Party Planning Humor in the Comics

For party planners and mothers of teenagers everywhere, hope you enjoy this funny cartoon!


Which SATC character reflects your party planning personality?

The release of the much-anticipated Sex and the City 2 movie spurred my thinking this morning: Which character reflects my party planning personality?  I'm more 'Charlotte' than 'Carrie' but as a mom of 3 little girls, I'm sure I've had 'Miranda' moments. 

Here's what I came up with to help you determine your party planning personality.  Do you ...

Obsess about stylish decor?  Then, you might be Carrie.
Contemplate cosmo cupcakes for your child's birthday?  Then, you might be Miranda.
Set a prim and proper [Tiffanys] table?  Then, you might be Charlotte.
Lift your 'spirits' with beefy shirtless bartenders?  Then, you might be Samantha!

Whatever your personality, make sure you enjoy the party - good times with good friends!


Memorial Day Recipes

Saturday is the unofficial start of summer; are you ready to celebrate?  If not, I have a few recipes to share for a simple gathering of friends or picnic at the park!

Local caterer, Windows Catering, did a segment this week on NBC4 on Memorial Day picnics.  They suggested easy-to-make fare like Chicken Wraps, Granola Bars, FlutterNutter Sandwiches and Frozen Grapes.  See the video and then look at the easy recipes.

I received Wegman's Menu magazine yesterday.  It's chock full of summer recipesI'm going to make the Summer Tortelli Salad, Roasted Red Pepper Soup with Crab and Sliders.  To complement this menu, I will serve a refreshing glass of Lemonade (Ina Garten's recipe) garnished with fresh sliced fruit (oranges, blueberries and slivers of strawberries and apples) and Mixed Berry Trifle for dessert, recipe below.

Mixed Berry Trifle
I don't know where I learned to make this yummy dessert but I know that I've modified the recipe over time.

1 box of instant vanilla pudding, prepared
1 container of Cool Whip
Angel Food Cake, sliced
1 container each of strawberries (sliced), blueberries, raspberries 
Sprig of Mint (optional)

Mix vanilla pudding with 1/2 container of Cool Whip
In trifle bowl, layer cake, pudding and most of the mixed berries (2 layers)
Cover with remaining Cool Whip and garnish with a few mixed berries and mint
Viola!  It's easy to make and so good! 

Have a wonderful holiday weekend!


{Summer Entertaining} Got Jell-O?

Last Friday evening, I participated in Women Supporting Women, an informal showcase of local woman owned businesses, who support each other as well as less fortunate women in our community; a portion of the proceeds benefited NOVACO.  The event was successful!  I enjoyed talking about parties and celebrations, sharing 'posh in a pinch' tips for summer entertaining and learning how other women like to entertain.

Above is a photo of my display, including a raffle for handmade invitations and a custom event design (or game plan for producing the winner's party of choice).

Here are the 'posh in a pinch' ideas for summer entertaining:

Got gift wrap, tissue paper and scrapbook paper?  Then, you have a 'tablecloth', 'table runner' and 'placemat' for your tablescape or food buffet.  The design possibilities are endless - and affordable!

Lounge in comfort with beach towel "pillows". Roll towel and wrap with a lei.

Repurpose an old photo frame as a menu display.  Incorporate scrapbook paper and chipboard letters for stylish fun.

Garnish your margarita with a lime "marker"!  Carve your initial into the lime wedge.

*My Favorite!  Create a stylish centerpiece with white daisies submerged in Jell-O!  Inexpensive to make, and Jell-O comes in a wide variety of cheerful colors!  Let's Party!

These are my favorite 'posh' ideas for summer entertaining; what are yours?


Great Get-Togethers

Last week, I had the pleasure of attending a luncheon hosted by The Dandelion Patch.  Held at the Ritz Carlton Tysons Corner, this fabulous luncheon featured a brief presentation by Anna Post of the Emily Post Institute.  Ms. Post spoke about her recently released book, Great Get-Togethers.  She offered sage advice, of which two items resonated with me:

Entertaining is about having a good time, being in good company, enjoying yourself.

Turn on the music about 30 minutes before the start of your party or celebration.  It will allow you to transition from a frenzy of last-minute preparations to a relaxed host or hostess. [An important tip for novice or seasoned hostesses alike].

I began reading the book over the weekend.  From the first page Ms. Post shares practical advice for successful entertaining like "Start simple and grow with experience".  It reminds me of my constant mantra "keep it simple" (though that's not always the final result).  I'd like to know "what is your mantra" when planning a party, how do you remain sane and enjoy yourself? 


Cake Pops to Congratulate the Graduate

I'm not a baker but I do enjoy experiementing with new ideas ... like two color cake pops!  Recently, I was inspired by this blog and thought 'what a great idea', perfect for graduation to show school spirit (or any occasion to incorporate color).

My neighbor's daughter just graduated from NCWC so my girls and I made her some yellow and blue cake pops dipped in melted vanilla candy chips and sprinkled with yellow and blue nonpareils.  The trick to two colors is dividing the cake batter and adding a few (or more) drops of food coloring.  Admittedly, it was challenging to roll the two cake colors into one neat ball but the result was the same - super sweet cake balls!

What color combination will you try?  For what occasion?


{Event Showcase} Mother's Day Lemonade Stand

Last Sunday afternoon, I hosted a Mother's Day Lemonade Stand for invited family and friends.  It was my gift to my little girls, especially my 7 year old who has always dreamed of a lemonade stand but doesn't understand that we live on a low-traffic cul de sac, which is bad for sales.  The party was fun and since I incorporated a lot of 'posh in a pinch' design elements, I thought I'd show you and perhaps inspire you.

