Posts Labeled: Party
Fifty Shades of Grey Party
By • Filed In: Party

Yes, yes, I have been pulled into the Fifty Shades for Grey phenomena… and I have to admit, I am obsessed.  I seriously thought I was in the books and refuse to believe they’re fiction.  In fact, this is exactly how I feel…

I read all three books in under two weeks and have plans to soon reread them.  That’s insane coming from a girl who doesn’t read much.

Surely you’ve heard of the steamy trilogy by E.L. James, right?  The books are told through the eyes of a 21 year old girl named Anastasia Steele.  She’s fresh out of college and meets a stunning, sexy, filthy rich, 27 year old, dominant man named Christian Grey.  Yes, dominant.  Christian is into “kinky, dominant, fuckery” as Anastasia refers to it, and he tries to get Anastasia to become his submissive.  His What?!  Obviously these books aren’t your typical boy-meets-girl love story.  No, these books share a love story with a delightful, kinky, twist.  I believe the books got better and better since you learn more about Christian’s dark past and their love story evolves, taking over the plot.   I also love how the series didn’t abruptly end.  There was a shocking twist ending but E.L. James continued to write and answer all my questions.

While reading these books, I have heard from several friends that people are now hosting Fifty Shades of Grey parties.  My ears immediately perked and I dug in deeper to find some very creative party ideas.

As I was reading the first book I was asking a girlfriend what she thought Anastasia and Christian looked like.  She then told me that another friend of ours had attended a Fifty Shades party where each guest was to bring a photo of someone they thought looked like Christian Grey.  Then each person at the party voted which photo best resembled Christian.  This was the winner…

Isn’t that insanely dead on?  I mean, look at the copper hair, scruffy face, and grey eyes.  If only he was wearing the silver tie…

I then did some of my own research on Pinterest and found some very creative ideas.

Julia from Throw Back Road threw her own party.  Here is a sneak peak of food she laid out…

How could anyone forget the silver balls that debut in the second book?  Take a look at these…

You thread dessert malted milk ball candies through mint dental floss.  Not quite what I had visualized while reading the book, but you get the idea.  The girl who made these for her book club said she received a standing ovation.

The rest of the photos are other ideas I found on pinterest.

The last couple photos come from Katherine at Inspire, Design, and Create.   You can find all the details on her decor set up and how to make that yummy looking grey cake and glitter wine glasses.

So, if you haven’t jumped on the Fifty Shades bandwagon, do so now!  I’m looking forward to talking about it with you.


Until next time ladies and gents…

Laters, baby.

Non-Traditional Photo Booth
By • Filed In: Etsy, Party, Photography, Weddings

The other week I shared my idea behind the wedding welcome hour at my wedding.  Two fun details about the welcome hour come your way today and tomorrow.  Today I’m dishing out the details behind the photo booth I had set up (well, minus the actual booth as this all took place outside).

I got the idea while browsing one of Martha Stewart’s wedding magazines.  A bride had a camera on a tripod before two wicker chairs outside near her reception.  Guests were then able to sit in the chairs and use the self timer on the camera to take pictures of themselves.  I took this idea and twisted it into something more.

I asked a girlfriend to be my photo booth photographer.  Some of my younger cousins gathered people over to the photo area and my girlfriend snapped away.  I had a table full of goodies for them to play with in front of the camera.

I purchased a chalkboard speech bubble and felt glasses, lips, and mustaches on sticks from Etsy.  My fabulous mom painted and distressed two picture frames.  It was (and still is) a blast looking back at all the photos.  Here are a few for your enjoyment :)

Then, after the ceremony we had a couple hours before the reception began so we could take pictures.  During that time my friend who took all the photos went hard to work on my mac.  She imported all the pictures and created an iMovie with all of them.  She handed the DVD over to the DJ who had a projector set up and played it during cocktail hour.  Everyone loved seeing the photos that had just been taken of them.

The key to making this all work is having an amazing friend to do all the work the day of.  Thanks Beth!!!!!

