Thursday, August 14, 2014

{Entertaining Ideas} Island Resort Summer Soiree with Oriental Trading

Before summer's end, why not host an island resort inspired summer soiree?  I got some really nice pieces from Oriental Trading this season and decided to create a relaxing retreat right on my patio inspired by the tropic settings of the Caribbean!

My inspiration for this theme was pulled from these Island Breeze plates that I received from Oriental Trading.  Once I saw the palm leaf design on the paper goods, I knew I didn't want to do a standard luau theme.....but instead create a setting that made me feel like I was luxuriating on an island resort.

Elements that inspire:

- Beach in a jar - sand and colorful shells displayed in a glass apothecary jar
- Island Colas chilled in a galvanized bucket
- Natural elements and fruit create an island feel
- A buffet of favorite Caribbean dishes

 More details and a list of supplies follow, at the end of this post.

This island theme was inspired by these plates from the Island Breeze collection that I found here.  I love this whole Island Breeze can work for a Luau theme or any tropical themed party!  I wanted to create an outdoor space that was relaxing and chill...just like one would do while vay-caying on a beach.  So, I just played off of the island feel and went with it.

The decorative elements that I added were a few that I received from Oriental Trading, like these Palm Leaf Wall Prints as a backdrop for my buffet table.  I originally wanted to create a banner from these decorative artificial tropical leaves, but in the end decided they worked better as underlays for my platters and dishes on the food buffet.  The Palm & Turtle Natural table runner is another piece from Oriental Trading that I just loved!  I also added the cutest miniature Orchids and a beautiful new glass scalloped cake plate from my own stash to showcase a delicious coconut cake!  A few baskets and platters displaying tropical fruit were another nice addition to my party space!  It's also a great idea, cause guests can take the fruit home or you can cut it up into a bowl for fruit salad and enjoy the next day!

Table Setting
These grass place mats were too cute to pass up when I saw them.  I used them along with woven stained grass placemats from my home to create each space for a guest to enjoy their meal.  Each setting was a bit different from the other and made for a very interesting tablescape.  I made printables that were inspired by the plates and put a menu at each place setting.  The hibiscus flowers decorated the table are actually hair clips that serve double duty as decoration and a pretty, festive favor that guests can wear.  I also used them as a 'napkin' ring for some of the place settings.  The palm leaves also served as a coaster for the Island Breeze Party Cups.  For my centerpiece....I created a vertical focal point with the Luau Leaf Light Up paper lanterns and drew the eye down to the table and placed tropical fruit, plants, and shells in the center of the table.  At night the lanterns cast a nice soft glow onto the table.
I LOVE Caribbean, when I found a local eatery near my home that just opened up....I was so excited.  I ordered some of my favorite dishes, like Jerk Chicken, rice and peas, cabbage, coco bread, beef patties and fried plantain for the buffet.  I also made my own appetizer, Caribbean Shrimp Cocktail!  I just mixed in a Caribbean seasoning to cooked shrimp and made my own Caribbean cocktail sauce by mixing together a mango, strawberries, spicy scotch bonnet peppers, scallions and honey!  I placed the sauce into small party cups and topped each with a few shrimp!

I filled one of my fave galvanized tubs full of ice and Island colas that I got from the International Food aisle at my grocery store.  When you can't come up with something on your own, head over to Oriental Trading for ideas.  Type in your theme and you can be sure to find a list of ideas at the way bottom of the results screen.  I wanted a signature drink for my drink station and saw this  Summer Pineapple Strawberry Cooler in the Luau page of the site and made my own island cocktail simply by adding rum!

If you have a good rub for jerk chicken, these spice jars from Oriental Trading would be a perfect way to send guests home with a taste of the islands.  I packaged my own brand of jerk rub into these small jars and added a tag to it with some natural twine.  I won't divulge the recipe I use (sorry), it was passed onto me by a sweet old Jamaican lady, but this one comes close to the ingredients I use.

I hope you were inspired by all the easy breezy party ideas I shared.  I really loved all the items I received from Oriental Trading.....they were colorful, the plates were sturdy, the wall pieces and runners are very nice and can be used again, along with the lanterns and grass mats.  I have yet to be disappointed by the quality of their products!  Don't forget, it's not too late to enjoy the close of your summer with a laid back island resort themed soiree!

Vendors & Where to Buy:

Styling & Design  - Cupcake Wishes & Birthday Dreams
Printables - Cupcake Wishes & Birthday Dreams
Paper Plates/napkins, grass mats, lanterns, wooden palm leaf prints, table runner, decorative palm leaves, plastic cups, flower hair clips, spice jars  - Oriental Trading

(“This post is based strictly on my opinion. Others may have a different opinion or experience with the product(S) listed above. I was provided items free of charge by Oriental Trading and I provided my honest opinion. No other type of compensation was received for this review.”)

Monday, August 11, 2014

{Etsy Shop} Summertime Cool Out Party

Last week I shared these adorable Sherbet Cupcakes that I made for an stay cool summertime ice pop themed photo shoot for the coordinating printables I have in my Etsy shop.

 Here are the rest of the images I captured from the shoot! I was inspired by the colors of sherbet and used those to design a printable collection over two years ago and never managed to get my photos taken (see the printables in this post).

 If you like the idea of throwing a fun summertime cool out party I've shared a few ideas and tips at the end of this post.

Don't let summer pass without gathering friends and family together for a fun way to beat the heat!  This Summertime Cool Out party was inspired by the raspberry, lemon and orange colors of sherbet and ice pops!  I created a colorful printable collection that I think is the bees knees!  This idea can also work well for just about any occasion from baby showers to birthdays!

Tips and ideas to throwing an ice pop inspired Summertime Cool Out Party:
  • To help keep my treats cool, I placed metal cookie sheets in the freezer.   After I set up my table with stands and dishes, I put all the frozen treats onto the cookie sheets as I placed them onto their serving dishes and containers on the sweets table.
  • Have plenty of ice on hand and fill galvanized buckets with plenty of it to keep your frozen treats and beverages well chilled.
  • Everyone loves a whimsical spin on an ordinary treat.  I made sherbet cupcakes by filling decorative nut cups with scoops of sherbet, topped with whipped cream, sprinkles, wafer rolls and froze them overnight so they would hold up a bit in the heat.  You can also take popsicle molds and fill with delicious candy, tie a pretty ribbon to them with a tag for guests to enjoy.
  • Incorporate candy and desserts that coordinate with your theme and color scheme.  Using chocolate candy molds, I made candy popsicle lollipops and decorated each one a little differently with sprinkles.  I also filled glass jars with candy, wafer rolls and topped store bought sugar cookies with plastic frozen treat cupcake picks.
  • Keeping frozen items outside is a bit tricky (unless you have a cool outdoor plug in freezer) - obviously.  You'll want to keep your frozen treats as cold as possible for as long as possible and it's a little hard to do in the summer heat. Try keeping extra ice pops in your freezer and bring out as needed....hopefully they won't last too long - especially on a hot summer day!

Thursday, August 7, 2014

{Featured} Cupcake Decorating Party on Double the Fun Parties

I love when my party pals share the love!

My sweet Nikki's Retro Inspired Cupcake Decorating Party is being featured,today, over at Double the Fun Parties! 

This is one of my favorite parties to date and I just love all the great ideas that Jennifer, the owner of Double the Fun Parties shares with her readers. If you haven't checked out this party or Jennifer's Double the Fun Parties blog and awesome Party Plans - please head over there today!


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