October 21st, 2014 |


party favor coneAs you know, this season I have partnered with Friskies and Petsmart to throw a fabulous Grumpy Cat themed Halloween party for my friends and family.  In the last couple of weeks, I shared a very simple party decoration that makes a big impact for very little effort.  Check out my paper fan halloween decorations here.  My meringue ghosts and pumpkin soda bottles were a hit last week – and oh, so simple to create.  And this week, I’m back with two simple DIY projects: a candy corn paper cone for party favors and a glittered initial pumpkin!

Every party needs a coordinating party favor, right?!  Whether you are gifting candy, sweets, or small trinkets, these candy corn paper cones are simple to create and just darling in little hands!  I’m supplying you with the template for both the cone and the cat gift tag.  You can download them here:

template for blog postInstructions:

Cut out the template and fold into a cone shape, matching edge to edge.  Place a paper clip at the top, holding the two edges together.  I used my hot glue gun, but if you are doing this project with small children, I would suggest craft glue or double-sided tape.  Attach the two edges together and allow to dry completely, before gluing a loop of ribbon onto the inside of the cone to act as a handle.

glitter pumpkinIt’s no secret that I love a good initial/monogram – so why not jazz up your pumpkins?!  You’ll see how I use these darling glittered pumpkins at my party next week.  But for now, I figured I would show you just how simple they are to create!

pumpkin stepsUsing craft glue, I drew the letters onto my small pumpkins.  (PS – I think this would make an AMAZING monogram on a big pumpkin.  I might have to get on that this week….)  Once the glue was on the pumpkin, I covered it with silver glitter, making sure to get all of the edges.  Afterwards, I shook off any extra and then let them dry overnight.  It’s that simple!

I’m gearing up for my big pumpkin carving party next week.  If you would like to carve the perfect Grumpy Cat Pumpkin (or “Grumpkin”).  Friskies and Petsmart were kind enough to provide us with a downloadable template to make that part a snap. You can join the fun by downloading the Grump-O-Lantern stencil available at PetSmart.com/friskies and uploading images of your personal Grump-O-Lantern, including the #Grumpkin hashtag and #ThePartyDress hashtag.

pumpkin stencil

Friskies will donate $500 to PetSmart Charities on behalf of the blogger whose audience uploads the most #Grumpkin images.  Don’t forget to tag #ThePartyDress, too!


October 16th, 2014 |



Baby showers can be elegant and fun, but one thing is always missing: the baby! Why not follow a Southern tradition and celebrate after the little one’s arrival? A Sip & See is the perfect way to toast the whole family.

invitationHere are a few of my tips when hosting a Sip & See:

WHEN TO HAVE IT: Host a casual open house after the baby is a month or two old. Schedule it during a non-meal time, with a start and finish time (2-5pm) so the family’s day won’t be too interrupted.

WHO TO INVITE: Local friends and family of the parents and grandparents. If a grandparent lives out of town, they may host one to introduce the baby upon his first visit.

INVITATIONS: Most baby shower invitations can be customized for a Sip & See. Make sure to include both the baby and parents’ names on the invitation.  We love our new anchor party invitation!

DECORATIONS: Unlike a baby shower, we encourage you to keep the focus on the baby! Select a simple color palette and repeat it thru your serving dishes, simple floral arrangements and party favors.

FOOD & DRINK: Set-up a self-serve bar and buffet table with simple nibbles on it. Bite-size appetizers and desserts are perfect for an afternoon treat. In addition to champagne, make sure you have a non-alcoholic punch or drink dispenser full of fruit-infused water.

DSC_0619DSC_0321COUTURE COOKIES: Work with a cookie designer to create coordinating, personalized sugar cookies for your Sip & See. They make a lovely addition to your buffet table, and can also serve as a darling party favor.  These darling cookies are by Flourish Sweet Shop.

book 2
cardsACTIVITIES: Since toasting the family should remain the focus of a Sip & see, gift-opening typically doesn’t take place. Encourage guests to leave little notes of encouragement for the parents, or wishes for the baby. These can be placed in a small album as a keepsake for the family.


October 14th, 2014 |


meringue ghosts introAs you know, this season I have partnered with Friskies and Petsmart to throw a fabulous Grumpy Cat themed Halloween party for my friends and family.  Last week, I shared a very simple party decoration that makes a big impact for very little effort.  Check out my paper fan halloween decorations here.  Today, I am back with a couple ideas for creative food and drinks for my party.

