Since a good part of the country is buried under snow today, how about a reminder that summer will (eventually) be back? Or will that just be rubbing it in?
This cheery event made the rounds on wedding blogs last summer and I think now is just about the perfect time to bring it back…

All images via my bride story wedding & events

Don’t you feel warmer already?

If you really look at the materials that were used, you’ll see that things were created fairly inexpensively for the event but still created a creative and cohesive theme. Of course, the flowers weren’t cheap, but notice how large blooms were used in concentrated groupings – that will give you a lot of impact for your money. For more information from the wedding designer and planner who put this together, grab another cup of hot cocoa, curl up and click here.

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?

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.

thanksfeast1


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!

HOLIDAY PUNCH
Ingredients:
• 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!

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).

In between my part-time work at DMARC, getting all things Socialize lined up and ready to bring to the public; I try to find a few minutes each day to dream about Thanksfeast. I’ll be honest, the next couple weeks will be a mad dash to pull it all together. Fortunately, I have a couple things going for me. 1) My husband is in charge of the turkey. 2) I did find my tablescape inspiriation a while ago. Actually, on October 11th to be exact – when I saw the Thanksgiving table that Eddie Ross created for Lonny.  This. Is what I want.

via Eddie Ross

I love the colors and the mix of patterns. But I especially love how the table manages to be glamorous and warm at the same time.  On my budget,  an exact copy isn’t happening (I won’t be buying a new chandelier or buying new china and GORGEOUS cobalt blue glasses) but hopefully I can come close to achieving a similar look and feel.

Blue taper candles and a mix of gold candleholders can easily be tracked down. And some of the rest of it may just come down to some gold spray paint!

Using ribbon, material or scrabook paper with a great graphic pattern is how I hope to incorporate that element without expensive linens. Pizzazzerie did a great job of this with their Ellen Allen inspired tablescape (which will serve as a secondary source of inspiration for me!).

via Pizzazzerie

Of course, I have been struggling to find that perfect patterned paper, ribbon or material to bring everything all together but I’m still on the hunt!

Pop quiz: What’s the one space that many but not all of your event guests will use; but usually gets left out of the event decor plan? Think about it. The bathroom is probably one of the few other areas in your home or venue that a large portion of your guests will visit. Why not tie it in with the rest of the festivities?

The Bride Scouts show us how to do just that with a photoshoot they did for Style Me Pretty. Check out their post here for a few more tips on how they customized the display. It’s a great take on the dessert buffet craze, don’t you think?

I am a huge believer in providing bathroom baskets for any gathering. But if you have a venue that will accomodate it; a display like this is a lovely way to let your guests know how much you appreciate them. Mints, handtowels, soaps and cotton swabs are wonderful to have in the bathroom. Since you won’t be worried about minimizing things for photo purposes; you’ll want to include a few more basics. I recommend including:

Bobby pins
Ponytail holders
Safety pins
Shout wipes
Lint Roller
Feminine products
Spray deodorant (choose whatever brand is best suited to your color palette, naturally)
Band-aids
Hairspray
Tylenol/Ibuprofen
Antacid
Contact Solution
Floss
Nail Clippers

The list can go on but these items will help people survive most situations that they may not be prepared for (blisters from new shoes, sauce spilled on their shirt, etc.). And if you don’t have a whole vanity to dedicated to the amenities; use a smaller basket and one stand for a more limited display. I’m willing to bet that at least one of your guests will find something that saves the day for them!

Considering some of the stats from Germany’s Oktoberfest, it may not be something you can replicate exactly in your own backyard. But here are a few ideas on how you could do it on a *slightly* smaller scale.

  • If you don’t want to rent and set-up a tent; take a cue from some of the building/tent roofs at Oktoberfest. This look can be replicated fairly easily with a little rope or wire and streamers a la the blogosphere darling Max & Margaux wedding.
source
  • Finding some authentic Oktoberfest tables like these might be a little tough unless you have someone who wants to build them (or drop some cash on one here). But to get that bier hall feeling, a wooden picnic table will do the trick. For centerpieces, fill a few beer steins with flowers or wheat/hops and line them down the center of the table. 

Empty Oktoberfest
source

And although I couldn’t find a photo from Oktoberfest that actually shows this runner on a table; it does add to the Bavarian theme and can be ordered from quite a few websites including partycheap.com.

  • Even if you don’t have an Oom Pah Band, you’ll still need Polka music. My personal favorites are The Beer Barrel Polka and In Heaven There is No Beer. 

  • To add just a little more fun, give everyone a Tyrolean hat and set up a photo booth. Beer steins, aprons, talk bubbles with German phrases (Wilkommen! Prost! Danke Schon) and lederhosen could make for some great props. You could also go the route of the Hessen Haus in Des Moines which hosts the local Oktoberfest that I’ll be joining:
Owly Images

  • It should go without saying that you’ll also want to have some German beer on hand. Add custom labels with names like Smithsteiner. And to drink it, you’ll need
DAS BOOT!!!!
Or at the very least, some large steins for all.
Prost!

