Category Archives: DIY

Save the Dates with Wedding Paper Divas

Today I am happy to have my sister Megan Elizabeth (MEC) guest post about her beautiful STDs (save the dates, duh!) that arrived in my mailbox last week. If you missed her last post about a creative way to ask your bridesmaids or my how-to on her engagement basket – be sure to catch up on those too.

First of all, I love my Save the Dates that worked on with Wedding Paper Divas. They are beautiful and fit my wedding “theme” perfectly which is botanical meet Anthropologie in nature. They had so many beautiful options to choose from, so I had to narrow down my choices and I finally found the one.

Wedding Paper Divas gave me an experience of individuality and ease. I was allowed to customize my cards exactly how I wanted them- it originally had a chalkboard background which I really liked, but I wanted something a bit lighter to go with my natural wedding feel, and they accommodated me with simplicity and even gave me several color options for the color I was looking for. I was sent the proofs and the order was placed immediately after my approval.

You can customize fonts and size/color, although their suggestions are hard not to follow because they are done so tastefully. They also have an array of options as far as style goes- floral, rustic, modern, and nature, to name a few, which helps when searching for the perfect card for your wedding feel.

I was able to browse by brand too! Naturally, I went to the BHLDN (Anthropologie wedding line) section first and found one I loved that was in my top two, but this beauty by Jennifer Raichman took the cake!

You can also see the total suite of each card in case you want to use the design for all your wedding needs- invitations, thank you cards, place cards, etc.

Their prices are amazing too, with options to fit your budget! They offer different options for paper – thickness, type and cut (rounded, squared, etc.) and options for invite style- postcard, magnet, flat, and tri-fold. The envelopes are customizable as well, by style and color (kraft, white, gold, etc.).

And I couldn’t resist- we had to get some cute return address labels, and the beautiful options for these were endless as well.

Overall, this was honestly the perfect Save the Date experience and I couldn’t be happier with my product (and given the many compliments I’ve received, it seems my recipients agree)! Simple, efficient, customized and beautiful- adjectives that should go with every wedding planning experience.

Stayed tuned for more guest posts a la MEC as we have plenty of more wedding planning adventures to come until the Spring!

{Disclosure: Wedding Paper Divas sponsored these products and all opinions are our own.}

Workshop: Holiday Hostess Gift Ideas

Last weekend, I presented at DC’s Metropolitan Cooking & Entertaining Show as part of their entertaining and tasting workshops. The show is one of my favorite events and I’ve attended the past few years to see Food Network stars, sample delicious food and yes, attend workshops. It was so much fun being a part of it and such an honor to meet so many people who follow H&T.  I also enjoyed seeing Mr. Bobby Flay cook up a few dishes on Sunday afternoon too (swoon).

When they asked me to present on something holiday, I had no idea what to do. So many ideas ran through my mind and I finally decided that something we can all relate to is how busy our calendars start to get around this time of year. Think about how many parties, receptions and soirees we all attend from now until January 1st (#NovemberDecemberBender). Whether it’s a close friend, a colleague or you’re a plus one – hostess (or host) gift ideas are useful for just about everyone.

So for those of you that were not able to join in DC, I’ve put together a little recap of my workshop on holiday hostess (or host) gifts! P.S. All of these gifts can double as party favors or DIY gifts too. 

First and foremost, two of my mottos were that prevalent throughout the workshops. “Never show up empty-handed” and “Know your host”. The first is pretty obvious but the second includes thinking about your host ahead of time when deciding what to bring. For example, if you know your host doesn’t drink alcohol, don’t show up with wine. Why not bring some sparkling cider or lemonade instead? Duh.

Holiday Hostess Gifts Do’s & Don’ts

  • DON’T regift. If you don’t want it, what makes you think they do?
  • DON’T gift an ornament (unless you’re at an ornament gift exchange, of course). Chances are, the host won’t put it on their tree. Think about it – we all have our own way of decorating – and unless you know that your host’s tree is a montage of various ornaments, just skip the ornament gift idea. 
  • DON’T bring a dish or appetizer to share (unless you cleared with the host ahead of time). This also goes back to “knowing your host”. The exception to this would be that I think it’s perfectly acceptable to bring your homemade jam or holiday bread if it’s for the host to enjoy later on. Just no need to add to their menu unless they invited you to bring an appetizer or dish (i.e. Friendsgiving, potluck and the like).
  • DO keep on hand gift tags and other gift packaging. This makes it easy to add small touches to otherwise ordinary gifts. When I’m out shopping, I pick up little gifts instead of buying frivolous things I don’t need (you know that section near the register? yeah, it gets me everytime). Whether it be extra gifts tags or a small item that I know a friend will enjoy, I purchase items along the way. It’s easy to build an inventory if you think about your plans ahead of time too.
  • DO remember that “love is in the details”. You don’t have to spend a lot of money on hostess gifts – just add a personalized touch (if nothing else, bring a card)!
  • DO ask yourself if you would want this gift, if not – why are you giving it to someone else? This goes back to my regifting rule. 

