February 6th, 2013 |

Mardi Gras Macarons for Fat Tuesday

mardi gras macarons dessert for fat tuesdayHere in Chicago, Mardi Gras is one of those “wish-we-were-closer-to-celebrate, but-we-are-too-buried-under-the-snow” type of holidays.  It always looks so fun and festive and is something to look forward to during the bleek winter months.  If you are in the mood to celebrate, or just looking for an excuse to throw a themed dinner party, we have ideas for tablesettings, decor and food here and here.

I came across these festive Mardi Gras Macarons from Sprinkle Bakes and just had to share them for you.  They are the perfect treat for Fat Tuesday!  Colorful and they even have a little baby hidden inside them!  You can find Sprinkle Bakes’ recipe and tips for making the perfect macaron here.  Enjoy and Happy Baking!

February 1st, 2013 |

MOD BOXWOOD DINNER PARTY | DECOR

I often get asked where I find inspiration for party ideas.  Like, daily.  Truth is, there is no rhyme or reason as to what inspires me.  It could be a book, a gorgeous party dress, or a color palette.  Today, it’s this picture of a fresh, updated interior.  I absolutely LOVE the clean lines, the black, white and grass green color palette, the brass accent, the geometric pattern, the gorgeous boxwood.  It’s the perfect inspiration for a dinner party!

When I start to plan a party, the first thing I do is gather my resources to plan my decor or tablesetting.  Here’s what I came up with for this Mod Boxwood Dinner Party:

boxwood dinner party elements

Every hostess needs a pretty party dress!  This bold check dress from Kate Spade is perfect for this event. Classic, yet updated…just like my inspiration.  The table will be grounded with my black and white Union Street china from Kate Spade, but instead of pairing it with my crystal stemware, I am going to dress it down a bit with these squared-off wine glasses and silverware from Crate & Barrel.  Using a white tablecloth as the base for my table, I am going to use these bold chevron napkins to add a pop of pattern to the table.  The brushed metal tile napkin rings from Kim Seybert add my touch of brass (inspiration was the brass door pull in the picture above!).  A few varying sizes of boxwood balls in basic white pots will serve as my centerpiece, with a few votive candles scattered around them.  And for dessert….well, we’ll talk food later.  But it will definitely be served on my favorite cake stand, with a black polka dot Cake Plate Cling.

Stay tuned for my ideas for food & drinks!

Image: inspiration shot / 1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6 / 7 / 8

January 30th, 2013 |

SEQUINS

sequin linens for partiesWhile scouring the web for inspiration for my sister’s recent baby shower, I slowly became obsessed with sequin linens.  An emerging trend in the events industry, we’re seeing them used for weddings, dessert tables and in my case, for showers.  Done in neutral colors, they are extremely sophisticated and add a touch of luxe glamour to any event.

sequin linens ivoryA monochromatic combination of ivories looks modern with the addition of sequins.  It adds texture and depth, and the sequins will reflect the light beautifully.  It’s a fabulous update to a solid linen tablecloth for dessert tables, adding a touch of sparkle under your serving pieces.

sequin linens for eventsYou can do an all-over tablecloth, or add just a touch of sparkle with a table runner.  In addition to the neutral metallics such as gold and silver, I am absolutely IN LOVE with the sequin chevron tablecloth from La Tavola.  As soon as I saw it, I knew it was the perfect “statement piece” for the dessert table I was planning for my sister’s baby shower.

sequin linens chevronI can’t WAIT until I can show you more pictures from this event.  But for now….what do you think of the sequin linens?  Have you used them at an event before?

Images via 1 / 2 / 3 / 4 /  5

January 29th, 2013 |

BABY CHIC | DETAILS of the BABY SHOWER

chic baby shower decorations for a mantelThose readers that follow along on facebook and instagram know that I hosted a baby shower (along with my mother) for my sister this past weekend.  We had SO much fun putting together a gender-neutral celebration, since the sex of the baby is still a surprise.  I didn’t want to use the traditional blue and pink color palette and my sister is not a fan of yellow.  We went with a coral and aqua blue color palette, with touches of nude, gold and silver.

