January 10th, 2011 |

WH Hostess: Valentine’s Day Collections

Happy Monday, Everyone!  I hope you all had a lovely weekend.  Mine was a working weekend….not only did I have to get my house back in order after the holidays (much overdue!), but I also had a ton of (fun) stuff to do for WH Hostess.  We are updating the shop with some great new features designed to help you shop fast and smart, new collections are being added and old collections are being expanded to include all of our favorite items.  Give me another week, and even I will be pleased with the new improvements!  (and trust me, I am my worst critic!)

I am pleased to introduce our Valentine’s Day collections today!  Two sweet collections full of charm that are perfect for your upcoming parties.  First up is our Cupcake Love collection.  A color palette of red, hot pink and purple….this collection has something sweet for everyone!

Our second collection is called the Love Bug collection.  Orange, melon and hot pink….our ever-popular lady bug has been updated with heart-shaped spots, and is accented with sweet stripes.  Perfect for a February birthday or Valentine’s Day party!

As you can see, the Valentine’s Day season is off to a sweet start!  I hope you will head over to WH Hostess to check out the full collections, and come on back here for great party inspiration, decoration ideas and sweet treat recipes this month.  Before I leave you for today, here is another peek at one of my favorite items for Valentine’s Day….mini cards for kids!  Push those store-bought/boxed Valentines aside and send your kids to their school parties with stylish cards!

January 9th, 2011 |

Welcome, Storkie!

We are thrilled to welcome a new sponsor to The Party Dress…..please give a warm welcome to Storkie!  Offering charming invitation designs for over 20 years, Storkie has a broad selection of invitations for baby showers, wedding events, birthday parties, graduations and more.  We encourage you to take a quick spin around their site to see their lovely selection!

Welcome, Storkie!

January 6th, 2011 |

Party Decor Inspired by a Chair

Yup.  You read that title correctly.  But there should really be a question mark after it.  I find inspiration for party themes all over the place – websites, magazines, paper shops, fabric – but a lot of times, it’s a single item that inspires me the most.  That being said….check out this chair!

Pretty fabulous right?!  I love how festive it is, but that it’s not too “fluffy” or “gussied up”!  It still has clean lines and looks modern.  It’s a great example on how to dress up rental chairs at a wedding, but can also be great inspiration for changing the look of your dining room chairs for any party at home.  Can’t you picture a purple and green bridal shower or birthday party?  Here are a few ideas to help inspire you……purple and green party inspirationWhat inspires you to throw parties or create party concepts?

Images: chair, napkins and cupcake (brides.com), macaroons (callmecupcake.se), purple centerpiece (matthewmeadstyle.com)

January 5th, 2011 |

Parties in Progress: Nicklaus’s Zoo Party

Yesterday I shared a few of my party theme predictions for 2011 on Project Nursery, and today I thought I would show you a sneak peek of a party I am working on.  Remember that “animal” trend I showed in yesterday’s predictions?!  Well, here is one way WH Hostess is interpreting it!

Christi from P is for Party hired me to create a custom inspiration board and paper goods for her son’s upcoming 4th birthday party.  The party is being held at the local zoo and she wanted to bring some modern patterns and animal silhouettes into the decorations.  I’m LOVING what we came up with and I hope you will too!  The invitation and some of the patterns we are using for decorations are above and you can head over to P is for Party to see the custom inspiration board we put together.  Planning a zoo party in the future?!  Stay tuned for lots of cute party details soon!

January 4th, 2011 |

Project Nursery: Party Themes for the New Year

Looking for party theme ideas for this year?!

Head on over to Project Nursery to catch my latest post and ideas on what the hottest themes will be in 2011.

January 3rd, 2011 |

Searching for a Little Sunshine

Happy New Year, Everyone!  I hope you all had a magical holiday season!  I took a short break from blogging over the holidays to re-charge my battery and get my creative juices flowing!  But….I’m back!  And have tons of inspiration, real parties and creative ideas to share with you in the upcoming weeks.

My love of holiday decorations quickly vanishes after New Year’s Day.  My house starts feeling cluttered and I have to strip down the decorations and create a clean slate.  Living in Chicago, winter is just beginning.  Although we have many months of hibernating under {my new cashmere} blankets still ahead of us, I feel the urge to create a spring-like environment.  Warm, cozy, sunshine-y.  Yellow is the first color that comes to mind, and the collection of images above demonstrates simple ways you can infuse the color into your home.

Images: yellow wall plaques (bhg.com), yellow ball tablesetting (theknot.com), lemonade (stylemepretty.com), seaside tablesetting (saltharbordesigns.com), floral arrangement (detailsdetails.com)

December 31st, 2010 |

2010: Reflection on a Fabulous Year

2010 has been one AMAZING year for us.  Plain and simple, it’s going down in the books as the start of some amazing things.  I wanted to take a few moments out of my holiday break to say a heartfelt thank you to each and every reader that has been a part of this daily journey with me, and to reflect on all of the wonderful things that have happened this year.  I hope you will join me for a quick walk down memory lane….

