Inspiring Celebrations Since 2006

Spiced Pumpkin Desserts + Walnut Tartlets

spiced pumpkin layer cake

Feel a Thanksgiving-day sweet tooth coming on? These fall-friendly treats would make for a very happy ending to any turkey-day meal…

thanksgiving pumpkin desserts

Pictured above:
Spiced Pumpkin Layer Cake (at top)
Pumpkin Spice Bundt Cake with Buttermilk Icing
• Spiced Pumpkin Mousse Trifle
Walnut Tartlets (YUM!)

Enjoy!

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Thankful for: Quick & Easy Table Decor

modern Thanksgiving table

If you’re looking for an easy & affordable way to dress up the Thanksgiving table in a pinch – just head to the scrapbooking aisle of your favorite craft store! The best thing about this concept is that you can tailor the look of the table to whatever your favorite paper pattern might be…

modern Thanksgiving table

• This “Funky Thanksgiving” table features a fun retro-mod paper pattern and bright chipboard leaf silhouettes from American Crafts™. (more…)

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Bright & Contemporary Fall Centerpieces

modern thanksgiving centerpieces

I’m loving these super colorful and unique fall centerpiece ideas from BHG.com… perfect for a modern thanksgiving table.

Pictured above:

• Bountiful Basket: several colorful dried fruits and veggies displayed in a linen-lined basket

• Zen Gourds: large red mums and golden gourds displayed in modern rows on a sleek square tray

• Sunflower Runner: various sizes of red and yellow sunflower blooms really stand out on square white appetizer trays, like this set from Crate & Barrel. ($22.95/set of 12)

• Flowers & Fruit: large red mums & orange kumquats spill out from a pedestaled urn.  (For a very modern take on this concept, I like the idea of painting the urn a glossy white before creating the arrangement.)

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Real Weddings: Natural & Organic-Inspired Wedding Reception

rustic fall winter wedding

Even though weddings are usually done on a much larger scale than at-home parties, the level of creativity that goes into the receptions makes them a wonderful resource for drawing inspiration & ideas from for everyday celebrations & holiday parties as well, even if you just emulate a few of them or modify the ideas to fit your budget.

rustic fall winter wedding

For example, this gorgeous wedding reception, which was designed by event planner Beth Helmstetter (who you might remember from the fun & unique “Eclectic Baby Shower” we featured earlier) – has some great inspiration for fall or winter celebrations – from Thanksgiving to Christmas to bridal showers or engagement parties held this time of year.

rustic fall winter wedding

Read on for the details, as told by Beth, as well as lots of “Style Steal Tips” at the end of the post… (more…)

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REAL PARTIES: High School Musical 3

high school musical party

The super-creative Robyn Bomar from Mix Mingle Glow recently created a fabulous “High School Musical 3” themed party that I’m sure would make lots of girls VERY HAPPY! Robyn’s party was actually held outside of a movie theater to celebrate the release of the new movie, but you could re-use these ideas anytime for a fun HSM-themed birthday party!

INVITATIONS:

high school musical party

For the invitations, Robyn created official “VIP Passes” with all the party details written on the back, then tucked them into tins filled with red, white, and gold m&m’s, and a small card asking guests to arrive in their “East High red and white” to show some spirit! (more…)

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Let’s Plan a Party: Woodland Fairy Birthday

fairy birthday party

This post is kind of a reverse on the usual style – instead of featuring ideas, I’m hoping that you guys wouldn’t mind sending some over this way!

I’m helping some friends put together a first birthday party for their daughter on short notice, and mom is looking for a Tinkerbell-inspired “Woodland Fairy” theme. The party will be in a backyard setting and there will be both adults and kids ranging from 1-8.

I designed a digital invite for her yesterday that shows the general look & feel we’re imagining for the party (address info has been changed). If you have any fun ideas for themed activities for the kids, decorations, desserts, shopping resources for fairy themed decorations, etc – please let me know… I’m pressed for time these next few weeks and any help would be greatly appreciated!

Also – the birthday girl’s dad is a photographer, so we should be able to capture the end results and post them after the part to help inspire future “fairy party” hostesses!

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Creative Fall Florals

fall centerpiece ideas

I’m constantly impressed by the level of creativity out there when it comes to working with flowers!  Here are a few inspiring ideas for your fall table…

This first idea (pictured above), comes from a fantastic book called Party Basics for New Nesters and was created using 1″ wide orange masking tape in vertical strips on a simple glass vase filled with burnt-orange dahlias.

