Spring Pinterest Party #SpringMakes

#springmakes Pinterest Party! You guys!  I’m hosting a Pinterest party tonight with some fab ladies.  You won’t want to miss it.  We are talking all things spring! There are a few prizes up for grabs and a whole heck of a lot of fun inspiration.  I’ve been addicted to Pinterest lately!  So come play with me!  6 – 7 pm Pacific Time!  Feel free to pin away!  Just make sure to use the #SpringMakes hashtag.  Read all the details over on Melissa Creates!  She also has links to all the co-hosts pages so you can check them out!  I hope to see you on Pinterest tonight!  Big ups to Melissa for putting this all together!  She’s the best.

 

Do It : Pinterest

Give each Pinterest board a good description using keywords

 

 

As bloggers there are always so many things that we want to do but we run out of time for.  I’ve been wanting to organize my Pinterest boards for SO long but it just seems like it is the last priority.  So once a month, I am going to build in time to do these kinds of things.  All along I’m pinning tutorials, etc. but never take the time to read them.  So today I am taking the day to work on Pinterest.

But wait!  Are you following me on Pinterest?

I had run across an article a while back that instructed to make sure that all of your boards have a good description with keywords.  I went through my boards and realized that most of them had no description.  WHAT?!  We spend a lot of time trying to drive traffic to our sites and it comes down to doing it smarter and more efficiently.  So today I will be double checking my descriptions.
Make sure you have the right category picked for each board on PinterestThe article also mentioned making sure the boards were categorized.  Uh, oops.  They were all over the place or just uncategorized.  Now I know when I’m creating a new board that these things need to happen right away.

Being a late adopter of Pinterest I feel like I have a lot of catching up to do.  Here are some of the articles I will reading today:

Important Pinterest tips you need to know as a blogger.

Secrets to rapid Pinterest growth by bloggers.

How to embed a Pinterest board on your blog.

10 ways to keep your Pinterest clean and organized.

How to organize your Pinterest boards.

5 ways to get more blog traffic from Pinterest.

You can find more great blog business articles right here.  Next month I’m going to look at starting a newsletter.

Please feel free to leave your Pinterest tips in the comments section or the link to a great article.  Oh! and your pinterest link so I can follow you!

 

 

How to Buy Last Minute Gifts for Your Wife or Girlfriend

how to buy last minute gifts for your wife or girlfriend.  Ladies - forward this to every man you know. Ladies.  We are just 2 days away from Valentine’s Day.  It’s crunch time for the men in your life.  Forward this to any man you know who could use some tips for shopping for their significant others.  And feel free to add your own tips in the comment section.  Let’s help husbands and boyfriends give better gifts!  (Really this post is just suggesting they put some thought and a little effort).

Hello, men

Valentine’s Day is in two days.  Do you know how you will celebrate it with your wife or girlfriend?  P.S. bookmark this site for future occasions (Do you even know when your anniversary is?  Her birthday?  The first time you held hands?  HOT TIP:  you will get even more brownie points for doing any one of these things for no reason at all.

First off, use your noodle.  You need to think for a moment about how your woman is.  Would she scoff at, what some might consider to be, smaller gifts, then this post is not for you.  Grab your wallet and head to your nearest luxury department store.  Buy a $400 pair of sunglasses, have them wrap them up for you and you are set.  But if your gal likes you to put a little bit of thought in to the gift, read on.

champagne and leopard is always a winning combo.  Add one little extra touch to make a so so gift, great.My husband and I decided early on in our marriage that the only real gifts that we would buy for each other, each year, would be birthday and Christmas.  We will potentially enjoy a nice meal out for our anniversary but we feel we have a lot of nice things already and don’t need any more stuff.  Depending on how your significant other is, choose one or more of these items to gift her.

If your gal likes to have a cocktail, grab a bottle of bubbly, something that most people do not splurge on or buy for themselves.  The Veuve is a nice, recognizable bottle and crowd (in this case, your lady friend) pleaser.  In my opinion, it is far better to purchase gifts that fit in to your price range than just trying to impress someone (who knows how much you really make).  So if you can’t swing the $40 bottle, look for the La Marca.  It is an Italian prosecco, $12-$14, and tastes delicious.  But how much effort does grabbing a bottle of alcohol really take?  Consider adding on an auxiliary gift.  The auxiliary gift can be inexpensive but should be something that either goes with the drink you are giving or be something that the gal would love.  These leopard print coasters actually came from the Dollar Tree.  Remove all packaging and tie up with string.  Simple.

