April 29th, 2009 |

Celebrate Mother’s Day on the Patio

Mother's Day on the Patio (small)

Celebrate the women in your life this year with lunch on the patio.  Outdoor entertaining can be easy – a simple menu, a refreshing cocktail and a clean, Spring-like table will set the mood for a festive day!

Set up your party out on the patio with a color palette of blue & white, with an accent of pink.  White dishes look fresh when mixed with a patterned placemat and solid napkin.  Mix together different shades of pink peonies, and tuck into a cobalt blue vase to use as your centerpiece.  You could also put a single peony into a small vase and place onto each place setting as a favor.

Serve a healthy lunch of grilled tuna with provencal vegetables, with frozen lemonade with blackberry puree to drink.  Throw a loaf of french bread on the grill to serve alongside the tuna.  For dessert – wow them with individual raspberry and chocolate tarts!

Looking for the perfect Mother’s Day gift?!

mothers-day-gifts-small

Gifts:  Kate Spade Camilla Lane vases (macys.com),  monogrammed lucite tray (dabneyleeathome.com), Tory Burch handbag (toryburch.com), Kate Spade enamel bracelets (nordstrom.com), candle lanterns (crateandbarrel.com)

Images: peonies (flickr.com), place setting (traditionalhome.com), outdoor room (restorationhardware.com)

April 28th, 2009 |

Napkin of the Week: White!

white-dishes-intro-copy

This week, I thought I should focus on the most common and readily available napkin – the crisp, white napkin.  Used for centuries, a white napkin has graced many dinner tables – both casual and formal.  You can fold it different ways, tie it with different ribbons, even lay a seasonal bloom gently on top of it.  It’s a clean palette – you can change the look of it in an instant.

The only issue with white napkins?  How to keep them clean!  All it takes is one, tiny little stain – and suddenly your crisp, elegant napkin looks old and tired!  In order to help you care for your white linens, here are a few tips that I thought might be helpful:

To launder white table linens, soak them first before washing. For badly stained tablecloths and napkins, you can use household bleach.  (But use warm water and a mild soap or detergent to wash colored and delicate white linens.)  While the linens are still damp, put a hot iron to them and continue until they are completely dry.

Napkins and tablecloths should be ironed on both sides. To iron a tablecloth fold it wrong side out, lengthwise. Iron it with the thread of the material. Refold the cloth right side out and iron it again, pressing in the center crease. Fold it lengthwise a second time, then crosswise several times without pressing the folds. One sharp crease down the center is all you want.

Iron napkins first on the wrong side, beginning with the corners and getting them properly right-angled to avoid distorting the weave, then iron them on the right side. Fold or roll as you wish.

Image via Pottery Barn

April 28th, 2009 |

The Power of White

If you are a frequent entertainer – this is probably old news for you!

I am a firm believer in having a collection of beautiful white dishes and serving pieces.  Not only do they highlight the food you are serving – but you can change the look of your table or party in an instant by using colorful linens, accent plates or glasses.  Perfect for any type of party – birthday party, dinner party, baby or bridal shower – and the serving pieces are stunning when they are all placed together on a buffet.

Here are a few of my favorite white pieces out there – and if you are looking for more inspiration on pedestal serving dishes, check out Hostess with the Mostess.

White Dishes (small)

Images: placesetting with monogramed napkin and bowl with apples (potterybarn.com), collection of white serving dishes (crateandbarrel.com), pedestal serving dishes (rosannainc.com), square plates (surlatable.com)

April 28th, 2009 |

Modern Stationery from a Hip Prepster

I absolutely fell in love with this modern stationery line called Dabney Lee.   A self-proclaimed prepster living in a hip world – she not only has adorable stationery, invitations and monogramed gifts – but she also just started up a blog!

Love the color…love the patterns…a new excuse to throw a party!

dl-orange

dl-green

dl-yellow

April 27th, 2009 |

Cinco de Mayo Cocktails

Cinco de Mayo Cocktails (small)

What better cause for celebration than Cinco de Mayo?!

Try serving up these festive drinks at your next fiesta:

1. Scarlet Margarita

2. Mango Margarita

3. Classic Margarita

4. Sangria Blanco

5. Beer ‘Garitas

6. Sangria

April 27th, 2009 |

It’s all in the Presentation…

Give an old favorite recipe a new look…

mexican-layer-dipI love, love, love this idea from Food Network….everyone has their own version of a Mexican layer dip….but wow your guests by updating the presentation.

Use small glasses as the vessel to create these individual dips.  Use a white, rectangular plate – place the dip and a stack of tortilla chips on it – and you have an instant update to one of my favorite snacks!

