secret garden summer

July 3rd, 2013 | Posted by Hello Love in Flower | Parties - (Comments Off)


A lovely article from Rue Magazine with inspiration for a summer secret garden soiree! Keep it small, cozy and intimate and attention to detail becomes simple!













Photography: Ryan Ray Photography

Creative Design and Styling: Lavender Joy

Flowers: Bows and Arrows




let’s party: neon

June 29th, 2013 | Posted by Hello Love in Parties - (Comments Off)


Last weekend I went home to celebrate my birthday (and an engagement, and Father’s Day!) with my family and friends. It wasn’t a big birthday for me and there were other events to honor, so I kept it to a low-key dinner and drinks with my friends and husband. It got me thinking though, if I was going to have a big birthday party this year, what would by party be? Being born in the summertime in the 1980′s it would only seem fitting to have a party with a healthy does of neon. It’s bright and fun, current yet nostalgic and has a serious visual impact. More abstract themes like a color palette can be just as fun and often easier than choosing something more concrete and specific. It allows you to have a bit more freedom, while still creating cohesion. Neon has been making its way back into the mainstream over the last couple of years and now there are plenty of places you can find the colors of the more electric spectrum.


Earthy kraft paper makes a great contrast to the crisp neon colors on this invitation from Charm and Fig. Kraft and neon are both having huge moments in paper right now and this is a fun mix of these two trends.

Pasted Graphic 2 copy

If neon food coloring works as well as I’ve been seeing, I think I’ve found my new baking best friend! These are actually in a Halloween post but the color is amazing and how great would these look in metallic gold wrappers? This cupcake actually has a hidden talent, dipped in a tonic water gelatin solution, the frosting actually glows in the dark!


Fig.2 Design Studio has so many amazing wrapping paper patterns and they use neon quite liberally. Not just on their gift wrap but on some pretty amazing letterpress cards as well. These papers are amazing for wrapping gifts but can also be put to great use for party decor. Try these as place mats, table runners, vase wraps or wrapped around those neon cupcakes after baking. Napkin rings, paper chains, homemade party hats, the list goes on and on!


No party is complete without libations – the amazing color in this margarita comes from the juice of the prickly pear cactus. Some of the blended versions call for fresh pieces of the prickly pear fruit. The drink is very popular across the southwestern United States. You can find a recipe from Bobby Flay, king of contemporary southwestern cuisine, here. A few other liqueurs to work with for brightly colored drinks are Curacao, Chambord and Midori.2013-06-28_0006

These smoothies are served in neon pink cups. Neon dishes are easily found even at regular party stores and many sources online. For more neon inspiration, check out this neon glow-in-the-dark party here. The birthday girl and her friends must have had an amazing time!


Finding the perfect gift for every occasion is so gratifying. These unique handmade plates by Nicole Porter Designs are an ideal choice to give at a neon party!

Hope you like these bright ideas!!!








Sources: Martha StewartCharm and ConfettiRecipe SnobsMStetson DesignsStyle Sweets

let’s party: cake and wine

June 22nd, 2013 | Posted by Hello Love in Parties - (Comments Off)


While many themes for children’s parties can be abundant and obvious, I personally think it takes a bit more creative thinking to come up with nice, workable directions for grown-up get togethers when they call for something more specific than having friends over for dinner. When I heard about the notion of a wine and cake party, I was instantly smitten!  Hosting a wine and cake party is a great option for those us with busy schedules – since it is really a tasting, assigning specific items out is simple. Here are some pointers:
  • Have light appetizers awaiting guests- cheese, fruit and charcuterie is a delicious and foolproof option
  • For a small gathering, each guest can be served their own plate with cake selections and small glasses with wine flights
  • For a larger gathering, a buffet set up will work, though guests will likely have to try one pairing at a time
  • Do label the selections, have menus at each place setting or have a large menu on display
  • Treat the cake as a main course
  • Tailor your selections by season-
Spring and summer, serve vanilla and fruit based cakes.
Fall, turn to recipes with heavier flavors such as spices, molasses and pumpkin.
Winter, feature the flavors of the season, chocolate, gingerbread, peppermint and possibly even a fruit cake!
  • For wine selections the most basic rule of thumb is to pair like-flavors together.  Light, fruity wines pair with light, fruity cakes. Heavy, rich wines pair with heavy, rich desserts.
  • Above all this means keep your wine selections sweet! Stay away from anything too dry.
Crate & Barrel has a great selection of reasonably priced stemware in varying shapes and sizes.
A beautiful and classic cake server from Laguiole and gorgeous porcelain cake stands in a soft color palette by Raynaud.

