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Shake Up Your Fiesta! Mexican Themed Party Drinks

Cheers to having new ideas for fun drinks to add to your celebration rotation! A signature drink for a get-together always makes for a nice greeting for your guests as they arrive- and today I am sharing 2 recipes that will shake up your classic margarita recipe just a bit! I love this homemade version and I think you will, too! Also, I am going to share a non-alcoholic drink that you can whip up easily for your younger or non-drinking friends! So, join me for this fiesta full of ideas to help you host your next party! And, I have to brag on the girls from Party Hat Paper Company who sent me a box FULL of fiesta party supplies! The streamers and party fans are so easy to put together and have such a wow factor!

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I really love the FIESTA balloons that are so easy to assemble and really put the perfect touch on the decorations over the bar cart. All you have to do is unfold the letter balloons and use a straw to inflate them. The balloons seal automatically- no tying or twisting. They are just simple to do. I strung them on fishing wire using the holes in the table that are made into the tops of each balloon letter.

fiesta-letter-balloons

To set up this bar cart, I really wanted the top part to be the usable part and the bottom part to be decorative. I put all of the ingredients needed for the drinks on the top, plus glasses, a shaker, ice, cocktail napkins, flowers, and some pretty cookies just in case someone would rather have a cookie than a drink! Something for everyone, right? The bottom shelf of the bar cart was so easy to pull together. I used luminaries from Party Hat Paper Company’s fiesta party kit. I added glasses that my friend tells me look like a cactus, some water for good measure, and a bowl of extra lemons and limes just in case. The party box also came with the garlands that you see on the front of the cart- I loved how easy it was to drape them on the cart and how perfectly they dressed it up and added interest and color!

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For the recipes, I stopped by Five Points Bottle Shop in Athens and bought the ingredients I needed- and they are always so helpful, by the way. For the margarita, I am sharing my favorite marg from an Athens favorite- Taqueria del Sol (there are locations in Atlanta and Nashville if you are close to those cities). It is named “Westside Rita” (aka “the Westside”) and is my favorite Friday night toddy. It gets its name from the location in Atlanta of the first Taqueria del Sol. Here is what you need to make this citrusy margarita…

The Best Homemade Margarita

Salt

2 Fresh Lime Wedges or Slices

2 ounces Herradurra Reposado Tequila

1 ounce Patron Citronge Orange Liqueur

3 ounces Fresh Sweet-and Sour Mix (see below)

To make the Sweet-and-Sour Mix, you will need

3/4 cup water

3/4 cup sugar

1/2 cup lime juice

1/2 cup lemon juice

To make the Sweet and Sour Mix…combine 3/4 cup water and 3/4 cup sugar in a saucepan and heat on high. Let boil and stir until the sugar dissolves.

Remove from the heat and cool to room temperature. Add 1/2 cup lemon juice and 1/2 cup lime juice and stir. Refrigerate in an airtight container for up to one week.

  1. Pour salt into a small plate
  2. Use the lime wedge to wet the rim of a 12 oz. glass
  3. Dip the rim of glass in the salt.
  4. Pour tequila, liqueur, and Sweet-and-Sour Mix into a shaker with ice.
  5. Shake it up! Pour into glass. Garnish with other lime wedge.
  6. Sip and enjoy!
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Recipe from Turnip Greens and Tortillas by Eddie Hernandez of Taqueria del Sol
best-mexican-recipes


Basil Limonada

For this next recipe, this is fresh basil limeade which is perfect as it is but also makes a great base for a cocktail or a fizzy drink. If you want to make it a cocktail, add in a splash of Tito’s Tequila. If you prefer to make it into a soda, just replace the regular water with sparkling water. So perfect for a hot day! Here’s how to make it…

1/2 cup sugar

4 cups water

1 Tablespoon chopped fresh basil

2 or 3 limes, quartered

Ice

  1. Place the sugar and water in a large pitcher and stir until the sugar dissolves. Measure out 1 cup.

2. Put the limes and basil in a blender, add the 1 cup sugar water and puree the mixture

3. Pour the mixture through a fine-mesh strainer back into the pitcher with the remaining sugar water. Use a whisk or wooden spoon to press any pulp. Taste and add more sugar if needed. Serve over ice and garnish with a basil leaf and/or lime slice.

