{REAL PARTY} Southern Casual Chic Housewarming

Today’s Guest Post is from my friend Catie. She and I met a thousand years ago at Science Camp. 
We were inseparable for that month and were often referred to as the TWINS. 
We somehow managed to stay in touch after all these years
(the internet is a wonderful thing, isn’t it!?!) 
When I sent out my message for HELP on the blog she was one of the first to reply. 
Screen shot of Catie’s Blog Piece(s) of Cake
Catie lives in Oklahoma City with her husband, Taylor, and their two dogs. She is in sales, but when she’s not working she loves to travel, read, work out, and go to festivals, concerts and ball games with her husband and friends. 
Check out Catie’s Tumblr Blog Piece(s) of Cake for fun picture updates and small slices of Catie’s fun!
~*~
Southern Casual Chic Housewarming Party
My husband, Taylor, and I just bought our first home. We moved in at the beginning of May and have been working furiously to get it ready for company. We decided to set a deadline of July 30th to have everything ready, and our motivation was our very first Housewarming Party.
Catie and her husband, Taylor, outside their first home.

I sent out invitations six weeks before the party (I love Punchbowl for great e-vites & an easy way to track your guest list) to allow guests plenty of time to make plans and find babysitters. Since it was the middle of summer, I didn’t want to be caught on a weekend where everyone was out of town.

My best friend lives in Houston and she surprised me by coming in for the party at the last minute. I seriously could not have pulled this off without her! 

She helped me shop, prep, keep guests happy, and even clean up afterward!
We all need friends like her!

We had a great turnout – almost everyone we invited was able to attend, and at one point in the party, there were about 45 people in our living room, dining room and kitchen! I love the layout of our house because the bedrooms are down a hallway and all of the common areas flow into each other.

Now for the fun part!

THEME: Southern Casual Chic

Decor: I bought a dozen mason jars and filled them with glittery decorative foam balls and tea lights. I also have a mason jar-shaped drink dispenser, which I filled with my sangria. I had Southern games like “washers” and “cornhole” in the backyard, and filled vases with fresh flowers. It was very simple and easy, but added a nice touch to our normal home decor.

Food: I made Buffalo Chicken Dip (recipe below), Guacamole (Secret Family Recipe below!), a veggie tray and a meat and cheese plate. On the invitation, I asked that guests bring their favorite party dish OR beverage to share with everyone, and we had a great result! We had avocado eggrolls, chicken and peppers, ranch dip, fresh fruit, and so much more! 

Tons of tasty food set out for guests. Keep reading for some yummy recipes!

Drink: We provided several sodas, rum, whiskey, vodka, red and white wine, margaritas and beer. I also made White Sangria (recipe below) – I made a double batch and ended up having to make ANOTHER double-batch. It was a big hit!

Drink supplies— Check out below for the Sangria recipe

Entertainment: As I mentioned above, we had games in our backyard. 
We also put on music, but with so many people there, no one was bored!

RECIPES!

Party Sangria
Ingredients:
4 bottles of white wine (semi-sweet or semi-dry such as Riesling)
2 lemons cut into slices
2 limes cut into slices
1 large package of frozen triple berry blend, OR 1 package EACH of blueberries, raspberries and blackberries
1 cup of vodka
1 cup of sliced strawberries or raspberries
1 small can of diced pineapples (with juice) OR 1 package of frozen pineapples
4 cups ginger ale

Directions:
Pour wine in a pitcher and add frozen fruit and vodka. CHILL OVERNIGHT (or at least all day so the flavors can blend!). Add ginger ale and ice just before serving. The longer you let it chill, the more flavorful it will be.
Note 1: I did not add ice, just had guests pour it over ice in their cups. Also, this was a very large batch. For a smaller party, half the recipe.
Note 2: To make this with red, substitute red wine for white and add 1 cup of orange juice. You may use gin instead of vodka.
Note 3: If it is not sweet enough for you, add 2 Tablespoons of sugar, or to taste.

