Inspiring Celebrations Since 2006

A Quick Hello + Chambord Berry Sorbet

tropical zen hip hostess event

Hi Everyone!

Sorry about the missing post yesterday – I’ve literally been up to my eyeballs in tropical plants and bamboo trying to get everything ready for our very first Hip Hostess Series event tonight at Balboa Park! Looking forward to meeting some of you!! And even thought the weather is not exactly cooperating in SD today – don’t worry – we’re going to make sure it’s still nice and summery inside the room!

For everyone that won’t be there tonight, we’ve hired a photographer to take pics, so I’ll definitely be posting some of those online as soon as they’re ready.

In the meantime, I featured one of the recipes that we’ll be serving tonight over at Simply Stated: Celebrations yesterday if you want to check it out . It’s a Chambord Berry Sorbet dessert cocktail and, trust me, it’s yummy!!

Cheers,
Jenn

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Summer Cocktail: Pineapple Martini

chambord pineapple martini recipe

For those of you that caught our “Tropical Zen” segment on Fox 6 this morning – (or anyone that’s on the lookout for summer signature drink ideas!) – here’s the recipe for one of the cocktails we featured: a Pineapple Martini with a raspberry twist! It’s a quick, 3-ingredient recipe and looks super cute when garnished with a simple, very “zen-looking” pineapple leaf!

Pineapple Martini
1 oz. Pineapple Juice
1.5 oz. Vodka
.5 oz. Chambord

Shake ingredients with ice and strain into a martini glass.
Garnish with a wedge of pineapple or a pineapple leaf.

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SATC Soirée: The Cocktails

sex and the city party cocktails

As expected, the upcoming Sex and the City movie has inspired a slew of cocktail recipes around the web, and there’s much more than the tried-and-true Cosmo this time around!

Stirrings, a company that creates yummy drink mixes – which are great for making your life easier when mixing up “fancy” cocktails – has come up with some fun recipes inspired by each of the SATC gang: Samantha’s Punch, Carrie’s Cosmotini, The Charlotte, and Miranda’s Power Martini. Read on for recipes and fun cocktail garnish ideas…

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SATC Soirée: Cocktail Glasses

sex and the city party

Yes – I’ll admit it – I’ve been looking forward to May 30th for what seems like forever! But you know what excites me about the Sex and the City movie even more than the picture itself? The fact that it’s giving us a fabulous excuse to get together with the girls and inspiring all this great buzz around the web about planning girls nights and SATC soirées!

I love the idea of hosting a “pre-party” at home a few days before actually seeing the movie. No need to show up in the Manalos at this party (which is a good thing since I have yet to actually own any!) … just gather the girls, serve up some easy cocktails & takeout, kick back on the couch, and watch episodes from the last season to get everyone up to speed on where we left off with the SATC gang.

To add a festive touch to the party, “sass up” martini glasses with feathers & other girlie details. In the image above, taken at a friend’s bachelorette party, we decorated pink plastic martini glasses with black marabou craft boa, hot pink sequin trim, and craft rhinestones (all available at Michael’s). Suddenly the “regular” martinis just seemed way more fun!

What fun things are you doing to celebrate the upcoming Sex and the City premier? Throwing a party at home? Meeting for drinks with the girls?

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Grad Party Idea: Notes & Doodles

whimsy press DIY gift wrap

Whimsy Press has a great gift wrap design called DIY Design that features pre-printed doodles on one side and room for DIY doodles on the other. This design has always reminded me of the doodle-adorned notepads and kraft-paper-covered text books from high school and college years past, and it feels like a great element to inspire a girlie graduation party theme!

On the DIY side of the wrap, you can fill in the bubbles with custom notes & doodles like little graduations hats, phrases like "Congrats!" or "2008", your guest of honor’s name, and even special messages to the Grad. Use the gift wrap to cover text books, wrap vases, create table runners, etc.

