November 18th, 2009 |

Holiday Appetizer: Goat Cheese Ornaments

cheese ornaments

LOVING this appetizer idea from Better Homes and Gardens!  An updated version of  everyone’s favorite cheese ball…..done in mini-size to look like Christmas ornaments, and served in a footed bowl…..yummy and pretty!

Ingredients

  • 1 8-ounce package cream cheese, softened
  • 6 ounces semi-soft goat cheese (chevre) or crumbled feta cheese
  • 24 pickled jalapeno pepper slices* or small pimiento-stuffed green olives, well drained
  • 1/2 cup dried red sweet pepper, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup snipped fresh cilantro
  • 1/3 cup chopped toasted pumpkin seeds

Directions

1. In a medium bowl stir together the cream cheese and the goat or feta cheese until smooth. Cover and chill for 1 hour.

2. Using a rounded tablespoon of the cheese mixture, form it around a jalapeño slice or green olive, completely enclosing the pepper or olive.** Mixture will be sticky; moisten hands as necessary. (Chill mixture if it becomes too soft to handle.) Place shaped balls on a shallow pan. Cover with plastic wrap; chill for 1 hour.

3. Roll one-third of the balls in the red sweet peppers, one-third in the cilantro, and one-third in the pumpkin seeds to coat, leaving some white showing. Cover and chill at least 1 hour or up to 6 hours. Serve with picks. Makes 24 appetizers.

*Note: Hot peppers contain oils that can burn eyes, lips, and sensitive skin, so wear plastic gloves while preparing them and wash your hands thoroughly afterward.

**Note: For smaller balls, use a rounded teaspoon of the cheese mixture and omit the jalapeño slices or pimiento-stuffed green olives. Shape into balls.

November 18th, 2009 |

Christmas Decor: Ruby Red with a touch of Lime Green

Red WreathsWhen it comes to Christmas decor, there is no combination I love more than red and lime green.  I love the accent of the lime green up against the Christmas tree, the contrast when paired with deep ruby red.  It makes me happy.

Image via Better Homes and Gardens

November 17th, 2009 |

Parties by WH Hostess: The Frog Prince

Today’s featured party is a real show-stopper!  The Frog Prince, aka Caleb, turned 1 last week…..and his parents (with the help of Auntie Kelly) threw him a birthday bash fit for a little prince!

Caleb’s nickname has been ‘Frogger’ ever since the womb….so in our minds, there was no other theme to even consider!  Sarah (Caleb’s Mom and one of my best friends) wanted to host a party that was cute and playful, and just as much fun for the adults as it was for the kids.  The paper goods from WH hostess set the tone and the color palette for the party, focusing on lime green and cobalt blue.

The buffet table was set using a lime green table runner, accented with a colorful dot trim from Organize.com.  The tiered cupcake stand was the focal point of the table, flanked by boxes of wheat grass that we added colorful daisies to in order to get a little color.  The cupcake stand was a basic white stand by Wilton, that we added ribbon and scrapbook paper to to “dress it up!”  The guests all ate cupcakes for dessert, which were decorated with three different cupcake toppers….except for the top cupcake….that one had the very special frog prince candle on it!

The birthday boy had his very own smash cake – which he didn’t really smash – more like tasted, and then fed cake to his mom and dad!  Sarah ordered Caleb a frog-covered fabric party hat with a big number 1 on it from etsy.com to wear for the cake-smashing…..and he did wear it (long enough to get a few darling pictures)!

 

Caleb’s cousins were in attendance at this party, so we wanted to make sure to give them their own special table….their table was set with a balloon centerpiece, frog sippy cups (that we jazzed up a bit with some polka dot ribbon), and noise blowers.  This is a simple, and inexpensive centerpiece idea……tie a few balloons to a Mylar covered balloon weight, and insert a personalized sign that ties in your theme.

The kids favorite part?!  The goodie bags, of course!  Filled with rubber frogs for the bath, bubbles, pez dispensers, rubber balls, and candy….the cellophane bags were tied with a lime green ribbon, and had a personalized tag that exclaimed “thanks for celebrating my 1st birthday! love, Caleb”.

frog prince birthday party

It was a wonderful party, full of lots of cute, colorful details….and a whole lot of love for this cute, little guy!  Happy 1st Birthday, Caleb!  I hope you had a great party…..and are starting to come down off that sugar high!

