January 12th, 2015 |


invitationCustom parties are kind of my thing.  I love starting the process with a little idea, and blowing it up into an amazing party with details around every corner.  The party I am sharing with you today is one of my favorites to date.  Held in honor of one of my favorite little clients, Alexandra’s 5th birthday, it was as fun is it is gorgeous.  And we are so fortunate that Alexandra’s mom and Goodlight Photography are allowing us to share these gorgeous images from the day.

The party theme was centered around the birthday girl’s love for manicures, make-up and fashion.  And with the party date falling on the final weekend of NY fashion week in September, well…a fashion show was in order!  A soft mint green and pale pink color palette, a few gorgeous custom patterns and a unique boxed invitation were our jumping off point.  Read on for more details……..

4B8B2285Guests were welcomed by a jumbo balloons at the front door, with custom paper bows hanging down from them, made out of our coordinating patterned paper.  A welcome sign, featuring our fashion girl (in her monogrammed party dress and pearls), hung at the front door.

4B8B2297The party space was draped off in sheer white linens, creating a very luxe atmosphere for the birthday brunch.  One long table ran down the middle of the room, draped with white linens and a table runner made from our exclusive fashion ikat patterned fabric.  A large mint green and white striped fabric bow anchored each end of the table, and it was sprinkled with hot pink accessories and gorgeous pink rose centerpieces draped with pearls.  Each placesetting held mint green and white striped plates, cups with our fashion girl stickers and striped straws with straw flags, monogramed napkins, and placecards with each of the girls’ names on them.



High top tables dressed in green and pink and miniature versions of the centerpieces were scattered around the kids’ table, allowing the moms to mingle and enjoy the brunch food and drinks as well.


4B8B2485The drink bar was set up on the kitchen island, decorated with a scalloped paper banner and large bow.  One of my favorite decor pieces is this giant floral number 5.  Using flowers in unexpected ways always makes a statement, and this is the perfect example of that!  Basic pink paper cups were dressed up with our fashion girl stickers, mint striped straws from Shop Sweet Lulu and our gorgeous (and new!) gold foil-stamped straw flags.

Drinks included sweet tea, pink lemonade, and Shirley Temples!

Once the girls arrived at the party, they were welcomed into Alexandra’s “Bowtique” – a full-service beauty shoppe, where they put on monogrammed robes, got manicures, their hair and make-up done, and got to shop the “bowtique” for beauty supplies.  A stylized table was set up as the shop, anchored with a custom fabric backdrop, pennant banner, and oversized paper bow.  Cake stands held bottles of nail polish, small bottles of shimmer lotion and chapstick held custom labels, and loofas made for a colorful decoration in candy jars.



4B8B2401Guests were served shots of milk and donut holes while getting their hair and make-up done.


The brunch buffet was laid out in the dining room, with an oversized rose and pearl floral arrangement holding center stage.  Peek behind the table, and you will see that we did a large cling version of our fashion girl to hang on the mirror.  Other decor items included napkin roll ties, stickers on the mint striped plates and striped food tent cards labeling the delicious brunch menu.


After brunch, the girls were ushered outside to the “models’ lounge”, or the outdoor living room.  They were instructed to get dolled up in their swankiest attire – pearls, bling-y rings and feather boas were on hand.  The fireplace was decorated with a variety of tissue paper balls in mint green, white and shades of pink.  A braided ribbon garland was double-hung on the mantel, with “snapshots” and fashion quotes hanging from gold bow paper clips from Kate Spade.


4B8B2514Here’s where it gets REALLY fun.  A runway show was set up in the backyard, featuring a shimmering hot pink runway, a 3-D white floral backdrop and large scale monogram.  Ghost chairs lined the runway for the parents to watch the show, and waiters handed out “tutti frutti” popcorn as a snack during the show.



4B8B3320You can tell from the photos that the girls had an absolute blast strutting their stuff down the runway!


After working up an appetite at their runway show, the girls headed back inside to enjoy dessert.  A full dessert table full of gorgeous sweets awaited them.  The table was draped in a gold sequin tablecloth, and a pennant banner and bow on the front.  A custom fabric backdrop framed the table, and macaron trees sat on either side.  White cake stands and platters were topped with Cake Plate Clings in coordinating patterns.