First up, my meringue ghosts!  I think these are going to be a hit and look so sharp on my dessert table at the party.  They were fairly simple to make, you just need to get your meringue to the correct consistency.

ghost stepsIngredients

3 egg whites, room temperature

3/4 cup of sugar

1/8 tsp cream of tartar

candy “eyeballs”

Step 1

Preheat your oven to 200 degrees, line a baking sheet with parchment paper.  Combine the egg whites and cream of tarter into the bowl of an electric mixer, and beat until frothy.  Slowly add in the sugar a little bit at a time.  Once it’s combined, increase the speed on your mixer to high and beat until stiff peaks form (about 5 minutes).

Fill a pastry bag fitted with a large tip.

Step 2

Pipe your ghosts onto the baking sheet, squeezing out a thick dob at the bottom and then pulling the meringue up to a point at the top.  Note: be careful not to make your ghosts too tall or they will have difficulty standing up.

Step 3

Add your candy eyes to the meringue ghost and then place in the oven to bake until dry (about 1 hour).  Turn the oven off, crack open the door and let sit for 1-2 hours, or even over night.

They were really so simple to make and I believe will make a fabulous addition to any Halloween celebration! More to come on my dessert table in the next week or so.  But, to go along with my festive ghosts, I figured we needed a cute drink too!

pumpkin drink bottlesI always love serving individual bottles of drinks at parties.  It’s festive and somewhat hands-off for the hostess.  For my littlest guests, I wanted to spice up my basic plastic drink bottles to coordinate them with the Halloween theme.  What’s more “halloween” than a pumpkin?!  Because I use these bottles frequently, I didn’t want to do any type of permanent decoration (ie. paint, permanent marker, etc).  Instead, I opted to cut out shapes from black electrical tape, and arranged them on the bottle to look like a pumpkin face.

pumpkin drink detailSo simple!  They make a big impact when filled with orange soda, and you could also cut out ghost eyes and fill them with milk!

Now, I have filled you in on my party decor, my meringue ghosts and my festive pumpkin soda bottles. Next up in my party planning is carving the perfect Grumpy Cat Pumpkin (or “Grumpkin”).  Friskies and Petsmart were kind enough to provide me with a downloadable template to make that part a snap. You can join the fun by downloading the Grump-O-Lantern stencil available at PetSmart.com/friskies and uploading images of your personal Grump-O-Lantern, including the #Grumpkin hashtag and #ThePartyDress hashtag.

cat food

Friskies will donate $500 to PetSmart Charities on behalf of the blogger whose audience uploads the most #Grumpkin images.  Don’t forget to tag #ThePartyDress, too!


October 7th, 2014 |


grumpy cat halloween party decorationsToday, I am so excited to announce my partnership with Friskies and Petsmart to throw a Grumpy Cat themed Halloween party for my friends and family.  Have you ever seen The Grumpy Cat?  He’s HILARIOUS and my little friends LOVE him.  So I was thrilled with the opportunity to design a party that I know they will get a kick out of.  Over the next three weeks, I am going to share my tips and ideas for throwing this theme party.  I hope it inspires you to throw your own party!

suppliesI want to create a simple DIY party decoration that fills up some blank walls and is theme appropriate.  I came up with these simple paper fan decorations.  Using basic supplies and a little creativity, you can take a plain paper fan and turn it into a black cat, a pumpkin, a red devil…the options are endless!  For this Halloween party, I think the black cat and pumpkin are just perfect.

Here’s how to do it:

Gather up your supplies: paper fans, solid color scrapbook paper for accents (eyes, nose, mouth, ears, etc), scissors and double-stick tape.

Open up your paper fans, and cut out your accents from the scrapbook paper.  I chose to do ears, eyes and a nose on my cat, and a stem, eyes and mouth on my pumpkin.

diy stepYou can secure your accents with double-stick tape, or glue if you wish for them to be more permanent.  And voila – they are complete and ready to be hung as party decor.  Simple, inexpensive and quick to make!  My kind of party decoration! 😉

tableNow, if you are interested in planning your own Grumpy Cat party, the first step is to visit PetSmart.com/friskies to download the exclusive Friskies Grump-O-Lantern pumpkin stencil.  Your kids will get such a kick out of carving a Grumpy Cat pumpkin (or a “Grumpkin”!). Upload and share your Grumpy Cat pumpkin carving masterpiece to their site or any social media site using #Grumpkin and #ThePartyDress.

