Whatever, as if!

12 Dec

Happy hump day!

Remember my recent post about the tissue paper poof balls? How can you forget?! I want to follow-up by showing you how I crafted and used the tissue paper poof balls for a recent party.

Earlier this month, my friend Laura celebrated her dirty 30! We started the celebration at my house with drinks and appetizers and then moved the party to The Greek Village for a night of karaoke. Before we rang in 30 with Alanis Morisette and Salt n’ Pepa, we lived it up Clueless style. That’s right, you heard me, Clueless style!

As I mentioned in the poof ball post, the first thing you should always do when poof balling is determine the party color theme. Laura’s party theme was Clueless and I took that to mean bright fun colors like hot pink, neon green and turquoise blue. In addition to creating the large-size poof balls, I also created smaller poof balls and transformed them into flowers! The concept to create the flowers was the same, except I used less tissue paper, cut it down to smaller size and used straws as stems. Clever, I know!

I must say the whole night was a huge success and I think we all had a lot of fun. Maybe a little too much fun… the night ended with Taco Bell’s fourth meal, need I say more?!

Here are some photos from the night to give you an idea of how the decorations came together. I think Cher and Dion would be pleased, don’t you?

I am in love with these hot pink tissue poof ball flowers! Using clear vases, I lined them up on my cutout wall.

I am in love with these hot pink tissue poof ball flowers! Using clear vases, I lined them up on my cutout wall.

I chose neon green for a contrasting color using hot pink straws for stems.

I chose neon green for a contrasting color using hot pink straws for stems.

I made stemless poof balls and arranged them in this floral bowl.

I made stemless poof balls and arranged them in this floral bowl.

Here is the classic large poof balls that hang from the ceiling. I thought this staging area would be a great spot for photos!

Here is the classic large poof balls that hang from the ceiling. I thought this staging area would be a great spot for photos!

You can't have a party without a beverage station. Obviously this is a 'before' photo.

You can’t have a party without a beverage station. Obviously this is a ‘before’ photo.

Preparing the food table.

Preparing the food table.

Look at all the yummy food we had! Thanks to all of my friends for their help!

Look at all the yummy food we had! Thanks to all of my friends for their help!

Here I am with the birthday girl! This was my first outfit of the night. You can live like a Kardashian if you don't do an outfit change, right?

Here I am with the birthday girl! This was my first outfit of the night. You can’t live like a Kardashian if you don’t do an outfit change, right?

When in doubt, go with sequins!

10 Dec

Happy December and happy holidays!

So far this has been a busy month and we’re only a little over a week in. I’d like to say bring it on holidays, time with family and friends, cold weather, good food and hot chocolate. I’d also like to say bring it on holiday parties and all of the fabulous dresses and accessories that come with it! If you’re attending a holiday party this month, this is the post for you. If you’re not, I’d like to know how you managed that one.

Below are some dresses I pulled that would be great to wear for a holiday or New Year’s celebration. I’ve also included some dress selection tips to keep in mind.

  • The LBD: If you don’t want to purchase something seasonal or you’re looking to repurpose a dress you already have, stick with the classic LBD = little black dress. But, be sure to accessorize! You can find some really fun jewelry that will add a pop of color to any LBD. Gaudy cocktail rings are also a fun way to spice it up while still keeping the look simple.
  • Think beyond green and red: If you want to step outside of the typical holiday color palette, choose a dress color such as blue, pink or purple. Any bright color works for a holiday party, and especially for a New Years Eve bash! Who doesn’t want to ring in 2013 with a burst of color?
  • And… when in doubt, go with sequins: I have to say that I love the sequins fad and I hope it’s here to stay! They are everywhere and I love it!

Happy holidays and happy dress shopping!

Nordstrom’s always has a great selection of holiday dresses at a variety of prices.

Burgundy

Sequins

Red one shoulder

Silver sequins

H&M also has a great selection of party dresses.

Green

Multi color

Skirt with top

Express is another great place to look for dresses.

