January 12th, 2010 |

Lunch with The Girls

spring lunch with the girls

I don’t know about you, but the holiday season was so full of family dinners, trips to see the in-laws, decorating, wrapping, and baking….it left little time for me to catch up with all of my girlfriends!  So – I am making an effort to catch up with all of them this week.  And if you feel the same, consider hosting a little lunch….during the week, if you are home while the kids are at school, or this weekend when you are work-free.  Whatever you do, keep it simple, light and all about catching up with your friends.

If you are looking for a few ideas for your menu, I suggest a peach nectar spritzer (non-alcoholic), a warm spinach salad with seared scallops, and a few colorful macaroons for dessert.  Light, spring-y, and colorful…exactly what I am craving these days!

Images: kitchen (styleathome.com), napkin (weddingchannel.com), dishes (williams-sonoma.com)

January 11th, 2010 |

Chili Cook-Off!

chili cook off party

When it comes to entertaining a crowd during the winter months, potlucks are an easy fix….everyone brings something, so it helps take some of the stress off the hosts.  Put a new spin on a potluck dinner party, and host a chili cook-off!

This invitation from Tiny Prints is perfect for our theme!  First things first, find out how many couples/families wish to bring a chili.  Once you have a few chili’s scheduled, ask the rest of your guests to bring some accompaniments, such as cornbread, a salad, and some desserts.  (don’t forget to have toppings for the chili’s too….bowls of shredded cheese, sour cream, oyster crackers will be a welcome addition to the main course)

I went in search of some new chili recipes and found more than I can possibly try making this season.  But for those of you that are looking for some delicious recipes…..try a beef and butternut squash chili, black bean chili, chunky two-bean and beef chili, chili en croute, white turkey chili, and my personal favorite, Barefoot Contessa’s chicken chili.

Keep your decorations simple….set up a large buffet table with lots of small bowls and spoons (so people can sample all of the different chili’s).  Instead of a big centerpiece, float a bunch of votive candles down the table in between the pots of chili.  Carve out peppers (red, yellow, orange and green would be very festive!) and use them to hold your votive candles.  To make this cook-off a bit competitive, assign each chili a letter or number.  Create a score card for your guests to rank each chili based on their color, texture, aroma, flavor and heat.  Rachael Ray Magazine has made that part simple for you, and created a darling scorecard template for you to use.  Click here for the download-able template.

A chili cook-off is the perfect activity to do with friends on a cold, Sunday afternoon….  Now, I have told you my favorite recipe, what’s yours?!

Images: party scene, score cards, and pepper votive candles (rachaelraymag.com), invitation (tinyprints.com)

Tiny Prints is a preferred sponsor of The Party Dress.  For information on advertising, please click here.

January 8th, 2010 |

Pepper Design Blog

I was so excited to wake up this morning to an amazing post on The Party Dress over at Pepper Design Blog.  Morgan’s write up was incredibly sweet – and I am honored to be a part of her Friday Guest Blog Series.  Head on over to read the full article, and spend a little time on PDB while you are there!  Morgan has a great collection of ideas for decorating your home, DIY projects and entertaining.

(Oh, and if you want to check out other guest interviews – click here to read interviews by Abby of Style Me Pretty, Jenn of Hostess with the Mostess, and Kim of The TomKat Studio).

January 8th, 2010 |

DIY: Fabric-Covered Ball Centerpiece

fabric covered ball centerpiece

I’m constantly on the search for a unique centerpiece idea for my home or upcoming parties.  On any given day, you can find a large bowl of something on one of my coffee tables….depending on the season, it could be full of lemons, apples, moss balls, ornaments….but boy, do I have a new idea!

This concept of making your own fabric balls first entered my radar when I saw Eddie Ross make them to decorate Kathie Lee Gifford’s house this holiday season.  He tore up old plaid shirts and wrapped styrofoam balls with them, filled bowls, hung them off garland.  Darling!  I love that it’s a new idea, but still kind of looks cozy, like something you would find in a country home.  Check out Eddie’s full post for directions on how to make them here.

