Inspiring Celebrations Since 2006

Last Minute Valentine’s Day Ideas

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I know that Valentine’s Day is tomorrow, but I couldn’t resist posting some last-minute inspiration from ’round the web… especially since pretty much all of these ideas can be re-purposed for other occasions too!

Starting from the top: Adorable Valentine-themed cupcakes from Jeanne Benedict
*I’m especially loving the top version for any sort of “pretty in pink” party for your favorite fashionista friend or princess-loving girl. It would even be cute to use lots of different patterns, colors, and “buckle” styles & create an entire “runway” of cupcakes!

Next up: Tired of heart-shaped chocolates and candy? Try whipping up a batch of Homemade Coffee Marshmallows for your sweetie instead. Find the step-by-step DIY tutorial here, courtesy of Prudent Baby.

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And while presentation might not be everything, it certainly accounts for a LOT! For example… (more…)

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Fab Find: Tablevogue – Design + Utility

tablevogue table covers

Do you have one of those utilitarian banquet or card tables sitting in your garage… the ones that you break out when you need extra surface space for entertaining, usually doing your best to pretty it up with a rented or store-bought tablecloth that doesn’t quite reach the ground?

Enter Tablevogue: a smart new product that instantly transforms those “drab” all purpose tables into fabulous dining, buffet, bar, or gift tables for all sorts of parties & occasions!

tablevogue table covers

tablevogue table covers

These full-length covers provide a snug, tailored fit for standard 6″ utility and 34″ folding card tables, complete with box pleats at each corner (no more table skirts, clipping or pinning!) and are made from 100% pure polyester from textile industry leader Milliken & Company. They won’t fade or shrink after laundering, and you can use the dryer as your “iron” to smooth out wrinkles before using… which is especially great for people like me that would rather do pretty much anything than iron!

Added bonus: if you’re a nesting newbie that’s decorating on a budget, you can even use Tablevogue to turn inexpensive utilitarian tables into stylish, everyday home decor. Check out how great these makeshift home bar and accent tables look: (more…)

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Adorable DIY: Meringue Message Cones

meringue cookie ice cream cones

Is is just me, or is this one of the cutest ideas ever?!!

These “Secret Message Cones” from BHG are inspired by fortune cookies and featured as a creative homemade Valentine idea, but they would ALSO be a fabulous addition to birthday parties, bridal showers, and baby showers (especially a “Cravings” or “Pickles & Ice Cream” theme!)

You’ll need sugar cones, meringue cookies, and chocolate chips for the ice cream cone portion. (All can be store-bought.) For the homemade valentine, you’ll also need paper for the “message” and colorful nonpareils.

To modify this idea as a party favor, you can either tailor the inside message to your particular occasion OR fill the cone with something different like  jelly bellies, pink m&ms, or a flavored lip gloss, essentially using the ice cream cone as your “favor packaging”. Sweet!

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Flirty “Love, Sweet Love” Bridal Shower

lingerie bridal shower theme ideas

In keeping with the Valentine’s Day theme going on this week, I thought it would be fun to feature some ideas for a flirty red & white lingerie bridal shower (or bachelorette party!).

The image above is a “Love, Sweet Love” theme idea from Simple Stunning Wedding Showers by Karen Bussen and serves as great overall inspiration for a contemporary lingerie theme… a buffet of decadent chocolate desserts, red & white table accessories, sexy bedroom slippers, and red martinis… looks like fun, right?!

Here are a few more ideas to help play up this theme:

lingerie bridal shower theme ideas

Let’s do dessert!
Pictured above, clockwise from top left: Mini Raspberry & White Chocolate Whoopie Pies, Chocolate Raspberry Fondue, Cherry Pistachio Creams, and Cherry Walnut Balls.

Signature Drink Ideas: (more…)

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Romantic Decor: Red, Black & Lace {Part 2}

romantic valentine's day centerpiece ideas

In continuing with Part 1 of Romantic Decor: Red, Black, & Lace, here’s another (surprisingly quick!) centerpiece idea for a special Valentine’s Day dinner…

romantic valentine's day centerpiece ideas

Find all the DIY Details Below: (more…)

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REAL PARTIES: Kimora’s Sweet Shoppe

pink sweet shoppe birthday party

Today’s Real Party feature is full of such sweet, creative, and surprisingly budget-friendly details! It’s a charming Sweet Shoppe theme that Aisha Holly of Dooby Design Group created for her adorable daughter Kimora‘s 4th birthday party.

pink sweet shoppe birthday party

From tissue poms and strawberry parfaits to a cool DIY table and mini cupcakes (made by dad!), read on for all the perfectly pink, kid-friendly details, as told by Aisha herself(more…)

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SURPRISE GIVEAWAY: Plates and Napkins

paper plates and napkins

Winner Update 2/16: This giveaway is now closed. Thanks so much to everyone that entered! And the lucky, randomly selected winner is… Commenter #10 – Jillian, who said: “love the vintage humor. What a great theme for a girls night party and you could do so many different decorating ideas to go along with the “vintage” theme. Humor like that just does NOT go out of style :)” Congrats, Jillian!

