Fancy Fiesta At Home Party Decor

We’ve been gearing up to celebrate and have our own fancy fiesta at home just in time for Cinco De Mayo! I’ve been sharing with you how we’ve been gearing up for our party at home dinner menu and drink recipes, including our favorite Taco Pizza to a new favorite, Strawberry Prosecco Margarita. Now it’s just time to set the table, add a little festive flair and get ready for a fun and fancy feast at home to celebrate Cinco De Mayo — which happens to fall on a Tuesday this year! #TacoTuesday
FancyFiesta(1)To create our own little fancy fiesta, I grabbed a few new dining pieces with a bohemian flair and will also be a new summer staple — these really inspired the rest of the pieces that I pulled together for our party decor.  These colorful and festive melamine dinner plates from the Opalhouse collection at Target were an instant swoon and must have. I also got these light pink Toucan salad plates to match and compliment the color pallet. To top it all off, these Monique Lhuillier Gabrielle Etched Champagne Coupes are an elegant touch with a tint of bohemian to sip those delicious prosecco margaritas! Using blue as my base color, I pulled in other bright colors like greens, pinks and yellows for a fun flair. And, to let the colors pull through, I used a fix of clear and white bowls for serving the chips, beverages, dipping sauces and limes — which also helped the food serve as it’s own decor piece in the tablescape.
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Now for the fun finishing touches! I couldn’t decide which garland I liked better, so I got both and then ended up using this Wooden Bead Garland from Opalhouse as a centerpiece — it was the perfect finishing touch. I then decided to use this bright tassel garland to hang over the windows in our dining room, which was the perfect mix of bright fiesta inspired colors. I also made a cute little Bae ❤ Ritto cut out from cactus scrapbook paper and strung up just above the tassel garland. To round out everything, I ordered this adorable mini cactus pinata that was the perfect finishing touch for my table decor. The best part for all these Target pieces if you easier order on the app and then do a drive-up pick up, with limited human interaction, it’s seriously the best!
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We kept the menu simple since it’s just a party at home for two — although we would love to kick it with some friends or family! We also kept it simple to have the perfect amount of color, delicious eats, drinks and taco fix. Our taco pizza recipe is the right amount of taco flavors and toppings, only in pizza form and it’s one of B and I’s favorite dishes. Tostitos Lime Chips are also a must have for any type of taco night, paired with our homemade guacamole, some salsa and occasional some queso for B! The tequlia-less strawberry margarita that we made is also going to be a new summer favorite and go-to taco night sidekick! FancyFiesta(5)
Shop my pieces: Fruit Dinner Plate | Colorful Spritz Tassel Garland | Monique Lhuillier Gabrielle Etched Champagne Coupes | Pink Toucan Salad Plates | Mini Cactus Pinata | Wooden Bead Garland 

Cinco De Mayo has always been special and celebrated by B and I — but we usually celebrate this day a little different than most, because it’s the anniversary of our first date! This Cinco De Mayo will be the start of our 9th year and moving close to our decade of memories and life together.

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Easy Birthday Inspired Cocktails

Let the birthday fun continue! Whether you’re having a big birthday bash or keeping it low key with a close group of friends, a fun and festive birthday inspired cocktail can be a delicious addition to the celebration! So I did a little research and had some fun experimenting to bring together a few of my favorite things for a tasty treat for these two easy and super cute cocktails.
BirthdayBeverages(3)Sprinkled Cranberry Rum 
Take your rocks glass and have some frosting in a dish, flip your glass upside down and twist the glass in the frosting so the rim is lined with frosting. Then take your vanilla frosted rim and roll in sprinkles to cover! Once your rocks glass rim is lined, add your ice cube ball and get ready to add your beverages. Add a shot of Bacardi Rum and then top off with your pink lite cranberry.

For both of these drinks I was looking for a cranberry mixer, but a lot of them had high sugars and a lot of carbs. I stumbled upon the Ocean Spray Pink Lite Cranberry cans at Target and read the ingredients and was pleasantly surprised and picked up a 6-pack!

Ingredients:
– Bacardi Rum
Ocean Spray Pink Lite Cranberry
– Ice Cube Ball
– Vanilla Frosting (homemade or store bought)
– Sprinkles
BirthdayBeverages(1)Pink Birthday Bubbles
This one is pretty easy, all you need is some bubbles and again lite pink cranberry and your frosting and sprinkles for your champagne flute rim. With frosting your a dish, flip your champagne flute upside down and twist the glass in the frosting so the rim is lined with frosting. Then take your vanilla frosted rim and roll in sprinkles to cover! Once your sprinkle rim is covered – just liking making a mimosas, fill your glass about 75% with you bubbles and then top off with your cranberry. Cheers!