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Click on the video to see the fun you should definitely have when making these drinks and meet my friend Ellen! She’s a party all on her own! Giant sombrero optional!

Cheers XO,

Lydia

Best Cinco De Mayo – Birthday Party Ideas Decorations and Recipes

How fun is a fiesta? There is something about throwing a party for Cinco de Mayo or for a birthday that makes this theme just so perfect! These party ideas that I am sharing today were made even easier by Party Hat Paper Company and the huge box of fiesta party supplies they sent me! It was such a welcome surprise to open this fiesta party box, and I loved how easy it made it to plan and decorate! Because I had so much to work with, I am going to share ideas for a kids’ party table (shown below) and show you how you can also use these ideas for a teen fiesta later this week. Then, I will share ideas for adults… and add in fiesta recipe ideas that are a hit with (most) everyone! So, check back often this week to see all of the fun happening over here! First up, a bursting-with-color tablescape for a fiesta!

With all of the color that was a part of party box, I added a white tablecloth to ground everything and let the decorations shine. The traditional Mexican serape made a bright cloth table runner – I loved how the colors looked so vivid on the white and then worked well with the brown Kraft lunchroom style trays that were included in the party box. I have never used those trays before, and so I had fun deciding how to dress them up!

luminary

The fiesta party plates were perfect to place under the mini pots that I used for the main dish. I also used the matching cupcake holders for salsa- totally testing the theory that they will hold liquid! Guess what? The cupcake holders were perfect for serving salsa! They really did hold up and they looked so cute on the tray.

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Something else I had never used before that was in the fiesta party kit box, was the colorful taco holders. They are designed to hold tacos while you add the filling and prevent the tacos from breaking- but I used them for napkin and utensil holders. I really like how they kept the wooden knives, forks, and spoons (that were included in the kit) bundled in the napkins (also provided)- and it added color to the serving tray. I could stand them up or lay them flat and they worked so well. I added a couple of decorative food picks just for fun. The food picks are perfect for holding soft tacos together, too! So many uses for so many of the party supplies.

Speaking of the wooden forks, I added the tiny sombreros to the tops of the forks that were in the burrito bowls. I think the sombreros are my favorite little detail from the party box kit! They are so cute and can be used in several ways. I think they were originally intended to be cupcake toppers, but I think they are perfect for the forks and for the straws!

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The orange cups and the yellow striped paper straws were also a part of the fiesta party kit from Paper Hat Party Company. They thought of so many details and really considered what you would need and how you could use the supplies. I am impressed! And even if you decided to use the mini sombreros for cupcakes, the cups and straws look great with a simple slice of lime! Also, notice the confetti sprinkled on the table…it came with the party box, too! I love how something so simple can be so pretty and easy to use…

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For the center of the table, I used the luminaries that came from Party Hat Paper Company and added vases of flowers to them. I bought flowers at Trader Joe’s and arranged them in a short container. I folded the luminary bag down so that the white showed which helped show off the colors of the flowers. I love luminaries at night, but for a party during daylight, the luminaries can be used in several ways…

flower-centerpiece

They would be perfect for

  1. holding chips
  2. party favor bags
  3. flower holders with a container dropped inside
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I also never met a party that didn’t need some cute cookies to serve, and so Melissa of Dough & Batter came through with the absolute cutest cookie designs! Tacos and Pinatas – you can’t get more perfect than that for a fiesta! I displayed the taco cookies in the taco holders that were part of the party box kit and loved how they stood up! The cake stand of cookies looked so cute in the middle of the flower arrangements…

I could have taken a million more photos of them- the cookies were just so cute with their polka dot backgrounds and their icing transfer images. Dough and Batter is so fun to work with and so talented and creative! And, you guessed it- those cute cactus plates came as part of the party kit from Paper Hat Party Company! I loved having the plates to use for serving dessert!

taco-plate-with-cookies

Here’s a quick shot of the table as I was building it and before I added the plates, trays, food, etc. I enjoy the process of seeing what works well together and taking photos of it along the way as I am designing it. It helps me to see it better and from a different perspective. Anybody else do this?

tablescape

I can tell you the the key ingredients for making patterns and colors work well together is first, not to be afraid to mix them! Definitely remember to mix large scale with small scale rather than having the patterns all the same size. You can repeat patterns of different scale to bring a cohesive feel- such as the tiny polka dots on the cookies work really well with the polka dot effect that the strewn confetti gives. The same works with the smaller diamond pattern on the plates paired with the bold stripes of the serape. And- remember to add texture to the table top with flowers and even the cut out on the luminaries. I love the motion of both of those, too! The height is always a tougher one for me because I love to have taller centerpieces for the visual appeal, but mostly, I want guests to be able to see each other and to chat– so I keep it lower especially for a kids’ table. The cake stand of cookies was as tall as I let the table get but added visual height with the wall behind the table!

