PREPPY BABY SHOWER: INVITATIONS & DECORATIONS

My good friend Katie just had a sweet baby girl. Hurray! Before the little lady arrived, I co-hosted a baby shower luncheon with our mutual friend, Lindsey.

We decided to make the shower preppy-themed because Katie loves all things striped, pink, and monogrammed. This worked really well for a sweet sophisticated shower. Since we knew she’d be having a girl, we definitely wanted to use shades of pink but added in navy blue to balance it out and emphasize the preppy feel.

preppy baby shower invitation

The guest list was small (there were only 6 of us) so we were able to focus on the details and make things feel really special. We sent out invitations printed on soft cotton paper in a navy envelope, sealed with personalized labels.

Lindsey is a food scientist and cooking expert so she focused on the creating the menu while I figured out the logistics of the decorations (with Mandy’s help of course!). We then worked together to make everything fabulous.

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tulips

honeycomb

We kept the decor simple and concentrated in one area for the most part. We hung striped monogrammed bunting, put a striped runner on the table (really a clearanced body pillow I found at Target!), filled a vase with white tulips and put a bunch of navy honeycomb balls in the window sill. We also got a giant (36″) balloon filled and hung tissue tassels on it. This was certainly a statement piece!

We had so much fun planning and putting this shower together. With such a small group, it felt really special. Check back for more posts on the food, craft, and favors from this preppy afternoon!

jesskatiediddythegirls

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PARTY PALETTE NO. 10

Have some fun with this upbeat palette. I especially love the neon lime that really adds a punch of pep! These colors would work nicely for a garden or spring cocktail party.

party palette no. 10 via Plate & Paper

 

ice cream, Isabel Urbina Peña book cover, j.crew sweater, siksakki wool blanket, map quest style post

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MOOD BOARD: PREPPY BABY SHOWER

I recently co-hosted a baby shower for a dear friend. The guest of honor (now the mama of a sweet little girl!) loves navy, pink, stripes, and all things preppy. This aesthetic lent itself perfectly to a small shower luncheon. Here’s a little preview of our inspiration. Stayed tuned to see how it all came together!preppy baby shower

striped favor bags, edible place cards, balloon, cookies, nail polish, tulips

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PARISIAN CHIC BABY SHOWER

I’ve recently had the pleasure of becoming an auntie for the first time. My sister and bro-in-law welcomed an adorable, perfectly plump little girl. Today, I’d love to share some photos from the baby shower I helped throw for her.

My sister has a deep interest in French culture. Chic, modern and sweet, a Parisian theme fit perfectly. I kept things fairly restrained with whites, creams, pale pink and hints of kraft paper. Simple garlands were constructed from pale pink tulle and tissue paper, and paper lanterns and poms added dimension. These types of decorations work in a variety of settings, especially when you don’t have much prep time or are using an unfamiliar space (like I was).

Flowers are always a good idea (I bought roses and eucalyptus), and I added some Parisian flair with an Eiffel Tower rubber stamp to basic cups and menu cards. The menu consisted of French comfort food staples, and we finished the gift-opening with pink macarons. It was a lovely afternoon fit for a Francophile like my sister.
Parisian Baby Shower from Plate & Paper

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THE BIRTHDAY PARTY PROJECT

Hello! Today, we’d like to take a minute to share a really cool organization with you all. It’s called The Birthday Party Project. They are a team that throws birthday parties for homeless kids that would otherwise not get a birthday celebration of their own. Pretty awesome right? Take a minute to watch the video below and see what they are all about. I dare you to not tear up a bit!

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Info Graphic source

 

Video by WhenItClicks Films

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The site lists multiple ways that you can give to the project. Considering our love of parties, we felt extra moved to give something to this cause. We gathered a box of party supplies and shipped them off. We also made a small donation and hope to keep giving to this cause in the future. If you live in the Northern Texas area, you can help volunteer at one of the parties. Everyone deserves a fun, love-filled birthday party!

