Fox Mornings: 5 Cool Games You Haven’t Heard Of Yet (a must-read if you’re shopping for older kids)

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This morning I ventured over to Fox Mornings to show off holiday games/gift ideas, perfect for big family gatherings. If you’ve ever read any of my behind-the-scenes posts, it will not come as a surprise to you that I woke up at with searing pain in my throat and virtually non-existent air access in my sinuses. Continue reading

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Happy Entertaining: Grandmom’s Birthday Dinner

A couple weekends ago I hosted a birthday dinner for my Grandmom. She’s in her 90s so I wanted to do something fun but more formal than what we would normally do for a birthday (stand around in the kitchen and eat bbq). We made Curry Chicken Salad which is our version of the kind from Dean and Deluca. I’m assuming, based on the price, that Dean and Deluca makes theirs with some sort of diamond dust, but flavorwise, they are the same. (I put the recipe at the bottom of this post if you are interested!

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I’m still head over heels in love with this giant original oil painting we bought at an auction and it makes the perfect backdrop. The matching lamps are a recent Goodwill find and the colored candlesticks are from Ikea.

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I always think adding framed pictures is a great way to make the guest of honor feel special.

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We decorated her seat with a pink pashmina tied to the chair as a cover.

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She loved the headband made of lace and rhinestones! (I think once you hit 90 you are a little past prime party hat time. Maybe it’s my crown obsession from my pageant days but I can’t resist a festive head piece!)

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I used a Costco Bouquet to create several mini-arrangements and put them in colorful mis-matched vases for a shabby chic feel with my layered burlap and canvas table runners. Avery made a card for her table setting that reflects their mutual love of cats.

Here are some close-ups of my mini arrangements. These all came from one $14 bouquet from Costco.

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Here’s the recipe: All of these amounts are approximate. The best way to do it is to taste it as you go along and just experiment until you get it right! You can eat it as a main dish with a fork or serve it on sandwich-sliced croissants.

curry chicken salad

Don’t forget about the hashtag game! The ones you guys have posted so far are hilarious, so keep them coming!

Sometimes Confessions Hashtag Game

Housewarming (candles, candles, candles)

    First of all, something amazing happened last night. I posted this picture to Twitter and then almost choked on my Pinot Grigio when I checked my email and got a notification that THE Kristin Chenoweth favorited my tweet! What?! I feel so “Popular”! (wink) Do you guys think she reads my blog now? Kristin (Ms. Chenoweth?) if you’re reading this, I along with every other girl my age, adore you. P.S. WHY did they cancel GCB?! That show was my jam!photo 1

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 On to a little entertaining decor from the weekend. By now, you know that I’m a fan of a lot of mini flower arrangements around the house rather than one big showy bouquet. To me, having fresh flowers in little vignettes all around the house feels like a bigger impact and it’s much more cost effective. I find the best strategy is just to head over to Trader Joe’s and buy several random $3.99 or $5.99 bouquets, then dump them all out on a work space and start putting things together. I’m normally not a big fan of Gerbera daisies (or daisies in general) but I could not pass up this cranberry color. Avery and I had a fun walk collecting those pine cones the other day for my apothecary jar. Free fall decor!photo 3 (2)

I’ve switched up the entry table since I last posted. I found this larger pedestal table at Tuesday morning and I think it’s a much better size for the space.

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Here’s a close up of my entry table arrangement.

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Sunflowers and eucalyptus feel so fresh.

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I always love to include a little tiny flower arrangement in the guest bathroom to make it feel bright and beautiful. I decided to use my roses all in one little group and add a few fillers for a little height. It was just the right size for a small guest bathroom.

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Here is my main set up in the kitchen. It’s more eucalyptus, sunflowers, mini pumpkins and gourds from Trader Joe’s, and lots and lots of white/off white candles from Michael’s. It was so simple and yet so warm and welcoming, especially when it got darker outside and the kitchen was glowing. Fun tip for flower arranging that I recently learned: remove ALL foliage that will be below the water level to make it stay fresh longer and avoid that yucky smell. You shouldn’t see ANY leaves through the glass, only stems.