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I will share more about the fabulous wall decorations that I used from Party Box Paper Company coming up! Let me know what your favorite part of the kids’ tablescape is and remember to check back all week for more fiesta fun!! You can also see another of my favorite fiestas here– a party for my daughter that was full of good times!

XO,

Lydia

the Party Wagon Re-launch Celebration

Wow, you guys! This past week has been a whirlwind of fun and excitement as The Party Wagon officially re-launched! So much was going on in such a short amount of time, and I want to share as much of it as I can with you!! First of all, THANK YOU FOR BEING HERE!! It means so much to me to have you here, and I invite you to put your email in and subscribe! This will be the first time I have had an email list. The first time around, I relied on RSS feed only. But, one of the many things that I learned is that with an email list, we can stay connected no matter what turns Instagram/Facebook/Pinterest/Twitter take. With an email, we can be a team and can interact even more reliably! I want to share with you, and I encourage your feedback! It really wouldn’t be a party without YOU, and so I hope you will sign up for the newsletter to be delivered to your inbox each week! So let’s get this party started with a recap of the ReLaunch Parties!!

Logo Design by Joanna Baker

I was so thrilled to have my logo redesigned by illustrator Joanna Baker. Joanna was a delight to work with, and she captured the feel for what I was hoping to express with a new logo. To create the new look, I styled the cart, photographed it and then sent the photo to Joanna. Because my previous logo was a silhouette of my two children in a wagon- just like the wagon I used to pull them around in our backyard when they were little. I wanted to find a way to still use the sweet, original logo that held meaning for me…and so I asked Joanna to incorporate it as a cake topper on the cake on the bar cart (which I like to think of as my newest party wagon). A bar cart can be used in so many more ways than just for a bar, and I find myself pushing mine all round our house for different uses. It is definitely the most versatile party prop I own, and I highly recommend the bar carts from Society Social for style and function! And, as you can see below…I carried the logo and its colors throughout the party…

Cookies by Bambella Cookies. Styling and Photo by Lydia Menzies

I worked with Tara, from Bambella Cookies, to come up with a way to make cookies that represented my new logo and branding. Rather than make each cookie an exact version of the logo, Tara highlighted each aspect that was represented on the bar cart in the logo. I loved how they turned out and how they shared little pieces of what The Party Wagon is as a whole. From the actual bar cart itself, to the banner, the books, the blue and white vase with flowers, my favorite pink and white compote that I always fill with lemons, to the cake with my original logo as the topper, and the drinks and glasses with straw flags…she covered it all in the most beautiful collection of custom cookies!

The Party Wagon Cookies by Bambella Cookies

I love to fill our house with flowers, but I have to be careful because my son is allergic to several flowers. I have learned along the way which ones to avoid and which ones he can tolerate (he seems to have outgrown a complete flower ban)…and roses and hydrangeas seems to work just fine. I love to temper bright colors with a little bit of pastel or less-saturated color when I decorate, and so I made these arrangements with light pink roses and white hydrangeas.

I used my favorite cache pots from Chelsea House to display the flowers on our tables near the front door of the house. As much as I love flowers in a glass or clear vase, I also love the look of a beautiful decorative vase or pot- it definitely adds interest and depth to a flower arrangement. You can use a floral oasis inside the cache pots or, do like I did here, and drop a vase with water inside the pot and arrange the flowers that way.

To help celebrate the kick-off of the updated website, artist Hannah Betzel joined in on the party and did a live painting at the party. It was so much fun to watch her creative process in action as she started with the blank canvas and painted such a beautiful, lively, playful piece of art! Here she is as the painting is in progress…

Hannah is local to Athens and lives just a few blocks away from us, which made it easy and fun to have her drop in and showcase her talents at the party. I was so happy to have Hannah here! I feel like having an artist paint live adds energy and happiness to a celebration- it gives the artist the chance to share her work and talent with the community and it gives the guests a fun way to interact along with something interesting to watch and chat about. Everyone enjoys watching something come to life, and I was so honored to have Hannah here to celebrate the day!

