Happy Halloween!

Jeez, sorry I missed my regular postings on Wednesday and today's Fiesta Friday, still recovering from our Mad Scientist Lab party last night, which went awesome! My husband took the camera to work for his party today, so I can't upload anything yet. So I promise, lots of pictures coming soon!

My back is killing me from being on my feet, from 8:00 a.m. until the party started at 4:30 to 7:30. Oh, I did sit down, when I was in the car driving like a nut to buy dry ice, which we never did use.

Tuesday Tip - By The Numbers

Sorry, it's been awhile since any new postings, I've been knee deep in Halloween parties and getting ready for our own party.

During a quiet moment (eating breakfast before running the boy off to the bus) while perusing my latest Family Circle magazine, I spied this mod wall clock from Crate & Barrel. And since I've already done a post on word decor, one on numbers was a "duh" moment. So here is today's tip, a classic that never goes out of style, decorating by the numbers.

number product collage

1. Land of Nod's We've Got Your Number rug
2. Binth number poster
3. Number ice tray
4. Vinyl art from D├ęcor Elements of Stampin' Up

number product collage 2

5. and 6. West Elm's round canvas nesting boxes and numbers rug
7. D. Frank Designs odd and even porcelain dinner plates
8. Urban Outfitters' secret code applique pillow.

Fiesta Friday - A Carvin' We Will Go (Or Not)

One week until Halloween, so this will be my last Halloween post, because by this point, I just can't help you! Now it's time to turn your attention to most folks' favorite part of Halloween, carving a pumpkin.

Check out these celebrity stencils at where you can carve a political statement of Senators Obama and McCain, or your favorite comedy host like David Letterman or John Stewart.

pumpkin carving collage

Check out Martha's Halloween Workshop on carving pumpkins for lots of inspiration. Her owls and blackened pumpkins require power've been warned. Also involving power tools, DIY network has an awesome slide show of extreme carvings, my favorites are the dragon and the sun man.

But sometimes, there is that rare creature who doesn't feel the joy of carving, after nearly cutting off a finger trying to carve a plastic pumpkin. Hey, my family didn't do Halloween, so I grew up without the pleasure of sticking my hand into a pumpkin to get all the slimy seeds out. Plus, I know the fun is in the carving, but in a few days, not-so-attractive flies will be swarming. For a less destructive way to decorate a pumpkin....

pumpkin family

pumpkin family2....break out the glitter and sequins and paint them (my family's creations)....

...use markers....
...use ribbons....
...make yarn art....
...make a wreath.

Real Party - Just Monkeying Around

Peeling bananas with feet

I love going to parties where my friends flex their creative muscles, because not only are they fun to go to, but you can "borrow" a few ideas. We were at Z's second birthday party on Saturday, and because she's a little monkey, mom decided it would make a perfect theme, and I agree. Great party highlights included the older kids peeling their bananas with their bare feet and a jungle scene photo area.Monkey party collage

How cute are the monkey cupcakes? Their faces are mini wafers with licorice mouths. Kids will eat just about anything on a stick, and this centerpiece was no exception. Her goody bags were perfect, personalized bags of homemade playdough scented with banana essential oil, tied to a monkey cookie cutter and a monkey lollipop. And I just couldn't bear to drink out of the monkey cups. They even had little paper tails.

Thank you C for letting me share!

BCA Wednesday - Cupcakes For A Cause

I love my cupcakes, so I'm excited to share Duncan Hines' Cupcakes For A Cause, a program that raises money for CancerCare for Kids, an organization that gives kids who have cancer, or who have a family member who has cancer, free counseling to help them cope. Check out Cupcakes Week October 20-26 for a participating bakery. It may be a little late for the National Bake Sale Contest, which is a fundraiser bake sale. I'm assuming it's only during this month, and not a year-round event, so plan for next year.

Tuesday Trend - Chalk It Up!