 In a day where everyone is trying to perfect their latest Pinterest project, I promise these are all super easy and simple to put together. Alas, below are some of my host/hostess gift ideas, which are all certainly DO’s.

1. Cookies In a Jar – recipe & DIY here.

2. Baker’s Set –  dishtowel, utensil and oven mitt.

3. Set of champagne or wine glasses in a basket with a bottle to accompany (add a basket for a more “professional look”).

4. Marble Coasters (for the bachelors). 

5.  Rewined candles (Holiday or regular scents) 

6. Instead of just another bottle of wine – throw in festive cocktail napkins, an ornament (totally acceptbale in this case) or tag around the bottle. (This way at least the host knows who it’s from.)

All of these ideas can be used for Thanksgiving, New Year’s Parties, Birthdays and throughout the year too.

Thank you again to everyone who came out on Saturday and Sunday and to DC’s Metropolitan Cooking & Entertaining show for giving me the opportunity to host and toast in person!

P.S. Many of you asked on Instagram so…what I wore on Saturday & Sunday is below.

{Dress & Tunic Top: Devon Baer c/o (here & here) // Belt: Kate Spade //  Earrings: Kendra Scott c/o (here & here) // Bracelets: Kendra Scott c/o (here, here, here, here & here) // Ring: Kendra Scott c/o //  Blowout: Drybar Georgetown c/o // Shoes: Off Broadway c/o (booties & flats) // Pants: J.Crew // Lips: Beautycounter c/o}

Recap: Stock the Bar Engagement Party!

If you followed along on instagram, you might know that I was recently captured on camera hosting and toasting – literally (thanks to my friend, Dan!). Last weekend, I had the honor of being one of the hostesses for my good friend/former roomie’s engagement party. Today, I am showcasing a little recap from that party and my inspiration for it (see what I wore here).

First and foremost, guests were sent invitations via snailmail with inserts that read:

“a bottle of red or a bottle of white,

maybe tequila and salt for a margarita delight,

glasses, napkins or an ice bucket too –

Let’s stock their bar before they say “I do!”

I went with a “Stock the Bar” theme for this particular engagement (no pun intended). For those of you not familiar with this type of party or shower – guests are encouraged to “stock the bar” for the couple. To some that meant gifting items on the couple’s registry (wine glasses, cocktail glasses, wine openers, ice buckets etc) and to others, that meant giving bottles of nice wine, bourbon, Veuve and the like. The invite inserts made sure that no one had any questions about what to bring or buy for the happy couple.

This party theme also works for “couple showers” since it’s female AND male friendly (what guy doesn’t want his bar stocked?), compared to other showers that sometimes only keep the bride in mind.

I teamed up once again with Nico and Lala for everything from the invites to the details and the perfect favor for an affair of this sort – a custom koozie, of course.

We kept everything simple, somewhat gender neutral and casual as well. Urbanstems provided gorgeous orange roses and I picked up some white spider mums (my new favorite bloom) to arrange in vases around the house.

We kept the menu hearty (because there was lots of toasting, of course, not to mention, lots of men in attendance) with some of the bride and groom’s favorites. Mini grilled cheeses and tomato soup, mini sliders, crabcakes, bruschetta and cookie sandwiches – all of which were gone in a minute (or two!).

For catering and bartending, I worked with DC Taste. They are absolutely amazing and if you live in the DC area, they come highly recommended by H&T. Their staff is delightful to work with and their food is delicious. (I am also pretty sure they thought I was a little crazy because I insisted on helping set up.) For drinks, we did the bride and groom’s beer and wine picks passed plus a bubbly toast that included an impromptu speech by yours truly (cheers!).

It was so much fun having everyone all together under one roof in Sarah’s former stomping grounds (our house), before their big day next year. Also, it is such a small world because two guests just happened to also be H&T readers and had no idea they were coming over to celebrate at my house!

Congratulations again to the newly engaged couple and special thank you to all my fellow hostesses!

DIY: Rise & Shine Bachelorette Kits

TGIF! I know no one wants to talk about hangovers (or Irish flus as I call them) on a Friday but I promise this post takes a different spin on them.

Today, I’m excited to share with you another DIY guest post from my lovely sister, MEC. (If you missed her last one on bridesmaids, be sure to check it out.)

A growing trend with many bachelorette weekends has become the “hangover kit” or “survival kit” (i.e. cute little basket you put together for all the girls with goodies that will help them nurse the previous night’s decisions goodbye). Well, I just love MEC’s spin on this kit trend that she put together for her BFF’s bachelorette weekend earlier this summer.

Before we get into her deets, you must first know that MEC is the more relaxed/go-with the-flow sister and I take on the more high-strung/Type A role in our relationship. It’s a nice little balance (fire & water – aries and pisces) and she’s truly a role model of mine.  After you read below you’ll probably see why she’s taken on the nickname “yogi” or “the zen sister” by yours truly.