Stance socks are super fun and a great quick gift idea for your lady friendSocks?!  You say.  Yes, socks.  Browse the internet for a humorous saying to go on the gift tag or use the old stand by, “cold feet, warm heart” or say something about snuggling.  While socks are a practical item, there are some really fun, design forward pairs out there.  You can’t go wrong with Stance socks.  You can find these at most of your local skate or surf shops including the larger chains like Zumiez.  Look for pairs that remind you of her.  Pick a flower from the garden to give along with one -3 pairs of socks and get ready for a hug.

jazz up store bought flowers for your sweetieStore bought flowers are totally ok.  This particular bouquet came from Wal-Mart.  But she doesn’t have to know that.  Most women like their men to put in a little bit of effort to make them feel special.  This was seriously the tiniest bit of effort.  First, remove the store-bought wrapping.  Then cut part of  a paper grocery sack, wrap it around the stem and wind some pink nylon string (found at both Home Depot and Lowe’s) around it.  How easy is that?

fill her favorite candy in a cute box.  Show a little tiny bit of effort.Does your gal have a sweet tooth?  Chances are you know a few of her favorite candies.  This box was from the Target dollar bin. All you have to do is repackage things to make them look like you spent time on it, even if you really didn’t.  She likes something salty instead?  Take a moment to look around for a larger divided container (perhaps in the home decor or kitchen areas – even a divided dish would work) and fill with savory snacks.  Add a note that says something about her being sweet and you are totally getting lucky tonight.

A gal loves a pedicure, so give her some cash and send her to pamper herselfThis one is especially great for women with children.  Sometimes the best gift for a mom is getting some time by herself.  It might seem tacky to just hand her some cash but hear me out.  Most women love to get pedicures.  And there are little nail places all around town.  Chances are, she has a favorite.  She may have even mentioned it to you before.  But wait, was it Lucky Nail, Nail Lucky, Happy Nails…the chances of you getting that one wrong are high.  Tell her that you know how much she does for the family and that you want her to go pamper herself.  The fact that you be taking care of the kids and planned this out will show her that you care and she will be beyond excited.  And she will have the choice of where to go.  Nail places are not created equal.  Are you seeing some gifts or combos of gifts that might work for the lady in your life?

Have your significant other set up a 'wishlist' on pinterest for easy gift buyingThis last suggestion is not something for last-minute purchases but will surely help you on your gift giving journey.  Suggest that your gal pal make a “wish list” board on her pinterest.  You can look at this like a personal gift registry.  You can ask her to begin pinning things that she would like to get as gifts from you or even others.  Then whenever you need to, you can check out her list and potentially buy them straight from the link.  What is also cool about this is that it still leaves a little bit of the surprise factor for her when opening gifts.  Do you see that, up there?  I have 40 things on my wish list so I would never be able to guess what things I might get.  I’m sure she will happily show you how to navigate to that board (but you really should bookmark it or save it as your home page).

I hope this has helped you learn how to give gifts to your significant other.  All we really want is a little thought and effort to know that you care.

*Ladies, feel free to leave other suggestions in the comments section!

 

Let’s Celebrate! Birthday Dessert and Cocktail Ideas

All the MarthaCelebrations at JC Penney products featured in this post were provided by the Editors at Martha Stewart Living, a team that loves a good party and deeply admires the bloggers who throw them.

Adult Birthday Party using the new Martha Celebrations line #neon #silver #LetsCelebrate

HBD.  It is a much cooler way to say Happy Birthday, don’t you think?

With two little boys, I get to throw several fun kid parties a year.  But there is way less opportunity to throw a killer adult birthday.  I designed this fun dessert and cocktail party with several of my friend’s in mind.  But why would you need to throw a party, you ask?

martha celebrations avilable at jc penneyOne day an email arrived to my inbox and I thought I had died and gone to heaven.  The editors of Martha Stewart Living had put together a fun opportunity and they wanted me to be a part of it.  Wait, what?!  Me! And it gets better!  Each blogger they chose would receive a box of some MarthaCelebrations goodies, you know, the new line of party products at JC Penney to design a party with.  This is totally right up my alley.  I said yes (duh) and then waited rather impatiently for the box to arrive to see what I would get to work with!  I was SUPER excited when my box showed up.  It was full of silver and white party supply items in a wood grain and star pattern.  There was a bit of sparkle, it was a bit cool and I knew I could put my spin on it.

gin and tonic bar for adult birthday partyI focused the party decor on the dessert table and cocktail “cart” area and cleared out the rest of my dining room to create an open dance floor area.

