Paint it Black : Press Play and Party

summer night party inspired by The Rolling Stones 'Paint it Black'I’m SO ready for summer!!  I mean, we really didn’t have a winter this year but still.  Don’t long, warm days sound fantastic?  There is something about a warm, sunny day that makes me immediately turn on classic rock.  I think I grew up in the wrong time period.    Gah, the music and fashion?!  LOVE!  So as I was sitting on the computer the other day, as close to a window as I could without actually being outside so I could still see the computer screen, The Rolling Stones ‘Paint it Black’ came on.  Boom.  Such a good song (is that a sitar?  One of my kids is probably going to have to learn how to play that).  A little dark maybe but perfect for outdoor entertaining at dusk.  All you need is a rustic wood table, some great vintage glassware, simple flowers and candles and pretty girls in hippie clothes.  I think my summer entertaining is going to be all about ease and going with the flow.  No stress.  Last minute invites to keep myself from over thinking everything.  Maybe trying out new cocktails or recipes but not getting worked up if they don’t work out.  Anyone think I can pull that off?  Maybe with a lot of rose…

Gorg lowball glass  .  pretty white flowers  .  rustic wood table  .  candles and flowers  .  girl in the desert

Stay Wild Mini Party at Alt Summit

My team for our urban jungle themed mini party at #altsummitI was super lucky to get to decorate one of the mini parties at Alt Summit this year!  And I had a fabulous team of ladies to work with.  I always love to collaborate with Lauren but was super excited to get to create something fun with Jenny and Alexandra as well.  Aside from the fun (and immense stress) of planning the party, I am so grateful for the quality time that I got to spend with this rad group of ladies.  Jenny and I have been online pals for ever but getting to hang out with her (and room with her for the second year in a row) was so much fun.  And while I met Alexandra last year, I truly loved getting to know her better during party set up.

cool concrete centerpieces and custom calligraphy panels at our min party at #altsummitWe couldn’t have pulled off this party without the help of Holly of Paisley Petal Events.  She is a local SLC gal who I had met at a blogger event years ago.  She was more than willing to help us in any way we needed.  We shipped tons of stuff to her house including the neon sign (that got damaged in shipping and needed to be fixed – she handled all of that like a pro!).  She also made the concrete block table centerpieces for us.  There is no way we could have shipped those without it costing a million dollars.  She also came by to drop it all off to us at the hotel and then spent ALL day Friday with us setting up.  She even recruited Toni to help us out on Friday too.  I can’t thank her enough for her generosity.  She’s amazing!  See that rad lettered banner?  That is all Lauren’s handwriting.  My favorite printer, Direct Edge Media, printed a few of those out for us and they turned out SO amazing don’t you think?

diamond honeycomb with moss on chain link fence from stay wild mini party #altsummitGiven that our theme was urban jungle, we wanted to take it a little bit to the streets.  Make it a little gritty.  We HAD to have chain link fence.  And I blew my own mind when I added the moss to the honeycomb diamonds.  You may remember from my list of goals for the year that I mentioned that when I am around other creative ladies I sometimes get really self-conscious and implode.  I get paralyzed and can’t make decisions.  This totally happened here.  I was able to shake it off a little bit after the moss.  I loved how it looked and felt like it was a small victory for myself.

Stay Wild - custom suckers and prints for our party guestsWe were super lucky to have a few amazing vendors on our side who were beyond generous with their product and time.  See my full post on Lollipics here - but how freaking cool are those suckers?!  And the mini Stay Wild art prints feature more of Lauren’s handwriting and were very popular.  These were printed by Stationery HQ.  Email Chris Hernandez if you want to know more about having your own prints done! (chernandez@printhq.com).

Custom neon sign by Endevour Neon for our #AltSummit partyOh yeah.  And we had this custom neon sign made.  The coolest ever.  I’ve always loved neon signs and after seeing how easy it was to order something custom, I am certain I will have one in my house some day.  And when you check out all the other amazing work by Endeavour Neon you will want one too!  Their customer service was BEYOND!  We held a contest during our party and the very lucky Allison ended up with it.  I’d like her to know that if she needs me to take care of it while she’s whenever she vacations, I would be happy to.  And if you want to order one for yourself, just email Andrew at endeavourneonsigns@gmail.com.

