Archive of ‘Life’ category

Party girls at the HWTM event

A couple of weeks ago, I headed to San Diego to join many other entertaining and lifestyle bloggers at the HWTM launch party {and boy did we have fun!}. The hotel rooftop was transformed into a stunning, enchanted Wonderlandia by Jenn and team and they did an amazing job! It was such a thrill to meet up with old pals (some for the first time in the flesh!) and get to know so many other amazingly talented women. I just had to share a few pics for the Step Up & Repeat – it was a blast!

Me {left} with Lisa Thiele from With Style and Grace. We met via Twitter a while back and our friendship was instant. We had the best time as roomies!

I was SO EXCITED to finally meet long-time virtual pals Chris Nease of Celebrations at Home {2nd from left} and the fabulous Jeanne Benedict…. in-the-flesh! Chris and I go waaaaaaay back as we found one another online when party and entertaining blogs were a new thing (yes, PRE-Twitter!). I was so thrilled when our in-real-life meeting was just as I expected — fun, natural and familiar!

Meeting Jeanne was such a highlight (and her sweet hubby too!). Jeanne has always led the way in trends and I’ve followed her from the start (I still make the kids BOO spaghetti every Halloween!). After chatting with her that weekend, I can tell she has many more creative things up her sleeve and I can’t wait to watch her success unfold!

More red carpet snapshots! Chris again (love ya Chris!), Jennifer Berson whom I’ve been tweeting with forever, the lovely Jennifer Sbranti (who magically looked gorgeous after all day of party prep!), and the adorable Victoria Hudgins of A Subtle Revelry. Victoria was just a sweet as the first time we met and her table setting was so beautiful! Plus, we totally bonded while chowing down some sliders – yummy :).

The FUN continues! {from top left} Clarissa and Erin from Shutterfly were a blast to chat with — we dished about cool stuff at Shutterfly, and what’s new at Daily Grommet (a little work found itself into the night, but I love that!). I met Jessica Wilcox for the first time (we chatted while hitting the candy bar at the end of the night) and I have since spent many hours browsing her blog (where have I been?!). Sharon (from Cupcakes & Cutlery) and I began tweeting right before the event and have since continued to getting to know each other – don’t you love how events can bring people together?

{from bottom left} I loved finally meeting Amy from Operation Shower (or how I knew her, from Stem Parties) and can’t wait to learn more about the great things she is up too! Elizabeth from Bump Smitten was super sweet, and Leslie who was SO much fun! In the great hat is Amber {Leslie and Amber are both part of the HWTM team} … Amber kicked major event-but while setting up earlier in the day – great job gal!

MORE fun party gals! {from left} Rebekah from A Blissful Nest, Nancy from A to Zebra Celebrations, Jillian from Catch My Party, Chris, Amy, and Lindi from Love The Day.

I wish I there had been more time, I would have loved to meet and chat with everyone there. Until we meet again? Cheers gals and thanks for the virtual and real-life connections!

**All photos were taken by the fun and talented Dan Fields of http://www.DanFieldsPhotography.com. Thanks Dan for sharing these photos with us!

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Party weekend recap

Since my very first blog post back in 2008, this blog (like my online relationships) has really flourished. Over the years I have made so many genuine connections with fellow party gals and bloggers that I can’t help but smile when I think about all of my online friends. This past weekend I was able to meet many of my old friends (and meet a ton of new ones!) in real life and am so thankful to have made such wonderful face-to-face connections and memories.

Many more photos and details to come in the next week (need to get some pictures downloaded first), but here’s a sneak peek at my weekend.

3 of the 4 images above via Lisa Thiele | With Style and Grace

I headed down to sunny San Diego for the HWTM launch party {can’t wait to share the fab photos}

I met my super adorable roomie and long lost sister, Lisa {who happens to be full of style and grace}!

We toasted {many times over} to great friendships while taking in the great scenery {hello eye candy}

I learned it’s really tough to find late-night after party food if your diet is gluten free {like Lisa’s is}

I savored my morning coffee chat with long-time pal Chris {and can’t wait for next time}

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Can you tell me why?

why do you blog

We all read a lot of blogs. Personally, I read a wide variety of blogs. Many for professional knowledge and research and many simply for leisure. My daily reads vary, but whether I am reading a marketing blog, design blog, or entertaining blog, I want to feel that connection with the author. I always hit the “about” page when I first discover a new potential favorite and I’ve noticed something that is (surprisingly) often missing — it’s the why.

Think about it, the most successful blogs and authoritive authors tell you why they are writing. They don’t just list their experience or qualifications (we can check LinkedIn for that!) but rather share their passion and intention with the reader. This is the personal and compelling part of your story that can hook a reader and build up your subscribers.

What do you think? Is the why important to you? Do you know why you do what you do? If so, do you share it with others?

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Time for something new

afterparty (af-ter-par-tay) β€” n

a relaxed social event in which people sit and talk after they have been at a larger event.

β€œafter the party, there is always an afterparty.”

I have been writing here on Thoughtfully Simple since September of 2008 (more about how it all began). And I have to start by saying thank you. Thank you for reading, commenting, and emailing. Thank you for your support , inspiration and connections – you all make it possible to keep this site running, so thank you! Over the years, I have realized that although my main intention was to post ideas that will inspire you to get your “hostess on,” the most exciting (and rewarding) part comes after I hit publish. It’s your comments, thoughts and the ability to share and engage with all of you that has become the most rewarding for me. I have decided to carve out a little space here on Thoughtfully Simple where we can do that – like an afterparty. An afterparty isn’t just for rockstars and celebs after a major event. I see it simply as the time after you have greeted, mingled, perhaps even played hostess; when the main event has passed and you find it time to grab your drink, plop down in a comfy spot, kick off your heels and have a nice chat with those close to you.

