October 6th, 2009 |

Napkin of the Week: Stylish Gourds


Gourds are popping up everywhere this Fall when it comes to decor for your home and table.  Add a touch of style to your party this season by carving out small gourds and using them as napkin rings.  It’s a quick, inexpensive, stylish addition to your dinner table.

Image via inmagine.com

October 6th, 2009 |

6 Must-Have Recipes for Apple Season

apple recipes

If you saw yesterday’s post on hosting an apple-picking party, you know that I have apples on the brain!  If you have ever been apple-picking before, you know that you end up bringing home far more apples than you know what to do with.  I have been on a search for some fabulous new recipes centered around our fruit of choice this month….so you will have lots of ideas to choose from to use up those apples!  There are so many great recipes out there….but I narrowed it down to the 6 apple recipes that I can’t wait to try out this Fall.

Apple, Goat Cheese and Honey Tartlets

Golden Delicious Apple and Chedder Turnovers with Dried Cranberries

Apple-Stuffed Pork Loin with Cider Sauce

Prosciutto Panini with Apples and Gruyere

Apple Cidercar Cocktail

Fried Apple Pies

October 5th, 2009 |

Apple Picking + Fireside Dinner

apple picking and fireside dinner

With Fall officially here, it’s time to partake in one of the season’s best activities – apple picking!  Most fun when done in a large group, organize a day of autumn fun that starts with apple picking and ends with a backyard fireside dinner party.

Invite your guests with an invitation from Tiny Prints, and use the autumn color palette to design the rest of your party.  Set up your party outside by concentrating on a few key areas – one long dinner table, a food buffet area, and a sitting area surrounding a fire pit.

The whole feel of the day should read rustic, country chic – like you are hosting your party in the middle of the woods!  Line your dinner table with lanterns, vases of sunflowers, and bowls of the apples you picked that day.   If you are entertaining a crowd, make it easy on yourself and use disposable silverware and paper goods.  I would use the bambu veneerware plates and silverware to work with our “rustic” theme.

Set up your food buffet under a large tree so you can hang some lanterns above it.  Serve up some traditional Fall comfort food….chicken with apples, onion and cider sauce, green bean casserole, baked mac & cheese, fresh bread, and a bunch of apple-themed desserts such as mini apple pies, apple and pear crisps and caramel apples.

Your fire pit area will be the gathering spot for after dinner fun and conversation.  Make sure to outfit it with chairs, barrels of hay for people to sit on, throw blankets in case people get cold, and a basket of supplies so the kids can make s’mores.

A fun-filled day for the whole family….I hope you have a little apple-picking fun in your future!

Images: dinner table and buffet table (countryliving.com), invitation (tinyprints.com), barrel of apples (stylemepretty.com), girl (inmagine.com), candles (realsimple.com), mini apple pies (williams-sonoma.com)

October 5th, 2009 |

Welcome, Swanky Chicks!

Hope you all had a fabulous weekend!  I want to take a quick moment to welcome our newest advertiser, Swanky Chicks.

Swanky Chicks Welcome Post Image

Whether you are a bride planning her wedding, hosting a bridal shower or baby shower, or are just looking for that perfect gift….Swanky Chicks has you covered.   They have a wonderful assortment of invitations, decorations and party favors perfect for every occasion.  It’s wedding and shower planning made easy!  Take a minute to peruse their website….and definitely check out their Swanky Blog for party tips, recipes, games and more!
October 2nd, 2009 |

Halloween Treats

I have so many fun Halloween treats to share with you today….perfect for an upcoming party, school event, or just a fun activity to do with your kids!  If you start  baking today, you might just be able to get thru all of these cute ideas by Halloween!

halloween treats

Mini ghost cupcakes are light and fluffy, and have a whole lot of personality!  These hocus-pocus hats (made out of chocolate ice cream cones) would be darling to serve at our Witches Dinner Party that was posted yesterday.  I absolutely love these witch cookies…I think it’s the green face!  Chocolate pumpkin cake would be a decadent addition to any Fall dinner party….and these tombstone cookies are a perfect detail for any kid’s party!  So many fun treats….I better start baking!

halloween treats

October 2nd, 2009 |

Inspiration: Autumn Arrangement

Munich FlowersI spent a few weeks this month working out of Germany (my OTHER job!).  I spent one weekend walking around Munich searching for inspiration.  The city was preparing for Oktoberfest, and the florists were busting at the seams with autumn arrangements.  I fell in love with the display above….the colors, the different textures, but mostly the wood containers.  I remember seeing containers like these at my local Home Goods a while back, and couldn’t figure out what to do with them…now I know!  I think this concept would be easy to reproduce in your home and would be beautiful for a Fall party.

