Thursday, March 31, 2011

{Invitations} Ticket

I recently was asked to create something for a family member who is surprising her husband with a fly fishing trip to Montana. I don't know what fly fishing is but a trip of any sort sounds good to me right about now ;-} Apparantly Doug's had many a drunkin' rant and rave about wanting to take a trip like this, so for his 50th birthday, Mel finally took the plunge and booked a guys' vaca for him. She'll be surprising him with this tomorrow {April Fool's Day -- oh how I wish I could be a fly on the wall for this one!}.

When we initially spoke about this, she handed me a ton of flyers explaining the trip details and just wanted me to put something together. Ummmm hello -- pressure! I didn't have a ton of time to work on this, but I thought it might be fun and appropriate to create a big ticket with some of the trip details. Then I rolled all the paperwork Mel had given me and tied each bundle with ribbon. Lastly, I used scrapbook papers to make a very large turquoise blue envelope to hold everything.

I can't wait to hear about how her surprise reveal goes and wishing Doug a very happy 50th and a fabulous guys' getaway!

**IN like a lion & OUT like a lion -- what the heck, March?!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

{Decorating} Easy Spring/Easter Touches

A few weeks ago I added some very simple spring decor to my home. First, I collected branchs from my backyard and arranged them in this pretty pitcher from IKEA. Then I added some sparkly hanging Easter eggs, clip-on butterflies, and crystals to the branches. Curly willow is my favorite and would have looked much better than branches but this decorating was done on a budget!

Next up? The mantle. I used candles, moss, and a vase with springy branches to decorate. Then I added more sparkly eggs in an apothocary jar and the only two knickknacks I own, Mr. Bunny and his wife.

Pottery Barn inspired my branches with pink florals {theirs are MUCH MORE BEAUTIFUL than my simple recreation}. They caught my eye the second I saw them in the catalog, but I wasn't quite sure how to make my own. Then I came across my friend Kara's post about her spring branches on her blog, Tizzilish. All she did was use the blooms from silk flowers and glued them onto her branches. Brilliant! I used old flowers I had in my basement, pulled some of the blooms off and just slid them over the branches. No glue. No mess. Easy.

My favorite wall in my home is the wall that holds the fireplace, mantle and these charming, "old looking" built-ins, which provide me with some great storage {behind each door is a deep cabinet with shelving}. I say "old looking" because I could have sworn they were original to my 125 year old home; however, we learned they were actually added to the home by the previous owner within the last ten years and made from the old, original closet doors from the bedrooms. Ahhh...old gets me every time.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

{Inspiration} I'm Having... of those weeks. Ya know -- the ones where you feel overly tired, cranky, overwhelmed, and just in a funk. Ughh.

I've been thinking a lot about "things" lately, and I'm more convinced than ever that I should, NEED TO BE...home, raising my son. I desperately wish it were that simple because if it were, I would have made that call last September.

I found this quote on Mrs. A in the Cove's blog. It inspires me to push forward. Keeps me from abandoning my dreams. Gives me hope that one day I will have my wish. This quote AND lots of prayer.

**The light at the end of the tunnel is in sight, and I'm keeping my eyes on the prize -- a little less than 3 months of school left until a summer spent at home!

Monday, March 28, 2011

{Invitations} Alisa's Bridal Shower

I just wrapped up these bridal shower invites for my friend Nicole, who is throwing a bridal shower for her sister-in-law, Alisa. They are simple with a focus on the color green -- the same color as her bridesmaids' dresses.


I've got the Monday bluuuueeeessss. The weekend is never long enough -- NEVER. Okay, enough complaining. I am staring at my beautiful, happy, healthy son sleeping on the monitor right this very second, and he just made the sweetest little noise. Blessed is an understatement.

AND....look at him go! My little, traveling babe recently starting walking on his own. I cannot believe it. Who gave him permission to grow up so fast?!

Here's to a quick week!

Friday, March 25, 2011

{LOVE} Hair Accessories

I have recently been having a love affair with pretty flower hair accessories. How beautiful is this one from Whippy Cake?

LOVE this one -- the Audrey by Banner Boutique. How fitting is the name {and how precious is that little model -- adorable!}? Ahhh...I wish I had an occassion to get dressed up because this would be so cute!

