April 30th, 2010 |

8 Must-Have Recipes: Cinco de Mayo

cinco de mayo recipesLast week I showed you ideas for decorating for a Cinco de Mayo party…..today, we’re talking food!  Better Homes and Gardens has an endless supply of fabulous, Mexican recipes….here are 8 that I consider “must-haves” for Cinco de Mayo:

  1. Mango Salsa
  2. Chicken Quesadillas with Peppers
  3. Chicken Flautas with Black Beans
  4. Skillet Tostadas
  5. Tequila Lime Shrimp
  6. Steak Fajitas with Peppers
  7. Avocado-Feta Salsa
  8. Barbecue Quesadillas

Is your mouth watering yet?!  What do you plan to make for Cinco de Mayo?

April 29th, 2010 |

An Elegant Celebration

elegant celebration dinner partyWe focus so much on theme parties here on The Party Dress….but some occasions just call for pure elegance!  Whether you are planning a wedding, an engagement party, a 60th birthday celebration or an elegant company event – there are always 4 main ideas that are key to making your event one to remember.

  1. A stunning invitation: Bold.  Simple.  Elegant.  Cute.  Whatever your style, make sure that your invitation sets the tone for your party!  I love this navy blue floral invitation from Wedding Paper Divas!  It’s formal enough for a wedding, yet would be festive for a shower or birthday party.
  2. Centerpieces: Using a unique vessel, create a floral centerpiece that pulls together the colors of your palette.  I love the use of the stone urn in this inspiration – it creates a stunning “elegant garden” image for me.
  3. Cocktails: Choose either a signature cocktail, or a fabulous drink display….you don’t need both!
  4. Dessert Table: The trend of the moment and a spectacular surprise for your guests.  The dessert table should be color-coordinated to your specific palette and can serve as a focal point for your event.

Images: invitation (weddingpaperdivas.com), centerpiece (michellerago.com), champagne tower (brides.com), dessert table (traceylau.com)

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April 28th, 2010 |

Real Party: Tiki Lounge 40th Birthday

tiki lounge luau birthday party

Beth from Spark PR & Events in Palm Beach, Florida recently sent me this event….it’s a Tiki Lounge 40th birthday party!  So fun, great colors….and it’s totally putting me in the mood for SUMMER!  Anyone planning a luau this summer?!  Here are some great ideas from Beth….

This is a 40th Birthday Surprise Party I recently did for a husband and wife who love margaritas and the Bahamas. We did a tiki lounge invite and incorporated their love for margaritas and the islands with a “Patti and Paul’s Tiki Lounge” theme. There was a tiki bar with a margarita machine and passed drinks in custom cups and napkins as guests arrived, centerpieces out of pineapples, flip flops with custom hang tags for guests, and hawaiian dancers and a fire eater entertained the guests after the arrival of the “surprised” hosts.  We used flip flops as the party favor, dressed-up with a custom gift tag!  The evening had a wonderful, tropical feel!

April 27th, 2010 |

Triple Crown Cocktails

triple crown derby cocktail recipesIt’s getting to be Derby-time!  Whether you are throwing a huge bash, or watching the game at home with a couple friends….nothing makes a party festive like a few themed cocktails, right?!  Southern Living has the perfect combination of recipes for whatever your gathering may be…..  A Mint Julip for the Kentucky Derby, a Black-Eyed Susan for Preakness, and a Long Island Iced Tea for the races at Belmont Stakes.  The perfect trio!

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April 26th, 2010 |

Party Animal Baby Shower

I’m talking baby showers today over at Project Nursery!  If you are planning a gender-neutral baby shower, I just love the idea of an animal theme!  It’s cute, colorful and appeals to everyone!  Here are a few key ideas that are sure to make this a darling shower:

This sweet invitation from Tiny Prints sets tone for the animal theme.  If you are a busy mama that doesn’t have time for a ton of DIY projects, these decorations are going to knock your socks off…..Meri Meri has launched a collection of party decorations and they are just too cute!  Themes range from animals, to princess, to pirate, and so many more.  Cupcake toppers, banners, and my favorite part….the three-dimensional centerpieces.  These are great – cute on their own – or even more special if you jazzed them up a bit!  I love this animal carasol on it’s own….but think how much cuter it would be a wreath of orange and yellow flowers around the bottom?!

I love the animal banner from Meri Meri, but I also love the idea of creating your own banner using ribbon!  You can customize the look to your specific color palette, and it’s so simple and cost effective to make!  Simply cut 1/4″ wide ribbon into 6″ strips and tie around a string or skinny ribbon.  Voila!

Carry your animal theme throughout the party by decorating your homemade (or store-bought!) cupcakes with these charming fondant cupcakes by Two Sugar Babies.  I love the idea of combining the tiger, giraffe and elephant….they have such personality!  And if you are looking for the perfect animal-theme shower gift….look no further than this animal stack from Pottery Barn Kids!

P.S.  This theme would be darling for a birthday party too!

Images: animal invitation (tinyprints.com), animal carasol centerpiece, animal banner (merimeri.com), ribbon banner (projectwedding.com), animal fondant cupcake toppers (twosugarbabies via etsy.com), centerpiece (bhg.com), table setting (southernliving.com), animal stack toy (potterybarnkids.com)

April 23rd, 2010 |

Trend Alert: Hanging Decor

hanging party decorations

I don’t know what it is lately….but I am just plain obsessed with any type of hanging party decorations!  Whether it’s fabric covered letters hanging on a wall, or tiny votive candles hanging off floral branches – I just love the vertical element it adds to a room! And they would be perfect for just about any type of party – a wedding, bridal shower, baby shower, dinner party – and absolutely divine as the backdrop for the oh, so trendy dessert table!

