Inspiring Celebrations Since 2006

Sipping in Style: Clever Barware

mason jars for drinks

I’m in love with this clever barware idea from Brides.com… serve up a fun signature drink (like the hard lemonade pictured here) – in mason jars with stylish die-cut lids that have room for a straw!

These Daisy Cut Metal Lids are available in both pewter & gold finishes at Candle Soylutions (starting at $0.39 each).  Various sizes of mason jars are also available at Candle Soylutions.

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Simply Stated: Fresh Apple Party Theme

apple themed bridal shower

Today over at Simply Stated – check out ideas for a Fresh Apple Party Theme – which would be fun for a spring/summer bridal shower or casual Mother’s Day Brunch! Also included: the recipe link for these tempting White Chocolate-Toffee Crunch Caramel Apples… yum!

apple themed bridal shower

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New Party Theme: Butterfly Meadow

spring butterfly bridal shower

Just added a new bridal shower to the HWTM Party Themes!  “Butterfly Meadow” features pretty winged creatures & fresh greens that are perfect for spring/summer bridal showers.

Even better, the decor for this theme is super easy to whip together, so you’ll still have plenty of time to get all that spring cleaning done before the party (lucky you!).

spring butterfly bridal shower

I couldn’t decide between a tall or low centerpiece for this table, so we decided to shoot them both. Options are a good thing, right? Click here for complete details.

spring butterfly bridal shower

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Recipe Idea: Cap’n Crunch Seared Tuna

captain crunch seared tuna

My friend Sam was on the Today show this morning with a recipe idea that sounds totally random but looks super yummy too – not to mention quick & easy (big bonus!).

The recipe is called Cap’n Crunch Seared Tuna – and it’s pretty much exactly that… tuna rolled in crushed cereal crumbs, then quickly seared and served with easy DIY Japanese mayo. {Full recipe below, after the jump.}

captain crunch seared tuna

Here’s a shot of the final product, hot off the pan – just before garnishing with onions and Asian chilli sauce… (more…)

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Trends: Dine in {Bright!} Color

affordable colorful dinnerware

New products are popping up all around as spring merchandise moves in, and one trend you’ll definitely notice over at Crate&Barrel is COLOR! Here are a few favorites from their vibrant new pieces for the table… starting with the bright, eclectic Flower Plates {$6.95 each) and Flower Platter {$16.95}, both pictured above.

Next up are these cool lemon and orange-glazed stoneware Zest Plates {$6.95-$7.95}, which feature a fun citrus slice design, and mix-n-match Melamine-Bamboo Plates, made from durable melamine blended with renewable bamboo pulp.

affordable colorful dinnerware

Last but not least are the palm-frond-inspired Carley Textured Plates ($6.95 each), which come in 4 spring/summer-ready colors… (more…)

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Happy Fat Tuesday! What’s Cooking?

Mardi Gras recipes

Can’t make it out to the French Quarter tonight? You can still celebrate the final Mardi Gras fling (a.k.a. “Fat Tuesday”) in the comfort of your own home – sans the crowds and “impromptu entertainment” they often bring! BHG has some fantastic ideas in their “Mardi Gras Recipes” gallery. Here are a few favorites:

For seafood lovers {above, clockwise from top left}: Creole Crab Cakes, Shrimp and Crab Gumbo, Cajun Fish Soup, and Chicken and Shrimp Jambalaya.

Chicken or beef more your style? How about one of these flavorful dishes instead (below, clockwise from top left}: Mile-High Muffuletta-Style Sandwich, Cajun Pot Roast with Maque Choux, Cajun Chicken Lasagna, and Chicken and Sausage Gumbo. (more…)

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Hip Hostess L.A. – Photo Galleries

Hip Hostess L.A. - Old Hollywood Glam

Finally received the disc from the Hip Hostess L.A. photographer last night! Two photo galleries of the event are now up on the HWTM Facebook page: Drinks & Decor and Guests.

Wish I would’ve had these photos for you well before the Oscars came and went, but “Old Hollywood Glam” is actually a fun theme for anytime of year, so hopefully you’ll still find some inspiration here!

Hip Hostess L.A. - Old Hollywood Glam

More DIY decor ideas…cylinder vases & frames adorned with pictures, ribbon, rhinestones & acrylic beads:

Hip Hostess L.A. - Old Hollywood Glam

One of the signature drinks  – the “Red Carpet Splash”, and a peek at the buffet table before everything started… (more…)

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Simply Stated: Mardi Gras Cocktails

mardi gras cocktails

Today over at Simply Stated, check out a few fun cocktail ideas for Mardi Gras: the Hurricane, Red Rooster, and Red Snapper.