Pictured below: a few gorgeous ideas from the brides.com “Flowers of Fall” photo gallery…

fall centerpiece ideas

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Simply Stated: 10 Pumpkin Cocktails & Desserts

thanksgiving pumpkin cocktails and desserts

Today over at Simply Stated: check out a list of 10 tempting Pumpkin Cocktails and Desserts for Thanksgiving!

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Cool & Quirky Entertaining Finds from A+R

modern entertaining gift ideas

Shopping for an entertaining guru that already seems to have everything? Chances are good that you’ll still be able to surprise them with one of these clever, outside-the-box gift ideas from A+R Store:

Pictured above: Pewter & Glass Animal Shot Glasses designed to balance on their nose and antlers/ears when flipped upside down!

modern entertaining gift ideas

Pictured above:
Pasta Bowl & Server – comes with a creative serving spoon that flips back and forth between a 3-leaf shape perfect for grabbing noodles and a 6-leaf shape perfect for smaller pasta and sauce. ($125)
Ice Orb – vertical ice tray that chills, serves, and stores! ($16)
Mr. & Mrs. Jones Citrus Juicers – teatime whimsy + modern minimalist flair! ($90/set of 2 hand dipped pieces)
I Am Not A Paper Cup – white porcelain cup with silicon lid… perfect for the eco-chic coffee lover! ($20)

(more…)

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Holiday Cocktail: Hot Apple Pie

thanksgiving christmas winter cocktail

Looking for a fun way to warm up this season? This super easy – and super yummy – spiked cider recipe tastes like Hot Apple Pie…and is even better with whipped cream!

{Full recipe after the jump} (more…)

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New Photo Gallery: Alison’s Baby Shower

bird baby shower

Photos of the decor from Alison Sweeney’s baby shower are now up on the HWTM Facebook page! All the details for how to recreate the theme will be up in the baby shower themes section by the end of the month, but in the meantime, feel free to ask questions either here or in the photo gallery!

bird baby shower

For more info on Alison’s shower (hosted by Hot Mom’s Club & benefitting St. Jude Children’s Hospital), check out the Celebrity Baby Blog recap, or the previous posts here at hwtm: Shower Sneak Peek & Diaper Cake details.

alison sweeney baby shower

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SURPRISE GIVEAWAY: betsywhite

Update 11/26: This giveaway is now closed. Thanks so much to everyone that participated – I wish there were enough prizes for all of you!

The lucky person that did win the random drawing is: Comment #253, Tara N, who said “So I stop into my favorite entertaining site to look for announcements for our pending arrival and just like that I’m in LOVE with the flutter keepsake photo announcement!”  Congrats, Tara!

giveaway - betsy white personalized stationery

This NEW Surprise Giveaway comes from the fabulous betsywhite stationery boutique, which is chock full of gorgeous paper eye candy! Their designs have a wonderful contemporary-meets-feminine style to them, and you’ll find everything from chic wedding invitations and custom wedding logos to colorful party invitations, baby announcements, and personalized stationery!

This week, betsywhite is offering up a $100 Shopping Spree to a lucky HWTM reader! The winner can spend the winnings however they like at betsywhite.com. Here some examples of what you’ll find there:

Fabulous Party Invitations

giveaway - betsy white personalized stationery

Personalized Stationery…like this mod floral Bahama Note Set (available in 2 colorways):

giveaway - betsy white personalized stationery

(See more designs & details for HOW TO ENTER after the jump…) (more…)

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Pretty Fall Table Ideas from Martha

modern and elegant thanksgiving table ideas

Martha Stewart is never short on fall decorating concepts, but what I especially ideas pictured here is that while they look festive and pretty, they also seem relatively easy to put together…which means less stress for you!

Pictured above {clockwise from top left}: Ceramic Bowls & Dried Gourds, Cornhusk Votives, Leaf Plates, and quick & easy Fall Centerpiece.

modern and elegant thanksgiving table ideas

Pictured above: Leaf Hurricanes, Quick Place Card, and a fun Radishes & Turnips centerpiece.

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Cute Drink Stirrers + Spiked Apple Cider

DIY personalized drink stirrers

Here’s another super cute idea from the brides.com Orange Crush wedding gallery, perfect for personalizing fall & winter weddings or showers: hot apple cider dressed up with personalized drink stirrers and a cinnamon stick. Serve this up in see-through coffee mugs, like these cool Irish Coffee Glasses from Crate & Barrel. ($2.95 each)

Irish coffee glasses

To make the drink stirrers, print a bunch of initials on a sheet of paper on your computer, reversed out in white on a background color, then use a circular craft punch to cut them out. If you want to get super crafty, you could also paint the letters onto colored paper or use a silver, gold or opaque white marker.

