Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Tasty Tuesday: Homemade Cranberry Bliss Bars

Last week, I mentioned my love for Starbucks Cranberry Bliss Bars. Their moist yet crumbly texture with juicy cranberries and yummy icing can lure me to a Starbucks from miles away. So the other day as I was searching for recipes to use during the holiday season, imagine my excitement when I found this homemade spin on my Christmastime love [via SeriousEats.com via Cakespy as an adaption of a recipe by Mr. Breakfast]. Read on for the mouthwatering recipe below. I can't wait to try this one out for some DIY gift deliciousness this Christmas!

Photo Credit: Jessie Oleson

- makes 16 bars -

Ingredients for cake base:

2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, softened
1 1/4 cups brown sugar, firmly packed
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg (optional)
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups flour
1/4 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup white chocolate, coarsely chopped (I used Lindt)
1/4 cup candied ginger, finely chopped

Ingredients for frosting:

4 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest (optional)
dash of salt

Ingredients for garnish:

1/3 cup white chocolate (either chips, or coarsely chopped bar chocolate)
1/2 cup dried cranberries


1. Preheat oven to 350°F and lightly grease a 9x13 pan.

2. Make the cake. Beat butter and sugar together until fluffy; add the vanilla and eggs, one at a time, stirring well after each addition. Sift together flour, ground ginger, nutmeg, and salt and then add to the butter and sugar mixture, beating until fully incorporated. This will be a very thick batter. Fold in the cranberries, chocolate and ginger. Spread the batter in the pan and bake for about 30 minutes or until light golden. Let the cake cool before adding the frosting.

3. Make the frosting. Using the paddle attachment on an electric mixer, beat the butter and cream cheese together until fluffy; add the lemon zest, vanilla, and salt; add the confectioners' sugar bit by bit until the frosting has reached your desired consistency (you may need less than the suggested amount). Spread the frosting evenly over the cake, and scatter the cranberries on top of the frosting immediately.

4. Make the drizzle. In a double boiler, melt white chocolate; once it is smooth, use a spoon and drizzle across the top of the frosted and cranberry-festooned cake.

5. Slice the bars immediately after applying the white chocolate drizzle. Slice in half lengthwise, and then slice into four equal parts horizontally. Slice each rectangle in half diagonally, and you will end up with 16 triangle-shaped bars.



Monday, November 23, 2009

Etsy Monday: Vintage Christmas Lights

I know, I know. Old-fashioned Christmas lights are not only a possible fire hazard, they are a serious energy waster. But darn it if they aren't beautiful works of art! How can you resist something that brings back amazing childhood memories and makes your holiday decorating gorgeous and unique? I've rounded up some of the best Etsy has to offer in the way of vintage Christmas lights.

Photo Credit: Etsy Seller REdesignkc

Photo Credit: Etsy Seller TraceyAnns

Photo Credit: Etsy Seller 1951Model

Photo Credit: Etsy Seller glamourama

All of these are so fun and would look great mixed in with some more eco-friendly options like LED lights. Do you use any vintage strings of Christmas lights in your holiday decorating?


Thursday, November 19, 2009

Thirsty Thursday: Festive Flavours

Don't you love when the holiday lineup is unveiled at your favourite coffee shop? When the festive cups are brought out and the counter is lined with gingerbread men and candy canes? You may not know about the secret love I harbour for Starbucks' Cranberry Bliss Bar, but I will save that for another day. This post is an ode to my love for yummy yuletide beverages. I must say, I don't really branch out though when it comes to these drinks, but here are my favourites during The Season.

While I'm a little sad that Starbucks has done away with my beloved Peppermint Hot Chocolate [it's now something you can get year-round], it's really the red cups that do it for me. Seeing the first red cup of The Season really gets me in the Christmas mood. How can you not feel festive when you see one of these babies?Photo Credit: Starbucks

I hit up Williams Coffee Pub every Sunday night when I go watch the boy play hockey. Normally, I get a steamed white hot chocolate with loads of whip, but during The Season, I pick a Candy Cane Hot Chocolate. Mmm-mmm!

Photo Credit: Williams Coffee Pub

Those adorable little gingerpeople always call my name as I place my order, but I've been able to resist them so far [I don't know how long I can hold out for though!].

