Saturday, August 31, 2013

College Football Saturday in the South

You just can't bottle the excitement of the first Saturday of the college football season in the South.  It's the day people have been waiting for all year.

Alabama Football Fans - Roll Tide!
Photo by Click Photo Designs by Sarah Brewer
Your internal clock wakes you up in time to plop in front of the TV for the start of ESPN's College Game Day, so you can soak in the excitement from the commentators and fans, who are just as optimistic about their team's fate for the season as you are.  Personally, I love reading all of the crazy signs the fans hold up in the background.

ESPN College Game Day Signs
This LSU sign from 2012 still cracks me up!
 In Alabama, the season really starts the Friday before.  You pick out your outfit for school or work to show off your team colors, so there's no mistake where your allegiances lie.  I usually opt for something with over-the-top houndstooth and red.  Here's what I wore yesterday complete with a little elephant necklace.  I even paint my nails red before every season match most of my outfits for the season, of course.

Alabama Houndstooth - Roll Tide!

Lucky Houndstooth Flip Flops

In case you haven't guessed or aren't a college football fan yourself, I roll with the Crimson Tide.  I'm a proud graduate of The University of Alabama.  Our mascot is an elephant, Big Al to be exact.  And, the houndstooth obsession is inspired by our legendary coach Bear Bryant's signature hat.

Crimson Tide Football Fans
Fanatical support of your team starts early in the South. I remember my first day of third grade at a new school in Alabama. The first question the kids asked me was if I was for Alabama or Auburn. In Alabama, you make a choice between our two major universities - bitter rivals. Apparently, that was the determining factor in whether we could be friends or not. I was already crushing on a little boy that was wearing an Alabama shirt that day, so I made my choice...and it stuck.

At our house, we're a little superstitious, too.  Both my husband and I have lucky shoes that must be worn at least once on game day...not necessarily during the game.  I also have a particular Vera Bradley houndstooth purse that I must purchase every year. Even though it has been discontinued, I spend all year stalking my next purchase of one on eBay because I generally wear it out by the end of the season. We've won National Championships the last two years, since I started using these purses, so I'm not going to stop now.  I also have a matching wallet, which I've used both maybe that's really the lucky charm.

Bama Houndstooth Purse - Vera Bradley Deco Daisy
Lucky Vera Bradley Purse
 Of course, we also watch at least part of every game at Beauregard's on Jordan Lane in Huntsville, so maybe that's it.  In January, I also have a lucky Alabama wreath that my friend's mom made for me for Christmas...that may attribute to the National Championship wins.  Since I got it for Christmas, I cannot put it up until after Christmas...I'm trying to follow a pattern here. When you're superstitious, it's hard to know exactly what your lucky charm is, so we just try to keep repeating everything that may be working in our favor.  That's what any good fan would do, isn't it?!  We all have to do our parts!

Beauregards Wings Jordan Lane Huntsville, AL

Where to watch Alabama Football - Beauregards Huntsville AL
Best Hot Wings in Huntsville, AL
Once we get home from Beauregard's, part of the fun is pulling out all of my Alabama and football partyware for a winning spread. To give you a sense of how deep college football runs in the South, my husband's family gave us some really pretty silver Arthur Court elephant platters and etched Alabama pilsner glasses as a wedding present because that's essential hostess gear. We love them...everyone should be so lucky to start their married life off right like this!

Alabama Fooball Party Food

Alabama Football Plate

And finally, we'll end the day by watching ESPN for recaps to see how the other teams in the NCAA did that day. Then the anticipation for the next Saturday starts up again.

Here's to hoping we're on the winning side of the recaps....ROLL TIDE!  Best of luck to your team today, too!

Monday, December 3, 2012

Gift Wrapping Ideas Just in Time for Christmas

This weekend, I was asked if I had a video showing how to wrap a present in a gift bag without wrinkling the tissue paper. I didn't, so my husband helped me whip one up pretty fast.  I absolutely love gift wrapping, so I'm happy to share this quick tutorial.