For 200 years; ze Germans have been doing it right with an annual festival in Munich known around the world. Of course, we’re talking Oktoberfest. This year, the beerfest will be held from September 18th through October 3rd. But Oktoberfest is more than beer right? It’s all about sauerkraut, pretzels, wursts, polka and well, mostly beer.
Approximately six million people attend the event over those 16 days. That calls for some massive production skills just for set-up to house all those people. Think about all of the food and beer you would need! Here are some 2007 stats from Wikipedia:

Oktoberfest figures (2007)

  • Area: 0.42 km2 (103.78 acres)
  • Seats in the festival halls: approx. 100,000
  • Visitors: 6.2 million
  • Beer: appr. 6,940,600 litres (1,833,512.55 US gallons)
  • Wine: 79,624 liters (21,034 US gallons)
  • Sparkling wine: 32,047 litres (8,465.9 US gallons)
  • Coffee and tea: 222,725 litres (58,837.7 US gallons)
  • Water and lemonade: 909,765½ litres (240,334.6 US gallons)
  • Chicken: 521,872 units
  • Pork sausages: 142,253 pairs
  • Fish: 38,650 kg
  • Pork knuckles: 58,446 units
  • Oxen: 104 units
  • Expenditure of electricity: 2.8 million kWh (as much as 14% of Munich’s daily need or as much as a four person family will need in 560 years)
  • Expenditure of gas: about 205,000 m³
  • Expenditure of water: about 90,000 m³ (as much as 27% of Munich’s daily need)
  • Waste: 678 t (2004)
  • Toilets: about 980 seats, more than 878 meters of urinals and 17 for disabled persons
  • Phone booths: 83, also for international credit cards
  • Lost property: about 4000 items, among them 260 pairs of glasses, 200 mobile phones, wedding rings, and even crutches.
  • Nearly 1,000 tons of garbage result annually from the Oktoberfest. 

To give you an idea of where all of those people and pork knuckles go; here are some shots of the set-up of the Hofbräu-Festzelt tent. It is the largest of 14 tents at the festival, holding 9,992 people (FYI – that’s five times the size of the town I grew up in).

Materials are delivered from storage and construction begins on July 15th:

On September 5th about 1300 pounds of hops are delivered to be used as the main decor of the tents interior (see last two photos). After training the 280 people who will staff the tent during Oktoberfest, the Hofbräu-Festzelt party is ready to go!

Check back tomorrow and we’ll share some ideas on how to throw your own Oktoberfest party – hopefully without generating 1,000 pounds of garbage.

Prost!

This event is so…so…Fiestalicious!
OK – not really what I’m looking for but I don’t think one word can describe it. When looking at the pictures from Mindy Weiss‘s Guac-off event all I could think about was how much I would like to be there. In fact, all I could think about all day was how much I wanted to be there!
Take a look. Can’t you feel the sun on your face; hear the mariachi band in the background and taste the delicious guacamole?

 There are few tables I have seen that are casual and amazing at the same time. These strike the perfect balance.
Anyone hungry yet?
 
 Love how this display uses wood containers of all types!
 There were 75!! guacamole entries.
All photos via Mindy Weiss
For more photos of all the fun check out the Mindy Weiss blog.
What a perfect event for summer or the transition of seasons – when you can’t really do beachy/tropical anymore and autumn/harvest-y just isn’t quite right yet. Don’t forget about it as a potential Cinco de Mayo party either!

Last Wednesday I hosted an Arbonne party for a friend who just became a rep. She was eager to get started so when she contacted me, we scheduled the event for about two weeks before the date. Normally, this wouldn’t be a problem for me. But it just so happens that July was one of the wackiest months I’ve had at work in a long time. So I really had to do everything at the last minute!
I did leave work a little early that day (yes, with permission) so I could get things ready. I had already decided to do desserts because we were kicking things of at 7:00 pm. What goes well with sweets? Champagne, naturally!
With the limited time I had, I knew that most things would have to be from the store and not from my own two hands. I hit the jackpot with some specials one of the local grocery store chains was having!

My dessert table consisted of cherry and chocolate donut holes (10 cents each!!), some chocolate/cheesecake treats that were in the bakery case and a pudding/pound cake/strawberry/Cool whip dessert I made up. For as easy as it was the pudding and pound cake dessert looked impressive. I’ll add the super-simple directions at the end. But first, I want to let you know why this easy menu impressed my guests.

It’s all about the basics. Basic serveware, that is! Nice trays and bowls make an enormous difference in the presentation of food – no matter how easy the food was to make. If you enjoy entertaining, I believe serveware is essential to have in your party planning pantry. A couple platters and bowls will go a long way. Throw in a cake platter and a tiered buffet server and you’ll add some nice dimension to your table as well. If you’re just starting your collection, go with white and/or glass (clear). I like to use a mix of both. Later on, you can always purchase and add in pieces with a little more flair. Here are some great places to get started without breaking the bank:

Bed Bath & Beyond
CB2 (these are so on my wish list!)
Target 

Now onto that A-mazing dessert of mine! Here’s what I used:
Bakery fresh pound cake
Instant chocolate pudding mix (and the skim milk you would use to make it)
Strawberries
Cool whip

First, I made the pudding according to those handy directions on the package. I divided the finished product between five dessert cups and put those in the refrigerator to let the pudding set.
While waiting for the pudding to be ready, I sliced the pound cake into about 3/4 inch slices.
Then, I washed and sliced up most of the strawberries. I held a few back for garnish.
Out came the chilled and set pudding cups!
I put two slices of the pound cake in each cup, threw in some strawberries and topped with Cool Whip. I made a small cut in the remaining full strawberries and added one to the rim of each cup (you’ll see in the picture that I have a little bit to learn about the proper placement of garnishing cuts!).
Voila!

The compliments I received for the dessert were completely disproportionate for the amount of work it took me. I hope you get the same results!