And if margaritas are more your style, check out the Mardi Gras Mango Rita recipe right here at HWTM!

P.S. Be sure to check out RealSimple.com‘s fresh NEW LOOK while you’re over there!

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Red Carpet / Oscars Party Ideas

hostess

The Oscars are this weekend – and they’re also a great excuse to invite friends over for the evening, so I was really hoping to be able to do a full recap of our Feb 5th “Old Hollywood Glam / Red Carpet Splash” event before they arrived since the ideas were catered towards hosting an Awards Party at home. Unfortunately, I’m still waiting on the event photos, and since those will be the most important part of the recap, it looks like it will happen post-Oscars instead.

In the meantime, I still wanted to share some of the event’s ideas that you could whip up over the weekend before Sunday night, so that’s the focus of my post today over at Real Simple: Celebrations. Click here to check it out!

P.S. If you attended the Hip Hostess L.A. event and want to check out or purchase the photo booth pictures, you can view them here. The event key is “hwtm“. (They’re ordered in reverse, so the first pics you see are actually the end of the second session.)

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Fabulous Rainbow Cake Tutorial

rainbow cake

The Omnomicon has a fabulous step-by-step Rainbow Cake tutorial and the colorful pictures alone are positively drool-worthy! This recipe would be so much fun for a color party, a 60’s theme party, an art-lover’s birthday, or anytime you feel like brightening up the dessert table a bit.

rainbow cake

You could also take the same concept and apply it to just a few colors or a different type of palette – maybe various shades of green for St. Patrick’s day, red/white/blue for 4th of July, or the birthday girl’s favorite colors, whatever they may be…

rainbow cake

This next pic is one of my favorites… artistic, colorful, & all around delicious: (more…)

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Pacific Weddings: Madame Butterfly

butterfly wedding or bridal shower ideas

I’m seriously head over heels for this gorgeous red, white, and butterfly theme from Pacific Weddings magazine! How lovely would this look be for a bridal shower too?!

butterfly wedding or bridal shower ideas

For a stunning centerpiece, tons of faux red butterflies mixed with gloriosa lilies, roses and crystals hang from a manzanita branch, and pretty party favors are created from red & black favor boxes by Midori, adorned with ribbon and embellished with the sentiment: “Je t’aime”.

butterfly wedding or bridal shower ideas

For dessert: red velvet cupcakes topped with white frosting and an edible red butterfly! You can pick up the fabulous butterfly cupcake wrappers pictured below at Estilo Weddings…

butterfly wedding or bridal shower ideas

In keeping with the theme, red Pomegranate Martinis make for the perfect signature cocktail, and the menu and invitations feature a pretty red floral design.

butterfly wedding or bridal shower ideas

Click here for full “Madame Butterfly” details – and find lots more inspiration over at PacificWeddings.com!

{Photography by David Murphey and Kara Matsunaga}

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SURPRISE GIVEAWAY: Estilo Weddings

Winner Update: This giveaway is now closed. Thanks so much to everyone who entered! And the lucky random winner is… Commenter #8 – Amy – who said, “I am IN LOVE with the BEAUTIFUL cupcake holders!!! They’ll be perfect for my best friend’s upcoming shower that I’m hosting!!” Congrats, Amy!

Estilo Weddings: wedding favors and gifts

Hope everyone had a wonderful long weekend and a great Valentine’s Day!

To kick off the new week right, we’ve got another fantastic Surprise Giveaway from Estilo Weddings – a chic online shop that strives to make it easier for women to show off their sense of style when it comes to weddings, bridal showers, and other special occasions. This week, Estilo is offering up a $100 Shopping Spree towards anything on their site to a lucky HWTM reader!

Estilo Weddings: wedding favors and gifts

Whether you’re in the wedding market or not, there are tons of pretty things to shop for at Estilo Weddings, including contemporary invitations, custom stamps, cool guest books & photo albums, unique party favors, stylish shower & wedding decorations, sparkly cake jewels, clay flower cake toppers, beautiful jewelry, wedding party gifts, and more!