I unfortunately can’t show you all of the details (even though I am just DYING to), because this shower and all of the creative DIY ideas will be featured in my book (launching this Fall)!  So I’ll have to keep you guessing for a while, but for now, here are two ideas that you can recreate for your next party:

braided ribbon garlandTo create a focal point behind where the mama-to-be was opening her presents, I decorated the fireplace mantel with fresh flowers, custom posters that I designed to coordinate with the baby shower invitation and a garland of baby onesies.  Instead of using twine or actual green garland, I very quickly braided three colors of satin ribbon together.  I loved the pop of color it added to the white fireplace and was so lightweight and easy to hang.  I will definitely be repeating this for future parties!

orange and white centerpieces and tablesetting for baby showerThe tables were very fresh and held simple decor.  I’m pretty obsessed with gorgeous flowers (you will ALWAYS find fresh flowers in my house, especially during the blah winter months) so it was a given that the tables had to hold a simply stunning arrangement.  I wanted to add a pop of color to my basic bubble vases, but didn’t want any permanent changes made since I reuse these vases all of the time. I came up with a very simple solution: glue dots and glitter.

polka dot vaseThis was such a simple project and added a sweet touch to the table.  After a quick trip to Michael’s craft store, I had removable glue dots and gorgeous colors of shimmer glitter from Martha Stewart’s craft line, and about 30 minutes to decorate 3 big vases.  I placed the glitter into a shallow bowl, and then just rolled a strip of the removable glue dots thru it.  They were easy to peel off the paper strip and attach to the vase.  The great thing about this project is that you could adjust it to any color palette and could even create patterns with the polka dots.  The dots are simple to peel off (thank god for the “removable” glue dots) so my vases were unharmed and ready for the next event.  It truly was as simple as that!

 

January 24th, 2013 |

PARTY PREP | BABY CHIC

baby shower prepThe very cold temps here in Chicago this week have ensured that I have been hibernating inside and catching up on design work and also prepping all of the decorations for our “Baby Chic” Baby Shower photo shoot (Friday) and baby shower (Sunday) for my sister!  If you follow me on Instagram, you have probably seen some of these.  But here are a few images of the prep work, and even with the horrible lighting, you can get an idea of the aqua/coral/silver/nude color palette we are using (gender-neutral) and some of the decor elements.

What do you think?!

January 23rd, 2013 |

THE MODERN PLATE WALL

I have an odd obsession with wall displays of beautiful plates.  I honestly don’t know where it comes from.  I think I like the dimension it gives to a flat wall, the ability to create a piece of art using items unique to your home.  Since our home renovation is basically done now (6 months after the fatel appliance flood of 2012), I’m left to focus on getting things back up on the walls.  New paint colors have caused us to rearrange some artwork and I’m left with a blank focal wall behind my dining room table (also faces my gorgeous new white kitchen).

I am LOVING this plate wall I found on Apartment Therapy.  I like the shape and spanse of it, but also how they mixed a few pattern plates in neutral colors in.  This may just be a place for me to incorporate the Country Estate plates from Juliska that I have been drooling over.

What do you think?  Do you love or hate a good plate wall?

January 21st, 2013 |

BEHIND THE SCENES | MAKING OF THE BOOK

sneak peek of Stylish Kids Parties book by Kelly LydenNow that the first half of my book has been turned into the publisher, I thought it would be fun to share a few sneak peeks….

Planning and executing the shoots for my first book, Stylish Kids Parties (Fall 2013, F + W Media), has been a very fun process.  Lots of hard work, but it’s so fun to think that my party ideas will be gracing bookshelves come Fall.  When approached to do this book, I thought long and hard about what message I wanted to share.  Trendy party themes?  DIY craft ideas?  After much deliberation, I decided to stay true to my roots and style: updated classics.  When selecting the party themes, I decided to take classic themes and show how to style a party for the modern hostess, so the ideas in the book will be as relevant 10 years from now as they are today.

mess of supplies

The first half of the book was shot during October and November – during our busiest holiday months at WH Hostess (and as we launched Cake Plate Clings, Inc.).  We were shooting in the morning, packing orders in the afternoon, and writing at night.  And for about a month, I didn’t know if I was coming or going!  My studio looked like a constant disaster of colorful party goods (like the shot above), and I am very lucky to have some wonderful vendors working with me on some of the details.

