June 29th, 2009 |

Bridal Shower: Party of Poppies

Poppy Shower (shower)

Although put together to be a bridal shower, this happy party could be darling for a birthday party too!

Have a bride that has a beautiful style, but doesn’t love a lot of frills?!  This bridal shower is perfect for her!  With a color palette grounded in grey, and popped with green, yellow, orange and pink – this outdoor party has a few unique details that make it an event full of clean lines and happy details!

Invite your guests with this lovely invitation from Wedding Paper Divas – I love the colors and simplistic design.  A couple of ideas for decorations….set up round tables outdoors and cover with pewter grey linens.  To give the party a modern look, use rectangular, white plates.  To create these festive centerpieces, use boxes of grass (real or artificial).  Use large bloom flowers such as  poppies or gerber daisies to stick into the grass.  If you are using real flowers, just stick a piece of floral wire up the center of the stem to manipulate the shape.  It’s happy, festive and full of style….sure to thrill any bride!

Images: invitation (weddingpaperdivas.com), cake (southernaccents.com), party favor box (theknot.com), table setting (inthenowweddings.com)

June 28th, 2009 |

Dinner for 16: Country French Charm

Dinner for 16

My mother and a few of her friends recently hosted a dinner party to celebrate the retirement of a dear friend.  The party was hosted at my parent’s house, and although I wasn’t a hostess…..I hear the word party and I immediately jump on the bandwagon!  I went up to help set up for the party – and this is what we came up with.

Dinner for 16 on the patio!  My mother wanted the party to look like a country french dinner in a garden, so we set up a l-o-o-n-n-g table, and covered them in red and white check table cloths.  We used 4 lanterns as centerpieces, each dressed up with a candle, moss and a single yellow bloom.  The great thing about the lanterns is that they look beautiful in the daylight, but they set off a lovely glow at night.  The placesettings were simple – silverware was rolled in red and white napkins, each held together with a floral napkin ring.  We used her melamine dishes – a solid green dinner plate with a beaded edge, and a country french pattern salad plate.  Melamine plates are PERFECT for outdoor entertaining.  The are non-breakable, dishwasher safe, and they elevate the party to feel more like a dinner party, rather than a casual BBQ on the patio.

Dinner was served buffet style, so we set up a round table (easy for people to maneuver around) with an umbrella above it.  Okay – get ready for this – this was my favorite part of the decor!  We hung clear votive candles from the inside of the umbrella – the candles were hung on ribbons at all different heights.  Red, green, white, checked, polka dot, and plaid ribbon…..the mix of colors and patterns played into the country french theme.  The pictures don’t do it justice – it was absolutely charming!

The setting was perfect, the food looked delicious, and from what I could tell – the ladies were all having a great time!  (I had to leave after cocktails to go do a little entertaining of my own at my house!)  As you can see….the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree!  I definitely learned from the best!

Stay tuned for a great beverage idea for summer…..

All images property of The Party Dress

June 28th, 2009 |

Citrus-Infused Water

Citrus Infused Water

Okay….summer is hot!

And as much as we all love a good cocktail, glass of wine or cold beer during a summer BBQ….sometimes it’s just too hot!

Picture this scenario: You are hosting a BBQ on a hot,  sunny day, and suddenly your guests are asking for a glass of water.  Water?!  Water is so boring, right?  WRONG!  Infuse your water with slices of lemons, limes, strawberries and bunches of mint.  Not only will your guests be delighted by how delicious it tastes….they won’t stop talking about how pretty it looks!

June 27th, 2009 |

Serve it on Ice!

Watermelon Cooler (images.meredith

Is your silver drink bucket a little too fancy for your summer picnic?!  I love this idea…..cut off the top third of the watermelon (could be a straight cut, but I L-O-V-E the curved out version in the picture), and carve out the insides.  Fill with ice, stick in your wine bottles and voila!

Image (betterrecipes.com)

June 26th, 2009 |

Dinner for Three

Dinner for Three

My brother-in-law is visiting us this weekend – so it’s dinner for three tonight!  Me and two boys?!  Let’s just say they don’t appreciate the fuss I typically put into a dinner party!  So this dinner is going to be low on design but high in flavor.

If there is one thing I know they both appreciate, it’s homemade pasta…..so I am going to make capellini with fresh tomatoes and basil.    So simple to do:

Ingredients:

1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil

2 lb. plum tomatoes, seeded and diced

1 cup fresh basil leaves, cut into thin strips

Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

1 lb. dried capellini

Directions:

In a large nonreactive bowl, combine the olive oil, tomatoes, basil, salt and pepper, and stir until blended. Set aside.

Bring a large pot two-thirds full of water to a boil over high heat. Add salt and the pasta and cook according to the package instructions until al dente (tender but firm to the bite). Drain the pasta, add it to the tomato sauce and toss to mix. Taste and adjust the seasonings with salt and pepper. Divide the pasta among individual bowls and serve immediately. Serves 4.

recipe via Williams-Sonoma

June 24th, 2009 |

Swanky Soiree

Swanky Soiree

Although I am a classic girl at heart, the festive colors and modern lines of this party bring a little flutter to my heart.  Just looking at it makes me want to go pull out a flirty party dress from my closet and sip a drink poolside!  I’m going to take a gamble and guess that most of us don’t have this picturesque pool in our backyard – so let’s take inspiration from these gorgeous pictures and figure out how to incorporate some of these ideas into your own home or backyard for your next party.