Red lace

Mini skirt

Forever 21 is one of the best places to find inexpensive dresses, and my favorite, sequins!

Black and White

Lace mini

Rainbow sequins

Light pink

Black dress

Silver sequin

Happy Thanksgiving!

22 Nov

First off, I want to wish everyone a very Happy Thanksgiving! This year I have a lot to be thankful for, here are just a few things:

  • My family and friends who are always there for me
  • My house and being able to keep the thermostat at Miami temps
  • My health and job
  • The new babies who’ve come into my life this year, and all the ones who came before!
  • The crazy city of Portland and all the interesting people who make this place so unique and special
  • Beautiful summer weddings and all the celebrations that led up to them
  • Bravo television and the E! channel
  • Shellac manicures
  • Vacations near and far
  • Tablescapes and parties
  • The Oregon Ducks!

I am also thankful for the delicious food I am going to eat today! It’s safe to say that Thanksgiving is a holiday that is centered around food and football. Since I can’t even begin tell you who is playing football today, I am going to share with you some traditional Thanksgiving holiday recipes. I received these from family and friends.

For those of you who are in charge of the turkey (I admire you), try a Brined Herb-Crusted Turkey with Apple Cider Gravy!

Thanksgiving Veggie Stir Fry:

  • Stir fry broccoli, cauliflower and water chesnuts and set aside
  • Slowly melt one package of cream cheese with ½ cup of milk and 1 tablespoon of nutmeg
  • Mix and serve!

Barefoot Contessa’s Caramelized Butternut Squash:

Ingredients:

  • 2 medium butternut squash (4 to 5 pounds total)
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Cut off and discard the ends of each butternut squash. Peel the squash, cut them in half lengthwise, and remove the seeds. Cut the squash into 1 1/4 to 1 1/2-inch cubes and place them on a baking sheet. Add the melted butter, brown sugar, salt, and pepper. With clean hands, toss all the ingredients together and spread in a single layer on the baking sheet. Roast for 45 to 55 minutes, until the squash is tender and the glaze begins to caramelize. While roasting, turn the squash a few times with a spatula, to be sure it browns evenly. Taste for seasonings and serve hot.

Paula Dean’s Corn Casserole:

Ingredients:

  • 1 (15 1/4-ounce) can whole kernel corn, drained
  • 1 (14 3/4-ounce) can cream-style corn
  • 1 (8-ounce) package corn muffin mix (recommended: Jiffy)
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, melted
  • 1 to 1 1/2 cups shredded Cheddar

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In a large bowl, stir together the 2 cans of corn, corn muffin mix, sour cream, and melted butter. Pour into a greased 9 by 13-inch casserole dish. Bake for 45 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove from oven and top with Cheddar. Return to oven for 5 to 10 minutes, or until cheese is melted. Let stand for at least 5 minutes and then serve warm.

Parker House Rolls:

These rolls are leavened bread that you can prepare and leave to rise the night before. Put them someplace warm and cover the bowl with a towel.

Directions:

  • Have all of your ingredients at room temperature
  • While you are mixing the ingredients, or tending to your turkey, dissolve a packet of yeast in 2 tablespoons of 85 degree water – make sure it’s not too hot or it will kill the yeast
  • Put it in a mixing bowl
  • Scald and stir in 1 cup of milk

Add and stir in until dissolved:

  • 1 tbsp of sugar
  • 2 tablespoons of butter
  • ¾ tsp of salt

When these ingredients have cooled off enough, add the yeast mixture.

  • Then beat in one egg
  • Sift and add 2 2/3 cup of all-purpose flour
  • Add the flour slowly

When the dough mixture gets thick enough, begin to knead on a floured bread board until it can be easily handled. Then put it in a greased bowl and brush the top with melted butter and then cover with a towel. Let it rise either over-night or until doubled in bulk (about 35 minutes). You can also cut the dough into rounds and then put a grease across the top.