magical moonrise

June 19th, 2013 | Posted by Hello Love in Flower | Parties - (Comments Off)

soft and wild bouquet nbarrett

an ode to moonrise kingdom


party food: poolside drinks

June 15th, 2013 | Posted by Hello Love in Parties - (1 Comments)


Hot summer days are made for cool and refreshing drinks. If you find yourself by the pool about to let the heat drive you back indoors, an icy beverage is guaranteed to extend your sun time! Perfect for pool parties or backyard get-togethers, there are multitude of summery cocktail recipes out there to choose from. To narrow the playing field, I’d suggest starting with your liquor of choice and working from there. You may also want to consider ease if you are serving a large crowd – something like a Sangria or spiked lemonade are great choices, as they can easily be made in large batches.  For blended concoctions, be prepared to spend a lot of time behind the blender if you are having more than a few guests. For some inspiration here are a few recipes to get started!
WHISKEY: The Honey Rye
You’ll Need…
5 tablespoons rye whiskey
3 tablespoons honey liqueur (such as Bärenjäger)
1/4 teaspoon orange bitters
Ginger ale
2 orange twists
Do This…
Combine whiskey, honey liqueur, and bitters. Pour over ice between two glasses. Top off with ginger ale and garnish with orange twists.
RUM: Rum Punch
You’ll Need…
 1 1/2 cups light rum
3 cups fresh squeezed orange juice
3 cups fresh pineapple juice
3 cups fresh lime juice
2 tbs. cranberry juice
2 tbs. grenadine
ice cups
1 lime in thin slices for garnish
Do This…
In a large pitcher, combine rum, juice, and grenadine. Stir until well combined. Serve over ice and garnish with lime slices
CHAMPAGNE: The Sour Cherry Yuzu Bellini
You’ll Need…
 1/2 pound pitted fresh or frozen sour cherries
1/2 cup sugar
4 tbs fresh yuzu juice (may substitute 1/2 tangerine juice and 1/2 lime juice)
1 750 ml bottle, plus 2 cups chilled champagne
Do This…
Puree cherries in a food processor. Strain the pureed cherries over a sauce pan to yield about 1/2 cup of cherry juice. Stir the sugar into the juice and bring to a simmer. Cook, while stirring until the sugar is dissolved.  Refrigerate the syrup in a small bowl for about 15 minutes or until cooled.
Combine the cherry juice with yuzu juice in a large pitcher and pour in champagne. Serve over ice.

party 101: the invite

June 8th, 2013 | Posted by Hello Love in Parties - (Comments Off)


No matter what kind of party you are having, guests must first be invited. It’s pretty common with all of the technology we have at our fingertips to send out a group text, Facebook invitation or e-mail to let people know the details of an event – I’ve even recently discovered that you can send wedding invitations via Paperless Post. For a spontaneous post-work cocktail outing or any last-minute get together, online is definitely a perfect solution. I am, however, a paper fiend, and if time is on your side for your planning, there are an array of simple and inexpensive options to stylishly (and tangibly) spread the word.
Likely to be the fastest solution and great for smaller, more impromptu get-togethers, there are many paper companies, both large and small making amazing fill-in invitations. Many of us may remember these well from childhood birthday celebrations, but I certainly never remember anything the caliber of what is now available. With letterpress ever-popular in the stationery world you can find this simple solution done up on thick paper stock, with calligraphy lettering and all undoubtedly hand-pressed.
Colorful, quick and inexpensive, offset printing is often a great choice for parties organized in advance, but smaller and less formal in nature, like showers, engagements, birthdays etc. Many well-known stationers offer offset printing as an option, and exclusive designs from popular companies can be found on online sources like Minted or Paperless Post. This fun shower invitation from Wedding Paper Divas is a great example of this. With rush options available, you can get printed invitations in a matter of days.

