Inspiring Celebrations Since 2006

Yay ONE! Chic & Vibrant Pineapple First Birthday

pineapple first birthday party theme

Vibrant flowers, lots of sparkle, and a generous dose of metallic…. PINEAPPLES! I mean, between that and a darling birthday girl, what’s not to love about this playful and glam “Yay One!” First Birthday Party, right?!

Tastefully styled by Reina of Sweet Details Events and beautifully captured by Katie & Jolie of Pixilated Photobooth, this is one of those submissions that just instantly made me feel happy when I opened it. And with the weather heating up already, I could see this look working beautifully for all sorts of summer celebrations.

P.S. I love how mom was highlighted here too… from both her creative work (she designed all the party stationery) to including her in some of the styled shots with her little ones. :)

PARTY HIGHLIGHTS to look out for:

– Fabulous ombre vegan smash cake with golden pineapple cookie topper
– DIY gold lace crown for the birthday girl + a vibrant fresh floral crown for mom
– Gold pineapple ribbon “napkin rings” + glittery gold pineapple in the table centerpiece
– Stunning giant floral “V” for Vivienne + clever thumb print pineapple “guestbook”

pink and gold pineapple cake

chalkboard first birthday sign

pink and gold pineapple first birthday theme (more…)

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Cheerful, Modern & Bright Rainbow Art Party

rainbow art birthday party

Kara Woolery of Lillian Hope Designs whipped up quite the party masterpiece for her daughter’s birthday with this Cheerful & Bright Rainbow Art Party! For a birthday girl who loves arts and crafts + all things girly and pretty, this theme is a canvas of party perfection! Read on to check out all the clever details – from paint-your-own cookies to a rainbow paintbrush garland – they’re guaranteed to brighten your day! ;)

 PARTY HIGHLIGHTS to look out for:

– Creative painters palette cupcake stands + Gum ball “Paint Drops” in mini paint cans
– Colorful drink ice cubes + DIY frame dessert table backdrop
Incredible candy kabobs from Sweets From Heaven, Outlets At Orange
– Canvas cookies on mini easels from Sweet Baketique + “My Artist Sketchbooks”
– Vibrant ripped fabric garland, ruffled white tablecloths, and rainbow confetti filled jumbo balloon
– Rainbow paintbrush krispie treats and easel garland + adorable custom birthday girl tee

rainbow art birthday party

rainbow art birthday party

rainbow art birthday party (more…)

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Rad Illustrated Swashbuckler Pirate Party {Joint Birthday}

DIY Pirate Party Ship Mast

I can always count on talented duo Karrie and Elizabeth of Posh Paperie to take a popular theme and re-invent it with their signature {and insanely awesome!} designer touch. In this case, it’s cool illustrated cartoon pirates + whimsical nautical elements that set the tone a Rad Illustrated Swashbuckler Pirate Party for Karrie’s 4 year-old and 1 year-old birthday boys.

From clever invitations with a giant “shark bite” envelope liner to glittered pirate skulls donning handmade newspaper hats, this unique pirate birthday brunch is absolutely overflowing with “lootable” creative ideas! ;)

P.S. Want to see more parties á la Posh Paperie? Look here and here!

 PARTY HIGHLIGHTS to look out for:

– DIY pirate ship mast (made by Grandpa!) + “looting” table with dress up elements
– “Walk the plank” party activity with shark toy prizes + “Get Yo Ink” tattoo parlor
– Creative “Dry Goods” Cereal Bar with illustrated CHOMP! shark sign
– Deep sea oyster cookies, gummy shark candy cups, & rice krispie “jolly rodgers”
– “Shiver Me Timbers” plastic gold cups + nautical-and-pirate inspired party invitations

modern pirate party invitation

pirate party welcome sign and banners

creative pirate party food ideas

walk the plank pirate party activity (more…)

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Operation Shower “Sunshine Farms” Event Recap!


If you’re a longtime reader, than you may remember waaaay back in the day when I helped put together an Operation Shower event here in San Diego with a modern-meets-rustic “Sunshine Farms” theme. Well, fast forward to today, and I’m so excited to share the UPDATED twist on this theme with you!

When OS decided to use this theme again for an event in Atlanta this past fall, I thought it was about time for the paper collection to get a little makeover first. :) So I spiffed up the original designs a bit and created some playful new signage with phrases like “About to Hatch” and “It’s a BABY, Ya’ll!“. Then, true to form, Operation Shower & their incredibly talented volunteer vendors worked their magic on adorable matching decorations and desserts. The result was this amazing celebration for 30 deserving military moms, and all I can say is… YA’LL, it turned out SUPER SWEET! ;)

P.S. If you want to use this paper collection for a baby shower of your own – it will be available for purchase on Hostess INK early next week! Stay tuned…

DECOR HIGHLIGHTS to look out for:

– Rag tie fabric garlands on the chairs + a colorful bandana-and-doily dessert table garland
– Festive centerpieces with chalkboard rooster silhouettes & darling plush chickens
– Modern farm scene cake (LOVE!) + vibrant & colorful hand-painted farm cookies
– Boxed lunches with gingham napkins + “Raised with Love” drink flags
– Stamped burlap table runners, spilled veggie baskets, & “fresh picked” farm florals

operation shower with sunshine farms theme from hwtm

operation shower with sunshine farms theme from hwtm

operation shower with sunshine farms theme from hwtm

operation shower with sunshine farms theme from hwtm (more…)

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Purple, Gold & Magical Sofia the First Birthday Party

princess sofia first birthday

Once upon a time, Princess Mia met Princess Sophia! It was quite the feast of royal sweets, radiant smiles, and princess crown crafts organized by Lourdes Henning of MLC Event Planning. Her Magical Princess Sophia the First Birthday Party is brimming with sparkly, playful details that not only look incredible, but also serve as fantastic inspiration for those of you that love a good excuse to DIY your heart out. Don’t miss the printed totes, simple-chic centerpieces, and an eye-catching handmade backdrop!

PARTY HIGHLIGHTS to look out for:

– Gold carriage centerpieces with sweet purple flowers + incredible castle cut out invitation
– “Royal Treats” dessert table + jumbo paper flower garland and gold streamer backdrop
– Gum ball tubes, personalized cookies, and a mini sequin lined crown piñata
– Handcrafted crown totes + make your own crown activity with crayons in gold glitter jars
– Lavender pretzel wands, purple ombre cake, and gold crown embellished cake pops

princess sofia first birthdayprincess sofia first birthday

princess sofia first birthday (more…)

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Captain Cove’s Spectacular Pirate Bithday Party

oreo treasure cookies at a boys birthday party

Let’s set sail for Captain Cove’s Spectacular Pirate Birthday Party! It’s possible you’ve seen a million and one pirate parties, but if there’s anyone that can put a fresh, creative twist on a popular theme, it’s Kenna O’Brien of Miss Party Mom. When her son requested “PIRATES!” for his 6th birthday, Kenna dreamed up this fun-filled celebration complete with a “Pirate Academy”, lots of SWEET golden treasure, and a bit of Sailor Jerry inspired flair to boot!

See it all below + check out Kenna’s party details on how she went from feeling not-exactly-ecstatic about working on an “overdone” theme to embracing it and truly loving it. And while we’re on the subject of pirates, I can’t resist throwing in a shout out to that other party where we got to see Kenna’s husband dressed up as Captain Hook! ;)

PARTY HIGHLIGHTS to look out for:

– Skull & cross bone plundering baggies + awesome ship-in-a-bottle “Explore the Seas” cake
– “Pirate Academy” activities, including walk-the-plank and sword fighting lessons
– Pirate sail draped dessert table with barrels, fishing nets, and even a resident skeleton!
– Looking glass surprise cones, pirate jewel candies, and buried treasure cupcakes

pirate party

treasure map dessert cones

skull favor bags for a pirate party (more…)

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Playful & Glamorous “Stay Wild” FOXY Flower Party



YOU GUYS…. this party is so much fun! I had a very hard time narrowing the pictures down, because pretty much everything about it has me WILDLY inspired. ;)

Juliet Boydstun, master of creative party themes and co-founder of The COOP, crafted up a storm for an all out glamorous-meets-playful 2nd birthday party for her daughter Hazel, who you may remember from her groovy + glitzy “Purple Haze” First Birthday that we shared last year. This Wild Heart & FOXY Flower Party is inspired by Hazy’s playful spirit and one of my personal favorites “What does the foxy say?”, so if you need me I’ll be swimming in confetti and crepe paper flower dreams right about now… join me below!

PARTY HIGHLIGHTS to look out for:

– Gorgeous DIY crepe paper flowers adorning everything from the backdrops to the party hats!
– Darling place settings with glitter dipped utensils, confetti party horns, & fox face masks
– Ravishing black and white stripe cake + watermelon bites shaped like foxes
– Vibrant tissue paper painted backdrops + “stay foxy” necklaces with fox figurines
– Amazing fox piñata + “Stay Wild” signs in red heart Ikea frames
– Lemonade & Mimosa Drink Station covered in confetti + “POP” spelled in gold letter balloons

confetti party




flower-crown (more…)

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“Kiss Me” Themed St. Patrick’s Day Celebration

st. patrick's day dessert table

March is officially here… and we’re a LUCKY bunch today! Misha Perritt of A Lovely Design is sharing her St. Patrick’s Day inspiration with a twist, and it’s sure to make you pucker up! Her lipstick inspired “Kiss Me” theme will definitely have you trading your pot o’ gold for a smooch… and maybe cake pop or two. ;)

PARTY HIGHLIGHTS to look out for:

– “Kiss Me” drink flags + gold glitter favor boxes filled with chocolate candy kisses
– Lipstick kiss backdrop with a gold tulle wrapped hula hoop frame
– Mini green banana pudding parfaits + sprinkle edged cupcakes with shamrock toppers

st. patrick's day party

green pudding parfaits (more…)

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Gorgeous Vintage & Floral “Shabby Pow-Wow” Party

Shabby Chic Pow-Wow Dessert Table and Cookies

Feathers, ruffles, lace, vintage florals, and pastels… these are the makings of one seriously dreamy, girlie celebration… but even more so when it’s event designer Amy J. Birlew of Dimply Sweet that’s mixing things up!