Invites & Embossing
By • Filed In: Party, Weddings

Last week I shared what Kal’s bachelorette party entailed. Today I’m going to share what the invites looked like. I actually initially thought I would purchase some cute ones and just print out all the info. Yeah, that was a no go. Most of the invites I saw were black and bright pink, or with some sort of animal print on them. Typical bachelorette party stuff. So when I couldn’t find anything I liked or in my color scheme, I decided to make them myself.

PS: I forgot to white balance so all the pics are a little off. What else is new!?

I already had a decent amount of the things I would need to make them, and went to Paper Source for the rest.

I got A7 envelopes in Poppy, A7 cards in Poppy, A6 cards in Luxe, 4 bar cards in Blossom, and flat paper in Blossom as the base for the invitation to create a layered look. I also had to get envelope liner templates. That’s how I transformed the flat paper into the pretty envelope liner. I already had the embossing heat gun and use it all the time. Seriously one of the best purchases I’ve made. I also had the memory tape runner, embossing powder in gold and bridal, the ink pads, and the ring stamp.

To create the envelope liner grab your packer of envelope templates and find the one that matches your envelopes. I had A7 envelopes so I grabbed the A7 template. Don’t worry if it seems smaller than the actual envelope, it’s supposed to be. Then trace out the template onto your flat paper and cut it out.

Turn it over so that your tracing lines are face down. Get out the ink pad and embossing powder that you’re going to use. I used both a gold ink pad and gold embossing powder. Stamp just a few at a time, otherwise you’re ink will dry and the embossing powder won’t stick. I think I did about 4 stamps at a time. Then add your embossing powder on top of the stamps, as if you were adding glitter to glue. Tap off the excess. I did it so that some of the stamps are hanging off the page and they are facing all different directions. Once your liner is filled, take out your embossing heat gun and hold it a few inches above one of your stamps in a circular motion (as if you were using a hair dryer to dry something off). You’ll start to see the powder almost melt and fuse to the paper. Keep doing that until all the stamps are done.

Then slide the liner into the envelope, fold down the liner, add a stripe of the double stick tape to each side of the triangle, and stick it back to the flap of the envelope. You’re probably thinking that is a lot of work for an envelope. You’re right, it’s tedious. But I think it was worth it. And this is something that I would not do for a huge group of people. I think there were only around 25 people invited to the party. Any more than that and I probably would have skipped the embossing of the liner.

It’s hard to see the embossing in some of these pics, but I swear in person they really stand out. I was giddy with how good they looked once the entire thing was finished. After the envelope was done I moved on to the actual invitation. I first printed out all of the information onto the cream colored card. Then in the bottom right corner I did some more embossing. This time I used the pink ink pad and the bridal embossing powder. It’s a sparkly powder that toned down the bright pink just a bit. Then I just used the tape runner again to add a stripe to all fours sides and stick it onto the A7 card in poppy.

I didn’t want to crowd up the invite with all the information, so I also had an insert with all of the details. Once that was finished, I was done. Phew. Even though it’s tedious, I had some fun. I like getting my craft on.

I think it turned out pretty good!

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For The Single Lady
By • Filed In: Party, Weddings

Sorry to those of you who subscribe and got an email with a completely unfinished post yesterday. There were some really odd technical difficulties going on, but I think all is back to normal. So back to the scheduled post…

I guess I could have titled it “For the almost not single lady” as this post is all about the night of debauchery that we all like to call the bachelorette party.  As Kal mentioned on Monday, we’ve decided to host somewhat of a wedding week.  And we thought it was supper fitting since this time of year starts off wedding season. Not to mention the fact that given my recent engagement (ahh, still sounds absolutely crazy to me), I’ve had wedding planning on the brain. And what better way to kick off posts about weddings than the bachelorette party! It is one of the biggest events that surround the actual wedding. So I’m going to share what I did to throw my sister a party in honor of her last few weeks of singleness.

This party took place before we had our blog, so I wish there was way more documentation of the little details, but we’ll make do with what pics I do have.

We started off the night with cocktails, appetizers, deserts, and gifts at my apartment in the city. I chose pink, yellow, and orange as the jumping off point for the decorations. My sister requested (and I agreed wholeheartedly) that the typical bachelorette party decorations/accessories not join the party. I’m sure you ladies know exactly what I mean! So instead I went with the fun springish color combo while using a few “ring” accessories.

