budget events

Money Saving Tips for Kids Parties

6:26 PM

A party for your child can either be a BIG headache, very expensive or both. Here are some tips from the event I had for my daughter on how to save some money and still create a beautiful party for your child.

First off, we had it at the house because besides our monthly mortgage there was no additional fee.
Secondly, we had a theme of a chinese cartoon Kai Lan mainly because chinese food is cheap and everyone loves it. Think taco bar for Dora the Explorer.
Next, I set up a dessert table and the buffet in the same room across from each other. It meant I didn't have to break one table down to set up the dessert or spend money on help. It was very easy. It also allowed me to create one central decorating spot so I didn't need to spend additional money on decor all over the house.
I did splurge on a magician for entertainment but it was worth occupying 15 children for 1/3 of the party.

 As much as I love a gorgeous designer cake I know it can cost a pretty penny. So if you don't want to spend a hefty price and are cupcaked challenged (my red velvet ones landed in the garbage!) do what I did; order a plain sheet cake and a cardboard centerpiece (this one was $6). Put skewers on the bottom of the centerpiece like I did and stick in cake. It will look and taste fabulous.

Lastly, we saved money and the environment by putting out pitchers of water and bottles of soda. We did put out juice boxes in order to save my furniture. I also had Kai-Lan-tinis for the adults; lychee juice and champagne…yummy!

chinese theme

Kai Lan Birthday Party

8:30 AM

This weekend my daughter turned 2 and the event planner in me decided to step it up on the home front. We chose a chinese theme for a cartoon "Ni Hao Kai Lan" because A. she loves that show, B. my daughter resembles the cartoon and C. chinese food is cheap! 

I decided to make a dessert table complete with a paper dragon. It looked wonderful and the children loved it.  Here are some pictures but stay tuned for tips on saving money at a children's party as well as a how to make candy sushi post! 
Sample of Kai Lan Invite from Tiny Prints

I couldn't resist getting her Chinese PJ's for the party. I got them in China Town but you can order them from the same store Pearl River Mart.
 The dessert table sign I made myself with plain paper and a paper cutter. Just cut each letter into a triangle and staple onto ribbon. I promise you this is easy. I used comic sans font in turquoise and red.

I used all platters and glassware from around the house. The apothecary jars (left side) are a great investment if you don't have them. For around $10 each you can get these at Home Goods and use them anywhere. They can hold sea glass, sand, ornaments…anything really. The mini chinese take out containers were great for the children to fill up with treats.
Treats included "rice paddies" aka rice crispy treats, "twirly whirly flowers" aka white chocolate flowers, "candy sushi" made of swedish fish, fruit roll-ups and rice crispy treats, candy and fortune cookies. 

Instead of a fancy cake which can be costly, I bought a Kai Lan centerpiece and attached skewers to the bottom to put on a plane sheet cake. 

Candy Sushi! Stay tuned for how-to make this fun and yummy dessert. Great to do with kids as well.

 Gift bags were jazzed up with printed labels. We got learning chop sticks to give to all the kids.

 Little chairs gave the kids places to sit and eat or watch the magic show.

What's a party without balloons?

fall flowers

Flower Friday: Modern Fall

9:14 AM

The latest installation for Hotel Indigo in Riverhead combines a modern aesthetic with the colors of rich colors of fall.

 I used birch poles and attached preserved maple leaves as well as vibrant call lilies in yellow, orange and a deep eggplant color. 

I also put a piece of just calla lilies on the front desk…the colors are just magnificent. 

To bring fall throughout the lobby I placed a vase of preserved maple leaves around. 

birthday theme

Event Recap: Halloween!

11:17 AM

There are few people in the world who go all out for a party; decorate every detail of the space, relate every aspect of the event to the theme, basically go above and beyond expectations. And then, there is my friend who loves Halloween more than anybody has loved any holiday before. Man does she make me proud! This weekend was her 8th annual Halloween bash and I couldn't stop myself taking pictures of all the details...AMAZING! The labels alone on the food borught tears to my eyes...Mama is proud!

Here are some pictures from the fabulous event...WARNING some pictures may scare you!

The Bar - how perfect?

Scary Girl Prop

The Outside

The Bathroom

kids party

Event Recap: Transformers 5th Birthday

8:56 AM

I truly believe in fate and that it has placed my incredibly talented, creative and party throwing friend in the house 2 down from mine. When she told me she was having a small birthday party for her son and the theme was going to be Transformers, I knew she would do something that was brilliant…and blog-worthy. She didn't disappoint. Here are the shots with the "Transform your own pasta bar" and other details that made the party special and fabulous!