A few posts ago, I did a post with chalkboard coasters and a cheese slateboard, and then it got me thinking about what other chalkboard products are out there? And I soon discovered it's not just for the classroom anymore. (In fact, most schools use white boards). So today's tip and trend, chalkboard products.

Check out these candles from Adore. I'm loving these napkin rings from the Museum of Modern Art, NYC, they make the perfect place cards. Lug your stuff with these storage trugs from Smith & Hawken. Check out these quote bubbles from Wallies.
Easy to use, Wallies Peel and Stick chalkboard collection -- simply remove the paper backing and stick them up!

Rust-oleumchalkboard paintOr be crafty and do it yourself with Rust-oleum's chalkboard spray or paint, found at any hardware store. You can apply it to just about anything. Keep the kids out of your hair and paint a wall or the top of a play table with it. Turn a cabinet door into a message center. Martha (of course) has a way to make custom color chalkboard paint.

Real Party Sneak Peek - Around the Clock baby shower centerpieces

So my friend sent me some pictures of the centerpieces for our baby shower collaboration, that are as she would say "are super-cute" and yes, they are. The shower is this Sunday, and unfortunately I can't go, being as it's a drive, I should be going up Saturday night, alas, the Homecoming dance is also that night, which means I can't go since dad is chaperoning, and well, someone has to watch the kids. And since we already 3(!!!!) parties that day, I simply, physically, cannot drive up Sunday morning and back that night, my head would implode. And I'm bummed, because it's been alot of work, and I want to see how it all comes together.Around the Clock food cards

When Your Kid's The "Muscle" And Other Rantings

How could I forget my story from last week? My 7 year-old was part of a little dust-up last week. He was neither the victim or instigator. Just the muscle. Sigh.

There was about 6 boys involved, and my son is a pacifist. He may pretend to cut his brother's arms off with his light saber, but much like his mother, he's a lover, not a fighter. When his friend O and O's nemesis J managed to once again cross paths at recess, they got into it (from what I understand, this is not the first time.) O was getting the crap beaten out of him and asked my son to help him. My kid puts his arms around J (and he demonstrated this on me, much to my delight as I tried not to die from laughter, since I had a feeling I knew how this would turn out), innocently holding J down. O promptly begins wailing on J, causing my son to think to himself "hmm...that isn't right" and lets go. Lucky for him, teacher had seen the beginning and was already moving when everything started going down.

A visit to the principal's office brought tears (my kid) and a lecture about making better choices (from principal). He wanted to keep J from hurting his friend. Legitimate. I understand. He had no idea O was going to start hitting, that's why he let go. Validated by teacher. Others who I have retold this story to admire the, pardon the pun, balls of my kid, being as this is COMPLETELY out of character, so makes the mental image even funnier. "Hey Guido, go down to Chinatown and take care of some business for me." I'm tickled again just thinking about it. Not because he was in his first fight, but that he actually held his own.

Alrighty then, switching gears, time for another etiquette lesson y'all. It's called "Don't bite the hand that feeds you, you ungrateful b**ch", to quote a friend who is very bitter right now. She's throwing a birthday party for her friend who not only is being completely useless and helpless, and is taking a thousand years to do the simple tasks she has been assigned. Like getting the guest list together. Or inviting 30 more people after finally getting the original (incomplete) guest list together without regard to the time, energy and money it takes to finance such an event.

Remember people, if someone is throwing you a party, be a gracious honoree. Be prompt when you are asked to get addresses and phone numbers, or register if you are having a shower. Don't poo-poo on the ideas, and if you are asked your opinion, give it, DON'T say, "I don't know, whatever you want" then get pissed when it's not what you want/expect. Unless Donald Trump is footing the bill, remember that someone else who is not you is paying for everything, and there is a dollar amount for every change in idea. And for heaven's sake, DO NOT TAKE CREDIT FOR THE PARTY. Say "So and so hosted this for me, aren't they amazing?" Just because it's for you/your baby, doesn't mean it's about you. It's about the blood, sweat and tears of the hostess/es, all you had to do was show up. On time. For the love of all that is holy, do not be any kind of late to any event in your honor. Seriously. I know people who would be late to their own funeral.

