A Summer Shell-a-bration

One of the best ways to welcome summer, or to simply celebrate its wonderful existence, is with a Summer Shellabration themed party! Saying Shell-o to Summer has never been more fun! I had a great time creating and styling with this theme and using a different mix of colors…I wanted to use coral and blue and add in pastel pink. I think it turned out fresh and fun!

I hosted a Supper Club for my daughter and friends using this theme at the end of school and adapted it to “Shell-o Summer” as we were celebrating the end of the school year and the beginning of summer! My friend, Susan, at the shop “When I Was Your Age” (on Etsy) designed party paper products for us, and they were the perfect way to tie it all together. I love the combination of the blue placemats with a coral design and the coral-colored nautical rope design on the plates. The shell in the middle with the writing was just what it needed to play off the party theme. The plates are clear with the design in the center and so it also showed off the placemats even more. I really loved this all together on top of the pink and white striped cabana tablecloths.

“When I Was Your Age” also designed cups and stir sticks to use for the party. The stir sticks double as cupcake decorations, too- you can simply ask for a shorter stick! See farther below in this post for how I used them in the wine carafes. They are versatile and always add a little extra touch of design to a party!

I really wanted to mostly use shells for the table decorations and let the ocean treasures speak for themselves…I purchased shells and poured them into white bowls with ruffled edges. I like the shape of the edges of the bowls and how they add to the texture and movement of the table since I was using shells instead of lots of flowers. I love to use big groupings of small items so that they don’t look lost on the table.

For a small touch of greenery or florals, I used air plants inside pink sea urchin shells. I really loved how pretty these turned out and how they added just a small amount of green to the mix- kind of like seaweed in the ocean but in a good way! The urchin shells with air plants also doubled as party favors for the girls to take home with them. Caring for the plants is simple (just water every once in a while) and it was a unique way to add a little summer to their homes.

I purposely ordered shells in shades of pink, coral, and white so that they would blend and complement the stronger shades of blue and darker coral. You can choose the darker tans and browns if you want to add an earthier tone to your party. I truly love the crisp, white tones and the serene feel that the softer colors give when paired with the strong ocean blues.

For this Supper Club and beginning of summer party, my daughter and I hosted the girls and their moms. I enjoy having a chance to connect with the moms before we all head our separate ways for summer. I wanted to have a shell-themed party favor/gift for the moms, too. When I saw Pippa Goetz’s oyster shell art, I felt like the shells- in combination with her incredible artistic skills- would be the perfect fit for our party! I asked Pippa to make a shell for each mom with the first initial. We chose blue and white for the letters and gold for the outside of the shell. A coral ribbon literally tied it all together to make it match the party.

I could have used these beautiful painted oyster shells a million different ways and had a hard time deciding which way I liked them best. Tied to the mini wine carafes was so beautiful, and then I also loved them tied to the napkins. Which way do you like better? Tied to the mini carafes or used as napkins rings?

And, can we talk about this amazing cake that the sisters at Emmie June Cakes made to coordinate with this theme?? When Emmie June and I talked about what the cake should look like, all I told them was a beach theme with an emphasis on shells- and I asked that we incorporate the sea urchin shells with air plants. Emmie June Cakes went to work and created this masterpiece of a cake! I was wowed when I picked it up! And even more wowed when I tasted the cupcakes they sent along!!! Their buttercream frosting and cake are incredibly good!

The back of the cake was a beautiful watercolor effect and was so pretty to see from all sides!

It was such a show-stopping cake, I couldn’t stop taking its picture! I was like a cake paparazzi and wanted to capture it a million times over! Lol! I even put it on my bar cart to just let it have its moment of glory all by itself! 🙂

Emmie June Cakes also sent cupcakes with ocean blue frosting and pearl sprinkles. I made candy shells using pink and melts and a candy mold that I bought at Hobby Lobby. The candies were so easy to make! I put them in the refrigerator so that they would hold up better in the warmer temps of summer before I put them on top of the cupcakes…

I love serving the cupcakes nestled in the big bowls of shells. Of course, they look (and taste) fabulous all together on a tray or platter too! I just really like the way they look with the shells and the contrast of the blue frosting…and, again, I couldn’t stop taking pictures! 🙂

The cake and cupcakes look so pretty together. I can’t say enough about how fabulous it was to work with Emmie June Cakes. I really am looking forward to the next reason to order a cake from them (or maybe I just won’t need a reason and should order one for no reason at all.) Anybody else ever do that? 🙂

I also added a balloon garland in pink, blue, green, yellow, and white to tie together the color scheme and play off the colors of the the table setting. The best part about these particular balloons is that they are from illoom balloons and they have lights inside of them. When the sun goes down, the balloons glow. It is such a surprise for the guests and adds a playful and pretty vibe to your party!