Buffalo Chicken Dip
Ingredients:
1 can Chicken in water, drained
¼ Cup Hot Sauce
1 (8 oz.) package Fat Free Cream Cheese
½ T Fat Free Ranch Dip Mix
½ Cup Fat Free Sour Cream
1 Cup Fat Free Cheddar Cheese
1 small can Diced Green Chiles

Combine all ingredients in microwave-safe bowl. Mix well to combine. Microwave 30 seconds at a time, stirring often until mixture is warm and smooth. Serve warm with chips or crackers.
(Weight Watcher Recipe at 89 calories per 1/3 cup serving)

Guacamole (Secret Family Recipe!)
Ingredients:
4 Avocados
1 or 2 Roma Tomatoes, chopped
½ of a Red Onion, chopped
1 bunch of cilantro, chopped
1 lime, sliced
Garlic salt
Tony Chachere’s Cajun Seasoning
Dash of Milk
Salt and Pepper

Directions:
1. Scoop avocado into a bowl and mash with a fork to soften. Add, tomatoes, onion and cilantro. Stir vigorously.
2. Add lime juice, garlic salt, cajun seasoning and salt and pepper to taste
3. IF YOU WANT TO ADD SOME KICK: Chop up 1 jalapeno and add to the bowl
4. Add milk for a creamier texture

Note: Be sure and save the avocado seeds to keep the guacamole looking fresh! Also, to add content but not calories, you can add pureed white beans to the mix.

Cheers!
~*~
Thank you Catie for sharing your party with us.
Congrats on your new house and a successful housewarming party!
 

Go to Baby Shower Gift

*Post was originally featured on A Well Crafted Party‘s {Mommy Monday} feature.*
It  is a guest post from a wonderful 
mom and great friend, Rebecca Pierce from Pierce’d Photography
I met Becky when in college at William Woods University. She was my “mom” and I was her “Dot” in our sorority. (I ended up de-pledging, but we continued to stay friends.)  She has always been such a great resource for advice and ideas. And, of course she came to the rescue when I sent out a “HELP” message asking for guest posts for the blog.
Becky with her GORGEOUS children Sam and Elisabeth

~*~

Since we have babies on the brain at A Well-Crafted Party, I wanted to share my recent “Aha!” moment in regards to newborn gifts.  I am the privileged momma of two darling crazies (as I call them) – Sam (4) and Elisabeth (2).

With the onset of my own motherhood, coupled with that season of life where friends start popping out wee ones as well, I began to mull over practical yet personal, remember-exactly-who-gave-it-to-you type of gifts. 

Some of my favorite gifts to give include diapers and pacifiers. Why? Because they are useful and save my friends money.  The problem? They are disposable and, within a couple of months, my gifts are in the trash and usually stinky. 

Thus, began my hunt for a gift that balanced practicality with personality. 

For Christmas last year, I asked my mom to embroider some bath towels for my son and daughter.  She owns an embroidery machine and regularly makes personalized hand-sewn blankets for newborns and monogrammed hand towels for newlyweds.  She did a fabulous job on the gifts; plus my kids loved their towels and we use them every single week!

And just like that, I discovered my go-to baby shower present (along with diapers and pacifiers, of course). I shop for high-quality bath towels but at discounted prices.  For instance, when the local K-Mart started closing up shop, I stocked up on the nicest towels they carried, and paid less than $8 per towel.  Since my mom owns the embroidery machine, I get it done at no cost; except she did make me learn how to run the machine on this last batch. But that was my pleasure. 

I know you may not have the same inexpensive access to embroidery as I do, but shop around to find a competitively-priced store. Then, see if you can get a better deal if you personalize more towels at once. For about $20 or less, you can have a perfect gift for those parents-to-be that will keep their freshly bathed child snug as a bug. 

As a sidenote: when the second or third child comes along, I typically make towels for all of the kids – that way each kid gets something new and special that is just for him or her, too.

~*~

Thank you Becky for taking the time to help out as I’m out dealing with my new little one!
Rebecca Pierce is a photographer in Florence, Kentucky. 
Check out her fantastic work and AMAZING prices on her blog or Facebook page!

P.S. If you don’t have an embroidery machine available for use, but really like this idea then check out my friend, Loni’s Etsy shop: Left Handed Lady
She makes fantastic blankets with embroidered names, but will also take requests!