In the morning:

  • Punch down the dough and cut it into small pieces, roll out into little strips, and then roll up
  • Put in rows on a greased pan and back for about 20 minutes at 425.
  • Serve them warm with plenty of butter on-hand!

And then there is the classic green bean casserole. This year, and every year, I am in charge of this traditional side dish. My friend Ashley sent me a twist on the recipe. See below for photos of me preparing this classic side!

Green Bean Casserole:

Ingredients:

  • 1 large bag of frozen green beans, cut or french style, thawed
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 2 cups sliced mushrooms
  • 1 can cream of mushroom soup
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup white Cheddar cheese
  • 1 can fried onion rings

Directions:

In a skillet, melt butter and cook onions for 2 minutes. Add mushrooms and cook until golden. Stir in soup and cream. Bring to a simmer. Stir in the cheddar cheese. Season with salt and pepper. Stir in green beans and toss to coat. Transfer to a buttered casserole. Top with fried onions and bake for 30 minutes or until bubbly.

Oy Vey! First things first, I need a cup of coffee before I start cooking!

French cut style green beans.

Butter, onions and mushrooms saute first!

After adding the heavy cream and cream of mushroom soup, I added the white cheddar cheese. Yum!!

Slowly adding those green beans.

After adding all of the green beans, I am ready to transfer it to my casserole dish.

I’ll be baking this a little later, but the final step is to top it with the fried onions. I can’t wait to taste it!

I hope everyone has a happy, healthy and safe Thanksgiving this year!

The year of the poof poof party!

15 Nov

2012 was the year of the party! I was honored to throw two of my close friends a baby shower and a bachelorette party. While the party themes were very different, there was one thing that stayed the same – the tissue paper poof balls, or as Martha Stewart calls it: Pom-Poms!

What exactly is a Pom Pom or tissue paper poof ball? Here’s how Martha’s people describe it:

Joyous bursts of color dance above a table, imparting a cheerful radiance to a rehearsal dinner, bridal shower, or casual reception. The dahlialike pom-poms appear to float in the air; in reality they are hung from the ceiling with monofilament.”

Martha Stewart

Okay, well that’s nice Martha, but let’s be clear. The tissue paper poof ball is an inexpensive DIY party decoration. It’s easy to make, the color combinations are endless and it’s always a hit at the party! They look great and they make a statement. In this post, I am going to walk you through how to make your own Pom Pom/tissue paper poof ball.

Here is a sneak peek of what I am going to show you how to make! Can you picture how pretty these would look at your next party?

Before you begin, you must decide your party color theme. Once you’ve picked out your colors, you’ll need to purchase color tissue paper that will match or accent your theme. I suggest going to Target, Michaels or The Dollar Store. Okay so you can really go anywhere that sells tissue paper (this isn’t rocket science), but these three places probably have the most color choices.

After you’ve purchase your tissue paper, follow these steps:

Tools and Materials

  • Tissue paper
  • 24-gauge white cloth-covered floral wire or just thin wire (you can find this at any craft store)
  • Scissors
  • Ribbon or twine – this is to hang your poof ball

Hanging Pom-Pom instructions:

  1. Stack eight 20-by-30 inch sheets of tissue paper – play around with the quantity of tissue paper you use. I’ve used anywhere from 10-12
  2. Make 1.5 inch-wide accordion folds, creasing with each fold
  3. Fold an 18-inch piece of floral wire in half, and slip over center of folded tissue; twist
  4. With scissors, trim ends of tissue paper into rounded or pointy shapes
  5. Separate layers, pulling away from center one at a time – be gentle when doing this so you don’t tear the paper
  6. Tie a length of the ribbon or twine to the floral wire for hanging
  7. Feel free to fluff and puff the paper open so you get a nice full tissue ball, and don’t worry if it isn’t perfect. It will look great once you hang it up! Especially with a group of other poof balls.

The accordion fold.

Cut the ends (round or point) and tie the wire in the center.

Separate the tissue paper one by one.

