Inspiring Celebrations Since 2006

REAL PARTIES: Spring Celebration

spring outdoor party ideas

I’m so excited to share this new “Real Party” with you! Courtney Toney from Joyful Weddings & Events is back with one of her fabulous seasonal get-togethers. This time the party is all about Spring, but I think this look would translate quite nicely to summer bridal showers, birthday parties, and celebrations as well!

Read on for lots of photos and all the party details, as told by Courtney herself…

spring outdoor party ideas

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“Some of you may remember me from Jenn’s post on our Fall Party. If not, I am thrilled to introduce you to our little tradition. At the beginning of every season, my husband and I host a party to celebrate and capture the essence of that season. The fall party was the first, followed by our winter soup party, which was amazing!

To celebrate spring, our immediate thought was to have a picnic. And picnic in style we did. We held it at a neighborhood park on a beautiful May Saturday. (more…)

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Outdoor Entertaining: Venezia Pavilion

z gallerie outdoor pavilion

In the world of entertaining, the arrival of summer often means bringing the party outside! This fabulous Venezia Pavilion from Z Gallerie is definitely a fun excuse to do just that.

If you’ve got an extra-special celebration coming up like an engagement party, milestone birthday, or wedding – or if you just love to entertain outdoors – this super stylish striped pavilion is guaranteed to be the talk of the party! Use it for an intimate dinner party, as shown above, or as a special area to highlight the cake table, wet bar, guest(s) of honor, etc. ($599 at Z Gallerie – sold online only)

z gallerie outdoor pavilion

Pictured above: these cool black & white accessories look fabulous as accents to the Venezia Pavilion – or all on their own! Clockwise from top left: Venezia Umbrella ($199); Elephant Umbrella Stand ($89.95); Winslow Vase ($49.95); Winslow Canister ($49.95); and Winslow Pillar Holder ($29.95).

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Simply Stated: Chalkboard-Inspired Finds

chalkboard napkin rings, place cards

Today over on Simply Stated, check out 8 Cool Chalkboard-Inspired Finds for entertaining. It might be partially nostalgic, but I’m loving this white-on-slate trend!

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Swiffer SocialLuxe Lounge… Be Our Guest!

SocialLuxe Lounge

Exciting news to share! I’m co-hosting a pre-BlogHerpamper & primp party” on July 23rd in Chicago along with these 5  fabulous women bloggers! This is your chance to kick back, relax, and mix & mingle with other bloggers (including some of your favorite names from the blogging world!) before the conference starts.

SocialLuxe Lounge

The party will be held “open-house style” from 3-8pm in the “Monarch Suite” (2500 sq ft!) at The Hyatt Regency Chicago (within strolling distance of the convention). Guests will be treated to mini spa treatments, great food & drinks, live music, demos from our wonderful sponsors, and more!

We’ll also be announcing the winners of the BlogLuxe Awards at the party. Even if you’re not attending the conference, you can still nominate and vote for your favorite women bloggers in each of the 8 BlogLuxe categories: (more…)

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Gorgeous Pucci-Inspired Dessert Bar

Pucci Dessert Buffet by Amy Atlas

Check out the latest amazing creation from the talented Amy Atlas! This fashionable Pucci-inspired dessert bar features gorgeous details like a custom cupcake tower, custom popcorn cone bar (so cute!) and custom cotton candy sticks.

{6/5 Update: Here’s what Amy said about the popcorn how-to: “I cut styrofoam to fit in the tray and then placed wooden skewers into the styrofoam. The popcorn cones had a small hole at the bottom so that they could be placed into the skewers.”}

Pucci Dessert Buffet by Amy Atlas

You can take cues from Amy for your own celebrations – such as wrapping different boxes with fabulous gift wrap & ribbon to create your own themed cupcake towers and custom bases/stands for jars of candy. (more…)

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SURPRISE GIVEAWAY: Hostess Jo

Hostess Jo - Entertaining & Gift Ideas

Winner Update: This giveaway is now closed. Thanks so  much to everyone that entered! And the randomly selected winner is: Commenter # 235 – Lynn, who said, “I love the cocktail napkins and the drink me flutes :) What a cute selection they have!” Congrats, Lynn!

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If you love colorful, clever, and unique entertaining finds, then today’s SURPRISE GIVEAWAY is for you! HostessJo.com was born from Joanna’s passion for entertaining and it shows! You’ll find everything from hilarious Anne Taintor products to stylish Jesse Steel aprons to backyard BBQ accessories in her shop.

This week, HostessJo.com is offering a $100 Shopping Spree towards your favorite hostess gifts & entertaining products on their website! (A few of my personal favorites pictured below: Cork Cheese Spreaders, Girls Night Glass Stick ‘Ems, Casablanca Wine Glasses, and Colorful Stripes Coasters.)

Hostess Jo - Entertaining & Gift Ideas

(More products + details for HOW TO ENTER after the jump…) (more…)

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{Very} Pretty Party Centerpieces

pretty party centerpieces

Everyday with Rachael Ray just launched a brand new website – click here to check it out!

While browsing this morning, I spotted a few fabulous centerpiece ideas that look especially perfect for occasions like bridal showers & grown-up birthday parties. Here goes:

1. Bag It – made from cut-up plastic grocery & shopping bags; 2. Spool Days (LOVE this one!); 3. Tiny Baubles – designed by Project Runway finalist Daniel Vosovic; 4. In Living Color – design guru Christiane Lemieux, who also happens to be the founder of the fabulous DwellStudio.

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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!