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PI DAY / PIE DAY

Are you a Pi Day person? You know, March 14th = 3.14 = pi = pie, the holiday celebrating that crazy mathematical number? While St. Patrick’s Day tends to be more popular, Pi Day certainly deserves the spotlight, too. But mostly because it involves pie. Lots of pie. Below are some delicious-looking pies that we strongly suggest you make and enjoy.

Celebrate Pi/Pie Day! | www.plateandpaper.com

blueberry slab pie, peanut butter piesalted caramel apple pielemon meringue pie

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DRINK & APP PAIRINGS HAPPY HOUR

Here’s an idea for your next get-together with friends. Jess and I invited Ryan and Bethany of Joy Studios over for some snacks and drinks. We each chose an appetizer and paired it with a beverage. Then, we feasted!
Drink& apps prep | www.plateandpaper.com
Drinks & Apps honey drizzle | www.plateandpaper.com
Drinks and appetizers set out for friends | www.plateandpaper.comI took inspiration from a recipe on A Cozy Kitchen and selected a grilled halloumi cheese and watermelon salad bites. I omitted the olives and mint, and opted for arugula instead. Such a refreshing dish! I paired them with a sour ale beer called Duchesse de Bourgogne Flemish Red Ale. Similar to a cider, its flavor really complemented the lightness of the salad bites.Grilled haloumi with watermelon, arugula and balsamic | www.plateandpaper.comDrinks & Apps with friends | www.plateandpaper.com

Jess chose a great sweet potato crostini recipe with lots of interesting flavors, and was fun to assemble. With the help of her husband Ross, they concocted a great cocktail called The Long Hello. We used Apple Jacks, instead of a traditional apple brandy, and these drinks turned out mighty tasty!
Sweet Potato Crostini | www.plateandpaper.com
Drinks & Apps with friends | www.plateandpaper.comBethany picked a flaky, oh-so-satisfying hand pie. A mushroom, gorgonzola and caramelized onion hand pie, to be exact. They are such a great size for snacking! These were paired with an earthy, Italian Barbera d’asti red wine, complementing the rich flavors of the mushrooms and onions.
Mushroom, gorgonzola & caramelized onion hand pies | www.plateandpaper.com
Drinks & Apps pairings with friends | www.plateandpaper.com
This little happy hour was so delightful. Everyone enjoyed sampling each pairing, marveling at the thoughtfulness and creativity. We encourage you to host your own get-together like this with your foodie friends – it’s a great way to demonstrate your cooking skillz and practice your pairing abilities, ha!

All photos were taken by the extremely talented Bethany & Ryan. Thanks for joining us, guys!

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PREFAB PARTY: ST. PATRICK’S DAY

St. Patrick’s Day is just around the corner, so we thought now would be the perfect time to share how we’d celebrate the Irish! Elevated touches, like a premium Irish whiskey or a gold cocktail shaker, will give your get-together an added boost in the fancy department. Simple decorations and an easy dessert recipe will keep you from stressing, and will create a comfortable environment for your guests.

DRINK: Irish whiskey cocktails
WEAR: a classic, comfy green blouse
DECORATE: with a fun, pom-pom garland
MAKE: this Bailey’s chocolate pie
SHAKE: all those tasty whiskey drinks with this gold cocktail shaker
Prefab Party: St. Patrick's Day party ideas from Plate & Paper

 

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COOKING CLUB: QUEEN OF HEARTS

teapot of flowers

A couple of weeks ago, Ross and I hosted the second monthly cooking club event with our friends. Since it was the day after Valentine’s Day, we decided to make the theme “love” but with a twist. We went with “Queen of Hearts”. Basically everyone could make a dish or drink based around the idea of love, hearts, or royalty.

We kept the decorations simple, using red polka dot napkins, a menagerie of plates that we owned and some white flowers (recycled from a previous arrangement). We listened to some royal themed tunes, starting with The Royal Tenenbaums soundtrack. We brought out two white tables from our office and lined them up with our dining table to create banquet-style seating. Thankfully, guests brought a few extra chairs to accommodate 12 of us total.