And speaking of etiquette, loving this post on children and table manners by Lisa Gache, the founder of Beverly Hills Manners. Ah, remember the days when kids used to go to finishing school, and called adults "sir" and "ma'am" and not by their first name? It's like nails on the chalkboard when kids call me by my first name. My kids call adults "Mr. Joe" or "Ms. Kim". It's a sign of respect, that much like table manners, sending thank you notes, prompt RSVPing, and saying "please" and "thank you" is becoming a sad rarity.

Fiesta Fridays - Treats Not Tricks Pt. 2

The last Fiesta Friday was all about cute kid treats, and a few grown-up ones. However, an adult soiree needs adult drinks, so here are a few creative ideas to (pardon the pun) get you going....

Create unique adult drinks like the Masquerade or a Creepy Crawler, complete with a chocolate web and orange slice garnish.

Vodka and pumpkin puree make up the Jack O’Tini.

I love how colorful the Midori Halloween Punch is, those red orange slices look like giant eyeballs.

The bloody brain shooter takes a little time to make, but is more than worth it.

Halloween drink skewersIf these drink ideas are a little complicated, no fear. There are lots of ways to add a fun garnish to an otherwise ordinary beverage.

-How awesome are DIY's creepy drink skewers made from dried fruit. fresh ginger, and gummy candies?

- Use rock candy, licorice sticks, black and white peppermint sticks or glow sticks as swizzle sticks.

- Slip spider or skull rings on glass stems, embellished with glitter glue as wine charms.

- Garnish drink rims with corn syrup tinted red for a bloodied look. Or dip moistened rims into festive-colored sugars.

- Have a few gummy worms creeping precariously over the edge of or a candied eyeball floating in a martini glass

- Try three candy corns speared through a toothpick, instead of onions or olives.

Color Party - Ebony and Ivory, Live Together in Perfect Harmony

Sorry Stevie Wonder, I'm probably owing you like a trillion dollars in royalties. I would have used Michael Jackson's Black or White, but I'm mad at him). But I digress. For any event, you can't beat black and white. It can go from clean and classic or Gothic and the perfect neutral blend, your guests will not clash with your decor. Especially if you are still struggling with what to do for Halloween...

Paper McLovin
One off my favorite places for party inspiration is Jean M. Their (free!!!!) catalog is chock full of ideas for invitations, place settings, gifts and favors. One of their invites, Piper. Put a twist on traditional invites with Wonderful Graffiti Weddings' giant lollipop invites. And how fabulous is Paperstyle's Georgette invitations? Hand write an invite on Smudge Ink's Sunburst note card.

Setting the Scene
Invite guests to dress in black and/or white, then be a stunning hostess in an eye catching color like red or hot pink. Keep it real with Plum Party's cocktail rings.

The Table's the Thing
Start your table with Pottery Barn's black and white dinnerware.Pinwheels from scrapbook paper, candy in clear compotes and lidded jars and paper-cut fences set an enchanting scene. Picture courtesy of Better Homes and Gardens Halloween Tricks and Treats 2007. Lovin' Pottery Barn's 2007 Fall catalog table. Once again, black and white with punches of color, my favorite. All black with white accents make this setting sleek and elegant.

The Munchies
Create a black martini with black Blavod vodka or serve White Russians. OMG! Look at these fabulous cakes from Confetti Cakes via Blush Events. Pink CakeBox never lets me down. Check out this engagement cake. Fabulous cupcake wrapper from Fancy Flours.

Send Them Home With a Smile
Pass out small cellophane bags and let guests indulge at a candy buffet. Custom bags of chocolate for guests at a wedding.

Plum Party Discount

Hey, hey, look what I saw over at Stem Parties...Plum Party is having a sale, plus an 15% discount code for you, RIP-08. There is still time to get your Halloween party shopping done. You know your guests need these black cat swizzle sticks to stir drinks filled with these skull and crossbone ice cubes, and goody bags filled with these gummy candies.