This fall, I also had the opportunity to record a few professional videos for on how to tie bows on presents.  My favorite bow to tie is a Puff Bow.  These bows make such a great impression, and the technique I use makes them much easier to tie than they may look.  The key is really to use wired-edge ribbon because you can bend it into shape.  This time of year you can get huge rolls of this in fun Christmas designs at craft stores.  I usually stock up after the holidays when they're on clearance.

How to Make a Puff Bow -- powered by ehow

Tulle Puff Bows are another favorite of mine.  At Christmas, I think a white tulle puff bow looks so pretty on snowflake wrapping paper in particular because these bows look like fluffy snowballs or snowflakes.

Tutorial for a Tulle Puff Bow -- powered by ehow

If you want to take your Tulle Puff Bow to the next level, here's an easy idea for adding a little raffia for texture.

Let me know if you have any gift wrapping questions this holiday season.  Maybe I can whip up a video just for you. Happy wrapping!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Countdown to Christmas :: Printable Advent Calendar

The excitement of opening an Advent Calendar surprise is something that never fades away.  The anticipation is still super fresh in my mind.  This year, I thought it would be fun to make my very own "Countdown to Christmas" Advent Calendar.  Here's how I created this fun and easy project.

Countdown to Christmas Advent Calendar

Countdown to Christmas Advent Calendar Supplies:

  • Chalkboard & chalk
    (You could use a bulletin board or a picture frame wrapped in wrapping paper instead.)
  • Push pins, tacks, or tape
  • Bakers' twine or string
  • Mini paper bags
  • Tiny clothespins (I had no clue these came in such an ity-bity them!)
  • Ghirardelli chocolates (Caramel is our favorite flavor, but any little surprises will do.)
  • Printable Advent Calendar Numbers, designed by yours truly (just $2.50), cut into squares
Christmas Calendar Printable

Press push pins into the back side of your chalkboard or frame at even intervals to create five rows across. Thread bakers' twine or string around the chalkboard looping around each push pin to hold securely and tie ends.  Alternately, you could tape the twine or string onto the back of your chalkboard, but I'm not sure this would hold as securely.

Fill your mini paper bags with chocolates or other surprises, and fold the top of the bag over.  With the folded side facing the back, place a printable advent calendar number on top of the bag, and secure into place on your frame with a tiny clothespin.  I found the mini paper bags, chocolates, and tiny clothespins at Michael's...gotta love one-stop shopping!

Printable Christmas Countdown

Use chalk to personalize your Countdown to Christmas Advent Calendar.  I drew little holly leaves to coordinate with the design on the Printable Advent Calendar Numbers and put our family name at the bottom.

Starting on December 1, let the fun begin!  Since it's just me and my husband at our house, we take turns opening a number every day.  I get even numbers; he gets odds.  Then if family comes to visit, we usually let them open the last few numbers leading up to Christmas.  It's fun to share the joy!

Printable Advent Calendar

If you'd like to order the Printable Advent Calendar Numbers, they are available for instant download for just $2.50. You'll receive an email within a minute or two of purchase with instructions for downloading them.

What are some of the holiday traditions at your house?

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Easy Halloween Recipes & Food Ideas

We're less than a week away from one of the most fun holidays for kids - HALLOWEEN! And, what's the most important thing about Halloween?  The yummy treats, of course!  If you're looking for one special Halloween recipe to make for your family or ideas for an entire Halloween party menu, I've got lots of super easy ideas from this Halloween party I threw for some of my little friends.

Spooky S'Mores

These just make me smile!  Break a graham cracker in half, and slide it in a clear treat bag with Ghost Peeps and a couple mini Hershey's Chocolate Bars.  If you want to jazz it up even further, add tag from my Halloween Printable Collection. If you want to eat them warm, you can pop them in a microwave for 10-second intervals.  Of course, I found the kids had a great time just eating all the parts individually.