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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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Working Class Studio: Ben Collection

working class studio fashion plates

Calling all fashionistas: Add some serious style to your table (or your walls) with these Ben Collection Fashion Plates by Working Class Studio! Each melamine plate features a sketch by the late Savannah College of Art and Design professor and distinguished illustrator Ben Morris. ($8.95 each at heliotrope)

These plates coordinate well with the rest of the stylish Ben Collection products, such as the Ben Bowls ($8 ea), Ben Dinner Plates ($10 ea), and Ben Tumblers ($4 ea) pictured below… all available at Velocity Art and Design.

working class studio ben bowls

(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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New from Jessica Rust: Tattoo Collection

Jessica Rust Designs - Tattoo Plates

If you’re looking for a thoughtful, unique gift idea, the personalized dinnerware collections from Jessica Rust Designs are always a great option (and she’s got designs for all sorts of special occasions!).

I’m especially loving this colorful, new Tattoo collection – which is the sort of thing that’s just perfect for a certain type of person, and if you have that particular friend yourself, you’ll instantly think of them when you see it! (BTW – if they like this they might also love this “Eclectic” shower theme that we featured a while back.)

Jessica Rust Designs - Tattoo Plates

The Tattoo Collection from Jessica Rust consists of personalized Dessert Plates ($98/set of 4), personalized Mugs ( $72/set of 4 – pictured below), or a complete set of 4 Plates + 4 Mugs for $160. (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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Surprise Giveaway: The Celebration Shoppe

celebration shoppe

Winner Update: 5/29: This giveaway is now closed. Thank you so much to everyone that entered! And the lucky random winner is… Commenter #529Nicole F, who said, “I LOVE Sweet Treats … its absolutely adorable!”. Congrats, Nicole!

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I’m really excited to share this week’s Surprise Giveaway with you – because it comes from a fabulous company that makes party planning for all sorts of occasions a whole lot easier!

The Celebration Shoppe is all about unique custom invitations AND party supplies that coordinate with the invitation design. For example: Want to create a cupcake themed birthday party? Not only will you find a Cupcake invitation at The Celebration Shoppe – you’ll also find coordinating invitations, plates, napkins, cupcake wrappers, thank you cards, candles, and theme ideas… all in one spot! How easy is that?!

Even more good news: This week, The Celebration Shoppe is offering up a $100 shopping spree on their website to a lucky HWTM reader! (Find the details on HOW TO ENTER below.)

celebration shoppe

There are tons of different theme ideas at The Celebration Shoppe – from the modern red & white Movie Night and Pirate Ship themes to the bright, colorful Birthday Bash and Spooked Pumpkin {Halloween} themes. A few other favorites are pictured above and below… (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!

{Photos by Jeff McNamara}

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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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Guyot Designs: Smart + Cool + Eco-Chic

guyot designs

I came across an image of these “Squishy Bowls” in this month’s issue of Real Simple (June 2009) and was instantly intrigued by both the name and mod look. You can use these bowls to serve dishes like pasta & salad on when your on a picnic/at an outdoor BBQ, then squash them into your bag for hassle-free, space-conserving transportation on the way home. They’re made of food-safe silicone, easy to clean, and come in fun colors like Tangerine and Tomato (see bottom pic).

A little investigation into the company behind these bowls – Guyot Designs – revealed lots more “smart+cool” designs like the Squishy Bowls. For example, the Firefly accessory turns your wide-mouth water bottle into a lantern!

guyot designs

The Firefly lid is retro-fitted with an LED light that spreads a warm glow throughout the bottle, and you can control/adjust the levels from “nightlight” to “reading light”!

Save money, save the earth: Guyot’s TapGuard accessory (pictured below) replaces hundreds of disposable bottles. Add it to your widemouth bottle and you’ve got carbon-filtered water from any safe source! (more…)

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Outdoor Entertaining: Twist, Axis, Hammered

melamine dishes west elm

These fabulous new dishes from West Elm are the perfect excuse for a backyard party! Made from sturdy, outdoor-friendly materials like melamine and acrylic, there’s no need to worry about slippery hands or broken glass ’round the pool. More bonuses: cool, contemporary designs + affordable prices!

Pictured above: Twist Melamine Dinnerware ($14 – $18 per set of 4). Pictured below: Twist Melamine Salad/Serving Bowl ($12) and Round Platter ($14).

melamine dishes west elm

Pictured below: Espresso & white Axis Melamine Dinnerware ($14 / set of 4), Square Serving Bowl ($14), and Rectangle Platter ($12).

(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!

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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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Just Because It’s Cute…

hostess

Inside reads: “now and always

I’ve definitely been having “one of those weeks” – so for anyone out there that can relate, hope this “Double Decker” letterpress card from Elum makes you smile too! (Or inspires you to send a similar message to someone you know that could use it right now!)

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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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Surprise (Twitter) Giveaway: Elum

hostess

We have a new Surprise Giveaway for you today – with a twist! Our friends at Elum – the brilliant letterpress invitations & stationery company that creates gorgeous eye candy like this and this – are offering up one of their luxurious letterpress desk sets to a lucky Twitter follower!

Each desk set is valued at $150 and contains over 300 pieces of varying sized letterpress stationery & notecards, all beautifully encased in a special fabric-covered box with magnetic closure. The winner can pick their favorite design from the 3 available styles: lime & chocolate Woodgrain (above), pink & chocolate Boudoir, or yellow & charcoal Aviary (both pictured below).

HOW TO ENTER
1. Follow elumdesigns on Twitter.

2. Tweet the following message to your followers
:
Just entered the Elum Letterpress Desk Set giveaway! Win by following @elumdesigns and RT http://bit.ly/25L3

(more…)

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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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