I believe I recently mentioned that there was some planning going on for my upcoming (gulp!) 30th birthday. There’s a semi-tradition among my friends to throw a surprise party for this milestone birthday but I couldn’t let someone else have all the fun planning!
The theme is a little… out there. But it came to me during a moment of inspiration when chatting with some friends about an ad one of them saw for a cotillion in Missouri (long story). And “The Dirty Thirty Debutante Ball” was created. You may be wondering, “What does a ‘Dirty Thirty Debutante Ball’ look like?” An excellent question. Guests are encouraged to dress up as a dirty debutante – which is whatever they want it to be – give it a whiskey tango twist, a rocker edge or glitz and glam it up. It’s basically their excuse to wear whatever you want! The ladies will be happy to embrace this but I realize some of the guys in attendance may be a little hesitant. Which is fine but they have been challenged channel their inner Keith Richards-David Bowie-Elton John-Prince fashion sense.
But determining how the invitations, decor, entertainment all tie in is the current project that you may see a few posts on in the next month. First up, invitations. You may have noticed, I like to create my own.

More for the fun of it than anything else – there are plenty of a-mazing designers out there I should be using! A little more of my “handiwork” can be found here and here. Please note: this is only when somewhere between 5-20 invitations are being sent. Any more and it would be put in the hands of a pro. Naturally, I wanted to have a little fun creating the Dirty Deb invites. But I’m trying out some Photoshop fun instead of hand-crafting (centering, folding, gluing, etc.). The final product will be revealed later, but here is where some of the inspiration has come from:



source unknown


You may be seeing a color scheme here…
I hope to have an inspiration board up soon. But I do want to know – what do you think a Dirty Thirty Debutante Ball would look like?

I promise you, I tried. I thought a lot about my resolutions/goals/hopes for 2011. A lot. I spent a few weeks considering them and then a full Megabus trip to Chicago composing them. So these things were not taken lightly. Nevertheless, I have failed to make the time to focus on them.

I won’t make you sit through everything I hope to accomplish in the next year 11 months in hopes to become a better person. But one of them include becoming more disciplined. And that includes with this website and blogging. Now, there are no expectations on my end that the Socialize Blog become the next big stop in event blogs (there are plenty of talented people out there to handle that and I will use plenty of their ideas and photos here!).  Not everyone has the time to fill their Google Reader with feeds about dessert tables, garlands and baby shower themes. But many people do happen upon a time when they have to plan something – a wedding, a birthday party, the company holiday festivities. So I do want this to be a great source for readers to get some inspiration for those times, tips on how to plan effective parties and events and check out what’s going on in the world of Socialize. But the only way to make it that is by committing to it and making time for it most days.

So I am going to try to set time aside to blog every day. It’s very likely that not every post will be the witty, engaging work of word-art I want it to be but you’ll forgive me right?
There is plenty to cover! And I better get on it!  I owe my friends at Cafe di Scala a new guest post, I owe you some more Local Love and some updates on what’s in the works for 2011 (like my upcoming 30th bday bash!!).

You’re also invited to share photos and information about your events to be featured here. I would love to see what you’ve created and any tips you have to share.
OK – good talk!

It was almost a year ago that we talked turquoise. If you were a bride, designer or artist of any type, you couldn’t escape turquoise pallets. Now Pantone is back with their declaration of the “it” color of 2011.  Get ready for an onslaught of Honeysuckle!

According to Pantone, “Honeysuckle emboldens us to face everyday troubles with verve and vigor. A dynamic reddish pink, Honeysuckle is encouraging and uplifting. It elevates our psyche beyond escape, instilling the confidence, courage and spirit to meet the exhaustive challenges that have become part of everyday life.”
Interestingly, Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone Color Institute® says, “‘The intensity of this festive reddish pink allures and engages. In fact, this color, not the sweet fragrance of the flower blossoms for which it was named, is what attracts hummingbirds to nectar.'”

There does seem to be some “controversy” over whether this color is to be loved or despised but I think that once we see how it can be used effectively, most people will give it a like.

Of course, I’m already a huge fan of the new color. Can’t really put my finger on why exactly…

I swear we didn't pay the people at Pantone to get the scoop!