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If you’ve got ANY sort of celebration coming up… from a birthday to a bridal/baby shower to a spring luncheon or cocktail party, today’s Surprise Giveaway should be especially inviting!

The giveaway comes from PlatesAndNapkins.com – an online party supply shop that has tons – and I mean TONS – of fabulous paper partyware & accessories for all sorts of occasions.

This week at HWTM, PlatesAndNapkins.com is offering up a $100 Shopping Spree to a lucky reader… which will go a long way in boosting that party budget (for yourself or a hostess friend)!

paper plates and napkins

Since the selection of patterns and prints is so extensive, it was hard to choose what to feature in this post, but above and below is a small sampling of some personal favorites… (more…)

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Romantic Red, Black & Lace {Part 1}

romantic valentine's day centerpiece ideas

Looking for an easy way to add romance to your Valentine’s day table? Just add ribbon & lace!

Here are a few examples I mocked up recently to demonstrate how just a little lace & ribbon can give a simple vase, pillar candle, or tablecloth a romantic vibe that’s perfect for Valentine’s Day (or a sexy lingerie-themed wedding shower!).

There are 3 kinds of lace pictured in these examples – a wide black style with a scalloped edge, a fun red style with rhinestone detailing, and a narrower black velvet style. All of them were purchased at Joann Fabric & Crafts. (Lace styles will vary based on what’s available at your local fabric stores.)

romantic valentine's day centerpiece ideas

Example #1

In the example at the very top, a band of black lace is wrapped around a white ceramic vase filled with pretty red ranunculus, which have a soft, feminine look to them. The flower arrangement is displayed on a square white tray lined with black velvet scrapbook paper and decorated with red satin ribbon & velvet lace.

For the finishing touch, these cool red acrylic tea light holders from Social Couture were placed in each corner of the tray and embellished with adhesive-backed red craft rhinestones (which are super easy to add/remove).

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This next arrangement is one of my favorites: (more…)

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Simply Stated: Love in Bloom

pink and gray wedding party inspiration board

Love is in the air! On the lookout for some inspiration for spring or summer bridal showers? Check out my “Love in Bloom” inspiration board posted today over at Real Simple, featuring this gorgeous new Plum Blossom partyware collection that I’ve fallen in love with myself. =)

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“Big Game” Entertaining Ideas & Boboli

boboli pizza super bowl recipes

Being a big football fan myself, (and the wife of an even bigger football fanatic/son of a former NFL player), I was super excited when Boboli reached out to HWTM to collaborate on some “Big Game” entertaining ideas!

You can check out my party tips over at BoboliFootball.com, a football entertaining hub that’s loaded with game-day recipes, a downloadable football party guide, and more great stuff… (more…)

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Vase Corset: Oh-La-La Centerpiece!

valentines day bachelorette party centerpiece

I’m in love with this new “Vase Corset” from Social Couture what a fabulous way to add some romance to your Valentine’s Day table – or some “oh la la!” to that sexy bachelorette party or lingerie-themed bridal shower!

The black velvet vase corset ($15 ea) is available in 3 different ribbon colors: red, black, or hot pink. Here’s a peek at the chic black-on-black version: (more…)

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Lovely Valentine’s Day Dessert Buffet

valentine's day dessert buffet

Need some inspiration for your Valentine’s Day party dessert table? Check out this latest dessert bar creation by Amy Atlas… which can only be described as absolutely pink-a-licious!

Goodies included: a macaron tower (so cute!), ruffled buttercream cake and cupcakes, pink favor boxes tied up with pretty satin ribbon, and lots of pink candy! For a nostalgic feel, Amy also included strawberry milk in “Be Mine” glasses.

valentine's day dessert buffet

The lovely bubblegum pink, light pink, & pale gray table (which was created for a segment on Better TV) featured a “Key to My Heart” theme, which was played up through the adorable key-topped cupcakes and “Love is the key to my Heart” candy bar wrappers. (more…)

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SURPRISE GIVEAWAY: Lisa Leonard

Lisa Leonard Designs Custom Jewelry

Winner Update – 2/10: This giveaway is now closed. Thanks so much to everyone that entered! And the lucky randomly chosen winners are… commenter #34Amanda, commenter #193 – Raphelle, and commenter #38 – Nancy. Congrats to all of you!