BCA Wednesday - Cook For The Cure

I just love the new fundraiser for breast cancer research initiated by Kitchen Aid. Join Pass the Plate, a new element of the Cook for the Cure program that raises funds and inspires others to support the movement. Receive free shipping on the purchase of this platter, prepare for a friend or family member one of your favorite recipes served on the platter. When it’s received, a number on the bottom of the platter will allow the recipient to register it online and for each time that the dish is passed, Kitchen Aid will donate $5 to the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation.

Tuesday Trend - Mama's in the kitchen cookin' rice...

Target wooden kitchenI've made it my sole mission in life to raise boys who can cook, clean and take care of themselves. I want no future daughter-in-law to point a finger at me and cry "Why can't he take care of himself? Is he allergic to the kitchen? Does he not know how to operate a washing machine? YOU did this!!!" So ladies, it's ok to let your boys play with a kitchen and have play food, and a fake ironing board. Men, you are not raising a generation of "girly men" if they want to put on an apron and imitate their moms in the kitchen. Hey, why aren't the dad in the kitchen anyways? Shout outs to my friend K, who not only cooks, but it's his profession (and he has a hot wife and 3 kids, so there!!)

Anyhoos, my boys received Target's Play Wonder kitchen for Christmas a few years ago, and alas, they are no longer making this kitchen. They and all their friends play in it every day. Trust me, they are wailing on each other with light sabers afterwards. So in the spirit, today's post is all about the world of educational play.

Target's great line Play Wonder includes a coffeemaker and a cleaning trolley(!). Heaven help me, I don't even have a real cleaning trolley. How cute are their sandwiches? We also have the apron set pictured with the kitchen and some other pieces that are no longer in Since I like the series, they must be phasing it out. Just because I like them.

Melissa Doug theatreMy other favorite people are Melissa & Doug. We have the birthday cake, and I couldn't live without our calendar. I love the sushi and if I had the space, we would so have the puppet theatre.

Land of Nod marketCouldn't forget Land of Nod, we love that place. They have great stuff, including this Shop 'Til You Drop market. They also have felt food, which with all the toys that go into kids' mouths, never really could get into felt.

felt food collage

Speaking of felt food, loving the Lilly Bean line at Mahar Dry Goods. Feast your eyes on a few of their gems....

Tuesday Tip - Foreign Exchange

No need to travel abroad to immerse your family in ethnic foods, languages and customs. These distinctive American cities will make your next vacation a bon voyage.

Leavenworth, Washington
Going German
Our local gem is in the heart of the Cascade Mountains. A quaint Bavarian-themed town that draws more than 2 million visitors a year, doubles as a base for many outdoor adventurers.

Holland, Michigan
Go Dutch!
This town, nestled on the banks of Lake Michigan, is known for its world-famous Tulip Time festival in May, which draws more than 500,000 people.

Lancaster, Pennsylvania
Amish Country
Home of America's oldest Amish settlement, horse and buggies clip-clop along back roads in Lancaster County.

Montreal, Quebec
French Flair
Although you need a passport to visit the second-largest French-speaking city in the world, it is a lot easier and cheaper to get to than France.

If you are in the area, check out these ethnic neighborhoods....

Chinatown, San Francisco - the largest Chinatown in North America
Little Havana, Miami - The best way to get a taste of Cuban life
Little Village, Chicago - Check out the largest Mexican community in the Midwest
Tarpon Springs, Florida - Greek immigrants came to this coastal community to dive for sponges and set up enticing restaurants, pastry shops, and markets giving the area a Mediterranean mystique
Cherokee Nation, Tahlequah, Oklahoma - Learn about Cherokee history and traditional crafts in this cultural and commercial capital

Real Party Sneak Peek- Around the Clock Shower Favors

Around the Clock favorsI've been helping my friend plan her sister's baby shower and we decided on Around the Clock as a theme. Guests are assigned a time of day and they bring a gift that applies to their time. For example, 12:00 p.m. Lunchtime - bibs, feeding supplies, etc. However, since I am way over here and she's way over there, we do a lot of phone calls and emails. I know she's die-cutting a lot of moons, stars and suns and balloons and centerpieces and stuff. I'll be posting pix of everything after the shower, which isn't until the 26th.

