Monday, March 30, 2009

Eye Candy: Gumball Dispenser

How great are these tiny little gumball dispensers found at Bliss Weddings Market? These would be so cute for a whimsical wedding favor, or for a fun summer party!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Spotlight Buffalo: Western New York Restaurant Week

This is local restaurant week in Western New York, where over 100 local restaurants are offering fixed price menus for $20.09. This is a great opportunity to support local business owners, plus you can have a delicious meal for a fraction of the regular price. Check out the website to view participating restaurants and their offers.

You could also use this as an opportunity to scout out locations for upcoming parties and weddings. Some of my favorite event spaces that are participating:

Harry's Harbour Place Grille - beautiful setting on the water perfect for a summer wedding
The Roycroft Inn - unique space with classic charm suitable for all types of events
Chefs - a popular spot for showers and parties
Black and Blue Steak & Crab - a great chic restaurant that offers 2 rooms for private events

Don't miss out - Restaurant Week ends on Sunday!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Theme Party: March Madness

Even if you're not a basketball fan, a March Madness inspired party could be a fun theme for a party at your home. Here are some ideas to get your party started....

Invitations: Invites can be designed to look like event tickets, such as this example below from Party 411. If you prefer e-mail invitations, Evite has some great March Madness invites ready for your customization.

Decorations: Get some paper plates, napkins and tablecloths from Plum Party that fit with the March Madness theme. Buy balloons in the colors of your favorite team. Use basketballs as vases! If you want to get crafty, you could dye white carnations orange and black, and press them into an oasis foam sphere to make a basketball out of flowers.

Dessert: I love cake -and truly believe that no party is complete without it. And here - dessert always comes before "real" food because it is my favorite part!! Why not decorate cupcakes to look like little basketballs?

{Photo credit}

And if you want to get really fancy, you can have a cake made such as the fabulous cake from Carolyn's Sweet Tooth featured here:

Food: This taco dip recipe from is always a crowd pleaser at my parties! It is especially impressive when displayed in a trifle bowl.

1 (1 ounce) package taco seasoning mix
1 (16 ounce) can refried beans
1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1 (16 ounce) container sour cream
1 (16 ounce) jar salsa
1 large tomato, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 bunch chopped green onions
1 small head iceberg lettuce, shredded
1 (6 ounce) can sliced black olives, drained
2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese

1. In a medium bowl, blend the taco seasoning mix and refried beans. Spread the mixture onto a large serving platter.
2. Mix the sour cream and cream cheese in a medium bowl. Spread over the refried beans.
3. Top the layers with salsa. Place a layer of tomato, green bell pepper, green onions and lettuce over the salsa, and top with Cheddar cheese. Garnish with black olives.

Cocktails: Beer is always a staple at sports parties, but I love themed cocktails! Here is a recipe for the "Slam Dunk":

5 oz. Cranberry Juice
4 oz. Orange Juice
1.5 oz. Southern Comfort

Pour in Southern Comfort, and mix OJ and Cranberry Juice until you get a nice pink color.

Music: Here are some songs to put on your ipod that fit with the party theme:

I Wish I Was a Baller – Skee Lo
Get Ready For This - 2 Unlimited
Pump Up the Jam - Technotronic

Now that all the elements are in place, you can sit back, relax, and enjoy the games!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Wedding Budgets

Let's face it - the current state of the economy is putting a strain on many wedding budgets. Check out this great website where you can look at average wedding costs in your area. It also has a handy budget estimator tool:

Weddings are expensive, and people are being forced to make choices and sacrifices. Couples need to be more creative than ever in order to have the wedding of their dreams. Celebrity event designer Colin Cowie offers the following 7 Tips for the Budget-Savvy Bride who seeks smart solutions for planning an extraordinary wedding:

{photo credit}

1. Dream big: Small ideas get small results, so put budget aside while envisioning your dream wedding, then figure out what you can afford.

2. Cut your coat according to the cloth: It's better to do 5 things correctly than 10 things on the skinny.

3. Consider a destination wedding: Weddings can take place anywhere, so think beyond the exotic beach and think about a bed-and-breakfast or country inn. *Being near the Finger Lakes, there are a lot of beautiful small inns and B&B's that can make you feel a world away from home.

4. Opt for a fantastic DJ: Instead of a big orchestra or band, find a great DJ who can create great background music and just as easily keep the guests moving on the dance floor. *Stay tuned for our Vendor Spotlights, where we will be showcasing local vendors. Next week we are featuring one of our favorite local DJ's!

5. Invest in a trusted wedding planner: A professional is there to ease some of the pressure while bringing your vision to a reality. *Plus, we will help you with even more budget saving tips, vendor recommendations within your budget, and creative ideas!

6. Design a signature drink: Rather than serving an open bar, offer guests a specialty beverage that is as delicious as it is memorable. *I love signature drinks! You can give them clever names, and it gives your guests an opportunity to try something they may not usually order. They are also pretty and make for great photographs!

7. Create monochromatic flower arrangements using one type of flower: When bundled en masse in short ceramic vases, whether roses or carnations, tulips or spider mums; these flowers are beautiful and impactful.

Let's not forget the reason for this celebration and remember what matters most at the end of the will be spending the rest of your life with the person you love! Make smart decisions, and you will be able to start this new chapter of your lives on the right foot.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Inspiration Board: Yellow, Black and White & Damask

Happy first day of Spring!! We've had some warm weather here lately (50 degrees is warm for Buffalo in March!), and I can't wait for the flowers to bloom. Yellow is a hot color for weddings this season. Paired with black & white and damask, it has a bright & vibrant, yet elegant feel.

Tell me what you think!

{Ring - Takara Diamonds, Bridesmaid Dress - Dessy, Chandelier - Home Depot, Cake - The Wedding Cake Shoppe, Yellow Rose - found at, Shoe - Ann Klein, Flowers on, photo by Alison Gootee, Invitations -}