valentine :: for the boys

Valentine's Day and little boys - not quite a perfect match.  Until now!  This product just cracks me up!  I recently received another submission from Spaceships and Laser Beams (remember their earlier snow party).  Spaceships and Laser Beams is a collective design team for all things boy party.  Their latest design is hilarious!
The "Girls Have Cooties" cupcake wrapper.  

From afar, it just looks like an ordinary turquoise with red heart wrapper, but look closer and you'll see it's actually germs and cooties.  What little guy wouldn't love this!?  Available here for only $3!  Such a cute, funny way to change up V-day!

super bowl

I had been planning on putting together a little post about cute Super Bowl party ideas, but now it's really on my mind.  I just got a call from my parents telling me they are going!!!  Yes, GOING TO THE SUPER BOWL!  How cool is that!?  (Hello, one check off the bucket list!)  I already told my mom she had to take pictures for me to share with all of you.  Wonder which celebs they'll see???  And the next obvious, very important question... What should my mom wear??  

So, back to cute party ideas that us commoners (you know, the ones who watch the game from home!) can use....

Look at these adorable beer bottle tags - Quarterback, Cheerleader, etc.  If we were having a Super Bowl party, I know exactly who I'd give the cheerleader tag to!  You can make them personalized without being so literal with names.  I also like the football field napkin rings. Available here from Paper & Cake.

Again, not being so literal, these drink tags below (look close) will allow guests to keep track of their drink.  You could even turn this idea into a game.  At the beginning of the party, let guests pick a jersey number of the players playing in this years Super Bowl.  Then, at the end of the game, whoever has the number matching the player picked as the Super Bowl MVP wins a prize - six pack of beer or something?  I also like the other ideas at this link.  Especially the last one - leaving chalk out on the decorated table for guests to "strategize" their plays. Interactive party details are always fun for guests!

Next up, something I remember seeing from last year's Super Bowl round up posts.  So easy and so creative.  Instructions here.  

And finally, Chris from Celebrations At Home, is always a excellent source of creative party ideas.  (Definitely one of my daily reads!)  Remember this Super Bowl table she styled - my favorite detail are those referee water bottles complete with "penalty flag" straws.  Fantastic!  

valentine surf and turf

Image via Better Homes and Gardens

In an effort to simplify my life/office, I am slowly going through all my old magazines, cataloging my favorite articles (hard copy to digital) and then recycling the issues. (One of my 2011 resolutions.)  I came across this tasty, and festive, valentines dinner for two in an old Better Homes and Gardens (Feb. 2007).  The shrimp heart detail is so cute and the recipe sounds delish to boot!

easy mixed grill


  • 2  3- to 4-oz.  beef tenderloin steaks (cut 3/4-inch thick)
  • 1    sweet Italian sausage link, cut into 1-1/2 to 2-inch slices
  • 4    jumbo shrimp, 16 to 20 per lb., peeled and deveined
  • 4  6-inch  wooden skewers
  • 1/4  cup  fresh lime juice or lemon juice
  • 2  cloves  garlic, minced
  • 2  Tbsp.  olive oil
  • 2  Tbsp.  chopped fresh cilantro
  •     Fresh cilantro sprigs
  • 1  recipe  Herb Ketchup (see recipe)


1. Place meats and shrimp in resealable bag set in shallow dish. Soak skewers in water.
2. In bowl stir together lime juice, garlic, olive oil, cilantro, 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon pepper; pour in bag; seal. Marinate in refrigerator up to 2 hours, turning occasionally. Drain; discard marinade. Thread 2 shrimp on each of 2 skewers. Thread sausage on remaining skewers.
3. For charcoal grill, place sausages on rack of uncovered grill directly over medium coals. Grill 15 minutes or until juices run clear and no pink remains (160 degrees F), turning frequently. Grill steaks 8 to 10 minutes for medium-rare, turning once. Grill shrimp skewers 2 to 3 minutes per side or until shrimp are opaque.
4. Place steaks on platter. Add cilantro sprigs. Remove shrimp from skewers; place atop each steak, forming heart shape. Add sausage kabob. Serve with Herbed Ketchup. Makes 2 servings.


I love all my Mac products (wish I would have converted years ago!) and apparently others do too!  Look at all these adorable "iValentine" gifts and cards.   

This one is so appropriate for those of us constantly connected.  This is the card I should get for the hubby this year!

This valentine looks so easy to do and still so cute!  