One of my jobs includes the favors and I just had to show what I've done so far, because they are too cute! I found the 20 favor box pack at Michael's, clearanced for $9.99 from $19.99 and I could use a 40% off coupon. I couldn't find the candy watches anywhere, so I had to order them from Groovy Candies. The grosgrain ribbon, another score I had from some crazy $1 sale at Michael's. The clock faces are 1 1/2" round sticker labels with a cute handwritten font from, matted onto 2" black circles. I wrote the numbers on each clock face. I so wanted to put little hands on there with tiny brads, but I had to reel in the madness.

BCA Wednesday (on a Saturday) - Gal to Gal Virtual Walk

So many great programs going on for breast cancer awareness, and this ends soon, so I couldn't wait. This one is courtesy of Design-Her Gals, personalized stationary which is just my favoritest. I just received this email that I had to share....

Go to and join the Walk! And our way of saying thanks -BUY ONE PERSONALIZED STATIONERY PRODUCT and GET ONE FREE! What better time to start your holiday shopping! (expires midnight Monday, October 13th - One free product per order) USE PROMO CODE: WALKER
We understand that things are very tight right now, and with the holidays around the corner it doesn't make it any easier so why wait? It's a great time to save! Join Larry King, the cast of Guiding Light, Stephen Covey, Marg Helgenberger (CSI), Lisa Rinna, Denise Richards and many others! This is a virtual walk – it doesn’t require any training or leaving your laptop! The whole “walk” is on line and every day you can log on and watch your “virtual walker” in a new city for 31 days!
For just the price of a specialty coffee or a gallon of gas (!) you can help grant wishes for Stage IV breast cancer patients and their families (read some of the recent wishes Gal to Gal Foundation has granted).

Fiesta Fridays - Treats not Tricks Pt. 1 (and a sneak peek!)

Halloween cupcakes and cookiesWe all know that Halloween is all about the goodies. Here are a few treats that aren't too tricky to pull off.

-Wow them with Martha's fabulous creepcakes
-These witch cupcakes will cast a spell on your younger guests.
-Black cat's paw cookies are the cat's meow....sorry I had to do that.
-Have Halloween in 3-D with cookies that interlock to make freestanding treats, courtesy of Fancy Flours.

Halloween treat collage 2-Set out cookies, colored frosting and candies and let kids create their own Creepy Crawlers.
-Good and bad for you, these monster mouths will get eaten in no time! We are so doing these at our Mad Scientist Party.
These festive S'mores are less hassle than the campfire variety and just as delicious.
-Made from a graham cracker, this Frankenstein mask is easy to duplicate

adult Halloween treatsNeed a few elegant treats for a adult soiree or a special hostess gift? Try these eye-pleasers...

-Impress your guests with Williams-Sonoma's assortment of miniature skulls that arrive in a coffin-shaped box, or a delightfully tasty place setting with their personalized bat cookies.
-How yummy! Big chunks of ooey gooey handmade chocolate chip fudge with marshmallows get the "stick treatment" before being dipped in Belgian chocolate and decorated by hand.
-Who'd ever guess that this otherworldly creation is actually moist yellow cake layered with mocha mousse, and wrapped in black-and purple-tinted white chocolate? Both the dipped marshmallows and cake are from Dean & Deluca.

brown bag Frankenbag
green bag FrankenbagAnd while we are talking about Halloween ideas, I'll be sharing a few sneak peeks into our Mad Scientist's Lab party for your own inspiration. I made the larger Frankenbag from a brown paper bag and paper, as an example for my Fall Events class. The smaller green bags are just googly eyes and paper. We'll be using these at the party, the larger bag is way too labor intensive. I only have 27 more to make! Next week, adult treats galore!

