Producers Predict Next Party Trend

The Producers, L-R: Dave Edwards, CSEP; Ashleigh Dorfman, CSEP; Kelley Gillespie; Karen Bridges, CSEP, Lori Hill; Laura Weatherly: and June Ring

I belong to an informal group of indepedent event planners called The Producers.  Established by Dave Edwards, CSEP of Dave Edwards Events, The Producers meet monthly to share best practices, discuss trends and solve business challenges.  This month, Windows Catering Company hosted our meeting in their gorgeous showroom complements of Andrew Gerstel, vice president and Kelsey Henderickson, event planner.  The set up, hospitality, and of course, the food was outstanding.  To keep the meeting focused on business, we discussed evolving trends - things that were happening more and more at our corporate, non-profit and social events.  Technology, no floral and no linen decor, eco-friendly practices and food on a stick continue to be popular requests.  I asked what's next on the dessert table, what will replace cupcakes?  Kelsey quickly replied pies and crepes!

{photo credits, clockwise: Holland Photo Arts, Martha Stewart, Windows Catering, Holland Photo Arts}

What do you think?  What will replace cupcakes on the dessert table?


{in season} Mary Poppins

I'm on a Disney "high" this morning!  I purchased tickets to see Mary Poppins at the Kennedy Center next month and made dining reservations at Cinderella's Royal Table at Walt Disney World in November.  All of this Disney "magic" got me thinking about parties.  A little research revealed some creative celebrations including this "Jolly Holiday with Mary Poppins" tea party by Party Wishes.  The look is absolutely adorable and the activities are amazing, including stuff-a-penguin!

Wishing you a supercalifragilisticexpialidocious kind of day!


{in season} No-Bake Cookies

My mom returned from Pennsylvania this week.  She brought home yummy treats from my aunt including a few No-Bake Cookies, which I loved as a kid (along with her date nut rolls).  No-Bake Cookies are a perfect blend of chocolate, peanut butter and rolled oats and as the name implies, require no baking.  Enjoyed with a cold glass of milk, they are a perfect summer treat.  I'm off to make a batch with my girls!

No Bake Cookies

Yield: 2 to 3 dozen cookies
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cooling Time: 30 minutes

½ cup (1 stick) butter
2 cups granulated sugar
½ cup milk
4 tablespoons cocoa powder
½ cup peanut butter
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 cups quick-cooking oats

1. Add the first four ingredients (through the cocoa powder) to a 4-quart saucepan.
2. Bring to a rolling boil and let boil for 1 minute.
3. Remove from heat.
4. Stir in the peanut butter and vanilla until smooth, then stir in the oats.
5. Drop by heaping tablespoons onto wax paper-lined baking sheets.
6. Let cool until set.


Baby Love

So much baby news recently that I thought I'd share a few recent "baby shower" discoveries.

Gender Reveal Parties
An increasingly popular party, the pregnant couple and their guests find out the gender of the baby together and celebrate!  The big reveal is usually when the couple slices into a pink or blue cake (or bite into pink or blue cupcakes), prepared by a bakery that receives the gender results in a sealed envelope from the ultrasound.  Here is a great example of a gender reveal party.

Teeny-Tiny Personalized Hangers
Babies receive a lot of clothes!  They would look sharp hanging the closet on one of these hangers from Lilafrance on etsy.

Baby Diaper Napkins
A clever way to dress up a table!  Instructions on how to fold the napkin are here.

Nursery Rhymes on the Piano
Hire a pianist to play nursery rhymes!  It's a lovely backdrop to the celebration, provides a lot of [ice-breaker] conversation and may be incorporated into games.

What is your favorite baby shower idea?


5th Anniversary Promotion - Winner!

Thank you to everyone who participated in my 5th Anniversary Promotion! The event design submissions were quite diverse including a 70th birthday bash, a baby naming ceremony and a business launch event, to name a few.

The winning entry was received by Lauryn Eadie, who suggested a custom event design for an upcoming Client Aprpeciation Party!  I look forward to working with Lauryn soon to design her party complete with theme, suggestions for venue, invitation, catering, decor and entertainment, approximate budget and timeline.

An event design is the first step in professional party planning.  Please contact me to design your next party or celebration today!


{summer entertaining} Play with your Food Party Decor

The other day I came across a clever "vase" ... a cucumber vase!  It would look charming on outdoor dinner table.  Here are the instructions on how to make this "vase".

Here are a few more clever ways to play with your food - strips of cucumbers woven to make a "mat" on a tray; petit salad greens nestled on a tray with "tweet" birds dress up an ordinary display of deviled eggs; and a watermelon makes an awesome "bowl" for a melon display.

{photo credits - here and here}

I know there's more ideas.  Tell us how you play with food to decorate for a party!


5th Anniversary Promotion

To celebrate posh parties, LLC's 5th Anniversary, I'm giving away a custom event design* ($100 value) to one lucky reader and its easy to enter. 
  • Leave a comment below describing the party you want me to design for you
  • Visit my Facebook page and write on my wall, describing the party that you want me to design for you
 All comments must be received by Friday, July 16 at 10:00 pm ET.

Can't think of a party?  How about a Bon Voyage party for your son who embarking on a year-long exchange program in Spain?  50 Golden Years? Sip 'n See for Baby Girl Smith? or we've-remodeled-our-house-and-can't-wait-for-eveyone-to-see-it cocktail party?

*A custom event design is a game plan for producing your party. It includes a proposed concept for theme and how to bring it to life with an invitation, food, drinks, decor and entertainment.  Further, it includes an approximate budget (based on your guidance) and suggested timeline.  It's the first step in successful party planning!