This same design also comes in double-sided, pre-cut placemats for easy table top decor… (more…)

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Simply Stated: Streamlined Party Planning

mississippi mud cake

Does party planning often become overwhelming to you? Trust me, I’ve been there myself – but there are definitely things you can do to make the process easier on yourself, which I’ve learned by the tried-and-true method of trial and error! Check out my post today on Real Simple: Celebrations today for some tips on Streamlined Party Planning.

{image from Social Couture}

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Refreshing Drinks for Hot Summer Days

The weather is seriously starting to heat up in San Diego and it’s feeling like summer! We have a few outdoor parties coming up, and – while I do absolutely love to entertain outside – I always find myself worrying about how to keep guests comfortable when the temperature kicks into high gear. You want to keep your guests happy and enjoying the party – not melting in the sun, then making a beeline back to their own air-conditioned cars and houses!

Aside from passing out hand fans, turning on misters (if possible), and timing your get-togethers towards the late afternoon/evening instead of the middle of the day, one of the best – and easiest – ways to keep guests cool is to serve lots of chilly & refreshing drinks! Here are a few of my favorite cocktail and mocktail recipe ideas for hot summer soirées:

MOCKTAILS:

summer cocktail recipes

Arnold Palmer (an easy, classic favorite!)

5 oz lemonade
5 oz iced tea

Mix and serve in a highball glass over lots of ice!

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Sweet & Refreshing Homemade Lemonade

1 3/4 cups white sugar
8 cups water
1 1/2 cups lemon juice

Combine sugar and one cup of water in a small saucepan, then bring to a boil and stir until the sugar is dissolved. Allow the syrup mixture to cool, then cover it and refrigerate until chilled.

Combine the chilled syrup, lemon juice (freshly squeezed or the store-bought, ready-made version), and 7 cups of water in a pitcher. Garnish with lemon slices and enjoy!

*For extra-sweet lemonade, increase sugar to 2/3 cup.

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COCKTAILS:

summer cocktail recipes

Strawberry Daiquiri

1/2 cup white sugar
4 ounces frozen strawberries
1/8 cup lime juice
1/2 cup lemon juice
3/4 cup rum
1/4 cup lemon-lime soda
6 cups ice

Combine all ingredients in a blender.
Add ice and blend until smooth.
Pour into a cocktail glasses and garnish with fresh strawberries.

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Chambord Berry Sorbet (a personal favorite!)

1 Scoop of Raspberry Sorbet or Sherbert
1 oz Chambord
Splash of Champagne
Raspberries for garnish

In a martini glass, add one scoop of raspberry sorbet (vanilla ice cream also works well).
Top with one ounce of Chambord and splash with champagne.
Garnish with fresh raspberries or blackberries.

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What are your favorite drink recipes for refreshing on hot summer afternoons?

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Mississippi Mud Cake

mississippi mud cake

Feeling chocolate-y today and this Mississippi Mud Cake is looking might tempting! Feel the same way? Click here for the recipe!

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Hip Hostess Series: San Diego

hip hostess series Chambord

I’m excited to share that HWTM is teaming up with Chambord Black Raspberry Liqueur to host a series of events for readers! For this “Hip Hostess Series“, we’ll be traveling to 7 cities across the US over the next 12 months putting on (free) entertaining workshops/parties where you can pick up tips and ideas for seasonal & holiday entertaining…and indulge in some yummy food and cocktails of course!

The first event is next Thursday, May 22nd in San Diego, and we’ll be covering ideas for throwing “Tropical Zen” summer parties – kind of a fusion of Hawaiian and Asian styles with a contemporary twist. (more…)

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SURPRISE GIVEAWAY: Delight.com

delight.com giveaway

You know the old saying, "It’s better to give than to receive."? Well, I definitely have to agree…UNLESS there’s another other option to both give AND receive! That sounds pretty good, right? Well, it seems that the folks at Delight.com think so, because they’re hosting a fun surprise giveaway for hwtm readers today and giving you the chance to win something for yourself AND something to give to a friend!

**Giveaway ends Sunday, May 18th!**
The giveaway is now closed, but as a thank you to everyone that participated, Delight is extending a special deal to HWTM Readers – 20% Off any order of $35 or more ! Just enter the discount code "HostessDelight " during the checkout process. (Offer good through May 25th.) Happy Shopping!

