June 24th, 2010 |

Fourth of July: Free Printables!

July is one of my favorite months of the year!  It is {normally} perfect, summer weather in Chicago, the fourth of July, and my birthday!  So in celebration of this fabulous month, I decided a free printable was in order!  Here are two free printables for your fourth of July celebration: cupcake toppers and food tent cards.  *See below for instructions*

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Instructions: click on the images above to download.  For the cupcake toppers, you will need to cut them into strips, and then use a 2″ circle hole punch to cut them out, and attach them to white lollipop sticks with hot glue or tape.  Simply cut out the food tent cards and write your food name (or you could use them as placecards on your table!) in the star with white or silver pen, and fold in half.

Enjoy!  I hope everyone has a festive fourth of July!

June 23rd, 2010 |

Giveaway: The Celebration Shoppe Winner!

June 23rd, 2010 |

The Summer of the Ice Pop

 

Ice pops are all the rage this summer….and they are definitely the key to your next successful party!  They are fun, creative and oh, so pretty to look at!  You can get totally creative in how you display them, which makes them the perfect addition to your next dessert table.

You can use traditional ice pop molds, or you can get creative….use decorative ice cube trays, plastic cups, ice cube stir molds, or tiny tart pans.  Fill them with juice, ice cream, or sorbet.  Here are a few recipes that have me drooling…..

Watermelon, lemonade and blueberry ice pop, mandarin orange cream pop, banana split pops, pomegranate apple popsvanilla ice pop, rhubarb and raspberry yogurt pops, blackberry ice pops, and lemon-blueberry twist pops.

 

The book, Pops!, is a great resource with over 100 recipes perfect for your next birthday party, bbq or cocktail party.  Here are some of the molds they use to make their festive ice pops:

Once you have made your pops, get creative with how you display them!  Stick them into half a watermelon, or a bucket of ice, or swirl them into a glass of prosecco for a lovely afternoon cocktail!  Here are a couple more recipes: ice pop coolers, margarita pops, red, white and blue pops (perfect for the 4th of July!), and honeydew melon pops.


Delicious and gorgeous, right?!  So tell me…..what’s your favorite flavor and what type of creative mold do you use?

 

June 22nd, 2010 |

Lovely Lemonade

I often get asked for non-alcoholic drink ideas for kids parties…..not just for the kids, but to give the adults something festive to drink (without the alcohol!)  Flavored lemonade is a great way to go!  Better Homes and Gardens has some great recipes this month….three of my new favorites are watermelon lemonade, key lime lemonade, and raspberry lemonade.

June 21st, 2010 |

Bumble Bee Birthday Bash

I’m sharing the latest party from WH Hostess over on Project Nursery today, and had to share all of the beautiful details with you!

Our charming invitation was the perfect inspiration for the party decorations and color palette.  Mackenzie’s mom really wanted to stay away from the typical black and yellow bee party, so this bright color palette was perfect!  I really like the modern honeycomb pattern mixed with traditional flowers, and of course, our darling little bee!

The party was an afternoon picnic, held in the family’s backyard.  Decorations included lots of yellow balloons, and a darling banner over the food table.  The centerpieces were to die for!  I used yellow milk glass vases (IKEA for $4.99!) and topped them with gerber daisy pomander balls.  A little polka dot ribbon belt was a last minute addition and tied together our theme beautifully!

One of my favorite details of this party was the juice bar!  We set up a “bar” with plastic cups, green straws dressed up with our bumble bee image, and we used juice bottles filled with different juices – orange, apple, and cran-apple juice.  I love these bottles (and not just for kids parties!) because they look consistant on a table together, and have a cork in the top (which keeps the bugs out of the bottles when you are entertaining outside!).

No party would be complete without a dessert table, right?!  I sat down with both the hostess and Mackenzie, the 3 year old birthday girl, to plan out the sweet treats for this table…..our birthday girl had QUITE the opinion on what were her favorite sweets!  Delicious cupcakes from the local bakery were topped with bumble bee cupcake toppers from WH Hostess.  We had a plate full of sugar cookies that we embellished with custom fondant toppers from Two Sugar Babies (she made them to specifically coordinate with our bumble bee invitation!), and  jars of candy!  Salt water taffy (in both pink and orange), lemon candy sticks, green apple sours, and little yellow and white stripe candy pillows were displayed in a combination of white footed bowls, glass apothecary jars, and footed candy dishes.  All of the jars and dishes were dressed up with bumble bee labels.  Here’s a closer view of our treats:

The party was a huge success and the little guests were absolutely thrilled with all of the cute details….especially the party favors!  Since this was a “picnic”, I found mini wood picnic baskets (in the dollar section at Michael’s) and we filled them up with bags of candy, and topped them with a polka dot bow and gift tag that said “thanks for coming to my party!”  The kids also brought home a darling tin of bubbles (dressed up with a custom label and pipe-cleaner wand), which also served as an activity during the party.