I really wanted a fun and cute pinata as a decoration, but I could not find one for the life of me. All of them were bright primary colors in shapes that I didn’t want. Once I set my mind to a pinata, I was absolutely determined to get one even if I had to make it. Which is exactly what I did. No, I didn’t actually put candy it in, it was just for decoration. I know, I’m crazy. I took an old box and cut it into six triangles and taped them together. Then I hand cut strips of tissue paper, fringed them, and glued them to the pinata. It too, but I like the way it turned out.

I also grabbed some plain cards from Paper Source and attached pics of Brian and Kalin throughout the years to display on the fireplace. Everyone loved looking at them. Some of the pics were quite funny, because they looked so different. These two have been together since high school people!

I actually filled that big glass apothecary jar with pink, orange, and yellow gumballs purely for decoration. But they actually turned out to be a huge hit. I think by the next morning there was only 1/3 of them left. I also grabbed a few bouquets of carnations that fit the colors and split them up into little mercury glass votive glasses.

As for food, I kept it simple with lots of appetizer finger foods. Funny enough these are the only two pics of the food that was at the party, but in my opinion deserts are the best anyways. I got Sweet Mandy B’s cupcakes and then just added the sparkly ring toppers. I am not lying when I say this, but Sweet Mandy B’s have THE BEST cupcakes ever. Hands down. If you are ever in Chicago and in the Lincoln Park area, I highly HIGHLY suggest stopping by.

The other desert we had were caramel and chocolate covered pretzel rods. I took the square caramels and rolled them out so they looked like long snakes. Then I wrapped them around the top 1/2 of the rods and dipped them in chocolate. I added fun sprinkles to make them extra festive. They were delicious too!

After we ate and mingled for a bit, Kal opened her presents. I think my favorite gift she got was her bachelorette veil to wear for the night. It was actually the veil that my mom handmade for our communions ages ago. She saved it all these years and we had no idea she brought it for her to wear for the night. It was such a thoughtful idea and was way cuter than the flimsy ones they sell in the stores.

That is what was left after all the gifts were opened. She is a loved girl I tell ya!

From my place we ventured out into the city for a show and some cocktails. All in all, it was a great night with fun had by all! And more importantly the bride had a blast!

Wedding Week… Here we Come!
By • Filed In: Invitations, Party, Weddings

Ahhhhhhh!  It’s been killing me not to mention Cort and Jeff being engaged, since it happened 3 weeks ago!  I’ve been having wedding planning withdrawal for the last year so I cannot wait to help my sister with all the details.  To celebrate her wedding planning extravaganza and since spring wedding season is shortly arriving, we’re going to be sharing what Cort cooked up for my bachelorette party and other wedding ideas.  To kick-start it all, I’m sharing inspirational bachelorette Party photos from none other than Pinterest!

How hilarious are those cookies and cupcakes?!  Those bra cupcakes are insane!  I also love the nontraditional nautical invite.  The champagne glasses at the top are painted for each of the bridesmaids.  Very creative.

Alright, look forward to this week’s wedding extravaganza!

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Friendly Competition
By • Filed In: Party, Recipes

Apparently our family loves some good old fashioned competition. This past Sunday, we attended a chili cook-off and man did it get intense. There was smack talk and everything. But before we get into the results, lets get into the details. My aunt and uncle were the host and asked us all to bring a pot of our best homemade chili while they provided all the fixings.  Kali, Brian, Jeff, and myself were a team. And they had everything you could possibly think of. Everything from homemade tortilla chips, to onions, to jalapenos, to sour cream. Once we got to their house my aunt took our pot of chili and labeled them with a number using a chalk pen (like these or these).

See those little white cups next to the pots of chili? Those were the tasting cups. They labeled those with the coordinating numbers and when it was time for the tastings we all took one little white cup for each of them. There were nine pots of chili so we each had 9 white cups.

Getting the tasting cups

The chili we submitted

Ballots ready to be counted

Once we tasted all nine, we picked the one we deemed the best and cast our ballot. The ballot bowl was my aunt’s grandfather’s cowboy hat that he wore every single day. How cute is that!? I guess I should mention that my aunt grew up in Texas, you don’t see a ton of regular cowboy hat wearers around these parts.

