Inspiring Celebrations Since 2006

Operation Shower: Mission Accomplished

Operation Shower

Amy is back with a recap of the fabulous – and inspiring – “Boxes in Bloom” event thrown by the generous team behind Operation Shower. Read on for her full recap… plus some great party planning tips that are both stylish AND eco-friendly!

Operation Shower: Mission Boxes In Bloom Accomplished (In Eco-Chic Style)
{Event Recap by Amy Belle Isle}

I am so excited to bring you a recap of the recent success that Operation Shower and Cloud B had with our “Boxes in Bloom” Mother’s Day Showers at Ft. Hood and Scott AFB.  Between the attendees and the boxes we sent to moms who could not make it, we honored 65 women and families with amazing gifts for the new little ones. Just look at some of the wonderful donations from our sponsors!  We at Operation Shower cannot thank them enough for their contributions.

Operation Shower

Our goal this year was to not only throw great events but to make them as Eco-Friendly as possible. It’s really easier (and cuter) than you might think! (Go here for more ideas on throwing an Eco-Friendly party.)

All of the boxes and gift wrap are made of recycled materials. Nashville Wraps so generously donated recycled wrap and tissue that we used to make our boxes more special, and we used the whimsical Whimsy Press gift wrap for our centerpieces. Not only did they liven up the table, but they also contained raffle prizes and helped ensure everything we did had a dual-purpose. Don’t forget to recycle the little amount of recycled paper you do use!  (more…)

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Plush Penguin Party Theme

penguin party theme

What’s black and white and ridiculously cute all over? Well, this adorable Cow Penguin Plush and Penguin Pillow for starters! These cute little creatures from MyDearDarling are charming enough to inspire an entire baby shower or kids birthday party theme all by themselves, don’t you think? (Yes, that IS a penguin disguised as a cow!)

The classic b/w color palette looks great with bright orange accents alone – or you can add another fun color like pink or aqua to tailor the party more specifically for a boy or girl. Here are a few ideas that incorporate both pink & orange accents…

penguin party theme

Pictured above: 365 Penguins by Jean-Luc Fromental ($12.21 at Amazon); Just Dots Black Dinner Plates, Black Dessert Plates, and Pink Beverage Napkins ($4.50 – $5 at Gallery 19); Sparkling Black Raspberry and Mandarin Izze Esque; Sunkissed Orange Plastic Utensils, and organic cotton Penguin Onesie ($30).

Pictured below: Penguin Treats! (more…)

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REAL PARTIES: Alison’s Baby Shower

baby shower ideas

Today’s “Real Party” feature is a sweet & sophisticated baby shower featuring some amazing culinary treats like Caramelized Tomato Tarte Tatins and a lovely display of Brie with Figs & Honeycomb!

This look would translate nicely for a bridal shower as well – and you can just switch up the colors for a girl or gender-neutral baby shower!

baby shower ideas

Lots more images + the details for Alison’s baby shower are below – as told by party hostess/sister Debbie! (more…)

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Margarita Cupcakes + Lime Frosting

margarita cupcake recipe

Hope everyone had a great holiday weekend! Here’s one of the treats we indulged in after our BBQ yesterday… Margarita Cupcakes! I’ve been wanting to try this concept out ever since last month’s margarita cupcakes post, and am happy to report they tasted great (and very much like their namesake)! I went for the “shortcut” route and modified a recipe that utilizes boxed cake mix as the foundation instead of doing everything from scratch (it was a holiday, after all!).

margarita cupcake recipe

Full recipes for the cupcakes & lime buttercream icing below…

(more…)

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Dabney Lee at Home: Preppy Meets Hip

Dabney Lee at Home - custom tray

Serve cocktails in style with this fabulous Monogrammed Lucite Tray from Dabney Lee at Home! ($120) This hip, personalized tray also makes for a great home accessory or unique gift idea for weddings or new nesters…. and just check out all of the great customization options…

Dabney Lee at Home

Pictured below – more favorites from the Dabney Lee collection: Monogrammed Recipe Cards + Box ($80), Monogrammed Drink Coasters + Box ($80 for 125), Monogrammed Wall Art ($120), and another great gift idea: Monogrammed Playing Cards + Box ($50). (more…)

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Summer Cocktails: Red & Yellow

red and yellow cocktails

Whether the color is coming from the drink or the garnish, red & yellow sure makes a bright, lovely combo for summer cocktails, don’t you think?