Desserts included: cupcakes with pink fondant bows, macarons, cake pops, bow cookies, monogram cookies, and a variety of pink candy from Candywarehouse.com.

4B8B23454B8B23834B8B23564B8B23384B8B23704B8B2354The desserts didn’t stop there!  A gorgeous five-tier cake, from Cakes by Gina, sat in the dining room.  Featuring coordinating patterns like our bow lattice, stripes and monogram, it also had two gold shimmer tiers and the bottom tier featured fondant ruffled flowers.  GORGEOUS!



When it comes to party favors, I love giving a gift that people will enjoy/use or consume.  In keeping with the theme of the party, Alexandra gave her friends a chic fashion coloring book.  We tied them with mint green satin ribbon and a shimmer pink, gold foil-stamped gift tag.  The favors were laid out on a table for the girls to grab as they left the party, with a sign thanking them for attending.



As I have often mentioned on my party recaps, I love when kids’ birthday parties provide an experience for the guests – not just sweets!  Alexandra and her girlfriends enjoyed a day of beauty treatments, the experience of putting on a runway show, and toasted the birthday girl with sweets and Shirley Temples.  This party goes down in the books as one of my favorites!

Sources: paper goods, fabric, cake plate clings, foil-stamped napkins, gift tags and straw flags, and custom party plan (whhostess.com), photography (goodlightphotography.com), plates, napkins, cups and straws (shopsweetlulu.com), pink candy (candywarehouse.com), cake and desserts (cakesbyginahouston.com), fashion coloring books (amazon.com), catering and event set-up (afehouston.com), florals (weddingflowersbylisa.com), mint green ribbon (papermart.com)



November 3rd, 2014 |


cello bags topiaryWhen 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.

cello bag close-upOur 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.

cello bags in hands

foil color options


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 |


trick or treat table

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.

book store listingIn 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!

jumbo balloon

DIY Project:

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!

pumpkin jelloDIY Decor:

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.

DSC_0931DIY 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.

whoopie piesKelly’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

4 Eggs

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 |


party favor coneAs 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:

template for blog postInstructions:

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.

glitter pumpkinIt’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!

pumpkin stepsUsing 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.

pumpkin stencil

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!


October 20th, 2014 |


preppy modern christmas photo cards from wh hostessIt’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…..

preppy modern christmas photo cards from wh hostessAnd here are the different collage photo back options…..

photo back options blog postTo 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!DISCOUNT

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!

kelly signature






September 30th, 2014 |


personalized foil stamped stationery with preppy modern designsWe’re downright swooning over our new foil-stamped personalized stationery! New to the shop, we offer 18 fresh, modern designs that have you covered for your everyday social stationery needs. Here’s where it gets exciting….

textThese fold over cards and envelopes are made from a beautiful high end Italian paper and are available in 15 exquisite colors. The darker colors look great when a light or metallic colored pen is used! Our collection includes a variety of designs for everyday notes, and gift enclosures, with countless paper and foil options. Choose from one of our preppy, modern designs and customize your folded notecards to fit your family’s personality. A dream come true for paper lovers!

foil embossed personalized notecards with preppy modern designs
Whether you are looking for a gorgeous monogram, a modern preppy pattern, or a simple graphic such as an anchor, pineapple or bow – you can create a unique gift set of stationery perfect for your letters, thank you notes, and gift enclosures.

At $58 for a boxed set of 50 folded notecards and envelopes, they make a fabulous birthday or holiday gift!

designs textdesigns

September 29th, 2014 |


apple party itemsI can hardly believe that I am about to utter these words, but…..I’M. PLANNING. A. FIRST. BIRTHDAY. PARTY.  Already!  This has been the fastest year of my life and I truly can’t believe we are here already.  I’ve spent the last 6 years planning birthday parties for other people’s children, so I am SO excited to finally be able to plan one for my own.

I wanted to choose a theme that was fun, somewhat seasonal, yet would have a very classic undertone.  A theme that when we look back at pictures 10-20 years from now, it wouldn’t seem trendy or outdated.  So, an “apple of our eye” theme was chosen.  I knew right away that I wanted to incorporate a gingham check into the paper goods, but went a little un-traditional by opting for a black and white pattern.  Mixing it with my “mod apple” pattern, a lot of crisp white accents, and a little chalkboard accent, I think it’s going to be really fun and playful.

