Ah, Fancy Flours Catalog...

Today, the world stood still because my Fancy Flours Fall 2008 catalog arrived. Look, sigh, drool. Anyone who can make diamond candy jewels is #1 in my book.

Fiesta Friday Pt. 2/Color Party - Pink and Brown Birthday Dinner

OK, so I already did today's Fiesta Friday, but I couldn't resist posting another one. This inspiration comes from this beautiful creamy pink ceramic Mazarine dinnerware from Horchow. Make your best friend feel extra special this year with an all-girl birthday party dinner.Put a glamorous spin with a pink and chocolate-brown color scheme.

The invitation: Send hot-pink note cards with details written in silver ink. When each guest RSVPs, ask for her birthday and write it down.
pink decor collageThe Decor: Start with variety of pinks like the creamy pink in the dinnerware and fuchsia, and browns from chocolate to taupe. Set up a small bar with sparkling water, your signature cocktail and a few non-alcoholic choices. Now is the time to break out your linens to set your table. Scatter tea lights in silver holders across the table, and down the center of the table decorate with votives and small, tight bouquets of pink flowers like peonies or carnations in low glasses or these silver mint julep vases. Use these classic and simple silver frames as great place card holders. For a great conversation starter, print each person's birthday and a birthday fact for each frame. Hang a cluster of brown paper lanterns from luna bazaar, or these paper flowers from Martha to brighten up your space.

The Menu: As guests arrive, offer appetizers and your signature drink, the Pink Halo. For dinner, serve a light family-style meal like grilled chicken and spinach salad. Afterward, honor your birthday girl with a decadent treat. How about serving these pink Gerbera daisy cupcakes or this Pink and brown cake from both from Pink Cake Box.Pink Halo
pink cake

The Music: Yes, you have to play 50 Cent's "In Da Club", but try some other birthday songs like Stevie Wonder's "Happy Birthday", Pet Shop Boys' "Birthday Boy" and Loretta Lynn's "Happy Birthday".

Fiesta Friday - Everybody Limbo!!

luau inviteluau tableI can't believe that school is almost here, so it must be time for one more hurrah, and what is better than a End of Summer Luau?

Check out these cute flip-flop invites from Paper Source. The flip flops are connected by a hot pink string through pre-drilled holes and with two attached plastic pink flowers.

If I haven't said it enough before, I so love Social Couture. I've ordered from them a few times, and just love my goodies. They have a great Hawaii Five-O Luau party featured. Purchase the complete party set with everything shown here. It includes all of your tableware, even tea lights for the votive holders and coconut shell candles. Add to your table these bamboo vases filled with your favorite tropical flowers.luau_centerpiece

Wait for the "ohs" and "ahs" as you serve guests with these pineapple wood trays, perfect for your island treats.

If you are having a kid-friendly party, set up a bar serving fruity "mocktails". Make sure and have lots of umbrellas and plastic picks to dress up drinks.

A great party idea: set up a few craft stations where young guests create tropical flowers from tissue paper and pipe cleaners, make their own flower leis by threading and alternating paper flower punch-outs and short pieces of straw onto yarn, and translate their name into the Hawaiian version. We did this at our Aloha Party for the end of school, and the kids loved it. Since the Hawaiian alphabet only has 12 letters, you have to make substitutions. Check out for directions.

Send them home with a flower lei coiled into a cocktail glass, palm tree stickers and sunglasses all wrapped in cellophane and tied with a pretty ribbon.

Oh, and I just had to share this picture of my boys at their luau-themed VBS, it just seemed appropriate. Mine are the only ones not wearing their personalized hats, and not singing.

Bootyland, Lunches and a little Whimsy

our new laptop lunchYeah, I bet you thought this was a post on a new strip club. Today, we went to the big city to have lunch with daddy, score our PBK Star Wars event tix, and check out a new place for us over on Capital Hill, Bootyland, a hip clothing store that specialize in products locally made or vintage kids clothing, hemp and organic fabrics, cloth diapering supplies, and other fun stuff. My biggest reason for going was to get my hands on the Laptop Lunch. This past Tuesday Trend was about school bags, and I had included this little gem that had an entire article in the September Parents mag.

