custom inspiration board: a southern garden 70th

Terri is planning her mom's 70th birthday and wanted to lend some southern touches to her garden theme. The event is being held outdoors in their backyard and will be tented, but I wanted to incorporate her mom's favorite colors (pink, red, and purple) and maintain a sense of backyard charm without going too rustic or formal.

: A southern Garden party

Party Ideas
Colors: pink, red, purple
Setting: a tented outdoor garden luncheon for 50-75
Invitations: consider a floral garden themed invite, or a vintage silhouette of your mom in profile, perhaps wearing a church hat.
Decorations: since the event will be tented, hang parasols and colored paper lanterns from the ceiling at varying lengths. add a pop of color to the tables with lush flower arrangements in reds, pinks and purples. Also consider a colored accent like purple napkins. Use patterned china, vintage cake plates, milk glass, mason jars and other small accents that keep the mood charming, but comfortable.
Food: a southern comfort buffet (ie: fried chicken, potato salad, greens etc). mint juleps and sweet tea, lemonade to drink. a dessert table including tiers of red velvet cupcakes, pecan tarts, sweet potato pie, peach cobbler etc.
Favors: to add to the theme, offer fans for the ladies and cigars for the gentleman. or a sweet southern treat like glassine wrapped pralines.
Other: encourage guests to wear their southern finery... ie: seersucker, big hats etc. after lunch, consider a few rounds of bingo for entertainment.

Photo Credits
Row 1: table rounds via wedding bee pro; lanterns via brookman harris; purple tables via kiss the groom; floral arrangement via brides
Row 2: mint juleps via southern living; hanging parasols via kiss the groom; pecan pie
Row 3: cherry favors & flower invites via martha stewart; hat via brides; tent via bronson photographic; tiered desserts via classic bride
Row 4: sweet tea; labeled food via oh happy day; siloutte invite via minted; red velvet cupcakes via country living; hat via stiletto sports

real parties: very merry monsters

Kate was inspired by the modern monster bash board I created and threw a wild and whimsical monster theme party for her son's 3rd birthday. I love that this is an entirely different take on the theme from Carrie's recent party and yet equally as fabulous. There are so many creative and fun elements here. My favorite of which are the favor buckets... so cute!

{images via kate bogot}

real parties: an afternoon tea baby shower

At last! I'm so happy to finally have the chance to share some pictures from my afternoon baby tea shower. My friend Jen hosted this lovely event for a few friends and family at her adorable cottage-style home. Her yard was the perfect setting for a tea party, surrounded by beautiful fresh flowers and accented by clotheslines strung with baby clothes. Guests were instructed to wear their 'tea hats' for the occasion, and even painted a tiny tea set that I'm sure my daughter will enjoy immensely one day. Once everyone had arrived, we sat down to 4 kinds of tea, mini sandwiches, cookies and beautiful garden inspired cupcakes. Fortunately for me, the games were kept to a minimum... though I was required to answer a few questions about being a mom and put together a pack-n-play (surprisingly not at all easy!). We ended with gifts of course, and I felt like queen for a day sitting in my adirondack chair surrounded by friends and presents. All in all, it was incredibly lovely and relaxing afternoon.. I'm only sorry it came and went so quickly.

{images copyright BG2010}

real parties: strawberry delight

Michelle of Cakewalk Baking sent me these gorgeous photos of a recent strawberry party she put together with Ana Gonzalez. The look is quite simple and made lovely with vintage touches including french lemonades with paper straws, apothecary jars and party hats. Since Michelle is a baker (and lives in my neighborhood by the way... I must find an excuse to taste her work!), the sweets are clearly to die for... cake with gumpaste strawberries, mini cupcakes with strawberry buttercream, cream cheese & jam tea sandwiches, homemade meringues, pink swirl marshmallows and giant strawberry sugar cookies. Truly a little girl’s delight.

{images by ana gonzalez}

real parties: a pink owl party

Remember this pink owl birthday inspiration board I created? Well here at last are pictures of the big event from Amy. It turned out absolutely adorable... I mean, just look at that cake! And the owl on the bloomers... simply priceless. See Amy's blog for lots more pictures and details.

{images via emme claire}

custom inspiration board: paris in the spring

I know I haven't posted a new board in a while, but this one is my latest favorite so I hope it makes up for lost time! Gale wanted a Paris themed luncheon for her daughter Emma's 12th birthday. She loves all things vintage and the colors pink, black and lime green which inspired me to create the feeling of a spring Parisian afternoon spent in an elegant patisserie...

