March 5th, 2015 |
I love a good carrot cake cupcake. Truthfully, I love the cream cheese frosting more. But the cake makes a great vessel to eat the frosting! I turned to one of my favorite chefs, the Barefoot Contessa, to make these darling cupcakes for our Easter brunch and Ina’s recipe did not disappoint.
2 cups sugar
1 1/3 cups vegetable oil
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3 extra-large eggs
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
3 cups grated carrots (less than 1 pound)
1 cup raisins
1 cup chopped walnuts
3/4 pound cream cheese, at room temperature
1/2 pound unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 pound confectioners’ sugar
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Beat the sugar, oil, and vanilla together in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Add the eggs, 1 at a time. In another bowl, sift together the flour, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt. With the mixer on low speed, add 1/2 of the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients. Add the grated carrots, raisins, and walnuts to the remaining flour, mix well, and add to the batter. Mix until just combined.
Line muffin pans with paper liners. Scoop the batter into 22 muffin cups until each is 3/4 full. Bake at 400 degrees F for 10 minutes then reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees F and cook for a further 35 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool on a rack.
For the frosting, cream the cream cheese, butter, and vanilla in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Add the sugar and beat until smooth.
When the cupcakes are cool, frost them generously and serve.
March 4th, 2015 |
When I start planning a party, one of the first things I think of is “how do I want to set the table?” To inspire your Easter celebrations, I put together a festive tablesetting that you can recreate using similar items.
I used a white herringbone tablecloth as the base for my table, and layered in a fresh centerpiece full of hydrangeas and fluffy green things (yes, that is their official name!;) ). I lined the inside of the vase with carrots to add a pop of orange, and also give a nod to Easter. White dinner plates and green ikat salad plates were layered with an orange napkin that I tied with ribbon to look like a bow.
I think my favorite part of the table are these darling “chocolate bunny” placecard holders. I found them at my local wholesale florist and just adore them. I think they would be darling on a food buffet as well.
No Easter celebration would be complete without dessert! Carrot cake cupcakes are one of my favorite treats! Stay tuned for the recipe tomorrow!
March 3rd, 2015 |
Now that March has arrived, it’s officially time to start planning our Easter celebrations! To help get you organized, I put together a few tips:
The shop is full of darling new products for Easter, ranging from party invitations, to gift stickers, and foil-stamped gift tags, straw flags and napkins. Not to mention THE cutest bunny plate in town. Hop on over to check it out!
February 3rd, 2015 |
When it comes to Valentine’s Day entertaining, my days of candlelight dinners and roses are over. Or at least on hiatus for awhile. Holidays have become more about making it fun and festive for the little ones in our lives, namely my 15 month old son, and his cousins. I wanted to come up with a themed dessert for them to celebrate Valentine’s Day – and one that they would actually eat! What kid doesn’t love jello?! This little project turned out so cute, I just had to share it with you. So simple – you, too, can create these for your little loves.
3 boxes of Strawberry Jello
2 boxes of Pina Colada Jello
1 baking pan
Heart shape cookie cutters
Follow the instructions on the jello packaging and make one batch at a time, each time layering it on top of each other in the baking pan. *let each layer harden completely before you add the next layer, so you get smooth, and even colors* Once you have added your desired layers, and they have chilled in the fridge for a solid 4-6 hours, use your heart shaped cookie cutter to cut out your shapes.
November 3rd, 2014 |
When it comes to planning out our holiday offerings for the shop, I like to think in three different categories: entertaining, gift giving and packaging. Packaging encompasses everything from hostess gifts, to food gifts to gift wrap accessories like gift stickers and foil-stamped gift tags. One of my favorite new products are these gorgeous foil-stamped cello bags.
Our brand-new foil embossed personalized cellophane bags are an exciting addition to the WH Hostess holiday collection! They are small flat, not gusseted, clear bags that look wonderful when personalized and filled with any goodie you like. Try red and green candy, homemade baked goods, small gifts, or party favors. They make the perfect addition to your dessert table, laid out for guests to fill with sweets. They are also a great way to wrap holiday gifts for teachers and friends. They can be tied with ribbon, twist ties or with the tops folded and sealed with stickers.
With 12 different foil ink colors and 30 preppy modern designs to choose from, you can create a unique packaging to perfectly suit your needs!
Set of 50.
3.75″ w X 9″ h
Here’s how it works:
1. Select a design from the swatchbook
2. Select an ink color from the swatchbook
3. Tell us your personalization request
4. Wait on pins & needles for your fabulous cello bags to arrive!
October 29th, 2014 |
Halloween is one of those holidays that evoke such happy childhood memories for me, including colorful costumes, festive school parties and trick or treating in the neighborhood. It’s an ideal time to host an after-school party, offering a quick snack for the kids and an opportunity to chat with the parents before trick or treating commences.
