February 4th, 2011 |

Parties by WH Hostess: Year of the Rabbit

chinese new year - year of the rabbit party invitations and paper goods

Starting this week, we welcome the “Year Of The Rabbit” and a two week long Chinese New Year celebration.  My friend, Melisa from Project Nursery came up with unique party concept to celebrate her son’s first birthday.  Darling Chase is 1/4 Chinese, so when it came time to choose a theme, Melisa’s husband cleverly suggested that they enjoy all that Chinese New Year has to offer: delicious Chinese Dim Sum, tasty Chinese sweets and a themed cocktail party for their close family and friends.

With the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, party planning didn’t kick into high gear until two weeks before the party!  Melisa asked WH Hostess to design and execute her vision for a modern, bamboo themed first birthday party that would involve red rabbits!  I created a custom bamboo pattern that was used throughout the party….read on for more details!

Melisa is a dream client – with her design background, she often has a clear vision of what she is looking for and knows how to articulate it.  She also knows when to say “take it from here, Kelly!”  which is always fun for me!  In order to be smart about her party purchases, she sourced a lot of their decorations in LA’s Chinatown. She picked up everything from inexpensive paper lanterns to little toy drums, fans and kid-friendly chopsticks for the favor bags – and had a great time negotiating along the way!

Since this first birthday party was a Saturday night cocktail party, catered Dim Sum was a delicious way to keep her adult guests intrigued. The kids were kept happy munching on potstickers and eggrolls.   It was a low maintenance meal that Melisa could simply steam and serve, and clean up was a breeze since guest enjoyed eating their finger foods with chopsticks out of Chinese take out boxes.

With dessert tables still on-trend, planning one with an ethnic theme was a great way to update the concept.  They served authentic Chinese goodies and candies such as Moon Cakes, Sesame Balls, Wintermelon Cakes, Lychee Candy, Haw Flakes, Candied Water Chestnuts and more.  She also included the popular Magnolia cupcakes and their famous banana pudding. The birthday cake was red velvet and adorned with red and yellow fondant shaped fortune cookies. Vanilla sugar cookies with lemon frosting by Angela from Queen of Tarts Cakes tied in the entire presentation thanks to her edible wafers designed to match my invitations. We stepped in with some simple decorations that helped brand the table, including cupcake toppers, candy jar tags, and sweet little rabbit stickers to dress up plastic cups.

One of my favorite parts of this party was the backdrop for the dessert table.  Melisa wanted the backdrop to create a large impact, yet wanted to keep the look sophisticated.  We decided that two large canvases featuring our custom bamboo print (exploded for a modern look) would fit the bill.   Melisa  honed in on her nursery design skills and decided she could save a couple hundred bucks by stretching her own canvases. I sent her my bamboo print in a file, and she had turned into canvas at Uprinting.com. A quick visit to the art supply store, she stretched the canvases on canvas bars and now has permanent wall art and hip graphic prints she can enjoy year round!  (they just so happen to coordinate perfectly with her stunning yellow chandelier!)

Because the party from held from 5pm-7pm, the children arrived in their PJ’s or “Mandarin Suits”. The big kids watched “Mulan” and “Kung-fu Panda” while making Chinese paper lantern crafts. Adults sipped on fun beverages thanks to a fully stocked bar. And what one year old party is complete without a signature drink or two? Burning Mandarin Martinis and Lychee infused champagne cocktails were served.

In the Chinese New Year tradition, guest went home with additional favors such as Mandarin oranges for luck, take out containers filled with candies and a lucky red envelope from the decorative centerpiece to ward off evil spirits!

Birthday Boy Chase looked just darling in his Mandarin Suit and looked like he had the time of his life!

February 3rd, 2011 |

Martha Stewart’s Dreamers into Doers Conference Recap

For those of you that follow us on facebook and twitter, you know that I traveled to NYC a couple of weeks ago to attend a Martha Stewart Dreamers into Doers conference.  One of 80 women bloggers, entrepreneurs and small-business owners, I was treated to a two day conference at the Martha Stewart Headquarters, a taping of The Martha Stewart Show, and some quality time with my “party girl” friends!  I met women that I had become “friends” with thru the internet, walked away with many new friends, and a felt this amazing sense of community.  80 creative, powerful women in one room – the drive alone was contagious!

The night before the conference began, the dreamers descended upon the city and met up for a Meet & Greet at a nearby lounge.  The picture above was taken right as we all met each other for the first time!  Kim, Andrea & Toni of  The TomKat Studio, Lindi of Love The Day, me, Jill of Modern Cupcake, Nancy of A to Zebra Celebrations, Kim of The Celebration Shoppe, Courtney of Pizzazzerie, Caryl of ROAR Events, Me! , Rebecca of Fresh Chick Design Studio and Andrea of Dolce Drive.

