Who else is whipping up lots of hot chocolate right now? Ari’s two favourite things right now are tea parties and hot chocolate (with lots of marshmallows), and she got me thinking about the idea of a hot chocolate station. They’re a fun addition to holiday parties or to have set up with everything you need for your favourite warm bevvies when you come in out of the cold (you can also add tea, coffee, maybe some Irish cream or Kahlua…;) ). I love the idea of setting up a station, but if you’re limited for space you can go vertical (use a tiered stand!) or stock a basket or container with your favourite essentials and tuck onto a shelf or into a cupboard and pull it out when you have guests coming over- or when you’re craving a hot sweet drink! 😉
Another twist on this idea is to put together a gift basket that includes everything you need for a deluxe hot chocolate- think a yummy mix, marshmallows (the gourmet mallows from Marsh&Mallow are the best), sprinkles, and some pretty cups – or add essentials to a cute togo cup like this one). I just realized I didn’t include a seasonal essential- candy canes!!!- but hopefully this post gives you some ideas. Side note: how cute with this be to have set up on Christmas for when you’re opening gifts? Add a few snacks and you’ve got a cute buffet!
I’ve included a few ideas from some of my favourite local shops in this post (see # 1, 2, 5, 6, and 9) + some easy to shop online ideas.Have you ever set up a hot chocolate or beverage station? What did you include?
It’s hard to believe that this evening- The Secret Dinner– was almost two weeks ago already. After months of preparing and planning, the evening celebrating the launch of the Captured In Squares website (the photo styling company I run with friend and blogger, Janette of Ava to Zoe) came and went in a flash- don’t the best kind of nights always go by too fast? A lot of love and time went into planning what Janette and I hoped would be a creative way to launch our website and we’re sharing some of the details on our blogs.
The catch of The Secret Dinner was that hostesses and location would be kept a secret until the last minute (hence the name), but hints were dropped on the event’s Instagram page so guests would have some idea of what to expect. I had the task of taking Janette’s idea of a secret dinner (all credit goes to her for the idea) and bringing all the details together while she hustled away on getting the website ready for the launch. Inspired by a wall of dreamcatchers, we wanted to go with a style that was a little bit boho/ rustic/ vintage with a white, gold, green colour scheme with accents of dark red for drama/ contrast. Let the pinning marathon begin!
The theme of the evening was ‘a night to inspire’ and we wanted to use it as an opportunity to bring together some of our supporters and clients since starting Captured In Squares as a way of saying thank you. It was a chance to enjoy an al fresco meal in good company while swapping stories and experiences from being in business. Hose d’oeuvres from Fork & Knife Catering and flatbread from Rocky Mountain Flatbread were served alongside wine from Evolve Cellars, followed by a show- stopping naked cake by The Cake Mama.
We wanted the dinner to be outside to make the most of the last of the late Summer nights and our date in August didn’t disappoint. As a final way of keeping everything a secret until the last minute, guests had to walk down a path to enter the dinner area, turning a corner to see the set up. We opted for a low- lying palette table set with white and gold, vintage wine glasses, and wooden cutlery; menus were placed at each setting topped with a fresh sprig of greenery from my parent’s garden. Pretty finishing touches included a table- length runner of fresh seeded eucalyptus (Budget Blooms) from placed on top of sheet music and fabric, tea lights (Canvas Candle Co), the words ‘inspire’, ‘ignite’, ‘achieve’ in gold calligraphy (Paper + Parties Co) at each place setting, and a notebook topped with a mini dream catcher (Shop Ava to Zoe) for each guest. Since it was a low table, piles of cushions and blankets surrounded the table so the ladies could lay them out as desired and sit comfortably.
We kept the decor simple, using a palette to display a selection of the photos from Impressed App we’ve taken since starting Captured In Squares, and decorating the food table in a vintage lace tablecloth and fresh flower bouquet provided by Budget Blooms. Fresh greens and a dream catcher (another Shop Ave to Zoe piece) served as a backdrop, with a vintage magazine wrack as a wine holder on the table. The cake made for a pretty focal point, finished with fresh flowers from Budget Blooms and a gold ‘Captured In Squares’ calligraphy cake topper from Paper + Parties.
We ended the evening with prize bags contributed by some of the event’s sponsors: The Handpicked Home, Canvas Candle Co, Kristina Benson Art, Marsh&Mallow, and Budget Blooms, and a heartfelt thank you to the ladies in attendance. The notebooks and mini dream catchers from the table were sent home with the guests along with a swag bag of goodies as our way of showing our appreciation for everyone who came. And just like that, the evening was over. Janette and I couldn’t have been happier with how everything came together and how we marked the milestone of launching our website. It was a heart full moment and we are both so grateful for everyone who helped us bring it together and attended. For more details about The Secret Dinner, see below and visit this post on the CIS website.
Thank you to these sponsors for helping us bring together The Secret Dinner 2017!
Last week I posted about the Lemonade Stand Party that a group of us got together and organized and I wanted to follow up this week with the lemonade popsicles I made. These popsicles are super simple to make and you can either make them with homemade lemonade or use a mix like I did (I used a Lemon Lavender cordial from The Handpicked Home). For a pretty finishing touch I added a fresh sprig of lavender from my garden and used sparkling water instead of regular to make them bubbly. We’ve still got a few weeks left of Summer and these are a perfect sweet treat to cool down with, or serve them up as a refreshing addition to a dessert bar at your next party.