Estilo Weddings: wedding favors and gifts

The cupcake wrappers in particular have always been a favorite item of mine – and Estilo recently added several new designs – like the “Circle of Love” pattern pictured above. (more…)

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Valentine Guest Post: Dining in the Garden of Eden (+ Easy Chocolate Fondue)

romantic valentines day ideas

Julie Mulligan, lifestyle expert for 1-800-FLOWERS.COM, is here to share her ideas for creating a romantic, indoor Garden of Eden for Valentine’s Day! Scroll down for lots of fun tips from Julie, plus an Easy Chocolate Fondue recipe, a Valentine’s Day playlist by R&B singer Robin Thicke, & a discount code for Valentine’s Day flowers.

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DINING IN THE GARDEN OF EDEN

Isn’t it wonderful that Valentine’s Day is in the middle of the winter? It’s such a great excuse to shut out the rest of the world and create a sanctuary where you and your love one can reconnect.

One of the most romantic ways to do this is to create your own indoor Garden of Eden. While this can be pulled off at the last minute the more prepared you are in advance the better it will be in the end.  Here is a list of items that will make for a smooth romantic evening set in your very own Garden of Eden (fig leaves optional).

Important elements:
• Picnic basket
• Blanket
• Oversized pillows
• Plants
• Flowers
• Candles
• Champagne or wine
• Ice bucket
• Glasses
• Music
• Sensuous finger foods

romantic valentines day ideas


If you are going to set this up in your home and you have children make plans to have them spend the night at grandma’s!
Of course in front of the fireplace works nicely but if you have the space in your bedroom that works too.  You really don’t need much space at all because you’ll want to have the feeling of being in your own little cocoon.

Following is an outline to help you get started and to provide some inspiration. This is all about you and the person you love so personalize as you go.  Choose foods that turn them on.  For example you might not think that chicken wings are romantic but if he loves them then they can be!

Step 1
Pull together all of the house plants that you already have into the area that you have selected for your Garden of Eden.  Use various size plants to form the perimeter of the space. If you don’t already have plants in your house this is the perfect excuse to buy a few. Growing and caring for indoor plants gives many a sense of pleasure, tranquility and peace. It connects us to mother nature in a desperate attempt to escape the chaos that we call life, but not only do plants calm our souls, they also bring us good health by improving the quality of the air we breath.

(more…)

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REAL PARTIES: Pretty in Pink Baby Shower

Pretty in Pink - 80's Inspired Baby Shower

It’s no secret that Amy Belle Isle from Stem Parties is a creative genius when it comes to celebrating! I’m so excited (or maybe I should say “stoked“) to share her latest baby shower creation with you… it’s so much fun! Keep reading for lots of images and all the details, as told by Amy herself…

Pretty in Pink - 80's Inspired Baby Shower

“I am really excited that Jenn asked me to share this Pretty In Pink baby shower with all of her readers. This shower was such a joy for me to do since I am not only a child of the 80s but because it was also for a very dear friend of mine that I’ve known since Jr. High.

Since Kacie’s favorite movie back then was Pretty in Pink and she was having a girl, it was a given what the theme would be. The trick was combining the movie and the era with a baby shower and make it all work. Okay, the trick was really making the 80s seem anything but tacky neon!

Pretty in Pink - 80's Inspired Baby Shower

I decided to really play up the pink and add in different touches from the 80s along with a few baby related items. Remember, baby showers don’t have to scream “BABY” to work. Subtle works, too!

Pretty in Pink - 80's Inspired Baby Shower

Guests were treated to homemade box lunches with cassette tapes tied on top with pink and white ribbons. I bought a lot sale of 50 cassettes from an eBay seller for $10 and painted them all different shades of pink. Be patient, it takes several coats of paint to cover these babies! Boxes were from The Container Store and the Pretty In Pink label of front is easy to make with these round labels from Paper Source.

Pretty in Pink - 80's Inspired Baby Shower

The pink linens were set off with old albums covered with round pink labels custom worded for the occasion, table “runners” made from photocopies tiled with the Pretty In Pink movie cover, simple floral arrangements and pink pacifiers. (more…)

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Simply Stated: Hello, Cupcake!

Hello Cupcake book

This week over at Simply Stated – check out the details on Karen Tack & Alan Richardson’s super creative Hello, Cupcake! book – featuring some of the most clever & adorable cupcakes you ever will see! (Great price too)

Hello Cupcake book

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SURPRISE GIVEAWAY: Beau-coup

Winner Update: This giveaway is now closed. Thanks so much to everyone that entered! And the random winner is: Commenter # 290Annie – who said “I’m the maid-of-honor in 2 weddings and a bridesmaid in another, all in a row (July/August/Sept) and would LOVE some of the adorable wedding shower favors to make each shower personal.” Congrats, Annie – and good luck with all the wedding showers!