Free Shipping at Fancy Flours 3 Days Only!!

Hot off the presses! I'm all over this....hmm...what do I need now???

BCA Wednesday - Think Before You Pink

Disclaimer - I'm neither supporting nor protesting any information in today's post, nor am I a scientist, or claim any scientific knowledge, pointing fingers at or accusing anyone of foul play. Just think of it as a little FYI, something to think about....

Everywhere you are shopping, I'm sure you have seen all the breast cancer support products, with pink labels and logos, and a quick search will pull up thousands of sites with awareness products. A word of caution, as with any good cause, there are scam artists, so only shop at online sites that you know and trust. I also discovered a term I had never heard before - pinkwashers - a company that claims to care about breast cancer by promoting a pink ribbon campaign, but manufactures products that are linked to the disease. Crazy, eh?

Breast Cancer Action, an advocacy group that focuses on “Challenging Assumptions” and “Inspiring Change”, urges you to ask some critical questions before opening your wallet for pink-ribbon campaigns:
How much money from your purchase actually goes to the cause?
What is the maximum amount that will be donated?
How much money was spent marketing the product?
How are the funds being raised?
To what breast cancer organization does the money go, and what types of programs does it support?
What is the company doing to assure that its products are not contributing to the breast cancer epidemic?

They also list a few pinkwashing examples: the biggest one, Yoplait’s fall campaign, Save Lids to Save Lives, continues to urge consumers to buy pink-lidded cups of Yoplait yogurt. For each pink lid mailed back to the company by December 31, Yoplait donates ten cents to Susan G. Komen for the Cure, up to $1.5 million. The yogurt is made from cows treated with rBGH (recombinant bovine growth hormone) [Used to boost dairy production in cows]. According to their site, there are numerous health concerns, including breast cancer, surrounding the use of rBGH. (The FDA approved rBGH in 1993, under great and continuing controversy).

Tuesday Trend - Asian Persuasion

Social Couture Asian AffairThe glory of this summer's Olympics turned the world's eyes both politically and socially onto Beijing, and has caused a massive surge in all things Asian. Good grief, even America's golden boy was signed on earlier this year as spokesman for Rosetta Stone's Version 3 when he wanted to learn Mandarin. So of course, designing an event around this beautiful and ancient culture is a must, thus today's trend.

Yes, Social Couture was all over this a long time ago. I'm in love with how they placed the fans and chopsticks at each setting. Purchase the whole package or a few pieces to add to your own collection. And see, the colors aren't traditional red and gold, making this collection feel really fresh.8 year old Asian party
Get some inspiration from these parties....a fabulous party from Hula Seventy for her 8 year old daughter. How cute are the parasols in the cupcakes? If you can't find decorated take-out boxes, just cover the front of plain boxes with decorative paper. Chinese yo-yos, paper fans and blowers make perfect party favors.
Cookie Mag Chinese New YearCookie Magazine covered another 8-year old's birthday that fell within a month of Chinese New Year. Guests decorated pre-dressed finger-puppet bases by drawing on faces and gluing on yarn hair. Although a professional puppeteer brought this stage, you can make your own by draping fabric over a couch, then use their puppets in a show. The birthday boy lead his guests on a New Year Parade. How about these cherry fortune cookies from Fancy Fortune Cookies? Use them as favors, or as too-cute cupcake toppers.Party Spot Asian Affair
Over at PartySpot, a traditional Asian-themed birthday party for three was brought to life with Chinese dragons, a kung fu demonstration, and more. Chinese lanterns and parasols hung from the trees.The tables were decorated with natural linens, black-and-white Chinese lanterns, red Chinese character confetti, and fortune cookies.

Each child had a customized cake in the shape of a pagoda complete with white chocolate Chinese lions standing guard. Individual champagne bottles adorned with a miniature bright red kimono.