Inspired by the beautiful grounds at a local farm here in San Diego (and by the life-size tee-pees that can be found there), Amy decided to pair girlie patterns and shabby chic style with leather & feather accents… and the result is this downright gorgeous “Shabby Pow-Wow” party that she dreamed up for her little girl. From the paper details and custom illustrations to the hand-painted cake, cookies, and more, the work of so many talented vendors shines brightly in this incredibly pretty party…

PARTY HIGHLIGHTS to look out for:

– Darling “Shabby Feather Tutu Dress” + DIY fabric tutus for the little girls
– Coconut-covered caramel apples with vintage floral straw sticks & feather accents
– Lace-bedecked Dream Catcher + charming tee-pee adorned with ruffles & lace
– Creative tee-pee inspired desserts and incredibly detailed, hand-painted sugar cookies
– Shabby chic rose patterned cake + a beautiful mix of vintage pastel cake stands

Shakespeare Quote - And Though she be but little she is fierce.

Shabby Feather Tutu Dress

Shabby Chic Party Tee-Pee

Shabby Chic Dream Catcher and Decorations

Shabby Chic Candy Apples (more…)

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Bright & Colorful Big Top Birthday {Circus Animals}

Circus First Birthday Party smash cake & high chair

Last fall, I designed a Big Top First Birthday Party for Fisher-Price, and it just went live on their site this week, so I’m super excited to finally share it with you!

This theme was inspired by their adorable new Lion, Elephant, & Zebra Clicker Pals™. These toys are part of their Spring 2015 collection and are seriously just as CUTE as can be. I mean, circus-inspired baby animal toys with sweet faces and rainbow feet? Yes, please! ;)

There are lots of different ideas to take in here, from centerpieces and homemade desserts to accent decor, but the great thing is that everything is already broken down in organized detail over on the Fisher-Price website. You’ll find more images of the party with descriptions, plus free printables and 7 DIY tutorials that we shot in addition to the main theme.

Speaking of DIY, my 2 very favorite projects from this party are both pictured in the image below… the Ring of Fire centerpiece (more on this later) and the Circus Animal Pedestals, which are made from $1 Ikea pails turned upside down + colored duct tape!

Circus Birthday Party Kids Table

Rainbow triangle bunting (in various sizes) also played a big role in this party. I opted for bright fabrics with a shiny finish – kind of like a “kite” material– to best match the look of the toys.

The fabric bunting was pinned & swagged around both the kids table and the dessert table:

Circus Birthday Party Dessert Table

The dessert table backdrop was made from white curtains ($12/pair at Ikea) + a few long strands of colored ribbon. I originally wanted to make “curtains” entirely out of ribbon for this backdrop, but quickly realized that was going to cost a small fortune. This was much more doable. :)

We also made a big foam core “1st” Sign to put in the middle of the curtains. It was designed to match the “1” in the circus partyware collection.

Circus Elephant Desserts

All of the treats were a combo of grocery store-bought and homemade, but my favorite one was also the very easiest: “Strongman Barbells” made from donut holes + jumbo stripey straws! Even the Elephant Clicker Pal had some fun with these (see above). ;)

DIY Donut Barbell Circus Treats (more…)

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Galante Baby Giveaway + Free Printable Baby Quote Signs

Galante Baby Giveaway from HWTM

Right before my first daughter was born, I received a luxury layette set from a friend, and I still remember the feeling of opening up that package. I’d already stocked up on lots of cute, colorful onesies for everyday wear, but this outfit felt totally different. It felt “fancier” and extra-special… I instantly knew that I was looking at a keepsake, and may have even teared up a bit. ;)

This is exactly the type of gift that Galante Baby – the sponsor of this new reader giveaway – creates. They specialize in hand-crafted, limited production gifts for newborns… things like blankets and bibs and specialty clothing. And instead of cranking out a gazillion different products, they focus on just a handful of the most popular types of baby gifts, and on doing them very well. Their style is very “classic baby”, with an emphasis on lots of white and a hint of color brought in through embroidery and appliqué.

Another cool tidbit: The Galante Studio was founded in 1930 and remains the same family-run business it was over 80 years ago! You can learn more about their story right here.


Galante Baby is offering up a generous $200 Gift Card this week to a lucky HWTM reader! Whether it’s you or a loved one with a little one to celebrate, this should definitely come in handy. ENTER TO WIN via the widget at the bottom of this post. Good luck!


