My entertaining style is all about creating a beautiful and thoughtful event but all while keeping things as simple as possible. When I was in middle school, I was addicted to two day time TV shows (I used to record them on VHS every day to watch them when I got home. Sad? Maybe. But totally true). They were Martha Stewart and Semi Homemade with Sandra Lee. Martha was all about details and making things perfect and pretty, while Sandra was all about starting with store bought and elevating it a little to make it impressive and “your own.” My style is definitely a combo of these! So, if you’re looking for pretty (but simple) engagement party ideas, this post is for you! The four parts to the perfect engagement party are: Desserts, appetizers, a themed cocktail, and a couple of thoughtful details. Desserts When it comes to creating beautiful desserts for any party, my secret is to start with store bought. Yep, head to the grocery store or local bakery. You can then dress up these pre-packaged good and re-plate them and no one will know the difference. Plus, you’ll save yourself time and stress if baking isn’t your thing. I picked up this chocolate cake and these eclairs from my local grocery store. Then, I simply put them on a serving platter and added some fresh flowers (also from the grocery store). These blooms are not edible so you would just remove them before eating. If you’e worried about it, you can always pick up some edible flowers. I made this “congrats” cake topper using my new Cricut Explorer Air Machine which totally dressed up the cake. It only took a few minutes to make this vinyl decal that I added to a piece of crafting wood I had. I loved how it turned out! Don’t the desserts look pretty? And there was no baking required! Appetizers Another engagement party idea I love is to serve one appetizer that guests can eat while holding a cocktail. If you want to serve two to offer variety, go for it. But don’t do more than that. This simple appetizer took me a few minutes to put together but looked gorgeous on a plate. Just skewer: watermelon, basil, feta cheese, and a blackberry. Such a unique flavor combo! Themed Cocktail Every great party needs a themed cocktail. I created this “love punch” which would be so fun at an engagement party. The grapefruit gave it the perfect peachy-pink color which was so pretty. I think I’m in love with this grapefruit cocktail actually. (Grab the recipe, here.) Isn’t just so perfect? And it tasted delicious! Thoughtful Details Like the cake topper above, I used my Cricut machine to make a couple more thoughtful details for the party. I made these vinyl heart decals for my punch glasses, and also a decal that said “love punch” that I added to a acrylic sign holder which I placed next to the punch bowl. The glasses might be my favorite element! You can let guests take them home as a party favor. Or, if you want to keep them, remove the decal before washing. They come off very easily and leave no residue on your glass. I also love how the white heart pops from the color of the punch when the glasses are filled. If you’re looking for engagement party ideas that look great but won’t cost a fortune (or require you to turn into Martha Stewart), these ideas are perfect. Start with store bought, dress things up, and add a few details, and you’re ready to entertain! Be sure to check back next week, I’ll show you how to create these thoughtful details. I’ll show you the step-by-step one how I used my Cricut to make the vinyl decals.You can also browse the Cricut Design Space–there are so many great projects to make!
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It’s almost May which means it’s almost time to fiesta! I recently got together with Sauza® Tequila to plan this simple Cinco de Mayo backyard celebration for a few of my friends. If you’ve read my past entertaining posts, you know I am a huge fan of keeping things SIMPLE–and that’s just what I did for this party. I’m sharing all the Cinco de Mayo party food, drinks, and easy fiesta-inspired decor ideas with you. You’ll want to pin these simple ideas to your “Fiesta” Pinterest board for later!
The setting was simply my back patio. How easy is that? I pulled my patio table over to a nice shady spot in the yard and it was the perfect spot to set up our fiesta dinner.
I’m a huge fan of incorporating fresh flowers into every tablescape but I never put the pressure on myself to make perfectly arranged centerpieces (simple is key, remember). I picked up some colorful flowers from my local grocery store, trimmed off the stems, and just grouped them together in the center of the table. SO EASY. I mixed in a couple fresh oranges and limes to bring in that citrusy-fiesta vibe.
An easy way to add to a basic table is to layer on textures. I used a burlap runner, wicker chargers, and linen placemats. Not everything matched either–I just used what I had already and ended up with an eclectic, yet festive look. (more…)
Looking for something to make mom? These DIY Mother’s Day gifts are perfect to tuck into a gift basket for that special woman in your life. They are all pretty simple to make and would even be great to give a special sister, friend, or grandma. Make them now and you’ll be ready come May!
DIY Rose Water FaceMist
One thing every mom has in common is that we could all use our own “time out” now and again. That’s exactly why I came up with this DIY. Something as simple as taking a deep breath, and misting your face with a heavenly scented rose water face mist can do wonders for the mind (at least in my experience!). I snagged all of the supplies for this one online and you can even print out my free labels if you want. I think it adds a nice “gift factor” to the bottles. See how to make them, here.
DIY Lip Scrub I love the idea of making a bunch of these diy lip scrubs to have on hand for small Mother’s Day’s gifts. I made these using lavender essential oils but you can swap out your favorite scent. I think orange would be great to use in the morning. Not only were these easy to make, they did not cost a lot of money. You could even get the kids involved in this DIY. See how to make them, here.