Beaucoup wedding favors

We’ve got a fun new Surprise Giveaway for you today with PARTY written all over it!

Beau-coup is a fabulous website that carries tons of stylish favors, decorations, and gifts for weddings, bridal/baby showers, birthdays, and beyond. This week, they’re offering up a $100 Shopping Spree towards anything on their site (and trust me, there’s a LOT!) to a lucky HWTM reader!

You’ll find everything from unique party favors & favor packaging to bridal party gifts, placecard holders, wedding decorations, and more at Beau-coup, and if you or a loved one has a party or wedding coming up – this shopping spree could be a nice boost for your budget!

Beaucoup wedding favors

Pictured above: various Favor Packaging ideas. (How cute would the Mini Rolling Suitcase Favors pictured above be for a destination wedding or going away party?!)

Pictured below: a few examples of Beau-coup’s Wedding Decorations and Wedding Supplies:

Beaucoup wedding favors

(More examples & details for HOW TO ENTER after the jump…) (more…)

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Earn Your Angel Wings! {Let’s Eat Cake! Silent Charity Auction}

let's eat cake

Let’s Eat Cake! is a fabulous wedding cake competition & fundraiser event happening next Tuesday, February 17th to benefit St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

The producers of the event have worked so hard on this and are currently seeking additional products and service donations for the silenty charity auction. Let’s help them out!

Do you create a product, run a store/shop, offer a service, or represent a client that might be interested in participating?

Examples: cookware, clothing, stationery, toys, games, handbags, custom gift sets, vacation packages, massage certificates, dinners for 2, dinnerware, wine-of-the-month clubs, etc… You get the idea! Big or small – EVERYTHING HELPS – and 100% of the proceeds will go to St. Jude!

If you’re interested in donating to the charity auction, please email Melissa Margarita-DiStefano (the event producer) to work out the details. (The timeline is urgent since next Monday is a holiday and the event is Tuesday.) Thanks so much for your consideration!

P.S. If you’re in the Gainesville, FL area and would like to attend Let’s Eat Cake! (Wedding Cake Design Competition, All You Can Eat Wedding Cake, & Cake Auction) – tickets are $25 in advance and $35 at the door.

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Fabulous Event Inspiration: Artfool Events

artfool: modern event inspiration

If you’ve got a wedding to plan, a big party coming up, or just love looking at gorgeous design, the artfool events website is full of amazing inspiration! Click here to check out their online portfolio…this should keep you busy for a while!

Professional event design portfolios are always a great place to gather ideas for color palettes & floral design. They say a picture is worth a thousand words, so here goes with the proof:

artfool: modern event inspiration

I’m loving the artistic, contemporary vibe and fiery orange accents in the book launch party design pictured above… and the whimsical, fairytale-like table centerpiece pictured below:

artfool: modern event inspiration

Sky blue, lime green, & white create a lovely, easy-breezy atmosphere for the Benefit Party pictured below… (I’m thinking this look would also be perfect for a spring/summer wedding, bridal shower or Mother’s Day brunch.)

artfool: modern event inspiration

artfool: modern event inspiration

Feeling inspired yet? Wait… there’s more! (more…)

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Cherry Baby Cakes Recipe + 11 More “Best Cupcakes” from BHG

best cupcake recipes

Better Homes & Gardens has a truly mouth-watering recipe gallery out called “Our Best Cupcake Recipes” that’s full of creative, sweet treat ideas for Valentine’s Day, birthday parties, baby showers, or really any time you feel like whipping up something special! Some favorites from the gallery (with recipe links) are pictured above and below…what looks good to you?