Ingredients:
– Prosecco of your choice, I used Freixenet
Ocean Spray Pink Lite Cranberry
– Vanilla Frosting
– Sprinkles
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The frosted rim is so tasty and a yummy treat to enjoy as you sip or have once your glass is empty. I bought store made frosting, but would love to make my mom’s frosting recipe for this, especially if you’re already making a cake!  Of course the rim would also taste great with just a glass of plain ol’ delicious bubbles 🍾.

Now that you have a festive and fun birthday drink the birthday celebrating can officially commence — Cheers 🎉!

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Must-Have Birthday Party Decor

With a few of the stress out of the way with my last post, it’s time for all the fun. It may be no surprise to my bee readers that March for me is all about my birthday and St. Patrick’s Day (only because it’s the day after), so that means eating cake, fun party plans and festive decor!  So, continuing on this birthday party train — here are a few finishing touches that are easy and essential for any party celebration and can really help pull in a thoughtful and personalized flair.
PartyEssentials
Balloons. Ok, helium shortage aside — balloons are super fun and can be made affordable with the personalize helium tanks, and also make transporting and decorating easy and convenient to decorate in the party space! Bare minimum, having big gold numbers for the big milestone birthday is an absolute MUST. Ordering those off Amazon can also help save on cost and have the balloons shipped right to your door. Even adding a little bit of helium into balloons so they cover the ceiling with long pretty strings is also a simple yet bold look!

Polaroid Frame & Polaroids. This is another Dollar Store hack! If you grab their foam board, it’s conveniently the same rectangular size as a polaroid — so tracing and cutting out to make it a hand held photo prop is another fun way to make a memorable mark. You can even include a hashtag, date or event title on the bottom for all the pictures! Not feeling crafty? You can order customized ones from Etsy. If you have a polaroid camera, this is another fun way to capture memories and moments in front of a photo wall or all the faces who are helping celebrate!

Festive Centerpieces. As much as I love fresh flowers for parties and events, there are simple and cost effective ways to add a little party flair to dessert tables, centerpieces and food spreads.  Grabbing a bunch of party blowers from the Dollar Store and throwing them into small glass vases from the Dollar Store, is a fun and party festive way to add a little extra flair — and even more perfect if you’re throwing a surprise party!
PartyEssentials(1)Dessert. Whether it’s a fun party cake that represents the birthday bee’s personality and favorite flavors to a tee or custom sugar cookies with fun designs and year dates, having a variety of desserts, favorite snacks (like frosted animal crackers or chocolate covered pretzels) or just a super fancy cake, is a fun way to add another personalized touch while making the birthday bee extra happy. Don’t forget, left overs for breakfast!

A Signature Cocktail. A festive cocktail and even themed party cups is another easy finishing touch that can serve as a conversation starter and fun party favor! Whether the cocktail is a play on the number, or an ode to the birthday bee’s favorite beverage and mixer with a fun garnish, patterned paper straws or golden party umbrellas for a fun birthday beverage!

Simple Photo Collage. Creating a simple photo wall of the birthday bee can be the perfect way to celebrate the big milestone birthday and looking back at all the years before! Using a string and festive clothes pins can be a cute way to display all the pictures, also clipping onto your blind strings is another alternative that can help fill up a space without making away from streamers and other fun party decor!
PartyEssentials(3)Another easy way to help keep yourself on track and also having a cohesive look for your next birthday bash is picking a theme whether it’s a 90’s throwback theme, a color scheme, or a mood you want to invoke — this can help keep you in line for picking all these finishing touches and really make a statement!

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5 Ways to Celebrate 30!

Secret time! I’m turning 30 in under a month. Second secret time, I’m not looking forward to it, but I’m really trying to embrace it, so excuse me as I put on a fake smile and try to embrace it all — and maybe go a little overboard in doing so. If you’re like me and hitting a big milestone this year, but can’t figure out how to celebrate, I’m here to help, with five fun ideas!
5WaystoCelebrate30_beelifeblogGet out of Town. Whether it’s a week long cruise or a weekend trip to a new city to explore sometimes getting out of town is just what the doctor ordered.  A good way to figure out affordable and easy places to get to for a longer weekend trip is looking at nonstop destinations that your airport flies too, finding a VRBO or bouquet hotel, or finding a spot that is drivable – 6-hours would be the max if you’re going for an extended weekend.

