Friday, July 27, 2012

Going, Going...Not Gone Yet!

I'm one of those people with the awful disease of thinking you have more time than you do.  Like, when I'm going out of town, not only do I have to pack, but I also have to clean the house, get all the laundry done, etc. etc.  Or, when I have an extra 15 minutes, I think that I'll have plenty of time to go to the grocery store really quick just to grab a couple things before picking up the kids...sometimes that works, sometimes, not so much.

We have a month left, folks.  Well, I do at least.  Until school begins again and my "baby" starts Kindergarten.  

It always astounds me how fast the summer flies by.  There are definitely things that I've wanted to do that haven't happened.  And other things that I wanted to finish that are still in progress.

But, about now, I always start to think, "Ok, priority time!!  What are the things I want to do most before the summer ends?"

Here's my short list...

make {and eat} blackberry cobbler
go rock hopping
fly a kite with my kids
fall asleep reading in a hammock
go hiking
watch a sunset with my hubby

What's on your summer punch list?  Because my other sickness is making checklist and checking things off, I might actually print my list off.  I might be a little more prone to make these things happen!  Whether your list would be staying home every day, or hiking the Appalachian Trail, let's make these last few summer days ones we love.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Color, Color, Who's Got the Color?

Maybe it's just because it's summer and these colors are so fun, but this is my favorite color combo right now for weddings.  It's so fun and spunky, but also modern and sophisticated. I think I'm in love...

Whenever I say or hear the phrase, "What are your colors?" I totally think of Steel Magnolias, where they're all in the beauty parlor, and they ask Shelby what her wedding colors are, and she says... (come on now, say it with me if you know it)

"My colors are blush and bashful."

And Weeza says...

"Your colors are PINK and PINK!"

Oh, I love that movie.  Ok, so what about you...

What were your colors? If you had to do it all over again, what colors would you choose?

I'm sure I'll change my mind in another month, but for now...I think I'll go put on my coral earrings and a turquoise dress.

Monday, July 23, 2012

A Very, Very Unbirthday...

One of my favorite things to do is to give gifts.  It's such a little way to celebrate. When we were little, my great aunt would always bring everyone "unbirthday presents" to our family's annual beach trip.  We wouldn't always see her throughout the year, but she knew she would have all the nieces and nephews together at the beach.  Now, I don't remember one single gift (I know, that's awful), but I do remember how fun it was to anticipate the unbirthday gifts, as well as my Aunt Ruth being so excited to pass them out to all of the eager recipients.

This past week, I was so excited when I found a great deal on some super cute Steve Madden sandals for under $10!  I couldn't resist a pair for myself, but because they were such a good deal, I grabbed an extra pair. I wrapped them up and surprised my big sis with reinstating the "unbirthday" gift beach tradition.

So, needless to say, whenever I see a good gift idea, or a clearance marked little goodie, I try to stash it away for the next gift I might need.  I don't have an extra $30-$50 to spend on each gift, so it's always fun to find little gifts that don't cost a ton.  Then, the best part is wrapping it up and surprising your next friend, guest or hostess.

One rule of thumb I've learned is that you want your gift to be useful or enjoyable. Here are some thoughtful little gift ideas that are all under $10 and are sure to please!

homemade baked goods are always a treat.  Wrap up a few in a clear or paper bag, and tie a ribbon around the top.  A note attached adds a little extra cuteness.

A bundle of flowers from the farmers market are sure to make anyone smile.  Bouquets are as little as $5 and are gorgeous on any table.

A little basket of garden goodies tied up with raffia makes a great gift! 

Surprise a friend on their special day with their favorite coffee drink.

Books from used bookstores are always so much less than retail, and can send just the right message.

My favorite local bakery always puts whatever I'm getting in a kraft paper cake box, and whenever I ask, they'll tie a satin ribbon (of my color choice) around the box.  It's a great gift, wrapping included.

Sometimes you can happen upon silver serving beauties at your local thrift stores for just a few dollars. Even second hand, they're still quite a treasure. 

At our Founders Day party, one of my sweet friends came in with hand soap wrapped up so cute, and the tag said, "To the Hostess with the Mostess".  It has been blessing me ever since!

It doesn't have to be big to make an impact!

*garden picture credit: Real Simple

Friday, July 13, 2012

Founders Day Party

Remember when I said I was gonna have a party?  Well, last week we had some friends over for the fourth and we had a good ol' fashion founders day party.   It was a blast! We had sack races, and a watermelon roll, lots of sparklers, and tons of great food.  And, for dessert, we had a pie baking contest...with real non-biased judges and everything!