Speaking of local favorites, I also wanted to highlight some of my favorite restaurants from our town by serving their food for lunch at the party. This also helped me be able to pull off hosting lunch in the afternoon and then hosting my daughter’s Supper Club that same night. Luckily, Athens is quite a foodie lovers town and is full of talented chefs with great restaurants. For this lunch, I served delicious sandwiches from Home.Made along with their famous Suwanee Bites and Pigs in a Blanket. I ordered salads from Maepole- my favorites being their White Bean Salad and the Snow Pea Salad. Plus, I couldn’t resist serving Maepole’s Hibiscus Lemonade along with mini champagne bottles that I got from Five Points Bottle Shop. Each guest was greeted at the door with a little champagne if they wished and then a host of other non-alcoholic options.

WELCOME banner by Loralee Lewis

For dessert, we all enjoyed cupcakes from our local Gigi’s Cupcake franchise and chocolate bunnies from Condor Chocolate- along with the cookies from Bambella Cookies. Oconee Printing Company made buffet signs telling what each dish was and from which local restaurant. We also had a fun giveaway drawing for gifts from some of my favorite local shops.

Because I was hosting Supper Club later that night, I had the table set and ready for the girls early in the day. The colors that we used on the tables were perfect for spring and for the flower theme that was the Supper Club theme this month. The vases also just happened to be the colors of my logo and are from Parker Kennedy Living- The Cellar. The owners, Lance and David, offered to share the vases with me for the party, and I loaded them with ranunculus from Trader Joe’s.

I wish I had taken more photos of the friends at the party, but I truly soaked up the fun in real life and didn’t take photos while the party was going on. I was so happy to have a chance to chat and visit with the friends who came, and I didn’t want to interrupt the enjoyment! It was such a fun day and it meant the world to me to have friends drop in and share in the excitement. As with any party, helping hands make it all run smoothly and I could not have done it without the help of my friends Lance, David, and Carrie and my favorite college helper, Kathryn. And, thank YOU for attending online with me! I am just so glad to be back to blogging and to be back with you all! Please leave comments below or send me a message telling me what you think of the new design! I was fortunate to have a lovely web designer, Nicely Built, migrate my old site and then design a new look while keeping all of the original content. There is still a lot to do as I share more with you, but I so appreciate that you are here!

Come back for more soon!

XO,

Lydia

Easter Supper Club

With Peter Cottontail getting ready to hop down the bunny trail soon, I wanted to show y’all the Easter Supper Club that my teenage daughter and I hosted for her and her friends!

I often share about our Supper Clubs on Instagram, and it is the most asked about topic I get! Hosting a Supper Club is a fun way to get the girls together and let them enjoy just hanging out, eating, chatting, and sometimes some really loud singing. I truly love seeing them come through the door each time and look forward to coming up with new ideas for each time. I try to keep the menu different every time- but I do pay attention to the things that go over really well and sometimes repeat those certain dishes.

The very first question I am always asked is, “how many girls do you host each time?”. The answer to that is that we have about 24 girls and we range each time from around 18-24 gathered together! My daughter and I typically choose a theme and then go from there with planning. This Easter Supper Club is one of my favorites because Loralee Lewis spoiled us and sent us gorgeous paper designs made especially for us. Loralee has a beautiful selection of designs ready in her shop, but she let us design our own for this one which was such a treat! We gave her our vision for a preppy, springtime meal and she worked her design magic and shipped it all to us.

For a springtime dinner, I like to serve lighter fare and lots of fresh produce. The menu for this Supper Club was sandwiches, gazpacho, veggie platters with hummus, a big bowl of berries (raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, and strawberries), pita chips, and dessert. I made my favorite gazpacho recipe that actually happens to be one of my daughter’s all-time favorites. We served the gazpacho in the soup containers that you see above. I love serving gazpacho because you can make it a day ahead and the flavors get better overnight. I will share the recipe soon as it is one of my go-to recipes for spring and summer. I feel really lucky that my kids actually love it. It was even one of their favorites when they were babies!