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Here are the basic tools I used for my tablescape which were purchased mainly at Michael’s:

fall tablescape basics

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Baby Shower Theme: Bubbles and Baby’s Breath

Last year I hosted a lil’ Kentucky Derby bridal shower for Marisa (you guys seemed to like it because it’s my 2nd most popular post!) This year as her 1 year wedding anniversary approaches, so does baby-to-be Charlotte! We are so thrilled she is having a girl!

She had about two dozen people throw showers for her, so I kept mine simple. To decorate my mantel, I brought together different things from all over the house to create a little french bebe vibe. I also found an amazing AppleRadio station that played classic songs but in french that I had on for background music. I liked it because it was a nod to a theme without feeling over the top. I wanted to keep it tres chic in honor of the beautiful little cherie on her way!

The burlap and wire Eifel Tower print is from Home Goods. Usually it hangs in Savvy’s nursery but I borrowed it to use it as a focal point for the mantel. 

I found this little wooden cheese box (bonus: it came with brie) and I thought it was so cute I just set it in a little baby shoe planter that I’ve had since I was a baby.

I have been saving this empty bottle of Dom Perignon since it’s a memento of a wedding gift and I wasn’t sure when I was going to use it, but it made the perfect vase for some sprigs of baby’s breath.

The diaper cake was hand-made by one of the party guests and it looked beautiful next to my bridesmaid bouquet from Marisa’s wedding that I put on the entry table.

I bought this garland for my Kentucky Derby shower and had the last minute idea to wind it from the lighting instead of across the mantel like I normally would. It made a sweet little canopy over the pastry table.

The little Moss balls in the bowl are from Michael’s. Shop here.

I made sparkling lemonade using Crystal Light packets and half water, half club soda so Marisa would have something fun and non-alcoholic to drink. Everything seems fancier with bubbles! I also had vodka and champagne on hand because I am pro-booze for all parties, including baby showers. The rest of us aren’t pregnant and it’s a party, let us sip a cocktail while we watch you open ten thousand gifts.

 

Here’s the pretty Mommy-to-be! T-minus one month until Charlotte (Lottie-Dah!) makes her debut!

 

 

 

Social Saturday: Deltas and Derby Parties

Recently I was honored to take over the position of President of the Tri Delta Alumnae Association (Shawnee Mission Chapter) which took place at our annual Pansy Brunch at Hallbrook Country Club. I was so honored to meet this wonderful lady who was celebrating her 75th year as a Tri Delta! What? Yes! She was fantastic!

I had a blast with these two outgoing Presidents and I am sure I will be asking them for lots of advice. Love these two!

My necklace is the Stella and Dot Daphne Pearl and we got the Daphne Bracelets for Linda and Becky!

Here I am celebrating with all of the Golden Circle Tri Deltas who have been members for 50 years or more. It was an incredible feeling of loyalty and bonding in the room. I felt really proud to be amongst so many women who honor their commitments and stay involved throughout their lives. I think we all feel like Tri Delta played a huge role in some of the happiest years of our lives and our deepest friendships and it was nice to celebrate the fact that we have held on to a little piece of those happy times through our Alumnae Association.

Then it was a quick stop by a baby shower, home for a nap, and on to my friend Tara’s Kentucky Derby Party! I used my Mrs. Overland Park Crown and some silk roses to spice up my leopard hat from Charming Charlies!

Here is the fabulous hostess Tara! This lady knows how to throw a bash!

Look at these adorable party details:

She even set up croquet in her backyard! 

You probably recognize Jane from my How Does She Do It Feature and her husband “Mr. J’adorable” from her blog Simply J’adorable. She also won the hat contest with this amazing hot pink creation. So gorgeous!

 

 

Had a fabulous time with these two stylish ladies who also happen to be Stella and Dot Stylists. I’m in good company with that company!

 

Here’s my dapper Derby guy!

 

Here’s my Derby Outfit! You might recognize it from Marisa’s Kentucky Derby Themed Wedding Shower last year!

