Monday, August 29, 2011

A Sweet, Yellow Bridal Shower

My sweet Aunt planned special bridal showers for both Vanessa and I and now it's our little sister's turn to be showered! For a long time now, Lanae has talked about having yellow, black and white as her "wedding colors", and now that wedding plans are in full swing, including invitations sent and designs chosen, I'm totally in love with her scheme. She's always been so funny how she describes her "style" and vision for the wedding, often saying she likes it "cute" and simple/modern. She chose a signature damask pattern for her invites, as well as other wedding decor (which I am in the process of making.. EEP!), but for now.. we come to her latest shower. 

A month or so before the shower, Vanessa and I met with our aunt to talk about ways we could help - especially since I just love parties oh-so-much. We decided to create her shower inspired by lemons. The guest list included relatives and family and we chose to go with a mid-day event. We took on the decor and setup, and also helped with preparing the food. You can see, we really amped up the yellow/black/white to really imitate Lanae's idea of a "perfect party". 

Ice Water & Lemonade
Paper Straws - The Sugar Diva
Corsage my aunt made for Lanae.. Made of measuring spoons, a pizza cutter, a washcloth and  a wine stopper (I think). 

I was able to use a few pieces I had, including my white, Cupcake Liner Poms and Hollow Yarn Balls. Vanessa and I created the rest of the poms new for this shower - Check out the Fabric & Lace Ruffle Pom DIY!

Meringue Drops
Lemon Slice Candy
Lemon Tarts
Chocolate Fudge Cupcakes with Buttercream Frosting
Marshmallow Pops
Fruit Salsa with Cinnamon & Sugar Pita Chips
Veggie Pizza
Cucumber & Tomato Bruschetta

An all-time favorite recipe I received from my dear friend, Jody. Yu-hum!

Vanessa and I took on quite a few projects while deciding on decor. I have always loved Billy Balls and we knew Lanae especially loves them, so we decided to make some ourselves. We followed the DIY at Design*Sponge and found it a little tricky! We thought it would be a little easier, but actually rolling the felted wool without any creases or cracks was definitely a tasks that kept us laughing. I would definitely attempt to make these lovies again someday!

P.S. Love my extended (and still growing) collection of milk glass?? Aside from a few pieces I borrowed from my momma, I started with a piece from my grandma, gained a few pieces from my friend Anne Marie & her mom and I squeak every time I think of the fantastic thrift store I found the rest of them at. Can't wait to go back!

Vanessa and I spent countless hours during our "Sister Craft Days" working on these Q-Tip Flower Poms. I came across an incredible DIY tutorial at Homemade Ginger with my friend Mulder's Garden Party Baby Shower in mind. Since I had already taken on more than enough projects for the baby shower, I grew really determined to create these for Lanae's bridal shower. We made a total of 9 flower heads with 3 different sizes of styrofoam balls. When doing the largest styroballs, I managed to squeeze the q-tips in much tighter - which totally stunk in the end - because the flower heads were way too heavy for their stems. I've considered transferring them to stronger stems in the future, because they are way too amazing to waste.

{Check out my DIY post here.}

For favors, Vanessa and I dipped pretzels in white chocolate (obviously continuing with the yellow/black/white theme!).

I've really grown to love showers that have some sort of "wishing tree" or "advice" for the bride/mom-to-be. I think it's a really sweet way for the guests to share memorable words, while giving the guest of honor something extra special they can have forever. I created this tree at the last minute, using a long, black-painted branch, ribbon, mini clothespins and some round-ended paper. Guests were asked to share advice or words of wisdom for Lanae.

Cute little bride!

In the bathroom.. Vases full of lemons

Paper Straws - The Sugar Diva
Fonts used - Fonts for Peas
Paper for flag garland: Michael's
Fabric: JoAnn & Hancock
Q-Tip Flower Pom Tutorial - Homemade Ginger
Billy Ball Tutorial - Design*Sponge


Thursday, August 25, 2011

Soundtracks: R + J

I'm the first to admit.. I've always been a sucker for Leonardo DiCaprio. I'm sure, every other 6th grade girl was drooling when the "modern version" of Romeo + Juliet was released. Man, 6th grade. I remember after seeing the movie, I went straight to Best Buy to spend my hard-earned dollars on the VHS, so I could re-watch it as much as I wanted.. I even remember rushing to my boombox to record my favorite R + J songs that would come on the radio, so I could have my own "Romeo + Juliet Mixed Tape". Really funny to think about it now, but after 15 years, I still love the music. It's a compilation of songs that remind me of being a teenager and growing up, not to mention all of the big hits that rocked the radio like "Lovefool", "Talk Show Host" and the "You and Me Song". Oh, to be a teenager with mixed tapes again..

William Shakespeare's Romeo + Juliet
Featuring: Garbage, Everclear, Gavin Friday, One Inch Punch, Des'ree, Butthole Surfers, The Cardigans, Kym Mazelle, Quindon Tarver, Mundy, Radiohead, Stina Nordenstam and The Wannadies


Thursday, August 18, 2011

Noche Caliente en la Havana! Cuban-Inspired Bachelorette Party

I can't believe my little sister is about to get married. Just last August/September, I visited home for Vanessa's showers and wedding weekend and hosted a Marie Antoinette-inspired shower for her. Now as Lanae's turn, she asked for a whole different style of shower, as opposed to the frilly, ruffly tea party.

Vanessa and I brainstormed for months on how to play up a "spicier" style of party. Lanae has always loved the Caribbean-style atmosphere (as do I!), but we really didn't wanna do another cliche "leighs and luau" bachelorette party, so we chose to play up the spicy Caribbean/on-the-beach attitude and went with a shower inspired by Havana, Cuba!