In today’s post, I’m sharing a few simple ideas for creative desserts that could be used as a school treat or as part of a party spread. It also includes a couple of creative décor DIY projects and a few “tricks” that will make you the most stylish mom on the block. All of these ideas are from my book, Stylish Kids’ Parties.
My book makes it a snap to plan, design and execute festive kids’ parties that wow adults and thrill little ones! Filled with 12 creative and colorful party ideas, Stylish Kids’ Parties shows you how to confidently tackle party preparation by using color palettes and themes that carry through–from invitations and decorations to party favors and treats. Complete with DIY tips, recipes, projects, themed activities and templates, you’ll love these party ideas for boys and girls, first birthday celebrations, baby showers and holiday gatherings.
Order your signed copy HERE. It makes a great holiday gift, too!
Reinvent the traditional paper chain garland with this fresh update. Using 5” pieces of patterned ribbons in my color palette, and double-stick tape, I created this garland in no time flat. It’s very lightweight, so you can hang it virtually anywhere. I love it hanging as decoration off of our jumbo balloons!
Mini spoons and forks are a fun accessory for individual sized desserts. Embellish your utensils with glitter, ribbon or washi tape. I dipped these mini wood spoon handles into craft glue and then into silver glitter. I love the touch of shimmer they added to the table.
DIY Party Favor Tags:
As a child, seeing your name on a party favor or gift is a big delight. Dress up your basic party favor bags with kraft paper tags dipped in glitter.
Kelly’s Halloween Whoopie Pie Recipe:
Whoopee pies are a little chocolate cake sandwich with a creamy filling; a timeless treat that can be embellished for any holiday or theme party. Add Halloween sprinkles to this whoopee pie recipe to make them party-ready.
Whoopee Pie Cake Ingredients:
6 Cups All-Purpose Flour
2 Cups Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
3 Cups Sugar
1 Tsp Baking Powder
1 Tbl Baking Soda
1 Tsp Salt
1 ¼ Cup Butter
3 Cups Milk
1/3 Cup Vegetable Oil
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
In the bowl of your stand mixer, beat together sugar, butter and eggs until combined. Add the vegetable oil and vanilla extract and mix again.
In a separate bowl, combine all of the dry ingredients and being to slowly add the mixture to the egg mixture. Continue beating until the ingredients are well combined. Slowly start incorporating the milk into the bowl as you continue to mix on a slow speed.
Using an ice cream scoop (for consistent size), scoop out an even number of scoops onto a baking sheet. Bake for 10-12 minutes. Let cool completely before filling.
Whoopee Pie Filling Ingredients:
3 cups confectioners’ sugar
1 cup shortening
1/3 cup whole milk, at room temperature
1 cup marshmallow fluff
1 pinch salt
In the bowl of your electric mixer, combine all of the dry ingredients. Add the whole milk to the bowl and beat well until you reach a creamy consistency.
Pipe the filling in between to cake cookies and the roll the sides in Halloween sprinkles.
October 21st, 2014 |
As you know, this season I have partnered with Friskies and Petsmart to throw a fabulous Grumpy Cat themed Halloween party for my friends and family. In the last couple of weeks, I shared a very simple party decoration that makes a big impact for very little effort. Check out my paper fan halloween decorations here. My meringue ghosts and pumpkin soda bottles were a hit last week – and oh, so simple to create. And this week, I’m back with two simple DIY projects: a candy corn paper cone for party favors and a glittered initial pumpkin!
Every party needs a coordinating party favor, right?! Whether you are gifting candy, sweets, or small trinkets, these candy corn paper cones are simple to create and just darling in little hands! I’m supplying you with the template for both the cone and the cat gift tag. You can download them here:
Cut out the template and fold into a cone shape, matching edge to edge. Place a paper clip at the top, holding the two edges together. I used my hot glue gun, but if you are doing this project with small children, I would suggest craft glue or double-sided tape. Attach the two edges together and allow to dry completely, before gluing a loop of ribbon onto the inside of the cone to act as a handle.
It’s no secret that I love a good initial/monogram – so why not jazz up your pumpkins?! You’ll see how I use these darling glittered pumpkins at my party next week. But for now, I figured I would show you just how simple they are to create!
Using craft glue, I drew the letters onto my small pumpkins. (PS – I think this would make an AMAZING monogram on a big pumpkin. I might have to get on that this week….) Once the glue was on the pumpkin, I covered it with silver glitter, making sure to get all of the edges. Afterwards, I shook off any extra and then let them dry overnight. It’s that simple!