Banner Boutique also makes this sassy little number!

I ordered these sweet little clips for a wedding I went to a few years ago. I'm so bummed because this Etsy seller's shop is no longer open -- boo hoo. She has GREAT hair accessories and was very reasonable. Come back Mollusa!


Thursday, March 24, 2011

{Etsy} Two Sugar Babies

I just ordered these adorable fondant toppers from Two Sugar Babies, who I absolutely ADORE by the way. Can you guess what they're for?

Details soon...

While I was there, I spotted these carrot toppers for Easter. LOVE.

**It's almost Friday!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

{Inspiration} Parasols

I am LOVING the use of parasols in this photo shoot featuring Anders Ruff new Easter collection. What a cute touch for a spring inspired event or baby/bridal "shower." ADORABLE!

I seriously LOVE how they are hung upside down from the ceiling!

**Just a quick post today -- BIG clinical presentation tonight for grad school {and 4 papers due -- AHHH!}. Less than one more month and I'm a free woman -- beyond excited to be done! Back to work...

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

{Parties} Gourmet Night

My husband and I and four other couples that we are friends with are getting together on a monthly basis for dinner -- aka Gourmet Night. Here's how it works -- on the second Saturday of the month, each couple takes a turn at hosting the other four couples for dinner. The hosts are responsible for the entire meal and the guests bring the wine. Love it!

Gary & Alyssa hosted the first Gourmet Night this past weekend at their lovely home in Wenonah. Alyssa has exquisite taste and put together an absolutely stunning appetizer display featuring all different kinds of gourmet cheeses, crackers, grapes, olives, etc. Her presentation was so creative -- she used slate to house the cheese and then used chalk to label each different kind. Not only that, but instead of serving dishes, Alyssa used terra cotta pots. I felt like I was in a rustic Italian bistro and the terra cotta added a springy feel. Beautiful!

**The pics don't do this justice -- trust me!

My cute hubby diggin' right in...

Toasting Gourmet Night -- it was so nice to get out for the night with my husband and enjoy good food, a glass of wine {or 2...okay 3!} and the company of some great people.

After we enjoyed the appetizers, we moved upstairs to G & A's dining room, where Alyssa created one of the most gorgeous table settings I've ever seen. It was so springy -- all the greens were perfect for this time of year. I think it helps that their home is one of my favorites -- very Pottery Barnesque but with Alyssa's flare added in.

You can get a better look in this picture. I love all the little potted greens sprinkled all over the table.

This picture shows what may have been my favorite detail of the night. Every other place setting featured a hand-crafted charger {made by Alyssa}. She used a plate-sized piece of cardboard and glued greens all around it. Then sat the plates on top. CLEVER! I love this look and may use this as inspiration for the Mother's Day brunch I'm hosting for my mom and MIL.

Crafty menus for each place setting.

Flatbread pizza made by G & A - YUM!

Delicious Italian desserts to end the night.

G & A -- EVERYTHING was WONDERFUL! We are so happy to be a part of Gourmet Night!

**Bo and I are hosting in June. I'm kicking around ideas now -- a Sushi Night/Asian Fushion might be fun when it's our turn. Oh, I don't know! Stay tuned for those details in the coming months!

Monday, March 21, 2011

{Invitations} POP Shop Inspired Invitations

I recently made these Pop Shop inspired bridal shower invitations for a friend from work. The bridal shower was held in the Pop Shop's party room, so we set up the invite to resemble the Pop Shop's sign. I think they turned out really cute!

Speaking of "things that pop," I found this adorable "POP" baby shower on P is for Party's blog. I love some of the details, especially these glass jars filled with flavored "POP"corn. How cute!


And these scrapbook paper cones to hold the popcorn are adorable too. I made some of these for my sister's baby sprinkle last summer, and they add such a nice "POP" of color to party decor.

**Don't miss my post tomorrow on our first Gourmet Night at our friend's home. Lots of beautiful entertaining details!


Monday again = back to the grind. And to make matters worse the cold, wintery weather is back again :-[

Friday, March 18, 2011

{Inspiration} Dessert Tables = My FAV

I've made it no secret that I LOVE me a beautiful dessert table. Check out just a few of my favorite spreads below -- what a feast for the eyes! Perhaps they will inspire you to try one of your own!