{Mommy Monday} Go To Baby Shower Gift

Today’s {Mommy Monday} is a guest post from a wonderful 
mom and great friend, Rebecca Pierce from Pierce’d Photography
I met Becky when in college at William Woods University. She was my “mom” and I was her “Dot” in our sorority. (I ended up de-pledging, but we continued to stay friends.)  She has always been such a great resource for advice and ideas. And, of course she came to the rescue when I sent out a “HELP” message asking for guest posts for the blog.
Becky with her GORGEOUS children Sam and Elisabeth

~*~

Since we have babies on the brain at A Well-Crafted Party, I wanted to share my recent “Aha!” moment in regards to newborn gifts.  I am the privileged momma of two darling crazies (as I call them) – Sam (4) and Elisabeth (2).

With the onset of my own motherhood, coupled with that season of life where friends start popping out wee ones as well, I began to mull over practical yet personal, remember-exactly-who-gave-it-to-you type of gifts. 

Some of my favorite gifts to give include diapers and pacifiers. Why? Because they are useful and save my friends money.  The problem? They are disposable and, within a couple of months, my gifts are in the trash and usually stinky. 

Thus, began my hunt for a gift that balanced practicality with personality. 

For Christmas last year, I asked my mom to embroider some bath towels for my son and daughter.  She owns an embroidery machine and regularly makes personalized hand-sewn blankets for newborns and monogrammed hand towels for newlyweds.  She did a fabulous job on the gifts; plus my kids loved their towels and we use them every single week!

And just like that, I discovered my go-to baby shower present (along with diapers and pacifiers, of course). I shop for high-quality bath towels but at discounted prices.  For instance, when the local K-Mart started closing up shop, I stocked up on the nicest towels they carried, and paid less than $8 per towel.  Since my mom owns the embroidery machine, I get it done at no cost; except she did make me learn how to run the machine on this last batch. But that was my pleasure. 

I know you may not have the same inexpensive access to embroidery as I do, but shop around to find a competitively-priced store. Then, see if you can get a better deal if you personalize more towels at once. For about $20 or less, you can have a perfect gift for those parents-to-be that will keep their freshly bathed child snug as a bug. 

As a sidenote: when the second or third child comes along, I typically make towels for all of the kids – that way each kid gets something new and special that is just for him or her, too.

~*~

Thank you Becky for taking the time to help out as I’m out dealing with my new little one!
Rebecca Pierce is a photographer in Florence, Kentucky. 
Check out her fantastic work and AMAZING prices on her blog or Facebook page!

P.S. If you don’t have an embroidery machine available for use, but really like this idea then check out my friend, Loni’s Etsy shop: Left Handed Lady
She makes fantastic blankets with embroidered names, but will also take requests!




{Friday Finds} Beautiful Parties

I’m working hard on getting my blogging act together again… 
but, finding the time to pick up a computer has been difficult. 
(BTW… tips on how to care for an infant with a cold are very much appreciated!)
Photo Source: Secret Garden Party from Tradewind Tiaras
I have been enjoying reading through the many blogs I follow on the reader on my phone.
And, there are some beautiful parties being featured out there in the blogosphere right now! 
So, I wanted to share some of the events that caught my eye.
  • Have you seen the Secret Garden Party from Nicole of Tradewind Tiaras? (Pictured Above) The gorgeous backdrop she created is jaw-dropping. I can’t wait to read her tutorial on that and the other elements of the party… which will be going up all week! 
  • I was THRILLED when I saw this Cherry Blossom baby shower featured on Oh Baby! Custom Shower Decor Blog… the cherry blossom theme really looked gorgeous in a pink and grey color scheme. But, on top of it all, one of the party elements used the tutorial that I have up at Hostess with the Mostess! I’m so excited to see it used in a party. 
  • Speaking of Hostess with the Mostess… the Wonderlandia coverage is SUPERB! Each of the beautiful party tables featured were out of this world. Check out the blog today to enter to win some amazing Wonderland-themed party supplies!
  • Bhldn.com has six different table themes beautifully pictured with purchasable elements on their sit! Any of these themes would be simple to recreate for any party and would certainly be eye-catching! (Thanks to Creature Comfort’s Blog for the heads up!)
Photo Source: Bhldn.com
 Have any events caught your eye recently?

