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)

April 29th, 2009 |

Safari Theme Children’s Birthday Party

Safari Party (small)

This Spring, encourage your kids to explore the backyard by throwing a Safari theme birthday party!

This easy-to-do adventure will thrill your  smallest explorers….here are a few ideas:

  • Use postcards of Africa as your invitations – write something cute, like “We are going WILD for Matthew’s 5th Birthday!”
  • To decorate your house and yard, make an animal track path throughout your house. Use black paint or markers to draw tracks on a roll of brown Kraft paper. Tape the long roll of paper to the floor so the kids can follow the animal footprints all the way to the party table.
  • Drape a mosquito net canopy from the ceiling and decorate it with toy bugs, plastic monkeys, giraffes and zebras.
  • Fill the area with clusters of animal print, brown and green latex balloons.
  • Set your food table with animal print plates, and red, orange and brown napkins and tumblers.
  • Use a large square of real or fake grass as your centerpiece – place bunches of bananas and animal crackers in the center of the table for when your hungry explorers return from their safari adventure.

You are going to need a few activities/games to keep your little explorers busy:

Enjoy the Safari…I hope your guests don’t get too WILD!

Images: kids in masks (potterybarnkids.com), goodie bags and monkey cupcakes (flickr.com), toy binoculars (orientaltrading.com), tablescape (cookiesmag.com)

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)

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