Well, that's all I need to go and get one. Plus, the boy thinks it's cool, and if it gets him to eat healthier, I'm all for it. It comes with a very handy book with all kinds of lunch menus, tips for picky eaters and other suggestions to make the $30 price tag worth your while. Plus, it's not made of toxic plastics, and a waste-free alternative where you aren't adding to the growing pile of sandwich bags, and other items in single-use packages. Plus he thinks it's cool. You can purchase all types of colors and other options at online stores like Online Organizing, but this is the only retail store I found that carries them in our area.

Oh, BTW Bootyland is a very cool store, they do consignment, and have lots of wooden toys, books and other kid doodads. Underneath the stairs is a little playarea, that everyone seems to beeline to.

Next to Bootyland is the most interesting store I've been to in a while, Whimsy Home Decor. The windows are filled with bright flowers, sequined covered fish hanging from the ceiling, triangle-shaped chairs and glass sea-creatures. We had to go in. They have the coolest stuff. Decor like ceramic ice-cream cones turned upside down and "melting", a spilt wine-glass with wine "pouring" onto your table, and light fixtures that at first glance look like martini glasses sticking out of them are just a few of the oddities that this store has to offer. Their website isn't fully up and running yet, so check back.

I intensely dislike Crocs (and Wal-mart)

(I'm not allowed to say "hate", it's a bad word that my kids can't say, like "stupid" and "dumb". And in every adult conversation, they correct every adult that says that. So you can imagine how it is when adults start talking politics.)

I was at Wal-mart late the other night, hoping none of my friends would see me. I've always hated Wal-mart, especially since I've been avoiding it like the plague, but with rising costs, much like getting my eyebrows waxed, it is a necessary evil. True to form, there were 10,000 people in line, with two shopping carts each, filled to the brim, and of the 25 registers, 4 were open. But where else am I going to find 2-pack glue sticks for 25 cents or a 5 lb bag of meatballs for $7?

Did you say Costco?'re breaking up, I can't hear, anyways, I'm walking past a delightful bin full of Frocs...(Wal-mart's Croc version) that are 50% off, so making them $4.50. A full bin of them. A FULL BIN! After nearly gagging on the sight of so many, I mentally file that away for later. Bigger problems are on the horizon.

Let's see, should I stand behind the women with 7 kids, where only 4 are wearing shoes and eating food out of the cart, or behind the grandparents paying with a gazillion coupons, and can't figure out how to use the card reader. Hmm...I think I'll take the overweight lady in the wheel-chair who has been dragging her cart behind her, screeching at someone a few aisles over in the magazine section and is now waiting for help out to her car. I'm dying a slow death. Oh look, barefoot children coming out of the bathroom. At least pick up some damn Frocs and put them on their feet.

So just today, I received my new Hanna Andersson catalog. Why and how I'm on their mailing list is a mystery of the ages. But that's not the issue. What is the issue are these....
faux fur CrocsWhy, why, why, why, why, why, why are they faux-fur lined? Why? Thought you were getting away from them with the weather turning cold, didn't you!!!! Did someone walking through muddy snow go, "Do you know what would be perfect right now? Shoes I can hose off...wait a minute, if we add fur...." But how will you hose them off? you ask. If you asked that question, you mercifully don't own a pair. How did the shoe world's version of cockroaches become fur-lined? I mean that in a good way though...they can be found almost everywhere on the planet and should never be seen in the light.

They are recyclable, odor-, skid- and fashion resistant, so hey at least they are doing good for the planet, right? I have friends who swear by them, never seen without them. Unless you are under the age of 5, those bad boys should not leave the garden. For pete's sake, Jo-ann Fabrics have their own Frocs. I intensely dislike this footwear. I won't call them shoes, because that would insult those hard-working, eco-hating shoes like fabulous leather boots or your favorite kicks.

Like the low-riding pants that show off your tramp stamp and shorts where the pockets are longer than the shorts, this is a painful fad that shows no signs of stopping. Now, they have been extended into the winter months. The boots aren't so bad. At least there are no holes for those damn trinket-button-things. Seriously people, really? Could they make the shoes any fuglier? I can just see the wheels you know what these ugly-ass shoes need? Some ladybugs, rainbows and a smiley face.

