Party DIY {Bamboo Spoons}

Happy Tuesday! I've been touching a lot lately on custom serveware. It's the finishing touch to the party that most of the time gets overlooked. But, it's so easy to make your own and top off your party theme. They don't have to be large metal serving utensils though. With the availability (and ease!) of bamboo utensils, you can buy them for anything and make them your own. Disposables for a party can be a bit dull but once you paint them, they add a punch that you can't buy anywhere! Here's the how to...

:: Supplies ::
Bamboo Spoons
Acrylic Paint
Paint Brush

:: Directions ::
Paint the handle of the spoon in a base color. Once paint dries, paint dots using the tip of the paint brush with a second color. Let dry and use.


Color Me {Derby Days}

Forget Cinco de Mayo. While it may be one of my favorite holidays, I'm more excited about the day before, the Derby! It provides me with an excuse to put on fancy floral frock and rock large hat adorned with a big bow. Pour me a mint julep (I'll share my recipe later this week!) and sit back as I help you to throw the best derby party yet. First things first, start by decorating with vintage racing ribbons, lots of color, and silver julep cups. If you can't find vintage ribbons, use the DIY I posted last week to make your own. Silver julep cups are not only great for drink but work wonderfully as vases for big buds like white hydrangeas or pink peonies. Create a racing pool and let everybody draw the name of a horse. Keep it interesting by having everybody put in a dollar. Winner takes all. This brings the fun back into it since everybody has to draw a horses name from a hat, no one person has the advantage of research or knowledge. The possibilities for throwing a perfect derby party are endless and I can't wait to hear what your ideas are.

Have a great Monday!


Party DIY {Perfect Welcome Bags}

The welcome bag is a little wedding extra that takes the whole experience over the edge. It's a nice way to make guests feel at home and thank them for traveling so far to join in your special day. There are so many things you can place in your bags, but there are some key items that I think make it a perfect bag. These items are fun and show guests all the things they can do in town when they aren't celebrating with you. While the contents can vary based on location and theme, there are a couple standard items that can be customized to your wedding like maps, snacks, and beverages. This bag and list is perfect for a summer beachside wedding but is easily adaptable no matter where your wedding is. Here are my must haves!

1. Maps: Whether you pick up local maps from the store or have beautiful ones hand drawn, a map is a nice way to show guests all the fun places to go and will help them not get lost! Show where the hotel is, where the ceremony and reception are taking place, and provide a list of all your favorite places to go.

2. Welcome Note: It's hard to see and say hi to each guest before the wedding, so welcome them all with a hand written note in their bag. Thank them for coming and be sure to tell them how excited you are that they are here.

3. Weekend Itinerary: Provide guests with a weekend itinerary telling them when and where they need to be. Include things like the rehearsal dinner, ceremony time, reception, after party, and brunch the next day.

4. Local Flavors: Show your guests a taste of the community from the second they arrive. Include local favorites like craft beer, homemade treats from the bakery, Florida oranges or anything else that speaks to the favor of the area.

5. Beach Essentials: Since summer is upon us, I'm focusing on beachy weddings. Order personalized plastic sunglasses and throw in a pair for everybody. Toss in a bottle of sunscreen, a bottle of water, some aloe vera, and some magazines to read while lounging.


Indulge In {Outdoor Spring Eating}

Happy Thursday y'all. I'm excited to share today's guest post from Meredith who represents Hunt's. She has some great ideas and recipes for easy but impressive outdoor entertaining. Hope you all enjoy!

Now that spring is in full swing, it’s the perfect time of year to take advantage of eating outdoors! Unlike summer, when sweltering temperatures can often keep people indoors, spring is known for more comfortable and inviting weather that’s perfect for spending a warm night in the backyard.

Just as spring styles transform from chunky winter sweaters into pastels and bright floral prints, the foods you crave and cook in the spring tend to change, too. If you need some inspiration for what to make for your next cookout or dinner outdoors this spring, use the following guide to light and delicious outdoor spring eating:

      Light Appetizers: Nothing feels more “springtime-y” than lounging on a porch, sipping an iced tea and munching on fresh, light snacks. While you probably served thick, creamy dips like spinach artichoke or hearty buffalo chicken at your Super Bowl party, outdoor gatherings are better suited for lighter appetizers like bruschetta and salsa. Even a simple veggie tray can be the perfect start to a spring meal.