To use this idea for a holiday event or Thanksgiving dinner, instead of using initials, try lining the cups up on fun serving trays or a counter top before guests arrive, and have the drink stirrers spell out a phrase like “Happy Thanksgiving” or “Merry Christmas”.

spiked apple cider recipe

Signature cocktail more your style? Instead of regular cider, try this yummy Spiked Apple Cider recipe from Rachael Ray: (full recipe after the jump) (more…)

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Oh-So-Cool Recycled Gift Wrap

recycled gift wrap by Whimsy Press

Going green never looked so good! These super stylish, eco-friendly designs by Whimsy Press are certified by the Forest Stewardship Council and printed on 100% recycled paper with soy-based inks.

recycled gift wrap by Whimsy Press

The Proud Peacock design (pictured at top) is so super cute… I think we’re going to have to design an entire party theme around it…what do you think? Of course the other designs are pretty fabulous as well…

Pictured above: D-vine Inspiration. Pictured below: Madame Butterfly and Mod Floral. Which one is your favorite? (more…)

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Modern Thanksgiving: Fall Favors & Treats

modern thanksgiving decoration ideas

In continuing our “fall-wedding-inspired Thanksgiving” series, this next post features clever fall favor & treat ideas from a beautiful, rustic-chic autumn reception.

modern thanksgiving decoration ideas

Style Steal tips for your home celebrations:

Candied apples look extra sweet when displayed on a tray of lined with crushed nuts and decorated with rose-hip berries and chrysanthemums.

Fill small burlap sacks with apples and your favorite apple pie recipe. Decorate the front of the sack with a fun label.

Decorate preserve-filled mason jars with stylish fall or Thanksgiving-themed ribbon & labels.

Fill mini favor bags with specialty trail mix (like cranberry nut by Archer Farms). Display the favors in a tray lined with the same mix!

Chances are good that you’re probably not going to whip up a wedding cake for Thanksgiving this year, but I couldn’t resist including this image because it’s just oh-so-beautiful and chocolate-y!

modern thanksgiving decoration ideas

Couldn’t resist including this next one either… and here’s a Homemade Caramel Apple recipe if you’re feeling especially inspired! (more…)

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Gilt Sample Sale: Kim Seybert

gilt

Designer Kim Seybert introduces her refined fashion sensibility and love of rich color and texture into her self-named line of luxury designs for the home. Pictured above are some of her stunning products that will be available during a Sample Sale on Gilt.com happening today at 12pm EST/9am PST. Be sure to check out other Gilt sales going on around the same time to snap up deals on designer duds!

Gilt.com is an exclusive online sample sale featuring the hottest designer clothing, accessories, jewelry and home goods available at huge discounts for a limited time. Gilt Group membership is usually by invitation only, but they have created a special VIP link for HWTM readers to sign up! www.gilt.com/hostesswiththemostess.  Happy Shopping!

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Modern Thanksgiving: Festive Florals & Colorful Details

fall wedding and party inspiration

It feels like most of the Thanksgiving-related entertaining and decorating ideas/articles I come across are very “country harvest” oriented and all start to look the same, but there are definitely some more modern, outside-the-box ideas to be found within seasonal “Real Wedding” galleries… thank goodness!

I’ve bookmarked a few cool ones to share with you over the next couple weeks, starting with this first shot of inspiration from a gorgeous autumn wedding featured on brides.com…

fall wedding and party inspiration

Style Steal Tips for Home Celebrations:

Paper lanterns in various shades of orange like mango & peach create a festive feel on a small budget!

Decorate the table with a variety of colorful orange, yellow, and green florals like calla lilies, tulips, freesia, hydrangea and dahlias. Mix them with autumn leaves & foliage for a season-specific look.

Instead of a “singular centerpiece”, create a beautiful multiple-arrangement table display. Set out one or more tall arrangements displayed in large trumpet vases, accented by several smaller arrangements  displayed in everyday glass stemware or inexpensive bud vases. (More images of this design are pictured below.) (more…)

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Simply Stated: Entertaining on a Budget – Part 2

entertaining on a budget ideas

Today on Simply Stated: check out a follow up to the “Entertaining on a Budget” article I posted over at Celebrations earlier in the year. “Entertaining on a Budget – Part 2” highlights some budget-wise ideas sent in by readers after the original post.