The President, has been seen wearing them WITH BLACK SOCKS. Black socks people. And we all know how forward and fashion-conscience he is. He might as well been wearing brown sandals with white socks. No wait, that would actually be cooler.

A birthday bash that gives back

Kids Care Volunteer party kitWant to host an exciting birthday party with a purpose that lets kids do good for their communities and have fun at the same time? Kids Care Clubs have partnered with Quaker to create the Quaker Volunteer Party kit, for ages 5-12, free when you send in any four UPC codes from the boxes of Quaker Chewy® Granola Bars or Quaker® Granola Bites and the mail-order form.

The kit includes a How-to Guide, a T-shirt for the birthday child, wristbands, temporary tattoos, activity booklets and achievement certificates for 10 kids. There are five free themed party packages you can download invites, banners and thank-you cards after you receive your kit. For example, the cowboy theme helps your local animal shelter.
horsey letterpress invite
blossom letterpress invite

Oh, I had to share this beautiful paper line from smock paper; letterpress stationary and invitations sustainably printed on bamboo paper. They’re actually the very first print shop in the U.S. to offer printing on luxury bamboo paper! Over at HWTM there is a giveway happening, a $100 shopping spree to enter to win your choice of products like this Horsey set of 10 cards or this Kurai cherry blossom wedding invite.

Tuesday Trends - Back-to-School Bags (and a shameless promotion snuck in)

We interrupt your regularly scheduled post for a bit of shameless promotion here. Another one of my birthday parties has won over at, my recent Hollywood Dance Party 2008, check out the post for more pictures. I want to thank God and my mother, and all of you that came, and made it a wonderful day for us. Now, back to your post, already in progress..... lunch_bag_collageFor most kids across the country, school begins next Tuesday. So today's Tuesday Trend - Back to School Bags. It doesn't matter their age, as far as your kid is concerned, the backpack and lunch bag are the most important.

-Have him racing to lunch with Bestever's car lunch bag.
-For the too-cool kid, this biker lunch bag also compliments the messenger bag and school backpack.
-How cute is Target's bunny lunch bag that does double duty by unzipping into a place mat?
-Land of Nod's Answer the Bell lunchboxes come in barnyard, solar system or garden, and have side pockets for utensils.
-Laptop Lunches believe the simplest and healthiest foods look more enticing when tucked inside little compartments.
-It looks like a purse! The Fancy Stripe Lil Pocket lunch bag is made of canvas-like material covered in clear plastic and the heart on front is a small pocket - great for storing a note from home.

Looking for tons of ideas to put in your lunchbox? Check out this Parents article.

backpack collage-Sail off into the wild blue yonder with Zid Zid Kid's airplane back pack.
-Made of quality polyester, budding paleontologists will dig Crocodile Creek's backpack.

-The Agatha Snail bag series from Miquel-Rius includes this small knapsack/backpack.

-Send your preschooler with PBK's animal bags, just big enough for a snack and a special friend.

-L.L. Bean's rolling original book pack has a retractable T-handle, has a variety of color options and can be personalized.

-How about Athalon's Fusion backpack that comes in graffiti?

Rockin' Centerpieces

flower centerpiecesI love getting party ideas from wedding sites. They may be grand events, but many elements can be used, just toned down for your party's size. Here are some inspirations from In Style Weddings.

Make a stunning display by filling tall containers with water and submerge a few tulips, cymbidium orchids or amaryllis. I've done this with tulips.

Using cool earthy colors—lime- and apple-greens, this beautiful centerpiece was made by removing the stems from Annemarie roses and hydrangeas, and piled the blooms in low bowls.

A double-duty centerpiece: guests, whose names appear on gift tags instead of place cards, may sit where they like at this table.

Unique and eco-friendly: landscape centerpieces. Lose the tree though.

Check out these totally doable options from the knot.
fruit centerpieces

Purchase small, square, glass vases (I've found similar ones at our Dollar Tree) and nest a smaller vase inside.

Fill the space between both vases with sliced limes and add purple hydrangeas to the vase.

Another use of square vases; packed tightly with fresh grass and white roses and wrapped in white ribbon.

Centerpieces of green hydrangeas, roses, and kale in green silk–wrapped vases are interspersed with green apples and key limes in clear glass vases.