Baby Shower Quote Signs from HWTM - Free Printable


I was also inspired to design a free printable to go along with this giveaway. This “Blessings” 8×10 quote sign is inspired by the look of Galante Baby’s embroidered floral pieces, and can be framed and displayed at a baby shower or given as a gift. It’s available in both BLUE and PINK versions. {Click on the links to download.} Enjoy! :) (more…)

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A Rustic-Glam Wine Tasting Party at Home


I’m so excited to share this gorgeous, Rustic-Glam Wine Tasting Party with you today! And my personal affinity for a good vino only has a tiny something to do with it. ;)

This beautiful party was dreamed up by Silvia Lucena of Classy Detailed Events & Creations, and it’s absolutely filled to the brim with creativity, so get ready to drink it all in…

Silvia wanted to treat her party guests to the vibe of an authentic Italian winery, so she transformed her home into “Villa de Lucena” for the evening! I was instantly smitten with the wine-inspired floral centerpieces in particular…. they have such a beautiful mix of deep, rich reds accented by pops of bright purple, blue thistle, and greenery.

And then of course I also love that she incorporated our Rustic Wine & Cheese Party Collection from Hostess INK too! You’ll see some of the elements from this collection woven through the party pics below – from party invitations (which we customized for her event) to a flag banner & framed wine quotes.

PARTY HIGHLIGHTS to look out for:

– Wine glasses adorned with ice-breaker questions on the base (great idea!)
– Wooden wine boxes used as buffet risers + wine cork keychain favors
– DIY rhinestone accents everywhere, from glass votives & mirror stands to the custom VINO letters
– Shimmery macarons & cake pops + hand-painted wine cookies with incredible detail




6_wine-barrel-table-party-drink-station (more…)

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Coca-Cola Cupcakes with “Thirsty” Game Day Toppers

Coca-Cola Cupcakes for Game Day

Have you ever made Coca-Cola® cupcakes before? This was the first time for me, and I was VERY pleasantly surprised at how they turned out! Not that I didn’t expect them to be good, but they were seriously incredibly moist and kind of that perfect level of sweet. This is the kind of chocolate cake that would pair well with so many different frostings… but it’s even good by itself! And I’m a huge fan of frosting, so that’s a pretty bold statement coming from me.

This is also the 5th and final game day inspired recipe we’ll be sharing for the Coca-Cola “Home Bowl” campaign, and even though we’ve been super happy with how all of the recipes tasted, I kinda think we may have saved the best for last with this one. Of course, as a certifiable sweet tooth, I might be a little biased to the dessert recipe too! ;)

Free Printables – for Game Day Cupcakes (or Drink Stations)

I also designed some “Thirsty for a WIN” printable flag toppers, which you can download for free right here (+ check out the DIY info below). I loved the play on the type of cupcakes they actually are, paired with the football-watching-party occasion! (more…)

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Game Day Menu: Mac-and-Cheese Bites with Cracker Crust

Mac-and-Cheese Bites with Cracker Crust

We’re getting REALLY close to the biggest football game of the year, so I’m excited to share another fun game day inspired recipe with you today!

These Baked Mac-and-Cheese Bites star one of our all-time favorite comfort foods, paired with a tasty cheddar-and-Ritz-cracker crust. You bake everything together in individual muffin cups for a fun little appetizer-style presentation.

Added bonus: we used store-bought mac-and-cheese to make this recipe a breeze, but of course you can also use your favorite homemade mac-n-cheese if you’re feeling extra ambitious. ;)

For some added game day spirit, I also topped the finished recipe with little football themed party picks, which were designed specifically with this weekend in mind! You can download the free printable for these flag toppers at the bottom of this post.

More Game Day Inspiration

This is the 4th recipe we’re sharing in conjunction with the current Coca-Cola “Home Bowl”, which is all about game day inspiration & prepping for football watching parties at home. The Home Bowl includes Coca-Cola® and Ritz® and can be found at retailers nationwide. It’s been fun coming up with creative ways to serve these two game day staples…  and stay tuned for a yummy DESSERT recipe coming next! But FIRST, it’s all about the mac-and-cheese, so here we go… (more…)

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Big Game Party: Free Printable Banners & Football Food Picks {+ Cheeseburger Turnovers Tutorial}

Game Day Turnovers + Free Printables

The biggest football day of the year is coming up this weekend – are you ready?! If you’re hosting a football viewing party yourself, I’ve got a few fun goodies to share with you today… starting with these free printable SEATTLE and NEW ENGLAND banners.

Just click on the images below to download each banner… your choice if you want to hang them both or are especially partial to just one. ;)

Free Printable Seattle Football Banner

Free Printable New England Football Banner

To make each of the banners, simply print the PDF and cut out the panels. I like to use a paper cutter to keep the edges extra straight, but you can also just use scissors.