We are having the party at our local park and other than getting the invitations in the mail and the start of this little vision board…..I haven’t done much else!  3 weeks to go and so much planning to do!  Do you have any ideas that you think would be perfect for this theme?  Pass them on!!

Images: paper goods by whhostess.com, ceramic bushel baskets by crateandbarrel.com, black and white buffalo check fabric by ikea.com, apple fabric by whhostess.com, red 36″ balloons by shopsweetlulu.com

September 26th, 2014 |


baby stationery personalized notecards and tips for writing thank you notes

Thank you notes can be a tedious process, especially with a newborn. People tend to underestimate the power of the hand-written thank you note. Some think it is better to send an immediate e-mail or simply say thanks in person. But, a hand-written note is the ideal way to show your appreciation. Follow our tips to simplify the process and write a charming note.


We prefer classic notecards that stand the test of time. A simple stripe, a soft gingham check, or a perfect monogram to share your baby’s new “logo” are an excellent choice. If you are sending thank you notes around the same time as your birth announcements, coordinating them is a lovely option.


One of the best suggestions we can give you is to create or update your address list prior to your baby’s arrival. Creating a cohesive resource list saves you time and also can allow your husband to help you address thank you notes and birth announcements!


Thank you notes for baby shower gifts should be sent within three weeks of the shower, unless the baby has made an early arrival. Once a baby has arrived, you have a little more time to get notes sent. However, we encourage you to send them within 3 months of receiving the gift.


No matter how badly you wish to type up a letter, or even send an e-mail to express your thanks – please don’t! A handwritten note will best express your gratitude and warm the hearts of the people who put thought into a gift for your baby.


Not just in the personalized stationery, but in what you actually say in the note. Make sure to express your thanks for the specific item that was gifted to your baby, and offer how you plan to use it. Close by mentioning a time you hope to see the person in the future, or possibly introduce your child to them.


Show your personality in your note, don’t try to be too formal if you aren’t. Don’t over exaggerate your love of the item gifted, and never mention an exact amount of money.


No act of kindness is too small in my opinion! If someone took the time to bring you a meal, or take your older children on a playdate so you could spend some time with the baby – thank them properly!

Along with the launch of our digital magazine, BABY by WH HOSTESS, also came a new collection of baby stationery.  Featuring soft colors, and classic patterns such as stripes, gingham checks and polka dots, our personalized flat notecards ooze that fresh baby look.  And, as an added bonus, they coordinate perfectly with our baby shower invitations and birth announcements!

classic preppy personalized stationery for baby

September 25th, 2014 |


When it came time to put together the BABY by WH HOSTESS issue, I knew I wanted to invite a few friends to share their tips and ideas.  Of course, I went straight to the ladies at Project Nursery + Project Junior!  Melisa and Pam run projectnursery.com, a trusted source for its millions of readers who are in search of children’s design inspiration.  They were the perfect people to ask “what’s your favorite baby shower gift?”

baby by wh hostess digital magazineMelisa and Pam came up with great gift ideas that are perfect for both mama and baby.  You can read all about them in the issue (click on the images or HERE), and the truly exciting news….they just launched an e-commerce shop where you can now search for baby nursery décor and gifts.  To say we’re excited is an understatement!

PN spread

The shop’s mission is to offer carefully curated products and exclusive collaborations with brands that meet Project Nursery’s discerning taste in an effort to elevate nursery design. Simply put, The Project Nursery Shop offers parents access to incredible products that guarantee a well-designed nursery.

Mindful of the fact that new parents are often overwhelmed by the children’s market, Project Nursery purposefully selects the best items in each category to reflect what is trending in nursery design. Project Nursery plans to strategically update its products, all while continuing to offer a small assortment of timeless products that are handcrafted and of high quality.


Project Nursery Co-Founders, Melisa Fluhr and Pam Ginocchio have been fielding the same questions year after year: Who makes that bedding? What color is that? Where can I find that rug? “The answer is easy,” said Fluhr. “Our active community has been our main source of inspiration over the last 6+ years. As our audience and traffic continues to flourish, it’s important that we listen to our readers. This means providing access to the most coveted décor items found in our Project Gallery pages via The Project Nursery Shop.” The new shop offers a wide selection of products such as paint, furniture, bedding, room decor, party decor and gifts for both mom and baby.

Congratulations!  We can’t wait to shop!

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