As long as you can find them good homes, a bowl of goldfish with coordinating marbles or pebbles can be a fun addition.

What's the Word?

word collageT-shirts and pant behinds have done a lot of talking lately. I love browsing through cb2, they always have such modern and fun items. Here are some chic items that do the talk and walk the walk.

Pow! Zoinks! Feel the message with the comic appetizer plate (also available in Yum and Mmmm!) . Send guests a subliminal message with this fun dinnerware and its matching glasses. Toast to good health with this Cheers set of six wine glasses and wine quote coasters. word pillow
word bag

Punch up a bland chair with the Love graffiti pillow. Get your point across with a Life Art WORDS tote bag from Cafe Press.

Fiesta Friday - The Monster Mash

monster_platesAll right, time for a new segment I like to call Fiesta Friday, where during my wanderings around, find an inspirational piece and design a party around it.

While looking at one of my favorite party supply site, Plum Party, I saw these cute monster plates, and they are a perfect jump-off to a Halloween party or a birthday for the little monster in your life.

monster_collageSend out these Pretty Ugly postcards as invitations.

Set the table with a black tablecloth, the plates and bright napkins and matching cups. Turn a few Uglydolls into centerpieces by tying balloons to them.

Serve these monster fingers and toes or mini bread monsters.

Get inspired by these creepcakes from Flickr user KellyLWatson.

Have guests make Melissa & Doug monster puppets.

Send guests home with these cool monster eye marbles.

Please, not the face...

So, the latest celebrity "I was still drugged up when I named this child" crack-habit is Gwen Stefani and Gavin Rossdale's newborn son...Zuma Nesta Rock Rossdale. Why would I make that up? I was totally gonna talk about the article I was reading at the checkout line; the face-off between the 2 year old offspring of Brangelina and Tomkat where one still drinks formula out of a bottle (but wears designer dresses) and the other eats Cheetos and fights over cookies. Now that child is a Brit-Brit-in-training y'all!

But the name thing caught my eye. I know these kids will never see the inside of a public institution, but don't rich kids still beat each other up? I totally hoped they would stay on the G-train and name their kids like Georgia and Geoffrey, or some other disgusting alliterated name. But no, I think they are sending shots out to the islands where they must get the good weed from, because the first one is named Kingston. And not one of them have dreadlocks.

Where is CPS when you need them? Future abuse by peers just can't be permissible by law. I'm just imagining Zuma coming home everyday with his mom's designer clothes ripped (I'm sure by then she'll have a boys' line) weeping that the kids keep calling him Zima and laughing hysterically when he tries to correct them.

Yeah, I bet it will probably be Brit-Brit's boys meting out the punishments, those kids didn't stand a chance.

For more children standing in the line that has run out of lollipops, check out this list.


Inspired by haiku by another hard working mom, my own observations this morning....

The groomer shaved close.
Dog rubs his butt on carpet.
Spray of Bactine helps.

Real Party - It's back-to-schooltime, woo-hoo!!

back_to_school_wallsback_to_school_groupI love the summer, but I love the kids going back to school even more. I decided to get a few friends together for a Back-To-School play date on Tuesday to get us back into the swing of things. I scored at the dollar store in the teacher section with school die-cuts on the walls, and a gold plastic tablecloth with red and green apple confetti (I have a tiny apple punch). No need to go overboard with decor, the devil is in the details.

10:30 to 10:40 Homeroom: the kids played while we waited for all our friends to show up.
10:40 to 10:55 Art: Magazine collages and origami pencils. Each child had four pieces of paper that were written things like "Blue" "Circles", etc. etc. and looked for these items in magazines. I punched holes down the sides to tie them together as a book later in the party. The older kids folded origami pencils, which I found in my FamilyFun magazine.
10:55-11:00 Clean-up and snack set up
11:00-11:10 Snack time: Great ginger cat cookies from Trader Joe's, grapes and juice boxes.
11:10-11:30 Recess: We took a nice walk around our neighborhood.
11:30-11:45 Free time and toy clean-up
11:45 Circle time - I read If You Take a Mouse To School by Laura Numeroff.
11:50ish - Pass out goodie bags and pack up for home. I stamped paper lunch bags and filled them with letter stickers, a pencil, a granola bar, crayons and a small color/shape boardbook.

