Inspiring Celebrations Since 2006

Holiday Cocktail: Peppermint Patty

peppermint patty holiday cocktail

This Peppermint Patty “hot toddy” from the Winter 2008 issue of The Nest looks absolutely de-lish! Perfect holiday “dessert cocktail” or signature drink idea for home parties like ornament/cookie exchanges.

Read on for the full recipe… (more…)

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Table Trends at Once Wed

once wed - orchard wedding

If you haven’t been to Once Wed yet – prepare yourself for creative overload once you get there!  One of my favorite things they produce is a bi-monthly “Table Trends” post featuring beautiful and unique wedding tablescapes – and all the details on how to recreate them – on a budget of $250 or less!

Pictured above and below are images from the very first Table Trends feature: a beautiful Orchard Wedding Tablescape designed by Chelsea Fuss.

once wed - orchard wedding

Pictured below: a fabulous Vintage/Handmade Tablescape created by Laurie Cinotto. The oodles of creative details in this tablescape are truly inspiring!

vintage wedding

vintage wedding

I’m loving this easy-to-do, yet super-creative presentation idea of punched paper silhouettes on top of wrapped chocolates… (more…)

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Luscious Chocolate Cookie Recipes

chocolate cookie recipes

Calling all Choco-holics: BHG has a mouth-watering gallery up right now called “18 Luscious Chocolate Cookie Recipes“…need I say more?!

chocolate cookie recipes

Image #1: Chocolate PB Mini Sandwiches, Peanut Butter Munchies, Minty Cocoa Fudge Sandwich Cookies, Italian Chocolate-Spice Cookies.

Image #2: *Chocolate Pillows and Chocolaty Caramel Thumbprints.

*I’m thinking that anything called “Chocolate Pillows” is a must-try… especially when followed by: “Fill wonton wrappers with a buttery mixture of red wine, melted chocolate, and tart cherries; vanilla ice cream sprinkled with chocolate shavings completes the treat.” Click here for the complete recipe!

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Holly Heights by Kate Spade

kate spade holiday dinnerware: holly heights

This fabulous Holly Heights collection from Kate Spade has a festive “modern & merry” vibe. Kate’s pieces are usually a little out of my price range, but these adorable “Tidbit Plates” are awfully tempting! ($50/set of 4 at Macy’s)

kate spade holiday dinnerware: holly heights

Pictured above: Holly Heights Ornament Set ($75), Holly Heights Mugs ($75/set of 4), and Holly Heights Cake Plate ($100) – all from katespade.com

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Inspire Me! Holiday Entertaining Contest

inspire me! holiday entertaining contest

Well, today is December 1st and the holiday season is officially in full swing! Since a lot of you are on the lookout for fun holiday party ideas, we’ve teamed up with the fabulous VIVA® Diva Cafe to create the ultimate inspiration-based holiday entertaining contest!

We’re looking for images of YOUR most stylish WINTER HOLIDAY ideas – from cool centerpieces, decorations, and DIY projects to inspiration boards featuring creative holiday themes & ideas.

What’s in it for you besides the warm, fuzzy feeling that comes from helping a fellow hostess out? How about a great big SHOPPING SPREE at Crate & Barrel to the tune of $1,250 or $500, in addition to stylish entertaining essentials and more great prizes!

inspire me! holiday entertaining contest

Intrigued yet? Hope so! Click here for complete contest details and info on how to enter (it’s easy!!).

Contest starts today and ends at 11:50pm EST on Dec 16th. Voting will happen here at HWTM Dec 17-19th, and the winner will be announced Dec 23rd! Have questions? Post them here!

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Sneak Peek: New HWTM Holiday Themes

modern holiday and Christmas decorating ideas

Even though the new New Year’s Eve themes went up today, that doesn’t mean we forgot about Christmas! Here’s a sneak peek at 2 of the new themes coming to the Christmas/Holiday Party Themes section later this week…

Pictured {above} Paper + Ribbon Holiday and {below} Christmas Candy. Both of these themes focus on decorating ideas that won’t break the bank, but are still big on style!

modern holiday and Christmas decorating ideas

{Check back Wednesday for full details.}

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NEW: New Year’s Eve Party Themes

new year's eve party ideas

Hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving! I had my fair share of turkey & pumpkin pie, but another holiday was actually top of mind over here… New Year’s Eve party themes are now up on the website!

Pictured above and below: sneak peeks of the new Candlelight Countdown and Copper & Aqua Glow party themes, complete with coordinating Blue Champagne, of course!. Check everything out here.

new year's eve party ideas

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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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Daily Q&A at Carrie & Danielle

hostess with the mostess

I was really excited when Carrie and Danielle asked me to submit a question for their inspirational “Daily Q&A“, where they pose all sorts of interesting questions each day and encourage readers to answer.

My question is: Who in your own life would you give the title of “Hostess With the Mostess”? – and it’s up today! Head over Carrie and Danielle to participate in the conversation and give YOUR favorite “Hostess with the Mostess” some well-deserved props!

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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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Thanksgiving Fun & Crafts for Kids

kids Thanksgiving ideas

Will there be pint-sized guests at your turkey day table? Big holiday meals like Thanksgiving feasts and Christmas Eve dinner often take up a lot of time, and little ones can get antsy sitting at the table for so long. Luckily, kids party planning expert Lisa Kothari has shared some fun, easy tips with us on how to keep kids entertained during special holiday meals. Head over to Entertaining 101 to check it out!