Rise and Shine Kit (aka a healthy hangover kit)

This is an all natural way to recover after a night of drinking on a bach weekend! I chose a small pail since the bachelorette weekend had a South Beach theme, but choose whatever you’d like! Burlap bags, gift boxes or bags, beach or tote bags, and the list goes on.. these are all great choices!

Kit Items:

  • Lara Bar: for energy and to cure hunger (made from a few, all natural ingredients)
  • Whitening Gum: to spruce up your pearly whites and cure that bad breath, the mint also helps with stomach issues/acid
  • Ginger Tea: I chose green but can be any kind, the ginger is good for your stomach and tea is great for detoxing
  • Instant Starbucks: although coffee dehydrates you, it would be fine to drink it in a small amount for a caffeine kick
  • La Croix or other Sparkling Water: this will hydrate you, and the carbonation will cure that soda craving that often hits the next morning
  • A Fun Straw: for cuteness/use for the beverages with an inspirational, ” get out of bed and fix yourself” saying. I chose- Rise and Shine!, Rejuvenate! and Refresh!
  • A Fun Napkin: for clean up
  • A Hangover Yoga Sequence: I chose a 5 min video called Hangover Recovery by Tara Stiles (my fave!). Choose something that can be easily accessed from YouTube on an iPhone. And something shorter is always best on a morning like this!

Other suggested items (for larger kits):

  • Coconut Water: for hydration and to replace lost electrolytes
  • Pain Reliever: preferably a more natural type
  • Other snacks: crackers or nutritional bars
  • Makeup Remover Wipes
  • Stomach Settling Chewables: TUMS!

I don’t know about you but I kinda wish I had one of these handy for all post-toasting activities.  Hopefully this inspires you if you’re in the midst of planning a bachelorette weekend yourself or just in need of a new & healthy hungover harriett cure!

Be sure to check back soon for another MEC DIY guest post!

(I’ll give you a hint: see that cute little itinerary above?!)

AND for all the latest on H&T, follow along on InstagramFacebookTwitter & Pinterest!

H&T Top Reasons to Send Flowers

If you’ve been reading H&T for awhile, you probably are aware of my love and obsession with fresh flowers (around my house, on my desk, on tablescapes and the list goes on). I also did a DIY tips & tricks post awhile back. Well, I also enjoy sending or giving flowers too. Imagine that!

Today, I am sharing my top reasons for sending florals to all your favorites.

To Say: Happy Birthday! This one is pretty common but there is nothing better than a surprise bouquet on your big day. Whether you send them to an office or home or even to a dinner, you are certain to brighten the birthday girl’s (or boy’s) day.

On Holidays – Mother’s Day (of course), Christmas, Easter, Valentine’s, the list goes on and on – flowers on these days let your loved ones know you’re thinking of them, especially if you are not able to join or be together.

To Say: I’m Sorry – Boys, listen up! I’m not saying you can do anything you want and then send blooms to save the day but…I am pretty confident I would gladly accept tulips (or peonies) in the form of an apology.

To Say: Get Well Soon – Even if you know someone who is just a little under the weather, flowers have a way of making them feel better. The same is, of course, true for those in the hospital or nursing homes. Brighten up their room!

To Say: Congrats! – New job, promotion at work, graduation, new business – whatever it may be, send away!

For Housewarming – Flowers are a great gift to tote along to a housewarming party or send to a friend or family member who just purchased their first home or moved. They will also provide for decor in a new space and make it feel that much more like home!

On Anniversaries: Again, gentleman – take note. And if you forget, I’m sure services like UrbanStems can still send them quickly “day of”

Engagement/Bridal Showers – Send the newly engaged couple or bride-to-be a bouquet when you find out the good news or perhaps if you can’t attend a shower, you can still be there in spirit!

To Say: Thank You – I say that people don’t write enough handwritten thank you notes in our digital age AND I also say that people don’t send enough flowers to say “thank you”. It’s an easy gesture and lets someone know how much you appreciate them.

New Baby! – No new mom or dad has time to run to the store to grab flowers for the house, send away or to the hospital too. I had a fresh hydrangea arrangement made for my BFF and her new baby boy (wrapped in blue ribbon a la Helen Olivia).

Performances – This is a great idea for your little ones and their dance recitals, plays and even to your musician friends after a great concert.

To Say: Farewell – I sent my old boss an arrangement at our “farewell lunch”.  Time it just right and have the delivery show up while you’re at dinner or lunch, it’s a fun surprise too!

Just Because – This one is pretty self explanatory and goes along with me not needing any excuse to send flowers. This is also the best surprise.

You Deserve It! – Go ahead, send yourself some flowers (I certainly won’t judge) – you can unwrap and brighten up your home, office space, kitchen and you save yourself a trip to the market

Hopefully this list inspires you to send or pick up a fresh bouquet or two for SOS!

Have a wonderful weekend!

{Bloom Photos: @TTHBlooms & Flowers by Krystal