Set your timer to keep everyone on track, just like in school. It's amazing how fast time passes, especially when moms are gabbing and kids are playing.

Cupcake Week on Martha and a local shout-out

martha_stewart_jennifer_sheaSo, if you haven't heard, it's "Cupcake Week" again over at Martha's, a rebroadcast of the spring series, where she showcased local delights. On Thursday, our own Trophy Cupcakes and owner Jennifer Shea (which I'm always shamelessly promoting, and on my hero list, hoping they'll send me a free box of goodies) will be on. They'll be making chocolate graham cracker cupcakes with toasted marshmallow topping. When I saw the original broadcast, I bee-lined over there, and was not disappointed. In fact, my husband works about 5 minutes away, so whenever we visit, we have to stop there. The 4 year old will only eat the red velvet, despite the different flavor options, and the 7 year old must have the triple chocolate: chocolate cupcake, chocolate frosting rolled in chocolate sprinkles....mmm. I'm just on a mission to have every flavor.

Real Party - Once Upon A Time Baby Shower

fairytale_baby_ showerAlthough this shower was back in the spring, I've heard it has inspired a few other showers, so I thought I would share.

Our teacher was having her first baby and we moms got together to throw her a surprise baby shower with a fairy-tale feel. The secretary called her down to the office, while we snuck the entire class out to the teachers' lounge, then had her sent over. She was quite surprised and touched. The kids were bursting at the seams trying not to tell her.

The Class Gift - We purchased fabric markers and various sizes of onesies, and during lunchtime, had each child personalize one. At the shower, we hung up all 24 of them all along a clothesline.

The Decor - We had to be cost-effective: from the supply closet, our tablecloth from pink butcher paper and the boys' craft was made from posterboard and construction paper. I used my own stuffed animals as balloon weights, and since I have like a gazillion craft items, I brought those as well as fairy tale books from the library. Of course, I had the purple and red napkins and plates, because you never know when the time would come for them. I loved the little purple and pink pacifiers on the table, made from hot-gluing two peppermint Lifesavers together and a gumball. Why all the apples, you ask? Duh! Little Red Riding Hood, Snow White, get it? One mom graciously purchased balloons while others contributed the juice and cupcakes.

The Crafts - The boys created their own crests; I cut the shapes from the posterboard, various strips of construction paper, and lots and lots of die-cut shapes like stars, lions and dragons. Each boy personalized their crest, then they hung them around their necks with yarn. It was quite a hit. The girls made fairy wands from foam stars and wooden dowels, and decorated them with sequins and ribbons. The kit was a score from Party City, a set of 20 for $2!

The Ensemble - Every princess in a fairy tale has to have her appropriate attire. Our princess was adorned with a foam crown decorated with giant gemstones, a pink feather boa, and her "throne" was covered in a pretty polka-dotted material I found at Joann's. She also had her own wand covered in sequins and glitter.

The Food - The MTB does not like cake, but loves her pie, and since we are so accommodating, one of our moms baked a strawberry-rhubarb pie. Which, as my first time having that flavor, it was quite tasty. The kids had cupcakes and apple juice, and a few brave ones had some pie as well.

Tuesday Tips - Organizing your life

container_collageI've decided to start a new segment called Tuesday Tips and Trends, where I'll showcase what's hot in entertainment, parties and lifestyle.

Looking for ways to stay organized and a place for everything, and everything has it's place? Here are some colorful storage solutions for your kitchen.

Keep your bread fresher and longer in this stylish bread box.

This 3 oz airtight container will keep anything you put in fresh and dry.

Check out this portal bin, Reisenthel's Carrybag, a practical tote to corral loose items at home to lug up and downstairs.

Secure open bags of chips and crackers with Spectrum's magnetic clothespins.

Cluster small items to find things faster with these cute square MeeMepop! trays, that are stackable and stain-resistant.

french_bullFrench Bull has a staggering array of products in eye-popping and coordinating designs. Both the set of 3 multi-dot canisters and the mosiac storage container set are 100% melamine, dishwasher safe, high heat resistant and shatterproof.
nesting_basketsThese double wall nesting baskets are not only ideal catch-alls in the kitchen, but are eco-friendly.

twill_storage_bagsMade of soft brushed twill, I'm so loving these cushioned storage cases. A protective layer of polyester padding inside and out will protect your fine china and stemware. The various sizes are designed to hold everything from dinner plates to cups, and each piece has an ID slot on the front to hold a preprinted label.

