{party trends} Popcorn and Pretzels ... for a Winning Super Bowl Party!

Planning your Super Bowl menu?  Add flavored popcorn and soft pretzels - one of the food trends predicted by Andrew Freemen & Co.

Need some inspiration?  My family is going to a Super Bowl party and I'm thinking about taking one of these snacks to share:

Bacon and Cashew Caramel Popcorn
My husband loves anything with bacon, and the combination of sweet and savory flavors is sure to be a hit with friends, too.
Time Saving Tip: use microwave popcorn
{Recipe and photo from here}

Soft Pretzels with Queso Poblano Sauce and Mustard Sauce
I have a weakness for soft pretzels ... dripping with butter or dipped in cheese!
Time Saving Tip: buy frozen pretzels at the grocery store
{Recipe and photo from here}

More inspiration?  Gourmet popcorn bars are popular at employee meetings and celebrations, mitzvahs and especially, wedding receptions.

So, what do you think of the popcorn and pretzel trend?  Thumbs up or down?


Valentine's Day Party Ideas

Valentine's Day is about two weeks away.  Are you ready?  Me neither but I've been doing a lot of research this week and discovered some great ideas like ...

Love Rocks - and so does this invitation!

Chic paper roses to adorn the table. 
Almost as pretty as the real deal for fraction of the cost and it has a longer shelf life.  Love that!

You've Got Mail ... mailboxes on silver candlesticks! Pretty posh decor for a Love Letter Exchange.

Cute Cookie Centerpiece!  I'm borrowing this idea for my own party.

Remember this sweet dessert?  It makes me smile everytime ...

Stella & Dot necklace?  No, it's homemade with GUMBALLS!  Sweet!
iPhone Valentine's Day card!

More party inspiration?  Take a look at last year's Love Bug Bash!

Let me know which Valentine's Day idea inspires you!


{party trend} Box Food Buffet & Clip Art Decor

It pays to follow people on Twitter.  This week, I learned that yesterday's Martha Stewart Show would feature Winter Weddings ... thanks to Ritzybee who was in the audience and tweeted the good news!

So I watched the weddings segment and was inspired by two ideas (possible trends) that could easily be used for other parties and celebrations.

The first inspiring idea is the buffet "box" catering arrangement, which was designed to mimic a farmer's market; photo below.  Fitting for a wedding at Martha's Bedford farm, yes?  This presentation would look just as lovely at a shower, housewarming party or birthday celebration.  Is it just me or does this concept inpsire you to want to eat healthy, colorful foods (and grow some potted herbs)?

The second inspiring idea surprised me - decorating with clip art!  In a graphic design class I started last week, I learned clip art was dead, "no one uses clip art anymore" to be exact ... unless you're David Stark, an uber-talented event planner.  He showed how to incorporate classic clip art {read: vintage, which is another party trend I'll explore next week} into table and food decor.  Look at the tall black and white floral amongst fresh flowers and fruit.  Done right, it looks gorgeous - plus it's an inexpensive option that can be created well in advance.  Genius! 

So, who ... or what inspires you?  Martha Stewart was asked this question on Wednesday's show by a Dreamers in Doers conference attendee.  Her response was that she never takes the same street twice, that inspiration is all around us.  I agree!


I *HEART* Twinkies!

This dessert makes me smile!!  Hope it makes you smile, too!
Thanks to Maddycakes Muse for originally sharing this recipe - and brightening my day!


3 Tbsp seedless red raspberry jam
1 cup fresh raspberries
2 Twinkies snack cakes


1. Stir jam and 1 Tbsp water in a bowl until smooth. Add raspberries; toss gently to coat.

2. Cut Twinkies in half diagonally, starting about 1 in. down from top left to 1 in. from bottom of opposite side. For each heart, put 2 halves together on 1 serving plate. Spoon raspberry mixture over and around hearts. Garnish with mint, if desired.


Not Your Mother's Placemats

Tired with the look of your dinner table? Instead of buying new linens and china, refresh your look with new placemats ... like one of these options below.  From casual to formal and kid-friendly to colorful, these are not your mother's placemats!

Caspari Crepe Placemats and Coasters in a variety of colors!

Chalkboard Placemats

Place Setting Paper Placemat

*my 'posh' pick* Publique Living PopMat Placemats
Chair with birdcage shown above but thre are many other spectacular designs available - cake, balloons, safari, crib, scooter and hearts to name a few!


Party for a Couple of Love Birds!

Need a little inspiration for planning an engagement party ... or perhaps a couple's bridal shower, rehearsal dinner, anniversary or Valentine's Day party? 

Then, read this month's issue of party possibilities, published by posh parties, LLC!

It features a Party for a Couple of Love Birds
... and includes ideas for an invitation, decor, food and drinks, as well as a free printable Party Planner (below) to make planning easier.  Enjoy!