   Grilled Meats: There’s no need to wait until summer pool parties to fire up your grill. If it’s nice enough to stand outside, it’s nice enough to grill, so take advantage of pretty weather and grill up everything from hot dogs and burgers to zucchini, tomatoes and even peaches for a sweet dessert.

   Produce Based Sides: Skip heavy, starchy casseroles this spring and keep the focus on what’s fresh. A fruit salad or chopped green salad always adds a pretty pop of color to any spring spread, and you can feel good about serving them, too. Another great side option for spring is grilled vegetables; they’re fresh, healthy and so easy to toss on the grill alongside kebabs or burgers.

    Chilled Salads: For salads with a little more oomph to them, throw in some pasta! Pasta salads are a staple of most barbecues and cookouts and can be eaten either as a side or main dish. Mayonnaise, sour cream and Greek-yogurt based pasta salad dressings are more traditional, but you can also dress pasta and veggies with olive oil, red wine vinegar, balsamic and pesto. Experiment with different variations, from BLT pasta salad to mixed bean salads. Tomato recipes are especially nice for adding color to a picnic table, as are recipes with red or green peppers.

S Seasonal Treats: So many fruits and vegetables come into season during the springtime that it only makes sense to cook with them as much as possible! Apricots, artichokes, arugula, asparagus, green onions, new potatoes, peas and spinach all experience seasonal peaks during the spring.

   This easy recipe for Greek-Style Pizza makes a delicious dinner or appetizer—just cut it into smaller pieces if you’re feeding a crowd. It uses seasonal spring foods like artichokes and spinach, making it perfect for this time of year. Enjoy!

:;  :: Ingredients ::
     8 sheets frozen phyllo dough, thawed (14x9-inch sheet)
·       PAM® Olive Oil No-Stick Cooking Spray
·       1 pkg (10 oz each) frozen chopped spinach, thawed, squeezed dry
·       1 can (14.5 oz each) Hunt's® Petite Diced Tomatoes, drained
·       1 jar (6 oz each) marinated artichoke hearts, drained, chopped
·       1/3 cup sun-dried tomato/basil flavor crumbled feta cheese (1/3 cup = 2 oz)

    :: Directions ::
1. Preheat your oven to 425°F. Place 1 sheet phyllo on an ungreased large cookie sheet; lightly spray with cooking spray. Repeat layering with remaining phyllo, lightly spraying each layer with cooking spray.
2. Crumble spinach over phyllo; top evenly with tomatoes, artichokes and feta cheese.
3. Bake 15 minutes or until edges are golden brown. Transfer pizza to large cutting board. Using a pizza cutter or large knife, cut pizza into 6 equal pieces to serve.

Author Bio: This is a guest post by Meredith K. on behalf of Hunt’s®. For more spring dinner ideas, from veggie-filled easy lasagna recipes to cool pasta salads, visit www.hunts.com.


Party DIY {Derby Ribbons}

Let the mint juleps flow and the big hats commence, it's time to throw a derby party folks! It's my second favorite May holiday that's worthy of a celebration as big as Cinco de Mayo. Throw on that floral frock and guys grab your bow ties, we're ready to plan and decorate for this year's Derby bash. I'll share my derby party inspiration next week but wanted to give you a little Derby DIY right now. If you don't live in horse country, it can be a bit hard to find vintage racing ribbons to decorate with. But these homemade ones are just as cute, fun to make, and can even be used for awarding best dress and best hat. Here's the how-to...

:: Supplies ::
Ribbon Flowers (Found in the scrapbook section of your local craft store)
Ivory Round Gift Tags
Vine Sticker (Jolee brand scrapbooking sticker)
Fine Tip Sharpie
Hot Glue
Black Grosgrain Ribbon

:: Directions ::
1. Trim vine sticker into 3" pieces, bending in the middle. Stick onto gift tags, centering on the bottom.
2. Using your pencil, trace "1st", "2nd", etc. onto gift tags centering between the vine. Trace over with your fine tip Sharpie. Hot glue to the center of the ribbon flower.
3. Cut strips of grosgrain ribbon into 8" pieces. Trim ends into an upside down "v" shape. Hot glue two strips to the back side of the ribbon flower.