Happy Birthday Sign with plastic tablecloth ruffle garlandI have been wanting to do an HBD party for some time so this was the perfect opportunity.  In this age of hashtags and text language, it just seemed right.  Since I can’t quit neon, I knew that neon orange had to be a part of the design.  And an old tapestry (not quite vintage, thank you very much) from my high school days inspired the use of the batik fabric. (Using fabric can be tough but I found this great product at the craft store called Phoomph, that helps to keep it stiff and able to better hold shapes.)  I also knew that I wanted to use my plastic table-cloth ruffles (and some fringed ones too) to add texture to the walls.  I think they added a subtle, feminine touch.  I wanted the sweets to be spiced without being spicy so I kept a loose international influence throughout with hints of cardamom and nutmeg as well as citrus and nuts.

cardboard cupcake stand from Martha CelebrationsOne of my favorite products is this cardboard cupcake stand.  The tiers are actually reversible so you can choose which pattern you want showing!  What a cool idea.  I used a neon orange paint pen to edge the stand for a fun pop of color.  And as I was going through the box I was thrilled to see the pricing on each item.  The cupcake stand is only $12!  Totally affordable.  I wanted to keep the party focused on sweets (have you heard about my sweet tooth???) so I filled the stand with delicious vanilla cupcakes by Meringue Bake Shop and pistachio rose popcorn balls that I made, wrapped in the silver wood grain cupcake wrappers from part of a MarthaCelebrations kit.

custom invite from Carta SocietyTo get the party started right, I asked my friends at Carta Society to create a custom invitation for me using the printable invitation/menu card set.  I love how they were able to capture the fun yet classy feeling I was going for and incorporate the patterned fabric.

faux bois paper napkins by Martha CelebrationsThe prints that are available for all the paper products (not just the set I got) in the MarthaCelebrations line are the best I have ever seen.  I don’t know why it has taken so long to get good prints on disposable products but I am so happy it has finally happened.  I think they really elevate the look of a casual get together.  I added in some of my Philippe Starck designed plastic cutlery with my favorite disposable heart fork/knife/scoops.

silver paper chandelier detailMy dining room has very high ceilings and are not conducive to hanging chandeliersKristin suggested I hang it on the wall somehow which led me to what I think is very dream catcher-esque wall hanging.  I added a small macrame touch to the center, which like neon, I can’t stop.  I really like to knot things.  Is there a 12 step program for those things?  Can someone please stage a friendtervention?

silver favor boxes by martha celebrationsThese gray favor boxes were super easy to put together and the perfect thing for the spiced donut truffles Kristin, of Meringue Bake Shop, created.  I added a little bit of sparkle with this amazing silver ribbon.

silver wrapped chocolate hearts from Martha celebrationsSince Martha knows how OCD we party ladies can be about our matching colors, she even has color coordinated candies available to go along with her collections, like these silver wrapped chocolate hearts.  She thought of everything.  Duh.  She’s Martha.

succulent favors with faux bois wrapsI added a touch more silver to the wall decor with the silver metallic circle dot garland.  The hint of orange mixed in with the white tablecloth ruffles was flagging tape I found at Home Depot.  The flowers were a simple way to add more color to the table and I added a second “favor” item in the potted succulents.  I wrapped the pots in the wood grain cupcake sleeves.

spiced bundt cake for dessert and cocktail partyI fell in love with the sparkly, spiky, silver gift toppers and knew it was the perfect thing to add to my spiced bundt cake.

candied kumquat panna cotta by Meringue Bake shopI felt like we needed a custardy type item to round out all the baked goods so Kristin suggested a panna cotta.  I candied some kumquats to add to the top and they were the perfect addition to the table.  The vanilla bean panna cotta she created was velvety with a touch of sweetness and paired perfectly with the tart but sweet citrus.  AMAZING.  I wish you all could have tasted them!

silver neon orange and blue batik adult cocktail partyI really love how the table came together.  I love the color combo and felt like I was able to personalize the MarthaCelebrations items to fit my style.