An identically named drink from Second Cup is another of my go-to hot bevs during The Season. The boy surprised me with one out of the blue yesterday and it honestly made my day! The whip they use at Second Cup is my favourite, so I make sure it gets piled on. Second Cup has a huge lineup of holiday drinks during The Season, I also like the Noel Nog, but I rarely order it since I love my hot chocolate too much!

Photo Credit: Second Cup

Any of these coffee shops, especially Williams, provide an excellent location and backdrop for an intimate gift exchange with a few girlfriends, or a post-skate/toboggan meet-up over the holidays. You can choose one of their delicious festive drinks, enjoy the ambiance and best of all there's no cleaning up afterward!

What is your favourite hot beverage of The Season?


Monday, November 16, 2009

Real Party: "celebrity"

Photo Credit: jessica laine celebrations [all photos]

On Saturday, my company Party Animals Party Planning did a celebrity themed party for a wonderful client just west of Toronto. 13 seven-year-old girls enjoyed an afternoon of dressing up, designing their own t-shirts, playing games and singing songs from Hannah Montana and Camp Rock. Here are some pictures from the party!

The loot bags were set up to imitate a "swag table" from a celebrity event. The girls chose their own bag and filled it with the various items on the table. They thought it was so cool to be able to pick their own loot and it made each prize more special for them instead of just getting a bag of random treats.


Monday, October 26, 2009

Etsy Monday: Phrenology Skull Light

Photo Credit: shavingkitsupplies

If you ever study Communications, Psychology or Sociology you will most definitely learn about Phrenology. It is a 19th century neuro-scientific theory which hypothesises that personality traits can be attributed to the shape of the skull [to describe it quickly]. I always enjoyed contemplating Phrenology and linking it to more current theories regarding personality traits, so when I hopped onto Etsy today, I was delighted to see this adorable skull lamp with a "Phrenological-twist" made by shavingkitsupplies.

These would be amazing as Halloween party decorations, wouldn't they? Then, after the holiday is over, it would make for a conversation-starting decor piece at any time of year in your home.

What do you think of this unique piece?


Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Tasty Tuesday: Pumpkin Cranberry Loaf

Photo Credit: FoodTv.ca

For Thanksgiving I tried out a recipe I'd never made before. I'd bought these cute little loaf pans from Michaels, but unfortunately they were more novelty than practical and the dessert I made in them didn't exactly turn out exactly as I'd hoped. Of the three I made, only one turned out, but apparently it was delicious which made me quite proud. So without further ado, here is the yummy recipe for pumpkin cranberry loaf!

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp cloves
  • 1/2 tsp ginger
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 egg
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin puree
  • zest of one orange
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup orange, juice
  • 1 1/2 cups cranberries, fresh or frozen
  1. Preheat oven to 325ºF.
  2. Sift together flour, baking soda and powder, salt and spices and set aside.
  3. In a medium bowl, cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, and stir in pumpkin purée, orange zest and vanilla. Stir in orange juice. Add dry ingredients in additions and blend just until incorporated. Fold in cranberries.
  4. Spoon batter into loaf pan and bake in center of oven for 60 to 75 minutes until a tester inserted into the loaf comes out clean. Allow to cool before slicing.
I did mine in a small ceramic loaf pan and it took slightly longer than the indicated cooking time here.

What dessert did you make for Thanksgiving?

As seen on the Food Network show Sugar.


Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Wedding Wednesday: Dance Down the Aisle

I was pointed to this youtube video today by the hand of the amazing Mix Mingle Glow blog. Would you ever do something like this?

I admit I teared up a little as I waited for the bride [though her dance moves made me wonder if she'd even practiced] but the heart in this display of love is just huge and this couple is lucky to have this memory!


Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Wedding Wednesday: Vendor Hiring Guide

Photo Credit: Blue Orchid Blog

As soon as I saw this post come through my Twitter feed yesterday, I knew it would become my Wedding Wednesday post. Blue Orchid Designs is a wedding planning firm based out of Arizona, New York and DC and their blog is chock-full of useful information and inspiring images and ideas. Owner Liene Stevens also fronts a wedding industry social media consulting company called Splendid Communications with a great blog for vendors called Think Splendid. It is definitely some of my fave blog-candy around.

Yesterday she posted a compact little guide for brides on her blog to help them hire the necessary vendors to make their day a success. It is a compilation of posts from a series she authored over the course of a few months all neatly packaged together as a printable e-book. The Wedding Vendor Hiring Guide has useful information for hiring your wedding planner, florist, DJ, officiant, caterer, photographer and more. It covers some basic and not-so-basic questions to remember when interviewing your vendors and serves as an excellent jump-off point for your wedding planning if you are just starting.