Love the idea for Christmas.  But now, I have found inspiration all over….3-5 inch balls covered in bright, spring-y fabric (a bowl full of these would make the perfect centerpiece for a baby shower or birthday party!), 1-2 inch balls covered in fabric and used as vase filler for an apothecary jar, or tall vase.  You can keep the edges looking frayed, you could cut them with pinking shears for added detail, or you could created textured balls like the ones pictured above.

I love the look of these, and you can’t beat the price point for a centerpiece!  Head on over to your local craft/fabric store for some inspiration!

Images: plaid balls (eddieross.com), pink and zebra balls (bhg.com), mini balls (partyoffive.com), textured balls (knittygrittythoughts.com)

January 7th, 2010 |

DIY: Party Photo Display

I was over on Make Merry! Event Design’s website today drooling over some images in their portfolio, and came across this darling idea.  What a unique way to show pictures of family weddings…..but can’t you picture this idea tweaked for a child’s birthday party?  Or a bridal shower, showing pictures of the happy couple?!  Or a graduation party, showing pictures of milestone events in your child’s life?!

I could go on and on….needless to say, I love this idea and can’t wait to incorporate it into a party!  Head on over to Make Merry! Event Design for even more eye candy…

January 6th, 2010 |

Movie Night

 

 

With a few more long, winter months ahead of us, coming up with indoor activities can become a challenge!  Especially if you are trying to entertain families in your home….

Movie Night is an excellent way to entertain both the young and old.  Invite your guests with this cute invitation from Tiny Prints.  Make sure to include what your feature film will be for the night.  (hint: if you want to entertain the kids and adults separately, set up two TV’s with different movies)  Pottery Barn has a great party planning feature you should check out for ideas, too….

We all know the best part of going to a movie are the treats you get at the concession stand!  Set up a spread that will have everyone talking…instead of putting out a bowl of popcorn, take pages from the newspaper (even better if they are the movie time listings!) and wrap into a cone shape to fill with popcorn.  Perfect for kids and for individual servings for adults so that you aren’t dealing a lot of hands going into one bowl.  Wrap hot dogs with tissue paper so they are easy for people to grab.  If you want to “dress them up”, add a ribbon around them or a paper bow tie.

Ice cream.  It’s a party favorite, yet so difficult to serve!  If it sits out on a table, it melts.  If you keep it in the freezer, people forget about it.  Pottery Barn is the genius behind this idea….fill a large bowl with ice and the tub of ice cream.  It will keep it cool and look pretty on your table, too.

We will certainly be having a few movie nights at my house in the next few months.  What about you?  What indoor activities/parties do you have in mind?

Images: invitation (tinyprints.com), popcorn and ice cream (potterybarn.com), hot dogs (bhg.com), cupcakes (elenis.com)

Tiny Prints is a preferred sponsor of The Party Dress.  For information regarding advertising, please click here.

January 5th, 2010 |

White Bridal Shower for Spring

 

Once the holidays are over and the Christmas decorations come down, I absolutely crave Spring!  A clean, fresh-looking space, vases of Spring flowers throughout my house, and I immediately start thinking about any Spring parties I may be hosting.  With summer weddings so popular, Spring is a busy time of year for bridal showers.  I love the idea of a party completely done in crisp white, with a few accents in green.  It’s fresh, clean and oh, so sophisticated!  Perfect for the style-conscious bride in your life.

Although we are keeping the color palette clean by focusing on the color white, I absolutely L-O-V-E this green chandelier invitation from Minted.  I think the combination of the color green and the sophisticated chandelier are totally unexpected….and I love it!

Layer your table setting with different elements in white.  Crisp, white linens, basic white dishes, and white vases or pitchers full of white peonies, hydrangeas, or tulips.  To add a pop of color to your table setting, place one of these darling topiary tree placecard holders from Beau-Coup at each place.  You can also add a simple detail to your napkins, such as inserting a small, green leaf into the napkin ring.  Simple, natural touches like these all add to make a beautiful table.

As a fun surprise for a tea-drinking bride, order these personalized tea tins as party favors.  You can customize the label for your specific occasion – they make a darling reminder of a special day!