This next one is a show stopper!  What a great valentines gift right!?  It was listed on Etsy, unfortunately, it looks like they are all sold out.  (Or it was from last year - can't really tell, but none the less, not available.) Total bummer, but I still wanted to share in case it inspired any of you to make one.  (And then send it to me! :) )

And finally, check this out!  Want to hand out some of your own iValentine gifts?  The always amazing Amy from Living Locurto has this free printable on her website for all to use and share! I'm sure older kids would especially enjoy handing these out to their friends.  She even designed the back of the box - see the cute "heart" with the infamous bite taken out.  So generous and so adorable!

xmas card

As I was talking about 2010 yesterday, I realized I never shared our Christmas card with you guys.  For those of you readers who are new, I had a Christmas in July series.  Along with other Christmas inspiration, I shared all our past Christmas card designs.  My husband and I are both designers by trade and several years ago we started a little tradition of designing our own cards every year.  (Why did we do that to ourselves??? Oh that's right, ahem, we didn't have children then!)  Anyway, we've had some cards that I love and some that just "get-out-the-door" in time for the holiday.  Well, 2010's was one of those years that we just had to get it done.  And done quick, since we didn't even start until December 20th.  Yikes!  (Every year, I swear we're going to have them designed and printed by early October. Yeah, that never happens!)
We were just too busy this year for a complex design - it had to be simple!  I thought of the holes in the two zeros of 2010 and thought, "hey, we have two kids, let's throw them in the holes!"  :)  So, simple it was!  Having the pictures towards the bottom afforded us plenty of white space to sign our names and write individual notes to our friends and family.  I will say hand-cutting the bottom edge of the numbers and the insides of the zeros with an Exacto was a pain - both figuratively and literally.  And yes, I hand cut them all.  Dear hubby fell victim to a stomach bug and was puking all night while I cut.  I shouldn't complain; I'll take achy fingers over throwing up any day!  Sorry for the full disclosure here, just keeping it real, but I can't believe I let vomit enter a post about Christmas cards!

just married flip-flops

Where does the time go!?!?  I can't keep up!  Lots going on with A. Party Style of late... 2011 is going to be the best year yet!  I just got a couple of new jobs that I'm really excited about!  Yippee!  I still have lots to share with you from 2010 too.  Mr. Time, can you s-l-o-w down please?

In the meantime, look at these - so cute!  I was doing some research for an upcoming job and stumbled upon these whimsical flip-flops.  I want to get married again just so I can wear these on my honeymoon!?!? Apparently they are very popular... I had no idea.  In case you're interested in a pair for yourself, just google "just married flip-flops" and you'll find a plethora of vendors.

Okay, back to emails and invoices!  It was nice to take a break and think about the beach though.  

whoopie pie favor

While visiting some friends in NYC last week, we visited One Girl Cookies.  It's one of my favorite places in Brooklyn to stop for a snack.  They have great little cookies and yummy hot chocolate with handmade marshmallows.  At the entrance, they had a little display of treats - one of which was this adorable wedding favor idea.  I'll just let it speak for itself!  :)   So tongue-in-cheek and whimsical for a wedding favor.  Love it!

feature :: winter party

Here in the northeast, we are shoveling out. LOTS of snow - and by lots I mean like 20+" of fresh new snow!!! In addition to this new stuff, there is still several inches of snow left over from our holiday blizzard and another 10" storm we had last week. Wowza! To make it a little easier to bare, I have chili on the stove and brownies baking. Aren't snow days fun?!

Anyway.... with all this white stuff, it was fitting what I found waiting on me in my in-box this morning. Stephanie, from Spaceships and Laser Beams, sent over a winter party table she styled for her "Flurry of Fun" printables available in her Etsy shop. Too cute! Now you all know I love a dessert table, but for little ones it's just too much sugar sometimes right?! Stephanie made a beautiful table with suitable foods for small children. I'll let you read Stephanie's words about what she made. But first, one detail I loved and wanted to point out is the name tags holders. She cut little styrofoam balls in half and used them as holders. Get it - snowballs! GENIUS!

A few details of the food ("sweets") in Stephanie's words...

- "No cake" cake pops - Instead of cake and chocolate, I wanted to offer up a high protein concoction. As two year olds don't exactly have the most complex palette, I mixed peanut butter (no peanut allergy issues with my son and his close friends) with graham crumbs, formed them into balls, piped on a tiny bit of white chocolate and popped these in the fridge to get nice and firm. But a safer option, if there is any question of allergies, would be almond or soy butter. And for an even healthier base you could crush one of your child's favorite cereals and use it instead of the graham crumbs. (It should go without saying that the stick should be removed before giving to the little one. But you always need to say these things.)

- Snowflake Pudding - This is actually a homemade rice pudding made from a recipe I found in a toddler cookbook. Doesn't taste too bad either - which is good as the mom of any toddler knows you will be eating what he/she doesn't.

- Winter Crisp - This is a fruit cup that's combination of baked apples, blueberries and blackberries. For the crisp part, I wanted something quick, as I find I have no time these days. I crushed some pretzels, a little butter and brown sugar. The salty and sweet taste awesome together. But if I actually had some in the house, I would have probably just crumbled some granola bars and put it on the top.

