May 8th, 2009 |

Wedding Inspiration for a Georgia Peach

Today I am answering an e-mail from one of my readers….

I am in the beginning stages of planning my wedding and desperately need some help!  I am a southern belle and want to have an outdoor wedding in my home state of Georgia.  I’m looking for a color palette that incorporates the color peach – but I don’t want anything too traditional.  I want it to look fun and special!  Can you help me?

An outdoor wedding for a Georgia Peach….here you go!

 

Start with your color palette – peach, with accents of lime green, yellow and white.  It’s fresh and will look fun and modern in your outdoor setting.

Since your wedding will be outside – provide your guests with a colorful fan that doubles as your ceremony program.

In order to keep your space light and airy, keep everything white – the tent (which would be stunning draped with white lanterns!), white chairs, and white pillows on the lounging furniture.  Use your pop colors – peach, lime green, and yellow – in your accents.  A green and white stripe table cloth gives a garden feel, and orange cocktails passed by waiters, and a cake adorned with colorful sweet pea flowers complete the vision.

Since your wedding is outdoors, make sure to keep the attire in line with the dressiness of the event.  Instead of having your groom wear a tuxedo, try a tan suit with a tie that incorporates all of your pop colors.  Have the bridesmaids wear your signature color of peach – tea-length or short would be most appropriate (and the girls will be so thankful they don’t have to wear a long dress on a hot, summer day!).  Have the bridesmaids carry bouquets of crisp, white flowers – but for – you should stand out with a bouquet of peach roses!

Images: tie, bridesmaids, table setting, bouquet, and programs (theknot.com), tent lounge area (swsmag.com), sweet pea cake (brides.com)

 

May 7th, 2009 |

Farmer’s Market Dinner Party

Farmer's Market Dinner Party (small)

With the arrival of spring finally here, I am so enjoying cooking with the  light, fresh flavors of the new season. Asparagus, artichokes, strawberries – oh, the list could go on and on!   My favorite source for peak-of-season produce? The local farmers’ market.   Not only do I pick up fresh fruits and vegetables, many markets also offer locally produced breads, cheeses, other specialty foods……not to mention gorgeous flowers!  When I’m planning a Spring or Summer dinner party – it’s one stop shopping – I can pick up my ingredients and supplies for my centerpiece all in one place!

To help make your farmers’ market shopping more pleasurable, here are a few tips from Williams Sonoma:

Bring plenty of small bills plus shopping bags or baskets. Arrive early for the best selection—and to avoid the crowds. Before you buy, stroll through the market to see what’s available and to compare prices and quality. Many farmers encourage customers to taste before buying. And be sure to talk with the growers. They’re happy to introduce you to new and unusual ingredients and to offer cooking suggestions.

Farmer’s Market’s are a great place to gather fresh ingredients – but there is a way to make it even easier on yourself to eat locally and seasonally, all the while supporting farmers and taking advantage of the abundance of each season: by subscribing to a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) program.  Local Harvest is a CSA program that offers subscriptions all over the country.  Each week, you’ll get a box brimming with that week’s harvest.  No requests – you will get what is in season at that time and the selection varies from region to region and from farm to farm.  But if you like to experiment and love to try new things – this could be a great program for you!

Now that my local Farmer’s Market has begun, I have decided to host a dinner party in the garden using all fresh produce.  When you’re cooking from the farmers’ market, keep preparations simple so the garden-fresh flavors can shine.  I am going to serve a salad of mixed greens and toasted baguette slices topped with warm goat cheese, and fish fillets with asparagus and orange.  For dessert, something lemony…  stay tuned for ideas!