The Party Dress has been providing daily party inspiration for {almost} two years now!  Inspiration boards, real party features, creative food ideas and new must-try products.  For me, it provides a creative outlet – for our readers, I hope it inspires each of you to get creative in your daily life.  Our readership continues to grow and we have had the privilege of showcasing parties from some seriously talented people!  We have had countless websites link to our ideas, and was named one of Nesting Newbies top 10 websites!

We have an amazing support system of some fabulous sponsors, including The Celebration Shoppe, Munchkin Designs, Busy Bee Paperie, Luna Bazaar, Curly Cue, Tiny Prints, Wedding Paper Divas, Minted, Beau-Coup, Tea Collection, Plates & Napkins, Paper Culture, The Land of Nod and Layla Grace.

Our biggest news this year was a mention in the November 2010 issue of InStyle Magazine.   I’m going to share a quick little story with you…  I was on vacation when I received the news that The Party Dress was going to be included in a “best of the web” section in InStyle.  My husband and I took a much needed trip to Maui, back to where we honeymooned just a couple years ago.  I PROMISED him I would stay off my e-mail and website (and facebook and twitter) for that whole week.  But let’s be real….I run two internet-based companies….there was no way I could completely ignore it!  So one afternoon, I hid my phone in the beach bag and as soon as he disappeared into the ocean to jump some waves, I pulled it out for a little “me” time.  And there it was – and e-mail with the biggest media news we had ever received.  InStyle knew who we were…..and they were going to list us in their magazine!  I couldn’t have been any more excited!  And of course, had to fess up to checking my e-mail when my husband emerged from the ocean….

Probably the biggest news of 2010 was the launch of our social stationery company, WH Hostess.  Pulling from my roots in graphic design,  my retail buying/merchandising experience, and my love for all things party, I decided to launch a new website featuring fresh, modern stationery that would reflect my style and work with ideas that I showcase daily on The Party Dress.  My goal was to design invitations that would inspire full party themes.  Bold colors, fresh patterns, and modern takes on classic party themes.  The collection quickly grew to include party accessories and decorations, birth announcements and a fabulous holiday collection that was launched with a flip-book holiday catalog!

WH Hostess received an amazing welcome from party bloggers, readers, friends and family….and in just a few short months grew from a part-time business to a full-time job!  We have worked with amazing customers to create some pretty fabulous parties this year….and already have a ton of amazing parties in the works for 2011!

It’s next to impossible to mention all of the blog love we have received this year, but some of the highlights include our elephant parade party featured on Amy Atlas, our modern train party, bumble bee and mad for plaid holiday dessert table were all featured on Hostess with the Mostess, and we have had countless features on P is for Party, Stem Parties, Scout, Celebrations at Home, Happy Hour Mom, Kate Landers Events, LLC and so many more……

Speaking of the Modern Train Party….  It was WH Hostess‘s first BIG party and we were lucky enough to have one amazing client in Melisa of Project Nursery!  I have been blogging for Project Nursery for a long time now, and had so much fun partnering with her to create this party.  The party was featured all over the blog world – my little modern train was on at least 30 blogs (that we know of) and is still our most popular party theme!

It’s been a fabulous year of amazing parties and celebrations….what more could a girl ask for?!

Big things are in store for both The Party Dress and WH Hostess in 2011….and I can’t wait to jump into this exciting year with both feet!  First up?!  Some amazing new party features coming soon on the blog, new collections on WH Hostess and a trip to NYC to attend the Martha Stewart Doers into Dreamers Conference.  (and that’s just in the first couple of weeks of 2011!)

I hope you will all continue to visit us for your daily party inspiration!

Happy New Year!

xoxo

Kelly

December 21st, 2010 |

Holiday Table Challenge: The Party Dress

Today’s Holiday Table Challenge comes from yours truly!  I’m going to skip over the part where I say nice things about the person and website {because that would just be odd!}  and head right into the party feature.  I hosted a holiday “sweets exchange” last week for a bunch of girlfriends with a “Mad for Plaid” theme.  I asked each lady to bring  their favorite holiday sweets to share, but I wanted to create a festive, holiday dessert table full of goodies for everyone to enjoy during the party!

I wanted to create a dessert table that truly spoke to my personal style – preppy, with a touch of updated style!  Always inspired by Ralph Lauren, I decided to play on my love for tartan plaid and mix different plaids to create a whimsical table, perfect for a cozy night of cocktails and sweets.

The table was set with a red herringbone tablecloth and two tartan plaid table runners.  The centerpiece was full of fresh greenery, berry branches and curly willow branches.  I used a white happiness jar to give it a touch of my modern prep style.  To add to the whimsy, I tied strips of different plaid and check fabrics hanging off the branches.

Using all white serving pieces and glass jars, I added swiss dot polka dot ribbon and candy jar tags to accessorize them.  I also used a combination of food tent cards and cupcake toppers to label all of the different sweet treats.  I also spray painted reindeer head cut-outs a red lacquer to sit on the back of my cake plates for a little extra holiday cheer.