In awe of this oh-so-lovely yellow & gray "LOVE" table by The TomKat Studio.

Hostess with the Mostess debuted this GORGE garden flower dessert spread the other week and I fell head-over-heals in love. It screams spring -- love the colors, love the cherry blossom branches, love it all!

This adorable bow-tie themed dessert spread instantly caught my eye. The serving dishes, the sideboard the spread is arranged on, and the soft yellow, green and blue hues give this spread a slightly vintage feel, which I love. Besides, anything "little man" themed holds a special place with me!

How beautiful is this "glam camping" dessert spread? All of the little touches are adorable, not to mention how it's arranged on what looks like an old wooden wagon. Love the netting over the spread too. That sunlight casting it's fallish rays make me swoon as well -- ahhhh.

I can't get enough of this red ball themed spread. So classic and simple. And I can tell a set of very meticulous hands put this table together!

How could I have forgotten this one?! This preppy pinwheel table by Sharnel of My Life My Loves was one of the very first spreads I stumbled upon when my dessert table obsession first began. First -- love how it's a boy's table and second -- love the simplicity of it. So beautiful!

**If you visit each of the links I provided, you will be able to see the entire post on each of these parties!

Happy Friday, Happy Weekend!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

{St. Patrick's Day} Shamrockin' Dessert!

Top o' the mornin' to ya'll! I have a festive St. Patty's dessert idea to share {I made these the other night for a girls' night}. It was ridiculously easy -- I layered brownies, chocolate pudding, and coolwhip in footed glasses. You could also layer in some crushed oreos too or anything else you wanted.

Taking inspiration from TomKat's adorable St. Patty's wreath {never did get around to making it}, I simply cut burlap {which I already had in my fabric trunk} in thin strips, tied it around each glass and tucked a sparkly shamrock I bought from Joann's Fabric store in the knot. Then I added little toppers to each dessert by gluing green embellishment balls leftover from some Christmas crafts to a lollipop stick and then sticking them in the middle of each dessert. PIECE OF CAKE!

**You could make this kind of dessert for any occasion. Not to mention, they'd look fabulous on a dessert/sweets table. I'm thinking poundcake, strawberries, blueberries and coolwhip for July 4th. Or red and green jello with coolwhip for Christmas. Ooooohhhh, the possibilities are endless. Kiddies would love these simple dessert treats too!


Wednesday, March 16, 2011

{Fashion} Dresses, Dresses, Dresses

Now that it's almost officially spring, I have cute dresses on my mind. They have been catching my eye every which way I turn and let me tell you -- my eye is always drawn to most expensive dresses out there -- ughhh! Take this sweet yet sassy JCrew Gallerista party dress -- I'm loving the bright pops of springy colors **BUT** at $325, I can definitely do without.

But wait, wait!!! I might not have to do completely without because I think I may have found...

...a suitable and much more reasonably priced alternative at Kohls. This little Simply Vera satin shift dress rings up at $46.99 {and I have $20 Kohls cash and a 30% off coupon right now -- SCORE}! There is also a pretty embellishment on the neckline of this dress.

And how about this adorable Old Navy ruffled eyelet dress for $34.50? Can't beat it! I snagged this in black for my upcoming May graduation from Wilmington University. I love this dress not only for it's price but also because it's so versatile. I could dress this up with some fun jewelry and heels, dress it down with flipflops and a jean jacket, or even wear it to work with flats or low heels and a cute cardigan.

There are many more adorable and affordable dresses I'm loving currently but I'm trying to be good. "Self-control, self-control, self-control..."

Happy Hump Day! 75 degrees on Friday -- WOO!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

{Featured} Baby Lifestyles

When I was contacted last week by Lauren, the editor of Baby Lifestyles, and asked if they could feature Dean's "Little Mister Mustache Bash," I was beyond excited and completely honored!

This website is a great resource for mothers and soon-to-be mamas as it features the latest and most up-to-date nursery ideas, party & baby shower ideas, gift ideas, and celebrity parents just to name a few. Check them out!

And while you're there, take a little look at Dean's party feature!

Monday, March 14, 2011

{Home Improvements} Family Room = Complete

My husband and I finished up our family room a few days before our son's first birthday party in February. The plan was a simple makeover -- fresh, airy, light and most importantly, we wanted to create more space for our growing family. I know these pics aren't the greatest, {they are "action" shots from Dean's party} but you can get the general idea of the look of the room.