Homemade lemonade or a lemonade mix made with sparkling water instead of regular water or
Fresh sprigs of lavender
Optional: slices of fresh lemon
Mix up your lemonade to your desired sweetness, using sparkling water instead of regular
Pour into popsicle molds, leaving a little extra room at the top so you can add lavender sprigs and/ or lemon slices, plus the popsicle sticks
Freeze overnight, pop out, serve, and enjoy!
That’s it, told you these were easy to make! 😉
Tip: serve in a container with ice to keep them from melting as fast
Driving around in the Summer, you can’t go too far without seeing a lemonade stand with kids offering up cups to quench the thirst of passersby. It’s a staple for many a childhood and most of us probably set one up as a kid. It’s what inspired this Summer collab, and together a group of us had a great time sipping, eating, and spending some quality grown up time together as we shot the photos. Just because we’re not kids anymore doesn’t mean we can’t still have some fun and put a grown- up twist on this Summer classic, right?
We took things a step further than the classic lemonade stand and added some lemony treats and a grown- up lemonade mimosa to accompany the classic drink, plus added some pretty details to finish this lemonade stand themed party. The stand was made from upcycled pallets and is as simple as it gets to make (note: also a fun excuse to use a hammer and tools 😉 ), and the rest of the furniture we used was from my thrifting adventures.
For decorations we went with pops of pinks and yellows to build on the lemonade theme- think the classic + pink lemonade- included fresh flowers to add a grown- up feel, and fun decor like the pink ‘party’ balloon and flamingo ring toss (I had been eyeing up the flamingos at the dollar store all Summer and thought this was the perfect excuse to finally buy them). This theme would be perfect for any number of celebrations, and easy to adapt to set up indoors (ahem, pallet bar anyone?). Just grab some lemons, a splash of vodka, and a party straw and sink in for some citrusy party fun with friends. Hope you like this idea for your next party!
See below for bloggers & brands involved in this party:
If you saw the Cinco De Mayo party post that went up earlier this week then you probably noticed the backdrop that was behind the table. The idea was to create something that was reminiscent of a piñata, with layers of tissue paper to add a pop of colour. This backdrop is perfect for so many things and you can create one in any combination of colours/ patterns you like using just a few basic materials and a little bit of patience (and Netflix! 😉 ).
I love how the ombre version turned out, but how pretty would an all- white one be for a wedding? Or maybe a floor- to- ceiling ombre? Or stripes? Or…? Ok I’ll stop now… The options are endless, and about as easy to make as they come, you just need to give yourself plenty of time. The one I made was 7′ * 7′ and I made it over two nights with Netflix on in the background. It’s not hard to make, just very repetitive and if you can wrangle some help to make the process a little faster I’d definitely recommend it. If you want to add a wow factor behind a party or wedding table- or want a fun photo backdrop idea- but don’t have a big budget, this is the perfect project (this cost me less than$20 in materials!). See below for the instructions.
– tissue paper
(To help you estimate how many sheets you’ll need: 1 standard size piece of tissue paper will get you 4 strips approx 25″ * 4″ or 6 strips approx 25″ * 2″ if you prefer a smaller fringe)
– tape- regular and clear packaging tape
Decide on the size of backdrop you want to create. If you have a certain space in mind, measure how much area you want to cover and add half a foot on each side (for a total of one foot for extra coverage).
Roll out the craft paper and measure the length you need, again adding half a foot in length. Cut the pieces and tape together using the clear parcel tape.
To add durability to hang the backdrop, add a layer of the clear parcel tape along the top of the craft paper so the it doesn’t tear under the weight while hanging.
Fold your tissue in half lengthwise twice, so that the fringe strips will be approx 4- 5″ in height (if you’d prefer smaller, fold in half a third time so the strips will be approx 2- 3″ in height).
5. Cut along all of the folds to separate the tissue strips.
6. To create the fringe, make cuts that are roughly 1/2″ wide, leaving about half an inch along the top. To make this go faster, fold the strip in half. Cut as much tissue as you think you’ll need in the colours you like, separating them once cut.
7. Starting at the bottom of the kraft paper, attach the fringe strips using a glue stick or regular tape (I used tape every 10- 12″ or so). Trim the fringe to length once you get to the opposite edge. Tip: try and keep the strips as straight as possible, but if they go a little wonky, it’s really hard to notice when the backdrop is finished. Add an extra strip to an area to even it out if necessary.
8. Add the next layer of fringe approx 1- 2″ above the top of the strip below. Tip: for fuller coverage and better colour saturation only leave about 1″ space or less between layers (see what I mean in the photos above and below). Repeat (and repeat and repeat!) until you’ve covered the entire surface area of the craft paper. (This is the step you’ll probably want some company or Netflix on in the background). 😉
9. When it’s finished, use push pins or heavy- duty tape to attach to a wall. Just add some friends and a camera and enjoy!
See more photos from this Cinco De Mayo party here.