Desserts included my famous Christmas cookies (decorated in plaid this year….just for the party!), peppermint and double-dark-chocolate macaroons from Sucre, polka-dot chocolate-covered oreos from Sweeties by Kim, brownie bites, fudge cups, mini cupcakes, chocolate-covered pretzels, roasted-marshmallow milkshake shooters, and chocolate mousse shooters.  Jars of candy held red hots, green m & m’s, apple sours, peppermints, pearls and chocolate foil balls.

I hope you enjoyed this little peak into my holiday party!  Thanks to Hostess with the Mostess for featuring it!

December 20th, 2010 |

Holiday Table Challenge: Pen n’ Paperflowers

Happy Monday, Ladies!  I hope you all had a fabulous weekend! Christmas is getting closer and closer, and although I am sure you are all crazed getting ready – I do hope you will take a few minutes out of your day this week to view the next bunch of fabulous Holiday Table Challenge entries.  Today’s entry is from the fabulous Jessica Kirkland from Pen N’ Paperflowers Design Studio.  Always wowing us with her creative parties and her “keeping it real” section of each blog post, Jessica also offers a darling collection of invitation and party designs through her etsy shop.  Her sweet holiday table is sure to inspire you, read on for more details as told by Jessica herself:

A Holiday Breakfast is the perfect way to spread holiday cheer this season.  Gather some friends, neighbors, best girlfriends or extended family together during the month of December and take a minute to share each other’s company and take a breather from the host of holiday activities that tend to consume all of us. Send them off with homemade favors of pumpkin butter and a bag of simmering potpourri. Or…surprise your kids/family on Christmas morning with a festive spread of holiday breakfast foods.

I created a simple Holiday Breakfast table consisting of: Raspberry Crumble Muffins, Quiche Lorraine, Gingerbread Cinnamon Rolls, Cranberry Scones, Cinnamon Nut mini Bread Loafs, and a Oatmeal bar containing cinnamon, raisins, dried cranberries & brown sugar

I also included homemade favors for guests to take home: jars of pumpkin butter, and bags of simmering potpourri.

My favorite idea: Use brown coffee filters as a creative way of wrapping up mini bread loafs as well as topping off jars of homemade pumpkin butter (or jams).

Minted personal stationery gifts

December 17th, 2010 |

Holiday Table Challenge: Fresh Chick Design Studio

Today’s Holiday Table Challenge entry comes from the darling Rebecca Propes of Fresh Chick Design Studio.  Known for her cute, perky designs and love of interior design, Rebecca keeps busy with her blog, etsy shop and as a contributor for Project Nursery.  She recently thru a FABULOUS first birthday party for her son, Blake, and we are lucky enough to have her share it today as her holiday table challenge entry!  Get excited for some sweet details, as told by Rebecca:

The party was put together for my younger son Blake who turned one on December 9th.      My planning process started with a color palette of red and aqua and as it evolved I added a few accent colors so that the theme could be unisex as well.  The theme was a “Winter Candyland”.   I created this cute penguin graphic to add some wintery detail and incorporated lots of candy to bring in the whimsy factor…I wanted it to be festive without being over the top holiday.  I designed all of the printables for the party along with much of the decor.

My first project was to create “birthday posters” as the building block for the desert table…I printed up 13×19 posters that were mounted on foam board and hung from candy cane stripe ribbon.  The posters were layered on top of an aqua and lime damask fabric.  Above the posters hung a flag banner that I made from digital papers I created.  The dessert table was flanked with paper trees made from the same digital papers. (I was inspired  to make these paper trees by my sweet feathered friend of Bird Crafts)  I also made lollipop bouquets to add height and interest.

The center focus of the table was the cake.  I ordered a cake from Target…I made some special requests to accommodate a few ideas I had.  They offer a typical 8” round double layer cake…I asked for them to add a third layer, add fudge between the layers, ice with smooth buttercream, add polkadots in red with a red beaded border.  I would take care of embellishing the rest.    The cake decorating was totally last minute with a few items I had for the party…some large swirly lollipops and some super cute decorated cookies to match the theme sent by The Cookie Jar.

I kept the everything else fairly simple with the treats on this table since there were lots of colors and patterns.  The only other items were decadent red velvet cupcakes from Modern Cupcakes with toppers from Two Sugar Babies, and some adorable custom sugar cookies.  Since I was limited with space on the dessert table I added a candy bar loaded up with all sorts of sweets.  To carry the theme over, more custom signs adorned the table, along with treat bags, fondant topped cupcakes, colorful fabric, and a cute DIY stocking garland.

For entertainment all of the kids had a blast taking turns hitting the penguin pinata.  All of the pint-sized guest were sent home with candy bags, penguin drink cups, and a fun ornament to hang on their tree! This was the perfect theme for a December birthday…the possibilities to carry out this theme were endless!!

Photography: Jackie Lindfors Photography and Apple Velvet Photography

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