Chicks and Salsa Mexican Themed Girl’s Night In

*This post was sponsored by Chinet.  They sent me product and compensation to share a fun way to bring people together through entertaining.

Girl's Night OutWho doesn’t love a girl’s night, am I right?  It is the perfect time to reconnect with those gals that you can say anything to and laugh at everything with.  I’ve been dying to host a “Chicks and Salsa” party forever.  When I would visit my sister, who went away for college, we would go to this little bar that had a Chicks and Salsa night.  The name has stuck with me and I think it makes a perfect theme for a girl’s night in complete with Mexican inspired food and bright colors.

chair-placecards-with-chinet-cupsWhile it isn’t exactly a formal affair, I decided to hang place cards on the back of the chairs.  My dining room is so plain (except for the rug – but we STILL haven’t hung any artwork) I figured the extra color would help make it a little bit more festive.

Chinet-Ole-Cup-SignI made this quick little sign for the occasion to add more ambiance.  I love all the marquee signs with lights that you can DIY but am totally afraid of power tools.  So I decided to mimic the look with cups that I painted and a little hot glue.

pouring-ginger-beerAs you may remember I am in love with the Moscow Mule cocktail.  But while I was in Mexico I started dreaming of a Mexican Mule – which is the same drink just using Tequila instead of the Vodka.  I’ll share the recipe later in the week!  Any good girl’s night starts off with cocktails.

appetizer for girl's nightFor an appetizer, a trio of salsas will surely please your guests.  I have never met a chip or salsa that I didn’t like.

easy-centerpiece-of-aloe-vera-and-bougenvillaThe point of this post is to share that your entertaining doesn’t have to be crazy complicated to have a nice little party and a great time.  I wanted to add some color to the table but not spend a lot of money or time on the decorating.  I picked up two aloe vera plants from Trader Joe’s (you can never have enough aloe vera in my opinion so these will live on long past the party!) and added in some bougainnvillea that I got from my neighbor’s yard (I asked first!!!). [Read more...]

Light up your next event with DPS and The Event Company {Orange County Resources}

Allow me to introduce you to some awesome companies, DPS and The Event Company.  Owned by Anthony Dever, DPS provides sound, lighting and production services which means they help put together some amazing fashion shows, concerts, large corporate parties, and most recently handled the cooking demos with our Queen Bee, Martha Stewart, at several Macy’s locations.   They are local to Orange County but spread their amazingness to the surrounding counties as well.  Check out their blog to see some of the ridiculously cool things they’ve been up to recently.  A few months ago they moved their offices to a new location.  They decided to throw an open house for their clients, friends and family and I was lucky enough to attend with my husband.   
Sensing that their services would be perfect for the wedding and event industry, they rolled out The Event Company.  Providing lighting, cinematography and live music talent, they can totally take your private event to the next level.  Both companies work from their new offices in Irvine and the space is truly gorgeous!  Totally sleek and chic and just from walking in, you immediately want them to take over and produce your event (I mean, I don’t really have any events to produce but you know how my head works, I started trying to come up with things…)  They had this gorgeous purple and white dessert table set up in the front room by Cookielicious.  It was the perfect, delicious welcome. 
The party, coordinated in part by Callie of The Event Company, was mainly held in the warehouse space at the back of the offices so there was this industrial, chic feel to the party.  The decor was handled by Larissa of Inviting Occasions and was GORGEOUS!  This picture does not do it justice.  It was simple, elegant, totally cool with just a few florals.  Simply stunning. 
The food and bar were done by 24 Carrots Catering and I was blown away.  For a hearty appetizer/meal, they had a create your own slider bar.  There were bunches of toppings and at least 8 different sauces for you to choose from.  This would be a totally fun idea to recreate at home.  And for desserts they dazzled with some molecular gastronomy.  I’m a wanna be foodie and adore the Top Chef franchise but this was the first time getting to actually try some.  You all should have this at your next party!!!!!!  So fun!  For one dish, they did some sort of an inside out cheesecake pop.  Forgive my lack of knowledge on what was actually happening but here is my take.  They had some dough balls, dipped them in a cream cheesey/whipped creamy mixture then dipped it some super scientific solution (maybe just dry ice?  I’m not a scientist.  I just don’t know).  They came out all frozen and fun.  And were quite delicious as well.  But my absolute favorite was the Dragon’s Breathe Caramel Corn.  They dipped a ladle of caramel corn into a very mysterious foggy mixture and then served it in these adorable wood dishes (similar dishes can be found here).  Watch the video below of my husband eating it to see why they called it Dragon’s Breath Caramel Corn:

Not only was this super fun to eat, it tasted amazing.  I wanted to eat gallons and gallons of the stuff but was minorly self conscious of the smoke coming out of my face.  They also had a signature cocktail that was super yummy which tasted like and orange creamsicle.      
images are mine
I didn’t bring a legit camera to the event so these are the photos taken with my husband’s iphone.  I was absolutely mesmerized by this light ring hanging over the stage.  For real.  It was perfectly timed to the music and was like nothing I have ever seen.  In talking to other party goers I learned that the strings can actually be hung in a number of ways including straight down as a curtain which can then be programmed to display words!  Oh the possibilities!  DPS seems to be on the cutting edge of not only what is advanced, technologically speaking, but also what is crazy cool.  
Anthony had this insanely good recording artist play the party.  His name is Jasper Sawyer and I’m so grateful to have been introduced to his music.  Everyone on stage was so talented and it was a really great show!  
Check out this DJ booth created by DPS.  I wish there was video of it, the totally unique ways that it could be customized for an event are crazy.  From the colors, words, etc. it can totally sync up with the music and create a really cool vibe for your event.  And DJ Kevin Scott could be the best DJ ever.  He played a cool mix of music that appealed to everyone at the party.  That can be really hard to do when you’ve got the too cool for school, an older generation and those just looking to dance.  But he killed it!    
I love when good humans give birth to good humans.  We met Anthony’s parents at a birthday party for him a while back and they were awesome.  You can tell that Anthony gets his love of music from his mom who my husband and I bonded with over new wave music.  I adore his sister, Nicole (in the middle in blue) she is absolutely the life of every party.  And his wife Courtney (on the end) is such a sweetie (Oh and a talented interior designer.  I’m guessing she had a hand in the pretty new office.)  Anthony is the real deal.  He is so good at what he does, his happiness is infectious and he is a good person.  In talking to some clients at the party, they all echoed those sentiments and raved about working with both companies.  While some of their services might be too large for your next home party, keep them in mind for your company holiday parties and for the next time you need to throw a concert in your back yard. 
Check out the DPS blog for the cool things they have been a part of recently.
Check out The Event Company’s blog and lighting gallergy to see some of their wedding work.  
Social Media Details:
The Event Company {Facebook} {Twitter}
Sharon
All images are by Reza Allah-bakhski except the crappy ones noted as mine

A manly dessert table for Daniel Tosh!

So a few weeks ago I got a really fun opportunity to help decorate a manly dessert table.  Kristin, of Meringue Bake Shop, was contacted to do a dessert table for Daniel Tosh, as in Tosh.O, as in the funniest m effer on the planet who you feel bad about liking because he is so politically incorrect that you feel like just by liking him you could lose your job or have to go to confession.  She called me to brainstorm ideas and of course I had to worm my way in to actually doing the table.
Here is the adorable Kristin and her husband, Lyle, in the background.  Besides being awesome, she makes the most amazing desserts.  Lyle and Kristin are big fans of Daniel Tosh and I was super excited for her to get a chance to do a fun table for him.  The table was to be for the wrap party, as it was the last night of his nationwide tour.
Kristin pretty much let me go to town on this manly dessert table, although I always checked in with her to make sure that she approved of all the elements since her name was on the table.  We found that great striped fabric from IKEA and used a lot of wood, cement and natural elements for the decor.  Jenny of Hank and Hunt recreated the stripey pattern for us digitally so I could use it for tags, signs, etc.  Have I mentioned how rad she is?  How cool are those white porcelain succulents that Kristin found?!
MMMMMMmmmmmm.  Kristin’s salted caramel cupcakes and Push Cakes are one of my favorite flavors she makes.  Ridiculously tasty.
Macaroons…yum!  I was not a fan of chocolate covered marshmallows as a dessert table feature until I tasted these.  Whatever chocolate she used was exceptional and she coated that with graham cracker crumbs.  Yeah.  So good.  Let me take a moment to tell you about the mini pies.  These mini pies haunt me.  They are the best pies that I have ever had.  And I want them all the time.  For real.  They are made by hand and I wish that I could send these around the country so everyone can taste them.  Push Cakes are always a show stopper and I am sure they were very well received.  And although I have never met a crispy treat that I didn’t like, somehow Kristin manages to make them even better.  If you haven’t used Meringue Bake Shop for your party treats yet, you need to.  You will NOT be disappointed.
Thanks for letting me be a part of this super fun experience Kristin!  Even if we didn’t get to meet him.
Sharon
All photos mine

 