Top your own cheesecake bar at our urban jungle mini party #altsummitI wish we could take credit for this fun cheesecake bar idea but it was decided on by the Alt team.  The mini cheesecakes were just several bites in size and there were a ton of toppings to choose from including a salted caramel sauce.  AMAZING!  I love interactive food displays and the fact that this was dessert related made it even better!  None of my photos really show the amazing hand made paper garland that Jenny made by hand.  There is a very small section attached to the cheesecake bar sign.  Isn’t it the coolest?!  I don’t know how she managed to get it all done.  It was magnificent.  It went across one whole wall in the room!

DIY animal keychains at our urban jungle mini party #altsummitWe also provided an easy craft for the party guests to do.  Since we were the “wild” room, we knew that mini animals were a must.  I didn’t end up with one of these keychains and I’m pretty bummed out about it.

Alexandra Hedin and me at our mini party #altsumitSo yesterday I mentioned a lot of other gals that I adored.  But today I need to pay a little attention to Alexandra.  She’s amazing.  Not only is she one of the most enjoyable people that I have ever met, she is smart and witty and ambitious.  She’s always put together but ain’t afraid to get down and dirty.  I love her sense of humor and am lucky to know her.  SO glad that we did this party together.

Lauren and I enjoy our wine, this party was no exception.If you look past our heads, you can see more of Lauren’s amazing calligraphy skills.  We had these prints printed by Direct Edge Media also and then just popped them in gold frames to hang at the party.  If you don’t follow Lauren you simply must.  She’s got the most amazing styling talent I have ever seen.  You know those people who’s instagrams you just don’t believe because they are too perfect?  She is not that person.  She has a natural talent for surrounding herself with beauty and finds it in the little things.  I am lucky to have found her online.  She has become a trusted friend and I wish her all the success she can dream of.  She’s going places you guys.

Alexandra Hedin and Jenny Batt at our mini party #altsummitWe did a lot of laughing before, during and after the party.  How darling is Jenny?! (on the right).  Jenny works harder than anyone I know.  She is ridiculously creative and business savvy at the same time.  I look to her for advice all the time and trust her immensely.  She creates content that makes the entire internet community gasp with awe.  She is the nicest person, funny and crazy supportive.  This is just a nutshell.  I could go on about Jenny for days.  In a nutshell she is “crazy awesome” (I’m pretty sure Jenny coined that phrase).

My urban jungle mini party decorating team at #altsummitThis party was an amazing opportunity to create a fun atmosphere for Alt goers.  It was a lot of work but a great exercise in collaboration from afar (2 of us in SoCal, 2 in Seattle and the party was in SLC).  I couldn’t have asked for a better team and hope we all get the chance to play together in the future.  I’m sure that I can get the band back together for the right price. ;)

Casual Holiday Brunch with #Freixenet

The holidays are a magical time of year. There are tons of opportunities to host your friends and family and create special moments together. But by New Year’s Day we are all pretty tapped out in the energy department. A casual brunch is all you need for starting off the new year on the right foot.

Bubbles are a must at brunch. Not only do they pair really well with most breakfast foods, but a glass of sparkling wine generally makes any occasion feel a bit more special. Freixenet (pronounced Fresh-eh-net) is a great option for your brunch beverage needs. Not only is it easy to find (available in most grocery stores including Trader Joe’s), but has a great price point, although they don’t sacrifice the quality just to be more cost effective. Total win for us.

The Cordon Negro is crisp and clean with notes of citrus and a hint of ginger (yes please). Not to mention the black bottle is totally chic and dare I say a bit sexy…It is a versatile Cava (Spanish sparkling wine) and goes really well with foods with spice like a flavorful breakfast sausage or charcuterie tray. And for the first time in 20 years, Freixenet has launched a new variety, the Cordon Negro Brut Sweet Cuvee (notes of peach and tropical flavors). This blend is a bit sweeter making it the perfect morning wine. Yes, I said that. This goes perfectly with something like a raspberry Danish (my fave brunch treat that happens to be store bought, can’t be any easier) or to sip on its own. Don’t get me wrong, it is still quite dry and not overly sweet. You will never find me drinking a sweet wine.