April 26th, 2009 |

Cinco de Mayo Celebration

Cinco de Mayo Party (small)

Cinco de Mayo (otherwise known as the 5th of May) is a day to party and to celebrate, and also a good time to get a taste of Mexican culture.  If you can gather some festive drinks, colorful decorations and try your hand at some traditional Mexican food….you can throw a Cinco de Mayo Fiesta!

If you’re going to throw a fabulous party, you’ll need to decorate. Colored paper flowers, paper lanterns, and strings of white lights in the trees are a great way to liven up any party in a hurry. Pinatas are a traditional decoration and are a fun activity for kids at the party.  The most important thing when decorating for Cinco de Mayo?!  Use color! There is nothing mild about the Mexican culture – many homes and businesses in Mexico are filled with vibrant colors such as turquoise, fuchsia, yellow, red, purple and lime green.

Here are a couple of tips for decorating:

  • Buy solid color paper plates, napkins and cups using a combination of the Fiesta colors.
  • Hang Sombreros on walls, and use them during the party for a Cinco de Mayo Mexican Hat Dance.
  • Buy piñatas to hang from tree branches or to use as a centerpiece for tables.
  • Burn chunky, vibrant candles all night.
  • Drape white lights in trees surrounding the party area.
  • Have colorful, wood maracas at each place setting – tie them together with raffia and attach a placecard.

On to the south-of-the-border menu – begin with icy cold margaritas and quacamole, a warm bowl of chicken-tortilla soup. For the main course, set up a taco bar with colorful bowl of toppings – cheese, lettuce, avocado, tomatoes, and peppers.  Serve up some grilled corn with cheese and lime on the side – yum!  And for dessert – try mixing a little margarita mix into white cupcake batter.  Decorate with a slice of lime on top – very festive!

Images: party (detailsdetails.com), margarita (williams-sonoma.com)

April 25th, 2009 |

Cocktails on the Patio

Now that the days are getting longer, and the weather is getting nicer – people are starting to socialize out on their driveways watching their kids ride their bikes and draw with sidewalk chalk.   These nice days are still few and far between….so when you have a good one – enjoy it!  Extend your day by inviting the neighbors back to your patio and serve up Patio Lemonade (via Hostess with the Mostess) and Shrimp Shooters.

Cocktails on the Patio (small)

April 24th, 2009 |

Kentucky Derby: Day in the Garden

Kentucky Derby Party (small)

For 135 years, the Kentucky Derby has been everyone’s race – from the dapper men and beautiful women, all in hats and sipping on frosty mint juleps, to the laid-back crowd who picnic on the in-field on fried chicken.

The Kentucky Derby is more than just a race — it’s an annual society event. Since the first Derby in 1875, the race has become steeped in traditions ranging from specific food and drink to proper Derby attire.

One of the best part’s of The Kentucky Derby is enjoying a lovely day outside.  Although you will be glued to the TV to watch the actual race – bring your party outside to enjoy the rest of the day in the garden.  Set up tables with bright linens, and centerpieces that are loose and colorful.  Serve a buffet of traditional southern food – fried green tomatoes, bourbon-marinated pork tenderloin, fried chicken, and blackberry & toasted pecan cobbler for dessert.

kentucky-derby-tickets-plumparty

No matter how you decide to celebrate the Derby this year – there is one tradition that everyone must do: you have to serve the official drink: Mint Julep. The cocktail consists of bourbon, mint and sugar syrup, and is traditionally served in a silver julep cup with a sprig of mint.

If you want to organize a friendly wager for the race – check out these tickets from Plum Party.

For those ladies lucky enough to actually attend the Derby, the biggest question leading up to the race isn’t in regards to who is going to win….it’s all about what outrageous hat they will be donning that day!  It’s about color, extravagance, and definitely a touch of drama!
Derby Hats (small)

Images: garden (fineartamerica.com), flowers (artfool.com), race (kentuckyderby.com), invitation (ashleybrookedesigns.com), mint juleps and food (southernliving.com), hats (latimes.com)

April 23rd, 2009 |

Creative Spring Centerpiece

I love this idea from Simply Stated…..what a great centerpiece idea for Mother’s Day, a baby shower or little girl’s birthday party!

flower-table-runner

What You’ll Need:

  • Sharp scissors
  • Drinking straws
  • 2 boxes of wheatgrass (sold in flats or boxes at health-food stores and flower shops)
  • 12 to 16 gerbera daisies
  • A pencil

For such a creative look – this is so simple to put together.  Cut the straws to match the height of the grass.  Then snip the daisy stems so they are slightly longer than the straws, and gently slide each stem into a straw.  If the straws are too narrow for the stems, slit the straws from top to bottom.  Poke holes in the soil with the pencil. Stick the straw-sheathed flowers into the holes.

Don’t forget to lightly water the soil to help the flowers stay fresh!

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