Wednesday, September 10, 2014

A Few More Housewarming Party Details

I'm excited to share a couple additional details from our housewarming. As you may remember, I revealed some major lessons learned from our housewarming party two weeks ago - one of which was don't be too busy to take pictures. If you are throwing an upcoming party, you should sneak over and catch up on that post. I'm hoping my experience can help others prep and entertain with ease.

I had also mentioned to you that I purchased several items from H&M Home for our party. I was thrilled when my friend and graphic designer, Christina Reinersman, was able to pull inspiration from the H&M pieces for my invitation. Christina created a double-sided design that featured a welcome mat concept on the front and party details on the back. The spunky floral pattern in the invitation matched our H&M table runner, plates and smaller cups I purchased for the kids. 


Katy from Spoonful of Sugar Cookies was also able to incorporate our desired colors and certain design elements from the invitation into our cookies. 


Another one of my favorite pieces were the pineapples we used as party favors. We gave each family a pineapple with a tag (also designed by Christina) that said, "You're always welcome at [our address]." Since pineapples are the international sign of hospitality, I thought these were perfect! They were a huge hit with our guests.  


You should have seen the faces on the sales associates at Target and Meijer when I asked to buy all the pineapples they had in stock. 

Party Planner Tip: Target ended up having the best price on pineapples - even beating out Kroger and Sam's. On top of having the best price, Target also offered a 5% off pineapples coupon on the Cartwheel app, which was a bonus!

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Q&A with Spoonful of Sugar Cookies Baker Katy Clifton

It's no secret I have such a strong sweet tooth. When it comes to planning a special event, delectable desserts are always first on mind! For my recent housewarming party, I ordered cookies from Spoonful of Sugar Cookies and was totally blown away by the detail. You might recall seeing the darling cookies on Instagram.

I was so impressed, I wanted to share Spoonful of Sugar Cookies with you. I was delighted when Katy, the baker behind the business, agreed to team up with Simply Sarah Style for a Q&A. I hope you enjoy getting to know more about Katy and her cookie creation process!

Q. When did you first know your baking could become a business? 

Katy: This question makes me laugh a little. I am a mother of three children, a wife, and a pharmacist. This was a venture I started in January as a result of friends and family encouraging me to do so after coming to several of my kids' birthday parties and seeing some cookies. So, I created a Facebook page, ordered some supplies and business cards, and waited. I assumed this would be just a place for me to post photos of occasional orders I did for friends and family. It has become so much more than I ever imagined in just seven short months.  I would, by no means, consider Spoonful of Sugar Cookies a full-fledged business, but it is much more than a hobby! It is a work in progress. 

Q. Do you have a favorite cookie design?

Katy: That is a tough question considering all the unique requests I get from customers. Right now in the cookie world, plaques are all the rage. There are so many different designs that makers are coming up with. I like using them in different ways, not just for wording. 

Q. What's the most interesting batch of cookies you've created?

Katy: I just recently did Harry Potter themed cookies for a first birthday.  I love the book series and was looking forward to these all summer. They turned out exactly how I imagined them and they got a lot of traffic on my Facebook page. 

Q.  How far in advance do people need to place their cookie orders?

Katy: I prefer as soon as you know the date of your event, but at least two weeks ahead is ideal.  I have, on slower weeks, been able to accommodate orders the week of. Due to the fact that I work my real job, it is sometimes not possible to do them on short notice.  The process of a batch of cookies spans over three days on average - no matter how small. I make everything from scratch and drying time is key to make sure the icing cures. 

Q.  Do you ship cookies?

Katy: Yes! I have shipped all over the country. While I will admit it makes me nervous every time, they make it safe and sound. 


What do you think? Are these these the most impressive cookies you've seen? I am thoroughly impressed with Katy's talent and recommend her to everyone I know. Her work is absolutely stunning! 

Be sure to follow along with Katy's latest creations. You can find the Spoonful of Sugar Cookies Facebook page here.

A special thanks to Katy for sitting down to share some insights with us today! 

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

8 Tips for Housewarming Party Success


A couple weeks ago, my husband and I hosted a housewarming party. While I consider myself a savvy entertainer, I felt like this party was a little too crazy for my taste. More people than we were expecting, combined with the fact that I still don't know where all of my serving pieces are stored, made for a chaotic party. It was so busy that I wasn't able to capture photos of the party details, none the less photos of my husband and I with our guests in the new home. (Major sad face) The photo above was actually a scene we staged two days after the party, so I had some kind of visual to hold onto years from now.

I must also add that it was supposed to storm all day, so I was hesitant to set up outdoor decor out of fear it will get ruined in a down pour. The rain held off, and one hour prior to party time, I decided to go for it and set up outside.

As the party wound down, I swore to myself I was going to jot down my lessons learned so our next house party is not so chaotic. Below are the lessons I'm documenting for myself. Hopefully, you find them helpful too.

Food 

  • With a large group, catering may be the way to go. Having to feed so many people is hard with just grill out food and potluck-style side dishes. 
  • If people are bringing a side-dish, ensure they commit to a certain dish a head of time to prevent repeats and ensure meal balance. 

Drinks 

  • Try making your signature cocktail recipe prior the party. Our strawberry-basil bourbon lemonade ended up tasting amazing, but the batch size was far too small to keep up with for the size of our crowd...especially when the hostess is also playing bartender. Plus, the prep ended up being labor intensive.
  • When serving a big group, go with water bottles (water bottles wrapped in decorative duct tape, of course). Filling up a drink dispenser periodically throughout the night with fruit-infused water will take way too much of your precious time. You won't be able to refill it quick enough.

Other Details 

  • Assign photo duty to someone, because you can't do it yourself. You'll be far too busy.
  • Arrange to have assistant (or back up) tour guides, because you and your husband cannot keep the party rolling while giving a new tour every five minutes. 
  • Have activities to keep the kids occupied. Think coloring books, bubbles or other games. 
  • Add a firm RSVP deadline to your invitation.

Whew! 

While I felt like these things went less than stellar in my book, everyone told me they had a great time. 

I even had the honor or serving the most talked about cookies. I ordered them from Katy at Spoonful of Sugar Cookies.

The cookies were the most precious I've seen. I mean, how cute is the door with a wreath and our initial?!?

Katy blows me away with her attention to detail. 

I also love the fact that each dozen of cookies comes with several shapes and designs, not just one which is what most bakeries offer.

Have you also experienced a similar experience when entertaining?

If so, what are your best lessons for hosting a house party?

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Spotlight: Posy Floral Designs

I had to give a shout out to my wedding florist and friend - Holly from Posy Floral Designs - for being featured in an upcoming feature of Cincinnati Wedding Magazine. Way to go, girl! 


Holly was so good at pulling all of my ideas together into one bouquet! I absolutely adored my wedding bouquet. She went beyond the typical florist duties and even helped me settle on a peach, grey and blush wedding color scheme when I couldn't make a decision. It's funny how I can easily help others make style decisions, but when it came to my big day, I had a hard time settling on a look.  I just love so many different styles! 


Holly took special care in adding photo pendants honoring my dad to my bouquet as well as my sister's. 

(Although I didn't think about it when I wrote and scheduled this post, but today would have been my dad's 65th birthday, so I think it's appropriate I highlight him today.)



Not to mention, I loved my centerpieces. I had a couple ideas of what I wanted and Holly was able to guide me toward a centerpiece that would fit my desired look as well as my budget.


Holly is such a talent. If you're looking for a florist in the Greater Cincinnati area, you must meet with her. 


Be sure to check out her work in the the upcoming issue of Cincinnati Magazine!