To view more parties by WH Hostess, click here.  Visit WH Hostess for all of your party planning needs!

June 18th, 2010 |

Zucchini & Tomatoes

During the summer months, I indulge in a love affair with zucchini and tomatoes.  My husband does not exactly share my infatuation (at least not with the zucchini), so in order to keep my love affair going strong, I need to step up my game and bring some new recipes to the table!  Epicurious has just the thing……

Zucchini & Summer Squash:

Tomatoes:

June 17th, 2010 |

A Burger Bash

When I think of summer, I think of two words: burgers and BBQ’s!  It’s time to up the ante a bit from the traditional bbq fare and wow your friends and family with a “burger bash!”

Invite your guests with this darling BBQ invitation from Minted.  It sets a color palette of chocolate brown, melon orange, and sage green.  Lovely – and definitely a fresh take on your traditional BBQ colors.  Obviously the food (namely the burgers) is the main attraction at this event, so keep your decorations simple and understated.  A casual picnic setting using lanterns and wild flowers as your centerpiece.

Here’s a tip for summer entertaining: it can be tough to keep your beverages cold while entertaining outdoors.  If you pile ice into your pitchers, it tends to water down your drinks.  What’s a hostess to do?!  Take this cue from Southern Living and fill a huge punch bowl with ice, and insert carafes of lemonade, iced tea or juices.  That way your drinks stay fresh and cool!

Let’s talk burgers!  Everyone has their standby recipe, but here are a few new ones that are on my “must-try” list this summer:

Bobby Flay’s cheyenne turkey burger with chedder and bacon, and Arthur Avenue burger with a parmesan crisp and fra divolo ketchup, and a grilled turkey burger with chedder and a smoky aioli.

Images: invitation (minted.com), mini burger sliders (redbookmag.com), paper silverware bags (southernweddingsmag.com), table setting and drinks (southernliving.com), lantern centerpiece (stylemepretty.com), picnic tables (traditionalhome.com), jam party favors (oncewed.com)

Chic Wedding Stationery from Minted.com

Amazon and Minted are preferred sponsors of The Party Dress.  For information regarding advertising, please click here.

June 16th, 2010 |

Blue Elephant Birthday Party

One of my favorite child trends right now is the “blue elephant”!  So sweet when done for a baby boy, or cute as can be when incorporated into a circus theme.  Our invitation from WH Hostess takes on a bit of the circus theme with bold stripes and accents in melon orange.

I found a few items around the web that fit in perfectly with this theme: a felt hat from Stella & Livi, fondant cupcake toppers from Two Sugar Babies, and the perfect idea for party favors!  Fill a clear box with animal crackers, and top with a tiny, stuffed blue elephant (available at IKEA for 49 cents!).

This party has somewhat of a nostalgic look and would be darling for a baby shower too, don’t you think?!

Images: invitation (whhostess.com), hanging paper mobiles (projectwedding.com), felt hat (stellaandlivi.etsy.com), fondant cupcake toppers (twosugarbabies.etsy.com), party favor (koehlerfamily4.blogspot.com)

 

Toys

June 15th, 2010 |

Giveaway: The Celebration Shoppe

WooHoo!  It’s time for another fabulous giveaway!  One of our lovely sponsors, The Celebration Shoppe, is hosting a giveaway this week!  Known for their darling party invitations and printables, The Celebration Shoppe has all of those perfect little details you need to plan a stylish party.  One lucky winner is going to receive a $75 gift certificate towards these darling products!

Here’s how to enter: simply head over to the Shoppe, take a quick stroll around and come back here to comment on what your favorite item or collection is.  Contest starts NOW….and you have until Friday, June 18th at midnight to enter.  GOOD LUCK!

P.S. Check out The Celebration Shoppe blog for some great party ideas, and become a fan of their facebook page for some exciting updates and contests exclusive to fans.

June 14th, 2010 |

Father’s Day Dinner

father's day dinner game night themeFather’s Day is upon us!  I always have to put a little extra thought into my Father’s Day celebrations – they can’t be as feminine or even as stylized as I would typically do for a party, because the men in my life would tell me “it’s overdone!”  So a casual family dinner is the perfect concept for us.

I love the idea of incorporating a game night into a Father’s Day celebrations.  A table setting including games such as a crossword puzzle, a rubix cube, and bingo – you can also use scrabble letters to create your placecards at each place.  Between the festive games and casual foods, you will create a playful atmosphere for your dads and family!

Images: tablesetting (theknot.com), centerpiece (bhg.com), mini hot dogs (foodnetwork.com), chicken panini (williams-sonoma.com), almond-fruit tart (williams-sonoma.com), lemonade (southernliving.com)

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