Enjoy your free download!


Monday, July 13, 2009

Etsy Monday: blackbirdfashion Sock Monkeys

So one of the perks of being an auntie is to be completely and utterly over-the-top on gift giving occasions, right? My [basically] sister's baby Jackson just turned 7 months old a few days ago, but I am already hunting down the perfect theme for his First birthday in December. I've been throwing around ideas like 'Jackson in 'One'derland', Vintage Circus and Alphabet Blocks. I bought a Sock Monkey a few weeks ago at, of all places, Shoppers Drug Mart, in hopes that I would find more adorable items to complement this theme and create an amazing birthday party out of it. The first thing that went through my head when I saw it on the shelf was 'Our Little Monkey Turns One!', how cute would that be on invitations? I turned to Etsy for some more inspiration...

Photo Credit: blackbirdfashion

blackbirdfashion on Etsy has given me a decidedly large push in this direction. Just take a look at her beautiful sock monkeys and 'socktopi' [yes, she makes something called a Socktopus!]. All of these little monkeys are giving me incredible inspirations- they are all so cute, especially these Siamese twins, 'Julius' and 'Edsel'!

She has some 'baby' monkeys that are smaller and are actually made from sweaters and sport a pattered 'fur' like this striped cutie below.

I will keep you updated on the theme that is ultimately chosen for Jackson's First Birthday, but this is a clear frontrunner to me. Do you like Sock Monkeys? What theme do you think should be used for Jackson's party?


Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Wedding Wednesday: Bridal Relaxation

Photo Credit: MyCamdenWedding.com

Weddings are stressful, no bones about it. Leading up to the wedding, you can go through a range of emotions that you didn't even know existed! You may be dealing with budget issues, guest list anxieties, trouble securing suitable vendors, DIY projects up to your eyeballs - all on top of your regular life which can cause stress. Your stress can lead to unwelcome visitors like neck and back pain, anxiety, fatigue, raised blood pressure and a number of other symptoms that don't lend themselves well to your wedding-glow.

Since I am going to the spa today with my sister to get a massage, it started me thinking about brides [and grooms! and bridal parties!] getting a stress-relieving massage on their wedding day or the day before. I have been working on a number of different events lately that have me working at all hours of the day and a massage is definitely what I need to help melt away some of my tensions. I am getting headaches more frequently and I know that even just a few minutes on the table make me feel infinitely more relaxed... I am looking forward to it, needless to say! The same can work for brides on their wedding day. It doesn't have to be a full body 90 minute rub-down, even just an upper back neck and shoulders massage for 15-30 minutes can ease the stress and prepare you mentally for your big day. It can be a wonderful group activity for the key members of the wedding party so that everyone has a clearer head and is a little more zen. You deserve to be pampered on your wedding day, so why not look into bringing a masseuse or massage team in for a treat? Many spas offer bridal and group packages, so be sure to inquire about the different rates available.
Photo Credit: GreenBliss EcoSpa

Bridal Yoga might also be a cool way for you to bliss out and connect with yourself just before your wedding. Inquire at your local yoga studio to see if you can arrange a private gentle yoga class the week of or day of your wedding for you and your wedding party.

Are you planning any relaxation treatments on or just before your wedding day?


Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Tasty Tuesday: Corn on the Cob

Photo Credit: stevendepolo

Is it weird that the boy's parents and my parents haven't met yet? We've been together for nearly two years, but Saturday will be the first time they've ever formally "met" each other. We are a little nervous, but I know it will go great. His mother is making a wonderful big meal for everyone which will include a roast and corn on the cob. Do you like corn on the cob? I was never much a fan of it as a kid, but I grew to really like the sweet crunch and hot juiciness of the delicious kernels. Smothering it in butter is my favourite way to enjoy the summer delight, but there are dozens of alternative toppings that you can try.

Canadian Living Magazine rounded up some interesting flavours to sample. Here is one I might try:
Provence Butter:
1/4 cup butter, softened; 1 tbsp Dijon mustard; and 3/4 tsp herbes de Provence.

How do you like to eat corn on the cob?