Boozy Brunch. If you’re a bee reader, you know I have a strong love for brunch, from the food to the beverages — you really can’t go wrong in my opinion. So instead of ordering a mimosas, order the mimosa kit and the waffles and enjoy the finer brunch things in life. This can be with family, gal pals or even just your number one.

Plan a Spa Day. Whether it’s solo, for a full day of R&R or an afternoon at the spa with your girlfriends — a spa day is a must to celebrate a big milestone birthday and simply relax! So make sure to plan out a day to get the works, from a facial, massage to your nails, this could even be a good gift hint to family or friends.

Night on the Town. If you’re a little more low key, it’s still important to treat yourself and maybe even splurge a bit! Whether it’s rooftop bar drinks, a high-end speakeasy or a nicer dinner spot, grab your core crew, throw on some sparkles and secure a dinner reservation – the best part is you can still be home by 9pm and jump right into those PJs.

Shopping Spree. Another way to celebrate the big day is going on a little shopping spree! If you’re like me, I don’t do a whole lot of clothing shopping out of guilt and other necessities. So, start saving a few extra pennies so you can really splurge and get a few new pieces to celebrate the new decade.

Last, but not least there is one other VERY important piece of any birthday celebration that should never be forgotten is the cake or two. Please never, ever, ever forget the birthday cake or your version of birthday cake. The best part is that after your birthday, you get to eat cake for breakfast, so you’re winning even after the big day. To try and embrace and overcome my 30 anxiety, I will definitely be celebrating with a few of these over the course of my birthday month!

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DIY – Holiday Snow Globe Place Settings

Spoiler! I love decorating and hosting get togethers and I especially love transforming our house into a Christmas wonderland.  Included in that Christmas wonderland is playing around with our dining room decor and making a statement with our tablescape. I love shopping on Pottery Barn, we registered for our wedding there and I always find a few gems, especially seasonal ones that I grab when they’re on sale or occasionally splurge on. So long story short, I saw these Village Snow Globe Place Card Holders and was about to splurge — until I was like, wait it would be super fun to make those!
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What You’ll Need:

Plastic ornaments
– Mini wire brush trees, animals or houses – shop Christmas Village decor at Michaels. I bought (2) mini white trees and (2) green tree set
12×12 Glitter scrapbook paper/card stock, silver glitter and glue
Craft sparkle pipe cleaners, same color as glitter/paper, I used silver
– Cotton balls
– Uline knife
– Hot glue and mod podge

Estimated total project cost: $25

Step-by-Step:
1. First things first, you’ll need to cut a opening in the bottom of your plastic ornaments. This was a bit tricky to figure out, and should be done very carefully!  I used a sharp mini philips head to poke a hole in the bottom. Once I had a hole, I used a Uline knife to cut a smaller circle for the opening, go slow and wear gloves to protect your hands. Repeat based on the number of place settings you’re making – this is the least fun part of the whole project!
SnowGlobeDIY-beelife(1)2. Woo! We have our openings, so now it’s time to cut our our bases and start planning our wintry scene. I used thicker card stock, that I ended up painting and putting glitter on — I would highly recommend buying scrapbook 12×12 glitter paper. This would’ve saved time and a mess. *smiles*  So using your thicker paper, trace a circle using a drinking glass that is rounder than your ornament, trace and repeat to cut the same number of circles as you have ornaments. These are your bases!

3. Working from the center of your circular base play around with your mini trees/houses or animals. Once you have your scene figured out it’s time to glue in place! I started with my larger wire brush tree in the center, and flanked either side with smaller ones. Pull a cotton ball apart and shape around the base of the trees and glue into place. Wah-la, snow! Repeat, or switch up to have different variations.

Pro-tip: Don’t go to far from the center, so that you’re ornament can fit around your wintry scene especially the cotton ball snow

4. Once you have your bases decorated, glued and secured — place ornaments overtop, making sure everything is fitting within the ornament.  Glue and secure the base of the ornament with hot glue!
SnowGlobeDIY-beelife(2)5. Now, depending on if you bought glitter paper or not, this step may not be needed.  Using mod podge glue I painted the top of the white paper bases and then covered in silver glitter over a paper plate to catch the excess. I had to touch up a few spots once the glue dried and I dumped the remaining glitter off to see emptier spots.  If you bought glitter paper, you are 10-steps ahead of me!

6. Time for finishing touches! Get that hot glue back out and glue the pipe cleaners around the base where your ornament meets the base. You’ll most likely need to trim for an even meet at the back.  I then used the left over scraps of the pipe cleaner to create a circle to loop into the top of the ornament to hold place cards for guests! I used old place cards that we didn’t use from our wedding, but you can cut and customize as you want or not include!