The most frequent emails I get are from you {my lovely readers} wanting to know more about me – or rather, what I think, what I would suggest for XY and Z or my thoughts on the lifestyle/entertaining industry as a whole. I realized that there is really no place on Thoughtfully Simple for such topics and discussions, so I am hoping the Afterparty will provide that space. I’d like to open up discussions here, and hear more of what you have to say. From what you are working on, inspiration you’ve found, thoughts on blogging, party planning — anything goes!

I’d love to hear what you think! What topics would you like to see discussed here on the blog? Do you have any suggestions or questions you’d like me to get this (after)party started with? I’m all ears!

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How to keep cut flowers fresh

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How to keep cut flowers fresh

4 tips for how to keep cut flowers fresh

Give Them Some Pop

  • If your cut flowers are looking a little wilted in their vase but you aren’t quite ready to toss them out, try giving them some life by adding a carbonated lemon-lime soda to their vase. Just don’t grab the sugar free version- they like it sweet!

Pour in the Vinegar

  • If your flowers are looking a bit thirsty, you can also try giving them this vinegar mix: 2 tablespoons vinegar, 1 teaspoon sugar, and 1 quart water.

Touch Up Their Roots

  • To keep your blooms around a bit longer, add 2 drops household bleach, 1 teaspoon sugar, and 1 quart water.

Sear Them, But Don’t Eat Them

  • If you have a gorgeous arrangement of flowers such as poppies, dahlias, or orchids you can sear their stems before putting them into the vase. Why? Well these type of flowers have hollow stems that secret a milky-types substance when cut. Searing the end of their stems will keep them perky a bit longer. Simply hold their ends to a flame for a quick sear and then place them in a vase with warm (not cold) water.
What works for you? I’d love to hear your secrets!
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10 Fruits & Vegetables You Should Buy Organic

organic fruit and veggetables

Would you knowingly feed your family a juicy serving of DDT or a crisp bite of a toxic pesticide? Didn’t think so. But many of us unknowingly do this everyday when we serve our family their healthy servings of fresh fruits and vegetables. “But I thought DDT was banned in the US?” You ask. Well, yes- you’re right. However , even though uses of DDT and other toxic pesticides have banned in the US for over 20 years, they can still be absorbed from the soil our fruits and veggies grow in.

And although the traces of these toxins may be minimal in the foods you eat, children (and pregnant women) are in more danger due to the amount the consume and childrens’ small body mass. So, please buy certified organic when you can.

Here is a list of 10 fruits and vegetables you should consider always buying organic when feeding them to your family.

Tip: Check your local farmers’ market for your produce needs! Their fruits and vegetables typically are pesticide free, cost less, and are more fresh! Bonus: you’ll be supporting your local farmers!

Peaches

Summer’s blushing fruit contains high residues of iprodione, classified as a probable human carcinogen by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and methyl parathion, an endocrine disruptor and organophosphate (OP) insecticide. Methyl parathion has caused massive kills of bees and birds. According to Consumer Reports, single servings of peaches “consistently exceeded” EPA’s safe daily limit for a 44-pound child.

Apples

Apples may contain methyl parathion. Both fresh apples and baby food applesauce can also contain chlorpyrifos, an OP which has caused large bird kills. CORE Values IPM apple growers are trying to phase out OPs.

Pears

Pears, both fresh and in baby food, can also come with methyl parathion, as well as the OP azinphos-methyl, which is toxic to freshwater fish, amphibians and bees.

Winter Squash

Dieldrin, a chlorinated, carcinogenic insecticide, exceeded the safe daily limit for a young child in two-thirds of positive samples. Another potent carcinogen, heptachlor, also showed up. DDT and its breakdown product, DDE, were detected in baby food squash.

Green Beans

Green Beans can contain acephate, methamidophos and dimethoate (three neurotoxic OPs), and endosulfan, an endocrine-disrupting insecticide, which showed up in baby food, too. Acephate disorients migrating birds, throwing them off course.

Grapes

U.S. grapes contain methyl parathion and methomyl, a carbamate insecticide listed as an endocrine disruptor; imports may contain dimethoate.

Strawberries

The enhanced red color of strawberries comes from the fungicide captan, a probable human carcinogen that can irritate skin and eyes, and is highly toxic to fish. While the lethal soil fumigant methyl bromide doesn’t show up on the fruit, it has harmed California farm workers, and depletes the ozone layer.

Raspberries

Watch out for more than thorns! These berries can contain captan, iprodione and carbaryl, a suspected endocrine disruptor that has also been found in plum baby food

Spinach

Permethrin, a possible human carcinogen, and dimethoate dominate spinach’s toxicity ratings, but CU notes that residue levels have been declining as U.S. farmers reduce use of these insecticides. DDT has been found in spinach, which leads all foods in exceeding safety tolerances.

Potatoes

Pesticide use on potatoes is growing, CU warns. They may contain dieldrin and methamidophos, and children eating potatoes risk getting a very high dose of aldicarb, CU says.

Plus 2 more:

Note: In an update to its 1999 report, Consumers Union announced two more foods high in chlorpyrifos or other pesticide residues: tomatoes and cantaloupe.

Descriptions of pesticides from CHEC’s Healthhouse

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