If you have additional tips & tricks for stretching your dollars when it comes to entertaining, please share them with us here or over at Celebrations. Something tells me people will be especially interested this year!

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SURPRISE GIVEAWAY: Charming Cards

Update 11/17/08: This giveaway is now closed. Thanks so much to all 400+ of you that entered!  And the lucky random winner is: Commenter #283 – Emily – who said “I would love the personalized fold over cards! I am getting married soon and they would make the perfect thank you cards, not to mention they have several in our colors! And the monogram stamp is awesome, I’ve become totally obsessed with any monogram details i can include in the wedding!” Congrats to Emily!

charming cards giveaway

So… while I was putting this new Surprise Giveaway post together, I decided that I’m already envious of whoever wins it because there’s so much great stuff to choose from!

Charming Cards is a super cute shop that features everything from custom stamps and Holiday Cards to personalized stationery, accessories, and gifts. This week, Charming Cards is offering up a $100 Shopping Spree to a lucky reader to spend on anything at charmingcards.com! Decisions, decisions…

charming cards giveaway

(See more products & details for HOW TO ENTER after the jump…) (more…)

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Ribbon-Inspired Holiday Decor

holiday decorating with ribbon

Ribbon has always been one of my favorite tools for dressing things up without breaking the bank. Use it to create a makeshift table runner, tie napkins, or to transform your everyday serveware or home decor into pieces that perfectly match your party theme. Example: everday white vase + red ribbon = instant “candy cane” container!

holiday decorating with ribbon

Better Homes & Gardens has a fabulous gallery called “Easy Holiday Decorating with Ribbon” that’s full of fun ideas like this! Favorites pictured here include:

Top image:
1. Ribbon Table Runner
– (Budget tip: use fabric or gift wrap paper for the widest piece)
2. Ribbon-Accented Table Setting – Another option is to put the ribbon under the main plate so that it’s only covering the charger, which won’t require removal to eat!
3. Elegant Ribbon Roses – made from 5-inch wide wired ribbon (more…)

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Paper + Buttons = Super Cute

handmade paper

I’m totally smitten with these cute handmade designs from aruricards over at Etsy and DaWanda! (The button design on the “Forever” card above would be cute idea for a DIY baby shower invitation or party favor.)

handmade paper

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REAL PARTIES: Retro Chic Bridal Shower

retro chic bridal shower ideas

This super-stylish bridal shower was designed/hosted by Alison Donahue and features the always-fabulous color palette of chocolate and blue, plus tons of pretty details like parasols, retro-chic coasters, paper-wrapped vases, and polka dots. Read on for tons of photos and a full recap, in Alison’s own words…

retro chic bridal shower ideas

“I wanted to host a beautiful bridal shower for my dear friend Merritt.  Merritt is sassy and fun so no ordinary shower was going to do it for her. A lingerie themed shower was in order!

Since her wedding colors were blue and chocolate brown I decided to incorporate them into the shower. (more…)

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Nutty Peanut Butter Caramel Bars

nutty peanut butter caramel bars

Looking for a way to sweeten up your weekend? Here’s an idea…

nutty peanut butter caramel bars

Chocolate chips swimming in caramel atop a peanut-buttery cookie crust… These Nutty Peanut Butter Caramel Bars look like a mouthful of heaven! (Good one for the holiday baking file!)

{photography by desertculinary}

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REAL PARTIES: Fabulous Fall Get-Together

fall party inspiration

We have a fabulous new real party to share with you today… just in time for your upcoming Thanksgiving & fall celebrations! This one comes from Courtney Toney of Joyful Weddings & Events, and it’s a whopper of a post with TONS of pictures – so get ready! Here goes with the details, as told by Courtney:

My husband and I decided to start the tradition of throwing a party on the first day of each new season. We love the change that the start of a new season brings: the freshness, the excitement, the inspiration! Although we do not really experience season changes much in Southern California, we still get excited for the things that each new season brings.

We kicked off our new tradition on September 21st: the first day of fall. My job was decor, favors & other fun touches; his job was the food, drinks and music.

fall party inspiration

My Cricut was my best friend for this party. Not only did I use it to cut out letters for my fall banner, it got more use than it ever has when it cut out hundreds of leaves! (more…)

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Inspiration Board: Lovely Lilac & Gray

purple lavender gray inspiration board

Hi! I’m Rebecca Goering, author of Tastefully Entertaining, a blog providing ideas and inspiration for planning memorable events.  I am so thrilled to have the opportunity to guest post for HWTM today!