{event showcase} We're Not Crabby Just Forty

Most of you now know that my husband and I turned 40 recently and we celebrated twice; once with close  friends at Pearmund Cellars and later with family at home.  Below are photos and party planning ideas from our celebration at home to inspire you in case you have a milestone party (or any fun dinner party) in your future!

This party was geared to my husband who loves seafood and was a little "crabby" about turning 40! I found the cutest Cricut die-cut crab (Life's a Beach cartridge); combined with PS pool notecards and envelopes and catchy text, I created invitations on my home printer and established the look and feel of the party.

Party decor was limited to the dining room and the food buffet in the kitchen, which created a bigger "wow" factor without a lot of expense.  The dinner table was decorated with a runner made from PS pool wrapping paper and another twill cotton runner on top from Select Event Rentals.  For the centerpiece, I showed off my new testtube magnetic vases - filled with altnerating blue and red sand and topped off with a red carnation.  In the center, I attempted to make a sand castle using Mudd Puddles sand glue and heavy cardstock; it really didn't work but it was better than the real deal which can be so messy!  At each place setting, I had melamine "paper" plates and clear plastic cups from Target (on sale!) with silverware wrapped in the red napkin.  Lastly, I found a "crabby" birthday balloon at Wegmans; had to have it!

Guests were given a custom crossword puzzle (repurposed from Dine in the Vines) to complete and talk about while I put food on the buffet.

Food was easy!  I bought everything from Wegmans and displayed it on my kitchen table, which was decorated with a red runner and vase filled with sand and carnations to mimic the dining room table. 

Here's the lunch menu:
Jumbo Shrimp
Fruit Salad
Corn on the Cob
Homestyle Coleslaw
Mixed Greens with Red Peppers, Cherry Tomatoes, Carrots and Cucumbers
Sliced Artisan Bread with Cheese
Tortilla Chips with Guacamole

Then, we had cake - a yummy confection from Patisserie Lille!  It was vanilla cake layered with chocolate mousse and the European frosting is hands-down my favorite!

I shared how I celebrated my 40th with you; now, I'd like to know how you celebrated your milestone birthday!  Share a comment below or visit my Facebook Fan page and write on my wall; either way, other like-minded party people will be inspired by your creativity.  Thanks, in advance!


{in season} Mint: Let's Make Raspberry Mojitos!

Last night, some friends and I celebrated the 40th birthday of another friend!  We had dinner and drinks, and then, more drinks, dancing and lots of fun conversation!  It was a hot evening so I ordered a Raspberry Mojito.  It was super refreshing! 

Mint is in season.  Make a Raspberry Mojito this weekend.  Cheers!

Raspberry Mojito

Handful fresh mint leaves
3 whole fresh raspberries
Juice of 1 lime
2 teaspoons sugar
1 1/2 ounces spiced rum
Splash club soda

In a highball glass, muddle the mint, raspberries, lime juice and sugar. Fill a cocktail shaker with ice; add the rum and shake for 15 seconds. Pour into the glass and top with the club soda.


{Event Showcase} Dine in the Vines 40th Birthday Party

Recently, my husband and I celebrated our 40th birthday ... twice.  Once with a few close friends, then with family.  Below are highlights from the first party hosted at Pearmund Cellars, an award-winning Northern Virginia winery, where we sampled outstanding wine and enjoyed a relaxing dinner. 

I had a custom crossword puzzle created (by LoveSmartDesign) for guests to complete when they arrived.  They were stumped by a few clues but for the most part, our friends know us well!

Then, we had a wine tasting!  My new favorite white wine is Petit Manseng but most of our guests preferred red wine choosing Cabernet Franc or Ameritage.

The Barrel Room is quite impressive and an ideal spot for dinner.   To enhance the existing table, white linens and gold Chivari chairs, I rented purple table runners and napkins from Select Event Rentals and further embellished with bud vases of purplish-pinkish blue hydrangeas (from my garden!) and made cork place cards.

The napkin fold is called "Bird of Paradise".  Its an easy napkin fold and looks really nice.

And finally, we ate!  The menu, prepared by Fusions Cuisine, included:

Passed Hors d'oeuvres
Compressed Watermelon and Seared Sea Scallops
Minted Melon Balls with Mint Julip Pipette
Fruit and Cheese Skewers

Dinner Buffet
Hardwood Grilled Chicken Quarters
Short Smoked Salmon
Quinoa Salad
Tri Color Rotini
Grilled Asparagus
Poached New Potatoes

Strawberry Shortcakes!

Last but not least, we enjoyed live music throughout the evening.  Damon Lomison, a regular performer at Pearmund Cellars, entertained us with his guitar, singing four decades of familiar rock tunes as well as the "Happy Birthday" song. 

Between the wine, food and David's music, we were pretty relaxed and definitely had a lot of fun!


{summer entertaining} 3 BBQ Food Safety Tips

The weather forecast for tomorrow - 4th of July - is Hot, Hot, Hot!  At least 95 degrees in the Nations Capital where I live.  Heat and humidity can wreak havoc on outdoor party plans.  Here are a few basic food safety tips for your BBQ:

Keep it Clean!  Start with clean hands, utensils/grill tools and platters.  Separate poultry and meat.  Use separate platters for raw and grilled food.  For more info, please visit the USDA 'Seasonal Food Safety' fact sheet.

Keep it Cold!  If you don't have the new insulated servers from Frontgate, it's easy to improvise!  Chill serving dishes before use and then, on the food buffet, nestle the dish on a platter or bowl of ice.  Replenish ice as needed.

Keep it Covered! with Covermates, stretch-to-fit plastic food covers.

Wishing you a n 'eventful' and safe 4th of July!