Monday, July 6, 2009

Etsy Monday: wevegotpaper Letter Set

Another cute party favour find for Etsy Monday, wevegotpaper 's sweet little Swirly Ivy letter set. These would look great in a gift basket for your bridesmaids! They would also be a perfect 'last-minute' hostess gift to have at the ready for impromptu visits to a friend's. Bonus points" wevegotpaper is Canadian!


Friday, July 3, 2009

Frugal Friday: Will Anyone Notice?

There are hundreds, even thousands of ways to reduce the cost of your event. One great way to cut back? Ask yourself the following question whenever you find yourself coveting an upgrade or detail that you are having a hard time justifying: "Will anyone notice if we don't do/have this?". I recently had a meeting with one of my clients and we were discussing menu options from a list from our caterer. She was undecided between entrees and wanted to choose two different ones to satisfy everyone, even though she knew mostly everyone would be happy with the one [cheaper!] option. So I said to her "Your guests will enjoy this option very much, and if you don't offer them this other choice in addition, how will they know any different? They will simply enjoy the meal that they are served.". Needless to say, she nixed the idea of the second entree and stuck with only one, saving over $500 on catering costs.

Of course it is fun and fulfilling to work on small details of your event to make it your own and exactly as you envisioned it, but it is realistic to know that some guests probably won't notice or appreciate as much as you had hoped. If you have a budget to accommodate as many details large or small as you wish, then by all means, go crazy with as much as you want! But if you are looking for ways to trim your budget, give this trick a try and see how many things, when you take a step back and rationalise, really won't matter to you in the long run. Remember that events are about you and your guests having a great time and anything that will cause you stress or financial woes is not worth getting in the way of that goal!


Thursday, July 2, 2009

everyone loves cupcakes: Canada Day Edition!

As promised, here is a picture of the patriotic cupcakes I made for Canada Day. I wish I had more pictures, because they were so cool! They were vanilla cake with a red icing injection inside. I used this method to "fill" the cupcakes with my sweet surprise. They went over great!


Thirsty Thursday: Cuba Libre

Photo Credit: Mike Fleming
Have you ever been to Cuba? If you have, there is no doubt you indulged in at least one Cuba Libre! If it weren't for rum punch, this would have easily been the favourite drink of my group of friends when we went to Cuba last February. Here in North America we just call them "rum and cokes", but the Cuban way [Spanish for "Free Cuba"] is a much more exotic and fun name for this IBA official cocktail. The origins of the popular libation are fuzzy and somewhat contradictory to say the least, but one thing is for certain: this highball is one for the ages!


In a tall glass [highball] filled with ice, add 1 1/2 oz rum, 1/4 oz fresh lime juice and top with cola. Garnish with a lime wedge.

Do you enjoy Cuba Libres?


Wednesday, July 1, 2009

party phD: Canada Day

Photo Credit: Rick Harris

Canada Day, formerly Dominion Day, is a Canadian federal Statutory Holiday celebrated on July 1st. Canada Day commemorates the July 1 1867 signing of the British North America Act [the Constitution Act] which joined the British North American Colonies Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and and the Province of Canada into a federation of 4 provinces and established the Dominion of Canada. It took some time for Dominion Day to catch on, mostly because many Canadians considrered themselves British subjects for a long time still after Confederation.

Canada Day is celebrated in many different ways across the country, varying from culture to culture. The range of activities includes fireworks displays, barbeques, concerts, face painting, air shows, festivals, citizenship ceremonies, parades and parties. Canadians flock to these [mostly outdoor] events draped in flags and wearing red and white clothing and accessories to show their national pride. Many events are televised on national television, especially fireworks shows and concerts featuring big name Canadian artists.

Since Canada Day is so close to the United States' Independence Day, there are actually some festivals that celebrate the friendly bond between the two countries during their time of patriotism. Detroit Michigan and Windsor Ontario hold the annual International Freedom Festival and Buffalo New York and Fort Erie Ontario celebrate with the Friendship Festival.

As a proud Canadian, I will be sharing Canada Day with my friends today at a backyard BBQ. I made some cute Canada Day cupcakes which I will post a picture of tomorrow. Happy birthday Canada and happy Canada Day to my fellow Canadians!


Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Tasty Tuesday: Creamy Horseradish and Dill Dip

Photo Credit: Yunhee Kim via Real Simple

I have already had a few occasions this summer where I had to bust out the dip for entertaining purposes or otherwise... and I don't really even eat dip often myself! This recipe for Creamy Horseradish and Dill Dip from Real Simple landed in my inbox and I thought it would be a natural fit for Tasty Tuesdays and easy breezy summer veggie platters.

  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1/4 cup prepared horseradish
  • 2 tablespoons whole milk
  • kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
  • dippers (such as celery sticks, cucumber rounds, and potato chips)
  • In a medium bowl, beat the cream cheese, horseradish, milk, and 1/4 teaspoon salt until fluffy. Stir in the dill. Serve with the dippers.

Happy Dipping!


Monday, June 29, 2009

Etsy Monday: EnchantedDandelions Sushi Roll

makes handcrafted items for babies and children, but I have another use for her adorable terry cloth sushi roll: party favours! Girls night gifts, bridal party gifts, or baby shower favours, these little babies do double duty as invaluable wash cloths as well as cute decor for your guests' bathroom, powder room or diaper bag. Wouldn't this look so sweet all packaged up at each place setting with your guests' names printed on the take-out container?


Friday, June 26, 2009

Frugal Friday: Michael's Email Club

Photo Credit: Onmidway.com
If you are all about DIY-ing ["Doing it yourself"] then there's probably a pretty good chance that you have stopped by a Michael's craft store once or twice. I'm pretty sure I keep my local store in business single-handedly- there is just so much stuff there that I covet! Even a walk through the store gets my creative juices flowing.

**Cue the Frugal Friday segue.** Are you a part of their e-mail newsletter club? If you are, then you know that you get a 50% off coupon immediately for joining and the weekly ad delivered to your email inbox as well as intermittant special offers and coupons. And if you aren't? Well... you are missing out! Click here to sign up and start saving on everything you need for your next event from cupcake liners to rubber stamps.


Thursday, June 25, 2009

Thirsty Thursday: Summer Beers

Summer is here and for many people that means enjoying a cold beer on the patio on a hot day. There are literally thousands of beers to choose from, but a select few get the honour of becoming "summer beers". Here are some suggestions to get the patio party started this summer.

Clockwise from top right are:

  • Hop Back Brewery Summer Lightning
  • Sam Adams Summer Ale
  • Steam Whistle Pilsner
  • Bud Light Lime
  • Cracked Canoe [centre]
What's your favourite summer brew?

Available in Ontario at select LCBO and
The Beer Store locations. Check with your local beer outlet for availability in your area.


Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Wedding Wednesday: Emergency Kit

Photo Credit: Sutree.com

It's better to be safe than sorry, right? Whether or not you use any of the things in your wedding emergency kit is not the point, it's the peace of mind that comes from being ultra-prepared for any unforeseen mishaps that could possibly arise. If you are hiring a professional wedding planner or day-of coordinator, he or she will most likely come with a kit full of goodies at the ready should anything... unscheduled occur. Ask your pro whether they will be bringing their own kit and what it contains, and discuss anything extra you think you might need. If you do not have someone hired running your big day for you, it's good to have a number of things on-hand at your venue to ensure that your big-day runs smoothly.

Here are the things I carry in my emergency kit [which is a padded sewing kit from Wal-Mart that looks kind of like a picnic basket] as well as some additional items you may want to consider adding for your event.

  • Sewing kit
  • Safety pins
  • Straight pins
  • Hand Sanitizer
  • Lip Balm [plain, so if men need to use it, they don't have to feel too girly!]
  • Tylenol, Advil and Pamprin
  • Bandages [coloured for kids, sheer for adults and Band-Aid Blister Cushions]
  • Mens and Womens aerosol deodorant
  • Tissues [purse packs are great]
  • Visine and Benedryl [as an allergy sufferer myself, I know these items can be a life-saver!]
  • Pads and Tampons
  • Scissors and a utility knife
  • Lighters: a regular lighter and a long one as well as a pack of matches
  • Scotch Tape, string and a glue stick
  • Pen and pencil
  • Meal replacement bar or shake [who knows who will forget to eat that day!]
  • Bug Spray
  • Sunscreen
  • Hand and Body Lotion
  • Nail file/emery board
  • Bobby pins and hair elastics [in black and "blonde"]
  • Dental Floss, toothpicks and a small bottle of mouthwash
  • Hair brush and wide-tooth comb
  • Aerosol Hairspray and Hair Gel
  • Tide to Go
  • Lint roller
  • Rolaids or Tums
  • AA and AAA Batteries
  • Sharpie Marker
Is there anything you would add to this list? What did you have in your emergency kit?


Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Tasty Tuesday: Bran Muffins

When I think of breakfasts at my grandparents' house as a little kid, the first thing I remember is a delicious warm bran muffin smothered in real butter. My mouth is watering just imagining it. When I stumbled upon these All Bran muffins made by FinnLover in the TeamSugar community, I knew I had to repost them here and give them a try. She puts a bit of a sweet but healthy spin on the traditional bran muffin, but I can't wait to test them out. These would be a perfect treat to serve at your breakfast party or family brunch.

Here is the recipe:

* 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
* 1/2 cup sugar
* 1 tablespoon baking powder
* 1/4 teaspoon salt
* 2 cups all-bran cereal
* 1 1/4 cups milk
* 1 egg
* 1/4 cup vegetable oil
* 1/4 cup ground flax seeds
* 1/4 cup maple syrup
* 2 teaspoons cinnamon
* 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
* 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom

1) Stir flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Set aside. In large mixing bowl, combine All-Bran cereal and milk. Let stand 5 minutes or until softened. Add.

2) Add egg and oil. Beat well. Add flour mixture, stirring only until combined.

3) Portion batter evenly into twelve 2 1/2-inch muffin-pan cups coated with cooking spray.

4) Bake at 400 degrees for about 15-20 mins or until lightly browned.

Serve warm. Yield: 12 muffins.


Monday, June 22, 2009

Etsy Monday: HidenSeek Postcards

Oh. My. Gosh. I am literally DROOLING over these gorgeous little postcards from seller HidenSeek. Wouldn't these look amazing in many parts of your event decor? I wouldn't know where to begin. I would want to use them as place cards at every setting, menu cards with the menu affixed to the back, as a "guestbook" for guests to write a little note on each one or even strung up on string or wire and hung against the walls or accross a room.

These are perfect for a children's party, garden party or whimsical wedding!


Thursday, June 18, 2009

announcement: format flip!!

hey y'all. So I've been toying with the idea of changing up my format to allow for more frequent and flowing blog posts and today is the day! [well, actually, Monday is the official "launch", but today is the day that I am telling you about the new format]

Here's how it will work. Each day of the week will have a particular theme/topic and the post[s] for that day will follow that theme.

  • Etsy Mondays - All posts will feauture amazing vintage and handmade finds from the wonderful Etsy community.
  • Tasty Tuesdays - All posts will be fantastic new food trends or recipes.
  • Wedding Wednesdays - All posts will be wedding and wedding planning related.
  • Thirsty Thursdays - All posts will feature new drink trends or recipes.
  • Frugal Fridays - All posts will feature tips on how to keep your event on budget. [This will replace the former "Recessionista Party Tips"]
My old features Navigating the Tablescape, Finding Inspiration, Sitting Down With..., Party phD, Party Pick and Celebrate This! will still exist, but hopefully the new format will help streamline the blog experience!



Monday, June 8, 2009

Recessionista Party Tips: Free Magazine Download

Photo Credit: Wedding Style Guide

Although it's nice to have a hard copy of a magazine in your hands sometimes, a free digital issue isn't a bad thing once in a while! For a limited time (read: only 7 more days) you can download a free copy of the Wedding Style Guide, a gorgeous Australian publication overflowing with amazing inspiration. Check it out here.


Thursday, June 4, 2009

Recessionista Party Tips: Host a Swap Party

Photo Credit: Ellen Silverman

Real Simple recently posted a great article called "How to Host a Swap Party" with some tips about how to hold a party for you and your girlfriends to swap clothing, accessories, shoes, bags, whatever! Here are some highlights along with my added ideas.

  • [Invite] friends with similar taste. For a good variety of merchandise, eight people is a manageable number, though anywhere from 3 to 20 is doable.
  • Serve delicious snacks that you can eat with one hand, leaving the other free to root for loot. Make it a true "swap" party and have each guest bring a plate of portable snacks.
  • Be clear about what’s swap-worthy. Ask friends to bring clean goods in gently used condition. Even further, make sure people are bringing items of the same theme. Let your guests know if it is a strictly clothing-and-accessories swap or all-out swap-fest where everything but the kitchen sink is fair game to bring.
  • Guests should also come with an extra tote bag for carting home their finds. As a party favour, purchase a reusable bag for each of your guests to bring home their "new" clothes and accessories. Try this one from reusablebags.com or these from pop deluxe.
  • Give guests room to spread out their items by clearing off surfaces, such as dining and side tables, and using bins and trunks to serve as display space.
  • Set up a garment rack with hangers, or string up a clothesline, then prop up a full-length mirror. Make signs, and sort fashions by size, type, season, or even personality.
Have you ever hosted or been to a swap party?