Image property of The Party Dress

October 1st, 2009 |

Halloween: A Party Full Of Tricks & Treats

Halloween is a great opportunity to let your kids entertain their friends.  You can get them involved in the planning, and playing host/hostess for the day will make your child feel special!  I searched the web for invitations, and I have to say that Tiny Prints has the cutest selection out there!  There were so many cute ones; I had a difficult time deciding.  This candy corn invitation fits our theme perfectly!

Halloween Tricks and Treats Invitation

A holiday like Halloween makes our job easy….the color palette is set, and we all have traditional decorations that look cute year after year.  In this case however, our activities are so cute they also act as decorations!  As you know, it’s important to keep kids entertained during a party.  If the party is a couple hours long, I would plan on having 3 activities and time to eat snacks.

Create this adorable pumpkin toss game (from Better Homes and Gardens) – it’s easy to construct out of a large box and posterboard.  Then, set up a table with 1 or 2 of the build-a-pumpkin kits from Pottery Barn Kids.  Set a time limit (say 1 minute) and have kids get creative designing a pumpkin.  Take a picture of each child with their pumpkin to send to them with a thank you note for coming to the party.  For older kids, you could also have a contest for who makes the most unique pumpkin face.  The last activity I would do would be a pinata full of candy.  You could hang a pumpkin pinata from a tree branch and let the kids go to town!  Give them each a small bag to fill up with candy to bring home.

Since this party will probably be after school, you don’t need a whole lot of food.  Serve up mini candy apples (decorated with all different types of sprinkles), halloween cupcakes, and “mummy” dogs.  I absolutely LOVE this idea (again from Better Homes and Gardens)!  Take your traditional “pigs-in-a-blanket” concept, but wrap the breading a little bit looser to create the look of a mummy bandage.  Place poppy seeds in place for the eyes before you bake them.  They are so cute – the kids are sure to love them!

Halloween Tricks & Treats Pumpkins

Images: invitation (tinyprints.com) candy apples and candy corn (inmagine.com), girls (chasing-fireflies.com), pumpkin toss and mummy dogs(bhg.com), orange izze sodas (hostessblog.com), pumpkins (potterybarnkids.com)

September 30th, 2009 |

Table Topics Giveaway Winners!

Sorry everyone…I’m a little behind in announcing the winners of the Table Topics giveaway!

So, without further ado…..our winners are:

Nancy Spackman Crump who said: My favorite thing to ask people to is “If you could go anywhere in the world where would you go?” I love hearing about the different vacations that people want to take, and everyone has some dream place that they have mentally planned a trip to, even if they can’t take it. Thanks for the fun giveaway.


Tiffany Crabtree who said: Great dinner conversation is a must. A question I often ask is what’s one of your most memorable moments so far in your life. This makes them think and I usually get some pretty good stories.

Congratulations, Ladies…and thanks to everyone who participated!  Nancy and Tiffany, please e-mail me your addresses so we can ship you your prizes.

September 30th, 2009 |

The Creative Party Place + The Modern Girl’s Guide to Entertaining

Shannon from Creative Parties and Showers has launched an updated site called The Creative Party Place.  It’s absolutely darling – not only is she still showcasing great party submissions from viewers, but she has a ton of new features that are worth checking out!

I was absolutely thrilled when Shannon asked me to contribute some party-planning tips for her new website.  My Modern Girl’s Guide to Entertaining was born; it’s 12 of my favorite tips for throwing a party, and you can find it both on The Creative Party Place and The Party Dress.  Enjoy!

September 30th, 2009 |

Witches Dinner Party

witches dinner party

If you are looking for a special way to celebrate Halloween with your favorite ladies, or are hosting a bridal shower in the month of October….try hosting a Witches Dinner Party.

Set a table with beautiful, autumn-inspired decorations using a color palette of rusty orange, chocolate brown and mustard yellow.  Mix and match patterns to achieve a “shabby chic” look….try using paisley, pumpkin toile and striped napkins.  Place a mini witches broom on each guest’s plate as a place card.  Try looking at your local craft store for these, or you could try to make them yourselves (click here for instructions).

To create an interesting centerpiece, carve out a large pumpkin and cut off the top to create a large bowl.  Fill the bowl with a variety of fall gourds, and surround it with mini pumpkin votive candles.

I found a great recipe that is perfect for this party!  It’s a stuffed brie called a ‘Witches Purse‘.  Very simple to do, and it’s sure to get rave reviews!  This party is festive and a great reason to gather your friends during October.

Images: place setting (countryliving.com), witches purse appetizer (allyou.com), white pumpkin votive candles (bhg.com), pumpkin bowl (bhg.com), invitation (tinyprints.com), candles (inmagine.com)

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