{Pictured above} Fuzzy Navel garnished with lemon peel and raspberries. {Pictured below, clockwise from top left} Pomegranate Martini & Yellow Passion Fruit Caipirinha {via Brides}; Tequila Sunrise; Bloody Mary “Light” feauring organic tomato water as the “juice”; Screwdriver & Ruby Red Grapefruit cocktails on the rocks.

red and yellow cocktails

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Set Your Table Tool + Event Recap

brides set your table tool

Here’s a little recap of the May 7th Bridal Registry event at Bloomingdales San Francisco that I participated in with Michelle Prelli from Brides.com and Christy Weber from What Junebug Loves (both fabulous women, BTW!). The crew from Bloomingdales (pictured below) was quite warm & welcoming as well…

brides set your table tool

The main purpose of the event was to introduce brides-to-be and engaged couples to the new Set Your Table tool on Brides.com, which basically allows you to mix & match china patterns and tabletop elements online to come up with your own favorite look…. while in the most comfortable setting possible – like at home in your PJ’s! {Pictured below, from left: Michelle, Christy, and me during the bridal registry discussion.}

brides set your table tool

For those of you that have seen the movie Clueless, the Set Your Table tool reminds me of (a more sophisticated version of) the “outfit matchmaker” program that Cher had for that all-important task of figuring out the perfect ensemble to wear when you’re a sophomore in high school! Here’s a screenshot… (more…)

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Artist Series Glass & Coaster Sets

limited edition artist series glass and coaster sets

These Limited Edition Artist Series Glass & Coaster Sets are just plain cool. Not to mention a fabulous, unique gift idea for your favorite people that love one or more of the following: 1. modern art 2. design 3. entertaining 4. neat stuff!

Available in 4 different styles, each glass & coaster set comes in a special clear-top cardboard canister that features info on the artist. $24.50 each at Delight.com.

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Reception Style: Modern (Yellow & Black)

modern black and yellow wedding reception

There’s a great feature on Brides.com titled “What’s Your Reception Style?” that highlights 3 different styles of receptions: Romantic, Modern, and Natural.

There are really so many different ways that you can interpret each of these 3 styles – and many of us might lean towards a combo of the two – but for this particular article the “Modern” example won me over, hands down! How about you?

modern black and yellow wedding reception

Of course it doesn’t hurt that they used a color palette that’s always been near & dear! I love this bold look for an engagement party, rehearsal dinner, or milestone birthday party too…

P.S. Does that cake look familiar to you? You might have seen it used in this fabulous dessert buffet over at Amy Atlas Events!

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REAL PARTIES: Lollipop, Lollipop….

lollipop birthday party

Today’s Real Party feature is pretty much the cuteness. Wait… make that the sweetness!

This “Yummy Lollipop Birthday” theme was created by the ultra-creative Kim from TomKat Studio for her daughter Kate’s second birthday celebration! Everything from the invitations & decorations to the food & favors played up Kim’s colorful lollipop theme. (P.S. You can purchase a lot of this stuff in her Etsy Shop!)

lollipop birthday party

The base for the fabulous “Lollipop Cupcake Tower” pictured above is a basic, all-white cupcake stand purchased at Michael’s for around $20. I love the versatility in this item because you can use fun decorative papers to tailor it to any sort of theme!

Kim also designed cupcake toppers that read “kate’s sweet shop“, “k“, and “kate“, which were added to the some of the cupcakes via lollipop sticks.

lollipop birthday party

On the menu: Adorable marshmallow pops (inspired by Bakerella), a rainbow jello form that was stuck with a lolli stick, fruit on lollipop sticks, and pink snowballs turned lollipops… (more…)

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Cute Enough to Eat (Fun Favor Ideas)

party favor ideas - erasers

Looking for a unique party favor idea? With designs ranging from “Enlightened Desserts” to “Sushi” to “Savory Foods“, these tiny, japanese-inspired erasers are sure to stand out!

party favor ideas - erasers

More favorites pictured below, like this pretty Tea Ceremony Set featuring Mocci, Matcha, Manju, Delicacy, and Pancakes: (more…)

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REAL PARTIES: Li’l Tweet Baby Shower

Li'l Tweet Owl Baby Shower

This adorable “Li’l Tweet” Baby Shower was created by Kathleen Gibson of the wonderfully creative Twig & Thistle blog.  Read on for the details, as told by the hostess herself – plus info on where you can get these charming owl-themed invites & party supplies for your own celebrations!

Li'l Tweet Owl Baby Shower

“Last year I had the honor of being asked to do the baby shower for my good friend Katie. Let me start off by saying that this was by far my favorite event to plan and design.

