Inspiring Celebrations Since 2006

Easter Pails + Window Gels

easy Easter centerpieces

In my quest to come up with easy & budget-friendly Easter decorations this year, here’s another idea that fit the bill and only took a few minutes to whip together: mini pails +  window gels + flowers = super cute Easter Centerpieces!

Shopping Resources:
Mini pails: $1 bins at Target
Window gels: Target ($1.99/pack of 2 bunnies + 2 carrots)
English Daisies – Home Depot ($3.49/plant)
Gerbera Daisies – grocery store ($5/bunch)

Use your own favorite flowers or bedding plants for these arrangements – tulips or marigolds would be lovely options for Easter too. For the window gels – just shop, peel and stick…can’t get much easier than that!

easy Easter centerpieces

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Easter Pops from Bakerella

Bakerella Easter Pops

Well, the Queen of baking cuteness has done it again! Check out these adorable new Easter-themed cake pop designs from Bakerella….starting with my personal favorite – the Spring Chickens! I just love these little cuties – both the “chicks on sticks” version (above) and the stick-free version (below).  This design would be really fun for baby showers and kids parties too!

Bakerella Easter Pops

Next up.. Easter Egg and Bunny Cake Pops, of course! Confetti sprinkles and colorful sanding sugar give the egg pops a fun, contemporary look…

Bakerella Easter Pops

I’m thinking this image needs to be my new screen saver…. (more…)

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DIY: Terra Cotta “Easter Baskets”

easy Easter craft & centerpiece idea

If you’re looking for a quick & easy Easter craft/centerpiece idea, these Terra Cotta “Easter Baskets” only take a few minutes and will look super cute on your Easter table! Added bonus: they’re really inexpensive! All you need are small terra cotta pots in various sizes, scrapbook paper, “grass” filler, and any embellishments you want to add (optional).

Get step-by-step details after the jump…

easy Easter craft & centerpiece idea

(more…)

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Chalkboard Mustache Napkin Rings

chalkboard mustache napkin rings

Even your most refined dinner guests will have a hard time resisting these clever Mustache Napkin Rings! Each laser-cut, clear acrylic ring is fused with a chalkboard mustache that doubles as a placecard. Love it! ($24/set of 4 at Modern Dose)

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Simply Stated: Darling Felt Toy Favors

felt toy party favors

No matter which critter you’re looking at, these colorful, felt toy party favors are pretty much the cuteness! Find out more about them over at Simply Stated today! (more…)

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Adorable & Creative “Egg Creatures”

Easter egg creatures

When it comes to decorating Easter eggs, I usually opt for the easy route, but these Egg Creatures from Martha Stewart are so ridiculously cute, I’m thinking they might be worth the extra effort! Especially the momma and baby pig design… how adorable is that?! (Cute decorating ideas for baby showers & kids parties too!)

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Flirty “French Candy” Party Theme

french candy party theme

This Black, White, and Pink wedding theme from brides.com is also fabulous inspiration for a flirty, “French Candy” themed birthday party or bridal shower (especially a lingerie-themed shower!).

Party Decor: Flower arrangements (roses, carnations, hydrangeas, peonies), party favors, and candy treats are all pretty in pink, and black stripes & polka dots add some fun, Parisian-cafe-inspired flair…

french candy party theme

What to sip? Flirty Pink Martinis and french-inspired drinks like Chambord and Champagne, of course!

Be My Guest: Here are a few invitation ideas to help set the tone for a fun, flirty get-together: (more…)

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“Sparkling” Sip & See Baby Shower

hostess

How many of you have ever been to a “Sip and See”? A Sip and See is basically a casual type of baby shower that’s held AFTER baby arrives instead of before. Friends and family are invited to drop by “open house style” within a certain time frame to meet the baby (see) and enjoy light food & drinks (sip) .

When Tara from StrollerTraffic asked me to contribute some ideas for a Sip and See theme, I thought it would be fun to add a little twist on this concept and make it a “Sparkling Sip & See“, complete with lots of bubbly drinks, a pretty champagne-inspired color palette, and more sparkling ideas. Click here for full details!

{Image zoom: view the inspiration board at a larger size.}

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Hey Twilight Lovers… Drink Up! (Printable Vampire Bottle Labels)

Twilight & vampire party ideas

In honor of my shiny new Twilight DVD, I have a little vampire-themed viewing party in the works, which should be FUN!