Once we tasted all of them, we were allowed to get a big ol’ bowl of our favorite and load it up with all the yummy fixings.

My aunt and uncle not only asked us to bring a pot of chili, but a six-pack of beer. Did you guys know that Frank Thomas, the Chicago White Sox legend, created his own beer? Yep, he did, it’s called Big Hurt Beer. Get it? Frank Thomas, the Big Hurt. Nice huh!? So to pay homage to our city love, that’s what we brought. I’m definitely not a beer expert of any kind, but it’s really good. It’s a nice fairly light beer with good flavor. Jeff’s opinion holds more weight than mine, and he loves the stuff.

So are you curious about who won? WE DID! Well technically my aunt did, but since she was the host she didn’t want to take a prize and removed herself from the competition. And we were next in line. So even though we technically got second place, we were moved on up to the first place spot. They even had first, second, and third place prizes. First place was a huuuuge bottle of vodka infused with chili peppers. Bloody marys anyone? Second place was a bottle of hot sauce, and third place was a spatula that said “hot stuff”.

I know y’all (a chili cook-off calls for a southern accent of course) want to see the winning chili looking all pretty, so here y’all go.

And here is a printable version of the short rib chili recipe. It is a fairly thick chili, especially the day after you make it. If you like your chili a bit thinner, add more broth and then adjust your seasonings accordingly.

We hope you enjoy the chili as much as we did!

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Memories, Part 2
By • Filed In: Gift Guide, Party

Yesterday I shared what we did for my Dad’s birthday. We got all secretive and had something in the works for a little over a month. You can get all the details and see what it looked like here.

Of course Kal and I documented the whole ‘opening of the present’ thing….both with photos and a video. And yes, in the video my Dad is making fun of us for being the crazy daughters all up in his face with cameras. Us Schmitt’s are weird like that (and Kal you are included in that, even though your last name is no longer Schmitt). Anyways, feast your eyes on the video.

Let’s hear a collective “awwww”. Of course my Flip Camera ran out of batteries half way through, but you get the idea. What about you guys? Anyone gather a bunch of memories as a gift for someone?

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By • Filed In: Gift Guide, Party

I hope everyone had a a nice long weekend! I spent mine having a little fun, catching up on some things around the house, and partaking in a special celebration. You see, our Dad turned 65 on Sunday and we’ve had a little something up our sleeves for about a month.

We’ve been secretly gathering emails of friends, family, and others who might want to participate in a birthday project. We then sent an email out to everyone asking them to send us a memory they have of our Dad. Old, new, photos, articles, whatever they had, we wanted it. Our plan was to accumulate 65 memories to represent his 65 years. We were going to package each one up in an envelope separately and number them from 1 through 65. Something similar to this, all wrapped up with a pretty bow.

source of picture

Notice how I said “original plan?” Yea, we ended up deviating from that original plan a bit. There were so many people that sent in memories, a lot of them sent more that one, to the point where we had many more that our original goal of 65! Our Dad is a pretty awesome guy, he is loved! We really didn’t want to pick and choose the 65 memories, we wanted to included them all. And then we thought that the pretty package of stacked envelopes was cute, but might not be so practical. Once they were read, what if a few of the envelopes got lost? Well that would make our keepsake gift fairly pointless wouldn’t it? So we decided to go with a book format instead. I don’t know much about scrapbooking, nor have I ever really made one, so we’ll just call this a memory book. I went to my local Michaels and grabbed a book and some simple paper. We really wanted the memories to be the focus, so we decided to keep it simple and without embellishments. Then I just laid out all of the memories and taped them down using this crazy fun gadget. It’s a double sided tape contraption that works like one of those whiteout pens.

Paper Source

Once it was complete we wrapped it up and headed to our dads for an evening of celebration. It was hard for us to wait to give it to him! And when we did give it to him, of course we documented it!

I think it’s safe to say he enjoyed it! There is so much to the book that he could not read every single one on the spot, but it was fun to watch him realize how many people contributed.