Above is the storage bench we added in place of our old love seat. This is my favorite part of our updated space. I love how it opens up the entire area, let's in tons of afternoon light, provides a great seating area when we entertain, and Bo loves relaxing there on weekends when Dean is napping. And how could I forget Ginger?! She's our little watch dog that sits on guard and stares out those windows for any glimpse of a squirrel she can get ;-]

I had my go-to girl, Cheryldine, make me a fabric cushion with piping for the bench. She does excellent work and is fairly reasonable. I also liked how I was able to choose the fabric and didn't have to purchase something pre-made. She also made me a Christmas tree skirt from my wedding aisle runner and Dean's dedication outfit from my wedding gown.

The new sectional is perfect for this room. It's not huge, but it's plenty big for us. I picked up the light turquoisey blue in the window bench cushion by adding pillows in the same color. Most of this room is neutral, so the subtle pop of color is a welcome addition.

I intended to add shelving above the couch and do leaning photos but IKEA stopped selling their longest RIBBA shelf, so I nixed the idea and just used the frames. They're simple and I love how they each holds a close-up pic of my baby boy from his first birthday photo shoot with Karen Carpenter Photography. There is also a fourth pic that is not shown in this picture.

**The poor guys were a little caught off guard when I snapped this picture -- that's why they all have the deer-in-headlights look going on - ha!

Lastly, we purchased a four cubby shelving unit to hide some of Dean's puzzles, books, etc. I couldn't hide all the toys though -- you can see the start of a long row of toys along one wall in my family room. Oh well -- those are the breaks when you have a one-year-old and live in a modest home. It's all about being practical and creating a space that is functional these days!

**We definitely made this room over on a budget. We sold all of our old furniture, tv cabinet, end tables, lamps, etc on Craigs list, so that helped balance out the new purchases.

Built-in Bench -- Made by my father-in-law
Custom cushion -- Cheryldine Cantagallo
Cushion fabric -- Joann Fabric
Sectional couch -- Raymour & Flanigan
Pillows -- Kohls
Leather ottoman -- Overstock
4 cubby shelving unit & 12x12 wall frames -- IKEA
Lamps -- TJ Maxx
Curtains -- Bed, Bath & Beyond
Rug -- Pottery Barn outlet
Corner cabinet tv stand {not pictured} -- Costco
Pedestal end table {not pictured} -- Target

Friday, March 11, 2011

{Inspiration} Party Dress Magazine

If you haven't already heard, The Party Dress is in the process of launching a new online entertaining magazine. Can't wait to see it -- already in LOVE with this sneak peek picture, and I think it's only the front cover!

**The rain is outta here and sunny skies have arrived just in time for the weekend! ENJOY!

{Recipes} Warm Bread Pudding & Vanilla Sauce

**Please excuse the lamo picture -- I had about 2 seconds to quickly snap a shot before I rushed off to work {you can see it was still baking in the oven}. It does not do this recipe justice even a little.**

The recipe originated from one of our school secretaries, Phyllis B, but was shared with me by my friend Patty. To-DIE-for! I made this yesterday morning for a school counseling meeting I was attending, and it was a hit!


Bread Pudding
~ 6 slightly beaten large eggs
~ 2 3/4 cups granulated sugar
~ 1/4 cup lightly packed light brown sugar
~ 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
~ 1/2 cup melted butter
~ 5 1/2 cups heavy cream
~ 10 cups day old French bread, cubed
~ Raisins {optional}

Vanilla Sauce
~ 1 cup granulated sugar
~ 1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
~ 3 tablespoons flour
~ Dash of nutmeg
~ 2 large eggs
~ 4 tablespoons butter
~ 2 2/3 cups heavy cream
~ 2 tablespoons pure vanilla extract


Bread Pudding
Pre-heat oven to 375°. In large mixing bowl, combine eggs, sugars, and nutmeg. Add melted butter until blended. Add cream until blended. Gently stir in bread cubes and raisins. Pour into greased 4-quart baking pan. Bake approximately 60 minutes. Shield with aluminum foil half way through baking to avoid over-browning. Pudding is done when a knife inserted midway between pan’s edge and center comes out clean.