I love the idea of setting up an outdoor dining room – use your table as the central focus, place some throw pillows on the chairs, hang a light fixture or lanterns from the trees above the table to define the space.  Set up a bar on a garden work bench, and enhance with bowls of fresh fruits and vegetables.  Create some ambiance by decorating the space with lanterns.  A few ideas for setting the table – use cotton linens and create a loose centerpiece of seasonal blooms and fruit (have a bunch of grapes overflowing, or a few baby artichokes or lemons placed into the arrangement).  Use woven charger plates to add a natural feel to the table, and enhance your napkin with a raffia tie and fresh vegetable such as a radish or carrots.

This Famer’s Market dinner party is a recipe for success – great, healthy food, a stunning setting and good friends!  What could be better?!

Images: radish napkin (bhg.com), goat cheese salad (williams-sonoma.com), white ceramic and woven dishes, outdoor bar (potterybarn.com), garden table (artfool.com)

May 7th, 2009 |

Tangy Lemon Treats

Tangy Lemon Treats (small)

There’s just something tantalizing about the tanginess of lemon….it’s light and fresh….and I could eat an entire plate of lemon bars if you were to put them in front of me!

These tangy desserts offer an intense burst of citrus flavor that will compliment any Spring meal:

1. Lemon Madeleines

2. Lemon-Raspberry Ice Cream Bombes

3. Creamy Lemon Bars

4. Icy Lemon-Mint Parfaits

5. Marbled Lemon Tart

May 6th, 2009 |

COLOR: Bold Teal and Orchid

color-intro5

teal-wedding-inspiration

A lot of the COLOR posts I do focus on the pretty, pale colors…..not today!  Today is all about bold, bold, bold!

My inspiration today is a beautiful room I found on the Harlequin Fabric & Wallpaper website.  Harlequin is a company in the UK that offers an eclectic, elegant, and versatile range of weaves, prints and wallcoverings that will satisfy the most demanding of tastes.

Shades of deep teal, popped with orchid purple and accents of brown and white….this color palette has a stunning wedding written all over it!

White flowers and dishes look fresh up against the strong teal walls and linens – add a touch of chocolate brown by tying a ribbon on your teal favor boxes and place them on each seat.  You can also bring in the brown color and satisfy your guest’s sweet tooth by offering a lavish chocolate buffet for dessert!  Offer cellophane bags and teal ribbon to pack up some goodies to bring home at the end of the evening.  Deep shades of color, stunning accents and an evening rich in love – perfect! Teal Wedding (small)

Images: teal room (harlequin.uk.com), boutonniere and calla lilly bouquet (weddingchannel.com), table (theknot.com), bridesmaid dresses (swsmag.com), welcome sign (theknot.com), favor boxes (aboutdetailsdetails.com), chocolate buffet (brides.com)

May 5th, 2009 |

Decorate with Lanterns

Lanterns (small)

Looking for the perfect accessory to update your home this Spring?!  Look no further….the hottest accessory out there is the lantern.  Used both inside and out, lanterns add a touch of style by day and a stunning glow by night to any room.  Perfect for outdoor entertaining, you can get so creative with these!

There are so many different ways to customize your lantern-style:

  • Make a bold statement with an over-sized lantern placed on the ground
  • Use a series of lanterns lining a path or patio
  • Hang small lanterns from your umbrella
  • Play with proportion by arranging groups of different sized lanterns on your fireplace mantel or as a centerpiece on your dining room table
  • Fill the bottom of your lanterns with decorative objects such as moss, rocks, flower petals or shells and starfish for summer

Lanterns are readily available this season – different metals, colors – at all different price points.  Check out these at Pottery Barn, Resortation Hardware, and West Elm.

Images: metal lanterns, sectional with umbrella, fireplace (potterybarn.com), seating area with red pillows (restorationhardware.com)

May 5th, 2009 |

Featured in Snapshot Magazine

Snapshot Magazine (small)

This is so fun, I just had to share it with you….

The Party Dress was featured in Snapshot Magazine this month!

Check out the May issue on-line.