And if you’re looking for some Thanksgiving craft projects to keep kids busy, Parents.com has some fabulous ideas:

kids Thanksgiving craft ideas

Pictured above {clockwise from upper left}: Friendly Fowl, Yarn Turkey Centerpiece, Napkin Buddy, and Turkey Sign. (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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Weekly Round-Up (Mini Style) + Caramel Cake Recipe

caramel cake

This week’s wrap up is going to be short and sweet…we’re hosting a dinner party for 35 at our house tonight so I’ve gotta get moving… not sure where the day’s gone already! So I leave you with a fabulous Carmel Cake recipe from Smitten Kitchen (that looks so good I wanna grab it right out of the screen!) and a few quick highlights from the week…along with promises of lots more to come next week when the full-fledged holiday madness kicks in!

Drink of the Week: Hot Apple Pie
Win it: $100 Shopping Spree from betsywhite (enter by Sunday!)
Baby Shower Inspiration: check out photos from Alison Sweeney’s Momma Bird Baby Shower
New Holiday Drinks in the Recipe Box: Vanilla Pumpkin Pie Martini, Cran-Apple Cobbler, Spicy Cranberry Punch (mocktail), and more!
Non-traditional Thanksgiving: Try a Blue & Gold Color Palette {via Tastefully Entertaining}
Modern Thanksgiving: Check out this fabulous modern mood board from Tangarang!

Have a great weekend, everyone… see you soon!

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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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Girligami + Joy by Mel Lim

Girligami book

Hello everyone! This is Mel Lim, the founder of BACE – Business & Creative exchange, a blog for JOYBYMELLIM.com.

I am thrilled to be part of HWTM blog today. Though my blog is normally about business and design, I have money-saving tips to share on hosting super fun parties for both personal and corporate events.

This idea came about when a great friend of mine Cindy Ng of Origami Bijou told me her first book on origami which just came out! Since we both started our business with limited budgets, Cindy and I discovered we are quite resourceful, very creative and produce results when we have our thrifty-thinking-hats on. Despite some people thinking we are “cheap”, I insist that we are able to make beautiful things out of nothing, learn something valuable and have oodles fun!

Girligami book

This is when Cindy’s origami book comes in handy, with 20 origami models and 96 pages of origami paper, you’ll be the host to the most creative and entertaining party! Girligami is packed with the coolest ideas for both adults and kids. Ask her why she has all these crazy ideas, she will tell you it’s because when she can’t afford a pair of Manolo, she just imagines she can fold one of her own instead!

Girligami book

Girligami is now available in stores (as of the end of October). If you love this look and have a jewelry  budget, Cindy also produces the most adorable HANDMADE gold and silver origami earrings and necklaces.

*****

joy by mel lim placemats

On the note of hosting, we at JOY recently launched our technologically advanced placemats, made from uncoated paper that is water, tear and grease resistant. The material is acid-free paper and contains 20% PCW, with designs printed in soy- based inks. (more…)

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Elf on the Shelf… or Table.

modern holiday decorations - elf candleholders

cb2‘s contemporary, cast-iron elf candleholders look super cute all lined up in the “snow” amidst fuzzy snowballs and modern glass snowmen.

modern holiday decorations - elf candleholders

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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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High-Contrast Organic Shaped Serveware

modern fall serving dishesThe graphic designer in me is loving the simple, yet striking leaf silhouette graphics on West Elm’s Organic Shaped Serveware. 13.5″ platter and 11″ serving bowl – both on sale for $19.99 each! (regularly $35)

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Weekly Round-Up + Holiday Drink Guide Sneak Peek

caramel apple martini

Can you believe we’re already mid-November?! Thanksgiving and Christmas are only weeks away! We’re working on a bunch of holiday content at HWTM right now… new Christmas/Holiday and New Year’s party themes, recipes, and gift guides are in the works… stay tuned!

One thing I’m especially excited about is an extensive new Holiday Drink Guide that will launch on our website next week… complete with photos for every recipe! Sonny {a.k.a. husband} has been busy playing bartender in our kitchen, and my simple role as official taste-tester has been oh-so-fine with me! One of the cocktails is pictured above… a rich & creamy Caramel Apple Martini. {full recipe after the jump}

And now on to a recap of what’s been happening here and around the web this week:

Thanksgiving Inspiration: Festive Florals & Colorful Details
Win it: $100 Shopping Spree at Charming Cards!
Smart Thinking: Entertaining on a Budget – Part 2… over at Simply Stated
Holiday Decorating: fun & modern Ribbon-inspired Decor
Real Party Feature: Retro-Chic Bridal Shower
New from InStyle Weddings: first edition of What’s Hot in Weddings on the Web
Gift Guide: Cool Gift Ideas for The Wine Lover {by Kim Vallee}
Shout-out: Congrats to Jane of This Week for Dinner on her first guest post over at RealSimple.com: 5 Steps to Planning Thanksgiving Dinner
Save the Date(s): Dates for the Boston and L.A. Hip Hostess events are tentatively set: January 15 for Boston and February 5th for L.A. (Boston was originally planned for December, but everything just got too hectic! We have something cool planned for January though!)

Coming up next week: New Real Party Features – (including one that should appeal to High School Musical fans!), fabulous (and long overdue!) guest posts by Project Nursery, Houses, Couches & Babies, and Joy by Mel Lim, the Holiday Drink Guide, Thanksgiving recipes, and more. Stay tuned!

{Get the Caramel Apple Recipe after the jump…!} (more…)

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Reminisce Recycled Gift Wrap

reminisce recycled gift wrap

Recycled gift wrap has sure come a long way! Here’s another super stylish example: the eco-friendly Reminisce Recycled Wrap collection, available at RadiantIdeas.net. The Chilly Dogs design (below, upper left) is just way too cute!

reminisce recycled gift wrap

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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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