Images: white centerpiece (brides.com), la via 18 dress (saksfifthavenue.com), invitation (minted.com), napkins (inmagine.com), topiary placecard holders (beau-coup.com), table setting (theknot.com), tea party favors (beau-coup.com), pastries (cannelle-vanille.blogspot.com)

 

Minted.com wedding invitations

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January 4th, 2010 |

Butterfly 1st Birthday Party

butterfly birthday party ideas

Once the Holidays are past us, I love looking towards Spring!  The glitz and glam of the Holiday decorations leave me yearning for clean, fresh, simple decorations that scream Spring.  If you have Spring birthdays in your family, now is the time to start planning!

Butterflies are the perfect theme for a Spring birthday party.  This darling invitation from Tiny Prints sets the mood for a whimsical party full of stylish details.  Using shades of green, purple, pink, and a touch of blue as your color palette, define your party space by hanging these charming butterflies over the table.  Create a simple table setting by placing a small vase of flowers atop green dinner plates. (the vase of flower serves as a darling party favor too!)

butterfly birthday party ideas

Continue your decorations throughout the party by incorporating natural elements, such as grass and leaves.  I love using boxes of grass as centerpieces for a party! (click here to see how I have used them before)  To switch up the hanging decorations, try wrapping styrofoam balls with green raffia, or moss wire.   Insert a few flowers, or wire butterflies for a little extra touch!

Chocolate butterflies are a festive addition to either a birthday cake or cupcakes.  They are very simple to make (click here for full instructions) and will add a “wow!” to your party.  Carrying the butterfly theme throughout will give your party a cohesive look….from invitations, to decorations,  to your party favors.  I love, love, love this display idea for your party favors.  Classic containers are presented on glass cake plates covered with moss.  Add in a few wire butterflies and your guests will be charmed by this whimsical display.  Dress up your containers with personalized labels that coordinate with the darling invitation.

This butterfly party is the perfect way to welcome Spring and a festive way to celebrate a special birthday!

butterfly birthday party favors

This party was featured on Project Nursery today…..have you checked out their new site?!  Head on over there to view the new features, and to see more party inspirations!

Images: hanging butterfly decorations (landofnod.com), table setting (brides.com), invitation (tinyprints.com), hanging ball decorations (brides.com), cake (theknot.com), tutu (etsy.com), party favors (hotessblog.com)

Shop by Personality at The Land of Nod

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December 30th, 2009 |

Winter Cupcake Bar

It’s no secret that I am a sucker for both plaid and cupcakes.  So it’s no surprise that this idea from Southern Living literally made my head spin with ideas!

Although tartan plaid is typically associated with Christmas, I think you can use it all winter long.  It’s the perfect accent to transition your home from Christmas decor into “winter” decor.  Try using pieces of fabric to wrap your serving pieces, as shown in the picture above.  It’s is simple additions like this that really take your party up a notch!

A cupcake bar is a simple concept that could be used for any type of party – a kid’s birthday party, a holiday party, a baby shower.  Simply present your undecorated cupcakes with piping bags full of frosting, and cups of sprinkles. (don’t forget to color-coordinate your sprinkles to your party theme!)

December 23rd, 2009 |

Baby Shower: Persimmon and Olive

 

The months following Christmas can be kind of dreary, the weather almost depressing!  I don’t know about you, but this is when I start to CRAVE color!  If you are hosting a baby shower during these months, opt for a bright, colorful theme.  Today’s inspiration is full of persimmon orange and lime green (with a few accents of yellow for good measure!).  Sophisticated decor and details will make this an event all will enjoy!

Invite your guests with this invitation from Minted.  It’s cute and simple….and it works perfectly with our color palette!  Keep your decorations simple…a stunning wreath on the front door or over a mantel, monochromatic centerpieces done in shades of orange.  Keep your details simple and your color strong.  As a unique touch, create a hanging placecard that can attach to the back of your guest’s chair.  It will add an unexpected element to the chair, and open up your place setting for an interesting napkin treatment or room to place your party favor on their plate.

Don’t forget to carry your color theme throughout the entire event….especially dessert!  Have your pasties made in coordinating colors to create a stunning affect!

Images: yellow wreath (inmagine.com), invitation (minted.com), chair placecard (bhg.com), party favor (styleathome.com), champagne cocktails (amberkarsonevents.com), orange centerpiece (brides.com), cake (theknot.com)

 

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