I think the cupcakes would also look so cute served in smaller, individual bowls of shells at each place setting. I love the options you have when setting a table, and I am all for making each place setting extra special for each guest! Maybe I will try that next time!

What’s a summer party without something frozen to cool you down in the heat? To go with the cake- or for those who prefer a lighter dessert- I also served Mango Passion Fruit Sherbet. Individual clear containers let the pretty colors of the sherbet shine through and then I topped it with blue pearl sprinkles and more of the pink candy shells…

Add a miniature gold spoon (found in the party aisles at craft stores) to each cup of sherbet and your guests will appreciate how easy it is to pick up and enjoy! Just have a few extras on hand in case one or two break as they dig in to the sherbet!

It’s a perfect way to say hello to summer and all of the fun that goes with it!

I have shown you all of the pretty details and you may be wondering what we actually served for dinner. I wanted to continue with the shell theme and so we decided on serving paella for dinner. It was a good fit to meet different tastes for our guests…I ordered seafood and chicken paella so that it would accommodate different likes. We also ordered gazpacho which suited our friends who don’t eat meat- and was a huge hit among the moms! I contacted The Spanish Paella in Suwanee, Georgia and arranged for him to cater the meal for us. With the giant pan, it was fun to watch dinner being prepared and to be excited to line up to try it when it was ready. I highly recommend him if you are in the area. He catered a party for one of my friends and so it was the second time I had a chance to enjoy it. It was a nice way to have a hot, delicious dinner and to be able to enjoy chatting with our guests rather than having to worry about cooking and serving! Here he is…

I do wish I had taken a group photo of all of the moms and daughters together. I snapped a couple of shots but then put my phone down and enjoyed everyone’s company. I am making a note for next time to remember to get a group shot- I know we will treasure those as our girls get older!

I did have a little glitch when I was preparing for the party and that was that I ordered 2 tablecloths in the wrong color. I decided not to let that be a problem at all and just put two coral-colored cloths outside for the girls (they loved that color) and the pink striped cloths inside for the moms. It worked out well and I ended up liking it. I would prefer that they all were the same, but sometimes you press “checkout” too quickly and end up with something you didn’t mean to order! 🙂

I enjoyed hosting this party and celebrating the season of summer and this season of life! I hope you find ideas to use for your own summer celebrations! Cheers to more flexible schedules, a slower summer pace, and the company of friends- there are so many reasons to shell-a-brate!

Here are the sources for the items I used for this party…the Amazon links are through my Amazon Associate program. I receive a small compensation (at no extra cost to you) for purchases made through this link. I only link the items that I buy myself and want to share with you!

Party Paper Designs (plates, cups, stir sticks, placemats) – When I Was Your Age

Pink Cabana Stripe Tablecloths – Amazon

Coral Cabana Stripe Tablecloths- Amazon

Cake and Cupcakes- Emmie June Cakes

Painted Oyster Shells- Pippa Goetz

Gingham Napkins- Amazon

Shells and Air Plants- Etsy Shop

Balloons- Illooms

XO,

Lydia

bar cart for cinco de mayo fiesta
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!

bar-cart-fiesta-balloon

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!

titos-tequila-patron

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!
fiesta-recipe
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.

bar-cart-fiesta

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

party ideas for cinco de mayo
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.

sombrero-spoon

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!

cup-lime-sombrero-straw

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…

cups-with-limes

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
pink-luminary-flower-centerpiece

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!

piñata-taco-cookies-on-platter
fiesta-letter-balloons

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

Best Buds/spring Supper Club

My teenage daughter’s Supper Club has become something I look forward to each time that we host it! Each one has a different theme and different menu, but the friendships and fun grow every time! For this Supper Club, the theme was “Best Buds” and we went with a flower theme. We hosted it on the Thursday before Easter- which was the night before a school holiday began. Many of the girls were already traveling for Easter break, and so we had a smaller group than we usually do- but it was not small on chatter and laughter and all of the things that make each one so much fun!

Favor Boxes by Loralee Lewis /Vases by Parker Kennedy Living/ Styling and Photo by Lydia Menzies

Doing something different each time is always fun, and setting the table around the theme is, too! My friend David, of Parker Kennedy Living, showed me some vases they had just gotten in at their shop and offered to let me use them for the flower themed party. The colors were perfect, and I could picture them with pink, orange, and yellow flowers. We loaded them all into my car and they became the focal point of the Supper Club table.