Courtney from Pizzazzerie with me, and me, Kim of  The TomKat Studio, and Rebecca of Fresh Chick Design Studio.

Having this many “party girls” in one city at one time was so much fun, there was no way we could let it pass without having our own dinner party!  I arranged for a lo-o-n-n-g table at one of my favorite NYC restaurants, Pastis and the “party girls” had a lovely evening full of champagne, steak frites, SWAG bags put together by The TomKat Studio girls, and a lot of chatter and anticipation about what the rest of the week would hold for us!

The first day of the conference was full of workshops held by MSLO employees – everything from social media marketing, to how to handle your public relations, to Martha herself talking to us about starting a foundation.  The day included a lovely, plated lunch and many “peeks around the corner” to look into prop rooms, test kitchens, etc.  The offices are just as you would imagine them to be – clean, white, with inspiration peeking out from every corner!

The night ended with a cocktail party with mini makeovers, champagne and hors d’oeuvres. I spent a lot of time with my new friends – Vana of Le Papier Studio, Charynn of Two Sugar Babies, Tanya of Save the Date for Cupcakes, Kim of The Celebration Shoppe, Courtney (and her darling mother, Phronsie) of Pizzazzerie, Rebecca of Fresh Chick Design Studio and The TomKat Studio girls.

The next day we braved a snow storm to get to The Martha Stewart Show.  It was a live taping and SO. MUCH. FUN. to see the production process.  A well-oiled machine, The Martha Stewart Show team was great fun (especially Joey!).  I was fortunate to sit in the front room with Vana of Le Papier Studio, Kim of The Celebration Shoppe, and Nancy of A to Zebra Celebrations.

It was an amazing opportunity to be a part of this conference and I will never forget it!  My favorite part of the whole week was the sense of community.  It didn’t matter who you were, what you did – each and every one of us was there to network, build this community to be better and stronger, and to bring more inspiration to all of you every day.  It was inspiring and I am so lucky to have been a party of it!

February 2nd, 2011 |

Cupcake Liner Pomander Tutorial

When I saw this sweet pomander centerpiece (made completely out of cupcake liners!) over on Kara’s Party Ideas, I knew I had to show it to you!  It’s the perfect centerpiece for a Valentine’s Day party, or for a kid’s birthday party!  In fact, I am TOTALLY going to give this a try for one of my upcoming parties!

Kara was nice enough to provide step-by-step instructions on how to make these:

  1. Gather your materials: Cupcake liners {any color or style}, a styrofoam ball, a glue gun, and pins
  2. Take 2 cupcake liners and stick a pin through the center of them…
  3. Fold/scrunch the 2 liners around the pin like so…
  4. Put a dab of hot glue on the tip of the liners…
  5. Insert the pin into the styrofoam ball…Push the pin all the way into the styrofoam so the cupcake liners are securely glued to the ball…Carefully open the liners making sure the pin is all the way inserted into the styrofoam. If it isn’t, push it all the way in….
  6. Repeat until the whole ball is covered with lovely cupcake liners! Attach fishing line or a ribbon to hang! {For this particular pom pom I left a space uncovered so I could set the ball on a large glass candlestick}…

Head on over to Kara’s Party Ideas to see the Vintage Valentine’s Day table she used these pomanders on….it’s very cute!

January 28th, 2011 |

Parties by WH Hostess: Monkey Love Party Favors

It’s been a fabulous week of posts featuring this darling monkey first birthday party that I worked on with Christi from P is for Party!  We’ve seen the inspiration board and paper goods, the decorations, and the drinks, desserts and details…..so it’s only fitting we end the week with the party favors, right?!

These darling little monkey’s don’t need a whole lot of introduction, so I am going to let their pictures do the talking!  Each child went home with one and a bubble tin with our custom monkey labels on them.  Pretty cute, right?

We were so lucky to have received gorgeous pictures of this amazing party!  The images we have been showing all week were provided by talented photographer, Ellen Johnson of Ellen Zilla Photography.

A huge thanks to Shannon and Alexandra for allowing us to share their amazing party, Christi from P is for Party for doing such an amazing job styling and for being a lovely partner, and to Jenn at Hostess with the Mostess for debuting this party on her blog last week!

Have a great weekend, Everyone!

January 25th, 2011 |

Parties by WH Hostess: Monkey Love Drinks, Desserts & Details

Yesterday I showed you all of the gorgeous details of the Monkey first birthday party decorations, and today I am back with the drinks & dessert table details!  One of my absolute FAVORITE parts of this party was the ribbon wall that stylist Christi of P is for Party created.  She worked with the hostess, Alexandra’s mom Shannon, to create a stunning backdrop for the “cake smashing” part of the party….and it made such an impact!  Anyone want to guess how many yards of ribbon that took?!