Friskies will donate $500 to PetSmart Charities on behalf of the blogger whose audience uploads the most #Grumpkin images.  Don’t forget to tag #ThePartyDress, too!


October 6th, 2014 |


When it comes to party crafting, there are so many options for making your special day extra festive and theme appropriate.  When discussing events with clients or blog readers, the questions I get asked the most often are about dessert table backdrops and photo booth backdrops.
I partnered up with Epson to bring you two creative, and simple to execute backdrop ideas using their latest projector.
dessert table 1Planning a birthday party can be a daunting task when you want to present a stylized dessert table.  Using a projector and my free image download, you too can create a stunning piece of art to bring your dessert table up to the next level.  And, the great thing about this project, is that you can color coordinate your backdrop to your individual party.
Here’s how I did it:
I plugged my laptop into the Epson PowerLite Home Cinema 2000 and pointed it at a wall that I had cleared off and hung a large sheet of white craft paper. Using the dial on the lens, I was able to adjust the size of the projected image – ensuring that it was the right size for my specific needs.  I should tell you that it was so simple to use, and only required one cord to plug in my laptop (you could also use a smart phone or tablet).
I used paint to create my backdrop, but also use markers or colored pencils.  It’s also a great project to do with your kids.  Following the projected image on the wall, I painted on my first coat of paint.  Once I allowed that to dry, I removed the paper from the wall and laid it flat before painting on a second coat to get those really vibrant colors you see in the photo.  The projector made it so simple to create a festive backdrop – and much more cost-effective than printing a large scale poster.
painting birthday backdropDSC_0513
Here are some creative ideas for styling your dessert table:
dessert table 4
I love styling a colorful dessert table that could be used for any type of birthday celebration.  When working with a color palette that includes more than 3 colors, I suggest grounding the table with all white linens, cake stands and serving pieces to really let the colors of the candy pop.
Since Halloween is rapidly approaching, I thought it would be fun to create a festive backdrop that could be used for a modern-day photo booth.  Hosting a party this month?  This is such a fun addition, and kids and adults alike will enjoy posing for funny photos in front of it.
painting pumpkinI followed the same steps for this backdrop as I did for the birthday one above.  I scaled the size of this one to be about 4-5 feet tall, so that my little friends could pose in front of it.
painting the pumpkin backdropHere are some cute shots of the kids posing in front of the backdrop:

halloween backdrop
It turned out so fun, right?!  So, here’s where you get busy….
Download the free printables HERE and use in conjunction with your favorite projector (we LOVED working with the Epson PowerLite Home Cinema 2000) to create your masterpiece.  And….if you hurry, you can enter to win your very own Epson projector.  Click HERE to head over to explore the Epson site and enter the sweepstakes.

This post was sponsored by Epson, but the opinions expressed in it are all mine!

September 18th, 2014 |


classic yellow monogram pram baby showerThe launch of our special issue BABY by WH HOSTESS brings a ton of new ideas to share with you!  One of them is this new party collection, our Monogram Pram collection is perfect for the classic Mama-to-be and comes in four different color ways: pink, blue, yellow and blue & pink!

With this collection, we share ideas for a sophisticated yellow dessert table full of candy from Candywarehouse.com, a darling craft activity for guests and one of our favorite baby shower traditions: a gorgeous wishes for baby card!

dessert tableDSC_0274DSC_0285DSC_0273candywishes for baby cardblocks

September 17th, 2014 |


digital magazine about baby showersThe birth of a new baby (or a brand new stationery collection!) is an exciting time that deserves to be celebrated in style.  The Party Dress Magazine is pleased to launch a special issue full of gorgeous inspiration for all things baby.  From planning baby showers, sip & see’s, and baptisms, to gift ideas, recipes, advice for photographing your newborn, etiquette for selecting birth announcements and writing thank you notes, to ideas from your favorite bloggers on how to create traditions and modern heirlooms with your family, this issue is gorgeous and full of very happy occasions.

It also showcases the products from the new BABY by WH HOSTESS collection of birth announcements, stationery and baby shower party goods.