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Lisa Leonard Designs – a fabulous online shop specializing in lovely, handmade custom & inspirational jewelry – is back with another fabulous giveaway! This week at HWTM, Lisa is offering up $50 Gift Certificates to 3 lucky readers!

Since Valentine’s Day is right around the corner, I thought it made sense to feature some of Lisa’s most Valentine-appropriate pieces today, but there are all kinds of different designs to choose from on her website – from custom necklaces & bracelets to “inspired” designs, key chains, and more…  very thoughtful gift ideas for everyone from mom to sis to BFF (or yourself, of course!).

Each sterling silver piece is hand-cut, hammered, antiqued and polished.

Lisa Leonard Designs Custom Jewelry

Pictured above: a few favorites from the Custom Designs category… Forever necklace, Banner necklace (can be customized with your name or message), Petite Family Crest necklace, and Itty Bitty Hearts necklace.

Pictured below: I’m especially loving this adorable Illuminate Necklace, which reads “sparkle…” and features a cool chandelier graphic and – (very appropriately!) – a sparkly crystal: (more…)

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“Oh How Tweet” Baby Shower {Part 2}

bird themed baby shower - oh how tweet

Lots more beautiful images & details to share with you from the “Oh How Tweet” baby shower today…

…from amazing rhinestone-studded invitations to a mouth-watering menu (served by dad-to-be & other family members acting as “waiters”!) and “sweet tweets” like mini chocolate bundt cakes topped with spun sugar nests!

bird themed baby shower - oh how tweet

Read on for a ton of pretty images and a continuation of Suzanne’s favorite party details (see Part 1 here), as described by the guest of honor herself… (more…)

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“Oh How Tweet” Baby Shower {Part 1}

bird themed baby shower - oh how tweet

So… I don’t think it’s possible to create a party that gets much more beautiful than this gorgeous “Oh How Tweet!” baby shower hosted in honor of Suzanne Johnson and her new baby twins, do you?!

This party looks like it stepped right off the pages of an Anthropologie catalog… such a fresh, chic vibe that’s overflowing with creative details. I’m thinking there’s also some fabulous inspiration for Easter parties and spring weddings or bridal showers to be discovered here too!

bird themed baby shower - oh how tweet

bird themed baby shower - oh how tweet

Because there are soooo many details and images to share, I’m going to break this feature into 2 parts. Tabletop & decor elements are featured here in Part 1, and Part 2 will cover everything else (invitations, menu, favors, and more).

Read on for LOTS of pretty pics and party details, as told by Suzanne… (more…)

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Easy & Impressive: Chocolate Abstracts

chocolate abstracts candy recipe

In case you’re on the lookout for a new way to impress in the kitchen this Valentine’s Dayor aiming to wow a whole group of guests for any special occasion really – here’s one of my favorite “sweet tips” from Simple Stunning Parties, a fabulous book by entertaining expert Karen Bussen.

These cool “Chocolate Abstracts” will instantly dress up any sort of dessert – from ice cream to fancy cakes & custards… and despite their artistic, gourmet look, they’re actually surprisingly easy to make! All you need is chocolate chips (4 oz or more), a squeeze bottle, wax paper, and a microwave.

chocolate abstracts candy recipe

Here’s the detailed info: (more…)

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REAL PARTY: Mod Menagerie Baby Shower

modern jungle menagerie baby shower

Today’s Real Party baby shower feature is especially near & dear… it was actually my own!

The shower was hosted earlier this month by 4 of my close friends – Leslie, Sarah, Mimi, and Jen… and they did such a great job – I was totally blown away! It was so odd to be on the receiving end this time… and I sincerely hope that the people I host showers for feel as special & loved as they made me feel at this one – thanks again girls! =)

modern jungle menagerie baby shower

Knowing my love for tropical flowers/foliage and all things giraffe, the girls created a “Modern Menagerie” (a.k.a. “modern jungle”) theme for the baby shower, which also coordinated with the nursery and felt especially thoughtful. I about died when I saw the huge giraffe-print paper lanterns!

The color palette was a fabulous bright pink, brown, and kelly green (no baby pastels!). The pink hue coordinated with the color of the gorgeous protea featured in the centerpieces (along with papyrus, china mums, & ti leaves)… and I absolutely adored the little toy animal figurines that were spray-painted copper and even glued to some of the vases! (more…)

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Sneak Peek: Masquerade Invites & More

masquerade theme baby shower invitations

Here’s a sneak peek at some new invites I recently designed for an upcoming baby shower… featuring a new masquerade-inspired party theme that’s been so much fun to work on!