What’s your favorite “hanging” trend right now?!

Images: copper hanging candle (bhg.com), hanging balls (brides.com), chandelier (sdkphoto.com), fabric letters and hanging votive candles (stylemepretty.com), hanging pomanders (jldesignsandevents.com)

April 21st, 2010 |

Cinco de Mayo Dinner Party

cinco de mayo dinner partyCinco de Mayo is right around the corner!  Our missoni-like print invitation from WH Hostess (re-colored in hot, fiesta colors) is the perfect invitation for a Cinco de Mayo dinner party or cocktail gathering with friends.  Set a festive table using bright, hot colors and cluster different sized paper lanterns above the table to add a touch of drama!

Everyone has their favorite guacamole recipe, the perfect chicken enchiladas recipe…..but one thing is for sure, no Cinco de Mayo party would be complete without margaritas!  Kick up the style a bit by serving them in a martini glass instead of a traditional margarita glass.

Images: tablesetting (styleathome.com), invitation (whhostess.com), flags (beautifulpaper.typepad.com), burrito bar (sunset.com), maracas (orientaltrading.com), melamine bowl (potterybarn.com), margaritas (gemmacomas.com)

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April 20th, 2010 |

Real Party: Modern Safari Ladies Night

modern safari ladies night

Chris Nease from Celebrations at Home sent me this darling “modern safari” party she styled for her monthly ladies night.  It’s full of amazing DIY ideas that could be used for a bridal shower or birthday party.
Her inspiration came from the hot pink zebra striped cocktail napkins, and was reinforced after seeing Amy Atlas’ pink & orange zebra dessert table.  She purchased a pink zebra sheet set, and some safari animals from  Marshalls.  Spray-painted the animals white, and added adhesive gems for eyes.  (fabulous!)  Faux palm and tropical leaves, flowers and a few feathers  added to the “modern safari” look.   The colorful dessert table consisted of brownie pops, cheesecake tartlets, lemon bars, and purchased iced cookies and candies.  Hanging flower bud tubes dressed up the zebra-print backdrop.
Fabulous party, Chris!  Thanks for sharing!
April 20th, 2010 |

Earth Day: Dinner Party

earth day dinner party ideasEarth Day is the perfect opportunity to invite a few friends over for a dinner party inspired by nature and your local farmer’s market.  Bring the outdoors inside by creating a table setting full of white dishes and natural elements, such as bark and potted plants.  I love the idea of using coasters of bark under your typical hurricane candles…..and you can add a pop of green in your cloth napkin.

If you haven’t noticed already, I have a true love affair with cake stands.  The different heights add interest to my table and I love using them for things other than desserts!  They are perfect for a cheese plate, or to serve appetizers, for stacking sandwiches for a casual lunch….you can really think outside the box and get creative with them!  This set of three different sizes from America Retold are the perfect addition to your collection!

The fresh vegetables at the farmer’s market (or my local Whole Foods) gets me really excited to start cooking fresh, spring-y meals again after the long midwest winter!  For this particular dinner, I would serve an English pea & ricotta tart, artichokes with bearnaise sauce, a crown roast of pork with rosemary, and fresh limeade to drink.

Images: invitation (minted.com), tablesetting (rebeccathuss.com), butterfly party favor (projectwedding.com), cake stands (the party dress via opensky.com)

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April 19th, 2010 |

Bridal Shower: Pretty Peach & Crisp Celery Green

I have been a busy bee this weekend working on some custom inspiration boards for clients.  Everyone is having showers!  Baby showers, couples baby showers and a few bridal showers thrown in for good measure.  The board above was done as inspiration for my husband’s aunt – so I figured I could share it with all of you!

She is hosting a bridal shower at a restaurant in Ohio – the restaurant has a strong palette of peach and celery green.  So I decided it was best to work with the color palette, instead of fighting it!  The custom invitation from WH Hostess (not listed on the website yet, but if you are interested, e-mail me!) sets the tone for a fresh, summer afternoon.

Keeping the table setting fresh and light, I suggested centerpieces of peach peonies and greenery done in white footed bowls.  A placecard embellished with ribbon is placed on each guest’s placesetting, and pear bellinis are to be served during lunch!  A bridal shower is the perfect opportunity for a dessert table.  Not only does it add a sophisticated “decoration” to the event, but it’s a great activity for the guests to partake in while the bride is opening her gifts.  This dessert table from Amy Atlas is the perfect inspiration for our peach and green color palette.  Fill candy jars, apothecary jars and footed bowls full of green, white and peach candy.  Mini cupcakes, cake pops, sugar cookies, macaroons can be served on white serving platters, plates and cake plates.  Create a “tree” using greenery and some flowering branches to use as the centerpiece for this table.  Have guests write a note to the bride offering advice for her marriage.  The notes can be hung on the tree – it will become a “wishing tree” for the bride and groom.  Make sure to have cellophane bags (with a coordinating sticker on them) and people can fill them up with candy to bring home.

The ideas for this party could be used for just about any type of event – a special birthday party, a baby shower or a bridal shower.  What I love about it is that they are simple, and can be used at either a restaurant or in a home.  Good luck, Aunt Jane….hope it’s a beautiful party!

Images: lattice invitation (whhostess.com), centerpiece (stylemepretty.com), pear bellinis (realsimple.com), candy party favor (brides.com), placecard (marthastewart.com), dessert table (amyatlas.com)

 

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