Let's go...GNO

My girls and I have talked about going to Vegas for a wild weekend. It's been about 4 years or so and we still haven't done it. We will do it damn it. Why? Sometimes, you just have to get away. You're about to commit yourself to one man before God and your friends and need that last hurrah with the girls. Or maybe the sun, moon and stars have aligned and all the husbands are home at the same time and it's time to flee. I don't mean having lunch at the local mall, I mean a real vaca. Check out some of these ideas to get the ball rolling.

Get inspired: check out the Fine Living channel's "All-Girl Getaways" to find out what it takes it takes to have an organized, successful and exhilarating mini-vacation.

Beaches is running a limited time Beaches Friends Forever Getaway. BFF events include beach yoga and seaside Pilates classes and chartered snorkeling, not to mention the fact that you are laying on a beach all day with a coconut drink in your hand.

Holiday Golightly is a group travel planning for girlfriend getaways. The website is so user-friendly, you can decide what type of getaway you want, browse by destination, theme or activity. It has lots of great tools like an airport spa directory. Because if you are going to have a lay-over, might as well squeeze in a manicure.

Pink Veil provides an all-in-one bachelorette party service for handling everything from finding places to stay, eat, and party, even handling the awkward money situation that comes with asking everyone for their money. They specialize in visits to LA, Vegas, and San Francisco.

What's hot: themed tours. For my winos out there, Women & Wine is for those looking for trips specializing in wine-country destinations around the world. Take your book club on a tour of Greenwich Village, a magnet for American writers for years, where the likes of Henry James, Edgar Allen Poe, and Jack Keroac roamed.

Some wall candy

wooden_fish_wall_decorWhile I was sitting at the ped's office waiting for various kid check ups, I had the chance to flip through some magazines and came across some very cool wall art.

At Wallter, they have unique wall decor that have easy, no fuss installation with peel-away 3M adhesive backing. that can go up on almost any interior wall or door. However, some applications, like this set of five fish paintable wall decor, is permanent. I love the fact that you can paint them to match your decor, and what kid won't love to touch and explore them?

Wall_Candy_tree_decalWall decals are all the rage right now, from phrases to entire scenes. I like Wall Candy Art's season tree kit that contains tree parts for 1 (65" tall) or 2 (45" tall) trees, 28 leaves, 2 birds, 2 butterflies & 4 flowers. Now you can turn over your wall just like your wardrobe.

Check out their other hip decor like their Chalkboard sticker art in fun designs like Chalk-O-Dile and a rocket with stars and planets.

Kickin' It Old School

my_designhergal_padI'm a fan of paper. I like giving and receiving paper invites, thank you cards, announcements, etc. Yes, it's not green and the price of stamps keep rising. E-cards and Evite all have their place, but I still feel paper is just so personal and thoughtful, that you took the time to send me something through the mail. So for those of you still kickin' it old school with paper, you aren't alone.

One of my favorite places to play around at is Design-Her-Gals, a wonderful place to personalize everything from door hangers to magnet cards. You can create a "gal" who looks like you and dress her with a boundless array of fun accessories, like a latte or your guy. As you can see, my gal is clutching her Martha magazine...

calling_cardFun and Sassy Designs have an array of designs that I just love, especially the children's stationary. Be the coolest kid on the playground with your own calling card. Hey, you gotta start networking now!

baby_annoucementwedding_annoucementWhen elite fashion designers like Kate Spade and Vera Wang jump on the paper bandwagon, you know their impeccable eye to detailing won't disappoint. Check out this baby announcement and bridal announcement.

paper_collageRidiculously cute and modern, Polka Dot Design does it all, from invitations and announcements to custom stationery & stickers. They have an entire collection for you pet lovers.

Other fun sites to check out; Expressionery, Wedding Paper Divas,
Paper Source. Both Papyrus and Paper Zone have retail stores. Lucky me, I live near both, and can (and have) spend hours at each.

