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:


  • 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


  • 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.


  • 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.

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)

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