Katie knew that she was having a baby boy and his name would be Sebastian Sanchez. I decided to celebrate the new baby and his beautiful parents by illustrating them as a little owl family. I thought it would be fun to play up this icon and use it throughout the whole system.

(more…)

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Gorgeous Floral Artistry by Mints Design

Mints Design

The first time I stumbled upon the Mints Design website, it was love at first sight! If you’re looking for floral design inspiration that’s seriously beyond the basics and elevated to what really feels like an “artistry” level – get ready!  There’s so much visual eye candy over at Mints – from their stunning events & weddings portfolio to their gorgeous retail arrangements to the Mints Blog. Swoon…

Mints Design

Images from just one of their portfolio events are featured here to give you an example of their style. This “Citrus Meringue Cupcakes” wedding felt especially appropriate today with summer approaching and the weather warming up outside!

Mints Design

(more…)

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Chocolate Graduation Cap Candy Pops

graduation candy pops

Is this one of the most genius candy creations ever, or what?! Something tells me these will be “popping” up at Grad parties ’round the world very soon! Bakerella… you’re a genius with the sweet stuff as always – thanks!

graduation candy pops

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Simply Stated: Jonathan Adler – Tabletop

Jonathan Adler Tabletop

Today over at Simply Stated – check out some fabulous tabletop pieces from Jonathan Adler that are sure to brighten up your summer table! (Seriously – how great does the tabletop ensemble pictured above look!) Simply Stated: Swoon.

Jonathan Adler Tabletop

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Big Screen Preview: Julie & Julia

The movie doesn’t hit theatres until August, but the trailer for Julie & Julia (as in blogger/author Julie Powell and noted chef Julia Childs) has been released and I think it looks great!

Of course it definitely doesn’t hurt that Meryl Streep and Amy Adams are in the lead roles… and I love seeing Streep & Stanley Tucci on the screen together again too (just like 2006’s The Devil Wears Prada). What do you think?

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Margarita Cupcakes

margarita cupcake recipe

After an exhaustive (in a good way) search for margarita cupcakes on flickr, I noticed that tons of people were crediting “VCTOTW” as their recipe source, which was a bit perplexing at first. Google came through as always though and quickly helped me decipher the strange code – which turned out to be shorthand for the title “Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World“.

I’m not a vegan myself, but I did notice that this book happens to have a shiny 5-star rating from over 200 reviewers on Amazon (in addition to great reviews on this particular recipe), and I’m definitely intrigued…

All 4 of the margarita cupcake images pictured here credit VCTOTW as their recipe source (get the recipe below) – but a couple of the bakers that aren’t vegan substituted real butter & milk for the shortening & soymilk. Bottom line – make the recipe work for you – and ENJOY!!

margarita cupcake recipe

Pictured at top: Margarita Cupcakes by LaundryGirlPhotog. Pictured above, clockwise from left: Mucho Margarita Cupcakes by Seitti; Margarita Cupcakes by Crumbs&Pixels; Margarita Cupcake by t.sullivan photography.

(more…)

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DIY: Adorable Flower Cookie Pops

hostess

I’m so excited to share today’s guest post with you! The ultra-crafty & talented Meaghan Mountford – author of The Decorated Cookie and Cookie Sensations: Creative Designs for Every Occasion – is here with a fun DIY cookie project.

Since Mother’s Day is right around the corner, Megan has personalized the downloadable envelope template in this project for Mom, but these cookies would also be great party favor ideas for bridal showers, baby showers & birthday parties! Get all the “how to” info below, as told by Meaghan…

hostess

*****

(more…)

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Margarita Madness: 10 Unique Flavors & Recipe Ideas

pomegranate margaritas

Most of us have enjoyed a classic or strawberry flavored margarita at one time or another, but how about a Smoky Grilled Grapefruit or Honeydew Rita?

There are so many variations of this popular drink – and seeing how tomorrow is Cinco de Mayo – it seems like the perfect time to explore some of these unique flavors…especially if you feel like shaking things up this week! Here are TEN creative ideas from ’round the web:

Pictured at top: Pomegranate Margarita {via Skinny Chef} and Margarita Jello {via Use Real Butter}

smoked grapefruit margaritas

Above: Smoky Grilled Grapefruit Margarita {via Well Fed}
Below: Prickly Pear Margarita {via My Sweet and Saucy}

(more…)

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Simply Stated: Mint Julep Recipe

mint julep recipe

We’ve covered Mint Julep Cupcakes this week… but the cocktail itself is important too! Get the Mint Julep cocktail recipe today over at Simply Stated. Have fun tomorrow!

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