You’ll need a hole punch of hot glue gun to attach the banner panels to your twine or string of choice. I usually use a small hole punch so that it’s easy to slide and adjust the panels along the twine:

DIY Banner Tutorial (more…)

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Farm Party Tutorial: DIY Painted Barn Doors

DIY Painted Barn Doors - Farm Party Tutorial

I made these DIY Painted Barn Doors for a Farm First Birthday Party project last year, and as far as easy-yet-high-impact projects go, this one has quickly became a new favorite! The doors are made from stretched artist canvases, which come in lots of different sizes and are readily available in most craft and art supply stores. They also go on sale quite often (at the store near me at least), which is always an added bonus! ;)

For this party, 9×12” canvases were used for the barn doors displayed on the dessert table, and the 11×14″ size was used to embellish the kid-friendly drink station. Here’s a closer look at the process:



– 2 Stretched Artist Canvases (of equal size)
– Painter’s Tape or Washi Tape
– Red Spray Paint
– Large trash bag or tarp for spray painting area


Start by taping a giant X onto the front of your canvas. (I didn’t have the right width of painter’s tape on hand, so I used washi tape instead… it worked like a charm!)


Next, tape off all 4 sides of the canvas, including the edges, like so:

Barn Doors Tutorial - Step 2

The final taped off canvas should look like this:

Barn Doors Tutorial - Step 2

Now you’re ready to paint this puppy! Lay a tarp or garbage bag down to protect the surface you’re painting on, then go for it… (more…)

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Chic & Delicious 50th Birthday Cooking Dinner Party

Italian Cooking Party Decorations

I always love a fun party that’s intertwined with a great activity for the guests, and this gorgeous 50th Birthday Cooking Party is the perfect example! Beautifully styled by Amy of Amy Nichols Special Events, Karyn’s milestone birthday celebration took place at the famous San Francisco Tante Marie cooking school. Party guests were treated to cooking lessons, drinks, delicious food and – from the looks of the pictures – lots of laughter & good times all around. Sounds like the perfect way to ring in the next chapter to me! ;)

PARTY HIGHLIGHTS to look out for: 

– Stunning florals arranged in kitchen colanders and displayed on stacks of vintage cookbooks
– Personalized aprons for each guests, tied up with a gold satin bow & gold foil stamped gift tag
– Black & white polka dot place cards that perfectly matched the guest of honor’s dress!
– Lots of incredible looking dishes being prepared & enjoyed by the party guests

50th birthday party - cooking school

personalized aprons with gold confetti tags

adult cooking party

italian cooking party floral centerpieces and tables (more…)

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Sweet & Savory Coca-Cola Pulled Pork Sliders

Pulled Pork Sliders Recipe with Coca-Cola BBQ Sauce

I’ve got another super tasty game day recipe to share with you today… and this one is SO easy, which in my book is actually nothing to complain about. ;)

You will need a Crock-Pot or slow cooker, and if you really want to be ahead of the game (pun intended) you can make the Coca-Cola BBQ Sauce in advance. Pulled pork is always a crowd-pleaser, and I actually love to just keep the cooked meat warming on low during our football watching parties, then set the rest of the slider ingredients next to the meat, and let guests assemble to their liking throughout the game.

This is recipe #3 of the 6 I’ll be sharing in conjunction with Coca-Cola’s Home Bowl campaign… and while I’ve got you here, just wanted to send a quick reminder that the $350 #HomeBowlHero Contest ends TONIGHT!

I’ll be picking THREE winners just from the entries on my blog alone, so be sure to throw your name in the hat because you could be one of them! Each winner will receive a $250 Visa Gift Card + $100 worth of game day party supplies. Find full contest details and entry rules right here.

And now, onto the recipe… (more…)

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Thai Chicken Flatbread with Light Peanut Sauce + Modern Kitchen Party Theme Ideas

Thai Chicken Flatbread Pizza with Lightened Up Peanut Sauce

I’m such a huge fan of anything remotely peanut-buttery – which is why I’ve happily welcomed the distinct spike in PB&J sandwiches that my own diet has experienced since having kids. Funny how that stuff works. ;)

When I’m looking for a more grown-up style dish though, peanut sauce pretty much always hits the spot, and this colorful Thai Chicken Flatbread Pizza recipe is the perfect, delicious example! It’s got a great mix of fresh flavors, some of that cheesy goodness we all love, and a sprinkling of crushed peanuts for extra crunch.

Lightening Things Up…

And before those of you watching your waistline cringe at the fact that “peanut sauce” and “pizza” are both in the title of this recipe, I’ve got some good news for you… this tasty flatbread features a lightened up peanut sauce, mozzarella (a naturally lighter cheese), a generous dose of fresh veggies, and a hearty whole wheat crust made from the new Flatbread Mix from Krusteaz®. Suddenly things are looking a whole lot brighter, right? ;)  View/print the full recipe here & watch the video below to see how it’s made.


This wouldn’t be HWTM without a party angle, right?! ;)

On that note… I’m also excited to share some colorful Modern Kitchen Theme Party Ideas with you today, as seen in the Thai Chicken Flatbread video & inspired by the colors of the recipe itself. This theme & look would work well for everyday entertaining, a fun brunch, or a Modern Kitchen Bridal Shower. Read on for lots of fun DIY ideas + free printables!