Join us in celebrating our new “baby!”

collection magazine









This issue features contributions from some special ladies.  Katie Gierke of Kathryn Hastings Photography shares her tips for photographing your newborn, Melisa Fluhr and Pam Ginnochio of Project Nursery share ideas for the perfect baby shower gift, Vana Chupp of Le Papier Studio shares a unique idea for creating a modern heirloom, and some of your favorite bloggers share their family traditions in hopes to inspire new ones for your family! (thank you to The TomKat Studio, Project Nursery, Pizzazzerie, Kate Landers Events and Swanky Chic Fete)

This issue and collection of paper goods was inspired by the birth of my first child in late 2013. This little love has brought so many happy occasions into my life this last year, many of them documented in the issue.  Each event, milestone or happy occasion brought about a need for stylish paper goods….thus the BABY by WH HOSTESS collection was born.  It will continue to grow, but for now – I hope you enjoy this new collection that oozes that fresh baby look and feel. Classic gingham checks, soft stripes, sweet baby monograms – all done in my signature style offered on birth announcements, stationery, baptism invitations and the most gorgeous collection of baby shower invitations and party decor around.

July 22nd, 2014 |


entry alexandrafront of houseOnce upon a time, in a land far, far away (or maybe just down south in Houston), a sweet little princess and her mom asked me to help them plan a princess party full of shimmering details, and oh so much fun.  And OH, SO MUCH FUN we had with this party! We decided on a pastel palette of pale pink, icy blue, yellow and lilac, and used a princess silhouette and our custom patterns throughout the whole party.

The photography by April Pizana is gorgeous and captures the beautiful the details of the party.

entryWhen guests arrived, they were greeted with two princess towers made out of balloons flanking the front door, with a pennant-style welcome sign.  The foyer held a lush, ombre rose centerpiece and guests were immediately invited into the “Fairy Godmother’s Dress Shoppe” where they “shopped” for dress-up clothes, magic wands, jewels, crowns & tiaras, etc.  The table was set up like a stylized dessert table, with a custom-designed fabric backdrop. There were Princesses milling about, and face painting each of the guests.

dress shoppe

tiaras dresses tutuscrowns

The kids table was set with a custom blue striped table runner that we custom designed with the princess silhouette on each end, white Chivari chairs that were accessorized with colorful stars, and a centerpiece that was to-die-for: dense rose vases (wrapped in gold glitter paper), held ribbon-wrapped poles and a pennant banner that soared above the table.  Milk bottles were dressed up with glitter washi tape, and each placesetting held a “make-your-own-necklace” kit on our cello bags with custom toppers.


kids table round tableGuests were treated to a delicious lunch buffet, set up in the dining room.  Decor included a large princess silhouette cling on the mirror, large rose centerpieces in white urns, and coordinating food tent cards and napkin ties.

family room



dining roomnapkin rolls

The dessert table stole the show!  The table was draped in pink satin, and flanked by two oversized pink balloons with hanging tassels.  The custom fabric backdrop featured our pastel star pattern and Alexandra’s name with a glittered crown. A princess cake stood center stage, flanked by cookie “magic wands”, cupcakes with fondant gold crowns atop them, candy necklaces and bracelets, colorful macarons, crown sugar cookies, and various candies.  The table was accessorized with our coordinating Cake Plate Clings, food tent cards and candy jar tags, as well as pink striped bags with our princess sticker for guests to fill to the brim with candy to bring home.

dessert tablesweetscandycandy necklacescupcakescookies

cake table

A horse-drawn carriage was the ultimate surprise and gave the children rides around the neighborhood. The party not only turned out just beautifully, but it also created such a magical experience for the children!

princessesThis pastel princess collection is one of my new favorites!  The full collection is available in the shop here. You can find the full list of vendors and resources to recreate this party listed below.


Party Design, Invitations and Decorations, Cake Plate Clings and Fabric Backdrops – WH Hostess
Cake, Cupcakes, star wand cookies, and crown cookies – Cakes by Gina
Candy – Candy Warehouse
Macarons and cotton candy marshmallows – Petite Sweets
Tutus – Halo Heaven
Tiaras, crowns, swords, star wands, rings and necklaces – Oriental Trading
Balloons – Balloon Masters
Photography – April Pizana Photography


July 15th, 2014 |


nautical party ideas from Kelly Lyden's book, Stylish Kids' PartiesWhen the weather heats up and summertime approaches, I’ve got one type of entertaining on my mind….and it always has a nautical theme.  I don’t think it’s a secret that I love a crisp red, white and blue color palette.  Throw an anchor, crab or lobster in there and I just about die and go to heaven.  So when it came time to pick the classic themes that I wanted to include in my book, Stylish Kids’ Parties, a Nautical themed birthday party was a no-brainer.

signature listingStylish Kids’ Parties makes it a snap to plan, design and execute festive kids’ parties that wow adults and thrill little ones! Filled with 12 creative and colorful party ideas, my book shows you how to confidently tackle party preparation by using color palettes and themes that carry through–from invitations and decorations to party favors and treats. Complete with DIY tips, recipes, projects, themed activities and templates, you’ll love these party ideas for boys and girls, first birthday celebrations, baby showers and holiday gatherings.  You can purchase the book thru Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or a signed copy thru WH Hostess.


