Archive of ‘Entertain’ category

Could you be the Ultimate Host?

 

Do you love to entertain? Do you often gather friends and your favorite wine and make it an affair? Sterling Vineyards is searching for the next Ultimate Host …. could it be you?

 

 Sterling Wines Ultimate Host Challenge

 

I’m so excited to share that I’ve partnered with Sterling Vinyards along with 3 other chosen blogger experts  (see below) and the lovely Padma Lakshmi from Top Chef to act as the judging panel for the Ultimate Host Challenge!

 

 

So, get ready to showcase your creative flair for entertaining in four biweekly challenges announced here on Thoughtfull Simple and on Sterling Vineyards Facebook page. The winner from each of the 4 challenge rounds will recieve a gift basket from Sterling Wines AND will be joining the other finalist for a grand finale event in NYC this December (and I’ll be there too!) to compete for $25,000 and the title as Sterling’s Ultimate Host.

 Along with Padma, there will be a panel of judges for each round of challenges and for the finale event.

Meet Your Judges

Be sure to check out all the expert tips we’re sharing over on the Sterling Facebook page. And stay tuned for our announcement of the first challenge!

Update: Challenge #1 is live — details here.

Share on FacebookPin it on PinterestShare on Twitter

How to make tissue paper pom poms

I’m a big fan of using tissue paper pom poms in my party decor. What I love about them is that they are inexpensive and can be used in a wide variety of events. I’ve used them for birthday parties (like this candy party) and baby shower (like this spring shower) + many other events. I often get asked how I make them — so today, I thought I would share my tips for making and also for buying tissue pom poms.

how to make tissue paper pom poms

How to make tissue paper pom poms. They aren’t difficult to make, but I’ll be honest and say they are time consuming. If you have a couple nights to dedicate to making them while watching your favorite TV show, I say go for it. Here are the simple steps I follow:

how to make tissue paper pom poms

Aren’t those finished pom poms gorgeous?! They were used in a first birthday party I spotted over on The Sweetest Occasion.      The DIY method looks like this, not too much to it. It’s a pretty simple method and you can check out the full details and how-to here. Remember though to give yourself some time (and extra tissue for mistakes)! Also, I recommended finding a little higher quality (aka thicker) tissue than what you might typically use for gift wrapping. It’s easier to tear and the thicker paper tends to hold up nicer.

If I’ve scared you or the DIY method just isn’t your thing, I suggest just ordering your tissue pom poms.  They are inexpensive and this will save you from having to trek to 8 different stores in 3 cities to find the perfect shade of teal tissue paper (not like I’ve done that or anything).

Whether you make them, or buy them … these tissue poms are a great way to add some flair without breaking the budget. My daughter even re-purposed her poms from her recent birthday party into decor for her bedroom — love that!

Tori Tait on Instagram

Share on FacebookPin it on PinterestShare on Twitter

How to host a pint size party & GIVEAWAY!

I recently partnered with Apartment Guide to bring you 3 party planning tips for hosting a entertaining in small spaces (check out my tips here). Today, I’m sharing more tips for entertaining & living in small spaces plus launching a $50 Target GIVEAWAY that you can use for your next gathering.

If you are planning a get together, party, or dinner for guests — make an effort to keep things simple, this will allow you to stay within a smaller budget. Here are a few easy ways to plan a great gathering without overspending:

pint size party

{tip #3 :: image from this 30th birthday party}

1. Reuse items from your home. Move around candles, decor items, and use older pieces from your kitchen in new ways. This prevents you from buying new pieces that you can’t afford (or store!).

2. Keep the menu simple. Serve just a few items rather than offering a ton of choices. A salad, burger, and dessert is plenty. Don’t get distracted by  thinking of all the sides and extras you can do. Keep the menu small. It will save you money at the store and time in the kitchen!

3. Choose a signature drink or stick to beer & wine. No need to stock a full bar. That will put a big dent in your budget (think of all the liquor and mix-ins you’d need) and take up valuable counter space in your home. Instead, create one signature drink or stick to the basics and serve beer & wine only.

