My Valentine <3

Happy Valentine’s Day!! A little peek into how I spend Valentine’s.

Starting the day with heart shaped pancakes, waffles, or eggs is a family tradition. Don’t forget to use food coloring for red pancakes (green for St. Patrick’s Day).

Breakfast love

I used to be embarrassed when my mother made us dress up for holidays. How could I possibly go to school wearing red on Valentine’s Day?? Very uncool in the 90’s. Good thing we always got statement socks with our themed breakfast so I could technically dress up while still hiding it from peer review. Now, I wear those thematic socks with pride!

Heart socks

If you’ve got a special someone, and as I read in the text below the picture, we all do, write a love letter! Everyone deserves a hand-written note at least once a year.
A custom love noteMy Valentine Note :)

Instead of the fun but wasteful valentine cards we used to pass around grammar school, let’s use the same idea, but enrich it: flowering heart paper. You can write a special note, give a packet of them as confetti, or just leave them hidden for sweet reminders to let someone know you care. The best part is that they can then be planted and will continue to remind someone of your love in the spring!
Valentines that grow

Now, it’s time to get that last minute valentine if you haven’t yet secured a date.. these tights may help.

Heart tights

Also, don’t be afraid to date yourself! Take yourself to a manicure and get something fresh and in the spirit of love.

Valentine manicure

If you aren’t looking for romance, but still love and comfort, make your own heart shaped marshmallows and indulge in some chocolate!

Hot Chocolate

Make sure to include your friends in the indulgence. A friend of mine is hosting a gathering for friends to relax, enjoy, and “commiserate” encouraging everyone to bring their “coping mechanism of choice” to share with one another. Her invitation graphics are below:

Sadie's Cute Invite!Last but not least, remember to thank the world for all that you have and mostly thank yourself for the self love you’ve enjoyed today. ūüôā

Love ring

My love to you,

Marisa

4th of July Family Reunion!!!

Spending the 4th with my boyfriend’s family this year made me appreciative of how this holiday tends to bring America’s families together. So I thought what better time, than the kids’ summer breaks, a holiday where many professionals get off to host a¬†Family Reunion!

Invitations

  • A ‘Save the date’ should be sent out¬†6 months prior to an event. Since this is a summer, destination party you must consider your guests’ travel arrangements, summer camps, and holiday plans.
  • Green save the dates are especially popular now electronically
  • Formal invitations should be sent 3 months out to remind people and encourage RSVP’s

*** NEW IDEA ***

For this party, a unique idea is to include postage and request that your guests send a red, white, or blue shirt that symbolizes their family. These shirts can be their hometown, favorite family vacation souvenir, sports team, or something new.

You can use these shirts to create your own Independence Day Flag or as a prize for relay races, event competitions. 

Decor

For the kids to play with, and engage your guests, include a range of games. Dominoes are great for those who want to sit. Croquet or Badminton for the lawn. The tent below can add accent and shade for little children and if the property is near a lake or pool remember to always provide towels in a container easily accessible to guests.

Floral

Recently as a houseguest I wanted to bring something more updated than my usual bouquet so I went to the local antique barn and found a lovely pail that I then planted some petunias in for a festive approach. Using some beautiful twine for the finishing touch you can create your own custom floral pieces for well over 70% savings. And they last all summer long!

Table Top

Incorporating colors sometimes reads better than literal interpretations of the flag. Below is a gorgeous charger and plate combination that adds style to this classic country event. 

To facilitate better conversation and sometimes avoid conflict, table assignments can be helpful.

  • Assign by generation so cousins may relate to certain shared memories
  • Make sure that table seatings are age specific for comfort (smaller chairs and benches, plastic cups, and high-chairs for children – extra cushioning and shade for elder guests)

A great idea for helping children with glasses that can become slippery are applying rubber bands to the glass or preparing with drink bands. I have to recommend color coordinating with red and blue of course!

To organize your place cards, use a recovered shutter, painted in whichever color you choose, slipping the names amongst the slits. Place some recovered bud vases and antique forks to hold table numbers and tie the metal pail floral arrangements together.¬†¬†I have recently become fascinated with old postcards, both written and mailed & printed in the 30’s- 70’s. The world and vacation spots have changed so much that the messages and pictures return a sense of nostalgia to popular sites. At antique stores, these gems are organized by state and range 25 cents to $2.00 a card.

  • Use the postcards you provide as seating assignments, including postage and your mailing address encouraging your guests to write you as they travel through the summer.
  • Use saved postcards your guests may have sent you to signify seating assignments
  • If you don’t want to limit people to specific seats just lay a few on each table tied with leftover twine as gift-bags.

Lighting

I fell in love with these lunch pail inspired votive holders as well to add sparkle to each table. You can also place some individually wrapped bug repellant in them on each table, better for inhalation concerns! Adding some lanterns (powered not candle) and of course mosquito killing lights can add some color too without the fire! 

Another great idea are these origami, DIY, paper lantern christmas lights.  Food & Bar

Anything you choose to serve is great, but some grilling tips!

  • Always keep the grill open until you are sure it is lit
  • Don’t smoke while grilling! Or at all!
  • Don’t use matches or lighters to check for propane leaks
  • Don’t pour accelerant such as lighter fluid or gasoline on the grill

Cocktail

The Old One- Two

Naomi Schimek created a beautiful and tasty punch, perfect for large groups.

Muddle 40 blackberries into 1 cup superfine sugar until well mashed and sugar has dissolved.

Add 1 cup strained fresh-squeezed lemon juice and whisk, strain again and discard seeds.

In a punch bowl, add 1 cup cognac and some ice. Let sit for ten minutes, stirring occasionally. Top with 750mL bottle of brut champagne.

Serves 6

Dessert

Chop some blueberries, strawberry, banana (electrolytes for hot day activities!) and place in these delightful dishes! for cups of fruit and add whipped cream for sweet.  Carrot cupcakes with cream cheese frosting, strawberry shortcake, or blueberry muffins can be served in decorative  A FAVORITE vendor who bakes fresh daily the most amazing cheesecake I have EVER been blessed to have (it is that good) is The Great American Cheesecake is Lawrenceville, NJ.

To serve ice cream cones without too much of a mess and line while scooping, pre scoop and serve your favorite flavors (black raspberry Mmmm) in an old milk container!¬†¬†For a GREAT catering option, based out of Brooklyn, NY and willing to travel are People’s Pops. Their flavors are ingenious and their historic take to popsicles amazing. BIG THUMBS UP HERE!!!

Happy Summer & enjoy the ideas!!!

Marisa