Vanilla Sauce
In a heavy saucepan, whisk all ingredients except vanilla over medium heat. Whisk constantly until thick. Remove from heat and slowly add vanilla extract. Serve warm over bread pudding. ENJOY!

** This versatile recipe would be perfect for a breakfast/brunch or an after-dinner dessert.
** It's also yummy served with vanilla ice-cream
** I didn't even make the vanilla sauce since I was transporting this, and it was still delish!



For all you working moms out there that still like to get a decent meal on the table for your family even though you're MAD busy -- my husband and I tried this easy meal the other night and loved it. I was craving a chicken parm sandwich, so in an attempt to keep it healthy, we decided to bake the chicken rather than fry it.

First, we dipped chicken cutlets in a little flour, then egg and then coated them with Panco and some Italian seasoning. Next, bake chicken for approximately 1/2 hour or until done to your liking. Then place in a torpedo roll, add a little Dom Pepino's pizza sauce {remember -- working mom meal here}, a little grated parmesan cheese and some light shredded mozzarella cheese. Then put the sammie in the oven for another 3-4 minutes or so until all the cheese melts and the roll is lightly toasted. Serve with a little side salad.

This totally satisfied my craving for a chicken parm sandwich but for a lot less calories and minimal time!


Thursday, March 10, 2011

{Inspiration} Blog Love

I am completely inspired by two things about this picture :: the blog I found it on and the shelving.

Let me begin with the blog -- have you checked out Favorite Paint Colors? It's a new blog that's dedicated to beautiful paint colors, and I'm LOVING it because that's always what I struggle with most when decorating. I have a vision of the color I want to see on the wall, but can never seem to find it. I've already found this blog extremely helpful -- I'm even thinking I might need to repaint my bathroom now ;-] My husband will be thrilled will this news...especially after he reads the paragraph below.

I am also loving the open shelving in this picture. I've mentioned a new kitchen floor and a built-in desk before -- none of which has happened yet. Hoping I can convince my hubby to start the floor soon, and I'm still brainstorming ideas on the desk. I've been thinking about just keeping it simple and adding a skinny piece of floating countertop with a stool that can be hidden underneath as the desk. Then, using the above picture as inspiration, incorporating some open shelving and maybe even updating my kitchen message center, which is on the same wall {PB will be my inspiration on that one}.

Don't you just love the adorable, brightly colored, framed children's wall art in the above pic as well? Nothing like it! I can't wait to do this with Dean's creations -- my poor boy has no idea what he's in for with me as his mother -- HA!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

{Inspiration} St. Patty's Wreath

Cute, right?! I spotted this adorable wreath {and from the sound of Kim's tutorial, fairly simple to make as well} on TomKat's blog. I might just have to try this...


With St. Patty's Day just around the corner {and a girls' night falling on the same night}, I thought it would be fun to make a festive dessert to celebrate {ya know, since my days of St. Patty's Day happy hours and pub crawls are O.V.E.R}. I'll be posting that next week!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

{Recipes} Southwestern Sloppy Joes

This little recipe is a BIG winner in my opinion! My friend Patty shared this with me, and not only is it healthy, it's also hearty {and my husband LOVED it!}. You'll just have to try it for yourself!

~ 1 tbsp. EVOO
~ 1 medium onion, diced
~ 1 garlic clove, minced
~ 1 small jalapeno, deseeded
~ 1 tsp chili powder
~ 1/2 tsp dried oregano
~ 1 lb ground turkey
~ 7 oz can Mexicorn, drained
~ 1 1/2 cups salsa
~ 1 tbsp dark brown sugar
~ Light hamburger buns {I used Weight Watcher's buns}

1. Saute onion, garlic & jalapeno in EVOO until soft
2. Add chili powder & oregano and cook one more minute
3. Add turkey & corn and cook until nearly dry {approximately 4 minutes}
4. Stir in salsa & brown sugar, stirring until thickened
5. Serve on hamburger buns

**I also served my sloppy joes with roasted asparagus and sweet potato wedges. YUM & HEALTHY!

**This recipe made plenty, so I have a decent amount of leftovers for work lunches this week. BONUS!

**I've got another "Patty" recipe coming this week, and my mouth is already watering at just the thought of it!