Tuesday, June 2, 2009

finding inspiration: Soda Crates

Photo Credit: Pottery Barn

The other day I was at Zeller's and I saw some Coca-Cola and Coors Light galvanized metal tubs, wooden crates and awesome vintage-y glassware. The kind of thing that would be so amazingly cool at a backyard barbeque! So in typical "me" fashion, I decided to check out some websites and see what the internet has to offer me. The ones above are from Pottery Barn, but they are now sold out. Although, they found them from many different sources, so plenty of similar ones are definitely out there. These crates would be great if you flipped them over and maybe laid your desserts out on them [especially awesome if your desserts are fruit cups or cupcakes or tarts or something individual].

Photo Credit: AllCola.com

Here is a cute metal tub from AllCola.com. Kill two birds with one stone: it's not only a décor piece, but fill it with ice and keep your pop bottles cold. How practical and adorable!

Photo Credit: Tavern Trove LLC

Is it just me or is this 1939 Coors Light Beer case absolutely fabulous? I think it would look perfectly sweet perched on your buffet table with some plates and cutlery on it for your guests to grab. Try putting an old beer or pop bottle with a single stem flower in it on top of or beside the crate.

Photo Credit: twotallgirls

Etsy has a bunch of amazing finds, as usual, using their "vintage" search feature. Being Canadian, I was kind of partial to the one above though. This would make a wonderful centrepiece filled with flowers! Or you could wrap up everyone's cutlery in a napkin or put it in their glass and put each one in a slot for them to take.

Photo Credit: Kathryn Speyer

You are probably familiar with my WeddingBee obsession, and I remember a few months back seeing Mrs. Cherry Pie posting about her country-chic wedding which included some fantastic vintage tubs and crates and her penchant for Mexican Coke. Above is a picture of what she did at her wedding with the tubs and crates. How cute!

If I can create some reason for a party, I will most likely be picking up some version of these crates and tubs. Have you ever used either for an event?


Wednesday, May 20, 2009

two-four birthday pics

Hi y'all. I've been MIA for a few days, been really busy and actually I'm getting a lot of business lately so that's definitely a good thing. I thought I would share some of the details from the boy's birthday party as I had promised.

I'm not sure how it is around the rest of the world, but here in Canada we call a case of 24 beers a two-four. Since the boy turned 24, I made the theme of his party beer! I made a banner with red beer cups at either end and some rugged looking string/twine holding up card stock circles proclaiming 'HAPPY BIRTHDAY KEVIN'. I cut the circles out of 5 different colours of card stock and glued on the letters that I had printed off my computer. I downloaded the font from 1001 Free Fonts. I put a little silver glitter embellishment on each letter.

I also crafted a smaller sign that was simply a square of card stock with the words 'two-four' in the same font and glitter embellishment with a red beer cup angled off the top of the page.

I had red and blue beer cups placed on the tables as well with favours and snacks in them. Since it was just a small party, I had four cups, two for snacks and two for favours/noisemakers. On the cups for snacks, I used some sticker letters with a similar font to the one on my sign and banner and spelled the word 'taste'. In one cup I put some red licorice and gourmet lollipops and in the other I put some pepperettes [pepperoni sticks] and pretzel sticks. I wanted to go with flavours that would compliment beer.

On the cups with the favours, I spelled out the word 'noise' with the sticker letters and put some blowouts with metallic streamers, hand-clappers and tin noisemakers. We were in a restaurant so I didn't get anything too loud.

On top of the tables, I sprinkled dozens of beer caps down the centre. They were from all different kinds of beer and really brought the theme together. I don't have any pictures of those, but I'm sure you can visualise what a table littered with tons of shiny beer caps looks like!

The dinner was a really fun time, you can't really go wrong with beer, pizza, friends and sports on 3 different TVs, especially if it's your birthday!! The boy said he had a great night and that's all that mattered to me.

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