Here is the finished product. Now just hang it!

My friend Katie is co-hostessing an upcoming baby shower for a mutual friend and it’s going to be filled with tissue paper poof balls. AMAZING! I can’t wait to see how it all comes together. Below are some photos of Katie doing this fun, easy DIY decoration project.

Katie chose a variety of tissue paper colors. She staggered pastel colors (yellow, green, blue, pink) with white tissue, and chose to cut the corners in a point using pinking shears.

Keep on cutting! Notice how Katie is using twine to hang her tissue paper poof balls! How cute!

Katie carefully separated the tissue paper.

The finished product!

Look at all the tissue paper poof balls! The colors are perfect for a baby shower! Imagine these hanging from the ceiling.

In addition to the tissue paper poof balls, Katie made coffee filter poof balls. With this DIY project, similar to the tissue paper poof balls, you stain coffee filters or you can leave them all white. Katie chose a peach color stain and then hot glued the coffee filters to old lanterns. You can also hot glue the filters to styrofoam balls. For details on how to make this creation check out this blog post from Jones Design Company. My friend Corie also did this DIY project for her wedding. She made smaller sized poof balls that hung on the end of the chairs that lined her wedding aisle, and it looked darling!

Here are some pictures of the coffee filter poof balls Katie made:

Glueing the coffee filters to the lanterns.

I love how full and thick the coffee filter poof ball looks!

I hope you try one of these fabulous DIY projects for your next party. I promise they’ll be a hit with your guests! Here are some more photos of these tissue paper and coffee filter poof balls in action. So pretty and the possibilities are endless! Happy DIYing!

I used turquoise and lime green tissue paper for Holly’s baby shower party. How cute would it look to make a few of these for a little girls room or nursery?

For Corie’s bachelorette party I made black and hot pink tissue paper poof balls. Party flare!

Redecorating your bathroom

13 Nov

If you’re looking to redecorate a room in your house, but don’t want to spend a lot of time, effort or money, then this post is for you! What was once a new shower curtain and chic toothbrush holder now seems old and outdated. Lucky for you, the bathroom is one of the easiest and most inexpensive rooms to redecorate.

When tackling a new look for the bathroom, one of the easiest places to start is with the shower curtain. You can often find the perfect shower curtain and play off its color and pattern. Here are some shower curtains I found. I love the bright, bold colors, femininity, and its easy to pair these with solid colored towels and bath mats to help bring the look altogether.

For a little more money, try the selection at Anthropologie:

The shower curtains at Target offer a variety of color, pattern and price:

Find designer brands at Bed Bath & Beyond:

If you’re looking for something funky, I suggest Urban Outfitters:

If you’re bathroom doesn’t need a shower curtain, there are other ways to update the look.  Bath mats, hand towels, and bathroom accessories are simple ways to redecorate. Last month, my friend Jessica decided to redecorate her master bathroom. And like many bathrooms, hers doesn’t require a shower curtain, so she found other items to create a new look.

When I asked Jessica to describe her old bathroom decor, she called it “classic”.  When she and her husband moved into their home six years ago, the red and brown combination was a popular look they found at Pottery Barn. Now, six years later, they are redecorating the master bathroom as they also update other rooms throughout their home.

After deciding that painting the bathroom wasn’t in the cards, Jessica chose one of my favorite color palettes – gray, white and yellow – to play off of!

After looking through bathroom items at West Elm, Jessica chose the following towels, bath mats and accessories. She’s also looking for artwork on Etsy.

I’ve included some before pictures of Jessica’s bathroom. Once its complete, I’ll post some after pictures so you can see how her vision comes to life.

Here is a before picture of Jessica’s bathroom. It is simple, clean and classic.

Jessica currently keeps her jewelery in these holders, but she is also adding DIY jewelery holders to hang on the walls. Post to come!

The only “artwork” Jessica has right now is this fun David light switch cover!

The yellow, gray and white stripped bath mats from West Elm will replace the old red ones.