Images property of The Party Dress, invitations, cupcake toppers (WHhostess via Etsy.com)

November 16th, 2009 |

Centerpiece DIY from Amber Karson Event Planning

The very talented Amber from Amber Karson Event Planning sent us a fabulous do-it-yourself centerpiece idea today.  This concept could easily be translated for so many different themes – great for a bridal shower, baby shower, or a wedding.  See below for Amber’s inspiration and how-to instructions for this adorable centerpiece:

amber butterfly

“Re-create this lovely little centerpiece by re-purposing items you might already have around your house.  I found these candlestick hurricane holders at Pottery Barn in the clearance section.  They weren’t the color I wanted, but had the right silhouette.  I swear high-gloss white can transform ANYTHING with good bones and a $6 can of Krylon’s Fusion (the no-prep miracle worker in the world of spray paint) did the trick.  I tossed different ideas around in my head on what to “fill” the hurricane with — the possibilities are endless.  In the end, I decided on a few silk butterflies.  These ones were actually refrigerator magnets I had around and I tied them to tree sticks with floral wire (another event planner’s must-have-in-the-supply-box staple!)

Add a little moss to the bottom of your hurricane and set a floral pomander on top (click here for a pomander tutorial) to finish it off.  The great advantage to a centerpiece like this is that you can re-use the base for future events long after the flowers have wilted!”

Make sure to stop by Amber’s website for more floral inspiration!

November 13th, 2009 |

Real Party: Airplanes for Aidan

airplane birthday party

Okay, ladies….do I have a party to share with you today!  This party was created by a woman named Christine for her son’s 1st birthday.  Christine’s words really give you a feel for the day and her planning process, so without further ado…..

“I wanted to give my Aidan the world for his first birthday. I knew for a long time that I wanted to do an airplane theme. With that decided, everything just came together. Before Aidan was born, I had been to several destination weddings and a couple things had stuck out in my mind.  I loved the idea of luggage tags as a favor, and knew I wanted to create a “suitcase” of goodies for our guests.

As a centerpiece. we had “EARTH” balloons, which were provided by Ron Alvarez, and each table had a runway, created by April Neubold.   My family and I bought wood airplane kits at a craft store and painted them, to add to the centerpieces. It was hard work, but all worth it for this special day! We wanted to make sure this party could really “TAKE OFF”!  Invitations, luggage tags, coloring books, passports, tote bags and table cards were created by etsy designer Barbara Neely designs.

We went all out when it came to dessert!  Aidan’s Auntie Joann and Uncle Jonny, of San Francisco’ best ice Cream Bi-Rite, provided a special ice cream cart. We had personalized wood spoons for the ice cream, that were made by Minhee Cho from papercupdesign.com.  A candy buffet was done by Jeri Martell from www.martellsweetstop.net. The cake was done by Sonya Hong from Butterfly Cakes; it was a 3 tiered cake of strawberry and chocolate, which was a big hit!

Gift boxes for each child, ID tags, and posters were designed by Zusy Zamora of Maziette Paperie. We had a box of goodies for each family to bring home as a party favor.  They were filled with snacks from around the world, and also our family favorite, Torani Syrup in different flavors.

As I mentioned above, I truly wanted to give Aidan the world for his party….”

Photography by Matt Murillo and DMG Photography

November 12th, 2009 |

Cocktails & Cookies

grown-up christmas cookie exchange party

Okay…I have been holding back Holiday ideas for weeks now!  But, what can I say?!  I’m a planner, and if you are anything like me, you are already plotting out your Christmas decorations and party plans…..so better to see these ideas sooner rather than later, right?

This is one of my favorite ideas for the season.  It combines two great party ideas – the cocktail party and the cookie exchange – into one fabulous evening.  Cookie exchanges are typically done either as a “ladies” party or with children.  Not that they aren’t fun (and don’t think you won’t see a cookie exchange post for kids coming up soon!)….but this concept has the makings to be super fun!

Invite your guests with this colorful invitation from Tiny Prints.  Add in an extra card that asks people to bring a cookie to share, and have them tell you what type they will be bringing when they RSVP so you don’t have 15 different chocolate chip cookies out on your buffet!

The decor for this party should be focused around the cookies.  Set up a buffet table with different serving pieces to house the cookies – cake plates, platters, tiered serving dishes.  You should have a stack of small plates, either china or paper, and napkins for people to use while mingling.  Knowing that you will have a TON of cookies on hand – have small paper boxes and ribbon set up at the end of the table, so people can bring some home with them.  I think it would be darling if you did a personalized label to put on the boxes too – saying something like “Cocktails & Cookies at The Smiths 2009″.

There are so many fabulous cookie recipes out there…..and I am sure I will be sharing some with you in the near future.  I love decorating sugar cookies each year, and although I try, my cookies just don’t turn out as beautiful as the ones above!  You can find them at Eleni’s, and they do ship – perfect for a cookie party or a hostess gift this season!

Images: decorations (bhg.com), drinks (brides.com), invitation (tinyprints.com), cookie buffet (elenis.com)

November 11th, 2009 |

Wedding Inspiration: Shades of Grey

Baby Breath (small)

I am just getting back in town from a lovely weekend away with my husband….in trying to get my ducks in a row, I realized that I didn’t schedule a post for today!  Sorry!  So, here is a bit of wedding inspiration to get us thru today.  I have been loving the use of grey lately – it’s the perfect compliment to so many colors, and so sophisticated when paired with white for a wedding!