7. Once your mini snow globes are created, it’s time to set the table and get ready to host a delicious meal with close friends and family!

This was such a fun DIY and I love how they turned out. For $25 I created 8-mini place setting snow globes compared to spending nearly $60 at Pottery Barn — plus I made them! I must admit figuring out how I was going to cut and create this using ornaments had be puzzled for a while, and it took a few trial and errors before I figured out how to cut the hole in the bottom. And I really wanted to use ornaments vs. mason jars or other types of glass cylinders I saw online.  So once I figured it out and put it all together I was so excited! The best part is you can keep and use year after year or send home with guests as a little keepsake <3.

Happy Holiday Hosting!

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My Hubby’s Surprise Party & Tips for Planning One

For the last 6-months or so I’ve been planning a surprise party for my hubby, B — this quickly turned into a bit feat as we got closer to the actual surprise date!  You see, I get really excited about presents I pick out, gifts, or surprises – I like to bait people and often can’t wait, just wanting to spill the beans.  Planning this party was definitely a test of that (that I passed!) but was also a bit stressful, yet very exciting!
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So here are a few tips and areas to focus on when planning a surprise party!

Plan a Date.  Since B’s birthday is a few days after Christmas, it often gets looped in with the holiday and overlooked – so I wanted to make sure we avoided the holiday but also wanted it to be close.  Since December tends to be a busy month for everyone I planned over the summer and sent out my digital Save the Dates.  I also picked a Friday night, thinking it’d be easier for me to sneak away on a work day than a regular Saturday.

Location.  This one can be tricky! I initially had the perfect place picked out with an ideal party room – then they closed over the summer.  The options got smaller and I got picker, so the fall back was our house, that way I could control the food, decorations, alcohol, etc.  I just needed to keep the hubby away long enough to get the house decorated and sneak 30-people inside.

Plan the Diversion.  I wracked my brain on this for months, until I finally reached out to MW to help with the diversion – he was all over it and a HUGE help to this all working out!  This started getting planned just a few weeks before, and then initiated with B the week of the party – drinks after work, and then getting back to the house in time for the surprise!

Pick a Theme & Decorate.  To keep a somewhat complex event, simple – I wanted to stick with a classic color scheme of gold, black and white! I kept decorations easy too,  with lots of balloons, big gold number balloons, fun themed thirty banners, some ‘Vintage 1988’ plastic cups, pictures of the birthday boy and a photo booth with polaroids.  Pro-tip: Buy a mini-helium tank, it’s easier and cheaper! 

Food & Drink Favorites.  Since I was hosting, I could pretty much pick whatever for the food and I wanted to make sure to incorporate some of B’s favorite things. To do this, I ordered chips and salsa from his favorite spot picked up dark chocolate pretzels, another favorite!  From a beverage perspective, I made sure there was plenty of B’s favorite Christmas beer – and our friends/families brought plenty of beer options for him too!
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My goal was to plan a surprise party for B to celebrate his upcoming 30th, while keeping it simple and intimate – which isn’t easy to do with big families and lots of friends, but somehow I think I pulled it off! B was DEFINITELY surprised and had no idea, I kept the charade up all day – even though I took a half day and had planning for months.  Another plus of planning so early is I slowly ordered decorations and party supplies throughout the months so I really only needed to worry about the food the week of!

It was fun, but I don’t think I’ll be planning another surprise party anytime soon!

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5 Hosting Tips for Fall

It’s getting to one of my favorite times of the year – the time for holiday parties and plenty of opportunities for hosting friends and family.  Whether you’re planning an intimate sit down dinner or a more festive party, these five tips will help cover your bases, wow guests and have a fun night to remember!
Party Hosting Tips - the bee life
These tips will also help you relax as a host while still having those finishing touches and taking your party to the next level.

  1. Consider a Bulk Signature Cocktail. Signature cocktails can be fun, especially if it’s more of a seasonal drink for the fall and winter months.  As a host pro-tip, make these in bulk ahead of time in a pitcher or shaker – that way you won’t be stuck making everyone a drink as they come in.  Don’t forget the garnish and a fun cocktail napkin to top off the full effect!
  2. Make a Killer Charcuterie Board. This can serve as your focal point and will cover the bases on a variety of food categories from meats and cheeses, to breads, jams, nuts and fresh fruit that will make guests want to dive right in.  Check out Skinnytaste or Spend with Pennies on some tips to making a killer board.
  3. Don’t Forget the Dessert! It’s easy to get caught up figuring out the main dishes for the evening and overlook the best part, dessert!  This is something to keep simple whether it’s buying some more expensive chocolate bars, baking fresh chocolate chip cookies or asking friends to help bring this, so you can check it off the list!
  4. Plastic vs. Non-Plastic Plates. The great debate on which to use continues! I often shy away from plastic because I prefer the aesthetic look of plates – but depending on which type of party you’re hosting, one might make more sense than the other.  For example a more intimate dinner party or smaller guest count may call for plates to add that extra touch, but if you’re having a large party that is a bit more casual save yourself the end of the night clean-up and grab plastic bowls and plates!
  5. Create Welcoming Smells. This can be an easy victory – if you’ve been prepping food all day, your house might have a mixture of smells, so to clear it up light a few candles with similar scents throughout your home (don’t forget the bathroom!) or throw in some chocolate chip cookies right before guests arrive for a homey welcome.