Happy birthday to the most wonderful Dad we know!

Come back tomorrow for a video of him opening it. Real reactions are always better than pictures!

I Want A Hippopotamus…
By • Filed In: Party

…. for a shower, only a hippopotamus will do. No, not the getting clean in the tub type of shower. A baby shower! One of my best (and my longest) friends is preggers and will pop at the end of March. This past weekend was her baby shower and so I thought I’d share some of the adorable decorations. Soooo where does a hippo come in? Well Wendy loves em. Especially when they are tiny and cute and chubby. So naturally her mom and sister decided on hippos and other cute critters as the theme.

Wendy and I

Gotta get the side view

She’s all belly isn’t she?! Please excuse the really bad and blurry pics. We are so washed out….or maybe we’re just that pale. I of course forgot my good camera so the iPhone had to do.  Not that my pics with a good camera are any better, I’m still learning. Back to the shower. So with the theme set, Wendy’s sister Kelly had this cake made.

Is that not the cutest thing ever!? And let me tell ya, it was delicious too! But that wasn’t the only adorable thing there. Wendy’s aunt made the centerpieces. I’m sure you’ve seen the ever popular diaper cakes right? And if not in person, then I’m sure you’ve seen it in the episode of Sex and the City where it’s Miranda’s baby shower. Well her aunt made mini versions for the tables.

Here’s a close up for you.

Such a cute idea! I took a look at one as they were packing them up to go home. Here’s how I think you could copy the idea.  She used a plain plastic florist’s “bowl” as the base (not sure what you call them, but I’m sure you could get them at Michael’s by the florists foam stuff) but I’m sure you could use any shallow bowl, with green flower foam sitting in the base (first soak it in water). Then arrange the flowers into the foam so they made a ring leaving just enough room for the diapers to sit on top. You might have to use flower picks and wire for the flowers that don’t have thick woodsy stems. Make sure you have a barrier on top of the foam so the diapers don’t get wet. A plastic disk or a tupperware lid would work. Then roll up 6 infant diapers and arrange in a circle, using card stock or craft paper around them to keep it in a tight ring shape. Then add a small stuffed animal on top. Adorable!

For favors they found treat boxes that had a hippo on them and filled them with candy. Perfect for me and my sweet tooth!

All in all it was the perfect shower for Wendy.

Who else has that song stuck in their head? “I want a hippopotamus for Christmas, only a hippopotamus will do….” Yeah, I’ll be singing that allllll day. Sorry bout that!

Soup-er Bowl Cook Off
By • Filed In: Football, Party, Recipes

Ok, not soup, more like chili.  Sunday we headed over to our friend’s place to watch the super bowl and enjoy lots o’ chili!  Everyone was asked to bring a chili recipe.  We then tasted each and voted on a winner.  It was crock pot galore at Brad’s house!

When it came time for Brian and I to choose a recipe for our chili cook off, I knew I needed to find a recipe that would suit Brian.  That means no beans and extra spicy!  So, I spotted this Emeral recipe and knew it would meet Brian’s needs.

Of course we made a few changes.  We never added the Mexican oregano, added extra garlic, and one fresh habanero.  We also cooked it in the crock pot rather than in a dutch oven.  We still seared the meat with garlic beforehand, but added the onion and everything else in the crock pot.  We started cooking it on Saturday, put it in the fridge Saturday night to let the flavors combine, then reheated it on Sunday morning.  After letting it simmer for hours, just stirring it with a wooden spoon shredded the meat.  This is how it looked Sunday morning in the pot.

To tame the spice we added about 3/4 c of heaving whipping cream at the last minute when we added the last cup of beef broth with the masa harina (corn based flour, see the “flour” package in the background of the second picture below).

To top off the chili we fried our own tortilla strips (thanks for the inspiration Aunt Cyndi!).  We used vegetable oil and brought it to 350 degrees in a medium sized sauce pan.  Then we added about 8 strips at a time, left them in until crisp, laid them on a paper towel and sprinkled with seasoning salt.

Here’s our final product.  If you like spicy chili, you should definitely try it!  If you like it not so spicy, just omit the hot peppers and substitute with bell peppers.