The best part of these shoots are getting to spend time with some serious CUTIES!  My best friends’ kids, my god-daughters and the {almost} one year old son of my friend and contributor, Vana Chupp of Le Papier Studio, were all a part of the fun!  Here are just a few shots from some of the chapters shot.

random book shots

It’s going to be such a bright, colorful, fun book….just like my job!  If you want to follow along with us as we start shooting the second half of the book, follow us on Instagram (@whhostess).  There’s a lot more party to come!

 

January 16th, 2013 |

GAME-CHANGING APPETIZERS

superbowl food ideasSuperbowl is coming up and that means everyone is looking for new appetizer ideas.  Here are three of my new favorites (or rather, new spins on old favorites) that I found while scouring the web. With universal appeal, these will appeal to guests young and old.

Mac & Cheese Cups

This is a brillant idea!  Bake your favorite mac & cheese recipe (or store-bought) into mini muffin cups to create individual servings. For the recipe, click here.

Football Pizza

Always a fan of a homemade pizza, I love the idea of creating a football topping using pepperoni.  See the recipe and instructions here.

Football Calzones

Party City came up with this darling idea.  You could make mini calzones using a football shaped cookie cutter.  See the instructions here.

 

 

January 14th, 2013 |

MOD VALENTINE’S DAY + FREE PRINTABLES

Modern Valentine's Day Party Balloon

Valentine’s Day is exactly one month from today…..it’s time to start planning your parties, classroom treats and sweet ideas for loved ones.  It’s the perfect opportunity to show your family a little extra love in the sweets department. Dessert tables have been trending for some time now and are a staple at most parties. But you don’t need to be serving a crowd of 30 to pull off a stylized table. Even if you are hosting a small party of 5, you can organize your sweets in a stylized, festive way….making your day seem that much sweeter.

valentine's day dessert table

I love the color red, so there is never a doubt that it will be the center of any of my Valentine’s Day parties. This year, I decided to update it with some bold black and white patterns: a chevron, a clover and some crisp stripes. To throw in a pop of color, I created modern conversation hearts in bright, pop colors with some contemporary sayings like “call me, maybe” and “text me”. You can download these for FREE and make cupcake toppers or string them into a banner.

valentine's day chevron cake pops

For this simple dessert table, I topped a crisp white table-cloth with a striped, square topper. The centerpiece was created by stacking cake stands and a footed candy dish together to create a tower that anchored the big, 36” balloon from Shop Sweet Lulu. The cake stands were covered with patterned Cake Plate Clings and held both cupcakes and candy. Red pots were full of tiny, pearlized candy balls, and held chevron cake pops from Sweet Lauren Cakes and darling heart lollipops from Candywarehouse.com.

valentine's day desserts

Small, 6” cake stands held jars of red gumballs, chocolate covered oreos topped with big red and pink hearts, and conversation heart cookies from Firefly Confections. Jumbo marshmallows were dipped in red chocolate and sat in striped cupcake liners. They held our darling modern conversation heart cupcake toppers. Old-fashioned candy sticks in a crisp black and white stripe fit into our theme perfectly.

heart chocolate-covered oreos

striped candy sticks

I think this table is a perfect example of creating something special for a small group, so it’s perfect for a family dinner or kids’ playdate for Valentine’s Day.

lollipops

To download the free conversation heart printables, and for more Valentine’s Day party ideas, please click on the image below.

valentine's day conversation heart free download

January 8th, 2013 |

WINTER BLUES

My home is looking sparse these days.  Now that the Christmas decorations are down, it’s time to go “shopping” in my home and redo some displays. I have been collecting blue and white china pieces – plates, jars, vases – for years now. Do you remember this party I styled centered around them that graced the cover of our first Spring Magazine? I cherish this collection and am always looking for new ways to style the pieces.

I’m really drawn to the large clusters of different-sized jars lately, like the photo below.  Mixed with some white hydrangeas or boxwood plants, it could be just the fresh look I am craving.

Images: 1, 2, 3

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