyLadies, I have something FUN to share with you today!  I love adding a nod to true Americana style to just about every summer event.  Red, white and blue just screams SUMMER to me, and with the 4th of July quickly approaching – it adds a touch of patriotic prep to my celebrations.  A good mimosa is my drink of choice, and I wanted to find a way to incorporate these loves into my weekend brunch.  So, instead of serving up a classic mimosa, this weekend, I’m serving up a strawberry bellini, complete with star-shaped ice cubes.

I pureed strawberries in my food processor, and froze them into star ice cube molds.  Add them to a glass of champagne or prosecco, along with a few blueberries and you have yourself a delicious and patriotic cocktail!

June 26th, 2015 |

4th OF JULY PREPPY TABLESETTING

flag tablesettingSet a preppy patriotic tablesetting for your 4th of July celebrations by combining a few key patterns: navy stripes, red polka dots and a classic American flag (I found these at Party City)!

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June 25th, 2015 |

ACCESSORIZE 4th OF JULY COCKTAILS

umbrellasSometimes you just need one little accessory to make your holiday style “pop!”  These American flag drink umbrellas from Party City are PERFECT for this.  Add them to cocktails, to kids fruit punch – everyone loves a little patriotic cheer! And if you are looking for a simple tip to keep your umbrellas sitting pretty, add a blueberry onto the stick so it provides a shelf for your glass!

June 24th, 2015 |

CHINOISERIE COUNTRY TABLESETTING | 4th OF JULY

DSC_0367I absolutely LOVE entertaining in July.  The weather is finally good here in Chicago, and with 4th of July quickly approaching, I can pull out all of my red, white and blue and entertain in pure Americana style.  For a dinner party this weekend, I’m setting the table with a classic red gingham tablecloth, my chinoiserie blue and white plates, cobalt wine glasses, and linen napkins from MADISON with a modern blue striped monogram.

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June 19th, 2015 |

MONOGRAMMED WATERMELON | SUMMER HOSTESS GIFT

watermelon introRemember that iconic phrase from the classic movie, Dirty Dancing, “I carried a watermelon”?! Make this your go-to motto for summer hostess gifts, buy gifting my oh, so simple monogrammed watermelon to your host!  Everyone loves a watermelon; it’s inexpensive, delicious and can typically serve a small army.  So it’s the perfect thing to bring when someone invites you over for a summer BBQ or pool party.

To jazz it up, I used a small pumpkin-carving knife to carve out the initial of our hosts’ last name.  It’s cute, personalized – and literally took me under 2 minutes to do! Simply draw out the letter(s) you want to carve out, use a small carving knife to edge out the letter, and rock the pieces back and forth until they come loose.

watermelon stepsEveryone loves something personalized. Trust me, you are going to wow your friends with this one!

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June 15th, 2015 |

NATIONAL LOBSTER DAY | LOBSTER ROLL RECIPE

lobster invitationDid you know today is National Lobster Day?  It’s a fun excuse to share one of our new *favorite* preppy lobster and gingham party invitations and my favorite lobster roll recipe – perfect for summer entertaining!

This past memorial day, we served up lobster rolls picnic-style, packing them in white take out boxes, sealed with our lobster gift sticker.  It was so simple to serve, and transport outside. We used red gingham paper liners from Party City on baskets to add a pop of color, and a nod to the gingham check invitation back.

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DSC_0278Kelly’s Lobster Rolls

Ingredients

Salt & Pepper

3  live lobsters

1 celery stalk, finely chopped

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

2–3 tablespoons mayonnaise

1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives

Mini hot dog buns

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature

Directions

To cook the lobsters, pour water into a large pot to a depth of 1 inch; bring to a boil and salt generously. Add the lobsters, cover, and cook until bright red,  about 10 minutes. Transfer lobsters to a rimmed baking sheet and let cool.

Crack lobster shells, pick meat from the tail and claws, and cut into small pieces. Mix lobster, celery, lemon juice, chives, and mayonnaise in a medium bowl; season with salt and pepper.

Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Spread the flat sides of buns with butter. Cook until golden, about 2 minutes per side; fill with lobster mixture.
June 12th, 2015 |

PREPPY TABLESETTING |PEONIES + GINGHAM + MONOGRAMS

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I’ve always had a sweet spot for gingham check.  Shrink it down, tiny and sweet, or blow it up as an exploded buffalo check.  It’s classic, yet definitely a trend this summer – and that’s my happy spot (where classics and trends intersect!).  For a kick-off to summer dinner party tonight, I styled a table that combines some of my favorite things: peonies, monograms and gingham check.  The gorgeous monogrammed napkins are from Madison in Dallas, and the china is all from Kate Spade.

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June 8th, 2015 |

PREPPY ANCHOR SUMMER PARTY

DSC_0443One of the best things about our newly launched collection of party invitations, is the amazing amount of new parties I can throw! 😉  My goal is always to design invitations that inspire a whole theme, and I love giving you ideas to go along with the invitation!

The Preppy Anchor party invitation is one of my favorites for summer entertaining.  It’s offered in 4 colors, and has a crisp, classic look to it.  It could be used for a birthday party, summer picnic, dinner party, rehearsal dinner, or baby shower! I put together a little Nautical-inspired party and there are some darling ideas I hope you can repurpose for your next party:

  • Instead of using only a blue and white color story, I popped some bright maritime colors in the accessories.  Custom napkins made from our anchor fabric were edged with red, yellow, green and light blue ribbon.
  • White lanterns from Pottery Barn served as the centerpiece for the tablesetting, and I tied the silverware with white rope for a nautical nod.
  • Placecards always make guests feel extra-special.  I used white rope balls from Party City to hold mine at each place.
  • Our new foil-stamped straw flags add a festive touch to any party!  They look especially fun in the colorful striped acrylic glasses from the Martha Stewart collection at Macy’s. And the cocktail – it’s my signature Sea Breeze and a must-have for summer.  Get the recipe here.
  • For a casual lunch, I served up my clam chowder pot pies, and embellished them to fit the theme by adding an anchor on top of the crust.  Baked in individual staub pots – they’re cute and delicious – and you can get my recipe here.
  • I always like to send my guests home with a little something as a party favor, and these anchor muslin bags from Party City were the perfect fit for my theme. I used a mini red clip to attach a gift tag.

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April 28th, 2015 |

FIESTA PARTY | CELEBRATE CINCO de MAYO WITH KIDS

fiesta party invitation horizontalCinco de Mayo is a colorful, festive celebration that typically is more geared towards adults.  I have a couple fun ideas for you, from my book Stylish Kids’ Parties, on how to throw your littles a colorful fiesta.  These ideas would also work smashingly well for a Fiesta birthday party!

Whether you are hosting a Cinco de Mayo party or a Fiesta birthday party, send your guests a colorful invitation to set the tone for the event!  We have two new designs in the shop that would be perfect: the fiesta and the confetti invitations.  (see images at the bottom of the post)  If you want to get crafty, you can add a glassine envelope of colorful confetti to it!

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pom pom trimDress up your basic party platters or cake stands with colorful pom pom trim from your local craft store.  One of my favorite ways to serve up lemonade is in mini mason jars with flower lids and striped straws. Looking to add a playful punch to your party?  Fill up a bowl with sprinkles and place your mason jar drinks in them for easy grab-n-go.

drink bottles verticalDecorate your tablesetting with a fringe centerpiece.  Using a wood number (age) or letter (initial), wrap it with a paper fringe garland and stick it into a pot of wheat grass.  The full DIY instructions are in my book, Stylish Kids’ Parties, along with a couple free printables.

centerpiecewrap fringe around the numberSend your little guests home with paper cone party favors full of candy.  I used pink and orange striped lollipops from Candywarehouse.com.  Throw in a couple of tacos and chocolate-covered churros, and you’ve got yourself a fabulous family-friendly Cinco de Mayo party!  Here are the two new invitations in the shop that would be PERFECT for a Fiesta party:

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April 23rd, 2015 |

KITTY TEA PARTY

DSC_0917Every year, I get excited to hear what theme by sweet god-daughter, Olivia, will come up with for her birthday party.  Taking part in Auntie Kelly’s photo shoots since she was a baby, hosting a party herself is a big deal.  And she often comes up with QUITE the interesting themes.  This year, she wanted a Frozen-Princess-Kitty-Tea Party-Jump Zone birthday party.  We had to narrow that down a bit, and eventually landed upon a Kitty Tea Party.  Her Princess party last year was full of pastels, so this year, we decided to go BOLD.  Black and white, mixed with pops of hot pink and Kelly green.

DSC_0939With bold stripes and sweet polka dots used throughout the party, the designs took on a Kate Spade feel – which of course I love!  Guests were greeted at the door with this charming sign and festive balloons.  Once inside they saw the bold gem-shaped paper lanterns from IKEA hanging from the chandelier.  Tip: these paper lanterns are fantastic!  And re-usable.  Instead of adhesive to keep them “open”, they use velco – GENIUS!

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In terms of decorations for the party, we focused on two areas: the tablesetting and the dessert table. We set one long table with white linens and topped it with a custom table runner made from IKEA’s black and white stripe fabric.  White Chivari chairs lined the table, and were embellished with hot pink chair sashes that I tied in a bow and accented with a white silk daisy.

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The centerpieces stole the show.  If you follow me on Instagram, you saw me crafting these last week.  A labor of love, but oh, so worth it!  I made the gerber daisy centerpieces using a 10″ styrofoam ball and hot pink silk daisies.  The “stem” was a wood dowel wrapped in green grosgrain ribbon, and they were “potted” in a white pot full of hot pink malt balls from Candywarehouse.com.  The end product made my heart happy in so many ways!  The fabulous thing about using silk flowers?!  We can save them and re-use them for future parties!

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Since this was a “kitty” tea party, it seemed fitting that each girl received a darling stuffed kitty as their party favor.  We placed one, dressed up with a black and white bow, on each plate at the table.

DSC_0880The birthday girl needed her chair of honor, so we hung a “birthday girl” sign on the back of her chair, with two daisies and some green bows.  This is such a simple accent to add to any type of party, and it makes a big statement.

DSC_0875Instead of using traditional placecards at the table, we used stickers on the guests’ paper cups from Shop Sweet Lulu, that had their name on them.  And they looked mighty cute with our personalized, foil-stamped straws and flags!

DSC_0965A self-serve bar held a drink dispenser of pink lemonade and water bottles with “Meow” polka dot labels. Our foil-stamped cocktail napkins featured the classic bow design and coordinated perfectly.

DSC_0881DSC_0884DSC_0920The girls were entertained by a Hello Kitty bounce house, and a face painter, and couldn’t wait to get their hands on the dessert table!  The face painter drew darling cat faces on each of the girls, and they all wore pink sequin cat ear headbands.  (I may or may not have sported one myself that day!)

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The black, white and pink color palette made the dessert table so much fun to design.  Styled on a round table, we used the custom fondant cake from local bakery, Jolly Good Fellows, as the centerpiece.  They also created the pink macarons and “Olivia” polka dot sugar cookies.  The girls there are so fun to work with and I just love how they were able to incorporate my kitty graphics into the cake!

DSC_0885In addition to the cookies and macarons, we also had mini brownie bites embellished with pink fondant bows, and polka-dot chocolate-covered oreo cookies from Sweeties by Kim.  Pink candy from Candywarehouse.com included malt balls (also used for the centerpieces!), gummy puffettes, and lollipops.  We also styled a posse of little hello kitty pez dispensers on a cake stand – they attracted a LOT of attention from the little ones!

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We had pink paper bags from Shop Sweet Lulu, embellished with a Kitty sticker, for the guests to fill up with candy to bring home.  It was such a fun party, and so fun to watch my god-daughter grow up to be a darling young lady.  Happy #5, Miss Olivia!

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