Candy Corn Popcorn Balls

Candy Corn Popcorn Balls are a tradition at our house. Year after year, I get special requests for these, so you know they're good! This recipe from Cooking Light is super easy and, if you can believe it, LOW CAL! (Just 212 calories each...okay, not super low cal, but pretty good for a homemade dessert.)  I added a little extra cute to them this year by pushing in a wooden candy apple stick and tying a little ribbon to the top of the stick.  I also slid some into clear treat bags and tied them shut with twine around the base of the stick for some cute take-home party favors. To complete the look of this platter, I added a tent card from my Halloween Printable Collection.  This is one of the pre-formatted menu labels, but you can also type right in the PDF to create your own custom food tags and treat label tent cards.

Halloween Cupcakes

As busy moms and working gals, we can't do it all, but we can come pretty close.  That's why I love taking store-bought treats and adding a little of my own flair.  These Little Debbie Chocolate Cupcakes are perfect for Halloween with their deep black chocolate color and swirly white frosting detail. I auditioned the more famous brand of these cupcakes, but they didn't win the taste test...there was a clear difference.  To make these even cuter, I just added Halloween Cupcake Toppers from my Halloween Printable Collection and tied a little "Cupcakes" tag onto my glass dome. Easy, quick, and done!

Witch's Potion Punch

Sometimes, an easy name change is all it takes to go from ordinary to extraordinary.  Take some orange soda, call it "Witch's Potion Punch", and voila!  You could use sugar-free Kool-Aid, too, if you wanted to reduce some of the sugar intake at your party.  To make my soda look even more fun, I poured it into some recycled Target latte bottles and added Halloween paper straws from Hey Yo Yo.

Monster Mix

Halloween can be sweets overload, so it's good to have a little salty on hand, too.  Going with an easy, store-bought approach + name change again, I created Monster Mix by pouring Chex Mix into adorable orange candy cups from Hey Yo Yo. The tent-card label is from (you guessed it!), my Halloween Printables Collection. I also saw a fun Halloween recipe on Pinterest by In Katrina's Kitchen that would be fun to use, as well.

Halloween Cookies

At any party, it's really nice to have one special sweet.  Lindsey at Tickled Pink Cookie Boutique definitely knows how to make a party special.  Her cookies are so gorgeous in person with a light shimmery lustre...absolutely stunning and super delicious with a hint of almond extract. Bewitching!  I love how she was able to perfectly match the designs in my Halloween Printables Collection.  Of course, she can match any party theme, so be sure to like or bookmark her Facebook page.  She ships, too!

Halloween Mini Candy Bars

Details, details, details!  Here's another easy trick for personalizing your Halloween Party.  Wrap Hershey's Miniatures in festive orange and black paper (3 x 1.5" strips work well).  Or better yet, use the Halloween Mini Candy Bar Wrappers that come in my Halloween Printable Collection.  

Cutie Clementine Oranges

Looking for a healthy Halloween snack?  Load up on some Cutie Clementines.  These are the perfect shade of orange for Halloween, are easy to peel, and oh so delicious!  Don't they look super cute all piled up in the bottom of this basket stand?!

Halloween Candy

And, finally, what Halloween Party would be complete without candy?!  I love to make a bold visual impression, and this big jar of orange gumballs from Party City does just that. To save money when filling big candy jars like this, I always stack clear plastic cups upside down inside the jar to make a hallow center. Every little bit counts! I also used some of Party City's black-and-white striped candy sticks that have a great grape flavor that won't stain your mouth all up. Since I love candy corn, a jar of this is a must for me, too!

All of the amazing photos in this post were captured by Click Photo Designs by Sarah Brewer, a fantastic event and family photographer in Huntsville, AL.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Halloween Costumes That Are Just Too Cute

I'm pretty traditional when it comes to Halloween Costumes. That's why I was so surprised at all of the adorable costumes available at Party City.  I definitely knew they had all the latest superhero, popular movie, and cartoon character costumes covered, but what really impressed me were how many choices they had for cute traditional Halloween costumes and modern spins on these classics. Their costumes have so many adorable details that really give homemade costumes a run for their money. Here are my top four favorite Halloween Costumes from Party City.