The monkey theme was carried throughout the party, including sweet details on the food and drinks tables.  Darling grass mats embellished with flowers were placed on tables, pink and white striped straws dressed up glasses, and our darling monkey stickers made the paper cups oh, so adorable!  Different pattered labels accessorized the water bottles, coordinating polka dot food tent cards were placed in front of items on the buffet, and our sweet monkey face made it’s way on to darling napkin rings too.

{tip: it’s so much easier to have your cutlery tied up in a napkin when serving a buffet – much easier for your guest to hold while carrying a plate!}

The dessert table is just precious!  I love how Christi and Shannon used a monogrammed wall decal and pom poms to create a backdrop and vertical interest to the table.  It’s very soft and feminine, perfect for the sweet birthday girl!  The table included sweets in our pink, yellow, and mint green color palette, and everything was dressed up with candy jar tags, cupcake toppers and food tent cards.

The table was full of amazing sweets! Colorful macaroons, cupcakes, white chocolate covered Oreos, rock candy, yellow and pink salt water taffy and gumballs.  The oreos were served in mini tulip cups and (pulled from the original custom inspiration board) were topped with a small fondant banana. Shannon picked out darling cake stands by Rosanna, Inc. to be used as cupcake stands, and several apothecary jars from Pottery Barn to hold the candy (which she can reuse at home and at future parties!).

My favorite part was the adorable flower sticker that adorned the take-home white gable boxes.  How in love am I with these flower-shaped stickers we are now selling in the shop?!

Head on back tomorrow for the final peek into this amazing party….the party favors!

Photography by Ellen Johnson of Ellen Zilla Photography

January 24th, 2011 |

Parties by WH Hostess: Monkey Love Decorations

 

Last week I showed you a sneak peek of the latest WH Hostess parties…..a “Monkey Love” themed first birthday party. Hosted by a creative mom in Houston, and styled by the fabulous Christi Bennett of P is for Party, this first birthday party is nothing short of spectacular and I have been DYING to show you the pictures!

One of the client’s favorite details about the original custom inspiration board was the use of moss details. The front of the house set the tone for a sweet, festive party. As guests walked up the pathway to the front door, they were surrounded by the most gorgeous ribbon moss balls hung on shepherd hooks, and a sweet Monkey welcome sign by WH Hostess.

The flowers were breathtaking and one of my favorite parts! Christi enlisted the help of Houston florist, Lisa Tran of Wedding Flowers by Lisa to create the stunning arrangements. Inside, the tables served as a focal point. Each table was draped in a pink linen and held three small arrangements, including sweet ceramic vases from Heart to Heart, which Lisa filled with bright yellow Billy Balls, pink roses and hydrangeas in pink and green. Lisa also designed a moss cone which she adorned with pink spray roses and yellow Calla Lilies.

Poms (ordered from Party Poms) in shades of pink, yellow and green were found everywhere throughout the party; from counter tops and mantles to the arms of chandeliers. We also used centerpiece sticks by WH Hostess in small white pots full of candy.

 

The party took place both inside and out. The outside tables were special as well! Grass mats from Heart to Heart (inspired by HWTM!) were placed on each table and one of the same ceramic vases found inside was set on top. It lent for a more casual outdoor feel. The backyard was set up as the play area for the many kids in attendance. Pink and white beach balls and large pink exercise balls were sporadically placed throughout the area. The kids loved running around kicking and throwing the balls!

 

The birthday girl, Alexandra, is one lucky girl…her parents threw her a stunning party that I am sure people are still talking about! Stay tuned tomorrow for all of the sweet details of the food and dessert table!

Photography by Ellen Johnson of Ellen Zilla Photography

January 19th, 2011 |

Parties by WH Hostess: Monkey Love Inspiration & Paper Goods

I am so excited to share the latest party by WH Hostess with you!  Do you remember a few months ago when I showed you my “parties in progress?” This “Monkey Love” 1st birthday party was one of them.  A few months in the making, a dream client and perfect party partner….this ended up being one amazing party!  As a reminder, here is the original custom inspiration board I did for the client:

When Alexandra’s Mom, Shannon, came to me to create a custom inspiration board for her 1st birthday, she knew she wanted a monkey theme.  I took that idea and ran with it.  The theme became Monkey Love: a sweet 1st birthday party with a girly, vintage feel.  A color palette of pale pink, hot pink, yellow, mint green and chocolate brown was born, and some of the ideas included:

DECORATIONS

  • Centerpieces: cluster an arrangement of  small vases with pink flowers, and a moss covered (cone-shaped) tree with flower embellishment.  Place a small centerpiece stick with the monkey face coming out of one of the vases of flowers.
  • Hang moss balls off polka dot ribbon, hang them on stakes and line pathways or an area of your yard.  A miniature version could hang in clusters off a chandelier.
  • Pink  balloons clustered together  make any area seem festive!
  • Table Setting Ideas: Decorate the backs of chairs with strips of different pattered fabrics, and belt together with a large floral bloom.
  • Use grass mats as placemats

FOOD

  • Serve pink and yellow lemonade out of small, glass bottles with a stripe straw.
  • Make  an ice cream sundae bar a main focus for your party.  Lay it out in a stylized fashion, with coordinating labels, signs and banners from WH Hostess.  Include a special area dedicated to banana split toppings!
  • Incorporate cake plates full of cupcakes with coordinating toppers, chocolate-covered oreo cookie pops with mini bananas on them, and a special smash cake for the birthday girl with a monkey fondant topper.
  • Paper Goods: Polka dot napkins in pink, yellow and green, with solid pink plates.
  • Place a monkey sticker from WH Hostess on pink and yellow paper cups to dress them up.

PARTY FAVORS

  • Mini  stuffed monkeys make the perfect party favor!
  • Bubble Tins with coordinating labels from WH Hostess, pipe cleaner wands and embellished with ribbon make a darling party favor (and serve as an activity during the party)!

The party planning progressed quickly, and Shannon hired me to create a collection of coordinating party goods and Christi of P is for Party to style the event.  Talk about a fabulous team, right?!  Here are some of the paper goods that I came up with….stay tuned tomorrow for the pictures and details of the party!

Images Credit for Inspiration Board:
Images: invitation (whhostess.com), chair decoration (hostessblog.com), centerpiece (jldesigns.com), hanging moss balls (jldesigns.com), grass placemats (mommybabble.com), ice cream sundae bar (eatdrinkchic.com), banana split toppings (midwestliving.com), monkey cake topper (etsy.com), banana fondant toppers (etsy.com), monkey party favors (partyspot.com), pink drinks (brides.com), bubble tins (stylemepretty.com), monkey sign (etsy.com), peony centerpiece (josevillablog.com)
January 17th, 2011 |

Project Nursery: Up, Up and Away Baby Shower

I’m blogging over at Project Nursery today about travel-inspired baby shower ideas inspired by this image!  Come join me!

Image via Style Me Pretty

January 12th, 2011 |

Easy Updates to Favorite Valentine’s Day Treats

With Valentine’s Day quickly approaching, I started thinking about what type of sweet treats I want to make this year for my loved ones.  I, like most of you, have my go-to desserts that I know I do well and that are loved by all….so sometimes it’s hard to stray from those beloved recipes.  But that doesn’t mean you can’t tweak them a bit, right?!

Take the classic chocolate cake, for example.  Typically I would make it, frost it and decorate it….but doesn’t it look oh, so sweet like this?  I love how you can see the layers and the fluffy, pink frosting!  The recipe for this chocolate cherry stack cake doesn’t sound so bad either!

Do you make frosted sugar cookies for Valentine’s Day?  I do!  And I love this idea of making them a cookie-lollipop!  So simple, and they would make a darling party favor for a Valentine’s Day party, or a sweet treat for your kids to bring to their friends at school.

Chocolate pots de creme or flourless chocolate cakes are always my dinner party go-to dessert.  The simple addition of a little blob of whipped cream and some Valentine’s Day sprinkles make them very festive!

Lastly….meringues!  I love meringues!  I especially love making meringue sandwiches….you can dye the frosting any color to match your dessert table, and they are very simple to make!  (see how I have used them on a green dessert table and a pink and black dessert table).  Looking for a simple update for Valentines’ Day?!  Flavor them and pipe them into the shape of hearts!  This recipe for raspberry meringue hearts looks delish!

January 11th, 2011 |

Stunning Ombre Flowers

I have been totally swooning over this table setting for a while now…figured it was time to share it with all of you!  I’ve been stashing away images that include orange flowers for inspiration for my sister’s upcoming wedding, and when I found this one….ah, amazing!  So unique.  I love the linear look it gives to the table, but especially the ombre (a graduated color change) effect.  It’s such a sophisticated way to pull in colors ranging from orange, to pink, to deep berry.  This could be a fabulous idea for a special birthday party or bridal shower!

Done as a photo shoot for Green Wedding Shoes, this floral arrangement was done by one of my favorite inspirations, La Partie Events.

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