I also love these simple ideas from Apartment Guide that will help you get ready for your next pint size party: get creative with frugal decor ideas & decorating a small space.

You can check out more tips at Moving Today and on the Apartment Guide blog

Target Giveaway

What are your tips for entertaining in a small space and/or on a small budget?

Comment below to enter to win a $50 Target gift card!

Contest is now closed – Congrats to Crystal!

{contest ends Sunday March 31, 2012 at 11pm PST}

Editor’s Note: Apartment Guide and owner Consumer Source, Inc. partnered with bloggers such as me to participate in their monthly blogger programs. As part of that program, I received compensation. They did not tell me what to purchase or what to say about the products used, and believe that consumers and bloggers are free to form their own opinions and share them in their own words. Consumer Source’s policies align with WOMMA Ethics Code, FTC guidelines and social media engagement recommendations.

Share on FacebookPin it on PinterestShare on Twitter

Entertaining: small space & savvy budget

I entertain in my home a lot — most often it’s the my go-to venue for hosting events. In fact, you can see that my home was the venue for parties here, here, here and here (just to name a few). One of the biggest challenges in hosting a party in your home can be lack of space. When I’m planning a party, I start out by thinking how I will break down the space in my home and let that lead me in deciding on other party elements like decor, food stations, activities, etc. By utilizing your space and also items that you already own, you can plan a great party — and stick to a smaller budget (a bonus!).

I’ve partnered with Apartment Guide to bring you party planning tips for hosting a pint-size party in a small space and on a savvy budget.

party planning tips - space

 

Here are  3 tips that have worked for me when planning a party at home.

party planning budget

1. Don’t be afraid to move things around. Shuffle couches, tables, chairs and take pieces of furniture from one room to the next to accommodate your party needs. For this birthday breakfast party, I wanted to rent a small child-sized long table but had no room to have it in our home. So, I temporally put our dining room table on the patio and placed the small table inside. It worked perfectly!

party planning tips - activities

2. Utilize your space. Whether it’s setting up a bar, food station, or place to do activities — just move stuff around a bit and use the space to have, you can make it work! For this baking and craft party, I turned our kitchen island into a cupcake decorating station. After the activity was over, I cleared the mess and used the same space to set out the party food. Simple!

party planning tips - space

3. Think outside the box. Turn “dead space” into a functional space. Use your mantel as a place to set arranged flowers or photos of the guest of honor, turn your porch into a decorated entrance to your party — just be creative! Here, we set up a DIY photo booth on the landing of our stairs. No one was going to be going upstairs during the party so we used this dead space to set up this photo booth. It was perfect and out was out of the main traffic areas of our home.

Want to find even more entertaining tips for your home? Apartment Guide has budget-friendly ideas for people in any sized home on Moving Today and the Apartment Guide blog.

Get more:

  • Whether you’re living, looking or moving, Apartment Guide offers how-to tips for entertaining and making the most of your space on a budget.
  • If you’re ready for a whole new space or looking to move, Apartment Guide has the photos, floor plans, features and tips to help you find the perfect apartment community.
  • “Like” Apartment Guide on Facebook, follow them on Twitter @AptGuide and “circle” them on Google+ for real-time tips and updates on making the most of your space.

PLUS: Stay tuned for more party planning tips for living & entertaining in small spaces and a fun giveaway from Apartment Guide {coming soon!}

party planning tips

What’s your tip for entertaining in small spaces and on a savvy budget? I’d love to hear them!

 

Apartment Guide and owner Consumer Source, Inc. partnered with bloggers such as me to participate in their monthly blogger programs. As part of that program, I received compensation. They did not tell me what to purchase or what to say about the products used, and believe that consumers and bloggers are free to form their own opinions and share them in their own words. Consumer Source’s policies align with WOMMA Ethics Code, FTC guidelines and social media engagement recommendations.

Share on FacebookPin it on PinterestShare on Twitter

Superbowl Party | Ideas & Inspiration

The big game is this Sunday! Are you hosting an party or having people over to watch the game? Whether you are expecting a big turnout or just a few family members, make it an  event with a little Superbowl fun!