{August Break} Sweetly Sleeping

I am currently participating in The August Break (an idea from Susanna Conway)— If I had known about this BEFORE setting up some posts already for this month I would have totally done this the entire month of August! But, instead I’m going to be doing this sort of in and out this month. Days I don’t have posts lined up (or am feeling incredibly lazy, pregnant or exhausted from new baby) I will participate in The August Break and leave up a photo on the blog for my post that day.
Today is one of those days. :)

Such a sweetie when he is sleeping!

{Mommy Monday} I’m a mom

So, in case you were wondering where I was this past week… my little guy is here!
I went into labor at 3 AM two full days before my little guy was born… it was a LONG and hard labor.
Nothing went “too plan” but everything ended up working out great because our son is beautiful and healthy.
We had wonderful doctors and nurses who took great care of us and took my wishes into consideration every step of the way. I’m so very happy with my experience.
I’m so in love with him.
I’m just getting used to being a parent… so, please bare with me and the blog in the following weeks.
I do have several awesome guest posts, real parties and a couple of fun tutorials in preparation for this time. But, I still need to load them all in and get them ready for publication!

{August Break} Pregnant and Sun Dappled

I am currently participating in The August Break (an idea from Susanna Conway)— If I had known about this BEFORE setting up some posts already for this month I would have totally done this the entire month of August! But, instead I’m going to be doing this sort of in and out this month. Days I don’t have posts lined up (or am feeling incredibly lazy, pregnant or exhausted from new baby) I will participate in The August Break and leave up a photo on the blog for my post that day.
Today is one of those days. :)
Maternity photo at 38 weeks by my friend Joan Stevens

Fill in the Blank Friday 2

Last week was my first week to participate in Fill in the Blank Friday from Lauren of The Little Things We Do.
Check out her ORIGINAL post here and link up your own Fill in the Blank Friday. 
 
I’m going to go ahead and continue it because I think it is a fun way to let you in on me and my world. 
I’d love to read your answers to these blanks in the comments!! 
Or if you are linking yours up go ahead and put the link in my comments as well!
I want to know you too!
 
Photo Source & Drink Image is from Coeur de La
 
1.   My go to outfit for a dress-up occasion like a wedding is  a cocktail dress in a bright color. I usually try my best not to do a wedding color and instead try to do something that won’t clash with the wedding colors. I did not succeed at my brother’s wedding… I was going for a peachy pink and ended up with a color that matched the bridesmaids! It was still a happy day though because I gained a beautiful new sister! 

 

2.  This week has been kind of boring. It was my first week off work and I planned on getting a lot done. I did get some things done (including cooking and freezing 9 different dinners for after the baby gets here) but, I still have a ton to do!

3.  When it’s dinnertime and I’m feeling lazy I’ll usually eat at a restaurant. I’m horrible at eating out too much and lazy has been my middle name of late! This week I’ve been really good though and prepped a HUGE salad at the beginning of the week and grilled up some chicken breasts to top it with. So, now everyday at lunch I grab some salad, chicken and a dressing and have a nice healthy (and easy) lunch!

4.  My favorite pair of shoes is any that I can still currently fit in!

5.  A random item that I own that is completely unnecessary, but that I could never part with is my Martha Stewart collection. Yes, it is all on the internet nowadays… but, I just can’t bring myself to part with my many (and I mean MANY) issues of Martha Stewart Living, Blueprint and Martha Stewart Weddings.

6.  My favorite person is my husband. Not joking… we even say it all the time since we were dating. 
“You’re my favorite.”
“Your favorite what?”
“My favorite everything.” 
 
7.  If I were going to write my own blank it would say? 
 
My goal for today is to clean my kitchen, spend a nice evening with my husband and enjoy some sun out at the pool with a friend!  

Have a great weekend!