Click here for larger image and to download this Party Planner.


Winter Party Appetizers

The best part of getting a pedicure?  Catching up on my reading!

I spotted these mouthwatering 'winter party appetizers' in this month's Better Homes & Gardens magazine.  This is just a sample; there are over 30 suggestions for Movie Night, Awards, Super Bowl and Sledding parties.  Winter never looked so good ...

What appetizer will you make?  What's the occasion?


{in season} Snow Ice Cream

I promise this is my last snow post this year!  I was going through my 2010 family photos and came across this fun photo of my girls playing in the snow last February during Snowpocalypse (almost 30" of snow fell across the DC metro region).

Weather forecasters are calling for snow this weekend.  If we get more than a dusting, I promised my girls that we would make snow ice cream.  Here's the recipe from Paula Deen in case you want to try.

Snow Ice Cream

8 cups snow, or shaved ice
1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Place snow or shaved ice into a large bowl. Pour condensed milk over and add vanilla. Mix to combine. Serve immediately in bowls.

Need more snow inspiration?  Check out this beautiful wedding in Washington, DC during last year's Snowpocalypse!


More Snow Fun

A few days in to the New Year and I'm still having Snow Much Fun!  If you are, too, then you'll love this post.  It's all about snowmen - DIY cute ones to eat or to decorate; perfect for an upcoming winter party!  Enjoy!

Chocolate Snowman Bowls.  Cute?  I thought so too!  You could fill with chocolate milk or better, chocolate pudding and top with the marshmallows.  Photo from Kate Petronis.  Tutorial at onecharmingparty.com.

Snowman milk.  Yes, please.  I'll have some milk!  Photo from Better Homes & Garden.

Yarn Pom Snow People.  Too sweet!!  Photo and tutorial available from Hostess with the Mostess.

Quilled Snowflake.  Gorgeous!  Looks just as beautiful hanging from the ceiling, too.  Photo and tutorial from The TomKat Studio.

Glass Snowman ... made from two round fish bowls!  I know what you are thinking.  I wish I had thought of it, too!  Photo and tutorial from Celebrations at Home.

How about you?  Do you have a favorite snowman idea?  Please share it!  It's snow much fun!


Snow Much Fun ... on New Year's Eve!

Happy New Year!  I hope everyone enjoyed the winter holidays, perhaps with a party or two!

My family celebrated the New Year with family.  We do this every year; it's tradition.  My girls love the extra play time with their cousins and the adults enjoy curb-side Outback Steakhouse - yum!  It's a lot of fun ... and again, tradition!

This year was our turn to host.  I used the opportunity to play - to experiment with ideas and materials and above all, just have fun.  Below is the result of my fun - a playful and inexpensive New Year's Eve party for children.  Take a look!  It may inspire some "snow fun" of your own this winter.  And at the end of the post, I'd like your opinion ... is faux snow is a good choice for a table covering?

Snow Much Fun tablescape

I covered the table with a blanket of snow ($1.79 at Joanns) and created a white winter wonderland scene accented with sparkly pink, purple and blue jewel tones.

[The irony of this themed tablescape is that it was 50 degrees outside - who knew it would be so warm on New Year's Eve?!]

Snow Much Fun centerpiece

The centerpiece was a snowman with snowballs flanked by trees.  I made the snowman out of 3 styrofoam balls and decorated him with Christmas garland ($1 at Target), plastic buttons and a tiny party hat.

The snow balls were made of stacked styrofoam balls and embellished with paper numbers.

Snow Much Fun place setting

Paper plates and clear cups filled with a white napkin, cutlery and noisemakers.

Snow Much Fun accessories

Photos {L-R} - homemade banner hung between the trees (which didn't work as well as I hoped); glitter hats and tiaras; trees made of styrofoam cones embellished with strands of garland ($2.50 at Michaels) and topped with a wooden dowel wrapped in purple ribbon (to hang the banner); snowballs; light-up plastic glasses; hanging foil snowflakes ($.50 - $1.25 from Target), ornaments and snowflakes (from my Christmas collection); and finally, festive cupcakes.

Snow Much Fun activities

The kids colored snowmen and penguin masks; made lots of noise with glitter clappers, blowouts and kazoos; and made Snow Wishes in lieu of resolutions - like 'I wish that it would snow 8 times this winter' or 'I wish to build 69-20 snowmen' (a quote from my 4yo who only knows how to count to 7 =)

From my family to yours ... I wish you snow much fun in the New Year!

What do you think? Faux snow or no?

My 4yo told me (unsolicited) that the snow table was the prettiest party she has ever seen, and that made my heart sing, but looking at the glass table after clean up, I rather like it without snow - perhaps just a runner made from Paper Source white glitter wrapping paper.  What do you think?  Please leave a comment!