The Happiest Hour {Rum Cocktail Round 2}

After the research I did last week, we decided that this was a good weekend to attempt our signature rum cocktail again. This time, Rob participated in the mix up and things went a bit smoother than they did the first time. Now, we are actually on the right track. We started by trying to recreate our favorite rum drink, The Blaster, and got pretty darn close. After 5 attempts, we finally settled on the base and I actually managed to write it down so it can be recreated. This is my biggest problem with most recipes I try. From here on out, it's just a matter of adding our favorite flavors to create the perfect combination. I'd love to get your opinion on the base and what you think we should add. Here's the recipe so far!

:: Ingredients ::
*Makes 2 cocktails
1 oz Malibu Coconut Rum
1 oz Flor de Cana Dark Rum
1 oz Flor de Cana White Rum
.5 oz Captain Morgan Spiced Rum
3 oz Pineapple Juice
2 oz Orange Juice
1.5 oz Grapefruit Juice
1 Cap Full Grenadine

:: Directions ::
Combine all ingredients and shake to combine. Strain over ice and serve.


Color Me {Bamboo Shoot}

It's something that is so reminiscent of Palm Beach circa 1950 and I can't get over it. Bamboo details have a vintage tropical feel that is right up my ally. Mixed with bright colors and bold prints the natural element of the bamboo shoot is what all my summer parties are craving. I'm imagining a backyard pool party adorned with vibrant stripes, eye catching florals, and playful beach balls all accented by bamboo furniture, a bamboo shoot backdrop, and bamboo inspired serving pieces. It sounds like the perfect summer bash to me. If only I had a pool in my backyard....

Have a happy Monday!


The Happiest Hour {Vampire's Dream}

The hunt for the perfect rum cocktail continues! I shared attempt number one last week and have been doing some research ever since for attempt number two. I figured it best to consider all of my flavor combination options before making my next mix. I found this recipe on Pinterest and loved the flavor combination. Add in a bit of coconut and a squeeze of lime and it may be perfect! I'll create my next version this weekend, but until then enjoy this this recipe from Ezra Pound Cake.

:: Ingredients ::
1/4 Cup Spiced Rum
1/3 Cup Cranberry Juice
1/3 Cup Pineapple Juice
Splash Grenadine

:: Directions ::
1. Combine ingredients in a cocktail shaker and shake. Strain over ice and serve.

Have a great weekend!


Indulge In {Breakfast Tostada}

Happy Thursday y'all! It's almost the weekend and almost time to start celebrating. Nothing big going on this weekend? Just celebrate the fact that you made it through another week. Work can get stressful and times hard so it's always good to take a step back, relax, and celebrate the fact that you hung in there! That's exactly what I plan on doing this weekend. I have a huge week coming up next week and am really looking forward to the calm before the storm. I'm going to indulge in a few of my favorite things to really celebrate life like a movie marathon on the couch, maybe a mani/pedi, for sure my magazines, and of course my favorite, the big weekend breakfast. It's 100% my favorite meal and I rarely get to indulge in it. I posted this recipe last year but sounds like the perfect one for my perfect Saturday ahead so I thought I would share it again for all who missed it the first time. The breakfast tostada is piled high with warm scrambled eggs, black beans, sauteed garlic tomato shrimp, fresh sliced avocado, and melted cheese. It's filling, delicious, and a lovely treat to start the day. Serve it up with a fresh mimosa for the ultimate experience. Here's the recipe!

:: Ingredients ::
Whole Wheat Tortilla
3 Eggs
2 Tablespoons Shredded Cheddar Cheese
2 Tablespoons Black Beans
1/4 lb Medium Shrimp
1 Clove Garlic, minced
1 Tablespoon Tomato Paste
Olive Oil
1 Tablespoon Salsa
1 Tablespoon Sour Cream
3 Slices Avocado

:: Directions ::
1. Heat a bit of olive oil over medium high heat. Once hot, add garlic and sautee until fragrant. Add shrimp and tomato paste and cook until shrimp is done. Set aside.
2. Scramble eggs and set aside.
3. In a small pan, heat olive oil. Once hot place tortilla down and pan fry till crispy. Flip and crisp the other side. Plate.
4. On top of the tortilla place eggs, black beans, shredded cheese, shrimp, salsa, sour cream, and avocado.