Color Party - Pink Poodle Party (say that 3 times fast)

A friend of mine called needing some ideas for a 7 year old's party. Since I will never get to do this myself, I suggested a Pink Poodle Party. A few years ago, Parents magazine did the cutest party and I couldn't wait to share. What's great about this party theme is it can be tailored for the favorite puppy in your life. Is your child a Blue's Clues or Clifford fan? Simply change the color scheme to match. Black and white for a Dalmatian party or brown for Scooby-Doo, your imagination is the only limit.

Check out the full article "Poodles, Pirates and Paint!"

Parties Outside the Box have several types of pink poodle invites. This Pink Poodle Puppy invite comes with personalized envelopes.

Order this party set from Birthday In A Box or Oriental Trading Company.

I am loving the pink poodle coin purse, and if you are so inclined not to sew your own, check out these poodle ears.

And aren't these cupcakes just the cutest? Serve with pink sherbert punch or pink lemonade and strawberries. You've got to check out the article for the full recipe, along with the directions for the poodle ears and cuffs.

Lots of pink and black balloons and streamers are all you would need to round out this oh-so-chic party.

Let The Good Times Bowl!

bowling shirtI'm a fan of bowling parties, since it means I don't have to have it at my house. With so many variety of alleys and packages, there is something for all age groups.

Purchase retro-style scrapbooking paper and solid-color scrapbooking paper. Use a stylized font to print out party info onto the solid color, then cut the retro paper into various geometric shapes, glue several of the shapes together and place the party info onto the shapes. Or check out a variety of invitations from Impress in Print.

Make sure the invites having everyone gathering at least 15 minutes before your scheduled bowling time; it takes a few minutes to get shoes, balls and everyone to the assigned lanes.

A great party accessory and favor - provide guests special shirts. Dress up discount-store plaid and striped button-up shirts with felt bowling appliques. Simply cut the bowling ball, 2 pins and the larger circle behind them from felt, iron double-sided fusible web onto all the pieces, then iron the appliques to the shirts.sugar bowling cookies

Some locations will not allow you to bring in your own food, so be sure to check all the rules if you want to serve any special party foods.

BHG puts out a specialty magazine called Kids' Parties, and in the 2007 edition, they have a cool menu for a bowling party. They suggest setting up a sundae bar with ice-cream, bananas, sauce, the works so the kids can make their own "Banana 7-10 Splits". There is also a recipe for "Spare-Me Sugar Cookies" where you marble cookie dough and food coloring, and make cookies that look just like bowling balls...I LOVE it!

And of course, I had to show some cupcakes. Get inspiration for your party; these marshmellow pops would look great on any cupcake, then check these out from Pink Cakebox, and Flickr user Ambjer. The bowling ball and pins cakes are courtesy of Amy's Tasty Treats.bowling cupcake

Don't forget to have all the guests sign a bowling pin for a keepsake.

Why I love Anderson Cooper or Once Again, Where Have I Been?

OK, so I must have been under a rock or something, because I was doing laundry and catching up on one of my recorded programs, "The Soup", which helps me keep up on my weekly pop culture news. Apparently, last week, He of the Silver Hair, Anderson Cooper sat in for Regis on "Live with Regis & Kelly". How I did not know this before is a whole 'nother story, 'cuz apparently I missed the beginning of the biggest feud since Biggie and 2Pac.

"The Soup" showed the clip of AC deliciously carving up Ali Lohan and her mom. He just said what we were all thinking. I have watched their show "Living Lohan", barely, only because I thought Lindsey was going to be on. Sadly, no one famous is Living anything on this show. And heaven help him, AC left no stone unturned. My favorite quote (although there were just SO many) is a toss-up. It's either " 'Allegedly a 14-year-old girl, looks to be about 60… I say that with concern and love. She allegedly wants to be a singer and or actor-slash-performer of some sort, striptease person, I don’t know.' " or when Kelly Ripa says " 'They're obviously a multi-talented family, the kids sing, and they perform…' ", he snarks " ' Yeah, sure, maybe that's in the episode I didn't see. ' " Ah, AC, you silver-haired silver-tongued devil.

So, I guess mom and dad are all mad, but hey, can you really get pissy when you do a reality show, have cameras follow you 24-7 for a crappy show? Lady, lightening doesn't strike twice...hey that should be the name of this show "Lightening Doesn't Strike Twice If The Other Child Has No Talent, No Matter How Hard You Try". Unless of course, you are Papa Joe Simpson, Kit Culkin, or the parents of the Olsen twins. Wait, does Ashlee Simpson have talent?