 She used lunch boxes to hold grapes and strawberries.

How cool is this Transform your own pasta bar? I love LOVE the label!!

Flower Friday: Palm Leaves Galore!

12:38 PM

 Here is a few pictures from a photo shoot for the Hotel Indigo in Riverhead. Mind you, these are not professional but from my lil' phone. They wanted clean and simple so we used emerald palm leaves and tinted the water.  In the alcoves I used monstera leaves which make a big impact but are still simplistic.


Party Gifts

10:10 AM

This blog is all about hosting chic and fabulous parties... but what if you are going to a party? You should bring a chic and fabulous gift, right? Here are a few suggestions on what to bring to your next soiree…

For the Housewarming party:

Under $50 and super cool, these beautifully designed shakers come in a package that is so nice you don't need to wrap it. So, if you find yourself double parked and running into his store on Greenwich Street you don't have to worry about trying to wrap it while you drive to the party (that would be dangerous!). The shakers also come in other fun designs like elephants, cats, fish, even poodles!

For the Dinner Party:

Numerical Stoneware Appetizer Plate Set of 4 - Assorted (7")
These Numerical Stoneware plates from Target are a hit, especially at $11.99! Pick up a dessert or make a chocolate cake from my previous blog posts (low fat or one bowl) to go with the plates. The great thing about dessert plates is that they can be fun and different AND very few people buy them for themselves. 

Holiday Party:

These glass tags from Etsy are a perfect gift to bring to a holiday party. How many times have you put your glass down and a few minutes later asked the question; "which one is mine?" Before you know it  your drinking someone else's glass only to find out they have mono and you are about to spend the next month in bed! It can all be prevented with a glass tag! This seller in particular can make customized tags as well…making a great housewarming gift too. 


Easy Lowfat Cake Recipe….or is it?

10:28 PM

I had a few ladies over last night to chill and relax and thought to myself "I should make that low-fat chocolate cake with pumpkin puree I heard about. How hard can that be?" Fact is, it sounds incredibly easy…the recipe (which I looked up before I started but I guess I didn't "read" it thoroughly) calls for chocolate cake mix and pumpkin puree. TWO INGREDIENTS!! Now, I ask you, how can that go wrong? Here is how it went down...

I placed the cake mix and in a bowl and mixed in the pumpkin puree. I mixed, and mixed. Then I smell it and it smells like PUMPKIN. Then I taste it and it tastes like RAW PUMPKIN! Panic ensues and I run to the computer to read the incredibly simple recipe again and realize I needed to mix in a 15 ounce can of pumpkin and I mixed in a 29 ounce can instead. In comes my event planner instinct and I aim to fix it. The solution? Pour in another bag of cake mix. Stir, smell, taste. Add water…stir, smell, taste, start feeling sick. Start drinking wine and laughing wildly to myself. Luckily, my fabulously supportive mother tells me it ill be fine and I should just bake it and everything will be ok.

I baked the cake for almost an hour and the outside looked like a black, burnt mess. We didn't eat it, in fact I put it aside and made my guests promise never to speak of what they saw at my house that night.

This morning however, I turned the pan upside down and to my surprise the cake looked normal. To my even greater surprise the cake was good!!! It was moist and fudge like and had no taste of raw pumpkin. I guess mom was right…baking solves all!

Here is the recipe for the low fat, low calorie and low in weight watchers points cake:
1 15 ounce can of pumpkin puree
1 box of chocolate cake mix

Mix two ingredients together. Do NOT put eggs or oil. Place a little water if you feel it is too thick. Place in pan of your choice (I chose the bundt pan) and bake for as long as it says to on the box for that size pan. I just sprinkled powdered sugar on top to keep the calories low. Enjoy! See more nutritional breakdown here.

Flower Friday: Locally Seasonal

10:04 PM

I created this piece for the lobby of the new Hotel Indigo in Riverhead. It is really a gorgeous hotel; modern and clean with high end design elements throughout the space.  The specification was to keep the piece local and seasonal to reflect their menu in the restaurant. I really admired the fact that most of the produce comes from the local farm stands. These burgundy amaranthus were so beautiful and from Long Island I had to use them. The crab apple branches and orange bittersweet captured the essence of fall. For the vase, I wrapped it in a satin "indigo" ribbon to make the piece look modern as well and blending with the hotel decor.