Modern Kitchen Party Theme Ideas

I wanted to the look of this theme to be fresh & modern, and the execution to be budget-friendly, so I utilized some of my regular home decor & stuck with inexpensive DIY projects like paper garlands and tile coasters. (You can purchase plain white tiles at Home Depot for 13 cents each!)

1. Paper Garland – I wanted produce to be a key element in this design, so we hand-cut fruit and veggie silhouettes and glued them to baker’s twine for a fun paper banner that has kind of a retro-mod feel. (Download the printable produce silhouettes here.)

Kitchen Themed Printable Banner & DIY Tile Table Runner

2. DIY Tile Table Runner – This project is surprisingly simple, inexpensive, and packs a big, colorful punch! It’s made from washi tape, colored masking tape, and simple white bathroom tiles. I’m going to post a separate DIY on this later. (more…)

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Coca-Cola BBQ Sauce Recipe {Game Day Menu}

Coca-Cola BBQ Sauce Recipe

If you haven’t made Coca-Cola® BBQ Sauce before, there’s no time like the present – because it’s a fantastic way to flavor up your game day menu! Plus, if you buy your Coca-Cola in the classic bottle form, you can turn the empty bottles into a fun & clever way to serve your finished sauce! You can find the bottles in grocery stores nationwide right now in conjunction with Coca-Cola’s Home Bowl campaign.

As I mentioned in Friday’s post, I’ve teamed up with Coca-Cola® this month to share some creative recipes leading up to the big game next weekend, and one of the best things about this particular recipe is that it’s incredibly versatile. You can use it on your favorite meat, on sandwiches, as a dipping sauce for your finger foods, etc.

I also love that this sauce provides a way to serve party guests a classic game day staple in a totally different way! And stay tuned for my favorite sweet & savory sliders recipe coming later this week, where this BBQ sauce is a key ingredient too. ;)

Also – be sure to check out our #HomeBowlHeroContest for your chance to win one of THREE $350 Game Day Prize Packs! Find full contest details and entry rules right here. (Contest ends Thursday, January 23rd.)


Coca-Cola BBQ Sauce Recipe

You’ll Need:

– 8 oz Coca-Cola
– 1 cup ketchup
– 1/4 cup A-1 steak sauce
– 1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
– 1 teaspoon liquid smoke
– 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
– 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
– 1/2 teaspoon onion powder

Coca-Cola BBQ Sauce Ingredients (more…)

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Tasty Bacon-Ranch-Cheddar Pigskin Cheese Ball

Football Party Appetizer - Bacon Ranch Cheddar Pigskin Cheese Ball

If I didn’t already have you at Bacon-Ranch, then hopefully “Cheddar” did the trick! After all, there’s some great football watching on the horizon, and this tasty game day recipe is easy to whip up and guaranteed to score big with the football fans in your own home.

And speaking of entertaining for game day at home, I’ve teamed up with Coca-Cola and Ritz this month to bring you some creative – and doable! – game day recipes and party ideas in conjunction with their “Home Bowl” Campaign. We’re also giving HWTM readers the chance to win one of THREE Home Bowl prize packs valued at $350 each, which should provide a very nice kick off to the ol’ party budget, right? ;)

WINNER UPDATE – Friday, January 24, 2015
Just finished selecting the winners of the contest, and it was SO much harder than I anticipated… the Pinterest boards were all so creative! Thank you so much to everyone that entered – I loved looking through the ideas every board. And the winners are: Sheri Lee, Ashley Reece, and Serena Adkins. Congrats, ladies! I’ll be in touch via email to help facilitate your prize!

And now, back to the bacon… and the ranch… and the cheddar! :)


Bacon-Ranch-Cheddar Pigskin Cheese Ball Recipe

You’ll Need:

– 2 packs dry ranch dressing mix
– 1/4 cup sour cream
– 16oz cream cheese* (regular or light)
– 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
– 1 lb bacon, cooked & chopped

*Set aside 2-3 tablespoons of your cream cheese to use for piping football “laces” on to the finished cheese ball. I just cut about a 1” strip off the short end of one of the cream cheese blocks for this.

Bacon Ranch Cheddar Pigskin Cheese Ball - Ingredients (more…)

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DIY Tutorial: Colorful Plastic Ball Party Garland

diy tutorial: plastic ball garland

If you’re looking to add a big pop of color to a kids birthday party, I’ve got a fun project for you that’s surprisingly easy and budget-friendly!

You know those colorful plastic balls that you played in as a kid – or maybe the ones that your own kids play in now? Well…. you can actually turn them into colorful garlands that make for super fun party decor! Lightweight and durable, they can easily be pierced with a large sewing needle and strewn onto baker’s twine for a playful look. (You can find plastic balls in bulk on Amazon or in-store at Target or Walmart.) Here’s a closer peek at how to make them:

You’ll Need:
•    Plastic Balls
•    Baker’s Twine
•    Large sewing needle

1. Thread your needle with baker’s twine, then pierce the center of a plastic ball with the needle and pull it completely through the other side.

diy tutorial: plastic ball garland (more…)

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Sparkly DIY Winter Ballerina Birthday Party

winter ballerina birthday dessert table

When Jenny Joseph’s daughter changed her birthday party theme request from Frozen to Ballerina at the very last minute, she whipped up a little “ice magic” of her own by combining the 2 requested themes into this beautiful Winter Ballerina Birthday Party!