I’ve been extremely intrigued by the color gray lately.  It’s sophisticated, chic and compliments so many other colors – orange, green, white, blue, pink and lilac (just to name a few).  Today I’ve chosen a palette of gray and lilac for an elegant evening bridal shower.  Though bridal showers often occur in the afternoon why not host an nighttime gathering and take advantage of the glimmer of candlelight and the energy of evening.

Pictured above:
Lovely table setting and room décor featuring gray linens, a chocolate table runner, square white plates, white candles and a lilac floral centerpiece
This gray Adrianna Papell dress is perfect for the bride-to-be
Mini cupcakes covered with white icing and flavored sugars for a unique sweet ending
Lilac celery glasses are great for floral arrangements, candies or serving desserts

purple lavender gray inspiration board

Pictured above:
lavender satin heels by Glamour Original, accented with purple stone and pearl brooches. [via theknot.com – must be logged into their site to access the original page]
Try this grape spritzer for a color-coordinated cocktail
Letterpress invitation with a lilac antique lace design and grey text by Dauphine Press
Lilac, purple and grey favors adorned with an intricate ribbon in a contrasting shade [via Elizabeth Anne Designs]
Add some ambiance with votive candles in glass globes reminiscent of vintage candy canisters [via Elizabeth Anne Designs]

***

Thanks for the gorgeous inspiration, Rebecca! Be sure to check out Tastefully Entertaining for more great mood boards like this!

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First Attempt at a Diaper Cake…

baby shower diaper cake

Since Huggies was one of the sponsors that donated to St. Jude for Alison‘s baby shower (see previous post today), I was instructed to make a diaper cake for the shower…which made sense.

The only problem was that I’d never actually made a diaper cake myself before, and when I opened the Huggies packages the diapers had blue and green Winnie the Pooh characters all over them, which didn’t exactly match the pink/yellow/chocolate baby bird theme we had going…eek!!!! (more…)

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Alison Sweeney Baby Shower: Sneak Peek

alison sweeney's baby shower

Here’s a little sneak peek of the baby shower I decorated this past weekend for Alison Sweeney, which also benefited St. Jude Children’s Hospital! Since Mrs. Sweeney (a.k.a. “Sami” from Days of Our Lives) chose this design from tiny*prints as her baby shower invitation, we went with a modern take on a “Momma Bird/Baby Bird” theme for the party.

I can’t post too many details until the story runs on Access Hollywood this Friday and in Life&Style (either later this week or early next) – so here’s a little preview for now, with full details to come later!

alison sweeney's baby shower

The main decorative elements of the theme were feather bouquets, birds, pink/yellow/chocolate scrapbook papers, contemporary white vases/pots, and decorated birdhouses… (more…)

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SURPRISE GIVEAWAY: PosePrints

Update: This giveaway is now closed. And the lucky random winner is… Commenter #44 – Caitlin – who said “Wow I love so many! black + white paisley is my favorite!” Congrats, Caitlin!

Thanks so much to everyone that entered… and if you didn’t win… don’t worry – we’ve got more surprise giveaways coming up soon! You never know when it will be your lucky day!

pose prints

We have a fantastic new giveaway for you today! And seeing as it’s already November somehow… this is giveaway is going to make a stationery-loving and/or gift-giving someone’s holiday season extra-happy!

PosePrints takes personalization to a whole new level – first you choose your favorite background design, then you’re taken to a “sketch” page, where you can choose from facial variables, hairstyles, and accessories to customize your character… or both of your characters if you pick a 2-person design!

pose prints

This week at HWTM, PosePrints is offering up a set of 50 Personalize Cards ($100 Value) to a lucky reader with the design of their choice! Card designs are available for everything from holiday cards & invitations to baby showers, bridal showers, kids parties, moving announcements, personalized stationery sets, recipe cards and more!

(See more designs & details for HOW TO ENTER after the jump…) (more…)

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Simply Stated: Rock the Party!

election day party

Is it just me or does today feel like a national holiday?! Come late tonight, it’s true that some will be celebrating more than others, but in the meantime, we can ALL celebrate the fact that we’re able to take part in what has already proven to be a historic day. Today on Simply Stated, get some creative inspiration for your own election bash!

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