Set the tone for your party by sending an invitation that reflects the image of the party – I found two that I absolutely love!  This one from Minted for it’s clean, modern lines and this one from Tiny Prints for it’s bright, festive colors.  Create a comfortable, yet swanky atmosphere by creating multiple seating areas with ottomans, chairs and small cocktail tables.  Use the color white for all of your tables and chairs, and infuse the area with bright colored pillows and floor cushions in your pop colors of royal blue, yellow, and lime green.

Don’t you just love the clean shape of this blue ottoman pictured by the pool?  I do – but I don’t necessarily want to invest a lot of money into something that I won’t use everyday!  So – get creative!  Here is how you can recreate the look for next to nothing in price:

Use a side table from IKEA ($12.99) as your base. Head to your local Home Depot or craft store for a piece of extra thick foam, and cut a piece of fabric that will fit around it.  I would chose something textured and on the thicker side, such as a cotton pique (remember, people will be sitting on this).  Glue the fabric around the cushion, and then glue to the top of the side table – and there you go, you have your own modern ottoman for around $20 dollars!

Now, let’s get to the table setting…… Create a centerpiece of brightly colored candle sticks, and small square vases of flowers.  I love these tightly packed roses – the solid color looks modern, and adding a piece of lettuce in the vase not only hides the stems, but also adds a different texture to the arrangement.  Use all white dishes, but pop the blue and lime green in your napkins.  If you can find a trimmed napkin in your specific colors, perfect!  If not, take this hint and run with it…  Use two solid napkins!  Lay them on top of each other, pull up in the center and gather with a ribbon or napkin ring – you will get the same affect!

Images via Brides.com

June 24th, 2009 |

4th of July BBQ

4th of July BBQ

4th of July is right around the corner!  Have you started planning your holiday weekend yet?!  A lot of times we forget about the little guests at parties – so today I am going to focus on tailoring your BBQ to make the kids happy!  The 4th is all about stars, stripes, flags and fireworks – so let’s talk about how to incorporate these into your BBQ.

Set up an area especially for the kids – a picnic table with kid-friendly dishes and paper napkins, and a play area with lounge chairs and umbrellas to provide some sun relief.  Pottery Barn Kids has these darling umbrellas – available in different colors and patterns, they are the perfect thing to provide a little shade and a whole lot of style in your backyard.  Put out a couple of small pools and a sprinkler for the kids to play in – but don’t forget a stack of towels!

Add a little fun to your food – take a basic pb & j sandwich, but cut out stars with a cookie cutter to add a bit of patriotic fun.  Serving cheeseburgers to your adult guests?  Make smaller versions (otherwise known as sliders) for the kids, and stick  in an American flag.  The food doesn’t have to be complicated – a little creativity will go a long way and the kids are sure to have fun!

Images: star sandwiches (bhg.com), drink bucket (inmagine.com), burgers (southernliving.com), kids on the dock (pbkids.com), picnic table (potterybarn.com)

June 23rd, 2009 |

Napkin of the Week: Orchid Love

Orchid Napkin

This napkin needs little explanation!  But I thought it was a great example of how a little ribbon and a stunning bloom can completely transform a basic napkin into something special.  Take this concept – change the colors, change the ribbon and the flower – and make it your own.

Image via The Knot

June 23rd, 2009 |

Wedding Inspiration: Shades of Green

Green Wedding (small)

I don’t know what it is about the color green – I’m constantly drawn to it!  Most people would probably say that it’s my Irish background, or the ting of red in my hair…..but in reality, I love that no matter what shade of green you choose, it is a rich color that compliments almost any palette.

When planning any event, it is important to choose a couple of elements or details to repeat throughout for continuity.  For this particular inspiration board, it’s all about the green!  Rich emerald green, accented with a lighter grass green, and popped with white – throw in a few pink flowers, and you have a striking combination.   I love using ribbons as details – notice here that ribbon is used as an accent in the programs, and the favors, and is even tied around the cookies.  The silhouettes of the bride and groom is a repeated element that gives the event a classic feel.

Images: wedding feet (katebesonphotography.com), cake (projectwedding.com), centerpiece (partyspot.com), bouquet (patricialyonphotography.com),  silhouette programs, favors and cookies (theknot.com), chandelier (toddevents.com)

June 22nd, 2009 |

Cocktails & Croquet

Croquet Party

Looking for a new idea for your next cocktail party?  Embrace the outdoors and invite your neighbors over for a Cocktails & Croquet party.  Full of festive drinks, appetizers and lawn games – this party is sure to create a little  friendly competition!

Set up activities in your lawn such as croquet, bocce ball and badminton.  Separate the areas with decorations, such as different colored paper lanterns hanging above in the trees,  or decorative signs announcing the game.  Set up two separate bars – one of festive drinks, one of delicious summer appetizers.

For the drinks, offer both alcoholic and non-alcoholic options.  I recommend a pitcher of margaritas and some white wine.  For the non-alcoholic bunch, offer iced tea and a frozen lemonade with blackberry puree served in glass drink dispensers.  These are perfect for encouraging your guests to self-serve – and are sure to become a staple at all of your summer parties.   Don’t forget the acrylic glassware (made to resist breaking, chipping and cracking)!

Since your guests will be occupied with competition, set up a buffet of summer appetizers that are easy to grab in between plays.  Some of my new favorites – caprese bites, brochettes of melon, prosciutto and mozzarella, crab cakes with a garlic-chive dipping sauce, and feta cheese truffles.  Is your mouth watering yet?!

For the hostess who is always looking for a new take on an old classic – this party is for you!  Let the games begin!

Croquet Party FoodImages: croquet clubs and action shot (inmagine.com), red drinks (styleathome.com), colorful lanterns (mintsdesign.com), yellow centerpiece (theknot.com)

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