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.

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!



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