bar for adult birthday partyFor the other focal point of the party, I created a Gin and Tonic bar and provided fresh fruit to muddle and custom syrups to try out.

macrame bar recipes and plastic tablecloth ruffles and fringeI tied in the decor to the main party table by once again using the plastic tablecloth ruffles and silver garland.  I used some leftover invitation/menu cards to print out the specialty gin and tonic recipes and used macrame knots to create a way to display them on the wall.

gin and tonic bar for cocktail partyI used the tags that came with the favor boxes to make labels for the bar syrups.  I love using fresh herbs and produce in a bar set up.  Not only does it bring the fresh flavor but is another way to add vibrant color.

grey and white star cocktail napkins from Martha CelebrationsThe star patterned cocktail napkins paired really well with the glass and silver elements on the bar table.

silver cocktail picks for gin and tonic barI used the silver picks from the cupcake kit for the cocktail garnish which I made using flavors from the specialty recipes I printed.

blackberry and meyer lemon gin and tonicThe gin and tonic recipes were: the perfect gin and tonic, sweet cherry lime gin and tonic, blackberry meyer lemon gin and tonic, strawberry basil gin and tonic and elderflower gin and tonic.  Delicious!!!!!

martha celebration gift bag and wrapping paperNot only does MarthaCelebrations do party decor but they also do gift bags and wrap.  It is hard to tell from this shot but the white paper is embossed and absolutely stunning!

I am beyond thrilled that the Martha Stewart Living editors asked me to be part of this fun project!

And you have a chance to win your very own MarthaCelebrations party-in-a-box!!  From now (June 7th) until June 14th, just head to the #LetsCelebrate Pin Party Board and repin your favorite party images.  Use the hashtag #LetsCelebrate on each pin to be entered to win.  The blogger with the most repins will win a feature on MarthaStewart.com!!! and win a JC Penney gift card.  So for the love of Pete, repin my party! :)  I’ll be your best friend.

Huge thank you to Dez and Tam for the GORGEOUS photos (and syrup label lettering).  Thank you times one million to Kristin of Meringue Bake Shop for providing beautiful and delicious treats.  And special thanks to Carta Society for working with me on the invitation.  I could not have done it with out you guys!

I can’t wait to check out all the other parties!

St. Patrick’s Day Picnic and Crafts with Solo Products

green solo cup st. patrick's day hatsSolo sent me some products and asked me to make some crafts with them for St. Patrick’s Day.  I know these cup hats have been done before but how cute are they!  I kept this first one really simple.  At first, I had wanted to fringe the felt on the bottom but loved how they look like little top hats.  And kids love them.  Just look how excited my son is to wear it for a photo.

Leprechaun hat with Solo CupAll you need is a cup, a little felt, some string or ribbon and a little hot glue.  My glue gun had its way with my thumb during the making of this craft.  I took some ibuprofen and I’m doing ok now.  Use hot glue at your own risk!

st. patrick's day hat with gold flowerI made a little girl’s version too.  Because girl’s stuff is so cute.

Little Girl's St. Patrick's Day HatAnd then I asked one of my favorite neighbors to wear it for me.  She was WAY happier to help me with a photo than my son.  And I didn’t even have to bribe her.  How refreshing.

picnic for St. Patricks DayI am going to be leaving to go out of town on a mother/daughter trip early on St. Patrick’s Day, but if I was staying home, my family would totally be having a fun picnic at the park.  It would include a scavenger hunt for treasure and other fun activities as well as yummy food.  Or maybe we would just do a big charcuterie spread with meats and cheeses.  I didn’t have a bunch of cheese on hand for the photo so I substituted the “cheese” banner.  I created a Pinterest board for my St. Patrick’s Day picnic, check it out.

plastic plates for teenage mutant ninja turtle craftAnd while I was messing around with the Solo products, I realized that I could make a homemade Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle costume for my son.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle Play OutfitIt is totally going to fall apart by the end of the day (the straps are made from flagging tape.  Ribbon would hold up way better) but that will save me from having to store it…

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle Outfit out of platesI also think this method would be cool for making super hero chest shields.  Doesn’t he look so tough?  He was much happier to wear this for pictures.

What are your big plans for St. Patrick’s Day?

*Disclosure:  Solo sent me product to use for crafting.