Tag Archives: entertaining

Josh & Caity’s Coed Bridal Shower

My stepmom, sister, and I recently threw my brother and his fiancée a coed bridal shower. We decided to do a fun backyard shin-dig to take advantage of the pool in the hot summer weather.

Unfortunately, mother nature decided to throw some serious thunderstorms our way 15 minutes before the shower started (and then a couple more times during the party), but we still managed to end up with good food, good company, and a good time!

We went with a red, white, and turquoise country theme and carried it throughout the entire event, from the blue mason jars to the gingham ribbon.

For favors, we baked s’mores brownies right into small jars and tied on a thank you tag, which was perfect considering it was National S’mores Day.

To make the favors, mix together melted butter and graham cracker crumbs; press the mixture into the bottom of each jar. Mix together a box of brownie mix and pour evenly into each jar. Bake for about 25-30 minutes, according to the oven temperature listed on the box of brownie mix. Top each brownie jar with 8-10 mini marshmallows and bake another 3-4 minutes or until the marshmallows are melted and slightly browned on the top. Allow to cool before topping each jar with a lid.

For the food, we made hamburger sliders and bratwurst with gourmet toppings that ranged from onions sautéed in red wine to peperoncini sauce. To go along with the main dish, we served a variety of different salads, including fruit salad, edamame orzo salad, and roasted corn and black bean salad. Because of the heat, we kept the salads on ice in a couple of galvanized tubs—not as cute, but we thought it was best to put food safety first!

To go along with the s’mores brownies, we did individual banana pudding cups for dessert. Unfortunately, I was apparently too busy eating mine to actually take a picture. I blame pregnancy—I cannot be held accountable when there’s sugar around!

Despite the rain, I think the shower turned out really nice, and my brother and his fiancée really appreciated all the effort that went into the party. The kids even made it into the pool for a bit between storms—all in all, a success!

Six Unique Holiday Hostess Gift Ideas

A hostess gift is a great way to thank someone for inviting you into their home. It doesn’t have to be big or crazy expensive; this is one of those times where it truly is the thought that counts. The traditional bottle of wine is never a bad idea (is wine really ever a bad idea?!), but these great hostess gifts will put you at the top of everyone’s guest list this holiday season!

1. Give the gift of a happier morning after! As the one time recipient of such a gift, I can tell you your host will thank you. This adorable basket from Everyday Occasions includes banana bread, coffee, and honey butter, but you could include any combination of your favorite breakfast treats.

Breakfast basket from Everyday Occasions

2. A rosemary tree is both festive and practical—it’s the gift that keeps on giving!

Rosemary Tree from Lowes, $12.98

3. This colorful salt crock will quickly become your host’s favorite kitchen accessory. Its design ensures that the salt stays accessible while cooking but protected from drips and splashes. Plus, it’s super cute!

Salt Crock from Le Creuset, $30

4. Infused with spices like Indian curry, Hungarian paprika, and ginger, these truffles are a uniquely decadent treat. You can also pick up a few of their delicious chocolate bars while you’re at it (the Dark Chocolate Bacon Bar is AMAZING!).

Exotic Truffle Collection from Vosges, $10.50

5. This painted spoon rest is so pretty, who wouldn’t want it sitting in their kitchen? It’s just so happy!

Amaryllis Spoon Rest from Anthropologie, $10

6. Grab some Weck jars and some rosemary sprigs, and you can make your own infused sea salt.

Rosemary Sea Salt from Martha Stewart


Kellan’s Dr. Seuss Birthday Party!

A Dr. Seuss theme is great for birthday parties and baby showers because it’s gender neutral, colorful, and provides tons of inspiration and creativity for food, drinks, and decor! Kellan celebrated his first birthday in true Seuss fashion, right down to his birthday outfit. All photos are courtesy of Kellan’s proud mama and party planner, Sarah.

The plates, napkins, hats, etc. were ordered from Birthday Express. . .

 . . .as was the personalized banner!

For snacks, Sarah got creative, making Cat Hats (strawberry and marshmallow skewers), Green Eggs and Ham, Seussville Sticks (besprinkled chocolate dipped pretzels), Yertle’s Turtle Shells (chocolate dipped Pringles), One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish (Goldfish crackers), and Horton’s Spirals. The water bottle labels were ordered from Etsy.

The birthday boy sported a Dr. Seuss onesie from Etsy shop Antsy Pants and enjoyed a Cat in the Hat smash cake made by mom.