#1 - Sweet Treat Witch

Isn't this the sweetest costume ever?!  I absolutely L-O-V-E candy corn, so when I saw Party City had a candy corn witch costume, I fell in love all over again!  In fact, my decision was actually pretty hard because they have lots of different candy corn witch costumes to choose from if you can image that.  The little candy corn tights that come with this costume and the lace detailing around the sleeves made me glad I chose this one, and as you can see, Lauren had a great time wearing it. So precious! 

Candy Corn Witch - Photo by Click Photo Designs by Sarah Brewer

  #2 - Skeleton

When your husband stops in the hall to comment on how "cool" a skeleton costume looks just hanging on a hanger, you know you've picked a winner!  Lawson looked so stinking cute in this little costume, too...I just can't get over it!  He was totally excited about wearing this again for the real Halloween, me, I got a big thank-you hug. The little bones had really cool airbrushing detail on them, and the little gloves and shoe covers that are part of the costume really complete the look.  If you're little one doesn't like wearing the mask over his face, it makes a great hat that looks just as cute. 

Skeleton Costume by Party City

#3 - Lil Frankie Frankenstein

When I saw this costume, I knew I had to have it.  I loved it in the photos, and then when I saw it in person, I was pleasantly surprised with the little Frankenstein design details on the neck screws...I'm a sucker for attention to detail like this.  I just love how cute Ethan looks doing his Frankenstein walk in this photo, too! Another detail I like about this costume was how the little pants had shoe covers built in, so you don't have to worry about matching shoes.

Frankenstein Costume by Party City

#4 - Catarina Ballerina

Here's another cute Party City spin on a traditional black cat costume!  What little girl wouldn't love to get dressed up in a tutu with frilly sleeves?!  MyAsia looked so precious in this little outfit, which had a really pretty sequenced bodice, too.  You'll need to get your own tights for this one, and Party City has lots of fun ones to choose from.  We picked these little spider web tights that would be fun to wear under skirts and dresses all October long.

Black Cat Caterina Ballerina Costume by Party City

Definitely check out Party City for your costumes this year.  I think you'll be pleasantly surprised at the variety and styles.  And, if you sign up for their email list, they send out lots of great coupons.  To see more of my favorite Party City costumes and decorations, check out this Pinterest board I created to help me select items for this Halloween Party Inspiration Photo Shoot with Click Photo Designs by Sarah Brewer, who took all of these awesome photos, and Tickled Pink Cookie Boutique.

Halloween Printable Pictures

 See more Halloween Party Photos and Ideas.

And, don't forget to order your Eerie & Cheery Halloween Printables!  You get a banner, favor tags, cupcake toppers, candy bar wrappers, and more for only $10.

Halloween Printable Collection by Belly Feathers

Monday, October 1, 2012

Eerie & Cheery Halloween Party Ideas

Halloween is one of my favorite holidays to decorate for. I get so excited every Halloween to see all of the little trick-or-treaters knocking on my door and what costumes they've chosen that year.  Because of this, I really prefer to decorate with a cheery, kid-friendly Halloween style. That's why I was so thrilled to collaborate with Party City on an Eery and Cheery Halloween Party for some little friends this year.

Halloween Printable Pictures

Party City has a fabulous selection of kids costumes from the latest cartoon and superheros characters to updated classics, like the adorable Frankenstein, Skeleton, Candy Corn Witch, Black Cat, and Vampire costumes you see in these fantastic shots captured by Click Photo Designs by Sarah Brewer. If you ever need family photos or a special event photographed in the North Alabama area, Sarah is the best.

