Friday, March 28, 2014

How to Throw the Perfect Spring Brunch: Part 2 - Easy Spring Brunch Menu (featuring the Aladdin Mason Collection)

Can I admit I'm kind of sad that this in my last Aladdin post? I've seriously loved sharing the gorgeous photos of my Spring brunch featuring Aladdin Mason Collection mason jars. I've already shown you my tips for decorating a simple spring brunch HERE and now as promised I want to share the cocktail and drink menu for this no-hassle brunch. 

Here was the food set-up. I used a lime green runner and colorful baskets, crates and cake stands to add color and different heights to the display. And of course, fabulous tulips. I love how they naturally drooped to the side.   

On the menu? I picked easy to pick up food that was light and of course, pretty to look at. 
We had muffins, mini quiche, granola squares and fruit skewers. It was the perfect assortment and really stress-free because almost all of the items could be made the day before. 

The fruit skewers are beautiful but in the effort of full disclosure (because that's how I roll) a real pain in the arse to make. And also dangerous - those things are sharp. If you ever need a weapon you can just stab someone with one of these skewers, they WILL draw blood, I promise.  All this said the beautiful photo below makes the effort all worth it, the skewers really are prettier than a bowl full of fruit.

Now on to my next favorite topic, cocktails. Mimosas is an obvious choice for a brunch cocktail, but I decided to mix it up by making it a grapefruit mimosa. People have mixed feelings about grapefruit but I promise the tartness of the grapefruit mixes really well with the sweetness of the champagne. It's incredibly refreshing. The Aladdin Mason pitcher might be my favorite product of the whole line and I love the blue/green color of the tumblers too. Perfection.

I love the below picture where I am pouring the mimosa into a tumbler.  My favorite part is that I have my phone in the photo, which is pretty standard for me - it's like my third arm. I think I have a problem. In this case I had my phone ready so I could hashtag #aladdinparty whenever the moment felt right. 

To show off the equally fabulous one-gallon Aladdin Mason dispensers, I set up a spa water station which looked awesome (in my humble opinion). The best part about spa water is a) you feel like you are at a spa and b) the fruit infuses the water so quickly, you really feel like you are drinking "strawberry water." I chose lemon/lime, orange and strawberry infused waters and they were a big hit.

I love the way this big orange slices look in the water, don't you?

That is my simple menu - a few pretty brunch items and a couple of drink options, that's it! Throw a couple of tulips in the background and of course serve your drinks in Aladdin Mason Jars and you've got yourself a banging par-tay. Here are a few more beautiful photos from the day.

Aladdin generously provided goodie bags for each of the guests to take home some Aladdin swag. I dressed up the bags with ribbon and colorful tissue paper. 

Here's what happens behind the scenes at a photo-shoot - someone (aka me) has to hold up the fancy diffuser to block the sun. 

Friends hugging each other.

And also friends being beautiful - isn't my friend Amanda gorge? She has the best hair. And she's super buff because she does crossfit - she could totally benchpress me.

Speaking of beautiful, can we talk about this? My beautiful sis-in-law Drew (owner of the gorgeous yard we were in) and her daughter (my niece) Brooke? 
They're like model mom and daughter, am I right? 

You guys. This was SO MUCH FUN to throw this party. Thanks again to my talented friend Kristen LeQuire for her gorgeous photos. I'm obsessed with it and want to do it every weekend. If you're bored this weekend just throw a party. It will be fun, I promise. Have a GREAT weekend and enjoy the spring weather if you are lucky enough to get any! XOXO. 

Disclaimer: I have partnered with Aladdin via MomTrends for this party and blog post. They provided me with the Aladdin products as well as compensation. The opinions expressed in this post are my own.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

How to Throw the Perfect Spring Brunch: Part 1 - Easy Spring Party Decor (featuring the Aladdin Mason Collection)

As you can tell from my preview pics in my earlier post, this party was seriously colorful, bright and downright fabulous. I'm slightly obsessed and keep looking at the photos over and over again! Showcasing Aladdin's new line of entertaining mason jar tumblers and a picture-perfect spring day, the happiness of this brunch will put a smile on your face. I guarantee it! 