It is a vibrant color and it is well, very pink. But the hue can work to works well with several colors (orange, yellow, navy, some greens, gold, gray, and of course, turquoise) and in many different settings; girly (of course), glam, rustic, fun and modern can all handle some Honeysuckle. How to make it work in each situation just depends on whether you use it as a major player in your pallet or as an accent.

via Beach View Rentals

via Elizabeth Anne Designs

via Save the Date for Cupcakes

via Eat Drink Pretty

via Amy Atlas

via Icing Designs

One thing you can be certain about – expect to see pink everything. everywhere in the months to come. What do you think? Will you be changing any of your event design or home decor plans to include Honeysuckle?

With all the holiday madness, who has time to plan a New Year’s Eve bash? More importantly, who is hosting a NYE party but hasn’t had the time to plan it?
Not to worry, we’ve compiled some last-minute inspiration (and some FREE printables) for you. So put the champagne on ice, pick up some supplies and get ready for 2011!

Of course one of the best sources of inspiration is always Pizzazzerie and you couldn’t expect anything but fabulousness from Courtney. Her “Midnight” themed party has a perfect mix of fun and elegance.

via Pizzazerie

Black, white and bling seem to be making the most appearances this time around. And why not? It’s classic, gorgeous and versatile. Chris from Celebrations at Home not only put together a fab holiday table that easily transitions to NYE

via Celebrations at Home

but then she creates a gorgeous bar to match.  (Check out the coordinating dessert table too!)

via Celebrations at Home

You can also take basic black and white and add a pop of color (again, use those Christmas decorations!) like The Couture Cakery did for The Hostess with the Mostess.

via Hostess with the Mostess

Check out Catch My Party for a little something from Paper Dolls you can use to pull any of the black and white looks together.

via Catch My Party

For the trend-lovers, why not close out 2010 with Pantone’s color of the year? Two great sets of printables are available in turquoise!

via Catch My Party

via Love The Day

These Love the Day printable were actually created to support Operation Shower, in hopes that you will spread the word about their Operation Give Thanks fundraising campaign. Read the post to learn more.

Some subdued but still lovely ideas from {every}nothing wonderful via The Sweetest Occassion (post includes the printable suite).

Have the kids joining you for the festivities? Check out this party for ideas on how to make it fun for them and still glam enough for you. (Once again with the black and white)

via Pizzazerie

Finally, if you still have to work on NYE and you’re not sure how you’ll get the time to get everything ready, once again, Chris from Celebrations at Home has you covered with a classic silver and gold setting:

via Celebrations at Home

She didn’t buy anything for this table except the grocery items! You could easily do the same using your own holiday decoration colors.

Had enough? No? OK – we’ve rounded up few more free printables. Don’t say Socialize never did anything for you! Here’s to you and a wonderful 2011!!

Free printables from anna and blue paperie

Subway art from Custom Printable

Printables from Anders Ruff (OK, not free but only $18 and adorable!)

Yesterday I shared the table photos from the Thanksfeast celebration that was held at my house. I have to admit, the table was my favorite part but there were a few more spots that the color schemed was worked into as well. The fireplace mantel served as a nice backdrop for the appetizers (VERY light appetizers since we are pretty serious about the FEAST in Thanksfeast) and another table was set up as the bar. Because these were key areas, it made sense to make sure they followed the theme of the evening.


The bar table filled out a little more after the wine was added and the punchbowl was filled. For the signature drink this year, I used a recipe for Holiday Punch. When I made the ice ring, I included some orange slices in the ice as well. The punch is citrusy with a little bit of grapefruit taste, sweet and refreshing. It was definitely a hit but probably best used as a pre-dinner drink. It is probably a little too sweet and tart to really enhance a meal. I did cut the recipe below in half because most of our guests prefer beer and wine. There was just a little leftover – always know your audience!

• 5 cups orange juice
• 4 lemon slices
• 4 orange slices
• 4 cups gin
• 2 oz grenadine
• 1/2 cup curaçao
• 1-1/2 cups lemon juice
• 1 litre of lemon-lime soda
Mixing instructions:
Pour chilled gin, curaçao, fruit juices, and grenadine into a punch bowl with a cake of ice. Stir well, add soda, and stir again gently. Garnish with fruit slices.