We decided to make ravioli, which was a bit of an undertaking but really fun. Using a homemade pasta dough, we originally planned to make the pasta heart shaped. After spending about 10 minutes on each one, we quickly discarded that idea and instead found this method to make square raviolis. It made all the difference in saving time and energy! We stuffed the ravioli with a ricotta, lemon, basil filling (based on this) and topped it with roasted cherry tomatoes and a sun-dried tomato pesto using this (one of my favorite recipes).

We served champagne over sugar cubes soaked in bitters – so pretty! We also made a gingery pink drink we titled the “Ann Boleyn.” Stayed tuned for the cocktail recipe on the blog soon!

Other dishes included: heart of palm salad, “bleeding heart” baked brie, english hand pies, and beef heart (for real!). Mandy and Luke made a beautiful frosted rose cake for dessertIt was fun having a theme to base the dishes on and everyone got super creative. I’m looking forward to our next cooking party!

Cooking Club: making ravioliCooking Club: handpiefrosting the cakestacked couple glasses with sugar cubes soaked in hibiscus bitterscooking club rose cake

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TRICKS OF THE TRADE: ENJOY YOUR OWN PARTY

girls just wanna have fun! How to actually have fun at your own party

It’s true, we do just want to have fun – and we do! We are crazy about party planning and creating extra special events for our friends and family. However, it can be hard to totally enjoy ourselves when we’re so focused on making everything look wonderful and playing hostess all night. Here’s some honest thoughts on the subject.

Jess:
Let’s be real, I am definitely no pro at this. I really love our parties, but as a creative (slightly obsessive) person, I put a ton of pressure on myself to make things perfect. I stress about it for weeks: planning out tiny details in my head that, honestly, most people will not even notice. It’s still incredibly fun for me to party-plan but it can also be really stressful. With all the inspiration out there these days, it can be so overwhelming to know where to even begin. I don’t have kids yet but I cannot imagine the pressure moms feel to throw the perfect party for their kiddos.

A goal of mine lately is to keep in mind the purpose of the celebration. When I’m so focused on making everything perfect, its hard to stop and just be in the moment. If Mandy and I take on too much, by the time everyone comes, we’re too tired to really enjoy ourselves and that’s just lame.

Here’s a few tips I’ve learned over the years that help me to step back and enjoy this party that I’m putting so much effort into planning:

- Try to outline your ideas and timeline from the beginning. Sure, I can be flexible or add in something if it’s an outstanding idea but sometimes it’s best to stick with the game plan. Having too many ideas tends to give me a slight panic attack by adding more to my plate than I can handle.

- Ask someone to help reign you in. My hubby is great at this. He is always super supportive and loves hearing about my ideas (unless I’m explaining my floral centerpiece idea for the 17th time). He is also really good at being honest and telling me when something is just not worth the investment of time or money.

- Parties are meant to celebrate someone or something. They are a time to eat yummy food, have great conversations, and listen to some good tunes. Yes, people notice and appreciate the details but what they really remember is how much fun they had with their friends and family.

Mandy:
I definitely echo Jess’ commentary here. We’ve always prided ourselves on featuring events that actual people attend, not perfectly staged tablescapes that you can take hours to photograph and style. Planning real parties with real guests, and also with the intention to blog about it, holds a lot of pressure. Yet, the serendipitous nature of our parties is what makes them exciting, enjoyable and memorable. Here are my tips for enjoying your own shindig:

- Choose your focus. While you should strive to make many elements of your party special, pick one aspect to really focus on. Maybe it’s the menu, or maybe it’s the decorations. By doing this, you’ll keep your party prep from overwhelming you.

- Curate a collection of go-to items. Jess and I have spent time collecting party favorites. We love Mara-Mi paper napkins and plates, get tons of great recipes from a select number of food blogs and have drawers and bins filled with ribbons, paper lanterns and other pretty things. It’s always fun to see what you can come up with based on existing items that make you happy, and can help in last-minute prep.

- Remember: it IS a party. As Jess has already mentioned, the point of hosting a party is to enjoy the company of your guests. The incredible food, the thoughtful details in the decorations (because we know you’ll still obsess over them) and the perfect playlist all combine to create the overall mood of your party. Your guests will feel special knowing they’re in good hands.

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