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Simply Stated: Summer Hostess Gifts

summer hostess gift ideas

Have a few summer soirées on the calendar? Check out my post at Simply Stated: Celebrations today For some think-outside-the-bottle (of wine) ideas for saying thanks to your favorite hostess with the mostess – like the fabulous expandable vases by Jill-able pictured above – or to contribute some creative ideas of your own!

summer hostess gift ideas

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Floral Centerpiece Inspiration

wedding and party centerpiece ideas

TheKnot.com has a fabulous “centerpieces” photo gallery that’s definitely worth checking out – especially if you’re looking for some inspiration for your wedding or next party! Even though some of the designs in wedding pictures can be overly difficult or expensive to recreate for everyday parties at home, there are almost always some doable tips you can pick up too… like the kiwi-lined vase pictured above, for example – or the tulip bouquet embellished with simple grass details for a unique, artsy feel.

wedding and party centerpiece ideas

Especially loving these Lemon/Orchid and Manzanita/Rose/Orchid designs…

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Modern Wall Stickers by Divider

pottery barn melamine fish dishes

Wall stickers are such a fun way to customize your living space, but I’ve always loved the idea of also using them as party decor…and these removable wall stickers by divider make that concept even easier! Imagine a baby shower or children’s birthday party with these fun animal (check out the cute elephant/mice decal!) or kids designs, or a bridal shower or adult birthday with ultra modern nature/floral silhouettes or cool graphic patterns. How cool is this skateboarder for a skater boy birthday party… (more…)

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Fish School

pottery barn melamine fish dishes

Pottery Barn has a truly fabulous outdoor entertaining collection out for summer, and I’m especially loving their bright, fun Fish School tableware! This festive pattern is available in Melamine Serving Dishes ($15-$19), Outdoor Barware (Blue Hawaii, anyone? $26/set of 6), outdoor Table Runners ($39-$59), and textured Glass Platter ($19)… (more…)

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Martha’s New Flowers

martha stewart 1-800-flowers lotus pod

Martha Stewart recently came out with a new line of floral arrangements designed exclusively for 1-800-Flowers , and I think this collection does a great job at bringing something new to the world of flower delivery! Several of the designs feature unusual florals, like the Lotus Pod Bouquet pictured above, which is a modern mix of Lotus Pods, jade green roses, ‘Kermit’ mums, green hypericum, and salal.

Even better are the unique styles of vases & containers offered in the line, which include an Asian-inspired, ceramic Bamboo Groove vase (pictured above) and a chic, matte ceramic Faux Bois ("false wood") vase , amongst several other styles .

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Simply Stated: Brighten Up!

party lighting

Today on Simply Stated: Brighten Up! Check out fun party lanterns and lighting ideas for brightening up your outdoor soirée!

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Cheesecake Pops

cheesecake pops

What is it about desserts on sticks that makes them so ridiculously cute?! First the adorable cupcake bites from Bakerella, and now these fabulous cheesecake pops from Mimi on the Move !

cheesecake pops

They even look cute undecorated… (and maybe dusted with some graham cracker crumbs!)

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Fruity Cocktails

summer cocktail recipes

Summer is the perfect time to serve up fruity cocktails at special celebrations or everyday get-togethers! For some festive, fruit-filled ideas, check out my Fabulously Fruity Cocktails guest post over at GlamDish today!

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Sweet Images from Sweet Paul

Sweet paul

I recently discovered a fantastic blog called Sweet Paul that focuses on design, craft & food. Sweet Paul is authored by Paul Lowe, a talented interior and food stylist from NY. His blog is full of wonderful inspiration for food presentation – like the fabulous fruit ice cubes pictured above (from the cookbook Slurp ), which are definitely going on my list of things to try this summer!

These coconut cookie sandwiches are so pretty for a bridal/baby shower or all-white party..

Sweet paul

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It’s May 5th… Salud!

cinco de mayo

Treat yourself to some Chipotle Shrimp Tacos and Margarita Ice Pops today!