Pictured at top:
1. Cherry Baby Cupcakes {so cute!! see recipe below, after the jump…}
2. Red Velvet Sweetheart Cupcakes {romantic red velvet mini cupcakes with chocolate heart toppers}
3. Easy Topped Cupcakes {butter pecan ice cream + caramel sauce + chocolate cupcakes = YUM!}
4. Sweet Potato Cupcakes {cinnamon-spiced cupcakes topped with luscious cream cheese frosting & orange peel}

best cupcake recipes

Pictured above:
5. German Chocolate Cupcakes {with chocolate-pecan ice cream, toasted nuts & caramel sauce!}
6. Brownie Surprise Cupcakes {fudge brownies with a creamy chocolate candy center}
7. Choco-Zucchini Cupcakes {with peanut butter frosting}
8. Rosemary Mini Cupcakes {vanilla cupcakes flavored with garden-fresh rosemary & topped with orange glaze}

(more…)

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Hip Hostess L.A. – Sneak Peek

Chambord Hip Hostess Event

Hi Everyone – I want to start the new week with an apology for the light posting last week. I was pretty much consumed with getting everything ready for Thursday’s Hip Hostess Event at the SLS Beverly Hills – and since this party was so soon after the Boston event, I’ve been having a hard time keeping up with everything…including regular posting, sleep (zzzzz), and a truckload of emails from the past few weeks!

Chambord Hip Hostess Event

Anyways, I’m very happy/relieved to report that the event was a success – despite the substantial rain, even-heavier-than-usual L.A. traffic (due to the weather), and very last minute swap of our party space from the hotel’s outdoor terrace to the indoor ballroom…thank goodness it was available! I actually think the ballroom worked out even better than the original space though, so these particular rain clouds really DID have a silver lining!

Chambord Hip Hostess Event

Given the event location and the fact that we’re right in the middle of Awards Season right now (with the Oscars coming up soon!) – we went with an “Old Hollywood Glam” theme and featured ideas for hosting an Awards Party or Red Carpet-themed bash. Many thanks to Chambord for generously sponsoring the evening!

I hope to have our own photographer’s pictures back soon to do a full recap of the event & party ideas, but in the meantime, one of our guests – who also happens to be a photographer – was kind enough to share her own photos with us so I could give you a little preview today. (Thanks again, Pamela!)

Chambord Hip Hostess Event

Tic-Tock Couture Florals made the fabulous – and huge – chandelier tree pictured above – and I gave tips on how to easily create a scaled-down, DIY version for at-home parties during the demonstration portion of the evening (more info on that to come soon). We also had a photo booth and life size cardboard cut-outs of Old Hollywood movie stars around the room for fun photo opps! (Cardboard cut-outs from HollywoodMegastore.com)

(more…)

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SURPRISE GIVEAWAY: Kir De Vries

Kir De Vries $100 Giveaway

Winner Update: 2/10/09: This giveaway is now closed. Thanks to all 600+ of you who entered – WOW! And the {very} lucky, random winner is: Comment #142 – Tawnya, who said “The chandelier print is to DIE for. My husband is a painter and I would have paint a special wall (red) just for that amazing print.” Congrats, Tawnya!”

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We have a fantastic new suprise giveaway for you today! This one comes from Kir De Vries – a wonderful  shop that I’m really excited to introduce to you, because it’s full of truly unique & refreshing finds for your living room, kitchen, dining room, jewelry drawer & more…

Today, Kir De Vries is generously offering up a $100 Shopping Spree towards anything on their site to a lucky HWTM reader! A quick glimpse at the small sampling of their products featured here should give you an idea of how fun everything is… for example: has your lunch bag ever looked this cool?

Kir De Vries $100 Giveaway

You’ll also find: handcrafted jewelry, cool collectible tea towels, cool stationery, adorable lunch boxes, Earth Lust water bottles, wraps and scarves, surface graphics, and more!

Kir De Vries $100 Giveaway

(Get the details for HOW TO ENTER after the jump) (more…)

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Simply Stated: Old Hollywood Glam… with a Mod Twist

hollywood glam party theme

With this week’s Hip Hostess Series event coming up quick – it’s probably no suprise that “Hollywood Glam” has been on the brain – and one thing I’ve discovered while putting everything together is how many different twists you can actually put on this theme! Today over at Simply Stated, check out some ideas for an Old Hollywood Glam theme… with a Mod Twist.

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Thanks, Amy! (+ Valentine Candy Buffet)

amy atlas events

One of my favorite eye candy resources – Amy Atlas Events – was just featured in the premier issue of Southern Weddings magazine (a new glossy that’s loaded with great material, by the way)! Click here to download a pdf of Amy’s article…aptly titled “Oh, Sugar!“.

I was also excited to discover that Amy listed HWTM as one of her favorite sources of Inspiration! Thanks, Amy…and right back at you!

amy atlas events

For those of you that have yet to see Amy’s drool-worthy portfolio of ridiculously creative dessert buffets…here’s a peek at a red, white & pink design she created that might spark some ideas for Valentine’s Day, which is coming up soon! (more…)

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