Neon and Neutral Party {So Glad You Were Born!}

Neon and neutral are the perfect colors for a party.  You may remember that I entered a contest a while back in an effort to win treats for a party I wanted to throw for my friend, Erika.  I didn’t win, but decided to throw the party anyway.  It can be really hard to figure out a theme for an adult birthday party.  So I went with a color theme instead.  I am beyond grateful that the amazingly talented Jackie Culmer, photographer extraordinaire, said she could come and take some pictures before the guests arrived.  If you haven’t checked out my post of one of Jackie’s parties from a few days ago, go see it now!
{See the original inspiration board for this party.}
Along with the color scheme, I decided to use the letter “E” all around to further personalize the event for the guest of honor.  I was able to make large letters for big visual impact while still being able to keep the costs down by purchasing small sheets of Styrofoam and conning one of my best party resources (my dad) in to cutting them out on his saw.  A few coats of spray paint were all they needed.  We also reused some plywood from a previous party to make some of the smaller ones.  And instead of calling it a birthday party, I decided to instead use “So Glad You Were Born,” which is directly inspired by Shanna Murray’s poster on Oh Happy Day.
These are my girls!!!  Love them.  We are very rarely in the same place altogether (Kayla, second from the right lives in Texas) so to have a photo with them was very special.  The birthday girl, Erika is on the end on the right and Taryn, right next to me (in my fave $10 H&M dress – I can’t quit you!), was ridiculously gracious in opening up her home for us to use.
This is my favorite party to date.  I know I say that about all of them but this one was ridiculously fun and personal.  I created little vignettes around the party space of all the things she loves or that remind us of her.  And they all had to fit the neon and neutral scheme because I am that OCD.  Erika is a woman of Christ so I decided to share that with a neon yellow cross (which would look kind of awesome hanging in a home I think).  She is also a lover of the 80′s so I created a custom “cootie” catcher in her honor.  Under the flaps were 80′s dances that she had to do when she landed on them.  We only pulled that out after all the guests were gone and it was just closest friends.  Although she would have done it with the party in full swing.  That is why we love Erika.  For other pops of color I used tall cylinder vases filled with neon pink ‘Easter Grass’ (I’m calling it that because I have no idea what that stuff is actually called…) and topped it with an air plant.  In other areas I put flowers in empty glass jars I had collected and spray painted on stripes in neon yellow and pink to jazz them up.
Erika loves office supplies and spreadsheets so what better way to show that than with spray painted calculators and erasers.
Yes, that is a neon pink fondue pot.  Thanks for asking.  And check out the bling on those skates!  I did NOT do that, btw.  All Erika!  She is full of child-like wonder and joy and so I asked her if I could borrow the skates.  I put them along side some bright yellow bubbles and we were all set.
It was literally one hundred bazillion degrees that day so we kept food crazy simple.  Pretzels and kettle corn were set out for a little snack and we had a company come and set up smoothies and funnel cakes.  I am not at liberty to say which company we used as they were quite awful and I don’t want to recommend them to anyone.  But I will say, they may have been a screaming deal, but you get what you pay for…
Anyone interested in a sugar cookie bake off?  Because Taryn has the best recipe.  And she will go to blows over it.
I wanted a way to share some photos and mementos from Erika’s life and needed a simple way to display them.  I found these two really large frames at a thrift store and used cording to wrap them.  Anyone else a Fanadu (meaning you have an irrational love for the disco movie Xanadu)?  No?  Just Erika, then?
I borrowed some photo albums and memory books from Erika a few weeks before the party.  I pulled out some of the best treasures I could find, including her DMV written test from when she was 15, report cards and school photos, scanned them and then using neon colored zip ties attached them to the cording.
We did two versions of a guest book for her.  The traditional writing of sentimental message on a card sort as well as a personalized plate.  You can find the enamel paint pens at your local craft store.  I had really wanted to do something like that since seeing Lauren’s tutorial.
I really love how these books turned out.  I spray painted them and created silly book titles that also represent the guest of honor.  And now I need to give a huge shout out to Ms. Jenny of Hank and Hunt.  She came up with the cool patterns in neon and a neutral that you saw around the party on pennant banners.  She created the banner that hung behind the pool that lead to the look of all the other signage at the party.  And to top that off, she created water bottle labels and cupcake flags.  Boom.  And guess what?!  She is going to share them with you!  Jenny is the best!!!
Huge thank you to Jackie Culmer for taking such amazing photos.  I can’t wait to work with her again!  Huge thank you to Kristin of Meringue Bake Shop for creating a really fun splatter paint cake (of which I promptly forgot in the fridge) and cupcakes.  My parties would not be complete without my father and his super talented skills.  Thanks, dad!  And of course thank you to Taryn for the use of her house and for helping me with some of the crafting.  Oh and to you, spray paint – you’re my heart.  What would I be without you?
Sharon
All photos by Jackie Culmer

Three Little Birds Adorable Bob Marley-themed 3rd Birthday Party by Jackie Culmer

Maybe it is because my family is infatuated with Rastamouse ever since we saw it on YouTube last week.  Maybe it was because I had a very brief phase where I wanted to dreadlocks, wore a lot of red, yellow and green and bought incense (from the swap meet) in high school.  Or maybe because it is just freaking awesome but I had to share the most adorable kid’s birthday party that I came across the other day.  Not only is Jackie Culmer a kick-ass photographer (I will be sharing the pics she shot at my neon and neutral bday party on Wednesday!) but she also rocks the house with her party design.  
This is absolute perfection for me.  The theme is totally original, casual and cool.  The graphic design is crisp and fresh.  
It is the perfect balance of kid and adult friendly and is styled without being fussy or too themey.
And what music inspired party would be complete without a cd favor?  I want one!!! 
Check out the rest of the party on Jackie’s blog, The Silver Spoon and Paper Plate.  And check out what she did last Halloween while you are there here, here and here.  
She knocked my socks off with the photos she took for my party a month ago, can’t wait to share!!! 
Sharon
all photos via Jackie Culmer