In Full Bloom

A lot of times, my inspiration for parties and posts doesn't come from a theme, place, or holiday but from something simple, a beautiful floral arrangement. Especially in the spring, the fresh blooms are coming up in a variety of colors and textures. Take for example peonies. Their light pink color is gorgeous and their petals have a soft ruffle feel. Translate that into a ruffle trimmed napkin or table linen in a soft shade of pink. The possibilities are endless, especially when you find a gorgeous bouquet and take notes from the variety of colors, shapes, and textures. Have a local florist recreate it for you to complete your look.

I have compiled today a few of the most inspiring bouquets I've seen lately. Hopefully they bring a smile to your face and inspire you as well. Have a great Wednesday!


Cinco Style

I know it's only April, but May is full of some of my favorite celebrations, and it's never to early to start planning. One of these celebrations is Cinco de Mayo. I mainly use it as an excuse to drink margaritas and eat way too much Mexican food. It's kinda my favorite. Plus there are festive dresses, pinatas, and tons of bright color. In the latest issue of LPF Mag, I shared fun Cinco de Mayo brunch. It can easily be translated though to any Cinco celebration. Instead of mini pinatas decorating the table, hang giant ones from the ceiling filled with traditional candies. Adorn glasses with mustache stickers to designate glasses as opposed to escort cards. Drape colorful fabric to form a photo booth back drop full of fun for all. One thing you don't have to transform though, the build your own margarita bar. It's a party must!

What are your plans for Cinco de Mayo? Will you head out to a Mexican restaurant or bring the celebration home?


Color Me {Perfectly Patterned}

We lost a legend a couple weeks ago and this is my tribute to her. Lilly Pulitzer was not only the purveyor of pattern on the runway but was a huge influence in special events as well. She inspired bold color choices, pattern play, and brought life to the party.  In her honor today, I hope to brighten your day and inspire a fun filled gathering for all. The keys to throwing a Lilly party are simple. Lots of color, coordinating pattern, and smiles are all a must. Try some bold coastal preppy details to make it over the top!

Have a great Monday!


Party DIY {Colorful Serving Spoons}

I posted earlier in the week about custom serve pieces and super fun Martha Stewart glass paint. Well, the custom serveware continues today. Why? Because custom is always (usually) better. These serving spoons were simple simple to make and will be a fun way to add flair to my average pieces. Customize colors and patterns for each occasion. Multi size stripes in multi colors for Cinco de Mayo, pastels for Mother's Day, red, white and blue for 4th of July, the possibilities are endless! Here's the how to...

:: Supplies ::
Silver Serving Utensils
Acrylic Paint
Painter's Tape
Paint Brush
Bull's Eye Shellac Clear Spray Paint (This brand is food safe!)

:: Directions ::
1. Tape off the base of the spoon to create a clean break while painting.
2. Paint handle of utensil in desired color. Let dry completely. Paint stripe or pattern in desired color and let dry. Remove tape.
3. Once paint is completely dry, spray with Bull's Eye Shellac. Let dry.

*Note: While Shellac will help with chipping, utensils should be hand washed.


Indulge In {Pea & Prosciutto Salad}

Without fail, when the weather changes, my food cravings do too. I no longer want hearty stews, chili, and potatoes and start desiring fresh vegetables and lighter fare with fresh tasting ingredients. Bland salads aren't for everybody, and certainly aren't my first choice, but green just seems right as a side dish during the spring. I shared this recipe last year, and as we transition the party outside, I thought I would share it again. This pea and prosciutto salad is light but flavorful and a crowd pleaser for sure. The freshness is what sells me. It goes great with chicken, seafood, and burger and is much nicer alternative to the traditional salad. Here's the recipe!

:: Ingredients ::
4 Slices Prosciutto
2 Cups Frozen Green Peas
1/4 Cup Feta Crumbles
1 Clove Garlic, minced
2 Green Onions, diced
2.5 Tablespoons Olive Oil

:: Directions ::
1. Cook the four slices of prosciutto until crispy. Set aside. Crumble once cooled.
2. In a medium pot, bring water to a boil. Add frozen peas and cook till defrosted, about 2 minutes. Drain.
3. In a bowl, combine peas, crumbled prosciutto, feta, garlic, green onion, and olive oil. Season with salt and pepper to taste.