For extra “festivity”, the final invitations were embellished with adhesive craft rhinestones (on the butterfly antennae), Opal Stardream Envelopes, and hand-stamping on the front & back of the envelope (images of ornate birds & butterflies).

The “Festival Du Bebe” theme will incorporate a lot of the same elements/ideas as Cirque Du Bebe (gotta love it when you can reuse!), but will feature a more extensive color palette and some fun additions like gems, glittery butterflies, and mardi gras beads.

masquerade theme party ideas

And because this theme could easily translate for a bridal shower or adult birthday/cocktail party, I’ll also be creating versions of both the invite & the theme that are tailored to those occasions as well…which brings me to another fun announcement that I’ve been excited to share for quite a while, but wanted to wait until we got a bit closer to being ready: (more…)

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Sparkling Pomegranate Cocktail & Mocktail

red pomegranate cocktail and mocktail recipe

With Valentine’s Day coming up, it feels like the perfect time of year to feature some pretty red drinks… like these sparkling pomegranate cocktails & mocktails from Judy Reyes’s Berry Sweet Baby Shower.

Both drinks are lovely, yummy, & super easy… just like we like them! (Full recipes below.) (more…)

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DIY Tutorial: Clever Dessert/Cake Stand

DIY cake stand tutorial

I’m so excited to share this fabulous – and super useful – DIY project with you today!

The tutorial comes from Jacinda at Prudent Baby, and features a clever & inexpensive way to create your own dessert/cake stands for all sorts of parties and occasions.

With all the fabulous scrapbook paper that’s available these days, the sky is the limit as far as aesthetics go… you could even add ribbon, craft gems, and other coordinating scrapbook embellishments to create your own completely unique look!

(more…)

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Modern Ladybug (or Lovebug) Party Theme

ladybug birthday valentines party ideas

I stumbled across these adorable nylon ladybugs recently and thought they’d be the perfect starting point for a Modern Ladybug party theme!

Ladybugs are always cute for kids birthday parties and “LovebugValentine’s Day parties, but this theme can even translate beautifully for a girlie baby shower or bridal shower.

ladybug birthday valentines party ideas

For adult-friendly parties, just make sure to focus on decorative elements that are chic & stylish, as opposed to overly “cutesie”; for example – the grass & gerbera flower arrangements pictured below, contemporary polka dot partyware, and a cool red signature drink like a Raspberry Collins or Watermelon Mojito.

Whatever your particular occasion may be – from a 1st birthday to a bridal shower – here’s some inspiration to get you started… (more…)

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Entertain at Home: Pretty Party Inspiration

purple and blue dinner party ideas

Megan from Real Weddings – (an Australian-based magazine that recently launched a shiny new website!) –  sent over some beautiful inspiration to share from one of their photo shoots.

These images are from an “Entertain at Home” feature that was a collaboration between British fashion designer Jasper Conran and Waterford Crystal.

purple and blue dinner party ideas

The tablescape & party decor was designed to coordinate with Conran’s Chinoiserie tableware (see below), and boasts a lovely palette of soft greens, purples, and periwinkle blues. Would this look be great for an Easter or Mother’s Day brunch?!

purple and blue dinner party ideas

I’m especially loving the gorgeous floral arrangements, which feature Delphinium, Lily of the Valley, Blue Bells, and Cornflowers(more…)

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“Gossip Girl” Inspired Bridal Shower {Part 2}

gossip girl bridal shower party ideas

In continuing with Part 1 of the gorgeous Gossip Girl Inspired Bridal Shower posted yesterday, here is Part 2: Menu & Activities.

Scroll down for details on the yummy food & drinks that the ladies were treated to, as well as the (non-cheesy!) bridal shower activities they participated in, as told by event designer Carolyn Chen

gossip girl bridal shower party ideas

gossip girl bridal shower party ideas

(more…)

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“Gossip Girl” Inspired Bridal Shower {Part 1}

Gossip Girl bridal shower ideas

Today’s Real Party feature is a gorgeous “Gossip Girl Inspired” Bridal Shower created by event planner Carolyn Chen of The Special Day.

The details of this party are absolutely fabulous… from the fluffy pink peony arrangements and aubergine ruffle placemats (swoon!) to the lovely guests who were all decked out in black & white “Upper East Side Chic” to match the party’s color palette & style!