For small events, or those where many people know details advance regardless of an actual invitation, 2 weeks is a decent time-frame for your guests to receive an invite, and 6 weeks is more than ample. If you are having an informal dinner party for friends, 2 weeks should suffice. A bridal shower with many out-of-town guests whom you expect to come, 6 or even 8 weeks would be a more comfortable allotment. Every party is different, so just think logically about your needs and the needs of your guests – oftentimes counting backwards from the event date on a calendar is incredibly helpful.
A few tips:
-  Sending an invitation too far in advance may cause some to forget about your event, though hopefully a paper invitation will go up right away on a fridge or bulletin board.
-  For the RSVP include the person’s name and make sure to list the contact method which is most convenient for them.
-  If there are multiple hosts, list their names in alphabetical order – it will cut down on any drama!
-  Always list a dress code where there may be any question – no one likes to be over or under-dressed.
-  No children? No gifts? Cash bar?  Make a polite notation so no one is inconvenienced.
There is something just extra special about receiving a real piece of mail, and with a myriad of fun and fast options, there’s no reason to not invite the old-fashioned way!
1) These Are Things – Special Delivery Card. $6 each
2) Lindsay Letters – Soiree,You Say?  Boxed Invites.  $30 for 12
3) Pei Designs –  Ribbon Party Invitation Set. $25 for 8
4) Wedding Paper Divas – Krafty Bride, Sunny Yellow. $54 for 30 invitations.
It can be easy and affordable to send our paper invitations, so why not get the party started right?!

trend: mimosas

June 1st, 2013 | Posted by Hello Love in Parties - (Comments Off)


The mimosa seems to be latest of many long-standing party staples that have been treated to elaborate foodie makeovers. The mainstream brunch concoction of cheap champagne and carton orange juice has been seriously upgraded with better bubbly, a myriad of fresh juices and, of course, amazing presentation. This grapefruit juice and elderflower riff, paired with a contemporary Glinda-meets-Martha set up has been my personal favorite take so far!


The 522 North Pinckney Cocktail

You’ll Need…

  • 2 cups fresh pink grapefruit juice (from 2-3 grapefruits)
  • 1/2 cup St-Germain (elderflower liqueur)
  • 1/4 cup Campari
  • 1 750-ml. bottle chilled sparkling wine

Do This…

  • Combine grapefruit juice, St-Germain, and Campari in a large pitcher. Cover and chill until cold, about 2 hours.
  • Divide grapefruit mixture among glasses and top off with sparkling wine.
  • Grapefruit mixture can be made 1 day ahead. Keep chilled.

Using a regular size bottle of champagne is certainly the more practical option, but if only having a few guests, the single-serve bottles are a fun option. Lining them up in rows on your table will add visual impact to your display.

The bubble motif, while possibly expected for champagne, is simple and chic. The amazing ballon display shown above is beautiful, but simpler solutions exist. Look no further than Geronimo Balloons. They make stunning oversize balloons in a beautiful color palette, which are great for so many occasions. The size alone makes an amazing impact, and the festive streamers add more sparkle.


Drink identification can always be a challenge at any get together – try having guests write their name on Washi tape and adhere to the base of their glass. Pattern mixing is a great way to add variety to any decor whether its a small display or large room. While a gold dot is available, too, I love this stripe option from Sweet Bella. Keep these cocktail napkins with a bit of shimmer on hand for any spills (it happens to the best of us…) and pop the champagne!








Sources: PintrestBon AppetitLadies LottoFlickrBHLDNSweet BellaBHLDN