We’ll definitely be having “Blood-Rimmed Martinis“, and I made these Vampire Drink Labels to print out and slide over bottles of RED drinks like Pomegranate IZZE, Boylan’s Black Cherry Soda, and whatever other red concoctions the store shelves have to offer that can pass for Type A and B! (Update 4/12: Too see actual photos of these labels in use, click here!)

Twilight party - drink labels

If you’re planning to host a Twilight/Edward Cullen-viewing party of your own and want to use these drink labels too, you can download them right here in Adobe pdf format. (more…)

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Stylish & Modern Easter Centerpieces

hostess

Looking for some inspiration for your Easter table? Here are a few of my favorite ideas from BHG.com that are not only chic and contemporary, but also approachable (a.k.a. not overly time consuming – hooray!).

Pictured above: Who would’ve predicted that Eggs and Carnations would make for such a hip & modern centerpiece? (And I’m loving the white & bright yellow palette!); super easy Candle Holder Egg Tree; instead of bunnies – go for the butterfly look with this Flight of Fancy Easter basket; and lovely Floral Nests (peonies with mini eggs tucked inside, displayed in footed dishes).

Pictured below: This gorgeous White-on-White Easter table design is so very inviting…

hostess

The Egg & Tulip centerpieces are so playful & modern, and I also love the Egg Flower Cup and Egg Placecard ideas!

(I’m also filing this post under “baby showers” because some of these designs would work great for a Modern Nesting or Momma Bird baby shower theme too!)

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Spring & Summer Party Inspiration

spring summer wedding centerpiece

Well, today is officially the first day of Spring! I thought it would be fun to celebrate the imminent arrival of warmer weather with some spring-and-summer-appropriate decorating inspiration from one of my favorite entertaining books: The Perfect Wedding Details by Maria McBride.

Regardless of whether or not you actually have a wedding to plan – wedding books are always great places to draw creative inspiration for all sorts of occasions! For example, don’t you think the birdcage garden centerpiece pictured above would be gorgeous for an Easter table or Mother’s Day brunch?!

And this adorable strawberry & wheatgrass topiary below would be lovely for a bridal shower or strawberry shortcake themed baby shower…

spring summer wedding centerpiece

Cocktails are great for any time of year, of course… but there’s something about warm weather and a sunny outdoor party that really makes me want to punch up the color! The Perfect Wedding Details has some great ideas for fun garnishes too…

colorful cocktails

Want to put a unique spin on your bridal bouquet? Go green with a funky, chic arrangement of button mums & tropical leaves… (more…)

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Creative & Gracious Gifts for Guests

wedding guest gift baskets - midnight snack

If you’re looking for a creative way to say thank you to your wedding guests – especially those that have traveled far and wide to help celebrate your big day – try surprising them with a “Welcome!” treat in their hotel room or a parting gift as they head home from reception.

Jo Gartin’s Weddings has an entire chapter devoted to clever & thoughtful ways to say thank you… just a few of which are pictured here. I absolutely adore the “Midnight Snack” idea pictured above – which features mini bottles of milk and individually wrapped donuts in a takeout box personalized with a custom label. (Boxes and labels available at myownlabels.com).

I actually think this same concept would work well as a party favor for all sorts of occasions – from birthday parties to coroporate events – and just imagine all the different possibilities for the treat combo it holds: bagels & cream cheese with mini bottles of o.j. or chilled Starbucks Frappuccinos, cookies & milk, energy drinks & trail mix or energy bars… the list goes on!

wedding guest welcome baskets

More ideas: Greet guests with a gift basket of old-fashioned treats like kettle chips, lemonade, and cherry sours (above)…or with a goodie-filled “welcome pouch” that hangs from the hotel room door or bedpost (below). (more…)

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Absolutely Amazing DIY Birthday Cakes!

amazing DIY birthday cakes

Parenting.com has a fabulous birthday cake gallery/tutorial that is nothing short of AMAZING! Each of the 31 cakes in this gallery comes with step-by-step instructions on how you can recreate it at home. There’s some serious creativity & resourcefulness going on here!

Pictured at top: Castle cake – featuring ice cream cone turrets…SWEET!

Pictured below: Pirate Ship and Soccer Ball cakes. (The use of Oreo Crisps for the soccer ball is GENIUS!)

amazing DIY birthday cakes

This Lion cake design is adorable too… especially the chow-mein noodle “mane”!

amazing DIY birthday cakes

More favorites pictured below: Purse Cake with Giant Tootsie Roll handle, Train Birthday Cake – Engine (also check out the entire train cake) ,Ladybug cupcakes, Snake cupcakes, Dump Truck cake, ridiculously clever French Fries cake (toasted pound cake slices with red frosting dip!), Shark cake, and Monkey cake.