And speaking of questionable parenting skills, did Joe Jackson put out a parenting book? Everyone seems to be checking it out from the library. I did see the episode where there was a faulty outlet, a fire, fire department, and drama, while mom is unreachable, and totally nonchalant when they're like "uh there's a fire at your house". I personally would have flipped out and bee-lined for home, even if there is a house full of people. But, then again, I do care about my kids.

Yes, you can throw a green party

Some people view a party as excessive, unnecessary, and expensive (my husband). With everything going green, you can do the same with your parties. Besides using eco-friendly products, you can also change a few of your "party habits". You don't have to sacrifice style and substance to do your part in helping the planet.

One of my favorite books is written by Danny Seo, THE celebrity eco-stylist, often called the "Green Martha Stewart". So you know, I'm all over that. He has a great book called Simply Green Parties, the first in his Simply Green series. This book has great ideas; making invites from recycled makeup compacts, making your own pinatas and tea lights from oyster shells, even how to make those magazine scent-strips into paper flowers.

I love the Pebble Potpourri project, because I feel the need to buy a bag of river rocks when they are a $1 at Michael's. He suggests to toss them with a fragrant essential oil of your choice, and display in a serving dish in the middle of the table so the natural scent perfumes the room.

I'm a little green, because I've done two of his party tips before I even read the book: flavoring water by adding strips of fruit or veggies, like cucumber and apple, and using Twizzlers as drinking straws.

I love to find uses for brown lunch bags. Puppets are a given, but I've used them as goody bags, stamping them and using scraps of paper and ribbon to dress them up. Or dig out your stash of glitter, glue, foamies, etc. and have the guests do the work of decorating their goody bags.

At one party, we received small cloth drawstring bags that my kids love to fill up and play with. It's a great way to cut down on the waste of those ubiquitous plastic treat bags. Check out these cloth drawstring bags.

Take advantage of an online service like Evite instead of using paper invites.

Hang onto all the gift bags and wrapping paper gifts come in. The bags are usually in pristine condition and can be regifted, and the wrapping paper can be used when doing fun projects and crafts.

Instead of using cut flowers, try something more sustainable like potted plants that double as party favors. I did this with potted orchids as place settings for a spring luncheon.

Stock up on reusable party goods like these durable plastic tumblers and these melamine divided plates.

If you must use disposable cups, have a Sharpie handy for personalizing. We do this anyways with the kids because they are always drinking out of each other's cups, and we don't have to keep getting them new ones.

Serve food that doesn't require plates and utensils but can be placed on a napkin like, wait for it CUPCAKES...(I'm so cool and green, it's eerie) and other finger foods.

Another good investment is reusable party decor. Use a fabric banner and silcone baking cups like Wilton's Silly Feet. Have a white tablecloth that guests can sign birthday wishes on year after year. Instead of balloons, decorate with Chinese lanterns.

Kiwi Magazine's tag line is 'Growing Families the Natural and Organic Way'. Their online magazine has a great article "Eco-friendly Kids Birthday Party Ideas" with many ideas that I've seen or have done myself and never thought of them as green. Touring a local orchard or farm, planting seeds and flowers in a friendship garden, breakfast parties, and having a talent show are all activities that are healthy and helps kids become more socially responsible.

If you are lucky to have a place like our Creation Station, it is quite an experience. They are a blend of retail and recycle, diverting materials from landfills and using them for creativity in their studio. Kids can build, discover and explore to their hearts' content, using recycled materials. It's a great place to host a birthday party and a wonderful opportunity for a discussion on the need to reuse and recycle materials that may not degrade.

Started in Cape Town South Africa, the only Scratch Patch in the US is here in Seattle. It's another great party location for a organic and educational celebration. Guests arrive at the Scratch Patch; they take off their shoes and find a comfortable place within the room's 2 tons of tumbled gemstones, then "scratch" (dig and explore) for whatever catches their eye. The deluxe party package includes a medium cloth bag (bag hold +/- 38 stones) and a organic healthy snack bag for each child.
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