Has anyone seen any great grey combination parties or table settings lately?

Images: wreath (stylemepretty.com), cake (thecakegirls.com), table setting (aperfectevent.com), bridesmaids (loveandsplendor.com), cheese display (toddevents.com)

November 10th, 2009 |

Sneak Peak: The Frog Prince Party

Frog Prince Sneak Peak

Life has been pretty busy lately….work, website (lots of new stuff coming soon!), new house to decorate, and I am helping one of my best friends plan her son’s first birthday party.  Little Caleb was nicknamed “Frogger” from the start…so we thought it was only appropriate to have a Frog Prince theme party!

You’ll have to survive on just this little sneak peak for now….but let me tell you, this theme is coming together beautifully!  So many little details…I can’t wait to show them to you!  The party is this weekend – so stay tuned for more pictures and lots of great ideas next week!

Images property of The Party Dress

November 9th, 2009 |

Color Me Happy Art Party

 

If your child is a budding Picasso or Monet, throw an art-themed birthday party.  Invite your guests with this colorful invitation from Minted. This party is all about color and art activities….so make sure you ask your guests to bring an art smock (or an old shirt from Dad will do) to wear.

Infuse your party with color….especially the food.  Serve trays of veggies – bright red peppers, orange carrots, green broccoli.  Red Hawaiian punch served in a big punch bowl.  And a colorful dessert buffet that will make the children squeal with delight!  Bowls of colored M & M’s, rock candy, solid color lollipops.  For the birthday cake, buy (or bake) a large sheet cake with plain, white frosting.  You can have the kids decorate the cake using the M & M’s – challenge them to see how artistic they can make it!

There are so many options when it comes to activities….depending on the age of the children, and how messy you want your house to get!  I would pick up one of the  pipe-cleaner kits from Land of Nod.  The kids can make anything and everything with pipe-cleaners.  Glasses, hats, sculptures….sky’s the limit!  Another idea is to make a special wall in your child’s bedroom by wallpapering  it using a “empty frames” wallpaper.  Each child can draw a picture on the wall and your child will have her very own art gallery in her room!

 

art party crayons

LOVE.  LOVE.  LOVE this idea.  Ask the kids to all bring bags of their broken crayons….you know they all have them!…chop them up into small pieces, mix them up, and bake them into new crayons.  It’s a fun activity and you can bag them up for the kids to bring home as a party favor.

Directions: Heat the oven to 250 degrees.  Using a mini-muffin pan, fill each mold with assorted colors of crayon pieces (paper removed) and bake until the crayons melt, about 10 to 15 minutes. (Tip: Place a sheet pan under the crayons to catch any drips). Once they’re cool, remove the crayons from the pan and smooth any rough edges by rubbing them on a knife.

An art party is perfect for a creative child.  Have fun with it!

Images: crayons napkin (theknot.com), invitation (minted.com), colored pencil centerpiece (rachaelraymag.com), paper garland (magchuck.com), dessert buffet (makemerryevents.com), art supplies (queensmamas.com), pipe-cleaner kit (landofnod.com)

November 6th, 2009 |

Real Party: It’s a BOY! Baby Shower

 

I was sent these pictures from Heavenly Blooms, a floral design firm located in Orange County, California.  They put together a beautiful baby shower – the perfect combination of “baby-sweet” and “mama-sophisticated” that I love so much – and I hope you take away a few fun ideas for your next baby shower!  Here is a little description of the party from Jaclyne at Heavenly Blooms:

“We at Heavenly Blooms love baby showers! It’s the perfect occasion to be creative and have fun for a very special “little” reason.  Our theme for this shower was simply BABY. We incorporated everything baby, but with a boyish, preppy edge.  The shower luncheon was held at a private Southern California estate on a beautiful spring day, so we used a color palette of yellow, apple green, and shades of blue with lavender accents.

The place card table was adorned with black and white baby photos of the Mama & Daddy to be…as well as the baby’s first “picture” (an ultrasound image).  Place cards were printed on baby blue, green and cream harlequin patterned paper and placed in a silver frame. The table centerpieces consisted of three different styles – floral arrangements in material covered square vases, wheat grass clusters in silver mint julep cups, and floral paves in silver mint julep cups. Other table decor included hand painted wooden blocks, small rubber ducks and hand painted wooden trucks. We used custom-built, hand painted wooden boxes that looked like baby blocks that made quite an impression – they stood over 7 feet tall !!! They were placed all over the party area and were accented with stuffed animals. Floral pomanders were hung inside of the white umbrellas providing shade over the various buffet tables.”

I just love those hanging floral pomanders, don’t you?!  For more inspiration, check out the Heavenly Blooms gallery and blog.

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