I found ranunculus at Trader Joe’s and bought all they had in the colors I needed. The blooms were stunning and I loved the way the stems curved and swayed. I formed a “table runner” with all of the vases down the center of the table and ended up using around 50 vases. The blue and green milk glass vases are gorgeous on their own and then even more so when you pop in all of the flowers. I especially like the different shapes and sizes of the vases. When I put them on the table, I didn’t overthink the order of the vases but instead just varied the colors and heights to make it look eye-catching. I used more blue than green simply because that is what I had. Here is an overhead view…

For the placemats and favor boxes, I ordered from my friend Loralee Lewis. I loved the mix of green and white gingham with the floral print in pinks, yellows and greens. Inside of each of the favor boxes, we put a gold foil bunny from our local chocolate shop, Condor Chocolate. The favor boxes looked pretty at each place setting. This collection by Loralee Lewis is called Happy Floral and has lots of other pretty pieces in this design. I fell in love with the green gingham and Loralee printed the pattern on placemats for us.

I played around with the table setting a little- I loved the layer of yellow that the Kate Spade plates added to the white and pink glass plates…which way do you like better? See below for just the white with the pink depression glass plates. I found Rose Lemonade at Target and loved that it was a mix of lemonade with a flower- a perfect drink for our flower theme! Not to be confused with Rose’ Lemonade- this drink is made with Rose Water and is non-alcoholic, of course – serving to teens and all! But the cashier at Target asked to see my ID because she thought it was wine lemonade… and then my daughter thought I had made a mistake and bought them Rose’ too! I definitely drank one myself just to check and to be on the safe side. 🙂

And, in keeping with the “Best Buds” theme, each girl had a bud vase with a flower at her seat. I was lucky enough to meet Maizie Clark at The Southern Coterie Summit in February, and we teamed up to create these custom bud vases for the girls. Maizie send over 2 flower designs that she hand drew, and my daughter chose the flower that she liked best. They were then printed onto the vases and shipped to us to use as gifts for our guests. The girls seemed to love the thought and sentiment of the vases, and I can’t thank Maizie and Michelle enough for creating such a sweet gift for us to share with friends!

Custom Bud Vases by Maizie Clark

We decided on the white flower (or Camille did and I agreed) because that way, no matter what bloom you put in the vase, it would always show off the beautiful flower. We love the “best buds” inscription on the vase!

The bud vases were such a hit and so were the fabulous paintings that were created for the girls by Mary Sams. Mary is the mom of one of the girls- she is so talented and was so kind to paint one for each of the Supper Club Girls.

The girls loved being able to choose the girl and color scheme they liked the most- and they look so pretty all grouped together! I love that the girls have some special treats to remind them of their buds- and that they know the artist personally!

For this Supper Club, I kept the menu very easy! Because I hosted my website re-launch party earlier on the same day, I ordered croissant sandwiches and a fruit platter from Chicken Salad Chick, salads from Maepole in Athens, and had pigs in a blanket from Home.Made in Athens. Some of the menu was the same as the luncheon earlier in the day- I just ordered enough to have for both parties. We did have an extra-special dessert for Supper Club…

Aren’t these cake pops soooo cute??? Bunnies holding bouquets of flowers?? I couldn’t love them more, and they couldn’t be more perfect for our spring Supper Club that was held just before Easter! The cake pops were made by Pop Pedler in California and shipped carefully across the US to make it Georgia in time for the party. You can see they made the trip well! Pop Pedler was and is so wonderful to work with- she is just the most talented and most thoughtful!

The details are just so cute and sweet! From the bows in their “hare” (sorry) and their tiny pearl feet…there is also an adorable bunny tail on the back made of a pearl sprinkle. Pop Pedler has won me over with her creative treats, and I can’t wait to order again soon! And, I ordered extra so that I could have some for Easter lunch with my family. I just put them in the refrigerator and they were perfect for dessert on Sunday!

I also attempted to make the bunny cake pops stand in the Dirt Cup desserts that my daughter and her friend made for Supper Club. I needed a taller container or a shorter stick, but you get the idea!

It was such a nice Spring night, we took the party outside and the girls enjoyed hanging out on the porch. They also got into the leftover cooler of sodas (with permission, of course) that we had earlier in the day at the website launch lunch. They are always a joy to have over and I can’t wait to see them all again soon!

THANK YOU TO THE FOLLOWING COMPANIES FOR THEIR BEAUTIFUL PRODUCTS!