I decided to split the post into two topics: the first post being about Spring party decorations and the second about an easy food and drink menu for a no-hassle brunch. Without further ado, let's get to the decorations and beautiful photos by Kristen LeQuire

Styled Cart
Everyone was able to pick their insulated tumbler to drink out of for the party, so I wanted to create a creative visual display of the tumblers that was a little different than just putting them on a table. Luckily my friend (thanks Whitney!) had this amazing teal cart from Ikea that was the perfect prop to house these equally fun mason jars. I styled the cart with different colored bud vases and of course, beautiful bright tulips. Despite having literally no use for this, I really wanted to steal the cart from my friend but I begrudgingly gave it back. 

Tulips, Tulips Everywhere
Speaking of tulips, they really are the flower of spring, aren't they? I searched low and high to find the perfect colorful tulips because tulips just make me happy! We put them absolutely everywhere, on every table at the party and it worked like a charm - you can never have too many flowers in my opinion. 

Ribbon Detail
I love ribbon which is kind of  silly thing to say in the scheme of the world, but I can't help it. I love it. You can use ribbon for so many things besides just wrapping packages. In this case I tied a few colorful ribbons on the back of patio chairs to add a simple pop of color and let the ribbons hang low. Word of advice: Don't tie them on too tight or they will be impossible to get off! Don't want to break a nail, but sometimes that the sacrifice you have to make for cute ribbon detail. 

Simple Styling
Luckily for me, the Aladdin products are attractive on their own so they don't need much styling to make them cute! But there are a few easy ways to style any party that can make it more aesthetically pleasing to the eye. 

For the Spa Water station (loved this btw), I used a wooden crate to prop up one of the dispensers to add different heights to the display. I also tucked a colorful napkin underneath the dispenser for another layer and pop of color. For this party we didn't really have a "color theme" we just used bright, happy colors and it all worked together pretty well! Things don't have to be perfectly coordinated to work together, in fact sometimes they work better when they are not perfect. Good thing too because I'm not a "perfect" kinda gal. 

Below I used a tray to showcase the Grapefruit Mimosa and again, just add another layer to the decor by putting the pitcher and cups on a tray instead of directly on the table.  More on these cocktail details in the next post!

Beautiful Outdoor Setting
An outdoor patio or deck is the best location for a spring brunch (pending weather of course), and luckily my sister-in-law has just the setting! Her beautiful patio and teak table was the ideal backdrop for this party and also for generally having a relaxing day outside which I plan to do a lot of this spring. Thanks for the invite Drew!

Colorful Tissue Poms and Lovely People
As you can see in the below group shot, we also hung colorful tissue paper poms to add a little pop of color in the backdrop. I know these poms have been out forever, but I can't quit them - I'm still a huge fan! I'm an even bigger fan of fun, smart women who are all different but come together and have plenty to talk about. Moms, Non-Moms, 30 year olds, 60 year olds - women can always find something interesting to talk about, isn't that true? Preach sistah.

Because it's awesome, here is a great outtake from the group shot. Something was funny I think...

And while we're on outtakes I love this one where we sat on the hammock and it literally broke during the pictures. Whoops. Guess we're carrying a little extra winter weight (I'm talking about myself...).

I also highly recommend having adorable kids at a brunch, purely for decoration purposes of course. Kidding! These are my gorgeous nieces and they were the most precious decoration of all!  

Whew that's a lot of prettiness! Hopefully it will get you through Hump Day. The next post will talk about the brunch menu and will feature more fantastically fun and bright photos. All I can say (as it's currently 30-something degrees here) is bring on the Spring! 

Disclaimer: I have partnered with Aladdin via MomTrends for this party and blog post. They provided me with the Aladdin products as well as compensation. The opinions expressed in this post are my own.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

The Aladdin Mason Collection Spring Patio Brunch - A Preview!

You guys. This weekend I did the most fun thing. I threw a party (shocking) to showcase a fabulous company's new products. Whether you are man, woman or child, you will Love with a capital "L" the new line of Aladdin Mason Entertaining products. I'm not exaggerating (I never do that....okay, I do, but this time I'm not exaggerating - these products are totally freaking awesome). 