Leopard Hat: Charming Charlie’s

Necklace: Mae by Stella and Dot

Dress: Coldwater Creek

Belt: Macy’s

Shoes: Apt. 9

 

 

Couples Baby Shower Theme: Bebe Bistro for the Future Foodie

Last weekend I co-hostessed a Couples Baby Shower at my friend Maria’s home. First of all, her home is simply gorgeous. I started taking pictures of the party details and ended up taking some pictures of her elegant decor. I really love her contemporary, eclectic style. Her home is filled with art and photographs and gorgeous books and it just feels so sophisticated and chic yet homey and authentically lived in at the same time. Maria was my first girlfriend to have a baby, so I basically use her as a mommy model. She has three gorgeous, stylish, organically-fed children and she still makes time to take care of herself. I have known her for almost 7 years and she has not aged a day and looks better and better each year!

The baby shower was for our mutual friend Missy (see more on our friendship here in Pageant Weekend Approaches), who has a food blog called The Perfect Bite! So we decided to use that as the inspiration for the theme.

Maria and Missy

PARTY DETAILS:

 

The caterer (Carey Weir of Salt Catering) actually knew of Missy from reading her blog before so she generously came up with a custom menu that would suit this extra-special mommy-to-be. The entire menu was baby-themed gourmet appetizers! (Yum!)

 

 

Maria whipped up some gourmet homemade baby food from a cook book she had for a baby-food tasting. They looked so cute and were a great conversation starter (even if most people weren’t brave enough to try them!)

A few shots of Maria’s chic design style:

 

Maria spray-painted the Mason jars and Wine bottles with black spray paint to make these amazing centerpieces for the flowers!

To make this banner for the mantel I got a pack of plain white bibs from Buy Buy Baby and strung them on a simple black ribbon.

The cake is from Aunt Mary’s in North Kansas City and they made it look like a jar of gourmet baby food. The cookies are silver spoons with a monogram and a ribbon.

Baby food jar cake

Silver Spoon cookies

Maria had custom labels printed  for these wine bottles for the guests to take home as a reminder of the fun celebration!

Hard to imagine my life in KC over the past 7 years without these two gorgeous, amazing role models. So happy we get to go through this crazy mommyhood ride together!

Can’t wait for this pretty mommy to have her baby!!!

 
 
 

You Have A Baby…In A Bar…Prego at the Bachelorette Party!

The only “hangover” I had at this Bachelorette Party was my baby belly!

This past weekend I headed down to Wichita for Marisa’s family bridal shower and bachelorette party (see her DERBY THEMED shower here!) I should remind everyone that I am now over 7 months pregnant. Not exactly in peak party condition, but I put on my sequined maternity top and held my own with the other girls. (Next time I am up at 2am, I will likely be cuddling my newborn!) 

Couple things: nothing reminds you that you’re no longer the young, fun sorority girl you once were like being the 28 year old pregnant lady in the bar. One guy actually wished me a Happy Mother’s Day. (Hey thanks, kid! Buy me a shot…of Botox!) But another young gentleman did offer to buy me a cranberry juice. I politely declined on principle, but basically I took it as a sign that I’ve still got it. And don’t think I didn’t text my husband to remind him that I’ve still got it. (He seemed disappointingly unthreatened.) 

The other thing I was reminded of (since I don’t go out to bars much…or at all, really) is how lucky I am to be married and “off the market.” I mean GEEZ. Some of these guys on the dance floor were just so creepy and rude. Anyway the important thing is that Marisa and I will soon be old married ladies together and we can sit around in our yoga pants, drinking white wine, watching Bravo and talking about how cool we were in Tri Delt. Basically, living the dream.

Bestie Bride

Since my sweet, beautiful little cousin Lauren is a Tridelta legacy, I took it upon myself to teach her some classic sorority picture poses, like the surprise face and the arm pop. As you can see, she is a natural.

My adorable nieces

 

Designated driver reporting for duty

My cousin Allie is pregnant too, expecting a baby girl in August so we were virgin cocktail buddies!

Busting some moves on the dance floor with my cousin and my sister

Bridesmaids!

It was only fitting that I crown her the new “Mrs.” in Kansas!

Saw this on Pinterest and thought it was cute! Note to self: Must make a blinged out chalkboard to use for different parties!

 

Kentucky Derby Theme Bridal Shower – Details

Kentucky comes to Kansas!

 

My leopard hat is from Charming Charlie’s. I actually already had it. I use it as a pool hat on vacation because it’s made of cloth instead of straw so it packs easily. 