Gossip Girl bridal shower ideas

This look would also translate beautifully for a wedding or other extra-special occasion or dinner party! Because there are so many pretty pictures & details to share, I’m going to split the feature into 2 parts… we’ll cover the Tabletop & Decor in here Part 1, and the Menu & Activities in Part 2 (posting tomorrow).

Read on for tons of gorgeous eye candy and more party details, as told by Carolyn(more…)

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Super Bowl / Football Party Cupcakes

super bowl football cupcake recipe

If you’re planning to host a get-together for the NFL Championships and/or Super Bowl, entertaining guru Jeanne Benedict has some absolutely adorable ideas for dessert!

Jeanne designed & whipped up 7 ultra-creative Super Bowl cupcakes for Celebrations.com, where she is a Lifestyle Party Expert, and she was generous enough to share them with us here!

super bowl football cupcake recipe

Read on for details on the Football Corset, Ref, Team Colors, Pizza, and Hamburger cupcakes, as told by Jeanne… (more…)

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Warm Up! Hot Chambord Cider Recipe

hot chambord cider recipe

I don’t know what the weather’s like in your area… but it’s POURING outside in San Diego today! The perfect weather – and time of year – to warm up with a yummy hot drink, like this creative cider-based cocktail:

HOT CHAMBORD CIDER

1/2 oz Chambord
1/2 oz Tuaca Liqueur
3 oz apple cider
1 oz cranberry juice

Heat ingredients over medium heat. Pour into a mug and garnish with a cinnamon stick. ENJOY!

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SURPRISE GIVEAWAY: Polka Dot Design

modern valentines day invitations and cards

Winner Update: This giveaway is now closed. Thanks so much to everyone that entered! And the lucky randomly selected winner is… Commenter #365 – Wendy Sue, who said,”love the hey cupcake mini petite pink card and the red love spouts mini card. so adorable!” Congrats, Wendy! Have fun on your shopping spree! =)

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We have a fabulous new Surprise Giveaway for you today – especially for all the stationery-lovers out there!

The giveaway comes from Polka Dot Design – one of my favorite places to shop for custom invitations & personalized stationery due to their vast selection of wonderfully modern designs….

This week at HWTM, Polka Dot Design is offering up a generous $100 Shopping Spree for a lucky reader! The shopping spree can be used towards ANYTHING on the PDD website – and they carry everything from holiday cards & personalized stationery to birthday party invites, wedding collections, address labels, paper partyware, custom stickers, and much, MUCH more!

modern valentines day invitations and cards

Since Valentines Day is right around the corner and some of you might be on the lookout for “sweet” cards & invitations, some favorites from Polka Dot’s Valentines Day collection are pictured above and below:

(Scroll down for details on how to enter the giveaway.) (more…)

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REAL WEDDINGS: Dashing & Diverse

pink and orange summer wedding ideas

Today’s Real Wedding feature is one of those celebrations that makes you happy just looking at it!

Coordinated by Paige Galla, the vibrant color palette in this “Dashing & Diverse” affair {for Heidi Larsen & Patrick Collins} boasts brilliant shades of fuchsia, orange & green.

pink and orange summer wedding ideas

Some of the many creative & unique details included… flower girls wrapped in kimonos, adorable drink umbrella place cards, a midnight Indian feast and an ultra-colorful, exotic cupcake tower!

pink and orange summer wedding ideas

Read on for LOTS more gorgeous pics {by photographer Wendy Hithe} and all the details, as told by Paige(more…)

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Affordable, Hip & New from CB2

cb2 - modern entertaining

You can always count on the products at Crate & Barrel sister store – CB2 – to be ultra-contemporary and very affordable, so it’s exciting when they come out with a new collection! Everything in their new line is really very cool, but here are 12 stand-out favorites:

Q Dinnerware ($3.95 – $5.95 per piece) – White porcelain origami in motion, ringed concentric with a slashed overlapped rim reminiscent of the letter Q.

Petal Green Dinnerware ($2.95 – $5.95 per piece) – Organic shapes triangulate with glossy pear green glaze interior, semi-matte white exterior that peeks just over the rim.

cb2 - modern entertaining

Kabuk Bottle Opener ($4.95 each) – Unique & different… and a cool host gift idea to pair with a 6-pack of the their favorite brew! Each stainless steel bottle opener has a different kabuki face design that reverses to another kabuki face. (more…)

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Simply Stated: New Rosanna {Sneak Peek}

rosanna inc spring 2010

Today over at Real Simple… check out some of the fabulous new tableware & serving designs from Rosanna‘s upcoming collection (due out next month)!

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