Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Host An Easy Red, White & Blue Cookout

With the Fourth of July approaching, I thought I'd share some of the things from the impromptu cookout we hosted this past Memorial Day.  It was a quick, low-stress event but also had some cool DIY elements you may consider to help make your Independence Day memorable!

We focused our efforts on good food - Hubbs was on the grill, Mom brought the cold sides, and Munch and I were in charge of the drinks and sweets (and hot sides).  Munch said she wanted to make a cool drink so we hunted for recipes.  We tweaked what we found online based on what we could find in the store and it was really a fun experiment!

Red, White and Blue Drink

Cran-Apple Juice
White Powerade (flavor unknown)
Sugar-free blue Powerade

1. Pour a little (very little) Cran-Apple juice into the glass
2.  Fill glass with ice and insert straw
3.  Pour White Powerade
4.  Top with blue Powerade

Voila!  A simple fabulous and YUMMY drink!  Munch was so excited and our guests were really impressed!

Red, White and Blue Cupcakes

1.  Bake Red velvet cupcakes according to package instructions
2.  Frost with cream cheese icing
3.  Place 3 blueberries on top

VOILA! A delicious and FESTIVE dessert!

They looked awesome in our cupcake display on the table.  While the cupcakes were on the table, my cool whip cake chilled in the fridge.

Flag Fridge Cake

Bake the cake flavor of your choice according to package directions.  Let cool for at least 20 minutes.  Top with cool whip, use fresh strawberries and blueberries to create a flag on top.  Place in the fridge until you're ready to serve and VOILA!  An easy and fabulous treat!!

We used extra Christmas wrapping paper (red and white striped) to make a simple table runner.  I hung a simple banner from the centerpiece, purchased red and blue napkins, and served all food on white platters.  The uniformed platters and simple decor made a subtle statement while also allowing my inner event planner to do what 'she' does best.

Time with family, specifically surrounding holidays, is not meant to be stressful.  The focus should be on creating a laid back atmosphere where your guests can enjoy themselves.

So, pour a yummy drink, cook up some easy and delicious food, and (oh, come on! Just one more for the road!!) VOILA!  Enjoy the great company!


Monday, June 29, 2015

Maya Mondays - Magnolias.

"I am convinced that most people do not grow up... We marry and dare to have children and call that growing up.  I think what we do is mostly grow old.  We carry accumulation of years in our bodies, and on our faces, but generally our real selves, the children inside, are innocent and shy as magnolias." - Maya Angelou


Friday, June 26, 2015

A Chic and Classy Cotton Club Party

Since the celebration vault is wide open, let's play a round of catch-up, shall we?

I worked with a friend's hubby recently to create a chic lounge feel in their home for a semi-surprise birthday party for his wife, and my dear friend, Deb.  She chose the theme and colors and he passed along the information to pull together a cool Cotton Club themed party.  The Cotton Club is a movie set in the roaring 20's and is the epitome of Hollywood glamour - feathers, sparkles and layers upon layers of accessories!

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Wedding Planning - Graphics and a Gift!

After the chalkboard-themed graduation party, I returned home to change my clothes and load the car for the wedding later on that day.  It was a lovely day.  I'm sure I'll have 'to die for' images from the photographer because her same-day teasers were awesome!!

The day was great.  It was a lot of work but it all came together fabulously.

I knew it was a good time when guests were dancing during the meal!

Did you recognize the above image from the Proof I Survived post?  Of course you do!  Well, I was super excited for that picture because it's my personal reminder that my new services have exceeded my clients' expectations.  OMG!  I designed that table number up there!  Actually, I designed all signage and programs for the wedding!

My bride decided to hang tulle poms from the gazebo as her ceremony decor.  I designed the above "poms" for the top of her programs and, in Microsoft Word, I added gray lines above each one(feel free to borrow! You can change the color and size in Word too).  It was the perfect way to tie in her ceremony decor.   I then used the pom design to unify all signage.  Oh, and guess what!

I'm sharing all of the signage with you below.  I know! I know!  Simply print the table numbers as 4X6 photos and the other signs as either 5X7 or 8X10!

I've even included a blank sign that you can personalize for whatever you need (candy buffet, photo booth, favors, thanks, bathroom signs, etc.).  Why?!  Because you guys have supported me along this crazy journey.  