The fun collection is made for Spring and Summer with insulated mason jar tumblers and mason jar shaped dispensers perfect a refreshing cocktail or fruit infused water. All the tumblers come complete with colorful mix and match tops and straws. The best part is you can find them at Walmarts nationwide - so not only are they adorable, they are affordable. I could go on and on...and I will! In a few days I will have two posts ready about the party - one focusing on the spring decorations and one featuring the food and drinks. So not only do you get to learn about these stylish products, you get some easy-peasy tips about hosting a spring brunch. It's a real win-win. So for now, I'll leave you with a few preview pictures taken by my trusty photographer and friend Kristen LeQuire. She blows me away with her talent and artistic eye! I can't wait to share the whole party with you. In the meantime, hang tight and go buy a cute Aladdin mason jar tumbler while you wait :) 

Disclaimer: I have partnered with Aladdin via MomTrends for this party and blog post. They provided me with the Aladdin products as well as compensation. The opinions expressed in this post are my own.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Beautiful Outdoor Wedding

Top o' the morning to you! Did everyone have a fun St. Paddy's Day? I'm ashamed to say that I did not have one single ounce of green beer over the weekend, I must really be getting old!

I did however, celebrate St. Paddy's Day by coordinating a lovely wedding on one of the most beautiful days of 2014. Since it's currently 35 degrees, I've been loving re-living this gorgeous day. The bride and groom both have Irish ancestry and therefore embraced the St. Paddy's Day timing of their big day!

Kelley and Tom's wedding was held at the stunning Vanlandingham Estate in Charlotte. The VanLandingham has amazing grounds and several lovely lawns perfect for holding wedding ceremonies. I personally loved all the spring flowers that were blooming all over the place, like these daffodils (excuse my iphone photos):

As I mentioned, the ceremony was held outside. The arbor was decorated with greenery by the creative folks at Commwealth Farms. More on them later!

The couple remembered each of their grandparents by having remembrance flowers on the altar table during the ceremony which I thought was very sweet.

There was something new for me at the ceremony - a Ring Warming. You can read an official description HERE, but essentially the ring warming is when the wedding bands go around to each guest during the ceremony. The guests can choose to say a prayer over the rings or just put their hands over them and eventually they make their way back up to the minister in time for the exchanging of rings. Needless to say I had to coordinate this which involved me essentially watching the rings like a hawk while they made their way to each person. The rings were tied onto a pillow crafted by the bride's mother to ensure they wouldn't get dropped. I'm adding this to my resume - Ring Warming Coordinating! Despite my profuse sweating and running up and down the sides of each row to track the rings location, it was actually really cool. 

As I mentioned, the VanLandingham has wonderful grounds which made for a lovely cocktail hour. 

I loved what the bride did for her guest book. Remember how you used to check books out of the library? She order customized book check out cards from Etsy and everyone wrote a note to the couple. 

The reception was held indoors inside the estate's lovely, light-filled space. I love the stonework on the walls.

You can see guests in the above photo waving their green and white ribbon wands with bells as the couple is announced. These went perfectly with St. Paddy's Day weekend.

The flowers were done by Commonwealth Farms, who I mentioned above. The cool thing about Commonwealth Farms is they grow all their own flowers and use whatever is locally grown to create wedding bouquets and flowers. That means you're getting unique, beautiful arrangements for your wedding day. I loved how the arrangements turned out!

I also really loved the moss containers they used for the cocktail table arrangements. Methinks I might try to make my own moss containers one of these days...

While the guests were eating in the main reception area, the bride and groom snuck away for a quite moment to eat their lunch in the beautiful Occulus Room on property. This building is gorgeous and can be rented out for small private events or corporate lunches/dinners. I'm keeping this on my radar for my next baby or bridal shower location! 

The bride and groom was very much into their families' genealogy and dug up some photos to be displayed on the reception tables with a description of the people in the photograph. It was super interesting and fun for all the family members to read about.

Keeping with the Irish theme, the cake very appropriately had a Celtic Eternity symbol. The cake was created by Daphne's Bakery and they did a great job.

The green ribbon wands were used during the couples getaway as they left the VanLandingham after the reception.

Their friends surprised them and decorated their car (hashtag adorable).

It wouldn't be fair if I didn't mention the VanLandingham's cat Bo, who managed to sneak his way into pictures all day.

It was a beautiful day for the couple and I am so happy for them! I should also mention that they had music from the fabulous Marc Hoffman and Irish Dancers from the Walsh Kelley School of Irish Dancing which provided lively entertainment. It was a great way to spend my St. Paddy's Day weekend. I hope you are all having a great week!