And as impressed as I am by the the gorgeous homemade cake (WOW!) and the cute and sparkly little paper ballerina outfits that can be found everywhere from the invitations to the cupcakes, the most impressive thing of all is that she spent less than $200 on this entire party – including this dessert table set-up AND a full lunch spread for guests. The fancy cake alone could’ve easily eaten that budget up by itself… nice work, Jenny! :)

PARTY HIGHLIGHTS to look out for:

– Gorgeous ombre ruffled tier cake topped with personalized fondant ballerina slippers
– Chocolate penguins laying on a bed of acrylic “ice” + “Melted Snowman” water bottles
– Darling mini DIY ballerina outfits with sparkly leotards + crepe paper & tulle tutus
– Lots of pretty paper doily accents + the popular Ung Drill Ikea frame spray painted silver

winter ballerina birthday invitation winter birthday party drinks and cupcakes diy ballerina cupcake topper with sparkles (more…)

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A Gorgeous Lemon & Lavender Baby Shower

lemon and lavender baby shower dessert table

If you haven’t gotten your springtime fix from the previous bridal shower post (we know we haven’t), then you’re in luck! As promised, here is the Lemon & Lavender Baby Shower dreamed up by Valerie Gimre of Charming Touch Parties, who simultaneously planned both showers around the same theme, but with their own unique details! In Valerie’s own words, “Both events were lovely, charming, and memorable in their own ways.” We couldn’t have said it better ourselves ;).

PARTY HIGHLIGHTS to look out for:

– Lemon adorned floral arrangements & a fondant bow, lavender flowers & lemon slice decorated cake
– Blackberry garnished champagne + berry topped mini cakes, lemon bars & cake ball baby rattles
– Custom ‘Wishes for Mom’ book for guests to write in + pinwheel & lemon onesie garlands
– Framed lavender baby carriage & ribbon bunting backdrop + carriage decorated cookie favors

baby shower onesie garland

blackberry baby shower cocktail

small flower covered cake

lemon and lavender bridal shower desserts


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A Lovely Lemon & Lavender Bridal Shower

fresh spring bridal shower dessert table

Even though we’re in the middle of winter right now, it’s actually the PERFECT time to start planning ahead for springtime (or summer) parties! So on that note, I’m excited to bring you a fresh burst of sunny party inspiration in one of my favorite spring palettes today. The combo of bright yellow + chic lavender creates such a sweet, feminine look that works well for all sorts of occasions.

The talented Valerie Gimre of Charming Touch Parties was so inspired by this happy color combination that she used it as the theme for this gorgeous Lemon & Lavender Bridal Shower AND for gender-neutral baby shower, which you can check out right here. So I guess this is technically TWO bursts of party inspiration for today. Thanks, Valerie! ;)

PARTY HIGHLIGHTS to look out for:

– pretty drink stirrers adorned with “soon to be Mrs” party flags & dainty yellow bows
– soft lavender paper cups embellished with bright yellow lemon silhouettes
– tall glass cylinders & apothecary jars filled with bright yellow lemons
– beautiful dessert table backdrop featuring the bride’s initial + pastel rag tie bunting

spring lemon bridal shower invitation

lemon and lavender drinks table

fresh flower topped naked cake

yellow and purple bridal shower decor ideas (more…)

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Pear & Gorgonzola Flatbread Pizza {Video} + DIY Gold & White Holiday Party Ideas

Pear and Gorgonzola Flatbread Pizza Recipe

Earlier this year, I worked on a handful of recipe videos for Krusteaz®, and this recipe is actually my personal favorite of the bunch… I hope you like it too! The combo of sauteed pears and creamy Gorgonzola is such a yummy mix of sweet & savory, and the candied walnut garnish adds a nice bit of crunch. The layered pear slices also make for a very pretty visual display, which is always a great quality when serving at a party!

I used the new Italian Herb Flatbread Mix from Krusteaz for the crust. It bakes in 10 minutes flat and keeps things fast & easy in the kitchen… which is exactly how I need them to be most of the time, myself. ;)

You can find the full Pear & Gorgonzola Flatbread recipe over on the Krusteaz website, or watch our video below for a tutorial. My favorite ways to serve this flatbread are in generous slices alongside a hearty salad or cut into small rectangles for a festive appetizer.