The Happiest Hour {Dancing Flamingo...Round 1}

So there's this tradition in the Bahamas that I've been dying to bring back to the states for years. Every place you go has a signature house rum drink. Armed with names like The Blaster and The Guana Grabber, these cocktails can't be beat. It has been my mission lately to create our signature recipe. Something that we can whip up in big batches and serve by the pitcher at all gatherings. Creating the perfect recipe isn't something that happens in a single try though. I know the base, coconut rum, and some flavors I'd like to include, strawberry and orange. Everything else though is up in the air. Join us on the journey to creating the perfect house rum cocktail and whip up this first attempt. I'd love to hear your feedback! Here's the recipe...

:: Ingredients ::
1.5 Parts Strawberry Juice
1.5 Parts Fresh Squeezed Orange Juice
2 Lime Wedges
1 Part Coconut Rum
1/2 Part Grand Marnier

:: Directions ::
1. Combine strawberry juice, orange juice, coconut rum, and grand marnier in a shaker and shake to combine.
2. Squeeze lime wedge over ice and strain cocktail into glass. Garnish with an additional lime wedge and serve.


Go Custom

I'm not quite sure to call this a DIY post or a feature on Martha Stewart's new glass paint. Either way, it's awesome! It all started last Thursday when I was planning posts for this week. I decided I wanted to do a DIY on creating custom serveware and glass pieces. And so, it began with research. How to paint on glass and it be dishwasher safe. The first couple Google results were way to many steps for my ADD self. Then about halfway down was a blurb about Martha Stewart Glass Paint. Sold! It's exactly what I was looking for and made by Martha Stewart. It comes in 120 different colors and is as easy as painting it on, letting it dry and baking for 30 minutes. To top it all off, it is 100% completely dish washer safe. After a quick trip to Michael's, I was ready to create. That day, I made a bowl for myself and two cookie/storage jars for my mom's birthday. I had to refrain from making more as I seriously lack storage. But, on the agenda soon is a platter or two, maybe some monogramed wine glasses, and who knows what else. The best part is is that this paint will work on any non-poris surface and there are a thousand stencils to make it easy! No longer will I be on the search for the perfect platter, bowl, pitcher, etc for a party. Now I can just make it!


Color Me {Strawberry Lemonade}

As the sun gets brighter and the days get longer, I can't help but remember back to a simpler time. When your a kid, all that really matters is having fun. You're carefree, full of life and celebrate each little victory. I can't help but wonder why it can't be the same when we grow up. It is my vow that from now on, I will take the little kids approach to life. Celebrate everything and just have fun. Today's post is an ode to that. The pink and yellow combo screams of spring and fun memories. Just looking at it, I can't help but smile and want to bust out the old fashioned lemonade stand for some neighborhood fun. Now, while I go plan a block party, tell me...what's was your favorite part about being a kid that you will bring to your life now?

Have a great Monday!


Bucket Full of Fun

Spring has sprung and I've never been happier. I was in desperate need of warm days and sunshine afternoons spent outside lounging. Now that it's here, it's time to pack away the coats and winter fun and create my spring bucket list. It's bursting with bright activities and seasonal adventures you'll want to do yourself. Here's my list of springtime must dos!

1. Entertain Outdoors: Spring is the perfect time to host an outdoor soiree. The temperatures aren't too hot and the flowers are in full bloom creating natural decor.

2. Go Custom: I'm tired of searching for the perfect service pieces. Now that I've discovered Martha Stewart Glass Paint, I plan on creating my own pieces for every occasion.

3. Clean It Out: The front planter bed at our house has been suffering for quite a while now. It's overgrown and a little ratty looking. I can't wait to get in there is a pair of sheers and make it look fresh again. It's the ultimate form of spring cleaning if you ask me!

4. Take a Bike Ride: I'm from a coastal town and bike rides around town are what we do best. Living in a city that is a bit spread out makes that hard. But, this spring, I'm determined to bring bike riding back. Watch out Tallahassee, me and my bike are coming for you!

5. Shop the Farmer's Market: I love hitting the farmer's market in the spring. It brings out more vendors and fresher fruits and vegetables. I can't wait to see what interesting treats they have and to create some fresh yummy dishes to share with you.

