May 31st, 2011 |

Parties by WH Hostess: Modern Silhouette

We were beyond thrilled to have been asked to contribute a party to the latest issue of Nesting Newbies magazine!  I know when I shared the magazine a couple of weeks ago, I promised more images soon…..well, I’ve been busy!  But I’m back today with a few posts to show you the amazing details that made up this darling party.

The ladies at Nesting Newbies asked me to put aside the character themes and the princess wands, and create a party that was truly me, my style.  Using a series of crisp black and white patterns, and a bold Kelly green, our modern barbie silhouette got a sophisticated update!    To define the vertical space of the party room, I hung a pennant banner amongst playful pom pom garlands (which I made with green ribbon and small, black and white pom poms I found at Michael’s) above the tables. (but at a lower-than-normal-height, so the kids would feel like the space was all for them!)

Small tables, perfect for a tea party, were set with custom made white denim tablecloths that had a large black swiss dot ruffle at the bottom.  I made coordinating cloth napkins, and set the table with Kelly green glasses and silverware, black plates and my signature centerpiece – white pots full wheat grass and a floral pomander, and topped with centerpiece sticks.  Don’t you just love that one, single pop of hot pink in the centerpiece and on our birthday girl!? (who was also wearing a darling stripe hair bow by Mel-Belles)

One of my favorite details of the tablesetting were the placecards on the back of the chairs.  Perfectly proportioned to child-size chairs, the guests were delighted to see their names on them!  There are still so many details to come!  Head on back this afternoon to see the details of the dessert table!

Photography by Sisterazzi Photography

May 27th, 2011 |

Sweet Strawberry Desserts

With strawberry season in full bloom, I find myself looking for creative ways to use them…..and my sweet tooth immediately directs me towards dessert recipes!  Since so many people tend to make berry pies for Memorial Day weekend, I figured I would supply all of you with some of my latest finds.

  1. Strawberry Chiffon Pie
  2. Strawberry Italian Ice
  3. Fresh Strawberry Bars
  4. Strawberry Cheesecake Tarts
  5. Minted Strawberries with White Wine
  6. Chocolate-Covered Strawberry Cakes
  7. Fresh Berry Napoleons
  8. Puffy Shortcakes with Meringue

 

May 26th, 2011 |

Salsa Bar

Looking for a simple way to “wow!” your guests at a Memorial Day BBQ?!  How about a salsa bar!  Set up a variety of different types of salsas (and guacamole if you really want to get fancy!) with one large bowl of chips.  Your guests can mix and match flavors to their liking.  Here are a few suggestions for salsas:

1. Watermelon Salsa

Ingredients:

  • 3 cup(s) finely diced seedless watermelon (from a 5-pound watermelon)
  • 2  jalapeño peppers, seeded and minced
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1/4 cup minced red onion
  • juice of 2 limes
  • Salt

Directions: In a medium bowl, combine all ingredients except salt. Season with 1/4 teaspoon salt and serve chilled or at room temperature with tortilla chips.

2. Corn Salsa

Ingredients

  • 1 (15 ounce) can yellow corn, drained
  • 1 (15 ounce) can white corn, drained
  • 2 (15 ounce) cans black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 (14.5 ounce) can Italian-style diced tomatoes, drained
  • 1 bunch finely chopped cilantro
  • 5 green onions, finely sliced
  • 1 small red onion, finely chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1/4 cup lime juice
  • 1 avocado – peeled, pitted, and diced
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, or to taste

Directions: Stir the yellow and white corn, black beans, tomatoes, cilantro, green onion, red onion, bell pepper, and garlic in a large bowl. Gently mix in the lime juice and avocado. Drizzle with olive oil to serve.

3. Citrus Salsa

Ingredients

  • 3 navel oranges
  • 2 limes
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 teaspoon seeded and minced serrano chile
  • 2 teaspoons seasoned rice vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • Freshly ground pepper, to taste

Directions: With a sharp knife, remove the peel and white pith from oranges and limes and discard. Cut the orange and lime segments from the surrounding membranes and coarsely chop.  Gently toss the oranges, limes, cilantro, chile, vinegar, oil, salt and pepper in a large bowl until combined. Cover and refrigerate for up to 1 day.

 
Fresh Party Invitations from Minted

May 25th, 2011 |

Real Parties: Love Sweet Love Bridal Shower

Today’s eye candy comes from a bridal shower that I recently created the paper goods for…..commissioned to do a custom collection for a very special shower on a private ranch in California, we created a sweet pink and green exploded lattice collection.  I just love how it turned out (and is currently one of our best sellers in the shop – it works for a birthday, bridal shower, sweet sixteen party, or ladies lunch) and was amazed when I received the photos from the hostess – it turned out SO PRETTY!  I hope you enjoy the pictures!

Resources: styling by Lisa Witt • lapinphotography.com, paper Products by WH Hostess • whhostess.com, photography byMichelle Warren • mwfoto.com, cupcakes by Enjoy Cupcakes •  Los Olivos, California  enjoycupcakes.com, catering/custom bird cookies • Solvang Bakery Solvang,  California  solvangbakery.com, papers/table runner/linens • papersource.com, paper lanterns • lunabazaar.com
May 24th, 2011 |

Americana Picnic Tablesetting

I kind of get giddy with excitement when this time of year rolls around.  Memorial Day marks the start of summer, the start of bbq season, lazy days in the park, and simple reasons to have a party.  I also get excited because it means I can pull out one of my ALL TIME favorite table inspirations……this amazing patriotic table from Carolyn Rohme’s Passion for Parties book.  I have loved this table since the first time I saw it years ago – the simple items used look fabulous when repeated down a long table.  Hope you find inspiration in it too!

