Cool Summer Drinks

Summer is the time to try out new recipes and veer from the “tried and true”.  Update you backyard barbecue with a watermelon gazpacho drink – (add a touch of hot sauce for a morning brunch) or a mint mojito for a pretty and refreshing alternative to wine.  Additions to a morning brunch can be fun “shots”  – ginger, lemon, cayenne are a few ideas to to cleans the palate, boost the immune system and add color!

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San Diego county has over 100 craft breweries and palates have become more discerning.  A good way to feature a variety of craft beers is to add them as beer floats to your outdoor barbecues as a unique dessert pairing.  Try mixing your favorite beer with vanilla bean ice cream, salted caramel ice cream or try a creme fraiche gelato.

Keep it simple and have fun!






5 clever ideas for table numbers

Table numbers are a great way to add a twist to your party’s theme.  Whether you aim for elegance, fun, modern or whimsical, checkout these 5  favorites:

Ceilings often get overlooked in the planning process but they are a great space to use to your advantage.  Need to bring a cavernous venue down to a cozier feel?  Think of bringing down the ceiling with a ceiling treatment.  In the first photo they did a nice job of incorporating table numbers hanging from tree branches .  Hanging it from above leaves the tables clutter free for the centerpieces to stand out.








Frames are always popular whether purchased or homemade.  These 2 samples give a classic vibe and tie in well with the centerpieces.








Selecting names of places, cities, countries, or other notable locations  add a personal touch and is fun for guests to  go from table to table and enjoy the scenes.    Incorporating the menu onto the table number saves on printing and makes an elegant keepsake for guests to take home.















We loved the clean look of this acrylic table number that also ties into the clear vase of the centerpiece.  A nice classic look!






The popularity of empty warehouses and old dilapidated factories continue holding their charm for party goers and party planners of all stripes.  Serving as a blank backdrop to fuel creativity, these venues are often seen decorated in a shabby chic or other styles that evoke years gone by.  Perhaps it speaks to  the nostalgia in all of us for simpler times!  Shabby chic continues to be a popular trend for weddings as well.  Outdoor photo op scenes abound with the bride and groom draped lovingly over vintage sofas surrounded by  nature and other vintage accessories. Centerpieces featuring grapes, pinecones, fruit and other winter produce remind one of nature’s bounty and fit nicely into the theme.e19637simplethings








Keep the rest of the  elements focused on the theme with vintage desserts served on dishes and cake stands popular in the past.


Photo booths are always a favorite activity as well as a great ice breaker for people who don’t know each other. I loved the new twist to the photo booth concept with this idea for a photo backdrop. This eye catching display by Sullivan florals is different and can be tailored to any season by the choice of fresh florals used to ring a grass covered backdrop.













Serve entrees dishes in bite size mini bowls, cups and glasses.  Combine complimentary flavors together and save yourself the hassle of providing all the usual plates, serving utensils and the accompanying clean up.

This asian style mini bowl featuring salmon with apple and ginger slaw from Lindsay Shaw catering fits the bill for a unique presentation and as a heavy appetizer for a cocktail hour.  Mini pies on a stick make for a great visual presentation and a different way to present a favorite stand by.












For an interactive experience,  try providing stations where guests can and pickle their own are to take home.  Provide enough variety for people to custom their own flavor pairings with different pickles, jams and sauces.










Usually the first item to get downsized or cut from a budget is lighting.  Big mistake!  Nothing sets a mood or tone to any party than ambient light.  Coupled with spots and other effects, guests are literally enveloped in the ambiance you are creating.  Consider these two looks and try to imagine the rooms without the softness of the lights and color.

All photos courtesy of Bizbash.






Yes, it’s that time of year where the frenzy and frazzle is everywhere you go. Grocery stores, parking lots, and don’t even mention the malls!!!

If you are taking a DIY approach to the holidays and have rolled up your sleeves to tackle invitations, decorating, cooking and table decor, here are a few tips to get your creative juices flowing:

Send out your invitations this year rolled up in a tube shaped mailer.  They come in a variety of colors and holiday stripes and will be sure to catch the recipients attention as they take it out of their mail box.

Ready to switch things up from all that red and green?   Silver and golds are classic favorites that add elegance and shimmer to any table.   Check out the new trends of accenting with rich aquas, purple and lavenders, if those colors fit within your color scheme.  Set against a silver or gold backdrop, these colors adds a different twist to old holiday favorites.

Use objects in new ways.   Small vases with flowers can serve as place settings and party favors giveaways.  Nametags tied around pears, dried pomegranates, or cinnamon sticks  bring out the season and add color and IMG_1009-682x1024fragrance to a tablescape. IMG_1048-682x1024


Here in Southern California succulents never go out of style.  Their versatility and color range makes them a wonderful addition to holiday arrangements. Mixing red roses with a variety of succulents add a cheerful note and make a distinctive accent to any decor.  The samples shown here are from Carter and Cook event stylists. A little spray paint helps gild the artichokes and can tie into other gold accents.  Adding  fresh pears, pomegranates, berries and other seasonal fruits round out the displays.

Don’t throw out those old ornaments!  Remove the tops, add water and put a holiday sprig or one flower in it.  So that it doesn’t roll over, shape a pipe cleaner into a circle so that it serves as a base to hold the ornament.

Make sure to pay attention to lighting and use candles liberally.  The variety of votives can be dizzying, or simply wrap shot glasses with ribbon that compliments your linens and other décor.

Select a different holiday drink this year instead of the usual wine and eggnog variety of drinks. Make it simple, fun, and be sure to enjoy all the season’s celebrations!

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