Now, what do I need from you?  

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Grad Party - Chalk It Up to Being Awesome

I posted a teaser for the graduation party hosted last Saturday, June 13th, in last week's Wordless Wednesday post.

Those yard stakes set the tone for an awesome event!

I made a simple wreath using graduation caps, yarn and a mini chalkboard.  I love the simple and chic design.

The guest of honor has a great sense of style and, according to her stylish mama, cheesy decor was not an option.  When I saw the party invite, I decided to move forward with a chalkboard-themed event.  Our grad is headed to school on a basketball scholarship, she maintained great grades, and she is as breathtaking as a super model!

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Football Shower - It's A Girl!

This week, we're opening the celebration vault to discuss events - both past and present.  Buckle up, Islanders, this is going to be a bumpy ride!  First up? Last week's football baby shower.

I was asked to help with a former office cube neighbor's baby shower during last week's event bonanza.  He and his wife are expecting a baby girl and, because this event was for the dad-to-be, the coordinators chose a football theme.   As you know, I recently coordinated a football-themed baby shower for Hubbs' cousin.  In the case of the office event, plans were finalized before I was involved - they determined the theme (Dad is a Dallas Cowboys fan and Mom is a Redskins fan), they decided on the decor and the overall set-up.  It really made my life easier so I volunteered to provide a sweets table and that was going to be my only focus for the event.  We know that weekend was crazy for me (with four events) so I was GLAD to play a minor role in the event!

As the shower neared, I realized the invite wasn't sent and volunteered to make one.  I used the theme to create an invite.  Do you remember the football shower invitation?

I took that design and tweaked it for the shower.

It turned out super cute and set the tone this would be a fun baby shower for the guys and girls.  I really like it and I decided to incorporate pink because it's for a cheerleader.  I wanted the sweets table to be classy, elegant and girl-y but clearly be a football-y (another word I made up... you're welcome!) table.  Mission accomplished!

Monday, June 22, 2015

Maya Monday - Thank God!


Saturday, June 20, 2015

Friday Fun - Floral Lamp

I took the day to rest. I didn't do anything except conduct one client meeting and finish a quick project for Munchface's big girl room design.  The project turned out super fab.

I spray painted the lamp base and covered the shade with scrap flowers - chic and easy!  I can't wait to share the tutorial soon!  I just wanted to stop in and share what's happening around these parts.  

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

WW:Proof I Survived the Weekend

Wordless Wednesdays


Thursday, June 11, 2015

Insanely Busy Weekend

I would've totally posted a Wordless Wednesday but this week is so crazy I need to catch-up, mind dump and get back to the grind of things...

Speaking of grinding, I am preparing for an insanely busy weekend!

A Football-themed Baby Shower
A Chalkboard-themed Graduation Party
A Shades of Pink wedding Saturday
An Industry Day event in Philadelphia
Exhibiting at a conference in Philadelphia

I'm grinding but surviving!  I've implemented changes for event planner resentment survival and, thank God, I'm ok!  I've been quiet but that's because I've been working.  I'll share some updates for the aforementioned events; it's sure to be fun!

How's your weekend shaping up?!


Monday, June 8, 2015

Living and Life-ing


Wednesday, June 3, 2015

WW: In Philadelphia, We Won!

Wordless Wednesdays


Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Health Matters - Our Vision Story

Munch has always loved glasses.

She has roughly 15 pairs of costume glasses.  She didn't, however, realize that she may need to wear prescription glasses one day.

In October of 2013, Munch informed me her eyes were bothering her and she thought she needed glasses.  I wasn't sure but figured it was a possibility so I took her to an eye doctor.  Munch looked similar to the photo above when we arrived and I believe her costume glasses sent a subliminal message to the optometrist.  We signed in, the optometrist took Munch back and, with the door open to the exam room, she projected letters onto the wall.  Munch got several letters wrong.  Liiiiike, really wrong.

The optometrist turned to me and said, "we see this all the time.  Kids WANT glasses so they make up things... don't worry, mom."  Two minutes and $75 later, we were leaving.  WITHOUT glasses and WITHOUT a prescription for glasses. I was so annoyed.  Have you seen my thrifty finds? $75 is a LOT for a cheap-o-holic like myself, Islanders.