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Mother’s Day Gift Guide

mother's day gift guide

How is it possible that Mother’s Day is already this coming weekend?! The year is truly flying by! If you’re still on the lookout for cool gift ideas for Mom, check out our Mother’s Day Gift Guide for unique tableware, contemporary vases, personalized stationery, modern floral arrangements, and more!

mother's day gift guide

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Clever Designs at MoMA

index cutting board and chalkboard napkin rings

MoMA Store always showcases fantastic, design-forward products, but there are a few pieces I recently stumbled upon that also stand out as especially clever… (more…)

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Retro-Mod Melamine

modern melamine plates

These new "Late-for-Dinner" melamine plates from Anthropologie are perfect for retro-mod summer entertaining! Sold in sets of 4 for $24, each plate dons a different pop-art flora print… (more…)

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Happy Cinco de Mayo… Eat Up!

cinco de mayo recipes

As a certified Mexican-food lover, you don’t have twist my arm to convince me to celebrate Cinco de Mayo… but if your arm needs twisting, here are some mouth-watering recipe ideas (for everything from festive main dishes and cocktails to desserts) that should do the trick…

{pictured above} treats from Everyday with Rachael Ray :

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HWTM at Glam & Simply Stated

1. Today at GlamDish: Whim by Cynthia Rowley (highlighting some of the stylish outdoor entertaining pieces from Rowley’s new Beach, Picnic, and Party collections at Target)

2. Today at Simply Stated: Celebrations: May Flowers for the Table (dinnerware, melamine, table linens, and more – all featuring fun floral motifs for spring & summer entertaining)

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Capiz Party Garlands

colorful capiz party garland

These colorful capiz garlands are a party all on their own! In addition to working great as hanging decorations, capiz garlands are also fabulous as table decor – lay a few of them across the table to create a “table runner”, or try wrapping single strands around glass cylinder vases to create playful containers for your centerpieces! Fun colors like bright pink, lime green, and yellow are perfect for spring & summer parties… and at only $6.99 a strand, why not try them all?!

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Simply Stated: Earth-Friendly Entertaining Products

simply stated - eco-friendly entertaining

Hope everyone had a great “Earth Week”! It was so fun to hear all the “green” tips and ideas from around the blogosphere! To wrap the week up in theme, I highlighted a few more earth-friendly entertaining products over at Simply Stated: Celebrations today, and some rustic recycled glassware over at GlamDish .

Speaking of Earth Day , did anyone else catch Oprah on Tuesday when Julia Roberts was on with Sophie Uliano, the author of Gorgeously Green: 8 Simple Steps to an Earth-Friendly Life ? (more…)

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Luscious Lemon Desserts

lemon dessert recipes

MarthaStewart.com has a fabulous Lemon Desserts gallery featuring lots of yummy-looking treats that should appeal to fans of this popular citrus flavor. The image above of Lemon Madeleines looks especially scrumptious to me for some reason, but the Glazed Lemon Pound Cake, Lemon Custard Cakes, and Lemon-Berry Pudding Cakes don’t sound too shabby either!

lemon dessert recipes

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Margarita Ice Pops

yellow party ideas

This unique twist on the frozen margarita sounds like such a fun idea for Cinco de Mayo or any casual summer get-together! The recipe from Bon Appétite couldn’t be any easier either: you basically take lime flavored ice pops or fruit bars, pour a mixture of tequila and lime juice over them, then lightly dip 1 edge of the pop into kosher salt.

Another approach could be to first mix up your own margaritas then freeze them into pops and dip in salt. Here’s a great recipe for this version from Emeril Lagassi {via Food Network}:

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Epicurious on Partying Green

sarah cihat rehabilitated dishware

A common misconception about "partying green" is that it means the look of the party has to literally be green – or at least based on earthy shades of green and brown. That’s why I was so happy to see this beautiful red and lilac table as the headliner image for author Danny Seo ‘s "How to Throw a Green Party at Home " feature over at epicurious.com!

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