When I was deciding how to set the table, I really wanted to use the bold green and white stripes to coordinate with Loralee’s quatrefoil design on the placemats and soup containers. The green stripe matched perfectly to the green top on the container. I also wanted to pull in the navy blue that was used and so I found a larger quatrefoil napkin print in navy that I loved and went with it. I also layered the dinner plates and dessert plates in green and pink, and as you can see, repeated the pink and green with the straws and cups. For flowers, I really wanted to use pink tulips- and when I saw the tulipieres (tulip holders) at PKL-The Cellar, I knew those would be the perfect pieces for the center of the table. The tulipieres are pieces that I use all spring and summer, and they make flower arrangements so easy to create. And, they don’t have to be just for tulips!

Did you notice how the little favor boxes and straw flags from Loralee Lewis say, “Egg-stra”? Those were a fun nod to one of the girls’ favorite things to say at the time- “you’re so extra” was the inspiration for that little detail, and we just adapted it because it fit perfectly with an Easter theme!

Speaking of extra, I always love making the dessert table a little extra! And, no one ever seems to mind! Ha! Loralee sent over these carrot boxes with customized tags on them and I filled them with Lindt chocolate carrots and put them in a basket with grass. I bought the grass at Lowe’s and potted it in the basket, and then placed the tips of the carrots in the grass.

I really love how the chocolate carrot candy fits perfectly in the carrot-shaped boxes! They were made for each other! I think these carrot boxes with candy would make adorable teacher gifts or neighbor gifts for Easter, too.

We are lucky enough to live close enough to the amazing Mac Lab and are able to pick up their super cute and so delicious macarons often. For this Supper Club, we ordered their specialty macarons and were so happy with them! The bunny macs are too cute and the girls loved them!

I displayed them using egg cups that I bought at Hobby Lobby. I poured sprinkles in the egg cups so that I could nestle the bunnies in them and help them stay up.

The bunny macarons are the kind of treat that is just so cute, you really hesitate to bite into them. And, then you want to save a few because they’re just fun to have~ and they make everyone smile. (As a side note, Mac Lab now offers shipping- which means you can have some even if you aren’t in the Atlanta area.)

I also made some bright Easter Peeps topiaries for the dessert table- they were really fun to make and were actually pretty easy!

To make the Easter Peeps Towers/ Topiaries, I started with styrofoam cones that I bought at Hobby Lobby. I broke toothpicks in half and used them to attach the marshmallow bunny Peeps to the cone. As I was making them, I perfected the pattern a little better as I went. The tallest tower is the last one that I made and you can definitely see the improvement. So, if you decide to make one too- use the tall one as your guide. 🙂 I tied big pink bows at the top to cover the small space that is not covered by the marshmallows. I attached the bows with a straight pin and then used the topiaries on the dessert table. And, yes, the girls asked if they could eat them! Lol

I encouraged them to try eating these instead. My daughter loves chocolate pudding and so she made tiny jars of pudding for everyone and we topped them with edible grass and adorable cookies from Tara at Bambella Cookies.

While the girls were enjoying dinner and dessert, I secretly arranged a glow-in-the-dark egg hunt. It was so much fun! I asked two college girls that we know and love to help us put battery tea lights inside of several hundred eggs. My son was in charge of pulling out all of the tabs in the lights that you have to remove so that they will turn on- and then my daughter, our college friends, and I loaded the eggs with lights- and then they hid them all over the yard. When the girls came outside after dessert, the yard was glowing with eggs every where. It looked so pretty to see all of the eggs lit up. The photos don’t begin to do it justice, but it was really pretty. If you ever have a chance to do a glow-in-the-dark egg hunt, I say go for it! It is especially perfect for older kids.

When the girls found all of the eggs, they met me at the front porch where I had set up a couple of stations with candy. They could trade their eggs for candy and that way I was able to get all of the eggs and lights back so that I can do it again sometime! We had one prize egg and we had a basket of goodies for the friend that found the golden egg…

It was such a fun time! I love these girls and already can’t wait for the next one!

Flower Arranging with Parker Kennedy Living

Several weeks ago, I spent the day with Lance Jackson and David Ecton of Parker Kennedy Living to help them with a video they wanted to make- I was working behind the camera while they were busy showing their Instagram followers tips on brightening their homes with creative flower arrangements. We shot the video live on Instagram and had so much fun! But, I think the video is lost forever because we didn’t hit that save button before it was posted. Ugh! It was our very first attempt at “going live” and now we know! The good news, though, is that I also took a million photos that day. The arrangements were so beautiful and their new home was so gorgeous, I couldn’t stop snapping shots of it all. It was a feast for the eyes, and I wanted to share it with you!