As I blogged earlier, the invitation is a letterpress flat notecard from Paper Source.  I enhanced it with printed copy from the computer and added a 2.5" circle label for the mailing address. Voila!

My original idea was to create the citrus-theme party using thrift store items.  I've seen many other event professionals create outstanding parties with recycled items and felt confident that I could pull it off too.  Unfortunately, my visit to our local thrift stores was disappointing; no cute old fashioned beverage glasses or pitchers (though I did spot some unique shot glasses that would make excellent hors d'oeuvres dishes).  Ultimately, I found a gently-used bright yellow tablecloth and a relatively new (and cheerful) Crate and Barrel tablecloth with napkins.  So I splurged and felt better about my attempt.

Mother's Day in the suburbs of the Nation's Capital was sunny but breezy so we had our lemonade "stand" inside.  I used the bright yellow tablecloth and created a table runner with old fabric remnants!  To decorate, I filled a large margarita glass (who knew that I'd use that again?) with oranges, lemons and limes; incorporated new girl metal sculptures, one with a Mother's Day potted plant and the other straws; and used my fun orange stemless martini glasses to serve lemonade.  For the finishing touches, I made a playful 'lemonade stand' banner and tags for the pitchers using scrapbook paper, orange ribbon and yellow chipboard letters.

For fun, we served two pitchers of lemonade: freshly-squeezed and store-bought.  We asked guests to sample both and guess which ones my girls made.  [Hint:  Pitcher B, which was a little tart!]

After lemonade and snacks, we had dinner.  I'll save my menu for another time but above are photos of how I incorporated the look and feel of the lemonade stand into the dinner table.  A few 'posh' highlights of my colorful tablescape:

The table was covered in wrapping paper

Each place setting had a 12x12 scrapbook paper placemat; the plate was wrapped with ribbon; placecards made of scrapbook paper were attached to the ribbon; and a napkin was placed on the plate

[Deflated] DIY Balls of string in yellow, orange, lime green and white rounded out the citrus-inspired look

Summer is around the corner.  I hope that you can use some of my lemonade stand ideas to create your own citrus-inspired party!


Party Decor Disaster ... actually looks Delightful!

Yesterday, I thought to title this entry "Some Projects are Better Left to Martha" because my attempt to create tabletop decor with string, balloons and fabric stiffner failed (see photos below of deflated balls of string) but to my surprise, I received a lot of complements on my Mother's Day tabletop display.  So, this entry is actually  meant to encourage you to try a new project; it may not look like the web site instructions but you might create something better, or just as nice.

Have you ever had a delightful disaster?  Tell us about it - so that I don't feel like I'm the only one

Aside from the deflated balls of string, my Mother's Day Lemonade Stand and Dinner was awesome!  I'll post photos and share my event design later this week.  Click here to see to see the invitation.


{Invitation Showcase & Party Sneak Peek} Mother's Day Lemonade Stand

My 7 year-old daughter has wanted a lemonade stand since the time she could walk. She wants to squeeze lemons, make signs ... and start selling (yes, her future looks bright!) but we live on a dead-end cul-de-sac; there is virtually no traffic except for the occasional dogwalker ... until now. On sunday afternoon, I've invited family, as well as a few friends and neighbors to visit our Lemonade Stand, my Mother's Day gift to my girls. Below is the quick invitation I designed - a letterpress note card set from Paper Source (my home away from home!) with copy printed from my computer.

I look forward to sharing the party details with you next week!  Until then, I wish all of my mom readers a special Mother's Day!


We Heart Teachers

This week, May 2-8, is Teacher Appreciation Week!  In addition to being a professional party planner, I'm mom to three school-age girls and this year, I'm a PTA President.  Our parent-teacher community is very engaged and supportive so this is a big week for us.  Each day, on behalf of the children, the parents do something special for the teachers and staff.  For example, on Wednesday, we'll host a catered luncheon.  Teachers and staff will attend while parent volunteers watch their class and answer phones.  Below is a photo of the invitation I quickly put together last Thursday based on the coordinator's party design - a casual picnic with red and white checked linens and yellow flowers in bud vases.

If you want to celebrate Teacher Appreciation Week, it's not too late to come up with a thoughtful thank you gift from your child.  Here are a few quick and inexpensive ideas:

A collection of these items in a gift basket (idea from here):
Sponge - to soak up the overflow when your brain is too full
Candle - to light a small mind
Modeling Clay - for being a great model
Smarties Candy - to help stay smart
Highlighter Pen - for being a big highlight of my life
Glue - for holding everything together
Bubbles - to keep a bubbly personality
Cup - when yours is overflowing
Marbles - to replace those lost from time to time
Crayon - to color your day
Hanger - to hang in there -- summer vacation is almost here!

Each day, fill a bowl with these items (idea from here):
On Monday, Lifesavers with the sign "You are lifesaver to our kids! Thank you for all your hard work"
On Tuesday, Sunflower Seeds with the sign "You plant the seeds of knowledge in our children"
On Wednesday, Dum Dum suckers with the sign "Because of you our kids are not Dum Dums!"
On Thursday, Hersheys Hugs and Kisses candy with the sign "Hugs and Kisses for everything you do"
On Friday, Carefree gum with the sign "You deserve a "Carefree" weekend!"

Super cute (and free) Imprintables (and clever gift ideas) available from here

And my favorite - a ruler with a little note that says "Teachers Rule"