I’m excited to share a few of the ideas today from the Nautical Party chapter in the book.  Classic, preppy and perfect for a boy or girl – this party has some simple DIY party ideas that you can recreate in a flash.

nautical invitation horizontal bannerThe book includes a bunch of fabulous templates that you can use to create these projects. A nautical party invitation, a maritime banner, anchor accents, stickers and gift tags, sails and the recipe for my sailboat rice krispy treats.  It’s a great resource!

I love serving milk & cookies to kids during a birthday party!  Don’t you just love the striped cookies that Sandy from Firefly Confections made for us?  The stripe is the perfect nod to the Nautical theme, and instead of doing a traditional anchor or sailboat shape, we opt’d for the #4 to celebrate the birthday boy’s age.

food sailboat rice krispyIt also includes some great ideas for activities to keep kids entertained during the party, such as a sailboat race!  And also some simple ideas for infusing the nautical spirit into your party details, such as tying a lifesaver candy to your napkin rolls to look like a lifesaver float!  These ideas could be used for a birthday party, pool party or even on a nautical-inspired tablesetting for a summer dinner party.sailboat silverware rollsThe book is laid out in a beautiful and easy-to-use way, full of DIY tips and instructions for recreating the ideas shown.  Here is an example of my DIY water buoy paper lanterns:

nautical buoy diy project

I hope these classic ideas have helped to inspire your nautical party!  Pick up a copy of the book for even more party inspiration for kids’ birthday parties and baby showers.

And if you love the nautical look, check out our Mod Nautical party collection, anchor lucite tray, anchor ceramic mug, and darling chunky notepads!

June 18th, 2014 |


INTROAs part of our new BABY by WH HOSTESS collection, I’m pleased to introduce the Preppy Animals Baby Shower collection!  A crisp color palette of navy blue, kelly green and hot pink is paired with preppy stripes and a darling green animal silhouette pattern to create a collection that is party-ready!  This collection is also available in a navy blue, kelly green and turquoise version for boys, and we also think it would make a darling birthday party.

invitation on plate horizontalGuests were invited with this preppy, swiss dot party invitation.  A bold tablesetting greeted the ladies to an afternoon of fun: a navy tablecloth, white dishes, napkins made from our green animals silhouette fabric, 4″ striped ribbon and a vase full of GORGEOUS hot pink peonies.  The vase was accented with our monogram Centerpiece Cling with the parents-to-be’s monogram for a personalized touch.

preppy animals centerpiece clingplacecard cling close-up

I decided to forgo classic paper placecards, and used our brand new Placecard Clings. They come printed with your guests’ names and can be placed on water or wine glasses – the best part is that they temporarily attach without adhesive.  Part placecard, part wine charm…and perfectly preppy!

table overhead

I served up a sparkling cocktail: prosecco mixed with a little limoncello, with a few frozen raspberries floating on top.  Refreshing, delicious and simple to create a “mocktail” for the mama-to-be with similar flavors (lemonade and sparkling water!)

cocktailTo entertain my guests, I passed out a fun little baby shower game: the mama/baby animal matching game. We also filled out sweet “Wishes for Baby” cards, that were sent home with the parents-to-be. Available in the party collection, they matched our theme perfectly!

game horizontalGuests nibbled on cupcakes for dessert while the Mama-to-be opened her gifts. I displayed them on a cake stand dressed with our green animals Cake Plate Cling, and placed a coordinating food tent card on the table for added decor.

cake standcake plate clings

The Preppy Animals Baby Shower & Party Collection has a variety of coordinating Cake Plate Cling patterns available, and I absolutely love the fresh, preppy color palette.  These patterns are fabulous for dressing up your sweets any time!

party favors straight onGuests went home with a little box of shimmer gumballs, embellished with a frilly ribbon and coordinating thank you sticker.  These items, along with MANY more from this collection, are now available in the shop!

preppy animals category

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