(more…)

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Best of the Web: St. Patrick’s Day Chic

St. Patrick's Day Ideas

When you think of a St. Patrick’s Day celebration, I’m guessing the word “chic” isn’t the first adjective that comes to mind, but these smart & stylish ideas from ’round the web prove there’s another side to St. Patty’s Day festivities that’s sans the all-you-can-drink green beer and rowdy pub crowds!

1. Chic St. Patty’s Day DECOR:
BHG.com’s Irish-Inspired St. Patrick’s Day Decor gallery is loaded with lovely green ideas. A few favorites pictured above:
Irish Napkin Decor – simple & rustic… with a shamrock embellishment!
Green Glass Vases – dressed up with copper wire & white flowers
Bells of Ireland – modern & chic when displayed in a simple white vase
Green Floral Bouquet – a fabulous mix of chartreuse flowers, Bells of Ireland, mums, hydrangea, and hypericum.

(Also check out the Bells of Ireland Topiary tutorial.)

*****

2. Chic St. Patty’s Day COCKTAILS:

St. Patrick's Day Ideas

Raise a glass with one of these tasty, Irish-themed cocktails: (more…)

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Beer Floats(!) with Shamrock Swizzles

st. patrick's day dessert cocktail

The perfect St. Patty’s Day treat for adults… vanilla ice cream topped with Irish Stout! And LUCKY for us, the directions couldn’t get any easier: 1. Scoop vanilla ice cream into a chilled pint glass. 2. Top with beer. 3. Enjoy!

Leave it to Martha to come up with the perfect themed “garnish” for our beer floats, too… click here for the shamrock swizzle stick “how to”.

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Simply Stated: Orla Kiely for Target

orla kiely for target

Today over at Simply Stated – get the details on the new (fabulous + affordable!) Orla Kiely for Target line, plus a few ideas for an party/shower theme inspired by this collection!

orla kiely for target

And while we’re on the subject of the Orla Kiely brand… how fabulous are these bags from her Spring/Summer 2009 collection?! These aren’t even in the same time zone as far as my personal budget goes (sigh…), but here’s to dreaming that Target will team up with Kiely on personal accessories next!

orla kiely hand bags

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Barbie’s Birthday Party Recap (Part 1) + Tips from Event Planner Colin Cowie

Barbie's 50th Birthday Party

In honor of Barbie’s 50th Birthday/Anniversary – Mattel went all out with a very cool, VERY PINK birthday bash at the “Real” Life-Size Barbie Dream House in Malibu, CA.

Barbie's 50th Birthday Party

Jonathan Adler was tapped to do the interior design of the “Dream House”, and celebrity event planner Colin Cowie (who also hosts’s Lifetime’s Get Married show) brought the ridiculously cool party to life with an overwhelming amount of Barbie-themed decor, sparkly pink things, and clever details.

Barbie's 50th Birthday Party

As someone who loves both interior design and event planning – and can appreciate a good dose of “girlie girl” now and then – I definitely felt like a kid in a candy store at this party! Everywhere you turned there was something “happy” to look at – from Barbie’s luxe pink bedroom (which included a shoe closet filled with 50 pairs of Barbie® pink peep-toe Christian Louboutin heels)…

Barbie's 50th Birthday Party

…to a fireplace flanked by pink plastic poodles… to cocktail serving trays filled with acrylic pink ice! (The toilets even had huge pink satin bows tied around the seat covers… talk about attention to detail!)

Since HWTM is all about party planning – we asked Cowie – the brains behind the bash – to share some of his favorite party details with us… as well as a few tips that we can use at home. Here goes:

Barbie's 50th Birthday Party

HWTM: “Barbie Malibu Dream House” sounds like such a fun party theme! Can you give us some insight into your overall vision for this event?
CC:
I WANTED TO CREATE AN EVENT THAT WAS COMPLETELY PERSONALIZED TO BARBIE. AS ALWAYS, I START WITH A THEME (POP ART), AND A COLOR PALETTE (BLACK WHITE AND PINK), AND GO FROM THERE.  I WANTED ALL OF THE ELEMENTS TO BE VERY VIBRANT AND TO HAVE AN IMPACT BY USING A LOT OF REPETITON. (more…)

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REAL PARTIES: “TinkerBright” Birthday

tinkerbell girls birthday party

We have a new “Real Party” for you that’s loaded with decorating inspiration for those of you that love COLOR! This is a party that Michelle Schobert threw for her daughter’s 9th birthday celebration. Keep reading for lots of pics and all the colorful details, as told by Michelle:

rainbow-dotted-divider-2

“My youngest daughter Courtney has had a Tinkerbell birthday party every year since she was 2. This year, as she turned nine, she still wanted to include Tinkerbell, but wanted something a little more grown up.

