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!

Take a look at this dinner party that Kim from Head of the Table designed! Can’t you feel the sun on your face and hear your friends laughing at your clever banter.

All images via Head of the Table

What a perfect color palette! Understated, but still fresh and summery. The white chiavari chairs and white 
wine glasses are extra special details that especially make things pop. The custom table runner ties well with the striped menus.

Kim’s company, Head of the Table provided the plates, glassware and flatware. They rent all kinds of fabulous placesettings that are wonderful if you’re a little particular about party details. And just look how far just a few pieces can go! I emailed Kim quite some time ago to learn how she got started and she was as sweet and helpful as can be! If you’re planning a party in the St. Louis area, be sure to visit Head of the Table!
 

The candlelight must have been so lovely once the sun went down. (Don’t forget to trim those wicks!)

Like Kim writes; this is so summer-chic that every party diva will be inspired to squeeze in just one more party by the pool…Count me in!

There was (at least) one of thing I forgot to take a picture of at the Tickled Pink baby shower for my bestie Ashley. Hey, I said I did better – there’s still plenty of room for improvement!
Ashley’s sisters used the most fabulous epink and white serving set to display veggies and sandwich fixins’. For me, it was love at first sight. I immediately wanted to know who this belonged to and why I hadn’t spotted one anywhere yet.
Images via Etsy seller MarianneClare

It turns out, it was a vintage piece that their mom received “several” years ago as a wedding present. After some digging (thanks Google!) I found the set! It was made in the 1960s by the Frazier California Pottery company.

The set has one large bowl in the center of  three small serving dishes and three large serving dishes, all on a lazy susan. The set I saw in person was on a metal lazy susan but the sets I saw online all came with wood. The scalloped edge and raised dots just make my heart hurt!

Since it’s vintage, it costs a bit more than what I’m willing to spend on serving dishes. So, I need to come up with reasons I could use it. Showers, brunches, Valentine’s Day parties… What else do you think I could put on the list to justify buying it?

After all the planning and crafting and schedule-writing (and re-writing), it all came down to one thing – the day that I married my wonderful husband. But I won’t get too mushy on you all – you’re just here for the wedding porn, right?!
A couple other things that I did not have the skills to DIY were the cake and the flowers. I had to put these into the hands of vendors and could not have been happier with the results!

 All photos by the amazing Mark Kegans

Our cake by Donna Flewelling.
P.S. – notice the candles on the table. I forgot to mention that I either spraypainted or decorated (with ribbons and crystals) 148 votives. 

 Bouquets from Sunnybrook Flower Shop
Despite all my work, the best looking part of the celebration was our wedding party. Check out these hotties!
Of course, we couldn’t stay serious for long…
All formal pics were actually taken AFTER the ceremony. My husband-to-be didn’t want to see each other before I walked down the aisle! As an event planner, this was hard for me to agree too (totally threw a wrench into my schedule!) but I was glad I did!
Married!
After the ceremony, guests headed to cocktail hour in the Orpheum foyer while we took our formal pics (and a few fun ones too!).
 Cocktail table decor
 A great shot of one of the chandeliers in the foyer.
Once we made our entrance into the reception, we cut the cake before we invited our guests to the stage for dinner. This may seem a little backwards but it was nice to go directly to the cake right after being announced because everyone was paying attention!
I know I said I wouldn’t get mushy but Kurt and I snuck away with our wonderful photographer for a few shots that I have to share.
The Orpheum staff customized the marquee for me. Well, they do it for all their receptions. What a great touch!
My favorite picture of the day. 
We returned to the reception to celebrate our love and brand new marriage with our friends and family. We dance the night away in the beautiful foyer of the Orpheum and then, started our married life together!!

Spring is here! Finally! Trees are budding, shoots of green are sprouting up and the sun is shining again.
After enduring some recording breaking snowfall and cold temps, it’s understandable that we Iowans are itching to celebrate the arrival of some warmer, sunnier weather.
This table from A Beautiful Mess (I found via A Perfect Palette) is the perfect setting for a fabulous springtime brunch – even if it still has to be indoors:



Using rentals and a little DIY magic, this table would be fairly inexpensive to pull together. Gold rimmed plates are rental company staples.

Beaded glass chargers are becoming more standard as rental staples. You may not be able to find rentals with the gold accent, but clear will work just as well.


But what about that extra large charger underneath it all? Well, I don’t think it’s a charger at all. Take a closer look:


I think it is material wrapped around a cardboard circle (or some variation of that). Easy enough, right? Round up a few gold vases or spray paint some tealight holders throw in a few roses and your spring brunch is ready to be served!

Event planners and foodies have been watching a potential trend shift in the dessert world. Geeky, I know. After a long reign; another sweet may be challenging the cupcake as supreme confection.
It appears that the macaroon (macaron is proper French spelling) is appearing everywhere. The macaroon is a cookie-like treat made from egg whites, almond flour, and both granulated and confectionery sugar. According to Thomas Keller’s Bouchon Bakery website, “This classic French pastry filled with rich buttercream has been adored for centuries. Precise baking produces a cookie that has a light and crisp outside and a soft and chewy inside. These two textures are what make the macaron such a special confection.”