I’ll post some after pictures once Jessica is finished redecorating her master bathroom. As you can see, with a few simple pieces, she is already creating a new and fresh look. I think the yellow will really pop against the gray and white. I am also excited to see what artwork she finds!

Here are some other fun bathroom pieces to inspire your redecorating!

Wine, art and a brewery opening… just another Friday night!

5 Nov

Happy Monday! I hope everyone had a fun-filled weekend just like I did! It all started Friday where I surprisingly ended the night by closing down the bar (yes, I was out until 2 am) after a round of unnecessary but gotta have it Fireball whisky shots.

I was lucky to end my long work week with an exclusive art show viewing at my friend Corie’s house. She is an amazing, talented artist and I was lucky enough to pick out one of her pieces for my own. I love Corie’s artwork because it varies in size and color, incorporates mixed-media and different elements of life, and well… they are always unique and pretty to look at! I’ve included some pictures of Corie’s artwork below. You can also find more of her work (including one-of-a-kind greeting cards) by visiting: http://corieb.wordpress.com/.

I picked out this work of art to hang as a statement piece in my living room. I think the colors will really pop next to some of the other cool colors I have in my living room. If you look at it in person, you’ll notice the details in the flowers. I’ll post a picture once I hang it up!

Another one of Corie’s paintings.

Katalin chose these two pieces. I am excited to see where she puts them in her house.

How can you have an exclusive art showing without a tablescape? You can’t! Notice another one of Corie’s paintings in the background.

After we spent a couple of hours catching up on girl talk and taking a tour/laying on the floor of Corie’s art studio, we decided to move the party to our next location: Base Camp Brewing Co.  We took our party there to celebrate the grand opening and taste some delicious beers. We also got a private tour of the brewing action courtesy of my friend Lauren. Her boyfriend Paul is the mastermind behind Base Camp’s good beers. If you’re looking for a new spot to drink Oregon beer, sit outside around fire pits and eat at one of Portland’s famous food carts, I’d suggest you head over to Base Camp!

A behind the scenes look at Base Camp Brewing Co.

Congratulations Base Camp Brewing Co. Thanks for having us at the grand opening. I’ll be back soon!

As I mentioned earlier,  Friday night ended with a round of Fireball whisky shots, but we’ll leave that photo up to your imagination.

I hope you all have a nice start to the week and don’t forget to vote!

Fall Harvest part deux

30 Oct

It’s that time of year again, fall. It’s one of my favorite seasons because the leaves change, the boots come out from the back of the closet and it’s a great excuse to cook your favorite comfort foods. Who better to cook comfort food with than your friends? You probably remember my post from last year about the Fall Harvest dinner (likely because it was one of three posts in 2011 and most of 2012), and I am excited to say we did it again!

Like last year, we filled our bellies with salad, rolls, an assortment of desserts from the Beaverton Bakery  and Chicken Fricassee – our main dish. This was my first time preparing Chicken Fricassee, and while we had a minor mishap in the form of an out of control boil over on the stovetop, the dish turned out just as I remember it. A big thanks to my mom, Aunt Melissa, Uncle Michael and Grandma for giving me their take on the classic comfort meal.

Besides the delicious meal and great company, a Fall Harvest dinner wouldn’t be complete without a tablescape!

For me, creating a tablescape is fun, relaxing and a creative way to use things you already have around the house. Here are some photos of how I created this year’s Fall Harvest dinner tablescape.

The inspiration for my tablescape. I love the colors, and pumpkins and gourds are a simple way to bring in elements of the season (and inexpensive too).

Use some twine to create silverware flare.

Place settings start to take shape! The big white bowls are from World Market and are perfect for big salads, soups and stews, and my main dish – Chicken Fricassee!

Place candles in varying size mason jars and incorporate mini orange pumpkins to create your center piece.

The final tablescape!

If you are short on table space for beverages, create a drink station close by. Lucky for me my kitchen counter is just steps away!

My first attempt at Chicken Fricassee!