Each year I host an completely informal gathering so all the adults can get together and enjoy the game and just hang out. (Hostess Tip: Rent a bounce-house to keep all the rowdy kids entertained in the BACK YARD!)

These four recipes are typically on my menu each year:

Superbowl Party

Get the recipes to these Superbowl food ideas. This year I hear my mother-in-law might be bringing some clam chowder — YUM.

Halftime Snacks

I like the idea of having a halftime snack table. The kids can grab what they’d like, adults have snacks handy and the hostess can be off-duty!

Decor is typically very simple. A couple team balloons and maybe a paper pennant banner hung somewhere. I also gather chalkboards and draw out football plays on them (I place them on the mantle near the TV). I also get team colored cups and make each person claim the color they will be cheering for.

I LOVE this chili bar idea from Chris at Celebrations at Home (I just might have to try this out myself!):

Isn’t this perfect for Superbowl? Check out her full post + recipes here.

I’ve also been collecting great sources for printables and decor that would be perfect for a Superbowl party over on Pinterest. Check out my Football board for more recipes, football dessert ideas, and even fun games (like rate the commerial and Superbowl bingo!).

So, what will YOU be doing this Sunday? Have a favorite Superbowl snack? I’d LOVE to know — I’m always eager to try something new!

Homepage featured image from HWTM which is included in the Pinterest source roundup.

Share on FacebookPin it on PinterestShare on Twitter

Baking and Craft Party

If you’ve been reading Thoughtfully Simple for the past few years, you’ll remember my oldest daughter Taylor’s past birthday parties. We’ve done a candy party and a zebra party which I shared. Today, I’m sharing her 11th birthday party which was a lot of fun.

She completely helped mold the theme of her party which made it all the more fun (and challenging) to plan. We planned the party decorations and activities and then came up with a theme (which is completely opposite of how I typically operate). But hey, maybe she’s on to something? We could all be reading her party blog a few years from now.

She wanted to have tie-dye cupcakes (she loved these St. Patrick’s Day cupcakes we made last year). She also wanted to decorate them (check and check). She wanted arts & crafts (check), plus she wanted green, purple and blue decor (check). Here’s how we pulled it all together:

craft party

Bake. Craft. Create.

I designed the invite (with a little emergency design help from my go-to-gal Kori of Paper and Pigtails).

baking party

The decorating stage was set. I premade our colorful cupcakes the night before to make it easier.

craft party ideas

When the girls arrived, they began making their paper flowers that would adorn their new aprons. They made all types of darling flowers using cupcake liners, glue, and brads. I loved how unique each looked! Then, they chose an apron and we attached their flower.

I’m calling the aprons “shabby chic” because I made them and I have no clue how to operate a sewing machine. I’ve had one for 8 years and can barely turn it on (so please don’t look closely at this photo, there is a grandmother rolling in her grave somewhere I just know it).

And now they were ready to get their decorating on. And boy did the go for it!

baking party | cupcake decorating

They were each so unique and fun!

craft party

Each girl chose their most-favorite cupcake to take home. We put them in little boxes (they fit perfectly) and they took them home for a sweet reminder of the party. The other cupcakes went on our stand and we later sang happy birthday and enjoyed them.

a to z celebrations

 

We also enjoyed these adorable chocolate covered Oreos (the birthday girl has been requesting these since her last birthday party). They were so cute and delicious, I could use one right about now.The purple table runner from A to Z Celebrations was a perfect match — it had just a touch of glitter which worked into our theme perfectly.

For all the unconvential planning that went into this, I’d say it turned out great. The girls had a blast and hopfully we’ve shared some simple ideas for your next baking party or craft party!

The rest of the party was a pretty typical pre-teen affair. Pizza, giggles and lots of dancing went down.

Do you remember your 11th birthday? What was the best birthday party you remember as a child?

Boxes for cupcakes | Garnish

Oreos | Sweet Temptations

Table Runner | A to Z Celebrations

Share on FacebookPin it on PinterestShare on Twitter

1 6 7 8 9 10 23