Mmmmmm. credit

You know the shake-up is a big deal when NPR sees fit to report on a pastry.
“Her (Amanda McClement of Metrocurea) argument about the rise of the colorful little almond-and-air cookies included the following: that the show Gossip Girl has fetishized the macaroon in a manner reminiscent of the way Sex and the City launched a cupcake boom; that Starbucks recently carried a limited edition of macaroons; and that white-hot designer Jason Wu (who designed Michelle Obama’s inauguration gown) recently baked them in an issue of Food & Wine magazine. Plus, McClements says, she’s just seeing them everywhere.”

The story goes on to interview people taking a macaroon-making class. The pastry requires technique that can be difficult for the amateur baker to master. I know I wouldn’t try them!

So, will macaroons become the go-to pastry for weddings and events? Our love affair with the cupcake has been going on for some time. Enough that cupcakeries are established small business in many areas. Locally, my personal fave is Carefree Patisserie. In addition, the cupcake is an accessible treat that anyone can try at home. And with custom toppers and wrappers permeating parties (have you seen this?!)- cupcakes are not going away anytime soon.

Not all of us have a party budget like HBO or InStyle. I work as the Events Manager for a regional convenience store chain in the Midwest. It’s a mid-size company with over 400 stores, 4,500 employees, over $2 billion in sales, and some pretty conservative leadership. They want internal events and dinners want things done well; but on a (tight) budget. I can’t complain too much – they know enough to have an events manager to handle these things, right?
While our recent awards ceremony (for our 30 district supervisors) doesn’t compare to these elaborate displays of exemplary event production I’m happy with what lil’ ole me could produce with my muscle on a lil’ ole budget.


Our corporate headquarters has an atrium that is a great space to work with. It’s large, open and dramatic. Because this was for company recognition, I decided to use our brand colors – red, black and white – as the decor theme. And what would an awards ceremony be without a red carpet?
With a bigger budget I could have used tall ladder, some nice quality fabric, some dowels and a few of these nifty magnets to add some red draping along the sides of the space. Turning down the lights and adding uplighting to the material would have created even more drama.


Because the focus of the event was the awards I went with simple centerpieces. Plus, once the salad bowls and pre-set desserts were added – the tables were pretty full. I wrapped glass cylinder vases with shiny white scrapbook paper and set those on top of a piece of die cut scrapbook paper. I used this tutorial from Domestifluff to make two pom-pom flowers for each table. It was a great excuse to craft at work!

Another great thing about this space is the natural stage at the base of the stairs. It’s ideal for a one-person presentation and it suits the needs for this event. But for a few more (ok, more than a few) dollars I could create a cleaner and more professional look with a taller and wider set of pipe and drape with a few more uplights and a larger screen.
So it may not be Hollywood but you gotta start somewhere, right?!

Linen Love

Is it strange that pictures of beautifully arranged tables make my heart pound and cause me to want to run screaming from my 9 to 5 so that I can launch a table-setting empire? Perhaps.
But I know there are plenty ladies out there who love you some party/wedding porn just as much as I do. And a girl can have a dream, right?
Well, Wildflower Linen, of California recently launched there new website and their gallery is full of devastatingly gorgeous designs using their products. While I can’t post them all here – I thought a few of the photos would make great Valentine’s table inspiration…

Maybe you want something romantic…

or feminine…

or just downright sexy…

Which one would you pick?

You may have heard (because strangely enough, this made national news) that Turquoise was named as Pantone‘s color of the year 2010. After a year of such depressing news, people are looking for an escape; something that turquoise symbolizes. I mean, who couldn’t use a beach vacation after surviving 2009? “Combining the serene qualities of blue and the invigorating aspects of green, Turquoise evokes thoughts of soothing, tropical waters and a languorous, effective escape from the everyday troubles of the world, while at the same time restoring our sense of wellbeing.”

Obviously island fun comes to mind when you think of turquoise. Some fabulous turquoise jewelry is always a welcome addition. But this festive color can be so much more. What doesn’t it go with? Black and white, pink, yellow, green, orange, silver, gold, brown and let’s not forget that it’s instrumental in the getting-to-the-point-of-passe peacock theme.
It doesn’t do a bad job standing on it’s own either:


Needless to say, 2010 is going to be a year of weddings, parties and home decor shows smeared with variations of the blue-green hue. I’m guessing I’ll find use for it in a shower or two.

Photo credits: Plate on doily-At Home with Kim Vallee; Peacock Invitations – lovetoprintweddings; candle centerpieces – marthastewart.com; frame print – sycamore street press; cupcakes – belisacupcakes; headband – Plume and Bloom; Roses and turquoise – Turquoise Decor; menu – lisa3.7dean; chandelier-nay-k; dress by Lela Rose – renttherunway.com

Don’t you just love technology?! Way back when I was a bride-to-be (a year and a half ago), you actually had to go into the store to pick your china pattern, flatware and stemware. Now, thanks to Bloomingdale’s and this nifty little tool, those days are in the past.
You can play with chargers and wine glasses to your heart’s content without your husband-to-be counting the minutes that go by before you find the PERFECT arrangment for your marital table.
Even those of us who have already sealed our place setting fate can play around and dream of what could have been. *sigh*

Of course, I would still recommend visiting a brick and mortar store. You have to see and feel the merchandise – that’s all part of the fun! And while there isn’t a Bloomingdale’s anywhere near me, I am happy to say the pattern I selected, (via Bed Bath & Beyond) Vintage Jewel by Lenox, is featured on the Set Your Table Top tool. I’m still (slowly) collecting place settings and I’m still in love with this gorgeous pattern.