{Friday Finds} Lovely Things from Blogland

First week off work and I managed to not do a thing productive. 
Not exactly what I was going for….
but, I have been really enjoying it! 
One of the many things I have been doing is reading a ton of blogs. 
Today’s {Friday Finds} is all about the fun things I’ve been finding and enjoying out there in blogland. Maybe you’ll find something pretty to inspire you for your next event, 
evening out or even just a simple soiree.
  • The girls of eighteen25 have changed my blog reading life! I’m always reading blogs on my phone and saving posts with “STARS” when I want to comment, blog about, or “pin” an item I saw (it is difficult to do from my phone). But, then when I am in my reader I am constantly needing to open tabs to see each post. Not anymore! A simple tutorial has made it super easy for me to travel through my many subscriptions on their actual webpages. If you use Google Reader then you should check out their page!
  • Hank & Hunt is a member of TWIPS (an online community for people in the wedding industry) and they recently redesigned their website. I seriously JUST discovered this site and am already in love with the new DIY area! Plus, look at the beautiful design of the website!
  •  Our City Lights is currently participating in The August Break (an idea from Susanna Conway)— If I had known about this BEFORE setting up some posts already for this month I would have totally done this the entire month of August! But, instead I’m going to be doing this sort of in and out this month. Days I don’t have posts lined up (or am feeling incredibly lazy, pregnant or exhausted from new baby) I will participate in The August Break and leave up a photo on the blog for my post that day. 
Oh, and because I can’t let you forget 
that I am actually writing a blog devoted to parties…
here are some parties that have really inspired me of late:
  • A Happy Modern Housewarming Brunch featured on Hostess with the Mostess— I LOVE the use of the egg printable throughout the party and the cute, punny sayings!
  • Jenny from Hank & Hunt did a guest post over at Lovely Little Details that included her list (and some pretty amazing pics) of her “fete closet” supplies. I love the products she has included and own many of the same items in my own party closet!
SOURCE
  •  This Princess, Pink, Pinwheels, Pandemonium Party makes me SMILE. The name alone is awesome.
  • I love garland… and I love garland that can be reused and easily stored EVEN more. So, I’m loving this tutorial from Ashley Anne’s Under the Sycamore for an ombre colored garland made out of a bed sheet!
I hope you came across something new and fun while looking through these Finds! If you’ve found anything in Blog Land recently that you think I might like please link it in the comment section!
Happy Weekend! 

    {Mommy Monday} 38 Week Quick Update

    First off, THANK YOU 
    to all of you who commented on my last {Mommy Monday} post!
    I loved reading each and every comment and birth story.
    *It warmed my heart.*
    It was refreshing to see how different, yet similar, every story is… 
    and it reminded me yet again that the main goal in all of this is to see a healthy baby boy in the end!  
    I’ve been super busy this past week. 
    • We finished our birthing classes (pretty much awesome) and feel so much more confident about birth and bringing home a newborn. Our class was taught by a Portland area Doula. Check out her website if you are interested in talking with/hiring a Doula in the area because she was seriously awesome, informative and comforting.
    • We finalized our birth plan… and, my midwife said it was the best she’s seen so far! (Toot my own horn a bit here!) I feel so much more comfortable about our options.
    • I had my last day at work for the next three months. This is both a blessing and a bit of a stress because I will not have my income for a while and this is something of a concern for us as a family. I’m trusting that things come together and I am working on cutting back and crunching numbers. But, it is a blessing for me physically… I just can’t handle 7+ hours a day on my feet anymore!
    • I started working on a set of freezer meals for the week or so after delivery. Each night while I cook dinner I make a second batch for the freezer. If anyone is interested in recipes/tutorials regarding this then please let me know and I’ll put it on the blog!
    • We took maternity photos! This was a lot of fun… because of me not working we really couldn’t afford to hire a professional photographer. The money just really needs to go towards the necessities right now… but, I really wanted some fun photographs of us in this time and of course I’ll want some of the baby when he is born. Thankfully I have very talented (and generous) friends. So, we spent yesterday having our photograph taken in various Portland locations. I was lucky enough to receive a sneak peek of one or two of the photos that my friend Ryan took and am looking forward to seeing the photos from my friend Joan. I can’t wait and can’t thank my lovely friends enough!
    38 Weeks!
    He will be a dad soon!
    We already love the little guy.
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