6. Grow a Green Thumb: I am notorious for killing off plants. It doesn't matter what kind of plant, it instantly dies in my care. But, this spring I'm determined to take a fresh approach to things and start small with some fresh herbs.

Have a great weekend y'all!


Indulge In {Lemon Basil Strawberry Shortcake}

Oh that's right, I went there. You've never had strawberry shortcake quite like this before. If you follow me on Twitter, (you totally should!) you would have read the other day that I  was planning on putting my spin on the classic. The outcome, a dash of limoncello and fresh basil added to a homemade strawberry syrup that would top the cake. Let me tell you, it was divine! Traditional strawberry shortcake is already light and flavorful but the touch of lemon and basil brings a freshness that is needed. The additional flavors are subtle enough to not be over powering but bold enough to make a difference. I'm telling you, this dessert is going to be my go to through both spring and summer parties. The recipe is below. Give it a whirl because I'm dying to know what you think!

:: Ingredients ::
1 Pint Fresh Strawberries, sliced
1/2 Cup Limoncello
2 Basil Leaves, plus additional for garnish
1/4 Cup Sugar
Angel Food Cake
Whipped Cream
Lemon Slices for Garnish

:: Directions ::
1. In a medium sauce pan combine strawberries, limoncello, basil leaves and sugar. Cook over medium heat until sugar is dissolved and mixture is reduced. Remove from heat and cool.
2. Once the strawberry mixture has cooled, plate two slices of angel food cake and top with mixture. Add a dollop of whipped cream and garnish with additional basil leaves and a lemon slice.


Party DIY {Ribbon Wands}

Two DIY's in a row? So unusual. But, I've been feeling a bit more creative with the change of seasons. For the longest time now, the big trend in wedding send offs has been the sparkler. I get it, they're fun and make for a great pictures, especially at night. But, like every trend, there comes a time for a new one. Said new trend is the ribbon wand. I remember playing with something similar as a kid and having a blast! I would dance around twirling the wand until I couldn't stand it any longer. Now, as an adult I wish I could go back to that time, and I can with these wands. Not only are they a dazzling send off but fun for party guests of all ages to play with. Plus they are easy enough to make yourself and customize for you soiree. Here's the step by step on making your own!

:: Supplies ::
1/4 in. Dowel Rod
Eye Hooks
Assorted Ribbon
Wood Saw
Fine Sandpaper

:: Directions ::
1. Using your wood saw, trim your dowel rod into 12" sections. (With a standard rod, you should get 4 pieces)
2. Sand the edges of each new rod to ensure that splinters are gone.
3. Take your eye hook and begin to twist it into the end. (Be sure to center it!)
4. Trim your ribbon into 2 ft pieces. Gather four pieces together and string through eye hook, tying into a knot around the hook.

Have a creative Wednesday!


Party DIY {Spring Napkin Rings}

I've recently been inspired by things I find around my own house. Things that seem so out of the ordinary and could never be anything beautiful or party appropriate. It started one day when I was reminiscing about the fun crafts from elementary school made from things like paper plates, paper towel rolls, plain white paper and more. We used such creativity as a kid and it has seemed to disappear over the years. I decided to bring it back though. I wanted to take your average brown toilet paper (or paper towel) roll and turn it into something bright, fun and perfect for everyday or party days. The outcome, colorful patterned napkin rings. I instagramed a sneak peak over the weekend and am glad to share the step by step DIY with you today. Here you go...

:: Supplies ::
1 Toilet Paper Roll
Assorted Acrylic Paint
Flower Appliqué

:: Directions ::
1. Begin by measuring 1" increments on the roll. Mark with a pencil. Trace line around roll.
2. Cut around lines. Trim rough edges.
3. Paint a base color on each ring. Let dry. With a second color, paint a pattern such as lines or dots. Let dry. Adorn with self adhering flower applique.


Color Me {Bubbles}

I know bubbles aren't technically a color, but I've been seeing more and more of them recently and they have me completely inspired. Their whimsical and fun vibe would make such a great theme for a summer get together or a little girl's birthday bash. Blow up clear and champagne colored balloons and tape them to the wall in a cascading fashion. Continue the theme by serving up glasses of bubbles (champagne for adults and Sprite for the little girls) and setting off the bubble machine. Send guests home with personalized container of bubbles to finish off the day!

Have a great Monday!