If you’re looking for inspiration to host a fall party and ways to keep it simple read; 5 Reasons to Host a Fall Party.  And don’t forget to have fun and enjoy your own party, as the host it’s easy to get caught up in perfection and making sure everyone else is taken care of – but don’t forget to grab yourself a drink too!

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Image Sources:  Skinnytaste \ The Effortless Chic | Apartment 34

Latest Obsessions 08.18

Surprise, surprise – this month’s latest obsessions are mostly house obsessed, as I’ve got my eyes on the next prize and the projects just seem to keep getting bigger and bigger.  Beyond the house project bug, weekend getaways and trips or seasonal parties also have me heart-eyed with excitement.
Latest Obsessions 08.18 - the bee life
Basement Projects.  This is a two part.  Part one has been talked about off and on with B, but seriously discussions and planning have started to take place to build out a full-bathroom.  A good friend is a plumber, so with his expertise and help it doesn’t seem so daunting, yay!  Plus, it will add value to our home, making it 2-baths vs. 1-bath. Part two, is making the other space a bit more livable – we have a decent amount of space for storage, so the configuring has been playing out in my head and I think we can make it work.  The livable space might just be a bit industrial chic vs. completely finished basement. I love this article for some inspiration on finishing touches for your unfinished basement.

Seasonal Parties.  I can’t help but get excited for upcoming season parties, whether we’ll be hosting or attending – from the calm bake, to dare I say it…. Christmas?! Yup! I’m just looking forward to creating new memories and fun with family and friends.  And the only reason I have these on my mind, is because schedules get so crazy – we have to plan that far ahead especially if we want any chance of getting on our family/friends schedules!

Getaways.  Whether it’s a quick two-hour drive or a flight across the country, the travel bug continues and I’m excited to get out of town for a bit in the coming months.  With that, I can’t help but want to find the best brunch spots, shop for a few new outfits, and figure out other fun details to weave into the trip.  I’m trying not to wish these to come too soon though, because time has certainly been flying lately!

What’ve you been obsessing over? New house project or fashion trend – leave a comment, I want to know!

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Image Sources: Bathroom Inspiration Party Decor Inspiration Unfinished Basement

My Bridal Shower – Part 2

In case you missed it, part one was up yesterday, gushing over all my friends and family who came to my bridal shower this past weekend and helped make it so so special!  Part two, is all about the decor and food that was the cherry on top to everything else! And since I am used to running the show, it was hard for me to take a back seat and not be involved in the planning or decorating, but I kept myself busy and let them do their thing, and I was BLOWN AWAY!
My Bridal Shower P2 - the bee life
My mom, MIL and MOH<3 did an amazing job of coordinating all of this across state lines and literally building a beautiful space out of our garage.  From the food to the decor, everything was thought of and done to a tee, on theme, and exactly what I would’ve done! So now, here are the deets you’ve been waiting for!

The Menu: Cucumber cream cheese sandwiches,  egg salad sandwiches, turkey apple cheddar sandwiches, fresh fruit, and salad.  Accompanied with Sangria and a Mimosa bar!

The Dessert Table: Two amazing cakes from Scratch Bakeshop in Rochester (with GOLD!), peanut butter bars, raspberry bars, dipped chocolate pretzel sticks, custom sugar cookies, doughnut hole kabobs, and fruit pizza cups. OH. MY. GOD. It was a dream come true.

The Decor/Games:  Centerpieces filled with white and pink roses, gold, pink and black stripes everywhere and on the Date Night cards, the Who Am I? game cards, card table signage, and lots of balloons! It was all so beautiful.
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The shower was just an absolute dream, and I know how much everyone put into this to make it a special day for me, and it truly was!  The weather also shaped up and the sun was shining so it was a beautiful day for an outdoor backyard party.  I was overwhelmed by all the love and support.

Next up, the bachelorette party and then… the real thing!