Vanessa and I got together quite a few times to really get an idea of what we wanted to do. We kept going back and forth with different ideas.. especially since Lanae wanted this shower to have a little more "spice" than both of our bachelorette parties/showers had. We sent out invitations just in time, including a blank scrapbook page and instructions for her friends to decorate and send back or bring with them to the shower. I did the same thing for Vanessa's shower and it was super special for her to open it without having a clue I had organized it all. We figured Lanae might have a pretty good idea that she might get a book as well, but we decided to go for it anyway.

We made the invitations in a few different colors, just for the fun of it. They were really fun and easy to make! I'm continuing to see just how much my hot glue gun is my best friend forever. Ha! We felt some inspiration after seeing something similar in a movie and wanted to let it be interpreted as lingerie or a swimsuit - since our theme was meant to be beachy. We were pretty happy with them!

The inside read..

Since this was 1 of 3 huge showers I was in the process of planning (Mulder's baby shower and 2 showers for Lanae), we had to get practical and creative with what we were going to DIY for decor. Our colors consisted of red, pink, aqua, mustard, green and golds. Other than that, we knew we wanted string lights and garland, we knew we wanted palms and we knew we wanted a fantastic menu. Lanae really wanted to have the party at her new home, which was a little tricky for space, but we made it work. Not to mention, Lanae and Jordan were finally able to move her stuff in there the Monday before the shower (Saturday) and we rushed to strip and paint the almost the entire place in less than a week (Ohhmyword.). 

The night before the party, we finished the favors. To go along with the Cuban theme, we decided to give the girls chocolate-covered "cigars" aka chocolate-covered pretzel rods. We added some sprinkles for fun, and I found perfect, authentic Cuban cigar labels [online] to print, cut and wrap around each one. Vanessa, our mom and I headed over the morning of the shower to set everything up, before Lanae arrived at 7pm. So many things needed to be finished, other than just the table setup. Most of the food and all the hanging decor was still undone. The stresses began! 

Everything came together - as it always seems to - and as Lanae walked into her newly painted condo, her jaw dropped. She was pretty ecstatic with the theme we picked and she definitely understood the time and thinking that went into the decor, food and everything. It was really awesome that Lanae invited my best friend, Stacie, too (who is actually 1/2 Cuban!), so she helped BIGTIME with the menu. So much fun!

The Menu:
Cuban Paninis - Made with ham, swiss, pickle and Cuban mustard
Besitos de Coco (aka "Coconut Kisses") - a favorite Cuban dessert
Fresh Fruit Kabobs
Picadillo Empanadas
Guacamole Bruschetta
Triple Fudge Cupcakes
Dulce de Leche Cupcakes
Drinks: Pineapple Malibu's, Mojitos & Lemonade
& Coconut-Lime Jell-o Shots 

{Stacie made these Paninis -- To. Die. For.}

{Recipe for Coconut Kisses found here. We followed recipe with a shorter bake time and without chocolate. They were INCREDIBLE!}

{Stacie also made these Picadillo Empanadas. Delicious!}

Cuban coffee cans -- Really good coffee, too!

{Dulce de Leche Cupcakes - Actually, with Coconut Pecan frosting. Dulce de Leche was really difficult to find!}
{Triple Fudge (and filled!) Cupcakes}

{Courtesy of Vanessa & her fabulous Jello-making skills!}
I wanted to incorporate some Spanish newspaper somehow. SO! During our shopping trips, Vanessa and I went on a hunt for specific grocery stores which would have all-spanish papers and we found some! For the garland above the drinks and desserts, we hung strips of newspaper with gauze, along with a banner that read
"Noche Caliente en la Havana" meaning "Hot Night in Havana"

We kept the table fairly simple, with lots of bright colors. Vanessa sewed the aqua table runner with a yard of fabric we found on sale at Hancock. The white square vases, found at Michaels - 80% off. Flowers, see below. Palms, seashells and sand, I had from previous parties/showers. Woven placemats, Stacie's. Glassware, given to my by Vanessa (EEee! ..after she used them for her wedding place settings). Napkins, I already had, which I previously found for 1$ at a thrift store. Various gold tealight holders, found at thrift store and spray painted gold.

Chips & Mango-Peach Salsa at each place setting..

Vanessa and I worked several days working on these flowers - which we kept ourselves laughing, as we nicknamed them "Pinch Flowers". I found the DIY Tutorial at Martha Stewart (found here!) and we improvised a little with our binding and choice of fabrics. The red fabric, we found on clearance at a fabric store. The fuschia flowers were made with a bed sheet we found at a thrift store. Each flower took about 20 minutes.

A Cuban-inspired party was tricky to pull off (especially as a bachelorette party!) since Cuba has such a specific style. Implementing hundreds of palm trees, old cars and fedoras didn't exactly fit into our budget, so we did our best. When thinking of what the "streets of Havana" might look like, we kept picturing clothes on clotheslines and festive lights. Rather than hanging clothes, we found some fantastic, red gauze and hung strips of it with miniature clothespins. We made a paper garland as well, with a new lace-like punch (Martha's deep edge "flower bed" punch). We rearranged some mini lanterns onto string lights I already had. Everything blended together really nicely! Stacie brought a fabulous Cuban music mix over to set the mood -- definitely including one of my favorite soundtracks, Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights.

Of course she's sneaking around the palm branches..
..and of course she's sniffing the fabric flowers..
Stacie, Lanae, Me & Vanessa

After a few crazy games, we settled down to watch Lanae eat a powdered doughnut for every answer she got wrong during "How well do you know your groom?" game.. 
Ready for presents!
Loving the scrapbook we gave her..
Bridesmaid love..

It was such a fun and "spicy" girl's night.. hopefully one that Lanae will never forget!

What I'm listening to: 

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