Tuesday Tip - Colors of the Wind

color collageI must really have Vanessa Williams on the brain know that song from Disney's Pocahontas, hence this post's title. But I digress...sometimes you don't need a ton of color to make an impact. A few key pieces can really make a difference. I'm a fan of color, although I don't really wear it, I'm all about black and slimming, but I do love it in my home and when I entertain. Here are a few gems I've stumbled across.

-Two for one - 100% cotton canvas, hand-silk-screened reversible placemat, in Loreto Uniform
-Side by Side - Target's slick cube occasional tables
-Budget bouquet - Cabana hour glass vase, in yellow with contrasting red rim
-A little pillow talk - Juniper cotton square throw pillow from Unison
-Good night -Ikea's Hulda Vilse quilt cover and pillowcases
-Step on it - Andrea wool rug in orange and off-white

Feeling bolder? Paint is the least expensive (although most labor-intensive) way to change a room. Choose a subdued tone so that your furniture and accessories really pop, or break up intense colors with hints of a third color. Try these color dynamic duos and accents; soft blue walls with tangerine and grey, lime walls with lilac and lemon, a trendy orange with lime and red and my favorite (which happens to be my living room) red accent wall with chocolate brown and green accents.

Real Party - There are starter jobs, starter cars, starter houses...

I've always loved Debra Messing, you know "Grace" from Will & Grace. I knew about the book The Starter Wife by Gigi Levangie Grazer from The Gospel According To Party Confidential. Those party planners extraordinaire outlined the 2 launch parties they had for the book, a tale of a ex-wife of a Hollywood studio boss and her life after her divorce. It's become a series on USA, and imagine my delight when I tuned into the marathon before the new season. I have fallen in love with the show. Although late, because it debuted last summer, but whatever!

Elements from the book, like the cover image of a pink lady toting a suitcase and the (at the time) must-have UGG boots became part of the decor, and brought the book to life. They even had a photo op area with a Malibu beach scene and a hot surfer dude to pose with guests. Other party ideas they used: signature cocktails that included The Pink Lady and The Divorce, and Lucite tabletops filled with flowers, placed on clear trunks stuffed with UGG purses.

As gift bags, they created a Starter Wife kit filled with all the Hollywood essentials, including BOTOX gift certificates and tanning services, signed copies of the book, plus an UGG shoe display where the female guests chose blue or pink and the gentlemen with chestnut-colored boots. Here are a few picts of the fabulousness. Want more? You'll have to get the book!

Cookies by Design cookies with The Starter Wife book cover on them. The invites mirror the book cover's design. The staff dressed in pink with vintage suitcases served as human arrows to direct guests to the party.

Starter Wife party bar Starter Wife party cookies
Starter Wife party invites and girls

Color Party - Frankly, Scarlett...

aqua red collageAs I've said before, I love the color combo of brown and aqua, but I'm starting to feel a little more sass with red and aqua. It feels younger and fresher, and it's a striking combo of warm and cool. Don't believe me? Check these out for your next soiree....

Paper McLovin
How about these striking aqua on red floral background invites from Mountain Cow or this bird toile aqua/red note from Invitations Galore and More. Page Prints Stationery's saucy invitation or mix and match these invitations from Snow and Graham with red or aqua envelopes.

The Table's The Thing
The inspiration for this table setting is the beautiful sheet of wrapping paper, its edges were wrapped with cotton ribbon for a finished look. Around the napkins, strips of aqua paper with millinery birds perching on top (their feet are secured to the paper band with adhesive dots). And the centerpiece? Vibrant red carnations in a porcelain compote. I love the red branches, low glasses and lanterns for this wedding's decor. Being creative with everyday items is very cost-effective. To die for: red cloth napkins with screen-printed leafy design in light blue. Setting the tone with aqua and red programs.

What to Wear?
I'm just imagining myself wearing a white linen dress with this purse and these fabulous Naughty Monkey pumps.