The photo above is a picture of what started the idea for this lesson on floral design from Lance- greenery and citrus. The fresh, lush greenery combined with the unexpected citrus fruit is such a good combo. Lance used myrtle branches for the greenery and then put the oranges, lemons, and limes on floral picks and placed them around the base of the large blue and white vase. David was the chief assistant and helped keep us entertained while all of this floral magic was happening! One of the most magical aspects of the greenery and citrus fruit is that it was the easiest one to create and the most dramatic! It was nice to see that a show-stopping, creative, eye-catching floral arrangement doesn’t have to be hard!

As you can see above, all of the ingredients for a gorgeous floral arrangement were laid out on the table to make it easier to work with it. Lance and David had all of the vases and cache pots on the table- and I think choosing such beautiful pieces is as important as what goes in them! Below, you can see the pots and vases that they chose- and notice that a floral oasis was used for some of the arrangements to hold it all in place. Soak the oasis in water and then place it in the pot, vase, or planter- your flowers will thank you and you won’t have to water as often!

The roses that they used were so many pretty shades! Most of the roses were found at the grocery store- isn’t that great to know? I love how Lance and David mixed the colors and added greenery to create a burst of color that isn’t that hard to replicate in our own homes. Take a look at this one- it turned out to be my favorite…

And, while we are gawking at the flowers, how about the fabulous blue and white vase (and garden stool, hello!)? Everything in this photo looks so elegant- the coffee table books, the velvety pillow, and the stunning arrangement that we all know we can make! At least we know we can achieve one piece of this look, if nothing else right? 🙂

I also love how Lance and David put groupings of roses in blue and white vases and ginger jars. I always felt like I needed to mix in something else to make it look right, but they taught me how beautiful and easy it is to simply start with a unique vase and put roses in so that they are just peeking out of the top. I’m sold on that idea and I really love the simplicity.

And even in mostly one shade, the yellow roses look so pretty tightly fit into a contrasting blue vase…my mom’s favorite color combo has always been blue and yellow, and so this flower arrangement made me think of her! That would be a great gift idea for me to remember to give her one day!

So, what do y’all think so far? Do you feel like these are fancy and fantastic but also do-able? And, let me ask you this…have you ever used asparagus in your flower arrangements? I haven’t! But, leave it to Lance to combine roses and asparagus and make it look fabulous!

The produce section definitely caught his eye when he was in the grocery store shopping for roses. Along with the citrus fruits and asparagus, Lance came back home with cabbage too! I am definitely more of a give-me-lots-of-color-kind-of-girl, but for those of you who prefer a calmer vibe, you will love the cabbage combo!

I love how the asparagus gives the same feel to the arrangement as the myrtle greenery in the roses…but if you don’t have access to myrtle, then grab some asparagus stalks at the store and design away! I often clip greenery from my yard to add to flowers, and boxwood clippings are my usual go-to. Now that we have dogs, I occasionally receive a bouquet of boxwoods fresh from Tuck’s mouth when he decides to be naughty. I have to admit, it does make for a lovely little organic pop of pretty on our breakfast table when it happens!

And, look at how pretty the flower arrangements look grouped all together on this wicker console. The Parker Kennedy design eye is strong! The garden room in their home is stunning all by itself- and then add in their incredible talent for interior design and it becomes jaw-dropping. If you don’t already follow Parker Kennedy Living on Instagram, you should! They share the most inspiring photos and such fun glimpses into life at The Governor’s Mansion which you can also follow on IG as they restore this historical home and property in Commerce, GA. And, to help us all achieve their signature look, they have created a wonderful online shop where they offer finds that range from rare, antique finds to whimsical, fun Barbie shoe jewelry. The shop is called PKL-The Cellar, and each week I look forward to seeing what they are offering. Lance’s keen eye for choosing such amazing and unique pieces is always a big draw for me- you never know what will pop up in the shop!