 

For Marisa’s bridal shower I attempted to bring a little bit of Kentucky Derby sass and class to my Kansas home. I did a lot of “online research” to get ideas. (“Online research” is what I tell my husband I’m doing whilst surfing Pinterest.) While there were a lot of great Derby-themed party ideas, many of them just didn’t feel very bridal to me so I put my own girly twist on the Derby theme. Here are some of the details…

 

First thing’s first…you have to start with a great cake. My husband and I are cake people. We are those people at your wedding who are secretly judging the success of the entire event based solely on the quality of the cake. We will talk about your cake in the car on the way home. We attended a wedding once where they served mini fruit pies in lieu of cake and we were outraged. One of my dear friends from college, Karl, actually said to everyone at a party, “If you want to see a piece of cake disappear, put it in front of Emily Jean!!!” The truth hurts sometimes.

 

Pink Champagne cake from 3 Women and an Oven

You know those really beautiful rhinestone initials you can order for the tops of wedding cakes? I originally envisioned that. While looking for one, I stumbled across this wooden letter at Hobby Lobby which I ended up liking even better and (bonus) it was under $3. I think it lends more of a down home vibe in keeping with the theme.

“W” for the Bride’s new last name

The gin bottle centerpiece was one of my favorite things. I had planned on using one of my nice crystal vases for the dining room table centerpiece, but my husband and sister were on a little martini kick the weekend before so I found myself with this gorgeous empty bottle and put it to good use. I now have it displayed in my kitchen because I love how it turned out.

 

 

The Refreshment Station featured Mint Juleps, Bloody Marys, White Wine, Lemonade, and Sweet Tea

The Mint Juleps were a totally new experience for most of us at the party. In fact, I had to have my mom taste the first one I made because she was the only guest who had actually had one before and knew how they were supposed to taste. The ingredient list is actually very short: Sugar, Water, Mint, and Bourbon. We made the simple syrup by boiling three cups of sugar in three cups of water, then put it in a carafe in the refrigerator until the party. I displayed the fresh mint in a mason jar, and my mother loaned me her mortar and pestle so I could properly muddle the mint. My husband actually had a stroke of genius and drove over to Sonic to buy a bag of ice. This was a really nice touch and saved me the trouble of running the crushed ice maker on the refrigerator every time someone wanted a julep (which was often.)

The Sonic Ice along with the pestle and mortar really made the juleps a success!

If my mother had hosted the party, EVERYTHING would be made from scratch. That’s just how she rolls. She has actually won prizes in baking contests before. This is what gave me the idea for my Award-winning Pecan Pie. The recipe is very simple. You buy a pecan pie from the grocery store and place a blue ribbon on it.

 

Blue Ribbons are surprisingly hard to find (for those of us who have never actually won one.) I finally found one at a teacher supply store called Mardel

I always like to include a framed invitation as part of the decor

The horse statue was another Hobby Lobby find. It originally came on a stand, but when I got home and took it out of the bag, I discovered it had completely broken off the base. Some people might blame the horse’s tiny ankles, or the infamous quality control standards of Chinese imports, but I had to wonder how this thing made it all the way from a factory in China to a shelf in Kansas completely intact and I managed to break it within ten minutes of ownership. Sigh…

 

So I improvised and put it in one of my apothecary jars that I always keep in my dining room. (I change the contents based on season or party theme.)

The valance was a Pinterest suggestion. It’s just a plastic table cloth and some tulle bows. Easy peasy!

I did actually win this trophy.

I found these napkins on clearance at Party City and thought they were so cute I bought all the packages they had left! You could do a whole diamond ring theme party around these napkins. Who’s getting married next?  I will throw you a shower. These napkins are burning a hole in my pantry.

 

 

Framed invite and horse shoe

Hand drawn banner

So usually I find shower games kind of boring or awkward, but I think they can be a good ice breaker if done properly. I would highly recommend this activity, especially if you need a game that is appropriate for all ages, but not lame like a word scramble or ridiculous like anything involving toilet paper (apologies if I just offended you. Again, the truth hurts sometimes.) Guests wrote either advice or vow suggestions for the Bride and Groom. We had everything from advice to “argue naked” to rap song vows and inside jokes that provided both laughter and an opportunity for the bride to tell stories about how they got engaged or other funny memories, etc. Hilarity ensues.

So those are the Derby details! Feel free to leave any questions in the comment space.