Fast forward to two weeks ago (May 2015) and in preparation for SOLs, all of Munch's homework was on the computer.  A whoppin' 45-60 minutes of computer work.  Munch complained the screen was bright. *rolls eyes* I dimmed it.  Munch was taking forever to finish each question.  *rolls eyes* I got frustrated and told her to read aloud because staring off into space is a common problem when it's time to read apparently!  She complained it was too bright.  *rolls eyes* Hmm, that's odd.  The screen brightness is as low as it can go and it's almost black.  *looks at Munch*  Have her eyes always been red? *thinks back*  Hmm.  I oblige her request to make the font larger but walk away and think about common issues while reading (skipping easy words, frequent blinking, etc.).

Hmm... I informed her that I would make a vision appointment for the next day.  I've mentioned my reading glasses I got shortly after the new year here and here.  I didn't share some of the signs that led me to venture in for a visit.  It was a long time coming.  I developed ocular migraines and if you've never had one, COUNT YOUR BLESSINGS!  My migraines were sudden and blinding.  Basically, I'd be typing at work then have the sudden sensation that someone PUNCHED ME IN THE SIDE OF MY HEAD followed by one of three blinding vision issues.  I found some pictorial representations for your reference.

1.  The shaking aura.  I had a pounding headache accompanied by this tunnel vision effect.  Everything out of focus was shaking.  It made me so dizzy I would vomit at the onset.  It rendered me completely incapable of driving or even walking sometimes.

2. The random floating blob aura.  It would start as a small spot and grow increasingly larger until more than half of my vision was impaired.  I knew when I had a small one, that it would take about 15 minutes before I was down for the count.

3. The shaking light flashes.  Bright, painful aura that caused me to stop in my tracks!

Those are no joke but would I be me if I didn't have a funny story to support my vision issue?  SO, I called my job's IT Department because the side navigation menus were shaking.  It was making me dizzy!  OMG! I had this sweet IT guy drive an hour to my desk to fix an issue with my computer that was non-existent!!!

All that and it was my vision.  MY. VISION!  I knew if Munch was experiencing some of my symptoms, we needed to go ASAP.  We did.

I expected Munch would need a low prescription for reading glasses but I was shocked to learn my child needs bifocals.

I'm not writing this post to speak about her vision but rather to encourage you to visit your local optometrist for an annual visit.  Yep, add them to the list with the dentist.  Make an appointment especially if you are experiencing any of the following symptoms.


- Sensitivity to light
- Squinting or straining to see
- Frequent use of an electronic device (5+ hours a day)
- Frequent reading of small font
- Headaches and/or migraines
- Blurred vision
- Eye fatigue (redness or puffiness)

For children, if your child has difficulty reading or complains about the electronic device (too bright or not bright enough), take them in!

The sooner you go, the better!  Our optometrist explained some of Zion's reading issues were directly related to her vision problems!  To think, she's been at a disadvantage because she needed glasses just breaks my heart.  We let her pick out her glasses and picked them up this past Saturday.  She was so excited that she can see!

I can hear the squeals when I see that picture!  We are building her confidence to ensure she knows the glasses help her and they compliment her personal style; she looks FABULOUS in her glasses!

Our health - mental, physical, oral and visual - is important.  Let's commit to make health a priority! Our lives depend on it!


Monday, June 1, 2015

Maya Mondays - Year 1.

Last Thursday, May 28, marked one year since Maya Angelou passed away.  I started this series on June 2, 2014 and, every Monday since, I've shared quotes from one of my favorite writers.  You can read where the series all began here and you can check out all of the posts here.  This is the longest running series on the blog and I've really enjoyed sharing some awesome one-liners with you... so much so, that I'm thinking we might keep it going.  Who knows?  We may incorporate quotes or snippets from other classic authors and works (Hemingway, Du Bois, Hurston... anyone?).

The greatest thing about Maya Mondays has been finding and sharing these gems with others.  This series has been motivating and inspiring but also encouraging and real.


This series may become a fixture here on the island; I hope you've enjoyed it!


Goodwill Finds: The Magnolia Wreath

Happy Friday, Islanders. I wanted to share a thrifty find from a while back.  Ugh, I love my local Goodwill Outlet.  Oh, and yes, you saw ...

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