- Vegan cupcakes - I've been wanting to try my hand a vegan baking for a while. A very good friend of mine owns Goodness Bakeshop and kindly supplied this recipe. It was an easy way to try something (vegan baking) that felt intimidating. Here's the link to the recipe:

- Snowmen - I originally saw a version of these guys in Canadian Living magazine. Basically, I put one bocconcini ball on the bottom and cut another in half to use as the mid-section and head. The arms are stick pretzels. The nose is the end of a carrot. The hat is about a 1/4 of a raddish. They're fastened together using two sharp toothpicks, one through all three cheese balls and one through the radish and into the cheese. (Again, it should go without saying that the toothpick should be removed before giving to the little one.)

Okay, back to shoveling! Thanks, Stephanie for sharing!!!

xmas take down

I spent this weekend taking down all the Christmas decorations at one of my clients house.  It is such a big job we (myself and three others helping) loving named it "Operation Take Down". I took a picture just to show you guys it's no small task.  These are just the storage bins for the wreaths of the house - 19 of them!!!  I love these bins!  I use them too, but not quite so many!  If there are any left, you can score a good deal on them right now at Target - about $6 each.

the martha stewart show

As any good domestic-diva-wanna-be, I'm pretty obsessed with Martha.  It's a healthy obsession, I promise!  Knowing this, my friend Laurie surprised me for my birthday with tickets to The Martha Stewart Show.  We had such a great time and I can't wait to do it again!!!!  Being so close to the city, I have to resolve to take advantage of this more often, right!?  Anyway, here are the details and pictures from our day.

Since some of you have asked for all the details, I'll start at the very beginning.  But be warned, all the details yields a long post!  Here it goes...  We recieved an email from the show giving us very specific rules on what you could and could not wear - mainly what you could not wear.  This is all for the cameras apparently - bright colors show up best.  We were surprised at how strict the rules were, but after seeing what people still showed up wearing, we then understood the very direct "suggestions".  One lady behind us showed up in head-to-toe black (a major no, no by the way).  The email said no black, gray, tan, etc.  So the whole head-to-toe get-up got her a few glares.  They brought her a bright chartreuse colored scarf to cover up with.  So, if you go, make sure to follow the rules or they will "change" your look.

As we round the corner from the train we saw it.  The sign!!!  As we got in line, we were told compliementery beverages and food were available.  See that blue truck in the photo?  It was supplied by the show to fill our tummies.  Yummy!  Laurie and I had hot cocoa and bagels.  Thanks Martha!

Next, we waited in line until the doors were opened at 12:30 for our 2:00 taping.  We entered, showed our id, received our seating assignment, went through security and deposited our coats at the coat check.  Then we sat in a "holding room".  While there, we signed release forms and went to the restroom one last time - once in the studio you can't get up so you better go potty now!  While waiting, we watched past Martha shows on the tv and looked at all the beautiful photos of Martha and her products gracing the bright white walls.  So clean - So Martha!  Here are a few pictures from the holding room.

On my trip to the restroom, I had a nice surprise!  When I turned the corner to the ladies room there was a line - shocker I know!  I was standing there and all the sudden a tall, blonde woman came through a door.  All I could see was the back of her head - I wondered "is it her?"  My line mates probably thought I was a little looney because as I saw her, I just put my arm up and pointed.  No words came out of my mouth.  Finally she turned around and it was her - MARTHA!  I've never been so happy to have to stand in line for the woman's restroom before.

While we continued to wait in the holding room, we were greeted by one of Martha's dogs.  A beautiful chow.  He was so friendly!!!  He moved fast, hence the fuzzy photos!

Next came in Joey, the warm up guy.  He is hilarious!!!!  If you want to check out some of his comedy skits just google him.  Joey Kola = FUNNY!  He taught us how to clap - yes, there is a correct way to clap!  He also taught us the proper way to yummm, ewwww, and ahhhh during the show.  He really reved up the crowd.  (More on Joey later.)

Now it was time to go upstairs to the studio.  We were called by different sections (some numbers, some colors).  We were in the blue line section - whatever that means!?  They showed us to our seats - middle section, second row up.  They were fantastic seats!  We could see everything.  All the people on the floor (which were special guests or family of the staff) really couldn't see much.  While they were recording, all four cameras were right in front of them!  I felt sorry for them - so much for being a special guest.

Here is a shot as we were walking in.  So surreal!  The studio is HUGE!  Unlike so many other shows, her studio is big.  And beautiful!  We were allowed to take pictures before and after the show - absolutely not during for obvious reasons.

Look at all the lights, cameras, equipment, etc.  Amazing huh!?

Even though we were there for a future show, they taped as if it was live.  They would count down commercial breaks and everything.  During commercial breaks, Joey would rev up the crowd with little giveaways.  I managed to come away with a set of measuring spoons.  As you all know, I can use those!