While I had entirely too much fun putting everything together, the best part was having wonderful friends come to our home and share some time with us. The next time you’re thinking about a party or event, contact Socialize to help put everything together and help during the event so you have more time to share with your friends and family and enjoy the festivities!

My husband, friends and I wrapped up another Thanksfeast a couple weeks ago.  Although there’s always a little chaos when we’re trying to get all the hot food on the buffet, it was great fun. I think all 20 people could say they had a great time!

I mentioned here that my tablescape inspiration was based on the Thanksgiving table that Eddie Ross created for Lonny.

The inspiration from Eddie Ross

Just gorgeous, right? With 20 people coming I knew I wouldn’t have the budget for the kind of china and stemware used as place settings. I also wasn’t about to change my light fixture out for the party. (I would have liked to but I didn’t have a magazine fund to work with!) Admittedly, I am not an event designer I am much better at making sure everything goes off without a hitch and guests go home thrilled by their experience. But designing is something I enjoy and like to try my hand at for my own parties. So after a lot of fabric store hunting, Goodwill scouring and a little spray painting, here is what I came up with:


Thanksfeast table2

I love our dining room table so I didn’t want to cover it up so I created a runner instead. I don’t even want to tell you how much time I spent searching for fabric that I thought would work well! There was also a hunt for cobalt blue vases and gold candlesticks. Most of the rest of the supplies were already stored on my party shelves but I did happen upon the peacocks by accident – I think they’re a nice addition.

This table was actually done before the party. Because there were 20 people attending, a few tables had to be added on so I made a duplicate tablescape for the second half of the group. There were a couple more places that the color scheme was used. Tomorrow I’ll show you those and share the recipe for the signature cocktail that was served!

It’s that time of year! If you aren’t throwing a party, you’re attending one. Which means you aren’t just shopping for gifts this time of year, you’re also hunting down the perfect ensemble for every holiday engagement.

Lucky for us, the ever-so-wonderful crew at Kate Spade teamed up with stylist Luis Rodriguez to create a holiday campaign they call “a fresh spin on festive.”

“High fashion pieces were paired with cozy accessories and each look was finished with a signature twist.” How fun! I love how they put together a LOT of classic pieces to create a new holiday style. These looks may be a little indulgent, but if you can’t overdo it during the holidays, when can you?

I love the last image! What a great way to get glam without taking yourself to seriously! My favorite thing about all of these? With a little effort, you can replicate them easily with pieces you probably already have (with maybe a few accessory purchases!).  Because, while I would love to run out and buy anything and everything Kate Spade, I’m not that willing to take a second mortgage on my house to fill my closet. The thing I’m not so sure about? I’m still working on accepting the socks with peep toes thing. What do you think about these ideas? Would you wear one to a holiday party?

Help! I’ve been trapped between Thanksgiving, Thanksfeast and creating (and re-creating) content for the Socialize website. I’m a mindnumbingly painfully very slow writer and being a perfectionist doesn’t help either when it comes to launching a website.

So today’s post will be a quick one about a quick project you can do for some holiday decorating. I caught these lovelies on Twitter (<—follow Socialize!) and now need to make Hobby Lobby run soon so I can get them out of my system.

Tinsel wreath from Creature Comforts

These are easy and inexpensive enough that they would make for great additions to your home or office holiday decor if you need to fancy things up a little for a party. Maybe even as pew decorations for a winter wedding; yea or nay? What do you think – would all that tinsel get too…tinsel-ly?

Check out the tutorial from Creature Comforts and just try not to get sucked into all the other fabulous projects they have on there.

Special thanks to Domestica, a great shop in Des Moines, for tweeting about it and giving me some inspiration (find them @shopdomestica).

I have another guest post over at the Cafe di Scala blog today! Check it out for my second round of tips on holding a private event. Special thanks to Phil and Cafe di Scala for welcoming me to their blog family.

Be sure to let them know you want to see more from Socialize!


Break out the bubbly! The Socialize Blog has a new home! You can now get you fix here on this sparkling new www.socializeevents.com website. More pages with some pertinent information about our services will be added soon so keep an eye out for those. In the meantime, check out the latest post for some Thanksfeast decor inspiration!