July 12th, 2009 |

Happy Birthday To Me!

Sherbert Balloons (josevilla.bigfolioblogI’m taking today off to celebrate my 30th birthday!  Yup, ya heard me….30…..it sounds old!

I spent my 20′s figuring out who I was, what my dreams are…..had an amazing college experience, met friends I hope I will have forever, had a pretty amazing dream job, found my love for entertaining, and most importantly met (and married) prince charming.  Can’t wait to see what the 30′s bring!  Cheers!

Happy Birthday To MeImages: girl with balloons (josevilla.bigfolioblog.com), candles (inmagine.com)

July 3rd, 2009 |

Birthday Party: Crisp Summer Style

Navy and Yellow Birthday Party

I know I have been doing a lot of parties centered around red, white and blue this week…..it must be my patriotic side coming out!  So to switch things up, how about a birthday party with a blue and yellow color palette?!

There are many occassions worth celebrating in life, and a major milestone birthday is one of them.  I, myself, will be celebrating one of those next week (which one I won’t tell you, I have to keep you guessing about some things, right?!).  So, if your significant other,  good friend, or parent is celebrating a milestone this year…..plan a party they won’t forget!

I became obsessed with the navy blue and yellow color palette recently when I saw a couple of weddings posted on Style Me Pretty with this very combination.  It just screamed summer to me – kind of nautical, kind of preppy, but with a modern feel.  If you haven’t checked out these weddings – you should definitely head on over there for some great inspiration!  As always, I think you could take any of these ideas and apply it to whatever type of party you might be planning – a birthday party, a dinner party, or even a bridal shower.

Invite your guests with this stylish invitation from Wedding Paper Divas.  I love the simple grid pattern; it’s a detail you can repeat throughout your event to bring continuity to the party.  Notice how the cake has the grid pattern as well, but this time in a tonal, white butter cream frosting (yum!).

Set your tables with navy linens, and pop in accents of white and yellow in a beautifully gift-wrapped centerpiece.  Not only is this a festive idea (especially for a birthday party!), but it’s also much more economical than a large floral centerpiece.  Choose some coordinating, patterned wrapping paper, wrap up old boxes you have sitting around your home, stack them up in an interesting group – and voila!  Festive and inexpensive!

Frames (smp)

I am a firm believer in place cards! Whether your party is for 8 or 80 people, place cards add a touch of novelty to your place setting, and they enable you to seat your guests  in a place where you can ensure they will have a good time.   If your party is on the larger side, arrange your place cards on a table outside of the dining room to make it easy for your guests to find their seats.  Don’t forget to decorate that table; it sets the tone to your guests as to what to expect from the rest of the evening.

Paper goods, good stationary – I love it all!  And I spend a lot of my day looking for new ideas and products, but it is rare that I fall in love with an idea the way I have with this concept!  What an elegant, yet modern way of presenting place cards!  I absolutely swooned when I saw it on Style Me Pretty, and just had to get it up on the website as quickly as possible!  White linens, white and navy patterned place cards, a few votive candles….simple enough!  What really makes this table look new and interesting is the use of ornate, wooden picture frames.  Glass removed, spray painted white, frames in different shapes and patterns.  The result is stunning and I can’t wait to try this at one of my parties!

Don’t forget to send your guests home with a party favor to remember the evening.  New to Beau-Coup, these cocktail infusion favors don’t just look chic—they taste good! Add one, two or all three flavors to your drink menu to create an array of cocktails or give them as party favors.  You can even personalize the labels!

Images: invitation (weddingpaperdivas.com), navy dress and place card display (stylemepretty.com), wedding cake and table setting (instyleweddings.com)

July 2nd, 2009 |

Rainy Day Topiaries

Umbrella Topiary

These bright and cheery topiaries are perfect for a rainy day brunch or a summer bridal shower!  All you need are two styrofoam topiary forms (overall height 18 inches with 6-inch-diameter globes) and a box of paper umbrellas.

A couple of tips:

  • Insert the umbrellas in a partially open position to make the finished piece look textured and 3-dimensional.
  • Inserted all of the orange, pink, and yellow parasols first and then “cover up” the areas between them (where the globe shows through) with green parasols.
  • To add a finished look to the stem of the topiary, wrap it with a length of ribbon, pinning it into the styrofoam at the top and the bottom.

These topiaries look bright, cheery, and very summery! Unlike real topiaries, these will only cost $10 to make the two.


Umbrella Topiary How Tovia Craft Stylish

June 30th, 2009 |

4th of July: Dinner Under The Stars

Dinner under the stars (small)

Images: table under the tent (via Passion for Parties by Carolyne Roehm), red drinks (gloriawongdesign.com), berry dessert (foodportfolio.com), flower and stripe plates (kate spade via macys.com)

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 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 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 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)

June 19th, 2009 |

Dinner at the Beach

Dinner at the Beach

Dinner at the beach….isn’t that what summer is all about?!

If you have a beach house, the “dinner at the beach” is easy enough!  If you don’t live near water, invite some friends over for a casual summer dinner alfresco this weekend (with a beach theme, of course!).  Create a casual, yet put-together outdoor space that will have your friends toasting your inner “Martha Stewart!”  Set up a sitting area complete with the typical comforts of an indoor living room – pillows, lanterns with candles to create some mood lighting, a bowl of flowers or fruit on a table – make it an extension of your home.

Serve dinner on your patio table – no linens necessary, just a centerpiece of fresh flowers or pots of grass to give it that casual, beach feel.  Add a special touch to your place setting by tying a personalized tag to a starfish, and slip it into your napkin.  Make sure to add  some votive candles or small lanterns to your centerpiece to give an additional glow.

I’m always looking for new dishes to try…..top of my list for this weekend?!  Coconut shrimp with lime, served with Mojitos!

Images: starfish napkin (theknot.com), outdoor living room (potterybarn.com), table (coastalliving.com)

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