Sarah used blue cotton candy atop her Thing 1 and Thing 2 cupcakes, and a friend made the adorable birthday cake.

Thanks so much, Sarah, for sharing Kellan’s adorable birthday party!

The Look for Less: White Ceramic Serveware

I recently went to brunch at a coworker’s house and took her a cute cream and sugar set I found at Target as a hostess gift. I realized later what a good deal I scored when I found a nearly identical set at Crate and Barrel for more. Fast forward a couple of weeks. . .I see a fabulous ceramic bread basket at Williams-Sonoma, and it hits me that there’s one just like it at Target—for $32 less! Call it copy cat, call it imitation, call it whatever you want, but Target’s new White Collection is giving some higher-end shops a run for their money. Here are a few of my favorite looks for less!


A Fishing-Themed Baby Shower!

This past weekend, my mother-in-law and I threw a baby shower for my sister- and brother-in-law, who are expecting their first baby, a little boy, in about two weeks. They are outdoorsy types, and my brother-in-law loves to go fishing, so we thought a fishing-themed baby shower would be really cute.

It was pretty easy to find decorations and such with fish, ducks, etc. The one part that was a little bit difficult was coming up with the invitations. Surprisingly, there aren’t very many fishing baby shower invites on the usual invitation web sites. I found an adorable one on A Breath of Fresh Erin, which was designed by Pink Door Design. My talented designer friend and coworker, Steph, offered to help me recreate the design for our shower, and I think it turned out really cute!

The blue “goldfish pond” was french onion dip with food coloring, and my mother-in-law found the blue punch recipe here. The cupcakes were chocolate and vanilla with crushed Oreo “dirt,” topped with chocolate and graham cracker goldfish cookies. In retrospect, I probably should have done blue frosting since fish normally don’t jump out of dirt, but at least they were delicious!

Finn’s Mickey-Themed First Birthday

My friend Shannon’s son just turned one, and she threw him a Mickey Mouse-themed party to make Walt Disney proud!

A friend of ours—Brooke Granger of Granger & Wit, a boutique firm that specializes in floral and event details—did an amazing job with the party details, including the invitations, banners, Mickey and Minnie party hats, “photo booth,” name tags, and signage. For the photo booth, Brooke created a fabric backdrop along with fun chalkboard signs that said “Hey Folks!” and “Future Mouseketeer” for the little ones to hold. With the party hats on, they were just too cute!

The cupcakes came from Klein’s ShopRite Supermarket in Bel Air, MD, and the cookies were made by our friend Desi (both turned out great!). Shannon had the party catered by Famous Dave’s, which was not only delicious but made the party prep a breeze. The vintage Mickey plates and bowls came from Target and were an absolute steal!

As Mickey would say, “Oh boy! What a party!”


How to Make a Pennant Garland

Personalized pennant garlands are popping up at stylish parties everywhere. They can serve as the perfect backdrop to your spread, decorate a mantle or pin on a clothesline for your outdoor fête. And the best part? They are super easy to make yourself! I recently made one for my daughter’s upcoming birthday party, and I am not the craftiest of people, so I can attest to how simple it really is.

What you’ll need:

Cardstock   (Check the scrapbooking area in your local craft store for fun prints, glitter finishes, textures, etc. You’ll need 1 12×12 square piece for every 2 pennants, as well as several sheets for the letter circles.)

Adhesive letters   (Also sold in the scrapbooking area at the craft store)

Satin Ribbon

3-Hole Punch

Glue Stick



1. Decide on your message and figure out how many letters you will need. Remember, you will use one 12×12 square piece of cardstock for 2 pennants/letters.

2. Using a ruler, trace two triangles on each sheet in opposite directions. The triangles should be 9.5 in x 9.5 in x 7.5 in each. Cut them out and set them aside.

3. To cut out the circles for the letters, you can use a circle template, a circle cutter (definitely the easiest option) or a can. You want each circle to be 4 inches in diameter. If you are using a can to trace your circles, a small Similac can is the perfect size, just for reference.

4. Once you have all of your triangles and circles cut out, glue each circle onto a triangle (the top of the triangle is the short side). Remove the adhesive backing on the letters you are using and stick each one in the center of a circle.

5. Using your 3-hole punch, put two holes at the top of each triangle- you will thread the ribbon through these holes.

6. Lay out all of your pennants in order (make sure to check your spelling!) and, starting on one end, thread the ribbon from the back of the pennant and across/through the other hole.  Leave a little bit of space in between each pennant and on either end for tying it up.