There was 6 segments taped.  Two segments were of roast chicken recipes from the January Living magazine.  Two segments were crafts - 1) borax crystal snowflakes and 2) wool felted baby building blocks.  The last two segments were related to UL industries.  We watched a video about the company and what they do.  It was very interesting.  As Martha spoke to the president of UL, the audience was given new smoke alarm / carbon dioxide detetors from Home Depot.  Not the greatest of giveaways, but that's not what we went for.  We did hear that the show that taped before us got $400 Breville juicers.  WOW!  During the show, they did have to re-tape a couple of parts of one of the segments.  Martha messed up one word while reading the teleprompter.  She said wood instead of wool.  And the other re-tape was about the sewing of the felt blocks.  The crafter showing Martha how to do it, had to show the technique again and explain it in simpler terms.

After the completed show, Martha had to record a couple of readings for various things.  One was a "thanks for your hard work and sorry I can't be there" kind of message for a upcoming event that she wasn't going to be able to attend due to scheduling conflicts.  The other was a reading about her new mattresses coming out in conjunction with Serta.  After the readings, she finally was able to ease up a bit and talk to the audience.  She has to be "on" ALL the time.  We were then allowed to pull our camera back out and take a few more photos.  She took a few questions from the audience, but then had to go.  We would have loved to hear her talk all day, but she's a busy woman and has stuff to do.  

This last shot is of the "other" Joey - the stage manager.  Again a very nice guy.  He's telling the other Joey "only time for one more question".  

After the show and after grabbing a bite to eat, Laurie and I headed back to the train.  Guess who we ran into!?  Joey the warm-up guy!  We talked to him for a bit and he was so nice!  What a great guy!  He apologized for not having better giveaways for us, but like I said, I wasn't going for the giveaways.  I thought it was sure nice that he felt bad for us though.  

So there you have it, our trip to the Martha Show.  I can't wait to do it again!  Who wants to go with me??


update :: the martha stewart show

Okay, I still don't even have my pictures downloaded yet (trying to spend as much time as possible with my out-of-town friend Laurie), but I did want to tell everyone the Martha show we attended airs tomorrow (Jan. 6) at 10:00 am on the Hallmark Channel.  I'm hoping we at least make a brief appearance.  We were in the second row up, right in the middle - I'm in purple!  Let me know if you see me - I won't know if we made it on since I don't even have the Hallmark Channel.  Total bummer!  A friend has offered to DVR it for me - Thanks Kary!   I'll be back soon with "behind the scenes"!!!

preview :: the martha stewart show

My friend Laurie and I went to a Martha taping today.  It was SO FUN!!!  After I get my photos together and organized, I'll tell you all about it.  

my birthday

Today's my birthday!  My 33rd on the 3rd - isn't that birthday called something special???  Or wait, I think that is when you turn the number of your birth date - 3 on the 3rd.  Any who!!  I thought I'd do something a little different today.  I want you readers to know me.  I know I love learning stuff about the people who's blogs I read, so what do you say!?  And what better day to tell you a little about me than on my birthday.  My gift to you - blah!  Gag me with a spoon!! Ha!  I'll share some fun, little known facts about myself.

- I was the third girl born in Russell, Kansas in 1978.  There were two girls born before me.  As the first three babies of the year, we were called "The Queen and Her Court".  Not that it means much, but my parents did get free stuff!

- I hate limp hand shakes.

- My pet peeve is when people misspell dessert.  You know, when they spell it with only one "s" and it becomes desert instead?  Wanna know a fun way to remember that correct spelling of dessert vs. desert?  You only want to spend one day in the desert (one S), but second helpings of desserts are always welcome (two SS).

- I like flat soda.  Weird, right!?

- I love Fruity Pebbles cereal.  I know, I know.  I don't need any lectures about how awful they are for me.  Besides, I only have them about once a year.  I think I like them so much because I couldn't have them as a kid.

- I love traveling.  Seeing the world and learning new things... It gets me excited!  I think what I like most about traveling is it teaches me things about myself that I didn't even know.  Beyond being fun, it makes me grow.

- I get super nervous meeting new people.  I'm a wreck!

- I wear a size 11 shoe!  Thanks to my second pregnancy, my feet never returned to their normal size.  Do you know how hard it is to find cute shoes in size 11!?
- I am married to my high school sweetheart.  We started dating in October of 1996!!!!  Oh my gosh, I old!

- I'm a sucker for a good scavenger hunt!

- Brown is my favorite neutral - I use it everywhere!

Okay, now for some really fun info!  Guess what I'm doing tomorrow!?  Going to a Martha Show taping!!!  I'm so excited!  One of my best friends is here from Portland and she surprised me with tickets to the show for my birthday.  Isn't that fantastic!?  What a gift right!?  I'll tell you guys all about it.

happy new year


This is going to be ONE great year!  
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