In the meantime you can find inspiration at the Socialize Blog or contact us at / 515.344.3364 to start planning your next event!


I am excited to let you know that there are about to be some changes around here. It just feels like it’s time to shake things up! Well, I suppose a few things fell into place that make this the right time as well.

Long story short, you may have noticed that “Set for Celebrating” blog title has changed! Initially, you’ll just see the name change on this page’s title (bad branding, I know) but soon enough, we’ll have a whole new world wide web address to direct you to! So stay on your toes so you don’t miss a minute of fabulous event insight.

“But wait – what’s Socialize?” you may be asking.

Well, that’s where the short story gets a little longer. Read on to learn more.
Almost a month ago, I had lunch with Tracy Fuller of Innovative Events. Tracy and I have gotten to know each other by working on some projects together for my employer (I could handle parties like this but needed to pull out the big guns when I needed more production resources). Tracy has built her business over 22 years and has planned events around the world. She is an amazing professional who I admire and look at as a mentor – even if she may not realize that! During lunch, I expressed to her that at some point, I wanted to expand my career in the events world and was looking for opportunities to do that. I was open to picking up production work with Innovative Events or exploring other full time positions.

Tracy spent a few minutes brainstorming some options. Then, she simply asked, “What about starting your own events planning business? Have you ever thought of that?”

The truth is, I have been dreaming about this very same venture for a while but wasn’t able to find the time to put the work into it while I had a full time event-planning job (crazy hours and all). Of course, my doubts and fears held me back too. But…I had a name (see new blog title) and had even gone to far as to buy it as a domain so it seems it was something I was longing to do. After Tracy spent the next 20 minutes or so encouraging me; I was convinced that this needed to happen. And I was going to make it happen, full time job and all. Socialize was going to get started!

I set to work that night (with the help and support of my husband), knowing that it would be a slow process with the little time I could spend on the project.

Strangely enough; a few days later I saw a posting from a local non-profit for a part time Events Manager and gave it shot. Within the week, they interviewed me and offered me the job!

My unbelievably supportive (fantastic, loving, sexy, intelligent, funny, perfect) husband and I discussed the possibility of me taking this part time job and using the rest of my time to start and run Socialize. We decided… to go for it!

After spending a couple weeks with a stomach that’s tied in knots and a few panicky thoughts (this is scary, people! but so exciting and fun!); things are getting underway.  It wouldn’t have been possible to do this without Tracy’s push and the love and encouragement I’ve received from my family, friends and of course, my ridiculously wonderful husband. But now, I’ve left my former company, started in my new position at the Des Moines Area Religious Council (DMARC) and spent the last few afternoons dedicated to this venture. It’s really happening!

There will be plenty of information to come about Socialize. For now, we’ll just stick with the blog name change. I’ll keep you posted on the rest.
Welcome to Socialize!

It’s the first day of the 2010 Iowa State Fair! Although the 156-year old event may not seem like a big deal to some,  the Iowa State Fair started attracting over 1 million people each year since 2002. It is a huge production with tons of entertainment, exhibits and of course, a midway set on 445 acres in Des Moines.

Now, can you keep a secret? I am not a huge fan of the fair. I certainly don’t dispute that there is Non-Stop Fun there for people. It’s just that the fun takes place among those million people attending and typically in searing heat. How about a backyard state fair?
Sounds like a plan to me! There are so many rustic elements that are popular right now that you could easily pull together to create a classic state fair atmosphere.

via JL Designs
via Hello Lucky – includes instructions and template
I love the idea of using streamers and lighting to create a ceiling outdoors. This would suggest the atmosphere created by the lights from the midway
Via Bash Events

And you have to have food on a stick!

via Eat Drink Pretty

These little pie pops may not be the healthiest thing you can eat; but they don’t scream “instant heart attack” like a deep-fried twinkie on a stick does! For the full list of Iowa State Fair foods on a stick (and to find out what an Octo-dog is) click here.
Enjoy the fair!