I hope you are inspired and encouraged to create something lovely after seeing how easy it can be to play around with flowers and to think outside the flower box. I loved being a part of this day and this video- I only wish we still had the video for you guys to see! I do have a quick little blooper video that I will share with you- I made them do a quick practice run so that I could check the lighting and sound before we went live. It is always a joy to be with Lance and David of Parker Kennedy Living, and I am excited that I can share my talented friends with you. I hope you love them as much as I do! They are wonderful people with tons of talent- they deserve to be shared as they truly spread goodness through their kind hearts and their immense talents! Here’s Lance below taking a quick pic of his creative handiwork!

Happy Arranging! I would love to see what you all are inspired to create!

xo,

Lydia

Happy Birthday, Tuck and Blue! Dog Party Ideas

There is nothing quite like having your very first dog- and for us that became plural when we fell in love with 2 puppies on the same day! My son has always wanted a Golden Retriever, but allergies kept us from being able to have one. As much as he loves them, he was allergic to them! And so, I began researching Golden Doodles- the most adorable combination of Golden Retriever and Poodle! We found exactly what we were hoping for and more! More, as in a “typical” Golden Doodle and then a Golden Doodle that looked just like a Golden Retriever- my son’s wish come true!

We literally begged my husband to agree to getting two dogs- he had grown up with dogs and knew 2 puppies would be a handful. But, we persevered and convinced him that we could do it! Coming from a girl who had never had a dog…my husband was right- 2 puppies at one time is a handful, but we survived the beginning, most transitional days and everyone adjusted well! Surviving the first year of two puppies was definitely worthy of a celebration in our house. We, literally, spent about two years learning about the best dogs for allergies, the best temperaments, the way they shed, etc. etc. We researched dog breeders, made our choice(s), and survived the funny and slightly exhausting first year of having two puppies join the family!

I couldn’t resist the urge to have look-alike puppy cakes made for our family to enjoy as a fun way to celebrate our puppies’ first birthdays. The pups were born a week a part, but we celebrated them both in the middle of that week with these fun cakes for us and Puppy Parfaits for the doggies. I had cute gold and white mini party hats from Crated and so we put those on Tuck and Blue (and their cakes) for a puppy cuteness. For their cakes, I wanted to have a little bit of color, and so I added ribbon to each of the hats on the cakes.

We laughed when we saw the cakes and how closely they resembled our dogs! I ordered the cakes from The Bee’s Knees Bakery in Athens, GA and gave them a photo of each pup. I thought they did a great job of making Tuck and Blue in cake form.

The more retriever-looking dog is Blue, and Blue is a little timid about strangers. His cake must have really looked like another dog to him because he barked and barked at it. He kept giving it the side-eye and then he would move away from it. Lol His nose eventually got the best of him, and he couldn’t resist getting a little closer to sniff. Needless to say, our social butterfly, Tuck, didn’t have any problems with the idea of a cake dog in the room with him! He looked at his cake (and Blue’s cake) with dreamy eyes and a goofy grin. The same way he looks at his doggie treats. He was a good boy to sit, wear a hat, and let us take photos of him!

While we humans enjoyed the birthday cake, we served the Birthday Boys a puppy parfait each. We made it with their favorite treats- pumpkin, greek yogurt, apples, and peanut butter. That sounds crazy, right? They loved it so much. I never knew dogs would love canned pumpkin (great for their tummies)- and I really had no idea that Greek yogurt was so good to them and for them! Did you? I have learned so much this past year with these pups! Of course, we did not give them any of the birthday cakes- those were totally for us! They did get a new chew toy each, though!

I always love taking photos of Blue in front of our blue door at our house. It just seems right. You can tell it is April in the south by the amount of pollen that is on the steps- and that is after I swept! I will never forget the time one of my neighbors/friends who had moved to Georgia from Australia called the company who built her back deck on her house and told them the wood was rotting or something was going on- because the whole thing had turned yellow! She had never seen pollen before (lucky lady), and had no idea what it was! They all had a good laugh, and now I think of her every spring when the pollen paints everything yellow!

I think Blue’s big smile sums up all of our thoughts on our first year together. We couldn’t be more in love with Tuck and Blue- and we loved celebrating their very first birthdays!! We are so glad we added them to our family and we all wonder what we did with ourselves before we had them!

I would love to know about your dogs! Tell me about them in the comments below! What kind do you have and tell me if you celebrate them? I never realized how crazy I would be over these 2 puppies, but I am so thrilled to have the happiness that they bring! You can read more about Tuck and Blue here- and you can follow them over on Instagram!

Xo,

Lydia