Cute Halloween Costumes from Party City
Halloween Photos of Kids Parties

Plus, Party City really has everything you need to get a party going from big decorations to little details like this small ornate picture frame featuring one of my mini "Happy Halloween" candy bar wrappers. And, you know me...I love details! Plus, they've got a great selection of candy for any type of celebration, especially if you love to color coordinate your treats like I do. Party City even has lots of elegant, shimmery plastic serving pieces that would be lovely enough to use for Thanksgiving.

Halloween Candy Party City

I love creating a fun focal point for my parties with a touch of unexpected. I used five black tissue paper fans from Party City to create a dramatic backdrop for my Printable "Trick or Treat" party banner.  In front of that, I used two coordinating 12 ft tissue paper garland to create a unique up-side-down pumpkin chandelier for the party. These tissue paper fans and garland give you a lot of bang for your buck and are super easy to work with!

Printable Halloween Party

What's a spooky Halloween party without some sweets? Party City has all of the candy you need for Halloween, too. You've probably seen me use Party City's solid gumballs for parties in the past.  They are such a fabulous way to add a pop of color, and you should see how excited the kids get to reach inside a candy jar of these.  That's why these gumballs are a must-have for any of my kids' parties.  I also got some candy corn, ghost Peeps, and cute black candy sticks there, too. Even though the candy sticks are black, they have a super yummy grape flavor and don't leave your mouth dyed black, which I love for keeping the kids cute and clean in their costumes.

Halloween Dessert Buffet
Halloween Pics from Kids Party

The main attraction of the menu were definitely the fabulous cookies designed by Lindsey Agree of Tickled Pink Cookie Boutique.  They were so stunning in person with a sparkly finish and intricate details. Not only did they perfectly coordinate with the eerie and cheery Halloween Printables, but they also tasted AMAZING with a hint of almond extract that made them absolutely irresistible. Lindsey was fantastic to work with, too.  I sent her some inspiration images, and she came up with these coordinating cookies that couldn't have been more perfect on this shimmery plastic tray from Party City.  Lindsey books up fast, so if you'd like to get some holiday cookies, place your order now.  Sarah Brewer and I have already booked her for our Christmas cookies...yes, they are that good!  Lindsey ships, too.

Halloween Cookies by Tickled Pink Cookie Boutique
Halloween Sweets by Tickled Pink Cookie Boutique

We had lots of easy Halloween snacks at the party, too, such as Ghost S'Mores, Candy Corn Popcorn Balls, Mini Chocolate Bars, Little Debbie Cupcakes, Witch's Potion Punch, and Cutie Clementines for a healthy treat.

Halloween Snacks for Party
Halloweeen Food for Kids Party
Printable Wrappers for Halloween Candy Bars

And, what's a Belly Feathers Party without a party favor? I couldn't resist sending the kids home with a little something cute from a party. These adorable chevron bags came from Hey Yo Yo, and I added a little Halloween flair by attaching the mini candy bar wrappers from my Halloween Printables collection to the front.  You can have so much fun with printables by using the items in unexpected ways like this.  Inside the bag, I added a fun little trumpet flute whistle from Party City that was STEAL at only 35 cents, along with a package of Little Debbie Orange Peanut Butter crackers that perfectly coordinated with the party's color scheme.  Plus, the kids got to load up their bags with as many Halloween sweets as they wanted...there were a lot of questions about those gumballs and candy sticks, let me tell you!

Halloween Printable Party Favors

This party has too many details to share in just one post, so stay tuned all month long to learn more about the Party City costumes, Halloween treats, decorations, easy craft how-tos, and more. For a larger list of my favorite Halloween party items from Party City, check out this Halloween - Party City Favorites board on Pinterest.

Party City, Click Photo Designs, Tickled Pink Cookie Boutique, & Belly Feathers
Party City - candy, costumes, frame, paper fans, streamers, orange serving platter, favor whitsles
Click Photo Designs by Sarah Brewer - photography
Tickeled Pink Cookie Boutique - cookies
Hey Yo Yo - Straws, monster mix cups, treat bags
Belly Feathers - Halloween Party Printables and event styling

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