Being that it is brunch, make sure to still offer the traditional morning beverages like tea and coffee. And if the morning is chilly think of offering an optional “hot toddy” like the hot whiskey and honey that is my husband’s family’s tradition. While you are aiming to keep it easy, you still want to make sure that your guests needs are met (within reason).

No need to go crazy on the decorations. Simply use what you have to set a pretty table. Use sparkly leftovers from your festive New Year’s Eve celebrating to give the table some drama. I added a string of crystal shaped lights to the table to make it look like it was glowing. Lights are a fun way to decorate and I wish that people used them more throughout the year instead of just at holiday time. Using leftover wrapping paper creates the world’s easiest table runner and if you can’t leave well enough alone (that is my personal motto) add some coordinating fabric to give the table more texture. And of course fresh flowers never hurt.

Since New Year’s Day is a lazy day for us where we lounge in pajamas and just relax after late night festivities, the food must be kept simple. Quick, pre-made bacon quiche bites are perfect and are delicious when paired with the Cordon Negro Brut. Set out the food, a self-serve drink station and your work is done. Have you heard of using marmalades in your cocktails? Kind of the perfect accompaniment for brunch, am I right?

Freixenet has a really fun promotion happening right now. They’ve been touring the country in a pair of MINI Coopers. With stops at retailers and restaurants, they’ve been sharing samples of the sparkling wines and playing games for a chance to win a 2 year lease on a brand new MINI Cooper! You can play too. Look for “hidden bubbles” with reward codes throughout their site, Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest pages, as well as at the tour stops. Once you find the bubble, visit www.findthebubbles.com to enter the codes. Good luck!

Who says the holidays are the only time for bubbles? Make it your resolution to sparkle 365 days of the year with Freixenet cavas. Our sparkling wines come in a variety of different styles to suit any moment or mood. Cordon Negro Brut, our classic Black Bottle Bubbly, is great as an aperitif before a night out on the town or at home with takeout pizza. Our brand new Cordon Negro Sweet Cuvee is the perfect match for brunch favorites like pancakes and eggs benedict. Visit FreixenetUSA.com for more information about where to buy Freixenet sparkling wines and learn how you could win a 2-year lease on a new 2013 MINI Cooper.

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Freixenet. The opinions and text are all mine.

Chic Cookie Exchange Party Inspiration

cookie exchange party for girls nightI haven’t been to a cookie exchange party in a really long time.  I think they are such a nice way to hang out with some girl friends, get to try out some new recipes AND have cookies to share with your family after the party.  I’ve only hosted one cookie exchange before.  It was before I had children and not only did my best gals come bearing delicious cookies, but we also played several rounds of poker.  Super fun.  If I get a chance to host another cookie exchange this one would be much more chic.  It would involve dressing up, sipping some bubbles and listening to good tunes with my girls.  And cookies.  Of course cookies.

champagne tray . chocolate chip cookies . chocolate truffles . dancing girls . pistachio cookies . champagne goggles . cookie decorating . cookies in Weck jar

Macarons with Edible Ink for Cake Banners

Edible ink on @lette macaronsAfter being introduced to Lette Macarons I got all kinds of ideas of how to use those tasty little treats in various ways.  While I love cake banners, I wanted to do something different.  I realized that edible ink could turn these beautiful little cookies in to the perfect little billboards for cake messages.

 

Macarons on a stickThese are super easy to make.  Just use cake pop sticks (found at every craft store) and slide them in to one side of the macaron.

Use macarons to make signs for cakeThen all you need to do is use edible markers (also found at craft stores) and find someone with way better writing than you…in this case, Lauren.  Duh.

Cake signs with edible ink on macaronsYou can write any message you want.  These can be for any kind of celebration.  And the best part?  You can totally eat the entire thing (minus the stick, don’t be dumb).

macaron pop cake topper with edible writingMacarons come in so many amazing colors that you can match virtually any cake or party decor.

Lette Macaron tastingAnd if you have never had the chance to do a macaron tasting, grab some friends, buy a dozen and check them out.  Big thank you to Lette Macarons for providing the macarons for this post.  Their passion fruit, violet and earl grey are my FAVE.  I was also blown away by the coffee one.  So tasty!  See my introduction to Lette Macarons here.

*I was provided macarons by Lette Macarons,   Fashion Island for use in this post.  No further compensation was provided.