P.S. If you’re on the lookout for holiday party inspiration, you’ll find plenty of that below, too, from a few of my favorite DIY decor ideas to festive printables you can download for free. Happy Holidays!

gold and white holiday party ideas + free printables


I kept the look of theses painted pears and their printable paper leaves pretty simple so that the positive sentiments on the leaves would really stand out. The pears are covered in acrylic white paint, and a few of them were also color-blocked with metallic gold spray paint. The leaves are attached with small dabs of hot glue.

gold and white pears centerpiece


Next up is one of my personal staples… party flags! You can attach them to toothpicks, straws, or bamboo skewers (to create drink stirrers).

gold and white party drinks and straws (more…)

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Darling Pink & Black Poodle Skirt Birthday Party

poodle skirt birthday party

I’m thrilled to share this super creative twist on a classic party theme with you today! Jenny Raulli of Bloom Designs Online styled up one seriously dreamy celebration for her daughter with this detailed & darling Poodle Skirt Birthday Party. With tons of cleverly named sweets, girly-girl activities, and Jenny’s signature paper designs tying everything together seamlessly, these party guests were definitely treated to a swingin’ good time! ;)

PARTY HIGHLIGHTS to look out for:

– Clever “poodle skirt” paper plates customized with vinyl decals & a sharpie
– Hair & nail treatments at the “Poodle Parlor” (so cute!)
– Playful treats like Poodle Paw Brownie Stacks, Poodle Fluff (cotton candy), & Poodle Pop
– “Paint-A-Poodle” activity + “Pin the Bow on the Poodle” game
– Pink ruffled cake pops with little black bows + sour candy belt “leashes” ;)

poodle skirt party dessert table poodle skirt party photo booth poodle skirt party painting activity (more…)

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{Bright & Stylish} Octonauts Inspired Birthday Party

Octonauts Birthday Party Dessert Table

Of all the different party types that come my way, one of my FAVORITE things to see is a very well-done character party. Maybe it’s because I have kids that love these characters too, or maybe it’s because I’ve heard SO many people complain about how much they struggle with making character parties also look stylish… or maybe it’s a little bit of both. In any case, today’s feature is a wonderfully bright & shining example of how to bring a character party to life in style!

P&J by Design did an AMAZING job with this Octonauts Inspired Birthday Party… from the great mix of patterns and textures to the insanely cute Octonauts themed treats that look like mini works of art. They also managed to create an atmosphere that works well for the grown-up guests and little ones alike!

PARTY HIGHLIGHTS to look out for:

– Gorgeous tier cake with incredibly detailed fondant Octonauts characters on top
– Different, yet coordinating tablescape designs for the kids and adults
– White sequin dessert table cover + sugar cookies displayed in oversize sea shells
– Adorable, handmade Kwazii Kitten table centerpiece & “Octo Juice” for the kids
– Playful, show-inspired phrases like “To Your Stations!” and “Thanks for joining the crew!”

Octonauts cake Octonauts party drinks and cookies Octonauts party tables Octonauts party centerpiece (more…)

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{GIVEAWAY!} Give & Get Better Gifts with WishBin

WishBin Giveaway

Wish it was a little easier to find the perfect gift for your loved one? Me too!

I mean, the goal of gift giving is to make someone happy, after all… but finding the thing that’s SURE to do that is often more difficult than it sounds. And if you’re like me, you also start second guessing your gift choice even after you settle on something – or spend way too much of your time playing “detective” and trying to figure it out.

Kids are actually the hardest for me to shop for, personally… we live far away from our family unfortunately, and I usually feel unsure about what my nieces and nephews would love (or what they’re into at the moment) when a birthday or holiday rolls around. And based on all the questions I receive about my own girls in regards to gifts, I know that I’m not alone when it comes to being stumped!

Well… there’s a cool new company called WishBin that’s setting out to help with all of the above. It’s a free online service that allows users to drag and drop items from any website they like into their personal WishBin using a plugin that you install in your browser. It basically feels like a super organized gift bookmarking tool that you can save things to (or edit) whenever you like.

WishBin - How it Works

And then friends & family can visit your WishBin at any time to instantly access a list of things that you – or your kids – would truly love to receive, including your preferred size, color, etc. You can include non-tangible “things” on your list like dance lessons or travel wishes too! Pretty smart, right?!

Here’s a 1 minute video that explains some of the other great features too:

One of the coolest features of all (IMHO) is that adults can add children to their accounts and create unique WishBins for each of them – which I’m thinking will prove especially helpful for grandparents! (Mom – are you listening? Because this seems a tad more efficient than the zillions of back and forth text messages we usually use!)



And now for something REALLY fun… a chance to win $150 worth of your own wishes for the holidays! One lucky HWTM reader is going to win just that, so be sure to fill your WishBin with some of your favorite things in case that person is YOU! :) Giveaway ends at 11:59pm PST on Thursday, December 18th. (more…)

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Cash for Christmas: Win TWO $500 Amazon Gift Cards!

Christmas Cash Giveaway! Enter via Instagram

Update: This giveaway is now closed. Thanks so much to all who entered! The name of the (randomly selected) winner is displayed in the Rafflecopter entry widget below.


Who couldn’t use a little extra cash this time of year, right?! Right. And on that note, I’ve teamed up with some wonderfully creative bloggers to bring you a very timely Instagram giveaway in the form of $500 for you AND $500 for your BFF (or whomever else you fancy)! Enter below. (more…)

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