Theme: Paris in the Spring

Party Ideas
Colors: fuschia, black and lime green
Setting: a formal luncheon and desserts at home
Decorations: cover the tables with fabric cloths in a mix of patterns. for the rounds, consider a few pink and a few green clothes with black and white damask runners. for the dessert buffet, a pink and white striped cloth would compliment perfectly. tie coordinating ribbons to the back of the birthday girl's chair or for all the girls. spray paint a thrift store chandelier black and hang above the table, or for a more simple approach, order a chandelier wall decal like this. You can find others like the eiffel tower, french poodles etc as well. for centerpieces, use a mix of lush garden flowers in pinks, whites and greens. anemones are also a perfect flower for this party because they have black centers. you can alternate the flowers with small towers of macaroons as shown.
Food: for lunch, start with a selection of cheeses, fruits and sliced french bread. for an entree, serve a classic quiche with a side salad or french onion soup. (if the girls wouldn't like quiche you could also do something more crowd pleasing like ham and swiss croissant sandwiches). to drink, offer lorina sparkling french lemonades or perrier water in champagne flutes. you can dress up basic plastic flutes by spray painting the stems black.
Desserts: this should be your party's focal point and it can be set up on beautiful tiered plates and towers like a french patisserie. include traditional pastries like macaroons, madelines, mini eclairs, piorette cookies and cream puffs with a princess cake or mini cupcakes as the centerpiece. if desired, add candy in vintage apothocary jars in coordinating colors.
Favors: headbands with silk flowers & books with bookmarks

Photo Credits
Row 1: striped table setting via brides; patessiere via laduree; cookie tower via rebecca thuss; madelines via hwtm
Row 2: damask table setting via hwtm; macaroons via beautiful things to share; paris tags via etsy Row 3: princess cake via miette; anemones via martha stewart; chandelier via glamourous interiors; mini cupcakes via paris hotel boutique
Row 4: macaroons via laduree; flowers via style me pretty; headband via vintage mint

real parties: a pink & orange princess party

Nicole held this lovely princess party for her daughter's 5th birthday. I've always been a fan of pink and orange together, and the shades she chose are perfect- so soft and feminine. The handcrafted details are simply delightful and the oversized treat tins are a wonderful favor idea as well... since they can be re-used for crayons or other art supplies.

guest post: the perfect frosting

I love cake and cupcakes. I do not love frosting. I haven’t ever been satisfied with store bought. It’s either too sweet or almost bitter tasting. Every once in a while I get to eat the most delicious piece of cake with the most delicious tasting frosting – not to sweet and not too heavy. But I have never been able to replicate it.
This year for my son’s birthday I vowed I was going to find the perfect frosting to use on his cupcakes. Low and behold, I did. My friend Donna was taking a cake decorating class and passed on this delicious recipe. I am not a baker by any means. In fact, baking intimidates me a little. So when she told me I had to use shortening in my frosting I was a little disturbed. I didn’t know that shortening was a common ingredient in frosting. But, I promise, you will not be disappointed. It really is delicious. I fed it to my guests at my son’s party and it was a hit. So a big thank you to you Donna for sharing this wonderful frosting recipe with me. Now I will share it with you. Enjoy...

{image via the creme}

The Perfect Frosting

½ c vegetable shortening
½ c butter
3-4 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

* Beat these together for just a bit until mixed in

¾ c cocoa powder

4 c powdered sugar

* Mix all together with mixer, you might need to add more milk to make it thinner

I just used a kitchen aid stand mixer and added milk as I went. I actually didn’t add the cocoa powder and just went with the vanilla cream flavor. I hope you find it as delicious as I did!

Leslie Blumenstein is a work at home mom of one busy little guy. She is a freelance writer and covers a range of topics with a special focus on party planning. She is a regular contributor to, a comprehensive party planning site. Her passion for entertaining has led her to become an expert on budget party planning without sacrificing style. From baby showers to back yard barbecues, she’s done it all – without breaking the bank.

real parties: a colorful first birthday


I received this first birthday from Colleen last week and fell in love with the charming colors and patterns. She used such a fun combo of fabrics to create the bunting and table accessories, but it all coordinates together beautifully. She also incorporated a few sweet giraffe details since that’s a favorite animal to her daughter Caitlyn. My favorite element of all is the mantle display... what a fabulous way to incorporate the party d├ęcor into the house itself!

{images via fig & ruby}

real parties: my 'tweet' office baby shower

Is it Sunday night already? It's been a busy weekend, but I had a wonderful time celebrating both my mom and baby to be. I'm afraid you'll have to wait until next weekend to see yesterday's lovely tea shower, but here are the highlights of the owl themed shower my co-workers threw me late last week...

Knowing my passion for details, they pulled out all the stops including congratulations bunting, little 'tweet' favor pouches, a personalized diaper cake and a poster signed by all that matched the owl theme of the invitations. Each guest brought a onsie to hang for the
onsie game, and my daughter will now officially be dressed to the nines.
I didn't take many pictures of the food, but it was beyond belief... even a chocolate fountain with a variety of goodies to dip. I'm still overwhelmed by the effort and generosity that went into making this shower happen. Work has been particularly stressful lately and there couldn't have been a better time to feel so well loved and appreciated.

{images copyright bg2010}

real parties: under the big top circus

Allegra, owner of A Touch of Love sent me these wonderful photos of her son’s 2nd birthday circus party. She created most of the design and details herself, and here’s her info about where she found the rest:

Christan P photography
Two Little Birds Bakery
Cupcake supplies:
Hey Yo Yo
Party Favors: Kettle Corn bags from Trader Joe's
Beverages: Old Fashion Glass Soda Bottles from Wal Mart

So much great inspiration here!

{images via a touch of love}