The Munchies
Serve a Blue Bird cocktail or set up a candy buffet. Robyn Loves Cake's blue fondant cake with gum-paste cherry blossoms and gold luster-painted pastillage butterflies. Check out this stunning cupcake tower from Flickr user Zzilch.

Send Them Home With a Smile
These candy-bag envelopes are inexpensive and easy to customize; all you need is a oval craft punch and a rubber stamp with a frame design that matches the size of the opening. Insert a cellophane bag with jelly beans, and voila , perfect party favors. These lollipops are perfectly festive. Coordinating scrapbook or wrapping paper can turn an ordinary box into a thoughtful gift.

Why I love, love, love Ugly Betty

wilhemina slaterAh, Wilhemina "Wili" Slater (aka Vanessa Williams, lovin' her since The Comfort Zone days, thank you very much!!) is pure evil in her Prada heels. And even better than Miranda Priestly. Every Thursday night, no one better not try to talk to me during my show. You know I love my powerful women; she's smart, bitchy, ambitious, bitchy, perfectly coiffed, bitchy and smart. And bitchy, and yummy and I want to grow up and be just like her. I mean, she tried to hook up with Daddy Warbucks to get control of his publishing company and when he dropped dead at their wedding, she took the sperm from his dead corpse to create a new heir to have a stake in said company. The new season has started off running, and I just had to share some of her many priceless gems from Thursday's show...

- At the mention of a Woman On The Street feature: "We shouldn't be taking pictures of them, we should be throwing rocks at them!"
- After trying to make a "nice" comment about Betty's blouse, Wili admits that it's " driving through Ohio."
-When Betty asks about injecting her face with Botox, Wili admits, hilariously and graphically, that her face is so numb she wouldn't know it if Betty "hit bone."
- "I am going to groom you [Betty]. And Lord knows you need some grooming."

Fiesta Friday - It's What's Inside That Counts

Halloween wall muralToday, we'll focus more on your indoor decor. Although you've tricked out the table, especially if you are having a spooky soiree, you need the rest of your home to be just as festive! Set it all off with my favorite prop, Pottery Barn's rockin' spooky house wall mural. I love, love, love how the contrasting table decor really pops off the black and white setting.
Halloween collage

I spied this at Target; the Coffin Mister is perfect for a ghoulish corner tabletop. An easy DIY, check out these spiders that swarm spooky corners lit with votives. Turn the lights down and turn up the spooky Halloween atmosphere with Ballard Design's Halloween lighted bags and spooky candelabra.

Halloween decor

You all know I love my candy buffets. Jean M's candy vases and these voluminous Camilla canisters, can be easily found at your favorite housewares stores. I've found my similar canisters at Marshall's for a fraction of the price (aaack...did that just sound like their commercials?) Horchow's Queen of Mean figurine and skull masks are unique conversation pieces that are sure to give your guests the chills.

Pier 1 Halloween decorRun to your local Pier 1 and recreate their fabulous Glamour Ghouls party; SPOOKY sign, spider web wall decor, glitter candleabrum, Halloween cookie totes, flocked flower pillows, chalk note stemless wine glasses and jars, BOO candles. I can't wait to go and check it all out, I have to go sans kids, or I'll spend the whole time saying "Don't touch that" "Be careful" "I can't see you, you can't see me" ten trillion times, and will not be able to enjoy myself.

What's the Word? Pt. 2 - Wonderful Graffiti

Ok, so I'm sitting here listening to the Vice-Presidential Debates, wishing I had a drink everytime Gov. Palin says "Maverick", so I could be drunk off my a** in 5 minutes, while upstairs, one kid is in the bathroom and the other is screaming at the door "But I have to go pee!!!". During a moment of peace, I found this wonderful site called Wonderful Graffiti.

Wonderful Graffiti is very thin pieces of matte vinyl that look "printed" when applied to most smooth surfaces. And they can personalize and coordinate your wedding by incorporating your own logo throughout your wedding/event space, from party favors to the floor. And what a sight they are, just check out just a fraction of their abilities with these beautiful pix!

The Chocolate Collection....
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