My daughter is to the age where pretty much any project I can do, she can do even better!  I taught her how to do pinwheels, and she couldn't get enough of them.  We used scrapbook paper we had on hand, and didn't worry about the patterns and colors not being the exact color of the flag.  We accented the centers with cute buttons, and they were fabulous.

In my favorite potluck fashion, everyone brought a side dish and we provided the burgers and hot dogs.  Then, for dessert, those who felt up to the challenge, made a pie for the pie baking contest!  It was great.  We had non-biased judges and everything.

I had fun pulling out all my red, white, and blue anything to make a festive tablescape ready for everyone's yummy food to be displayed.

I always love a bargain...I found some paper fans at Dollar Tree, and with a little ribbon and fabric, they were super cute hanging off my back deck!

With a few things on hand, I  changed my staple of a wreath into a little patriotic decor for our front door.  
More to come on that easy project!

Even though it was one of the hottest days we've had yet, we mainly kept the party outside. The pinwheels made great centerpieces and eliminated the need to spend more on flowers.

We sent people on their way with "cookies for the road". Of course, "Homemade in the USA".

The true test of how much I love my job...I love to do it even for free!

If you're looking for a new twist on your July 4th, this fun for all ages party was a great way to spend the holiday together!

Linking up today with one of my favorite artistic communities over at Studio JRU!


Monday, July 9, 2012

Myth 4. I Can't Throw a Party Because I Don't Have Any Time (And 10 No-Prep Parties to Plan)

Ok, folks, this is it.  The fourth (and possibly most believable) myth about why you "can't throw a party."  However, hopefully, I'll be able to convince you otherwise!

Sure, you can spend time making fun things to embellish your events.  But those things are not a must have. You can bake until your fingers turn blue to make sure all your items have been made from scratch, but again...not necessary.

If I had to sum up the reasons to party, I'd say, "To enjoy one another's company and to celebrate life."  I'm sure we could add to that list immensely, but those are the biggies. To do those things, it doesn't take much.

To wrap up the myth series, I thought I'd end with a list of how parties can happen with little to no preparation involved.

Here's 10 easy ways to add a little more partying to your life...

1.  Grab a blanket and take out easy things (carrot sticks, fruit, yogurt, cheese, leftover pizza, etc.)  from your fridge and meet your friends for a party at the park. Take a frisbee or a football to add a little action to your evening.

2.  Host an ethnic dinner party. Decide on a type of food (i.e. Mexican) and ask people to bring their favorite dish.  This could be something you host even on a monthly basis!  You get the best of both worlds...literally.

3.  Have a wine and cheese party.  Add chocolate if you really want to make them happy.

4.  One word for ya...potluck. Always the best food ever, and everyone takes their dirty dishes home with them.

5.  Make the kids happy and have a banana split party.  Ask friends to bring their favorite provide the bananas and ice cream. Easy and so very fun.  My genius of a friend did this for her wedding reception and it was a blast!

6.  Have a movie night.  You could make this one family friendly or not, but either way, the prep is a cinch.  Just have the popcorn ready...and maybe a little movie theater candy!  Want it on the big screen?  Martha has a great idea for really seeing the stars!

7. Have your friends over for a pizza party...but instead of getting it delivered, let everyone make their own! You could provide the dough, sauce, and cheese, but let everyone bring a different topping.  It's fun to see what people like on their pizza, and you have your dinner and party planned!

8.  Another fun one for kids...have their friends come over in bathing suits and have a water party.  All you really need is a hose and a hot day (which we have plenty of right now!) You can keep it completely outside...even have it at a local park if you're worried about your house getting soaked.  Because it's a water party, give them water to drink and watermelon to eat.

9. Game night is always a blast.  You could start with game stations for the warm up games...Checkers, card games, or board games are classics.  Then, end your evening with a large group game like Charades, Pictionary, or Catch Phrase.  Outdoor games are great too. It's always fun to get a Horseshoe or Cornhole competition going.

10. Last but not least (and probably the easiest!)...wait for it...have a take out party.  Let everyone bring over their favorite take out, and all mix and match family style! Don't forget to grab menus from each restaurant to make sure you can share your favorite local spots.

Remember to simply enjoy the people in your life.  When it comes down to it, the party trends will change, and your guests will forget what was on the menu.  What they won't forget is that you asked them to come over, and party on.