As a graphic designer, I created the custom invitations (pictured above) which became the jumping off point for the party décor. I designed the invitation graphic with a combination of vibrant colors, elegant swirls and small Tinkerbell image. After printing them on my home computer, I hand cut the scalloped border and added a few rhinestones for sparkle.

tinkerbell girls birthday party

In order to provide an exact match with the invitations I printed extra sheets of the striped pattern to use as a wrap for the glass candleholders…but scrapbook paper could also be used to create the same effect.

tinkerbell girls birthday party

I also custom designed the table runner to correlate with the rest of the décor. I repeated a number of patterns, a stripe, a polka dot and a floral in the same color palette to pull everything together. (more…)

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Simply Stated: Inspiration Boards Made Easy

polyore - pink bridal shower

Today on Simply Stated: get the details on a fabulous web-based application that makes creating digital inspiration boards for your parties & celebrations super easy… no graphics training required!  I used it this morning to create the Pretty in Pink Bridal Shower board pictured above… in about 15 minutes flat! Learn more.

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Happy 50th Birthday, Barbie! + Party Details

Barbie's 50th birthday party

Well, Barbie® officially turns 50 today, and I have to say she’s still looking about half her age!

In honor of the milestone birthday/anniversary, Mattel is rolling out the pink carpet at a big celebration happening tonight at her “Real” Life-Size Malibu Dream House®. With help from style gurus like event-planner-to-stars Colin Cowie (the brains behind the bash) and designer Jonathan Adler (who decked out the Dream House) – this is sure to be one fabulous party!

A few hints of what Cowie has planned for the party include:
• 146 pounds of pink candy to line the dessert table
• custom-made lucite tables filled with thousands of tiny shoes, mini handbags, and Barbie® sunglasses
• 3,000 pink roses, 100 hydrangea and 300 ranunculus for the centerpieces
• themed signature drinks like Barbie® Doll-icious!, Ken’s Caiprirosca, Strawberry Blonde (see image below) and It’s a Pink Thing

I’m covering the party as press tonight, so there will be a full recap later this week – along with drink recipes, decor ideas, and a few tips from Mr. Cowie himself(!) on how to host a Barbie-themed party at home. I’m also just planning to tweet from the event, so feel free to follow me for pink carpet updates!

pink drink: strawberry blonde

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Fantastic Table Centerpieces (Idea Gallery)

table centerpiece ideas

One of my favorite parts of Everyday with Rachael Ray magazine is their fabulous Centerpiece of the Month segment, where they invite different people – usually with very recognizable names – to create a centerpiece design to share with readers. Luckily, these ideas are archived online, so if you’re looking for some tabletop decorating inspiration, this is a great place to start!

A few favorites are pictured here – starting with the top image – “Sock It To Me” designed by the fabulous Orla Keily – which features mix-n-match socks used as vase covers…genius!

Pictured below (clockwise from top left): “All Choked Up” by Jackie Shapiro (of French Bull fame); “Veggie Garden” by home design guru Christopher Lowell; “Spool Party” by product designer David Stark; and “Recycled Chic” by cookbook authors Matt and Ted Lee.

table centerpiece ideas

I love how adorable and easy this next idea is… “Sugar High” – fittingly designed by Dylan Lauren of Dylan’s Candy Bar – features unwrapped whirly pops and suckers sprouting from a bed of candies. (The white flower pots are from IKEA.) (more…)

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Simply Stated: 5 Favorite Party Planning Tips

top 5 party planning tips

I often get asked about party planning tips, and sometimes the advice varies based on the type of event or subject of the article, but there are a few things that are applicable no matter what type of party you’re hosting, and that’s the topic of today’s post over at Simply Stated: My 5 Favorite Party Planning Tips.