 The shower was a success! Despite the distance between the three people coordinating it (myself included) everything was perfect. The mama-to-be loved all the decor and received some great gifts to boot!

Added bonus! I took some better photos this time – I’m learning!
As shown in my previous post, we used a pink and brown polka dot theme inspired by the new nursery. The welcome table had a photo mat for the guests to sign and write a message to Ashley and a memory board with tags for everyone to write a note to the new little Miss.

Love, love, love this idea from one of the sisters.

Some feathers, a Cricut and a little yarn to introduce the theme.


The meal was a light lunch with sandwich and relish trays, cupcakes and two delicious signature cocktails. A perfect baby-themed soundtrack played in the background. 


We were lucky to have a few little ladies join us so an activity table was set up for them as well.

The lovely Ashley and her precious bump!
I loved helping to put this shower together for one of my best friends. I’m glad her sisters didn’t mind letting me play with the theme and decor ideas. Congrats Ashley!

I know, it’s one month later but since I finally posted my Derby party pics, I might as well share this divine Derby Dessert Table from Save the Date for Cupcakes. So, so cute and and creative! Check out the full post here.

This table is SPECTACULAR. A little astroturf and…brown sugar?! That’s right, she used brown sugar for the sand – brilliant! I love the custom cupcake toppers as well. Perfect color coordination.

One look at this Mint Julep display with the adorable mason jars and beautiful baby’s breath and you can feel yourself sitting on a porch swing on a southern plantation.
Again, perfectly coordinated sugar cookies (they match the horseshoe cupcake topper!)
And a brownie for the road. What more could you ask for?

The best part? At the end of the post Miss Save the Date for Cupcakes writes “This was totally out of my comfort zone in designing, but I think I pulled it off?!” No question mark needed – you did! I’m definitely putting these ideas into action for next year’s Derby party!

My thoroughly unresearched and unconfirmed theory is that most St. Patrick’s Day celebrations take place outside the home. There is nothing wrong with a St. Pat’s party, but I think people generally people head to their favorite pub to truly indulge in the festivities.
So, what do you need to take your party on the on the road*?

First and foremost – green attire like this tshirt from the greatest store in the world sorry, universe; Raygun:

Then, to really show your Irish spirit, add in some shamrock bling:

images via

Don’t forget bring some along for your friends (in case they didn’t prepare like you):

Or skip all that and go for the pot o’gold:

And, above all, in case you happen upon a bar that isn’t serving green beer; be sure to bring this:


*Please celebrate responsibly! Make sure you have a designated driver or the number to a cab if you need transportation.

The Dessy Group, maker of all things wedding apparel has teamed up with the color pros to create PANTONE WEDDING. Brides can order swatches of their colors to make sure colors are perfectly coordinated.

The Dessy web site also includes a new tool to create inspiration boards (with your perfect Pantone colors, of course). I couldn’t resist giving it a shot. I used my friend Lindsay’s upcoming fall wedding as my project:

You can see more boards and show some love for your favorites here. Then you can start creating! Dessy provides a library of images and allows you to upload your own. (If you haven’t made a inspiration board before, PowerPoint is great to use). I think this is a great innovation on Dessy’s part.

Interestingly enough, this board led to the design for my latest invitation for an upcoming event at work!

I. love. parties.
And by parties, I mean it all – birthday parties, showers, holiday parties, just-because parties and especially (ESPECIALLY) weddings! By love, I mean every aspect – planning, preparing, decorating and of course, attending. Clean-up…not so much but it’s a small price to pay to bring people together to celebrate.
I am fortunate that I get to plan events as my job (more on that another time) and I have a husband who indulges my party-planning need. I can’t hold a candle to ladies like the Hostess with the Mostess, Mindy Weiss or queen-of-everything, Martha but I can dream, right?
So this will be my little spot to collect my favorite ideas and post a few of my own. Enjoy the party!