Wednesday, August 27, 2014

8 Quick 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! 

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Pretty Party Showcase: Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polka Dot Bikini Party

When I saw this party concept, I knew I had to share it with you. I just knew you would appreciate this unique theme!

My long-time friend, Jodi, hosted an Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polka Dot Bikini Party for her precious two year old, Elle. You might even remember Elle's Lemonade Stand Birthday I featured on Simply Sarah Style here. Jodi went all out on birthday party #1, but said she couldn't create as much for party #2, because she is expecting baby #2 soon.

In my eyes, these party details are just as impressive as the lemonade stand celebration. It is too cute!




Jodi designed all the print materials in Microsoft Word - so impressive - and scored the yellow sunglasses she used as party favors on clearance at The Children's Place. Elle's bathing suit was purchased from Amazon.



I've seen so many birthday party themes, but this one takes the cake for a summer celebration! It's perfect in every way.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Simply Sarah Style Decorating: A Living Room Makeover

As I mentioned a couple weeks ago, I worked on an entire home decorating project. You can visit the first room reveal here. Lauren, my super sweet client, had great furniture pieces to work with in the dining room, including an awesome rustic bookcase-like piece we used as a hutch.  That has been a fan favorite!

Since you've checked out the dining room, let's mingle into the living room.

This was a long, kind of awkward rectangular room. It was actually an add-on to the back of the house, so it had a bit of a different vibe than the rest of the home. The main goal of this space was to try to lighten up the palette, without painting the fireplace white...which is something I really want to do, but the homeowner is not quite ready yet.


And here is what it looks like today:


So, ignore the lamp cord. It's kind of an eye sore. Ick! I do the love the lamp though. It makes a pretty bold statement in person.

Besides that, I'm really happy with how we were able to lighten up this space and make it more cozy. I played with various textures and neutral colors to create a calming and welcoming space.


We were able to incorporate pieces Lauren already owned, including the leather furniture, artwork, a mirror and some tabletop styling items.


Isn't that doggy the cutest? We picked him up at either Home Goods or TJ Maxx. I can't remember. Then we dressed him up with some of Lauren's jewels. I found the tiera-topped bottle in Lauren's stash of things. Then we added a glass jar and coasters, both via TJ Maxx.


The pieces below are also a combination of items Lauren already owned mixed with new things I picked up during shopping adventures.


Items Already in the Home

  • Leather Couch and Chair
  • Wooden Coffee Table
  • Area Rug 
  • Large Mirror 
  • Floral Artwork

Items Purchased

  • Floor Lamp and Shade: World Market
  • Gold Honeycomb-style Side Tables: Urban Outfitters
  • Couch Pillows: Combination between Home Goods, TJ Maxx and Target
  • Ottoman: Home Goods
  • Throws: Combination between Home Goods and Target
  • Gold Mirrored Butler Table: World Market

A special thanks to Brookside Photography for capturing this room!