CUSTOM “BEST BUDS” VASES- MAIZIE CLARKE

BLUE AND GREEN MILKGLASS VASES- PKL-THE CELLAR

FAVOR BOXES & GINGHAM PLACEMATS- LORALEE LEWIS

FLOWER GIRLS ARTWORK- MARY SAMS

BUNNY CAKE POPS- POP PEDLER

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

animal themed party with felt hats
Colorful Birthday Party Ideas

Have you ever felt stuck when trying to choose an idea for a theme for a birthday party? Sometimes, the best option is to NOT choose a theme, but instead choose colors that the birthday boy or girl loves. That way, you can make everything coordinate beautifully without being tied to one thing. It kind of opens up the options and makes planning even more fun! Today, I am going to show you how to use a colorful combination- and these party ideas could also be used for a rainbow theme or animal theme if you prefer to stick with a that…it’s like 3 in one!

The inspiration for this party started when I found these adorable hats- they are made of felt and have the cutest animal faces on them. I fell in love with the color combo and the whimsical design of the party hats- I love how each hat is a different animal and I love those ears!

Admittedly, I am a little obsessed with the cuteness and wanted to replicate the animal faces for the cake and other sweet treats for the party. Brenda, of Sugar High Inc., created the fondant cake toppers. I told her how I would use them on skewers, and she was able to make them so that all I had to do was just assemble the skewer and the topper when I was ready to use them. They were perfect! For the cake, I bought a cake at my local grocery store and added pink sprinkles to it. I knew I wanted a simple cake so that the fondant hat toppers would stand out. Next, I even used the animal faces for the drink toppers…

Sachiko, of Mimi Cafe Union, made these darling drink bottle toppers for me. They look exactly like the little hats in fondant form! They had holes for the straws to slide through and were perfect for keeping a lid on it!

When I saw the colorful rainbow plates from Oh Happy Day Party Shop, I couldn’t believe how perfectly the colors matched the hats I was using. Don’t be afraid to mix in an unexpected pattern (or rainbow) when you are planning the details- it’s amazing how something small can bring it all together.

Another of my favorite party tips is to find a way to use the birthday number and celebrate it. Decorated cookies with the number 4 were beautiful in bright pink, yellow, and blue. My sweet friend, Terri Graham of Sweet Goosie Girl, made the cookies and they really couldn’t have been more perfect or delicious!

When I am planning a party with a lot of strong color, I always like to find a way to temper the bright with a little bit of pastel. For this party, I used pastel pink napkins on the table and it sort of acted as a neutral for the table. I love a fun, vibrant setting but also realize that visually you need a little balance!

Another way to balance out strong colors is to use cupcakes with white frosting- it makes “plain” cupcakes even better when they are surrounded by all the colorful options. I topped the cupcakes with printable toppers from Anders Ruff Design Co. – I loved the funky little font Maureen chose for this design! If you love a more colorful topper, add in candy or fondant. I asked Brittany of Edible Details to make these super cute cupcake toppers and then mixed them in with the printable toppers. It is a way to have more economical options mixed in with the more expensive options…

The invitation and place cards were also designed by Anders Ruff Design Co. And, the oh-so-cute Oreos were made by Maria at Love and Sugar Kisses. It amazes me how Maria can make an Oreo look so fancy!

Once again, fondant toppers for the win on the Oreos! They are just the cutest! Kind of like these cuties!

There’s nothing quite like turning 4 and being with your favorite people to help celebrate!

What’s your favorite non-themed way to throw a party? I vote for colors- and the best part of that is that the choices are endless!! Tell me what you think in the comments below and have a beautiful, colorful day!!

XO,

Lydia

P.S. A funny side note about this party…many years ago (as in 2013), I was asked to design a party for Twinkle Twinkle Little Party’s first online magazine. At the time, there was no deadline, and it was a very laidback request that I accepted. And then, I became inundated with other work and had to place this idea on the back burner…and then TTLP moved and took a short break from the magazine…and, needless to say, this party idea never was seen or shared. Because I had purchased all of the gorgeous work from the vendors and it was too fabulous not to share, I boxed it all up and saved it for when I could actually put these ideas together. And, so…6 years after the original orders were made and plans were set, I finally had a chance to put this one together. So many things have changed over these past 6 years, and many of these talented ladies are no longer providing bakery work for purchase. I feel so lucky to have been able to share the skills and talents of Brenda, Sachiko, Maria, and Terri throughout the years, and I am thrilled with the paths that they have taken in their creative endeavors. I just wanted you all to know that they have taken their amazingness in different directions, but, wow, they have an incredible way with fondant and cookies! Cheers to them all and to growth! I celebrate you ladies!