DIY Marbled Clay Ring Dish I made these marbled clay ring dishes a couple years ago to give as Mother’s Day gifts and everyone just loved them. I had so much fin making them (they look more complicated than they really are, promise) and love how each one turned out unique from the others. All you really need is some clay from the local craft store. Gifts that are useful and beautiful get extra points in my book. See how to make them, here.
What do you think? Are one of these ideas something she would like? Let me know which DIY Mother’s Day Gifts you’ll be making in a comment below!
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I recently shared part one of my oldest daughter’s sweet sixteen succulent party theme and I’m back to share more of the pretty details! This party really reflected her personal style which is laid back and outdoorsy. This boho themed party incorporated her love of sunset colors and succulents. I especially love how all the desserts turned out! I worked with some seriously talented dessert pros and they nailed it.
This was the dessert table that I set up in our outdoor tent area. Here’s what it looked like from the outside.
The color palette was a play off of Taylor’s love for desert sunsets. Personally, I feel like the colors really brought this boho dessert table together.
The handmade sign above the table read “oh how sweet sixteen.”
Let’s start with this cake. Because, WOW. It was a “semi-naked” cake because she loved the look of a naked cake but also really enjoys eating the icing. :) I can’t blame her! The color was a sunset-y peach color and it was adorned with real succulents.
The topper was laser cut from wood and added such a nice finishing touch to the cake. (The flavor was snickerdoodle and it was delicious!).
The cake was really a show stopper.
The cupcakes were topped with the most creative fondant toppers. They looked just like mini succulents! There were also some flat toppers with boho-inspired patterns on them. No one could believe they were edible. (You might remember the cute toppers we had at my London’s 5th birthday breakfast party? Same talented source, more on that below.) (more…)
I’m finally sharing pics from the recent Sweet Sixteen party I planned for my oldest daughter, Taylor. If you’ve been a reader for a while, you may remember her 9th Sweet Shoppe party, her 10th Zebra party, 11th Baking and Craft party–to name a few! Sixteen is BIG and I wanted to make sure the party reflected her personal style. It was desert meets succulent party theme. She picked everything, from the colors (peach and cornflower blue), to the theme (succulents), to the patterns we used throughout. It was a nice experience working with her to make the vision come to life. I also kept thinking, wow, I’m so lucky she has great style (because I LOVED her ideas)! :)
An invitation always sets the stage for a party and I was thrilled how this turned out. I designed them myself and printed them on high-quality paper. The succulents were incorporated on the front and we chose a peach and cornflower blue boho pattern for the back. I also designed coordinating stamps and thank you cards.
The guest list was pretty large since we included both family and her friends. We knew our home wasn’t big enough to host everyone inside, and since it was mid December with temps in the 50’s, we knew outside would be too chilly. We opted for renting a 20×30 tent for our backyard and it worked out better than imagined. It had a heater inside which made it completely toasty (it could get up to 75 degrees!). I loved the clear plastic vs the traditional all-white because it gave the space a nice indoor-outdoor feel. We had market lights strung inside which lit the space at night. It looked amazing! Let’s go inside to look at some of the details, shall we?
There were three hand-painted wooden signs throughout the party: above the dessert table, next to the favors, and at the entrance. I picked up the wood from Lowe’s and gave it a quick stain. Then, I used water based Sharpie paint pens to write on them. (more…)
Looking for something fun and festive to serve at your holiday gathering? This holiday dessert pizza is just the thing – trust me!
I don’t know about you, but I love holiday baking! I’m a big fan of the traditional sweets like Christmas cookies, gingerbread, and cinnamon rolls. But I also love to come up with new creative holiday dessert recipes, especially for entertaining. That’s how this new recipe came about. I was dreaming up a fun and colorful dessert for a kids’ holiday gathering and it hit me: DESSERT PIZZA. I mean, it’s like pizza (who doesn’t love pizza?!) but it’s sweet… and covered in candy. I knew I had to bring it to life. So I started planning. I knew my “pizza” needed three (very important) components: the crust, the icing, and the toppings.
This dessert pizza needed a great foundation and that’s exactly what this pie crust is. The key ingredient in this delicious crust is Crisco®! I love Crisco® All-Vegetable Shortening in my pie crust recipes because it delivers higher, lighter-textured, moist and tender baked goods (recipe below). And if you’ve never made pie crust before, please do not be intimidated. It’s actually really simple and doesn’t take long at all! The crust was so tender and flaky you’ll want to make it for every pie and pizza this holiday season ;).
After I baked the crust, I let it cool completely while I whipped up the frosting for our dessert pizza. I also used Crisco® in my frosting. The shortening acts as an emulsifier, creating a fluffy, creamy frosting which was perfect to spread over my crust. (Just make sure your crust is cooled before you spread on the frosting). I used this frosting recipe.
Look at that flaky crust and smooth frosting. This will seriously please holiday guests of any age!
And of course, that third component is an important one–the toppings. For our holiday dessert pizza it had to be bright holiday candy of course! My daughter and I went to the bulk section of our market and selected a variety of holiday candy. You know, a little of this, a lot of that.
I cut our dessert pizza into slices and the kids grabbed a piece (which they did after careful evaluation of candy toppings of course). This was such a fun recipe to make but even more fun to watch the kids enjoy it. I have to say: I think it is a holiday recipe hit! What do you think? Will you make your own dessert pizza this year?