May 23rd, 2011 |

4 Simple, DIY Ideas for Dressing Up Memorial Day

Can you believe Memorial Day is just one short week away?!  Officially the kick-off to summer, Memorial Day weekend is a fabulous time to gather the troops and fire up the grill!  I’ll be back later in the week with some yummy ideas for what to serve, but today, I thought I would focus on 4 simple ideas on how to “dress up” your Memorial Day party.

Better Homes and Gardens has put together a gallery of ideas for decorations, table settings, centerpieces, etc. and today I pulled out a few that I think would be very simple for you to re-create.  First, dress up those paper lanterns!  5 minutes with a glue gun and some patriotic ribbon or ric rac will work wonders with those old, white paper lanterns you have been holding on to.  Second, create a monochromatic, tiered centerpiece using different sized white pots.  Bold, red mums are an inexpensive option….this could also be darling done with sunflowers for a summer picnic!  Third, edge your food or dessert table with striped crepe paper or ribbon.  Simple, stylish and easy to put up and take down.  (double-sided tape should do the trick!)  And lastly, put that pie up on a pedestal!  Just because you serve a simple dessert doesn’t mean it shouldn’t look extra-special!  Dress up your basic, white cake stands with ribbon or mini bunting.

May 22nd, 2011 |

Get Excited. Get Very Excited!

Some of you may have noticed that we took a little break from blogging last week.  It was a much needed break….let’s be honest, it’s tough to come up with creative ideas every single day!  But, it’s our passion, it’s what we do, and it’s what we are constantly striving to do better.  I would love to tell you that I was sitting on my couch eating bon bons (which is what my husband thinks I do everyday), or better yet off on some tropical vacation.  Alas, I was home and I was working my little butt off!

I wanted to share a bit of what’s going on in our world……

We are BUSY filling orders from WH Hostess, our business has grown like wild fire and we are constantly re-inventing how we do things to handle the amount of orders we are getting!  Trust me, these are wonderful problems and I am thankful every single day for them.

We have a CRAZY amount of parties going on between now and June 15th.  Some of them are local, where it’s all hands on deck to style, while others are all over the country, where our skills come into play by conceptualizing, planning and shipping off party goods for our parents to execute themselves.  We are collaborating with Christi from P is for Party on {wait, let me count…..} 4 parties in the next 3 weeks!  (visit our monkey love, mod safari and little blue car parties to see some of our recent collaborations)

We have some major photo shoots coming up this week, top secret for now…..but more inspiration is coming your way soon!

The next issue of The Party Dress Magazine is launching in just a few short weeks.  Let me tell you….it’s AMAZING!  The quality of work by our amazing contributors literally blows my mind every time I sit down to work on the layout.  DIY ideas, party concepts, amazing products and party features from the very talented Sharnel Dollar, The TomKat Studio, Kara’s Party Ideas, Style Me Gorgeous, Hello Naomi, Le Papier Studio, Save the Date for Cupcakes, Beth Beattie, P is for Party, Anders Ruff, Glorious Treats and Delish Catering Chicago…..to name a few!

We are pre-selling the glossy printed version of the magazine now, and any orders placed before June 1st will ship 2 weeks BEFORE the digital version launches….just a little thank you for being the best readers and customers a girl could have.  So to get your hands on a printed version, click here.  Also, due to popular demand, we are re-printing Issue 1, so if you missed out the first go around, this is your last chance!   The digital version will launch mid-June, and I can’t wait to share all of these amazing ideas with you!

June is going to be an exciting month for us…..not only are we launching the second issue of our magazine, but our blog is getting a facelift!  Yup, a new {and very much improved} The Party Dress is coming your way.  A new look, better user functionality, and all-together, much-needed freshening up.  When I started my little blog back in February 2009, we were just that….a little blog.  Two and a half years later, we’ve grown, we’ve expanded…..we are now a blog, a magazine and a stationery shop.  I can’t wait to unveil our shiny, new look to all you!

As we head into the final weeks of May, I hope you are all having fun planning your summer parties….can’t wait to hear about them and look forward to providing you with countless inspiration in the months to come!

May 12th, 2011 |

Flower Power Cupcakes

With Spring in full bloom here in Chicago, these cupcakes caught my eye!  All You Magazine has come up with three simple ways to dress up basic cupcakes to look like flowers using cookies, gummy candy and jelly beans.  I think these would be darling for a garden party birthday party, or a summer bridal shower.  Click here to find the how-to’s.

May 11th, 2011 |

Shabby Chic Centerpieces

I was perusing some of my favorite websites last night for some inspiration for an upcoming client’s party.  In looking for “shabby chic” centerpiece ideas, I stumbled across a sweet, playful wedding on Project Wedding.  These centerpieces totally spoke to me….I love the use of casual, colored glass, simple blooms and most importantly, the wood crate!  I think you can take away great inspiration for a summer bridal shower, birthday party or casual outdoor picnic.  Click here to view the rest of the wedding!

May 10th, 2011 |

{Press} Little Blue Car Party on HWTM!

So fun to wake up to another FABULOUS party feature on Hostess with the Mostess today!  This little blue car first birthday was SO MUCH FUN to work on with Christi from P is for Party!  A little boy’s first birthday, but geared towards adults – so I focused on using lots of eye-catching patterns and tried a few new things that turned out just darling!  Coordinating fabric used for pillows, a patterned backdrop for the dessert table, placemats for the tables, bottle wrappers for the drinks….there are so many cute details, you must go check it out!

Our little blue car party collection is available for purchase in the shop here.

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