May 4th, 2009 |

Teacher Appreciation Week

As the school year quickly comes to an end, celebrate and thank the teachers that have made an impact in your child’s life this year.

teacher-appreciation-week

Spoil your child’s teacher with a fun, out-of-the-ordinary gift…..a monogrammed clipboard, personalized luggage tags, a festive paperweight to dress up their desk, or a cute bag to tote her notes back and forth.

teacher-gifts

May 4th, 2009 |

Spa Day Party at Home

With everyone concerned about the economy these days, people are cutting back on luxuries such as Spa treatments, yoga classes, and weekly mani/pedi’s.  It is such a shame….because everyone needs a little pampering now and again!  Take matters into your own hands, and invite your friends over for a Spa Day at home.

Spa Party at Home (small)

An ideal party for Mother’s Day, a bridal shower or to celebrate a special birthday….a Spa Day at home gives you and your friends a chance to spend the day together pampering yourselves.

First, decide on what “treatments” or activities you will have available:

  • Try calling a local nail salon to see if they have 2 manicurists that could come to your party to give manicures and pedicures.  If you can schedule your party for a time when the salon is closed…chances are the technicians would be happy to come make a little extra money!
  • Facial masks are an absolutely must!  Check out this do-it-yourself skin-brightening mask from Martha Stewart.  Made with 3 simple ingredients – it’s sure to leave your skin with a rosy, healthy glow!
  • Call a local massage therapy school to see if they have any students that might want to come over to practice their skills.
  • BYOM – Have your guests bring their own yoga mats and do a group yoga class out on your lawn.

Set up different lounging areas in your home so people can relax throughout the day – place big, bright colored pillows on the floor for people to sit on.  The use of scented candles, black stones, vases with a single bloom of orchids, and pitchers of water will help your guests feel more like they are at a Spa retreat.  Don’t forget to put out some healthy treats – trays of crudites, fresh fruit and fruit smoothies are sure to keep everyone energized.

Images: facial masks, seating area (inmagine.com), foot soak (rachelraymag.com), crudites tray (southernliving.com)

April 30th, 2009 |

Dresses that will POP!

POP Dresses (small)

Pink Fanciful Tunic by Nanette Lepore, Green Strapless Dress by Phoebe Couture, and Silk Island Floral Dress by Shoshanna (bloomingdales.com)

April 30th, 2009 |

Fuschia & Yellow Spring Party

Yellow & Pink Birthday Party (small)

Now the weather is starting to get nicer, my mind keeps filling with ideas of outdoor entertaining.  I live in the Midwest, so there are only a few months out of the year that you can actually throw a party outside.  There are just so many options – pitch a tent in your backyard, lay out blankets in the park for a picnic, hang lanterns from the trees over your patio to create a modern candlelight dinner.   I have so many ideas….and Spring has only just begun!

This inspiration could be used for any type of Spring or Summer party.  It would be a fabulous baby shower, a festive birthday party, or a relaxing lunch following a bachelorette spa day.  Or you can just use the change of season as an excuse to gather your favorite ladies for lunch outside.  Whatever your reason is to celebrate, just make sure you do it in style!

I used solid, bold colors to acheive this modern picnic – sunny yellow, fuschia pink – throw in a stripe or two and let the festivities begin!  You can create this “tent” by inserting white stakes into the ground and attaching a canopy of fabric (available by yard at your local fabric store).  Not only does it frame your celebration, but it also shades your guests from the sun!

The yellow and white stripe screams traditional Spring, but the fuschia accessories….that’s where the modern look comes into play.  Try fuschia Lucite wine glasses, candle holders, vases and serving pieces.   You can carry your color palette throughout your food too….when I think of yellow, I think of lemons!  Try serving a lemon soufle as your dessert.

I hope this post has inspired you to host your own modern picnic!

Images: table setting and flower boxes (midwestliving.com), rock candy (amyatlas.com), wine glass (target.com), stack of plates (potterybarn.com), pink drinks (brides.com), pink placecards (plumparty.com), favor box (theknot.com)

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