I’m gearing up for my big pumpkin carving party next week. If you would like to carve the perfect Grumpy Cat Pumpkin (or “Grumpkin”). Friskies and Petsmart were kind enough to provide us with a downloadable template to make that part a snap. You can join the fun by downloading the Grump-O-Lantern stencil available at PetSmart.com/friskies and uploading images of your personal Grump-O-Lantern, including the #Grumpkin hashtag and #ThePartyDress hashtag.
Friskies will donate $500 to PetSmart Charities on behalf of the blogger whose audience uploads the most #Grumpkin images. Don’t forget to tag #ThePartyDress, too!
THIS IS A SPONSORED POST. THE PARTY DRESS HAS RECEIVED PAYMENT, TRADE AND/OR PRODUCTS FROM FRISKIES IN EXCHANGE FOR PROMOTION, HOWEVER ALL IDEAS AND OPINIONS STATED ARE MY OWN.
October 20th, 2014 |
It’s always an exciting day around here when we officially “launch” our holiday collection. It’s no secret that I love a good party (in fact, we celebrated my son’s 1st birthday yesterday! more to come on that soon….), but when October rolls around, we kick into holiday gear around here. Personalized gifts at great price points (perfect for teachers, hostess gifts, and stocking stuffers), amazing packaging ideas for gifts (gift stickers, foil gift tags, foil cello bags, and personalized cookie tins, just to name a few), and my personal favorite….our holiday photo cards.
I always consider it an honor to design my clients Christmas cards – to be trusted with their family photos and creating a design (either from our collection or custom) that perfectly suits their family – it’s a pretty fantastic job!
This year, we revamped our holiday card collection, and I’m thrilled to share it with you today. Don’t worry, we kept some of our favorites from over the years, but we gave them a little update and added in about 30 new designs! They are fresh, preppy, modern, updated….but yet still have that classic feel that resonates so deeply with me. Whether you are looking for classic red & green, or super colorful & preppy, or clean & crisp – there are options for everyone!
Here’s where it gets fun….. This year, all of our holiday cards are offered as double-sided. We were able to lower our prices, and give you way more bang for your buck! Offering you a gorgeous, beautifully printed card, with your choice of customization on the back. You can select from either the coordinating patterned back, or from one of our 9 different collage back options, giving you the opportunity to showcase more pictures of your family. Oh, and PS – many, many of our designs are now offered in multiple color ways! Want something custom? Absolutely! Want to add gold foil accents to your card? Absolutely!
Here are just a few of my favorite designs…..
And here are the different collage photo back options…..
To celebrate the launch of our holiday collection, we are offering you a 20% discount on your order if placed before October 31, 2014. Using the code HOLIDAY2014, it’s the perfect time to place your holiday card order, get a jump start on gift giving or order your personalized gift tags. Happy Shopping!
October 1st, 2014 |
Image via Fashion Jackson
Welcome, October! I know I say this every month, but can you believe how fast this year has gone? I think back to a year ago, and I had a round belly and was anticipating the birth of my first child in December. As most of you know, he shocked us with his October arrival and our world changed forever. This has truly been the fastest year of my life, and certainly filled with the most joy. October is a happy, happy month for us. We get glorious weather here in Chicago, and bask in those last few weeks of outdoor time before the winter hibernation begins. We celebrate our wedding anniversary, and this year – our sweet baby boy’s first birthday! (see the start of my plans here)
Fall entertaining is one of my favorites. From a simple chili bar to entertain a crowd, to a cozy wine tasting to celebrate the harvest this month….October is a great time to pull out the fall decor and throw a party!
October is also a busy month, both here on the blog and in the shop, WH Hostess. The blog has a ton of really fun Halloween posts coming up, we’ve partnered with a few great brands to bring you some great ideas that are simple to replicate for your family or classroom parties. We have some darling real parties to share with you, and will continue to share new products from WH Hostess that are perfect for the holiday season (did you see the new foil-embossed stationery yesterday?!).
Speaking of WH Hostess, there are A LOT of really exciting things going on behind the scenes that I will share with you soon. Although birthday parties remain a focus in October, it also brings the launch of our holiday collection! Our brand new holiday card designs have already been added to the shop, in case you want to take a peek. We are SO excited about the collection this year. It’s fresh, updated and has so many options for you to customize a card just for your family and photo. Multiple color options, the option of a patterned back or a photo collage back to share more photos of your family, and wait for it……we were able to lower our prices, bringing you a stellar product and allowing you to save just a little bit more for those holiday gifts! More to come soon about the holiday products and gift ideas at a great price point…
Enjoy the month, friends! See you back here tomorrow for some more fall inspiration!