These 5 tips are the things I find myself telling friends & family over and over again – and most of them are geared towards making hosting a party easier and less stressful, even though I didn’t intentionally focus on that topic.  I think this is because whenever I’m asked for tips from loved ones, there’s almost always a hint (or sometimes more than a hint) of stress in their voice, so I find myself wanting to help make the process easier – and, in turn more FUN – for them. If you’re feeling that hint of stress, hopefully something here will help you too… or if YOU have a favorite entertaining tip or piece of advice to add, please share it with us in the comments!

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Getting Creative with Carnations

carnation centerpiece ideas

Carnations seem to get a bit of a bad rap when it comes to the floral “status quo” – but the truth is that there are plenty of beautiful – and even cool – looks you can achieve with this budget-friendly flower.

Because of the price point and shape of carnations, they allow you to create soft, lush, and substantial floral arrangements – and just like anything else, it’s all about playing up their strengths and “packaging” them the right way. Here are a few great examples from floral designers who did just that….

Pictured at top – pretty carnation design ideas from InstyleWeddings.com.

carnation centerpiece ideas

Pictured above, clockwise from top left: Mini carnation bouquets from Brides.com; Todd Oldham™ Triple Scoop bouquet from FTD; a budget-friendly idea from Martha Stewart with a contemporary, yet feminine flair; and Todd Oldham™ Sweet Scoops Sundae bouquet from FTD.

Pictured below: This gorgeous “dome” design featuring all-white carnations & crystal strands is the epitomy of glam, but a similar arrangement works just as well at a casual beach wedding when paired with a simple, chic cake stand and “best wishes” notes from guests. (more…)

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Modern Diaper Cakes {Follow Up}

modern DIY diaper cake

After I posted on my first attempt at a diaper cake last November, some of you shared pictures of your own diaper cake creations inspired by that post – and they are impressive! I couldn’t resist sharing a couple of them in a follow-up post today… starting with this ridiculously adorable monkey-themed diaper cake created by Noel Culbertson for the equally adorable monkey themed baby shower she hosted.

modern monkey DIY diaper cake

Noel used DwellStudio for Target receiving blankets to wrap each tier then added some ribbon & paper flowers (available at craft & scrapbook stores) to dress them up. The top layer of the diaper cake is another receiving blanket, rolled and wrapped with banana patterned paper and adorned with a paper monkey “cake topper”, which was glued to a popsicle stick. (Martha Stewart’s “Monkey Party Kit” was used for the topper.)

This next diaper cake – a fun, girlie pink & brown design (which also features DwellStudio for Target blankets) – was created by hostess Davina Saunders: (more…)

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Showing {Heartfelt} Thanks

entertaining ettiquette

Hi, I’m Beth Helmstetter of Beth Helmstetter Events and am completely honored to share some tips with all of you savvy hostesses out there! With all the reasons we have to get together and celebrate – from weddings and birthdays to holidays and other special occasions, your lives will be filled with amazing shindigs and hopefully you will even do a little entertaining of your own.

As your guests leave your fabulous parties, don’t forget to give thanks. My favorite thing to do when I’m feeling especially grateful for is to take the time to write a meaningful thank you letter to each guest. Not the, “thanks for being part of the day,” typical stuff you see everyday, but a letter that really tells guests what they mean to your life including lessons each person has taught you and favorite memories you share. Something really from the heart.

entertaining ettiquette

Once you put your truest feelings on paper, find a beautiful way to package the letter. Again, something that says, “this is more than your standard thank you note,” but instead screams, “there is something very special inside and it’s just for you.” (more…)

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Creative Measures (Great Gift Idea!)

gift idea: creative kitchen tools

Even the kitchen guru who already has everything won’t be able to resist these adorable measuring tools from Anthropologie: A Measuring Gaggle (a quartet of nesting geese) – $28 per bone china set and long-necked Giraffe Measuring Spoons – $19.95 per set of 5 stoneware spoons.

{top “gaggle” image from Chow.com}

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“Stress Less” Dinner Party Ideas

DIY dinner party ideas

I’m loving the format of the new RealSimple.com after their recent redesign. The info is well organized so it’s easy to find what you’re looking for – and the pictures are larger…hooray!

The Stress Less Dinner Party is one of my favorite articles in the new Holidays and Entertaining section. It features simple, yet clever ideas like using forks as place card holders (top left image) and stamped hangtags as personalized drink charms (top right).

DIY dinner party ideas

More “stress less” tips include: setting a “relaxed” table by skipping the formal table cloth and opting for something casual like parchment paper, keeping tabletop floral bouquets short & tidy, and swapping the standard vases out with unusual containers like cake tins, jelly molds, or small ice buckets. Click here for full details.

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